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Richard Seymour: more evidence that CounterPunch is controversial[edit]

I just came across this, from December:

In an even more alarming example, the radical US magazine Counterpunch has published an article co-written by a notorious antisemite and Holocaust denier who prefers to be called 'Israel Shamir', which imputed the rape allegations to a CIA plant, and called for the protection of Assange from "castrating feminists". Shamir claims to represent Wikileaks in Russia, though he was outed by Searchlight magazine as an ex-pat Swedish neo-Nazi named Joran Jermas some years ago. Not everyone knows who Shamir is, but if Wikileaks doesn't have the sense to check him out, I would expect that Counterpunch should. Still, if they can tolerate a clown like Gilad Atzmon, opening the magazine up to a closeted neo-Nazi to spew misogyny may not be a big step. And if so, that reflects a wider degeneration of Alexander Cockburn's political judgment, which has also manifested itself in some quite kooky output about global warming.

Its source is a blog, which wouldn't normally be a RS, but the blogger, Richard Seymour is notable, and the blog, Lenin's Tomb, is pretty notable. I'm not necessarily suggesting it for inclusion, but I think it adds to my argument above that CounterPoint is controversial on the left, and not just some of its contributors.BobFromBrockley (talk) 15:53, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

There are other blogs too so don't cherry pick. Notice also that no-one who says that Shamir is an antisemite offers evidence other than character assassination. Lenny has recently demonstrated his lack of notability and neutrality by taking the Grauniad's shilling. He's also come in for a bit of stick on Medialens.Keith-264 (talk) 17:28, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm rather amused that there is still anyone on the left who doesn't think CounterPunch is controversial, and controversial in the specific sense that its guard is known to be periodically, if not proudly, down on the issue of anti-Semitism. That Keith-264 personally finds politically problematic those on the left who call out CounterPunch's anti-Semitism in regard to their inexplicable love affair with a pair of Holocaust deniers is not a concern of Wikipedia. Goodwinsands (talk) 17:59, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
He has demonstrated his lack of notability by writing for a national newspaper? Huh? Mezigue (talk) 07:56, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Character assassination - told you.Keith-264 (talk) 18:18, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I think most people would have no difficulty defining his statements about e.g. "the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale" to be plainly anti-Semitic in an undisguised way. Surely you don't find such a statement in any way defensible as anything but a coarse anti-Semitic belch? Goodwinsands (talk) 19:06, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Read his reply to such character assassination.Keith-264 (talk) 19:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Here it is, "As for the accusation of 'Holocaust denial', my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust and I think every God-fearing man, a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should reject it as Abraham rejected and smashed idols." Keith-264 (talk) 19:16, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Shamir is perfectly happy to let his website be used by others to "deny the facts of the Jewish tragedy," isn't he. And I'm certain that even you can see that the passage you quote doesn't address at all the claim of "the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale," which is clearly an anti-Semitic claim. However, this entry is about CounterPunch, not the crazed anti-Semite Shamir they (and pretty much only they) find possible to publish. Goodwinsands (talk) 19:39, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
You need to chill with the "crazed anti-Semite" type comments. Shamir is a living person, which means you cant make such comments about him anywhere on Wikipedia. The most you can do is give attributed views about him with sources cited. Nowhere on Wikipedia can you make such comments, not here, not on a user talk page, not anywhere else. There are a large number of living people that I despise. I keep my views about them off of Wikipedia. Kindly do the same. If you do not, you may find your ability to edit restricted. WP:BLP is not something that most admins are willing to brush aside. You are free to have your views, you are even free to publicize them outside of Wikipedia. You are not free to keep making these types of comments on Wikipedia. nableezy - 21:21, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
In this case, there are clearly enough WP:RS to justify the position. But if we're supposed to pretend we don't notice his antisemitism, then, I'll pretend I don't notice. Goodwinsands (talk) 22:06, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
When presenting opinions in articles, we not only need to show that they are reliably sourced but that they are notable opinions. The blog fails. TFD (talk) 22:23, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

I did not mean in any way for this to get into yet another discussion about whether or not Shamir is an antisemite, nor was I necessarily saying Richard Seymour's opinion should be cited in the article. What I wanted to show was simply this: that CounterPunch is widely regarded as controversial, a claim that has been regularly denied and whitewashed out of this article by one or two editors. The way the article is now does recognise that CP is controversial, but makes it look as if this is just because of Israel-Palestine. The current sentence is "CounterPunch has been criticised by some Jewish and anti-racist groups for some of this [Israel/Palestine-related] material." That seems too tepid for me, given the widespread criticism of the magazine by leftists, such as Richard Seymour, Bill Weinberg or Louis Proyect, for publishing antisemites, for endorsing climate change denial, for publishing baseless accusations against Assange's rape accusers, etc etc. BobFromBrockley (talk) 12:54, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

You need a source that comes to the same conclusion that you have. TFD (talk) 01:28, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, that was why I excerpted the Seymour quote, which seems to me just one example.BobFromBrockley (talk) 14:15, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I think you need a better source. Out of curiosity, would you be happy using this blog as a source for other articles about the media, or about politics in the U.K.? TFD (talk) 18:39, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Good question. I guess in general the answer would be no, but I would probably be happy using it as a source, for example, on controversies within the SWP or similar, which would not be discussed in the mainstream press. I am no fan of Seymour's blog, but it is consistently cited as one of the most read and most well known left-wing blogs in the UK, and so might be considered a reliable source on what is going on in UK left politics. I would certainly see it as a reliable source for Seymour's own opinion, and if Seymour's own opinion was sufficiently relevant in a particular context then again a yes for that.BobFromBrockley (talk) 09:45, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Lead of this article[edit]

The three edits here (mine [1]); user Goodwinsand's [2]; and user Keith-264 [3]) show that there is a disagreement regarding the neutrality of the lead of this article. Let us talk this issue through first before any more edits are made. Festermunk (talk) 06:07, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

It would help to say what the dispute is about. That it's a "left-wing" publication is opined from good sources and that doesn't seem out of place in the lead. Don't understand the comment "Rewrite the section as description instead of assertion and i'll be satisfied." It sounds like a description of their opinion. Does it need to say "In the opinion of X,Y, Z etc??" If they have some definitive description of themselves as NOT left wing, then that also should be included. CarolMooreDC 13:29, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the input; I'll try to put the left-wing quote in the lead to reflect thisFestermunk (talk) 06:58, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
As I've mentioned, there are a number of contributors to Counterpunch who couldn't be described as left wing. 'CounterPunch is a 501c3 non-profit organization' (see their FAQ) and calling it 'left wing' is fraught with all the connotations of the term, many of which are controversial. I don't think it's an issue to go on the barricades about but the term and its connotations ought to be linked at least. Keith-264 (talk) 08:27, 26 December 2011 (UTC)


An editor continues to insert mention of a signed article published by the magazine.[4] Unless it can be shown that this article has received any attention then it should not be included, per WP:WEIGHT. Counterpunch publishes articles representing a range of views, as do most serious magazines, that do not necessarily represent the views of the magazine. Also, the description is misleading, which should be avoided per WP:BLP. The author does not "argue[] that the Cambodian genocide was "inflated by a factor of a thousand"". The editor asks, "Perhaps you can enlighten me on the TP regarding possible alternative true interpretations of the article's meaning". Sorry but that would be original research. TFD (talk) 02:14, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Shamir does indeed argue that the death toll was "inflated by a factor of a thousand":
"In order to listen to the other side, I travelled to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, the memorial where the alleged victims were killed and buried. This is a place some 30 km away from Phnom Penh, a neat green park with a small museum, much visited by tourists, the Cambodian Yad va-Shem. A plaque says that the Khmer Rouge guards would bring some 20 to thirty detainees twice or thrice a month, and kill many of them. For three years, it would amount less than two thousand dead, but another plaque said indeed that they dug up about eight thousand bodies. However, another plaque said there was over a million killed. Noam Chomsky assessed that the death toll in Cambodia may have been inflated “by a factor of a thousand.”"
Of course, Shamir's comments are shockingly ill-informed. 8,895 bodies were found at Choeung Ek, but there are over 20,000 grave sites in the whole country. 17,000 people were executed at Tuol Sleng, but there were at least 150 additional execution centers. In total, 1,386,734 victims of execution have been exhumed in mass graves, suggesting that the total number of excess deaths caused by the KR regime lies between 2 and 2.5 million. Both the house-to-house survey conducted by the People's Republic of Kampuchea and recent demographic studies by Heuveline and Sharp strongly suggest a death toll in excess of 2 million. But Shamir clearly and unambiguously states that the death toll was in the thousands rather than the millions. He quotes Chomsky approvingly, as a source that backs him up. TFD, How else could you interpret his essay?
Consider Shamir's rhetoric: "New Cambodia (or Kampuchea, as it was called) under Pol Pot and his comrades was a nightmare for the privileged, for the wealthy and for their retainers; but poor people had enough food and were taught to read and write. As for the mass killings, these are just horror stories. Surely the victorious peasants shot marauders and spies, but many more died of American-planted mines and during the subsequent Vietnamese takeover.... To me, this recalls other CIA-sponsored stories of Red atrocities, be it Stalin’s Terror or the Ukrainian Holodomor....It is fine that they canceled money, dynamited banks and sent bankers to plant rice. It is fine that they dried up the great blood-sucking leech, the big-city compradors and money-lenders." This is textbook genocide denial! Portray the killers as non-state "peasants," portray their victims as "blood-sucking parasites," attribute the deaths to American and Vietnamese resistance, invoke a CIA conspiracy. Shamir even adds in apologetics for Stalin and Mao! Keith-264 thinks that "you can't deny opinion, only fact". According to Keith, the Holodomor and the Cambodian Holocaust are eminently debatable or even doubtful historical events, but the Nazi Holocaust can never be questioned. (Shamir is a denier of all three!)
TFD, all you had to do was argue that the piece was being given undue weight. But you instead sought to justify, defend, and deny Shamir's denial. As for criticism, Harry's Place wrote that "It is an insult to the Cambodian population and Counterpunch have sunk to new depths by publishing it," but HP's is currently blocked even on the talk pages of Wikipedia, although it is an excellent blog. Yet CP is considered a reliable source--what a joke!TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 05:25, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Hello, just in case you're interested, I reverted your edit because it treated opinion as fact. It looks like I wasn't the only person to notice. No-one denies that the Stalin and Pol Pot regimes were murderous only that they were as murderous as their enemies claim. Who damns the Tsar regime for terror famines over the hunger of 1892? Who damns the Nixon regime for the bloodbath in Vietnam from 1969? An encyclopaedia is no place for selective outrage, it's hypocritical. Why don't you invest some energy in comparing the famine in the USSR 1932 with the famine in Ireland in the 1840s or the one in Bengal 1943? That would make an interesting article.Keith-264 (talk) 08:24, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Times, see WP:PRIMARY: "Material based purely on primary sources should be avoided. All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than to the original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors." You should also take the approach that we are supposed to explain how subjects are viewed by mainstream sources and leave our personal emotions out. TFD (talk) 17:03, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Scheper-Hughes under 'Contributions and topics'[edit]

She's a noteworthy author, but should she really be defined as an author critical of Israeli government action re: the Arab-Israeli conflict? None of her work is on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and her linked work on tissue harvesting at the Greenberg Institute isn't really 'Critical of Israeli government actions' so much as critical of a handful of actors at the institute and organ traffickers generally. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrilliFAN (talkcontribs) 15:48, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

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