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U.S. doesn’t sign treaty prohibiting secret detentions PARIS (Washington Post) — Representatives from 57 countries on Tuesday signed a long-negotiated treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention. The United States declined to endorse the document, saying its text did not meet U.S. expectations. Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said the treaty was “a message to all modern-day authorities committed to the fight against terrorism” that some practices are “not acceptable.” In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined comment except to say that the United States helped draft the treaty but that the final wording “did not meet our expectations.” The Associated Press reported that McCormack declined comment on whether the U.S. stance was influenced by the Bush administration’s policy of sending terrorism suspects to CIA-run prisons overseas, which President Bush acknowledged in September.

House Dems may take lead on war resolution front WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times) — House Democrats threatened Tuesday to take up a resolution next week to oppose President Bush’s controversial troop buildup in Iraq, cranking up the pressure on Republicans who have blocked a vote on the measure in the Senate. The move would shift the focus of the debate over the four-yearold war to the House, where Democrats have enough votes to pass a measure over Republican opposition. It also may further isolate the White House and its allies in the Senate, who are bucking public opinion that has turned sharply against the Iraq war and the president’s plans to expand it. When congressional Democrats began their campaign to challenge Bush over the unpopular war last month, House leaders decided to defer to the Senate to pass a resolution first. But on Monday GOP senators derailed consideration of a nonbinding, bipartisan resolution that criticizes the Bush plan by preventing Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to bring up the measure. On Tuesday, with few signs that the impasse would end soon in the Senate, House leaders said they might move first on an issue that Americans say is the most pressing one facing the nation.

Lebanese president decries U.S. support for Israel BEIRUT, Lebanon (Los Angeles Times) — Badgered by Hezbollah and jeered as a puppet of the U.S. government, Lebanon’s embattled prime minister on Tuesday blamed U.S. support of Israel for an increasingly violent political crisis that has shredded this country’s stability. His voice rising in frustration during an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Fouad Siniora said the troubles in his country would subside if U.S. officials were to press Israel to withdraw its soldiers from Shebaa Farms, a small patch of disputed turf that the United Nations has said was part of Syria. With Shiite Muslim Hezbollah and its allies mounting a hard push for a bigger share of power in Lebanon, many people here believe that the international community should force Hezbollah’s hand by depriving the party of any excuse for keeping an armed militia. The lingering occupation of the land has long been cited by Hezbollah as a justification for its armed guerrilla fighters on Israel’s border.

Apparent love triangle embarrasses NASA (Los Angeles Times) — A female NASA astronaut was arrested in Florida early Monday and accused of attacking a woman who was her rival in a love triangle with another astronaut, Orlando police said. Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak, who flew last summer on a shuttle mission to the International Space Station, drove nearly 1,000 miles from her home in Houston to intercept the woman, who was just arriving at Orlando International Airport, police said. Nowak, 43, accosted 30-year-old Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman in a parking lot and sprayed her with pepper spray in an attempt to kidnap her, according to a police affidavit. The arrest, first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, was an embarrassment for America’s space agency, which for nearly five decades has obsessively portrayed its astronauts as paragons of personal integrity.

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Iran says U.S. is behind diplomat kidnapping BY TINA SUSMAN LOS ANGELES T IMES

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iran accused the United States on Tuesday of being behind the abduction of an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad, but U.S. officials refused even to confirm a kidnapping had taken place as the two countries’ campaign of finger-pointing was brought up another notch. Iranian officials said Jalal Sharafi, their embassy’s second secretary, had not been seen since gunmen dressed in Iraqi military uniforms intercepted his car Sunday as he left a branch of a stateowned Iranian bank. “They acted under U.S. supervision,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Hosseini said in a statement released in Tehran. He described the incident as a “terrorist attack.” The Bush administration has accused Iran of fueling the sectarian warfare in Iraq by providing Shiite Muslim extremists with weapons and explosives being used against U.S. troops and Sunni Arab targets. U.S. officials have been holding five Iranians seized last month in a raid in the northern city of Irbil and accused of planning attacks on Americans. The seizure Sunday was another example of U.S. heavy-handedness, an official at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad said. “They should release our colleague as soon as possible,” he said angrily. Neither U.S. government nor military officials in Baghdad would confirm the incident had occurred, much less been orchestrated by American forces. “We have no record of any

event that looks remotely like the described abduction,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, the U.S. military spokesman. The U.S. Embassy said it was “aware of the reports” and looking into them. Kidnappings are common in Baghdad, where everyone from high-ranking officials to regular merchants fall prey to gangs looking to get rich by ransoming hostages. Iranian officials, however, refused to consider that Sharafi ’s abduction was anything but another attempt by the United States to put the squeeze on Iran. They cited the detention of the Iranians in Irbil as evidence. “This is not the first time such a thing has happened,” the Iranian Embassy official said of Sharafi ’s abduction. “Normally, the United States is responsible.” As Iraq’s violence has escalated, so too has the tension between the United States and Iran, whose leaders deny bolstering Shiite militias at work in Iraq. The diplomatic snarling has put Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in an awkward position as he tries to cultivate close relations with Iran, while also convincing American officials that he is serious about quelling violence. A new joint U.S.-Iraqi security plan announced last month has yet to produce tangible results, at least in the view of Iraqis living under constant threat of car bombs, mortar attacks, stray gunfire, and street crime. The bodies of at least 19 men, all shot to death and most showing signs of torture, were found in Baghdad on Tuesday, police and morgue officials said. In addition, at least five people died when a car bomb exploded in the

eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Mashtal. In the city of Kut, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting a passing U.S. military convoy instead blew up under a civilian minivan, killing a woman. The U.S. military announced the death of a Marine in Al Anbar province, west of Baghdad, bringing the number of U.S. troops killed since the March 2003 invasion to at least 3,102, according to, which tracks casualty figures from the war. In the Shiite neighborhoods of Ur and Shaab, in northern Baghdad, residents said U.S. and Iraqi forces set up checkpoints in the area Tuesday morning, snarling traffic for hours but doing little to reassure people of the new security plan’s effectiveness. Majid Abdullah, 42, who owns an auto parts shop in Shaab, said most checkpoints had been dismantled by afternoon and that those remaining were manned by Iraqis, with U.S. troops only passing by occasionally. A resident of Ur said about 10 Strykers, hulking U.S. armored vehicles, had snaked through her neighborhood but had become stuck on a narrow street. Unable to turn around, she said the first Stryker rammed down the walls of a school and drove through it, followed by the rest of the convoy. Al-Maliki acknowledged delays in implementing the security plan he announced early last month and, after meeting with Iraqi military commanders, urged them to disprove skeptics who he said were doubting their ability or determination to stabilize Iraq.

Libby’s recorded grand jury testimony played in court BY GREG MILLER LOS ANGELES T IMES

WASHINGTON — Former White House official I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby told a grand jury in 2004 that Vice President Dick Cheney was upset by an ambassador’s public questioning of the Iraq war and that President Bush, Cheney and Libby were involved in a plan -— kept secret from other senior White House officials -- to leak previously classified intelligence to reporters to counter the criticism. Libby’s audiotape testimony, played for jurors in federal court here, offered new details about how the White House orchestrated a campaign to discredit the Iraq war critic, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Wilson’s wife, undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, was subsequently exposed in the media, triggering a criminal investigation. As Libby sat silently in the courtroom, jurors heard his disembodied voice describe how he was instructed to leak intelligence secrets to select reporters, even as other White House officials were expressing concern over the leaks and debating whether the administration should formally declassify intelligence reports on Iraq to combat criticism of the case for war. At one point, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald can be

heard on the tapes expressing disbelief that Libby would take part in those meetings without disclosing that the president had effectively already declassified key portions of one of the main prewar pieces of intelligence on Iraq, a national intelligence estimate on the nation’s alleged banned weapons programs. “Was that unusual for you to have the national security adviser, the director of central intelligence, the White House chief of staff, among others, in the dark as to something that you had done regarding declassification?” Fitzgerald asked. “It is not unusual for the vice president to tell me something which I am not allowed to share with others,” Libby replied. Libby’s remarks came during a day in court devoted entirely to playing audiotapes of the former Cheney aide’s grand jury testimony, allowing jurors to listen to the defendant’s voice as he made a series of statements that prosecutors have labeled lies. Libby faces five felony counts alleging perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice for what he told investigators about his role in the campaign to discredit Wilson. The tapes offer an intriguing window into the reaction within the White House to mounting criticism of its case for war with Iraq,

as well as a chance to witness Fitzgerald’s method as he sparred with Libby during eight hours of grand jury testimony. Libby can be heard describing how Cheney was “upset” when Wilson went public with allegations that the White House had twisted intelligence to make the case for war. In an op-ed article, Wilson said he had been sent to investigate a key claim — that Iraq was seeking uranium from the African nation of Niger — and found it untrue months before President Bush included the allegation in his 2003 State of the Union speech. “It was a serious accusation,” Libby said. “It was a very serious attack.” It also quickly became a “topic that was discussed on a daily basis” in the White House. Libby said that Cheney “thought we should get some of these facts out to the press. He then undertook to get permission from the president to talk about this” to reporters. Libby said that Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, had advised him that merely getting such permission from the president rendered the intelligence declassified. President Bush has publicly acknowledged doing so. Libby’s subsequent conversations with reporters and other White House officials are now at continued on page 8

Wednesday, February 7, 2007  

The February 7, 2007 issue of the Brown Daily Herald

Wednesday, February 7, 2007  

The February 7, 2007 issue of the Brown Daily Herald