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Albany Terror Case in Doubt

Your tax dollars at work. Ashcroft's latest "terror" prosecution in Albany, New York appears to be coming apart at the seams.

While the government presented no evidence during a bail hearing in Albany last week that Mr. Hossain had any ties with extremist groups, prosecutors did tell the judge that they had reason to believe Mr. Aref might be connected with a terrorist group known as Ansar al-Islam. Prosecutors said they were given information from the Defense Department that a notebook with Mr. Aref's name and address had been found in what they said was a terrorist training camp in the western Iraqi desert near the Syrian border. They also said that a word in the notebook, written in Arabic, had referred to Mr. Aref as "commander."

As it turns out, the word is Kurdish, albeit written using the Arabic alphabet, and the translation may be incorrect. "Commander" could be translated as "brother," according to federal prosecutors. Nijyar Shemdin, the United States representative for the Kurdistan Regional Government in Washington, reviewed a copy of the page at the request of The New York Times and said he did not see how a translation would have come up with the word "commander."

Mr. Aref's defense lawyer, Terry Kindlon, called the prosecution "shabby."

"It looks to me to be a two-bit frame-up," Mr. Kindlon said. "In 30 years of practicing law, I have come to expect high standards from government prosecutors. This thing is just shabby. I suspect that there is something political driving this."

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