2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 7, 2006
fails in attempt to
from assasination of
Sunni Arab leader of
forces protecting capital
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's presi-
dent failed in a bid yesterday to order
parliament into session by March 12,
further delaying formation of a gov-
ernment and raising questions wheth-
er the political process can withstand
the unrelenting violence or disinte-
grate into civil war.
The deadlock came as snipers
assassinated Maj. Gen. Mibder Hatim
al-Dulaimi, the Sunni Arab in charge
of Iraqi forces protecting the capital.
A torrent of bombings and shootings
killed 25 more Iraqis yesterday, end-
ing a relative lull in violence. Offi-
cials also found four bodies.
At the heart of the dispute is a con-
troversy over the second-term can-
didacy of the Shiite prime mninister,
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose most pow-
erful supporter is the anti-American
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The Sunni Arab minority blames
al-Jaafari for failing to control the
Shiite militiamen who attacked
Sunni mosques and clerics after the
Feb. 22 shrine bombing in Samarra.
Kurds are angry because they believe
al-Jaafari is holding up resolution of
their claims to control the oil-rich
city of Kirkuk.
In a bid to force a showdown in
the dispute, President Jalal Talabani,
a Kurd, announced he would order
parliament to convene Sunday for
the first time since the elections in
December and the ratification of the
results on Feb. 12.
Such a meeting would have started
a 60-day countdown for the legisla-
tors to elect a president, approve
al-Jaafari's nomination as prime min-
ister and sign off on his Cabinet.
Talabani was mistakenly counting
on the signature of Vice President
Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite, who lost
his own bid for the prime minister's
nomination by one vote to al-Jaaf-
ari. Talabani had in hand a power of
attorney from the other vice presi-
dent, Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni, who
was out of the country.
The Shiite bloc closed ranks and
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani speaks during a press conference after a
meeting with members from the United Iraqi Alliance yesterday.
Moussaoui's lies blamed for 9/11
Opening its argument that Zacarias Moussaoui be executed, the govern-
ment asserted yesterday that he "did his part as a loyal al-Qaida soldier"
and caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people by failing to tell what he knew
of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Moussaoui's defense countered that his dreams of being a terrorist were far
removed from anything he could actually do, and that he had no part in the
attacks. "That is Zacarias Moussaoui in a nutshell," said his court-appointed
lawyer Edward MacMahon. "Sound and fury signifying nothing."
As Moussaoui stroked his beard and families of Sept. 11 victims
watched on closed-circuit TV, prosecutor Rob Spencer evoked the horror
of that day and laid blame on the only man charged in the United States
in the attacks.
"He lied so the plot could proceed unimpeded," Spencer asserted. "With
that lie, he caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people. He rejoiced in the
death and destruction."
Second bird flu vaccine in the works
With new versions of bird flu emerging, U.S. health officials announced
yesterday that scientists must stir up a different vaccine recipe to try to
That's not unexpected because flu viruses - whether in birds or people
- are constantly changing.
Federal health officials are merely trying "to keep right on the virus's
tail and keep our vaccines as up to date as much as we can," said William
Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert.
But despite its mutations, the continent-hopping bird flu virus seems
content slaying wild birds and farm chickens, causing an estimated $10
billion in global agricultural losses.
Iraq war protesters arrested for conduct
Cindy Sheehan, who drew international attention when she camped outside Presi-
dent Bush's ranch to protest the Iraq war, was arrested yesterday along with three other
women during a demonstration demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
The march to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations by about a dozen U.S. and
Iraqi anti-war activists followed a news conference at U.N. headquarters, where Iraqi
women described daily killings and ambulance bombings as part of the escalating
violence that keeps women in their homes.
Women Say No to War, which helped organize the news conference and march,
said Sheehan and three other women were arrested while trying to deliver a petition
to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations with more than 60,000 signatures urging
the "withdrawal all troops and all foreign fighters from Iraq." Police said they were
arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.
AT&T merger would cut 10,000 jobs
AT&T Inc. plans to cut up to 10,000 jobs, mostly through normal turnover, if its
$67 billion purchase of BellSouth Corp. is approved by shareholders and regulators,
AT&T's chief financial officer said Monday.
The work force reduction would take place over three years, AT&T's Rick Lindner
said. Before the cuts, the combined company would have around 317,000 employees,
including Cingular Wireless LLC, which is now an AT&T-BellSouth joint venture.
The new company would be the country's largest phone company - with nearly
half of all lines. It also would be the largest cell-phone carrier and the largest provider
of broadband Internet service.
Abdul-Mahdi declined to sign, at
least for now. In an emergency meet-
ing with Talabani yesterday, seven
Shiite leaders rejected the president's
demand for them to abandon al-Jaaf-
It remained unclear when parlia-
ment might convene, despite the
constitutional directive that set Sun-
day as the deadline. Nor was it clear
how the disagreement over al-Jaafari
might be settled.
Guards tell Congress that Homeland
Security headquarters is insecure
Security service cites several
problems, including inadequate
training and failed security tests
WASHINGTON (AP) - The agency entrusted
with protecting the U.S. homeland is having diffi-
culty safeguarding its own headquarters, say private
security guards at the complex.
The guards have taken their concerns to Con-
gress, describing inadequate training, failed secu-
rity tests and slow or confused reactions to bomb
and biological threats.
For instance, when an envelope with suspicious
powder was opened last fall at Homeland Security
Department headquarters, guards said they watched
in amazement as superiors carried it by the office of
Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then
shook it outside Chertoff's window without evacu-
ating people nearby.
The scare, caused by white powder that proved to
be harmless, "stands as one glaring example" of the
agency's security problems, said Derrick Daniels,
one of the first guards to respond to the incident.
"I had never previously been given training ...
describing how to respond to a possible chemical
attack,' Daniels told The Associated Press. "I wouldn't
feel safe nowhere on this compound as an officer."
Daniels was employed until last fall by Wack-,
enhut Services Inc., the private security firm that
guards Homeland's headquarters in a residential
area of Washington. The company has been criti-
cized previously for its work at nuclear facilities and
transporting nuclear weapons.
Homeland Security officials say they have little
control over Wackenhut's training of guards but plan
to improve that with a new contract. The department
said the suspicious powder incident was overblown
because the mail had already been irradiated.
Two senators who fielded complaints from sev-
eral Wackenhut employees are asking Homeland's
internal watchdog, the inspector general, to inves-
tigate. The IG's office had no immediate response
to the request.
"If the allegations brought forward by the whis-
tleblowers are correct, they represent both a security
threat and a waste of taxpayer dollars," Democrat-
ic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron
Wyden of Oregon wrote. "It would be ironic, to
say the least, if DHS were unable to secure its own
Daniels left Wackenhut and now works security
for another company at another federal building. He
is among 14 current and former Wackenhut employ-
ees - mostly guards - who were interviewed by
The Associated Press or submitted written state-
ments to Congress that were obtained by AP.
Wackenhut President Dave Foley disputed the
allegations, saying officers have a minimum of one
year's security experience, proper security clear-
ances and training in vehicle screening, identifica-
tion of personnel, handling of suspicious items and
"In short, we believe our security personnel have
been properly trained, have responded correctly to
the various incidents that have occurred ... and that
this facility is secure," he said. He declined, howev-
er, to address any of the current or former employ-
ees who have become whistleblowers.
Wackenhut is no stranger to criticism.
Over the last two years, the Energy Department
inspector general concluded that Wackenhut guards
had thwarted simulated terrorist attacks at a nuclear
lab only after they were tipped off to the test; and
that guards also had improperly handled the trans-
port of nuclear and conventional weapons.
. Homeland Security is based at a gated, former
Navy campus in a college neighborhood - several
miles from the heavily trafficked streets that house
the FBI, Capitol, Treasury Department and White
Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle
said Wackenhut guards are still operating under
a contract signed with the Navy, and the agency
has little control over their training. A soon-to-be-
implemented replacement contract will impose new
requirements on security guards, he said.
Daniels, the former guard who responded to the
white powder incident, said the area where the pow-
der was 'found wasn't evacuated for more than an
hour. Available biohazard face shields went unused.
Doyle said the concerns were overblown because
all mail going to the Homeland Security complex is
irradiated to kill anthrax. He said "the incident was
resolved before anything was moved."
Daniels said that after the envelope was taken
outside, and the order finally given to evacu-
ate the potentially infected area, employees had
already gone to lunch and had to be rounded up
Former guard Bryan Adams recognized his
inadequate training one day last August, when an
employee reported a suspicious bag in the parking lot.
"I didn'ta have a clue about what to do," he said.
Adams said he closed the vehicle checkpoint
with a cone, walked over to the bag and called
Nobody cordoned off the area. Eventually, some-
one called a federal bomb sq'uad, which arrived
more than an hour after the discovery.
"If the bag had, in fact, contained the explosive
device that was anticipated, the bomb could have
detonated several times over in the hour that the bag
sat there," Adams said.
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Annan to ask UN.
assembly to consider
DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief
Sun.-Thurs. 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Letters to the Editor
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Office hours: Sun.-Thurs. 11a.m. -2 a.m.
Reform report calls
for dramatic changes to
current U.N. policy
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Sec-
retary-General Kofi Annan will
ask U.N. member states to consider
outsourcing some U.N. operations
as part of an overhaul of the world
body's management, according to
an outline of his proposed reforms
obtained by The Associated Press.
Annan's reform report, which is
expected to be released today, calls for
creating "a truly mobile international
civil service" for the United Nations,
whose management came under heavy
criticism during the recent oil-for-food
scandal and revelations of widespread
sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.
There has been speculation for
months that the U.N. was preparing to
embark on a major program of outsourc-
ing, including its translation operations.
The report does not contain con-
crete proposals for outsourcing,
according to the outline of key points
obtained over the weekend. But
Annan wants the General Assembly
"to free up" existing limitations so
managers more accountable. Annan
was asked to submit his proposals
during the first quarter of 2006.
The United States has been push-
ing for a major management overhaul
that would give the secretary-general
more power and flexibility. But the 191-
member General Assembly, dominated
by developing countries, controls the
U.N's purse strings and is not expected
to give up any power easily.
The outline of the report stressed
the dramatic expansion of U.N. oper-
ations in the past decade, including
a fourfold increase in peacekeeping
budgets and deployments since 1998.
Annan's report will call for $280
million annually to provide better pay
and benefits for people in the field,
where the U.N. Secretariat is hav-
ing difficulty recruiting and training
staff. The secretary-general will also
request a doubling of funds for train-
ing and staff development "to address
the significant under-investment over
the years," the document said.
Another key element in the reform
package is overhauling top management.
More than 25 departments and offices
report directly to the secretary-general
but the deputy secretary-general, whose
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