2 - The Michigan Daily --- Friday, February 17, 2006
Annan: Close Gitmo prisons NEWS IN BRIEF
White House rejects call to
close camp by U.N. panel, claims
detainees are treated humanely
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said yesterday that the United States
should close the prison at Guantanamo Bay for terror
suspects as soon as possible, backing a key conclu-
sion of a U.N.-appointed independent panel.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan rejected
the call to shut the camp, saying the military treats
all detainees humanely and "these are dangerous ter-
rorists that we're talking about."
The panel's report, released yesterday in Geneva,
said the United States must close the detention facility
"without further delay" because it is effectively a torture
camp where prisoners have no access to justice.
Arinan told reporters he didn't necessarily agree
with everything in the report, but he did support its
opposition to people being held "in perpetuity" with-
out being charged and prosecuted in a public court.
This is "something that is common under every legal
system," he said.
"I think sooner or later there will be a need to
close the Guantanamo (camp), and I think it will
be up to the government to decide, and hopefully
to do it as soon as is possible," the secretary-gen-
eral told reporters.
The 54-page report summarizing an investiga-
tion by five U.N. experts, accused the United States
of practices that "amount to torture" and demanded
detainees be allowed a fair trial or be freed. The
panel, which had sought access to Guantanamo Bay
since 2002, refused a U.S.
visit the camp in Novem-
ber after being told they
could not interview
Annan said the report
by a U.N.-appointed
independent panel was
not a U.N. report but one
by individual experts.
"So we should see it in
that light," he said.
U.N. spokesman Ste-
phane Dujarric said the
report will be presented
to the U.N. Commission
offer for three experts to
secret place ofc
there is also a
risk that peo
subjected to t
The United States should allow "a full and inde-
pendent investigation" at Guantanamo and also give
the United Nations access to other detention centers,
including secret ones, in Iraq, Afghanistan and else-
where, Nowak said by telephone
from his office in Vienna, Austria.
iere is a "We want to have all informa-
detention, tion about secret places of detention
because whenever there is a secret
i higher place of detention, there is also a
higher risk that people are subject-
ple are ed to torture," he said.
The United States is holding
torture. about 490 men at the military
detention center. They are accused
- Kofi Annan of links to Afghanistan's ousted
Taliban regime or to al-Qaida, but
retary General only a handful have been charged.
The U.N. investigators said pho-
tographic evidence - corroborated by testimony
of former prisoners - showed detainees shackled,
chained and hooded. Prisoners were beaten, stripped
and shaved if they resisted, they said.
The report's findings were based on interviews
with former detainees, public documents, media
reports, lawyers and questions answered by the U.S.
government, which detailed the number of prison-
ers held but did not give their names or the status of
charges against them.
of Human Rights, which appointed the panel, when it
convenes on March 13 in Geneva.
Manfred Nowak, the U.N. investigator for torture
who was one of the panel's experts, told The Asso-
ciated Press in Geneva that the detainees at Guan-
tanamo "should be released or brought before an
"That should not be done in Guantanamo Bay, but
before ordinary U.S. courts, or courts in their coun-
tries of origin or perhaps an international tribunal,"
president must now turn
expectations to reality
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -
Singing, dancing and waving branches
ripped from roadside trees, jubilant
Haitians poured into the streets yes-
terday after a vote marred by fraud
charges and massive protests ended in
victory for the favored presidential can-
didate of the impoverished majority.
"Now we have hope," said Dabual
Jean, a 24-year-old who earns about $2
a day selling fruit on the street in the
capital, Port-au-Prince. "The country
is upside down. With Preval, hopefully
we'll get on the right path.
Rene Preval, an agronomist and for-
mer president, made no public appear-
ances yesterday, in keeping with his
virtual silence as a days-long, roller-
coaster vote count roiled the poorest
country in theWestern Hemisphere.
"We have won. We thank God and
the population," Preval told the Hai-
tian Press Agency in his only public
statement. "We will now fight for
He remained shuttered inside his
sister's house in the capital hours
after electoral and government offi-
cials announced his victory, which
was cemented early yesterday after
election officials divided ballots that
were left blank among all candidates
in proportion to the votes they'd
Preval has tried to dampen expec-
tations in his few public statements,
saying his government would not
be able to immediately fix Haiti's
problems, which range from massive
unemployment to near-total rural
Thousands of U.N. soldiers and
police officers have been unable to quell
rampant urban violence, including fatal
attacks on peacekeepers and hundreds
Many here still resent the overthrow
of former president Jean-Bertrand Aris-
tide, Preval's former ally, and wonder
whether Preval will be able to end the
violence and overcome the suspicion
and hatred dividing Haiti's tiny elite
from its vast poor population.
Still, Preval's victory sent hopes
has 20 days to respond
to Freedom of
Information Act request
. WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal
judge ordered the Bush administra-
tion yesterday to release documents
about its warrantless surveillance
program or spell out what it is with-
holding, a setback to efforts to keep
the program under wraps.
At the same time, the Republican
chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee said he had worked out
an agreement with the White House
to consider legislation and provide
more information to Congress on the
eavesdropping program. The panel's
top Democrat, who has requested a
full-scale investigation, immediately
objected to what he called an abdi-
cation of the committee's responsi-
U.S. District Judge Henry Ken-
nedy ruled that a private group,
the Electronic Privacy Information
Center, will suffer irreparable harm
if the documents it has been seeking
since December are not processed
promptly under the Freedom of
Information Act. He gave the Justice
Department 20 days to respond to
the group's request.
"President Bush has invited mean-
ingful debate about the wireless sur-
veillance program," Kennedy said.
"That can only occur if DOJ pro-
cesses its FOIA requests in a timely
fashion and releases the information
Justice Department spokeswoman
Tasia Scolinos said the department
has been "extremely forthcoming"
with information and "will con-
tinue to meet its obligations under
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers also
have been seeking more information
about Bush's program that allowed
the National Security Agency to
eavesdrop - without court warrants
- on Americans whose internation-
al calls and e-mails it believed might
be linked to al-Qaida.
After a two-hour closed-door ses-
sion, Senate Intelligence Chairman
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the com-
mittee adjourned without voting on
whether to open an investigation.
White House requests huge amount
U.S. military spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will rise to $115
billion for this year - and nearly $400 billion since the fighting started - under a
new White House request submitted to Congress yesterday.
A separate request for almost $20 billion in new hurricane relief funds would
bring total spending in response to Katrina and Rita to more than $100 billion.
The Bush administration submitted a $65.3 billion war request, and Pentagon
officials said the money would be sufficient to conduct the two wars at least through
Sept. 30. Congress had approved $50 billion more for the war effort in December.
"These funds support U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition partners as we advance
democracy, fight the terrorists and insurgents, and train and equip Iraqi security
forces so that they can defend their sovereignty and freedom," President Bush said
in a letter transmitting the request to Congress.
The war in Iraq now costs about $5.9 billion a month, while Afghanistan opera-
tions cost about $900 million per month, said Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas.
That doesn't include the costs of replacing worn-out or destroyed equipment or
training Iraqi and Afghan forces.
Iraq investigates alleged 'death squads'
The Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry announced an investigation yesterday into
claims of death squads in its ranks as police found a dozen more bodies, bringing the
number of apparent victims of sectarian reprisal killings here to at least 30 this week.
The probe was announced after U.S. military officials indicated there was evi-
dence to support the allegation of death squads. The 12 men found yesterday had
been bound and shot in the head execution-style.
At least 27 other people were killed in violence across Iraq, including three trib-
al sheiks slain in a drive-by shooting. Three supporters of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr died in a mortar barrage, and gunmen killed two owners of a convenience
store that sold beer. Islamic extremists often target shops selling alcohol or DVDs
Sunni Arabs have been complaining for months that kidnappings and murder by
Shiite-led commandos operated by the Interior Ministry are driving many Sunnis
into the ranks of the insurgents. Shiites insist that they must retain control of Iraqi
security forces in the next government.
Insurance industry execs plead not guilty to fraud
Four former top executives of insurance giants General Re and American Interna-
tional Group pleaded not guilty to federal fraud and conspiracy charges yesterday and
pledged $1 million in bond. Their trial was set for May.
The Justice Department has accused the four of orchestrating an audacious fraud,
putting together a sham reinsurance transaction that allowed AIG to falsely report some
$500 million in reserves against losses and thereby mislead shareholders, Wall Street
and regulators. The charges come as the government's investigation of the insurance
industry widens. The alleged conspiracy, using phony contracts and a secret side deal,
was designed to make it appear that AIG's loss reserves were growing so as to inflate the
company's stock price in 2000 and 2001, prosecutors say.
Russian athlete stripped of medal for doping
Russian biathlon star Olga Pyleva was thrown out of the Turin Games and stripped
of her silver medal yesterday for doping, the first athlete caught in the tightest drug net
in Winter Olympics history. Pyleva was favored heading into yesterday's 7.5km sprint to
win her second medal of the games. As athletes were walking up to the starting line, an
announcer told the crowd that Pyleva was scratched because she had fallen ill.
But it didn't take long for news of the real reason to spread. A urine sample Pyleva
submitted after the 15km event on Monday tested positive for the stimulant carphedon,
which she said was in an over-the-counter medication she'd taken.
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Haitian President-elect Rene Preval smiles during a news conference Tues-
day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Preval, a former president who Is hugely popu-
lar among the poor, was declared the winner about 1:30 a.m. yesterday.
DoNN M. FRESAR
Editor in Chief
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soaring among the millions of Haitians
struggling amid grinding poverty in vio-
lent slums and isolated rural villages.
"I'm so happy, because we have what
we were looking for," said Elvia Pres-
soir, 36, who clutched Preval campaign
leaflets as she waited for him to appear
outside the gate of his sister's house.
"With Preval, we'll have security, jobs
and life will get back to normal."
Many Haitian expatriates were simi-
"I am so happy. Maybe now there will
be some peace," said Fritz Antoine Fils,
a fast-food restaurant worker in Miami's
Little Haiti neighborhood.
Preval has been vague on whether
he would welcome back Aristide,
who is in exile in South Africa. The
former slum priest fled Haiti as the
United States withdrew support for his
government amid an armed rebellion
and accusations that he was corrupt
and had encouraged his supporters to
attack his opponents.
The Bush administration considers
a possible return of Aristide - the
only Haitian leader, other than Pre-
val, to be popularly elected - to be
a destabilizing factor, and has hinted
that he should remain in exile.
The two former presidents have
drifted apart in recent years.
"We think the Haitian government
should be looking forward to their
future, not to its past," State Depart-
ment spokesman Sean McCormack
said last week.
Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice said yesterday the United States
wants a stable Haiti and will offer
help to its people. The United States,
Rice said in remarks to Congress,
"has a good record in trying to get
Haiti out of the desperate circum-
stances in which they live."
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Cheney's PR: How not
to do damage control
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Dam-
age-control experts in both political
parties agree: The handling of Vice
President Dick Cheney's hunting mis-
hap has been a disaster, a case study in
how not to handle bad news.
At best, it has fed criticism of Cheney
as aloof and isolated. At worst, critics sug-
gest, it has shown a president unable to
control his own vice president.
"It's a self-created nightmare," said
Lanny Davis, a former Clinton White
House troubleshooter who now heads
days of public silence on Cheney's part.
Although White House aides had
earlier conveyed concern about the
slowness of Cheney's response, Presi-
dent Bush said yesterday the vice
president had handled the matter "just
fine" and had given a "powerful expla-
In his interview, Cheney said the shoot-
ing was his fault and "one of the worst days
of my life," but he made no apologies about
the delay in getting out the word. Bush said
it was "a deeply traumatic moment" for
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