2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 16, 2004
Three U.S. soldiers convicted of
tortunng Afghans in private jail
NEWS IN BRIEF
HAD E FM
' -' :.:i::
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -
Three Americans - led by a former
Green Beret who boasted he had Penta-
gon support - were found guilty yes-
terday of torturing Afghans in a private
jail and were sentenced to prison.
After a 7 1/2-hour session in a stuffy
Kabul courtroom, the three-judge panel
was unanimous in convicting the former
soldier, Jonathan Idema, and his right-
hand man, Brent Bennett, on charges of
entering Afghanistan illegally, making
illegal arrests, establishing a private jail
and torturing their captives. They were
sentenced to 10 years.
Edward Caraballo, a cameraman
who said he was making a film about
America's war on terrorism, received
an eight-year term. Four young Afghan
accomplices were sentenced to terms
ranging from one to five years. One of
them burst into tears with the verdict.
Idema, who has a previous fraud con-
viction, claimed to have had high-level
support from the Pentagon and Afghan
officials in his group's efforts to hunt
down terrorists, but the U.S. military says
the men were freelancers operating out-
side the law and without its knowledge.
Judge Abdul Baset Bakhtyari dis-
missed a string of video clips showing
Idema talking with Afghan leaders,
purported U.S. intelligence officials and
NATO troops and said they were operat-
Idema, who wore sunglasses and
khaki fatigues bearing an American
flag throughout the trial, denounced the
trial as a throwback to the times of the
hard-line Islamic Taliban movement.
"It's the same sick Taliban judges, the
same sick sense of justice," Idema said
as he was led, handcuffed, out of the
courtroom. "I knew that the American
government wasn't going to help me."
The lawyers for Idema and Caraballo
said they would appeal. It was unclear
whether Bennett, who represented him-
self, would do so.
Idema spent three years in jail in the
1980s for bilking 60 companies out of
more than $200,000. He and Bennett
are from Fayetteville, N.C.; Caraballo
is from New York.
The group was arrested July 5 after
Afghan security forces raided a house in
Kabul and discovered eight Afghans who
said they had been detained and tortured
by the Americans. Several of them testi-
fied they were beaten, burned with scald-
ing water and deprived of food and sleep.
Idema said the prisoners were sub-
jected to "standard interrogation tech-
niques" but no abuse.
Idema claimed to have unearthed a plot
to bomb the main American military base
north of Kabul and assassinate Afghan
leaders. In an interview with The Associ-
ated Press, he also claimed to be hot on
the trail of Osama bin Laden.
American Jonathan Keith Idema, 48, arrives at the court in Kabul, Afghanistan
yesterday. He and three other Americans were found guilty of torturing prisoners.
Darfur talks end with no progress
Sudan's rebels and government broke off internationally brokered peace
talks for the bloodied Darfur region yesterday after three weeks with little
progress and no deal. The government blamed the United States for the
Both sides said the talks had collapsed, although they left open the possibility of
trying again after a halt of at least three weeks.
Sudan's government - under threat of international sanctions over 19 months
of violence in Darfur - insisted U.S. criticism had heartened rebels past the point
Sudan's top negotiator cited Secretary of State Colin Powell's declaration last
week that Sudan's government and allied militia had committed acts of genocide
against Darfur's non-Arab villagers.
"The attitude of Colin Powell and America generally was the main cause of
the stalemate," Sudanese envoy Majzoub al-Khalifa Ahmad said.
"It sent a wrong message to the rebels, and that resulted in their hardening their
position at the talks," Ahmad said, insisting Sudan's problems "will never be solved
from outside Africa."
U.S. censures Saudis for religious policies
In an unusual censure of a key ally in the war on terrorism, the Bush adminis-
tration yesterday accused Saudi Arabia of "particularly severe violations" of reli-
The State Department also included the kingdom for the first time on a list of
countries that could be subject to U.S. sanctions because of religious intolerance.
Nations in this category carry a special designation: "countries of particular
concern," or CPCs.
"Freedom of religion does not exist," the State Department said, summing up
the situation in Saudi Arabia in a report that covered religious freedom in 191
Those who do not adhere to the officially sanctioned strain of Sunni Islam prac-
ticed in the country can face "severe repercussions" from religious police, the
It also cited instances in which government-paid mosque preachers "used vio-
lent anti-Jewish and anti-Christian language in their sermons."
Martha Stewart to reclaim 'good life' in jail
Even at a wrenching moment of surrender, Martha Stewart was - as always
- under impeccable control.
Her announcement yesterday that she would report to prison as soon as possible
came in a light-bathed studio, before a brilliant backdrop of color swatches, per-
fectly choreographed for television. She lamented that she would miss her beloved
pets - cats, dogs, horses, canaries and chickens - and hoped to be free in time
for her cherished spring gardening.
"I must reclaim my good life," the 63-year-old millionaire businesswoman
declared. "I must return to my good works and allow those around me whp
work with me to do the same." Her lawyers stressed that her appeal would
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
Witness troubles force Milosevic trial delay
Just two weeks after resuming Slobodan Milosevic's much-delayed trial, the U.N. war
crimes tribunal adjourned for a month yesterday to allow his frustrated court-appointed
lawyer to prepare a case stymied by reluctant witnesses and an uncooperative defendant.
Steven Kay, who was assigned to lead the defense over Milosevic's angry objectiors,
told the three judges that 20 defense witnesses have refused to appear in court - among
them ambassadors, politicians and professors from the United States and elsewhere.
Many have refused to testify unless the ousted Serb leader takes charge of his own case.-
"Groups of witnesses have banded together and have stated they are not pre-
pared, under the conditions of the assignment of counsel, to cme to the'triunal
and testify," Kay told the panel.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
Senators unite to berate Iaq policy
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate White House spokesman Scott coming less than seven weeks before
Republicans and Democrats yesterday McClellan said circumstances in the presidential election in which Pres-
denounced the Bush administration's Iraq have changed since last year. ident Bush's handling of the war is a
slow progress in rebuilding Iraq, saying "It's important that you have some top issue.
the risks of failure are great if it doesn't flexibility." "Our committee heard blindly opti-
act with greater urgency. But Hagel said the shift in funds mistic people from the administration
"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond "does not add up in my opinion to a prior to the war and people outside the
embarrassing, it's now in the zone of
dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-
Neb.), referring to figures showing only
about 6 percent of the reconstruction
money approved by Congress last year
has been spent.
Foreign Relations Committee mem-
bers vented their frustrations at a
hearing where the State Department
explained its request to divert $3.46 bil-
lion in reconstruction funds to security
and economic development. The money
was part of the $18.4 billion approved
by Congress last year mostly for public
The request comes as heavy fighting
continues between U.S.-led forces and
a variety of Iraqi insurgents, endan-
gering prospects for elections slated
"We know that the provision of ade-
quate security up front is requisite to
rapid progress on all other fronts," said
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
to a picture
that shows that
But it does add
up to this: an
ment that we
are in deep
"This is an extraordinary,
procedure. It is
anybody looking at this
from any vanage point."
- Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Foreign Relations Committee Chair
tion - what I
call the 'danc-
ing in the
- that we
will be greet-
ed with open
all of that is
lack of plan-
ning is appar-
have long argued - even before the
war - that administration plans for
rebuilding Iraq were inadequate and
based on overly optimistic assump-
tions that Americans would be greeted
But the criticism from the panel's
top Republicans had an extra sting
He said the need to shift the recon-
struction funds was clear in July,
but the administration was slow to
make the request.
"This is an extraordinary, ineffective
administrative procedure. It is exas-
perating from anybody looking at this
from any vantage point," he said.
WASHINGTON (AP) - House
leaders yesterday promised to overhaul
the nation's fractured intelligence com-
munity before going home to campaign
for re-election, while Senate leaders
unveiled an intelligence reorganization
blueprint they plan to have approved
before the end of the month.
Senators plan to start voting on final
language next week that would create a
national intelligence director with spend-
ing authority over much of the nonmili-
tary intelligence agencies, with a target
date of Sept. 27 for final Senate passage.
The House is not that far along on its
plan to create an intelligence director
to force-intelligence agencies to work-
together as envisioned by the Sept. 11
"We will vote on a final bill before
Congress adjourns in October," said
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-
Texas). "We're going to make sure we
do the job right, and we will do it before
The Sept. 11 commission recom-
mended creation of a national intel-
ligence director to control almost all
of the nation's intelligence agencies
because it said the 15 U.S. intelligence
agencies did not work together properly
to stop the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on
New York City and Washington.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chair-
woman of the Senate Governmental
Affairs Committee, plans to have her
committee vote next week on final
legislation to create the national intel-
ligence director. She and Sen. Joseph
Lieberman of Connecticut, the panel's
ranking Democrat, announced a plan,
similar to the recommendation of the
9/11 commission, to create a strong
national intelligence director with
spending power over the agencies the
person would control.
Giving the intelligence director power
to decide how much money each agency
receives and how that agency can spend
that money will force the intelligence agen-
cies to follow the director's, they said.
"Without budget authority, we would
just be creating another level of bureau-
cracy," Collins said.
Collins and Lieberman spurned the
9/11 commission's recommendation
that all of the nation's intelligence agen-
cies be under control of the national
intelligence director, leaving the Penta-
gon in control of some of the military
The intelligence director would con-
trol the budgets of the CIA, the National
Security Agency, the FBI's Office of
Intelligence, the Homeland Security
Department's intelligence directorate, the
National Reconnaissance Office, which
operates spy satellites, and the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which
analyzes satellite pictures, and any other
agency that has a "national" scope.
The Defense Department would
keep control of the Defense Intelligence
Agency, which collects intelligence for
military planning and operations, and
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