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NATION IN BRIEF

Saturday, February 12, 2005; Page A20

Contractor Who Beat Afghan Was Doing His Job, Court Told

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A CIA contractor charged with beating Afghan detainee Abdul Wali, who later died, was protecting the United States against terrorists and should not be prosecuted because he was following directives from President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, his attorneys argued in filings released this week.

Representing David A. Passaro, public defender Thomas P. McNamara pointed out that Bush said on Sept. 12, 2001, a day after terrorist attacks in the United States that resulted in the deaths of 3,000 people, that the nation "will use all our resources to conquer this enemy." He also cited remarks by Rumsfeld and White House officials that he argues immunize Passaro from prosecution.

Passaro was charged in June with four counts of assault, accused of beating Wali with his hands, his feet and a flashlight as he tried to get information about rocket attacks on U.S. forces. If convicted, Passaro could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

NEW YORK -- For the first time, doctors have diagnosed a form of HIV that New York City health officials said has two striking characteristics: It is highly resistant to antiviral drugs in a patient who had never been treated with the medications, and it developed into AIDS in a few months instead of the usual 10 years.

NEW YORK -- Three members of the Bonanno crime family, including the former acting boss, pleaded guilty to murdering another mobster in the wake of family head Joseph Massino's cooperation with the government. Former acting boss Anthony "Tony Green" Urso pleaded guilty to racketeering murder, gambling, loan-sharking and extortion. Joseph Cammarano and Louis Restivo pleaded guilty to racketeering murder.

CHICAGO -- Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis ordered that sacraments be denied to the lay leaders of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in a dispute over control of the parish and its millions of dollars in assets.

AUSTIN -- Giving by local dioceses to the national Episcopal Church dropped about $4 million last year -- about a 12 percent -- in the first full year after the denomination confirmed its only openly gay bishop, the church treasurer said. Officials expect $27.5 million in donations from local dioceses for 2004, down from $31.2 million in 2003.

BOSTON -- Four Massachusetts priests accused of sexually abusing children were defrocked by the Vatican, the Archdiocese of Boston said. Robert Fay, Kelvin Iguabita, Bernard Lane and Robert Ward are forbidden to function as priests and will not receive any church financial support.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The New Brunswick Theological Seminary ousted and reprimanded its president for officiating at his lesbian daughter's wedding. The Rev. Norman J. Kansfield, 64, could face a trial by his denomination, the Reformed Church in America.

SEATTLE -- A federal fishing council moved to ban bottom trawling on more than 370,000 square miles -- or more than half the fishable water -- off Alaska's Aleutian Islands to try to protect coral beds and other sensitive fish habitat.

-- From News Services


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