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Discredited CIA hack gets boost from Pentagon

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Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that any major difference between LBJ and JFK on foreign policy were theoretical he MIGHT have made peace with Cuba he MIGHT have pulled out of Vietnam (though RFK said the opposite). As to domestic policy LBJ was more progressive than his predecessor.

I think it could be, just, at a stretch, because he was murdered before he could see all of his initiatives come to fruition. On the opening to the Left in Italy, for example, he had some limited success, which doubtless partly explains why Harvey turns up in Italy after enraging RFK with his footsie with the Mafia over Cuba.

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On the opening to the Left in Italy, for example, he had some limited success, which doubtless partly explains why Harvey turns up in Italy after enraging RFK with his footsie with the Mafia over Cuba.

Care to elaborate?

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On the opening to the Left in Italy, for example, he had some limited success, which doubtless partly explains why Harvey turns up in Italy after enraging RFK with his footsie with the Mafia over Cuba.

Care to elaborate?

With pleasure:

June 12-13, 1961:

“The Italian PM Fanfani visited the White House “as a result of the initiative within the White House staff which deliberately bypassed the professional diplomats in the State Department, distrustful of the Italian statesman’s professed willingness to collaborate with the Italian socialists and other parties of the left of center…the Italian government had signed a three-year trade agreement with the Soviets just before Fanfani left for the US.”

Robert Slusser. The Berlin Crisis of 1961: Soviet-American Relations and the Struggle for Power in the Kremlin (John Hopkins U.P., 1973), p.24

It took until February 1962, when Aldo Moro, the secretary of the Christian Democrats, swung his claque behind Fanfani’s proposal to dissolve the government and create a new coalition – including Social Democrats and Republicans – for Kennedy’s apertura a sinistra to bear fruit.

Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, Vol XIII, 1961-62, p.18622A.

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LOL Paul, Fanfani wasn’t a leftist but rather a former fascist who became a centrist member of the center-right Christian Democrats. He was briefly PM in 1958 and gave “four crucial posts...the Ministries of Finance, Labor, State Participation and Communications” “to his only ally in the coalition government, Giuseppe Saragat's anti-Communist Socialists” and also named “the head of the anti-Communist labor federation, CISL...Minister for Economic Development of Southern Italy and Depressed Areas”. Despite this Time said: “The new government could be expected to be as pro-West as before, but its makeup showed Fanfani's determination to break with Italy's postwar middle-of-the-road pattern.”

He was PM again 1960 – 63. Just before he met JFK Time described him as “sturdily pro-U.S. and pro-NATO” and “a sternly moral Catholic”. The anti-communist Socialists weren’t even coalition partners this time: “Today Fanfani has the parliamentary support of three other parties and the benign abstention of the powerful Nenni Socialists”. According to 1962 article in Time since John XXIII became pope “the Roman Catholic Church...has notably relaxed its opposition to the Italian left” and one of his coalition partners was “the right-of-center Republicans”. The article further stated that thought they were going to be brought into the coalition the Socialists were not going to get any cabinet posts

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

1958: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...l#ixzz0WSB3YoPY

1961: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...l#ixzz0WSD4dlCm

1962: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,828912,00.html

It was not even the first time he met a US president, having visited Ike in 1956 and once again 1958 just after he named formed a coalition with the Socialists and added 4 to his cabinet. So JFK’s meeting with Fanfani should have been less controversial than his processor’s.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=11147

What was that nonsense about Harvey? Don’t tell you subscribe to perhaps the stupidest assassination theory, the one about two Oswalds?

I don't imagine most of the above is news to you,you seem to what you accuse Chomsky of omitting info which contradicts your claims. So who do you getting your funding from? :o:ice:lol:B)

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When Chomsky appeared on a COPA panel in the 1993-1994 time frame he sat back and listened quietly and respectfully as that hack Donald Gibson

blamed "the Jews on Wall Street" for the entire JFK plot. And Lisa Pease did the same, cornering that escapee from The Planet of the Apes and quizzing him respectfully

on the points he had been making instead of taking him to task for following in the footsteps of Michael Collins Piper. Chomsky could at least have offered some token opposition

to Gibson's outrageous statements and so could Lisa.

Then L. Fletcher Krauty stood up and made his famous comment about how the Kennedys were 2nd generation Irish immigrants who thought they could run the country the way they wanted to. Followed up by: "I guess we showed them a thing or two." And I was the only one who called him out on that statement. How many of you knew about that Krauty statement, or that he was indeed a Kennedy hater from way back? Not many I would bet.

Only Lou Wolf from Covert Action Quarterly thanked me for nailing Krauty to the wall and for challenging Gibson. When I asked Mark Lane to release the files of the Liberty

Lobby and The Congress of Freedom, do you know what his answer was? "Files! What Files? There are NO FILES!" Using the microphone for effect I could only say:

"Where have we heard THAT BEFORE?" And his jaw just dropped open... as everyone tittered and laughed nervously. Of course the entire COPA Board just sat there with collective thumbs buried where the sun don't shine.

Earlier, some guy who looked like he could have been Goldwater's son told me that: "Colonel Prouty is like us on the n issues!" He also added that: "the Holocaust

was a Polish thing, not a German thing. Did you know that Auschwitz was in Poland and not in Germany?"

And these are the types who are invited to speak on the podium of COPA... What a joke!

Chomsky has never appeared on a panel at a COPA conference.

And Bevilaqua will only be able to attend a COPA conference under an alias.

BK

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LOL Paul, Fanfani wasn’t a leftist but rather a former fascist who became a centrist member of the center-right Christian Democrats. He was briefly PM in 1958 and gave “four crucial posts...the Ministries of Finance, Labor, State Participation and Communications” “to his only ally in the coalition government, Giuseppe Saragat's anti-Communist Socialists” and also named “the head of the anti-Communist labor federation, CISL...Minister for Economic Development of Southern Italy and Depressed Areas”. Despite this Time said: “The new government could be expected to be as pro-West as before, but its makeup showed Fanfani's determination to break with Italy's postwar middle-of-the-road pattern.”

He was PM again 1960 – 63. Just before he met JFK Time described him as “sturdily pro-U.S. and pro-NATO” and “a sternly moral Catholic”. The anti-communist Socialists weren’t even coalition partners this time: “Today Fanfani has the parliamentary support of three other parties and the benign abstention of the powerful Nenni Socialists”. According to 1962 article in Time since John XXIII became pope “the Roman Catholic Church...has notably relaxed its opposition to the Italian left” and one of his coalition partners was “the right-of-center Republicans”. The article further stated that thought they were going to be brought into the coalition the Socialists were not going to get any cabinet posts

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

1958: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...l#ixzz0WSB3YoPY

1961: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...l#ixzz0WSD4dlCm

1962: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/...,828912,00.html

It was not even the first time he met a US president, having visited Ike in 1956 and once again 1958 just after he named formed a coalition with the Socialists and added 4 to his cabinet. So JFK’s meeting with Fanfani should have been less controversial than his processor’s.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=11147

What was that nonsense about Harvey? Don’t tell you subscribe to perhaps the stupidest assassination theory, the one about two Oswalds?

Take a break, chum, that's an awful lot of research for one night. Put your feet up and enjoy, particularly the first 18 or so minutes:

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/55858

I don't imagine most of the above is news to you,you seem to what you accuse Chomsky of omitting info which contradicts your claims. So who do you getting your funding from? :o:ice:lol::rolleyes:

The Evertons Supporters' Club. Nefarious bunch, with sinister designs on your mind, Len. Used notes only, big brown envelopes.

Here endeth the dream.

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Paul

Feel free to correct my chronology if you think there are any errors:

Post #17 – You claimed that JFK “had some limited success” “on the opening to the Left in Italy” as an example of him pursuing a “different” foreign policy.

Post #18 – I asked you to “elaborate”

Post # 19 – You posted information about Italian PM Fanfani visiting the JFK at a time when “the Italian statesman’s [had] professed [a] willingness to collaborate with the Italian socialists and other parties of the left of Center” as if this was a departure from earlier policy.

Post #20 – I pointed out that at the time he met JFK the centrist Italian PM was in a coalition with two right wing parties and the “slightly left of center” Social Democrats but when he met Ike 3 years earlier not only was he in a coalition with the Socialists, they were his only partners and had 5 in key posts in his cabinet.

Post #22 – You posted all manner of irrelevant rubbish to avoiding dealing with your blunder.

In reality what changed more than American policy was Italy’s socialist party. Arthur Schlesinger wrote about the “opening to the left” (apertura a sinistra) in Italy in A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House

The Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956 proved too much for him [socialist party leader Pietro] Nenni and many of his comrades. In 1957
Nenni began to move away from the Communist Party
.
By 1960 his break was complete
, though Socialist-Communist coalitions still lingered in many localities

[…]

The policy of the United States before Kennedy had been one of purposeful opposition to the opening to the left. The reasons were clear enough: the Eisenhower administration did not trust Nenni; it believed him to be a neutralist if not still at heart a fellow traveler: and it did not want social and economic reform in Italy

[…]

That policy was appropriate for the Eisenhower administration and possibly even for the conditions of the fifties. But
by 1961 no one could doubt Nenni's break with the Communists
. Moreover, by ingenious reinterpretation, Nenni had defined his party's traditional neutralism as meaning the preservation of the existing European equilibrium; since Italian withdrawal from NATO would threaten that equilibrium,
Nenni explicitly opposed such withdrawal
as an unneutral act. Moreover, a progressive administration in Washington should certainly not be in the position of discouraging progressive policies in Rome, especially when social reform was required to isolate the Communists, eliminate the conditions which bred them and begin the reclamation of the working

(pages 876 -7)

http://books.google.com/books?lr=&as_b...nG=Search+Books

So Nenni had become an anti-Soviet leftist who opposed withdrawing from NATO and JFK supported allowing his party into a center-left coalition in which it would be given no cabinet seats. OMG Kennedy was virtually an SDSer!

Edited by Len Colby

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stood up and made his famous comment about how the Kennedys were 2nd generation Irish immigrants who thought they could run the country the way they wanted to. Followed up by: "I guess we showed them a thing or two.".

Did Prouty really say this?

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stood up and made his famous comment about how the Kennedys were 2nd generation Irish immigrants who thought they could run the country the way they wanted to. Followed up by: "I guess we showed them a thing or two.".

Did Prouty really say this?

Yeah he said it right after he passed that "signpost up ahead" and just before Chomsky addressed the COPA conference, that was the same one MCed by Posner and McAdams.

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http://www.swans.com/library/art14/barker10.html

Commentary » swans.com December 15, 2008

Noam Chomsky And The Power Of Letters

by Michael Barker

In a time before e-mail and mobile phones, the art of letter writing was key to the exchange of ideas, and the promotion of political causes, by progressive intellectuals. While letter writing may not be enjoying the same level of usage today, it is still a medium of significance for public campaigning. One prominent figure who has kept up his letter writing habits is Noam Chomsky, who admits to having a "letter-answering neurosis" and admirably spends "some 20 hours a week on correspondence." Unlike lesser known researchers, Chomsky's signature is an influential mark, whether it is on his own letter or those of others. This article will not fault Chomsky's own letters, but it will investigate the effects of his signing other people's letters. Secondly, given the dubious nature of the letters that Chomsky has signed, this article will try to understand why he has failed to extend his regular criticisms of liberal intellectuals to their institutional counterparts, liberal foundations.

The signing of open letters -- which are subsequently usually posted online or reproduced within the mainstream media -- is one significant form of activism in which many intellectuals partake. In this regard, Chomsky, like other leading progressive writers, is regularly called upon to grace the lists of names of well-known social commentators and/or academics collected together on such letters. Consequently this article will examine the power invested in these letters by Noam Chomsky's name. This subject matter will be investigated by reviewing some of the causes that Chomsky has lent his name to during the last six months of 2008. It will be argued that while such forms of activism can certainly play a part in generating awareness of progressive campaigns, it is essential that individuals signing up to such letters, like Chomsky, are aware of how their name may be misused to serve alternative political agendas that are not always readily apparent simply considering the content of each letter in isolation.

Four Letters

For want of a better word the four "letters" that Chomsky has attached his name to since June 2008 were 1) a statement written in solidarity with Dora Maria Tellez, the former president of Nicaragua's Movimiento Renovador Sandinista (MRS), 2) an open letter in support of Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution, 3) a letter voicing concerns over foreign inferences in the electoral process now underway in El Salvador, and 4) a petition addressed to the board of directors of Human Rights Watch, critiquing their recent report A Decade Under Chávez. Although each of these causes may appear reasonable at first glance, a good case can be made that the collective effect of signing all four of these letters may actually have a detrimental impact on effective challenges to imperialism, negatively influencing the ability of other progressive activists to comprehend the full gamut of strategies that are employed by neoliberal democracy manipulators. Arguably this in turn serves to minimize the likelihood of progressive activists from identifying perhaps the most significant root drivers, funders, and legitimizers of the status quo (that is, liberal foundations).

As Toni Solo reports, the first letter that Chomsky signed was published on June 16, 2008, in the Nicaraguan "centre-right newspaper" El Nuevo Diario. Solo, in his critique of the contents of the letter, writes that it called

for the Nicaraguan coalition government, led by the Sandinista FSLN, not to shut down political freedom and to hold a national dialogue to address the food crisis and the high cost of living in Nicaragua. This appeal was made in solidarity with Dora Maria Tellez, the former president of the neo-liberal social democrat Movimiento Renovador Sandinista. (1)

Solo argues that regardless of the signatories' intentions, the letter contributed toward playing an important role in the "developing destabilisation campaign in Nicaragua of which the MRS is, from the US State Department's point of view, a vital part." Indeed, he writes:

Confirmation that the MRS cynically engineered the whole affair came with the letter's sequel. First appeared a paid advertisement in the local press from the group of foreign cooperation development donor countries -- who like the Bush regime have consistently promoted the MRS -- criticising the Supreme Electoral Council's interpretation of Nicaragua's electoral law. Then the same day, the MRS held a national rally in support of Dora Maria's protest. According to the MRS newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, the rally attracted a few thousand supporters from all over the country. The whole series of events was very clearly orchestrated by the MRS leadership, including Dora Maria Tellez herself.

On top of this, it appears that MRS, the political party that Chomsky implicitly supported (in this letter anyway), are linked to the US government's democracy-manipulating efforts in the region; as Solo reminds us how "the MRS leadership -- including former FSLN comandantes Luis Carrion and Victor Lopez Tirado -- negotiated funding from the US electoral destabilisation quango (quasi-NGO), the International Republican Institute to train up MRS electoral officials prior to the 2006 presidential election." This link brings us neatly (or confusingly, depending on how one looks at it) to the open letter in support of Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution that Chomsky signed in June 2008. This connection is noteworthy because, in the past, the Albert Einstein Institution, like MRS, has obtained financial support from the International Republican Institute (a core grantee of the ironically entitled National Endowment for Democracy).

The open letter calling for support of the Albert Einstein Institution was penned by Professor Stephen Zunes -- an individual I have written about at some length regarding his uncritical support for NED-linked groups like the Albert Einstein Institution and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (another important group that is mentioned within the open letter). Thus despite the fact that the former group has obtained support from the NED-funded International Republican Institute, the open letter reads:

We are aware of, and are adamantly opposed to, efforts by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and other U.S. government-funded efforts to advance U.S. strategic and economic objectives under the guise of "democracy promotion." We recognize, however, that Dr. Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institution are not part of such an agenda.

To confuse matters even more, in the same letter Zunes acknowledges that the Albert Einstein Institution has received "a couple of small one-time grants from the NED and IRI... to translate some of Dr. Sharp's theoretical writings." Contrary to the views expressed in Zunes's open letter, over the past year I have fully explored the links between the Albert Einstein Institution and the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict with the democracy-manipulating establishment, and have clearly demonstrated that their work is serving imperial interests (intentionally or not). Given this documentary record it is worrying that one of the leading critics of imperialism (Chomsky) could have overlooked these imperial connections so easily. Moreover, it is surprising to observe that Howard Zinn also ranks among the many progressive activists that signed the letter, as he is an honorary chair and board member of the International Endowment for Democracy, a US-based group that critiques the work of the NED-led democracy-manipulating community. (2)

In line with Chomsky's evident concern with the insidious effects of the democracy-manipulating community, the third letter Chomsky signed, the El Salvador letter, highlights four primary issues: these are 1) the problem of "foreign interference in the electoral processes and the internal affairs of other countries," 2) "the increase in political violence in El Salvador over the past two years and the atmosphere of impunity with which this violence has taken place," 3) "a series of legal changes and reforms to the electoral code that open up the possibility of fraud," and 4) their alarm over statements issued in Washington D.C. by the Salvadoran foreign minister, Marisol Argueta de Barillas, upon the personal invitation of Roger Noriega, that "virtually call[ed] for U.S. intervention in El Salvador to avoid a possible electoral triumph by the FMLN."

Unfortunately, the El Salvador letter does not draw attention to the problems associated with democracy-manipulating groups like the NED whose specialty is electoral interventions. Thus the letter only provides a partial explanation of how the softer "philanthropic" arm of US foreign policy operates; this omission, however, makes sense when one reads the letters concluding sentence:

We are hopeful that [the incoming Obama administration], with its renewed commitment to better diplomatic relations with Latin America and its message of political change... will not support any intervention in the Salvadoran elections and nor will it tolerate human rights violations and electoral fraud.

Sadly there is little reason for the critical scholars who signed this letter to realistically think that there is any hope that the Obama administration's foreign policy will differ significantly from his predecessor. In fact, although Obama may be less likely to promote a direct military intervention in Latin America, we should certainly expect a greater commitment to democracy-manipulating activities. In fact, as the Council on Foreign Relations reported earlier this year, "Obama has [already] said he will 'significantly increase' funding for the National Endowment for Democracy 'and other nongovernmental organizations to support civic activists in repressive societies.'"

The final letter that Chomsky signed this year appears to hold great promise and suggests that Chomsky is finally moving towards supporting a more encompassing understanding of US foreign policy -- as opposed to his overwhelming focus on its coercive militaristic aspects. The letter in question -- which was circulated in November via e-mail by Professor Miguel Tinker-Salas (who also signed the aforementioned El Salvador letter) -- was addressed to Human Rights Watch's board of directors, and aimed to call their attention to the problems associated with their recent report A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela. The letter informs the board that the report "does not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy, or credibility" and "appears to be a politically motivated essay." Here, on this point, I am in agreement with the letter's signatories. However, as I have noted in previous essays, it should not be wholly unexpected that Human Rights Watch should have produced this report, as Human Rights Watch has a long history of acting in the service of imperialism, with their work being closely linked to the NED's. Consequently, I do not agree with the letter's contention that the statements made by the report's lead author, Jose Miguel Vivanco, "run counter to the mission of Human Rights Watch." (3)

Although it is clear that no one letter can address all critics' concerns on every issue, the final letter (in particular) illustrates the problem of dealing with single issues in isolation from one another. Whether the letter's signatories believe it or not, the problems associated with Human Rights Watch's connections to the US foreign policy establishment run deep through their organization, and so the contents of their latest report should not be considered to be an unexpected anomaly. Yet this is exactly how the letter frames the issue, and the perhaps unintended consequence of this (mis)framing is that other progressive activists reading the letter may begin to believe that the ties between groups like Human Rights Watch, the Albert Einstein Institution, and the Movimiento Renovador Sandinista to US foreign policy elites are insignificant and should be excluded from critical analyses of imperialism. I suggest that this represents a troubling trend that works to prevent progressive activists from resisting the tremendous power exerted from the liberal "philanthropic" arm of imperialism. This is because, as I wrote earlier this year:

Liberal philanthropy is in fact a crucial means by which elites exert their cultural hegemony, a process of domination that is all the more powerful because capitalism's Left hand is truly invisible, even to nearly all progressive scholars and activists (unlike the Right hand of capitalism, which is often referred to as the invisible hand of the market but should be more appropriately referred to as the visible hand owing to the obvious way in which capitalists must lend a hand to one another to undermine competition in the marketplace).

Questioning Chomsky

So the question remains, how might we understand the fact that one of the world's most influential critical intellectuals so regularly puts his name to letters whose analyses appear so problematic?

I would argue that the answer to this question lies in Chomsky's limited definition of the key actors that serve to promote US-led imperialism: by this I mean Chomsky's effective silence over the manipulation of global civil society by liberal philanthropists (and to a lesser degree by more overt democracy-manipulators like the National Endowment for Democracy). This omission is all the more surprising given Chomsky's self identification with anarcho-syndicalism or anarchist politics more generally, as anarchists would be expected to be the first to recognize how liberal elites co-opt their progressive counterparts through the provision of selective political support and/or funding. (4)

Moreover, in one of Chomsky's early books, The Backroom Boys (Fontana, 1973), he notes that while elites are often divided over the exact formulation of US foreign policy, they are, as one might expect, all "well represented in its formation" (p.78). This statement is particularly relevant to this essay, as the footnote for this point draws the reader's attention to a variety of sources, one of which is David Horowitz's seminal Ramparts article "The Foundations: Charity Begins at Home" (April 1969). (5) Evidently then, Chomsky is well aware of the criticisms levelled against liberal philanthropy (or at least was at one stage). Yet by choosing to ignore such critiques in all his later work he has clearly decided that their influence is insignificant, and not worth talking about.

Here it is useful to turn to Horowitz's article: referring to the response of liberal elites to the rising tide of progressive activism in the United States, Horowitz wrote:

The first-line response to the militant uprisings and organizations was of course the big stick of Law and Order, as the repression of SNCC and the Black Panther Party showed. But along with the frame-ups and police terror, a highly sophisticated program was being launched by forces of the status quo in the glass-enclosed New York headquarters of the $3 billion Ford Foundation.

In 1966, McGeorge Bundy left his White House position as the top security manager for the American empire ("I have learned," he once told an interviewer, "that the United States is the engine and mankind is the train") to become president of the Ford Foundation. Bundy was an exponent of the sophisticated approach to the preservation of the international status quo. Rejecting what he called "either or" politics, he advocated "counterinsurgency and the Peace Corps ... an Alliance for Progress and unremitting opposition to Castro; in sum, the olive branch and the arrows." The arrows of course would be taken care of by the authorities, from the CIA and the American military to Mayor Daley, while the foundations were free to pursue the olive branch side. Since they were "private" and non-governmental; they could leave the task of repression to their friends in other agencies while they pursued a benevolent, enlightened course without apparent hypocrisy. (p.44)

Given that Chomsky's own work (especially from 1965 onwards) (6) has "been particularly critical of the American intellectual establishment and the American media who hide their real interests behind a mask of 'liberal objectivity'," (7) it is ironic, as I demonstrate elsewhere, that both liberal intellectuals and liberal media outlets have both received ample subsidies from liberal philanthropists like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations -- foundations whose elitist work is thoroughly demystified in Horowitz's article. (8) Indeed, while Chomsky himself has repeatedly taken liberal intellectuals like McGeorge Bundy, Morton Halperin, and Arthur Schlesinger to task, he fails to critique the key institutional home of such liberal elites, liberal foundations. (9)

To conclude, it is fitting to quote a sentence from the first page of Chomsky's first political book, American Power and the New Mandarins (Pantheon Books, 1967). He writes, "The course of history may be determined, to a very significant degree, by what people of the United States will have learned from this catastrophe." Chomsky was of course referring to the Vietnam War, but one might just as easily apply this quote to the insidious influence of liberal philanthropy on progressive social change; because if leading intellectuals, like Chomsky, fail to learn from the well-documented history of elite manipulation, then such democracy-manipulators' influence on historical developments will certainly be amplified. (10) Moreover, as Chomsky's early work on linguistics was intimately related to the broader research agendas of the Rockefeller Foundation (see footnote #6), it is troublesome that he has not spoken out either in favour or against the manipulation of democracy by liberal foundations.

Critiquing Progressive Intellectuals

Stephen Shalom reminds us that while Chomsky himself "has often criticized movements for social change... his criticisms have invariably been motivated by the passionate belief that only a movement that can subject itself to ruthless self-criticism has a chance of victory, or is worthy of that victory." Indeed, this is one of the main reasons why Shalom ultimately regards Robert Barsky's flattering biography of Chomsky's life (published in 1998) to be "largely unsuccessful." (11) Only a rigorous biographical study that combines "independence of mind and tenacious research," is in Shalom's mind likely to do justice to Chomsky's life and to progressive readers.

Chomsky occupies a rare place within the pantheon of progressive intellectuals, and whether he likes it or not, his work has an immense impact on the evolution of the activist lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Consequently it is vital that progressive citizens begin to systematically analyse and document the shortcomings of Chomsky's research, so that we might recognize faults in his invaluable body of work, and make a concerted effort to redress them.

As it happens, the year 2008 marked the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's seminal critique of the media, Manufacturing Consent -- a book that demonstrated how elites use the power of letters (made into words) to "amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society." (12) Yet as this article has demonstrated, the year 2008 also illustrated the problematic nature of open letters bearing Chomsky's name. Indeed, these letters, when collectively considered, articulate a political viewpoint that arguably serves to cast a veil over more critical competing analyses of elite power.

As this year draws to a close, it is the hope of this author that all progressive citizens will take time out from their busy (perhaps gruelling) schedules to reflect upon the strengths and shortcomings of, and future directions of, global progressive communities. If we are serious about collectively working to building workable alternatives to capitalism then we must learn to subject our most influential theorists to ruthless criticism more regularly. If this happens, 2009 will go down in history as the year that progressive activists worldwide began to seriously challenge elite rule (at all levels simultaneously), which of course will entail critiquing the very organizations that have sustained (and constrained) much progressive activism, liberal foundations.

Notes

1. Toni Solo, "Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden, Brian Wilson: At Work for John Negroponte?," Dissident Voice, June 21, 2008. Also see his article "Grotesque Election Fraud in Nicaragua," Scoop, November 24, 2008. (back)

2. One of the leading critics of US-led democracy-manipulators is Professor William I. Robinson, and his book Promoting Polyarchy (Oxford University Press, 1996), provides the seminal critique of the NED's activities. Consequently, it would seem that Chomsky should refamiliarize himself with these books contents, especially considering that a central thrust of Robinson's work on the history of the US government's democracy-manipulating strategies concerns in Nicaragua (a country whose history Chomsky is very familiar with). Incidentally, William I. Robinson like Chomsky signed both the El Salvador letter and the Human Rights Watch letter. (back)

3. For background information on some of the report's other authors, see here. (back)

4. Here it is significant that Peter Marshall in his important book Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism (Fontana Press, 1993) does not actually categorize Chomsky as an anarchist per se. Instead, he places Chomsky in his chapter on "Modern Libertarians" alongside Bertrand Russell, Aldous Huxley, Martin Buber, Lewis Mumford, Albert Camus, and Michel Foucault. He writes these individuals "have taken socialism or liberalism to the borders of anarchism, and occasionally stepped over." (p.566) Chomsky may have taken anarchist philosophy seriously, but according to Marshall he has "not unreservedly endorsed its conclusions" (p.xv). Thus while Marshall notes "it is easy to see why rulers should fear anarchy and wish to label anarchists as destructive fanatics for they question the very foundations of their rule" (p.x), Chomsky has singularly failed to question a key foundation of elite rule, that is, liberal foundations. (back)

5. This first article was co-authored with David Kolodney, while the following two instalments of Horowitz's critique of liberal foundations were published as "Billion Dollar Brains: How Wealth Puts Knowledge in its Pocket" (Ramparts, May 1969), and "Sinews of Empire" (October 1969). (back)

6. Chomsky writes of his entry to antiwar activism: "No one who involved himself in anti-war activities as late as 1965, as I did, has any reason for pride or satisfaction. This opposition was ten or fifteen years too late."

Although rarely mentioned in polite company, one of the reasons why Chomsky was otherwise engaged prior to 1965 owed to his love of linguistics -- amazingly, given his prolific output, his political activism has always been his night job. That said, Chomsky has however had an extraordinary long relationship with political activism and anarchism more specially, as he wrote his first major political essay (about the Spanish Revolution) in 1938 when he was just ten years old. Either way by 1945 Chomsky had joined the University of Pennsylvania, where after two years of disappointment he notes that he "was planning to drop out to pursue my own interests, which were then largely political." However, it was around this time that he met Zellig Harris and he subsequently decided to put his political activism on hold to pursue his longstanding interest in linguistics under the supervision of Harris, his new-found friend and mentor.

Another figure who went on to play an important role in Chomsky's life was Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, who in May 1951, took up his appointment at Chomsky's future academic base, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Research Laboratory for Electronics. Bar-Hillel "first met" Noam Chomsky in the autumn of 1951 (shortly after Chomsky had moved to Harvard University as a Junior Fellow), and he "was to remain a life-long friend" and Chomsky's "linguistic formalism was to have considerable influence on him." (Around this time Bar-Hillel renewed his relations with Zellig Harris.)

Here it is worth backtracking slightly, as on February 28, 1951, Harris "wrote to the graduate school dean to solicit further support for his promising young student," noting amongst other things that Chomsky had "come to the attention of the Rockefeller Foundation as a possible key man in interdisciplinary research between linguistics and mathematical logic." This is significant because Bar-Hillel's 1951 appointment to the MIT Laboratory "was made with the assistance of a grant from the National Science Foundation," which as John Hutchins points out, was obtained "quite possibly with the influence of [Warren] Weaver who was a director of the Foundation at this time." Weaver's involvement here is critical, because from 1931 until 1958 Weaver acted as the Director of the Natural Sciences Division of the Rockefeller Foundation. As these ties suggest, Weaver was an influential member of the liberal elite, and a "report (pdf) he wrote at the end of the war ("Comments on the general theory of air warfare") was a significant factor in the foundation of the [imperial think tank] RAND Corporation."

The vital role played by Weaver in promoting Machine Translation as a research priority is acknowledged by Donald Loritz, who in his book How the Brain Evolved Language (Oxford University Press, 2002) recounts how:

"In 1949, on behalf of the U.S. military and espionage establishments, Warren Weaver [who was serving as a consultant] of the Rand Corporation circulated a memorandum (pdf) entitled 'Translation' proposing that the same military-academic complex which had broken the Enigma code redirect its efforts to breaking the code of the Evil Empire, the Russian language itself. Machine translation [MT] became a heavily funded research project of both the National Science Foundation and the military, with major dollar outlays going to the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology." (p.166)

Writing in 2000, Steve Silberman observed how "Weaver's memo acted like a seed crystal dropped into a solution supersaturated with nascent ideas about computing, communication theory, and linguistics." And he adds that, "Within two years, MT programs had been launched at MIT, UCLA, the National Bureau of Standards, the University of Washington, and the Rand Corporation." "By the end of 1962," Silberman notes, increasing international attention was diverted to MT research and...

"The Department of Defense, the Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and the CIA showered the contents of their coffers onto the heads of researchers who showed interest in MT -- many of whom had been toiling away on arcane projects as chronically undersubsidized academics. When Georgetown University declined to award big bucks to its own faculty members for producing the 1954 MT demo at IBM, the CIA stepped in with more than $1 million."

Returning to Bar-Hillel and stepping back in time again, having received Rockefeller Foundation support to obtain his appointment at MIT, his work continued to receive strong support from the Foundation, and in "April 1952, the Rockefeller Foundation approved a grant to Bar-Hillel for the continuation of his appointment at MIT until June 1953, and for the organisation of the first conference on MT." Bar-Hillel subsequently left MIT in 1953, shortly before Noam Chomsky took up his appointment in MIT's Research Laboratory for Electronics. Shortly thereafter, according to radical anthropologist Chris Knight, Chomsky's work at MIT began "attracting the attention of the US military." Indeed, Knight goes on to explain that Chomsky's initial military funded work, published as Syntactic Structures (Mouton, 1957), opened "up the prospect of discovering in effect 'the philosopher's stone': the design specifications of a 'device' capable of generating grammatical sentences (and only grammatical ones) not only in English but in any language spoken (or capable of being spoken) on earth." Later Knight concludes:

"It is easy to understand why computer engineers might find it useful to treat language as a mechanical 'device'. If, say, the aim were to construct an electronic command-and-control system for military use, then traditional linguistics would clearly be inadequate."

Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins, pp. 10-11; Chomsky quoted in James Peck, The Chomsky Reader (Serpent's Tail, 1988), pp. 6-7; Robert Barsky, The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower (MIT Press, 2007), pp.148-9; John Hutchins, From First Conception to First Demonstration: the Nascent Years of Machine Translation, 1947-1954. A Chronology, Machine Translation, 12, 1997, p.220, 221, 224; Chris Knight, Decoding Chomsky (pdf), European Review, 12 (4), 2004, p.584, 587.

7. Marshall, Demanding the Impossible, p.579.

8. For further details of the detrimental influence that liberal foundations have exerted on academia and the media, see Michael Barker, The Liberal Foundations of Media Reform, Global Media Journal, 1 (2), June 2, 2008; and Michael Barker, Progressive Social Change in the 'Ivory Tower'? , Refereed paper presented to Australasian Political Science Association conference, University of Queensland, July 6-9, 2008.

9. For example, writing in the 1960s, Chomsky explains how: "For a glimpse of what may lie ahead, consider the Godkin lectures of McGeorge Bundy, recently delivered at Harvard. Bundy urges that more power be concentrated in the executive branch of the government, now 'dangerously weak in relation to its present tasks'. That the powerful executive will act with justice and wisdom - this presumably needs no argument. As an example of the superior executive who should be attracted to government and given still greater power, Bundy cites Robert McNamara. Nothing could reveal more clearly the dangers inherent in the 'new society' than the role that McNamara's Pentagon has played for the past half-dozen years. No doubt McNamara succeed in doing with utmost efficiency that which should not be done at all. No doubt he has shown an unparalleled mastery of the logistics of coercion and repression, combined with the most astonishing inability to comprehend political and human factors." American Power and the New Mandarins, pp. 104-05.

10. Chomsky is not alone in this critical oversight and he is joined by nearly all the American leading progressive intellectuals on this matter. For instance, Michael Parenti does not mention the influence of liberal foundations in his book-length treatment of power in the U.S., Democracy for the Few (Wadsworth/Thomas Learning, 2002); however, like many other progressive writers, Parenti does acknowledge the that the powerful financial empire "of the Rockefellers, extends into just about every industry in every state of the Union and every nation of the World." And he adds that, "The Rockefellers control five of the world's twelve largest oil companies and four of the biggest banks" (p.12). Later in his book Parenti outlines the importance of a few of the key policy advisory groups of the ruling class, that is, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission (pp. 165-7). Parenti then mentions the key role played by individual Rockefellers in the work of these elite planning groups, but he fails to draw attention to the influence of liberal foundations in supporting their work. On the other hand, at the end of this section on elite planning groups Parenti does pause to briefly mention the influence of right-wing foundations (p.168). Withstanding these criticisms, Parenti's otherwise excellent political writings do provide an important example of a progressive intellectual critiquing Noam Chomsky, as he provides a robust challenge to Chomsky's take on the JFK assassination -- see Michael Parenti, Dirty Truths (City Lights Books, 1996), pp.175-91.

11. For example, Shalom writes: "MIT was a major military contractor, and much of what happened there was funded by the Pentagon. Even Chomsky's work was supported by the military*. In the late 1960s, as the student movement reached its peak, war research on campus came under increasing attack, particularly projects being done at two MIT labs. Barsky quotes Chomsky as recalling the political line-up: right-wing faculty wanted to keep the labs, liberal faculty wanted to break relations with the labs formally (so that the same work would be done but invisibly), while 'the radical students and I wanted to keep the labs on campus, on the principle that what is going to be going on anyway ought to be open and above board. ...' But this obscures the fact that most radical students, as well as many liberal students, wanted first and foremost to stop the war research and thus to convert the labs to non-military pursuits. We didn't want the war research to go on in divested labs, nor did we want it to go on in affiliated labs. We wanted the war research stopped, period. Barsky's account, characteristically, is too sketchy to enable the reader to grapple with the issue." Stephen Shalom, "A Flawed Political Biography," New Politics, 6 (3), Summer 1997.

12. Manufacturing Consent was dedicated to a "close personal friend and valued co-worker" of Herman and Chomsky's, the Australian activist researcher Alex Carey (who had sadly died just prior to the publication of their book in 1988). Like Chomsky, for Carey, letter writing was a major part of his life and he regularly bombarded the mainstream media with his biting critiques, nearly all of which were ignored, much like the rejected Op-Eds Chomsky had penned over the last several years -- recently published in Interventions (City Light Books, 2008) -- or those criticisms made of the British so-called liberal media by groups like Media Lens.

*In the case of Machine Translation, not true: the CIA "influenced" the allocation of funding, ordinarily through the National Science Foundation, but also through direct grants.

Sydney M. Lamb (Edited by Jonathan Webster). Language and Reality (London & NY: Continuum, 2004; 524pp):

p.51: “we were informed by the man in charge of machine translation for the CIA (who was influencing the allocation of NSF* funds for MT research)…”

From context, we’re talking the period 1956-58.

*National Science Foundation

US “Government” funding for machine translation at MIT, 1954-1964

Language and Machines: Computers in Translation and Linguistics (1966), p.108:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9547&page=108

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I imagine some where in that over long post was a point? Chomsky put his name on some letters someone didn't like therefore he's CIA? Why don'y you contact the author an askif he thinks your theory reasonable?

Ditto Shalom, why don't you ask him what he thinks of your theory. And sorry even ifhe was an undergrad at MIT his unsupported claim that "Even Chomsky's work was supported by the military"

So the CIA 'influenced' NSF funding on MT and MIT received NSF-MT money and Chomsky at one point worked on MT. 1) was Chomsky still working on MT at the time 2) Even if soits a stretch to say this means he was a CIA agent even the author of the book cited gave no indication he expected to beholden to them.

Here's the link to the rest for context.

http://books.google.com/books?id=vrlPUxB2_...A%22&f=true

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Paul

Feel free to correct my chronology if you think there are any errors:

Post #17 – You claimed that JFK “had some limited success” “on the opening to the Left in Italy” as an example of him pursuing a “different” foreign policy.

Post #18 – I asked you to “elaborate”

Post # 19 – You posted information about Italian PM Fanfani visiting the JFK at a time when “the Italian statesman’s [had] professed [a] willingness to collaborate with the Italian socialists and other parties of the left of Center” as if this was a departure from earlier policy.

Post #20 – I pointed out that at the time he met JFK the centrist Italian PM was in a coalition with two right wing parties and the “slightly left of center” Social Democrats but when he met Ike 3 years earlier not only was he in a coalition with the Socialists, they were his only partners and had 5 in key posts in his cabinet.

Post #22 – You posted all manner of irrelevant rubbish to avoiding dealing with your blunder...

Further "all manner of irrelevant rubbish":

http://z13.invisionfree.com/julyseventh/in...&p=12074496

A few paragraphs from Daniele Ganser's excellent book, NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe.

The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 6 of that book, The Secret War in Italy, and relates to political developments in Italy in the period between Kennedy's election in 1961 and his assassination in November 1963.

First, a few acronyms by way of explanation:

Acronyms

COS CIA Chief of Station

PSI Partito Communisto Italiano (Italian Communist Party)

SIFAR Servizio di Informazioni delle Forze Armate (Armed Forces Intelligence Service

Chapter 6 - The Secret War in Italy

When John F Kennedy became president in January 1961 the policy of the United States towards Italy changed because Kennedy unlike his predecessors Truman and Eisenhower sympathised with the PSI. He agreed with a CIA analysis that in Italy the "strength of the socialists, even without aid from outside, means that left-wing sentiment looked forward to a democratic form of socialism". Yet Kennedy's plans for reform met with stiff resistance from both the US State Department and the CIA. Secretary of State Dean Rusk with horror related to Kennedy that for instance Riccardo Lombardi of the PSI had publicly asked for the recognition of Communist China, had asked for the withdrawal of the American military bases in Italy including the important naval NATO base in Naples and had declared that capitalism and imperialism must be fought. "Should this be the party with which the United States should deal?"

Ambassador Frederick Reinhardt at the US embassy in Rome together with COS Thomas Karamessines debated how Kennedy could be stopped. Vernon Walters advised them, a notorious CIA Cold Warrior "who has been involved directly or indirectly of the overthrow of more governments than any other official the US government". Walters declared that if Kennedy allowed the PSI to win the elections the US should invade the country. Karamessines, more subtly, suggested that the forces within Italy that opposed the opening to the left should be strengthened. The absurd situation developed in which President Kennedy found himself up against the Secretary of State and the Director of the CIA.

On Election Day in 1963 the CIA nightmare materialised: The Communists gained strength while all other parties lost seats. The US-supported DCI fell to 38 per cent, its worst result since the party had been created after the war. The PCI polled 25 per cent and together with the 14 per cent of the triumphant PSI secured an overwhelming victory for the first time in the First Republic the united left dominated parliament. The supporters of the Italian left celebrated in the streets the novelty that the Socialists were also given cabinet posts in the Italian government under Prime Minister Aldo Moro of the left-wing of the DCI. President Kennedy was immensely pleased and in July 1963 decided to visit Rome to the great delight of many Italians. The airport was crowded and once again the Americans were greeted with flags and cheers. "He is a wonderful person. He seems much younger than his real age. He invited me to visit the United States", Pietro Nenni, the leader of the PSI with much enthusiasm declared.

Kennedy had allowed Italy to shift to the left. As the Socialists were given cabinet posts the Italian Communists, due to their performance at the polls, also demanded to be rewarded with posts in the cabinet and in May 1963 the large union of the construction workers demonstrated in Rome. The CIA was alarmed and members of the secret Gladio army disguised as police and civilians smashed the demonstration leaving more than 200 demonstrators injured. But for Italy, the worst was yet to come. In November 1963, US President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, under mysterious circumstances. And five months later the CIA with the SIFAR, the Gladio secret army and the paramilitary police carried out a right-wing coup d'etat which forced the Italian Socialists to leave their cabinet posts they had held only for such a short period.

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Ganser ignored that the PSI had moderated, it broke with the Soviets and Italian Communists and was opposed to Italy withdrawing from NATO. He also ignored that the Christian democrats had previously formed a coalition with the PSI and gave them key cabinet posts before the break. This didn't stop Ike from receiving the PM in the White House.Though some in DC didn't like it the PSI changed more than US policy. I'd like to see confirmation they got cabinet posts in 1962 a Time magazine article from that year said they weren't going to.

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