Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Russ Baker bashes New Yorker piece on 'Getting Bin Laden' for sketchy sourcing

The spin cycle apparently ain't what it used to be. Is the New Yorker's exclusive article on the Bin Laden raid mainly based on whoppers circulated by the writer's dad, a top brass with military intel? [pictured above] A veteran reporter warns us not to be, er, schmidled:
When you look closely, nothing seems right about what will surely become the accepted account of the raid that nailed America’s enemy number one. And then things get even weirder…

•It is based on reporting by a man who fails to disclose that he never spoke to the people who conducted the raid, or that his father has a long background himself running such operations (this even suggests the possibility that Nicholas Schmidle's own father could have been one of those "unnamed sources.")

•It seems to have depended heavily on trusting second-hand accounts by people with a poor track record for accurate summations, and an incentive to spin.

•The alleged decisions on killing bin Laden and disposing of his body lack credibility.

•The DNA evidence that the SEALs actually got their man is questionable.

•Though certain members of Congress say they have seen photos of the body (or, to be precise, a body), the rest of us have not seen anything.

•Promised photos of the ceremonial dumping of the body at sea have not materialized.

•The eyewitnesses from the house -- including the surviving wives -- have disappeared without comment.

We weren't allowed to hear from the raid participants. And on August 6, seventeen Navy SEALs died when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. We're told that fifteen of them came, amazingly, from the same SEAL Team 6 that carried out the Abbottabad raid -- but that none of the dead were present for the raid. We do get to hear the stories of those men, and their names.

Of course, if any of those men had been in the Abbottabad raid -- or knew anything about it of broad public interest, we'd be none the wiser -- because, the only "reliable sources" still available (and featured by the New Yorker) are military and intelligence professionals, coming out of a long tradition of cover-ups and fabrications.

Meanwhile, we have this president, this one who according to the magazine article didn't ask about the core issues -- why this man was killed, who killed him, under whose orders, what would be done with the body.

Well, he may not want answers. But we ought to want them. Otherwise, it's all just a game.

Hat tip to the new'Forensic Journalism' website,

How's this for Bad assery??

(Russ Baker, the investigative reporter behind whowhatwhy -- a site that we hope will not overlook where, when, and how??-- points out that he is not the well-known Pulitzer Prize winning columnist

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Elementary my dear!

He may be synonymous with crafty detective work and putting criminals behind bars, but it seems that even Sherlock Holmes never saw this one coming. Mark Gatiss, the executive producer and co-writer of BBC show Sherlock, tweeted how the cast and crew had to abandon the set during the London riots. "This is a new one on me. Scene incomplete owing to approaching looters. Unbelievable times," he tweeted (!/Markgatiss). "Unit evacuated. F*****g terrifying!". The i, P15

hat tip to Media Guardian