Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 10, 2018

William Blum Died

William Blum died yesterday at the age of 85. He has written about the misdeeds of the U.S. government since the late 1960s. I have read many, many of his pieces and benefited from his knowledge. I especially liked his dry humor or snark that he sprinkled over them.

In its obit the Covered Action Magazine notes:

Initially an anti-communist with dreams of becoming a foreign service officer, he became disillusioned by the Vietnam War.

m is also the author of America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else (2013), Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (updated edition 2005), West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir (2002), and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (2004).  His books have been translated into more than 15 languages.

In 2006 Blum's book 'Rogue State' was once recommend by Osama bin Laden which greatly increased its sales.

More than 150 of Blum's pieces were published by Counterpunch and are available here. On his website Blum also published the Anti Empire Report.

In July he took part in a panel and explains (vid) why the U.S. public is largely content with U.S. foreign policy. They believe, falsely, that the U.S. is always well intended. Mistakes are made, there are fuck ups, but the U.S. always means well. It is that illusion that must be eradicated to change U.S. foreign policy.

An hour long interview with him was recently published here (vid).

William Blum lived a long and fruitful life. Still, his death is a great loss for us.

May he rest in peace.

Posted by b on December 10, 2018 at 19:00 UTC | Permalink


RIP to a great one. I remember reading rogue state over a hot summer in 2009

Posted by: Cresty | Dec 10 2018 19:28 utc | 1

> They believe, falsely, that the U.S. is always well intended. Mistakes are made, there are fuck ups, but the U.S. always means well. It is that illusion that must be eradicated to change U.S. foreign policy.

Also known as the falsehood that is "American Exceptionalism" - which is funny in its own sad way because apparently American Exceptionalism means that you make accidental mistakes that kill millions.

I think it's the biggest lie that I've ever come across in my lifetime.

It's like the "Anglo-Saxon supremacy" as spouted by the likes of Afred Milner in the late 19th/early 20th century to justify the existence of the British Empire.

Posted by: flayer | Dec 10 2018 19:35 utc | 2

Yes, indeed, a good man, and there are far too few of them.

I exchanged a few words with him some years back, and I received an autographed copy of one of his books.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Dec 10 2018 19:57 utc | 3

Bill Blum lives on through his works and moral courage, and is certainly someone to emulate, which some of us try to do in our own little way. I used his writings in my classrooms and followed his footnotes to discover other like-minded authors trying in their own ways to disown the Outlaw US Empire while attempting to educate its citizenry to undermine it. I recently posted that he'd become in need of monetary assistance for mounting medical bills due to what became a fatal condition, which was the reason behind the cessation of his newsletter's publication. Who has the strength and wisdom to take his place, to continue his work? To an extent, Julian Assange already does, but he too is in jeopardy. Monetary gain cannot serve as motivation. Rather, the motivation must come from moral revulsion of Imperial Deeds, whether done by the USA, UK, France, Japan, China, or any other nation--but particularly those of the Outlaw US Empire as its deeds are by far the worst to accost humanity since WW2's end.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2018 20:05 utc | 4

It seems that the very manner of his death and his last illness were demonstrations of the pitiless and callous attitude of the American state towards someone who had never accumulated much in the way of capital.
It was only a few weeks ago that his former wife was appealing to the public for assistance covering his medical expenses.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 10 2018 20:06 utc | 5

We stand on the shoulders of giants! And must not weaken.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 10 2018 20:19 utc | 6

William Blum has shown uncommon courage en stamina with his work on US foreign policy. Throughout his life he has fought the good fight. He was a wise man but at the same time there always was something of the child's wonder in his writings, I find. Writing about the most terrible crimes he still managed to find a place for humour and doing this without in any way trivializing his subject matter. He is a real example for us to follow.

Posted by: Paul J | Dec 10 2018 20:59 utc | 7

Man, what an inspiration Bill was! My first introduction to him was Killing Hope. Apt title, especially when one considers all the nations that have made their efforts at even moderate socialism, only to see their efforts consistently and repeatedly sabotaged. Yet the nations that have done so more or less successfully -- China, Russia, Iran, etc. -- are the ones who have done the most to alleviate world poverty. He'll be sorely missed, and few will emulate him. Buon viaggio, Bill. Come back soon.

Posted by: m | Dec 10 2018 21:38 utc | 9

Farewell and RIP to a great warrior, William Blum.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 10 2018 21:39 utc | 10

Rest in peace.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 10 2018 21:49 utc | 11


One of the greatest who goes when most is needed...

I only hope that he can provide us with the strenght, courage, stamina and creativity to continue fighting without despire.
Renewing, one hit after another our hope in a better world and a better future in spite of the efforts of some to "kill hope" will be, for sure, the best homage to his incommeasurable work, his honorable stay on Earth and the dignity with which he leaves, even when among poverty...
Even in the way he has died, he contiued denouncing the inhumane character of a way of life which is essentially opposed to human nature, which is currently menacing us all over the surface of Earth, including you, people in the US whose "style of life" they claim to be defending, which is not true. It is not, when people of his stature die in precarious conditions not having access to the most advanced medical means to be treated, which, by any basic measure of decency, should have been provided with.

I discovered him through an Spanish website ( currently frozen ) which has some of the chapters of "Killing Hope" translated with added aports by the authors of the blog. I will left a link, since "Killing Hope" is quite difficult to get today...Chronologically ordered, at the end of each entry there is a summary of the chapters translated with hyperlink included in blue.

Thank you so much, Bill!! Que la Tierra te sea leve!

Posted by: Sasha | Dec 10 2018 22:18 utc | 12

" In 2006 Blum's book 'Rogue State' was once recommend by Osama bin Laden which greatly increased its sales."


Cant agree with the above comment Bernard as OBL died in hospital in late 2001..

Posted by: Brian Germein | Dec 10 2018 22:19 utc | 13

blum’s writings and research have been and will continue to be an inspiration in the quest for knowledge and context when it comes to the foreign policy objectives and crimes of this particular ‘exceptional’ empire - definitely need more like him - are there any younger generations doing this type of yeoman’s work? we’re losing the standard bearers at an accelerated pace now - edward herman, for one i sure miss - chomsky is surprisingly fit for his age so he’ll be writing and speaking for a while still but not sure the current mediascape facilitates the rise of new truth tellers with the mass appeal of these prolific fellows

Posted by: b real | Dec 11 2018 0:00 utc | 14

So, for those who haven't read his books. Which one to start / to be the most essential?

Posted by: radiator | Dec 11 2018 0:00 utc | 15

"In July he took part in a panel and explains (vid) why the U.S. public is largely content with U.S. foreign policy. They believe, falsely, that the U.S. is always well intended"

Imo it is also because the americans know that they benefit from dollar reserve currency status, so they back the empire.

What will they do if they can not print the world currency and steal trillions from the world that way? Hyperinflation will follow.

I'm really sceptical about americans not backing the empire. They know that being the imperial center of the world will bring them some benefits too. After all, you can't have a piss poor country ruling the world. The center must be kept relatively strong and wealthy.

Posted by: T | Dec 11 2018 0:07 utc | 16

Blum on 9/11

“The Truthers have done great work, but I say that for me, and I’m sure for many others, to accept the idea of an inside job I have to indeed know what actually took place, or at least a lot more than I know now. It is, after all, an incredible story, and I need to know how the government pulled it off. I need to have certain questions answered, amongst which are the following:

Were the planes that hit the towers hijacked?
Did they contain the passengers named amongst the dead?
Were they piloted or were they flying via remote control?
If piloted, who were the pilots?
Did a plane crash in Pennsylvania? If so, why? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
Did a plane crash into the Pentagon? What happened to the remains of the plane and the passengers?
Why do Truthers say that some, or many, of the named Arabic hijackers have been found alive living abroad? Why couldn’t their identity have been stolen by the hijackers?

If the Truthers can’t answer any or most of the above questions, are they prepared to consider the possibility of 9/11 being a “let-it-happen” government operation?”

Not very satisfactory. Obviously this is a sensitive and rather dangerous subject for a journalist. Like Chomsky Blum gave us some of the truth while avoiding this one, so that will be missed. But unless people address what happened those responsible still have control. Blum mocked Obama for always saying “I prefer to look forward” when asked to deal with some event that happened in the past. The problem is you cant move forward from an event which was essentially a coup d’’etat (the third since 1963), you can only continue the descent to totalitarianism unless you deal with those behind the curtain.

So RIP Blum, maybe you can speak freely now.

BTW, the post 2001 tapes were most likely faked. I also doubt amazon was shipping to OBL

Posted by: Pft | Dec 11 2018 0:08 utc | 17

radiator @15--

Chomsky cited The CIA: A Forgotten History as "far and away the best book on the topic;" although published in 1986, it's now a bit dated. I'd say Killing Hope and Rogue State are about equal in importance, although it helps to have read the first prior to the second since Hope describes the rogue state's behavior. Certainly his title is one of the reasons why my term is Outlaw US Empire and provides empirical backing for the moniker. Blum's Wikipedia bio contains more info and links. He did publish an autobiography, West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir, which I've yet to read. His Anti-Empire Report was always a source of new info and is greatly missed already.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11 2018 0:30 utc | 18

I first came across Blum's Killing Hope, then title The CIA: A Forgotten History with the help of a history teacher at Diablo Valley College in 1990. I had a good handle of geography, but Blum got me up to speed of international relations in a way that has had me very well informed ever since. Rest in Power William Blum!

Posted by: DougDiggler | Dec 11 2018 1:39 utc | 19

@karlof1 @DougDiggler
thx, I'll be reading up on it, maybe 1986 is a good starting point. I'll see whether that's available still. Cheers folks.

Posted by: radiator | Dec 11 2018 1:53 utc | 20

Rouge State was the WTF moment for me.


Posted by: Tobin Paz | Dec 11 2018 1:57 utc | 21

A peaceful giant among so many psychopathic war-loving dwarfs

“The "trickle-down" theory: the principle that the poor, who must subsist on table scraps dropped by the rich, can best be served by giving the rich bigger meals.” ― William Blum

“Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship.” ― William Blum, America's Deadliest Export

thanks for the notice of his death and the nice obit (and helpful links), bernardo

rest in peace, William B.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Dec 11 2018 3:43 utc | 22

I am so sorry to hear about his death. His courage and long-term fight-back against imperial doctrine and propaganda were inspiring. There are so few journalists left who have the courage to fight this fight.

Posted by: Kris | Dec 11 2018 3:59 utc | 23

Nice work, b, and a fitting send-off for a heroic human being.
RIP indeed. If there's a Heaven, William Blum belongs there.

I've only read one of his books: Killing Hope. It is sad, frustrating and infuriating, and by the time I got to the end I had to admit that killing Hope has long been AmeriKKKa's Number 1 objective. It almost succeeded in killing mine...

"In 2006 Blum's book 'Rogue State' was once recommend by Osama bin Laden which greatly increased its sales."

I haven't heard that anecdote but the irony is compelling - and appropriately Blum-ish.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 11 2018 4:13 utc | 24

William BLum,


Another good man bites the dust.

Somebody should do an autopsy on him.

Posted by: denk | Dec 11 2018 4:47 utc | 25

Good night, Bill. Rest well. We'll miss you.

b, thanks for passing the word.

For those in this thread who are looking for members of a younger generation who might be doing a similar type of yeoman’s work in service to clarity and truth ... Assange was mentioned. Yes. I would also name André Vltchek.

Posted by: Laninya | Dec 11 2018 5:01 utc | 26

Thank you.

Posted by: Gaianne | Dec 11 2018 5:03 utc | 27

RIP. W. Blum, here's a good book mark, as it's part of his legacy;

Posted by: ben | Dec 11 2018 5:32 utc | 28

RIP to a wonderful and humane historian whose time will come, as always, too late. If and when the US ever truly reckons with its imperialist past and present, no doubt until after the empire itself collapses, Blum's sharp and witty books will be taught in every high school.

Posted by: George Lane | Dec 11 2018 5:41 utc | 29

"In July he took part in a panel and explains (vid) why the U.S. public is largely content with U.S. foreign policy. They believe, falsely, that the U.S. is always well intended. Mistakes are made, there are fuck ups, but the U.S. always means well. It is that illusion that must be eradicated to change U.S. foreign policy."

It's because US policy is always couched in moralistic terms. When something goes wrong, the answer is someone went rogue or the victims deserved it.

Posted by: Les | Dec 11 2018 5:51 utc | 30

A beautiful man . . . He always wrote so beautifully about the ugliest realities on this earth . . . That's the only thing that made the noxious draft go down . . . That, and his wonderful sense of humor. Only now do I know how much I depended on his anti-Empire reports to maintain what sanity I still have left swimming in a sea of propaganda. I will miss him very much.

Posted by: Michael | Dec 11 2018 7:24 utc | 31

Posted by: T | Dec 10, 2018 7:07:44 PM | 16

"They believe, falsely, that the U.S. is always well intended"

I'm really sceptical about americans not backing the empire. They know that being the imperial center of the world will bring them some benefits too. After all, you can't have a piss poor country ruling the world. The center must be kept relatively strong and wealthy.

I agree, to whatever extent Americans really believe in exceptionalist idiocy, that's more an effect than a cause. Few people can support what they consciously know is evil and consciously revel in it, so they put up psychological and especially moral smoke screens. This is basically Western liberal hypocrisy simplified and magnified to a much greater level.

It's also necessary psychological reassurance since almost all Americans are delusional in thinking they'll get "some benefits too". It goes well with the lottery mentality, how poll after poll has Americans claiming to believe "someday I will be rich."

Blum RIP

Posted by: Russ | Dec 11 2018 9:33 utc | 32

I especially like his dry humor or snark!
gmail sign up

Posted by: Ray | Dec 11 2018 9:33 utc | 33

I'll cherish my signed copy of Killing Hope. A truth teller gone and the world is worse off.

Posted by: johnT | Dec 11 2018 9:41 utc | 34

Bill Blum was one of the all time great intellectuals on the left, he will be greatly missed–and leaving very big shoes to fill. So very sad to hear of his passing, he will be missed. Not only an excellent writer and critic of US foreign policy, but unlike most famous writers who hide in their ivory tower, Bill would actually reply to emails from strangers. God Bless Bill, RIP, we will all miss you!

Posted by: Deschutes | Dec 11 2018 10:33 utc | 35

It was only a few weeks ago that his former wife was appealing to the public for assistance covering his medical expenses.
Posted by: bevin | Dec 10, 2018 3:06:50 PM | 5

I hope his former wife is not now afflicted with crippling expenses?

Posted by: BM | Dec 11 2018 11:58 utc | 36


Hell of a thing to see first thing in the morning.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 11 2018 14:34 utc | 37

the nexus of William's work will for me always be his master list.

so concise, it says it all. spread it.

Posted by: john | Dec 11 2018 14:35 utc | 38

Blum was the greatest historian of our generation. He saw what so many others didn't. He was smart and brave. His books should be in every school.
He was my friend. I loved him.

Posted by: rosemarie jackowski | Dec 11 2018 14:47 utc | 39

thank you so much, b, for eulogizing william blum. after his fall, we were advised that his family could use some dollars to help keep him in the hospice. mr. wd asked me to send a few dollars he knew how how often i used blum's quotes and lists in my diaries.

at my home site and a place i cross-post, i'd offered this fine song of bruce cockburn's to him, although the images aren't what one might wish. hope this isn't inappropriate. travel well; you were a giant among historians.

Posted by: wendy davis | Dec 11 2018 15:56 utc | 40

Bill's friends and colleagues at CovertAction Magazine published an obit that Tom at ICH has republished, which includes links and a video.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 11 2018 16:26 utc | 41

I hope that this is not too far off topic -- I'm sure that William would be right on top of this if he were still here:

Emergency briefing of the head of DPR People's Militia Basurin on the situation on 10 12 2018

A false-flag attack on civilians by Ukranian SBU in Mariupol will be followed with an attack by massed foces of infantry, armor and artillery on the Donetsk People's Republic on Dec 14. The Donetsk People's Militia has obtained the battle plans.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 11 2018 16:59 utc | 42

The f**** ????


And you need to look after yourself B.


Posted by: Skeletor | Dec 11 2018 17:26 utc | 43

Thank you for all your work William Blum- you informed more people than you could know.

If you flip over the rock of American foreign policy of the past century, this is what crawls out… invasions … bombings … overthrowing governments … occupations … suppressing movements for social change … assassinating political leaders … perverting elections … manipulating labor unions … manufacturing “news” … death squads … torture … biological warfare … depleted uranium … drug trafficking … mercenaries …

It’s not a pretty picture. It’s enough to give imperialism a bad name.

- William Blum

Posted by: Allen | Dec 11 2018 17:54 utc | 44

William Blum fought the good fight. I am saddened to read the news of his death.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 11 2018 18:39 utc | 45

"If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize -- very publicly and very sincerely -- to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America's global interventions -- including the awful bombings -- have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but – oddly enough – a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions. There would be more than enough money. Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It's equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated." WILLIAM BLUM

Posted by: rosemarie jackowski | Dec 11 2018 20:23 utc | 46

I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Blum many times in the Washington, DC area. I think the first time was about 20 years ago at Kramer Books and Afterwards. Then, I an engineer from India, had just begun writing about US wars. My subsequent articles and books were influenced by what Bill helped me to better understand. I shall miss seeing him at local events. May he rest in peace.

My books are FREE downloads on the Internet — Google "The War On Islam" and "9/11 Unveiled" or visit The Wisdom Fund to download.

Posted by: Enver Masud | Dec 12 2018 1:24 utc | 47

Wm Blum is one of several sources/soundbite contributors to a recent TV doco in my unwieldy and uncategorised collection. I thought it was Andrew Feinstein's The Shadow World and reviewed the whole thing yesterday, looking for some cites to reproduce here. I didn't find WB but I did gain a new and enhanced appreciation of the quantity and quality of the beans spilt, and fingers pointed at several well-known Fake War On Terror perps.

I'm not sure what's gone wrong in Info Management World because, considering the fact-free Russia Collusion witch hunt against Trump, there's already sufficient Public Domain information/insinuation in pre-existing TV docos such as Shadow World to arrest and grill Dick Cheney, Tony Bliar and others about their misdeeds and connections. And in the same doco there's a cornucopia of potential witnesses to their criminality.

The only logical explanation for the bewildering failure to bring these people before a court or tribunal to examine and assess the evidence against them, is that the entire Western system of governance has been utterly corrupted and is now controlled by the War Profiteers.

The system failed the day after 9/11. And it failed because of a super-imposed, top-down, atmosphere of hysteria which effectively derailed common sense.
9/11, looking beyond the death and drama, was merely a crime and should have been investigated by the Police as a crime. The only obstacle was the individuals who blocked this path by insisting that 9/11 was an act of Terror and 'someone' had to be punished BEFORE any solid evidence had been gathered by the Police.
Perfectly sensible Rule Of Law procedures were abandoned in the rush to pursue instant gratification. Which is ridiculous when you think about it. The Statute of Limitations means that murder cases don't expire overnight so there was absolutely no justification for rushing into Punishment Mode before the crime had been investigated.

There is a bright note. It's not too late. If there's a non-corrupt Police Department somewhere in AmeriKKKa then the Attorney General can instruct it to investigate 9/11 and give it sufficient teeth to bring the investigation to a successful conclusion.
If he/she refuses to pursue this path we won't have to guess why...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 12 2018 1:55 utc | 48

Quotes from Shadow World...

Dick Cheney: "Well, if we're gonna talk about Star Wars, let's invite Darth Vader."

G W Bush: "This is an impressive crowd; the Haves and the Have Mores."

Dick Cheney: "These events have been characterised by some pretty strong statements. We've heard talk about a grave constitutional crisis. We've even been treated to talk about a coup in the White House."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 12 2018 2:58 utc | 49

There's no single better book about US foreign policy than Killing Hope. Yes, his lack of curiosity -- and Cockburn's, Parry's and Chomsky's -- about 9/11 is an error but would that we all battle the empire as hard and as long as he did.

Posted by: street worm | Dec 12 2018 8:42 utc | 50

William Bum was a great teacher. His insight was faultless. His plain language makes his books easy to read, and his humor makes them palatable. With his work he gave us a precious gift. Bless his heart!

Posted by: Astrid Watanabe | Dec 12 2018 10:21 utc | 51

While it is customary and decorous to offer an encomium on someone's death, it is neither necessary nor useful to mischaracterize his achievements. I believe ptf (#17) is the only commenter who attempted to avoid that error.

Blum was no different than Chomsky: a gate keeper dedicated to providing a limited hangout.
A highly intelligent man, which Blum was, does not do that by spewing stupid lies, which he did not. He does it by distracting attention from what is to remain hidden, and loudly and consistently focusing instead on facts that sentient and well-meaning people can agree on: the CIA is bad, very bad! the US foreign policy is an instrument to support brutal military depredations worldwide! No kidding! It is so, he says, like Chomsky, because... "empire"!
Like Chomsky, Blum studiously turns a blind eye to the cancer at the heart of American foreign policy (which Walt and Mearsheimer pointed out): the Jewish lobby that controls it.
To his enduring shame, in trying to deflect attention, Chomsky even went as far as to claim that the AARP is more influential than the Jewish lobby because it has a larger membership...
Both Blum and Chomsky have insisted that 9/11 was 'payback' by those fanatical muslims for the "empire"'s misdeeds in the ME and that, at most, the US may have "let it happen"... Blum just won't give up the tale of the 19 Arab boys with box cutters unless someone tells him exactly how it was done... planes or no planes, etc, etc
No one, absolutely no one who supports the official 9/11 conspiracy theory has any credibility and is suspect of either profound stupidity (definitely not Blum's case) or deceit.
As for Osama Bin Laden praising Blum's book -- a lie that wikepedia peddles in Blum's biography (curiously bereft of biography...) -- Blum did not invent it but supported with that endearing chuckle of his, joking about increased sales. Does anyone honestly believe that Blum did not know that OBL had been dead for years when his book appeared, and that even when still alive was not likely to do book reviews in-between dialysis sessions in Pakistan?

Posted by: ariadna | Dec 12 2018 15:15 utc | 52

"Covert Action Magazine"

Posted by: MOLTENWHITE | Dec 22 2018 6:54 utc | 53

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