2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 4, 2005
EU to investigate alleged secret jails NEWS IN BRIEF
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The
European Union and the continent's
top human rights group said yester-
day they will investigate allegations
the CIA set up secret jails in eastern
Europe and elsewhere to interrogate
terror suspects, and the Red Cross
demanded access to any prisoners.
Human Rights Watch said it has
evidence, based on flight logs, that
indicate the CIA transported sus-
pects captured in Afghanistan to
Poland and Romania. But the two
countries - and others in the for-
mer Soviet bloc - denied the alle-
gations. U.S. officials have refused
to confirm or deny the claims.
Such prisons, European officials
say, would violate the continent's
human rights principles. At work
may be a complex web of global
politics, in which eastern European
countries face choices between the
views of the European Union and
their interest in close ties with the
The International Committee
of the Red Cross expressed strong
interest in the claims, first report-
ed Wednesday in the Washington
Post, that the CIA has been hiding
and interrogating some of its most
important al-Qaida captives at Sovi-
Red Cross chief spokeswoman
Antonella Notari said the agency
asked Washington about the alle-
gations and requested accessto the
prisons if they exist. The Red Cross,
which has exclusive rights to visit
terror suspects detained at a U.S.
military base at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, long has been concerned about
reports U.S. officials were hiding
detainees from ICRC delegates.
Europe's top human rights organi-
zation, the Council of Europe, said
it would also take part in the inves-
Notari said the Red Cross, which
also monitors conditions at U.S.
detention centers in Afghanistan
and Iraq, has been unable to find
some people who reportedly were
detained. She said the Red Cross
was "concerned about the fate of
an unknown number of persons
detained as part of what is called the
'global war on terror' and held in
undisclosed places of detention."
In implicating Poland and Roma-
nia, Human Rights Watch examined
flight logs of CIA aircraft from
2001 to 2004, said Mark Garlasco, a
"The indications are that prisoners in
Afghanistan are being (taken) to facilities
in Europe and other countries. "
- Mark Garlasco
Defense Intelligence Agency officer
Libby pleads not guilty in CIA leak case
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff pleaded not guilty to a
five-count felony indictment yesterday in the CIA leak case, signaling a pro-
tracted court battle that is sure to prolong debate about the White House's pre-
war use of intelligence on Iraq.
I. Lewis Libby appeared at his arraignment with trial lawyers Ted Wells and
William Jeffress, known for their ability to win jury acquittals for high-profile
clients in white-collar criminal cases.
"With respect, your honor, I plead not guilty," Libby told U.S. District Judge
Reggie Walton, a former prosecutor who has spent two decades as a judge in
the nation's capital.
Cheney and other top White House officials could be called to testify if Libby
goes to trial. He is charged with obstruction of justice, two counts of lying to the
FBI and two counts of committing perjury before a federal grand jury.
senior military analyst with the New
York-based organization. He said
the group matched the flight pat-
terns with testimony from some of
the hundreds of detainees in the war
on terrorism who have been released
by the United States.
"The indications are that prison-
ers in Afghanistan are being (taken)
to facilities in Europe and other
countries in the world," Garlasco, a
former civilian intelligence officer
with the Defense Intelligence Agen-
cy, told The Associated Press.
He would not say how the organi-
zation obtained the flight logs, but
said two destinations of the flights
stood out as likely sites of any secret
CIA detention centers: Szymany
Airport in Poland, which is near the
headquarters of Poland's intelligence
service; and Mihail Kogalniceanu
military airfield in Romania.
Human Rights Watch also
obtained the tail numbers of dozens
of CIA aircraft to match them with
the flight logs, Garlasco said.
He said that in September 2003,
a Boeing 737 flew from Washing-
ton to Kabul, Afghanistan, making
stops along the way in the Czech
Republic and Uzbekistan. On Sept.
22, the plane flew on to Szymany
Airport, then to Mihail Kogalnicea-
nu, proceeded to Sale, Morocco, and
finally landed at Guantanamo, Gar-
As far as he knew, Garlasco said
that Human Rights Watch has not
yet found or interviewed detainees
who were held in any alleged facili-
ties in Poland and Romania.
Painkiller developer adequately
warned customers about risk of
using Vioxx, jury says
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - Merck & Co.
won its first court battle over its Vioxx painkiller
yesterday when a New Jersey state jury found that
the drugmaker properly warned consumers about
the risks of the medication. The verdict absolved
Merck of liability for a heart attack suffered by a
After deliberating for less than eight hours over
three days, the jury cleared the nation's No. 5 phar-
maceutical company of allegations it failed to warn
consumers about the drug's risks and engaged in
"unconscionable commercial practices" in market-
ing it to doctors and their patients.
The verdict was Merck's first win out of two
Vioxx-related trials. In August, a Texas jury found
the company liable in a Vioxx user's death. Merck is
appealing that ruling yet still faces about 7,000 law-
suits over Vioxx, which it voluntarily pulled off the
market last year because of links to heart attacks and
strokes after 18 months' use.
Much of the seven-week New Jersey trial, eagerly
watched by lawyers and plaintiffs from around the
country, relied on the testimony of medical experts.
Witnesses for Merck testified the company believed
Vioxx was safe for the heart before the drug was
pulled m the market in response to a study that
showed it doubled risk of heart attacks and strokes
when taken for at least 18 months.
Thursday's verdict means it might take several
more cases, including a federal case that will start
Nov. 28 in Houston, before lawyers can find any sort
Senate approves $36b in spending cuts
A plan to impose the first cuts since 1997 to benefit programs like Medicare,
Medicaid and farm subsidies headed for a Senate vote yesterday that could give
Republicans a modest victory against rising government spending.
Every Democrat opposed the measure, but GOP support seemed firm since the
bill had few cuts that swing vote moderates found offensive.
The bill covers dozens of programs and does not make major cuts to the
Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and for the poor and dis-
abled. It also contains a hotly contested provision to open an Alaskan wilder-
ness area to oil drilling.
The Senate bill is estimated to trim $34 billion from budget deficits totaling
$1.6 trillion over five years - just 2 percent. For the plan's first year, with deficits
predicted to exceed $300 billion, the cuts total $6 billion.
Alito hearings to begin second week ofJan
The Republican-controlled Senate will begin hearings Jan. 9 on Judge Samuel
Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court, leaders of the Judiciary Committee
announced yesterday, a bipartisan repudiation of President Bush's call for a final
confirmation vote before year's end.
"It simply wasn't possible to accommodate the schedule that the White Iouse
wanted," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the committee chairman. He outlined a
timetable that envisions five days of hearings, followed by a vote in committee on
Jan. 17 and the full Senate on Jan. 20.
Riots in Parisian suburbs gain momentum
A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new
momentum yesterday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking
trains and symbols of the French state.
Facing mounting criticism, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed to
restore order as the violence that erupted Oct. 27 spread to at least 20 towns, high-
lighting the frustration simmering in housing projects that are home to many North
Police deployed for a feared eighth night of clashes, after bands of youths lob-
bing stones and petrol bombs ignored President Jacques Chirac's appeal for calm
a day earlier.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
A story in Wednesday's edition of the Daily (Ecology center pressures
Dow) incorrectly stated that Dow Chemical has agreed to remove dioxins
from the Midland area. It should have said Dow has agreed to reduce expo-
sure to the dioxins. The same article, instead of saying "Garabrant said the
study's goal is to discover the best possible method to clean up the chemi-
cals," should have said: "The study's goal is to find whether dioxins in the
soils get into people's bodies and*is therefore harmful, and, if so, how this
Please report any error in the Daily to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Merk & Co. lawyers Stephen Raber, Christy Jones and Diane Sullivan smile as they walk out of the
court in Atlantic City, N.J yesterday after a major victory for the company.
of precedent that might determine Merck's ultimate
Merck was clearly elated by its victory.
"We feel very much vindicated," Merck general
counsel Kenneth Frazier said. "The jury found in our
favor, we believe, because the evidence showed that
Merck acted responsibly."
Frazier said Merck will fight each lawsuit individ-
ually, adding that mass settlements aren't appropriate
because facts in each case differ.
"There's an awful lot at stake, not just for Merck,"
but for the pharmaceutical industry and patients, he
said, claiming floods of lawsuits can discourage scien-
tific research and keep needed drugs off the market.
Merck's stock rose $1.07, or 3.8 percent, to $29.48
after the verdict. More than 32 million shares
changed hands in barely two hours on the New York
Stock Exchange - about four times the stock's nor-
mal daily volume.
Wall Street analysts said the company clearly will
face huge legal costs given its plan to fight each law-
suit. The company has set aside just $675 million for
legal defense costs, but nothing for jury awards or
WASHINGTON (AP) - President
Bush's job approval has fallen to the
lowest level of his presidency amid
worries over the Iraq war, a fumbled
U.S. Supreme Court nomination, the
indictment of one White House aide
and uncertainty about another.
Concerned that the president has
lost his footing, some influential
Republicans are urging Bush to
shake up his staff and bring in new
A new AP-Ipsos poll found Bush's
approval rating was at 37 percent,
compared with 39 percent a month
ago. About 59 percent of those sur-
veyed said they disapproved.
The intensity of disapproval is the
strongest to date, with 42 percent
now saying they "strongly disap-
prove" of how Bush is handling his
job - just over twice as many as the
20 percent who said they "strongly
A year after his re-election, Bush's
second term has been marred by ris-
ing U.S. casualties in Iraq, a failed
attempt to restructure Social Securi-
ty, Hurricane Katrina missteps, rising
fuel costs and his forced withdrawal
of the Supreme Court nomination of
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