Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Modus Operandi of Oliver Kamm

I never thought Oliver Kamm could sink any lower in my estimation, but today he has.

Despite promising not to refer to me again on his blog, Oliver Kamm devotes a whole posting to me today- and also makes public the contents of private and confidential emails I sent to him.
From emails and letters I have received, it seems that Kamm has a fairly consistent modus operandi of attempting to discredit those who have the temerity to challenge him. From the blog of Ernest Fuentes in America, comes this highly revealing expose. Kamm' cc-ing of his reply to the UCLA Chancellor Carnasale- and Professor Schill from UCLA's Law School was a clear and deliberate attempt to get his correspondent in trouble with the university authorities. In the same way, Kamm has tried to discredit me and to get me into trouble with those who commission my work. From tomorrow, (10th March), my dispute with Kamm will be in the hands of the courts and until the matter is resolved I will not be posting again on the issue. But when the case is over, I will reveal exactly the underhand tactics that Kamm and his allies have used against me since my review of Kamm's book was published in the Daily Telegraph on 31st December 2005. There has been a clear and malicious attempt to defame me and jeopardise my career, which I why I have been left with no alternative but to seek legal redress.

Oliver Kamm - Pompously Priggish Popinjay

As readers of Verso are aware, I recently wrote a letter to Oliver (“Ollie”) Kamm applauding Noam Chomsky for calling Kamm on his intellectual dishonesty.But more on Ollie and Chomsky later.Ollie replied. Actually, Ollie cc’d me. The email was addressed to UCLA Chancellor Carnasale and Prof. Schill (Ollie’s personal friend? A political-ideological-academic fellow traveler? A real estate advisor? You decide) from UCLA’s Law school. Interesting and telling decision on Ollie’s part, and entirely par for the course. Anyway, Ollie asked Carnasale and Schill for “forgiveness” for taking such a “direct approach” and informed them that he was a “columnist” with The Times in London (poor buggers!) and that he was currently “engaged in a fierce polemical exchange” with Noam Chomsky, that the substance of this “fierce” exchange (intellectual dishonesty) was not relevant to my message to him and that although “Mr Fuentes is of course fully entitled to express and send me his political opinions…” that “I do think a message venturing that my published writings are legally actionable on grounds of fraud, and associating UCLA with that opinion, goes beyond personal political preferences, and the use to which the name of your institution is being put is a matter that I respectfully draw to your attention.” After laughing my ass off until it hurt and root beer came out of my nose, I joyfully shared Ollie’s email with all of my friends in academia, medicine, finance and law. My friends at UCLA got a special hoot. After all, everyone deserves a good giggle. But really, what a liarhead! And what a (dull) tool! Then I did something really, really stupid - I actually expended a few precious neurons to learn a little more about Ollie. It wasn’t worth it. Remember when you were a little kid playing in the woods and you turned over a rock with your stick and underneath that rock you found a heaving mass of bugs and slimy creatures? Yeah, it was kinda like that…
To begin, Ollie studied at Oxford and London U. I bet upon further review those two fine institutions, like Harvard and Yale with Bush, wished he hadn’t. In any event, Kamm was a Chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club (Go Tony! America’s poodle!), 1997 - 2001 adviser to Independent MP Martin Bell (currently UK Ambassador to UNICEF – good for Bell), “member” of Chatham House and…wait…wait…a “patron” of The Henry Jackson Society. HJS is a neoconservative (or “neoliberal,” or “liberal internationalist” – you decide), military humanist think spa whose 'international patrons' include such intellectual midgets and moral cretins as Richard Perle, ex-CIA head James Woolsey, Robert Kagan and William Kristol. Kamm is an evangelical military humanist (see his stuff on Yugoslavia), anti- UN, and, you guessed it - a State of Israel expansionist fanatic .
Kamm’s recently published a book (attention Wolfowitz fans!) - Anti -Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy. The title alone should tip you off that Kamm is one confused puppy. I read excerpts (for free – would never pay a dime), read a few reviews, and then put it aside. There’s an informative review of the book by James Heartfield of Basically, Ollie likes force and Ollie likes power and Ollie loves to use both - as long as Ollie’s at the other end of the bayonet. Here’s a bite of Heartfield’s review:
“It is no good Kamm (or David Aaronovitch or Stephen Pollard) wringing their hands over torture in Abu Ghraib, or the continuing insecurity and loss of life in Iraq. Now that the policy has been put into practice it is no use continuing to talk about an ideal of humanitarian intervention: this is it.”But most importantly, I discovered that Kamm has a deep pathological obsession with, and hated of – you guessed it - Noam Chomsky. It appears that Kamm never got over Noam Chomsky pointing out inconvenient historical facts and moral truths that conflicted with his own worldview. When Chomsky was voted “World's top public intellectual” last year it must have sent poor Ollie off the deep end. Kamm’s obsession is pretty ugly and a little scary. But judge for yourself. Check out Kamm’s weblog. Or read one or two of Kamm’s reviews of Chomsky’s work that he’s foisted upon poor unsuspecting readers - a pathetic cottage industry for Kamm (his Amazon handle is “oliverkamm3”). Recently, Ollie’s been on a frantic mission to convince the editors of The Guardian to renounce its earlier retraction of an infamous mock “interview” with Chomsky conducted by Emma Bockes. This interview, a calculated effort to smear Chomsky and discussed previously on Verso, was retracted after embarrassing exposure and widespread critical condemnation. To be sure, Kamm also heaps bile upon the late Edward Said, journalist Diana Johnstone, Joseph Stiglitz and Norman Finklestein. But clearly, Chomsky holds a special place in Kamm’s disturbed internal emotional world. Again, after looking at this stuff you can decide for yourself if Kamm is a man who is …well…sane, let alone happy. No doubt there’s a lot more out there. I stopped looking because I realized what a waste of my time it was to go any further. Enough of this guy! I wanted to find a picture of Kamm for this post. Not wanting to waste another second of my time with this sad ferret I settled for Kamm’s mugshot from his weblog. It’s a small photo. I thought about enlarging it for this post. But I decided to leave it alone because when all is said and done, Ollie Kamm is a very, very small man. It’s best to leave him that way.
Posted: Wed - January 18, 2006 at 05:00 PM




Ken said...

I hope the comment about suing Kamm was a joke. I mean, suing someone only allows lawyers to get even richer than they are already. Besides, even if you win, the smears will still circulate on the web, so why bother?

I suppose that the advantage of being a socialist, here, is that we are used to being attacked, and smeared. We tend to take it as a tribute when the class enemy gets lippy towards us.

Neil Clark said...

No, I can assure you it's no joke. Kamm's refusal to remove the defamatory postings from his blog and to print a suitable apology has left me with no other option. It's a matter of principle: Oliver Kamm not only believes certain nations are above international law- he clearly believes certain individuals are above the law too- and that they have the right to post defamatory comments about others without being held to account.

Ken said...

I was wrong about one thing: the smears have already started, they did not wait until the case was settled. The Wankers for War are accusing you of doing an Irving. Links at my place - sorry, can't be bother writing HTML at this time in the morning.

Sonic said...

Hi Mate, if Ollie Kamm moans about you suing I have an email where he threatens to sue me for a blog comment

joolzey said...

I want to thank you for your articles and posts on Oliver Kamm. They express exactly what I have felt about him for years. Kudos for going against him and exposing him for what he is.

I had a bizarre encounter with Mr. Kamm myself in 2003. Firstly I was struck by his pompous, pseudo-intellectual reviews of Chomsky's books. He clearly enjoyed exercising his intellect by going against Chomsky, but one also got an odd sense of a lack of depth, both in his personality and in his political views.

I subsequently got into a strange e-mail enchange with him in which he revealed his uniquely disturbing blend of moral barrenness, specious reasoning, and supercilious posturing. There was something distinctly creepy about him, which left me feeling a little unwell, as if I had been exposed to a highly intelligent yet disturbing kind of psychopathy.

I alerted Chomsky to the virulent attacks that were being directed against him on but he told me, quite wisely, that was not really the venue to answer criticism of his work.

I assumed Kamm was just some sad crank and forgot about him. Imagine my reaction when some time later I saw an article of his in The Guardian. My jaw hit the floor. I couldn't believe it and I still can't believe that The Guardian continues to give credibility to his discredited and distorted view of the world by awarding him column inches. I just don't know what to make of that.

Anyway, thanks again for your work.
Julian Knight