William Blum

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William Blum
Author William Blum
Blum in 2007
Born(1933-03-06)March 6, 1933
Brooklyn, New York City
DiedDecember 9, 2018(2018-12-09) (aged 85)
Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
OccupationJournalist, author, U.S. foreign policy critic
GenrePolitical journalism, history
Notable works

William Henry Blum (/blm/;[1] March 6, 1933 – December 9, 2018) was an American author, critic of United States foreign policy and socialist. He lived in Washington, DC.[2]

Early life[edit]

Blum was born at Beth Moses Hospital (now part of Maimonides Medical Center) in Borough Park, Brooklyn,[3] to Ruth (née Katz) and Isidore Blum, who were Polish Jewish immigrants. His father was a machinist. He was a graduate of Erasmus Hall High School and gained a degree in accountancy in 1955 from the City College School of Business and Civic Administration, which later became Baruch College of the City University of New York.[1][4] Blum worked as a computer programmer for IBM and later the U.S. State Department. He had the ambition of becoming a foreign service officer to, as he explained, "take part in the great anti-Communist crusade" but was later disillusioned by the Vietnam War. Blum became involved in anti–Vietnam War activism and was pressured to resign his government post in 1967.[1] By then he had already taken part in anti-war protests and become a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, an alternative bi-weekly newspaper.[1]


In 1969, Blum wrote and published an exposé of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which were revealed the names and addresses of more than 200 CIA employees. He worked as freelance journalist in the United States, Europe and South America. In 1972–1973, Blum worked as a journalist in Chile where he reported on the Allende government's "socialist experiment" before the U.S backed coup and the regime of Augusto Pinochet. In the mid-1970s, he worked in London with ex-CIA officer Philip Agee and his associates "on their project of exposing CIA personnel and their misdeeds".[5] He supported himself with his writing and speaking engagements on college campuses.[2] One of Blum's stories on Iraq was listed by Project Censored as one of "The Top Ten Censored Stories of 1998"[6]

In his books and online columns, Blum devoted substantial attention to CIA interventions and assassination plots. Noam Chomsky has called Blum's book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, "far and away the best book on the topic."[7] Blum supported Ralph Nader's presidential campaigns.[8] He circulated a monthly newsletter by email called "The Anti-Empire Report".[9][10] Blum described his life's mission as: "If not ending, at least slowing down the American Empire. At least injuring the beast. It's causing so much suffering around the world."[2]

In an interview with C-SPAN in 2006, Blum stated: "Speaking about U.S. foreign policy, which is my specialty, the authors I would most recommend would be Michael Parenti and Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman and Howard Zinn and Alexander Cockburn."[11] According to Blum, left-wing publications such as The Nation declined to publish his work because they considered him too much of a fanatic.[4]

Osama bin Laden statement[edit]

In early 2006, Blum briefly became the subject of widespread media attention when Osama bin Laden issued a public statement in which he quoted Blum and recommended that all Americans read Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower. As a result of the mention, sales of his book greatly increased.[4] "I was quite surprised and even shocked and amused when I found out what he'd said," Blum commented. "I was glad. I knew it would help the book's sales and I was not bothered by who it was coming from. If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of US foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views and I'm not turned off by that."[12] On the Bin Laden endorsement, Blum stated, "This is almost as good as being an Oprah book."[2] In an interview on MSNBC Countdown, he said: "Basically it's US foreign policy which creates anti-American terrorists. It's the things we do to the world. It's not, as the White House tells us, that they hate our freedom and democracy. That's just propaganda."[13]

In a May 22, 2006 article entitled "Come Out of the White House With Your Hands Up", Blum wrote: "Since the bin Laden recommendation, January 19, I have not been offered a single speaking engagement on any campus. . . . This despite January–May normally being the most active period for me and other campus speakers."[14]


Blum died on December 9, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia from kidney failure at the age of 85 following a fall in his apartment two months earlier.[1][15]





  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Sam (December 12, 2018). "William Blum, U.S. Policy Critic Cited by bin Laden, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Montgomery, David (January 21, 2006). "The Author Who Got A Big Boost From bin Laden". The Washington Post. pp. C01.
  3. ^ Agee, Chris (December 17, 2018). "William Blum (6 Mar 1933 – 9 Dec 2018), Renowned U.S. Foreign Policy Critic, Dead at 85". Transcend Media Service. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Langer, Emily (December 13, 2018). "William Blum, policy critic of U.S. praised by Osama bin Laden, dies at 85". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2018. even left-wing publications such as the Nation declined to publish his works, Mr. Blum said, because they judged him too fanatical.
  5. ^ Bill Blum's ZSpace Page Archived May 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Z Magazine online, accessed May 31, 2008.
  6. ^ Peter Phillips and Project Censored, Censored 2001: 25 Years of Censored News and the Top Censored Stories of the Year, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001. p. 245. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  7. ^ Falcone, Daniel. "Our Leaders Do Not Mean Well". Truthout.
  8. ^ Blum, William On Liberals, Phil Agee, and the 9-11 Truth Movement, Dissident Voice, January 14, 2008. Accessed May 31, 2008.
  9. ^ The Anti-Empire Report, williamblum.org. Online copies of issues of "The Anti-Empire Report". Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Killing Hope, killinghope.org. Online copies of early issues of "The Anti-Empire Report". Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  11. ^ William Blum in the Media Whirlwind, pressaction.com. "Transcript of Blum’s Jan. 28, 2006 appearance on C-Span." Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Bin Laden plug boosts book sales". Sydney Morning Herald. Reuters. January 21, 2006.
  13. ^ Oliver, Mark (January 23, 2006). "Osama bin Laden recommends". The Guardian. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  14. ^ Blum, William, "Come Out of the White House with Your Hands Up!", informationclearinghouse.info. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  15. ^ Chris Agee and Louis Wolf, William Blum, Renowned U.S. Foreign Policy Critic, Dead at 85, covertactionmagazine.com. Retrieved December 24, 2018.

External links[edit]