06-12-2024  12:21 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

Asylum-Seekers Looking for Shelter Set up Encampment in Seattle Suburb

Asylum-seekers mainly from Angola, Congo and Venezuela have set up an encampment in a Seattle suburb. Some of the camping asylum-seekers were told to leave their shelter at a church while others lost their short-term motel or rental housing when it expired June 1. A notice for the campers to leave by Tuesday afternoon expired with no law enforcement action.

NEWS BRIEFS

Kobi Flowers Crowned 2024 Rose Festival Queen

Flowers has been active in her school community as member of the leadership team at Self Enhancement, Inc., Varsity Cheer...

Summer Events are Shining Through at Multnomah County Library

Start your June by honoring Juneteenth, celebrating Pride and playing the Summer Reading game. ...

PCCEP Forum on Brain Injuries, Policing and Public Safety

This event will feature speakers with lived experience of brain injuries and the criminal justice system, and policy professionals ...

Chaz Ebert Book Signing Event at Powell’s This Weekend

Ebert's new book explores The FECK Principles—a term Chaz coined—of Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion and Kindness as four...

Portland Trail Blazers Tip-off Summer Series

The Trail Blazers participate in culturally diverse community events throughout the summer ...

Planned Parenthood Oregon leaders plan to dissolve political arm, sparking concerns about advocacy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The new leaders of Oregon's two Planned Parenthood affiliates want to dissolve the political arm of their organization to focus more on providing health care, a move that has sparked inner turmoil and opposition from advocates concerned about the future of reproductive...

Bull that jumped the fence at Oregon rodeo forced to retire from competition, owner says

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Party Bus, a 3-year-old bull bred for bucking, has performed in his first and last rodeo. Party Bus — named after his father, Short Bus — made national headlines last weekend at his first rodeo when he jumped the fence of a crowded arena in central Oregon...

Josh Sargent out for Colombia friendly, could miss Copa America

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — United States forward Josh Sargent could miss Saturday's friendly against Colombia and could be dropped from the Copa America roster. A 24-year-old from O'Fallon, Missouri, Sargent scored 16 goals in 26 league games with Norwich in England's second-tier League...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

OPINION

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

After years of delays, scaled-back plans underway for memorial to Florida nightclub massacre

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Survivors and the families of victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre had hoped by now to have a permanent memorial in place for Wednesday's eighth anniversary of the attack by a lone gunman who killed 49 people at the gay-friendly club in Orlando, Florida. ...

Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit of last Tulsa Race Massacre survivors seeking reparations

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit of the last two survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, dampening the hope of advocates for racial justice that the government would make amends for one of the worst single acts of violence against Black people in...

'Hotel Cocaine' on MGM+ gives viewers disco, drama and plenty of blow in Miami in the late '70s

NEW YORK (AP) — The lapels are wide, “Disco Inferno” is blasting on the dance floor and lines and lines of nose candy are on offer in the new intriguing Miami-based series “Hotel Cocaine.” The eight-episode romp on MGM+ centers on a real-life hotel at the beginning of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Meet Will Butler, the singer-songwriter who makes Broadway's 'Stereophonic' rock

NEW YORK (AP) — The assignment was daunting: Write a song for an onstage moment of transcendence. Make it kind of funny and exciting and for a five-piece band. Write it so it justifies an audience sitting in their seats for two hours before they hear it. And, oh, it must plausibly be a rock hit...

Roger Daltrey talks new tour, thoughts on Broadway’s ‘Tommy’ and future of The Who

NEW YORK (AP) — As Roger Daltrey hits the road on a short solo tour this June, he’s unsure if fans will ever see another tour from The Who. “I don’t see it. I don’t know whether The Who’ll ever will go out again,” he told The Associated Press over Zoom. The...

Book Review: Yume Kitasei explores space in a heist-driven action adventure novel

Grad student Maya Hoshimoto is having a hard time settling down on Earth after a thrilling career as an art thief, stealing looted objects and returning them to their people. So when her best friend Auncle — an octopus-like being from another solar system — offers one last job, of course she...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Southern Baptists narrowly reject formal ban on churches with any women pastors

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Southern Baptists narrowly rejected a proposal Wednesday to enshrine a ban on churches with...

Thefts of charging cables pose yet another obstacle to appeal of electric vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Just before 2 a.m. on a chilly April night in Seattle, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup stopped at an...

North Korea's Kim hails Russia ties as Putin reportedly plans a visit

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hailed the country’s expanding relationship with...

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv's desperate calls for air defenses

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system, two U.S. officials said...

Russia, largely excluded from international sports, hosts athletes at BRICS Games

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Thousands of athletes in both major and obscure sports will be vying for medals in the...

Some Syrian refugees risk returning to opposition-held areas as hostility in host Lebanon grows

IDLIB, Syria (AP) — For more than a decade, a steady flow of Syrians have crossed the border from their war-torn...

By Sebastian Rotella of Propublica

During his final years, Osama bin Laden expressed interest in everything from killing President Obama to his deputies' personalities to an article in an extremist magazine that he didn't like, according to two U.S. officials familiar with material seized during the raid that killed bin Laden.

A trove of digital communications and hand-written notes show how bin Laden ran his weakened network from his solitary hideout in a garrison town in Pakistan. He was especially engaged in decisions about leadership posts and developing plots, the officials said.

Bin Laden's writings discuss his strategic goal of carrying out attacks that would prevent President Obama from being re-elected, though he also wrote that "the alternative could be worse," a U.S. counterterror official said.

"He talks about targeting priorities," the counterterror official said. "He says the president is of course the top target if you could get a shot at him. Also the military chiefs like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the defense secretary, top military people. There is a note indicating that the vice president is not an important target because that position has less weight."

The passage was less a discussion of concrete assassination plots than strategic musings, the counterterror official said. Another U.S official said it was part of a message intended for a deputy. It is not always clear if the messages were actually delivered. The material has been translated from Arabic and culled from computers, discs, thumb drives and bin Laden's handwritten notes, said the officials, who spoke to ProPublica on condition of anonymity.

Bin Laden clearly played a role in al Qaeda's operational, tactical and strategic planning, the officials said. That contrasts with assertions by officials in Pakistan and the West over the years that he was dead, in another country or cut off from his network.

"You could describe him as a micro-manager," a U.S. official said. "The cumbersome process he had to follow for security reasons did not prevent him from playing a role...He was down in the weeds as far as best operatives, best targets, best timing."

Bin Laden was bent on inflicting mass-casualty attacks on the West, the U.S. official said. At the same time, however, he criticized an online propaganda magazine edited by a young American in Yemen, saying the bloodthirsty tone of an article could harm al Qaeda's image among Muslims, according to the U.S. counterterror official.

The magazine, called Inspire, "apparently discussed using a tractor or farm vehicle in an attack outfitted with blades or swords as a fearsome killing machine," the official said. "Bin Laden said this is something he did not endorse. He seems taken aback. He complains that this tactical proposal promotes indiscriminate slaughter. He says he rejects this and it is not something that reflects what al Qaeda does."

The sentiment apparently evokes bin Laden's concern -- previously expressed in al Qaeda letters intercepted in 2004 -- about backlash among Muslims who feel the network has gone to violent extremes, especially in Iraq, and killed many Muslims in the process.

A clandestine courier system enabled bin Laden to send strategic directives to the network's core in Pakistan and its affiliates overseas, but he was hampered by the lack of phone and Internet access in his compound -- a measure to avoid detection.

"In a sense what we have here is internal discussion," the counterterror official said. "And also you have a leader alone, writing down his thoughts... It's kind of like the old concept in the Navy when captains thought they might lose visual contact. They needed to know the commander's intent in the contingency of having to make decisions on their own. When bin Laden writes to his deputies, he is reinforcing their knowledge of the commander's intent."

Bin Laden communicated with deputies such as Mustafa Abu-Yazid, a veteran Egyptian boss who was al Qaeda's operations chief until he was killed in a U.S. missile strike last year, according to the official. Yazid, based in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, sent outgoing orders to commanders in Pakistan or affiliates in other countries, and relayed their messages to bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad near Pakistan's capital.

The courier system also permitted bin Laden to communicate directly with other deputies, the U.S. official said.

One exchange shows Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian ideologue regarded as the number two chief of al Qaeda, communicating with bin Laden through Yazid, who most Western counterterror officials saw as number three in the hierarchy.

The leaders discussed the personality of an up-and-coming Libyan leader named Atiyah Abd-al-Rehman, known widely as Atiyah, the officials said.

"Bin laden tells Yazid that other leaders have told him that Atiyah is seen as a bit undiplomatic and heavy-handed in his dealings with others in the group," the counterterror official said. "Bin laden's language indicates that he likes Atiyah, but he is mentioning the discussions about Atiyah that he has heard from others in AQ."

Despite his perceived charm deficiency, Atiyah's star has risen. After Yazid was killed, bin Laden appointed Atiyah as operations chief, according to Western counterterror officials. Last month, German police arrested three suspected Moroccan militants in Dusseldorf accused of preparing a bomb attack on a transportation target. The suspects were in contact with Atiyah and Younus the Mauritanian, a chief in Pakistan who has been leading operations against foreign targets, officials say.

Bin Laden ordered Atiyah and Younus to concentrate on attacking Europe and the United States, the officials said.

Evidence in a pending court trial [1] in Chicago reveals that "the elders," whom court papers identify as the top al Qaeda leadership, were eager to execute a plot against a Danish newspaper that had published caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed. That plot was aborted in late 2009.

The Associated Press reported [2] tonight that some of bin Laden's writings show him musing over how many Americans he would have to kill to force the U.S. to withdraw from the Arab world and concluding that the body count would have to be in the thousands.

Bin Laden also managed to retain authority over al Qaeda's affiliates in Yemen, North Africa and Iraq, the U.S. official said.

"It was not the same degree of detailed involvement, but he played a huge role in leadership," the U.S. official said.

The materials seized during the May 1 raid in Abbottabad indicate that Bin Laden communicated with the network's most active and dangerous wing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, through his operations deputy in Pakistan, who forwarded directives through emails and couriers to the affiliate's leaders in Yemen, the counterterror official said.

Intelligence gathered months before the raid revealed a tell-tale exchange with the al Qaeda leader in Yemen. The leader, a Yemeni, wrote to bin Laden with a surprising proposal: He suggested that he step down as chief of the affiliate in favor of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American ideologue. Awlaki's influence has been revealed in a string of recent plots against the U.S., including the attempted Christmas bombing on a Detroit-bound flight in 2009.

The leader explained that naming Awlaki as his replacement would be a propaganda coup. It would take advantage of the cleric's popularity among Westerners, especially Americans, and have a strong impact on recruitment, according to the counterterror official.

The leader in Pakistan rejected the proposal, however, according to the official. "Bin laden's message was essentially, I know you. I trust you. Let's keep things the way they are."

Awlaki has eluded a number of U.S. missile strikes on his suspected refuge in Yemen.

The U.S. task force that is poring over the intelligence haul from the raid has three priorities: detecting imminent plots, tracking other al Qaeda leaders and investigating bin Laden's support network in Pakistan. The last task confronts a delicate question: whether Pakistani security forces were involved in protecting bin Laden, who spent at least five years in the compound near a military academy.

"There is no evidence that the Pakistani government knew he was there," the U.S. official said. "But the questions still have to be answered."

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast