Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An answer to and Mr Chris Biggers ad hominem attacks

On 20 September 2016, published on his website an update of Mr Chris Biggers article following a piece that was published on War Is Boring in August in which I made a criticism of his analysis. Offiziere presented me as "a military aviation enthusiast for over 25 years", that's true as readers of my blog can see here, but it is a little reductor seeing Offiziere presented Mr Biggers as a "10 years of experience in analyzing satellite imagery for government and clients". I also published around thirty articles in English and French specialized magazines (samples here), I am author/co-author of four books included three with Tom Cooper with whom I worked since at least five years. My latest book is Iraqi Air Power Reborn edited by Harpia Publishing.

In his update, Offiziere has used ad hominem attacks, while I only made a review of a content.

1 - Babak Taghvaee elecubration

Following the publication of my article about Iraqi Su-25s on War Is Boring, Mr Babak Taghvaee accused me to have used his work without his permission and not have given the sources. I know Mr Taghvaee since at least two years. He is an Iranian author and journalist specialized in military aviation. We have always exchanged about Middle East Air Forces and Conflicts, especially Iraq and Syria, and more recently Libya. We have often exchanged on ACIG forum and by mail. In April 2015 issue of Combat Aircraft Monthly Magazine, I published an "Air Power Review" article about the new Iraqi Air Force using Mr Taghvaee's information about the ex-Iranian Frogfoot with his permission. At the end of the article I have of course thanked him for his help.

When I started working on the book "Iraqi Air Power Reborn", our exchanges about the Iraqi Air Force and Iraqi Army Aviation had increased. Most of the information were shared by email (data, serial numbers, photos, etc.) representing hundreds of messages. It was a collaborative work, he gave me some infos and I gave him other infos, hard to know who has given a first info to the other ... Mr Taghvaee gave me permission to use his data for the book as I did too for his articles, so he used one of my high resolution picture of Iraqi Su-25 for his piece about "Air War over Tikrit" in June Issue of Combat Aircrfat Monthly.

In the aknowledgments page of the book, I mentioned Mr Taghvaee as many other journalists, authors and researchers who helped me. I also mentioned the sources notably, two articles of Mr Taghvaee in Combat Aircraft Monthly magazine.

For the article on War Is Boring, I only used my book as source and new stuff since last April … I have not mentioned all the sources used to write the book for such article, the source is the book who mentioned itself all the reference. Seeing all of this, these accusations of plagiarisation are unfounded. The name of Mr Taghvaee was finally added to the War Is Boring article as co-author to ease tensions. I should have asked some editors to add my name to his articles too (humour).

2 - "anonymous Iraqi pilots"

Offiziere has written that "the source of his information was anonymous Iraqi pilots, and thus unverifiable.", but of course, Iraqi pilots officers are not anonymous for me, I know their names, grades and have photos of them, but regarding the context in Iraq and for security reasons, their names can not be given in public as everyone can imagine. This is the case of all pilots (Russian, US, Syrian, French, British, ... ) engaged in operation in Iraq and Syria.

Offiziere "assume that Iraqi pilots have no concept of operations security", but this is completely wrong : all Iraqi pilots officers I have interviewed for my book (including General Samir Wolf, commander of 15th Special Operations Squadron and commander of al-Taji airbase) accepted to answer only with some conditions : stay anonymous, no questions about current operations, secret military data (including sometimes, number of some helicopters/aircrafts delivered). When the book was published, my editor and I have sent some copies for Iraqi pilots officers and other copies for commander of Iraqi Air Force (General Anwar Hamad Amin) and commander of Iraqi Army Aviation (General Hamid al-Maliki).

Beginning July 2016, I interviewed an Iraqi officer who was engaged in the Fallujah convoy attacks. Then I published his testimony on War Is Boring. The story was corroborated by Christiaan Triebert on Bellingcat with open sources.

3 - "Delalande was short 5 aircrafts before we published the article above."

That's true and what is the problem ? When Chris Biggers published his analysis, I was very interested because I didn't know there were 21 Su-25s delivered. For the short piece published in June 2016 issue of Combat Aircraft Monthly (the magazine is published the month before so beginning May), I only asked confirmation on 17 April to Iraqi officers of the quantity delivered, not the total in service. For working and discussing with militaries people since many years, I know that they answer only to question you ask and not more. So I used my previous info and I was wrong, I assume my mistake. When Offiziere share the imagery satellite, of course I asked confirmation of the total of 21 aircrafts (answer : yes), if there were other deliveries in 2016 (answer : no) and if the Su-25s were all stationed et al-Rashid airbase in this period (answer : other deployment at Balad airbase with video of Iraqi MoD to prove it). So, I decided to write this article for War Is Boring to clarify Su-25s status in Iraq and show that imagery satellite without other source can't be sufficient to provide some conclusions.

This article for War Is Boring was not a ad hominem attack to Mr Chris Biggers, only a review of an analysis, but it seems that Offiziere and Mr Biggers considered it differently and this is unfortunate ...

No comments :

Post a Comment