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User talk:George Swan/Sandbox/Abed Hamed Mowhoush

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Trying for clarity in sourcing, eliminating editorial opinion

First, finding seven citations in a row, without clear indication of the significance of each, is confusing. There is no need to give additional mirror URLs if the original publication URL works. Blank quote= fields are confusing.

The first listed, moved here, is not an account of events; it is an editorial columnist's commentary. [1]

The second was, indeed, part of the trial transcript and legitimate background; I did not have time to go through and analyze it, which should be one of the goals of this article.

Another reference is, again, an opinion column. [2]

I removed the statement, pending better sourcing or detailed analysis of the citations, of " His interrogation include participation from elements of the United States Army, the CIA, and local Iraqi mercenaries, hired by the CIA". "Mercenary" has a specific meaning in customary international law; if, for example, an Iraqi was hired as an interpreter, he is not a mercenary. Mercenaries engage, or prepare for, combat. One article, indeed, does discuss CIA affiliation, but I am not going to sort out the references in detail. If one gives citations, it is reasonably expected that there will be analysis of each. Howard C. Berkowitz 03:51, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

The web-citations site I used for the mirror URLs is one I learned about from the Citizendium fora. Is it useful to include them when the original URL (still) works? Well, the original URL is almost always still working -- when a contributor generates the reference tag. Through experience contributors can get an idea that some sites purge pages relatively quickly. Yahoo News URLs almost never work longer than a couple of weeks.
But there are no guarantees. Three years ago the New York Times unexpectedly changed their policy on accessing their archived articles -- from unlimited, to only letting subscribers see articles older than two weeks. They tried this for about two years, and have now returned to fairly unlimited access to archived articles.
Clearly the web-citation link can only be generated when the original link is still live.
Are you suggesting the mirror URL should be recorded somewhere else? A subpage? But, not only would this be more work, how would readers or other contributor know to look there?
I'll start to trim unused fields from my reference tags, as you have requested. But I think I will continue to place the mirror URL within the reference tag, because it seems to me that is the best place to for them to be found, when needed. George Swan 23:10, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
No, I wouldn't record the mirror at all. There is no more guarantee than the mirror will work than the main site will work. If the main link breaks, there is title information to do a current search for the article. Meanwhile, having the mirrors in the citation template makes them harder to edit. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:15, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Experience shows that some URLs can be counted on failing within a few weeks. Sorry, I don't think I can agree that the web-citation site is no more reliable than the original URL. George Swan 23:42, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


(copied from Welshover article) Articles need to be merged and made authoritative, or deleted.

(copied to Mowhoush article)

My concerns about notability of this article have been noted, but, even more, why is it separate from the article on Abed Hamed Mowhoush? There is very little on Mowhoush's actual military actions; his fate and Welshofer's are inextricably linked.

In both the Welshofer and Mowhoush articles, there is much dependence on journalistic reports. In the Mowhoush article, several consecutive citations have no text explaining the significance of each, yet, from preliminary fact-checking, some do give different information.

I am concerned that there are merely weasel-words about "allegations" of death, when I was able to find the autopsy report within a few minutes. It flatly labels it a homicide caused by asphyxia from chest compression. The lead to this was in an NGO report, much more extensive than the news reports. While I have not followed all links as yet, it appears the trial transcripts and command statements are available; the NGO had observers at the trial. Some of these documents, such as the autopsy report, certainly are primary documents, more authoritative than the news reports. There is a detailed analysis and broader context-setting by the NGO, Human Rights First, which also links to ACLU material.

It may be stopping in midstream, but I am not going to continue fact-checking and completely rewriting this article. I am not going to merge these articles. I do not consider that to be my responsibility as an editor, since I would never have started these as separate articles. There is far more detail available than in some of the weasel words here.

I'd like to see these articles merged promptly, the primary and analytic sources used before news reports, and then flow and copy edited. If not, I'd rather see them deleted, and relevant material used in a broader article dealing with U.S. interrogation practices in Iraq and in other situations authorized by the George W. Bush Administration. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:17, 26 February 2009 (UTC)