imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

September 23 Pioneer Press Defamed Khalid al-Mihammadi

by Rick Giombetti Friday, Sep. 28, 2001 at 7:25 PM
rickjgio@speakeasy.org Seattle

Any face with an Arab name attached to it will do in the rush to find Arab suspects in the September 11 highjackings and terror attacks.

I noticed that the September 23 St. Paul Pioneer Press had published the names and photos of the FBI's official list of "suspects" in the September 11 terror attacks while waiting for a Seattle bound Northwest Airlines flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. I bought a copy of the paper, read the front page feature article about the "suicide hijackers" and then wrote an editorial titled, "Despite Reports Of Two 'Suicide Hijackers' Being Alive And Well, The Pioneer Press Publishes Names And Photos Of Them Anyway."

In my editorial I argued that the publication of such a factually unreliable list from a government agency was an example of incredibly bad editorial judgment on the part of the editors at the Press. The article's authors, identified as Washington Bureau reporters Tom Infield, Mark Fazlollah and Daniel Rubin, and the editors at the Press clearly took what the FBI had spoon fed them and didn't bother to fact check any of it. At the time I wrote my editorial I noted that the names of at least two of the "suicide hijackers" had already been reported as alive and well, one in Morocco by the Associated Press (this was admitted in the 43rd paragraph of the Press article) and another a Saudi national by the Independent. Meanwhile, a day after the Press feature on the suspected "suicide hijackers" had been published Saudi ambassador to Great Britain, Ghazi al-Gosaibi, mentioned in a BBC interview that seven of the names appearing on the FBI list were living Saudi nationals.

There is another reason why the Press should not have published the names and photos from the FBI suspect list I did not mention in my op-ed. What if the one or more of the sixteen photos published on the front page were of living people who had never been passengers on any of the flights that were hijacked? Well, it turns out that one of the photos of a Flight 77 "suspect," identified on the front page of the Press as Khalid al-Midhar, is a living Saudi national who was obviously not a passenger on the plane that was deliberately crashed into the Pentagon.

The photo in question appears on the right side of the Press feature about the S11 hijacking suspects. The young man appearing in the photo is identified as computer programmer Kalid al-Mihammadi, 22, in a September 27 Arab News article by Badr Almotawa. Al-Mihammadi has never piloted a plane in his life and he received the shock of his life when he saw his photo among the list of FBI "suspects" in the S11 hijackings. The only time al-Mihammadi has spent in the United States was the nine months he spent studying English at two language institutes in Indiana and Florida. Now al-Mihammadi must spend much of his time explaining to family and friends in both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. that he had nothing to do with the S11 hijackings and terror attacks.

What this means should be clear enough. By publishing al-Mihammadi's photo on the front page September 23 the Press has clearly defamed this innocent young man. The only way out of this kind of accusation for the Press would be if all of the photos handed to them by the FBI were passengers on the hijacked plane. If it turned out that some of the names attached to the photos happened to be aliases used by the suspected hijackers, then the Press could argue that they hadn't defamed anybody. No harm, no foul the argument goes. It is still an exercise in bad editorial judgment to publish these names when they are in doubt, but it could still be argued that what the Press published wasn't defamatory. But a picture is worth a thousand words, as that old saying goes.

I stated this in my first op-ed and I will state it here again: The reason why the Press went ahead and published the FBI suspect list was primarily because of our society's bigoted attitudes towards Arabs and/or Muslims. I don't doubt for a second that a group of Europeans or European Americans wouldn't be getting treated this way if they were suspects in the S11 hijackings and terror attacks. When it was learned that Timothy McVeigh was the prime suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, I didn't notice the FBI circulating the photos of young white men with military style crew cuts without verifying if they had any connection to the events of April 19, 1995 in Oklahoma City. I remember an artist's sketch of a bombing suspect being circulated, but the FBI didn't start circulating photos of who they thought this phantom suspect might have been. Yet this has been the case with the investigation into the S11 hijackings and terror attacks. The media has been eager to publicize whatever the FBI spoon feeds them and

not much, if any, fact checking about these names and photos is happening.

I maintain that this is happening with the S11 terror attacks because the media in our society has viciously stereotyped all Arab and/or Muslims as terrorists or suspected terrorists. There is no standard of evidence required when Arabs and/or Muslims are accused of engaging in terrorism. Any photo of a man with dark hair, brown skin, Middle Eastern headdress and an Arab sounding name will do for a suspect. Getting one letter in a name wrong, as in the case with, say, Johnson and Johnston, can lead to a case of mistaken identity when reporting a criminal case. Yet checking the spelling accuracy of the names of Arab suspects in a crime as monsterous as the S11 terror attacks didn't seem to be a high priority for the Press either. I noticed that some of the names on the FBI list were misspelled as they were published by the Press. It's the paper's way of saying, "What difference does it make, all of these damn Arab names all sound the same anyway?".

In this sense the bad editorial judgment of the Press was not just a defamation of an individual. It was a defamation of an entire community. The Press not only owes Khalid al-Mihammadi an apology. The paper owes the entire Arab and Muslim communities of the Twin Cities area an apology for its defamatory feature published on September 23.

Report this post as:

Local News

Marshall Tuck’s racist dog whistle O27 5:01AM

Marshall Tuck’s ethnocentrism contradicts Californian values O27 4:32AM

Contra Costa-Hawkins O25 3:48AM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique du scientisme N18 9:19AM

USDA Withholds Names Of Turkey Companies Spreading Salmonella N17 7:51PM

Hebron, Ben-Gurion, and UNESCO N17 6:00PM

What Can Destroy Enclosure? N17 1:47PM

Please Help Mississippians Vote For Mike Espy On Nov 27th N17 7:42AM

The Incredible & Brilliant Work of Dr TOMO SHIBATA N17 5:19AM

October 2018 Honduras Coup update N16 9:22PM

Profit de guerre, guerre de profit N16 11:58AM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen Heads to Seattle N15 7:22PM

Paraphysique du prodrome oukase N15 12:39PM

President Trump: Hurricane Relief Should not Pay Puerto Rico Debt N14 8:54PM

94 Of Rick Scott's, Brian Kemp's, the Mississippi GOP's & Other Republican Campaign Crime N13 9:42PM

30 Of Brian Kemp's Felonious Racist Vote Suppression Crimes N13 8:42PM

Help translation of From Islam To Womanism book on IndieGoGo N13 12:04PM

COP 21, 25, 32, de l'écocide organisé N11 11:45PM

fbi & fmj are ' Lord of the Flies ' N11 8:26PM

Parangon d'une grande infestation N11 12:03AM

Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min N10 10:19PM

OBAMA WERE POW'S LEFTBEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 7:57PM

OBAMA WERE POWS LEFT BEHIND IN AFGAHNISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 7:29PM

DID BARACK OBAMA LEAVE POWS BEHIND IN AFGAHNISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 6:43PM

DID BARACK OBAMA LEAVE POWS BEHIND IN AFGHANISTAN IRAQ AND LIBYA N08 5:50PM

Paraphysique de l'Etat d'urgence N08 4:24AM

Republican Vote Fraud Reached A New Level In Midterms N07 7:50PM

Lobotomisation populationnelle N07 7:28AM

Texas Finally Ousts Culberson! N07 4:43AM

Israel Quit UNESCO, Um-Shmum, Make Ben-Gurion Proud! N06 7:37PM

Mafia City Hack Mod Generator - Generate 15.000 Gold N06 2:04AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy