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Fighting the Liberal Media Bias
November 22, 2005 8:28 AM   Subscribe

In 2001 America destroyed the Kabul offices of al-Jazeera with two smartbombs; officials said it was an accident. In 2003 America destroyed the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar.
posted by Pretty_Generic (155 comments total)

 
This is my surprised face.
posted by wakko at 8:34 AM on November 22, 2005


That seems like a pretty daft thing to want to do, doesn't it? Surely Al-Jazeera's reporting doesn't have and impact anywhere near equivalent to bombing an ally.

And, apologies for introducing a little bit of a derail, but how do revelations like this play in the US nowadays? (I keep hearing on the World Service and Radio 4 that stuff like this is increadingly damaging Bush's standing, but he's done worse in the past without it denting him.)
posted by jack_mo at 8:38 AM on November 22, 2005


Until recently, I would have said this would get at most 10 seconds of coverage on, say, the NBC Nightly News. Now that the newsies are smelling some blood in the water, who knows? If there's anything to this, US journalists could mop up the floor with this Administration.
posted by alumshubby at 8:43 AM on November 22, 2005


Um, I'm confused. Where is the information on the trial of the two civil servants? Do you have a link to the memo? The first two links are two old stories (entirely appropriate) and the third discusses a conversation between Blair and Bush but doesn't mention the trial and speaks about the need to publish the memo.

P_G do you have some other sources for your post?
posted by oddman at 8:44 AM on November 22, 2005


And, apologies for introducing a little bit of a derail, but how do revelations like this play in the US nowadays?

Cue terror alert in 5, 4, 3...
posted by eriko at 8:45 AM on November 22, 2005


More bad news for Bush:

Iraqi Leaders Call for Pullout Timetable
Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right' of resistance.
posted by caddis at 8:46 AM on November 22, 2005


I hear secret bombings of Cambodia are next.

But as long as Bush didn't send "plumbers" to burglarize Al-Jazeera headquarters, I guess it's OK.

Wait, George Santayana's ghost said what?
posted by orthogonality at 8:47 AM on November 22, 2005


If this is provable, it's hugely damaging. I'd like to see this story grow some legs, but I'm not holding my breath.
posted by rocket88 at 8:48 AM on November 22, 2005


Were there casualties? If not, no big deal; a good idea.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:48 AM on November 22, 2005


Where is the information on the trial of the two civil servants?

Um, in the article?

Cabinet Office civil servant David Keogh, 49, is accused under the Official Secrets Act of passing it to Leo O'Connor, 42, who used to work for Mr Clarke. Both are bailed to appear at Bow Street court next week.
posted by senor biggles at 8:50 AM on November 22, 2005


Iraqi Leaders Call for Pullout Timetable

Wait...

“If the provisional government asks us to leave we will leave, [...] I don’t think that will happen, but obviously we don’t stay in countries where we’re not welcome.”

I only found the Bremer quote, but I'm sure I remember Rummy himself touting this.
posted by uncle harold at 8:52 AM on November 22, 2005


Were there casualties? If not, no big deal; a good idea.

What does that mean? It didn't happen, so obviously there were no casualties. Unless you just mean it was a good idea to not bomb Al Jazeera?

Cue terror alert in 5, 4, 3...

Ah yes, probably due one of those.
posted by jack_mo at 8:52 AM on November 22, 2005


P_G, this article reads like something you'd read in a tabloid. I'm not saying that it isn't credible, but the information is sketchy at best and the picture you paint (with the prior US attacks) paints a pretty indicting picture for which there doesn't appear any evidence.

Unless you were expecting someone here to get off their ass (who happens to work for the State Dept./Pentagon/CIA), this post is no better than an op-ed and should be treated as mere speculation.

Bottom line: Stop tilting at windmills.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2005


My bet is that this was probably a case of Bush speaking glibly-- this isn't something his policy advisors would come up with. This would have been just after the footage of the contractors killed in Fallujah appeared. He probably said something like "we should bomb that Al Qaeda propaganda machine, Al Jazeera" (except that he would have pronounced all the words wrong).

To me this is not a revelation that the US had plans to deliberately bomb a target deep within one of our own ally's territory. This is probably an example of Bush saying something dumb, and then refusing to admit he made a mistake when Blair pointed out what a bad idea it was.
posted by justkevin at 8:54 AM on November 22, 2005


That's because it is an article in a tabloid, but the Guardian has just printed an article on the leaked memo. The memo seems real, but there seems to be some debate over whether it was meant seriously. It certainly makes for an unhappy coincidence and, given what I've seen over the last few years, it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was deliberate.

But, will this make it to the US media? I doubt it.
posted by axon at 8:58 AM on November 22, 2005


If it happened, good. If it didn't, too bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:04 AM on November 22, 2005


Were there casualties?

Yes.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:04 AM on November 22, 2005


Does anyone else find this a little too absurd to be believable? Debating whether the 2001 and 2003 bombings were intentional seems reasonable. But bombing a television station headquarters in an allied country (after bombing it in two other locations already)? How would you even pretend to cover that up? Was the administration going to declare open war on al-Jazeera? Seems much more likely to have been a bad joke than anything else.

I think I'd wait until "a source" with a name starts talking before I gave this much attention.
posted by Wingy at 9:06 AM on November 22, 2005


If it happened, good. If it didn't, too bad

Thanks for the clarification. And how charming of you to advocate the cold-blooded murder of journalists.
posted by jack_mo at 9:08 AM on November 22, 2005


Reminder: Do not reply to the little troll (PP) in the corner. tia
posted by terrapin at 9:09 AM on November 22, 2005


The Americans have lost track of one very simple and very important moral principle: don't tell lies. You can't tell lies to voters and remain a democracy. Telling lies to other countries leads to the assumption that everything else you tell them is a lie, up to and including "we're not going to go to war with you". Any treaty with the US government or assurance from them is not worth the paper it's written on - the bastards have shown that they will, if there is any advantage to them to be gained, turn around and screw over any nation (or indeed any subset of American society) that gives them the opportunity.

This is what grates me (and probably others) most about the Bush administration: their utter pathological mendacity. Above and beyond their unprecedented fiscal vandalism, robbery of public resources and abandonment of the social contract that underpins human society, they lie, constantly, about every single thing they do. They employ and encourage "journalists" and "radio personalities" to lie on their behalf. This strikes at the very concept of the democratic process. To garner votes on false premises undoes the idea of a vote.

Your elected officials and their employees do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, have the right to tell you something they know not to be true. They have a right to withhold the full truth from you only so long as it might endanger you, and they have a responsibility to reveal the full truth as soon as the danger is past. Failure to live up to these principles is treason. This is what we who live in nominal democracies need to be out demanding: punishment, at the very least removal from office, of traitorous politicians and their appointees.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:10 AM on November 22, 2005


So now it OK to bomb journalists if you don't like what they say? Is that keeping alive the American ideal of freedom of speech? Perhaps the FBI should bomb the Nation or the NYT, or especially that pesky Washington Post? Paris, if you don't have anything substantive to say....
posted by caddis at 9:11 AM on November 22, 2005


Were there casualties? If not, no big deal; a good idea.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:48 AM PST on November 22 [!]


Jesus Christ, you're a douchebag.
posted by wakko at 9:11 AM on November 22, 2005


So.... I guess Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech just ain't so hot in the PP household. Hrm. Something tells me you weren't of the opinion that Limbaugh and O'Reilly should have kept their damn mouths shut about Clinton.
posted by Talanvor at 9:12 AM on November 22, 2005


In time of war, A-J, which is a horrid anti-American propaganda machine, is fair game. I have no sympathy for them. They have helped the Iraq War, as well as other conflicts in the Mideast, from Gaza to Afghanistan, be worse and more prolonged than they would otherwise be.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:15 AM on November 22, 2005


Let us also not forget that Federal response to Katrina Fastest of all Hurricaines Ever.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:15 AM on November 22, 2005


Why are you guys responding to ParisParamus? He's either trying to get a rise out of you, or he's a wannabe fascist monster.

Either way, he's something to be ridiculed.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:17 AM on November 22, 2005


In time of war, metafilter, which is a horrid anti-American propaganda machine, is fair game. I have no sympathy for them. They have helped the Iraq War, as well as other conflicts in the Mideast, from Gaza to Afghanistan, be worse and more prolonged than they would otherwise be.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:17 AM on November 22, 2005


With all do respect jack_mo - the correct term in this case would be propagandists, no?

We all know journalists report the facts without filtering them through there own jihadist/fundamentalist world view. Why, look at American Media - where not one could be accused of being a mouthpiece for the current MIC. This is war, and anyone supporting terrorists will be treated like a terrorist themselves.

When can we start eating their puppies and children?
posted by tzelig at 9:18 AM on November 22, 2005


If ParisParamus is killed, good. If not, too bad. I'd do it like a shot, if I knew his identity and location, and it weren't against the law to do it, and against my personal moral standards to deny having done it, and therefore likely to cause me personal inconvenience if I did. Yes, he does offend me that much. No, I don't think he has any moral right to continued physical existence, let alone continued infestation of Metafilter. I don't "disagree" with the guy, I consider him an abomination. Choke on a chickenbone, PP. That'd be best for all concerned.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:19 AM on November 22, 2005


If the alleged memo is confirmed, it probably won't hurt Bush's public opinion ratings all that much. They're already low, and anyone still supporting the administration is probably not a fan of a free press, as demonstrated in this thread.
posted by Loudmax at 9:20 AM on November 22, 2005


When can we start eating their puppies and children?

I thought America ate its own young?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:21 AM on November 22, 2005


Paris: So it's fair game even in a country not involved in the war? Am I understanding you correctly?
posted by twiggy at 9:21 AM on November 22, 2005


how do revelations like this play in the US nowadays?

Now that the newsies are smelling some blood in the water, who knows? If there's anything to this, US journalists could mop up the floor with this Administration.

I doubt a story like this will get much play here in the media. Even though Bush's numbers are down and Libby has been indicted, he has brazenly stated that the US does not torture while simultaneously threatening to veto the McCain- sponsored bill outlawing torture. What outcry against Bush has there been?

That Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera will not garner any sympathy here in the U.S. Al-Jazeera is widely believed to be the mouthpiece of evil, without people ever having watched it. 'Control Room' did play in indy-theaters in big cities but did not get much notice. Certainly, there was no outcry at the time about the targeted killing of Al-Jazeera's anchor in Baghdad. I don't even remember his name.
posted by Azaadistani at 9:25 AM on November 22, 2005


" Paris: So it's fair game even in a country not involved in the war? Am I understanding you correctly?
posted by twiggy at 12:21 PM EST on November 22 [!]"

No. i'm talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. And during times of actual state of war. That's the limit. Beyond that is not acceptable.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:29 AM on November 22, 2005


When did Congress declare war on Iraq?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:32 AM on November 22, 2005


Just popped up on Yahoo
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:34 AM on November 22, 2005


I find it extremely hard to believe that these two men would be on trial if there was not something substansive in the secret memo. The Government would not be risking all this commotion over a light-hearted joke.

The previous Mirror editor had to resign last year after printing a story on the rather obviously fake Abu Ghraib-style photographs featuring British troops. Without question, the newspaper is inclined to be more careful these days.

Paris, since the Baghdad attack did in fact have casualties, no doubt you will take the time to express your horror and regret at the possibility it was deliberate.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:36 AM on November 22, 2005


If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity (or at least objective evidence that they were destroyed), then, in terms of American politics, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted.

PP, April 29th, 2004
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:44 AM on November 22, 2005


pwnd
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2005


P_G, this article reads like something you'd read in a tabloid.

It is a tabloid.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2005


snap!
posted by Busithoth at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2005


.
posted by russilwvong at 9:49 AM on November 22, 2005


"Paris, since the Baghdad attack did in fact have casualties, no doubt you will take the time to express your horror and regret at the possibility it was deliberate.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:36 PM EST on November 22 [!]"

Totally and completely. I am speaking of the destruction of property by means that are unlikely to harm persons. And if that's impossible because, say, A-Js offices are up and running 24/7, then no, shouldn't be done.

Also, WMDs and evidence of their destruction WERE found, so stop being an asshole, SS
posted by ParisParamus at 9:51 AM on November 22, 2005


Wow they were?

Evidence that isn't "powerline blog dot com" please.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:52 AM on November 22, 2005


Also, stop being a dumbfuck troll, PP.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:53 AM on November 22, 2005


In time of war, A-J, which is a horrid anti-American propaganda machine, is fair game. I have no sympathy for them. They have helped the Iraq War, as well as other conflicts in the Mideast, from Gaza to Afghanistan, be worse and more prolonged than they would otherwise be.
Cool. When the next car bomb goes off in front of the Wall Street Journal's HQ, or the insurgents mail the severed head of the WaPo's Baghdad bureau chief back to Washington in a cardboard box, I'll just shrug my shoulders. After all, PP, we're at war with these folks, and you know the old saying about turnabout and all that...
posted by Chrischris at 9:54 AM on November 22, 2005


Yeah but that's different, Chrischris. It's harder for Paris to shit all over those people.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:55 AM on November 22, 2005


Also, WMDs and evidence of their destruction WERE found, so stop being an asshole...

You first.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 9:56 AM on November 22, 2005


Um, guys: flag button. Live it. Love it. Don't feed the trolls.
posted by mullingitover at 9:56 AM on November 22, 2005


yeah, flag button works great. it has a long history of working great.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2005


Paris, since the Baghdad attack did in fact have casualties, no doubt you will take the time to express your horror and regret at the possibility it was deliberate.

Don't expect that pathetic chucklehead to express regret over anything at all. Self-assessment is beyond him. He is only here on Metafilter to annoy others by derailing threads into objections to the twaddle he spews into them, and into condemnation of the worthless personality that prompts up the twaddle-spewing. He will never develop enough physical courage and insight to quietly suicide, as he ought. He will never change. His occasional promises to do so, over the four and a half years he has stunk up this forum, are lies written in the same spirit of contempt and mockery for decency or humanity or common sense as his thread comments. Least of all will he go away of his own accord! Matt, what is it going to take for you to delete his account?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:58 AM on November 22, 2005


if we get rid of paris, i may just disappear in a puff of logic.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:00 AM on November 22, 2005


oops, spelling: "their own" - back to trolling other threads now.
posted by tzelig at 10:01 AM on November 22, 2005


MetaFilter: What is it going to take for you to delete his account?

I like it!
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 10:02 AM on November 22, 2005


Also, WMDs and evidence of their destruction WERE found, so stop being an asshole, SS

Dear Paris,

Please stop being an illiterate moron.

Thanks,
odinsdream.
posted by odinsdream at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2005


BTW - if Matt get's rid of PP isn't it sort of like POTUS getting rid of AJ? Don't do it Matt - that's how the terrorists win.
posted by tzelig at 10:03 AM on November 22, 2005


Does anyone else find this a little too absurd to be believable?

I've found the past 5 years to be a little too absurd to be believable. Relatively speaking, this sort of information just fits the established pattern. Sure, it's totally insane, nearly inconceivable, and utterly stomach churning. But that's what we call "normal" these days.
posted by Jon-o at 10:05 AM on November 22, 2005


misplaced apostrophe - damn - another bad grammar day.
posted by tzelig at 10:07 AM on November 22, 2005


User Blacklisted.

Seriously guys... it brings a tear of joy to my eye every time I see that. Visions of divine natural processes, flowers blooming, a water drop rolling softly off a supple leaf - it can all be yours with a simple greasemonkey script! Save yourselves.
posted by prostyle at 10:14 AM on November 22, 2005


Would it be possible to get a "Feeding trolls" flag?
posted by prak at 10:14 AM on November 22, 2005


No. i'm talking about Afghanistan and Iraq. And during times of actual state of war

So the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. can now be regarded as legitimate military targets for members of the Taliban, Al Qaida, the Iraqi insurgents, etc.

Good to know.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:18 AM on November 22, 2005


No one listens to me :)
posted by terrapin at 10:19 AM on November 22, 2005


Nice title...
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2005


By Paris's logic the death of Daniel Pearl was just another acceptable casualty of war.
posted by caddis at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2005


I'm guessing there won't be any independent confirmation of this story. It supposedly happened a "a White House summit" April 16. Surely it would've leaked by now.
posted by alumshubby at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2005


April 16 last year, even.
posted by alumshubby at 10:24 AM on November 22, 2005


I am so sorry to keep the derail going, but...

I have been reading sites both left and right and this is the first time I have seen anyone claim that WMDs were actually found in Iraq. It seems to me that the common wisdom is that no such things were found at all - again, by all the different sources I could find. Even the government sources I've checked out seem to acknowledge that there were no WMDs - certainly not in the amounts that would have justified the invasion.

I'm not trying to be a pain in the behind here or anything, but could somebody point me to a source or two that supports the idea that there were, in fact, WMDs in Iraq in sufficient quantities to justify the war? If you have such links, in order to minimize the derail, feel free to e-mail them to me. Thanks.

---

As far as the linked article goes, this is one of those things that will play really, really bad in pretty much every area that receives news from al-Jazeera. I figure it isn't going to win us any hearts or minds anytime soon. In this light, even if you are the hawkiest hawk in hawksville, the risk involved in bombing a media outlet should overweigh the desire to silence or intimidate them. Assuming we did bomb them deliberately, this was a extremely poor strategic choice.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:27 AM on November 22, 2005


Paris - WMDs? Links?
posted by bshort at 10:28 AM on November 22, 2005


Hey guys, when to we get to blow up the LGF hosting facility?
ThePlanet.com Internet Services, Inc. 1333 North Stemmons Freeway Suite 110 Dallas TX US 75207
Better get started Paris, after LGF is a propaganda outlet making US-Arab conflicts worse around the globe.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:30 AM on November 22, 2005


No one listens to me :)

I listen to you!

Well, after I read your call to listen to you, anyway.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:31 AM on November 22, 2005


I call bullshit on this. Complete bullshit. The Brits, especially their media, have an extreme hatred for Bush and are willing to believe anything.
posted by b_thinky at 10:32 AM on November 22, 2005


Iraqi WMDs are so 2002. We now have Iranian exiles detailing Iranian WMDs. Get with the program people.
posted by caddis at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2005


Daniel Pearl knew what he was getting into.

The difference between you and I is that you think all sides of all wars are equal, and I think our side is morally better. In any case, Daniel Pearl isn't Tokyo Rose's transmitter. So, WTF?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Were there casualties? If not, no big deal; a good idea."
I will not take the thing from your hand.'
posted by Mitheral at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2005


Metafilter: No one listens to me :(...
posted by Jon-o at 10:38 AM on November 22, 2005


/me struggles to find "Ignore ParisParamus" button, finds back button instead, shrugs
posted by deadfather at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2005


The difference between you and I is that you think all sides of all wars are equal, and I think our side is morally better.

Wow! Way to make that leap of logic, Paris.

The difference between you and I is that you are a complete tool.
posted by wakko at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2005


In time of war, A-J, which is a horrid anti-American propaganda machine, is fair game.

Except of course that there is no state of war. And that independent media analysists have more than adequately refuted the notion that Al Jazeera is anti-American. And even if they're all wrong that being a civilian propagandist in time of war still doesn't warrant being sanctioned with prejudice. They are not fair game. Period.

The others are right: you are a piece of work.

On preview: PeterMccDermott's point is compelling. Would the Scud Stud have been a valid target during the first Gulf War?
posted by solid-one-love at 10:42 AM on November 22, 2005


But that is the problem Paris, everyone who goes to war believes their side to be morally superior. That is why we have rules of engagement like not torturing prisoners and not targeting journalists.
posted by caddis at 10:43 AM on November 22, 2005


Yes but Paris' side is the right side, obviously. Always.
posted by wakko at 10:59 AM on November 22, 2005


Ok. This thread is now dead. Paris has won.
posted by terrapin at 11:04 AM on November 22, 2005


Paris: Why do you think your side is morally superior? Please explain its indicia of moral superiority in contrast to those of the enemy? Your side is the only side to have ever used nukes during a war. Your side has used (and continues to use) chemical agents in combat (napalm in Vietnam, white phosphorous in Falluja). Your side engages in torture, which has led to both organ failure and unequivocal death. How is your side morally superior?
posted by Azaadistani at 11:05 AM on November 22, 2005


Reich Brothers
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 AM on November 22, 2005


So PP reveals his identity at last! He's Ann Coulter! Caught paraphrasing yourself from:

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."


Unless you were saying that propaganda that costs american lives should be destroyed. Is that what you were saying? Then, in line with your previous statement that without WMD's this war is a sham, I await you suicide bombing FOX headquarters.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:06 AM on November 22, 2005


Sorry, wrong thread.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:06 AM on November 22, 2005


Joey Michaels: As far as I know, the entire sum of "WMDs" that were found was one artillery shell, nonfunctional, that had once been filled either with sarin or with mustard gas... I forget which.

It was quite old, most likely a forgotten remnant from when they DID have the stuff. It only lasts a few years in the desert. If they wanted to keep a chemical arsenal, they needed a pretty profound industrial chemical base, which I don't believe they had anymore.

Even if the shell had been fully loaded and ready to go, I still don't see that it was any particular danger to the US. Artillery pieces, you know, aren't well-known for shooting across oceans.
posted by Malor at 11:08 AM on November 22, 2005


I would hate to see anything more happen to Al Jazeera, they are the perfect counterbalance to Fox News, that other mouth-piece of evi...I mean Fair and Balanced (tm) information. It would be like George without Dick.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:11 AM on November 22, 2005


Darn you, lumpenprole, for stealing my thunder.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:12 AM on November 22, 2005


me struggles to find "Ignore ParisParamus" button, finds back button instead, shrugs

And thus PP wins. He's made so much noise in this thread that everyone is too busy screaming at his inanity to actually look at the implications of the FPP.

Can the side that is truly on the side of moral superiority and "freedom" actually justify squelching a minor voice of dissent (Al J is the number two Arabic language television news outlet, yet somehow it's blamed for extending a war in a place where electricity doesn't even work most of the time)? Tune in to PP's next post to find out...
posted by Pollomacho at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2005


This is like when the US "accidentally" (on-purpose) bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2005


"If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity (or at least objective evidence that they were destroyed), then, in terms of American politics, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted."
PP, April 29th, 2004

I thought that might be worth repeating. The "large quantity" and "objective evidence" parts really give me a chuckle.
posted by Neologian at 11:21 AM on November 22, 2005


An argument isn't just contradiction.
It can be.
No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
No it isn't.
Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
Yes it is!
No it isn't!

etc.

P.S. This is now on the front page of ABCnews.com.
posted by Otis at 11:22 AM on November 22, 2005


Joey Michaels: As far as I know, the entire sum of "WMDs" that were found was one artillery shell, nonfunctional, that had once been filled either with sarin or with mustard gas... I forget which.

We found one 155mm shell that was rigged for use as an IED that may have contained at one time a small amount of sarin nerve gas. We also found some similar shells that contained mustard gas, but because they were poorly stored and exposed to moisture, they were completely ineffective.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:26 AM on November 22, 2005


if we get rid of paris, i may just disappear in a puff of logic.

one thing is certain: nethack is still the best game ever.
posted by swift at 11:27 AM on November 22, 2005


"If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity (or at least objective evidence that they were destroyed), then, in terms of American politics, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted."
PP, April 29th, 2004

I thought that might be worth repeating. The "large quantity" and "objective evidence" parts really give me a chuckle.


One note: it was actually in 2003 that Paris wrote "If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity (or at least objective evidence that they were destroyed), then, in terms of American politics, the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted."

He's never retracted it, which is why he has no credibility.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:28 AM on November 22, 2005


Just thinking the same thing kirkaracha. Great minds think alike. Or, rather, great minds think like me.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:29 AM on November 22, 2005


Why are you guys responding to ParisParamus? He's either trying to get a rise out of you, or he's a wannabe fascist monster. Either way, he's something to be ridiculed.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:17 AM PST on November 22 [!]

Negativity is a form of attention. Some people crave it. Some people are into S&M. Like to be urinated on, have others sleep with their wives and have theri genitalia ridiculed, stuff like that. I'm not putting it down, and I'm all for PDA's, I just don't want to have that kind of relationship in communal space.

I gotta say, I love that pic of Bush's Nelson Muntz face (Ha-Haa) in the mirror piece. Damn funny.
Human rights considerations aside, I certainly oppose bombing an ally. Only a psychopath or a madman could support such a thing. It could have opened another front or turned everyone in the middle east against us. Since I've actually, y'know, been in danger, I sort of oppose this kind of thing, as opposed to urging others to send their kids off to war while I sit on my pimply ass.
It's such a stupid idea that I can hardly believe it.

Even given al-Jazeera as a valid strategic target in an allied country, I would have at least formed a plan with some plausible denyability. A black op. Some mercs. Perhaps some criminal organizations. Fucking something other than bombs and such a facile cover story that some blogger somewhere couldn't point to an obvious pattern of 'accidental' bombings.
But then I wouldn't expect such a stupid plan to be egged on by anyone. Still, some folks thing Pro-Wrestling is not staged. But we don't generally allow those folks to have an opinion on affairs of state.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2005


One other thing on PP and I'll STFU - I was hearing someone speak on politics vs. sports. If in sports or on a sports show, or sports blog, someone says something like "The Chicago Bears have won the superbowl for the past 12 years straight." No one is offended, they just think the person is stupid and ignore him. In politics however, somehow there are these degrees where this kind of idiocy gets responded to. As though one cannot be flat out wrong in politics. One can. Why then lend any credence?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:45 AM on November 22, 2005


This is now on the front page of ABCnews.com.

If this is even vaguely provable I really hope this story doesn't go by the wayside. If you've seen Control Room you know how much that bombing did to scare the hell out of middle eastern journalists. In the movie, the people who survived it are pretty convinced that it was on purpose. I wrote that off as the totally understandable paranoia of people who'd lived through something horrific.

The idea that it's true makes me shudder. I hate the idea that bombing journalists is what the American war of ideas has been reduced to. It feels Stalin-esque. I'm literally nauseous.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:47 AM on November 22, 2005


Wow, I hadn't seen that followup to the Chinese embassy bombing story. Thanks, kirkaracha.
posted by russilwvong at 12:03 PM on November 22, 2005


I'm not surprised considering A-J's habit of airing all completely unedited speeches, videos, and press releases of terrorists and kidnappers. Any nation at war bombs out the enemy media centers. A-J's editors have to consider this.
posted by StarForce5 at 12:08 PM on November 22, 2005


Lincoln attempted to control the media before Stalin - let's not give old murdering Joe more credit than he deserves.
posted by tzelig at 12:14 PM on November 22, 2005


I really would like to to see your documentation of "Also, WMDs and evidence of their destruction WERE found," Paris.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:22 PM on November 22, 2005


The death, by American hands and on the day before the famous faked statue toppling, of one Al-Jazeera reporter in Baghdad is covered in Control Room, a highly recommended documentary which provides all sorts of fascinating insights into what Al-Jazeera is and isn't.
posted by muckster at 12:30 PM on November 22, 2005



I really would like to to see your documentation of "Also, WMDs and evidence of their destruction WERE found," Paris.


Since he is a braindead imbecile troll, he will not provide any evidence. I don't think he even knows how to hotlink.
posted by wakko at 12:35 PM on November 22, 2005


Any nation at war bombs out the enemy media centers. A-J's editors have to consider this. posted by StarForce5

We are not at war with Qatar. Since when is al-Jazeera a declared enemy of the United States?

We believe in freedom of speech in the US. If we are going to successfully export democracy (I'm opposed to 'nation building', but I'm in favor of that) we have to adhere to that ideal outside the country as well.
Side with bombing al-Jazeera and you side with those who put a price on Salmon Rushdie's head for writing a book (The Satanic Verses).
Get it fucking straight folks, it is wrong to kill someone for voicing their opinion or (reasonably - no 'fire' in a crowded theater) expressing something with words. It is wrong to smash the apparatus of that speech. I don't care what kind of opinion it is. I grant that if it is a type of communication used to direct enemy action it's fair game. But I see no evidence of that beyond the nebulous "inspirational" and if that's the case why isn't someone arguing we should burn the Koran?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:35 PM on November 22, 2005


The negative view so many have of A-J never ceases to amaze me. I recall there was a flurry of US news coverage of A-J not too long prior to 9/11... all of it glowing. "A free voice in the Middle East!" etc. etc. etc. As soon as they say something disagreeable to the WH, they're Bin Laden's megaphone. Nuts. Completely.
posted by brundlefly at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2005


But 'everything changed' brundle... weren't you told?
[/snark]

Seriously, this sounds too far fetched to be true - but if it is my opinion of Bush is lower than ever, and my opinion of Blair is improved slightly.

If Bush was joking... then wow... what an idiot. Proof positive the man should be removed from an office where jokes like that go beyond inappropriate and into the sphere of very dangerous indeed.
posted by stumcg at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2005


Try searching for parisparamus "if wmds are not found in iraq" on Google Book Search.

Just sayin'
posted by gsb at 1:40 PM on November 22, 2005


MrMoonPie, read the Dulfur Report; and not just the summary. Lots of WMD shit was found. It's just that your friendly media doesn't care much for detail.

Try This
posted by ParisParamus at 1:57 PM on November 22, 2005


Is that a link? I'm not snarking here, honestly, I just get some yellow words and no link.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:05 PM on November 22, 2005


Empty link PP.
posted by stumcg at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2005


Paris, you've missed the memo, it was never about WMDs, it's about bringing democracy to the middle east. Try to keep up.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2005


From the Duelfer Report (link strangely still not working, not sure how that works):

While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.

Following a particularly invasive IAEA inspection in late-June 1991, Saddam ordered Dr. Mahmud Faraj Bilal, former deputy of the CW program, to destroy all hidden CW and BW materials, according to an interview with Bilalafter OIF.

For the next five years, Iraq maintained the hidden items useful for a CW program restart but did not renew its major CW efforts out of fear the UN sanctions would not be removed. UN sanctions severely limited Iraq’s financial resources. Raw materials, precursors, equipment, and expertise became increasingly scarce. The crippling of Iraq’s CW infrastructure by the war, and the subsequent destruction and UN monitoring of much of the remaining materials and equipment limited Iraq’s ability to rebuild or restart a CW program.

Saddam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program.

That covers Chemical and Nuclear. Biological seems to be a slightly different story:

ISG judges that Iraq’s actions between 1991 and 1996 demonstrate that the state intended to preserve its BW capability and return to a steady, methodical progress toward a mature BW program when and if the opportunity arose.

That is until 1996 when:

In practical terms, with the destruction of the Al Hakam facility, Iraq abandoned its ambition to obtain advanced BW weapons quickly. ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes. Indeed, from the mid-1990s, despite evidence of continuing interest in nuclear and chemical weapons, there appears to be a complete absence of discussion or even interest in BW at the Presidential level.

So to summarize, Saddam wanted Chemical and Nuclear weapons, but the sanctions prevented him from building them. He had biological weapons, but the sanctions caused him to have to shut the program down and then he never showed any interest in recovering the program.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:22 PM on November 22, 2005


Try this link for the Duelfer Report. Pollomacho's summary looks accurate.
posted by russilwvong at 2:24 PM on November 22, 2005


There's a brief story on MSNBC that spins it as a UK issue. I couldn't find it all in the NY times. I guess Chomsky has a point or two...
posted by muppetboy at 2:24 PM on November 22, 2005


Okay. I see it on abc news now...

"The White House said it wouldn't dignify what it called "something so outlandish" with a response."

That about sums up this administration doesn't it?
posted by muppetboy at 2:27 PM on November 22, 2005


Oh. Sorry. Let me try again. The report contains a laundry list of WMD stuff. Not warehouses full of missles ready to be launched on Tel Aviv, or US troops in the Gulf, but clearly lots of stuff, and lots of WMD-oriented commerce.

TRY THIS

Then again, some of you believe Iran's nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes and to save the environment from global warming.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2005


I belive Iran's nuclear program is to build a bomb to drop on Iraq.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:35 PM on November 22, 2005


Key Findings from the Iraq Survey Group Final Report:

Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed.

You have no credibility.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:37 PM on November 22, 2005


Lots of WMD shit was found. It's just that your friendly media doesn't care much for detail. - posted by ParisParamus
'Cause you were there right? I was there. I didn't see you fucking pogue.

Opportunities for Mel Brooksism aside, this is not the point.

What WMDs did al-Jazeera have? What justified bombing them? Furthermore - what would justify using such a tactic on allied soil? Why doesn't Britian have whistleblower laws?
What the hell does any of this have to do with WMDs in Iraq or not? (and most assuredly not).

ParisParamus' stated objective is to derail. Why he is paid any credance - beyond casual ridicule - I don't know.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:39 PM on November 22, 2005


MrMoonPie, read the Dulfur Report; and not just the summary. Lots of WMD shit was found. It's just that your friendly media doesn't care much for detail.

Some choice quotes from the Duelfer Report for my batshit-crazy friend Paris:
Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability - which was essentially destroyed in 1991 - after sanctions were removed and Iraq's economy stabilized...
Summary Report, page 1.
The problem of discerning WMD in Iraq is highlighted by the pre-war misapprehension of weapons, which were not there. Distant technical analysts mistakenly identified evidence and drew incorrect conclusions...
Section 1, page 6.
Coalition bombing during Desert Storm significantly damaged Iraq's nuclear facilities and the imposition of UN sanctions and inspections teams after the war further hobbled the program [...] The Coalition destroyed all of Iraq's known BW [Biological Weapons] facilities and bombed some of the suspect BW sites during the 1991 Gulf War.
Section 1, page 57
While it appears that Iraq, by the mid-1990s, was essentially free of militarily significant WMD stocks, Saddam's perceived requirement to bluff about WMD capabilities made it too dangerous to clearly reveal this to the international community, especially Iran. [...] In the late 1990's, Saddam realized he had no WMD capabilities but his ego prevented him from publicly acknowledging that the Iraqi WMD program was ineffective.
Section 1, pages 63 & 64.

I could go on, but xPDF doesn't like to copy text, and I'm not going to keep transcribing. No WMD's were found, that's clear in the report. The report found the intent to re-start WMD programs once the UN sanctions on Iraq were lifted. There is no, repeat zero, evidence that Iraq had a stockpile of WMD, or was actively producing WMD. Repeatedly saying so does not make it true, even if you name drop.

My question for you is, did you read the Deulfer report?
posted by SweetJesus at 2:39 PM on November 22, 2005


Yes, and it is scary what a madman with oil money can procure. Especially from feckless Europeans. WE need to bomb Iran ASAP.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:41 PM on November 22, 2005


Here's a horse:

posted by Smedleyman at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2005


Try searching for "we need to bomb iran" on Google Book Search OR Try searching for "feckless europeans" on Google Book Search

Just sayin'
posted by gsb at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2005


If anything, Iran wants to build nuclear weapons because he's seen how nobody's attacking North Korea, which actually has them, as opposed to what happened to Iraq, who actually didn't. While it's not fun to admit, the concept of "Deterrence" in relation to nuclear weapons is a valid concept of international strategy, since the US, NATO, India, Russia (and former SSRs), and apparently Israel have them for exactly that purpose.

I'd rather Iran not have nuclear weapons, but I can certainly see their rationale in wanting them.

But this is not really germane to the discussion of "accidental" bombings of a news agency's local bureaus, or the leaking of a Bush memo that speaks of plans to bomb that news agency's headquarters located in a non-combatant nation that is actually our ally, is it?
posted by zoogleplex at 2:49 PM on November 22, 2005


Bush is a great guy. He saved turkeys and now they're going to Disneyland.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:49 PM on November 22, 2005


Metafilter is a liberal asshole.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2005


We should bomb the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:53 PM on November 22, 2005


What, no attention?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:53 PM on November 22, 2005


Boy, I sure made a hash of my which's and who's there, didn't I. Some English major I am... *embarrassed*

Smed, here's a pat on the head and a lollipop. Want to watch some Teletubbies? :)

(just kidding dude, you're an excellent MeFite who contributes good stuff to threads)
posted by zoogleplex at 2:55 PM on November 22, 2005


ParisParamus, you discredit the case you are trying to make because you are effectively saying "black is white, and white is black, as long as squeeze my eyes tight and I really really want them to be".

Are you, by any chance, a dhoyt sockpuppet?

posted by dash_slot- at 2:56 PM on November 22, 2005


Bush is a great guy. He saved turkeys and now they're going to Disneyland.

It's not a big deal to spare them - he can always re-use the plastic one from two years ago.
posted by uncle harold at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2005


Try searching for "plastic turkeys" on Google Book Search. OR Try searching for "fwap fwap fwap" on Google Book Search

Just sayin'
posted by gsb at 3:09 PM on November 22, 2005


By September 2004, more journalists had been killed in Iraq (including being killed by insurgents) than "during two decades of fighting in Vietnam from 1955 to 1975." Last February the Christian Science Monitor article "Did US military target journalists in Iraq?" reviewed the issue and found that journalists' deaths are most likely due more to negligence or indifference than to policy.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:16 PM on November 22, 2005


The Daily Mirror has been legally barred from any further reporting on the story, by a court injunction. I can't give you a link for this, for obvious reasons.
posted by thirteenkiller at 3:28 PM on November 22, 2005


gsb a big hunk of something shot out my face after reading that.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2005


Daniel Pearl.
posted by euphorb at 4:32 PM on November 22, 2005


Ok, a big hunk of Daniel Pearl shot out of my face after reading that.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:24 PM on November 22, 2005


We're being Dhoyted!
posted by Freen at 5:40 PM on November 22, 2005


The report contains a laundry list of WMD stuff. Not warehouses full of missles ready to be launched on Tel Aviv, or US troops in the Gulf, but clearly lots of stuff, and lots of WMD-oriented commerce.

No, it contains a laundry list of ancient history.
posted by caddis at 7:29 PM on November 22, 2005


The Guardian is reporting that all British papers have been ordered not to reveal the memo, as ordered by Lord Goldsmith. Yes, that Lord Goldsmith. The Telegraph is also reporting this.

Gee... it must be nice for Blair to have someone watching his back like that. I mean, it almost seems like anything can be legally justified, right?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:26 PM on November 22, 2005


BBC Picked it up. And the Administration commented on it. Didn't they used to call these non-denial denials?
posted by ScottMorris at 11:29 PM on November 22, 2005


The Official Secrets Act does not, of course, apply to foreign news agencies on the Internet, such as, i dunno, al-Jazeera...
posted by spinoza at 4:04 AM on November 23, 2005


Hey guys, when to we get to blow up the LGF hosting facility?

ThePlanet.com Internet Services, Inc. 1333 North Stemmons Freeway Suite 110 Dallas TX US 75207


You do know you would also be blowing up the Metafilter.com hosting facility at the same time. But hey kill two birds with one stone ;)
posted by Dreamghost at 4:20 AM on November 23, 2005


"Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome news agency?"
posted by longbaugh at 5:54 AM on November 23, 2005


The US bombed al-Jazeera Kabul office in November 2001, and their Baghdad office in April 2003.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:43 AM on November 23, 2005


ParisParamus writes "Then again, some of you believe Iran's nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes"

Of course they are; to ensure the peace between Iran and the US. It's very telling that the truely pyscho country and leadership of North Korea haven't had any shots fired at them in the indefinite war against a conceptual perjorative.
posted by Mitheral at 10:30 AM on November 23, 2005


... quoted an unnamed government official suggesting Bush's threat was a joke ...

I guess this becomes a credible universal defense once you go so far outside what most people could ever seriously consider.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:16 PM on November 23, 2005


Secrecy gag prompted by fear of new Blair-Bush revelations
posted by homunculus at 7:20 PM on November 23, 2005


"...prompted this week's unprecedented threat by the attorney general to use the Official Secrets Act against national newspapers."
*spit take*
Unglaublich!
posted by Smedleyman at 10:42 PM on November 23, 2005


homunculus I'd almost consider that a front page update. Not that I'm an expert or anything, but frick!
posted by Smedleyman at 10:43 PM on November 23, 2005



posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:59 PM on November 24, 2005


Don't Bomb Us - A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers
posted by gsb at 2:04 AM on November 25, 2005


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