Monday, December 31, 2007

The Dahr Jamail/IVAW Connection: Journalistic Collusion

Expect more on this shortly. For now, though....

Dahr Jamail is described as an unembedded independent reporter. He and IVAW are, shall we say, entwined.

Jamail wrote an artcle published last October 26 by Asia Times entitled:

US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq

The article quotes four sources. Two of them, Phil Aliff and Geoff Millard, are identified in the article as members of IVAW. Perhaps to provide journalistic balance, Jamail’s other two sources, Eli Wright and Nate Lewis, are not identified as IVAW members.

But Eli Wright and Nate Lewis are also IVAW members.

Four out of four sources. Clean sweep! Tens of thousands of National Guard and Army troops stationed at Fort Drum, where the story was written, and all four sources are members of a group with only several hundred members in the whole country. This is honest journalism!

Stephen Kinzer, former NY Times foreign desk chief says of Jamail’s reporting "International Journalism at its best".


Hat tip to Chickenhawk Express and BLACKFIVE.

Like I said, stand by for more on the Dahr Jamail and IVAW connection.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter Soldier 2008: A Brawl in Left Field?

There may already be movement afoot to damage or destroy the propaganda rewards the IVAW is hoping to garner next March at their WSI. Efforts are being organized that may well put the entire operation in a bad light, media-wise. And it is all about the media!

Who is doing it? The Swift Vet and POWs for Truth? Gathering of Eagles? Dick Cheney and Haliburton? FOX News?

Nope! It’s their allies. IVAW has this request up at Veterans For Peace and it is making the rounds, including at Daily Kos:

IVAW Requests no National Mass Mobilizations or DC Based Actions during Winter Soldier

In order to give our veterans the necessary space and attention we deserve to tell our stories, we are requesting that, during Winter Soldier, March 13-16, the larger anti-war movement calls no national mobilizations and that there are no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington DC. IVAW will not endorse any mass mobilizations or DC-based actions that conflict with Winter Soldier. We feel that large-scale activities will compete with Winter Soldier and dilute the voices of those testifying.

However, it also appears there are some others who intend to crash the party and engage in civil disobedience, in support of the WSI. This was posted on, who bill themselves as the “Aggressive Progressives”:
Join us on Saturday, March 15th for a massive demonstration in Washington, D.C....This gathering will support the Iraq Veterans Against The War Winter Soldier Testimonial....Join us on Wednesday, March 19th, the anniversary of the invasion, for massive civil disobedience in Washington, D.C., and at the local level all around the United States...
Organizations participating are listed below (Initial list),

In Solidarity for Peace and Justice,

Gold Star Families for Peace
Camp Casey Peace Institute
ANSWER Coalition
CODEPINK Women For Peace
Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation
Common Ground Collective New Orleans
Hip Hop Caucus
World Can’t Wait – Drive Out The Bush Regime!
Cindy Sheehan and Cindy for Congress
National Council of Arab Americans
Grassroots America
Democracy Rising
Voters for Peace

Glad Cindy will be involved. Hard to forget how miffed Cindy was about the media coverage Hurricane Rita was getting in September ’05 when it could and should have been focusing on, well...her !

There has to be some behind the scenes bickering going on right now. Maybe some of it will spill out to the public.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Swiftboating History

A series of posts below are a follow-up to the article Swiftboating History at American Thinker. If you haven’t done so, I suggest reading that article before proceeding for clarity’s sake.

Read Bruce Kesler's (The Democracy Project) review.

Comments by Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute.

To purchase Scott Swett’s and Tim Ziegler’s To Set the Record Straight go here.

Links and Background: (Scott Swett)

SwiftVets and POWs for Truth

Democracy Project (Bruce Kesler)

Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley

Stolen Honor (the documentary by Carlton Sherwood that the left tried to stop with lawsuits)

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry by John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi

Slandering an Entire Generation of Warriors
and The "Troubled Vet" Returns, articles by Mackubin T. Owens

IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War)*
*The organization's name "Iraq Veterans Against the War" does not mean that actual military service in Iraq is required for membership...and of course no one might be misled to think otherwise by the name "Iraq Veterans..."!

VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War)

This & That:

John Kerry's apology for claiming in 1971 that 200,000 Vietnamese per year were being "murdered by the United States of America" - NOT! (a Kerry spokesman says the Senator "used a word he deems inappropriate")

Veterans For Peace sponsors IVAW and by that gives the latter its 501(c)3 tax exempt status as a charity. That group and IVAW make this appeal to the broad anti-war movement:

"In order to give our veterans the necessary space and attention we deserve to tell our stories, we are requesting that, during Winter Soldier, March 13-16, the larger anti-war movement calls no national mobilizations and that there are no local protests or civil disobedience actions in Washington DC. IVAW will not endorse any mass mobilizations or DC-based actions that conflict with Winter Soldier. We feel that large-scale activities will compete with Winter Soldier and dilute the voices of those testifying."

Winter Soldier 2008: The IVAW Questionnaire soliciting...

...WSI testimony.

That questionnaire can be found here. This document tells us some things about IVAW. For a start, they apparently don’t have anyone on board with a lick of editorial competency. Their list of questions to which a respondent is to reply with a “Yes” or a “No” begins with:

Did you ever participate in or observe (this includes the monitoring of communications) any of the following:

Among the specific categories that follow are these, are remember, the only answer is either a “Yes” or a “No”:
24. What was the general attitude of your unit towards civilians?


25. How prevalent was the use of racist or derogatory terminology towards civilians?


Uh, “yes”, er, I mean “no”…wait, “yes”…oh…

Some of those “Yes” or “No” questions are seeking to find the really bad stuff! As in:

Did you ever participate in or observe… 19. The use, both prescribed and non-prescribed, of anti-depressants, uppers, or other medications?
21. The use of alcohol?

27. Did you ever witness or observe any civilian contractors engaging in any of the activity mentioned above…

Soldiers and contractors having a few beers or using medications from Tylenol to allergy relief over-the-counter medicines qualifies as a “Yes”! The questionnaire doesn’t ask specifically if the respondent witnessed or observed only our side doing these things, but it is strongly implied and some questions are specific to what can be called "our side". There are a lot of those questions that could properly be asked as:

Did you ever observe any of the following done by AQI or any of the various Sunni or Shia insurgents groups:

1. The killing or wounding of a civilian or unarmed combatant?
2. Stealing from civilians/theft of non-military property?
3. Physically abusive conduct towards civilians or local military/police?
4. Excessively aggressive or reckless driving that needlessly endangered civilians?
5. Killing of medical personnel or destroying of medical equipment and facilities?
6. Torture, abuse, or humiliation of detainees or prisoners?
8. A house raid where life was needlessly disrupted and/or property was needlessly destroyed?
11. Sexual assault, harassment, and/or rape of local civilians (both male and female)?
15. Engagement of a target that recklessly endangered civilians?
16. The destruction of civilian infrastructure (to include bridges, irrigation or water purification equipment, hospitals, power plants, generators, etc.)?
18. The mutilation of bodies?

But of course, as IVAW says, they can only speak to the practices and policies of our government…so if veterans actually witnessed those kinds of things, they should just shut up about it! It doesn’t count.

Winter Soldier 2008: Steve Pitkin as Precedent?

Another IVAW question has this:

34. Will you speak to an IVAW verifier to help recall and confirm your testimony?

In the American Thinker article I alluded to IVAW possibly “coaching” potential “witnesses”. Supposed assisting with memory recall can be useful for doing just that. During the original WSI in 1971, John Kerry and other VVAW leaders “assisted” young
Steve Pitkin in recalling atrocities…that he neither witnessed nor participated in and frankly never happened. Pitkin is the only witness from that WSI to have signed an affidavit.

Winter Soldier 2008: Jesse MacBeth

I’ve been somewhat inaccurate in my view of the IVAW and Jesse MacBeth situation. I’ve written that MacBeth was a member of IVAW for six months, during which period he participated in and spoke at IVAW events. When MacBeth’s video was released on the Web, he and his tales were spotted as “phony” by milbloggers like Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette in less time that it took me to type “When MacBeth’s video was released on the Web…”. I faulted IVAW for not spotting Macbeth as a fraud, but I was wrong. By IVAW standards, Jesse MacBeth was not and is not a fraud in the light of IVAW membership criteria.

The stories MacBeth told were frauds and phonies, and IVAW does not support or endorse those. But even now, after his lying was exposed and it was found that he was never in Iraq and even with his conviction for trying to defraud the government out of veteran’s benefits he was not qualified to receive, MacBeth is still entitled to be a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. IVAW’s site has this about membership:

Membership Eligibility: 1. Members have served in the United States Military since September 11, 2001. All recent veterans and active duty servicemen and women from all branches of military service, National Guard members, and reservists are welcome to join our ranks. Please provide verification of service...

That’s it. There is no number 2. MacBeth did indeed serve in the military since September 11, 2001, or as it was concisely presented at the ABCNews blog:

"He was in the Army for 40 days before he was kicked out of boot camp for being unfit," said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. "He was never in Iraq."

He wasn’t and isn’t a member by fraud, as he has attained to their membership criteria! I found it somewhat surprising that a group that calls itself Iraq Veterans Against the War does not require its member to actually be Iraq Veterans, but probably shouldn’t have. MacBeth did indeed tamper with his DD214 discharge, falsifying it to obtain benefits, but the point is he actually had one! It showed service after September 11, 2001. That’s it. He was and can still be a legit member of IVAW. The group does take that vetting seriously. The IVAW Membership Form states:

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a group of veterans and active duty servicemen and women who have served since September 11th, 2001.

Nothing about actually serving in Iraq. The form continues to question 13:

13. Please attach proof of your military service with at least one of the following:
A copy of DD form 214 (if not available please explain)
A copy of military Photo identification
A copy of your Unit Move Order indicating service dates and locations
A copy of medal, award, or certificate of recognition
A copy of paperwork from Veterans Administration

That is followed by question 14:

14. T-Shirt Size (circle one) Small / Medium / Large / Extra Large / 2XL

Winter Soldier 2008: What Would (Will) Kerry Do?

In 1971, the original VVAW WSI was handed a huge degree of credibility by the U.S. Senate. Senator Mark O. Hatfield, an anti-war Republican, moved to have the entire WSI testimony read into the Congressional Record. Shortly before American Thinker published my October 9 article on WSI, I sent a letter to Hatfield, now teaching in Oregon. I asked if there was any report or reports made to or hearings held in Congress as a follow-up to the request he made that the WSI testimony be admitted to the Congressional Record and that the proper authorites investigate and report back on the charges made at WSI. I've received no answer, and the CR shows no such report or hearings.

Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator J. William Fulbright, called for the hearings that made Kerry nationally known and launched his political career.

It is reasonable to assume that the backers of the new WSI will try to have something similar happen, and who in the U.S. Senate would they turn to? Yup, Kerry!

I find it difficult to use the word “honor” here, but in a sense Kerry would be honor-bound to do for this anti-war veteran group what his predecessors did for him and the anti-war veteran group that he was a part of. That nationally televised testimony by Kerry is what launched his political career. I fervently hope that is the case, just as I hope that this new WSI makes a temendous media splash!

In his review and comments about To Set The Record Straight, Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute writes:

“I daresay I followed the Swifties quite closely…but I have found all sorts of interesting new details about Kerry's activities in Vietnam and after.”

I second that. It has been well established that young Kerry was self-promoting and wanted to follow in the footsteps of his idol, John F. Kennedy. His volunteering for Swift Boat duty (before the Swifts were engaged in combat operations) was seemingly a way to identify with and be identified with the young JFK commanding a PT boat in WWII. Kerry carried his typewriter around with him in Vietnam and would somewhat eagerly write up the reports that other Swift Boat officers were somewhat loath to do. The Swift boats operated in multiple boat groups, but a single report, including an after action report, would suffice for an incident in which more than one boat and crew were involved. That is what has led to the still pretty reasonable suspicion that the after action reports that painted Kerry in such a heroic light in more than one incident were actually written by Kerry in the first place, and were not seen at the time by the other Swift boat commanders involved. That point has never seemed to penetrate the MSM mind-lock, and so it is often repeated that 'Navy records support Kerry's claims!'.

Many Vietnam vets firmly believe that Kerry climbed the political ladder ontheir backs, using them and abusing their reputations to advance himself within the left of the Democratic Party. Swett and Ziegler surprised me when they wrote that many members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War felt the exact same way about Kerry, believing that he was using them and VVAW to promote himself!

Gosh! That's probably too personal a low blow to throw at a man fortunate enough to fall in love with and marry two women, both of whom were rich.

Monday, December 17, 2007

MSM Credibility (Or Lack Of) Again!

Yes, major established media beats the blogosphere because of all that fact checking and editing! And as though there are not examples enough already....

Michael Hirsh is a senior Newsweek editor. He wrote this. Sigh!

He is a senior editor for goshsakes! He wrote that Al Gore is the "winner of the largest popular-vote total in U.S. presidential history."

Wrong by a factor of three!

In 2000, Gore's popular vote total was 50,999,897.

Reagan's 1984 popular vote total was 54,455,472.

Both Bush's and Kerry's 2004 popular vote counts also beat Gore's, at 62,028,285 and 59,028,109 respectively.

I'd venture that even going through his own mag's archive would have given him a clue.

Sheesh! Maybe some junior editor can fact check the senior editor!