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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Richard Silverstein goes off the deep end

On Sunday, an Israeli Heron drone crashed in Gedera.
The Heron TP, Israel’s most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle, crashed on Sunday morning during a test flight near the Tel Nof Air Force Base outside Rehovot.

The Israel Air Force opened an investigation. According to initial findings, the crash occurred after the UAV performed a maneuver beyond its capabilities, causing one of its wings to break off. The aircraft was flying with a new navigation component that, the IAF suspects, might have disrupted the drone’s automatic flight systems.

The Heron TP is the largest UAV in the IAF. It has a 26- meter wingspan – the same as a Boeing 737 – and can stay airborne for up to 45 hours. It can carry a 1,000 kg. payload, making it capable of conducting a wide variety of missions.

According to foreign reports, it can also fire missiles, and in Israel it is often referred to as the UAV “that can reach Iran.”

The flight on Sunday was overseen by Israel Aerospace Industries and was held in conjunction with the IAF.
The crash was not at all kept a secret here. In fact, it was reported on the radio almost immediately.

Let's go to the videotape.

Also on Sunday, I got a tweet telling me about a new Twitter account. The account is anonymous (I have nothing to do with it and I don't know who is running it) called @tikkunolame. As some of you might guess, @tikkunolame is a parody of Richard Silverstein's Tikkun Olam. It seems that Silverstein has taken to posting parodies on his site to keep up.
An exclusive report from a confidential highly-placed Israeli source says that a booby-trapped drone crashed and exploded at the top-secret Israeli airbase Sdot Micha. Sdot Micha (also profiled here) is the home of the Israeli missile arsenal including its long-range Jerichos capable of striking Iran. There were civilian and military eyewitnesses to the crash, which happened within the perimeter fence of the facility, which covers a large area just outside Bet Shemesh.

The eyewitnesses and Israel’s wish to avoid pressure to retaliate against the Iranians, necessitated the publication of a media cover story. The story claims an advanced Israeli drone crashed near the Yesodot moshav, 10 miles from Sdot Micha. Israel also claims the drone took off from Tel Nof airbase. Eyewitnesses may be able to produce video documentation of the precise location of the crash unless it is impounded by the IDF.
I think that video is the one I posted above. It doesn't sound much like Richard's story, does it? And we know how reliable Richard's sources are, don't we?

And in an update to his sensationalist story, Silverstein all but admits it's false.
None of this means I can knowingly report stories that are false (nor would I ever do so). On the other hand, I am reporting stories that aren’t (and usually can’t be) corroborated by second or third independent sources. That in turn means that the mainstream media is too conservative and cautious to publish my original reporting. This may save them from reporting a story that turns out to be criticized or unsubstantiated; but it also causes them to lose out when I report major stories embarrassing to the Israeli military-intelligence community. That’s why you’ll never see Reider or GRN breaking the story of Anat Kamm, Dirar Abusisi, Ameer Makhoul, the Eilat terror attacks, or Shamai Leibowitz.

My critics fundamentally misunderstand what I do. My primary job isn’t to be an oracular James Reston or Walter Cronkite and only report what is scientifically, verifiably true and be right 100% of the time. My primary job is to be right as often as I can while staying true to the reasons I write this blog in the first place: to promote transparency in Israeli military-intelligence matters, Israeli democracy, and to oppose military adventurism. This is a tightrope act, one that is difficult to negotiate since there are so many unknowns, so much concealed information.

The goal of the national security state is to render its affairs as opaque as possible. It is to shut off information to journalists, bloggers and even its own citizens. That’s why it’s sometimes so damn hard to know if you got it right. But if anyone thinks I’m going to be deterred by the fact that every once in a while the I’s aren’t dotted or the T’s aren’t crossed or that even, God forbid, my source may get it wrong (which I do not concede in this instance), they’re sorely mistaken. I’ll accept the brickbats of Dimi Reider, Dapna Baram and others for the sake of the greater good of exposing the dangers a rampant Israel may pose to the region and the world.
The difference between Silverstein and the rest of us is that when we report something that's speculation, we don't report it as fact. We report that it's speculation. And we don't do it from 9,000 miles away where whatever we get is much more likely to be unverified and unverifiable.

But then, we wouldn't want Richard to make aliya, would we?

Better cut the dose of hallucinogens Richard. Heh.

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At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You censored my comments about Silverstein before, that exposed the bad intents of your friends and yourself.

The difference between Silverstein and the rest of us is that when we report something that's speculation, we don't report it as fact.

I could hardly believe my eyes. How many times have you misreported and blamed Islam for things that are usually Christian hatred adopted by ignorant Muslims, and speculated yourself?

You are the pitch black, extremely sooty calling the kettle black.

You also owe Richard Silverstein an apology.


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