Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 20, 2014

Robert Parry’s folly

Filed under: journalism,Russia,Syria,Ukraine — louisproyect @ 5:31 pm

Robert Parry

Robert Parry is part of a cadre of investigative journalists who have put themselves at the disposal of the Kremlin on the matters of Syria and/or Ukraine. Like Walter Duranty who justified Stalin’s policies to NY Times readers in the 1930s, we see Parry, Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk using journalistic tricks of the trade to make Putin seem like an innocent victim of a worldwide conspiracy involving the CIA, NATO, George Soros-type NGO’s, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, NY Times op-ed writers, and other miscreants bent on… Bent on what exactly? In the 1930s Stalin was defending state-owned property for the same reason that Jimmy Hoffa fought against Bobby Kennedy’s investigation of racketeering in the Teamster’s Union. The union was Hoffa’s source of wealth and power. As such it was in his in own class interests to keep the union strong.

But what exactly does that have to do with Putin? Russia is the third largest recipient of Foreign Direct Investment in the world after the USA and China so such an alleged conspiracy would in effect be breaking down an open door. Just three days ago RT.com reported: “Current Rosneft and Exxon projects unaffected by sanctions – Rosneft CEO”. The article points out:

Rosneft has strong links with both the US and UK oil industry.

Rosneft has even made moves into the Western hemisphere, and owns about 30 percent of an ExxonMobil oil field in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Rosneft accounts for 40 percent of Russian oil output, and also has strong partnerships with Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Eni.

Rosneft is an oil company. Gazprom, a gas exporter as its name would imply, has the same kind of mutually beneficial relationships with their Western counterparts as the Christian Science Monitor reported on May 2nd:

Although the European Union has imposed its own tough sanctions on 48 Russian individuals, Gazprom is arguably where daylight exists between the Obama administration and the EU on the issue of penalizing Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.

The numbers make it clear why. Russia is the EU’s third-biggest trading partner, after the U.S. and China; in 2012, bilateral EU-Russian trade amounted to almost $370 billion. The same year, U.S. trade with Russia amounted to just $26 billion.

For all of the rhetoric about the inevitable clash between Russia and the West, there is no evidence that it has anything to do with economics. I defy anybody to find an article prior to the crisis in the Ukraine that refers to Russia as inimical to capitalist interests. All you need to do is look at one of those advertising supplements in the NY Times that appears every year or so to confirm this. You know the kind I am talking about, the one that has articles to the effect of Russia being an open door for investors.

It is only when some unfortunate group of peoples finds itself on the wrong side of Russian foreign policy that the rhetoric about a new Cold War bubbles up once again. For Parry and company, there are never any legitimate grievances in a place like Syria or Ukraine. What you get is an “outside agitator” theory in which the natives become restless after a phone call from a Virginia Nuland or a Saudi prince. Russia is entitled to support any military action to put down these fifth columns until law and order is restored. In many ways, the excuses made for the iron fist are the same as Israel’s in Gaza. It is no surprise that both Bashar al-Assad and more recently Abdel Fattah el-Sisi align themselves with Russia over Islamic “extremism” and vice versa.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has made a startling intervention in Egypt’s political turmoil by backing its defence minister for the presidency, before an election has even been declared.

Whether the minister, the newly promoted Field Marshal Abdulfattah el-Sisi, will stand for president in elections scheduled for later this year is the biggest talking point in Egyptian politics, with elements of a personality cult already forming around him.

His aides have consistently denied reports that he has already made a decision, but Mr Putin chose to ignore that while welcoming him on a visit to Moscow.

“I know that you have made a decision to run for president,” Mr Putin said. “That’s a very responsible decision: to undertake such a mission for the fate of the Egyptian people. On my own part, and on behalf of the Russian people, I wish you success.”

Turning now to Parry’s article, “Airline Horror Spurs New Rush to Judgment”, you are struck by his use of the trump card—the unnamed Spooks who really know what is going on. In other words, we are up against the same tried and true method of Seymour Hersh.

Regarding the shoot-down of the Malaysian jetliner on Thursday, I’m told that some CIA analysts cite U.S. satellite reconnaissance photos suggesting that the anti-aircraft missile that brought down Flight 17 was fired by Ukrainian troops from a government battery, not by ethnic Russian rebels who have been resisting the regime in Kiev since elected President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown on Feb. 22.

Oh really? Well, I am told that some CIA analysts view Vladimir Putin as the recipient of Joseph Stalin’s brain in experimental surgery conducted by a Martian who landed on earth in 1990 determined to save the universe from George Soros and Samantha Power. Who told me that? Sorry, I must keep my sources confidential. Okay, just this one time I will divulge my source. It is Herman Goldstein, my neighbor who read it in an investor’s newsletter out of Corpus Christi, Texas. Mums the word.

Parry continues:

According to a source briefed on the tentative findings, the soldiers manning the battery appeared to be wearing Ukrainian uniforms and may have been drinking, since what looked like beer bottles were scattered around the site. But the source added that the information was still incomplete and the analysts did not rule out the possibility of rebel responsibility.

No, this is Parry and not Onion.com. I love the bit about beer bottles scattered around the site. You’d think that he would have mentioned vodka in order to make it sound more plausible. The last time I read anything this ridiculous was when Mint Press reported on rebels playing around with sarin gas containers causing an accident that cost the lives of hundreds in East Ghouta. Those Ukrainian troops and Syrian rebels, just like Bluto and Otter getting into trouble in “Animal House”.

Much of Parry’s finely honed investigative reporting talents, burnished at Newsweek no less, are turned to casting doubt on the possibility that the separatists had a ground to air missile capable of reaching 33,000 feet.

I wonder if Parry needs some brushing up on Google since a brief search would reveal that such missiles not only exist but have been used previously. Last Monday a missile brought down a Ukrainian military transport, the AN-26, from a height of 21,000 feet—far beyond the reach of a MANPAD. Well, who knows? I suppose if Parry had learned of this, he would have blamed drunken Ukrainians as well.

To drive his point home, Parry refers to the sarin gas incident that supposedly was a false flag operation intended to justify an American “regime change” invasion of Syria that would have put the FSA in power. Yes, I know. It sounds ridiculous at this point with so many articles referring to the White House’s preference for Bashar al-Assad over any and every rebel but let’s follow Parry’s tortured logic since it is clear that so many of our “anti-imperialists” will take him at his word.

Despite the war hysteria then gripping Official Washington, President Obama rejected war at the last moment and – with the help of Russian President Putin – was able to negotiate a resolution of the crisis in which Assad surrendered Syria’s chemical weapons while still denying a hand in the sarin gas attack.

Actually, there was no “war hysteria” in Washington, or more specifically in the White House. An astute analysis of Obama’s designs appeared in the NY Times on October 22nd 2013, written when the alarums over a looming war with Syria were at their loudest. It stated “from the beginning, Mr. Obama made it clear to his aides that he did not envision an American military intervention, even as public calls mounted that year for a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from bombings.” The article stressed the role of White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, who had frequently clashed with the hawkish Samantha Power. In contrast to Power and others with a more overtly “humanitarian intervention” perspective, McDonough “who had perhaps the closest ties to Mr. Obama, remained skeptical. He questioned how much it was in America’s interest to tamp down the violence in Syria.”

Well, no matter. The NY Times is the boss’s newspaper and we should never believe whatever it prints. We are far better off with someone like Robert Parry who spent a decade writing for Newsweek. Wheeling out his heavy artillery, he refers his readers to an unimpeachable source:

In watching Obama’s address, I was struck by how casually he lied. He knew better than almost anyone that some of his senior intelligence analysts were among those doubting the Syrian government’s guilt. Yet, he suggested that anyone who wasn’t onboard the propaganda train was crazy.

Since then, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed other evidence indicating that the sarin attack may indeed have been a rebel provocation meant to push Obama over the “red line” that he had drawn about not tolerating chemical weapons use.

Well, Seymour Hersh revealed no “evidence” at all. Evidence would be like something presented to a jury in a murder trial, like a bloody knife or tampered brakes on a car. All Hersh did was assure his readers that Bashar al-Assad was pure as the driven snow because someone who worked for the CIA told him so.

For those who want to read genuine investigative reporting instead of this “unnamed sources” crapola from Parry or Hersh, I refer you to Elliot Higgins, aka Brown Moses, who as far as I know, never worked for Newsweek.

Sy Hersh’s Chemical Misfire

Two munitions were linked to the Aug. 21 sarin attack: a Soviet M14 140 mm artillery rocket with a sarin warhead and a previously unknown munition that appeared at multiple locations. Since the sarin attack, eight separate examples of the previously unknown type of munition have been filmed and photographed in the Jobar, Zamalka, and Ein Tarma suburbs of Damascus, an example of which is shown below.

    • The munitions are used by Syrian government forces and are known as “Volcanoes.”
    • The term “Volcano” is also used for a smaller improvised rocket used by pro-government forces.
    • The type of Volcano used in the Aug. 21 attack comes in three known types: A chemical and explosive type are both launched from a two-barrel launcher, while a large explosive type is launched from a single-barrel launcher.
    • The explosive type has been used since November 2012, while the first known instance of the chemical type being used was June 2013.

I suspect it is exactly this kind of analysis—based on evidence—rather than the specious use of unnamed sources that will ultimately reveal who is responsible for the downing of the Malaysian jet.

34 Comments »

  1. “there are never any legitimate grievances in a place like Syria or Ukraine”

    But you deny the right of the people in the East of Ukraine their legitimate grievance. You do this with the bent of your articles, the sheer avalanche of articles is favour of the junta is staggering. You consider anyone who does recognise their grievance as Putinites.

    Also you do not pay any note to the internal grievances of people in Syria, who you claim are Islamists and just as much the enemy as Assad. You only give credence to Western puppets who live in the West and were educated in the Western puppet factories. So you absolutely deny the legitimate grievances of the people in Syria, because of your liberal opposition to their Islamist views.

    “For all of the rhetoric about the inevitable clash between Russia and the West, there is no evidence that it has anything to do with economics.”

    Jesus wept! Did I actually read that?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 20, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  2. You only give credence to Western puppets who live in the West and were educated in the Western puppet factories.

    You really are a fucking moron. Everybody and anybody who is knowledgeable about Syria analyzes the uprising as one with a plebeian base directed against crony capitalists. I doubt that anybody as Stalinoid as you would bother reading it, but for those curious about the class basis of the Syrian revolt, I recommend this:

    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer262/syrian-regimes-business-backbone

    By the late 1990s, the business community that the Asads had created in their own image had transformed Syria from a semi-socialist state into a crony capitalist state par excellence. The economic liberalization that started in 1991 had redounded heavily to the benefit of tycoons who had ties to the state or those who partnered with state officials. The private sector outgrew the public sector, but the most affluent members of the private sector were state officials, politicians and their relatives. The economic growth registered in the mid-1990s was mostly a short-lived bump in consumption, as evidenced by the slump at the end of the century. Growth rates that had been 5-7 percent fell to 1-2 percent from 1997 to 2000 and beyond.

    After Bashar al-Asad succeeded his father in 2000, the architects of Syria’s economic policy sought to reverse the downturn by liberalizing the economy further, for instance by reducing state subsidies. Private banks were permitted for the first time in nearly 40 years and a stock market was on the drawing board. After 2005, the state-business bonds were strengthened by the announcement of the Social Market Economy, a mixture of state and market approaches that ultimately privileged the market, but a market without robust institutions or accountability. Again, the regime had consolidated its alliance with big business at the expense of smaller businesses as well as the Syrian majority who depended on the state for services, subsidies and welfare. It had perpetuated cronyism, but dressed it in new garb. Families associated with the regime in one way or another came to dominate the private sector, in addition to exercising considerable control over public economic assets. These clans include the Asads and Makhloufs, but also the Shalish, al-Hassan, Najib, Hamsho, Hambouba, Shawkat and al-As‘ad families, to name a few. The reconstituted business community, which now included regime officials, close supporters and a thick sliver of the traditional bourgeoisie, effected a deeper (and, for the regime, more dangerous) polarization of Syrian society along lines of income and region.

    Successive years of scant rainfall and drought after 2003 produced massive rural in-migration to the cities — more than 1 million people had moved by 2009 — widening the social and regional gaps still further. Major cities, such as Damascus and Aleppo, absorbed that migration more easily than smaller ones, which were increasingly starved of infrastructural investment. Provincial cities like Dir‘a, Idlib, Homs and Hama, along with their hinterlands, are now the main battlegrounds of the rebellion. Those living in rural areas have seen their livelihoods gutted by reduction of subsidies, disinvestment and the effects of urbanization, as well as decades of corrupt authoritarian rule. The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings motivated them to express their discontent openly and together.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 20, 2014 @ 7:33 pm

  3. I don’t know why you think I am a Stalinoid, but you quickly resort to this type of name calling. It is something you have done in the past and it is why I respond with offensive language against you from time to time. On those past exchanges, when probed further you have sought to distance yourself from the actual people fighting Assad and have fallen down, when push comes to shove, on the side, not of the oppressed base, but the puppets in waiting. Those on the left who regard you as throwing in your lot with the Syrian ‘revolution’ couldn’t be further from the truth and those leftists who think the genuine Syrian opposition reflect the interests of imperialists miss the point entirely.

    The same process of economic ‘liberalisation’ that you decry in Syria is exactly what you are supporting in Ukraine and is a process replicated almost everywhere in the world, mainly driven by the US and the IMF.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 20, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  4. I am always amazed the talent Louis has to make people attack him for things he never said.

    Comment by Jorge — July 20, 2014 @ 8:03 pm

  5. The same process of economic ‘liberalisation’ that you decry in Syria is exactly what you are supporting in Ukraine and is a process replicated almost everywhere in the world, mainly driven by the US and the IMF.

    Where did I say I supported economic liberalisation in the Ukraine? Every Stalinoid jerk I run into on my blog insists on putting words in my mouth. I am for socialism, not oligarchy. I am opposed to the pro-Russian oligarchs as well as the pro-EU oligarchs. Just because I point out that Robert Parry is full of shit, that is no reason to slander me.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 20, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

  6. Cui bono Louis? Cui bono?

    Let’s see, the Kiev junta seeing Chocodile’s “surprise” offensive go up in smoke as the Ukie goon army is encircled and decimated, or the pro-federation forces doing the ass-kicking? How does Russia benefit? What’s the upside here? I’m really curious.

    By the way, what responsibility does the junta bear for allowing commercial air flights over a known combat zone? Oh and another thing, who directed Flight 17 200 kilometers off course on a path directly over the battle field? Questions, questions.

    Comment by Bill J. — July 21, 2014 @ 4:05 am

  7. “I defy anybody to find an article prior to the crisis in the Ukraine that refers to Russia as inimical to capitalist interests. ”

    Huh? Who said it was. Clearly there is a chasm between US and Russian interests, in the Ukraine and elsewhere.

    This isn’t a struggle between rival modes of production, it’s a struggle between rival imperialisms.

    Comment by Steve D — July 21, 2014 @ 7:17 am

  8. Bill J: The flight path was cleared by the the International Civil Aviation Organisation. They issued a warning but never closed the air space. The choice to take the shorter more direct path over Ukraine rather than reroute to avoid a war zone was driven by basic capitalist principles: less time in the air, less fuel needed, less wages paid.

    Comment by Steve D — July 21, 2014 @ 7:35 am

  9. @Steve D.

    Fair enough, however, the buck stops with Kiev. It’s the responsibility of the Junta to provide safe passage for commercial aircraft within its borders. Period, full stop. But let’s not dance around the issue here, there’s only two parties that reap a benefit from shooting down a commercial airliner over the skies of eastern Ukraine and that’s the Kiev junta and its US puppeteer.

    Comment by Bill J. — July 21, 2014 @ 8:46 am

  10. The buck stops with Kiev? Bill J this is flagrant apologism for US Imperialism (cont. p87)

    Comment by johngame — July 21, 2014 @ 9:25 am

  11. Regarding the Stalin-Hoffa comparison, you said that Stalin defended state-owned property because it represented a “source of wealth and power” for Stalin himself. Tell me, did Lenin defend state-owned property for the same reason? What other alternative for a socialist country (trying to bridge an overwhelming gap between itself and its capitalist adversaries, bent on the immediate destruction of socialism) is there? Should they have advocated private ownership? Or do you think that they should’ve simply ignored historical reality by pushing for a premature abolishment of the state?

    Permit me to quote Lenin on this subject:

    “Whatever guise a republic may assume, even the most democratic republic, if it is a bourgeois republic, if it retains private ownership of the land, mills and factories, and if private capital keeps the whole of society in wage slavery, that is, if it does not carry out what is proclaimed in the program of our Party and in the Soviet Constitution, then this state is a machine for the suppression of some people by others. And we shall place this machine in the hands of the class that is to overthrow the power of capital. We shall reject all the old prejudices about the state meaning universal equality — for that is a fraud: as long as there is exploitation there cannot be equality. The landlord cannot be the equal of the worker, or the hungry man the equal of the full man. The proletariat casts aside the machine which was called the state and before which people bowed in superstitious awe, believing the old tales that it means popular rule — the proletariat casts aside this machine and declares that it is a bourgeois lie. We have deprived the capitalists of this machine and have taken it over. With this machine, or bludgeon, we shall destroy all exploitation. And when the possibility of exploitation no longer exists anywhere in the world, when there are no longer owners of land and owners of factories, and when there is no longer a situation in which some gorge while others starve — only when the possibility of this no longer exists shall we consign this machine to the scrap heap. Then there will be no state and no exploitation. Such is the view of our Communist Party. I hope that we shall return to this subject in subsequent lectures, and return to it again and again.”

    http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/TS19.html

    “so many articles referring to the White House’s preference for Bashar al-Assad over any and every rebel”

    Can you direct me toward these articles? Because I seem to recall repeated threats by the US State Department and Hillary Clinton herself which pushed for Assad’s resignation. Wasn’t the FSA such a rebel organization which would provide them with a suitable (ie. pro-west) alternative to Assad?

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 1:53 pm

  12. Can you direct me toward these articles?

    I would start with this one:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/syrian-president-assad-regarded-reformer-clinton-says

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  13. Alright. What does it reveal? That the official US stance towards Syria was different in March 2011, when there was no FSA, no ISIS, no armed opposition crossing the border from Turkey, just people in the streets protesting (with, presumably, perfectly legitimate grievances)… So? Wouldn’t you agree that the situation escalated since then? How long did it take for Hillary Clinton to stop praising Assad and start demanding his resignation?

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  14. It is useless to examine the “official position” of the USA. What matters are the facts on the ground. The CIA collaborated with supposedly pro-rebel governments to prevent MANPAD’s from reaching the rebels, the one thing that could have put a stop to helicopter attacks on civilians and all the other horrors involved with this asymmetric warfare.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

  15. You’re constantly meandering around what I said, but I’ll go along for now. So, you’re saying that the US veto (nothing to do with the CIA, according to the article linked below) on the supply of MANPAD’s to the anti-Assad forces is indicative of..what exactly?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/28/syria-middleeast

    This article from November 2012 states that they already have these weapons, whether they were captured or smuggled. I can think of at least two solid reasons which would explain the motivation behind Obama’s reluctance to send more of these weapons to the rebels. First, they can’t guarantee that these weapons wouldn’t eventually be used against US interests (example: Afghanistan). Second, it gives US diplomacy a chance to pretend that its role is of an unbiased observer, that it’s limited to a mere peacekeeper capacity. Plus, the rebels are clearly receiving such weapons without the US doing their dirty work. As far as we know, at least.

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

  16. They already had *some* MANPADs but clearly not enough. In terms of the original point, the USA worked to prevent them from getting such weapons. After all, when they were seized from Syrian armories, that was beyond the reach of the CIA. This, however, was what the CIA did. It simply illustrates that the White House was opposed to the FSA getting its hands on the most effective weaponry.

    Wall Street Journal,, October 17, 2012:

    U.S. officials say they are most worried about Russian-designed Manpads provided to Libya making their way to Syria. The U.S. intensified efforts to track and collect man-portable missiles after the 2011 fall of the country’s longtime strongman leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

    To keep control of the flow of weapons to the Syrian rebels, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar formed a joint operations room early this year in a covert project U.S. officials watched from afar.

    The U.S. has limited its support of the rebels to communications equipment, logistics and intelligence. But U.S. officials have coordinated with the trio of countries sending arms and munitions to the rebels. The Pentagon and CIA ramped up their presence on Turkey’s southern border as the weapons began to flow to the rebels in two to three shipments every week.

    In July, the U.S. effectively halted the delivery of at least 18 Manpads sourced from Libya, even as the rebels pleaded for more effective antiaircraft missiles to counter regime airstrikes in Aleppo, people familiar with that delivery said [emphasis added].

    “We were told that we need to get our house in order on the ground, and that it wasn’t time yet,” said a rebel representative involved in the delivery.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 3:46 pm

  17. Again, what are you trying to say? I already stated a few possible reasons which might motivate such decisions.

    Also, I think you’re overestimating the importance of possessing large quantities of these weapons. Even during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, contrary to popular belief, the primary function of the famed Stingers was psychological. Their mere existence on the battlefield, in whatever numbers which were always unknown to the Soviets, posed a lasting potential threat to the pilots which had to develop new tactics in order to survive. This mostly meant that the aircraft had to fly at higher altitude where the MANPAD’s couldn’t reach them. For the pilots, higher altitude means less precision. And you wouldn’t start climbing just when you learned that someone is trying to shot you down. No, you would’ve arrived on the battlefield already at your designated altitude, without knowing for sure if there’s someone down there with a MANPAD trying to get you. Better safe than sorry.

    See what I’m saying? The rebels in Syria don’t need large quantities of MANPAD’s. Whatever amount they have, it already served its real purpose – it forces the pilots to abandon low-altitude strafing runs, where MANPAD’s are designed to operate. If some of them still use this tactic, they’re simply pushing their luck.

    In other news, it seems that the rebels are getting ample supply of other weapons, more crucial in achieving territorial gains:

    “Rebel sources report a “massive flow” of arms, including advanced weapons, into moderate rebel groups. Publicised footage of powerful weaponry, such as US-made anti-tank, wire-guided rockets, represents only a fraction of the arms that have been provided to Saudi-backed groups in recent weeks.”

    http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/despite-the-narrative-syrias-rebels-may-be-gaining-ground

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 4:57 pm

  18. See what I’m saying? The rebels in Syria don’t need large quantities of MANPAD’s

    I don’t want to get sidetracked into debating military tactics. I told you that the White House preferred Bashar al-Assad to the FSA and cited evidence that the CIA blocked the shipments of MANPAD’s to them, the very weapon that *they* deemed essential–not you. Furthermore, my article stated:

    Actually, there was no “war hysteria” in Washington, or more specifically in the White House. An astute analysis of Obama’s designs appeared in the NY Times on October 22nd 2013, written when the alarums over a looming war with Syria were at their loudest. It stated “from the beginning, Mr. Obama made it clear to his aides that he did not envision an American military intervention, even as public calls mounted that year for a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from bombings.” The article stressed the role of White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, who had frequently clashed with the hawkish Samantha Power. In contrast to Power and others with a more overtly “humanitarian intervention” perspective, McDonough “who had perhaps the closest ties to Mr. Obama, remained skeptical. He questioned how much it was in America’s interest to tamp down the violence in Syria.

    Now if you don’t choose to take McDonough’s views seriously, there’s nothing I can do about that. My experience with people like you is that words are largely useless.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  19. I fail to see how your McDonough quote replies to anything what I said.

    “I told you that the White House preferred Bashar al-Assad to the FSA and cited evidence that the CIA blocked the shipments of MANPAD’s to them”

    You cited evidence? Those are facts, ready to be interpreted, not evidence. The US blocks the delivery of MANPAD’s. That’s a fact. Your interpretation of this fact relies on a far-fetched notion that the US is (secretly?) hostile to the FSA and is really supporting Assad. Sorry, but you never presented any evidence which would support this claim. This is a conspiracy theory. And it’s quite original, so..bravo?

    People like me? I suppose now you’ll call me a Stalinoid. Yeah, you never did give me an answer on that first comment, regarding your Stalin-Hoffa comparison.

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

  20. I suppose now you’ll call me a Stalinoid.

    No, in your case the term Stalinist would apply. People can go see for themselves: http://bifutake.wordpress.com/. It is filled with howling idiocies like this:

    “This far-seeing policy [rapid industrialization] which modernized the country, championed by Stalin (however inconvenient this truth may be to some), saved the Soviet Union, and the rest of the world, from annihilation and enslavement by the Nazi hordes.”

    Bifutake, whoever you are and whatever you are, with your links to the Stalin Society and to Grover Furr, you have no idea how bizarre you would appear to someone outside the nether reaches of Marxist-Leninist exotica. I have wasted too much time already responding to you and will probably not bother with you again. Your blog does not even pass the threshold for Alexa to rank it. I have given you the opportunity to have a hearing in the comments section mostly out of respect for your ability to refrain from cheap baiting. But there’s really not much percentage in me debating you. Your views, as opposed to the 1960s when I was your age I assume, are so beyond the pale that they don’t deserve a reply. Grover Furr was subbed to Marxmail for a few weeks until I removed him for not being able to post about anything except how great Stalin was. This kind of obsession in 2014 really requires a political version of Krafft-Ebbing to fathom.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  21. “No, in your case the term Stalinist would apply.”
    Of course you would, because you tend to substitute name-calling for rational argumentation.

    “howling idiocies like this”
    And why’s that? Would the USSR have any chance of defeating Nazi Germany if it didn’t have a strong industrial base? Is it not a fact that Stalin championed this policy of rapid industrialization? Could you be more precise, what’s so howling about the way I said it? Is it because I portrayed the Nazis as a horde? Poetic license. So, what’s so idiotic in the notion that the Soviet industrialization was the key to Nazi defeat? Are you saying that it wasn’t?

    Stalinist, howling idiocy… Name-calling and relying on clever phrases devoid of any substance. Is that all you’ve got?

    “with your links to the Stalin Society and to Grover Furr”
    Actually, up until today, yours was there too.

    “you have no idea how bizarre you would appear to someone outside the nether reaches of Marxist-Leninist exotica”
    How do you know what idea I have or don’t have? I live in the same capitalist world as you do. I’m very aware of my surroundings and what the mainstream media releases into it.

    “I have wasted too much time already responding to you and will probably not bother with you again.”
    I’ll make it easier for you by unsubscribing.

    “Your blog does not even pass the threshold for Alexa to rank it.”
    What is this, a popularity contest? Are you really that mature? You just keep on disappointing.

    “Grover Furr … not being able to post about anything except how great Stalin was.”
    I wasn’t there so I can’t judge his posts without first reading them. That said, I sincerely doubt your portrayal of these events to be accurate because: a) I have read some of Furr’s work which is based on serious research, b) on the basis of that work, I can conclude that his aim is not to glorify Stalin, c) replies you’ve made under this blog-entry made me doubt your every word.

    Comment by bifutake — July 21, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

  22. Mr. Bifutake, trolling is not a good use of your time. One of the lessons I have learned after being on the Internet for over 20 years is that you get nothing out of picking fights with those you consider traitors, Mensheviks, etc. For example, I do not go to pro-Assad blogs or websites looking for trouble. You really need to focus your efforts on networking with those you are relatively close to (Kasama would be a good start.) If you take a close look at the people who are “regulars” here, you will notice that most are within the same general framework, which starts with a complete aversion to Stalin. I really don’t enjoy butting heads with people coming out of your tradition and only kept it up this long because–as I have already stated–you avoid the usual epithets. But my strong advice is to look elsewhere since we are too far apart to have a productive dialog/debate.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2014 @ 7:45 pm

  23. “Where did I say I supported economic liberalisation in the Ukraine? ”

    You didn’t exactly say this, as no one on the left ever would, those on the left who pretty much supported the imperialist invasion of Iraq never actually explicitly said they supported the invasion but the bias of their articles and what they chose to keep quiet about and the way they argued with anti imperialists was enough to draw the objective conclusion that they did actually support the imperialist invasion. The same applies, i think, to your views on Ukraine. The best I could say is that you have not done enough to distance yourself from the Kiev junta and their economic plans, which make Assad’s look like a model of old fashioned social democracy!

    I now give you the opportunity to denounce the Kiev junta.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 21, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

  24. I now give you the opportunity to denounce the Kiev junta -SP

    Have you an eternity?

    Comment by Bill J. — July 21, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

  25. The briefing unnamed US intelligence officials gave to the LA Times and the Washington Post among others this Tuesday reference “Ukrainian army defectors” as the possible launchers of the missile. This validates Parry’s source. http://consortiumnews.com/2014/07/22/the-mystery-of-a-ukrainian-army-defector/ At the very least, there are serious questions that need to be answered. Your calling anyone who asks those Putinites is insulting, both to them and your reader’s intelligence.

    You belittle Parry’s record, but when he was working at Newsweek he helped break the Iran Contra affair, which puts him multiple steps ahead of you in terms of journalistic credibility. Do you have any evidence that he’s getting orders from the Kremlin, or are you just resorting to McCarthyism? Do you have in your hand a list of journalists who are a member of the Putinite party?

    Comment by Clever Handle — July 24, 2014 @ 6:41 am

  26. Well, a “defector” would be a separatist, wouldn’t he?

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2014 @ 11:35 am

  27. “Well, a “defector” would be a separatist, wouldn’t he?”

    That is one possibility. But others do present themselves, for example, they could be spies. If I were the Kiev Junta I would certainly try to infiltrate the Eastern freedom fighters. Though I would stop short of telling them to shoot down a passenger plane. But this does open up the possibility of a false flag operation.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 24, 2014 @ 4:46 pm

  28. Yes, but it might have been a Russian pretending to be a Ukrainian defector who hoped to cast suspicions on Kyiv. Or maybe a member of the Illuminati opposed to both sides.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

  29. “but it might have been a Russian pretending to be a Ukrainian defector who hoped to cast suspicions on Kyiv”

    possible, so your original belief that a “defector” would be a separatist is clearly wrong. Can we agree on that?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 24, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

  30. Can we agree on that?

    I was pulling your leg.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

  31. I was pulling your leg. Beside the point.

    So can we agree that your original assertion that a “defector” would be a separatist is clearly wrong?

    I just want to agree with someone today!

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 24, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

  32. @26 If you take the US at its word that the missile was launched from separatist territory. Until they release some actual evidence, which we know they have, I’m going to take that claim with a grain of salt. It’d make no sense that a “defector” would still be wearing a Ukranian uniform.

    Any word on that secret list of yours, Louis?

    Comment by Clever Handle — July 24, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

  33. […] When I read this, my eyes popped out of my head like a Warner Brothers cartoon character and then wrote this: […]

    Pingback by Robert Parry, up to his old tricks | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — August 9, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  34. Another investigative journalist put out of work by the K Ochtopus!
    And you are reviving the Cold War’s Mighty Wurlitzer to take down an indie like Parry?

    http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/05/04/news/how-canada-made-koch-brothers-rich

    Comment by ulpanaylaylo — May 7, 2015 @ 5:36 am


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