Comments: "That Martin Luther King Sure Was Paranoid," Said James Earl Ray

I once caught part of a documentary about some militia types who were under surveillance by the cops or the FBI, and one of the investigators who'd been involved in the case remarked that these guys were so insanely paranoid that they actually thought they were being monitored. And to illustrate the point, the documentary included a snippet from a taped phone conversation in which they speculated that their phones were tapped. I waited for the punch line, but it was apparently dead serious.

Posted by John Caruso at July 6, 2010 03:00 AM

Another fabulous post, though not complex enough!

Anybody passing through interested in the assassination of Martin Luther King should read the books by Dr. King's friend and later King family lawyer William Pepper, especially the more recent book, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (2008). The book is worth reading if only to learn about the trial that Pepper conducted on behalf of the King family a decade ago to get closer to findout out the truth about the assassination of Dr. King, which the King family and Pepper and a few other people still think was an important event though apparently the media does not, because no media attended any part of the trial. Read the book and learn what can be done and has been done with impunity in the United Staes of America.

The media didn't attend that trial because only crazy people think the government commits such crimes, or could and get away with it, just as only crazy people once saw other things. Weirdly, as this post and John Caruso's comment nicely point out, that belief is held even by those involved in committing the very crimes in question. This strange and baffling phenomenon exists because it is rooted in ideology, not reason, and such ideology need not be any more rational than a religious belief. Most of politics is that way, and Mr. Devlin was typically rather than unusually stupid that way.

I didn't think of this myself folks, or even because I've been reading Lakoff or other modern experts on cognition, though they should agree. I say that because I just ran across this statement by W. E. B. Du Bois in his essay The Propoganda of History:

"I cannot believe that any unbiased mind, with an ideal of truth and of scietific judgment, can read the plain, authentic facts of our history, during 1860-1880, and come to conclusions essentially different from mine, and yet I stand alone in this interpretation."

W E B Du Bois was a remarkable man, as consistently lucid as anyone I've ever read. If you want to grasp the full extent of what a culture can blind itself to, read him, and then pause to reflect on what our culture blinds us to now.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 09:19 AM

To be fair to Devlin, he doesn't say that Lumumba was crazy or irrational to be paranoid...he just points out that his fears spilled over and set everybody on edge.

I am not that impressed by most theories of conspiracies behind political assasination, but twenty-some years ago as a 16-year old I spent an afternoon with Mark Lane, who presented some very persuasive arguments for James Earl Ray's non-guilt.

Posted by seth at July 6, 2010 09:50 AM

N E: pause to reflect on what our culture blinds us to now.

What do you mean "we", paleface?

Jon, the trouble with this post is that you just refuse to believe that the CIA and our government and the media would conspire to do anything bad. Maybe someday you'll be enlightened.

Posted by Duncan at July 6, 2010 10:04 AM

Sorry Duncan, but you're right there smack dab in the middle of the 'we', as mainstream and non-threatening to anything as that gets. Reading An Act of State would definitely be good for you, as would reading Du Bois. Think of it as taking anti-sarcasm brain vitamins.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 10:24 AM

seth

It's encouraging that you're not impressed by "most theories of conspiracies behind political assassinations," because most of those theories are wrong and dumb, like most theories of just about anything. The challenge is finding what's true with regard to a topic where there is, on top of the normal challenges, so much lying.

In my view the most interesting aspect of the whole area is how orthodoxy is maintained, especially how the media enforces it. The folks who write about this can get a little tunnel vision, but it's a revelatory subject with great bearing on how the media works more broadly. Some of the essays written for Probe Magazine that were collected in a book called The Assassinations, edited by Jim DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, I found very eye-opening. And that book must be great, because Jessie Ventura said it is! (Tip to Duncan, that last remark was a little tongue in cheek.)

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 10:53 AM

Jonathan, the operative clause here is that had Lumumba not been so absolutely paranoid, the U.S. and Belgium would likely not have needed to depose him.

The sequence was thus: Lumumba assumes power --> Belgium gets nervous --> Lumumba sees Belgium twitchiness and perceives danger, and gets really paranoid, start making overtures to the Soviets --> now Belgium gets REALLY twitchy because the Soviet connection, and the U.S. joins in because of the ideological dimension --> Lumumba is whacked.

It's a vicious cycle. And it's highly doubtful that had Lumumba not been paranoid, if he would have been whacked.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 12:11 PM

In any case, we were somewhat more considerate in regard to Congo than we were to Chile. At least we bothered to get nervous and unsettled by the guy before whacking him. In the case of the Allende, it's basically "we're not letting this shit-show happen to us again," and he was probably going to get whacked from the get-go.

Some whackings are more justified than other. In the case of Lumumba, he wasn't a very good diplomat so he just made everyone twitchy. i remember reading that Lumumba was nicknamed "Lumumbavitch" by the local diplomats. He's not even worth the whacking, except that Belgium had a hair trigger.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 12:16 PM

Belgium gets nervous

They did a lot more than get nervous. They supported a separatist government in the richest mining region of the country. Then Lumumba turned to the Soviets for help transporting troops to the region when the US and UN refused.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at July 6, 2010 12:26 PM

And it's highly doubtful that had Lumumba not been paranoid, if he would have been whacked

Yes, because the US and its minions only ever depose or assassinate people who are mentally unstable.

In any event, a good lesson to be learned: Don't go getting worried about the US assassinating you, or the US might assassinate you!

Posted by NomadUK at July 6, 2010 12:39 PM

"They did a lot more than get nervous. They supported a separatist government in the richest mining region of the country."

Fair enough. Belgium was never the model colonist, not that there were such a thing.

But I would argue (I don't necessarily subscribe to the argument, but it's a defensible PoV) that Lumumba probably crossed a line in asking for Soviet help in transporting his troops. Justifiable? Yes. But acceptable, given the sort of neck-and-neck condition of the Cold War around 1960? Not really.

The Cold War was a lot more desperate pre-Nixon than it was post-Nixon. By the time Nixon had settled into his own foreign policy, we've managed to make ourselves fairly immune from Soviet schemes to undermine us. Had it been 1970, Lumumba would probably faced a different fate. And of course, had it not been Belgium, which was just unbelievably twitchy about the whole decolonization process (and mean-spirited and miserly, as well), it would turned out differently.

But to his great misfortune, this was 1960, when we simply didn't have any room for maneuver and frankly would have done anything to gain the most ephemeral advantage over the Soviets, not 1970, and his abuser was Belgium. So he got whacked.

Am I personally sympathetic to Lumumba? Not really. It was the Cold War: nothing personal (although for Belgium and the mining companies, it was probably personal).

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 12:40 PM

My impression of how seemly intelligent people can make such statements is that they lack intellectual integrity; they are willing to modify their beliefs to serve their convenience rather than the facts. I believe this is termed cognitive dissonance and it seems to be common in the corporate world as well as government.

The "paranoid" label reminds me of other labels the U.S. tosses around such as "moderate regime" or "democracy".

Posted by Edward at July 6, 2010 12:43 PM

William Pepper's An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (again, like De Witte's The Assassination of Lumumba, a Verso book in the US) is interesting but I'm not convinced he makes the case that various US government agencies killed King. He did, however, stumble into the morass of government projects at the time to monitor--and curtail, harass, discredit, endanger, and so on--King. Those projects--staffed by more than a few people, known to more than a few higher-ups, and generally hidden under the usual national security rationalizations--certainly contributed to King's death but, IMO, Pepper does not make a case that they actively plotted his death. After King's death, the investigations were crippled by the presence of so many secret projects and, yeah, lots of people were very happy to hang stuff on Ray that wasn't his but there's a (admittedly subtle) difference between doing everything you can, in secret, to mess with someone and, well, secretly killing him. Anyway, it's an interesting but weirdly flawed book. The case Pepper might have made is a lot more interesting than one he did make--Ray's not half as interesting as the stuff that was all around him.

Posted by paperbagmarlys at July 6, 2010 12:46 PM

And mind you, the Belgians would probably blame the good 'ole U.S.A. for bringing the whole decolonization business to bear. I know of old-line, intelligent Brits who still feel betrayed over Suez, or at least over the maneuver Eisenhower threatened on the pound sterling.

It's pretty unbelievable, and as the Lumumba episode illustrated, incredibly toxic.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 12:49 PM

Jon: They supported a separatist government in the richest mining region of the country.

A sequence of events recreated recently in Bolivia, where the paranoid loons who run our national security state would like to get rid of Evo Morales.

Posted by Nell at July 6, 2010 01:12 PM

Had it been 1970, Lumumba would probably faced a different fate.

Srsly, MylesSG? You don't want to move that to, say, 1974, that we supposedly stopped assassinating and deposing inconvenient leaders of resource-rich countries? Because Allende seems like a pretty big counter-example.

Posted by Nell at July 6, 2010 01:18 PM

And I guess the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in April 2002 doesn't count, either, because assassination apparently wasn't part of the m.o.?

To say nothing of the whole "rollback" campaign under Reagan in Africa and Central America.

It's hard for anyone familiar with Latin American history of the last fifty years to see any such post-1970 easing as MylesSG describes. What breathing space there has been has all come after the end of the Cold War.

Posted by Nell at July 6, 2010 01:31 PM

"Srsly, MylesSG? You don't want to move that to, say, 1974, that we supposedly stopped assassinating and deposing inconvenient leaders of resource-rich countries? Because Allende seems like a pretty big counter-example."

You are confusing "resource-rich" with "strategic". Congo was resource-rich, but not very strategic as far as the Cold War went, at least not in the latter stages when half of Africa had gone fully Red. Chile was pretty much another matter altogether. We had decided to whack Allende from the get-go, because we were not about to tolerate a Red in the nicer parts of South America (it doesn't matter if the president was Republican or Democratic, or who chaired the intelligence committee in Congress: a Moscow sympathizer in the Andes was a no-go zone; it basically spells out: WHACK THE FUCKER. I am actually surprised he managed to hang out for nearly three years, given his was one of those whackings everybody knew was gonna happen.)

Lumumba, on the other hand, was just plain unlucky. He has no business with the Cold War, and was embroiled in it through very little fault of his own, if any.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 01:33 PM

"To say nothing of the whole "rollback" campaign under Reagan in Africa and Central America."

The whole rollback campaign was Reagan's (and Jeanne Kirkpatrick's) sheer, retarded idiocy alone. By the time Nixon and Kissinger (and also, surprisingly, Carter) were done, we were winning the Cold War, and all subsequent presidents had to do was sit tight and play whack-a-mole with Castro wannabes and Allende repeat cases (there really weren't any, at least not serious ones). The turning point of the Cold War was Nixon in China, and after that it was straight downhill for the Soviets. Think of it as our Stalinigrad, minus the half-million dead soldiers. On the question of Reagan the left and the right are both idiotic: the right thinks Reagan is a saint, and the left thought Reagan was Lucifer. The truth is that he's neither: he's just an idiot who was there and bathed in the glow when the whole Nixon-Kissinger-Carter turn came to fruition.

The difference between Reagan rollback and Nixon-Kissinger maneuvering is that the latter helped us win the Cold War, and the former didn't help us win the Cold War, at all; in fact, if anything, they might have ruined our positions.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 01:44 PM

Although (come from a right-winger/classical liberal), I must say that I am amazed by Carter's tactical brilliance. He was really probably the most brilliant tactician-president during the Cold War. Kissinger-Nixon, on the other hand, had the strategic genius, but they weren't as tactically brilliant as Carter.

Carter's tactical maneuvering saved us a lot of trouble, speeded up the Soviets' end, probably spared us a lot of dead soldiers, and probably most the complete dissolution and collapse of Communism possible, instead of just a sort of permanent retrenchment or internal overhaul/reform.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 01:50 PM

I'm not as enthusiastic as you about the Cold War, or the supposed right of the U.S. to intervene anywhere and in any way, to be judged only on efficacy.

Should have realized how detached you are from the human effects from this bit of understatement: "Belgium was never the model colonist."

Posted by Nell at July 6, 2010 01:57 PM

You folks are missing the point.
Whatever Lumumba may have been like, he was the elected representative of his people. No one can say what the history of the Congo would have been if democracy had been allowed to flourish there. But one can definitely say, that due to the grave violations of international law and human decency committed in those days by the governments of the U.S., Belgium and others, the Congo was made one of the worst places on Earth. Its environmental, cultural, artistic, linguistic and biological diversity has been reduced by probably ninety percent. That's a nice way of saying it has been a playground for mass murderers and slavers with limitless greed. Letting Lumumba live, and lead his people, could not possibly have been worse, and almost certainly would have been much better.

Posted by Justin Parker at July 6, 2010 02:01 PM

And also, the Chavez coup was staggeringly stupid. The best way to deal with tinpot Mussolinis like Chavez is to strangle his economy and make it scream. Bury him in sanctions. Make his life so miserable he won't want to live it.

And show others that if you elect people who like to mess with Uncle Sam, it's not the guy who you elect, but the guys who are doing the electing, who pays. After all, what's the lesson learned from deposing someone like Chavez, and then showering Venezuela with aid to prop up whatever US-backed coup gov't, as would be bound to happen? That if you vote for irritant, the irritant serves as scapegoat, you get lots of USA money when he's eventually whacked, and you can just go ahead and elect another one?

Stupidest fucking coup ever. Make the Venezuelans who voted for Chavez pay, not Chavez and his cronies.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 02:01 PM

Myles SG

What happened to Lumumba was not aberational for later time periods either. You're right that Nixon changed the Cold War for his own selfish political reasons, but the counter-reaction against the changes he initiated toward detente was sharp and swift. Assassinations of foreign leaders didn't stop in 1970 unless you think evil disappeared from the world then.

Sure "some whackings are more justified than others," but once organizations dedicated to the business of killing start down that road, what happens is exactly what did happen--lots of 'whackings.' Calling the people who 'whacked' Lumumba 'twitchy' is a use of language reflective of the attitude created by James Bond and Dirty Harry movies and doesn't accurately capture what murder is. That is what the killing of Lumumba was: cold-blooded, premeditated murder. Murder need not be anything personal, and support for it does not cease to be support for murder just because you don't attach much emotion to it. That sort of desensitized, dispassionate brutality isn't the better part of humanity. And not recognizing that isn't the better part of thought.

Finally, decolonization was certain to happen eventually even though some old-time Brits and Belgians like to blame the US for it. Our elites during the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations and even after that during the Presidencies of JFK and LBJ and Nixon stalled decolonization as much as possible, and even made some attempts to reverse the process via a war with the USSR and China. No doubt plenty of Europeans think we were ham-handed and stupid about it, and they were right. They were just guilty of that too.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 02:02 PM

"That is what the killing of Lumumba was: cold-blooded, premeditated murder. Murder need not be anything personal, and support for it does not cease to be support for murder just because you don't attach much emotion to it. That sort of desensitized, dispassionate brutality isn't the better part of humanity. And not recognizing that isn't the better part of thought."

Yeah. I didn't say killing Lumumba was murder. I don't even think it was justified. Again, he was no Allende. He wasn't even a fucking Castro. He's a fourth-rate politician who frankly just wasn't worth our time. But a lot of the whackings that happened in the Cold War, hey, if the Soviet Union is going around whacking everybody and you're just sitting there watching, hey, I don't want you playing on my team.

Hey bud, the Cold War was a real war. People get killed in wars. If you wanted to sit out, that's fine. But no sniping from the sidelines. I recognize that plenty of it was straight-up murder. Doesn't mean I would have not done it. War is murder. Deal with it. Plus, we didn't want to have to fight a global Cold War; Stalin did. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 02:13 PM

I didn't say the killing of Lumumba wasn't murder*

Sorry. Typo.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 02:14 PM

paperbagmarlys

Once Pepper has made the case that James Earl Ray did not act alone, the question should become what in fact did happen. That cannot be proved without evidence, and because the evidence was suppressed and an actual investigation prevented, it will never be possible to meet the sort of standards a court should require to convict someone of a crime. That's what ensures no accountability for this sort of crime. Accusations can't really be responsibly made without conclusive proof, which for the most part can never be obtained.

If your expectation was/is that Pepper could produce proof against lots of individuals working for government agencies beyond a reasonable doubt, I think that's an unrealistic expectation. What he has done is investigate the truth and point to those facts that suggest government involvement. He marshalls many of those facts, beginning with motive and ending with opportunity and suppression of evidence. There is plenty of evidence, and since plenty of powerful people at that time considered MLK an enemy of the state, a communist, and a contemptible traitor, it shouldn't be terribly surprising that they would kill him. They were for the most part the same people who approved of lynching, for much the same reasons that their descendants approve of Guantanamo now. That's That's why the whole Atlanta field office of the FBI burst into applause when MLK's death was announced to them. And the military was not one whit better, which is why in Vietnam we engaged in such a litany of horrific war crimes. Or, in the terms of Miles SG, why we got so 'twitchy' that we 'whacked' about two million people.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 02:31 PM

Myles SG

You wrote: "Plus, we didn't want to have to fight a global Cold War; Stalin did."

That's not true, even if it is the Hollywood/Washington version of events. Stalin was a ruthless homicidal tyrant with some particularly twisted methods, but he was always cautious and defensive in his foreign policy, both before and after World War Two. He was always more nationalist than red. Probably the best thing to read factually on the origin of the Cold War is Carolyn Woods Eisenberg's Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949. Or you can read Bruce Cumings history of the Korean War, though that takes some time.

I sense you have a ways to go before understanding Chavez too, but on that one so do I, though at least I know it.

You wrote: "Boo-fucking-hoo."

Don't you feel embarrassed about writing things like that? It makes you sound like an idiot.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 02:58 PM

"I sense you have a ways to go before understanding Chavez too, but on that one so do I, though at least I know it."

I don't need to "understand" Chavez. I know enough about him and his type to know that he's not useful to us, and never will be. Thus, our foreign policy should deal with him as we do with any non-friendlies: undermine him.

That's all I need to know about him. I couldn't care less about his Boliverian revolution.

Why would we need to understand him?

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 03:12 PM

"The best way to deal with tinpot Mussolinis like Chavez is to strangle his economy and make it scream. Bury him in sanctions."

"It" (the economy) cannot scream. What you really mean is "strangle the average, impoverished Venezuelan and make him/her scream."

Once you strip away the euphemistic language, it doesn't look so pretty anymore, does it?

Posted by Gene Callahan at July 6, 2010 03:23 PM

""It" (the economy) cannot scream. What you really mean is "strangle the average, impoverished Venezuelan and make him/her scream.""

I think I said pretty clearly, punish the voters who vote for Chavez, not the nicocomps like Chavez himself, who is merely a representative and a symbol. Whoever the Chavez voters might be, having a proper foreign policy means that they can't be left off the hook.

What euphemism is there? You attribute to right-wingers/classical liberals the sort of deceit to which I have no pretension.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 03:36 PM

And it's only a basic rule of causality that if you want to vote for someone who takes dumps on Uncle Sam, you also get the full blowback. If you don't want the blowback, don't vote for people who takes dumps on Uncle Sam, especially after we've given you about 300 warnings about it.

It's really that simple. Chavez in and of himself is just a tinpot ranter on a Hyde Park soapbox. It's his supporters and voters who make him who he is.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 03:41 PM

Of course, there is no more ridiculous sight than some left-wing government somewhere complaining about U.S. imperialism on one hand and asking for more Western aid money on the other.

Pick one and stick with it. And for goodness sakes, don't take everybody in the West to be suckers. I know a few people in Britain's Foreign Office, and they were musing about slamming down, hard, on an obscure African country that is heavily reliant on Western aid but has recently double-crossed Britain. Not all Westerners are Oxfam suckers.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 03:52 PM

Go for it Miles SG. Nell & NE don't support enpire with YOUR enthusiasm. YOU know how it is, some people are always simply shocked by ALL the bodies laying around.

Posted by Mike Meyer at July 6, 2010 03:55 PM

I'd like to refrain from commenting, because Myles SG is so infuriating that I pretty much just want to curse him out. So I'll just leave it at that.

Posted by saurabh at July 6, 2010 03:57 PM

Myles SG, are you writing from Langley? Because it certainly seems like it.

As for the majority of the people of Venezuela allegedly "dump[ing] on Uncle Sam", I know you don't agree with me, but the way I see it - it's their fucking country.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at July 6, 2010 04:01 PM

Myles SG's identifying with the Washington elite recalls Ernest Riebe's Mr. Block:

"He is representative of that host of slaves who think in terms of their masters. Mr. Block owns nothing, yet he speaks from the standpoint of the millionaire; he is patriotic without patrimony; he is a law-abiding outlaw .. [who] licks the hand that smites him and kisses the boot that kicks him .. the personification of all that a worker should not be." (Walker C. Smith)

Perhaps Myles is wealthier than Mr. Block, but his worldview is the same.

Posted by anon at July 6, 2010 04:05 PM

" think I said pretty clearly, punish the voters who vote for Chavez..."

So you now how to cut off only the products that go to Chavez supporters?! Wow, that's a targeted embargo.

Posted by Gene Callahan at July 6, 2010 04:12 PM

I think one of my early online parodies survived my abandoning it. Apologies all.

Posted by Dennis Perrin at July 6, 2010 04:32 PM

"Myles SG, are you writing from Langley? Because it certainly seems like it."

CIA in the last couple decades seems to be more the destination for hotheaded patriotic idiots than for tough-minded operators. So no.

(Supposedly Islam-inspired) terrorism is simply not an existential threat on the same level as Bolshevism.

"I know you don't agree with me, but the way I see it - it's their fucking country."

I agree with you completely. It's their country, it's their elections, and it's their own consequences. They can do as they like, and bear the appropriate ramifications for them. I don't oppose national sovereignty: I oppose national sovereignty without taking the responsibility for the ramifications of sovereign acts.

It's like the Georgia-Russia situation. You want to pick a fight with Russia? Go ahead. But be ready to bear the ramifications yourselves.

For all I care, Chavez is probably going to be re-elected until he kicks the bucket. Fine. Venezuela can also deal with the diplomatic ramifications until he kicks the bucket, as well. There are no guilt-free passes in international diplomacy.

Posted by Myles SG at July 6, 2010 04:36 PM

"Tough-minded operators"--I love it. I have a surgeon friend who once told me that when he was a young surgeon in residence an older surgeon who was drunk when on call told him that anyone could operate sober.

I guess he was a "tough-minded operator."

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 04:49 PM

Dennis Perrin is funny.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 04:53 PM

N E: Think of it as taking anti-sarcasm brain vitamins.

Of course you would never stoop to sarcasm yourself.

As I've said numerous times before, you forget who you're talking to. You seem to think that Jon, and I, and John, and Dennis, and any number of the other people you're addressing are apologists for US power who don't think that Our Government or anyone in it would conspire to do Bad Things. And that's either sheer slobbering nuttery or a baldfaced lie. All of the above-named would be and are considered crazed, paranoid conspiracy theorists, compulsively ready to think the Worst of America, by right-thinking liberals.

There was a thread a few weeks ago while I was returning from Korea that I didn't have time to continue, about the sinking of the Korean ship Cheonan. I mentioned that many Koreans did not believe the US/Lee Myung Bak claim that the ship was sunk by a North Korean mine, but did believe that the Lee administration had exploited the event in hopes of affecting the outcome of the local election. You immediately gasped, "Just like 9/11!?" Which was either sarcasm (but of course you would never stoop to sarcasm) or slobbering nuttery. No one that I know of had suggested that the US or the Lee administration had sunk the Cheonan, for example. You can't think of any other pattern, though.

The trouble appears to be that you can only see two options: either we believe that the US government is telling the absolute truth (about 9/11, for example) or every event is a false-flag black-bag operation by the US, killing Americans to create pretext for US war. (As I've pointed out before, only the killing of Americans really bothers you: the killing of dusky foreigners by the US does not detain you, it only serves as a springboard to retailing your own fantasies again.) Other options are not just unimaginable, you assume that they involve absolute credulity toward the US government's claims, no matter how discrediting to the US claims they happen to be -- about the murder of Lumumba, for example. Either one is a Truther or one believes Bush. No other option is acceptable to you. But other options exist. You simply ignore them.

Posted by Duncan at July 6, 2010 05:57 PM

Oh, and P.S. I have read Dubois. I suspect I have read more history and political theory than you have. Why do you assume that all I know is what I read in the MicFIC?

Posted by Duncan at July 6, 2010 06:01 PM

Is no use gettink upset. N E is Turing machine.

Posted by Cloud at July 6, 2010 06:23 PM

Duncan -- Here I go in reverse alphabetical and chronological order. . .

Glad to hear you've read Du Bois--that guy is fabulous. He's just remarkable.

Maybe you have read more history and theory than I have, but mine is still bigger.

I am very disconcerted that you put the wrong 'i' in lower case in MICFiC. I just pray that mistah charley, ph.d. doesn't see that, because that might really wound him. (I don't know whether your adding a lower case 'c' too makes it better or worse.)

I don't have to "stoop" to sarcasm. Sometimes I can barely reach it on my tippie toes.

I think I'm just counter-punching with you, but maybe I'm wrong about that. That's how it feels to me anyway, especially when you simultaneously accuse of being a crazy conspiracy theorist who thinks 9/11 was an inside job AND an Obama speechwriter. Which you have to admit is an amusing contention, even though I am in a sense an apologist for Obama and I am most definitely a believer that elements within the National Security State participated in 9/11. So you're sort of right, in a crude way, but I don't think Obama will be hiring me anytime soon to write something for him, since 9/11 isn't even the craziest of the conspiracy theories I take seriously, cursed with I am doubt. Obama would definitely get less flack for hiring you, not because you're an apologist, but because your views seem to me to be pretty mainstream even if they are full of justified outrage.

I don't actually know why you would think I believe anyone around here is an apologist. That's not a criticism I have made, not even in those recent comments I made about Chomsky, who is most definitely NOT an apologist for anything (which I said). All I said is that every public voice ends up speaking for power sometimes, Chomsky included. It's inescapable. And I believe I added that you're part of that non-threatening "we" I referred to, because if you really think you're some sort of threat to power because you're angry and willing to hate Obama, then you're kidding yourself. That kind of hate is scripted.

As to those other paragraphs you added, I'm not ignoring "other options" about your beliefs. I barely talk about your beliefs, which I don't really understand that well. But whatever you think, I'm certainly not going to argue with you based on a couple of paragraphs that so mischaracterize anything I've said that I can't even begin to recognize my own views in it--because they aren't there. You often say things to me that amount to "either you're a nut or a liar", which makes me not take you seriously and think you're rude. You'll have to argue with somebody else about things I didn't say and don't believe, but I guess if you want to rant at my invisible evil twin anyway, knock yourself out.

P.S. When I refer to a book, I don't mean to imply that you yourself don't read. I am a big believer in checking sources, because I know for a fact that even people with phenomenal credentials and lots of money will sometimes make things up and lie. That I KNOW from direct observation. So I don't believe anything just because somebody can say it or type it, and I hope you don't either.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 07:27 PM

cloud

One down, one to the left, one up, buy six pack, one to the left, one down, one to the right, buy bottle tequilla, one up, one down, one to the left, take a drink of beer, one up, one to the right, one to the right again, kill a beer, one down, one to the left again, kill another beer, one up again, one twist clockwise, one to the right, take shot of tequilla, one twist counterclockwise, one to the right, turn to the right again, kill new beer, one down, apologize for Obama, one to the right, one up, one down, one to the left, one up, pound several beers, curse at Duncan, turn once more to the right, one down, one to the left, one up, bitch at fucking CIA, turn once more to the right, another to the left, abandon all hope to despair, have idea--all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, get to work on that. Kill tequilla. Repeat.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 07:51 PM

If Chavez was a tinpot Mussolini the US would support him, like they did with the gold-plate original.

Myles SG's position is perfectly sensible as far as it goes - no country is obligated to support a country that doesn't support it - be he makes two rather commonplace and infantile errors:

The first is the idea that America has universal agency; that it can make its influence felt through diplomacy and the market merely by having the will to do so. Myles seems to be under the impression that Venezuela's economy depends on US aid, which is certainly an intriguing counterfactual. It might make a significant impact on Venezuela if the US refused to buy Venezuelan oil which sipp09889a sorry, I was laughing so hard for a moment there I was unable to type.

The second and more obvious problem is Myles' entirely naive notion of what constitutes the "national interest". Chavez acts counter to the interests of "America" therefore "America" is entitled to subvert his government. But there is no such thing as the national interest just as there is no such thing as foreign policy. There is domestic policy, which is to say the actions of government best determined to serve the interests of that section of the domestic centres of power that are running the executive at the moment.

The notion that Chavez' "Anti-American" policies are actually detrimental to the interests of the vast majority of Americans is risible; in fact, in the long term, "Anti-Americanism", which is to say attacks on American imperialism, are beneficial to ordinary Americans, who are generally screwed, albeit to a lesser extent, by American imperialism just like everyone else. This is, of course, another reason it's so very important the democratically elected government of Venezuela is overthrown.

Posted by weaver at July 6, 2010 09:07 PM

weaver

Risible is a cool word, but I've imagined drinking too much to follow all that. Even if om theory there really is no such thing as foreign policy, don't forget that we have begun to surround Venezuela with military bases, and with our pals the Colombians we'll get around to having an Amazon war eventually, assuming the US public will accept it, which seems likely because increasingly the public will accept anything. I think our Rambos (Team America or whatever that bunch McChrystal had called itself) probably miss jungle warfare after all this arid heat for so long.

Seriously, I really don't know enough about Chavez, though I've begun to learn a little, but one thing I can assure you is that the Colombian elite HATES Chavez as much as ours does, just as the Honduran right does, and all the other Latin American elites do. I don't know what I think of Chavez, but I know I don't favor killing hundreds of thousands of millions of people. Enough of "all options are on the table" already.

Long ago I got to know some of the Colombian elite, as it turned out a little more than I should have, and I got to watch a multi-mega-millionaire (perhaps a billionaire) industrialist and a couple of ambassadors to Colombia laugh about what the President of Colombia at that time couldn't control, namely the economy. I'm sure at a little higher level the same sort of laughter at US Presidents goes on among the elite whenever a President thinks he can be the Decider just by issuing orders. But apart from that lesson, I know about the toxicity of that mix of gringo oil executives, US Southern Command officers and DEA agents, rich Colombians, and vicious bloodthirsty Colombian military officers (who moonlight doing assassinations. That location is already scheduled as the site of one of our future nightmares. Two wars is all we can do at a time so far, though I have no confidence we won't go nuts and go for broke eventually if we're desperate and put decisions in the hands of crazy Deciders, and eventually we'll be able to draw down forces somewhere else. This won't happen for years, but I think it probably will happen, which makes me feel like Sara Connor. Or it would make me feel that way if killing that many people hadn't become so ridiculously routine for us again.

It's sad when changing the subject to global warming cheers you up.

Posted by N E at July 6, 2010 10:00 PM

The reference to the U.S. having invaded Venezuela ("that was some mean bush") was a good easter-egg in Avatar.

No doubt seƱor Myles-SG of the 101st Chairborne will have a fun time following all the whackings of that war at home, and explaining the virtues of the Will To Power to the rest of us, when it happens.

Posted by Cloud at July 6, 2010 11:21 PM

Thank you Myles SG. For participating in this experiment. It seems that the responses in question were indeed elicited. An interesting and fruitful barrage of examples of the thought process of your average third ward colonial officer was illustrated for the benefit of the observer. Please collect your stipend at the desk.

Posted by demize! at July 7, 2010 12:29 AM

It's like the old saying - just because you're following someone doesn't mean that person's not paranoid.

Posted by Jack at July 7, 2010 01:09 AM

King Leopold takes the cake of colonialist Pol Pot prototypes, but I had thought the Belgian administration succeeding him was actually above average for a colony. Leading to stuff like this.

Posted by TGGP at July 7, 2010 02:50 AM

"As I've pointed out before, only the killing of Americans really bothers you: the killing of dusky foreigners by the US does not detain you, it only serves as a springboard to retailing your own fantasies again."

Duncan, I'm a lot closer to your pov than NE's, but the quote above seems unfair to me.

Also, though NE initially got under my skin with the whole "I understand what's really going on and you don't" schtick, after awhile the irritation wore off. Some of what he posts is interesting and some I think probably is silly, but maybe he's right on one or two of his theories. I rather doubt he's right on all of them.

Posted by Donald Johnson at July 7, 2010 03:51 PM

I only read half this thread, and it is very clear that Myles SG is a sociopath. He should be locked up for the rest of his living days.

Posted by Susan at July 7, 2010 11:37 PM

I don't need to "understand" Miles SG. I know enough about him and his type to know that he's not useful to us, and never will be. Thus, our blog policy should deal with him as we do with any non-friendlies: undermine him.

Or lock him away in a mental hospital or jail.

Posted by Susan at July 7, 2010 11:41 PM

"I only read half this thread, and it is very clear that Myles SG is a sociopath."

I intend to go into investment banking.

Posted by Myles SG at July 8, 2010 04:08 AM

Donald Johnson

Of course I'm not right on all my theories--who is? Glad I don't get under your skin so much now!

Posted by N E at July 8, 2010 11:08 AM

Susan: There's two ways conflicting here. Half the country is imperialistic and the other half isn't. MylesSG is simply not anti-imperialistic. And in the USA one has a 50/50 chance of meeting one or the other. Like it or not, WE ALL PAY for imperialism and therefore are ALL responsible for EVERY dead child WE leave on the battlefield.

Posted by Mike Meyer at July 8, 2010 02:24 PM
Myles SG: And it's highly doubtful that had Lumumba not been paranoid, if he would have been whacked.

Bitch was asking for it, am I right? Just look at how she was dressed, all those natural resources hanging out of her borders, looking sexy and whatnot.

America: Truly the overprivileged fratboy of nations.

The best way to deal with tinpot Mussolinis like Chavez is to strangle his economy and make it scream. Bury him in sanctions. Make his life so miserable he won't want to live it.

And the Gazans will be deposing Hamas any moment now, Cubans will welcome capitalism, and Iranians will start singing "God Bless The USA", I'm sure.

Posted by grendelkhan at July 8, 2010 02:36 PM

I notice that the comment posted by Susan at July 7, 2010 11:41 PM is a close copy of a previous comment posted July 6, 2010 03:12 PM.

This kind of thing makes a mockery of the comments column.

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at July 9, 2010 09:27 AM

why thank you mistah charley. Clever Susan slipped that wit right by me.

Posted by N E at July 9, 2010 11:09 AM