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.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire