July 20, 2006
Where's George? And where's Doug?
My previous post about the much-quoted "George Harleigh" (said to be a SIU political science professor who worked for Nixon and Reagan administrations) has received enough attention that I thought it merited a new post.
Clayton Cramer linked my original post and asked his readers for help in locating the mystery man. According to readers who've checked the relevant academic databases, there's nothing. Anywhere:
There's nothing by "George Harleigh" on EBSCOHost Academic Search Premiere, either.To which Cramer comments:
Amazing--someone became a professor at Southern Illinois University without a single published work, anywhere!Well, not according to the SIU Department of Political Science. (When I called the department, I was told the list of emeritus professors goes from Hargraves to Harlow.)
Philadelphia journalist Steve Silver has linked this post and is also asking questions about George Harleigh:
Calls by the blogger to SIU, and searches of Lexus-Nexis for published material by him, find no mention of Harleigh, and he's not mentioned on Google anywhere other than in providing quotes to blogs. Anyone ever heard of this guy, and have any evidence that exists or did exist? I'm figuring either he's real and everyone's wrong, or someone just made him up and his same few quotes have been recycled again and again for years, or there's some guy out there claiming to be a disgruntled former Nixon/Reagan aide.There are serious logical problems posed by any attempt to prove conclusively that a person does not (or did not) exist. No matter how many searches fail to prove the existence of someone, that failure does not negate the person's possible existence. However, when a specific person's specific occupation or background are made relevant as they are here, it is possible to disprove such a person's occupation or background, simply by the absence of official records. (For example, if someone claims to be a Navy SEAL, that claim can be verified or debunked, and there are websites devoted to doing just that.)
The burden of proof, though, normally falls on those asserting that the person exists. In the case of George Harleigh, virtually all quotations and references to him originate with Doug Thompson, a self-described journalist ["newspaperman"] who runs the Capitol Hill Blue web site.
Which means at this point that the burden is on Mr. Thompson to supply evidence:
If "George Harleigh" is a pseudonym, that fact should be disclosed, and if there is a person calling himself "George Harleigh" whose remarks are being repeated, it falls on Doug Thompson to provide some evidence that this man is who he says he is.
Under the circumstances, until I hear otherwise, I think it is entirely reasonable to conclude that:
Again, if my suspicions turn out to be wrong, I'll certainly acknowledge that with apologies to Doug Thompson and George Harleigh.
MORE: According to blogger Angry Bear, three years ago Doug Thompson admitted that he had been conned for the last 20 years by someone named "Terry Wilkinson":
The Capitol Hill Blue story cited below is a hoax--Capitol Hill Blue founder Doug Thompson now alleges that he was intentionally deceived by someone pretending to be Terry Wilkinson for the last 20 years (Thompson: "Erasing the stories doesn't erase the fact that we ran articles containing information that, given the source, was probably inaccurate. And it doesn't erase the sad fact that my own arrogance allowed me to be conned").The problem is, the Thompson site link does not discuss the Terry Wilkinson "conning" incident.
But that's because the references were erased. Another post has the full quote about the "erasures," plus more from Doug Thompson:
If that is the case, then why were these words edited out of the post in question? Another post here -- same thing, Doug Thompson's apology from nowhere.
Editor's Note | Yesterday, truthout's lead story carried an article by Capitol Hill Blue that quoted a 'CIA insider.' This insider, a Terrance J. Wilkinson, was reportedly present at two briefings when Bush was informed of, and then dismissed, evidence that his Iraq WMD claims were false. Capitol Hill Blue has run a retraction of that story, which we have printed below. According to Doug Thompson, author of the original story, Terrance J. Wilkinson does not exist, and Thompson has been getting scammed for over 20 years. Something about this story is decidedly strange, but in light of Thompson's retraction, we would be remiss not to run it. I am running down my contacts at CIA and Capitol Hill Blue to find out how all of this took place. We will let you know when we know. - wrp
posted by Eric on 07.20.06 at 10:57 AM
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