The Lies (and misconceptions) of the "'truth' movement"

Intro (scroll down for entries)

I readily admit that I have no doubts that most members of the “truth movement” sincerely believe all the nonsense that they spout. I even think that most of the “leaders” of the movement, the ones who run the sites and write the books make the videos etc believe all of what they purport. However far too many of them present the facts in a less than honest fashion: quotes are taken out of context, contrary information omitted, rumors are reported as fact etc, others are too blinded by their preconceived notions to see the fallacies of their theories. I did want a blog title that would garner attention and ‘The Misconceptions of the Truth Movement’ just wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

I will address specific errors made by leading “truthers” in this blog and will erase any generic replies that have nothing to do with the entry topic. In other words if the entry is about Amanda Keller contradicting herself replies going on about the debris from flight 93 or Silverstein’s “pull it" comment etc. etc. will be deleted. Personal attacks and insults whether directed at me or other commenters, whether made by “truthers” or “debunkers” will be deleted as well.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

American Raj = More of Margolis’ BS

As I documented earlier Margolis has given mutually exclusive accounts of his contact with the world’s moat terrorist 1) as of 1996-7 he had not met OBL, 2) he met OBL 1992 (or perhaps the late 80s). But he has given more takes on this. In the second edition of War at the Top of the World (2002) he wrote:

“I encountered bin Laden towards the end of the war near Jalalabad in the walled residence of a Pushtun warlord. We were a score of men in a large empty room…Bin Laden sat at the far end of the room from me. I noticed him I noticed him because of his stature. He was dressed as a simple fighter and spoke softly to the men around him. There was nothing else exceptionable about the man. In fact, I forgot about the encounter until the late 1990's when bin Laden burst upon the scene as the world's leading Islamic menace...Bin Laden survived the war and returned in late 1989 to Saudi Arabia.”
So he didn’t exactly meet OBL but rather they were “at the far end(s) of” a “large…room” from each other with about 20 other men. Though OBL “spoke softly to the men around him” there was no mention of him speaking with Margolis. This doesn’t qualify as having met OBL so it fits with his statement in the earlier edition that they “had not met” the date was in or before “late 1989”
By 2008 in his latest book American Raj the story had grown legs and a tail, from page 169:
I crossed paths once with bin Laden. It was during fighting outside Jalalabad, the Afghan city that commands the route from Peshawar to Kabul. I had been in battle with mujahedin against Afghan Communist troops, backed by armour and artillery. As is the Afghan custom, the battle ended before dusk and all sides repaired to their homes or camps. I was taken to the sprawling, mud-walled compound of my host, local warlord Hadji Abdul Qadeer, who later became vice-president of U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and was assassinated in Kabul in 2002.
We were about 20 men in a long, rectangular room covered in colourful Persian and Afghan carpets, reclining on round bolsters set against the wall. After about 30 minutes of smoking, drinking tea, and chatting, we all rose and prepared to go our various ways. I later recalled one man from the group because he was much taller than the others, remarkably thin, even gaunt, and did not look Afghan. He exuded an aura of profound calm and dignity, as well as an almost religious solemnity. The warrior smiled at me gently. He offered me traditional greetings in Arabic and I replied in the same tongue.
Strange that if Margolis really had exchanged words OBL he made no mention of this in 2001 when he wrote that he suspected the audio of the videotape had been faked [see more below] and only mentioned the terrorist speaking “softly to the men around him” in his 2002 book.
Stranger still is that in his 2002 article about Qadir’s assassination Margolis wrote about being in the presence of “tribal elders and mujihadin” in his friend’s home but made no mention of OBL being there and the date has been moved to “the early 1990's” (probably April 1992 when Jalalabad was retaken)
“In the early 1990's, civil war was raging across Afghanistan following the Soviet pull-out. I had just come from a fierce battle against communist Afghan forces at Jalalabad. Hadji Qadir, southern Afghanistan's most important warlord, gave me the hospitality of his large, walled tribal compound near Jalalabad. I stayed with him as an honored guest and joined him in audiences with tribal elders and mujihadin fighters. As governor of one of the nation's richest provinces - thanks to legal and illegal trade - Qadir commanded great influence and large numbers of tribal fighters.”
As he did in his infamous 2010 column Margolis expressed doubt in American Raj that the man in the famous “smoking gun” video really was OBL on page 178 he wrote:
In one 2004 tape “discovered” by U.S. forces in Afghanistan which I believe used an imposter to represent bin Laden he is seen chortling over the attack and showing with his hand how one of the planes dove into the World Trade Center tower. Having met the real Osama bin Laden I am convinced that the man in the tape, who was far heavier and broader of face than bin-Laden was a fake. The purpose of the tape was to convince American audiences of bin Laden’s guilt.
Besides the fact that it’s doubtful he really met OBL there are a couple problems with this:
1) The tape was found not long after the US invasion and was first played on air December 13, 2001 when very few American’s had any doubts about “bin Laden’s guilt.” I’m not sure if he described it as a “2004 tape” because he was careless of because the later date better fit his fake tape scenario but the latter seems more likely. He wrote about the tape four days after its release (December 17) and two days later spoke about in on CNN.
2) In his Dec. 17, 2001 column though he indicated that he thought the AUDIO might have been faked he expressed no doubt that the images were of OBL:
But two other Arabic experts say the tape's audio quality is so poor that almost nothing bin Laden says on it can be verified. To my ears, well accustomed to Arabic, half of bin Laden's words were inaudible. The translation was sometimes out of sync with the action on screen. Bin Laden's statements looked cut up and edited.
Cynics suggest the tape was a forgery made by Russian intelligence or the U.S. government, with incriminating statements spliced into an otherwise boring exchange of pleasantries between bin Laden and a visiting admirer.
Note that he did not claim to have spoken to or met OBL

Margolis is an intelligent and talented writer with the insight of being a Moslem who lived and studied in Egypt for several years and spent decades covering the Middle East thus it very unfortunate that he can’t be counted on to tell the truth but rather makes up fact to fit his thesis and/or tell a ‘sexier’ story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

More on Margolis

Yesterday I forgot to say that though Margolis didn’t make clear who would be responsible for the “Eruption on the Nile” after Mubarak he seemed to indicate it would be Islamists rather than secularists:

Egypt’s secular political opposition barely exists. The regime’s real opponent remains the relatively moderate, popular, Islamic Brotherhood, which predates World War II. It would win a free election hands down. But the Brotherhood’s leadership is old and tired. Younger, more dynamic leaders have all been jailed or bought off. Half of Egyptians are under 20.

What a confused paragraph! The first three sentences clearly indicated he thought the Islamic Brotherhood would be at the forefront of the ‘eruption’ but the next (and last) two portrayed them as emasculated.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Margolis lies again

In a series of posts a few months ago I pointed out that former Toronto Sun columnist Eric Margolis has told a number of lies over the years including that he met OBL, that he consistently questioned who was responsible for 9/11 and about what happened during a hijacked flight he was on. Unfortunately he has not stopped bending the truth. In his latest Lew Rockwell column he wrote:

President Barack Obama reportedly scourged CIA for not predicting the revolt on the Nile. Maybe CIA did, but no one in the White House was listening.

An impending explosion in Egypt was obvious to old Mideast hands like myself. Last 26 April, I wrote a column, "Eruption on the Nile," predicting Mubarak’s rule would soon end and that the US had already selected intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman as his successor. CIA could save a lot of time, money and error by simply reading each week.

However it is simply is not true that Margolis “predict[ed] Mubarak’s rule would soon end” in the column. Quite to the contrary he twice indicated that he expected the dictator to die in office:

“President Husni Mubarak, the US-supported strongman who has ruled Egypt with an iron hand for almost 30 years, is 81 and in frail health. Amazingly, he has no designated successor. No one knows who will take over Egypt when he dies.”

“Now, as Mubarak’s health fails, the US and Israel are increasingly alarmed his death could produce a political eruption in long-repressed Egypt.

Technically one could argue Margolis’ claim was accurate because he “predict[ed] Mubarak’s rule would soon end” but that was due his “frail health” rather than popular revolt. Thus Margolis was further off the mark than pundits who indicated the president would retire this year. What he predicted was turmoil over Mubarak’s succession.

While it’s true he said “Gen. Omar Suleiman, an ally of the US and Israel, is another possible strongman” he also mentioned Mubarak’s son Gamal and “another army or air force general” as strong possibilities and said “Washington would do well to back el-Baradei”.

But Margolis not the first person, by a long shot, to predict turmoil over Mubarak’s succession or cite Suleiman as a strong candidate. Almost 10 years before his column Egypt: Stable, but for How Long?” by Jon B. Alterman appeared in the Autumn 2000 edition of the Washington Quarterly (Volume 23, Number 4, , pp. 107-118). In the section `Configuring Stability: But What About the Succession?’ [pg. 114, PDF pg. 4] Alterman wrote that while Gamal and some army generals were possibilities, “Publicly attuned Egyptians and other astute observers, however, put their money on domestic intelligence veteran Omar Suleiman.”

Alterman MIGHT have been the first person to write that Suleiman was a leading candidate, but he was definitely not the last one before Margolis. Below are few examples of hundreds of such articles that appeared from years to days before "Eruption on the Nile":

Speculation has centered on two people: intelligence service chief Omar Suleiman, and Mubarak’s dashing 39-year-old banker son, Gamal”

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2002

Apart from [Gamal Mubarak], speculation has swirled around the country's intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, who came into the international spotlight recently as Egypt's go-between in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

Boston Globe - Sep 28, 2003

Now, finally, he seems to be grooming an heir in each camp: one a general, the other an entrepreneur; the first arguably his closest aide, the second his son…Until not so long ago few Egyptians even knew who Lieutenant General Omar Suleiman, Egypt's powerful chief of intelligence, was.

The Atlantic Monthly - October 2003

“[Gamal Mubarak’s] main rival is one of Mubarak’s best friends, General Omar Suleiman, 69, the spy chief”

The Sunday Times - June 12, 2005

“The other name most commonly raised is Omar Suleiman, the longtime head of intelligence”

NY Times - October 31, 2007

“[Omar Suleiman], believed to be the second-most-powerful person in Egypt and a potential successor to the 80-year-old [Hosni Mubarak], has been entrusted with the "Israeli file."”

Jerusalem Post - Jan 15, 2009

"Egyptian Regime Worried by Increasing Pressure on President Mubarak To Select Security Services Chief Colonel Umar Sulayman as his Successor”

Al-Quds al-Arabi website, London - June 24, 2009

“Mubarak’s politician son Gamal, widely tipped as a possible successor. But others too have their eye on the top job, notably intelligence chief Omar Suleiman”

Euronews – Oct. 31 2009

The first is Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief and long-rumored successor to Mubarak…Suleiman is the most likely candidate for vice president, who would succeed the president in the event of the president’s death or incapacitation.

STRATFOR - April 21, 2010

Note that the last one came out just 4 days before Margolis’ column and discussed the possibility “another army or air force general” might get the nod.

So there is no reason for the CIA to “[read his column in] each week” why should they waste their time with a liar who has shown no signs of being ahead of the curve?