what do you know… today is
6/6/06 5/6/06… brain injury… 8/
By DON THOMPSON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Federal prosecutors will retry an ice cream vendor on charges that he lied to the FBI about his son’s attendance at a terrorist training camp, authorities announced Friday.
Umer Hayat’s first trial ended with the jury deadlocked last month. The same day, a separate jury convicted his son, Hamid Hayat, of supporting terrorism by attending an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan.
U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. set June 5 to begin selecting a new jury for the father’s retrial.
“This case is simply too serious to walk away after one hung jury,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Brown said Friday as he left the courthouse.
Brown said prosecutors interviewed jurors in the first trial, and found that “there was not a lot of dispute about whether or not Umer Hayat lied to the FBI. Still, there were some jurors who looked down upon the investigative techniques that were used by agents.”
During the nine-week trial, jurors heard separate videotaped confessions the father and son made to FBI agents. The defense said the two were worn down by hours of questioning and were merely responding to leading questions by agents.
Umer Hayat, a 48-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, was released from federal custody Monday after Burrell lowered his bail from $1.2 million to $390,000. He will remain under house arrest in the Central Valley town. If convicted of the charges, he could face up to 16 years in prison.
His 23-year-old son, also a U.S. citizen, was working at a cherry-packing shed when he was arrested. Hamid Hayat faces up to 39 years in prison at sentencing July 14.
The FBI began focusing on the 2,500-member Pakistani community in Lodi shortly after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Agents initially were interested in pursuing a tip that Lodi businesses were sending money to terror groups abroad. They recruited a 32-year-old former Lodi resident of Pakistani descent who was then living in Oregon.
The informant soon befriended Hamid Hayat and secretly recorded their conversations. In some of those discussions, the younger Hayat said he planned to attend a terrorist training camp in Pakistan during a visit there from 2003 to 2005.
Hamid Hayat’s attorney, Wazhma Mojaddidi, said her client never actually attended the camp and argued that prosecutors had no direct evidence that he had. She has requested a new trial for her client.
The Hayats were arrested in June, shortly after Hamid Hayat returned from Pakistan, along with two Muslim clerics who later were deported for immigration violations.
U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said lying to the FBI during a terrorism investigation could cause them to lose valuable time that would be better spent foiling deadly plots.
“Seven citizens serving as jurors in the Umer Hayat trial found beyond a reasonable doubt that he had lied to the FBI about his son’s attendance at a terrorist training camp,” Scott said in a statement Friday.
By Stephanie Nebehay
May 5, 2006
GENEVA – The United States on Friday defended its treatment of foreign terrorism suspects held abroad, telling a U.N. committee it backed a ban on torture and stressing there had been “relatively few actual cases of abuse.”
John Bellinger, the U.S. State Department’s top legal adviser, said Washington was “absolutely committed to uphold its national and international obligations to eradicate torture.”
Human rights groups this week accused the United States of mistreating detainees through cruel interrogation methods including “water-boarding,” a form of mock drowning.
Bellinger, who heads the American delegation to the U.N. Committee Against Torture, said allegations of U.S. abuse had been greatly exaggerated.
“This committee should not lose sight of the fact that these incidents are not systemic,” he told the 10-member panel at the start of a two-day review of U.S. compliance with the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.
“Relatively few actual cases of abuse and wrongdoing have occurred in the context of U.S. armed conflict with al Qaeda,” he said.
The United States is holding hundreds of terrorism suspects, most arrested since al Qaeda’s September 11 attacks in 2001, at its prisons in
Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Barry Lowenkron told the committee the “notorious” abuses that occurred at
Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq “inexcusable and indefensible.”
“We know that the image of Abu Ghraib and questions about Guantanamo have been damaging to the reputation of the United States,” Bellinger told a news briefing after the session.
“That is one reason the U.S. government is trying very hard to set things on the right course through investigations that have been conducted and through our appearance at the committee today,” he said.
CHAIN OF COMMAND
The 10-member U.N. committee grilled the U.S. delegation on whether criminal responsibility has been established for known abuses, and challenged the U.S. definition of torture.
“We would like to have more details regarding the chain of command,” said Andreas Mavrommatis, the committee’s chairman.
Vice-chairman Wang Xuexian from China asked: “Where would you put such methods as interrogation by mock drownings — as torture or as other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment?”
“Are there measures to monitor CIA operations to ensure they are not violating the Convention Against Torture?”
The panel also asked about “extraordinary renditions” whereby prisoners are moved to other countries where, critics say, they can face torture, and asked whether seeking “diplomatic assurances” from governments was enough to prevent abuse of those moved.
“I would like to emphasize that the United States has not transported detainees to countries for purposes of interrogation using torture and will not,” Bellinger said in response, adding diplomatic assurances were relied on only “sparingly.”
Speaking after the session, Jennifer Daskal of Human Rights Watch decried what she called “a continued attempt by the U.S. to say that the abuse we see in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan was just limited to a few bad apples.”
“The (Bush) administration is unwilling to assume responsibility for policies and practices that were promulgated at a high level, which allow a climate of abuse to flourish,” she said.
apparently, now the movie of flight 93 has become “the official history”, and the war against terror has officially become “world war III”… he said it, i didn’t… 8/
US President George W. Bush said the September 11 revolt of passengers against their hijackers on board Flight 93 had struck the first blow of “World War III.”
In an interview with the financial news network CNBC, Bush said he had yet to see the recently released film of the uprising, a dramatic portrayal of events on the United Airlines plane before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
But he said he agreed with the description of David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, who in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month called it “our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war — World War III”.
Bush said: “I believe that. I believe that it was the first counter-attack to World War III.
“It was, it was unbelievably heroic of those folks on the airplane to recognize the danger and save lives,” he said.
Flight 93 crashed on the morning of September 11, 2001, killing the 33 passengers, seven crew members and four hijackers, after passengers stormed the cockpit and battled the hijackers for control of the aircraft.
The president has repeatedly praised the heroism of the passengers in fighting back and so launching the first blow of what he usually calls the “war on terror”.
In 2002, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer explicitly declined to call the hunt for Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda group and its followers “World War III.”