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Thread: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

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    United States Avalon Member Wade Frazier's Avatar
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    Default Re: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

    Hi Paul:

    Yes, the nuclear card is being played, including fusion, and yes, at a billion a pop or so, it will work under the capitalist framework just fine. But none of my fellow travelers conceded the field to those games. I put the Rockefellers at about the fourth level of the global food chain. When David Rockefeller called Dennis at home, that announced that he was not Mr. Big. Kissinger, American presidents, etc., are further down, especially after they took out JFK.

    Alternative physics models are legion, going back at least to Tesla, and all I’ll say is that what my pal had demonstrated defied the current “laws of physics” and then some. My sense is that the people who kidnapped him hailed from the disenchanted arm of the GCs, and they are shooting for something other than, “Free energy, brought to you by Lockheed and Wall Street.”

    The stuff that I am aware of could be cheaply mass-produced (no moving parts, would last almost indefinitely, the size of a book, how much power do you want?), and for the GCs, that would be a Game Over situation, and they know it. It is a very real threat to their hegemony, which is why free energy has been suppressed like it has. The GCs are not as in charge as they think, and there is dissention in the ranks. If any of it gets out, all of it will eventually come out. I doubt that the “dribble it out” plan will be very successful in the long run, which is why they have kept the lid tight on that Pandora’s box.

    We’ll see how it plays out. Interesting times.

    Best,

    Wade
    Last edited by Wade Frazier; 13th June 2018 at 03:50.
    My big essay, published in 2014, is here.

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    Default Re: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

    Quote Posted by Wade Frazier (here)
    I doubt that the “dribble it out” plan will be very successful in the long run
    May the force be with us
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    Default Re: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

    Hi:

    Yesterday, I worked on Ed’s quote page and added some to Noam’s. As my Ed bio project continues, his quote page will grow. No hacks have arrived yet. We’ll see how that goes. Next up is updating this chapter of my Ed bio for my recent studies (and some other bio changes), then writing the article on those books, then I will be taking on Ed’s horrific Wikipedia bio and tweaking some other Ed-related articles. Then the hacks will likely arrive. This process could take all summer, but I hope not.

    Then I will begin plunking along on my long overdue update of my big essay. I expect that process to take a year or so, of my “spare” time. It will be a significant update. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will only take a few months. We’ll see. Then I am going to engage in some more visibility work, do some interviews, etc.

    Best,

    Wade
    Last edited by Wade Frazier; 14th June 2018 at 13:22.
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    Default Re: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

    Hi:

    My post this summer will include drafts of my writings on Ed and Noam. I am far from finished, but this is a draft of my revision of The Washington Connection, which I worked on this morning:

    The Political Economy of Human Rights

    Herman and Chomsky’s first uncensored collaboration was “Saigon’s Corruption Crisis: The Search for an Honest Quisling”, published in 1974. The article discussed the American government’s intractable problem in Vietnam: finding a puppet who was not corrupt, in order to change the image of the regimes in Vietnam and renew generous funding from Congress.

    In 1977, previews of Chomsky and Herman’s next collaboration appeared in various publications. One was a preview of the first two chapters of The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism. Herman’s writings were published in Monthly Review over several decades. Another was on the American media’s treatment of Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge victory in 1975, when little confirmable information on Cambodia’s situation was available to the West.

    In 1979, Chomsky and Herman published the two-volume The Political Economy of Human Rights; The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism was the first volume, and After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology was the second. The combined works greatly expanded on CRV. The preface of The Washington Connection established the theme of those two works, which contrasted the facts of the United States’s international behavior with the popularly held beliefs about them in the United States.

    The Washington Connection

    The facts asserted by the authors were that the United States had “organized under its sponsorship and protection a neocolonial system of client states ruled mainly by terror and serving the interests of a small local and foreign business and military elite.”

    The beliefs asserted by the authors, which they called an “ideological pretense,” were that the “United States is committed to furthering the cause of democracy and human rights throughout the world, although it may occasionally err in the pursuit of this objective.”

    The authors noted that between 1960 and the publication of their work in 1979, more than 18 Latin American governments had been subjected to military takeovers, and the United States was essential to the overthrow process in all of those nations. The authors wrote that torture had been no more than a historical curiosity in recent centuries, but suddenly flourished in the “free world” while it had simultaneously declined in the Soviet domain after Stalin’s death.

    The inner cover of The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism presented a diagram of nations that routinely tortured their citizenry during the 1970s. That diagram listed the 35 nations that practiced torture on an administrative basis, and 26 (74%) of them were client states of the United States. The diagram also presented the amount of military aid provided by the United States to those torturer regimes from 1946 to 1975, which amounted to many billions of dollars, as well as how many of those nations’ military and police personnel were trained by the United States from 1950 to 1975, a count which exceeded 200,000 people. The authors noted that 35,000 Latin American officers had been trained at the School of the Americas, which was known as the “school of coups.” The School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, became infamous for running a torture school, and long after The Washington Connection was published, the Pentagon declassified some of their training manuals, which advocated torture and described torture techniques.

    In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman argued that the term “terror,” as used by the American media, was a political construct applied only to violence committed by marginal groups, even American students who protested the Vietnam War, while state terror, which was immensely more destructive, was defined away as not being terror at all, but was described by euphemisms such as “police action,” “protective action,” and similar terms, even while the Cuban and Cambodian governments’ violence was deemed “terroristic.”

    Chomsky and Herman surveyed the CIA’s methods of subversion, including:

    • Assassinating foreign heads of state;
    • “Direct conspiracies with terrorists, mercenaries or (usually) military factions within a country to disrupt or overthrow a government in disfavor”;
    • “Political bribery and funding foreign politicians”;
    • Propaganda, in a “wide variety of forms”;
    • Organizing and funding demonstrations;
    • Actual information collection, which was its primary official function in its charter, but it routinely provided that information to those torturer regimes and the CIA’s proxies for harrying and overthrowing governments.


    A theme throughout The Washington Connection was that those activities had the singular purpose of providing a favorable investment climate for American interests, primarily transnational corporations. Torture, slaughter, even genocide, and terror was performed with the objective of cowing a populace into apathy and submission so that foreign interests could plunder the labor and natural resources of those subject nations.

    A generation later, John Perkins described those activities from the inside, as a member of a “middle management” that described themselves as “economic hit men,” who openly acknowledged among themselves that their purpose was to plunder the labor and resources of subject nations. When people such as Perkins failed to get foreign leaders to sell out their nations to transnational corporations, then the “jackals” (covert operatives, usually CIA contract agents) were sent in, often to assassinate foreign heads of state. Perkins had clients that were populist leaders of Panama and Ecuador, Omar Torrijos and Jaime Roldós, and after the economic hit men unsuccessfully tried to get them to sell out their nations to the “corporatocracy,” both men soon died in aircraft “accidents” that Perkins strongly believed were “jackal” operations.

    Chomsky and Herman wrote that the CIA-enabled Latin American dictatorships had similarities to Nazi Germany, not the least of which was the CIA’s use of Nazis, particularly those who fled to Latin America after World War II, often with American assistance and protection, but with some important exceptions. Anti-Semitism was rarely evident in the ideology of those Latin American dictatorships, although Argentina was an exception, with its long history of anti-Semitism. More importantly, unlike European fascism, the Latin American variant had no popular support. The regimes were “denationalized” and had no allegiance to their nations’ masses, but instead were beholden to their foreign sponsors, so they treated their domestic populations as their enemies. Accordingly, the authors termed those regimes “subfascist.” The authors noted that the phenomenon of American-supported subfascist regimes was far from confined to Latin America, but was the typical situation in American client states globally.

    In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman described how the American mass media operated, and included a brief discussion of the features of what became their Propaganda Model, which was further developed in their Manufacturing Consent. In an early example of the media’s double standards that became a regular feature of Chomsky and Herman’s media analytics was a section of The Washington Connection titled, “Cambodia: Why the Media Find It More Newsworthy Than Indonesia and East Timor.” Chomsky and Herman explicitly made their arguments about the Cambodian slaughter in the 1970s; they were framed in the American media’s treatment of it, as they stated:


    “Even today, as regards East Timor, where our brutal Indonesian satellite (authors of the 1965-1966 butcheries) have very possibly killed as many people as did the Khmer Rouge, there is a virtually complete blackout of information in the Free Press. This is a bloodbath carried out by a friendly power and is thus of little interest to our readers. It is a ‘benign bloodbath’ in our terminology.”

    In The Washington Connection, Chomsky and Herman provided more examples of their framework of constructive, benign, nefarious, and mythical terror and bloodbaths, several of which were not in CRV, and they considerably expanded on their discussions in CRV. The terror and bloodbaths discussed in The Washington Connection included:

    • Benign and Constructive: American client regimes in Vietnam and Cambodia;
    • Benign: East Pakistan, early 1970s; Burundi, 1972; Indians of Latin America, particularly the genocide of the Aché of Paraguay, where the effort was led by American missionaries, enabled by the State Department and other American government agencies; and a lengthy discussion of the Indonesian invasion and aftermath in East Timor, which was the greatest proportional genocide of an ethic group since World War II;
    • Constructive: Indonesia, 1965-1969; Thailand and the Philippines, post-World War II to the 1970s; Dominican Republic, from the 1965 American invasion to the 1970s, Latin America in general, from the American overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954, to the mid-to-late 1960s epidemic of overthrown governments, to the subfascist terror regimes in the 1970s;
    • Nefarious and Mythical: Vietnamese land reform in the 1950s and the Huế “massacre” in 1968.


    Chomsky and Herman provided voluminous details, context, and dry humor regarding those events. For instance, in the early days of Marcos’s subfascist terror regime in the Philippines, they routinely tortured dissidents, such as Trinidad Herrera, who organized protests in a squatter community near Manila, but was released after a tremendous international outcry that finally spurred the State Department to intervene to obtain her release. The testimonies of Marcos’s torture victims became a public relations problem, so the Marcos regime graduated to a “more advanced subfascist process” in which dissidents then began simply disappearing, never living to describe their treatment. The authors described a similar process in Thailand, in which “disappeared” dissidents (such as protesting students) were disposed of by incineration, even while the victims were still alive. Chomsky and Herman repeatedly noted that after successful constructive terror, American investment would pour into subject nations, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, as those nations became investors’ paradises.

    Chomsky and Herman, in a preview of Manufacturing Consent, described the American media’s enabling performance of those activities, such as the New York Times’s performance regarding the East Timorese genocide, particularly that of its Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, Henry Kamm, who uncritically promoted the Indonesian government’s propaganda as it slaughtered the East Timorese in its unprovoked invasion. As the genocide in East Timor reached its peak, the American media went completely silent, which Chomsky later said reached the level of actual complicity in genocide.

    In an early example of the pairing analysis of the media that Herman and Chomsky made famous in Manufacturing Consent, they noted that the trial of Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky received more American media coverage in 1978 than the collective coverage of several thousand murders inflicted by Latin American client regimes in the same year.

    Chomsky and Herman regularly noted the media’s irrationality in its reporting, such as the logical fallacy known as false alternatives, in which people who opposed the American invasion of Vietnam on principle were called “supporters of Hanoi.” The authors described at length American president Jimmy Carter’s hypocrisy as a “human rights” advocate when it came to how American client regimes treated their domestic populations, such as in American-supported dictatorships in Nicaragua and Iran, as well as Carter’s presiding over the greatest proportional genocide since World War II, as his administration renewed weapons sales to Indonesia when it began running out of bullets. The authors wrote that the United States was far from alone in supporting the Indonesian genocide in East Timor, as several Western nations provided various forms of assistance, including France and notably the United Kingdom; British Aerospace sold $25 million of counterinsurgency attack aircraft to Indonesia in 1978, which would have only been used on East Timor at that time. Western oil companies lined up in the wake of the invasion to negotiate oil exploration rights in Timor Gap.

    Chomsky and Herman wrote at length about the USA’s operations in Vietnam, including mass murder programs such as Operation Speedy Express and the Phoenix Program. Details of the American operations were provided by examples such as the Congressional testimony of K. Barton Osborn, who:


    “served in a covert program of intelligence in Vietnam, not only testified to a wide variety of forms of torture used by U.S. and Saigon personnel, but also made the startling claim that ‘I never knew an individual to be detained as a VC [NLF] suspect who ever lived through an interrogation in a year and a half, and that included quite a number of individuals.’”


    Vietnamese land reform in the 1950s was a dismantling of an economic order that exploited peasants, as had been happening throughout the Third World since World War II, but it was also an endemic issue in agrarian societies, going back to the first civilizations. The most credible estimates were that the communist leadership in North Vietnam executed as many as two thousand people during its land reform activities. However, in late 1969, Nixon announced that 50,000 people had been executed by North Vietnam’s communist leadership. Several months later, Nixon said that the number was “hundreds of thousands,” and a month later, when huge protests were held across the USA in response to Nixon’s announcement that the USA was bombing Cambodia, Nixon announced that “a half a million, by conservative estimates…were murdered or otherwise exterminated by the North Vietnamese.” Nixon’s lies were made to bolster his claims that the North Vietnamese would massacre millions of South Vietnamese if they ever ruled over South Vietnam, and preventing a communist bloodbath became his rallying cry. Vietnamese land reform became one of Chomsky and Herman’s mythical bloodbaths.

    Nixon’s lies about Vietnamese land reform and warnings against communist bloodbaths were part of a longstanding ideological construct that the USA was preventing or containing communist “aggression.” In that framework, the USA was never the aggressor, but was responding to or preventing communist aggression. That stance became known as “containment,” and was the USA’s official rationale for the Cold War. Herman and Chomsky spent a good deal of their political writings demonstrating that the “containment” policy was pure propaganda. The USA never felt threatened by communist expansion from the Soviet Union or China. Peasant nations freeing themselves from centuries of European colonial domination would no longer be subjected to capitalist-imperialist exploitation, and that was the real threat that the USA addressed with its foreign policy.

    In his Beyond Hypocrisy, Herman wrote about the fictions that the containment policy was founded on, and he analyzed National Security Council Report 68 (“NSC-68”), prepared just before the Korean War in 1950. NSC-68 was a planning document for American leadership, and its author, Paul Nitze, advised the Reagan administration more than 30 years later. NSC-68 frankly recognized Soviet weakness, as it recovered from tens of millions of deaths in World War II. NSC-68 made explicit plans to subtly attack the Soviet Union, first by stripping away its satellites, and then to subvert the Soviet Union itself. NSC-68, like the Reagan administration’s “Defense Guidance, 1984-1988” report, authored by the Pentagon, openly acknowledged Soviet weakness and how to aggressively exploit it.

    NSC-68, declassified in 1975 by Henry Kissinger, acknowledged that in order to subvert the Soviet Union, the USA needed a large military and mobilized public. Herman wrote:


    “Doublespeak embedded in a convenient matrix of anticommunist ideology was essential, as the U.S. establishment was obliged to pretend (or internalize the belief) that the huge global expansion of the U.S. political economy on which they had embarked was ‘defensive’ and responsive to some external threat; that we were ‘containing’ somebody else who was committing ‘aggression’ and threatening our ‘national security.’

    “The words and phrases ‘defense,’ ‘containment,’ ‘aggression,’ and ‘national security’ are core items of the doublespeak lexicon, essential ingredients of the ink squirted out by imperial cuttlefish.”


    Nitze was a leading foreign policy hawk, and the leading dove of the early postwar years, George Kennan, authored Policy Planning Study 23 (“PPS-23”) for the U.S. State Department in 1948, the year after the USA renamed its War Department to the Defense Department. PPS-23 was declassified in 1974. Kennan made infamous observations in PPS-23, including:


    “Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

    “…We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and - for the Far East - unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”


    Kennan was the author of the USA’s “containment policy,” but Kennan wrote in 1985:


    “In no way did the Soviet Union appear, at that moment, as a military threat to this country. The Soviet Union was utterly exhausted by the exertions and sacrifices of the recent war.”


    In the 1960s, Kennan lectured on the idea that when the USA created NATO:


    “they had drawn a line arbitrarily across Europe against an attack no one was planning,” and Kennan admitted that there was really “nothing to contain.”


    Herman and Chomsky regularly wrote about American policymakers in the early postwar years and what the real game was, which they openly admitted in their top-secret planning documents.


    Best,

    Wade
    Last edited by Wade Frazier; 16th June 2018 at 22:58.
    My big essay, published in 2014, is here.

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    Default Re: WADE FRAZIER : A Healed Planet

    Hi:

    Here is an early draft of my rewrite of my summary of Noam and Ed’s After the Cataclysm. It will receive plenty more work before I get it into the shape I want, but here is a peek.

    After the Cataclysm

    In Chomsky and Herman’s After the Cataclysm, their emphasis was on how the American media system focused on events in Indochina after the American withdrawal, and how it helped reconstruct the USA’s imperial ideology. The bludgeoning of Southeast Asia, which caused several million deaths, had to be framed as a noble cause gone awry, not an imperial undertaking. In that regard, the USA’s media engaged in the task of transforming the USA from perpetrator to a concerned observer with clean hands that could righteously moralize about the failings of its victims, as it falsely portrayed them as the victims of others, as if the USA had no responsibility for how events unfolded in postwar Indochina, even as it actively prevented aid from reaching its victims.

    In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman made their stance explicit, writing in the book’s first paragraph:


    “We will consider the facts about postwar Indochina insofar as they can be ascertained, but a major emphasis will be on the ways in which these facts have been interpreted, filtered, distorted or modified by the ideological institutions in the West.”


    Chomsky and Herman wrote about how American pundits immediately began framing the American invasion of Indochina as a mistake, not a crime, and the media endlessly repeated the myth that the USA’s intention was to protect the freedom of South Vietnam’s peasants. Chomsky and Herman quoted the New York Times’s leading “dovish” pundit on the Vietnam War, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Anthony Lewis, who wrote:


    “The early American decisions on Indochina can be regarded as blundering efforts to do good. But by 1969 it was clear to most of the world – and most Americans – that the intervention had been a disastrous mistake.”


    That became the standard theme of American apologists. The USA was not attacking Vietnam, but defending it, in its “blundering efforts to do good.” Chomsky and Herman wrote reframing crimes as “mistakes” and “errors” had rich precedence; they quoted Klaus Barbie, during his comfortable retirement in Bolivia, after rendering his services to the Third Reich:


    “the mass killings of Jews constituted a grave error. Many of the SS officers believed that the Jews could have been put to better use building roads to facilitate the advance of our troops.”


    Chomsky and Herman wrote that as Herman Goering was being interrogated at Nuremberg after the Nazis were defeated, he said that genocide of the Jews was not a crime, but a:


    “vast political blunder; many would have made good nationalists and joined in the Liquidation of the communists. If only Hitler had not confused the issues….”


    Chomsky and Herman surveyed the USA after its Revolutionary War, and France after World War II. In postwar France, around 30,000 to 50,000 French citizens were summarily executed, generally for the alleged crime of Nazi collaboration, and such murders happened while France was under the authority of Dwight Eisenhower, with Winston Churchill’s approval, as Eisenhower implemented Franklin Roosevelt’s directive. In the American Revolutionary War, the relative affluence of Americans muted the barbarities that typically plague postwar situations, but Chomsky and Herman noted that about 100,000 loyal British subjects were driven from the colonies by the revolutionaries, and that massacres were common between loyalists and rebels. About 20% of the colonial population, about a half million in all, were loyalists to the British crown. Chomsky and Herman used those postwar examples, both of which had minimal suffering compared to what the Vietnamese people did, in order to calibrate what the postwar experience in Vietnam could have been like.

    Contrary to Nixon’s warnings of a communist bloodbath in postwar Vietnam, one did not happen. In their chapter on postwar Vietnam, Chomsky and Herman wrote about how the American media portrayed the events in Vietnam in the harshest possible light. The testimonies of many credible Western witnesses, who noted many positive developments in recovering from the American invasion, were disregarded in favor of the lurid claims made a French priest, André Gelinas, who served in Vietnam and made extremely fanciful claims, such as that the Vietnamese people wished that the USA would drop atomic weapons on them, to end the scourge of communism once and for all. Virtually none of Gelinas’s claims could be independently verified, and when they could be subjected to verification, the findings demonstrated that Gelinas was far from a credible witness. A great deal of credible Western testimony, such as from Quakers, Mennonites, relief workers, and UN officials, were entirely disregarded by the American media in favor of Gelinas’s fabrications, which were prominently published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other media venues.

    Chomsky and Herman made clear that few nations on Earth really helped much with reconstructing Indochina after it was destroyed by the USA. When help was given, it was invariably done over the objections of the USA, as it tried to prevent Indochina from receiving any assistance as it recovered, in a historic example of vindictiveness. Most of Indochina’s draft animals were killed in the wars, and when India sent 100 water buffaloes to Vietnam to help replenish its decimated herds, India had to route its donation through the Indian Red Cross, to avoid U.S. retribution, as the USA outlawed any nation’s aid from going to communist-ruled Vietnam or Cuba.

    Chomsky and Herman summarized how the American ideological system operates, which became a prominent theme in their work:


    “The beauty of the democratic system of thought control, as contrasted with their clumsy totalitarian counterparts, is that they operate by subtly establishing on a voluntary basis – aided by the forces of nationalism and media control by substantial interests – presuppositions that set the limits of debate, rather than by imposing beliefs with a bludgeon. Then let the debate rage; the more lively and vigorous it is, the better the propaganda system is served, since the presuppositions (U.S. benevolence, lack of rational imperial goals, defensive posture, etc.) are more firmly established. Those who do not accept the fundamental principles of state propaganda are simply excluded from the debate (or if noticed, dismissed as ‘emotional,’ ‘irresponsible,’ etc.”


    Thousands of Indochinese farmers and others were killed by exploding ordnance that did not initially explode when the USA dropped it on Indochina, as well as leftover mines. A Laotian official, Vice-Foreign minister Khamphay Boupha, met with the American official in charge of postwar Indochinese relations, Frederick Brown, and the Laotian official concluded his summation of the meeting with:


    “The US has dropped 3 million tons of bombs – one ton per head – forced 700,000 people to abandon their fields; thousands of people were killed and maimed, and the unexploded ordnance continues to take its toll. Surely the US does not show humanitarian concern by refusing to heal the wounds of war.”


    Khamphay noted that Brown not only dismissed the idea of any forthcoming aid, but that the USA “forced Thailand to close the border.”

    Chomsky and Herman wrote at length on the failings of Christian Science Monitor, as it parroted the propaganda about postwar Indochina as uncritically as the rest of the media, while it portrayed itself as a publication of high-minded thought on foreign affairs.

    The largest chapter in After the Cataclysm was on postwar Cambodia. That chapter became the basis for a major international campaign to falsely portray Chomsky, and to a lesser extent, Herman, as apologists for the Khmer Rouge and defenders or deniers of the resultant genocide in Cambodia.

    Chomsky and Herman repeated throughout After the Cataclysm that their concern was the media’s treatment of postwar Cambodia, such as:


    “As in the other cases discussed, our primary concern here is not to establish the facts with regard to postwar Indochina, but rather to investigate their refraction through the prism of Western ideology, a very different task.”


    Chomsky and Herman noted that Time magazine, in preparation for an article on Cambodia (“Cambodia: An Experiment in Genocide”, July 31, 1978) had approached Chomsky to elicit his support for the Khmer Rouge regime. Chomsky replied to Time with a partial list of fabrications about the Cambodian situation that Time and other American publications were responsible for. Time’s article did not name any “political theorists” who defended “the Cambodian tragedy” and Khmer Rouge atrocities because, as Chomsky and Herman noted, Time could not find any.

    Chomsky and Herman wrote about Cambodia:


    “It is a common error, as we have pointed out several times, to interpret opposition to U.S. intervention and aggression as support for the programs of its victims, a useful device for state propagandists but one that often has no basis in fact.”


    In their chapter on postwar Cambodia, Herman and Chomsky repeated their theme from The Washington Connection, on the discrepancy of media treatment of Cambodia and East Timor, such as:


    “A few months after Khieu Samphan’s now famous ‘admission’ that his regime was responsible for the deaths of about one-sixth of the population of Cambodia, Indonesian Prime Minister Adam Malik admitted that 50-80,000 people, close to the same percentage of the population, had been killed in East Timor in the course of what the Indonesia propaganda ministry and the New York Times called the ‘civil war’ – that is, the U.S. backed Indonesian invasion and massacre – though one would not have discovered that fact from the U.S. media. While Khieu Samphan’s ‘admission’ was concocted by the media and scholarship on the basis of remarks that quite possibly were never made, Malik’s admission, by contrast, was clear and explicit. A comparison of media reaction to the actual admission by Malik and the concocted ‘admission’ by Samphan gives some insight into what lies behind the machinations of the Free Press.”


    In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote at length about the tragedy of Cambodia and what caused it. Contrary to the “gentle land” description of pre-war Cambodia found in the media, Cambodia had long been torn by strife, particularly by France’s brutal imperial reign there.

    Chomsky and Herman wrote on subjects completely neglected by the American media regarding Cambodia, such as the idea that Nixon and Kissinger’s escalation of bombing in 1973 not only created the conditions that brought the Khmer Rouge to power, but it was an intentional act, as the authors considered Michael Vickery’s explanation to be quite plausible, to wit:


    “Vickery points out that the Kissinger-Nixon policy during the last two years of the war was a ‘major mystery,’ for which he suggests an explanation that appears to us quite plausible. Referring to the ‘Sonnenfeldt Doctrine,’ which holds that ‘pluralistic and libertarian Communist regimes will breed leftist ferment in the West,’ he suggests that ‘when it became clear [to U.S. leaders] that they could not win in Cambodia, they preferred to do everything possible to ensure that the post-war revolutionary government be extremely brutal, doctrinaire, and frightening to its neighbors, rather than a moderate socialism to which the Thai, for example, might look with envy.’ In short, through it was understood that the United States had lost the war in Cambodia (even though it was, quite clearly, still trying to win it in Vietnam), the destruction of rural Cambodia, by imposing the harshest possible conditions on the eventual victors, would serve two classic ends: retarding social and economic progress, and maximizing the brutality of the eventual victors. Then the aggressors would at least be able to reap a propaganda victory from the misery they had sown.”


    Another neglected idea in the American media also applied to Vietnam, in that Indochina was comprised of peasant societies, which for the entirety of agrarian civilizations had produced a limited agricultural surplus, which was often coercively taxed by the urban societies in their midst, as the agrarian hinterlands supported the cities. Cambodia’s and Vietnam’s cities had long been the headquarters for France’s colonial undertaking, and the USA’s epic bombing of Indochina was partly inflicted to drive the peasantry off of their lands and into cities and “strategic hamlets,” to destroy the popular base of support for communism. Without the huge influx of food to the cities of those war-torn nations, delivered by the USA, the artificial economies of Saigon and Phnom Pen would not have survived, and the urban dwellers would have soon starved to death. The evacuations of Saigon and Phnom Pen to the countryside were largely a return of rural peasants who had been forced into the cities, to stave off starvation, especially when the USA avidly prevented and foreign aid from reaching those nations.

    In addition, the long-standing conflict between rural and urban society in Indochina was greatly intensified by the American invasion, and Chomsky and Herman wrote that the brutal aftermath in Cambodia seemed to be largely due to peasant vengeance on urban dwellers, who comprised the colonial elite under French and American rule. The authors wrote that those historical dynamics contributed to the atrocities and brutal rule of the peasant-based Khmer Rouge. Chomsky and Herman noted that the early reports of atrocities in postwar Cambodia came from parts of the nation where the Khmer Rouge’s influence was relative muted, as the peasants engaged in prodigious score-settling, particularly against the wealthy and former city-dwellers.

    Near the end of After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote:


    “When the facts are in, it may well turn out that the more extreme condemnations were in fact correct. But even if that turns out to be the case, it will in no way alter the conclusions we have reached on the central question addressed here: how the available facts were selected, modified, or sometimes invented to create a certain image offered to the general population. The answer to this question seems clear, and it is unaffected by whatever may be discovered about Cambodia in the future.”


    Chomsky and Herman could not have been clearer that their task was to focus on how the American media handled events such as the slaughters in Indonesia, East Timor, and Cambodia, not to support the regimes that might have slaughtered fewer people than their neighbors, as if the lesser of two evils was somehow good.

    In their final comments in After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman wrote:


    “Our primary concern has been U.S. global policy and propaganda, and the filtering and distorting effect of Western ideology, not the problems of reconstruction and modernization in societies that have been victimized by Western imperialism. Correspondingly, we have not developed or expressed our views here on the nature of the Indochinese regimes. To assess the contemporary situation in Indochina and the programs of the current ruling groups is a worthwhile endeavor, but it has not been our current objective. […] The success of the Free Press in reconstructing imperial ideology since the U.S. withdrawal has been spectacular. The shift of the United States from causal agent to bystander – and even to leader of the struggle for human rights – in the face of its empire of client fascism and long, vicious assault on the peasant societies of Indochina, is a remarkable achievement. The system of brainwashing under freedom, with mass media voluntary self-censorship in accord with the larger interests of the state, has worked brilliantly.”


    In their subsequent Manufacturing Consent, Herman and Chomsky summarized the decade of the Cambodian catastrophe and the American media’s treatment of it:


    “Phase I: From 1969 through 1975, U.S. bombing at a historically unprecedented level and a civil war sustained by the United States left the country in utter ruins. Though Congress legislated an end to the bombing in August 1973, U.S. participation in the ongoing slaughter continued until the Khmer Rouge victory in April 1975 […] The vast numbers of Cambodians killed, injured, and traumatized in that period were, in our conception […] ‘unworthy victims.’”

    “Phase II: From April 1975 through 1978 Cambodia was subjected to the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge, overthrown by the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in December 1978 […] the Pol Pot era is the ‘holocaust’ that was widely compared to the worst atrocities of Hitler and Stalin, virtually from the outset, with massive publicity and outrage at the suffering of these ‘worthy’ victims.”

    “Phase III: Vietnam installed the Heng Samrin regime in power in Cambodia, but the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) coalition, based primarily on the Khmer Rouge, maintained international recognition apart from the Soviet Bloc. Reconstructed with the aid of China and the United States on the Thai-Cambodia border and in Thai bases, the Khmer Rouge guerillas, the only effective DK military force, continued to carry out activities in Cambodia of a sort called ‘terrorist’ when a friendly government is the target […] Phase III renewed the status of the people of Cambodia as worthy victims, suffering under Vietnamese rule.”


    One theme of Chomsky and Herman’s work was that a reason for unthinking acceptance of the idea of United States’s good intentions in its international behavior is the relative freedom of its domestic society. In a section of The Washington Connection titled, “Brainwashing under freedom,” Chomsky and Herman wrote: “As should be obvious from the most cursory examination of history … internal freedom is quite compatible with exploitative and even inhumane external conduct extending over many decades.” The authors provided examples of that phenomenon, including Ancient Athens’s aggressive military behavior, when it was the inventor of democracy, and Western Europe’s plundering of humanity on several continents from the 17th to 20th centuries, even though its societies were relatively open.


    Best,

    Wade
    Last edited by Wade Frazier; Today at 15:47.
    My big essay, published in 2014, is here.

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