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September 06, 1995 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


ee herds
NEW DELHI, India (AP) - An
lephant alert was sounded yesterday
n India's West Bengal state after for-
sttngers reported seeing 55 elephants
n three herds advancing toward vil-
ges and towns.
"There is need to take precautions
g'* now. Otherwise, we are in for
me serious trouble," said Subimal
oy, 'West Bengal's chief wildlife
a'den.
OQne herd of nine adults and two
aloes already reached populated ar-
fMidnapore district, causing panic
mong residents, Roy said. They ate
e rice crop in the village of
ahishdoba and were moving on in
earch of more food.
Ls1 year, frightened villagers used
toes, spears and torches to attack a
r0I'of 50 elephants that had fled a
rush fire in West Bengal's Jaldapara
ildlife sanctuary. The elephants went
n a rampage, crushing six people to
eath and trampling crops.
India's 20,000 wild elephants are
rodtted by the law and cannot be
illW unless they are declared rogues.
India's population of 900 million
ople.is growing more than 2 percent
ygar,. reducing the size of forests
here the elephants and other endan-
ered species such as tigers live.
An adult elephant needs a quarter of
ton of food per day, and some can
nly'find it in villages and farmland.
Roy said two other herds were seen
oving out of forests toward
idnapore district, 100 miles west
f 'Calcutta, a city of I1 million
eople.
Trained elephants with drivers were
rdered in to guide the wild herds out
f populated areas.

NATI "WORLD The Michigan Dal"y"- Wednesday, September 6, 1995 -13A
Common law courts use
their own brand of justice

Los Angeles Tmes
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Com-
mon Law court of Ohio, Our One Su-
preme Court, comes to order one night
a week inside a cavernous strip mall
bingo parlor where embittered cast-
aways from American justice act out
dreams of legal revolution.
It is acourt with no legal standing and
no connection to the judicial system, an
experiment steeped in frustration, con-
ducted without lawyers, without judges,
without ponderous codes of criminal
and civil procedure.
Sitting on folding chairs in front ofan
idled bingo blower, a jury of 12 men
deliberates, issuing rulings based on its
flawed interpretations of common law
- the fundamental English legal prin-
ciples that underpin America's laws.
The jurors are re-
tirees and machin- .

ists, janitors and
electricians, farm-
ers and carpenters
bound together by
their disgust with
America's courts
and a willful insis-
tence that they can
dispatch their own
justice.
"You're here to
become freemen,"
Larry Russell, the
court clerk, intones

66They'frE
dungeons
dragons
legal Syst4
--Bei
Kansas

jury for a night. But the movement's
most radical activists have honed their
populist yearnings into tactics of ha-
rassment, using the tribunals to inter-
fere in genuine legal cases, issue dubi-
ous claims and plague the judicial sys-
tem with thousands ofpages of baseless
filings.
"They're playing dungeons and drag-
ons with the legal system. It's spooky,"
said Berry F. Laws Ill, a Kansas City
attorney who ignored an order to ap-
pear in June before a Wichita "people's
grand jury."
Scores ofCommon Law court indict-
ments have been sent to baffled judges,
bankers and police. In San Francisco
and Little Rock, Ark., Common Law
"marshals" wearing authentic-looking
badges have barged into federal court-
rooms, trying to
serve their docu-
plyng ments on judges.
Officials tar-
geted by Common
Law courts often
Ith the dismiss them as
nuisances, but
. It's some have grown
alarmed. Small-
town magistrates
andclerks in West-
rry F. Laws II1 ern states have
City attorey been threatened.
Authorities are in-
vestigating the ac-
tivities of Common Law courts in Ar-
kansas, Florida, Kansas and Oklahoma.
In Missouri, state police have tied an
extremist Common Law court member
to the attempted assassination ofa high-
way patrolman.
"Law enforcement needs to take these
people very seriously," said Missouri
Highway Patrol Sgt. Miles Parks, lead
investigator of the sniper attack on Cpl.
Bobbie J. Harper, who was wounded
last year after arresting a Common Law
activist.
Common Law courts are rooted in
the same thicket of conspiracy theory
that tangles the militia movement. But
where paramilitary groups claim legal
justification in the right to bear arms,
the Common Law phenomenon is

based on an obscure legal doctrine
known as constitutionalism. Its knotty
canon derives from Biblical passages,
kernels of historical truth and skewed
interpretations of the Constitution and
the common law. And, at its core, is
the dogma of the Posse Comitatus, the
short-lived rural movement that vio-
lently espoused anti-government and
anti-tax beliefs.
The theories have little basis in fact,
but Common Law court adherents study
them with the zeal of first-year law
students.
Among the most outlandish: The
Constitution is missing an original
13th Amendment, one that would have
outlawed lawyers. Americans are di-
vided between real citizens and "14th
Amendment slaves" who allow them-
selves to be ruled by the federal gov-
ernment. The legal system's courts
only have authority over maritime
cases.
"There may be afew grains oftruthin
what they say, but a lot of this stuff is
wacky," said Stephen Presser, a scholar
of traditional common law and profes-
sor of legal history at Northwesterr
University. "To the unschooled, it car
all sound real."
Among those at Tuesday court ses
sions in Columbus are "Patriots" whf
swear on the Bible by vowing, "Sohel;
me Yahweh." The Old Testament He
braic reference to God is used in lega
documents--as well as religious refer
ences - by former Posse Comitatu
members and Christian Patriots, be
lievers in the white-supremacist Chri:
tian Identity movement.
Yet interest in Common Law cour
has spread beyond the paramilitary
fringes. Among the curious who come
to Columbus are people with no ap-
parent extremist affiliation - senior
citizens angry about taxes, couples
embittered by their lack of job secu-
rity, even Russell Thompson, a Cin-
cinnati chemist disillusioned after he
vainly fought a speeding charge in
local court.
"If this gets some judges to listen to
the people," Thompson said, "how can
it hurt?"

o .secutor
Angeles T'nes
NEW YORK - A prosecutor por-
ayed Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman as
e leader of a self-styled jihad army
esigned to wage a holy war of terror-
m against an infidel America as the
ight-month trial of the radical cleric
nd nine followers moved toward its
rnclusion yesterday.
In his summation to the jury, Assis-
nt U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
id the sheik approved a panoply of
lots ranging from a scheme to assassi-
ate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
plans to blow up commuter tunnels
nking New York with New Jersey and
e Manhattan headquarters of the FBI
an effort to diminish U.S. support for
rael.
"America was the number one en-
y," Fitzgerald said. "He (Abdel-
ahman) made nobones about it. Each

Uncovered
A student from University College In London works alongside Egyptian ,
archeologist Ahamed Hassan (right) In the dunes of Wadi Tumala In Egypt as they
excavate the remains of a man from 3200 BC on Aug. 17.
in NYbombcs
ielk a errst lae

to 100 sympathizers who have come
from across Ohio, Kentucky and Indi-
ana to watch. Then he leads the jury on
a long night of validating "quiet title"
declarations, under which the court's
petitioners expect, in vain, to liberate
themselves from the yoke of govern-
ment.
Several dozen Common Law courts
have sprouted throughout the Midwest,
South and West in the past year, law
enforcement officials and civil libertar-
ians report. Movement leaders boast of
up to 100 courts in 30 states - a claim
unverified, say those monitoring the
phenomenon, because so many operate
in secrecy.
Most are little more than clubs for the
disaffected, a chance to play judge and

person in this courtroom was pre-
sented a choice - did they want to
wage a war against the U.S. and they
agreed."
Among the charges the defendants
face is seditious conspiracy-a rarely-
used statute dating to the Civil War
making it a crime for two or more
people to agree to wage war against the
United States or to forcefully oppose
U.S. authority.
In their summation expected later
this week, defense lawyers will seek to
convince the jury that the blind, dia-
betic, 57-year-old Egyptian cleric, who
also suffers from heart disease, did noth-
ing more than exercise his right of free
speech.
Fitzgerald alleged that another de-
fendant in the case, El Sayyid Nosair,
telephoned Abdel-Rahman in Egypt
before the 1990 assassination in a Man-

hattan hotel of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the
militant founder of the Jewish Defense
League.
A state court jury acquitted Nosair
of murdering the controversial clergy-
man, but convicted him on weapons
charges.
Nevertheless, Fitzgerald said Nosair
killed Kahane, later confessing three
times to the shooting, and while in prison
had participated in the plot to blow up
the World Trade Center, which killed
six people, injured more than 1,000 and
caused hundreds of millions of dollars
of damage.
"The rabbi's murder is not a murder
mystery," the prosecutor added. "El
Sayyid Nosair killed Rabbi Kahane."
The government lawyer charged the
assassination "was only the beginning"
of a series of plots.

i

It r... r r .r.r. rrrr . r

,

Yow rain, camel pox found in Ik
Angeles Times reactor, the Iraqis told the U.N. inspec Amo
WASHINGTON - In their most tors. cialists
mprehensive revelations about bio- Iraq says it dismantled the program orrhagi
gical weaponry, Iraqi scientists have following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a mum c
mitted to conducting ground-break- claim that U.N. inspectors must now in the
g tesearch on viruses that make eyes verify. bleed. T
eed and cause lethal diarrhea in in- Iraqi officials disclosed the dimen- the vir
nts and on toxins that can eliminate sions of the program, which is proving Anol
tire crops, U.N.investigators and U.S. far more ambitious than Western intel- chronic
icials said yesterday. ligence and U.N. arms inspectors had children
Iraq's program, which is turning out expected, to U.N. investigators last third wa
be one of the most extensive in the week. pox and
story of biological warfare, included Until then, Iraq had claimed that its None o
ork on viruses and toxins ranging program employed only 10 people biologic
nr yellow rain and camel pox to who wrote six research papers on bio- said.
xins that produce gangrene. logical warfare over a four-year pe- The
"No country I know of has evereven riod. two oth
ayedwiththeideaofdevelopingmany But U.N. investigators now say the yellow
- these into instruments of war," a biological weapons program involved hemorr
ior U.N. scientist said. "It represents up to 150 scientists and senior techni- disease
ghly innovative thinking and a very cians, not including support staff, secu- area and
ge investment." rity and other aides. formerl
Iraqi scientists, seeking to threaten
vilians as well as troops, also worked
t a novel way to make their deadly or
bilitating germs rain down on wide
as, the sources said. "WINNfaN B
They modified "drop tanks," origi- W NONA
Ily designed as auxiliary fuel sources UNPROTE(
r warplanes, so that they could spray
olbgical agents over the countryside GET PROTECTED WIT
om high altitudes. INTERNATIONAL
The initial targets now appear to Below Retail prices Delivered
ye' included Israel as well as re-
onal rivals and any opposition troops ITEM # DESCRIPTION RETA
obilized against Iraq after its inva- #500 Super Econo Car Club*
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aq weapons
ng the viral agents, U.N. spe-
said, was one that causes hem-
c conjunctivitis, which at mini-
auses temporary blindness and
worst case causes the eyes to
The onset is within 24 hours, and
us is highly transmissible.
ther was a virus that causes
diarrhea that can be lethal in
n and incapacitating to troops. A
as camel pox, which, like small-
d monkey pox, produces lesions.
fthe three has ever been used in
cal warfare, the U.N. scientist
Iraqis also considered making
er viral agents, those that cause
fever and the Crimean Congo
hagic fever, which is a tick-born
common to the Crimean Sea
d the region of the Zaire River,
y known as the Congo.

4

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