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

« previous page

I was reading some of the more reasonable comments and approving of them and then I read a post or two by people who are accusing these reasonable people of being "part of Max's troll army." And now I'm starting to have my doubts about b. himself. And I don't like that at all.

So gentlemen, if what you're looking for is heroes to put your complete trust in, or if what you're looking for is opportunities to signal your own ideological purity, please go elsewhere and allow b. to do what he does so well most of the time, which is (as said earlier) aiding people in developing their critical skills.

Oh, and "A User": Go fuck yourself.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Dec 18 2019 22:27 utc | 301

Blake @295,

Thanks for the comment. I too admire Aaron Mate, and find his work on Russia gate to be more substantive than Blumenthal's on Syria. I do not know where I stand on this issue of Blumenthal's chicanery, but I do think that people can hold opposite sides of this issue in good faith. My most serious concerns are set forth in @182. One issue I am not clear on is whether Blumenthal still describes Assad as "horrible" "murdeous" etc. as a kind of caveat premise for his anti-war arguments, or whether he's moved on from this rhetoric. This rhetoric is disturbing not because it (a) needlessly weakens the anti-war argument it prefaces, (b) reflects the baseline US propaganda point against Assad and (c) is also used by other figures whom I respect but do not really trust--Greenwald comes specially to mind here.

Posted by: WJ | Dec 18 2019 22:58 utc | 302

Sorry. Typo in earlier comment. "Because it" not "not because it"

Posted by: WJ | Dec 18 2019 23:19 utc | 303

@295 blake... thanks for your input.. i would like to share that i agree with @300 lurk and @ 306 wg regarding aaron mate.. i think if you read the 300 odd posts you will note that most everyone here are not equating max b with aaron mate.. in fact, i compliment aaron mate on his work in an earlier post here. and fwiw - b makes no mention of aaron mate and has actually shared his work here at moa on greyzone.. so, it is not a black and white conversation here.. but i do agree with lurk that until max b comes out and discusses the dynamic of his dad and who is funding greyzone, some questions are going to hang over greyzones work... maybe it is best to say - we can take an article as it stands on its own and accept it or not regardless the source.. my main concern was outlined much earlier by adkc @ 45 or 46 and a few others further into the comment section here... i appreciate what max had to say in the interview you shared.. i have been following max on and off since way back in the mondoweiss years - 2008 forward? i can't remember, but i liked the work he was doing with palestine-israel issue..

@ lurk.. do yourself a favour and ignore fb... my take - fb is some type of destabilizing energy at moa and probably works for cia to help destabilize moa.. the fact he only showed up here on this thread after a good long absence strengthens my subjective viewpoint...

Posted by: james | Dec 18 2019 23:54 utc | 304

Aaron Mate seemed to be the main person covering the OPCW scandal.

The decision to no longer cover OPCW developments is probably an editorial decision by Max B.

If so, Aaron Mate should resign from The Greyzone just as Haddad resigned from Newsweek.

See more in my comments @260, @261.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 0:00 utc | 305

@310 james It probably took him a while to renew his troll-spotting licence.

Posted by: dh | Dec 19 2019 0:08 utc | 306

@ dh.. good to see you and the humour you bring! now, where is our good friend grieved these days?

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 0:19 utc | 307

WJ @ 306:

It's possible for people to hold opinions that they don't realise can be potentially contradictory.

Occasionally where the opportunity has arisen (here and at other blogs), I've recommended that people watch Jenan Moussa's 2017 documentary "Undercover in Idlib" which she made with three independent informants who travelled in Idlib province separately from one another and who filmed their encounters on hidden cellphones. They confirmed that there were at least 10,000 and as many as 20,000 jihadis and their families living in Idlib province. Many of them were living in villages formerly inhabited by Syrian Christian families. The informants also confirmed that checkpoints into and out of Idlib were controlled by Jabhat al Nusra jihadis.

For all that, as far as I know, Jenan Moussa is still opposed to President Bashar al Assad. Part of that opposition could be due to the fact that she works for Al Aan TV in Dubai. In the documentary itself, she seems to imply that she is on the side of the jihadis when she says near its conclusion that everyone in Idlib is afraid of what will happen when the Russian-Syrian offensive begins.

Unfortunately no-one has made a similar documentary or investigated the situation in Idlib that would support or refute Jenan Moussa's work so for the time being I will continue to recommend the documentary (though I will also warn people about Moussa's biases against the Syrian government) to people.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 19 2019 0:45 utc | 308

WJ @ 306:

Regarding my comment @ 315:

"... They [the informants] confirmed that there were at least 10,000 and as many as 20,000 jihadis and their families living in Idlib province ..."

This should have been:

"... They confirmed that there were at least 10,000 and as many as 20,000 jihadis and their families from Central Asia and Xinjiang in western China living in Idlib province ..."

Posted by: Jen | Dec 19 2019 0:48 utc | 309

After reading all the comments, some observations:

It seems that a lot of people are inescapably tribal using labels such as left or right. FFS, grow up, it is about the truth. Bleating about "forgiveness' entirely misses the point. Why should we care any more about Blumenthal as a person than we do any of the other 7+ billion people on the planet.

Blumenthal's behaviour - on the face of it - is/was dishonest, malicious and self-serving, such as attacking journalists that had actually been to Syria to report and plagiarising Beeley and covering his tracks. These are facts. The mildest interpretation of this behaviour is that very grave character flaws are present. This in turn brings into question his sincerity in espousing the cause of Righteousness. People don't work like that. As for somehow being "like" Assange, ummm, no. Assange is in prison, had his health ruined and faces truly frightening vengeance from the most powerful forces in society. Assange has given his life to the cause of truth and held nothing back. He has faced his personal Moment of Truth and not been found wanting.

Claims of naivete or immaturity are not plausible (a journalist? from a Washington insider family?) but even if true, considering the horror of what was perpetrated by the actors that took succour from those views, at the very least disqualifies one from being taken seriously ever after. Especially as the actual facts about Syria were laid out for all to observe in real time. What special insight do Blumenthal et al bring to anything that I can't understand better myself?

The only sure naivete on display is from those that seem incapable of understanding how devious, cynical and mendacious those who run the world can be. You can come up with some pretty complex and far-reaching schemes when you don't have to have a real job and yet have unlimited resources at your disposal. And no scruples. Obviously one of the first things to do is to effectively propagandise. This is not limited to controlling the NYT or WaPo or BBC, funnily enough. It surely extends to infiltration of your opposition. Doh. It is called "strategy".

Claims that MB writes truth on Venezuela or such could consistently be explained as being irrelevant to causing any harm to his controlling interests. The Middle East is the main game even for the Imperial US project, never mind the Zionist's (assuming we can realistically separate them at this late stage). So calling out the obviously ridiculous and ham-fisted attempt at regime change in Venezuela is useful in establishing some credibility among exactly those that identify as the "left" and that defend MB here. And what practical support will the Palestinians have if States like Syria or Iran are destroyed? Maybe the UN . . .?

To simply accept such limited truth-telling as evidence of a true heart belies the evidence of history. Many people's problem is that because they could not lie so shockingly and grandly, they assume other's could not either. Nice attitude . . . but gullible. Most likely you are being played.

As always two guiding principles hold true "cui bono" and "follow the money".

Who stood to benefit from Blumenthal's support of the anti-Assad push? Clue: it wasn't the millions of dead and displaced Syrians. It wasn't the Palestinians, either.

Who pays the Grayzone's/Alternet's bills? A valid question that should not need to be obscured if all is on the up and up. Though claims about who funds it would still need to be scrutinised for plausibility and truthfulness. When you run an operation on a shoestring it looks like MoA. Not like the Grayzone.

On his track record - really quite amazing - B's intuition is something the circumspect would do well to heed. If he smells a rat, then I'm sniffing the breeze. For him to go to print with something would then need a substantial body of evidence to justify. I think his work will likely stand the test of time.

Posted by: Camillus O'Byrne | Dec 19 2019 5:57 utc | 310

re: Camillus O'Byrne | Dec 19 2019 5:57 utc @ 317

"As for somehow being "like" Assange, ummm, no. Assange is in prison, had his health ruined and faces truly frightening vengeance from the most powerful forces in society. Assange has given his life to the cause of truth and held nothing back. He has faced his personal Moment of Truth and not been found wanting."
"As always two guiding principles hold true "cui bono" and "follow the money"."

Good Morning CO'B.
Drinking my morning coffee here in Sweden. The sunrises in about an hour.
Your post is however illuminating. Thank You.
If I may, I'd like to shed-some-light on Julian's predicament.

I live in the very small town where 1 of the 'alleged rapes' took place.
Distance from where I'm sitting now ca. 1 km.
You may also be surprised to learn that, the Swedish Military CyberCommand HQ is in this little town as well.
Distance from myself, ca. ½ km.
The distance between the 'rape' & cybercommand, ½ km.
Some facts:
This 'victim' has multiple-identities.
Her lawyer is the ex-PM Fredrik Reinfelt's personal lawyer and until recently, chairman for the Swedish Bar Association.
At the time of these so-called 'rapes' and the following 6 years, the FM-foreign minister/ex-PM Carl Bildt had more or less 100% personal control over Sweden's foreign policy.
Carl Bildt is a cia-asset since the early 1970's.
Don't believe me?
HERE! Download these!">">

When Obama came to Sweden in 2013, who met Obama at the airport?
You guessed It. Carl Bildt :

Your qui bono + follow the money is always a prerequisite to find the Truth.
I've been working on this for 1½+ hours now.
The sun's up.
Time for another cup of coffee.
Cheers X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Dec 19 2019 8:06 utc | 311

This is a scurrilous ad hominen attack. As an interested reader and contributor, I will be taking a break from reading this site to wash off the disagreeable odor.

Posted by: timotheus | Dec 19 2019 9:13 utc | 312

"No one style could undermine and replace corporate dominated propaganda on their own. They must work together – just as infantry, warplanes, tanks, and artillery work together on the battlefield. In the barracks they may not be able to stomach one another, but on the battlefield, infighting will spell defeat.

There is organic infighting, and then there is establishment cognitive infiltration where propagandists posing as alternative media infiltrate our efforts and attempt to pit us against one another. This causes us to expend our energy on each other before ever scratching the establishment.
Be highly suspicious/cautious of those in the alternative media who spend an inordinate amount of time attacking other alternative media organizations and personalities – they are either cognitive infiltrators or victims of their own ego – either way, strategically, they are hurting, not helping the cause."
excerpted from
"What is the Alternative Media? Talking Points, Organic Infighting and Cognitive Infiltration"
Tony Catalucci

Posted by: Marb | Dec 19 2019 9:34 utc | 313

re: timotheus | Dec 19 2019 9:13 utc @ 319

"Truth sounds like Hate to those that Hate the Truth".
Non Sequitur.

note: "In Latin, non sequitur means "it does not follow." The phrase was borrowed into English in the 1500s by people who made a formal study of logic. For them it meant a conclusion that does not follow from the statements that lead to it. But we now use non sequitur for any kind of statement that seems to come out of the blue. The Latin verb sequi ("to follow") has actually led the way for a number of English words. A sequel follows the original novel, film, or television show. Someone obsequious follows another about, flattering and fawning. And an action is often followed by its consequence."

Posted by: Veritas X- | Dec 19 2019 9:51 utc | 314

@ Marb | Dec 19 2019 9:34 utc | 320

From the start of the article you referenced, here is the part you left out:

We don’t get a script or set of talking points sent out from a handful of corporate think-tanks – we work each story as it comes from our own perspectives allowing readers to judge the veracity of our work through researching our references and thinking for themselves. Each of us has our own style because there is no “school of alternative media.” And each of us has our own way of dealing with criticism, attacks, and efforts to undermine our work.

Each style, like each weapon or battle formation on the battlefield, has a role to play:

+The “alternative academics” with deep research, many references, and a high-level vocabulary and level of analysis serves as a good fundamental basis and reference for the rest of the alternative media. They can provide the underpinnings of more popular and simplified messages.

+The “alternative journalist” tries to be objective and report both sides of every issue minus the spin.

+The “alternative sensationalists” try to get the completely indoctrinated, brainwashed masses interested in issues their TV and regular websites don’t/won’t cover. They provide a large and steady stream of readers for the other two. They may be slightly lowbrow in their methods, but think of them as the infantry and artillery in the trenches, everyday slugging it out with the corporate media for the minds of the vast public – it would be very difficult to live in those trenches and not get a little dirty.

Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett are good examples of "alternative journalists" in Tony Cartalucci's scheme.

Max Blumenthal spent an inordinate amount of time attacking Bartlett and Beeley. In other words, Tony Cartalucci is warning us about Max Blumenthal.

These truths are plain and simple to see, if one applies logic to all the relevant facts. But then you come here with a careful misrepresentation of facts and a conclusion that is the inverse of the truth.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 19 2019 10:35 utc | 315

I recall Joanne Leon's interview with Max on where she said about Syria that when people are on their search for truth not everyone is at the same point at the same time.
He agreed, but I thought: that message is ment for you mate. He is combative and good at bashing people and also applies this when he shouldn't, like attacking people on being wrong where he went through the same evolution. He is also reputation sensitive in struggling with he embarassment of having been wrong.
Blumenthal also attacks to the point that he questions people's agenda. That's ugly. I think he will improve on that front but maybe not enough.
Up to that point Bernhard's critique is sensible.
But he chooses to combine it with questioning Blumenthal's agenda. That is mediocre in the same fashion.
It also invites a 'ganging up' groupthink which I do not approve of. Blumenthal's possible weaknesses, like funding, can be pointed out. But not in this way. These are weaknesses, not full out sellouts.

Finkelstein has experienced this type of attack on his reputation from people who previously supported him, and Greenwald and Assange.
What distinguishes mainstream from alternative media is who they trust. Who they give a good reputation and who they give a bad reputation.
Sources with a good reputation are easily believed. Sources with a bad reputation are easily disbelieved, and detrimental claims about them are easily believed.
Alternative media can also easily succumb to polarizing and problematic groupthink where a flaw, perceived or real, quickly grows into all-out disrepute. As if people are either pure and good, or bad and nothing in between.
It requires a few extra skills to mitigate its traps. Greenwald has some of those skills, he uses more boxes for putting people in. Guess who won't notice that? People on here.
Greenwald, Assange and Finkelstein are people who have contributed a lot in their own way. They all have achieved good things. Blumenthal has grown into a very good and very productive journalist. Don't sweep that off the table.

Posted by: tuyzentfloot | Dec 19 2019 10:38 utc | 316

@ timotheus | Dec 19 2019 9:13 utc | 319

Oh look, yet another one from the same template as so many before it on this topic:

1. Feigned moral indignation and implied ad hominem attack on b for being so "immoral"
2. Claims to be a regular, nay a (financial) contributor even
3. Pompously announced "farewell" adorned with further insults
4. Complete absence of substance, factual references or logical objections to the actual issue at hand

You astroturfers are embarrassing yourself and you are not fooling anyone here with this script.

I challenge any of you to come with a rebuttal of the glaring Blumenthal - Clinton problem.

It is probably not forthcoming as you know that you would only further spread the stench by breathing too close to it.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 19 2019 10:41 utc | 317

James #310

Flankerbandit didnt show up for this thread he showed up for Boeing Max thread on which previous boeing max articles he had made valuable input from a technical perspective.

I don't think Flankerbandit's human resource skills are the best nor his interpersonal communications online - but meh, he's an engineer!

I value his technical input greatly because it's valuable - his political contributions - not so much

Posted by: martin | Dec 19 2019 11:25 utc | 318

@ Veritas X- | Dec 19 2019 9:51 utc | 321

As an outsider looking in and having cognizance of the CIA's general operating principles and procedures, it seems that the assassination of Olof Palme and the subsequent marked veering of Sweden towards a rabidly pro-US geopolitical stance is either a striking coincidence or represents a conspiracy. For Sweden to have effectively renounced its policy of neutrality which has served it so well and considering its proximity to Russia may make it more especially careful to be even-handed, the stance of the political class in Sweden since Palme's murder defies logic based on public factual considerations or prudent statesmanship.

It can be explained however if subsequent to Palme's assassination the current crop of politicians fall in to one or more of three categories. Those that are ideologically aligned with Washington's neocons/Zionists (or outright assets, as you say), those that have been intimidated by Palme's fate, those that have been simply corrupted (and therefore amenable to blackmail) by money, promotion or other more debased temptations.

@ timotheus | Dec 19 2019 9:13 utc | 319

and his ilk. We have a situation where Blumenthal has proven himself to be deceptive (track covering), nasty (attacks on other proven, actual, journalists), of low morality (plagiarising Beeley and others), self-aggrandising (the arrest/persecution "drama" and accepting equivalence with Assange), is tainted by association with human scum responsible for the most vile and despicable crimes (his father and therefore Clinton) AND of getting one of the most obvious and important stories of the last decades totally and inexplicably wrong. But you tell us we should simply accept that he acts in good faith when he says "sorry" and that his motives are pure though he may have erred in his enthusiasm for the underdog, the truth, blah, blah and he is still a wonderful journalist. Of course you cannot actually prove what his real motives are, we must just trust. Hmmmm . . . .

On the other hand B has an extraordinary record of prescient and accurate insight into complex issues and has been vindicated time and again on the positions he takes and has never been caught lying, has consistently and faultlessly take the side of Right, shows every sign of being without sponsors other than those of us here that value honesty and integrity and information. But you tell us that his real motive in publishing this article is not a desire to set the record straight, to out a villain (though that is his stock in trade, really) and to see some justice done but is simply a vicious ad-hominem attack (though using many factual statements, so . . . ?) motivated by jealousy?, spite?, indigestion? Here also of course you cannot prove his real motivation for what he does.

So to summarise, we should just believe good ol' Max has everyone's best interests at heart and B is a bit of a bastard, really. Never mind the facts of their individual professional track records, behaviour towards others, etc.

Well, I've thought about it and I ain't buyin' it. Most likely Blumenthal is a crypto-Zionist and there are no greater liars, cheats and deceivers anywhere. That is certainly much more plausible than the proposition that B just lashes out randomly at people he doesn't like. Certainly I have never learned anything I didn't already know from Blumenthal's output whereas B's originality of insight is truly educational.

As for those that put such a proposition one wonders, why? As in many, if not all, such quandaries there are only three possibilities - the proposer is a) a knave, b) a fool, or c) (you guessed it!) both.

This is not ultimately about any "journalist's" reputation, neither Blumenthal's nor B's, or good intentions, or people adopting a different "position" or other sundry crap. The kind of lies Blumenthal demonstrably aided and abetted got people KILLED. Dead. We are talking torture, murder, organ harvesting, child trafficking and every sickening perversity of the human spirit. Millions of people lost loved ones, children have been invalided and maimed, lives shattered and families uprooted and traumatised beyond any hope of healing except by the grace of God. Wickedness on a vast scale. Even if Blumenthal really is just a naive, well-intentioned bumbler (a fool, in other words) he should hang his head in shame, beg forgiveness of those he maligned and crawl under a rock to contemplate the error of his ways and spare us his sanctimony. The fact that he doesn't is prima facie evidence of knavery.

Posted by: Camillus O'Byrne | Dec 19 2019 15:12 utc | 319

Lurk #300

Maybe I was mistaken but I thought did read one commentor calling the Grayzone a deep state cover and I maybe ove-reacted to seeing that. My apologies.

In terms of the Grayzone Clinton connection, I have had direct conversations with Mate about the DNC and the Clinton's control of it etc at least in the past. I would be surprised if the Grayzone was some sort of covert Clinton connected operation. But it is a good suggestion to ask Aaron about their funding and his thoughts about Max B. in regards to this whole topic, which I will do the next opportunity I have.

But I think if you look at the Body of Mate's work, he has been highly critical of the elites democrats and I don't think he has held his tongue about this issue even if his funding his tied to the Clinton's in some way. I know for sure that in conversation he is scathingly cricital of the Democratic party and how they handled Russiagate, their lack of interest in the disenfranchisement of many voters of color by the Republicans, their support of candiates like Biden. In fact he is one of the few people in my "progressive" part of Brooklyn with whom I can discuss such issues about the Democrats. Over the years I have many conversations stop dead when I start laying into the Clintons and Obama.

Nonetheless I will bring up this topic with Mate' when I get the chance.

Posted by: Blake Holden | Dec 19 2019 15:39 utc | 320

So this has happened before, here's a reply from 2017 when Ben Norton responded at the time:

"I saw the piece you just published. It would be much more fair and accurate if you included a statement from me explaining the evolution of my (and our) views. Please include the following quote below. Max, Rania, and I would have been more than happy to explain our views and provide our side of the story, if you had reached out. Instead of muddying the waters and spreading disinformation about us, we should have a constructive discussion."

Posted by: Lonkal | Dec 19 2019 16:58 utc | 321

@320 martin... thanks for your comment here and on the other thread over this topic.. i agree with you.. the attacks on others is what bothers me..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 17:14 utc | 322

hey blake!!! - check wg and my comment to you @304 and 306 too... thanks..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 17:20 utc | 323

@ 323 lonkal... others have shared the link you shared here already... it still doesn't answer some outstanding questions that b is asking on max in particular, but on ben as well.. maybe they would like to come and comment on it in the comment section here??

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 17:24 utc | 324

I would like to point out that those who have subsequently posted contrary views to Camillus O'Byrne's have not addressed any one of his several cogent arguments.

The longer this thread continues the more apparent it is becoming which party in this dispute has the stronger argument. (Incidentally this is one benefit of long unmoderated comment threads for those who take the time--and know how--to read them.)

Posted by: WJ | Dec 19 2019 17:34 utc | 325

Barbara McKenzie who looked closely into the "rebranding" of Max B. and gang believes the rebranding is a ploy to control the narrative - a narrative that got away from them as the war dragged on and then Russia intervened. See my comment @97 for more.

I see no reason to disagree with her analysis and every reason to be cautious about Max B.

<> <> <> <> <>

It's not just that they rebranded, it's the manner in which they did so (aping on the work of others). One would think they would have had a more humble attitude after being so wrong and gladly credit those that led the way. But they didn't. Instead they have attempted to obscure their past and promote the notion that they have always been right - actions that seem designed to snooker the unsuspecting into thinking that they were always right (and thus more trustworthy).

It's not just that Max B.'s father is a powerful Clinton crony but that Max B.'s work in Syria and also in promoting the "anti-Islamic video" theory of the Benghazi attack were very much in service to the Empire. If Max B. broke with his father and his Empire project in some substantial way then we would likely have heard about it.

It's not just that Greyzone has obscured their past but they have continued to obscure their activities: not being forthright about their funding; not fully addressing how Max B.'s father may support or influence his work; Max B.'s unabashed hyping of his arrest.

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

Why did Greyzone back away from their coverage of the OPCW scandal? Caitlin Johnstone and b have less resources but they covered it because it is so important (and covered it well).

And why is the self-described "persecuted", "dissident journalist" Max B. calling attention to a Newsweek propaganda piece? - especially so soon after Haddad's resignation showed that Newsweek's reporting is biased in favor of US government? Newsweek's ISIS-in-Iran cover story is just the kind of thing that Barbara McKenzie's warned about wrt the "re-branded Anti-Syrian Left".

See more @260, @261

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

Instead of forthright answers from Max B. we get flak from Max B./Greyzone supporters who don't engage with the issues/concerns but 1) attack the messenger, or 2) personal endorsements (they do good work NOW; Mate hates the Clintons).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 17:38 utc | 326

James and wg... I read and appreciated both of your comments. I have only listened to Blumenthal speak about Syria a few times now on the Moderate Rebels interview and on the Grayzone's pushback. I have his book on Syria (on Mate's recommendation) but have not read it. I don't hear him saying that Assad is monster, more that the situation is complex in Syria. He and Khalek, particularly Khalek talked about how Assad in beating back the Jihadists has protected many minorities from death and destruction. For Khalek this was clearly personal as she has Druze relatives in Syria. I see Blumenthal, at least now, trying to present a terribly complicated situation with the correct perspective and nuance that he so clearly did not have when he was attacking the journalists (who wrote along side him at the time!) who had it right.

Maybe one you can refer me to some journalists who have written about Assad directly and have taken on this depiction of him as "monster" including the charges of what goes on in Syrian prisons and the repression of different groups in Syria. I have looked around and not found anything that is satisfying. In my view, Assad and Putin have stabilized the region by defeating the Jihadists and stopping the west from destroying another state like it did in Libya. and it appears that in doing so Assad has saved a lot lives even as he waged war. I would like to become educated about the Assad and the reality in Syria under his government. Of course, in my world of unknowledgeable progressives, even considering that Assad has stabilized Syria makes me an Assad apologist.

Posted by: Blake | Dec 19 2019 17:57 utc | 327

The Greyzone has finally covered the resignation of Tareq Haddad from Newsweek after ignoring it for 11 days.

I don't know of any other alt-media publication/blog of any import that didn't report Haddad's resignation on the day it occurred or very soon after.

The Greyzone's delay is in STARK CONTRAST to their immediate tweeting the news of the second OPCW whistle-blower, accompanied by a news article soon after.

Was today's article prompted by the criticism of Max B./Greyzone by b and participants in this thread? It's difficult not to believe that it is.

Note: The Greyzone still has not mentioned the Wikileaks document dump (not even a tweet).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 20:54 utc | 328

@329 blake... thanks... i don't know of anyone i can refer you to... my own take on assad is starting from a blank slate... yes, he is the son of his father who was apparently responsible for some bad stuff - the parallel with max and his dads connection to clinton is interesting here... do we tar the son with the actions of the father? i honestly think the only reason the exceptional nation got involved in syria when it did was for very nefarious reasons.. they were on good terms with assad in the earlier part of this century until they weren't.. why the change?? i have seen too many character assassinations of leaders / dictators of countries that the usa has essentially fucked up - libya, and iraq being the 2 obvious examples prior to syria... how many examples do i need to be given by the west before i call foul? i personally see this as more about the wests use of war for all the wrong reasons then i do see this about assad... i sure as hell am not an assad apologist... but it sure looks to me like the people who justify all the war on these countries are war apologists.. maybe more people need to think about that, but this is the last thing the msm is going to be addressing... if we are going to have some voices addressing this - great.. if we are going to have more war apologists for the exceptional nation - not great!

back to aaron mate... i am a great admirer of his dad - gabor mate.. i have read some of his books and he has done great work in vancouver in the downtown east side.. i suspect his son has some of that same desire for positive change - i know this based on what i have read of him.. i am as a consequence a fan of his son and look forward to reading more of his views.. i continue to be curious why greyzone is unwilling to share where their funding comes from, or why max doesn't do an article on his relationship with his dad.. i think these 2 questions that b raises would help greyzone and max b move forward... maybe you can pass this on to your friend aaron.. cheers..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 21:02 utc | 329

@ jr.. in fairness to greyzone - maybe they can't cover everything as quickly as you'd like.. maybe they are busy on other stuff and need to be cut some slack? or maybe all your suppositions are valid, lol! hard to know and i would give them the benefit of the doubt.. but as i have been saying, until they say where the funding is coming from the site is suspect..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2019 21:24 utc | 330

What a waste of time! The good old divide and conquer tactic? Too much testosterone polluting the air in this ridiculous thread. I used to be a loyal MOA fan but I'm outta here now. Better things to do with my time.

Posted by: Dee Drake | Dec 19 2019 21:27 utc | 331

Just to be clear

Aaron Mate retweeted Haddad and Wikileaks on Dec. 14 and 15. He was clearly following both developments.

But Greyzone (Max B, as editor) has ignored these developments (until today's article/interview about Haddad) - not even retweeting about them. Greyzone retweeted Mate and Norton in November when news of the second OPCW whistle-blower came out.

In addition to this lapse, it's strange that Max B. (himself) in a Dec. 15th tweet, commented approvingly on a too-be-published Newsweek cover story that appears (to me) to be largely propaganda scare-mongering over ISIS-in-Iran. That's essentially what Barbara McKenzie warned about wrt "the re-branded anti-Assad Left".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 21:40 utc | 332

james 332: maybe they are busy on other stuff

No. They have NO excuse for ignoring it.

As I noted:

>> Haddad's resignation and the Wikileaks OPCW documents are ground-breaking developments. Anyone covering OPCW reported/tweeted about it right away.

>> And Tareq Haddad's story was something that any self-styled "dissident journalist" would be shouting about - especially one that claimed to have been "persecuted" for his journalism just weeks before.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 21:48 utc | 333

And why is the self-described "persecuted", "dissident journalist" Max B. calling attention to a Newsweek propaganda piece? -


He's probably doing a favour for his pal, and fellow Zio-lite anti-imperialist-imperialist Dimi Reider, the guy that canned the news stories of the Newsweek journo who resigned recently.

Dimi made a name for himself as a "fearless truth warrior" on the +927 mag, run by Ziolite-ing pseudo-progressive young jewish Americans and Isrealis. All these fearless young jewish dual citizen Ziolite journos are all seemingly pulling the same Zio-lite anti-imperialist-imperialist scam as lil' ole' Maxie

Newsweek having suffered a knock due to the journo blowing the whistle needed a helping with some brand messaging, so lil Maxie jumped at the opportunity to help out a fellow fake like Dimi Reider

Posted by: FuckMax | Dec 19 2019 22:08 utc | 334

And Tareq Haddad's story was something that any self-styled "dissident journalist" would be shouting about - especially one that claimed to have been "persecuted" for his journalism just weeks before.


A lil ole fake Maxie of course did the opposite of what any real truth-seeking dissident journo with even an ounce of integrity would do. Just like when he covered his projihadist pro rehime change tracks by deleting his Twitter attacks on real journos. Or like when he plagiarized the reporting of those same real journos in order to rebuild his brand

That "doing the opposite of what any real truth-seeking dissident journo with even an ounce of integrity would do" thing, which lil fake Max does so well, is becoming quite a habit of his, no?

Some might call it a signature move

Posted by: FuckMax | Dec 19 2019 22:19 utc | 335

Pro rehime = pro regime

Posted by: FuckMax | Dec 19 2019 22:21 utc | 336

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2019 17:38 utc | 328

Barbara McKenzie who looked closely into the "rebranding" of Max B. and gang believes the rebranding is a ploy to control the narrative - a narrative that got away from them as the war dragged on and then Russia intervened. See my comment @97 for more.

I see no reason to disagree with her analysis and every reason to be cautious about Max B

this could very well be true. It fits into the timeline. In 2015-16, after Russia intervened, I was wondering what is going to happen next in the media landscape. I was wondering about George Clooney and his support for the White Helmets. But - nothing happened. Instead the White Helmets documentary won an Oscar. No change. No statement (about change of view) from Clooney or other (male) celebrities that support the White Helmets. Are they all blind? Are they really that stupid? It appears that the answer is yes. But maybe they are not that stupid. Maybe they are just too ashamed to admit they were wrong, caged, biased in the original true intent to do good. So they sit it out and worry about anything that may harm their reputation. Hoping, longing for further proof. Cognitive dissonance may also be in play. Time will tell, as always. We have seen more than once that a prominent person, in old age, be it a celebrity or politician, whispers a confession or two in silence and shame.

Speaking about celebrities and Hollywood, there was also very good reporting from actress Carla Ortiz ( Independent, direct reporting from the ground. From early on. She was another voice of reason that could be found if one had the intention to find information about this war. Which never was a civil war. It was an uprising, with true intentions. How exactly the government responded I don't know, of course, I've never been in Syria. What I know is that Bashar al-Assad was re-elected in 2014 and that there were changes in the Syrian constitution to fulfill the demands of the people. To what extent, again, I don't know, but it appears that the government does everything it can. During the war, as well as today. With all that is available, including giving amnesty to former rebels, and including the Kurdish population's demands. This is a very delicate task. Almost impossible to imagine for outsiders. And very impossible for the government. Very impossible. Considering all the outside forces that have their hands in the game. That's why there is a stalemate situation for the Syrian government.

Besides, the Carla Ortiz documentary about Syria is in post production now, good to hear. Apart from her documentary work, she also interviewed Sergey Lavrov. One of those interviews I should have saved to disk, I cannot find it anymore on the internet. Anyway, not so important about the contents, just a sign of her true intention about it all. A real beautiful human being. Which, if one steps aside and allows oneself to judge others, does not apply to Clooney and other celebrities. Good looks and elaborate words don't tell anything. The intention behind is what counts. Carla Ortiz is in my opinion a heroine, like Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Karin Leukefeld, documentary producer Laura Poitras, and Wikileaks editor Sarah Harrison.

Amy Goodman should also be in this list of courageous investigative journalist women, but I hesitate to do that. From what I can see (and I could be very wrong), I put Goodman in a similar category as Max Blumenthal. A very daring classification, and I hate classifications. Myself I don't like to be classified. Classifications are so wrong by principle. Because every human being is good, innocent, victim of circumstances.

What catches one's eye is that there are a large number of women who can be trusted in this turmoil. Simply because females intend to preserve life, while males just produce life and don't care what happens next. Isn't it so? Think about it.

Now back to the ugly world view. When Russia stepped in, sending a clear signal (stop! Not one step further!), the narrative did not change, but of course there was a big change. It became clear to the aggressors that their plan was about to fail. Despite all the effort and money they have put on the table. The demonisation of al-Assad was reduced in the media. Suddenly there were no more barrel bombs to report. Real proof is difficult to provide if there is no footage available, even from the White Helmets.

What to do? Chemical attack. This always works. Give instructions to the team on the ground. The 20 or so dead, however, tragically, are indeed dead. Who killed them, and under what circumstances, is not clear. In such cruel games, a human life is worth nothing. Dead bodies are used as tools. Which also illustrates how far this insanity of cultivating extremists can go. Deprive young men of any perspective of existence, make use of their aspirations and their biological potential, wash their brain with religious nonsense, feed them with technological gadgets and weaponry and drugs, provide prostitute slaves (cheap, easily available inhuman sexual experience that shatters every human being profoundly, renders them incapable of the sense of humanity or feeling. Deprives them of the feeling of loving and being loved) or female victims of war, and then you have your blind obedience soldier army. If one studies the techniques of the Assassins*, there are many similarities. As well as in the mind control experiments of the CIA*.

The 180° change of the persons in question that work now at The Grayzone, happened at that time when the chess game in Syria has changed in 2015. It is possible they received new directions from their masters. Very possible indeed. Or else, they are just as stupid as some of those Hollywood celebrities who still believe to do good when they support such acts like the White Helmets. Either this or that. No other logical conclusion possible.

* a simple Wikipedia search will not render quick results. This has to be researched with more time, and relevant books and resources; takes more time.

Posted by: Phil | Dec 19 2019 22:25 utc | 337

It seems pretty simple to me really. If you can actually think for yourself, you don't need "b" or "Max" or anyone else to think for you. You read a wide range of sources, you cross reference material on a wide range of important topics, you learn over time through trial and error who you think you can trust in their reporting, and if someone does something to lose that trust, then you recalibrate (i.e. Chomsky, Democracy Now, CounterPuff, etc.). But you sure as hell don't let ANYONE tell you who is credible and who isn't. You make that decision based on your own critical thinking skills.

Posted by: Gary Weglarz | Dec 20 2019 6:38 utc | 338

@340 Gary Weglarz of course you let people tell you who is credible. You rely on other credible people for that. This combined usage of direct knowledge and trust based knowledge happens at every step. What is peer review for in science? So you can put (more) trust in what is written. For one's self image one inflates the importance of the 'self reliant' component at the expense of trust but as we grow more confident about our thinking and have more resources to spend on it, we can shift the balance a bit.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 20 2019 8:50 utc | 339

@ Gary Weglarz | Dec 20 2019 6:38 utc | 340

I agree with you. But the problem is that a large majority of people seem to prefer to be told what to "think" by their peer group or by established loudmouths in their peer group. This behavioural pattern is also strongly suggested or even enforced by mass media and in schools.

Autonomous critical thinking skills requires a person to question one's own authority and work their way up from there.

Which brings me to

@ Tuyzentfloot | Dec 20 2019 8:50 utc | 341

Who needs to think critically about what the ultimate source of credibility and trust is. In the end, it is always your own call who to trust and whom to lend credibility.

What younare argueing for is a masked form of letting one's peer group decide the "thinking". Groupthink is the very absence of thinking.

As for the reality of scientific peer review? <>

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 20 2019 12:21 utc | 340

Sorry, fat fingers caused me to post before finishing the link, here it is:

Medical Journals Are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies (source is a peer reviewed scientific journal)

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 20 2019 12:24 utc | 341

Lurk, you're reiterating the commonsense ideas which 'everyone knows'.
First, how problematic peer review is at the moment is not relevant. I was talking about the concept of peer review, why it was ever deemed valuable. Why would you need it if you should retrace the whole research anyhow? And the answer is that trust is important, even in hard science. Well functioning hard science doesn't try to abolish trust, it attempts to make its sources trustworthy. This may be news to many scientists.

I mentioned earlier the need for denial of relying on others. I also mentioned how even for practical reasons we need to rely on others. Because we don't have access to their connexions. Because we don't have the time to retrace the whole research . Because we don't have the needed skills.

Groupthink is also misunderstood, but that would make for a long discussion.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 20 2019 16:41 utc | 342

lurk not all peer review is equal. it depends on the field--economics is a joke, as are the so called soft sciences generally, and medicine has been bought. what bothers me is when this is lumped in with hard science like physics and biology, as the agw deniers and creationists have done.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 20 2019 16:49 utc | 343

you also seem to misunderstand how a scientific consensus is arrived at in actual science. it's not a popularity contest, or choosing a favorite movie.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 20 2019 16:52 utc | 344

OMG! Greyzone misdirection

In previous comments I've written about The Greyzone's backing away from the OPCW story just as it became clear how embarrassing it was to the United States by delaying publishing information about Haddad's resignation from Newsweek and not publishing anything (so far) about the latest Wikileaks release of OPCW-related documents.

The Greyzone published a snippet from Mate's Haddad interview that focuses on Bellingcat.

This snippet appears to highlight a (pre-planned?) misdirection:In the snippet,

1) Mate proposes that OPCW management "relied on Bellingcat" for technical analysis

He reaches back to a discussion of hypothesis formation in the original report to support this assertion;

2) The Greyzone omits an insightful point that Haddad makes directly following the snippet that would have watered down the misdirection

(Haddad: Bellingcat analysis also played a part in undermining the MH-17 investigation).

The problem with OPCW is not that they innocently (or not so innocently) "relied on Bellingcat" but that they are so thoroughly compromised that they altered the findings of their scientists despite the objection of at least 20 professional staff, and retaliated against one or more of those that objected.

The fact the MH-17 investigation was also compromised shows a concerted effort to undermine international organizations - it's not just a few bad managers at OPCW.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2019 17:15 utc | 345

Most likely Blumenthal is a crypto-Zionist and there are no greater liars, cheats and deceivers anywhere. That is certainly much more plausible than the proposition that B just lashes out randomly at people he doesn't like. Certainly I have never learned anything I didn't already know from Blumenthal's output whereas B's originality of insight is truly educational

Camillus O'Byrne | Dec 19 2019 15:12 utc

There is a highly original preposition here. To wit, crypto-Zionist are greatest liars etc. As opposed to overt Zionists, I presume. Or the hard working people that strive for free Ukraine, making a string of murders to attribute them to Russia (a pity that only one murder victim got resurrected), that being only a small part of their activities. Second, Blumenthal does write articles (I did not read his books) with fresh information, e.g. today you can learn that Buttigieg not only looks, walks and speaks like an imperialist tool but is also carefully trained as such. (Comments in Consortium News are also interesting).

I agree that Max should get clean on his positions and activities concerning Syria in 2011-16, but the most plausible explanation is that he was "blinded under pressure". This is all too frequent part of group think. As it was observed, he did it as a member of a small clique that itself was part of a larger social group. I have a theory how that occurred, but it is a bit speculative. E.g. arguing face-to-face with actual Zionists or imperialists can be detrimental to your mental state, something that Camilius and b were not exposed too. If my conjecture is true, Max himself cannot explain well what happened, if he was sufficiently introspective he could avoid it.

The preposition that Max Blumenthal did it for money has some attractive "explanatory" power. However, it would attribute the bumbling deep state with somewhat pitiful agents (Buttigieg? really?) with the degree of cunning that is just not consistent with the overall stupidity. One can see a big contrast between Grayzone and Intercept. The "explanatory power" would posit a wider phenomenon that "unusual suspect" join the usual chorus with opinions, demands etc., allowing the usual suspect bits of rhetoric like "even X agrees that Assad is evil and has to go, so the only people who disagree are low Putinist scum". Not to mention that a carrier of an overt Zionists, say, specializing in anti-anti-Semitism, is much more lucrative than pitiful crumbs that crypto-Zionist could get.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 20 2019 19:28 utc | 346

The fact the MH-17 investigation was also compromised shows a concerted effort to undermine international organizations - it's not just a few bad managers at OPCW.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2019 17:15 utc | 347

Ever the optimist, aren't you, Jackrabbit. Undermining national and international organization is but a tool toward the noble goal, enabling a big kaboom-bam-bam world war once more.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 20 2019 19:40 utc | 347

@349 piotr.... that jackrabbit is a real wet blanket, i tell you! between me and him a few of the others here, we mistakenly thought we could fend off the insanity on display in these so called '''international institutions''', but the cia has a different agenda in looking after the warmongers.. oh well... all for the best for the warmongers and we will be lucky if we get out alive... i am sending this from my bomb shelter in alaska where i have 10 years of food supplies... wish me luck!

Posted by: james | Dec 20 2019 20:01 utc | 348

Piotr @349: big-kaboom-bam-bam

It’s for the children!

(Not ALL children - the children of people like Sidney B.).

@james: rabbits that can’t fend off insanity often become blankets. YMMV

! !

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2019 20:34 utc | 349

@ Tuyzentfloot | Dec 20 2019 16:41 utc | 344

Lurk, you're reiterating the commonsense ideas which 'everyone knows'.
First, how problematic peer review is at the moment is not relevant. I was talking about the concept of peer review, why it was ever deemed valuable. Why would you need it if you should retrace the whole research anyhow? And the answer is that trust is important, even in hard science. Well functioning hard science doesn't try to abolish trust, it attempts to make its sources trustworthy. This may be news to many scientists.

Tuyzentfloot, I need to reiterate commonsense, because evidently you oblivious of it. "Actual facts of the subject are not relevant, only my concept of it is". You are illustrating the very point where I disagree with you.

Hard science is about reproducible experiments, NOT about trustworthy sources. This may be news to you.

If you would care to read "Cargo cult science", you'll find that eminent physicist Richard Feynman complained about these problems that were common in scientific practices already in 1974.

lurk not all peer review is equal. it depends on the field--economics is a joke, as are the so called soft sciences generally, and medicine has been bought. what bothers me is when this is lumped in with hard science like physics and biology, as the agw deniers and creationists have done.

Pretzelattack, the problems are not limited to a few outlying "soft" sciences, as evidenced in the second illustration of the article "1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility", published in Nature.

Chemistryworld has an even more poignant take on the issue (emphasis is mine):

A survey of over 1500 scientists conducted by Nature last year revealed that 70% of researchers think that science faces a reproducibility crisis. Over half, however, still have faith in published literature in their field – with chemists being amongst the most confident despite reporting the most difficulty replicating other researchers’ or their own work. Although this observation seems contradictory, an explanation might be that chemists are more often looking to repeat experiments exactly, says Rick Danheiser, a synthetic organic chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Danheiser is the editor-in-chief of the unconventional journal Organic Syntheses that has verified the experiments of all the papers it has published since it launched in 1921. The journal does this by having the research replicated by independent chemists before publishing them – a practice that is almost unheard of in chemistry or any other research field (the exception being a few brief instances in history). All experiments are checked for reproducibility in the lab of one of the journal’s board of editors, often by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers working under the supervision of the Organic Syntheses editor. Danheiser, who has written about reproducibility, tells Chemistry World that the journal usually aims to check the work in submitted papers within six months.

But Danheiser says that rolling out this replication process to other fields is challenging as biology often has too many variables and physics – and some areas of chemistry – entails the use of specialised or costly equipment that may not be readily available in other labs. Between 2010 and 2016, the journal rejected 7.5% of submissions due to irreproducibility of yield or selectivity, Danheiser notes. ‘Most chemists would consider that to be frightening,’ he adds, as papers in conventional journals are therefore less likely to be reproducible.

As for your needless mentioning of "agw deniers and creationists" and suggestions that I believe that science is a popularity contest or a matter of taste, I can only say that these are irrelevant tangents and that you are not even wrong.

Science is about reproducible experiments, scientific consensus is a set of convictions held by specific groups of scientists at particular moments in time. The consensus is variable, the experiments are immutable.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 20 2019 21:37 utc | 350

I am midway through his latest book Management of Savagery now. I read Goliath which is his take on the right-wing in Israel and how it's infected that society. I've been impressed with The Grayzone's reporting. And I take information ammunition where I can get it.
BUT in his book, he goes out of his way to denigrate 9/11 Truth as well as Alex Jones. Yes, AJ has his faults but Max seems mad that AJ is anti-illegal immigration and seems to push pro-right rhetoric. Later, Max points to the corruption of the Iraqi project in the Green Zone. And he makes good points. But several times he calls what the Rethugs did libertarianism. These things are liberal/progressive talking points while ignoring the fact that true libertarians would not have the US in any of these wars let alone engage in crony capitalism.
It's like he's hedging his bets. He doesn't want to be linked to "conspiracy theorists" as he points out the corruption from above. And he's willing to criticize Israeli actions but wants to avoid being labeled anti-semitic.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 20 2019 21:57 utc | 351

(back to topic again)

@ Jackrabbit | Dec 20 2019 20:34 utc | 351

(Not ALL children - the children of people like Sidney B.).


The stumbling stone may have been Max Blumenthal's role in the propaganda war on Syria and the later attempts at spin of questionable credibility, but the 500 pound gorilla in the room is his father Sidney Blumenthal and his close ties to the Clinton network.

That Sidney Blumenthal, the Clintons and their coterie are nasty evildoers is abundantly clear *).

That does not make Max Blumenthal a bad guy by mere familial ties. If Max had chosen to become an opera singer, a high school physics teacher, a construction worker or a volunteer helping disabled people, there would be no reason to question his morals and his integrity.

But, of all possible walks of life, Max Blumenthal decided to become an investigative reporter, traveling the world in search of injustices to report on, posturing himself as a champion of progressive universal values and human rights and last but not least, as a man who we can trust in to dig for TRUTH. Truth that is under constant attack in a world besieged by nefarious forces.

The Clinton network, of which Sidney Blumenthal is a member with standing, is a clear example of such nefarious forces that need to be investigated, uncovered and published. Great work cut out just for our Max, who is in a prime position to investigate!

But wait, Max Blumenthal does not seem to care at all about the big fish swimming in the pond in his very own backyard. Max would rather fly around the world and report on smaller fish in faraway ponds. Fish that had mostly been in other reporters nets already. Easy fish.

Since the link between Max and Sidney (and Hillary) and the gaping hole in Max Blumenthal's credibility is so bloody obvious, it subsequently casts in doubt the intelligence and integrity of those investigative reporters who have been associating with Max.

Max Blumenthal is beyond redemption. As a narrative worker, to his handlers he is now a total loss.

His (former) associates are going to have to work very hard, retrospectively digging up the dirt in the Max story that they had been missing for such a long time, in order to regain their credibility.

*). Somewhat informed readers may know them from their blockbusters the "Clinton Body Count" and "Arkancide", but these are in reality only limited outtakes of prolific producivity. The Clintons were fully involved in the Iran-Contra operation and as such formed the tag team that took over the White House from disgraced 'poppy' Bush.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 20 2019 23:09 utc | 352

first of all lurk, i didn't say anything about the problem being limited to soft science, that's just the worst, as your own supporting evidence in the nature article shows. dishonest framing to start out is not a promising start in a reply.
second of all, you still demonstrate a lack of comprehension about science. it is not just about reproducible experiment, we don't have a second earth to test. go read the very journal you cite, nature, about the status of the science of climatology.
third, the fossil fuel propaganda campaign mischarterized that richard feynman quote--he was referring to soft sciences.
fourth, that set of scientific convictions arise from independent experiments and independant research, not some group dynamic of reaching an consensus on ice cream or pizza.
fifth, if you want cargo cult science go read barbara mckenzie's site.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 20 2019 23:25 utc | 353

@ pretzelattack | Dec 20 2019 23:25 utc | 355

First: please cut out the irrelevant climate tangent you keep returning to. I never mentioned any of that, so apart from muddying the waters and veering even further off-topic, you are in fact the one who is attempting to frame others.

Second: the graphs in the article clearly show the differences between the reproducibility problems in "hard" and "soft" sciences are not that big. As such they do not support the position that only the "soft" sciences are really affected.

Third: if you go and actually read Feynman's speech, as opposed to briefly skimming its wikipedia page, you will find that while he introduces the problem with a reference to psychology, in the remainder of his speech he follows up with examples from "hard" science:

We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

Why didn’t they discover that the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of—this history—because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong—and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that. We’ve learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don’t have that kind of a disease.

And then:

She was very delighted with this new idea, and went to her professor. And his reply was, no, you cannot do that, because the experiment has already been done and you would be wasting time. This was in about 1935 or so, and it seems to have been the general policy then to not try to repeat psychological experiments, but only to change the conditions and see what happens.

Nowadays there’s a certain danger of the same thing happening, even in the famous field of physics. I was shocked to hear of an experiment done at the big accelerator at the National Accelerator Laboratory, where a person used deuterium. In order to compare his heavy hydrogen results to what might happen to light hydrogen he had to use data from someone else’s experiment on light hydrogen, which was done on different apparatus. When asked he said it was because he couldn’t get time on the program (because there’s so little time and it’s such expensive apparatus) to do the experiment with light hydrogen on this apparatus because there wouldn’t be any new result. And so the men in charge of programs at NAL are so anxious for new results, in order to get more money to keep the thing going for public relations purposes, they are destroying—possibly—the value of the experiments themselves, which is the whole purpose of the thing. It is often hard for the experimenters there to complete their work as their scientific integrity demands.

The actual facts of Feynman's words prove you wrong. You could have saved yourself by simply reading this yourself before making baseless claims upon it.

Fourth: I agree completely with independent experiments and verified sources. You are the one who is sloppy in those areas and you are the one who is attempting to use misplaced "agw denier" group dynamics to conjure up a quasiscientific consensus of your liking.

Fifth: this discussion does not fit the topic and only distracts as I said above. If you insist in debating me further, please do so in an open thread. Continuing to derail this topic with ill-reasoned and badly referenced group-consensus-forming will be taken as a deliberate attempt to derail. Thanks.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 21 2019 0:25 utc | 354

@ David 74:

** Why are many Black Panthers still imprisoned, then? **

Because they committed serious crimes?

Posted by: Richard Ong | Dec 21 2019 10:04 utc | 355

Following Syria is like drinking from a fire hose. Certain writers and sites stand out. Seymour Hersh, MoA, SST, Unz, Eva Bartlett, Vanessa Beeley, Theodore Postol, Jimmy Dore, Caitlin Johnstone, RT, South Front, Pundita, inter alia. MB and GZ seem to have materialized from the mist only recently for me and have not caught my interest. A possible badge of honor for GZ, it's true, but for this commenter with an intense interest in the vicious, dishonest, illegal Western attack on Syria I can only ask who is this guy?

Posted by: Richard Ong | Dec 21 2019 10:39 utc | 356

Lurk, I probably read Feynman before you were born. You could reread my comments in that context. Peer review increases the trustworthiness of a source. Feynman warns that it should not be treated as absolute, even in the best circumstances. I point out that people misinterpret this and dismiss trust , as if it is an all or nothing instance. It is a matter of amounts. Feynman was a master in building up first hand understanding/knowledge. I point out that we are a complex network of first hand and second hand knowledge and that we should not deny that. Maybe you misunderstand your role in this discussion.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 21 2019 11:16 utc | 357

I have known Blumenthal's work for about 10 years I think, on Israel/Palestine issues. I thought he was a bit loud and provocative, the kind who gets into fights a lot. So I did not pay too much attention to him for a while. Since then I've gotten to appreciate him . He has good insights, always seems to evolve in good directions(especially considering where he is coming from) and is highly productive. He can synthesize a lot of data. He's still good at making enemies though.
He is anti-imperialist. At least he is now. I approve.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 21 2019 11:28 utc | 358

@ Tuyzentfloot | Dec 21 2019 11:28 utc | 360

Thanks for getting back on topic.

No thanks for sidestepping the deeply disconcerting issue of Max Blumenthal's close - much too close for comfort - links to the Clintons.

Answer to your most recent attempt to derail the topic will be answered in the current open thread.

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 21 2019 12:03 utc | 359

This issue makes me ferfummelt (goyim would say confused). Max Blumenthal has a semi-legitimate explanation how he arrived at the faulty view on Syrian war, and later was pigheaded for few years. The condition of pigheadedness is not rare, and group think is a frequent contributing factor. And I had some idea about the group that fostered that faulty view, because up to 2011 I was a reader of 972+ Magazine, and Israeli outfit that championed causes outside Israeli-Zionist political spectrum, like actual rights to Palestinian, one state with no state religion etc. But on rare occasion they were straying on other topics. One was a stink about Gilad Atzmon who was deemed anti-Semitic. That made me read what he wrote, and, well, it was anti-Semitic. The second was a condemnation of Communists in the only non-Zionist party of Israel who refused to condemn massacres perpetrated by Assad, it was in 2011. Without details that I did not know at the time that was just a bit weird. Given their narrow topic, I didn't recall 972+ folks condemning Assad either.

Basically, people on the left were routinely confronted with demands to prove that they are not stooges of dupes of evil dictators etc. Accessing those matter online I was spared of such pressures.

However, today I read the article of Tareq Haddad. No extra info on OPWC. But what was a revelation to me that the guy who was in charge of international coverage and did nothing much besides censoring "inappropriate article" was certain Dimi Reider, a proud (yes, proud!) co-founder of 972+ Magazine. He was also a member, for many years, of ECWR, the European branch of CWR, and CWR is one of most influential institutions of the Deep State. Just yesterday Max Blumenthal wrote how the Deep State produces useful stooges like Buttigieg, and stints in outfits like CWR are one of the features to check. Dimi is such a stooge. And created a feisty 972+ Magazine. Granted, Max lacks documented connections with institutions like CWR or ECWR. From his position in 972+, Reider could push folks from the circle that included Max Blumenthal to "decisive positions" and manipulate the group think.

Thus if Max was converted into an useful idiot, it was done by stooges, and now he is an expert recognizing it. But is he a mere useful idiot or a stooge? Now he is a co-counder of a feisty magazine, like Dimi Reider. So I am ferfummelt.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 13:53 utc | 360

Piotr Berman @362: ferfummelt

Have you read the comments in this thread?

1) Max's father is an insider. Access to information from such a person means that Max should be considered to be more than a useful idiot or stooge but an AGENT of the establishment/empire.

2) In addition to Syria, Max has proven his agency by being the source (AFAIK), or conduit, of the "anti-Islamic video" explanation for Benghazi.

3) Dimi Reider was mentioned @336 and by b in his recent OPCW coverage

4) Greyzone (Max as editor) backed away from OPCW coverage as it has become clear how damaging it is USA/Empire and now provides misinformation as described @347.

5) Max also tweeted approvingly about an up-coming Newsweek cover story that's a propaganda piece about ISIS in Iran. This propaganda sets the stage for what Barbara McKenzie warned about regarding the "re-branded anti-Syrian Left". See @97 for more.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2019 15:43 utc | 361

Continuing @363

I wrote about the Newsweek cover story @260, @261. It's scheduled for January 2020.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2019 16:10 utc | 362

Concerning Grayzone coverage of news, they wrote most on Bolivia that I could find, not everybody has to write about OPCW. I am much less confident than Jackrabbit that Blumenthal is an agent raised by his father. That said, 972+ Magazine was run by an agent who build his "left" credibility and used it against Syria. Now he serves the Emprre as an internal censor of Newsweek. Yet Grayzone has decent stories. The issues is wider: any larger publication may be penetrated, e.g. Counterpunch (in this case the question is how deeply). The paradigm of sticking to trusted sources is too restrictive, that may be one of the goals of the penetration. The bottom line is that one has to compare, consider alternatives and mark suspicious behavior. For now, Grayzone may be doing good work, but if they write anything weird, as I was describing about 972+, that is a flashing red light.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 17:16 utc | 363

@ Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 17:16 utc | 365

What is disconcerting about Max Blumenthal is that he was so close to his father and the Clintons for a long time, yet he remains mute about that subject.

Shouldn't he, as an investigative reporter, be super excited to dig into the Clinton (and so many other Washington insider) shenanigans, given that he has better access, insights and sources than any of his colleagues?

Isn't that more than strange?

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 21 2019 17:58 utc | 364

@ Posted by: Lurk | Dec 21 2019 17:58 utc | 366 who wrote
What is disconcerting about Max Blumenthal is that he was so close to his father and the Clintons for a long time, yet he remains mute about that subject.

Agreed. Some commenters have written that Max is anti-imperialist. If this is true then if would be even more reason to out Hillary "We came, we saw, he died" Clinton

Think of the benefit to society that such an outing of her potential war crime that would be. It would show people the core of imperialism is keeping global finance in private control.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 21 2019 18:35 utc | 365

Posted by: Greg M | Jul 10 2017 18:14 utc | 24


Read the above.

Now try to imagine Killary making a similar statement about someone like John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley or god fobid, "b".

Any real journalist would die of shame to have such a thing said about their work by Killary Clinton.

Anyone still questioning whether or not Max is a complete fake, an obvious tool of interventionist imperialism, after reading the above quote, is a complete idiot, worthy only of ridicule for their complete stupidity and gullibility

Posted by: Realist | Dec 21 2019 21:27 utc | 366

Piotr Berman @365:

not everybody has to write about OPCW

By making this lame point, you demonstrate your bias very clearly.

Greyzone covered OPCW well - until it became clear how embarrassing it was to USA/Empire.

And now they've used Aaron Mate's interview with Haddad to misdirect: leading people to believe that the problem is Bellingcat instead of the a concerted effort to corrupt OPCW and other international organizations.

but if they write anything weird . . . that is a flashing red light

The light is flashing. It appears that you don't want to see it:

FLASH: Max B./Greyzone's mysterious funding (Greyzone was previously supported by a Soros-funded org).

FLASH: Max B.'s hyped arrest;

FLASH: backing off OPCW coverage;

FLASH: misdirection wrt OPCW scandal;

FLASH: approving of Newsweek propaganda;


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 21 2019 22:16 utc | 367

The light was flashing back waaaay in 2012

    FLASH! - "Your Max is a Mitzvah!"

Posted by: Realist | Dec 21 2019 22:56 utc | 368

Grayzone (to Jackrabbit?)

Newsweek reporter quits after editors block coverage of OPCW Syria scandal
... The leaked OPCW information has been released in pieces by Wikileaks. The latest documents contain a number of significant revelations – including that that about 20 OPCW officials voiced concerns that their scientific findings and on-the-ground evidence was suppressed and excluded.

This is, without a doubt, a major global scandal: the OPCW, under reported US pressure, suppressing vital evidence about allegations of chemical weapons. But that very fact exposes another global scandal: with the exception of small outlets like The Grayzone, the mass media has widely ignored or whitewashed this story. ...

I really do not see (a) misdirection (b) backing off OPCW coverage (the link to Haddad's WordPress page is valuable, btw) (c) approving Newsweek propaganda.

Hyping arrest is Max that we all love and cherish.

About funding, I would need to see more. Is it Soros or mysterious?

From personal experience, I think that familiar ties can be misleading. It so happens that my family name is very rare in Poland, and that lead to some issues. E.g. during a purge of "zionists and philo-zionists" in 1967-68 I come to my elementary school to hear "on TV they said that we will not tolerate Bermans". At other times I was presumed to be a grandchild of Jakub Berman who was Politburo member responsible for security during the life of Stalin. Since the grand total of Bermans in the country was probably in single children, I was actually familiar with grandchildren of that Berman (who had two daughters). And once or twice I carried a mis-delivered letter to his apartment. So, by familial logic, I should be a Stalinist.
That said, if this is Dimi Reider type of operation, then it can be weaponized after few years. Or left to rot like The Intercept.
Thinking about it, for a journalist plying his trade for several years, Tareq Haddad was strangely naive. Then again, in this bar we are more jaded than average.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 23:19 utc | 369

Re: Berman @371

Well, ya know what they say . . . .

"You Can't fix stupid"

Posted by: Realist | Dec 21 2019 23:41 utc | 370

Realist 368
In his recent book, MB doubles down on the film triggering the Banghazi attacks story.

He also points out HRC being a warmongering interventionist who cackled "we came, we saw, he died" about the death of Gaddhafi. I agree that he must have switched at some point. An opportunist perhaps? Maybe he was naive or suckered. Not the first time. George Zimmerman feels different about Obama & Company after being demonized as a racist even though he voted for Obama, was mentoring two black teens, and rallied people to protest a police lieutenant's son who punched a black homeless man in the face.

Yes, I see enough in this article/thread to take Max/Grayzone output with some grains of salt. But these days we have to do that with ALL sources.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 21 2019 23:44 utc | 371

Realist 368
In his recent book, MB doubles down on the film triggering the Banghazi attacks story.

He also points out HRC being a warmongering interventionist who cackled "we came, we saw, he died" about the death of Gaddhafi


I'll bet he never said a damn word about Killary emailing his father to tell him how much she loved little Max's willing misdirection on Benghazi. She gushed to Blumenthal Snr.:

"Your Max is a Mitzvah!"

Some journalist he. Clinton's gushing praise of Max's lies regarding the trigger for the Benghazi killings, is public knowledge. I'll bet Max completly ignored it.

"I agree that he must have switched at some point"

LOL, don't know who you're pretending to agree with, but it certainly can't be me.

Max never switched sides. Hes still working for the Dark Side like he always was.

Posted by: Realist | Dec 22 2019 0:14 utc | 372


You are clearly shilling for Max.

First you complain that Greyzone doesn't have to cover OPCW, then you insist that they ARE covering it.

But Greyzone's coverage of OPCW changed. And I've been very clear about HOW it changed.

Greyzone has not retweated Mate or Norton tweets (as Greyzone did in November);

There's no article that summarizes the latest developments (as other alt-news/bloggers have done);

Greyzone tweeted a snippet of Mate's interview of Haddad that points a finger at Bellingcat instead of noting a concerted effort to compromise international institutions (OPCW wrt Skripals; MH-17 investigation) - this is blatant misdirection.

And on top of THAT, Max B. has written approvingly of a Newsweek cover story that is essentially propaganda of a type that Barbara McKenzie warns us about wrt the "re-branded anti-Assad Left". And he did so soon after Haddad resigned because of Newsweek's USA/Empire bias. This is all more the strange because Max has recently claimed that he was "persecuted" for his journalism.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2019 0:34 utc | 373

Berman #371

From personal experience, I think that familiar ties can be misleading. It so happens that my family name is very rare in Poland, and that lead to some issues. E.g. during a purge of "zionists and philo-zionists" in 1967-68 I come to my elementary school to hear "on TV they said that we will not tolerate Bermans". At other times I was presumed to be a grandchild of Jakub Berman who was Politburo member responsible for security during the life of Stalin. Since the grand total of Bermans in the country was probably in single children, I was actually familiar with grandchildren of that Berman (who had two daughters). And once or twice I carried a mis-delivered letter to his apartment. So, by familial logic, I should be a Stalinist.


That paragraph might qualify as the dumbest attempt at misdirection by a Max fanboi so far.

No one has has mistakenly presumed MB is the son of SB. We know for a fact he's SB's son.

That last line is a real classic in moronic misdirecting, though: "So, by familial logic, I should be a Stalinist. "

Since PB already stated he is not related to JB, his idiotic claim of being labelled "Stalinist" via what he laughably calls "familial logic", doesn't even hold, since there is no "familial" in the alleged logic.

It's actually the opposite of the Max Blumenthal situation. Berman pretending otherwise just makes him look both dishonest and idiotic

Lol at the attempt to wrap both himself and Max in a cloak of victimhood, by alluding to "anti-semitic victimhood" :- "during a purge of "zionists and philo-zionists" in 1967-68 I come to my elementary school"
- poor Berman, poor Max. Just 2 poor little victims of antisemitism.

Posted by: Realist | Dec 22 2019 0:55 utc | 374

Realist (Dec 22 2019 0:55 utc #376), more than once when I've struggled to understand a Piotr post, I've had the phrase "Reverse Polish Logic" occur in my mind. Now, after reading Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 23:19 utc | 371, "philo-zonist" will probably be added to that RPL phrase !

Posted by: tucenz | Dec 22 2019 9:19 utc | 375

sorry, that should be "philo-zionist" - though "philo-zonist" does seem to have an absurdist appropriateness to it.

Posted by: tucenz | Dec 22 2019 9:27 utc | 376

@ Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 23:19 utc | 371

From personal experience, I think that familiar ties can be misleading.

Piotr, I had figured that some shill or ignoramus would drop by to make that claim, that is why I wrote:

Shouldn't he, as an investigative reporter, be super excited to dig into the Clinton (and so many other Washington insider) shenanigans, given that he has better access, insights and sources than any of his colleagues?

By ignoring that point, you indicate that you are ignorant or disingenuous, or both.

I reread the earlier topic on Max Blumenthal, as linked by Realist. It has a lot of interesting information, but also a lot of single-issue drive-by trolls, just like this one. The trolls seem a little more vicious this time, perhaps the waters are getting hotter this time.

The only regular poster who steadfastly defends Max Blumenthal in both topics, despite all that is brought to bear, is you, Piotr. In both cases with contrived arguments and while ignoring the damning facts and "coincidences" surrounding Max Blumenthal and some of his associates.

It is like all the time you are this guy standing with his fingers in his ears, chanting "LALALA!!"

Posted by: Lurk | Dec 22 2019 9:34 utc | 377

In reading that gawker page with the "Your Max is a mitzvah!" mail from Hillary Clinton, I noticed another curious message right below it. It concerns a friend of Sidney Blumenthal, certain character named "Pat Lang".

Does that name ring any bells here? Is Pat Lang a known associate of the Blumenthals and the Clintons?

Sid Blumenthal nagging the Secretary of State of the United States to send his friend a thank you note

From: sbwhoeop@[redacted]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 04:56 PM
To: H
Subject: H: personal note. Sid


My friend, Pat Lang, a member of the board of trustees of VMI, was the one who initiated your speech there.
Unfortunately, he could not attend [redacted] He was very sorry he could not be there. [redacted]. I wonder if you might write Pat a brief note thanking him for the VMI invitation, how it went, [redacted].

Here's his home address:



Posted by: Lurk | Dec 22 2019 9:55 utc | 378

@ Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 21 2019 23:19 utc | 371 who wrote
Thinking about it, for a journalist plying his trade for several years, Tareq Haddad was strangely naive. Then again, in this bar we are more jaded than average.

We are close to 400 comments in a MoA thread containing some commenters that I have read/respected here before who want to give Max the benefit of the doubt. While this bar may be mostly full of folks that are more jaded than average, there are lots of people around that want to continue to believe that both sides aren't corrupt or owned by the big money cult. Tareq Haddad is not the son of a Clinton butt buddy like Max and certainly exposed himself and the public to discovered reality better than Max has done.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 22 2019 11:33 utc | 379

Berman @362

As Yiddish is Platt Deutsch - Yiddish meaning Judischer-Deutsch i.e Jewish German - the Yiddish "ferfummelt" very likely is derived from the German (modern form only available to me) Verworren/verwirrt (simple past), perhaps also linked to verdreht.

Therefore, the "goyim" would use the words from which ferfummelt derives...

Posted by: AnneR | Dec 22 2019 15:35 utc | 380

Actually I think the goyim would be more likely to use the word Dichschädel when referrring to Mr Berman

As in "Er hat einen Dickschädel"

Posted by: Realist | Dec 22 2019 16:11 utc | 381


Misgivings about Max B.'s conversion have proven to be correct.

1) Max continues to serve the Empire when mis-direction is needed at a critic time.

There is really no difference between

an anti-Islamic video prompted the Benghazi attack
OPCW Management relied on Bellingcat.

There's no way to ignore, excuse, or sugarcoat this.

Max B. made the mis-direction explicit when he pulled this snippet from the Mate Haddad interview to highlight it - and in doing so cut out a key point made by Haddad that comes directly after(!!) - that the MH-17 investigation was also compromised.

2) There is now evidence for Barbara McKenzie's warning about the "rebranded anti-Assad Left"

... 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.(See @97 for more.)

Max B. tweeted approvingly of a Newsweek cover story (coming in January 2020) that is essentially scare-mongering about ISIS in Iran. He did this despite Newsweek's having just refused to print Haddad's article that takes a criticial view of OPCW and despite Max B.'s claim to have been "persecuted" as a journalist after his recent arrest.

b has noted that the International Affairs editor at Newsweek is a friend of Max B.'s.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2019 17:45 utc | 382

what a second jackrabbit... "OPCW Management relied on Bellingcat" - how does this work?? why can't it be relevant? bellingcat relies on the western intel agencies, and opcw relies on bellingcat.... either way, the opcw discredits itself fully.. but you are saying max discredits himself fully by saying this... there is something i am not getting in all this.. and i am definitely not giving max b a pass on anything here either, but i am trying to understand your rationale, or your understanding of max b's rationale for how him saying this is so bad...

Posted by: james | Dec 22 2019 17:55 utc | 383


What best explains OPCW's rejection of the conclusion of their own scientists and professionals? That Management, willy nilly, decided that Bellingcat's analysis was clearly correct?

We now know that it wasn't some disgruntled 'whistle-blower' or two that objected but the entire staff. This is a fact that Max B./Greyzone has not informed their readers of.

Compare the much more truthful reporting from Strategic-Culture:

The credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on the line after a series of devastating leaks from whistleblowers has shown that the UN body distorted an alleged CW incident in Syria in 2018. The distortion by the OPCW of the incident suggests that senior directors at the organization were pressured into doing so by Western governments.

... the whistleblower site Wikileaks has released more internal communications provided by 20 OPCW experts who protest that senior officials at the organization’s headquarters in The Hague engaged in “doctoring” their field reports from Syria.

Strategic Culture rightly focuses on OPCW Senior Management (not Bellingcat) and provides a full explanation that points to PRESSURE (from CIA-MI6?) to follow the Empire narrative while Greyzone suggests an innocent error (Management "RELIED ON").

Aaron Mate's "theory" is not only based on deliberately incomplete information but also magnifies the significance of information contained in an OPCW report: in the "hypothesis formation" section "supposed experts" are mentioned. This provides no real reason for = WHY = OPCW management would take it upon themselves to distort/manipulate the results.

In addition, Max B./Greyzone created a snippet of the interview that highlights Aaron Mate's erroneous theory and omits Haddad's reaction to this theory which points to corruption of the MH-17 investigation.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 22 2019 19:18 utc | 384

thanks jackrabbit.. when you put it like that, i do agree with you - it looks intentional obfuscation on greyzone - max b's part...

Posted by: james | Dec 22 2019 19:42 utc | 385

Max wasn't wrong. The Syrian uprising began peacefully and was brutally put down by the Asad regime. Regional and foreign powers quickly hijacked it and soon became dominated by alqaida and its likes. Asad is no angel but is definitely better than the fanatical opposition.

Posted by: AnObserver | Dec 23 2019 4:37 utc | 386

AnObserver @388

You are wrong. The planning for regime change in Syria has been discussed extensively at MoA. "The Syrian uprising began peacefully" is a ruse / false narrative. There were peaceful protests that were quickly hijacked by violent groups (apparently Syria Muslim Brotherhood) to create the pretense of an "uprising".

Here is Seymour Hirsh, writing in 2007:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East.... A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

. . .

In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved ... Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria ...

. . .

Jumblatt [the leader of the Druze minority in Lebanon] then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.

. . .

There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.

Search the moa archives for more info.

Max B.'s activities in furtherance of regime change have also been discussed in this and other threads. Not only was he anti-Assad, but he attacked others that raised reasonable objections to the US-Israel-Saudi conspiracy against Syria/Assad.

Search the Moa archives for more info.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2019 5:55 utc | 387

I see mention of giving Blumenthal the benefit of the doubt. This is not at all my point of view. When you see people as white hat or black hat then giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not much of an improvement. You still only have two boxes to put them in. In this case the blackhat box is 'clintonite agent infiltrating in alternative media to spread disinformation'.
Because there are only two boxes as soon as a perceived or actual flaw is found , the black box it is for this guy. Blumenthal's background is a handicap. It brings a set of ideas which can be bad, even with the best of intentions. Most likely one remains in the extensive progressive/humanitarian interventionist camp which has been coopted by US interventionism. Blumenthal didn't. By now he is anti-imperialist which for his background is quite a feat. So on Hong Kong or Venezuela his reporting has been anti-imperialist. Anti regime change. This is an important position to take.
Syria is harder. I followed that from the beginning and really a lot of people chose the 'Arab Spring' interpretation. A lot of antizionists did too. It's not a good criterium to judge people's intentions on. I thought it was damaging nevertheless . Let me put that differently, I got Syria right from the start and Blumenthal got it wrong because i was smarter, not because Blumenthal had a devious agenda.

OPCW : Blumenthal's twitter feed just shows the same posts as others in the network I keep track of. Grayzone has little to add on OPCW but I don't see anything wrong in that. They discussed Jonathan Steele's article, which is a fast way to bring something about it and it is a bit limited since it doesn't address the other leaks. It is a limitation of Steele's article, It's not worth deducing anything from it. Grayzone adds to the whole, it doesn't replace it.

And what would a normal person do in his place to deal with his father's politics? You stay out of each other's way.

A lot of you guys need more boxes.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 23 2019 15:01 utc | 388

Tuyzentfloot @390

The cult of Max B. strikes again. LOL.

Because there are only two boxes as soon as a perceived or actual flaw is found, the black box it is for this guy... A lot of you guys need more boxes.

War propagandists are essentially participants in the war. Syria was an conspiracy to wage proxy war. So Max goes into the war criminal box.

By now he is anti-imperialist which for his background is quite a feat ...

It's quite a feat to excuse a war criminal.

Grayzone has little to add on OPCW ... Grayzone adds to the whole, it doesn't replace it.


Greyzone was following OPCW so closely that they retweeted Mate's and Norton's tweets about the second whistle-blower as soon as it became known. Greyzone followed up with TWO articles about OPCW in November.

But in December, after it became clear how embarrassing the scandal was to USA/West, things changed. Greyzone didn't retweet about Haddad's resignation and an important Wikileaks document release.

And when the interview that they did with Haddad became an exercise in misdirection - emphasized by Greyzone's snippet from the interview (as I've explained in three or more previous comments that you blissfully ignore).

You stay out of each other's way.

Why should we HOPE that Max does the right thing in the face of clear evidence that he hasn't in the past and he isn't now?

The box you and other cult drones want for Max is heart of gold humanitarian.

Fuck your cult bullshit.

There are other, more reliable news sources. There's no reason to give Max a platform. He's already shown us his true colors through war propaganda and misdirection.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2019 16:50 utc | 389

Well. I guess this is the kind of thinking I was warning about. In this context there is something interesting to say about 'Ad hominem'. It is seen as a debating technique, but in fact it is a way of perceiving people, of lumping message and messenger. It is why from the point of view of alternative media the mainstream have been regarded as liars. But that is not how it works.

Well, not how it worked anyway. Corporate press is becoming so oppressive that even the journalists don't believe it anymore.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 23 2019 23:06 utc | 390

Tuyzentfloot @392

Its not ad hominem to express contempt for something that is morally repugnant.

You're just trying to confuse the issue again.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 23 2019 23:49 utc | 391

Jesus.. A better gift to the NATO Narrative managers is hard to imagine. Who in their right mind would think these three are narrative managers at the behest of the highest bidder. This seriously calls into question b's judgment, both when it comes to analysis of factual causality and strategic thinking. Take Yes for an answer! Sure there are outlets that acts as controlled opposition, like democracy now and the intercept, but even they gets shit right most of the time compared to media shaping the minds of most people.

I remember when I was dead wrong on Libya before "waking up" and if I had a ton of articles out there I would be embarrassed too. What is the point b is trying to make? That if your have ever made a huge mistake and bought into the NATO propaganda machine you should never write again and can never be right about anything ever??

Stop the bullshit!

Posted by: Omg | Dec 24 2019 20:31 utc | 392

Omg ignores all the comments in this thread that indicate that b’s post is timely.

Jesus .. what kind of dumbass repeats points made and refuted multiple times?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 25 2019 3:12 utc | 393

Whenever you distrust some party and it has sufficient clout to be involved in hidden machinations you have conspiracy territory . It is difficult territory because there is little feedback from the real world to dampen or correct speculations about the hidden activities. The denomination of 'Conspiracy thinker' is in principle fairly neutral. Since journalism should be concerned about hidden machinations of whatever concentration of power (amongst other tasks) journalists should be conspiracy thinkers. Since conspiracy thinking is difficult terrain the average thinker will produce crap. One needs to perform better than average to get reasonable results. Therefore there are legitimate reasons for which conspiracy thinking has a bad reputation. It is a very bad evolution if the best journalism gets dismissed with the same bad reputation.

The hypothesis here is that Max Blumenthal is an influencer who has to build up a reputation in the sector and then consolidate the benefits by introducing 'imperialist narratives'.
I think if Blumenthal is such an agent then in the case of Syria he did far too little effort in taking on the role of influencer, so that his efforts to steer the narrative were useless. And on other terrain he did far too much effort to make himself credible so that the return on investment could never be positive.
Therefore I'm not even interested in cherrypicking evidence on the OPCW case. Is this supposed to be the ROI? That would be a pretty bad deal.
It is conspiracy thinking which isn't good enough and that leaves a bad reputation on the site.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 25 2019 15:12 utc | 394

Tuyzentfloot @390: argues for maximum sympathy for Max B.

Tuyzentfloot @396: argues for maximum skepticism for critics of Max B.

Is that you Max?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 26 2019 23:06 utc | 395

Jackrabbit, you need more boxes to put people in. I like to get things right. I gave my criticism to B. because he likes to get things right.
If you'd paid attention I am making a major distinction between 'liking' Blumenthal and thinking he has a hidden imperialist agenda. I have to point out Blumenthal's good record of achievements because the hypothesis of him being a secret infiltrant type needs to be weighed against that. And I conclude it makes no sense.
One can make a distinction between front stage and back stage people. The front stage people have more broad influence but they are compromized by reputation pressure. The back stage people are more in the fringe where often the best intellectual work is done. It is one thing for b. to discover Blumenthal is too social and not pure enough. It is another to conclude that therefore Blumenthal belongs to the dark side.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 27 2019 10:52 utc | 396

Tuyzentfloot @398: I like to get things right... [b also] likes to get things right.

If you really wanted to help b to "get things right" then you'd urge Max B. to reveal his funding sources. That simple request from b is still unanswered.

And you've decided to focus entirely on b's post so that you can ignore damning information in the comments (esp. wrt OPCW and Newsweek's ISIS-in-Iran cover story). How does that help to get things right?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 27 2019 16:31 utc | 397

@357: LOL. They're imprisoned because they threatened the US ruling class. It's that simple. Crimes in capitalist society don't align with morality, they align with protecting class privilege. Many far-right dictators and fascist collaborators walk free in Florida. Given retirement and refuge from the countries they betrayed and tried to destroy.

Posted by: David | Jan 2 2020 1:18 utc | 398

Jackrabbit, I stick my neck out for Blumenthal here as I did for Greenwald earlier because I think the way both were treated are symptoms of 'trust management' and because I think I can help correct this. We need distrust of power because it is the best way to motivate people looking into the machinations of power. As a rule we are critical of things we do not trust. But distrust needs to be managed in order to avoid runaway problems and other excesses which are most visible in cartoonish conspiracy theories.
Blumenthal and Greenwald have actual vulnerabilities or weaknesses. One can assess what they are, but I think it is very important to avoid overshoot. Your example of review of OPCW reporting is a clear example of overshoot. When Bernhard overshoots in his suspicions this is amplified in the comments. One can review MB's reporting and decide he dropped the ball at some points, and then your review can be done. But to use this to assuming a secret agenda is a huge step and completely different from the kind of compromised reporting I know. It would mean there is a large cognitive dissonance between MB's reporting and what he really thinks. It would mean he is deceiving a lot of people whom I consider good journalists. One already has to start thinking about sociopathic tendencies. And it would mean there would be a perceived benefit to doing so. I think this is an outlandish and unfair claim.
We're not talking humanitarian interventionists here, these can be honest and are coopted in a natural manner into imperialism. If some of them have a secret agenda it is not dissonant from what they are saying so they can easily be . MB , as he kindly points out in his current new twitter header, is about anti-imperialism. That means both hard(war) and soft(regime change)anti -interventionist I can see no significant cost/benefit advantage in 'sometimes diluting the anti-imperialism' and I don't see why I should discuss that line of thought. So the benefit would have to be in something like spying - over decades, and possibly with associates who also fake their opinions. I think you have to come up with a very good body of evidence before I would be willing to consider that. I think you simply don't know the record of MB and don't know how extreme your hypothesis is.
In that respect one can revisit the question of funding.
A full disclosure is a general practice in keeping things honest. The question in one direction is why are the funders putting money in this ,and in the other direction, in what way is the money constraining and guiding the journalist. When you have an agenda and you find funding for it then the money may simply allow you to fullfill that agenda. That does not have to be a bad thing. The funding may be based on ideology or self interest: Bellingcat getting state funding supports the observation that it is serving the state interest.

In the BM case the demand is based on distrust. The funding can explain the focus of the site and the positions taken. But I think his positions overall are good while the distrust is extreme and misguided and will not be alleviated by disclosures so I think the demand sucks but I can hardly object to it. I kind of expect it will chase away the occasional wealthy Jewish donor who does not want his support to be known because his business acquaintances will cut ties about it, and the result will not restore the damaged trust anyway.

I have a theory about what the main manner is in which journalists are compromised ,and it is reputation. Their need to associate them with sources of good reputation and the need to protect their reputation. I define the mainstream by who they associate with, who they consider trustworth. But that means the mainstream has a lot of difficulty being critical about these sources because their reputation is linked. The main reason the mainstream press is now saying nothing about the OPCW scandal is because they hooked up their reputation to Bellingcat and the OPCW and they cannot change their point of view without damaging their own reputation. If Bellingcat goes down so do they. No central coordination required to make everyone shut up across the whole range.
People who are able to change their view with a bit of obfuscation here and there are still doing an acceptable job to me though it does kind of put people on a 'watchlist'. Blumenthal managed to change direction. Admittedly, he did not put out that much material about Syria before that which should make it lighter. Much better than those who are committed and cannot change direction. There is a rule in debating: avoid bringing your ego too close to your position because then when your position goes down so will your ego. A beautiful case in the OPCW story of how things can be was Ted Postol. He completely messed up in his original assessment of the Douma case and afterwards stated this explicitly and changed his assessment completely. It does make him vulnerable to reputation attacks and there are very valid reasons why people worry about their reputation.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 2 2020 16:09 utc | 399

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