Thursday, August 11, 2005

NYT: "9/11 Commission's Staff Rejected Reports on Early Identification of Chief Hijacker" (Douglas Jehl & Philip Shenon)

The Sept. 11 commission was warned by a uniformed military officer 10 days before issuing its final report that the account would be incomplete without reference to what he described as a secret military operation that by the summer of 2000 had identified as a potential threat the member of Al Qaeda who would lead the attacks more than a year later, commission officials said on Wednesday.
The officials said that the information had not been included in the report because aspects of the officer's account had sounded inconsistent with what the commission knew about that Qaeda member, Mohammed Atta, the plot's leader.
But aides to the Republican congressman who has sought to call attention to the military unit that conducted the secret operation said such a conclusion relied too much on specific dates involving Mr. Atta's travels and not nearly enough on the operation's broader determination that he was a threat.
The briefing by the military officer is the second known instance in which people on the commission's staff were told by members of the military team about the secret program, called Able Danger.

Douglas Jehl and Philip Shenon's "9/11 Commission's Staff Rejected Report on Early Identification of Chief Hijacker" in this morning's New York Times. (Note that Jehl and Shenon swap billing this morning. Guess there's no Spencer Tracy on the team.) So to track this, the 9/11 Commission has stated that they had no idea and that if they'd known, some of their conclusions/recommendations would have been different. Now we're being told that they did know.

Now might be a good time to note Sibel Edmond's comments on Democracy Now! yesterday ("Did Speaker Hastert Accept Turkish Bribes to Deny Armenian Genocide and Approve Weapons Sales?"):

SIBEL EDMONDS: I have named names. I have given it to those people who are supposed to be representing this country through the Congress. I have given it to the Inspector General's office, and the report doesn't name names because everything was classified, but they are saying that my reports, my allegations, have been confirmed and have been supported by other witnesses, documents and evidence. I have given it to the 9/11 Commissioners, and interestingly, the 9/11 Commissioners after having the meetings with me, they went ahead and they had certain meetings and decided to only refer to I.G. report and ask them to classify the I.G. report so it wouldn't come out before their report comes out. Now, we have to ask the questions: Why are they going to this length, to such a length to cover up and to gag and to classify and to invoke State Secret privilege? What are they covering up?

Amanda e-mails to note an Associated Press article entitled "Court Refuses to Reconsider American's Case in Peru:"

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights Tuesday refused a request by American Lori Berenson to review its ruling that upheld her 20-year sentence in Peru for terrorism.
In a decision issued in November, the Costa Rica-based court -- the legal arm of the Organization of American States -- rejected Berenson's arguments that Peru violated her rights in a 2001 civilian retrial. It was Berenson's last formal avenue of appeal.
The former New York City resident has denied any wrongdoing and maintains she is a political prisoner whose concern for social justice was distorted by authorities to look like a terrorist agenda.

(We discussed Lori Berenson here in "'U.S. Drops Crimingal Investigation of CIA Antidrug Effort in Peru' and NYT sits on the story since 'late January'" You'll find links to Democracy Now! coverage, Danny Schechter's coverage, CounterPunch's coverage, etc. in that entry.)

Editorial comment: James Glanz frets about the refusal of a proposal by Iraq's fiance manager to completely zero out of everything. Remember, it's the New York Times and they wouldn't be the Times if they didn't find a way to push free markets at the expense of a free people. For those who aren't aware, want to really anger Iraqis, screw with that system. "Wouldn't they like their peace?" Joni Mitchell once asked in song ("Three Great Stimulants" -- Dog Eat Dog) but it's not a question for a Times reporter apparently. From the article (so one-sided we'll toss out our ignoring the Green Zone reporting):

. . . Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which follows the Iraqi oil industry closely . . .

As David Zirin points out in What's My Name Fool?, reporters usually take a basic class in economics in college and it tends to leave them with the impression that they know everything there is to know about the markets (that last part may be more than Zirin). Glanz proves it in an article that has one economist after another speaking. Only someone so obtuse could think that in a war torn country where basic needs are not being met cutting subsidies is the answer.
The points in this editorial comment are not unique to me and it's a sign of how insulated the skewers are that they thought they could get away with yet another kneel before the free market article. While other sections of the paper worry about a civil war (which they should), Glanz's article advocates throwing gasoline on the fire.

Glanz would argue, "I just reported on it!" From a limited scope that relied heavily on "experts" who didn't think beyond a spread sheet. The idea that a society needs to provide for the basic public good doesn't weigh heavily on the minds of the "experts." There's a piece in In These Times (Susan J. Douglas' "The Immoral Majority") that addresses the continual push to strip people from seeing themselves as citizens. Times reporters would do well to read that article. Which is probably why Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" ran in Harper's and not the Times.

Eli e-mails to note Carlotta Gall's "Armed Men Kill Afghan Woman, Calling Her a U.S. Spy:"

Men suspected of being Taliban militants dragged a woman from her house in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, accused her of spying for the American forces and fatally shot her, a local Afghan official said Wednesday.
The killing was the latest by insurgents who, Afghan officials say, are using intimidation and violence on soft targets - innocent unarmed civilians - to try to disrupt elections set for Sept. 18. An American soldier died of his wounds from a roadside explosion on Tuesday, the United States military said Wednesday.
The woman, whom the local police chief said he knew only as the wife of Malik Razi Khan, was 50 to 60 years old, illiterate and very poor. She lived in Bakurzai, a poor village hit hard by drought. Villagers reported the killing, and the police were investigating, the chief, Muhammad Yunus Akhundzada, said in a telephone interview.

Rod passes on the scheduled topics for Democracy Now! today:

*A debate on the American Psychological Association position on the role ofpsychologists in military interrogations. We speak with the head of theAPA's ethics committee Stephen Behnke, renowned psychiatrist Robert JayLifton and British medical ethicist Michael Wilks.*On the 40th anniversary of the Watts uprising in Los Angeles, we have aconversation with Gerald Horne, author of "Fire This Time: The WattsUprising and the 1960s."

The e-mail address for this site is