Thursday, 31 December 2009

Al Giordano's censorship "GOOD" - Iranian censorship "BAA-AA-D"

Al Giordano has come out very strongly in support of the Green counter-revolution in Iran. Giordano has taken a very strong line against leftwing equivocation over issues surrounding support of this Iranian rebellion, mainly due to the fact that any such support converges with the interests of American Imperium, as reflected in Western Media and its support for this supposedly "popular uprising" in Iran.

The concerns over support for the Iranian rebellion are evident across the left - it has been a real issue. Many on the left balk at finding themselves (once again) on the same "side" as the Washington Consensus, Western corporate mass media, and the various arms of the US state operating through NED, USAID, Freedom House, IRI, etc.

[In Al Giordano's case, this is a very relevant issue, as Al Giordano's NarcoNews receives financial support from one institution which has very close ties to the "coloured revolution" support mechanisms - Peter Ackerman's International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Peter Ackerman was director and chair of Freedom House for 10 years, and Freedom House is currently active in Iran. Freedom House was named by Eva Gollinger as being part of the network of NGOs operating to effect American state policy through destabilisation of Venezuela, for example. See the discussion here - which Al Giordano responds to, in his usual aggressive, ad-hominem way.]

For many on the left, there's a deep unease to find one's self sharing a position with the mainstream media, the US State Department, Soros' NGOs, etc. Such concerns, and the resons for it are obvious. In Iran's case, we know it is currently the exemplary existing target for American aggression and imperialism.

Here's Edward Herman, writing shortly after the disputed Iranian elections in July 09:
There are many problems with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy's "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis," issued by the CPD on July 7, and widely circulated since then.1

The CPD adopted this format, it tells us, because "some on the left, and others as well, have questioned the legitimacy of and the need for solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement," and the CPD believes "those questions need to be squarely addressed."

We believe, on the contrary, that the CPD's 13 questions-and-answers do little to clarify issues related to Iran's June 12 presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath, and even less to help leftists and "American progressives" decide how they should respond to them.

As we try to show below, when stripped of its didactic format, this Q&A amounts to little more than an emotional plea to its target audience to surrender what remains of their leftist instincts (long under siege in the States, and shrinking rapidly), and join its authors for a ride on the "green wave" of yet another color-coded campaign that fits well with one of their government's longest-running programs of destabilization and regime change. We believe that any "confusion" felt by the left and "American progressives" towards these events is a confusion that has been sown by our would-be instructors.

The emphasis in Herman's statement above has been added as it points to the general direction of my concerns which I attempted to put to Al Giordano at his NarcoNews website. The exchange follows. [Note - I don't have a strong position on the Iranian uprising, the supposed election fraud, whether the uprising is "progressive" or not.......I simply do not know. I haven't reached any position on it - nor do I find it especially important that I should. What does it have to do with me? I can only offer hope that something progressive and leftwing might come out of it - or even a simple improvement in Iranian living standards, "freedom", whatever. Platitudes. I personally wouldn't dare to be so presumptuous as to claim to be able to identify the most progressive elements in Iran, let alone demand that people - especially leftwingers - must adopt hardline support and activism in support for their "revolution". Especially as it would mean adopting the same platform as US State Dept, US policy, Western Media, NED, IRI, USAID etc. I have concerns - no dogmatic answers. Al Giordano is a little different, see below.]

I posted 3 comments under a current article on Iran authored by NarcoNews' Al Giordano. My first post was posted, and Al Giordano responded in his usual aggressive and insulting style.

My follow-ups have not been published.

My published comment:
So what's the difference between..........
Submitted December 29, 2009 - 2:40 am by Gwenllian of the Valley (not verified)

So what's the difference between..........Al Giordano's support for "peaceful revolution" in Iran, and the support of, say, George W Bush's CIA?

Al raises the meme about Western Media always being wrong, yet Al's take on Iran is the same. Sure, Al mentions the corporate media's perspective of "looking up", but what is the difference, really, Al? Can you be clear about the difference, if any, please?

Al also seems to be admitting the tactical benefits of censorship - he admits the Iranian protests might benefit from an absence of Western Media exposure.

Absent such exposure, how are people expected to gain any inkling of what is going on? How does Al Giordano find out, for example?

And whilst Western Media's lack of interest might be of benefit to the Iranian protestors, Al Giordano is reporting the protests. And Al Giordano's position seems very similar to Western Media perspective - support for the protests - a pespective seemingly consistent with the wishes and aims of the American State Department.

So.......whilst there's an air of criticism here of "Western Media", I can't see how Al Giordano's position is different. Both Al and the "Western Media" support the protests, both take the perspective the protests are "good"/"progressive", both hold the elections were unsound/fraudulent, both have continued reporting such.

Likewise I can't see a difference between Al G's position and that of the US State Dept, under Obama or Bush.

It might be interesting if Al Giordano would explain a little.

Also of interest would be some description of what the movement Al Giordano seems to be supporting in Iran is all about. What makes it so progressive? What interests does it serve? A frustrated bourgeois capitalist class? Or what?

Also of interest would be how Al Giordano knows this information? Bit of an Iranian expert, is he?
Al Giordano's reply follows:
@ Whackjob of the Valley
Submitted December 29, 2009 - 8:57 am by Al Giordano

Dear Paranoid Nutcase,

First of all, you have some homework to do, Missy (or Buster, or whatever the moniker is to show the proper lack of respect). This isn’t the first essay I’ve written on the situation in Iran, and some have addressed crackpot logic like yours directly already:
How do I know – and why should you know – that the Iranian working class opposes, organizes against and receives the blows of the illegitimate regime?

Because they write us and tell us, Sherlock!
Your faux-leftist poseur stance in fact abandons and betrays the struggles of the authentic Iranian working class.

While I don't claim to be any kind of expert on that part of the world, I'm neither a blogger-come-lately to events there. I began paying attention to Iranian politics and history in the 1970s. My first sources were Iranian students of socialist, communist and other leftist and pro-worker tendencies who were fighting then against the US-backed Shah of Iran, a brutal dictator of the secular right wing. When those attending university in the US would hold protests, thousands of them would have to wear these cardboard orange masks to shield their identities from the SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police force, who would kill their family members back home if one of the protesters was recognized through a photograph or video.

In 1979 I watched good people like those young friends bring down the Shah dictatorship only, soon after, to become persecuted by the new theological regime. After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic liberation theologians – great leaders like the late Ayatollah Montazeri whose massive funeral last week, attacked by the regime’s basij police, sparked this latest round of resistance - that my friends had joined in coalition with to topple the Shah had lost an internal struggle to what might be called the Iranian equivalent of the religious right in the US.

Your logic (lacking any, really) is that whatever the policy of the United States is said to be places you on the other side. Oh, really? When, in the 1980s, the US Congress changed US policy to then oppose the Apartheid regime in South Africa, did you suddenly change sides and throw in against the African National Congress with the racist segregationists of the right?

The world is a lot more complicated than your copout position - of choosing your side based on what Washington does or says - allows. There are morons who support US policy blindly, I'm sure you think you are oppositional to them, and there are those, like you, that offer knee jerk opposition to it. Both are equally manipulated and dupes of the whirling Wurlitzer of media spin.

But I take an especially dim view of you and yours, because while claiming to be oppositional, you are in fact giving Washington absolute power over your opinions and letting its policies (or whatever you think they are) determine your political stances, even if in the negative. That’s simply pathetic and earns nothing but ridicule and scorn from me. You can safely expect to be upset by my future writings, too. And I can expect to be provided with years of happiness causing tantrums by you and yours, the slow class of the academic left.

My subsequent comments were not published (not yet at least). Here's my first reply [still unpublished/censored at NarcoNews]:
What's with the stroppiness?

What's with the stroppiness? I asked you some questions.......that's all.
Al Girodano: Your logic (lacking any, really) is that whatever the policy of the United States is said to be places you on the other side.
No. I was asking you to clarify your position, which on the face of it *is* the same policy as that of the United States and the corporate mainstream press.

I wanted to see something that differentiates your position from that of USA policy and the perspective of the Western Media, which you appear to criticise, yet which you also reflect.

I wanted to know what it is in Iran you are supporting - and why. You don't seem to say much. You posted the Union press release........but that only says "the International Workers’ Day 2009 in Iran, as is customary every year, was violently attacked by the police, and hundreds were beaten, verbally abused and detained."

Do you mean to suggest the Iranian rebellion is led by and represents the interests of "International Workers"? How influential and representative are the International Workers' groups which this press release represents? Not very, I suspect. So I wonder why you use it to illustrate what the Iranian unrest is about.

Obviously the International Workers' Groups are not the only constituency in Iran. Nor are they especially influential or representative, I suspect.

Who and what are the prevailing forces in the rebellion? What do they stand for (besides platitudes about opposing tyranny)?

One might just as well ask what the US State Department interests are in Iran, and who and what they are supporting in Iran, and why.

Why do you think there is this convergence between your support for Iranian revolution and the American state's support for it?

Why do you think there is a convergence between the mainstream western media's support for the revolution and your own?

Contrary to your assumptions, just because the Iranian islamic oligarchy is despicable, I don't see why support for opposition to it should be automatic. There needs to be sound reasons for support - beyond platitudes of "standing for freedom". Again - why is the US state so supportive of the rebellion, and why is the Western media so supportive too? What is it that they are supporting, and what is it that you are supporting? I don't think one Union press release does the question justice.
Al Giordano: "your copout position - of choosing your side based on what Washington does or says"
No. Silly.

But if one finds one's self in agreement with both the Washington consensus and that of the Western Media, one should really wonder why. And one needs best be clear about why. I don't think you have been. I don't see that you have explained your position or that of the forces which you lend your support to in Iran (and which you ask the rest of us to support.) There needs to be reasons to give support and not a simple binary and reflex opposition, which is what you accuse me of.

There are very obvious reasons why the US state dept and the Western Media support the Iranian rebellion. I don't think you have distinguished your position from theirs.
Al Giordano: I take an especially dim view of you and yours, because while claiming to be oppositional, you are in fact giving Washington absolute power over your opinions and letting its policies (or whatever you think they are) determine your political stances, even if in the negative. That’s simply pathetic and earns nothing but ridicule and scorn from me.
You don't know my views. Why be so presumptuous?

You are the one taking a definite and strongly held position - I thought you might at least be able to properly justify it. My questions gave you a platform to explain what the rebellion is about, and why it deserves support. I don't think you have done that : apparently you'd rather spend the time insulting me instead.

I'll read the articles you linked, thanks.
After reading some of Al Giordano's comments in relation to Hugo Chavez's denunciation of the Iranian Green Revolution as American Imperial adventure, I posted another comment - again it remains unpublished at NarcoNews.
Does Al Giordano speak like this about Chavez?

Does Al Giordano speak like this about Chavez?

I merely asked questions - and look at the vitriolic response from Giordano!

Yet Chavez unequivocally supported Ahmadinejad and "Iranian Revolution" following elections etc - and CLEARLY suggested the Iranian opposition was functioning as an aspect of American imperial foreign policy.

I didn't go so far - I merely asked a few pertinent questions, hoping Al might elucidate how he fell upon this certainty he holds over Iranian situation and the required stance to be taken on it. (And how his position is distinguished from that of the US State Department, the Western Media, Freedom House, NED, etc - all of whom, including Al, are singing from the same hymnsheet.)

So I asked questions - whereas Chavez was adamant his view was the view Giordano imagines I hold, a view which his reply made effort to ridicule.

Chavez's view. Whereas I merely asked questions.


Does Giordano call Chavez part of "the slow class of the academic left"?

Does Giordano take "an especially dim view" of Chavez because of such a view?

Does Giordano say "The world is a lot more complicated than [Chavez's] copout position..."?

Does Giordano say Chavez's "logic (lacking any, really) is that whatever the policy of the United States is said to be places you on the other side."

Does Giordano say Chavez's position is a "faux-leftist poseur stance" which "in fact abandons and betrays the struggles of the authentic Iranian working class."?


Giordano only says that to me, based on his assumption I hold the same views as Chavez.

I guess this will be swept into the moderator's "unacceptable" bin too, like my last post........

Nothing like a bit of discussion, eh, AL?



Here are some excerpts from Herman's statement on the CPD's Q+A about Iranian uprising:

For progressive Americans ..... isn't the net effect of the CPD's activism to increase the likelihood that the next president of Iran, some time in 2013 (if not sooner), will be a U.S.-supported candidate?
In short, the protests are certainly not entirely "homegrown" and have a pretty clear link both to direct destabilization campaigns and to the massive destabilizations imposed upon this region of the world by the United States and its allies just this decade alone. It is also interesting to note that Peter Ackerman, the founding chair of the U.S.-based International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and a former chair of the right-wing Freedom House, along with the ICNC's founding director and president Jack DuVall, once cynically cautioned that for a destabilization campaign such as this to be maximally effective against Iran, it "should not come from the CIA or Defense Department, but rather from pro-democracy programs throughout the West."
Pure coincidence that Al Giordano receives funding from the very same Peter Ackerman and his ICNC.........
Given that Hosni Mubarak's Egypt is on the U.S. payroll and a part of the "global spider's web" of secret prisons run by Washington, shouldn't we have been more concerned with Egypt's last presidential election in September 2005, which Mubarak, effectively Egypt's president-for-life, won with 89% of the vote? Shouldn't we pay more attention to the complete absence of elections in U.S. client Saudi Arabia? Or to client-state Mexico, where presidential elections have a long history of vote-rigging, the last one, in July 2006, stolen in favor of the pro-business, U.S.-favored candidate Felipe Calderon, and inspiring a massive tent-city protest in the center of Mexico City to demonstrate people's support for the leftist runner-up, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador?

In each of these theaters and the many others that fall within the U.S. sphere of influence and responsibility, the potential benefits of a sustained left-critique and consciousness-raising about U.S. policy and its devastating impact on the lives of people are far greater than anything to be gained by urging "solidarity" with dissenters in a distant land where the U.S. influence for constructive purposes is minimal, but its hostile and destructive interventionism has been and remains great.
By portraying the Islamic Republic as even more of an outlaw regime than it had been portrayed prior to June 12, doesn't this intensive focus on discrediting the Iranian election feed nicely into the U.S.-Israeli destabilization and regime-change campaign? No matter how much the CPD protests otherwise, doesn't its call for "solidarity with the anti-Ahmadinejad movement" and its advocacy for "a different form of government in Iran" encourage leftists to pull down their natural defenses against U.S. imperialism?

Much intelligent analysis has pointed to similarities between a strategy employed by the Mousavi camp in June 2009, and the strategy used in earlier campaigns of destabilization against U.S. targets for regime change that date back to the elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and the Ukraine in 2004, to name three where it succeeded.8 As was the case in these three other countries, the challenger Mousavi and his aides started by declaring Mousavi the "definite winner" by very wide margins on the day of the election (Friday, June 12), long before the polls had closed and the votes were counted; one Mousavi aide even told Agence France Presse that "Mousavi has got 65% of the votes cast," a "landslide victory," AFP called it.9 This was followed by Mousavi's claim on the next day (Saturday, June 13) that his rightful victory and therefore the will of the Iranian people had been stolen by the incumbent President Ahmadinejad's supporters in the Ministry of the Interior, with the official result delegitimized; from here went the calls to Iranians and all democracy-loving peoples the world over to reject it.


socrates said...

I personally can't make heads or tails on this. I've a feeling this is much more complex a situation than ideologues on both sides are portraying it.

If you'd like to try, I have posting a bit again at There is some raucous posting going on there concerning Iran. Though I tend to stick with posting about stuff I understand.

Al Giordano certainly is developing a reputation for practicing censorship at his blog. That's what freaked me out the most when he showed up at DFQ2. He's projecting about paranoia. He is anti-dialogue and debate. He doesn't know how to converse fairly or that is a deliberate strategy of his.

the_last_name_left said...

i don't know what is going on in Iran.

I'm just drawing attention to the fact Al Giordano thinks he does, and his dogmatic position just happens to dovetail perfectly into what we might call "the Freedom House thing".

ie a false dichotomy is created between military aggression on one hand, and peaceful opposition on the other - both of which FUNCTION to extend the interests of American Imperialism.

Military aggression first aggravates, then pushes the population into the arms of the "humanitarian and peaceful resistance." It covers all bases......

Whether conscious and wilful or not, the function is the same - serving the interests of american empire, and more widely, private capital.......

But is it "progress"? I don't know. Al seems to think he does, and chooses to ridicule those whom even stop to think. Such as Herman, Chavez......myself. :D

I find myself thinking what on earth gives people in the west a right to influence what happens in Iranian internal affairs.

Why is Al Giordano's view relevant to Iran's internal situation? Isn't all this apparently well-meaning activism really just external interference in Iranian affairs?

It isn't isn't mass's the internal affairs of an ancient state (a strategically important one - no coincidence.)

Al's dogmatism is odd. Especially as his own position seems to mirror that of western media, the US State Department, Freedom House, NED, USAid -- even as he downplays their importance and even as he seems to hold them in contempt. He conveys the impression that he holds all those things in contempt -- even as he goes about sharing their position.

Likewise he holds me in contempt - because he imagines my views are the same as those of Chavez, whom he claims to admire and support. Yet he criticises me in the strongest terms for holding such views, but refuses to do the same towards Chavez (even though Chavez holds the views Al Giordano ridiculed me for holding - which i don't)

I do suspect Chavez is closer to the truth than Giordano thinks. But I don't know.

Point is, Giordano harshly criticised my views because he assumed my view is the same as Chavez's. Yet Giordano doesn't criticise Chavez's views as he did mine.

Anonymous said...