Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Let's address this and then get back to our focus

We're going to be late with entries this morning and we're going to be late because I've spent forever in the e-mails and forever on the phone with friends about the e-mails.  This would be a perfect topic for a Saturday "I Hate The War" but it can't wait until Saturday.

I understand that a number of you are upset, outraged or offended.  You've made that clear in your e-mails and I appreciate your passion and your desire to stick up for the community.  But at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter.

Ann (links to all the community posts at the end) is enraged and has written about at her site.  Ann's a sweetheart and I'm not mad at her.  That's the sort of post that Mike first wrote and the same reason he started his site.  Ann feels that credit is not being given where it's due because various 'news' outlets are reporting that this or that site "first reported" on the McGurk - Chon e-mails June 7th when, in fact,  we covered them June 5th.

What e-mails?  The ones that helped end Brett McGurk's nomination.  If you read one thing on that this morning, read Nancy Cordes (CBS News) because she's got a really strong article which ends with:

Of course, this means the administration needs to find a new nominee, and fast.
Whoever it is will have to deal with a deteriorating political situation in Iraq.
To date, the U.S. has spent $800 billion fighting in Iraq, and rebuilding.

Yes, we were the first ones.  And the archives prove it as does the fact that the snapshot's carried not only at the TCI backup sites but also at all community sites that post that day.  The public record is the public record.

In terms of what has so many upset, I can't focus on it and I don't want Martha, Eli, Shirley and everyone else going through the e-mails today to have to. But I sure can't focus on it.  We have to have new content on Iraq today and that's not going to be possible if I'm all caught up in which 'news' outlet slighted us and which didn't.

In the end, it doesn't matter.

It never has.

We've built up online without that kind of support and, in fact, each time we're ripped off or not credited (this is hardly the first time), we actually get more popular because others get offended that, for whatever reason, someone didn't get the proper credit.

But at the end of the day it does not matter.

You're mad because the press isn't being factual.

Sinan Salaheddin (AP) has an article on Iraqi Vice President today which maintains, "Shortly after the warrant was issued, al-Hashemi fled to the Kurdish-run region in Iraq's north."

That's a flat out lie.

We have gone over this repeatedly and it is public record.  Let's drop back to the April 30th snapshot:

Today's big news was  Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.  The political crisis was already well in effect when December 2011 rolled around.  The press rarely gets that fact correct.  When December 2011 rolls around you see Iraqiya announce a  boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry .  Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at that point.  Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya.  December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' .

If he left Baghdad December 18th on a plane to the KRG (and arrived there, it's not around the world) and the warrant was issued on the 19th, no, he did not leave for the KRG after a warrant was issued.

We have gone over this repeatedly.  The failure to get it correct at this late date would suggest that the report was anti-Sunni.  If I were running AP and that error came up today, I would be speaking to the reporter and we would either fix the problem right away or the reporter would be re-assigned due to the appearance of bias against Sunnis.

Now all this time later, AP still can't get that fact right and you're surprised that other 'news' outlets can't get credit right?

There's nothing in it for them in crediting us.  It's not like crediting us means I say, "Oh, we won't ever negatively critique them!"  We're independent in the true sense of the word and we're not part of the circle jerk.  Never wanted to be part of it.

But try to understand this, reading one e-mail after another about how we were ripped off and we were wronged makes it very hard to write about Iraq.  Honestly? We were ripped off.  We were wronged.  And?  Iraqis still suffer and us stopping everything isn't really going to accomplish anything.

I know from past experience here that ignoring this means it festers and gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  So we're addressing it right now.

Back in 2004 and 2005, a newspaper would send links to everything that they had on Iraq to the public account -- and this is when Iraq was actually covered in US newspapers.  And after a few weeks, I called a friend who was an editor and asked, "Why am I getting all of this?"  He explained that this was an outreach effort where they were contacting websites and trying to get links.

That made sense.  They are trying to make a living.  They need this.  I'm not trying to make a living.  This is a free site, there are no ads, there never will be any ads.  There is no effort to profit from this site.  But I don't lack for money.

Reporters do.  (Or usually do.) And they have to make their careers.  And it's good to understand that because then you grasp why there's not a lot of truth in the news.  When people are constantly worried about layoffs or losing their jobs, they're not going to tell the truth or all the truth.

It is irritating that some websites (not news outlets) repeatedly e-mail the public account wanting this article noted and that article noted when they never do anything for this site in return.  That does get old because basic manners would dictate that if you've e-mailed me for over three years and I've highlighted your stuff in all that time you'd have something to offer.  (Friends rarely e-mail for links.  They instead call.  I'm not referring to friends who can always ask for links.)

But it doesn't happen.  And that's just the way it is.

It doesn't matter in the end.

The record is what the record is.

If you're worried that I'm not getting credit, think about it this way:  I'll be dead in 20 or 30 years.  After that happens there will be yet another book on my life and nobody avenges better than celebrity biographers.  So some friend (I think I know who, we'll call him "Baby Mogul") will speak to the biographer and say, "Look, you know that in addition to this career, she had an online persona?"  And this site will be a treasure trove.  The biographer will go through it like crazy and will even scores that even you and I may not have grasped needed to be settled.

So the record will right itself and those who have been less than honest will be outed.

Example, one thing we've done here non-Iraq wise but public record wise was to make very clear that a lot of COWARDS exist in Panhandle Media (Pacifica Radio and the various 'indy' outlets).  What a bunch of cowards.

I knew Jean Seberg and we've never lied here.  So many others have lied non-stop.  But you can refer to "Spying and Seberg" and "Steve Rendall and other idiots lie about Jean Seberg" among others.

Joyce Haber wrote a gossip column and, on top of that, what she ran was a blind item.  But damned if the Amy Goodmans will tell you that as they rush to blame Joyce.  Why? Because it's real damn easy to call out a gossip columnist.  Jean and Roman didn't sue Joyce Harber.  They blew off the blind item.  They sued Newsweek which printed the false rumor (Jean pregnant with the child of a Black Panther!) and did so not as a blind item.

This is public record.  But for years, the Amy Goodmans and the FAIRs and all the other supposed brave 'independent' media have beat up on a gossip columnist who ran a blind item while ignoring Newsweek.  (They've also ignored that Joyce's editor at the Los Angeles Times, Bill Thomas, passed on that blind item and vouched for the source -- Joyce never knew it was an FBI plant but her editor should have.)  They don't tell you about Edward Behr and Kermit Lansner -- the Newsweek writer and editor.  It's a little harder to take on Newsweek, to call it out.  So they lie and pretend like they've done something brave.  And then someone who never knew what happened (for example, Davey D) thinks they've been told the truth and they start writing about that 'evil' Joyce Haber. 

And as 2009's "Steve Rendall and other idiots lie about Jean Seberg" demonstrates, this isn't a long ago lie.  People are still vested in lying about what happened.

I'll get angry if I go over it again so we'll just note this from the 2007  "Roundtable" when we were discussing a new book by an 'independent' press and even it included the lie.

C.I.: Thank you. That is such a [f**king] lie -- and I just told one member last week I'd try to watch my own language in these editions. I do not take kindly to anyone lying about Jean Seberg. Rebecca said skip the book or you'll be pissed. Jean Seberg went into the hospital in August. The trauma at that time was Newsweek, not The Los Angeles Times. When the Harber blind item ran it was May of 1970.

May 19, 1970 according to the endnote.

Thank you. Seberg ends up in the hospital in August, after Seberg o.d.ed on sleeping pills, which was not thought by all to be a suicide attempt, she was taken to the hospital. While she was in the hospital, Edward Behr wrote up a bit on her for Newsweek. He maintained that he included the 'news' that the baby's father was a Black Panther in his cable to Newsweek's NY headquarters because he was just trying to prove he was 'on' the story and in the know but it wasn't for publication. In the cable he does mark that "Strictly FYI". That ends up running in Newsweek. Kermit Lasner will offer the laughable excuse that he had no idea how that piece of s[**]t made it into the magazine because he'd had a scooter accident at lunch. Newseek printed, August 24th issue, 1970, that, this is a quote, I damn well know what they printed: "She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in Ocotober is by another man -- a black activist she met in California." That's what got picked up everywhere, including in The Des Moines Register, Seberg's hometown paper. Now that book is supposed to utilize government documents and the FBI had Seberg's phones tapped, including her hospital phone, so they knew very well that her state of mind was frantic after Newsweek published the item. She lost the baby because of the Newsweek article. I question everything that Betty quoted including the timeline. Newsweek printed it, it got picked up everywhere, Jean Seberg lost her baby, and Romain Gary was quite clear whom he blamed when he wrote "The Big Knife" which was published in France-Soir. This was a very huge thing, in press on both sides of the Atlantic. It's still a huge deal to many and one of the main reasons I never link to the piece of crap Newsweek.

Let's be really clear on this, the FBI did not tip off Newsweek in France.  The CIA did.  The FBI wasn't operating in France.  The CIA was.  It's interesting that despite the public record, despite the lawsuit, despite the fact that Joyce's item is in May and Jean miscarries in August (and after the Newsweek item runs which is why Romain sued them), supposed 'defenders' of Jean can't tell the damn truth.  They should ashamed of themselves.  (If you're late to the party, Jean Seberg is an actress and was part of the left wing movement in both France and the US.  She was targeted by the US government -- as her FBI files have demonstrated -- because they wanted to neutralize her.)

I will always defend Jean.

And I would never be mad at Ann for sticking up for me (or at Mike or anyone).  But the point is that the truth does come out.

And for those who get attention for things they didn't really do?  Cass Elliot said it best when people were pointing out that the Monkees were having these big hits, "They'll have the fame, we'll have the legend."

So it doesn't matter.  If it does to you, thank you, I appreciate that.  But do us all a favor, take it to the community newsletters -- have a roundtable on it there, write a piece on it there -- or share with another community site.  But I can't get bogged down in it here.  Late this afternoon/evening, I'm going to need to dictate a multi-K Iraq snapshot.  I can't be caught up in, "This site didn't do this for us! That site overlooked me!"  A) We have to link to whatever these days because there's so little Iraq coverage.  B) I have to be focused on that.  C) This is not a robbery like Barbra didn't get nominated for Best Director for Prince of Tides. I appreciate the e-mails, the kind words and the concern but it's not a big deal and let's not make it our focus here.

Laugh at it, trust that the truth comes out at some point and let's apply our attention to more important things.

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda, Dissident Voice, The Diane Rehm Show, CSPAN, Antiwar.com, Cindy Sheehan and Adam Kokesh  -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following yesterday:

Monday, June 18, 2012
Contaact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Senator Murray to Introduce Women Veterans' and Other Health Care Improvment Act of 2012
Legislation to strengthen VA's programs for female veterans and severely injured veterans who want to start families
(Washington, D.C.) -- Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will outline her new legislation, the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, legislation to strengthen VA's programs for female veterans and for severely injured veterans who want to start families.  Currently, VA's fertility treatment services do not meet the complex needs of severely wounded veterans.  The nature of the current conflict and increasing use of improvised explosive devices leaves servicemembers far more susceptible to blast injuries including spinal cord injury and trauma to the reproductive and urinary tracts.  Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 more than 600 soldiers experienced these life-changing battle injuries while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.  As these injured servicemembers return home, they work to move forward with their lives and pursue their goals and dreams. For some this includes starting their own family.  The Department of Defense and Tricare program are already able to provide fertility treatment to servicemembers with these injuries.  Senator Murray's new legislation would address these issues by enhancing fertility treatment and care at VA, and allowing for fertility treatment for spouses.
Following Senator Murray's speech, a documentary highlighting the stories of 8 women veterans and the physical and emotional challenges they face as they transition home following military service will be shown. More on Senator Murray's Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012 HERE.
WHO:        U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT:       Introduction of Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, screening of documentary that highlights the stories of 8 women vets
WHEN:      TOMORROW: Tuesday, June 19th, 2012
                 2:30 PM ET/ 11:30 AM PST
WHERE:    Russell 325
Kathryn Robertson
Press Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

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