It hardly surprised David Passaro's neighbors or a former wife that he should be arrested for beating an Afghan man in custody last year, becoming the first civilian charged in the US military's widening prison abuse scandal. \nHis first wife said Passaro, a former Army Special Operations soldier who worked for the CIA in Afghanistan, hit her when he drank too much. His second wife, who is separated from him, filed court papers asserting Passaro had been "verbally abusive and threatening" to her. His neighbors in Lillington said Passaro, following a dispute over their dogs, fired a bullet through the windshield of their empty car while their children played nearby. \nIn 1990, Passaro was fired from the police force in Hartford, Connecticut, after he was arrested for beating a man in a parking lot brawl, officials said. Passaro later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and paid a US$115 fine. \nPassaro is accused of beating an Afghan detainee, Abdul Wali, with his hands, feet and a large flashlight inside a northern Afghan prison last June 19 and 20. Wali died the next day, apparently of a heart attack, officials have said. Passaro was charged Thursday with four counts of assault and faces 40 years in prison. \nHis family and lawyer argue that Passaro, 38, is not a violent man. They contend the complaints from his estranged wife and his ex-wife are exaggerated or untrue. They say the fight that got him fired from the Hartford Police Department was provoked by the other man. And they assert that he never fired his gun at his neighbor's car. \n"You're going to hear that David has a gung-ho and high-charging, butt-kicking side to him," said his younger brother, Stephen Passaro. \n"It doesn't mean you're bad or you're wrong, it's just how you're perceived. Unfortunately David has this high-charging side and I have it too. Everything we do, we put in 110 percent," Stephen Passaro said. \nPassaro's supporters also assert that he deserves special credit for serving the country in dangerous hot spots around the world. Passaro, working with both the military and the CIA, was repeatedly granted clearances to handle secret information. \n"That generally doesn't happen unless you have a pretty spotless record," Gerald Beaver, Passaro's lawyer, said. \nThe CIA conducted a background check of Passaro last year while he was working as a civilian medical planner for the Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. \nThe examiners concluded that Passaro's marital problems and firing from the Hartford Police Department were not serious enough problems to warrant rejecting his application to work with the agency.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
BEYOND CULTURE: The US State Department was expected to announce that the Chinese government-funded institutes would have to register as foreign missions US President Donald Trump’s administration is increasing scrutiny of a long-established Chinese-government funded program that is dedicated to teaching Chinese language and culture in the US and other nations, the latest escalation of tensions with Beijing. The US Department of State was expected to announce as soon as yesterday that Confucius Institutes in the US — many of which are based on college campuses — would have to register as “foreign missions,” according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified. The designation would amount to a conclusion that the institutes are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by