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Monthly Archives: December 2015

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON ASPECTS OF THE WARREN REPORT

 

Way back with the publication of the Warren Report, Bertrand Russell, who regarded it as a complete fabrication, asked a set of penetrating questions about it.

The most important question was to the effect that if the murder was the straightforward act of one man, as the Commission asserted, where was any issue of national security?

It, as is the case with the others, has never been answered.

And from that one unanswered question tumbles out the whole dirty, tangled mess we’ve witnessed for half a century.

In fact, there was no need for a commission, if the Commission itself was right.

Kennedy’s body should have been autopsied in Dallas, as in any normal murder, instead of being rushed away, literally at Secret Service gunpoint, to Washington.

Oswald should have been tried in Dallas, the rightful criminal jurisdiction, assassination of a president at that time not even being a federal crime.

The Warren Commission’s Report is nothing more than a poorly argued prosecutor’s brief created after Oswald was eliminated. It reflects absolutely none of the traditional judicial procedures such as cross examination or legal counsel for the accused, and it selected which bits of evidence it permitted to be entered while ignoring large amounts of other evidence. We know it even altered evidence which proved inconvenient.

The Commission, as many Americans do not appreciate still, actually did no investigation. All investigation was through J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, and Hoover was a man who somehow mysteriously decided Oswald was his man within a very short time of the crime with virtually no tested evidence. Scores of good witnesses were ignored. Less important witnesses were treated as important. And some good witnesses who were questioned actually discovered their words had been changed when shown them printed in the Warren Report, this last being a not uncommon experience.

Hoover was also a man who intensely hated Kennedy and is said to have been pleased on hearing of his death. It is a matter of historical record that the CIA, supposedly working on its own in-house examination of events, lied and misrepresented to the Commission, as concerning recordings and surveillance photos from Mexico City. It kept large quantities of relevant files hidden, and it did not even inform the Commission of some very important matters, such as its program of cooperation with Mafia hoodlums in efforts to assassinate Castro. Some investigation the case got!

To my mind, nothing so clearly indicates the inept nature of the Warren Commission than Chief Justice Warren’s telling Jack Ruby in the Dallas Jail that he couldn’t take him to Washington for questioning, Ruby’s having practically begged him to do so because he had important things to say and felt unsafe saying them in Dallas. The Head of the Supreme Court and of the blue-ribbon commission couldn’t do that? Of course, he could. No one would dare stop him had he chosen to do so. He simply chose not to.

Clearly, other dark matters were involved, and it is those other matters that are at the heart of the assassination.

By the way, the one American journalist who ruthlessly pursued the truth at the time, popular columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, did somehow land the only press interview with Ruby. She then promised the public she would break the case wide open with the scoop of the century, but she was soon discovered in her apartment “suicided.” All notes from her interview and the write-up she started were gone and have never turned up.

Virtually the entire journalism profession in the U.S. acted just as they do today concerning America’s ugly acts abroad: they hid or lied. America’s press works today just as it did then, as an unofficial arm of government, taking its guidance from security agency winks and nods.

An interesting fact, often ignored, is that in the weeks up to Dallas, two other assassination plots were discovered. One was in Chicago and one in Tampa. In both cases, there was a similar pattern in the planning around Kennedy limousine rides during his visits. The shots were to be fired around a big turn which slowed down the car. There even were Oswald-like figures, the one in Tampa sharing a great deal of Oswald’s background as a former “defector” from the military.

When it comes to such high-level murder, there can be no such thing as that kind of coincidence.

The assassination involved an elaborate plot and a number of actors, and the ludicrous Warren Commission simply closed its eyes and constructed a kind of pastiche of selected bits of untested evidence that it judged adequate to satisfy public curiosity. Why they did this cannot be known at this time, but President Johnson in assembling the commission repeatedly pressured potential appointees with dark warnings about catastrophic events in which tens of millions would die.

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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

 

For some, American actions may seem a little confusing, bombing in one place while ignoring another.

But the explanation is surprisingly simple.

ISIS already did the work in Iraq that the U.S. wanted, and that was to eliminate former Prime Minister al-Maliki.

So America doesn’t mind giving what is left of Iraq some real help with bombing ISIS there.

But in Syria, ISIS has not yet achieved its purpose, which is to get rid of President Assad.

So America only pretends to bomb in Syria.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

I’m glad you made the distinction “jihadi” terrorists.

They are in fact a rather small subset out of the general class of terrorists.

The world’s greatest terrorist, in absolute numbers, is without question the United States.

It has killed something at least 6 million souls since the end of World War II in its various colonial wars, coups, and interventions. Almost all the dead are civilians.

On a per capita basis, again without a doubt, the world’s second greatest killer over nearly the same period has been Israel in its countless invasions, wars, assassinations, and dark operations.

I’ve not totalled Israel’s hideous toll, but it has been many tens of thousands – again mainly civilians – averaged over a national population about a fiftieth that of America’s (averaged over decades).

No terrorist group in history – not IRA, not ETA, not ISIS – comes close to being as murderous as these two countries.

And despite the cold hard statistics, our press talks endlessly of terror as though it were a Muslim phenomenon.

Truly, these practices of ignoring the great terrors while constantly advertising the relatively small ones provides us one of the best measures of the immense bias contained in our press.

Our self-proclaimed free press, on many important matters of life and death, behaves not so differently to the old Soviet state news outlets.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT AND THE GUARDIAN

 

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s words are highly selective.

The fact is that it is President Assad who has always run a secular government which protects all religious groups. Christians there are loyal to him.

That is not the usual practice in the region, including in Israel, a supposedly western-oriented place.

The barbarians he decries, I’m sorry to say, were introduced deliberately into that country by David Cameron’s friends and associates.

They consist of scum gathered from many places and trained and armed and paid by David Cameron’s friends.

A beautiful and peaceful land has been horribly mutilated by the people responsible for this.

And those people are the leaders Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America. They have been supported by the likes of David Cameron.

The Archbishop of Canterbury should actually be ashamed to speak on this topic, leaving out the most important truths.

Every country has its share of crazed fanatics (of every religion), cutthroats, psychopaths, and scum – they fill the jails and mental institutions and prey on the streets. Some join armies or police too where they sometimes thrive, preying with impunity.

If someone wants to put the resources into gathering bunches of them and arming them and then releasing them into some poor country like Syria, it is easily enough done.

This is, for example, exactly what the Americans were doing at Benghazi when an ambassador was killed in what intelligence services call “blowback.” The U.S. will not admit it, but that is what was going on.

They were gathering and shipping weapons and maniacs to be sent to Turkey for secret insertion into Syria, Saudi Arabia (and Qatar) paid many of the bills and Israel provided a range of support services.

And, by the way, Libya was just one more poor country torn apart by these same forces.

You know, this kind of evil behavior is possible almost anywhere. If some outside power wanted to do the same thing even to the United States, it would be possible because there are lots of candidates to create chaos. The crazed groups of militias, Aryans, right-wingers, and fanatics in America would welcome someone giving them deadly weapons and training and paying them salaries. They could create a pretty hideous mess in short order.

I do think the blame should be placed where it belongs – on the dark creators of the horror, not their pathetic, mentally-ill servants – and it is virtually a waste of breath to speak as the Archbishop has without any reference to what is really happening.

In the end, the aim has been to destroy every country that in any way showed some independence of thought with regard to American policy and to leave America’s Mideast colony, Israel, as the dominating force in the region. Iraq was destroyed, then Libya, and now the effort focuses on Syria.

The Archbishop ignores all this. He ignores also the appalling conditions of Palestinians (many of whom are Christian, by the way), especially those in Gaza, suffering horribly under extreme brutality.

 

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

I don’t agree with the claim that Christians are the most persecuted religious group, but I do think interested readers should be aware of the fact that Syria’s Assad is one of more important defenders of Christian rights in the world.

He runs a secular state with protection for all religions in a part of the world where that is not common.

As to one reader’s comment, “Christians are responsible for their fair share of colonialism, tribalism and persecution,” I only wish to say it is a great understatement.

Centuries of insane brutality are a major portion of our Christian heritage.

The Crusades continued with looting and slaughter on a grand scale for centuries, wives being left locked in metal chastity belts while their husbands raped their way across the East.

The conquistadors wiped out or enslaved Native Americans with priests in tow for on-the-spot conversions.

Christopher Columbus literally crushed entire Native American populations under the sign of the cross.

The Holy Inquisition. Bloody Mary. The St Bartholomew’s Day massacre. The Pope issuing a gold medal in celebration of Catherine di Medici’s mass slaughter of Hugonauts in their beds. The Thirty Years War.

Indeed, both world wars were led by men trained in the Church – the Kaiser, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and others.

Even The Holocaust was the work of Christian-raised men.

Islam has no record of horrors to match Christianity’s.

And as for Judaism, just read the Old Testament’s endless tales of slaughter and prejudice and rapine.

And today’s Israel sets a standard for the oppression of millions.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Please, yet another “conspiracy theories” put-down.

You’ve done at least three of them in the last few weeks, almost as plentiful as attacks and put-downs on Jeremy Corbyn.

This kind of article is just about as brainless as the conspiracy mutterings of a poor homeless schizophrenic.

Thoughtful people do not need preaching to on this subject.

The truth is we live in a civilization in which conspiracies – genuine ones – are a normal part of our landscape.

And why is that?

Because where great wealth and power are at risk – as they frequently are in our western world of unprecedented affluence – there is the constant attraction to manipulate events to remove the risk, thus conspiracies.

In recent decades, we so many events which have been secretly manipulated, thus rendering them conspiratorial in nature, it seems to me laughable when someone publishes a piece such this one.

For example, the United States overthrew governments secretly in Guatemala, Iran, Chile, and kept a huge secret operation against Castro going for decades, a genuine secret terrorist operation which made bin Laden’s mountain redoubt resemble a boy scout camp. Troops were trained, weapons distributed, assassins launched, bombings undertaken (including one Cuban airliner), and immense resources squandered on America’s trying to get its own way.

The genuine holocaust of America’s invasion of Vietnam (3 million left dead there) was launched with a staged provocation called the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Later secret bombings and surreptitious incursions into peaceful Cambodia resulted in the fall of a neutral government and gave the world “the killing fields,” and ultimately the deaths of another million people.

The fall of Sukarno in Indonesia – an event manipulated by the CIA – resulted in a massive terror campaign. Half a million people were hacked to death as though in a spontaneous uprising and had their bodies thrown into rivers. The American State Department was burning the telephone wires into the night submitting lists of names of “communists” it regarded as suitable for such treatment.

The Soviet downing of Korean Air lines 107 was held up as an example of Soviet brutality, but what we learned later from Sy Hersh, the world’s best investigative reporter, was that the plane was on a secret mission for the CIA to test Soviet air defences.

America has launched dozens of lesser coups, interventions, and minor invasions in the last fifty years. The invasion of Panama, on the pretext of drugs, removed a disliked leader. Recent manipulations in Venezuela have destabilized that government. The first Gulf War was just such an operation with America’s ambassador in Iraq having told Saddam the U.S. had no interest in what he did in Kuwait, then using his minor invasion as a pretext for a massive war and horrible aftermath.

How about the supply of poison gas to Saddam during the long (American manipulated) Iraq-Iran War? It was used to kill thousands of Iranian soldiers, and no war crimes accusations were made.

Look at events in Syria. What a completely deceitful destruction just to topple a leader America and Israel hate. And to this day, there’s no honesty about what has gone on, the only truths we’re receiving coming out of Russia’s government-invited intervention.

Look at the mess made of Libya.

Look at the mess made of Iraq, once the Mideast’s most progressive and economically capable state. How was that miracle of destruction accomplished? A river of lies and manipulations about “weapons of mass destruction,” false papers about purchases of yellowcake, and even the CIA career of an honest Republican figure’s wife ended over his refusal to go along with the lies of Bush and Cheney.

The Dr. Kelly incident, about which we’ve never been told the truth. Kelly knew where the bodies were buried in the business of weapons – including importantly what happened to South Africa’s fissile stockpile after the fall of the apartheid government. Did it go to Israel? Dr. Kelly’s handedness made completely implausible the published version of his death.

The recent Sarin poison gas incidents in Syria are completely fraudulent. The gas was used on some poor people, but it was not used by Assad’s army, it was used by the ISIS or al-Nusrah terrorists up until now secretly supported by America. It was to provide a pretext for an American air assault – thus creating another Libya – but the Russians foiled the plot.

Israel’s entire modern history is riddled with such activity. It is not for nothing that Mossad’s motto is, “By way of deception, thou shalt do war.” The Lavon Affair. The bombing of the King David Hotel. The assassination of Count Bernadotte. The manipulation of events to create the 1967 War which Israel knew it could win while grabbing Palestinian and other land they coveted. The long air assault on the USS Liberty. America’s refusal to come to the ship’s aid. Israel’s lame stuff about a mistake. Secret assistance to ISIS and al Nusrah.

One could continue writing along these lines for a long time, so the article and its predecessors are nothing but propaganda to discredit those with genuine doubts and concerns.

Oh, and we shouldn’t forget the journalism practices of the newspapers belonging to David Cameron’s country-house buddy, Rupert Murdoch. Corruption and lies and manipulation on quite a grand scale, and likely never to be all sorted out.

 

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

“Why I joined the Labour party – and why I’m thinking of leaving” is the one-sided headline for an article which in fact examines the very different views of two people.

Why is that?

Of course, more anti-Corbyn propaganda.

Kate Levey’s blubbering about dithering is typical stuff from the crowd of warmongers who support bombing in Syria.

I really think she should quit the party instead of blubbering about doing so. Her presence is not the asset she appears to believe it is.

Andrew Moore offers a sensible summary of his views, but why isn’t his view the one featured in the headline?

It is propaganda because editors well know many readers never go beyond scanning headlines on some topics, and this headline just serves to reinforce the media orchestration of an anti-Corbyn chorus.

Crappy journalism. Good propaganda made of what is ostensibly a balanced article.

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Hilary Benn is pretty much my idea of a jerk as a politician.

He goes on about getting out of the shadow of Iraq, a phrase which freely translated is something like: let’s forget about all Tony Blair’s lies and manipulations which caused us to contribute to the deaths of a million people and the destruction of a country.

Then he makes a big show of going against the temperate views of his own current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to advocate still more pointless killing in Syria, supporting David Cameron, a man utterly without principles

My personal view is than Benn – and the newspapers which keep featuring him – are in bed with Israeli interests.

Getting rid of Iraq and Syria as unified states were both corrupt neocon policies serving Israel’s interest in dominating the region, the same Israel which has a shameful record of killing, torture, and just plain theft.

Does any disinterested person truly think it should be further supported and encouraged? And if you want to get out from the dark shadows of Iraq, this is the very last way to go about it.

But, of course, what Benn really means by “shadow of Iraq” is not avoiding such brutal and destructive stupidity again but avoiding the shame and guilt of it stopping you from still more brutal stupidity somewhere else.

Such is the measure of the man regularly pushed by some of Britain’s top newspapers to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader just a short time after Corbyn was elected with a strong mandate.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY

 

This is a remarkable story, if accurate.

But then Seymour Hersh is one of the world’s great investigative journalists and has a long record of uncovering hidden truths.

American politicians’ blind loyalty to Israel is at work here.

The American democracy is an extremely corrupt one, corrupted by massive amounts of money as campaign donations from special interest groups.

Since America’s Supreme Court insanely ruled that “money is free speech,” there are virtually no limits.

And those who pay the politicians’ costs generally get what they want in return.

The Israel Lobby in the U.S. is one of the best organized and financed of special interest lobbies, and no American politician dares show indifference to it. One measure of this is the bizarre regular ritual in which newly-elected Congressmen are invited for expense-paid junkets to Israel, during which they wined and dined, propagandized and observed closely by Israeli officials, likely having their remarks and levels of enthusiasm all recorded as on a report card. There truly is nothing quite so strange between two countries anywhere else on the planet.

This is almost certainly what Obama is reflecting in his “Assad must go” mantra.

The more intelligent of the Pentagon’s leaders would not look at things the same way.

They know that some of Israel’s pursuits and interests actually represent a dead-weight, long-term loss for American strategic interests, and that is simply a non-emotional calculation. This is certainly so in the case of Syria.

Israel alienates almost the entire Mideast, and its leaders simply refuse to offer peace with the Palestinians, all the while stealing more homes and land.

In the eyes of most Arabs – if not always in the eyes of their leaders who do not rule democracies and secretly share some goals with Israel – this is a humiliating and frustrating situation.

It makes the United States look bad to hundreds of millions in the region and puts it on the wrong side of history.

It is an Israeli objective to get rid of Assad, but I am sure the smartest generals know Assad represents a far more stable and peaceful government for Syria than any other option, and especially the gangs of thugs now trying to overthrow him. Never mind, the “moderate opposition” because there is no such thing. Assad runs a secular government which protects all religious groups, something not common at all in the region, and not even in supposedly western-oriented Israel.

But it is always interesting and provocative when senior military men do things at odds with the government they are sworn to protect.

This kind of thing has happened before, as in the days of Allen Dulles at the CIA.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARITCLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Well, this is really silly.

Jimmy Kimmel might have called Trump’s comments unfair or lacking civility or any of a number of other descriptions.

But un-American?

There is no such thing.

Americans – and especially American politicians – bellow stupidities and prejudices and words lacking civility every day.

The concept of “un-American” belongs to the naiveté of early Superman comic books or to the unpleasant proceedings of the former House Un-American Affairs Committee, the latter having been a public forum for hate and lies for years.

See, there is nothing unusual about Trump in America because even his critics speak nonsense.

John Chuckman

COMMENT ON THE IDEA OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT AS PROTECTION AGAINST TYRANNY

 

Much as I hate the way American police and military behave week-in, week-out, I don’t understand how any thinking person can believe the Second Amendment offers any protection whatsoever.

The police force of just a single large American city today constitutes a small army, indeed about two divisions, and they are extremely well-equipped.

Rebellious people with rifles would stand no chance against them under any circumstances.

And then, just behind the police, there’s the National Guard of each state, armed with everything from jets to tanks and flame-throwers.

And, of course, behind that, there’s the massive American armed forces armed with plenty of terrifying weapons.

Clowns out in the streets in camouflage clothes with rifles, even large crowds of them, would only provide target practice.

There is zero protection in the Second Amendment, and of course it can be cogently argued it was never intended to be protection, just a relic of the way people prepared for wars in the late 18th century with citizens’ militias.

If you want a better country, one somewhat free as opposed to what you have now in America, you need to work for immense internal reforms.

Just the way police are hired, trained, and armed are immense issues. Generally, they are not screened for psychological problems – such as a leaning towards psychopathy – and often they are fairly low in intelligence. Then they are thinly trained and given lethal weapons with virtually no consequences for using them against unarmed citizens.

A standing armed forces the size of some small countries is a huge issue. Virtually all the Founding Fathers would have despised the Pentagon. It is like cancer to a democratic society.

The Pentagon influences American attitudes and practices tremendously, from making young men into trained killers in large numbers to supplying many of the men who end up becoming brutal police. It is also by nature authoritarian and does not help democratic values thrive.

America truly is a violent and brutal place. Guns in the closet can do nothing to alter that fact.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

What can you say about a man who insists his is the democratic tradition while he vigorously supports a senile absolute monarch in his murderous ways?

The Saudis are without question killing lots of women and children in Yemen. It is a young population, so it cannot be otherwise.

Doctors Without Borders has tried to tell the world that the Saudis have attacked two of their hospital facilities.

Of course, the absolute monarch who runs Saudi Arabia also plays a major role in the destruction of Syria.

The icing on the cake, as it were, is the king’s long series of beheadings and even some crucifixion. Please, what gang of terrorists is any worse?

The Saudis are a menace to peace and decency, and David Cameron loves to play footsie with them.

If it weren’t already apparent in everything from his calling Jeremy Corbyn names to his relationship with Rupert and Rebekah, David Cameron is a man of no principles, although he loves to prance about and wag his finger while blubbering about them.

We should all ask why the press in Britain never covers any of this in a dramatic and revealing way, only typically offering a few paragraphs on the latest horror.

Last, I must take issue with The Independent’s glib characterization of what is happening in Yemen as “civil war.” It’s the same band-aid used to cover the truth of Syria.

A genuinely disgusting man, our David.

John Chuckman

COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Your headline does not reflect the facts.

Assad has agreed to elections in future.

That has been Russia’s position, and finally America has accepted that, dropping its absolute demand for his removal.

Who knows the outcome?

Assad remains a fairly popular figure with almost certainly a larger margin of support than David Cameron has.

___________________________

Response to a reader about the reasons America wants Assad gone:

Getting rid of Assad has perhaps three key aspects.

1) Israel hates him, and Israel pretty much controls the American Congress.

2) Assad is too independent of America’s policy line on a number of things. Just that fact never goes

down well in the Evil Empire.

3) One important policy he opposes is America’s wish to build a gas pipeline through Syria from Qatar.

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY ROBERT FISK IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Yes, darkness and light are no exaggerations of our recent political experience in Canada.

As one who has lived through it, I am more than ever inclined to embrace Thomas Carlyle’s idea of “history is biography.”

Harper was close to being alien to his own country with his deep admiration for the American Right Wing and in his own words, years ago, saying he hated what Canada represented. He also said when prime minister that before he was through, you wouldn’t recognize Canada.

A most unpleasant man, too, in his personal qualities, quite apart from embracing views not accepted by most Canadians. He was secretive, dishonest, unresponsive, and frankly rather tyrannical in repressing the right of government members and employees to say almost anything in public on their own.

His election was a fluke, a kind of perfect storm of political events, including serious infighting in the Liberal Party.

His re-election especially pointed out the great size of Canada’s “democratic deficit.”

With the support of only 39% of voters at his high point, he was able to implement severe policies and turn his back on many traditions against the wishes of over 60% of voters. The world’s opinion of Canada plummeted during his time in office from well-liked and respected to disliked.

Britain suffers the same phenomenon. Only 35% of the British people voted for Cameron and his extreme policies.

Parliamentary government, to deliver its democratic promise, must change the way elections are conducted. Our first-past-the-post ballot system is antiquated and genuinely anti-democratic.

We also need to control money in politics, Harper taking an approach to raising funds that went completely against our history and practices, twisting national policy to please favored special interest contributors.

Well, the wicked witch is indeed gone, and Canadians are having a bit of a national love-in with our new prime minister and his lovely wife. Blessings indeed.

______________________________________

Response to a reader remarking on Trudeau’s own percentage win:

But a great part of the vote against was for an even more progressive party, the NDP.

Had there been another voting system – such as ranked preference – Trudeau’s win would have been a landslide.

By the way, Trudeau promised in the campaign to change the way we vote. Not committed to any one approach, he has people looking into it and promised to announce changes within 18 months.

It’s all rather exciting.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO A COLUMN BY NATALIE NOUGAYREDE IN THE GUARDIAN

I am one of those people who appreciates dependability and tradition.

And Natalie Nougayréde never disappoints.

Reading her has much in common with having a hamburger at McDonalds with its consistent mushy, gummy texture and almost no meat.

This woman’s entire output of writing, without a single exception I’ve seen, may be summed up with one word, propaganda.

It is propaganda slightly dressed up as thought, wordy as though thoughtful, with a few foreign words or phrases thrown in as light spicing, but it is always predictable with a clear and non-analytical purpose running through it.

Invariably, authors who use the term, “conspiracy theories,” as she does here, are doing propaganda, not writing.

Its use by any columnist should be an instant red flag, almost like someone using racial slurs.

Only an extremely naive person believes that where there is great power and large stakes in events, there is no great dishonesty and secret manipulation. It happens to be that in America’s empire today we find the greatest power and the largest stakes ever in history. Does any reasonable person not believe there then will be dishonesty and secrets in government beyond what we find in most places?

People in the West have been lied to a very great number of times around manipulated events. Remember Tony Blair?

You’ve only to review current events in this paper to find continuing examples – e.g., what Saudi Arabia is doing, what Turkey is doing, what Israel is doing, and the American government’s public version of each and of its role in each?

We have so many parts of our experience which have been deliberately created by people with an agenda, from the mess in Libya, a once well-run state reduced to chaos to the rump state of Iraq, once the most advanced country in the Arab world, from an absolute monarch in Saudi Arabia who bombs children and hospitals in Yemen without ever being covered by the press to a brutal government in Israel whose ghastly treatment of people in Gaza is ignored deliberately by our press.

________________________

All these matters actually have nothing to do, as the writer asserts, with extreme right or extreme left.

They are simply manipulated realities influencing and coloring our world, and every group in the body politic has its own reaction to them.

Virtually no one – in any supposedly democratic state such as Britain, France, or America – votes in elections for secret and manipulative policies and acts. Nor are they honestly asked to do so.

The very fact that the governments people elect go ahead with such dishonest and destructive stuff, lying all the way along, is one excellent measure of just how weak our democratic values and institutions are in the West.

We in fact live in thinly-disguised aristocracies with carefully-arranged systems of conducting big theater productions we call elections.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Britain with the new leader of the Labour Party, a genuinely decent man, under continuous attack by newspapers, retired politicians, and columnists.

He is despised simply for not voting to join bombing of a country already under terrible, artificially-created terror, all paid for by leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America.

Not one Britain in ten likely understands what has been happening in Syria, it is such a tangle of lies and manipulation – all by governments, except of course Mr. Cameron’s good friend King Salman, supposedly elected in democratic systems.

Likely not one Britain in ten voted to support the killing of women and children, the destruction of hospitals and power plants, but that is what their “elected” government goes ahead with.

Most British people undoubtedly would like to see a government which does not support the bloody tyranny of Saudi Arabia or the dirty, secretive killing of Turkey or the literal horrors Israel imposes on Gaza, but is that what their votes get them?

No, quite the opposite. Were a government such as David Cameron’s to run an honest election – stating just what they support and favor in this international menu of horrors – they simply could not be elected, despite the influence of money and a very biased press.

The inevitable results of this failed form of democracy with all its dishonesty and manipulation actually are what the Natalie Nougayrédes of this world are writing about.

They are in fact defending a very undemocratic style of government with regular and great injustices imposed upon others.

No, the problem is not “conspiracy theories” – whatever those might be – and it is not extremists, except for the extremists holding office right now who suppress others, interfere in lives, and frequently kill – all while claiming democratic legitimacy.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

It’s actually simple to explain, Mr. Ben Judah.

One, America has a population equal to five United Kingdoms. So any subset is five times as large, too, and every human population has a certain distribution of people with various mental disorders from simple neuroses to totally disabling psychoses.

Thus, for so simple a thing as a propensity to unwarranted suspicions there is a good-sized population in America. And they likely possess above-average resources for publicizing their views.

Two, there are many critics who use the term, as you do, “conspiracy theorists,” which was deliberately coined as a put-down of people and groups who have legitimate doubts and concerns over some events. And many, such as yourself, are in a position to publicize your interpretation. You effectively conflate people with legitimate views and concerns about events with the unbalanced fringe types we find in every society. Doing that is simply a form of propaganda.

You make this all the clearer when you use an expression like “Trumpland,” an expression of contempt disguised as humor.

I’ve often wondered whether people with your views would think the same way about a police detective pursuing a not-evident case or a “cold case” or perhaps about a top spy investigating some just-hinted-at secret plot? I suspect not. The contempt is reserved for those outside the establishment.

Only an extremely naive person believes that where there is great power and large stakes in events, there is no great dishonesty and secret manipulation. It happens to be that in America we find the greatest power and the largest stakes anywhere. Does any reasonable person – one not engaged in propaganda such as this piece of yours – not believe there then will be dishonesty and secrets beyond what we find in most places?

Americans have been told lies a very great number of times after manipulated events. You’ve only to review current events in this paper to find examples – e.g., what Saudi Arabia is doing, what Turkey is doing, what Israel is doing, and the American government’s public version of each and of its role in each?

But there are even more dramatic events involving dishonesty. As someone who has studied in some depth the assassination of President Kennedy, I can assure you we have never received the full truth around those events (see footnote). Millions know that truth intuitively, and so suspicion is a normal reaction.

What was Israel doing when the intelligence ship, USS Liberty, was attacked intensively for two hours by Israeli planes in 1967? There could be no mistake as Israel claimed because the ship was identified extremely clearly and Israeli pilots had flown over before their attack and acknowledged waves from the crew.  Why did American warships or planes not respond instantly to the ship’s distress calls? Something very underhanded was going on, something which has never been explained.

In some such events, the truth dribbles out slowly over the years, but not always. In the case of Pearl Harbor, it is pretty well proved that the American government knew in advance of the attack. Indeed, the ships were “parked” there by Roosevelt as a lure for Japan to attack, something Japan previously had no intention of doing. Roosevelt wanted a war he knew he could win and he got it.

If you were a citizen in Macbeth’s Scotland or Hamlet’s Denmark, you’d have a pretty solid basis for some suspicions, although you would never dare say a word and would have no resources to publicize your views anyway.

The stakes in contemporary America make those historical examples look puny indeed, and the amount of corruption and double-dealing are proportionately larger. American politics alone are all about money – billions in donations by special interests. Do you think that doesn’t lead to immense corruption and secret entanglements?

Actually, I’m not aware of any great change in human character and the propensity to seize advantages over the centuries while trying to hide the facts. Virtually all arrested people still plead innocent, and we know a great many of them are not innocent. Perhaps, you have some secret insight you have not given us, Mr. Judah?

 

Footnote:  https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/?s=40+years+of+lies&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Mark Twain’s novel, Huckleberry Finn, has not been banned, it has merely been dropped from the curriculum in a Philadelphia school, and the act is not outrageous as some claim.

We are all quite sentimental about Huck, and many talk about the book never having read the original, perhaps having read abridged editions or seen a Hollywood film version.

But I remember, decades back, reading the book aloud to children night after night, and coming to the passages with scores of that most unpleasant word. I simply couldn’t continue.

It really is that harsh and shocking.

And I think quite unnecessary.

I understand the standard defence of his heavy usage, but I’m not sure I accept its validity (to defuse the word by over-use).

People who claim that perhaps do not understand that Twain himself used the word in his private life. He was a child of his time and place, just like Harry Truman who much later still regularly used the word.

I don’t condemn Twain, but if I were a teacher – and Philadelphia is a majority black city – I would be horrified to teach this book as Twain wrote it.

I also find it interesting that Twain’s wife – a bit of a puritan, daughter of a Buffalo newspaper tycoon – often influenced him “to clean up” the language of his manuscripts which originally contained much swearing as heard on the streets, but not in the instance of this word.

I don’t know whether she tried.

We must remember that in the late 19th century, this word was completely ordinary in living rooms across America.

That is not the case today, and the word, much repeated, is embarrassing.

I don’t believe in banning books, ever, but you have to consider the position of a teacher in a Philadelphia school reading or discussing passages with a largely-black class before you judge.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE ON BLACKLISTED NEWS

 

Banning the Pledge of Allegiance from public school is not shameful in the least. It is a great idea.

The Pledge is an oppressive practice, and it has no long-term history in the United States. Most of the Founding Fathers would have been appalled at the very concept.

Why should a free citizen be (effectively) required to pledge his or her loyalty daily?

It is right out of Nazi practices, and, indeed, years ago it was recited in schools with arms outstretched much in the fashion of the Hitler salute.

Readers might enjoy:

 

http://chuckmangrotesques.blogspot.ca/2008/10/blog-post_3676.html

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST

 

Putin is without a doubt the most remarkable leader to emerge in any major country in decades.

He loves his country and looks out for its legitimate interests.

He is naturally inclined to be cooperative and to do business with anyone, anywhere.

He is always in command of his facts.

He is calm and patient and remarkably prejudice-free.

He is not aggressive but is always ready to protect against aggression.

When he makes a decision, it is quick and to the point. And he is not timid about using force for legitimate purposes if challenged.

He also keeps around him some senior people of remarkable talent, Foreign Minister Lavrov being top of the list.

The United States’ behavior towards him has been a stupid shame and will undoubtedly go down in history as a series of historic blunders.

The United States’ establishment just cannot abide the fact that we are quickly moving towards a multi-polar world. It wants to remain the only feared bully in the schoolyard.

It does very much appear that America’s establishment contains quite a number of dangerous people willing to risk war for small points.

It is a dangerous time in world affairs, and we are fortunate at least one major country is ruled by such an exceptional man.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Cameron is just laughable.

So often making claims to high ground.

Was it high ground when he cheaply insulted Jeremy Corbyn’s motives on the Syria-bombing vote?

Was it high ground when he refused – I believe it was four times – to apologize for the insult, refusing even to answer?

Is it high ground being friends and doing business with an absolute monarch who beheads and crucifies people while running an illegal invasion of Yemen and funding the thugs of ISIS?

Is it high ground playing footsy with Rupert and Rebekah, people whose “news” organizations have violated every journalistic principle in the book?

Trump may be ignorant, loose-lipped, and tasteless, but at least he’s not a pretentious phony like David Cameron.

Readers might enjoy:

 

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/john-chuckman-essay-donald-trump-is-electable-as-president-but/

 

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

It is an interesting question why Mr. Zuckerberg hasn’t removed Trump’s comments on Muslims from Facebook as he has done with so many kinds of comments.

Selective outrage?

But of course “hate speech” is an absurd concept.

It is often not only a charge on its own in some places, but police are sometimes reported to be investigating, say, a murder to see whether it was a “hate crime.”

As though one kind of murder can be somehow worse than another and a murderer more terrible because of his thoughts.

But we have many such absurdities today.

Israelis have taken the same approach at times to killings abroad, investigating whether they were “anti-Semitic,” again there is the same thought process that one murder can somehow be worse than another murder because of the beliefs of the murderer.

And think of the people who’ve actually done substantial jail time for denying the earth is a globe. I refer, of course, to the ridiculous legal charge in some jurisdictions of “Holocaust denial.”

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Well, I have to say this is a new stupidity on Trump’s part.

The more new ideas he announces, the more he resembles a 2015 version of Benito Mussolini.

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

Robots are the future, full stop.

We should view them as part of a long and continuous evolution.

In effect, the rise of organic life and intelligence from inert chemicals and energy hurled into space by stars, represents the universe coming to consciousness of itself. It also may be understood as just as mysterious as some today feel about Artificial Intelligence and robots.

Our science is a seamless part of that whole immense process of the emergence of life and thinking.

Robots are without question the next major stage in a process that has gone on for millions of years.

Ultimately, they will be better than us in almost every aspect – smarter, harder working, not subject to disease, without pain, not subject to mental illness and cruelty, able to travel to the stars.

Ranting against robots seems to me to come from the same emotional place as the long battle over “Enclosures” several centuries ago in Britain with all the futile efforts by governments and churchmen which went into trying to forestall the emergence of a new, revolutionary arrangement in human affairs.

It is a waste of breath, as it was then.

I think indeed there is only one great danger as robots progress, but even that danger will be left behind over time. That danger is evil men controlling all robots, much like proverbial tyrants with armies.

But evolution is inevitable, one of the great underlying realities of the universe, and robots themselves will reorder such a world, much resembling the long struggle of humanity against tyrants. History will repeat itself.

Humanity has thousands of years of history, absolutely filled with cruelty, wars, tyranny, and bleakness. Only a relatively few high spots punctuate that trail of darkness – Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Milton, and at most a few thousand others – much of the power of their work coming out of humanity’s shared long dark and cruel experience.

Robots simply cannot do worse.

As far as our great scientists from Archimedes to Einstein – all of their work ultimately leads to what robots represent, the universe coming to understand itself.

___________________________

 

Readers may enjoy:

http://chuckmanrobots.blogspot.ca/

 

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

 

You just don’t stop, do you?

The Independent displays a genuine case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the energy and resources it puts into tearing down Jeremy Corbyn, week-in, week-out.

Polls are only as good as their true random sampling and as good as the nature of the questions asked – as whether the questions suggest or lead respondents.

I suspect The Independent in such a commissioned poll makes sure the questions and words elicit the result they seek, else the whole exercise would be a waste of money and time.

Readers unfamiliar with polling techniques should know that polls are sometimes used as weapons. What’s in the questions is everything.

We can refer to a person as “resolute” or “stubborn,” as “proud” or “arrogant,” etc, etc.  And believe me, you will get a different set of responses from those called with each choice of words.

This phenomenon is a reflection of the underlying realities of advertising and human suggestibility, polling being governed by the same realities.

Indeed, the very topic of a poll is suggestive to responders. Why on earth am I being polled about a man just elected and starting his leadership? Maybe there’s something wrong with him? Odd sounding perhaps, but that is how human minds work, being only in part rational.

I am sure The Independent understands these matters, and it is plainly shovelling loads of cow manure disguised to resemble gold.

Jeremy Corbyn is a fine man of principle, something no one can say of David Cameron. Cameron is servile to non-British interests, dishonest, and not liked by even a simple majority of people. Amongst those who do like him are the establishment that the publisher of The Independent serves with this rubbish.

Hilary Benn, the other politician mentioned in the poll, is a one-speech wonder, and perhaps not even that, the attention he drew being only derived from papers like The Independent tripping over themselves to lavish relatively unearned praise. And besides that, Benn was simply wrong from a larger perspective, a fact with which we arrive back at the very reason for commissioning such polls: to tear down “undesirable” positions and build up the “desired’ ones. I believe that’s called propaganda.

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Another hopeless, uninformative piece from Natalie Nougayrède.

Do you really want to support secularism?

Then support Assad who runs a genuinely secular government which defends all religious minorities in a part of the world where such qualities are not common.

France in fact has become less secular than it once was with various repressive laws (repressive for an advanced country).

Hollande is a pathetic figure, largely disliked by his own countrymen.

He is close to servile in serving American-Israeli interests.

Indeed, it is precisely because Assad does not toe the American line that he is attacked by a nasty little club whose members think they are entitled to decide who should head the government of Syria.

They are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and America – supported by the likes of Cameron, Hollande, and journalists like Ms Nougayrède.

The whole business is in violation of all international law, treaties, and conventions.

I love Ms Nougayrède’s high-sounding, “… voices that conflate Islam with fanaticism and terrorism…”

And what else have Western governments and the mainline press done for years, effectively preparing the ground for further extremes in politics?

Journalists who serve as apologists for Israel’s brutal excesses since the time of 9/11 have delivered countless truckloads of just such thinking.

After all, it is Israel that conflates powerless, abused people who want basic rights and human respect with terrorists. It is virtually national policy, and it is pushed into the policies of America by political influence and thereby into the policies of weak allied leaders like Cameron and Hollande.

And if we consider repressive and brutal leaders, none better qualifies than Netanyahu. He’s covered in Muslim blood and daily treats about 5 million people with virtual contempt.

Marie Le Pen and Donald Trump by comparison are guilty only of excessive and sometimes unpleasant speech.