- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 25, 2003

Guantanamo chaplain objects to delay

Military prosecutors claim they are so overworked they need to delay proceedings against a Muslim chaplain accused of mishandling secrets at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, terrorist prison, the chaplain’s attorney said yesterday.

Defense attorney Eugene Fidell, a civilian expert in military law, said military speedy trial rules require hearings for Capt. James Yee by Dec. 10 and he has objected to a delay.

No hearings have been scheduled, and military prosecutors want that deadline delayed by another 45 days, he said.

Military spokesman Raul Duany said yesterday he could not confirm that prosecutors had asked for a delay.

Mr. Duany, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command, said commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Miller will decide whether to drop the charges, hold proceedings against Capt. Yee in Guantanamo or send the case to Southern Command officials for consideration of a general court-martial.

Capt. Yee, who also has used the first name Yousef, is charged with two counts of mishandling classified information from the prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 35-year-old chaplain is being held in solitary confinement at a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.

Davis’ appointments may not be confirmed

SACRAMENTO — Dozens of last-minute appointments by lame-duck Gov. Gray Davis were thrown into doubt yesterday after the Senate’s leader said lawmakers would not reconvene to confirm the nominations before Mr. Davis leaves office.

Mr. Davis has nominated nearly 90 people, including some of his top aides, to state posts since voters recalled him Oct. 7. Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger can withdraw appointments if they aren’t confirmed by the time he takes office on Nov. 17. The Senate isn’t scheduled to meet again until January.

Senate President Pro Tem John Burton had planned to have the Senate meet before Mr. Davis, a fellow Democrat, leaves office. But other senators expressed reluctance to confirm so many appointments by the first governor in California history to be recalled.

Senate sources told several newspapers that Senate leaders were negotiating with Mr. Schwarzenegger’s aides to allow 12 to 15 Davis appointments to go through later.

But Mr. Schwarzenegger’s spokesman H.D. Palmer refused to say whether the Republican had agreed to any deal.

“I’m just not going to get into speculation about what’s going to happen once he gets into office,” Mr. Palmer said. “I’m not going to speculate on speculation.”

Mr. Davis’ press secretary, Steve Maviglio, said only that Mr. Davis was “confident the Senate will do what it thinks is right.”

Sun’s gas storm hits Earth

DENVER — A geomagnetic storm spawned by a giant eruption of gas on the sun barreled toward Earth yesterday, interfering with high-frequency airline communications but causing no major problems, federal officials said.

The storm was expected to be most severe yesterday, though experts said they didn’t anticipate problems with communication networks.

“This is not a supersolar storm,” said Larry Combs, a space weather forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Environment Center in Boulder.

So far, the storm has interfered with airline communications and radio communications for teams on Mount Everest, Mr. Combs said. But problems were not widespread.

The storm, called a “coronal mass ejection,” is a mass of solar gas that swept toward Earth at 2 million miles per hour. The usual cycle for such a storm is every 11 years; this one was expected to hit three years ago.

Bug doesn’t incriminate Philadelphia’s mayor

PHILADELPHIA — A bug planted in the office of Philadelphia Mayor John Street did not capture any incriminating remarks from the mayor during the two weeks it was installed, the Philadelphia Inquirer said yesterday.

Since the electronic listening device was found by Philadelphia police during a routine sweep Oct. 7, Mr. Street has denied he was a target of an FBI probe into city activities that has included raids on city agencies, demands for Mr. Street’s personal bank records, and a subpoena for documents at a federal housing agency in the city.

The investigation, being conducted so close to the Nov. 4 mayoral election, has prompted accusations by Mr. Street and his supporters that the federal government is seeking to undermine his re-election bid.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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