Wednesday, June 01, 2005

NYT: "Anti-Muslim Bias Seen in Charges Against Man Linked to Al Qaeda" (Andrea Elliott and William K. Rashbaum) plus Wash Post Deep Throat

Tarik Shah, one of two men charged last weekend with conspiring to aid Al Qaeda, was ordered held without bond yesterday in Manhattan federal court, as one of his lawyers said the government had singled him out for being a Muslim.
The other defendant, Dr. Rafiq Sabir, had not yet hired a lawyer when he appeared briefly yesterday in a court in Fort Pierce, Fla..
Mr. Shah, a jazz musician, and Dr. Sabir, a physician, have not entered pleas in the case. The two men, lifelong friends, stand accused of trying to provide support to Al Qaeda, and vowing to use their knowledge in martial arts and medicine to help international terrorism.
After the arraignment, Anthony Ricco, one of Mr. Shah's two lawyers, said the arrest was typical of the government's efforts to cast suspicion on Muslims in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"He wouldn't be here if he wasn't a Muslim," Mr. Ricco told reporters outside the courthouse.

The above is from Andrea Elliott and William K. Rashbaum's "Anti-Muslim Bias Seen in Charges Against Man Linked to Al Qaeda" in this morning's New York Times.

Erika e-mails to note Monica Davey's "Planned Parenthood Is Told to Show Children's Files:"

Planned Parenthood of Indiana has to show state investigators the medical records of some of its youngest patients, a judge ruled on Tuesday. The judge rejected the organization's contention that disclosing such records could have a chilling effect on patients across the state.
Since March, Attorney General Steve Carter has been seeking the records of more than 80 patients younger than 14, saying his Medicaid fraud unit is trying to determine whether children have been neglected because molesting incidents were not reported to the authorities as required. Under Indiana law, anyone under 14 who is sexually active is considered a victim of sexual abuse, and health providers are required to report such cases to the state authorities.

Here is Planned Parenthood's press release on the issue which will reprint in full (because it's a press release and because it's an important issue):

Today the Marion County Superior Court rejected Planned Parenthood of Indiana's request for an injunction to block efforts by State Attorney General Steve Carter to seize additional client medical records pending a full trial.
"This ruling puts everyone's medical privacy at risk, shaking the very foundation of the doctor-patient relationship that is at the heart of good health care," said Betty Cockrum, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana. "We will appeal the court's decision in order to defend the privacy of all Hoosiers, including the more than 100,000 patients Planned Parenthood of Indiana serves annually."
"In the interim, we hope the attorney general will refrain from seeking our patients' medical records while this case is pending," Cockburn said. "Our patients can be confident that we will pursue all legal avenues to safeguard the privacy of their medical records. And we again remind the public they can count on Planned Parenthood of Indiana to take very seriously the law regarding reporting abuse and neglect."
In March 2005, an agent of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General entered three Planned Parenthood health centers in Indiana (in Bloomington, Franklin and Lafayette), and demanded medical information about specific minors who had received reproductive health services.
"For our clients, trust is the cornerstone of why they choose Planned Parenthood as their provider of vital health services. We are a trusted member of the community and work closely with authorities to protect the young women and men in Indiana," Cockrum said.
Since 1932, Planned Parenthood of Indiana has provided education and medical services, including Pap tests for cervical cancer, breast exams, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. In 2004, Planned Parenthood of Indiana served a total of more than 130,000 clients. Its 40 health centers served more than 108,000 patients who made more than 320,000 total medical visits. In addition, 25,000 clients were served through educational programs.

For more information, visit Planned Parenthood's Spotlight on Indiana page.

Eli e-mails to note Paul Meller and Elizabeth Becker's "Europe Strikes Back in Plane Dispute:"

The European Union will countersue the United States at the World Trade Organization in the long-simmering dispute over government subsidies to their respective aircraft makers, the European trade commissioner said Tuesday.
Months of efforts to settle the differences bilaterally all but evaporated late Monday when the office of the United States trade representative said it would file a case against Europe for subsidizing Airbus, a rival of Boeing in passenger and cargo aircraft. On Tuesday, the United States made good on that pledge.

Wally e-mails to note C.J. Chivers and Erin E. Arvedlund's "Russia Tycoon Given 9 Years on Tax Charge:"

A Russian court convicted Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, the embattled tycoon and founder of the Yukos oil company, on criminal charges Tuesday and sentenced him to nine years in prison, bringing to an end the most closely watched trial in Russia since the Soviet Union collapsed.
The verdict and the sentence carried the feel of conclusions long ago foregone. The Kremlin has portrayed the oil magnate and his company as self-interested tax cheats with little respect for either the law or the state.
But his supporters said any number of Russia's "oligarchs" could have been charged with the same crimes, which they said were routine business practices here in the 1990's. They characterized the trial as the selective prosecution of a rival and a statement of Kremlin power meant to frighten independent businessmen, dissuade political opponents, regain control of strategic assets and squelch public dissent.

We'll note Todd S. Purdum's "'Deep Throat' Unmasks Himself as Ex-No. 2 Official at F.B.I." We're not going to be providing a lengthy excert (which has nothing to do with Purdum's reporting). (Consider this an EDITORIAL, by the way.)

I can understand the points Rebecca is raising that it all seems a little too pat. I can understand Mike Malloy's statements last night that it's a distraction. And don't miss Ruth's deconstruction of Daniel Schorr's "analysis" of the matter on NPR yesterday.

If the press was going to take this moment to look within and get active, that would be great. But there were sloppy stories on this yesterday (again, I'm not referring to Purdum) and it appears that it's solely a human interest story. I'll also add that Bob Woodward will be writing a piece in the Washington Post, as everyone knows, for the Thursday edition. (For those wanting to read John D. O'Connor's Vanity Fair exclusive, click here.)

The idea of a story on this topic bearing a byline that reads only "Bob Woodward" strikes me as a little sad. Carl Bernstein is still alive and were he to co-write the story, I think we would get some perspective. I think we'd hear about the need for the press to start reporting. (His public statements would indicate that we would.) Instead, it may end up a fluffy piece of nostalgia that comes off self-serving. Maybe Woodward will surprise us? Maybe he'll show some of that "calcium of the backbone" -- to use a favorite phrase? (Of his.)

Even if he does, the idea that a story on someone who may or may not be Deep Throat will appear in the Washington Post under a "Woodward" solo byline strikes me as a little sad. This isn't a new development and Bernstein was there. The Washington Post should have made every effort to get Carl Bernstein on board for this article. That they don't suggests that we could have a Lennon & McCartney song but instead we'll just get another "silly love song" from McCartney. The press coverage of Watergate is part of history. The Washington Post was not the only paper covering the story. But at the Washington Post, two names were on the famous stories.

In Purdum's article, note this passage:

"It's been The Post's story forever," said Tom Wilkinson, an assistant managing editor of the paper, "and you never like to see those things go to somebody else."

It's been Woodward and Bernstein's story forever and you never like to see one of the team overlooked, is what I'd say.

If this is the definitive statement, if, it shouldn't be written solo. Whether it's intended to or not, it will strike many as the efforts on the party of McCartney to invert the billing on the Lennon & McCartney songs. A team cracked that story. A team should provide what may (or may not) be the final story on it.

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