Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NYT: What Shane leaves out

Elephant in the room or blind Scott Shane? That's the question to ask when reading "F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter" in this morning's New York Times. The paper's covering a story that got a great deal of attention yesterday and can't even note the more widely reported aspects. Jack Anderson was a journalist who recently passed away (December, 2005). The FBI now wants to search his files, accumulated over the years. Shane tells you that Anderson's family doesn't think he reported on AIPAC.

On AIPAC, that's the second time the paper's spelled it wrong. It's all caps and you can google the site and find that the organization spells it with all caps. (Here's a link to a google search, we don't link to those sorts of organizations.) That the paper continues to mispell it ("Aipac") suggests that someone's really sleeping on the job. AIPAC stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee -- the organization puts each first letter in caps. The Times needs to get it right. (Will they next start printing "Aclu" or "Fbi"?)

But spelling's the least of the problems. Shane forgets to note a widely reported detail, the family's contacted people who worked for Anderson to see if they remembered doing any AIPAC research? They said no. Shane notes that the family doesn't believe Anderson himself wrote of the organization. The family's comments about those working for him also believing that they had no done any research on the topic doesn't make Shane's report.

A great deal doesn't make Shane's reporting. (Remember the days when he used to come in to mop up for the Elite Fluff Patrol?) For instance, the Bully Boy has a fondness for classifying his father's papers. Anderson did investigate the CIA under Poppy Bush. When Anderson and other investigative journalists were doing so, Poppy was whining publicly repeatedly. Is the Gonzales Justice Department pursuing this case to yet again cover up for Poppy?

Maybe the mention of Iran-Contra is an attempt to note Poppy's correction? If so, the Times hasn't been too interested in noting Poppy's involvement. They have been interested in minimizing his role in it. (Go to Consortium News for details of Poppy's involvement -- gathered here -- and, again, Robert Parry's Lost History is a great book and highly recommended.)

But most noticeable of all, here are two sentences from Shane's article. Read it and see if you catch the problem.

1) The standoff, which appears to have begun with an F.B.I. effort to find evidence for the criminal case against two pro-Israel lobbyists, has quickly hardened into a new test of the Bush administration's protection of government secrets and journalists' ability to report on them.

2) In addition, the two lobbyists, former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, face trial next month for receiving classified information, in a case criticized by civil liberties advocates as criminalizing the routine exchange of inside information.

Did you catch it? Two former employees. Do they have names?

Yes, they do. And not since the Times rewrote their style manual to benefit the first crook (Agnew) off the sinking ship Nixon have they been so circumspect with reality. Steve Rosen and
Keith Weissman have been indicted. Larry Franklin, in the same espionage case, though not an employee of AIPAC, has pleaded guilty. The paper has had no interest in his plea or digging into the story. For more on the plea see Amy Goodman's interview with Robert Dreyfuss "Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty in AIPAC-Israeli Spy Case" (Democracy Now!) and Terry Frieden's "Former Pentagon analyst pleads guilty Iran specialist gave classified info to Israeli official, group" (CNN). For more on the topic of AIPAC and the indictments, you can read Jeffrey Goldberg's "REAL INSIDERS: A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting" and, note, Goldberg and The New Yorker know how to spell AIPAC.

Besides not knowing how to spell "AIPAC" (not a crime in itself -- if mispelling were a crime, I'd be serving a life sentence), the Times doesn't seem to know most of the basics of the story or, more likely, care to share them with readers.

There's another element here. If the Justice Department isn't looking to remove papers from Anderson's files just in a bid for secrecy, then what we're seeing is an increase in the pattern of law enforcement to attempt to use journalists' confidential sources in order to build cases that they are either unable to build otherwise or too lazy to try.

And Martha's e-mailed to note Spencer S. Hsu's "FBI Rebuffed on Reporter's Files: Agents Seek Data on AIPAC Case and Classified Papers" (Washington Post). From that, we'll note that the Post can name the indicted:

The clash -- reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education yesterday -- escalates the controversy over the Justice Department prosecution of Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two former lobbyists for AIPAC were indicted in August for receiving classified information in conversations with U.S. government officials and passing it on to journalists and Israeli Embassy officials.

[Note that the Post also knows how to spell "AIPAC."]

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Rumsfeld Shouldn’t Be Fired. He Should Be Indicted" (This Just In, The Progressive):

It's not Donald Rumsfeld's colossal arrogance or his glaring misjudgments we should be focusing on. It's his potential crimes.
The mainstream media in the U.S. is giving enormous attention to the retired generals who are demanding Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation because of his autocratic style and his bungling in Iraq.
But the mainstream media is barely discussing Rumsfeld’s alleged culpability in the abusive treatment of detainees, up to and including torture.
"The question at this point is not whether Secretary Rumsfeld should resign, it’s whether he should be indicted," says Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch, who directs its terrorism and counterterrorism program.
She was reacting to
a report from that Rumsfeld was personally involved in monitoring the interrogation at Guantanamo of the so-called 20th hijacker, Muhammad al-Qahtani.
For six weeks at the end of 2002 and the start of 2003, U.S. interrogators worked al-Qahtani over.
Among other things, they forced him to "stand naked in front of a female interrogator," and they forced him to "wear women's underwear and to perform 'dog tricks' on a leash," according to

And Human Rights Watch says they deprived him of sleep, forced him into painful physical positions, and made him suffer "sexual and other physical humiliation." They also forced him to take an enema, and at one point they forced him to take water intravenously and then refused to allow him to use a latrine "so that he urinated on himself at least twice."

On Rumsfeld, I recommend Wally's "THIS JUST IN! RUMSFELD NEW CAREER MOVE!" as opposed to David S. Cloud's "Here's Donny! In His Defense, A Show Is Born" in the Times this morning. Wally is intentionally funny. And when I talked to Wally about his entry last night, he said if I mentioned it to give credit to Rebecca who was singing that song (along with others) on the weekend before last when a number of us were together. He had no idea what the song was. (Dreamgirls may predate Wally's birth, don't make me do math this morning.)

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

* Part II of our conversation with legendary Nigerian writer and political activist Wole Soyinka.

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