What most surprises me in this entire exchange is that Larry's positive
comment about Evo Morales 14 posts back did not get the Stalinism
treatment by Michael. But perhaps my expectation will still be
vindicated as the arguments develop.
On Thu, 12 May 2011 14:47:41 -0400, Larry Romsted
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I agree that we were doing pretty well for awhile and I appreciated
>informational posts after you returned to the list. But then, you
>to be provocative again, as you said yourself.
>I still think that to call Chomsky a liar based on that bin Laden story
>some other unnamed evidence is, in essence, lying. It is not cute or
>but really serious. I don't believe, by the way, that I ever claimed that
>Chomsky is right, or that I agree with him on everything. In fact, I
>think about what Chomsky says, in particular about 9/11, but
>listen to his overview of US foreign policy, but not often.
>I tried to tell you in a whole bunch of ways why I was objecting to
>were writing. You call it my obsession with you. No, I am concerned
>how you treat information and with your characterizations of others on
>off this list.
>Ignore me. Listen, really listen, to Claudia.
>From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
><[log in to unmask]>
>Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 20:02:01 +0200
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: Post Exclusive: Bin Laden consumed with repeating
>U.S., officials say
>The only response this deserves is to say again that Chomsky's original
>statements that there is no evidence linking Bin Laden to 9/11 are
>off the mark, and that the material reported by the Post is not based
>"hearsay" but on interviews with individuals who have directly
>materials taken from Bin Laden's hideout. Many, many newspaper
>based on this kind of sourcing. Eventually, the administration will
>release some of the actual documents, or perhaps make photocopies or
>translations of them available to the media. That would be better, of
>(I will add parenthetically that without the mainstream media and the
>reporting it does, the average American would be even more ignorant
>he/she already is. That goes for leftists too. But of course it is
>legitimate to question the accuracy and possible biases in reporting,
>only problem is that one must do that across the board and not only
>disagrees with the political implications of a particular story, as I said
>before. No one on the left questions reporting in mainstream media
>critical of the US government. )
>My interpretation of the Post story is that it provides corroborating
>evidence for what we already know from previous evidence. To call me
>as Larry just did, because I see it that way, is a baseless personal
>As for the rest, Larry needs to get a life. He has become seriously
>with me and what I post here, and he needs to figure out some way to
>over it. I will continue to post what I consider relevant material to the
>interests of this list, and to express myself politically.
>Now, I have been saying that for years. Will Larry ever begin to believe
>that I will not be intimidated or suppressed or "shamed" into behaving
>differently? Or will he continue to regale the list with his attacks on
>We were doing pretty well lately being more civil to each other, but
>people just cannot stand being confronted with anything they disagree
>or with criticisms of Sacred Cows like Chomsky. Thus the step up in
>attacks on me.
>On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 7:38 PM, Larry Romsted
<[log in to unmask]>
>> Your response disturbs me deeply.
>> In essence, I wrote that you lied about how the story about stuff on
>> Laden's computer reflected on Chomsky. Instead of responding
>> changed the subject.
>> You wrote initially:
>> "The following report would seem to give the lie to Chomsky's
>> there is no evidence bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11, and by
>> implication with other terrorist attacks."
>> I responded that the report itself did nothing of the sort. There was
>> evidence in the story by Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, unnamed
>> not, that bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11. You did not
>> Then I showed you that the story was totally unsubstantiated
because there was
>> no evidence and the sources were unnamed. Newspapers can also
>> publishing stories that are not well documented until the
>> clear. [I have seen the NYT editors write that they take pride in
>> back stories until they are ready.] I face the same tension of not
>> results in journals until the conclusions are fully supported by the
>> experimental data. Promotion and grant funding also depend on
>> out. Don't tell me I don't understand.
>> You write:
>> "Some of the descriptions of the materials found in Bin Laden's
>> turn out to be completely inaccurate. [who knows I add] But to
>> believe any of it because it would clash with one's own ideological
>> the height of special pleading. I regret that this is Larry's habitual
>> of argument."
>> Where did I write that I did not believe any of it? That is
>> of my ideological views (and how do you know my ideological
views?) are being
>> specially pleaded. Then you say it is my habitual method of
>> don't even know what you are talking about?
>> Michael: I really think you twist the meaning of what I write. I
>> why you do this.
>> Finally, a question? What is your purpose is submitting to a Science
>> People discussion list a hearsay story about what is on bin Laden's
>> if it is not to provoke argument about issues irrelevant to the list?
>> I am not particularly troubled by the Post story itself. I read the
>> online periodically. I am used to newspapers publishing stuff like
>> periodically. No big deal to me. I withhold judgement. I hope you
>> I am deeply troubled, however, that you send it to this list and then
>> to smear Chomsky [smear because what you wrote is false, see
above] and some
>> unnamed people you call serious leftists. Who are these people?
Do you mean
>> the people on this list? Some particular leftist organizations? The
>> Democrats? Who?
>> To me, this is troll like behavior.
>> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
>> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>> <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 15:51:36 +0200
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Subject: Re: Post Exclusive: Bin Laden consumed with repeating
>> U.S., officials say
>> I'm only going to respond very briefly to Larry's detailed post, as
>> I'm afraid that Larry doesn't understand how journalism works. It
>> on unnamed sources in the initial stages of uncovering a story. We
>> out who Deep Throat was for some 30 years, but he existed and he
>> about pretty much everything. Likewise, when the New York Times
>> Washington Post publish information based on unnamed intelligence
>> we want to believe--eg Risen's and others' expose of Bush
>> spying on Americans--we believe every word.
>> Chomsky himself has relied very heavily on such media reports, even
>> they inevitably involve unnamed sources.
>> Some of the descriptions of the materials found in Bin Laden's
>> turn out to be completely inaccurate. But to refuse to believe any of
>> because it would clash with one's own ideological views is the
>> special pleading. I regret that this is Larry's habitual method of
>> But I'm glad that he is taking the time and trouble to read the
>> I post here. That means my work on this list is valuable and
>> On Thu, May 12, 2011 at 3:39 PM, Larry Romsted
<[log in to unmask]>
>>> Your statements below remind me of a FOX news broadcast.
>>> on unnamed sources without verifiable documentation in a
>>> (Washington Post) article; one hallmark of polemicists. I am
>>> you as a serious leftist would fall for it.
>>> I did a little "scientific" investigation. I went through the Post
>>> below and looked for the name of an expert or expert
whose "expertise" could,
>>> in principle, be checked. This is an obvious reaction by me
>>> claim that Chomsky relies almost entirely on secondary sources.
>>> decided to evaluate the credibility of the sources that you use for
>>> your conclusion that " give the lie to Chomsky's insistence that
there is no
>>> evidence bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11." I conclude that
>>> the Washington Post as fount of truth so trustworthy that if they
>>> "unnamed source" or "US Intelligence official" we should just
>>> Also, none of the information in the article addresses evidence
>>> 9/11. So how could it demonstrate that Chomsky is lying about
>>> that bin Laden carried out 9/11?
>>> Do you believe that unnamed sources never lie to the public? Do
>>> the intelligence officials never manipulate the press or reporters?
>>> believe it is wise to accept as truthful stories that are free of
>>> I think I. F. Stone would be very, very disappointed in you.
>>> Me, before drawing conclusions about what Osama has done and
what was the
>>> truth about how he died, I will wait for the publishing of that
>>> trove of documents that is mentioned below and give time for
>>> analyze it.
>>> Yea, I know in about 50 years. But what is important to building a
>>> left is not this execution, but to struggle for social justice and
>>> of the planet. In that sense Evo Morales and the Bolivian
government are in
>>> the forefront. I have forgotten exactly what they have done, but
>>> pushing legislation to protect mother earth and the people on it.
>>> way out in front of the US federal government.
>>> I have highlighted some text in red.
>>> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 08:45:24 +0200
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Subject: Fwd: Post Exclusive: Bin Laden consumed with repeating
>>> U.S., officials say
>>> Now on to more "provocative" topics.
>>> The following report would seem to give the lie to Chomsky's
>>> there is no evidence bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11, and
>>> implication with other terrorist attacks. But actually we've always
>>> plenty of evidence that he was involved. It's important to
>>> Chomsky is a polemicist who relies almost entirely on secondary
>>> not on his own original research. And yet he is often treated like a
>>> has a special fountain of knowledge.
>>> The meme that OBL had nothing to do with 9/11 (and yes, it is
>>> its behavior, because it is repeated despite evidence) is simply
>>> lite, and I find it surprising that serious leftists would fall for it.
>>> What serious leftists are you talking about? Name some names.
>>> Hitchens? Marc Cooper?
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: The Washington Post
<[log in to unmask]>
>>> Date: Thu, May 12, 2011 at 3:45 AM
>>> Subject: Post Exclusive: Bin Laden consumed with repeating attack
>>> officials say
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Back to previous page
>>> Bin Laden�s preoccupation with U.S. said to be source of friction
>>> GBy Greg Miller
>>> Published: May 11
>>> Osama bin Laden was preoccupied with attacking the United
States over all
>>> other targets, a fixation that led to friction with followers,
>>> U.S. intelligence officials involved in analyzing the trove of
>>> recovered from the al-Qaeda leader�s compound.
>>> Unnamed U.S. Intelligence officials. No verifiable documentary
>>> supplied below.
>>> In handwritten journals and long-winded compositions saved on
>>> drives, the officials said, bin Laden always seemed to be searching
for a way
>>> to replicate the impact of al-Qaeda�s most devastating strike. He
>>> followers to explore ways to recruit non-Muslims �who are
oppressed in the
>>> United States,� in the words of one official � particularly African
>>> and Latinos � and to assemble a plot in time for the 10th
anniversary of the
>>> Sept. 11 attacks.Even while sealed inside a cement compound in a
>>> city, bin Laden functioned like a crime boss pulling strings from a
>>> cell, sending regular messages to his most trusted lieutenants and
>>> advice to far-flung franchises, including al-Qaeda�s affiliate in
>>> followers pledged their fealty to him; others, however, chafed at
>>> exhortations to remain focused on U.S. targets instead of
mounting less risky
>>> operations in places such as Yemen, Somalia and Algeria.�Bin
Laden is saying,
>>> �You�ve got to focus on the U.S. and the West,� � said a senior
>>> intelligence official who was involved in reviewing the stockpile,
>>> that some of bin Laden�s followers seemed more concerned with
>>> and were reluctant to conduct an attack that would provoke an
>>> response. A little over a week after obtaining one of the largest
>>> intelligence hauls on a terrorist group, U.S. officials involved in
>>> the trove said they are learning more about bin Laden and the al-
>>> bureaucracy than about the locations of operatives or specific plots
>>> might be unfolding.Overall, the officials said, the new information
� as well
>>> as the lack of any apparent effort by bin Laden to prevent it from
>>> into U.S. hands � provides a strikingly rich portrait of the al-Qaeda
>>> �Bin Laden got lazy and complacent,� said the senior U.S. official,
>>> on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the
>>> �I don�t think he thought he would meet his maker in that house.
>>> certainly didn�t make any preparations� to escape a raid or
>>> information found inside, the official said.Officials said they are
>>> triage mode as they sift through the contents of more than 110
>>> laptops and other digital storage devices, in addition to piles of
>>> documents. The trove, which represents millions of pages that
>>> translated from Arabic, is being scrutinized at a secret CIA facility
>>> Northern Virginia. Analysts and Arabic linguists from other
>>> being brought in to review the materials.The early effort has
>>> searching the most recent materials for key words, including the
>>> major American cities. Analysts are also scanning for references to
>>> al-Qaeda figures, phone numbers and other details that could
>>> for CIA operatives and military counterterrorism teams working
>>> officials said bin Laden had a relatively short list of senior al-Qaeda
>>> members whom he was in touch with frequently and directly, albeit
>>> messages smuggled out of the compound by couriers.Among them
>>> al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician who had long functioned as bin
>>> second in command, as well as Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan
operative who is
>>> the latest to fill the organization�s vulnerable No. 3 slot.Bin
>>> directions tended to be big-picture in nature, officials said,
>>> on broader objectives than on granular operational details. �I
>>> it command and control� that bin Laden was exercising, the senior
>>> intelligence official said. Indeed, there is no indication that bin
>>> even knew the specific whereabouts of Zawahiri and others. Al-
>>> fragmented nature and operational security appear to have kept its
>>> substantially in the dark.�We�re not going to find operational
>>> Excel spreadsheets� with rosters of operatives and points of
>>> senior intelligence official said. Bin Laden served as a �chief
>>> is giving fairly generic, broad instructions and guidance rather than
>>> tactical orders,� the official said.Even so, the communications are
>>> to help the CIA and other organizations, including the National
>>> Counterterrorism Center, gain significant insights into al-Qaeda�s
>>> and relationship to regional affiliates.The U.S. intelligence official
>>> bin Laden�s records have �confirmed our view that AQAP is first
>>> in terms of relationships with al-Qaeda core.� The acronym refers
>>> in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based group that has been
behind a series
>>> of plots targeting the United States, including the attempted
bombing of a
>>> Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.Bin Laden does not
>>> have been in communication with the most widely recognized
AQAP figure, the
>>> American-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, a relative newcomer who
never met the
>>> al-Qaeda leader, U.S. officials said. But bin Laden did relay
>>> others in Yemen whom he appears to have known
personally.Largely because of
>>> Aulaqi�s influence, AQAP has emerged as what U.S.
>>> have described as the most immediate threat to American
>>> Laden �was the author and prime proponent of global jihad,� a
>>> question among counterterrorism analysts is �whether some of
that ebbs� with
>>> bin Laden�s death, the U.S. official said.A second U.S. official
>>> with the data review said that, based on the records, bin Laden
>>> to have placed a low priority on operations inside Afghanistan and
>>> urging his network to focus on efforts that will �make America
>>> Latinos and African Americans, people who are oppressed in the
>>> States.�Al-Qaeda has articulated such goals before. In 2007,
>>> a message that appealed in part to African Americans, saying,
�We are waging
>>> jihad to lift oppression from all mankind.�Al-Qaeda appears to
>>> little to recruit minorities beyond issuing such appeals, officials
>>> �Their recruiting has been extremely passive� in recent years, the
>>> U.S. intelligence official said. �It�s not like they have talent
>>> mosques in the United States.�The trove does not point to any
>>> bin Laden and members of the Pakistani military or intelligence
>>> fact that bin Laden appears to have spent the past six years hiding
>>> compound surrounded by Pakistani military installations, including
>>> country�s top military academy, has fueled speculation that
>>> protecting bin Laden or knew his whereabouts. Could it be that ISI
>>> know that bin Laden was next door?Read more on Osama bin
>>> detainees� family members may be allowed to visit
>>> Corps chief expresses regret for sexual assaults on young
>>> tml> Some legislators will view bin Laden photos
>>> The bin Laden factor
>>> Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
>>> � The Washington Post Company
>>> Michael Balter
>>> Contributing Correspondent, Science
>>> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>>> New York University
>>> Email: [log in to unmask]
>>> Web: michaelbalter.com <http://michaelbalter.com>
>>> NYU: journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
>>> "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask
why the poor
>>> have no food, they call me a Communist." -- H�lder Pessoa C�mara
>> Michael Balter
>> Contributing Correspondent, Science
>> Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>> New York University
>> Email: [log in to unmask]
>> Web: michaelbalter.com <http://michaelbalter.com>
>> NYU: journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/
>> "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why
>> have no food, they call me a Communist." -- H�lder Pessoa C�mara