Sunday, August 18, 2019

Strange sources

Yesterday, I wrote a piece concerning Donald Trump's puzzling words about a potential pardon of Rod Blogojevich, the sole Democrat ever to awaken Trump's sense of mercy. My theory: Blago will attain a pardon or commutation in exchange for testimony against Barack Obama. There is evidence that Blago and Obama, then a state senator in Illinois, worked conjointly on various small-scale corrupt schemes.

What evidence, you ask? My cited source was a writer named Evelyn Pringle. The appearance of that name caused a reader to see red...
Evelyn Pringle? Psychiatry-hating, Pizzagate-promoting Scientologist Evelyn Pringle? Sheesh.
Woah. Is that true?

To be honest, I had not given Pringle much thought since the 2008 campaign, although she and I corresponded very briefly during that period. At that time, I felt comfortable citing her work -- for one thing, she had previously written a couple of pieces which were respected in the liberal blogosphere. Had she really involved herself in freakin' Pizzagate?

Yes. Yes she had.

Here's a tweet about her interview with a Pizzagate activist and "targeted individual" named Stephen Shellen. Here's a blog post in which she promotes both Pizzagate and conspiracy theories involving Andrew Breitbart.

Nutty stuff. No doubt about it. It's so nutty, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that her work is read in the White House.

Sweartagod, folks: I had no idea until last night that Pringle had become a Pizzagater. Should I now take back everything I wrote about Obama in 2008? I cited her often throughout that year.

This situation reminds me of a conversation I had with a well-known writer, back in the 1990s. This person had written a book related to certain Iran-contra controversies, and a number of her footnotes went to publications associated with, God help us, Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche is no good, I told this writer. You should never cite any LaRouche publication. It's bad for your credibility.

The writer explained to me that, yes, she knew full well that Lyndon LaRouche was a nut and that his cult was dangerous. But those specific data nuggets had been later confirmed by other, better sources -- and since the LaRouchies had demonstrably published first, they had to be cited.

Fair enough, I conceded.

Something similar can be said of Pringle. Back in 2008, after her Obama stories came out, I spent a couple of nights digging up news stories which confirmed a number of her points -- not all of them, but quite a few of them. After doing that research, I was inclined to believe everything she wrote. As a Clinton supporter, I felt grateful to Evelyn Pringle, who had done her readers the service of providing a "one stop shopping" resource for anyone doing oppo research.

How was I to know that she'd turn into a freakin' Pizzagater?

Now let's zoom out for a wider picture. I consider myself a left-leaning anti-Establishment gadfly. Over the years, my fellow gadflies and I have often had to repudiate writers who once informed our thinking. This sort of thing happens a lot.

Consider our changed attitude toward Glenn Greenwald. And Matt Taibbi. Hell, Julian Assange. And before him, Christopher Hitchens.

During the Bush years, many lefties formed a temporary alliance with libertarian/Ayn Randroid writers who, for reasons of their own, hated the Iraq invasion as much as we did. Remember 2004, when liberals read, a website populated by admirers of Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan? It was a classic "strange bedfellows" tableau. Things have definitely changed: The Rand/Friedman/von Mises crowd no longer has friendly relations (to put it mildly) with the Kos Kids.

Back in the Dubya Days, quite a few posters to liberal forums were taken in by the "Voice of the White House" column. This turned out to be a fraud perpetrated by certain Holocaust revisionists, including one Nazi-loving rascal who writes books under a dizzying array of names. I have speculated that the same revisionists are now orchestrating the QAnon hoax. But that's a topic for another time.

Not so long ago, I was a great admirer of the late Robert Parry, head of Consortium News. In the Trump era, that place has become a pro-Russia toxic waste dump. Nevertheless, this blog still links to that site, mostly because I'm too lazy to change the HTML, but also because Parry's earlier work was so damned good.

I also once thought very highly of Ray McGovern and the organization to which he belongs, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Nowadays, I consider them to be Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Trump. Or rather, for Putin.

One of the founders of VIPS was Larry Johnson. And therein lieth a tale.

For part of 2008, Johnson's anti-Obama blog, No Quarter, was praised in these pages. Before that election, many liberals had learned to respect Johnson, due to his association with fellow CIA alum Valerie Plame, a heroine of the anti-Bush crowd. But as the 2008 contest wore on, Larry Johnson revealed himself to be a piece of trash. First, he promulgated the "Whitey tape" hoax, the fraudulence of which I helped, in my own small way, to establish. Then he aggressively promoted Birtherism. Many of the earliest, most deceptive Birther stories appeared in Johnson's cyber-rag. (Remember the "Techdude" hoax?)

Eventually, I saw the light and fiercely denounced Johnson. This humble blog even published a doctored photo of the guy in a clown costume. But nothing can erase the fact that -- for a while, at least -- a creepy "former" spook had me hornswoggled.

Here's another example of the "strange sources" problem: Louise Mensch. I used to read her religiously, and this blog often discussed her work. Perhaps I can be forgiven for taking her too seriously for too long: She's very attractive and she wrote sexy novels. I have my weaknesses.

Marcy's strange source. Many of you know that Marcy Wheeler informed the FBI about an individual with whom she had a "journalistic relationship."
I never in my life imagined I would share information with the FBI, especially not on someone I had a journalistic relationship with. I did so for many reasons. Some, but not all, of the reasons are:

I believed he was doing serious harm to innocent people
I believed (others agreed) that reporting the story at that time would risk doing far more harm than good
I had concrete evidence he was lying to me and others, including but not limited to other journalists
I had reason to believe he was testing ways to tamper with my website
I believed that if the FBI otherwise came to understand what kind of information I had, their likely investigative steps would pose a risk to the privacy of my readers...
Marcy became alarmed when this individual revealed, shortly after the election, that he had deep ties to the highest levels of Team Trump. (See the image to your right.) I studied this post very carefully when it was first published. For reasons too complex to go into here, I came to the conclusion that Marcy's "strange source" was a member of VIPS. Not Ray McGovern, I decided: He was too elderly. But I believed that she had formed a relationship with another big-name player within that organization.

Could that person be Larry Johnson? God, I certainly hope not! Surely someone as brilliant as Marcy Wheeler saw through that guy back in 2008? On the other hand, a number of other journalists continued to give Johnson the time of day even after he started to promote Birtherism...

Marcy would neither confirm nor deny that her "strange source" was a VIPS member. Nevertheless, I remain quite convinced that my theory is correct. And I'll change my tune only if Marcy says "Cannon's wrong."

The dangers of being a contrarian. I told you that long story about Marcy Wheeler, and those stories about myself, to establish a broader point. Many writers follow the dictum "When they hand you ruled paper, write the other way." They -- dare I say "we"? -- are natural-born contrarians. Anti-Establishment to the core. In a word: Weirdos.

Our culture needs weirdos. Without them, we would be bereft of original thinking.

But when you travel the byways of Weirdoland, you soon learn that many of your fellow anti-Establishmentarians are not to be trusted. Many of them are con artists. Many are operatives with a malign agenda. Many are irrational or biased or just plain scummy. Some are spooks. Some are manipulators. Some, such as the LaRouchies and the Scientologists, are cultists.

Many are fascists. They've learned how to disguise themselves in ways that appeal to anti-fascists.

And some anti-Establishment writers are just nuts. Or rather, they go nuts. They begin well, but they do not end well.

You know what Nietzsche said about gazing into the abyss.

Here's one final example, though I could cite many more: Much of my weltanschauung has been informed by the JFK assassination research community. Many people joined that community after reading a book called Inquest, an early critique of the official story. That volume was written by one Edward J. Epstein, who was later exposed as having a "journalistic relationship" with the CIA's ultra-paranoid counter-intelligence head, James J. Angleton. As longtime readers know, I am of the opinion that Angleton masterminded the assassination.

On an unrelated note:  Bill Maher made waves recently when he denounced the BDS movement, which I support (and will continue to support as long as Bibi holds power).
Maher drew applause in studio on his HBO show after declaring the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement supported by some congressional Democrats "a bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class."

“It’s predicated on this notion, I think — it’s very shallow thinking — that the Jews in Israel, mostly white, and the Palestinians are browner, so they must be innocent and correct, and the Jews must be wrong. As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied," he said.
I am one hundred percent against purity tests. The "Purity" people always forget that elections are a popularity contest -- and right now, Israel is popular with Americans and Divestment is not. I don't like that situation, but that's the situation. Until the public mood changes, you can't expect candidates to commit political suicide.

That said, Maher's words -- "As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied" -- are a legitimate reading of the Nakba and of the 1948 war. And I say that as someone who got in A in every history class he took in high school and college, a boast which Bill Maher probably cannot make.

If this blog were more popular, I would not have dared to write the preceding paragraph. We do not need the 2020 election to become a referendum on Israel. That's what Trump wants.

Frankly, it's infuriating to see the neo-Nazi messiah accuse his enemies of anti-Semitism.


B said...

"As if the occupation came right out of the blue, that this completely peaceful people found themselves occupied" That's some serious revisionist shit there.

Aylmer said...

We're counting on you to identify the OSS character(s) in "The Good Shepherd" who would correspond to Barr's father. It might not be as easy as, say, seeing Epstein in "Annie Hall" as the Tony Roberts character. And, hey, a Hollywood Reporter article from December 2018 (linked via a footnote reference in the Wikipedia entry for Epstein) has the real-life version(s) of Tracy from Allen & Brickman's "Manhattan", who became Epstein's "personal assistant". Oh, and a few brain dumps ago you asked "Who says there's no truth in Pravda", even though you knew it was Mort Sahl.

Terry Melanson said...

It's a fact of life among deep politics researchers how much they encounter Larouche et al. when it comes to rare data nuggets in the endless reaches of spookdom. Most wait until it is confirmed through other means - FOIA if they're lucky - rather than having to cite them. Cold War Europe, in particular, EIR were writing disinfo screeds decades before others might have clued in that a particular line of inquiry was important let alone that it even existed.

Aylmer said...

Oops! Sorry for my misleading linkage for the Tracy character in "Manhattan". Here's the URL to the Hollywood Reporter article:

gadfly said...

Speaking of VIPS, the new name should be VIPT - Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Trump. They told Trump early in 2017 that hacking the DNC emails was an inside job by the DNC - not a Putin-supported Guccifer 2.0, Wikileaks combo.

Alessandro Machi said...

Having Epstein murdered in jail helped both parties hold power. Therefore, Pizzagate should not be completely dismissed. Even if the location was incorrect, it does not mean something like it did not exist elsewhere. To denounce PizzaGate in the wake of Epstein being murdered in his cell when EVERYONE knew he was in danger FROM BOTH PARTIES almost smacks of suspicion.

maz said...

@Alessandro Machi

I think you miss the point: There's a world of difference between a high-level, multi-partisan conspiracy of pedophiles and a focused program of kompromat. In the latter case, Epstein would have served a niche purpose in developing compromising material on political, legal, and business figures identified as ephebophiles or in entrapping individuals into unknowingly having sex with someone under the age of consent. (Or, for that matter, someone above the age of consent but still a minor.) This would be but one strain of a consolidated effort to document homosexual, adulterous, interracial, or any other potentially damaging sexual activities that could later be used to apply pressure -- whether it's a black civil rights leader engaged in extramarital sex with a white follower, or a pompous blowhard of a businessman paying prostitutes to piss on a bed.

Despite some tantalizing rumors -- the Franklin case, the Finders, Marc Dutroux in Belgium (actually another ephebophile), Steve Gobie -- there have been virtually no documented cases of large-scale pedophile rings among political figures. (The UK is currently in the throes of dealing with what turned out to be an embarrassing hoax.) It's not too curious why: Pedophilia is an almost universal third rail, and high-profile pedophiles are typically *not* stupid enough to engage in such things publicly, given that essentially anyone of a lower profile than yourself could roll over on you, exchanging testimony for leniency. Most people don't have the unmitigated gall -- and deep pockets -- of an Epstein or a Berlusconi to carry on so openly.

Mr Mike said...

I remember the Techdude postings on No Quarter and the rebuttals that got you banned. I've often wondered if the whole Photoshoped birth certificate thing wasn't a month's long prank on Larry Johnston. Towards the end the posts were ludicrous specially when Techdude said the original name on the birth certificate covered up was Obama's sister Maya Soetero.
Though Techdude was never doxxed, as far as I know, I had my suspicions he was a sock used by another commenter who posted regularly.