I don't see how you have proven [Noam Chomsky] is a fraud. Even if he is wrong about Kennedy, is he then a fraud? This sounds all too Robespierre/St Jus to me. I'm sure you might understand why Chomsky might want to avoid this subject, you may disagree, but I think he is more productive attacking the root to many problems of today. You focus on stuff like cointelpro- and I guess there is a great deal of utility to this (it certainly makes for interesting reading)- while he attacks the fundamentals, the basic political and philosphical assumptions that created such programns. Exposing massive discrepancies between the nature of US news and the actual events, and what is said in other sources, Chomsky attacks what is commonly accepted, the mainstream media. I will give you the reason he is such a powerful figure in my eyes: simply, because he doesnt have to do this, I cannot see how he gains, I cannot see hubris here. He is a very public figure. (EX: Defending the holocaust denier guy's rights to free speech, though a brave show of principle, landed him much controversy: the media picks up on this not his comprehensive treatment of East Timor) He must carefully choose his battles, and his arguements: even you must admit, when you read him in an interview, he really hates speculating on issues he knows less about and is carefull to mention when he is just specualting. He uses only public (freely available) sources. He knows that the key for the left- the weak attacking the strong, is in bullets not in caps, in potent/cogent evidence and potent arguments. That he doesn't focus on Monsanto when he criticizes the WTO doesn't mean he is on the take from the biotech sector: a journalist must make choices. Overwhelmingly, those that participate in protests and so on, are in some way familiar to his criticisms of globalization/U.S. foreign policy, many are very much influenced by it. He turned me on to politics. He introduced me to Parenti, and maybe to you. Maybe. Fact is, however detailed an analysis of Chomsky's disavowal of Kennedy plot is: this is still the stuff for an elite group of "anarchist-aristocray". It could never be as potent as an argument on why we should not care about Kennedy at all, after all he was not really such a King Arthur as history books try to suggest. Whoever planted this CIA-Chomsky to deny the assassination and hence the "biggest crime of all", is doing a horribly fucked up job keeping the general public from dissent. I understand what you mean about providing a safe route for dissent but limiting the scope of it.
Chomsky worries about making generalizations. I don't. I think you are a dangerous element on the left. Planted in the left movement to cause division, mistrust. After all let's look at the record. Today he writes an article on the Intifada, and provides ZNET with it, I read it and his analysis is a great suppliment to the newswires and opinions pieces I scan throughout the day; or Chomsky delivers a talk to the TEAMSTERS on the effects of globalization, signs a few petitions, responds to MY emails (yes he found the time to do so). You write about Chomsky, and how he failed to grasp the importance of the Kennedy Affair: who helps people, and who doesnt? Who is an effective force on the left, who isnt? Perhaps it's just a matter of charisma, or webpage design; but I trust him more than I do in you. I am more inclined to think you are an agent of so and so, and a better one than Chomsky would have been.
Can you not see that philosophers like Proudhon, Bakunin, Chomsky BIG ET AL., are correct to suggest that proper revolutionary momentum comes from the bottom up. NO less true, a revolution of any form should attempt to change things from the bottom, the foundation up. Do you accept the one party American state, the electoral college, the pervasion of American aristocrats and special interests in politics, the foreign policy choices: all of this except the existence of the cia? Or is the CIA nothing but an extension of this cancerous political system? Attack the root not the symptom.
I would like to thank you for your very thoughtful response to my attack on Noam Chomsky. This is the sort of reasoned reply--so unlike the usual orchestrated contrived jibes on Usenet--that permits us to advance toward the truth. I was going to suggest that we take our exchange public, but the only place where one can do so freely is on Usenet, and that would expose us to the host of professional truth-derailers that I have just got through lamenting. Rather, what I am doing, and I hope you don't mind, is copying Hugh Turley and Michael Morrissey. Mr. Turley was a sort of garden variety Republican until he began looking into the mysterious death of Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent Foster, Jr. You can get some idea as to how far his political education has come by studying the site he co-authored at http://www.fbicover-up.com Dr. Morrissey is of that school that included me when I was a subscriber to and believer in The New York Review of Books and The Washington Monthly. He is from among the better-informed academic left. He is also probably the most trenchant critic of Noam Chomsky on the Net. I don't know if he has come right out and called Chomsky a fraud, as I have, but he certainly comes pretty darned close. Certainly, what he has written reveals Chomsky as either a fraud or a fool, and who could possibly believe that he is the latter.
You say, "I'm sure you might understand why Chomsky might want to avoid this subject." referring to the Kennedy assassination, suggesting that he has bigger fish to fry and that, were he to do so, he might interfere with this more important larger message. But he has not avoided the subject at all. On numerous occasions he has indicated that he buys into the Warren Commission conclusion of a lone gunman and thoroughly discounts the notion that there has a high level conspiracy. In so doing, he does something that is just as bad or worse. He downplays the charge that there has been a massive cover-up involving the highest levels of the government as well as all elements of the American opinion-molding industry, the newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, and book publishing.
Understand what has gone on with the Kennedy assassination and you understand the forces that rule us. You also align yourself with the majority of the American public that doesn't believe the official story, not just with a small minority of left-wing academic types who are always harping on the ills of the "capitalist system." So, no, not only has Chomsky not avoided the subject of the Kennedy assassination, but I certainly don't "understand why he might want to avoid the subject" if he is interested in getting at to the truth and in making a difference politically.
Although Chomsky might not have, in a literal sense, avoided the issue of the Kennedy assassination, you are not entirely wrong in a more general sense. He might as well have avoided it for all of the importance he lends it in his larger thesis. And, you or Michael or Hugh can correct me if I am wrong, but he has avoided other outrages in the wake of the JFK assassination, such as the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
Quite logically given his approach to things, he and all the other important opinion molders of the academic left have avoided more recent ongoing outrages like the Foster murder, the Oklahoma City bombing frame-up, the Waco massacre, TWA 800, Pan Am 103, and on and on. One gets the impression that they will still be keeping their powder dry while we are all led off in handcuffs. If Professor Chomsky and his ZNet crew were all fake left opposition it's hard to see how they would behave any differently.
I can't help contrasting Chomsky and his crowd to some of the real radical opponents to the system we had in the earlier part of the century. I think, in particular, of Upton Sinclair. I believe that Sinclair was misguided in his support for U. S. participation in World War I, and in his generally socialist orientation, but he was certainly completely genuine in his convictions. I simply do not believe that Chomsky genuinely believes what he has said and written about the Kennedy assassination. He can't be that stupid. His defenders on Kennedy, I think, probably agree with me, but buy in to his larger arguments and think that he is forgivably dissembling on Kennedy for tactical reasons. Contrast that with this passage in Sinclair's The Brass Check.
"Also I met one of the high editors of the '[Los Angeles] Times,' and important personage whom they feature. Talking about the question of journalistic integrity, he said: 'Sinclair, it has been so long since I have written anything that I believed that I don't think I would know the sensation.'
"My answer was: 'I have written on public questions for twenty years, and I can say that I have never written a single word that I did not believe.'"
That LA Times editor, I believe, could be any prominent American journalist today, and virtually all who are not so prominent as well. Upton Sinclair, by contrast, had to self-publish The Brass Check. Noam Chomsky gets his stuff widely published, and he is in big demand on America's campuses. That, unfortunately, is the difference between the real thing and a fraud.
As I said, Michael Morrissey has devoted a lot more attention to Chomsky than I have. Let me call your attention to some of Morrissey's URLs with an excerpt from each:
Rethinking Camelot (Boston: South End Press, 1993) is Noam Chomsky's worst book. I don't think it merits a detailed review, but we should be clear about the stand that "America's leading intellectual dissident," as he is often called, has taken on the assassination. It is not significantly different from that of the Warren Commission or the majority of Establishment journalists and government apologists, and diametrically opposed to the view "widely held in the grassroots movements and among left intellectuals" (p. 37) and in fact to the view of the majority of the population.
What does all this mean?
What is the message we are hearing from Chomsky and CAIB/CAQ? It is clear:
No AIDS conspiracy
No assassination conspiracy
No connection between Vietnam and the assassination
Surely it cannot escape our attention that this is precisely the same message we have been hearing from the government, from the mainstream press, and the so-called "scientific community." Nor should it escape our attention, as I think even this brief summary shows, that the argumentation presented to support these conclusions is patently false in each case.
Of course it is not necessarily wrong to agree with the government. But when "radical dissidents" agree so completely with the government, on such important questions, and the reasoning employed is so clearly wrong, the warning bells should sound.
From Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent, by Robert F. Barsky, p. 114, we learned what Prof. Chomsky thinks of us:
Chomsky employs this appeal to reason in probing two important issues; the relevance of the irrational and the role of the intellectual in society. To the irrational he consigns "fundamentalist religion; JFK conspiracy cults...
Also of interest to me are pages 140 and 141, which tell us about Chomsky's position regarding his vigorous defense of Walt Rostow returning from governmental service as the quintessential hawk to be a professor at MIT. With an enemy such as Prof. Chomsky, Walt Rostow needs no friends.
Finally, I note your observations about Chomsky's writings on the latest Intifada. I received it through the Middle Eastern Realities mailing list. I was quite favorably impressed with it and was going to spread it around except for its daunting length. I was particularly impressed with his mention of the USS Liberty incident. Then I read it again carefully. Chomsky's account of the incident is misleading and inaccurate.
Here's Chomsky: "There was also another case. There was an Israeli attack on a U.S. spy ship, USS Liberty, which killed about 35 sailors and crewman and practically sank the ship. The Liberty didn't know who was attacking it. The attackers were disguised. Before they were disabled, they got messages back to the 6th Fleet Headquarters in Naples, who also didn't know who was attacking it. They sent out Phantoms, which were nuclear-armed, because they didn't have any that weren't nuclear-armed, to respond to whoever was attacking it, and they didn't know who they were supposed to bomb - Russia, Egypt, you know, anybody. Apparently the planes were called back directly from the Pentagon sort of at the last moment. But that event alone could have lead (sic)to a nuclear war."
Now here's a much better-informed account:
By James M. Ennes Jr.
June 1993, Page 19
Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.
There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship.
There was never any doubt in the minds of the United States government, from the Liberty to the White House, as to who was doing the attacking. They had seen the earlier surveillance planes and they had heard the radio communications back and forth. Lyndon Johnson personally allowed the attack to continue. For more information on this subject go to http://home.cfl.rr.com/gidusko/liberty/ and http://www.halcyon.com/jim/ussliberty/ and follow their leads, leads that are not likely to be advertised on ZNet.
As you will see from reading Morrissey, Chomsky has misrepresented the effects on U.S. Vietnam War policy of the Kennedy assassination. I believe the case can be made that the effect on U.S. Middle East policy was even greater. But fake opposition leaders wouldn't want us looking under that rock, would they?
April 6, 2001
p.s. The people at ZNet predictably ignored me when I sent them this absolutley definitive information on the cover-up of the murder of Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent Foster: http://www.dcdave.com/article4/030720.html .
March 26, 2005
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