Monday, December 21, 2015

Debunking Neo-McCarthyite Propaganda

A Response to Jamie Palmer's Article on Glenn Greenwald

Consistent readers of my blog (if I have any) may have gathered that I have a certain admiration for Glenn Greenwald. While I appreciate his well-known role in publishing stories based on the documents Edward Snowden leaked to him, I had already discovered him before that and found his work impressive. More recently, I've appreciated his polemics against the New Atheist movement. Both of us seem to have gotten much out of Noam Chomsky's ideas, so the fact that I find myself so often in agreement with him is hardly surprising; however, my agreement aside, I think he's both a skilled journalist and a brave one for what he's been willing to do.

Because of the enemies he's made, I've gotten used to seeing hit pieces against Greenwald, as I'm sure he himself also has. It would not be worth my time to write rebuttals to all of them, and he is, of course, perfectly capable of defending himself. On a personal level, in fact, I'm a little reluctant to take on the task of writing a response to criticisms of someone who is very much alive and capable of taking care of themselves. It feels a little too sycophantic. But there are, of course, hit pieces that contain ideas so awful and dangerous that for that reason they deserve a rebuttal, and I've run across one. This article is by a writer named Jamie Palmer, and is entitled "Glenn Greenwald: Fascism's Fellow Traveler," which should set off anyone's bullshit dials right away, if they know Greenwald's history of civil libertarianism and defense of individual rights. But let's not linger on the title.

Predictably, it's been promoted by the same old clowns in the "Anti-PC" circus: Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, Cathy Young, et al. So let's look at the material these brave defenders of truth and freedom have given their stamp of approval to.

We begin:
“When Glenn Greenwald castigates the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for racism,” the writer Sam Harris observed recently, “he’s not only proving that he’s a moral imbecile; he’s participating in a global war of ideas over free speech – and he’s on the wrong side of it.”
Ah, yes, Harris, whose ridiculousness I've already addressed in detail. Here we have him promoting the totally idiotic idea that somehow, in the face of an uncritical deification of the slain journalists of Charlie Hebdo, criticizing their material somehow makes you anti-free speech. This point has been addressed extensively, so I'll be brief: as long as you support the right of all people to speak and be heard, you are not against free speech. We can debate whether the CH cartoons are offensive or racist, but saying they are does not make you anti-free speech, as Harris implies. Otherwise, criticizing any view ever is anti-free speech, which is patently absurd. The fact that Charlie's journalists were killed does not, and should not, grant their cartoons and writing freedom from criticism.

Palmer then tells us how writer Deborah Eisenberg argued that Greenwald was more deserving of the PEN Freedom of Expression Award for Courage than Charlie Hebdo, and how she had argued that Greenwald's "courage has been fastidiously exercised for the good of humanity," given his role in revealing the NSA programs. Palmer also notes Greenwald's history as an outspoken supporter of free speech and opponent of censorship, quoting from his writing:
The history of human knowledge is nothing more than the realization that yesterday’s pieties are actually shameful errors. It is constantly the case that human beings of the prior generation enshrined a belief as objectively, unchallengably [sic] true which the current generation came to see as wildly irrational or worse. All of the most cherished human dogmas – deemed so true and undeniable that dissent should be barred by the force of law – have been subsequently debunked, or at least discredited. How do you get yourself to believe that you’re exempt from this evolutionary process, that you reside so far above it that your ideas are entitled to be shielded from contradiction upon pain of imprisonment? The amount of self-regard required for that is staggering to me.
From this, Palmer concludes that "it would seem logical to suppose that Greenwald’s solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo could be taken for granted. The magazine has, after all, dedicated itself to mocking religious and political pieties, and its attackers, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, were surely guilty of the self-regard for which Greenwald expresses such vehement contempt."

This is, of course, a total whitewash of what Charlie Hebdo has actually done, which has involved far more vulgarity and insensitivity than Palmer lets on, as I've previously examined. I will again direct my readers to a letter written by Olivier Cyran, a former Charlie Hebdo journalist, castigating the staff there for their depiction of Muslims.
Instead, as Sam Harris noted, the blood had scarcely dried on the walls of Charlie Hebdo‘s offices before Greenwald published a furious article at the Intercept, reviling the magazine for its alleged racism and pouring scorn on its defenders. That his misreading of Charlie Hebdo demonstrated a profound ignorance of their material and a dismal inability to parse satire ought to have been beside the point. After all, as Greenwald was at pains to remind his readers, he has spent much of his life defending the freedom of people to express views he abhors.
The first part of this is not really accurate, as one will quickly see by reading the article Greenwald wrote. The article was in response to the calls for Charlie's cartoons to be shared and republished "in solidarity" with the journalists who were killed, and the insinuation that refusal to do so indicates a lack of support for free speech. To quote from the article:
But this week’s defense of free speech rights was so spirited that it gave rise to a brand new principle: to defend free speech, one not only defends the right to disseminate the speech, but embraces the content of the speech itself. Numerous writers thus demanded: to show “solidarity” with the murdered cartoonists, one should not merely condemn the attacks and defend the right of the cartoonists to publish, but should publish and even celebrate those cartoons.
While, of course, criticizing Charlie Hebdo is inevitable in this case, that is only because of the undeserved and quasi-religious embrace of its journalists as martyrs and the celebration of the magazine as some kind of beacon for the highest forms of free expression. As for the idea that Greenwald was "misreading" Charlie Hebdo, I guess we also have to conclude that so was Cyran, despite the fact that he used to work at the magazine.
But while he was careful to include a perfunctory, throat-clearing defence of Charlie Hebdo’s narrow right to ridicule Islam, Greenwald’s more pressing concern was the denigration of people murdered for publishing cartoons offensive to their assassins. More telling still was the corresponding absence of any criticism of Al Qaeda’s pitiless death squad. Beliefs held to be unchallengeable by Islamic fundamentalists (but wildly irrational by the rest of us) were, it seems, to be exempted from the evolutionary process after all. This is all because Greenwald’s commitment to free speech is subject to a couple of slippery caveats, which make it rather more porous than he likes to pretend.
In this one paragraph, we get bombarded with a substantial amount of idiocy. First, the idea that "Greenwald’s more pressing concern was the denigration of people murdered for publishing cartoons offensive to their assassins." Again, criticism wouldn't have been necessary except for the numerous people elevating the victims to the level of secular saints. Whether or not they have just died, it is important to keep someone from earning a level of worship they plainly don't deserve. And, of course, the cartoons were offensive to far more people than just the assassins, as has been established.

Next, the comment that "More telling still was the corresponding absence of any criticism of Al Qaeda’s pitiless death squad." It was practically universally agreed that the killings were heinously wrong, so such a criticism would have been pointless and unnecessary, especially given that the article was addressing the response to the attacks, not the attacks themselves. This would be obvious to any intelligent person with a shred of intellectual honesty.

Instead, Palmer concludes that "Beliefs held to be unchallengeable by Islamic fundamentalists (but wildly irrational by the rest of us) were, it seems, to be exempted from the evolutionary process after all." This is entirely wrong, and obviously so. Greenwald did not defend the attack, in fact labeling it "horrific" in the article Palmer links to. Nor would he defend censorship of the magazine, as Palmer later acknowledges. His criticism of Charlie Hebdo, in fact, has nothing to do with their attacks on the beliefs of Islamic fundamentalists, but rather focuses on their insensitivity and deliberate offensiveness toward Muslims as a group.

After his statement that "Greenwald’s commitment to free speech is subject to a couple of slippery caveats, which make it rather more porous than he likes to pretend," Palmer goes on to give us the first of these supposed caveats.
He had hinted at Caveat One with a couple of lawyerly qualifications buried in the paean to counter-orthodoxy quoted above. Dissent, he had argued, should not be barred “by the force of law” nor ideas shielded “on pain of imprisonment.” In other words, as far as Greenwald is concerned, the only meaningful kind of censorship – and the only kind worth opposing – is that mandated by the state, thereby excluding the kind imposed by terror and carried out by non-state actors like the Kouachis.
Palmer seems to seriously think that Greenwald has no problem with murdering people based on what they write, draw, or say, which is flabbergasting in its absurdity. Again, we need only refer to the article Palmer linked to, where Greenwald labels the Charlie Hebdo attacks "horrific." Is that not strong enough condemnation for Palmer? While Greenwald certainly focuses more on state censorship, that is, of course, because when random individuals commit acts of violence against people who say things they don't like, that is consistently almost universally condemned, at least in the West. On the other hand, state censorship enjoys much more support.
In  2013, Greenwald had argued that the whole idea of hate speech is simply a culturally- and historically-specific instrument for preserving the status quo. By 2015 – apparently unaware that he sounded exactly like those he had previously taken such pleasure in attacking – he was complaining that “some of Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons were not just offensive but bigoted.”
Obviously, opposing the banning of "hate speech" does not mean you must criticize literally nothing for being bigoted or offensive. If Palmer disagrees with Greenwald's assessment of Charlie Hebdo, fine, but that has nothing to do with free speech, and it is extreme dishonesty to claim otherwise.

After noting correctly that Greenwald would have defended Charlie Hebdo from prosecution by the French government, Palmer asks:
Why then does Greenwald’s stomach also not churn for the victims of state censorship in, say, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, or the Palestinian territories? Journalists in such states enjoy none of the rights and protections afforded by liberal democracies, and yet, on the subject of state repression in unfree societies, Greenwald is conspicuously silent.
I'll allow Greenwald to respond to the charge of being "conspicuously silent" on these issues, which can be understood by reading a paragraph from his satirical attack on Sam Charles Hamad for failing to mention a slew of human rights abuses in countries across the world:
Or could it be that — as a single individual with finite time and energy — he’s capable of focusing only on a relatively small handful of injustices at once, and chooses the ones where he thinks he can have the greatest impact, thus necessarily paying little to no attention to other grave injustices where he thinks he can have little or no effect? Or might it be that he perceives that some injustices receive a great deal of attention in the West (e.g., the Evils of Russia, China and Iran) but that other injustices receive far less attention (those perpetrated by the West and its allies) and thus chooses — as a corrective of sorts — to devote himself to trying to shine much-needed light on the ones that are typically overlooked or ignored entirely?
This tiresome argument that being selective in which human rights abuses you focus on indicates approval or apathy toward the others you fail to focus on continues to be used as a talking point long after it has been debunked. One has to judge what they will add to the conversation: contributing to the many, many condemnations of "Russia, Venezuela, Iran, or the Palestinian territories" is not an especially useful activity, as 1. the condemnations abound, and 2. there's relatively little we can do about what's going on in those countries. Criticizing western liberal democracies--where the population does at least have some impact on government policy, and where someone like Greenwald has the highest chance of being read--is, given the taboos on doing so and the relative lack of condemnations of the governments of such places, much more useful.

Predictably, Palmer has other, far stupider explanations for this mundane phenomenon.
This brings us to Caveat Two, which is that Greenwald’s governing principle is not the absolute defence of free expression, but an absolute opposition to democratic governments, which he presumes to be motivated by authoritarianism, mendacity, and self-serving hypocrisy in every instance. For Greenwald, Western power and Zionism are the only enemies worthy of his critical attention; forces of unparalleled cynicism and cruelty against which all resistance, no matter how vicious and sadistic, must be indulgently understood.
While Western power and Zionism are not necessarily "the only enemies worthy of his critical attention" (nor are they the only targets of his criticism), we have already established why they should be among the primary targets. There is, of course, no evidence that Greenwald thinks we must be indulgent to all those who oppose these powers, and Palmer tellingly cites no examples.
By the same token, Greenwald may be wholly ignorant of Mali’s history and politics, but once the French government announced military intervention there to halt jihadist violence, his position on the matter was as entirely predictable as it was entirely uninformed.
I have never found any reason to suspect that Greenwald is remotely interested in understanding the complex considerations that inform Western foreign policy decisions. Nor have I found any reason to suspect that he is interested in investigating or understanding Islamist ideology. He finds it more convenient to prejudge the former as invariably malevolent, and the latter as invariably reactive.
Palmer refrains from even explaining why Greenwald's position on France's intervention in Mali was predictable or uninformed, instead linking to another piece by another writer attacking Greenwald. Greenwald's piece seems to indicate otherwise:
First, as the New York Times' background account from this morning makes clear, much of the instability in Mali is the direct result of Nato's intervention in Libya. Specifically, "heavily armed, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya" and "the big weaponry coming out of Libya and the different, more Islamic fighters who came back" played the precipitating role in the collapse of the US-supported central government.
Second, the overthrow of the Malian government was enabled by US-trained-and-armed soldiers who defected. From the NYT: "commanders of this nation's elite army units, the fruit of years of careful American training, defected when they were needed most — taking troops, guns, trucks and their newfound skills to the enemy in the heat of battle, according to senior Malian military officials." And then: "an American-trained officer overthrew Mali's elected government, setting the stage for more than half of the country to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists."
This sounds a little different than someone who is "wholly ignorant of Mali's history and politics," as Palmer alleges. As for Palmer's comment that "I have never found any reason to suspect that Greenwald is remotely interested in understanding the complex considerations that inform Western foreign policy decisions. Nor have I found any reason to suspect that he is interested in investigating or understanding Islamist ideology," we should not be surprised that he has not found Greenwald to be "remotely interested" in understanding such issues, as he is apparently capable of totally ignoring the actual evidence of Greenwald's consideration and investigation of said issues, even in pieces which he has clearly read. That's quite a talent.

We move onto even more absurd allegations at this point:
Greenwald is never less than proud to acknowledge the considerable time he has spent as a litigator and writer defending the right of neo-Nazis to air their views. For a truly principled free speech activist, there would be no shame in that. But his condemnation of their beliefs often feels somewhat pro forma, and certainly pales next to the contempt he expresses for their enemies.
Again, given the widespread condemnation of neo-Nazism, we can understand why Greenwald would focus more on criticizing the governments and organizations that attempt to censor neo-Nazis. It is a little hard to believe that he would feel much fondness for a group known for their hostility to Muslims, given his strong condemnation of Islamophobia.
In 1999, for instance, a member of Matthew F. Hale’s white supremacist World Church of the Creator went on an interstate shooting spree that left two people dead and nine injured. A New York-based NGO called The Centre for Constitutional Rights filed suit against Hale and his Church on behalf of one of the victims, alleging them to be partly culpable. Explaining his decision to represent Hale, Greenwald objected that “all [the complainants] can say Matt Hale did is express the view that Jews and blacks are inferior. There’s just no question that expressing those views is a core First Amendment activity.” Well, okay. But, gratuitously, he then added: “I find that the people behind these lawsuits are truly so odious and repugnant, that creates its own motivation for me.” Hale, incidentally, was later convicted of attempting to solicit the murder of a district court judge and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Is it wrong to see a desire to censor as "odious and repugnant," in Palmer's view? And the fact that Hale was later convicted on a different matter is, of course, irrelevant and not worth mentioning, since whether he was a good person was not what was at stake, but rather whether his speech should merit punishment.
I sometimes get the feeling that Greenwald – an openly gay Jew – harbours a not-altogether grudging respect for unapologetic fascists. He sympathises with their marginalisation just as he would with any underdog; but he also seems to find their ideological certainty appealing, even if every dot and comma is not exactly to his taste. And he has sympathy to spare for any professions of hatred for Israel, no matter how inflammatory or defamatory those professions may be.
What a treat it is to know the feelings that Palmer sometimes gets--truly, that's the stuff of serious journalism. The idea that Greenwald's differences between fascists would come down to "dots and commas" is so laughable that it hardly deserves rebuttal, given that Greenwald is staunchly opposed to government censorship and fascists tend to support it, to name one of many differences in their ideologies.
The undisguised pleasure Greenwald takes in the frisson of antisemitic provocation is what’s most striking about his Charlie Hebdo article. “To comport with this new principle for how one shows solidarity with free speech rights and a vibrant free press,” he jeered childishly, “we’re publishing some blasphemous and otherwise offensive cartoons about religion and their adherents…” (Notice, by the way, the casual diffusion of responsibility in his use of the first person plural here.)

What followed was a gruesome selection of cartoons, not one of which could reasonably be described as blasphemous or anti-clerical, and every one of which relied upon classical antisemitic conspiracist tropes about malevolent Jewish power and influence.
Interesting that Palmer doesn't see it as blasphemous to show Moses as giving an 11th commandment, which is for the Jews to control the media. I feel he might meet some disagreement in this area. And, of course, the point of the cartoons was that they were offensive and would widely be regarded as such, thus serving as a reductio ad absurdum of the idea that supporting free speech should mean republishing offensive cartoons.
This was in turn followed by a comparably awful selection of cartoons by the notorious Arab-Brazilian artist Carlos Latuff, for whom Greenwald has expressed his unequivocal admiration. Latuff’s depictions of the Zionist octopus and of blood-drenched, genocidal Jews are frequently indistinguishable from those circulated in pre-war Europe, so it was no surprise to discover a lengthy comment below Greenwald’s article from former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, which he concluded with this:
Thank You Mr. Greenwald for being courageous enough to dare to expose hypocrisy and racism wherever it is found even among the chosen few [who] have enormous power.
Palmer links to a an article using the worthless definition of antisemitism created by the State Department, which concludes that any comparisons of Israel's actions to Nazi Germany's constitute antisemitism, and indicts Latuff as an antisemite on this charge, as well as the fact that, as Palmer mentions, he has portrayed a "Zionist octopus," despite the fact that the octopus is a common visual metaphor. The fact that David Duke praised Greenwald is, of course, totally irrelevant to any intelligent conversation, unless one supposes that we should frown on the music of the Beatles because Charles Manson enjoyed it, too.
When Greenwald complained in his article that Charlie Hebdo had fired a cartoonist for antisemitism, or when he protested on twitter about the arrest of the Holocaust denier Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, there was little evidence he felt their racism merited much in the way of condemnation. On the contrary, what really bothered him seemed to be the suspicion that Jews were getting special protection they did not deserve.
In fact, the journalist fired from Charlie Hebdo had sarcastically written that then-President Sarkozy's son, who was engaged to a Jewish heiress and who was, unfounded rumors would have it, converting to Judaism, would "go a long way in life," which was interpreted by some as antisemitic (given the implication that he was converting to Judaism to be successful). One can see why firing someone for a single line like this is objectionable when your magazine is supposedly dedicated to irreverence and satire. As for the second example cited, we've already established why Greenwald wouldn't spend time criticizing a Holocaust denier, given that Holocaust denial is widely repudiated. Palmer's conclusion that "what really bothered him seemed to be the suspicion that Jews were getting special protection they did not deserve" is just as worthless and unfounded as the rest of his allegations.

Next we have a paragraph that illustrates the pure McCarthyism of the "anti-PC" movement:
Given Glenn Greenwald’s prodigious contempt for the West, his impulsive sympathy for its enemies, and his generous indulgence of Jew hatred, his emergence as one of America’s most vehement Islamist fellow travellers was a forseeable development. And it is in their name that he has offered some of his most passionate arguments for free expression.
There is nothing worth responding to here, since it contains no more substance than schoolyard name-calling, but it is an informative example.
To take one example: when Tarek Mehanna, an Al Qaeda affiliate, was convicted in 2012 of translating jihadist material and conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country (that of American soldiers in Iraq), Greenwald responded by writing:
I believe history will be quite clear about who the actual criminals are in this case: not Mehanna, but rather the architects of the policies he felt compelled to battle and the entities that have conspired to consign him to a cage for two decades.
I rather doubt that, although time will tell, I suppose. But Greenwald then went even further and described the statement Mehanna delivered at his sentencing hearing (a masterwork of bad faith which he reproduced in full) as “incredibly eloquent [and] thoughtful.” It was, he enthused, “something quite amazing.”
I, too, doubt history will judge the "architects of the policies" as the real criminals, but they certainly deserve to be judged as such, and have been already by prominent figures. While I recognize it may seem odd that Greenwald would give the praise he did to Mehanna's statement (it did to me at first), before concluding anything I would urge everyone to read the statement itself, as I did. To give a sample (from Greenwald's article):
When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ehical [sic] dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.
By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents [sic] of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.
I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the civil rights struggle.
Moving on from his allegations of Islamist sympathy, including a few more baseless remarks that one should only take seriously if they think Palmer has the ability to read minds, Palmer then moves onto Snowden.
So what then are we to make of Greenwald’s involvement in the Snowden leak, for which Eisenberg insisted he be honoured at the expense of the Charlie Hebdo dead?
It is possible, I think, for reasonable people to disagree about the value of what Snowden disclosed, and the merits of his actions. But any serious assessment of either needs to take account of the enormous harm done to American credibility, diplomacy, and security as the US government struggles to contain the spread of jihadist terror and to defend its soldiers and citizens. The most generous reading of Snowden’s actions recognises this as collateral damage inflicted in pursuit of a greater libertarian good.
Revealingly, Palmer cites nothing as a source for his claim of the "enormous harm done to American credibility, diplomacy, and security." While the US may have faced repercussions in terms of its global credibility (as it well should have), there is no evidence that Snowden's leaks truly damaged the nation's security or contributed to "the spread of jihadist terror." Palmer's failure to give any evidence that this allegation is true is a useful illustration of the integrity of those claiming it is.
But Glenn Greenwald will make no such allowance. On the contrary, he has taken undisguised satisfaction in the havoc Snowden’s NSA leaks have caused, not least because he believes that the war on terror presently being waged against jihadist fanatics like Tarek Mehanna and the Kouachi brothers is a monstrous injustice. In the ongoing battle between democracy and religious totalitarianism, Greenwald has defiantly taken the side of the latter.
As Palmer likely knows, Greenwald supports genuine democracy (as opposed to the farce that poses as such in the US, for instance), and there is, again, no evidence for his support of "religious totalitarianism." The war on terror has, in fact, been a monstrous injustice, though one can't expect a person as morally repugnant and intellectually shameless as Palmer to acknowledge that.
So, Greenwald’s condemnation of Charlie Hebdo‘s murdered staff was – like his position on pretty much everything – tediously predictable, and it rested on a refusal to perceive the rather large difference between fascism and its antithesis. For someone who postures as a First Amendment absolutist, this is a considerable moral failure.
All that can be said to this is that if Palmer thinks he has proven Greenwald's "refusal to perceive the rather large difference between fascism and its antithesis," he is very sadly mistaken.
But Eisenberg nominated Greenwald in Charlie Hebdo’s stead, not in spite of such views, but precisely because of them. In their own minds, the PEN dissenters were taking a courageous, principled, and nostalgic stand: courageous in its refusal to be swept along by liberal moral orthodoxy; principled in its rejection of sentimentality; and nostalgic in its defiant celebration of 1968’s once-uncompromising anti-Imperialism.
It didn’t matter that many of the murdered staff at Charlie Hebdo were themselves soixante-huitard veterans of the New Left, nor that they had retained the New Left’s anti-authoritarianism, its reflexive sympathy for the Palestinian cause, and its hatred of the unreconstructed nationalist far-right. For their refusal to qualify their mockery of radical Islam with an acknowledgment of its value in the fight against Zionism, Western racism, neoliberalism, foreign policy, and all the rest of it, they were deemed guilty of selling out their own radical spirit of ’68. And for lending their assistance to a ‘narrative’ (as one of the PEN dissenters termed it) that serves a baleful Western agenda, they were denounced.
One may question Charlie Hebdo's "reflexive sympathy for the Palestinian cause" given that, according to Diana Johnstone, "In 2002, Philippe Val, who was editor in chief at the time, denounced Noam Chomsky for anti-Americanism and excessive criticism of Israel and of mainstream media." As for the idea that its mockery of radical Islam was the issue, that is simply another falsehood. Greenwald's problems with Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with its mockery of radical Islam, as previously noted, and I would again urge everyone to read Olivier Cyran's letter, which makes clear how Charlie's mockery of Muslims went well beyond radical Islamists.

In a paragraph that is fitting for the utter garbage that has preceded it, Palmer's article concludes:
The idea that Glenn Greenwald knows anything about the spirit of ’68 fills me with scepticism. I suspect he could hardly care less. But his inchoate rage against the West was useful to Eisenberg and her allies even so. Greenwald may be applauded by the likes of David Duke for circulating Jew-hatred; he may defend theo-fascists and neo-Nazis and denounce their opponents with rather more enthusiasm than is either seemly or necessary; and he may observe a shabby silence about the repression of dissent in authoritarian and theocratic states. But he may be judged to have “fastidiously exercised his courage for the good of humanity” just the same because, like Deborah Eisenberg and the rest of the self-regarding PEN dissenters, what actually fires his perverse moral disgust is not the threat to liberty and free speech posed by lethal theocratic terror, but the war being waged by the West to defeat it.
This article is nothing more than a McCarthyite smear attempting to silence criticisms of Western governments, from yet another one of their apologists. Predictably, it has caught on with similar apologists for Western crimes, with a similar (and, for their ideology, necessary) lack of moral integrity and intellectual honesty. Palmer's moronic and utterly ludicrous diatribe serves no purpose whatsoever, except for one: it discredits both him and anyone foolhardy enough to lend their approval to it. 

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