Other pipelines would be built from Austria, which draws water from the Alps, to Paris and elsewhere, and from Scotland down to London. Brazil, with its immense river systems, has a surplus of water. And China has substantial amounts of fresh water, although it's located in odd, hard-to-reach places.

The Star Chamber (Continued)
Witness for the Persecution

Last week federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin of New York's Southern District ruled that the government cannot hold suspects as material witnesses for grand jury proceedings, one of the techniques Ashcroft's Justice Department is using to prosecute its "war on terror." The judge found that material witnesses must be used in trials, and not put before grand juries, which are often viewed as merely rubber stamps for prosecutors. Currently, all that's required is one affidavit from one FBI agent for an individual to be held indefinitely as a material witness.

The ruling came in a case involving Osama Awadallah, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and citizen of Jordan. Last September 20, some 20 FBI agents surrounded him on the street outside his San Diego home and ordered him to come to their office. None of the agents advised Awadallah of his Miranda rights, his right to refuse searches of his home or cars, or his right to contact the Jordanian consulate. He was detained as a material witness, held for 20 days, and brought before a grand jury, after which the government charged him with perjury. He's accused of lying about whether he knew two of the September 11 hijackers.

FBI agents gave him three lie-detector tests, according to a summary of facts and allegations in Scheindlin's opinion. According to the summary, Awadallah claims that the agents covered the lens of a surveillance camera to prevent the procedure from being filmed. After accusing him of lying, he was imprisoned first in San Diego, then in San Bernardino, and then sent to a federal prison in Oklahoma City on September 28. While he was in Oklahoma, a guard threw shoes at his head and face, cursed at him, and insulted his Muslim religion. On October 1, Awadallah was shackled in leg irons and flown to New York City, where U.S. marshals threatened to "get" his brother and cursed "the Arabs." The marshals then transported him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was put in an ice-cold room and was kicked by guards, "who pulled him by the hair to force him to face an American flag." The next day, the marshals transported Awadallah to court, cuffing his hands behind his back and binding them to his legsóthe marshals pinched his upper arms hard enough to cause bruises. In the elevator, the marshals made his left foot bleed by kicking it, and the supervising marshal threatened to kill him. When the government presented Awadallah to the grand jury as a material witness on October 10, he was dressed in prison clothes and escorted into the room by FBI agents, and agents kept him handcuffed to the witness chair throughout his testimony. He was questioned by two prosecutors rather than one. During his testimony, one of the prosecutors interrupted him, spoke in a very loud voice, argued with him, and made what Scheindlin's opinion called "inappropriate judgmental remarks before the grand jurors." For example, one prosecutor said Awadallah's testimony "seems odd" and "suspicious."

In her opinion, Scheindlin wrote, "In their totality, Awadallah's allegations might require this Court to exercise its supervisory power. Awadallah may be able to prove that he was unlawfully arrested, unlawfully searched, abused by law enforcement officials while in prison, denied access to his lawyer and family, and denied an acceptable diet. In addition, his grand jury testimony may have had an illegitimate purpose and may have been conducted under unusually harsh conditionsótestifying while shackled to a chair."

Good Work!

"In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper-either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere-that mentioned any aspect of the September 11 plot." -FBI director Robert Mueller

Additional reporting: Meritxell Mir, Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson, and Gabrielle Jackson

« Previous Page