zaterdag 22 september 2018

Open Brief aan Mijn Oude Vriend Ian Buruma



Beste Ian,

Laat ik je als oude vriend een advies geven. Zwijg, totdat je hebt begrepen wat er met je gebeurd is, nu je door je werkgever gedwongen bent op te stappen als hoofdredacteur van The New York Review of Books. Je stelt je nu op als slachtoffer van -- in jouw woorden -- 'de sociale media,' en vertoont daarmee dezelfde houding die jij in 2002 bekritiseerde, omdat deze mentaliteit ertoe leidt dat 'the world will be reduced to soulful communities competing for victimhood.' Inderdaad, je had in 1999 gelijk toen je tevens wees op de 'Perils of Victimhood,' en concludeerde dat dit slachtofferisme 'kitsch' is, hetgeen jij als volgt toelichtte: 

By kitsch I don’t mean gaudiness or camp, but rather an expression of emotion which is displaced, focused on the wrong thing, or, to use that ghastly word properly for once, inappropriate.

Voordat je het weet doe je mee aan wat Heikelien (Verrijn Stuart)   tegenover jou 'de Olympische Spelen van het slachtofferschap' noemde. 

Al meer dan een kwarteeuw geleden waarschuwde zij voor het feit dat het cultiveren van het slachtofferisme uiteindelijk in een modern fascisme zou eindigen. Als juriste schreef zij dat 

slachtofferisten via erkenning of genoegdoening uit [zijn] op macht. Een macht die zij menen te hebben verdiend door een onschuld, die is geconstrueerd door hun slachtofferschap. 

Zij bestreed vooral 

het excuus dat het slachtofferschap bood om zich niet verantwoordelijk te hoeven voelen.

Een paar jaar later wees de Duitse filosoof Peter Sloterdijk erop dat: 

Verantwoordelijkheid steeds lager [wordt] ingeschat, terwijl het slachtofferschap steeds hoger wordt gewaardeerd. Het is een ontwikkeling die buitengewoon gevaarlijk is voor onze samenleving. Deze slachtofferistische manier van denken is de belangrijkste vorm van ressentiment geworden… Het slachtofferisme, het verleidelijke gevoel slachtoffer te zijn, kan men overal om ons heen waarnemen, en is een extreem morele kracht geworden.

En de in asiel levende joods-Russische dichter Joseph Brodsky adviseerde, kort vóór zijn dood, in zijn laatste essaybundel On Grief and Reason (1997)

Probeer ten koste van alles te vermijden dat je jezelf de status van slachtoffer toestaat… probeer te onthouden dat menselijke waardigheid een absoluut begrip is… Bedenk tenminste, als dat andere je te hoogdravend in de oren klinkt, dat je door jezelf als slachtoffer te beschouwen alleen maar het vacuüm vergroot dat door gebrek aan persoonlijke verantwoordelijkheid ontstaat en dat demonen en demagogen zo graag opvullen.

Het fundamentele probleem is dat de slachtofferist er voetstoots van uitgaat dat hij (of zij) nooit zelf handelt, dus per definitie meent altijd onschuldig te zijn. Juist naar die onschuld is het slachtoffer op zoek. Het gevoel onschuldig te zijn vormt de kern van zijn valse identiteit. Vandaar dat hij niet anders kan dan zich fanatiek vastklampen aan zijn slachtofferrol. Schuldig is altijd de ander. Hij kent geen relativering, geen nuance, geen scepsis, geen ironie, geen satire. Hij kent alleen zijn eigen, alles overstemmende, weeklacht. Als een wereldvreemd kind weigert de slachtofferist de onvermijdelijke schaduwkant van het moderne bestaan te accepteren: de vervreemding, het isolement, de eenzaamheid, de anonimiteit, de melancholie en de talloze negatieve manifestaties die onlosmakelijk daaraan verbonden zijn, met de angst voor de misdaad en het terrorisme als fixatiepunt. Hij is te vol van zichzelf en bezit te weinig verbeeldingskracht om een innerlijk proces op gang te brengen waarover Albert Camus schreef: 

De eerste stap van een geest die vervuld is van vervreemding is het besef dat hij dat gevoel van vervreemding deelt met alle mensen en dat de mensheid als geheel lijdt onder deze distantie ten opzichte van zichzelf en de wereld,

hetgeen bij een betrokken individu leidt tot een 'solidariteit van de ketenen' die ieder mens aan de ander bindt.

Ian, in het leven van een ieder voltrekt zich tenminste één grote tragedie. Uit eigen ervaring weet ik dat men pas vele jaren later, bij sommigen zelfs decennia, beseft wat de ware oorzaken waren van die tragedie. Jouw ontslag bij The New York Review of Books, zal een klap voor je zijn, een tragedie die je niet simplistisch kunt afdoen als zijnde de schuld van 'de sociale media.' Je hebt de hysterie van wat jij de Amerikaanse 'stedelijke elites' noemt, vreselijk onderschat. Dat is tragisch voor een intellectueel die meent dat hij als opiniemaker zijn publiek kan informeren over de Verenigde Staten. Mijn welgemeend advies is: zwijg en begin na te denken over het land waarover jij moeiteloos beweerde dat -- met het oog op het naderende 'einde' van 'Pax Americana' -- 

we ons [zullen] moeten voorbereiden op een tijd waarin we met weemoed terugkijken op het betrekkelijk goedaardige imperialisme uit Washington.

Vraag jezelf nu af, 'weemoed' waarnaar? Die zoektocht zal je enkele jaren gaan kosten. Je zou er een schitterend boek over kunnen schrijven. Maar wil je voorkomen dat je jezelf nog belachelijker maakt, blijf dan in de tussentijd zwijgen. 

Er bestaat een bepaalde subtiliteit die door de Amerikaanse kunstschilder Wayne Thiebaud in een essay over het werk van Giorgio Morandi als volgt wordt omschreven:

Words and paintings are very strange bedfellows so, it is not a surprise when the ambiguities of Morandi's intentions and a startling kind of innocence in his works tend to disenfranchise and embarrass any words I could think of then or now. But something of wonder happens while looking at these paintings today. They have changed their focus from public to private concerns of awareness. And, therefore, some things more intimate and physical seem te be emanating from these works. It is as if Morandi had included in the paint some of the most basic substances and feelings he has known. So that that things like weather, tremblings, lightnings, odors, and dusts can seem to leave the paintings and hesitate, then settle, before our eyes.

These are visual poems reminding us of the delusions of the self-importance and sweetness of our fragile lives.

Wat in Thibaud's essay alleen over Morandi's schilderijen lijkt te gaan, blijkt bij nadere beschouwing het hele bestaan te betreffen.

groet,

je oude  vriend,

Stan 


Zie tevens Vrij Nederland: https://www.vn.nl/ian-buruma-vertrek/


Ian Buruma Should Have Known: Disgraced Men Aren’t Provocative and New

Essays from disgraced men aren’t provocative and new. They reinforce the status quo.

What’s at stake in publishing essays like Jian Ghomeshi’s New York Review of Books piece?

Jian Ghomeshi in 2014.
 Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for GREY GOOSE Vodka
Ian Buruma, the editor of the New York Review of Books, is out of a job. The news comes following Buruma’s decision to publish a lengthy essay by disgraced Canadian celebrity Jian Ghomeshi about how Ghomeshi’s life changed when, in 2014, he was fired from a radio station after multiple women accused him of sexual assault. (Ghomeshi was eventually acquitted in court after he agreed to sign a peace bond and apologize to one of his accusers.) 
The New York Review of Books has not said whether Buruma resigned or was fired, and has not responded to a request from Vox for comment.
The Ghomeshi essay was published not long after Harper’s magazine published an essay by former radio host John Hockenberry, who retired in December after he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. (“Looking back, my behavior was not always appropriate and I’m sorry,” Hockenberry said at the time.) 
Taken together, the two essays seem to form a bizarre new genre: the “I’m sorry you’re offended” apologetic, the “regrettably, mistakes were made” expression of non-guilt. As pieces of writing, they are less interesting for the fact of their existence than they are for the fact that they were granted prestigious platforms in literary institutions like Harper’s and the New York Review of Books.
Titling his essay “Exile,” Hockenberry writes of his fall from grace and defends his actions on the somewhat confused grounds that our pornographic culture has killed romance. 
“Do I dare make a spirited defense of something once called romance from the darkness of this exile?” he asks. “Not only do I dare, knowing what righteous anger is out there, I really believe I have no choice.”
Meanwhile, in “Reflections From a Hashtag,” Ghomeshi writes of experiencing suicidal depression after his fall from grace, and as a result of receiving “a crash course in empathy.” To illustrate his newfound empathy, he describes meeting a woman on a train and feeling an urge “from my days as a Somebody. Tell her about your show. Tell her about your band. Sell your book.” 
But instead, he writes, his newfound empathy led him to listen to his travel companion talk and to ask her questions — “As if maybe I had the ability to be worthy without reciting my résumé” — and to leave without ever giving her his name. (One might assume that he’d also want to withhold his name because he is now famous for being accused of sexually assaulting women, but Ghomeshi does not confront that assumption in his essay.)
Notably, neither Hockenberry nor Ghomeshi engages meaningfully with the accusations against them. Hockenberry will only allow that he is “guilty of bad judgment,” and he condemns his accusers for not responding when he reached out to them, expressing furor over their “stony and, in my view, cowardly silence.” (Some of Hockenberry’s accusers told the Cut that he had never reached out to them.) 
Ghomeshi, for his part, leaves out the number of women who accused him of sexual assault (24), what the accusations include (beating and choking), how far back the accusations go (to his college days; he’s currently 51), and why the charges against him were eventually dropped (he had to “publicly accept responsibility” for his actions but did so while maintaining that he was not admitting wrongdoing). 
As Buruma’s ousting attests, the backlash against essays like Hockenberry’s and Ghomeshi’s was intense.
“The worst thing about this accursed genre of personal essay — ‘My Year of Being Held Responsible for My Own Behavior’ — may be that it consists, almost necessarily, of terrible writing,” wrote Jia Tolentino at the New Yorker
“I feel sorry for a lot of these men, but I don’t think they feel sorry for women, or think about women’s experience much at all,” wrote Michelle Goldberg for the New York Times, adding, “Maybe they’d find it easier to resurrect their careers if it seemed like they’d reflected on why women are so furious in the first place, and perhaps even offered ideas to make things better.”
But what’s at stake here is less the question of whether their essays were any good, and more the question of why they received the platforms they did in the first place. What message was Buruma sending when he put Ghomeshi’s essay in the New York Review of Books, and was it ever worth reading?

Both mea culpas failed to engage with the allegations at hand. Harper’s and the NYRB gave them a platform anyway.

The obfuscations from Ghomeshi and Hockenberry follow a familiar, consistent pattern that we’ve seen time and time again when men accused of hurting women prepare to reenter public life: Be vague, imply heavily that it was all a long time ago and you’re the real victim here, and never discuss what’s happened to the people you hurt. (Men who’ve notably veered away from this pattern include Community creator and Rick and Morty showrunner Dan Harmon, whose apology after a female Community writer accused him of sexual harassment set the high-water mark for this kind of public redemption attempt.) 
So the interesting question here is not, “Why are these men so bad at apologizing?” — it’s pretty clear that they’re bad at apologizing because they don’t seem to want to actually admit that they did anything wrong. They consistently frame themselves, not the people they hurt, as the real victims of their actions. “Here’s the thing about being an erstwhile ‘celebrity’ who is now an outcast,” writes Ghomeshi: “You’re not just feeling sorry for yourself. You’re also feeling sorry for everyone around you — sometimes even the strangers.” 
Instead, the interesting question is, “Why are literary institutions like Harper’s and the New York Review of Books giving these men platforms from which to publish their bad apologies?” What is the literary interest in having a Canadian musician who allegedly abused 24 different women say that now he can no longer use his fame to pick up women? Is there any value at all in that piece of writing, outside of generating hate clicks online?
If Hockenberry’s and Ghomeshi’s essays are supposed to have literary value, why aren’t they engaging in good faith with the counterarguments against them? If they have journalistic news value, why aren’t they engaging with the facts that are already part of the public record? If they are more than self-absorbed excuses and “I’m sorry you were offended but you must understand that in my day, it was considered acceptable for men to attack their colleagues”-ing, then where is that value supposed to lie? 

Buruma said Ghomeshi’s story was valuable because it was rare. Let’s unpack that.

In an interview with Slate’s Isaac Chotiner last Friday, Buruma argued that Ghomeshi’s story was valuable because it had not been heard before. “It is an angle on an issue that is clearly very important and that I felt had not been exposed very much,” Buruma said. 
He added, “I think nobody has quite figured out what should happen in cases like his, where you have been legally acquitted but you are still judged as undesirable in public opinion, and how far that should go, how long that should last, and whether people should make a comeback or can make a comeback at all.” 
In a sense, Ghomeshi’s story is unusual, because he has faced some definite consequences for the actions of which he was accused. There have been a lot of stories told by men who got away with sexual assault — Roman Polanski wrote a memoir! — but it’s relatively rare for those men to lose standing and prestige after facing accusations. The story of falling from grace after being accused of hurting women really is pretty rare.
But we don’t value stories only because they are rare. As Chotiner pointed out in the interview, O.J. Simpson, like Ghomeshi, was acquitted of the charges against him in a criminal court, and like Ghomeshi, he lost his celebrity standing after he was accused of hurting a woman. 
Unlike Ghomeshi, of course, Simpson was accused of murdering two people: his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. And when Simpson tried to tell his side of the story in a book titled If I Did It, the outcry was so massive that the book was canceled and the editor who acquired it was fired. It would eventually be published by a less established publisher, with all proceeds going to Goldman’s family.
If I Did It was a scandal because it allowed Simpson to profit from his alleged crimes. And it prioritized his story over those of the people he was alleged to have hurt. It was unquestionablya rare story, but it was still not considered valuable. 
Nonetheless, if we take Buruma at his word and accept that Ghomeshi’s story has news value because it confronts an underexamined problem, then shouldn’t Ghomeshi have been pushed to accurately characterize both the accusations against him and their legal resolution in his essay?
No, Buruma said when Chotiner asked him that question. A concern like mentioning the peace bond Ghomeshi had to sign as part of his acquittal “does not really add or take away anything from the story at hand, which is what happened afterward and what happened to him.”
In that case, Buruma’s argument is essentially that what’s really valuable here is the story of Ghomeshi’s suffering. The question of what he’s suffering for — the harm he is accused of inflicted on 24 women — becomes irrelevant. His suffering becomes more important than theirs.

Promoting essays like Ghomeshi’s and Hockenberry’s is not a harmless intellectual enterprise in free speech hypotheticals. It has real consequences.

The idea that the suffering of accused men is more newsworthy and valuable than the suffering of those they allegedly hurt is fundamental to the widespread narrative that the #MeToo movement has gone too far. It’s a narrative Buruma appeared to endorse in his interview, in which he also argued strongly that the “Fall of Man”-themed NYRB issue in which Ghomeshi’s essay appeared should not be interpreted as an anti-MeToo statement. He added, however, that he was concerned that the movement may have overreached itself. “Like all well-intentioned and good things, there can be undesirable consequences,” he said.
It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that for magazines like the New York Review of Books and Harper’s, the value of essays by figures like Ghomeshi and Hockenberry is supposed to lie in a corrective to the dominant narrative, in a sense that the #MeToo movement has gone too far and that we need the voices of those who were hurt by it in order to stabilize the status quo. 
But it’s also difficult to understand how the #MeToo movement can be said to have gone too far when Donald Trump was credibly accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment and still get elected president, when the Supreme Court currently includes one man who was accused of sexual harassment and may soon include another. It’s difficult to understand how one can reasonably make the argument that the men who lost their jobs in the wake of the #MeToo movement were hurt by the movement and not by their own choices to harass and assault their colleagues. 
And it’s difficult to understand how spotlighting their voices in the way the New York Review of Books and Harper’s have is doing anything more than reinforcing a system in which men’s social status is considered to be more valuable than women’s bodily safety, in which accusations of sexual violence are brushed aside as so much shrill hyperbole, and in which powerful men are able to hurt those they have power over with impunity. It’s difficult to understand how these essays are doing anything more than striving to return to the system that necessitated the birth of the #MeToo movement in the first place.

Ian Buruma Volgens De Volkskrant

ANALYSE AFFAIRE-BURUMA

De ‘onvermijdelijke’ val van Ian Buruma in het #MeToo-debat

Opvallend afwezig, in de progressieve intellectuele Amerikaanse media de afgelopen dagen, was iemand die het opnam voor de gevallen wapenbroeder Ian Buruma. De Nederlandse hoofdredacteur van The New York Review of Books zag zich woensdag gedwongen op te stappen nadat ophef was ontstaan over een stuk waarin een auteur beschreef hoe hij persoonlijk had geleden onder beschuldigingen van seksueel geweld.
Een topless vrouw wordt aangehouden als ze protesteert tegen de vrijspraak van Jian Ghomeshi, die werd beticht van seksueel geweld. Foto Reuters
Sterker: er was niemand die ook maar een vraagteken wilde zetten, of durfde te zetten, bij Buruma’s gedwongen vertrek – wel een heel harde consequentie van een ongelukkige redactionele keuze. Was dat nou nodig?
Buruma, net een jaar in functie bij het prestigieuze tijdschrift, had voor het oktobernummer drie auteurs gevraagd hun licht te laten schijnen over de gevolgen van de #MeToo-beweging voor mannen. The Fall of Men, heet de special, een minimale woordspeling op het Engelse begrip voor de zondeval. Eén van de mannen die hij had gevraagd was de Canadese voormalige radiopresentator Jian Ghomeshi, die door meer dan twintig vrouwen werd beschuldigd van seksueel geweld (slaan, bijten, wurgen). Zes van hen dienden een aanklacht in, maar in 2016 werd Ghomeshi vrijgesproken na wisselende getuigenverklaringen. In een andere rechtszaak kwam het tot een schikking, waarbij Ghomeshi zijn excuses moest aanbieden.

Paria

Nu mocht hij van Buruma opschrijven hoe hij sindsdien een paria is geworden. Sommige van zijn beste vrienden bellen niet meer, hij wordt (als Iraanse Canadees) ineens racistisch bejegend, vrouwen moeten niets meer van hem hebben. ‘Ik overdacht de manieren hoe ik me van kant kon maken’, schrijft hij.
Het artikel komt niet uit de lucht vallen. Vorige week publiceerde Harper’s Magazine een essay van John Hockenberry, een Amerikaanse radiopresentator, die ook mocht vertellen hoe hij ‘het slachtoffer was van een overcorrectie door de #MeToo-beweging’. Ook daarop was zware kritiek, net als op de verdediging van het stuk door de uitgever – maar die hoefde niet op te stappen.
Ian Buruma, de Nederlandse schrijver die deze week opstapte als hoofdredacteur van The New York Review of Books Foto Getty
Ian Buruma nam ontslag: ‘In feite capitulatie voor intimidatie in de sociale media en door de universiteitspers’
Ian Buruma publiceerde een essay van een #MeToo-dader en dat kostte hem zijn baan. Verontwaardiging alom en verontwaardiging weer daarover.

‘Intimidatie’

Buruma dus wel. Tegenover Vrij Nederland suggereerde hij dat zijn vertrek te maken heeft met druk van academische adverteerders, de uitgevers van de historische en politieke boeken die in de NYRB vaak besproken worden. ‘De uitgever heeft mij duidelijk gemaakt dat de universiteitsuitgeverijen met een boycot dreigen’, aldus Buruma. ‘Ze zijn bang voor de reacties op de universiteiten, want die zijn oververhit. Het gevolg is dat ik me gedwongen voel om ontslag te nemen – in feite capitulatie voor intimidatie in de sociale media en door de universiteitspers.’
Daarmee komt de schijnwerper op de universiteiten, de bolwerken, in theorie, van het open debat. Dat dit niet betekent dat je elk zaaltje voor elke schreeuwlelijk moet openstellen is duidelijk, ook al beroepen de schreeuwers zich nog zo hard op de vrijheid van meningsuiting. Maar wanneer zelfs een beschaafd intellectueel blad het zwijgen kan worden opgelegd door de academische gedachtenpolitie, zoals rechtse dwarsliggers de politiek correcte dwang wel eens noemen, dan is dat toch wel opmerkelijk.
Natuurlijk, er is van alles mis met het stuk van Ghomeshi. De kritiek is dat hij de beschuldigingen van de vrouwen bagatelliseert of negeert. Nergens schrijft hij dat hij door ruim twintig vrouwen wordt beschuldigd van seksueel wangedrag, of erger. Nergens schrijft hij dat die beschuldigingen een periode van dertig jaar beslaan. Nergens schrijft hij dat hij excuses heeft moeten aanbieden. Hij veegt ze onder het tapijt, om het vervolgens over zijn eigen lijden te hebben.

Maatschappelijke schandpaal

Buruma wilde een discussie beginnen over hoe lang een man aan de maatschappelijke schandpaal genageld mag worden, nadat hij door een rechtbank is vrijgesproken. Dat is een interessante vraag, maar eentje die alleen kan worden beantwoord al we ook weten wat de persoon in kwestie heeft gedaan (zelfs al is hij juridisch onschuldig). Hoe erg iemand sociaal moet worden gestraft, hangt af van hoe erg het is wat hij heeft gedaan. Je kunt geen vergiffenis krijgen voor daden die je onder het tapijt veegt.
Dat heeft Buruma niet onderkend. Hij wilde, zo viel te lezen in een interview met de website Slate dat afgelopen week bijdroeg aan de ophef, de filosofische vraag beantwoorden over de morele en maatschappelijke consequenties van een misstap zonder de precieze toedracht te willen weten. Of de vrouw met de seks had ingestemd of niet, ‘dat maakt niet uit’, zo zei hij.
Dat maakt dus wel uit.
Dus verschenen er goed beargumenteerde tegenstukken in alle progressieve bladen van het land. Maar waarom komen ze vervolgens zonder goede argumenten tot de conclusie dat het vertrek van Buruma ‘onvermijdelijk’ was?
Hij is ‘toondoof’, aldus Margaret Sullivan in The Washington Post. Hij staat op ‘een pathologische afstand van de textuur van de tijd’, aldus Jia Tolentino in The New Yorker. ‘Waarom geven literaire instituten als Harper’s en The New York Review of Books deze mannen eigenlijk een platform?’, vraagt Constance Grady zich in Vox af.
Dat zijn geen inhoudelijke argumenten meer. Dat zijn andere woorden voor een taboe.

Zionist Terror

Great Interview on the Il-20 Shootdown With a Russian Air Defense Colonel

Komsomolskaya speaks to Lieutenant-Colonel Viktor Khaustov, who is a deputy commander of an anti-aircraft missile regiment, and served a tour in Syria himself
- What in your opinion, as a professional, could be the cause of the error of the Syrian air defense that brought down our IL-20?
- There is in aviation such a tricky reception - "air camouflage". It seems that the Israelites used it. They gathered over our huge IL-20 on top of a sort of "stack", because of which the marks from both our reconnaissance aircraft and the Israeli F-16 merged. And the Syrian S-200 could not strike at them at that moment, since the "own-alien" identification system, sewn into the brains of anti-aircraft missile systems, did not allow it. But this system is only set up to prevent the rocket from launching on its own, but when it is already released, it can not be re-targeted.
However, the rocket itself is so arranged that its homing head catches a stronger signal. And the IL-20 reflecting the surface is much larger than that of the fighter. Naturally, the missile grabs the most powerful target and goes to it .
And then when the Israeli fighters changed course, on the screen of the C-200 there were marks of "stranger". And the Syrian air defense opened fire. Here, I am sure, our plane and ran into a "friendly" missile.

In addition, do not forget that the S-200 is an old weapon. And the training of Syrian air defense specialists, to put it mildly, often leaves much to be desired ...
- By the way, does our Il have a system warning of a missile attack from the ground or from the air?
- Of course have.
- Why then did our Il not make an anti-missile maneuver, at least?
- And how do you imagine such a maneuver of a huge airy machine? In which the area of ​​only one wing is 14 square meters! This is not a fighter that can tinker away and escape from the enemy's rocket ...

In any case, the perpetrators of the tragedy are the Israelis. They provoked her. And they must bear responsibility for this.
- And how do you picture it?
- Simply ritual statements, of course, will be too little. Our loyalty was dismissed by the Israelis! In a day they freely invade the airspace of sovereign Syria . And when we are asked, why our air defense in Syria allowed this, we somehow answer that we cover only our bases Khmeimim, Tartous and our own naval group in the Mediterranean. 
After this tragedy, it would be logical to declare that we close the sky of Syria from uninvited guests and we will knock them down as enemy planes. In this case, of course, to close the space over Syria we would need a three times denser concentration of air defense systems.
Well, as for the armies and their allies, we allowed them to fly only in strictly defined zones and they do not yet poke their nose into other areas.

"But they say that we had such a deal with the Israelis as well?"
- Yes there is. Israelis bypass our facilities. They mainly "hammer"  their enemy - "Hezbollah", but at the same time they strike not only military but also civilian Syrian targets. There are already a lot of sacrifices. It is time to put them in their place.
- What kind of plane is it, IL-20?
"Oh, I can tell you about it all day!" Both in the school, and in the academy passed the exams. Yes, and in Syria in the "womb" climbed ... But briefly, it is a plane of electronic intelligence and electronic warfare.
It is equipped with an infrared scanner, optical sensors. There is also a lateral radar.

There is a station of detailed electronic intelligence "Kvadrat-2" and radio intercept equipment "Cherry". At our VKS such planes of pieces 20. And all of them have passed a deep modernization. Our "Ilyusha" have well proven themselves in Syria, coordinating the attacks of the Russian Air Force on terrorists.
He also has another unique "chip" - he can correct the flight of the cruise missiles "Caliber" when they approach the target ... Do you remember the launch of our missiles from the water area of ​​the Caspian Sea? Their attacks would be less accurate, if not for the high-class work of the IL-20 operators. I will say more. Our ground-attack planes and bombers are precisely reaching the target, also with the help of IL-20 equipment. But enemy locators do not see them at this time, its anti-aircraft missile systems simply do not observe anything on their screens, thanks to the operation of the radio-electronic countermeasure equipment installed on our reconnaissance aircraft ...
What else? Still, the IL-20 has four powerful engines. They can provide the aircraft with a speed of up to 700 kilometers per hour. Empty it weighs somewhere under 34 tons. Can climb to a height of 10 kilometers ...
- What tasks could our Il-20 solve in the eastern part of the city, where he died?
- Such a universal machine is capable of solving many problems - from opening the air situation to jamming ...

- Information has already leaked that the IL-20 allegedly tried to minimize the effectiveness of Israeli missile attacks on Latakia. Where are our military facilities?
- I do not exclude that it had such a task.

vrijdag 21 september 2018

This Time Syria. U.S. and British Terror


Bolton Mobilizes the Coalition of the Willing – This Time for Syria



William Blum on Mainstream Media Fake News

The Anti-Empire Report #160 (read on williamblum.org)

William Blum takes on the Washington Post again, in the person of columnist Max Boot, formerly of the Wall Street Journal

Dear Mr. Boot,
You write: “Every administration since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s has tried to improve relations with Moscow.”
I stopped. Frozen. Can the man be serious? Yes, he is. God help us. I’ve published 5 books which give the lie to that statement, detailing all the foreign governments the US has overthrown, or tried to, because they were too friendly with Moscow, or were themselves too communist or too socialist, or simply too liberal. China, France, Italy, Greece, Korea, Albania, Iran, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Haiti, British Guiana, Iraq, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Congo, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ghana, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Australia, Portugal, East Timor, Angola, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Philippines, Grenada, Suriname, Libya, Panama … I’m only up to 1989 … God help us … Read my books …
William Blum
Reply from Mr. Boot:
How does your email contradict my statement? I didn’t say the US hadn’t tried to oppose the Soviet Union and Communism. I said that every president had also tried to improve relations with Moscow.
Reply from Mr. Blum:
So, overthrowing governments and assassinating their leaders because they’re friendly to the Soviet Union is not a contradiction to trying to improve relations with the Soviet Union. Interesting. The CIA also connived to get Soviet diplomats expelled from various countries and did various things to block Soviet international financial transactions, etc., etc. All signs of trying to improve relations with Moscow? Silly me for not thinking of that. I’ll have to revise my books.

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The above is one example of how conservatives rationalized their being Cold Warriors -– The United States always meant well. No matter how bad their foreign interventions may have looked, America’s heart was always in the right place. The current US secretary of Defense, James Mattis, recently stated: “We are the good guys. We’re not the perfect guys, but we are the good guys. And so we’re doing what we can.”  [1]

Russian interference in US election – The new Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Washington Post has a regular “fact checker”, Glenn Kessler, who checks the accuracy of statements made by politicians and other public figures. On September 3 he announced that President Trump’s first 592 days in office had produced 4,713 false or misleading claims; that’s about 8 per day.
The article included a list of the types of claims, including the investigation into “Russian interference in the 2016 election” and whether people in the Trump campaign were in any way connected to it. Kessler believes they were. “All told, more than 200 times the president has made claims suggesting the Russia probe is made up, a hoax or a fraud.”
The “fact checker” needs to be fact-checked. He takes it as gospel that Russia consciously and purposefully interfered in the election, but like all the many other commentators offers no evidence. It’s conceivable that evidence of such has actually been presented and I was in a coma that day. (Would I remember that I was in a coma? Probably only if someone told me. So far no one has told me that I was in a coma.)
Keep in mind that a statement from the CIA that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.
Keep in mind that a statement from the FBI that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.
Keep in mind that a statement from the NSA that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.
Keep in mind that a statement from a dozen other US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election does not count as evidence. It’s merely a statement.
Here’s James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence: “To me it stretches credulity to think that the Russians didn’t have profound impact” on the outcome of the election. [2] Clearly if the man had any evidence to substantiate his statement he would have provided it at the time. He did not provide any. So all we get is another statement.
There are not many government bureaucrats who would publicly contradict the CIA, the FBI and the NSA on an important intelligence matter. How impressed would you be if a dozen Russian intelligence agencies all declared that Russia did not interfere in any way in the US 2016 election?
Moreover, keep in mind that numerous notices and advertisements posted to Facebook and other social media calling for the election of Trump and/or the defeat of Clinton do not count as evidence of Russian interference in the election even if some or most of the postings were seemingly made by Russians. Countless other notices and advertisements called for the election of Clinton and/or the defeat of Trump.
Moreover, many of these social-media postings (which members of Congress and the media like to make so much of) were posted well before the candidates were chosen, or even after the election took place.
So what do we make of all this? Well, it’s been pointed out that most of these postings were to so-called “click-bait” Internet sites that earn payments based on their volume of traffic. I have not come across any other explanation of the huge number of electoral postings during 2014-2017.
And forget about Trump aides like Paul Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, who’ve been charged with various financial crimes such as money laundering, tax and bank fraud, failure to register as a lobbyist, and more; in part the charges involve Ukraine – But NOTHING to do with Russian interference in the 2016 US election, although their cases have undoubtedly fed that story.
The idea of Russian interference in the US election has been repeated so many times in so many places that it’s now taken as unquestioned history. Guardian reporter Luke Harding has a book out called “Collusion: Secret meetings, dirty money, and how Russia helped Donald Trump win”, which reinforces this myth, and wouldn’t be worth mentioning except that Harding was interviewed by that rare breed, a skeptical journalist, Aaron Maté. Harding repeats one anti-Russian cliché after another, but Maté refuses to allow him to get away with any of it. It’s indeed refreshing. Have a look.
Even if you assumed that all the charges made about “Russian interfering in the elections” were true, and put them all together, they still wouldn’t have a fraction of the impact on the 2016 elections as did Republicans in several states by disenfranchising likely Democratic voters (blacks, poor, students, people in largely Democratic districts), by purging state voting lists.
Noam Chomsky has pointed out that Israeli intervention in US elections “vastly overwhelms” anything Russia has done. Israeli leader Netanyahu goes directly to speak to Congress without even consulting the president.
The United States joined a grand alliance with the forces of the communist Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin in World War II, but Washington can’t even talk civilly now with capitalist Russia. When your goal is world domination any country that stands in the way of that is an enemy. American conservatives in particular have a most difficult time shaking this mind-set. Here’s the prominent conservative host of National Public Radio (NPR), Cokie Roberts, bemoaning Trump’s supposed desire to develop friendly relations with Russia, saying: “This country has had a consistent policy for 70 years towards the Soviet Union and Russia, and Trump is trying to undo that.” [3]
If Trump were to establish good relations with Russia the lack of a European enemy would also leave NATO (= the US) even more obviously unnecessary.
Then we have the Skripal poisoning case allegedly carried out by Russia in the UK: There are just two things missing to support this allegation: 1) any verifiable evidence, AT ALL, and 2) any plausible motive for the Russian government to have carried out such a crime. But stay tuned, the Brits may yet find Vladimir Putin’s passport at the scene of the crime.

Lest we forget. One of Washington’s greatest crimes

The world will long remember the present immigrant crisis in Europe, which has negatively affected countless people there, and almost all countries. History will certainly record it as a major tragedy. Could it have been averted? Or kept within much more reasonable humane bounds?
After the United States and NATO began to bomb Libya in March 2011 – almost daily for more than six months! – to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi (with the completely phoney excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States and NATO were thus saving the people of that city from a massacre}, the Libyan leader declared: “Now listen you people of Nato. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.” [4]
Remember also that Libya was a secular society, like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, all destroyed by America while supporting Saudi Arabia and various factions of al Qaeda. It’s these countries that have principally overrun Europe with refugees.
Gaddafi, like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him but could in important ways be benevolent and do very valuable things. He, for example, founded the African Union and gave the Libyan people the highest standard of living in all of Africa; they had not only free education and health care but all kinds of other benefits that other Africans could only dream about. But Moammar Gaddafi was never a properly obedient client of Washington. Amongst other shortcomings, the man threatened to replace the US dollar with gold for payment of oil transactions and create a common African currency. He was, moreover, a strong supporter of the Palestinians and foe of Israel.
In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the prime moving force behind the United States and NATO turning Libya into a failed state, where it remains today. The attack against Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing President Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as Secretary of State.” [5]
The American people and the American media of course swallowed the phoney story fed to them, though no evidence of the alleged impending massacre has ever been presented. The nearest thing to an official US government account of the matter – a Congressional Research Service report on events in Libya for the period – makes no mention at all of the threatened massacre. [6] Keep this in mind when reading the latest accusations against Russia.
The US/NATO heavy bombing of Libya led also to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists.

Oh my god, I’ve been called an anti-Semite!

British Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and many others in the UK and the US are attacked for being anti-Semitic if they criticize Israel. But John McCain had very friendly meetings, and posed for photos, with prominent neo-Nazis in Ukraine and the Middle East – without being accused of being anti-Semitic. People involved in political activity on the left have to learn to ignore charges of anti-Semitism stemming from their criticism of Israel. These accusations are just thrown out as a tactic to gain political advantage – like with “anti-American” and “conspiracy theorist” – and do not deserve to be taken seriously. Whenever possible, such name-calling should be made fun of.
There’s an unwritten rule in right wing circles: It’s okay to be anti-Semitic as long as you’re pro-Israel. Evangelical preacher Pat Robertson is such an example.
While in the past an “anti-Semite” was someone who hates Jews, nowadays it is the other way around: An anti-Semite is someone the Jews hate.
“God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America’s Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist.” – John LeCarré [7]
George Bush, Sr.’s Secretary of State, James Baker, famously said to a colleague: “Fuck the Jews! They don’t vote for us anyway”. [8]
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser under Jimmy Carter: “An anti-Israel bias is not the same as anti-Semitism. To argue as much is to claim an altogether unique immunity for Israel, untouchable by the kind of criticism that is normally directed at the conduct of states.” [9]

What the man actually believes about his presidency

He keeps bragging about how he forced NATO to collect more money from members other than The United States. Here he is in a phone conversation with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.
“You do know I’m doing a great job for the country. You do know that NATO now is going to pay billions and billions of dollars more, as an example, than anybody thought possible, that other presidents were unable to get more? … So it’s a tremendous amount of money. No other president has done it. It was heading down in the opposite direction.”  [10]
Woodward said nothing to contradict Lord Trump. Someone other than the Post’s star reporter might have – just might – have pointed out that giving NATO billions more is not necessarily a good thing, that the member countries might have – just might – have spent that money on health, education, the environment, etc., etc. for their own people instead of more planes, bombs and tanks.
If not at that very moment on the phone, Woodward or the Post could at least have mentioned this subsequently in print.

Notes

  1. CBS “Face the Nation”, May 28, 2017 
  2. New York Times Book Review, June 10, 2018 
  3. NPR, January 9, 2017 
  4. Sunday News, Zimbabwe, July 3, 2016 
  5. New York Times, February 28, 2016 
  6. Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy”, updated March 4, 2016 
  7. London Times, January 15, 2003 
  8. The Independent (UK), May 17, 1998 
  9. Foreign Policy magazine, July 2006 
  10. Washington Post, September 5, 2018 

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to williamblum.org is provided.

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