Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"U.S. Is Settling Detainee's Suit in 9/11 Sweep" (Nina Bernstein)

The federal government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian who was among dozens of Muslim men swept up in the New York area after 9/11, held for months in a federal detention center in Brooklyn and deported after being cleared of links to terrorism.
[. . .]
In all, 762 noncitizens were arrested in the weeks after 9/11, mostly on immigration violations, according to government records. Mr. Elmaghraby and Mr. Iqbal were among 184 identified as being "of high interest" to investigators and held in maximum-security conditions, in Brooklyn and elsewhere, until the F.B.I. cleared them of terrorist links. Virtually all were Muslims or from Arab countries.

The above is from Nina Bernstein's "U.S. Is Settling Detainee's Suit in 9/11 Sweep" in this morning's New York Times. Settling? Of course they're settling. They don't want John Ashcroft, among others, on the witness stand being cross examined while under oath.

These were the roundups that no one wanted to see. Muslim men targeted for being Muslim. If all viewers of Monday Night Football had been instructed by the government to 'come forward' and speak to the government, people would have been outraged. Instead, most people refused to say a word or act like anything was happening when Muslim males were targeted with similar requests. If you've forgotten (or ignored) that recent time period, you may not be aware that one of the few groups resisting the US government's efforts to target Muslims were local police departments who saw the administration's efforts as not helpful, harming community outreach efforts the departments had in place and offering nothing solid to work with.

They weren't the only groups resisting. But when any state or local group offers resistance to the administration today, it's still treated as news -- relatively few press outlets found the local police departments resistance's news worthy of large coverage at the time.

For instance, Martha notes Jonathan Weisman's "Coast Guard Saw 'Intelligence Gaps' on Ports" (Washington Post) which is news and deserves attention (the kind that the police departments complaints and resistance deserved but didn't get). From the article:

The U.S. Coast Guard, in charge of reviewing security at ports operated by a Dubai maritime company, warned the Bush administration it could not rule out that the company's assets could be used for terrorist operations, according to a document released yesterday by a Senate committee.
State-owned Dubai Ports World plans to complete its takeover of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O) on Thursday, assuming ownership of operations at six major U.S. ports even as it pledges to hold off on asserting control while the Bush administration reviews the national security implications of the deal. The White House has strongly argued that a preliminary review showed that the sale would pose no threat to national security.

But in a Dec. 13 intelligence assessment of the company and its owners in the United Arab Emirates, the Coast Guard warned: "There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that preclude" the completion of a thorough threat assessment of the merger.

Or take another item Martha notes, Christopher Lee's "Court Blocks DOD's New Rules for Workers: Collective Bargaining Hurt, Judge Says" (Washington Post):

A federal judge blocked the Defense Department from implementing much of its new personnel system yesterday, handing the Bush administration a major setback in its efforts to streamline work rules and install pay-for-performance systems in federal workplaces.
In a 77-page decision, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the Pentagon's National Security Personnel System (NSPS) fails to ensure collective bargaining rights, does not provide an independent third-party review of labor relations decisions and would leave employees without a fair process for appealing disciplinary actions.

News that deserves to be treated as such and covered as such. (I'm not seeing either issue getting an article devoted to it in this morning's New York Times -- though I haven't read the briefs -- national or international. The Times' ports "coverage" appears more interested in a poll -- big surprise.)

Don't forget, Senate hearings on the NSA air today on Pacifica radio.

Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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