Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mike's Story Part 71: In Defense of Matt Stroud

(Written after reading a comment at but before reading Wes Miller's brilliant response to the original Verge article.)
   Let’s start with the observation that apart from two smearing “Conspiracy Theorist” headlines in some of the less reliable media, The Verge is the only mainstream outlet thus far to have acknowledged Mike’s death.  The reasons for this are best summarized by the following passage from Nathaniel Blumberg's The Afternoon of March 30:
...the American news media have been deeply penetrated by our intelligence community.  Confirmation of everything I have been saying on that score came less than two weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right moment to pass it on.  It comes from no less a source than the New York Times.  I would like to say that it was the lead story on page one but, alas, as usual it was buried at the bottom of the fourteenth page of the second section on June 9.  That story, my good and patient friends, reports that the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to settle a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, reluctantly disclosed – those are the words of the good gray lady herself – that journalists have been used in a variety of roles and missions.  Among other duties, journalists provided cover or served as a funding mechanism, some provided nonattributable material for use by the CIA, some collaborated in or worked on CIA-produced materials or were used for the placement of CIA-prepared materials in the foreign media.  Some journalists had even served as couriers and as case officers who secretly supervised other agents.  And some – oh, it’s been a long time a-coming – provided assistance in suppressing what the CIA termed a media item, such as a news story.[1] [emphasis mine]
   So you may assume that the only way Mike’s story will get into the public arena is sideways, via a highly skeptical view. This is a major reason that my own memoir of his time at my apartment is so unsparing.
   While it’s true that most people read superficially in the sense of reading only the words on the page, for any who might probe more deeply, Stroud’s expose includes a link to Mike’s critical article, “Oh Lucy! – You Gotta Lotta ‘Splain’ To Do.” Anyone who checks that out will see that there’s more to this story than just a crazy guy with an oddly consistent world view which, unlikely as it might seem, happens to coincide with reality.
   Mike’s always been controversial but as we’re not talking about art, it doesn’t suffice to shrug off the argument by saying, “Ya love ’im or ya hate ’im.” On one extreme are followers who may believe, as he himself wrote in his suicide note, that he sacrificed himself for mother Earth, a sort of latter day Christ figure dying for our sins. This group sees his “flaws” as mere imperfections to be brushed away, allowing the humane spirit within to shine through.
   But our mistake may be in thinking of Mike’s impatience, intolerance etc. etc as “flaws” at all. It is impatient people, intolerant of the status quo, who get things done. Anyway, those who knew Mike well saw how essential the “flaws” were to him. They were the flip side to his accomplishments, motivating him in complex ways.
   On the other extreme are those who delight in his internal demons including the accusation, which he did not deny, that he appeared in his underwear in the doorway of a young female employee’s office. It was this sort of behavior of which he sought to purge himself by fleeing to Venezuela. That is not speculation; he told me.
   It was not the only reason for fleeing to Venezuela, of course. The “vandalism” of the FTW offices which The Verge refers to included the smashing of all seven of the company’s computers. Mike justifiably saw this as a warning: “Next time, it’ll be you.” He came to understand that he’d be allowed back in the US only on condition that he “get out of the game” meaning investigative journalism, an “agreement” he stuck by.
   Complicating the feud between Mike’s defenders and his detractors is that he gave the latter group so much rope to hang him with. In the last years of his life, he publicly aired the sort of views about extra-worldly affairs (aliens, the symbolism of the appearance of an eagle at a particular time) which can never be substantiated. He’s not alone in believing that a spirit or god communicated with him or others in these ways. But they’re the sort of beliefs that anyone staking his reputation on concrete evidence would be advised to keep to himself.
    One fact cited in the article which I’d like to clarify is the date of Peak Oil. Extrapolating from a graph in Crossing the Rubicon, the article implies that global peak took place in the 1960’s. The graph, however, was referring to the peak of discovery. There’s a significant gap between that and the peak of production which may have taken place c. 2008 or is taking place around now.
   This observation refers only to easy oil which is what the Peak Oil movement is concerned with. Fracking, shale and tar sands do indeed extend the life of oil supplies but at intolerable cost to the environment.
   Also, while it’s true that Mike was originally a mainstay of the 9/11 Truth movement, he later broke with them irrevocably for their promulgation of the “No Plane at the Pentagon” meme and other less reliable evidence such as witness testimony of explosions before the twin towers fell. First of all, any potential physical evidence of bombs was expeditiously dispatched to Fresh Kills, SI, or to China, India and South Korea for recycling. But even if you did find evidence of bombs, Mike pointed out, what would that prove about who had placed them? Mike stuck with incontrovertible evidence of US government involvement in the attacks such as the warnings from multiple foreign intelligence agencies which went unheeded, the wildly anomalous put options on United and American airlines which got “overlooked” although the government monitors the stock market in real time, and the at least five war games taking place the morning of the attacks which diverted planes away from the east coast.
   (There’s also a slight inaccuracy referring to my personal relationship with Mike which I mention only as a shield in case someone later accuses me of lying to the reporter.)
   Saints are not interesting. Stroud’s article will undoubtedly peak interest in Mike, thereby bolstering the case for the adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Thus, however circuitously, it will help promulgate the invaluable information and insights Mike provided into our current global crisis.

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