Trying to keep ‘Democracy Now’ from sounding too much like PBS news

William Blum is a noted radical commentator, author, and historian. Here is a recent commentary of his about Amy Goodman’s reporting on Cuban ‘dissidents’ just freed by the government there.

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Democracy Now!
I’m a fan of Amy Goodman and her morning radio program “Democracy Now”. It consistently covers a wide range of issues of interest to the progressive community and undoubtedly recruits many new members to the cause. But perhaps their range is too wide to expect the Democracy Now! staff to have done all of their homework on all of the issues. Cuba is one such issue where the program tends to stumble. The latest example was on April 26. In the opening news report, Amy informed us: “In Cuba, six dissidents have been released from prison nearly two years after they were jailed. The Cuban government had drawn international condemnation after the jailings in the summer of 2005.”

That was it. CBS or NPR couldn’t have followed the State Department script any better. There must be many thousands in American prisons who could be called “dissidents” for having at one time or another expressed serious disgust with what the US was doing in some part of the world and who had taken part in a protest; or done the same in regard to some vital economic, civil rights, or civil liberties issue at home. “Oh,” you declare, “but they were not imprisoned because of their dissidence.” Yes, that’s true about almost all of them. But it’s also true about almost all Cuban prisoners.

To grasp this, one must first understand the following: The United States is to the Cuban government like al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba greater damage and greater loss of life than what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban dissidents typically have had very close, indeed intimate, political and financial connections to American government officials, particularly in Havana through the American Embassy (the United States Interests Section). Would the US government ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from al Qaeda and/or engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that organization inside the United States? In the past few years, the American government has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents’ ties to the United States, evidence gathered by Cuban double agents.

From the Bill Blum Report
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Last week I spent some of my time listening to ‘dissidents’ from Sudan and Yugoslavia who had come to America who had also allied with the US government’s plans for their regions. We can expect more ‘dissidents’ to come forth from places like Iran and Somalia in the months ahead, too. They will be paraded before the world press and American public, most especially, as they us tell their varying tales of villainy, that somehow must be alleviated principally through our Emperor’s help, and with the help of the Emperor’s troops, too, as enforcers.

While we should not be unsympathetic to their appeals, we should understand that little liberation for the people of the world can be achieved by us in the US allowing our government to act as world ‘policeman’. US ‘policemen’ work for the US super rich ultimately, and not for the oppressed anywhere.

There are much better ways for Americans to support peoples’ rights in other countries than supporting manipulation by the US gangsters now in power in D.C., as they use one group or another against each other in foreign countries. We should reject appeals for foreign interventions with US controlled troops PERIOD, and get our own house in order.

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