Archive for February 12th, 2007|Daily archive page

Un-Fair Publicity

Remember my post about the Washington Post op-ed by Eric Fair?

I said it was powerful and moving.

Well it apparently the piece moved not just me but the right wing blogosphere as well; just in a slightly different direction. And a very weird one at that.

I also made a direct connection to the case of Khalid Al-Masri, the Lebanese born German citizen kidnapped and held by US/Afghan “authorities.” I first noticed this when looking at my referral logs and people looking for “Eric Fair warrant Germany.”

The backstory.

During the last week in January, Munich’s prosecuting attorney got arrest warrants for 13 people though to be associated with the, what in Germany is considered, kidnapping of Khalid al-Masari. One of the German television stations got the list and released (German) the names on the warrant,

According to research by the NDR, the arrest warrants were handed down for the following people.

Kirk James BIRD
Michael GRADY
Lyle Edgard LUMDSEN
Walter Richard GREESBORE
Patricia Riloy

Included in the warrants issued by the prosecuting attorney from Munich I are several spellings of each name. According to NDR research, these names are aliases. In addition according to research by “Panorama” [,a German television news magazine], several real names are also known to the investigators.

According to research from the ARD political magazine “Panorama,” the thirteen being sought under these warrants are CIA operatives. Most live in the US state of North Carolina. Three have already been confronted in September 2006 by “Panorama” about the charges; the accused refused any comment. [my translation, my emphasis]

In it’s coverage of the case, Speigel Online also underlines that the warrants are based on the al-Masari case and that the names are thought to be aliases.

Munich-based Bavarian senior state public prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said in a statement Wednesday that the warrants had been issued in the last few days. He said the agents are being sought on suspicion of abducting and wrongfully imprisoning el-Masri as well as causing him grievous bodily harm. Thirteen suspected CIA agents are listed in the warrants, although the names given are thought to be aliases. [my emphasis]

But Eric Fair wasn’t in Afghanistan and thus doesn’t have anything to do with the al- Masri case. Thus, it is unlikely that the Eric Fair from the WP article is one of the defendants being mentioned in the German warrant. Eric Fair probably isn’t that person’s real name and that isn’t the right country anyway. al-Masri wasn’t in Abu Ghraib.

So far so good.

Ah but the twisted turns of the Intertubes.

There is an Eric Fair mentioned [Hat Tip: Kilabe for the PDF if not his sentiments] in the lawsuit Saleh, v. Titan filed in California in 2004 and moved recently to Virginia due a change in venue. From the Juli Schwartz’ article in the Rutgers Law Journal,

The plaintiffs in Saleh represent a class of Iraqi detainees who claim to be the victims of heinous human rights abuses at the hands of U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors under military command. The named plaintiff, Mr. Saleh (who since withdrew from the suit), is an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen who was imprisoned under Saddam Hussein’s regime for speaking out against the Baath Party. He escaped to Europe, but returned to Iraq in September 2003, where he was seized and detained at Abu Ghraib. According to Saleh, he and other prisoners were stripped, beaten, defiled, and raped throughout their detention. Their tormenters were identified as both uniform and plain-clothes personnel. Mr. Saleh was released in December 2003, and upon his release contacted a Michigan-based attorney who eventually joined forces with eight other plaintiffs. Together they filed suit in the Southern District of California against the two private contracting firms allegedly involved in the abuse, Titan Corporation and CACI International, and three employees in their individual capacities. The pleadings asserted federal question jurisdiction under the ATS and the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act.

In the original filing there is an Eric Fair named as one of the CACI employees.

That’s an interesting case if you’re a lawyer or a civil rights person. Probably drops below the level of news for everyone not directly involved.

Still, Fair’s excellent description of what his time in Iraq was like speaks volumes about the emotional damage being done to civilians on both sides of the conflict. Unless of course, you’re not bothered by things like that,

I feel bad that this guy is having nightmares, and I hope he is getting the PTSD counseling he needs. A lot of people can’t forget what they saw and did in Iraq. I could describe for you in detail the faces of the middle-aged Iraqi soldiers on whom I directed 50. cal fire, and exactly what they looked like when they died 30 feet away, as I directed the gunner’s fire from one to another until they were all dead. For a long time, I saw them every day. I examined their faces for clues about who they were, and to divine the exact moment and exact manner in which life exits the body. I also wept once, and asked forgiveness, because no matter what else they were, they were also human. I was a reporter. Some people didn’t think I was supposed to be doing what I did, and called me a murderer. Screw them. They were people who weren’t remotely familiar with the truth they were lecturing me about. Guess what: War is hell.

This person seems to miss the point. (If not missing while directing 50 cal. machine gun fire.)

Unfortunately, the people Eric Fair took part in torturing were not on the battlefield. They were defenseless prisoners. Killing people in battle, while debateable in a war of aggression (and really debatable if you are supposed to be an embedded journalist) probably wouldn’t be challenged by moderates. Torturing people to get information for questionable tactical and strategic use is something else entirely.

Thus, while I might not curse Mr Crittenden for his feelings about what happened on the battlefield, I find his feelings about the WP article extremely distasteful.

And extremely Un-Fair.

Fleeing Godzilla?

First in was the frilled shark, photographed in January after being captured off the coast near Japan. Over the weekend another case of a deep sea shark surfacing occurred,

A rare goblin shark—a “living fossil” that closely resembles ancient shark species—was caught alive recently in Tokyo Bay, only to die within days.

Officials from the Tokyo Sea Life Park discovered the 4.3-foot-long (1.3-meter-long) creature on January 25 during an expedition with local fisherman. The shark had been tangled in fishing nets 500 to 650 feet (150 to 200 meters) deep.

The discussion over at BlondSense was focused entirely on salinity, colder denser water, ocean rivers and global climate catastrophes.

I beg to differ.

While GCC might be to blame, I don’t think this has anything to do with underwater rivers.

Godzilla has finally woken up, melted from his (her?) methane ice cocoon from times past. No the sharks aren’t being brought to the surface by a global current change. No they are fleeing to the surface just as the 1954 Japanese prophets predicted. Maybe we should recheck those 1960 horror films for fundamental truth.

I would bring this to the attention of the Senate. We need more defense spending. A major boost in anti-Godzilla weaponry. Studies into how we can stop this threat. The rash development and deployment of a unilateral anti-Godzilla screen is definitely necessary to protect America and her allies. (Those allies that don’t get eaten first and aren’t on the side of the terrorists and aren’t surrender monkies. OK. Let’s just protect America and maybe Canada.)

Of course we could also give science a try but that would probably be un-American.

So, if you get toasted in a radioactive cloud of bad breath, don’t say I didn’t warn you.