Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Terror, Terror Everywhere: Did Reuters Blame the Taliban in the NY Shootings to Protect IBM?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 07:23 PM
Original message
Terror, Terror Everywhere: Did Reuters Blame the Taliban in the NY Shootings to Protect IBM?
First, if you are thinking about posting a reply that goes something like "But the shooter did not work for IBM", please read the rest of this journal first. Even if Voong did not work for Big Blue, his community has suffered from the recent round of lay offs and job outsourcing that IBM has implemented. Nothing happens in a vacuum. When the nation's big employers start moving jobs overseas, they affect everyone, not just those who got the pink slips.

And yes, I know this is a long journal. That is the only kind I write.


Reuters has a rep for downplaying charges of terrorism, and yet they went out of their way today to make a domestic shooting in New York state look like an act of terrorism planned by the Taliban. Why? Here is what I found when I did a little internet investigating.

I. Reuters Cries Terrorism!

As the nations jobless rate climbs, we have seen an increase in unemployed male shooters whose main motivation for killing seems to be their desperate financial situation. For instance, there was a shooting in Omaha, Nebraska in December 2007

Wearing a camouflage vest and a black backpack, Robert A. Hawkins began firing as shoppers and employees at the Westroads Mall scrambled for cover in dressing rooms, clothing racks, offices and storage areas.
Hawkins had recently split with his girlfriend and had been fired from a job at McDonald's. He had a criminal record and had been kicked out of his parents' house.

More tales of unemployed shooters can be read at the links below:

Now, local news sources in Binghamton, New York are suggesting that the man who committed the shootings may have been recently laid off by IBM.

Hinchey said his office was told by four sources the gunman was recently laid off by IBM, but an IBM representative told on Friday night there was no record of a Jiverly Voong ever working at the company. Investigators said Jiverly Voong also went by the name Lin Voong.

There are good reasons why IBM would want to disavow any knowledge of Voong. For years, IBM has earned the loyalty of its employees by never, ever firing or laying them off. But that was before outsourcing became the rule rather than the exception in the United States. Here is a story from last month about IBMs plan to let American workers go and move jobs to India. /

IBM's reported plans to lay off thousands of U.S. workers and outsource many of those jobs to India, even as the company angles for billions in stimulus money, doesn't sit well with employee rights advocates.

At a time when unemployment in the United States continues to rise to record levels (check out this March report
which describes our 8.5% unemployment rate ), this is not the way to get good pr.

Now, imagine how much worse IBMs pr would look if the nations major news outlets were to establish a link between its outsourcing policy and the New York State murders?

Fortunately for IBM, Reuters decided to send the American public up the wrong trail. Today, Fox News told us that Reuters told them that a Taliban chief, Baituallah Mehsud had told them that he ordered the Vietnamese immigrant to attack an immigration center in New York state.,2933,512537,00.html

The Vietnamese-American Taliban? Say what?

The FBI was quick to rebut the story. Reuters even published their response---after the original story was already in wide circulation.

Note, from the Fox link above,

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment about Mehsud's claim, Reuters reported, and one Pakistani security analyst dismissed the claim as a publicity stunt.

Reuters published a news story meant to link the Taliban and Binghamton in the minds of U.S. news consumers, even though Pakistan had rejected the terrorism claim. Worse, Reuters was so eager to print the piece, they could not even be bothered to get any comments from U.S. law enforcement officials first. Is this the same Reuters which had a policy of not calling acts of violence acts terrorism in the wake of 9/11?

What happened to Reuters between then and now?

II. Connect the Dots 1: Reuters and IBM

Like almost all news organizations today, Reuters news is just a piece of a much larger corporation which has its fingers in lots of pies. For instance

Reuters Market Data System advertises itself as

a robust, resilient platform that can support huge throughputs of data, not just to the trading floor but to every part of your organisation. A platform that wont be flooded by the even greater data volumes forecast for future years, one that combines direct and consolidated feeds in addition to internal information for full market access. /

And it boasts

Reuters Market Data System (RMDS) is the fastest growing open data integration platform in the world today and encapsulates 35 years of Reuters engineering experience in data distribution and integration.

Last year, Reuters was purchased by the Thomson Group, in yet another merger of mega-giants that the Bush administration rubber stamped. Journalists at Reuters were alarmed.

Robert Peston, business editor at BBC News, stated that this has worried Reuters journalists, both because they are concerned that Reuters' journalism business will be marginalized by the financial data provision business of the combined company, and because of the threat to Reuters' reputation for unbiased journalism by the appearance of one majority shareholder.

Now, I know even less about computers and their operating systems than I do about economics. To me, Linux is just a misspelling of Linus, the Peanuts character. However, Google is the great equalizer. I decided to Google Reuters and IBM. Turns out that the two are partners in Reuters Market System as described in this 2003 online article.

Without going into the details of the contract, I can tell you that IBM is helping us to support their platform. No modifications to apps themselves being made, same RMDS software that is running today. Under this agreement, what would probably happen is that you as a customer would call Reuters and say that you would like to run RMDS on a blade system with Linux. Reuters and IBM in their close relationship would work together, with a good division of labor. IBM is relatively well versed in its product and were relatively well versed in ours.

Here is another article, this one from 2007, about the business ties between Reuters (Market Data) and IBM.

Reuters is one IBM Business Partner that has already sought to harness the power of IBM WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging. Reuters recently announced the development of a new distribution component for their premier Market Data System, RMDS 6, the Multicast Distributor (MCD). The MCD will harness the power of IBM's Low Latency Messaging technology, and is designed as an ultra low latency device to enable the distribution of vast amounts of data from RMDS to thousands of client applications.

III. Connect the Dots 2: IBM and Binghamton

If you go to the Binghamton web page you will learn

At the same time Johnson City (formerly Lestershire) and the planned community of Endicott (incorporated in 1906) were growing, so too was a firm that started in Binghamton in 1889 as the Bundy Manufacturing Company. Involved in time clock production, it merged with several other firms and went through a variety of names before hiring Thomas Watson, Sr. in 1914. His corporate leadership moved the company into a new era, and in 1924 he changed the name of the company to International Business Machines. IBM has since become the area's leading employer.

Even if Voong was not laid off by IBM, the area in which he lived had suffered economically due to its largest employers recent practices. From the Associated Press:

At the junction of the Susquehanna and the Chenango rivers, the Binghamton area was the home to Endicott-Johnson shoe company and the birthplace of IBM, which between them employed tens of thousands of workers before the shoe company closed a decade ago and IBM downsized in recent years.

The economic effects of IBM's downsizing on Binghamtom are so bad that a scholarly paper was written on the subject. Here is the abstract:

This article conceptualizes, describes, and analyzes the phenomenon of corporate downsizing and the experience of worker displacement as a process of work and employment change that occurs within the context of structural changes in the economy, large firms and labor markets. The research is based on a case study of displaced IBM computer and Link aerospace workers in Binghamton, New York. Research participants encountered a process of displacement that began before job loss, as the firms abandoned longstanding paternalistic work relations and altered their internal labor market structures. Following job loss, displaced workers negotiated a job search in a declining Binghamton economy and a competitive local labor market. In subsequent employment, the majority of those in the study experienced significant work and employment change associated with downward mobility. The findings suggest that in the new economy, the concept of worker displacement should be thought of in more expansive terms than the more narrow and conventional definition that is often associated with it. Workers' experiences of downsizing, displacement and employment change were not simply, or even primarily, associated with job loss, but were characterized by significant departure from objective conditions and subjective meanings of work and of being workers. /

In Studs Terkel's Hard Times , the author recorded stories about the Great Depression. More than poverty or deprivation, people hated being without work. Work defines the middle class in the United States. Take away someone's employment and you take away his sense of identity. The FDR jobs creation programs were successful, because they got people back to work---and helped them reclaim their sense of hope.

In too many American communities today, hope is being outsourced to India---and people become scared and angry, a combination that is dangerous in a country where guns can literally be purchased in your local grocery store.

IV. It Does Not Matter If Voong Never Worked for IBM

Early reports that Voong was laid off by IBM have touched a nerve in a nation where violent crimes committed by victims of the recession/depression have become almost commonplace---and where people blame their misery on corporate greed.

IBM has been quick to deny that it had anything to do with Voong. /

However, where Voong may have worked is beside the point. Communities suffers when a large local employer decides to ship its jobs overseas in the middle of a recession. Businesses that cater to the (former) employees of IBM have to cut back. It becomes more difficult for everyone to get or keep a job.

Unfortunately, the press in this country is now controlled by a handful of major corporations. Newspapers and TV news programs once made their money by providing in depth coverage of events for news consumers. Now, these same folks are little more than pr spokesmen for their parent companies. The financial interests of the corporate masters dictate what story various news outlets are willing to tell. If outsourcing is good for Big Business's all important bottom line, then outsourcing can never, ever be blamed for any of the problems which plague our country.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. He might have been a contractor
I work as a contractor at TARP bank. I'm not on thier payroll, but on the payroll of the company they contract me through. To the bank, I am just a purchase order. They could say I don't work for them either.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
antimatter98 Donating Member (537 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. For decades, IBM in that area of NY rotated temp employees on 6 month work periods
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 08:17 PM by antimatter98
and made it clear to these temps that they could not expect to be rehired or hired full time. This
practice was active at least in 1978, existed prior and after this date. Thus there was always
a high number of these short term temps, along side full time 'for life' IBM employees.

IBM began to 'deskill' their upstate NY facilities as they opened new locations in the South and
Southwest, which meant: moving high skill people out, and not replacing them. Thus, over a short time,
these upstate facilities became less and less in terms of the skills needed to fully participate
in IBM's mission. Thus, when the major layoffs came in the early/mid 90's these locations were
ripe, not just because they'd been deskilled, but because also the NY business taxes were so much

What we are seeing today is: this scenario is being played out across the country as jobs are outsourced
to 'the new South:' India, Asia, Mexico, Brazil, and China.

What happens to those left behind is: they have to compete in an already contracted labor market
and end up underemployed, lower paid, and most likely, without benefits. We see this across the nation now.

This is not just an issue to lay at the feet of IBM, but with American corporations in general, nationwide.

What the folks in Binghamton and Michigan are going through is what the entire country has to look forward
to: much lower pay, no benefits, and a lot of job competition for lower paying jobs.

Our Congress has enabled this situation: 'free trade,' NAFTA and a host of other tax codes and incentives
that allow corporations to freely move work abroad and or to bring partially assembled products into the US
without having to pay applicable taxes.

This is what's coming folks: the upstate NY and Michigan unemployment, deskilling scenario, nationwide.

IBM held out for a good long time before it began laying off and outsourcing. Ask: what was it about NY
tax policy, and US free trade incentives that caused IBM to see it had to leave the US to make money?

Good Luck and prayers for the people of Binghamton NY. Good solid people there, undermined by economic
policy of the US and of NY State.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. The police chief made it clear that Vong had no connection
to any terrorists and so did the FBI.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
4. Great work but hey, now
Let's not forget Fox News integral part in disseminating the terrorism tale:

(from your link)
Taliban Chief Claims Responsibility for N.Y. Shooting Massacre

Saturday, April 04, 2009
AP/Press & Sun-Bulletin

A Pakistani Taliban militant leader has claimed responsibility for the attack on a U.S. immigration center in New York state in which 13 people were killed, Reuters reported.

"I accept responsibility. They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to U.S. drone attacks," Baituallah Mehsud told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location on Saturday.


Mehsud's claim comes as a suspected U.S. drone fired two missiles at an alleged militant hide-out Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 people.

<snip + Blaming Obama>

President Barack Obama has said he will step up the pressure on Pakistan to crack down on militants in its territory by making aid to the country conditional on the government's anti-terrorism efforts. Pakistan has said it is committed to the fight, but many Western officials suspect the country's military intelligence agency of maintaining links with militant groups...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
2Design Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
5. ibm had about 325,000 employees in 1985 - they still have the same amount
but now most of them are not in the usa - they have been laying off since 1985 and rehiring in other countries because of contracts in those countries for keeping employment levels at a set level - those countries protected their workers

layoff from companies who are the major part of the economy in any city destroys that city - Detroit is dead - congress and admin are trying to kill unions and middle class pay levels - large corporations have been laying off since 1985 and rehiring else where

Originally they took all the jobs in the north east and moved them south to avoid unions, then they shifted them off shore. They continue to chase lower wages - they move to one country and then to the next, destroying those they leave behind
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
OhioChick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. Protecting IBM?
I'm much of a tin foil hat person, but in this case I wouldn't be surprised in the least. When you're in a recession/depression and a major US company continues to do mass layoffs and ship thousands and thousands of jobs overseas.....this sort of thing would really bring them and their business practices into the spotlight......and that's something that I'm sure that IBM does NOT want.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. AQ claimed responsibility for the NE blackout back in
2003 (2002?).

Unfortunately, they claimed it stupidly. The reason adduced for the blackout kept shifting, but was stable for a few hours. It looked like that would become the steady-state reason, and AQ said that's what they did. The next day the reason shifted again and AQ's claim was deemed risible. Not that it got much airplay--it got a bit, even though it was considered a longshot, simply because you don't want to be caught as the only tv or radio network that doesn't mention it should it turn out to be true.

Same with this. It was a blip. Odd mentions like this happen all the time, except we notice those that are meaningful to us and overlook those that aren't.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. But this is Reuters which has a policy of never calling anything terrorism.
People who take pride in their work have to make a conscious decision to violate their own principles. And in recent years, Reuters has been second only to McClatchy when it comes to standards.

Now, if the story originated with Fox News, I would assume that they were just being their usual idiotic selves.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
spag68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
8. IBM
Not that their actions are less reprehensible, but I'm just as pissed about the Chinese glass at the WTC.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:43 AM
Response to Original message
10. This is the biggest piece of tinfoil-hat bullshittery I've read here since the last 9/11 truther.
If you knew anything, you'd know that IBM in that part of the state has been laying off people for eons. It is nothing new and there isn't a single damn connection here that makes any sense. You might as well blame it on the closing of the Endicott-Johnson shoe factory...which didn't happen yesterday either.

As for the Taliban crap, that was conventional garbage in which terrorists take "credit" for having done everything and anything bad, including making your milk go sour in the fridge. The "spokesman" for them said their "men" (plural) did it. Yeah, I'm so sure, the first target of any Taliban operative is going to be a center in Binghamton that assists recent immigrants. The WTC, the Pentagon, and that damn pesky American Civic Association in Binghamton. These centers of evil must GO! :sarcasm:

There is no reason for Reuters to take such nonsense seriously, and--contrary to what you posted here--they didn't. They pooh-poohed it, as well they should have.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-05-09 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. yep, and pretentious crap, at that.
furthermore, the op is disgustingly insulting to people who have been laid off or fired because of outsourcing or corporate malfeasance.

how people can fall for the flimsy case the OP constructed, is beyond me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Jul 22nd 2017, 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC