The Cambodia Industry

Noam Chomsky's picture

Below is an exchange that took place in the ZNet Sustainer Forums where Noam interacts with the forum users. The question posed to Noam, and related material cited, is further below in this blog post. Here is Noam's response to the question...

Noam Chomsky: I have no record or memory of the posting below, dated in January. And I'm confident that I did not receive it, because it is the kind of posting I would have answered at the first opportunity, not because of its merit (on which, below) but because of the significance of the general phenomenon of which it is yet another illustration -- and, incidentally, an illustration that appears to have been dropped from the litany many years ago, I suspect out of embarrassment.

I know nothing about Bruce Sharp, and have no time to access the link or in fact anything from the huge torrent of charges about Cambodia that derive from one of many industries of denunciation, from many different quarters. They would take 48 hours a day if I bothered with them. No one does that, or is expected to, in professional life either. It would be an impossible and pointless task, for anyone who does anything in the least controversial. In the case of the Cambodia industry, I did respond to much of the hysteria and deceit elicited by what Edward Herman and I wrote (as did he), but I stopped paying attention years ago because the industry was simply re-cycling charges that we had already answered. However, if someone wants to bring something specific to my attention, I do respond. As I will show below, the one excerpt from Sharp's article below keeps to the standards of extreme dishonestly of the industry.

On the phrase "Cambodia industry," adapted from Norman Finkelstein, see below.

It is interesting that in the reams of industry denunciations brought to my attention, no one has found anything mistaken or even misleading in the 1977 review-article or in our follow-up chapter in Political Economy of Human Rights (PEHR) or in anything else we have written on the matter jointly or individually. If you (or anyone) thinks there is something else in Sharp's comments that merits attention, then I'll be happy to consider it and respond, if you send it to me, either here or privately, and I presume Ed Herman would be too. But no one, ever, can be expected to respond to what is posted somewhere or even appears in print. To repeat, no one ever is expected to do that, whether in professional or political life, and certainly not when it becomes an industry -- in this case, an extremely interesting industry, casting a dazzling light on the deeply rooted imperial mentality and the dedication to serve state power and atrocities. I'll discuss the general context briefly below, as often before, after a few comments on the posting you included, which refers to a review-article by Chomsky and Herman, Nation, June 25, 1977.

Our article discussed commentary on postwar Indochina through 1976, all that was available at the time we wrote in early 1977. One part of the article was about Vietnam, reviewing the familiar pattern: material that was generally positive about early reconstruction efforts was completely ignored, even when it was from highly regarded specialists on Vietnam. Meanwhile the US role in destroying Vietnam was largely ignored or downplayed. An illustration is the NY Times report we cited about "substantial tracts of land made fallow" -- to translate to English, utterly devastated by US bombing. To date, I have seen no comment on this part of our review-article.

The most striking case, perhaps, was the book on postwar Vietnam we cited co-authored by Jean Lacouture, based on direct observation as well as his specialist knowledge. Revealingly, though he was ignored in the area of his expertise (critical, but fairly positive about Vietnam, hence doctrinally unacceptable), he was very widely and prominently quoted on Cambodia, based on a review of Francois Ponchaud's Cambodge annee zero, in which every single reference to the book was grossly falsified, as he conceded -- while he also added that he didn't think it mattered if his estimate of deaths in Cambodia was too large by a factor of 100, a statement that elicited no concern that I could detect (except ours). You can imagine the reaction if anyone were to say something like that about the crimes of the US or some other favored state.

The review-article then turns to Cambodia, discussing media reports and the three books that were then available: Hildebrand-Porter (H-P), Ponchaud, and Barron-Paul. The review of media reports reveals the same pattern: for example, eager repetition of what were conceded to be defamatory lies. Our review of Ponchaud was the first to appear in the US, though the book, as noted, was very widely cited on the basis of Lacouture's (conceded) falsifications. We praised the book as "serious and worth reading, as distinct from much of the commentary it has elicited," also raising a few questions about it -- in each case, later shown to be serious errors in the book. In the American translation a year later, Ponchaud thanked me for praising his book, and praised me in turn for "the responsible attitude and precision of thought" revealed in everything I had written (or co-authored with Herman) about Cambodia, including the review-article and subsequent correspondence, which revealed many errors that he corrected in the American translation. Note that I say "American": not "English," or "other translations." The reason is discussed in PEHR, revealing Ponchaud's extraordinary contempt for the reigning intellectual culture in England and the continent -- justified, as it turned out. On Barron-Paul, we gave a few illustrations of how it was worthless, basically agreeing with reviewers who knew anything about the topic. We gave many further and quite remarkable illustrations in PEHR. Barron-Paul remained the main source on Cambodia for the general public, Lacouture's falsified review for the educated classes. See PEHR for much more on the topic.

One of the four questions we raised about Ponchaud's book in our review-article was his apparent serious exaggeration of deaths due to the US bombing. His book cited no sources, but H-P did, and by using their sources, we were able to suggest the probable cause of Ponchaud's error. It is interesting that in the flood of denunciations of the review-article, including the posting here, no one has ever criticized our correction of Ponchaud's exaggeration of US crimes, or faulted us for using the documentation in H-P to correct the error. That is instructive. It reveals, once again, that it is not only legitimate but essential to correct inaccurate charges against the US, while it is utterly criminal to correct false charges against an official enemy. And reliance on H-P for the worthy purpose of correcting charges against the US passes without notice on the part of those who denounce us for accurately and appropriately citing H-P. As in the posting below.

The posting, and excerpt from Sharp, express outrage over our citation of H-P, the only scholarly study then available. They omit the most crucial facts, among them our citation of H-P to correct exaggerations of US crimes, but others that are far more significant. Namely these:

As we noted, the foreword to H-P was written by the leading Southeast Asia scholar George Kahin, the founder of the modern scholarly discipline, who wrote that "anyone who is interested in understanding the situation obtaining in Phnom Penh before and after the (US-backed) Lon Nol government's collapse and the character and programs of the Cambodia Government that has replaced it will, I am sure, be grateful to the authors of this valuable study," which concentrates on the effects of "the heavy American bombing" and its consequences: "a significant amount of starvation," destruction of "many of the richest farming areas" (adding that Washington refused to allow food stocks to be replenished to the urban population), and other US crimes to which the new government reacted not by "some irrational ideology," but with "pragmatic solutions by leaders who had to rely exclusively on Cambodia's own food resources and who lacked facilities for its internal transport." The major contribution of the book, Kahin writes, apart from its account of living conditions at the end of the US assault in April 1975, is its "extensive analysis of how in the years leading up to the National United Front's assumption of power, it managed to turn a shattered rural economy into a strong enough base from which to wage a successful war against Lon Nol's American-supported regime, and then move rapidly on to develop the extensive additional agricultural resources that enable it to feed an urban populace nearly as large as the predominantly rural population previously under its control." That was the judgment of the leading Southeast Asia scholar concerning the book we dared to mention in reviewing all the books then available. And it is omitted from the posting, in standard industry style.

Also omitted is the crucial matter of timing: Kahin refers to the period before the Khmer Rouge takeover, and the few weeks that followed. The reason is that the book went to press shortly after the KR takeover, as the footnotes to which Sharp refers triumphantly make explicit. It was, in fact, the only study available -- and may still be -- of the state of Phnom Penh as the US assault came to an end, and what led to this miserable situation.. As we wrote, the book was ignored, given its topic, in accord with systematic practice.

When we wrote the review-article, it was too early to cite the analyses by the leading Asia specialist of the Washington Post, Lewis Simon, and the similar analyses by State Department intelligence, agreed on all sides to be the most knowledgeable source. In PEHR we cited these and other studies by recognized and respected specialists, all contradicting the standard stories that were circulating on the basis of falsified reports. Among others, we cited the report to Congress after our article appeared by the two leading State Department Cambodia watchers" (Charles Twining and Timothy Carney, confirmed by their superior Richard Holbrooke). They estimated that deaths were in the thousands or hundreds of thousands from all causes, primarily from "brutal, rapid change," not "mass genocide," etc.; see PHER for further details, invariably omitted by the Cambodia industry. In Manufacturing Consent we cited the astonishing analyses by the CIA and the government's leading Indochina scholar, Douglas Pike, downplaying Pol Pot crimes, well after the flood of refugees in 1979 made it clear how atrocities had mounted severely in 1978. By the time of Pike's statement and the CIA demographic study, the US had of course turned to direct support for the Khmer Rouge and severe punishment of Vietnam for the crime of having ended Pol Pot atrocities as they were peaking. Not of interest to the Cambodia industry, though it is to Cambodia scholars. Michael Vickery, for one, wrote about it.

We now know a lot more about what happened during the years before the KR takeover in 1975. Just a few weeks ago, Znet published a very important article reviewing new official documentation on the US bombing of Cambodia. I think it is the first time this has appeared in the US. The study, by Ben Kiernan and Taylor Owen, appeared in the Canadian journal The Walrus. Kiernan is one of the most prominent Cambodia scholars, also director of the Yale University Genocide Project, which focuses mostly on Khmer Rouge atrocities from 1975 through 1978, when they were finally ended by the Vietnamese invasion as they were peaking. The new documentation, they report, reveals that the bombing was five times as heavy as what was reported, "making Cambodia even today the most heavily bombed country in history." The massive US attack on the peasant society played a major role in creating the Khmer Rouge, they report, updating what was already known from other sources. It was instrumental in turning the KR "from a small force of perhaps 10,000 in 1970 to over 200,000 troops and militia in 1973," and more later as the US bombing continued, ferociously, via the Lon Nol government. These crucial revelations are of course of great interest to anyone concerned with the people of Cambodia. They also bear on what Kahin and H-P book record about their topic: Cambodia up to the end of the US war. The silence with which the Kiernan-Owen has been greeted provide yet another indication of the actual concern of the industry for the fate of Cambodians.

To summarize, we were exactly correct in our review-article in summarizing the basic content of the one scholarly source available, H-P, and the praise for it by the most respected Southeast Asia scholar, all referring throughout to the pre-takeover period and the few weeks afterward: that is, to the effects of US crimes in Cambodia, now known to be vastly greater than even what had been assumed at the time. So much for the posting and what it cites.

Turning to the more general context, I have been using the phrase "Cambodia industry," adapted from Norman Finkelstein's very important study The Holocaust Industry. Finkelstein distinguishes between "Holocaust studies" and the "Holocaust industry." The former consists of extremely valuable scholarly work, initiated by Raul Hilberg, which has brought to light the hideous truth of this incredible crime. The latter consists of those who exploit the tragic events for political or personal gain, caring little for the victims, as their behavior demonstrates. Similarly, we can distinguish Cambodia studies -- a serious branch of scholarship from which we have learned a great deal about the terrible fate of Cambodia from the early days of the Indochina wars until today -- and the Cambodia industry, which concentrates laser-like on the years of KR rule (1975-1978), ignoring the massive US crimes that led to the hideous circumstances of early 1975 (and contributed signicantly to the rise of the KR), and Washington's turn towards direct support of the KR, military and diplomatic, while punishing Vietnam for the crime of ending the atrocities. There are fairly simple criteria to distinguish the products of the industry from the work of those who care about the people of Cambodia. I have just given a few illustrations. In the review-article there are some others. We greatly amplified the account in PEHR, and reviewed and updated it a decade later in Manufacturing Consent. New and dramatic illustrations regularly appear, the Kiernan-Owen study and the reaction to it being the most recent.

It is also worth recalling the more general context. Here Edward Herman's distinction between "worthy" and "unworthy" victims is pertinent. The "worthy victims" are those whose fate we can attribute (often with distortion and deceit) to someone else, particularly official enemies. The "unworthy victims" are those for whose fate we are directly responsible. With a level of precision that is quite remarkable in complex human affairs, the worthy victims elicit most impressive laments, vast fabrications that are uncorrectable, and much posturing about the evil of others. The unworthy victims are either ignored, or their fate is minimized and attributed to their evil nature. The distinction is even more revealing when we consider the (obvious) fact that we can do something about the tragedy of the unworthy victims, very easily -- namely, by ending our participation in their torment -- while for the worthy victims we do very little if anything, so laments and posturing are a very safe stance. On the most elementary moral level, the unworthy victims who are ignored are far more important.

Cambodia illustrates the pattern quite well: when Cambodians were unworthy victims, pre-1975, their terrible fate elicited little media attention (we reviewed it in PEHR). When they switched to worthy victims after the KR takeover in mid-1975, there were instant charges of "genocide," and a torrent of fabrication and deceit -- and no one proposed to do anything to help them. When Vietnam ended their torture in 1978, and the US switched to support for Pol Pot, they became worthy victims of the Vietnamese, who had rescued them, and who we therefore had to punish severely. The record is most revealing.

Also very revealing is the reaction to the exposure of these patterns, not just in the case of Cambodia. To mention just one of a great many examples we have documented, the major focus of PEHR is on two huge atrocities in the same part of the world during the same years: the KR crimes in Cambodia, and the US-backed Indonesian invasion of East Timor (which of course continued, with horrifying consequences and constant US support, until mid-September 1999, when Clinton, under enormous international and domestic pressure, informed the Indonesian generals that the game was over, and they instantly withdrew -- teaching obvious lessons that cannot be comprehended). The comparison was quite fair. Our detailed study of East Timor and the reaction to our own crimes was completely ignored. The paired study of Cambodia under the KR and the reaction to the crimes of an enemy elicited enormous indignation in the Cambodia industries, and endless efforts to find at least something that could be criticized -- so far, a complete failure to my knowledge, when mendacity such as that just reviewed is dismantled.

It is also intriguing to see how Cambodia industry enthusiasts pretend not to understand that their reaction demonstrates that they are miserable apologists for the violence of their own state. The logic is transparent. We (accurately) compared Cambodia and East Timor, so claims that we downplayed atrocities in Cambodia reveal that those who issue those claims are downplaying the atrocities in East Timor -- crimes comparable to Cambodia in the years we reviewed, crimes for which they share responsibility then and later, and that they could have brought to an end, very easily, if the fate of human beings was their concern. The logic is elementary, but incomprehensible to the properly educated .There are innumerable other examples, reviewed elsewhere.

It is also useful to recall the (again obvious) point that the KR atrocities were highly functional for Western apologists for the violence of their own states. Within the Cambodia industry, the atrocities were exploited both to provide a depraved form of retrospective justification for the US wars in Indochina (including the crimes that were instrumental in creating the KR), and for the US atrocities then escalating in Central America -- to protect the people from "the Pol Pot left," in the phraseology of supporters of the crimes of their own states. Again, we have reviewed the matter in print, and I won't repeat.

One last comment. The preceding illustrates one of the crucial functions of the various industries, in Finkelstein's sense. Their advocates surely understand very well that mendacity and deceit require merely a phrase, when one is lining up with power. But correction takes time and effort. One service of the industries, doubtless intended, is to immobilize critics of the crimes of concentrated power. And the effort would be successful, if anyone were to pay attention. I'll repeat again that as in the past, I'll respond to specific claims and charges, but not to a reference to some essay or posting somewhere. That is not an appropriate request.

NC

ZNet Sustianer: Hi Noam,

I can't find a response from you on the question posed below and I had the identical query. I've been pressing acquaintances of mine to read your works and one of them sent me the same Bruce Sharp article that is mentioned in the attached posting: (http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/chomsky.htm#chii)
as an example of your doing precisely what you criticize: selection wrong or exaggerated data for the purposes of misleading people toward the conclusions you like.

If you've answered the challenge in previous work, just kindly point me there and I'll take it from there.. otherwise, your body of work will have at least one active challenge.

I know the Faurisson thing is a pure junk and I really enjoy having that one brought up for the fun of punching holes in it... But Bruce Sharp's work deserves a response in my opinion, either from you or Ed Herman.

Thanks.

 


On 1/28/2006 10:46:26 AM, Anonymous wrote:

In "Distortions at Fourth Hand" you and Ed Herman make the following comments about a book by George C. Hildebrand and Gareth Porter. Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution: The response to the three books under review nicely illustrates this selection process. Hildebrand and Porter present a carefully documented study of the destructive American impact on Cambodia and the success of the Cambodian revolutionaries in overcoming it, giving a very favorable picture of their programs and policies, based on a wide range of sources. Published last year, and well received by the journal of the Asia Society (Asia, March-April 1977), it has not been reviewed in the Times, New York Review or any mass-media publication, nor used as the basis for editorial comment, with one exception. The Wall Street Journal acknowledged its existence in an editorial entitled "Cambodia Good Guys" (November 22, 1976), which dismissed contemptuously the very idea that the Khmer Rouge could play a constructive role, as well as the notion that the United States had a major hand in the destruction, death and turmoil of wartime and postwar Cambodia. In another editorial on the "Cambodian Horror" (April 16, 1976), the Journal editors speak of the attribution of postwar difficulties to U.S. intervention as "the record extension to date of the politics of guilt." On the subject of "Unscrambling Chile" (September 20, 1976), however, the abuses of the "manfully rebuilding" Chilean police state are explained away as an unfortunate consequence of Allendista "wrecking" of the economy. In his article "Averaging Wrong Answers: Noam Chomsky and the Cambodia Controversy" Bruce Sharp is very critical of this.( http://www.mekong.net/cambodia /chomsky.htm#chiii ) He writes the following:

At only 124 pages, Starvation and Revolution is a slim volume. Describing the reports of atrocities in Cambodia as "systematic process of mythmaking," Hildebrand and Porter present a glowing depiction of the Khmer Rouge. The authors assert that the charges of starvation in Cambodia are unfounded: "It is the officially inspired propaganda of starvation for which no proof has been produced... Thus the starvation myth has come full circle to haunt its authors."(11) The Khmer Rouge, according to Hildebrand and Porter, were rebuilding the country quite effectively, implementing a "coherent, well-developed plan for developing the economy."(12) A few of the book's omissions should be noted. The book makes no mention of public executions. It makes no mention of the forcible separation of children from their families, no mention of the separation of husbands and wives, no mention of the repression of ethnic minorities, no mention of restrictions on travel, or the abolition of the mail system. Put simply, the book bears no earthly resemblance to the reality of communist Cambodia.........

........But what about the sections of the book dealing specifically with the Khmer Rouge? The primary sources for these chapters: The Khmer Rouge. The book's last fifty footnotes, from the chapter on "Cambodia's Agricultural Revolution," provide an excellent case in point. Out of these 50 citations, there are 43 that pertain to the Khmer Rouge regime. Of these, 33 can be traced directly to the Khmer Rouge sources. Six more come from Hsinhua, the official news agency of Communist China, i.e., the Khmer Rouge's wealthiest patron. Two come from an unnamed source, described only as "a Cambodian economist." And the remaining two references? Both come from Le Monde: one is a dubious estimate of future rice production, and the other simply notes that, in the future, large rice paddies would be subdivided, "giving the country the appearance of an enormous checkerboard." This criticism has been used by some to demonstrate that you were ignorant of what was happening in Cambodia at the time, and some have exaggerated this and said you were an apologist for the Khymer Rouge. The article itself is very critical, but this criticism seems to be the most significant. Would you agree that your decision to write a favorable article about this book at the time was a mistake?

Sincerely.

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"Cambodia Industry" -- An Apt Phrase

I saw this on the sustainer's page, but thought I'd comment here. In everything I read by NC and EH on this, I never once saw any willful misrepresentation of what happened in Cambodia.

As opposed to the various willful misrepresentations of -- or, possibly worse, the complete absence of knowledge about -- what happened in Cambodia prior to the Khmer Rouge, after the Vietnamese invaded, or what was happening at the same time in East Timor.

What amazes me, and is probably unanswerable in any rigorous fashion, is why the notion of deserving and undeserving victims needs to defended at all. In other words, why is that not simply an obvious truism? What scares me is not the conscious, willful hiding of the truth, but rather the doublethink-like aspects, or the results of a filtering system that has been wholly incorporated by many people, superego-like.

As Dryden says in Lawrence of Arabia, "A man who tells lies, like me, simply hides the truth. A man who tells half-lies has forgotten where he put it."

Lying, bad as it is, is not nearly as bad as the latter phenomenon -- call it "bullshit," a la Frankfurt; doublethink; propaganda; or whatnot. Since this latter phenomenon is as common as lying (roughly speaking), it's worth pondering why that should be so. Lying to preserve power is one thing; bullshitting to avoid the truth, or to efface it one moment while distorting it the next, seems to me more akin to avoiding some kind of moral sense, which may be something quite like a language organ, as I believe NC has speculated upon (following a long tradition in moral and political philosophy).

I realize that any talk of "innateness" is often equated with rightwing ideology, and that's often correct, but it would be very surprising if our species didn't have some kind of moral sense. Where else would ethics come from? A sky-god?

The key question is how capacious the evolutionary framework is. We don't eat our mates, as some insects do. In a hypothetical (and, yes, hopelessly anthropomorphised) praying mantis ethical world, that'd be A-OK. Human behavior does have a large range; again, the quesiton is, how large? And then there are other probably unanswerable questions about whether even a statistical "is" has anything to do with an "ought." Seems like it should to me.

Perhaps all we need to know about human nature is encapsulated in the first third of 2001. Or, to put it another way, it would be just like contingent, amoral, non-progressive evolution not to have outfitted us to be able to understand ourselves, let alone transcend ourselves, when it had so wisely granted us the ability to access knowledge about the natural world (and thus given us our amazing and ever-advancing destructive power). Not a pleasant thought, but it's not a bad bet that the unbalance of self-knowledge and natural knowledge is simply another version of placing an optic nerve in the back of an eye, or any of the other "imperfections of evolution" that formed a large part of the justification for Darwin's theory.

Of course, I'd love to completely wrong! Please -- give me a reason not to see things in this fashion! LOL. Enjoy the holidays (or at least the general slowdown) nevertheless! Roux and his buddy still enjoyed not only their moonlight swim, plague notwithstanding, but also fighting the plague itself.

Sorry--that was me!

I forgot to log in.

Doug Tarnopol

“Fair & Balanced” Activist Journalism

      I will try not to betray my ignorance by commenting much on the severity of events occurring in Cambodia and its neighbors during heavy US intervention in the region; too often we see the sad consequences of ideological and/or ethnic differences escalating to violence of horrendous magnitude; where “we’ll do it my way” overrides “survive and help survive.”

 

     I think NC’s entry here (and Mr. Tarnopol’s comment) are interesting in highlighting the psychological aspects of social phenomena: like a Freudian Socio-Analysis.  Especially relevant is a sort of social “ego-defense mechanism” where one’s insecure self-image is perpetually strengthened through a sort of “me = good,” “you = maybe not so good” mentality that is willing to distort perception (or at least stretch the truth) in order to maintain a good self-image.

 

     Although I doubt, aside from spiritual considerations, that evolution has some sort of secret benevolent purpose, I do believe that we humans crave some sort of serenity with an occasional, and possibly psychopathic, drive for “excitement”: perpetual restlessness for rest.  Peace seems like a natural desire, although war often erupts.  For the most part though, on the flip side of innate instinct, we have social consensus: and again, for the most part, we agree that peace is the goal, with too often war as a means to that end.  How this fits in with “compartmentalization” of brain biology, I have little clue, but a “more primitive” drive for survival at all costs, mediated by a more subtle cognitive social mediation seems reasonable to me (and even the most primitive of creatures often take part in some sort of society).  Although war may seem necessary for survival at times, our war tendencies, whether they be instinctual or socialized, seem to necessitate a reconciliation with our (possibly) larger aim for peace.  Hence “we” try to defend “peace” while “they” want war.  The subtle definition of “peace” could make things complicated (it may simply be “my” way of feeling ok); and sadly these more “subtle” aspects can cloud the obvious cases of violence.

 

     Truth, as I understand it, likes to cohere: the more one truth connects to other truths, the stronger it is.  This makes sense on both a social and brain-biological level.  The more that a certain belief “pans out” and “falls together” with the facts (or other beliefs), in the social realm, the more it becomes accepted (or at least should be accepted).  Similarly, in the brain, the more interconnections between ideas we have, the stronger they are (like so many interconnected neurons).  Lies, bullshit, etc., should, imo, create tensions both in the social and psychological spheres: they may be intertwined with truths, may be half-truths, etc., but ultimately they should find their coherence weaker than the truth.  Of course, lies are possible, can take a strong hold, and may even be seen as the prevailing truth: especially if not all the relevant facts are known.  Maybe some will see a connection between self-deception and selective perception as obstacles to a Peaceful network of truth (that might be indefinitely refined).

 

      This brings me back to Chomsky’s entry.  The fact is, we may not have all the facts on Cambodia during the periods in question.  But we do have various sources, which both grow closer to the truth as they become integrated, yet find themselves farther from the truth as that truth recedes into history.  We may never know exactly how many people died, and to what extent who bears the majority of responsibility (and the minority of responsibility—this on monumental scales, is of some consequence too).  Those who angrily engage Chomsky as a fact twister, may be illustrating his own point, that they are assuming a social “ego-defense mechanism” posture.  How is it that Chomsky is able to escape this posture himself?  Possibly by seeing himself as an international citizen.  Maybe he has his own axe to grind too, but ultimately, I think it is that “truth” that coheres— which I mentioned above— that is the only “weapon” (to use a poor choice of militaristic terminology) that could possibly be effective in his engagement with the possibly erroneous status quo of (present) historical accounts.  Sometimes bullshit may be able to outlive the possible recovery of a truth—but are not even archeologists able to recover the truths of societies who’s own self-histories are long lost? (A sort of forensic science of the “crime” scene” is possible—with clues often coming from un-thought of sources).

 

      So I think it is indeed possible, and, imo, in most cases inevitable, eventually, that the “truth will out” IF the public maintains an honest inquiry into its history—despite the lies, propaganda, etc.  There are simply too many facts and witnesses to broad strokes of history, to cover up its crimes with lies that don’t pan out.  Maybe Chomsky often has a head-start on this truth: helps foster the seeds of truth, by being a good (contemporary) historical scientist—pointing out were others may be mis-reporting history due to their own bias.  He may have his own more or less self-conscious bias, but again, why would anyone listen to him (besides those trying to use him, with his established authority)—where would he get his “authority” if not from being a proven truth teller?  He may not always be right, who could be?  But I think he’s trying harder, and with a greater self-consciousness of the sorts of biases that exist, than some others.

 

     I don’t see how someone could see him as an apologist for the KR—at most, he seems to like some Nixon historian noting that that administration did start the EPA, indexed social security for inflation, started Supplemental Security Income, etc. (and through “Vietnamization,” handed the ball of war off to the locals: much like US policy today in Iraq—nothing like inflaming regional hatred, and then training and equipping “our” side to carry on the violence!).  Some Republicans are not so bad, even by Democrat sensibilities.  No, like Adorno and Horkheimer, who coined the term “Culture Industry” (to denote Marx’s notion of “ideology” meeting Nietzsche’s “Herd” mentality: popular culture feeds itself the status quo (often repackaged) in a sort of mass-self-satisfied-brain-washing), Chomsky seems to be challenging that status quo, when deemed necessary, with verifiable truths; hence edifying the culture’s self-history, by tying in the “outsider” facts with the status quo truism that “we” don’t want to be deluded or lied to.  Hence as a semi-“pop”-figure, Chomsky may be a mediator between the semi-deluded pop culture, and a possible “unnoticed” reality.

 

     However, Chomsky is not some sort of “robot reporter” presenting a plethora of facts, without making any judgment calls.  And I think it is his non-neutrality, possibly on political issues (maybe he would say he’s simply condemning atrocities when he sees them, regardless of political affiliation)— but at least his somewhat activist stance (which belies a sort of anti-conservatism in itself) that makes many question his objectivity.

 

     Maybe there is no necessary tension between telling the truth, and wanting things different (and who wouldn’t in the most egregious cases)—but for those who might note that the status quo of one’s heartbeat keeps you alive—those who see that we as a species have managed to survive (too well some might say) by living by our status quo of habits and customs: no doubt they may feel afraid for human life as they know it being threatened by the danger of radical change—even a change of their own preconceptions.

re: “Fair & Balanced” Activist Journalism

hello jd casten

Jd, the human brain use very complexe memory system to store information. doctors and scientist are still in a state of infancy as to try to understand how our brain store information. One basic understanding is that our brain may react differently when we realizes that the information we store revealed to be untruth. often distortion can occur when this information is being manipulated by a different number of personh imagine worst when the information is being deliberately distorted to induce people in error..

The reasons given for the war in Iraq and te countless attempts to cover up are a good indicative of distorted realities affecting our society.

NC does have success with his critics mainly because what he say is true, he expose the truth. I think he does this with a lot of integrity, it should be recognized that he does this because he wants to create communities committed to social change(s).

Must you agree, that people shouldnt be excluded or marginalized because they hold social values.

We have countless of examples of crimes committed against poor people and civilians, these crimes shouldnt be excused
because it is against corporate interests of a few.

we need everyone if we want make the world work..no one should be left out.

"Outsider" has a lot to do with it...

Hi, jd:

That was a very interesting posting!

I think the outsider point is spot on, for NC and in general. It's more a state of mind than an actual social position, though it can be that, too. Ultimately, I think clear thinking has to do with a variety of things. I mean the following musingly, not didactically, and they are in no particular order of relative importance:

1. Being at least a mentalistic "outsider," which means being truly critical and fearless. As Vidal said, "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn." Much the same could be said of judgment. The fearlessness is as much a private affair as a public one: systematically and honestly questioning one's own most basic beliefs and assumptions is excruciating, but I really see no other way to clarify one's thoughts -- or feelings, for that matter -- than by doing so.

For example, I'm very much a lefty of the libertarian ilk (big shock on Znet, right?), but I must say that one conservative argument that has always had force for me is what I perhaps wrongly recall as ultimately Burkean: complex systems, such as societies or organisms, tend to break down when tampered with too much. The objections, both historical and otherwise, mount in my mind as much as in any Znet reader's, but the basic notion has value. It certainly does in evolutionary theory, though there too it's been much overemphasized. Not that that usefulness in a science bestows some automatic epistemological authority, but the notion itself, lifted out of Burkean context however you like (some systems should be broken down, etc.), seems valid. I'm sure many will disagree; I simply thought I ought to walk my talk.

2. Being comfortable with doubt without giving up on taking any stance whatsoever. I am continually impressed by what NC claims he (and we, as a species) don't know. There is something quasi-totalitarian in those thinkers who want to wrap every question up in a nice little package. Check out Plato's Republic or Laws...hoo-boy.

However, one can't Hamletize without end; we simply have to make calls based on incomplete information in ever-changing situations. As Richard Lewontin said in another context (on the probable unknowability of the evolution of language and cognition): "Tough luck."

3. Testing oneself against others' views and against the external world in general. Forums like this, for example, but even more so in dealing with people who honestly disagree. I have a good friend who is a rightwing evangelical Christian. As you might expect, we agree on very little, but he is honest in exactly the sense that Dershowitz is not. If you can find an honorable opponent with contrary views, it helps sharpen your own thoughts. This happens in serious rational inquiry quite often (though not all the time, for sure); it's not as common oustide of those institutions, physical or virtual, where such norms do not hold.

4. Which leads me to the scary part: knowledge is social in a variety of senses, but most crucially in that without norms of free inquiry, all bets are off. The usual human situation is for all bets to be off, historically speaking.

5. Finally, I'm not sure it was originally Stephen Jay Gould's point, but I read it there first: bias potentiates as well as hinders. (Gould fans, or non-fans, will recognize "potentiates" as a very Gouldian word; up there with "maximal.")

That is an exceedingly important point on several levels, beyond being accurate:

a. It is liberating. One need not pretend to be superhuman -- that is, above bias in a general sense -- in order to make an epistemological claim. That's one norm that ought to be discarded, and one need not step into some pomo/relativist whirlwind in order to accept our simple humanity.

b. It is humbling and "levels" human value in an important sense. None of us really like to admit how contingent our lives are at every level, from the macroevolutionary inheritance to our own life histories. Perhaps a person raised in an authoritarian household would have a "bias" toward noticing, pointing out, and fighting against authoritarianism where others, raised in more open households might not see it at first. I think this generalizes quite a bit, and it leads to the obvious truism, often ignored even by honest inquirers, that identification of bias (in this sense) is not refutation of an argument. Again, professional bullshitters are in a separate class -- after a point, some folks are simply self-refuting, but one must be careful about even that.

Some very brilliant people simply guessed incorrectly, due to biases of one kind or another. (I am excluding professional liars and propagandists from this entire discussion, of course!) "Picking the wrong organism" has led many a biologist down a less-than-fruitful path, for example.

c. It leads to (or at least bolsters) a norm of pluralistic social interaction in the exploration of ourselves and the universe. Epistemological justification is a social activity, that is, and the more open and pluralistic, the more likely we, as a species, can maximize our collective insight.

And now I'm out of lettered points! LOL.

To close, my own questions about unanswerables to some extent must be a way to comfort myself in a situation of doubt, not to mention extreme danger, geopolitically. I often have to remind myself to eschew the comfort of pondering such things in order to act on far more prosaic, obvious, and answerable issues. So it goes!

Best wishes to all,

Doug Tarnopol

re : Outsider

hello Doug..

you wrote:

2. Being comfortable with doubt without giving up on taking any stance whatsoever. I am continually impressed by what NC claims he (and we, as a species) don't know. There is something quasi-totalitarian in those thinkers who want to wrap every question up in a nice little package. Check out Plato's Republic or Laws...hoo-boy.

may be NC speak like this because the majority of people are dormant before their tv. I for one was part of that sleeping majority who didn't know.

Best wishes to you too.

"The Cambodia Industry"

 

Nice use of Owen and Kiernan's "Bombs Over Cambodia" (The Walrus, October, 2006).  What is frequently referred to as the "secret" bombing of Cambodia under Nixon from 1969 on was, in reality, the even bigger secret bombing of Cambodia beginning under Johnson from 1965 on.

NC's closing seven paragraphs (i.e., from "Turning to the more general context" on) are as succinct a commentary on the privileges that fall to intellectuals in the service of their favorite states -- Privilege No. One being the Right to Lie, and the extreme measures adopted to preserve and to protect the exclusivity of this right -- as he's written.  The lesson extrapolates far and wide.  Of course.

Indeed it is "intriguing to see how Cambodia industry enthusiasts pretend not to understand that their reaction demonstrates that they are miserable apologists for the violence of their own state." 

"The Cambodia Industry," Noam Chomsky, ZNet, December 20, 2006
"Distortions at Fourth Hand," Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, The Nation, June 6, 1977 (as posted to the Chomsky.Info website)
"Bombs Over Cambodia," Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan, The Walrus, October, 2006 (as posted to the website of the Cambodian Genocide Program)

David Peterson
Chicago, USA

 

Truth Adversaries

Cyrano— I think your key word is “integrity.” I agree.

I agree with Doug also: I’ve heard that “nothing can be said without assumptions”—assumptions, like biases, may be necessary for action/communication. Things get more interesting, imo, when we become more self-conscious about our biases. Compare: claims to be unbiased vs. stating what your biases are up front (I’m a “radically moderate” “sustainability libertarian” “political Taoist”). Yes, a “perfectly” unbiased position may be humanly impossible (maybe impossible even for a socially indoctrinated robot)—but that bias may always leave the door open for criticism, especially when concealed.

I think David is right on to highlight the “right to lie” of dishonest intellectuals. Chomsky seems caught between two types of “adversarial” truth seeking: 1) competition between (scientific) theories, and 2) completion between “political lawyers” who appeal to the court of public opinion. Although, to counter David, I wonder how prevalent it is that these “political lawyers” “pretend not to understand,” and don’t actually buy into their own possible BS positions (and are hence biased, and not liars). This may only be important in “calculating” how angry we should be with those responsible for massive death tolls; self-conscious evil being a bit worse than blundering evil.

A case for “blundering evil” might be the KR fallout from the US bombing of Cambodia. The Johnson/Nixon administrations, etc. “only” planned to kill X amount of folks, not the greater Y. Such is an example of Burkean consequences of massive intervention in complex systems. But like so plainly obvious in the present Iraq situation, leadership may have an extremely difficult time taking responsibility for a massive blunder. Such may especially be the case, if we consider that original intentions were suspect, and unintended consequences are catastrophic: guilty lies can multiply as a sense of personal/national pride heads for a tragic fall. Although it can be difficult to be compassionate for a person or nation’s “fragile” psychology when death tolls rise, I think it might be expected that very few would be able to honestly take such a huge responsibility for death upon their conscious shoulders; I imagine the weight would be crushing for the ethically sincere (and hence self-deception arrises).

Holocaust Denial

I agree with Chomsky on the lies about Pol Pot. I disagree with Chomsky about Raul Hilberg being an expert on the Nazi Holocaust, which Chomsky mentions in this forum.

There's an excellent, short book by a Holocaust "Deniar" that critically examines the footnotes to Hilberg's works on The Holocaust called "Giant with feet of clay" you can download it free here: http://vho.org/GB/Books/Giant/

After reading this book, with an open mind you'll agree, the alleged atrocities about the gas chambers was war propaganda, which benefits the Holocaust Industry and causes WWII vets to think they eradicated an evil (Hitler). 

www.666isMONEY.com

 

 

Get a Paranoid Clue

     666isMoney—you’re probably deeply entrenched in an idiosyncratic perspective that isn’t going to connect with a lot of people—not much with me at least, and I probably won’t be able to change what I perceive as blatant anti-Semitism.  Was there some sort of Gypsy/Roma conspiracy too?  From what I gather from your website, you may feel persecuted.  If that feels so bad, why persecute others?  I’ve known schizophrenics and LSD users that don’t come to the same conclusions as you do—so maybe that’s not completely to blame.

     But as with any sort of huge conspiracy theory—how exactly would such a conspiracy be coordinated?  How many people are “buying off” witnesses behind the scenes?  What are the scenes?  Have you heard of Occam’s razor?  Simply put, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.  My suggested reading material for you is Marc Maron’s – The Jerusalem Syndrome: My Life as a Reluctant Messiah—paranoia, worrisome as it may be, can be about love rather than hate: if one love is unrequited (be it a person or interest)—move on: clues without substantial evidence can drive you nuts.

     Yours seems to be an “outsider” perspective that does not have much of a deeper coherence.  This can make for interesting art, ala William Blake, but don’t expect to be elected to any public office too soon.

    (BTW, money can be like language and technology, both of which can use us as much as we use them—like moving from using tools, to understanding ourselves as semi-technical (bio-mechanical) creatures.  However, like science, most tools are used simply according to human values— although it may be difficult to make a gun good (where the medium can be the message) just about any tool, and analogously money or language, can be used for both good and bad: do you see something evil in any sort of mediation of being?—in anything that separates you from another?—like laws, or physical reality?)

J.D. Casten

www.jdcasten.info 

re : the clues

jd , there an example of distorted reality, I fail to understand how the information got distorted..

jd, there is something rather unsavory to people who deliberately lie, the danger is that they end up losing their ability to tell the truth,a good example would be with the current war in Iraq, many people seem to be unable to face the truth.

a good question jd, the way lawyers add bias to an opponent case, is it rather a way to try to conceal the truth?

Unanchored US Foreign Policy & Values of Satiated Masses

Cyrano—

I think of bias as a more or less conscious prejudice or opinion/value judgment. There can be a bias of an individual, a large section of the population, or even the entire population. “Bias” seems pejorative, while I think Doug pointed out that bias can be positive as well: we have to “start” somewhere, and that means bringing to bear many assumptions.

I think there is a big difference between lying and having faulty assumptions, relative to some widely agreed upon basic truths, aside from philosophical difficulties of specifying what truth is: that “Cambodia was bombed by the US” is a basic fact, and we need not dispute that fact due to problems of hooking up “geometric/physical” facts with an always connotative laden and very much self-referential vocabulary (one definition in a dictionary will most likely lead to every other definition via “six degrees of separation”—we need a broadly shared context to even communicate); plus, such an event being a historical fact, we must rely on eye-witnesses, historical documents etc—each subject to biased distortions. But when we have huge events, like the bombing of Cambodia, or the Holocaust, with so many varied witnesses from different angles, and much material evidence that has a verifiable link to these events—doubting such is about as pragmatically useful as believing yourself to be asleep in a very consistent dream—or thinking that some evil demon has orchestrated every aspect of your life. People would have a hard time organizing such a large scale conspiracy, and keeping that conspiracy secret. (The notion of “decentralized conspiracies” or “systematic preservation of the system” is quite another issue).

But even the basic fact of the magnitude of the Cambodia bombing was not widely available knowledge until more recently: many Cambodians must have had a partial view of such, but the whole picture may have been concealed due to lack of consolidating that information on the receiving end of the bombing: if the US was bombed like that, many more would know about it, due to tighter networks of reportage and information consolidation. So even basic facts can be difficult to know at a distance both geographically and historically: we see through the distorted lenses of so many other observers, some claiming more attention than they merit, others marginalized unduly—and often the information filtered by wishful thinking. But, given that there is some world out there, we seem to be able to know it—the facts are there for discovery: bombs were dropped, people saw it happen, people died. Reconstructing the actual death toll from limited sources may be difficult, and would require an entire context of understanding how some sources are biased, and reconciling the various conflicting accounts. These sort of meta-reports or data reconciliation may also be distorted as well by bias: the basic facts can be stretched through various types of spin: exaggerating numbers, using suggestive vocabulary, emphasizing preferred aspects of a situation, etc—stretching the truth to meet a desired agenda. It does seem possible to frame situations in more value neutral terms though: X number of bombs dropped, Y number of deaths, etc. (But why not call the deaths, “murders?”) So even the basic facts are disputable, at least on the fringe.

Then we have hypothesized causal connections: The US bombing of Cambodia inflamed the Khmer Rouge and the consequent genocide, forced labor, etc. The logic, as I understand it seems pretty simple: the Lon Non government was pro-US, the US bombed Cambodian people, therefore the Cambodian people joined the insurgent resistance to that government. Such selectively downplays, however, factors such as North Vietnamese and Chinese military aid to the KR, possible resentment for the Lon Non Military coup against the Cambodian leader Prince Norodom Sihanouk who had ties to North Vietnam and China, and the Lon Non military being small due to the previous Sihanouk government’s “neutrality.” Importantly, emphasis of “they were reacting to the US” is to downplay the factor of the political sentiment of many of the population: perhaps they saw communism as offering a better political solution with an affirmative revolution rather than a reactionary attachment to just any movement that was anti-US. Plus the merging of peasant supported Sihanouk forces with the KR suggests an emotional resentment of the coup and not Lon Non’s pro US stance. No doubt this rural peasant population, who were not living in a paradise before Pol Pot, did not foresee the dire consequences of his regime. But being poor and rural does not mean you can’t comprehend the politics you are supporting.

A general point being that the factors involved with the causal connection can be harder to pin down than distortable facts: with complex over-determination, how much weight do you assign to each cause? Although “partisan” Loyalty may have been a major factor leading through the Cambodian civil war, political persuasion must have been a factor as well—but the US most definitely did not persuade their “collaterally damaged” that “capitalism” was benevolent. Just as the consequences of the bombing may have bifurcated beyond expectations (inflaming the KR insurgency) – with a root action branching out with many unintended consequences, the consequence of various KR atrocities had many different converging causes besides the US bombing.

But of course, and sort of paradoxically, US policy is the focus of concern for many who get their perspective by being “international citizens” who also happen to be US citizens. And of course NC is right to note that the KR is ripe for the picking of those who want an example of a failed communism, and in extension a failed leftist movement. But its failure is instructive as well, and can hardly be ignored—who would want to replicate that “political experiment?” Circularly, might we blame consequent US policy in Central America on the KR, as we can blame the US for the rise of the KR itself? Wasn’t the KR failure fuel to the anti-communist fire too? US foreign policy can be a little reactionary as well. In other words, to say that Cambodians were reacting to US policy, and that the US appropriates this failed reaction to justify further pro-actions, places the US in a sort of position of being anchored and stable in its power, rather than shifting with and reacting to the world’s politics as well.

Such a politics, were no one is completely anchored and stable, but are contingent, flexible, and reactionary as well, is also fuel for rhetorical political wars: change is possible—and is both a promise and a threat with individuals, factions, and even nations with aggregate biases and predispositions dueling it out before the judgment of humanity—not only the current population, but our past and future ideals. Some may deceive in order to maintain power—but imo, I think few would not buy into some sort of ideology (although such an ideology might conveniently serve their whims) that was at least partially legitimate in the eyes of the public under its, the ideology's, rule: all people ruled (some feeling enslaved) by a majority determined ideal. It may be the educated classes that develop these ideals, but then every human is in a process of being educated—I think ideological sentiment has to reach a critical mass before change is possible. Kings may have been suffered simply because few knew there were real organizational alternatives. This connects with the KR movement’s possible attraction to the people of Cambodia: nearby China and North Vietnam presented examples of its viability.

And without politics anchored in an absolutely perfect position, there is nothing but bias in political systems. One might try to anchor it in utilitarianism/consequentialism and human rights, but believe in them much as I do, such values are not absolute—and probably not innate (evolution-wise—we’re making this up as we go: we do what works for us given values that simply satiate the masses). It is in this context, that I think sciences of values, or rather values proven by theory, are impossible. But once committed to core values (which may have innate seeds: love seems preferable to hate at an animal level— desire seems desirable and fear is feared) there may be innumerable ways to play these values out politically. Rather than political adversaries looking to defend their take on these core values, possibly they should be looking at where their oppositions overlap first (love) and develop a mutual relationship, rather than attacking differences with hatred. But maybe that’s what politics and polemics are all about: fighting over differences, using whatever tactics (like deception, or careful explication of facts) are available for the “higher cause.” I think it is up to the revolutionaries to find how our core values are contradicted by political realities—to find a deeper common bond that most would agree we did not know we were not living up to. I don’t know if it is possible to overcome all dividing biases to reach total consensus in a universal “bias.” No doubt, reaching for such a consensus would entail impassioned advocating on the parts of those who, although differing among themselves, believe they’ve already found it.

Bias

JD - It might take a while to digest all that you said, but on the subject of bias, I would agree that bias is unavoidable, and perhaps even further to be encouraged under the right circumstances. It's part of the art of ....humanness, you might say. I think the problem with argument is not that the involved parties hold biases, but that the concept of people having bias has become a) something inherently "bad", and b) something we begin to focus our attention upon, taking us away from the real issues under argument. To attack a person or an organisation for being "biased" is like attacking them for existing, for being an individual, for being unique. Those I admire most attack not the biases of their "adversary" but instead the issues under discussion. I always assume bias - and why not? Why shouldn't we be biased? Why is that such a sin? People can be wholly biased and yet truthful. Imo, attacking a bias is little better than an ad hominem attack or character assassination and frankly, intellectually weak.

Showing that the media industry is biased warrants little more than a "duh" and a yawn from me. The same with accusing NC or a Paul Street, or anyone else with bias (NC really IS biased, you know), as if being biased automatically makes one a liar and all that they say, therefore, untrue or to be discounted. Our duty on the other side of the argument is to show where truth has not shed its light fully either through ignorance, omission, or ...well...bias. Part of the problem with academic types is that they too often find themselves quibbling over little details like the "bias" of the opposing argument(er), as if showing a person or an organisation to be biased in their presentation, destroys the truth of what they say (maybe not enough valid footnotes, or some such idiosyncrasy). Our challenge is to get to truth, or to challenge received truth. It always has been. And the challenge in education is to teach people, not that bias is bad and to be avoided at all costs, but instead how bias affects an argument and how to manage it effectively within the context of the interchange of ideas.

Unfortunately today, such is not a part of the current educational system at any level, and consequently, nor is it a glaring attribute of interchanges in general, even on Znet....;-)

The Victim’s Responsibility + Shock and Awe Withdrawal

Great comments Victor— the “ad hominem” aspect of pointing out bias occurred to me too.

I guess some of my previous comment could be reduced to some simple truisms, revolving around overly general questions such as “where are people coming from?” (from assumptions and values that are shaped by interpersonal relations and/or by innate human essences). Such inane points might get interesting when intertwined with the ground of worldly particulars: were was Pol Pot coming from?, where was Nixon coming from? And how did the US-Cambodia “encounter” shape each others’ destinies? Cambodia obviously suffered more, but I think helped re-enforce negative aspects of the “US perspective.” Maybe the “bully” was emboldened by seeing that their “victim” might be perceived as deserving their beating (as in, “see, we tried to protect your region from communism, look what it did to you”)—although it’s hard to care about the bully’s mentality when the bloody victim goes on to self-mutilate even further, the emboldened bully mentality can be important for the next victim. I didn’t mean to blame the victim in my comments, but to recognize some of their power and responsibility too.

Maybe I’m addressing some non-existent straw-man with my “the victim has to share some responsibility too” point, for most sophisticated commentators do note the complexity of issues. I think when commenting on US Imperialism though, some give a slight implied disrespect for the “others” by putting them in a passive victim role, when they’re tough kids on the block too, and have shifted the US’s course as well, sometimes in unforeseen directions. I really don’t know how the people of Cambodia could have responded to the bombing differently—but part of my point was that, huge as the US intervention was, the people of Cambodia were on a course of limited political opportunities based on their own history and region: The US bombs were not billiard balls causally knocking around Cambodian politics, but were rather a drastic event that made certain options less appealing—but I can’t see how it forced the option collectively “chosen.” Maybe the point being made by those who connect the dots between US bombing and the rise of the KR, is that reckless US intervention can explode beyond control—and I generally agree on this point.

I may be naïve, but I wonder if it would be logistically possible for the US military to do a “shock and awe” withdrawal from Iraq— maybe to friendly neighboring regions (most likely not Iran, but maybe Kuwait) with a “Terminator” threat of “I’ll be back” if the shit hits the fan (much worse than it already has). A sort of probation from Iraq’s inverted jail (occupation). But “sink or swim” looks to many as too risky: rather than “experiment,” too many seem intent on seizing control of the situation. It looks to me like that method is pointless: is the “stability” that is contemporary Iraq contingent on US forces, or is there at least some civilization there that fills in the flesh of stick-figure US security? In other words, wouldn’t the bulk of Iraqi citizens tire of the sort of post-invasion pandemonium illustrated by looting after awhile, etc? Are greater inter-group hostilities really held in check by the US forces there? Or is that force seen as a strangulation to be struggled against, hence causing more violence? More relevant to this over all comment (for I’ve really digressed)—does the US have the power to direct the free will of Iraq? (Not that nations have some sort of homogenous “spirit”—I’m not a big fan of national identity and pride, but I think it does exist). Shouldn’t this (self-mutilating) victim have its dignity of free responsibility restored?

JD

does the US have the power to direct the free will of Iraq? (Not that nations have some sort of homogenous “spirit”—I’m not a big fan of national identity and pride, but I think it does exist). Shouldn’t this (self-mutilating) victim have its dignity of free responsibility restored?

I would strongly agree, even go much further perhaps. More precisely, why is it we seem to think that we even have the right to direct anyone's free will? Firstly, the interests of the US over there is one - protecting its sources of OIL. Without oil, American wouldn't give a shit about that area - it would be little more important than Darfur to us. It is foolish for the general American population or anyone else to think otherwise. Secondly, oil aside, we have absolutely no business interfering in the internal business of another country, unless of course you accept that this is a paternalistic world, and the USA is the legitimate Godfather of that World, having the right to step in rightly or wrongly on a unilateral basis and "guide" a country to be a wonderful, "freedom-loving" state as ours is.

My opinion - get out, and get out now. Cut and Run. Show the yellow side of our backs. Reach deep inside for our feminine part. Let the Iraqi's settle this their own way. Let the regional powers surrounding them help with that. There will be lots of blood spilled, but there will be anyway, with or without us. Let them duke it out among themselves, and let the best man win. And let the entire Middle East settle to a state of equilibrium - Shiiteland, Sunniland and Kurdistan. And Israel hidden in there somewhere. And after it's all over, does anyone seriously believe they will no longer sell oil to America? Let them decide who to sell their oil to and let America play the market like they (America) always preach - freely, supply and demand and all that shit.

And then if we can't buy enough oil, then we adjust our society and our economy accordingly - this is going to happen anyway. Maybe then we would start looking seriously at the greening of America. After all, things can't go on like this forever. There is only so much oil in the ground - someday it's gone. And when it is, we will have to make that adjustment under a different level of motivation - like SURVIVAL, which is not a good position to be in.

America is a rich country. We can still afford to find new ways of supplying renewable energy to our culture, healing our social wounds, and repairing our relations with the world. We might even still have time to avoid global warming. So let's take that money (over 500 BILLION Dollars annually!) we would have spent on war and the military and let's apply it to something sensible that will benefit our own society, our economy and as a by-product benefit the world as well (just getting us out of the bully business would bring GREAT benefit to our neighbors!).

Holder comment...

Hey, all:

Lots of stuff to digest; in fact, I need to wait till after the holiday to give it all the attention it deserves. I'm actually glad about the presence of 666 comment; it's another challenge to the entire epistemological argument here.

I might throw in Isaiah Berlin's notion of a "sense of reality," which is much criticized from all parts of the spectrum, and probably rightly (and leftly), but I think it is more of an "artistic" way of encompassing an epistemological position possibly beyond language's ability to lay out. Clifford Geertz, RIP, had some very interesting things to say about this topic, too.

But I mostly want to engage with what's been written, and it'll have to wait till Tuesday! Family stuff. :) Hence the "holder comment."

Happy happy,

Doug Tarnopol

Irnorance & Ad Homminim: Read the Book!

JD: Just read the book, Giant With Feet of Clay, which critically examines the footnotes of Holocaust mythologist, Raul Hilberg (free download here): http://vho.org/GB/Books/Giant/

I'm a grad student of Holocaust Denial. After you read the SHORT book or only a few chapters, I'll have an intelligent discussion with you!

Peace & Love,

Raquel.

www.666isMONEY.com

Raquel

Very interesting book! Appears to answer many questions I myself have had for many years over the actual numbers of Jews killed by the Nazis during those times. I have always felt uncomfortable with the 6 million figure. Something just didn't ring true with it. Not to say that what happened to those Jews who actually were killed was not a terrible tragedy, but the 6 million number just cannot be supported.

Doubting Clues & Selective Attention

Raquel— 

      I read through the little book, but I think it’s methodology is a little telling: mostly looking for inconsistencies INTERNAL to the Hilberg work, rather than often cross-referencing it with EXTERNAL works and sources.  Another book could have been easily written seconding most of the “facts” put forth by Hilberg, with other witnesses, other sources, etc.  In fact, other books have been written, and that is part of my point: many perspectives converge on the facts, possibly contradicting each other at some points, but resulting in a robust view of what actually happened.

      For example, early on, the author notes that Hilberg does not provide photos: such can be found elsewhere.

      Please check out this little website:

 http://www.holocaust-history.org/dachau-gas-chambers/  

     Although it is good to challenge scholarship and keep it honest, I wonder about the agenda behind this alternative agenda-questioning scholarship.  What is the deeper agenda of Graf?  Is it just to get to the facts?  I don’t think so.  He seems to find discredit from some witnesses just because they are Jewish— his own sort of ad hominem. 

     If you read my “Unanchored US Foreign Policy & Values of Satiated Masses” above, you’d see that I’m sympathetic with the historical epistemological problems involved—but the Holocaust seems to have too much corroborating evidence concerning, e.g. the numbers of deaths, to be seriously doubted by me.

External References?

JD - Seems to me the book had quite a robust list of references at the back. How far into the book did you read? You said you had no reason to doubt the numbers historically given, but you didn't give any sources to support such a statement, relying instead it seems upon your feelings? Perhaps if you gave the book more than a cursory read (apologies for making it sound as though you gave an opinion based upon little more than a quick glance at the book, but is that true?).

Did you miss my link/source?

Maybe I didn’t read the book as closely as you or Raquel, but I did look through it.  There are definitely levels of close reading: and I gave this one a “cursory read” indeed—but I don’t think my comments were unjustified.

Mostly, As far as I can see, Graf looks for logical and factual inconsistencies in the Hilberg work (usually comparing Hilberg’s own facts with themselves (DEJ is constantly referenced), although, yes, with some facts taken from other sources—his logic includes that, e.g., given only so many military officials (from his sources), only so many “killings” are possible).  He also discredits witnesses for exaggerating at times, as if none of their testimony is thence admissible.  This can be important to edify poor scholarship, but I don’t think you can base a “Holocaust Denial” simply on the possible inconsistencies of one work.  Also, it seems to me that whenever there is an inconsistency with numbers, Graf chooses the low figures (rather than say, an average).  In my opinion, Graf would have to also take on the evidence which I did give in my link (although maybe you’d need further direction to its home page):

  http://www.holocaust-history.org/

My skepticism of Graf, rather than the “Holocaust Industry” has to with such sources, not just the “feelings” I get from having a standard education.

The Best Evidence is Forensic

Hilberg's problem (as well as all the mythologists) is they rely on alleged "eyewitnesses," who have made rediculous statements (like sweeping the Zyklon -- dangerous Hydrogen Cyanide out the door - another absurd idea especially since the Zyklon takes several hours to dissipate from the base that absorbs HCN) and the so-called "confessions" of tortured Nazis, which are equally absurd ("scooping sizzling human fat out of huge smouldering pits"). There's so much technically wrong about that last quote.

Auschwitz was a swamp with a low water table. If pits were dug, there would be water, pits are not the best way to incinerate ppl, aerial photos taken by allied reconnasence at a time when thousands of Hungarian Jews were allegedly killed show no smouldering pits or stockpiles of fuel needed to burn/cremate them. Human fat does not contain very many kilocalories needed to burn, pits do not allow air to react with fire etc.

The best evidence in a court of law is forensic, not "eyewitnesses" or "confessions." There was NEVER a forensic examination of the alleged murder weapon (gas chambers) or cremation capacities, logistics of murdering/transporting Millions.

There were so many easier/safer ways of killing millions. Like pulling the train into a tunnel and allowing the fumes from the coal-fired locomotive to asphyxiate 'em.

Yes, I have sympathy for everyone in the concentration camps. I may very well of found myself there too but I may also have been one of the dedicated workers who rejoiced at the opportunities National Socialism provided.

Think of the Jews as today's Moslems, who are NOT assimilating in Europe: many people are leaving Holland 'cause of the immigrants, look what happened in France over the summer with the moslems/immigrants rioting. Or in America with millions of illegals from Mexico: many politicians are thinking of deporting them all just like Hitler did.

Hitler's original plan was to send 'em all to Madagascar but the war stifled that idea.

Imagine how much better off the world would be today even for Madagascar if Hitler had his way in Poland (all he asked for was a corridor through Poland to east Prussia, a plebicite for Danzig -- a former German city).

The Iron Curtain would not have existed, neither would Israel.

Hitler may have realized his living-space in the east. He had no intention of ruling the world. (England already did and it didn't work out.)

Stalin was much worse than Hitler. Stalin was the real beneficiary of World War II. Jews served in Hitler's army too, as officers even.

The Polish people, minus the Jews, would have been better off under Hitler than Stalin.

Finally, Dacchau was NOT an "extermination camp" the Gas Chamber shown in photographs was used for disinfesting lice, which cause typhus from the clothes of inmates. Hence, the shaved heads of inmates, taking their clothes. Zyklon was used in these chambers and to fumigate the bunks. Dr. Mengele would stand on the platform looking into the eyes of ppl getting off the trains. Just by looking at a person with typhus you can tell if they are infested/infected.

During typhus epidemics at Auschwits up to 300 ppl/day would die, hence the crematoria. The pictures taken at Belsen (which also was NOT an extermination camp) were victims of typhus at the end of the war when the camp was overrun -- way over capacity, supplies were low.

Many inmates at Auchwitz chose to flee with the Nazis rather than be "liberated" by the Soviets, Eli Wisel included. (Anne Frank died of typhus at one of the camps.)

Many Jews died as slave workers in Stalin's gulags. Once the Iron Curtain held them in, many Jews changed their names and abandoned their families or couldn't find them again. No one really knows how many Jews there were behind the Iron Curtain where many of them ended up after the war.

Peace & Love,

Raquel.

www.666isMONEY.com

Seriously?

Here’s a weird example of Graf’s work: of—

“Filip Müller, Raul Hilberg’s favorite Jewish witness, cited twenty times!—Perhaps Hilberg did not notice the following confession on p. 271 (EA, na) of Müller’s master work: “[...] and I was not sure I had not dreamed the whole thing.”

Is Graf joking here?  Müller is obviously saying that what he witnessed was a complete and utter nightmare, not some confession that “I couldn’t believe my eyes” because I was hallucinating!

Although forensic evidence is good, eyewitness accounts and confessions are admissible in a court of law.  Especially if you have 1000’s of corroborating witnesses.

Look, 666isMoney, Hitler loved animals.  But he had his dark side too.

I suggest going back to Nietzsche—a much better “radical free thinker” whose racism is a bit more subtle, and mastery of the German language more blatant.  Nietzsche called for a Caesar with the Soul of Christ.  Do you really think that Hitler was Jesus-like?  Come on!

-

BTW you can see a study of my “Logos” painting “The Last Icon” here:

http://www.jdcasten.info/Poetry/Humbled_Beyond_a_Word/HBAW.htm

Graf's Being Sarcastic or Ironic

Filip Muller's absurd "eyewitness testimony" is quoted nearly at the end of Graf's short book. By this time (if you read the whole book) you would realize how absurd some of the statments Muller wrote are. For instance, this whopper:

"The sizzling fat was scooped out with buckets on a long curved rod and poured all over the pit causing flames to leap up amid much crackling and hissing."

Hilberg uses this quote in his book too. I already mentioned the logistics of pit burning with a paraphrase of this quote, unattributed.

Graf explains why Muller's book is absurd and inconsistant.

Eyewitness testimony and confessions are given LESS WEIGHT than forensic evidence. Jurors are charged to "weigh the evidence." The weight of evidence debunks the alleged eyewitnesses.

The link to your "Logos" did not work but maybe because I still have dial up service.

www.666isMONEY.com

Methodology and Motivation in Question

I guess my point is theoretical.  Rather than noting how various witnesses and figures are inconsistent, I think it is important to see where the various accounts and possible facts intersect and overlap.  Witnesses may diverge on certain points—off into the implausible, but the points were they mostly agree is where the truth probably resides.

That is my problem with Graf’s methodology as I see it: a thousand points of inconsistency does not invalidate a thousand points of convergence.  But it is important to sometimes to shed the chaff of error to get to the grain of truth—and in this case I think there is a whole silo of horrible truths.

There is definitely some lawyer tactics going on here: who is really being accused and who is really being defended, and why?  Is Hilberg being accused of poor scholarship, or is the Nazi régime being defended?  What’s the point?

-

I’m not sure, but dial-ups may be able to see some of my work here:

 http://jdcasten.blogspot.com/

Hmmmm....

Not to defend either Graf or Ms 666, but the same could be said about the world phenomenon of UFO sightings and Abductions - lots of witnesses, precious little hard evidence. Witness versions do converge nicely here, but can we count on it representing truth? Perhaps you can. I can't (though I have an open mind).

Secondly, concerning the motives behind the attack, who really cares as long as the right questions are being asked? We should never fear truth no matter its source - truth is truth. If someone proves Saddam Hussein killed 100,000 people, who cares if they hate Hussein and want pure vengeance against him? Certainly we should examine any evidence they bring forward with a thoughtful eye, given those motives, but if the evidence holds up and the logic is reasonable, then Hussein is guilty, no matter what.

In the last few years I have re-discovered that virtually everyone in power has been maliciously lying to me and my countrymen, and indeed the world, over virtually every issue I have ever held to be true and dear about my country and its motives and ideals throughout its history. And now I have absolutely no reason that I can think of to further abstain from searching out truth where I believe there are "official" and "unquestioned" truths promoted for many years to gain certain objectives on the part of many both throughout government and across the globe. We have been lied to, manipulated and made to sacrifice lives and families and futures both of our so many of our own countrymen and those of other countries for questionable wars (which were in fact both financed, manipulated and encouraged by those many who would profit most - with total disregard for ordinary folks in the world whose lives were destroyed for their greed). And yes, I am talking about the rise of Hitler and the World War that followed as well.

When a crime occurs, a good investigator looks to those who would profit most as the prime suspects. Did the Zionists have anything to gain by inflating the numbers of Jews slaughtered during the war? Did the US have anything to gain by getting Israel established in the Middle East using the Zionist platform of Holocaust? Could the US/UK/Europe/Zionists manufacture an immensely powerful political weapon to be used to gain that profit, even at the expense of so many and in the memory of so many? Would they have been willing to use their media forces to give it continual spin so we all accepted the "official" version? Would they be so dastardly as to encourage false witness, hold an unfair trial (Nuremberg) preventing due process for the defendants and withhold evidence to gain that profit? Would they go so far as to pass laws to prevent one from even questioning the "official" version? I think I know the answer to those questions.

What I don't know is if that indeed happened. But I'm willing to listen now, where I was never willing to listen in the past. I am willing to keep an open mind. I'm not anti-Semitic, though I know many would accuse me given this post. But such opinions no longer persuade me nor prevent me anymore.

I'm tired of blindly accepting without hard evidence, without questioning so-called "universal" truths promoted by the REAL Axis of Evil in this world - US/UK/Israel/Rest of the G-8. I'll not do it again. I don't give a shit what anyone thinks of me.

Enlightenment Conspiracies, Triangulated Truth, MicroRevolutions

I won’t go far into your “Zionist conspiracy theory” other than to question: were Zionists the only witnesses?  Did they all hold a secret meeting to keep their lies strait?  Or was it just an “open secret” that certain figures were to be held as the “official lie?”

Recognizing motives can help bring out bias into the open.  Is someone claiming to be “fair and balanced” when they have an agenda?  It’s in those cases that I think we ought to be more vigilant.  If Hilberg himself questioned his own scholarship, wouldn’t you almost take it as a given fact that it was problematic?

The UFO comment is well taken—I think it illustrates a problem with getting at the truth.  Buddhists who claim to have been enlightened, or Christians claiming to have seen the light might be a similar case: are they just repeating some story that others have heard?   Should we look for replication of an experience in a controlled environment, or only accept material evidence?  Should the testimony of several witnesses be thrown out, even if they corroborate each other, and the witnesses have not even met or heard each other’s testimony?

Possibly there is some deeper explanation to crop circles, and say, near death experiences.  Maybe wind patterns or pranksters, and some sort of biological phenomenon.  But if we had as many corroborating witnesses for a specific set of UFO events, like we have for the Holocaust, I’d take it seriously.

Paranoia can be a healthy way to start investigating a situation—seeing possible clues that do not have material evidence.  Raquel might have a herculean task before her: examine not only Hilberg’s estimate (5.1 million), but also Martin Gilbert’s, who also used records to reach his figure (5.75 million), Lucy S. Dawidowicz, who used pre-war census numbers to reach her figure (5.934 million), + there are the estimates by Yisrael Gutman and Robert Rozett (5.59-5.86 million), and Wolfgang Benz (5.3-6.2 million).  (See Wikiality, as Colbert calls it).

Plus check out this quick link:

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat1.htm#Hitler

If all these accounts used the same single method, and/or always used the same few witnesses and couple of records, I’d find them more suspect.  But time and again, they come to the 5+ million figure.  How could it not be in the ball park?  Not all these scholars are Zionist, or even Jewish for that matter—although they might have all had an axe to grind with the axis.

Looking for material evidence that something has not occurred is not impossible.  Conspiracies, imo, would either require that their secret be out in the open (people just buy the line and perpetuate it), or limited to an extremely small circle of people with absolutely no blabber mouth whistle blowers.  I think the former is not really a conspiracy, and the latter is quite rare.  A massive “buying the line” should be disprovable— as long as one has the courage to break out of the status quo and challenge received wisdom.  Maybe this is what you, Graf and Raquel see yourselves involved with.  I think real conspiracies are rare, because it is too difficult to keep a lot of people in line.

But where are you getting the facts and methods to challenge the received wisdom?  Does one deconstruct the tradition by using its own methods and facts against it?  What if the original facts have been burned, with nothing but cinders evidencing a fire?  There’s more to deconstruction than finding internal inconsistencies of a text: the text must be opened up to textuality—it must be placed in the context of all external structures.  It is within this open and possibly infinite context, that we can examine alternative views (views from differing contexts)—and also see how possibly unconscious motivations can give shape to conscious interpretations.  Hence we can see idiosyncratic psychological motivations, or socially indoctrinated motivations (on a public or cult scale), leading people to see the same situation in different ways.  My contention is that we can get at the stronger interpretations by triangulation: seeing how different people from differing motivations, perspectives and methods, and with different sets of facts—how all these people can come to the same conclusions (at least some times).

It is also my opinion that the Holocaust should not be played down, but that other such atrocities should be remembered too: free-market (African) slavery, conquistadors and native Americans, the displaced Aboriginal’s of Australia, as well as totalitarian genocides and miss-management leading to massive deaths, etc.  To digress: the notion that colonialist descendents must pay the price for their ignorant “forefathers” is problematic.  Reparations might come from the wealth of descendents of the primarily guilty— but should whole populations be held responsible for atrocities that are not their doing: should guilt be inherited too?  Likewise, should entire economic/governmental systems (capitalist, socialist, Parecon, or otherwise) be held accountable via revolution for the points were they transgress, or simply pruned at the points crossing the lines?  A point that I’ve been “trying” to make, time and again, is that, imo, more energy should be directed at real specific problems needing to be targeted, more immediately, and with more precision, than expending energy on an overturning of the entire system—even if we keep an eye on an ideal radically different than the system we are in.

Imo, our reality cannot be grasped in an instant—“the problems” are not simple, and neither are possible solutions.  There will be no grand unified theory (zero, infinity?), some GUT instinct that one can always trust.  If the brain is complex, having compartmentalization, like the body’s various organs, why do so many fail to see that social problems, and even physics problems are complicated too: a gestalt of various components that do not reduce to one single principle, including the principle of rejecting the status quo.

Still, would you prefer billions of micro-revolutions or one giant revolution?

revisionist..

jd casten, the main point of the revisionists appear to be revolving around the gas chambers; they say were inadequate for mass murder.. they also contend to say it was never use to kill people or being used on people that were too sick to work..

the holocaust revisionists also tend to strike a cord with historians with a failure to present evidence other than testimonies.

Uncontested is that the european jews were the main target of hitler racism when he concentrated them in camp. Jews were despised the most. Of all the people who were interned, the jews appeared to have suffered the most atrocities..including hunger, exposure to sickness (typhus). Europeans Jews, because of the racist literature of the time, became the likely target of atrocities.

I personaly dispute the revisionists that a SS would have been tried for the murder of a Jew; be it 100 of them. Revisionist aren't able to provide proof that one single SS was tried for murdering a Jew, other than in "Nuremberg"after the war.

Forced Confessions?

Graf says:

“Höß was the first commandant of Auschwitz and is the indispensable prime witness of the mass annihilation in that camp. Hilberg refers to him twenty-six times.142

In his confession given during an intensive three-day interrogation by a British torture team led by the Jewish Sergeant Bernard Clarke,143 the first Auschwitz commandant stated that already by November 1943 in Auschwitz 2.5 million persons had been gassed and a further 500,000 had died of sickness, starvation and other factors.144 Naturally Hilberg—who picks and chooses his statistics to suit his fancy—does not mention these statements, since these crassly exaggerated numbers, large even by Hilberg’s standards, show that the Höß confession was not voluntarily given and is therefore worthless.” (Graf, p. 87)

Yet Hoess/Höß said:

“I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration camps since 1934, serving at Dachau until 1938; then as Adjutant in Sachsenhausen from 1938 to 1 May, 1940, when I was appointed Commandant of Auschwitz. l commanded Auschwitz until 1 December,1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries. Included among the executed and burnt were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of Prisoner of War cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men. The remainder of the total number of victims included about 100,000 German Jews, and great numbers of citizens (mostly Jewish) from Holland, France, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Greece, or other countries. We executed about 400,000 Hungarian Jews alone at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944.”

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1946Hoess.html

Wikipedia notes:

“Nazi Rudolf Höß said that between 2.5 and 3 million had been killed, while Adolf Eichmann gave a figure of 2 million.”

And

“Communist Soviet and Polish authorities maintained a figure "between 2.5 and 4 million",[1] which was used on the original Auschwitz memorial.

In 1983, French scholar George Wellers was one of the first to use Nazi data on deportations to estimate the number killed at Auschwitz, arriving at 1.613 million dead, including 1.44 million Jews and 146,000 Poles. A larger study started around the same time by Franciszek Piper used time tables of train arrivals combined with deportation records to calculate 1.1 million Jewish deaths and 140,000-150,000 Polish victims, along with 23,000 Roma & Sinti (Gypsies). This number has met with "significant, though not complete" agreement among scholars. Additionally, untold thousands of homosexuals were also killed at Auschwitz.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

Although Hoess’ confession seems a little high given later research, he uses the word “estimate” and “about” when mentioning figures (Graf says Hoess simply “states” these figures).  And his “estimates” are in the ball park: in the low millions—which matches the numbers calculated by Wellers and Piper.  The numbers do not indicate a worthless confession forced by a “British torture team led by [a] Jewish Sergeant”

Graf does note the hierarchy of evidence—but although material evidence is better than witness testimony, such witness testimony, although some may exaggerate or lie, is often told honestly—and is also admissible.  What exactly would lead so many witnesses to confabulate?  Something horrible.  And if many died from starvation—why would the Nazi’s bother with elaborate and expensive “delousing” when prisoners were not even properly fed?  Although Graf may be correct in pointing out some specific fabrications in testimony, much testimony fits in with current logical reconstruction of events using existing records.  He may be helpful in keeping scholarship honest, but I think his alternative view rests on lawyer techniques rather than solid interest in getting to the truth.

the revisionists

Jd , also the revisionist( flaurisson,irving, zundel claim that Hitler never gave order to exterminate the jews..
In fact, the revisionists claims that Hitler probably never knew the jews were being exterminated.
Hilberg contended that Hitler may have gave the order verbally,or otherwise. hilberg seem to have retracted to what the revisionist call telepathy in executing order..
I dispute both the revisionists and hilberg with few simple
quote from Hitler in his Mein kampf undertanding of structural organizations which Hitler used with the creation
of his SS:
Organization is a thing that derives its existence from organic life, organic evolution. When the same set of ideas have found a lodgement in the minds of a certain number of people they tend of themselves to form a certain degree of order among those people and out of this inner formation something that is very valuable arises.
http://hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch11.html
JD, Hitler had a concept of organizations that will evolve by "itself". Hitler intended to have his SS as being free entities. The SS were actually free to do what they felt was a nessesity for the State..
[hitler wrote his idea of a free corps in this essay involving the SA]
Their character as free corps arose only from the way in which they were constructed and the situation in which the State found itself at that time. But they certainly could not claim to be free corps on the grounds that they were associations formed freely and privately for the purpose of fighting for their own freely formed political convictions. Such they were not, despite the fact that some of their leaders and some associations as such were definitely opposed to the Republic. For before we can speak of political convictions in the higher sense we must be something more than merely convinced that the existing regime is defective. Political convictions in the higher sense mean that one has the picture of a new regime clearly before one's mind, feels that the establishment of this regime is an absolute necessity and sets himself to carry out that purpose as the highest task to which his life can be devoted.
see more in link below.
http://hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch09.html
JD, this being my opinion ; The revisionists are probably right that Hitler never ordered
the genocide of Jews and Hilberg was probably wrong with his guesses; what Hitler did is rather stronger and far worst than actually giving the order of exterminating the jews. He created an a small army of hateful monsters(and what else?) whom would do as they please and freely would murder Jews..the Holocaust of Jews is the gruesome evolutive part of the creation of the SS as a hateful racist entity.
( done reading the sickening nazi bullshit, i miss the positiveness of micheal albert's postings.. )

Not Yet Convinced

First, I never said the witnesses were Zionists and conspired with each other. I do the door open, however, for Zionist leaders, court officers, and others of responsibility to be so focussed upon achieving their ends that they USE the witnesses, lead them on, encourage them to say things that would help to convict the accused, and in general, stack the deck against the defendants. As a witness who might well have endured terrible hardship in a concentration camp, or known friends or relatives who had, I would very much be inclined to say whatever the prosecuting attorneys wanted me to say in order to exact my revenge. This is one of the primary reasons why, in a courtroom setting, witness testimony is questionable. The re\d the papers, they talk to each other, they want revenge, and they are willing to play into the prosecutors' hands. Accounts of many witnesses can indeed converge under the right circumstances, given the right guidance from those in charge. As for the Nazi witnesses, are you telling me seriously that such folks wouldn't say anything that the prosecutors wanted them to say if they thought they could get off lighter? These are several of the reasons why witness accounts are questioned so highly by the courts. This is not just a "lawyer" thing. It is called due process of law, and must be respected.

Secondly, I take exception to the proposition that large scale conspiracies are unlikely or unattainable. History is full of such conspiracies. The Manhattan project is a prime example. The veil of secrecy behind military black ops is another. The secrecy of many Soviet Union activities is another. The list could go on and on. Thousands of people can be involved in a conspiracy - only a few need to know the big picture.

Thirdly, the Holocaust seems almost devoid of hard physical evidence. Where were all the bodies spoken of? Many were found, but a huge number were never found, were they? Think of it - if millions of people were burned, why were there never huge piles of ashes found? Where were the written orders to kill Jews? When did Hitler or any of his subordinates order such a thing? The only evidence yet found seems to point to the need to treat the prisoners better so that they could be put to work supporting a desperately failing production line. Where were the written orders to build ovens designed specifically for the cremation of masses of Jews? No one seems to have any more concrete evidence than someone saying someone else thought they overheard someone important telling someone to kill the Jews anyway they could. Sorry. Maybe that was good enough for Nuremberg, but it's not for me.

The Nuremberg trials would not have held up as legal trials dispensing due process in any country of the world. They were plainly revenge trials. I'm not saying that the defendants were innocent by any means, but they were obviously railroaded from the beginning.

As for the statistics. Well, you know as well as I that numbers can be made to show most anything you want to show, and if you are looking for revenge or seeking to increase your personal stature in the world, you need to come up with the right numbers. Sure, many people looked at population figures before and after the war and came to similar conclusions. But there were only a limited set of numbers available - numbers which could be interpreted many ways. You have to understand that the numbers before the war were limited, and the numbers after the war were extremely limited, many vital numbers totally missing (how many Jews were behind the Iron Curtain before and after the War? - No one knows! How many people were double-counted? No one knows. How many people were thought to be dead, only to be found alive in a totally unexpected location. No one knows.). And during the war, nobody knew what the hell was going on. Many of those whop came up with numbers were in fact, most likely following the lead of others. And those who came up with the most widely accepted numbers in a political sense were those who gained the most acclaim from the media, the Zionists, the US, and the rest of Europe.

Where is the HARD evidence? Don't give me estimates. Don't tell me how thousands of witnesses agreed - so do the UFO witnesses - they agree incredibly, and they all claim that common knowledge of others experiences had nothing to do with their accounts. Where are the documents? Where is the forensic evidence? The ashes? The buried bodies? The documents? The orders?

I am not at ALL saying many many Jews and others were murdered during that time. I am not at all saying that there was not great and painful hardships endured by the Jewish population during that period. But I am say that I still await the HARD physical evidence that they were specifically victims Holocaust order.

And lastly, I greatly resent being called a Holocaust DENIER. There are simply too many unanswered questions in my mind. I am honest enough to say I really and truly don't know anymore what the truth really is. I thought I knew once, but no longer. Those responsible for leading the trials and disseminating the subsequent propaganda worldwide over the years have been thoroughly discredited in my eyes. And severely lacking hard evidence, truth died with that.

So where does that leave me? With only questions and great suspicion.

hitler testament was death

victor, I agrees hilberg account may rely on wild guesses, it is yet possible that a lot of truth was concealed and it may be also legitimate to contest these guess like the revisionists are doing..

the gas chamber and controversy about the efficiency of the
crematorium used make it difficult to pin point accurate
numbers of death..

what we see( mostly saw ) are pile of death , mass graves etc.. accounts of thousand here and there..all over europe.
but piles also more concentrated in camps. At this count , it does not take long to make numbers add up.. also so many death confused minds. Look how many SS were executed on spot
by liberation armies upon the sight of the piled human bodies. it was an hooror not too many people wanted to remain in..

I take account more on the own says of Hitler, mainly his hate of jews, a paranoia or folie that he was able to convey and share on a small group or organization he built, it envelopped a number of people..

he build small groups of mass murderer, he didnt have to
to actual order Jews death, he just made it possible for their murder.

I thnik most historian wrote about the Holocaust mainly because of the nauesating numbers of death corpse and stories , it assumed that Hitler ordered it.. IMO, Hitler had sufficient knowledge of people to know what would happen if he delivered jews to angry crowds of trained murderers

An example of this would be to send a few retarded soldiers in Iraq and tell [falsely] them that Iraqis are terrorist or enemies who swear the destruction of the US.

Now tell the same type of retarded jews-mexicans and arabs haters to remove jews because that same group believes jews, mexicans and arabs are are corrupting America and your people..

You could antcipate a butchery.

re reply to JD and Victor

Did I make sens?

Cyrano

Yes, you make sense. Certainly putting people in places of power with the authority to handle things as they see fit without fear of repudiation is asking for trouble. And that may well be the key to how things developed as they did - in some areas Jews being targeted for killing, in other areas for slave labor. Inconsistency in treatment would arise from such a hierarchy. So I would agree that Hitler or his minions would never have had to give a specific order. But the only hard evidence we have of the "intent" of the top people are papers that give orders to increase the numbers of Jews for labor camps, as the Nazis seemed desperate for laborers and didn't want to waste any resources that would take away from their efforts to support the war. And the one consistent objective throughout that period was that Hitler wanted the Jews exported to Madagascar - just put them in their own little corner of the world and out of site. Obviously, with the war that was not possible, but that seemed to have been his answer to the Jewish problem - at least the "documented" intent.

There were lots of killings. You see this in the photos taken. No one can deny that. And there were lots of deaths in the camps due to starvation and disease running through cramped quarters. Too many bodies to handle, so they were dumped into open trenches in layers - ghastly sight. But if you add up the numbers of bodies shown in the photos, I suspect you might thousands, certainly not millions. On the other hand can you, therefore, extrapolate those thousands into millions, making the assumption that for every site found there must have been tens of sites that were never found? Maybe. But can that be considered proof? I doubt it. So where are the millions of bodies? Where are all the ashes? Why were neither they nor their ash remains ever found? We are talking about a massive size of physical evidence here that seems to have totally disappeared.

I don't have the answers. It's hard to address an issue like this with objectivity, the subject matter being so horrific.

Victor, I agree there is

Victor, I agree there is huge disparities in numbers reported by the historians.

666isMoney

Just referenced your website. Very....strange. Admittedly, it tests my ability to overcome "guilt by association", and thereby damaging my ability to examine the message rather than the messenger. There are those who are Holocaust Apologizers and those who are Holocaust Deniers. The issues are HIGHLY emotive on both sides. I recognize that. However, to be able to openly question either side of that argument is important to me, even if it is offensive to either side.

So I read the book. It is interesting and attempts a different view of the Holocaust, but especially of the apparently premier historic account of that very real event. It proposes to reveal the author Raul Hilberg and his legendary book as less than purely scholarly, being infused with a dangerous bias and unsupported statements cast as truth among many generally well-supported statements.

I have always been uncomfortable with any "truth" that requires acceptance without question and must be supported by laws preventing denial or even opposition in any form. This usually indicates that there are serious holes in the fabric of the argument being advanced - opposing arguments that those who push the dogma don't want you to consider or possibly even have knowledge of - and in fact are even willing to imprison you for publicly refusing to accept. So I am grateful for this introductory reference to the "other side of the argument".

But for your website and most of the fringe messages you espouse from it, I have little use.

Scrap the Hate Speech not the Provoking Art

I think 666isMoney needs to find themselves as an artist—I think the art would be more interesting if Raquel would lighten up on the Jewish a bit (if an understatement might be allowed here), and sort of target the more abstract “powers that be” rather than trying to make a whole population sick to their stomach feeling hated. And Raquel does have some interesting ideas to think about in a very loud sort of way.

the danger with this 666isMoney

the danger with this 666isMoney is that you risk to create your self an artificial world to live in.

hitler's made himself an artificial world based on pure dementia was so strong tha his world and dementia affected millions, lets not repeat the history of hate and rascism..

Bruce Sharp's response

Bruce Sharp just posted his response to Chomsky on his website. ( http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/reply_to_chomsky.htm )

Inverse Assumptions & History Artists

Bruce Sharp’s scholarship, and the history at the website on Cambodia, etc., is of high caliber, imo—I learned a lot about the history in question (even though the details read a bit tediously).

Mr. Sharp definitely has an axe to grind with Chomsky though— I think he’d have none of the Khmer Rouge atrocities being used to justify attacks on “US Imperialism,” even though the site includes that “Most of the Cambodians who witnessed such carnage [US Bombing] place the blame squarely upon the Americans and Lon Nol. Their anger led many of them to join the Khmer Rouge, and by late 1972 the Khmer Rouge army had grown to some 50,000 soldiers.” Mr. Sharp questions “how could he have so seriously misjudged the nature of the Khmer Rouge? Perhaps it is a natural consequence of being a generalist. Chomsky writes about events all over the world. Can one person really understand all of the intricacies of the politics and history of any one country? Probably. But can one person understand the intricacies of ten countries? One hundred countries? Two hundred? No.” And also noting, “It is also possible, however, that Chomsky did fully understand the nature of the Khmer Rouge... but acknowledging the magnitude of their crimes would have undermined the effectiveness of the example he needed to illustrate his theories of media bias.”

I think Chomsky repeatedly makes the point that US foreign policy has “assumed” through indoctrination, that communism must be held in check: He tries to look at things through the lens of “what if communism weren’t so bad?” Hence citing in his blog entry above that “State Department Cambodia watchers…. estimated that deaths were in the thousands or hundreds of thousands from all causes, primarily from ‘brutal, rapid change,’ not ‘mass genocide,’” Chomsky indirectly implies that “brutal, rapid change” is not so bad as “mass genocide”— a very slight implication, but one that is telling, and backs up Mr. Sharps contention (better documented in his original essay) that Chomsky, in inverting the “assumption lens” makes value judgments that may be “erroneous” and/or insulting. (Such inversions of perspective may be like Zinn’s inverting the perspective that history should be told from: historians lagging behind many artists’ historical shift in ~19th century to portraying the common person rather than Kings and Messiahs—whereas Zinn might be an early Van Gogh, Mr. Sharp seems to see Chomsky as an abstract Kandinsky). So while Chomsky may not document history with completely neutral eyes—maybe Mr. Sharp is missing the point of Chomsky’s “overall project”— a theoretical history told from another perspective. But maybe such can be seen as an insult, like my possible blundering about historical epistemological issues above (or now), when important history should be told. Although Mr. Sharp’s engagement with Chomsky has clarified some issues for me about Cambodia, his attack on Chomsky seems a little relentless: if Chomsky really is a propagandist (and why not?) is it the scholarship or the bias behind the propaganda that Mr. Sharp takes issue with? Maybe both, but the emotion behind the attack might be motivated by anti-communist sentiment (and why not?) Maybe Chomsky would be more anti-communist if he or a loved one had lived under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. As an historical artist, Mr. Sharp seems to be a pointillist understudy rejecting a teacher whose unavoidable bias may have been the inverse of his own.

The "Real" World

Cyrano: Ever think that my world vision, a world without money, laws and international boundaries is the Real World everyone is escaping with drugs, TV, alcohol, wars?

The powers that existed in Christ's time (if Jesus even existed) thought he was delusional, "possed by daemons" etc. He was crucified for telling the Truth, like the Holocaust "Deniars" are im many "civilized" countries. (Christ was the Logos/Logic that will save us.)

By the way, I've had some heated exchanges with Sharp. He married a woman whose parents suffered under Pol Pot. When I find those exchanges I'll add them to my Pol Pot Page

www.666isMONEY.com

Illusory world

Raquel, a world without our jew or arab brothers is not a world.

I too hear neo-punk comments about my jews brothers like this- among others: Pigs are a re-incarnation of jews hence the reason Jews are forbidded to eat pigs; for a jew eating pigs would constitute cannibalism.

Jews prey behind the wall of lamentation, they prey behind the wall because they hope that God does not see their sins.

Pigs like Jews are the only animals not being able to look up the sky.. Jews wear that funny hat over their head so god does not see a taht they have sinned..

EWW comments like this disgust me to the extreme raquel,
upon hearing this non-sens is enough to make me explode..

If you want to see a world that is fairer for all take a look at building alternative such as parecon and dont leave jews behind.

Another holder post...

The holiday has extended through New Year's, as expected!

I haven't read much yet, but I think most of us are probably on board that "Jews are pigs" is a ridiculous statement. However, I'm glad it hasn't been censored. There's no point in doing that at all; at best (sic) it just hides things from sight.

More later...

Doug Tarnopol

Holocaust Denial

Like most things, deliniating when a position on a topic can be ignored is a fuzzy, sometimes dicey, thing.

What "everyone knows" to be true shifts amazingly over time, even in the sciences.

However, no one really takes seriously the notion that the earth is flat anymore. Given that we all have limited time, even without religious or moral certaintly about the non-flatness of the earth (more like 99.9[bar]%), we can safely ignore stalwarts for the flat-earth society.

I would say the same vis-a-vis creationists. Note how many would disagree. That's a function of cultural and psychological needs in those who want to deny an evolutionary heritage.

When you get to history, things get dicier. However, degrees of validity, or trustworthiness, are warranted. We know that Julius Caesar existed. What his actions were, let alone what we can infer about his motivations, are progressively less solid.

As for the Nazi holocaust, sure, there are different measures of those killed -- and I include non-Jews in this, which gets the number up to 11 or so million. But I don't think there is any doubt that a large number of people, the majority (or large plurality) of which were Jews, were killed: by bullet, gas, etc. Whether Hitler personally ordered it or not is hard to know in any scientific sense. One must make inferences. Whether it happened is based on far too many eyewitness accounts, confessions, documentary evidence, and so forth for the reality of the event to be doubted.

Imagine in 60 years someone doubting that the Palestinans weren't herded into Gaza, et al. Imagine 60 years from now, the general public in America still believing the US went into Iraq solely to spread democracy. Not unlikely.

I'm sorry, but I find no real force behind Holocaust denial arguments such a spoken of here. Just as one shouldn't use the Holocaust to excuse present Israeli governmental behavior, neither should one deny the Holocaust to grind some other axe, whatever that may be.

Best,

Doug Tarnopol

Excellent Anti-War video: Guernica Iraq

Check out this excellent anti-war video, and please help to spread it;

Guernica Iraq
http://blogs.zmag.org/node/2926

one post is enough, 2 is almost too many.

chewbaccka, one post is enough , trust me everyone see..

(dont duplicate post its annoying.)

Jews Who Attended Holocaust Conference In Iran

Thought you all might find this interesting (from an Israeli newspaper):

Neturei Karta delegate to Iranian Holocaust conference: I pray for Israel's destruction 'in peaceful ways'

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/810100.html

By Assaf Uni

BERLIN - It was only at the end of last week that Moshe Aryeh Friedman - by his own account, the chief rabbi of Vienna's Jewish community, but a "kook" and an extremist who represents only himself, according to Austria's established Jewish community - was able to return to his home in Vienna. Three weeks after his mysterious disappearance, following his participation in the Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran, Friedman denied in an interview with Haaretz that he had been arrested by the Iranian authorities, and claimed that his absence had been planned. Friedman explained his trip to Tehran as reflecting his desire to "show my respect to the members of my family who died in the Holocaust"; He also said he prays three times a day for the disappearance of the State of Israel - "in peaceful ways" - and that he would not deny Iran its right to develop nuclear power.

The Jewish and the ultra-Orthodox world is seething over the participation of six members of the Jewish anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group in the December 11-12 conference in Tehran, whose stated purpose was to "reexamine the Holocaust." The Internet has been flooded with the names and other information on three of the participants from New York, David Weiss, David Feldman and Yisroel Feldman, and with suggestions to harass them. In Manchester, there were demonstrations in front of the house of Aron Cohen, and its windows were broken; in Austria, too, the Jewish community hastened to disassociate itself from Friedman, whom it described as "posing for a number of years as the chief rabbi of Vienna." An open letter published by the umbrella organization of the Austrian Jewish community said Friedman, whom it characterized as a "kook," came to Vienna some years ago from Antwerp, and was never ordained as a rabbi. Friedman, for his part, claims that he is the scion of a rabbinic family going back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

In contrast to colleagues of his who were present at the conference, Friedman makes no apologies for his participation. In the phone interview from his home, he said "this was the first time in history that such an open event has taken place - and not one that exploits for political purposes the suffering of my family to legitimize the holocaust that the Israelis are bringing on another people [the Palestinians - A.U.]." According to Friedman, the conference was a "celebration of freedom of expression," and "Iran set an example to the whole world."

But his position in Vienna is different than the one he expressed in Tehran, where he was quoted as saying the Holocaust was a "successful fiction," and that it is "legitimate to cast doubt on some of the statistics" with regard to it. On Friday, Friedman claimed that he does not deny the fact that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. His sudden change in position may be explained by fear over being prosecuted in Austria, where publicly doubting the Holocaust is a crime. This concern might also explain why he was detained in Tehran until December 24, and why he spent - by his own admission - the last two weeks in Denmark, known for its liberal laws of freedom of expression.

Friedman claimed he was detained because he was invited by the Iranian regime to another conference, in Isfahan, and that he flew to Denmark to participate in "interfaith dialogue." However he refused to give any precise details about his location. He was also quick to deny a report that he had been imprisoned by the Iranian regime, and proudly touted his good relations with the country. "The Iranian foreign ministry hosted me in a 'palace' of 150 square meters, and I was allowed to meet with anyone I wanted," he said. "They treated me in a way that no was else was treated," he added.

Friedman does not try to hide his admiration for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who in the past termed the Holocaust a "myth" and has called for the destruction of Israel. "I had more than one meeting with his excellency, President Ahmadinejad," Friedman said. "The president first recognized me at the conference in Tehran and he was especially friendly. There may be only one picture in which we are photographed kissing, but in fact we kissed 20 or 30 times." Friedman also claims that on his earlier trip to Iran, he visited the residential compound of the Iranian president and reached "the bedroom of Khomeini." Ahmadinejad, he said, chose to remain in a modest three-room apartment with his wife, "who is from a good family." Friedman said "there aren't too many people who know him better than I do."

According to Friedman, the second reason for his trip was to present an international peace plan, by which Israel would cease to exist, Jews of Polish and Eastern European origin (and their whole families) would return to their place of birth, and Jewish of Iraqi origin would return to Iraq "the moment a functioning democracy is established there." Friedman said the Iranian president expressed support for his plan and promised "to give religious freedom to the Jewish minority that remains in Palestine." Friedman added that he "wanted to bring the situation back to what it was, before the establishment of Israel."

Friedman, in his 30s, is no stranger to anti-Zionist activity and provocations. In the past he maintained good relations with the extreme right-wing party of Jorg Haider in Austria, met with Hamas ministers in Europe, and prayed for the health of Yasser Arafat while the latter was hospitalized in Paris. With regard to the present scandal, Friedman says he is "afraid of the reaction to our participation in the conference."

 

www.666isMONEY.com