- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2002

Baghdad let al Qaeda operate

A senior U.S. official made fresh claims yesterday about Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, saying Baghdad let the group operate on its soil.

"In terms of support for terrorism, we have established that Iraq has permitted al Qaeda to operate within its territory," said John Bolton, undersecretary for arms control and international security.

Mr. Bolton did not offer details on the reputed link between Baghdad and the network Washington blames for the September 11, 2001, terror strikes on U.S. targets.

He reiterated however that "as the president said recently, 'The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations. And there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq.'"

U.S. officials have repeatedly made such claims and faced some criticism for not offering decisive proof to support them.

"The president has made his position on Iraq eminently clear, and in the coming weeks and months, we shall see what we shall see," Mr. Bolton said.

Lawsuit reinstatedin child-sex cases

SPOKANE, Wash. A lawsuit against the town of Wenatchee over the handling of child-sex ring cases in the mid-1990s must be reinstated because defense lawyers misled plaintiffs and the court, a judge ruled.

In a strongly worded decision, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Donohue said Thursday that defense attorneys had wrongly withheld personnel files concerning Bob Perez, a former Wenatchee police detective who was the lead investigator.

The judge also reinstated Mr. Perez as a defendant in the suit. Mr. Perez's personnel files, which had turned up in a separate lawsuit, remain under federal court seal.

In Mr. Perez's investigation, the Rev. Robert "Roby" Roberson was accused of running a child-sex ring out of his Pentecostal church. Many accusers later recanted their stories, and all 18 persons sent to prison were later released on appeal or post-conviction plea agreements.

Prosecution rests in actress Ryder's trial

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. The prosecution rested its case against Winona Ryder on Thursday after calling a police detective to bolster the testimony of Saks Fifth Avenue employees who said the actress shoplifted $5,500 of merchandise.

Detective Mark Parker, the last of a half-dozen witnesses, described Miss Ryder as calm the night of her arrest. "She had a smile on her face," Detective Parker told the jury.

Miss Ryder, 31, is charged with felony grand theft, burglary and vandalism for purportedly stealing expensive clothes and accessories on Dec. 12, 2001. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Store security personnel have testified that the actress remarked that she thought an assistant had paid for the merchandise, but also that she had shoplifted as preparation for a movie role. The detective offered a similar account.

"Ms. Ryder was talking a lot, asking me what was going to happen next," Detective Parker said. "She was nervous about what was going to happen. At one point, she was explaining that she was getting in character for a role as a kleptomaniac. She wanted to see what it was like to shoplift."

Monument for unborn ordered removed

SUBLETTE, Kan. A monument for unborn babies must be removed from a public cemetery because it violates land-use laws that set aside the space for burying human remains, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled.

The stone monument includes pictures of children, an angel and a heart with a small handprint and reads, "In loving memory of all unborn babies." It also includes a Bible verse from the Book of Isaiah: "I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name."

Vaughn and Sharon Lower bought the cemetery lot in 1994, adding the monument four years later over the objections of the Haskell County Cemetery Board.

The state Supreme Court, in an opinion published Oct. 25, upheld the ruling of District Judge Kim Schroeder, who ordered the stone removed because it violates state law.

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