William Blum, a role model, a hero, and the author of my favorite book, Killing Hope, died this past week at 85 in Arlington, VA, from complications related to kidney failure. Blum pulled zero punches when it came to his acidic criticism of America's imperialist foreign policy or its shameless defenders in the mainstream media, like the loathsome New York Times, those fine folks who brought you the Iraq War, who penned a pissy little obituary about a real journalist titled, "William Blum, US Policy Critic Cited by Bin Laden, Dies at 85". I sincerely hope that I'm not alone when I wish those creeps blackouts, toothaches. and indigestion for Christmas. Morons like Mr. Sam Roberts aren't fit to dig Blum's grave, much less piss on it.
Yes, in a career spanning half a century, Blum was probably best known for the praise he received from one Osama Bin Laden for his antiwar cult classic deep state rip-and-run, Rogue State. He became downright infamous for refusing to denounce the bastard's good taste in agit-prop. Instead, while denouncing the attacks on September 11, he stood by his work and supported its use by anyone as a tool for historical illumination. As a raving queer leftist who has been published by everyone from libertarian capitalist pigs to right-wing tribalists, I can relate. William not only had the courage to stand up to his own countries foul foreign policy but he never bowed to the Mandarins of the Fourth Estate who scoffed at his brilliant prose.
Blum had an uncanny start for an anti-imperialist crusader. He was in his youth a devout anti-communist cold warrior who secured a job at the State Department with ambitions of becoming a globe-trotting defender of the "free world". This dream came crashing down when he witnessed the unspeakable carnage of the Vietnam War. He quit his promising career with the deep state and instead devoted his life to combating the tyranny he discovered that it truly represented. He helped found the Washington Free Press, which quickly became a cornerstone of the antiwar movement and the burgeoning Fifth Estate which sought to restore the soiled good name of American muckrakery. He stepped in the footsteps of America's finest bards of outrage; Thoreau, Twain, Mencken.
Blum reveled in his new-found calling as an anti-establishment provocateur. He worked closely with burn-listed rogue spooks like former CIA case officer Phillip Agee. He once faked a flat tire outside the gates of Langley in order to record the licence plates of CIA agents coming and going so he could later publish their names and addresses. Blum was the proto-Assange but it was his role as an underground historian that earned him infamy. In his raison d'etre, Killing Hope, Blum gave a carefully detailed, excruciatingly well sourced account of America's toxic history of endless conquest, in blow-by-blow chronological order, from our covert excursions into Maoist China at the end of the Second World War to the imperial train-wreck of the second invasion of Iraq. The work earned Blum resounding praise from academics, intelligence officers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and even a former New York Times bureau chief. But the lion share of the legacy media was beside themselves with vitriol over Blum's exposure of the war crimes of sacred cows like JFK and Bill Clinton, not to mention the long history of collusion between the self-proclaimed free press and the American intelligence community which included fomenting coups and perverting popular elections, almost always in favor of despotic military regimes.
It's little surprise that these corporate sock puppets would throw one last hissy-fit at the gravestone of a literary novice who so rudely showed them what a real journalist looks like, but the virtual radio silence from the alternative left media (with a few shinning acceptions) that William Blum helped create is what I find truly revolting. It took me almost a week to even learn that a man I loved had passed. The rapidly shrinking Russopobes at CounterPunch, a once fine organ that Blum helped put on the map, waited five days to give the self-proclaimed democratic socialist a lukewarm send-off, buried 29 stories down on their weekend edition. Blum was a devoted leftist but he was an anti-imperialist first and foremost and he didn't shy away from calling a spade a spade, even when it was politically incorrect to do so. He rightly spoke out against America's covert regime change operations in Ukraine and our nation's increasingly unhinged position towards Putin's Russia. In the end he got written off by many of the same fellow leftists who once sung his praises for the same reason he got written off by high-brow war-porn operations like the Times, he spoke the truth and the truth was inconvenient.
William Blum was a devoted antiwarrior to the very end. He was also one of the most underrated voices of his generation. I felt compelled to write this obituary to honor his legacy. His service to world peace should never be forgotten. Godspeed William Blum, this is one devoted malcontent who salutes you.
Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky Reid/CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post
* The Whole of the Moon by the Waterboys
* Outsmarted by the Hives
* Whisper to a Scream by Icicle Works
* Glorious by Adorable
* Bring On the Dancing Horses by Echo & the Bunnymen
* Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival
* You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory by Johnny Thunders