The US government announced the arrest of a second translator at the US prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, bringing total detentions there to three and raising new concern about the extent of possible espionage. \nThe latest man arrested was identified on Tuesday as Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, a 31-year-old Egyptian American. He is a civilian who formerly served in the US Army and twice started but failed to complete a military intelligence course to become an interrogator, two defense officials said on condition of anonymity. \nMehalba was medically discharged from the army in May 2001 and later hired by a private defense contractor to be a translator at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, they said. \nOfficials said they had no further information on why he didn't complete the courses, nor what the medical discharge was for. \nThe arrest was the third involving someone who worked closely with the largely Muslim, non-English-speaking population of about 660 suspected terrorist fighters being held at Guantanamo. The two other men, another translator and a Muslim chaplain, are both in the military. \nOfficials said still others are being investigated. \nThe arrest of a second translator raised new concern about how the military had checked the dozens of translators needed to help with interrogations of al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects whose native languages include Arabic, Pashto, Dari and Uighur. \nAt a brief hearing on Tuesday afternoon in US District Court in Boston, Mehalba entered no plea to a charge of making false statements and was detained pending another hearing scheduled for Oct. 8. He could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000 if convicted of the charge. \nMehalba, wearing jeans and an orange golf shirt, said nothing during the hearing, except to tell the judge that he could not afford his own attorney. \nMichael Andrews, the attorney who represented Mehalba at Tuesday's hearing, said, "He intends to vigorously defend himself against these charges." \nMehalba was arrested Monday at Boston's Logan International Airport after authorities found classified information in his possession, officials said on Tuesday. \nDennis Murphy, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said Mehalba is a naturalized US citizen originally from Egypt who had flown Monday to Boston from Cairo, with a stop in Milan, Italy. \nAgents with Customs and Border Protection noticed Mehalba had a military identification card showing he was a contract linguist at Guantanamo Bay, according to a government affidavit filed in court. \nMehalba said he was private contractor for the US Army and showed an ID card for the US Naval base, where the Guantanamo prison is located. \nHe was carrying 132 compact discs, which he said contained only music and videos, the affidavit said. But agents checked his bags and found at least one that appeared to contain unspecified classified information, some of it marked "SECRET," the affidavit said. \nMehalba denied knowing how the information got on the disc, saying he bought the discs in Guantanamo "as blanks," the affidavit said. \nDefense Department officials said Mehalba worked at Guantanamo for San Diego-based defense contractor Titan Corp, which did not return phone calls on Tuesday. \nSome candidates for the translator jobs were found through the Internet, newspaper ads, language associations and word-of-mouth, a Titan official said in June 2002. They underwent health checks and extensive criminal record checks, and many underwent additional national security clearances and polygraph exams, the company said at the time.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
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Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of