Here's what real anti-Semitism looks like. Listen to former president Richard Nixon: "The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality. ... most of our Jewish friends ... they are all basically people who have a sense of inferiority and have got to compensate." This is from a tape of a conversation at the White House, February 13, 1973, recently released. 9 These tapes, and there are a large number of them, are the Wikileaks of an earlier age.
Yet, as the prominent conservative Michael Medved pointed out after the release of Nixon's remarks: "Ironically, though, no American did more to rescue the Jewish people when it counted most: after the 1973 Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack destroyed a third of Israel's air force and killed the American equivalent of 200,000 Israelis, Nixon overruled his own Pentagon and ordered immediate re-supply. To this day, Israelis feel gratitude for this decisiveness that enabled the Jewish state to turn the tide of war." 10 So, was Richard Nixon anti-Semitic? And should his remarks be kept secret?
In another of his recent interviews, Julian Assange was asked whether he thought that "a state has a right to have any secrets at all." He conceded that there are circumstances when institutions have such a need, "but that is not to say that all others must obey that need. The media has an obligation to the public to get out information that the public needs to know." 11
I would add that the American people -- more than any other people -- have a need to know what their government is up to around the world because their government engages in aggressive actions more than any other government, continuously bombing and sending young men and women to kill and die. Americans need to know what their psychopathic leaders are really saying to each other and to foreign leaders about all this shedding of blood. Any piece of such information might be used as a weapon to prevent yet another Washington War. Michael Moore has recently written:
We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a Wikileaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.
And, dear comrades, let us not forget: Our glorious leaders spy on us all the time; no communication of ours, from phone call to email, is secret from them; nothing in our bank accounts or our bedrooms is guaranteed any kind of privacy if they wish to know about it. Recently, the FBI raided the midwest homes of a number of persons active in solidarity work with Palestinians, Colombians, and others. The agents spent many hours going through each shelf and drawer, carting away dozens of boxes of personal belongings. So what kind of privacy and secrecy should the State Department be entitled to?
February 6 will mark the centenary of the birth of Ronald Reagan, president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. The conservatives have wasted no time in starting the show. On New Years Day a 55-foot long, 26-foot high float honoring Reagan was part of the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. To help you cope with, hopefully even counter, the misinformation and the omissions that are going to swamp the media for the next few months, here is some basic information about the great man's splendid achievements, first in foreign policy:Nicaragua
For eight terribly long years the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Ronald Reagan's proxy army, the Contras. It was all-out war from Washington, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the Sandinista government -- burning down schools and medical clinics, mining harbors, bombing and strafing, raping and torturing. These Contras were the charming gentlemen Reagan called "freedom fighters" and the "moral equivalent of our founding fathers."
Salvador's dissidents tried to work within the system. But with US support, the government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds of protestors and strikers. When the dissidents took to the gun and civil war, the Carter administration and then even more so, the Reagan administration, responded with unlimited money, military aid, and training in support of the government and its death squads and torture, the latter with the help of CIA torture manuals. US military and CIA personnel played an active role on a continuous basis. The result was 75,000 civilian deaths; meaningful social change thwarted; a handful of the wealthy still owned the country; the poor remained as ever; dissidents still had to fear right-wing death squads; there was to be no profound social change in El Salvador while Ronnie sat in the White House with Nancy.
In 1954, a CIA-organized coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military-government death squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims -- indisputably one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century. For eight of those years the Reagan administration played a major role.
Perhaps the worst of the military dictators was General EfraÃn RÃos Montt, who carried out a near-holocaust against the indians and peasants, for which he was widely condemned in the world. In December 1982, Reagan went to visit the Guatemalan dictator. At a press conference of the two men, RÃos Montt was asked about the Guatemalan policy of scorched earth. He replied "We do not have a policy of scorched earth. We have a policy of scorched communists." After the meeting, referring to the allegations of extensive human-rights abuses, Reagan declared that RÃos Montt was getting "a bad deal" from the media.
Reagan invaded this tiny country in October 1983, an invasion totally illegal and immoral, and surrounded by lies (such as "endangered" American medical students). The invasion put into power individuals more beholden to US foreign policy objectives.