jump to example.com

When are crimes against humanity ‘arcane references’?

newspaper | @KevinCarson1 | Support this author on Patreon

When are crimes against humanity “arcane references”? When the United States government commits them. According to Politico (Michael Crowley, “Sanders once urged abolishing CIA,” Feb. 22), in a debate with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders “befuddled some viewers with an arcane reference to a 1953 U.S.-backed coup in Iran, which Sanders called an example of America’s history of ‘overthrowing governments.’” The fact that a mainstream liberal publication refers to the overthrow of Mossadegh as an “obscure reference” that’s “befuddling” to the American public says everything you need to know about how the American educational system and mass media serve the state’s official line.

Of course the Iran coup wasn’t some outlier in American foreign policy. As Sanders himself noted in 1989 — another one of those “arcane references” quoted by Crowley — every “revolution for the poor people” in Latin America had been “overthrown by the CIA.”

But even this doesn’t go nearly far enough. The question isn’t so much where the U.S. has installed dictatorships and funded death squads and state terrorism, as where it hasn’t. Just sticking to the post-WWII period, the U.S. began by dispossessing left-wing anti-fascist guerrillas in former Axis territory of their gains on the ground, and instead replacing them with provisional governments headed by politicians or generals who had collaborated with Nazi Germany and militarist Japan. In South Korea, where anarchist activists had created a loose federation of self-managed villages and factories in the vacuum left by Japan’s withdrawal, the U.S. installed a military dictatorship.

The U.S. overthrew the land-reforming Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and replaced him with a right-wing military dictator, the beginning of forty years of U.S.-backed state and death squad terror against economic justice movements — with a death toll in the millions — in Central America. It overthrew Sukarno in Indonesia; the Suharto dictatorship murdered up to a million people in the ensuing purges. It assassinated Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of the Congo, and backed the butcher Robert Mobutu through years of bloody civil war. Beginning with Brazil, successive U.S. administrations replaced most of the governments in South America with military dictatorships.

And the astonishing thing is, virtually all of these crimes really are “arcane references” that the “befuddled” American public has never heard of. If the people of any other country in the world were so abysmally ignorant of their own government’s record of crimes and atrocities, centrist talking heads would clutch their pearls about that wicked government deceiving its people with propaganda. The comparison is really quite apt.

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman developed a “propaganda model” of the U.S. mass media, arguing that the cumulative filtering effect of corporate advertising money and the media’s reliance on official sources result in “news” that toes the official government foreign policy line as closely as the official state media in a totalitarian country.

Looking at what passes for foreign news in the U.S. mass media, it’s hard to say they’re exaggerating. During the Congressional debates over the Balkan Wars of the ’90s, I recall a Congressman on C-SPAN saying he had “been taught” in school that “the United States never fights wars to acquire territory or treasure, but only to liberate other people.” I take it none of his teachers mentioned the Mexican War, which was fought on a trumped-up pretext mainly for the purpose of annexing territory for new slave states. And the U.S. may not have acquired any “territory” in Guatemala in 1954, but United Fruit Company sure did.

At the same time CNN was mocking “Baghdad Bob,” it was uncritically showing staged footage of “celebrating” Iraqi crowds tearing down statues of Saddam. In cable news talking head analysis of the Caucasus crisis in August 2008, you could watch through hundreds of hours of bloviation about “Russian aggression” without hearing anybody mention that Georgia had started the whole mess by invading a region whose autonomy was guaranteed by treaty.

If you replaced the German population in 1939 with today’s Americans, CNN would be reporting as straight news that we were invading Poland in self-defense, because of Polish aggression against ethnic Germans in Danzig. And if anyone suggested the “Polish aggression” was committed by German officers in Polish uniforms, Chris Matthews would rupture a blood vessel screaming about “tinfoil hats.” This is every war America fights.

As Jesus said, why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  • Dan Clore

    Good one from Kevin Carson.


Street Knowledge with Chris Graham: Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Cliff Hyra

Chris Graham interviews Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Cliff Hyra.

Another new poll gives Northam big lead in Virginia governor race

One Virginia governor race poll released yesterday had Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie tied.

Poll: Trump unpopular in Virginia

President Donald Trump is well under water among Virginia voters, according to new poll results released by the University of Mary Washington.

The Petty Hearts bring Tom Petty tribute to Wayne Theatre on Sept. 22

Tom Petty tribute band The Petty Hearts are coming to the Wayne Theatre on Friday, Sept. 22.

Virginia Chili, Blues n' Brews Festival set for Saturday

The Virginia Chili, Blues n' Brews Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday in Downtown Waynesboro.

Events Calendar

Upcoming events in the Shenandoah Valley, Central Virginia and statewide from the Augusta Free Press Events Calendar. Don't see your event listed? Email augustafreepress2@gmail.com.

UVA alum Chris Long to donate first six NFL game checks to fund scholarships

The Chris Long Foundation announced today that Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long will donate his first six game checks of the 2017 NFL season to fund two scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville.

Game Preview: VMI, Chattanooga look to get back on track on Saturday

VMI knew the 2017 football season was going to be a rebuilding year. Chattanooga, coming off a playoff appearance in 2016, had its usual high expectations.

Game Preview: UVA has a chance at Boise State

Vegas and the ESPN Power Index don’t give UVA much of a chance to win at Boise State on Friday night.

Street Knowledge with Chris Graham: First look at UVA-Boise State

Chris Graham and Scott German take a first look at the UVA-Boise State game set for Friday night.

Web Design, Marketing

Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.

Recent Posts
Your One-Stop Media Shop
Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, magazine/brochure, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.
  • Web Design

    You want a new website, but don’t have the first clue as to how to build one. That’s our job. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design and content development. Get your business online for as little as $1,299.
    Learn more about AFP Web Design services.
  • Graphic Design

    The staff at Augusta Free Press Publishing has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association for excellence in layout and design. Whether you need a fresh business card design, rack card, ad, flyer or full magazine design, we can help with all your graphic-design needs.
    Learn more about AFP Graphic Design services.
  • Marketing

    Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.
    Learn more about AFP Marketing services.