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rockets destined for El Salvador to be fired at whole villages. White phosphorus burns people alive to the bone. These shipments and munitions violate the Hague Convention, the Geneva Convention, the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and the U.S. Constitution,” Willson said. “We called the picket a Nuremberg action because we wanted to uphold the Nuremberg principle of responsibility in carrying out immoral orders. We wanted to say, ‘We know what is going on and we are not being complicit anymore.’ ” After months of picketing and watching the munitions continue on their way to Central America, Willson decided to fast for 40 days and to block the train with his body, forcing authOrities to physically move him to continue their shipments. “I researched the history of train blockades. No one had ever been run over. I didn’t expect to get run over. By law, the train isn’t supposed to go over five miles per hour, and they stop for dogs,” Willson said. Forty witnesses reported the train sped up to 15 miles per hour. The train engineers said they were ordered not to stop the train. Willson said the fact that he was intention ally run over is a sign of his empowerment. “If it had been only an accident, I would be depressed at the loss of my legs. This way, it is just part of the price I pay for being free to say what I want. Since then, other U.S. citizens have continued to block that train and over 500 have been arrested,” he said. On the weekend that Willson was in San Antonio, 2,500 activists were protesting the Naval shipments at the Concord base in California. Willson said he is prepared to block the Navy train again. “But this time,” he said, “I will have 2,500 other citizens with me.” SPEECH The Press and Reaganism BY ALEXANDER COCKBURN Alexander Cockburn was at the University of Houston recently, speaking on “The Press in the Reagan Era.” He covers that subject, among many other things, in his bi-weekly column for The Nation, “Beat the Devil.” Tracing what he called “a trajectory of the corporate press during the Reagan years,” he noted that the press had first greeted Reagan with tremendous enthusiasm, manufacturing the myth of “landslide Reagan” on the strength of about 30 percent of the eligible voters, and then energetically disseminating such Administration “electronic Nuremberg rallies” as “yellow rain,” the KGB “plot to kill the Pope,” and the aftermath of K.A.L. 007 all intended to create an atmosphere of scaremongering about the Soviets, simultaneously with pressure upon Congress for dramatic increases in the defense budget. Cockburn went on to note that while the Reagan administration was clearly expert at using the press, and the press was only too eager to cooperate at least until the Meese press conference on the Iran/Contra arms shuttle invented the process of managing the news or of the “engineering of consent.” In fact, he argued that the current era of the swing to the right in the corporate media actually began during the middle of the Carter administration. Following Cockburn’s speech, I had a brief conversation with him, expanding upon his earlier remarks. What follows are excerpts from both the speech and the .conversation. \(I* would like to thank Teresa Bolieu for her assistance in preparing this Michael King \(Michael King’s review of Alexander Cockburn’s collected writings appears on THERE’S NEVER BEEN a time when the mainstream press has been great. But I think what we have seen in the Reagan years, which are now drawing to a close, is a sort of incredibly baroque period of fantasy on the part of the mainstream press. which is what I think people will look back on, and they will marvel. They’ll say, how could this have been? The way the press basically subscribed to the basic tenets of Reaganism, from the time Reagan became President to effectively an important day in history the Meese press conference on November 25, 1986 \(a dark day I’m sure you all will you can really evoke it by saying that the press, for a period, would swallow absolutely anything. * * * I might remind you of the case of the Salt II Treaty. Now the Salt II Treaty, Article 5, says: “You shall not test or deploy space-based systems.” Now when it came to the day that the Reagan administration wanted to test. Star Wars they said, “We’ve taken a broad interpretation of Article 5. It says here we shall not test space-based systems. When you look at that closely, and you look at the print, it says, “You shall test.” It’s a bit like the ten commandments. The broad interpretation of “Thou shall not kill” when you look at it, and you get the lawyers working on it, it’s “Thou shall kill.” That’s the broad interpretation. The narrow fuddy-duddy, oldfashioned interpretation is “Thou shall not kill.” And the press, sure enough, they began to say, “Well, there’s this thing called the ‘broad interpretation’ of Article 5 of the Salt II Treaty,” as expounded by the State Department Legal Advisor, Mr. Sofaer you knew where you were, they were saying black is the same as white. There was a kind of standoff. And if you think I’m exaggerating go and look at the Salt II Treaty and read it and think how could any human being on this planet seriously think that this treaty permitted the testing of spacebased systems. * * * I’d just like to evoke for you the political antennae of the mainstream press, as expressed in the Chicago Tribune the day after Super Tuesday, which as you may recall, was the day in which Jesse Jackson won five states and came second in ten more. He actually won the popular vote ahead of Michael Dukakis the popular vote as opposed to the delegate count on that day. A journalist in the Chicago Tribune wrote that “Jackson did slightly better than he did in 1984.” Generous statement, but “Jackson’s white voters appeared to be from very identifiable and very small minorities themselves. Many of them are politically active homosexuals, whose organizations have endorsed his candidacy and the . rest are the residue of the radical and counterculture movements.” Fellow’s got his finger on the pulse, right? Here you have the strongest showing by a black American in the history of the country, and he says that it’s all up to the homosexuals. * * * [The press] excludes reality and they exclude history. The most obvious example in my mind is the exclusion of history like Vietnam. Of course, the symbolic procedures are in the papers, and in memory about Vietnam, the memorial and the like, 14 JUNE 3, 1988