:: The Fred Willard Fan Site ::


:: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 ::

My One Post on the New Hampshire Primary

On Larry King Live, Bob Dole just remarked that a lot of people have "deserted" the Wesley Clark campaign.

Excellent choice of wording.

UPDATE: And there's this:

Yikes, what a flattering picture. Sen. Grouper.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:05 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 23, 2004 ::

At Least I'm not Torgo

You are The Master
What MST3K Villain are you?
by Krankor.com

:: COINTELPRO Tool 2:54 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, January 18, 2004 ::

I Get Mail

In response to this post I received the following e-mail, apparently from NY Press writer Alan Cabal himself:
--- Al Cabal wrote:
> Funny how desperation drives some people...
> No, I won't hide you when the time comes.

He later sent another one-line e-mail:
--- Al Cabal wrote:
> You have more aliases than a Mossad blowjob.

I had sent an e-mailed to the Press asking that it be forwarded to Cabal, essentially asking whether the author of this litany of thoroughly discredited internet rumors had even bothered to check his claim attributed to Pacifica Radio with, well, Pacifica Radio.

If not, he was simply repeating an internet rumor (i.e., that Condoleeza Rice had personally warned San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown not to fly on 9/11) that can only be sourced to holocaust denier David Irving. I responded to Cabal's first e-mail, asking him directly about the Pacifica claim, but haven't heard back from him.

I had also sent similar e-mails to Pacifica (there is no record of such a report on the Democracy Now! archives, but it's possible that it came from another program) and Irving himself. I haven't heard from either of them.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:22 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, January 05, 2004 ::

Jurjen's Back

After a long hiatus, one of my favorite bloggers is back on the beat, commenting on anti-war wingnut denial of Saddam's atrocities (including the piece I addressed in this post).

Jurjen summarizes:
If Gery's opinion is anything to go by, it seems being a pacifist these days means blaming the dead, and leaving their killer in peace (and I use that last word deliberately). Disgusting.

The rest of his post is not for the faint of heart, as it deals with the forensics of mass graves. But it's a must read.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:45 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, January 04, 2004 ::

Fairness and Balanced, to the Extreme

I recently commented on Jeff Jarvis' post about media objectivity, essentially arguing that the failures of specific reporters and news agencies is not a reason to throw the concept away in favor of a primarily agenda-driven media culture, such as those in Western Europe.

I should qualify that by saying that I do have problems with how reporters today often approach the concept of objectivity. Too often, it is formulated simply by providing "both sides" of the story, and refraining from any adjudication between the two -- lest the reporter be accused of "bias."

"We report, you decide" is the order of the day, and not just at Fox News. But usually, reporters don't provide enough information to make a meaningful decision about who's right and who's wrong, and they do the public a great disserrvice by not assisting the viewer in "deciding," even when they have information that is crucial in such a decision. Simply put, there are times when a he said/he said situation can easily be cleared up, namely when the reporter knows that one side is lying.

Col. David Perkins, commander of 2nd Brigade, 3ID during the invasion of Iraq, gave an example of this phenomenon at a National Defense University symposium on the military and the media (from Nov. 18, 2003). After the 2nd Brigade made its initial foray into Baghdad April 5, BBC reporters were initially more credulous of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf's hysterical denials than of the U.S. claims, even though they had been reported by embedded journalists (more on that here).

Perkins recalled actually being asked by one of his European embeds to respond to Baghdad Bob's denials. "You were with us," Perkins recounted telling the reporter. "You came along. Why can't you just report what happened?"

David Kaspar, via Zach Cohen, brings another example of this: an AP (those guys, again) story on a military exchange in Nablus ("Israelis Kill 4 Palestinians").

It was the typical he said/he said on whether the four killed were combatants or innocent bystanders:
The cause of the violence in Nablus was disputed. The Israeli military said troops opened fire after being attacked with rocks, firebombs and a concrete block dropped from a roof. Palestinian witnesses said Israelis killed an attacker and two bystanders, including a 15-year-old boy on a rooftop watching troops pass.

Gosh, who to believe? Well, the AP also had a photo.

As Col. Perkins said, why can't you just report what happened?
:: COINTELPRO Tool 12:31 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, January 03, 2004 ::

Remember, Kids ...

... it's not anti-Semitism, it's anti-Zionism.

Just keep repeating that. It'll sink in eventually.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 8:44 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, January 02, 2004 ::

Those Headline Writers at Yahoo! News the Associated Press

"Most U.S. Iraq Deaths Are Reservists"

Later, we discover that "most" means 14 percent -- or 25 percent, if you're just counting December.

UPDATE: Judging from this, this, and this, it looks like it was AP's boneheaded mistake. And it got past all those other editors, too.

UPDATE II: Bryan at Arguing With Signposts notes that it took a marked decrease in total fatalities in December for AP to arrive at the higher (25) percentage. So, while the ratio of Reservists among total casualties has increased, the rate has actually decreased by two fatalities per month.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 9:45 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, January 01, 2004 ::

The Myths Live On

It never ceases to amaze me how fables and outright lies can live on in public discourse, long after they have been thoroughly definitively debunked.

Today's fractured media environment, as "empowering" as it may be (let's be frank, shall we? Some people simply shouldn't be empowered), has taken the "Lexis Nexis effect" to absurd new heights. Call it cybercascading, or, as Lileks put it, "non-contiguous information streams." What ever you want to call it, it appears that there are still scores of people -- legitimate journalists among them -- who to this day Didn't Get That Memo.

Alan Cabal has written another one of those Unanswered (to the Satisfaction of the Most Paranoid Among Us) Questions essays, regurgitating nearly every internet canard that's been written about the September 11 attacks, and attempts to marry them to the legitimate pursuit of answers to the depths of our intelligence/national security failures, and how such attacks can be prevented in the future.

Cabal's screed is so jam-packed with lies, I hardly know where to begin. First, I should emphasize that, in his attempt to hitch his bullshit assertions to more warranted criticisms, Cabal does make some (well, maybe only one) valid points. Yes, Condoleeze Rice shouldn't have made that ridiculous assertion about not being able to "imagine" that such an attack could occur. But, as I've written before, a little perspective is in order while conducting any recounting of the missed warnings.

But Cabal's piece takes the missed warnings argument just a bit too far:
Breitweiser is resolute in her assertions. Airport security officials, she believes, could have done much more to prevent the hijackings. Beyond that, however, she wonders what September 11 would have been like had the government made the public aware of the threats. How many people, she asks, would have chosen to board planes that morning? And how many of those in World Trade Center 2 would have remained in their offices, watching the inferno of Tower 1, had they known of the possibility of an air attack?

Those warnings, as Cabal himself notes, were received in June and July. Hence, to suggest that making them public would have made a difference nearly three months after the fact is a bit ridiculous.

After this, Cabal just repeats the most idiotic arguments you may have already read, many of which have been debunked here, but all of which have been debunked somewhere ...
So many, many questions. Why did World Trade Center 7 collapse? No airplane hit that building, and before September 11, no steel skyscraper had ever collapsed because of a fire. Yet three fell–very neatly and virtually into their own footprints.

(Even if one allows the engineers their claims that WTC1 and WTC2 were designed to collapse in on themselves, what of the perfect collapse of WTC7?)

The firefighters who were in the two towers were not in the least concerned about a collapse, as demonstrated in the fire department’s transcript of their radio traffic. In fact, they stated that the fires were dying out and could be extinguished with just a couple of lines of hose. Jet fuel burns like kerosene or charcoal fluid–quickly and completely–yet Ground Zero burned for 100 days.

The idea of rigging the buildings for a controlled demolition was dismissed as unrealistic by even the most suspicious types. How to gain access? Well, President Bush’s other brother, Marvin, had a security company covering the World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport and United Airlines.

Well, there you have it. Michael Meacher and Gore Vidal have nothing on this asshole, who is actually suggesting that the WTC towers were destroyed by a controlled demolition.

People have asked me why I've never addressed this particular conspiracy angle on my What DIDN't Really Happen page. Quite honestly, I thought they were too absurd even for my time. Think about this kind of scenario: the evil PNAC cabal wanted a war and needed a massive terrorist attack as a pretext. They think, we could fly some "hijacked" planes into the WTC towers. Just one problem with that idea -- burning jet fuel isn't sufficient to bring the towers down [No, I don't believe that nonsense. I'm humoring these morons, focusing on the scenario itself. -- Ed.] and the public might not support our Pertpetual War if the towers don't collapse. Oh yeah, and don't forget about WTC 7. The plan won't work unless we rig explosives to bring down that building, too. And don't worry about getting caught. It's easy to rig three office buildings in downtown Manhattan with enough explosives to bring them down without anyone noticing.

Now, a "controlled demolition" that succeeds where the 1993 WTC bombing failed should be sufficient, but for some reason, the neocon cabal thought it necessary to go through with the hijacked planes plot, even though they were deemed insufficient to do the job. And they managed to coordinate them in such a way so that they crashed into the buildings at the exact locations of the rigged explosives -- can't have anyone seeing explosions in another part of the buildings -- and manage to do that without setting off the explosives prematurely ...

What fucking planet are these people from?

Cabal continues:
Some doubt altogether that a plane hit the Pentagon. On Sept. 12, Arlington County Fire Chief Ed Plaugher made some revealing statements. When asked about aircraft wreckage, he responded that "there are some small pieces of aircraft visible from the interior during this fire-fighting operation…but not large sections. In other words, there’s no fuselage sections and that sort of thing." When asked about jet fuel, he referred to a "puddle."

Look at pictures, however, and it’s hard to believe that a Boeing 757 flew into the Pentagon. The damage is not in proportion to the claim, especially when one considers that two Boeing 757s are said to have taken down three skyscrapers. The Pentagon was dented, the plane evaporated.

Good lord, are there still people who believe this garbage? Oh yeah, I forgot. Roughly 20 percent of the German public, and perhaps a similar number in France. But just in case you've spent the last two and a half years in either place -- or under the same rock Cabal just crawled out from under -- read this.

It get's worse:
"Mohammed Atta" appears to have been a stolen identity, as per the real Atta’s father and his passport, which went missing in 1999, and on Sept. 23, 2001, the BBC reported that at least four other of the 19 men identified as the hijackers were alive and well–and considerably unsettled.

Oh, shut the fuck up.

And, should you have any remaining doubts that Cabal's piece is nothing more than a rehash of stale crap he read on the internet, he repeats yet another ridiculous claim:
Condoleezza Rice’s preposterous May 16, 2002, statement that no one could have foreseen this scenario was particularly ironic given that Pacifica Radio identified her that day as the source of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s "airport security" call warning him not to fly on Black Tuesday.

This one has also been around a while, and has appeared on dozens of Web sites -- but none of them credible news sources. I'm not sure if it's even true that Pacifica Radio ever made such an allegation, as none of the Web sites that make the claim actually cite Pacifica directly -- they all lead eventually to a sidebar on this piece by notorious anti-Semite and holocaust denier David Irving.

Not that it matters too much whether Pacifica ever did "report" such a thing. It frankly doesn't even pass the smell test (none of the hijacked planes flew out of San Francisco, and, as Zach Cohen once asked, why would Rice give such a warning to Willie Brown, who wasn't in any danger, but not to administration official Ted Olson, whose wife died on Flight 77?

Nonetheless, it would be interesting to learn whether Cabal ever bothered to check the claim with Pacifica, or if he simply ran with what he read on Indymedia, Rense.com, or wherever he read it. I'm willing to bet on the latter.

Like any good conspiracy monger, Cabal tries to cloak his ridiculous claims by coyly claiming he's just asking questions, and searching for the truth. But whether his essay is an exercise in willful deception, or just plain sloppy reporting (I'm trying not to assume malice where there is room for ignorance, but he's not leaving me much room), it is clear that the truth is the last thing Cabal is seeking.

UPDATE: I neglected to mention this item from Cabal's piece:
Why were the planes up in the air for so long? And why did they fly over so many military bases? Was America’s defense team on a crack break, or was it a National Reconnaissance Office exercise, a wargame that involved hijacked aircraft being splashed into buildings in New York and DC?

Again, Cabal is simply taking "facts" from the internet without bothering to check them. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) exercise to which he refers did not involve hijacked planes. Nor did it involve any air defense or other military assets. It was simply a mass casualty drill -- a not so uncommon occurrence -- for an agency whose offices are in the path of Dulles International Airport's runways.

The accusation that this was a "counter-terror" exercise, aimed at defending against a 9/11-type attack comes from conspiracy nut Barbara Honegger, who obviously didn't check her own source very well, either.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 6:30 PM [+] ::

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