Evidence of a notorious crime has turned up in a warren of the State Department, where it had been buried for 30 years. It is notorious because it was the subject of a great motion picture, “Missing,” about the desperate effort of an American father to locate his son, in the wake of the overthrow of the democratic socialist government of Chile. The embassy said it had looked into it and been told that his son had been released, and possibly gone abroad. It never changed its story but the new evidence confirms that the young man was on a list of suspects they had provided to the military, that an American agent was present during his interrogation and that they knew he had then been killed. You may read more about it in the National Security Archives, in the bulletins EXTRA! and CounterPunch, and in books by Seymour Hersh and others.
A few days before the movie “Missing” opened, the Times ran a hugespread denouncing it as a libel on our diplomatic service. It suggested that the great director Costa Gravas might have been so indifferent to the truth and so hostile because he was a Greek. I quote that in “My TIMES: A Memoir of Dissent,” to explain my decision to quit the foreign staff.
There were many, many such crimes in the covert wars, which never seem to end. And throughout, the Times has served to cover them up. It was virtually a mouthpiece for the master war criminal Henry Kissinger. It has seldom, if ever, apologized. Where are those weapons of mass destruction?
Pew! Another Poll
The notion has got around that the world doesn’t appreciate what we’ve been doing for it . So the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press ordered up a scientific poll of eight countries. They asked, briefly — Do you believe the U.S. worries too much about terrorism? And, do you think our war is a sincere effort to reduce terrorism?
You’d think they were White House reporters asking these tough questions. And they’re the same people, really. When those lapdogs retire, some of them find high-paid jobs passing judgment on the media they’ve left behind. You’ve no-doubt seen two of the most prominent ones–the Kalb brothers–Mxxxxx, formerly of NBC, and Bernard, who was at the Times in my day (and was he awful!). Together they committed a book in adoration of Henry Kissinger, who was then engaged in the worst of his crimes against humanity.
Well, that Pew poll was worded to confuse — are we too worried about terror? Is Bush sincere about going for it?–but the Times concluded that it showed hostility growing, both East and West. The White House was blaming John Kerry, because talking into a live microphone, he either did or did not say that foreign leaders had told him the Bushies were liars and crooks.
Well, I haven’t polled a foreign leader in years, but I got a phone call this morning from an English friend who wanted to share with me the remark of a writer who had just won a top literary prize. She let on to the British press that she was pleased — and pleased also to see Tony Blair in disgrace.
As for the U.S., she thought we needed a regime change. Ojala.
A Peek at an Answer
The Times reminded me again today of its way of droning on and burying the point, if any, near the end. Not Tom Friedman– he begins by declaring war on Spain and calling for sending more troops to Iraq. And that was just clearing his throat. A more Timesian example is an editorial on the power shortage in New York.
It says there’s a real smart bunch of operators who want to build a backup network to protect us against brownouts. Got it all figured out–they lined up Con Ed, the brokers, politicians, even environmentalists. And evidently the Times. There’s just one hitch. Wall Street won’t put up a dime unless the state guarantees it a profit for the next ten years or so. That is of course like the Enron deals, which practically bankrupted California, and blacked it out, too.
The Times has always been soft on Con Ed, and it was hot for deregulation. It admits that a state guarantee of a profit is not exactly a free market, but says we can’t expect investors to take on the risk:– so we have to go along, to avoid more brownouts. It looks like a stickup to me. Heads they win, tails we lose. And watch out for those manhole covers.
JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.