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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mark Ames -- Dumb and Dumberer

Well, Mark Ames is at it again. This time, it's a 3,100-word diatribe about Anna Politkovskaya. As if assassin's bullets weren't enough for her to contend with. La Russophobe has already thoroughly discredited Ames' last ridiculous screed, attempting to explain America's policy towards Vladimir Putin as being based on jealousy of Russia's sub-60 year male adult lifespan and $300 per month salaries. Now, just hearing Anna's name pass his serpent-like lips forces us to delist him from our blogroll and file him away under "yawn, how boring" with the likes of David Johnson. So very predictable. If you want to understand the essence of Ames and the eXile, just try to find the placd in the paper where, like the Washington Post or New York Times, the eXile admits and corrects its mistakes. When you can't find it, ask Ames why. When he's done cursing at you and discussing your mother's sexual practices, he'll tell you it's because the eXile doesn't make mistakes.

To nobody's surprise, from reading his article about Anna it turns out that Matt could care less about her (he doesn't discuss any of her writing in detail). All he really wants is any opportunity he can sink his hobnailed toe into in order to trash America, the place he couldn't make it, that had the temerity to reject his briliance and send him spinning into the land of incompetence where he can feel like a king (and buy vodka real, real cheap -- "women" too!). One has to admit, though, that every time Ames opens his mouth he does provide convincing evidence that there must be something wrong with America somewhere, if it could produce a troll like him. But the hypocrisy is truly breathtaking. It's just fine for Mark to bash America unrelentingly, but if anyone dares to criticize Russia then he labels them freaks and liars. This is exactly the kind of pathetic, empty-headed hypocrisy that has destroyed Russia and got Mark kicked out of every decent country in the world, so that now he's reduced to spewing out his crazed, childish ideology of bitter envy from Russia while financing it by helping lonely foreign guys like himself pick up Russian brides for a fee.

Here's a brief review of some of the most odious aspects of his "analysis" (his words in bold, LR's commentary below).

The murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was one of those horrible events which trigger the worst in everyone, when all the wrong lessons are drawn, and all the spite and savagery explode.

That's for sure. And Ames is proof positive. Is this guy really arroagant enough to think that HE knows what the "right lessons" are? Yup, he's arrogant enough. In fact, he's got plenty to spare.

Even by the 21st century's already sub-vile standards, her assassination managed to inspire an entirely new level of hysteria, opportunism and tactlessness so sphincter-twisting that it makes you wonder if it wouldn't just be better to hand the entire Judeo-Christian world over to the Chinese now, rather than waiting another agonizing 20 years. At least the Chinese have tact, for chrissakes.

So, boys and girls, if you want to be tactful, just follow Uncle Mark's example. Are you taking notes?

On one side of the Global Toilet was President Putin, normally an impressive politician, but who, at critical times, cannot contain his own viciously raw vanity. By keeping silent for two days after her murder, and then finally speaking out only to minimize her importance, Putin came off looking like a regular asshole.

Tact Lesson #1: "Global Toilet." By the way, that's a boldfaced lie. Putin said Anna was an enemy of the state, he didn't merely "minimize her importance." Marky might as well be a Kremlin henchman.

Big, unexpected events reveal the smallness in our leaders.

Also our self-important pseudo journalists. By the way, do you recall Ames saying anything about Politkovskaya when she was alive? Well, he made a joke about her being poisoned here and here. Other than that, the only thing the eXile ever wrote about her before 2006 was when it said her poisoning was #31 on the top 100 reasons why Russia is fascist. Not exactly a full plate of credentials, now is it?

But if you read the Russian internet, you'd realize that Putin came off as a weepy liberal: a good part of the "active" community only wished that Politkovskaya had been killed far more slowly, much sooner, and that they could have perhaps been part of the hit team who did it. Nice, really fucking nice.

Take that, you Internet fanatics! LR bet's they'll never do it again, now that they've been told off so firmly by Uncle Mark.

On the other side -- the side that matters far more to me -- was the West. Unlike Putin, the Western media wasted no time in seizing Politkovskaya's corpse for their own purposes, parading it around and milking it for every ounce it was worth.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. See, he could care less about Russia one way or the other. What he really wants is a chance to bash America . . . just what Anna would have wanted him to do!

What exactly was Anna Politkovskaya's bullet-riddled corpse worth to the West? No surprise here: A juicy opportunity to demonize Putin and Russia.

Didn't he just say they wanted to kill her slowly? I guess his standards for demons are quite high . . . would they have to have said they wanted to eat her flesh, or what? Notice how Mark shows why the West shouldn't take the killing as a "chance to demonize Putin and Russia" by taking the killing as a chance to demonize Bush and America. Compelling brilliance, isn't it?

Immediately after her murder, Reuters showed how her death was going to be spun with the headline, "Outspoken Putin Critic Shot Dead In Moscow." The implication was obvious: Putin ordered it. Articles noted that she was killed on Putin's birthday, implying that it was a gift to himself. On the eve of his visit to Germany to close a big energy contract. Can you imagine Putin actually ordering the hit on his birthday, just before meeting Merkel for a key energy summit?

It's actually quite easy. You just first think about Putin's barbaric attitude towards rape, and then you think about his attitudes towards race, and then it becomes quite miraculous that he allowed Anna to live as long as she did. But, quite likely, Ames admires those views of Putin, just thinks he needs to learn how to express them a bit more "tactfully."

But that was just the beginning. The notoriously Russophobic Fred Hiatt at the Washington Post published an editorial that more directly implicated Putin: "It is quite possible, without performing any detective work, to say what is ultimately responsible for these deaths: It is the climate of brutality that has flourished under Mr. Putin." This is a cheap way of saying that Putin is responsible, but like most Russia-haters, they leave out some obvious contradictions. Such as, for example, is Putin also responsible for the hit on Paul Klebnikov, who was profoundly pro-Putin? And what about all the journalists murdered during Yeltsin's tenure? Did Hiatt or any of the others ever blame Yeltsin -- the one who truly introduced the brutality, corruption and lawlessness into Russia? No, of course not, because Yeltsin did The West's bidding. Crimes committed while being pro-American simply do not exist.

Ummm, is LR missing something? Was Yeltsin a career KGB spy with a secret resume? Is he the one who abolished the election of governors and seized control of all the TV stations? Do you notice how, despite 3,100 words, Ames couldn't provide a single quote from Klebnikov to establish how "profoundly pro-Putin" he was? This is the way journalism OUGHT to be done, as only Super Ames understands. If only the Columbia School of Journalism would return his a calls . . . well, they're obviously just a pack of rabid fascists.

Anne Applebaum, one of the Post's resident neocons, went the extra sleazy mile when she got ahold of Politkovskaya's corpse. In her October 9th column, "A Moscow Murder Story," Applebaum simply lied about the circumstances of her murder, and quite consciously so, when she essentially blamed Klebnikov's inconvenient death, as well as other provincial journalists killed for investigating local corruption, on Putin.

Does Mark Ames have proof that Putin didn't order these killings? Yikes! Stop the presses! If so, that means he knows who did! Gosh, he must be saving this scoop for an extra special day, like his birthday! LR can hardly wait to read it! Get the feeling he might have made submissions to the Post's op-ed page that didn't quite get acted on?

No person could be as far from Politkovskaya as Anne Applebaum. Given all of Applebaum's influence and access, she only uses that power to demonize Russia and whitewash America's fascism. Politkovskaya, on the other hand, speaking from extreme weakness and danger, used what little influence she had to risk all for the victims of her own goverment's cruelty, fighting from within.

No person? Not even Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler? Ah yes, now the point. Politkovskaya was killed which proves that . . . America is a fascist state! And only the ultra perspicacious Ames is able to see through the haze to divine the truth. Isn't it amazing that nobody will hire this genius? Must have been rather embarrassing, though, for Ames to see both houses of the U.S. Congress move into the Democratic column. Hard to pass that off as a brilliant fascist ploy by George Bush. But it's a known fact that all the truly great geniuses are victimized by bad luck.

Easily the most absurd Politkovskaya article was by the notorious Brit hack Olga Craig, in her piece in the Sunday Telegraph titled "Cross Putin And Die." It begins with an obviously manufactured story of a terrified small-time journalist supposedly fleeing for his life from Putin's Russia -- the invented journalist is given a pseudonym, "Zakayev," he's apparently so scared... and from there, well, you can fill in the blanks yourself. His alleged crime is that he criticized the disgusting crackdown on ethnic Georgians--and yet, there was vicious open criticism of the crackdown as fascistic all over the Russian print and internet media. But supposedly, this guy had to flee for his life -- "Now 'Zakayev' is convinced that someone, most probably a hired hitman with links to the Kremlin, is already stalking his movements." It's pure cartoon bullshit, one of the worst made-up hack stories you'll read in your life.

Except for what you find in the eXile, of course. After all, takes one to know one, right? Think old Mark would have the guts to move to Britain and write that, and face the resulting lawsuit? Nah. Problee not. But it's a really neat trick to be able to just read a newspaper article and instantly know that it's been faked. Must be one of the great American tragedies that Mark is not editing the New York Times. He must have blown Jasyon Blair the first time out, didn't he? Hmmm . . . .

But the knockout blow was yet to be delivered. Politkovskaya's corpse could not be buried before the Western press squeezed it for the biggest prize of all: Pure, total demonization. The "F" word. Yes, the Economist declared, "It is an over-used word, and a controversial one, especially in Russia. It is not there yet, but Russia sometimes seems to be heading towards fascism." If Fascism means gas chambers, then all talk of it is utterly meaningless and empty--it's the most over-abused epithet, and simply by acknowledging that doesn't excuse the Economist of rank historial distortion. However, if "Fascism" means what I think they mean -- violence and lies and hate -- then America, which used a lie as a pretext to invade a country on the other side of the globe, completely leveled a city of 300,000, and killed half a million citizens, all the while violently suppressing the truth and anyone who tries to get it out -- is guilty as charged.

So, just in case you missed it, America is fascist and Russia isn't.

That's kind of how Russians reacted when they saw that the West crudely exploited Politkovskaya's murder. The West's crude reaction only increased Russia's crude counter-reaction...

See, all those people saying they wanted to torture Anna slowly, that's America's fault too. America is baaaaaaaad. Yet, for some reason Mark isn't afraid of America retaliating against him. That's because he's a SUPER hero!

Why doesn't America have an Anna Politkovskaya?

Translation: Why, oh why, won't America make me a rich and famous journalist? I SO deserve it!

Why don't we have someone as courageous as she was to tell the story of how we razed Fallujah to the ground Grozny-style? How we bombed to smithereens and ethnically cleansed a city of 300,000 people in retaliation for the deaths of four American contractors? Where is the American Anna Politkovskaya who will tell us about how we directly killed roughly 200,000 Iraqis, and indirectly are responsible for about half a million Iraq deaths since our invasion? Why isn't there a single American willing to risk almost certain death, the way Politkovskaya did, in the pursuit of truth and humanity? Take the case of Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi correspondent for Knight Ridder. Salihee was shot by an American sniper with a bullet to his head on June 24, 2005. At the time, he was gathering material for an investigative piece about how the US was training death squads -- the very same death squads which are now responsible for the savage civil war that kicked into high gear this year.

Lot's of news here. Iraq is fighting a civil war, it seems. Also, it's not enough for an American publisher to hire an Iraqi journalist. To avoid being fascist, you have to go with an "American" reporter who wouldn't know the country as well. And there's no information in the American press about how many civilian casualties there have been in Iraq. Apparently, there's more ant-war activity in Russia than in America, and Chechnya was a bigger issue in the last Russian election than Iraq was in the last American election. In fact, Vladimir Putin lost control of the Russian Duma years ago and is a national laughing stock! If only Mark would take a job at Harvard teaching journalism . . .

Indeed Salihee is just one of a number of journalists killed in Iraq, by far the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.

Notice how Mark doesn't tell us how many journalists have been killed, much less compare the data to any other environment? Does this guy really think he's a journalists? Well, you can't spend your time learning how to count and document facts when you're busy saving the world from American fascism, after all. He also doesn't tell us how many times HE'S been to Iraq . . . .

And it's not all the insurgents' fault either. Some more marginal journalists, from Robert Fisk to Dahr Jamail, have written about how US forces in Iraq target journalists for murder.

Hey wait a minute . . . didn't he just say there WERE no such people as Robert Fisk working on such stories? Must be a misprint! Well, the eXile donates so much money to Russian charities that it probably can't afforda reall good proofreader. Or is he saying that Anna Politkovskaya was mainstream? Did she get on RTR or ORT without LR noticing? Damn!

Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist who was kidnapped last year in Iraq and freed by an Italian intelligence agent, was shot and wounded (the agent was killed) by US forces when she was returning to freedom. She insisted that US troops deliberately targeted her. A smear campaign in the US press -- labeling her a Communist and an anti-American with Stockholm Syndrome-- effectively nullified her story, but even pro-Bush Berlusconi was so incensed by the incident that he started to back away from Bush's war.

But if there is such a vast right wing conspiracy in America, why did the Democrats just take over both houses of Congress?

The case of Eason Jordan, CNN's longtime superstar news chief, might explain the mainstream American media's silence. This is what happens when you're a mainstream American media man who dares to tell the ugly truth about Iraq. While hobnobbing with the Global Aristocracy at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January of 2005, Jordan made the mistake of telling his fellow elite what was really happening in Iraq: American forces were "out to get journalists, and some were deliberately targeting journalists."Within two weeks, the longtime CNN honcho was out of work. His resignation came complete with a Stalin-esque confession that's chilling to read today: "After 23 years at CNN," he wrote, "I have decided to resign in an effort to prevent CNN from being unfairly tarnished by the controversy over conflicting accounts of my recent remarks regarding the alarming number of journalists killed in Iraq. I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologize to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise."

He lied and got fired. For Mark, that's the first sign of fascism as long as Mark himself didn't approve the decision in advance (and as long as CNN won't return his calls . . . or at least interview him on the Iraq tragedy, damn it!). No wait, not fascism, Stalinism, right?

A number of journalists have had their careers destroyed for not following the Party Line: Peter Arnett, Ashleigh Banfield, to name two of the most prominent. Meanwhile, the editors at the New York Times and the Washington Post who pushed for war, who spread lies about WMDs and helped bring about the 500,000 deaths reported today (a figure that of course is being attacked and demonized by the same people who cheer an organization's "courage" when such figures are arrived at in Chechnya), get to keep their jobs.

Didn't he say America didn't have any Politkovskayas? Must be a misprint! Well, the eXile donates so much money to Russian charities that it probably can't afford a really good proofreader.

You can see now why we have no Politkovskaya, as badly as we need one. If you go against the "fascist" tendency in your home country, you're targeted for death and career destruction by the government and a bloodthirsty right-wing population. Just as with Chechnya, Iraq has been made too dangerous to work in, and the American government has put a perfectly air-tight lid on information, not even allowing photographs of the coffins of dead American servicemen.

Whoops, now we don't have one again. Damn!

The way Putin managed to bring the media more tightly under his heel than Yeltsin managed during his tenure was by a combination of brute intimidation and career-intimidation. Media heads were pressured, critics were harassed and ruthlessly mocked. Putin also managed to tap into a growing nationalist backlash against the anti-government criticism in the liberal media, much as Republicans constantly tap the American public's rabid patriotism and hatred of the "liberal media" for criticizing or questioning right-wing, militaristic policies. All of the good Russian journalists I know got out a few years ago because it was a bad career, unless you were going to do the equivalent of FOX News, which most refused to do. American journalists, on the other hand, manage to stay working under these circumstances because they can comfort themselves with homegrown lies, such as, "Sure I'd like to print something else, but I don't want to risk it. But the difference is, at least we have the RIGHT to publish what we want about Iraq."

Hmmm . . . seems like Russia doesn't have any Politkovskayas either, doesn't it?

The lesson of Anna Politkovskaya's fearless journalism was completely lost on the West. It's up to Russians to figure out the significance of her murder to their culture and their civilization. But in a West increasingly drowning in lies, war, murder and hatred, the last thing her death should give us is the opportunity to create another enemy, another nation to hate, another regime to be changed.

So, Mark is betting that Russians will "figure out the significance" of Politikovskaya before the West does. But, how will they do that when Ames is the only one in the world who "understands" and he never writes in Russian?


The Ranger said...

Kim, Don't let Mark make you crazy. Look at the crowd that reads his writing. He does what he does just to make people crazy and sell his books. He has a very small following and an even smaller mind. Please he is just a very good salesman.

T.A.H. said...

Ames has already endured the worst kind of punishment - his former partner (Matt Taibbi) left and has since enjoyed a metoric rise in success and fame the likes of which Ames could only wetdream about. And you can be sure it chaps his ass. So the next time his "journalism" makes you angry just think about that. And smile.

guzhevnikov said...

the bit about peter arnett is hilarious. arnett was made a hero at cnn for his war coverage. you'll remember the babymilk factory bombing, etc. again---his reporting on the war made him a hero. he was fired for a much hyped false report about a supposed american massacre in vietnam. it turns out that the source for that story, a helicopter pilot, fabricated the entire story. arnett in turn blamed his producer, and said that he'd just voiced the story. the exile's version of the eason jordan firing too is wrong. that was a complicated affair, and his comment in davos was really just a final straw. ames, by the way, does reports for united russia's tv station, russia today. in other words he's on putin's payroll.

ThomasJeromeNewton said...

Be careful that in attacking alleged supporters of Putin's policy , you go the other way and excuse US repressive right wing policy. I find that this criticism and character assasination is odd if you read his comments about the man's vanity, being an asshole or his direct totalitarian stamping out of opponents and the accolades that he reserved for Politkovskaya.
Further more a lot of the on the fence democrats , after having won the election on the grounds of anti war, are now pushing such measures as widespread drafting. Case in point, senator mccain.

The alternativeto Russia's authoritarian regime is not the US or great britain, such mentality is cold war. But perhaps a third alternative much closer to prince Kerensky's politics. To cite a name from the past.

shterenta said...

Quote "Ames has already endured the worst kind of punishment - his former partner (Matt Taibbi) left and has since enjoyed a metoric rise in success and fame the likes of which Ames could only wetdream about. "

Hmm, I wonder what you qualify as 'metoric rise in success'. writing for online edition of rolling stones as well as Buffalo beast? Whereas Ames has come out with a unique book, which the US media and govt gave little or no exposure, has 2 tv shows in the pipeline and continues to head up exile, nicely benefiting from the increase in ad revenue from their website redesign.

P.S Im not mark ames