Contortions at First Hand:
James Donald on Noam Chomsky

by Dan Clore

The reaction to the exposure is also instructive: on the Timor half of the comparison, further silence, denial, and apologetics; on the Cambodia half, a great chorus of protest claiming that we were denying or downplaying Pol Pot atrocities. This was a transparent falsehood, though admittedly the distinction between advocating that one try to keep to the truth and downplaying the atrocities of the official enemy is a difficult one for the mind of the commissar, who, furthermore, is naturally infuriated by any challenge to the right to lie in the service of the state, particulary when it is accompanied by a demonstration of the services rendered to ongoing atrocities. (Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy.)

When one considers some of the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably, they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly. (George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism", on the Stalinist press.)

This material on this page springs from debates on UseNet with one James A. Donald (or, in the orthography he seems to prefer, "James A. donald") over the alleged dishonesty of the work of Edward Herman (who for some reason always disappears from the debate, whenever James Donald can manage it) and Noam Chomsky on Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. Since Donald simply follows the technique of the Nazi's "big lie", or the logical fallacy argumentum ad nauseam (repeating over and over what has long since been proven false on many occasions, as if repetition will somehow give it credibility), a summary seems in order. (Donald has been at this for at least five years now.) Donald's arguments primarily concern a 1977 book review published in the Nation, which is at:

Also important to the debate are the two volumes of Herman and Chomsky's The Political Economy of Human Rights, which are The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism and After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, both published by South End Press in 1979. The will here usually be referred to by the common abbreviations PEHR I and PEHR II.

Donald's arguments are summarized in an essay at his site, eloquently titled "Chomsky lies":

Refutations of similar idiocies on James Donald's part can be found at:

Because Mr. Donald would like to turn this debate into a mere series of personal attacks on Chomsky, I have not hesitated to include personal attacks on Mr. Donald. If he dislikes this, then he can simply drop his constant ad hominems from the debate. Meanwhile, the rest of us can enjoy laughing at his buffoonish behavior.


James Donald's Argument in a Nutshell
James Donald on Honesty and the Lack Thereof.
James Donald Shifts his Ground.
On Changing One's Tune (To be PC).
Media Bias.
Mere Gooks.
James Donald: Lying Apologist for Mass Murder.
L'affaire Faurisson.
An Interesting Exchange.
Donald vs. Donald.
James Donald -- Caught Lying.
The Lying Liar Chomsky Lies: A New James Donald Rant Parody.
UseNet Post from Milan Rai's Chomsky's Politics.
Relevant Links.

This Page is not necessarily in a final form and may be updated. But you knew that already, didn't you?

James Donald's Argument in a Nutshell

James Donald's argument on Noam Chomsky's honesty can be summarized like this:

In the ordinary sense of the word, Noam Chomsky is not a liar, because what he says is true. However, if you re-define the word "lie" to include making true statements that James Donald does not like for some reason, then -- under the new definition -- Noam Chomsky is a liar.

James Donald on Honesty and the Lack Thereof
(Also, Giving Sources)

James Donald begins his attempted essay thus:

I have reproduced this work by Chomsky and Herman to show that nothing Chomsky says can be believed, and to illustrated [sic] his methods of deceiving his readers.

It should be noted that James Donald, brave "defender of property rights" that he is, has actually stolen this essay from Herman and Chomsky. He did not purchase the rights to this book review from them, but instead blatantly violated their copyright and appropriated their property for his own purposes. If he had merely wanted his readers to see the entire article, he could have simply provided a link to it at the Noam Chomsky Archives. Instead, he chose to act as a thief. Indeed, for some strange reason, he gives no links to Chomsky sources at all.

He goes on to explain his conception of Chomsky's supposed dishonesty:

When Chomsky lies, he does not say plainly in so many words "X is true", instead he uses convoluted, indirect, and lawyer like sentences that lead the reader to believe that X is true, and that Chomsky has presented a well documented case that X is true, supported by copious citations of reputable sources, whereas in fact not only do the numerous sources that Chomsky quotes say nothing of the kind, indeed they usually forcefully deny X, but also Chomsky himself has not actually said X in so many words.

If Chomsky believed what he seeks to persuade the reader to believe, he would not have used such elaborately careful and evasive phrasing.

In other words, Chomsky has not lied by saying what Donald wishes that he had said (so that Donald could abuse him for saying it). Instead, he lied by not making the supposed claims that Donald attributes to him. You have to admire someone so devious in his dishonesty.

For example:

If you read the article below very carefully you will find that Chomsky does not actually say in so many words that the Khmer Rouge was similar to the French resistance, he merely leads the reader to believe it.

It would be interesting to know how Herman and Chomsky "leads [sic] the reader to believe" this, since there is no mention of the French Resistance at any point in the article. When we see the actual passage that Donald is referring to, we find that Herman and Chomsky were not referring to the French Resistance at all, but to "France after liberation", an entirely different matter. French historian Robert Aron has documented the period, finding that massacres of collaborators and alleged collaborators took place for months after the liberation. Aron gives an estimated minimum of 30-40,000 slain in these mass killings, with the total probably greater (France Reborn: The History of the Liberation, Scribner's 1964); others give higher figures, such as Pleyber-Grandjean, who claims that seven million were massacred. If his political allegiances were slightly different, no doubt Donald would accept the latter figure and accuse all who questioned it of being "lying apologists for mass murder, tyranny, and brutal inequalities of power".

He does not actually say that tales of mass murder are all a bunch of evil capitalist lies, he merely contemptuously condemns and ridicules those who tell the truth about Cambodia, while praising to the sky the (often entirely imaginary) sources that deny democide in Cambodia.

How well this statement reflects the facts can be seen by merely comparing it to Herman and Chomsky's article and their other work on Cambodia. What they in fact say is that:

If, indeed, postwar Cambodia is, as he [Lacouture] believes, similar to Nazi Germany, then his comment ["Faced with an enterprise as monstrous as the new Cambodian Government, should we see the main problem as one of determining exactly which person uttered an inhuman phrase, and whether the regime has murdered thousands of hundreds or thousands of wretched people?" -- This is from a retraction Lacouture had made of his earlier claims.] is perhaps justified, though we may add that he has produced no evidence to support this judgement. But if postwar Cambodia is more similar to France after liberation, where many thousands of people were massacred within a few months under far less rigorous conditions than those left by the American war, then perhaps a rather different judgement is in order. That the latter conclusion may be more nearly correct is suggested by the analyses mentioned earlier.

In other words, if the available evidence showed that massacres were only in the tens of thousands, then to James Donald anyone who has the honesty to say this is somehow a "denial" of them. (It should be noted that at the point in which Herman and Chomsky were writing, even Barron and Paul claimed only that executions numbered "100,000 or more", not the two million Donald claims.)

In fact, far from presenting any conclusions on the matter in their book review, Herman anad Chomsky say:

We do not pretend to know where the truth lies amidst these sharply conflicting assessments.

In short, there is no "denial" of atrocities in Cambodia; instead, there are questions about their scale and character. In fact, in 1978 Herman and Chomsky wrote in PEHR II that

in the case of Cambodia, there is no difficulty in documenting major atrocities and oppression, primarily from the reports of refugees

and that

the record of atrocities is substantial and often gruesome

and even that

When the facts are in, it may turn out that the more extreme condemnations were in fact correct.

This "substantial and often gruesome" record was, however, greatly enhanced by the propaganda efforts of the U.S. media, as Herman and Chomsky demonstrate at excruciating length in PEHR II. This has, in fact, been the theme of all of Herman and Chomsky's work on Cambodia.

As for the "(often entirely imaginary) sources" which Donald refers to, no one who reads the full-length studies by Herman and Chomsky will have any great difficulty finding their sources, as they invariably give very copious citations (finding what the source is, I mean, as it is not, for example, very convenient to obtain a wire-service article that newspapers chose not to carry). For example, he claims that a news story by Richard Dudman does not exist (in <5ktf3q$5s5$>, for example, he says: "Then I take it you will have no trouble finding the newspaper, date, and page number where, according to Chomsky, Richard Dudman denied that mass murder and terror took place in Cambodia immediately after the seizure of the capital."); in fact, we find the following in the endnotes of PEHR II:

87. Richard Dudman, "The Cambodian 'People's War'," Washington Post (24 April 1975).

(We might also note that in the citation in question Herman and Chomsky were not in fact citing Dudman on the point Donald refers to, but on the matter of the American bombing of Cambodia in the early 70s. The reference was to his book Forty Days with the Enemy (H. Liveright, 1971), concerning time he spent as a captive of the Khmer Rouge.)

In short, in this one sentence we see that Donald:

1) Asked for information which was easily available to him, implying that he either does not know what he is talking about or is outright lying;
2) Flubbed the reference he made to Herman and Chomsky's work, claiming that they had cited a source on one point when they had cited it on another;
3) Misrepresented the claim made by Herman and Chomsky about their source.

This degree of inaccuracy is rather impressive.

To move on. According to Donald:

An example that comes very close to being an out and out lie is:

such journals as the Far Eastern Economic Review, the London Economist, the Melbourne Journal of Politics, and others elsewhere, have provided analyses by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of evidence available, and who concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands; that these were localized in areas of limited Khmer Rouge influence and unusual peasant discontent, where brutal revenge killings were aggravated by the threat of starvation resulting from the American destruction and killing. These reports also emphasize both the extraordinary brutality on both sides during the civil war (provoked by the American attack) and repeated discoveries that massacre reports were false.

Sounds very impressive, does it not? If such famous and entirely respectable magazines endorsed such claims about the Khmer Rouge then obviously we must take these outrageous sounding claims very seriously, right?

If [sic] would not have sounded nearly as impressive, but it would have been a good deal more truthful, if Chomsky had instead written:

Some academics that I am embarrassed to name have written letters to the Economist denying the crimes of the Khmer Rouge.

Chomsky leads the reader to believe that a well informed person, someone who reads prestigious news magazines like the Economist, who reads magazines targeted primarily at the wealthy, someone affluent and cultured, would not believe the stuff about democide, that that business about democide was just lowbrow propaganda for the ignorant trailer trash masses. Chomsky uses the authority and prestige of these very reputable magazines to support his claims concerning Cambodia.

In actual fact of course the Economist and the Far Eastern Economic Review depicted the Khmer Rouge as brutal mass murderers who casually slaughtered and terrorized on a vast scale, who repeatedly committed huge massacres, and these reputable journals would have undoubtedly fired any reporter who wrote such outrageous lies as Chomsky pretends that they endorsed. The analyses "provided" by the Economist were letters to the editor by communists, not articles that these magazines lent their authority to.

In actual fact, Herman and Chomsky do give all of these sources in their lengthier treatment of the same subject in After the Cataclysm, Volume II of The Political Economy of Human Rights [PEHR II]. There, far from vague references to "academics [Herman and Chomsky are] embarrassed to name", we find full citations. The Far Eastern Economic Review published a series of articles by its Southeast Asia correspondent, Nayan Chanda (in particular, one in the May 1977 issue). He concluded that the number of executions was "possibly thousands", not the much greater numbers being bandied about at the time. Far from being fired for this heresy, he has since become the Deputy Editor of the journal.

Nor was the work published in the London Economist that of a "communist", although it is in fact a letter (and is also used by Nayan Chanda in his studies in FEER). In fact, far from being written by a communist, the letter (March 26, 1977) was written by W.J. Sampson, a statistician and economist, who had worked for the CIA-puppet government of Lon Nol (which the Khmer Rouge overthrew) in the office of central statistics, and had published several technical reports on the economy of Cambodia. He based his conclusions on interviews with refugees and other eyewitnesses. He concluded that slayings (executions) numbered "in the hundreds or thousands rather than in hundreds of thousands" with a much larger death toll from illness and starvation.

As for the Melbourne Journal of Politics, it published analyses by noted Cambodia scholar Ben Kiernan, whom James Donald has frequently cited as a credible source. Checking his later work in book form, we find that it is fully consistent with Herman and Chomsky's use of it. Perhaps this explains why Kiernan has both aided Herman and Chomsky in their work on Cambodia, and come to their defense when others have made charges similar to those of James Donald.

Donald's argument thus falls flat on its face when subjected to a cursory examination. The very worst "lie" he has found, is that Herman and Chomsky did not take care to specify that one reference to the London Economist was to a letter rather than an article -- when they did take care to point this out when they gave a full citation of it in the very next paragraph of the same review! (Something Mr. Donald mysteriously fails to mention.)

James Donald Shifts his Ground

Since the above appeared Donald has revised his attempted essay to correct some of the factual errors he had made (and in a rare fit of honesty, admitted making). I will leave the material above as it is, in order to immortalize his idiocy.

As he posted in <5tqi0a$a5q$>:

Clore has very kindly drawn my attention to some inaccuracies in my article "Chomsky lies"

So I have made some revisions that I trust will meet his objections:

The revised portion now reads, after giving the quotation from Herman and Chomsky's book review above:

Sounds very impressive, does it not? If such famous and entirely respectable magazines endorsed such claims about the Khmer Rouge then obviously we must take these outrageous sounding claims very seriously, right? There must be some significant evidence, presented by these magazines, that shows or stronglys [sic] suggest that the refugees tales of terror were nonsense.

As we have already seen, this is a ridiculous misrepresentation of what Herman and Chomsky said.

Chomsky leads the reader to believe that a well informed person, someone who reads prestigious news magazines like the Economist, who reads magazines targeted primarily at the wealthy, someone affluent and cultured, would not believe the stuff about democide, that that business about democide was just lowbrow propaganda for the ignorant trailer trash masses. Chomsky uses the authority and prestige of these very reputable magazines to support his claims concerning Cambodia.
There is of course no such evidence, and no such endorsement.
In the case of the Economist [sic], Chomsky is not referring to an article in the Economist [sic], but a letter replying to an entirely accurate article in the Economist [sic], thus this letter was indeed "made available" by the economist [sic], but it is entirely misleading to lead the reader to believe that it is supported by the the [sic] authority and respectability of the Economist [sic]. On the contrary, the authority and prestige of the Economist [sic] is directly against Chomksy's claims.

It is hard to see how Herman and Chomsky could mislead the reader in this way, since they state in the very next paragraph of their review that they are referring to a letter and give the date of the issue it appeared in.

In the case of the Far Easter [sic] Economic review [sic], the review did indeed publish an article that said almost, but not quite, what Chomsy represents it has [sic] saying, just as the Economist [sic] almost, but not quite did what Chomsky leads the reader to believe it did. There are however two rather important differences.between [sic] Chomsky's representation of the article, and the actual article.
Nayan Chanda (Far Eastern Economic Review October 29 1976) does indeed doubt the refugees are telling the truth, (though other commentators, in the Review, for example in May 7, 76, and in September 7, 77 confidently support the refugees) but he makes no pretence of presenting any evidence contradicting their stories. He does indeed say "thousands". But does not say "at most in the thousands".

In fact, it is James Donald who is here quoting out-of-context in order to misrepresent his source. In the article, Nayan Chanda estimates the number of killings as "possibly thousands", presumably referring to the higher end of the range of possibility.

On the contrary he covers himself against the possibility that the refugees were telling the truth by saying that "the numbers killed are impossible to calculate". [sic] unlike Chomsky who leads us to believe that there is substantial evidence contradicting the stories of hundreds of thousands.

And that devious devil was clever enough to include a quotation of this very phrase when he made use of Chanda's article in PEHR II.

As for these "stories of hundreds of thousands" even Barron and Paul, at the extreme, were only claiming 100,000 executions by the year after Chanda's article appeared. Scholars now estimate the total executions in the period of 1975-78 in the range of 200-300,000, with most of them occurring in the period 1977-78. Far larger numbers also died from such causes as overwork, disease, and starvation, many of them because of Khmer Rouge policies.

Chomsky presented the Far Eastern Economic Review as confidently denying the possibility that the killings were vastly higher, but Chanda specifically denies such knowledge and confidence.
Chomsky misuses the authority of the Far Eastern Economic Review as he misused the authority of the Economist [sic], to support positions that they simply never supported, and to deny facts that they never denied.
When we look back on Chanda's article from nine months later, Chanda looks naive, but Chomsky looks like a liar.

In fact, here is what Cambodia scholar Michael Vickery had to say about Chanda's article, writing in his Cambodia: 1975-1982 (South End Press 1984, pp. 59-60):

FEER's big gun in the area of Cambodia reportage was of course Nayan Chanda ... and Chanda's work was indeed the most thoroughly researched and sensible of any journalist writing on the subject. But he, in particular, was extremely, and properly, circumspect on the question of atrocities.

In his article of October 29, 1976, he wrote that "most observers agree that the worst excesses of the reign of terror are over," that "large-scale executions have apparently stopped, although sporadic killings continue." He added that "part of the killing was the action of the have-nots against the haves," inspired by a desire for revenge, and effects of a savage war. Moreover, he felt that the refugees, who were then coming mainly from isolated work sites in the three provinces bordering Thailand, "rarely have any information of value."

As we shall see below, all of that agrees very well with information elicited from questioning a large number of refugees in 1980; and the "Concerned Correspondents" who seem to think Chanda misread the evidence in not realizing that worse was to come are off the mark. Worse purges did begin in 1977, but nothing can be inferred from them about 1975-76, since there was a change of policies almost tantamount to a change of regime. Refugee reminiscences from nearly all parts of the country concur in depicting the last months of 1975 and 1976, after the immediate post-war massacres of Lon Nol military had ended, as a rather tolerable period.

As for the impression that Herman and Chomsky give of the London Economist and the Far Eastern Economic Review, it should be noted that PEHR II includes fairly harsh criticism of other articles in both of these journals.

Donald also adds:

I have not examined the reports in the considerably less famous and prestigious Melbourne Journal of Politics, but I assume I would encounter more of the same finely sliced words.

In fact, this was an undergraduate political journal which published essays by Ben Kiernan. Even years after this period, Kiernan's work still presents roughly the same picture that Herman and Chomsky do (i.e., massacres of thousands of those associated with the old regime immediately after the revolution in 1975, followed by relatively few mass murders until the great purges of 1977-78).

On Changing One's Tune
(To be Politically Correct)

Mr. Donald has repeatedly made the claim that Chomsky abruptly changed his views in January, 1979, when Vietnam invaded Cambodia. For example, in his essay he says:

I have chosen this work because most the [sic] viewpoints pressed in this work abruptly became politically incorrect and inconvenient in January 1979, when the good guys Vietnam went to war with the good guys Cambodia, necessitating an instant revision of who are the good guys, and hence the abrupt revision of such inconvenient bits of history as this one, and the many others documented by Sophal.

This claim deserves examination. It derives from statements made -- surprise, surprise -- in 1978, when Chomsky addressed the United Nations, comparing the atrocities in Cambodia to those committed in East Timor by the Indonesians (reprinted in the anarcho-capitalist journal Inquiry; in another form, republished in RESIST and now collected in Radical Priorities). This comparison also appears, in a different form, in PEHR. If Chomsky wished to "deny" atrocities in Cambodia, he obviously could not make such a comparison.

As for the supposed change in viewpoint, it should be pointed out that PEHR went to press in late January 1979, late enough for Herman and Donald to include a preface commenting on the Vietnamese invasion. The bulk of the book had obviously been written in 1978, and they do not seem to have found any need to change their viewpoint on the subject -- despite events which supposedly necessitated "an instant revision of who are the good guys".

In fact, the little material on the invasion that appears in the volume does not support Donald's contentions at all.

Here is Herman and Chomsky attempting to "justify" the Vietnamese invasion:

The Vietnamese invasion can be explained, but it cannot be justified.

As far as their alleged support for this invasion, they speculate that it

may prove disastrous for Cambodia.

In fact, it would have been strange for Herman and Chomsky to need such a revision: unlike Donald, they were fully aware that Vietnam and Cambodia had been at war since the earliest days of Khmer Rouge rule (and long before). Indeed, they note in PEHR II some of the major skirmishes that took place in 1975, and the renewal of greater hostilities in 1977.

In fact, in an interview on June 7, 1979, we find that Chomsky still has not changed his tune:

For example, to take just Cambodia, my own feeling is that the effect of the Vietnamese invasion will be serious disaster, if not catastrophe, for Cambodia, which is already suffering enormously. (Language and Politics, p. 562)

In 1988, Herman and Chomsky updated their work on Cambodia in Manufacturing Consent (not to be confused with the subsequent movie and tie-in volume), including material on the Vietnamese invasion and its aftermath. They follow the Finnish Inquiry Commission in considering Cambodia under the Heng Samrin government as Phase III of the "Decade of the Genocide" -- where the U.S. and Lon Nol bombing campaign is Phase I, and the Khmer Rouge's regime is Phase II. Their picture of Phase III is basically the same as that of Phase II: there were undoubtedly atrocities, but their scale and character were exaggerated by the U.S. media (as opposed to Phase I, which the media very rarely mentioned and downplayed on the few occasions it did receive mention).

Here is what Herman and Chomsky have to say on the subject, where Donald claims that they now "demonize Pol Pot" and support the Vietnamese-installed government:

[...] among people who are concerned about the people of Cambodia for themselves and not merely because of their value for propaganda exercises, few would question that "it is clear that life for the people is far better now than under Democratic Kampuchea [i.e., the Khmer Rouge regime]," [endnote cites Ben Kiernan's Cambodian wife Chanthou Boua, "Observations of the Heng Samrin Government," in Chandler and Kiernan, Revolution and its Aftermath] and some Cambodian specialists have suggested that the current regime compares favorably with any of its predecessors. Consistent opponents of aggression would have a moral basis for condemning the Vietnamese invasion, despite the rapidly escalating atrocities of 1977-78 and the murderous raids against Vietnam by Cambodian forces under Pol Pot's rule.

And in an endnote Herman and Chomsky add:

Our own expressed view at the time was that "the Vietnamese invasion can be explained, but it cannot be justified" (PEHR, II, preface, xix). With the information that has since appeared about the Pol Pot terror in 1977-78 and the border attacks against Vietnam, that judgment might have to be qualified, even in terms of a rather restrictive interpretation of the right of self-defense under internation law.

This is slightly different than the abrupt shift in "who are the good guys" that Donald claims took place in 1979.

Indeed, PEHR II records an interesting incident that occurred in 1978 -- while Herman and Chomsky were supposedly supporters of the Khmer Rouge, according to James Donald -- Time magazine was preparing an article which eventually appeared in the July 31, 1978 issue:

One of us (Chomsky) was approached by Time in the preparation of this article in a transparent attempt to elicit a favorable comment from a "supporter of the Khmer Rouge." Instead, Time was offered a (very partial) record of fabrications with regard to Cambodia for which Time and other journals are responsible.

Oddly enough, Time made no use of this material.

Media Bias

One of Mr. Donald's key claims is that the U.S. media, far from displaying an overt bias in favor of the U.S. and against "Communist" regimes, is actually biased the other way. For example, in <5rg28b$5ea$> he said that:

allies of the US get approximately 5000 times as much publicity per murder as enemies of the US, as, of course, they should.

And in <> he claimed that:

reports of human rights violations in Chile in 1976 outweighed reports of violations in Cambodia by ten to one, and reports of human rights violations in South Korea outweighed reports of North Korea by 90 to 1.

The math here is very interesting (and in point of fact, the AIM chart shows about eight times as many stories on Chile as on Cambodia, not the ten times Donald claims). Treating this, we will leave aside the attempt to confine discussion to 1976; media coverage of Cambodia had been very extensive in 1975, after the revolution, and reached staggering proportions in 1977, after a lull in 1976. That aside, one somehow doubts that:

1) TV Guide published ten articles by Pat Buchanan claiming that Chileans had been reduced to cannibilism and decrying the lack of media coverage given to atrocities in Chile, and another ten articles on Chile's "auto-genocide" by Ernest Lefever.

2) Time magazine published ten articles alleging that Chile was committing "genocide" against its own people, complete with fabricated admissions by government officials.

3) Wall Street Week ran ten front-page horror stories on the atrocities in Chile.

4) Newsweek, the Washington Post, Time, and Paris Match all published ten sets of faked atrocity photographs allegedly taken inside Chile but actually (by admission by the photographer) staged in another country.

5) The Christian Science Monitor published ten editorials alleging that millions had been slain in Chile.

And most especially, one doubts that:

6) Reader's Digest published ten articles on human rights abuses in Chile, including numerous fabricated statements attributed to Khmer Rouge officials and others, based largely on State Department and other U.S. government handouts, which attributed 800,000 deaths caused by U.S. bombers to the supposed Chilean Communists, and which were released in expanded form as mass-marketed books complete with their long-exposed falsehoods intact.

The source for James Donald's claim is not, as it so often is, hard to find in this case. It derives from a study by the right-wing propaganda group Accuracy in Media (AIM); Donald likes to reproduce a chart from it from its reproduction by Sophal Ear in his essay on the subject.

To put it mildly, AIM has been exposed as a producer of falsehoods countless times, and there is little reason to consider any work they produce seriously. To do so, one would need both the original study and the material it was based on; however, even the chart reproduced by Sophal Ear gives enough to definitively discount it. It is quite evident from the choice of countries covered that the good scholars of AIM simply pied their results by choosing whatever they could force to fit their preconceived results. We do not see, for example, any inclusion of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which was taking place at about the same time, and with about the same number of people killed. This invasion was backed and supported by the United States, which supplied arms to the Indonesians and blocked attempts in the UN to do something about the invasion. Strangely enough, this example -- which served as a test-case for the Propaganda Model in Herman and Chomsky's Political Economy of Human Rights, because of these similarities and others -- is not included in the chart which AIM produced. It is clearly and obviously dishonest to pretend to "test" Herman and Chomsky's work by deliberately excluding the data they used and replacing it with other data in order to get the "right" result.

Now, according to James Donald,

allies of the US get approximately 5000 times as much publicity per murder as enemies of the US, as, of course, they should.

This would place the media coverage of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor at approximately 5,000 times that of the Khmer Rouge. According to Donald, then, we should be able to compare the sixteen stories on Cambodia that AIM counts from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the network news shows, with some 80,000 stories on East Timor. In fact, there was virtual silence on the matter in the mass media.

Mere Gooks

Nor is this all of the misinformation which James Donald has perpetrated on the subject. He has been very busy on UseNet promulgating such nonsense. For example, in <5jtudf$r5t$> he said:

Those who knowing made that clearly untrue denial were and are liars, apologists for mass murder, and displayed a cheerful contempt for the lives of mere gooks. Note how Chomsky ignores all evidence by Asians and treats only statements by white people as credible.

This is a serious charge: racism.

In fact, the works by Chomsky (or Herman and Chomsky) contain many quotations from Asian refugees and others. They simply do not say what Donald wants them to, and so, in Donaldthink, cannot exist. For example, on page 144 of PEHR II, they quote a Vietnamese refugee who escaped from Cambodia to Thailand in April 1976, after walking 350 miles through Cambodia in two months. When he heard stories of massacres in Cambodia, he said:

I could not believe it. Walking across the country for two months I saw no sign of killing or mass extermination and nobody I spoke to told me of it. I still don't believe it happened.

Another example is Peang Sophi (PEHR II p. 211-13), who also tells a story that Donald doesn't like: among other things, he says that shortly after the takeover, there were executions by Khmer Rouge soldiers, but that they ceased after receiving central orders to halt the slayings. These are far from the only examples that could be cited, but it suffices to show that Donald is simply wrong -- whether because of conscious lying or some other reason.

In addition, Noam Chomsky worked for a time in Southeast Asia, interviewing Laotian refugees. It seems unlikely that he would do such a thing, if he considered them "mere gooks".

It is, however, interesting to note the origin of the term "mere gooks", and this information can in fact be found in one of the works by Herman and Chomsky in question. It derives from the Vietnam War. There, offenses such as murder of Vietnamese civilians were punished so lightly that military lawyers used the term "mere Gook rule" to describe this light treatment of offenders (PEHR, I.14: The Touch of Racism in U.S. Policy Toward Indochina). In face, Herman and Chomsky go on to point out:

It is easier to ignore the destruction of "mere gooks" than non-gooks, and to become enraged over the killing of whites in Rhodesia as compared with mere Africans in Mozambique or Namibia.

James Donald:
Apologist for Mass Murder

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. (George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism")

By the logic (if one can call it that) of James Donald, anyone who questions the scale or character of atrocities is thereby an "apologist for mass murder, tyranny, and brutal inequalities of power" and even an active supporter of those atrocities. Let us see how Mr. Donald fares when submitted to his own logic.

In fact, it is very easy to find massacres and bloodbaths which Donald denies. A case in point is the bloodbath in East Timor, which Noam Chomsky and others have frequently compared to that in Cambodia. In <> Donald said:

The US has never supported the occupation and conquest of East Timor.

In fact, there has been a great deal of support for the invasion of East Timor from the United States. Here is what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was the U.S.'s Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, has to say about it in his memoirs:

The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.

He notes further that within a few weeks some 60,000 people had been killed, amounting to

10 percent of the population, almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

Donald continues:

When the US sold arms to Indonesia, these arms were sold on condition that they not be used in East Timor. There is no plausible evidence that these arms have been used in East Timor.

But when Rep. Helen S. Meyner visited East Timor on an Indonesian guided tour, she asked the Commander of the Indonesian forces whether they had used U.S. weapons in the invasion. His answer was:

Of course, these are the only weapons we have.

In fact, this was an exaggeration. Only 90% of Indonesia's weapons were made by the U.S. in that period.

Donald has further distorted the picture by claiming that the deaths in East Timor were due to famine. In reality, James Dunn (former consul to Portuguese Timor) testified at congressional hearing in 1977 that refugees consistently agreed that figures of 100,000 slain were credible. This figure was apart from deaths due to disease and the starvation brought on by Indonesian forces spraying crops with defoliants.

In fact, we find Mr. Donald denying and apologizing for mass murder even closer to the debate: he denies the genocidal attacks of the U.S. against Cambodia in the early 70s. In <5jlb8u$kf8$> he tells us:

By the way, Rummel estimates thirty five thousand for American bombing, and a couple of million for Pol Pot, (giving sources no better than those of Chomsky). However Rummel's estimates seem reasonable as the Americans did not bomb urban areas, and did not specifically target villages and the Khmer Rouge eradicated very broad social classes entirely, whereas Chomsky's alleged sources give figures radically different from those generally accepted at the time and subsequently confirmed by the post war inquests.

But here is what Ben Kiernan, in Kiernan and Boua, Peasants and Politics in Kampuchea: 1942-1981, has to say on this subject:

"aerial bombardments against the villagers have caused civilian loss on a large scale." (from a State Department paper in 1970.)

In 1973 the Pol Pot group gained the decisive -- but not necessarily irreversible -- upper hand. What were the events behind this? From February to August of that year, 257,465 tons of bombs fell on Kampuchea, 50% more than the total tonnage dropped on Japan throughout the Second World War.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, Shawcross was able to obtain a map of the U.S. bombing targets between January and August 1973; it reveals extremely intense bombardment of the heavily-populated areas of Kampuchea.

Shawcross took the map to an embassy official. He cut out, to scale, a "box" made by a B-52 bombing raid. -- "He found that virtually nowhere in central Cambodia could it be placed without 'boxing' a village."

A Cambodian refugee reports that:

Bombs fell on [his village] three to six times per day, killing over one thousand people, or nearly a third of the village population, in the three months.

Kiernan further says:

According to the map, by far the heaviest bombing was in the South-west Zone, where a huge block of densely-populated territory was carpet-bombed with amazing intensity.

The number of Kampucheans killed and wounded during the bombardment is in the hundreds of thousands. Economic destruction was immense. According to a U.S. Senate sub-committee, the war created about 3,389,000 refugees out of the Kampuchean population of seven million.

And significantly, the difficulties of 1975-76 were more a result of the destruction of Kampuchea's rural economy (primarily by American bombers) during the war, than of policies of the revolutionary government in these areas.

The Finnish Inquiry Commission estimated 600,000 killed in this period. Michael Vickery puts the figure closer to 500,000. The CIA gives the range 600-700,000 wiped out by the U.S. and Lon Nol bombers; Francois Ponchaud (a major source on the later atrocities by the Khmer Rouge) places the figure as high as 800,000.

But even this is not all. No, it turns out that Donald actually denies some of the real atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. In 1977-78, ironically enough, something similar to the Western propaganda about the era 1975-76 did take place. These are the massacres (especially a series in the eastern zone bordering Vietnam in mid-late 1978) which, according to such Cambodia scholars as Michael Vickery and Ben Kiernan, left the infamous pyramids of skulls. But let us look at what James Donald has to say on this subject.

In <>:

The pyramids of skulls primarily date from 1975.

And in <>:

The terror against the "new people", especially intellectuals etc, was primarily in 1975.

And in <5jr2c7$fll$>:

Nothing special happened in 1978.

Indeed, something special did happen in 1978, and there are mountains of bones and piles of skulls to prove it. If James Donald is not, in fact, a supporter of these atrocities, he has certainly condemned himself as a hypocrite.

L'affaire Faurisson

James Donald has repeatedly assailed Chomsky for his role in defending the free-speech rights of French Holocaust revisionist Robert Faurisson. His claims evaporate instantly when examined.

Donald has arrayed two main charges against Chomsky. The first runs as follows:

Chomsky refers to Faurisson as a respected scholar, and leads the reader to expect that Faurisson's "research" on the holocaust meets the usual standards of truthfulness and checkability that one expects of scholars.

The source Donald has given for this is as follows:

Chomsky said:
Dr. Robert Faurisson has served as a respected professor of twentieth-century French literature and document criticism for over four years at the University of Lyon-2 in France. Since 1974 he has been conducting extensive historical research into the "Holocaust" question.

This quotation, however, was not written by Chomsky at all. It is the opening passage of a petition for Faurisson's free-speech rights which was signed by hundreds of scholars, including Chomsky. Even aside from that, it obviously doesn't make the claims which Donald attempts to impute to Chomsky.

The second charge against Chomsky concerns his statement, in the 1979 essay "Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression", that he had not seen any evidence that Faurisson was an anti-semite. In UseNet postings, Donald has used these exact terms at least four or five times:

Faurisson not only claims in his writings that there was no mass murder of Jews in Nazi Germany, but also claims that Nazi germany was under grave threat from an international jewish conspiracy.

Faurisson treats the mere fact that someone is a jew or somehow associated with jews as sufficient to discredit their testimony against the Nazis.

Now if Chomsky had said: "Other people reading Faurisson might very likely interpret his works as evidence of anti semitism, but I do not" he would have been speaking truthfully.

But what he said, as usual, is very carefully phrased to grossly mislead the reader, but when interpreted legalistically by his fans, it does not actually constitute an outright lie.

The charge vanishes away upon closer examination. Donald has been repeatedly challenged to produce the alleged passages by Faurisson, which both: (1) are examples of the two anti-semitic attitudes outlined above; and (2) Chomsky even could have seen at the time he made the statement that he had not seen such evidence. Donald has never presented anything resembling such evidence, nor has he made any attempt to. When we discover his source, it is easy to guess why. Donald was relying on Werner Cohn's Partners in Hate, which is apparently the true source of most of Donald's anti-Chomsky bunk.

When Cohn makes this charge, however, unlike Donald, he attempts to back it up. Checking his references, it is easily seen that all of the Faurisson texts referred to date from 1985 or later. Now, it is obviously dishonest to claim Chomsky was lying because he said he had not seen something that would not be written until five or more years later. Nor is this the only lie which Cohn commits in his book. He claims that Chomsky had the French translation of PEHR published by La Vieille Taupe, a small press run by Fascists, neo-Nazis, and Holocaust revisionists, in order to "show solidarity" with them. In fact, the book was published by Albin-Michel, a mainstream commercial publisher.

An Interesting Exchange:
James Donald's Style of Argument

These selections from a UseNet debate amply illustrate Donald's typical debating tactics. He had said in <5jhnf6$dls$> that:

He [Chomsky] has a mass of verifiable citations to support uncontroversial claims, but amidst these well documented uncontroversial claims are crucial and controversial claims--that the Sandinista elections were free and fair,

To which I answered in <>:

First, the accuracy of Donald's claim about Chomsky's claim.

In Manufacturing Consent, the Nicaraguan election is compared to those of Guatemala and El Salvador (considered valid by the US government and perhaps by James Donald as well).

They measure the elections against five essential conditions for a free election, with the following conclusions:

1) Freedom of speech and assembly "Our conclusion is that the first basic condition of a free election was *partially* met in Nicaragua, but was not met at all in El Salvador and Guatemala." (emphasis added)

2) Freedom of the press "Our conclusion is that the condition of freedom of the press ... was clearly absent in El Salvador and Guatemala, and that it was *partially* met in Nicaragua." (emphasis added)

3) Freedom of organization of intermediate groups (unions, political clubs, student and teacher organizations, etc) "We conclude that on the third basic condition for a free election, El Salvador and Guatemala did not qualify in the years 1984-85; Nicaragua did, *at least to a significant degree*." (emphasis added)

4) Freedom to organize parties, field candidates, and campaign "We would conclude that the ability of candidates to qualify and run, and the range of options, was substantially greater in Nicaragua than in El Salvador and Guatemala."

5)Absence of state terror and climate of fear "Our conclusion is that the fifth condition for a free election was met in Nicaragua, but not in El Salvador and Guatemala. And our overall finding is that neither El Salvador nor Guatemala met _any_ of the five basic conditions of a free election, whereas Nicaragua met *some* [emphasis added] of them well, others to a lesser extent."

It can easily be seen that Chomsky has definite reservations about the Nicaraguan election.

As to sources and citations, the major references for the Nicaraguan election include: _The Electoral Process in Nicaragua: Domestic and International Influences_, Report of the LASA Delegation to Observe the Nicaraguan General Election of November 4, 1984. LASA is the Latin American Studies Association, the major group of scholars studying Central America. Another is: _The Election in Nicaragua, November 1984_, by the Irish Inter-Parliamentary Delegation. These groups are both composed of independent observers of the election. (The US was offered the chance to send observers of its own, but refused.) Other major references include publications by many international human rights groups.

These citations were not good enough for Donald, who in <5jlb8u$kf8$> answered back:

A little more specific please: How about a particular page number for a particular controversial and surprising claim?

Which I replied to in <>:

I've already given it for Cruz's *choice* to not participate (though there's much more in C&H on this). I don't know exactly what you'll find "contreversial and surprising", but I'll take some guesses:

LASA members freely spoke with citizens in Managua and elsewhere in Nicaragua, including many who argued against the current regime and did not feel at all intimidated, expressing their views on the street in front of everyone.
LASA Report, p. 27.

The opposition in Nicaragua held rallies unimpeded by the government.
LASA Report, p. 25.

The Nicaraguan election in 1984 included a broader spectrum of candidates than the U.S. election.
Michael Parenti, "Is Nicaragua More Democratic Than the United States?" _Covert Action Information Bulletin_ 26 (Summer 1986), pp. 48-52.

There were few human-rights abuses by the Sandinistas during the election, and in fact fear in Nicaragua was directed at the U.S. and the contras rather than the government.
LASA Report, p. 28.

"No major political tendency in Nicaragua was denied access to the electoral process in 1984."
LASA Report, p. 18.

The three Cruz-related parties that boycotted the opposition had no significant popular support, as shown by interviews with the citizenry.
Irish Inter-Party Parliamentary Delegation, _The Elections in Nicaragua, November 1984_, p. 7.

The voters were free to write-in candidates, including Cruz, who got no significant votes in the election (as expected).
Irish Delegation, p. 7.

There were *two* contra-associated parties running freely in the election, as Cruz himself could have done.
LASA Report, p. 18.

The few disruptions of opposition events were minor and random (and at illegally held events).
LASA Report, p. 24.

Opposition parties were not spied upon by the government.
LASA Report, p. 27.

The government placed ads in the press asking citizens to respect the rights of all parties to hold rallies.
LASA Report, p. 24.

Well, I could sit here all night copying such things, but everyone should have gotten the idea by now. C&H also carefully note the problems with the election, including restrictions on the press (although U.S. propaganda radio and TV-stations were allowed to remain on the air -- Howard S. Frederick, "Electronic Penetration," in Thomas S. Walker ed., _Reagan versus the Sandanistas_ (Boulder: Westview, 1987), pp. 123ff.). Donald's claim that they consider the election unconditionally "free and fair" is a flat lie.

To which Mr. Donald answered in <5jtudf$r5t$>:

I delete Dan Clore's arguments on Nicaragua and the rest unanswered. I am not going to get into a history debate on issues where the left is still sticking by its history revision, so I will not answer these points.

In other words, he not only changed the subject, but then refused to debate on the topic which he himself had just raised in order to avoid the issue that he himself had raised earlier!

Donald vs. Donald:
Wherein James Donald Exposes James Donald as a Liar

Oddly enough, if we want to show that James Donald is a liar, all we need to do is pay attention to his own posts on UseNet. One of them (<5kujbv$afb$>) contains this little gem, which shows just exactly how honest Mr. Donald really is:

Here is a posting of mine I pulled out of DejaNews from Thursday, Feb 13, from long before you participated in this thread.

Correction, that posting was not from DejaNews but from my own records.

Tha posting does not appear in DejaNews for some reason.

Now, you might think he'd know whether he drew the post from DejaNews or "his own records" without having to check the DejaNews archives for it, wouldn't you?

James Donald -- Caught Lying

Here is a concrete example of James Donald telling blatant, undeniable lies.

This story told by these two newsposts is, truly, priceless. Read these two posts carefully and pay attention to the details to get the full extent of James Donald's extraordinary mendacity. I give the two posts complete so that Donald cannot accuse me of taking things out of context. I'll give some comments after the posts.

Subject: Re: How Capitalism Creates Killing Fields
Date: 1997/08/21
Message-Id: <>
Newsgroups: talk.politics.libertarian, alt.society.anarchy,, talk.politics.theory, alt.politics.socialism, alt.anarchism

In article <5tf9sp$eca$>, (James A. Donald) wrote: (James A. Donald) wrote:

All of your sources are suspiciously vague.
Some of them turn out to
be completely nonexistent when examined, like your Lenin sources, wrote:

Okay, Mr. Donald, just exactly what do you mean by "nonexistent" here?

You claimed to quote Lenin referring to his system as "State Capitalism".

Which he was.

In the quote you offered, Lenin was of course correctly
referring to the statist economic institutions of the Kaiser's Germany as state capitalism

No, in another quote on the same site he referred to "Germany's state capitalism", referring to such government monopolies as the postal service. (This, to be fair, was not clear in the quote given there. I don't have a source demonstrating the reference handy so I passed that one by.)

Since you always interpret Chomsky as saying something radically different
than what he plainly said, I assume you must have bizarre meaning in mind
for this word. When you first made the claim that my Lenin quotes were
"bogus", I checked the URL of the article I had copy-and-posted them from,
in case I'd given the wrong one. -- Nope, there they were.

Blatant barefaced lie, as with so many of your posts, and in this case
a lie that anyone can easily check without having to skim through six
cubic feet of the Far Eastern Economic Review:

Sheeze, you poor fucking little baby, you have to skim through six cubic feet of FEER to find a reference you could have found in 30 seconds if you knew how to use an index. Then you have the nerve to whine about all the trouble it took you to find out Herman and Chomsky were telling the truth (which you can't even admit, probably not even to yourself).

The URL you posted was:

I invite any reader who wonders which of us is telling the truth, the
one who supports and defend brutal tyranny, savage inequality of
power, and mass murder, or the one who opposes these things, to look
at that article and see who is telling the truth.

1) This is pretty interesting rhetoric from someone who has been caught *stealing* from Herman and Chomsky, and denying and apologizing for the mass murders of hundreds of thousands or even millions by the US government and its allies such as Indonesia ("the evil socialists *made* them do it!"), is it not?

2) Are you saying that the quotes I gave *are not* on that site? I certainly invite everyone to go to the site and do string searches for "state capitalism" and "state-capitalist" to see whether or not these following quotations appear on the site:

This article is a further attempt to return to this social history to help develop a revolutionary politics that can break from the tragedies of 20th century socialism. It will show that Bolshevik policies were problematic from the start. In 1917 Lenin argued that, as private capitalism could not develop Russia, a revolutionary state would have to use 'state capitalism' to build the prerequisites for the transition to communism. This approach was always likely to come into conflict with he working class. Then, as the revolution failed to spread outside ussia, the Bolsheviks imposed even more external discipline on workers, effectively abandoning Marx's insistence on "the self-emancipation of the working class".


Once in power the overriding concern of the Bolshevik leadership was the revival of industry to overcome a largely feudal crisis-ridden society. To this end they proposed to nationalise the largest monopolies, initially leaving the rest of industry under capitalist ownership combined with both government and workers' control. This was consistent with Lenin's arguments before October that "socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly _which is made to serve the interests of the whole people_ and has to that extent _ceased_ to be capitalist monopoly."


Neither of these refers to Germany; they both refer to Lenin's plans in 1917 for the Soviet Union. One assumes that he carried those plans out when he took control.

Apparently I was right: Donald was using a bizarre re-definition of "non-existent" -- to him it seems to mean "existent, but able to be twisted into a desperate attempt at another meaning by someone who needs to take his thorazine".

These threads had been ridiculous by any standard; but Donald's recent full-scale shift to Dadaistic Absurdism is almost unbelievable.


for more on James Donald's Surrealist assault on reality.

[my sigfile omitted]

Subject: Re: How Capitalism Creates Killing Fields
From: (James A. Donald)
Date: 1997/08/21
Message-Id: >5ti5rh$87k$<
Newsgroups: talk.politics.libertarian, alt.society.anarchy,, talk.politics.theory, alt.politics.socialism, alt.anarchism

James A. Donald:

All of your sources are suspiciously vague.
Some of them turn out to
be completely nonexistent when examined, like your Lenin sources, wrote:

Okay, Mr. Donald, just exactly what do you mean by "nonexistent" here?

James A. Donald

You claimed to quote Lenin referring to his system as "State Capitalism". wrote:

Which he was.

Liar: Why do you keep deleting the URL which you earlier claimed contained a quote from Lenin referring to his system as "state capitalism"

The URL that Clore keeps evasively deleting, in order to avoid people checking his sources, is:

In the quote you offered, Lenin was of course correctly
referring to the statist economic institutions of the Kaiser's Germany
as state capitalism

No, in another quote on the same site he referred to "Germany's state capitalism"

You earlier claimed the alleged citation was in the above URL, in fact you have made this claim several times.

If it is somewhere on the site, it is not in the URL you gave, as can easily be proven by anyone simply loading the URL into their browser, and doing a search for "state capitalism"

The URL contains two references to state capitalism: One by the author, and one where Lenin admiringly describes the Kaiser's Germany as practicing state capitalism, as indeed it was.

So if there is an actual quote by Lenin referring to his system as "state capitalism" (other than the NEP, which indeed was state capitalism and a major temporary retreat from socialism) give us this quote instead of page after page of ad hominem attacks claiming I am not worth of receiving an actual quote with source and date and page number.

You are a habitual liar, and the reason you never give actual source and date and page number for your citations is because whenever anyone finds one of these citations, it is always subtly different from what you claimed it to be.

[James Donald's sigfile omitted]

1) Note that Donald asks me why I "keep deleting the URL which you earlier claimed contained a quote from Lenin referring to his system as "state capitalism" and says that I keep "evasively deleting [the URL], in order to avoid people checking [my] sources".

As everyone can plainly see from the reproduction above of the article that Donald was replying to, I not only did not snip the URL, I invited every reader to check it to see if the quotes given were there or not. It was in fact James A. Donald who snipped it, and then claimed that I did it! In fact, a quick check on DejaNews shows that I never have deleted that URL in the entire thread (and I was the one who introduced it).

The fact that Donald snipped this URL himself (from my post) and then accused me of having done so proves that he is nothing but a blatant, barefaced liar. There just isn't any other way for this to come about.

I really can't imagine who Donald thinks might be fooled by this tactic. Perhaps he is a masochist who enjoys being exposed as a liar and being shit on for his outrageous lies. If so, we should certainly oblige the poor man (to each according to his needs and all).

2) On that URL, everyone can easily find the two quotes from it which I gave (search strings "state capitalism" and "state-capitalist", as I said). The first quotes Lenin in 1917, describing his proposed system as "state capitalism" (the quotation marks, for anyone who -- like James Donald -- doesn't know it, mean that it is Lenin's term, not the author's). The second quotes Lenin in 1917 using the term "state-capitalist monopoly", -- Donald apparently doesn't recognize "state-capitalist" as the adjectival form of "state capitalism". Neither of them refers to Germany at all. In a third quote, Lenin in 1918 referred to such German state monopolies as the postal service as "Germany's state capitalism" -- it is not a reference to the economic system as a whole.

3) James Donald started this argument with the claim that Lenin was referring to the NEP when he coined the term "state capitalism" years before he conceived the NEP. He still hasn't given us a single reference to indicate that Lenin ever referred to the NEP as "state capitalism" at all, at all. And I bet he never will.

(And, he still hasn't.)

4) James Donald whines and bitches about my not giving him sources precisely enough. I stopped doing this early in my arguments with him because he simply snipped them and then said that they didn't exist (and this was for references he could easily have found himself). He obviously doesn't really want them. For his part, it is almost impossible to get any source at all from Donald. It usually takes several requests, and on the rare occasions when he gives you anything at all to support his outlandish claims, it turns out that they either say nothing like what he claims they do (Ben Kiernan) or are just right-wing propaganda machines well-known for their inaccuracy (AIM). Ho hum.

5) Donald moans and groans that I make ad hominem attacks against him. This is of course true: exposing someone as a liar is an ad hominem attack, and so is satirizing someone's delusions (as Mencken said, a good belly laugh is worth a thousand syllogisms). Since Donald wanted to make the thread nothing but an excuse to bludgeon Chomsky with a blunt instrument, I haven't eschewed turning it right around and beating Donald to death with his own bullshit.

Noam Chomsky:
The Lying Liar Who Always Lies

by Dan Clore

A New James Donald -- Chomsky-Rant Parody

(Apologies to Eric Hughes whose own parody of Donald's Chomsky-rants inspired this one.)

I have written this about that lying liar Noam Chomsky to show that nothing Chomsky, that lying apologist for tyranny, mass murder, and brutal inequality of power says can be believed, because that lying liar is always lying, and to illustrate his methods of deceiving his readers.

When that lying liar Chomsky lies, he does not say plainly in so many words "X is true", instead he uses convoluted, indirect, and lawyer-like sentences that lead the reader to believe that X is true, and that Chomsky has presented a well documented case that X is true, whereas in fact that lying liar Chomsky, that lying apologist for tyranny, brutal inequality of power, and mass murder _has not actually said X at all_. That lying apologist for totalitarianism phrases things in such a way as to give the reader a false impression without actually stating the lie in so many words, so whenever one of his lies is exposed, that lying liar Chomsky's lying fans lie "Ah, but Chomsky did not actually say X". Even though any true-believing anarcho-capitalist who -- like me -- defends property rights by stealing from Herman and Chomsky, reading the work in dispute would get the impression, after just a few hours of mental squinting and having refused to take my thorazine for a couple weeks, that that lying liar Chomsky had somehow or other _meant_ to lie and say X even though he _didn't_ say X. And that lying liar Chomsky probably just does this to make me look like a fool or a lunatic when I post that he's lying by saying X, and his fans can then lie that he never said X and when I look again, I see that he _didn't_ actually say X but not-X. That lying bastard. Whether he said X or didn't say X, he damn well _meant_ X and was lying when he meant X whether he said X or not-X. That lying liar is always lying and he always lies.

For example, that lying liar Chomsky did not actually say:

Pol Pot was a real nice guy who never did anything but pat peasants on the back and help old ladies cross the streets in Phnom Penh while they dodged evil American capitalist imperialist racist bombs on their way to a picnic in the countryside where there was plenty of rice for everyone and no one ever had to work.

Instead that lying liar lied:

Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.

Every single word in this sentence is a lie, spoken by that lying liar Noam Chomsky, who can never be believed because everything he says is a lie, and he is always lying. Even the very first word is a lie:


That lying liar Chomsky here wants to deceive the reader, and so he lies using the baldfaced lie that the brutal extremes of power he advocates are mild and moderate, when in fact they involve tyranny, totalitarianism, and mass murder on an enormous scale. And that lying liar does this because he's a lying liar and always lies. Everything he says is a baldfaced, barefaced, boldfaced, blatant lie. Even when he's telling the truth. That liar.


Another lie. Green is the opposite of _red_, and Chomsky is here lying by using Newspeak and calling the Khmer Rouge -- the _red_ Khmers -- the opposite of the evil Radical Leftist Socialist Maoist Marxist Leninist Stalinist Communist Commies that they are. Instead of their brutal torture and death camps and killing fields and pyramids of skulls (which date from 1975, not from 1978, that is another Chomsky lie!), he lies, leading the reader to believe that they sat around smoking nice _green_ ganja like hippies at a love-in, laying back and grooving to Hendrix and making the peace sign. Nothing the lying scumbag says can be believed because he is a lying liar and is always lying.


This is also a lie. Chomsky is using Newspeak again: the opposite of ideas are things, and the opposite of things are people. Chomsky lies that he is not talking about those evil Communist Commies, but just about airy intellectual abstractions too hard for us uneducated slobs who get our information from Rush Limbaugh to understand. That lying bastard. I hate him more than I hate my third-grade teacher for giving me homework I couldn't figure out.


Yet another lie. Sleep is peaceful. The opposite of peace is war and violence. That is what Chomsky is _really_ talking about: the massive massacres made to make us ex-Maoists look moronic for having supported Pol Pot back before our conversion experiences made us worship markets and money. And that lying liar went the whole time without ever actually saying anything nice about Pol Pot, but instead by lying and telling lies by not lying but not telling the truth either but not really not telling the truth either. The lying scumbag. Nothing he says can be believed, whether it's true or not. It's all lies. Lies, I tell you, lies. He is lying.


More lies and nothing but lies and baldfaced lies and blatant, barefaced lies. Now Chomsky implicitly admits that the mass murdering mass murderers he supports commit mass murder, but he lies baldfaced with Newspeak to say that they do it out of anger and rage and excited emotions and because of provocation. Of course, they don't do it in a rage at all: they do it out of sheer cold-blooded evil, because they are evil, evil, evil Communist Commies who cold-bloodedly massacre and mass murder massive numbers in their massive massacres and mass murders. And no one ever provoked the evil Communist Commies, that is another blatant, barefaced, baldfaced lie told by that lying liar Chomsky who lies baldfaced even when he's telling the truth. Even when Capitalists kill Commies it's always the Commies' own fault for being Commies, those lying baldfaced Communist Commie liars always _make_ the Capitalists do it just so they can blame them for it, those baldfaced lying liars and apologists for tyranny, mass murder, and brutal inequality of power.

Nothing Chomsky says can be believed.


I have the right to misrepresent Chomsky's work and then bash him and call him a liar based on my grotesque caricature of what he says, because of the kind of moronic and mendacious lunatic that I am. True newsposts derive from this right to lie, not from long books filled with complicated arguments I can't understand and copious citations I can't figure out.
James A. donald

UseNet Post
From Milan Rai's Chomsky's Politics

This is a post that I've made a number of times when Donald has once again raised his ridiculous attacks on Chomsky.

Considering James Donald's recent attacks on Noam Chomsky, a few quotations from Milan Rai, _Chomsky's Politics_ (Verso 1995) seem in order. They show that Donald's claims are not only false, but that they have been made so many times that they are actually stereotypical. Specifically, the claim that Chomsky "denies" that the Khmer Rouge committed atrocities.

(The following is from a discussion of Chomsky's propaganda model of the mass media.)

Just as one can compare media responses to individual victims, one can compare media behavior in the case of large-scale atrocities. According to the Propaganda Model, the mass media should treat atrocities differently according to how useful they are in propaganda terms.

The most famous nefarious bloodbath of the postwar era took place in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, between 1975 and 1978. It was met with a flow of outraged condemnation in the Western media in what Chomsky describes as 'a barrage with few historical parallels, apart from wartime propaganda'. [endnote omitted] In December 1975, not that far away, Indonesia invaded East Timor, a neighboring country formally in the process of decolonization from Portugal, but which had declared its independence shortly before the invasion. It soon became clear that the Indonesian occupation was exacting a fearful toll on the East Timorese people. The reaction to the Indonesian massacres in the Western media was almost total silence. The contrast in media responses to these two bloodbaths was one of the central cases in _PEHR_ [Political Economy of Human Rights] and remains one of the most important tests of the Propaganda Model. Chomsky and Herman commented,

In the case of Cambodia reported atrocities have not only been eagerly seized upon by the Western media but also embellished by substantial fabrications -- which, interestingly, persist even long after they are exposed. The case of Timor is radically different. The media have shown no interest in examining the atrocities of the Indonesian invaders, though even in absolute numbers these are on the same scale as those reported by sources of comparable credibility concerning Cambodia, and relative to the population, are many times as great. [endnote omitted] [Note that Donald has repeatedly claimed that Chomsky has never compared Cambodia and East Timor, let alone compared them on the scale of their atrocities! -- DC]

It is important to bear in mind that the focus in _PEHR_ is on assessing the performance of the media -- its handling of the evidence available at the time. The focus is not on judging the situation in Cambodia itself.

If Western propagandists had later proved to be accidentally correct in their estimates of Khmer Rouge killings, this would not mean that they had been honest. Chomsky once illustrated this point by noting that if he were to claim that Harvard's Widener library was burning -- without any evidence to this effect -- he would not have been proved 'honest' in retrospect if by some accident the library had indeed been in flames at the time of his remark. [endnote omitted] Accidental accuracy based on conscious lying is not the same as honesty. [Note that James Donald has no clue as to the distinction made here. -- He has even claimed that the pyramids of skulls, which Chomsky and Herman describe as "horrifying", and which date from 1978, prove that C was lying in 1977, when C&H wrote about (media coverage of) the Khmer Rouge's takeover in 1975. --DC]

Despite Chomsky and Herman's repeated statements that they were not disputing the available evidence, only the way in which it was being handled, they were harshly attacked for allegedly doubting the facts of the Khmer Rouge massacres. [endnote: To be strictly accurate, Chomsky alone was criticized for his alleged doubts. In the storm of denunciation that followed their writings on Cambodia, Herman was strangely exempt from criticism. His co-authorship of the works in question was ignored by most critics. This tends to suggest that the main motive for the criticism was the desire to attack Chomsky for other reasons.] [Note that James Donald has also ignored Herman's co-authorship. That he has displayed no knowledge of Chomsky's work other than one twenty-year-old book review, of which Chomsky was not even sole author, and yet continues to make wide-ranging claims about Chomsky I believe also demonstrates that Donald has some other motive to attack Chomsky. -- DC] [Examples of attacking articles omitted.] These and many other attacks were devoted to condemning precisely two pieces of writing by Chomsky and Herman: a review article in the _Nation_ [note: this is the only piece of C's work Donald shows any evidence of having read. Since he continually cites it, you can read it at: Donald frequently quotes from it out of context. For example, he has given a passage where C&H quote someone else, and claimed that C didn't give a reference for the citation, when in fact Donald had simply omitted the reference. Such is Donald's level of honesty in attempting to debate this issue. -- DC], and a single chapter in _After the Cataclysm_ [vol. 2 of _PEHR_].

There was a high level of dishonesty in the attacks on Chomsky. Critics charged that Chomsky 'disbelieved' refugees' reports of atrocities in Cambodia [a favorite charge of Donald's, like most of his charges, repeated ad nauseam. -- DC], despite the fact that in both their essays on the subject Chomsky and Herman stated that Cambodian refugee reports should be 'considered seriously'. [endnote omitted] As, they noted, should the reports of East Timorese refugees. The point of lying about Chomsky's attitude towards Cambodian refugees is that this was a necessary component of the bigger lie that he denied the scale of the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia.

There are various formulations of this allegation. Labedz claimed that in his 1977 _Nation_ article (Herman having disappeared [as he does in Donald's accounts. -- DC]), Chomsky concluded that,

The Cambodian 'executions have numbered at most in thousands.' [sic] He presented his conclusion as based on 'analysis by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of available evidence', dismissing such first-hand studies as the book by Father Francois Ponchaud.

The phrase 'numbered at most in the thousands' appears in the following sentence in the original:

such journals as the _Far Eastern Economic Review_, the London _Economist_, the _Melbourne Journal of Politics_, and others elsewhere, have provided analyses by highly qualified specialists who have studied the full range of evidence available, and who have concluded that executions have numbered at most in the thousands....

Chomsky was not presenting *his* conclusion 'as based on analysis by highly qualified specialists'; he was presenting the conclusions of the specialists themselves, without comment. [Note that Donald consistently presents such statements, where C&H give *someone else's* conclusion, as C's own conclusion. In addition, Donald gives these statements, presenting conclusions on the number who were *executed* in the *first months* after the Khmer Rouge takeover, as if they were estimates of the *total killed by all causes* (i.e. including famine, disease, etc) under the *entire reign* (1975-78) of Pol Pot. The extent of Donald's distortions concerning these statements is staggering. -- DC]

We have taken something of a detour from our discussion of the Propaganda Model. This is only to be expected, if the Propaganda Model is an accurate depiction of reality. Those who challenge the 'Right to Lie', as Chomsky describes it, can expect to be met with vilification and distortion. [As Donald treats C and his defenders. He claims that they are Stalinists, compares them to Holocaust Revisionists, claims they are racists, vomits crap about what's PC and what isn't -- as if we'd care, etc etc etc. -- DC] Such vilification campaigns succeed by making the accusation against the critics the topic of debate. [As we must tell Donald over and over and over again that we do not support Stalinist regimes, nor -- unlike him -- have we ever. C and myself, at least, are anarchists, and hence if we have any bias in dealing with such tyrants as Pol Pot, it should be in the other direction than the one Donald has repeatedly claimed. -- DC] By forcing critics into an endless defence of their position, the propaganda system distracts attention from the substantive issues. [Note the importance of the last sentence. -- DC]

[In the next paragraph, Rai describes how Ponchaud's book generated a review by Jean Lacouture, in which Lacouture, misreading Ponchaud, cited him as giving the number of killings as two million. Chomsky, having read Ponchaud, pointed out the mistake, and Lacouture issued a correction, stating that the figure given was in "the thousands" instead. As Rai says: "What is interesting is that the two million figure passed into official history, despite Lacouture's correction." -- This is precisely the line repeated by James Donald. That Donald can believe that the initial slayings numbered in the millions or even the tens of millions (he has said repeatedly that C's estimates -- not really C's, but let that pass here -- are off by an order of a hundred or a thousand), but the total over the whole reign was just three million (which even Donald admits is the same as the total number of deaths in the period -- one in which the State Department predicted a million deaths a year from starvation due to US bombing having destroyed their crops and croplands and killed 75% of the farm animals), reveals another problem with his claims.]

For the record, what C&H consider the "most careful attempt to sort out the confused facts to date" gives estimates of 750,000 for "deaths in excess of normal and due to the specific conditions of DK [Khmer Rouge]", with perhaps 200-300,000 outright executions. Since Donald claims that C underestimates the extent of the massacres by an order of a thousand, we arrive at the remarkable conclusion that Donald believes the Khmer Rouge killed 750,000,000 people. Quite an accomplishment, that! For the rest of us, the real figures are more than sufficient (far more) to condemn the Khmer Rouge as the mass murderers and pigs that they were.

There has been enough in the recent threads on this topic to create another segment for "James Donald's Reign of Error" (see: for anyone inclined to retrieve the posts in the DejaNews archives.

(There doesn't seem much point in that now, but Donald is so full of it that it could still easily be done with the leftovers.)

Relevant Links

On the Chomsky-Cambodia Controversy

"Distortions at Fourth Hand." Herman and Chomsky's original book review.

"Chomsky lies." James Donald's attack on Chomsky, including Herman and Chomsky's stolen book review.

"The Intellectual as Commissar." From Chapter 5 of A Life of Dissent.

Hughes on Donald on Chomsky. A parody of James Donald's rants.

"Evil Scholars???." Another UseNet debate on the subject.

"Chomsky and the Fake Age Photo." An Australian newspaper went so far a to fake a photograph in order to indict Chomsky on these charges.

"The Chorus and Cassandra." Christopher Hitchens deals with the controversy.

"The Khmer Rouge Canon: The Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia." An attempt by Sophal Ear to indict Chomsky and others; much more scholarly in appearance than Donald's attempt, but it ultimately relies upon the same misrepresentations and distortions.

"Pol Pot and Kissinger: On War Criminality and Impunity." Recent article by Edward Herman that takes up the controversy, among other things.

"The Cambodia Controversy." Recent article by Michael Albert on the issue.

Noam Chomsky Resources

Noam Chomsky's Home Page. Not much here but his snail-mail address (no e-mail address is given).

The Noam Chomsky Archive. Very large selection of texts.

The Necessary Illusions Page. Good selection of texts.

A Life of Dissent. Full-length biography on-line.

Noam Chomsky References. Further sources.

James Donald Resources

James's Liberty File Collection Index. A few things on Donald's page -- such as texts by Lysander Spooner -- actually do deserve to be available, even though they are not of any very great value and crammed between various idiocies.

"Confessions of an ex commie." Donald's hilarious entry in the "god that failed" genre.

James Donald's Reign of Error. This isn't the only thing Donald is wrong about....

Cambodia and Khmer Rouge Resources

The Cambodian Genocide Page.

Killing Field.

The Cambodian Genocide Controvery File. Compiled by Serge Thion.

"US Involved in Cambodian Death." Article by Joel Gwynn.

For what it's worth, here is a chart giving the various estimates of Cambodia scholars for Khmer Rouge-related deaths.


Estimated violent deaths (executions, mass slayings, etc).

Estimated total deaths above and beyond normal mortality (including starvation, overwork, disease, etc.).

CIA demographic study



Carlyle Thayer



Finnish Inquiry Commission



Michaelf Vickery



Meng-Try Ea



Ben Kiernan



David Chandler



As can easily be seen from this chart, estimates of deaths vary widely. The great discrepancy in figures for total deaths results largely from the (lack of) efforts made to separate Khmer Rouge-caused deaths from the total, which most scholars give as around 1,200,000 for the period. Several of the scholars simply give their estimate of the total deaths for the period as their figure for Khmer Rouge-caused deaths. This is obviously dishonest -- surely some people would have died during the three-year period, even absent the Khmer Rouge.

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