Three members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement were arrested in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn while engaged in the legal monitoring of police activities. They have been falsely charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer and obstructing governmental operations. (Our Time Press, reprinted by the NY Independent Press Association, Feb.
Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, 56, faces up to 75 years behind bars after a Brooklyn federal jury found him guilty of five charges stemming from a conspiracy to support al-Qaeda and Hamas. ¨Today's convictions mark another important step in our war on terrorism,¨ U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. (NY Post, March 11)
Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the support of Parliament for a new anti-terrorism law, which will allow the government to move quickly against eight foreign terror suspects who have been granted bail. The House of Lords approved new powers to order house arrest, impose curfews and electronic tagging without trial, after the government made concessions to end a bitter parliamentary deadlock just three days before similar legislation was to have expired.
The unclassified 21-page summary of a 400-page secret Pentagon report prepared by Vice-Admiral Albert Church confirms that at least six detainees have died in more than 70 proven cases of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, and reveals that the U.S. military was holding an estimated 50,000 detainees in shadowy circumstances as of last September. However, the report exonerates Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon brass of ordering or turning a blind eye to torture.
A video made by Florida National Guardsmen in the Iraq city of Ramadi shows troops kicking a gravely wounded prisoner in the face, and making the arm of a nearby corpse appear to wave. The video, obtained by the Palm Beach Post, was entitled "Ramadi Madness." Military authorities are taking no action. An Army spokesman told Reuters that the video showed "poor judgement" but "didn't rise to the level of criminal abuse."
An Indonesian court March 3 sentenced militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to 30 months in prison for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings, but cleared him of more serious terror charges. The sentence was criticized as too light by the US and Australia, who regard the aging preacher as a key regional terror leader. Judges also cleared Bashir of charges that as head of the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group he planned the 2003 suicide bombing of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people, and that he incited his followers to launch terrorist attacks. (AP, March 4)
David Passaro, a CIA contract interrogator, is on trial in Raleigh, NC, for beating an Afghan prisoner who died the next day. The case has revealed several horror stories from the prison just north of Kabul—an abandoned warehouse code-named the "Sand Pit"—where nameless "ghost detainees" were brutalized and left to die of hypothermia in freezing cells. In his defense, Passaro says he will cite policy as articulated by administration officials up to and includding President Bush.
Pakistani authorities say they will appeal the acquittal by the country's Supreme Court of five men charged in an "honor rape" case that drew international condemnation.