I can't be bothered right this second to do back story - so if you don't already know it, you won't get this post.
1. Mark Ames of Pando Daily wrote this (wild bit of speculation- and ugly innuendo-based) story.
2. Adam Colligan—who was involved in a Twitter conversation that is part of what Ames' story is based on—wrote a long reply to the piece in the article's comment section. I wanted to preserve it here.
I think it would be advisable next time you want to pull out a statement or two to use as a jumping-off point for an elaborate claim about someone's journalistic integrity, you should take more time to put into practice your own journalistic skills and -- you know -- read what's in front of you.
The comment in its entirety, with bolded paragraph highlighting a somewhat deeper nut:
I'm the guy who wrote the tweets to which Marcy Wheeler was responding, and your apparent failure to pay any attention to the context of the exchange has, I think, caused you to misrepresent what was said.
In the summer of 2012, Wheeler and I debated whether it was right to refer to the impeachment and removal of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo as a "coup". She believed that it was. I expressed doubts that it was a proper term for an action that, even if politically suspect, consisted of the legislature following the procedures set out in the Paraguayan Constitution. There was an appeal by Lugo to the Supreme Court based on a lack of preparation time, and perhaps he should have won it, but the judiciary ruled against him and sided with the legislature. Wheeler, whose view toward the political forces arrayed against Lugo was a very negative one, did feel comfortable referring to their action as a coup.
When the EuroMaidan movement made a breakthrough to parliamentary control in Ukraine around 2012-02-23, and the Rada voted to depose Yanukovich, I wanted to raise the issue again. Wheeler had not been using the word "coup", and I thought there were quite interesting parallels and contrasts between the two situations. In the case of Ukraine, there were actually reservations expressed about whether there had actually been enough votes to effect impeachment, which version of the constitution was to be followed, whether there were members acting under duress, etc.
So I sent this tweet, which linked the original Paraguay discussion, essentially as a way of asking if the same standards applied.
• Adam Colligan @AdamColligan @emptywheel Re: Paraguay (http://www.emptywheel.net/2012/06/28/the-next-honduras/ …) -- would you say the Ukrainian Parliament has staged a coup?
It was to that, a question about whether the Ukrainian Parliament had staged a coup, that Wheeler was responding when she said two things:
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan Let's give it a week to figure out who staged what.
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan There's a lot of celebration that a govt has been destroyed; we'll see who sticks around to see if anything worthwhile built.
The exchange continued:
• Adam Colligan @AdamColligan Feb 23 @emptywheel Do you mean that the story reporting is insuffient or that coup-ness is a property events only take on if/when they go "bad"?
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan There's quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan Part of point is even if assume Yanu departure good (regardless of legality), not clear what comes next will be legal, good
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan Moreover, there seems to be increasing acceptance of destabilizing countries via economic insecurity. No one solving security.
So firstly, while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed. It was a discussion not about new facts surfacing on interference but rather whether the word "coup" is correct or not to apply to facts already in the light. And she explicitly stated that (1) it's too early to characterize, (2) the impeachment may well have been legal, (3) the part of the concern that is about direct interference in the power turnover applies to both sides.
Secondly, your "Pax Americana" tie-in, which you characterize as Wheeler's term for a supposed conspiracy to stage a coup in Kiev is also misleading. It appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers' willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state, a willingness that makes angry people open to more direct manipulation from both sides. And her Pax Americana comment was actually a rejoinder to her own points about calculated weakening or manipulation: the was adding balance to her own point by highlighting that some of the pressure on the Ukrainian political situation is due to larger, natural geopolitical forces that are not present because of any particular conspiracy or plan. The conversation went:
• Adam Colligan @AdamColligan Feb 23 @emptywheel Word "security" ceases to mean much in these situations. Applied to rabble-rousers, rabble-busters, allies, and meddlers alike.
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan I meant economic security--shorted bc Twitter. It appears to be a THING now, on all sides, to destabilize for shits & giggles
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan That makes it very easy to create volatile situations that can be manipulated, bc underlying angst is so real.
• emptywheel @emptywheel Feb 23 @AdamColligan Of course, part of it is just that Pax America is spinning out, trying to sustain itself.
We went on to talk about whether there is a decline in the economic attractiveness, unity, or security of the Euro-Atlantic umbrella -- the Pax Americana. The implication there is that it could be such a decline exacerbating Ukrainian political insecurity by making Ukraine more fearful of Russian economic retaliation. In this situation, of course, much of the focus is on Russian economic pressure triggering the EuroMaidan movement rather than European pressure. Hence the "both sides" part.
I think it would be advisable next time you want to pull out a statement or two to use as a jumping-off point for an elaborate claim about someone's journalistic integrity, you should take more time to put into practice your own journalistic skills and -- you know -- read what's in front of you.Bonus: This is funny:
Folks--sorry for not responding immediately to Mark Ames. Had he asked for comment I might have corrected his false assumptions & facts• Twitter conversation "Omidyar Ukraine" here.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 28, 2014
Update: Ha! Thanks to me...okay, not really... Pando Daily has updated their story (in the first section of the story), noting their incorrect reading of Wheeler's tweets, then did a marvelous bit of under-the-rugging with it:
Update: Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics. [Ha! Like you didn't come read this post full of specifics—which Wheeler retweeted!] Adam Colligan, with whom Wheeler was debating, commented on Pando that "while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed." Further "[Pax Americana] appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers’ willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state.” Neither Wheeler or Colligan has commented on the main subject of the story: Pierre Omidyar’s co-investment in Ukrainian opposition groups with the US government. [wank wank...]Update II: Marcy Wheeler responds to Ames' Pando Daily article. Gleen Greenwald also.