2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 4, 2003
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WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI and
CIA experts dug through computers
and piles of other information yester-
day from the Pakistani home of alleged
Sept. I1 mastermind Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed, searching for clues that
new terror strikes might be imminent.
In addition to his capture on Satur-
day, government officials said author-
ities had caught Mohammed Omar
Abdel-Rahman, a son of the blind
Egyptian sheik accused of inspiring
the 1993 bombing of the World Trade
The younger Abdel-Rahman was
caught several weeks ago in Quetta,
Pakistan, the officials said, speaking
on the condition of anonymity. Pak-
istani officials have suggested the
Quetta arrest helped lead authorities to
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, although
American sources disputed that.
Officials also said they believe they.
have captured a suspected financier of
Sept. 11. The financier, whose nation-
ality was uncertain, was captured with
Mohammed was questioned yester-
day by U.S. authorities seeking infor-
mation about safe houses and hideouts
used by the al-Qaida terror network, a
Pakistani intelligence official said.
Mohammed's exact whereabouts were
He had been plotting attacks against
targets in the United States and Saudi
Arabia in the weeks before his capture,
U S. counterterrorism officials con-
Such attacks might have been
against commercial or other lightly
defended civilian targets, officials said,
although they acknowledged they did
not know whether al-Qaida targets had
Intelligence about Mohammed's
activities led in part to the orange alert
that lasted most of February, Homeland
Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.
"Some of the concerns we had that
caused us to raise the threat level were
attributable to the planning he was
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"We are hoping this will lead to substantialWASHINGTON
-Qda p U.S. plane intercepted by North Korean jets
information on ... al-Qaida plans and operations. b
- Ari Fleisher
White House spokesman
involved in," Ridge said. "There were
multiple reasons that we raised the
threat level and his relation to one of
the plot lines was one of the several."
Ridge declined to discuss specifics
but said the threat level was lowered
last week because later information
showed that plans for attacks had been
disrupted and were less likely to occur.
Authorities recovered a huge
amount of information about al-Qaida
at the house in Pakistan where
Mohammed and two others were
arrested early Saturday, a senior law
enforcement official said yesterday.
Recovered at the home in Rawalpin-
di were computers, disks, cell phones
and documents. Authorities believe the
materials will provide names, locations
and potential terrorist plots of al-Qaida
cells in the United States and around
Mohammed also was believed by
U.S. officials to have details about the
He was captured as he slept early
Saturday. Pakistani Ahmed Abdul
Qadus and an unidentified third man
were also detained.
White House spokesman Ari Fleis-
cher said, "We are hoping that this will
lead to substantial additional informa-
tion on al-Qaida, on al-Qaida's plans
and al-Qaida's operations."
Officials expressed concern that al-
Qaida cells could accelerate plots in
the United States and elsewhere rather
than run the risk of being captured.
Four armed North Korean fighter jets intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane
over the Sea of Japan and one used its radar in a manner that indicated it might
attack, U.S. officials said yesterday.
Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said it was the first such incident
since April 1969 when a North Korean plane shot down a U.S. Navy EC-121 sur-
veillance plane, killing all 31 Americans aboard. The latest incident happened
Sunday morning, Korean time, and there was no hostile fire, Davis said.
The most recent crisis involving U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was in April 2001,
when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a Navy EP-3 plane, forcing it to make an
emergency landing on China's Hainan Island. The fighter pilot was killed and the
American crew was detained for 11 days.
U.S. officials have said they have no plans to invade North Korea but are grow-
ing increasingly concerned about the North's reactivation of a nuclear reactor that
is part of a suspected weapons program. Washington believes Pyongyang already
has one or two nuclear weapons.
The dispute over nuclear weapons development increased last week when
North Korea restarted a 5-megawatt reactor that could produce plutonium for
High court hears telemarketer arguments
The telemarketer's pitch sounded good - contribute money for Vietnam veter-
ans down on their luck - but only pennies of each donated dollar went to help
those in need.
The solicitation may have been misleading, but several Supreme Court justices
seemed hesitant yesterday to-call it a crime.
The court heard arguments and is expected to rule by summer on whether chari-
ty fund drives that shade - or ignore - the truth about how donations are spent
amount to fraud or free speech.
"We ask this court not to hold that half-truths are constitutionally protected,"
Illinois Assistant Attorney General Richard Huszagh told the justices. His state
wants to go after a professional fund-raising firm for allegedly defrauding donors
to a charity the fund-raisers called VietNow.
Telemarketing Associates Inc. took in more than $8 million on behalf of the vet-
erans' charity, and pocketed 85 percent of the money. Would-be donors allegedly
were told their money would go for food baskets, job training and other services
for needy veterans, with no mention of fund-raising costs.
Significance of government deficit debated
Republicans and Democrats
split on party lines as they
debate the impact of the $300
billion government deficit
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is on
track to amass annual federal deficits this year and
next exceeding $300 billion for the first time. Repub-
licans insist the red ink would not be a record, a con-
tention Democrats reject in a linguistic duel less
about economics than politics.
"They're not always engaged in an academic
search for truth," Indiana University economics Prof
Willard Witte said of both parties.
Economists agree the most meaningful way to com-
pare historic budget figures is to factor in changes in
the dollar's value or the size of the economy. Republi-
cans say that when inflation is considered, there have
been nine shortfalls since World War Ii worse than the
projected deficits for 2003 and 2004.
Even so, that argunent is part of a weeks-long
GOP campaign to downplay their deficit forecasts in
hopes of aiding congressional passage of President
Bush's proposed $1.46 trillion in fresh tax cuts over
the next decade.
"They're engaged in trying to carry the day in
some policy argument," Witte said of the two parties,
"so they're bound to interpret the truth in the light
that makes their case most strongly."
Republicans and Democrats always compete for
words and numbers that help them define an issue
most favorably. Republicans eager to abolish the
tax on large estates call it the "death" tax, while
Democrats trying to taint Bush's proposed new
tax cuts label them the "leave-no-millionaire-
behind" plan, a play on his "no-child-left-behind"
In the budget Bush sent Congress last month, he
projected shortfalls of $304 billion this year and
$307 billion next - numbers that war and other fac-
tors are expected to make worse.
Until now, the $290 billion deficit of 1992 under
the first President Bush has never been surpassed.
"How can they say it's not a record? You don't
need a Ph.D. in economics to know $304 billion is
more than $290 billion," said Tom Kahn, Democratic
staff director of the House Budget Committee.
But when Democrats and journalists began refer-
ring to the forecast deficits as a "record," Republi-
cans adamantly insisted that the word was
meaningless because the label ignored the erosion
that inflation has caused in the dollar.
When converted to the value the dollar had in 1996,
Bush's budget documents say, the projected $307 bil-
lion deficit of 2004 would be just $265 billion.
And, using those same 1996 dollars, the $290 bil-
lion shortfall of 1992 becomes $318 billion; the $55
billion deficit of 1943 is $425 billion; and there were
bigger deficits in 1944, 1945, 1983, 1985, 1986,1991
"Many headlines erroneously proclaimed the pres-
ident's proposals would produce 'record' deficits,"
chided a newsletter by the Senate Budget Commit-
tee, run by Chairman Don Nickles (R-Okla.) which
cited "a deficit of understanding."
The battle over how best to characterize multiyear
budget figures was also waged in 1995 - when
Republicans took the opposite view from their posi-
tion yesterday and Democrats accused them of trying
to "cut" Medicare and Medicaid.
Those two huge, popular health insurance pro-
grams for the elderly, poor and disabled grow
automatically each year to cover medical infla-
tion and growing pools of beneficiaries. In 1995,
Republicans' budget-balancing plans culled sav-
ings from both by slowing their growth.
GOP Chairman Haley Barbour even took out
newspaper ads offering $1 million to anyone who
could prove Republicans would "cut" Medicare.
Republicans said those programs were not being cut
because spending for both would still rise every
year - the opposite of their view today that infla-
tion and other factors must be considered.
Israeli troops kill eight,
arrest Hamas founder in
Gaza refugee camp raid
EPA claims kids have
higher cancer risk
Babies and toddlers have a 10 times
greater cancer risk than adults when
exposed to certain gene-damaging
chemicals, the government said yester-
day, in proposing tougher environmen-
tal guidelines that would take into
account the greater hazards to the very
If its guidelines are made final, the
Environmental Protection Agency
would for the first time require that the
substantially greater risk to children be
weighed in the development of regula-
tions covering a variety of pollutants.
While scientists have long known
that very young children are more vul-
nerable than adults to gene-harming
chemicals, this is the first time the EPA
has formally proposed calculating the
difference in assessing the danger from
some pesticides and other chemicals.
The guidance on cancer and children
is part of a broader reassessment of
how the EPA evaluates cancer risk.
Church objects to
sex abuse report
Bishop John McCormack apologized
to victims of sex abuse by Roman
Catholic priests yesterday, but the
church also said it did not "necessarily
agree" with everything in a state report
detailing how the Manchester Diocese
mishandled abuse cases.
The New Hampshire attorney gener-
al's office was scheduled to release a
nearly 200-page report yesterday with
the evidence it would have used in
seeking criminal charges against the
The state also was set to release
9,000 pages of church documents to
accompany the report.
A small portion of the documents
were being held back at the last minute
because a priest named in them got a
court order yesterday barring their
release, said Will Delker, a senior assis-
tant attorney general. That delayed the
release of the state's report.
Ads used to boost
movie theater profits
Bob Morales and his wife sat
through advertisements for the Cartoon
Network, the NBC show "Boomtown"
and AOL Broadband.
-Morales would have cceptd the
promotional barrage at home in front of
the television, but it annoyed him to go
through it at the movie theater.
"That's why we come to a theater, so
we wouldn't see advertising," said
Morales, at a Regal Cinemas Theater in
Pasadena for a weekend matinee of
While common in Europe and else-
where abroad, the ads are annoying lots
of U.S. ticket buyers. The industry
believes customers will adjust.
Some ads appear just before the pre-
views, the period known as "lights
down," and have sparked complaints
that audiences are being deceived about
the true start time of a movie.
- Compiled from Daily wire report.
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli
troops arrested reclusive Hamas ideo-
logue Mohammed Taha yesterday in a
deadly raid, signaling a change in
Israeli strategy that until now had not
targeted the Islamic militant group's
Backed by attack helicopters and
tanks, troops blew up Taha's home and
three others in the Bureij refugee camp
in the Gaza Strip. Eight people died in
the raid, and besides the 65-year-old
llamas co-founder, his five sons - all
Hamas activists - were arrested.
The arrests, part of a two-week-old
offensive in Gaza, marked the first
attack on a Hamas leader since the lat-
est Israel-Palestinian conflict erupted
in September 2000. Israel had focused
its efforts on rank-and-file militants
and on the security forces of the Pales-
tinian Authority itself.
The shift comes as Israel's new hard-
line government, sworn in last week,
promised more crippling blows to mili-
tant Islamic groups and as global atten-
tion turns toward U.S. action in Iraq.
In Washington, State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher criticized
Israeli demolitions of Palestinian
"We've been very clear about our
policy regarding the practice of demo-
litions," he said. "Demolition of civil-
ian structures deprives Palestinians of
shelter and the ability to peacefully
earn a livelihood.
"It exacerbates the humanitarian sit-
uation inside the Palestinian areas and
makes more difficult the critical chal-
lenge of bringing about an end to vio-
lence and the restoration of calm."
Palestinians see Israel's offensive as
an effort to deal Hamas a fatal blow
before a U.S.-led-war against Saddam
Hussein; afterward, Israel might be
constrained by U.S. pressure to com-
pensate the Arab world by reining in
the Jewish state.
"This escalation is clearly ahead of
the likely war with Iraq," said Palestin-
ian Information Minister Yasser Abed
Rabbo. "We believe the aim of the
attacks is to create conditions on the
ground before the war in the region in
order to destroy more of the founda-
tions of the Palestinian Authority."
In Israel, some predict a domino
effect in which the ouster of Saddam
would enable the replacement of Pales-
tinian leader Yasser Arafat. Others dis-
Palestinians see Israel's
offensive as an effort to
deal Hamas a fatal blow
before a U.S.-led war
against Saddam Hussein.
stand alone," said Uzi Dayan, a retired
general and former head of Israel's
National Security Council.
Still, it remained to be seen whether
taking Hamas leaders out of the picture
will halt terror attacks in Israel.
Advocates of the military strikes say
a lull insuicide attacks - the last was
Jan. 5 - is the result of Israel's relent-
less military pressure. Others note that
in the past, Israeli strikes against mili-
tant groups have sometimes served to
end periods of relative calm.
"I have not yet seen a Hamas leader
who is irreplaceable," said Shlomo
Gazit of Tel Aviv University's Jaffee
Center for Strategic Studies.
And Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz
Rantisi warned, "Israel will pay a high
price for its crimes."
Underscoring his point - and per-
haps the limited success of Israel's mil-
itary moves - Palestinians in Gaza
yesterday managed to fire three home-
made Qassam rockets at the Israeli
town of Sderot, less than a mile from
the Gaza border. There were no
Since its founding in 1987, Hamas
has killed hundreds of Israelis in
shootings and suicide bombings. The
group started with Mohammed Taha,
spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin
and three other clerics. Yassin, a quad-
riplegic, was elected Hamas chief,
while Taha and the others formed an
The group established a structure in
which the political leadership inspired
but was not thought to directly control
the "military wing," which carried out
attacks. Hamas' maintained a political
leadership abroad which at times was
seen as taking a harder line than the
Taha, who has persistently
declined to give interviews, fled
Israel with his family in 1948 and
settled in the Bureij camp. He
preached at a mosque at Gaza City's
Islamic University and at his local
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