Arms and the problem of academic selection…

Hearts and Minds was uncommonly good value last week. Newton Emerson picks up on a recent Interpol report confirming the veracity of three laptops seized after a late night bombing raid of a FARC camp two kilometres inside the Ecuadorian border. The contents are claimed by the Colombian government to show that the IRA was paid £28 million for ’14 terrorist training modules’. Then he asks just how the IRA matched individual rebels to which modules, without resorting to academic selection? The current Education Minister, and former organiser of Bring them home campaign group the double butt of the joke. PS, It’s interesting to note that one of the expert witnesses at the time of the trial in Bogota argued that since the FARC are well in advance technically of the IRA; there would be no point in the IRA trying to train the FARC. Something or someone is wrong somewhere along the line…

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  • Shore Road Resident

    Will someone at H&M;fix their website? The If You Ask Me page won’t scroll down, it’s been like that for months and nobody seems to have noticed…

  • El Paso

    Is Mike now officialy Newt’s biggest fan? I find his brand of humour quite tiring after so many years of basically telling the same joke. But hey, everyone’s a critic. As for the Interpol report, let’s hope it’s not based on Columbian military intellegence – or ‘bullshit’ as we call it around here.

  • earnan

    “14 terrorist training modules”

    i wonder what those consist of

  • Driftwood

    I’d like to have seen that, but agree with SRR, H&M;website is crap, and If you ask me bit only gives a paragraph or so.

  • Garibaldy

    I don’t Newt gives much credit to the supposed contents of the laptop (at least I hope not) but I thought this was a clever piece of satire.

  • El Paso

    “…a clever piece of satire”
    Maybe it was that, back in the day. But who on Slugger, apart from Mike (obviously), is still surprised by Newt’s ‘clever satire’. It’s now just a cliched stoop whine dressed up as humour. Very entertaining for stoops everywhere, no doubt, but to some observers it’s become another feature of the rut they have settled into. Do they – Stoops, Mike, Newt et al – have anything fresh to say? Anything?

  • mickd

    For those who want a bit of unpacking of the Interpol report try this

  • mickd
  • El Paso

    I just gets worse. This gives clever satirists everywhere a vey bad name. Poor fuckers.

  • eoghan

    Níl mo dhuine Newton greannmhar i scríbhinn nó i bhfírinn’. Nílim fein ach oiread ach ní mo ghairmse atá i gceist.

  • mickd

    By the way, Mick, when you write:

    “Newton Emerson picks up on a recent Interpol report confirming the veracity of three laptops seized after a late night bombing raid of a FARC camp two kilometres inside the Ecuadorian border”

    you are making assumtions about accepted fact, not reflective of the real debate.

    What Interpol says is that no sign of any modification as a result of meddling was found to the files on the laptops. This does not verify thir provenance. Were they seized during the raid? or were they already in the hands of the Colombian military. Equador’s President has claimed the latter, and the OAS Secretary General has implied the same.

    The Uribe government claims it found the laptops, after dismembering the alleged owners with high explosive. Your intro assumes we can trust the Uribe govt. on this claim and only raises the issue of doubt over the contents. This is not balanced in relation to the real (and important) debate.

  • The Interpol report also verified -based on the Colombian laptops- that the Sunday Independent is Ireland’s paper of record, that Sammy Wilson is a respected intellectual, that Uri Geller caused John Terry to slip the other night, also the whereabouts of Lord Lucan and confirmation that Alfie Moon would not be making a shock return to Eastenders any time soon.

  • TAFKABO

    And the kness they did jerk…

  • TAFKABO

    Kness s/b Knees, obviously.

  • Ah well, if the Columbian regime and their right paramilitary militias say so, then that’s good enough for me.

  • mickd

    Just to make my point clear,Mick;

    if there is no doubt as to the origins of the laptops, as you [wrongly] imply, and if there is now ,thanks to INTERPOL, no doubt as to the veracity of the contents, then your reader will be led to assume that the Colombian Government’s claims about the IRA are sound.

    Your use of the word ‘claims’ is therefore devoid of any real meaning. Clever and misleading.

    How say you?

  • mickd

    Mick, when you write,

    “…a recent Interpol report confirming the veracity of three laptops seized after a late night bombing raid of a FARC camp two kilometres inside the Ecuadorian border.”

    are you implying that the Interpol report verifies that the laptops belonged to FARC and have not been modified? Can you indicate an alternative reading. Can you also indicate where the Interpol report confirms this?….Because the impication is that all we are left to debate is the meaning of the text found within. Hardly much of a debate one would presume.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    mick,

    I tracked down the links above precisely because I was concerned about the veracity of the claim…

    That’s why I noted the that ‘the Colombian claimed…’ Interpol, as you say, were never asked to comment on the content.

    It is an important distinction, since the loop on the original information remains closed. I PS-ed the conflict with an expert witness at the trial to connote it further.

    Now, are you saying I have said something other than that? If so, I’d say ‘clever and misleading’.

  • El Paso

    Oh dear Mick, I’m embarrassed for you. Please remember the old adage – when in a rut stop rutting.
    You’ve been caught out trying to introduce a piece of shoddy Columbian propaganda into the local “narrative”. The tired old implausible deniability ruses of “it was only a JOKE” and “how could I have guessed anyone would read it that way” just make me blush.

  • mickd

    Thanks for the clarification, Mick. I note that the link you give for the Interpol report also assumes the laptops were found when and where the Colombian Military have said. But as I point out above, this is part of a debate about their authenticity, not merely an entree to the main debate.

    I still insist your intro is misleading, because it gives way too much credence to a narrative crafted by one side in the debate.

  • Little Eva

    I wouldn’t have thought you had time to be embarrassed for anyone else.

    Have you not enough embarrassment to be going on with trying to explain away the love in between the “eco-tourists” and the assembly-line cocaine suppliers of Colombia.

  • ulsterfan

    The IRA were involved with FARC.
    Is it surprising that evidence now comes to light to suggest they were handsomely paid for their efforts.
    I am still waiting for a report from IRA visitors/Eco tourists on what they found in relation to some endangered butterfly species.
    In the absence of a full truthful report from sf/ira the certainty remains that they were up to no good.

  • Irish people were involved in training scumbags to slaughter Columbians. Their students are notorious drug lords and kidnappers. Is any of that in doubt?
    Several of the Irish mass murderers jumped bail and were given refuge in Ireland.
    One of the biggest supporters of the Irish mass murderers/homicidal Fagins is now a leading hack politician in the Norrth of Ireland, even though she hails from the South.

    All that being so, why attack the poster? Do you support kidnapping, murder and drug running? If so, who do you vote for?

  • El Paso

    Little Eva,

    I’m sure the 14 extradited Cloumbian officials, including a member of President Uribe’s family, will be able to shed light on “the assembly-line cocaine suppliers of Colombia” when they appear in a US court. Thanks for the reminder.

  • mickd

    Dave O’Connell, you might be surprised to learn that the Colombian Military and their paramilitary offshoots have a long history of brutality and corruption that allows a group like FARC to thrive. There is no doubt the IRA was involved with FARC in some way, but the claims voiced by Emerson and introduced so magnanimously by Mick are the subject of derision and scorn throughout Latin America. They are also paving the way for a new era of US intrervention in their long history of subverting democracy in Latin America.

  • ulsterfan

    mickd

    The sooner the US moves into that part of the world and start knocking a few heads together the better.
    Democracy can be imposed.

  • mickd

    Sorry, Ulsterfan, Can you tell me if your comment is satirical or not? If it is, it’s quite funny, and I’m sorry for spoiling the jest.

  • mickd

    Got to sleep.2:18am!!

  • joeCanuck

    Well, I found it funny. Funny also that people can get so exercised at a bit of satire. This was more about the 11 plus debacle than anything else.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The comments from Pan-Nationalists on this site always go something like ..

    “Whatever it says in the media about Shinnn Feinnn’s involvement with FAAAAARC is all wrong so it is. They never did nothing wrong. It’s all a conspiracy so it is.

    Whatever it says in the media about Loyalists is all true so it is. They are always wrong so they are.

    It’s us Republicans that are the victims .. ” etc

    Good piece by Newton Emerson. Why can the Sinn Fein PIRA death squad leaders get away with having large sums of illegal cash while being in Government? Yet everyone else has to account for their actions. Is it all to appease Sinn Fein PIRA murderers? There should be an investigation into various businesses and properties linked to Sinn Fein PIRA blood money.

  • Little Eva

    “…but the claims voiced by Emerson and introduced so magnanimously by Mick are the subject of derision and scorn throughout Latin America. They are also paving the way for a new era of US intrervention in their long history of subverting democracy in Latin America.”

    Christ, I know Bush is easily swayed…but I think claiming that Newt and Mick might influence USA policy in south America is stretching it a bit.

  • More spittle but no answers to three simple questions.

    All that being so, why attack the poster? Do you support kidnapping, murder and drug running? If so, who do you vote for?

    Nothing excuses Farc. Apologists pointing out that some anti Farcists are standing trial in the USA miss the point: they are standing trial, not lurking in Farcland or Provoland or spouting on about the 11 plus.
    Sinn Feiners should be in Guantanamo with the other killers and wannabe killers. Castration is too good for them.

  • Mick Fealty

    El Paso,

    I appreciate that we don’t police every thread, and a bit of badinage is present on most threads, but if you want to play the man rather than engage in argument please take it somewhere else.

    “…trying to introduce a piece of shoddy Columbian propaganda into the local “narrative”.”

    Here’s the thing. This narrative was not introduced by me, or anyone else on Slugger. It came from the BBC. As for its status, well it could be propaganda. Shoddy at that. But, we just don’t know.

    I am no fan of closed loops no matter who they come from. What I do know is that not all the spin and propaganda around this story is emanating from the Colombian government alone.

    The Irish government used (unconstitutional in my view) ‘closed loop’ techniques in an earlier round: http://url.ie/esf. And Sinn Fein has not exactly been unerringly honest around this story either: http://url.ie/esg. (That last could be the definition of implausible deniability).

    Anyone who plumps for total innocence or total guilt is clearly not keeping up with the detail of the story. The principle here is print what you know, learn more, print more.

    I’m not a fan of keeping myself or the Slugger readership in some kind of Neanderthal darkness. As this thread already indicates, they are more than capable of making up their own minds!

  • An Lochlannach

    Someone tell Dave O’Connell that Ruane’s being from the South is neither here nor there. It’s the reverse side of Northern involvement in Southern politics from John Cushnahan, Austin Currie to Mary McAleese etc. Get used to it, Daveo, you’re going to see a lot more of it.

  • NP

    more to the point did they find any “Corncrakes” ?

  • mickd

    “…but the claims voiced by Emerson and introduced so magnanimously by Mick are the subject of derision and scorn throughout Latin America. They are also paving the way for a new era of US intrervention in their long history of subverting democracy in Latin America.”

    Christ, I know Bush is easily swayed…but I think claiming that Newt and Mick might influence USA policy in south America is stretching it a bit.

    So the headline goes: ” 11 Plus Satire Has Washington Agog”

    No, the intention of my comment was to point to the potential for another US backed coup in Venezuela. And of course the claims voiced by Emerson link Chavez with terrorism. These claims, to which IRA connections merely add spice, are part of a much broader attack on Hugo Chavez, assisted by journalists in the West like Emerson.

  • wild turkey

    Re the “Bring them Home” link to the Counterpoint interview.

    Very impressive… Perhaps the minister would give an equally convincing and detailed statement to parents on her current policies re the 11+ …

    and also on completing and funding the resolution of the job evaluation and pay structures for teaching assistants. from recent board and departmental circulars it hasn’t gone away you know.

  • mickd

    Mick let’s conduct a mental experiment whereby a regime of dubious merit (lets say, Putin’s Russia) crosses into a neighbour’s territory to attack a terrorist group operating out of that country. Let’s say that country is generally democratic and friendly to the West. Further, let’s say that some laptops are allegedly found, which purport to show all kinds of heinous activities linking the invaded country to international terrorists.Let’s say Putin goes to Interpol…. You get the idea.

    Now, my question is, what tone and general journalistic approach would outlets such as the BBC take to the evidence? My view is they would be scrupulously and rightly skeptical about all claims associated with any alleged laptops; no free kicks, no subtle acceptance of assumptions derived from press statements out of Moscow.

  • aquifer

    Lets remember FARC’s kidnap victims still rotting in the jungle. Can we bring them home too please?

  • Slartibuckfast

    Are we to believe that what the Ra knew about guerilla warfare that Farc didn’t was worth £28 million? Hmmmmm…

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Mickd,

    Slarti asks a useful sceptic’s question here. Although it begs even more questions. As for the authenticity, the Economist seems to have had sight of some of the detail: http://tinyurl.com/52blhw. Their report and this one (http://tinyurl.com/22ygoq) from CNN may just be credulous in its inattention to some telling detail or other. If it were a single source, Fox News say, it would certainly look intolerably weak.

    If it was a set up they seem to have been able to dupe quite a few people. It’s been done before. But the files were submitted for authentication by Interpol within a short space of time after their seizure. Surely if it were a fit up, it would have to have been prepared for quite some time beforehand?

  • Harry Flashman

    @mickd

    “the potential for another US backed coup in Venezuela.”

    Yes, because coups in Venezuela are uniquely bad things and anyone who would contemplate staging a coup in that country should be a pariah, a dreadful person, no coups in Venezuela! Down with Venezuelan putschists! Isn’t that right Hugo? Er, Hugo?

    So tell us just what exactly is it about the ghastly FARC that gets the wannabe student union lefties all excited and one handed typing as they wipe the splashes off their computer screens?

    I bet they still have Che posters sellotaped to their bedroom wall.

  • Dave

    It’s revealing that Provo apologists will change from portraying their heroes as being brilliant masterminds who commanded the world’s most sophisticated terrorist group (that was so good that if could not be defeated, apparently) to portraying them as a bunch of amateurs that other terrorists groups had nothing to learn from? You have to wonder if such apologists are trying to fool themselves or just fool others – probably a bit of both. What is so hard to believe here: that the IRA is an organised crime gang that made substantial profits from terrorism or that the IRA has no moral objection to assisting drug dealers?

    Direct Action Against Drugs was a front for the IRA’s involvement in the drugs trade in Dublin. Acting under the guise of being a vigilante group, they were actually operating a protection racket wherein drug dealers would be targeted for harassment by ‘concerned citizens’ unless protection money was paid to the IRA by the drug dealers. They made millions from that racket. Similarly, profiteering from terrorism via protection rackets operated in Northern Ireland wherein the IRA made millions annually by extorting money from business under the guise of ‘protecting’ them from bombing. The IRA are Europe’s biggest organised crime gang, yet it seems to amaze their apologists that these ‘freedom-fighters/Administrators of British Rule’ would dirty their Marxist hands with profiteering, despite the need to fund ‘the cause’ providing the perfect cover to get very rich by very unorthodox means very fast. Like the Mafia and the Triads, they started out with political aims but they ended up as an organised crime gang, seeing the money that could be made under the cover of their enterprise.

    Michael McDowell, as Irish Minister for Justice, revealed Gardai intelligence that estimated that the IRA charged FARC 25 million US dollars for its services. Since FARC makes in excess of a billion a year from the drugs trade, they could easily afford it.

  • McGrath

    $28M (if it is true) to show them how to mix artificial fertilizer and diesel and how to rig up timers out of washing machines? I’m surprised members of the FARC aren’t over in Ireland looking for a refund!

    On a side note, Newtons satire / sarcasm is only truly effective when you have an appreciation for both sides of the argument which some don’t seem to have.

  • El Paso

    “Michael McDowell…” FFS!!! Scraping the bottom of the barrell now boys. Wasn’t he demoted to ex-minister, ex-TD and ex-politician at the last election? Seems the voters had enough of his crappy briefs.

    And poor old Chavez should be deposed on the grounds that he was voted in twice – an obvious enough course of action if you happen to be a Bushman.

    Interesting to see the kind of people Mick & Newt can claim for their fanbase these days.

    I’m off to celebrate Celtics win over the Detroit Pistons – cracking game.

  • mickd

    Mick,

    I found a quote from your link to the economist website that summarises most of my skepticism:

    “The lost links in the chain of custody, the illegality of the “capture”, the unlikely fact that the laptop survived the blast, the possibility that the information inside could have come from routine intelligence in the past, the convenience of it all, and the limited credibility of the Colombian government suggest that the allegations against Venezuela are of the same kind of the ones used to justify the invasion of Iraq. The Economist should know better”.

    There is a fairly extensive and critical analysis of the Interpol report from Stephen Lendeman, here. http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/17686
    One of the worrying signs is the reactivation of the US Fourth Fleet in the area after decades of absence. Something is afoot.

    Harry Flashman, are you saying you support a US backed coup in Venezuela because its democratically elected leader once led one himself?

  • Avadu

    Those CIA/DEA proxies the Colombian government have thier own agenda, which is to discredit the FARC in any way possible, what you,re hearing out of Colombia is propaganda, no more, no less

  • mickd

    Harry, would you stop the tiresome “undergraduate lefty” slurs.Try arguing or defending a point without resort to emotive posturing and/or sarcasm.

  • Avadu

    So now the provies are in bed with Hugo Sanchez too, it really is laughable that this is taken seriously in any way, its not about here or people from here its about right wing propagandists from Latin America

  • For those who can’t be bothered reading, a summary of the Interpol findings from the Real News:

  • So now the provies are in bed with Hugo Sanchez too

    He’s slightly more glamorous than Peter Canavan I suppose, but most under 30 won’t be familiar with his trademark overhead kicks.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Harry Flashman, are you saying you support a US backed coup in Venezuela because its democratically elected leader once led one himself?”

    I’m saying you’re hardly on strong grounds opposing Venezuelan coups when your own poster boy used to specialise in them.

    Unlike you I believe in democracy and don’t support coups in Latin American nations just because the thug organising them happens to be anti-American thug.

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed, that would cover a lot of mine too. Though not all of it. On the Irish end of this, which is where the post began and ended, there has been a systematic and self serving dissembling of the facts around this and other FARC related matters.

    I’d settle for full disclosure if anyone was offering it. Since they’re not, educated guesswork is about the best we can hope for. None of the parties to this deserve a carte blanche belief in their version of events.

    There may indeed something afoot in the region, but the presence of the fourth fleet is only one indication of that. The illegal incursion another. The declaration by the Ecuadorean government that it is bordered by the FARC, not Colombia yet another. The aggressive (US funded) Colombian government offensive (including offering amnesties) against the FARC, which seems to be having some results evidence that something notable is shifting.

    As that Economist piece notes, the US can hardly impose sanctions on a country (Venezuela) that provides it with 10% of its oil imports. And it argues that:

    …the e-mails are not a smoking gun implicating Mr Chávez unequivocally. It was Mr Márquez and other FARC commanders, not Mr Reyes, who handled relations with Venezuela. So there are no e-mails from Venezuelan officials on his computer.

    Last month José Miguel Insulza, the OAS’s secretary-general, said that “no evidence” linked Venezuela to the FARC. But the evidence from the laptops suggests that there is certainly a case to be answered—by something more than a blustering denial.

    It’s worth quoting from that link you mentioned too:

    …hard drive data prove nothing and may, in fact, be fake. With US involvement clear, it wouldn’t be the first time, and Washington is rich in talent to do it.

    Independent computer experts are also troubled. They believe that failure to follow standard evidence handling procedures seriously jeopardizes its reliability. With care, forensic specialists or computer professionals can add, delete or alter hard drive material without leaving a footprint.

    Dominant media reports ignored this and more. They passed over or played down key findings, including Interpol’s statement: that its experts didn’t “evaluate the accuracy or the source of the exhibits’ content.” How could they? The volume was enormous amounting to the equivalent of “39.5 million pages in Microsoft Word….” At the rate of 100 pages a day, “it would take more than 1000 years to read” it.

    That alone begs the question. In a few days or even weeks, how were Colombian authorities able to analyze the data to discover provocative information therein. That notion also got no attention in the dominant media. Neither did most other parts of the truth.

    Yet the truth here is ambiguity, not clear fact. It’s an interesting contextual perspective, which itself throws up other questions. Not least, why, if they were going to plant such information, did they not make it less equivocal? Also, the statement from the Ecuadorean government that it has evidence that the Colombian government had the laptops in their possession for some time should be taken seriously, when it produces said evidence.

    In short there are a number of national interests in conflict here, which might account for the amount of ad hominem argument involved.

  • mickd

    Mick, I’ll have a look for the Equadorean ‘evidence.’ I agree that this case is murky and full of traps for the unwary. What has happened to claims of uranium for a dirty bomb, for instance? My bullshit detector went ballistic when I read about that one?

    On the Irish end of things; preparing populations to accept wars by our allies is something we should have gained some experience with by now. Emerson’s casual presentation of one interpretation of the story for his satire has serious other consequences (including pissing people off who have other information).

    As to the broader IRA FARC connection, I honestly don’t know much about the arguments, but will take this opportunity to get some education.

    I have to say too that the debate around the 11 plus is mind boggling. We have a system in Australia, whereby defacto academic streaming occurs via (partially govt funded)private schooling; but the idea of testing students at year six to determine their schooling future in the public school system seems weird.

    Back before emigration, I had one brother who passed and one brother who failed the thing. The utterly different schools they ended up at bore no relation to their eventual academic achievement; but then my father ended the experiment by taking us to NZ and a unified public education system, where (gasp) they went to the same schools and on to university. But again, the complexities of the arguments on this topic on Slugger usually baffle me.

    Harry, despite some bluster and putting words into my mouth, you still don’t answer a simple question. Did you and do you support a coup against the Venezuelan Government? This is important, because much of the Latin American Left believes that Colombia is involved in a conspiracy with the US to create the conditions for one.

  • El Paso

    Interesting headline news in the US this morning that seems relevant to this thread. Scott McClellan, Bush’s former spokesman, has just published a book denouncing said Bush for “lying America into the Iraq war”. Hardly breaking news in itself but it may be the first time a Whitehouse insider has gone public with it. We all know Bush has form in this area so it is perplexing that otherwise well informed people can maintain their naivety on the issue.

    Mick asks “…why, if they were going to plant such information, did they not make it less equivocal?” Er…maybe because it’s harder to disprove an equivecal accusation??? I guess that’s why these things are called smears instead of allegations.

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7425781.stm

    Have any Irish critics of the Colombian government ever approved on Farc types actions like this one in Co Down?

  • Harry Flashman

    “Did you and do you support a coup against the Venezuelan Government?”

    No.

    Do you agree with the Venezuelan government supporting one of the nastiest, most disgraceful gangs of narco-terrorists in the world trying to impose stalinist terror in a neighbouring state?

    Do you not agree that it was a shameful thing for a supposedly democratic party in Ireland to have assisted this gang of thugs in perfecting their terrorism techniques?

    Or do you wish to insult my intelligence by telling me they were bird watching?

  • Robbie

    If there was some intelligence there it would surely be insulted.

    How did Columbia morph into Venezuela? Pray tell which cretin introduced ‘the Chavez’ to a debate about Columbia and PIRA’s nefarious nexus? I think I know.

  • mickd

    Robbie, to be fair, I also think Venezuela,Equador, Bolivia and others are crucial to this debate, for reasons mentioned earlier.

    Harry, thanks for the answer.It’s good to hear.

    “Do you agree with the Venezuelan government supporting one of the nastiest, most disgraceful gangs of narco-terrorists in the world trying to impose stalinist terror in a neighbouring state?”

    Well I wouldn’t if it happened. But my understanding is that Chavez has been trying to convince the Colombian govt to treat with the FARC, rather than employ rhetoric similar to yours (with predictable consequences).

    “Do you not agree that it was a shameful thing for a supposedly democratic party in Ireland to have assisted this gang of thugs in perfecting their terrorism techniques?”

    Well I wouldn’t if it happened,but as I said earlier, I’m doing some reading on it as we speak. Forgive me if I don’t take your word for it, Harry.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    El Paso: “Interesting headline news in the US this morning that seems relevant to this thread. Scott McClellan, Bush’s former spokesman, has just published a book denouncing said Bush for “lying America into the Iraq war”. Hardly breaking news in itself but it may be the first time a Whitehouse insider has gone public with it.”

    So, was he lying then, as you seem to indicate, or is he lying now? Was he a whore then, for his job, or is he a whore now, for the publisher’s dollar? Likewise, for the record, he’s not the first insider to write a “tell-all” book. The previous one cropped up in 2004, iirc, and was roundly criticized by, quelle shock, Scott McClellan. It is actually fairly predictable – fired underling goes on to write an insider’s critique of the politician who fired them.

    Likewise, given the excerpts, some of what he says doesn’t even have the credibility of heresay. One excerpt comes to the conclusion that the President’s Chief of Staff and the VP’s Chief of Staff had a meeting that McClellen wasn’t privy to, so that must have been when they discussed the whole Plame game. Funny how the same doubters become believers when someone comes along to preach to the choir.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Yet the truth here is ambiguity, not clear fact. It’s an interesting contextual perspective, which itself throws up other questions. Not least, why, if they were going to plant such information, did they not make it less equivocal? Also, the statement from the Ecuadorean government that it has evidence that the Colombian government had the laptops in their possession for some time should be taken seriously, when it produces said evidence.

    I would say that if US Intelligence services were involved in planting evidence, it does not follow that they would plant something unequivocal. Ambiguity is both more believable and harder to disprove, and the US is certainly experienced enough in these matters to know what to go for.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    Sorry, but now we are getting into politics on stilts. I go with the Economist on this. There is a case to be answered with something more than blustering denials.

    BfB and Robbie,

    This site is for the discussion of politics. Take that ‘shit’ somewhere else!!

  • I fail to see why either Venezuela or Ecuador should be automatically obliged to answer any accusation made against them by a terror state with an appalling human rights record that does a handy line in using paramilitaries to liquidate trade unionists (and whose president, incidentally, was identified by US Intelligence in 1991 as a ‘close personal friend of Pablo Escobar’ http://tinyurl.com/6bcdu – but of course, as everyone knows, you can’t trust US Intelligence for everything).

    The prelude to this particular case that Mick thinks needs to be answered was a deliberate violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty in which Colombia used ‘smart bombs’ on Ecuadorian territory and killed 20 people.

    Imagine if, at some point in recent history, the UK had used smart bombs to kill its paramilitary enemies inside the Republic of Ireland (or vice versa; it doesn’t matter much), and then said that in the subsequent invasion, it discovered laptops -miraculously intact- which -demonstrated all sorts of reasons justifying the bombing ex post facto. What should the starting point be for the seriously disinterested observer: the content of the laptops, or the events that led to their discovery?

    At any rate, in terms of a case to be answered: here is what Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said on the matter last week:

    LAA: In your view, what would be the most positive solution to the allegations that Venezuela has supported the—

    Insulza: —I think it is good for the allegations to be clarified … I understand that Colombia plans to do this by turning the evidence over to all of the different countries’ judicial branches. That’s their decision. Now, if they turn it over to the OAS, I assure you I know what I will do with it. But first they have to turn it over to me.

    LAA: What are you going to, what would you do?

    Insulza: I will do it when they turn it over to me. I’m not going to get ahead … But they haven’t given me a single paper. I have just as many papers as you have. Would you dare, with the documents you’ve seen, begin an investigation? I wouldn’t dare begin an investigation with the things I read in the newspapers. They haven’t given me a single paper. Not a single one. I understand that they won’t hand over the Ecuador papers, I understand, because of Colombia’s and Ecuador’s problems, but of the Venezuelan ones they haven’t presented me with a single one.

    http://tinyurl.com/6fzjvb

    And in terms of Ecuadorian responses:

    The Ecuadorian professors also pointed out that Interpol has now way of determining whether Colombian officials modified, deleted, or created documents between March 1 and 3, as the report contends. In fact, by the Colombian government’s own admission, its handling of the computer devices during those days did not conform to internationally recognized standards on the chain of custody when dealing with forensic evidence. Interpol’s contention that the devices were not modified is based on nothing more than faith in Colombia’s sincerity, argued the professors.

    http://tinyurl.com/5a5ysj

    Faith in Colombia’s sincerity, I fear, is the same as faith in Saudi Arabia’s social democracy.

  • kensei

    Mick

    Sorry, but now we are getting into politics on stilts. I go with the Economist on this. There is a case to be answered with something more than blustering denials.

    I was simply suggesting that particular point was naive. In any case, the response other than blustering denials may simply be to point out the weakness of the evidence presented. In the last US Presidential campaign, much substantial charges on Bush’s Vietnam record were blown out of the water by inconsistencies in the evidence.

    Second, the Iraq War provides context and the right to be skeptical of both intelligence claims and questionable evidence – It was claimed that Iraq had sought Uranium from Nigeria (I think). This later turned out to be false. And has been pointed out already, if this was evidence brought against the US against North Korea it would be met with extreme skepticism.

    There may indeed be a case to answer. I suspect the relevant parties are ever compelled to answer any of it, more and better evidence would be required.

  • Thanks for that Hugh. Although I am not suggesting they should be ‘automatically obliged’ to answer the case. There is way too much hidden for any of us to be certain of any of it. Even a limited disclosure could help clear the air. Bluster won’t.

    Take your point about the illegality of the incursion. It’s a point I’ve already made (albeit lightly) earlier in the thread myself. And I also take the analogy with the UK making a strike on the Republic’s territory. But consider just how much further down the road this is than we ever got if you also imagine Republic’s government telling the world that it borders onto the IRA, and not the UK.

    Where we came in here was with Emerson’s alusion to the IRA connections with the FARC. What we know is that political parties and governments are prepared to put out false statements to cover themselves in the short term. In the long term (as with Mitchel McLaughlin’s 2001 denial that the Colombia Three had anything to do with the party, not to mention the dodgy dossier), plausible deniability is corrosive of trust.

    Here, we are being asked (repeatedly if you read/watch some of the linked material) to come to premature conclusions on a partial disclosure from one side and no disclosure on the other. One thing I have to say is that people seem to be downplaying the fact the degree of risk the Colombian government were taking in handing material over to a genuinely independent organisation like Interpol to an extraordinary degree.

  • Mick,

    I’m not quite sure where the remark about Ecuador being bordered by the FARC comes from, but FWIW, the official position of the Ecuadorian govt is as follows, issued in response to remarks by a US State Department official who, when asked about links between FARC and the Ecuadorian govt, said:

    “whether Ecuador likes it or not, Raul Reyes and his group died in its territory. As such, Ecuador is not securing its territory as much as we would like.”

    The response was:

    The number of camps in Ecuador outlined by Dailey in his declarations shows nothing, since in Colombia there are clearly far more. Nor does the fact that irregular groups such as the FARC cross into Ecuadorian territory demonstrate that there is a connection with the Ecuadorian government, in fact, on the contrary, it shows rather the inability of the Colombian government to keep its conflict within its borders.

    http://tinyurl.com/5tfjww.

    On the question of Emerson’s allusion to the involvement with the FARC, I would note that the opening paragraph of his piece gives the impression that the Interpol report actually says something about the IRA and links to Venezuela. It doesn’t. So to my mind he’s off to a bad start.

    The only reason he introduced the IRA-FARC connection was as a rather exotic riff on the current 11 plus controversy. The corrosion of trust brought about by the SF-FARC-Bring Them Home episode can’t have been that great, since the DUP went into government with SF anyway.

    It strikes me that the FARC connection used here was just a roundabout way of saying ‘what else do you expect from a Provo?’ which is fair enough for a Hearts and Minds slot I suppose, but my main problem with it is that it characterises the current 11 plus situation as somehow paramilitary-inspired.

    One other thing, on the disclosure. Colombia said (as per your CNN report) that they were going to submit the revelations to the OAS. As the article I linked to above indicates, they haven’t. If the material is so convincing, what have they got to lose? And, if accused, should I disclose the precise details on when I stopped beating my wife?

  • El Paso

    It’s pretty clear, to me at least, that this thread was designed to spread propaganda designed as merry making. OK, the fun element has been long abandoned but that some can still manfully stick to the main task is to their credit, one can only admire such indefatigability. But where do you, Mick, get off with the “partial disclosure from one side and no disclosure on the other” waffle. Are you hinting (I don’t expect anything black and white at this stage) that Venezuela should be invaded so that the Columbian laptop issue can be cleared up, once and for all? Of course you are not. But if it was to happen….well…they kinda brought it on themselves…right?
    And what exactly has Columbia disclosed? That it acted illegally? That they failed to secure the forensics? That they have made unsubstantiated accusations against a sovereign state? Wow! They’ve realy left their arses out the window there.
    What exacttly is it about Uribe that inspires so much confidence in some people?

    “…imagine Republic’s government telling the world that it borders onto the IRA, and not the UK” The IRA has never been recognised as a discreet geographical region, maybe because of it’s All-Ireland inclusiveness, but you may recall Articles 2 & 3, which the Irish government did support. Did that warrant an UK invasion?

  • EL:

    ” But if it was to happen….well…they kinda brought it on themselves…right?”

    You should check out this thread on the “ungentle art of creative futuring…”: http://url.ie/ey3.

    Hugh,

    I think you’re missing the point. At the time, the denial was lodged, no journalist could say it was otherwise. That is until the evidence was brought forward that the statement was in fact false. No statement, that I know of, has been issued since that explains that and otehr discrepancies that have occurred since.

    As for the DUP, Peter Robinson in an interview with the Irish Times in December 2002 said he would go into government with SF, but only when the conditions did not solely rely on trust.

    The DUP have gone into government because they say the ‘new’ settlement gives them guarantees they say they didn’t have before. More importantly, SF have said they back the police, and the IRA have decommed all/most of their weapons.

    The issue of corrosion in trust arises from the party’s past ‘inconsistencies’ and/or ‘economies with the truth’ in what they tell journalists.

  • Dave

    “Michael McDowell…” FFS!!! Scraping the bottom of the barrell now boys.” – El Paso

    Oddly enough, Michael McDowell revealed that Gardai intelligence on the same TV programme where he pointed out that Gerry Adams owned an impressive holiday home in Donegal despite his claim to be living on an “industrial wage.” Adams, a pathological liar, claimed that the “banks own that” when asked by McDowell how he could afford such a lavish lifestyle. However, contrary to Mr Adams’ lies, the property at Gortahork has no mortgage on it. It is owned outright by Gerry Adams. Martin McGuinness also falsely claims to live on “an industrial wage” yet can still manage to own a holiday home in Donegal that has its own private lake, no less. Clearly, the average industrial wage in Northern Ireland must surely be the envy of workers everywhere else. Perhaps you should ask Gerry and Martin to explain the source of their wealth? 😉

  • Steve

    Dave Now who’s telling lies

    Adams and McGuinness claim to only recieve an industrial wage from the party. They both have had succesful careers outside the party as well you know.

    But nice try at a smeer campain

  • Dave

    That isn’t what Gerry Adams proffered by way of explaining the Michael McDowell how he owned a one million property in Donegal on an industrial wage: he said the banks owned the property, not him. He was lying about that. The property is owned by him; it is mortgage-free.

    The Irish Justice Minister was fully aware of the “successful careers” of Gerry and Martin, as his department has access to intelligence on the vast array of crinimal enterprises that the two gentlemen managed as members of the IRA’s Army Council. It was McDowell who notified the UK CAB about the IRA’s property portfolio in Manchester, leading to 172 properties belonging to that organised crime cartel being seized by CAB. 😉

  • El Paso

    So Mick,

    You have failed to respond to my partial disclosure with a corresponding disclosure of your own! Instead you’ve deleted the fairly solid, by Columbian standards at least, evidence of your links to certain international “players”. Given your bluster and censorship (why didn’t Chavez think of that?) I can only stand idly by should Twenty Major mount a border raid on Slugger. Not that I’m in favour of that kind of thing, certainly not, but were it to happen I wouldn’t go crying to Newt.

    Death to all tyrants!

  • Steve

    Again Dave pure smear with out any basis in fact

    Nice try though, have you thought of applying at MI5 they were advertising not too long ago

  • El Paso

    MI5 have an excellent bike-to-work scheme, in case you missed it.

  • me duck

    A duck walks into a bar and asks the barman,
    “Got any bread”?
    Barman say’s,
    “No, I’ve no bread”
    Duck asks,
    “got any bread?”
    Barman say’s,
    “No, I’ve no bread”.
    Duck asks,
    “got any bread?”
    Barman say’s,
    “No, I’ve no bread”
    Duck asks,
    “got any bread?”
    Barman say’s,
    “No. I’ve no bread and if you ask me that one more time I’ll nail your bill to the fucking counter”
    Duck asks,
    “Got any nails?”
    Barman say’s,
    “No”
    Duck asks
    “Got any bread”