05-17-2022  1:41 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

2022 Midterms: What to Watch as 5 States Hold Primaries

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 is the last day for voters to return ballots. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by election day. Ballots deposited in an official drop box must be received by 8 p.m. on election day.

No Sea Serpents, Mobsters but Tahoe Trash Divers Strike Gold

Scuba divers who spent a year cleaning up Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile shoreline have come away with what they hope will prove a valuable incentive

House Passes Bipartisan Update to Anti-Poverty Program Led by Bonamici, Thompson

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program has not been updated since 1998.

Portland Unrest Drives Interest in 2 Congressional Primaries

The problems have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats as a crowded field of candidates vies to advance to November in a historically blue state

NEWS BRIEFS

2 Pleasure Boats Catch Fire on Columbia River

Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank,...

WA Childhood Immunization Rates Decline During Pandemic

Immunization rates have decreased by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic level ...

Attorney General Rosenblum Warns Against Price Gouging of Baby Formula

This declaration will allow the Oregon Attorney General to take action against any business, or online vendor, who upsells the price...

WA High Court: Drivers Can Get DUIs for Driving While High

A decision that upholds the state’s decade-old law regulating marijuana use behind the wheel of a car. ...

Community Basketball Game and Discussion Events Work to Reduce Gun Violence

Basketball game features Black youth and police officers playing together ...

5-term Idaho attorney general in tough GOP primary battle

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s five-term Republican attorney general has handled his duties in the deeply conservative state for 20 years with a strategy he describes as calling legal “balls and strikes.” He's facing two challengers who see a more activist role for the office. ...

Idaho governor faces Trump-backed candidate in GOP primary

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Gov. Brad Little is fighting back a primary challenge on Tuesday from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a Donald Trump-backed candidate who twice attempted a power grab last year when Little was out of state on business. The intraparty contest...

OPINION

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

Burying Black Cemeteries: Off the Record

It is a tragedy when we lose a loved one. That tragedy is compounded when are unable to visit their final resting place to honor and remember them. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Zealand shooting survivor says violence achieved nothing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — If the Buffalo supermarket shooter had learned anything from the massacre in New Zealand that apparently inspired him, it should have been that the violence didn't achieve any of the gunman's aims, a survivor said Tuesday. Temel Atacocugu was shot nine...

'Like every other day:' 10 lives lost on a trip to the store

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — They were caregivers and protectors and helpers, running an errand or doing a favor or finishing out a shift, when their paths crossed with a young man driven by racism and hatred and inane theories. In a flash, the ordinariness of their day was broken at Tops...

Tensions over racial justice shadow Louisville mayor's race

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — On Valentine's Day, a man appeared in the doorway of a Louisville campaign office and fired shots at mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. He wasn't hit — a bullet grazed his sweater — but some of the tensions still lingering over this city flared once again. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brandi Carlile, Yola, Allison Russell lead Americana noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola are the leading nominees for the 2022 Americana Honors and Awards, with each one up for album of the year, artist of the year and song of the year. The nominees were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the...

Review: 'Team America' plumbs enduring impact of 4 generals

“Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged” by Robert L. O’Connell (Harper) Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes...

Yiyun Li wins PEN/Malamud Award for short stories

NEW YORK (AP) — Author Yiyun Li has received one of the top honors for short story writers, the PEN/Malamud Award for “exceptional achievement.” Li, 49, has published the collections “Gold Boy” and “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” along with five novels and two...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New US hospitals face fiscal crisis over COVID relief money

THOMASVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A whole town celebrated in 2020 when, early in the coronavirus pandemic, Thomasville...

North Korea reports another fever surge amid COVID-19 crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday reported another large jump in illnesses believed to be...

Conspiracy theorists flock to bird flu, spreading falsehoods

Brad Moline, a fourth-generation Iowa turkey farmer, saw this happen before. In 2015, a virulent avian flu...

US vice president, top officials visit UAE to pay respects

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris led a high-powered American delegation to...

Iraqi merchants struggle on amid series of strong sandstorms

BAGHDAD (AP) — The thick layer of dust blanketing the sky did not deter Muhammed Ghalib from walking to work in...

Uyghur county in China has highest prison rate in the world

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly one in 25 people in a county in the Uyghur heartland of China has been sentenced to prison...

Matt Apuzzo, the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Osama bin Laden watched his terrorist organization get picked apart, he lamented in his final writings that al-Qaida was suffering from a marketing problem. His group was killing too many Muslims and that was bad for business. The West was winning the public relations fight. All his old comrades were dead and he barely knew their replacements.

Faced with these challenges, bin Laden, who hated the United States and decried capitalism, considered a most American of business strategies. Like Blackwater, ValuJet and Philip Morris, perhaps what al-Qaida really needed was a fresh start under a new name.

The problem with the name al-Qaida, bin Laden wrote in a letter recovered from his compound in Pakistan, was that it lacked a religious element, something to convince Muslims worldwide that they are in a holy war with America.

Maybe something like Taifat al-Tawhed Wal-Jihad, meaning Monotheism and Jihad Group, would do the trick, he wrote. Or Jama'at I'Adat al-Khilafat al-Rashida, meaning Restoration of the Caliphate Group.

As bin Laden saw it, the problem was that the group's full name, al-Qaida al-Jihad, for The Base of Holy War, had become short-handed as simply al-Qaida. Lopping off the word "jihad," bin Laden wrote, allowed the West to "claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam." Maybe it was time for al-Qaida to bring back its original name.

(See: Osama wanted new name for al-Qaida to repair image)

The letter, which was undated, was discovered among bin Laden's recent writings. Navy SEALs stormed his compound and killed him before any name change could be made. The letter was described by senior administration, national security and other U.S. officials only on condition of anonymity because the materials are sensitive. The documents portray bin Laden as a terrorist chief executive, struggling to sell holy war for a company in crisis.

At the White House, the documents were taken as positive reinforcement for President Barack Obama's effort to eliminate religiously charged words from the government's language of terrorism. Words like "jihad," which also has a peaceful religious meaning, are out. "Islamic radical" has been nixed in favor of "terrorist" and "mass murderer." Though former members of President George W. Bush's administration have backed that effort, it also has drawn ridicule from critics who said the president was being too politically correct.

"The information that we recovered from bin Laden's compound shows al-Qaida under enormous strain," Obama said Wednesday in his speech to the nation on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. "Bin Laden expressed concern that al-Qaida had been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that had been killed and that al-Qaida has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam, thereby draining more widespread support."

Bin Laden wrote his musings about renaming al-Qaida as a letter but, as with many of his writings, the recipient was not identified. Intelligence officials have determined that bin Laden only communicated with his most senior commanders, including his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and his No. 3, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, according to one U.S. official. Because of the courier system bin Laden used, it's unclear to U.S. intelligence whether the letter ever was sent.

Al-Yazid was killed in a U.S. airstrike last year. Zawahri has replaced bin Laden as head of al-Qaida.

(See: Obama: Info from bin Laden shows al-Qaida strain)

In one letter sent to Zawahri within the past year or so, bin Laden said al-Qaida's image was suffering because of attacks that have killed Muslims, particularly in Iraq, officials said. In other journal entries and letters, they said, bin Laden wrote that he was frustrated that many of his trusted longtime comrades, whom he'd fought alongside in Afghanistan, had been killed or captured.

Using his courier system, bin Laden could still exercise some operational control over al-Qaida. But increasingly the men he was directing were younger and inexperienced. Frequently, the generals who had vouched for these young fighters were dead or in prison. And bin Laden, unable to leave his walled compound and with no phone or Internet access, was annoyed that he did not know so many people in his own organization.

The U.S. has essentially completed the review of documents taken from bin Laden's compound, officials said, though intelligence analysts will continue to mine the data for a long time.

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Follow Matt Apuzzo at http://twitter.com/mattapuzzo

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