September 26, 2007

A Response to Winter Patriot about the Kennebunkport Warning Controversy

A Response to Winter Patriot about the Kennebunkport Warning Controversy

By Arabesque

See also: The Kennebunkport Warning Controversy: A Study in Divisive Accusations, Insults, and Ad-Hominem Attacks

Winter Patriot has written a lengthy piece and comments on Kennebunkport Warning controversy. He makes a number of points that I will respond to:

Arabesque continued to push the notion that Webster Tarpley must be lying, because all four women were telling exactly the same story.
While I may have an opinion on who is telling the truth, I have not claimed that "Tarpley must be lying". I have acknowledged many times that I can not prove who is telling the truth about signing the document. Here are my words in my original article on the Kennebunkport Warning:
I would like to emphasize that while the truth of this matter has
not yet been determined
, the main issue is that of divisiveness and the apparent attempts to split the 9/11 and anti-war activist groups.
I acknowledged that the truth about the signatures is unresolved:
It is not confirmed at this point that the signatures were taken from another document and put onto the Kennebunkport Warning.
My investigation began soon after Mr. Tarpley called Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war activists "appalling liars" and "wretched individuals". Leaving the controversy over what happened with the signatures aside, I have observed the fact that Webster Tarpley and his associates have hurled abusive language towards the anti-war activists. In response to my claim that this is a "central issue" in the controversy Winter Patriot comments:
I'm not sure how much good one can do by telling others what "the issue" is. Everybody sees things differently, everybody has their own opinions, and by now I think most of us know that in politics, whoever defines "the issue" is gonna win "the debate".
I am not trying to “win a debate”. My complaint is that the issue of incivility is not being acknowledged by the promoters of the Kennebunkport Warning. The purpose of my investigation was to first detail the claims of those involved and highlight why this is a controversy. It is a controversy for two main reasons:

1) The denial of signatures by the anti-war activists
2) The use of incivility against the anti-war activists by Webster Tarpley and his associates

Having established that I can not determine the truth about the signatures due to the contradictory evidence available to us, I have emphasized the clear and case-closed nature of the incivility.

Winter Patriot asks:
If I could, I would… leave them polite comments asking why Tarpley should apologize? Why those who accused Tarpley and Marshall of fraud were never asked to provide evidence supporting their claims, which were lauded immediately as obviously true, even though there was no actual evidence supporting them, and even though they had obviously agreed to corroborate one another before issuing their supposedly definitive "group statement".
Again, I emphasize what I have already said here and in my original article: I do not claim to have proven the truth about the signatures. I reported the claims and counterclaims of those involved in the controversy. I quoted statements prior to the joint statement as well as the statement of a fifth alleged signer. Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, one of the alleged signers appeared on Michael Wolsey's radio show to discuss the controversy and give her account of what happened and comment on the personal attacks. From this controversy, five anti-war activists gave corroborating statements that they signed an alternative document involving impeachment. I believe this constitutes strong evidence that can not be ignored or dismissed easily--certainly, it's more than "no actual evidence".

The divisiveness surrounding this incident was not an unprecedented event within the 9/11 truth community. A previous "event" involved the divisive breakup of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. In this altercation a prominent leader of the truth movement was accused of ridiculous "hostile takeover" charges. Witnessing the characteristic signs of relentless and vicious ad-hominem attacks and accusations (both online and offline) strongly suggested to me who was telling the truth in this affair early on. There becomes a point where "protesting too much" becomes a reasonable question. But as I have said repeatedly, I can not prove who is telling the truth, so I have focused on the behavior of the Kennebunkport supporters.

One effective way to “win a debate” is to refuse to answer or even acknowledge the actual complaint of your opponent, or misrepresent their claims. If I say "I have a problem with your shoes", and you reply "my shirt is fine", there is no honest or legitimate response my complaint. Following this analogy, in response to our charges of incivility Mr. Tarpley has made the lame counter-charge that we “oppose” the Kennebunkport warning. This is false, as I have said all along in my original post; we object to Tarpley's divisive language, which he has now employed against us for pointing out his behavior.

Jim Hoffman, one of the most respected 9/11 researchers said of the controversy:
Attacking Sheehan and others peace activists with insults and accusations of lying ... To what end?
Is hurtful to the victims of the attack.
Is hurtful to common cause between 9/11 truth and peace communities.
However gracious the immediate targets are, it sends a message: don't come anywhere near 9/11 truth.
This is how Michael Wolsey characterized the controversy:
Why... did Mr. Tarpley and other supporters of the KW viciously attack leaders of the Peace Movement? Why did you and your followers do this Mr. Tarpley, and why did you lead the way in these attacks? Apparently the call to respect others and act in a “manner, without slander, without defamation, without ad hominem attacks on every page” does not extend to members of the Peace Movement. We find out later that they do not extend to the 9-11 Truth Movement either.

Here is what Cosmos said on his radio show:

One thing about this that really disturbed me… it’s something that potentially [caused] this antagonism between the truth movement and the anti-war movement, when the whole thing was intended to building bridges. As someone who’s put effort into building bridges—individually, and with groups in the anti-war movement… I just don’t take it well to have these women’s names put on this document, and when they curiously differ, and say no, they signed a different document, and include in their refutation a message of support for 9/11 truth! …and then to have the people promoting this turn and viciously attack them. It’s just… it really boils down to are we going to act civilly, or are we going to be divisive.

If those involved in this controversy are engaging in destructive and divisive behavior, does it really matter who is telling the truth about who did or did not sign a document? In my opinion, the answer is no. Mr. Tarpley should apologize for his behavior if he wishes to regain any semblance of credibility.