Saturday, May 24, 2008

Alexander Cockburn gets it wrong, several times

Alexander Cockburn states some inaccuracies in his article entitled Death-With Hillary Primes Manchurian Candidate.

First, does Cockburn actually think California still has a primary upcoming? Apparently so:

Ever since she realized back in early March that Obama was going to take the nomination Hillary Clinton’s long-term strategy has been to do her best to ensure McCain will win this November so she can become the Democratic nominee in 2012.. But she had a short term strategy too and on Friday she deliberately made it explicit in a newspaper office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There she suggested that someone is likely to step up to the plate and assassinate Barack Obama in the waning moments of the California primary, just as Bobby Kennedy was forty years go almost to the day. The wish is mother to the deed. If anything does happen to Obama in California Mrs Clinton should surely be indicted as a co-conspirator.
Uh, Alex? California's primary this year was held on February 5th. Obama will not be in California in June.

And Cockburn, who years ago co-wrote an article explaining how Sirhan couldn't have shot Kennedy, since he was in front of Kennedy and Kennedy was shot from behind, now just lies to avoid the issue:

To save conspiracists the trouble of writing to me, I should say that Kennedy had just passed the dishwasher, then twisted back and to his left to shake hands, which explains why the entry wound in his head seemed to indicate a shot from a quarter other than where Sirhan was standing.
I use the word lie quite deliberately. He is not mistaken. He did his homework. He knows this cannot be true, and has written about the issue correctly in the past. I have a copy of his article saying there had to be a second gun in the pantry in my files. You won't find it online.

No. Cockburn has learned, like so many before and after him, that the way to a mainstream media career is to lie about such items, to support the official government propaganda, the truth be damned. So now he says something provably false - that Kennedy had turned his back to Sirhan at the moment of the firing.

First, that's simply not true. By all witness accounts, Kennedy had finished shaking the busboy's hand and had turned to move forward when Sirhan lifted his hand and fired at Kennedy's face. All the witnesses put Sirhan's gun muzzle a foot from Kennedy at closest, with the vast majority putting the muzzle about three feet from the Senator. So even if Kennedy had his back to Sirhan, Sirhan was still not close enough. The coronor found powder burns on the back of Kennedy's ear. Tests on pig ears showed that the only distance that gave a comparable pattern was when the gun was about an inch away. Not one witness to the shooting ever put Sirhan that close.

Somewhere along the way, Cockburn I fear traded his soul for his journalistic career. I fear it's not an uncommon story. I'm only curious re the turning point. I feel this strongly because I looked him in the eye and saw the enormous fear there when I confronted him in person one time about the JFK assassination. I went to a book signing event locally. When he asked for questions, I said I had a visual question that would require me standing on a chair. Bemused, he encouraged me to proceed. I got up there and put a hand behind me pointing towards the back of my neck on a downward angle.

"What I want to know is, how does a bullet that enters the back of neck from six floors above exit the front of the throat horizontally?"

Cockburn instantly turned angry and said something dismissive re conspiracy theorists, at which point someone in the audience jumped in to defend what I was asking.

I talked to him afterwards, because I wanted to look into his eyes. They were shifty and his tone was menacing, but his eyes were filled with fear. I felt suddenly sorry for him, at that moment. What a small man. What a lost soul.

But I don't feel sorry for him using the occasion of Clinton's awful, inexcusable invocation of RFK's assassination as an opportunity to inject more untruth into the assassination story.

Who does Cockburn serve? It's not the left. He ridicules Hillary, but doesn't spare the rod on Obama either:

What about Wall Street, whose leading bankers have devastated middle-income America with the sub-prime scams? Obama has been tactful, meanwhile hauling in hefty campaign contributions from these same bankers as Pam Martens has described on this website.
What Pam Martens and others have failed to explain is that Obama receives money from INDIVIDUALS, not corporations. Corporations are prohibited to donating to political campaigns, except through Political Action Committees (PACs). And Obama has refused to take PAC money. But he will take money from individuals. There'sa $2,300 contribution limit on that, so no one person can gain much advantage by contributing the maximum. Some of the contributors are bankers. Some of them work for oil companies. But to jump from there to say that Bankers and Oil Companies want Obama to be President is a ridiculous leap.

When you contribute, you are asked to provide your employers name. Exxon is, for most people, a job, not a belief system. And individuals there have given money to Obama. Pam Martens and others use that to say that Exxon, the corporation, supports Obama. But that's factually inaccurate. Exxon, the corporation, may hate Obama. The Board members may all be supporting the Republican ticket. But because some employees collectively gave 40,000 dollars (less than the amount of money Obama raised in a day online in March), Martens and others dishonestly portray that as showing "oil industry" support for Obama.

Sometimes Counterpunch gets it right. Sometimes it gets it horribly wrong. And you can bet, when it comes to matters of great importance to the government, it will be on the wrong side. And that speaks well for Obama. The more organs like Counterpunch attack him, the more reassured I am that he is NOT the candidate of the establishment.

4 Comments:

Anonymous DHSmd said...

I cancelled my subscription to CounterPunch (actually, failed to renew) after they made some ridiculous and dismissive comment about the JFK assassination. I wrote them, calling them on it, and they ignored me, so that was it for me.

I don't care how favorable or valuable some coverage is from a news product - if they willingly and deliberately lie about a subject of such monumental importance, they cannot be trusted, and should not be supported, period.

There can be no compromises on this. Compromises only lead us to where we are today - a time when the Clinton Presidency seems like a peak achievement, instead of the morass residing inches from the bottom that it was.

The major media is wallowing in shrinking ratings, because they have abandoned their mission to other priorities. A window of opportunity for a new media is rapidly approaching. We should be certain to throw our weight and our support only behind those who are anxious to report the truth, no matter where it may lead.

JMO

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Lisa,
Good critique of Cockburn's Counterpunch piece on RFK's murder.

Isn't it interesting that Cockburn is denying conspiracies in the RFK and JFK cases, but not in the King assassination or the Sabow case he's currently featuring in his newsletter?

And what about his historical blunder. Sirhan did not read about the Israeli jet sale in the New York Review of Books article by Cockburn's friend, Andrew Kopkind; and then later write RFK must die in his diary. Cockburn has these two events backwards. He didn't even know about the sale. That was a cover story for his alleged motive. RFK's support for the sale became public AFTER Sirhan wrote this in his diary as Klaber and Melanson demonstrated in Shadow Play (see pp. 158-161)

8:02 PM  
Blogger JJR said...

My biggest beef with Obama is over his wishy-washy stance on the 2nd Amendment, and his known gun control friendly past (which a problem with Illinois generally, and Chicago very specifically).

I'm a Leftist and sometime Democrat, but I think "gun control" as an electoral issue has been a true Achilles heel of the Democratic party for years.

The popular view is that "gun control" was in some ways a reaction to the 3 major assasinations of the 1960s (JFK, MLK, RFK), but the irony to those of us who know better is that private ownership of guns by civilians had nothing to do with any of these assassinations and everything to do with roguish elements of the National Security State. The U.S. Founding Fathers were correct to fear the threat to liberty represented by professional standing armies, which was part of the motivation behind the crafting of the 2nd Amendment.

Dismiss me as a "gun nut" if you like, but I don't dismiss any of you as "conspiracy nuts"; I agree with you. Likewise, I've done my homework re: the 2nd Amendment, and I am convinced that it does guarantee an individual right to keep & bear arms. I am a concealed carry permit holder. Obama has spoken in favor of banning concealed carry nationwide. I would like to see it legalized nationwide and normalized among all 50 states, so that my Texas permit is valid in New York, and New York's permits are valid here (in fact Texas already accepts all permits from all states, regardless if another state has a reciprocal agreement recognizing our permit).

I'm not going to vote for McCain the Insane, but I may just sit this election out because of my displeasure over Obama's stance on our fundamental self-defense rights, especially in our Patriot Act Era--not that it will make much difference for me in Texas, which I think McCain will easily win anyway regardless how I vote (or don't).

Hillary is awful on 2nd Amendment issues too, but for me & Hillary, I simply find her Iraq war vote utterly unforgivable, which is why I did vote for Barack in the Texas Primary, though since I didn't know about the Caucus thing until too late (I early-voted absentee), my vote sort of didn't count.

If Barack does win, I do hope he gets us out of Iraq and keeps us OUT of Iran or ANYWHERE ELSE (including Latin America). Bush's "neglect" of Latin America (on account of imperial overstretch elsewhere) has coincidentally been very good for the popular Left down there. Obama's pledge to "re-engage" Latin America I have to view with suspicion, as does any Latin American who isn't of the comprador landowner class elites in those nations.

I'm afraid I'm unable to be as optimistic about Obama as you are, Lisa. Though the American press won't say so, the German and Russian press have taken to calling Obama "the Black Kennedy". Maybe he is, maybe he isn't.

But someone else pointed out to me that to Jack Kennedy, "gun control" would've smacked too much of Jim Crow of his recent past and he wouldn't have supported it. It's a shame Ted Kennedy does, because again, the state of gun laws in the 1960s had nothing to do with how and why his older brothers were murdered.

Also, the Black Panthers and the Weathermen on the Left were quite pro RKBA, and a fair number of hippies who moved to inner cities in the 1960s did take to carrying concealed guns for personal protection. The 1968 Gun Control Act was aimed at black people, just like the first serious gun control was aimed squarely at freed blacks after the American Civil War.

I'm optimistic that DC v. Heller will be a net gain for freedom, for everyone.

I know there's more to politics than this, but it's a pretty basic freedom issue and if we can't get that right, it doesn't bode well for our other causes. I used to think those "other causes" were more important than mere "gun politics", but that's a view I no longer am able to hold.

It's the one and ONLY issue many conservatives DO get right, and from that they incorrectly conclude they're right about everything else; Actually they're wrong about most everything else, or are cynically aware that they're only looking out for elite interests.

But disarming the populace en masse DOES actually serve elite interests. The AWB and other rights-destroying "anti-terror" legislation of the mid 1990s was a direct result of the OKC bombing, likely engineered for that purpose.
The forrunner of the GWOT's unconstitutional USA Patriot Act was the two-faced, schizoid "War on Drugs".

I am a Leftist, consider myself a socialist, but I have enough old school Anarchist streaks in my worldview to be able to partly agree with some Libertarian political stances. I could live with an Obama presidency, but I would hope the SCOTUS and Congress would keep him in check re: 2nd Amendment.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Oddly enough, the NRA has not endorsed any candidate in the election.

Re the 2nd amendment, the exact text of it, in full, says only this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Good people disagree as to how that should be interpreted. I interpret that to mean the people should be able to arm themselves collectively to protect themselves from enemies foreign and domestic. I do not believe it means you can carry a concealed weapon. I do not believe it means you can buy an automatic machine gun and keep it in your house for personal use. And I think anyone who thinks such weapons would protect them from the government haven't been reading about the government's sophistication in these matters.

The folks at Waco had a ton of guns. Did it make them more safe, or less? If they had no guns, most of them would be alive today, I have no doubt.

11:34 AM  

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