The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 7, 2005 - 7
Drowning case against
platoon sgt under review
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - An
Army platoon sergeant used unlaw-
ful military action when he ordered
his troops to force two Iraqi cousins
into the Tigris River for violating
curfew, a prosecutor said yesterday
in closing arguments.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Per-
kins, who is accused in the drowning
death of Zaidoun -Fadel Hassoun, 19,
is being tried on charges of invol-
untary manslaughter, aggravated
assault, obstruction of justice and
making a false statement.
Jurors began deliberations last
night. If convicted, Perkins could
receive no punishment or up to 26
years in a military prison.
During closing arguments, Capt.
Tom Schiffer said Perkins gave the
orders to dump the men into the
water - and therefore shares the
blame with soldiers who forced the
cousins at gunpoint into the river
near Samarra in January 2004.
"We do need to send a message ...
that you don't grab random people,
detain them and throw them into
bodies of water for no military pur-
pose," Schiffer said.
He said a soldier's testimony that
Perkins ordered him to grab another
Iraqi man in December 2003 near
Balad and toss him into the river
showed a pattern of using unlawful
Perkins faces a second assault
charge in that incident.
Defense attorney Capt. Josh Nor-
ris said the hostilities in Iraq require
soldiers to find effective non-lethal
ways to deter crime and establish
"Did these guys cross over the
line? Did they know the left and right
limits? This war is in this gray area
most of the time," Norris said.
"Was it (the river incident) a good
idea? Maybe not ... but was it a crime,
considering all the circumstances?"
Norris also disputed the testimo-
ny of Marwan Hassoun, who said
he swam against a strong current to
safety on the river bank while his
cousin was swept away.
The teen's body was found nearly
two weeks later downstream, Mar-
A forensic pathologist had testi-
fied that a videotape provided by the
teen's family showing a corpse in
a coffin did not support claims the
body had been in the water for nearly
Earlier Thursday, an Army investiga-
tor who was recalled to testify said she
never saw the body or had it exhumed
because of security concerns.
Sgt. Irene Cintron also said she
doubted intelligence reports that the
"We do need to
send a message ...
that you don't grab
detain them, throw
them into bodies
of water for no
military purpose ..."
victim was still alive because offi-
cers and soldiers had already lied
about the incident.
"I believed the whole chain of
command was lying to me," Cintron
told the six-man jury.
The trial of Army 1st Lt. Jack
Saville, the platoon leader, who is
to be tried in March on the same
charges as Perkins, was postponed
until March after a judge ordered the
victim's body to be exhumed for an
autopsy and positive identification.
If convicted, Saville faces up to 29
Continued from page 3
tive action and the use of race in
university admissions. It is the brain-
child of Ward Connerly, a University
of California regent and chairman of
the American Civil Rights Coalition,
a California-based group opposing
"race preferences." Connerly has
been credited with much of the fund-
raising for MCRI.
Opponents of the initiative criti-
cize it for being deceptive. It pre-
tends, they say, to promote equality
Continued from page 1
"I think everyone agrees that,
given the condition of the building,
it needs some renovation. It's not a
question of whether it needs renova-
tion, but a question of whether it is
saved. We want to keep that part of
the history of Ann Arbor," said
Christine Crockett, the president
of the Old Fourth Ward Association
and a member of the U of M Neigh-
bors Committee, which serves as a
liaison between the University and
Ann Arbor neighborhoods.
The University has acknowledged
the concerns and is responding in
various ways. In addition to commu-
nicating with the individual groups,
Continued from page 1
educational attainment and econom-
ic development," Coleman said.
In order to increase the quality of
higher education, the commission recom-
mended that the state require universities
to report their progress, including the
progress of minorities and women.
"Overall the commission was say-
ing that we want to make sure that
institutions are paying attention to
things like graduation rates. We want
to continue to do a very good job at
retaining students and graduating,"
Coleman said. .
But Donald Heller, a former educa-
tion professor at the University said the
school's constitutionally protected auton-
omy prevents the governor from limiting
it's independence from the state.
"Realistically there's very little to
force the University of Michigan to
be more accountable," he said.
Heller said the Legislature and the
governor should work cooperatively
with the University rather than being
Continued from page 1.
cracking, Quasney said.
The cracking of the Mona Lisa gave
Quasney and his colleagues a good
chance to apply their model to a promi-
nent, real-world situation.
"I was lucky," Quasney said. "It was
just a matter of being in the right place
at the right time."
Quasney entered the parameters cor-
responding to the Mona Lisa into the
model and went to work. Ten weeks
later, he was able to offer an explanation
for the Mona Lisa's mysterious deterio-
The Mona Lisa is stored in an air-
tight, climate-controlled glass case, but
it was still subjected to changes in the
weather outside that ultimately dam-
aged it, Quasney said.
"What we believe was happening is
that, because the glass container was
placed against an exterior wall, in the
but actually discriminates against
minorities and women who need
access to education and employment
more than others.
While MCRI claims it is not
against affirmative action, some of
its petitioners have said so to obtain
Some polls have shown more sup-
port for "affirmative action" than
MCRI's opponents, a loose coali-
tion of groups such as BAMN, United
Michigan, unions and other organi-
zations, upended the campaign last
the University will hear other con-
cerns regarding the Frieze Building
at the forum Thursday.
"It is important to many people in
the Ann Arbor community to save
a portion of the Frieze Building,"
White said. "These concerns should
be considered in developing plans for
a new residence hall and academic
building at the site."
White also said she hopes the
University will take local residents
suggestions into account when an
architect is appointed and official
plans are developed.
The University has yet to choose
an architect for the project, but the
University's director of commu-
nity relations, Jim Kosteva, said the
administration hopes to do so before
the regents' meeting on January 26.
confrontational, adding that many of
the best universities in the country,
such as the University of California
at Berkley, the University of Virginia
and the University of Michigan have
a great deal of autonomy.
"There's no evidence that states'
efforts to hold institutions more account-
able leads to greater quality institutions,"
Heller said. "I think states start off with
very grand ideas that these things will
improve higher education, and there's no
evidence that it happens."
Heller said it is also important to
ask how many world-class universi-
ties a state needs.
"I would suggest that (Granholm) con-
centrate her efforts on regional institu-
tions like (Western Michigan University),
(Northern Michigan University) and even
Wayne State and improving the quality of
education there. It's going to come down
to better funding for them. If the gover-
nor's going to get the bang for her buck it
would be to focus on those institutions,"
Granholm has time to weigh the
commission's recommendations and
other ideas, but she already acted
winter the glass wall of the case would
be cooler than the surrounding air,"
This led to condensation of water
inside the case on the glass wall, which
eventually dripped down into the wood
panel of the painting. Then, because of
the battens attached to the painting, the
Mona Lisa started to buckle and crack
as stress built up, according to Quas-
ney's computer model.
"If it was just dripping in back, and
there were no battens, it would just bend
a little and be okay," Quasney said.
"But the battens cause it to warp and,
ultimately, to split."
Quasney's findings are controversial
and have met resistance in the conser-
vation world because their acceptance
would mean a complete re-thinking of
traditional conservation practices.
But they have certainly made a splash.
The New York Times recently featured
him and Mecklenburg in an article about
their work, and people across the world
year with a series of lawsuits that
hindered the initiative's ability to
But that string of lawsuits recently
ended when the Michigan Supreme
Court declined to hear a Court of
Appeals ruling that, if reversed,
would have invalidated MCRI's peti-
United Michigan has said it would
try to challenge the signatures. But
that may prove difficult. MCRI has
exceeded the number of signatures
- around 400,000 - it initially said
The original date to have made a
selection was in December but was
Members of the community said
they hope the University will be
careful in choosing an architect.
"Whatever we see built there,
we want to see good architecture,"
Crockett said. "I would like to see the
University hire a really good archi-
tect who understands and appreciates
historic buildings and knows how to
design compatible additions."
Concerned citizens like Crockett
say they will continue to express their
concerns to the University during
regents' meetings and other forums.
Crockett said local groups will send
out postcards and make phone calls
to encourage citizens to come to the
meeting next Thursday.
on one of its proposals Wednesday
when she replaced the high school
Michigan Educational Assessment
Program test with an exam similar to
a college entrance exam.
While Granholm has not taken a posi-
tion on the report's other proposals, she
may do so in her state of the state address,
which will take place in February.
"The governor welcomes the rec-
ommendations, but we have not
endorsed any particular one of them
beyond the MEAP," Granholm
spokeswoman Liz Boyd said. "I
think you can look to the governor,
even as soon as the state of the state
address, in regards to the Cherry
If Granholm endorses the propos-
als, it will be at a time when there is
a projected $260 million shortfall in
the state's $8.8 billion general fund
and the opposition party controls
the legislature. Still, Boyd said Gra-
nholm will not shirk from the com-
"It will not be a report that will
sit on the shelf. You will hear more
from the governor about the commis-
are taking notice.
"I googled myself this afternoon and
it's in about 30 different languages. It's
spreading across the globe," Quasney
Despite his success with conserva-
tion, Quasney is done working with art
for now and is taking a position at the
aerospace firm Pratt and Whitney next
But he hopes that someone might
take up where he left off, especially
now that the University has a Muse-
um Studies Program, which aims
to bring students from a variety of
fields, including engineering, into
the museum profession.
Regardless, Quasney is grateful for
his experience working on the Mona
"In the end, it was really fun and real-
ly rewarding," he said. "It's cool to be
able to do a little bit of research on pre-
serving one of the most priceless pieces
of art on the planet."
Eastern Michigan student Jennifer Busch smokes a hookah with friends at Rendezvous Cafe in Ann Arbor yesterday.
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Gonzales: White House seeks
to change Geneva Conventions
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General-nomi-
nee Alberto Gonzales, under scorching criticism from
senators, condemned torture as an interrogation tactic
Thursday and promised to prosecute abusers of ter-
ror suspects. He also disclosed the White House was
looking at trying to change the Geneva Conventions
that protect prisoner rights.
Pressed at his confirmation hearing by senators from
both parties, the White House counsel defended his
advice to President Bush that the treaty's protections did
not extend to al-Qaida and other suspected terrorists.
"Torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this
administration," Gonzales told members of the Senate
Judiciary Committee. "I will ensure the Department
of Justice aggressively pursues those responsible for
such abhorrent actions."
Gonzales said that as attorney general, he would
abide by the 1949 Geneva treaty. But he also said the
White House was looking at the possibility of seeking
revisions to the conventions.
"Now I'm not suggesting that the principles, the
basic treatment of human beings, should be revisited,"
Gonzales said. "But there has been some very pre-
liminary discussion: Is this something that we ought
to look at?"
He said the discussions have not gone far. "It's not
been a systematic project or effort to look at this ques-
tion," Gonzales said. "But some people I deal with, the
lnwemmrsindicnate mavhe this is something we should
later that Gonzales was referring to "some preliminary,
staff-level discussions about recommendations by the
9-11 commission and the Schlesinger Task Force" that
investigated prisoner abuses. "They recommended
that the government should consider developing a new
legal standard or new rules for detainees in the war on
terrorism," McClellan said.
Sen. Charles Schumer later urged on Bush to consult
Congress and he requested a congressional hearing.
"My concern is not that these discussions are taking
place, but that they are taking place in secret, behind
closed doors, with no outside involvement," Schumer,
D-N.Y., wrote the president.
Democrats - and Republicans, at times - criti-
cized the Bush administration's policies on aggressive
interrogation of terrorism suspects.
Gonzales is expected to be confirmed when Con-
gress returns after Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20. He
would be the nation's first Hispanic attorney general
and replace John Ashcroft.
Democrats said it was Gonzales' January 2002
memo that led to the abuse of suspected terrorists. He
had argued in his memo that the fight against terror-
ism "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on
questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint
some of its provisions."
In the White House, Gonzales was at the center of
decisions about "the legality of detention and interro-
gation nethods that have been seen as tantamoint to
positions that you have supported have been used by
the administration, the military and the CIA to justify
torture and Geneva Conventions violations by military
and civilian personnel."
Gonzales, wearing an American flag pin in his
lapel, sat alone at the witness table. Family members
sat behind him in the crowded hearing room. Senators
addressed the former Texas Supreme Court justice as
"judge," but pressed him repeatedly on administration
Gonzales refused to back away from his legal opin-
ion to Bush that terrorists captured overseas by Ameri-
cans do not merit the conventions' protections.
"My judgment was ... that it would not apply to
al-Qaida - they weren't a signatory to the conven-
tion," he said.
Gonzales denied that any of the memos he wrote
or reviewed in the White House had anything to
do with the abuse.
"Would you not concede that your decision and the
decision of the president to call into question the defi-
nition of torture, the need to comply with the Geneva
Convention at least opened up a permissive environment
of conduct?" asked Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the
Senate's No. 2 Democrat.
Gonzales said he was sickened and outraged by pho-
tos of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. He described
the U.S. troops in those photos as "people who were
morallv bankrupt having fun." Other abuses of foreign
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