Guantanamo Bay

Volunteer lawyers represent prisoners

Hundreds of volunteer lawyers representing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are scouring more than 5,000 pages of newly released documents for clues they hope may one day help win the detainees’ freedom.

Many of the attorneys said the documents could help locate or identify witnesses or finally prove to family members that a loved one is being held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.

Still, it is far from clear what legal rights the 500 or so prisoners have to contest their detention in U.S. courts, and how much use they can make of the new documents.

“The most frustrating part of it, these guys are wasting away in Guantanamo while the courts go about this process of sorting out their rights,” said attorney Eldon Greenberg, who is representing two young Syrians detained as enemy combatants for more than four years.


GOP votes to block sale of U.S. ports

In an election-year repudiation of President Bush, a House panel dominated by Republicans voted overwhelmingly yesterday to block a Dubai-owned firm from taking control of some U.S port operations. Democrats clamored for a vote in the Senate, too.

By 62-2, the House Appropriations Committee voted to bar DP World, run by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from holding leases or contracts at U.S. ports.

Bush has promised to veto any such measure passed by Congress, but there is widespread public opposition to the deal and the GOP fears losing its advantage on the issue of national security in this fall’s elections.

“This is a national security issue,” Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chairman of the House panel, said, adding that the legislation would “keep America’s ports in American hands.”

Vienna, Austria

Iran threatens U.S. over U.N. involvement

Iran threatened the United States with “harm and pain” yesterday if the U.S. tries to use the U.N. Security Council as a new and potent lever to punish Tehran for its suspect nuclear program.

Washington warned that Tehran has enough nuclear material for up to 10 atomic bombs.

The rhetoric reflected the intensity of the debate at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy’s 35-nation board over a critical report on Iran’s nuclear program. The meeting ended late yesterday, formally opening the path to Security Council action that could range from a mild statement urging compliance to sanctions or even military measures.

New Orleans

Bush receives mixed greeting in Big Easy

Six months after Hurricane Katrina, President Bush got a close-up look yesterday at the mountains of debris, the abandoned homes and the boarded-up businesses that are shocking reminders of the “pain and agony” New Orleans endures still.

In the devastated Lower Ninth Ward, few residents were around to tell Bush how they felt. But two young women held up a sign for his motorcade that said, “Where’s my government?” Farther up the road, a man waved a flattened cardboard box on which he had written, “Pres. cut the red tape and help us.”

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