Massacres and the Media

In January 1980, a group of Guatemalan peasants including Rigoberta Menchu's father occupied the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City to protest army brutality etc.. The army burnt it down, killing everybody inside. Guatemalan TV gave a fairly accurate account of what had happened, despite being the tool of a military dictatorship.

In May 1985, the Philadelphia authorities were involved in a confrontation with a political/religious commune called MOVE. The unusual lifestyle of its members led to various arguments with its neighbors. Some of the neighbors stated "We believe that any problems the community has with MOVE should be solved by the community and that the police cannot help us", while others pressed the city to do something.

The authorities discovered there was a tank of gasoline on top of the MOVE house. The Orwellian-named Bomb Disposal Unit dropped a bomb on it, with predictable results. The fire department did nothing for over an hour, and very little for four hours. The fire destroyed 61 homes, damaged 110 others, and killed 11 of the MOVE people, 5 of them children. Police gunfire had prevented them from escaping. 250 neighbors were left homeless, wishing they had not cooperated with the pigs of City Hall in trying to resolve their differences with MOVE, and that they had ignored the hysterical press campaign.

In the March 1993 Waco tragedy, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms burnt to death over 80 people including children in a religious commune. The US media made out it was the fault of the victims - they had a suicide pact, they murdered their own children, etc.. The USA was founded by religious sects which, if they were around today, would be persecuted as "Cults". "Cult" means nothing more than a small minority religion. For example, the Waco Branch Davidians were an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventists. Unlike, say, Catholics, members of a cult are described as "brainwashed". Add to this dehumanizing psycho-illogical garbage the routine accusations of child abuse, and you have a warrant for a massacre.

For example, the Waco Tribune-Herald helped soften up the locals with a lurid series of stories about "this menace in our community" which it ran just as the ATF pigs started the siege. The ATF raid was ordered because they had "intelligence" that the Waco outfit were "amassing heavy armaments". But Texas is full of people like that. The idea that the Branch Davidians had any reason to defend themselves against over 100 armed men who surrounded their house is hardly raised in the March 15 issue of Newsweek, published during the build-up to the massacre. The ATF agents merely "took up positions", implying that the "hail of gunfire" that greeted them was an unreasonable response. Newsweek does give voice to one DA who says the Koresh people are "peaceful and non-aggressive unless they are attacked", adding that the ATF played right into the group's apocalyptic vision. To say that the ATF "played right into" this vision is to say that this vision was true! According to a "deprogrammer" -- a psycho-the-rapist who specializes in turning "cult" members into normal American citizens --the Branch Davidians had been programmed into a "crisis mentality". Their leader David Koresh told them to be ready for "the aggressors who would come from without the walls to destroy them". And they tell us that he was mad?

Published six months after the massacre, the official report says that once Koresh knew they were coming, the ATF agents should have cancelled the raid, but some of them rewrote the documents to make it look as though they didn't know that he knew. This report has two purposes -- to blame it on individuals rather than the police state apparatus, and to show that they are so confident of their ability to murder us whenever they feel like it, the American ruling class can openly admit that the Waco bloodletting was justified by deliberate lies, just like, soon after the Gulf War, they openly boasted of how they had virtually encouraged Iraq to invade Kuwait.

The democratic media of today are far more adept accomplices of mass murder than those of dictatorships. In a state run by one party or one rich family the media is not taken seriously because it is seen as representing the views of a particular fraction of the ruling class. In a liberal democracy on the other hand, the media is more credible because it appears to represent "all sides" even- handedly. So it is more able to brainwash the public into supporting the murder of innocent people, whether in Philadelphia or Waco, Mogadishu or Baghdad.