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The awful spectacle of Camelot propaganda – which would have people believe that the white knight John Kennedy fought the forces of darkness – continues unabated. It’s awful because it makes a hero out of a terrorist. But self-modified (into believers in violence, deceit and inequality) rulers and agents of the Corporatocracy have no problem with that sort of thing. Neither do those in Hollywood/tv land who tend to make the very worst terrorists into heroes, regularly. From Darth Vader, who slaughtered children and defended a death star that could destroy whole inhabited planets in a single go, to The Master in Doctor Who, who, after committing terrorists acts galaxy-wide, with glee, one day says it’s time to side with the good Doctor because it’s the right thing to do. It makes for good drama and the audience loves it, but – The lesson? The right thing to do? How about: PAY FOR YOUR CRIMES!
Look at the current propaganda operation involving terrorists masquerading as heroic first responders in Syria! Deep State ally, Netflix, made a propaganda documentary about those first responders, called the White Helmets, that ended up getting an Oscar award for best short documentary. Then they decided to up their game and nominate the White Helmets for a Nobel Peace Prize! (I and others long ago decided that the Nobel Peace Prize itself is tainted beyond redemption. But it still dazzles the uncritical public.) The White Helmets didn’t win their peace prize, but the US-led Corporatocracy wasn’t about to confess to the public that they didn’t get it because there was too much pushback from what Vanessa Beeley referred to as the ‘truth to power complex’. As Beeley pointed out (in the video below), Whenever agents of the Corporatocracy tweeted some pro White Helmets crap, that would be followed by a flood of tweets – activists, regular people who are just paying attention – from those who know better.
“…the Nobel Peace Prize remains just a prize. But a most prestigious one it is, enjoying a celebrated status in its anointment of already notable personages.” – Michael Parenti
“The White Helmets were established in March 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey, and is headed by James Le Mesurier, a British “security” specialist and ‘ex’ British military intelligence officer with an impressive track record in some of the most dubious NATO intervention theatres including Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Le Mesurier is a product of Britain’s elite Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and has also been placed in a series of high-profile pasts [posts?] at the United Nations, European Union, and U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office.” – Vanessa Beeley
Indeed, They decided to compensate the White Helmets for their Nobel Peace Prize loss! The fact of the matter is, the White Helmets are already getting lots of money from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK AID and USAID and assorted European states. Is the Nobel Peace prize loss consolation money meant to disguise the moneys the White Helmets are already getting? Perhaps Boris Johnson et al figure that they can distract people from that fact and kill questions about why so much money is being funneled to the White Helmets – who should be subject to sanctions if they are Syrian and serving Syria! We can fool ourselves into thinking (or not thinking) a certain way that doesn’t get to the crux of the matter, if we wish. But for a fact, The police state depends on a dull public that is not intellectually, nor morally, up to the task of pushing back when their government strays, and so far, the people (everywhere) haven’t disappointed – in great enough numbers. (The ‘truth to power’ complex can only accomplish so much, it seems.) That’s partly why the police state’s reps keep shovelling out crap. They’ve seen that it produces results.
“While the lore of the White Helmets holds that the impetus behind the creation of Syrian Civil Defense came from the actions of Syrian civilian volunteers who responded to neighbors in need following attacks by the Syrian air force, pulling bodies from the rubble and rushing victims to the hospital, the organizational underpinnings of the White Helmets can be sourced to a March 2013 meeting in Istanbul between a retired British military officer, James Le Mesurier—who had experience in the murky world of private security companies and the shadowy confluence between national security and intelligence operations and international organizations—and representatives of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Qatari Red Crescent Society. Earlier that month, the SNC was given Syria’s seat in the Arab League at a meeting of the league held in Qatar.
“At that meeting, the SNC assumed Syria’s seat, and the Arab League authorized member states to actively provide support, including arms and ammunition, to the Syrian rebels. The Qataris, working through the SNC, helped assemble for Le Mesurier $300,000 in seed money from Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom for a seven-day course designed to train and equip a 25-person rescue team, recruited by the SNC, for duty in so-called “liberated areas” of Syria. The SNC made available a pair of Syrian activists—Raed Saleh and Farouq Habib—to assist Le Mesurier in this work.
“With the help of the SNC, Le Mesurier reached out to the Turkish volunteer search and rescue agency AKUD to help design and deliver the training to the SNC volunteers. The success of this effort caught the attention of both the United States and the United Kingdom, and in 2014 Le Mesurier created his own company, May Day Rescue, using millions of dollars in aid from USAID and the United Kingdom’s Conflict Security and Stability Fund, to expand the role played by the White Helmets inside Syria. Since then, more than 3,000 “vetted” Syrians have received specialized training at May Day Rescue facilities inside Turkey and Jordan and have been organized into more than 120 teams located throughout rebel-held Syria—including areas under the exclusive control of Al Nusra Front and Islamic State.” – Scott Ritter
As Beeley and others note, We need to look carefully at where those funds go. One of the best articles giving an us an overall look at this Deep State-created NGO, meant to sell the idea of regime change in Syria, is by Patrick Henningsen, who oversees 21st Century Wire. It’s titled “An Oscar for a Propaganda Flick.” (I linked to the Consortium News version because I have a hard time with the 21st Century Wire website on my Toshiba Satellite, with windows 7. I figure that there might be others with similar problems. My newer Dell, on windows 10, seems to deal with the website okay.) They wanted to give a Nobel Peace Prize to the Middle East terrorists called the White Helmets, but too much bad press surrounding those fiends was happening so they just gave them a lesser award instead. If only sexy, handsome (like tool JFK) and Council On Foreign Relations member George Clooney had gotten busy on his White Helmets movie sooner, perhaps that would have helped here.
“The Nobel Peace Prize for War” by Michael Parenti
from the above linked-to article:
In October 2012, in all apparent seriousness, the Norwegian Nobel Committee (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament) bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize upon the European Union (EU). Let me say that again: the European Union with its 28 member states and 500 million inhabitants was awarded for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” (Norway itself is not a member of the EU. The Norwegians had the good sense to vote against joining.)
Alfred Nobel’s will (1895) explicitly states that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The EU is not a person and has not worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies or promotion of any kind of peace agenda. If the EU award looked a bit awkward, the BBC and other mainstream news media came to the rescue, referring to the “six decades of peace” and “sixty years without war” that the EU supposedly has achieved. The following day, somebody at the BBC did the numbers and started proclaiming that the EU had brought “seventy years of peace on the European continent.” What could these wise pundits possibly be thinking? Originally called the European Economic Community and formed in 1958, the European Union was established under its current name in 1993, about twenty years ago.
The Nobel Committee, the EU recipients, and the western media all overlooked the 1999 full-scale air war launched on the European continent against Yugoslavia, a socialist democracy that for the most part had offered a good life to people of various Slavic nationalities—as many of them still testify today.
The EU did not oppose that aggression. In fact, a number of EU member states, including Germany and France, joined in the 1999 war on European soil led largely by the United States. For 78 days, U.S. and other NATO forces bombed Yugoslavian factories, utilities, power stations, rail systems, bridges, hotels, apartment buildings, schools and hospitals, killing thousands of civilians, all in the name of a humanitarian rescue operation, all fueled by unsubstantiated stories of Serbian “genocide.” All this warfare took place on European soil.
“Nobel Hypocrisy” by Stephen Lendman
from the above linked-to article:
Since it was established in 1901, the Peace Prize was awarded to 95 individuals and 20 organizations. Some recipients were worthy like Martin Luther King, Jane Addams and Albert Schweitzer but too many were not including this year’s honoree. Al Gore joins a long list of past “ignoble” recipients like warrior presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and supporter of rogue regimes Jimmy Carter. He’s also among the likes of genocidists Henry Kissinger and three former Israeli prime ministers – Menachem Begin, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin – along with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who never met a US-led war he didn’t love and support. So much for promoting peace and what this award is supposed to signify. More on this below.
Almost anyone can be nominated for the prize and look who were but didn’t get it – Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and more recently George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Rush Limbaugh laughably. In contrast, one of the most notable symbols of non-violence in the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi, was nominated four times but never won. More recently, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, now known as Voices for Creative Nonviolence, got three nominations but was passed over each time for less deserving candidates. Her “reward” instead was to be sentenced in 2004 to three months in federal prison for crossing the line into Fort Benning, Georgia in protest against the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation that’s commonly called “the school of assassins.”
Edward Curtin’s article is nothing more than another Camelot pusher’s effort to heap praise on the vile Kennedys and be patted on the back for it, which he will be because the police state supports those who support it and because a majority are infected with (have bought) Camelot propaganda. (I visited Curtin’s website and commented on his article, lambasting him for failing to be a decent public intellectual and had my comment disappeared afterward, without explanation. As you wish Edward. I’m not sure Curtin is a victim of Camelot propaganda. I’d call him a pusher of Camelot propganda. Maybe people like him just need to be in on something big.) Joseph Kennedy and his sons John and Robert, and Patricia Kennedy (who married Peter Lawford and became “a chartered member of the clique” who associated with Sam Giancana) were all gangsters. And since Bobby was a knowing and willing accessory to his brother’s awful criminal behavior, we must include him in our category of Camelot propaganda. The effort to fool people into thinking that John F. Kennedy was a hero is also an effort to fool people into thinking that Robert Kennedy was a hero.
It’s worth mentioning – and needs to be mentioned, clearly – Noam Chomsky’s description of the US’s ‘defeat’ in Vietnam. (Keep in mind that while JFK was the second of five presidents who dealt with the active war against Vietnam, it was JFK, specifically, who introduced a qualitative increase in the American presence in Vietnam, which Hersh describes as ‘expanding the rules’. Under Kennedy, Black Ops, terrorism and chemical warfare would be unleased in Vietnam.) The book I’m quoting from below is the 2003 edition, but it was published in 1982. From pages 27 – 29 of “Towards A New Cold War,” we get the following:
Reporting on a visit to Vietnam, Ngo Vinh Long (see note 43) writes that in one central province, 7 million antipersonnel bombs and M-79 grenades had to be dislodged in order to reclaim the fields. In another, a million unexploded bombs and grenades remain in the ground and more than three thousand people have been killed since 1975. A third is largely “denuded by the bombing and shelling.” Destruction of trees and vegetation have led to flooding and scorching winds that blow sand into rice paddies. “Much of the land in central Vietnam had been destroyed by chemical defoliants, bombs and salt water which invaded the paddyfields after American forces destroyed the sea dikes and widened many rivers to accommodate their gunboats.”
In the Plain of Jars in Laos, where a completely defenseless peasant society was subjected to one of the most devastating attacks in the history of warfare, the land is littered with unexploded ordnance. The United States has refused to provide the technology to remove it. The U.S. government has even denied information to Mennonite representatives who have sought ways to help peasants who must clear the land by hand, with many casualties.
There is ample reporting on mass starvation that Vietnam is facing, but the fact that the United States made a certain contribution to this tragedy is often conveniently overlooked. For example, Business Week reports the “prospect of famine” in Vietnam, and the accompanying renewal of “the ‘boat people’ exodus,” but the report has no word to suggest that the United States has ever had any involvement in Indochina, past or present.
In fact, the involvement is present as well as past. Since the war’s end, the United States has done what it could to ensure that its partial victory would endure. “There is a great deal of evidence,” Martin Woollacott writes, “that the foot-dragging policy of the United States on diplomatic relations and on aid, whether or not it was tagged with the humiliating label of reparations, helped close off the Yugoslavia option for Vietnam.” That is quite correct. A World Bank Official observes that “since 1977, the US has constantly refused to make any accommodation with Vietnam, forcing it further and further into the Soviet camp.” This is a typical procedure when some area is “lost” to the Free World; compare the case of China, Cuba, and now Nicaragua. It is a procedure that may be reversed (as in the case of China) if it is recognized that “rollback” is not in the cards. For the time being, however, the United States is committed to maximizing hardship and suffering in Vietnam. It has exerted effective pressure on the World Bank to withhold development aid, and the Reagan Administration “has launched a vigorous, behind-the-scenes campaign at UN headquarters to cut UN humanitarian and development aid to Vietnam.” The present moment is particularly opportune because of the starvation conditions in Vietnam and the fact that “refugees recently leaving Vietnam are reported to be citing economic reasons far more than any other for their flight from the hard-pressed South-east Asian nation.” Thus, cutting food aid has a double benefit: increasing misery, and increasing the refugee flow, so that Western humanitarians can then deplore the barbarian savagery of the Vietnamese leadership as illustrated by the tragic fate of the boat people. The United States and the European Economic Community have refused to respond to a UNICEF appeal for milk and food for the Vietnamese emergency. The U.S. government also initially rejected an appeal from the Mennonite Central Committee to allow it to ship wheat to Vietnam, where, the committee’s executive secretary for Asia points out, “drought in late 1979 and early 1980 was followed by typhoons and floods that caused heavy destruction to the rice crop in northern and central Vietnam.” At the same time, “prospects for loans from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are very bleak, since many donor countries, especially the US and Japan [which benefited substantially from the U.S. war as an offshore procurement base], are opposed to any assistance to Vietnam…
In fact, the goal of U.S. policy is clear enough. Not content with a partial victory of the sort just described, the United States wants to ensure the maximum possible suffering in countries that have been so ignoble as to resist American aggression, in the hope that sooner or later “Vietnam will crack,” and the partial victory can be extended to a total one. Perhaps analogues can be found in the gloomy history of great-power cynicism, but offhand none come to mind. Again, it is notworthy that protest is next to nonexistent, providing further insights into “Western humanism” and the real significance of the wringing of hands over human rights violations committed by official enemies.”
“Overall, it’s not so much the content; it’s the image of very attractive people. Hollywood, above all, knows that image trumps fact. Political consultants know that, too. You can get away with quite a lot if you’re personable, attractive, and charismatic.” – Tom Hayden (from Ed Rampell’s article titled “How the Oscars, and Michelle Obama, Saluted the CIA”. Incredibly, Hayden was infected with Camelot propaganda. It’s powerful stuff.)
I know nothing about the girl in the polka dot dress in Edward Curtin’s article, and I know virtually nothing about Bobby Kennedy’s assassination. If I was to look into it, I wouldn’t want a writer like Curtin to be my guide. He makes unsupported assertions and quotes others who (to go by Curtin’s reportage) make unsupported assertions. For example, he quotes Vince Salandria, who asserts that “President Kennedy was assassinated by our national-security state…” Without slam dunk evidence, that should be “President Kennedy was probably assassinated by our national-security state.” Authors who make assertions like that – providing no context that could point to their conclusions – are engaging in sloppy work. That is to say, no context is provided, by Curtin, for the statement made by Vince Salandria asserting that the national security (police) state killed President Kennedy. (Perhaps Vince Salandria ‘does’ provide it. In that case, Curtin needs to pass it, or some of it, on here.) One could easily run through the actual historical record (which, yes, would damage some narratives), providing ample reasons why a conspiracy involving the American “national-security state” would be entered into that would involve a plan to assassinate JFK. Sure, the same conspirators who might want to murder JFK would therefore also want to assassinate his brother, who was a willing surrogate for the murderous JFK.
I say “easily.” JFK betrayed everyone; from his wife, to those in America looking to him for 1. principled leadership and 2. security, (1: some secret service members, like Larry Newman, assigned to protect the president; 2: security jeopardized by a president who sleeps with the East Germany [Communist] leader’s employee Ellen Rometsch), to John McCone who JFK ignored (and later betrayed) when McCone warned him about nukes entering Cuba, to ExComm members kept in the dark about Kennedy’s assassination efforts, to the Cuban exiles who he literally sacrificed for political reasons, to his lovers who he no doubt gave (not harmless) venereal disease to, to Dr Cheddi Jagan (first native born prime minister of British Guiana), to JFK’s friend Ngo Dinh Diem, to those everywhere (including Brazil and the rest of South America) looking to Kennedy to make a (actual) positive difference and to American voters who were never told big truths that they deserved to know (and which would have caused them to view Kennedy less as a saint, to say the least). The deal that Sam Giancana made with Joe Kennedy was he would have Fidel Castro killed and the US government would leave his criminal organization alone. As far as I can tell, the vicious, macho RFK didn’t leave Giancana’s organization alone. I think that may be because he wanted to scare the scary Giancana in order to covey the message that he and his brother were the scariest and not to be trifled with. Anyway, Curtin’s statements are incautious, which I guess he can get away with because he has lots of moral support. As long as he helps propagate Camelot propaganda – and the crowd pushing Camelot propaganda is bigger than the one trying to counter it – then the errors and crap presentation will be ignored.
I don’t know anything about the story about the woman in the polka dot dress, so I can’t say too much about it, but I notice some things (aside from assertions by Curtin and some of those who he quotes about ‘knowing’ who killed Kennedy) about Curtin’s story that are off. (Circumstantial evidence is still evidence, so I do not take the position that if there’s no smoking gun, then we should dismiss everything.) Curtin, and others, are saying that the girl in the polka dot dress is meant to be a diversion. We are supposed to be endlessly diverted into discovering who she is etc.. But he also informs us that the police had no interest in following up with their own investigation of the girl in the polka dot dress or with assistance for those doing their investigation of that woman. Okay. Is that more of the conspiracy? If so, this is a high level of sophistication. This is very complex. It would mean that the efforts by authorities to have us believe that there is nothing to see here are actually meant to convince us that there is (which makes it hard to argue that there isn’t a conspiracy). Then we just keep falling deeper into that rabbit hole. – I’m not saying that this point that Curtin is making about the woman in the polka dot dress isn’t good. I’m just making observations about it. And it’s beside the point.
But the biggest problem for Curtin are his blinders about what the Kennedys were all about. He simply ignores historical facts or colors them falsely; and he has so much moral support for that. Perhaps that is more important to him than facts. As Noam Chomsky convincingly, and authoritatively – and that’s authoritatively, not as in ‘special’ but as in providing evidence and arguing, from known facts, the sources for which one is prepared to reveal – lays out in his book about Camelot propaganda, titled “Rethinking Camelot,” There was no major policy change seen between JFK’s administration and successor Lyndon Johnson’s. (Where is it all you Camelot pushers?) JFK may have realized that Vietnam was a disaster (and a major crime, but neither he nor other politicians, then or now, go there) and felt that America had to quit the war, but there is zero evidence that he wanted that ‘without’ military victory. Therefore, He wasn’t assassinated because of that. You aren’t going to be assassinated for a non existant reason. Which fact cripples narratives of authors, like Fernando Faura, who Curtin relies on. Bobby Kennedy was every bit as hawkish as his brother. If Bobby Kennedy had become President, he certainly would not have considered ever withdrawing from Vietnam without military victory (however defined). And he certainly would not have done it solely because it was the right thing to do. If the ‘right thing to do’ happened to also be the thing that could benefit Bobby personally (or him and his brother, when JFK was alive), then it might get done. That’s just the real, historical Robert Kennedy, whether Curtin et al like it or not.
Curtin writes something incidentally about Israelis oppressing Palestinians that tells us something about Edward Curtin. He asks: “Was it simply fortuitous that Sirhan’s Palestinian Arabic origins were emphasized and that his lawyers, who in no way defended him, suggested that he was mad at RFK for supporting the sending of planes to Israel and the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel?” Perhaps Curtin, who knows this about RFK, simply thinks barbarism is decency. (Sirhan Sirhan was the man who went to jail for killing Robert Kennedy.)
Incidentally, Another example of JFK’s awful character can be seen in the fact, as laid out by Seymour Hersh, that although JFK apparently wanted the troops out of Vietnam, and although Diem even gave him a way to do that (that he could take to the public), JFK felt that the timing wasn’t right. The ‘terror bombing’ (John Pilger) had to continue at least until JFK had his re-election in ‘64 behind him. He didn’t want to give the Republicans any ammunition in the campainging underway. Kennedy didn’t want them telling voters that he was weak on anti-communism. He didn’t want to be seen as a weak president, cutting and running because the going is rough. But his evident interest in pulling out the troops did not include the thought of leaving without military victory or some sort of victory.
How did JFK’s admin define military victory? It depended upon the operation. In the case of Vietnam, evidently military victory would be achieved when the country was rendered broken and not capable of being repaired for a long time.
In fact, as Chomsky makes clear, that victory in Vietnam was achieved if you consider the actual goal. The goal was simply to turn Vietnam into a basket case, a ruined country for decades to come and one that could not possibly serve as an example of successful communist development – because, as we know, democracy is all about the freedom to choose. If Chomsky’s narrative is a bit wobbly (JFK wanted, but never achieved, withdrawal ‘with’ military victory OR The goal, achieved, was the destruction of communist Vietnam), still it can’t be said that he didn’t marshal tons of evidence, present sufficient facts and so forth. And that’s what writers like Edward Curtin need to do.
JFK had no hesitation about sacrificing people – any people – for his own personal gain. And he did so. As for the Cuban missile crisis; Yes, he made a deal with Khrushchev that forestalled nuclear war. But he shouldn’t get credit for defusing a crisis that he was responsible for creating, which is the case. As Seymour Hersh noted, in his book “The Dark Side Of Camelot,” the Soviets and the Cubans knew about JFK’s efforts to have Castro assassinated and they knew about plans JFK had, carried over from Dwight D. Eisenhower, to invade Cuba. But the American public didn’t know about JFK’s criminal assassination program, for JFK didn’t dare tell them. That would have put the missile crisis in a whole new light. It would have appeared, as in fact was the case, that Khrushchev was acting to defend the people’s revolution in Cuba against imperialists and gangsters who wanted to return Cuba to its former status as a de facto colony of the United States, where US-based corporations could pillage at will and the mob could have its operations.
“The American aggression played a role in Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to move nuclear missiles and launchers into Cuba, triggering the missile crisis of October 1962.” – page 293 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot”
The US never cared about the Cuban people, as Howard Zinn reminds us in his book “A People’s History Of The United States, 1492-2001.” from pages 311 & 312:
The United States did not annex Cuba. But a Cuban Constitutional Convention was told that the United States army would not leave Cuba until the Platt Amendment, passed by Congress in February 1901, was incorporated into the new Cuban Constitution. This Amendment gave the United States “the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty…” It also provided for the United States to get coaling or naval stations at certain specified points.
The Teller Amendment and the talk of Cuban freedom before and during the war had led many Americans – and Cubans – to expect genuine independence. The Platt Amendment was now seen, not only the radical and labor press, but by newspapers and groups all over the United States, as a betrayal. A mass meeting of the American Anti-Imperialist League at Fanueil Hall in Boston denounced it, ex-governor George Boutwell saying: “In disregard of our pledge of freedom and sovereignty to Cuba we are imposing on that Island conditions of colonial vassalage.”
In Havana, a torchlight procession of fifteen thousand Cubans marched on the Constitutional Convention, urging them to reject the Amendment. But General Leonard Wood, head of the occupation forces, assured McKinley: “The people of Cuba lend themselves readily to all sorts of demonstrations and parades, and little significance should be attached to them.”…
General Leonard Wood wrote in 1901 to Theodore Roosevelt: “There is, of course, little or no independence left in Cuba under the Platt Amendment.”
The Bay of Pigs was not a happy moment for the murderous young president. His mob associates, liased with through CIA agent Robert Maheu, were supposed to assassinate Fidel Castro on or before the day the invasion force landed, as Maheu told Hersh. That invasion force was made up of Cuban exiles who had been training under Jake Esterline in Guatemala. (Esterline was not at all happy with the unprincipled use of the mob, but had no channel through which to whistleblow.) Castro’s assassination was supposed to encourage the Cuban people to rise up and help the invaders to overthrow the now leaderless regime, but the mob failed and the Cuban people were solidly behind their regime, which was solidly behind them. They would have been solidly behind their regime with or without Castro.
At the same time, there was communication via back channels between JFK and Khrushchev that eventually led to a determination by those leaders to have a summit. JFK was now less enthusiastic about the Cuban exiles’ mission, partly due to the failure of the mob and partly due to the optics that would result if he pressed ahead with the invasion, after making public statements about never attacking Cuba. “…friends in the agency, the press, and elsewhere” (Hersh) tried to warn Kennedy that his secret (American planned and organized) invasion plans were not secret, but he was just too arrogant and puffed up to listen. He figured that the mob, which helped him win election in 1960, would again come through for him. And those, like Allen Dulles, around him who were similarly willfully blind helped reinforce Kennedy’s foolishness. Kennedy thought, also, that the American public, and the world, would actually believe he had nothing to do with the invasion by Cuban exiles. So, until he had reasons to not want the invasion, in earnest, he did want it. And the plan went ahead. Then disaster struck on April 17, partly because of the actions (that even Robert Maheu believed JFK was criminally resposible for!) of JFK in failing to fully back up the now landed Cuban exiles.
JFK was now more interested in securing his first major foreign policy win, with the Soviets, which he felt might have been less likely if Khrushchev had been able to throw up in JFK’s face his public proclamation about leaving Cuba alone and his actions belying that proclamation. “…Kennedy, fearful that his administration would become even more closely linked to the invasion, refused to let the second bombing take place…” (Hersh, page 209) So there would be no actions, beyond those already taken, belying that claim. JFK’s faded interest in taking Cuba and his increased interest in the possibilities that a summit with Khrushchev presented proved fatal to the so easily sacrificed Cuban exiles. Of the 1,400 who landed on the beach, 114 were killed and about 1,200 were captured. “As Kennedy had to know, his decision amounted to a death sentence for the Cuban exiles fighting on the ground. But he and Nikita Khrushchev had just agreed, after weeks of secret back-and-forth, to an early June summit meeting in Europe.” (Hersh, page 212) What would have happened if JFK, setting aside his personal ambitions, had sent in a second bombing sortie to back up the landed exiles, as was the plan? We’ll never know. (The first sortie of 8 B-26 bombers, sent two days previous to the exile brigade’s landing at the Bay of Pigs, were no match for the Cuban airforce.) Did Kennedy give a thought to the abandonment of the Cuban exiles who were doing his bidding? Sure he did. That thought came to be called the “disposal problem.”
“Kennedy… Schlesinger noted… was also concerned – as was Dulles – about the “disposal problem” if the operation was called off before it began and the Cuban exiles went back, unbloodied, to Florida, where they would surely tell their story of frustration and disappointment to every journalist they could find. Schlesinger quoted Kennedy as saying of the Cuban exile brigade, “If we have to get rid of these… men, it is much better to dump them in Cuba than in the United States, especially if that is where they want to go.”” (Hersh, page 210) (Right, Jack; The Cuban exiles who can’t beat Fidel if you abandon them want to be in Cuba where pro regime Cubans will welcome them with open arms, garlands and marching bands.) Hersh notes that JFK’s cancellation of the second bombing sortie was a political, not a military, decision. JFK was concerned about how not acting, even if it meant acting and failing, would look to Americans once the Republicans spun it a certain way. He could have called off the invasion altogether and saved lives. But that would have gravely jeopardized his political plans.
Robert Kennedy was not only JFK’s younger brother, but he was his greatest fan and most trustworthy aide. And he was JFK’s totally willing and able partner in crime. He was, as Hersh notes, JFK’s surrogate, prodding the CIA to get on with business (including it’s assassination efforts). And he was JFK’s protector, “making sure that the FBI and other federal police agencies were unable to derail the assassination operations.”
And just as JFK was willing to sacrifice anyone for his own personal gain, and pleasure, so too Robert Kennedy was willing to sacrifice anyone for his and his brother’s own personal gain. One episode in connection with the Bay of Pigs fiasco illustrates Bobby Kennedy’s perfidy nicely.
Seymour Hersh tells the story of the four Alabama Air National Guard pilots who had been training Cuban exiles in Nicaragua. They wanted to be heroes and so, upon hearing about JFK’s cancellation of the second air sortie, they took off without authorization and went bombing in Cuba on their own, inflicting heavy damage to Cuban forces before being downed by them. When the Kennedys found out about it sometime on April 19, they were most concerned about the potential for that to demonstrate, contrary to US government’s claims, that the US was causing trouble in Cuba. Richard Bissell, who was in charge of Kennedy’s ‘get Castro’ planning, was summoned to the White House where he had a meeting with John and Robert Kennedy. Robert was vicious, while his brother sat back and watched the show. He got in Bissell’s face and, according to Bissell (32 years later!), said “Those American pilots had better be goddamned well dead… Bobby’s only concern was the image of his brother and what the pilots could do if they were captured.” Then Bobby Kennedy told Bissell that the CIA had better keep the families of the pilots (whose fate was at this time unkown) quiet, which is why getting the widows of the pilots pensions was extremely difficult. It took a threat from a big Kennedy donor named Oscar Wyatt, who one of the pilots wives knew, to take the whole thing to the media to get Bobby Kennedy to come through with (not full) pensions for the families of the pilots.
You know, Edward, even TIME, which is wholeheartedly behind the ongoing Camelot operation, has the good sense to dish a little dirt on JFK. Wrote Camelot pusher, David Von Drehle, in his TIME Special Edition on JFK (chapter five):
Kennedy’s reputation glows despite revelations of the extreme recklessness with which he conducted his personal life. His sexual conquests as president ranged from a teenage intern to the wife of a friend and associate. He was both exhibitionist and voyeur during afternoon orgies in the White House swimming pool. Secret Service agents tried in vain to keep track of the stream of unknown women, including some prostitutes, who were ushered past the guards to meet with the president. In one notorious case, Kennedy shared a mistress with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana – both men were introduced to Judith Campbell Exner by their mutual friend Frank Sinatra. Giancana had been recruited at the time to help the CIA kill Castro. When FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, a man despised by the Kennedys, uncovered the unseemly triangle, he paid a call on the president to warn him of the danger of blackmail…
Kennedy’s licentious behavior deeply wounded his young wife, Jacqueline, whose beauty and poise were essential to his calculatingly misleading image as head of America’s most glamorous family…
Too many people now know enough about white knight JFK that any stories about him that covered it all up would cause frowns. But there are limits. Mentioning JFK’s sexual conquests is one thing – and probably something that makes women swoon and gives men ideas. But mentioning that he had venereal disease and that there is no reason to suppose that he didn’t pass it on to his victims is, evidently, taboo (except for some, like Noam Chomsky and Seymour Hersh). That might be counterproductive.
Ironically, as Seymour Hersh reports, Hedley Donovan, a onetime editor of Time Inc., dared to challenge the group think on Saint Kennedy, albeit timorously, in a memoir written in 1987. See page 209 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot.” But TIME, with its reissue of a special Camelot edition (with no information, other than “DISPLAY UNTIL 8/11/17 on the front cover, within it to tell readers about its provenance), including a fawning article (“His Finest Speech”) by destroyer Jeffrey Sachs, has not failed the Corporatocracy. Sachs is something else.
He’s pleased as punch at the evident success of the US progaganda system in making its citizens dull. He quotes JFK: “No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity.” In that same speech, JFK so kindly referred to the Soviet Union as an “implacable foe,” even though, during the Vietnam war there were only Americans, and their Korean and Chinese mercenaries, in Vietnam. And elsewhere Kennedy railed against what he called “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy,” referring to Communism. Whatever Jeffrey. I wouldn’t expect you to share with TIME’s readers William Blum’s Master List of countries that the US has attempted to do regime change in or succeeded in carrying out regime change.
Its 2017. A lot more of us know about the facts surrounding JFK’s fake missile gap with the Soviets and other things. And he states, about the arms build up, which the US is far and away in the lead among all nations building up their armies and weapons inventory, “They are squandering their wealth in an arms race.” This is for the gullible public, because Jeffrey’s friends in the Pentagon and defence contractor sections of the deep state, who have more pull than individual presidents who they allow to wear a crown, want the profits that come from making weapons to be used in wars of aggression in order to steal countries for their resources and so that the US can dominate and its 1% can own the world.
Here is a section of Sach’s article. His article consists of paragraphs of Kennedy’s 1963 Peace Speech interspersed with comments by Sachs. Here’s a section; I will italicize Kennedy’s words:
=== === =
Kennedy’s rhetoric soared with empathy and insight, in what to my mind are the most eloquent and important words of the speech, and perhaps of his presidency:
So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.
Kennedy called for a resumption of disarmament talks, implicity returning to the timetable he had proposed at the U.N. General Assembly in 1961:
Our primary long-range interest… is general and complete disarmament, designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms.
Kennedy concluded the Peace Speech with two important announcements. The first was that Khrushchev, Kennedy and British prime minister Harold Macmillan, the leaders of the three nuclear powers, had agreed to talks to try to complete a test ban treaty. The second was that the U.S. would not conduct nuclear tests as long as other states did not do so. Both announcements were interrupted by vigorous applause. The listeners recognized that something new and important was getting underway…
= === ===
“Pushing for the test ban was not all politics for Kennedy. He had a carefully conceived strategic agenda reaching all the way back to his days in the Senate: he was convinced that a test ban treaty would freeze the huge American advantage over the Soviet Union in weapons research and deployment… What Kennedy knew in 1963, and Nikita Khrushchev did not, was the extent to which the Pentagon’s nuclear scientists were prepared to continue their work underground. The test ban treaty would not slow the arms race.” – page 385 of “The Dark Side Of Camelot” by Seymour Hersh
In a very different venue from that where he gave his Peace Speech (at American University in Washington D.C.) , later, namely in Senate hearings, the test ban “was described to Senators hostile to arms control not as a victory against the arms race but as a victory in it.” – Hersh
“The profit-seeking imperative of capitalism was the basis for U.S. foreign policy’s emphasis on sweeping away nationalist impediments to a global economic order of favorable climates for U.S. trade and investment. Capitalism concentrates wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of bankers, investors and high level corporate executives, which uses its wealth and control of important economic assets to obtrude its policy preferences on the state. This is not to suggest that a cabal of rich capitalists secretly meets to dictate policy prescriptions to the U.S. government. Intead, the business community takes advantage of a multitude of mechanisms to ensure its policy preferences prevail in competition with other groups…
“Another reason foreign policy guided by the sectional interests of corporate America is less likely to be publicly opposed is because, in order to mobilize popular support for their foreign policies, U.S. leaders have veiled the aggressive pursuit of private economic interests abroad behind the myth that the United States is inherently virtuous and is a force for good around the world and therefore is pursuing disinterested goals. Accordingly, the exploitative nature of U.S. foreign policy, and its connection to the sectional interests of wealthy investors and top-level corporate executives, is largely hidden from the U.S. public.” – Stephen Gowans, from pages 16-19 of “Washington’s Long War On Syria”
“Activists like myself are often scoffed at for saying the same old things to the same old people… preaching to the choir… The choir needs to be frequently reminded and enlightened.
“As cynical as many Americans may think the members of the choir are, the choir is frequently not cynical enough about the power elite’s motivations. No matter how many times they’re lied to, they still often underestimate the government’s capacity for deceit, clinging to the belief that their elected leaders somehow mean well. As long as people believe that their elected leaders are well intentioned, the leaders can, and do, get away with murder. Literally. This belief is the most significant of the myths the present book deals with.” – William Blum, from pages 12 & 13 of “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy And Everything Else”
“The role of the technical intelligentsia in decision-making is pre-dominant in those parts of the economy that are “in the service of the war technique” (or such substitutes as the space race) and that are closely linked to government, which underwrites their security and growth. It is little wonder, then, that the technical intelligentsia is, typically, committed to what Barrington Moore calls “the predatory solution of token reform at home and counterrevolutionary imperialism abroad.” Elsewhere, Moore offers the following summary of the “predominant voice of America at home and abroad” – and ideology that expresses the needs of the American socioeconomic elites, that is propounded with various gradations of subtlety by many American intellectuals, and that gains substantial adherence on the part of the majority that has obtained “some share in the affluent society”:
You may protest in words as much as you like. There is but one condition attached to the freedom we would very much like to encourage: your protests may be as loud as possible as long as they remain ineffective. Though we regret your sufferings very much and would like to do something about them – indeed we have studied them very carefully and have already spoken to your rulers and immediate superiors about these matters – any attempt by you to remove your oppressors by force is a threat to civilised society and the democratic process. Such threats we cannot and shall not tolerate. As you resort to force, we will, if need be, wipe you from the face of the earth by the measured response that rains down fire from the skies.
“A society in which this is the predominant voice can be maintained only through some form of national mobilization, which may range in its extent from, at the minimum, a commitment of substantial resources to a credible threat of force or violence. Give the realities of international politics, this commitment can be maintained in the United States only by a form of national psychosis of the sort given voice, for example, by the present secretary of defense, who sees us “locked in a real war, joined in mortal combat on the battlefield, each contender maneuvering for advantage” – a war against an enemy who appears in many guises: Kremlin bureaucrat, Asian peasant, Latin American student, and, no doubt, “urban guerilla” at home. Far saner voices can be hear expressing a perception that is not totally dissimilar. Perhaps success can be attained in the national endeavor announced by this predominant voice.
In Moore’s informed judgment, the system “has considerable flexibility and room for maneuver, including strategic retreat.” In any event, this much is farily sure. Success can be achieved only at the cost of severe demoralization, which will make life as meaningless for those who share in the affluent society as it is hopeless for the peasant in Guatemala. Perhaps “war is the health of the state” – but only in the sense in which an economy is “healthy” when a rising GDP includes the cost of napalm and missiles and riot-control devices, jails and detention camps, placing a man on the moon, and so on.” – Noam Chomsky, chapter one of “Masters Of Mankind – Essays And Lectures, 1969-2013”
Paul Street’s article titled “The “New JFK”: Nothing Great To Be” looks at the way the Corporatocracy and its agents, like Jeffrey Sachs, use good looking and talking presidents to sell its elite-serving system of oppression.
Explaining why his hero Barack Obama was not invited to a liberal rally honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington last August 24th (four days before the exact anniversary date of August 28th), leading black Democratic Party activist and MSNBC talk show host Rev. Al Sharpton explained that Obama is “the new John F. Kennedy (JFK), not the new [Dr. Martin Luther] King.”…
Let’s take a look back at the real and original President Kennedy. It is an apt moment for such a retrospective, as liberal Kennedy worship and nostalgia spikes anew with the coming 50-year anniversary of JFK’s assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 2013.
The major problem with Sharpton’s comparison is his instinctive liberal assumption that it’s a good thing to be “the new John F. Kennedy.”
“The role played by twentieth-century Presidents,” political scientist Bruce Mirroff noted 37 years ago, “has been characteristically conservative. ‘Liberal’ as well as ‘conservative’ Presidents… have bent their strongest efforts, not to alter, but to preserve America’s dominant institutions. Whatever their professed sympathies, their actions have served, not to redistribute wealth and power, but to perpetuate existing inequalities… [serving as] central figures in the maintenance of established [hierarchical] socioeconomic arrangements.”
As Miroff demonstrated in his forgotten classic Pragmatic Illusions: The Presidential Politics of John F. Kennedy (1976), the liberal icon JFK was no exception to the rule. He lined up consistently on the conservative, that is, power-friendly side of each of what Dr. King called “the triple evils that are interrelated”: racism (deeply and institutionally understood), economic exploitation (capitalism), and U.S. militarism…
There is nothing new about the Obama-Kennedy analogy, of course. The black Seattle-based Left poet and activist [Michael Hureaux] sensed the dark side of the Kennedy-Obama analogy from the start. The Obama candidacy, Hureaux noted nearly a year before the Obama White House ascendency, was about “restor[ing] faith in the imperial project” by putting an eloquent black leader at its nominal head, to function as a “JFK in sepia.”…
Last Spring, the eminent left historian Perry Anderson noted of Obama that “Once invested with the authority of office, looks and aplomb have generated a celebrity ruler — colour relaying style to yield a JFK for a multi-cultural age, attracting much the same kind of engouement in the local intelligentsia and its counterparts abroad… Attempts by enthusiasts to talk of the [Obama] administration’s achievement as a second New Deal miss the comparator. Its egalitarian sheen belongs with the callisthenic gauze of the New Frontier.”
David Von Drehle (who put together the TIME special on JFK), Jeffrey Sachs, Barack Obama, JFK, corporate owned media editors and journalists, and bloggers like Edward Curtin, have willingly and knowingly allowed themselves to be stamped with the slave’s mark of the wild beast of Corporatocracy. It’s a free universe, but not one free of consequences.
There is no solidarity on the real Left. That’s been apparent to me for a long time. My latest experience with an antsy blogger reminded me of that fact. After reading Barbara McKenzie’s lengthy post about leftists who are not quite Left, and commenting, I was subjected to hostility for asking why the author sees no reason to believe rendition victim Maher Arar’s story. I am left to figure out why all by myself, because when I asked Barbara for a reason for her dismissal of Arar’s story, she accused me of putting words in her mouth and closed the discussion, possibly in an act of collective punishment if you factor in the inability of others to offer comments, perhaps conveying useful information. Well, I certainly didn’t put words in her mouth, as you can see below. I used enough words to be clear about what I was saying. Barbara did the same thing with her appropriately lengthy two-part post, but not in her comments to me. Without communication between Barbara and myself, I can’t know exactly what the problem is.
But I can analyze information that I do have access to, namely the two-part essay she wrote and the little she did say to me in her responses to my responses. It hurts to be disappeared by those who you look to for guidance. Then again, It’s relative. I look to other progressives who are also academics, activists who do serious research, bloggers who do serious research and bloggers who are also activists, to guide me, but not always and not in all matters.
A few thoughts about and quibbles with with parts 1 & 2 of Barbara McKenzie’s blog post “The Rebranding Of The Anti-Syria Left”:
1. from part 1: “For more than five years the anti-Syria movement has relentlessly vilified the Syrian president with an incontinent flow of accusations, making full use of language favoured by the most hard-line interventionists: Assad ‘the butcher’, ‘the brutal tyrant’ has been accused of deliberately conducting a reign of terror, of bombing, starving, raping, gassing his own people, deliberately targeting hospitals, blood-banks, schools, bakeries, children and even kittens.” Therefore, it seems, anyone who says ‘anything’ bad about Assad is automatically suspicious in Barbara’s view.
2. from part 1: “US support for the ‘Assad regime was a favourite theme of Ben Norton, who explored this thesis in an article US Government Essentially Sides with Assad.” This is iffy. The US can support you one minute and turn on you the next. We all know that. It can even pretend to support you while it’s making plans to crush you. Howard Zinn looks at the Platt and Teller Amendments on pages 304 & 311 of “A People’s History Of The United States – 1492-2001.” Cuba, and many Americans, thought that Cuba was safe from American aggression because the US had, in effect, enshrined that protection in law. Ha!
“…Congress had passed the Teller Amendment, pledging the United States not to annex Cuba. It was initiated and supported by those people who were interested in Cuban independence and opposed to American imperialism, and also by business people who saw the “open door” as sufficient and military intervention unnecessary…
“The United States did not annex Cuba. But a Cuban Constitutional Convention was told that the United States army would not leave Cuba until the Platt Amendment, passed by Congress in February 1901, was incorporated into the new Cuban Constitution. This Amendment gave the United States “the right to intervene for the preservation of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty…” It also provided for the United States to get coaling or naval stations at certain specified points.
“The Teller Amendment and the talk of Cuban freedom before and during the war had led many Americans – and Cubans – to expect genuine independence. The Platt Amendment was now seen, not only by the radical and labor press, but by newspapers and groups all over the United States, as a betrayal.”
Zinn (on page 312) quotes General Leonard Wood, “who wrote in 1901 to Theodore Roosevelt: “There is, of course, little or no independence left in Cuba under the Platt Amendment.””
3. from part 1: There’s a link to Ben Norton’s article, titled “US Government Officially Sides With Assad,” in Barbara’s post that includes another link to another Norton article (titled “The “Anti-Imperialist” Nations of Iran, Syria, and Libya Participated in the CIA Torture Program”) with a link to an Open Society Report titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.” I checked that Open Society report (and would ordinarily avoid anything Soros-connected) just to see whether it includes Syria in its list of rendition sites, which it does. I am loathe to look at anything that originates with or is funded by George Soros, Mr Regime change himself. Alternet (which Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton are attached to), which is partly funded by George Soros, is truly in the toilet here. Score one (on top of many scores) for Barbara. But, Would even an Open Society Foundation report lie about CIA rendition sites?
From that OSF report:
FOREIGN GOVERNMENT PARTICIPATION IN CIA SECRET DETENTION AND EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION…
Syria detained, interrogated, and tortured extraordinarily rendered individuals. It
was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects.” 1496 The CIA extraordinarily rendered at least nine individuals to Syria between December 2001 and October 2002. 1497 The case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian who was transferred to Syria from New York by the CIA in 2002, is one of the most well-known cases of extraordinary rendition involving Syria. 1498 See the detainee list
in Section IV. Individuals extraordinarily rendered to Syria include Arar, Abdul Halim Dalak, Noor al-Deen, Omar Ghramesh, Bahaa Mustafa Jaghel, Barah Abdul Latif, Mustafa Setmariam Nassar (Abu Musab al-Suri), Yasser Tinawi, and Mohammed Haydar Zammar. See the detainee list in Section IV. Known detention facilities where extraordinary rendition victims were held in Syria include the Palestine Branch/Far Falastin Prison (in western Damascus) where detainees were held in communal cells and also in an area called “the Grave,” which consisted of individual cells that were roughly the size of coffins.
1499 Detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the
“German chair”) and beatings. 1500 There have been no known judicial cases or investigations in Syria relating to its participation in CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations.
4. from part 1: Barbara fails to use quotation marks for quotations, which leaves the reader wondering whether she’s paraphrasing or not. Would she want others to paraphrase her every time they refer to something she’s said or written?
5. from part 2: “For people taking a serious interest in the conflict the concept of the ‘civil war’ has been long debunked – instead the war has been seen for what it is, a proxy war initiated and fuelled from without, both camouflaged and justified through an extraordinary propaganda campaign.” If the Syrian regime isn’t perfect, then it’s perfectly reasonable to expect some who must live under it to protest, if they are able to. I’m completely willing to accept that outside forces stirred things up in Syria, urging those who had grievances to get loud, but is it fair to dismiss all of those who had grievances, even if they were later swept aside to make room for “revolutionaries”?
6. Also, Too many authoritative sources accept Maher Arar’s story for us to reject it on the basis of one blogger’s ‘suspicion’. No less an authority than Alfred W. McCoy accepts it (page 173 of “A Question of Torture – CIA Interrogation, From The Cold War To The War On Terror”), but refers to New York Times reportage, by Bob Hebert, about it, which is problematic. Regarding Syria specifically, McCoy writes: “The agency’s global gulag was inextricably interwoven with secret-police prisons across Asia and the Middle East. In June 2004, the respected newspaper The Observer estimated that three thousand terror suspects were being held both in CIA centers and allied prisons throughout the Middle East – a figure also claimed by the CIA’s counterterrorism chief at Langley, Cofer Black. In this same period, the CIA, under President Bush’s direct orders, engaged in the extraordinary rendition of some 150 Al Qaeda suspects, sending them to nations whose secret police were, in the view of the State Department, synonymous with torture – Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Pakistan.”
The Rendition Project certainly accepts Maher Arar’s story.
Roger Annis, who I have the highest regard for (despite his failure to respond to me after I emailed him) accepts it.
And on and on.
7. On the other hand, Maher Arar’s article “Myth And Reality In The Struggle For Syria,” reveals that he is indeed, either a tool of the Corporatocracy or simply ignorant. But it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t tortured in Syria. The following excerpts were taken from Arar’s article reprinted on Roger Annis’s website. The original was on a website (Prism) that no longer exists.
“When I was detained at the Sednaya prison in 2003, a 60-year-old man told me of a conversation that took place between him and a general in the Political Security Directorate. The old man was trying to have a rational dialogue with the general during the interrogation, by advising him that the regime must treat people like human beings if it wanted to rightly earn the respect of the Syrian people.
“The general responded: “We want to rule people by our shoes.” This is a famous Syrian expression akin to: “We want to rule people with an iron fist, humiliating them.” This example sheds some light on the type of mentality that dominates the inner circles of the Assad regime even today. Understanding this point in particular is crucial to understanding the violent response that the regime showed towards the protesters since day one.”
He also wrote:
“For instance, the main point of contention between a newly spun group led by longtime dissident Haitham al-Maleh and the SNC was the issue of how best to respond to the regime’s growing brutality. Al-Maleh believed that the priority was to arm what is called the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group that was mostly formed, reportedly, from army defectors. It seems that al-Maleh was responding to the popular will of the people inside Syria who had lost hope in peaceful means to bring down the regime. It also seems that revolutionaries inside Syria had also lost hope that sanctions, which the SNC heavily lobbied Western countries for, would have any meaningful effect on the regime. People also came to realise that outside military intervention would never happen.
“It is worth highlighting that, despite its name, the FSA is composed of hundreds of independent groups. Their emergence is a miracle, considering that the regime has become known for taking revenge upon the families of defectors. It is also worth mentioning that Syrian conscripts are usually assigned to detachments that are hundreds of miles away from their home town (another regime tactic which makes it more likely that soldiers will obey orders to kill.)”
The FSA is a miracle?!!! Re-attaching heads to bodies and making those people live again might be considered a miracle. But chopping off those heads? Not so much.
And if you’re still not sure that Arar is out to lunch, this:
“While the CIA may be present near the Syrian-Turkish border, all evidence points to the fact that the U.S. is not very keen to arm the rebels, out of fear the arms would eventually fall in the hands of al-Qaeda and like-minded groups.”
8. “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria” by Gareth Porter
If bloggers like Barbara think that it’s okay when they can talk at me, endlessly, and hear from me only when I agree with them or applaud them, then they are so wrong. And when they disappear (online on their own websites) those like myself, who, with good intentions, question or challenge them, then they are no different, in important respects, than the rightwing journalists and organizations that are now shutting down voices that don’t agree with them. There’s a tsunami of gate closings happening right now, precisely because gatekeeper journalists who have sold their souls for gain are instructed by their paymasters to block the people’s (and their champions’) voices, and they are happy to obey because they themselves have been publicly exposed for being the poor journalists and evil tools that they are and they now welcome not being reminded. What are the excuses of progressives for behaving like those rightwing journalists and organizations that close channels of communication between the audiences they talk at and themselves?
This is darkness. Some of it is darker than the rest, just as the Right is not a moral equivalent of the (real) Left, but is evil. (And that is something that those who earn a living writing have a hard time with, and I have sympathy for those who have to face such difficulty. How do you walk the talk of democracy by starting out in your conversation – and dialog is what we want rather than force – with, “We have nothing to talk about. You’re evil.”) Therefore, Journalists whose organizations are willing appendages of the US-led Corporatocracy and who have shut down commenting on their online articles or have taken up the practice of censoring comments in order to filter out facts – which they call filtering out fake news – are helping to spread darkness. Journalists who might speak truth to power and who tell us facts about abuses by the powerful, often at great risk to themselves, but who don’t want to be challenged in any way, also practice darkness. The former represents unambiguous darkness, or evil. The latter, which isn’t good, is, depending (on the confession of guilt level), forgivable imperfection. And we are all imperfect.
Barbara splits up her long post into two parts and she has sections that she labels. One is “Controlling the narrative.” Ironically. Maybe Barbara feels that she’s on the side of righteousness and those who disagree with her are, automatically, evil. (In which case, She needs to distinguish between those who totally disagree with her and those who disagree with some of what she writes.) And maybe she takes that position because it’s handy, for purposes of controlling the narrative and ‘winning’ the debate. Maybe she’s aware of the irony and maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s aware of the irony of disappearing me the way she did and figures that no one will notice. Is there solidarity here if some progressives disappear others and can afterward say, “See, Everyone agrees with everyone?” Those who you’ve disappeared may not be visible because you’ve banished them from your presence, but they’re still there. In other words, If you divide up the real Left into camps, including one in which everyone agrees with you and vice versa, and other camps whose members disagree with some of what you write, and then pretend that only the part of the real Left that you’re in exists, Is that solidarity on the real Left?
I fired off 3 or 4 emails to people who I thought might be able to give me some assurance that I’m not overreatcting to Barbara’s behavior. Here’s some samples:
To Roger Annis:
Hello. I really like your work, firstly. I tell everyone about The New Cold War.
I recently had an unpleasant experience (on top of similar unpleasant experiences with assorted progressives), where I was commenting on a lengthy article about progressives (focussing on Max Blumenthal, who, until this, I had nothing but admiration for), including in one of those comments a mention of Syria’s treatment of Maher Arar and was, kind of, challenged by the article’s author on that position. When I asked Barbara McKenzie if she had a reason for doubting Arar’s story, she soon after simply killed our back and forth. In her view, there’s zero reason to accept Maher’s position. In my view, she is the one who needs to come up with a reason for doubting, especially when everyone, Left, Right and in between, has ‘not’ doubted Maher Arar’s story. (True, Just because the whole world believes something, that doesn’t mean that it’s true. But then give me your reason for doubting.) Is it just me or is this person sending me on a wild goose chase to find some way of corroborating Maher’s story, which for me – I have no ability or time to do this sort of investigation – means finding someone in the world who indeed doubts, for a ‘reason’, Maher Arar’s story?
I guess that’s one question. Related to it would be: Do you personally know of anyone in the world who doubts, for a ‘reason’, Maher Arar’s story?
[my name] / My blog is “A Yappy Trade Barrier.” My phone number is: 647-828-3632
To Matthew Behrens:
Hello. I’ve hunted around for a contact email for Matthew, to no avail. Unless this is it. I’d be happy to phone him if there’s a number for him. I am [my name]. My blog is “A Yappy Trade Barrier.” My cell is: 647-828-3236
I simply want to ask him, or anyone (and I’m working on that), if there’s any reason for anyone to doubt Maher Arar’s story. I myself don’t. But when another progressive (Barbara McKenzie at barbaramckenzie.wordpress.com) replied to my mention of Bashar Assad signing off on torturing Arar, she said that she sees zero reason to ‘not’ doubt Arar’s story. I was floored. And I feel like the answer I should be giving her – which is hard, when she’s the one giving me guidance – is that absolutely no one, Right or Left and in between, is doubting Arar’s story. It looks to me like I touched a nerve. It also looks to me like a lack of humility. She has possibly put herself into a trap of her own making with her narrative about the demonization of Syria’s leader (for purposes that are obvious to progressives), but hanging the success of that narrative too much on the goodness of Assad. The sad thing here is that that is 1. unnecessary for the integrity of her narrative and 2. unreasonable.
No one has yet to respond to any of the email queries I’ve sent regarding my silencing on Barbara’s blog.
Bloggers like Barbara may be right, in one way, in assuming that by closing their gates when I show up, they’ve made me disappear. (Sometimes journos respond to my email queries and sometimes they respond without responding. Most recently, that was my experience with Stephen Lendman and Wahid Azal. See below. I’ve emailed Stephen a few times and he responded a few times. I don’t recall him not responding every time I’ve emailed him, but it’s possible that it’s happened.) I’m obviously invisible on her blog, at least in relation to my apparently annoying question about Maher Arar, and my own blog gets very little attention. But I don’t write solely for attention, which we all need. And I’m principled. I’m not perfect, but I’m fair and I hope that I would not shut people up who disagree with me just because I had the power to. (However, If you’re evil and if you’re doing evil at my expense, don’t expect me to assist you.) And I will win my arguments with reason and facts, as best as I can. In the end, I’m one imperfect human being and I will not save the world (of imperfect, loyal to God humans). Which means that I will not be ‘forced’ to take up the Devil’s weapons in order to fight the Devil. God is going to save the world. And by world, I do not mean this system of things. I do not mean this wild, vicious, devouring wild beast of Corporatocracy and the sick societies – full of worshippers of the wild beast – it creates. So, I have no problem with losing a debate in one sense. I won’t be compromising my integrity before God in order to win a debate. That would make me a loser.
Do you see the traps? They include false pride and negativity. False pride means ego, essentially. I’m imperfect and would never claim that I have no egotistical desire to win or to be recognized for achievement. But my ego is kept in check by my principles and my knowledge of right and wrong and by my choice, which we all possess, to be as good a person as I can be. I am not willing to lie, for example. And I have no wish to please man rather than God (which is a position I can take because I also possess faith and believe, fully, that there is a God). When faced with a tryannical leader, namely a boss or president or someone in a position of authority over me, I will feel fear like anyone. That’s because I have no special protection – at this time – from the awful things that tyrants might do to me if they are free to do awful things to me and choose to. I understand that.
As a Bible student (no longer studying), I know that God has to allow this system of things to run its course, so that all can see, as our first human parents wrongly desired that we all should see, that independence from the Source of life doesn’t work. They desired to learn that lesson, unnecessarily, the hard way. (Then, when the issue of universal sovereignty is settled, God can, in full righteousness, destroy this anti-God world.) Their actions raised the issue of universal sovereignty that, like any issue, has taken time to settle. (Humankind has lived with Satanic influence for a long time now, creating cultures and nation states and technology – which has taken us where?) If God was to interrupt that lesson in order to miraculously protect his loyal servants from tyrants and terrorists, that would abort the issue (or lesson) of universal sovereignty, which Satan and our first human parents caused to be raised by their rebellion. The issue would never get settled and we couldn’t move on. The Issue is: Is God’s rule of love good and the best that there is or is Satan’s rule of ‘riches for the strongest’ an equal alternative or even a better alternative? Only once that issue has been settled can we move on and can God finish saving imperfect, but loyal, servants.
Those who choose to believe that imperfect humankind is God put themselves into a very bad trap. Having no faith in a higher power, they turn, out of necessity, to imperfect human saviors. They have no choice (once they’ve made that other choice). So you get the sorry spectacle of people’s champions, like Noam Chomsky, urging people to vote for the lesser evil in each election in the United States. Seymour Hersh, who I wouldn’t call a people’s champion exactly, voted for drone murderer slash deporter-in-chief slash defender of banksters Barack Obama, twice. And he knows what Obama is all about.
What do I mean by negativity? There’s a negativity that has a moral quality to it and a negativity that is morally neutral. If I give you bad, but factual, news, and don’t do so in order to distress you with it, that can be called negative. But it’s not bad behavior. If I automatically disagree with you because you disagree with, or do not agree with, me, then that’s negative and it does have a moral quality to it. That would make my behavior bad. I might behave that way if I lack humility. If you lack humility, false pride takes its place.
An online site I visit often is The Real News Network, whose main officer is Paul Jay. I recently watched an episode of TRNN in which Aaron Mate interviewed the irascible Seymour Hersh, who folks often refer to as Sy. They were discussing Sy’s recent article in which he looks at how President Donald Trump ignored intelligence showing that there was no evidence that the Syrian government used poison gas in it’s April 4 attack in Idlib province, at Khan Sheikhun, and, taking the position that Assad had launched a chemical weapon attack, Trump ordered the bombing of the Shayrat Air Base in central Syria, on April 6, as retaliation. (April 6 or 7, depending on what time zone you look at it from, I guess. Reportedly, only 23 of the expensive missiles hit their target. It’s happy times for the defense contractors! And the Saker has an interesting theory on that, which looks at possible Russian tech that can re-program in-flight cruise missiles.). I’ve read a couple of Sy’s books. They were very interesting, especially his “Dark Side Of Camelot” which takes a close look at John F Kennedy. The picture Sy paints isn’t pretty. But even a titan in the world of journalism can’t, it seems, put a dent in the myth of Camelot, namely the idea that JFK was a shining white knight fighting evil. Why create the myth of Camelot? It’s marketing. JFK was good looking, sexy and a partyer extraordinaire. He was therefore destined to become the face of the wild beast of Corporatocracy who some of its members believed could sell it best. (In what I consider to be, possibly, a bit of a failure [to have the courage of your convictions] on Sy’s part, he discusses that book at “Politics & Prose” bookstore and talks about some of Kennedy’s positives, including his ability to shake off huge problems when going from a discussion of one them to another that has nothing to do with it. But he also makes the point – his whole book is taken up with that task – that JFK was reckless. Does he not see a connection? In other words, Is Sy making a point or isn’t he?)
JFK was a good choice as an enduring ad for the Corporatocracy. Once you look closely, you’ll see that the venereal disease-ridden, self-absorbed, reckless womanizer, John Kennedy, wasn’t fit to be president of a hotdog stand, let alone a nation. In the Christian Bible, the United States is given special attention. In one place, it’s depicted as a lamb with the mouth of a dragon (a word that means ‘swallower down’, I believe). Indeed, The United States holds itself up as a champion of democracy and a defender of the downtrodden, like the lamb that is Jesus Christ in the Bible. But with its mouth and by its actions, which come from its stated policies and instructions (offers others can’t refuse), it shows itself to be an all-devouring, beastly, anti-god, anti-life nation. (There are no godly nations and they are all, quite literally, living on borrowed time.)
For an establishment journo – and Sy, for all of his speaking truth to power, is still pro establishment – Sy’s journalism can be pretty useful to progressives who are trying to make the case that those with power shouldn’t have it. As I noted in my comments attached to that Real News interview, above, Imagine how good Sy would be if he was ‘not’ establishment. And Barbara McKenzie’s blog post, which I read before watching the above interview, in which Sy discusses his latest article (in which he outlines how Trump ignored intelligence informing him that the Syrian government did not use chemical weapons in its attack of April 4), gave me a good idea what that better Sy could look like. And when I noted in one of my comments that, like Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, Sy failed to give any credit to hardworking journalists who have been following events in the region from the beginning (muttering about the White Helmets that “There’s been reports about them being supported by us and the United Kingdom, but they’re certainly there in the rebel territories” rather than explicitly condemning them and giving credit to the on the ground journos who brought us those reports), I elicited one strong reaction from another commenter. Either that was a person who can’t handle being challenged to think critically, which requires skepticism, or he (or…) was a troll. I was asked “How is this even relevant to what Hersh was reporting?” Of course, that was not a thoughtful response, anymore than Barbara’s anger with me for asking her for a reason for her distrust of Arar Maher’s story was thoughtful. The irony here is that I got kicked by Barbara for, apparently, threatening her control of the narrative about Syria and Bashar al-Assad (under whose watch Maher Arar and others were tortured) and then I got kicked again for failing to show the proper deference to saint Hersh when I used Barbara’s information to question’s Sy’s dedication to the truth.
And there’s lessons in all of this for those on the Left. They can be summed up as: Look out for traps. And the way you do that is simple: Be better people. The reason there isn’t solidarity on the Left is that so many leftists are stuck in traps that they don’t have to be stuck in. (It’s not because we criticize each other or disagree here and there about some things.) Those are moral (but not necessarily fatal) failings, not ploys by rightwingers. But it’s a free universe, which, note, does not mean a universe free of consequences.
Email exchanges in which I was left, more or less, hanging:
On Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 8:52 PM, Arrbyy wrote:
In your CounterPunch article about Alexander Dugin, you mention, without qualification, Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Is it your position that that ‘annexation’ was criminal?
On Sun, Apr 23, 2017 at 3:00 PM, N.W. Azal wrote:
Greetings, no, that is not my assumption, hence why I deliberately chose not to use the loaded term “invasion” which the MSM uses. Crimea was since Catherine part of the Russian territorial sphere of influence that merely fell out of its grasp due to Khruschev’s decision and then the end of the Cold War with the break up of the USSR. NW
Thanks for your answer. I’ll only point out that some (including myself) would consider an unqualified ‘Russia annexed Crimea’ to be a loaded phrase.
I’m quite interested in something I heard in your interview with Ali Syed, which I watched on Newsbud. I’ve watched, along with normal and attentive people everywhere with horror as fascism has ascended everywhere. I’ve written a few posts on my own blog (A Yappy Trade Barrier) about fascism intensifying globally. It strikes me as incredibly irrational, seeing how, unless people are going to ditch global capitalism and free trade and travel and, in a word, the interconnectedness that has become the norm, fascists, leaning heavily on the ideas of racial purity which lead fascists in each fascist jurisdiction to look down on those who are not of their color and blood, that attitude and orientation can only lead to problems for those fascists, let alone for normal people. Then I heard you talk about ethno-pluralism. Of course, What it is can seen from carefully examining fascism historically. But I now know that it’s a thing. And it’s so genius and stupid at the same time. It’s like dealing with cancer by making all tobacco products free!
Thanks again for your quick response.
On Friday, March 17, 2017 1:16 PM, Arrbyy . wrote:
Hello Stephen. Are you aware of the ‘non’ progressive nature of Antiwar.com? Sibel Edmonds has take a close look at this fake progressive orgaization. Please have a look yourself, if you haven’t already. It’s on the Newsbud website, under the title “Newbud’s Warning on the Fake News Bucket List: Watch out for the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.” – http://bit.ly/2nNLAU1
I chopped the vid to look at just the Antiwar.com part. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/ez6nzkDmG98
Take care. Keep the good work!
ps: “email@example.com.” is flagged by my (stinking) gmail as being improperly formed or something.
From: Stephen Lendman
Sent: March 17, 2017 2:54 PM
To: Arrbyy .
Subject: Re: Sibel Edmonds eviscerates Antiwar.com which you recommed-?
Some well-known self-styled “progressive” sites are AWOL on the most sensitive issues like 9/11, America’s war on Syria, other aggression, plus other issues. Some disgracefully support the undemocratic Democrat party. They won’t post for me because I go where they won’t dare.
firstname.lastname@example.org Mar 17 to Stephen
Stephen: As wonderful as it is to hear from you, You completely avoided the substance of my email, namely Antiwar.com’s pseudo status. Why?
I agree completely with your statement (in your email to me), but it doesn’t address the issue I raised, at all. Are you telling me that Newsbud avoids you? I find Newsbud to be quite solid and Sibel has good things to say about Global Research, which I’ve checked in on for years now. I just happened to pop in the other day and yours was one of the top of page posted articles. I’ve always enjoyed your articles and think that one of the most important articles you’ve written have to do with the UN blue helmets. (Hopefully the corporatocracy hasn’t decided to go through all the colors.)
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
And those are by no means the only ‘no shows’ among progressives who I’ve contacted with simple questions or comments. Noam Chomsky was an exception. When I wrote to him (the first time), and mentioned the problem I had with getting comments from establishment sources, he wrote me back (Dec 16, 1993) to say:
“Thanks for your interesting and thoughtful letter. I’m sorry, but not too surprised, to hear that you don’t get many responses, or at least useful ones. I’m afraid I’ve got to apologize too. I’m absolutely inundated with mail, try to at least acknowledge everything, but couldn’t possibly keep up seriously in a 24-hour day, even if I devoted full time to it.” He then went on to respond to every point I raised with him in my ‘long’ letter to him! He was apologizing because it took him a long time – months – to reply to me.
Now, Relax and listen to a great old tune by Ringo Starr:
An excerpt from the above linked-to blog post by Off Guardian follows:
===== == =
OffG’s PayPal account has been frozen for what are described as “security” reasons. We have no access to the funds you have donated and – given PayPal’s history with other alternative news sites – it’s possible we may not be able to regain access.
= == =====
The Off Guardian managers have enough to deal with without PayPal’s viciousness. That would be the same company that, together with other financial businesses, orchestrated a banking blockade of the people’s champion, Wikileaks. Comments by participants (including myself) often don’t show up on the Off Guardian website and no one can figure out why. Personally, As they use a WordPress platform (I blog on WordPress myself), I wouldn’t be surprised if WP was behind the problem, or partly behind it. The WP community has watched with dismay as WP has gradually gone into the toilet. I’ve been rescued by the cleverness of one WP blogger who has tech smarts and has created some scripts that rescue some of WP’S desirable features like the sparkline and like WordPress’s original and robust classic editor.
“Wikileaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups. Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The attack has destroyed 95% of our revenue. The blockade came into force within ten days of the launch of Cablegate as part of a concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against Wikileaks staff. The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency. The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add Wikileaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of Wikileaks by politicized US finance companies continues regardless.” – Wikileaks
Also from The Wikileaks website:
On 7 December 2010, the same day Julian Assange was remanded to prison without charge, an extra-legal banking blockade was erected against WikiLeaks – as a direct result of WikiLeaks’ publications – by a number of US financial services giants including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and Western Union.
More than 1,000 people took part in a harmless online protest against the blockade, which attempted to flood the PayPal website with network requests.
The banking blockade against WikiLeaks was subsequently found to be illegal in the European courts and most of the companies involved, including PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, have conceded defeat.
A number of the PayPal blockade protesters were charged by US authorities. For almost four years these protesters, most of whom had never engaged in a protest before, faced threats of imprisonment for what was by all accounts a harmless measure against extra-legal economic censorship.
The most well-known subgroup, the “PayPal 14”, had a significant victory on Thursday, beating felony convictions and jail time.
Each will still have to pay $5,600 in “restitution”, a figure drastically lower than the $5.5 million in “damages” that PayPal initially, and falsely, claimed. Supporters of the protesters, including the Wau Holland Foundation, have raised monies to defray these costs.
Stanley Cohen, a defence attorney for Mercedes Haefer, one of the accused, said last year that the terms of the plea deal were reached “based upon strength, not weakness; based upon principle, not acquiescence”.
“It did not involve cooperation and did not involve any of the defendants renouncing their conduct. They all stood up and said: ’We did what you said we did… We believe it was an appropriate act from us and we’re willing to pay the price’.”
WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange said: “When I first heard about these protests against the financial censorship of WikiLeaks I was in prison, and this expression of popular will lifted my spirits. I know first-hand how grinding years of court cases can be, but also the pleasure in standing up for what you believe in. I encourage everyone to do what they can to help the PayPal 14 and others to get back on their feet as they clear these hurdles.”
SUPPORT THE PAYPAL 14: http://thepaypal14.com/
DONATE TAX FREE WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION: https://www.wauland.de/en/projects/paypal14/
I clicked on both links at the bottom of that announcement and they were dead. Why?
WordPress boasts that it “powers 28% of the internet.” In my opinion, that means that it is probably up to no good. Why? A behemoth like WP would not be ignored by the monsters who run the Corporatocracy. One way or another, they will use WP. If they can’t use it, they will kill it. They might take some time to get around to killing it, but that’s how they roll. We haven’t had juicy revelations, via former staffers or leaks or intrepid investigative journos, but give it time. Look at Wikileaks, which was subject to a financial blockade (which involved rule-breaking) as a way to cripple it. It was big and could not be used by the gangster Corporatocracy, ergo… Off Guardian isn’t big, yet, but perhaps it is making more waves than I am aware. And while the editors there stick to their principles, and continue speaking truth to power and practicing democracy, it can’t be used by the gangster Corporatocracy, although Camelot propaganda has snuck in via an editor of OG named Kit.
You may naively think that if you follow all the rules, you will be fine. That’s just not the case. Within the gangster Corporatocracy, being lawful isn’t exactly the ticket – for the 99%. The one law that ‘might’ be the ticket to success, for unprincipled people within the 99%, is serving power no matter how corrupt it is. (I consider 1% of the 99% to be ethically healthy. The rest of my camp are zombies! You are not automatically righteous just because the Corporatocracy victimizes you, primarily via neoliberal capitalism and austerity.)
Let’s suppose that WP’s management is working with the police state, the way Silicon Valley does. (Peter Thiel, an original founder of PayPal, today is a happy Trump supporter and Chairman of the vile Palantir.) That could mean anything. That could explain why Off Guardian is having technical difficulties. And perhaps the technical difficulties, created by idle hands (toward useful activity) in the Devil’s workshop, were actually a sign of things to come.
What I find interesting about all of this is that Off Guardian carries a few links to news and information sites, one which is Pierre Omidyar’s “The Intercept,” that are compromised and can be said, in fact, to be hostile to OG or at least its direction. I’ve posted comments to Off Guardian before about the back and forth between the smart Pando Journos who dug into Pierre Omidyar’s connection to neo-nazi Ukraine, as a funder of its installment. If any of their editors had a reaction, those were private reactions. How, I wonder, do they feel about former PayPal owner and current First Look/ The Intercept owner Pierre Omidyar now? First Look is impressive in looks and content. That’s not hard to pull off when you are a billionaire. (And yet their search feature is rubbish. I must have connected with someone naive in the organization when I pointed that out and she agreed with me and said she would look into it. Nothing’s changed.) Pando writers, whose expertise is in startups, Silicon Valley goings on and internet technology, are paying attention still. (I can’t afford to sign up there, so I’m missing much. I wonder whether it would be less chaotic if I did pay up. Right now, I find the site to be like an acid trip.) In 2014, Paul Carr wrote “The Intercept decides entire country can’t be trusted to know that America is listening to its calls.” I just read it. Comments are now closed, which is to be expected after three years. But I looked through all the names of the commenters because I wondered; If journos like Carr are so passionate about things that other journos are saying, then Why can’t they themselves comment? (Or is it all on Twitter, which I have no use for.) They are informed and their comments would be useful, as opposed to 99% of what I see. But First Look did allow 400 comments before closing them. That’s a hell of a lot better than many other orgs. Anyway, Here’s an excerpt from that article:
“Wikileaks isn’t the only former ally that has now turned on Omidyar’s quarter billion dollar journalism project. Members of the Anonymous hacker collective have launched a campaign to encourage readers to pirate copies of Greenwald’s new book about the Edward Snowden leaks. Anonymous’ beef centers around Greenwald joining forces with Omidyar who they hold partly responsible for the “PayPal 14″ case.” (Regarding that case, Ignore what the major media say about the “attack” on PayPal’s operation and about the character of the participants. This was nothing more than civil disobedience, no different than a harmless sit-in at a politician’s office or something. No computers were damaged. No information compromised. Business, in one small area, was simply held up for a period of time.)
About the PayPal 14, RT News noted: “The US Justice Department pursued felony charges against 14 individuals alleged to have participated in a distributed denial-of-service attack against PayPal in late 2010 after the website stopped processing donations to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks due to the organization’s publication of classified State Dept. diplomatic cables.” (See “Greenwald’s book tour draws ire from Anonymous hactivists.”)
Pierre Omidyar doesn’t own PayPal now, but how much different in outlook and culture is PayPal under Dan Schulman since it was spun off in 2014? Afterall, The PayPal mafia (a term taken from a 2007 Fortune Magazine article) is said to keep good relations with all of the chief figures of the companies spun off from it over the years. There’s reportedly a lot of sharing of ideas and information between them.
Dan Schulman’s PayPal is behaving the way Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal behaved. Actions speak louder, and sometimes more loudly, than words. It wasn’t Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal that stabbed Off Guardian, but he did far worse to Wikileaks and currently runs First Look and its media organization, The Intercept, which Off Guardian links to on its website. And while Off Guardian is far from being subject to a widespread banking blockade, nevertheless, here’s Dan Schulman’s PayPal behaving like a child of Pierre ‘nazi-enabler’ Omidyar.
“Why does PayPal discriminate against Palestinians?” by Jesse Rubin
A commenter attaching a comment to the top of post-linked to article by Off Guardian asked whether we should launch a petition challenging PayPal’s decision here. I then commented, riffing off of that comment:
Perhaps. But this is the 1%’s modis operandi. They break the (written and unwritten) rules. They will not lose in the class war. If they had a principled belief in law & order and the rule of law, then we could challenge them. But they don’t have. When they can’t win by playing by the rules – donors via PayPal to Wikileaks or OG or what have you – then they toss the board. They resort to force. They terrorize. They will even resort to characterizing international humanitarian law (IHL) as offensive and a tool of terrorists if IHL can help the people who are trying to defend themselves against the global pacification program (with the people as the target) underway, as Jeff Halper explains in “War Against The People.”
“By claiming the need to securitize against a threat, the securitizing agent also creates an inherent justification of its actions. An “enemy” is identified and demonized, or a “threat” is identified and an “emergency” – often a permanent emergency – is declared, all of which casts the securitizer as the victim, the one acting in self-defense.” Which I think will work when the audience is already both dependent on the kindness of the securitizer (the police state) and in fear of it. And once people (too few whom are principled) act, which can include making a decision, rationalization and self-justification follow – if the rationalizer is conflicted about his (or…) chosen course. Rationalizing wrong behavior and thinking normalizes it. Halper continues: “This, of course, obfuscates the self-serving aspects of conflict and framing. Warfare is often less about defeating genuine enemies or making the world a safer place than it is about profiteering and power.
“Monitoring uncomfortable laws and enforcing them in tendentious ways is another understated element of securitization. One can regard the emergence of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights covenants as an example of how non-hegemonic actors arising out of civil society have acted through the UN system to institute laws and articulate norms that constrain the actions of hegemonic powers. One can argue, as do Dillon and Reid, that the “universal” values they promote are themselves a mechanism of capitalist hegemony hiding behind liberal forms of governmentality, capable of imposing core discpline over the entire world-system if applied in self-serving ways. The fact that IHL is implemented mainly by the stronger on the weaker; the trial by the International Criminal Court only of people from Third World countries, and then primarily Africans, is a case in point, as well as the fact that the US has refused to join it. And, of course, as with the rulings of the International Court of Justice and even UN resolutions, the hegemonic elites can simply ignore them. All this reinforces the impression that IHL is wielded more as a weapon of the core against the unruly peripheries than as an instrument of the weak to redress structural inequities.” -pages 81 & 82
The law & order crowd know how to beat us via strategic lawbreaking. And Chris Hedges is right, we need to do it too, but non violently. We must stop cooperating. I would add, we who can. It’s called civil disobedience. The 1% and its tools will call it terrorism. But they’re not afraid of the outgunned, mostly law-abiding (and therefore weak) people. They’re not afraid of God either, unfortunately for them.
Sign the petition here: http://ijvcanada.org/minister-of-national-revenue-revoke-jnf-canadas-charitable-status/
Thank you Independent Jewish Voices Of Canada!