News Briefs II
Bin Laden Aide Pleads Guilty To Terrorism ChargesThe Washington Post
An aide to alleged embassy bomber Osama bin Laden has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, and has helped federal prosecutors build their cases accusing bin Laden's radical Islamic network of a vast international conspiracy to kill Americans, according to court documents.
The aide entered his plea in a secret hearing, and is unnamed in the court records. But he apparently intends to testify against bin Laden and eight of his associates who have been charged since the Aug. 7 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
According to the court records, the informant - identified only as CS-1, for confidential source - confessed that he participated in a bin Laden-inspired plot to attack American military facilities around the world, and helped implicate bin Laden and his disciples in the near-simultaneous embassy explosions, which killed 224 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.
The court documents, which were first reported in Thursday's New York Times, were provided to British officials during extradition proceedings for Khalid al-Fawwaz, who once served as bin Laden's press spokesman and is now being held on terrorism charges in London. They include a letter of alarm written by one of the alleged bombers, warning that the security of bin Laden's cell had been compromised and its members put "at 100 percent danger."
Annan to Meet With GadhafiThe Washington Post
Secretary General Kofi Annan said Thursday that he will meet Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Saturday, deepening speculation that Libya is ready to surrender for trial in the Netherlands two men charged with the 1988 bombing of a Pan American jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The Security Council, which has backed a British and American proposal to have Scottish judges try the suspects at a military base near the Hague, has assigned Annan the job of arranging their transfer. If they are brought to the Netherlands, they will stand trial for planting the bomb on Pan American World Airways Flight 103 that killed 270 people - all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.
Sources within the U.N. secretariat said that while Annan's deputies had made considerable progress toward winning Libya's acquiescence to the plan, the matter is, as one source put it, "not yet a done deal." The Libyans confused the situation further with a statement that appeared to ignore the U.S. and British warnings about Annan having no discretionary power to negotiate.
"Libya has expressed its willingness to enter into negotiations with the concerned parties either directly or through the U.N. secretary general over arrangements for this trial," said the statement released by the official Libyan news agency JANA. Some sources speculated Gadhafi might be looking to Annan to provide a face-saving way for him to give in.
Nixon Never Sought Compensation for Papers, Attorneys SayThe Washington Post
Seeking to fend off demands by Richard M. Nixon's estate for up to $213 million for his White House tapes and papers, government lawyers sought to show Thursday that the former president never intended to sell them and could not have done so without years of laborious processing.
Justice Department trial attorney Neil H. Koslowe stressed in federal court here the provisions of a controversial, and ultimately abrogated, agreement Nixon signed shortly after his 1974 resignation. In it, Nixon said he intended to donate "a substantial portion" of his presidential records to the government "for appropriate research and study."
The six-page agreement, reached with General Services Administrator Arthur F. Sampson, then in overall charge of the National Archives, provided that Nixon's records, including his tapes, would be kept in a vault that could be opened only with two keys, Nixon having one and Sampson's representative the other.
Nixon estate lawyer Scott Nelson called James Hastings, a former director of the Nixon project at the National Archives, to the stand to show how valuable the records are to researchers and how they could be commercially exploited.
Later, under questioning by Koslowe, Hastings said the tapes would have been impossible to fathom without the 27,000-page index archivists eventually compiled over a six-year period. He also said the required page-by-page review of the millions of pages of Nixon's paper records, to see if they contained any classified material, did not begin until the late 1980s.
Lawyers Are Ordered to Fund Bar's Ethics DutiesLos Angeles Times
The California Supreme Court, declaring the "administration of justice is at risk," unanimously ordered California lawyers Thursday to resume paying dues to finance the discipline of unethical lawyers.
"Our action today is intended to respond to an unprecedented emergency threatening the protection of the public, the integrity of the legal profession and the interests of the courts," wrote Chief Justice Ronald M. George in his opinion for the court.
The emergency exists because the state bar, the agency that regulates the state's lawyers, virtually shut down in June after Gov. Pete Wilson and the Legislature failed to agree on a bar dues bill.
Acting on a petition by the state bar, the court authorized dues of $173 from each of the state's 130,000 practicing attorneys. The bar has automatic authority to levy $77 in license fees, bringing the total each lawyer must pay by Feb. 1 to $250.
The dues will be spent to investigate complaints, prosecute lawyers in state bar courts, operate an ethics hot line for lawyers and provide arbitration in fee disputes.