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Signs of the Times for Thu, 30 Mar 2006

Associated Press
March 30, 2006
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An American Muslim convicted of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush was sentenced to 30 years behind bars by a judge who compared him to "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.

Prosecutors had asked for the maximum - a life sentence - for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 25-year-old U.S. citizen who was born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church.

Authorities said Abu Ali went to Saudi Arabia in 2002 out of hatred for the United States. The Saudis arrested him in June 2003 as he was taking final exams at the Islamic University of Medina.

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Comment: The comparison to Lindh is most interesting. See next article...

By Frank Lindh
January 24, 2006
After years of almost total silence on his son's arrest and imprisonment, Frank Lindh sets the record straight about the 'American Taliban.'

Editor's Note: The public has heard little about John Walker Lindh since the media frenzy over his capture in the winter of 2001. On January 19, John's father Frank Lindh delivered an address at The Commonwealth Club of California. Lindh explained that he and his family have avoided the press for nearly four years; he now wants the public to understand the truth about his son, who he says didn't stand a chance of getting a fair trial in the emotional days following 9/11. Immediately characterized as a "terrorist" by the press and politicians, Lindh faced a jury in Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Pentagon. The trial date scheduled by the judge was the anniversary of 9/11. Initially facing 11 criminal counts -- most relating to terrorism -- the only charge that John Lindh was found guilty of was violating economic sanctions by supporting the Taliban government, for which the 20-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The following is excerpted from Frank Lindh's speech.

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"...[T]he mistreatment and the imprisonment of John Lindh was... based purely on an emotional response to the 9/11 attacks, and not on an objective assessment of John's case."
That statement sums up the Bush administration's handling of the entire War on Terror pretty nicely, doesn't it?

Thu Mar 30, 1:13 AM ET
CHICAGO - Two federal officials were charged with lying under oath and hiding evidence to win a conviction against four Moroccan men accused of running a Detroit "sleeper cell" in the days following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The charges highlight the zealousness with which investigators have pursued potential terrorists, critics said.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006
Fraud in Florida casino deal will send him to federal prison

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist at the center of a Washington corruption scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to nearly six years in prison for fraud in the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line.

U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced Abramoff and a former business partner to five years and 10 months in prison and ordered them to pay restitution of more than $21 million.

The sentences were the minimum under their plea agreement in the case.

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Comment: Well, the Abramoff saga serves as a nice distraction from Bush's poor approval ratings, doesn't it?

Associated Press
Wed Mar 29, 11:52 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Rep. Jim Ryun on Wednesday denied allegations by Democrats that he received a "sweet real estate deal" when he purchased a town house from a nonprofit group with connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The Kansas Republican bought the historic Capitol Hill town house for $410,000 on Dec. 15, 2000. That was $19,000 less than the U.S. Family Network paid for the home about two years earlier, in January 1999, despite a sharp rise in local real estate values during that time.

He denies receiving any favorable treatment in the purchase. He declined to be interviewed but said in a written statement that he paid "fair market value" for the home.

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By Jason Leopold
It may seem as though it's been moving along at a snail's pace, but the second part of the federal investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson is nearly complete, with attorneys and government officials who have remained close to the probe saying that a grand jury will likely return an indictment against one or two senior Bush administration officials.

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By William Fisher
29 March, 2006
The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard arguments in what will almost certainly be one of the landmark cases of the past fifty years.

Their decision will determine whether the Supreme Court will continue to assert its authority to review and check the executive's power to detain and try individuals caught up in the "war on terror."

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Associated Press
March 30, 2006
NEW ORLEANS - Two former New Orleans police officers who were caught on videotape beating a retired teacher were indicted on felony charges that could send them to prison for years.

The officers - Robert Evangelist and Lance Schilling - were fired after the Oct. 8 beating of Robert Davis, 64, was captured on video by an Associated Press Television News crew covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Evangelist, 36, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon and second-degree battery. Schilling, 29, could spend five years behind bars if convicted of second-degree battery.

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