Bill Blum passed away early last month in Virginia. Many Z Net readers will know his canonical book, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII, or remember his regular newsletter Anti-Empire Report. My first contact with Bill came in 1995 when I wrote him about something he had written on the Cold War.
I recall why I contacted him, but I don’t recall how. Well, I know I did it via the novel method of e-mail but I don’t remember where I got his address. Maybe it was somehow in an online forum but I think more likely it was attached to his byline in Covert Action Quarterly–a long-forgotten but truly remarkable journal. I had got to know his work from my study breaks at the undergrad library at school when I would wander the stacks picking out and perusing interesting books. Several chunks of his CIA book were devoured in this way.
It ought to be stressed that Bill was very helpful in his response to my query, which was about sources on the Western intervention in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. His reply suggested that I read D. F. Fleming’s The Cold War and Its Origins Vol I, so I promptly bought a copy at a used book store and read and re-read Chapter 2 which covered that very topic. I held on to that tome, a burgundy coloured cloth-bound volume, for almost two decades before finally getting it on pdf.
I don’t remember now if we conversed on any other subjects later, though I seem to recall that I bent his ear on a couple of matters in succeeding years. At this point, only the DIA knows. I wish now that I had contacted him in congratulations when I got hold of the new edition of his book on the CIA. It was a major improvement on the original (The CIA: A Forgotten History), which itself was quite excellent.
The other thing I do recall was his e-mail address: email@example.com. How he, a computer programmer by trade, ended up using AOL (which by that time was the butt of digerati jokes) and tolerating an obscure ID like bblum6 is a mystery to me. I suppose he was direct and practical, as was his correspondence two and a half decades ago.
His New York Times obituary is suitably smearful–a dissident can be awarded no clearer testament. The finest response came from FAIR’s Jim Naureckas:
“When Zbigniew Brzezinksi died in 2017, his New York Times obituary did not bear the headline, ‘Brzezinski, Official Who Boasted of Promoting Al Qaeda, Dies at 89’—though surely that is more relevant to Brzezinski’s legacy than bin Laden’s book review is to Blum’s.” (link)
Goodbye to a tireless warrior.