Saturday, September 09, 2006

Clinton, et al., should sue ABC for libel

In ABC's '9/11' Libel By Fiction Exposure, Michael Froomkin points out:

[Generally, in the United States, it is very difficult for a public figure to win a libel case.] Plus, libel claims based on fiction are obviously much harder than claims based on assertions in supposed non-fiction. But neither of these bars is insurmountable. And on the facts as reported, they could be surmounted surprisingly easily.

As one New York court put it not so long ago, a claim of "libel by fiction" requires that "the description of the fictional character must be so closely akin to the real person claiming to be defamed that a reader of the book, knowing the real person, would have no difficulty linking the two." The novel Primary Colors didn't meet that test as it didn't use real names, nor were the physical description of any character like the plaintiff in that case. But the 9/11 show differs from Primary Colors in a very basic way: It uses actors portraying real people with their actual names involved in activities that are a blend of real things they did and of the partisan imagination. I suspect it wouldn't be hard to get a court to see the difference from Primary Colors-like facts. Furthermore, even if ABC were to run a big disclaimer with the episode, that wouldn't necessarily suffice.

It's even harder to make out a case of libel when the victim is a public figure. Basically, to win you have to show that the author of the libelous work demonstrated a "reckless disregard for the truth." Given the public nature of the warnings that various scenes are false, if in fact they are false then I think this part of the case should be pretty easy.

If I were at ABC or Disney I'd be having a serious talk with my lawyers right about now.

And AmericaBlog points out that American Airlines is about to get smeared:

As I first noted yesterday, I have the entire "Path to 9/11" video. And one of the very first scenes makes it explicitly clear that American Airlines had Mohammad Atta in its grasp, warning lights flashing on the computer screen, yet the airline simply blew off the threat and helped Atta kill 3,000 Americans.

Unfortunately, it's a total lie.

Wrong airport, wrong airline, and an implicit accusation of negligence.

Was Mrs. Wilson Outed to Muddy the Waters about Iraq's Invisible WMDs?

What Valerie Wilson Really Did at the CIA

She was operations chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq, a unit of the Counterproliferation Division of the clandestine Directorate of Operations. For the two years prior to her outing, Valerie Wilson worked to gather intelligence that would support the Bush White House's assertion that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was loaded with WMDs. This means that Armitage--as well as Karl Rove and Scooter Libby--leaked classified information about a CIA officer whose job it had been to look for evidence of Saddam's WMD programs. During this part of her career, Valerie Wilson traveled overseas to monitor operations she and her staff at JTFI were mounting. She was no analyst, no desk-jockey, no paper-pusher. She was an undercover officer in charge of running critical covert operations.

[S]he had spent two years trying to find proof of the administration's claims that Iraq posed a WMD threat. She and the Joint Task Force on Iraq, of course, came up empty-handed.

"Thanks for the Fear"

Thanks for the Fear, from On the Left Tip. Read the whole thing, even if you can't bear to read a "where I was on September 11" story.

That's real fear. It's real fear when you immediately notify authorities (whoever is closest) when a bag is abandoned on the Metro or in front of a building or in the Dulles Airport. It's ever-present. It's livable, but it's always there and it's tied to real-life concerns.

So it really fucking pisses me off when the terror alert level is raised, right before and election, based on information that is four years old.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Followup to yesterday: And now the EU wants to know where they are

EU lawmakers demand to know location of CIA jails

Bush said on Wednesday the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had interrogated dozens of suspects at undisclosed overseas locations and 14 of those held had now been sent to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

A leader of Europe's chief human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, said the revelation vindicated the investigation the body had conducted after the Washington Post reported last year that the CIA had run secret prisons in Europe and flown suspects to states where they could be tortured.