Around the Nation

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Embassy Attack Suspect Won't Face Execution

MIAMI -- A Pentagon official approved charges of murder and terrorism Friday against a man suspected in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Tanzania but ruled out the death penalty in the war crimes trial.

The action cleared the way for Tanzanian prisoner Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani to be tried before a military commission at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Ghailani was transferred to the U.S. military prison in Cuba from secret CIA custody in 2006.

Prosecutors asked to execute Ghailani if he were convicted of supplying equipment and other support for the Aug. 7, 1998, embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam that killed 11 people and wounded 85. A nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi killed 213 people and injured 4,000.

The Pentagon appointee overseeing the Guantanamo trials, Susan Crawford, signed off on the nine charges against Ghailani but decided, without explanation, that the case would not be tried as a capital case.

At a 2007 hearing to determine whether he was an "enemy combatant," Ghailani confessed and apologized for supplying equipment used in the Tanzania bombing but said he did not know the supplies would be used to attack the embassy, according to military transcripts.

U.S. Plans Arms Sale to Taiwan

The Bush administration announced plans to sell up to $6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan, including Apache helicopters and Patriot 3 missiles. Congress was notified of the plans by a posting on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency Web site. Lawmakers, who were expected to leave Washington yesterday to campaign for November elections, have 30 days to comment on the proposed sale. Without objections, the deal will proceed, the State Department said.

Bush Signs Great Lakes Pact

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- President Bush signed a bill that prevents diverting Great Lakes water to thirsty areas elsewhere in the United States and in Canada. The Great Lakes Compact bans new diversions of water to places outside the region and includes limited exceptions for communities near the basin boundary that meet rigorous requirements and for the taking of water in small containers.

$5.6 Million to Recover Booster

BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Air Force says it spent about $5.6 million in its efforts to recover from a North Dakota ditch an unarmed booster rocket for an intercontinental ballistic missile. An Air Force truck carrying the booster for a Minuteman III overturned July 31 in northwest North Dakota.

-- From News Services

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