My Venona: Read But Misunderstood

 Bringing The Stupid 24/7 mccarthyenthousiast

Owen Lattimore & The Absence Of Evidence.

Often cited, little understood, Venona was an American effort to decode 1940s Soviet espionage cables which was only declassified in the 1990s. Oodles of agent and contact names poured forth, and the McCarthy-Was-Right industry got new tires.

Eruptions of whining now surface periodically, in which McCarthy enthusiasts offer mock pleas over how come these liberal communists won’t confess their sins.

Owen Lattimore is  dragged into this fanciful historicizing, usually via the formula that Venona proves there were Soviet agents, which resembles McCarthy’s claims, then a quick dash back to the McCarran Committee’s crackpot theories for the “conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy” money quote.

But just as Lattimore became McCarthy’s top Soviet agent in the State Department without actually working there, in this world he’s proven guilty by the Venona papers, dispite never appearing in them.

As our greatest public intellectual Donald Rumsfeld avers, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

 

Your Lattimore Lost China Needs In Handy Book Form!

Owen To Events Beyond His Control      

Bitter-ender believers in Owen Lattimore’s guilt of….something have found solace in recent years on the interwebs, where a lively trade in half truths and recycled 50s bilge re-convict him on a daily basis. But now, the success of the right wing book trade lets the folks at home learn truths they’ve never forgotten without all that typing and clicking.

Serial offender Stan Evans is back on the market with a tome which rips the lid off that Joe Stalin fellow: apparently he wished ill of the United States! Evans’ latest adventure in these uncharted waters takes him to the best Lattimore Did It tale of all, in which Lattimore  caused Pearl Harbor.

You read that right. Owen Lattimore caused America’s entry into World War Two with his trademark tool:  the memo.

In 1941 Lattimore was advising Chiang Kai Shek, while the US tried to work out a deal with Japan.  Lattimore told Washington Chiang thought the proposal would collapse Chinese resistance to Japan’s invasion.  In this maximum crackpot history, such was the authority Chiang Kai Shek wielded in Washington that the State Department dropped negotiating with Japan, insuring its attack on Hawaii. Thanks a lot, Professor!

Why would the wily academic want Japan to turn their guns on America? In Evans imagination, to protect Joe Stalin from a Japanese  attack on  Siberia. Pretending this was a live option in 1941 requires ignoring 1939, when the Soviets had smashed Japanese forces at the Mongol boarder. And wishing we had dumped Chiang fifteen years early.

Not everybody thinks this is “a meticulous examination of primary sources” or the  “disclosure of formerly secret records.”

 “as has been their practice for decades, the authors equate presence at an event—e.g., Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill at Yalta—with the covert wielding of tremendous influence…When the authors stray from Soviet influence within the United States and shift the focus to the rise of communism in China around the same time, their speculation about the allegedly traitorous activity of named individuals feels even shakier.

 Evans makes his case the same way all the McCarthy Was Rightists  do: a tease about new material, claims the Venona Papers proved something unspecified about Lattimore, and a rush into the familiar arms of the McCarran Committee,  which concocted its Lattimore indictment from perjured and re-engineered testimony.

Dead Witness Against Lattimore Proves Obama Birthers’ Case

 

Birthers, The Blues: Orly Orly Incoming!  

A dead former witness against Owen Lattimore  has become the latest proof for Barack Obama birther  fantasies.

Serial legal fraudster Orly Taitz is shoehorning Harvey Matusow into her failed crusade against Obama’s fitness to hold office.  Matusow was a former Communist and a witness against Owen Lattimore who later recanted his testimony.  He married a Mormon supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy and joined the church, staying with it until his death in 2002.

Despite this Come To Jesus activity Taitz pretends to believe Matusow somehow remained with the Communists, and that he passed the gene to his alleged cousin, a Honolulu woman named Lynne Matusow. Lynne Matusow certified Obama’s candidacy as Hawaii Democratic Party Secretary, putting her at the center of Taitz’s rich fantasy life.

“We know how tight Dunhams and Obamas are to all of this communist mafia. My gut feeling is that there were plenty of connections prior to Lynn Matusow agreeing to taking a risk of going to prison for falsification of an attestation of the Presidential Candidate.”

    Taitz had nothing on Harvey before throwing out this savvy legal argument:

“My gut feeling is that Lynn Matusow is somehow connected to Harvey Matusow.Here is his bio in WIKI. He was a part of the Communist party of the USA and testified at the Committee for anti american activities. Considering how rare Matusow name is and the pedigree, I am 99.9% sure there is a connection.”

Perhaps her fevers got the better of her:

Taitz’s attention to detail shows in her missing a vowel in Lynne Matusow’s name, and in a later document dump that shows no apparent connection between Lynne and Harvey Matusow.

Left unexamined by Taitz are Matusow’s apparent links to ukulele enthusiasts    and membership of a suspiciously Marxist sounding “Central Committee.”

 

Who Lost China? What The Bible Shows

 

 

 Dino Might?   

 

Anti-evolutionists are feeling pretty good about themselves, so confident they’ve got the godless on the run that their analogy generation skills are shot.

From the crypto-creationist Discovery Institute’s evolutionnews.org  [clever name to propagandize the unwary evolution-curious!] comes a metaphor for the ages: “Creation scientists” are Mao Tse Tung, and Beijing is theirs!

“After 1949 when China went Communist, American anti-Communists in their anguish turned on fellow Americans, seeking to pin the blame somewhere and prompting the famous “Who Lost China?” debate. Evolutionists lately have been following this same path, bewailing the public’s continued discontent with Darwinism and support for academic-freedom legislation, and looking for someone to blame, even if that someone is on the Darwinists’ own side.”

 Proof for this headscratcher comes of course from The Atlantic, where Robert Wright knows who to blame: pushy atheists!
In simpler times only Wright recalls, godless and god-smacked respected one another, we all liked Ike, and god apparently wasn’t shoved into the Pledge of Allegiance or onto our coins.
Then, trouble.
Other than dates and such, right on the money!
 Dawkins’ god squad warnings appeared in 2006, seven years after the Discovery Institute’s “The Wedge” appeared, laying out their strategy for stealth creationism, itself a cleaned up version of the god-struck’s historic strategy.
When called on facts and chronology Wright doubled down on absolving creationists and climate denialists:
 First off, demand creates its own supply?  Second, why is Wright pretending this is about hurt feelings rather than power and ideology?  Creationism and climate denial can have roots in religious beleaf, but its whole mobilization infestructure is paid for by somebody. Given their Libertarian pretensions I suspect the Koch brothers may be godless Randians, but they are happy to use the armies of the lord as carbon war cannon fodder.
The Discovery Institute’s analogy does work somewhat about Wright , but on the McCarthy period’s opposite side.  Wright is today’s version of a beloved political type, the liberal or ex-socialist claiming that others on the left created McCarthyism by their insufficient anti-communism.
From Arthur Schlesinger’s eager distinction drawing:
                                                                                           ” Liberals who complain when [HUAC Chairman] Parnell Thomas fails to distinguish between liberals and Communists should remember that too often they have failed to make that distinction themselves.”

To ex-Trotskyite Irving Kristol’s  judgement that

                                  “.. there is one thing that the American people know about Senator McCarthy: he, like them, is unequivocally anti-Communist. About the spokesmen for American liberalis they feel they know no such thing.”

Lets certify that Communisim was feared, but McCarthy was looking for means of doing in domestic enemies.  The fall of Beijing was to cause the fall of Washington.

Later day former leftist Ronald Radosh still swoons for Kristol’s Lattimore stylings.

Its unclear if Radosh read the report, which is a mishmash of testimony excerpts and theories often proving the opposite of what it claims.*  Radosh even boasts about  Kristol’s outing Lattimore as an opponent of Japanese imperialism in China:
…without pausing to consider the Soviet’s then ally, or the consequences of  backing Japan: Chiang Kai-Shek’s demise fifteen years early.

*After detailing an instance where Lattimore did the opposite of what a communist had asked him to do in editing, the Committee said he was still a bad person, and never mind: “From the communist point of view, a given book or article may be to their interest, even designedly to their interest, though in quantity 95 percent of it is neutral or non communist” [page 95]

So no defense then!

 

Self-Discredited McCarthy Witness Pawn In Internet Battle!

 

 

Mr. Matusow Meets The Market 

Harvey Matusow was a crucial witness in the McCarran Committee persecution of Owen Lattimore, reinforcing the tattered testimony of Louis Budenz.

Matusow’s dead, but in the long tail/netherworld of the Internet he apparently has value. Somehow his confessional False Witness finds a market, if you pay the author and publisher nothing.

Budenz’s claims of a seamless web between Lattimore’s writings and the Communist line had suffered from actual reading of what Lattimore wrote, and  of what the Budenz edited Daily Worker said about Lattimore.

Matusow providentially appeared to tie Lattimore to the Reds.  After first inventing Communist subversion of the Boy Scouts, Matusow built from his experience running a Communist book store to claim he sold Lattimore’s Solution In Asia, and that it represented the party line.

 Saluting Solution – see the title on the blackboard partly obscured by bow-tie daddy.

Later Matusow admitted he’d invented this story   and many others as he climbed to the heights of the former party-member-tells-all business.

Matusow recanting has done nothing to deter right-wing cranks replicating his old lies.

Somehow this long lost witness lives on in the Internet, with the text of his tell-all “False Witness” available in a vast array of formats. You can buy a musty old copy for $3.97,  and free online reading and downloads are available at the Hathi Trust Digital Library and archive.org.  After that it gets more complicated. Two outfits sell text files of the book to read or download, and one will even print you a copy of the text, allowing you to simulate the Internet experience of no index and weird scanning generated typos:

” a feeling of guilt— of how or when could this ever stop. However, I soon got down to rock bottom, a 29 point which made it easy for me to justify my reporting on my former friends.”

Goodreads.com is the physical book seller, and also markets ads against online texts and any reader generated commentary, so start  scribbling for the greater glory.

Onread.com is a bit murkier.  They have malware spreading accusations in their past, although Norton and McAfee find them currently clean.

Others aren’t so sure:

Russian terms of service. Protected by a Chinese domain that is registered from FranceBoth . “Book” downloads that come with an .exe extension that install and direct you to another website. I may be just a tiny bit jaded, but somehow I think this might not be entirely legitimate…

China’s Stories Past: Ji Chaozhu Remembers.

Tales Of [Comparatively] Ancient China  

Inspired by the current American tour of incipient Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the  New York Times looks back to the start of the current era in US/China relations,  Nixon and Kissinger’s 70s visits with  Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

Ji Chaozhu was there for most of these events, a lead translator for the Chinese side and later diplomat.

Ji was brought up in New York during the 40s, and his family’s doings in America figured in the Owen Lattimore story.  Ji’s father edited a Chinese language newspaper in New York, and one McCarthy charge against Lattimore was defending the senior Ji against Communist allegations [He was, but that’s for another day].

Older brother Ji Chaoding was a Columbia economics PhD who worked for Chiang Kai Shek’s government in New York and Chungking in the forties, and joined China’s delegation to the founding conference of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund.  One perjury charge growing out of Lattimore’s McCarran Committee testimony was about whether Lattimore knew or should have known Ji Chaoding was a Communist.

Ji was, and by several accounts headed  the American Communist Party’s China Bureau which smuggled funds and supplies to China. While employed by Chiang Kai Shek.

Ji Chaozhu’s memoir isn’t exactly hard hitting, mostly being a chronicle of meetings and translation, sometimes for the Greats.

The best part is his discription of his father’s  role in the film “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” playing a kindly Chinese doctor patching up crash-landed veterans of the Doolittle Raid.  The film was written by future Hollywood Ten-er Dalton Trumbo, and presents China’s anti-Japanese resistance as an incredibly bourgeois affair, with resistance leaders in suits and ties.  Plucky resistance children bring tears and throat lumps to the downed fliers with a Chinese version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Chi Senior Rolls Up His Sleeves To Repair Van Johnson  

 

The 2nd Life of Super Rat Harvey Matusow


Informer, Comic Book Star?  

Our old pal Harvey had a 2nd [or 3rd? 4th?] life in England after fingering Owen Lattimore and others, then recanting.

Wire magazine has a post up focused on this period, when Matusow became an avant garde music impresario in England.

They feature a “portal” [remember when they were all the rage!] of links to parts of Matusow’s life in this era.

Radio interviews, bits of his unpublished autobiography, and a comic about the crowd he hung out with.

 Matusow: The Later Years

Before They Were Stars: Harvey Matusow In The Minor Leagues

“Why, oh why, oh why oh, did he ever leave Ohio?”

Dateline: Dayton Ohio, February 25, 1952

The Ohio House Un-American Activities Committee probes the Red Menace.

In the chair is Harvey Matusow, a young ex-Communist looking to get big in the burgeoning field of Anti-Communism, and hoping Ohio’s laboratory of democracy will loose him upon the world as a made man:

“Q. In addition to the folk singing, did they also use square dancing?”

Was there no aspect of America’s faux folk past safe from Communist marauders?

Fortunately yes, as the Committee’s Chief Counsel rushed to assure:

“You are not saying, and you are not testifying, or want to give the impression that there is anything subversive or un-American about folk singing or square dancing?

A. That is correct.”

The Committee is interested in Yellow Springs’ Antioch College, a Pink festering sore on Ohio’s ass since the days of the Abolitionists.   Harvey was gunning for the big leagues, and Red subversion of innocent youth was to be his ticket out of there.  Shortly after this out of town production he came to Washington, started lying about Owen Lattimore, and left Ohio behind.

Matusow ran through a greatist hits of folk Commie Classics during his testimony, mangling lyrics as he went.

One of the better songs he namechecked: Banks Of Marble

Case Closure: Owen Lattimore Innocent All Over Again

Past Time: Lattimore Re-enactors

A Re-enactment of Lattimore case highlights was staged back in May by the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, and their video is now up online.

Several veterans of the case participated, including former Judge Luther Youngdahl clerk Berl Bernhard and two lawyers with connections to Lattimore’s defenders at Arnold Fortas & Porter, Patricia Wald and Bud Vieth.  The prosecution was played by Miguel Estrada, famously  blocked by Democrats from a federal Appeals Court seat, who demonstrated the menacing skills they were so afraid of.