Clarice Feldman marveled yesterday at how quickly nonsense gets debunked these days online. Ah, Clarice: you haven’t looked at the top of the Google Video charts lately, have you? Despite the best efforts of some, nonsense thrives on the Internet. Which is why, despite the fact that MilBlogs has already blown barn-sized holes in its credibility, the Jesse Macbeth video has spread this morning to Information Clearing House and Mininova. If you see it anywhere else, e-mail us or leave a comment below and we’ll update. (Update:
Radio host Jay Severin eats up Macbeth’s bilge with a spoon. See update below.) (Update: Totally wrong on Severin. That’s an attack site. See the update below.)
Reader Geoff B. tipped me this morning to a comment left in the Peace Films guestbook purporting to be from “volunteer social justice cameraperson” Terry Portinga, who agreed to host the video at Peacefilms.org. (Update: the guestbook pages keep changing over there so the link no longer takes you directly to Portinga’s comment. You’ll have to click around and find it yourself.) Emphasis mine:
I am the citizen who put the Jessie Macbeth interview on my website. I am a volunteer social justice cameraperson/video editor. I did not film or edit Jessie’s interview yet I did put it on the site and I take full responsiblity for that. At present we have asked a number of veterans, those who know Jessie and those who don’t, to review the video and talk with Jessie. I am hoping to hear the first reports shortly. If Jessie’s claim to be a Ranger does not check out as I am hearing other citizens say is the case, I plan to still intensely follow up on whether the experiences Jessie claims to have had in Iraq are valid. If there is truth in Jessie’s story, whether he was a Ranger of not, we as citizens must know. So lets see first what the vetera**ay. I will let everyone know. If Jessie’s story is found valid, he will stay on this website. If Jessie is not a Ranger but his story checks out, I will pull the interview off the site but Jessie will be back in a new interview that has been verified. I’m new at all this so bear with me. We are all just citizens trying to get at the truth…
In the meantime, how about if someone goes to the video page with Ms. Eman Ahmad Khamas speaking and lets us know what they think. Listen to her talk about genocide… Dig around and read some of the articles about Ms. Khamas. Ok, I only have read one myself so far but hey, thinking is tough. But in a democracy of the people we have to think, like it or not. Case in point: It appears I should have been more critical regarding the Jessie Macbeth interview. But that is what freedom of speech is all about. Getting feedback, altering course with the help of other free voices and arriving at the truth.
…but only after you’ve already floated a video starring an apparently bogus Ranger that’s getting picked up on anti-war sites around the country. Anyway, I can’t wait to find out how he’s going to “verify” Macbeth’s claims. And if they’re looking for vets to “talk” to him, I’ll bet Smash, Greyhawk, and Blackfive would be only too happy to help. As one National Guard officer told me in an e-mail this morning, “I am hoping to catch this idiot at an anti-war rally, where I am going to make him repeat the Ranger creed.”
Who cares if he’s really a Ranger, though, right? What we’re after here are … larger truths.
Previous post is here.
Update: I wasn’t going to mention Macbeth’s alleged arrest record unless it was germane to this story. See-Dubya shows that it is. See-Dub also links to this op-ed in today’s Opinion Journal by a White House staffer, which should help Greyhawk get the ball rolling on his initiative to debunk urban legends about the war.
You know, if Macbeth plays his cards right, he might just earn himself a “Profile in Courage” award next year.
Update: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You weren’t actually about to celebrate good news, were you?
Update: Uncle Jimbo surveys the damage.
Update: They set out to smear American soldiers, but didn’t quite achieve their goal. Blackfive e-mails:
I’m getting slammed with soliders submitting “real heroes” for the B5 someone you should know category…and interestingly, the subjects of the articles don’t want to discuss their heroism…Just put one up of a Major who was in a 13 hour firefight.
Follow the link. The irony of this video bringing traffic to milbloggers and attention to real soldiers might be such that I have to lie down to absorb it all.
Update: How bad has it gotten? Even the DUers are piling on.
Update: Brad Staggs of Just Citizens quotes Army spokesman John Boyce:
“Initial research by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg shows no Soldier with the name of Jesse Macbeth having ever been assigned to the Special Forces or the Army Rangers — which are, in fact, two separate disciplines. This appears to be some sort of hoax. No Soldier by that name at Fort Lewis to our knowledge, in the past, either. Of course, the line about “go into the Army or go to jail” is vintage TV script not heard since the 1960s. There are also numerous wear and appearance issues with the Soldier’s uniform — a mix of foreign uniforms with the sleeves rolled up like a Marine and a badly floppy tan beret worn like a pastry chef. Of course, the allegations of war crimes are vague, as are the awards the Soldier allegedly received.”
Update: There’s a rumor at DU that Macbeth has resigned from Iraq Veterans Against the War. There’s nothing on the IVAW website about it.
Update: Goldstein has been moved to poetry.
Update: Macbeth now has his own Wikipedia entry. As Bryan says, “get it while it’s accurate.”
Radio talk-show host Jay Severin falls for Macbeth hook, line, and sinker. [UPDATE: Totally wrong. That’s a Jay Severin attack site, not Severin’s own site. The jackass who’s attacking Severin is the one who fell for it hook, line, and sinker. My apologies.] And get a load of this on something called “Media Monitors Network” (note: not Media Matters). Quote: “Macbeth and other U.S. soldiers have no option but to engage in this kind of butchery.”
Also, strictly as a matter of biographical detail, Macbeth appears to have undergone a name change back in 1986. Bear in mind when you see the name that he was two years old at the time, so don’t go jumping to any stupid conclusions.
Meanwhile, the boss just got off the phone with the Army.
Update: Screw Loose Change detects a pattern.
Update: Reader Nighthaven has been digging with a backhoe and uncovers an outstanding arrest warrant for someone named Jesse Adam Macbeth in Washington state. Can’t say for sure if it’s one and the same guy, but the interview our Jesse gave to Socialist Alternative last month does place him in Tacoma.
Meanwhile, reader Geoff B. points me to a post at The War in Context alleging that the producer of the video is standing 100% behind Macbeth’s story — although he’s not going to try to verify it:
Terry now informs me that Randy Rowland — a Vietnam veteran and peace activist who produced the Macbeth interview — is “100% behind Jessie,” and that Randy’s “reputation is on the line and he is not wavering one bit.” However, according to Portinga, it is not Rowland’s intention to try and verify Macbeth’s information, even though Portinga himself believes that “verification is the only sure route to go.” In my response to Terry’s email, I wrote, “If Jessie Macbeth’s story is true, Randy Rowland is doing Jessie a huge disservice by not giving him the opportunity to respond to the accusations that are being made against him. The issue here for everyone is having the courage to find out the truth.”
Emphasis mine. Of course.
Update: They’re saying prayers at MilBlogs. Could Macbeth be a washed-out Marine? He did have some of the uniform details right.
Update: Two different people have e-mailed to say that Terry Portinga, owner of the Peace Films site, has announced he’s removing the video. Stay tuned.
Update: Peace Films is no more, the Macbeth video replaced by a lovely graphic of the planet around which PF’s disinformation is now traveling. Did Allah use one of his fancy capture tools to download it for use in tomorrow’s Vent? I’ll never tell!
Update: Iraq Veterans Against the War abandons ship. Michelle has the details:
Iraq Veterans Against the War recently learned of a video interview with Jesse MacBeth that directs viewers to IVAW’s website and phone number. IVAW was not made aware of the creation of this video program and our input on it was never sought by its producers. Jesse MacBeth is not a spokesperson for IVAW and any claims made by MacBeth about his service have not been verified. We are currently investigating these claims and will have a full statement pending its resolution.
Update: Reader Joe R. e-mails with a new Macbeth video sighting. It’s at Torrentspy.
Update: Iowahawk channels Macbeth. Worth it for the photos alone.
Update: As of 11 p.m., there’s not a single mainstream media account of this story on Google News.