Al Giordano & George Salzman, mortal
friends – a tempest in a teaspoon
Part I [1]

G. S.  <doctorsci@gmail.com>
initial posting 04 March 2010 - last update 09 June 2011

URL: http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2010-03-04.htm

      Note added 8 June 2011: In the 15 months that passed since the initial posting,
my perspective of Giordano changed drastically. My current take is in [2].
      The best analysis that throws light on the continuing Zionist genocidal campaign against the Palestinians are in three papers by Jeffrey Blankfort. [3]

      I readily admit to having become an extremist, convinced that only fundamental changes in the dominant global system of values has even a chance of allowing humanity to live humanely. I advocate a host of changes that practically all my friends can hardly conceive of. Mention of them almost always yields a dead silence. But remember, most of my friends are well past middle age, privileged, the majority professional intellectuals – the conditions most effective in stifling one's imagination. The young people – without investment portfolios, the burdens of material wealth, not yet entrapped in contrived debt, whose desire to live is threatened – this is where the hope for a true civilization, not an anti-civilization of exploitation, suffering and death, is found. The young people are the source of my hope for a future.

Responses to Giordano vs. Salzman postings

      The interchange began with my open letter to Alberto Giordano and his response, both distributed on 28 February, [4] followed by this "a tempest in a teaspoon" ongoing compilation, initially posted and announced on 4 March 2010. This last item went to 1242 names on my listserv distribution list, of whom 5 unsubscribed, none because of chagrin, but due they said to e-mail overload. Twenty-five of the remaining 1237 wrote me, of whom three were critical of my position: Al Giordano, Stephen Zunes and Mark Lance. I am corresponding with respondants, and posting the exchanges. [5]

      Two days ago I mistakenly wrote with admiration, "Al Giordano is one of the best non-professional, feet-on-the-ground intellectuals I know." Now, 4 March, my admiration has vanished. [6] His next-to-last note to me was:


Alberto Giordano

Subject: Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano
From: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 10:21:54 -0600
CC: Notes of an Anarchist Physicist <noaap@lists.riseup.net>, Bill Conroy <narcosphere@aol.com>, Daniel Aaron Feder <dafeder@gmail.com>, Chris Fee <bazarov3@gmail.com>, David B. Briones <dave@narconews.com>, Benjamin Melançon <benjamin@melanconent.com>

A Final Response to and Requiem for George Salzman

George,

      I am going to say to you the same thing I told a supporter years ago who thought his generous contributions would allow him to manipulate our editorial content (and the same goes for our School of Authentic Journalism and the choice of its curriculum and faculty): Keep your money.

      Under the terms you are trying to dictate, it is not welcome here.

      Furthermore, Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism will never associate itself with the kind of language you use in this letter promoting a stereotype of "ultra-wealthy American Jew(s)." We will not accept funds raised using that kind of hateful language.

      That you yourself are of Jewish descent doesn't solve this breach between us or excuse, for me, your increasingly erratic behavior. Where is the George Salzman I used to know? He has been taken over by an increasingly bitter hate peddler, drowned in negativity and bizarre obsessions. He has become an embarrassment to himself. I miss the George I once knew and called friend. But you, Sir, I don't know you.

      I have already listed for you the presumptions you call "fact" but are falsehood, and I have provided you with the evidence: That Peter Ackerman is a Christian Scientist by faith, that ICNC [International Center on Nonviolent Conflict] funds materials and workshops in nonviolent struggle for many Palestinian organizations *who have requested it time and time again* to aid their civil resistance against Israeli occupation, and that I respect the view of those Palestinian organizations over and above that of anyone not living their reality (including yours, George).

      I have also informed you that Stephen Zunes is not a "hireling" or staff member of ICNC (he is a volunteer advisor) and that he has for more than a decade been one of the leading US voices against the Israeli occupation of Palestine (both before and after he involved himself with ICNC). That you have issued no correction of your factual errors fails the most basic standards of authentic journalism.

      I have sent you, weeks ago, four published essays by Professor Zunes on those topics, documenting what I have just written, to which your response was you didn't have the time to read them.

      And I have asked you privately what I will now ask again here: Show me on the doll where Peter Ackerman touched you.

      Furthermore, Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism will not participate in any McCarthyist smear campaign masquerading as a fund appeal simply because it might bring us the $20,000 you seek to raise. Its presumption - that funds toward the school make it somehow less independent of other funders - is errant and we are not going to associate ourselves with it in any way. This last School was already funded by $20,000 from our readers in addition to ICNC's welcomed contributions. We are confident we can do that again without depending on small minded rants about "Jews."

      I hope you will have the common decency to send this response to any email lists or individuals to which you have sent your "open letter."

      You are welcome - it is indeed your right - to play with matches in a cesspool filled with the gasoline of racial, ethnic and religious hatred. But this neighborhood is, and will remain, free of that. We seek a world without scapegoats based on race, ethnicity, religion or any other human quality. And although I respect differences of opinion, I am saddened about the apparent death of the George Salzman I once respected, liked and called compañero. It is not clear to me exactly when that happened over the past few years, but I offer my deepest condolences for his passing.
Sincerely, Al Giordano


The real break came a week earlier, about Jan 22nd

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 02:26:40 -0600
      In a note BCC'd to Giordano, I said, "At http://bigthink.com/davidsketchley there's material by David Sketchley, a British man who lives in Seville, a city in Andalusia, Spain. I would like to write him. Can you send me his e-mail address, or forward this to him?"

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 07:07:44 -0600
      Giordano resonded: I don't have an email address for Sketchley, have never had email contact with him, and I have the same low opinion of him, his shoddy scholarship, his lack of coherence, and his propensity to invent falsehoods and call them fact, as I do of some of the other characters we've talked about.

      These guys now do the work that COINTELPRO did when it went around accusing Abbie Hoffman and the Black Panthers of being FBI agents in order to foster division, distrust, disunity and paranoia in political movements.

      I remain jaw agape at the fascination you express with some bloggers and (barely coherent, if at all) writers and academics who, to me, are today's version of COINTELPRO even if they think they are on our side. So desperate are they to prove their theories about whatever that they engage in daily disinformation, which is itself a tool and form of imperialism.

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 10:49:02 -0600<
Subject: Verification of a quote attributed to you
To: William Blum <bblum6@aol.com>

      Hi Bill, I've got myself caught up in an ugly dispute between Al Giordano and some folks who don't think Al is always right about everything. One of them, David Sketchley, has on his blog at http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-
currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html
a statement that Bill Blum, author of Rogue State wrote him an e-mail saying:

      "The assertion by Giordano that the left is saying that people in other countries are not capable of staging a revolt is an either/or idea. Either it's a totally home-grown movement or it's the result of outside agitators. Why can't he accept the simple idea that NED [National Endowment for Democracy] et al. go into a country which already has a lot of discontent (almost all countries) and gives the dissidents money, materials, and instructions? And NED et al. do indeed have the resources and experience to provide all of these things in abundance." (E-mail to me dated 13 August 2009)

      I'm just writing to check that it's an accurate quote, not that I have any reason to doubt it - but I'd like to be certain. Al is trying to pressure me to agree with him, but I'm also a stubborn bastard. All the best, George
----------
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 12:18:14 EST

      Hi George, I don't specifically remember writing that, but I probably did. It sounds like something I would say. Bill
----------
      Obviously Bill agrees with the sense of the supposed quote, even if he doesn't recall the precise wording. I think Blum is solid as a rock. [This comment was in a note I sent Giordano, titled "Moving along, keeping in touch", which began as follows]

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 03:31:08 -0600

      Hi Al, In my book The News Dissector is worth reading. His position is not orthogonal to yours, but he doesn't gloss over Obama's presentation of false hopefulness based on his personal charm and readiness to engage in realpolitics.

Has Obama Become Bush II? by Danny Schechter <dissector@mediachannel.org>
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17119


Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 08:55:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Moving along, keeping in touch
CC: Nancy Davies <nmsdvies@gmail.com

      George, The suggestion that "Al is trying to pressure" you "to agree with" me is such a gross distortion of what has transpired here. So is describing my response to libel and falsehood against us and others as "an ugly dispute between Al Giordano and some folks who don't think Al is always right about everything." I have every right to respond to knowing falsehoods and defend myself and this project.

      I have a lot to do. This is nothing but a distraction and I fear it has proved a waste of time. I have devoted HOURS to responding to you on this, and you haven't listened or if you have listened you haven't heard. You just keep harassing me over it while describing your behavior as noble only because it is stubborn.

      I am done with this discussion. Write to whomever you want, say whatever you want, involve yourself with anybody you want. But I am not going to be part of this discussion with you any more. I tried George. For hours atop of hours, I answered every question you had, have been completely open and forthcoming with you, and I end up only feeling abused for it.

      You can stick any further efforts to involve me in this Cointelpro type harrassment where the sun don't shine. Friendship, too, has its limits, and your harassing behavior is stretching ours to the breaking point. In total seriousness, Al

P.S. Nancy, I have CCed you on this not to drag you into this ugliness but just so you understand that if I stop communicating with George altogether you will have a glimpse of why and know that it does not change my high regard for you and your work - everybody is a sovereign individual - nor our willingness to continue publishing and translating your vitally important reports.


My current perspective, 10 April 2010

      I think that one of the most essential requirements for a successful struggle to make the world a better home for humanity (and other living creatures) is that we remain hopeful. That was, for me, one of the outstandingly positive features of Giordano's NarcoNews projects. His seemingly unquenchable optimism permeated NarcoNews, making it a total upper. My sense of ultimate success was never quenched, or even dampened, when reading the website, or when interacting personally with Al over the years. This was in sharp contrast with the impact of other — I'll call them left radical websites — which repeated, ad infinitum, accounts of all the terrible things happening, seemingly endlessly, in the real world. As though indeed, No other world is possible. An example of a website that I think is valuable, despite its interminable depressing accounts of the horrors of today's world, is Counterpunch. Jeffrey St. Clair <sitka@comcast.net> and Alexander Cockburn <alexandercockburn@asis.com> have in my opinion done far more to awaken the world than Al Giordano can ever come close to achieving.

      And this is not to belittle Giordano's positive achievements. As I wrote to Ansel Herz, who reports from Haiti for NarcoNews,


Date: Sat, 09 Jan 2010 23:26:30 -0600
To: Ansel Herz <ansel@riseup.net>

      Hello Ansel, I learned about you . . . from your piece in Narco News at
http://narconews.com/Issue62/article3939.html

      My support for Al Giordano . . . remains as solid as it's been ever since I first met him one evening in Juchitan the better part of a decade ago . . . Now however there is an issue I think important enough to focus on — what I see as Al's divisiveness within the group of people who I believe are basically aligned in the desire to struggle against the dominant forces of giant capitalism.

      Specifically, an ugly exchange between Al and a young Australian journalist, Michael Barker <mbarker@riseup.net>, over the question of whether or not it is problematic for Narco News to accept monetary support from the so-called International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, seems to me to have been completely uncalled for. I am not uncritical of Barker's somewhat peremptory tone, a bit like that of a prosecuting attorney, but I think Al's response to the criticism was an absolutely shameful attack on Barker, posted on Narco News, coupled with his outright refusal to permit Barker to respond on Narco News.

      My criticism is not because I am unequivocally opposed to censorship. If Al had been correct in seeing Barker as a member of the enemy camp who was trying to destroy Al's efforts, then I'd have had no hesitation in supporting Al's ban. We don't need to accommodate Trojan Horses, and would be stupid to do so. But I'm reasonably sure that Al made a wrong snap judgment in this instance. Of course I may be wrong. Maybe I am incurably naive. Maybe Al correctly recognized Barker as an implacable enemy, someone who deserves the scorn that Al knows only too well how to dish out, as he showed so masterfully in his Dec 22, 2002 Narco News post, part of which reads:

      If at any time during December 2002 you were led to believe that a "strike" occurred in Venezuela, and if you got the impression that said "strike" was popular, national, or general, or that it would topple the democratically-elected government of President Hugo Chávez, somebody lied to you.

      Juan Forero of the New York Times lied to you when he claimed there was a "grueling national strike." T. Christian Miller of the Los Angeles Times lied to you when he claimed there was "a nationwide shutdown now." Nancy San Martin of the Miami Herald lied to you when she claimed that, "the strike expanded Monday." Andy Webb-Vidal of the Financial Times of London lied to you when he claimed that Venezuela was "a country on the verge of collapse." That smarmy Brit weasel Phil Gunson, interviewed on National Public Radio, lied to you when he said, "uh, first of all it's not really fair to, to, uh, to call it a coup attempt."

      NPR to Gunson: "What's it like on the streets today?"

      Gunson to NPR: "Well, I haven't been out on the streets very much."

      All of these "desk reporters" and others like them, copying from each other and from a corrupt Commercial Media in Venezuela (instead of doing real reporting by interviewing real people and wearing out their own precious shoe leather) tried to portray a series of orchestrated media stunts and some isolated acts of sabotage by the former ruling class as a massive nationwide action with popular support. It wasn't. It was an "imagined strike," simulated, invented — a fantasy repeated daily over three weeks so often that many people began to believe that it was reality — the pinnacle example of everything that is wrong with "pack journalism" in this day and age.

      I repeat: The "strike" never happened. There was conflict. There were marches. There was even eco-terrorism. Some events worth reporting did happen, but they were not reported honestly by the Pinocchios of the Commercial Media.

      That was an example, one of many, of Al at his best. In that mode, and with those deserving targets his scorn ranks at the very top of my favored list. Unbeatably on target. But to heap scorn on a young man half his age, as he did on Barker, and to deny him a chance to respond – I think that ought to be beneath Al. How are we to understand the venom Al injected into his statements about Barker? And more significantly, what does it say about Al's political judgments? Before proceeding, I want to make it clear that I know Al far better than I know Barker. Therefore, since it was Barker who first alerted me to his conflict with Al, I wrote on 23 December 2009 a letter to Lloyd Himaambo <himaambo@yahoo.com> which I CC'd to Al, in which I included the derogatory statements [about Barker that] Barker alleged Al had written Himaambo. [7], [8]


      My view is that people who deserve to be outed and scorned, as do the paid liars Al tears apart above, are getting part of what they "earned", but people like Barker and a few others I know — were victims of Al's egotistical paranoia. Among those whose prominence drove Al into a frenzied jealous attack is the Venezuelan-American lawyer and journalist, Eva Golinger [9]

      I don't deny that Al has done yeoman's work, for which I have the greatest respect (and a little envy), and in saying that his social impact cannot come close to that of Jeffrey St. Clair <sitka@comcast.net> and Alexander Cockburn <alexandercockburn@asis.com> with their Counterpunch publishing (online, printed paper edition, and numerous books), I am by no means belittling his accomplishments. By comparison to Al's achievements, what I have been able to do is absolutely miniscule, really insignificant. I wish I were capable of doing more, but I also need to live with my own limitations. Compared to me, Al is big shit. Compared to St. Clair and Cockburn he's little shit. And of course it goes on up. I'm willing to bet that Julian Assange <julian@wilileaks.org> and the people he works with in the Wikileaks project have done more to break the information blockade than any of us mentioned thus far. And then we have the real journalistic powerhouses, people like, to mention but a few, John Ross <johnross@igc.org> with his intimate, deep knowledge of Mexico, William Blum <bblum6@aol.com>, who rides herd on the still-dominant mainstream media, parsing out underlying truths of current events, Dahr Jamail <mail@dahrjamailiraq.com> reporting in depth from the Middle East, Mazin Qumsiyeh <mazin@qumsiyeh.org> with his ongoing saga of the struggle of his fellow "occupied" Palestinians, Mohammed Omer <gazanews@yahoo.com> of Gaza, who almost had the life beaten out of him by the savages of the Israeli Shin Bet, and of course the "giants" — Robert Fisk <foreigneditor@independent.co.uk>, Allan Nairn <allan.nairn@yahoo.com> John Pilger <pilgereditor@gmail.com>, and so on.

      The people I know of on whom Giordano — without a shred of justification — vented his spleen are
   Michael Barker <mbarker@riseup.net>
   Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net>
   Eva Golinger <evagolinger@gmail.com>
   David Sketchley <davidsketchley@gmail.com>
   William I. Robinson <wirobins@soc.ucsb.edu>
   George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      The truly revolutionary transformation we are witnessing in our lifetimes is the explosive, all-encompassing availability of information — almost instantaneous, nearly universal, powered by the "miracles" of modern physics and, also essential — the basic human drive to understand the world — to know "how things work". And why human society, almost universally today, is overwhelmingly destructive. Because of the global communications network it is possible, for the first time in history, for literally millions of people to work simultaneously and not in isolation on gaining the needed understanding and then acting together to resolve the problems haunting humanity.


Jeffrey Blankfort

      One of the best-informed contestants in this struggle to face the social-political truths of the Middle-East conflict and the U.S. role is Jeffrey Blankfort, whose three major critical essays on Noam Chomsky's ideological role, written over a three-year period, I published (and offered some criticisms). Part of Blankfort's exchange with Giordano illustrates the latter's mode of dealing with disagreements, an invariable style he employs towards anyone who questions him, whether harshly like Blankfort or in a friendly manner, as David Sketchley did. The interaction between Giordano and Sketchley is described below, under David Sketchley.


Subject: Re: [noaap] Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano
From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 15:12:31 -0500 (EST)
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>, Notes of an Anarchist Physicist <noaap@lists.riseup.net>, Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>, Bill Conroy <narcosphere@aol.com>, Daniel Aaron Feder <dafeder@gmail.com>, Chris Fee <bazarov3@gmail.com>, David B. Briones <dave@narconews.com>, Benjamin Melançon <benjamin@melanconent.com>
CC: Stephen Zunes <zunes@usfca.edu>

Al,
      I would say your letter was requiem for the respect I once had for you. That you take umbrage to the use of the term "ultra-wealthy American Jew(s) as a description of one or a number of the same, reveals your ignorance or lack of concern regarding the group that is both the major funding source of the Democratic Party and, ergo, its unwavering, sycophantic support of the racist state of Israel and all its wars and war crimes over the years and its ongoing dispossesion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. That your benefactor Peter Ackerman appeared at one of Israel's most important conferences in Herzliya, was apparently an invited guest, was certainly not due to his adopted religion, Christian Science, but because his work was viewed with favor by the Jewish state. That he accepted the invitation from these leading purveyors of violence should tell any reasonable person where your Mr. Ackerman is really at. That this apparently presents no problem for you tells me where you're at.

      As for the "ultra-wealthy Jews" activity, all I need to point to is the last time Mother Jones ran its list of the top 400 individual contributors to the presidential campaign, 2000. Of the top 12, seven were Jewish, of the top 20, 12 were Jewish, and of the top 250 (when I stopped counting) at least 125 were Jewish. 75% of their donations went to the Democrats and the rest to the Republicans, which your pal, Zunes, ignores when he insists, after being told the facts, that the Aerospace industry gives more money to politicians than does the pro-Israel lobby. In 2002, Mr. Authentic Journalist, an Israeli-American, Haim Saban, gave $12.3 million to the Democratic Party which was only a million and a half less than what ALL of the arms industry PACs gave to BOTH political parties.

      As for Zunes, who I have debated twice, he has become almost hysterical in his defense against charges that a pro-Israel lobby has any significant influence over US Middle East policy. The reasons he gives for US support for Israel read like an AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] handout. He has also said that he "will be a zionist until there is no more anti-semitism" and that "Israel can be seen as an example of global affirmative action." He also has maintained the ludicrous notion that US policy towards Israel is anti-semitic which goes along with the rest of the nonsense he peddles about the US Israel-relationship. Do those positions of Zunes pose any problem for you? (I have copied this email to Zunes should he wish to respond).

      Finally, quite apart from whether its use at the moment is or isn't the most intelligent or effective thing to do, do you believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to mount armed resistance to continuing Israeli ethnic cleansing and expropriation of Palestinian land, not to mention the ongoing assassination of indivudual Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza?
Jeff Blankfort


Subject: Re: [noaap] Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano
From: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2010 14:19:53 -0600
To: Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net>
CC: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>, Notes of an Anarchist Physicist <noaap@lists.riseup.net>, Bill Conroy <narcosphere@aol.com>, Daniel Aaron Feder <dafeder@gmail.com>, Chris Fee <bazarov3@gmail.com>, David B. Briones <dave@narconews.com>, Benjamin Melançon <benjamin@melanconent.com>, Stephen Zunes <zunes@usfca.edu>

Jeffrey,
      What would make you presume I would want your respect? I don't. You're a two bit hater and, worse, incoherent as you ramble on expressing your bigotries. It is clear that you are a whack job, nothing more.

      Your letter here indicates the same kind of obsession over "the Jews" that led to the worst events of the 20th Century.

      I am reminded of Oriana Fallaci, one of my heroes and role models of journalism, who in her later years, sadly, became singularly obsessed with "the Muslims" and dedicated her last years to penning rants very much the same of what you have penned here, over how "the Muslims" are taking over Europe and "the Europeans" weren't doing enough to stop them. I know you can't see how you are one and the same as she became. You are blinded by your religious prejudice and hatred. And I will never have anything to do with you. The world is filled with too many wonderful people to let a few lost sheep, poisoned by hatred and fear, lead the flock astray.

      Now go back under your rock with the rest of the cockroaches.
Sincerely, Al Giordano


Subject: Re: [noaap] Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano
From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 19:28:25 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
To: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>
CC: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Al, what Peter Ackerman bought for his $20,000 was your uncompromising, unequivocal defense of him and his history. It would be no problem for Ackerman to get endorsements from any number of his fellow seedy capitalists, but not so easy to get one from someone like yourself who has been recognized in the field of alternative journalism. Apart from being a political activist for most of my 75 years, I have also been a journalist and radio host, and even recall interviewing you some years back, but frankly, I cannot think of a single journalist that I know and respect who would touch Ackerman with a 10-foot pole.

      Why are you the exception genuinely puzzles me Why does not Ackerman's past nor his appearance at the high-power Herzilya conference in Israel trouble you? Why, moreover, does not the abuse of the Holocaust by Israel and it's supporters upset you? My conclusion is, sadly, that that is your Achille's Heel, that you are, I suspect, one of them, if not Jewish, a philosemite (as is Rupert Murdoch) and focusing on Latin American issues and training young journalists, which you have done admirably, has allowed you to stay in the closet so to speak, on one of the critical issues of our day. As a result, you are not prepared to respond to facts with counter facts or argument but to fall back on the rather ridiculous accusation that I am a "hater."

      To the extent that I have been fighting against racism and injustice since I was 10 years old, engaged in fighting Jim Crow racism before there was a civil rights movement, I am a hater, a hater of injustice and oppression and I don't keep a double set of books. Whatever other Jews suffered under the Nazis did not justify the ethnic cleansing of Arab Palestinians by those Jews who were safely in Palestine, as emotionally gratifying that may have been to Jews worldwide. And I have supported Palestinian resistance to the crimes committed against then since my first trip to the region in 1970.

      I confess, I have been called a hater quite a few times in the past, and always by ardent Jewish supporters of Israel who have no arguments or facts to counter my own. I can't somehow picture you in that group or resorting to the use of such a term, particularly because nothing that I wrote merited such a response. That you might be unaware of the unmatched influence that wealthy Jews have had on US politics and the Democratic Party, which I first thought might be the case, is belied by the articles that you wrote around the elections of 2004 and 2008. Any journalist worth his or her salt writing about US politics would be aware of the fact that the majority of major donors to the Democratic Party are Jewish and have been for decades. Before you respond by calling me a "hater" one more time, you might check out JJ Goldberg's "Jewish Power", Stephen Issacs' "Jews in American Politics", 1974, and Benjamin Ginsberg's "The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State", 1993. If you need more references, I have those, as well, all by members of the Jewish establishment. Is there something wrong with pointing out this fact of American political life and what it may mean for US Middle East policy of which most Americans are unaware? Apparently, you do. If it's possible, without resorting to further vituperation, please tell me why.
Jeff Blankfort


Subject: Re: [noaap] Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2010 21:29:27 -0500 (EST)
To: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>
CC: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Albert, in retrospect, after your obstinate refusal to refute a single fact or quote or even acknowledge the references that I included in my previous messages, I shouldn't have expected any more of a dignified or intelligent reply from you than this, which I shall answer and/or comment on point by point with a copy to George Salzman for however he wished to use it.
Jeff Blankfort

-----Original Message-----
From: Alberto M. Giordano
Sent: Mar 3, 2010 6:42 AM
To: Jeffrey Blankfort

AG: I didn't realize you were 75 years old but it doesn't surprise me. Tell me, what is it that happens to so many people, especially North Americans, late in life that they develop these bizarre obsessions with entire ethnic, religious, racial or other groups?

JB: I did not become interested in the Palestinians or critical of those of my fellow Jews who put Israel's interests before those of their fellow Americans until traveling to Lebanon and Jordan in 1970 on a photographic assignment for Liberation News Service, an alternative news service was that providing "authentic journalism" while you were not yet 12. The experience I had in the Palestinian refugee camps during the four months I was there had a major impact on my life. As I stood one day, between two Palestinians who had been born there and had been either evicted or forced to flee with their families by the Israelis when they were young children in 1948, I realized that there was something immoral about me, as a Jewish American (who had been discriminated against more by people and cops who thought I was Mexican) had more of a "legal" right to live in what had become Israel than those who had been born there. Crimes do not become lesser crimes no matter how many years pass. What was immoral then remains immoral now. Hence, I believe in a single non-denominational state for both peoples. That "obsession with justice for the Palestinians" which you casually interpret as anti-Jewish "racism," did not prevent me from continuing to work against the war in Vietnam, with the Black Panthers in the SF Bay Area, nor with friends in Mexico where I taught photography on several occasions.

AG: For some it is "the blacks," for others it is "the Mexicans," for still others it's the gays or the Muslims and a historical favorite is "the Jews." Was this gift of life so bitter for you that you need a scapegoat late in life? Like the old folks in my Bronx who spent their twilight years raging about "the niggers and the spics taking over the neighborhood," you may have had more extensive education in the capitalist higher education system than them so you use words like " I suspect, one of them, if not Jewish, a philosemite."

JB: If I am bitter it has been over the state of denial in which otherwise progressive people, Jews as well as non-Jews, refuse to acknowledge the power that that segment of the Jewish community that worships Israel has had over American policy in the Middle East which has prevented one president after another since Nixon from ending the Israeli occupation of Arab land and bringing stability to a region that is critical to the US economy and its national interests (justice for Palestine not being a factor in its thinking). Each time a president has undertaken the pursuit of a plan, as Israeli Uri Avnery, has written, Israel has called on its friends in the Jewish establishment in the US to put pressure on Congress,and make sure these plans come to naught, while humiliating one president after another along the way. Your Barack Obama is only the latest and his inability to stand up to Netanyahu is due to the fact that both houses of Congress have elected to stand with Netanyahu against their own president, the details of which can be found on the AIPAC site as well as my computer and which are accessible to authentic journalists as well as amateurs. I get my politics and my willingness to take unpopular positions from my parents who were active in both the black and Mexican-American communities in the 40s as well as the Jewish community, and they, unlike you, did not keep "a double set of books" when it came to fighting injustice.

AG: Gawd, just look at yourself through your words! What is in the mirror can't be pretty. (I'd say, "Jesus!" but it would just upset you, him being a "Jew" and all.)

JB: I have no use, personally, for organized religion and judge people by their actions, not their words or their pretensions. Frankly, I kind of dig Jesus.

AG: I freely confess: I am a philohuman. And last I checked, the Semites were still part of the human race, at least that which I belong to.

JB: Not only have my fellow Jews expropriated the land of the Palestinians, they have also stolen the name of "the Semites," the overwhelming majority of whom happen to be Arab and Muslim. Why not call the term of prejudice against Jews for what it is, "anti-Jewish" prejudice? Why is "anti-Semitism" against a relatively small but affluent percentage of the world's population considered not only apart but, by implication, equal to that directed against all the rest of the world's disenfranchised or colonized peoples? Maybe that adjective, "affluent" has something to do with it. BTW, had you ever been to Israel you would quickly note that those who call themselves Jews or Israelis appear to be as ethnically diverse as people in any Western country, so much for the term being an accurate description of a large percentage of Israeli Jews who arrived from Europe.

AG: Here's the thing. Those folks like Dershowitz who think Israel is "the most important issue" and that all other issues and regions of the world must take a back seat to its defense are merely a mirror image of folks like Blankfort who think anti-Israel is "the most important issue" and that all other issues and regions of the world must take a back seat to its opposition. You and Dershowitz are the same! Two sides of the same coin!

JB: I think I know more about you ( and more than I wanted to know) than you do about me not only from these exchanges but from your unqualified endorsement of Peter Ackerman who obviously knew his man when he gave you $20K for your journalistic enterprise. On my twice a week radio program, while I focus on the Middle East and the Israel-Palestine issue in particular in a news and opinion introduction (because THAT's where the majority of US tax money and the deficit is going), the overwhelming majority of my programs are devoted to interviewing knowledgeable people on other international subjects and for Mexico, I turn to a genuine authentic journalist who has no hang ups about Israel, my old friend John Ross, and who never would take a dime from the likes of Ackerman let alone shake his hand. My last interview was with another genuine authentic journalist, 89 year old Helen Thomas who quit a decades long career with UPI when it was purchased by Rev.Moon, (as did another friend, Robert Fisk when Murdoch, one of the world's leading Israelophiles (if you prefer) bought the Times of London. Before that I had the head of Haiti Action Project, Walter Riley,who had been in Port Au Prince when the earthquake struck and before him Prof. Andrew Bacevich about America's addiction to war and before him Patrick Cockburn on Iraq (another authentic journalist).

AG: As Zapata said, "the land belongs to those who work it." My colleagues and I built Narco News and its School of Authentic Journalism. We've never written about Israel-Palestine because we report on the Western Hemisphere (greatly underreported compared to the conflict you are obsessed with... but, NO, how dare we report on Latin America when we should be out counting how many "Jews" give to political parties in the US!) Well, Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism are autonomous projects. They don't belong to you. You have nothing to say about what we do because you didn't do the work.

JB: I don't think Zapata would have sold himself for $20 K or would appreciate your using him in your defense. I agree that Latin America is greatly under-reported and what is reported is more often than not, distorted, and I am not faulting you or your colleagues for trying to correct that, but who are you to question anyone who provides the facts and figures that demonstrate the extent of pro-Israel Jewish influence on our political process and not only our political process but on the mainstream US media, (and clearly, some alternative media, as well.)? If you have other facts to counter mine, present them, or try to explain away mine, but if you can't, don't think that name calling and describing me as a "hater" is going to make you look like anything but a bigger fool than you already are. Why a fool? Because what you have written to me will be part of the record, mine, certainly, and I assume, George's.

AG: Clearly, you might talk about "autonomy" but in the end you have the same imperialist mindset that you think you oppose: All us plebes and workers down here must, according to you, bow to your will, stop our important work and do what you demand is the more important work about the most obsessed upon region of the world!

JB: That statement is really nuts. What "imperialist mindset?" I am demanding nothing of you except to recognize certain facts. I have said nothing about stopping your "important" work or bowing to my will. Today, the only hopeful signs on the planet are taking place in Latin America, but if you think concern about the Middle East is exaggerated, there are two bloody wars going on there right now and the entire mainstream Jewish establishment AKA The Lobby has been pushing the US towards an armed confrontation with Iran since the beginning of the Iraq war and is the ONLY sector of American society that has been doing so. That they have not succeeded is due not to the pathetic "anti-war"movement, which seems to be ignoring it, but because there are apparently folks in Washington, in the intelligence departments and the Pentagon who are fully aware of the catastrophic fallout that is likely to result from an attack on Iran. This does not seem to be a concern of The Lobby and its Washington think tanks whose talking heads dominate the network news programs and the op-ed pages.

AG: Sad how many old lefties cross through the looking glass into becoming fascists. But that is how most of the worst fascists came to it, unfortunately. You want that to be your legacy? I'll be happy to write it in your obituary: "Jeffrey Blankfort: Leftist-turned-fascist late in life. Obsessed with 'the Jews.'"

JB: More name calling. I think this one for you has more of ring of truth: "Al Giordano: Sold his Soul for $20K"


Amy Hendrickson

      Instead of trying to introduce Amy in this prefactory note, I'll leave her introduction to our brief exchange of notes that follows.


Subject: On Al G., Mazin Qumsiyeh, and more ...
From: Amy Hendrickson <amyh@texnology.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 2010 13:50:25 -0500

George -- Wonderful essay, appealing and thoughtful writing by Jeff Blankfort too --

      I'm wondering if Al Giordano is merely ignorant on the question of Israel and the century long oppression of the Palestinians. It is possible. And if so, his reaction to your criticisms of his benefactor, and his thought that you might be antisemitic caused him to have this reflexive defensiveness and to think that he needed to oppose anyone attacking the underdogs: Israel and zionists.

      Of course, you and I know that they are not the underdogs, but the Palestinians, oh so painfully, are -- but Al may not understand that. I might have had his attitudes before 2000, when I started a painful research into the subject, and the history, and met wonderful Palestinians, and so on.

      Perhaps educating rather than attacking might be more fruitful.

      What he has written to you and to Jeff is of course indefensible, and basically silly, like many other zionists who replace thinking with emotion.

      Hang in there, I loved your list of things that you dislike, and have to say it is easy to agree with the entire list -- peace, Amy

ps. Oddly enough, I met Al Giordano in Boston in the early 1980's when we were both working on an antinuke ballot measure. He seems to have done excellent work on reporting what is really going on south of the border -- but seems entirely ignorant of the forces that are affecting our country, Britian, Canada, and probably Australia too -- and has not tried to empathize with the unfortunate Palestinians yet. Lord! The difficulties they face, and the good nature which they respond with to outrageous conditions, it is unfathomable.

      We saw Mazin Qumsiyeh speak last night, and heard his wife Jesse describe the Israeli army surrounding their house after Mazin had left for his speaking tour in the US. The army demanded that he appear in an Israeli court, apparently because he participated in a non violent demonstration. He is probably somewhat safer than other victims of Israeli bullying, being an academic, and with an American wife, but it is scary to see someone you like and admire being threatened with arbitrary prison and possible torture.

      If you don't know of Mazin, he has a wonderful email list that you might like to get on -- http://www.qumsiyeh.org/, but of course it is Al Giordano that should be reading it, and getting educated. (emphasis added by G.S.)
peace!!


Date: Sun, 07 Mar 2010 20:41:59 -0600
To: Amy Hendrickson <amyh@texnology.com>

      Hi Amy, Thanks for writing. I welcome your enthusiastic support. I would like your comments to be included, probably right after Jeffrey Blankfort's. Unfortunately most of the folks who wrote me so far are men. I think it's good to have comments from a mix and not have it dominated by mostly angry men. I would appreciate it if you write a paragraph that can serve as an introduction for you to the other readers. My recollection is that you were involved with the series of presentations at the Cambridge Central Square Library about the situation of Palestinians. I actually attended one (or two) of them when I was in town a couple of years ago, but I don't remember if we talked then.

      Also, I would like you to look at the statement you wrote and see if there are any changes or additions you want to make. When I hear back from you, assuming you have no objection to it's being included, I'll go ahead and post the updated version. I appreciate your help. Sincerely, and with best wishes, George

P.S. I've been on Mazin's listserv for years. He's wonderful, really a phenomenal person.


Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2010 10:49:54 -0400
Subject: response to earlier email, and World Wide Boycott of US Goods??
From: Amy Hendrickson <amyh@texnology.com>

      Hi George -- Yes, of course, you can include my email on your website. You asked some time ago for a description of who I am, and I put your request on my to-do list . . . apologies for taking so long to respond.

      I am primarily a world citizen, hoping for an end to nationalism, racism, sexism, and all other excuses to oppress one another. I write software for a living, work with a number of peace groups, and aspire to write contemporary classical music as soon as I can afford to do so. I had a hand in starting "Bostonians for One Democratic State" which is mostly an email list, but we have sponsored Mazin Qumsiyeh and Joel Kovel as speakers in Brookline, MA.

      On another topic . . . I've been toying with an idea that doesn't seem exactly right, but perhaps you might have suggestions. Would it be a good tactic for peace groups in the US (like the brave anti-apartheid activists in South Africa) to call for a world wide boycott of US goods, until the US becomes a good global citizen? The boycott could end when 1) The US drops its military spending to a level similar to other countries, 75% reduction, 2) ends its plans for world conquest as shown by shutting down its global base system, 3) provides leadership in stopping climate change, acknowledging that the US has been a leading cause of CO2 emissions.

      After all, why should people in other countries feed the US war machine by buying our products, when our gov has stated explicitly that our goal is full spectrum dominance-- and when the US has not provided leadership in stopping the causes of climate change that is already affecting people world wide. Much of what MLK said in his splendid and prescient Riverside speech applies, now more than ever. But is a worldwide boycott the right tool to stop this empire? Would "worldwide boycott of US Goods" on a button with a peace symbol in the background be effective? Is there a second line that could explain very pithily why we need a worldwide boycott? Appreciate your input -- peace and best wishes, Amy

(from wikipedia on full spectrum dominance) Harold Pinter referred to the term in his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources."


David Sketchley

      Aside from Ansel Herz's fundraising appeal for NarcoNews, which first alerted me to the existence of the intriguingly named International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), the most stimulating incentive to my curiosity was my discovery of Giordano's hardly arguable paranoid behavior towards David Sketchley. Unlike Michael Barker, who was guarded, terse, and instantly critical of ICNC money going to NarcoNews, Sketchley was a very friendly observer whose interest in Giordano's work stemmed from its stream of excellent information. He was a regular and sympathetic NarcoNews reader. All he did was to question the wisdom of accepting Ackerman's money, his thought being that it ought to be possible to raise the necessary support for the School from smaller contributions by ordinary people, thus avoiding connections with Ackerman, his ICNC and the tainted money — connections with questionable political implications. I'm not sure how I first encountered Sketchley and his writing — maybe in an article of Michael Barker — but I recall wondering what it was that got Giordano into such an intemperate rage. Like many blogs, Sketchley's has a great deal to wade through, perhaps too much unless you're very interested in the part you're reading. I think the first note on his blog of his dispute with Giordano is at http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/
08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html
, his 9 August 2009 entry.

      My first attempt to contact Sketchley was in my note:
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 02:26:40 -0600
Subject: (no subject)
To: info@bigthink.com
BCC: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>

At http://bigthink.com/davidsketchley there's material by David Sketchley, a British man who lives in Seville, a city in Andalusia, Spain. I would like to write him. Can you send me his e-mail address, or forward this to him?
Thank you, George Salzman
----------
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 07:07:44 -0600
From: Alberto M. Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>

      I don't have an email address for Sketchley, have never had email contact with him, and I have the same low opinion of him, his shoddy scholarship, his lack of coherence, and his propensity to invent falsehoods and call them fact, as I do of some of the other characters we've talked about.

      These guys now do the work that COINTELPRO did when it went around accusing Abbie Hoffman and the Black Panthers of being FBI agents in order to foster division, distrust, disunity and paranoia in political movements.

      I remain jaw agape at the fascination you express with some bloggers and (barely coherent, if at all) writers and academics who, to me, are today's version of COINTELPRO even if they think they are on our side. So desperate are they to prove their theories about whatever that they engage in daily disinformation, which is itself a tool and form of imperialism. Al

      Although Giordano did not send me Sketchley's e-mail, someone else did, I corresponded with Sketchley and then, on 26 January 2010 I called him at his home in Spain, (+34-60-953-2992) and we talked for a full half hour. By then there was no doubt in my mind that he was a perfectly decent individual who had no interest whatever in harming Giordano's School project. Sketchley was quite open about himself, wrinting me

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2010 13:07:43 +0100
Subject: Re: [noaap] Influence of the "brains of the Junk Bond King" Peter Ackerman on NarcoNews

      I've been living and working in Spain since 1992. I am resident in Spain NOT the UK. It's my home. My wife is Spanish, also a teacher (of French, in a state school). As I told you on the phone, I am officially unemployed but give private English classes at my rented house (my wife pays the rental of 600€ a month). I get 420€ from the Spanish govt for being unemployed (I have another 6 months left of this payment), and I supplement that with a few tourist rentals. I would estimate my yearly income to be under 10,000 euros pa. I own a small piece of agricultural land (940 sq.m.), a small Renault Clio car, and that's it.

      I was, however, brought up in a bourgeois family. My father is a Chartered Accountant who worked for Shell Oil. I was sent to private boarding school Downside School in the UK (Shell paid the majority of the fees). At this school I was subject to corporal punishment, I didn't study and didn't get good enough grades to go to university. The school was run by Catholic Benedictine monks - my mother is an Irish Catholic. My elder sister did study, went to university and became a diplomat with the British Foreign Office. She resigned a few years ago to do consultancy work. I don't get on with her at all, we have profound political differences. I am what you could call the black sheep of the family (in their view). It's taken me years to shake off the deep brain washing I was subjected to all my life until the age of 18.

      Anyway, as you say George, in the interests of "open uncensored communication" and "building mutual trust" that is who I am. Did I tell you I worked in tourism in Puerto Vallarta and married the mother of my daughter there? (We're now divorced).
All the best, David Sketchley, Conil de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain

      Except for the personal notes excerpted above, the rest of David's 5 March letter follows:

      My "initial effort to have a civil exchange with Giordano" started with my comment to The Field:
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/toppling-coup-part-i-dilemmas-honduras-regime#comment-31620

      Giordano's first reply:
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/toppling-coup-part-i-dilemmas-honduras-regime#comment-31623

      Marovic's first reply:
http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/toppling-coup-part-i-dilemmas-honduras-regime#comment-31626

      The exchange then transferred to my blog as Giordano refused to publish my reply, although he originally published his reply to my reply which was later deleted by him after I pointed out how inherently unfair it was to comment on a post that he had refused to publish! His comment he later deleted was: "Mr. Sketchley - Regarding your last submission: Counter-insurgency is counter-insurgency, and won't be obliged here. Take your sloppy use of facts combined with innuendo somewhere else. It is not welcome here."

      As he refused to publish my reply, I posted it to my blog:
http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html

      Marovic's first comment at my blog:
http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html?showComment=1250091848049#c4687303920787436851

      This is the link to Marovic's comment: "First you have to admit that you like me."
http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html?showComment=1250183028259#c8714134109843367546

      This is the link to Giordano's first post at my blog:
http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html?showComment=1250197545789#c3092794692622894342

      Here is Marovic's last comment:

      What have we learned here? I learned that capitalism is here to stay, at least in England, because Sketchley will set up no barricades in London, he is too busy blogging in Sevilla. Oh, sweet life of petite bourgeoisie! Sketchly learned something too. He learned that it is not wise to mess with Yugoslavs, they are just crazy! But he learned that without much pain, which couldn't be said for the House of Hapsburg, Hitler and Stalin. Let me try to wrap up, Sketchley. I know that you would prefer me to use your stiff anglo-saxon logic, but I can't, I'm from the Balkans, so my final message to you will be one of our traditional Yugoslav songs:

                        With Marshal Tito
                        Our greatest hero
                        We will be stronger than hell.

                        We raise our heads,
                        We march trough the streets
                        And tightly we clench our fists.

                        We're an ancient tribe,
                        But Goths we are not!
                        We're children of ancient Slavs.

                        Who says that we're not,
                        He slanders and lies
                        And surely will face our rage.

                        Like fingers on our hands,
                        Even in sorrow,
                        The Partisans are always united.

                        When we die, we don't cry
                        To the Sun, to the Sky,
                        We raise our fists up high!"
http://dailysketcher.blogspot.com/2009/08/im-currently-engaged-in-debate-over-at.html?showComment=1250213526528#c605816299596391941

      Funnily enough I [D.S.] worked in the old Yugoslavia (in tourism) in the early 1980's, and have fond memories of the 8 months I was there.


      I [G.S.] had sent an announcement on 4 March that said "I just announced a new posting, which is only begun, about the controversial funding and influence of the "brains of the Junk Bond King" Peter Ackerman on Alberto Giordano's NarcoNews projects." David replied,

      Many thanks for keeping me 'in the loop' re Al Giordano. I appreciate it a lot. When we spoke over the phone that day . . . I had a feeling that your friendship with Giordano would not survive this episode. Sadly, I see I was right. I say sadly, because Giordano has fallen victim to Ackerman, just as I feared he would. Ackerman must surely be laughing all the way to the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations]. For a measly $20k he has managed to do what others tried to and failed. He has tainted Giordano, NarcoNews and the 'School of Authentic Journalism'. The sad thing is that the paranoid Giordano, who sees COINTELPRO everywhere he looks, failed to see it where it really was, and where we tried to tell him it was: in Pete Ackerman and the ICNC.

      Giordano's hubris is astounding. By the way, I have to ask you if you still maintain that "Al is not for sale, I'm certain."

      Blankfort asked Cynthia Boaz the real pertinent question that anyone connected to the ICNC must answer. He tried with Zunes and Duvall too: What exactly are you and ICNC doing to create a non-violent movement in the US which would not only bring to an end this country's culture of permanent war and grotesque military expenditures, but which allows it, without protest, to maintain over 700 military bases in over 130 countries against the will of the peoples of those countries in every instance?

      Also, please would you give me permission to use some of this for my own blog? [I'm pretty sure I said yes. --G.S.]


Michael Barker

      My first contact with Michael Barker <mbarker@riseup.net> was in November 2009, when he was finishing his stay as a graduate student in Australia. A Britisher, Michael returned to the UK in early February 2010, where he is living in London. Although he had completed the writing of his doctoral thesis (I don't know which draft), he then refused to submit it to the examining committee, foregoing his formal Ph.D. degree, thereby either "giving up" and/or condemning the whole process of academic accreditation.

      Of the five people I know who were attacked by Giordano during this episode, I think Barker was the most savagely targetted, with Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net> either tied with or just slightly behind Barker. Barker's "crime" in Giordano's jaundiced vision was to have the effrontery to write e-mails to two of the people planning to participate in the February session of Al's School and to raise with them the question of improper influence of the ICNC on the School. One of them, Lloyd Himaambo <himaambo@yahoo.com> corresponded with Barker with evident interest until, when Giordano learned of the exchange and wrote lies about Barker, apparently labelling him a religious fanatic, Lloyd ended the exchange. If I remember correctly, the other student to whom Barker wrote was Ansel Herz <ansel@riseup.net>, who signed off, saying he didn't see what ICNC money had to do with whether or not he should attend the school.

      Not surprisingly, each of the people that Giordano "discarded" with contempt responded differently. Barker maintained a respectful attitude, never disparaging Giordano's motives, but insistently asking for factual information about the supposedly false "facts" Giordano claimed he had publicized. Jeffrey Blankfort was a newly hostile interrogator whose detailed information about the entire situation was impossible for Giordano to counter, which he pathetically and hopelessly attempted to do without a shred of logic or truth. Nothing shows Giordano's vacuity on these issues as clearly as his exchange with Blankfort. David Sketchley <davidsketchley@gmail.com>, at the other extreme, was a friendly sympathetic supporter of NarcoNews and Al who sought to maintain that position until Al forced him into "the opposition" with accusations that he was involved in Cointelpro operations.

      Eva Golinger <evagolinger@gmail.com> assumed initially that Al had been bought, but was not personally hostile, despite Al's public insults attacking her integrity. She has continued her work in support of the Chavez regime in Venezuela, though not entirely ignoring Giordano. William I. Robinson <wirobins@soc.ucsb.edu> was only indirectly criticized by Al, basically I think because his book Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective, Johns Hopkins Studies in Globalization, 2008, represented, to Giordano, the work of a "conspiracy theorist" who sees the U.S. manipulating events everywhere. So far as I am aware Robinson was neither affected by nor bothered to respond to Giordano's implicit criticism. I <george.salzman@umb.edu> am deeply troubled to learn the extent to which I had been taken in by Giordano's seemingly permanent friendship and the charm that accompanied it. It hurts to be made a fool of, as Al did to me. But the positive value of NarcoNews and of Al's contribution to it ought not be jettisoned. The younger people — the hopeful and honest ones — need all the support they can get. What they, and none of us need, is a self-appointed and utterly egotistical, self-absorbed Pied-Piper. [10]

      Michael Barker wrote about himself in February, providing the information that Giordano had earlier threatened to uncover — actually it would have been Bill Conroy <narcosphere@aol.com>, the ace investigative reporter who works on NarcoNews — to whom Al would have assigned the task of doing a hostile investigation. The information, which Barker posted on his website, at http://michaeljamesbarker.wordpress.com/about/ includes the following:
      Michael has been writing for alternative media outlets since 2006, and at present he is a regular contributor to Swans Commentary. He has had his work published by the following media organizations: Center for Research on Globalization, Corporate Watch (UK), Green Left Weekly, Monthly Review Zine, New Community Quarterly, Spinwatch, State of Nature, Upside Down World, and in the past he was a regular contributor to Znet.
      On May 15, 2009, Michael "rejected" his PhD thesis at Griffith University, [in Brisbane, Queensland] Australia. The title of his thesis was "Mediating Social Engineering: Moving Beyond Elite Manipulation of Democracy."
      Funding. During my Ph.D. studies (from January 2005 until July 2008) I obtained two scholarships from the Australian government, one paid for my university fees (as an international student), and the other was intended to cover my living costs (this scholarship was worth AU$18,000 or US$16,000 per annum).
      From July 2008 until February 2009 I worked in a voluntary capacity writing articles which were published in the alternative media (mostly by Swans Commentary). In February 2009 my student visa expired and I remained in Australia on a tourist visa until February 6, 2010. During my final year in Australia I lived off money saved from my aforementioned Ph.D. scholarships and continued writing for Swan Commentary (for no financial renumeration). On my return to the United Kingdom (in February 2010) I have begun to search for paid work, and am in the process of attempting to claim unemployment benefits from the British government. [11]


[In this section I would like to have an account of Barker's effort to be in touch with Lloyd Himaambo, Himaambo's responses, and Giordano's effort to have Himaambo cut off contact with Barker, by writing false and debasing statements about Barker.]

Date: Thu, 6 May 2010 13:59:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Lance and Zionism
From: Michael Barker <mbarker@riseup.net>
To: George Salzman
      I was interested in writing about Lance in the near future and wondered how you found out he was a Zionist. Best wishes, --Mike
----------
Date: Thu, 06 May 2010 17:00:55 -0500
CC: Eric Pottenger <epotteng@gmail.com>, Jonathan Campbell <work@cqs.com>, Jeffrey Blankfort <jablankfort@earthlink.net>, Stan Gotlieb <realoaxaca@gmail.com>, Nancy Davies <nmsdavies@gmail.com>

      Hi Michael, I don't have the kind of "hard evidence" that more caution would advise, but his behavior over a few years led me to this firm belief. He wrote me a letter cautioning me about Shamir, but in a very underhanded way, wanting not to be identified. As a stubborn bastard determined to go my own way I pursued Israel Shamir, very cautiously like I did with you at first, and Shamir came through sterling -- a lovable irrational crazy religious fanatic. Here's how I saw it until a year or so ago:

      Yes Michael, I am an extremist. A man I met on the internet - Israel Adam Shamir - and I are full of trust in each other, despite all our disagreements. I met him through Debbie Menon <debbiemenon@gmail.com>, a fanatic expatriate American Jew-hater, who lives a privileged life in Dubai and who thinks my new friend is akin to God. Debbie ends her postings with "I have compassion for Jews, and for Tutsis, and for nobility – but I do care more about the majorities they collectively disposessed." – Israel Shamir. Despite warnings from a correspondent Mark Lance <lancem@georgetown.edu>, who I mistakenly took to be a sincere, good person, that Shamir was a worthless fraud, an anti-Semite in disguise, I nevertheless pursued the new contact, cautiously and very suspiciously at first, and was rewarded richly. Here's how it looked to me some time ago, and still does.

      Israel and I corresponded at length, and gained solid trust in one another. We disagree strongly about many issues important to human well-being, issues beyond resolution by logical discourse, for example institutionalized religion, and war, both of which I regard as "illegitimate" and he sees simply as consequences of human psychology. But Israel has shaken up my pedestrian academic adherence to logical constraints and it's been a liberating experience. He is so wonderfully, exasperatingly irrational — and humane.

      When he challenged my use of the adjective "illegitimate" to criticize his adherence to his "ethnicity", I backed off, saying, If you don't like my labelling something 'illegitimate' beause it is socially harmful I can simply say it is a belief, a practice, an institution, or whatever, that ought to be discarded because it is socially destructive. And I wrote him a large list of such things that I would get rid of. My list included:
   the practice of measured exchange, buying,
   money,
   banks,
   interest,
   capitalism,
   sexism,
   racism,
   slavery,
   religion,
   all coercive hierarchies,
   torture,
   violence, physical and psychologcal,
   private property not held for personal use (a toothbrush is legitimate private property),
   exploitation of other people's labor,
   exploitation of natural resources,
   the fetish of modernization and energy infinitum,
   indulgence in destructive, non-essential travel, especially by airplanes,
   murder,
   war,
   the existence of economically differentiated classes,
   helicopters,
   und so weite.

      And then I concluded, OK Israel, so it's clear I'm really a nutcase. Ask any credentialed psychiatrist. I'm probably going to tackle you on the issue of war, where I think you're quite off base, but for the moment this is enough. I love your openness, your readiness to say what you think and your willingness – one might almost say eagerness – to have it out in the open. I'm disgusted with people who want to say 'brave things' that they caution me to keep private. What a pleasure it was to get your letter that began, "First of all, certainly everything I write may be forwarded and published in any way you find fit." When I saw that I thought, WOW! This guy is a mensch. No wonder so many Zionists hate his guts. He must have had really loving parents to carry so much self-assurance into his mature life. A joy to argue with.
All the best, George
P.S. Do you know Mohammed Omer or his family in Gaza?
      Then, on 24 Dec 2009 we had an hour-long conversation that solidified our relationship. Israel concluded the call with "Well, all right then, back to Christmas tree and booze."

      That's how Lance revealed himself to me. I'll post my correspondence with Lance as soon as I get a bit of time. I'm sure Pottenger would welcome whatever information you can dig up on Mark Lance. Best, --George


NOTES

[1] Part I of this posting — this part, has the responses to my open letter and subsequent exchanges with
                        Alberto Giordano,
                        Jeffrey Blankfort,
                        Amy Hendrickson,
                        David Sketchley, and
                        Michael Barker.
      In addition to these five individuals (and my comments) a few brief remarks of William Blum and a few others occur, but not very much. The remaining 19 people who wrote me,
                        Ansel Herz
                        Benjamin Melançon
                        Earl Fish
                        Eric Pottenger
                        Gerald Spezio
                        Jonathan Campbell
                        Julie Webb-Pullman
                        “Luz I” as ‘Ana Maria Lopez Perez’
                        “Luz II”
                        Mark Metzelaar
                        Mark N. Lance
                        Martin Posner
                        Nancy English Vinal
                        Ramor Ryan
                        Stan Gotlieb
                        Stephen Zunes
                        Tadit Anderson
                        Tom Hansen
                        William Blum
are not further referred to in Part I. My response to Stephen Zunes is in my paper, "Reply to comments by Jack DuVall and Stephen Zunes" at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2010-02-13.htm . In addition to some of the exchanged items with the remaining 19 individuals, there is a 20th "late" note from an anarchist group in Venezuela — very critical of the Chavez regime, to which I will reply in Part II.

[2] 4 March 2010 to 6 June 2011 - Fifteen months after I started the paper. When I began I still had sympathy for Giordano, though I was beginning to be critical of him. But I left that original title, -- mortal friends — a tempest in a teaspoon -- in place. That was a mistake. By the time I had finished that paper we were not friends at all. I ought not have been willing to cut any slack for him then. Now that he's a full-fledged suck-ass to the power structure, as Scott Campbell is widely publicizing, I see him in the glare of his readiness to "throw Mumia Abu-Jamal under the bus" in order to court the overtly fascist FOP (Fraternal Order of Police). On Scott's blog, http://angrywhitekid.blogs.com/weblog/ the June 01, 2011 entry contains the following:
      Anti-Mumia "abolitionist" Renny Cushing tries to clean up image in Mexico. As a contributor to El Enemigo Común and given the vicious attacks leveled against Carolina by Al Giordano in response to the publication of this article in various outlets (those attacks and Carolina's responses can be read at El Enemigo Común), I am republishing her article in cyber-solidarity. - scott

[3] Jeffrey Blankfort's analysis.
1. The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions, January 2003.
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-10.htm
2. War for Israel, January 2004
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-14.htm
3. Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict, December 2004
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-30.htm

[4] My open letter to Alberto Giordano was posted on the NarcoSphere Nov 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm. To see the original on the NarcoSphere, try googling http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/george-salzman/2009/11/nov-17-2009-fundraising-article-narconews or using the link http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/george-salzman/2009/11/nov-17-2009-fundraising-article-narconews .
    It is also posted as [noaap] An open letter to Alberto Giordano, George Salzman, at https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/noaap/2010-02/msg00001.html .
    Al's reply was posted on the NarcoSphere Nov 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm, where it appears immediately following my open letter.
    It is also posted as [noaap] Re: An open letter to Alberto Giordano, at https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/noaap/2010-02/msg00002.html . I am uncertain that these last 2 links will work, because I am the privileged owner of the site. If you don't get them with the links, just drop me a note and I'll send them to you.

[5] The 25 individuals involved (24 respondees and myself). After Giordano wrote me, on 28 Feb 2010, "I hope you will have the common decency to send this response to any email lists or individuals to which you have sent your "open letter", I wrote him on 1 March assuring him that I had distributed his reply, and saying, "I hope you will have the common decency to send me the list of participants in your School session held last month, with their e-mail addresses so that I will be able to write them directly." Mr. Honorable replied in part, "I'm certainly not going to be a party to your continued petty harassment of people who choose freely to collaborate with me. I'm fairly certain that none of the collaborators you keep CCing on these emails wants to receive them. All you are accomplishing is becoming defined as a purveyor of unsolicited spam."

    Mr. Advocate of "common decency" for other people considers himself above such mundane matters, offering me the watery justification that he is "fairly certain that none of [his] collaborators" wants my e-mails. I think his 'fair certainty' was without basis, because, except for Giordano himself, Mark Lance and Stephen Zunes, each of whom is closely allied with the Peter Ackerman outfit, of the 1242 names to whom my open letter went, there was not a single negative respondent or anyone who complained that I was spamming him/her. Several people, each of whom is very actively involved in political struggles, Ansel Herz, William Blum, John Ross, and Antony Loewenstein, each asked me at one time or another to be left out of my smaller mailings on this particular controversy, but never with any antagonism at my efforts. I think this indicates that Al's statement to me on 1 March 2010, cited above, is simply nonsense.

[6] Loss of admiration. Although I still believe Giordano is unusually skilled, I've become convinced by the efforts of Jeffrey Blankfort to engage him in an honest exchange that Al's intellectual gifts don't matter. Underneath his formidable technical and logical skills is a profoundly dishonest man, dishonest in the first instance to himself and of course to everyone else in his false self-portrayal. I now see Giordano as a damaged and pathetic human being, despite the value of much of the work he has done. For myself, I will have nothing further to do with him. What energy I expend related to the Narco News project will be to try to prevent destruction of the project by its dictatorial owner. For me, Al - the person he now is - is not worth any more effort.

[7] Giordano's derogatory statements to Lloyd Himaambo about Michael Barker. These were posted by Giordano at http://www.swans.com/library/art15/letter181.html

[8] Michael Barker seemed to me, when I was just entering the discussion, "guarded, terse, and instantly critical of ICNC money going to NarcoNews", however, he clarified things for me subsequently with his note,
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2010 12:16:28 -0700 (PDT)
      You note that I was terse etc but this was because I had already been writing about the ICNC for two years and had written my article about Al purely in response to the way he had treated Sketchley. This is the reason you remember coming across Sketchley's blog in my work, because I linked to it and discussed it. As you can see from the email exchanges with Al I was also polite but this did not stop him.
      I thank Michael for this correction. --G.S.

[9] Eva Golinger. Amusingly enough, on 10 April David Sketchley, who seems to read everything, sent me the following about Eva Golinger et al: From the Machetera page at http://machetera.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/ernesto-hernandez-busto-peter-ackerman-and-james-glassman-in-the-same-room-call-the-firemen/ : Hat tip to Eva Golinger . . . sometimes the news just doesn't get any better than this . . . Ernesto Hernández Busto, Peter Ackerman and James Glassman in the same room? Call the firemen! . . . on April 19 in Dallas, The "Conference on Cyber-Dissidents," co-sponsored by NED beneficiary Freedom House will also feature Al Giordano's new best friend Peter Ackerman, and a raft of other guests linked to U.S. intelligence . . . Rodrigo Diamante will represent "Venezuela," and according to Golinger, "comes from the 'White Hands' student movement created by Washington and the sectors in opposition to the government of Hugo Chávez; using students and youth to promote destabilizing actions that would promote 'regime change.'" Diamante has a similar resume to Ackerman's other child prodigy, Ivan Marovic, who helped with a movement with an embarrassingly similar brand in Yugoslavia and was most recently reported to be swanning about Honduras along with Giordano.

[10] Jeffrey Blankfort had been an admirer of Giordano's work until he learned that the School was being done with support that Al solicited from Peter Ackerman's ICNC. Blankfort, a decades long opponent of the Zionist conquest of the Palestinians, knew all the sordid facts — about Ackerman, his Junk-Bond King career as an all-time world-class master con-man and swindler, his participation in the Herzliya Conference as a "Non-Violent" fig leaf, and his intimate connections with Zionist dominated Tufts University and U.S. government officials.

[11] Yes Michael, I am an extremist. A man I met on the internet - Israel Adam Shamir - and I are full of trust in each other, despite all our disagreements. I met him through Debbie Menon <debbiemenon@gmail.com>, a fanatic expatriate American Jew-hater, who lives a privileged life in Dubai and who thinks my new friend is akin to God. Debbie ends her postings with "I have compassion for Jews, and for Tutsis, and for nobility – but I do care more about the majorities they collectively disposessed." – Israel Shamir. Despite warnings from a correspondent Mark Lance <lancem@georgetown.edu>, who I mistakenly took to be a sincere, good person, that Shamir was a worthless fraud, an anti-Semite in disguise, I nevertheless pursued the new contact, cautiously and very suspiciously at first, and was rewarded richly. Here's how it looked to me some time ago, and still does.
    Israel and I corresponded at length, and gained solid trust in one another. We disagree strongly about many issues important to human well-being, issues beyond resolution by logical discourse, for example institutionalized religion, and war, both of which I regard as "illegitimate" and he sees simply as consequences of human psychology. But Israel has shaken up my pedestrian academic adherence to logical constraints and it's been a liberating experience. He is so wonderfully, exasperatingly irrational — and humane.
      When he challenged my use of the adjective "illegitimate" to criticize his adherence to his "ethnicity", I backed off, saying, If you don't like my labelling something 'illegitimate' beause it is socially harmful I can simply say it is a belief, a practice, an institution, or whatever, that ought to be discarded because it is socially destructive. And I wrote him a large list of such things that I would get rid of. My list included:
   the practice of measured exchange, buying,
   money,
   banks,
   interest,
   capitalism,
   sexism,
   racism,
   slavery,
   religion,
   all coercive hierarchies,
   torture,
   violence, physical and psychologcal,
   private property not held for personal use (a toothbrush is legitimate private property),
   exploitation of other people's labor,
   exploitation of natural resources,
   the fetish of modernization and energy infinitum,
   indulgence in destructive, non-essential travel, especially by airplanes,
   murder,
   war,
   the existence of economically differentiated classes,
   helicopters,
   und so weite.
      And then I concluded, OK Israel, so it's clear I'm really a nutcase. Ask any credentialed psychiatrist. I'm probably going to tackle you on the issue of war, where I think you're quite off base, but for the moment this is enough. I love your openness, your readiness to say what you think and your willingness – one might almost say eagerness – to have it out in the open. I'm disgusted with people who want to say 'brave things' that they caution me to keep private. What a pleasure it was to get your letter that began, "First of all, certainly everything I write may be forwarded and published in any way you find fit." When I saw that I thought, WOW! This guy is a mensch. No wonder so many Zionists hate his guts. He must have had really loving parents to carry so much self-assurance into his mature life. A joy to argue with.
All the best, George
P.S. Do you know Mohammed Omer or his family in Gaza?
      Then, on 24 Dec 2009 we had an hour-long conversation that solidified our relationship. Israel concluded the call with "Well, all right then, back to Christmas tree and booze."

      That's how Lance revealed himself to me. I'll post my correspondence with Lance as soon as I get a bit of time. I'm sure Pottenger would welcome whatever information you can dig up on Mark Lance. Best, --George


George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.
All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <doctorsci@gmail.com>

      If you know folks who want to ‘save the world’, starting with global open communication — no censorship, I’ll be glad to add them to my Notes of an anarchist physicist listserv [noaap]. To subscribe write me, including your first and last names, please, or send a blank e-mail to noaap-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

*     *     *
Return to the latest postings page of website II,
      at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/01.htm
Return to the home page of website II,
      at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/00.htm
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      at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Latest.htm
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Initial posting of this page: 4 March 2010.
Last update: 09 June 2011