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Talk:Johann Hari/Archive

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I agree that its probably Hari himself or atleast someone who likes his column enough is the one behind the edits. That said, I think some of the snideness and sarcasm could be toned down in the article.

Reading some of his articles, this Hari guy is, for all purposes, a British Stephen Glass. His articles are almost too narritive perfect to be true. And while Hunster S. Thompson, who mixes both fiction and fact liberally, and people know that off the bat, this guy supposedly is being absolutely dead serious when he talks about seducing neo nazi's. Are you kidding me? It takes a fair amount of work to get into most neo nazi rallies these days (due to bad press, and the continuing actions of militant anti racists), and the idea that he could bumble in, and seduce a neo nazi? Ridiculous.

User:SiberioS

David

I proposed the edits, and no, I am not Johann Hari. I know him a bit, we were at university together, and I have done some work on his website. You can e-mail me at methuselahproductions@hotmail.com

I think the article about him is outrageous and I e-mailed Johann about it but he has been in Taiwan and has not yet replied. The Private Eye allegations have been answered by Johann and you don't even mention that. While accusing him of lying, you repeat a lie of your own: he did in fact respond to the Iraq Pastor allegations, admitting they were "bullshit". You name him as a friend of Hitchens, but don't point out that he has seriously criticised Hitchens.

To compare him to Steven Glass or Jayson Blair is totally libellous, and if was him I'd sue, and I will recommend that option to him but he is a free speech obsessive and tends to ignore this kind of crap.

He did not go to a neo-Nazi rally, he went to a Holocaust Denial conference, by the way.

I didn't agree with Johan about Iraq at all (I am in the AWL) but to suggest that negates everything else he has done, like exposing in a national newspaper the role of Western corporations in the Darfur genocide or his reporting from palestine, is dumb. People like George Monbiot and Polly Toynbee and Peter Tatchell have praised his work, which doesn't normally happen to "fake" leftists. Anybody who knows him, or even reads his work regularly, would be able to tell that.

To be honest, the writing reeks of envy and spite, and I think you should at least correct the bltanat errors about the Iraq Pastor, Hitchens, Jayson Blair etc etc and mention that he has answered the Priveate Eye allegations

PaulR reply to the above

the "david" wirtes... >>While accusing him of lying, you repeat a lie of your own: he did in fact respond to the Iraq Pastor allegations, admitting they were "bullshit". You name him as a friend of Hitchens, but don't point out that he has seriously criticised Hitchens. <<

Hmmmm... I can remember writing Hari for months about this (all told about a dozen+ emails), and only getting evasive remarks. (NB: JH always said he would get back to me, that he was busy, but over the course of two months, all he could muster was -- i have difficulty reaching him, will get back on the case soon as soon as i have time). *All* the email replies that Hari sent me went to _Private Eye_, and I would suggest that they did a splendid job at summarizing it.

About Hitchens: show me the "seriously criticized" articles. And ask Hari why he calls him Hitchie. If you provide an adequate answer this section will be amended. Also ask him if he is still a friend of Hitchie.

Bullshit? Hmmm... we are collecting more material on Hari, and we would welcome feedback directily on the issue. NB: it transpires that there was NO "Iraq pastor", and would welcome evidence from Hari suggesting that he did exist. Can you prod that out of JH? It is like finding proof that a Yeti suddenly popped up. Our friend at UPI categorically states this was a hoax -- so there is a discrepancy somewhere.

Ciao PaulR 18:27, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)


David

This is his article on Holocaust Deniers from the Independent two years ago. Do you really think he would not have been sued by these people if he had 'made it up'?

See http://www.johannhari.com/archive/article.php?id=30

( Neoconned 20:03, 26 Jan 2005 (EST) writes: Quoting the entire text of the Holocaust Deniers article made it harder to follow the flow of the debate, here. I've therefore replaced it with a link to the article.)

Siberio reply to the above

I was willing to hear you out, and indeed recognized some of the too caustic comments on the article page, as well as some of the responses that Hari himself made. But then you made the mistake of trying to threaten me, as well as the rest of the SourceWatch contributors with some canard about libel lawsuit, for making a comparison of the sort that isn't even as offensive as ones that are repeated on network television every night (how many people are called feminazis, pansies, terrorists, etc on Fox News? No one gets sued.)

Also, clearly you don't understand how Source Watch works, or indeed what a wiki is. It's a collobrative editing system, ie: a variety of contributors write and revise articles. On this article it is true that there is one major contributor, ie: PaulR. So presumably I guess you can pin the blame on him, but even then, thats just ridiculous. Don't come into someplace and start shooting off your mouth about how you're going to recommend suing us cause we speak unflattering of your school mate.

I'll look into possibly suggesting some rewrites and incorporating some of his own responses to issues. But if you insist on making major rewrites, as well as flipping off at all of us here, you will be temporarily banned, and the page protected.

User:SiberioS

David

Hang on - you accuse him of explicitly making up stories. That is libellous. It is not like making group libels like 'feminazis' (although, by the way, Johann has written a lot about the pernicious evils of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, and he is regularly attacked in the Sun, Mardoch's vile tabloid, for it, as a "poof" and "left-wing agitator"). It is a specific allegation with no basis in fact.

If it sounded intemperate, I'm sorry, but your charges against my mate are very, very serious, and you have no evidence at all for them except a dishonest Private Eye story which Johann answered convincingly and a false story that was circulated very widely across the world press, repeated by Johann, and then apologised for profusely (he called it "clearly bullshit", remember?)

I think disinfo is a good idea and does some really good work exposing the real journalistic crooks out there. It's helped me to understand the media a bit better, and it's a valuable tool. But to repeat lies (put about by homophobes like Richard Ingrams, no less, after Johann criticised him for his homophobia) about decent left-wing journalists you happen to disagree with is another matter. Johann and I have argued a million times about Iraq and I'm not defending him on that issue, but the reasons he supported the invasion were sincere and they were not "bomb the towel-heads" crap.

I mentioned litigation only to shock you into realsing that your words have consequences; I also made it clear that Johann is a free speech nut and would never sue anyone. He responed to my e-mail about this article an hour ago and told me to forget about it but I don't think it is right to circulate flasehoods and, since you seem like decent people dedicated to teh truth, I appeal to you to correct the gross innaccuarcies in this article.

I think at the very least you should:

(a) make it clear he has condemned Hitchens in print (b) Make it clear he always described the WMD rationales for the war as "lies" (c) that he has reported from the Occupied Territories on the suffering of Palestinians and written about many progressive causes like climate change and the role of Western corporations in Darfur's genocide (d) take out the Jayson Blair comment, which is dishonest, and delete your Stephen Glass comment, which you admit is supposition (e) take out the accusation that his 'sleeping with the enemy' piece is made up, which you yourself admit is a baseless accusation (f) make it clear that he answered the Private Eye allegation, and put a link to his answer (g) correct the falsehood that he did not correct his statement about the Iraq Pastor guy, because he did, as even private Eye admitted


Johann writes almost entirely on left-wing issues from a left-wing perspective. Check out his website. Your impugning of his integrity will be used, I suspect, mainly by Zionist groups and anti-environmentalists in their mailing lists to undermine his writing about Palestine and climate change. (The Private Eye attack began after Johann attacked their homophobia). It's frustrating to see a decent guy who works hard for left-wing causes being pulled down by his own side (using right-wing allegations!) because they disagreed with him on one issue.

A few replies to the above

1. if JH wanted to sue anyone, then let him sue Private Eye. PE has very good documentation so as not to worry a whiff.

2. PE suggests that JH makes up stories (e.g., iraq, Genoa...)... that is an issue to settle with them. But note: this issue has not been dealt with with them or anyone else.

3. Jayson Blair... the only point here is that the editor of the Independent Mr. Kelner received: (1) email and (2) formal letters complaining about JH's "Joseph story" (copy available). He was even provided with a full list of all the email exchange with Hari. So, if Hari was not willing to answer, and if there are serious discrepancies, then it is a question for the newspaper: why do they publish this stuff? The JB affair does sound apropos, but you must make a case against it. Dishonest? Hmmmm...

4. About the "criticism" of Hitch, please show me. Send me the links, i would love to read that.

5. I don't know who this S. Glass person is, and it is not part of the JH article at present. There is no need to follow up on this.

6. you write: "take out the accusation that his 'sleeping with the enemy' piece is made up, which you yourself admit is a baseless accusation". The damage was done by JH himself -- suggesting he'd seduced all sorts of unspeakable people. "baseless accusation"... what is worse: that the story is true OR that it is false?

7. "correct the falsehood that he did not correct his statement about the Iraq Pastor guy, because he did, as even private Eye admitted" Hmmmm... now don't make stories up. _Private Eye_ made some clear statements about this, and there is the entire record of the emails with JH about this. NB: JH only wrote a "Bullshit" comment on his personal website, but NEVER apologized to the Independent readers OR did he make them aware that there was an error... There isnt much to correct in this section, is there?

8. Ask your little friend if he is still demanding for the "left" to recant or to apologize for NOT supporting the war against Iraq -- I would love to get an attributatle reply to this.

Sincerely
PaulR 19:02, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)
Amsterdam

Start of Burton comments

I started a rewrite on the lead -- I toned a little of the language down and condensed some others (that are expanded on later ie his support for the US invasion of Iraq). I deleted the tag of Hitchens as a new neo-con -- while I wouldn't claim to have read all his recent material I've heard him interviewed on a few occasions and am not sure he could be lumped with the neocon tag. Plus I'm wary of using broadening the use of the term to the extent that it becomes rather meaningless or shorthand for a conservative. Will work through this article a little more.--Bob Burton 20:01, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)


Where exactly did Hari "seriously criticise" Hitchens?

David wrote: >> You name him as a friend of Hitchens, but don't point out that he has seriously criticised Hitchens.

Hi David, Where exactly did JH seriously criticise Hitchens? So far, all I can find is a mild rebuke for the fact that Lenin is "still lauded by Christopher Hitchens". Followed of course by a reminder that JH "greatly admires" Hitchens. --Neoconned 20:38, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)

Re 'Sleeping with the Enemy' and Hitchens a 'friend'?

A few points:

  • I removed the Sleeping with the Enemy section - I haven't compared thw two versions of the same article sentence by sentence but I can't readily see the differences. And even if readers doubt the authenticity of the accounts its another thing to state - in the absence of any evidence - that it was made up;
  • I'm also not sure that its accurate to describe Hitchens as a friend. Hari reads to me more as an admirer (with qualifications) dropping names.--Bob Burton 23:01, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)

Hari's response to Private Eye

David, You stated above (twice) that "The Private Eye allegations have been answered by Johann". Maybe I am missing something but the only response I could find was Eye rebuttal. And all that states is "Even the slightest factual analysis of Private Eye 's retaliatory accusations causes them to immediately crumble into dust".

I couldn't find any response on his own website to Private Eye articles addressing the ecstasy, G8 or Iraq archaelogical trip issues. If you can point me to a link I'd be happy to include the key points in the text and in the references.--Bob Burton 00:39, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)

Much better

This is a vast improvement, I would just add 3 things to this:

(1) Why not print his full Private Eye response? You leave out the most important bit: that the allegations only appeared after he criticised the editor and former editor for homophobia etc. This is essential to give a full picture. The quote you give makes no sense out of context, and could look like you are reinforcing the fabrications of homophobes

(2) You could mention some of the huge number of progressive things he has done - reporting from Palestine? Exposing corporations in Darfur?

(3) Here is where he criticises Hitchens for "living in a dream world", you could quote that:

Bush's talk of spreading freedom is a sugar-coated lie


In his second inaugural address yesterday, George Bush presented America as the armed wing of Amnesty International. "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

After 11 September, some of the political thinkers I most respect started unexpectedly reading from this script about US foreign policy. Christopher Hitchens is a good example. For decades, he had exposed the monstrous anti-democratic policies of the US, from the Nixon-Kissinger years to Reagan's dirty wars in South America. But after the attacks on the Twin Towers, Hitchens argued that the vicious American foreign policy he opposed had died with Bin Laden's victims.

As downtown Manhattan burned, even Republicans in Washington accepted that supporting authoritarian regimes outside America's borders would breed anti-American death cults and, sooner or later, backfire onto the homeland. Hitchens said his contacts deep within the Bush administration had decided the only solution was "a forward strategy of freedom". This would mean reversing support for dictators and planting the seeds of democracy in some of the world's worst tyrant-infested wastelands.

Even more crucially, Tony Blair believes the Bushies share thisanalysis. He said recently: "When the Americans say we want to extend democracy to these countries, or extend democracy and human rights throughout the Middle East, people say, well, that is part of the neoconservative agenda. Actually, if you put it in a different language, it is a progressive agenda." Although I was often wary, I wanted both Blair and Hitchens to be right.

At first glance, Bush's address on Capitol Hill yesterday is a restatement of this Blair-Hitchens view. The President said: "For as long as whole regions of the world fester in tyranny ... violence will raise a mortal threat." He declared that "the only force in history that can break the reign of terror" is "the expansion of human freedom".

So why do I feel so despairing and so foolish? Because the rhetoric is flatly contradicted by US action on the ground, and we simply have to be honest about it. If Bush was serious about "exporting democracy and freedom", the best place to start would be with the authoritarian regimes he currently funds, supports and deals weaponry to. Egypt - which receives a $2bn handout from the US Treasury every year - has been under 'Emergency Rule' for 25 years now. Political dissidents are routinely tortured. Pro-democracy activists are jailed. The current President, Hosni Mubarak, expects his son to succeed him as head of state. A US president committed to spreading democracy and freedom would withhold the vast sums he sprays on this authoritarian state until there is an Egyptian perestroika.

Does Bush condemn the Saud Crime Family who oversee public beheadings and commit "widespread torture with complete impunity", according to Amnesty? Not exactly. The award-winning journalist Craig Unger has shown that the House of Bush and the House of Saud have been intimate friends for over 30 years, enjoying luxury holidays and deeply intertwined business relationships. The Saudi "royals" have donated an amazing $1.4bn to the Bush family and their (mostly failed) business projects over the years. Far from urging democracy upon his petroleum-soaked buddies, Bush lauds them as "loyal allies" and "friends of America". And the list of vile governments Bush embraces goes on: Uzbekistan and Colombia are especially disturbing examples.

And it gets worse. Not only does the Bush administration support several existing dictatorships; the administration has also acted to liquidate democracy when it is incompatible with its geostrategic interests. Look at Venezuela, where the leftist government of Hugo Chavez has been supported by the electorate an extraordinary six times since 1998, often with landslide victories. Chavez - backed by a majority of the Venezuelan people - has insisted on state ownership of the nation's oil industry, the fifth-largest in the world. Unlike in every other oil-rich country - especially the ones backed by the US - much of the profit has been ploughed into schools and hospitals for the people trapped in the country's slums.

There is a lot about Chavez I find extremely worrying - he has embraced both Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi, and he has eroded some media freedoms - but it is impossible to argue that he does not enjoy massive democratic support.

So what has the Bush administration's response been to this flowering of Venezuelan democracy and freedom? In 2002 - after the supposed sea-change of 11 September - they backed an anti-democratic coup to install a pro-American, pro-business candidate with little popular support. It was only massive protests on the streets of Venezuela - and a refusal by much of the Venezuelan army to act against their own country's democracy - that restored Chavez to power.

This begs the question: what does the Bush administration mean by spreading democracy? Let's look at the country where its "forward strategy of freedom" has been most aggressively pursued: Iraq. The US Defence Department is, according to Newsweek, currently considering the "Salvador option": sending in death squads to kill Sunni civilians to make them "pay a price" for possibly supporting the insurgency. So much for human rights. And democracy? Even after next week's elections, Iraqis will have no say in the running of their own country's economy. Under a US-brokered deal, the next Iraqi government - whatever its character - has to agree to allow the economy to be run by unelected, unaccountable, usually disastrous bankers from the International Monetary Fund for the next decade if they want to be freed from the burden of Saddam's swollen debts. Is there a democracy in the world that does not control its own taxes?

Yes, this neoconservative semi-democracy is somewhat better than, say, Saddam's Baathism - but it is still an affront to true democracy and human rights. There always will be some countries like Iraq where the situation is so awful that people will prefer even a US invasion to the status quo - but is that the best we can hope for?

Sadly, George Bush talked yesterday about spreading US values - democracy and freedom - only to sugar-coat the raw expansion of US corporate and strategic interests. Tony Blair and the liberals who thought we could ride neoconservatism to a better world have been duped. It is painful, but we cannot live in a dream world.

Nothing would make me happier than if the most powerful state in the world was committed to spreading democracy and toppling vicious governments. It is not; in many places, it is doing precisely the opposite. As George Bush begins his second term with another



And finally: About Jayson Blair. You cannot compare a reporter who fabricated stories, pretended to be places he wasn't etc, to a reporter who repeated a very widely circulated and reported story (the Iraq Pastor thing) which then turned out to be wrong and was corrected when he knew about it. They are not the same thing, and it's bizarre to claim they are.

Anywaya, you have shown you are honourable people and keep up the good work on (bad) journalists

Sorry, didn't sign that

It's me, David R, realised I didn't sign that last bit (there's no name slot - v confusing!)

And there's no difference between the 2 sleeping with the enemy slots, they seem to have just been posted in different places on Guardian website because it belongs in 2 different categories

Reply to DavidR yet again

  • In the piece you just submitted there is NO reference to the criticism about Hitchens. Still waiting.
  • There is only one reply to the _Private Eye_ issue. Where is the other?
  • You write:
And finally: About Jayson Blair. You cannot compare a reporter who fabricated stories, pretended to be places he wasn't etc, to a reporter who repeated a very widely circulated and reported story (the Iraq Pastor thing) which then turned out to be wrong and was corrected when he knew about it. They are not the same thing, and it's bizarre to claim they are.

Well, the issue is that he has on numerous occasions done the following:

    • claims to quote from "iraqi friend"... or several convenient unnamed sources.
    • Going to Iraq on tourism and upon returning posturing about what insights he has obtained... this is fraudulent.
    • Did he or did he not contact Kenneth Joseph. If he did, then there are questions about the info he received, and what this person has to say after the fact. If he didnt contact him, then this exhibits the shoddiest possible type of "journalism".
    • Jason Blair was willing to adulterate/create articles that had little consequence -- no one was going to get blown up on the basis of his articles. This is not the case with several of JH's articles: these amount to a justification of wars. That is a different animal, and it is far more serious.
  • About Sleeping with enemy... you will find that that section was rewritten.

Now answer this: why are YOU so interested in J. Hari, willing to read so much of his stuff, know so many particulars about him, and willing to spend so much time defending him?

--PaulR 07:10, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)

Curious IP address you have

DavidR, you have a curious IP address:

IP: 217.118.112.0/20
descr: Interoute Telecommunications (UK) Ltd
origin: AS8928
notify: hostmaster@interoute.net
mnt-by: INTEROUTE-MNTNR
changed: george@interoute.net 20040211
source: RIPE
person: Franc Tundidor
address: Independent News & Media
address: Independent House
address: 191 Marsh Wall
address: London
address: E14 9RS
address: UK

Now, you wouldnt happen to be working at the Independent, would you? So you too should be "keep up the good work on (bad) journalists" (as you stated above).

--PaulR 07:32, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)

David R

Yes, I do shifts as a sub at the Indie sometimes (Johann got me this shiftwork, I told you up front he is a friend of mine) - you can all me on the switchboard, call the subs' desk on 02070052000 and ask for David Rose. And, yes, I do watch out for bad journos.

David

What do you mean, why do I know his work? Because he's my mate and I put all his articles on his website for him. Your cheap insiuations are a bit... cheap.

You say

- he claims to quote from "iraqi friend"... or several convenient unnamed sources.

Eh? He has written about ten artciles identifying his Iraqi Friends as the Iraqi Proespect Organisation, www.iprospect.org.uk

"- Going to Iraq on tourism and upon returning posturing about what insights he has obtained... this is fraudulent. "

Why? he went to Iraq before the war. One fo the only ways to go there was posing as a tourist. How is that 'posturing'

"* Did he or did he not contact Kenneth Joseph. If he did, then there are questions about the info he received, and what this person has to say after the fact. If he didnt contact him, then this exhibits the shoddiest possible type of "journalism". "

I don't know. I'll ask him. Are you suggesting that every single story, even ones that are very widely reported and on the wire services, has to be checked with the original source or it is 'fraudulent'? You must know very little about journalism. every single journo is fraudulent on that model


"* Jason Blair was willing to adulterate/create articles that had little consequence -- no one was going to get blown up on the basis of his articles. This is not the case with several of JH's articles: these amount to a justification of wars. That is a different animal, and it is far more serious."

You haven't given any evidence of fraudulence/adulteration/creating except the Private Eye alleghations, which were made literally a week or two after Johann attacked their homophobia and are by definition unverifiable (how can he prove he took drugs?) so don't have much credibility, and the Iraq Paster thing, which he apologised for in the only place he could. The Indie doesnt have a corrections slot..

  • About Sleeping with enemy... you will find that that section was rewritten.

-Where? You use this to imply dishonesty. Please show the different sections. You are using innuendo. What's your point? That the Guardian thinks he faked it but only altered one website version?

Do the two versions contradict each other at all? Or are they just usual sub-editing?

Speaking of which, I am getting funny looks and should do some work.

You disagree with Johann on Iraq. I disagree with him too, as anybody who knows us or works in this office will tell you.

The difference is you accuse him of being a liar with no evidence. I just think on this one issue he's wrong.

If you think he's a propagandist or whatever, why idn't he a propagandist on anything else, like climate change or Palestine?

And that article obviously criticises Hitchens. It says the position he holds is "a dream world."

Why no answer?

David.