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• • •
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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

August 07, 2010

God Damn It, Please Donate to Consortium News

Consortium News is wrapping up its current fundraiser but is nowhere near its $40,000 goal. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Robert Parry may be the greatest investigative reporter in the United States. We need to support him and Consortium News.

In fact, I'm so frustrated by the difficulty Parry has raising money that I'm going to devote this site to a minifundraiser of my own. Here's how it's going to work: I'm going to yell at everyone coming here until I can verify that readers have, from today onward, donated $2,000 to Parry. At that point I'll give Consortium News another $100 on top of the $60 I've previously donated this year.

At 200 people giving $10 each, or 40 people giving $50 each, this is surely an achievable goal. So let's get started.

Go here to donate via credit card, or send money via paypal to Then leave the dollar amount of your donation in the comments here or send me an email. I'll start keeping a running total in this post.

You know how great it feels when the car alarm outside your apartment stops going off at 3 a.m.? That's how it's going to feel when we get to $2,000 and I stop yelling at you. But in the meantime:

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—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at August 7, 2010 07:41 AM

$10 via PayPal

Posted by: Peter Beattie at August 7, 2010 09:36 AM

Peter, thank you! Can I send you a copy of Our Kampf in thanks for being the first person donating? If so email me your address.

(Also, I admire your premiership of Queensland.)

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at August 7, 2010 09:45 AM

$25 because I agree about Parry. I'll even give more later if my lottery ticket hits.

Posted by: N E at August 7, 2010 10:23 AM

Never heard about the site (though it's not bookmarked), but seeing as how asked I threw in $25 by Credit Card

Posted by: Jared at August 7, 2010 10:29 AM


Thanks so much -- if you're playing what I think you are, are they still broadcasting the ping pong balls on local TV?


Thank you, and definitely please check out the Consortium News archives, in particular this, this and this. I think even if you follow these things pretty closely you'll be shocked by what Parry's dug up.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at August 7, 2010 10:39 AM

Some of Parry's best work is his uncovering of evidence supporting the "October Suprise" theory. Another source is Gary Sick's book "October Suprise" -- Quote from a review:
Despite the inconsistencies and illogical interpretation of events, there remain many titillating details to give even the most skeptical reader pause. Jamshid Hashemi and six other corroborating sources were able to pinpoint separately, without consultation, the exact days during the campaign for which there is no conclusive evidence of Casey's whereabouts. A search of 100,000 pages of Reagan's 1980 campaign documents revealed no traces, such as hotel receipts or journal entries, exonerating Casey. Also, in October 1980, the FBI began surveillance of Cyrus Hashemi's offices because he was suspected of illegal arms sales, but in February 19~, the taping was terminated ahead of schedule by the new administration. The information from these tapings has still not been released despite many Freedom of Information Act requests from journalists. Then there are the inexplicable arms sales to Iran after the Reagan administration took over, which some journalists have estimated to be worth several billion dollars. Sick makes a valid point when he claims that an "October Surprise" deal would serve as a precursor to the Iran-Contra affair between the same parties years later.

Posted by: Rangoon78 at August 7, 2010 11:00 AM

Thanks, Jon, for pushing me to do what I've been meaning to do. $50.

Posted by: Nell at August 7, 2010 11:09 AM


Posted by: shargash at August 7, 2010 11:17 AM

I gave 50. I wasn't crazy about the late July Ivan Eland article about Gaza, particularly the line downplaying the impact of American sanctions on Iraq--now that I'm a bigtime publisher who is supporting this venture with my cash I expect to wield full editorial control.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 7, 2010 11:19 AM

My previous comment sounded too negative, even as a joke. Sorry about that. I read Consortium News off and on and it really is a great site--we'd all be better off if the NYT went bankrupt and Robert Parry established a new media empire to replace them.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 7, 2010 11:43 AM

Nell, shargash & Donald,

Thank you! With all the named donations plus an anonymous $100 I learned about via email, we're already at $310.


Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at August 7, 2010 11:53 AM

$50, which perhaps makes up for the 5DF donations I haven't been making.

By the way, when will I be able to donate to the Tiny Revolution Fund? Other than by buying you beer, I mean?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at August 7, 2010 02:14 PM


I was just being metaphorical and joking, so I don't know how those ping pong balls are bouncing on the teevee. My brother-in-law came within a hair of destroying the life of my sister and their kids through a gambling addiction, and that took the shine off lotteries for me. My sister's story didn't make even the local papers, partly because it's so much more common than the widiely reported stories of the occasional winner. But enough of being a kill-joy for a moment. My plan is more Robinhoodish, though legal, and it's the only jackpot I'll ever hit. Fingers crossed.


Nice recitation of the real October surprise story and Parry's contribution. That's one of many scandals that doesn't get enough attention and is ignored by the media. Parry has often taken the lead.

Besides Sick, Barbara Honegger wrote a book back in 1989 too, long before all the memoirs started to confirm that Casey and Bush had indeed met with the Iranians in Paris before the election and cut a deal with them to keep the hostages locked up until Reagan's inauguration. Kevin Phillips' book American Dynasty summarizes the state of the evidence as of several ago (Bani Sadr's memoirs; Ari Ben Menashe's books; Afafat's statements to Jimmy Carter 15 years ago or so; and my favorite, a statement broadcast on the radio by the head of Savak under the Shah, Mansur Rafizadeh, that he had been told by powewrful Iranian sources in 1980 that the US government actually didn't want the hostages releases, or, at least, differently put, that a "government inside the United States government" didn't want them released. Imagine that, a government within a government, perhaps composed of folks like Air Force General Richard Secord and CIA Deputy Director of Operations Frank Carlucci, as well as former and future CIA Directors George H.W. Bush and William Casey and Colonel Oliver North, along with folks like David Rockefellor and his asset Henry Kissinger, who together wanted to get Chase out from under its questionable international loans. Parry has been good on all that too.

Of course, that's just another crazy conspiracy theory. It's not possible that the GOP and the CIA and the military committed treason by preventing the release of American hostages via an illegal and unauthorized arms deal with an official enemy of the US just to win an election. Anyway, that's water under the bridge now.

Posted by: N E at August 7, 2010 03:06 PM

I pay everything by Postal Money Order or cash. Need a snail mail address.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 7, 2010 03:23 PM

Mike -

Go here:

Do you have a printer in Wyoming?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at August 7, 2010 05:29 PM

I used the money that would have went to the newspaper subscription I'm canceling.

I'm tired of searching through a hundred pages of ads trying to get to the news, to end up at a op-ed page full of Krauthammer, Brooks and a bunch of local old farts bitching about their taxes, Also, too.

Posted by: RoninJin at August 7, 2010 05:43 PM

Aaron Datesman: Yes I have a printer. I tried the address but it went nowhere from here. I hit the link on the main page but didn't see a postal address. I guess all that will disappear sooner or later. I've quit email long ago as I felt I could no longer ignor the desperate pleas of that poor man in Nigeria and his starving mother and sisters. Heartless, I know, and don't think I don't chastise myself over it everyday.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 7, 2010 08:16 PM

"Do you have a printer in Wyoming?"

Aaron, you might not have meant it to be funny, but that made me laugh. I grew up in South Dakota, which all those expat Californians who own lots of Wyoming look down on. If Mike doesn't have a printer, it's a lifestyle choice, not a comment on Wyoming. Even my old mother in South Dakota had a printer last year before she passed on to join her many siblings and their ancestors among the Norwegian ghosts who haunt the family reunions on the northern plains, where they make small talk, mostly inaudibly, about the potato salad and the condition of the crops. (Nearby gatherings of Indian ghosts grumble about how you just can't get away from those damn farmers.)

My mother was so old that she had grown up in the Pleistocene on a farm without electricity or indoor plumbing, surrounded by gravel roads and little farmhouses that have long since all been plowed under by modern tractors bigger than tanks, and nearly as expensive, and she even remembered hearing the news of Pearl Harbor. Toward the end of her life she was so rooted in a vanished past that she couldn't remember how to send an email, perhaps because Progress, which she considered mostly good, had nonetheless destroyed her world without the honorable measure of a declaration of war. And yet even she had a printer. They are pretty cheap at Best Buy, which for good or bad probably exists even in the next world. I know they have many stores in Wyoming.

Posted by: N E at August 7, 2010 08:24 PM


Posted by: will at August 7, 2010 10:22 PM


Posted by: jeanie at August 7, 2010 10:53 PM


Posted by: jeanie at August 7, 2010 10:54 PM


Posted by: jeanie at August 7, 2010 10:54 PM

Sorry. Guess I'll have to kick in another 100.00.

Posted by: jeanie at August 7, 2010 10:57 PM

$25.00, credit card.

Posted by: The Other Duncan at August 8, 2010 02:54 AM

@Mike - I don't know why that web address doesn't work for you. This is the mailing address I see on that page:

Consortium for Independent Journalism
Suite 102-231
2200 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at August 8, 2010 07:56 AM

"Of course, that's just another crazy conspiracy theory."

There you go again, lumping all conspiracy theories together. Some are more plausible than others. The October Surprise one is inherently plausible and has precedent too--Nixon did the same thing back in 1968, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 8, 2010 08:17 AM

Donald Johnson

Shame on me! You've done a nice job on your history there--yes indeed Nixon did commit a little treason involving Anna Chenault and the peace talks, or at least Macnamara thought so. I can't remember what the evidence from the trial showed. Oh wait, I slipped into an alternate universe there . . .

Posted by: N E at August 8, 2010 09:01 AM

$10. credit card Gladys

Posted by: Gladys Murphy at August 8, 2010 09:51 AM

$10. credit card Gladys

Posted by: Gladys Murphy at August 8, 2010 09:55 AM

Okay, okay, $20 via PayPal.

Posted by: NomadUK at August 8, 2010 10:10 AM

Since it's tax-deductible -- Consortium for Independent Journalism is a 501-c-3 non-profit -- I've gone whole-hog (for me). The $50 check is in the mail. Well, not quite in the mail yet - but it is written and in a stamped envelope addressed to

Consortium for Independent Journalism (or CIJ)
Suite 102-231
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 8, 2010 10:29 AM

About conspiracy theories

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

* Margaret Mead (1901-1978) quoted in John M. Richardson, ed. Making it Happen, 1982


conspiracy theories - some go too far, some not far enough

just a few words on paranoia -

a paranoid's worldview sees the hand of an enemy in events, which he perceives as intentional acts designed to harm him

obviously, it is possible to be too paranoid, and to overinterpret the coherence of historical events and see connections that aren't really there - and to blame many events on a vast conspiracy - the jews, the illuminati, the communists, the jesuits , the "greys"

on the other hand, it is also possible to miss the coherence that is really there - to be oblivious or to have "false consciousness"

it's not easy to know what's really going on, and everyone applies a bayesian approach - we evaluate the probability of new information being accurate based on what we already believe

i try to stick to the middle way - to be appropriately suspicious - the goldilocks principle - neither too much nor too little

as i'm sure most of us here recognize, there really ARE conspiracies - a relatively large number, some working together, some at cross-purposes

at "all spin zone" recently there's been a discussion of the "paranoid shift" - a change of Weltanschauung when a person begins to believe that some of the events of recent history really are connected in ways that have been concealed (recall that bush's first choice to chair the 9/11 commission - a commission he hadn't wanted in the first place - was henry kissinger)

woody allen said we stand at a crossroads - one way leads to despair, the other to total destruction - let us hope we make the right choice

[originally posted Feb. 13, 2005, at]

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at August 8, 2010 10:59 AM

Aaron Datesman; THANKS, I'll contribute.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 8, 2010 12:24 PM

Been away on vacation with all of my lib family members on Cape Cod....$25.00 given.-Tony

Posted by: tony at August 8, 2010 02:05 PM

Mark me down for a hundo

Posted by: Justin at August 8, 2010 04:15 PM

Fifty dollars via check in the mail.

Posted by: John James Morton at August 8, 2010 06:53 PM


Posted by: ethan at August 8, 2010 07:05 PM


Posted by: BGGB at August 8, 2010 07:21 PM

mistah charley ph.d.

"An intelligence service is the ideal vehicle for a conspiracy. Its members can travel about at home and abroad under secret orders, and no questions are asked. Every scrap of paper in the files, its membership, its expenditure of funds, its contacts, even even contacts, are state secrets. Even the Gestapo could not pry into the activities of the Abwehr until Himmler absored it. He only succeeded in doing so late in 1943."

--Allen Welsh Dulles, Germany's Underground (2000 paperback reprint by Da Capo Press at 70; first published by The Macmillan Company, New York, 1947).

It is easy to get people to debate whether conspiracies are possible, whether they actually happen, and whether they can be covered up. This is noteworthy considering that we have constructed a vast government intelligence apparatus, encompassing many agencies, which is expressly devoted in substantial part to conspiratorial activity in the form of intelligence operations. As Mr. Dulles noted back in 1947, as we were about to take a very large step towards creating the foundation for that vast intelligene apparatus with the passage of the National Security Act, most of that activity is cloaked from public view, and indeed is cloaked even from the view of public officials entrusted to oversight of the intelligence agencies.

Because it's so difficult to find out what has been concealed by that intelligence apparatus, which I call the National Security State and you more often the MICFiC, it's difficult to be sure that crimes have been committed by such a conspiracy rather than by, for example, some lone nut. Until distrust of the government reaches a very high point, people will remain unsure of their doubts even when they are quite suspicious. And, of course, when the crime is enormous, the amount of proof needed to convince even oneself that a criminal conspiracy involving one's own government occurred is correspondingly enormous. So people tend not to reach that conclusion, and when they do, often it is beacuse they have found themselves surrounded by mountains and mountains of circumstantial evidence and perhaps more than a little direct evidence that makes it very hard to adhere to the mantra that conspiracies are crazy. And make no mistake, that is a mantra. Those who recite it are themselves proselytizing an ideology.

Worse still, as hard as it is convince onself that an enormous crime has been perpetrated right before the eyes of an ambivalent press, it is utterly impossible to convince others. By and large they will not believe it, and if and when they do change their minds, it will happen only when other circumstances lead them to the conclusion. Sea changes in world-view rarely result from empirical evidence alone, and even more rarely from proselytizing based on facts.
Facts seem to be poor material for proselytizing.

Just remember, whenever people debate the possibility of "conspiracy theories," Allen Dulles is chuckling in whatever hell he occupies, if any.

Posted by: N E at August 8, 2010 07:26 PM

well, if you want to add it to the total, there's another $40

Posted by: - at August 8, 2010 11:05 PM

N E: The question is not the possibility of conspiracy theories. The question is whether a given conspiracy theory is plausible, whether it has plausible evidence to support it. Not every conspiracy theory should be accepted, just because it's a conspiracy theory. You're hammering at a straw man -- or again, talking to an imaginary audience.

And then there's the question of what constitutes a conspiracy theory, as in this amusing case.

Jon: If you're going to yell, I'm not going to listen to you. There's no need to raise your voice.

Posted by: Duncan at August 9, 2010 01:02 PM


I was addressing mistah charley, ph.d and anyone else interested, even if in a pedantic, humorless, boring-as-all-hell way because, well, that's my good side. If mistah charley is imaginary, he's managed to be a heck of a writer anyway, especially the poems and mini-essays. I have to admit that he's much less boring than I am, unless I'm irritable, in which case Bad N E might take over and be a little more entertaining.

I'm sorry you're not able to unleash a full-fledged barrage about how crazy I am without feeling guilty about ignoring Jon's hint, but if it helps, I promise to berate myself for a few minutes after I finish typing this. I'd definitely do that for you, Duncan, because of how much we've shared.

I can't figure out what's amusing in what Greenwald wrote about Hussain. The piece does show how widely used that "conspiracy theory" tag has become. That catchy phrase is really just a big 'don't think about that' sign now. We have a lot of signals and signs to help people think nowadays lest they fall into heresy, just like the church used to. Just different heresies. Glenn Beck and Rush aren't the only preachers out there by any means.

Posted by: N E at August 9, 2010 05:17 PM