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Monday, May 29, 2006

Lee Harvey MacBeth

Although I'm a little late to the party, I'd like to recommend this diary by "snafu" at Daily Kos. It concerns Jesse MacBeth, an alleged former Army Ranger testifying to atrocities committed by the American military in Iraq. Apparently, he never was an actual Ranger, and thus probably concocted the atrocities.

Michelle Malkin referred to MacBeth as "the latest cause celebre of the anti-war Left..." even though the name remained unfamiliar to nearly every actual member of the anti-war movement until the right-wingers started screaming about the man's perfidy. What inroads had he, in fact, made? His name appeared in a largely-ignored DU thread (even there, he was treated with some suspicion), and a Socialist website paid attention to his claims. MacBeth had associated himself with Iraq Veterans Against the War, and even used their logo in a video:
IVAW does not in any way endorse Jesse MacBeth or any of his accounts involving military service. He -- and he alone -- is responsible for them. IVAW was not aware of the creation of the video program featuring MacBeth, and did not authorize use of our logo in the program.

The timing of the widespread circulation of the MacBeth video interestingly coincides with the ongoing military investigation of the recent Marine massacre of two dozen civilians (including women and children) in Haditha, – what is being termed as an atrocity by one member of Congress (R). MacBeth’s false statements unfortunately have played into the hands of those who would deny that any atrocities whatsoever are occurring in Iraq.
IVAW hints at, but does not directly ask, the key question: Is Macbeth a fantasist, or is he a plant?

We have good reason to suspect the latter. While most progressives have never heard of the guy, he has loomed large in the demonology of the rightists. On cue and en masse, they have scrutinized every detail of the man's existence the way a Biblical scholar might study every jot and tittle of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

I would note that MacBeth first surfaced in 2004, in a completely separate incident in Arizona which served the purposes of right-wing propagandists:
In early March, a young veteran of the war in Iraq, Jesse MacBeth, 20 years old, was banned from Coffee Plantation, where he had he was enjoying a drink that he had bought. His crime? He was dressed in his informal military uniform, which had insignia on it, and he was told by the owner that he could not sit at the table dressed in it, that it was offensive.
MacBeth launched a very public "protest" of the store, whose manager denied that he had ever asked the man to leave. Obviously, the entire incident was staged to create the impression that America-hating "liberals" in a college town spit on American soldiers. (An unfounded rumor with a similar theme targeted Starbucks.)

I can go on, but perhaps I need not. Those of you who have done a little reading in parapolitical history will recognise the pattern: MacBeth is doing the Lee Harvey Oswald "thing."

Oswald pretended to be a leading member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, even though he never befriended or associated with any American left-wingers, and even though all of his actual associates were anti-Soviet White Russians and spooks like George de Mohrenschildt. (Even Marina, I am told, came from a family that had supported the Whites.) In a well-known incident, Oswald passed out copies of a "Fair Play" pamphlet -- copies which came from an early printing of that pamphlet, the entirety of which had been purchased by the CIA. MacBeth's coffeehouse antics cannot help but remind us of LHO's staged fracas with anti-Castro activist Carlos Bringuer: "Hit me, Carlos."

MacBeth' s motive? He seems to have used a credit card fraudulently in 2004. A criminal case makes him susceptible to manipulation. Maybe he made a deal.

Or maybe he really is just an attention-seeker. It's possible -- but that's not the way I would bet. The timing of this imbroglio seems far too convenient. MacBeth's false claims threaten to drown out the very real atrocity tales coming from Iraq. The whiff of greasepaint persuades me that we are witnessing theater. Young MacBeth should feel grateful that he was exposed early on, before he found himself playing the role of "Patsy" in a far more elaborate drama. I wonder how many other Oswalds are out there right now...?
so who's he gunna' shoot and from which "grassy knoll" (or should that be "bushy knoll")?

Hey gang, I've actually met Jesse - he spoke to a crowd of over 80 people in a little room in a church during our Iraq War Town Hall Forum on January 7th in Tacoma. He seemed legit to me, but now I find my thoughts going exactly where yours did.

Is he an agent provocateur, or just a kid with some serious mental problems? Or maybe, just maybe, he's being sold out by the army and what he claims happened really did happen.

We shall soon see.
what i find of particular interest in his history is the disparity between the two incidents.

on the one hand, he complained about being reviled for his uniform, which certainly begs us to recall post-nam stories - all unconfirmed - of the boys being spat upon when they returned, being called baby killers and worse. hey, i was around during that time, and i honestly did not know ANYONE who felt that way, who witnessed any such incident, or who was subjected to such behavior.


but it seems to me this sort of complaint comes from an entirely different place than the atrocities story. putting on my psycho-radar, i'd say anyone who had actually witnessed atrocities would never, NEVER complain about being reviled for his uniform.

any soldier coming home with those nightmares in his head, anyone like that who wants to share them with the world in order to expose the truth about them, this guy is NOT going to complain if anyone expresses disgust with their being a soldier. in fact, i'd be surprised if such a dude would even wear the uniform unless he absolutely had to.

just my opinion.
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