America's most feared man
By Darren Guy
William Blum could be described as the down to earth Noam Chomsky, his research and articles terrify the USA establishment. Once a government official working at the state department, he resigned in 1967, in protest at what was happening in Vietnam. Since then he has published a number of books most notable Killing Hope and Rogue State about USA post war policy, documenting the terror they have reigned throughout the post war period.
He writes in a language anyone can understand. Tap into his website and the FBI will immediately open up a file on you. In the mid 70s he worked in London with former CIA officer Philip Agree on a project exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds. Still he strikes fear in the hearts of the establishment. William Blum although an extremely busy man agreed to a brief interview with Nerve.
I read in your books, Killing Hope and Rogue State how you were once a government official. Can you tell me why you left and what changed you?
I was working at the State Department planning to become a foreign service officer, but a thing called Vietnam came along and changed my mind. I didn't want to be part of any such foreign policy.
What do you mean when you say the American Holocaust?
I mean the sum total of what the US has done to the world in the past 60 or 100 or so years – the invasions, bombings, overthrows of governments, support of dictatorships, suppression of popular movements, working against labor movements, widespread dissemination of false information, support of death squads and torture, and much more.
The USA is seen as a legitimate target for Middle Eastern ‘terrorist’ groups, why do you think this is?
Well, let me give you a few examples. The shooting down of two Libyan planes in 1981; the bombardment of Beirut in 1983 and 1984; the furnishing of military aid and intelligence to both sides of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980–88 so as to maximize the damage each side would inflict upon the other; the bombing of Libya in 1986; the bombing and sinking of an Iranian ship in 1987; the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in 1988; the shooting down of two more Libyan planes in 1989; the massive bombing of the Iraqi people in 1991; the continuing bombings and sanctions against Iraq; the bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, the latter destroying a pharmaceutical plant which provided for half the impoverished nation's medicines; the habitual support of Israel despite the devastation and routine torture it inflicts upon the Palestinian people; the condemnation of Arab resistance to this; the continued persecution of Libya, now nearing the end of its second decade; the abduction of wanted men from Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Albania; the large military and hi-tech presence in Islam's holiest land, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region; the support of anti-democratic Middle East governments, from the Shah to the Saudis... I could go on and on. These are some of the American actions that can turn an Arab or a Muslim into a fanatic, into a terrorist, into a decrier of ‘America, the Great Satan’.
I know it’s a difficult question but could you give us some idea of what you think the public over there thinks and why they support the war?
A recent poll showed that 42% believed that Saddam was involved in 11 September and 53% believed that he was closely tied to Al Qaeda. I really believe that no people in the world are more brainwashed than Americans. (I'm not sure about the North Koreans.)
Do you think this was a genuine change in USA policy, regarding Iraq or just a shift in the propaganda?
No change, just one lie replacing another. Among the actual reasons for the war were expanding the American Empire, oil, Israel, globalization, US military manufacturers, and remaking the world in America's image.
A dissenting MP over that ‘Bush and Blair are only against some dictators and in fact the USA prop up most of the dictators in the world’ – can you shed some light on what he might mean?
He means what he says. The US has propped up dozens of the most brutal dictators in the world – put them in power, supported them in power, and suppressed the opposition. My books have all the names.
Has there really been a significant change in USA policy since Bush came to power – because there are people over here who suggest Bush in reality is no different to Clinton and Bush before him etc?
US foreign policy has been imperialistic since long before Bush; now they're much more vocal about taking over and remaking the world. The main change has come since the demise of the Soviet Union, not simply the absence of a foe able to hold its own militarily against the US (or at least thought to be so able, which is virtually the same), but a power that Third World governments could turn to for a measure of protection from Washington's threats to them. Often, what the CIA wanted to know was: Would the Russians intervene or escalate their involvement if the US intervened in a particular country?
What can we do about this?
All I can say is keep resisting. Even the most brutal oppressors need to be loved, need to at least appear to be legitimate. Remember General Pinochet of Chile, as bad as they come, he was in office ruling with an iron fist for some 17 years when he decided to hold a referendum on his continuance in power, just to look more legitimate. He was shocked when he lost the vote. The current American imperial mafia also needs to feel legitimized; that's why they've gone to great lengths to sell their war, without success. We have to keep depriving them of any respect.
Are you working on a book at the moment?
No, just articles and chapters and forewords for other people's books, and speaking all over.
You can buy William Blum's two major books at News From Nowhere.