In Today’s Papers

Nothing in the newspapers today, Feb. 22, that I’ve seen so far has anything directly to do with the government’s coverup of pertinent facts about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks (or the Anthrax attacks that same month). 

That has pretty much been the case for the last 18 or 19 years. In the first few months after “9/11” journalists did some good digging and reporting on it and actually got paid for it. Then a cloak of omertà seems (in retrospect) to have fallen over the whole thing as the official narratives took over in the effort wipe out any possibility of figuring out what happened—notably including defending the nonsense explanation provided by NIST (the National Institute for Science and Technology) about the collapses of Buildings 1, 2 and 7 at the World Trade Center—not to say the news media have done any better with other aspects of the attacks (in the last 18 or 19 years). 

Mum’s the word.

But every day something in the news reminds one of the value of staying on the case, “one” here meaning someone afflicted with the mental illness of thinking that what actually happened in “9/11” matters, including all the whos, whys, hows, whens and whats.

Take this headline which fills most of the cover of today’s New York Daily News: “NOT READY FOR CRIME TIME: City Hall hopefuls eager to fix NYPD now speak up on curbing street crime.” 

I haven’t read the story (you can read it HERE), but the blaring headline reminded me of Frank Serpico. He is the former New York City whistleblowing cop featured in the 1973 movie “Serpico” based on the biography of him (also 1973) by Peter Maas (1929-2001). Readers of this who have not heard of Serpico or Maas have a big treat in store. (I’ve only just started reading Maas, several of whose other books have been adapted for the big screen.)

Serpico retired from the NYPD after nine years and left the country. HERE is the Official Frank Serpico Blog, which goes up to 2013. HERE is a portrait of him.

The headline reminded me in turn of a story in the Springfield (Mass.) Republican the other day headed, gently, “Council’s input on police reform welcomed: 5 panel members urge DOJ to issue consent decree,” by Peter Goonan. First paragraph: “The U.S. Department of Justice says it welcomes input from the City Council as it negotiates allegations of systematic civil rights violations by the Springfield Police Department Narcotics Bureau.” You can look it up.

I haven’t really started reading today’s New York Times, but as I was jotting down the words of the Daily News headline in a margin of p. D7 of the Times, I came across probably the most important reporting in today’s issue, an obituary headlined “Dianna Ortiz, American Nun Who Was Tortured in Guatemala, Dies at 62.” The headline over the reporting by Katharine Q. Seelye is an understatement, and naturally in an obituary she couldn’t go into the reasons why in any depth. But I’m grateful for the layout that included two photos of Ortiz; it helped some Times readers from turning the page before reading the obituary.

Some of them may decide to read a 2002 book Ortiz authored with the help of Patricia Davis, The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth. “Sister Ortiz’s book,” Seelye writes, “recounted the psychological toll that both her abduction and her quest for the truth had taken on her.

“And at some point, her friends said, she realized that she had to stop, for her own sanity.”

If you’re not a Times subscriber you may not be able to read the story on p. D7, but perhaps know someone who is an can download and copy it and send it to you. 

I hadn’t read more than three or four paragraphs before recalling the effect Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, the 1982 book by Stephen Kinzer and Stephen Schlesinger, had on me. I eventually spent some time in Latin America. So I feel a certain kinship with Ortiz, who in all likelihood had read Bitter Fruit and may have had the course of her life changed by it.

Nothing after the first three paragraphs above seems to have anything even tangentially to do with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but it all does, and not just tangentially. It has to do with the nature of news gathering, what barriers get thrown up in the way of reporters going after a story, what kind of stories advertisers and “underwriters” of news operations will want to pay for the publication of, and what other pressures publishers and managers at news operations are up against.

   

Someone told me about a Wall Street Journal piece published last Sept. 12 on the September 2001 terrorist attacks, so I looked it up. (Not being a Journal subscriber, I could read only the first part online.) Headline: “9/11 and the Rise of the New Conspiracy Theorists.” Subhead: “The persistence of the fringe movement that blames the U.S. government for the 2001 terrorist attacks suggests that QAnon and other digital-age conspiracists may be around for a while.”

You get the picture. Author is an up and coming “journalist, historian and speaker” whose recent book on “9/11” was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller. He’s headed for a Pulitzer if he hasn’t already won one.

   

At the foot of page D7 in today’s Times are eight or ten paid death notices. One of them says the deceased was “loved by all.”

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