The Insider: Daily Terrorism Report

Russia authorities Wednesday investigate the possibility of terrorism in twin plane crashes that left 89 people dead. Emergency workers searched heaps of twisted metal and tall grass Wednesday for clues about what caused two airliners to plunge to earth within minutes of each other, news wires reported.

Militants said they had kidnapped the brother-in-law of Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan on Wednesday and demanded he end all military operations in the holy city of Najaf, according to a video, Al-Jazeera television reported. The militants called themselves the "Divine Wrath Brigades."

THE WAR ON TERROR

INVESTIGATIONS

Russia

Russia Probes Cause of Two Plane Crashes

Russian emergency workers searched heaps of twisted metal and tall grass Wednesday for clues about what caused two airliners to plunge to earth within minutes of each other, killing all 89 people aboard. Officials said one jet sent a hijack distress signal, raising fears terrorists had struck. (AP)

Pakistan

Kabul To Release All Remaining Prisoners

Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday announced he would free the last 400 Pakistanis who fought alongside the Taliban and had been languishing in decrepit Afghan jails since late 2001. (Gulf Times —Qatar)

Pakistan's Caretaker Prime Minister Steps Down

Pakistan's caretaker prime minister has stepped down, clearing the way for Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz to take control of the country's Parliament. (Voice of America)

United States Judge Frees 2 Suspects and Blasts Terror Case Two Islamic men accused of supporting terrorism after their arrest in an FBI sting operation were ordered released from jail yesterday by a judge who blasted the government's case by saying there is no evidence they have any links to terrorists. (Reuters)

U.S. Holds Virginia Man After Taping at Maryland Bridge A Virginian implicated in a scheme to raise money for Hamas, the militant group, was in federal custody on Tuesday, and officials analyzed what they regarded as a suspicious videotape of a major Maryland bridge that his wife shot from their vehicle last week. (NY Times)

Senate Task Force To Handle 9/11 Report

Senate leaders on Tuesday named a bipartisan working group of senators to come up with better ways for the chamber to oversee intelligence and homeland security. (Chicago Tribune)

Yemen

15 Yemeni Soldiers Killed In Ambush

Fifteen Yemeni soldiers have been killed in an ambush by supporters of a rebel cleric whose followers are battling government forces in the north of the country for more than three months, military officials said yesterday. (Arab News)

Australia

PM Promises Hicks Will Come Home

If the Australian David Hicks is found innocent by a U.S. military commission, he will be set free, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said yesterday. If he is found guilty, the Government will negotiate with the Americans for his sentence to be served in Australia. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Detainee Sees Father For First Time In 5 Years

The father of an imprisoned Australian cowboy accused of fighting with Afghanistan's ousted Taliban saw his son for the first time in five years Wednesday, as he prepared to go before an American military tribunal on war crimes charges. (AP) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A31445-2004Aug25.html

LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS

Guantanamo

Bin Laden Aide Is Charged at First Tribunal

The United States military formally opened its first trial of an accused al Qaeda collaborator Tuesday, alleging that the former personal chauffeur for Osama bin Laden helped him ferry weapons and flee after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Washington Post)

Guantanamo Britons Get Legal Access

The United States is to allow three British citizens and two residents their first access to lawyers since being imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay over two years ago. (Al Jazeera)

Guantanamo Trial of Two Yemenis Unfair

Human rights activists in Yemen condemned the USA's military trial in Guantanamo Bay of two Yemenis. The trial of four prisoners, also including a Sudanese, and an Australian started on Tuesday and is being widely criticized throughout Yemen for not meeting the minimum standards of a fair trial. (Yemen Times)

IRAQ NEWS

Report: Militants Kidnap Iraqi Defense Minister's Brother-In-Law, Demand End to Najaf Fighting

Militants said Wednesday they had kidnapped the brother-in-law of Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan and demanded he end all military operations in the holy city of Najaf, according to a video, Al-Jazeera television reported. (AP)

Website Shows Beheading of 'C.I.A. Spy' In Iraq

An Islamic militant group posted pictures on its website on Wednesday of what it said was the beheading of a man it called a United States Central Intelligence Agency spy in Iraq. (Independent Online)

Prison Abuse Panel Faults Leaders

An investigative panel said Tuesday that ultimate blame for the abuse of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq goes all the way to the Pentagon's top civilian and military command, but the panel's chairman said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should not resign, because his forced departure would "be a boon to all of America's enemies." (LA Times)

Abu Ghraib Hearing Underway In Germany

Charles Graner, the suspected ringleader in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal and three others are facing pre-trial hearings in Germany, marked by warnings by the judge for the U.S. to speed up investigations. (Deutsche Welle)

Najaf Standoff Nears End

The siege of the Imam Ali shrine in the holy city of Najaf was today approaching its end, with U.S. forces reportedly only 20 meters away and most of the rebel Mahdi army fighters said to have either fled or been killed. (Guardian)

Govt Ultimatum to Sadr

Iraqi forces yesterday threatened to storm the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf while representatives of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr appealed for talks. US and Iraqi forces battled Sadr's Mehdi Army militia and Iraqi National Guardsmen advanced to within 200 meters of the mosque compound. (Arab News)

U.S. Warplanes Bomb Fallujah

U.S. forces launched heavy bombing strikes on the volatile city of Fallujah today, residents said. U.S. warplanes went for targets at least 15 times on the city's eastern outskirts, and explosions could be heard for over two hours. (Ireland Online)

Top Shia Leader Returns To Iraq

Iraq's most influential Shia leader has returned after medical treatment in Britain as fighting continues to rage in the Shia holy city of Najaf. (BBC)

Lebanese Captive Freed Claims Islamist Group

An Islamist group said it had released Lebanese hostage Mohammad Raad, whom it kidnapped in Iraq, Al Arabiya television reported yesterday. (Gulf Daily News —Bahrain)

Freed U.S. Journalist Found Solace in Philosophy During 'Moments of Terror'

Not many men have returned safely from the forbidding domain where Micah Garen spent 10 harrowing days this month, as a captive of Islamic militants who took him hostage in the southern city of Nasiriya and threatened to execute him unless American troops withdrew from Najaf. (NY Times)

ANALYSIS & OPINION

The Important News About Iraq That Has Gone Unreported

For the past month or so, while the media have been obsessed with the activities of Moqtada Sadr and his fighters in Najaf, much of the really important news about Iraq has gone largely unreported. (Arab News)

The Najaf Battle Mirrors the Five Major Modern Arab Crises

Hundreds of millions of Arabs are pained to wake up every morning and learn of more inhuman, incomprehensible behavior by different actors in the Middle East. Iraq and Palestine epitomize the problems and distortions that make this violent region so dangerous, for its own citizens and for foreign armies and individuals alike. (Daily Star —Lebanon)

Rumsfeld's War Plan Shares the Blame

Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's leadership of the Pentagon has been weighed by a jury of his peers and found somewhat wanting. A report by a blue-ribbon panel he appointed to review the military establishment's role in creating and handling detainee abuse problems at Abu Ghraib prison said that the Iraq war plan he played a key role in shaping helped create the conditions that led to the scandal. (Washington Post)

A Trail of 'Major Failures' Leads to Defense Secretary's Office

For Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign over the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib would be a mistake, the four-member panel headed by James M. Schlesinger asserted Tuesday. But in tracing responsibility for what went wrong at Abu Ghraib, it drew a line that extended to the defense secretary's office. (NY Times)

The Minority, Majority and Participation Crisis! What happened, is happening, and will happen in Iraq, does not predict the end of the Iraqi people's crisis and the beginning of the security and stability through restoring sovereignty. (Al Hayat)

Breaking 'Evil Traditions' Is Possible

In Yemen, just as in many other Arab and developing countries, we have a huge number of traditions. Those traditions have existed for many years, and emerged due to many reasons. (Yemen Times)

Morocco's Crime-Terror Nexus

Last month, Spain's leading investigative magistrate testified that there were 100 Al Qaeda cells in Morocco —which at its closest to Spain is a mere seven miles away, across the neck of the Mediterranean —ready to cross over into Europe. (LA Times)

Najaf Mirrors the Five Major Modern Arab Crises

Hundreds of millions of Arabs are pained to wake up every morning and learn of more inhuman, incomprehensible behavior by different actors in the Middle East. (Jordan Times)

Made In Iraq: The New Antiwar Veteran

On the fringe of the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston, there was a miniconvention of a group called Veterans for Peace. Most of the 400-plus participants were Vietnam veterans, though there were smaller contingents of veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War. (Boston Globe)

FROM THE THINK TANKS

Intelligence Reforms Greeted With Urgency And Caution

The recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the US to reform the intelligence community has led to conflicting calls for urgent action and a need for caution. Gordon Corera examines the arguments on both sides and the obstacles to reform. (Jane's Intelligence Review)

The Insider Daily Terrorism Report (DTR) is a summary of major news articles and broadcasts relating to international terrorism and developments in Iraq. The DTR is edited daily from foreign and U.S. sources by Chris Isham, Hoda Osman, and Brinda Adhikari of the ABCNEWS Investigative Unit. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ABCNEWS.