click your heels together: imaginate

Hinzman rebuffed in bid for asylum

TORONTO — An American soldier who deserted because he opposed the war in Iraq appealed for asylum in Canada yesterday but faces an uphill battle after the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board refused to consider his argument that the Iraq war lacked legitimacy.

Pvt. Jeremy Hinzman, 26, served in Afghanistan as a cook but fled to Canada from the 82nd Airborne Regiment in North Carolina in January when he was called up for a deployment to Iraq.

Hinzman said military brass ignored his requests to be registered as a conscientious objector. He sought refugee status in Canada and says he believes he will be persecuted if he is returned to the U.S.

Abu Ghraib suspect loses bias ruling

FORT HOOD, Texas — A military judge dealt the reputed ringleader in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal two legal setbacks yesterday, rebuffing arguments that Army Spc. Charles Graner cannot receive a fair trial in front of a military jury and refusing a defense request to call the former commander of U.S. land forces in Iraq as a witness.

The trial for Graner, one of the soldiers pictured prominently in photographs showing naked Iraqi prisoners stacked in a human pyramid, is set to begin Jan. 7 at Fort Hood. He and six other reservists from the Maryland-based 372nd Military Police Company were charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners in late 2003. Three of the accused have pleaded guilty, and the rest are awaiting trial.

Graner's attorney argued that the charges should be dismissed because any military jury impaneled to hear the case will inevitably be biased following critical comments by President Bush and other senior military leaders.

The judge also ruled against a defense request to call Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, as a defense witness, saying Sanchez's testimony would have "nothing to do with what happened" at Abu Ghraib.

Detainees' captures proper, Navy reports

SAN DIEGO — Preliminary findings of a military inquiry suggest that some of the recently published photographs of Navy special forces capturing detainees in Iraq were taken for legitimate intelligence-gathering purposes and showed commandos using approved procedures, a Navy spokesman said yesterday.

The photos, which have drawn a strong reaction in Arab media, appear to show Navy SEALs sitting or lying on top of hooded and handcuffed detainees in the back of a pickup truck.

Navy Cmdr. Jeff Bender said some of the photos are "consistent with the use of tactics, techniques and procedures in the apprehension of detainees."

<> He said a photo in which a uniformed man is holding the head of a prisoner to pose him for a picture was for "identification purposes," not a souvenir.


Bush, al-Yawer stress Jan. 30 vote's import

WASHINGTON — President Bush said yesterday that American military forces "can never guarantee 100 percent security" for Iraq's elections Jan. 30, but said the voting must proceed on schedule to let people choose democracy over terrorism.

Bush, after meeting with interim Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer, said even with 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, "you can never guarantee 100 percent security. But the Iraqi people have a chance to say to the world, 'We choose democracy over terrorism.' "

Al-Yawer said, "Right now we're faced with the armies of darkness who have no objective but to undermine the political process and incite civil war in Iraq. But I want to assure the whole world that this will never, ever happen ... "

He said victory "is not only possible, it's a fact. We can see it. It's there."

( '? and I can see that you’re naked; but how come nobody else can??? ( '?

© Seattle Times

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