Thursday, November 24, 2005

Red Phosphorous: (Cheats) Sometimes They Come Back

The big cheat of RaiNews 24 on white phosphorus still engages Italian and American lefties. Insisting on the issue, even when the “documentary” has been extensively demolished in the past weeks (some hints of the debunking at Wellington, Heraklitos, I Diavoli Neri, Grendel from the Moor e Il Giornale), seems senseless. But the story still circulates in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere just like it was not, as said, a cheat. Otto e mezzo’s episode on the subject was, frankly, embarrassing. There’s no need to get into details, as No Way and Wellington dealt with them brilliantly. We just want to remind that the fib saying that in 1995, in a “secret dossier”, the Pentagon classified white phosphorus as “chemical weapon”, turned out to be a lie. Thanks to Confederate Yankee and Protein Wisdom we found out that the definition “chemical weapon” was not used by US military authority, but comes from a transcription of a phone call between two Kurdish siblings, accusing Saddam of using white phosphorus to repress a rebellion in North Iraq. In the phone call one of the sibling uses the expression “chemical weapon” to describe white phosphorus. And this should be the ultimate proof of US army’s double standard? The funniest thing is that at the bottom of the transcription you find the following warning: “This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence”. In the report the Pentagon never defines white phosphorus as “chemical weapon”, but simply reports a phone conversation without taking a stance. This, of course, didn’t prevent Sigfrido Ranucci, the author of RaiNews 24’s cheat, from claiming that “when Saddam used white phosphorus it was a chemical weapon, when the Americans use it it’s a conventional weapon”. There are only two options: either Mr. Ranucci is acting in bad faith, or he is affected by a rare illness, “random illiteracy”, that causes him to skip some lines while reading (especially those that prove his conspiracy theories wrong). We understand perfectly the ideological and economical reasons that push Ranucci into defending his false scoop beyond the limit of ridicule. Or that induce comrade Morrione and comrade Floris to make an instrument of political propaganda out of it. Or that force US far leftist useful (only to Al Queda) idiots to air the cheat, trying to arm Bush administration. But we don’t understand how Italian journalism sank so low, that it can’t recognize a false scoop when it sees one. Ignorance or bad faith, Rusty thinks it’s high time to call things with their real name: betrayal. UPDATE: as Domiziano Galia observes on Fratelli d’Italia, the document (that is no more on-line while we’re writing) is not the complete transcription of the phone call, but a summed-up version. Read the post and draw your conclusion. In our opinion the matter does not change. Keep an eye on Wellington and I Diavoli Neri. [translation by Babs]

Linked at: Otimaster, Robinik. Happy Thanksgiving twins! :)
Update: Wellington, I Diavoli Neri, MarioM, Fratelli d'Italia.

Round-Up: Confederate Yankee, Protein Wisdom, NoEndButVictory,, Balloon Juice, The Jawa Report, My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Argghhh!, Armchair Generalist, INDC Journal, Baseball Crank, Mark A. Kilmer, Something and Half of Something, Caerdroia, Dread Pundit Bluto, Myopic Zeal, Dean's World.

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