Talk:Dale Gavlak

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Mint Press Article

Moved from main talk page Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013#Rebels in Ghouta admit responsibility?

Breaking: AP journalist publishes story claiming al-Qaeda and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan were responsible for carrying out the Ghouta gas attack! (See Tubes in tunnels? below)

Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
I don't know about the author or Mint Press, but I don't trust this report. Some odd writing , some really odd quotes. Maybe I need to re-read it, but first pass felt weird. They can point right at Bandar, and cite the spooky tunnels, which both make enough sense, but then they consistently claim there was an accident, in (9 towns?) at once, accidentally killing hundreds, or 1,000+, because of improper training? Right after the CW inspectors came? Was there a coordinated mass-handling of those mysterious canisters that night by the duped rebels, and then timers were set off? How many people would blame themselves and accident for that? It's a bizarre story and I suspect disinfo/propaganda, one way or another. I'm pretty sure whoever did whatever, they did it on purpose. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:42, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
I shouldn't be quite so harsh. If one strips away the 8-9 towns and considers, as described, just one accident - and perhaps not coincidence but related to a plan to have them unwittingly release the gas, ... Maybe there was an accident involved, and those who survived it felt it was THE explanation. But instead, it would coincide with whatever other actions, by whoever, that led to however many deaths that this alone can hardly explain. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:02, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
There could have been more "accidents" and isn't it possible that these things had some radio (edit: or better time - one year red line) triggered release mechanism? Would be a cunning plan worthy of Bandar Bush - you distribute the stuff to your vanilla rebels who store it somewhere near their homes, so you can be sure there will be rebel areas affected when you release it. At least possible. Anyway, I share your general skepticism about the article to a degree, although the author seems to be kind of legit and could have the proper contacts. --CE (talk) 12:33, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
When I first read the article, it sounded so un-fucking-believable for mainstream media that I thought the author was Sorcha Faal of The fact is however, that Dale Gavlak is a respected journalist for AP. Quoting
Dale Gavlak’s credibility is very impressive. He has been a Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press for two decades and has also worked for National Public Radio (NPR).
It is likely Dale Gavlak will never again write anything for any mainstream media. The story however is as credible as anything the the mainstream press has ever printed. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:50, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Attempted debunk; focuses on the credibility of the authors, cites Brown Moses. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:45, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

That was a complete waste of time. Pseudo-skeptical douchebag shadowboxing. --CE (talk) 22:27, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Dale Gavlak disowns article

This was expected. What surprises me is that this came out in the Brown Moses blog! Also surprising is that it took Dale Gavlak a almost a month to come out and say this.

Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels. Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel, they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the Mint Press News piece. To date, Mint Press News has refused to act professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual authorship and sources for this story.
I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or do any other reporting on which the article is based. The article is not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own statements.

I knew she never traveled to Syria. It was my understanding she was the author of the part blaming Prince Bandar Bush. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:27, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Minitrue at work. --CE (talk) 18:48, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

I saw last night that we didn't mentioned here Dale (usually a He?) didn't really write it, more vouched for (?) Yahya's reporting. Now he disowns his part. I'm still skeptical of Yahya's reporting, although Petri's last explanation made it a little more plausible to me. But now we have an AP reporter of credibility who wants nothing to do with it. If true, sabotaged in several ways, hard to rescue in a war zone like this, best left behind 'til proper burial can be arranged. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:04, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

This episode hardly changes my trust or distrust in the article. It is one possible piece of the puzzle. We have to find the pieces that fit together. If details in the article match those we can deduce form other evidence, then most likely the writers did not just make the stuff up. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:45, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

The staff of sincerely and deeply apologizes for being a part of spreading this article. We also apologize to Dale Gavlak.

Dale Gavlak via Brown Moses

Other sources

BEIRUT — A freelance contributor to the Associated Press whose byline appeared on a controversial story that alleged Syrian rebels had gassed themselves in an accident told McClatchy on Saturday that she did not write the article and has been seeking to have her name removed from it since it was published by a small Minnesota-based website.

Spin and speculation

Infowarriors are trying to discredit the Mint Press article that has rebels in Ghouta blaming Saudis for bringing chemical weapons into the area. The AP correspondent Dale Gavlak who co-wrote the article is trying to distance herself from it (I hear, under pressure) and has issued a denial on this blog I link to.
But look at what Dale wrote to me on August 30, the day after the article was published: "Basically I helped Yahya Ababneh, who traveled to Gouta, to write what he saw and heard. He mainly met with rebels, of course, the father of one of the rebels killed and doctors treating victims in the area. He has traveled to Syria numerous times. As you know Mint Press News is more of an advocacy journalism site and it seems to be the most likely to publish such a piece." - This last part in response to my question to her asking why she didn't publish the article on AP
(Reposted here, here and here)
@Brown_Moses Bullshit, Eliot. Dale posted the article on her own Facebook "Page" and u know this b/c I sent it to u:
Brown Moses: Dale told me the Twitter account and Facebook page set up in her name didn't belong to her.
The actual truth of the matter is obvious: (1) Yahya Ababneh did the field-work and the interviews, for MPN; (2) Ababneh sent his notes to Gavlak for editing into a story, since both of them work for MPN; (3) the two of them naturally shared the byline for the final product on MPN; (4) Gavlak has now been informed by multiple employers that if she doesn’t retract, she’ll never work for them again, which I said at the time would be her penalty for writing it.

Sharmine Narwani on Twitter

Correspondence received by Sharmine Narwani between a source connected with AP and an international journalist who knows Dale: (Via SyrianGirl)

Source: "Dale was suspended over the article to Mint Press News."
Journo: "You're kidding me. AP suspended her? on what grounds exactly?"
Source: "Not kidding. On grounds that she's violated AP standards and ethics of professional journalism."
Journo: "What standards are those exactly? She's a free lance writer, isn't she? Did she violate her contract in any way?"
Source: "They were so unfair. The problem is that MPN refused to remove her byline and the reference they made to the AP. They kept the article running on their web despite Dale's repeated appeals to remove the reference to the AP. The article took a full run in the football field pissing off the top AP people in New York."
Source: "Syrian TV read the article in several news bulletins. Saudi denied the story, which as you know went viral on all social networks. AP says she shouldn't have crammed the AP into this in the first place. Bottom line, they're afraid that Bandar will sue AP."
Journo: "How is Dale doing?"
Source: "She's hurt as you can imagine. She's been with AP for nearly 10 years and for one mistake she's fired."
Journo: "Dont tell me she regrets this as a 'mistake?'"
Source: She doesnt. She stands by the reporting of the Jordanian guy who gathered the info. But she depended on AP as one of the main sources of income."
The source also separately mentioned that AP is suing the Pentagon for spying on its employees and that may have caused some unusual sensitivity.
Sounds like Dale Gavlak just got screwed. She pushed a story she believed in, AP took umbrage at use of their name, MPN wouldn't budge.


Journalist who exposed how rebels were behind August 21st attack faces intimidation
Although Gavlak did not collaborate on the story in her capacity as an AP correspondent, according to Mint Press News executive director Mnar Muhawesh, within 48 hours Gavlak received threats to “end her career” if she didn’t disassociate herself from the article.
The threats came from a third party who was most likely acting on behalf of Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, according to Gavlak. Bandar is named in the article as having ordered the transfer of chemical weapons to Syrian rebels in Ghouta.
Gavlak has now been “indefinitely suspended” by the Associated Press with no public explanation from the news agency. It appears that the Saudi threats to “end her career” worked.

Mint Press statement

"Guru meditation" now. Read it earlier. *buys popcorn* --CE (talk) 14:01, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

New York Times

In a subsequent e-mail to The Lede, Ms. Gavlak said that the article was based entirely on reporting by her friend Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian journalist. Her only role, she said, was to help Mr. Ababneh translate his thoughts from Arabic to English. Ms. Gavlak added that MintPress, a start-up based in Minnesota, had refused “repeated demands” to remove her byline from the article and that she has now retained a lawyer to press her case.
Though Ms. Gavlak said that she considers Mr. Ababneh to be “a reputable journalist,” she stressed in her note to The Lede: “There was no fact finding or reporting by me for the piece. I did not travel to Syria, so I cannot corroborate his account.” According to Ms. Gavlak, the 26-year-old editor in chief of MintPress, Mnar Muhawesh told her in writing: “We will not be removing your name from the byline as this is an existential issue for MintPress and an issue of credibility as this will appear as though we are lying.”
Ms. Muhawesh, who founded the Minnesota-based site last year, disputed Ms. Gavlak’s account in a written response to questions from The Lede. The Palestinian-American MintPress editor said that Ms. Gavlak first pitched the story and then “wrote the article in its entirety” after conducting additional reporting from Jordan, which seemed to confirm what Mr. Ababneh was told in Syria, “that the Saudis have been supplying rebels with chemical weapons.”

Brown Moses

Brian Whitaker

Excellent (first) comment by Phil Greaves there. --CE (talk) 00:33, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Who is Yahya Ababneh?

Syria "rebel chemicals" story may have come from Russian source
If Yahya Ababneh and Yan Barakat are indeed the same person, the question arises as to why Mint Press called him Ababneh rather than Barakat (which is the name he appears to have used for his other writing). If there were fears for his safety it would have been far better to be up-front about it and declare the use of a pseudonym.