Saturday, October 27, 2012

What exactly *did* happen in Libya?

 Who is this guy? Someone whose claim to fame in the Pacifica community is that he spent a few years at WBAI as a manager a half century ago, back in the 1960's. And now after a long hiatus of 50 years he is back - back from the dead, so to speak - because in all those intervening years he has not been a part of the WBAI community. And as he himself is so quick to tell us, having worked at WBAI gives one no special creds.  Look at the way he's dissed so  many of the oldtimers like Larry Josephson and Steve Post and others (who BTW did not like him either).  Yet he thinks he's somehow qualified  to make all kinds of judgementts and pronouncements about WBAI and that people will listen. His name is Chris Albertson

He has a captive audience on the Blue Board thanks to Moderator R. Paul Martin, who puts no stops on him. Has it something to do with free speech? Hardly, since Martin does put stops on others. But Albertson is permitted to reign there like the petty tyrant of ideas that he is, subjecting others to his thoughts there daily. And if you disagree with him -- expect to receive some abuse. He lurks on the board, ever ready to pounce on the unsuspecting poster. Nearly everybody who posts there now gets a reply from this guy. It might be all very laughable, except for the fact that he really is out to harm certain people. And the opportunistic R. Paul Martin who now calls the shots at the Blue Board, lets him get away with it time after time. 

Albertson mostly goes after WBAI management (of course, of course - all WBAI's current problems are their collective fault) , and in particular, a producer named Robert Knight, who does the evening program Five O'Clock Shadow on WBAI. Albertson has stated that the main thing he doesn't like about Robert is his take  President Obama. Never mind that Knight is not the only Progressive  to take a dim view of Obama. Just look at things being said by people like Chris Hedges, Mike Feder,  Gary Null, Gerald Celente, Glenn Ford, to name just a few. The list of Obama disappointees is very long indeed, even though it pains me to say it, and I'd take him over Romney, since at least he gives lip service to Progressive ideals.

Chris Albertson, an ex-music critic, really has no qualifications for judging Robert and has shown himself incapable of appreciating Robert's brilliance, yet nevertheless believes he's qualified to serve as Robert's critic. He has set himself up as  chief critic in residence on the Blue Board,  and loves to give "reviews" as if he was Pauline Kael and everyone is just dying to hear what he thinks about this or that. He supplements this with links to his own blog, which I will not provide a link to, as it contains too many trash postings. I doubt if Albertson understands half of what Robert Knight talks about, but his bloated ego does not permit him to admit that, to take a step back and listen and learn something. Somebody once called him a "monster", and in this sense he is exactly that, having little or no empathy for others, having very rigid views, and being determined to impose those views on others.

Robert Knight has been covering foreign news for years, and is especially knowledgeable about what's going on in the Middle East. In the following post, someone attempted to engage Albertson about Libya after he had made one of his typical cracks: 

Albertson never answered! Of course he didn't, because he couldn't! Albertson doesn't have the expertise to do so. And yet he projects himself capable of analyzing and critiquing Robert Knight's analysis of Libya! But he throws things out with nothing to back them up and just leaves them hanging in the air, the same way I imagine a provocateur would operate. I'm not calling him that but just saying that members of the Left are often their own worst enemy.

Five O'Clock Shadow's two shows that immediately followed the September 11 attack in Benghazi are archived.

September 12 show:
 "Five O'Clock Shadow" with Robert Knight
 Ambassador Edward Peck, Jennifer Loewenstein, Barack Obama, Robert Knight


US drones and warships are now menacing post-coup Libya in response to an al Qaeda-linked Benghazi consulate assault that killed four Americans, including the ambassador. Anti-American protests escalate in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere, ostensibly over an islamophobic film.

September 13 show:

As evidence accumulates indicating a well-coordinated RPG attack on the Behghazi US consulate, and precise mortars on another "safe house," as US military systems converge there, questions persist whether post-Gadhafi Libya is a vindication, or tragic revelation of Barack Obama's "bipartisan" covert belligerence, reminiscent of 1954 in Iran and Guatemala.  

Vijay Prashad discusses Cyrenaican militancy in the "new" lawless anti-Afro militia-ruled Libya, Medea Benjamin details the tyranny of drone strikes in Libya and elsewhere, and Shahid Buttar celebrates a federal court ruling denying Obama-approved US military detention of citizens and journalists.

This second show has a fascinating exchange between Robert Knight and brilliant Middle East scholar Vijay Prashad, who didn't believe Al Qaeda was involved, whereas Robert did. It made for an interesting conversation, and Mr. Prashad provides some interesting background information.

Robert Knight had nailed it!  Compare that verifiable fact to the ignorant assertions of
Chris Albertson about "Knight's skewed picture of what happened in Libya". Two days after the tragic event Knight had it right. He beat out the pundits on  both Fox and MSNBC, Middle East experts, and even the White House! This is the sort of thing that people listen to WBAI for -  what you normally do not get on the major media.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we heard about Romney making millions from the auto bailout on WBAI --  and heard it from the horse's mouth, Greg Palast himself, who appeared live on both Democracy Now and Five O'Clock Shadow and Gary Null. How often do you see Greg Palast on cable TV? How about never?  Actually, Ed Schultz did finally mention the article in The Nation, several days later - and I give him credit for that. But it was mentioned much too briefly in my opinion, and was not given the kind of attention that so many relatively minor factoids get over at MSNBC, where one host after another will  cover the same talking points until it's coming out your ears. In my opinion this could have been and should have been a major campaign issue. It should have been brought up during the Obama-Romney debate, but it seemed to be on no one's mind.

Then came the matter of the Third Party Debate in Chicago. You'd have barely known it was happening if you only watched MSNBC, although Lawrence O'Donnel did bring it up -- after the fact -- explaining that it didn't warrant coverage by MSNBC because the numbers were not large enough (15%) to warrant it according to Lawrence. Maybe so, but the ideas were large. And we got to listen to them and hear commentary and analysis afterwards, courtesy of WBAI. Both the official Obama-Romney debate and the unofficial Independents debate were covered by Pacifica/WBAI.

The Five O'Clock Shadow can be heard Monday - Thursday at 5pm on WBAI 99.5FM and streamed live on

It's a great show, but don't take my word for it - listen for yourself.

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