Chi Trib today, hard copy, front section has three questionable stories:
1. The LA times piece exposing a major counter-terrorism technique, for which see also NY Times. It’s tapping into bank accounts used by Al Quaeda, our enemy who has to be sniffed out in such manner. But LA and NY Times, and camp-following Chi Trib, find in this news that fits, even if it compromises the war effort.
By Josh Meyer and Greg Miller
Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Published June 23, 2006
WASHINGTON — The U.S. government, without the knowledge of many banks and their customers, has engaged for years in a secret effort to track terrorist financing by reviewing confidential information on transfers of money between banks worldwide.
Imagine that! Secret effort vs. terrorists. How dare they?
2. LA Times story about (guess) what kind of warming that serves to warm the cockles of faithful readers who love to hear about things they hate?
Panel affirms rising Earth temperature U.S. scientific body studied warming data
By Thomas H. Maugh II and Karen Kaplan, Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
June 23, 2006
After a comprehensive review of climate change data, the pre-eminent U.S. scientific body found that average temperatures on Earth have risen by an average of about 1 degree over the last century, a development that “is unprecedented for the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia.”
The report from the National Academies of Science also concluded that “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.”
Pre-eminent indeed. But have Maugh and Kaplan cherry-picked to make the point they hold close to their hearts? On the other hand, the news is there: official Wash. is leaning towards g-warming in the Gore mode? It’s hinted at:
Coupled with a report last month from the Bush administration’s Climate Change Science Program that found “clear evidence of human influences on the climate system,” the new study signals a growing acceptance in Washington of widely held scientific views on the causes of global warming.
But not till ‘way at the bottom do we hear a negative word, and it’s in the shape of a Congressional, not scientific investigation, which is typical: Drape your position in noble positives, relegate negative to political sniping.
One attack came from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), who last year launched an investigation of Mann and his colleagues. The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded information about their data and funding sources–an effort widely viewed as an attempt to intimidate the scientists.
That’s it, fourth-to-last paragraph. Except this last ‘graph, which makes one wonder what else did they say?
The report also said the panel was “less confident” that the 20th Century was the warmest century since 1000, largely because of the scarcity of data prior to 1600.
3. Typically, a big Republican story tending to justify the Iraq war gets told only in context of Dem response and in effect from Dem point of view:
WMD IN IRAQ
By Naftali Bendavid
June 23, 2006
WASHINGTON — Democrats on Thursday ridiculed comments by two leading congressional Republicans that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq.
What about the comments that elicited ridicule? Had Trib run them? No, but it has on its site an AP story in which about halfway down we read:
To counter criticism that no weapons of mass destruction turned up in Iraq even though that was a key argument for going to war, Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., released a newly declassified military intelligence report. It said that coalition forces had found 500 munitions in Iraq that contained degraded sarin or mustard nerve agents, produced before the 1991 Gulf War.
Democrats downplayed the intelligence report, saying that a lengthy 2005 report from the top U.S. weapons inspector contemplated that such munitions would be found. A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the weapons were not considered likely to be dangerous because of their age.
This is Al-AP, remember, as Rush Limbaugh calls it. Anyhow, Naftali Bendavid read it and got its gist as far as he was concerned. As for the new info about WMD, there would have been more for NB to say about it if he had looked around. For instance, Rumsfeld’s saying the newly found weapons were dangerous:
QUESTION [in news conference]: Mr. Secretary, there has been a lot made on Capitol Hill about these chemical weapons that were found and may be quite old. But do you have a real concern of these weapons from Saddam’s past perhaps having an impact on U.S. troops who are on the ground in Iraq right now?
RUMSFELD : Certainly. What has been announced is accurate, that there have been hundreds of canisters or weapons of various types found that either currently have sarin in them or had sarin in them, and sarin is dangerous. And it’s dangerous to our forces, and it’s a concern.
So obviously, to the extent we can locate these and destroy them, it is important that we do so. And they are dangerous. Anyone — I’m sure General Casey or anyone else in that country would be concerned if they got in the wrong hands.
They are weapons of mass destruction . They are harmful to human beings. And they have been found. And that had not been by Saddam Hussein, as he inaccurately alleged that he had reported all of his weapons . And they are still being found and discovered.
The canisters “may be quite old,” said the reporter. Oh? “In From The Cold,” a retired intelligence agent (he says), has another understanding entirely:
You’d think the discovery of 500 chemical weapons in Iraq would be a big story, even if they are leftovers from Saddam’s arsenal in the 1980s. This discovery confirms that WMD remained present in Iraq, despite the old regime’s proclamation that such weapons had been destroyed, and fruitless searches conducted by U.N. inspectors, and later, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG). These weapons, which include artillery shells and rockets, were filled with mustard gas and nerve agents of varying toxicity. The discovery of these weapons suggests (surprise, surprise) that Saddam planned to retain at least a portion of his WMD capability, and would have likely resumed full-scale development and production, had UN sanctions been removed.
He has more more more that reeks with detail and apparent knowing what he’s talking about. Chi Trib’s Wash. bureau doesn’t think it’s a big story, however. It’s, ah, world view gets in the way. They are more interested in outing counter-intelligence activity.