Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"This haphazard cache of documents. . ." UPDATED.

Further to this post, the self-aggrandizing auto-uproar certain old media outfits ("It's just like Tom Hanks' film Charlie Wilson's War!") are making of their collaboration with the similarly self-congratulating (and self-described "information activist") arch-geek and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is turning into a heap of twisted info-wreckage.

The Wikileaks "bombshell" revelation that four Canadian soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by American "friendly fire" in 2006 has turned out to be rubbish. The Yanks, routinely found wanting in their marksmanship and target-sighting skills at the best of times, did indeed drop a one-tonne bomb dangerously close to Canadian troops, but it "did not explode," if you don't mind, "and the Canadians were killed by grenades, rifle fire and rockets from Taliban insurgents who surrounded them on three sides, hiding in trenches and fortified buildings." Just like "the official story" said.

Does this kind of thing bother Assange, I wonder? Does it bother him that the children of the dead Canadians have to re-live their worst nightmare again four years later? "How do you explain after four years of telling them something — they were 11 and 14 when they lost their dad, and we told them one story, then something like this comes out in the media? My youngest grandson, he's 15 now, and last night when this came on he kicked the door in his bedroom. You know he's not like that. That's not who he is."

Here's Assange: "We are familiar with groups whose abuse we expose attempting to criticise the messenger to distract from the power of the message." But no need to panic, Wikileak fans. Old-fashioned customs like "fact-checking" aren't important when there's scandal to reveal: There's also a reference to a medevac helicopter being called in for a sick dog working with special forces troops.

Andrew Potter, as I noted earlier, has some interesting things to say about digital-age data-hacking and its implications for conventional news-gathering. But I'm beginning to wonder whether we're all taking these sorts of things a bit too seriously.

After all, here we have what for all appearances is a case of some especially cunning nerd hacking into the Toronto Star website to substitute a parody of a Jim Travers column about the Wikileaks affair and Canadian "perceptions" of the Afghanistan imbroglio, under Travers' own byline: "Even if these documents don’t change those perceptions, they may help this country see Afghanistan for what it is and what it’s doing to us." And nobody notices.

On the subject of news-media products well past their safe-to-consume date, the execrable anti-war windbag Eric "It's All About Oil!" Margolis is heading back to Americaland where he belongs after having been let go by the Sun Media outfit. And he's crying the same criticize-the-messenger wolf that Assange whines about: "Heretics like me who question war in Afghanistan, or deficit spending, or any of these other things are being shown the door."

More likely, Eric, you're being put out to pasture because you're a Pat-Buchanan-following, Taliban-sympathizing, conspiracy-mongering, placebo-dispensing right-wing douchebag that no self-respecting newspaper would hire as a paperboy.

There now. I feel much better.

Another update: NDP Wants Proof Taliban Killed Canadians. Does Jack Harris propose that we dig up the dead men from their graves to determine whether the bullet holes are where they are supposed to be? Exhaustive Canadian Forces Investigations Service Reports, the first-hand accounts of journalists, the eye-witness evidence of soldiers in the fight that day - not enough, apparently. Here's a soldier's report today: "I was there. My LAV CASEVACed Bulletmagnet after he was hit by the same shrap that got Mellish and Cushley. It was a Taliban Spig 9, not friendly fire. Jack Harris is a tool."

Christie Blatchford observes: "To conclude on the strength of a brief report in the War Logs that the Canadian government and the military had covered up a huge friendly-fire incident, the men who loved those dead soldiers would have had to be in on the conspiracy, would have had to lie and keep on lying when they returned home. A series of respected journalists, including those in the field that day, would all have been fooled or duped. Distinguished commanders also would have to have been in on it."

There would have to be something seriously wrong with you to call "conspiracy" on this.

(Regards to Mark Collins for the tip).


Blogger RadicalOmnivore said...

Wow, you're in fine form today; all spit & pizzle.
It's a strange thing but I've until recently been a bit of a fan of the whole wikileaks thing in principle. Somehow however, this great dump of a leak and Assange's mugging for the cameras and daft comments have me wondering if the info contained in the leak is really the object of the exercise or the excuse?

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