Assume the Position

Saturday, September 18, 2004
 
Burkett Said He Contacted Kerry Campaign and Max Cleland

In a possible connection to the Kerry campaign, the AP is reporting Burkett said he was in contact with Max Cleland on countering the effect the SwiftVets were taking on Kerry's campaign.

A retired Texas National Guard official mentioned as a possible source for disputed documents about President Bush's service in the Guard said he passed along information to a former senator working with John Kerry's campaign.

[…]

The retired Guard official, Bill Burkett, said in an Aug. 21 e-mail to a list of Texas Democrats that after getting through "seven layers of bureaucratic kids" in the Democrat's campaign, he talked with former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland about information that would counter criticism of Kerry's Vietnam War service. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the e-mail Saturday.

"I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. (Cleland) said counterattack. So I gave them the information to do it with," Burkett wrote.

Burkett, who lives just outside of Abilene, wrote that no one at the Kerry campaign called him back.

The e-mail was distributed to a Yahoo list of Texas Democrats. The site, which had about 570 members Saturday, is not affiliated with the state party.

The Washington Post contacted Cleland, who confirms it to some extent:

In an Aug. 21 posting, Burkett referred to a conversation with former senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.) about the need to counteract Republican tactics: "I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. He said counterattack. So I gave them the information to do it with. But none of them have called me back."

Cleland confirmed that he had a two- or three-minute conversation by cell phone with a Texan named Burkett in mid-August while he was on a car ride. He remembers Burkett saying that he had "valuable" information about Bush, and asking what he should with it. "I told him to contact the [Kerry] campaign," Cleland said. "You get this information tens of times a day, and you don't know if it is legit or not."

I don't know if any direct connection between the suspected forgeries and the Kerry campaign will turn up, but Kerry had better hope it doesn't.


UPDATE: More from the New York Times (via Wizbang):

Alluding to advertisements by a veterans group that deprecates Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service, Mr. Burkett['s email] continued, "I asked if they wanted to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it, not spending any money. He said counterattack."

"So I gave them the information to do it with," Mr. Burkett wrote. "But none of them have called me back."

Mr. Burkett did not say what information he offered. Earlier this year, he gained attention for saying that in 1998 he saw aides to Gov. George W. Bush of Texas and Guard officials dispose of pieces of Mr. Bush's National Guard record that could prove politically embarrassing. Mr. Bush's aides have denied his account.

"I volunteered to come back out with more," Mr. Burkett wrote.

Mr. Burkett, who was at home on his ranch in Baird, near Abilene, on Friday, declined to comment.

Mr. Cleland said in a telephone interview that Mr. Burkett called him "a couple of weeks ago," as he was out campaigning for Mr. Kerry.

"I couldn't swear to it whether he used the term documents or information," Mr. Cleland said. "It was some kind of stuff, some kind of information he wanted to get to the campaign, or something, regarding Bush's National Guard service. I referred him up to somebody in the campaign."

Mr. Cleland said he received up to 100 calls a week from people with tips and ideas. "He sounded like he had something," Mr. Cleland said. "But of course, in this business, you go around, every friend, everyone around the corner, has some something or other."

Campaign officials said Mr. Cleland had referred Mr. Burkett to someone at the campaign who passed his message on to the research department, where the message was set aside amid the deluge of other calls.



Friday, September 17, 2004
 
Don't Take 'Reassembled' as a Confession, Look a Few Words Further

From Lt Col Burkett's dizzy raving of August 25, 2004:

I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you".

I know that Burkett is the major subject of speculation as the forger of the CBS Bush documents. His history of attacks on Bush's Guard service certainly point that way. Captain Ed links to Burkett's rant and says, "It appears very clear that Burkett 'reassembled' the memos and passed them off to CBS as genuine…" But if you've actually looked at the available Bush files, literal reassembly is called for because the documents in the PDFs are seriously disorganized (see the USA Today collection). Not only are the document images in the PDFs not in chronological order, but the individual pages of some multi-page documents are scattered around in the PDF, and there are also plenty of duplicates in some PDFs. The same is undoubtedly true for any actual documents received from the government under the FOIA. They are a complete mess, which is one of the reasons people have been able to make some pretty wild claims supposedly based on the documents.

What should be taken to indicate Burkett is the likely forger is the last part of the sentence about Bush failing to obey direct orders. One of the key suspect documents is the May 4, 1972 "order" that doesn't actually order Bush to take a physical. Because there is a difference between failing to follow a direct order from a superior and failing to follow a regulation or standing order — nobody can spend significant time in the military without screwing up and violating some regulation or the other on occasion because they cover damn near everything, even the sharpest and most dedicated troops will find themselves "out of regs" once in awhile (sometimes on national TV, via Dean) — Burkett and the rest of the crowd out to get Bush need to show he failed to follow a direct order. So, right now it looks like somebody created one:

1. You are ordered to report to commander, 111 F.I.S., Ellington AFB, not later than (NLT) 14 May,1972 to conduct annual physical examination (flight)IAW AFM 35-13.

2. Report to 111th F.I.S. administrative officer for schedule of appointment and additional instructions. Examination with be conducted in duty status.

Read that first paragraph again. Lt Col Killian, the commander of the 111th Fighter Intercepter Squadron, was a qualified flight surgeon and performed the units' flight physicals? Oh, wait, the second paragraph says Bush is to report to the squadron administrative officer to be scheduled for a flight physical. We know from two sources that the flight physical was normally scheduled for a pilot's birth month, which would be July for Bush. Col William Campenni, who served with Bush in the 111th, said it in an article, and Marian Carr Knox, the secretary, confirmed it on 60 Minutes.

Here's a question for the JAG, suppose Bush showed up on May 10, reported to Lt Col Killian, then walked down the hall and was scheduled by the administration officer to get his physical on July 15. If he missed the physical in July, did he violate the May 4 order, or did he comply with it to the letter?

Another thing to keep in mind is that if Bush's transfer to the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron had gone through, Bush would have been taken off flight status even if his physical was up-to-date. I suspect that Knox is half right about Killian being peeved, but I don't think it was because of Bush's performance, or lack thereof; he was most likely ticked-off after the transfer was turned down and Bush remained on his books, taking up a flying slot. The 9921st accepted Bush on May 26, 1972, the Air Reserve Personnel Center didn't shoot down the transfer until July 31, 1972, with the notification arriving at the Texas unit the first week of August or so.

There was no need to create the August 1 MFR from Killian on the suspension, unless you overlooked three documents that had already been released. First, the released records have the September 5, 1972 letter from Col Hodges, suspending Bush from flying status for "failure to accomplish annual medical exam." Second is the 31 July, 1972 letter from ARPC to the Texas ANG Hq disapproving Bush's transfer. Third really seems to stick a fork in the MFR, it is the August 3, 1972 routing slip forwarding the ARPC disapproval from Austin (TANG Hq) down to the 147th Ftr Gp in Houston. Document-wise, the Aug 1st Killian MFR, which mentions the transfer being disapproved, is dated a week too early. (Killian could have been given a heads up by ARPC that they were going to turn down the transfer and written an MFR saying so before he got a copy of the formal disapproval, but I've seen no documentary evidence for that.)

The August 1 MFR could be real, but it adds nothing that wasn't already in the released records. The only thing the bunch going after Bush can call a "damning" document of the six is the May 4 "order." But if those were the kind of orders Killian normally wrote, its a wonder there weren't crashed F-102s all over Houston.

Additionally, the records show Bush performing well all the way through the April 15-16 Unit Training Activity (weekend drill), why would Killian suddenly feel it necessary to give Bush a direct order to take a physical that wasn't due for another two months; completing the physical too early in 1972 would throw the schedule off in 1973.

Finally, if Bush had taken the physical in May 1972 and then gone to Alabama, he probably still would have been taken off flight status for not getting enough flying hours to remain current. I would imagine that six months out of the cockpit at least required decertification and a check-ride to requalify.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004
 
Dan Rather: I'll Go to Any Length to Nail Your Hubby, Laura

Ok, that's not exactly what Dan Rather said to Laura Bush, but he might as well have. Look at what he asked her on Thursday night during the Republican Convention, "Now that friends and supporters of the president have raised the issue of John Kerry's combat military record in Vietnam, do you or do you not think it's fair now for the Kerry people to come back and dig anew into your husband's military service record?"

If you think I might be making that up, here is how the Media Research Center reports it:

CBS Evening News. In CBS's skybox Dan Rather pressed her: "Now that friends and supporters of the President have raised the issue of John Kerry's combat record in Vietnam, do you or do you not think it's fair now for the Kerry people to come back and dig anew into your husband's military service record?"

Mrs. Bush responded with a generic answer about of in every campaign candidates het criticized no matter what they do. [sic]

Further down in the same MRC report:

In a taped interview with First Lady Laura Bush aired during Thursday's CBS Evening News, Dan Rather wondered: "Are you worried about a campaign descending into something so nasty that it'd drive the prairie dogs in your home in West Texas back in their holes?"
If you think the MRC can't be trusted because they're a bunch of right-wing partisans, how about a Charles Osgood broadcast transcript from Lexis-Nexis via Google's cache?

DAN RATHER reporting: Now that friends and supporters of the president have raised the issue of John Kerry's combat military record in Vietnam, do you or do you not think it's fair now for the Kerry people to come back and dig anew into your husband's military service record?

Ms. LAURA BUSH: You know what happens in politics every single time is you get criticized. Whatever you run on, you know, whatever you talk about, people criticize it.

[…]

RATHER: Are you worried about the campaign descending into something so nasty it would drive the prairie dogs in your home in west Texas back in their holes?

Mrs. BUSH: No. Every campaign that you look at is like this, I mean that's just the way they are. It's never easy. I don't mean that I accept it as something easy, but that's just what it is. And that's the hard part about campaigning, really. But that's also what you should expect. When you get in the race, that's just what's going to happen.

In a few minutes, CBS News is supposedly going to make an announcement concerning the documents. Expect to hear the documents were accepted because they supported the basics of the story which had other evidence backing it up besides those documents — a rational the media refused to accept with the 'uranium from Africa' story. And they might go so far as saying that even if they were obvious forgeries, they were forged in a good cause, because the story of Bush leaving the ANG early wasn't getting enough attention.

(Via Jeff Quinton and his commenter, Eli, thru who else?)


UPDATE: Well, they didn't release the statement until after 5 PM, and it wasn't much (via Drudge):

Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:

"We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing."

I caught the end of the CBS Evening News where Dan Rather promoted tonight's 60 Minutes as continuing to look at Bush's Guard service and having "new evidence." According to Jeff Quinton, who blogged the news broadcast:

6:49 EDT: News from Iraq and now Rather mentions the CBS and 60 Minutes reports. Rather hands off to Wyatt Andrews to discuss the "attacks" on the CBS reports and the CBS response. Andrews rehashes the story and discusses the Blunt letter calling for the retraction and shows Blunt saying the source should be characterized. Andrews mentions the Killian memos and even says "CBS alleges they come from personal files" and then shows Marian Knox in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes II later tonight saying the memos were forged but accurate. CBS says the memos come from a "confidential source" and are accurate. They show video clips of the Heyward statement. Heyward says some at CBS think the backlash is "political."

Rather teases the Knox interview on 60 Minutes II at 8 EDT before going to a commercial.

So, now the memos were (and are) "accurate," according to CBS. The day after last week's 60 Minutes broadcast, CBS was saying the memos were authentic. "As is standard practice at CBS News, the documents in the 60 Minutes report were thoroughly examined and their authenticity vouched for by independent experts." Since CBS has backed-off the documents authenticity, calling them "accurate" really means "forged but accurate," as in Quinton's description of what Marian Knox will say during her 60 Minutes interview.

Pathetic.

UPDATE: CBS has released PDFs of their three page statement on the documents and September 14, 2004 letters from two of their document examiners: CBS Statement, Marcel B. Matley's letter, and James J. Pierce's letter.

And, of course, they linked to them on the page they've been essentially changing after every broadcast since this story started.

Oh yeah, the 60 Minutes interview with Marian Knox went the fake but accurate route.



 
The Nth Ordinal Inconsistency Indicates Forgery

I have come to believe the CBS Killian documents are probably forgeries based on the myriad discrepancies they contain. I find the extremely inconsistent representation of ordinals to be one of the biggest discrepancies, and the one that most causes me to believe the documents were clumsily forged by someone who was not fully proficient with MS Word. The superscripting of ordinals by MS Word is at the heart of this, but there is more to it than that. This will not be an exercise in trying to compare fonts or discuss the intricacies of proportional spacing vs kerning from crappy PDF images that have artifacts from JPEG lossy compression added to artifacts from scanning added to artifacts from photocopying. Instead, it will discuss the discrepancies that are plainly visible on the poor copies in light of the supposition that Lt Col Killian could have had an IBM Executive or other typewriter with proportionally spaced type in a Times Roman variant and superscripted ordinal keys.

Lt Col Killian was the commander of the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron under the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group, Texas Air National Guard. (It doesn't matter if Killian had a secretary or administrative specialist doing his typing, the same analysis applies to them, so I'll stick with the idea Killian typed them himself.) He's got an IBM Executive or equivalent typewriter…proportional spacing…superscripted "th" and "st" keys, maybe in place of the "½" (half) and "¼" (quarter) keys that were more common. The tabs are set for the three line letterhead and the date/signature positions. He could have possibly produced the documents, and yet…

Why do the documents show so many inconsistencies with "111th" and other ordinals?

Ordinal Numbers in the Suspect Bush Documents
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

"111" missing the "th," "111th," "111th" and "111 th" are the four different representations of that ordinal in the documents, inconsistencies sometimes appearing in the same document. You'd think that somebody used to typing the unit designator would do so consistently, not occasionally use the special superscripted key or occasionally throw in a space between the number and the "th."

But what if you were a forger not fully conversant with MS Word? As soon as you started typing the letterhead on the document, you'd run into the problem of Word automatically changing "111th" to "111th." (All MS Word descriptions are based on MS Word 2000 SP-3).

There are several ways to overcome the problem. The best is to go into the "Tools" menu, select the "AutoCorrect" item, select the "AutoFormat As You Type" tab, and under the "Replace as you type" section, and uncheck the "Ordinals (1st) with superscript" option. You'd never have to worry about it again. Another easy way is to immediately hit Ctrl+Z or the Undo button and it will change back to the way you typed it. But both of those methods require a bit more knowledge of Word than most casual users seem to have.

There are a couple more simple methods, though not as easy as Ctrl+Z. First lets see what the newest CBS "expert," software designer Richard Katz, says:

"There's one document from May 1972 that contains a normal "th" on the top. To produce that in Microsoft Word, you would have to go out of your way to type the letters and then turn the "th" setting off, or back up and then type it again," said Katz.
Katz's "back up and then type it again", doesn't work because the AutoCorrect change takes place when you type the space after the "th." You can back up and retype all day and Word will superscript it every time you enter the space before typing the next word.

Here are two simple "added space" methods. As you type the ordinal, put a space before and after "th" and left-arrow three times, hit Backspace, then hit End or right-arrow three times and continue typing. That way you've already got a space after the "th" and you jump over it so AutoCorrect doesn't activate. The other way is to type the complete designation (or the entire document), always putting a space between the number and the "th," and then go back and delete the space. That's the way folks who don't know Ctrl-Z or how to turn AutoCorrect option on and off actually get around AutoCorrect.

It is that inconsistent appearance of a space between the ordinal and number that strongly supports the idea the documents were forged on Word. To suppress the superscripting, the forger tried to remember to use the added space method but sometimes forgot to go back and delete them. Other times he forgot the space and the ordinal got superscripted. The documents seem to be an amaturish forgery by somebody who not only wasn't an MS Word power user, but was unfamiliar with terminology and formatting used by the USAF and ANG in the 70s, and who couldn't forge a signature worth a damn.

[Post based on my comment in the Corante post on the "ones and els" defense Richard Katz provided to CBS.]


UPDATE - September 15, 2004: Added the picture. Also, Wizbang links and excerpts a Dallas Morning News article that says Lt Col Killian did have a secretary for some 20 years and she says the documents are fake. Via Les Jones, who remarks on an ABC News piece about two document examiners hired by CBS News before the 60 Minutes broadcast, they refused to authenticate the documents they were given because there were so many were problems in the memos.



Sunday, September 12, 2004
 
Russian Sexploitation Impresario Packaged Terrorism for 9/11 Anniversary

Ivan Shapovalov has moved on: "Russia Angered by 'Suicide Bomber' Show."

Russia has cancelled a Sept 11 anniversary concert that would feature a singer dressed as suicide bomber.

Tickets to the show were designed to resemble plane tickets, alluding to the hijacked passenger planes that rammed into the NY skyscrapers.

Via jkrank, who says,

How naughty! Maybe it'll play in Paris, but change the tickets to look like report cards, or hall passes!

Sigh. Ah well. Everything changes...except the avant-garde.

This is much more crass than most things deserving the epithet "avant-garde," it's just raw shock exploitation. Shapovalov (supposedly a filmmaker and child psychologist) achieved his notoriety managing/producing t.A.T.u., which was promoted as an underage lesbian duo, as Rob Walker relates in Slate.

But the story of t.A.T.u. and their sexual inclinations turns out to be even more mysterious than the capitalization and punctuation strategy in their name. The original creation myth went like this: The two girls, who are now age 17 and 18, are childhood friends who, in early adolescence, fell in love. They performed together in a teen band, then auditioned for one Ivan Shapovalov, who is billed as a filmmaker and former child psychologist. Shapovalov then packaged the pair for mass consumption, first in Russia, then Europe, and now the United States. (They recorded in Russian when they started out in 2000, but last year recorded a couple of songs in English, working with producer Trevor Horn on "All the Things She Said" and other tracks on the mostly English-language version of their album, 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane.)

More recently, reports began to surface that the girls are not actually lesbians at all. Shapovalov was quoted by the British press referring to t.A.T.u. as an "underage sex project" and saying that he got the idea for the band after looking at porn sites. "At first, the idea was just underage sex," he told Blender, the music magazine, adding that he came to realize that this by itself wasn't enough. "Every time, the audience needs new images—for this project, new images were lesbian teenagers." In other words, t.A.T.u.'s place in the pantheon of breakthroughs in mass acceptance of gays and lesbians falls somewhere between a Howard Stern bit and the current Miller Lite "catfight" ad. Could you ever believe such a perfect surprise?

But the story of the Lolita couple's rise only becomes truly perverse when you consider how obviously flimsy the lesbian packaging is: Shapovalov and his charges have hardly bothered to persuade anyone that they're on the up and up. Even the band's official bio [dead link -- lp] comes off as a parody of the Svengali manipulator formula that recurs through pop history. "We have been persuaded to take part in the girl-band called Tattoo by band's future producer Ivan Shapovalov," the girls say. "As far as we know, before this band was made, Ivan Shapovalov never had anything to do with music business. … He made us to sign contracts with him, and according to these contracts we didn't have any rights to even speak. We just had to do whatever he was telling us to."

Not surprisingly, various critics have encouraged boycotts and deplored t.A.T.u. as peddling borderline child porn. Some members of the Russian Parliament have even suggested that some kind of legislation might be in order. Also not surprisingly, the attention has ratcheted up the hype and boosted sales. Shapovalov's response to U.K. moralists: "England is sick like America, and the only thing to do is provide a cure. …We will heal the country with music." Last week, according to [now a paid subscription link to archives -- lp] the Moscow Times, Volkova and Katina held a press conference and, when asked whether they were lovers, one of the girls replied, "Maybe and maybe not. You know, we're not going to give a straight answer."

In early 2004, Shapovalov was dumped by the faux-lesbian duo, according to BellaOnline.

The lesbian Russian pop band t.A.T.u., created by manager Ivan Shapovalov when the girls were under 16, has hit a new milestone. The two singers, now over 18 and working on their second album, want to go their own way.

It was Ivan's idea back in 1999 to create a sensation driven by videos of sexy teenage girls caressing each other in nearly nude situations. His instincts for publicity proved to be correct - the combination of studio-created catchy riffs and videos that many called "kiddie soft porn" stirred up a firestorm of controversy.

Throughout it all, Ivan drove the girls to perform daily, to stir up the publicity, and most of all, to hide their boyfriends. The girls had boyfriends before the band formed, but the contract explicitly forbid the girls to be seen with male loves. As much as Ivan tried to maintain the lesbian front, photograpers [sic] constantly snapped photos of the girls with their real loves. Before the girls turned 18, one had had a miscarriage.

On February 9, 2004, the girls said enough was enough. They wanted to be themselves, and write their own music. They wanted to be respected for who they were, not for the images of naked flesh of two girls together. In the Russian paper Dni, Julia said of Ivan, "He spends his time thinking up scandals instead of planning our artistic work. I'm sure our fans would rather hear new songs and new albums than new scandals."

Julia and Lena will have to choose a new name for themselves, because Ivan has taken out a copyright on t.A.T.u. Reports indicate that Ivan was already working on a new underage band, now that his first pair of proteges were legal adults.

However, by June, that last paragraph turned out to be wrong on two counts. First:

The work on Tatu's long-awaited second album will resume in the near future. Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina have finally left their former producer Ivan Shapovalov who was also the general director of Neformat. Now the company is directed by one of its cofounders, Boris Rensky, who is also Tatu's new producer.

According to Alexandra Tityanko, press attache of Neformat, now that Shapovalov has been removed the conflict between the girls and Neformat has come to an end…

[…]

The information that Tatu has lost its name and is going to change it, appears to be false, even though this news has been published on a number of media, even abroad. [Such as this on Ananova -- lp] This rumor was created as a publicity stunt by the PR people of a new group that carries the same name as the one Tatu was supposed to adopt.

Secondly, it seems Shapovalov didn't start promoting another underage band. Instead of exploiting sex, Anastasiya Lebedev indicates in MOSNEWS.COM that he decided exploiting terrorism would sell just as well.

…Ivan Shapovalov, the producer who made t.A.T.u. famous by making them scandalous, is piggybacking on the emotional deluge with his new protege — n.A.T.o., a singer whose black-veiled visage, signed in Arabic, has been plastered all over town, and who is slated to perform on 9/11.

[…]

And then there is Shapovalov, whose knack for exploiting painful issues to promote artists had been called both admirable, such as when the teenage t.A.T.u. duo made a public appearance wearing tight t-shirts saying "Fuck the War," and outrageous, when said underage duo filmed a music video rife with sexual content. Shapovalov is known for playing the fool with reporters. When asked about the meaning of his rather transparent use of terror imagery in his ad campaign for n.A.T.o., he says, "I'm not leading a campaign. I like her songs and I like it when others listen to things I like."

Shapovalov admits that the administration of the concert space where n.A.T.o.'s 9/11 performance is to take place has gotten nervous, "because everyone's so scared…I feel some doubts on their part." Departing from his previous stance that n.A.T.o.'s music is just music, he volunteers: "Drama-wise, this performance is the closest approximation of the present." (Rumors have it that the concert's audience is to be taken hostage during the concert).

"Sasha," a part of Shapovalov's creative team who helped develop n.A.T.o.'s campaign, divulged on the condition of anonymity that the masked singer, Natasha Shevlyakova, simply didn't want her name known or her face shown, fearing the travails of fame. Then Shapovalov came up with the idea of the Muslim veil that many Russians now associate with female suicide bombers — mostly Chechens and Muslim. Sasha believes that Shapovalov simply doesn't care what Russians will think of his promotion tactics — he's already traveled to the UK to discuss n.A.T.o. with a large Western music recording company. "Doesn't this campaign bother them?" "No, on the contrary, they're really interested! Because nothing's getting blown up in England!"

In Pravda, Bogdan Stepovoi reported:

Saturday, September 11th 2004 will mark the third anniversary of the terrorist act in New York. On this day, Moscow"s Dom Soyuzov will host the first concert of a new pupil of former producer of famous music band "TATU". Her name is NATO.

The singer all dressed in black military-like gown, with her face cloaked in veil will sing songs in Eastern languages. "Al-Jazeera"s" [sic] newscast in the background provokes quite obvious associations. Music producer Ivan Shapovalov exploits a topic of current importance i.e. terrorism to the fullest extent. For instance, admission tickets resemble airline tickets. And a press-release dedicated to the concert reads: "this will be a terror-concert-musical terrorist operation." The Beslan tragedy did not affect Shapovalov"s creativity. "NATO is merely a female singer with a headscarf and a veil. If our society is afraid of a woman in a black headscarf, that means only one thing: the society is sick and needs to seek treatment," explains the producer.

Musical debut of this unknown singer with rather strange nickname NATO is intended to shock people. According to Ivan Shapovalov, the effect will resemble that of a detonated bomb. Its power will not be measured in trotyl equivalent though. Our main intention here is to make sensation, to make public talk about her. The master of scandals has already developed an entire advertising campaign. Flickering images of the Middle East in her new music video are intertwined with flashing words such as "Al-Qaeda," "oil," "Iraq," "Nasdaq."

The concert will be hosted by Dom Soyuzov located on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street. Tickets will be designed as airline tickets where the final destination will be labeled as "Moscow. Bolshaya Dmitrovka, Dom Soyuzov," and time of departure- 20:00. Concert posters that are planned to be sold at the door will depict a woman"s face with a headscarf and a veil.

[…]

Very little is known about the new singer NATO. According to the Shapovalov"s legend, he got acquainted with her over the Internet. The girl is from Chelyabinks, supposedly. Her stage name NATO has nothing to do with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As for the singer herself, she refuses to speak to the press.

-I don"t care if she is Russian or not, says Shapovalov. This is a girl from the Internet. I can"t even determine the exact style of her music. She sings in Tadjik, Georgian and Pharsi languages. Her songs are about love, about life.

Shapovalov does not give out the details of the upcoming concert. He is certain that his "terror-concert" will not be cancelled.

In fit of public common sense and increasingly uncommon decency, Shapovalov's certainty was proved wrong: "Russia Cancels 'Terror Concert' After Public Outrage"

The controversial "terror-concert" featuring a black-veiled woman singing in Arabic against a backdrop of Al Jazeera news, initially scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, has been called off, organizers announced, after fury erupted over the use of such imagery in the wake of the Beslan tragedy.

The decision was made jointly by the organizers of the concert and staff at the House of Unions Hall, where the concert was supposed to be held, Interfax reported.

"The concert has been canceled ... Who in his right mind would agree to stage it after all that has happened in Russia?" Reuters quoted spokeswoman for the venue as saying.

Ivan Shapovalov, the impresario behind the pop duo Tatu whose lesbian schoolgirl image courted controversy, said he cared little about what Russians might think about his show which he called the "terror concert".

Unfortunately, it's said there's no such thing as bad publicity, so this may just make n.A.T.o. a bigger draw in the future.



Original content copyright © 2002-2005 Lynxx Pherrett. All rights reserved.