Daily Archives: January 10, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics… Will MSM FINALLY Expose Apparent Fraud in Iraq "Civilian" Death Counts

The National Journal is an inside the beltway, on the down low type of publication read by media elites. Will they now expose the badly flawed– to the point of fraudulent– claims made by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health researchers who, with minimal “peer review,” published this mess in the Lancet? Not once but twice? BOTH occasions purposely timed to drop RIGHT BEFORE ELECTIONS in 2004 and 2006??

Here’s the story and below are some excerpts from it. The ridiculous claims of 650,000 deaths of Iraqi civilians raised eyebrows at not only the White House, Pentagon, and the lefty group, Iraq Body Count (excerpt from a previous story below), and Stephen Moore (himself a statistics expert) in the Wall Street Journal, but now from a source maybe the MSM will –trust? Probably not. But now you can once again see for yourself how the books were apparently cooked.

The authors of the original “studies” all but shout out that their data were preordained. Half the study was paid for by people the researchers wouldn’t name and one they would reveal: George Soros’ Open Society Institute. You remember him. He’s the one who spent $30,000,000 of his own money to try to beat the G 4-3 in the last election–right before the first phony study was released.

Well, I’m no statistician so let’s take a look at some of the more interesting findings experts consulted by the National Journal revealed:

How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet‘s estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly — or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data — Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results — has refused to answer questions about his methods.

“The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data,” said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as “curb-stoning,” sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the “crimes” committed by the Americans.

Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center and a past president of the American Statistical Association, said, “They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication.” The weakest part of the Lancet surveys is their reliance on an unsupervised Iraqi survey team, contended Scheuren, who has recently trained survey workers in Iraq.

Design And Implementation
Critics say that the surveys used too few clusters, and too few people, to do the job properly.

Black-Box Data
With the original data unavailable, other scholars cannot verify the findings, a key test of scientific rigor.

Ideological Bias
Virtually everyone connected with the study has been an outspoken opponent of U.S. actions in Iraq. (So are several of the study’s biggest critics, such as Iraq Body Count.) Whether this affected the authors’ scientific judgments and led them to turn a blind eye to flaws is up for debate.

The anti war Iraq Body Count group has said in a previous story about the discrepancies:

The IBC says that such assertions suggested incompetence/fraud on a massive scale by hospitals and ministries, self-destructive behaviour by the wounded, an utter failure by agencies to notice decimation of the male population and an abject media failure to observe the scale of events.

The IBC concludes: “In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy.”

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics… Will MSM FINALLY Expose Apparent Fraud in Iraq "Civilian" Death Counts

The National Journal is an inside the beltway, on the down low type of publication read by media elites. Will they now expose the badly flawed– to the point of fraudulent– claims made by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health researchers who, with minimal “peer review,” published this mess in the Lancet? Not once but twice? BOTH occasions purposely timed to drop RIGHT BEFORE ELECTIONS in 2004 and 2006??

Here’s the story and below are some excerpts from it. The ridiculous claims of 650,000 deaths of Iraqi civilians raised eyebrows at not only the White House, Pentagon, and the lefty group, Iraq Body Count (excerpt from a previous story below), and Stephen Moore (himself a statistics expert) in the Wall Street Journal, but now from a source maybe the MSM will –trust? Probably not. But now you can once again see for yourself how the books were apparently cooked.

The authors of the original “studies” all but shout out that their data were preordained. Half the study was paid for by people the researchers wouldn’t name and one they would reveal: George Soros’ Open Society Institute. You remember him. He’s the one who spent $30,000,000 of his own money to try to beat the G 4-3 in the last election–right before the first phony study was released.

Well, I’m no statistician so let’s take a look at some of the more interesting findings experts consulted by the National Journal revealed:

How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet‘s estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly — or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data — Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results — has refused to answer questions about his methods.

“The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data,” said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as “curb-stoning,” sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the “crimes” committed by the Americans.

Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center and a past president of the American Statistical Association, said, “They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication.” The weakest part of the Lancet surveys is their reliance on an unsupervised Iraqi survey team, contended Scheuren, who has recently trained survey workers in Iraq.

Design And Implementation
Critics say that the surveys used too few clusters, and too few people, to do the job properly.

Black-Box Data
With the original data unavailable, other scholars cannot verify the findings, a key test of scientific rigor.

Ideological Bias
Virtually everyone connected with the study has been an outspoken opponent of U.S. actions in Iraq. (So are several of the study’s biggest critics, such as Iraq Body Count.) Whether this affected the authors’ scientific judgments and led them to turn a blind eye to flaws is up for debate.

The anti war Iraq Body Count group has said in a previous story about the discrepancies:

The IBC says that such assertions suggested incompetence/fraud on a massive scale by hospitals and ministries, self-destructive behaviour by the wounded, an utter failure by agencies to notice decimation of the male population and an abject media failure to observe the scale of events.

The IBC concludes: “In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy.”

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com