Monday, December 17, 2018

William Blum

William Blum has passed away.  Last week on THE REAL NEWS NETWORK, Ben Norton spoke with Oliver Stone about Blum:

Chris Agee and Louis Wolf note:

Bill was born March 6, 1933 at Beth Moses Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. and became an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy. He worked in a computer-related position at the United States Department of State in the mid-1960s. Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.
Blum left the State Department in 1967 and became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first “alternative” newspaper in the capital. In 1969, he wrote and published an exposé of the CIA in which were revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees. He worked as freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1972–1973 Blum worked as a journalist in Chile where he reported on the Allende government’s “socialist experiment.” Its overthrow in a CIA designed coup instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various corners of the world.
in London in the mid-1970s, Blum collaborated with ex-CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates “on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds.” The late 1980s found Mr. Blum living in Los Angeles pursuing a career as a screenwriter. Unfortunately, his screenplays all had two (if not three) strikes against them because they dealt with those things which makes grown men run away screaming in Hollywood: ideas and issues.
For the rest of his long life, Bill lived in Washington, D.C. ineligible to renew his lapsed security clearance because of his political views. Instead, he accepted many speaking engagements on college campuses around the world. Bill was a distinguished member of CovertAction Magazine and the Advisory Board, and worked on staff for many years with CovertAction Quarterly and CovertAction Information Bulletin. His articles can be found in our archives; See issues numbers 33, 46, 47, 51, 53, 66, and 77. Blum went on to write numerous books on U.S. foreign policy and became the go-to source on U.S. intervention.
His book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II–first published in 1995 and updated in 2004–has received international acclaim.  Noam Chomsky called it “far and away the best book on the topic.”

Here Blum is writing about Hillary Clinton:

 As Secretary of State (January 2009-February 2013), with great access to knowledge, Clinton played a key role in the 2011 destruction of Libya’s modern and secular welfare state, sending it crashing in utter chaos into a failed state, leading to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists.
What good did Secretary of State Clinton’s knowledge do? It was enough for her to know that Gaddafi’s Libya, for several reasons, would never be a properly obedient client state of Washington. Thus it was that the United States, along with NATO, bombed the people of Libya almost daily for more than six months, giving as an excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States was thus saving the people of that city from a massacre. The American people and the American media of course swallowed this story, though no convincing evidence of the alleged impending massacre has ever been presented. (The nearest thing to an official US government account of the matter – a Congressional Research Service report on events in Libya for the period – makes no mention at all of the threatened massacre.)
The Western intervention in Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state.” All the knowledge she was privy to did not keep her from this disastrous mistake in Libya. And the same can be said about her support of placing regime change in Syria ahead of supporting the Syrian government in its struggle against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Even more disastrous was the 2003 US invasion of Iraq which she as a senator supported. Both policies were of course clear violations of international law and the UN Charter.
Another foreign-policy “success” of Mrs. Clinton, which her swooning followers will ignore, the few that even know about it, is the coup ousting the moderately progressive Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in June, 2009. A tale told many times in Latin America. The downtrodden masses finally put into power a leader committed to reversing the status quo, determined to try to put an end to up to two centuries of oppression … and before long the military overthrows the democratically-elected government, while the United States – if not the mastermind behind the coup – does nothing to prevent it or to punish the coup regime, as only the United States can punish; meanwhile Washington officials pretend to be very upset over this “affront to democracy”. (See Mark Weisbrot’s “Top Ten Ways You Can Tell Which Side The United States Government is On With Regard to the Military Coup in Honduras”.)
In her 2014 memoir, “Hard Choices”, Clinton reveals just how unconcerned she was about restoring Zelaya to his rightful office: “In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere … We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”

The question of Zelaya was anything but moot. Latin American leaders, the United Nations General Assembly, and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office. Washington, however, quickly resumed normal diplomatic relations with the new right-wing police state, and Honduras has since become a major impetus for the child migrants currently pouring into the United States.

  1. William Blum, author of some of the most comprehensive books about the malign story of US foreign policy, in particular "Killing Hope," died yesterday at 85 via
  2. I was very sad to hear that William Blum passed away yesterday. Killing Hope, Rogue State, and America’s Deadliest Export are essential reading for understanding the American Empire.

  3. passed away in Virginia on December 9, 2018. He was 85 years old. To keep his legacy alive, this account will stay dedicated to his intellectual legacy by sharing what he left us as articles & books.
  4. Unspeakably despicable. William Blum was a renowned, accomplished journalist, historian, & author of several books that are full of incredible original research. But the NYT put "cited by bin Laden" in the title of his obituary to cheaply smear a dead man
  5. This juxtaposition says it all: The NYT smeared anti-imperialist historian William Blum—who exposed US war crimes—as an obscure "critic" "cited by bin Laden." But days before it whitewashed Bush—who oversaw war crimes in Iraq—as a "skilled" hero with a "life of public service."

  6. I don't want to condemn William Blum too harshly because his work is incredibly useful but in his late years, at least, he became quite Islamaphobic
  7. It's amazing the kind of hero's treatment a war criminal like George HW Bush gets in the but a respected voice in the anti-war movement gets smeared on his passing with an association to terrorism because one asshole read his book
  8. Had the pleasure of designing 3 of his books. RIP William Blum 👊

  9. If you're an outspoken critic of American empire, this is how you're remembered in the country's paper of record
  10. The renowned historian and journalist William Blum died on December 9 at the age of 85. He was a lifelong anti-imperialist committed to exposing U.S. war crimes and CIA covert activities across the globe. & discuss his life
  11. “He blamed Washington for replacing secular governments in Afghanistan and other countries with Islamic fundamentalist regimes; reflexively favoring Israel over the Palestinians; and supporting Saudi Arabian dictators.” PS terrible obituary by the Times.
  12. Rest in power, William Blum. "Killing Hope" changed my worldview forever. Thank you for your life and your work.

  13. Huge loss for a society in need of genuine, brave souls. William Blum was a brilliant and courageous man who made irreplaceable contributions to the struggles for transparency, anti-imperialism and social justice. His voice will always remain a beacon for truth and justice.

[Yes, we're aware that we've included a link to Kim Peterson's critique of Blum.  We did so intentionally.  A full portrait is needed.]

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