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NATO attacks Gadhafi’s compound

THE GUANTANAMO FILES Classified documents offer new insights into detainees


depression. They note their serial interrogations, enumerating — even after six or more years of relentless questioning — remaining “areas of potential exploitation”. They describe inmates’ infractions — punching guards, tearing apart shower shoes, shouting across cellblocks. And, they record years of detainees’ comments about one another.

TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO airstrikes targeted the center of Moammar Gadhafi’s seat of power early Monday, destroying a multistory library and office in his compound and badly damaging a reception hall for visiting dignitaries. Gadhafi’s whereabouts at the time of the attack on his sprawling Bab al Aziziya compound were unclear. A security official at the scene said four people were lightly hurt. Monday’s strike came after Gadhafi’s forces unleashed a barrage of shells and rockets at the besieged rebel city of Misrata in an especially bloody weekend that left at least 32 dead and dozens wounded. The shelling of the only major city in western Libya in rebel hands continued early Monday morning, destroying two schools in the Abbad neighborhood. Residents said the attack lasted about an hour and they found what is believed to be a remnant of a 155mm shell. The battle for Misrata, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past two months, has become the focal point of Libya’s armed rebellion against Gadhafi since fighting elsewhere is deadlocked. Video of Misrata civilians being killed and wounded by Gadhafi’s heavy weapons, including Grad rockets and tank shells, have spurred calls for more forceful international intervention to stop the bloodshed. In Brussels, a NATO spokesman said the alliance is increasingly targeting facilities linked to Gadhafi’s regime with government advances stalled on the battlefield. “We have moved on to those command and control facilities that






Clockwise from left, a detainee stands at an interior fence in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; a detainee is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated; guards escort a detainee carrying a book at the Camp 4 detention facility. BY CHARLIE SAVAGE, WILLIAM GLABERSON AND ANDREW W. LEHREN

New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — A trove of more than 700 classified military files provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there. Military intelligence officials,

in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring U.S. institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many

Justices reject request for fast health law ruling BY ADAM LIPTAK

New York Times Service

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned back an unusual request from Virginia to put the state’s challenge to the new federal healthcare law on a fast track. The court’s one-line order offered no reasoning, and there were no noted dissenting votes. Nor was there any indication that any justices had disqualified themselves from the case. The court’s practice is to note such recusals, and it now appears almost certain that all nine justices will hear cases challenging the law when they reach the court in the ordinary course, probably in the term that starts in October. Federal trial courts around the nation have issued varying decisions about the constitutionality of a key provision of the law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some judges have upheld the provision, which mandates the purchase of health insurance in some circumstances, while others have ruled that the requirement exceeds the scope of Congressional power authorized by the Constitution. At least three appeals courts will hear appeals from those decisions in coming months. The Supreme Court’s usual practice is to consider cases only after an appeals court has ruled. In a filing in February, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II of Virginia argued that an exception was warranted in his state’s chal-


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lenge to the law given the law’s importance, complexity and the likelihood that the final decision on its constitutionality will be made by the Supreme Court. “This case is of imperative national importance requiring immediate determination in this court,” Cuccinelli wrote. In response, the federal government acknowledged the momentous issues involved. “The constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision is undoubtedly an issue of great public importance,” Acting Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal wrote in March. But he urged the justices to let the issues in the case, Virginia v. Sebelius, No. 10-1014, reach them in an orderly way. “Especially given the court of appeals’s imminent consideration of this case,” Katyal wrote, “there is no basis for short-circuiting the normal course of appellate review”. The Supreme Court only rarely hears expedited appeals of the sort Cuccinelli sought, and so Monday’s order is perhaps more notable for seeming to settle the question of Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in the case. She joined the court in August, after serving about a year as U.S. solicitor general, the federal government’s top appellate lawyer. Last summer, while under consideration for a seat on the court, Kagan wrote that she had had almost nothing to do with the administration’s plans to defend the healthcare law against legal challenges.

cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal. The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, meticulously record the detainees’ “pocket litter” when they were captured: a bus ticket to Kabul, a fake passport and forged student ID, a restaurant receipt, even a poem. They list the prisoners’ illnesses — hepatitis, gout, tuberculosis,

Syria escalates crackdown BY ANTHONY SHADID

New York Times Service

BEIRUT — The Syrian Army on Monday deployed tanks and thousands of soldiers into the restive southern city of Dara’a and carried out arrests in poor towns on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, in a sharp escalation of the widening crackdown on Syria’s five-week-old uprising, according to human rights activists and accounts posted on social networking sites. They said at least 25 people were killed in Dara’a, with bodies strewn in the streets. The move into the town seemed to signal a new, harrowing chapter in a crackdown that has already killed nearly 400 people, with the single highest toll coming on Friday, when more than 110 people were killed in 14 towns and cities. So far hewing to a mix of concessions and brute force, the government’s actions indicated Monday that it had chosen the latter, seeking to crush a wave of dissent in virtually every Syrian province that has shaken the once-uncontested rule of President Bashar al Assad. Residents said that at least eight tanks entered Dara’a before dawn from four directions, and there were reports of artillery and mortars being used. Phone lines were cut to the area, making first-hand accounts difficult, and nearby border crossings with Jordan were reportedly sealed. But video smuggled out of the town showed a cloud of black smoke rising on the horizon and volleys of heavy gunfire echoing in the



A man throws a stone at a tank in Dara’a, Syria, in this video grab by Sham News Network, a Syrian Freedom group. distance. Though the government has used deadly force to suppress demonstrations before, tanks had not previously been used against protesters, and the strength of the assault suggested that the military planned some sort of occupation of the town. Residents put the size of the force at anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 troops. Snipers took positions on the roofs of mosques, residents said, and a mix of soldiers and armed irregular forces known as shabeeha were going house to house to search for protesters. “There are bodies in the streets we can’t reach; anyone who walks


outside is getting shot at,” said a resident of Dara’a who gave his name as Abdullah, reached by satellite phone. “They want to teach Syria a lesson by teaching Dara’a a lesson.” He said soldiers had taken three mosques, but had yet to capture the Omari Mosque, where thousands had reportedly sought refuge. Since the beginning of the uprising last month, it has served as a headquarters of sorts for demonstrators. He quoted people there shouting, “We swear you will not enter but • TURN TO SYRIA, 2A


INDEX THE AMERICAS..........4A U.S. NEWS ...................5A OPINION .......................7A COMICS & PUZZLES ..6B

4/26/2011 4:14:13 AM


Edition, 26 april 2011

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