Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Iraq snapshot

Tuesday, December 22, 2020.  We look at standards -- or the lack of them -- as well as the lack of compassion for the real victims of Rukmini Callimachi's 'reporting.'

Starting off with two e-mails to the public account.  Shirley says two people feel I am not noting RISING enough.  There are other things to note but when Shirley told me about those e-mails, I did go to RISING last night and look for something else to highlight.

And then I didn't give a damn.

We'll continue to highlight them but I do have standards.  I don't care if your commentary or interview or whatever reflects what I belive or not with one major exception.  I don't believe in promoting unethical people.

RISING needs to get some standards.  When I went to the website I saw yet another man as a guest.  They struggle to find women and that's really sad.  But when they can't find a woman more worthy of being a guest than Gerald Posner, that's outrageous.

He's a serial liar and a plagiarist and these are not new developments. This and his attacks on others (especially those who demanded the government release the records about the JFK assassination) were well known.  He was fired from THE DAILY BEAST in 2010 because he stole the work of others and passed it off as his own.  Though he claimed it was an accident, THE MIAMI NEWS TIMES looked at his articles and found more theft.  When he tried to dispute it, they then looked at his books and found even more.  He's a plagiarist.  

Why the hell would you want him on your show?  

Get some standards already.

Again you refuse to find qualified women for guests but you get a disgraced 'journalist' on as a guest?

And you're also a visual medium.  Meaning?  Maybe tell Ryan Grimm that the dye job's not working as is.  He needs to go to a lighter shade and he needs to do it all over his hair because the black shoe polish on top with the white sides does not look real -- it makes it look like the dark part is a toupee.  But Gerald Posner?  He's had more (and worse) plastic surgery than Kim Novack.  He should be considered a plastic surgery victim and, looking at him before and after, you have to wonder what look he was going for because the look he achieved was freak.  

We didn't promote the hideous Gerald Posner before he was outed as a thief and that's mainly due to the fact that Michael Ratner put me wise to him and warned me.  If that had happened, I might have promoted him and I'd owe an apology to people here as a result.  (So thank you to the late Michael Ratner who rescued me on many occasions.)  But, again, you have to have standards.

I can see you bringing on someone like April Oliver for example. The corporate media worked to discredit her for her CNN report but I believe her and the investigation didn't prove her wrong because it took the attitude of a legal investigation as opposed to what is required to report.  (Which is one of the reasons that CNN had to pay April a seven-figure settlement to avoid losing bigger in court.)  So bring on April Oliver and I have no problem.  But when you bring on a serial thief 

To wit: In the past week, doctoral student Gregory Gelembiuk and New Times — using special software and perusing texts — have come up with 16 brand-new instances of stolen prose by the author in Miami Babylon (as well as three formerly undisclosed examples from other work). We shared the thievery with Roy Peter Clark, a senior scholar and plagiarism expert at St. Petersburg's Poynter Institute.

[. . .]

"These look like obvious cases of plagiarism to me," Clark says. "The fact that Posner at times changes a word or two is not nearly enough to qualify as paraphrase."

New Times sent Posner an email detailing all of the new problems we found in Miami Babylon. He didn't respond to the email or to multiple phone messages.

Posner, on his blog, defends his earlier transgressions by arguing "there are degrees of plagiarism" and that his is less serious because he accidentally copied other people's work.

"Mine is not a case like Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass where there was either wholesale copying from others or in some instances fabrication," Posner wrote March 17. "Any sentences copied by me from published sources were never done with the hope or expectation I'd trick others and get away with it."

Posner, a San Francisco native and Berkeley grad, landed a job when he was just 23 years old with the blue-blood New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, according to his Simon & Schuster bio. By 1986, he had left to publish his first book, a biography of Nazi death doctor Josef Mengele.

Posner has been journalism royalty since 1993, when he made best-seller lists and was a Pulitzer finalist for his fifth book, Case Closed, which attempts to prove Oswald acted alone in killing JFK. Since Case Closed, Posner has added to his resumé six more nonfiction works on topics from 9-11 to Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

In 2004, records show, Posner and his wife Trisha bought a $385,000 condo in SoBe's South of Fifth neighborhood.

When Tina Brown started her Daily Beast website in 2008, she hired Posner as chief investigative reporter. His writing included local stories about Fontainebleau heir Ben Novack Jr.'s death and national pieces on Michael Jackson's last hours. His 454-page book about the sordid history of his new hometown, Miami Babylon, debuted to positive reviews last year.

Everything began unraveling this past February 5, when Slate's media columnist, Jack Shafer, nailed him for stealing seven sentences from the Miami Herald in a Daily Beast piece. Posner said he was "horrified," apologized, and promised it was "inadvertent."

That's when the doctoral student, Gelembiuk, became involved. He's an unlikely journalistic sleuth. A 48-year-old who studies zoology at the University of Wisconsin, he teaches biology and researches invasive species.

For years, Gelembiuk has been using a website called Turnitin.com to catch students who plagiarize. In his experience, Gelembiuk says, plagiarists "never do it just once." After reading Shafer's column, he didn't buy Posner's apology. So he ran a half-dozen of the author's Daily Beast stories through the plagiarism site — as well as through software called Viper and Copyscape — and quickly came up with 11 more lifted sentences in three other Beast stories.

Shafer wrote another column, and on February 10, the Daily Beast accepted Posner's resignation. He again apologized, blaming the "warp speed of the Net" for his problems. He later explained he'd stolen only "the most mundane information." Shafer didn't buy it.

"You don't have to rob from Proust to qualify as a low-down plagiarist," Shafer wrote. "Even mundane information takes time and energy to collect and type up — sometimes more time and energy than it takes to toss off an original sonnet."

But even that excuse went out the window March 16, when New Times published Owen's discovery of eight stolen passages in Miami Babylon. Posner again admitted he stole them. But again he had a scapegoat: a new system of "trailing endnotes" that led him to undercredit Owen's work.

Now comes the new evidence turned up by New Times and Gelembiuk. For Miami Babylon, it seems Posner also borrowed from this publication, PBS, the Herald, Ocean Drive, and Men's Vogue. The pilfering seems to include both stand-alone sentences and longer passages.

Fourteen of the new problems were found by Gelembiuk, who purchased an ebook of Miami Babylon to run it through plagiarism software when Posner's second apology also rang hollow. In our own review, we found two passages that seem to be lifted from one New Times story.

Why would you bring someone like that onto your program?  Stephen Glass wasn't available?  

RISING needs to work at developing some standards.  Their efforts at rehabbing Gerald Posner are disgusting.

And let's note one more time, it's a visual medium.  In an earlier time, some may have (wrongly) insisted that Ponce de Leon discovered The Fountain of Youth but all the 66-year-old  Posner de Plagiarist discovered was The Fountain of Freak.

Second on the e-mails, Martha counted numerous e-mails to the public account about how dare I trash Glenn Greenwald for supporting the new Judith Miller Rukmini Callimachi.  At first, I thought they meant the posts at other community members' sites:

But Martha explained they came in before those went up so people are talking about yesterday's snapshot.  I didn't write anything new about Glenn.  I did want it established that I'd been calling Rukimini out for years and I quoted from a March 2014 snapshot.  Yes, Glenn was criticized in that snapshot -- he was promoting her.  With the exception of her theft of Iraqi records that belonged to the Iraqi people and that the Iraqi government lodged a protest over, any snapshot would have likely included Glenn because he was forever praising her.  

That's from 2014 before he left THE INTERCEPT learn to read.  

I have been very supportive of Glenn over the years.  I don't like him.  I don't like some of the positions he takes -- and were he set up better currently, I would explain that at length.  But when he broke the Ed Snowden story, I praised him repeatedly.  When he broke from THE INTERCEPT, I praised him repeatedly.

Now Glenn's never done anything for me so I don't get why some people are telling me in e-mails Martha read that I ''owe him."  For what?

Chris Hayes?  I owe Chris and that's why I refrain from watching his show because I don't want to criticize him.  Ava and I have on two occasions, I believe, at THIRD.  But a number of journalists and left figures (including the disgusting Matthew Rothschild) were asked by me to please cover Iraq Veterans Against The War's Winter Soldier presentation.  I got a lot of promises.  And Chris was the only one who kept it.  I've disclosed that before.  I do not forget that.  I praise Chris for that.  

To be clear, the others who promised did not pan the hearings, they just ignored them.  And you could pan them.  We did a whole edition at THIRD and we covered some great hearings.  We also called out the hearing on gender assault.  They had people who weren't assaulted.  Deciding to dance with someone is not an assault.  You made the decision to dance with him.  In addition, they had men on the panel who were not assaulted but wanted to talk about what ifs . . . That was an embarrassment and we weren't the only ones who felt that way, a member of IVAW who had been raped stopped me at that convention and expressed to me how outraged she was.  I shared that ourage.  We called out that panel -- and got a lot of cry babies with IVAW slamming us for that -- ignoring all the praise we heaped them, ignoring that we all -- every community site -- covered the hearings.  We wrote multiple pieces on that presentation.  But some of the cry babies on that panel were so upset and demanded that we unpost the piece on that panel.  We didn't.

But the Matthew Rothschilds who promised they'd cover it?  They didn't.  And I was very clear in my request that the coverage had to happen while the hearings were taking place so that people would know about them and could tune in -- KPFA broadcast them in full.

Jeff what's his name, Phil Donahue's friend. Jeff Cohen?  One of those FAIR refugees.  He covered Winter Soldier.  After the fact.  And still got it wrong.  And that pissed me off.  He said that WBAI and others offered live coverage of all the hearings.

No, they didn't.  KPFA did.  PACIFICA stations could have carried it.  Instead, WBAI offered their tired Saturday programming including a canned program hosted by Dead MUNSTER Grandpa.  They aired crap and garbage when they could have aired live programming.  So, Jeff Cohen, don't write your garbage praising people who didn't do what they were supposed to.  KPFA broadcast the entire thing and they broadcast it live.  

Glenn's never done anything for me except piss me off with his support for the Iraq War, his ongoing sexism and his praise of Rukmini among other things.  

Despite that, I do note him here.  Despite that, I did defend him when he was attacked for the NSA reporting and when he was (and continues to be attacked) for his departure from THE INTERCEPT and all that came with that decision.

One single op-ed, preaching violence against American protestors, led to the (rightful) resignation of editor James Bennett while the collapse of Rukmini Callimachi's entire reporting project that also put ('foreign') human lives at risk, led to her being reassigned.

The west is not getting this story.  You've got idiots Tweeting junk like 'everybody gets something wrong.'  The problems go beyond her heavy drama podcast.  Her podcast had nothing to do with the paper's DC bureau telling everyone there to fact check anything she offered that they included in their articles.  The warnings from TIMES reporters came long before the podcast.  I was getting e-mails from her colleagues in 2014.  Then there are the whiners trying to make her a face for feminism.  This is not Bash The Bitch.  This is her being held accountable (finally) for the damage she did.

And in you're White centric, Anglo, possibly Christian worlds, you're not getting how much damange she did.  You're not grasping why Arabs complained for years about her coverage.  It was offensive.  

And as someone who knows Rukmini's work, don't try to play the feminist card.  That liar never gave a damn about Iraqi women and she didn't cover them.  So it's a little late for her defenders to pretend that somehow she's a feminist.  

She needs to be fired.  Not reassigned, fired.

And the idiots praising her for the stolen documents?  What she did was unethical.  And she only returned them because the Iraqi government demanded they be returned.

Talk about Western entitlement, all these idiots praising her for raiding and stealing documents.  You have no respect for national sovereignty and your entitlement is showing.

She has caused serious damage in the Middle East but, hey, you really enjoyed that plate of nachos while you listened to her dramatic podcast so what do the lives of 'others' matter anyway, right?

Shame on you.  You're disgusting.  You place no value at all on an Arab life but you rush to rescue a serial liar when she's finally put on the hot seat.  Shame on you.

The lack of compassion for the Arab world is especially sad when we stop a minute to think that this is Christmas.  We are three days away from Christmas.  Yet no one wants to address the way Rukmini victimized Arabs, the western commentators just want to play the girl-card and pretend like we owe a non-feminist who refused to ever cover the problems facing Iraqi women something because she has a vagina.  I don't owe Rukmini a damn thing except scorn.

As the Iraqi government now speaks of shuttering displacement camps where tens of thousands of these internal refugees have been sheltering since then and returning them to their villages, the prospect of retribution back home awaits.

“The Islamic State is gone, and we’re still living in their wreckage,” said Kadhim al-Khazaraji, a local Shiite Muslim sheikh as his gaze settled on a house that had collapsed like a half-melted candle. “If I see someone here who was with ISIS back then, I will kill them. They killed my family.”

This hostility represents one of the largest obstacles to the government’s plan, announced in fall, to move ahead with the camp closures as part of a program of “safe and voluntary return.” Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has made the shutting of the camps one of his marquee promises.

More than three years after the Islamic State was ousted from its territory in Iraq, at least 1 million mostly Sunni civilians remain displaced and communities they hail from remain divided, the psychological scars of war often as fresh as those still etched into the facades of Dujail. There is no ready answer for how to stitch society back together.

But the Baghdad-based government is forcing them out -- something we've been calling out here since October.  In the KRG, they are not closing the camps.  Elsewhere in Iraq, they are.  This is not about helping the Iraqi people.  This is about saving money -- Iraq's got budget issues.  (So does the KRG but, again, they are not moving to close the camps.)  It is not safe for these people to return home.  Use your brain and you'll grasp that returning home as opposed to living in an open-air camp?  Anyone who could would gladly return home.

This is a punitive measure, it is not about helping anyone.  It needs to be called out.

Finally, tomorrow's snapshot may be later in the day that normal.  That's your heads up.

The following sites updated: