yea sure he gets a fair trail. he has got leg irons on and cant walk around, and he is forced to wear a stun belt which one of sheriffs joes sadistic thugs can shock him anytime




Wassenaar to question possible jurors

Inmate defends self in prison hostage trial


Michael Kiefer

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 14, 2005 12:00 AM


Jury selection begins today in Maricopa County Superior Court for the trial of Ricky Wassenaar, mastermind of the January 2004 takeover of a guard tower at a state prison near Buckeye.


Wassenaar is facing more years in prison than he can likely serve in his lifetime. He also concedes taking the tower at gunpoint.


What's left is a battle for control of the courtroom.

A battle in which Wassenaar, who is defending himself, concedes nothing.


In the past several pretrial conferences before Judge Warren Granville, Wassenaar bargained for his meals, his toilet supplies, the type of restraints he must wear, the number of deputies in the courtroom and for information about who will hold the remote control to the stun belt he will wear beneath his clothing.


Opposing him is prosecutor Jeannette Gallagher, a tough-talking Chicagoan and former social worker who usually tries the ugliest murder cases. She has sent Steven Coy, Wassenaar's co-conspirator in the siege, to prison forever.


Wassenaar claims that during his 17 1/2  years in prison, he has worked in law libraries, assisting other prisoners with their cases. He admits that he is "hard-headed" and that he relishes the challenge.


"I do enjoy it," he said. "I've been a fighter all my life. I like a good fight."


Gallagher can give it to him: During one hearing, after Wassenaar told the judge that he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, Gallagher countered that she saw nothing of the kind in Wassenaar's record.


"He's a psychopath," she bluntly told Granville.


The judge has had to weigh security measures for a potentially dangerous prisoner against his constitutional right to a fair trial.


Wassenaar overpowered several corrections officers at the start of the 15-day siege and is usually brought to court under heavy guard and in heavy chains, even though he describes himself as a man who keeps his word, a "pussycat" and "no ninja turtle."


Until now, a chained and shackled Wassenaar has been watched over by six to eight burly and body-armored sheriff's deputies.


But that level of security could so prejudice a jury as to interfere with his constitutional right to a fair trial.


Hidden restraints


During trial, Wassenaar will wear leg restraints that can be hidden by his street clothes, but his hands will be free. And if he needs to move from his table to a podium or to the judge's bench for a sidebar, the jury will be removed so that the jurors do not see him hobbling in leg irons.


The jury will also be removed whenever Gallagher moves so that there is no perceived difference in the manner in which they are treated.


There will only be two uniformed sheriff's deputies in the room and an undisclosed number of deputies in plain clothes.


When Wassenaar asked where they would be, Granville answered, "Where they will be situated, I don't know. I didn't ask. I don't need to know."


And the judge drew the line at refusing to remove Wassenaar's leg irons over Wassenaar's assurances.


"It's the stun belt - well, that and my common sense - that will keep me from acting out," Wassenaar told him.


Wassenaar is defending himself "because I am capable of defending myself," he told The Republic.


"Because nobody can represent me the way I can. Nobody can express me the way I can. And I'm untrusting of the system."


Today, Wassenaar will personally interview prospective jurors for a trial that may last as long as 15 weeks and poses unique security problems in the courtroom.


Planning the assault


On Jan. 18, 2004, Wassenaar, 41, and cellmate Coy, fought their way out of the kitchen at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye and took two hostages in a guard tower.


From the time he arrived at the Lewis prison in 2000, Wassenaar claims he had been planning the assault.


"When I looked at that tower, I said that tower will be mine," he told The Republic.


He claims that he counted the number of guards there at any given time of the day and calculated the best hour. The plan almost went awry when Coy stopped to rape a kitchen worker.


Wassenaar claims that they took hostages to get media attention and to force the prison officials to transfer them out of state to be closer to their families. The siege lasted 15 days, ending Feb. 1, 2004.


Coy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms for kidnapping, sexual assault and other charges. He was transferred to a prison in Maine.


Wassenaar faces 20 counts including escape, kidnapping, sexual assault, dangerous assault on several correctional officers, and attempted murder.


He freely admits taking hostages, and in fact, when he calls The Republic, he identifies himself as "Wassenaar, the Tower Taker." But he denies trying to escape.


"It wasn't a bang-up, shoot-'em-out, run-for-the-hills type of escape," he said.


"It was a con game to get me where I wanted to go. My objective, and my only objective, was to get back home to see my mother. I had several escape plans. I could get out of that prison, but I could not get away from that prison. It's out in the middle of . . . nowhere. Getting out wasn't a problem."


He denies attempting murder.


"I did not intend to kill anybody," he said. "They were 3 feet in front of me and I had an AR-15 that's capable of shooting people off the fence at a hundred yards. If I wanted to kill anybody, every one of them would have been dead. The plan was if Coy or I had to kill somebody, then they were all going to die. That would've been the end of the plan. In that scenario, everybody was going to die, including Coy and myself."


And he denies sexually assaulting corrections Officer Lois Fraley.


A jury will decide - once it's chosen.




like air security is ever going to not be full of holes? if they are saying we can make it that way they are lying thru their teeth. the united states border looks like a police state that nazi germany would be proud of but drug dealers still smuggle tons of dope thru it.




Air security still has holes, report says


Associated Press

Mar. 14, 2005 09:00 AM


WASHINGTON - The nation's aviation system remains vulnerable to attacks by al-Qaida and other terrorists who may be targeting noncommercial aircraft and helicopters, according to a government report.


But officials said the report by the Homeland Security Department and the FBI concludes that commercial airlines also remain susceptible to attack, despite billions of dollars worth of security investments. Moreover, members of al-Qaida are believed to be examining and testing U.S. security systems for weaknesses, officials said.


The confidential report, dated Feb. 25, reflects what officials have long said: that beefing up security in one sector would inevitably prompt terrorists to target other areas that might not be under the same level of scrutiny.


However, the report, drafts of which have been circulating since late last year, is the first to pull the intelligence together in a single package, officials said.


It was distributed to state, local and private sector officials who deal with counterterrorism concerns, said Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.


"We have made dramatic improvements to security in all components of the aviation industry over the course of the past three years," Roehrkasse said.


The report was first reported Sunday evening by The New York Times on its Internet site.


A counterterrorism official said helicopters were singled out as potential targets in intelligence that surfaced last August. That intelligence also led Homeland Security to raise the terror alert level in Washington, New York and northern New Jersey to protect financial institutions there.


More than $12 billion has been spent on explosive detectors, armored cockpit doors, screeners, air marshals and other aviation security systems since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. President Bush has proposed giving the Transportation Security Administration $5.6 billion in 2006 - $2 billion of which for airline passenger screening and $1.45 billion for airline baggage screening.


But a report by congressional investigators in December found that TSA "has primarily focused on strengthening the security of commercial aviation." That report noted that TSA doesn't understand the risks posed by small private planes, fails to issue meaningful threat information to general aviation airports and can't make sure charter airlines and flight schools comply with security regulations.


Officials said that the thousands of general aviation airports - which host recreational planes, business jets, helicopters and other kinds of noncommercial aircraft - must all have security measures that are equivalent to TSA mandates at commercial airports.


The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which represents general aviation pilots, said that current TSA regulations allow grass airstrips in rural areas and large private airports near a city to adopt security measures that fit their needs.


"AOPA believes that regulation, rather than a single mandated security standard, is the best approach to general aviation security," said AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy.




lots of kids are coming back from iraq missing arms and legs. i guess thats the price to pay for making iraq a colony of the american empire. the paper didnt write about it but a lot of them are also coming back as almost brain dead zombies. the get head wounds that destroy their brains, but modern medical technology keeps them alive and they are functionlly zombies.




Wounded Valley soldier rebuilds his life


Connie Cone Sexton

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 14, 2005 12:00 AM


Ryan Kelly gave a slight smile as he approached Room 418, the office of Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Kelly had come to Capitol Hill this brisk February day to push for better disability benefits for U.S. troops severely wounded in Iraq. But the 24-year-old couldn't hide the excitement of just being in Washington, D.C.


Dressed in a dark brown suit, the boyish, freckled-faced Prescott Valley resident went from one appointment to another down long echoing halls to the offices of senators and representatives.


Only when he was within 20 feet of someone was it noticeable. That slight hitch in his walk. That right leg bending with just a little hesitation. His pants and shoes hid the reason: a prosthesis attached to his right knee. It's a substitute for the part of his leg torn off by a roadside bomb in Iraq.


Kelly had come a long way to get to D.C. but it was a journey of more than just miles. It was just one more step in rebuilding his life. Kelly is still in the early stages of a journey that thousands of severely wounded GIs are taking - of making the transition from "life before" to "life after" the moment they were wounded. For Kelly, it was July 14, 2003.


In many ways, Kelly's is a more heartening story than many others'. At least from outward appearances, he has emerged from his ordeal with his indomitable spirit intact. In the past 18 months, he learned to walk again, retired from the Army Reserve and reached back to a childhood dream of becoming a helicopter pilot.


But while he is forging a new identity, he is hardly rejecting the one he had. Which explains his visit to Capitol Hill.


Before getting too far down the road into a new life, there was one thing he wanted to do: take care of his comrades. He had seen too many of the severely wounded GIs suffer financially as they waited up to a year for veterans' benefits to kick in.


"They need that money right away so they can have their family by their side as they recover," Kelly said that February morning as he waited to speak with Congressman Renzi.


"There are many people who have to take non-paid leave to be with their spouse and that can lead to financial problems," he said. There are people who've had to give up their jobs or a business to tend to their loved ones.


Many of the severely wounded have to stay for weeks, even months, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. or at other military medical centers around the country.


Kelly came up with a plan to tide them over. For $3 a month, U.S. troops could buy group disability insurance that would yield $50,000 for those with a catastrophic injury. His plan requires no government funding, only legislative approval. The United Spinal Association's Wounded Warrior Project, which aids veterans with state and federal legislative issues, took up Kelly's cause and made him a spokesman.


With backing from the national group, Kelly came to the Capitol to find a sponsor for the bill. Before seeing Renzi, he met other congressmen and senators who offered plenty of nods and words of support but no firm commitments. Being the kind of "glass is half full" kind of guy he is, Kelly stayed positive.


He had higher hopes for Renzi. Not only was Renzi his congressman, but Renzi's father was a retired two-star Army general. Renzi's background in insurance couldn't hurt either.


Kelly made his pitch and even pulled up his pants leg to show Renzi the prosthesis.


It only took Renzi five minutes to decide. "You've got yourself a deal," he told Kelly.


Best-laid plans


Kelly had never intended on being a spokesman for the wounded. Then again, he had never intended on being wounded.


Kelly, the Army Reserve staff sergeant, had hoped one day to be Kelly, the Army officer. Just like his dad, Ed. Before graduating from high school, Ryan was making progress on his plan. He had enlisted in the Reserve as a senior in 1998, attended a community college for two years and in December 2002, got a scholarship offer from the University of Utah.


But things were heating up in Iraq. He was torn. A four-year degree would help him get an officer's commission. But his Texas reserve unit, the one he had trained with for five years, was probably going to be deployed. He had just arrived in Salt Lake City to begin classes.


When he got word his unit was going to Iraq, he put college on hold. He became one of some 175,000 members of the Reserve and National Guard to serve in Iraq.


He had been in Iraq only three months when the roadside bomb changed his life. He was in a Humvee heading down a Ramadi street to a meeting about rebuilding Iraqi schools.


Suddenly, Kelly felt like a boxer had hit him. At first, he could only see gray and nothing made sense. He turned to see the bloody face of Omar Zayas, one of his crew. He reached for his gun to return fire and put his right leg out to brace himself against the floor. But it didn't make contact with anything.


"I thought the floor of the Humvee had been torn out," he said. He told the driver to keep going and then he shot a glance at his leg.


"My leg was dangling. I didn't fully see it at first. I remember screaming at Zayas and yelling a cuss word, announcing, 'My leg just blew out the window.' "


In minutes, his leg would feel like it was in acid.


Road to recovery


Kelly was treated at a combat area support hospital in Baghdad.


Lindsey Gunter, his fiancée who also was a reservist in Iraq, rushed to be with him. When he woke up from surgery and saw her, Kelly cried.


He said he only cried once more: when the members of his unit came to visit. "We had just gone through so much," he said.


He spent 13 months recovering at Walter Reed. While there, Lindsey became his wife. They were married by proxy as she stood on top of a Baghdad building and repeated the vows.


It took until October for her to make it to Walter Reed. "It made a difference to have her there," Kelly said in his soft Southern accent. "My mom was great for coming to stay but, hey," he broke off and laughed.


Kelly knew he was luckier than some of the wounded whose families couldn't afford to visit. And he knew he was luckier than some whose families had shut down businesses or given up jobs just to be there.


So he came up with the idea of having the military offer disability insurance with troop members paying a small amount a month.


Kelly worried that some GIs would think they wouldn't need the benefit or would never get around to signing up for it. So he is proposing that every GI start out with the benefit; they would have to make a conscious effort to eliminate it.


"Young guys may think, 'Oh, I don't need that. I'm not going to get hurt,' " he said. "Well, that's what I used to think. It was always going to be the other guy."


Making choices


While he recovered, Kelly had to decide whether he wanted to stay in the Reserve or be discharged. He wanted to go back to Iraq but worried it would be tough to persuade a military medical board that he was fit for active duty.


"In a matter of minutes, I would have had to convince them of what I could do, that I can be mobile," Kelly said. He didn't want to be limited to a desk job.


He opted to take veterans' disability. The amount a vet receives depends on the severity of the injury and years of service. But arriving at the amount is complicated and the process often can be frustrating. After several appeals, the Army awarded Kelly $1,581 a month.


"It came down to (having to choose between) supporting my wife and my desire to serve. I had to choose my family. I can't tell you percentagewise, which was more stressful: that decision or losing my leg. But it was close."


That raised the question: What next? He thought about something the military had told him he could not do: fly.


"My eyes weren't good enough for them but they were OK for commercial flying." Unlike military pilots, a commercial pilot can use glasses or contacts to achieve 20/20 vision, Kelly said.


He had wanted to fly helicopters since he was 10. His family was living in Germany where his father was stationed. His uncle Mark, a pilot, also was stationed in Germany and sometimes dropped by the Kelly home - with his helicopter. "I remember him setting the helicopter down and getting out. It was really something."


After he left Walter Reed in August 2004, Kelly decided to go after his pilot's license.


"I wanted to find the best place I could," he said. "I knew I had another chance at my life, so I didn't want to waste time. I had to do it right."


After doing a lot of research on the Internet, he decided on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Valley. He and Lindsey found a house to rent and made the move.


Taking to the sky


Kelly started his flight classes in January. He laughs when talking about his first time hovering. "I really sucked. I thought we were going to crash," he said. "I was doing a horrible job of keeping my nose pointed up and we almost did a circle. I was wondering how with my foot I was going to manage."


Kelly decided he needed more experience and went out and bought a video game, complete with foot pedals. It helped him get used to the feel with his prosthetic foot.


The second time, Kelly was calm and did better. "I was learning what to do and how to control the helicopter. That was a big morale booster."


He is amazed by how much flying improves his mood. "Which is saying a lot because I'm really a pretty positive person," he said. "This is one of the best therapies. I never thought I'd be doing this after I lost a leg."


In friends' company


Getting to push himself to learn new things is something Kelly hopes he will continue to do.


He had another chance in early February, after his trip to D.C.


For five days, Kelly joined about a half-dozen others who had lost limbs in Iraq for an adaptive ski program in Vail, Colo.


It was a second visit to Vail for Kelly and a few of the others.


Kelly shared a motel room with two of his buddies, Heath Calhoun of Tennessee and Lonnie Moore of Kansas. Calhoun, who lost both his legs, retired as a staff sergeant from the Army. Moore, an Army captain who lost his right leg, hasn't decided whether to stay in or retire.


"It feels good to be here," he said. "They know what I've gone through and I know what they've gone through. But we don't compare. Everyone has their own story."


Around his buddies he is most at home. They're the ones who know just how much a limb can ache at the end of the day, the ones who know how even a pebble can send you tumbling.


It's fitting that the call with news from Washington came when he was with his friends: Renzi had turned Kelly's plan for providing extra disability benefits to wounded GIs into an actual bill.


Renzi promised to introduce it in the weeks ahead.


"It's finally real," Kelly said.


Reach the reporter at connie.sexton@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8894.




the first mistake we made was invading iraq. the second mistake we made was staying there. good bye vietnam, hello iraq.




Overhauling Iraq security forces could cause ruin

Former regime members at issue


Hannah Allam

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Mar. 14, 2005 12:00 AM


BAGHDAD - Iraq's fledgling security forces are in danger of collapse if the newly elected government follows through on promises to purge the ranks of former regime members, politicians and analysts here warn.


The dismantling of Saddam Hussein's military is widely viewed as one of the gravest mistakes of the U.S.-led occupation, and the Bush administration has worked in the past year to reverse it by helping the interim Iraqi government restore the jobs of some highly skilled troops who served under Saddam.


Now, analysts say, the incoming government led by Shiite Muslims is at risk of repeating the error that was blamed for swelling the mostly Sunni insurgency.


About half the troops and 75 percent of the officers in the new Iraqi military served under the old regime, said Saleh Sarhan, spokesman for the Iraqi defense ministry. There are about 30,000 troops, he said, but the goal is to have a force of 120,000 by the end of the year. That goal is in jeopardy under the incoming government's plans.


Several Shiite politicians have said another overhaul is necessary to cleanse a security force still teeming with Saddam loyalists who act as informants and foot soldiers for the insurgency. Sunnis, on the other hand, predict catastrophe if the military dismisses its most seasoned soldiers.


"The Americans tried it and discovered it was the wrong move," said Salman al-Jumaili, a Baghdad University professor who studies the insurgency. "Doing it again is going to make these men easy recruits for terrorism and will lead to the destruction of Iraqi forces."


Ibrahim al-Jaafari, nominated for prime minister by the Shiite alliance that won the most votes in the Jan. 30 election, has not ruled out a campaign to continue cleansing the army. However, he said, it would be targeted only at Iraqis involved in past atrocities. Other alliance members call for a much wider purge.


Getting rid of the former regime's troops is the clearest path to forming a security force that wins the trust of Iraqis and hastens the departure of the American-led coalition, said Hadi al-Ameri, head of the military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. Ameri, a contender for a key security post in the Cabinet, said most of his troops, who fought Saddam's forces for years from Iran, have been absorbed into the new Iraqi army. After years of struggle, he said, it would be difficult for his men to fight alongside their former enemies.




To: lawyer@rexcurry.net

From: "rex" <rexy@ij.net>

Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:12:52 -0500

Subject: [lpaz-discuss] Drug dogs curbed by state supreme court after US supreme court let dogs out


Florida's Supreme Court let stand restrictions on drug dogs, after the U.S. Supreme Court loosened leashes. http://rexcurry.net/drugdogsmain.html


The nation's top court let cops take dogs fishing for drugs in Illinois v Caballes.  Florida allows other avenues for relief in Florida v Matheson

http://rexcurry.net/drugdogsflorida.pdf (3-3-05)and the very libertarian decision at http://rexcurry.net/drugdogs2dca.pdf (the appellate case  below).


I am the attorney who argued the original motion to suppress for Matheson.


Drug dogs are covers for lies.  Here's how -


1.  Cops tell drivers that they should consent to a search of their car because radio dispatch "has a drug dog on the way over."  It is often a lie told to induce drivers to consent to search. There is no dog on the way.


2.  If a dog is or is not "on the way," cops add additional lies to make drivers think that there will be a long wait and that the driver must stay until a dog arrives.  Cops rely on driver ignorance of the fact that evidence will be suppressed if drivers are detained longer than it takes to complete the traffic stop (e.g. write the ticket). Drivers are induced to consent to search to avoid a long wait based on lies.


3. If a dog is enroute, cops let drivers think that they are obliged to stay even when the cop has no reason to detain drivers any longer. The cop's rationalization is that drivers loiter roadside with cops for no apparent reason or because drivers enjoy waiting for dog sniffs. Cops take advantage of drivers who are too stupid (or too meek) to ask if they are free to go,  so that drivers "consent" to unwarranted detention by not leaving.


4.  Cops lie about how long it is taking to write a ticket or to obtain a radio response on a driver's license or tag check.  If a dog is actually on the way, the cops will make sure that the ticket is written very slowly, until the dog arrives.


5.  After the dog arrives, cops will lie and say that the dog alerted, even if it didn't.   In that sense, it doesn't matter whether or not dogs are well-trained or accurate, because dogs are often ruses for lies to violate constitutional rights.


6. If a dog alerts and nothing is found, then cops will never record that as an error, but will claim that the dog detected lingering odors of contraband that were recently present.  Cops will testify that dogs never make mistakes, never have and never will, and that apparent errors are skillful detections of lingering (residual) odors of contraband.


Government's attitude toward your liberty is like a dog at a fire hydrant.


It is a reminder of the police-state tactics in the infamous Goose Creek videotape of the government school in South Carolina where children were forced to the floor in handcuffs and terrorized by dogs and cops with guns drawn.  Nothing was found.


In other government schools, classes have been interrupted and the children were marched out and lined up to be harassed by a dog.


yours in liberty,


Rex Curry

Attorney At Law






Mar 14, 5:13 PM EST


Security gaffes cited in courthouse spree



Associated Press Writer


ATLANTA (AP) -- The deputy, a 51-year-old woman just 5 feet tall, was simply no match for the inmate she was escorting to the courtroom, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound former college linebacker on trial for rape. Authorities say Brian Nichols overpowered deputy Cynthia Hall, took her gun, and easily gained access to the courtroom, where he went on to kill the judge and a court reporter. Security cameras captured images of him overpowering the deputy, but no one, it turned out, was watching the screens.


There were more security gaffes. Earlier in the week, Nichols was found to have had two homemade knives in his shoes while in court. And the vehicle reported to be his getaway car was found more than 13 hours after the shootings - in the same parking garage where it was allegedly carjacked.


Authorities are investigating how the security breakdowns happened on that bloody Friday morning, and they are vowing changes will be made. The issue is getting national attention as well, with Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying he would hold congressional hearings on improving security at courthouses and for judges.


Among the issues being looked at in Georgia are better training, increasing deputy staffing, requiring inmates to be handcuffed in the courtroom and a security standard that would apply to every courthouse in the state.


"You go to courthouses across Georgia, you would find everything from high security to no security," said state Sen. Joseph Carter, a lawyer. "I've been to courthouses where they see you in a suit and they say, Are you an attorney? Come on in.' You appreciate the courtesy, but that always gives you a little pause."


The heightened security is the result of what happened when Nichols, 33, allegedly went on a rampage as he was being taken to the courtroom for his rape trial. In addition to the judge and court reporter, he is accused of killing a deputy outside the courthouse and a federal agent while he was on the run. Nichols surrendered Saturday after a woman he had taken hostage apparently coaxed him into it.


Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Clarence Huber declined to elaborate on what security changes were made at the Fulton County Courthouse when it reopened Monday. But longer lines at a checkpoint near the entrance indicated more thorough searches.


Huber said the courthouse had a good track record before the rampage, but added, "We're going to be much more vigilant and much more cautious in doing our jobs."


McLaughlin reports people at the courthouse seem to be going about their business normally.


Prosecutors actually had asked for increased security surrounding Nichols last week after he was found with the homemade knives - one crafted by a door hinge, another from piece of metal "the size of a TV remote," said Barry Hazen, the suspect's attorney in his rape trial.


Hazen said security at the courthouse has long been a concern. He said he has met with inmates in rooms without the protection of a deputy outside. Microphone wire guides made of metal or plastic sit on courtroom tables, potential weapons within easy reach of an inmate, Hazen said.


"There were times when I felt very uncomfortable," he said. "I don't think they have enough deputies."


Huber said the number of deputies at the courthouse is sufficient, but acknowledged that inmates outnumber the staff. "It's not uncommon to be moving four inmates at one time - with only one deputy with them," Huber said.


Authorities have said Nichols was not in handcuffs or shackles as he was being moved to the courtroom because they did not want to taint the jury by showing him in restraints.


The U.S. Supreme Court has held that people on trial can be shackled in front of the jury, but only if prosecutors have a strong argument for it. Prosecutors could very well have won that argument in Nichols' case because of the knives.


Nichols apparently took Hall's gun from a lockbox, using her keys, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday. Officers normally remove their guns when transporting inmates because of the possibility that the prisoner will grab the weapon from the holster.


The newspaper also reported that a courthouse surveillance camera recorded the attack on Hall, but no one in the control center noticed.


The episode points to the need for a national courthouse security standard similar to what keeps federal courthouses secure, said Howard Safir, a former operations chief for the U.S. Marshals Service and chairman of SafirRosetti Security Co.


Safir said that in federal courthouses, "you're not going to put a large prisoner with a violent history and with a history of having been found with weapons alone with someone virtually half his size."


Federal security agents analyze an inmate's threat potential and take appropriate security measures. A series of locks and other safeguards prevent unauthorized people from getting into a judge's chambers and then into the courtroom, Safir said.


In Nichols' case, Hazen said the judge had expressed worries about his client - but the concern was directed more at the lawyer than the judge.


"As we were walking out, he put his hand on my right shoulder and said, `Be careful,'" Hazen said.


Associated Press reporters Eliott C. McLaughlin and Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report.


© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.






  Despite New Efforts Along Arizona Border, 'Serious Problems' Remain



Published: March 14, 2005


OGALES, Ariz. - Back in Washington, officials have promised to step up protection against terrorists by securing the borders. But here along a dusty brown expanse of desert, where Border Patrol agents struggle to stem the flow of illegal immigrants by relying on tactics like horseback patrols, underground sensors and helicopters, commanders have yet to achieve what they call "operational control."


"We have had successes," said Kevin L. Stevens, the assistant patrol chief in the Tucson sector. "But we have some gapping areas out there, some serious problems."


The mission has gained new attention in Congress and at the White House because of intelligence reports that operatives of Al Qaeda may try to use this desolate stretch to enter the United States.


Although citing no evidence of such efforts, officials of the Homeland Security Department recently said the agency worried that would-be terrorists might enter the country by drifting in with illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.


"The southern border is literally under siege, and there is a real possibility that terrorists, particularly Al Qaeda forces, could exploit this series of holes in our law enforcement system," Representative Solomon P. Ortiz, Democrat of Texas, said at a Congressional hearing.


The Border Patrol has intensified its enforcement efforts in the last year, starting a campaign called the Arizona Border Control Initiative and making surveillance with a "substantial probability of apprehending terrorists" a top priority.


But Border Patrol agents interviewed in February in the Nogales region said privately that the get-tough policy was an all-but-impossible expansion of a nearly hopeless mission.


"Anyone with any determination can still make it into the United States," said an agent who refused to give his name because he feared being fired. "It is all nonsense, all smoke and mirrors."


No one can reliably estimate how many illegal immigrants cross the 6,000 miles of United States border each year. It is certainly more than a million.


The only objective indicator is the number of arrests, which hit 491,771 in 2004 for just the 261 miles of border that make up the Tucson sector. That is up from 139,473 a decade ago, which explains why Arizona had more border captures in 2004 than California, New Mexico and Texas combined, and why special initiatives have begun here.


The effort has had some obvious effects. Border communities like Nogales now experience much less illegal traffic, as well as fewer border-related crimes, the Border Patrol says.


Dozens of migrants still try to cross the border each day. But new digital video cameras scan almost all the border just inside the cities, and sensors have been built into towering steel border barriers that detect when someone climbs them or tries to cut open a hole.


Cameras have even been placed in a sewer between Nogales on the Mexican side and its sister city, Nogales, Ariz.


"We have taken the easiest routes away from them," Chief Stevens said. "Gain, maintain, expand. That's our strategy."


The intense surveillance in the cities, backed by an increase in Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector, where the force has tripled to 2,170 in 10 years, has apparently pushed the illegal movement elsewhere.


The Arizona initiative promised to take the enforcement campaign into the desert - enormous expanses of Indian reservations, environmental conservation areas, cattle ranches and wild stretches of this big sky world. Pilotless aerial vehicles, or drones, were leased, and more motion sensors were installed, as were more sophisticated cameras.


This technology is the start of what the Bush administration hopes will turn into a $2.5 billion investment over five years to install a new generation of surveillance equipment, creating what it calls America's Shield Initiative.


But many frontline agents wonder whether all the spending makes much sense. In the eight months that the drones circled, at a cost of $6 million, they contributed to 1,294 captures, officials said, or less than 0.5 percent of the sector total in the last fiscal year.


"It is a ridiculous waste of money," an agent said. "There are so many more practical items we need. More vehicles, more agents, even new bulletproof vests. And yet they are spending millions on an unmanned reconnaissance vehicle simply to generate good press."


Some aerial reconnaissance is essential because it is only from the air that border runners can be easily spotted. One afternoon in February, a Border Patrol helicopter came upon 30 or so men and women out in the craggy, cactus-dotted hills. Agent John L. Kimmel dipped his helicopter toward the ground, using a loudspeaker and a barrage of noise, dust and bursts of air to nudge the suspects from their hiding spots.




"Get up!" he yelled in Spanish. "Get up!"


Thanks to a quick response by an agent on the ground, most, if not all, of the suspects were rounded up. But even before they were put in patrol wagons, some were probably plotting their next crossings.


Martin Arrendo, 35, was caught while heading from his home in Irapuato, Mexico, to his job in Sonoma County, Calif., where he earns $16 an hour pruning vines or picking grapes, compared with $10 a day at home.


"As soon as they take me back, I will try again," Mr. Arrendo said.


Security officials have been concerned about Qaeda operatives trying to enter the United States even before the Sept. 11 attacks.


The most specific alert about the southern border came last August, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned that Adnan G. el-Shukrijumah, a Saudi pilot sought by the United States as a high-ranking Qaeda leader and who was believed to have examined the New York Stock Exchange for a possible attack, was spotted in Honduras and might try to cross into the United States from Mexico.


In recent months, officials have reported a worrisome increase in the "Other Than Mexican" category of arrests along the southwestern border. That number has reached 41,360 this fiscal year, up more than 100 percent from the same period in 2004. More than 90 percent of those non-Mexicans are from Latin America, Border Patrol officials said.


But last fiscal year, 682 of those caught were designated "special interest aliens" because they came from countries that have active terrorist presences. In some cases, people from Middle Eastern countries, after paying smugglers to help them, have adopted Mexican names in an effort to disguise their identities, the director of the F.B.I., Robert S. Mueller III, told members of Congress in early March.


"It is a tremendous concern to us," Mr. Mueller said. "We're working together to try to identify those smuggling organizations and take them out of business."


Border agents try to identify such migrants by listening carefully to their accents, not an entirely reliable system. Suspects from the "special interest" countries, which include Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, are turned over to other federal agencies for more questioning.


Ultimately, though, most of the non-Mexicans are released in the United States pending deportation hearings and are typically never heard from again, Representative Ortiz said.


Border Patrol officials say that as they intensify surveillance of the desert, migrants and others trying to enter the United States are changing strategies, moving through far southwestern Arizona and New Mexico. Smugglers have been trying to build cross-border tunnels like one found under construction by agents in Nogales in early March.


Various plans have been offered to secure the border. Congress passed a measure late in 2004 that authorized doubling the number of Border Patrol officers in five years, to 20,000, as well as increasing the number of beds for detainees over the five years by 40,000. That would mean that fewer people awaiting deportation hearings would need to be released.


President Bush wants to create a temporary worker program that would legalize the presence of millions of immigrants, perhaps reducing illegal traffic.


For Border Patrol agents, the problem breeds palpable frustration. Chief Stevens said that like soldiers in battle who do not always appreciate the nuances of a wise general's strategy, they must understand that the key is keeping up the fight.


Some agents have grave doubts.


"It seems quite obvious here," one said. "We are not winning this war."




many latinos thinks george w hitler war sucks




Latino poll: Many say bring GIs home now


Yvonne Wingett

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


Latinos are more likely than other Americans to favor an immediate withdrawal of military troops from Iraq, according to a new study.


More specifically, American-born Hispanics are about evenly split on how long to keep troops in Iraq while Latinos born in other countries favor a speedy pullout by a ratio of almost 2-1, according to a Pew Hispanic Center's survey conducted earlier this year, almost two years after the beginning of the war in Iraq.


"In the beginning, I truly thought it made sense to be there, that we were there for a good reason," said American-born Dennisse Moreno, 31, of west Phoenix. "But as time has progressed, I just don't see anything happening. I don't see anything good coming from it anymore. To be quite honest . . . I don't even remember why we went."


Political parties in Arizona and across the nation are monitoring opinions of the nation's fastest-growing minority group. Pollsters are finding interestingly diverse attitudes on the war and other issues among various subgroups of Latinos. Hispanics have been an increasingly important target for both parties in Arizona, Florida, Texas and California, where they could play a key role in midterm elections. Latinos' skepticism on the war could limit Republican's potential inroads into the Hispanic electorate, traditionally Democratic-leaning.


The Pew Hispanic Center surveyed 1,003 adults who identified themselves as being of Latino or Hispanic origin or descent. The telephone survey was taken Jan. 11-27 and asked various questions about the war in Iraq. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.


Among the findings:


• The poll indicates 51 percent of Hispanics think troops should pull out of Iraq while 37 percent believe they should remain. By comparison, a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey done in January said that 41 percent of the public favored immediate troop withdrawal while 54 percent thought they should stay.


• American-born Latinos are almost evenly divided on when to bring the troops home: An immediate withdrawal is supported by 55 percent of foreign-born Latinos with 29 percent against immediate withdrawal. That division could be a reflection of partisanship, socioeconomics and news sources, Pew researchers and local political experts said.


And some of the opinion could reflect that they have family members fighting the war.


For working-class Latinos, the armed forces historically have been an avenue for economic and educational advancement. The military is not the only option for economic advancement for more established, educated, native-born Latinos, researchers said.


Support for bringing troops home also is more pronounced among those who lack a college education or have household incomes below $50,000 a year.


Of the 1.4 million people in the military, 125,768 in December described themselves as Hispanic, according to the Department of Defense. About 17,120 Hispanics from active-duty military services and 6,650 from the Guard and Reserve were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Arizona figures were unavailable because they are not tracked by ethnic breakdown.


"It suggests the foreign-born in substantial numbers don't particularly see this as their fight," said Roberto Suro, director of Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center. "They're not American. A large part of that population isn't here with legal status. You have people who are not on the road to citizenship, and in many ways, they're prevented from any kind of civic engagement."


Some foreign-born Hispanics also bring the political sentiments of their native countries with them, political experts said.


They come from countries, particularly Mexico, where the war is unpopular and leaders have expressed overwhelming anti-war messages.


"They need to come home," said central Phoenix's Rosa Maria Flores, who works as a janitor. "Many people are dying. Many innocent children are dying. I like the president, but I don't like the war. He isn't sending his children to the war. Why should we?"


Foreign-born Latinos likely are also influenced by Spanish-language media, which typically might not censor images of war as much as English-language media.


"You can see the full images on Spanish-language," said Adrian Pantoja, an Arizona State University professor of political science.


"When the war is sanitized, it becomes a video game: You're dropping bombs from a distance and nobody's getting killed."


Still, many Hispanics such as 58-year-old Gloria Eugenia Alvillar feel strongly that American troops should remain in Iraq until the mission is completed.


"We can't leave them now," the Tucson resident said.


"That would be horribly irresponsible. We need to stay, or there will be a blood bath and democracy will never take hold."






Judge won't expand Prop. 200

House bill would toughen immigration measure


Elvia Díaz, Yvonne Wingett and Michael Kiefer

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


A judge threw out an attempt to add teeth to Arizona's Proposition 200 on Monday, just as the state House tentatively approved sweeping legislation to expand the measure's influence throughout the state.


House Bill 2030 would deny undocumented immigrants the right to adopt children, live in public housing, take adult literacy courses and enroll in college, among other things. The bill faces a final vote in the House before it goes to the Senate.


The legislation would go far beyond the legal interpretation of Proposition 200, the anti-illegal immigration measure approved by voters in November. Attorney General Terry Goddard has concluded that it would apply only to welfare benefits.


Judge Barbara M. Jarrett upheld his interpretation by dismissing a court action brought by key supporters of Proposition 200 seeking an injunction against Goddard's interpretation. She said the supporters had not offered any specific case or controversy to illustrate their arguments and that Goddard's interpretation was not arbitrary.


"They didn't have any facts together to show any violations," said Susan Segal, the assistant attorney general handling the case.


In his opinion, Goddard concluded that undocumented immigrants could receive free school lunches, immunizations and library cards without being referred to immigration authorities. Randy Pullen, a key supporter of Proposition 200, challenged the definition in court.


Pullen believes Proposition 200 should apply to an assortment of public benefits, such as public housing, food assistance, college education and employment benefits.


"Regardless of what the courts say, the attorney general and the governor are dragging their feet and are trying to minimize the implementation of Prop. 200 as much as they can," Pullen said Monday.


"(Gov. Janet Napolitano is) going to have to make a decision of whether to go with what the will of the people want (with HB 2030) or what the Democratic Party wants her to do."


The bill, like Proposition 200, makes it a crime for public employees to fail to report undocumented immigrants who seek the benefits outlined in the legislation. Pullen and others say the legislation is a necessary step to achieve the original intent of Proposition 200.


The law also requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote and proof of residency at the polls. Some elections officials have hit administrative and procedural snags in trying to implement Proposition 200 and worry that it could discourage minorities from voting.




perhaps if we bomb the arabs more that will make the arabs love us?? nope we already tried that.




Bush taps pal Hughes to alter Arabs' image of U.S.


Cam Simpson

Chicago Tribune

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Thirteen months ago, one of Washington's top intelligence officials warned that burgeoning anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world was providing sustenance for extremists. Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, updated that warning last month and turned up the volume, telling senators that Osama bin Laden was feeding off the negative feelings, which are at an all-time high.


But Monday, following months of simmering criticism about its foundering public diplomacy efforts, the White House named Karen Hughes, a longtime confidant of President Bush, to head the State Department office charged with turning that tide and improving America's image abroad.


Hughes, a 48-year-old Texan who played a crucial role in the rise of George W. Bush from professional baseball executive to the presidency, was tapped to become the new undersecretary of public diplomacy, a position that had been without a permanent chief since last summer.


"America's public diplomacy should be as much about listening and understanding as it is about speaking," Hughes said at the State Department. "I'm eager to listen and to learn."


Though she lacks diplomatic experience in the Muslim or Arab world, insiders and outsiders alike said Monday that Hughes, who would be the third person to hold the post since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, may have the one qualification that matters most - clout.


"I was kind of hoping that they would do something dramatic," Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the House subcommittee that holds the purse strings for the State Department, said approvingly after the announcement.


Wolf, who had been nudging the White House on the issue for more than a year, said Hughes' most important asset might be that she "will have the ear of the president."


A former Texas TV reporter once dubbed the most powerful woman in Washington, Hughes left Bush's side nearly three years ago to return to Texas to spend more time with her family, returning briefly to the fold last summer when insiders worried that Bush's re-election campaign was in trouble.


Her decision now to return to official Washington for a post far removed from the power center of the White House's West Wing surprised some but signaled to others the importance Bush appears to be placing behind the effort.


That was certainly the message received at the State Department, where one veteran of public-diplomacy efforts said the high-profile appointment for what was largely considered an unwanted job could give the moribund campaign the jolt it needs.


The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Hughes' nomination could fill a vital void by finally putting someone in the post with relevance in policymaking circles. But this official also said, "The open question is, can she get the resources?"


Funding for the effort has long been criticized. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has proposed a public-diplomacy budget, including funds for exchange programs run by the United States, of nearly $760 million for 2006, up from about $685 million this year.


But the State Department official said those figures "amount to peanuts" when "you are engaged in a war of ideas."


A special commission drew similar conclusions, arguing that funding for American efforts to influence the world fell off dramatically when the Cold War ended. The independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks also called for a new push to improve America's image in the Muslim world.




now they use the messy yard laws to raise revenue. but they are still selectivelly enforced.




Complex's owner gets $377,500 fine


Meghan E. Moravcik

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


NORTH PHOENIX - The city has imposed the biggest fine in its history on the owner of an apartment complex on North Cave Creek Road.


California-based San Floriano, owner of Mountain Springs Terrace at 18202 N. Cave Creek Road, was fined $377,500 for more than 150 zoning and neighborhood preservation violations.


Will Gonzalez, an assistant city prosecutor, said the complex's owner did not respond to repeated requests by the community and the Police Department to clean the area up, so the city had to resort to litigation.


A lien has been placed on the property.


Fines were imposed only for exterior violations, such as loose railings on the second floor and no fire extinguishers, but the area also is a hotbed for crime.


"Crime and blight seem to go hand in hand," said Detective Diane Martin of the Desert Horizon Precinct. "(Criminals) like to hang around those types of areas because if people aren't going to take care of (blight) issues, they're not really going to take care of crime issues, either."


Heavy crime in the area includes assault, domestic violence, property crime, drugs and auto theft. Hitting owners in the pocketbook usually is an effective way of getting their attention to deal with these issues, Martin said.


Residents in the community have been dealing with issues at this property for years, said Rosie Gullion, 56, who has lived nearby for 12 years.






White House to agencies: Ignore GAO's ruling on 'illegal' TV news releases


Ken Herman

Cox News Service

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - The White House, intent on continuing to crank out "video news releases" that look like television news stories, has told government agency heads to ignore a Government Accountability Office memo criticizing the practice as illegal propaganda.


In a memo on Friday, Joshua Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the lawyers the White House depends on disagree with the GAO's conclusions.


Accompanying Bolten's memo was a letter from Steven Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, who said video news releases "are the television equivalent of the printed press release."


"They can be a cost-effective means to distribute information through local news outlets, and their use by private and public entities has been widespread since the early 1990s, including by numerous federal agencies," Bradbury said.


Comptroller General David Walker of the GAO said Monday that his agency is "disappointed by the administration's actions" in telling agency heads to ignore the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.


"This is not just a legal issue, it's also an ethical matter," Walker said. "The taxpayers have a right to know when the government is trying to influence them with their own money."


Bradbury's memo said video news releases are legal and legitimate as long as they don't "constitute advocacy for any particular position or view."


The GAO, in a Feb. 17 memo to agency heads, said its review of video news releases distributed to television stations by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy showed violations of federal law barring the use of government money for propaganda. The GAO said, "Television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government."


Giving no indication that the administration would change its policy, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "It's very clear to the TV stations where they are coming from."


But the GAO, in the Feb. 17 memo from Walker, said that's not enough.


"They are intended to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public by independent television news organizations," Walker wrote. "To help accomplish this goal, these stories include actors or others hired to portray 'reporters' and may be accompanied by suggested scripts that television news anchors can use to introduce the story during the broadcast."


Former White House press secretary Mike McCurry, who held the job in the Clinton administration, said there was a "considerable amount of video news release activity" during those years, but much of it was limited to raw footage."






Nazis tested nuke device in '45, book says


Associated Press

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


BERLIN - Nazi Germany tested a crude nuclear device in March 1945, killing hundreds of people in a massive explosion in southeastern Germany, a German researcher claims in a new book published Monday.


That the Nazis conducted nuclear experiments has been known for decades, but Hitler's Bomb, by Berlin academic Rainer Karlsch, suggests they may have been closer to building an atomic weapon for military use than previously believed.


No independent corroboration of the claims was immediately available.


"Hitler's bomb - a tactical nuclear weapon with a potential for destruction far below that of the two American atomic bombs - was tested successfully several times shortly before the end of the war," Karlsch said in the book.


What Nazi Germany lacked was enough fissile material, such as enriched uranium, to make a full-size, functioning nuclear bomb, he said.


Other researchers already have theorized that the Nazis conducted crude nuclear experiments, but Karlsch said he has discovered additional evidence, notably in the archives of the former Soviet Union.


The book cites postwar witness accounts and Soviet military intelligence reports to back up its theory of a March 3, 1945, experimental nuclear test blast at the Nazis' Ohrdruf military testing area (then run as a concentration camp by the Nazi SS) but offers no firsthand documentary proof.


Mark Walker, a history professor and Third Reich expert at Union College- Schenectady in New York state, said the book had not re-written the history of the nuclear arms race.


"The word atom bomb has a specific, precise historical significance," said Walker, who attended the book's launch. "An atom bomb is what the Americans dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An atom bomb is what the Soviet Union tested in 1949. There was no German atom bomb."


However, he said Karlsch's book had discovered a lost chapter in the history of Nazi research into nuclear arms.




whats the big deal about a $100 million over charge when your buddy is the VP




Halliburton fees questioned

Audit hints it may have overcharged U.S. $100 mil


T. Christian Miller and Mark Mazzetti

Los Angeles Times

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Pentagon auditors said Halliburton Corp. might have overcharged by more than $100 million on a contract to deliver fuel to Iraq in the early days of the war, according to a report released Monday. Among other items, the Pentagon's Defense Contract Audit Agency said Halliburton charged $27.5 million to deliver $82,100 worth of liquefied petroleum gas, calling it "illogical."


The report also faulted Halliburton as having misled auditors, poorly managing multimillion-dollar subcontracts and failing to deliver key documents to justify the prices paid for fuel.


The Pentagon audit report, dated October 2004, is the most detailed yet to suggest that Halliburton might have overcharged the U.S. government on its $2.5 billion contract to supply fuel and protect Iraq's oil infrastructure. An earlier draft audit of the same contract turned up $61 million in questionable charges.


The findings prompted an attack on the Bush administration from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., whose office released the latest audit. Halliburton, formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, was the focus of repeated Democrat attacks during the presidential campaign.


"We would like to know when and how you plan to recover the overcharges from Halliburton and restore them to U.S. taxpayers and the Iraqi people," Waxman wrote in a letter to President Bush.


The Army Corp of Engineers, which oversees Halliburton's contract, declined to comment. The study is considered confidential.


A spokeswoman said the Corps of Engineers was still negotiating final payments to Halliburton.


"We will consider both the DCAA audits and all other information available to us in reaching a final government negotiating position," said Carol Sanders, the spokeswoman.


A spokeswoman for the Houston-based oil services giant called the audit part of the "normal contracting process." She said auditors did not adequately take into account that KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, was delivering fuel in a war zone.




israel - 50+ years of stealing land from arabs (with the help of the good old USA)




Israel's barrier to enclose settlement


Associated Press

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


JERUSALEM - The final route of Israel's separation barrier around Jerusalem will encompass large areas claimed by the Palestinians, including their intended capital and the biggest Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Israeli officials confirmed Monday.


The route will also place a holy site in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem on the Israeli side of the barrier, while leaving a Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem encircled by a separate fence, the officials said.


Israeli and Palestinian Cabinet ministers Monday agreed again on a handover of the West Bank town of Jericho to Palestinian security control. Earlier agreements fell through.


Israeli officials said the handover is set for Wednesday, to be followed later by Tulkarem and then Qalqiliya.


Two other towns, Bethlehem and Ramallah, are to be transferred to Palestine as well, but those were not agreed on at Monday's meeting between Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef and Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.


Israel began building the barrier in the West Bank two years ago, saying it was needed to keep out Palestinian attackers.




i guess the government doesnt trust us subjects to send it mail.




Anthrax sensed at Pentagon, military mail sites


John J. Lumpkin

Associated Press

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Sensors at two military mail facilities in the Washington area detected signs of anthrax on two pieces of mail Monday, but Pentagon officials said the mail had already been irradiated, rendering any anthrax inert.


Officials weren't sure if this was an attack. Additional tests and other sensors at the two facilities, one of them at the Pentagon and the other nearby, found no presence of the bacteria, which can be used as a biological weapon. There were no initial reports of illness.


The Pentagon's mail delivery site, which is separate from the main Pentagon building, was evacuated and shut down Monday after sensors triggered an alarm around 10:30 a.m. local time, spokesman Glenn Flood said. It was expected to remain closed until at least today while the investigation continued.


It was not clear when sensors at the second Defense Department mailroom were triggered Monday, and Pentagon officials only said a nearby satellite mail facility was closed. But firefighters in nearby Bailey's Crossroads, Va., reported that a military mailroom had been shut down after a hazardous material was detected, and no one was allowed to leave.


Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell said mail at both facilities were irradiated before arriving at either one. She had no information about the origin of the two pieces of mail.


About 175 people work at the Pentagon's mail facility, and an additional 100 may have been in contact with deliveries for the Pentagon, officials said.


Medical personnel took cultures from anyone who may have had contact with those deliveries, and those people were also offered a three-day course of antibiotics and told to watch for the signs of anthrax exposure: fever, sweats and chills.


Follow-up tests were being conducted at the U.S. Army Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Dietrich, Md., officials said. General operations at the Pentagon appeared unaffected.


Officials noted that sometimes anthrax sensors can give false-positive results.


Several cases involving letters laced with killer substances remain unsolved.


In October 2001, someone sent anthrax in letters to media and government offices in Washington, Florida and elsewhere. Five people were killed and 17 more sickened.


In October 2003, two letters containing the poison ricin, sent to the Transportation Department and White House, were intercepted before they reached their destinations.


A small amount of ricin was discovered Feb. 2, 2004, on a mail-opening machine in the office suite of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. About two dozen staffers and Capitol police officers underwent decontamination.




our government wastes millions of dollars protecting us from this?




FCC says towel-dropping 'MNF' intro not indecent


Associated Press

Mar. 15, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Sure, the steamy introduction to ABC's Monday Night Football was titillating, showing the bare back of Desperate Housewives actress Nicolette Sheridan as she jumped into the arms of football player Terrell Owens.


But U.S. regulators ruled Monday that the racy clip didn't violate federal indecency standards. In a unanimous decision, the five-member Federal Communications Commission said the segment "simply is not graphic or explicit enough to be indecent under our standard."


A spokesman for ABC Sports, Mark Mandel, said the company wouldn't comment.


The segment that aired in November showed Sheridan in a locker room wearing only a towel and provocatively asking the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver to skip the game for her. She then dropped the towel and leaped into Owens' arms.


Only the upper back of the Desperate Housewives star was exposed and no foul language was used - in fact, the scene was no racier than what's routinely seen on soap operas. But ABC said it received complaints from viewers.


While agreeing with the decision, Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps criticized ABC for airing the segment at a time - 9 p.m. EST - when many children were watching.


"There wasn't much self-discipline in this particular promotion," he said. "As stewards of the airwaves, broadcasters can and should do better."


Federal law bars non-satellite radio stations and non-cable TV channels from airing certain references to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are most likely be tuning in.


While the federal indecency statute has been on the books for many years, the FCC has considerably boosted enforcement in the past 18 months. The watershed event came in February 2004 when Janet Jackson's right breast was briefly exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show.




dont you feel good kevin? the secrect service didnt fly you to egypt and have some US paid government thugs beat you to get a confession. all they did is illegally arrest you and lock you in a mental institution for four months trying to get a confession from you. damn, you gotta give the secret service they do treat americans much better then foreigners. hell we have a consititution they have to obey:)




ALEXANDRIA, Va. The Falls Church man accused of plotting with al-Qaida to assassinate President Bush pleaded innocent today to federal charges today in Alexandria.


Twenty-three-year-old Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was indicted last month and charged an a six-count indictment that would allow a maximum prison term of 80 years. The judge set a trial date of August 22nd.


Prosecutors say Abu Ali, a U-S citizen who attended an Islamic private school in northern Virginia, joined al-Qaida while studying overseas in Saudi Arabia. They say he discussed numerous terrorist acts with other al-Qaida members, including a plan in which he would either shoot President Bush or detonate a car bomb.


An F-B-I agent testified in a pre-trial hearing that Abu Ali has admitted his guilt multiple times in interviews with Saudi and American authorities, but Abu Ali's lawyers say he was tortured by Saudi captors.


Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




Abu Ali Pleads Innocent in Plot To Kill Bush

Monday March 14, 2005 1:02pm


Alexandria, Va. (AP) - A northern Virginia man accused of joining al-Qaida (website/news) and plotting to assassinate President Bush (website/newsbio) pleaded innocent Monday in federal court to providing material support to terrorists and other charges.


Despite defense protests, an Aug. 22 trial date was scheduled for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, of Falls Church. He was indicted last month and charged with six counts that would allow a maximum prison term of 80 years.


Prosecutors say Abu Ali, a U.S. citizen who was valedictorian of his high school class at an Islamic private school in northern Virginia, joined al-Qaida while studying overseas in Saudi Arabia. They say he discussed numerous terrorist acts with other al-Qaida members, including a plan in which he would either shoot President Bush or detonate a car bomb.


Other discussions included a Sept. 11-style attack in which airplanes would be hijacked from the United Kingdom or Australia and flown to targets in the United States.


An FBI (website) agent testified that Abu Ali has admitted his guilt multiple times in interviews with Saudi and American authorities, but Abu Ali's lawyers say the government's evidence was obtained through torture and that they have seen the scars on Abu Ali's back from the beatings he endured while in Saudi custody.


Lawyers for Abu Ali filed a motion seeking medical and psychological evaluations that they contend will support his claim that he was tortured. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said he would schedule a hearing as soon as Friday on the defense motion.


Abu Ali's lawyer Ashraf Nubani pressed for a May 4 trial, arguing the August trial date would violate federal speedy trial rules and said the government wanted the additional time to "concoct its case."


Prosecutors said they needed a later trial date because of the complexity of the case.


The counts against Abu Ali include two counts of conspiring conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, two counts of providing material support to terrorists, one count of contributing services to al-Qaida and one count of receiving funds and services from al-Qaida




Rendition & Tortured Confessions

The Appalling Case of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali



Twenty-three-year-old, Houston-born American citizen Ahmed Omar Abu Ali has been returned to Virginia after twenty months in solitary confinement in a Saudi Arabian prison. But he returned only to face arraignment, on February 22, in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.


The charge is that he conspired to commit terrorism- and, indeed, the FBI says that he admitted as much in the course of interrogations in Saudi prison. He is alleged to have plotted to assassinate President Bush--but is not charged with that conspiracy.


The case is far from as open-and-shut as the FBI might suggest. Indeed, a number of aspects of the prosecution are deeply troubling.


The Early History of Abu Ali's Case: The Government Reverses Itself


At the end of the 2003 academic year at the Saudi university he was attending, Abu Ali failed to return home to the U.S. As a result, his family--Jordan-born, naturalized U.S. citizens living in Northern Virginia where I practice--contacted me to see if I could help.


In August 2004, attorneys filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, on behalf of Abu Ali's parents, in order to obtain his release. Among the attorneys was renowned constitutional rights scholar and Georgetown University law professor David Cole.


The day the suit was filed, the State Department--which had previously refused to provide information to Abu Ali's parents--notified them that their son would be charged with crimes of terrorism in Saudi Arabia. But that never happened. Instead, the question of whether Abu Ali could be returned to the U.S. was litigated.


Before U.S. District Judge John Bates, the government took the position that Abu Ali was far too dangerous to ever be returned to the United States, and that the reason was so serious that it could not be disclosed even to the family's attorneys. In other words, the government sought to proceed on secret evidence.


Then, the government reversed itself dramatically. It transported Abu Ali to the United States itself--thus mooting the question before Judge Bates of whether the government could proceed upon secret evidence to block his return.


In 2004, when Abu Ali's parents had been begging the U.S. government to intervene, it had refused--claiming it was up to the Saudis whether he was released. With his return, however, it began to seem evident that the Saudis had been holding Abu Ali with U.S. consent--indeed, even at the U.S.'s behest. It now appears that FBI agents had the Saudis remove Abu Ali from his university class and take him to a Saudi facility for questioning in the summer of 2003.


It also became apparent that the U.S. could, all the time, have ensured Abu Ali's return to the U.S. whenever it felt like it. After all, federal prosecutors had, during this time, extradited from Saudi Arabia to Alexandria another man in Saudi custody who was alleged to be (and acquitted of being) a terrorist and involved in the case of the Alexandria 11.


Apparently, however, the U.S. had taken advantage of this U.S. citizen's choice to attend school abroad, to make sure he was held in prison there--where torture would be permitted, and counsel would not be provided. Indeed, unidentified sources have been quoted in the Washington Post and New York Times as saying that the government certainly would have preferred to have left Abu Ali in Saudi Arabia.


It was only Judge Bates's interest in Abu Ali's case that changed the government's mind. Laudably, Bates was concerned--as we all should be -- about the potentially indefinite imprisonment of a U.S. citizen, with the U.S.'s consent, in a foreign prison where due process is ignored and torture is common.


With Judge Bates perhaps unwilling to proceed against Abu Ali in absentia, the government felt it had to bring him home. To do so, they had to charge him with something--something that would at least sound serious, even if the underlying indictment (as I will explain below) fell far short of the media headline.


The Government Argues Abu Ali Ought to Be "Presumed Dangerous"


Abu Ali was arraigned, as noted above, on February 22. On February 24, a hearing on whether he would be released prior to trial was to occur. But the government managed to delay that hearing. It did so by arguing that the usual standard for pre-trial release should not apply.


Typically, in a criminal case, to block a defendant's release on bail, the government must prove the defendant's dangerousness or his likelihood of fleeing. But here, the government took the position that the defendant, Abu Ali, had the burden of proving to the court that he would not be a danger to national security, before being released on bail. It did so based on 2004 federal legislation stating that people charged with terrorism-related crimes were presumed to be too dangerous to be released unless they proved otherwise.


The Eighth Amendment requires that "excessive" bail shall not be required, and constitutional due process applies to federal pre-trial criminal proceedings. Moreover, two centuries of law have mandated that the government has to prove that a defendant would be a flight risk or danger to the community if not released on the condition he pay bail and/or comply with other requirements.


More fundamentally, our system depends on the idea that we jail people for criminal conduct, not merely the government's insistence that they are "dangerous." In order to honor this principle, we have made sure that we have no common law crimes--only those specifically defined by statute.


The importance of this principle simply cannot be overstated. Without it, governments could simply lock up unpopular minorities, political opponents, and political dissidents--and as South American and Eastern European history shows us, they have.


The Government Relies on a U.S. Citizen's Saudi-Prison Confession


At the hearing on the bail motion, an FBI agent testified that Abu Ali had confessed to Saudi officials that he associated with persons involved with al-Qaeda, received things of value from them, and talked with one or more of them about how to assassinate President Bush, whether by car bomb or shooting. (These persons are named in the indictment as unindicted co-conspirators.) The government also claims to have a videotape of this confession.


Abu Ali's attorneys argued that if Abu Ali indeed confessed, he did so under extreme conditions of confinement--conditions that included torture. Confessions under such circumstances are not only deeply inhumane; they are also notoriously unreliable.


They also pointed out that Abu Ali had repeatedly been denied the right to an attorney. Abu Ali's parents had asked the U.S. consulate in Saudi Arabia -- who had infrequently sent an employee to visit Abu Ali in prison -- to provide their son with an attorney. They were told the Saudis would not allow it. Accordingly, no attorney ever met with Abu Ali while he was incarcerated and doubtless tortured in Saudi Arabia.


Hopefully, the Alexandria judge will exclude the confession from evidence to be heard at Abu Ali's trial. He could do so on the ground that Abu Ali was, in effect, in U.S. custody--and thus, his Fifth Amendment rights were violated. Or, the judge could do so on a simpler ground: that the prejudicial effect of coerced confessions outweighs their probative value. (Federal trial judges may make this prejudicial effect/probative value balance for any piece of evidence the government seeks to offer.)


The Government Searches Abu Ali's Parents Home pursuant to the USA PATRIOT


The government also admitted at the bail hearing that it had secretly raided Abu Ali's parents' home in 2003--apparently pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act -- and found what it deemed to be "radical" Islamic writings. It also found a gun magazine--hardly unusual for Virginia.


This search had occurred incident to the prosecution of the "Alexandria 11." I have written about this group in an earlier column. Abu Ali and his parents were certainly not among them--but because they lived in the same community, apparently they fell under suspicion anyway.


In Abu Ali's case, the government was able to use two arguably unconstitutional laws--the USA PATRIOT Act, which allows secret, warrantless searches, and the law the government invoked, which allows pre-trial dangerousness to be presumed. Through the combination of these laws, it was able to search secretly for supposed evidence of dangerousness, craft an overblown indictment, flood the media with dramatic press releases, and then dare the defendant to prove his innocence.


The Government's Indictment: Where's the Conspiracy?


When the indictment was made available to the public, it raised an even larger question about the entire prosecution. Nowhere in the indictment is Abu Ali tied to any terrorist event or action. So what is his crime?


Plainly, there was not enough support for a charge of conspiracy to assassinate President Bush. Conspiracy requires an agreement, and an overt act in furtherance of the agreement. Nothing in the indictment suggests that Abu Ali either agreed to attempt to assassinate Bush, or took any action as a step to doing so.


So, instead, the indictment simply charges Ali with having "associated" with alleged terrorists. Specifically, it claims that he talked about wanting to kill Bush with these persons, and that he received money from one or more of them--for what purpose, it is unclear.


The very reason that the law of conspiracy requires an agreement and an overt act is to prevent prosecutions like this one--based on alleged, vague discussions that supposedly took place, but were never acted upon.


What Abu Ali's Case Signifies for America and the Rule of Law


The next development in the Abu Ali case may be a plea agreement. The government's case is obviously weak, and its evidence depends on conduct that many view as unconstitutional--even appalling.


The government will be in the same bind it is in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. There, it has successfully argued that it cannot produce witnesses because they are of such high intelligence value to the government that they have to be kept in secret. It has also argued that given that this is the case, the defendant can't subpoena these witnesses because their appearance, pursuant to Moussaoui's Sixth Amendment right to face his accusers, would be a grave threat to national security.


If prosecutors offer Abu Ali a deal and he refuses, he will sit in jail for years as the case winds it way through appeal after appeal, as his occurred in the Moussaoui saga.


If Abu Ali pleads guilty, he will no doubt be placed under a gag order, like that imposed on John Walker Lindh. It will require, most certainly, that he never speak in public about anything related to the court case, or about what happened to him while he was in Saudi custody.


The plea agreement may also require that Abu Ali return to Saudi Arabia--as the agreement the government entered into with U.S. citizen Yaser Hamdi did--even though that means he will be separated from his family. (The agreement followed upon Hamdi's in his Supreme Court case.)


Speaking of his family, Abu Ali's family have not been able to visit him since his return because they refused to agree to the government's rules: An FBI agent had to be present during the visits, all their communications had to be in English, and they could make no comment to anyone, including the press of course, about any aspect of their visit. Is it any wonder they refused?


To add insult to injury, the family has been ordered not to "communicate" with their son in the courtroom. Did this extend to a smile, a loving glance, they asked the magistrate?


If Abu Ali's case does end in a plea agreement--or, worse, in a precedent blessing this prosecution as constitutional--Americans' rights will have been very significantly diminished.


Such a result will mean that this nightmare is viewed as an entirely legal reality: The U.S. can work with a foreign government to arrest and imprison a U.S. citizen and torture him. It can allow the imprisonment to go on indefinitely; Abu Ali's took over twenty months.


Citizens of U.S. allies, too, should beware: Canadian citizen Maher Arar was kidnapped by CIA operatives from New York's Kennedy airport, and taken to Syria for "questioning." There he remained for a year, until Syria got annoyed with the United States and returned Arar to Canada.


Then, if the U.S. (or allied country) citizen confesses under torture--and virtually everyone does, even if the confession is a lie--the U.S. may try to use the confession against him in a U.S. court, as well in a foreign court. (We don't know why the intended Saudi prosecution of Abu Ali got sidetracked. Could it be because the Saudis thought, as did the Syrians about Maher Arar, that no crime had been committed?)


But, readers may object, what if the U.S. really thinks Abu Ali is a terrorist? The answer is that the U.S. can still protect its citizens from him--consistent with the Constitution.


How? The U.S. could have promptly extradited him from Saudi Arabia to face charges here. Once he was here, it could have honored his right, as a U.S. citizen, to an attorney, a speedy trial, and a right to pretrial release unless the government proved that he was a danger or a flight risk.


This is not too much to ask. And it is what the Constitution requires.


Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teaches law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime's dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. Her new book The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights, is published by Lawrence Hill. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net






19 stand guard at shooting suspect's hearing


Associated Press

Mar. 15, 2005 09:45 AM


ATLANTA - Surrounded by 19 officers in a cinder-block jail room, the suspect in a rampage that left a judge and three others dead went before a magistrate Tuesday and was informed that authorities plan to charge him with murder.


Brian Nichols, his hands and ankles shackled, appeared before Cobb County Magistrate Judge Frank Cox on the same rape charge that he was on trial for Friday when he escaped from another courthouse. Nichols spoke only once at the hearing, when Cox asked him if he had any questions.


"Not at this time," he said.


Officers lined the walls of the room during Tuesday's hearing. Authorities said Nichols had been alone with a female deputy Friday when he stole her gun and then shot to death the judge presiding over his rape case and two others. He also is accused of killing a federal agent as he eluded police.


Cox was brought in to hear the case after all the judges in Fulton County recused themselves because of their relationships with Judge Rowland Barnes and the other victims.


Assistant District Attorney Michele McCutcheon informed Cox that the state will pursue four charges of murder against him. Nichols was held without bond and no future court hearings were set.


Defense attorney Chris Adams told reporters after the hearing "this is a time of grief and mourning" for the courthouse community.


Officials declared a mistrial in Nichols' second rape trial Monday. His first trial was a mistrial as well.


The prosecutors in those trials said Nichols lashed out because he believed the jury was going to convict him in the second. If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison.


After being the focus of a 26-hour manhunt, the largest in Georgia history, Nichols was arrested Saturday morning at an apartment complex where he had taken a woman hostage, then let her go free after several hours.


Some residents are questioning how local law enforcement let an armed inmate elude their grasp for so long.


Security cameras had been rolling Friday morning as Nichols - a former college linebacker who had been found in court earlier in the week with two homemade knives in his shoes - overpowered deputy Cynthia Hall as the 5-foot-tall officer escorted him to his rape trial. No one was monitoring the cameras.


Authorities said Nichols escaped the courthouse in a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority train. They said he took the train north to a pricey neighborhood where he allegedly gunned down a federal agent.


"I don't understand why they didn't have the MARTA staked out," said Maryanne Fry, a neighbor of slain immigration agent David Wilhelm. "I really wish they had."


As Nichols vanished from the courthouse, investigators focused on finding the car they believed he was in. Thirteen hours later, the car was found in the same parking garage where it was carjacked minutes after the shootings.


MARTA spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said investigators are still reviewing surveillance videos for evidence that Nichols was on a commuter train.


The first indication that Nichols had taken the train came 13 hours after the shootings.


Officers received a report of a couple assaulted near the train station at Lenox Square in north Atlanta by a man matching Nichols' description. The man had brandished a gun and demanded money or a vehicle before striking one of them in the head with the gun and fleeing.


The attack was about half a half block from the home of Wilhelm, whose body was found early Saturday. His blue pickup truck, pistol and badge had been taken.




bringing freedom and democracy to iraq - american empire style




Killing of U.S. detainees more numerous than reported


Douglas Jehl and Eric Schmitt

New York Times

Mar. 16, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - At least 26 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials.


The number of confirmed or suspected cases is much higher than any accounting the military has previously reported. A Pentagon report sent to Congress last week cited only six prisoner deaths caused by abuse, but that partial tally was limited to what the author, Navy Vice Adm. Albert Church III, called "closed, substantiated abuse cases" as of last September.


The new figure of 26 was provided by the Army and Navy this week after repeated inquiries. In 18 cases reviewed by the Army and Navy, investigators have now closed their inquiries and have recommended them for prosecution or referred them to other agencies for action, Army and Navy officials said. Eight cases are still under investigation but are listed by the Army as confirmed or suspected criminal homicides, the officials said.


Only one of these deaths occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, officials said, showing how broadly the most violent abuses extended beyond those prison walls and contradicting the Bush administration's assertions that the wrongdoing was confined to a handful of rogue military police on the prison's night shift.


Among the cases are at least four involving CIA employees that are being reviewed by the Justice Department for possible prosecution. They include a killing in Afghanistan in June 2003 for which David Passaro, a contract worker for the CIA, is now facing trial in federal court in North Carolina.


Human rights groups expressed dismay at the number of criminal homicides and renewed their call for a Sept. 11-style inquiry into detention operations and abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.


"This number to me is quite astounding," said James Ross, senior legal adviser for Human Rights Watch in New York. "This just reflects an overall failure to take seriously the abuses that have occurred."


Pentagon and Army officials rebutted that accusation. Lawrence Di Rita, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said that he was not aware that the Defense Department had previously accounted publicly for criminal homicides among the detainee deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, but insisted that military authorities were vigorously pursuing each case.


"I have not seen the numbers collected in the way you described them, but obviously one criminal homicide is one too many," said Di Rita, who noted that U.S. forces have held more than 50,000 detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past three years.




more money wasted on the american police state




Ground radar may find border crossers

Congressmen, feds want to buy system from Scottsdale firm


Susan Carroll

Republic Tucson Bureau

Mar. 16, 2005 12:00 AM


BARRY M. GOLDWATER BOMBING RANGE - The red dot moves across the radar screen.


Blip. Blip. Blip.


Inside a control station in the remote Arizona desert, a team of U.S. Marines monitors movement round-the-clock on the flat, cactus-studded military bombing range using a radar system developed by a Scottsdale-based company.


The technology employed to build the system is not new, but the application is. For the first time, the U.S. government is testing ground-based radar to detect intruders crossing the U.S.-Mexican border onto the military range, an increasingly popular illegal-immigration corridor.


The military credits the system with helping to locate "unauthorized personnel" on the range before bombing runs, preventing deaths and injuries and reducing lost training time for pilots.


After nearly a year of testing, Arizona congressmen and top Department of Homeland Security officials are lobbying to secure funding to put the radar into the hands of U.S. Border Patrol agents, saying the technology has the potential to transform the way this country polices its porous border with Mexico.


Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., said the technology is critical in light of testimony by FBI Director Robert Mueller, who told Congress on March 8 that federal agents have intercepted people from countries that harbor al-Qaida terrorists crossing the Mexican border. In a visit to Mexico City last Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice affirmed that the United States still is worried about terrorists sneaking across the 1,950-mile Southwestern border.


"It's obvious the enemy will try to exploit our vulnerabilities because we have such a long border and because it's so porous," Hayworth said. "It glares, quite frankly, like a neon sign for those who would do us harm to come into the country."


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials requested $53.1 million in the 2006 budget for America's Shield Initiative, which would fund a new wave of border surveillance equipment. But even with support from the Bush administration for improving border technology, funding for the radar tested in Arizona is far from a sure thing.


Companies from across the United States, both big and small, are vying for contracts with Homeland Security, the only agency besides the Department of Defense exempt from a spending cap this year. A bill that would earmark money for ground-based radar, the REAL ID Act, faces strong opposition in the Senate because of other controversial immigration provisions.


Testing on the range


The military started testing the ground-radar system in May 2004, after noticing a steady increase in the number of undocumented immigrants crossing through the range, a flat expanse of about 1.2 million acres that shares 37 miles of border with Mexico.


In 2003, intrusions by undocumented immigrants and other "unauthorized personnel" led the military to close the range 208 times, ranging from 20 minutes to 10 hours, according to Defense statistics. The closures resulted in 733 lost training hours.


The Marines tried increasing manpower on the range, but just adding personnel wasn't enough to ensure the range was clear before resuming training operations, creating a safety issue, Capt. Terry Johnson said. With the radar system, lent to the Marines by Scottsdale-based Sensor Technologies & Systems Inc., the military can find people crossing onto the range and relay their Global Positioning System coordinates to Border Patrol agents, who go to pick them up, Johnson said.


"The intent and purpose of this whole thing is to preserve life, to keep people from getting killed or seriously injured," Johnson said, adding that there are no known deaths or injuries reported in connection with the bombing runs. The technology also has resulted in fewer interrupted runs for pilots, who need to log training time for certification, he added.


The system uses FMCW, or Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave technology, to detect people within a 3-mile range and a vehicle up to 10 miles away. The radar sweeps 360 degrees, tracks movement and relays information to a camera, which can zero in to check for an intrusion.


Walker Butler, president of the company that built the radar system, hopes to secure a contract with Homeland Security to have Border Patrol agents in Arizona test the equipment. The state's 350-mile border with Mexico is the most popular illegal crossing corridor in the country, with more arrests in 2004 than California, Texas and New Mexico combined. Last year, arrests in the Tucson sector, which includes all the state except Yuma, topped 491,000, but Homeland Security officials declined to estimate how many undocumented immigrants managed to evade the Border Patrol and slip into the country.


Butler said the surveillance system used by the Border Patrol now, cameras and ground sensors, leaves much of the border vulnerable.


"Using a surveillance camera is like looking through a straw," Butler said. "It's great at telling you what's out there, as long as it's pointed in the right direction."


"We are not in control of most of the border," Butler added. "We've got to . . . do something radically different. And this is radically different. It will tell you everything that crosses the border."


Lobbying in D.C.


Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe added an amendment to the REAL ID Act that would fund a pilot test for the ground radar. Kolbe said the new technology is critical because President Bush's proposed budget would add only 210 Border Patrol agents, about one-tenth the number mandated by Congress.


"There just isn't enough manpower," said Kolbe, a Republican. "Technology helps us expand the use of our eyes and ears and lets us do more with a fewer number of people."


But the REAL ID Act, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, also a Republican, contains controversial asylum restrictions that likely will prevent it from becoming law, Kolbe added.


And there are other challenges in securing a Homeland Security contract. The department was created just over two years ago as a response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the aftermath of the attacks, analysts predicted an explosion in spending on homeland defense, and Homeland Security's budget in 2003 topped $30 billion. But Homeland Security's creation involved merging the budgets of 22 agencies, and less than one-third of the 2003 budget was spent on private-sector contracts.


Sensor Technologies, a company with about 50 employees, is vying with much larger corporations for Homeland Security dollars, like the Boeing Co., which secured a contract worth more than $1 billion to install airline bag-screening devices.


Butler's company started exploring the potential for ground-based radar, now used at almost 200 military installations, more than six years ago. The two major challenges to selling a radar system included the high cost and the complexity for users. By simplifying the system and cutting the cost to about $60,000 to $80,000 per radar, company officials hope they've found a marketable formula for a Homeland Security contract.


"We are a small company competing with large companies," Butler said. "We have to find niches and create markets. That's what we did in this case."


The company hopes that if Homeland Security awards a contract for a pilot program and likes the results, the technology could be expanded to the entire length of the border for about $150 million to $200 million, said Larry Pike, a consultant for the company.


"When you consider the DHS (Homeland Security) budget in its totality, it's probably a drop in the bucket," he said.


The challenge, company officials acknowledged, will be trying to stay on Congress' radar screen and not becoming just another blip.


Reach the reporter at 1-(520)-207-6007.




the city of phoenix lets some people steal cars. but you have to get permission to be a car theif from the city first.




Phoenix weighs hike in some towing fees


Judi Villa

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 16, 2005 12:00 AM


If your car gets towed without your permission, it could cost you $15 more to get it back.


The Phoenix City Council is looking at boosting the fees companies can charge for "non-consensual" towing to $105 from $90. Officials say inflation and increasing costs for such things as fuel and insurance are driving the move.


"We're presenting it for your consideration," Deputy City Auditor Barbara Coppage told the city's public-safety subcommittee at a March 1 meeting. "Should you consider an increase, it would make sense."


In 2000, the council's ethics and public-safety subcommittee first addressed public concerns that owners of vehicles towed without their consent were being charged exorbitant rates. At the time, the city fixed the rates tow operators could charge for non-consensual tows from private property. The city also set a fixed rate of $10 a day for storage of the vehicles. Higher rates were set for heavier vehicles.


A recent cost review of the non-consensual tow rate found there has been a 16.2 percent increase in towing costs since 2000. Applying that percentage to towing rates could increase the tow fee to $105 and the daily storage fee to $12.


The city's public-safety subcommittee did not take any action on the proposal during the meeting, but members said it should be considered.


"We set at the time what I thought was an appropriate rate," Councilman Dave Siebert said. "I don't have a problem adjusting the fee for inflation, because it's fair."


Subcommittee members said they also wanted to look at possibly crafting an ordinance that would prohibit towing companies from posting false rates on their signs. Observations of 39 private-property tow warning signs found that all contained a different maximum tow rate than allowed under the city code, according to a report from the City Auditor Department. The majority of signs claimed the towing fee was $500. All but five signs listed tow rates of $100 or more.


"There's probably a lot of people out there paying $500 when it should be $90," Siebert said. "I have a serious problem with that, because it's misinforming the public."


The city is expected to look further into the towing costs and false advertising.


The City Manager's Office held a public meeting for tow operators in December to get their input on raising the fixed rate. Seventeen cities of similar size in Arizona and the western United States also were surveyed about their non-consensual tow rates.


Bumping Phoenix's non-consensual tow rate still would keep the city below the average. In other cities, rates range from $50 to $203, with an average tow rate of $113.


"It did seem reasonable when we looked at other cities that had a maximum rate established," Coppage said of the proposed increase. "We were in the ballpark."




45 days in jail will certainly teach this US service man that it is wrong to kill iraqi citizens. boy when the us military punishes people it sure uses an iron fist :)




45 days' jail for US officer who had cousins thrown into Tigris


Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington

Wednesday March 16, 2005

The Guardian


An American army platoon leader who ordered his troops to throw two Iraqi prisoners into the Tigris river was sentenced yesterday to 45 days in military prison and given a $12,000 (£6,200) fine.


Lieutenant Jack Saville, 25, pleaded guilty to assault and dereliction of duty, at Fort Hood, in Texas, for ordering his troops to force two Iraqis into the river in January last year - one of the men was feared to have drowned, though his body was never found.


Marwan Fadil and his cousin Zaidoun Hassoun were out after curfew in Samarra, 62 miles north of Baghdad, when the incident happened.


During an earlier trial Mr Fadil testified that Mr Hassoun had been killed but this was denied by other US soldiers who said his death had been faked.


The fact that Mr Hassoun's body was never found made it difficult for Lt Saville to be charged with manslaughter.


Lt Saville, a West Point graduate, is one of the first officers to be tried for abuse following a series of courts martial of relatively lowly troops and reservists in the Abu Ghraib scandal and other cases. He pleaded guilty to assault and dereliction of duty under a deal reached with army prosecutors.


He was also convicted of a lesser assault in another abuse case in the town of Balad in December 2003.


In return for the light sentence, Lt Saville agreed to testify against his captain, who had given him a hit list of five Iraqis who were to be executed on the spot if they were captured in a raid. In January, Lt Saville's co-defendant, Sergeant Tracy Perkins, was convicted of assault and sentenced to six months in prison.


Lt Saville apologised to both men in a prepared statement. He also pleaded to be allowed to stay on in the military, saying his career was his life.




By Angela K. Brown


1:26 p.m. March 15, 2005


FORT HOOD, Texas – An Army platoon leader was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in prison for his role in the forcing of three Iraqi civilians into the Tigris River at gunpoint for violating curfew. Investigators say one of the Iraqis drowned.


Army 1st Lt. Jack Saville also must forfeit $2,000 of his military salary per month for six months, military judge Col. Theodore Dixon ruled.


The 25-year-old West Point graduate could have gotten 9½ years in prison. He pleaded guilty Monday to assault and other crimes in one incident, and was convicted Tuesday of an assault charge in a second case.


Reading from a statement during the sentencing phase of his trial, Saville apologized and said: "I desperately wish to remain in the Army. It has given me more than I could ever imagine."


He will be allowed to remain in the Army.


US soldier gets 45 days in jail for forcing Iraqis off bridge




www.chinaview.cn 2005-03-16 08:43:16


    WASHINGTON, March 15 (Xinhuanet) -- A US Army lieutenant was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and a pay cut of 12,000 dollars for forcing two Iraqi civilians off a bridge, killing one of them.


    Army 1st Lt. Jack Saville pleaded guilty at a court at Fort Hood, Texas, to assault for ordering subordinates to push Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun, 19 and his cousin, Marwan Fadel Hassoun, into the Tigris River from a bridge on Jan. 3, 2004 in Iraq. He was also convicted of lesser assault in a separate incident in December 2003.


    US Army prosecutors said Zaidoun was found dead after falling from the bridge near Samarra, 60 miles (about 96 kilometers) northof Baghdad, and Marwan left the river without injuries. The two Iraqis were detained for violating a curfew.


    Saville could have faced nearly two years in prison based on a plea agreement with prosecutors. He got 45 days instead and was ordered to forfeit 2,000 dollars of his military salary per month for six months.


    Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins, the co-defendant in the Tigris River incident, was sentenced to six months in prison. Defense attorneys contended that the prosecutors could not prove a homicide, saying there was no body, no death and no crime.






Detaining mentally ill in jail a problem

County seeking solution to woes


Christina Leonard

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


Maricopa County officials say their jails house more seriously mentally ill people than any other facility in the state. No hospital, no halfway house, no clinic houses more of them.


Nearly everybody agrees it's a bad deal. And now, after putting up with the situation for decades, county officials are ready for action.


Members of a new countywide task force plan to meet next Thursday to evaluate the system, streamline procedures within the county and hash out possible solutions.


The stakes are high for the county, taxpayers and mental patients. The patients, many accused of minor crimes, often don't get the care they need. They're thrown into overcrowded jails where they can fall prey to other inmates. Many are taken off their treatment plans. And most end up right back in jail once released.


For the county and its taxpayers, the process is extremely time-consuming and expensive. County officials not only must pick up the costs for feeding, housing and medicating the inmates, they also pay the salaries for everyone from detention officers and psychiatrists to public defenders and judges.


It often costs two to three times the amount to send a mentally ill person through the criminal-justice system compared with treating the person outside it. And the community as a whole loses out.


Although the issue went nowhere within a legislative ad hoc committee earlier this year, county officials say they're devoted to improvements and plan on hitting the Legislature hard until they make progress.


"What we're doing is the most costly approach to solving the problem, and it's not solving the problem," said county Supervisor Don Stapley, who is spearheading efforts within the county. "We're simply warehousing the mentally ill in lieu of seeking medical treatment and solutions.


"I'm passionate about this because it's wrong. It's morally wrong to do what we've been doing."


The patients


Paul Padilla, 35, of Chandler, said he has been in and out of jails and mental institutions since he was 13.


He has spent time within Maricopa County jails for crimes ranging from disorderly conduct and criminal damage to assault. And he doesn't want to go back.


"They really don't care about the mentally ill in jail," Padilla said. "I get so scared. I have paranoia about the violence. . . . I've seen people get beat up. I've seen the guards talk bad about people."


Padilla, who said he has paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, calls jail a "scary place." He is going through a special mental-health court now to avoid jail time but knows he could end up back behind bars.


He's not alone. Officials say it's common for the mentally ill to repeatedly go in and out of jail. In one case, a woman was arrested 29 times in six years for prostitution to theft to drugs. Another man was arrested more than 50 times in four years for everything from criminal trespass to shoplifting.


A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner summed up the problem with housing the mentally ill in jail this way: "Severe overcrowding, unsanitary conditions ... and bullying by professional criminals, including assaults, extortion and stealing medications, are typical of the conditions under which the mentally ill live."


The department


Correctional Health Services, the county department that provides medical treatment in the jails, has come under fire and undergone major leadership changes during the past few years.


Administrators admit the department is stretched thin. They struggle to keep up with staffing demands for psychiatrists and deal with a chronic shortage of nurses and have a limited number of available psychiatric beds.


Inmates often complain about poor care. And some inmates can go without their medications for several days, depending on when they're booked and what drugs they're taking.


"The worst thing you can do is put them in jail and take them off their medication, their treatment plan and sever their continuing ability to access their pharmacy needs," Stapley said.


Last year, the county signed a $500,000 contract with Phase 2 Consulting of Salt Lake City to conduct a "top to bottom" assessment of Correctional Health, said Lindy Funkhouser, contract administrator. They've already made improvements and will continue efforts as two new taxpayer-funded jails open.


The lawsuits


Over the years, the county has faced a slew of lawsuits against Correctional Health Services and the Sheriff's Office, and the county has paid out thousands of dollars to families of inmates who have committed suicide in jail.


One example: In 2003, taxpayers footed a $175,000 settlement for the family of David Hyslop, 33, who committed suicide after being left alone in a cell after repeatedly being sent to the psychiatric unit.


County officials estimate 20 percent of the jail's population is seriously mentally ill.


In 2004, jail officials identified more than 2,000 inmates who are clients of ValueOptions, a private company the state contracts with to provide mental-health services. But county health officials believe there are hundreds, possibly thousands, more who are not clients.


It's difficult to determine exactly how many mentally ill inmates are in jail because the system relies on self-reporting and inmates don't always admit they're mentally ill.


Many of them have committed minor crimes such as public urination, shoplifting or disorderly conduct. They generally stay in jail longer than other inmates, and most are repeat customers.


"For some of them, they don't mind this," said Clarke Romans,executive director of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Arizona. "Compared to sleeping in a park in Mesa or on a bench somewhere, they're safe in jail and they get fed."


The county


Maricopa County picks up the cost for any person who goes through the criminal-justice process.


"Every arraignment, every initial hearing, every judge, every county prosecutor, every public defender gets paid by the taxpayers," Stapley said. "It's an enormously expensive process."


Correctional Health Services alone has asked for additional contingency funds for at least the past three years, facing increased costs in pharmaceuticals, temporary nurses and outside hospital services.


A study in King County, Wash., showed that it cost $1.1 million to serve 20 seriously mentally ill patients who were repeatedly jailed, hospitalized or admitted to crisis centers over a one-year period. That's about $55,000 per person.


Compare that with $20,000, the annual cost to care for a mentally ill individual in the community, according to the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project.


On top of that, Stapley said taxpayers end up paying double because ValueOptions receives a fixed amount for every client whether they're in jail or not.


Under Arizona law, the state has responsibility for making sure more than 70,000 mentally ill people receive services that include counseling, medication and housing. The state contracts with ValueOptions to provide services.


"Every person who's booked into jail who is an SMI (seriously mentally ill) client of theirs, ValueOptions, they get paid, but it doesn't cost them anything," he said. "Because it's costing the taxpayers. We're paying double."


The solutions


Maricopa County's new task force, the County Commission on Justice System Intervention for the Serious Mentally Ill, will meet for the first time next week.


There is some minor relief already on its way.


Once the county's two new jails, which were originally scheduled to open last June, do become available, they will be able to provide more than twice as many beds for mentally ill inmates.


And county officials are building a $23 million homeless campus in central Phoenix that will bring together at least eight agencies. The homeless will receive everything from food and shelter to medical care at the location.


Another highlight is mental-health courts.


The Superior Court began its mental-health court more than two years ago. It's a "problem-solving" court where stakeholders work closely to provide alternatives to jail.


That may mean putting the defendants in rehab programs and ordering them to stay clean and get jobs.


"Our goal is to have the judges, the public defenders, the county attorneys, the staff, trained to deal with seriously mentally ill so as to have some more sensitivities to what's happening there, and ideally they wouldn't fall through the cracks and spend less time in jail," said Judge Carey Snyder Hyatt, who heads the court.


Tempe Municipal Court has a similar program for its misdemeanor cases, which also has received recognition for its work.


But many experts say the trick is to divert the seriously mentally ill before they are booked into jail and enter the criminal-justice system. Because once they're in the system, they stay in.


"We need to begin to divert as many of these folks out as we can and to not incarcerate them when that's the more costly option and much less effective," Stapley said.


More than 300 Phoenix police officers have been trained to recognize mental illness. Lt. Steve Haynes, who used to coordinate the training, said the classes allow officers to empathize with the mentally ill and educates them about alternatives to jail.


The training program has spread to several other police departments. The Sheriff's Office also is considering training deputies in mental-health issues.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio said they're talking with Correctional Health Services about sending mental-health professionals to crime scenes.


"I do have to give in a little and say the jails shouldn't be used as a baby-sitter for the mentally ill," he said.


ValueOptions has a nationally recognized 12-week program that diverts some mentally ill clients accused of misdemeanor crimes before they hit the courts.


But the stakeholders still face significant challenges.


Experts say government agencies need more staff. The community needs more resources. And there still are some legal issues that need to be ironed out.


Stapley said he believes the biggest issue by far is housing. He said state statute prohibits anyone with a criminal record from utilizing public housing.


"Once they get out of jail, they have nowhere to go so they go back to the streets," he said.


Most experts agree that it will take time to work out all the problems. But Stapley believes it will happen: "It will take every partner in the process working together from the state down to the smallest community-based non-profit involved with this population and this problem."




when i read this it seems like the lapd arrested blake in the murder not because they had any evidence he commited the crime, but mearly because he was a suspect? as one juror said - no evidence:


    "There was no (gunshot residue). There was

     no blood on the clothing. There was

     nothing. They could never connect all

     the links in the chain."


and of course the lapd actions destroyed blakes life. it cost him $10 million to defend himself. in my view this would be a good reason for when the state arrest you and your not guilty the state should pay your costs plus damages for false arrest.




Blake is acquitted in murder of wife


Kimberly Edds

Special for the Washington Post

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


LOS ANGELES - Actor Robert Blake, who found fame playing a tough-guy detective on television and a psychotic killer in the movies, was acquitted of killing his wife Wednesday, ending a case that read like a Hollywood script.


Prosecutors said that the actor, now 71, had tried to solicit two stuntmen to "whack" his wife and that when they turned him down, he had done it himself, shooting her as she sat in his car outside his favorite Italian restaurant nearly four years ago.


But after deliberating nine days, a jury found Blake not guilty on the murder charge and one count of soliciting someone to kill his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Jurors deadlocked on another solicitation charge.


Blake, who had maintained his innocence in a nationally televised interview with Barbara Walters after his arrest, dropped his head on a courtroom table when the verdict was read and wept.


The trial was the stuff of the cable news shows that in recent months had included the end of the Scott Peterson murder trial - he was sentenced to death Wednesday - and the opening of Michael Jackson's child-molestation trial.


Talking to reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict was read, Blake said, "You're innocent until proven broke." The actor said he spent $10 million on his defense.


Prosecutors had said that Blake killed Bakley, 44, because he felt duped into marrying her but was devoted to their daughter, Rosie.


But jurors said they were unconvinced.


"They couldn't put the gun in his hand," jury foreman Thomas Nicholson said after the verdict.


"There was no (gunshot residue). There was no blood on the clothing. There was nothing. They could never connect all the links in the chain."


Bakley was a grifter with a record for fraud. She had long been attracted to celebrities and said she had a child with Jerry Lee Lewis.


Blake said Bakley had told him she was on birth control when they had sex in his car outside a jazz club. But she became pregnant and, when a paternity test established he was the father, Blake married her. He said he was determined that his daughter would not turn out like her mother.


The couple had been married less than six months when Bakley was killed. When Los Angeles police arrested Blake, they said his motive was to end a bad relationship and keep his daughter.


Bakley was shot to death after she and Blake had eaten dinner at Vitello's restaurant in Studio City. She had been alone in the car while Blake went back inside the eatery to retrieve a handgun he carried for personal protection that he said he left at their table.


No one witnessed the slaying. There was no physical evidence to tie Blake to the crime, no blood spatters and no gun residue.


During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Shellie Samuels relied on two former stuntmen, Gary "Whiz Kid" McLarty and Ronald "Duffy" Hambleton, who told jurors that Blake offered them thousands of dollars to "whack" Bakley.


Blake floated several scenarios to his former colleagues, they said, including a plan to have his wife killed while she waited in the car near Vitello's.


But family and friends testified that the two were heavy drug users and suffered from delusions.


Jury foreman Nicholson said Hambleton was a "prolific liar" who "couldn't get the story straight if you set it in front of him" and said McLarty's testimony was "disjointed" and "irregular."


Blake began his acting career as a child playing Little Mickey in the Our Gang series. He later played a killer who was executed in the movie version of Truman Capote's real-life thriller In Cold Blood.


But he is best known for his portrayal of a police detective in the 1970s television show Baretta and his appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, wisecracking with lines such as, "And that's the name of that tune."


But his once-dark, wavy hair has gone white and is closely cropped. The actor has had little work in recent years and says he needs to find some.




so this is how the american empire aquires military bases? first invade the county and conquer it, then build military bases and keep them for ever. and it goes back a long way cuba, philipines, panamal, germany, japan, and now iraq and afghanistan




U.S. may keep Afghanistan bases long-term

Top general calls nation secure, says militia in disarray


Stephen Graham

Associated Press

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


KABUL, Afghanistan - America's top general said Wednesday that Afghanistan is secure and the United States is considering keeping long-term bases here as it repositions its military forces around the world.


Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Taliban religious militia was "essentially in disarray" since failing to disrupt Afghanistan's landmark presidential election last year.


He stressed that a hard core was likely to fight on and Afghanistan remained "a target" for al-Qaida, but he said a reconciliation drive aimed at "non-criminal" Taliban could further weaken the militia.


"Security is very good throughout the country, exceptionally good," Myers told reporters at Kabul airport after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. commanders.


Myers said no decision had been reached on whether to seek permanent bases on Afghan soil. "But clearly we've developed good relationships and good partnerships in this part of the world, not only in Afghanistan," he said, also mentioning existing U.S. bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.


"That'll all be considered as we go forward with the whole global basing construct," he said. "Clearly the United States has an interest in the long-term security and stability in Afghanistan, so we'll be discussing that future relationship."


The Afghan government has said it is seeking a "strategic partnership" with the United States spanning economic and political ties as well as military. It has yet to say whether that would include permanent U.S. bases in the country, which neighbors Iran, Pakistan and oil-rich Central Asia.


Maj. Gen. Eric Olson, who served until Tuesday as the No. 2 U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told The Associated Press last month that the sprawling Soviet-era base at Bagram, north of the capital, "is a place where we see a long-term presence of coalition and, frankly, U.S. capabilities."


Three years after driving out the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, the U.S. has about 17,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and operates air bases at Bagram, Kandahar in the south and Jalalabad in the east.


Taliban-led militants continue to mount regular ambushes and roadside bombings, and there is a danger from explosives left over from Afghanistan's years of conflict.


On Wednesday, a Humvee carrying U.S. military police near a U.S. base in Shindand, in the west near the Iranian border, hit a land mine, killing one soldier and injuring four. One suffered a severe back injury, another was in stable condition and two were treated and returned to duty. None of the soldiers were identified.


Maj. Steve Wollman, a U.S. spokesman, said the mine was apparently laid during one of Afghanistan's earlier wars. A search of the area found no sign it was recent and the soldiers were patrolling "in the vicinity of a known mine field," he said.


Wollman said a vehicle carrying Afghan civilians curious to watch the American rescue operation struck another mine nearby, killing five people and injuring six.


The last American combat fatality occurred Jan. 3, when militants detonated two bombs and opened fire on U.S. troops in Kunar province.




hmmm. the cost of the iraq/afthanisan war is costing every man, woman, and child in the USA $1,000 according to this article. ($300 billion divide by roughly 300 million american is about $1,000 each)




Bush gets most of money he sought for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan


Liz Sidoti

Associated Press

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - President Bush got most of the money he wanted for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the House approved an $81.4 billion measure Wednesday, pushing the total cost for fighting terrorism over $300 billion.


With support from both Republicans and Democrats, the House voted 388-43 to send the Senate a bill that is only about $500 million less than what the president requested for military operations. The Senate will consider the spending package next month.


Bush said the House's action, three days before the two-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, showed "strong bipartisan support for our troops and for our strategy to win the war on terror."


"The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are building new democracies and defying the terrorists, and America is standing with them," he said.


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said the bill will "send a message to everyone captive to tyranny that their victory is assured, that though the cause of human freedom may stumble, it will never fall."


California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Democratic leader in the House, was one of 162 Democrats who voted for the measure. But she said its passage "does not, however, mean that we will forget the mistakes, miscalculations and misrepresentations that brought us to the point where these billions are necessary."


The bill would provide $76.8 billion for defense-related expenses, with the bulk of the money slated for the Army and the Marine Corps, the two service branches bearing the brunt of the fighting. That's roughly $1.8 billion more than the president's proposal, reflecting a bipartisan commitment to give troops what they need to do their jobs.


In a rebuke of the White House, the House trimmed the president's request for money for Afghan reconstruction projects and State Department programs. The measure also would prohibit any money in the bill from being used to build a sprawling U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, despite intense lobbying by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


By scaling back that money, the House sent a signal to the White House that emergency spending packages for the war should only be used to pay for urgent matters.


In a statement, the White House expressed concerns about the reductions, particularly for the fortified U.S. diplomatic compound. "Postponing construction will delay moving our people into more safe, secure and functional facilities," the White House said.


Excluding the latest spending package, Congress has approved $228 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for the two wars, the Pentagon's other efforts to hunt terrorists and rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. That's according to tracking by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which writes reports for Congress.




looks like the homeland security goons are trying to scare the krap out of american about non-existant threats. the next step will be when they ask congress for more money to protect us from these non-existant threats.


accidentally my ass. it was probably a planned accidental press release, with the intent to scare the krap out of americans cuz they want more money to protect us.




Feds' doomsday report is released accidentally


Tom Brune


Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - A truck driven by terrorists goes down the streets of five large cities over two weeks quietly spraying anthrax spores, ultimately exposing 328,000 people and killing 13,300 of them while costing billions of dollars.


It's a chilling possibility, one of 15 doomsday scenarios that Homeland Security authorities developed at the request of President Bush to better focus funding and to help state and local officials plan for terrorism and natural disasters.


The scenarios range from the most devastating, the detonation of a 10-kiloton nuclear device in a big-city business district, to the unusual, the launch of the pneumonic plague in an airport bathroom, sports arena and train station.


Although the scenarios are based on intelligence that terrorists have the capability to do such damage, an FBI official Wednesday reiterated there is no evidence that any such plots exist or that terrorists have the means to carry them out.


The nightmarish possibilities are found in a once-secret report that Homeland Security officials say came to light accidentally after it was posted Monday on the Web by the state of Hawaii and reported in the New York Times on Wednesday.


"My understanding is this was an error," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters while declining to further discuss the report.


But some experts and local officials say they are glad the report became public.


"I'm happy it's out in the open," said Stephen Flynn, national security expert and director of a homeland-security task force at the Council of Foreign Relations.


"We need to be much more open about these things and get engaged in a conversation about it."


The report includes many details about what the disasters could bring.


In a nuclear detonation, for example, the report said, flying debris could injure people as far as 3.7 miles away.


A mushroom cloud would drift east-northeast, putting it over water and reducing casualties if it happened in a city such as New York.




Homeland Security chief discusses threats


Eric Lipton

New York Times

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - The U.S. government cannot protect the American public from all possible terrorist attacks and, instead, must focus on trying to prevent more serious or catastrophic strikes, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.


"Threats are important, but they should not be automatic instigators of action," Chertoff said in his first extensive public comments since taking over the department a month ago. "A terrorist attack on the two-lane bridge down the street from my house would be bad but would have a relatively low consequence compared to an attack on the Golden Gate Bridge."


Chertoff's remarks, in a 45-minute interview and a speech at George Washington University, reflected his view that the Department of Homeland Security must transform itself from an enterprise set up in reaction to the 2001 attacks to one that is engaged in a more focused, sustainable and reasoned battle against terrorism.


"This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said.


The federal government needs to have a more restrained and coordinated public message, compared with the first Bush term, when it comes to discussing potential terrorist threats, the secretary said. That may mean he and other Homeland Security officials will decline to comment at times about rumored threats until definitive information is available, he said. He did not mention the department's much-criticized color-coded alert system but has said previously he is assessing whether to modify it.


"I don't want to get up in public and say, 'The sky is falling,' if it's not falling," he said. "I'm going to try to be very realistic and sensible and serious about the kinds of trade-offs that we have to consider when we're making decisions about protecting ourselves."


That approach would be more consistent with that of the British government, which has long waged a battle against domestic terrorism. The federal government, Chertoff also said, must better respect civil liberties, even while it attempts to catch would-be terrorists, alluding to allegations of mistreatment of Muslim Americans by law enforcement officials in recent years.


"We must calibrate an approach to security in a way that incorporates prevention and protection into our lives so as to respect our liberty and our privacy and also fosters our prosperity," he said.


The department's modified agenda, including its intention to direct more of its annual grants toward states and cities that are considered the most likely terrorist targets, is already winning praise from some former Homeland Security critics.


But there also are signs that Chertoff will face stiff resistance to his campaign, particularly in Congress, where several U.S. senators have derided him for a plan to reduce guaranteed minimum anti-terrorism grants for smaller, more rural states such as Wyoming, Maine and Arkansas.


In his speech and interview, Chertoff also outlined some of his priorities for the sprawling, 2-year-old department, formed by the merger of 22 agencies after the 2001 attacks. Among his first goals is to review the way the department, which has about 180,000 employees, is organized.




hmmm. if we use this guys logic all the valley cities should stop using police stings where cops dressed as hookers offer to have sex with men and then bust the men when they agree to have sex. although i think we should just legalize it all my self.




Immigration hypocrisy a matter of relevance


Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


If you are a man who approaches a woman you are sure is a prostitute and you offer her money for sexual activities, you can be arrested for making a crime possible - that is, there is no crime until the planning for the sexual "work" has commenced.


If you are an employer who hires an illegal immigrant, which constitutes engaging in a criminal act with a person who has already broken the laws of our country by being here, you are rewarded with a low-cost employee.


Furthermore, your activities are helped by the acceptance of a city-operated hiring center for illegal immigrants who are prospective employees.


What is the difference? The "john" is an ordinary citizen. The employer is a person of merit because he runs a company.


All law is relative to the importance of the people involved.


Tom Freyer





damn!!!! they published the location of the phoenix/tucson gasoline pipeline and terrorist could use this informaton to sabotage it. dont worry i wont put this information on the internet. but i will tell you the pipeline runs along pecos road in chandler from a little bit west of alma school road east to mcqueen road. and the terrorist probably could look at the public documents in either the lawsuit or the citations the city of chandler has written to kinder morgan to get an exact location of the pipeline.




Kinder Morgan is suing Chandler

City wants fuel line replaced


Edythe Jensen

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


Kinder Morgan Energy Partners sued Chandler in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, the latest battle over location of a 50-year-old high-pressure fuel line that runs 15 miles across the southeast Valley.


The city contends the buried line is dangerous, corroding and missing required protective coating in places. It also has raised concerns from Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes.


Mayes said she and the agency's pipeline safety officials will ask Kinder Morgan next week to replace the line. Although the state can inspect pipelines and make recommendations, it can't order Kinder Morgan to replace them. That power lies with the federal Office of Pipeline Safety.


In the lawsuit, Kinder Morgan attorney Andrew Federhar of Phoenix said the fuel line was installed by a subsidiary of Southern Pacific Railroad, and federal laws that protect railroads should preserve the pipeline's location.


However, a 1956 Maricopa County permit to build the line said the permit could be revoked at any time and the pipeline removed "upon sufficient notice."


Chandler utility officials repairing a water main leak in January photographed a portion of the 6-inch line, which runs near Pecos Road from Interstate 10 east to Williams Gateway Airport. The photos show signs of corrosion and what appears to be missing required protective coating on the pipeline.


That evidence "causes real concern," Mayes said.


The rupture of an 8-inch Kinder Morgan fuel line near Tucson in 2003 caused a Valley-wide gas shortage. The Pecos Road line connects to the Phoenix-Tucson line.


Last year, federal regulators fined the fuel company $325,000 for failing to properly assess risks in the operation of its gasoline pipelines in Arizona and other states.


Roads are routinely built over the company's older pipes, said Kinder Morgan spokesman Jay Thorne. He said the one along Pecos Road has been tested and is safe.


Thorne also said the lines are more protected beneath roads than beside them because they are less vulnerable to damage from other digging projects.


Chandler has been trying for months to get Kinder Morgan to move a portion of the fuel line as the city widens Pecos Road in connection with Santan Freeway construction. Kinder Morgan has refused unless the city pays the costs, estimated at $1 million a mile.


The company also is demanding that construction crews not use heavy equipment near the aging line, which runs through the Gila River Reservation, Chandler and Gilbert.


Last week, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed a city lawsuit that sought to evict the line from its right of way. Assistant City Attorney Judy Skousen said Chandler is considering other legal action because of safety concerns.


If the stalemate isn't resolved in the next few weeks, Chandler could be forced to stop the road project and pay the contractor for delays, Skousen said.




trust your goverment! government officials NEVER LIE. (well at least not when their mouths are closed)




Fake paper sets back nuke-waste dump plan


Doug Abrahms

Gannett News Service

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - A government scientist falsified documents related to the Yucca Mountain project, the Department of Energy said Wednesday, further jeopardizing the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository slated for southern Nevada.


A U.S. Geological Survey employee indicated in e-mail that he fabricated documentation related to computer modeling of water infiltration into Yucca Mountain, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said. The e-mail was caught during a review as the Energy Department prepared its license application before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, he said.


"I am greatly disturbed by the possibility that any of the work related to the Yucca Mountain project may have been falsified," Bodman said. "We are conducting a thorough review of all work completed by the individuals to ensure that other work was not affected."


The falsified documents are only the latest setback for Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas that was supposed to open in 2010. "This, on top of all of the other things that have been happening at the project, really leads us to believe that Yucca Mountain is really doomed," said Bob Loux, who heads Nevada's Agency for Nuclear Projects, which is fighting Yucca Mountain.


The geology issue cuts to the heart of Nevada's objection to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. State officials say water would infiltrate Yucca Mountain, rust the nuclear waste casks and leak radiation into area drinking water.


Lawyers working for the Energy Department discovered the e-mails that mentioned falsified documents. According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey, as many as 20 e-mails discussing the falsification were sent among several USGS employees.


"What we don't know was whether (the document falsification) impacted the science," said spokeswoman A.B. Wade.




hot damn!!! these religous killings sound like a whole lot of fun. wouldnt it be nice if the USA could make the death penalty this much fun. (i shouldnt have said that, george w hitler is probably thinking about it)




Child rapist, murderer publicly hanged in Iran

Angry crowd pelts killer with stones, scuffles with police


Ali Akbar Dareini

Associated Press

Mar. 17, 2005 12:00 AM


PAKDASHT, Iran - A young man convicted of raping and murdering 16 boys was lashed 100 times and then hanged Wednesday in front of a large, angry crowd that pelted him with stones and scuffled with police.


Mohammed Bijeh, 23, confessed in court to raping and murdering the children, between March and September 2004. Iranian media have said Bijeh burned the bodies of his victims, all boys between 8 and 15.


Bijeh was sentenced to one death sentence for each murder he confessed and 100 lashes of the whip for the rapes.


An accomplice, Ali Gholampour, was acquitted of involvement in the murders but was convicted of taking part in some of the kidnappings, to which he confessed. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 100 lashes.


Bijeh's verdict was carried out in Pakdasht, a small, impoverished town about 19 miles southeast of Tehran, after being upheld by the Supreme Court. It was the same town where the murders took place.


Approximately 5,000 spectators, including women and children, gathered to watch the flogging and hanging. Riot police circled the area.


Some in the crowd threw stones at Bijeh as he was flogged, shirtless and hands tied to an iron pole. He fell to his knees three times as he received the lashes.


A relative of one of the victims broke police security and attacked Bijeh with a knife, wounding his back before police dragged him away.


After the flogging, a rope was put around Bijeh's neck and attached to a hook on a crane. The crane's arm jerked upward and Bijeh's body dangled, drawing applause from the crowd.


Some people burst into tears, crying out the names of their injured children. Some shouted, "Shame on you, Bijeh!"


After about 20 minutes, the body was lowered, and a doctor confirmed Bijeh was dead.


Many in the crowd, some of them other family members of the victims, repeatedly tried to approach Bijeh's body but were prevented by riot police. Scuffles continued for at least half an hour.


The case provoked national outrage in Iran. Sixteen police officers were reprimanded for dereliction of duty, and the Interior Ministry criticized the police for failing to catch the suspects after the first crime.


Many of the people in Pakdasht supported the hanging.


"Public executions reduce the occurrence of offenses. Bijeh destroyed many families. He deserved more than death," resident Zahra Khaleghi said.


But Dariush Mehraban said public hangings only promote violence.


"Many criminals have been hanged, but offenses have never reduced. It's an ugly scene that a human being is hanged even if he has committed many crimes. Revenge is not the solution," said Mehraban, who watched the hanging.


Convicts are hanged in public in Iran only if a court deems that their offenses deeply affected public sentiment.


Iranian courts are controlled by hard-liners. Iranian reformists say public executions hurt the country's international image and reflect badly on Islam.




bush spending $254 million of tax dollars to make fake news telling the public how great he is doing.




March 17, 2005

Molly Ivins


Phony ‘news’ is just propaganda


AUSTIN, Texas — Calling all conservatives. Yo, libertarians. Also, wing nuts, believers in black-helicopter conspiracies and mouth-foaming denouncers of government and all its works — yoo-hoo. Where are these people when you need them?


THEY are making us pay to have ourselves brainwashed. All good conspiracy theories begin with “they” — and in this case, it’s the usual suspect of the right wing: the ever-evil federal government. Rush Limbaugh, get on this case. Stealth propaganda now goes by the beguiling moniker “pre-packaged news.” And our government, the one supposedly run by us, is using our money to secretly brainwash us. Is this gross, or what?


No joke, this is seriously creepy: The U.S. government is in the covert propaganda business, and it’s not aiming this stuff at potential terrorists, it’s aiming it right square at your forehead.


The New York Times did a huge Sunday take-out on the practice of “pre-packaged news” by government agencies. “The government’s news-making apparatus has produced a quiet drumbeat of broadcasts describing a vigilant and compassionate administration.”


The Bush administration did not invent this practice — it’s an adaptation of a corporate public relations ploy. P.R. firms make what look like normal news segments designed to fit into regular news broadcasts, but they are actually sales pitches.


You have probably wondered, “This is news?” when you see a “report” along the lines of: “This is Joe Doaks reporting from the World Headache Remedy Expo on a terrific new advance in headache cures that has everyone here really excited. The product that has the whole Expo buzzing is Megaconglomerate’s new remedy No Brain, No Pain. It completely wipes out your headache by wiping out your entire brain, so that you become so stupid you believe this segment is actual news.” Or words to that effect.


We’re not talking about the old public service announcements that used to hand out useful info clearly attributed to the government: “Uncle Sam wants you to stop smoking,” or, “It’s a good idea to get your child a polio vaccination: This message brought to you by the Health Department.”


It’s bad enough that corporate shills burn up journalistic credibility with this cheap trick, but the government has produced hundreds of these fake news segments. The Clinton administration started this vile practice, and the Bush administration has doubled it, spending $254 million on public relations contracts in its first term, twice what the last Clinton administration spent. I suspect it is part and parcel of Karl Rove’s mania for “message control.”


So how did something this sleazy become so common? Money. The Times reports: “It is ... a world where all participants benefit. Local affiliates are spared the expense of digging up original material. Public relations firms secure government contracts worth millions of dollars. The major networks, which help distribute the releases, collect fees from the government agencies that produce segments and the affiliates that show them. The administration, meanwhile, gets out an unfiltered message, delivered in the guise of traditional reporting.”


The only patsy in the set-up is you, sitting there thinking you’re seeing something real AND paying for the fake news with your taxes.


Of course, the television stations that play along with this deserve all the opprobrium that can be heaped on them. Thanks for corrupting journalism, guys — thanks for burning everyone’s credibility.


The Radio-Television News Directors Association code of ethics says: “Clearly disclose the origin of information, and label all material provided by outsiders.” But many stations don’t, even those in large city markets with strong professional reputations. More stations are going to more news shows because they’re cheaper to produce — but they are not adding reporters or editors, they’re just stretching their staffs thinner and thinner. This is happening across the board in the news business. It’s about money.


Meanwhile, back at government propaganda central, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has held that the government-produced “news” segments may constitute “covert propaganda.” Glad somebody noticed.


But, the Times reports, just last Friday the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memo telling all the executive branch agencies to ignore the GAO. The memo says the GAO failed to distinguish between covert propaganda and “purely informational” news segments.


Well, gee, I guess it’s purely informational when you see a joyful Iraqi-American, in a segment on the reaction to the fall of Baghdad, saying: “Thank you, Bush. Thank you, U.S.A.”


Another segment described in the Times reports “another success” in the Bush administration’s “drive to strengthen aviation security.” The fake reporter calls it “one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history.” That would be informational if it weren’t misinformational, instead. As the Times reported the next day in an unrelated story, the government’s aviation security program is, in fact, riddled with dangerous loopholes.


If I were a hawk-eyed conservative looking for waste, fraud and abuse in government spending, I’d go after this one faster than small-town gossip.


CROW EATEN HERE: Speaking of misinformation, I managed to mess up completely myself in a recent column by throwing Claude A. Allen into a list of judges being renominated by Bush for the federal courts. Allen is not on the list of renominations. I deeply regret the error.


Ivins is a syndicated columnist.




Getting the drift

By Paul Greenberg


I almost drove off the road when I heard it, the shock was so great. I really should have known better than listen to the "news" on National Propaganda Radio instead of the classical music station. But it's kind of a duty. Know Your Enemy and all that.


    At first nothing seemed amiss. There was the ageless Daniel Schorr going on in that soporific way of his that can make five minutes seem an eternity, when suddenly he said something about George Bush perhaps having been right. I had to pull over and get my bearings. Too much coffee, I figured. It had to be my caffeinated imagination working overtime, an aural hallucination, a hoax, an early April Fool's joke.


    Whatever it was, it couldn't be real. I resolved to stick to Mozart. But later that day, an e-mail arrived from an equally astonished friend, who not only confirmed what I had heard but sent along a copy of a piece by Mr. Schorr in the not all that good but very gray Christian Science Monitor, in which he said, well, read it for yourself, in undeniable black and white:


    "WASHINGTON (CSM) -- Something remarkable is happening in the Middle East -- a grass-roots movement against autocracy without any significant 'Great Satan' anti-American component. ... The movements for democratic change in Egypt and Lebanon have happened since the successful Iraqi election on Jan. 30. And one can speculate on whether Iraq has served as a beacon for democratic change in the Middle East. During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said that 'a liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region.' He may have had it right." Wow.


    The moral: Keep the faith. Even in American liberals. They may be the last to get it, but they're starting to. First the New York Times acknowledges the courage and vision of this much-bashed president, and now comes praise from ... Daniel Schorr. On NPR. And that wasn't all. The miracles kept coming.


    Here was Kurt Andersen in, of all blue-state publications, New York magazine: "Our heroic and tragic liberal-intellectual capaciousness is facing its sharpest test since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, most of us were forced, against our wills, to give Ronald Reagan a large share of credit for winning the Cold War. Now the people of this Bush-hating city are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration's awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might -- might, possibly --have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq. ...


    "It won't do simply to default to our easy predispositions -- against Bush, even against war. If partisanship makes us abandon intellectual honesty, if we oppose what our opponents say or do simply because they are the ones saying or doing it, we become mere political short-sellers, hoping for bad news because it's good for our ideological investment."


    Wow. Talk about intellectual honesty. And intellectual courage.


    Kurt Andersen has to know saying such things risks disappointing his natural audience, the Bush-bashers who look to commentators like him for the strength to shake off any sign of good news out of the Middle East. The guy deserves a salute or, if that is too military a gesture for his tastes, then a respectful nod of the head. At this rate, that overworked epithet "knee-jerk liberal" will lose all meaning.


    Kurt Andersen now has contributed the best, shortest description around for those betting against American policy in this war on terror: political short-sellers. Perfect. As perfect as Jeane Kirkpatrick's phrase back in the Reagan years for those who saw this country, not our adversaries, as the chief source of danger to the world: the Blame America First crowd.


    Speaking of short-sellers, there will always be those who never lose faith in the bright, shining possibility of American defeat. Here is Nancy Soderberg, who served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and long sleep, as she tried to keep up her spirits on the Jon Stewart show:


    "It's scary for Democrats," she began, "I have to say." But refusing to give up, she added: "Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's still hope for the rest of us. ... There's always hope that this might not work."


    Later, after her words embarrassed her, Miss Soderberg said she was just kidding. She could have fooled me. Only after being hard-pressed would she give the Bush administration any credit for these hopeful developments in the Middle East.


    But you have to forgive her. It can't be easy rooting for tyranny these days.


Paul Greenberg is a nationally syndicated columnist.




IRS workers are just as stupid as other government employees




Auditors Find IRS Workers Prone to Hackers




WASHINGTON - More than one-third of Internal Revenue Service employees and managers who were contacted by Treasury Department inspectors posing as computer technicians provided their computer login and changed their password, a government report said Wednesday.


The report by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration reveals a human flaw in the security system that protects taxpayer data.


It also comes on the heels of accounts of thieves' breaking into computer systems of private data suppliers ChoicePoint Inc. and LexisNexis.


The auditors called 100 IRS employees and managers, portraying themselves as personnel from the information technology help desk trying to correct a network problem. They asked the employees to provide their network logon name and temporarily change their password to one they suggested.


"We were able to convince 35 managers and employees to provide us their username and change their password," the report said.


That was a 50 percent improvement when compared with a similar test in 2001, when 71 employees cooperated and changed their passwords.


"With an employee's user account name and password, a hacker could gain access to that employee's access privileges," the report said.


"Even more significant, a disgruntled employee could use the same social engineering tactics and obtain another employee's username and password," auditors said.


With some knowledge of IRS systems, such an employee could more easily get access to taxpayer data or damage the agency's computer systems.


Employees gave several reasons for complying with the request, in violation with IRS rules that prohibit employees from divulging their passwords.


Some said they were not aware of the hacking technique and did not suspect foul play, or they wanted to be as helpful as possible to the computer technicians. Some were having network problems at the time, so the call seemed logical.


Other employees could not find the caller's name on a global IRS employee directory but gave their information anyway. Some hesitated but got approval from their managers to cooperate.


Within two days after the test, the IRS issued an e-mail alert about the hacking technique and instructed employees to notify security officials if they get such calls. The agency also included warnings into its mandatory security training.



On the Net:


Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration: www.treas.gov/tigta






The crime rate for the state of Arizona is 38.87% higher than the national average. There are 116,100 adults under correctional supervision (prisons, jails, probation, and parole) in Arizona and the correctional supervision rate (number of offenders supervised per 100,000) is 1.77% lower than the national average.


Corrections Statistics (per 100,000)  Arizona  National Average  Highest State  Lowest State

Crime Rates (2003)  6,386  4,119  6,386  2,220

  Violent Crimes  553  495  822  78

  Property Crimes  5,833  3,624  5,833  2,059

Corrections Population (2003)           2,896         2,999            4,682     960

Incarceration Rate (2003)  502  429  803  148

Community Corrections (2003)

  Probationers  1,652  1,840  3,819  387

  Parolees  198  311  1,037  2

Cost Per Inmate (2001)  $22,476  $24,053  $44,379  $8,128


General Information


Jails Prisons Community Corrections


There are 15 counties and 31 jail facilities in Arizona with a rated capacity of nearly 11,000. Most are operated by sheriff's offices. There is no formal jail inspection program in the state. The Arizona Dept. of Corrections houses 31,170 adults in 10 facilities. There are approximately 9,770 employees in the Department. Probation agencies under state Superior Courts in each county supervise 66,217 probationers. The Dept. of Corrections supervises nearly 8,000 adult parolees.




government idiots think they can do anything they want




School district pays $10,000 for bad haircut


Associated Press

Mar. 17, 2005 07:20 AM


WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Sally Miller might have been grateful if her 8-year-old son had come home from school with a nice-looking haircut. But when he showed up with "next to nothing" on his head, Miller threatened to sue.


The West Linn-Wilsonville School District recently agreed to pay Miller $10,000 because a school employee cut the boy's hair without permission.


The case was settled last month, but its documents were not released until The Oregonian newspaper filed a public records request.


"First I was shocked," Miller told the newspaper. "Then I was embarrassed that I didn't have the money to get him a haircut. And then I was mad ... I thought, 'What nerve. How invasive.' "


The single mother said she tried to keep her son's hair looking neat.


"There was one stinking day, and I'm not lying, that I didn't brush his hair," Miller said.


Superintendent Roger Woehl said Wednesday the employee was wrong to play barber. "If someone needs a haircut, we'd be more than happy to go into our wallets to give them 20 bucks," he said.


The school district's insurance company paid the $10,000 settlement but admits no liability, said Peter Merserau, an attorney for the school district.




lucky this didnt happen in the USA. the homeland security idiots would have blown up the post office to destroy the alleged bomb




Vibrating sex doll sparks bomb alert at post office



Mar. 17, 2005 08:20 AM


BERLIN - A blow-up sex doll sparked a bomb alert in a German post office after it started to vibrate inside a package awaiting delivery, police said on Wednesday.


"Workers were unsettled when it began vibrating and made strange noises," a spokesman for police in the eastern city of Chemnitz said. "They were worried the package might be a bomb."


Officers brought the sender to the scene and discovered the source of alarm was an electrical device inside a life-size female sex doll. The man told police he had wanted to return the doll because it kept turning itself on at the wrong moment.


Order was restored after the sender removed the doll's batteries so the defective product could be returned.




i think a normal person would call this slave labor.




Work Programs


Sentenced inmates are required to work if they are medically able. Institution work assignments include employment in areas like food service or the warehouse, or work as an inmate orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper. Inmates earn 12¢ to 40¢ per hour for these work assignments.


About 20 percent of inmates work in Federal Prison Industries (FPI) factories. They gain marketable job skills while working in factory operations, such as metals, furniture, electronics, textiles, and graphic arts. FPI work assignments pay from 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is required for all work assignments above entry level (lowest pay level) in either institution or FPI jobs.


The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) requires inmates to make payments from their earnings to satisfy court-ordered fines, victim restitution, child support, and other monetary judgments. Some inmates are assessed a Cost of Incarceration Fee, which is collected under the IFRP. Inmates working in FPI who have financial obligations must pay 50 percent of their earnings to the IFRP. Most fine and restitution money goes to crime victims or victim support groups through the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice.




and one of my libertarian friends made this comment:


And even if they do, it turns out to be entirely legal.


You thought slavery was abolished? It wasn't.


Amendment XIII [1865] Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS A


shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their



so as my libertarian friend says slavery is still legal in the united states and i guess you guys are slaves. the folks at the arizona department of corrections got very pissed when i called the inmates they put to work slaves. but according to they 13th amendment of the us constition slavery in the USA is legal if it is used as punishment for a crime. so i guess inmates, and prisoners are just feel good words the government cooked up to make slavery dont by the government sound politically correct.






Visiting Room: Procedures

            General Information Page

 This page provides basic information about visiting. It does not cover every situation. For the official regulations, see Program Statement (P.S.) 5267.07, Visiting Regulations.


General procedures


When you arrive at the institution, you must show a photo ID and sign a visitors' log. Your name will be checked against the inmate's visiting list.

Staff will show you guidelines for visiting the institution. You will have to sign a statement that you do not have anything in your possession that is a threat to the security of the institution.

Staff can search you or your property.

Staff are in the visiting room at all times to supervise each visit. The visiting room may be monitored using security cameras or other devices.

Special note: the Visiting Regulations indicate: "The Warden may monitor a restroom within the visiting area when there is reasonable suspicion that a visitor or an inmate is engaged, or attempting or about to engage, in criminal or other prohibited behavior."

Staff will not allow you to visit unless you cooperate with all requirements.

Visiting room dress code


Wear clothing that is appropriate for a large gathering of men, women, and young children. Wearing inappropriate clothing (such as provocative or revealing clothes) may result in your being denied visitation.


For example, you will not be admitted if you wear:


revealing shorts


halter tops

bathing suits

see-through garments of any type

crop tops

low-cut blouses or dresses




backless tops

hats or caps

sleeveless garments

skirts two inches or more above the knee

dresses or skirts with a high-cut split in the back, front, or side

any clothing that looks like inmate clothing (such as khaki or green military-type clothing)

Visiting room behavior


Because many people are usually visiting, it is important visits are quiet, orderly, and dignified. The visiting room officer can require you to leave if either you or the inmate is not acting appropriately. In most cases, handshakes, hugs, and kisses (in good taste) are allowed at the beginning and end of a visit. Staff may limit contact for security reasons (to prevent people from trying to introduce contraband) and to keep the visiting area orderly.


Contraband is anything that is not allowed in the prison, such as drugs, weapons, unauthorized medicines, or unauthorized money. Attempting to bring contraband into a prison is a serious crime. If convicted, you can be imprisoned for as many as 20 years.


Items allowed in the visiting room


You can take the following items into the visiting room:


identification (picture ID required)


baby care items (pacifier, diapers, diaper wipes, see-through baby bottle with contents, and blanket), if indicated

medication, such as asthma sprayers or nitroglycerin tablets (medications will be kept by the visiting room officer during the visit)

For other items, check before you visit, because this can differ between prisons. Items not allowed in the prison must be left outside the visiting room (and are not the prison's responsibility).


The visiting room officer will not accept articles or gifts of any kind unless they have been approved in advance. Therefore, if you want to leave something for an inmate (such as a package), you will have to call the prison in advance to receive prior approval. Money cannot be left with staff for deposit in the inmate's account.


The officer watches to make sure nothing is passed between an inmate and a visitor. If the officer thinks that any item constitutes contraband, he/she may examine it.






Ex-corrections officer accused of having sex with teen inmate


Associated Press

Mar. 18, 2005 06:40 AM


TUCSON - A former Arizona corrections officer accused of having sex with a teenage inmate has turned herself in to authorities.


The Pima County Sheriff's Department had been investigating Amy Lynn Barker, 23, since last summer, when a 15-year-old boy at the Catalina Mountain Juvenile Institution told a Child Protective Services caseworker that Barker had sex with him at the prison.


At the time, authorities said Barker was a corrections officer who oversaw the boy.


Investigators had been unable to locate Barker, who turned herself in Thursday.


Barker is charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of unlawful sexual conduct at a corrections facility.


She was being held in lieu of $150,000 bond.






El culto a la Santísima Muerte, una idea de los narcos en México



Marzo 15, 2005


El culto a la Santísima Muerte, condenado por la Iglesia católica, ha tenido un “boom” en México en los últimos años. Se manifiesta con mayor intensidad en la frontera con Estados Unidos gracias a que los narcotraficantes descubrieron una “imagen religiosa acorde a sus actividades”. Ahora la veneran y le piden protección, según confirman académicos, sacerdotes y autoridades. De lejos, las imágenes de la “Santa Muerte” se podrían confundir con la propia Virgen de Guadalupe.


La figura, que ahora se puede apreciar en mercados, en puestos de revistas y en pequeños altares en colonias populares, es un esqueleto vestido a imagen y semejanza de la patrona de México.


En la región del norte del país el culto a la Santa Muerte está acompañado con la veneración a Jesús Malverde, el “Santo de los Narcos”, cuyas imágenes aparecen continuamente en los domicilios que catean las autoridades cuando detiene a grupos por tráfico de drogas. publicidad


Sincretismo religioso y catolicismo


En los mercados populares de México, donde se pueden comprar yerbas, veladoras y artículos religiosos para combatir el “mal del ojo” y todo tipos de “brujerías”, la Santísima Muerte aparece junto con las imágenes de los santos tradicionales del catolicismo.


Se pueden encontrar oraciones y rezos para pedirle favores, fundiéndose en su sincretismo religioso con el catolicismo.


Todo lo anterior provocó que la Iglesia católica de México saliera a condenar el culto a la Santísima Muerte.


En su publicación oficial “Desde la Fe”, la Iglesia rechazó que forme parte de los santos de esa religión y advirtió a sus feligreses contra ese culto.


“Los narcotraficantes siempre han sido muy religiosos, no son individuos ateos. Al contrario, son muy supersticiosos”, aseguró José María Infante, doctor en psicología y director de Investigación en la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad de Nuevo León.


Infante agregó que “los narcos” siempre han tenido cultos muy particulares y encontraron en la Santa Muerte una imagen que los represente.


“Es una figura que está muy acorde a sus actividades donde la vida y la muerte están estrechamente unidas”, precisó José María Infante.


Comentó que los narcotraficantes son conscientes que en esa actividad en cualquier momento pueden morir, para ellos la vida y la muerte es una experiencia cotidiana, porque saben que a veces tienen que matar o ser asesinados.


Evidencia de crimen organizado


Este culto se ha convertido en evidencia de que una persona puede estar relacionado con el crimen organizado, aseguró el psicólogo.


Destacó que los narcotraficantes también pretenden en la Santísima Muerte una solución mágica a sus problemas.


“Buscan una protección por una imagen que los debe proteger precisamente de la muerte, a la que están expuestos todos los días”, afirmó el director de Investigaciones.


“Con el culto a la Santa Muerte pretenden también evitar un castigo absoluto después de perder la vida”, dijo el académico.


Mencionó que la amplia difusión de la veneración a la muerte en la frontera norte de México demuestra que el narcotráfico ha dejado de ser un problema policiaco, ya que pasó a ser toda una forma de vida.


En la frontera la pelea contra el narcotráfico está perdida, porque ya nos son pequeños grupos que se dedican a esta actividad, a los cuales se les podía eliminar o controlar, añadió.


Ahora es una cultura en donde salen como punta del iceberg los “narco corridos” (canciones rancheras que cuentan las “hazañas” de delincuentes) y también el culto a la Santísima Muerte, concluyó Infante.


“El florecimiento del narcotráfico en la frontera con Estados Unidos está provocando que aumente el culto a la Santísima Muerte", denunció el sacerdote católico Armando Arizola Garza.


Cambiando imágenes


Arizola Garza es sacerdote de la Iglesia de Guadalupe en el municipio fronterizo de Anáhuac, Nuevo León (norte de México), en donde el año pasado fue dañada una capilla a la Virgen de Guadalupe y se edificó otra dedicada a la "Santísima Muerte".


A mediados de 2004, en la carretera fronteriza Anáhuac-Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, fue incendiada y semidestruida una pequeña capilla dedicada a la Virgen de Guadalupe.


Mientras que en la carretera Anáhuac-Lampazos, una ruta muy utilizada por los narcos, fue construida una capilla en donde sobresale una figura de casi un metro de altura de la "Santísima Muerte".


La capilla tiene además una fotografía de Jesús Malverde, "el Santo de los Narcos", una imagen de Pancho Villa y como ofrenda cigarros de marihuana.


"La iglesia no reconoce a la Santísima Muerte y no aprueba que se edifiquen capillas para adorarla", aseguró el sacerdote Armando Arizola Garza.


Mencionó que los narcotraficantes que operan en la región "le están rezando para que los cuide".


"Ignoramos quién construyó la capilla a la muerte, pero vemos que tiene muchas veladoras", subrayó Arizola Garza.


También atribuyó el crecimiento del culto a que "la gente no está preparada para morir y está buscando aliados para que los cuide en ese último trance".


Las personas de la delincuencia organizada no se acercan a la Iglesia, agregó el sacerdote.


"Son personas que no han sido bien preparadas en la religión", añadió el cura de la parroquia de Guadalupe.


Pidiéndole favores


Comentó que la Iglesia no se olvida de ellos aunque estén por el camino equivocado.


Ahora que existen muchas personas que se dedican al narcotráfico faltan pastores que los orienten, concluyó Armando Arizola.


Francisco Javier Cantú Romero, vocero de la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) en Nuevo León, informó que en 2004 fueron capturados diversos narcotraficantes que tenían altares a la Santísima Muerte.


A finales de diciembre pasado la policía detuvo al líder de la banda dedicada al narcotráfico conocida como "Los norteños", José Gil Caro


Quintero, y cuatro de sus cómplices en Guadalajara, Jalisco (oeste de México).


"Los norteños" fueron identificados por las autoridades policiales como una banda dedicada al tráfico de drogas en Jalisco, Morelos y Veracruz.


A estos delincuentes les fueron incautadas armas de fuego, entre ellas una pistola calibre 38, de oro, con pedrería y con la figura de la Santa Muerte.


"Desde hace más de un año que se ha dado un auge por las imágenes de la Santísima Muerte", contó Griselda Valerio, propietaria de un local donde se vende diversos artículos esotéricos.


En su "yerbería" denominada Divina Providencia, ubicada en un mercado popular de Monterrey, Valerio tiene diversas figuras de la "Santa muerte" que van desde 10 centímetros hasta más de un metro de altura.


Sus precios van desde dos dólares hasta más de ochenta y según su propietaria se venden alrededor de 30 figuras por semana.


"Es una Santa para casos desesperados y las personas recurren a ella como último recursos", afirmó Valerio.


Comentó que la gente le pide todo tipo de favores, principalmente para casos desahuciados, “aunque algunos la utilizan para hacer el mal”.


"La muerte se presta para hacer el bien o para el mal y depende de cada persona qué le pide porque cada cabeza es un mundo", concluyó Griselda Valerio.




1913 - states ratify the 16th amendment which gives congress the authority to enact an income tax.


1913 - the first form 1040 appears after congress levies a 1 percent tax on personal incomes above $3,000 and a 6 percent surtax on incomes surpassing $500,000.


1) i sure wish income taxes were that low today. i read that congress debated about setting a maximun income tax of 10 percent because that though that any tax that high was criminal. sadly they didnt pass that cap and many of us now days pay far more then 10 percent of our income to the feds for income tax.


2) the income tax back in 1913 only applied to people making $3,000 or more which was a huge sum of money then. that $3,000 if adjusted for inflation the tax would only be on incomes of more then $60,000 if the income tax laws were passed into law today accorging to this url http://minneapolisfed.org/research/data/us/calc/




this came from the printed version of the above article but was not in the online version. the arizona republic article cited their source as www.irs.gov




this is interesting. a man lies about the fact that he hates rich people and then gets on the martha stewart jury and convicts her. will the court reverse her conviction like it should? i doubt it but i dont have much faith in the government.




Court hears Stewart appeal

Judge wonders if man told lies to get on jury


Erin McClam

Associated Press

Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM


NEW YORK - With Martha Stewart looking on, a federal appeals judge Thursday sharply questioned a prosecutor about why no hearing was held into apparent lies told by a juror in the celebrity homemaker's trial.


The exchange came as lawyers for Stewart, freed from prison earlier this month and now serving five months of house arrest, sought to persuade a three-judge appeals panel to overturn her conviction for lying to the government.


Stewart is basing her appeal partly on the discovery that juror Chappell Hartridge lied repeatedly on his jury questionnaire, including about a prior arrest, to get on the jury.


Judge Richard Wesley, one of the appeals judges, asked prosecutor Michael Schachter whether the trial had been tainted because the trial judge, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, held no hearing into the lies by Hartridge.


Wesley mused about why jurors might actively want to serve on certain high-profile juries: "I don't like rich people. I don't like people like Martha Stewart who are worth millions of dollars."


"The problem is: Why did he lie?" Wesley continued. "And there is no answer to that because Judge Cedarbaum didn't do the hearing."


Schachter defended the judge and said the convictions must be upheld, saying Cedarbaum had no obligation to hold a hearing because the defense failed to show Hartridge was deliberately dishonest.


Stewart was convicted in March 2004 of lying to the government about why she sold nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock the day before a negative government ruling about an ImClone cancer drug.


The prosecutor also cited what he called "ample evidence" of Stewart's guilt, including evidence that her next call after selling ImClone was to the office of ImClone founder Sam Waksal demanding to know why the stock was falling.


Waksal is serving a seven-year prison sentence after admitting he sold his own ImClone shares because he knew in advance that the government would decline to review the cancer drug Erbitux.


Stewart was allowed to leave the Westchester County estate where she is under house arrest to attend the appeals hearing in Lower Manhattan. She is also allowed to leave her home 48 hours per week for work.


Wearing a pantsuit that obscured the electronic monitoring bracelet she must wear on her ankle, Stewart appeared in a good mood, joking with marshals as she passed through a metal detector.


She did not speak with reporters before or after the hearing. She fought through a phalanx of cameras afterward, a crush so chaotic that several photographers were knocked into a bank of slushy snow.


The three-judge panel gave no indication of how or when it might rule. Stewart has said she is appealing the case to clear her name.


Walter Dellinger, Stewart's appeals lawyer, also came under intense questioning from the judges when he suggested the conviction should be thrown out because of perjury allegations against a government witness.


The witness, Secret Service ink expert Larry Stewart, was accused by prosecutors of exaggerating the role he played in testing a stock worksheet that was used as evidence at the trial. A separate jury acquitted him of perjury charges.


Stewart was released from a federal women's prison in Alderson, W.Va., on March 4 after serving five months there, the first half of her sentence.




impersonating an American! i didnt know that was a crime.




Syrians caught; in U.S. illegally

2 indicted on charges of impersonating Americans


Susan Carroll

Republic Tucson Bureau

Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM


TUCSON - A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted two Syrian men on charges of impersonating U.S. citizens after Border Patrol agents stopped them in southern Arizona and found an undocumented Mexican immigrant in their car.


According to a criminal complaint, Ala Salem Mamoud Al-Kurdi and Mohamed Tamman Nakchgandi, both citizens of Syria, were pulled over by Border Patrol agents on Feb. 18 on Arizona 86, a highway that runs through the Tohono O'odham Nation, a vast reservation southwest of Tucson.


In the back seat of the Cadillac, driven by Kurdi, agents spotted a Mexican man who later admitted to crossing the U.S.-Mexican border illegally three days earlier, according to Border Patrol reports. Kurdi and Nakchgandi, the passenger, said they were naturalized U.S. citizens born in Syria, but agents found they were in the country illegally, according to court records.


The agents reported that a second Cadillac was spotted traveling in tandem with Kurdi's along the highway, but got away. The Mexican man later told authorities he crossed the border with five other undocumented immigrants, who were in the second car, the Border Patrol reported.


A check of immigration records showed that Nakchgandi had entered the country legally in 1999 with a temporary visitor's visa, but overstayed, according to the Border Patrol. The agency reported that Kurdi also entered legally with an employment-authorization card that recently was canceled.


Kurdi, 25, and Nakchgandi, 24, were each charged with impersonating a U.S. citizen. Authorities have not established a link between the pair and the undocumented Mexican man, "except that they were all in the same vehicle," according to the Border Patrol.


An arraignment for Kurdi and Nakchgandi is scheduled for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tucson, said Sandy Raynor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.


The two men are being held in federal custody until trial, according to court records. Their attorneys did not return phone calls Thursday.


Reach the reporter at susan.carroll@arizonarepublic.com or 1-(520)-207-6007.




new maricopa county attorney andrew thomas is quickly getting a reputation that he is just as much of a nazi as sheriff joe arpaio




No bail for migrants is backed

Thomas likes plan to hold key suspects


Daniel González

The Arizona Republic

Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM


Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Thursday that he is backing a ballot measure that would require undocumented immigrants who commit serious crimes to be held behind bars without bail while their cases are pending in court.


The proposal, which would require a state constitutional amendment, is aimed at preventing undocumented immigrants charged with crimes from fleeing the country after being released on bail, Thomas said. It would also prevent undocumented immigrants from being deported while their criminal case is pending.


"Many of these people we have found are returning to the United States after posting bail and leaving. But they are not coming back to face justice in our courts, but rather to commit additional crimes against Arizona citizens," Thomas said.


The proposed ballot measure passed the state House on March 8, by a vote of 36-23. If it passes the Senate, and is signed by the governor, voters would have the final say in the November 2006 general election.


Opponents say the proposal raises civil rights issues.


Although he could provide no statistical evidence, Thomas said undocumented immigrants charged with serious crimes are more likely to flee because of their immigration status, and because of Arizona's close proximity to the border with Mexico.


He cited several examples, including one involving Oscar Martinez-Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who, according to Thomas, was indicted in 1998 on drug and weapons charges and was released to immigration officials after posting $3,200 bail. A year after Martinez-Garcia was deported, he was pulled over by Phoenix police, Thomas said. During the traffic stop, a passenger in his car shot and killed Officer Marc Atkinson, Thomas said.


"He was allowed to commit this crime because he was released and not held accountable the first time," Thomas said.


Eleanor Eisenberg , executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said she is concerned that the proposal could violate civil rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. Not all undocumented immigrants flee while out on bail, she said.


"The general rule is you are innocent until proven guilty and this seems to send the message that that doesn't apply to you if you are an undocumented immigrant," Eisenberg said.


She also said the proposal is unnecessary because judges already have the discretion to deny bail to defendants who commit serious crimes and pose a flight risk or danger to society.




government goon at the CIA takes the 5th when asked if the CIA tortures alleged terrorists and POWs




CIA director mum on legality of interrogation techniques used in aftermath of 9/11


Douglas Jehl

New York Times

Mar. 18, 2005 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Porter Goss, the director of Central Intelligence, said Thursday that he could not assure Congress that the CIA's methods of interrogating suspected terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, had been legally permissible under federal laws prohibiting torture.


Under sharp questioning at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Goss sought to reassure lawmakers that all interrogations "at this time" are legal and that no methods currently in use constituted torture. But he declined, when asked, to make the same broad assertions about practices used over the past few years.


"At this time, there are no 'techniques,' if I could say, that are being employed that are in any way against the law or would meet - would be considered torture or anything like that," Goss said in response to one question.


When he was asked several minutes later whether he could say the same about techniques employed by the agency since the campaign against al-Qaida expanded in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks in the United States, he said, "I am not able to tell you that."


He added that he might be able to elaborate after the committee went into closed session to take classified testimony.


Goss' statements came closer than previous statements from the agency to an admission that at least some of its practices may have crossed the legal limits, and they had the effect of raising new questions about the CIA's conduct in detaining and questioning terror suspects, in what remains one of the most secretive areas of the government's efforts to combat terrorism.


Goss acknowledged that there had been "some uncertainty" in the past among CIA officers about what interrogation techniques were specifically permitted and prohibited. A legal memorandum relaxing the limits on interrogation was issued in 2002 but repudiated by the administration in 2004.


Goss said CIA employees have recently been "erring on the side of caution" in choosing what techniques to employ.