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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Liberty Beat
Mutiny at the Supreme Court
The Roberts Court signals the president that he is not immune from the Constitution
by Nat Hentoff
April 16th, 2006 11:04 AM








John Roberts delivers remarks on the State Floor of the White House
photo: White House photo by Eric Draper/whitehouse.gov
The preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct. James Madison, Federalist Papers, No. 47.

There was celebration within George W. Bush's Republican base when he managed to appoint two justices to the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, with the latter also becoming chief justice. At last—it was also widely assumed by Bush's opponents—whatever the ultimate failures of his administration, the high court had moved firmly to the right for some time to come.

This grim prospect may well prove true, but two recent events at the Supreme Court indicate strongly that regarding the most dangerous thrust of Bush's reign, his continuing, unprecedented expansion of his powers as commander in chief, the court is finally and crucially alarmed.

During the March 28 oral arguments in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, there were two main issues: the constitutional legitimacy of the military commissions at Guantánamo, created solely by the president, and whether the Supreme Court itself had the right to even hear the case.

In a revealing exchange, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said to Solicitor General Paul Clement: "I thought it was the government position that these enemy combatants do not have any rights under the Constitution and laws of the United States."

"That is true, Justice Ginsburg," the solicitor general said. The unmistakable subtext of the government's answer was: "So why is this court interfering with the inherent constitutional powers of the commander in chief in the war on terrorism? Get lost!"

This dismissal of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction by the administration angered at least five of the justices in that hearing during a series of hostile questions to Clement. Among the five, most significantly, was Anthony Kennedy, who increasingly appears to be the Sandra Day O'Connor of this Supreme Court—a more or less conservative swing vote.

Moreover, the questions and comments of five of the eight justices sitting on the case revealed a strong likelihood that the court will disagree with the president's skewed concept of due process (basic fairness in our rule of law) in inventing these military commissions.

Even more disturbing to the president—if he has the educational background to parse the court's warnings for the future when it refuses, for the time being, to review a case—is what happened on April 30.

In Jose Padilla v. Hanft, there were not the necessary four votes to hear the case right now, although justices Ginsburg, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer wanted to go ahead in this second appearance before the court by Padilla.

But very significantly, in a concurring opinion by John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy (again!), and most notably, Chief Justice Roberts, it became clear that this case is still very much alive, as I'll show as we go on.

Moreover, a majority of the court ( not Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito) signaled a readiness to, in the not so distant future, startle the president by striking down his method of removing terrorism suspects from our system of laws by setting them apart as "enemy combatants" imprisoned in military cells indefinitely, incommunicado, without access to lawyers,
and without charges—as he did to Padilla.

On March 8, 2002, I suddenly saw on network television, from Moscow, Attorney General John Ashcroft triumphantly announcing that an American citizen, Jose Padilla, had been captured at O'Hare Airport in Chicago before he could set off a radioactive "dirty bomb." (Ashcroft did not say "alleged" terrorist and certainly had no thought of invoking the American value of "innocent until proven guilty.")

Padilla was briefly held to testify before a grand jury but then was summarily transferred to a military brig in South Carolina for more than three years as an "enemy combatant," without charges and without contact with anyone but guards.

In 2004, the Supreme Court would not hear his case on a technicality, saying his appeal had been filed in the wrong jurisdiction. At last, when the Supreme Court indicated it would consider listening to his appeal, the Bush administration—fearing that, My God, there might be a majority to declare Bush's "enemy combatant" designation unconstitutional—pulled a not-so-hidden-ball trick.

Pulling Padilla out of the military brig and into our real justice system, the administration filed a mélange of new charges—without any mention of the "radioactive dirty bomb" that John Ashcroft had tried to scare us with. When that happened, a majority of the high court—clearly resentful of the Bush team's trying to game the system by preventing the court from ruling on the lawfulness of putting people away as "enemy combatants"—decided to hear Padilla once more.

This time, although they decided to hold off on the "enemy combatant" ruling until Padilla goes through our regular courts, a majority of the justices showed they're aware that even if he is found innocent of the new charges, the administration can still put him into military prison again as an "enemy combatant."

If this happened to Padilla—warned John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and John Paul Stevens in their concurring opinions—the Supreme Court wouldl teach Bush a lesson he and the nation will not forget. Even, therefore, if Padilla is acquitted in a lower civilian court, the often cited Professor Michael Greenberger, director of the University of Maryland's Center Health and Homeland Security, told National Public Radio:

"I think we're going to see the end of the use of the enemy combatant status . . . arresting a U.S. citizen in the United States and claiming they can be held incommunicado without contact with the outside world."

When Padilla first appeared before the Supreme Court two years ago, John Paul Stevens, speaking for justices who wanted to hear his case then, said: "At stake in this case is nothing less than the essence of a free society." And the then chief justice, William Rehnquist, writing for the majority that dismissed the case on a technicality, spoke for the court, also emphasizing that Padilla's case was "indisputably of profound importance." Will somebody try to explain all of this to Bush?

Lawyer: Rice Leaked Defense Information - Forbes.com

Lawyer: Rice Leaked Defense Information - Forbes.com

Associated Press
Lawyer: Rice Leaked Defense Information
By MATTHEW BARAKAT , 04.21.2006, 07:57 PM
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

Prosecutors disputed the claim.

The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.

Defense lawyers are asking a judge to dismiss the charges because, among other things, they believe it seeks to criminalize the type of backchannel exchanges between government officials, lobbyists and the press that are part and parcel of how Washington works.

During Friday's hearing, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said he is considering dismissing the government's entire case because the law used to prosecute Rosen and Weissman may be unconstitutionally vague and broad and infringe on freedom of speech.

Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said the testimony of Rice and others is needed to show that some of the top officials in U.S. government approved of disclosing sensitive information to the defendants and that the leaks may have been authorized.

Prosecutors opposed the effort to depose Rice and the other officials. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory also disputed Lowell's claim, saying, "She never gave national defense information to Mr. Rosen."

The issuance of subpoenas does not automatically require Rice or anybody else to testify or give a deposition. A recipient can seek to quash the subpoena.

Calls to the State Department seeking comment Friday evening were not immediately returned.

The judge also granted subpoenas for David Satterfield, deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Iraq; William Burns, U.S. ambassador to Russia and retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni.

"Each of these individuals have real-life dealings with the defendants in this case. They'll explain what they told Dr. Rosen in detail," Lowell said. "On day one, Secretary of State Rice tells him certain info and on day two one of the conspirators tells him the same thing or something less volatile."

The indictment against Rosen and Weissman alleges that three government officials leaked sensitive and sometimes classified national defense information to the two, who subsequently revealed what they learned to the press and to an Israeli government official.

One of the three government officials is former Pentagon official Lawrence A. Franklin, who pleaded guilty to providing classified defense information to Rosen and Weissman and was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.

Franklin has said he was concerned that the United States was insufficiently concerned about the threat posed by Iran and hoped that leaking information might eventually provoke the National Security Council to take a different course of action.

The indictment against Rosen, of Silver Spring, Md., and Weissman, of Bethesda, Md., alleges that they conspired to obtain classified government reports on issues relevant to U.S. policy, including the al-Qaida terror network; the bombing of the Khobar Towers dormitory in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel; and U.S. policy in Iran.

Lowell said it is impossible for Rosen and Weissman to determine what is sensitive national defense information when they are receiving the information from government officials who presumably understand national security law and therefore would not improperly disclose national defense information.

The World War I-era law has never been used to prosecute lobbyists before.

Call to Escort Service Began a Night of Trouble at Duke - New York Times

Call to Escort Service Began a Night of Trouble at Duke - New York TimesApril 23, 2006
Call to Escort Service Began a Night of Trouble at Duke
By DUFF WILSON and JULIET MACUR

DURHAM, N.C., April 22 — The Duke University lacrosse team's troubles began with a phone call.

A team captain using an assumed name called an escort service to hire two exotic dancers for a party on March 13. Last week, two Duke players were indicted on charges of first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and the kidnapping of one woman hired that night. Collin Finnerty, 19, of Garden City, N.Y., and Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., both sophomores, are each free on $400,000 bail.

Michael B. Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, said he had identified another suspect and was gathering evidence for an indictment. The grand jury next meets May 1, one day before an election in which Mr. Nifong, a Democrat, faces two Democratic opponents.

To all but some of the people at the party, the truth of what happened that night to one of the dancers, who accused three white players of raping her in a bathroom, is a mystery.

Mr. Nifong says a sexual assault occurred, based on hospital records and the account of the accuser, who is black. A second dancer and a neighbor corroborated some of the accuser's details.

Defense lawyers say the accuser was drunk when she arrived at the party, and fabricated the assault. Taxi and bank receipts and dormitory access records prove that Mr. Seligmann could not have raped the woman, his lawyer says. A statement by the team captains said the sexual assault accusations were "totally and transparently false."

The case has polarized Durham, where tension between Duke and local residents is palpable.

"Everyone around here has strong feelings about this, one way or the other," said Renee Clark, the student government president at North Carolina Central University, where the accuser was a student. "But you can't be sure. If you weren't there in the bathroom with the players and that woman, you really don't know what happened, do you?"

Nonetheless, a skeletal timetable is evolving through court and police records, news and personal accounts, photographs and lawyers.

Using the name Adam, Dan Flannery, a senior team captain, called an escort service and hired two dancers for $400 each. The dancers were to show up at 11:30 p.m. on March 13. The address was 610 North Buchanan Boulevard, a white house across the street from Duke's east campus on a block known for parties.

A neighbor, Jason Bissey, watched the party begin as players gathered in the backyard. By 2 p.m., he said, he saw them drinking in the yard.

About 8:30 p.m., a 27-year-old single mother of two answered her phone. That woman, a Durham native, was enrolled at North Carolina Central, a historically black college on the south side of town. Its patchy grass and simple brick buildings are a world away from Duke.

The woman had held factory and store jobs but had begun working for an escort service to help pay for college. She thought she would be dancing at a bachelor party that night. When she arrived about 11:30 p.m., she was wearing a negligee and shiny white strappy high heels, and met a second dancer, Kim Roberts. They entered the house by the back door.

Team captains have told the police that 41 of the 47 Duke lacrosse players attended the party. The team captains left Mr. Seligmann off the list they gave to the police, although he had been photographed watching the dancers.

The women were paid $800 and danced briefly. Time-coded digital photographs, defense lawyers say, show the women talking and dancing in the living room between midnight and 12:04 a.m. In one photo, the accuser is prone on the floor. Men holding beers ring the living room.

Defense lawyers say the players told the dancers to leave because one was drunk. They said the women went in the bathroom for 10 to 20 minutes, then left the house. The women, however, say they were scared off. The accuser told the police that the men had become "excited and aggressive" as they danced. She and Ms. Roberts said one man held up a broomstick and threatened to sexually assault them with it.

Mr. Bissey said he saw the women get into a car after they had been in the house about 20 minutes. The players and the women exchanged heated words, he said. "Some of them were saying things like, 'I want my money back,' " he recalled the men saying. Mr. Bissey said he then saw the accuser return to the house because she had left a shoe there.

The accuser said later that both women re-entered the house after one player apologized for the behavior during their dance. She said two men then pulled her into a bathroom, locked the door and said, "Sweetheart, you can't leave."

It was then, she told the police, that Mr. Seligmann forced her to perform oral sex, and Mr. Finnerty raped and sodomized her and the third suspect strangled her, according to a transcript of a photo identification session with police on April 4. The transcript was obtained by WTVD in Raleigh, N.C. She told the police that the attack lasted for about 30 minutes.

Defense lawyers say the rape could have happened only in an improbably short period, between 12:04 and 12:30 a.m.

A photograph stamped 12:30 a.m. shows the accuser smiling on the back porch, defense lawyers said. A photo stamped minutes later shows her lying on the porch. Defense lawyers say the players helped her to the car after she passed out. A photo at 12:41 a.m. shows her in Ms. Roberts's car.

Mr. Seligmann had already left the party, his lawyer, J. Kirk Osborn, said, after phoning for a taxi at 12:14 a.m., an account confirmed by the taxi driver, Moez Mostafar. Mr. Seligmann's Duke ID card was used to enter his dormitory at 12:46 a.m., Mr. Osborn said.

Mr. Finnerty's lawyer said his client was at a restaurant several blocks away when the women were dancing. But Ms. Roberts told The Associated Press that she recalled seeing Mr. Finnerty, whom she described as the "little skinny one."

At 12:53 a.m., Ms. Roberts called 911 to report that men at 610 North Buchanan had shouted a racial epithet at her and a friend. About that time, Mr. Bissey said, he heard one partygoer yell, "Thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

The police responded to Ms. Roberts's 911 call about 12:55 a.m. They found the house quiet, lights off. No one answered a knock at the door.

Mr. Mostafar said he went to the house again at 1:07 a.m. and saw about 20 students outside the house and picked up four. The time discrepancy between his account and that of the police has not been explained.

At 1:22 a.m., a security guard at a grocery near Duke's main campus dialed 911 because a woman, later found to be the accuser, would not get out of Ms. Roberts's car in the store's lot. One responding officer told the dispatcher: "She's not in distress. She's just passed-out drunk."

Ms. Roberts later said the accuser's demeanor changed during the party, from "talkative and friendly and smiling" to "completely incoherent." She added, "It's quite possible that something really terrible had happened to her" in the bathroom although Ms. Roberts told The Associated Press that she could not say for sure because she was not there.

At 1:58 a.m., Ryan McFadyen, a lacrosse player from Mendham, N.J., sent an e-mail message from his Duke dorm, according to a search warrant affidavit.

"To whom it may concern," the message read, "tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity." The message said that he would kill the strippers and cut their skin off for sexual gratification "in my duke issue spandex." The message was signed "41," his jersey number.

Duke's president canceled the team's season and accepted the coach's resignation after the authorities disclosed the e-mail message.

By 2:31 a.m., the police had taken the accuser to Duke University Hospital. At 2:50 a.m., the police classified the episode as a rape investigation.

Duff Wilson reported from Durham for this article, and Juliet Macur from New York.

NPR : How the Snags in the Hu-Bush Visit Play in China

NPR : How the Snags in the Hu-Bush Visit Play in ChinaHow the Snags in the Hu-Bush Visit Play in China

Listen to this story... by Anthony Kuhn


Not So Fast: Exit strategies are hard to come by for American and Chinese presidents. Thursday, President Hu headed for the wrong side of the podium (left). And in November, President Bush approached a locked door during a visit to China. Reuters/Getty Images

All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · Several gaffes characterized Thursday's meeting between President Bush and President Hu Jintao, from a vocal Falun Gong protester to a misidentification of China's proper name. But the incidents weren't reported in the Chinese media -- partly to protect Hu's standing in his party.

NPR's Beijing Correspondent Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing on the intricacies of the Chinese media covering President Hu's visit.

Protests from activists supporting Tibet, Falun Gong and human rights were virtually invisible to the Chinese viewing public.

The most glaring snag in the visit, however, was an announcer's statement that the crowd would soon hear the national anthem of "the Republic of China" -- which is Taiwan -- instead of the People's Republic of China, China's name.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter - New York Times

F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter - New York TimesApril 19, 2006
F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter
By SCOTT SHANE

WASHINGTON, April 18 — The F.B.I. is seeking to go through the files of the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson to remove classified material he may have accumulated in four decades of muckraking Washington journalism.

Mr. Anderson's family has refused to allow a search of 188 boxes, the files of a well-known reporter who had long feuded with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had exposed plans by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Fidel Castro, the machinations of the Iran-contra affair and the misdemeanors of generations of congressmen.

Mr. Anderson's son Kevin said that to allow government agents to rifle through the papers would betray his father's principles and intimidate other journalists, and that family members were willing to go to jail to protect the collection.

"It's my father's legacy," said Kevin N. Anderson, a Salt Lake City lawyer and one of the columnist's nine children. "The government has always and continues to this day to abuse the secrecy stamp. My father's view was that the public is the employer of these government employees and has the right to know what they're up to."

The F.B.I. says the dispute over the papers, which await cataloging at George Washington University here, is a simple matter of law.

"It's been determined that among the papers there are a number of classified U.S. government documents," said Bill Carter, an F.B.I. spokesman. "Under the law, no private person may possess classified documents that were illegally provided to them. These documents remain the property of the government."

The standoff, which appears to have begun with an F.B.I. effort to find evidence for the criminal case against two pro-Israel lobbyists, has quickly hardened into a new test of the Bush administration's protection of government secrets and journalists' ability to report on them.

F.B.I. agents are investigating several leaks of classified information, including details of domestic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency and the secret overseas jails for terror suspects run by the C.I.A.

In addition, the two lobbyists, former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, face trial next month for receiving classified information, in a case criticized by civil liberties advocates as criminalizing the routine exchange of inside information.

The National Archives recently suspended a program in which intelligence agencies had pulled thousands of historical documents from public access on the ground that they should still be classified.

But the F.B.I.'s quest for secret material leaked years ago to a now-dead journalist, first reported Tuesday in the Chronicle of Higher Education, seems unprecedented, said several people with long experience in First Amendment law.

"I'm not aware of any previous government attempt to retrieve such material," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "Librarians and historians are having a fit, and I can't imagine a bigger chill to journalists."

The George Washington University librarian, Jack Siggins, said the university strongly objected to the F.B.I.'s removing anything from the Anderson archive.

"We certainly don't want anyone going through this material, let alone the F.B.I., if they're going to pull documents out," Mr. Siggins said. "We think Jack Anderson represents something important in American culture — answers to the question, How does our government work?"

Mr. Anderson was hired as a reporter in 1947 by Drew Pearson, who bequeathed to him a popular column called Washington Merry-Go-Round.

Mr. Anderson developed Parkinson's disease and did little reporting for the column in the 15 years before his death in December at 83, said Mark Feldstein, director of the journalism program at George Washington, who is writing a book about him.

His files were stored for years at Brigham Young University before being transferred to George Washington at Mr. Anderson's request last year, but the F.B.I. apparently made no effort to search them.

Kevin Anderson said said F.B.I. agents first approached his mother, Olivia, early this year.

"They talked about the Aipac case and that they thought Dad had some classified documents and they wanted to take fingerprints from them" to identify possible sources, he recalled. "But they said they wanted to look at all 200 boxes and if they found anything classified they'd be duty-bound to take them."

Both Kevin Anderson and Mr. Feldstein, the journalism professor, said they did not think the columnist ever wrote about Aipac.

Mr. Anderson said he thought the Aipac case was a pretext for a broader search, a conclusion shared by others, including Thomas S. Blanton, who oversees the National Security Archive, a collection of historic documents at George Washington.

"Recovery of leaked C.I.A. and White House documents that Jack Anderson got back in the 70's has been on the F.B.I.'s wanted list for decades," Mr. Blanton said.

Mr. Carter of the F.B.I. declined to comment on any connection to the Aipac case or to say how the bureau learned that classified documents were in the Anderson files.

2 Duke Athletes Charged With Rape and Kidnapping - New York Times

2 Duke Athletes Charged With Rape and Kidnapping - New York TimesApril 19, 2006
2 Duke Athletes Charged With Rape and Kidnapping
By DUFF WILSON and JULIET MACUR

DURHAM, N.C., April 18 — Two Duke University lacrosse players were arrested Tuesday in a case in which a woman said she was raped at a team party by three players. But defense lawyers said at least one of the players had a strong alibi backed by receipts to show he was not at the party at the time.

Reade Seligmann, 20, of Essex Fells, N.J., and Collin Finnerty, 19 of Garden City, N.Y., both sophomores, were charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree sexual offense and kidnapping. The Durham County district attorney, Michael B. Nifong, said in a statement that he was continuing to try to confirm the identity of a third suspect.

"We were actually hoping that she would pick names that we know were not at the party, and it would appear she did exactly that," said Kerry Sutton, the lawyer for a team captain who had leased the house where the woman was hired to dance at a March 13 party.

Shortly before 5 a.m., Mr. Seligmann and Mr. Finnerty arrived at the Durham County Detention Facility, handcuffed, in a deputy sheriff's car. They were photographed and fingerprinted. They appeared before a magistrate, posted $400,000 bonds and were released. They are set to appear in court again on May 15.

The surrender procedure had been negotiated with Judge Ronald L. Stephens of Superior Court, who sealed their indictments on Monday.

The police searched the dormitory rooms of Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Seligmann for two hours Tuesday night, said Taggart White, a resident assistant at the dormitory where both players live.

The players' lawyers insisted the players were innocent.

Ms. Sutton said Mr. Nifong, in meetings with lawyers, had cleared her client, Matt Zash, and the team captains Dan Flannery and Bret Thompson, and a few others. Mr. Nifong did not comment Tuesday except by written statement.

Mr. Finnerty appeared in court to hear a reading of the charges, while Mr. Seligmann's lawyer waived his presence. In a striking scene, Mr. Finnerty and his father, Kevin, a prominent Wall Street executive who is on the board of Newcastle Investment Corporation, sat for more than 30 minutes near the middle of the courtroom, each poised and looking straight ahead. They were surrounded by dozens of cameras while Judge Stephens conducted a sentencing hearing for a convicted child molester whose teenage victim testified how much he had hurt her and how much she hated him.

When his case was called, Mr. Finnerty came to the front, signed a paper and stood with hands clasped. His only words were "I am" in a loud, clear voice when the judge asked if he was Collin Finnerty.

His lawyer William J. Cotter told reporters: "The grand jury, as you know, has indicted him. They hear one side of the story. They almost always indict. The next jury will hear the entire story, which includes our evidence. We're confident that these young men will be found to be innocent."

Kirk Osborn, a lawyer who said he was hired Monday to represent Mr. Seligmann, told reporters: "This kid is just an honorable kid, never done anything wrong in his life. He is absolutely innocent and we intend to show that sooner rather than later."

At least one of the two players charged will be able to show an A.T.M. receipt and a record that he called a restaurant to order food and picked it up before the alleged assault, according to a defense lawyer involved in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because the charged players were not clients.

Julian Mack, a lawyer for Mr. Seligmann until Monday, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Seligmann had an excellent alibi, which the district attorney had never asked about.

"The evidence will clearly show that there is no way he could have been at that place at that time," Mr. Mack said. He declined to be more specific.

A court filing by the district attorney's office on March 23 indicated that Mr. Seligmann was one of five players who investigators had been told were not at the party.

Mr. Mack said he had no idea Mr. Seligmann was a prime suspect until a phone call saying he would be indicted Monday.

Ms. Sutton said: "Before yesterday I had never even heard Mr. Seligmann's name mentioned. That was completely out of the blue."

Ms. Sutton said Mr. Nifong had told defense lawyers that the accuser was 100 percent certain of two identifications and 90 percent certain of a third. Defense lawyers have said results of DNA tests failed to link any of the players with the woman.

"It had been my hope to charge all three of the assailants at the same time, but the evidence available to me at this moment does not permit that," Mr. Nifong, a Democrat who was appointed to the post but who is now running for election, said in a statement.

The woman, a 27-year-old single mother of two and a student at a nearby university, is black. She said she had been attacked by three white players.

Mr. Seligmann and Mr. Finnerty were apparently suspended from Duke on Tuesday, two weeks before final exams. Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, issued a statement saying that the university issues interim suspensions when students are charged with felonies but that he could not discuss the case further because of a student privacy law.

Last fall, Mr. Finnerty was arrested and charged with assaulting a man in the Georgetown section of Washington. Mr. Finnerty and two former high school teammates were arrested Nov. 5, when, according to court records, they punched a man "in the face and body, because he told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names."

Mr. Finnerty entered a diversion program, which means the charges against him would be dismissed upon completion of 25 hours of community service and if he stayed out of trouble, said his lawyer on that case, Steven J. McCool.

Lawyers will discuss the assault case, and perhaps how the rape charges may affect it, at a previously scheduled hearing in Washington on Tuesday, said O. Benton Curtis III, an assistant United States attorney assigned to Mr. Finnerty's case.

The North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. announced Tuesday that it was forming a committee to monitor the district attorney's continuing investigation, court proceedings and defense lawyers in the case.

The disparity of wealth between the players and their accuser, who was working her way through college as a stripper, is stark.

Mr. Finnerty and Mr. Seligmann grew up in million-dollar homes in affluent communities and attended all-boys Roman Catholic prep schools.

Soon after the arrest, a statement supporting Mr. Seligmann popped up on the Web site of his alma mater, Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J.

At Chaminade High School, a little over an hour away in Long Island, Jack Moran, the coach of the school's lacrosse team, said Mr. Finnerty was "never any trouble here."

In February, Mr. Seligmann was interviewed by The Chronicle, Duke's campus newspaper, about the recent implementation of a stricter steroid policy at the university.

"I think that Duke is always in the limelight, and its athletes have to be held to higher standards," he said.

Defense lawyers for the players have said there was no rape and no sex at the party.

They have tried to discredit the woman by saying she was drunk and injured before the party, an account denied by the woman's father and a second dancer hired for the party.

Duff Wilson reported from Durham, N.C., for this article, and Juliet Macur from New York. Viv Bernstein contributed reporting from Durham, and Ann Farmer from Garden City, N.Y.

China's Oil Needs Are High on U.S. Agenda - New York Times

China's Oil Needs Are High on U.S. Agenda - New York Times
April 19, 2006
China's Oil Needs Are High on U.S. Agenda
By DAVID E. SANGER

WASHINGTON, April 18 — The competition for access to oil is emerging high on the agenda for President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House this week. President Bush has called China's growing demand for oil one reason for rising prices, and has warned Beijing against trying to "lock up" global supplies.

With crude oil selling for more than $70 a barrel and American motorists paying $3 a gallon for gasoline, American officials say the subject cannot be avoided at Thursday's meeting in the Oval Office, as it was sidestepped when Mr. Bush visited Beijing last fall.

China's appetite for oil also affects its stance on Iran, where a growing confrontation with the United States over nuclear programs has already unsettled oil markets. China has invested heavily in Iran, and as a permanent member of the Security Council, its position on the question of sanctions is crucial.

Even as Mr. Hu arrived in Seattle on Tuesday, Chinese and American negotiators were debating a proposal for the two presidents to announce a joint study of both nations' energy needs as a way to ward off conflict in coming decades, when China's rapidly expanding need for imported energy to sustain its growth may collide with the needs of the United States, Europe and Japan.

In 2004 China used some 6.5 million barrels of oil a day and overtook Japan as the world's second largest user of petroleum products. The largest, the United States, consumes about 20 million barrels a day.

The administration's focus on China's quest for oil was signaled when it published a revised National Security Strategy last month, approved by Mr. Bush, that contained a pointed new entry about China.

That country's leaders, the document declared, are "expanding trade, but acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world or seek to direct markets rather than opening them up, as if they can follow a mercantilism borrowed from a discredited era."

Mercantilism was a post-feudal doctrine of national economic health through protectionism, foreign trade and exports, but administration officials have repeatedly used it to describe China, just as they once used it in the 1980's to describe Japan's approach to global trade.

In the case of China, the term is increasingly employed to paint a picture of a 21st-century version of the Great Game, the 19th-century maneuvering for primacy in Central Asia, in which China's search for oil is merging with its desire for greater influence, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East.

"They are buying long-term supplies wherever they find them, including in unsavory places like Sudan, Iran and Burma, where we won't buy," said Michael J. Green, a Georgetown University professor who directed policy on China at the National Security Council until late last year. "They say it is benign, because they don't interfere with the internal affairs of other nations. And we say it is anything but benign, because it finances these regimes' bad behavior."

The public discussion began in September, when the deputy secretary of state, Robert B. Zoellick, urged China to become a "responsible stakeholder" on the world stage. He suggested that China should rethink a policy of buying oil from the Burmese or the Sudanese simply because it could. "China's involvement with troublesome states indicates at best a blindness to consequences, and at worst something more ominous," Mr. Zoellick said at the time.

Nonetheless, Chinese officials said they liked much of his commentary because it suggested an equality between China as a rising power and the United States as an established one. So far, however, the officials have not responded to the administration's call to rethink their policy.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Zoellick said that he did not mean to suggest that China was deliberately trying to funnel oil from world markets, but rather that its vast energy bureaucracy was racing along that path in response to commands to keep the economy growing.

During the visit of Mr. Hu, he said, "we are seeking to steer them from a narrow perspective to a recognition that together we need to expand sources of supply, including non-oil and gas, and increase efficiency."

The issue is likely to come to a particular head over Iran. Sinopec, China's state-owned oil giant, signed a $70 billion deal with the Iranians in November 2004 to develop the Yadavaran oil field. The United States Department of Energy believes the field could "eventually produce 300,000 barrels a day."

China's interest in keeping that investment healthy, officials say, is one reason it has refused to support sanctions against Iran for defying the Security Council over the country's enrichment of uranium.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters at the White House on Monday on the condition that he not be identified, said, "I think the Chinese have come around to a point of realizing that we need to stand firm on the issue of the Iranian nuclear program."

But two other officials expressed doubts, saying China's sensitivity about its own oil supplies was one reason President Bush had rejected any sanctions against Iran that would be aimed at its oil sector. "Getting the Chinese to come around on Iran," said one of the officials, who has been preparing for the meeting of the two leaders, "is going to be the great test of whether we're getting through on these issues."

Outside experts warn that the competition can be overblown.

"I sense that there is a diversity of views on this among the Chinese I speak to, and there are some who are questioning this mercantilist policy," said Elizabeth C. Economy, of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of "The River Runs Black," a study of the environmental impact of China's growth.

"If China has a prayer of continuing to grow at this rate, they have to move to far more efficient ways of using energy," she said, making a point that President Bush has made repeatedly in recent weeks.

Bates Gill, a China scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here, warned recently that the United States had "thus far tended to over-exaggerate this issue of energy in our ever desperate search to find yet another major competitor with which to pick a fight."

With huge coal reserves, China imports only about 12 percent of its energy, Mr. Gill noted. It is rapidly expanding its use of nuclear power, though most experts believe it cannot meet its goals for the construction of new plants.

Mr. Bush's aides counter, however, that the growth in the Chinese automobile market is causing a surge in oil imports; the Energy Department estimates that China's demand will more than double, to 14.2 million barrels a day, by 2025. More than two-thirds of that will be imported, the department estimated last year. The United States currently imports about 60 percent of its daily 20 million barrels. Such figures led the White House to order a study last year of the potential political effects of that rise in demand.

Mr. Green, who left the National Security Council in December, recalled a visit from a senior Chinese official who tried to explain that China was only seeking business deals, and was not trying to influence countries where it was doing business.

"He used the example of Sudan and he said, 'Look, you know, we don't care about internal issues like genocide, we only care about the oil because we need the resources.' "

"And I said, 'Well look, that's mercantilism.' And the Chinese translator had trouble translating "mercantilism" and they had a big debate about it, and we figured it out. And then they had a big debate about whether I meant that as a good thing or a bad thing."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Revival in Japan Brings Widening of Economic Gap - New York Times

Revival in Japan Brings Widening of Economic Gap - New York TimesApril 16, 2006

By NORIMITSU ONISHI

OSAKA, Japan — Japan's economy, after more than a decade of fitful starts, is once again growing smartly. Instead of rejoicing, however, Japan is engaged in a nationwide bout of hand-wringing over increasing signs that the new economy is destroying one of the nation's most cherished accomplishments: egalitarianism.

Today, in a country whose view of itself was once captured in the slogan, "100 million, all-middle class society," catchphrases harshly sort people into "winners" and "losers," and describe Japan as a "society of widening disparities." Major daily newspapers are running series on the growing gap between rich and poor, with such titles as "Divided Japan" and "Light and Darkness."

The moment of reckoning has come as the man given credit for the economic revival, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, prepares to retire in September after more than five years in office. Mr. Koizumi's Reaganesque policies of deregulation, privatization, spending cuts and tax breaks for the rich helped lift the national economy, but at a social cost that Japan's more 127 million residents are just beginning to grasp.

Thanks to a growing economy and rising corporate profits, companies hired several hundred thousand more young Japanese for the start of the fiscal year on April 1. The broad Topix stock index closed recently on a 14-year-high. Commercial land prices in the country's three biggest metropolitan areas rose for the first time in 15 years, and high-rise luxury apartment buildings have kept sprouting across Tokyo.

At the same time, the number of Japanese without any savings has doubled in the last five years, and the number receiving welfare payments or educational assistance have spiked by more than a third.

Mayumi Terauchi, 38, began receiving education aid when her 7-year-old son, Yuuki, started school last year, to help bear the costs of the backpack, cafeteria lunches and other necessities not covered in public schools. She frets that his place and that of her 1-year-old daughter, Natsumi, are already fixed in the new Japan of winners and losers.

Ms. Terauchi sees a "huge gap" in quality between public and private schools here in Osaka. But she and her husband cannot afford the private schools, or even the cram schools — for-profit supplemental programs — that would raise their children's chances of getting into good colleges and securing their future.

"I want to provide them with an education that will allow them to choose from, say, 10 different kinds of jobs," Ms. Terauchi said. "But I can only provide them with an education that will offer them three kinds of jobs. I think it's wrong that only kids who go to cram schools can choose from 10."

Her husband works at a small company that makes time recording equipment, leaving the house at 8 a.m. and returning after midnight on the last train. He has not received a raise in the last decade, and most of the overtime he works goes unpaid. Ms. Terauchi, who used to work at the same company, is now a homemaker.

In Osaka, home to medium-size and small businesses that have yet to bounce back from the long economic downturn, nearly 28 percent of schoolchildren receive, based on household income, about $500 in annual aid provided by Osaka and the national government. It is the nation's highest rate, followed by Tokyo, with 25 percent.

The focus on the widening economic gap has put Mr. Koizumi on the defensive.

"I don't think it's bad that there are social disparities," he said in Parliament, explaining that he favored a "society that rewards talented people who make efforts."

Mr. Koizumi later appeared to soften his position. "Winners and losers shouldn't be trapped in those categories. If someone loses once, he should be given a second chance."

From a highly stratified prewar society, postwar Japan was transformed into a nation where companies famously offered lifetime employment and promoted employees according to seniority, not performance.

"Until the mid-1990's, the government used its power to contain the widening of social disparities," said Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Tokyo Gakugei University, who has written a best seller called "Society of Disparities in Expectations."

Even after the so-called bubble economy collapsed, the government kept spending liberally on public works that sustained companies, which, in turn, continued to take care of their employees. Eventually, Mr. Yamada said, Japan just did not have the means to practice this form of paternalistic capitalism.

Critics say that though some changes under Mr. Koizumi were necessary, others went too far in favoring the rich at the expense of the average Japanese.

Even as many companies abandoned lifetime employment, laid off employees and began tying promotions to performance, Mr. Koizumi lifted most restrictions against hiring temporary workers. Critics say these workers are a growing underclass of Japanese, with permanently lower wages, few benefits and little chance of becoming full-time employees.

Until a generation ago, in keeping with the belief that wealth must be redistributed, the highest personal income tax rate was 75 percent. It was gradually lowered, to its current rate of 37 percent in 1999, before Mr. Koizumi took power. Under his government, the capital gains tax on sales of stocks was lowered from 20 percent to 10 percent in 2003, and inheritance laws were changed to make it easier to transfer large assets. Meanwhile, the government decreased health and pension benefits.

"It's trickle-down theory," said Toshiaki Tachibanaki, an economist at Kyoto University, who argues that Mr. Koizumi's policies have widened social disparities. "Rich people should be helped so they will contribute to the economy."

The government says that the aging population, more than anything else, has caused income gaps. But critics say aging alone does not account for the sweeping changes since 2000, the year before Mr. Koizumi became prime minister.

In that period, in a country famous for its savers, the number of households reporting no savings doubled to 24 percent — the highest figure since the early 1960's. And the number of households receiving welfare payments rose by more than 37 percent to more than a million households. From 2000 to 2004, the number of schoolchildren receiving aid rose by 36 percent to almost 13 percent of elementary and junior high school students.

Mr. Yamada, the sociologist, says the disparities are sharpest among Japanese in their 20's and 30's, among whom two groups have emerged: full-time employees and permanent temporary workers.

"The reason that there are no riots in Japan as in France is that most of these young people live with their parents," Mr. Yamada said, pointing out that even 12 percent of Japanese between the ages of 35 and 44 lived with their parents in 2004. With free housing and food, those with temporary jobs can still afford to pursue personal interests.

Most troubling to many critics are the emerging inequalities in education. Private junior high schools, offering guaranteed access to a prestigious private high school and high chances of getting into a top university, have been attracting increasing numbers of students in the last five years.

To get into such a junior high school, a child usually attends cram school for three years through the sixth grade, at a total cost of about $20,000. A magazine called President Family profiles families with children who have entered high quality junior high schools. Typically, the father is a high-earning professional, while the mother is a homemaker who concentrates on the child's schooling.

"We see polarization," said Toshio Koido, who has taught for 30 years at Yata Elementary, a public school, in southern Osaka.

Nearly 60 percent of the school's students receive educational assistance, even though Osaka has raised the income threshold to qualify for it. Mr. Koido said that many of the children's fathers had been laid off or shifted to lower-paying jobs in recent years.

"Some children are spending evenings alone because their mothers work at night," Mr. Koido said, explaining that students' home environment had become a problem in recent years. "They can't focus in the classroom. They're late, not just by minutes but by hours."

Elementary and junior high school are mandatory and free in Japan. But Kotaro Tatsumi, 29, an official at a private welfare organization, said that even with educational aid many families struggled to pay for supplies.

"One family asked us to look for a used school uniform because they couldn't afford to buy one," he said. "So we looked for one through our newsletter and found one."

Miyuki Matsuda, an office worker at the same organization, receives school aid for her 10-year-old son. She and her husband, a cement truck driver, also have a 2-year-old daughter. Unlike the families in "President Family," Ms. Matsuda, 34, said that among families in her neighborhood both parents work.

"I can tell that from the fact that very few parents show up for open school events," Ms. Matsuda said. "People say they could be fired if they take the time off."

"I wonder what kind of country Japan is becoming if you're told you're either a winner or loser," she said. "I don't want to be either. I just want to lead an average life."

Hu: Taiwan Pro - Separation Forces a Threat - New York Times

Hu: Taiwan Pro - Separation Forces a Threat - New York TimesApril 16, 2006

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 5:10 a.m. ET

BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao on Sunday called for new talks with rival Taiwan and warned that the island's independence advocates remained the greatest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan strait.

''Only by opposing and checking Taiwan's independence forces can we eliminate the biggest threat harming the peaceful and stable development of ties across the strait,'' Hu said during a meeting with Lien Chan, former chairman of Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party.

China and Taiwan should ''resume talks on an equal footing as soon as possible,'' Hu said during the meeting, which was carried live on state-run television.

Hu's one-hour meeting with the former party head and nearly 200 Taiwanese politicians, academics, and businesspeople was part of a campaign by Beijing to isolate Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian by forging ties with his political opposition.

Chen strongly advocates a separate identity for the democratic island, while the opposition supports eventual unification.

China is also trying to sway Taiwanese public opinion in favor of the communist mainland by offering trade concessions that appeal to one of the island's key voting groups, farmers. Beijing on Saturday announced tariff cuts on imports of fruit and fish from Taiwan.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949 and have no official relations, but China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

The mainland has promised to pursue peaceful unification but also has threatened to attack if the island pursues formal independence.

The two sides last held official talks on unification in Hong Kong in 1992, when they agreed that the island and mainland were part of ''one China.''

Beijing says it is open to talks with Taipei based on the ''one-China'' principle, which Chen has rejected.

During his stay in Beijing, Lien also attended a two-day government forum on cross-strait business.

Taiwan's outspoken Vice President Annette Lu on Saturday accused Lien of ''betraying his conscience'' by attending the trade forum in Beijing and ignoring the fact that rival China is pointing hundreds of missiles at the island.