Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Blot on Objectivity

Blogdai is getting sick and tired of this D. Michael Van de Veer idiot.

Here comes his new puff piece: WILL NEPAL’S KING BE CHARGED WITH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY ? Typical Van de Veer. Paint an apocalyptic picture of Kathmanduites storming the palace, compare Gyenendra to Chile's butcher Augusto Pinochet and call for a war-crimes trial.

(At left: Van de Veer conjures up his next conspiracy theory in a small bottle. )

Van de Veer-ism #1: The “TERRORIST(s)”are in the U.S. Embassy and the Palace..."(Unitedweblog, July 9, 2005)

We've seen this before from old Mikey.

1. Black hellicopters flying over Pokhara implying a war zone and piloted by "caucasians" implying one of Mikey's other favorite targets: Yanks.

Eventually, when you say enough stupid crap, real journalists will call you on it, Mikey, consider the comment by a real journalist, Daniel Lak on 5/15/2005

"The charge of American pilots at the controls of helicopters bombing villages is prolblemnatic and troubling. The author needs to provide proof, or to not make such charges without some way of substantiating them. If international outrage against the King’s move is to be maintained, surely it’s best not to misdirect wrath towards the United States. It’s far too easy to demonize Washington who at worst in Nepal have merely enbaled local demons. Unless of course, the author can provide details of how, when, where etc. about these so called “Cacusasian” pilots. "

2. The King is ready for exile. (This article was pulled by the Asia Tribune before it was published. It curiously made it on to the West's media soundbite snippets about Nepal, but when the story was researched at the Asia Tribune, one found only blank space. Perhaps Mikey rushed this to press without the knowledge of his leash-holders? He uses his tried and true tactics: Make simple, broad based assumptions, employ wishful thinking and when all else fails, stir up emotion and just take a guess. )

Van de Veer-ism #2: "The Royal Nepal Army is one of the poorest trained and armed in the world. The maoist(s), in the end, would only kill them and take their weapons." ( poll comments, 2001 or 2002)

3. U. S. embassy is ready to evacuate. (Mikey put this one in the Asian Tribune where it was promptly refuted by the U.S. embassy)

Public Affairs Officer Robert L. Hugins of the American Embassy in Kathmandu however says in his communication to 'Asian Tribune' that"....The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu is not “expected to evacuate” as a February 17 article in your Online publication stated. The report was wrong."
"Moreover, the article inaccurately attributed direct quotes to the U.S.Ambassador in Nepal, based on notes from a third party, about a discussion the Ambassador had had with American citizens."

Van de Veer-ism #3: "I write what I believe to be true & sometimes I get it wrong as does any journalist." (to blogdai, February 18, 2006.( source not verified (SNV) )

Sorry Mikey, a journalist doesn't just throw up his hands and say, "oh, well." You have an obligation to confirm your sources and get the story right. No, this was your chance to stick it to the Yanks and you bent the story to your satisfaction. Mikey argued here at blogdai that he received an e-mail at a "town hall" meeting and that he never said the embassy was closing down. Well, Mikey, you don't say a lot of things, but you sure do make otherwise benign information fit into the picture you're trying to paint, right?

blogdai is not one to hold in an opinion so I let Mikey (SNV) have it in one of our threads:

"You are a slap together journalist who thought he could get away with sensationalizing an event in a relatively obscure part of the world and you got busted for it! Unfortunately, a lot bigger fish than you are getting away with it every day and not getting called on the carpet as you were. Con Hallinan's crap on Nepal comes to mind, as does the International Crisis Group and , yes, Amnesty international. If your drivel was just a sophomoric attempt at padding your resume' then I would say, fine; naughty naughty and don't get caught again. BUT, there is so little coming out of Nepal in the form of credible news that virtually ANY story is believed, at first glance; and thus, the damage is multiplied."

Van de Veer-ism #4: "Until the rank-and-file(non officer)Police & Solder, as well as the Pro-Democracy forces ungerstand that they have common enemies: lack of opportunity and poverty, represented by the Palace/Mafia that is backed by the arms of the US.. THERE WILL BE NO DEMOCRACY.. ONLY BLOODSHED ....... LET THEM SHED OUR BLOOD IF NEED BE." (United we blog, april 10, 2006) The entire thread gives a good sense of Mikey's debate skills. Judge for yourselves:

Our little Mikey has been a busy beaver these days. Painting his pictures and weaving his web to suit his agenda. He sees a U.S. conspiracy everywhere. He loves to stir up the pot and create conflict at the expense of those in power. Funny and shortsighted though; while he's willing to "SHED BLOOD" so that the old corrupt guard can get back into power, he seems to have forgotten his position of a few years ago. Back in 2002 when Deuba visited Washington and may or may not have secured an arms deal, Mikey flipped out. His old nemesis the U.S. was at it again, sure; but curiously, there was some venom and surprising insight saved for the "democratic" politicians that he's currently fighting so hard to see reinstated. Back then you commented that: "The US has promised more weapons of war to be used to complete the domination of the masses of Nepalese by a handful of corrupt politicians..." So now, Mikey, the King must go into exile so these same corrupt politicians can take over again and resume their same agenda and plunge Nepal, once again into, what you then called, " a downward spiral of poverty, and loss of life from: war, starvation, and disease?"

We can go on and on with Mr. Van De Veer's quotes and "isms," but all we really need to know about this man are his patterns. From some questionable reporting in Liberia to his show-boating offer to set himself on fire in front of a radio station, Mikey is looking for the big scoop. If there is not a story to be found, he'll make one. Doesn't it seem a bit funny that no one else seems to be writing the things about Nepal that Mikey writes or that no one seems to be getting the inside scoop the way he does?

One of the primary reasons this blog exists is to act as a media filter. So little credible news makes its way out of Nepal and into the Western wire services that virtually anything anyone with half a press credential writes is taken as holy writ. There are no journalistic standards and no practical means of fact checking Nepal stories---a field-day for agenda-driven tabloidists like Mr. Van De Veer.

So, blogdai must do blogdai's job and say now what must be said:

D. Michael Van De Veer, you are a fraud. I challenge you to prove me otherwise. Shall we debate your next article line-for-line? (Our long-time readers here know this to be a blogdai specialty) Virtually everything you write is agenda-driven conjecture, so I'd love to see you prove what you assert---up for it?

Aside from the challenge Mikey, there's nothing wrong with you presenting your tripe, but if you want to be passed off as any kind of mainstream journalist then you had better be able to prove your story and verify your sources. Until then, perhaps you should call your stories "commentary" rather than news. Better yet, get off the wires alltogether and start your own blog, where fact-checking can be instantaneous and you'll see first-hand how much fabrication you can pass off as fact.



At 1:25 AM, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed that Mr. Van de Veer sometimes exaggerates. However, I do not agree with your 2 examples out of 3.

1. Black helicopters flying over Pokhara implying a war zone and piloted by "caucasians" implying one of Mikey's other favorite targets: Yanks.

He is not saying that Yanks were flying the helicopters. We know by now that RNA used Russian pilots and South African military advisers. To me, Russians and South African Whites are Caucasians. As for Helicopters, he does not say blackhawk helicopters. So Mike could be right.

3. U. S. embassy is ready to evacuate.

I did not believe this when it was published. However, U. S. Embassy did evacuate most of their personnel, didn't they? Or am I the only one who read the news? Shutting the consulate services and evacuating non-essential staff and families could not have been an impromptu decision at the height of the movement. Knowing the Americans, I am sure they had a contingency plans early on.

From his postings on UWB, Mr. Van de Veer's opinions are different than yours. But his opinions were in a blog and there is nothing wrong with it.

I appreciate you taking time to create this blog and monitoring Nepali society. However, spinning and taking things out of context with an agenda and to malign a person with a different view is not right. Such weak arguments just make you less credible. So a suggestion for you, practice what you preach.


At 5:09 AM, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask Van de Veer for his bio-data along with the number of years he has spent in Nepal.

SPAMmers where are you? Van de Beer is supporting your case. Yay!

At 10:48 AM, May 13, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

The "agenda" here is to prevent Mikey from presenting his increasing level of misinformation. You and others like you obsessively use the word "spin" so let's give you a prime example from our helicopter story.

Van de Veer writes: "This reporter after being apprised of the fact observed "white" (Caucasian) pilots in the military helicopters that are raining-death on the villages in the Annapurna region. The U. S. having not officially resumed military aid or training to the Nepali Security Forces needs to explain how these pilots, identified as American by locals, can pilot these US made helicopters.

There is a very clear intent to say the Yanks are flying these things. mikey immediately talks about U.S. training of Nepal's military, U.S. made helicopters, and citizens describing the pilots as "Americans."

Your points are weak. First off, there are no American attack helicopter teams in Nepal. If there were, they would be the longer ranged, more adaptable blackhawks; not the maintenance cumbersome Apache's. Second, the only thing the Russians fly in nepal are the heavy freight MI-8's and MI-17's. Forget the South African reference, I get what you are trying to say, but Mikey goes out of his way to imply AMERICAN involvement.

It's all pure conjecture. How does he know they are U.S. made helicopters if he refuses to name them? How can he possibly take as a credible source a villager who says that the pilots are "American" without a verifying or follow-up source? And if Mikey is not directly blaming the U.S. for these helicopter incursions, then why does he feel he can demand the U.S. "explain" their presence?

Next, the embassy, weeks after Van de veer's article suggested that all non-essential personnel be allowed to leave Nepal; yes, this is typical of situations where there is civic unrest. We can partially attribute this to Moriarty's imbecillic grasp of Nepali politics and his constant desire to froment upheaval, but essentially non-essential personnel were asked to leave. This is NOT the same as trumpeting that the embassy is "ready to evacuate." This was for the safety of those working at the unprotected ground level nearest to street protests--like the consulate at the Yak and Yeti.

It is never blogdai's intent to malign. It is always blogdai's intent to expose. Mr. Van de Veer has no opinion, he has an agenda. He has no intention of giving an unbiased account of events in Nepal. He has his axe to grind with the King and the U.S. and will tailor and manufacture events to suit his position.

I will dispute him line-for-line if need be.


At 12:53 PM, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He has no intention of giving an unbiased account of events in Nepal."

Well you have something in common with V.D.Veer.

Sidebar: How come you changed to

At 1:30 PM, May 13, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

No, objectivity has never been his game.

Statlog is a free counter that is password enabled. We can protect everyones IP better that way.

and by the way, thanks for the heads up on that issue...much appreciated.


At 2:48 PM, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the BBC and other UK tv news was saying things that gave the impression that the King was ordering the troops and police to beat up and shoot the protesters and was responsible for all kinds of human rights abuses committed since he seized power(like there wasn't plenty of that going on already under the auspices of the "democratically elected government"). I even heard the anchor person ask a commentator if Nepal was close to having its 'Tiananmen Square moment' - journalists think in cliches and like banging on about "pro democracy movements" and "people power" and all the usual bollocks. As for the US backing the King with military aid - where? Not seen any US rifles in RNA hands, it's all ex-NATO cast offs, also it'd be difficult to operate the helicopters without being observed since there's relativly few places to land & refuel etc. This guy's a typical blinkered knee jerk pseudo radical who thinks the Yanks are behind all the worlds troubles, everyone knows it's really the aliens, maaaaaan

At 3:16 AM, May 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Blogdai even giving any space to such one-eyeds as Van de Veer?

Is Blogdai trying to make himself look like a saint in comparison with Van de Veer's piece?

At 12:29 PM, May 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When one feels as deeply about Nepal as Blogdai does, for as long as Blogdai has, then one feels an obligation to call bullshit on the posers of the world.

Anyway, Blogdai doesn't need to try to look like a saint compared to Van de Veer. He already does by default.


At 5:43 AM, May 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate the comment N. But what about calling bullshit the claims of the posers of the extreme right? They are equally dangerous and misleading.

Exposing posers only selectively will lend support to the claim that Blogdai himself is one of them.

At 6:48 AM, May 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bhudai Pundit has left a new comment on your post "A Blot on Objectivity":

It's is really pathetic of you to go out of your way and personally attack this guy - irrespective of his views!
Blogdai there so many important issues facing Nepal today and you choose to devote your time and effort to discrediting Micheal Van whatever! I suggest you either change your name to blog-scandalist or write something worth while! And get a life while you are at it!

At 7:00 AM, May 15, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Bhudai, look past the obvious. blogdai has no desire for a personal dressing down with dear Mikey.

Again, a little familiarity with our blog would have told you that one of our primary functions here is to expose media falsehoods where applicable.

Why do this? Because Van de Veer, and many, many others like him feel they can write whatever they please, regardless of accuracy , and present it to the world as fact simply because Nepal is such an obscure place to the rest of the world that no one will bother to check the fact. Most of the Western world doesn't know Nepal from Naples.

WHo cares, one might say? Well, Nepal is different. Nepalis take Western ramblings, no matter how ridiculous, about their country as a reflection of world opinion.

Some idiot, a few years ago, mentioned a big communist network poised to sweep over central Asia. It was fluff, to be sure, but immediately afterword, Nepali news sources were trumpeting that the WEstern media sees a Maoist takeover imminent.

And what about our recent little fracas. Since the King's takeover, the West has been looking for a means to make Nepal's story palpable to the brain-dead news readers in the WEst. So, they came out, almost immediately with: "Despotic King stifles vibrant democracy." We all know this is not the way things happened, but the label and the spin stuck. So much so that Bush's clueless foreign policy in Nepal aped public sentiment in this regard, and eventually supported the Maoist-backed demonstrations.

The point is, Nepalis don't automatically look critically at a news rendition of their situation. We in the West have been conditioned,over time, to take wild proclamations with a grain of salt and think more cyincally. Not so in Nepal. Every word fro the press, every babbling utterance from James Moriarty, and every wild proclamation from Prachanda is first seen as the truth...often enough to swing political momentum.

Consider that next time you offer a knee-jerk comment on my skewering of Van di Veer. We're not playing games here, and we're not stuffing Mikey's resume' at the expense of the Nepali people, either.


At 11:17 AM, May 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've contacted Vandeveer at an email address I found online so he can offer a response to this attack on him.

I hope he has the courage to try to defend himself here.

At 11:32 AM, May 15, 2006, Anonymous Bhudai Pundit said...

This Van der whatever was a nobody before so many people started giving him this much attention. As far as I can tell the Nepali public is exposed to many different media sources - from Kantipur, Gorkapatra to Indian media houses.
The press is biased and misleading everywhere... I think you should give the Nepali public more credit.
Besides I doubt Nepalis in Nepal are reading Van's writings and making drastic changes.

By the way:
"Despotic King stifles vibrant democracy. We all know this is not the way things happened"

Errrrr... I believe that's excatly what our Raja G tried to do.

PS. that word verification thing can become very annoying after a while!

At 12:45 PM, May 15, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Yes, sorry about the word verification thing, but it is an example of how free speech isn't free. Until we initiated the verification, we were innundated with spam advertisements that hindered our forum.

Also, I'm very sorry to have comment moderation as well, but our long-time posters know of the recent harrassments we've experienced at the hands of who we have discovered to be paid party activists. Oh, well, blogdai can proudly say that we made it an entire year as a free and open forum. Pity that some of those who claim to be against censorship refuse to joing in the spirit of democratic argument and dissent.

Yes, mercifully, it does not appear that many inside Nepal read Van de Veer. Judging from a thrashing he took on, it looks like quite a few Nepali's saw through his charade. But, Mikey has press credential through one or more outlets in India, and as such, his crap gets pride of position on the big web search news engines. What this means is that your average citizen who is curious about Nepal, may decide to search the google news site and, lo and behold, there's Mikey's personal fantasies front and center. Let me ask you, shouldn't there be a counter force like blogdai available to inform against and balance Mikey's tripe?

Now, Charles Taylor, Idi Amin and the like are despotic. Not G. The media threw that term out to add spice and get people's attention. Systematic genocide, hyper-taxation, blatant and over-abiding militarism (and don't start with the RNA, they were not even close) are the kind of things we see from a despot.

Also, are you drunk? Name one part of Deuba's, Koirala's or whomever's administration that was even close to being democratic, much less "vibrant." We get hundreds of comments from alliance cadres here, but I can't even get one of them to describe some characteristic of democracy. You and most of the Western world bought the media spin, hook line and sinker---plain and simple.

It's getting to the point here that I believe some posters believe that any system other than monarchy is believed to be a democracy. But I don't have to tell you your mistake now, do I? Koirala is giving the parliament "absolute power" Madhav Nepal proclaims "we will tell the people what to think" and the Maoists are for "limited press freedoms" as long as they don't speak against the "people's" movement. Yes, thank god we've now restored your "vibrant democracy."

Oh, and elections anyone?


At 3:35 PM, May 15, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Our anonymous friend wrote:

I've contacted Vandeveer at an email address I found online so he can offer a response to this attack on him.

I hope he has the courage to try to defend himself here.

blogdai responds:

We've logged an increase in traffic from visitors with Hawaiian IP's; plus, Mr. Van de veer (I believe) has responded here before, so at the very least, blogdai thinks he is aware of the article.

Yes, unfortunately, this article can be viewed as an attack. But it absolutely needs to be done. Van de veer will keep on writing this stuff, unchecked, until he feels the weight of increased scrutiny. In any event, this is the only recourse for the objective voice. All of his views would be entirely ignorable to most, but they are some of the only accounts coming out of Nepal and thus, they establish a benchmark of thought and will do real damage if not countered.

blogdai would absolutely love to hail Mikey as a pioneering hero for his brave ideas; perhaps blogdai might even be persuaded to sympathize with Mr. Van de Veer on a few points; but, one obstacle stands in the way of all this. Mikey if you want to feel the love here, say what you will but first:


Our research staff is standing by.


At 11:29 AM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Bhudai Pundit said...

If we were to reference the text a despot is defined as:

"Despotism is a form of government by a single authority, either an individual (ie. autocracy) or tightly knit group (ie. oligarchy), which rules with absolute political power. On its classical form, a despotism is a state where one single man wields all the power and authority, and everyone else is considered as his slave. This form of despotism was the first known form of statehood and civilization; the Pharaoh of Egypt is a hallmark of a classical despot."

Yes Raja G wasn't excatly on par with Idi Amin et al. I guess you could say he was a lesser despot but a despot nonetheless. Irrespective of what you say our society was becoming militarized!
Come on, he was increasing defense expenditure expotantially, increasing the size of the RNA, arrested civil society members, increasing Palace expenditure etc. He was driving Nepal towards a fiscal crisis and yet his ministers were saying outrageous things etc. etc....All sgins of a despotic regime!

I am not drunk (at least not now). I agree the post 1990 era was a failure. But you cannot expect a democratic system to work overnight. Nepali people are also to blame for its failure to demand accountability from our leaders. Everyone screwed up... but things well still improving. Villages were becoming empowered and many of our human development indicators were improving. Had this Maoist insurgency not materilized, I think we would be well on our way to meeting the UN's mellinium goals.

At 12:32 PM, May 16, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Points well taken. They stand alone well and will get no blogdai rebuttal.

(God, why can't everyone present an opposing view like this?)




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