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Date: Dec 5, 2005
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
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Audio: (1:40 - 196.4 KB - 16kbps)
 
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THE ARTICLE

American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Europe on December 5 for a difficult tour. She will face many questions about reports of secret CIA terror prisons in Europe. Dr. Rice will be prepared to hit back at any criticism. She will strongly defend America’s human rights record. Rice has already blamed the media for making a mountain out of a molehill. She said Europe’s leaders are more interested in focusing on improving relations with the US. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is keen to warm ties with Washington that were chilled by her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder.

The fuss over the secret CIA prisons started with a Washington Post report in early November. An article claimed that the US has secret prisons called “black sites” in eight countries. Other reports have surfaced about secret “torture flights” that fly Al-Qaeda prisoners around the world. Germany claims 437 such flights illegally entered German airspace. Rice is expected to tell her European allies to “back off” and focus instead on the war against terror. The White House also hit back at the claims ahead of Ms. Rice’s visit, saying: “When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the USA.”

WARM-UPS

1. DIFFICULT QUESTIONS: Write down three difficult questions to ask your classmates. Walk around the class and ask your questions. Discuss why you chose the questions and why you thought they were difficult. Did your classmates answer them? Did your classmates think they were difficult?

2. WHAT’S TRUE? In pairs / groups, talk about how true you think these are:

  • There are no American-run torture prisons or flights. – Condoleezza Rice
  • I believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. – Tony Blair
  • I think there’s a plan for America to assassinate me. – Hugo Chavez
  • Zimbabwe’s problems are because of British colonial rule. – Robert Mugabe
  • Iran does not have a policy to develop nuclear weapons. - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • China is working hard to cut out all human rights abuses. - Hu Jintao
  • Democracy is working in Myanmar. – General Than Shwe
  • When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the USA. - White House

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

US Secretary of State / Condoleezza Rice / Europe / secrets / human rights / Angela Merkel / prisons / torture / embarrassing questions / the White House

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. QUICK DEBATE: Have a quick debate with your partner about the CIA prisons. Students A think the prisons are not a problem and that they should stay a secret – anything to help win the war on terror is OK, Students B think the USA should provide details about the prisons. The world cannot trust America if it has such secrets.

5. TORTURE OPINIONS: Do you agree with these opinions about the reported U.S. use of torture and secret CIA prisons? Discuss them with your partner(s).

  1. America lied about WMD. It’s no surprise they’d lie to the world again.
  2. America is not alone. If the prisons exist, Europe’s leaders know about them.
  3. It’s amazing how the USA makes mistake after mistake.
  4. The USA must do anything it can to win the war on terror.
  5. Which country in the world doesn’t have secret prisons?
  6. European leaders allowed the CIA planes to use their airspace.
  7. If the USA stops chasing terrorists, the war on terror is lost.
  8. Any EU country that has secret CIA prisons should be expelled from the Union.
  9. Condoleezza Rice should answer every question about the secret CIA prisons.

6. CIA: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the CIA. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Condoleezza Rice will be questioned in court about CIA prisons.

T / F

b.

Condoleezza Rice will strongly defend America’s human rights record.

T / F

c.

Dr. Rice said the media are making a molehill out of a mountain.

T / F

d.

The German Chancellor wants to defrost relations with the USA.

T / F

e.

The Washington Post newspaper broke the secret prisons story.

T / F

f.

Germany says US “torture flights” went into its airspace 437 times.

T / F

g.

Rice will tell her allies to ask her many questions about the prisons.

T / F

h.

The White House admitted the USA sometimes violates human rights.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

difficult

better

b.

face

retaliate

c.

hit back

emerged

d.

improving

trouble

e.

keen

cope with

f.

fuss

warming

g.

surfaced

stay away

h.

fly

problematic

i.

back off

ferry

j.

greater

eager

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

arrives in Europe on December 5

human rights record

b.

She will face

Washington that were chilled

c.

She will strongly defend America’s

there is no greater leader than the USA

d.

making a mountain

the US has secret prisons

e.

keen to warm ties with

over the secret CIA prisons

f.

The fuss

for a difficult tour

g.

An article claimed that

entered German airspace

h.

Other reports

out of a molehill

i.

437 such flights illegally

many questions

j.

When it comes to human rights,

have surfaced

WHILE READING / LISTENING

ODD WORD OUT: Delete the incorrect word in each of the italicized groups.

Rice faces questions over CIA prisons

American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Europe on December 5 for a difficult / difficulty / problematic tour. She will face many questions about reports / claims / essays of secret CIA terror prisons in Europe. Dr. Rice will be prepared to hit back at any criticism. She will strongly defend America’s human rights record. Rice has already blamed the media / press / iron for making a mountain out of a molehill. She said Europe’s leaders are more interested in focusing / concentrating / knocking on improving relations with the US. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is eager / keen / keep to warm ties with Washington that were chilled by her forerunner / predecessor / ancestor, Gerhard Schroeder.

The cuss / fuss / trouble over the secret CIA prisons started with aWashington Post’ report in early November. An article claimed that the US has secret prisons called “black sites” in eight countries. Other reports have surfaced / emerged / washed about secret “torture flights” that fly / bee / ferry Al-Qaeda prisoners around the world. Germany claims 437 such flights illegally entered / went into / rocketed German airspace. Rice is expected to tell her European bullies / partners / allies to “back off” and focus instead on the war against terror. The White House also hit back at the claims ahead of Ms. Rice’s visit, saying: “When it comes to human rights, there is no better / greater / grater leader than the USA.”

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Rice faces questions over CIA prisons

American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice _______ in Europe on December 5 for a difficult tour. She will face many questions about _______ of secret CIA terror prisons in Europe. Dr. Rice will be prepared to hit back at any criticism. She will strongly _______ America’s human rights record. Rice has already blamed the media for making a mountain out of a _________. She said Europe’s leaders are more interested in focusing on __________ relations with the US. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ______ to warm ties with Washington that were chilled by her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder.

The _____ over the secret CIA prisons started with a Washington Post report in early November. An article ________ that the US has secret prisons called “black sites” in eight countries. Other reports have __________ about secret “torture flights” that fly Al-Qaeda prisoners around the world. Germany claims 437 such flights illegally ________ German airspace. Rice is expected to tell her European allies to “back off” and focus instead on the war against terror. The White House also hit ______ at the claims ahead of Ms. Rice’s visit, saying: “When it _______ ___ human rights, there is no greater leader than the USA.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘torture’ and ‘flight’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. ODD WORD OUT: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “CIA PRISONS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about the CIA, human rights and the allegations of the USA torturing prisoners and using secret prisons.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • arrives
  • reports
  • defend
  • molehill
  • improving
  • keen
  • fuss
  • sites
  • secret
  • flights
  • back off
  • hit back

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. How do you feel when you hear about scandals involving America’s Government and/or secret services?
  3. What is you image of the CIA?
  4. Do you think Condoleezza Rice would lie about secret prisons?
  5. What do you think should happen to European countries that may have cooperated with the CIA in setting up secret prisons?
  6. Do you think the media are making a mountain  out of a molehill over this issue?
  7. Do you think Dr. Rice can improve U.S. relations with European countries?
  8. Which do you think is more important, winning the war on terror or worrying about the torture of terrorists?
  9. Why do you think Germany did nothing about the 437 different times US planes entered its airspace?
  10. Do you think the USA is the greatest leader when it comes to human rights?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. What do you know about the reports of secret CIA prisons?
  4. Do you think secret prisons are bad if they get secrets from Al-Qaeda members?
  5. Do you think the use of torture is OK if it gets secrets from terrorists?
  6. Do you believe the White house spokesman’s comment that the US does not violate human rights?
  7. What would and what should happen to the USA if the secret prisons, torture and “torture flights” are all true?
  8. Do you think Condoleezza Rice should answer questions in front of a European enquiry over the allegations of secret prisons, torture and “torture flights”?
  9. What do you do when you are asked embarrassing questions?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

 HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Europe. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. TORTURE: Make a poster showing the different kinds of torture used around the world. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

4. EYEWITNESS: You live in a small village in Europe. For the past few years you have seen American plans land near your village. You have secretly looked at what happens at the airfield several times. Write your eyewitness report of what you saw. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

difficult

problematic

b.

face

cope with

c.

hit back

retaliate

d.

improving

warming

e.

keen

eager

f.

fuss

trouble

g.

surfaced

emerged

h.

fly

ferry

i.

back off

stay away

j.

greater

better

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

arrives in Europe on December 5

for a difficult tour

b.

She will face

many questions

c.

She will strongly defend America’s

human rights record

d.

making a mountain

out of a molehill

e.

keen to warm ties with

Washington that were chilled

f.

The fuss

over the secret CIA prisons

g.

An article claimed that

the US has secret prisons

h.

Other reports

have surfaced

i.

437 such flights illegally

entered German airspace

j.

When it comes to human rights,

there is no greater leader than the USA

ODD WORD OUT:

Rice faces questions over CIA prisons

American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Europe on December 5 for a difficult / difficulty / problematic tour. She will face many questions about reports / claims / essays of secret CIA terror prisons in Europe. Dr. Rice will be prepared to hit back at any criticism. She will strongly defend America’s human rights record. Rice has already blamed the media / press / iron for making a mountain out of a molehill. She said Europe’s leaders are more interested in focusing / concentrating / knocking on improving relations with the US. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is eager / keen / keep to warm ties with Washington that were chilled by her forerunner / predecessor / ancestor, Gerhard Schroeder.

The cuss / fuss / trouble over the secret CIA prisons started with aWashington Post’ report in early November. An article claimed that the US has secret prisons called “black sites” in eight countries. Other reports have surfaced / emerged / washed about secret “torture flights” that fly / bee / ferry Al-Qaeda prisoners around the world. Germany claims 437 such flights illegally entered / went into / rocketed German airspace. Rice is expected to tell her European bullies / partners / allies to “back off” and focus instead on the war against terror. The White House also hit back at the claims ahead of Ms. Rice’s visit, saying: “When it comes to human rights, there is no better / greater / grater leader than the USA.”

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