While President Obama was extoling the virtues of wind power in an Earth Day speech, his Justice Department lawyers were attempting to scuttle a lawsuit filed in federal court against Iran by former U.S. embassy hostages. The lawsuit alleges that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage-takers who interrogated the captives.
Two days after the story broke on the Associated Press wire, it appears the mainstream media have virtually buried the story, with no televised coverage save for a brief mention on CNN and one story in the Boston Globe.
A search for "'lawsuit' and 'Iran'" in Nexis from April 22 to 24 found no mentions of the story on MSNBC nor ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast network news programs. Likewise the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post were devoid of stories. A search of "major newspapers" in Nexis did yield one hit, a 380-word AP wire story by Nedra Pickler printed on page A6 of the April 23 Boston Globe.
In that April 23 story, Pickler noted that (emphasis mine):
In court papers filed Tuesday night without any announcement, the Justice Department argued that the agreement to release the hostages, known as the Algiers Accords, precluded lawsuits against Iran.
A similar lawsuit brought by the Iranian hostages was dismissed in 2000 after the government successfully argued it was banned by the Algiers Accords. The hostages argue that legislation passed by Congress last year and signed into law by President George W. Bush gives them the right to bring private lawsuits.
But the Justice Department argued that the law does not mention the Algiers Accords, much less explicitly repeal them
The hostages argue that Iran supported their confinement and abuse, with visits from government officials, stays in government prisons and buildings and threats of trial in Iranian courts. The lawsuit says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of their interrogators.
The lawsuit says the hostages were tortured, beaten sometimes until they lost consciousness and kept in fear of their lives
Given Iran's ongoing efforts at building a nuclear program and President Obama's willingness to more open diplomacy with the regime, shouldn't the media take more interest in this story? Could the administration's policy towards Iran be pushing the Obama/Holder Justice Department to needlessly inject itself into thise case? Doesn't the fact that the DOJ failed to advertise this move with a press release show that the administration might find embarassment in the story being covered by the media?
According to the Nexis search, CNN was the only televised outlet to carry the story, but even in doing so on the April 22 "Situation Room," reporter Fredricka Whitfield neglected to mention the dispute over the Algiers Accords nor that Ahmadinejad is personally implicated in the lawsuit the DOJ wants to scuttle:
And a case now which involves Americans and their lawsuit against Iran after they were held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran 30 years ago, the Obama administration asked a federal judge to throw it out. It's part of a multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit in district court in Washington, D.C. Fifty-two U.S. diplomats and members of the military were held hostage over 400 days during the Carter administration. They were held by Islamic militant students supporting the Iranian revolution -- Wolf.