Agam's Gecko
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Five days after the latest terrorist attack in Jakarta, and they are still identifying victims. Following my last post, the toll of dead bumped up one more to nine -- however today Indonesian television is reporting that the Australian Federal Police investigators assisting in the case, have found that there were 10 fatalities. I can certainly see why this has been difficult to pin down.

Through Friday and Saturday there were many grieving scenes, as reporters followed the various victims final return to their hometowns, where families, friends and neighbours gathered -- usually at the family home of the victim's parents, as most of them seemed to have been young people working or studying in the capital. People gather in large numbers to share the grief, prepare food for their assembled mourners and generally just hang out together for comfort until the burial. All the burials that I've seen have been Muslim services. And yet today, five days after the attack, one more young man is identified -- and momentarily suspected of having been on of the suicide jihadis riding in the truck. Not true, Arman was working in the Kuningan area, and had been riding his motorcycle. He was identified by DNA analysis and the contents of a wallet, his remains having been blown far and wide along Rasuna Said Avenue.

On Saturday the police released a video showing the truck-bomb, captured from a closed circuit camera on a building across the street from the embassy. The truck first passed by on the near side of the divided boulevard, was out of sight for some time until reappearing after having made a U-turn, travelling now on the far side of the street. Perhaps some of you might have seen this footage -- CNN had it. We can see the Daihatsu mini-truck with the windowless box on the back, moving slower than traffic speed as it becomes partially obscured by the edge of an awning, which forms the entrance way of the building (upon which the CCTV camera is mounted). However the lower half of the vehicle continues to be visible below the awning, until it disappears behind a solid part of the entrance way structure. At that exact moment when it is visually obscured, it explodes. The power of this blast is incredible -- explosives experts have said it was much larger than the bomb which was used in the Marriott Hotel bombing of August last year. It was apparently not a composite device using a home made fertilizer concoction in concert with high explosives (as in the Bali bomb). This was over 400 pounds of high grade explosives.

What really caused me to shudder on watching the replays of this video, was watching three motorcylists coming up from behind the truck in preparation to overtake the slow moving vehicle. All three of them looked to be within two metres or so when the thing blew up. It would be extremely difficult to identify whatever might have been left afterwards, and this is undoubtedly the reason BBC reporter Rachel Harvey was saying that it looked to her that it was caused by perhaps two motorcycle-mounted bombs -- because those were the vehicle remains which were most completely destroyed.

Due to the high sophistication of the device, National Police Chief D'ai Bachtiar was on safe ground when he announced his prime suspect, Malaysian fugitive Dr. Azahari. By Saturday, and likely due to citizen assistance generated by the prominent display of photos of Azahari and his associate Noor Din Mohammed Top, the cops had found the flat where the two had been staying, in the far outskirts of the capital. They have been tracking Azahari since Bali, he's probably been the most wanted across SE Asia ever since they nabbed Hambali just north of Bangkok last year. (That was right close to the time of the Marriott bomb, as I recall). The Indonesian police actually felt they had him cornered soon after that attack, and when they closed in on him (I think this was a flat in Bandung, West Java), he had gotten away. It was almost like the earlier, longrunning Tommy Suharto manhunt fiasco, and made me wonder whether it was incompetence, or some other funny business going on (and not wanting to be unfair to them, the possibility of plain old bad luck cannot be dismissed either). Whatever the case, they have been chasing him for a good while already, and seem to have picked up his trail again, so let's hope a little more citizen assistance will help to complete the job.

Azahari is a smart character, reputedly a brilliant mathematician who studied in Australia and in Great Britain. He had been a lecturer at a university in Johor, Malaysia just across the straits from Singapore. He had become radicalized by the influence of Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in the mid-90's, when they were living in exile from Indonesia, in Johor State. Sungkar has since died, while Ba'asyir is a prominent radical Islamist preacher who returned to Indonesia following the collapse of the Suharto regime in 1998. He is repeatedly described by his disciples, as the "Amir" of Jema'ah Islamiya -- the chief spiritual leader of this pan-Asian jihad outfit. There has been a bit of a flap over this issue during the past couple of days, when the Australia PM John Howard revealed that Indonesian authorities had received an SMS warning of the bombing (a general one, that a foreign embassy was about to be bombed, not specifically which one) only 45 minutes before the blast. The message was said to have demanded the release from custody of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. The Indonesian police have so far denied this advance warning, but evidently the Australians are sure. The first hints of tension in the investigative cooperation between the two forces, but I'm sure they'll work it out. The Federal Police and the POLRI have worked together to good result after the Bali bombing, and I think they will be comfortable enough together by now to get over a little toe-stepping. The main thing, after all, is to catch the bastards who are doing this.

The list of bombings in Indonesia just in the past 4 years is quite a long one. Christmas Eve 2000, churches were bombed across the country during evening services. Surprisingly coordinated attacks, with dozens of Protestant and Catholic churches from Sumatra to Sulawesi hit at virtually the same time. This type of thing would eventually, of course, become a trademark of al Qaeda and affiliated groups. They love to show off some coordination. There were further bombings of shopping malls in Jakarta, along with some smaller "warning" type strikes at government offices, the United Nations office, and others. After a couple of Indonesians -- jihadist suspects -- had been detained by authorities in Manila, the Philippines Embassy was bombed in Jakarta's leafy Menteng district, not far at all from the Kuningan site of last week's attack. The Philippines embassador was lucky to survive the blast, which detonated under his car as he returned to his residence. He was critically injured, and if I recall correctly he may have lost a leg. I remember another bomb blast in Menteng on another occasion (it does contain a lot of embassies, as well as residential areas of the elite. Suharto's family home is also in the area) -- however this one was a botched job which killed the bombers out on the street, and nobody was really sure what the intended target might have been. Then of course we come to Kuta Beach, Bali on Oct. 12, 2002 which killed over 200 people -- about half Indonesians, the other half vacationers from around the world (but most of whom by far were Austalians). The Marriott bombing last August killed 12 people as I recall, all of them Indonesians. Last week's attack upon the Australian Embassy killed 10 and seriously injured somwhere around 180 -- and again, virtually all of them are local people.

These animals should realise one thing: they are not getting any sympathy from Indonesia's people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. I heard one graceful and gentle woman, a simple home maker from the nearby kampung (whose own little masjid was damaged by the force of the blast), who said that the people there were beyond angry. "I want to kill those people who did this." Watch out Dr. Azahari et al -- when a sweet Indonesian housewife is talking like that, you've been given fair notice!

Besides the already mentioned family gatherings prominently featured on the evening newscasts and special programs, there have been many civil society groups coming to the bomb site to hold group prayers, lay wreaths and so on. It's also customary to scatter flower petals at the scene of such a disaster (and also upon the graves as well), in my experience this is usually large quantities of red and white rose petals. The entire current cast of "Indonesian Idol" made a pilgrimage there over the weekend. On Sunday night there was a large multi-faith meeting with leaders and prominent national figures of all religions. The same type of event and display of solidarity have been taking place in Bali and in other parts of the country.

One thing I have not seen mentioned on the western news sources, is the fact that three days before the terrorists attacked, Abu Bakar Ba'asyir had a court appearance in Jakarta. It was a preliminary hearing to determine the status of his defence team's motion, that his re-arrest a few months ago was illegal. That was the point when his sentence on an earlier conviction, had been served. Prosecutors had managed to make only an immigration charge stick (a falsified passport or something), he served his 18 months or so and was due to be released. Police and prosecutors had continued investigations on further charges, and felt they had enough to charge him with terrorism related offences. So he'd been released from one prison, put into an armoured truck and simply transported to another detention facility -- after having been properly booked on the new charges. His supporters battled police in the streets for hours that morning, and his legal team challenged the procedure.

Well last Monday, the judge hearing this motion made his decision, that the police had followed everything properly and to the letter, and that Ba'asyir's "re-arrest" had been completely correct. The courtroom was packed with the old man's supporters, and they went absolutely insane. There was shouting and screaming before the judge made his way off the bench and retreated to his chambers. The mujahadeen in court proceeded to assault several of the police officers present, and it was all caught on video for the evening news. It was quite a scene of bedlam for a while, and I was surprised at how restrained the police were with these boneheads. Why they were even allowed to pack the court like that is beyond me. However police the following day stated that charges would be laid in the incident, and there was certainly plenty of video evidence to identify the assailants. Three days later, the embassy bombing is connected with demands from Ba'asyir's supporters for his release. Further bomb threats were received in the following days in the city of Pekanbaru (Sumatra) and in Surabaya (East Java) and in other places. And these would have certain kept people edgy, since both domestic and foreign intel agencies were publicizing the possibility of further attacks by another active JI cell.

There had been advance public warning that something was coming, originating both from the Australian Foreign Office and US State Dept. Public travel advisories had been issued by both in the days preceding the attack. Indeed, Megawati's newest MENKO POLKAM -- Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs -- really stepped in it the day before. Hari Sabarno took over from the previous minister, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who had stepped down and is of course now pitting himself against Mega in the final presidential run-off election on the 20th. MENKO POLKAM is probably the most influential position in the cabinet, and the new minister decided it was his job to criticise the US State Dept. warnings, and defend Indonesia's honour and reputation. ""The warning is exaggerated, although the U.S. has the right to warn its nationals. Is it true that there is a terrorist threat ahead of the election? Let's see whether this is true what the U.S. has been worrying about." The next morning, he had his answer.

Today is the first offical day of campaigning for the final presidential vote next Monday. I have no idea whether Islamicist jihadis prefer Mega or SBY, or indeed what (if anything) was in their tiny little minds. After all, the Aussies vote only a couple of weeks later as well. It seems to have been aimed at them, but yet it killed and harmed almost exclusively Indonesians. They had to have known it would be that way, with the protections around the embassy itself, and detonating the thing on the street. It cannot accomplish any imaginable goal, except to plant fear and suspicion among all concerned. For example, a couple of Indonesians had been arrested yesterday in Australia for credit card forgery, and this was played up on today's news along with a lot of silly speculation. Some of the Indonesian media are almost as prone to being manipulated with little more than rumours, as say for example, Dan Rather. A little bit of skillful rumour mongering, a bit of dodgy information, and let them run rampant with their pre-existing biases and suspicions running the show. That can be a very dangerous game to play.

The Australian Embassy in Bangkok is about half a block from where I'm sitting. After the Jakarta attack, they asked for, and received, a heavy duty boost in security measures by the authorities here. No complaints, no fussing about the country's image or farangs worrying too much. Just do it, and lets get all on the same wavelength here. Drop the national pride back a notch, stick together, watch each other's back, and let's deal with this together.

For the best links to the latest information, check the very fine Aussie bloggers Tim Blair and Currency Lad. For news sites, stick with Jakarta Post and The Australian. Don't bother with the idiotic Morning Herald or The Age, now requiring registration just to read current stories. I should remove them from my sidebar. And the Herald just on general principle for being so idiotic to carry some idiot columnist speculating on who will gain the advantage in their election from the slaughter of Indonesians, and finally deciding that "it will be good for Mr. Howard" or some such idiotic crap. Not content to stop there, they wished to hear from their readers, through an online poll. The blood hadn't even dried on the street yet, they were asking, "Who will benefit more from the terror attack?" "Idiots," the one word reply from Currency Lad -- and I wholeheartedly agree.

I can't really say I'm surprised at this -- the blatant, and almost pathological bias in the "mainstream media" ("MSM" these days in the blogosphere) has caught my attention more than a few times since I started writing this. And it hasn't just been the partisan talking heads and scribes that pretend to be doing "journalism", but lately contaminating even the supposedly pure hard news sources, the wire services. These are expected to be giving the public "just the facts, ma'am" bare bones stuff -- what happened exactly, who said what exactly, and so on. It's one thing to find political correctness creeping into even this fundamental level of information, which is supposed to be giving us the "who, what, when, where, how" stuff. Their insistence in calling those who conduct indisputable terrorist attacks by such names as "rebels, activists, militants, or hostage takers" (even after the hostages have been slaughtered?) can be infuriating to read. But it almost becomes expected, when looked at through the prism of Iraq. The MSM is, and was, against it, and will report in a way that makes it look as bad as possible (not that there isn't plenty of bad news, of course), while studiously ignoring whatever doesn't fit the "quagmire" agenda. This dynamic naturally translates easily into the campaign season, colouring the narrative of the candidates, the two conventions, and the campaign as a whole. By their own admission through surveys conducted of them, journalists, editors and copy writers covering the American national scene are 12:1 against President Bush. And sometimes it seems like that's a low-ball figure.

One expects something of a journalistic tilt under such conditions, when the object of their attention is a hotly political event like the Repub's convention. After it was finished though, there was several days to cool off before the next big story was President Clinton's announced hospitalisation for heart surgery. President Bush was campaigning, and he passed the news to his audience that night, in a wholely admirable and principled way. For most of those people, they were hearing it for the first time from him, and he assured the former President of his best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. The audience was said to have been quite surprised by the news, and they applauded the President's good wishes very warmly, according to all present. But that's not how the AP correspondent saw things. He wrote that "the audience booed at the news" and that "Bush did nothing to stop them". It was a complete fabrication. Bloggers started picking apart the evidence for this completely unethical behaviour by a "journalist", finding other accounts and many of those present who reported the exact opposite of AP's "story". In short order it was clear that the reporter just simply made it up. AP started to go into its online site and changed the wording, released revised stories to supercede the junk ones (changing "boooos" to "oooohs", heh heh), and even getting into the Lexis - Nexus database and changing the old stored versions which demonstrated the pathetic attempt to lie about something like that. Funny -- papers like the Boston Globe which carried the AP wire (like virtually every English language paper in the world), updated with the secretly revised version.... and yet if you looked at the actual name of the file in the URL, it still read as "..../bush_crowd_booed_Clinton.html" or some such!

Then lately we had VP Cheney getting into trouble for something he said, when it was in effect something that AP said he said instead! The AP chops him off -- in mid-sentence, and then adds a period to it -- and sticking the remainder of his one sentence on much later in the story, to make it look like a separate thought. The result they were cleverly able to achieve, was to make it look like the Veep was saying, a vote for Kerry will make a terrorist attack more likely. When in reality he didn't say that at all! But they could make his words look that way. Here are his actual words:
Because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us.
Here we can see where journalists with an agenda would like to cut him off, which is exactly what the "just the facts, ma'am" folks at AP did. Stick a period after "we'll get hit again," and Bob's your uncle. One instant evil Vice President, just add water and stir. Read the whole thing, and while one might sensibly quibble with his way of expressing the thought, the idea itself is absolutely clear. He's criticising Kerry for being a "Sept. 10" type of person who sees the international Islamicist terrorist movement as a law enforcement issue. Which is nothing new, because Kerry himself has described things that way. Cheney was not saying that a President Kerry would make an attack more likely. This particular issue had legs for days, and just like the earlier example, only a very small proportion of the people who ingested the media-driven distortion would have ever had a chance to see either AP's whisper of a retraction (in the first case), or the full and accurate quotation (in the second case).

Which brings us to the event of the week: the terrible fall of CBS' venerable flagship current affairs program, 60 Minutes. The bias of Dan Rather is rather legendary (one may find the interesting investigative journalism website Rather Biased on the sidebar under the "Media Watchers" heading). It's a shame he was allowed to take down good ole' 60 Minutes though, in his zeal to do damage to the Bush campaign.

The long and the short of it, is that in this current climate, it seems entirely proper to have a Michael Moore profiting handsomely by lying about Bush, Iraq, Sept. 11 and associated issues in at least 59 different ways (trying to outdo Heinz 57, maybe?), to have a Kitty Kelly (discredited as a total BS'er how many times in the past?) publishing her junk (despite all her sources denying they said that stuff), to have all the dirt dredged up that they couldn't make to fly the first time round four years ago, and now to have sloppily created false documents pounced upon by Rather and CBS .... and what is it that all these fools are shouting? They all point to President Bush going, "Chimpy McSmirk is a LIAR LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!" When these people have been proven to be consciously lying inside out and every which way possible, driven by apparently nothing more or less than pure hatred, and Bush has not been shown to have lied even once! If one knows something is untrue, and deliberately conveys and affirms it as being true, that is a lie. Moore has done it, Kelly has done it, Richard Clarke has done it, Joe Wilson has done it, and how many more? Nobody has yet shown such a lie on Bush's part, not even close. Just like Andrew Gilligan of the BBC, basically calling Tony Blair a liar -- eventually shown to have been a false charge, and he resigned over it. These (Bush and Blair) are not people who take their massive responsibility lightly, I believe they are all too aware of the enormous weight they carry. These are not people who just frivolously lie about things that will determine the course of history, of peace and war, of lives and death.

But these silly film makers and media stars, they have no such weight to carry. Making up any old junk is just fine, if it's in a good cause of course. That's why I'm getting less and less surprised to listen to people calling into Washington Journal, as I did last weekend, saying, "It doesn't matter to me if the military memos are forged -- the important thing is the underlying truth they tell." Can such idiots really exist? Yes they do, for two or three callers later we hear the same sentiments. Not only there, but I read quotes from "progressive" columnists and political analysts saying the same thing! The truth of the evidence doesn't even matter, because there's a larger truth which is true, um, just because it must be! Because I said so, and it's so obvious, right? Which indeed, was the sum total of the basis of Mr. Rather's defence of his evidence on the following day after his 60 Minutes spotlight : the people who question this are partisans, the main thing to keep in mind is that the memos are authentic and true, I assure you of that. That was about the extent of his rationale, from all I've read about it so far.

The media are basically, for the most part, campaigning for Kerry/Edwards. They managed to spin the 911 commission report to make Bush and Cheney look like liars, and the commissioners who wrote the thing had to step up and correct the record. They ignored the Swift Boat Veterans as long as was reasonably possible, while citizen journalists moved the story forward. The MSM only brought up the issue when it was absolutely impossible for them not to. The Swifties have been calm and credible, all their facts and evidence ready at hand, while their interviewers have conniptions of frustration. The Swifties held their first press conference back in May... they couldn't get any attention until August. But wait, what's this? Something about Bush being AWOL? Who needs to wait a day or two to do some minimal vetting on these documents, run with it! Too good to pass up, or as some journalist in the distant past once said, "This story is too good to check! Stop Presses! Get it on the front page!"

Now we have an event which I've seen variously dubbed everything from "RatherGate" to "Cover Your AssGate". If anyone else has been following it a bit, the inexplicable fact of such a volatile piece of supposed evidence, a memo typed 31 years ago, having its SUBJECT: line showing "CYA" is just weird... I have to give credit to Glenn the Instapundit though -- don't know if he was first but that's where I first saw this: "RatherGate". Heh. Indeed.

And if the readers don't get the joke, you're missing half the fun. For that was one of the first (or should I have typed 1st) clues which struck a reader of a bulletin board, freerepublic.com. Old typewriters couldn't even do stuff like that. Several hours after seeing the 60 minutes program, he posted his suspicions based on knowledge of what early 1970's typewriters were actually capable of. Even at casual glance, these memos -- seen only briefly on the tv screen -- looked an awful lot like Microsoft Word documents. Another bulletin board participant took the ball and ran, before long a couple of widely read bloggers were doing some home research and provoking feedback of their readers, which pushed the amature forensic investigation through at a phenomenal pace. The "distributed intelligence" nature of the beast came into play, experts were tracked down, people who actually typed memos in National Guard offices 30 years ago weighed in with their observations, and the whole information set was being constantly compiled, revised and distributed in real time. By the time Dan Rather pulled his pants on the next morning, he was toast.

What's the frequency, Kenneth? Or, wait, here's a better one -- "What's the point size, Kern-neth?" Heh. Two puns in one. Indeed. The superscripted and miniaturized "th"... the letter kerning and line spacing..... the absolute centering of a multi line header.... the very typeface -- which the pre-eminent typeface expert who was tracked down by INDC Journal said he was sure could only be Times New Roman -- was not even available on typewriters. This typeface only made it into the public domain when the London Times licensed it to Bill Gates for Microsoft in the 1980's. I'm waiting for CBS to claim next that the whole thing came from a 1973 email, heh.

The bloggers were nimble and collaborative -- and only a very few were involved at this early point, while the MSM was sluggish and lazy and blinded by its own agenda ... (all for our own good, of course. Right?) Then we had news that the widow (yes, the memo typer was conveniently dead for the last 20 years) had disputed the authenticity of the documents, and protested to 60 minutes that she didn't believe her husband would have written them. The son also confirmed that his father would not have written such things, and remembered his father saying quite the opposite about the young George Bush. They both believed the documents were not genuine and protested so to the 60 Minutes producer. Their views were of course left on the editing room floor. They had offered other people who knew both the purported memo typist and Mr. Bush, who could help clarify things. Nope, the producer was not interested in what anybody, who by chance may have a positive opinion of Bush, might have to say. For in essence, what she was doing was putting together some Kerry campaign material.

While all this is being bandied around on the internet, and MSM is pretending not to notice as long as possible, Mrs. Heinz-Kerry pops up out of nowhere and waves: "Don't forget me... I'm still over here, and I'm still crazy!" No actually she didn't, she said that anyone who didn't agree with her husband on his health care plan, is an idiot. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much the same thing. She was last seen being whisked off by campaign staffers at each elbow, her heels 2 inches above the tarmac, heading for an undisclosed secret underground location for her own protection. Elevated risk level, and all that.

Kerry/Edwards'04 went into a mode which rhymes with "Titanic". Gigantic? Nope, the other one. Staffers and loyal pundits were feverishly spreading the meme that Karl Rove did it. Yeah, that's it - Republican dirty tricks planted the obviously and shabbily faked documents to make John-John look bad. Except -- and I don't know yet what the eventual finding is on this one -- there were strong indications [update: that link is still not working, try this one] that the Kerry folks had these forgeries weeks ago, and unsure what to do with them, they suckered in CBS to push the ball forward. Now CBS appears to be willing to walk the plank for Kerry. (I hope that's the right link, I haven't been able to see it yet as their server went down after Drudge linked it). The fine investigative journalist Stephen Hayes appeared on Nightline with a CBS lawyer -- and viewers described how Hayes had a ton of verified evidence of the forgery while retaining a proper skeptical attitude about it all, while the CBS guy could only manage to denigrate "bloggers" as "a bunch of guys running around in their pyjamas." Hah! Hah Hah! I never wear pyjamas, ever! (of course I've done nothing on this story either, but hey -- solidarity!) Pa kao mah, man -- that's where it's at for the modern blogger who likes his comfort. Harumph!

And by the way, one of these "pyjama-clad geeks" is offering more than 10,000 smackeroos (with his readers kicking into the pot, it might be way above that by now), for anyone who can reproduce these so-called TANG memos on any typing machine available in 1973. Think it's possible? Take a look at what Charles Johnson, the grand chief of the lizardoid hoardes and creator of Little Green Footballs managed to do in a few minutes playing around with Microsoft Word, and using all Mr. Gates' standard default settings. All he had to do was put it into Times New Roman, and the default settings took care of the rest. He's overlaid the Ratherfake docs with his MS Word composition, and they line up exactly. Check out this one, and this one, and especially this one where he makes an animated gif alternating betweeen the supposedly 30 year old typewriter product and his 2004 MS Word masterpiece. It's just not possible to get any closer than that.

One more: in some of the partisan zeal to discredit all this discreditation of the obvious forgeries, parts of the MSM have really gone over the edge with their conspirazoid prone-edness. I'm sure that's not a word but who cares. If Dubya can coin new words, then so can I! ABC News had apparently investigated who first noticed and questioned these discrepancies on the bulletin board mentioned earlier. Although the alert citizen resided in the Eastern timezone, the bulletin board rested in the Pacific timezone, and so his posting bore a PDT timestamp. ABC News was too sloppy to notice this, but reported that it appeared this person was questioning the validity before the 60 Minutes broadcast had finished airing -- when in fact it was hours after the program had finished. ABC thoughtfully corrected their blunder in short order, however National Public Radio and some other lesser known "progressive" outfit took that ball and ran with it, raising theories such as that the very people who first questioned the authenticity had done it so fast, that they must indeed be the forgers themselves! Several days after ABC had corrected their original sloppy blunder, NPR and the other "progressive media outfit" were still running with this conspirazoid nonsense, and had not posted any corrections or retractions.

SEMI-UPDATE: I've had my memory jogged now, and the "other progressive media outfit" was something called Media Matters. Yes, it certainly does.

And this brings me to this interesting little quotation from Powerline, one of the original two or three sites which worked hardest on the story (along with the aforementioned LGF and INDC Journal. Powerline writes:
Longtime Democratic strategist Pat Caddell said Friday that if documents aired by CBS newsman Dan Rather Wednesday night turn out to be forged, as alleged by experts, the presidential race "is over."
"It would be the end of the race," Caddell told Fox News Live. "It would be the end of the race," he repeated.

"[Democratic officials are] so involved in this," the former Carter pollster worried. "They have gotten themselves so involved in this issue [in] the last 24 hours that somebody's going to, if they're not authentic, they're going to be blamed for it. It's incredible to me that they've gotten in this." Caddell said..."I'm trying to save my party, you know, by telling the truth."

He said that forfeiting the presidential race would be the least of his party's problems if Democrats are tied to any forgery scandal.

"The race is over - and we've got bigger problems than that," he warned.
An alert Instapundit reader remembered an old Ratherism from some years ago, which seems an appropriate QUOTE FOR THE DAY:
To err is human but to really foul up requires a computer."

Author: Dan Rather
Now for me to go check what developments since Sunday -- you guys might be more updated on this stuff than I am by now. Has Dan Rather retired in disgrace yet? I guess I'll find out, this darn BBC doesn't tell me anything! They haven't mentioned one single word about any of this.

UPDATE: No, it's not proper. I couldn't possibly let you go without directing you forthwith and without delay to the protein wisdom interview with Dan Rather's Ego. You've seen the protein wisdom exclusive record of Ted Rall's internal monologue, you've seen the protein wisdom interview with Noam Chomsky, among PW's other Greatest Hits. Now, Dan Rather's Ego:
Rather's ego: "Oh kerning shmerning. You can box that argument up and mail it off to Aunt Nelly for Christmas --"

As for the Weekly Standard -- well, you can tie that rag in a gingham ribbon and use it to dust Aunt Milly's mini-blinds --"
Go ahead......Come on........ you know you want to.....

UPPERDATE: The protein wisdom link went bad at the other end -- Jeff has fixed it now, and the above link has been adjusted accordingly, so it ought to work now.

I have corrected two incidents of my misspelling of John O'Neill's name in earlier posts, where I first identified him correctly in articles on Sept. 9 and Aug. 24. Then I slipped into McNeill once in each post. I guess I still have Robert McNeil in mind, having seen O'Neill on the Lehrer News Hour. Which of course used to the The McNeil Lehrer News Hour. Now corrected for the record. Just so's you know.

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