Four Former Detainees Sue

U.S. Officials, Seek Damages

Four British citizens who allege that they were tortured at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, sued Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and nine other top Army and Air Force officers yesterday. They are seeking $10 million each in damages for alleged violations of their human rights.

The former detainees contend that the military officials violated U.S. and international law by setting policies that caused them to be unfairly imprisoned, tortured in interrogations and denied their rights. Three of the detainees are known as the Tipton 3, for the working-class city outside London where they grew up; the fourth is from Manchester. The military released them in March under pressure from the British government. All four have denied any connection with terrorism.

A Pentagon spokesman said yesterday that the lawsuit has no merit because all four were enemy combatants fighting for al Qaeda and have no right under U.S. law to sue for injuries sustained in combat situations.

The detainees allege that they were "repeatedly struck with rifle butts, punched, kicked and slapped" by their American guards at Guantanamo and "threatened with unmuzzled dogs, forced to strip naked, subjected to repeated forced body cavity searches [and] intentionally subjected to extremes of heat and cold for the purpose of causing suffering."

Natural Gas Pipeline Project

In Alaska Gets a Double Boost

A 3,500-mile pipeline to deliver natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to the fuel-hungry Midwest is suddenly more than a pipe dream.

Congress has promised to cover 80 percent of the cost if the project goes bust -- and Alaska is thinking about owning part of it.

But despite a tripling in natural gas prices in the past few years, the companies that own the gas remain skittish about rushing into a $20 billion investment. And how much government help should be given has become an issue in a highly contested Senate race in Alaska.

To ease investors' concerns, Alaska Gov. Frank H. Murkowski (R) is proposing to make the state a part-owner of the pipeline. His administration is expected to announce a proposal this week, prompting charges by Democrats that Murkowski is rushing the issue to help the Senate campaign of daughter Lisa. Murkowski denied politics is involved in the planned announcement. "I didn't create the timing," he told reporters this week.

In a rush of preelection business, Congress gave the Alaska pipeline project fresh momentum by promising loan guarantees for 80 percent of the pipeline's cost, and it offered developers tax breaks as well as promises of less burdensome permit requirements.

"After working for more than 20 years . . . we have finally taken steps to make the Alaska natural gas pipeline happen," Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said after Congress agreed to back the incentive package.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writer Carol D. Leonnig and news services