The Western Standard finally shows it’s true colours. [UPDATED] [UPDATED AGAIN]

July 7, 2008

Never say that once or twice they don’t speak the “truth” on the Shotgun.

In this case it is “Adam Yoshida” the “brave young conservative” that was elevated to editor “volunteer contributor”* on the Shotgun late last year. Today though, he finally showed his true colours after hinting at it for the longest time:

Note here that I’m not absolutely opposed to dictatorship, certainly not in the Roman fashion, where it is necessary. I’m a life-long fan of, for example, Augusto Pinochet.

Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 6-Jul-08 11:28:51 PM

Ah yes, Pinochet, what a great leader, we all should wish we could be governed by somebody like him:

Almost immediately after the military’s seizure of power, the junta banned all the leftist parties that had constituted Allende’s UP coalition. All other parties were placed in “indefinite recess,” and were later banned outright. The dictatorship’s violence was directed not only against dissidents, but also against their families and other civilians.

The Rettig Report concluded that 2,279 persons who disappeared during the military government were killed for political reasons, and approximately 30,000 tortured according to the later Valech Report, while several thousand were exiled. The latter were chased all over the world in the frame of Operation Condor, a cooperation plan between the various intelligence agencies of South American countries, assisted by a US communication base in Panama. Pinochet believed these operations were necessary in order to “save the country from communism”.

Some political scientists have ascribed the relative bloodiness of the coup to the stability of the existing democratic system[citation needed], which required extreme action to overturn. Some of the most famous cases of human rights violation occurred during the early period: in October 1973, at least 70 people were killed by the Caravan of Death, to which Manuel Contreras, later head of the
DINA intelligence service, participated. Charles Horman, a US journalist, “disappeared”, as did Víctor Olea Alegría, a member of the Socialist Party, and many others, in 1973.

Furthermore, many other important officials of Allende’s government were tracked down by the DINA in the frame of Operation Condor. Thus, General Carlos Prats, Pinochet’s predecessor and army commander under Allende, who had resigned rather than support the moves against Allende’s government, was assassinated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1974. A year later, the murder of 119 opponents abroad was disguised as an internal conflict, the DINA setting up a propaganda campaign to accredit this thesis (Operation Colombo).

Other victims of Condor included, among hundreds of less famous persons, Juan José Torres, the former President of Bolivia, assassinated in Buenos Aires on 2 June, 1976; Carmelo Soria, a UN diplomat working for the CEPAL, assassinated in July 1976; Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean ambassador to the United States and minister in Allende’s cabinet, assassinated after his release from internment and exile in Washington, D.C. by a car bomb on September 21, 1976. This led to strained relations with the US and to the extradition of Michael Townley, a US citizen who worked for the DINA and had organized Letelier’s assassination. Other targeted victims, who escaped assassination, included Christian-Democrat Bernardo Leighton, who escaped an assassination attempt in Rome in 1975 by the Italian terrorist Stefano delle Chiaie; Carlos Altamirano, the leader of the Chilean Socialist Party, targeted for murder in 1975 by Pinochet, along with Volodia Teitelboim, member of the Communist Party; Pascal Allende, the nephew of Salvador Allende and president of the MIR, who escaped an assassination attempt in Costa Rica in March 1976; US Congressman Edward Koch, who became aware in 2001 of relations between death threats and his denunciation of Operation Condor, etc. Furthermore, according to current investigations, Eduardo Frei Montalva, the Christian Democrat President of Chile from 1964 to 1970, may have been poisoned in 1982 by toxin produced by DINA biochemist Eugenio Berrios.

Protests continued, however, during the 1980s, leading to several scandals. In March 1985, the savage murder of three Communist Party members led to the resignation of César Mendoza, head of the Carabineros and member of the junta since its formation. During a 1986 protest against Pinochet, 18 years-old student Carmen Gloria Quintana was burnt alive.

In August 1989, Marcelo Barrios Andres, a 21 years-old member of the FPMR (the armed wing of the PCC, created in 1983, which had attempted to assassinate Pinochet on September 7, 1986), was assassinated by a group of militaries who were supposed to arrest him on orders of Valparaíso’s public prosecutor. However, they simply executed him; this case was included in the Rettig Report.

Further scandals emerged after the return to democracy, such as the allegations that an ex-Nazi, Paul Schäfer, who had set up in Pinochet’s Chile an enclave, Colonia Dignidad, had worked with the DINA.

But but but Snowrunner…. at least he saved the economy! Well…. Not quite:

By mid 1975, Pinochet set forth an economic policy of free-market reform. He declared that he wanted “to make Chile not a nation of proletarians, but a nation of proprietors.”[19] To formulate his economic policy, Pinochet relied on the so-called Chicago Boys, who were economists trained at the University of Chicago and heavily influenced by the monetarist ideas of Milton Friedman, Arnold Harberger, and Friedrich Hayek.

Pinochet launched an era of deregulation of business and privatization. To accomplish these objectives, his government abolished the minimum wage, removed artificially lowered food prices, rescinded trade union rights, privatized the pension system, and reprivatized state-owned industries, and banks, and lowered taxes on income and profits. However, the large copper industry, nationalized by Allende, remained under control of the government owned enterprise Codelco. Parts of its benefits were assigned by a specific law to the Chilean Armed Forces’ budget.

Supporters of these policies (most notably the late Nobel laureate from the University of Chicago School of Economics, Milton Friedman himself), have dubbed them “The Miracle of Chile,” due to the country’s sustained economic growth since the late 1980s.

Pinochet’s neoliberal economic policies’ benefits have been sharply contested. In 1973, unemployment was only 4.3%. Following ten years of junta rule in 1983, unemployment skyrocketed to 22%, while real wages declined by more than 40%. In 1970, 20% of Chile’s population lived in poverty, but by 1990, the last year of Pinochet’s dictatorship, poverty had doubled to 40%.

Between 1982 and 1983, the GDP dropped 19%. In 1970, the daily diet of the poorest 40 percent of the population contained 2,019 calories. By 1980 this had fallen to 1,751, and by 1990 it was down to 1,629. Furthermore, the percentage of Chileans without adequate housing increased from 27 to 40 percent between 1972 and 1988, despite the government’s boast that the new economy would solve homelessness. Meanwhile, inequality of wealth increased. In 1970, the richest one-fifth of the population controlled 45% of the wealth compared to 7.6% for the poorest one-fifth. In 1989, the richest one-fifth controlled 55% of the wealth while the poorest one-fifth controlled only 4.4%.

Does that sound somewhat familiar?

The real “clincher” I find in this though is the reaction to Adam’s remarks by one of the Editors:

Don’t get confused, Snowrunner: The Shotgun is a group blog featuring writers who fit in the conservative and libertarian pigeonholes. Broadly. The purpose of the blog is partly to disseminate news that is relevant to conservatives and libertarians, and partly to serve as your one-stop shop for debates between libertarians and conservatives, as well as debates between one variant of libertarianism and another, as well as one variant of conservatism against another.

Now I know that usually what you get with blogs is a bunch of people who share a set of beliefs. This is not the case with the Shotgun. Each of our bloggers have their own position.

So please don’t confuse any of the bloggers here as speaking for the Western Standard. They speak for themselves.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 7-Jul-08 12:50:02 PM

So by P.M. Jaworski’s opinion calling for Dictatorships, human rights abuses etc. the Shotgun is merely promoting conservative and libertarian “ideas”. I clearly am getting my definition of what conservatism and libertarianism out of a different play book than the editorial staff at the Western Standard, more specifically the Shotgun.

What I find even more fascinating is that the logic seems to be: “Hey, it’s a blog, and yes, we do only allow a handful of people to really post here as part of the editorial staff, but that doesn’t mean we share their opinion”. So my question to the Western Standard then is: Why even HAVE any kind of limit on who can post? Why not make it a free for all (e.g. make it an open forum).

P.M. didn’t take long to answer to that one either:

Thanks for the constructive criticism, Snowrunner. We think a blog is a better way of fulfilling our mission than a forum.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 7-Jul-08 12:59:51 PM

And I wonder what that mission may be. I don’t think it is conservatism or libertarianism. Maybe NeoCon is coming close though.

EDIT: Originally I had written that Adam was an editor with the Shotgun, as Kalim Kassam (the owner of the Western Standard since Ezra Levant sold it) pointed out in the comments that Adam is a “volunteer” (I would call it a Freelancer). I have corrected this above, but it does not change my point that the Shotgun / Western Standard is promoting someone whose ideas about society seem to run counter to the declared mission / vision of the Western Standard:

Purpose: The Western Standard (WS) is the trusted online news and opinion source for libertarian and conservative readers written from a libertarian / conservative perspective. However, the content is relevant and valuable to general interest Canadian news consumers.

Note that this mission statement was written on April 14th 2008, well after Adam began his “volunteer” work at the Shotgun.

According to a follow up email by Kalim:

[I] should be happy to hear that your comments have sparked quite a lot of discussion amongst the WS staff.

If this will result in a publication more true to their own mission statement or in a new mission statement decisively more tilted towards Neocons remains to be seen.

EDIT2: Matthew Johnston is the owner of the Western Standard, not Kalim.


One comment

  1. Snowrunner, I’m always glad to see the Western Standard and The Shotgun being discussed by readers. Criticism is a little like cough medicine, it can be tough to swallow, but it also has the potential to make one stronger.
    I’d like to correct you however on your assertion that Adam Yoshida was at some point an editor of The Shotgun. Adam has always been a volunteer blogger for The Shotgun, and never an editor. The current editor of The Western Standard and The Shotgun Blog is Peter M. Jaworski.
    If you haven’t read our mission statement which includes our editorial philosophy, you can do so here: http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/article.php?id=2769

    Kalim Kassam, General Manager

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