Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 16, 2019

Max Blumenthal Says He Is A "Cynical Salesperson Posing As Journalist". He Is Right.



In July 2017 we took on three "cynical salespersons" in the 'progressive' media who took part in a "disinformation campaign aimed at convincing Americans to support decapitating another Middle Eastern government and let Al Qaeda and co. fill the void." Those three "cynical salespeople" were then and still are "posing as journalists".

Five years after the war on Syria began those three "cynical salespersons", who had consistently propagandized for more war on Syria, turned around and started to write in favor of the Syrian government side while either forgetting to mention or even hiding their earlier position.

From our 2017 piece Syria - The Alternet Grayzone Of Smug Turncoats - Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek:

Max Blumenthal is a well connected and known author who has done work on the Palestinian cause from a somewhat leftish perspective. He is also an arrogant and ignorant showman.

Blumenthal currently edits the Alternet Grayzone project. In their recent writings he and his co-writers profess to dislike the al-Qaeda led opposition in Syria. Yet it is exactly the same opposition they earlier vehemently supported.

Yesterday the Real News Network interviewed Blumenthal on his recent piece about CNN's al-Qaeda promotion. The headline: Max Blumenthal on How the Media Covers Syria. During the interview Blumenthal laments the failure of progressive media on Syria:


Blumenthal is outraged, OUTRAGED, that "progressive" media peddle the Syria conflict along "the official line".

Yet in 2012 Max Blumenthal resigned as columnist from the Lebanese paper Al Akhbar English because the paper did not write along "the official line". He publicly (also here) smeared and accused his Al Akhbar colleagues for taking a cautious or even anti-opposition position on Syria.

The Al Akhbar writers challenged the mainstream narratives while Blumenthal, with his resignation and his writing about it, solidly aligned with the imperial project. Back then he himself went along "the official line".
Now Max Blumenthal has found an outlet that pays him for writing along the very line he condemned when he resigned from Al Akhbar. Nowhere do I find an explanation by Blumenthal for his change of position. No public apology for smearing his former colleagues has been issued by him.

From March 2011 to mid 2016 Max Blumenthal and his sidekicks Ben Norton and Raina Khalek were rabidly 'pro-rebel'. They were vehemently attacking everyone who had a different view. After five long years of cheering on Al Qaeda and consorts, who were all along killing Syrian people left and right, they turned their coats and started to write in favor of the Syrian government side of the war.

To hide their 'change of opinion' they deleted their old tweets and articles. Only after we and others continued to point out their dishonesty  did they publish a podcast to deliver a muddled Mea Culpa. That was in May 2018, two years after the three had changed their direction by 180°. Just like Max's old tweets and writings that podcast has since been deleted. But partial transcripts others made still exist. They are linked in The Turncoats Deliver A Poor Excuse - by Daniel, who listened to, quoted and commented on the podcast:

Yes, Max "didn’t take a serious look at what was actually going on" in Syria. And didn't for five more years.
It would also be nice for Max to explain why, once he changed his position on Syria after Russia had helped turn the tide, he, Ben and Rania scrubbed all their anti-Syrian/pro-"rebel" posts from the internet without explanation. How Orwellian.

But he "just haven’t really had the chance to sit down and write" an apology and explanation.

And once Russia stepped in, Max was "pretty relieved" he didn’t "have to engage in" the Syrian disaster and so he "sort of tapped out." Wait. I thought he just said that was when he finally "tapped in" and began investigating and writing about what had really been going on.

So, he goes on to say that after the "eastern Aleppo operation", he "started to come to" his "senses" "BECAUSE I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT AN INTERVENTION AT THIS POINT BY THE US WOULD BE A RECIPE FOR CATASTROPHE"! Wait! What? It was too late for "intervention", so Max changed horses? And then he finally took a few weeks to read what he could about Syria and do his "due diligence."

Today Max Blumenthal is at it again. He denigrates other 'journalists' for doing exactly what he himself has done, writing pro-war propaganda. Quoting a tweet by Professor Max Abrahms the turncoat Max Blumenthal comments:

Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal - 5:01 UTC · Dec 16, 2019

It wasn’t a failure, it was a disinformation campaign aimed at convincing Americans to support decapitating another Middle Eastern government and let Al Qaeda and co. fill the void. After Iraq and Libya, this required real effort. And cynical salespeople posing as journalists.

Quoted Tweet

Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms - 0:39 UTC · Dec 16, 2019

Media has failed in its coverage of the #Syria conflict.
In my life studying international relations, I’ve never seen anything remotely this egregious.
The #Iraq & #Afghanistan wars have nothing on Syria.
The discrepancy between the mainstream narrative & reality is gigantic.

I do not mind when people honestly change their opinions or standpoints. I do that too once a while. But deleting one's own former work from the public view while denigrating those who still stick to the talking points one had previously espoused is deeply dishonest. It must be called out.

Not being able to consistently explain why one's view has changed lets others assume that ulterior motives must be in play.

Salespersons get paid for selling the products they peddle. They change their company when a different one pays them more for peddling a different product. Some salespersons who sold Fords as "the best care ever" now sell Toyotas with a similar slogan.

It seems that money was the reason for Blumenthal & Co to change their view on Syria. They simply started to peddle a different 'product' because it was more profitable for them. As they are "cynical salespersons" they deleted their public record of peddling Fords. Their public record now only shows that they peddle Toyotas.

That is Orwellian, as Daniel remarked: We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Who by the way finances Blumenthal's Grayzone. Its website does not reveal that.

Will money also be the reason when Blumenthal & Co will do their next 'change of mind'?

Posted by b on December 16, 2019 at 19:22 UTC | Permalink

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moa, you seem to fit the bill of a cynical salesperson posing as a journalist. and this is the first time i suspected that role of yours. daniel's writeup and following comments two years ago helped me understand the "evolution" of the young "triumvrate" and answered some of my own questions about them, so i appreciated it, but this repeatition, as if those discussions hadn't happened at all, is just pathetic.

Posted by: steve b | Dec 16 2019 19:33 utc | 1

typo: this is NOT the first time... sorry. a little upset. why don't you have a public debate with them?

Posted by: steve b | Dec 16 2019 19:35 utc | 2

scrubbing past posts is deeply dishonest, agreed. what is the evidence he changed his mind for money, though? the money has been on the side of pushing war in syria, in the u.s. and u.k. look at all the organizations and individuals who haven't changed their minds--the guardian, the nyt and wapost, obama, clinton, the republican establishment if not trump.

and "tapped out" means he gave up on his previous position, which would be consistent with changing that position.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 16 2019 19:35 utc | 3

I think in fairness, an offer of a rebuttal is in order.
Because a journalists change their political views is not justification for implying sellout. Especially since, like you, they could all make bank in the corporate sponsored media if they were more malleable. Perhaps they couldn't sleep at night? Who knows?
Why not ask?

Posted by: Bobzibub | Dec 16 2019 19:49 utc | 4

I am thankful for MoA. I am also thankful that the GZ realized their errors and changed their tune on Syria and the “rebels.” Blumenthal’s Management of Savagery is truly excellent. Hopefully more time can be spent fighting empire instead of each other. With that said, the gist of this post is important, but I just don’t exactly get what purpose it serves at this point beyond clarifying who had it right from the beginning and who was slow on the uptake (or perhaps that is the purpose?).

Posted by: HD | Dec 16 2019 19:53 utc | 5

If Max Blumenthal were interested in committing journalism he would begin by interviewing his father.

By all accounts Sid and Max are on best of terms. One would suspect that Max knows a great deal he is keeping hidden. Until some public reckoning with the family legacy is made no way will I ever trust a word he writes.

Posted by: oldhippie | Dec 16 2019 20:01 utc | 6

I hate to say it, b, but your griping about Max sounds personal. On balance, the Grayzone crew does an exceptionally good job at calling out the Empire and its enablers. I, for one, am willing to accept that they learned from their past errors and are now making up for it.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 16 2019 20:04 utc | 7

I hate to see it when people who are basically on the same side (at least now) are at loggerheads. i do remember blumenthal's positions back in the day and was taken aback by them at the time. But then again, in 2011 till about 2015 there were many on the left who kept hoping for their "Arab Spring", while overlooking the misdeeds of the opposition. I am thinking of Egypt, where Morsi came to power through an election but then, instead of doing what was hoped - ie a political muslim brotherhood ruling party kind of like Turkey - they turned around and went all "islamist and intolerant. Which is why the sisi military coup was supported - if reluctantly - by most Egyptions (to this day). Not saying that Sisi is god's gift to the universe or anything as they have gone over-board too, but the Egyptian situation was extremely complicated and frankly, I felt that most of us in the West have completely failed to understand just what it meant to ordinary Egyptians when their economy tanked, the tourists cancelled and great hardships were endured by many who had very little to start with.

Blumenthal was as misguided about Syria as he - and many of us (yes, me included - at least for a while) about Egypt. We need to understand that our western style democracy is hardly the gift to the universe as some of us think. Where there were no democratic traditions to start with, implementing the trappings of democracy (free elections, yay!) often ends up as simply another round of brokerage between warlords or tribal elders or power brokers. True democracy requires high literacy and reasonable economic status. It also helps if big interventionist powers like the US keep their hands off the process - which they don't and haven't (just think Afganistan. Then look at Libya).

IMO, Blumenthal was guilty more of blindness than anything else. he didn't look closely enough to understand the complex Syrian situation and has, at the time, failed to grasp just how nefarious the foreign intervention in Syria was. Like many jewish people who take up humanitarian causes, max - and co-writers - saw a need to bend over backwards to support muslims and islam, in the process disregarding the excesses of ISIS and al-Quaed as the egregiously violent and sectarian players that they were.

So I see naivite where others may see cynical turn-coatism. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and personally I would like to be on record as welcoming any and all penitents. So no, I don't need Blumenthal to wear a sack and put ashes on his head, lamenting his past sins. All I want from him is to continue to fight the good fights wherever they are (and he is on the right side in venezuela and Bolivia!).

If people think that we on the side of human rights and justice can afford to engage in purity games, so be it. I wish we were strong enough to do that, but I know we are still few all around the world. way too fes. So for now I'll cut blumenthal some slack - though I do wish he found the strength and courage to properly confess his past sins. For whatever reason, he can't bring himself to do that which means we'll need to keep close watch.

Posted by: Merilin2 | Dec 16 2019 20:12 utc | 8

@ Posted by: steve b | Dec 16 2019 19:33 utc | 1 and Posted by: Bobzibub | Dec 16 2019 19:49 utc | 6 and Posted by: Rob | Dec 16 2019 20:04 utc | 9 who are complaining about b's treatment of poor old Max and we are not even 10 comments in yet

Maybe we should wonder where they came from so quickly

Then maybe we should ask them to get back to Max Blumenthal and ask him when he is going to cover the OPCW cover up like b has.

I think Shakespeare had with his line: "....a hairsbreath from thieves." I wonder what Max is paid in his current "journalist" role? How does it compare with what b brings in at MoA?

Nice call out b......You have made the "natives" restless.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 16 2019 20:20 utc | 9

Perhaps Blumenthal was pushing to knock off Syria and Assad while it was still a project of his dear old dad, who's also a Hillary enabler/toady. It was obvious to many of us that Syria was another "regime-change" war from virtually the very beginning, accompanied by horrifying atrocities committed by the side Blumenthal supported. How did Max and Co. miss that? I wonder if Max didn't change his position for money per se but to shore up his credibility. Maybe he'll trade it in again at an opportune moment, a la Maddow.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Dec 16 2019 20:26 utc | 10

If this Daniel transcription is true, then all the evidence points to the direction Blumenthal was in favor of the extermination of Syria (probably in support for the Obama government), in the faith it would forward the interests of the American Empire in the medium-long term. When he realized there was no chance the USA could win the war in Syria, he then opportunistically changed sides -- from the losing to the winning side -- in order to survive as a journalist and fight another day.

Shifting sides politically in the middle of a war (literal or not) is a very common feature of Western politics, and comes since at least the times of the Roman Republic. The explanation for that is simple: most of the population is effectively neutral in a bipolar political conflict, so it is more prudent for them to simply wait for the winner before taking sides. Blumenthal is not the first and will not be the last western politician (because that's what a journalist in our modern Western Civilization de facto are -- they are not called the fifth column or the fourth power for nothing) to turncoat in the heat of the moment.

Now, there may or may not have been money involved (his resignation being related or not to some kind of job/career promise). There's a book published by a German journalist about how the CIA coopts young European journalists and I was very impressed by how cheap they are: with less than USD 5,000 and a free plane ticket and hotel room you can get your guy forever. I mean, it's not like you're going to be able to retire with that money.

Posted by: vk | Dec 16 2019 20:29 utc | 11

@ psychohistorian

Dude, seriously, not everyone who posts here is a dogmatic “barfly” or MIC/ZIoCon troll. It might be possible that Max and crue were sadly/lamely late to the punch on Syria, then got their sh*t together finally. No? Does that mean they are in the pay of the Clintons or Erdogan or PUTIN? (I jest). MoA was quicker on the draw. Hooray. This is why I read MoA every day. Now what? Where does this anti-imperialist pissing match go from here?

I believe GZ has been covering the OPCW scandal. Perhaps late again, but better late than never IMHO.

Last, if people at the GZ did make more pennies than B, should we fault them for that?

Posted by: HD | Dec 16 2019 20:34 utc | 12

Soooo, I suppose those who post here, have never, ever, changed their minds on any subject.

Please, gimmy' a friggen brake..

Posted by: ben | Dec 16 2019 20:39 utc | 13

Blumenthal's father is connected to Hillary. Clinton had a huge hand in the Syrian war. Blumenthal toed the imperialist line for his ol man, and perhaps because he might have gotten a nice job in the Clinton administration if they won. Then he turncoats against the Syria narrative to make a name for himself as an alternative writer. That seems as opportunist as a car salesman to me. Also, Blumanthal bashed on David Irving with the usual "Holocaust denier" smears in an interview, but Mr. Irving has more truth based on research in one page of one of his books than the double talking jive I've heard from smug Blumanthal. Max Blumanthal gives honest journalism and real historical writing a black eye because he comes off as a charlatan with something to hide.

Posted by: Deathevokation | Dec 16 2019 20:40 utc | 14

I want my $5 donation back. This article seems puerile in the extreme. The Greyzone is great, fuck you MOA.

Posted by: David Bishop | Dec 16 2019 20:40 utc | 15

Max B's difficult relationship with the truth continues as we saw in regards to his recent arrest.

I summed it up in this comment.

In short: the "persecution" that Max B. claimed he was subject to due to his reporting was very likely just HYPE. Max B. was almost certainly charged because of his activism, not his journalism. And at least one person (not me) has suggested another possibility: because his powerful father was feeding him info to help him rise to the top of progressive journalism.


>> Max B. has admitted that he had helped to deliver food to the Embassy occupation (crossing the line between reporter and activist)
He made this admission ONLY AFTER charges were dropped(!) though his activism appears to have been an open secret among people that knew Max B.;

>> Max B. admits that once in jail, he wasn't treated any worse that any other prisoner (they didn't get phone calls either)

>> only weeks after charging Max B., the US government declined to prosecute him

Max B. claims the "charges were dropped" as a means of emphasizing his claim that they charges were baseless but that's misleading.

<> <> <> <> <>

Max B accepted a comparison of himself to Assange DESPITE KNOWING that his situation was nothing like Assange's. He tweeted thanks to Caitlin Johnstone after she wrote this post which elevates Max B. to Assange's near-equal via imagery and the words:

First they came for Assange ... Then they came for Blumenthal...."
A full week later, in an interview with Jimmy Dore, Max B promoted the comparison to Assange by saying that while in jail he "thought a lot about Assange". Although he coyly dismissing a comparison to Assange, he had nevertheless implanted a similarity to Assange in the minds of Jimmy Dore viewers.

Max B. also denounced a professional journalist organization (which protects journalists) that didn't support his "persecution" claim while Max B, withheld the key fact from his sympathetic viewers that he had indeed acted as an activist during the Embassy occupation.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 20:44 utc | 16

@HD (14) The Grayzone spends a great deal more time and effort covering the travesties being carried out in Latin America than does MoA. Should we fault b for that? Of course not. They are different blogs with different areas of interest. We're lucky to have both.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 16 2019 20:45 utc | 17

whoa! whats MOA up to? the last thing needed to to attack your friends, just cause they had evil previous incarnations

what about the present Grayzone trinty doesnt MOA like? is he saying they re still bad at heart?

im wondering if MOA has been hacked

Posted by: brian | Dec 16 2019 20:46 utc | 18

@Merilin2 @10 "Blumenthal was as misguided about Syria as he - and many of us (yes, me included - at least for a while) about Egypt. We need to understand that our western style democracy is hardly the gift to the universe as some of us think."

You jest. Morsi came to power because decades of US-supported virtual dictatorship in Egypt left the Muslim Brotherhood the only real opposition. Perhaps if the US had allowed actual democracy in Egypt there would have been more moderate alternatives. Now that the US has reinstalled dictatorship, we might never know. Blumenthal is a journalist. You might be naive, but one would think a journalist writing about US imperialism would have known that the US doesn't try to install democracy, i.e. Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Greece, Panama, Argentina, Chile, etc.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Dec 16 2019 20:47 utc | 19

It's not just his Syria reporting.

AFAIK Max B. was the one that first reported the propaganda that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was due to an anti-Muslim video.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 20:51 utc | 20

The underlying critical point-at-issue is credibility as I noted in my comment on b's 2017 article. I've since linked to tweets and other items by that trio; the one major change seems to have been the epiphany by them that they needed to go to where the action is and report it from there to regain their credibility. The fact remains that used car salespeople have a stereotypical reputation for lacking credibility sans a confession as to why they feel the need to lie to sell cars. Their actions belie the guilt they feel for their choices, but a confession works much better at assuaging the soul while helping convince the audience that the change in heart's genuine. And that's the point as b notes--genuineness, whose first predicate is credibility.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 20:51 utc | 21

@HD - It might be possible that Max and crue were sadly/lamely late to the punch on Syria, then got their sh*t together finally. No?

Did they? If so they have enough media space to explain the how and why. They never really did that. The one podcast that miserably tried to do that was also deleted.

It wasn't a small issue when Max publicly accused Al Akhbar. It was a major talking point for pro war media. He smeared Sharmine Narwani who risked a lot to do the truthful reporting on Syria that she did.

The three have access to publications that would widely publish their reasoning for deleting their old stuff. They should use that if only to gain more credibility.

In my view they currently have none. Everything they write is tainted by their earlier, never explained behavior. It is on them to come clean.

@all - I extended the end of the piece to better emphasise the "cynical salesperson" aspect.

Posted by: b | Dec 16 2019 20:54 utc | 22

@Jackrabbit (17) I watched the interview of Max Blumenthal by Aaron Mate' on the Grayzone. In no way did Max conceal the fact that he was assisting activists in getting supplies into the besieged embassy. He is not keeping it a secret, as far as I can tell. And why should he not raise the issue of his being targeted for anti-establishment reporting, just as Assange has been? The cases are not identical, but the forces that underlie them are indeed similar.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 16 2019 20:57 utc | 23

Deathevokation @15 noted: "Blumenthal's father is connected to Hillary. Clinton had a huge hand in the Syrian war. Blumenthal toed the imperialist line for his ol man, and perhaps because he might have gotten a nice job in the Clinton administration if they won."

This raises an interesting point. Does anyone know the exact date that Blumenthal did his about-face? It wouldn't have been November 10, 2016, would it? If Blumenthal's delayed "enlightenment" were before that date then perhaps there is a chanace that Blumenthal is just a moral weakling who cannot admit when he is wrong and just tried to bury the evidence of his shame and complicity in imperial slaughter. If it were after that date that Blumenthal "came to his senses" then this is something that needs to be taken into consideration when examining anything he produces from here on out.

Basically, does anyone know of any evidence that Blumenthal discovered his "error" regarding Syria prior to election day 2016? Links?

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 16 2019 21:00 utc | 24

@Joetv 2

Rania Kalek is lebanese, pro palestinian activist. I doubt she is jew. Rania is a grec-christian forename, so I bet she is arab christian.

Posted by: murgen | Dec 16 2019 21:04 utc | 25

@ Posted by: b | Dec 16 2019 20:54 utc | 23 with the update notification....thanks

Boy, are the trolls out today for this call out of Max...why would that be?

Could it be about narrative control? Wouldn't want too much truth to get out...

Where does the money behind Greyzone come from?

When Max comes anywhere near the journalism that b puts out speaking truth to power in our world I will change my mind. Until then, Max is a sheep dog narrative control tool for the semi-awoke.

When is Max going to expose the OPCW scandal? Maybe after it becomes mainstream like a sheep dog should to limit the damages to those in control.

Is Max ever going to cover the Boeing MAX debacle? It has his name all over it/snark

There is a train of truth coming down the line and the elite are paying all sorts to get out in front of it and turn it the way they want....I think Max is one of those cynical salespersons aka sheep dog for the elite narrative.

To those that can't handle the truth to power that b provides, go find another bar to spew your textual white noise in.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 16 2019 21:11 utc | 26

"salespeople" is code for Empire propagandists.

Max B. uses "cynical" as a modifier meant to EXCUSE those propagandists.

They are "cynical" because THEY KNOW that they are enabling evil activity, but they view the Empire and Israel's security as the "greater good".

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I think it's very interesting that Max B. says:

It wasn't a failure ... this required real effort ...

He's proud of his work!


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 21:12 utc | 27

Rob @24:

Which interview did you watch?

Max B. did an interview AFTER the government declined prosecution in which he admits that he delivered food to the Embassy. In interviews before that (for The Greyzone and Jimmy Dore) he wouldn't say if he had helped to deliver food.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 21:16 utc | 28

maxs latest tweet retweeted by rania

Max Blumenthal
As expected, the Bolivian post-coup junta plans to privatize the economy and reverse the gains of the last 13 years.

The junta has already expelled 700 Cuban doctors, removed RT & Telesur from airwaves, and requested Israeli training of its military.

whats not to like?

Posted by: brian | Dec 16 2019 21:24 utc | 29

I’m glad Max and crew changed. I like the work I’ve seen from them in the past year. I hope their moral core goaded them into it and that they continue on this new course.

This is not to say they shouldn’t be scrutinized.

Posted by: oglalla | Dec 16 2019 21:30 utc | 30

Big $ has quite a reach. Much has been revealed here today. Interesting...

Posted by: ben | Dec 16 2019 21:32 utc | 31

Agreed, it would be good to know who funds the GZ.

Re. OPCW, there is this from Nov. 16

Wondering what MIC agency/proponent/scum paid MB and BN to do this as a part of their 13D Chess?
Regime Change Begins at Home

Keeping an open mind but still dumbfounded by the premise of some of these posts. Pointing out that MB was late to the party and scrubbed the evidence without comment is valid, but trying to cast him as an MIC/establishment stooge is frankly silly considering his long track record (especially re. Palestine and Latin America).

Posted by: HD | Dec 16 2019 21:33 utc | 32

It is highly unlikely mr. Blumenthal changed his mind based on "truth finding". Specially if he's this very intelligent guy his defenders are making him appear to be here.

Let's rewind: we had Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003 and Libya 2011. After these three wars, any person with half brain cell should be able to call the bluff on Syria 2013. Or are you assuming mr. Blumenthal was fooled four times in a row?

Besides, we have the partial transcription of the podcast - which was deleted. If this transcription is precise, then we already have as a documented fact Blumenthal himself admitted he supported the war on Syria for pure geopolitical reasons (to protect the USA's interests in the globe).

It is asinine to assume one can honestly fall for this "just war" narrative.

First of all: if evil really exists and we should all wage war on evil and evil is this universal threat, then why does it always magically manifest itself in the Middle Eastern countries? (Afghanistan is also partially in the ME "geopolitical field", since it has a trade corridor with the Eastern Mediterranean since the Bronze Age; Libya is also in the Middle East geopolitically). This is UFO Effect: why did the aliens always landed on the USA?

Second: if a concept of "just war" does exist, then why only the USA that wages it? Syria is at the other side of the globe in relation to the USA, wouldn't it be logistically better to just ask France and/or the UK (both NATO allies) to pacify Syria in the name of Good? France and the UK have showed a high enthusiasm for waging wars in the region, even with their comparatively minuscule military spendings (see: Libya, Mali), so that wouldn't be a problem to them. Besides, the USA could always sell them the weapons and supplies they would need, since it has the resources to do so and it is, theoretically, an ally through NATO.

So, I don't think such an intelligent man such as mr. Blumenthal would fall for such an infantile and idealist trap as the concept of "just war". That would be an absurd assumption.

I maintain my hypothesis that, ultimately, mr. Blumenthal initially supported the Syrian War as some kind of ideological and political support for Obama (maybe even electoral, although I don't think any Democrat ever considered the possibility of Obama not electing his successor). He calculated that, ultimately, the anihilation of Syria over a mountain of lies was a fair price to pay for a 16-year minimum consecutive Democrat rule in the WH. And that, when Russia entered the game and he saw (because, remember: he's a very intelligent man) that a victory in Syria would cost a hot war with the Russians, he backed off because he clearly (and correctly) inferred the cost was too high even for people like him - plus the bonus of preserving plausible deniability and thus saving his journalistic credibility (ultimately, the journalist's tool of work).

Posted by: vk | Dec 16 2019 21:34 utc | 33

Nothing could be more self destructive than to make any more of this picayune affair.
The Grayzone and Blumenthal are, evidently and publicly, telling the truth as they see it. A few years ago, along with large sections of the US and European 'left' they were swept up into positions which were pro-imperialist, zionist and reactionary. They were then enemies of the Syrian people.
Now they are using their positions on behalf of the still beleaguered Syrians, who are under constant and deadly imperialist attacks.
When the battle is over there will be time enough to go through the war records of all involved. In the meantime-they are in the same line of trenches as we, and the peoples of Syria, Venezuela and Bolivia are.
Let us nod our appreciation of their presence in much the same way as the Canadian Corps, in 1918, greeted their fellow north Americans, whose government had been neutral during the worst years of the war, without reproach.
They did so because they understood that they needed all the help that they could get. So do we. And so do the common people of Venezuela, Syria and elsewhere.
I make these points not as criticism of 'b' whose work is at last, deservedly and wholly as a result of his honesty, intellect and industry, achieving international acclaim but in the knowledge that most of us, like Blumenthal and Norton have undergone significant political evolution as the sheer depravity of imperial policy has been revealed.
That they were wrong is undoubted, that they have had the courage to become right is commendable. Why don't we leave it at that?

Posted by: bevin | Dec 16 2019 21:37 utc | 34

I did not know what was Blumenthal stance at the beginning of the Syrian war, if not because at that time I was not even posting in English language "alt-media", ut a national Spanish MSM as commenter against the obvious coup in the making...

But, I must say that I hold also my doubts about the miriad of blogs who grew around the 2016 election to support Trump, be it openly, or subtly, or in side way...or intermitently...

I have also great doubts about commentariat who never find anything wrong with what its hosts publish, as happens usually in the blogs supporting Trump, and also seem to think the same about a wide variety of issues, like supporting Putin to the hilt and so on...

The best, I think, is forming one´s own opinion abouvtv everything.

I do not read Blumenthal, but Ben Norton I find him retwitted by some peers ( or not so, but people whom I follow because well informed ), on LatinAmerica issues, like intend of coup in Venezuela and fascist coup in Bolivia, always showing the truth.

Many people changes its views along the time. I find the Russian current adminsitration changing a bit way too much, especially since the coup in Bolivia, and so i have changed my mind of that adminsitration. That makes a payed shill of me? My previous full supporting stance did it?

What about those who never change of mind, whatever their supported do, and reach even to explain everything, whatever, as "5D chess", be it Putin or Trump who plays ?

Of course, u-turns in politics are strange, amongst adults...but they happen...we can not asure they are not genuine, but, neither we can deny this is an operation to infiltrate the opposition....

We live in confussing times of smoke and mirrors, this is an informational war, and spies are there, hided in the dark, with dark intentions...I have always suspected that the obligation at certain sites to register and make account with real e-mail is a tactic to catch dissent/activists...

I learn a lot also from what a site banns and what not, since that determines its line...
Another suspicion I have is that it can not be possible that such an ammount of people now is trying to make a living from alternative media....all the more when you witness their line around elections...The play of the "lesser evil" amongst many does not makes them less suspicious....

Posted by: Sasha | Dec 16 2019 21:39 utc | 35

steve b @2

"why don't you have a public debate with them?"

b. do you mind it I translate that for you?

What steve b means to say is:

"can't you help ol' maxie out by giving him your credibility and endorsement by having a public debate with him? C'mon, wha'd'ya think, we can all earn a little, there's more than enough for everyone, it's good bizness, why shouldn't we get a taste, you scratch my back,..."

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 16 2019 21:43 utc | 36

I remember the shitstorm of comments after the 2017 post here.
And like them i agree. M.B. is deeply troubling.
This is not about "A journalist who changed his views". This is a guy who is deeply connected, by family, friendship and (at least former) money ON THE TOP LEVEL to the war machine. To all those who doubt this, research his background.
He knowingly made propaganda for many years, in line and in coordination with said war machine.
If he REALLY would be sincere, and morally was forced to change this position, he would have had the need to speak about this motives himself.
Instead, he hides, and can not even be honest about this former support and personal affiliation with the war machine he now claims to fight.
And then even tries to paint himself as the sole, brave and unselfish defender of freedom, international law and democracy.
He is a showman, an artificial self-image, and in an Orwellian twist even turns around the truth about himself.
Those who say, we should be grateful for any support, i say: You dont need enemies if you got "friends" as these.
Someone with his past, his personal, family and political affiliation, that also does everything in his power to hide those affiliations and past, MUST be suspected to have a deeper agenda.
Only that explains why he gets build up as the total opposite of what he was and is.
The point that we dont know those deeper reasons, is no reason to say otherwise. And that is why he still does everything to hide those motivations.
PS: I dont think it is money (alone). I suspect him to be one of those "journalists" the CIA likes best: With a "progressive" image, exponentially more effective to control the alternative narrative.
But again, as long as we dont know for sure, Max wins in his Orwellian tactic.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Dec 16 2019 21:44 utc | 37

This is dumb, post something worthwhile instead of trashing good journalists

Posted by: dmshq | Dec 16 2019 21:44 utc | 38

A First 2 sentences: I remember the shitstorm of comments after the 2017 post here.
And like THEN i agree. M.B. is deeply troubling.
Its too late i guess. Good night barflies, and Blumenthal-Bots. ;)

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Dec 16 2019 21:45 utc | 39

bevin @ 35 said;"That they were wrong is undoubted, that they have had the courage to become right is commendable. Why don't we leave it at that?"

Great post bevin, but, for whatever the reason, some can't "leave it at that"...

Posted by: ben | Dec 16 2019 21:48 utc | 40

@ADKC / 37:
Not to forget Doxing Bernhard. Bellingcat would jerk off if B would be doxed. And a little sad i guess, that he failed to Dox B. himself.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Dec 16 2019 21:49 utc | 41

disappointing, b, this kind of niggling and more self-righteousness. Is Blumenthal at this point a completely useless turncoat feeding us a line of garbage? Plus the headline is misleading (a clever stab effort, I guess, if I think hard enough about it?). Why this kind of petty bullshit, it's discouraging plus point not clear. Let's move on--Comey on Fox News last night for example covering his ass with how he was fooled into thinking a "robust" effort was underway in the Russia-gait investigation, more brainwashing.

and while we're niggling @10: Shakespeare "a hair's breadth from thieves"?

Posted by: joseph k jr | Dec 16 2019 21:51 utc | 42

@ Posted by: Sasha | Dec 16 2019 21:39 utc | 36

Yes, but there's a difference in time and scale.

In Bolivia's case, you're talking about a Christian country governed by a native American who, until the coup, didn't have anything substantially negative written about in the Western MSM. To make things worse, the usurpers didn't help with the PR either, since they did a lot of absurd theatrics (put a Bible at the center of the Palace) and speeches (openly talking about exterminating the native Americans in Bolivia) that were simply unpublishabe in the West.

But the main difference between Bolivia is Syria is that, in Bolivia, it is already certain the USA has won: no matter how much denunciation happens, the Americans will have all the Bolivian gas and lithium. So, no matter the journalism, America's geopolitical interests already are secured. So mr. Blumenthal can afford to be the honest journalist in Bolivia.

Credibility is quantitative in journalism: you have more, you have less, you have medium etc. A journalist cannot be a propagandist all the time: he/she has to replenish his/her "credibility bar" before start lying again. This is journalism 101, every undergraduate in western journalism knows that.

Posted by: vk | Dec 16 2019 21:53 utc | 43

This is 'Murica where we were all born yesterday.

Sidney Blumenthal is not connected to Hillary or Hillary's enabler or a Hillary toady. He was the principal advisor to Hillary for Libya and for Syria. And an inner circle advisor for every other action Hillary took at State. Max is his son. They give every public appearance of being a close family and of spending time together. By virtue of being his father's son Max simply has to have a great deal of information. He has not come clean.

Or we can live in America where it is just not obvious that Hunter Biden and Joe Biden have any sort of connection. Or that Bill Browder and Earl Browder have any sort of connection. And on and on. There is no reason to give the guy a chance. There is no reason to give the guy a break. There is every reason to be deeply suspicious. There is no reason to forgive and forget.

Posted by: oldhippie | Dec 16 2019 21:58 utc | 44

bevin @35

What Blumenthal is doing is acting as a Judas Goat. He is investing in (re-)gaining credibility and trust by establishing a right-on position in a war that has already been lost by the US and other issues that are not that important or have not reached a crisis.

Then, when he has established himself and a huge number of people read, follow and trust his opinions, there will come an issue, probably a war, and Max will tell you this is a war that Americans have to fight or support.

The attachment, revealed in your post, to Max Blumenthal indicates that you may already be following a Judas Goat.

So no, we can't leave it at that, Blumenthal should only ever be read with a health warning.

Did you not see his pathetic victimhood reports about being accused of assault? What an injustice! And the "bogus" charges have now been dropped? What a champion and fighter against injustice. Can you not see that it was all fake, an attempt to establish the credibility of a Judas Goat?

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 16 2019 21:59 utc | 45

It is crucial for honest and talented people journos like b to attack ostensible leftists for rightist deviations. US power not only manufactures CONSENT, it manufactures DISSENT. The 'compliant' dissent misleads the more enlightened truthers, which is why the CIA and its spnoffs focus on them for installing fake leftists.

However the attacked should be allowed to reply if they want to, if they reach a certain level legitimacy. Changing one's mind is certainly permissible, although 5 years on the side of imperialism...

Posted by: eli folk | Dec 16 2019 22:00 utc | 46

I'm sorry, but I really can't believe the number of posts supporting Blumenthal. Y'all need a good shakin'.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 16 2019 22:02 utc | 47

hell of a thread here, no? sounds like a troll convention. reminds me of why I give up on this commenting BS. How important is all this apart from massaging various "I'm right" egos?

Posted by: joseph k jr | Dec 16 2019 22:14 utc | 48

Gilad Atzmon got Blumenthal right.

Posted by: tucenz | Dec 16 2019 22:15 utc | 49

vk @34--

The lies in support of the Outlaw US Empire's expansion began well prior to 2001; let's try 1945 and the exclusion of journalists from the nuked Japanese cities. In the recent context, we should say 1979 and the Iranian Revolution after which we were entertained by never ending lies from Central and South America, never mind Cuba since 1959, or a host of other places the Outlaw US Empire decided to plant the flag as with Hawaii, Samoa--and gee, how did Panama come to exist as a nation? And for us Americans, what about the Pilgrims, their settlement and the true history behind the taking of scalps?

In case it hasn't been noticed, lies are consistently woven into the narrative matrix of all imperial history, some being much harder to ferret out and correct than others. Quite often, those lies are used to generate further imperial expansion via war. To properly debunk the Establishment's narrative as Caitlin Johnstone advocates, one must have credibility to establish believability and trust. Just as with human relationships, in journalism once trust is lost it's very difficult to reestablish.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 22:17 utc | 50

bevin @35

self destructive?

... to recognize that the establishment actively tries to compromise the progressive left and try to guard against that?


In other words, STFU?

there were swept up?

What part of "cynical salesperson" don't you understand?

in the same trenches?

Are they? b has asked how they are funded;

nod our appreciation ... as the Canadian Corps, in 1918

What baloney - such a blatant false equivalence;

most of us ... have undergone significant political evolution

Conflating of victims and abusers;

the had the courage to become right?

You are asserting as fact the point that is in question.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 22:21 utc | 51

oldhippie @6
If Max Blumenthal were interested in committing journalism he would begin by interviewing his father.
Exactly my though when I see this name. I'm just waiting to see when Max Blumenthal starts peddling a new big lie; it will certainly happen.

Posted by: teatree | Dec 16 2019 22:22 utc | 52

joseph k jr @48--

It's fundamental to the matter at hand, an a priori matter upon which an a posteriori attempt's being made to change--akin to a leopard trying to change its spots.

When one lies in the service of anything, why should that person expect to be believed when the tune is changed, particularly when the change is so obvious? Lack of transparency as to why provides proof of insincerity and thus zero credibility. Yet the gullible are attracted in a manner similar to the snake oil salesman--a new sucker's born every minute. Warning labels don't come attached to every product deserving one. The trio b points out still require such a label for the above reasoning. Truth ought to always trump egos.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 22:35 utc | 53

I like both b’s and Max Blumenthal’s reporting. Therefore, I was extremely sad to read today’s post. It is hard enough to get good and independent journalism. At the same time, the points b makes are very valid.

Blumenthal should take the opportunity to clarify his position. I am sure, the vast majority of his followers, including me, will be sympathetic and will have an open mind.

I will not prejudge, but will only say that changing opinion is not a crime, provided it is based on rationale rather than opportunism. Similarly, none of us is immune to making mistakes. Whatever the case, honesty and openness will be key if Blumenthal wants to take a position on what b has raised.

I truly hope Blumenthal will be up to the challenge. After losing Democracy Now (for its Syrian regime change stand and promotion of white helmet) I don’t want to lose another alternative media outlet.

I discovered Gray zone only recently and was thrilled to do so. I also admire Aaron Mate. I hope he is not involved in this controversy. And how is Gray zone related to Alternet? I know Alternet only superficially. From the little I know about Alternet I am not convinced that it’s worthwhile to spend my valuable time following it.

I hope Blumenthal will rise to the occasion. We can not continue to lose such potential.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Dec 16 2019 22:46 utc | 54

Hey b you sound like Louis Proyect here, who also has a strange fixation with Blumenthal. There is something really repulsive about leftish internet commentators calling out and throwing under the bus people who basically share their views. How brave and righteous of you to join trolls like Proyect and the Twitter SJW crowd in denouncing those who you consider impure.

It’s highly ironic that people who constantly make excuses for Trump and pander to the MAGA crowd (like b) and (like Edward Curtain and Eric Zuesse) have no problem posting stuff on the racist far right Unz Review act all high and mighty and “call out” journalists whose faults are certainly no worse than their own. As for the Grayzone’s funding...there’s a good chance it’s RT. Is that a problem for you, b?

You really lower your credibility by posting envious trash like this. And using ‘we’ when the only person behind this blog is you, i.e. one guy, makes you sound extremely pretentious. What’s that saying about people in glass houses throwing stones?

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Dec 16 2019 23:13 utc | 55

Temporarily Sane @55

And you are a blatently obvious troll.

Blumenthal's reputation is obviously very important!

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 16 2019 23:17 utc | 56

Nathan Mulcahy @54--

The Gray Zone was once a feature of AlterNet. AlterNet had a reputation for being fishy that I never bothered to examine. Soon after Obama's election and his failure to do his job by not arresting and prosecuting BushCo and the Fradulent Banksters, AlterNet and many other sites failed to beat him up in the manner he well deserved, so I deleted it from my Favs.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 23:20 utc | 57

I think b’s motivation for this piece was MB’s phrase "cynical salespersons posing as journalists". I think it’s a bit harsh, but on the other hand I don’t see how b could let this pass.

Posted by: Martin Elvemo | Dec 16 2019 23:24 utc | 58

Temporarily Sane @55: You really lower your credibility by posting envious trash like this.

You're just shooting the messenger.

It's Max B. himself that ...

... begs the question of where his funding comes from after he essentially refers to himself as a "cynical salesperson".

... raises the issue of his sincerity/motives when he hypes his arrest for activism into PERSECUTION for his reporting.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 16 2019 23:24 utc | 59

Temporarily Sane is most likely Permanently Deranged and immediately outs itself as a troll. Clearly, ADKC raises an excellent point about the need to protect people from discovering the fact that Blumenthal (primarily it appears out of the three) lacks credibility and professional transparency.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 23:25 utc | 60

I have perhaps a side issue question, but it may have relevance here.

HD @ 33 provided a link to a lengthy interview by Aaron Mate of The Grey Zone with Theodore Postol. At the end of an informative discussion of the Douma findings, Prof. Postol said that he had no doubt Assad has committed war crimes.

This is the second time a person has inserted this claim into what would be considered by me an accurate assessment of a newsworthy situation - the last one was Chris Hitchens, who was also for the most part saying commendable things. I posted that I had a problem with what he had to say, since he'd brought it up at the beginning of his argument. (In the case of the Postol interview, it is right at the end.)

I was told in the earlier case not to be so judgmental, that it was a good thing for these about faces to be occurring. But I think it is still important to take note of all such assertions, and if they do have a basis in fact we should know that. We come here to learn, and folk are usually able to confirm or deny such statements, particularly as the next step for Syria is going to be elections that must after all they've been through be on the up and up.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 16 2019 23:25 utc | 61

Oldhippie nails it.

B is applying Blumenthal's words to Blumenthal, if the result is too harsh, outrageous, or deeply uncomfortable, then the reactions should be addressed at Blumenthal and not to b.

At an individual level it's common enough to be damned by one's own words but/and one can't force it to be anything else than what it is: a mistake, a negative.

If one tries to deny or actively hide having had a different opinion one can't simultaneously claim to have changed it from what one is obfuscating. One can only choose one of those two things without harming oneself.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Dec 16 2019 23:26 utc | 62

@ Nathan 54

>> Alternet

It’s pure garbage, imo. But, decide for yourself. Just pick a topic b or Aaron Mate covers, like OPCW, and then see what Alternet has to say about it.

Posted by: oglalla | Dec 16 2019 23:28 utc | 63

We're living in a world where 100% of mainstream media and probably 80-90% of "alternative" media have representatives of "the greater good" or whatever you want to call it on staff - typically editors playing the part of the political officer of old.

Those smaller organizations who don't have an in-house minder, often have sponsors with at least some agenda -- with the understanding that on other topics they get to be independent. It has always been this way with the press. Readers should figure out what is the sponsored agenda and what is not (and we should share this information!).

It is truly a precious few who can function as journalists and maintain their independence and integrity with no exceptions and be consistent in throughout their career.

Blumenthal's current work, whatever his past and pedigree, is both rare and valuable to a sane world. The fact his dad was part of the elite establishment protects him, which is a valuable thing too, since all the stories he has been breaking in the last few years would make a person enemies. As long as Max B. provides a media outlet for typically suppressed news of foreign policy misadventures, he deserves my support. If or when he stops, he won't. While I am curious as to his past story and would love to hear it from him and others, I don't share B's outrage...

Posted by: ptb | Dec 16 2019 23:30 utc | 64


In an interview with Steve Keen Michael Hudson was asked about his past growing up in a Trotzkyte community and of being his godson. Hudson refused to answer. He has worked as BoP analyst for Chase Manhattan and alongside Hermann Kahn at the war-planning Hudson Institute.

No, I am not a Blumenthal bot (I read him critically). Yes, I do admire and read Michael Hudson, like you do.

Posted by: Vato | Dec 16 2019 23:31 utc | 65

@ karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 23:25 utc | 60
@ oglalla | Dec 16 2019 23:28 utc | 63

Thanks to both for confirming my gut reaction regarding Alternet.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Dec 16 2019 23:33 utc | 66

I long for the return of the good old days- it would go like this- one of the journalists Blumenthal crossed would meet him at a local saloon and knock his teeth down his throat. Good old fashioned personal responsibility.

Posted by: Morongobill | Dec 16 2019 23:35 utc | 67

juliania @61--

Yes, unfounded assertions must be called out for what they are no matter who makes them. Either one takes the time to provide foundation for the assertion or it isn't made at all. Funny that Pepe Escobar on his Facebook page made an entry on the 14th saying "Keep Calm and Do Philosophy" in anticipation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 23:35 utc | 68

I'm not convinced that money's a factor in Max & Company switching sides. If there's real cash to be made in antiwar journalism generally, then I'm not aware of it. But for the interest of MoA's more conspiracy-minded commenters, this Wikipedia-adjacent New York Review of Books article all but declares that Blumenthal is Putin-funded:

But then, in December 2015, as Russia was relentlessly bombing Syria, and doctors and civilians were being killed in Aleppo by barrel bombs, Blumenthal went to Moscow on a junket to celebrate RT’s tenth anniversary. We don’t know what happened during that visit, but afterward, Blumenthal’s views completely flipped. He has attacked not only the White Helmets but also Bana al-Abed, a nine-year-old girl who lived in rebel-held Aleppo and ran a Twitter account with her mother. The man who once wrote an essay called “The Right to Resist is Universal,” and attacked Narwani as an “Assad apologist,” now accuses anti-Assad Syrians of belonging to al-Qaeda and has claimed that the White Helmets were affiliated with the Islamist group.

A claim I've seen repeated elsewhere. In fact, I think I've heard it suggested that Matt Taibbi was radicalized on the same trip. Goodness knows how many left-leaning journalists oppose American foreign policy for rubles!

The alternative (albeit more boring) explanation is that a lot of reasonable-but-naive people were anti-Assad in the heady days of the early '10s and weren't keen on owning up to their mistakes later. Also worth a reminder: some journalists toe the party line not for the party's sake, but for the sake of their (sometimes misguided) principles. And I would expect the son of Blumenthal the Elder to have occasionally found himself misguided.

Posted by: M | Dec 16 2019 23:54 utc | 69

Vato @65--

The issue clearly is a sore subject for Hudson. He goes into it a bit at the beginning of this auto-biographical interview; but in a search of his website, that's the only larger explanation. If I were to interview him for a biography, I'd delve into it and ask if he sees a connection between his upbringing and the intellectual course of study he's pursued over his life. IMO, there's a connection as he's in search of objectivity like myself, and in the process he's overturned a whole bunch of crap! IMO, the anti-Establishment set didn't know what to do with Hudson or his discoveries since he seemed to work for the enemy, and that remains the case today--too few genuinely understand the radical nature of what he's uncovered.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 16 2019 23:55 utc | 70

@Merilin2 @10
Any person who spent any time in the ME or was even slightly interested could see that the MB hijacked the popular uprising in Egypt and won the election simply because they had the machinery in place to electioneer/propagandise their position.
Similarly in Syria, while there was some discontent with the Government and it's policies, name me a country where there isn't, that discontent was exploited by a well organised, funded and armed MB.
Thirdly, what planet are you on believing the MB run Turkish Government is good? Good grief Erdogan is a psychotic despot who wants to be a Sultan of the new Ottoman empire.
Fourthly; what is so great about Western "democracy"? The Brits have just voted BJ into power in a landslide partly because of a sustained campaign that not only misconstrued events but actually lied (and used the spy agencies of the country to highlight those lies) about the leader of the opposition. You have a 2 party system in the US where it is very difficult, from a Foreign Policy respect, to tell the difference between the two - war and more war seems to be the order of the day along with serfdom to Israel. What a great ideal to aspire to - not.
And lastly, you assume the people of Syria were uneducated and poor. Yes there were/are people in Syria who are not educated to the point of University and there were/are poor; the same as in any country. To infer that this is the reason they are not ready for "democracy" smacks of elitism at its worst. A simple "google search" will show you Syria has/had a very high literacy rate, great health care, etc.
I have many friends in Syria and knew from the get-go that the uprising there was a plot hatched by outsiders even before I spoke with them - what is wrong with people just checking the facts before they burst into self-gratifying print?

Posted by: WTL | Dec 17 2019 0:11 utc | 71

The alternative (albeit more boring) explanation is that a lot of reasonable-but-naive people were anti-Assad in the heady days of the early '10s and weren't keen on owning up to their mistakes later. Also worth a reminder: some journalists toe the party line not for the party's sake, but for the sake of their (sometimes misguided) principles. And I would expect the son of Blumenthal the Elder to have occasionally found himself misguided.

Posted by: M | Dec 16 2019 23:54 utc | 69

this seems reasonable to me. i'm still waiting on an answer on how someone would make more money exposing lies about say, venezuela and bolivia than pushing the empire line? like i said earlier, he may well be intellectually dishonest about his past, but some evidence would be nice for financial corruption. i'm assuming b doesn't make a lot pushing truths the empire doesn't want pushed, and (absent evidence) i'm going to assume the same for blumenthal junior.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 17 2019 0:19 utc | 72

The podcast was not deleted, only the URL was changed

Posted by: J.L.Seagull | Dec 17 2019 0:19 utc | 73

b is exactly right. Max is a salesman, a cynical opportunist and influence vampire who's infiltrated the political Left. His goal, as an asset of Empire, is to police the Left end of US political discourse. (That's why he rails against 9/11 Truth activists, the idea of the US having a more direct role in the creation of ISIS, why he pushes the "blowback" theory or "bumbling empire" theory. Aaron Maté, Norton and Khalek are very similar).

Here's something that will help you understand. Max Blumenthal is the son of Hillary Clinton's close advisor and hatchet man, Sidney Blumenthal.

Keep that in mind. The woman who pushed for Libya's destruction and Qadaffi's overthrow, her advisor's son... is Max Blumenthal.

Can you see now why Max promoted the Libya and Syria wars of conquest?

He's not an honest person at all. He plagarizes previous work that was done to a higher standard, by other people (e.g. he plagarized Rick Sterling's and Vanessa Beeley's exposé on the White Helmets for 21st Century Wire and still managed to tack some anti-Syrian propaganda onto it).

Remember his recent "arrest"? That was bullshit, but not for the reasons you think i.e., trumped up charges. He was charged with misdemeanour assault, a charge that can be knocked down to something like a $100 fine (trivial) in the district he was arrested in. Even a panhandler with a public defender can get that charge dropped. It's not worth the court's time to prosecute such a trivial charge.

That's why Scott">"/>Scott Creighton, when covering Blumenthal's hysterical promotion of his "arrest" and "persecution", predicted that the charges would be dropped. And voila! Last week, the charges were dropped. Not because the prosecutors had difficulty building a case, but because the charge itself (which Max NEVER specifies what his arrest was for, by the way, on what actual grounds or suspicion of being arrested!) wasn't worth the money, time or effort to follow that conviction through.

And it was set up that way. Choreographed arrest to a T. Max gets to puff up his credibility among the Left, he gets to enjoy some protective custody for a couple days (certainly wasn't going to be placed in general population with convicted felons, they'd shank him once they learned he was the son of a DC insider), and the charges get dropped, making it look like the whole endeavour (on the DC police's part of arresting him) was fraudulent and trumped up.

(Doesn't that assume the justice system actually works for activists, by the way? Why are many Black Panthers still imprisoned, then? Hmm...)

There was no "early morning raid", it was 9 am not 3 am, and the police merely knocked on his door, read the articles Mr. Creighton provides and walks you through to understand why his "trumped up charges/political persecution" story is nonsense.

Blumenthal is a hatchet man for Empire. He's a salesmen for the political Left. But he has to be fairly constrained in his professed politics. Salesmen only principle is getting you to buy a product. He needs to sell one thing one day, and another thing the next. That's why Blumenthal's actual political principles, when elucidated, are quite vague, well within the bounds of mainstream opinion, only appearing transgressive and radical.

Firstly, as an asset of Empire, he can't actually go around professing real anti-imperialist or anti-capitalist positions. That's to ensure to his handlers that he's compromised. If he goes around promoting actual pro-Assad, Syrian voices like Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley do, his handlers/paymasters (Pierre Omidyar, possibly?) will say, "What am I paying you for, I don't pay /real/ Leftists, I pay for fake Leftists." But it has to be convincing enough to draw in a Left audience. So he says some transgressive-sounding things here and there, like railing off about corporate disinformation campaigns, which are indeed real. But obvious to anyone who doesn't have a conflict of interest.

Blumenthal is an opportunistic, turncoat snake. He's a hatchet man, an infiltrator, and Empire's prized asset. Just like his pals Khalek, Norton, and Maté.

Posted by: David | Dec 17 2019 0:22 utc | 74

I think I've heard it suggested that Matt Taibbi was radicalized on the same trip

@Posted by: M | Dec 16 2019 23:54 utc | 69

Telling the truth about what has happened and is happening in Syria is not a show your colors...
Starting telling the truth about Syria after a travel to Moscow does not immediately means you are now being payed by the Russians. Do you consider that they could have been showed some evidence there, by whoever, not necessarily Russian government, but even also? Journalists are not oblied to expose their sources...and that could weel be the reason why they do not explain their complete chnage of mind?

I am curious about why nobody calls you a troll, as they are doing with anyone trying to defend in any way Blumenthal, only because you agree with b´s point.
The stick to measure of the most regulars here is quite astinishingly always...

Posted by: Sasha | Dec 17 2019 0:23 utc | 75

David @74--

You need to read my @68 as your comment is 100% unfounded assertion.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 17 2019 0:29 utc | 76

karlof1 @70

In the the linked interview that you provided Michael Hudson describes the inception of the modern day criminal US State:-

In the last few months that I worked for Chase Manhattan in 1967, I was going up to my office on the ninth floor and a man got on the elevator and said, "I was just coming to your office, Michael. Here is a report. I'm from the State Department (I assumed that this meant CIA).

“We want to calculate how much money the US could get if we set up bank branches and became the bank for all the criminal capital in the world."

He said, "We figured out we can finance, (and he said this in an elevator), we can finance the Vietnam War with all the drug money coming into America, all of the criminal money. Can you make a calculation of how much that might be?"

So I spent three months figuring out how much money goes to Switzerland, from drug dealings, what's the dollar volume of drug dealings.

They helped me with all sorts of statistics on that, and said, "We can become the criminal capital of the world and it'll finance the dollar and this will enable us to afford the spending to defeat communism in Vietnam and elsewhere. If we don't do that, the bomb throwers will come to New York."

So I became a specialist in money laundering!

Nothing could have better prepared me to understand how the global economy works! I had all the statistics, I had the help of the government people explaining to me how the CIA worked with drug dealing and other criminals and kidnappers to raise the money so it would be off the balance sheet funding and Congress didn't have to approve it when they would kill people and sponsor revolutions.

They were completely open with me about this.

I realized they'd never done a security check on me.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 17 2019 0:30 utc | 77

ptb @64

I find it bizzare when people not only refuse to acknowledge reality but try to squash reasonable questions.

Readers should figure out what is the sponsored agenda and what is not

Isn't b asking who sponsors Max B. and his organizations?

It is truly a precious few who can function as journalists and maintain their independence and integrity with no exceptions and be consistent in throughout their career.

Yet another conflating of victims and victimizers.

And b has pointed out that Max B. hasn't tried to rise above his past as much as he's tried hide it.

Blumenthal's current work ... whatever his past and pedigree

This is spectacular hand-waving which excuses ANYTHING Max B. may have done prior to his self-declared reformation and brushes past ANY question of Max B.'s connections to the establishment. It also completely ignores b's REASONABLE question about Max B.'s covering up his prior reporting about Syria and the origin of Max B.'s funding.

... is both rare and valuable ...

It's not if he's leading us down a garden path.

The fact his dad was part of the elite establishment protects him, which is a valuable thing

Is this really your shockingly naive belief?

If not, you've chosen the wrong place for such spin.

As long as ... [Max B. continues to report] suppressed news of foreign policy misadventures, he deserves my support.

Your personal ability to hold someone accountable means virtually nil. You can't really think that'll work. Even if there are a few moral, well-informed people that stop following Max B., most will be taken in. How many people stopped supporting Hillary when she cackled at Qaddafi's death?

If you are sincere (which I doubt), you're being foolishly short-sighted.

I don't share B's outrage...

Propagandists, 'narrative managers', and other lackeys have greased the skids for multiple wars that have killed, injured, and displaced millions of people. They are still at it. But you can't muster ANY CONCERN about a former propagandist that is closely connected to the establishment.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 17 2019 0:32 utc | 78

Maybe it's not money?

Power, influence, position, and they're all non-taxable in and of themselves.

I'm not saying the following is the case but I am saying that it is certainly a possibility (always!):
· have an opinion.
· gain credence, loyalty, support.
· (ab)use.

False opposition and all that.

It has happened millions if not billions of times before.

[For the curious at least on my computer it is [Alt Gr + .] to make what I think is a bullet point :)]

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Dec 17 2019 0:40 utc | 79

ADKC @77--

Glad you finally got to read that interview. Some story he reveals, huh?! In a way, he's somewhat like Daniel Ellsberg--an insider yet a truth teller. He readily admits his first edition of Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire was readily snapped-up by the very players he was describing to understand what they were doing and mostly ignored by those he thought would be his target audience--antiwar and anti-imperialist. He's promised his next book will tie together the two main investigative paths he's walked, which may well be his last as he's now 80.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 17 2019 0:42 utc | 80

Sasha @75

Easy now. My very first sentence: "I'm not convinced that money's a factor in Max & Company switching sides." My comment about Taibbi and Blumenthal being in Putin's pocket was meant to be read ironically. If anything, I (correctly!) expected that assertion to arouse sympathy for them.

That said, I appreciate b's reminder to watch one's friends closely, even if I don't completely share his zest for calling out hypocrisy.

Posted by: M | Dec 17 2019 0:45 utc | 81

Bravo, b!
You’ll always receive the most flak when you’re directly over the target.... Ruffled a few feathers with this latest truth bomb.... If MB were a legitimate journalist, he would have investigated his old man over his involvement in the destruction of Libya with HRC..... danke schoen for all you do!

Posted by: jaraslav hasek | Dec 17 2019 0:53 utc | 82

Pathetic; And annoying just like real barflies.

Posted by: NOBTS | Dec 17 2019 0:55 utc | 83

@76 Karlof, there is a basis for my assertions, not just one of them, but all. And your comment only repeats what you said to me, which is itself an unfounded claim. It's a fact he's promoted "blowback" theory (which whitewashes imperial criminality by suggesting that those who control the vast majority of wealth and political power are too "stupid" to understand the consequences of their actions) and attacked 9/11 Truth activists. That's a video I found from a five second Google search.

How can you claim my assertions are unfounded, when you haven't checked the easily verifiable ones for yourself? I know I can back up my claims. So why couldn't you refute that one? Yes, the overall theme that he's an asset in the direct pay of Empire is harder to prove, but the basic facts of his service to power are not. And sometimes we have to work on very little evidence, the CIA is called "covert institution" for a reason. If political power were transparent, it'd be much easier to combat and harder for them to influence the discourse.

Blowback theory is innocence theory. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can look at the story of Blumenthal's arrest, how he promoted it, and how it contrasts with reality. That's one angle. Read and contrast the Grayzone write-up of his arrest, and Alan Macleod's version, which are both approved by Blumenthal even though the latter write up contradicts the former in several major details. So, leading from that shows at a minimum that his claim he's "an honest journalist" can be disputed, because the facts of the case don't align with what he's said about it.

You can start with the fact that he is the SON of a DC insider, who eagerly helped promote anti-Libyan propaganda/ that he knew was shoddy at best.

The point of a conman is to convince people they're credible, obviously. The fact that they're cons is only after you realize you were grifted, by which time those guys are long gone. The fact that Blumenthal still has a Twitter account (verified, no less) after the purge of (far less visible) Cuban and Venezuelan voices (including government officials and media outlets) from the platform, just indicates that power doesn't see Blumenthal as a threat.

Dwell on that for a bit. Blumenthal gets to walk around free, unmolested, after the "trumped up charges" against him were dropped, and promote his book and podcast which pushes even more "blowback" theory.

Posted by: David | Dec 17 2019 1:00 utc | 84

One undeniable fact; Hasbara is loving this thread...

Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2019 1:12 utc | 85

Strange feeling to read in MoA what such as Bellingcat would be so happy to publish in MoA, or about MoA...
You need medical advice. There is no need to react like you do in this article when all you "reveal" in it is old news the people involved, Max Blumenthal, Ben Norton and Rania Khalek do not deny.
A bit of the flu, ill temper?... Bad day? Bad whisky? This article looks like a child's tantrum, a child jealous of another one's toy.
This article is really sad, and Blumenthal remains justified to make mistakes we all made and still to denounce those who make a living out of it. They make up 99% of the media offered to the public. You do not seem to be one of them.
Accusing Max Blumenthal of being a "cynical salesman" now, after seeing all the good work the Grayzone produces, is really strange. To the point that I ask myself whether I did not make a mistake in trusting your journalism, which up to now I thought was excellent. I feel like in a bad dream to say the truth.
Bodysnatchers must have been operating in that whisky bar it seems...

Posted by: Red Corvair | Dec 17 2019 1:14 utc | 86

ben @85

I assumed, with your enigmatic postings, that you were Hasbara...

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 17 2019 1:18 utc | 87

@87; Damn, you found me out LOL!!

Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2019 1:20 utc | 88

Didn't Moon of Alabama use original reporting from Grayzone, written by Max, to help explain the coup in Bolivia?

Im almost positive he did. Pretty messed up to be forwarding the agenda of a cynical salesperson...

Posted by: investigate3/11 | Dec 17 2019 1:22 utc | 89

karlof1 @70
re: michael hudson
wow, that is one heck of a biography! thanks for the link

Posted by: ptb | Dec 17 2019 1:29 utc | 90

I have been a regular at this bar for about a decade or more, I suspect. I can't remember ever reading the amount of negativity to a posting of b's as I am seeing today about this one.

Since I was berated for missing a space in my last Shakespeare quote, let me see if I can get this one correct:

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 17 2019 1:33 utc | 91

jackrabbit @78

Chill out my friend. Nobody is squashing questions and I have no objection to this post whatsoever. What I'm saying, to spell it out for you, is that I welcome the support of anti war people even if they used to be on the "other side" and may someday go back. On that basis I am defending Blumenthal, because he is now doing good journalism. I hope you don't find that too offensive.

Posted by: ptb | Dec 17 2019 1:38 utc | 92

@ 91; Don't worry about being berated psycho, you must be saying something relevant.

b has made this site, by being controversial and informative. Can't say I agree with everything he brinks forth, but it's still a wonderful place to visit.

I've been here for at least, 15 yrs, and it's head and shoulders above everything else, even if I disagree now and then.

Differing opinions make the world go'round.

Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2019 1:46 utc | 93

@92; DITTO!!

Posted by: ben | Dec 17 2019 1:49 utc | 94

@psychohistorian 91 –

Yeah. I'm surprised. Is it that MoA is becoming more popular? It's drawing in an audience who have closer to "mainstream" (i.e. less "controversial") opinions?

It's weird in this case, because Blumenthal is a recent newcomer in investigative journalism, IIRC. I mean, as far as the war on Syria's concern. That major "change of heart" people praise him for, that was only about 3 years ago. So he's been writing from government? No, he always bats away those accusations. He's been writing from a... less bellicose regards the Syrian government...tone on the conflict for about three years.

Eva Bartlett has been writing about Syria for about 4 or 5 years now. Vanessa Beeley the same, a bit longer. And many far Left (communists, Marxist-Leninists) people have been writing about Syria from a pro-Syrian perspective since the protests began.

I just don't understand the fierce rush to the defense of a person, who, only a few years ago was praising his pal Ben Norton for pressuring the organizers of a conference on Syria to exclude a Christian nun, Mother Agnes, from attending because she supported the Syrian government. Who, only a few years ago, was defending the al-Qaeda militants and slandering real journalists who did actual work.

My explanation for this reaction:

1. The blog is more popular, so a larger amount of people with more conventional opinions are offended, or
2. Many people don't know how to spot a conman, which is to be expected, the point of a conman is to earn someone's trust. "It's easier to fool people, than convince them they've been fooled." The CIA has had practice at this for decades, building a "compatable Left" (recall COINTELPRO and the New Left Review, the intelligence-funded anti-Soviet Left dissident journal, for example).
3. Something more untoward?

Posted by: David | Dec 17 2019 1:49 utc | 95

To all those supporters of Max Blumenthal here's something he wrote in 2012:

"Like the neocon chickenhawks who cheered on America’s invasion of Iraq from the offices of Washington’s American Enterprise Institute, none of Assad’s apologists appear to have done any journalistic fieldwork to support their opinions."

Let's parse this outrageous statement from Blumenthal.

Blumethal directly equates neo-conservatives who wanted war with Iraq with journalists who did not advocate for intervention in Syria. Blumental uses opposition and hostility against the Iraq War to justify a new one in Syria; a total inapprorpiate, unjustifiable and manipulative juxtoposition.

Secondly, he lambasts those journalists who did not agree with him on Syria as not having done any journalistic fieldwork, and by strong implication asserting that he is the only journalist that has done such field work and the only journalist who can speak with authenticity.

And, in over-all form, it is not the type of thing that a true journalist or reporter would say, is it? In fact, it's exactly what a politician or propagandist would say, isn't it?

Blumenthal does not deserve the journalistic respect that he is garnering.

Posted by: ADKC | Dec 17 2019 2:06 utc | 96

Poncirus linked to a Barbara McKenzie post on the MoonofA twitter discussion thread.

In The Re-Branding of the Anti-Syria Left (Part 1, and Part 2) McKenzie writes that Blumenthal, Kalek, Norton and other 'Thirdwayers' are attempting to control the narrative by crowding out real dissenting voices:

Given the co-ordinated and limited nature of their ‘conversion’, the relentless and unwarranted self-promotion, the close links with proponents of a no-fly zone in Syria and the refusal to acknowledge the work of other people in the Syrian field, the view that people like Blumenthal and co. have ‘come on board’ the struggle for truth with regard to the Syrian conflict seems most optimistic.

What is far more probable is that there is a concerted campaign, sponsored by George Soros, to control the narrative on Syria. This is to be achieved by Blumenthal, Norton, Khalek and others moving closer to an anti-imperialist position, in order to create a false dichotomy within the forces opposed to Syrian independence. This false dichotomy will be used to promote people who are hostile to the Syrian government and the interests of the Syrian people as the pro-Syrian voice in the Syria debate. The goal is that Blumenthal and co. are in a position to dominate and weaken the discussion on Syria, and deflect attention from serious research which questions the fundamentals of Western propaganda.

. . .

The role of the thirdwayers, should there be a colour revolution in Iran, remains to be seen, but having now adopted the role of anti-imperialists, they will be in a better position to claim Iran as a genuine revolution, or to push for external intervention before the ‘revolution’ is taken over by jihadists.

The role of gatekeepers is a controversial matter, with some maintaining that their contribution outweighs any negative consequences. However those who are seriously concerned for the future of Syria and the greater Middle East should think carefully before conceding too much ground to the ‘gray zone’.

According to McKenzie, as of January 2017, all or part of The Greyzone's funding came from Soro's Open Society:
Open Society also funds the news outlet Alternet.

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor with Alternet’s Grayzone Project...

In the past Alternet’s principal contribution to the Syria debate has been to publish hand-wringing articles about US intervention, without offering anything groundbreaking or courageous. Alternet publishes articles by both Ben Norton and Rania Khalek, including their most recent.

Another Alternet contributor is David Swanson, who is also theoretically anti-war and anti-imperialist, while at the same time promoting the NATO narrative in terms of Russian and Syrian war crimes, and likewise never addressing the question of evidence.

It seems likely that Max B. and gang still get all or part of their funding from Soro's Open Society.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 17 2019 2:13 utc | 97

Oh so many are totally missing b's point. Blumenthal's tweet said it was "journalists" like himself that were required to sell the media narrative about Syria, and all the other previous wars--but--Blumenthal didn't admit that he himself was one of those very stenographers, or presstitutes. And he refuses to admit that fact, nor tell the world why he changed his POV on a dime. Such behavior in turn affects his credibility and his integrity, both of which are required components for establishing trust.

Apparently, some never learned the #1 aspect to writing that when making an assertion, to make it become a fact documentation is required. If you turn in an essay assignment for me to grade and you haven't supported your assertions/premises with documentation, then you'll be red penciled and graded accordingly.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 17 2019 2:17 utc | 98

Max Blumenthal is a person who is manic after fame, and wants to align himself with the side that is winning. He wants to be prominent and is desperate to be seen. And judging from that video @ 49, from Gilad Atzmon's website, one can see Blumenthal in motion, a man for whom vindication is all important, as he goes chasing an elderly man into a toilet. Socrates said that the pursuit of truth is superior to chasing after right opinion. The trolls hanging around enjoy nothing more than getting fine commenters whose views are usually exchanged with some calm, to start clawing at each other. The god or idol of right opinion can make fools of us.

There is analysis and a rare exchange of views and perspectives here at MoA; and it's a pity to exhaust the talent and get drawn into squabbles over Blumenthal. He is a man incapable of self reflection or of even understanding who he is.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 17 2019 2:18 utc | 99

We can keep going around about whether Blumenthal is trustworthy or not, but ultimately, without some useful information about his funders or his past, it doesn't matter. Has Blumenthal really reformed or is he building credibility to spend on a future imperial nightmare? We can only wait and see and call out his deviations. In the meantime, he'll make helpful noises about Israel and Latin America, which I have no problem with at all.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Dec 17 2019 2:20 utc | 100

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