Breaking News

Remember how two former Gitmo detainees helped plan that Detroit Christmas terror attack?  To say the least, I was skeptical:

I am calling 100% bullshit on this piece of reporting.

I haven’t been around that long, but I can point out Pentagon propaganda when I see it.

So as you can imagined, I was stunned – absolutely stunned – to find out this morning that one of the supposed former detainees had actually surrendered to Saudi authorities in February – and therefore could not be anywhere near for the planning of the attack.  As for the other one, there hasn’t been one solid piece of reporting to date that actually links him to the attack – just the word of anonymous military officials.

Of course, this is not the first time this has happened:

We’ve seen this pattern of an erroneous report making the rounds and turning out to be false. ABC also had to correct its report that alleged Fort Hood shooter Major Hasan attempted to make contact with “people associated with Al Qaeda.”

Before that, a New York Times front-pager on a startlingly high rate of “recidivism” among Gitmo detainees also got big pickup, before the story was revealed to be deeply flawed, leading to a lengthy correction.

All journalists make mistakes, so what’s a reader to do? Be skeptical of initial reports, particularly on intelligence stories, and keep a close eye on sourcing. And always keep in mind the record of the reporter who authored the story.

This is great advice from TPM – even though they’re one of the liberal blogs who fell hook, line, and sinker for the original story – it also was front page news on The Huffington Post.

So what happens now?  The corrections will be in small print, leaving most people with the general impression that the whole attack was planned by people released from Guantanamo Bay.  It’s the same thing they did with WMD in Iraq – every time they found a jar full of chemicals, the news media reported it in huge print, and then pulled the original story and corrected it in fine print – leaving most of the country with the impression that we had actually found Chemical weapons – which of course never happened.

Right-wingers will be parroting this story until kingdom come, retractions be damned.  And Gitmo is staying open for another year.  Does anyone think that the political capital (or bravery) actually exists for us to close it then?  The behavior of the media will make it awfully difficult – and we’ve certainly seen no indication that that will change anytime soon.

Lovely country we live in, isn’t it?

6 thoughts on “Breaking News

  1. We got one thing going for us: the right to say to the President “I’ll see you in court.” OK, the Executive has been pretty slippery these last 8 years, but the last guy used up most of the good dodges, and this guy is going to have to face up to the law.

    The President is not going to want to allow a prevailing Yemeni to return to Yemen. “Too dangerous,” his folk will say. “By what right do you purport to prevent a Yemeni whom you may not lawfully hold under the laws of war from returning to his home in Yemen?” will be the response. Answer: No right.

    It’s going to be slow, but the force of the law here will be inexorable. (As indeed it has been.)


  2. Yes, the media repeated a government lie, and will now do nothing to right that wrong. In the future, when the government lies again, the media will repeat the lies again and will again do nothing to right the wrong.



  3. We have a media that befits a nation of pathetic losers. A politics too.

    Thanks, though, to some activists from the 1640s, 1689, and some rhetoric of the Enlightenment from the Founding era, we have a patrimony that can be invoked in the midst of the darkest night.

    And enough of an elite who like to be worthy of that patrimony that there’s a small chance. Not that the media or politics will be worth a shit. But that as a people we might rise just a inch or two from the muck.


  4. The London Times.

    “At least a dozen former Guantánamo Bay inmates have rejoined al-Qaeda to fight in Yemen, The Times has learnt, amid growing concern over the ability of the country’s Government to accept almost 100 more former inmates from the detention centre.

    The Obama Administration promised to close the Guantánamo facility by January 22, a deadline that it will be unable to meet. The 91 Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo make up the largest national contingent among the 198 being held.

    Six prisoners were returned to Yemen last month. After the Christmas Day bomb plot in Detroit, US officials are increasingly concerned that the country is becoming a hot-bed of terrorism. Eleven of the former inmates known to have rejoined al-Qaeda in Yemen were born in Saudi Arabia. The organisation merged its Saudi and Yemeni offshoots last year. …

    A Yemeni, Hani Abdo Shaalan, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, was killed in an airstrike on December 17, the Yemeni Government reported last week. The deputy head of al-Qaeda in the country is Said Ali al-Shihri, 36, who was released in 2007. Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was released in 2006, is a prominent ideologue featured on Yemeni al-Qaeda websites.”

    The UK must make your “great country” list.


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