William Blum

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Greetings gentle readers,

Ever heard of William Blum? He's a writer who has taken upon himself the task of showing the USA public exactly what their government does in their name. In aid of this, he lives near the Library of Congress, so as to spend his days in there gathering evidence - declassified documents and such. Pretty much everything he writes is sourced directly from the LOC. Many of his essays are copied and carried at many websites. One such, outlining USA support of dictators, or activities in overthrowing governments and such, can be found at: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/US_Interventions_WBlumZ.html

More:
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/William_Blum.html
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/American_Empire_KH2004.html
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Foreign_Policy/IraqHypocrisy_WBlum.html
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/Anti_Empire_Report_Iraq.html [Broken]
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/KillingHope_page.html
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
RageSk8
I read one of his essays while researching COINTELPRO. If anyone is interested in COINTELPRO, this website is by far the best resources on the web and one of the best resources in general.
 
  • #3
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Another interesting essay by a former CIA chap: http://www.heart7.net/ciawar.html
These things kill people. 800,000 in Indonesia alone according to CIA's estimate, 12,000 in Nicaragua, 10,000 in the Angolan operation that I was sitting in Washington, managing the task force. They add up. We'll never know how many people have been killed in them. Obviously a lot. Obviously at least a million. 800,000 in Indonesia alone. Undoubtedly the minimum figure has to be 3 million. Then you add in a million people killed in Korea, 2 million people killed in the Vietnam war, and you're obviously getting into gross millions of people....
 
  • #4
RageSk8
That quote is misleading. The US has supported (i.e. helped to come to power) governments who have done horrible things to their own people. In many cases CIA intervention was not great - too often people give the CIA WAY too much credit. Let's not go from admiting the CIA has acted in unethical ways to giving the CIA full responsibility (again, in many cases, even much responsibility) for atrocities commited by others.
 
  • #5
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I bought his book Killing Hope, and he's clearly well informed, and he's also clearly very anti-USA/pro communist and fills his books with alot of great information, and leaves out alot of other stuff. He makes it seem like everything the USA's done is pure evil, and that the (mostly) Communist/Socialist dictators they've toppled weren't bad people at all. He clearly implies, or perhaps even states, that Fidel Castro is feared by America because he's turned Cuba into a prime example of what a Communist nation can be.
 
  • #6
RageSk8
anti-USA/pro communist

Then the book is full of bias BS. The Soviet Union had operations going in many of the same countries as the US. In the Cold War no one was the good guy, but the US was the better and denying that is ignorant.
 
  • #7
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Actually, that's a common mistake among message board people. William Blum is not anti-USA. He's very patriotic. He is, however, against the abuses of power he sees in the USA government. I know it's difficult for many, but you really must try to separate "USA" and "government". They are not the same thing.
 
  • #8
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RageSk8 said:
In the Cold War no one was the good guy, but the US was the better and denying that is ignorant.
On what do you base this "good guys/bad guys", and "USA is best" assertion?
 
  • #9
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In order to support State Department claims about the nature of the war and the reasons for American military actions in Vietnam, further fabricated information had to be generated. A former CIA officer, Philip Liechty, stated in 1982 that in the early 1960's he had seen written plans to take large amounts of Communist-bloc weapons, load them into a Vietnamese boat, fake a battle in which the boat would be sunk in shallow water, then call in Western reporters to see the captured weapons as proof of outside aid to the Vietcong. In 1965, this is precisely what occurred. The State Department "White Paper," titled "Aggression From the North," which came out in February 1965 relates that a "suspicious vessel" was "sunk in shallow water" off the coat of Vietnam on 16 February 1965, after an attack by South Vietnamese forces. The boat was reported to contain at least 100 tons of military supplies "almost all of communist origin, largely from Communist China and Czechoslovakia as well as North Vietnam." The white paper noted that "Representatives of the free press visited the sunken North Vietnamese ship and viewed its cargo."

http://www.vietvet.org/jeffviet.htm
Further details of the incident can be seen on the documentary "The Panama Deception":
 
  • #10
RageSk8
On what do you base this "good guys/bad guys", and "USA is best" assertion?

If you notice I claim that the Cold War cannot be simplified into a fight of "good guys/bad guys" - there were moral wrongs commited by both sides. I do not claim that the US is the "best" - I only claim that the US was better than the Soviet Union. The atrocities of the Soviet Union make CIA covert operations seem like elementary school games. I have no problem with claiming that the US was on the right side of the Cold War. People like you should realize that saying the US was on the "right side" doesn't excuse many of the US government's actions in the Cold War - don't take me for an apologizer for wrongs commited by the US government.

Actually, that's a common mistake among message board people. William Blum is not anti-USA. He's very patriotic. He is, however, against the abuses of power he sees in the USA government. I know it's difficult for many, but you really must try to separate "USA" and "government". They are not the same thing.

I don't think that Blum is anti-US, but I do feel he is often blinded by his mission to "reveal" the injustices commited by the US. Blum has the same problem as Chomsky - simplifying world events out of anger towards the betrayal of American principles by the American government. Often times Blum gives the CIA and FBI too much credit. This is due to his own bias and the bias of his sources. For instance, in COINTELPRO (a horrible FBI program with many injustices) agent memos, naturally, overstate the importance of the operations in outcomes (the same is true for the CIA). Blum and others, strangely, often take FBI and CIA memos at face value - which can't and shouldn't be done. Blum, Chomsky, and co. also tend to evalute actions performed the the US government without putting them in context. This type of historical analysis is too prevalent in left academia today.
 
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  • #11
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I only claim that the US was better than the Soviet Union. The atrocities of the Soviet Union make CIA covert operations seem like elementary school games.
Can you please explain this view?

I don't think that Blum is anti-US, but I do feel he is often blinded by his mission to "reveal" the injustices commited by the US. Blum has the same problem as Chomsky - simplifying world events out of anger towards the betrayal of American principles by the American government.
I actually agree, they are on a mission. However, Blum's personal agenda does not in any way change the facts he pulls out of the Library of Congress. This is why Blum in particular is useful. Everything he asserts can be checked by others.
 
  • #12
RageSk8
I actually agree, they are on a mission. However, Blum's personal agenda does not in any way change the facts he pulls out of the Library of Congress. This is why Blum in particular is useful. Everything he asserts can be checked by others.

Blum does has his facts right but he does not critically evaluate his facts. See my statements about the bias of CIA/FBI memos. My point is that he often overstates the importance of CIA and FBI actions in the overall outcomes - he often presents events as outcomes of CIA and FBI operations (CIA and FBI memos often do this as well) which often isn't accurate.

On the Soviet Union, come on. Lenin and Stalin's atrocities are well known. The occupation of Eastern block countries was incredibly brutal. I'll look for some links, but you can't honestly believe that the Soviet Union didn't committ more atrocites than the US. Also, Soviet atrocities were generally Soviet actions - not covert operations (support, disinformation, etc) like those of CIA (not that the US didn't directly and immorally kill thousands - Vietnam anyone?). I don't know what is so surprising about me being highly anti-Communist and leftist. There used to be a lot of us (before I was born mostly)...
 
  • #13
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Well, this is where PR/spin comes into it. USA activities during the Cold War actively killed, or caused the deaths of, millions. But people generally don't think about them much. The difference is that for one, it was open policy; for the other, it was covered with pretty window dressing.
 
  • #14
RageSk8
Well, this is where PR/spin comes into it. USA activities during the Cold War actively killed, or caused the deaths of, millions. But people generally don't think about them much. The difference is that for one, it was open policy; for the other, it was covered with pretty window dressing.

If one includes Vietnam I agree (on the "millions" figure). US actions during the Cold War have been blatantly lied about and misrepresented for decades and this "spin" continues today. I do believe that people like Blum are doing a service by revealing them to greater audiences. But again, in many instances I have a problem with the word "cause." Just because the CIA helped people at one point who went on to commit atrocities doesn't mean the CIA caused the atrocities. Also, the CIA's help is often times over emphasized. The US government deserves much more flak than it is usually given, but some people give it too much.

I only have one factual misgiving about your post. Much of the CIA and FBI operations that Blum and others mention were not "open policy" - they were secrets. If it wasn't for the Church Committee and the Freedom of Information Act we would have little or no knowledge of them.
 
  • #15
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True, many things they continue to hide, or declassify without letting anyone know about it. It's the same here. Until maybe 3 years ago, most Australians hadn't heard about the DSD, ASIS, and other agencies.
 
  • #16
RageSk8
True, many things they continue to hide, or declassify without letting anyone know about it. It's the same here. Until maybe 3 years ago, most Australians hadn't heard about the DSD, ASIS, and other agencies.

That is the scary thing. Currently in the US, we have a fraction of the documents on COINTELPRO and even then ex-COINTELPRO operatives have testified that the vast majority of the most horrendous actions of the FBI in COINTELPRO were never recorded at all (because they were so horrible). There is a lot of trust given to intelligence and law enforcement agencies in all countries. Sadly, this trust has often been abused.

edit - Which is why things like the Patriot Act are so scary. We are told that as long as you "do nothing wrong" you have nothing to worry about. History has shown that this isn't true.
 

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