Site is dead

Posted April 30, 2007 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

Quick note, this site is dead. In case the 45 days between posts didn’t give it away.  I was trying to keep a little news aggregate going here, but after the whole Roberts thing, I lost interest. I did start writing again, just elsewhere. This was getting a little too heavy, too pigeonholed for me. Come over to Running Joke.


Waking up…slowly.

Posted March 15, 2007 by Matthew
Categories: Iran, Iraq, Politics

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed reportedly has admitted to planning the 9/11 attack at the same time that Congress votes to set a timeline for pullback in Iraq. The U.N. agrees on new sactions for Iran. Are we going to pull out of Iraq only to be back in the Middle East a short time later?

Waking up

Posted February 7, 2007 by Matthew
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s winter in the northwest, I have no money for skiing, and the sky is dark by 4 p.m. I suppose that is why Agnosco died off so shortly after coming alive. I just received, however, a message through this site from someone (I actually am not sure who yet) that knew me when I lived in Indiana. If nothing else comes of this, it has at least reminded me that Agnosco is here and that I intended to write. So to the three of you who have stopped by, I’ll be putting up my assorted opinions again, for what it is worth.

Much has been happening worth commenting on, most of it has slipped by quietly, muffled by the winter clouds. I’ll leave you with this business, thought up by the press folks at Nasa. It’s light enough that we don’t really have to think about it.

“A War Against Truth”, exciting read, disappointing follow up

Posted December 22, 2006 by Matthew
Categories: books, Iraq, Politics, publishing

About two hours ago I finished reading Paul William Roberts’ “A War Against Truth”(2004, Raincoast Books). A very exciting read concerning his time spent in Iraq at the start of the war and his highly critical observations of it. It reads something like a Le Carre novel interspersed with bit of pop history and political commentary. I’d really like to recommend it to you.

Only I can’t. And here’s why. After reading the book, I was inspired to go to one of the websites listed in the notes, The site appears to be an indy media site with a collection of articles about the Iraq war, one of which was by Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Reading it, I had a serious case of deja vu. I had just read this. Exactly this, in “A War Against Truth”. I started to think either Bookman didn’t exist and the site’s author had inserted part of the book into his site or that he had ripped off Roberts. A quick trip over to the AJC website confirmed Jay Bookman’s existences, as well as the article’s. And the date of the article was September 29th, 2002. Two years before the book came out.

I went back to the book to find the passages and check to see if they had been attributed. Unfortunately, no. Next I went to Roberts’ site. I really wanted to contact him, perhaps ask him about the passages, see if perhaps he had some sort of agreement with Bookman. I was unable, however, to find a contact link.

I went searching on the web for more information. I didn’t find anyone talking about plagiarism in this book, but I did find accusations of plagiarism concerning an article he wrote for the Canadian Globe and Mail. The accusations seemed pretty much what I had just experienced. Some part’s of the original lifted word for word, other’s slightly paraphrased or rearranged.

I was crushed. I had really enjoyed “A War Against Truth”. It’s an exciting read, informative, thought provoking, unashamed at it’s statements of standing up against the pain and suffering inflicted by the war in Iraq. Writing this, I ask myself if I really want to publish something damning about a work that I feel was important to read.

The answer is Yes, because I believe the war in Iraq really is a war against truth. Those of us that speak out against it cannot afford the luxury of being faulted on technicalities. We do not hold positions of power and influence. In the worlds of journalism and academics, plagiarizing destroys your credibility. It amounts to lying. And if we lie about something like our sources or our originality, it becomes easier to dismiss us when we talk about the truly important. Again, it is a luxury we cannot afford.

Since writing this, I have since been in contact with Bookman and his editor, Cynthia Tucker. From Tucker: “I am very disturbed by at least four pages of Paul William Roberts’ 2004 book, The War Against Truth, which virtually duplicate — word for word — text from an article by Atlanta Journal-Constitution deputy editorial page editor Jay Bookman, published on Sept. 29, 2002. After the holidays, I intend to pursue the matter with Roberts’ publisher.”

(The text of the article can be found in the archives linked to above, though not at the AJC archives as they are pay service. The text from the book can be found on pages 40-42 of the paper back.)

U.S. whistleblower held by military in Iraq

Posted December 20, 2006 by Matthew
Categories: Bush, Iraq, Politics

From the New York Times: The U.S. military detained Donald Vance, a Navy vet, after a string of events started when he contacted the FBI telling them of his suspicions that the security firm he worked for was selling arms illegally. The military, apparently unaware of Vance’s roll of informing law enforcement in the first place, detained him for 3 months in the U.S. military prison Camp Cropper. While there, Vance was denied legal counsel and subjected to various from of psychological abuse. Among the abuses were being kept from sleeping, constant loud noise, and being handcuffed and blindfolded while being interrogated.

The sad thing is that this seems about par with other stories I have read about the treatment of people going to U.S. officials with intelligence. It’s not that I believe there is some conspiracy of punishing those who attempt to help the military in Iraq. Merely that the justice system set up in Iraq by the U.S. is not capable of delivering any meaningful execution of anything resembling ‘justice’. It appears to be run mostly by soldiers trained to treat anyone not in the military as animals, encouraged by those who make decisions and perform such things as interrogations, and then denied by the military PR wing. It appears there is little room for oversight or reform.

So much of the news coming out of Iraq seems to be hot for a minute and then disappear, making it hard to follow up on stories that don’t garner long-term attention. This is one of many stories that I hope remains covered by the main-stream press as I feel that it’s outcome may be a significant indicator on policy of how prisoners are held.

A Growing Concern

Posted December 19, 2006 by Matthew
Categories: Bush, Iraq, Politics

Following up on the post from Dec. 15th, Bush has confirmed that he is asking newly appointed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to develop a plan to increase the number of troops available to the armed forces. The original article stems from an interview with the Washington Post, though it seems to have hit most major news sources by now.

Bush claims that the increases are not intended solely for Iraq, but instead to strengthen the U.S. military on a global level. He also poses the question “Will Republicans and Democrats be able to work with the administration to assure our military and the American people that we will position our military so that it is ready and able to stay engaged in a long war?”[1] A revealing question considering the number of polls released that indicate the U.S. public is not interested in continuing the current war.[2]


Posted December 19, 2006 by Matthew
Categories: Bush, Iran, Politics

The NSA has blocked the publishing of an op-ed piece in the New York Times that criticizes the Bush administration for not pursuing opportunities for holding talks with Iran, reports Scott Shane at the New York Times. The NSA claims the article contains information sensitive to national security. The authors, Leverett and Mann, claim the NSA’s censorship is politically motivated. Leverett claims the article is a synopsis of a paper he has already published and that has passed a security review by the CIA. The paper, entitled “Dealing with Tehran” is available here from the Century Foundation in PDF format.

The paper comes at a time when the Bush administration has been ignoring requests for a shift in policy towards Iran, mainly in heavily pursuing talks with the country in order to enlist their aid in stabilizing Iraq.