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18 September 2007

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Jose

During the OJ trail, every lawyer in the U.S. was a criminal attorney specializing in D.N.A. evidence.

During the Clinton impeachment, those same lawyers were Constitutional Law attorneys.

After 911, every Ph.D. in Political Science is an expert on the Middle East.

Now everyone is an expert on Iranian and Persian Studies.

I'm not surprised that one charlatan made it through.

Just look at all the Fox News, AEI and god only knows think tanks experts.


Will

Brian Ross, ABC News is everywhere. He even busted that guy on MSNBC who does Preverted Justice.

He was Monseiur Debat's supervisor. I don't think Ross investigates, he's the talking head for underlings that do the work- people like Alexis.

Talking of Degrees. I have a lot of them. And a lot of professional licenses. I get kidded about them a lot. When a person ribs me about how many degrees I actually have? I tell them at least 32. All 32 conferred in two days (Scottish Rite Mason). My favorite Master of the Royal Secret.

dws

In the sciences, we know that every fact and every idea comes with two pieces of information: (1) the fact or idea; (2) a measure of its worth. For numerical data, the measure might be an error bar. A number of contributors to this blog preface their comments with something like "I'm just a doctor and I haven't read ...". Same thing.

When I read essays or hear talks that fail to acknowledge possible error or hear people discuss a wide range of topics without qualification, I know there's a problem. It's HARD to gain expertise in even one field let alone both global warming and terrorism. This filter alone removes a large number of experts from the stage.

P.S. Full disclosure: I'm just a physicist and ...

zenpundit

A highbrow "Borat".

Sacha Baron Cohen should sue Debat and ABC News for infringement of his intellectual property.

Fred

Reminds me of Jeff Gannon of 'Talon News' who was a member of the White House press corps from 2003-2005.

Abu Sinan

Not surprising. It amazes me that people claim to be experts on Islam or the Middle East yet have no schooling in the area, do not speak any of the languages involved and have never traveled to any of the countries.

It is very easy to pass yourself off as an expert now at days and it seems almost no one questions on what basis they make these claims.

I remember the good old days when experts on a region actually spoke the language, ie Condi Rice, although I am not a fan.

Today people like Robert Spencer are taken seriously by the media when they speak, although he has no formal education in Islam, speaks no languages that are relevent in the area, and has not lived in any Muslim country.

I think I got into the wrong profession. I should become an "expert" on the Middle East and Islam. I mean I certainly have as much or more in the way of qualifications as most of these experts do. I speak Arabic, I have traveled widely in the Middle East and although I am an engineer I do have some coursework in the area. That bests 99% of the "experts" out there right now.

Anyone got the number for CNN? All too often I think how much of an "expert" you are depends on how well you tow the line.

johnf

One thing I do not understand about this character. If he's a rightist/neo.con etc, why was he the one that broke the Jundullah story - the one about the CIA financing the Baluchi Sunni mujahadeen outfit, affiliated to al Qaeda, to attack Iran? This story was widely used by Cheney/neo-con opponents to show that when it came to attacking other people, we were every bit as good as the Iranians at terrorist tactics.

Matthew

Col: In the Vietnam days, did you have failed American politicians try to re-brand themselves as South Asian Communist Insurgency experts? We seem to be providing lots of mediocre people with second acts as "analysts" of the Arab world.

Lesly

I wrote to ABC a few days ago in regards to the Jundullah articles remaining online and have not heard back. I don't want to assert we're connected to/funding terrorists if this is not the case.

Walrus

These clowns appear all the time. I'm glad at least one had a "little talk" with the security services after a particularly florid assertion.

Clifford Kiracofe

Any SST readers have hard data per his bio -- real name, place and date of birth, family connections, actual nationality, unusual movements/foreign travel and associations, passport and passport number, bank accounts, addresses in the US, foreign addresses...perhaps some French SST readers would give a hand.

This could be interesting to nail down considering this salaud -- a non-US citizen it appears -- is pimping the Iran war around DC and in US newsmedia.


"Dr. Alexis Debat, former advisor to the French minister of Defense on Transatlantic Affairs, is a visiting professor at Middlebury College, Director of the Scientific Committee for the Institut Montaigne (Paris) and a Senior Consultant to ABC News in New York. Dr. Debat is at work on the largest manuscript ever written on the history of the Central Intelligence Agency, to be published next year in Europe and the United States."
http://www.inthenationalinterest.com/Articles/Vol2Issue30/Vol2Issue30Debat.html

I do not find his name at the Institut Montaigne site, either English or French language:
http://www.institutmontaigne.org/site/page.php

Name appears pulled from this website of the Homeland Security Policy Institute where there is a blank space on Fellows page:
www.gwumc.edu/hspi/fellows/Debat_bio.htm


These folks are on to him and they have a number of links:
""Simply put," Will Bunch of Attytood Blog wrote September 13, 2007, "Debat -- a former French defense official who now works at the (no, you can't make these things up) Nixon Center -- has also been a leading source in pounding the drumbeat for war in Iran, and directly linked to some bizarre stories -- reported on ABC's widely watched news shows, and nowhere else -- that either ratcheted up fears of terrorism or that could have stoked new tensions between Washington and Tehran."[7]"
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alexis_Debat

Montag

Reminds me of that old TV commercial: "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." The actor then goes on to reccommend a medicine as if he really has credentials to do so.

In the 1920s an Italian immigrant named Charles Ponzi duped a lot of people into investing in his get-rich-quick pyramid scam, claiming to be an astute financier. When the bubble burst he became a legend--ever hear of a "Ponzi scheme?"

kim

i'm just this guy, with no papers, no references, no credentials whatsoever, but i kinda pay attention.
this makes it possible, not necessarily to spot and call bs, but at least to recognize when i should look for second and third opinions before accepting the word of any "expert".

i don't think paying attention is very big in the world today.

ckrantz

If inappropriate please delete

I'm trying to collect information on the SITE institute and it's credibility. It's a private company watching chatter on Islamist boards selling it as intelligence packets.

Several times now SITE had released concrete threats aginst Sweden where I live causing a minor terrorist panic. The threats is supposed to come from Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, something I find strange since he was declared a hoax in june by mnf-iraq. I belive the same organizations also distributed the latest bin-ladin video.

Since there's no official word from either the swedish goverment or any other goverment on the credibility of the source the media is running with the story.

Any information would be appreciated and can be sent to ckrantz@mac.com

Moralist

Abu Sinan:
"Toe the line" not "tow the line".

Will

talking about "toeing the line" on Iran. Here is a brother that is "towing"(i know i mixed metaphors) a line out to sea in a different direction.

(you may release the cable-tow from the brother, as one who refused to drink the Kool Aid, he is bound to us by greater ties. Confer the honorary SST degree on him- Guardian of the Republic with a Lucius Junius Brutus cluster)

Bush-Cheney must have been relieved to replace him with Fallon at CENTCOM)

I promptly made this wiki edit on stumblling on his amazing statement:

On Iran's Nuclear Program

In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank and reported on Sep, 17, 2007 he stated ""We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it." He further stated ""I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear."

He continued "There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."[8]

Tuli

As someone who has been deemed an “expert,” I know how easy it is to become one. All you need is folks willing to catapult you to the forefront of the dialogue. At the time I just considered myself as someone who merely spoke the truth as I knew it. However, I was not exactly overtaken with my expertise. If I had been a different person maybe I would. And once I dropped the party line, I was dropped! Not that I am dismayed by the “Hot Potato” treatment. I am not! But I understand it and how it works with “experts” and “Catapulting the Propaganda.”

So, it seems to me that Mr. Debat somewhere along the line either dropped the party line or committed some obviously egregious gaffe, or maybe both. That is where the attention should be focused.

Col. you know about the party line and “Hot Potato” thing don’t you?

I have to add that I have always been a sucker for a really “fine” pair of shoes.

Regards.

Jose

Will, another Hoover Institute graduate has left the neoconservative reservation.

Can't wait for a rebel from the AEI...lol

I was reading about Debat last night, how can someone pull something like this in the age of Google?

McGee

Prof. Kiracofe and Col. Lang,

A check of the Middlebury faculty and adjunct faculty/guest lecturer lists doesn't turn his name up either. Took all of a minute or so. Granted he could have spoken there once and then chose to describe himself forever after as a visiting professor - wouldn't be the first time that's been done.

johnf

Debat was, apparently, on a fat contract with the Pentagon:

http://motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2007/09/alexis-debats-pentagon-links.html

(via Laura Rozen).

FDR_Democrat

Unfortunately PL is correct about the numbers of these characters circulating in DC. For a time they swarmed the State Department as permanent positions went unfilled in favor of hiring contractors who had the right political connections. Many now are swarming back out to lucrative private sector jobs with inflated or fictitious titles from their meagre government service. Debat is unusual only in that he was caught. The sad thing is these charlatans help develop the public policy that impacts you and me.

Mad Dogs

Pat, I know this is a bit OT, but can we get your thoughts on this recent Salon article:

"Why Bush won't attack Iran" by Steve Clemons.

You can find it at:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/09/19/iran/

CSTAR

Il faut se poser la question: Est-ce que Mr Debat est meme francais?

W. Patrick Lang

CSTAR

You ask "Is Debat really French?" I have asked the same question. Does anyone know anything of this man's life in France? pl

Will

wiki has no birthdate, no birthtown, little bio info. he appears to be fluent in french. All this lack of info hints at a manufactured identity.

the blogosphere speculates he may have been a french intelligence asset planted as a journalist that was turned by the CIA. The bloggers note that he seemed to have been awfully partial to the CIA for a journalist. they note that he was outed by French spooks.

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