Monday, March 13, 2006

The Assassination Attempt That Just Won't Die

Like death and taxes, one thing you can be sure of that.when it comes to Taiwan, ESWN's critical thinking skills will go on a beach holiday. Today he has some links to the usual bogus opposition claims that Chen Shui-bian had himself shot in order to get elected in 2004. ESWN even links to that hilarious "17 second" claim, easily refuted after a moment's reflection. What makes this article especially delightful is ESWN's bashful assumption of the "exasperated" middle --

This is obviously never ever going to stop ... if there is some "middle" between the lies of the pro-China types, and their apologists, and truth supported by evidence. When you "balance" lies without any sifting of evidence, you function as an apologist by elevating the stance of the lie and making it equal to truth. The reality is that no evidence supports the KMT claim. Indeed -- let's recall -- the police found this man by following the trail of evidence he left.

The facts of this case, once you strip away the pan-Blue hype, is that Chen Shui-bian was shot at by a pan-Blue supporter who later committed suicide (and in typically incompetent pan-Blue style, missed killing him). Pan-Blue supporters regularly threaten to kill the President, depicting him as Bin Laden during the campaign of 2004 in fine eliminationist style, so it is hardly surprising that one would sooner or later try, or that other pan-Blues would cover for him. For those interested, Tim at Indiac has a complete rundown on the issue, entitled "Shooting down "Bulletgate": i, ii, iii, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17 (and even more to come!)". There's no need to cover that ground again.

First, the baldness claim. ESWN cites this photograph:

ROFL. All you have to do is actually look at the picture and see with your own eyes that it is the same man -- but then the pan-Blues and their fellow travelers are basically like Fundy Christians, citing Authority for understanding the text, rather than undertaking to critically examine the text themselves. Note the areas circled in red:

The photos are poor quality (believe it or not, photos can significantly alter the appearance of things) but it certainly seems that shape of the left side of the assassin's face is the same. You may have to return to ESWN's photograph to look at it unimpeded.

Now look again:

Note how the hairline over the ear is exactly the same. You may have to return to ESWN's photograph to look at it unimpeded. It's the same guy. The two head-on shots are probably a deliberate bit of misleading propaganda, as a profile shot would be a dead giveaway since it would enable easy comparison. Far from establishing the man's innocence, they contravert ESWN's case. Thanks for the additional evidence, Roland!

The police say that the "baldness" is actually just the way the light is shining on the man's hair in the poor quality photo. This seems to be the case, since the bald spot, which should be skin, is not the same shade as the skin elsewhere on the man's head.

Note also the left-hand frontal shot of the assassin: the hair has no part on the left side. It seems to be on the right. Just a youthful head of hair? Or has someone reversed the photo to obscure the issue?......

......See how easy it is to make absurd claims and hokey them up with a little breathless emphasis? And once made, they can sound so reasonable. But claims have to be supported by evidence. There's no actual evidence the picture is reversed. And there is no evidence that Chen was shot by anyone but this man.

It doesn't take much brains to see through this one (it is, after all, a KMT idea!), so unless one has some some pro-authoritarian predisposition....but I digress.

Now for the alleged 17 second problem. Here's the pic and ESWN's comments:

(TVBS via Yahoo) The photograph on the left was taken by a surveillance camera around the time of the shooting and one can count a total of seven persons in the photograph while the shooter in the yellow jacket walked away. The photograph on the right was taken by a photojournalist moments after the shooting (note: the bullet hole on the windshield can be seen). How did the huge crowd materialize in a matter of seconds?
Well -- and a Golden Duh! It didn't "materialize in a matter of seconds." It had been there for hours waiting for Chen Shui-bian to drive by. The left hand photo shows a tiny slice of the front of the crowd and of course contains fewer people. Why? Because the assassin -- DUH -- had to find a place with a few people, a break in the crowd, in order to get a clear shot. So -- a break in the crowd, coupled with a selectively cropped photo -- and presto! A mystery. At least to those whose enthusiasm for their political allies runs ahead of their critical thinking skills. Here is a Taipei Times photo taken seconds after the incident, along with the caption:

President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu canvass for votes in Tainan yesterday seconds after being shot. A bullet hole is visible in the windshield of the Jeep.

A pic from the Wiki site on the assassination shows the same situation minutes before. Show me a wide-angle view that has only seven people, and we'll talk. Reality: crowds lined the whole route.

It is blindingly obvious that the 17 second claim is absolute and utter bullshit. The crowd didn't disappear -- it was there all the time. The claim is childishly idiotic -- on par with Li Ao's claim that the CIA gave him a report on the shooting incident that said it was staged. The sad part is that this is likely to enter the catalogue of "facts" about the incident -- as Darwin once noted, bad theories are easy to kill, but bad facts cannot be made to go away.

I should note, while we're on this pathetic story, that it has now scraped the bottom in pathos as the shooter's family is attempting to retract their testimony that he was the shooter (their original testimony here). This was of course inevitable, with a pan-Blue rally going on. It was good to see that even busing in paid supporters, the KMT couldn't muster more than 40,000 in their stronghold of Taipei. But I'll bet the foreign media went panting after it with great delight.

ESWN is right about one thing, though. It IS never going to stop, as long as people are willing to let others dictate how the read the texts presented to them, and refuse to use their own minds. And repeat these lies without pointing out that they are lies while pretending that they are operating from some nuetral position. The KMT and its supporters simply will not admit that the richest political party in the world fielded as a Presidential candidate the most unpopular major politician in Taiwan, along with an authoritarian hack, and incompetently blew a double-digit cushion in just four years, to a new party running on a shoestring. In other words...

...they lost.

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that the source of ESWN's photos is TVBS, a 100% Hong Kong Chinese owned station that massively dislikes the Chen Adminstration. I guess I don't need to mention again that ESWN will simply never get anything right on Taiwan until he starts using sources other than Chinese-owned media operating in Taiwan. Ooops! I just mentioned it again. People who can't even get Hitler's swastika on the right way (see article above) aren't going to get a really good grip on the news.....

UPDATE: The always sensible John Tkacik at Heritage has a wonderful piece on the assassination attempt and the election.

THE KMT MIGHT HAVE ATTRACTED that extra margin of support it had not treated last Friday's election-eve assassination attempt on President Chen and his running mate with such callousness. The president was in Southern Taiwan on Friday on a whistle-stop motorcade city tour in an open-air Jeep when a bullet shot through the front windscreen. Rather than ripping head-on into President Chen's stomach, the bullet struck at the very instant President Chen turned to wave and carved a bloody half-inch deep groove 8 inches along his abdomen--the wound required 11 stitches. A second bullet apparently ricocheted into Vice President Annette Lu's knee. Ear-splitting strings of firecrackers masked the two pops from the assassin's pistol, and the unknown assailant (police believe there might have been a second shooter) disappeared into the crowd.


Tim Maddog said...

Thanks for the links, Michael, but does this mean I'll now have to follow up on my promise of "even more to come"? ;-)

Oh, well. Even though my "Shooting Down 'Bulletgate'" series isn't exactly "complete," it is pretty thorough, that's for sure. I hope your readers will follow a couple of those links and see just how desperate the pan-blues are to be dredging up their old obvious lies again.

Michael Turton said...

Hell yes! I expect you to host all the videos of the event! With frame by frame explanations!


STOP_George said...

One of the Forumosa members has even got a film coming out in the near future!

I've been punching holes in the logistics of such a massive conspiracy for awhile now.

Now, he tells me that Chen did, indeed have a yellow jacket from a wrestling organization he was a member from. The family, however, burned this jacket because they were "fearful of being framed".

The same was done to the suicide notes that didn't look like suicide notes. (I still can't figure out why the cops would risk planting unconvincing suicide notes).

In that news conference, did you notice that the wife contradicted herself in a major way?

Lee read a prepared statement at Sunday's news conference, saying that it was not until some "nice people" presented her family with evidence that her husband had been framed that her family started to realize that the investigation closed last August was all about "judicial persecution" and was nothing short of a savage act against their human rights.

I though she was being "coerced".

Ma Ying-jeou has some explaining to do as well.

"The case was weird, with the suspect having committed suicide, the gun he allegedly used (to kill the president) being lost and his will burned by accident," said Nationalist party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou.

His will was NOT burned by accident. It was burned intentionally (so they tell us, because they thought they were being framed at the time). But I agree with Ma in one regard. Burning the evidence that shows that they weren't suicide notes is very weird, indeed.

Michael Turton said...