THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WHITEWASH
Twenty-four hours after the other shoe dropped at CBS and their long-awaited independent report was released, the mainstream media and their cousins in the blogosphere have analyzed and debated its meaning. Some bloggers see some small victories in the otherwise tepid and timid conclusions reached by the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel. Others, especially Hugh Hewitt and Jonathan Last, understandably call the entire exercise a whitewash for failing to reach the obvious conclusion that producer Mary Mapes and CBS allowed Memogate to occur because of their deep political biases. Some, oddly, have hardly bothered to comment at all.
The mainstream media has analyzed and opined on the report all morning. Every major news outlet has its own take on the situation, although as Hugh notes, they mostly want to declare the war over and look towards a new era of accountability with a jaundiced eye. Given their proximity to the same pressures and biases evident at CBS, this reaction is understandable, if self-destructive; a refusal to see the truth almost guarantees that another major news outlet will suffer the same debacle.
But what's missing from all the mainstream media analyses, as CQ reader John Holas notes, is any consideration at all of the role that the blogosphere played in bringing accountability to CBS. The panel report itself only mentions the word "blog" 12 times in the entire 234-page report, and only in passing except for the Aftermath section, which acknowledges that the criticism began with Power Line and Little Green Footballs. After that, no mention is made of the critical role that the entire blogosphere played in keeping the story hot and breaking down the stonewalling that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes used to attempt escaping their accountability.
The mainstream media today offers the same myopic analysis for CBS' woes. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz and Dana Milbank never mention the word "blog in their analysis. Kurtz doesn't mention blogs once in his news story on the CBS report, either, although he does quote a few bloggers in his Media Notes column today. Neither does the New York Times' Bill Carter in the story which I linked earlier, nor does USA Today's coverage of the story. Bloggers get shut out at the Boston Globe, too. The Los Angeles Times article on the CBS report actually manages to mention blogs -- once, in the penultimate paragraph:
Much of the early criticism of the broadcast on Bush came from Web loggers, or "bloggers," and their critiques spread rapidly through the media.
Perhaps you'd assume the Internet news sources would do better -- but you'd be mistaken. CNN also comes up with nothing on bloggers, and in fact their report no longer has a link on CNN's front page. MS-NBC also comes a cropper on bloggers, even though it pays a few bloggers for commentary and hosts its own blog site.
Why all the reluctance? How exactly does the mainstream media fail to report this singular and revolutionary event, where a mainstream news outlet was forced into accountability by a semi-organized movement of its own customers? Without the blogosphere, there would have been no story. The other news agencies hardly poked their nose into the story until Power Line, LGF, InDC Journal, and a number of other bloggers and Internet users had created a firestorm of outrage over the obvious forgeries of the Killian memos. Bloggers, being failed by the media organizations they patronize, hired their own experts to review the CBS memos, notably Bill Ardolino at InDC Journal.
In other words, the blogosphere did the MSM's job for it -- and ate their lunch while doing so. Only after professional-quality reporting burst forth from hundreds of citizen journalists did any of the MSM grab onto the story. Even then, the quality of their reporting was almost uniformly poor, castigating the amateur sleuths in the blogosphere as partisan and unreliable, while they mostly declined to engage CBS on the merits of the argument. (ABC and the New York Post were two notable exceptions.) In their central mission to the American populace -- uncovering and reporting the truth -- the mainstream media failed utterly, and for the same reasons as CBS allowed Memogate to air: political bias.
That's the other part of the whitewash we see in today's coverage of the CBS report. The mainstream media would have us believe now that the corruption of CBS and 60 Minutes Wednesday was self-evident and needed no impetus for discovery. They do not want to come to terms with an activist and energized readership, one that refuses to act like sheep any more. These media leaders cannot face their own biases and their desperate grip on the spigot of information, and so they attempt to simply ignore the critical role that the blogosphere played in bringing this debacle to light.
When we talk about whitewashes, let's remember that history can also be rewritten to hand defeats to the victors and acquittals to the guilty. We can see this process happening before our eyes in the media right now -- and the blogosphere had better react to it.
NY SUN: HOW DID HEYWARD AND RATHER ESCAPE?
While the New York Times writes its moderate critique of CBS News' response to the Thornburgh-Boccardi report, another New York paper presents a devastating look at the network's decision to keep and protect the two people who should have taken responsibility for allowing the Killian memo segment to air. David Blum writes in the New York Sun that both men should have resigned in the wake of the scandal, and specifically their responses to it:
[W]e are supposed to accept Mr. Moonves's contention, in his statement that accompanied the report's release yesterday, that Mr. Heyward deserves to keep his job because "he issued direct instructions to investigate the sourcing of the story" and "pressed for his staff to come up with new and substantive information." But the report itself makes clear that Mr. Heyward (who personally screened the piece in advance of air) wrote his first significant questioning e-mail after watching a "Good Morning America" discussion between George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson almost 36 hours after the story aired. Is that supposed to be leadership?
As I have noted earlier, Heyward appears to carry little weight within his own news division. His early warnings to substantiate "evey syllable" of the Killian memos not only went unheeded, but completely ignored by his staff and producer Mary Mapes. Once the story broke, Heyward dithered in the face of its immediate and substantial criticism regarding the authenticity of the memos that formed the core of the story. He allowed the same team that produced the report to dictate the networks' response.
Small wonder that Heyward gets little attention to his directives. A leader, as Blum infers, does not stand around and let events consume him in a crisis. Heyward did just that. Moonves notes that Heyward "asked the right questions," but Heyward wasn't demanding the answers. Instead, he allowed Dan Rather and Mary Mapes to hijack the CBS News division in a destrutive wagon-circling exercise, blaming the criticism of their reporting on political partisanship.
Speaking of Rather, who CBS titled as their "managing editor", it turns out that Rather was nothing more than an empty suit, a mouthpiece in front of the camera. He did nothing to develop this story, and one suspects that this is the rule instead of the exception. However, Blum nails Rather not for the story itself, but his participation in the aftermath:
[H]ow does Mr. Rather, the story's on-air reporter - who, the commission reports, fought pressure to deliver the half-hearted on-air apology he eventually gave for the story on September 20 - avoid culpability for his egregious lack of involvement in the story he presented? According to the commission, Mr. Rather never even saw the story before it aired.
According to the report, Rather now renounces that half-hearted apology. He says he did it only to be a "team player" after CBS got shellacked by the media for the report. Amazingly, he still believes that the Killian memos are genuine, and he supports Mary Mapes' contention that the Thornburgh-Boccardi report actually bolsters that position. Rather will engage in endless spin instead of acknowledging his and CBS' egregious error -- a mindset that has proven dangerous in the newsroom, and one that should get him fired immediately, if for no other reason.
Another reason still exists, however. Rather, as Managing Editor, got in front of a camera after the storm of criticsm broke to do damage control. He told the nation that the documents were genuine, that they had been authenticated by experts, and that they originated from "unimpeachable" sources. Rather had no personal knowledge of any of these assertions, and yet he told his audience that he personally vouched for the truth of these statements. The most charitable explanation possible was that Rather put so much stock in Mapes that he believed her own assertions. It still doesn't change the fact that Rather lied, and Rather misrepresented his own involvement in ensuring the accuracy of the report.
For that reason alone, Rather should have gotten the axe.
The CBS response to the tepid Thornburgh-Boccardi report has proven disappointing. They fired two medium-level managers, one executive, and Mary Mapes, but addressed nothing to the two people who crafted the lies that CBS told in the aftermath of the scandal. Until they do, and until they address the rot that exists within their news division, CBS will never recover their credibility. Tuesday, January 11, 2005
The New York Times reports on what it calls, somewhat refreshingly, a "Post-Mortem of a Broadcast Disaster." The Times doesn't report much that is new, but the overall prognosis is pretty depressing:
[A] production staff member said the staff at CBS did not feel powerful enough to bring about change. "We have no juice," the staff member said. "We're a dying business, and this didn't help us. Some people feel like CBS News could be out of business in five years."
I don't think that will happen, but I also don't think the people at CBS understand why they are in a tailspin, and have been for some years. The fundamental problem, I think, has been a willingness to sacrifice accuracy in order to serve political objectives.
This description of the role of Mary Mapes in the 60 Minutes fiasco is, I think, revealing:
[T]he central explanation for how CBS went wrong seemed to be a case of a star producer overruling the better judgments of an entire series of top news executives. One senior CBS executive said many staff members seemed to be more afraid of Ms. Mapes than of Mr. Heyward, which could help undermine his position with the staff.
I think there is more to the story than this, but the Thornburgh report makes clear how vital Mapes's role was, and often leaves the reader wondering where the adults were, if there are any still working for CBS News. Still, the description of the tyrannical Ms. Mapes is familiar to us all.
We've already written that the Thornburgh report's most ludicrous feature is its half-hearted attempt to clear CBS of the charge of political bias. The Times doesn't seem to buy that theory, either:
Though Mr. Moonves and other CBS executives yesterday pointed to the panel's exoneration of the network on charges of political bias against the president, not everyone agreed that it played no role at all.
"It sounds like you had a star reporter here who fell in love with a story," [Alex] Jones [director of the Shorenstein Center on Press and Politics at Harvard University] said. "Her previous work had given her a reputation sufficient to bowl over everyone else. It seems like it was a combination of competitive pressure, hubris and a little politics. I think it's foolish to separate this entirely from politics, no matter what the report says. All in all that's a witches' brew."
True enough, but let me offer this alternative theory: the fundamental problem that led to the downfall of 60 Minutes and, perhaps, CBS News, was the fact that no one involved in the reportorial or editorial process was a Republican or a conservative. If there had been anyone in the organization who did not share Mary Mapes's politics, who was not desperate to counteract the Swift Boat Vets and deliver the election to the Democrats, then certain obvious questions would have been asked: Where, exactly, did these documents come from? What reason is there to think that they really originated in the "personal files" of a long-dead National Guard officer, if his family has no knowledge of them? How did such modern-looking memos come to be produced in the early 1970s? How can these critical memos, allegedly by Jerry Killian, be reconciled with the glowing evaluations of Lt. Bush that Killian signed? Why haven't you interviewed General "Buck" Staudt, who is casually slandered in one of the alleged memos? Why didn't you show the memos to General Bobby Hodges, rather than reading phrases from them to him over the telephone? Isn't it a funny coincidence that these "newly discovered" memos are attributed to the one person in this story who is conveniently dead?
And so on, ad nearly infinitum. But, because virtually everyone in the CBS News organization shared Mary Mapes's politics and objective (i.e., the election of John Kerry), skeptical questions were not asked. If there is a single overriding explanation for how a fake story, intended to influence a Presidential election through the use of forged documents, could have been promulgated by 60 Minutes, it is the lack of diversity at CBS News.
For some years now, the party line of the mainstream media has been: of course we're pretty much all Democrats, but that doesn't influence our news coverage. If nothing else, Rathergate should put that defense to rest once and for all.
In a couple of weeks, I will be participating in a conference at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, sponsored by the Kennedy School along with the Harvard Law School and the Shorenstein Center on Press and Politics. The subject will be journalism, blogging, credibility and ethics. Judging from the list of participants, I suspect that most of the discussion may be about how bloggers can become more credible by adopting the standards of mainstream journalists. My own perspective will be a bit different. So far, the blogosphere has a far better record of honesty and accuracy than mainstream organs like the New York Times and CBS. This isn't entirely a matter of personality; it is also a function of the checks and balances of the blogosphere, which are far stronger and more effective than the alleged "checks and balances" of the mainstream media, which, in the absence of political and intellectual diversity, may not operate at all. Monday, January 10, 2005
UPDATE -- January 11: From John Podhoretz the The New York Post: Box In By Bias. (Via TIA Daily)
But here's the thing. It doesn't matter whether CBS executives met in a room, twirled moustaches and gave each other high-fives about getting George Bush. What matters is that they turned their airwaves over to someone [Mary Mapes] who was clearly in the grip of an obsession.
And here's the other thing. They were able to do such a thing because they did not see her obsession as an obsession -- because, no doubt, most of them wanted it to be true, too.
That's what happens when you're blinded by bias. Thornburgh and Boccardi [CBS's independent panel] didn't want to say so. The world doesn't need them to say so. The world knows the truth.
HAMAS CALLS FOR MORE DEATH
Meanwhile, Hamas calls for more suicide bombings.
As the Palestinian Central Election Committee was holding a press conference in Ramallah on Monday to announce the final results of the election for the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority, hundreds of students attended a rally organized by Hamas at Bir Zeit University, where they called for more suicide attacks against Israel.
“Oh suicide bomber, wrap yourself with an explosive belt and fill the scene with blood,” chanted a chorus of five male students at the rally, held by the Hamas-affiliated Islamic List to mark the ninth anniversary of the killing of Hamas bomb-maker Yehya Ayyash, better known as “The Engineer.”
Green Hamas flags and large portraits of slain Hamas leaders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi decorated the campus and the hall where some 500 activists gathered to honor the former university student responsible for a string of suicide bombings that killed at least 100 Israelis in the mid-90s.
LONDON MAYOR: DHIMMI PAR EXCELLENCE
According to Islam Online (a radical Islamic agitprop site that used to hide its lunacy a little better) London Mayor “Red Ken” Livingstone is calling on British media to apologize to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi for the mean things they have said about him.
LONDON, January 11 (IslamOnline.net &News Agencies) – London Mayor Ken Livingstone on Tuesday, January 11, called on British media to apologize for sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi over the vile campaign that sought to blemish his reputation during his visit to London in July.
Mean things that all happen to be true. Red Ken seems to have forgotten that, in September 2004, Sheikh al-Qaradawi said that murdering Americans in Iraq is a religious duty.
But maybe Red Ken believes that statement is just another lie circulated by the Mossad and the Zionist lobby:
Speaking at a press conference, Livingstone further urged those who took for granted false reports circulated by the Israeli intelligence services Mossad to admit that they were plainly wrong, Al-Jazeera satellite channel said.
He said he will submit a report to the Press Complaint Commission to keep it posted on the problems of the British media, which often promulgate stereotypes about Islam and its respected leaders.
British Muslims had expressed disappointment at the campaign launched by the “Zionist” lobby in the UK ahead of Qaradawi’s visit.
Islam Online then proceeds to slaver over Mayor Livingstone’s amazingly scurrilous attack on the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
Livingstone further revealed at his press conference that the vicious campaign against Qaradawi was driven by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), who is led by a former Israeli intelligence officer, Al-Jazeera added.
He urged the institute to offer an apology for Al-Qaradawi, criticizing it for depending on unauthentic reports released by the Mossad.
The Mayor said that the institute was exploited by Mossad and the extremist right-wing in Britain to propagate untrue allegations about Islam and Muslim figures.
Livingstone has frequently said that a better understanding of Islam and of Muslims would show that the “differences are nowhere near as great as some would like to suggest.”
Judge for yourself, if you think you’re strong enough to resist the evil Mossad mind control beams of MEMRI; their report on Sheikh al-Qaradawi is here: Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi in London to Establish ‘The International Council of Muslim Clerics’. And you can also find a selection of videos with translated subtitles (no doubt also fabricated by the Mossad) featuring the freaky Sheikh at MEMRI TV. Tuesday, January 11, 2005
ABBAS: "LITTLE JIHAD IS OVER, BIG JIHAD STARTS"
Of course, this "little jihad" and "big jihad" talk recalls the concepts of jihad akbar (greater jihad) and jihad asghar (lesser jihad) -- the idea that the spiritual struggle within the soul is the greater jihad, with the lesser jihad being warfare. Of course, 20th century Muslim theorists revered by jihadists today, such as Hassan Al-Banna and Abdullah Azzam, reject this idea as based on a weak hadith, and stress the fact that in the Qur'an and Hadith, jihad is clearly warfare against unbelievers, and only secondarily anything else.
But anyway, in this context it is extremely unlikely that Mahmoud Abbas meant that it was time for Palestinians to begin a spiritual struggle. It is much more likely that his actual meaning was something far more sinister. From Israel National News, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) received just over 62% of the vote, and will take Arafat's place as Palestinian Authority chief - with a practically identical platform. Appearing before cheering crowds last night, Abu Mazen did little to allay Israeli fears that he is no different than Arafat. He said he dedicates his victory to "brother shahid [martyr] Yasser Arafat," to the "shahids and prisoners," and to the "Palestinian people from Rafiach to Jenin." The crowd responded, "A Million Shahids Marching to Jerusalem!"
Abu Mazen also said that the period of the "little Jihad [holy war] had ended, and now the big Jihad is beginning." This quote led to a quaint exchange on Israel Radio's morning newsmagazine. Arabic-speaking correspondent Avi Yisacharov played the tapes of Abu Mazen's quotes, and then quickly said, "Regarding the future..." He was immediately interrupted by anchorman Aryeh Golan, who said, "Whoa, wait a second. What's this 'big Jihad' stuff?" Yisacharov gave a nervous chuckle and said, "I don't think he means a real Jihad, he just means the challenges ahead of reforms in the PA and the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel..." Yisacharov similarly played a recording of a leading Abu Mazen supporter singing in joy at the results of the election, and explained that it was simply "an old PLO war song."
MK Shimon Peres, who is expected to be named Associate Prime Minister this afternoon if the Knesset approves the new composition of the government, said that Abu Mazen will have to apologize for this statement, "just like he apologized for his 'Zionist enemy' statement." Peres added that Abu Mazen was a "moderate, smart and experienced, and we have to give him a chance."
Yes, those apologies will take care of the problem. Is Shimon Peres blind, or does he just expect the rest of us to be?
PA TV SERMONS: TSUNAMI CAUSED BY JEWS AND AMERICA
From Palestinian Media Watch, with thanks to Anthony:
Sheik Ibrahim Madiras Friday sermon, PA TV Jan. 7, 2005:
"The Muslim remembers, how the Jews corrupted the land...Oh Muslims! The Jews are Jews. Their character and custom are the corruption and destruction of this land. We keep warning you: the Jews are a cancer that spreads inside the body of the Islamic and Arab nation.... They invest in the East Asian countries, which were destroyed [by the Tsunami] because of the Jewish and American corruption and destruction."
Sheik Ibrahim Madiras Friday sermon, PA TV Dec. 31, 2004:
“[Sharon said] ‘No to the return to the 67 borders’. I will not add my voice to Sharon’s voice, but raise it above his voice and tell him: No to the return to the 67 borders. We are interested in returning to our genuine borders. We want to return to the 1948 [pre-Israel] borders... We want to return to these borders, and we will yet return to them, by Allah, even if it will take time.
We are interested in returning to the 1936 borders, to the revolution... and we are interested in returning to 1929 borders... [a time when] a group of our grandfather and fathers became Martyrs for Allah in the Al-Buraq revolution, as they were defending the Al-Aqsa mosque from the Hagana gangs, Allah curse them and curse those who supported them. We want to return to 1919 borders... [We have a claim] which we can't forget and will never forgive forever... [against] Britain and all governments who assisted that state [Israel] to be established on this land, which is a false state on a true land...
America today, America is the sponsor of terror on this land. America, who pretends for freedom and pretends for democracy, is the sponsor of terror on the face of this land. America has reached her peak, we admit in it, America has reached a peak but, by Allah’s will, is on the way to the abyss. America, led by its president now, [who is] leading it to the abyss, to destruction, to death, by Allah’s will. America, for whom Bush dug a grave the day he invaded Afghanistan, and prepared the grave for burial the day he invaded Iraq, by Allah, America will be buried the day the American embassy will be moved to Jerusalem, and it will be the last nail in her coffin.”
OMAR BAKRI CALLS BRITISH MUSLIMS TO WAGE JIHAD
Nor does he mean a "spiritual struggle." Search for Bakri in the archives here and you will see that this is really nothing new for him. Note also his declaration that British moderate Muslims are not true Muslims: variations of this statement form a cornerstone of jihadist recruitment efforts, and are virtually impossible for moderates to refute, since Bakri and his ilk can so easily invoke the Qur'an and Sunnah in support of what they say. "British Muslims called to take up jihad," from UPI, with thanks to Twostellas.
LONDON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Muslims living in Britain are facing two choices; either to migrate or to join the jihad, a key Islamic figure has said.
Sheikh Omar Bakir Muhammed, leader of the now officially disbanded Islamic militant group Al Muhajiroun told United Press International Saturday that as the covenant of security under which Muslims previously lived in Britain has been broken, Muslims must now consider themselves at war.
"And I declare we should ourselves join the global Islamic camp against the global crusade camp," he said.
What violated the covenant, according to Sheikh Omar, was the anti-terrorist legislation introduced in the United Kingdom after the 9/11 attacks. If the British government would review these policies and release those detained without trial in Belmarsh prison and elsewhere, Muslims could live at peace in Britain. Otherwise, they must prepare themselves to fight.
"The response from the Muslims will be horrendous if the British government continues in the way it treats Muslims," he said, adding that suicide bombings were a possibility.
He called on Muslims to form a new coalition united behind al-Qaida with Osama Bin Laden as their leader.
This jihadi group would replace Al-Muhajiroun, which is no longer needed, he said. By dissolving such parties the Muslim community will have to come together, and as the judge of the Sharia court in Britain, he is the one to unite them, he added.
Those who did not wish to either leave or fight would not be regarded as Muslims, said Sheikh Omar, condemning in particular the Muslim Council of Britain for urging the Muslim community to cooperate with the British government.
"They are hypocrites, we don't believe they are Muslims," he told UPI. "In a time of crisis, who ever allies with them (the kuffaar -- non-believers) is one of them, so I don't believe they are Muslims in the first place."
"I doubt if one of them would dare to walk the streets of Mecca by themselves," he added. Monday, January 10, 2005
GOOD NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN, PART 8
To read Chrenkoff's latest post, click here. Monday, January 10, 2005
UN REPORT SHOWS INDIFFERENCE TO AUDITORS
The New York Times reports on the release of the preliminary Volcker Report on the morass of the UN's Oil-For-Food program. While the Times laughingly describes the Volcker Commission as "independent" when they reported and answered to Kofi Annan, the report makes clear the arrogance of UN management on following accepted standards of management and accounting. Out of 179 key recommendations made by auditors during the life of OFF, only 22 ever got implemented:
The release of the confidential documents shows with new depth the loose financial controls over the sprawling program, which has become a major scandal at the United Nations.
While neither the audits nor the accompanying briefing paper from the commission contain allegations of bribery or corruption by United Nations officials, the audits make clear that many of the deficiencies were known in the late 1990's, at a time when indications of corruption of the program by Saddam Hussein and others were also reaching the United Nations.
So the widespread incompetency and corruption that plagued the program didn't surprise anyone once it came out, including Kofi Annan, presumably. Annan is in a tough position; either he claims he knew nothing about these audits -- in which case, his own competency comes into serious question -- or he ignored them, which makes him complicit in the scheme. Quite simply, Annan has no other choices before him.
Even though Volcker found no massive corruption in his limited scope (remember he had no subpoena powers and only received cooperation voluntarily), what he found demonstrates the hopelessness of Turtle Bay. One of the most prominent failures uncovered by Volcker was a collapse of oversight over the OFF program's New York office, which spent 40 percent of the administration fees paid by the Iraqis. This office is in the same city as the UN's headquarters and Annan let them run wild.
Nor does the Volcker Commission do much more than give a laundry list of audit violations. The 9/11 Commission faulted American intelligence services for failing to "connect the dots," and it looks like Volcker failed to do much in that regard as well. For instance, the Swiss group Cotecna managed the contracts for the UN's OFF office, especially for goods shipped into Iraq for relief efforts; in fact, it did the lion's share of the work. If the mismanagement was that bad, then what does it tell us that Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna and continued to get paid off for it for years after he left? Volcker claims not to have found widespread corruption, but paying off the Secretary-General's son while the UN failed to heed its own auditors in managing Cotecna indicates a whole lot of . Funny that doesn't get much mention by Volcker.
Small wonder that Jan Egeland yesterday announced that the tsunami-relief efforts being directed by the UN would release financial disclosures on a regular and ongoing basis during its run. The revelations from OFF show that UN management cannot be trusted to run aid programs competently under normal circumstances. For myself, I plan on waiting for the Senate investigation headed by Norm Coleman, which I think will give a much more complete picture. Monday, January 10, 2005
EMBALM THE VOTE
This one goes out to Washingtonians -- particularly the readers and bloggers at Sound Politics -- including Bill Swan, Rich Chandler, and Brian Crouch. Sound Politics is the place to go for the latest news regarding the controversial election results for the governor's race in Washington state, which includes, among many other irregularities, votes by dead people. Graige McMillan at WorldNetDaily.com provides a good overview of the shenanigans: Ghostly election victory hurts all of us.
It's difficult to understand how governor-elect Christine Gregoire feels she can represent Washington state's citizens when the ballots that elected her were cast by ... well ... ghosts. That's right. In the heavily Democratic Interstate 5 corridor along Puget Sound in western Washington, some 8,400 of the ballots cast don't seem to belong to anybody. But they were counted.
You don't have to live downwind to know that this election stinks well beyond the borders of Washington state. What's at stake here is the disenfranchisement of an entire state's citizens by phantom voters who show up only on Election Day, cast "provisional" ballots that are never verified, and live at the elections offices in King County and other public buildings. Amazingly enough, as John Fund reports in Political Journal -- over 300 of these phantom voters actually share the same handwriting!
UPDATE -- January 10: From John Fund at The Wall Street Journal: Don't Count Rossi Out: A stolen election in Washington? Not if bloggers can help it.
THREATENING THE HOMELAND
Let’s play a game of who made the following anti-American diatribe:
…the world considers the American people to be an uncivilized and barbaric nations that does nothing but appreciate aggression against others, only killing and a lust for bloodshed, and this has been proved by examples that when the American people agree to help other countries, America attacks and occupies them without any right. Those examples give a clear picture of the rotten culture of the American people. The killing an torturing and attacking and even the way they speak with other people; their eating and drinking habits and the way they walk and the way they refuse to respect the law—all these images have made the Muslims more certain about the savageness of this nation and its far cry from civilization. It made possible to change the minds of all of the people who were tricked by the media and the false images that were transmitted through the media…
The American people are an ignorant people. It is the most ignorant nation in the world and [its government] can easily manipulate the minds of its citizens. And this nation does not know anything about politics, neither domestic nor the foreign. Anyone who looks to the leader of that nation and the way he addresses that nation will understand the shallowness of the minds of the people who voted for him… With such intellects, the most stupid government has no problem passing along any lies which are then bought by the public. This includes the lies about what is happening to your sons in Iraq and what they face and how many of them are killed everyday. The ignorant people believe the ridiculous numbers given of the casualties…
The whole world hates America and hates the American people and you do not ask yourselves why writers and media people race to show the faults of America.
Was this tirade issued by conspiracy theorist, media sweetheart and honored guest and darling of the Democratic National Convention Michael Moore? Or was it acerbic cartoonist, columnist and Communist Ted Rall, who routinely refers to the American armed forces as murderers? As difficult as it is to believe since this is standard fare for the Left, the answer is neither. The above statements were in fact made by the Islamic Army of Iraq (al-Jaysh al-Islami fi Iraq, hat tip to The Counterterrorism Blog). The Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) doesn’t only hate America, Americans, our culture, the way we walk, talk, eat and brush our teeth, they want to kill us both in Iraq and here at home. The have explicitly threatened attacks on American soil.
Do you know that the percentage of people who agree on attacking America in her own homeland has greatly increased? Those who were content with defending our land have now become supporters of the idea of transferring the battle from our homeland to yours to give American civilians a taste of what our civilians are tasting in our country. The upcoming days of the new year will show you what we mean, O’ people of America… This year will feature great surprises that the fighters have prepared for your sons outside America and even greater surprises that the fighters have prepared for inside America. Then, you will realize whatever happened was your own fault.
The Islamic Army of Iraq has a long history of butchering both foreigners and Iraqis since the liberation of Iraq in the Spring of 2003. Their latest exploits include the murder of Italian journalist and Red Cross volunteer Enzo Baldoni, attacks on Ahmed Chalabi (which killed several of his bodyguards), the murder of Pakistani truck drivers, the kidnapping of a Filipino truck driver (which led to the pullout of Philippines from Iraq), and the kidnapping of French journalists (who were later released after pressure from various Islamists for fear of alienating the French).
The IAI has recently allied with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq. As the recently released French hostages reported, the IAI clearly has a foreign agenda, as the demand to rescind the hajib, the head scarves worn by Muslim women, in French schools indicates. The group has other foreign ambitions as well, and is a mixture of both foreign Islamists who trained in Afghanistan’s terror camps and remnants of Saddam’s Baathist thugs.
A militant who said he had trained in Osama bin Laden's Afghan camps listed the objectives as: the overthrow of the Egyptian and Saudi regimes; the defeat of American forces in Iraq; the driving of a wedge between Europe and the United States; the re-creation of the Arab caliphate; and the prosecution on a wide front of a war against the West, depicted as one of self-defense…
Some militants in the group - the Islamic Army of Iraq - had a different background from that of the man who said he had trained in Afghanistan. One, whom the journalists referred to as "the fat guy" and who was described to them as the movement's chief of internal security, appeared to have trained in Saddam Hussein's intelligence services. He was alternately cajoling and blunt, conciliatory and threatening.
"He was a professional, an ex-Baathist, a follower of Islam but not a fanatic," Mr. Malbrunot said. It was clear to the journalists that the Islamic Army included former supporters of Mr. Hussein alongside jihadist fanatics they called the "bin Ladenists."
At one point they asked a man the security chief referred to as his "boss" what relations his group had with the movement led by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "He said they would cooperate on certain tactical missions, but maintained separate organizations and overall strategies," Mr. Malbrunot said.
The attitudes and opinions of the likes of the Islamic Army of Iraq are not formed overnight, this is the culmination of years and years of hatred and disgust with the American culture and way of life. They do not have a disagreement with a particular set of policies, it is our very existence that threatens them, and we must be removed to appease their hatreds.
There has been much hand-ringing that the invasion of Iraq has caused more people to hate us, but when ever have members of al Qaeda, Baathists and other Islamists ever liked us? It has been stated that the invasion of Iraq has driven the likes of the Baathists and al Qaeda to form alliances. The 9-11 Commission report, however, demonstrates that Islamists and Baathists have sought relationships in the past, and via Zarqawi, maintained strong links.
The invasion of Iraq may have accelerated the union of Baathists and Islamists, but it is difficult to argue they were not headed in this direction regardless of an American invasion of Iraq or not. We chose to invade Iraq on our own terms and our own timetable, not after there was a chance for our enemies to gather strength and form intricate alliances. The terrorists want to shift the fault for potential attacks on the American homeland on the invasion of Iraq, but this ignores the real problems that exist in the Arab and Muslim world – totalitarian governments, a culture of blame, the perversion of Islam into a radical ideology, a massive inferiority complex, a conspiratorial worldview, repressive social and economic systems, an acceptance of a culture of death. America has been the Great Satan for many years, and the invasion of Iraq is used as a pretext to attack us. The terrorists would have tried to attack us whether we invaded Iraq or not, they just would have done it under a different banner with a different excuse. Monday, January 10, 2005