WW4 Report

Media frenzy in NYC terror trial

The latest testimony in the Brooklyn federal trial of Yemeni Sheikh Mohamed al-Moayad is a Yahya Goba, 28, a member of the "Lackawanna Six," himself facing ten years imprisonment. His courtroom recount of a spring 2001 visit to an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, where he twice saw Osama bin Laden, wowed the media. Invoking Osama is a big strike against the Sheikh, even though he is not said to be linked to Goba.

Iran and Russia sign nuke deal

Iran and Russia signed a deal Feb. 27 to get the Bushehr nuclear reactor, Iran's first, up and running. Under the deal, Russia agrees to supply fuel, and Iran agrees to have the spent returned to Russia so that it cannot be re-processed for nuclear weapons. Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh and Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, actually met at the Bushehr plant for the signing.

Thousands protest in Beirut

Thousands of protesters defied a ban on public gatherings in downtown Beirut as Lebanon's pariliament began a firey debate on who was responsibile for the Feb. 14 car-bomb assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Demanding the government resign, protesters chanted "Syria get out!" and "Freedom, sovereignty, independence!" Violence was feared as pro-Syria demonstrators converged nearby to protest the visit by US deputy decretary of state David Satterfield.

Iraq: Saddam half-brother captured

The US military claims it has taken into custody Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan, half-brother of Saddam Hussein and a supposed key figure in the insurgency. Iraqi officials told the AP that Hassan had been captured by Syrian authorities in the northeast of that country, and handed over to US forces as a gesture of good faith following recent accusations that Damascus is aiding the Iraq insurgents. (AP, Feb. 27)

Renewed violence in Afghanistan

At least 22, including both rebels and government troops, are dead in fresh fighting with presumed Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. The bloodiest clash was in Helmand province, where troops were ambushed on night patrol. "Our mujahideen killed the soldiers in an ambush," Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Another forest defender killed in Brazil

Dionisio Ribeiro Filho, 59, was shot in the head at the entrance to the Tingua forest reserve, just outside Rio de Janeiro, after he defended it from poachers and illegal palm tree cutters. His death followed the Feb.

NYC terror trial turns on linguistics

The latest witness in the high-profile case of a Yemeni sheikh being heard in a Brooklyn federal courtroom was a New York Univeristy linguist. The scholar, Bernard Haykel, was called in to translate the word "jihad," which is repeatedly referenced in secretly-recorded tapes of the sheikh, Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, who is charged with material support to al-Qaeda and Hamas. To the dismay of federal prosecutors, Haykel said jihad can mean "Anything that basically furthers the cause of Islam and is understood to be doing good"—not necessarily armed struggle. (NYT, Feb. 25)

Iraq war conscientious objector released

Conscientious Objector Sgt. Camilo Mejia has been released from military prison after serving a nine-month sentence for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. The 28-year sergeant applied for objector status after witnessing the killing of civilians and the abuse of detainees in Iraq. Upon his release, Meija said "I certainly want to continue to lend my voice to the movement for Peace and Justice, of which I feel privileged to be a part." (Democracy Now, Feb. 22)

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