TERRORISM TRIAL BEGINS
"Money man or devoted father?" "Quiet grad student or cunning terrorist?" "Banker for terrorists or pillar of the community?" "America's Internet Terrorist," "Terror trial opens for Saudi in Idaho." These are some of the headlines appearing worldwide regarding the trial of University of Idaho Saudi graduate student Sami Omar Al-Hussayen.
The nationally watched terrorism trial started last week in Boise and is expected to last six to eight weeks. Al-Hussayen, 34, is charged with three counts of terrorism and 11 counts of immigration fraud.
Prosecutors contend that Al-Hussayen, while enrolled at the University of Idaho on a student visa, established and maintained a network of 20 Web sites to raise money for terrorism and recruit people to jihad.
David Nevin, Al-Hussayen's defense attorney, says his client supports Muslim battles in the Middle East and Chechnya, but that does not make him a terrorist.
"RIDGE TO RIVERS" TRAIL SYSTEM EXPANSION
The Ada County Commissioners last week designated 227 acres of foothills land for open space and public trails and proposed three miles of new non-motorized trails in the area. The site is located near and east of the lower end of Seaman Gulch Road.
The lands being opened for recreation are owned by Ada County as part of the County Landfill complex. During a recent comment period on siting for a new landfill cell, many people pointed up the need for more outdoor recreation opportunities including open space and trails. "Citizens have given us strong direction for balancing development with open space preservation," said Commission Chair Judy Peavey-Derr. "This is a creative way of meeting several Ada County Comprehensive Plan goals and preserving quality of life for Ada County residents," she said.
In addition to trails, the proposed plan also includes a parking area with space for 10 to 14 cars and two horse trailers. Some of the trails should be available by mid-summer, according to County Open Space and Trails Coordinator Tim Breuer. People are asked to avoid the area until trails are built. To view a map of the site log on to www.adaweb.net and go to Parks and Waterways.
BOISEAN NAMED WILDERNESS HERO
Pat Ford is being honored as a Wilderness Hero this month by national conservation groups for his volunteer efforts to save Idaho's special wild places. A former freelance writer, staff member of Idaho Conservation League (ICL) and founder of Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, Ford's long dedication to conservation is being recognized by the Campaign for America's Wilderness, the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.
In the mid 1970s, Ford was deeply involved in the effort to preserve the 2.3 million acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness—attending strategy meetings with legendary Idaho leaders like Ted Trueblood, Nellie Tobias and Ernie Day—learning from this older generation of wilderness leaders as they mapped the campaign. In the late 1980s, he helped found the Boulder-White Clouds Council, working at the grassroots level for protection of a large wild area near Ketchum/Sun Valley.
In 1991, Ford helped found the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition to help reduce the decline in Snake River salmon, and he now serves as the executive director.
Ford joined the Idaho Conservation League board in 1998. Since 2002, he has served as board president of Idaho Conservation League and has worked with members of Idaho's all-Republican congressional delegation, urging them to introduce wilderness proposals.
The Wilderness Heroes program is part of a yearlong countdown to the 40th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. For more information go to www.wildernessforever.org.
SNAKE RIVER ENDANGERED
The annual America's Most Endangered Rivers report released last week lists the Snake River as number three on the group's top ten list citing the failure of a federal plan to improve river condition to recover endangered salmon and steelhead and the urgent need for a credible plan from the Bush administration this year.
The report, compiled by American Rivers, highlights the rivers facing the most uncertain futures rather than those suffering from the worst chronic problems. To read the report, go to www.amrivers.org.
On Tuesday, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) released a bombshell article related to the Iraq conflict. Boise Weekly, in conjunction with AAN, has posted the article on our Web site.
The article, titled "Fables of Reconstruction: A Coalition memo reveals that even true believers see the seeds of civil war in the occupation of Iraq," is based on a "closely held" memo purportedly written by a U.S. government official detailed to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). It was provided to writer Jason Vest by "a Western intelligence official."
The memo offers a candid assessment of Iraq's bleak future—as a country trapped in corruption and dysfunction—and portrays a CPA cut off from the Iraqi people after a "year's worth of serious errors."
To read the article, go to www.boiseweekly.com.
ESCALANTE MONUMENT STAYS
On Monday, a federal judge upheld former President Clinton's use of the Antiquities Act to create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah nearly eight years ago.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson rejected each of the claims filed offered by the Utah Association of Counties (UAC) and the Colorado-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, a group that represents grazing, mining and motorized-recreation interests in the West. Benson upheld the president's broad authority granted by the Antiquities Act.
The "president's designations pursuant to the [Antiquities Act] are not inconsistent with the Constitution's property clause, spending clause or the delegation doctrine," Benson wrote. "Nor is the president's proclamation in violation of the Wilderness Act or any other federal statute. No statute passed after the Antiquities Act has repealed or amended the [act]."
The plaintiffs said they would appeal the ruling and possibly ask Congress to change the Antiquities Act.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just—I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.
—President George W. Bush, April 15 press conference, in response to a reporter who asked the President what his biggest mistake was regarding 9/11 and what he learned from it.
U.S./IRAQ DEATH TALLY
As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 20 674 U.S. service members have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 512 in combat and 197 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Thirty-five U.S. soldiers died last week.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
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