Posts Tagged ‘William Blum’

Blum: USrael and Iran

August 5, 2010

William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, August 5, 2010

If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn’t in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I’m reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.[1]

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Blum: Bad guys and good guys

June 14, 2010
By William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, June 12, 2010

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In Lahore, Pakistan, reported the Washington Post on May 29, “Militants staged coordinated attacks … on two mosques of a minority Muslim sect, taking hostages and killing at least 80 people. … At least seven men armed with grenades, high-powered rifles and suicide vests stormed the mosques as Friday prayers ended.”

Nice, really nice, very civilized. It’s no wonder that decent Americans think that this is what the United States is fighting against — Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs, who kill their own kind over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we’re “infidels”. How can we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and anti-war activists would like us to honor?

And then we come to the very last paragraph of the story: “Elsewhere in Pakistan on Friday, a suspected U.S. drone-fired missile struck a Taliban compound in the South Waziristan tribal area, killing eight, according to two officials in the region.”

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Blum: Anti-Communism, alive and well

May 16, 2010
William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, May 15, 2010

Anti-communism continues to have a detrimental effect upon the intelligence and honesty of Americans.  In April, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the Castro brothers “do not want to see an end to the embargo and do not want to see normalization with the United States because they would then lose all the excuses for what hasn’t happened in Cuba in the last 50 years.”[1]

She doesn’t believe that herself. But she thinks the rest of us are stupid enough to swallow it. If she did believe it, she’d advocate normalization of US-Cuban relations just to stick it to the Castros and show them up for the frauds she says they are. In effect the American Secretary of State declared that the central element of U.S. Cuba policy for 50 years has done exactly the opposite of what it was intended to accomplish.  Washington, for all practical purposes, has been a loyal — if unwitting — ally of the Havana regime.

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“After Hiroshima And Nagasaki, There Was Fallujah.”

April 17, 2010

By William Blum, ZNet, April 17, 2010

William Blum’s ZSpace Page

When did it begin, all this “We take your [call/problem/question] very seriously”? With answering-machine hell? As you wait endlessly, the company or government agency assures you that they take seriously whatever reason you’re calling. What a kind and thoughtful world we live in.

The BBC reported last month that doctors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are reporting a high level of birth defects, with some blaming weapons used by the United States during its fierce onslaughts of 2004 and subsequently, which left much of the city in ruins. “It was like an earthquake,” a local engineer who was running for a national assembly seat told the Washington Post in 2005. “After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was Fallujah.” Now, the level of heart defects among newborn babies is said to be 13 times higher than in Europe.

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Haiti, Aristide, and Ideology

February 7, 2010

By William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, Feb 7, 2010

It’s a good thing the Haitian government did virtually nothing to help its people following the earthquake; otherwise it would have been condemned as “socialist” by Fox News, Sarah Palin, the teabaggers, and other right-thinking Americans.

The last/only Haitian leader strongly committed to putting the welfare of the Haitian people before that of the domestic and international financial mafia was President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Being of a socialist persuasion, Aristide was, naturally, kept from power by the United States — twice; first by Bill Clinton, then by George W. Bush, the two men appointed by President Obama to head the earthquake relief effort. Naturally.

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Anti-Empire Report: The American elite

January 11, 2010

By Blum, William, ZNet, Jan 11, 2010
William Blum’s ZSpace Page

Lincoln Gordon died a few weeks ago at the age of 96. He had graduated summa cum laude from Harvard at the age of 19, received a doctorate from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, published his first book at 22, with dozens more to follow on government, economics, and foreign policy in Europe and Latin America. He joined the Harvard faculty at 23. Dr. Gordon was an executive on the War Production Board during World War II, a top administrator of Marshall Plan programs in postwar Europe, ambassador to Brazil, held other high positions at the State Department and the White House, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, economist at the Brookings Institution, president of Johns Hopkins University. President Lyndon B. Johnson praised Gordon’s diplomatic service as “a rare combination of experience, idealism and practical judgment”.

You get the picture? Boy wonder, intellectual shining light, distinguished leader of men, outstanding American patriot.

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The Propaganda Success of the ‘Surge’

December 10, 2009

By William Blum, Consortiumnews.com, Dec 10, 2009

Editor’s Note: It is an overpowering consensus in Washington that the relative decline in Iraqi violence must be attributed to President George W. Bush’s “courageous” decision in 2007 to “surge” U.S. troop levels, a lesson that now must be repeated in Afghanistan.

This conventional wisdom has been pushed especially hard by the influential neoconservatives and the Republicans, but also has been accepted by many liberals and Democrats fearful of being viewed as out of step or not fully behind “the troops.”

However, as author William Blum at killinghope.org notes in this guest essay, there is another side to the story:

They don’t always use the word “surge,” but that’s what they mean.

Our admirable leaders and our mainstream media that love to interview them would like us to believe that escalation of the war in Afghanistan is in effect a “surge,” like the one in Iraq which, they believe, has proven so successful.

But the reality of the surge in Iraq was nothing like its promotional campaign.

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The continual selling of the Afghanistan war

September 4, 2009
Foreign Policy Journal, September 4, 2009
by William Blum

“But we must never forget,” said President Obama recently, “this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”[10]

Obama was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the ultra-nationalist group whose members would not question such sentiments. Neither would most Americans, including many of those who express opposition to the war when polled. It’s simple — We’re fighting terrorism in Afghanistan. We’re fighting the same people who attacked New York and Washington. Never mind that out of the tens of thousands the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001. Never mind that the “plot to kill Americans” in 2001 was hatched in Germany and the United States at least as much as in Afghanistan. What is needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere, with Afghanistan probably being one of the worst places for them, given the American occupation.

As to “plotting to do so again” … there’s no reason to assume that the United States has any concrete information of this, anymore than did Bush or Cheney who tried to scare us in the same way for more than seven years to enable them to carry out their agenda.

There are many people in Afghanistan who deeply resent the US presence there and the drones that fly overhead and drop bombs on houses, wedding parties, and funerals. One doesn’t have to be a member of al Qaeda to feel this way. There doesn’t even have to be such a thing as a “member of al Qaeda”. It tells us nothing that some of them can be called “al Qaeda”. Almost every individual or group in that part of the world not in love with US foreign policy, which Washington wishes to stigmatize, is charged with being associated with, or being a member of, al Qaeda, as if there’s a precise and meaningful distinction between people retaliating against American aggression while being a member of al Qaeda and people retaliating against American aggression while NOT being a member of al Qaeda; as if al Qaeda gives out membership cards to fit in your wallet, as if there are chapters of al Qaeda that put out a weekly newsletter and hold a potluck on the first Monday of each month.

In any event, as in Iraq, the American “war on terrorism” in Afghanistan regularly and routinely creates new anti-American terrorists. This is scarcely in dispute even at the Pentagon.

The only “necessity” that draws the United States to Afghanistan is the need for oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea area, the establishment of military bases in this country that is surrounded by the oil-rich Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf regions, and making it easier to watch and pressure next-door Iran. What more could any respectable imperialist nation desire?

But the war against the Taliban can’t be won. Except by killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States should negotiate the pipelines with the Taliban, as the Clinton administration unsuccessfully tried to do, and then get out.

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[10] Talk given at VFW convention in Phoenix, Arizona, August 17, 2009

The Myths of Afghanistan, Past and Present

August 6, 2009

William Blum, Counterpunch, Aug 6, 2009

On the Fourth of July, Senator Patrick Leahy declared he was optimistic that, unlike the Soviet forces that were driven from Afghanistan 20 years ago, US forces could succeed there. The Democrat from Vermont stated:

“The Russians were sent running as they should have been. We helped send them running. But they were there to conquer the country. We’ve made it very clear, and everybody I talk to within Afghanistan feels the same way: they know we’re there to help and we’re going to leave. We’ve made it very clear we are going to leave. And it’s going to be turned back to them. The ones that made the mistakes in the past are those that tried to conquer them.” (Vermont TV station WCAX, July 4, 2009, WCAX.com)

Leahy is a long-time liberal on foreign-policy issues, a champion of withholding US counter-narcotics assistance to foreign military units guilty of serious human-rights violations, and an outspoken critic of robbing terrorist suspects of their human and legal rights. Yet he is willing to send countless young Americans to a living hell, or horrible death, or maimed survival.

And for what? Every point he made in his statement is simply wrong.

The Russians were not in Afghanistan to conquer it. The Soviet Union had existed next door to the country for more than 60 years without any kind of invasion. It was only when the United States intervened in Afghanistan to replace a government friendly to Moscow with one militantly anti-communist that the Russians invaded to do battle with the US-supported Islamic jihadists; precisely what the United States would have done to prevent a communist government in Canada or Mexico.

It’s also rather difficult for the United States to claim that it’s in Afghanistan to help the people there when it’s killed tens of thousands of simply for resisting the American invasion and occupation or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; not a single one of the victims has been identified as having had any kind of connection to the terrorist attack in the US of September 11, 2001, the event usually cited by Washington as justification for the military intervention. Moreover, Afghanistan is now permeated with depleted uranium, cluster bombs-cum-landmines, white phosphorous, a witch’s brew of other charming chemicals, and a population, after 30 years of almost non-stop warfare, of physically and mentally mutilated human beings, exceedingly susceptible to the promise of paradise, or at least relief, sold by the Taliban.

As to the US leaving … utterly meaningless propaganda until it happens. Ask the people of South Korea — 56 years of American occupation and still counting; ask the people of Japan — 64 years. And Iraq? Would you want to wager your life’s savings on which decade it will be that the last American soldier and military contractor leaves?

It’s not even precise to say that the Russians were sent running. That was essentially Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision, and it was more of a political decision than a military one. Gorbachev’s fondest ambition was to turn the Soviet Union into a West-European style social democracy, and he fervently wished for the approval of those European leaders, virtually all of whom were cold-war anti-communists and opposed the Soviet intervention into Afghanistan.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com

Keeping Track of the Empire’s Crimes

August 5, 2009

The Anti-Empire Report

by William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, Aug 5, 2009

cia-lobby-seal

If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie jar and the Agency admits the obvious — what your eyes can plainly see — that its hand is indeed in the cookie jar, it means one of two things: a) the CIA’s hand is in several other cookie jars at the same time which you don’t know about and they hope that by confessing to the one instance they can keep the others covered up; or b) its hand is not really in the cookie jar — it’s an illusion to throw you off the right scent — but they want you to believe it.

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