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Dandelion Truth

I find myself in a pissing match with a regular group of emailers I think I can categorize as those who are dubious about the mainstream media and invariably tend to come down on whatever side of an issue the United States is not on. I have no quarrel per se with such a group – indeed they are a healthy part of the democratic process.

They include a number of people who have been in email contact with me over the years, only one whose names I recognize from other places and that is Jeffrey Arney who evidently is involved in a minority Canadian political party and in addition to his emails I see constant blogs in magazines like the estimable Dialogue Magazine.

First a general observation.

We all read, watch and absorb things that cater to our own prejudices. This is a very human thing to do and unless one is a research scientist it’s a common thing. I remember well my days at CKNW and one of the regular callers was a lady known as Hanoi Hannah. She was extremely articulate and very well informed. As listeners from all sides of the political spectrum learned, however, her “well informed” meant that she knew everything there was to know about politics from the left. The books she quoted from to the TV shows that she referred to were all well-known leftist sources.

There was nothing wrong with this at all – we all knew where she was coming from and those of the left loved to hear and those of the right loved to hate her. She was provocative on a show that specialized in provocation and I always enjoyed her as a guest. I am not so sure that people who disagreed with her felt the same way!

I confess to the same sin. I tend to read books about heroes and avoid those that are critical of that hero. This is not entirely true – naturally I find it necessary to learn what the other side is saying. But I don’t read the other side with the same enthusiasm!

The group to whom I have referred have a standard approach. If something bad happens, The United States was responsible. Secondly, whatever the official explanation for the event may be, it’s wrong and they have a better one based upon sound research. It’s just that they seem to be the only ones who have ever heard of the researchers.

One of the memorable examples of this was 9/11. Millions of people the world over saw jetliners crashing into buildings, the buildings catching on fire and falling down. The information was pretty clear that the pilots of these suicide planes were Arabs and Muslim fanatics who wanted to destroy the godless Americans. A great deal of evidence was presented about these pilots and their background. We learned about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in a great hurry.

There was, of course, a mass of evidence about the stupidity of United States security and things of that nature but that’s not what I’m on about here today.

What came out very quickly from the “opposition” was that this had really nothing to do with Arabs or fundamental Islam or hatred of the United States – nor did the buildings fall down because they were hit by airplanes. The real thing that happened, we were told, is that it was “an inside job”, that explosives have been placed their time to go off just of the time the airplanes hit and that it was all an Israeli conspiracy as witness the fact that all the Jewish workers in the World Center took the day off.

When the Malaysian aircraft crash of July 7 in the eastern Ukraine happened, I mentioned to my wife that it would not be long before some “way out” suggestion was made. Within days it was alleged that this had not been a plane crash at all but that the United States had “faked” the crash and taken all of the pieces and put them at the alleged crash site so as to implicate Russia and Pres. Putin.

That story did not last long. However, a new one has arisen and this is where my group of correspondents comes in.

Last week I received an email from one of them enclosing what appeared to be a straight news story. It referred to the Malaysian airliner crash and certified that a new horrifying story had emerged, namely, that this plane had not been brought down by rockets fired by east Ukrainian dissidents, presumably encouraged by Russia, but in fact was shot down by an airplane which obviously had come from Ukraine. The whole plot was to embarrass Russia and Mr.Putin and was an elaborate US plot. Evidence was presented by a German pilot about bullet holes to the cockpit, all in elaborate detail. The actual official investigation was we were told a hoax.

This email referred to an article so I followed the link to a paper called the Dandelion Salad. I had never heard of this publication and fired back a question simply asking “what the hell is the Dandelion Salad?” Judging from the response, you would have thought that I had never heard of the New York Times!

In following the link I found the article in question which set forth this conspiracy to plant evidence and it was by one Finian Cunningham.

Following the matter a little further I found that Finian Cunningham was also a regular columnist with an outfit called The Strategic Culture Foundation and that the basis of the Dandelion Salad article indeed came from the latter organization. I would like to claim a great investigative exercise however by it was by a fluke that I happened to know something about the STCF.

Some years ago I received a letter from them, out of the blue, saying that they had read my column on my website and wondered if I would write a regular column for them on world affairs from the vantage point of a Canadian. While the money was lousy I agreed and for the first two or more years we had a very good relationship.

They were a Russian outfit but evidently very small “l” liberal and I wrote as I pleased. I often included stories about Russia including their quest for minerals in the Arctic Ocean and had no interference whatsoever.

Then, as things began to change in Russia, and the media became less and less free, I, slowly at first, began to get interference. I would be asked to change a line or two or redraft a paragraph or perhaps leave a paragraph out. It wasn’t long before columns were rejected outright without explanation. Needless to say this was a bit annoying because they paid no “spike” fee and I was stuck with an unpaid for column. Then topics and their proposed content were suggested.

As matters progressed, I learned that they would prefer that I not write about Russia at all, not even by inference.
This posed difficulties because it was pretty hard to write about anything going on in the world at that time without Russia coming into it. I made inquiries such as dealing with US, UK, and Russian involvement in Syria, or in the rest of the Middle East, or about NATO and the European Union, their relation to Russia and matters of that sort. The answer was no.

It got down to finally an absolute ban on anything about Russia or Mr. Putin in any of my columns at any time in even the simplest and non-controversial way. Needless to say I quit.

So we here we had some serious connection between the reporting of the Malaysian Airliner case to Russia itself.

I’m in no position to say that it’s a fabrication. When I am in a position to say is that the source was about as independent as the KGB. This “independent” story has been taken by my correspondents and floated into the Internet world as if it were gospel.

In the meantime, the official investigation of the Malaysian airliner continues and is being interfered with by fighting between Ukrainian dissidents and Ukraine.

Correspondence developed between some of the dissidents and me and it did not take long to determine that their anti-Americanism was deep-seated and constant. This meant, of course, that whatever issue came up involving the United States was looked at through eyes that had no intention of seeing any good.

Let me go back to the beginning.

There is nothing wrong with this. There is a lot right with people constantly looking askance at anything that a large organization or country does. I, myself, simply refuse to believe anything said by a major corporation. I consider them to be congenital liars and I approach their pronouncements from that point of view. I am therefore as guilty as this group in that regard.

I hope, however, that this is a well-known fact to those who read my stuff on major corporations, pipelines, oil tankers etc. As long as people know that bias – and I can’t imagine how they wouldn’t – then they have the full opportunity to make up their own minds as to what the truth is.

Similarly, when I read a story where a Malaysian airliner was not brought down by rockets after all but shut down by a Ukrainian aircraft and I find out that the source is the Dandelion Salad or something similar, I have the opportunity of making up my mind knowing the source of the story is highly suspect in the in partiality department.

To conclude, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not one of those people who arrogantly assumes that i and other “sensible” people are the only ones who can separate the pepper from the fly shit. Unquestionably there is an ignorant audience for all news but that has always been there and the other side of the coin has so often prevailed that the establishment press has been believed notwithstanding the incredible positions it has taken.

Having said that, I find it very difficult to take seriously an article written by the Dandelion Salad based upon what has become a shill for the Putin government.

Forgive my skepticism.

6 Responses to “Dandelion Truth”

  1. Barry Hemenway says:

    You’re in good company. The Ukrainian jet tale was also debunked in the July 26th issue of the Economist. See the ‘leader’ column ‘A Web Of Lies’. (page 9)

  2. Rafe Mair says:

    All, but Barry, don’t you know that publications like the Economist are not to be trusted?
    There is a particular bend in the road these people take and it is interesting. When I criticized be dandy lion salad, I was told that my sources of information such as the BBC and the Guardian gave out biased opinions. When I tried to explain to them that I did not go to these and other publications for opinions but statements of verifiable fact they simply could not understand this.

    My point to them with the Malaysian airliner was that if their version was correct, surely a mention of that possibility would’ve been made by one of the regular sources I contact. That brought deadly silence.

  3. Gavin Bamber says:

    I just read a book about internet “truth”. Scary stuff.

    Persona Non Grata by Tom Flanagan

  4. Cocoabean says:

    I suspect you’re merely getting more conservative, deferent to “experts” and “authorities” and less skeptical as you age.

    “Facts” are the refuge of the intellectually lazy. They can be pulled out of a hat anytime, anywhere, to support any pre-selected point of view. Some “facts” are downright fake and statistics manipulated, some contain a germ of truth only and still others are objectively true. But it is essential to ask who is providing them, because there’s always an agenda.

    Isn’t it the least bit worrying when every western government and every major media entity are all on the same side of the boat? Doesn’t that raise questions? Weren’t we taught to “question authority”, and to draw our own conclusions from a synopsis of evidence?

  5. admin says:

    “‘Facts’ are the refuge of the intellectually lazy”? That’s silly.

  6. Rafe Mair says:

    I’m delighted that cocoabean thanks that I’m getting more conservative! Most people who have followed by career think quite the opposite.
    In any event, the distinction I’m trying to make here is that there are verifiable facts and there are opinions. When I go to the BBC, for example, I look for a verifiable fact the cause of which I can now question.
    Did a plane crash. Would you please show me that plane?
    Then I try to find out why it crashed. By no means do I take the point of you all those who have a self interest in the answer. Their answer may still be correct but suspicions are raised.

    When, however, I findthat a paper alleged to be independent and a source of “fact” is actually part of a paper for whom I used to write and know to be an organ of Russian government policy, pardon me if I get a bit skeptical about not only that particular paper but the other long list of papers these people assure sure me I should read in order to get the “facts”.

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