Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Turning Ukrainian Fascists into "Freedom Fighters"

Why US Journalists Have Blood on Their Hands

by ERIC SOMMER

Hey U.S. mass media journalists: A large number of you writing in outlets like CNN, Fox News, New York Times, and Washington Post have blood on your hands.  It may initially sound exagerative, but you are complicit in mass murder.  In  the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi war criminals at the end of WW II, the prosecution powerfully argued that those journalists who use propaganda to prepare the public to accept war crimes are themselves also guilty of those crimes.

As the Nuremberg prosecutor stated: “The use made by the Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack….In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.¡±”

During the run-up to the Iraq war – an unprovoked war of aggression  – many of you endlessly repeated, without proper critique or doubt, the false Bush Administrations claims that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and that this somehow justified military invasion.

By helping to manufacture the consent of the public for that war, and by helping to intimidate opponents of the war, you were complict in sending thousands of young American men and women abroad to kill and be killed; thousands of them died, tens or hundreds of thousands were injured or mentally traumatized,  not to mention up to a million Iraquis who died as a result of the war.

“In The Six Months Leading Up To The Invasion,” according to well-known social commentator Bill Moyers, “the Washington Post would Editorialize In Favor Of The War At Least 27 Times.”  Among the dozens of mass media news columists who prepared the public for the war were Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who even argued that an invasion of Iraq would bring democracy to the middle east; Post columnist Richard Cohen, who  stated that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had proved that Iraq “Still Retains [WMD]. Only A Fool-Or, Possibly, A Frenchman-Could Conclude Otherwise.”;  Wall Street Journal vice-president and editorial page editor Paul Gigot, who  told the public: “The “Coalition Will Find “Nasty Weapons And The Cheering Iraqis … When It Liberates The Country.”; and  Fred Barnes, Fox News contributor, who stated that Iraq has  “weapons of mass destruction, there is a delivery vehicle, and it’s called terrorists, it’s called al Qaeda.

Of course, there were no weapons of mass destruction or al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq; and the current presence of al Qaeda in Iraq was a *consequence*  of the destruction and destabilization resulting from the invasion.

Now many of you working for the corporate mass media are at it again – demonizing Russia and Putin, preparing the public to accept the necessity to ‘punish the devil’. Your propaganda is concealing the fact that two neo-Nazis parties, Svoboda and Right Sector,  have gained control of the military and security apparatus of the Ukraine – they are now ministers of those departments – through a violent seizure of power from a democratically elected government; you are glossing over the fact that Russia has a standing military base and treaty rights for Russian soldiers to be present in the Crimea; and you are mindlessly presenting the U.S. administrations argument that Russias willingness to help protect Crimeans from fascist forces is somehow ‘aggression’, though they have fired no shots, and that American sanctions or even military action may be ‘required’ to ‘protect Ukraine’.

The reality on the ground has been shamelessly distorted by a large number of media journalists, helping to prepare public opinion for threats, sanctions, or even military action against Russia.  The  New York Times has opined that  “Putin¡¯s claim of an immediate threat to Ukrainian Russians is empty.¡±  The  Guardian newspaper in Britain dismissed as false the statements by Russian officials that Russian-speaking Ukranians and other minorities are threatened by fascist forces.   Hundreds of articles in other mass media have echoed sentiments of this type, giving the impression that Russian concerns are nothing but a smoke-screen for a land-grab.

In reality, six ministers in the unelected Ukranian government are from the two fascist parties, Svoboda and Right Sector, whose anti-semetic and racist leaders are on record as admiring and wanting to emulate fascists of the past. Tyahnybok, the leader of the larger of the two fascist parties, has called for the destruction of the ¡°Russkie-Yid mafia that controls Ukraine’.  In 2010 he praised John Demjarijuk, convicted as a participant in the murder of 30,000 people in Nazi concentration camps, as a hero. His assistant has founded a think-tank called ‘the Josepht  Goebbels Political Research Center, named after Nazi Germany’s head propagandist.  Within the past year the world Jewish Congress has warned about the danger from this party.

Back in the day you – using the power of the press – also uncritically backed the U.S. governments massive supply of weapons, training, and money to Ben Laden and the other Jihad ‘freedom fighters’ in Afganistan.   The blowback from that venture was 911, and the spread of Ben Ladens  U.S.backed Al Cada terrorists all over the world.

The first signs of trouble from support for the ‘Ukranian freedom fighters’ have already appeared. Some  members of the unelected ‘Ukranian government’ in Kiev. are calling for it to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the U.S. doesn’t force Crimea to remain part of the Ukraine.   This development would place weapons of unimaginable power for mass destruction  in the hands of the two fascist parties  which now control the   military and security ministries of the self-appointed government.

The  blowback from support – including your support – for the first fascist government to be installed in Europe since the end of World War II is unfortunately coming.

Eric Sommer is an international journalist.