Brian O'Connell

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06/09/2002 - 06/16/2002
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Response to Prominent Americans (Not in Our Name)

Complexity and Universal Truth

From Multiculturalism to Anti-Americanism in Six Easy Steps

Andrew Sullivan

A Nickel's Worth of Free Advice

Armed and Dangerous

Asymmetrical Information

Beauty of Gray

Belmont Club

Bjørn Stærk blog


Cinderella Bloggerfeller

Cold Fury




Dr. Weevil

Eject! Eject! Eject!



it comes in pints?


Little Green Footballs

LILEKS (James)

Man Without Qualities

Matt Welch

Michael J. Totten

My Two Cents

Natalie Solent

Oliver Willis


Public Nuisance

Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing

Shadow of the Hegemon

Steven Chapman

The CounterRevolutionary

The Machinery of Night


The Truth Laid Bear

Tim Blair

Twisted Spinster

USS Clueless


Winds of Change.NET


Madsen Follow-Up

I emailed Wayne Madsen about the previous post because I usually give someone a heads up if I'm posting about them. In reply, Madsen reminded me to keep the time controversy in mind and wrote that Mike Allen (who was in the pool) wrote:
A little after 5 am Baghdad time, about 10 hours after takeoff from Andrews, the cabin lights were turned off and all the shades were down. Twenty minutes later, we touched down in Baghdad.

The source is the Washington Post. Indeed, the paragraph is still there. But a few graphs up, Allen writes that Air Force One left DC shortly before 11 pm (7 am Baghdad time, which is after Madsen is claiming Bush arrived in Baghdad). Clearly 5 am is a typo. It was a little after 5 pm.

I wrote back to Madsen asking if he used an erroneous source for his article or if there was an actual controversy over when Bush was there. Madsen responded by saying that there is a real controversy:
There is a controversy about what time Bush was there. And also what time he took off from Waco, and Andrews, and Baghdad. Its all a secret of course, so no one will ever know.

Hmm. I replied by quoting the same Mike Allen as posted by Matt Drudge:
The President left Waco secretly Wednesday at 8:25 p.m. Eastern (7:25 p.m. Texan) with a small pool, stopped at Andrews to pick up a few staff and a few more poolers, change planes and then head to Baghad. Both flights were what we think of as the normal Air Force One, Boeing 747 with the normal marking. The President landed in darkness at Baghdad International Airport at 9:31 a.m. Washington time (5:32 p.m. local) on Thursday, Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day. He took off at 12:03 p.m. Eastern time, so was in Baghdad roughly 2.5 hours.

Noon Eastern ? 8 p.m. local ? Rolling -- "Short taxi!" the attendant says. 12:03 p.m. Eastern ? Airborne. No one needed their vests. Shortly after takeoff, the bulletin could be heard on CNN on Channel 7 on the Air Force One audio system.

We know from Mike Allen and other reporters who were on the plane that they filed the Baghdad story immediately after take-off, which was around noon eastern, or 8 pm Baghdad time, which is when the story broke. Nobody reported an additional 12-hour "embargo" on the story, which would have to be necessary if the plane actually left Baghdad at 8 am local time, midnight eastern, when we only heard about it at noon eastern time.

I haven't heard from Madsen after that, but clearly he's going to have to admit that he took a typo and went wild with it, accusing Bush of inconveniencing soldiers with a 6 am dinner, and accusing the press of remaining silent on this issue because they are "abysmal and sycophantic". (The press may well be, but not because of this.) And it's equally clear that he didn't look further into the 5 am claim, as obviously erroneous as it is, because a 6 am dinner supported one or two of his favorite anti-Bush conceptions.

For fun, take a look at the Amazon listing for Madsen's "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II". Cynthia McKinney raves about it. "At a time when the American people and, indeed, the people of the world, find that facts are in such short supply, this book is a must read. In times such as these, the truth is one of the greatest of all casualties." Indeed.

Update: Blogger Seamole has been following this as well.

There is a retraction of the Counterpunch article at IndyMedia posted under the name Wayne Madsen, but no retraction at Counterpunch itself. This isn't good enough as it's possible to read the Counterpunch article without being aware of the IndyMedia retraction. Is this acceptable to Counterpunch editors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair? Maybe there's no one there on Sunday.

Original linker leeeee changed the link to the Counterpunch article to another site with only a vague allusion why he did so in his comments. That's pretty sly.

Further Update: The retraction at IndyMedia did not come from Wayne Madsen. In an email to me, he said that the IndyMedia post is an impersonation.

PhotoDude has some good observations.

Update: Madsen responds publicly for the first time. See my response here.


You Say AM, I Say PM, Let's Call the Whole Thing Et Cetera

Wayne Madsen, "investigative journalist and columnist," and co-author of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II," is reporting at Counterpunch that:
Air Force One touched down at Baghdad International Airport, under cover of darkness, at 5:20 AM Baghdad time. Bush was on the ground for two and a half hours, his plane departing Baghdad at around 7:50 AM.

Err, no. Change all those AMs to PMs and then you'd have something like a factual story. But then Madsen wouldn't be able to write this:
Considering that it likely took some 30 minutes for Bush to disembark from Air Force One and travel by a heavily secured motorcade to the hangar where the troops were assembled, that means our military men and women were downing turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and non-alcoholic beer at a time when most people would be eating eggs, bacon, grits, home fries, and toast.

Or this:
I would have thought most of the troops, many of whom are support personnel who work relatively normal working hours, would have been more surprised when they were ordered to get up before sunrise to eat Thanksgiving dinner between 6:00 and 7:30 A.M.

But it does explain this:
And the abysmal and sycophantic Washington and New York press corps seems to have completely missed the Thanksgiving "breakfast dinner." Chalk that up to the fact that most people in the media never saw a military chow line or experienced reveille in their lives. So it would certainly go over their heads that troops would be ordered out of bed to eat turkey and stuffing before the crack of dawn.

Doesn't Counterpunch have any editors?

The trip was announced around noon, eastern time, shortly after Air Force One departed Baghdad. Baghdad is 8 hours ahead of eastern time, so it was 8 p.m. Baghdad time when the trip was announced, two and a half hours after the 5:30 p.m. landing. To paraphrase Daffy Duck, "Ahh, time zone trouble...."

One can only wonder if the investigative journalism to be found in "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II" is as accurate and blah, blah, blah, you know the rest of it.

(This post is expanded from a comment to a Demosthenes post.) Thanks to leeeee for linking to the Counterpunch article (though leeee bought it).

Update: Blogger Patterico has a more joyful take on this.

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© 2002-2004
Brian O'Connell,
for what it's worth.