April 27, 2003

When propagandists were prosecuted as war criminals
'The ongoing US aggression in the Middle East raises the most serious questions about the role of the mass media in modern society. In the period leading up to the invasion, the American media uncritically advanced the Bush administration’s arguments, rooted in lies, distortions and half-truths, for an attack on Iraq. It virtually excluded all critical viewpoints, to the point of blacking out news of mass antiwar demonstrations and any other facts that contradicted the propaganda from the White House and Pentagon.

'The obvious aim was to misinform and manipulate public opinion, and convince the tens of millions within the US who were opposed to the administration’s war policy that they constituted a small and helpless minority.

'It long ago abandoned any sense of responsibility for educating and informing the public or carrying out the critical democratic function traditionally assigned to the “Fourth Estate,” i.e., serving as a watchdog and check on government abuses and falsifications. Instead it slavishly carries out the function assigned it by the ruling elite: to confuse, terrorize and intimidate the American public, rendering it less able to resist the reactionary program of the right-wing clique in Washington.

'The role of propaganda and propagandists figured prominently at the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, convened to render judgment on the Nazi leaders following World War II. In their arguments US prosecutors set forth a democratic legal principle derived from the international experience of a half-century of carnage: that planning and launching an aggressive war constituted a criminal act and that those who helped prepare such a war through their propaganda efforts were as culpable as those who drew up the battle plans or manufactured the munitions.' (via democrats.com)

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