The Anti-Empire Report #117 By William Blum: What our presidents tell our young people

4 June, 2013 — Anti-Empire Report

What our presidents tell our young people

In this season of college graduations, let us pause to remember the stirring words of America’s beloved scholar, George W. Bush, speaking in Florida in 2007 at the commencement exercises of Miami Dade College: “In Havana and other Cuban cities, there are people just like you who are attending school, and dreaming of a better life. Unfortunately those dreams are stifled by a cruel dictatorship that denies all freedom in the name of a dark and discredited ideology.” 1

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MEDIA LENS ALERT: HEADSHOT – PROPAGANDA, STATE RELIGION AND THE ATTACK ON THE GAZA PEACE FLOTILLA – PART 2

11 June, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

As discussed in Part 1, media coverage of the non-violent Iranian capture of 15 British sailors (in Iranian waters) focused on the humiliating failure of the sailors to open fire in self-defence. Journalists took a very different view of the May 31 Israeli attack on the ship Mavi Marmara carrying human rights activists and supplies to the besieged population of Gaza.

In this case, the key question was not why the activists failed to open fire (they had no guns) on their approaching kidnappers, but whether they used lesser violence – hitting with sticks and poles – before the commandos opened fire killing nine people and wounding several dozen more. The first two questions of the BBC’s online Q&A focused squarely on the issue of who initiated the violence:

“How did the confrontation begin?

“The six ships, travelling from Cyprus, were boarded in international waters. Commandos landed on the largest ship by descending on ropes from helicopters. They were attacked by the activists on board, and opened fire.” (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10203726.stm)

Who started the violence?

This is disputed. The activists say the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israeli officials say the commandos fired in self-defence. Video clips show activists wielding something that looks like a baseball bat and other objects.

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MEDIA LENS ALERT: HEADSHOT – PROPAGANDA, STATE RELIGION AND THE ATTACK ON THE GAZA PEACE FLOTILLA – PART 1

9 June, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

The most potent propaganda relies on language loaded with hidden implications. In a recent speech, journalist Robert Fisk noted:

“When we westerners find that our enemies – al-Qaeda, for example, or the Taliban – have set off more bombs and staged more attacks than usual, we call it a spike in violence. Ah yes, a spike!

“A spike in violence, ladies and gentlemen is a word first used, according to my files, by a brigadier general in the Baghdad Green Zone in 2004. Yet now we use that phrase, we extemporise on it, we relay it on the air as our phrase.”
(english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/201052574726865274.html)

It seems reasonable to assert that violence has spiked in, say, Afghanistan because violence +has+ increased. But having accepted this reasonable, open implication, we will likely also accept the hidden prediction – that the rise in violence will be followed by a rapid decline. This is important because if we believed the violence might be long-lasting, perhaps worsening, then we might become concerned, outraged – we might even feel prompted to take action. A spike suggests that, by the time we get round to doing something, the problem may already have gone away.

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