Accuracy in Media

The media have ignored an even greater omission in the nine-eleven joint congressional committee report released last month than the failure of the Bush administration to allow the release of the 28 pages said to document complicity of the Saudi Arabian government in the nine-eleven attacks. The omission is the failure of the committee to investigate or report on evidence that Iraq was in fact linked to al Qaeda and the World Trade Center attacks.

In May, in the first court decision based on the nine-eleven terrorist attacks, federal Judge Harold Baer ruled that lawyers representing two families who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center attacks had, according to New York Newsday, proven that “Iraq provided material support to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group al Qaeda.” In Judge Baer’s ruling, he said “the opinion testimony of the plaintiff’s experts is sufficient to meet plaintiff’s burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden [and] al Qaeda’s terrorist acts of September 11.

According to NewsMax, who contacted James Beasley, one of the attorneys involved in the case, Beasley disputed the joint committee’s finding that there was no tie between Iraq and al Qaeda. And the committee never called him to testify, though he had proven his case to Judge Baer, who said that a “reasonable jury” would be convinced that Iraq played a material role in the nine-eleven attack.

Among the evidence cited by Beasley were accounts from Czech government officials who still insist that one of the lead hijackers, Mohammed Atta, did in fact meet with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague just five months before the attack. The CIA and many in the media continue to dispute that that meeting took place, but Judge Baer must have believed otherwise. Beasley said, “We talked to the Czech ambassador to the U.S., the guy who kicked out [Iraqi ambassador to the Czech Republic] Ahmad al Ani two weeks after he met with Atta…He’s absolutely sure they met.”

Beasley had also called upon former CIA director James Woolsey to help make his case. Woolsey testified that he had interviewed two terrorist instructors who said they had trained radical Islamists at the notorious Salman Pak, a terrorist training camp in Baghdad where training included how to hijack U.S. commercial airliners. The methods they used were the exact methods used by the nine-eleven hijackers.

ABC was the only broadcast network that reported the story. The Washington Post carried an editorial, but no news story, a week after Judge Baer’s ruling. They called it “Phantom Justice” and emphasized that though the judge said the lawyers had shown Iraq’s support for bin Laden and al Qaeda, he had added the word “barely.” They objected on grounds that such judgments interfere with foreign policy and that the two governments named, Iraq and Afghanistan, no longer exist. Perhaps this explains the Bush administration silence on the subject. Presumably the Democrats and the liberal media want to ignore this link between al Qaeda and Iraq, since it would help justify the war that removed Saddam Hussein from power.

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