24 April 2011

An autopsy of the president's failed effort to close Guantanamo

Beverly Eckert had more reason than most Americans to seek justice for those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. And she felt strongly that terrorism suspects should be tried on U.S. soil rather than being held indefinitely at Guantanamo or put before military tribunals. So she was a strong supporter of President Obama's call to close Guantanamo and try the suspects in U.S. courts. But his plans gradually unravelled, as shown in a lengthy analysis in the Washington Post. In short, the plan was not presented effectively to the public, and efforts to counteract strong congressional opposition failed because the White House did not have a strong, coherent, and convincing game plan. When Congress fought the closure, the White House blinked.

Beverly Eckert and her colleagues learned quickly how to win in Washington: know your subject; hone your message; build durable coalitions; and never ever back down.

14 April 2011

Arnold Korotkin's 9/11 List-Serv: A one-man news service for the community

One of the most powerful tools wielded by Beverly Eckert and the other 9/11 activists was information. They learned early on that half the battle against entrenched interests like the Congress, the Pentagon, the airlines, and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey was mastering all the facts.

Enter Arnold Korotkin, a sociology professor from Little Falls, New Jersey. A profile of Korotkin on baristanet.com sums up his work:
Korotkin’s work with the 9/11 community began when he was Director of Community Building for the United Way. His goal was to reach out to families that had lost loved ones as a result of the terrorist attack. “I quickly realized that many 9/11 families had ceased reading, listening to and/or reading the news,” explained Korotkin. “I began the 9/11 List-serv to provide family members access to news and relevant information about services and resources.”
Beverly and other 9/11 activists subscribed to the 9/11 List-Serv, and it provided a crucial source of articles and other information about issues they were working on. In addition, Korotkin distributed announcements, press releases and other materials produced by the family members and other 9/11 groups. It was a two-way channel of crucial 9/11 information.

I recently posted a request on the list serv for information about Beverly from people who knew her. Arnie was among those who wrote back, eager to express his admiration for Beverly, whom he first met when she testified before the 9/11 Commission at its raucous and controversial New York City hearing.
In the years that followed this first meeting, Beverly and I - in conversations and over coffee - would discuss myriad topics including where we were in the 60's, and to my surprise Beverly revealed that she made pottery in her "hippie days" - perhaps this was a way for her to express her warmth and compassion!

I was always impressed by Beverly's warmth, compassion and commitment. She was a friend who was taken from us too soon and her memory and dedication to 9/11 issues lives on!

08 April 2011

anthonytoth.com goes live

I have set up a web site containing information about me, my work, and this book project. There is a brief biography of Beverly Eckert, as well as a summary of No Truer Hearts. There are also pages about my journalistic and academic experience. Thanks for visiting!