Today's Papers

Showing Their Package

The Washington Postleads with the Canadian government asserting that the 17 suspected terrorists recently arrested there planned to storm Parliament, and one talked of beheading the prime minister. The Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox leads with negotiators for Europe and the U.S. detailing their package of incentives to Tehran, including help on a nuclear reactor and, says the WP, allowing Iran to eventually restart its enrichment program. The New York Timesleads with, and alone fronts, Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki announcing the release of 2,500 detainees, about 10 percent of those now held by the government and the U.S. The releases won’t include anybody considered “guilty of serious crimes.” Maliki said it was all part of a “national reconciliation” plan, for which, the Times says, he “gave few details.”

USA Todayleads with a military survey suggesting a whole lot of GIs in Iraq have had undiagnosed concussions from bomb blasts. Twenty percent of the front-line troops surveyed showed evidence of them. Multiple concussions can cause permanent damage. But USAT seems to bury the lead: While a military center that specializes in brain injuries has pushed screening procedures for such injures, “the Pentagon has declined to mandate” them. “I think they’re afraid,” said the head of the center. “The sheer numbers are overwhelming. It’s like opening a can of worms.”

The Los Angeles Timesleads with votes in California, where a universal preschool initiative was knocked down and the Democratic primary in the governor’s race is too close to call. Also, the Republican candidate is leading in the closely watched special election to replace now-felon Duke Cunningham.   

It’s not clear that the suspected Canuck terrorists’ Parliament “plans” really qualified as such. The Journal flags lawyers’ complaints that the government has given them “few details about the alleged plot, and little information about the evidence.”

Also, gun-control supporters rejoice; a new anecdote has arrived: The WSJ notes that another part of the alleged plot involved “smuggling of guns into Canada fromthe U.S.

Today’s must read comes from the Journal, which says investigators were tipped off to the young alleged terrorists after police in London arrested a 22-year-old Brit who worked online as a terrorvangelist. Going by the screen-name “Irhabi 007,” he chatted up the Canadians, as well as two since-arrested young guys in Atlanta. He also sent them a “PowerPoint-like presentation showing how to make a car bomb, various bomb-making manuals and a digital video clip of Washington monuments.”

“There’s a new Generation X of terrorism, and these guys aren’t what you expect,” one counterterrorism consultant told the WSJ. “They are largely operating under their own prerogative and no one is telling them what to do.” The Atlantic Monthly just profiled “Irhabi 007,” and the WP wrote about him in March.

The Post explains that the nuclear deal endorsed by the White House“leaves open the possibility” that Tehran can enrich uranium in-country. The administration said it will take years, at least, before it would greenlight that. Still, the offer, as the WP puts it, “differs significantly from the Bush administration’s stated determination to prevent Iran from mastering” nukes technology.

The NYT emphasizes that Iran reacted pretty positively. “We had constructive talks,” said their chief nuclear negotiator. “There are some positive steps in it and also some ambiguities.” The Times also mentions that the U.S. rejected a European push to offer Iran security guarantees.

The Journal points out that the U.S.’s offer to eventually help Iran with its civilian nuclear program might not sit well with some conservatives.

About 25 Iraqis were reported killed yesterday. The NYT says the police “delivered nine severed heads to the Baquba morgue in fruit boxes.” A note inside the boxes said they were Sunnis killed in retaliation for the killing of Shiites.

The WP notices that Iraq’s notorious Interior Ministry holds about 5,000 detainees “even though the ministry is not supposed to keep detainees in custody for a long time.” The NYT mentions that the U.S. is holding “about 14,500 detainees” in Iraq. A year ago, this TPer noted what was a record number then: roughly 11,000 prisoners.

Though most of the papers give it only a brief mention, there was also plenty of violence in Afghanistan: Two coalition soldiers and two Afghan soldiers were killed in roadside bombings, and four people were killed in the bombing of a mosque. The LAT has the most detailed report.

The WP off-leads “federal officials” saying the hard drive swiped from a Veterans Affairs’ worker also included the Social Security numbers and addresses of nearly 80 percent of active-duty troops. Though today’s Post doesn’t mention it, the data are in a hard-to-access format.

USAT fronts Harvard announcing it will bypass the government and fund its own research to use cloned embryos to make stem cells.

The NYT mentions newly declassified documents showing that the U.S. didn’t do squat after it was told in 1958 where Holocaust logistician Adolf Eichmann was hiding. Israel captured Eichmann two years later, and he was executed in 1962.

The NYT has an op-ed from Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff explaining the decision to trim counterterrorism grants to New York and D.C.

While New York and Washington will continue to receive the majority of the money because of the heightened threat they face, future grants will also go to other, less populated areas that have not received much help in building even basic security capacities.

It’s worth reading Chertoff’s whole argument.

W-H-O-O-P-S … From the NYT’s correction box:

An article on Saturday about Katharine Close, 13, the winner of the 79th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, included incorrect information from spelling bee officials about her victory. She is the second New Jersey resident to win, not the first. A related article in some copies misspelled the word that eliminated one finalist, Jonathan Horton of Gilbert, Ariz. It was sciolto, not cialto.