Wednesday, November 26, 2003

A New Era

I see Troy is now actually allowing comments at the riverSbend blog. He isn't even deleting those that are critical of him.

It's like Glasnost all over again.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Riverbend Gets New Domain
As Riverbend mentions on her blog she has now got the domain name Hopefully that will lessen the confusion between her blog and the fake one.

I also note riverSbendblog has plagiarised and printed an attack on Salaam Pax by a conservative writer. Troy's also posted at the top of his blog Where is that $50,000,000!! "NEW DIYALA BRIDGE" Contract? All facts are it's a "MYTH" created by an Iraqi Girl Blogger."

No complaints here. I think (however inadvertantly) the clearer riverSbendblog makes its opposition to genuine Iraqi voices the better.

Friday, November 21, 2003

On Cybersquatting
Also from yesterday's comments, AJ asks what does cybersquatting mean?
The practice of registering famous brand names as Internet domain names, e.g., ibm.firm or, in the hope of later selling them to the appropriate owner at a profit.

The classic offence of cybersquatting to my recollection originated in the eighties or nineties. It's not such a common phenonemon these days since public entities are a lot more web savvy. But back in the 80s if you were a computer nerd and, like Al Gore, had just invented the internet, you might have found yourself tempted to turn your rare knowledge into cash, by making use of someone else's hard-earned reputation.

Before the mainstream had heard of the Net and before they understood it, you might have had the foresight to realise that there would one day be a market for - let's say - the domain name - even if perhaps you had no closer affiliation to the pop legend than a bad karaoke rendition of Hound Dog at last year's Christmas party. So you register the domain name, among perhaps, many others, etc., etc. Then you sit back and wait.

Fast forward to some years later, in 1990 Elvis Presley's estate realises that there is money to be made in making use of the web and they feel that the domain name they want is the one you have registered. They make enquiries that lead them to your door. You demand an extortionate sum, maybe in the thousands maybe more, to turn over the rights to the name. You are cybersquatting.

Now perhaps in it's strictest sense, as laid out above, cybersquatting requires an intent to make money, and it suggests an acquirement of the disputed domain name in advance of the party with a legitimate claim to it. BendingTruth does not believe that is Troy's intent. And it certainly concedes that Troy did not register his site first (though he has attempted to pretend otherwise)

However this is from Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and their procedure on taking action against a cybersquatter from 1999.

An action can be brought by any person who complains (referred to by ICANN as the "complainant") that:
a) a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights
b) the domain name owner has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, and
c) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

All of these elements must be established in order for the complainant to prevail. If the complainant prevails, the domain name will be canceled or transferred to the complainant

a) Certainly the domain name is confusingly similar to Riverbend has attained rights to her domain name, just as BendingTruth has attained the rights to this domain.

b) Troy has no legitimate interest in the particular domain name he's using, as far as BendingTruth can see.

c) It is beyond reasonable doubt that Troy registered the riverSbend domain, motivated from personal animus to attack Riverbend by underhand means, by pretending to be her, and with the intend to confuse people into thinking she had altered her opinions. Bad faith in this case is a "slam-dunk"

Thus BendingTruth considers that Troy in the above definiton easily falls within the definition of "cybersquatter", and we will continue to attack him on those grounds.
From the Comments

A couple of points were raised by "Gordo", who has written to object to some of Riverbend's comments on the US Operation Iron Hammer. BendingTruth takes no editorial position on the contents of Riverbend's blog, that is simply not our ambit. We accept at face value that she is an Iraqi and thus has a right to speak and be heard as an Iraqi. We disavow that right in Troy at riverSbend since he isn't an Iraqi but seems to try to pretend that he is. Beyond that our scope is very limited.

And, while we do appreciate that some people get frustrated that Riverbend's blog does not allow for comments, BendingTruth will not address the substance of any remarks on her posts. We wouldn't venture to suggest whether the likelihood of Riverbend reading the comments here is notably higher than in any other public forum, though it is possible. But Riverbend certainly is likely to read any comments emailed to her.

As to Gordo's other remark - that since our comments appear to be "ranting and raving" this indicates that Troy at riverSbend is "winning" (whatever that means exactly) - we feel the need to indicate the obvious logical fallacy in that argument: we at BendingTruth have been ranting and raving in exactly this manner since before we even heard of Troy, or indeed the internet itself. And we will continue to rant and rave in this manner in the future, entirely independently of all Troy's future successes or failures.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

What Kind Of A Person...

I just said I'm not going to google on every single one of Troy's blog entries to discover the source, but here's one I just noted on riverSbend that I really think speaks volumes about Troy.

This is the entirety of Troy's Remembrance Day Entry (posted following Nov 11 it replaces a very big flag Troy had featured)
The American Flag Flew Here All Day in Remembrance of Veterans Day

I hope yours did too! Many young men and women have sacrificed virtually everything to defend a Great Nation. I would like to take this opportunity to send out a BIG thanks to all of them, both living and passed, whether they served in a time of calm or a time of war. The American Military has time and time again provided the very blanket of Freedom and stability that each one of us enjoys today. So here's to you, on YOUR DAY... we are thankful

And this is from 14 East's (A multimedia company) website from 2002
14 East Remembers Veterans Day!
And we hope you do to! Many young men and women have sacrificed virtually everything to defend our Great Nation. We would like to take this opportunity to send out a BIG thanks to all of them, both living and passed, whether they served in a time of calm or a time of war. The American Military has time and time again provided the very blanket of Freedom and stability that each and everyone of us enjoys today. So here's to you, on YOUR DAY... we are thankful

This is virtually verbatim (for some reason he reduced 14 East's phrase "each and everyone" to just "each" but that's the only difference past their introductory sentences. And Troy only slightly amended 14 East's intro so that it doesn't really make sense - does Troy really hope that all his readers flew flags on his website on Remembrance Day?!). So Troy's great heartfelt tribute to the heroes of the US military in which he used to serve is to steal a paragraph from someone else's website the year before and paste it on his website. What a way to show you care!

It's this kind of thing that made me chuckle inwardly when silly people claim that BendingTruth seeks to "crush the voice of others". Apart from all the other objections to that misguided statement I just want to ask "WHAT VOICE!!!??".

Troy appears incapable of stringing more than one sentence adjacent to the next. Anyone who's ever seen his Usenet posts will note that they in the vast majority consist of following up the words of someone else with the 1 or 2 word entries like "I agree" or "LOL".

Troy's blogs no more represent Troy's, or anyone's, voice than pushing a toddler round the Louvre and getting him to point at his favourite pieces represents a new artist at work.

I've said before I would like to hear Troy's voice a bit more on his blogs, because I suspect what (very) limited respect he now manages to garner would dissipate at once.

(NB I might feel a bit bad about saying this if it turns out Troy is genuinely borderline illiterate which is something, after this Remembrance Day thing I really can't rule out)
State of Play on riverbendblogS

Just a couple of words on the current situations on Troy's most recent blog at riverbendblogS. (To be perfectly clear I don't really believe he's responsible for Just Around the River Bend. It's much too well-written and mature sounding).

riverbendblogS now features on the right-hand margin a picture of a gaunt, dark-skinned man holding a somewhat come-hither expression I think it's fair to say. Whether this is supposed to be represent the face of the "blogger", whether Troy has just decided to decorate his page with some eye candy from his private collection, or whether this is the face of Troy's new love Justin of whom he written giddily in recent days is very difficult to say. (Could... not... resist...)

OK seriously it looks like Troy has just stolen another image, and Troy - you seriously seem to be suggesting this person has an affiliation with your site. Again I can't find the source because Troy has put the picture in his angelfire location. But is there really any reason to have that photo there other than to falsely suggest this is the blog's author? Not that I can think of...

Troy also has come out of the closet here as a Bush supporter - he is now hosting not one but two links to a site called BushBlog 2004. As one would expect this seems to be a collection of jointly themed blogs on the subject of hedgerows in the new millenium.

He also has a link to something called the Original Rriverbend (note the two 'r's) which is the original Riverbend in the same sense Jesus' mother is the original Madonna - sure those guys may have had the title first, but neither of them really managed to garner the widespread popular appeal of their more famous successors.

Troy also links to his other riverSbendblog but he does not, link to the original Iraqi Riverbend blogger. Plainly that "Original Riverbend" link is another intentional sideswipe at Riverbend.

Elsewhere the riverbendblogS site contains a lot of plagiarised and unattributed sources mostly military but some other news sources which, where they lean at all, tend to lean to the right. I'm going to detail those at the end.

(Written after google search) You know that was really, really boring. I doubt I could be bothered to repeat the experience. I'm not intending to provide exact links to all Troy's stories again because really what's the point? - we all know what they're about, and the kinds of places he gets them from. What I would quite look to discover is if he gets these directly from another portal where they are all collated. If that's the case then it further undermines the very slender claims his blog has to legitimacy.

At the moment the blog isn't really all that sinister. He shouldn't have the photo of that man there, unless of course he's got the man's permission, which I think it's fair to say is doubtful. He shouldn't really make that little "original" dig at Riverbend - it does help to demonstrate his hostile intent. And maybe he should be more open about where he's getting his material from and his personal background.

But the bottom line is, as it has always been, he set up this site here to attempt to confuse people about Riverbend, who he hates. He's cybersquatting on a domain chosen for that purpose. If he did most of this stuff at a different location with a clear name distinction where it's made plain he is not an Iraqi that would be fair enough. But as is the site is still meriting close attention and ridicule. And it still is not a "blog" under the common usage of the term.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Iraqi Court Convicts Former Governor
This is from the Associated Press

Thursday, November 06, 2003
Iraqis pledge safety in '04
This is from Paul Martin of the Washington Times

Sunday, November 09, 2003
Processing center brings in new Iraqi soldiers
This is from CJTF7 Media (A US Army Publication)

101st, new Iraqi security forces find caches, detain criminals
CJTF7 again (stands for Combined Joint Task Force 7)

This is from US Central Command

Thursday, November 13, 2003
1st Armored Division strikes back in Operation Iron Hammer
This is from US Central Command again

20 detained in a series of 101st raids
US Central Command again

Iraqis lead 101st soldiers to IEDs, weapons turned in
And again

82nd Airborne Division ("All-American") soldiers kill 6, wound 4; defend hospital
CTJF7 again

Friday, November 14, 2003
The Rat Will Surface Sooner or Later
This is one of Troy's most creative entries in a while. It cuts lines from Scott McClellan in with some from Reuters Incredibly it seems as if the entire 7 word headline was all Troy's own work. Except I suppose for the 5 word phrase "will surface sooner or later" which was spoken by Scott McClellan. Still that leaves a whole 2 words - and coming from Troy that's practically Middlemarch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Agreement on Political Process

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Coalition Puts $10 Million Bounty on Former Regime Official
This is from Newsday

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Troy Finds True Love

Perhaps it's a little early to be sure, but it seems new romance has brought a little ray of sunshine into Troy's life. Hopefully the healing power of love may serve to lessen some of Troy's troubling inner rage.

Here he writes lyrically in what is presumably his latest fake Riverbend blog, Just Around the River Bend

Monday, November 17, 2003

This weekend was the best 48 hours of my life! I got to spend loads of time with Justin and I now know that I'm absolutely, completely, head over heals, forever and ever amen in love with him!!!!!!

We at BendingTruth would like to extend our very best wishes in the future to Troy as he seeks to make a life together with Justin. Make love Troy, not nasty smearing anti-free speech blogs.

(Could... not... resist...)
Myths That Aid Troy II: "Everybody knows..."
("Freedom of Speech for Grown-ups" can be considered Part I in this series)

Funnily enough this myth was first raised just a few days after the blog began. On Monday Oct 28th it was brought to my attention that BendingTruth had been discussed in the comments section of Zeyad's HealingIraq blog. In those days the blog was a little less clear in its template, and at least one person had at first glance assumed it was attacking Riverbend herself. I posted a follow-up comment on HealingIraq clarifying my position and giving a few details on Troy's activities.

A reader called Anne responded, with it must be said, a detectable froideur that "I think everyone knows the other RiversBend site is fake". Was she right? Well the next day on Wednesday October 30 Zeyad posted in his blog the controversial comment that riverSbend "looks like an Iraqi or someone from the CPA". From that one can infer, I think, that Anne had been perhaps a little premature in her judgement. After I followed up Zeyad's remark with a correction Anne was once again right into the fray.

Now one might have thought that Anne's first comment on the matter would have expressed some surprise at Zeyad's apparent confusion, since she had apparently believed at that stage that everybody knew the truth. One might even have expected a certain contrition that her comment of the previous day had been an attack based on error. But in fact Anne's next comment to Zeyad's blog was again attacking BendingTruth, this time for presuming that Zeyad was "responsible for defending the fake blog", which of course was a claim no one had made. This is just to show that Anne's attacks on BendingTruth have been consistent in their direction. But not their logic.

When on Friday November 14th Sam of Hammorabi was observed by myself and others with dismay to have placed a link to the riverSbend smearblog on his site, which he then removed having been informed of the nature and history of the site, this might seem to the impartial observer to conclude that - at the very least - before Friday November 14th not everybody knew . But in fact the Everybody Knows myth has proved persistent.

Indeed I would have to admit having arguably fallen prey to it myself. When Wendy McElroy of Fox News emailed me on Nov 4 to ask for my assistance in having her photograph removed from the riverSbend smearblog, I assured her that the detrimental effect of it being there would be negligible since anyone who would go there would know of the site's history and that the presence of her photograph signified nothing. She replied that unfortunately this was not the case. Enough readers and even professional contacts had been in touch with her inquiring about her association to make her afraid that her professional reputation may have been damaged by this represented affiliation with the smear blog. Established fact - Nov 4 everybody still did not know...

Yesterday, Tuesday 18th Oct, regular readers will have noted I posted follow-ups to Troy's riverSbend promotional comments in a couple of new Iraqi blogs, and that I anticipated some anti-BendingTruth comments. A poster called Mike again revived the old Everybody Knows saw: "it seems everyone, except for you, is perfectly capable of telling the difference between riversbend and riverbend. "

Funnily enough as I explained to Mike, a mere couple of hours before he posted his comment another poster on a different Iraqi blog had asked the question, 'Who is this "Riversbend" person?'

Of course, an illogical partisan could venture the suggestion that this individual was the very last person on the planet who did not know the truth and that once I had answered their question this acted to stamp out the last vestige of extant ignorance on the matter anywhere.

An honest observer though, would have to conclude that, even though certain people have been attacking the BendingTruth campaign on the grounds that "Everybody knows" since virtually its very inception, the continuing weight of evidence suggests this:

Every time the claim that "Everybody Knows The Truth about riverSbend" has been made it has been made in error.

So the next time anyone would think of making this claim I would suggest that the onus is very much on them to demonstrate that it is true. Otherwise they are merely perpetuating myths which may serve to the benefit of Troy's nefarious activities, and they ought to carefully consider the effect of giving such an individual their misdirected succour.

I do appreciate that some people who are regular contributors in the comments section of the welter of recent Iraqi blogs will have heard and will be familiar with the difference between the genuine Riverbend blog and the riverSbend smearblog. However I will insist that that does not give them the right to falsely - or rudely - act as if they can and do speak for all.

New Iraqi blogs are springing up all over, their exposure is increasing. It is not only false, but in fact nonsensical to suggest that everybody is familiar with the minutae of the comments written on blogs in previous weeks. My suggestion is that people tired of being reminded about the debased history of the riverSbend blog should, if they feel the need to speak up, address any negative comments about the situation's perpetuation to Troy when he promotes his smearblog, as opposed ot BendingTruth when it seeks to educate newcomers on the origins of the offensive smearblog.

I will insist that to continue to attack BendingTruth instead of the smearblog will ultimately serve to condone the low course that Troy has embarked upon. To do so will send out the message that if you lie and deceive for long enough, that's OK because people will have gotten bored of being reminded about it.

[Certain names have been changed in the above to dilute any suggestions it is intended primarily as an attack on individuals as opposed to their tenuous logic and claims]

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

More on Troy

Another Iraqi blogger hits the airwaves and like a bad smell Troy is there promoting his blog thusly


I join others here in welcoming you to blogging. I know you will enjoy your freedom of speach. Don't let anyone stop you or try to make you change. They will try, don't listen.

I guess it's no wonder Troy has such a difficulty understanding freedom of speech when he isn't even able to spell it.

Anyway I posted another of my head's up comments explaining the difference between Troy and Riverbend and I'll probably be assailed by some more people who will try their damndest to misunderstand what freedom of speech is about simply because they don't like Riverbend.

OK grumble over...


Oops! He did it again. I just noticed that Zeyad provided the urls to a host of Iraqi bloggers the other day so it's probably this that Troy used to get to Iraq At A Glance here
Your link to Mesopotamian doesn't work. I think it should be where you have

This time someone actually asked who this was, and indicated obviously that she didn't know. So my usual follow-up was simply an answer to a question.

Will that be enough to hold off the fringe-dwelling nay-sayers. We'll see...
Thank God for Polite Disagreement

I don't want to give the impression that I believe per se that anyone who has a word to say against the BendingTruth campaign is a nasty hypocrite or a moron. It is simply, quite honestly that most of them are, and are extremely willing to demonstrate it. And anyone who passes a disrespectful here comment like "ASSHOLE" can expect to be treated like one. Anyone who flippantly dispenses buzz-phrases like "freedom of speech" while displaying an absolute ignorance of the implications of raising such concepts will be dealt with in an equally flippant manner. Anyone who displays incredibly hypocrisy or sheer stupidity and can't keep a civil tongue in their head may find themselves mocked ruthlessly on this site, or they'll just be ignored. (The Golden Rule and all that)

On the other hand, if anyone can string together a few words of polite objection they are more than welcome to express them here. Which brings me to El Bonzi who wrote at length in the comments under the Freedom Of Speech For Grown Ups entry.

You can read everything he has to say in his entry so I'm just going to condense to address the points he raised:

a) "The way you seem to be displaying this big protective shield for the supposedly Iraqi girl would lead one into thinking there is something to hide."
First off I'll note how it's one of the wonderful vagueries of the English language how - as in this sentence - you can use "one" as a synonym for "me", to imply there exists a widespread or logical inference, where it may well be one utterly outre and entirely unique to the speaker. Do other readers think that the BendingTruth campaign in its scope undermines Riverbend's credibility? Bonzi seems to suggest as much but I'm going to just point out that it's an unproven, even dubious assertion.

And it represents a couple of logical fallacies. The more exposure Troy gets the less chance he has of making people stumble on one of his fake sites thinking it's run by the female Iraqi blogger, which is what he intended. Every time he pokes up somewhere promoting his smearblogs I tend to pop up explaining his history. This absolutely thwarts his intention and has nothing to do with anyone (other than Troy) having anything to hide.

For another thing I have no more evidence than anyone else that Riverbend is either an Iraqi in Iraq or that she is not. I'm not in some kind of inner circle where me Salaam Pax, Riverbend and Saddam sit around a flat in Greenwich Village laughing it up over cocktails about about all the trouble we're causing for the Republican Party. On the other hand I'm not bunkered down with her in a Mosul suburb. Riverbend and I have intermittent email contact only, but I do believe she's real. I don't stake my life on it but I believe it's true. I quoted from the Online Journalism Review last week where they suggested that the blogosphere has a kind of inbuild fact-checking facility, where if someone, like Troy, tries to fake a blog enough people will swarm it to find out the truth. Now there are certainly plenty of people who would like to demonstrate that Riverbend is a fake, and I tend to agree with OJR that if she were someone would be able to come up with the goods on her. Remember plenty of people thought Salaam Pax was a fake. And they were wrong. I take the position that since they pass my basic test of realism Riverbend, Salaam Pax, Zeyad, Hammorabi, Boots on the Ground are what they claim to be. If anyone has any good evidence that they aren't I'll look at it, but I'm not going to start trying to demean people as unreal simply because I may not agree with some of their opinions.

Everything Bonzi has said to support his scepticism about Riverbend is basically circumstantial. Her anonymity, the fact she hasn't approached the press, the fact she's not working as an interpreter. She has said she wants to remain anonymous for her personal safety. Bear in mind Salamm Pax still retains his psuedonym. Quite possibly when they feel safer, perhaps in time, they will be more public. But even for interpreters the streets of Iraq can be rather dangerous. Salaam Pax seems to believe Riverbend's real and I respect his judgement. But look the bottom line is I can't prove Riverbend is real. Nor am I going to try to. That's outside the ambit of the BendingTruth campaign - and as some have noted I spend enough time on this already!

I think it's fair to say that the balance of informed opinion seems to concur on the belief that Riverbend is real. I respect that some people may disagree with that, and I won't try to change their minds. But it has been proved that riverSbend was a faker in the US posing as an Iraqi. That is a fact not in dispute and BendingTruth merely exists to distinguish between the two and remove as much possibility of confusion as it can. I know by doing so I am destined to take a certain amount of flak from some on the right who would like to see dirty tricks perpetrated in their name swept under the carpet, instead of taking the more mature approach and just calling them for what they are, as many sharing their political inclinations have had the integrity to do.

b) Bonzi "It seems as though you are obsessed with this thing between You on Bending Truth, RiverSbend and the girl on Riverbend."
Well first of all it's difficult to forget someone when they're flooding your email address with 150K spam emails every hour, or signing you up to dubious "Personal" websites as does Troy, or his support. Secondly as I explain in my intro the notion of a bitter old coot in the US trying to distort the freedom of speech of a newly liberated Iraqi bugs me a lot. And it is an important matter.

I watched Bernard Goldberg on Fox the other day discussing liberal bias in the news and he made some sense. He suggests not that there is a huge conspiracy to give a left-wing bias to the news but that because many media people are liberals and spend their whole lives meeting only liberals that this intrinsically biases them toward seeing any wrong-doing by another liberal as "not that bad" while seeing any wrong-doing done by someone on the right as the gravest calumny. Now I am no fool, so I certainly am open to the accusation that that is exactly what is happening here, that if Troy was a liberal doing this to e.g. Zeyad I'd think it was no big deal. But you'd be wrong to do so. It's as simple as that. If a liberal did to Zeyad, what Troy has done to Riverbend I'd think it was despicable. And I'd say so. I'm not sure I'd have the time to devote to denouncing them that I spend on denouncing Troy but I'm pretty sure someone else would spring up who would and they'd get all my support in so doing.

And I can also say that Wendy McElroy of Fox News, the Centcom webmaster and a hell of a lot of people who are not rote liberals are able to see that pretending to be someone else, especially a newly liberated Iraqi citizen, with the intent of smearing them and misrepresenting their opinions is a pretty serious matter. It stinks. [Can I also, in support of my bona fides, say here that the last president of the US committed freaking perjury! We can bang on all night about Ken Starr smear campaigns, American puritanism and blah, blah, blah... But he committed perjury and that's my bottom line!]

And I'm going to have to suggest to Bonzi that Bernard Goldberg's observation works both ways. That it's possible that someone who is not a liberal may tend to be unrealistically diminish the gravity of Troy's offences simply because of the political climate in which they exist. And the weight of opinion I have seen would tend to judge that he [Bonzi] is being less objective in suggesting Troy's campaign is not worth getting worked up about, than I am in continuing to spotlight his nefarious activities.

But it's true a couple of people seem to be concerned about the amount of time I spend on this blog. And I'm very touched by that I have to say. I guess these people worry that devoting a couple of hours a day to Bending Truth may be causing me to neglect my social life, my work, my marriage. Well rest assured dear readers that my BendingTruth blogging has - despite her fervent hopes - not deflected my attentions one iota from Mrs AtBendingTruth, my friends still hate me, and my work life is not suffering.

And I have to say that, while the concern brings tears to my eyes, maybe these worried readers ought to spare a thought for people like Andrew Sullivan or Matt Drudge both of whom seem to devote a comparable amount of time to their online activities and are surely as deserving of such well-wishes as I am. But, I hear them cry, those guys are getting money from their websites, which is not the case with you. Well rest assured, dear readers, I am well taken care of in that manner. Let's just that not all that money Saddam managed to smuggle out of Iraq was directed straight to Syria...*

But you know what I think is really weird, and has really lowered my respect for so-called compassionate liberals? It's that, where a political inclination has been indicated, every single one of the people concerned that I'm spending too much time on this blog is from the right! Every single one! Isn't that so weird?! Every single person who worries I might be devoting too much time to tracking the right-wing smear campaign run against a left-leaning Iraqi woman is from the right themselves. Not one single liberal seems to care that I'm risking over-exertion the way the proWar crowd do. Compassionate liberals? Ha!


Anyway I guess my bottom line to Bonzi is thanks for taking the time to write a thoughtful post, and for holding off on the profanities and the disdain. And if you are correct that (a) Riverbend is fake; you would most assurely be right that (b) I spend too much time on this blog.

BUT if on the other hand you're wrong about (a) as I believe you to be. Then you're certainly wrong about (b) as well.

*That was a JOKE, by the way

From the comments A Constant Reader:
"If any genuine ACLU members are defending Troy, they may be interested to read comments he made on the ACLU in the newsgroup soc.retirement.

Here are a few:

[Snip of Troy's comments insulting the ACLU]

Thanks ACR, and as I think you have at least half suspected I was having a little bit of fun. I don't genuinely think these people clamouring about Troy's freedom of speech are ACLU. I believe they are people like Troy as you've indicated who devote large portions of their time to insulting the ACLU for defending the rights of criminals.

And I was just in my dryly humoured way pointing out how I suspected that they were doing exactly what they claim to despise in others - blaming the victim, excusing the offender.

And while I'm not going to get into the intricacies of every case the ACLU takes on, I suggest that they would at least be able to put up a better case for the rights of anyone they defend than could be put up in defence of Troy's freedom of speech. If anyone would like to try and mount an argument explaining why Troy's freedom of speech was offended by my bringing Troy's offences to the attention of Hammorabi's Sam then I would be willing to hear it - I couldn't find any fish to use for target practice in my barrel this morning.

If like "Ruth", on the other hand, you're just going to throw in an unsubstantiated remark in my comments section about me "squashing the voice of others". Then I'm somewhat less willing to hear it.

Ruth's claim that I am a "child at play" is of course something I could hardly deny, after the whole Rick Etard thing (while I absolutely assert the fundamental seriousness of the BendingTruth campaign in defending Riverbend's free speech against deceitful attacks I see no reason for not occasionally lapsing into juvenility when doing so). On the other hand, Ruth's case might be slightly undermined by the fact that just before she accused me of being a "child at play", she had posted to my blog anonymously (or so she apparently thought) the single word comment "ASSHOLE". :) Those IP addresses, Ruth, can be a bitch...

Anyone who would condemn the ACLU while defending Troy on a laughable "freedom of speech" basis is, I believe an enormous hypocrite, as I suggest in detail in the entry "Let's Play a Game", because there is no way in hell they'd be defending someone on the left who attacked a right-leaning site the way Troy has attacked Riverbend.

N.B. I know my jokes are often not recognised as such. The same thing happened last week when I blasted Troy for "Insulting the flag". I don't personally tend to get offended or complain when someone is disrespectful to the Stars and Stripes or not sufficiently patriotic... but Troy does. And that's why I was subtly pointing out what a monstrous hypocrite he is as well

Monday, November 17, 2003

Freedom Of Speech For Grown-ups

Just as the right to vote gives you the right to put your own name on the ballot and not someone else's. So freedom of speech does not give you the right to impersonate someone else, and then misrepresent their opinions. It saddens me (though it no longer surprises me) to see the grave difficulty some partisans have in grasping this simple fact, and to witness the logical and moral gymnastics some immature people will indulge in to try and give 'aid and comfort' to the most ardent anti-free speech activities, simply because they perceive the perpetrator to be "on their side".

What follows is a post I produced on the comments section on Sam's blog to try and clunk a few cluttered heads together. It won't work of course because to them I, by working in support of Riverbend, have become "the enemy". But if this campaign is destined to absorb some of the nasty and prejudiced criticism that would otherwise go her way from certain quarters then so be it.

To Sam's Comments
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth...

a) Troy set up the riverSbendblog in September with the specific intention of impersonating Riverbend who he despises ("a bitch on the rag"), misrepresenting her opinions, and thus to undermine her voice. He set with the clear agenda of distorting the freedom of speech rights of a newly liberated Iraqi.

b) He stole and plagiarised graphics from many sources to bolster his fake blog, and he continues to do so. It is basically devoid of editorial content and continues to exist on the cyber-squatting domain

c) In promoting it Troy adopted fake identities including impersonated another individual, whilst simultaneously subjecting that individual's email account to denial of service attacks.

d) People of standing who have learned of Troy's nature have without exception condemned his actions and sought to distance themselves from him. Entities who have taken positive action to express their disdain for his methods include Art For A Change, Save the Children, Leon Sparx, Wendy McElroy of Fox News, and Centcom/the CPA itself. Troy's site has been decried across the web, by everyone with any standing.

e) Sam like anyone else has the right to choose who he offers the tacit endorsement of a link on his blog. And he has a right to make a knowledgable decision about who he is linking to. My instinct on seeing Sam's site linking to the riverSbend smearblog was similar to that if I happened to see my neighbour had hired a known sex offender to babysit his children. I asked "Do you realise who you are associating with here?!" At the time clearly he did not. But now that he does he has made the same decision as everyone else of integrity and shunned Troy and the riverSbendblog.

f) This scenario is no more an infringement of Troy's freedom of speech than is the fact that the Save the Children website doesn't offer Nambla a link an infringement of Nambla's, or the fact that Fox News doesn't link to Al-Jazeera an infringement of theirs.

g) Any reader with a strong stomach who thinks poor Troy is getting a raw deal here, by not having decent people stand by him and say they think that trying to steal the web identity of a political adversary is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, has it within their power to go to and set up their own blog. There they can link to Troy, to Nambla, to Al Qaeda, to Aaron Carter or to any other entity shunned by respectable and responsible society, which they feel has been unfairly excluded.

h) If they do that and thus make the public statement that these entities are fine by them, then society in turn is entitled to draw further conclusions. Society judges people by those with whom they choose to associate, and if you choose to associate with and condone liars and cheats, society will make a judgement that you may share their values. That is why Sam is perfectly entitled to disassociate himself from Troy and ...and why anyone who wants to offer Troy their support should consider how that will make them appear to others, and whether that is how they would want to be perceived.

P.S. Cherice would be advised to look more closely at Troy's link to the "Original Riverbend". It does *not* link to the Iraqi blogger Riverbend and is another intentional dig at her. He is still cybersquatting on domains purposely chosen to help his campaign of undermining her message.
Let's Play a Game...

... we'll call it "Spear the Hypocrite".

First let's imagine that someone, an active member of the ACLU in the US, decides to set up a blog called healing_iraq (note the underscore). healing_iraq is designed to look exactly like the blog of popular Iraqi blogger Zeyad, copying the format, and claiming to have been written by an Iraq-based dentist. But the healing_iraq fake blogger despises Zeyad (says he's "a **** of a ****") and every article in healing_iraq is stolen from al-jazeera, the Guardian, Counterpunch and selectively combined paints a grim picture of the US occupation as illegal and immoral, as a quagmire, and praises the bravery of the Iraqi "freedom fighters". The healing_iraq faker even posts phony archives back to July to make it appear as his blog was there first.

The healing_iraq blogger takes to seeking out internet forums where people are discussing the genuine Zeyad in favourable terms, and posting under an assumed name things like "Looks like he may have found himself a Fedayeen girlfriend. His attitude seems to have gone 180 degrees lately." And adds a link to the faked healing_iraq blog. Often the healing_iraq blogger actually alters the quoted part of the original post to make it seem as if the original mentioned the fake blog. Any time anyone happens to notice there are two different blogs the healing_iraq faker points out that since those archives appear to predate Zeyad's blog then Zeyad must be the faker.

Then someone, maybe someone who's also pretty favourable to the US occupation, spots what the healing_iraq faker is up to. He starts a blog called Healing Truth shining a light on the dishonesty, the deception, the impersonation, he contacts people who's graphics are being misused by the faker. Every one of those people recognises low political chicanery when they see it and offer their support. Soon across the web everyone knows about the faker, his first name, his political affiliations, his antipathy towards Zeyad. Feeling the icy grip of the law on his collar, the faker rolls back some of his more obvious similarities to the original blog, but he remains sending out the same message from the cybersquatting domain.

The faker still persists in trying to get his exposed site linked by approaching those ignorant of his nefarious character and history. But the Healing Truth blogger keeps an open eye and let's anyone temporarily hoodwinked in on the truth about the fake blog.

What happens then...

Who will speak up for the healing_iraq faker to smear, lie, deceive and slander? It sounds like a dirty, filthy job and one that no sane person would be willing to take on. Well think again folks because here they are.

Or rather if they aren't, if they're willing to speak up for Troy's right to smear, lie, deceive and slander, but they would not be willing to do the same for my hypothetical healing_iraq blogger, simply on the basis that they sympathise with Troy's political alliances, then that is it, game over. We have Speared the Hypocrites :)

I've been away from my PC all weekend but I note Sam's blog at Hammorabi no longer links to the riverSbend smear blog. I haven't heard back from Sam himself, but can only speculate that I was correct to assume he did not realise the riverSbend history when he posted the link, and like all reasonable and decent people when he found out he was appalled and took steps to distance himself from it.

[As a sidenote it appears the campaign may have attracted some of those ACLU nutcases that Bill O'Reilly is always banging on about. I thought these kind of people existed only in his head, but it appears not. There are genuinely some obviously fringe leftists, in my comments section, and Sam's, who are crying out in support of the criminal Troy, at the expense of the victim Riverbend. These people seem to think it's an attack on Troy's civil liberties not to let him steal people's identities and deceitfully smear his political opponents. Well sorry folks, this kind of thinking may hold sway after you've fomented your Communist revolution, but for the moment this is the free world and your loony-left wing theories remain, thankfully, only that!]

Friday, November 14, 2003

Alert and Call To Action

I mentioned below how Troy had posted in the comments section of new Iraqi blogger Hammorabi.

Well I was more than a little shocked to later see that on this page linked as an "Iraqi Blog" is our odious friend's blog at River's Bend.

In no real sense is riverSbend an "Iraqi blog". It's not even really a blog, as most people would understand the term. And while Troy contains to cybersquat on the domain names riversbendblog... and riverbendblogs... he is hardly deserving of any endorsement as implied here.

He's just a mean old guy picking news stories from military publications and putting them on a blog. He's never tried to offer an apology or even explanation for his despicable past actions, and he is still subjecting this email address and others to denial of service attacks.

My first instinct and hope is that Sam at Hammorabi has been suckered much as Leon Sparx was suckered by an email from Troy and that when he realises the truth about riverSbend he will remove the link. I would certainly hope that would happen.

But in the interim I would encourage any Bending Truth readers and Riverbend fans to mail Sam
and express their hope that he would no longer offer this thoroughly unwarranted publicity to the riverSbend blog which should be let die in well-earned shame and ignominy
Lifting The Manhole Cover – the origin of a smearblogger Part I

Events of recent weeks have dimly called to my mind a science fiction episode of some sort I saw on TV in recent years. (Now there's an inauspicious opening sentence if ever I've written one, but please bear with me for a while). In this story individuals aged backwards, they died looking like human children, but were born appearing to our eyes as old people. In effect their teenagers, sulky, spoilt, irrational, immature, in some ways practically amoral, would have looked to us like retirement age folk. Someone who looked like my grandfather might have had no more emotional and intellectual maturity than a 13 year old boy.

It was while perusing the Usenet group soc.retirement that I began to reflect on this story. For it is here, that Troy, the riverSbend smear-blogger, a 70 year old man remember, apparently draws the support which allows him to exist in the denial required for someone who likes to think of themselves as an American patriot, to act in ways which are absolutely in contradiction with all the best things that that country stands for. Troy is incapable of grasping the fact that freedom means allowing everyone to speak their mind, without, by all manner of underhand and deceitful means, smearing them, censoring them, or trying to shut down their email accounts. But I suspect that Troy is highly intellectually dependent on a small crowd of cheerleading blinkered fantasists who, although advanced in age, share his immature and brattish outlook. It is this peergroup that emboldens him and blinds him to the shame he ought to feel for his behaviour, in the same way as a teenage gang can provide a moral blindfold for people of much younger years.

A glance on any given day over the Usenet group soc.retirement is likely to give pause for thought to anyone who believes that a grandparent is a safe bet repository of wisdom, and hard-earned understanding of what our society, and life, is all about. This is not to say that soc.retirement is by any means the worst place on Usenet, which has become an oft-used outlet for undirected rage for many, and perhaps it just shows my innate bias that I might have expected it to be any better than elsewhere. Nor do I intend to suggest that every poster here, as opposed to a small, afflicted subgroup is apparently affected by this apparent outbreak of arrested development. But since this blog is directed at shining a light on the murky moves of Troy, the riverSbend smearblogger, I think it is perhaps beholden on me to lift the manhole cover and shine a torch into the sewer from which he emerged.

I've said elsewhere that soc.retirement seems to be perhaps the only place online where individuals can be found suggesting either:

(a) Troy is not the riverSbend smearblogger
(b) the actions of the riverSbend smearblogger are in some way laudable

Now I should state here for the record I have my doubts that anyone here really does not believe that Troy is responsible for the smearblog. I suspect some of these individuals know well that Troy is the culprit. Some may even be actively assisting him. In this blog I'll exhume some of the statements made by Troy's apologistic faux-juvenile brat-pack, and hold them to the spotlight to be exposed in all their moral and intellectual vacuity. What follows may be considered quite a chilling testament to the emptiness of the notion of “a lifetime of accumulated wisdom”.

To be continued…
Couple More Anti-riverSbend Testimonials

A Brooklyn Bridge
Riverbend's gift for gentle understatement is one of the things I like about her: when she truly howls she has compelling reasons (unlike me, who may howl because I'm simply pissed off). In her situation, I would have tried to deprive "dear Troy" of some very personal body parts.
Michael Totten.Com
There is also a riversbend, which is kind of a dirty trick, I think, very different, not really Iraqi:

the real Riverbend blog, done by a woman in Iraq, is being plagiarized, faked, and twisted by an obviously odious person at

Political Puzzle
with all the popularity of Iraqi blogs it really comes as no surprise to me that some are faked but this is really sad and pathetic, you had an Iraqi blog ran by a woman called "Riverbend" which pretty much was in opposition to the Iraqi conflict when one day another Iraqi Blogger shows up with the site "riversbend"
He's Still At It

In the comments section of new Iraqi blogger Hammorabi,
this turned up on Nov 12:


Welcome to blogging.

You are off to a good start, enjoy.

Most of your links don't work because they have this "!" in their address.
River's Bend | Email | Homepage | 11.12.03 - 10:31 am | #

Need I say that the email and homepage links here were to the faker's versions not to the originals.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Anti-riverSbend Testimonials

I have collected from the web a number of negative commentaries about the riverSbend smear campaign. I found it useful to post some of this on Usenet when Troy began again promoting his smearblogs. If anyone comes across any other similar testimonials feel free to send them in and I will add them to the list.

John Gorenfeld exposes perpetrator of fake site:
A lot of people over at Atrios's blog -- including me -- have been wondering what's up with a blog called Riversbend that supposedly posts from Iraq. There was already a very similar site called Riverbend, run by a woman in Iraq, but it didn't have the 'S' in the middle, and it tended to attack Halliburton bidding practices rather than copy optimistic passages from Thomas Friedman.

Stray Bulletins
The original site is , and the new one is, just one letter's difference. The second site is nearly identical in layout, font, etc., obviously trying to trick people into thinking that these are the words and feelings of river herself. Pretty scummy, if you ask me.

Twilight Cafe
There is currently a conflict between, an Iraqi woman, and, a 70 year old Republican activist who is copying Riverbend's blog and changing the message. The theory is that the Riversbend blogger hopes to mislead people seeking Riverbend to come to his site instead, because he so thoroughly disagrees with what the Iraqi woman is saying. On a quick glance you might not realize you were on the wrong site.

Poison Kitchen
there is a controversy brewing over the appearance of the evil dimension version of, both sharing the title "Baghdad Burning". Apparently this forgery is the work of a fellow that goes by the handle "solerito" who also created a previous fake Baghdad website "Baghdad Blogging"'s not parody or satire, it's identity theft plain and simple.

Zeyad at HealingIraq
I think its deplorable that the author of assumed Riverbend's identity, used graphics that are not his own, tried to give the impression that he is an Iraqi, and obviously to cast doubt on Riverbend's writing.

Citizen Smash
...someone is spoofing the popular Iraqi blogger Riverbend.

Web Frog
Fake Baghdad Burning. Compare and contrast: Riverbend (the real Baghdad Burning) and riverSbend (pro-US fake version)

Rush Limbaughtomy
It has now been revealed that an identity theif has stolen the name of, and is sharing the title "Baghdad Burning". In an attempt to defeat the impact of the celebrated IRAQI blogger.

Promestheus 6
There's Baghdad Burning by Riverbend. The real thing. Then there's this. Url is instead of Template, graphics everything stolen from the original.

In a bizarre, yet telling, twist to the Baghdad Burning blog story, a spoof of the popular blog sprung up on September 11 of this year. The real Baghdad Burning blog's URL is The spoof version is at It is (or was) a collection of pro-war ramblings interspersed with copy and paste work from the White House website and other official sources.

This Century Sucks
[riverSbend] pretends to be the exact same person as the above blog, but now the person realizes all the wonderful and good things the US is doing. The url is If your ideas are better then have an open airing of your ideas. If you have to lie, cheat, imply, exaggerated than perhaps your ideas are not better.

Psychotic Duo
If riversbend truly is someone who is not really in Iraq that would have to be the most pathetic blogger the internet has to offer. What would make someone pretend to be from somewhere that they are not and completely copy a site belonging to someone else. Including all of the links and even the freebie hit counter at the bottom of the page? Attention? Jealousy?

Matt Lavine
Given the unbelievably slimy nature of his support for the war--it's all well and good to be pro-liberation and pro-free-Iraq, but not at the expense of the newfound free speech of an actual Iraqi person--plus the inherent creepiness of all old guys who pretend to be young women on the Internet...

Big Old Geek
Apparently , (the Baghdad Burning blog mentioned above) annoyed some right winger so much that he created three fakes of the blog -,, and to deceive the public.

That toad who tried to hijack Riverbend's blog with one called "Riversbend" turns out to be a longtime internet shit-stirrer named "Troy", some sort of obnoxious dittohead active with the NRA. Now, I have no particular use for Riverbend, myself - I think she's a sniveling lightweight - but impersonating someone online is a vile and stupid act, and should be roundly denounced.

So I Guess Troy's Not All Bad...

Wading through an inbox of undelivered junk, as has become de rigeur since BendingTruth started successfully turning the screws on poor Troy, I uncovered a slightly unusual item this morning.

It was an email from (apparently "the world's largest sex and swingers personals site"), and stated:

Dear Visitor,

We noticed that you didn't finish registering on Adult Friendfinder located at Adult Friendfinder is the largest personals site with over a million registered members. Your soul mate could be waiting for you!

We're very grateful to Troy to bringing this site to our attention. Mrs AtBendingTruth particularly asked me to convey her thanks...
From the Comments...

If it's possible to block by IP address, then I guess that's how he prevented me from posting any more comments directing readers to the real Riverbend site.

Yes. I've actually learned a few things by copying Troy.

The only reason I started this anti-Troy thing as a blog - transferring my investigation of the sources of all Troy's stolen material from a Word document, was in fact to see how easy/difficult it was to fake archives, as he did. Turns out its incredibly easy.

Then once I had the blog with the fake 1999 Seigfried and Roy entry putting all the information I'd gathered beside it online just seemed like a logical step.

Then, when I wanted to find out how Troy was able to remove comments so easily by adding comment functionality here I found out just how easy it is to delete comments (not that I've done this! - yet) and to ban IP addresses. The mystery is, since it was so easy, how come he seemed to be deleting supportive comments every few days.

You just login to your Haloscan account and it has a list of all the featured comments. YOu just tick a box to delete a comment or tick another box to ban the IP address. This also means that every comment has beside it the IP address of the sender.

Thus another big mystery to me is why, after he had blocked me, did he then unblock me, before dumping the whole comment thing altogether. He really is a very puzzling fellow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

No Comment. But An Invitation to Correspond

As of yesterday evening it appears that Troy is no longer accepting comments on the riverbendblogS

It seems odd that he did this now, since compared to my comment writing of before yesterday's notes were comparatively innocuous.

For anyone who missed it for a couple of days there had been only one comment on the blog:

A wonderful blog keep up the good work - anonymous

Yesterday I indulged my bent for puerile amusement by posing as this anonymous. (The BendingTruth Law and Ethics committee felt that the charge of identity theft could not apply on behalf of someone calling themselves "anonymous")

As anonymous I would post things like:

"I would like to apologise for, and withdraw my last post. It was sent due to a slight overdose of crazy pills"


"Boy was I drunk when I wrote that one!"

So now there is no comments section. I'm a bit ambivalent about that. Obviously I would usually be cheered when any action taken by the BendingTruth campaign precipitated a change on either of Troy's sites, on the other hand it did provide an interesting route into Troy's world, which has now gone.

[Again though I must admit Troy has bewildered me. He shut out my home IP address from commenting last week. Then he did it again when I used my friend's PC over the weekend. Then this week apparently the restrictions were lifted and I was able to post freely again (albeit with the usual prompt deletions). But why?! Frequently Troy does things which seem to defy all rational explanation. In a lot of ways he's a very disappointing adversary, but I will grant that he does retain the capacity to confuse me on a regular basis]

However I do note that Troy has added an email link to his site. (Mail Troy)

At the time of writing I had yet to send anything to this address so it's quite possible it's not valid. But I will be writing later today and suggest anyone else who wants pass on messages, whether along the lines of "Wonderful blog. Keep up the good work" or not, should try availing of this opportunity.
From the Comments...

A Contstant Reader:
The detail Riverbend provides on daily life in Iraq is compelling and leads me to believe she is "real".
It would be difficult, if notimpossible, for someone who was not in Iraq to fake this. One can only consider how quickly any efforts to pretend to be an Iraqi woman fell apart on the fake Rivers sites.

And on this subject, one of Troy's apologists in soc.retirement has implied that Troy is claiming he did the fake blog to prove how easy it was to fool people - and to thus suggest that Salaam Pax and Riverbend herself may not be real.

Of course, as you point out, to anyone with a brain, it would be obvious that he proved exactly the opposite. It took basically *no* scrutiny whatsoever to figure out the blog was not written in Iraq. And it took only a little more to uncover the precise culprit.

Pax and RB have undergone scrutiny many magnitudes of the size Troy's blog has, and no one has been able to demonstrate they are not who they say they are. Thus if Troy set out to prove how easy a fake blog is, then he has been a miserable failure.

[NB. This is not to dignify the above notion by suggesting it is true - that Troy wanted merely to provide a lesson in the ease of internet fakery. If this was so, he would have picked a different identity - not tried to copy Riverbend. His malicious intent is also of course indicated by his attitude that Riverbend is a "bitch on the rag". Moreover he would have no need to carry on maintaining the site. Finally even if it was just such an attempt that is no excuse for what he has done. Any more than it's an excuse to murder to claim you were just trying to show how easy it would be to frame someone for it!]

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Troy Mocks American Flag

Could it be that rogue anti-American activist Troy has insulted the US flag on this Veteran's Day?

Even though his site is specifically run to attack American and universal human values like free speech and freedom of expression, to undermine the laudable aim of liberating Iraqi citizens from the grip of oppression, Troy has chosen today of all days to falsely represent some affiliation between the riverSbend smearblog and those values.

Your blog is an affront to the principles for which the American flag is most respected, Troy. You insult the flag by suggesting that it is anything but the antithesis of your shabby creation.

Online Journalism Review Mentions riverSbendblog

Many do believe that Riverbend and Zeyad are who they say they are. Chris Allbritton, a freelance journalist who wrote the Back to Iraq Weblog, says he has corresponded with Riverbend by e-mail and believes she is a woman writing from Baghdad. He points out that someone put up a fake version of her Weblog with the name "Riversbend," but was quickly attacked by people in the blogosphere. "One of the great things about the blogosphere is that there's built-in fact-checking," Allbritton told me. "So many people will swarm it that generally the truth of the matter will come out."

Monday, November 10, 2003

Troy Pretends to be an Arab

Here someone using the nym Atta ( is promoting the riverbendblogS on Usenet as follows:

A Gift from American President Bush to Iraq

The U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval Monday to an $87.5 billion measure for Iraq and Afghanistan,
a package largely mirroring President Bush's request of eight weeks ago.

Troy - Stranger to Irony
On the 29th September Troy posted to soc.retirement a post entitled, "Mosul citizens’ one click closer to freedom."

This post was a news item announcing the launch of an internet cafe in Mosul and it contained the following lines:

"We all know that knowledge is power," [Maj. Gen. David H] Petreaus said. "This Internet café and the others that will soon open
will empower the cities citizens. "

[Brian's comment: Riverbend is one of Mosul's citizens.]

Petreaus finished his address to the guests by saying, "Our soldiers are proud to have given the greatest gift
of all to the Iraqi people. That is their freedom. That freedom includes access to the information super

Troy posted this on Sept 29th. Since around Sept 11th Troy has been actively trying to subvert the new found freedom of an Iraqi citizen to access the information super highway by running a deceitful smearblog.

What a stinking hypocrite, ladies and gentlemen, I think we can all agree.
From the Comments Section

Rachel, a Brit in London
"In the UK, if someone publishes another's name and address on the web (without that person's permission), s/he is in breach of the Data Protection Act, and the law will descend on them like a ton of bricks. Don't you have a law like that in the US?"

Quick answer: I don't know. Does anyone know if there's a law against publishing someone's name and address on the web on the US?

Btw Rachel, are you sure that's covered under the Data Protection Act in the UK? My instinct is that unless the information was taken from the publisher's own database this is not covered under the act. I could be wrong, and am open to correction. But I don't think, if it is illegal to publish someone's N+A on the web in the UK, that it is the DPA that makes it so.
This Just In...

Following an all-night session of the Bending Truth laws and ethics committee, a judgement has been handed down that, based on the following factors:

a) the name has been widely released on other forums across the web; and
b) the name was used on the web by the culprit himself as recently as last month promoting the fake site

we need not feel bound to continue referring to Troy (the riverSbend blogger) by his fake nym "Diego". Troy is the real first name of the smearblogger, and he's felt comfortable enough to use that name discussing it on Usenet, so it doesn't really make much sense for us to feel honour bound not to.

Since however Troy has not seen fit, in recent years, to use his surname online, and has never publicised his own address and phone number our releasing these is not covered by the laws and ethics committee's [or "my" to be more succinct] recent decision.

The great thing about this is I don't have to keep putting quotes around "Diego" all the time, or forgetting to do so as the case may be. This will save me a lot of time, in the long term.
Increased Denial of Service Attack

Unfortunately the attention attracted by the Bending Truth campaign has, it is now beyond doubt, led to some more low, underhand tactics by anti-free speech tactics by "Diego Gastor" and/or friends.

Increasingly this mail box is being filled with 140K+ size "undelivered" messages. And similarly large "Microsoft security patches".

One correspondent, HJP, has pointed me in the direction of this link to explain what is happening. It seems one underhand way of attacking the freedom of expression of someone you don't like, is to use something called a "Joe Job". This means that the email address "" is most likely being used to send out spam, by someone who's deceitful nature is being exposed by this site and the undelivered spam mails are being unfortunately rerouted to me.

At the moment it's just an irritation, I just have to log on every day to clear out my inbox, but it is not inconceivable that the problem will escalate to render the bendingtruth account unusable. If that happens I'll just start another address of course, not a huge deal.

In case there was any doubt as to the cause of these problems (and there really wasn't anyway - BendingTruth is a one-issue site) Mr Jim Chamblee who has also crossed swords with "Diego" has been having exactly the same kinds of mail problems in recent weeks.

Anyway no big deal, just really another indication of how low and unAmerican "Diego" is, seeking to shut down any voice he does not like, by every means at his disposal. "Diego" cares nothing for free speech or other decent human values, intrinsic to the society in which he lives.

Anyway should any readers find themselves receiving any spam email from this address which tries to interest them in barnyard sex, viagra, or penis enlargement you should view the mail with extreme scepticism.

(If on the other hand you get an email from this address trying to interest you in "My Sexy Webcam" this is a perfectly legitimate offer and I can assure you, for a very reasonable price, you'll get to see wild antics beyond your most filthy imaginings...)

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Call Me Stupid...

but I've just added the functionality for any reader to do just that. Yes, a mere couple of hours after I indicated how much fun I'd been having at "Diego's" expense by posting fake comments on his blog, I am giving him the opportunity for him, or indeed anyone else, to do the same on mine.

Of course I have asked many times on these pages and elsewhere for "Diego" to get in touch with me, and he hasn't done it (apart from spamming my mail account of course), so it's difficult to know if he'll take the opportunity here.

Any comments offered within the boundaries of fair play and good taste will be welcomed. But I won't necessarily feel much obligation to host any derogatory comments from Diego or his buddies. But who knows I might? They'd probably be unintentionally hilarious.
More Flesh on the Bones

I recently received an interesting email from someone called Nancy Evans, who gave me permission to publish some illuminating information about "Diego" (She used his real name but I have altered it to "Diego" as is currently the policy on this site.)

There is a newsgroup soc.retirement which I read occasionally, and one of the posters is "Diego". He lives in Texas, is retired from the military, has a Spanish wife and visits Spain often and is much enthralled with flamenco music. He is a Republican who posts stuff put out by the Republican National Committee on soc.retirement. And brags about getting signed photos of George Bush for his service to the party.

[I don't know why I found this so funny. One does also begin to wonder how close and active "Diego" is in the GOP. Is he close enough for them to be embarrassed by him enough to kick him out? Most supporters of the Republican party are decent, honest, patriotic folks. It's hard to imagine they'd want someone as low, treacherous and unAmerican as "Diego" in their midst]

Someone on soc.retirement mentoned the original Riverbend blog and posted parts of it. "Diego" got very agitated and declared it a fake. Shortly thereafter, he posted a link to the Solerito website. And later to the fake Riversbend site. One of his Email addresses used to post to soc.retirement was buleria, which is Spanish for flamenco.


He has little friends on soc.retirement, some of whom were invited to contribute to the fake Riversbend site -- one said he was invited and declined. One of them published the fake entry by James Chambley (sic), who is a liberal contributor to soc.retirement. This group may sound like a bunch of old fogeys discussing retirement, but in fact it is a battleground between liberals and the right wing. No holds barred:)

[I found this very interesting. I have often wondered if "Diego" may be getting "aid and comfort" from other despicable elements. It did seem unlikely that a person could continue with absolute 100% derision going their way. The idea that a private coterie of goading enablers may be encouraging, even helping "Diego" behind the scenes is not an implausible one.

It could of course be coincidental but as far as I can see the only community online where anyone is either (a) defending the riverSbend smearblog or (b) expressing doubts as to "Diego's" responsibility for it, is indeed soc.retirement. No person of good faith elsewhere seems to be in doubt on these matters. So Im tending to doubt that the soc.retirement doubters are, of good faith. I think it's possible some are attempting to deflect blame, and diminish the misconduct out of a misguided esprit de corps]

Frankly, I think you should "out" him if you can, because he is just playing games and he and his conservative friends on soc.retirement make a habit of publishing the home addresses and phone numbers of liberals who post to this group. They take no prisoners, why should you?

[Truly despicable. And anyone who may harbour the belief that this campaign is too hard on "Diego" should know this. I have in my possession what I believe to be his home address and phone number - supplied by a reader of this site. I would not dream of posting this information in public. I think that is a despicable thing to do. The Bending Truth campaign will not sink to the low level of "Diego". (But note - that is not to say that if an individual wronged by "Diego" wishes to pursue legal action that I will feel any moral obligation to provide the information to them in confidence]

It is rich irony that he should get in trouble with someone from Fox because that is the holy network for the right winger in the newsgroup. What goes around comes around:)

At any rate, I am not at all surprised by what "Diego" has been up to. It has become quite entertaining to figure out what his next move will be.

The reason I am involved in this is that I think it is disgusting that Riverbend's blog has been imitated, though badly, when we should be celebrating that an Iraqi woman finally can speak for herself. If Americans don't like what she has to say, so be it.
But we should be happy she has a voice on the Internet. I thought bringing freedom to Iraqis was at least part of what the war was about.

[Amen to all that. That last paragraph expresses exactly what the Bending Truth campaign is about, and why it has supporters from all across the political spectrum who are able, unlike it seems some regulars of soc.retirement, to recognise when political activism has gone beyond the pale into illegality, deceit and dishonour]
Freedom of Speech Under "Diego"

Regular readers will recall that I have been using the comments section of riverbendblogS to post little notes to "Diego" to let him know just how much trouble he's managed to get himself into thus far. I have noted several other fans of the real Riverbend have also availed themselves of the facility. Of course "Diego", who despises American values like free speech and has turned his life into a crusade against them, made a point of regularly deleting the comments that did not correspond to his tiny little world view. In Diego's perfect Reich every thought expressed ought to fit into his vision of what is correct or ought to be erased or aborted.

In a sense, like a criminal on the run, Diego's erasing comments identifying him as the riverSbend smearblogger might be understandable. Not exactly excusable, but in the same way as once a killer has done the deed we don't consider it a new crime for him to wash the blood from his hands I'm not going to particularly focus on his erasing the "You are the riverSbend smear blogger" or "Diego you're an ass" type of comments which clearly relate to his previous crimes.

What I found much more interesting was that even when posters put comments on his site that did not relate directly to his smearblogging but merely expressed sentiments relating to other matters he would frequently delete those as well. While leaving other comments, perhaps those in sympathy with his viewpoints, standing.

Now I should say there is no point in going to look at the blog now. For some reason every couple of days, every comment vanishes. When I last looked there were none at all. I suspect "Diego" is not fully au fait with whatever software he is using.

But it was easy to see which comments passed the "Diego" test - if he didn't like a comment it could be erased in a matter of minutes, and would certaintly not last a day. But other comments, approved by "Diego" would stand, even while the other offending comments would vanish around them.

Now I must confess I soon learned how I could:
(a) venture somewhat into the murky depths of "Diego's" mind and
(b) have a bit of fun

by posting a wide variety of comments under a series of fake names just to see which comments achieved the riverSbend fuhrer's approval. (Almost every comment anyone might have seen standing on "Diego's" site over the last week or so has been mine.)

For one thing our man is not an intellectual elitist. He allowed the following comments to pass the "Diego test":

"Soon the Iraqis will learn that were willing to pay nearly full marker price for the oil. Maybe then theyl put down their gnus". - Steve Tupid

"This blog is just waht we need. I tink its just good to here from people whore really in Iraq like you. Im tried of just getting all stories from the libruls in the meedya". - Rick Etard

And my personal favourite:
"Iwll be so happy when we finely catch up with that bastrad Osama Hussein. Give me jst 5 mins in a room with him and he wnt even rember his own name." - Dave Ense

Yes it seems that misters S.Tupid, R.Etard, and D.Ense were certainly to be allowed to give vent to their sentiments on the riverbendblogS.

However Mr Howard Z did not last long having stated "Bush is a war criminal".

Perhaps surprisingly in view of "Diego's" cosying up to his gallic pals during the week, there was little room for French sentiment on the site:

Even the adulatory:
"George Bush est le meilleur président au monde. Je pense qu'I l'aiment" - Jacque Auberge
(Translation: George Bush is the best president in the world. I think I love him) was gone within the hour. But I had to confess to myself after writing that in removing this comment Diego didn't necessarily show himself to be anti-French. He might just have been being anti-gay.

Further anti-French suspicions did arise however with the rapid removal of the innocuous "L'enfer est les autres" (Hell is other people) - Maurice De Lacor

Even "Vive l'Etats Unis" (long live the US) was frowned upon when written in French.

However passing the "Diego" test was:

"George Bush is the president of the United States"
Edwin Vident.
It seems merely being completely obvious and E.Vident was not a problem for "Diego".

I did think the possibility that anti-gay sentiment might have been behind the yanking of "Mr Auberge's" Bush comment warranted further investigation with a few more offerings from the previously authorised Mr Rick Etard.

"The US has the best damn military in the world!" - Rick Etard

No problem.

"There's nothing more impressive to the friend or foe than a long line of US soldiers in their uniforms. A wondrous sight to behold!" - Rick Etard

Again no problem.

"I love our men in uniform" - Rick Etard

Once again, no problem.

"On Halloween my boyfriend went as a marine and I went as USAF. We were voted hottest boy couple at the party!" - Rick Etard


Well the next time I went to the comments section on riverbendblogS I was greeted with the message: "Banned by webmaster. Your comments will not be added"

So I suppose, by this admittedly non-scientific method we can asceratain, the sign on the door to Diego's Brave New World, says "don't be French, don't be anti-Bush, for God's sake don't be gay! but if you're an ungrammatical moron with a violent streak - come on in!"

Well birds of a feather, and all that :)

[I'm not sure if it is only my IP address that Diego has managed to ban from his comments section. I'll see if I can try again from a different PC in a few days]

Friday, November 07, 2003

Comrade Diego Bunkers In

Finally. My God. Finally. I can't believe it took him this long but at long last Comrade Diego has figured out that if he keeps linking to sites to steal their graphics, it is very, very easy for me to let the site owner know, and for them thus to alter their site to kill his link.

Finally, Comrade Diego has the had idea, which would have occured to the slowest monkey in his class long before now, of taking graphics and putting them in his own location, and linking to there. And thus there really isn't much anyone can do about it. So now Diego no longer gets his flag directly from his adversaries at Centcom or from his newfound best buddies in France he gets it from here.

He's also no longer using Mr Morizumi's photo either. He's replaced it with this "River Bend" graphic.

In fact a look at the riverSbendblog today shows he has even altered the template so it really doesn't look very much like Riverbend's blog any more. Is that enough to longer deserve our scrutiny?

I don't know. I welcome any feedback. But it seems to me Comrade Diego has no reason to keep using that riverSbendblog domain apart from his intent to confuse the innocent. If a stranger out of nowhere were to come up with this, we might have to consider that it isn't really very much like Riverbend's blog, so maybe we don't have much cause for complaint. Maybe they chose to write an Iraq-concerned blog called River's Bend out of sheer chance.

But of course we know this didn't happen, We know that Comrade Diego is ducking and diving like a greasy weasel trying to push to the very limit what he can get away with. We also know his site is still chock full of stolen material and that he is a persistent thief. Again I invite Comrade Diego to email me to discuss when he intends to drop his Centcom-condemned site. I suggest he host an apology there to Riverbend and to Wendy McElroy and maybe to everyone else he's stolen from. And then I suggest he just leave behind his cyber-squatting days by trying to ride on the good name of Riverbend. Crawl back to your Usenet home Comrade Diego and leave blogging to the honest and forthright.
Diego Sells Out On New Country. Turns Commie

Another U-turn by our man! It looks like he may have got served up some stale croissants this morning, because Diego has cut his ties to France, and taken his allegiance on walkabout again. Talk about a fair-weather friend!

As of this morning "Diego" is once again linking from both riverSbendblog and riverbendblogS to the cpa site by using their flag. This even though he was specifically asked not to do this by the CPA webmaster. The mind boggles. Is he being brave, is he being stupid, or is he actually disobeying orders from the US military? I reckon that he if had acted like this back in Korea Diego would have found himself doing latrine duty for a month - if he was lucky. Maybe he'd have been shipped off to the brig for gross insubordination.

Has the man no scruples whatsoever?! Stealing now from Uncle Sam, having been specifically asked to cease and desist! Why don't you just hang a hammer and sickle on your website "Comrade Diego" - just be honest about where your sympathies lie![1]

[1] More satire - honestly!
He's At It Again

Unbelievable but true. "Diego" has found himself a new nym and he's again promoting his sites on Usenet.

Message-ID: <>
Organization: -
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.79 [en] (Windows NT 5.0; U)
X-Accept-Language: en
MIME-Version: 1.0
Newsgroups: alt.politics.greens,alt.politics.democrats,
Subject: Re: Troubles in Iraq
References: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Lines: 8
X-Trace: attbi_s02 1068040853 (Wed, 05 Nov
2003 14:00:53 GMT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 14:00:53 GMT
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 14:00:53 GMT

Don't be fooled by liberals smear campaigns.

Read what a real Iraqi thinks about what the situation is: and some hard to
come by news that's not mainstream media:

This nym first appeared on Nov 5.

But I think it's the following link that really sums up Monsieur Diego best.

As can be seen here "Diego" using his new name first posts this:

Read what a real Iraqi thinks about what the situation is: and some hard to
come by news that's not mainstream media:

Look closely at that latter link That's right. He accidentally promoted the genuine Riverbend site. But he was soon, in less than 10 minutes, on the scene to put his mistake right:

Read what a real Iraqi thinks about what the situation is: and some hard to
come by news that's not mainstream media:

You just couldn't make it up!

Now let's be clear here. If "Diego" wants to go around Usenet telling people to read Zeyad's Healing Iraq blog fair enough. But his anti-riverbend campaign encapsulated in his maintaining the riverSbendblog and riverbendblogS has got to stop.

Monsieur "Diego" give it up!

Thursday, November 06, 2003

On Blogger And Evasion of Responsibilty

I had until yesterday avoided directly contacting Blogger over Diego's shameless antics using their facilities. I knew that Riverbend had been told to put any complaint in writing so I didn't see much chance of me, a party not directly affected, having much influence. But yesterday when Wendy McElroy contacted me to ask for my help in taking her complaint further, I did put in a request from Blogger to get their postal address. And as will be seen, that's not quite all I said:

I'm afraid this is quite a serious matter. I've been contacted by an individual Wendy McElroy, a Fox News contributor who feels her reputation may have been damaged by having her picture featured on the anti-free speech blog Please note the S there - this is not a complaint about riverbendblog. Ms McElroy wishes to register a complaint in writing and has asked if I can provide her with a postal address for blogger. I would appreciate your assistance with this. I also believe there have been other complaints registered about the same blog, in fact there is quite a list of people who have had their artwork used against their wishes there. Even now it is hosting among other stolen works an article plagiarised and unattributed from the New York Times.

Anyway a postal address would be appreciated for now.

The response I got within hours did include a postal address for Blogger (attn: Blogger, 2400 Bayshore Pkwy,Mountain View, CA 94043) but it also, somewhat to my annoyance said this:

"Blogger is a provider of content creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to create blogs, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. In cases where a contact email address is listed on the page, we recommend working directly with the author to have this information removed or changed."

I was sufficiently perturbed by this email to fire off one in immediate response. It is perhaps not as well thought out as it might have been but I saw no reason to hold off. My point, as will be seen was quite simple - if Blogger is "not a mediator of content" then why in God's name do they have a TOS which seems to give a very different impression?:

Thanks for the address. I have forwarded it to the injured party.

A couple of points

a) Although there is a listed email address on the site, the owner does not respond to it.

b) While I appreciate what you say about not being a mediator of content you must surely note the incongruity in saying that while listing in your TOS for example:

You agree to not use the Service to:
(a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful... harassing or otherwise objectionable;


(c) impersonate any person or entity, including, but not limited to, a Pyra official, forum leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity;


(d) post ... any Content that you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships...


(e) post ... any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party


(i) "stalk" or otherwise harass another;

You agree that Pyra, in its sole discretion, may terminate your password, BlogSpot Site, use of the Service or use of any other Pyra service, and remove and discard any Content within the Service, for any reason, including, without limitation, for lack of use or if Pyra believes that you have violated or acted inconsistently with the letter or spirit of the TOS.


In point of fact the user of the riverSbendblog violates your TOS daily, and is very flagrant breach of the letter, and what any reasonable person would view as the "spirit" of the TOS.

There just seems to be a very big contradiction in your claiming the right to terminate an account for these kinds of breaches and then, when you are told, these kinds of things are happening to just say you are not a "mediator of content". Basically you claim in your TOS the right to be that very thing. And then when asked to exercise the responsibility to use the right you have claimed you shirk from the responsibility, as far as I can see.

Why not just strip most of your TOS down to what you just told me: "Blogger is a provider of content creation tools,not a mediator of that content." That way at least you won't have to tell people that you aren't going to enforce your TOS, which is in essence what you have just told me.



Now I don't want to get into a weighty discourse over the philosophy of law here, (I'm a bit rusty on the subject for one thing) but

a) Blogger have a position of obvious authority - as the host of the riverSbend smearblog
b) Blogger have explicitly reserved for themselves the right to use that authority - to deny service for posters objectionable material
c) When told good evidence exists that such material has been posted, Blogger has denied the possession of that right.

Now the thing with the TOS of course as opposed to the mandate by a police force, or legal system is that it is not explicitly a two way contract. The TOS claims for them the right to do things, but not the *responsibility* to do it. Essentially it gives them power without responsibility, not a good thing.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Blogger should immediately yank a site without investigation just because someone's sent them a couple of email complaints. That would be a terrible situation. But what worries me is that Blogger, anticipating a written complaint, distinctly seem to be trying to dissuade that complaint. There is definitely a suggestion there that even if a written complaint is received Blogger will try to claim they have no authority to act over the content of a blog, even where they very plainly do - unless their TOS is a work of utter fantasy

Obviously of course an emailed complaint to the blogger should be the first recourse but where that bears no fruit, as in this case, there must be an intermediate means of action beyond actually taking the thing to court. One would hope so at any rate.

Because in this case having laid out their rights so clearly in the TOS to act, and then not acting here Blogger sends out a very disturbing message.

Because if, as one would assume from the TOS, Blogger has the right to act where the TOS is violated, and yet does not act in this case, then the clear message from them is:

"Blogger believes that riverSbendblog is both in the spirit and the letter of their TOS. It is not transmitting unlawful or objectionable content. It does not misrepresent an affiliation with any individual. It does not infringe any copyrights. It is not harrassing of any individual"

And that is an insult and an affront to at least Riverbend, Wendy McElroy, and every other individual whose work appears unattributed there. Indeed it is an insult and affront to the very concepts of the English language and to common sense.