Media Culpa


Globe & Mail sanitizes genocide

Here is how The Globe and Mail on 3 August 2004 noted the anniversary of the death of Colonel Jeffery Amherst, a particularly disgusting piece of British colonial soldiery:

Jeffery Amherst, 1797

Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - Page R5

British army officer born near Sevenoaks, England, on Jan. 29, 1717.

"Overshadowed by James Wolfe at Quebec, he was the officer who conquered Canada in the Seven Years War. As commander in 1760, he designed a long campaign that wore down enemy resistance everywhere and ended French rule. In 1776, he was ennobled as 1st Baron Amherst and retired 20 years later as a field marshal."

Before 1760, Amherst served in the Thirteen Colonies during the final battles of the so-called French and Indian War (1754-1763). There, in present-day Pennsylvania, he pioneered germ warfare against the First Nations by coming up with the device of infecting blankets with smallpox and then trading them to local tribes as a sign of English good will.

King George III rewarded Lord Amherst by giving him 20,000 acres in New York.

The names of the town of Amhest, Nova Scotia, Amherst, Massachusetts (Amherst College was later named after the town) and Amherst, New York commemorate and even idolize one of the founders of modern biological and bacteriological warfare.

It is said the local inhabitants who formed the town of Amherst, Mass., preferred another name, Norwottuck (http://www.dickshovel.com/pocu.html), after the Indians whose land it had been; the colonial governor substituted his choice for theirs. Frank Prentice Rand, in his book, The Village of Amherst: A Landmark of Light [Amherst, MA: Amherst Historical Society, 1958], says that at the time of the naming, Amherst was "the most glamorous military hero in the New World. ... ... the name was so obvious in 1759 as to be almost inevitable." [p. 15]

On his website "Jeffrey Amherst and Smallpox Blankets", Prof Peter d'Errico of the University of Massachusetts reproduces, amongst other evidence, two damning letters illustrating the genocidal intent of the British colonizers:

• Colonel Henry Bouquet to General Amherst, dated 13 July 1763, suggests in a postscript the distribution of blankets to "inocculate the Indians";

• Amherst to Bouquet, dated 16 July 1763, approves this plan in a postscript and suggests as well as "to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race." (This postcript spans two pages.)

Lawrence Shaw Mayo states in his biography of Amherst:

"As he sped on his way to the relief of Fort Pitt, the Colonel exchanged interesting suggestions with the General as to the most efficient manner of getting rid of the redskins. His first orders to Bouquet were that he wished 'to hear of no prisoners should any of the villains be met with arms.' Besides using smallpox the two gentlemen contemplated another method: 'As it is a pity to expose good men against them, I wish we could make use of the Spanish method, to hunt them with English dogs.' Amherst lamented that the remoteness of merry England made the canine aid impracticable." 2

After disease swept through the Micmac communities of Nova Scotia around 1747, French accounts of the epidemic blamed the British, claiming that British officers and traders intentionally spread disease by distributing infected clothing. 3

Geoffrey Plank writes:

"Amherst arrived in Nova Scotia in 1758 in anticipation of his attack on Cape Breton Island. During his short stay in Nova Scotia, he certainly learned the rhetoric of hating the Mi'kmaq, as his speeches to his troops in 1758 make clear. Amherst almost certainly had very little personal interaction with the Mi'kmaq themselves. He learned his hatred from others who had been in Nova Scotia longer. Is it possible that he learned more than their attitudes, but maybe also their methods of operation?"

The Globe and Mail is one of the principal Canadian newspapers, whose publisher is an Americvan citizen and owned by Bell GlobeMedia, an international financial conglomerate. In 2003 it emerged as one of the principle media justifiers in Canada of the invasion and occupation of Iraq under the pretext of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Endnotes

1http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/amherst/lord_jeff.html

2 Cited by Dan Paul of Halifax, author of We Were Not the Savages, in his article, "General Jeffery Amherst ponders the best genocide methods to use" at http://www.danielnpaul.com/GeneralJeffreyAmherst-1763.html

3 See "Motifs des sauvages mickmaques," in Baston du Bosq de Beaumont, Les Derniers Jours de l'Acadie (Geneva, 1975), 46.


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