06-12-2024  11:22 am   •   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 ...

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...

Off-duty guard charged with killing Seattle-area teen after mistaking toy for gun, authorities say

SEATTLE (AP) — An off-duty security guard in a Seattle suburb has been charged with second-degree murder by prosecutors who said that he fatally shot a 17-year-old six times in the back as the teen and his friends tried to return a toy gun that the guard believed was a firearm to a sporting goods...

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

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...

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. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

49ers running back Christian McCaffrey gets honored with Madden cover

Christian McCaffrey grew up playing the Madden NFL video game with his brother, dreaming of being a player in the league one day. Getting on the cover of the famed video game was never even a consideration. Electronic Arts Inc. announced Tuesday that the San Francisco...

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...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US inflation cooled in May in a sign that price pressures may be easing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation in the United States eased in May for a second straight month, a hopeful sign that...

Faking an honest woman: Why Russia, China and Big Tech all use faux females to get clicks

WASHINGTON (AP) — When disinformation researcher Wen-Ping Liu looked into China's efforts to influence Taiwan's...

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...

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...

Richard Lardner the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The hunt for Osama bin Laden took nearly a decade. It could take even longer to uncover U.S. government emails, planning reports, photographs and more that would shed light on how an elite team of Navy SEALs killed the world's most wanted terrorist.

Ten months after that electrifying covert mission, an administration that has pledged to be the most transparent in American history is refusing to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act that would provide insights into how bin Laden died, how the U.S. verified his identity and how it decided to bury him at sea, as well as photographs taken during and after the May 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Government officials have openly discussed details of the mission in speeches, interviews and television appearances, but the administration won't disclose records that would confirm their narrative of that fateful night. The Obama administration has not even disclosed where all the documents might be stored.

Requests for bin Laden materials were among the most significant of any filed last year under the open records law, which that compels the government to turn over copies of federal records for free or at little cost. Anyone who seeks information under the FOIA is generally supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose business secrets or confidential decision-making. The law has been the focus of extra attention since Sunday, the start of Sunshine Week, when news organizations promote open government and freedom of information.

Citing the law, The Associated Press asked for files about the raid in more than 20 separate requests, mostly submitted the day after bin Laden's death. The Pentagon told the AP this month it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. The Pentagon also said it could not find any images of bin Laden's body on the Navy aircraft carrier where the al-Qaida leader's body was taken.

The Pentagon said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden's body if he were killed. The Defense Department said it searched files at the Pentagon, U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier used in the mission.

The Pentagon told the AP in late February it could not find any emails about the bin Laden mission or his "Geronimo" code name that were sent or received in the year before the raid by William McRaven, the three-star admiral at the Joint Special Operations Command who organized and oversaw the mission. It also could not find any emails from other senior officers who would have been involved in the mission's planning. It found only three such emails written by or sent to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates and these consisted of 12 pages sent to Gates summarizing news reports after the raid.

Under the FOIA, even if a document contains secrets about national security, the government can censor those passages but must release anything else in the document that is "reasonably segregable."

The information blackout means that the only public accounts of the mission come from U.S. officials who have described details of that night. In the hours and days after bin Laden's death, the White House provided conflicting versions of events, falsely saying that bin Laden was armed and even firing at the SEALs, misidentifying which of bin Laden's sons was killed, and incorrectly saying bin Laden's wife died in the shootout. President Barack Obama's press secretary attributed the errors to the "fog of combat."

Since then, no authoritative or contemporaneous records have been made available. For the administration, the book on bin Laden appears to be closed.

The administration is refusing even to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid. One of the stealth helicopters used by the SEALs crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind. People who lived near bin Laden's compound took photos of the disabled chopper as it straddled one of the building's high walls. The photos showed a unique tail rotor that aviation experts said was designed to avoid radar detection.

On the AP's request for the helicopter records and equipment reports, the Defense Department invoked what is known as a "Glomar response." The reference dates to the 1970s when the CIA refused to confirm or deny the existence of the Glomar Explorer, a ship the agency used in the attempted salvage of a sunken Soviet submarine.

The AP is appealing the Defense Department's decision. Ten months later, the CIA, which ran the bin Laden raid and has special legal authority to keep information from ever being made public, has not responded to AP's request for records about the mission. The CIA holds photographs of video recordings of bin Laden taken during the operation.

In the days after the raid, select U.S. lawmakers were invited to visit a secure room at CIA headquarters to view images from the raid, including pictures of bin Laden's body. They were not allowed to take copies of the photos back to Capitol Hill. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said one photo showed brain matter coming out of bin Laden's eye socket. Inhofe said others were taken as the body was being prepared for burial at sea and were less jarring.

Federal courts consistently have upheld the government use of the Glomar denial, which is different from refusing to disclose materials. The Glomar denials are often national security cases or used to protect an individual's privacy. It's a tough legal claim to beat in court.

The former director of the Justice Department's Office of Information and Privacy, Dan Metcalfe, said the Pentagon overplayed its position. Citing Glomar in AP's case means the fact that the military performs maintenance on helicopters or that it prepares reports about weapons performance is itself classified. The Pentagon's claim is so broad that it "collapses of its own weight," Metcalfe said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, has sued the administration in federal court to force the release photos and video of bin Laden. The AP has not sued to force the government it to turn over the broader range of files it requested.

In the Judicial Watch suit, federal officials acknowledged that the CIA has more than 50 photographs and video recordings of bin Laden's body taken after the raid and during his burial at sea. The director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, John Bennett, said in a court declaration last year that many of the photographs and video recordings are "quite graphic, as they depict the fatal bullet wound to (bin Laden) and other similarly gruesome images of his corpse."

Judicial Watch has disputed the argument that American personnel and secrets will be at risk if the images are released. It called the concern over violence against Americans "hypothetical speculation" and said it is hard to understand how a photo of bin Laden being buried at sea would expose sensitive equipment or personnel.

The U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees SEAL Team 6 and other commando units, keeps tight rein on information about their equipment, training and missions. In August 2007, it denied a request by the AP for an internal report on the Battle of Mogadishu, a military operation in Somalia in October 1993 that cost 18 American troops their lives.

The command told AP that the report was still classified, even though the battle, better known as "Black Hawk Down," was the subject of books, a movie and countless military studies. Under AP's appeal, the command eventually released a copy with all but nine of the 73 pages completely blacked out. Most of the information remains secret, the command said, to protect military plans, weapon systems and the privacy of individuals involved.

In other cases, the government has revealed more. Just four months after Operation Eagle Claw, the failed attempt in 1980 to rescue 53 U.S. hostages in Iran, the Pentagon released an unclassified version of an investigation about what went wrong. The forward to the 87-page report noted the importance of providing as much detail as possible to the American public.

More recently, the National Security Archive, a private research institute at George Washington University, waited three years for the government to hand over records describing the military's initial plans for invading Iraq. A series of slides, prepared under the codename Polo Step, showed that war planners believed in August 2002 that the U.S. would have only 5,000 troops left in Iraq by December 2006.

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Online:

U.S. Special Operations Command: http://www.socom.mil/default.aspx

National Security Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/nsarchiv/

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast