Tuesday, April 18, 2006

NYT: Plays isolated events, no connect the dots

So let's shorthand Scott Shane's article that hits the New York Times today but has been addressed at length on various Pacifica Radio programs since February (Shane gets in the required plug for his own paper in today's article). The article's entitled "National Archives Pact Let C.I.A. Withdraw Public Documents" and it addresses a secret pact made betweenthe CIA and the National Archives to take documents that the public has long had access to and secretly refuse to allow the public access. The agreement made between Michael J. Kurtz and the CIA (which of course remains an organization in the article as opposed to a name) was similar to the one Kurtz also made with the Air Force (in 2002). Those requesting the documents would not be given them nor would they be told that the access was prevented by an agreement with the CIA because (like the paper's own attitude), Kurtz agreed to keep them out of it. The news comes to light when John W. Carlin is replaced as the head of the archives by Allen Weinstein. Carlin claims he knew nothing of the plan. (Krutz reportedly informed Carlin of the agreement made with the CIA.)

Note that Martha recommends Christopher Lee's "Archives Pledges to End Secret Agreements" (Washington Post) on the same subject. Lee's article also states (though Martha feels states it more firmly) that the program began in 1999 but the agreement was not made until 2001.

Robin notes this section from Shane's article:

Mr. Weinstein said he would not permit such agreements in the future. If the withdrawal of previously declassified documents becomes necessary, he said, it will be conducted "with transparency," including disclosure of the number of documents removed.
Asked about Mr. Weinstein's statement, Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, said, "Working very closely over the years with the National Archives, C.I.A.'s goal has been to ensure the greatest possible public access to material that has been properly declassified."

Robin wonders why the official statement by the CIA "end of story's it" as opposed to noting other known instances where the CIA says one thing but reality is another? The Times never takes a hard line with the CIA. With the FBI, sure, but not the CIA. There's never been a public statement by the CIA that the paper's not been willing to spin and look the other.

Though there's an effort to make the connection between the CIA's actions and the Air Force's, there's no need for the article to offer any tie to anything that hasn't already made. For instance, in today's paper, Julia Preston offers "Citing Security, C.I.A. Seeks Suit's Dismissal" which details a lawsuit over (apparently) health access. Apparently because the CIA is screaming national security in a case that a woman has brought against the CIA who employed her husband. (We'll assume that much can be taken as a "known" since the lawsuit has continued.) Her husband had a New York Stock Exchange license and " was in the securities business" when he was recruited to work for the CIA undercover. The woman's lawyer is prevented from speaking to her over a non-secure phone, is not allowed to travel to the foreign country she is currently in "because he would break the rules by bringing classified information back into the United States" and her lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, asserts "that the C.I.A. was blocking him from having a legal conversation with the woman." Both stories would benefit from the Times providing perspective both upon the CIA and upon how "national security" claims are used and misused. But that's a road the paper prefers not to travel down. They've always been fine with minimizing with regards to that agency. (Running with spin and not reporting on official reports predates Gary Webb though that may be the example that comes to many minds.) Stories never advance on this topic in the paper of record, they just dwindle and fade from memory.

[If the Gary Webb story is new to you, click here for one article by Parry and click here for Parry discussing the Webb story with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! In addition, check out Parry's book Lost History.]

Mia notes Norman Solomon's latest, "Why Won't Moveon.org Oppose the Bombing of Iran?" (CounterPunch):

MoveOn.org sent out an email with the subject line "Don't Nuke Iran" to three million people on April 12. "There is one place where all of us can agree: Americans don't support a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran, and Congress must act to prevent the president from launching one before it's too late," the message said. And: "Please take a moment to add your name to our petition to stop a nuclear attack on Iran."
The petition's two sentences only convey opposition to a "nuclear" attack on Iran: "Congress and President Bush must rule out attacking Iran with nuclear weapons. Even the threat of a nuclear attack eliminates some of the best options we have for diplomacy, and the consequences could be catastrophic."
In MoveOn's mass email letter, the only reference to a non-nuclear attack on Iran came in a solitary sentence without any followup: "Even a conventional attack would likely be a disaster."
"Likely" be a disaster? Is there any U.S. military attack on Iran that plausibly would not be a disaster?
There's no way around the conclusion that the signers of the letter ("Eli, Joan, Nita, Marika and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team") chose to avoid committing themselves -- and avoid devoting MoveOn resources -- to categorical opposition to bombing Iran.

And Keesha notes this from PEN (People's Email Network):

The good news is that some key members of Congress are now speaking out for talks and diplomacy, instead of war as a first resort. So your personal messages are having an impact. Even Tony Blair has declared that Great Britain will NOT participate in an attack on Iran. The bad news is that credible voices are reporting that the Bush administration has ALREADY decided to do just that. Well, maybe they'll just have to UN-decide.
It is time for Congress to reassert their authority under the Constitution as the controlling voice on the declaration of war, and tell this administration that an attack on Iran is NOT on the table, and especially not a nuclear one. We cannot stand idly by while the Bush administration plunges us deeper into a quagmire we never should have entered in the first place.

ACTION PAGE: http://www.clearwaterforcongress.com/petitions/pnum248.php
[. . .]
If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at http://www.usalone.com/in.htm

Rod passes on today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* The case of Frank Jude: We go to Milwaukee where an all-white jury has acquitted three white police officers charged with brutally beating an African-American man.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.