Quotations page 3
"... the establishment
can't admit [that] it is human rights violations that make ...
countries attractive to business -- so history has to be fudged,
including denial of our support of regimes of terror and the practices
that provide favorable climates of investment, and our destabilization
of democracies that [don't] meet [the] standard of service to
the transnational corporation..."
Edward S. Herman
"The linkages between
the United States and the NSSs [National Security States] are
clear and powerful ... but the role of the United States as the
sponsor - the Godfather - of this real terror network is hidden
from view ... the United States is portrayed as an innocent bystander,
occasionally making mistakes in its anxiety to protect the citizens
of Latin America from the evils of Communism, but regretful of
any excesses that may sometimes occur there. This amazing pretense
is carried through despite the historical record of an openly
announced role of Godfather dating back at least to 1823 (the
Monroe Doctrine), the more or less steady interventionism since
then, the remarkable degree of homogeneity within the NSSs, and
the recent record of our role in sponsoring and managing the terror
Edward S. Herman
"Over breakfast coffee
we read of 40,000 American dead in Vietnam. Instead of vomiting,
we reach for the toast. Our morning rush through crowded streets
is not to cry murder but to hit that trough before somebody else
gobbles our share."
Dalton Trumbo, author of 'Johnny
Got His Gun'
" Government exists for
one purpose: to make things better for all people."
" Every man of humane
convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions,
but we must all protest. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Bad ideas flourish because
they are in the interest of powerful groups."
" The purpose of commercial
[media] is to induce mass sales. For mass sales there must be
a mass norm ... By suppressing the individual, the unique, the
industry ... assures itself a standard product for mass consumption."
"Americans have been taught
that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S.
actions have been uncivilized and inhumane."
" The great multinationals
are unwilling to face the moral and economic contradictions of
their own behavior - producing in low-wage dictatorships and selling
to high-wage democracies. Indeed, the striking quality about global
enterprises is how easily free-market capitalism puts aside its
supposed values in order to do business. The conditions of human
freedom do not matter to them so long as the market demand is
robust. The absence of freedom, if anything, lends order and efficiency
to their operations."
"Increases in prison spending
[in the U.S.] average twice as high as increases in education
National Criminal Justice Commission
"We should tax things
we don't like. We should tax pollution ... And we should lighten
the taxes on things we do like, like honest labor, like food."
" The Central Intelligence
Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media."
Former CIA Director William Colby
"We can have democracy
in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the
hands of a few, but we can't have both."
Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court
"When you give food to
the poor, they call you a saint.
When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist."
Archbishop Helder Camara, Brazilian
"The U.S. ranks last among
developed countries in the percentage of its GNP (0.11%) given
in aid. On average, governments in the European Union contribute
three times as much of their GNP (0.33%) in non-military foreign
Friends Committee on National
" Today, the United States
and Somalia are the only two countries in the world which haven't
ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
And since Somalia is a country with no internationally recognized
government, the United States essentially stands alone as the
last holdout to legally guarantee children the same full range
of human rights ... agreed to by 191 other sovereign states. "
"Our government has kept
us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede
of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency.
Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous
foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly
rally behind it ..."
US General Douglas MacArthur
" Never forget that everything
Hitler did in Germany was legal. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"There are too many things
that embarrass Americans in that report. ... they are asked to
believe that their country has been evil. And nobody wants to
Congressman Otis Pike, 1975, about
a Congressional report on CIA activities around the world
" Patriotism, like religion,
meets people's need for something greater to which their individual
lives can be anchored ... America's state religion, [is] patriotism,
a phenomenon which has convinced many of the citizenry that "treason"
is morally worse than murder or rape "
" Anyone who challenges
the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising
"In the media, the world
is turned upside down. The contras and the KLA are "democratizers";
the lethal sanctions against Iraq exist to deliver its people
from their dictator; the destruction of Yugoslavia through aerial
bombardment of civilians and their infrastructure is a "humanitarian
" As the mainstream media
has become increasingly dependent on advertising revenues for
support, it has become an anti-democratic force in society."
" I know of no country
in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom
of discussion as in America. "
Alexis de Tocqueville
" ... the airwaves belong
to the people. "
from the 1934 Communications Act
"They made a wasteland
and called it peace."
Tacitus, Roman historian
"The cold war provided
the perfect excuse for Western governments to plunder and exploit
the Third World in the name of freedom; to rig its elections,
bribe its politicians, appoint its tyrants and, by every sophisticated
means of persuasion and interference, stunt the emergence of young
democracies in the name of democracy."
John le Carre'
" [U.S. aid] has tended
to flow disproportionately to Latin American governments which
torture their citizens..."
Lars Schoultz, leading academic
specialist on human rights in Latin America
" In the post-Cold War
era, the United States needs to promote the development of democracy
and human rights, not militaries that view their own citizens
as the enemy."
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin
" If the business community
and political elite want to go to war they find it easy to mobilize
Edward S. Herman
"A terrorist is someone
who has a bomb but doesn't have an air force."
" Americans cannot teach
democracy to the world until they restore their own."
"The American oligarchy
increasingly has less in common with the American people than
it does with the equivalent oligarchies in Germany or Mexico or
"It's a hard decision,
but we think the price ... is worth it."
Secretary of State Madelaine Albright,
talking about US sanctions on Iraq
" The propaganda system
allows the U.S. Ieadership to commit crimes without limit and
with no suggestion of misbehavior or criminality; in fact, major
war criminals like Henry Kissinger appear regularly on TV to comment
on the crimes of the derivative butchers. "
Edward S. Herman
" Because of its power
and global interests U.S. leaders have committed crimes as a matter
of course and structural necessity. A strict application of international
law would ... have given every U.S. president of the past 50 years
Nuremberg treatment. "
" Why should we flagellate
ourselves for what the Cambodians did to each other?"
"The issues are much too
important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."
"I don't see why we need
to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility
of its people."
" Throughout the world,
on any given day, a man, woman or child is likely to be displaced,
tortured, killed or "disappeared", at the hands of governments
or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States
shares the blame."
" When I visited Auschwitz
I was horrified. And when I visited Iraq, I thought to myself,
'What will we tell our children in fifty years when they ask what
we did when the people in Iraq were dying.'"
Mairead McGuire, Nobel Peace Prize
Winner, Northern Ireland
"... what the Agency [CIA]
does is ordered by the President and the NSC [National Security
Council]. The Agency neither makes decisions on policy nor acts
on its own account. It is an instrument of the President."
" It is the function of
the CIA to keep the world unstable and to propagandize the American
people to hate, so we will let the establishment spend any amount
of money on arms. "
"... the United States
has given frequent and enthusiastic support to the overthrow of
democracy in favor of "investor friendly" regimes. The
World Bank, IMF, and private banks have consistently lavished
huge sums on terror regimes, following their displacement of democratic
governments, and a number of quantitative studies have shown a
systematic positive relationship between U.S. and IMF / World
Bank aid to countries and their violations of human rights."
Edward S. Herman
" If you liked El Salvador,
you're going to love Colombia. It's the same death squads, the
same military aid, and the same whitewash from Washington. "
Carlos Salinas, Amnesty International's
advocacy director for Latin America and the Caribbean
"I believe that if we
had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out
of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed,
exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own....
And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type
because the "haves" refuse to share with the "have-nots"
by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own,
and not the American style, which they don't want and above all
don't want crammed down their throats by Americans."
General David Sharp, former US
" In the councils of government,
we must guard against unwarranted influence, whether sought or
unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for
the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
" When do corporations
begin to lose their credibility? They fought Social Security,
Medicare, auto safety. They fought every social justice movement
in this country."
"The immiseration of the
majority is an integral part of the Free World package for the
Third World, the unsavory aspects of the package -- the terror,
the direct spoilation of people and resources, and western complicity
-- must be rationalized and, as far as possible, kept under the
Edward S. Herman
"The achievements of past
struggles and the aspirations of ... entire nation[s] are [being]
undone and erased.... No Agent Orange or steel pellet bombs, no
napalm, no toxic chemicals: a new phase of economic and social
(rather than physical) destruction has unfolded. The seemingly
neutral and scientific tools of macro-economic policy constitute
a non-violent instrument of recolonization and impoverishment."
" The range of debate
between the dominant U.S. [political] parties tends to closely
resemble the range of debate within the business class. "
" America's inability
to come to terms with revolutionary change in the Third World...has
created our biggest international problems in the postwar era.
But the root of the problem is not, as many Americans persist
in believing, the relentless spread of communism. Rather, it is
our own difficulty in understanding that Third World revolutions
are primarily nationalist, not communist. Nationalism, not capitalism
or communism, is the dominant political force in the modern world.
You might think that revolutionary nationalism and the desire
for self-determination would be relatively easy for Americans
- the first successful revolutionaries to win their independence
- to understand. But instead we have been dumbfounded when other
peoples have tried to pursue the goals of our own revolution two
U.S. Senator Frank Church
" Many of us regard ourselves
as mildly liberal or centrist politically, voice fairly pleasant
sentiments about our poor children, contribute money to send poor
kids to summer camp, feel benevolent. We're not nazis; we're nice
people. We read sophisticated books. We go to church. We go to
synagogue. Meanwhile, we put other people's children into an economic
and environmental death zone. We make it hard for them to get
out. We strip the place bare of amenities. And we sit back and
say to ourselves, "Well, I hope that they don't kill each
other off. But if they do, it's not my fault."
"No other democratic country
in the world denies as many people - in absolute or proportional
terms - the right to vote because of felony convictions."
Human Rights Watch
" We live amidst massive
inequality. We don't really care that most people have little
power to alter the conditions of their lives. We refuse to acknowledge
that the earth is dying and that we are killing it. ... Our unthinking
celebration of individual achievement and upward mobility works
to damage the life-giving ties of kinship and the bonds of community.
...We pretend not to understand the linkages between our comfortable
standard of living and the dictatorships we impose and protect
through an international military presence. "
"More than I00 countries
have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice ... Against
the global trend towards abolition, however, the U.S.A. has relentlessly
increased its rate of executions and the number of crimes punishable
" In a world of increasing
inequality, the legitimacy of institutions that give precedence
to the property rights of "the Haves" over the human
rights of "the Have Nots" is inevitably called into
serious question. "
" It is legal to purchase
a fully assembled Uzi machine gun in this country [United States]
but it's not legal to purchase a fully assembled low-watt radio
" States are not moral
agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful
"The U.S. government officials
lie when they talk about human rights. They're a bunch of hypocrites
You can't take it seriously."
" The USA has been quick
to voice its condemnation of human rights violations in some other
countries and to stress, by contrast, the wealth of civil and
political rights which it guarantees within its borders . . .
however, it has failed to deliver these rights to many of its
people and there are signs that, unless urgent steps are taken,
these rights will be further eroded ."
"Conceit, arrogance and
egotism are the essentials of patriotism.... Patriotism assumes
that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded
by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some
particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander,
more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot.
It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot
to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority
upon all others."
"From 1984 to 1994, Califomia
built 21 prisons, and only one state university...the prison system
realized a 209% increase in funding, compared to a 15% increase
in state university funding."
The Justice Policy Institute
" Human progress is neither
automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice
requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions
and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. "
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The crimes of the U.S.
throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical,
remorseless, and fully documented but nobody talks about them."
" There is ...a huge tacit
conspiracy between the U.S. government, its agencies and its multinational
corporations, on the one hand, and local business and military
cliques in the Third World, on the other, to assume complete control
of these countries and "develop" them on a joint venture
basis. The military leaders of the Third World were carefully
nurtured by the U.S. security establishment to serve as the "enforcers"
of this joint venture partnership, and they have been duly supplied
with machine guns and the latest data on methods of interrogation
Edward S. Herman