THE NATION Censors, Alters "Bin Laden: Forbidden Truth"
The Nation censors, alters "Bin Laden: Forbidden Truth"
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 14:41:28 EDT
From: Larry Chin
The Nation has censored the US release of "Bin Laden: Forbidden Truth".
Regardless if we agree or disagree with the premise of the book, the fact
that The Nation acquired the book (to control it) and deleted and changed
crucial material is an absolute outrage.
Read the article below.
The Nation should be exposed and denounced.
> Press Clips
> by Cynthia Cotts
> Laundering the 'Truth'
> 'The Nation' Defuses a French Bombshell
> July 24 - 30, 2002
> According to the back cover of Forbidden Truth, a
> bestseller published in France last fall and released
> in this country last week, a round of "secret
> diplomacy between the Bush administration and the
> Taliban" may have provoked Osama bin Laden into
> launching the September 11 attacks.
> As proof, authors Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume
> Dasquie point to a July 2001 meeting of a UN
> initiative known as Six Plus Two, formed to discuss
> Afghanistan's future and to offer incentives for
> building a Central Asian oil pipeline. The group that
> met in July included two former U.S. ambassadors,
> ostensibly chosen to float ideas that could not be
> traced to the U.S. government. At the meeting,
> according to one participant, one of the Americans
> informed the group, "Either you accept our offer of a
> carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of
> bombs." And when news of this unusual military threat
> reached bin Laden, the authors imply, he launched a
> preemptive strike on the U.S.
> With an outrageous premise like that, it's no wonder
> that chapter six of Forbidden Truth has been touted as
> the smoking gun that proves Bush's indirect
> responsibility for 9-11 -- or that Nation Books, the
> publishing arm of The Nation, has just published the
> book in English. What's really interesting is that
> after The Nation's hard-nosed Washington editor, David
> Corn, denounced the authors as conspiracy theorists,
> Nation Books neatly excised the smoking-gun
> allegations from the text.
> The smoking-gun claim first appeared in the foreword
> of the book's original edition, in which the authors
> dubbed the 9-11 attacks "a foreseeable" and "tragic"
> "outcome" of the UN initiative. But the foreword in
> the Nation Books edition merely states that the 9-11
> attacks were "possibly the outcome" of the UN
> initiative, and soberly calls for "further
> investigation." A similar text massage was performed
> at the end of chapter six.
> Toning down of this sort is standard practice for
> conscientious editors, but in this case it's the
> equivalent of buying a manuscript that states
> unequivocally that the CIA killed John F. Kennedy -- and
> then publishing a book that speculates that the CIA
> might have killed John Kennedy.
> Asked if he believes the central thesis of Forbidden
> Truth, Nation publisher Victor Navasky said, "Based on
> our reading of the book, the authors made some
> adjustments, so what may have been a thesis is now a
> speculation. I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I believe
> Oswald killed Kennedy and probably did it by himself,
> but I think it's important to raise questions."
> And no one raised louder questions than Corn. A few
> months ago, after reading a preliminary translation of
> the book, Corn wrote an internal memo critiquing it
> and opposing its publication. In May, he wrote a piece
> for The Nation that debunked what he calls the 9-11
> conspiracy theorists. Describing Forbidden Truth, Corn
> later wrote, "I have rarely seen such shoddy and lazy
> journalism," adding that the book is "almost entirely
> unsourced" and that the authors gave "no sense that
> they had interviewed any single player in their tale."
> For The Nation to promote such a book is "just plain
> exploitative," he told the Los Angeles Times, which
> first reported the dispute. Among other things, Corn
> is not convinced that the diplomats in question were
> speaking for the Bush administration.
> Corn declined to comment on The Nation's internal
> affairs. But when informed that Truth has turned to
> speculation in the English edition, he said, "I don't
> know whether to find it heartening or curious that an
> essential point of the book seems to have been
> changed. In the edition I read, the authors said the
> 9-11 attacks were a direct result of these talks, but
> now the book says they may have been the direct result
> of these talks. I still have my doubts about any
> reporting team that made the first highly provocative
> statement without being able to come close to
> supporting it."
> To be sure, one man's scandal is another man's
> brilliant career. Nation Books editorial director Carl
> Bromley says his goal is to be a "progressive popular
> publisher," offering books with "political urgency."
> Because the imprint is part of the nonprofit Nation
> Institute, Bromley has the luxury of concentrating on
> building an audience, which he describes as "the kind
> of people who read the Guardian online."
> About Truth, Bromley said, "I worked very hard on the
> book, and I have no problem publishing it. It's not a
> conspiracy-theory book." Asked if he would have
> published it if he did not believe it, Bromley said,
> "I'm sure there are corporate publishers that do that,
> but I won't publish something if I think it's a load
> of bullshit. I was raised as a good Catholic boy and a
> Communist, so I'm not allowed to lie."
> Bromley said he had been intrigued since he read about
> the book in the Guardian and Le Monde Diplomatique.
> "Those for me are the most credible news sources."
> Then in November 2001, the Voice's James Ridgeway
> wrote that the authors "are big in the French spook
> world." Bromley recalled, "That alerted me that these
> guys aren't kooks. These are writers telling a story
> that really needed an American audience."
> By March, Bromley had snapped up the North American
> rights to the book and begun canvassing people to
> review it. "David represented one extreme, while
> others were very enthusiastic," he said. "The clincher
> was a very serious and tough critic who is not a
> conspiracy theorist and hadn't been following the
> story. We gave him the book cold. He had some
> disagreements, but overall he felt the book was
> important and had to be published." Bromley declined
> to name the mystery vetter, but sources identify him
> as Scott Sherman, a contributing editor at The
> Columbia Journalism Review. Sherman responded, "I was
> asked for my confidential opinion and I gave it. "
> Then there was the fact checker. "With a book of this
> kind we have to be quite scrupulous," Bromley
> explained. "Some of the charges in the Saudi Arabia
> chapters are quite strong, so we employed a fact
> checker. The poor guy spent two months living and
> breathing this book. He must have been psychologically
> Bromley praises co-author Jean-Charles Brisard, 32,
> who worked with him on the edit. (Apparently it was
> Guillaume Dasquie who wrote the "secret diplomacy"
> chapters, while Brisard was responsible for the
> confessions of former FBI official John P. O'Neill
> that appear in the prologue and for the study of Saudi
> Arabian financial networks that forms the second half
> of the book.)
> Brisard appears to be spoiling for a fight. In a
> letter posted on the Nation Web site last week, he
> called Corn's Nation article "irrelevant" and dubbed
> Corn a "nonprofessional on these issues." His own
> credentials include running Vivendi's corporate
> intelligence unit and writing a 1997 report on Al
> Qaeda networks at the behest of the French government.
> (Did I mention that Brisard often shows up on Salon?)
> "I like David and I don't want to get into a pissing
> match with him," said Bromley. Navasky praised Corn's
> "expertise in the intelligence area," adding, "There's
> nothing unusual about the fact that two authors
> disagree about something. You're talking about a
> magazine that has published Cockburn and Hitchens for
> 20 years."
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