Bonnie Faulkner's interview with Webster Tarpley
- Well, I generally like and appreciate Bonnie Faulkner's show "Guns & Butter," but Webster Tarpley is neither someone I respect nor take seriously politically. I think the guy is every bit as much a LaRouche misogynist as ever, and Bonnie Faulkner should know better.
Tarpley allegedly "left" the LaRouche fold in 1996-7 after many years as not just a "follower" of LaRouche but as his right-hand man in Europe where, among other things, he orchestrated a huge and vicious smear campaign against Green founder Petra Kelly that was far more vicious than anything the JUC has done at WBAI and that contributed to the climate around her murder.
As economist Michael Hudson wrote:
"If Tarpley really doesn't support LaRouche, let him tell the story of what he knows about the crimes and other bad behavior that he must have been a part of in the LaRouche cult. To remain silent is to support LaRouche."
The only reason Tarpley left LaRouche is that, he told me, LaRouche capitulated to serving as a US government asset (a lie, in itself -- LaRouche was never a U.S. government asset, but the claim is part of LaRouche's self-promotion and mythology) -- NOT because Tarpley disagreed with anything else. Amazing.
I don't trust Webster Tarpley or his analyses, because even though he says he broke with LaRouche in the 1990s, he was involved with a number of complicated lies and travesties before that time, as a key LaRouche PLANNER (and not a witless psychophant) for decades of campaigns that drove people to their deaths, including that of U.S.-schooled German Green Party founder Petra Kelly on October 1, 1992.
So here's one question I have for Tarpley that Bonnie Faulkner didn't ask: "You were one of those in charge of the small LaRouche grouping in Europe for decades. What was your role in the vitriolic denunciations of Petra Kelly? What were you doing politically in Europe and as part of the LaRouche grouping at that time?"
As one former LaRouchie writes: "Webster Tarpley renounced his association with Larouche, referred to his organization as a Maoist Cult, but has carried on a parallel path of disseminating the exact same conspiratorial blather as Larouche (sans the omnipresent mention of the name), only with access to more arenas in the kook-o-sphere than can be afforded to Larouche."
Lest you suddenly feel, even here in the debunking, that reality suddenly is melting away (LaRouche is NOT a maoist, for example, even though I agree with the rest of that former member's critique), let me explain: Lyndon LaRouche (aka Lyn Marcus) always had lots of interesting and grandiose schemes and analyses that sucked one into the LaRouchian web, and there would always be a duplicitous twist in there somewhere that would be hard to detect until events began playing out.... And by then it would be too late. Stony Brook and Columbia U. were major recruiting grounds for the cult. I remember them arguing that "The world's going to end on June 17, 1982" for example, "unless you join us to stop it." And then when the world didn't end on that date, "See, your involvement enabled our great leader LaRouche to stop it and save the world. You are powerful!" Gotcha.
Tarpley found a pedestal in the 911 Truth movement -- a big mistake for 911 Truth. (He's also now a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, all of a sudden, after having denounced and mocked her (see below).)) Because he's one of the few able to read the Russian press (he's Greek, but he reads Russian fluently, I believe), this enables him to set himself up as the go-to expert on what's happening in Russia and on big-power geo-political strategy in general, since the Left in the U.S. has basically stopped talking about that stuff after having dominated the terrain on debates on the Russian Revolution for almost a century.
But Tarpley pulled a huge boneheaded maneuver a few of years ago in which he proudly claimed to have gotten Cindy Sheehan's signature along with those of Dahlia Wasfi, Ann Wright and Jamilla el-Shafei -- all heroes of the antiwar movement -- on a strategy document he wrote, The Kennebunkport Warning. Cindy and the 3 others said that the document he published was not what they'd signed and asked simply that their names be removed.
<b>A Statement from Four of the Alleged Signatories:</b>
Each of us were approached during the rally at the Kennebunkport event on August 25, 2007, to sign a statement calling for the immediate impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Since then, the statement has been altered and posted on the internet, making it appear as if we have evidence that this administration will carry out a "false-flag terror operation."
None of us have such evidence, and therefore, none of us signed a statement stating that we do. We wish the authors of the document well in continuing much needed investigations of all aspects of 9/11.
But instead of just retracting it and saying he erred, Tarpley launched into a vicious sexist attack on Cindy and the other heroic women he continued to claim had signed it. Tarpley avered that "four signers [of the Philadelphia and Kennebunkport resolutions] who claimed they did not sign, and then deplorably covered their retreat with a barrage of wild charges of forgery, most probably did so because they feared that their foundation funding might be terminated."
It became a big scandal within the 911 Truth movement. Tarpley's mode of response was a telltale hallmark of his LaRouchean training, which ascribes motivation (usually falsely) and blames mothers for "sucking the life" out of their children, thus turning them into highly neurotic and psychologically dependent zombies. (Their magazine series of articles on "Women as Vampires" -- a sort of counter psychobabble to radical feminism -- was the talk of the town in 1973-74. Go figure!)
I asked Cindy in person about this. She told me that she had no fears that her "foundation funding" would be cut off, partly because she didn't have any!
The vitriolic campaign Tarpley launched with regard to this incident contributed to setting back the peace movement for an entire year. (Not all by itself, of course.)
As a member of the 9-11 Truth movement, I wrote to folks in that movement about my concerns over the direction in which some were pulling it. It is so very important that we prevent the movement from degenerating into cult-like groups or being used as a recruiting ground for outright Nazis. My concern is not only over the quality of the information being put out there, it's about what's done with that information and how it is used.
Webster Tarpley left the LaRouche fold 10 years ago, he says -- but not for any political differences with his master. Tarpley continues to argue exactly like LaRouche. Everything he says -- and particularly the way he says it -- needs to be sifted through a fine toothed comb, and then sifted again.
I watched Tarpley's presentation in NYC (2007) at a 9-11 Truth event at Cooper Union, and found myself squirming. I am someone who in 1972 took classes in dialectics with LaRouche at Columbia and I also sat in numerous meetings with him, having attended SUNY Stony Brook which served as the "home base" along with Columbia U. for LaRouche's recruitment efforts. (At the time he called himself "Lyn Marcus"). I knew many people in the leadership of the various LaRouche organizations. I saw how a fairly large number of U.S. leftists helped to build what became, ultimately, a fascist organization. I know, because I almost became part of it myself at one point. At its core, these organizations were built around a hatred of women and fear of homosexuality, which is what drove me to my senses and away from that cult. I saw all of that residue come pouring out of Tarpley during his aggressive speech about the danger of the U.S. attacking Iran with nuclear weapons.
The cheap attacks Tarpley made on Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi -- ruling class exponents who deserve our scorn and anger, but not for the gendered reasons Tarpley offered -- were despicable. Tarpley projected photos of these women and mocked their physical features, not so much their politics. Although he did not ridicule Cindy Sheehan's female features, his campaign against her and three other women over whether they signed the Kennebunkport document and then lied about it came in the context of his misogynist ridicule of Clinton and Pelosi.
So too with Tarpley's "critique" of Giuliani -- I call the former NYC Mayor "the fascist gun in the West". Tarpley displayed photos of Giuliani in drag, and got his cheap laughs and some applause -- as though there's something wrong with dressing in drag, while pretty much neglecting Giuliani's horrendous politics. (I understand that Tarpley has elsewhere savaged Giuliani's politically, which is the way these sort of things need to be done, but that's not what Tarpley did at this 9-11 Truth event.)
This is exactly the way LaRouche did things, revelling in misogynist schoolboy "humor" and ridicule. I pointed this out at the time to some members of the audience who were impressed by Tarpley's performance, his command of "facts" -- invented or otherwise -- and asked why they thought the percentage of women attending 9-11 Truth events in NYC has dropped precipitously over the last three years, and why the movement here has become so male-dominated. What is driving away so many women?
Like LaRouche, Tarpley puts forth a powerful all-encompassing systemic critique that few others are doing -- containing lots of good information and analysis -- but draws people around him by mocking people and making prediction after prediction -- so what if only one or two come true sometime down the road? By then, all the self-aggrandizement, all the wrong predictions, will be forgotten amid the one lucky guess ....
Tarpley writes: "This article represents a strategic decision on the part of Berlet's Ford Foundation paymasters that the Philadelphia and Kennebunkport documents represent a threat to the political hegemony of the financier elite who are betting on synthetic terrorism, new false flag operations, and a nuclear attack on Iran to clear the way for totalitarian rule in the US."
Yes, Chip Berlet is playing what I view to be a thoughtless role vis a vis 9-11 Truth -- maybe Tarpley is correct that the Ford Foundation is pulling his strings, maybe not. But note the elevated importance that Tarpley gives to the documents that he co-authored: the Philadelphia and Kennebunkport resolutions. These DOCUMENTS, he writes, are seen as a threat by the leading arm of one faction of the ruling class. His DOCUMENTS must be gotten out of the way in order for the U.S. to launch a nuclear attack on Iran and clear the way for totalitarian rule in the U.S. Gimme a break.
That's how LaRouche always argued: Look how important we are! What WE say is all-important; the U.S. (or KGB) are taking specific measures to "send us a message." Our STATEMENTS are the only thing that stands in the way of nuclear war. And so on, delivered in extremely high-pressured, personalized guilt-trips. "If you don't join us, the U.S. will nuke Iran."
Now we need to do all we can to prevent that from happening. But note the pitch here, what draws people in: If the US nukes Iran, it will be because Cindy Sheehan (and you, and me) didn't sign Tarpley's documents. If the US does NOT nuke Iran, it will be because Tarpley and company's words were so powerful that they were able to affect world history, so don't you want to join something like that and be powerful too? (Wilhelm Reich's "Listen, Little Man" speaks directly to this perversion, as does Maurice Brinton's "The Irrational in Politics".)
Tarpley writes: "The Philadelphia Platform seeks to unite the antiwar, impeachment, anti-globalization, labor, civil rights, civil liberties, fair elections, and related movements into a single united front outside of the Republican and Democratic Parties. It calls for the immediate impeachment of Bush and Cheney, and end to all US aggression everywhere, the rollback of the police state, and rule by people, not bankers, with the entire effort energized by 9/11 truth." Yes, this stated intent is great (although it does set Tarpley up as the "leader" of such a united movement). It's what we all want. It's also what ANSWER organizes around -- via huge demonstrations -- and what World Can't Wait is organizing too -- and the Greens, also, at least in NY. (UFPJ, in my view, is too tied to the Democratic Party to serve this function nationally.) But to give anyone else credit not only would diminish the Tarpley resolutions' lustre, it would remove the one venue Tarpley has created for his self-important platform in the anti-war movement, outside of 9-11 Truth.
Tarpley goes on to condemn Amy Goodman for her "deeply compromised Democracy Now program" and her set-up "of David Ray Griffin a couple of years ago." Now, I fully agree that Amy used poor judgment in bamboozling Griffin and set him up unfairly. (Even so, Griffin did a very good job of stating his case amidst Chip Berlet's continuous harassment that Amy Goodman allowed.) But does that shortcoming, that error on her part, mean that her Democracy Now program is "deeply compromised" and that just because it receives grants from the Ford Foundation that Ford is pulling her strings in the way she treats 9-11 Truth? Tarpley leveled the charge, but provided no evidence.
I disagree with Amy's position in shutting out discussions of 9/11 Truth from Democracy Now! But that disagreement is a far cry from the onerous conclusions that Tarpley leveled, as though they were true. Please note, though, the brownshirt mentality that feeds off of such reckless and forceful charges. When Webster Tarpley made these statements against Democracy Now at Cooper Union, someone in the audience felt emboldened enough to join the attack: "That's because Amy Goodman is CIA." The audience was silent, and aghast. Tarpley looked approvingly out onto the audience. So I shouted back across the room from my seat, "Just because you disagree with someone, that doesn't make them CIA. Maybe YOU'RE CIA, part of COINTELPRO ... " The tension in the room eased notably. For the moment, rationality prevailed.
Tarpley writes that "Chip Berlet worked for the National Student Association, which was exposed as a CIA front." Yes, back in the late 1950s, Gloria Steinem (who was going out around that time with Henry Kissinger) carried money from the US government via the National Student Association to anti-communist organizations during student conferences in Eastern Europe. The radical feminist group Redstockings exposed all of this -- but far be it from Tarpley to credit another group, let alone a FEMINIST group, even though it risked a great deal in making that exposé.
Tarpley also doesn't tell us what he means in saying that Chip Berlet "worked for" the National Student Association, which was the largest student organization in the U.S. -- a mainstream group with many different political tendencies within it, containing MILLIONS of student members. Did he "work" for it in the late 50s and early 60s when the CIA was manipulating some of the key leaders like Steinem and Allard Lowenstein? Nope. But Tarpley just perseveres and slings the mud implying that Berlet was a CIA agent because he worked for "a CIA front." Like a slimey prosecutor, he withholds information. He knows his information is tainted, but won't tell us.
There's a lot more to unravel, if you want to spend time doing so. Again, with Tarpley, just as with LaRouche, you have to examine every word, every nuance, as true statements are mixed with loaded and unproven assertions, and done so in such an all-encompassing way as to attract those who WANT TO change history but feel powerless to actually do so.
Why did it take Tarpley until 1997 to leave the LaRouche organization? After all, he was one of the organization's international leaders for decades, yet he said nothing when the group organized the "Woman as Vampire" period in 1972-4 and made physical attacks on the aging members of the Communist Party USA, shortly thereafter. This became known as "Operation Mop Up", based on LaRouche's fantasmagoric tales and attacks upon his own members whom he claimed were being brainwashed and turned into Manchurian Candidates by the KGB, and later claimed it was the CIA pretending to be the KGB -- all based on sexual repression, by the way, on their fear of homosexuality, of "eating shit," and the hatred of women. This was not a debate or mere disagreement. Larouche's brownshirts, using martial arts weapons, sent dozens of people who'd spent their entire lives in social justice movements to the hospital. And to think -- it was all sexually based; it started when LaRouche's wife ran off to Europe with another member, Chris White. LaRouche claimed they must have been brainwashed (why else would his wife leave him?). LaRouche's thugs captured him, sought to "deprogram" him, and bent all the apparatus of the organization to doing so. They also kidnapped my friend Alice Weitzman, a concert pianist, whom I'd recruited into the antiwar movement at Stony Brook. Upon her return to the US after a concert tour in Europe, where she met with some mildly dissident LaRouchies, LaRouche's lieutenants kidnapped her and held her in an apartment rented by former Stony Brooker Iris Burlock (who was close with the Red Balloon Collective) on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Alice escaped after several days when a passerby -- as improbable as this sounds -- read a note she'd managed to toss out the window and actually alerted the police.
Tarpley was leading LaRouche's operations in Europe at that time (parallel "Women as Vampire" ideas were gaining force there as well), and instead of resigning from such a pathetic organization he built it up. Bonnie Faulkner should have asked Tarpley: "What was your role in informing on Alice Weitzman's activities in Europe to LaRouche and others in your organization?"
I certainly do not begrudge anyone who has left an organization, even after being an integral part of it for so many years, the opportunity to be recognized in their own right and not be forever saddled with the policies of organization they'd left behind -- IF indeed they have left it behind in reality, and not just only their formal membership. But Tarpley has never challenged the policies of the organization he helped to lead, nor the way his whole manner of being was shaped and continues to be shaped by those experiences which he himself helped to orchestrate; he has clearly not yet come to grips with them. The furthest he has gone is to say that some members of LaRouche's shrinking cult badmouthed him and have been following a few wrong policies today. This clearly is not sufficient, and all of that crap is sadly beginning to affect the 9-11 Truth Movement.
So Bonnie Faulkner should have asked Tarpley: "You were one of those active in the LaRouche grouping when concert pianist and LaRouche member Alice Weitzman, a SUNY Stony Brook student, visited Germany in the early 1970s, where she met with some dissidents within the LaRouche circles. What was your role towards the dissidents?"
And, "What did you do for LaRouche's organization so that he promoted you to be one of those in charge of his Euro operation?," and "What did you do with LaRouche when you came to the U.S.?" And, "Why didn't you leave the organization way back in the 70s, when this was going on? And why have you not denounced those horrendous activities of the organization you once headed?"
I note, also, that Congress Rep. Ron Paul is giving Tarpley much space on his website. The LaRouchies, and Tarpley, are making a big play for a new generation of sometimes naive activists. Bonnie Faulkner should be aware of this, and she needs to seriously examine the history of those she's affording the microphone.
Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen