- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2003

Lawyer group warns against tribunals

Pentagon rules prevent defense lawyers from doing their utmost to represent terrorism suspects tried before military tribunals and thus lawyers cannot ethically participate in any such trials, the largest organization of criminal defense lawyers said yesterday.

“We took the position that it is unethical for a lawyer to represent a client under current conditions for military tribunals, and if a lawyer chose to do so, he or she must contest all of those unethical conditions,” said Barry Scheck, the incoming president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which has 11,000 members.

The organization’s positions are not binding, but state bar associations sometimes adopt the same reasoning for their rules. The American Bar Association, the nation’s largest lawyer group, is expected to address similar concerns at its annual meeting next week.

Verizon, union continue talks

Contract talks aimed at averting a possible midnight strike resumed yesterday between Verizon Communications and two unions representing some 78,000 phone company workers.

Service throughout the East and Mid-Atlantic, including the District, Virginia and Maryland could be affected if negotiations fail to reach agreement. The deadline was 12:01 a.m. EDT today, when the current three-year contracts expire.

Both sides said Verizon and union negotiators were at the bargaining table for discussions with federal mediators in Washington.

Woman accused in hoax had called FBI

PORTLAND, Ore. — The woman accused of calling an Indiana couple and falsely claiming to be their long-lost daughter had been an FBI informant in the past.

Donna L. Walker, who was held by Kansas authorities Friday in lieu of $100,000 bail, provided tips to authorities about child pornographers.

“Periodically, she on her own initiative would call us, and we would evaluate the information,” FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele told the Associated Press yesterday.

Miss Steele said the information was usually for cases outside Portland, so it would be passed on to other police departments or FBI offices.

Terrorism fears kill travel programs

The government suspended two programs yesterday that allow foreigners to travel through U.S. airports without visas to catch connecting flights between international points.

The State Department said terrorist groups had planned to use the programs as a way of getting access to flights to and from the United States while eluding required checks against federal lists of terrorism suspects.

The action by the departments of State and Homeland Security was effective at 11 a.m. EDT yesterday.

The departments “have received specific, credible intelligence … that certain terrorist organizations including al Qaeda have identified the visa and passport exemptions of those programs as a means to gain access to aircraft en route to and from the United States,” State Department spokeswoman Jo-Anne Prokopowicz said.

Small plane crashes during ball games

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A small airplane with four persons aboard crash-landed between two fields where a baseball game and soccer match were in progress.

Nobody on the ground was hurt, although three of the four persons on the single-engine Cessna 207 Skywagon, operated by Spernak Airways, were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

The wreck happened during the third inning of a minor-league game Thursday night between the Anchorage Bucs and the Fairbanks Goldpanners with about 500 people in attendance.

The engine died and the plane was steered onto the running track between the baseball game in one stadium and a soccer game in another. The plane then hit a fence at the north end of the track, flipping once and coming to rest on its belly.

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