2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Terror suspects kept in Cuban prison NEws IN BRIEF
High court refuses
to say if military
trials will deny
basic legal rights
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S.
Supreme Court prolonged the legal
limbo of hundreds of terror suspects in
a U.S. military prison in Cuba, refus-
ing yesterday to consider whether the
government's plan for military trials
unfairly denies them basic legal rights.
So far only a handful of the 550
detainees from about 40 countries
have been charged with war crimes.
More are expected once courts sort
out how they may be tried.
The legal uncertainty surrounding
the men, many of whom were captured
during the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan
in 2001, has prompted international criti-
cism and spawned multiple court fights.
The court had been asked to use an
appeal by Osama bin Laden's former
driver to decide whether the Bush admin-
istration is trying to shortcut defendants'
rights by holding a type of military trial
last used during World War IL.
A federal judge ruled last fall that
Salim Ahmed Hamdan and others put on
trial at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
should be allowed to confront witnesses
and see evidence against them, which are
standard under military justice rules but
are not guaranteed to detainees.
The court rejected the case yester-
day, which was not surprising because
an appeals court also is considering
the issue and has scheduled arguments
In addition, the court heard three
significant terrorism cases last year
and was not expected to take on
another big one so soon.
It was a minor victory for the govern-
ment, which was ordered by the court last
year to give detainees in the United States
and Cuba more legal rights.
Since those landmark decisions, law-
suits have been filed in Washington on
behalf of dozens of detainees claiming
they are being wrongly held. The gov-
ernment has also been sued for millions
of dollars in damages by inmates claim-
Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen suspected
of terrorism, who is being held without
charge in Charleston, S.C., is trying to win
his freedom in a South Carolina court.
Separately, a court appeal was
filed this month on behalf of Zacarias
Moussaoui, the only defendant charged
in U.S. courts in an alleged al-Qaida
conspiracy that included the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks. Moussaoui, a French citi-
zen, wants access to al-Qaida witnesses
during his trial.
Meanwhile, three years have passed
since some of the Guantanamo Bay
detainees were arrested and Moussaoui
was indicted. Legal wrangling is expect-
ed to continue for another year or more.
"It's pretty messy," said Carl Tobias, a
law professor at the University of Rich-
mond. He said international leaders have
been watching the Hamdan case closely
and are eager for a speedy resolution.
Human rights groups and hundreds of
members of the British and European par-
liaments encouraged the court to make a
special exception to hear the appeal.
"The entire commission process, and
all pending challenges to it, have ground
to a halt," justices were told by Neal
Katyal, one of Hamdan's attorneys.
Hamdan, a Yemeni, is charged with
conspiracy to commit war crimes,
murder and terrorism. He contends he
Bush administration lawyer Paul Clem-
ent had urged justices to avoid jumping
into a case "where the military proceed-
ings involve enforcement of the law of war
in the midst of an ongoing armed conflict
against an enemy force that is targeting
civilians for mass death."
Rice refuses to
on troop pullout
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Abbas calls for cease-fire in Israel
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas summoned militant leaders to cease-fire
talks in the Gaza Strip yesterday and said he is hopeful he can persuade them to
halt attacks on Israel.
Abbas, whose political survival may depend on the success of the negotiations,
said in an interview that Israel must do its part by halting military operations - a
guarantee Israel has been unwilling to give.
"I am going to Gaza with the hopes of reaching an agreement," he said in an
interview in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The militants have sent mixed messages on whether they would suspend attacks,
with some signaling a truce is possible if Israel stops arrest raids and targeted kill-
ings of wanted Palestinians. Abbas has ruled out using force against the militants,
despite Israel's insistence that he crack down.
On Monday, Abbas instructed the Palestinian security forces to try to prevent
attacks against Israel and to investigate a shooting at a Gaza border crossing last
week that killed six Israeli civilians.
Suicide bomber kills 3 Iraqi candidates
A suicide bomber struck the Baghdad headquarters of Iraq's biggest Shiite
political party yesterday, killing three people, as the government announced
plans to close borders and restrict movements to bolster security in the national
election. Three candidates were slain as insurgents intensified their campaign
to subvert the ballot.
The Cabinet member responsible for internal security urged fellow Sunni Arabs
to disregard threats by Sunni extremists and vote in the Jan. 30 election, in which
Iraqis will choose a 275-member National Assembly and regional legislatures.
Otherwise, the minister warned, the country will slide into civil war.
In a positive development, a Catholic archbishop kidnapped in northern Iraq was
released yesterday without payment of ransom, the Vatican said. Archbishop Basile
Georges Casmoussa, an Iraqi, said he believes he was kidnapped by mistake.
Airbus unviels world's largest passenger pline
Airbus showed off its giant A380, a double-decked behemoth that could revo-
lutionize long-haul flying, at a lavish ceremony yesterday with European leaders
gathered for the first official look at the world's largest passenger plane.
Airbus is betting its newfound status as the world's leading jet maker on the
"superjumbo" that has a 262-foot wingspan, a tail as tall as a seven-story building
and which cost $13 billion to develop.
French President Jacques Chirac, as well as the leaders of Britain, Germany
and Spain and CEOs from the 14 airlines and freight transporters that have so far
ordered the A380 attended the elaborate ceremony at company headquarters in
Toulouse, southern France.
66-year-old woman is oldest to give birth
A 66-year-old professor who writes children's books claims to have become the
world's oldest woman to give birth, and doctors said Monday she and her day-old
baby daughter were in good condition in intensive care.
Doctors at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest said Adriana Iliescu
became pregnant through in vitro fertilization using sperm and egg from anony-
They said she delivered her first child, Eliza Maria, by Caesarean section on
Sunday and that a twin sister was stillborn.
"The child is eating a bit of glucose," Mirela Ranga, a hospital spokes-
woman, said Monday. "Mrs. Iliescu is still in intensive care, but she is mov-
ing around. She is expected to go see her daughter a bit later."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
TUES. CLOSE CHANGE
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Sec-
retary of State nominee Condo-
leezza Rice gave no ground in
Senate confirmation questioning
yesterday, insisting the United
States was fully prepared for the
Iraq war and its aftermath and
refusing to give a timetable for
U.S. troops to come home.
An American exit strategy
depends on Iraq's ability to defend
itself against terrorists after this
month's elections, she said.
Rice seemed headed for easy con-
firmation by the Senate as President
Bush's choice to be the country's
top diplomat. She did have a tense
exchange with Sen. Barbara Boxer,
(D-Calif.) - Rice repeatedly asked
the senator not to question her truth-
fulness - but former presidential
nominee John Kerry (D-Mass.)
was the only member of the Foreign
Relations Committee who told her
she might not win his vote.
"This was never going to be
easy," Rice said of the war and its
aftermath during a confirmation
hearing in which she painted an
optimistic picture of the future in
Iraq - and for resolution of the
long conflict between Israel and the
Palestinians as well.
"It was always going to have ups
and downs. I'm sure that we have
made many decisions, some of
which were good, some of which
might not have been good," but
the ouster of Saddam Hussein was
worth the price, Rice said. "I think
we made the right decision to over-
Rice said the administration's
actions after the Sept. 11, 2001, ter-
ror attacks - including the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq -were "dif-
ficult and necessary and right."
Asked whether, with hindsight,
the United States should have com-
mitted more troops to Iraq, Rice
said that despite "some unforeseen
circumstances" she was satisfied
with the numbers.
As for U.S. troops leaving, she
said in response to forceful ques-
tioning from Republican Sen.
Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, "Our
role is directly proportional ... to
how capable the Iraqis are."
"I am really reluctant to try to
put a timetable on that, because
I think the goal is to get the mis-
sion accomplished and that means
that the Iraqis have to be capable
of some things before we lessen
our own responsibility," she said.
She pledged to work to improve ties
with some allies frayed by U.S. pol-
icy. A committee vote is expected
today, and the full Senate could act
later in the week.
If confirmed Rice, 50, would
be the first black woman to lead
the State Department. She would
replace the popular Colin Powell as
America's most visible face abroad.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testifies on Capitol Hill yesterday before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on her nomination.
Man pleads guilty to oil-for-food scandal
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WASHINGTON (AP) - An Iraqi-
American businessman, accused of pock-
eting millions of dollars through the U.N.
oil-for-food program with Iraq, pleaded
guilty yesterday to acting as an illegal
agent of Saddam Hussein's government.
Samir Vincent, 64, a naturalized
U.S. citizen from Annandale, Va., is the
first person to be charged in the Justice
Department's investigation of the pro-
gram, which U.N. audits have shown was
The United Nations operated the pro-
gram from 1996 to 2003 as a way for
Iraq's oil riches to benefit its people, who
were suffering from years of depriva-
tion brought on by economic sanctions
imposed on Saddam's regime following
its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Under the program, proceeds from the
sale of oil from Iraq was placed into an
account overseen by the United Nations.
Money was to be withdrawn by Iraq only
to purchase food, medicine and other
The program produced an estimated
$67 billion for humanitarian needs in Iraq
but was used by Saddam to generate ille-
gal kickbacks that totaled another $1.7 bil-
lion, according to a CIA report by special
weapons inspector Charles Duelfer.
Vincent was among dozens of people
and companies in the United States and
elsewhere to receive vouchers from Sad-
dam's government for allocations of Iraqi
oil as well as the right to keep profits they
made selling or trading the oil.
Vincent received the rights to some 9
million barrels of oil and cash payments
from Saddam's government in return
The program produced an estimated $67
billion for humanitarian needs in Iraq, but
was used by Saddam to generate illegal
kickbacks that totaled another $1.7 billion
The Michigan D
terms by stude
St., Ann Arbor.
for lobbying U.S. and U.N. officials on
issues such as weakening of economic
sanctions, the admission of arms inspec-
tors and the oil-for-food program itself,
Attorney General John Ashcroft said
Vincent was one of Saddam's "accomplic-
es" in a broad effort by Iraq to turn the oil-
for-food program into a vehicle for Iraq to
sell influence and fatten its treasury.
"We know that from the moment the
oil-for-food program was introduced,
Saddam Hussein and his agents attempt-
ed to subvert it, working the system so
that profits were diverted to fund a brutal
regime rather than to feed the people of
Iraq," Ashcroft said.
President Bush's choice to be the next
secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, told
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
during her confirmation hearing yester-
day that the oil-for-food program became
a "scandal" that allowed Saddam access
to huge sums of money.
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