For the last few years I have been a recipient of William Blum’s amusing, pointed and usually devastating “Anti-Empire Report.”
It has always reminded me of that great tradition of the American radical, carrying on the fight against all odds, facing up to the crushing power of the American political-military-industrial complex, keeping the faith alive. That tradition is described in detail in Howard Zinn’s superb People’s History of the United States, which explains how, from the very beginning of the American state, everything was set up to ensure that neither the freed blacks (if there should be any), nor the poor whites should have any say in he affairs of the nation, a heritage the nation has been exteremely slow to overcome.
Unfortunately, I will receive no more of these revealing monthly reports, because William Blum died this week at the age of 85, thus ending the string of books and articles with which he has excoriated the American capitalist machine. There was always an air of mischief about the way he approached things, as the full title of his book indicates: America’s Deadliest Export, Democracy. The truth about US foreign Policy, and everything else.
The obituary published by the CovertAction Magazine noted that in the mid-sixties he worked in a comuter-related position in the US State Department, when he was an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, but “
shrank from controversial actions: in the mid-1970s in London he exposed the CIA and in doing so published the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees, and later he collaborated with Philip Agee’s project --- as CovertAction Magazine described it --- “to expose CIA personnel and their misdeeds.”
His last speaking engagement was last summer and his subject was American Exceptionalism: the Naked Truth. He said: