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Monthly Archives: December 2010


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

It has long been only a matter of time until an effective anti-carrier missile is developed.

The Chinese – with their intellectual gift for mathematics, engineering, and computers now financed by a successful economy – have long been good candidates for coming up with it.

After all, they have already, in a short space of time, come up with a working satellite-killer and an advanced thermonuclear warhead comparable to the American W-88.

And, not very long ago, during some American naval exercises in the Southwest seas, a brilliant Chinese submarine commander managed to surface his boat right in the middle of America’s ships, America’s hugely expensive and complex electro-magnetic “umbrella” having failed to detect his boat.

The American Navy was hugely embarrassed and rather shaken by this feat, the result of a new coating and other technologies for Chinese submarines.

I think these events remarkable for a country which spends about 15% of what America spends every year on its military.

There is nothing unsettling about it.

Indeed, I think but am not sure the Russian “sunburn” missile, which spirals unpredictably as it homes in at supersonic speeds, may be capable of sinking a capital ship despite its radar-guided Gatling-gun defenses.

The United States for too long has arrogantly roamed the world’s seas with its aircraft carriers, busy intimidating others, carrying on pointless wars and interventions.

A world of multiple powers will be a much healthier one.

In the way international affairs work, having a single unstoppable super-power is just as unhealthy as having a tyrant running a country.

America itself has suffered seriously in its democratic values and human rights from the decaying effects of its monstrous military-industrial complex.

Remember, America spends more on its military than all other nations on earth combined, and it has done so for a long time.

Remember, that since WWII, America has launched an almost continuous series of ugly wars and invasions and interventions, almost all of them pointless and none of them serving the interests of democracy and human rights. Three million dead in Vietnam, a million dead in Cambodia (destabilized by American intervention), a million dead in Iraq, plus countless lesser savage tolls.

And remember, too, that America is the world’s largest arms merchant, spreading death for profit across the face of the planet.

And, last, remember what Lord Acton said about absolute power.

Meanwhile, despite the fears constantly stirred up by our press and the American government, China has kept to its own sphere and it has not started any wars.
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A link to a reprinted chapter of my book of three years ago may be of interest.

See “China’s New Weapons” at:

http://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/china%E2%80%99s-new-weapons/

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China’s new DF21-D anti-ship missile is a ballistic missile, as opposed to Sunburn which is a ramjet cruise missile which travels about 3 times the speed of sound. The DF21-D is launched much like an ICBM to arch over a region of sea. Its sensors detect enemy ships, and the warhead’s course is altered as needed from its ballistic arch to rain down on a target at hypersonic speeds, the kinetic energy alone of such a strike being adequate to disable a capital ship. This missile is being installed along the coast of China opposite Taiwan to put American carriers at serious risk should they be used to defend Taiwan. The combination of these two anti-ship missiles may well render aircraft carriers obsolete in parts of the world.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“The Kremlin is being anti-semitic by targeting Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky, both jewish oligarchs…”

The writer of that comment cannot possibly know the facts which would substantiate what he is saying.

Because someone happens to be Jewish and is convicted of a crime, there is evidence of anti-Semitism?

Jewish people never commit genuine crimes?

The writer’s comment is the rubbish of reverse-prejudice.

And perhaps he should take note of today’s news that the former president of Israel was convicted of rape and other sexual crimes.

But then I guess Israeli courts too are anti-Semitic.

Nothing like calling names when you know none of the facts.


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“You shouldn’t express your views about something you don’t have a clue what it is.”

Yes, precisely, but then the author of this comment violates his own sound principle.

What a trivial observation to make comparing two rich men, almost neither of whom the author knows personally or knows a very great deal about.

But this dictum covers exactly the problem with such reportage of events in Russia.

The newspapers have made no real effort to investigate the matter: they report only an interpretation which suits the anti-Russian tone of a great deal of American press coverage.

And America takes the same approach to China and many others.

Never mind that international torture gulag of the CIA’s, of which Guantanamo is only a small part, there being facilities at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and on Diego Garcia which no one is allowed to visit.

Never mind the three thousand prisoners in the early days in Afghanistan who were in American custody but taken out in batches in sealed trucks to suffocate in the desert (then buried in mass graves) by one of the wonderful humanitarian warlords American allied itself to against the Taleban, shedding a minimum of its own blood in its pointless crusade.

And never mind that the United States has the highest proportion of its own citizens behind bars of any Western society, many of them in prison for minor matters, about half of them black, and a substantial number in so-called Super-Max prisons, hell holes where prisoners are kept in terrible isolation forever.

And never mind the many, many reports of American police brutality, America having been cited by Amnesty International and others time and again for inordinate brutality.

Never mind America’s ghastly practices such as sending Canadian citizens, who happen to have been born in the Middle East and end up unfortunately landing in a stopover at an American airport, to exotic lands places for long periods of torture.

And of course the approximately 9,000 Palestinians held illegally and tortured in Israeli prisons are not even to be mentioned. How about a mention of bloody piracy on the high seas? Or the murder of hundreds of children?

But let a billionaire in Russia get in trouble, and the matter is immediately given the colorization of injustice, with never a mention or investigation of the conditions around the fall of the Soviet Union in which people like Khodorkovsky scrambled, elbowing others out of the way, to seize Soviet assets for themselves.

I’d be willing to bet that the journalists who write this bilge, do not have the slightest grasp of Russian laws or courts, nor does the author of the comment I’ve quoted.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

I just love that expression “alleged militants.”

Almost certainly, the deaths in fact were 18 civilians guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And even if one or two were suspects of some kind, this kind of extra-judicial murder is absolutely indistinguishable from the death squads in South American countries which periodically made people “disappear.”

It reminds me of each time Israel kills a batch of poor Palestinians: they are invariably called “militants” in the press.

It’s called demonizing your victim. It also clearly is a ghastly use of euphemism for extra-judicial mass-murder.

George Orwell would have loved this terrible and deliberate abuse of language in the interests of power.

He wrote about just such things in his wonderful essay, “Politics and the English Language,” an indictment of power that remains as true as the day it was written.

And our truth-loving press seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to kill “militants” and even “alleged militants.”

In one stroke the press both horribly abuses language and ignores completely its responsibility to inform people.

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A LEAD STORY IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Truly, the Pope must be amongst the biggest hypocrites on the planet.

Here is a man dressed in gold and lace and ermine, styled in the patterns of a fifteenth century monarch, blubbering about freedom.

His gold and lace and ermine are paid for out of the contributions of tens of millions of the world’s poor and humble people making their offerings.

And he heads a church in which millions of women are refused the roles they would like to assume in their religious life.

He heads a church, too, where tens of thousands of children have been abused by twisted priests, priests who have always been protected and never treated as the common criminals they in fact are.

Perhaps most hypocritical of all, is the fact that what he is really concerned about is China’s policy of selecting bishops – the man is concerned with the Church’s power, not about people’s religious freedom.

It was, after all, the pretensions and murderous blunders of the papacy which created conditions for the Reformation and all the religious wars that followed.

In Germany and other places, Lutheranism displaced Catholicism.

In England, Henry VIII just took over completely, seizing all the Church’s property and substituting himself for the pope.

In France, the state gradually told the pope who it wanted as bishops: France would not allow the papacy to decide these then-important offices itself.

This last is pretty much all that China has done, and I think we can be confident that average Chinese Catholic could care less whether the CPC or the old unelected crones of the Holy See nominates bishops.

But the Holy See and its chief mouthpiece, Mr. Ratzinger, do very much care, just as the popes of hundreds of years ago very much cared about France taking a role in who gets to be a bishop.

The Pope’s words have absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom.

The ruling members of the CPC actually are subject to a slightly more democratic process than the Pope and his cardinals and bishops are: the CPC membership is roughly one percent of China’s population – interestingly, about the same as early Virginia’s percent of population with the franchise – and they vote for the leadership and policies.

No one but some appointed cardinals votes for the pope, and no one votes for the cardinals, and no ordinary Catholics have even the tiniest say or vote in the Church’s policies.

I think the Globe should be ashamed of running this hypocritical self-serving nonsense as a top story on Christmas. You are serving only elite establishment interests with this, not the interests of ordinary people or the cause of religious freedom.

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Gays and lesbians will soon be serving openly in the United States military”

Joy, oh, joy.

Now they can join in on the next colonial slaughter, all while getting money towards a college education.

3 million in Vietnam.

1 million in Iraq.

Who knows how many in all the other American horrors?

Correction: it wasn’t the military so much as the cowards in Congress who kept this shabby prejudice going.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

The war on drugs is as meaningless as the war in Afghanistan.

Not that they both don’t hurt lots of innocent people, but neither can ever enjoy anything called success.

Indeed, in the last decade the two have become badly tangled.

The Taleban – a movement originally representing the Muslim fundamentalist idea of clean government – had virtually eliminated the opium business.

The American gangbusters invasion, which Canadians are supporting with the blood of soldiers and billions from the treasury, brought it back like a fury.

Even Russia has complained formally of America’s impact on the flow of drugs.

Prices actually fell on world markets, one of the surest marks of a flood of drugs.

Nice achievement there, America.

But of course what people like the silly author of this editorial completely ignore in blubbering about drugs – always – is that it is America itself, with less than five percent of the world’s population, that sucks up fully one-half of the world’s illicit drugs.

It’s just part of the “I want it all, and I want it now” philosophy that pretty much characterizes today’s American society, the same ungoverned lusts that gave the world its financial collapse.

America also has a monstrous appetite for wars, manufacturing them even where there is no good cause.

Basically , America cannot govern itself, yet insists on many fronts in telling others how to govern themselves. It is, if you will, the great dark joke of the century.

So how do you solve a serious human problem having those kinds of roots?

You don’t, ever.

And people like the editorial’s author should just stop blubbering. They are literally peeing against the wind.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MATTHEW NORMAN IN THE TELEGRAPH

But most heroes are glamorous only for now.

That has always been the case.

It is called celebrity, and it has the lasting qualities of the froth on a beer.

There are a few genuine heroes here and there, and most go uncelebrated.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

The Globe’s editorials just get dumber and dumber.

They are beginning to remind me of “new sound” of CBC Radio, uninformed and half-baked.

Assange wants a world without secrets?

First, you have no basis for that assertion, none whatever.

Second, as any informed person understands, there are secrets and then there are secrets.

No one, absolutely no one, wants a world with no secrets.

But the fact seems to have eluded the writer of this intellectual mush that for decades we have been victims of unwarranted official secrets and just plain lies.

So much so that when the Globe or anyone else presents the news, none of us, including the Globe, even knows whether it is genuine news, and if it is genuine news, whether it is predicated upon false antecedents.

How can you have an informed democracy in that kind of environment? You cannot. And America very much does not, and with a man like Harper as leader Canada creeps off slowly in that same direction.

Take any example you like from history since WWII.

The invasion of Iraq was based on lies, began other lies, and to this day most people do not understand why countless billions were spent and upwards of half a million people killed.

The same analysis applies to the foolish crusade in Afghanistan. Only yesterday we had two reports on progress there: an official one, from the president, saying things were going okay, and an intelligence leak saying things weren’t going fine at all. This is absolutely typical of America’s world of imperial secrets today.

One could provide an astounding list of the cost in lives and treasure official lies and secrets have caused.

And people cast ballots for people who tell them no truth, intending to do things the voters would never support if they knew the truth. Broken campaign promises are pretty small change compared to this systematic distortion of democracy.

Ten years of Vietnam, killing about 3 million innocent people and leaving a landscape devastated? All started with a big fat lie, and an endless series of lies saw the horror through.

The genocide of Cambodia with a million or so killed? All started with a big fat lie: the American bombing and mini-invasions destabilized a decent neutral government, handing power off to the likes of Pol Pot.

I am genuinely tired of the kind of smug, self-righteousness of right-wing people like the author of this editorial. They have done nothing for the decades of my life but lead us into mass murder and destruction, time after time after time.

There is no possible effect of leaks like those of WikiLeaks that can be remotely so damaging as the real big-power world of lies, deceptions, and secrets.

We truly are approaching, and I think Americans have virtually reached, a world where your vote does not matter at all because you have no idea what it is you are voting for. The immense excitement over Obama two years ago has all been ground into the dust as he carries on killing and lying just like George Bush.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MICHAEL HERZOG IN THE TELEGRAPH

Back channel, front channel – it’s all the same when you do not want peace on anything but your own extremely narrow terms.

There’s no room for negotiations when you have Israel’s point of view.

Besides, Israel, through countless acts of brutality and abuse, has the Palestinians pretty much where it is comfortable: you could call it Israeli peace.

And that is why Israel will never seek genuine peace talks nor will it ever participate in any with an open attitude without immense pressure from her chief subsidy-payer.

But look what happened to Obama, the first politician in decades to say the right things at the start.

I guess Israel showed him who is running American foreign policy.

By the way, can someone define Israel? It’s the only country I know with moving borders.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Which is more preposterous?

That once there was nothing and then there was everything from a Great Big Explosion…

Or that a loving God created everything?”

A very poor argument indeed.

The issue to a clear mind would not be which is more preposterous, but what is the set of consequences flowing from each.

In the case of religion, it is countless centuries of murder, rape, mayhem, and pillage – all in the name either of converting the guy who has adopted the wrong view or obliterating him from existence.

The more intense the faith, the more hideous the results, as we see still in the world with all forms of orthodoxy.

By the way, the Big Bang is a fairly new theory and lots of fine scientists do not subscribe to it as it stands.

Good science tests ideas like this over and over from every possible angle, and it only says a theory has substance when it has stood up to this testing and itself predicts still other ways of testing.

Religion tests nothing: it is belief or faith in things no one can ever know, indeed things for which no test is conceivable, surely a very rational basis for society and its advance.

And, of course, the writer’s assumption of “a loving God” has no basis whatsoever.

The God of the Old Testament is the perfect image of an angry, inconsistent, murderous monster – likely a reflection of the schizophrenics, manic-depressives, and other madmen who wrote his “story.”

Were there a God, there is no more reason to assume he/she/it is loving than Native Americans had in welcoming the murderous Puritans from Europe.

The misery in our world rather predisposes any such assumption towards a malevolent being I think, although here I enter into discussion of one kind of nonsense versus another.

We ourselves, big-brained chimpanzees, are as likely to be savage as loving: often both on the same day. The image of a creator we have fashioned reflects that fact, just as the Greek myths reflected the great diversity of human failings and silliness conflated with power and heroism.


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“There were lots of parties with Mexican music and free booze.”

I’ll call this Wente journalism.

The woman was not even there, but reports gossip – or is it even gossip? – as though it were established fact.

This is as poor as journalism gets.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“He’s more like Ted Kaczynski, who didn’t care what he blew up…”

That is simply appalling, Ms Wente. It is both uninformed and ignores the elephant in the room.

Assange’s organization combed through the material and did not release names in highly sensitive cases.

The biggest chunk of missing material is from communications with Israel.

There are two theories for this.

First, that Assange made a deal with Israeli authorities ahead of time to withhold material.

Second, that WikiLeaks is being used by Mossad to “get out” certain messages.

And we know from history there is tons of material on Israel.

The embarrassment and hurt to the United States is nothing new for the Israelis.

For decades, they have done as they please regardless of what the U.S. thinks.

Just consider the 1967 war, whose ghastly results persist to this day.

And consider Israel’s two hour all-out attack on the USS Liberty, a spy ship, during that war. Israel did everything it could to sink it, killing a large portion of the crew. It made lame excuses afterward for the attacking the well-marked ship which it had been advised would be on station to keep Israel to its secret promises around the war.

The attack was covering General Dayan’s movement northward from the Sinai of armor – something it had previously told the U.S. in private it would not do. The resulting conquest mess we live with to this day. Those conquests were Israel’s entire secret purpose in making that war happen as a big black operation.

There are countless other instances, including Israel’s duplicitous nuclear program, something Kennedy was totally against when he discovered it. Well, the program is still there, but Kennedy isn’t.

How about Israel’s participation in the Suez Crisis with Britain and France, something Eisenhower put an end to?

How about the many insults like that offered the Vice President recently?

The icing on the cake, as it were, was the most damaging spy in American history, Israeli hero, Jonathon Pollard. Some of what he stole was sold to Russia.

Israel never even blushes over Pollard, and to this day, they continue to beg and plead for his release, despite the fact that a quarter of the senior American intelligence agents would tender their resignations were that to happen. There have been dozens of formal and informal requests – immense pressure – to release a man that under other circumstances would have been shot.

And there have been many spying instances, right down to a group of Mossad spies who were right behind the 9/11 guys, a group of phony “house movers” arrested in New York and deported and a group of “art students.” None of it ever explained.

It is well known that the United States is more intensively spied on by Israel than it is by any other ally.

Note: for those not familiar, Ms Wente is one of Canada’s most persistent and blind defenders of Israel’s bloody excesses.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I’ve never regarded Blair as sinister, but I’ve always regarded him as inept.

He couldn’t even control his own officers from coming to City Hall to demonstrate in uniform.

That act was a sinister one by the police “union,” a clear threat to democratic authority.

They not only ignored Blair’s direct order, but Blair afterward humiliated himself by handing out a few administrative slaps on the wrist.

The police style themselves as a paramilitary organization, and we all understand how serious it is to disobey a direct order in the military.

Blair’s dealings with the murderous Jamaican gangs has brought him no glory either.
_____________________________

We are all victims today of television series and novels which often portray police as clever and dedicated and law-abiding, but while there are individual police who fit that description, it has never been a description of police in general.

Basically, police are hired muscle. Their history includes plenty of official use of muscle in strike-breaking and assaults on minority communities like gays (only decades ago we had raids in Toronto).

On the other hand their history includes not doing things which were better done, such as laying charges in domestic assaults and, too often, against criminal behavior in government.

Police are given a great deal of discretionary power, whether to stop, to search, to arrest, etc. This great power needs constant oversight and control, and a chief like Blair is incapable of providing it.

We’ve also let the police “union” develop too much power, an organization that functions much like the teachers’ union in defending what cannot be defended, incompetence and irresponsibility. That too requires a tough chief.
______________________________

Incompetent? Remember he was Mayor Miller’s man.


 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY IRSHAD MANJI IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

You want to elevate discussions about God?

That’s easily done: keep them in churches, synagogues, and mosques.

That clown show – aka, the Munk Debate – was cynical, money-grabbing, and pointless.

It was a striptease show for religion with a bit of feeding-the Christians-to-the-lions thrown in – junk religion and glandular secretions passed off as intellectual effort.

I’m only surprised they didn’t sell five-dollar buckets of popcorn from hawkers going up and down the aisles and have a big gong sounded for certain comments.

The Munk people are cynical and dishonest in bringing garbage like this wrapped in the robes of knowledge and debate.

http://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/more-on-torontos-absurd-and-cynical-munk-debate-on-religion-a-cash-generating-operation-for-a-war-criminal-and-a-war-apologist/


JOHN CHUCKMAN
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

There is nothing new in learning anything which confirms that Tom Flanagan is a nasty piece of work.

The man is pure, unadulterated American Right-Wing, a thrust-the-imperial-flag-into-the-chests-of-those-working-against-America’s-sacred-interests man, without a trace of decent traditional conservative.

He literally represents in Canada everything you find in that ugly mob which includes Dick “kill the turbanhead scum” Cheney, Tom “the money launderer” DeLay, Sarah “the idiot witth super-sized glands” Palin, Newt “I divorced my wife dying of cancer” Gingrich, and all the other charming Washington folks who work tirelessly for war and imperial interests. The influence and the money for promoting Right-Wing values come up alongside the same pipelines which carry Alberta’s crude and natural gas South.

I have never understood why the Globe gives him column-inches periodically, other than the well-know fact that he has been adviser to Harper, truly the most divisive politician in living memory and a man who already has succeeded in corroding away like spilled battery acid a great deal of Canada’s past wonderful international reputation.

Flanagan’s columns have never demonstrated anything beyond the academic quality or interest of just another second-rate social scientist. He is in academic terms a truly undistinguished thinker.

But there is nothing second rate or undistinguished about his visceral instincts for plotting against and trying to destroy traditional Canadian values. The man is an instinctive predator, a perfect hunting-mate for Harper.

I note the comment that Flanagan’s comment about killing Assange was made in the form of a joke, but then only rather sick people make such jokes or laugh at them.

Shouldn’t people who say such things be treated as terrorists, or at least as people having made a criminal threat?


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

We have no way to determine whether WikiLeaks itself is genuine.

But we do have enough information in the nature of the leaks to reach some tentative conclusions.

The leaked material is almost certainly all genuine.

But it is highly selective, a crucial fact.

There is nothing terrible about America and its wars abroad, and any clear-thinking person knows perfectly well there are terrible tales to tell about wars abroad. That is the history of wars.

There is no dirt on Israel or Israeli-related matters.

Yet we know Israel is, realistically, today likely the world’s single greatest danger to international peace. It constantly practices assassinations and black operations, and almost every word coming from its foreign ministry is dishonest.

North Korea’s much-publicized attacks are almost insignificant compared to Israel’s attacks on innocent people in Southern Lebanon and Gaza and on the high seas.

Tons of American documents on Israel’s many insults, brutalities and non-cooperation must exist, but we see nothing.

There is tons of stuff about Iran, all of seeming to say that much of the world agrees Iran is a problem.

There are thousands of anecdotes by and about diplomats – all interesting, some fairly juicy, but none of them terribly damaging.

One must remember that an outfit like the U.S. State Department keeps countless millions of documents. There are unquestionably embarrassing opinions about anything you care to mention.

But there are far more consequential documents dealing with things like secret nuclear weapons and what happened to all the South African bombs, assassinations like that of Dr Kelly in Britain, and spying including the terrible case of Jonathon Pollard, the most compromising spy in American history and someone the Israeli government puts almost constant pressure on Washington to release, having made him a national hero with a holiday named for him.

One cannot help but think the leaks are serving Pentagon/Israeli interests.

And, of course, the classic technique for giving interest and believability to the material an agency does want to disseminate is to wrap it up in lots of other stuff that keeps people amused and fascinated.

WikiLeaks does not have to be aware of any of this. I don’t say for certain that they are not, but please remember the sensational case of the C.I.A. plant at the New York Times, Judith Miller. If the New York Times can be fooled – and they have been on numerous occasions – anyone can.

There have been many others. Robert Novak was used a number of times to disseminate material, as in the case of unmasked C.I. A. spy Valerie Plame. American journalism literally is saturated with such connections, some voluntary and malicious, some unknowing but still damaging.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GEORGE GRANT IN THE TELEGRAPH

“Why is Julian Assange picking on the United States?”

Had I known what is written at the bottom of the piece – that George Grant is Global Security & Terrorism Director at The Henry Jackson Society, a Foreign Policy Think Tank based in London – I would have read George Grant’s words with less sense of perplexity about the man not knowing what he is talking about.

For clearly, he does not.

But in the United States where there are many think-tanks it is typical of their directors, associates, and fellows to write nonsense.

Think-tanks in the U. S. are basically propaganda mills styling themselves as institutions of higher learning.

They are in most cases funded by right-wing extremists with lots of money.

And their “fellows” consist of educated hacks who have loyally served right-wing causes in government, receiving their places as comfortable sinecures, much as some of the sinecures in America’s gift that have been showered upon Tony Blair as reward for his bloody work with Bush.

The “fellows” always remind me of actors on television commercials wearing white lab coats and carrying clipboards, letting viewers assume they are doctors advising them to buy some over-the-counter headache remedy.

I should have thought it was obvious that Assange, as someone running a whistle-blower internet site, takes gratefully the significant material offered him. He did not hack American government computers to get the stuff: his supplier or suppliers did. He may not even know who the person supplying him is.

I should have thought it was also highly likely that were some juicy inside material to come from Russia or Israel, Assange would be happy to run it. But then we are not very likely to see that coming from such tightly-controlled and secretive governments, are we?

As far as Grant’s underlying assumption about a focus on America, please consider that America’s military now spends more annually than all the other governments on the planet combined.

Consider also that the American intelligence apparatus now consists of about 16 agencies, and their spending is thought to exceed $80 billion a year.

Add to those considerations that since World War II America has fought a huge number of dirty colonial wars – Vietnam, Cambodia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq – killing literally millions of people for no good purpose and has participated in countless coups and overthrows of legitimate governments, including democratic ones – Iran, Chile, Guatemala, and others – and you do get a real sense of what Lord Acton said follows as we approach absolute power.

Grant’s piece is just a slightly disguised ad hominem attack, and a rather silly one. It contains no analysis whatsoever. So I guess Grant may return to his think-tank office this morning and lean back in his swiveled leather chair, gazing out the window and dreamily thinking he has earned his salary for this month fighting the good fight for America’s interests.


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY RICHARD SPENCER IN THE TELEGRAPH

“All bizarre and nonsensical conspiracy theory of course.”

It is not at all clear why you should say that. The “of course” only emphasizes the lack of analytical basis for your total dismissal.

Especially when one considers that in the end you yourself suggest a theme to the material.

“Ultimately, they put the onus on Middle Eastern countries to explain themselves. The cables are America’s own explanations. Neither Iran nor many of its Arab friends and enemies like being held to account overmuch.”

In our own lifetimes, we have learned of many dark operations more impressive than the selected release of some not-all-that-secret documents, many of them having release dates of not too many years in the future. The term “conspiracy theory” is now consistently used to disparage those who are genuinely puzzled about the official explanations of certain big events.

Yes, we have the paranoid extreme, but that extends into the mainstream too, even into politics.

In the end you must judge major news events by the standards of the late I.F. Stone. You must read different versions and explanations and make comparisons and weightings. You must judge the purport of the material itself, what it is intended to say or not say.

We live in a shadow world as never before in human history with vast intelligence establishments working day and night and a press now reduced to a small number of owners who have their own reasons for giving slants to affairs or even completely misrepresenting them.

Truth is perceived infrequently, but there are immensely well-financed establishments busy “getting out the story” and even creating it in some cases. To say otherwise is to admit to extreme naiveté or perhaps dishonesty.

When was the last time a paper like your Telegraph or even the New York Times did some serious investigative journalism for readers? Especially where the earth-shaking matters are concerned, rather than mother’s milk stuff like the abuse of parliamentary expenses. Almost never.

Where were you with Blair’s countless lies? Bush’s lies and absurdities? We lived through a set of events in which, after the greatest peace march in history, Blair managed to twist the truth and lie his way into doing something against the overwhelming sense of the British people. And the press pretty well let it happen.

We only have a few genuine investigative journalists in the world, and they include notably Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk. But even their work must be subject to evaluation. They can have things planted on them, and they make mistakes.

The WikiLeaks material is undoubtedly authentic, but that does not at all exclude an underlying purpose in its release.

It is a well-known practice of intelligence agencies to give large bits of genuine material, none of it too compromising, in order to get either an important piece of intelligence in return or to “bury” some damaging deception like a fish hook planted in a minnow.

The CIA used to brag of having a huge house organ whose keys could be played to create the sense of a Bach fugue of seeming news. It was talking about all the publications, both compliant and duped, in which it could plant a story and have it reverberate ultimately as a convincing event.

I’m not sure whether WikiLeaks itself falls into the compliant or duped category, but the nature of the material, the main themes plus the many important things undoubtedly missing, say something important to those listening carefully.

I am completely underwhelmed by the content of the military WikiLeaks, both this time and previously.

Very little there that well-informed people did not already know. Yes, of course, the juicy tidbits about so-and-so said are fun, and so they are meant to be, but they are not all that informative.

I am sure there are countless lies and atrocities contained in the universe covered so far by WikiLeaks, but they are not in the material released.

The idea that no one knows where Assange is also strikes me as slightly ridiculous in this age of massive intelligence operations and the trampling of individual rights in the name of fighting terror.

If you think otherwise because of Osama bin Laden, you are rather late in learning he has been dead since the bombing of Tora Bora. The United States has kept him alive, as it were, for a focus in its insane War on Terror.

Cui bono?

The US looks like an innocent victim, just guilty of some unpleasant gossip here and there. Who wouldn’t know that? Israel gains support for an attack on Iran.

The leaks serve Israeli-Pentagon interests.

And do so in a convincing, seemingly disinterested way.

These leaks also serve America’s now cancerously-swollen intelligence apparatus in seeking more repression and secrecy within American society.

Your off-hand dismissal is unfair and unwarranted.

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