DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan — The top Pakistani Taliban commander said Tuesday that his group had carried out the deadly assault on a police academy in eastern Pakistan, and he vowed to launch an attack on the U.S. capital.
Baitullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million bounty on his head from the U.S., said the Pakistan Taliban was planning a terrorist assault against Washington D.C.
"Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," Mehsud told The Associated Press by phone.
Mehsud and other Pakistan Taliban militants are believed to be based in the country’s lawless tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, where they have stepped up their attacks throughout Pakistan.
The Pakistan Taliban leader also claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that killed four soldiers Monday in Bannu district and a suicide attack targeting a police station in Islamabad last week that killed one officer.
Such attacks pose a major test for the weak, year-old civilian administration of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari that has been gripped with political turmoil in recent weeks.
The gunmen who attacked a police academy in Lahore on Monday killed seven police and two civilians, holding security forces at bay for about eight hours before being overpowered by Pakistani commandos. Some of the attackers wore police uniforms, and they took hostages and tossed grenades during the assault.
A memorial service is planned for May 16 for Steve Hamilton, a prominent Bay Area anti-war activist and member of the Oakland 7 who was acquitted in a notorious conspiracy trial.
Mr. Hamilton, 64, died Feb. 1 after a heart attack.
He was part of a group of anti-war activists known as the Oakland 7, which was charged with conspiracy for organizing huge demonstrations at the Oakland Army Induction Center in 1967 as part of nationwide protest called Stop the Draft Week.
It was one of a series of protests, arrests and court cases during the turbulent ’60s involving the soft-spoken and passionate activist who came from a conservative working class family and once planned to become a minister.
Steven Charles Hamilton was born in 1944 in Watts (Los Angeles County). His father worked on an assembly line at the General Motors plant, contracted lead poisoning, and spent years in Camarillo State Mental Hospital in Ventura County, undergoing shock treatment. His mother supported the family by working in a tire factory.
Mr. Hamilton was graduated from South Gate High School and won an American Baptist Church scholarship to Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois.
In 1963, the crew-cut sophomore transferred to UC Berkeley as a divinity student. Some time later, his family saw televised reports of protests there showing a "rather scruffy-looking guy with long hair," recalled his sister, Shirley Metcalf.
His family was sure he never would participate in such activities, she said, and was shocked when on school break "in walked the scruffy-looking man."
In the fall of 1964, Mr. Hamilton was arrested during the Free Speech Movement, the first big student protest of the ’60s. In 1965, he joined the anti-war Vietnam Day Committee and the Maoist Progressive Labor Party.
He was dismissed from Cal in 1966 for manning an unauthorized literature table on campus.
That August, he and social activist Jerry Rubin were subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. His remarks got him ejected from the witness stand.
In January 1967, Mr. Hamilton and four other prominent nonstudent activists – Rubin, Mike Smith, Stew Albert and Mario Savio – were convicted of trespass in a protest of Navy recruiting on the Cal campus. He also was convicted of contempt of court for holding a press conference on the case.
Despite resulting jail sentences, he was undeterred. He held that "if you believe in something, it’s worth fighting for," his friend Smith said.
In October 1967, Mr. Hamilton helped organize Stop the Draft Week and sent a telegram to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. "Debate has accomplished nothing; the war must be stopped," he wrote. "We plan to shut down the Oakland Induction Center."
Hundreds of protesters were arrested outside the center amid violence by both police and demonstrators. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged the seven with conspiring to induce others to commit the misdemeanors of trespass and interfering with police. It was said to be the first use of the state’s conspiracy law against protesters. An 11-week trial ended in acquittals.
Mr. Hamilton later helped found the Marxist Revolutionary Union and organized at work in Richmond’s Bethlehem Steel factory.
He became a therapist trying to better the mental health system in which his father had suffered, Metcalf said.
Married briefly, he was privately gay, coming out only in 1980, said his friends. "It was as hard to be a gay communist as it was to be a gay capitalist," said Reese Erlich, an author and co-defendant in the conspiracy case.
Mr. Hamilton moved to Kentucky in August and was planning to return to the Bay Area when he died on Feb. 1. He is survived by his sister, Shirley Metcalf, and his close friend Roman Esser.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. on May 16 at Finnish Brotherhood Hall, 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley.
The following obituary appeared in todays SF Chronicle.
Steve was a prominent activist in the generation that emerged from Berkely an early leading figure in the Revolutionary Union, a central organizer of the communist pilot project in Richmond California and one of the first Maoist organizers to go into the plants to connect communist politics with broaders sections of working people. He was also a gay man forced into the closet within the communist movement. He left the RU in the struggles over black nationalism in the early 1970s — helping to form first the Bay Area Communist Union and then the Bay Area Socialist Organizing Committee.
Covered: The fire service’s new uniform for Muslim women
Pop into the firestation and the chances are there’d be a group of reassuringly burly men in there waiting for the call out, with uniforms and firefighting suits tailored for their use alone.
The one or two women among them would have to make do with ill-fitting adaptations of the men’s outfits while the handful of Muslim women in the service would be wearing their own head scarfs.
But, with the fire service anxious to attract recruits of all sexes and backgrounds, it was decided that something had to be done.
So yesterday the results were uneveiled, including full-length skirts, hijab headscarfs and long- sleeved shirts for Muslim women recruits.
The hope is that the uniforms, designed for wearing round the station and for outings such as school trips, will be smarter and better fitting for every firefighter – even the men.
For the first time also, women will get their own mustard yellow fire-fighting suit designed to protect their breasts and upper body.
This outfit was tried on yesterday by Lincolnshire firefighter Julie Smith.
‘It is right that male firefighters and female firefighters to need protection in different areas,’ she said. ‘It is very comfortable, very new and very yellow.’
Her boss Mike Thomas, Chief Fire Officer for Lincolnshire, declared the uniforms would help ‘bust’ the ‘ traditional image of the hunky, British, white, male, firefighter’ – even though a great many of his staff probably fit this description.
‘There are no better positive role models than women and ethnic recruits in these uniforms, and hopefully they will encourage people to join,’ he added.
Firemen in Lincolnshire will be the first to try out the new national uniform which also includes sports and maternity wear.
Fire minister Sadiq Khan added: ‘We want the widest range of applicants to apply to join the fire and rescue service.
Sadiq Khan: Need for recruits
‘To achieve this, it is important that all applicants – men and women – know that the uniform and clothing they will be issued with will not only protect them but will also fit properly and be comfortable.
‘The introduction of more appropriately fitted clothing is just one initiative to help to both retain female firefighters and encourage others to consider a fire service career.’
‘The uniform now available shows that cultural beliefs are being recognised, as we seek to increase the representation of ethnic minorities within service.’
However, in England’s Fire and Rescue Service only 5.5 per cent of all staff are from a minority ethnic background and 3.3 per cent are women.
Jagtar Singh, spokesman for the Asian Fire Service Association, said: ‘We are pleased to note that the fire service is now taking seriously the issues of culture and religious belief when purchasing corporate and protective clothing for firefighters.’
In the four months since G20 leaders promised to try to close a deal on global trade and foreswore new trade barriers, the star-crossed Doha trade talks have collapsed and all but three of the 20 countries have implemented trade-distorting measures, according to the World Bank. G20 leaders should use their London meeting to stop the unraveling of the trading system that has spread prosperity, has lifted millions out of poverty, and is essential to economic recovery.
Globalized markets are now so pervasive that we easily lose sight of what an extraordinary, yet fragile, achievement the trading system is. In 1947, 23 countries concluded the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in hopes of ratcheting down the protectionist follies that had exacerbated a global depression and contributed to conditions for war. Today, the World Trade Organization, which subsumed GATT in 1995, includes 153 members representing nearly 98 percent of global trade.
Since the late 1940s, import quotas have been scrapped–with the regrettable exception of agriculture–and average tariffs have fallen from nearly 40 percent to 9.7 percent. Trade in goods has meanwhile grown 30 fold. Containerization and other innovations have played a role, but the dramatic trade expansion would not have been possible without GATT/WTO inspired liberalization.
Yet, the WTO remains a half-built edifice with gaping holes and different rules for developed and developing countries. Take tariffs. Developed countries have haggled each other’s duties down to mere nuisances–the EU’s average tariff is 5 percent, and America’s 3.5 percent.
By contrast, developing countries have recently cut duties unilaterally, but have avoided major commitments–called "bindings" in trade jargon–that would fetter their ability to raise tariffs at will. For instance, Brazil has cut actual tariffs to an average of 12 percent, but has an average WTO "bound" tariff of 30 percent. And India has dropped its tariffs to an average of 15 percent, but maintains an average bound tariff of 50 percent. Indeed, it was the reluctance of India and China to accept restrictions on their freedom to increase tariffs that produced last year’s Doha train wreck.
The current crisis, in which the WTO projects an astonishing 9 percent fall in trade this year, is testing all countries’ commitment to openness. World Bank staff report that G20 countries have implemented a raft of trade distorting measures since November–in many cases without violating their WTO commitments. Developing countries such as Ecuador and India have hiked up tariffs. Some have erected non-tariff barriers, sometimes camouflaged as consumer protection. China has banned Belgian chocolates, Irish pork, Italian brandy and Dutch eggs, and India has banned Chinese toys.
Developed countries haven’t been blameless. Some–most notoriously the United States–have sought in stimulus packages to direct job creation with local preferences. Rich governments have also opened their pocket books to failing firms. The auto sector has been promised some $50 billion so far. And falling commodity prices will automatically mean larger EU and U.S. farm subsidies. Even if bailouts and farm subsidies are vulnerable to WTO challenge down the road, they will disrupt international competition in the meantime.
These state interventions invite a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat that undercuts the integration essential for recovery. All countries are harmed, but the poorest are the most vulnerable. To reinforce open markets, G20 leaders should:
1. Renew and extend their one-year pledge to refrain from new trade-distorting measures, making clear that the commitment applies even where no WTO commitment is broken.
2. Task the WTO with maintaining an up-to-date website tracking compliance with their pledge, with the WTO supported by World Bank, IMF and OECD staff in ferreting out transgressions, as well as by in-put from governments, the private sector and other stakeholders. The glare of publicity can help constrain protectionist temptations.
3. Shepherd global trade negotiations to conclusion by the end of 2009 in order to lock in unilateral liberalization, expand market access for goods and services in both developed and developing countries, and cut rich country farm subsidies. Credible progress here would boost market confidence right away and lay the foundations for future growth.
4. Commit to signing the WTO’s procurement code as they proceed with their stimulus programs. In contrast to developed countries, no major developing country has done so yet. Joining this accord would protect their exporters from Buy-America-like discrimination in rich country procurement, while ensuring competitive purchasing domestically for the benefit of their taxpayers.
5. Ensure poor country exporters have the finance they need, despite the evaporation of credit, by supporting the World Bank efforts in this area. Japan has pointed the way with a $1 billion trade finance initiative with the World Bank.
6. Support financially World Bank work aimed at tackling the high costs of moving goods across poor country borders caused by red-tape, regulatory obstacles and the like. These trade costs present a higher hurdle than tariffs for exporters in Africa and other poor regions. Rich countries should make good on $15 billion in promises to fund this trade facilitation reform without waiting for Doha’s uncertain completion.
The WTO has provided a supportive framework for integration well beyond promises inscribed in its underlying agreements. That broader liberalization is at risk. As leaders of the world’s leading trading nations, responsibility falls to them to sustain the openness that has benefited so many. As Margaret Thatcher has warned, in politics there are "no final victories."
In addition to putting the full faith and credit of the American people behind every Chrysler or General Motors automotive warranty today, President Barack Obama also announced that he would personally guarantee the continuation of GM’s OnStar in-vehicle security, communications and diagnostic system.
“No matter what happens to GM, you will still be able to press that blue button and chat with the OnStar operator, just like always,” the president said. “In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because United States government employees will answer that call, instead of GM operators who might have been distracted by worries that the government was going to takeover their company.”
OnStar, available on more than 50 GM models, offers everything from crash detection that automatically dispatches an ambulance if the driver is non-responsive, to remotely-issued verbal threats to ’stop this car and come back there’ when OnStar detects a child’s voice saying ‘he’s touching me’.
“It was natural for the federal government to take control of this service,” said Mr. Obama, because just like OnStar, my administration will send help even if you don’t ask for it.”
Critics say the new rules are harsh, uncalled for and violate due process. The U.N. resolution, which is also sponsored by Supervisor John Avalos, is pretty specific in its criticism, saying that the board "hereby declares it city policy to provide every youth who has contact with the juvenile justice system his or her right to due process under the law before any city employee initiates communication with federal immigration officials."
"I believe in due process," Alioto-Pier said Monday. "This is the United States of America, we’re not in a communist country here…. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty, and for children it is extremely important."
She went on to point out that "everyone focuses their attention on kids that have really serious problems — what about the ones who are really good kids, and might get into trouble for one reason or another?"
Nathan Ballard, Newsom’s spokesman, said the two sides have a "legitimate policy disagreement" and that the mayor stands behind the new policy. He also said the other side is using the legal term "due process" incorrectly, defined by Cornell University Law School as that "all levels of American government must operate within the law ("legality") and provide fair procedures."
"We’re confident the Obama administration will protect due process rights once we have reported (the juveniles)," Ballard said.
The cynicism is breathtaking. Rushing out details of every MP’s expenses, which have been gathering dust since last October, is designed to deflect attention from the latest scandal engulfing Jacqui Smith.
We are supposed to concentrate on the £148,000 Call Me Dave claimed in allowances last year and conclude that, seeing as they’re all at it, maybe putting in a bill for pornographic movies isn’t a hanging offence after all.
Certainly, the Prime Minister doesn’t seem in the slightest bit concerned that his Home Secretary is a corrupt liar and his employment minister is a thief, caught up to his elbows in the taxpayers’ till.
He doesn’t care that one of his backbench MPs pretends his main home is a seaside caravan and has claimed more than £300,000 to which he shouldn’t be entitled.
So much for Gordon’s self-proclaimed moral compass, if he really, truly believes that putting pornography on parliamentary expenses is a ‘personal matter’.
The sum involved may be trivial, but the idea that Jacqui Smith’s husband – paid £40,000 a year to be her political adviser – thought he could get away with it is monstrous.
In his typical, petty, partisan fashion, Gordon is now trying to muddy the waters by publishing everyone’s expenses in the hope that the dogs of war will latch on to a bent Tory and forget about Smith’s outrageous transgressions.
Let’s agree that the system stinks and reform is long overdue. But let’s also stop excusing those who exploit it for personal enrichment.
Just because the rules appear to accommodate the most outrageous abuses, it doesn’t mean that MPs are duty-bound to take advantage.
At least Leytonstone MP Harry Cohen admits to screwing every last penny out of the parliamentary money tree.
He doesn’t claim he actually lives most of the time at his weekend cottage and adjoining caravan on the Essex coast, just that he lists it as his ‘main’ residence for the purpose of maximising his allowances. He says quite openly that he regards the extra bunce as part of his salary.
There’s something refreshingly honest about his admission of dishonesty. The rest of them dissemble and obfuscate to disguise their guilt, hiding behind the excuse that what they are doing is within the ‘rules’.
Why Jacqui Smith’s stealing matters most is because a fish rots from the head. How can we expect backbenchers to behave properly when the Home Secretary herself is exposed as a shameless crook?
How many more times? Her ‘main’ home is in Redditch, not her sister’s box room. Claiming otherwise is a lie, pure and simple.
Most of us have no problem with provincial MPs being given help to maintain a flat near Westminster or stay in a hotel when the House is sitting.
But Smith has tipped the whole system on its head and has used public money to which she is not entitled to remodel and furnish her family home and add to its value – a profit she will reap and keep whenever the house is sold.
Forget the filthy movies and examine her expenses. She has claimed for everything from the kitchen sink to two washing machines, two DVD players and two flatscreen TVs. She even charged for an antique fireplace – and the coal to go in it.
None of this has anything to do with the execution of her duty as an MP. It is embezzlement.
So is the £60,000 claimed by employment minister Tony McNulty for his parents’ house. As I have maintained all along, there are now sufficient grounds for him to be charged with a criminal offence.
Over the next few days, Fleet Street’s finest will be sifting through every MP’s expenses. I guarantee there will be more evidence of wholesale theft.
Sometimes it feels as if the entire political establishment has its snout so deeply jammed in the trough of taxpayers’ money that you can barely see its little curly tail.
None of this should be allowed to detract from the venal corruption at the heart of government, which is condoned disgracefully by the Prime Minister himself.
I don’t believe Jacqui Smith’s defence would stand up in a court of law, let alone Harriet Harman’s famed court of public opinion.
Yesterday, the Home Secretary – holder of one of the four great offices of state – was bundled into a car outside her sister’s house like a defendant being escorted into the Old Bailey.
She looked guilty. She is guilty. The sooner someone like Smith or McNulty is put in the dock at the Old Bailey, the better.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith: Her snout is well and truly in the trough. She has shown herself to be a corrupt liar
Pakistani police and Rangers have defeated a terrorist assault on a Police training facility in the eastern city of Lahore after an eight hour siege. Upwards of 34 police recruits and others have been reported killed and more than 90 have been wounded, some seriously, during the fighting. The attack is the latest in military-styled terrorist assaults on civilian and government installations and targets in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.
A terrorist assault team, estimated in size of 14 men, launched a coordinated attack on the Manawan Police Training School in what appears to be an effort to cause as much casualties as possible. The school had more than 750 trainees on campus plus scores of police officers and support staff.
The attackers were well armed with assault rifles, hand grenades, and rocket propelled grenades. Reports also indicate they carried packs loaded with ammunition and other supplies. Some of the attackers were dressed in police uniforms while others wore civilian clothes.
The assault team entered the compound after killing the security guards at the back entrance of the police academy. The team then fanned out into the compound and prepared to strike at the parade grounds, where recruits had gathered for morning exercises.
The terrorist assault team appeared to have been well trained, according to accounts from survivors. One police recruit said the attackers lobbed grenades from three sides of the parade grounds, then entered the parade grounds and opened fire on the survivors. The attackers then moved into a building and took more than 35 recruits and officers hostage.
Pakistani police cordoned the police academy and prepared for an assault to dislodge the terrorists. Commandos from the Punjab Police as well as the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, backed by Army helicopters, launched an attack on the compound. The military had the televisions shut down the live video feeds for a period to prevent potential handlers on the outside from providing intelligence on the operation, as was done in last year’s attack in Mumbai, India.
The terrorists repelled an attack by an armored personnel carrier that entered the compound, but we overwhelmed after commandos air assaulted the academy and began to clear the buildings.
Police detain one of the attackers.
Pakistani security officials claim the assault team consisted of 14 men. Police captured six of the attackers, according to reports. One of the men reportedly was carrying an Afghan passport, but one of the surviving police officers said he spoke with a Punjabi accent. Eight of the attackers were killed during the fighting. Two of those killed detonated suicide vests, according to Pakistani police.
Officials also put the death toll figures lower than those reported in the Pakistani media. Major General Athar Abbas, the military’s top spokesman, said eight policemen were killed in the assault. Athar Khan, the spokesman for the Punjabi police claimed three civilians were also killed.
Lahore Police Academy attack is the latest in a series of military-styled terror assaults
Today’s attack is the latest in a series of military-styled terror assaults that have been launched by the Taliban, al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other allied terror groups. These groups have conducted similar strikes in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. The Lashkar-e-Taiba is the likely culprit in today’s attack, and it may have conducted the strike with elements of the Jaish-e-Mohammed as it did in the December 2001 assault on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi.
The last such attack took place in Lahore on March 3. A terrorist strike team estimated at about 12 men ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team as it traveled to a sports stadium in Lahore. Five policemen and two civilians were killed, and dozens were wounded, including some cricket officials.
In February, an assault team assembled by the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Haqqani Network attacked the Justice and Education ministries as well as the Prisons Directorate headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan security forces killed the attackers after several hours of fighting, which largely took place at the Justice Ministry. Nineteen people were killed and more than 50 were wounded.
In November 2008 a terror assault team attacked Mumbai, the financial capital of India. The well-armed, well trained assault squad from the Lashkar-e-Taiba closed down the city for more than 60 hours before Indian forces killed all but one of the terrorists. More than 170 Indians and foreigners were killed during the battles, and hundreds more were wounded.
The Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, and a host of Pakistani jihadi terror groups have joined forces to battle both the Pakistani military in the Northwest Frontier Province and the NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has revived its paramilitary army, formerly known as the 055 Brigade and now known as the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. The Shadow Army contains fighters from each of these terror groups, and trains in camps in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas.
Lahore attack follows a blood week in Pakistan
The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terror groups have stepped up their attacks on Pakistani security forces nationwide, despite a peace agreement that ceded more than 1/3 of the Northwest Frontier Province to the Taliban.
The assault on the Lahore police academy caps a bloody week of fighting and attacks throughout Pakistan, and was not the only deadly attack against security forces today.
Today in Bannu a suicide car bomber rammed into a military convoy, killed four soldiers and wounding several others. The suicide attack marks the ninth this month and puts the Taliban on pace to exceed last year’s total of 61 suicide attacks.
Yesterday, a Taliban unit surrounded a police outpost in Khyber and took 12 policemen hostage. On March 28, Pakistani security forces claimed it killed 26 Taliban fighters during an operation in Mohmand, a region it claimed was secured and Taliban-free just four weeks ago.
On March 28, a large Taliban force attacked a trucking terminal outside of Peshawar and destroyed NATO vehicles and equipment.
On March 27, the Taliban temporarily shut down NATO’s supply route into Afghanistan after destroying a bridge in Khyber. That same day, a suicide bomber killed more than 70 Pakistanis after detonating in the middle of a mosque.
In the past, al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri and spokesman and ideologue Abu Yahya al Libi have advocated for Pakistanis to revolt against the state and overthrow the government. The al Qaeda leaders have urged the military to turn on the government and join the jihad.
Here is something that you NewsBusters fans can help me with because I am having difficulty deciding what is going on with this one. We have a shooting incident in Minnesota perpetrated by three Muslim Somali immigrants but for some reason almost every single media report about the incident omits the names of the shooters, names of obvious North African or ethnic origin. So, the question is, did the Old Media in Minnesota purposefully leave the names unreported so that they could cover up the fact that the criminals were Somali immigrants? And, if so, why would they do this?
We start with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that reports that "three suspects were in jail Sunday following a shooting in Lakeville that injured four other people." Apparently one of those arrested took umbrage at being told to leave a party and began shooting up the place as he and his friends left. But, all we get from the StarTrib is "three suspects." No names or descriptions.
Why is it that only one news source listed the names of the arrested? Was it because the perpetrators were Somalis? If so, why wouldn’t the news want these Somalis identified or even described? Are they as reticent to name other suspects in other reports? Especially in an area that has had recent problems between the Somali immigrant community and other residents, one would think that the names would seem relevant to the story of the greater community situation there.
So, what do you all think? Is this odd, or perfectly understandable?
2) This story has gotten little attention here at home, but the woman who accused Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith of rape in the Philippines has recanted:
The Philippines rape conviction of an Okinawa-based Marine has taken a bizarre twist.
The woman, now 25 and known publicly only as “Nicole,” changed her story last week and now says she is not sure that Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith raped her in a van in Subic Bay more than three years ago.
In a sworn statement notarized March 12 and submitted to the Philippines Court of Appeals on Tuesday, she said she may have had too much to drink with Smith at a bar called the Neptune Club the evening of Nov. 1, 2005.
“My conscience continues to bother me, realizing that I may have in fact been so friendly and intimate with Daniel Smith at the Neptune Club that he was led to believe that I was amenable to having sex or that we simply got carried away,” she said in a five-page statement posted on several media Web sites.
Court of Appeals officials could not provide Stars and Stripes a copy of the statement Wednesday but confirmed by telephone that it was accurate and released by them.
Smith, now 23, was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in a Philippines prison. He is being held on the U.S. Embassy compound in Manila pending his appeal and negotiations between U.S. and Philippines officials concerning the country’s Supreme Court ruling in February that holding Smith at the embassy was a violation of the bilateral Visiting Forces Agreement.
“I would rather risk public outrage than do nothing to help the court in ensuring that justice was served,” Nicole said in the statement.
Smith has always contended the sex was consensual.
It remained unclear Wednesday what effect Nicole’s statement would have on Smith’s appeal.
Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez, the country’s highest-ranking jurist, said Wednesday that such reversals are “rarely accepted” as new evidence in the appeals process, according to a Justice Department spokeswoman.
However, Gonzales acknowledged that Smith’s lawyers “can ask the Court of Appeals to declare a mistrial and then move for a dismissal of the case on the grounds that the evidence is not strong.”
The U.S. Embassy in Manila had no comment on the recent developments.
Nicole said she remembered little of what occurred inside the vehicle, but thought the rape story grew from her embarrassment upon gaining consciousness after being carried out of the van.
Michelle Malkin:1) You’ll note that liberals have nothing to say about U.N. “peacekeepers” raping women and children around the world.
And let me add, but have absolutely no problem continually spewing malicious blatant out-right lies against U.S. troops.–Mal