Friday, December 4, 2015

Noam Chomsky and the Narrative Arc of Russian Disinformation

I don't know about you, but you couldn't pay ME enough money to send my children to MIT, if I thought they might have to sit in a classroom with Noam Chomsky.

It's not that I have a personal hatred for the man so much as I object to the narrative arc of his message which, perhaps out of sheer coincidence (if you choose to believe that), is so eerily similar to the narrative arc of RT (Russia Today), where he is so often a guest.

For those who aren't familiar with RT, they're a Russian state-funded television network whose content is aimed at foreign (outside of Russia) audiences.  They have been criticized for acting as a media propaganda arm of the Russian government and peddling conspiracy theories, anti-Americanism, anti-Israeli sentiment and antisemitism.

In highly condensed form, the top of the Kremlin disinformation binary tree is rooted in three pillars of anti-Americanism:
  1. America is racist
  2. America is imperialistic
  3. America is in decline
And, in truth, I was unable to find anything Chomsky has ever said or written that points to any of America's strengths.  Instead, Chomsky has tended to focus on such talking points as:
A Comparison...

Chomsky:
"The United States considers Hizbullah a terrorist organization, but the term terrorism is used by the great powers simply to refer to forms of violence of which they disapprove. So the U.S. was of course supporting the Israeli invasions and occupation of southern Lebanon. Hizbullah was instrumental in driving them out, so for that reason they are a terrorist organization."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov:
"Some say Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. We maintain contacts and relations with them because we do not consider them a terrorist organization," Bogdanov was quoted as saying on Sunday."They have never committed any terrorist acts on Russian territory. Hezbollah was elected by people to the Lebanese parliament. There are cabinet members and ministers who are from Hezbollah in Lebanon. It's a legitimate socio-political force."
Chomsky:
"The Hamas is being… The demand on Hamas by the United States and the European Union and Israel… The demand is first that they recognize the State of Israel. Actually, that they recognize its right to exist. Well, Israel and the U.S. certainly don’t recognize the right of Palestine to exist, nor recognize any state of Palestine. In fact, they have been acting consistently to undermine any such possibility."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov:
“The Americans consider Hamas a terrorist organization. But we don't agree, because they [represent] an integral part of Palestinian society,”
Chomsky:
"...There’s ample evidence that most of the population, at the lower end of the income spectrum, is effectively disenfranchised – their representatives pay no attention to their opinions. Moving up the income ladder, influence increases slowly, but it’s only at the very top that it has real impact. Plutocracy masquerading as formal democracy.”
Eric Draitser, RT, "America:
"Democracy is not a political system in the US, it is a product to be bought and sold – the armies of lobbyists, interest groups, and fundraisers are a testament to that. It is a concept to be pitched like a Hollywood script or a television commercial, only to be disseminated to the masses as if it were reality.
Democracy is America’s collective delusion. It is America’s dream of itself."
Finally, up until only very recently, Chomsky had an extreme aversion to referring to FARC as a drug cartel (connected with Russia),  preferring to characterize them as freedom fighters.

Anyway, I find it curious that SO MANY of Chomsky's diatribes and talking points are identical or nearly identical to those promulgated by RT and other Russian media venues (mouthpieces?), right down to Chomsky's positions on Israel, which sound like they were pulled straight from "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"...the, ahem, FSB field manual, as it were.

Of course, if you read the New York Times article "On Bin Laden's Bookshelf", you heard about Osama Bin Laden's passion for Noam Chomsky.

But Chomsky is quite the defender of Bin Laden, which would have given Bin Laden the warm fuzzies.  As he explained to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!...
"I was saying that I’ve written plenty of unpopular articles, and one of the most unpopular had to do with the murder, not killing, of Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden was a suspect.... In fact, personally, I don’t have any doubt that he was responsible [for 9/11], but my personal opinion is nothing that stands up in a court of law. You have to have evidence. You have to have a trial, a serious trial. And it was pretty clear that the U.S. government didn’t want that. He was captured, apprehended, by, you know, the most skilled masters of war—to use the Somali warlord’s expression—that exist in the world, 80 of them, I think. He was defenseless.... [I]t was a criminal—in my view, just total—a complete criminal act. No justification."
As it turns out, there's a goldmine of epiphanies to be found in the CIA's Bin Laden document dump that ties this all together, like Bin Laden's suspiciously cordial relations with Shi'ites in Iran and Syria or his apparent fondness for former President Saleh of Yemen.  But I really felt I had to explain Noam Chomsky, first.

Suffice it to say that Bin Laden wasn't the only notable to admire the writing of Noam Chomsky.  Hugo Chavez was also a fan.  I'm sure Chavez' involvement with Cuba, Russia and FARC is purely coincidental...right?