MONDAY’S LETTERS: Small Papers and the Seattle Blackout, Tillman and the Military, Plame Coverage

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, the publisher of a chain of weekly papers in Washington writes that the major Seattle dailies weren’t the only newspapers that struggled during the major winter storms this year, a reader sees a conspiracy after watching Valerie Plame’s testimony, and another wonders who initiated the lies as the military was covering up the cause of Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan.

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Small Papers Overcame Great Obstacles During Seattle Blackout Too

Your coverage of Western Washington’s storm cycle and the ensuing “Blackout” was thorough if you looked only at how these storms impacted the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Sound Publishing, Washington?s largest publisher of community newspapers, felt the effects as well. On Whidbey Island alone, there were more than nine power outages between November and January, some lasting several days on the south end of the country’s longest island, just north of Seattle. What our company didn’t do was miss one single issue. Our five presses ran through each storm.

Of all the copies of our publications, which include Sound’s 17 community newspapers from the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, Kitsap Peninsula and south Puget Sound area, as well as the newest additions to Sound?s family — Little Nickel shopper publications and King County Publications with more than 844,591 circulation — not one paper was delayed. The only delays were in delivery, with roads blocked by trees and assorted debris.

I’m proud of our company and the hurdles we overcame to get our papers on the streets. As papers came on and off the grid, our presses adjusted press schedules and stood by to accept our files. We were in constant communication with our drivers to make sure of their safety first and to respect their valuable time. It was our community that also stepped up to the plate as we forged unlikely alliances. Here on South Whidbey we partnered with the local telephone company, whose generator would kick on as soon as our power failed. With Macs in tow, we moved production and editorial staffs, back up disks and assorted peripherals, and set up shop in its conference room numerous times.

Sometimes diversity pays off, especially when the ultimate impact is to the readers who rely on timely news. To all my fellow publishers, pressmen, and staff, here?s to a job well done.

Sherry Mays
Publisher
The South Whidbey Record
Langley, Wash.

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Knodell and Plame’s Testimony

I had the opportunity to watch most of the hearing at which Plame and Knodell testified, and like [Greg Mitchell] I was astounded that no investigation had been instigated by Knodell’s office.

I am of the opinion that the reason no one wants to investigate this matter is that some very powerful elements are behind the creation of the letter that was foisted off on the Italian intelligence agency (the infamous “Niger”: letter) that later made its way into the likewise infamous British claim about Iraq seeking uranium ore (ostensibly to use to make nuclear weapons.).

It seems to me that I recall a story somewhere around 2001 or 2002 about the Embassy of Niger in Rome, Italy being burglarized. As I recall the story, it was most peculiar because the only things that were missing were some stationery and a seal, like a notary public’s seal, but with the seal of Niger on it.

If that is correct, then I wonder if that stationery was part of the same paper that was used to create the Niger forgeries. And if it was, could that burglary lead to whomever created the phony documents? They were so poorly done (wrong names on the documents, wrong terminology) that whoever did it was most likely not a state agency, but was some renegade group. …

James Hogan

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Pat Tillman and Lies

[Greg Mitchell] wrote: While military officials’ lying to the parents drew wide coverage, hardly anyone mentioned that they also lied to the public and to the press, which dutifully carried one report after another based on the Pentagon’s spin. It had happened many times before, as in the faux Jessica Lynch incident in Iraq.

And mentioned: Mary Tillman, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.

This suggests for consideration that they also lied to the “Commander-in-Chief,” the President. And if they’re not getting their keels hauled for that, too [seems like it ought to be an even graver offense than lying to civilians], is it possible he knew the truth and lied also? It seems like the next natural question to ask.

Thanks for covering this story, among the many others. If i had the TV news on today I’d only know about Anna Nicole Smith. Thanks for filling the vacuum.

Deirdre Eaton
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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