« This One's For You, Rilkefan (Special Volokh Edition) | Main | San Diego Bishop Behaves Very Badly »

March 18, 2005

Comments

I'm obviously not a Bush fan, but Greg Palast is just not a reliable reporter.

Ah, come on B.R., get in the spirit of it.

If you can disprove his report, please do so, but a blanket dismissal isn't any fun.

If I remember correctly, there were a number of public statements in March and April 2003 about privatization of Iraq's oil industry. Even before the invasion.

On the contrary, blanket dismissals can be great fun. If fun's your aim, this is the place to do it. I'd use Palast's stuff to line the catbox with, but I'm afraid that perhaps the cat can read.

INDUSTRY EXPERTS BEING INVOLVED IN SAID INDUSTRY – ACK!

Alert the media!

Dogs eat dog food!

Rain is wet!

[runs screaming from the room in sheer horror]

I've posted this one before, but I think it's still apt: Make Iraq Our New Strategic Oil Reserve, an op-ed written by John Herrington (Secretary of Energy in the Reagan administration), published March 23, 2003 in the Los Angeles Times (link is to a copy; original requires payment).

I have to say that I'm unsure whether to be surprised that Edward's mourning the defeat of the Neocons, or unsurprised that he's simply found a group more Evil than the dreaded Neocons. What's truly confusing is that it's not clear which of the outcomes Edward finds preferable.

If I remember correctly, there were a number of public statements in March and April 2003 about privatization of Iraq's oil industry. Even before the invasion.

According to the report (which I'll continue to take seriously until these ad hominem addicted jokers around us can disprove it ;-p), the decision to not privatize came after Hussein fell, so you're right. Before the invasion privatization was the plan (the Neo-Con plan), but because they brought in an Oil Industry type to run the Iraqi Oil Industry, he changed all that.

So the question (and this is for you too Mac), is whether the NeoCon plan was so modular that letting Philip Carroll nix an essential part of it doesn't essentially sink the whole concept?

Deep and well thought-out responses like Macallan's do so much to convince people that there are Republicans out there who are seriously trying to act as checks and balances for the extremes of their party.

Let's see . . . two blanket dismissals, and one rather absurd attempt to reduce the entire situation to "involved in." Wow, very convincing. Seriously.

Since I'm interested, can one of the blanket dismissers a) give me some background or links on how and why Palast is unreliable, and b) actually address the issues in Edward's post?

But I thought, the wealthy right-wing elite love democracy and hate tyranny.

For a real poisoning of the well, we'll have to wait for Bird dog.

maybe this is related to those Iraqi oil field maps in Cheney's Energy Task Force documents. ?

Here's the issue for me in nutshell. Oil industry types may be appropriate for positions within the provisional government, but when their personal priorities/preferences override what the US government had already decided was the plan, that suggests the actual power here is grossly misplaced.

ad hominem addicted jokers around us can disprove it

I can quit any time I want. Besides I'm just a social ad hominemer.

;-p

I guess Mac would dismiss the problem of improperly supervised and trained independent contractors interrogating and mistreating Iraqi prisoners as "LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED IN LAW ENFORCEMENT!" Such moral clarity must be hard to come by.

Well, the thing is, there are in fact some valid arguments in favor of privatization, and I don't think it's inherently a bad thing provided it is managed properly. The basic concept is that a rentier state is much more likely to devolve into a dictatorship. So having private firms control the resources leads to a concentration of power and a disempowered citizenry. That's the theory anyway. In practice, the atmospherics and the stench of corruption is extremely damaging to what we're trying to do. And I think that the smaller Gulf monarchies like Kuwait are showing that it is possible to move in a liberal direction even as the royal family still retains a tight control over the resource. But I suppose that a large and diverse country like Iraq, with a presidential system rather than a monarchy, is a different case.

"Such moral clarity must be hard to come by."

Here, I thought it was issued along with the VRWC secret decoder rings.

Indian Marxists had more sense than the misty-eyed children of Imperial America.

The justifications US imperialism is advancing for the impending assault on Iraq are absurd, often contradictory. Unlike in the case of the 1991 Gulf War or the 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, this time the US lacks even the fig-leaf of an excuse for its aggression. The major American and British media corporations have once again come forward as footsoldiers in the campaign.

[...]

Although some voices of caution were sounded at first among senior strategic experts and political figures in the US, there now appears to be broad consensus among the US ruling classes regarding this extraordinary adventurism and unilateral aggression. The manner in which the US President was able to ram through Congress his demand for sweeping and open-ended war powers makes clear that the corporate sector as a whole (not only the oil companies) is vitally interested in the war. It is significant that despite recession and economic uncertainty, despite deepening budget and balance of payments deficits, the US is willing to foot the bill for a massive, open-ended military operation. Evidently US corporations believe the potential reward will justify the war; or that the failure to go to war will have grave consequences for them.

It is more or less publicly acknowledged that the immediate reward is a massive oil grab, of a scale not witnessed since the days of colonialism. Caspian prospects pale in comparison with Iraqi oil wealth. Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves (at present 115 billion barrels, but long-delayed exploration may take that figure to 220-250 billion barrels). Moreover, its oil is, along with that of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran, by far the cheapest to extract. The US is quite openly offering the French and Russians, who have giant contracts with the present regime that cannot be realised under sanctions, slices of the post-invasion cake in exchange for their approval in the Security Council.

Control of petroleum resources and pipeline routes is obviously a central consideration in US imperialist designs worldwide—note the long-term installation of US forces from Afghanistan through Central Asia to the Balkans; the entry of US troops in the Philippines and the pressure on Indonesia to involve the US in a campaign against Islamic fundamentalists in the region; the drive for US military intervention in Colombia and the attempt to oust Chaves in Venezuela. (The systematic drive by the US in northern Latin America has close parallels with its campaign in West Asia.) The US is particularly anxious to install a large contingent of troops near Saudi Arabia, anticipating the collapse of, or drastic change in, the regime there. Saudi Arabia has the world’s greatest stock of oil wealth. Indeed the US is contemplating using the invasion of Iraq as the springboard for a drastic political ‘cleansing’ of the entire region, along the lines of the process long underway in the Balkans and continuing in Afghanistan-Pakistan. Indeed it is even willing to provoke, by its invasion of Iraq, uprisings in other states of the region, in order to provide it with an occasion to invade those states. All this is not speculation, but has been explicitly spelled out in various policy documents authored by or commissioned by those now in charge of the US military and foreign policy.

More:
Behind the Invasion of Iraq

Long live Revolutionary Democratism and the Wealthy Vanguard of Liberty!!!

Practically everything Palast wrote on the 2000 election is unsupportable bunk.

But if it's well-poisoning you want, just note that Palast's picture on his website is chopped off at the eyebrows, much like Wayne Dyer's picture on older copies of Your Erroneous Zones. And for the same reason.

The above paragraph is not intended to be serious, just to clarify.

"Ms Jaffe says US oil companies are not warm to any plan that would undermine Opec and the current high oil price:"

For instance maybe any plan that would actually defeat the insurgency, stop the sabotage, and bring Iraqi oil fully online?

Here, I thought it was issued along with the VRWC secret decoder rings.

Nah, the only thing that gets issued with the decoder rings is a sense of humor.

Do you Redstaters really just hate everybody but your wealthy right-wing elite?

Well Slarti, since we don't have a picture of you to poke fun at. . .

Bush-hating Greg Palast? C'mon Edward. If you want to maintain your credibility, don't link to that pathetic pantload of a "journalist". His history of distorting a few facts into nebulous conspiracy theories is well known and well documented. The responsibility is for you to prove him right, Edward, not for us to prove him wrong. Ask yourself why no reputable mainstream press organization except the biased BBC will have this American on their staff. The proof of this particular "conspiracy" is in the pudding. The fact is that Saddam was removed militarily, the Iraqi government still owns and controls its oil industry and lots of people talked about lots of things. I wonder if Palast still thinks Kerry won Ohio. If you really believe this story, Edward, at least link to someone who is semi-reliable and semi-responsible. Sheesh.

can one of the blanket dismissers a) give me some background or links on how and why Palast is unreliable

I was going to point out why the right-wing has to believe that Greg Palast is an unreliable reporter, and Slartibartfast did it for me (thanks, Slarti: now you can take the flack for being a threadjacker!): they have to believe Palast is unreliable, because if they gave him the credit he's earned over the years as a reliable, dogged, and remarkably accurate investigative reporter, they'd have to acknowledge that he compiled an excellent account of how the 2000 Presidential election was stolen for George W. Bush.

As they don't want to do that, they're compelled to pretend that "Greg Palast is unreliable".

Now, to get back to the privatization of Iraq... This article was first published in The Nation, April 2003:

The process of getting all this infrastructure to work is usually called "reconstruction." But American plans for Iraq's future economy go well beyond that. Rather, the country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neoliberals can design their dream economy: fully privatized, foreign-owned and open for business.

Some highlights: The $4.8 million management contract for the port in Umm Qasr has already gone to a US company, Stevedoring Services of America, and the airports are on the auction block. The US Agency for International Development has invited US multinationals to bid on everything from rebuilding roads and bridges to printing textbooks. Most of these contracts are for about a year, but some have options that extend up to four. How long before they meld into long-term contracts for privatized water services, transit systems, roads, schools and phones? When does reconstruction turn into privatization in disguise?
cite

The original plan was to steal Iraq blind: sell off their entire economy to the highest bidder, with no restrictions protecting Iraqi businesses from foreign ownership. The insurrection stopped this plan: and indeed, may well (IMO) have been a strong reason why it had and still has widespread Iraqi support.

Italics begone!

I don't know much about Palast, but my sense is that his views suffuse his work; whether that makes it less credible, I dunno. But this is hillarious, esp. from a Fox-watcher: except the biased BBC.

The original plan was to steal Iraq blind: sell off their entire economy to the highest bidder, with no restrictions protecting Iraqi businesses from foreign ownership.

The essence of colonialism.

SCMT: but my sense is that his views suffuse his work; whether that makes it less credible, I dunno.

Means that when Palast states something in accordance with his beliefs (which he makes no secret of) you should regard it with a questioning eye unless he can come up with concrete evidence to back what he's said.

Fortunately, Palast is well aware of this: his merits as an investigative reporter rest on his willingness to actually do investigative work and come up with the evidence required.

I wonder if Palast still thinks Kerry won Ohio.

He doesn't have to. Now Hitchens thinks Kerry won Ohio.

The responsibility is for you to prove him right, Edward, not for us to prove him wrong.

I'll add that to my bag of tricks, thanks Charles. Let's see...

  • The responsibility is for Bush to prove Hussein has WMD before invading, not for Hussein to prove him wrong.
  • The responsibility is for the GOP to prove DeLay is not guilty of ethics violations, not for us to prove the he should be removed as leader.
  • The responsibility is for Cheney to prove he's not benefitting from no-bid contracts to Halliburton, not for us to prove he is.

    I like this...thanks.

  • Greg Palast is lying about Cynthia McKinney.

    Link didn't work Charles.

    Charles, Mac, Slarti, et. al. - Palast identifies his sources pretty clearly in this piece and quotes them extensively. And, just guessing here, but Philip Carroll (former CEO of Shell) and Amy Jaffe (of the James Baker Institute) are probably not tin-foil-hat-wearing, Bush-hating lefties. You've got nothing to counter with except taking shots at the messenger. I'll see your blanket dismissals and raise you a duvet.

    I do disagree with Edward's comment:

    Here's the issue for me in nutshell. Oil industry types may be appropriate for positions within the provisional government, but when their personal priorities/preferences override what the US government had already decided was the plan, that suggests the actual power here is grossly misplaced.
    I view what Mr. Carroll's actions pretty positively. He was one of the few subject matter experts that I've heard of who was able to prevail over the ideologues in the CPA. I suspect that Iraq would have been better off if folks like had a stronger voice earlier in the process.

    responsibility is for you to prove him right

    My goodness. It's like being back in Grade 3.

    Appropriate responses...

    1. "Palast already does that...."
    2. "We will, after you prove you're worth listening to..."

    I view what Mr. Carroll's actions pretty positively. He was one of the few subject matter experts that I've heard of who was able to prevail over the ideologues in the CPA.

    That doesn't actually counter my point, JerryN, but I agree so I'll push further and ask again, does this suggest that the NeoCon plan was so modular that it's central economic section could be removed and the rest of it still stand as a working plan for other considerations? Or does it collapse?

    Wouldn't the neocons plan to sell off everything be a war crime for an occupying power? (if anyone still takes that seriously after Abu Ghraib)

    Wouldn't the neocons plan to sell off everything be a war crime for an occupying power?

    Hmmm...now that's an interesting question.

    Hmmm...now that's an interesting question.

    It would violate the Geneva Conventions.

    While the Geneva Conventions do not define occupation, the Fourth Convention nevertheless contains provisions applicable in occupied territories.

    Since occupation does not imply sovereignty over a territory, the occupying power may not alter the legal status of protected persons. Occupation confers certain rights and obligations on the occupying power.

    The duties of the occupying power include restoring and ensuring, as far as possible, public order and safety; providing the population with food and medical supplies; agreeing to relief schemes undertaken by other States or impartial humanitarian organizations if the population is inadequately supplied; maintaining medical facilities and services; ensuring public health and hygiene; and facilitating the work of educational institutions.

    The occupying power must uphold the criminal laws of the occupied territory and may suspend them only when they constitute a threat to the occupying power or an obstacle to the application of international humanitarian law. Should legal proceedings be instituted against protected persons, the occupying power must respect all judicial guarantees and ensure a regular trial for such persons.

    Prohibited actions include forcibly transferring protected persons from the occupied territories to the territory of the occupying power; compelling protected persons to serve in the armed forces of the occupying power; and looting.

    now that's an interesting question

    but not one that's likely to get any attention from Congress or the media or the general public or anyone else, really.

    I don't know whose responsibility is where, but I find a conspiracy based on the US purposely choosing not to hurt OPEC when we get a chance completely unlikely. That just makes no sense. The US has long hated the cartel. To break the cartel is to break the 'oil weapon'. A consipiracy based on the US liking OPEC is on the face of it ridiculous.

    A rational argument in this vein might go--we can't bring the direct challenge to OPEC that privatization would represent at this time because we are already stretched economically and we couldn't easily survive the 2-3 year oil price games that OPEC could play with us if we picked a fight with it right now.

    "Hmmm...now that's an interesting question."

    Not really. The only way it would be an interesting question is if the oil industry was sold off AND the money was sent to the US Congress or a US Corporation. Sheesh people, stop polishing the tin foil hats.

    I also note that you have now set up a conspiracy theory complicated enough to make it evil to sell off the oil program AND evil to not sell off the oil program.


    More:

    The Hague Regulations require the USA and UK to respect "private property" (Article 46). They "shall be regarded only as administrator[s]" of publicly owned buildings and of natural resources such "forests, and agricultural estates" (Article 55). As such, the USA and the UK must not appropriate or otherwise dispose of public property or of the natural resources of Iraq.

    The "extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly", is a war crime, specifically a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 147).

    Tim H: Wouldn't the neocons plan to sell off everything be a war crime for an occupying power?

    Yes.

    That was (according to some) the reason for appointing an interim government rather than having elections as soon as possible after the invasion. The interim government could be appointed from people who would allow the neocons to sell off everything. Only problem is that a government appointed by an occupying power can't legally sell off everything, either.

    Not that this would have bothered Bush & Co: but it might well have concerned the megacorps who were the preferred customers, who would (I guess) have wanted their ownership to be undisputably legal, rather than something that could easily be challenged a decade or more down the line - whenever there were courts in Iraq that would allow such a challenge.

    A rational argument in this vein might go--

    So what is your explanation for Ms. Jaffe lying when she said

    the oil industry prefers state control of Iraq's oil over a sell-off because it fears a repeat of Russia's energy privatisation. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, US oil companies were barred from bidding for the reserves.


    As a reminder, she is one of the architects of the privatization plan. Wouldn't she know better than you the reasons behind it?

    I also note that you have now set up a conspiracy theory complicated enough to make it evil to sell off the oil program AND evil to not sell off the oil program.

    That's the beauty of it. Good, it will keep them sufficiently occupied, and they'll never figure out the real purpose of the Iraq war.

    [evil cackle]

    we can't bring the direct challenge to OPEC that privatization would represent at this time because we are already stretched economically and we couldn't easily survive the 2-3 year oil price games that OPEC could play with us if we picked a fight with it right now.

    That doesn't seem to be what Carroll was arguing, however. His answer to why privatization was bad seems rather ideological (or rather anti-ideological):

    The former Shell oil boss agrees. In Houston, he told Newsnight: "Many neo conservatives are people who have certain ideological beliefs about markets, about democracy, about this, that and the other. International oil companies, without exception, are very pragmatic commercial organizations. They don't have a theology."

    And that seems to go hand-in-glove with:

    New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas.

    Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

    How does one argue that the attorney for Exxon and Saudi Arabia both wants to destory OPEC?

    Who exactly in the US doesn't like OPEC? They keep prices high and as Baker's person said, that makes US oil companies happy.

    whoops, make that the state-ownership plan. SXSW hangover getting the best of me.

    Greg Palast is lying about Cynthia McKinney.

    The article you cited uses quotes taken out of context and glues them together to distort facts. It is the height of irony that you would cite such lies as evidence about the credibility of the BBC.

    That doesn't actually counter my point, JerryN, but I agree so I'll push further and ask again, does this suggest that the NeoCon plan was so modular that it's central economic section could be removed and the rest of it still stand as a working plan for other considerations? Or does it collapse?

    Edward, I think that you're giving the planners too much credit here. They were largely academics and think-tank wonks. Most of them had no experience in actually managing any kind of large organization or with implementing their plans in the real-world. I suspect that Carroll took advantage of the resulting chaos and was able to stall effectively. In other words, I don't think that Bremer or anyone else made a conscious decision to drop privitization of the oil industry as an agenda item, I think that circumstances kept them from pursuing it.

    Edward, I think that you're giving the planners too much credit here.

    Well, my intent is certainly the opposite of that, but thanks for the heads up.

    I suspect that Carroll took advantage of the resulting chaos and was able to stall effectively.

    Doesn't that bother anyone though? If not because he has that much power, then because it illustrates what a piss poor job of planning they'd done before invading.

    On one hand, I'd say we should be lucky Carroll had the interests he did, otherwise the insurgency might have really exploded, but on the other hand, I don't like the idea that industry is running things.

    "Who exactly in the US doesn't like OPEC? They keep prices high and as Baker's person said, that makes US oil companies happy."

    How about everyone other than the oil companies? Edward, I know you really don't think what's good for Exxon is good for America.

    On the other hand, the oil companies do like OPEC. By keeping oil prices high, it increases the worth of a significant asset in their portfolio, their reserves.

    Has everyone forgotten there was a plan in the works around December, 2003, to do a massive privatization in Iraq? This was part of the sub-text of the Shiite demonstrations that led to the change in the date for transfer of sovereignty and elections.

    Frankly, the fear of a Soviet-collapse-style round of privatization sounds pretty sensible to me. A tremendous amount of property was outright stolen after the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

    A very interesting sidelight to that story is how the money was laundered -- it was via the Republic of Nauru. See The Middle of Nowhere, an episode of This American Life.

    Comments from the "Promotion, Priorities and Pretense" post re ANWR previewed this issue:

    Sebastion:

    "Can anyone think of any aspect of US policy that has ever attempted to undermine OPEC in any way?"

    The US policy towards OPEC has been to try to undermine it every chance we get. We are always encouraging countries to produce more than their allotment under the cartel agreement such as to destroy the cartel's ability to set prices. The US hates the existance of OPEC.

    Reply:

    If we were serious about combating OPEC, I am sure stronger measures could be adopted. For example, making it something we got in return for rescuing Kuwait and Saudia Arabia in the 90s, or forbidding Iraq to participate now?

    Our official policy is that Iraq participates in OPEC, although OPEC has currently exempted it from production quotas during the reconstruction process.

    I agree that the US hates OPEC, but I do not agree that the US petroleum industry hates OPEC, nor that Bush and crew hate it. I think they rather like it.

    Well, I guess the neo-cons wanted to sabotage OPEC (through a questionable privatization scheme -- I think it would violate international law for an occupying power to do this), so they aren't all bad (even though their means are, typically, improper).

    What does that make the Bush administration if they would dump on their ideological sole mates in this way? Can I say "whores to the oil industry even when it hurts the USA?"

    Geez, one of the main drives of any industry is to raise your price to what the market will bear (never leave money on the table). What's not to like if an external organization does it for you with no effort required on your part?

    Oil Prices

    Forgive if OT

    A straight analytical piece, with a chart even.

    "Crude for April delivery settled at $56.40, down 6 cents, after trading at a record $57.60 a barrel. May crude closed at $56.91, June crude closed at $57.42, and July crude finished at $57.64."

    Umm, very interesting that the outmonth futures keep going up. Opposite of any usual pattern. Republican Congress better hurry, climate for tax cuts and safety-net cuts about to change.

    This administration sure likes to use their minorities.

    Doesn't that bother anyone though? If not because he has that much power, then because it illustrates what a piss poor job of planning they'd done before invading.

    And this is news?

    On one hand, I'd say we should be lucky Carroll had the interests he did, otherwise the insurgency might have really exploded, but on the other hand, I don't like the idea that industry is running things.

    I guess I'd rather have folks who know the industry at an operational level involved in the actual reconstruction, rather than ivory-tower types (regardless of political persuasion). I don't see how you do that except by employing industry vets. In the planning stages you would probably want a mix of policy types, bureaucrats, and industry pros. Once you're on the ground trying to make it work, I think that the industry guys should have more control.

    But that traitor Micheal Moore has a huge fat ass! Freedom is on the march! Greg Palast is a liar and hates America!

    Has everyone forgotten there was a plan in the works around December, 2003, to do a massive privatization in Iraq?

    I certainly hadn't forgotten. But it was such a catastrophic failure even before it got started that I think it simply never crossed the radar for a lot of people, especially in the US.

    Don't try to extort money out of the people that you're liberating. Moe Lane, February 2004

    Well Slarti, since we don't have a picture of you to poke fun at. . .

    Sure, ya do.

    Greg Palast, "reporting" on the death of Ronald Reagan:

    Well, my friends, you can rest easier tonight: the Rat is dead. Killer, coward, conman. Ronald Reagan, good-bye and good riddance.
    This is a trustworthy news source, Edward? Another Palast conspiracy theory was debunked by none other than Salon, having to do with "caging lists". When Palast claimed that Kerry won Ohio, Salon again corrected his abysmal "reporting". When Palast wrote of Ben Barnes and the strings he pulled, he skewed his reporting by leaving out critical facts. How many times does Palast have to be proven wrong before you stop taking him at face value? You've done this before, believing without question the words of some dubious characters when the words conform to your politics. I'm not fully innocent of that either, but there is a bevy of right-of-center sources I do not use. I hope that you do the same, and you should put Greg Palast on your "do not link" list if you have one.

    The article you cited uses quotes taken out of context and glues them together to distort facts.

    No it doesn't, felix. All the quotes were fully linked, something which Palast failed to do himself. He didn't even quote McKinney's offending words in the first place.

    Sure, ya do.

    Fjord much?

    Charles Bird,

    Stop being a codependent in denial, your hero has a problem, a very immoral problem and you are becoming a acomplise.

    Seriously off topic, but no open threads are in sight.

    Ukraine sold 12 cruise missiles to Iran, 6 to China

    "If you can disprove his report, please do so, but a blanket dismissal isn't any fun."

    I'm no conservative, but I have to agree with Macallan. Just because Shell oil had a certain opinion on privatization doesn't mean that they had the major influence in the pissing match between the Pentagon and State. (What did the other oil majors think? Were they also against privatization?)

    Newsnight is a great news programme, Jeremy Paxman is God-like in his interviewing skills, but Palast ain't reliable.

    You've done this before, believing without question the words of some dubious characters when the words conform to your politics.

    Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot!! (for those of you just joining us).

    but there is a bevy of right-of-center sources I do not use. I hope that you do the same, and you should put Greg Palast on your "do not link" list if you have one.

    I'll happily not use your list of right-of-center sources. But I won't reject their arguments based on their history alone.

    David Brooks, who's shown himself to be a very unreliable source IMO, is someone I take to task again and again. But I would never dismiss your right to quote him.

    Why do I still debunk him myself? Because he has a wide audience. You'd be surprised perhaps how many people tell me they don't understand why I even read him...that they stopped long ago. But others haven't, and he deserves debunking.

    I've been peeking around the blogosphere, looking for a proper fisking of this story by Palast. I haven't found one yet. I was kind of hoping someone here could at least poke one hole in his argument, but as of yet, no one has.

    Ok, just to straighten things out:

    I was considering exactly how ill-advised it is to point out that Palast is in fact an utter hack (which I was disinclined to do, even though it seems to be de rigeur, here, when discussing what others have written), when someone else did it and Edward claimed that it was no fun. Having been suitably red-flagged by Edward...anyway, I apologize for having diverted the conversation in that direction, but I think outside of taking potshots at Palast, there's just not much to be said about this article. What matters is what was done, not which options were considered and discarded in the process of deciding what to do.

    Bird, shouldn't you be trying to debunk this Greg Palast story?

    Back to potshots...

    So now it's Palast in a hat? What's he trying to hide?

    Relevant comment:

    This is hardly new, that Bush was seeking a plan of action for Iraq prior to 9/11. I'd have to look around for it, but I recall hearing that over a year ago.

    This is hardly new, that Bush was seeking a plan of action for Iraq prior to 9/11.

    The common explanations for that, however, usually fall into the "we have a plan for every scenario" or the more forthright "he wasn't complying with the UN resolutions" categories. But if the plan all along was actually a coup d'etat and the implantation of democracy, then virtually everything we were told to sell the war was misleading.

    I think that's relevant.

    No it doesn't, felix

    Yes, it does.

    All the quotes were fully linked

    Where does he link to the NPR transcript, as that is the worst offender in his piece?

    He didn't even quote McKinney's offending words in the first place

    He summarizes them, without linking to what he is summarizing.

    But if the plan all along was actually a coup d'etat

    I'm confused by this. Where does Palast say anything at all about a coup?

    believing without question the words of some dubious characters when the words conform to your politics

    That's funny - that is exactly what you did in your summary of the Ben Barnes story that you linked to. Thanks for providing the textbook definition of the fallacy known as poisoning the well. Hal called it.

    If you worked for the BBC, you wouldn't have written an apology for the Armanious article, you would have written a letter of resignation. Just something you might want to consider before your next trip to the well.

    The common explanations for that, however, usually fall into the "we have a plan for every scenario" or the more forthright "he wasn't complying with the UN resolutions" categories. But if the plan all along was actually a coup d'etat and the implantation of democracy, then virtually everything we were told to sell the war was misleading.

    Edward, what was official U.S. Policy, enacted by Congress, signed by the President, long before Boy George The Oil Puppet was ever inaugurated?

    Well, here's a place to start, for the Google-impaired. Oh, and here. Oh, and here.

    That took all of about thirty seconds to find.

    David Brooks, who's shown himself to be a very unreliable source IMO, is someone I take to task again and again. But I would never dismiss your right to quote him.

    Edward, do you seriously want to juxtapose a hack like Palast to a twice-a-week columnist for the New York Times? Look, you can criticize Brooks all you want, it's no skin off my nose. But to put Brooks in the same league as Palast does not do you credit. It makes you look like a left-wing extremist.

    Macallan, if you are going to cite something, maybe you should cite the actual item rather than....not the actual item.

    Charles Bird,

    Do you ever make a post that doesn't employ some form of logical fallacy?

    That took all of about thirty seconds to find.

    Great, that answers...what exactly?

    Now, answer the question that was asked, "Where does he link to the NPR transcript"? If he had, it would have been easier for the reader to determine that the NPR quotes did not show that, "Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”

    That's the quote Palast was referring to. This is hard to determine from the article Bird linked to, as the person who wrote it removed that piece of the quote from its original context, replacing it with ellipses. This omission makes it look like Palast is talking about a different quote than the one he is in fact talking about. Is that the kind of journalism Bird approves of? Quotes mangled to make them appear to say something they don't? That's what rates so much higher than the BBC for him?

    What is left to the article, after one goes to the original sources to reconstruct the facts? Nothing. This is the best Bird can do? Cite a piece of distorted propaganda in order to assassinate the character of a journalist who writes a story he disapproves of, and then start calling people with whom he disagrees "left-wing extremists"? Words fail me.

    No, felix, Palast's whole point (when he does make one) is that McKinney was unjustly smeared because of something (what, exactly?) she said. I've dished up a couple of things she's said that have gotten some media attention, and for which she ought to have been (and was) pilloried for. Are you claiming she didn't say them?

    The NPR transcript, if it exists, is superfluous.

    Slart, when this controversy erupted I went and looked it up. I also listened to the archived audio. The show was Flashpoints, a KPFA (Pacifica) radio production. I don't know whether this transcript is strictly accurate, but it looks familiar to me. I searched a bit but I can't find the audio today.

    What seems to be missing from the discussion of Cynthia McKinney's remarks is that they were made at the time the Bush administration was resisting creation of the 9/11 investigative commission.

    To be sure, her words were a bit over the top, but the question behind them was, "why is the President opposed to creating the commission?"

    Sure, one can ask the question, but as soon as one begins publicly indulging in unfounded speculation of the black-helicopter variety in one's capacity as a public servant, then one may expect to get one's ass handed to oneself by the media.

    Or not, and but then it would just be unexpected.

    The wealthy right-wing elite are thieves and Bird is their apologist...what does Palasts character and writing style have to do with that.

    Whatever aesthetic problem Bird has with Palast does not change the fact that his article is speaking the truth.

    Truth, according to all the right-wingers who claim to be traditionalist and conservatives, is supposed to stand above nation and man and is not relative to a party or The Party.

    Palast could be a total hustler, but that article is true.

    Oh, she's back in the Congress, you know.

    But to put Brooks in the same league as Palast does not do you credit. It makes you look like a left-wing extremist.

    I will admit to not knowing Palast very well, but for the record, I consider Brooks one of the worst high-profile hacks out there. He really gets under my skin and makes it crawl. So if suggesting he should be on everyone's list of "do not cite" (if we have to go that route, although I'd prefer not to) makes me an extremist, then I'm an extremist. Yes, there are degrees of hackery...Brooks is better than Safire was, but Safire had a bit of charm working in his favor, whereas Brooks is charm deficient.

    All in all, though, I'd rather folks argue the points, not the source. I seriously argue the points Ann Coulter offers, not because I find her at all trustworthy, but because others do. If you can disprove what Palast is saying, please do so...I won't sign up for out-of-hand rejection of folks who've on this or that occassion been debunked though, because, well, let's face it, that would include both you and me.

    I seriously argue the points Ann Coulter offers, not because I find her at all trustworthy, but because others do.

    They do? Huh… learn sumpt'n new every day.

    Slarti: but as soon as one begins publicly indulging in unfounded speculation of the black-helicopter variety in one's capacity as a public servant, then one may expect to get one's ass handed to oneself by the media.

    You'd surely expect that, wouldn't you?

    Sure, one can ask the question, but as soon as one begins publicly indulging in unfounded speculation of the black-helicopter variety in one's capacity as a public servant, then one may expect to get one's ass handed to oneself by the media.

    Like what happened when Dennis Hastert suggested that maybe George Soros gets his money from international drug cartels, but darn it, we just don't know?

    Oh, wait -- that didn't happen to Dennis Hastert at all. And he remains Speaker of the House.


    Edward, what was official U.S. Policy, enacted by Congress, signed by the President, long before Boy George The Oil Puppet was ever inaugurated?

    So why all the song-and-dance about mushroom clouds and knowing where weapons are and the satellite photos of weapons plants that weren't? Why not just say, "Hey, my predeccesor's administration implemented this policy and we're going to see it through to completion?"

    The wealthy right-wing elite are thieves and Bird is their apologist

    Neodude, you're getting more and more obnoxious, here. This to me is easily a banning offense, but I'm going to let hilzoy and Edward ponder the matter a bit before I do anything. In the meantime, a retraction and apology is in order.

    My intent was to offend and I apologize, Bird.

    (It won't stop me from thinkin' it!)

    Dammit, Slarti, I was going to address that! Now you've gone and ruined my attempt at bipartisan comity and stuff. And here I was feeling all righteous.

    ...no, wait. That's the Vicodin and March Madness. Carry on!

    Well done, NeoDude.

    Sorry, Anarch. Be quicker, next time. It did sit, unremarked, for an hour and a half or so.

    Sorry, Anarch. Be quicker, next time. It did sit, unremarked, for an hour and a half or so.

    Yeah, but I wasn't here! No fair. *pouts*

    And, in seriousness: I second Slarti's "Well done", NeoDude.

    I hadn't been reading this, but now that I have: but for the apology, it would have been (in my book) a banning offense, which however I tend to just warn sternly on the first time around. (Grr.)

    Welp, all I have to say about this is sorry I stole multiple instantiations of thunder, and if you any of you feel yourself chock full of righteous anger, go visit the post on vengeance.

    Sorry, Anarch. Be quicker, next time. It did sit, unremarked, for an hour and a half or so.

    Posted by: Slartibartfast | March 18, 2005 10:39 PM


    Was it sitting there, like a plump and ripe whitehead, screaming to be pOpped?

    (eeewww, I hate when that happens)

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Blog powered by Typepad