Washington Post Runs Vile Hit Piece Smearing Aaron Bushnell in Wake of Self-Immolation

Chris Menahan
Feb. 27, 2024

The Washington Post on Monday ran a vile hit piece smearing US Airman Aaron Bushnell for self-immolating outside the Israeli embassy in DC in protest of Israel's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

In an article titled, "Airman who set self on fire grew up on religious compound, had anarchist past," The Post sought to portray Bushnell as a victim of Christian religious extremism with "white privilege" who was angry not with Israel's US-backed genocide campaign but instead was frustrated "that critics of the war blame U.S. military support for Israeli military actions."

From The Washington Post, "Airman who set self on fire grew up on religious compound, had anarchist past":
Airman who set self on fire grew up on religious compound, had anarchist past

By Emily Davies, Peter Hermann and Dan Lamothe

Updated February 26, 2024 at 10:10 p.m. EST | Published February 26, 2024 at 8:10 a.m. EST
Less than two weeks before Aaron Bushnell walked toward the gates of the Israeli Embassy on Sunday, he and a friend talked by phone about their shared identities as anarchists and what kinds of risks and sacrifices were needed to be effective.

Bushnell, 25, mentioned nothing violent or self-sacrificial, the friend said.

Then on Sunday, Bushnell texted that friend, who described the exchange on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety.

"I hope you'll understand. I love you," Bushnell wrote in a message reviewed by The Washington Post. "This doesn't even make sense, but I feel like I'm going to miss you."

He sent the friend a copy of his will on Sunday. In it, he gave his cat to his neighbor and a fridge full of root beers to the friend.

Twelve minutes later, Bushnell, who was a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force, doused himself with a liquid and set himself on fire. He had posted a video online saying he did not want to be "complicit in genocide." He shouted "Free Palestine" as he burned.

Secret Service officers extinguished the blaze. Bushnell died seven hours later at a hospital.

His suicidal protest instantly won him praise among some antiwar and pro-Palestinian activists, while others said they were devastated that he would take an action so extreme. But how a young man who liked The Lord of the Rings and karaoke became the man ablaze in a camouflage military uniform remains a mystery, even among some of his closest friends.

Bushnell was raised in a religious compound in Orleans, Mass., on Cape Cod, according to Susan Wilkins, 59, who said she was a member of the group from 1970 to 2005. She said that she knew Bushnell and his family on the compound and that he was still a member when she left. Wilkins said she heard through members of Bushnell's family that he eventually left the group.

Wilkins's account is consistent with those of multiple others who said Bushnell had told them about his childhood in the religious group or who had heard about his affiliation from his family members.

The group, called the Community of Jesus, has faced allegations of inappropriate behavior, which it has publicly disputed. In a lawsuit against an Ontario school, where many officials were alleged to be members of the U.S.-based religious group, former students called the Community of Jesus a "charismatic sect" and alleged that it "created an environment of control, intimidation and humiliation that fostered and inflicted enduring harms on its students." The school, now defunct, disputed the allegations. Last year, an appeals court in Canada awarded $10.8 million Canadian dollars to the former students, who attended the Ontario school between 1973 and 1997.
Why doesn't the Washington Post do a deep dive on Netanyahu and top Israeli officials justfying their war on Gaza on religious grounds by citing ancient Biblical commandments to "wipe out Amalek" and "erase" the Palestinians as a people?

They're speculating wildly about Bushnell's beliefs and motivations but we have video evidence of Israeli officials and soldiers calling for genocide explicitly in Gaza and carrying it out.

Searching the Washington Post's archives, I can find one article from Max Boot defending Israel's call to wipe out "Amalek" and only one single article with one line criticizing it!
A receptionist who answered the phone at the Community of Jesus declined to put a call from a reporter through to someone in authority. Emails to the group were not answered.

Multiple people who said they were former members of the Community of Jesus described their years after leaving the compound as particularly challenging. They said former members, soon after they depart the group, often long for a sense of belonging.

"A lot of us that got out are very much into social justice, trying to defend those who don't or can't defend themselves, because that is what we went through," said Bonnie Zampino, 54, who said she was a member of the group for three years in the 1980s.

Wilkins also said it is common for members of the Community of Jesus to join the military, describing the transition as moving from "one high-control group to another high-control group."

[...] Lupe Barboza, 32, said she met Bushnell in San Antonio in 2022 at an event for a socialist organization. She said they bonded over their politics and started working together to deliver clothing and food to people experiencing homelessness.

"He was outraged, and he knew that no one who is in charge is listening to the protesters out there every week," Barboza said. "He knows that he has privilege as a White man and a member of the military."

Other friends from San Antonio said they had talked with Bushnell about the Palestinians and their shared distaste for the U.S. role in the Israel-Gaza war. But he had not expressed to them any indication of what would take place in Washington on Sunday.

They also said he moved to Ohio earlier this year for a course for service members transitioning out of the military.

One of his friends, Levi Pierpont, 23, met him for lunch in Ohio in January. Over plates of butter chicken, the two talked about their involvement in the military and what they hoped to do after leaving the force. They had met in basic training in May 2020, when they were both still excited about joining the military and how it could help them experience more of the world, Pierpont said.

Pierpont said he grew disillusioned with the military over time — concerned with what he saw as flippant attitudes toward violence within the force — and said he left as a conscientious objector. (The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his account.) By 2024, Bushnell had become more open about his objections to the military, Pierpont said. In the wake of George Floyd's killing by police in Minneapolis in 2020, Bushnell told Pierpont he had started to research the history of the United States and wanted to take a stand against all state-sanctioned violence.

Bushnell had considered leaving the military early, Pierpont said, but he had decided he was close enough to the end of his required service to stick it out. Bushnell was scheduled to leave the military in May, Pierpont said.

At the January lunch, Bushnell told Pierpont that he planned to find a job that would let him make enough money to support himself while engaging in political activism on the side. Pierpont said he encouraged his friend to go to university and get a degree in something related to his beliefs.

Self-immolations are rare, but a number are connected to antiwar protests, perhaps most famously that of a Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, who set himself on fire in Saigon during the Vietnam War. An American Quaker self-immolated in 1965 at the Pentagon.

During the Iraq War, an antiwar protester self-immolated near the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. In 2010, a street vendor self-immolated in Tunisia, an act of defiance that served as a spark for the Arab Spring, in which numerous heads of state were forced out in uprisings. In December, a woman self-immolated outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta. She had a Palestinian flag with her, authorities said at the time.

U.S. service members are prohibited from acts of political protest, under the Pentagon's long-standing policy of remaining nonpartisan while civilian leaders oversee policy decisions. While no one else in uniform has stepped out against the war in Gaza as stridently as Bushnell, some service members do have misgivings about it and frustration that critics of the war blame U.S. military support for Israeli military actions.
The US-backed destruction of Gaza, in which the US Air Force is reportedly helping Israel pick targets to bomb with US-supplied weaponry, is transformed by The Post into something "critics of the war" claim is happening.

This is what Bushnell said in his own words were his motivations:
"I am an active duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I'm about to engage in an extreme act of protest but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it's not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal."
The Post didn't bother to investigate any of Bushnell's actual claims, instead they set out to smear him with whatever dirt they could find going back a decade to when he was 16-years-old or younger.

This should make it clear as day the media does not have a "left-wing bias" as conservatives like to tell their followers but an Israel-First bias.

Even a leftist like Bushnell who gave his life for the cause will be smeared in death if he goes against Israel.

Follow InformationLiberation on Twitter, Facebook, Gab, Minds and Telegram.

All original InformationLiberation articles CC 4.0

About - Privacy Policy