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The Grayzone Has it in for ‘UK Trotskyist’ Gilbert Achcar and…Noam Chomsky.

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Democrats back letter on Syria and the ‘anti-imperialism of fools’.Grayzone Reveals ‘UK Trotskyist’ Achcar First Circulated it.

This welcome letter was published a few days ago:

Erasing People through Disinformation: Syria and the “Anti-Imperialism” of Fools

By: Multiple signersMarch 27, 2021

Disreputable writers and outlets, often operating under the aegis of “independent journalism” with purportedly “leftwing” views, are spreading corrosive propaganda and disinformation that aims to strip Syrians of political agency

[The following Open Letter was a collaborative effort of a group of Syrian writers and intellectuals and others who stand in solidarity with them. It is signed by activists, writers, artists, and academics from Syria and 34 other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and South America, and appears in multiple languages: English, ArabicFrenchSpanishGreek, and Italian.]

Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising ten years ago, and especially since Russia intervened in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad, there has been a curious and malign development: the emergence of pro-Assad allegiances in the name of “anti-imperialism” among some who otherwise generally identify as progressive or “left,” and the consequent spread of manipulative disinformation that routinely deflects attention away from the well-documented abuses of Assad and his allies. Portraying themselves as “opponents” of imperialism, they routinely exhibit a highly selective attention to matters of “intervention” and human rights violations that often aligns with the governments of Russia and China; those who disagree with their highly-policed views are frequently (and falsely) branded as “regime change enthusiasts” or dupes of western political interests.

The divisive and sectarianising role played by this group is unmistakable: in their simplistic view, all pro-democracy and pro-dignity movements that go against Russian or Chinese state interests are routinely portrayed as the top-down work of Western interference: none are autochthonous, none are of a piece with decades of independent domestic struggle against brutal dictatorship (as in Syria), and none truly represent the desires of people demanding the right to lives of dignity rather than oppression and abuse. What unites them is a refusal to contend with the crimes of the Assad regime, or even to acknowledge that a brutally repressed popular uprising against Assad took place.

It continues.

But they do not rightfully belong in that company. No one who explicitly or implicitly aligns themselves with the malignant Assad government does. No one who selectively and opportunistically deploys charges of “imperialism” for reasons of their particular version of “left” politics rather than opposing it consistently in principle across the globe — thereby acknowledging the imperialist interventionism of Russia, Iran, and China — does.

These writers and outlets have mushroomed in recent years, and have often positioned Syria at the forefront of their criticisms of imperialism and interventionism, which they characteristically restrict to the west; Russian and Iranian involvement is generally ignored. In doing so, they have sought to align themselves with a long and venerable tradition of internal domestic opposition to the abuses of imperial power abroad, not only but quite often issuing from the left.

Often under the guise of practicing “independent journalism,” these various writers and outlets have functioned as chief sources of misinformation and propaganda about the ongoing global disaster that Syria has become. Their reactionary, inverted Realpolitik is as fixated on top-down, anti-democratic “power politics” as that of Henry Kissinger or Samuel Huntington, just with the valence reversed. But this maddeningly oversimplifying rhetorical move (“flipping the script” as one of them once put it), as appealing as it might be to those eager to identify who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are at any given place on the planet, is really an instrument of tailored flattery for their audiences about the “true workings of power” that serves to reinforce a dysfunctional status quo and impede the development of a truly progressive and international approach to global politics, one that we so desperately need, given the planetary challenges of responding to global warming.

The evidence that US power has itself been appallingly destructive, especially during the Cold War, is overwhelming: all across the globe, from Vietnam to Indonesia to Iran to Congo to South and Central America and beyond, the record of massive human rights abuses accumulated in the name of fighting Communism is clear. And in the post-Cold War period of the so-called “War on Terror,” American interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have done nothing to suggest a fundamental national change of heart.

But, America is not central to what has happened in Syria, despite what these people claim. The idea that it somehow is, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, is a by-product of a provincial political culture which insists on both the centrality of US power globally as well as the imperialist right to identify who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are in any given context.

The ideological alignment of rightwing admirers of Assad with this kind of authoritarian-friendly “leftism” is symptomatic of this, and indicates that the very real and very serious problem lies elsewhere: what to do when a people is as abused by their government as the Syrian people have been, held captive by those who think nothing of torturing, disappearing, and murdering people for even the slightest hint of political opposition to their authority? As many countries move closer and closer to authoritarianism and away from democracy, this seems to us a profoundly urgent political question to which there is yet no answer; and because there is no answer, all across the globe there is growing impunity on the part of the powerful, and growing vulnerability for the powerless.

About this, these “anti-imperialists” have no helpful words. About the profound political violence visited upon the Syrian people by the Assads, the Iranians, the Russians? No words. Forgive us for pointing out that such erasure of Syrian lives and experiences embodies the very essence of imperialist (and racist) privilege. These writers and bloggers have shown no awareness of the Syrians, including signatories to this letter, who risked their lives opposing the regime, who have been incarcerated in the Assads’ torture prisons (some for many years), lost loved ones, had friends and family forcibly disappeared, fled their country – even though many Syrians have been writing and speaking about these experiences for many years.

Collectively, Syrian experiences from the Revolution to the present pose a fundamental challenge to the world as it appears to these people. Syrians who directly opposed the Assad regime, often at great cost, did not do so because of some Western imperialist plot, but because decades of abuse, brutality, and corruption were and remain intolerable. To insist otherwise, and support Assad, is to attempt to strip Syrians of all political agency and endorse the Assads’ longstanding policy of domestic politicide, which has deprived Syrians of any meaningful say in their government and circumstances.

We Syrians and supporters of the Syrian people’s struggle for democracy and human rights take these attempts to “disappear” Syrians from the world of politics, solidarity, and partnership as quite consistent with the character of the regimes these people so evidently admire. This is the “anti-imperialism” and “leftism” of the unprincipled, of the lazy, and of fools, and only reinforces the dysfunctional international gridlock exhibited in the UN Security Council. We hope that readers of this piece will join us in opposing it.

It seems to have got up somebody’s nose.

Max Blumenthal (born December 18, 1977) is an American journalist, author, blogger, and filmmaker. Blumenthal established The Grayzone in December 2015; he is the website’s editor and one of its contributors.

Achcar is an Arabic speaking francophone ( well known to a large public in France) who writes for the left wing Le Monde Diplomatique, this blogger recalls articles in the Diplo for many many years. He now teaches in London.

Gilbert Achcar:

Achcar was raised in Lebanon where he obtained degrees in philosophy and the social sciences at the Lebanese University. He took up residence in France in 1983, and completed his doctorate in social history and international relations at the University of Paris VIII, where, in 1991, he began teaching political science, sociology and international relations. In 2003 he took up a research position at the Marc Bloch Centre in Berlin, which he maintained until he assumed a professorship at SOAS.

I note this on the French Wikipedia entry on Achcar, ” Il a participé à l’élaboration d’un ouvrage sur la politique étrangère des États-Unis avec l’intellectuel controversé Noam Chomsky: 2009 (avec Noam Chomsky), Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.s. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice, Paradigm, (deuxième édition revue et augmentée).

Written by Andrew Coates

March 29, 2021 at 1:01 pm

Red-Brown Professor, Paul McKeigue, close comrade of David Miller, “fake Russian spy and the undercover Syria sting.”

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Eliot Higgins on Twitter: "Here's just some of the things Paul McKeigue got  up. Fortunately for the people he was reporting on it he wasn't actually  speaking to Russian intelligence, but people

Assad Apologist and Close Comrade of David Miller

Observer : The UK professor, a fake Russian spy and the undercover Syria sting

This story is the depths. One of the leading members of David Miller’s red-brown “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media was prepared to inform on people, with potentially life-threatening consequences, to the Putin regime. There is little doubt, had the agent been real that the Assad regime would have heard as well.

Who is this creature?

A more sceptical academic than Paul McKeigue might perhaps have wondered if the emails flooding into his inbox from “Ivan”, a purported Russian spy, were too good to be true.

The Edinburgh genetics professor – who devotes large quantities of his private time to pursuing fringe theories claiming that attacks on civilians are staged to smear the government of Bashar al-Assad – dived eagerly into his new correspondence.

Over three months he filled hundreds of pages with speculation, including accusing journalists, researchers and diplomats of working as conduits for western intelligence agencies. He revealed the identity of a confidential source, and shared information she gave him.

Ivan appeared to share many of McKeigue’s own personal obsessions, particularly his desire to discredit investigators who compile evidence of war crimes committed in Syria. And he claimed access to both ready cash and secret intelligence.

But McKeigue was not writing to a Russian spy, or even a man called Ivan. The email account was controlled by a group of staff at one of the organisations he hoped to discredit, who say they went undercover because of concerns over the tactics McKeigue and his allies were prepared to deploy in an effort to defend the Syrian government and its Russian allies.

diplomat at the Geneva embassy, first secretary Sergey Krutskikh, was corresponding with fellow members of the “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media” on encrypted systems.

This is an alliance of far-left academics and researchers who claim western journalists, NGOs and others act on behalf of the CIA and MI6 to undermine the Syrian government, including faking evidence of civilian deaths and chemical attacks.

It includes the controversial Bristol University professor David Miller, who has been accused of antisemitism by his own students, a claim he denies, and the blogger Vanessa Beeley, who has frequently visited Syria on government-sponsored trips.

Group members have questioned the veracity of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and claimed Russia was framed for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

They were also part of a years-long public campaign against the White Helmets, a civilian rescue organisation that enraged pro-Syrian and Russian factions by recording atrocities as they tried to save lives, then sharing the footage.

Shiraz has an excellent report on the story, which began with a report in the Times and then the BBC and is still unfolding: Pro-Assad academic tried to grass up human rights activists to Putin.

Meanwhile fellow Red-Browner Chris Williamson retweets another pro-Assad tout; (Chris Williamson Retweeted

Written by Andrew Coates

March 28, 2021 at 1:47 pm

Labour Briefing Defends David Miller Against Zionist ‘Trojan Horses’ and Momentum ‘Left Zionism’.

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Notorious Bristol professor David Miller and other far-left activists attack sir Keir Starmer over “Zionist

David Miller, If you follow the links you never know what  Zionist Trojan horses will jump out.

This is Briefing’s defence of David Miller..

Here’s the full transcript of Miller’s comment during a Brighton Labour Left Alliance zoom meeting held in June 2020:

The comments which have most upset Miller’s critics in the past concern the activities of the pro-Israel lobby in Britain. These are clearly not anti-Semitic.

However, one comment does show Miller criticizing a Jewish-Muslim community initiative to distribute chicken soup to homeless people. At first glance, this does seems both ridiculous and even perhaps anti-Semitic. But, when looked at in context, it appears rather different.

This is the “context”.

DAVID MILLER’S COMMENTS ON THAT ‘SOUP KITCHEN’: THE FACTS

For some bizarre reason Briefing thinks it makes it all better to read the full rant.

It’s a question of the attempt by the Zionist movement in this country – also it’s happened in France and Germany prior to this – to normalize Zionism on the left in those countries, yes, but also to normalize Zionism within the Muslim community.

Here’s the lowdown,

The reason that they’re doing this, of course, is that the only two forces which can threaten them are the Muslim, [the] organized Muslim community, and the left. And they are panicked – as have been the leaders of our country, of our state, in the intelligence services – panicked by what they saw in 2003, and for a few years after that, of the organized Muslim community coming together with the organized left, to march against the Iraq war.

The eminent historian of this ‘threat’ to the ‘Zionist movement’ in this country continues,

I don’t know if you all remember, but there was a moment which happened of unity there, where the Muslim Association of Britain and [the] Stop the War Coalition, which of course is a coalition of various other groups along with CND and others, came together. And MAB said: ‘Look, the theme of this demonstration should be Palestine. It shouldn’t just be about being against war, about Iraq, it should be Palestine.’ And there was, kind of, opposition in parts of the left and from some parts of the Stop the War coalition etc. to that. But it was agreed in the end. And that was a breakthrough moment for pro-Palestinian politics.

Skipping over MAB’s background in the hard right Muslim Brotherhood, and ties to he far-right Hamas,   few can recall the ‘pro-Palestine’ issue at stake in the invasion of Iraq,

And that scared the Israelis, it scared MI5 and MI6 and, in the [United] States, it scared the security establishment there. And they’ve been operating since then to attack and dissolve the possibility of Muslims and the left working together on questions of imperialism.

Wisely Miller does not continue to describe the  adventures in the ‘left’ party ‘pro-Muslim  Respect led by George Galloway and its own alliance with MAB, That seemed to have done a pretty good job of fucking itself up without any help from outside.

Against Western interventions George Galloway of course remains against Western action in Syria.

Perhaps Miller could have talked about how that is helping the Palestinian cause….

He is an ‘expert’ on Syria..

Zionist Trojan Horses.

This is how they operated…

In particular they’ve done this through inter-faith work, pretending that Jews and Muslims working together will be an apolitical way of countering racial misunderstandings. No, it’s a Trojan horse for normalizing Zionism in the Muslim community.

Chicken Soup,

We saw it in [the] East London Mosque, for example, where the East London Mosque, unknowingly, held this project of making chicken soup with the Jewish and Muslim communities coming together. This is an Israeli-backed project to normalize Zionism within the Muslim community. And they’re doing that at the same time as they were doing the attack on Corbyn and the continued attack on the left to normalize Zionism on the Left.

It takes some special gift to see the link between attacks on Corbyn and broth making. But if you open that Pandora’s Box, you never know what Trojan horses will jump out.

Peeling off,

This is how the same Zionist operators worked on the left…

You said they were successful – and I think we can debate the extent to which they were successful – but they did manage to peel off a certain section of the left. And we saw that in the beginning – we didn’t maybe realise [that] at the time – with what happened to Jackie [Walker] who was in the calls? just now, who was peeled off from Momentum and then elements of Momentum peeled off.

So, even elements of Momentum became turned by a kind of left-Zionism, by elements of the [Jewish Labour Movement], partly no doubt to do with the pro-Zionists in the AWL, the Alliance for Workers Liberty, pro-Zionist left. (I believe ‘Trotskyist’ is the appropriate term for them as well.) And so that, I think, is a real issue. And the Israeli Government, of course, have been involved in this from the beginning.

The Two Strategies of You Know Who..

  1. “They prepared the ground, going back to the early 2000s, by redefining anti-Semitism to include anti-Zionism: the creation of the new ‘new anti-Semitism’.”
  2. “And then, on the other hand, they sent in their undercover operatives, and money from the [Israeli] Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which, of course, Asa [Winstanley] you’ve have written about extensively. And I’m sure there’s much more information to come about that. They sent in Shia Masot who was seen in that undercover documentary to spread money around. Many of these new Zionist hawk organizations, Sussex Friends of Israel, North West Friends of Israel, Glasgow Friends of Israel, Lawyers for Israel etc. etc., [and] a whole range of other groups that sprung up, in part, due to direct subventions from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.”

Most people would say that the anti-Zionist’ ultras did a pretty good job all on their own in pissing off their one-time allies on the left.

 

They are still at it:

Please note this interesting education series organised by the Labour Left Alliance. All five sessions will be introduced by Tony Greenstein, member of the LAW steering committee. All sessions start at 6pm.

Zionism: Past, present – and future?

March 12: Introduction to Zionism
March 19:  Zionism and anti-Semitism
March 26: Was there such a thing as socialism Zionism?
April 2: Zionism during the holocaust
April 9: What does Zionism mean in the context of the Israeli state?

Register here for the whole LLA education series:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EL5W0TIvTCyBvH-OYWR8ig

 

Here is Greenstein’s latest target, Caroline Lucas:

 

The Briefing Office ends the piece with this:

“Miller needs to be defended from very real attempts to have him removed from his academic job. Academics wishing to join Noam Chomsky and many others in showing support for David can sign this petition”.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

March 10, 2021 at 5:01 pm