further on Stan Goff

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Sat Aug 2 16:43:51 MDT 2003

As to Stan himself, his convictions in what we all hold in common are as
strong as anyone's on this list, and I wouldn't be surprised to discover
they were stronger than those of many of us, for if you read what he has
written you will see that they were not easily acquired, but the product of
terrible experiences, much study and reflection and a willingness to face up
to the facts, including about himself, that is truly admirable.

And I believe his "military matters" columns
(http://www.freedomroad.org/milmatters.html) are some of the finest popular
socialist journalism in many a year. 


Response Jim C: I want to second this by Jose. When former "insiders" like
Stan Goff, Mike Levine (26 years former DEA, ATF, etc), Wesley Swearingen
(formerly FBI high up in COINTELPRO), Ralph McGehee (25 years CIA), Dennis
Dale (27 years DEA) and others have their own epiphanies and bring to
outsiders knowledge and information--about the machinations, intentions,
capabilities, operations, mindsets etc of the imperial establishment--that
can only be gained from the inside and through concrete experience, they
bring to the table extremely valuable weapons in the struggles against all
forms and sources of oppression.

So much of what passes for "left analysis" is nothing more than rehashing
the same quotes from the same "classics", insider jargon spoken to fellow
left "insiders", idle speculation without factual bases or any concrete
experience with that about which the speculation is directed,
hyper-theorizing without any data support, endless rehashing of arcane
historical debates, forms of hypothetico-deductivism from assumed/asserted
"axioms" governing individuals and systems, or wild self-impeaching
(impeaching not only of the authors but also of the ideological bent
professed by the authors) conspiracy theories, etc.

When 9-11 happened, we had a pleathora of summarily asserted arguments that
no one who has been trained at the private or commercial pilot level, on
small aircraft, could, with some simulator time, take over and fly a 757 or
767--much less a 747--into some building. Not one of those who summarily
asserted this had any ratings or experience as a pilot that I know of. And
when actual pilots, with considerable experience as pilots and instructors
said this simply was not the case, the only response was they know they are
right no matter what anyone--despite ratings and experience--says; when the
facts don't fit the theory, fuck the facts. My own daughter, by the way, 9
1/2 years old, after watching me fly my full-blown simulator only once,
never having flown it, turned on my 747/Hong Kong program (I have a program
with actual 747s that once existed with the parameters and even feelings of
the controls built in and varying by aircraft) taxied the NWA 747 Number 610
US from the gate to the runway, took the thing off even waiting until 160
kts before she started rotation and lift off. Then, when she could not find
the field to land, found an open field in China and put the thing down and
made it; I know this because I took it off from the field and the simulator
was fully operational which it would not have been if she had done any
damage in landing. Indeed those hijackers would not have likely been able to
do start-up at the gate, copied clearances and actually taken off from their
respective airports (that is why I do not believe, as some have alleged,
that they had taken over the aircraft at the gate and the pilots were never
in control), but taking over in the air and flying to/into a designated
target was quite possible as any experienced pilot--and especially
instructor--knows. But you could not convince some of the armchair theorists
of that even though they would not know the difference between an aileron
and an elevator.

People like Stan Goff are especially dangerous to the right because they
have impeccable "credentials"--in the right-wing's own terms. This stands in
contrast to the likes of Yardley and Horowitz who never had any real
"credentials" on the left in the first place and their defections are not
really defections from the left but rather "coming out" with what they were
(and what attracted them to nominally and alienating "left" cults in the
first place) all along. People like Stan Goff, Mike Levine and others on the
other hand, were not led to defect out of loss of potentially lucrative
market niches on the right and now seeking them on the left (like Yardley
and Horowitz et al being marginal players on the "left" now seeking
lucrative "small-frog-in-a-tiny -tiny-pond status on the right) and they
have genuinely suffered for their positions and speaking out, but are people
who have genuinely come to understand that they were used--and allowed
themselves to be used--as instruments of imperialist hegemony (and all that
that entails) and now seek to use their former insider status, knowledge and
experience to undo some of what they were once a part of.

They should be celebrated, respected for how far they have come and listened
to/learned from for the concrete experience, knowledge and yes "credibility"
on certain issues that they bring to the table.

Jim C.

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