John Pilger On Global Events.

Posted on December 20, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

blogger7-1Alphabet Veteran journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger wants people to know that state-sponsored torture is nothing new – and that anyone who thinks it is, is absurd. Could one of the reasons U.S. President John F. Kennedy became assassinated some 50 years ago have been his plan to “break the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a million pieces…”? John Pilger remembers interviewing an American nun who recalled her American torturer in Central America during the 1980’s.

Speaking of the British press, Pilger leaned on his decades of living in the United Kingdom as a journalist, and points out that the British government is responsible for much of the “mayhem” in the Middle East yet the facts have become “airbrushed” by the media there. He feels that “the media has become almost raw propaganda”. Describing the situation where known-by-everyone in the media and governments of war criminals and their virtual impunity, Pilger, incredibly, says that since the Vietnam War up until today there is a consensus to cover up the crimes.

Pointing to the example of the Iran-Contra scandal during the Ronald Reagan presidency (1980-1988), Pilger says the number of those who committed serious crimes yet went unpunished was in the dozens, “so everybody knew”. It becomes more and more clear that there are separate forms of justice in the world for those who are powerful and those who are not. The crimes committed in wars such as torture – or lying to the world before the 2003 Iraq War, and white-collar fraud varieties most people saw in epidemic proportions during the financial crisis of 2008, very rarely result in perpetrators doing time. Yet, those without financial or political power who commit crimes which do much, much less damage to societies find themselves quickly behind bars.

This is certainly not meant to say that poor and voiceless people who commit crimes should have immunity from prosecution, but that all criminals need to become held accountable – especially the ones whose actions result in massive harm. With regard to unequal justice, criminals with power and influence simply must become deterred through the same harsh punishment, proportional to the harms done, as those without the “right connections”. When massive harm does not result in massive punishment, potential “massive harmers” will not think before acting in the future.

When asked about resumption of violence in Iraq, John Pilger says he’s “not surprised… Unaccountable power will continue to go into other countries”. That is, Pilger added, “unless the public strongly reacts”. He seems to express some disappointment in saying that it has become very dangerous for people to take part in demonstrations like the ones around the world in opposition to a possible war in Iraq in 2003, and that journalists face the same increased risks.

Asked about Russia, Mr. Pilger says he’s “never known the truth (to become) so inverted (as) on Ukraine, which is a more dangerous form of Cold War than the first one”. He compares the Iraq War of 2003 and Ukraine, because there is “much fiction in both”. He believes that the recent plunge in global oil prices are part of an effort by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to hurt the Russian economy, a perspective increasingly shared by analysts and journalists, born out by the drop in value of the Russian ruble.

John Pilger talked about developments in Ukraine as they relate to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since the February 2014 violent coup d’état which ousted democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Pilger thinks Putin has been consistent in advocating for a solution based on intensive dialogue. What worries Mr. Pilger is that recently Vladimir Putin has stopped talking diplomatically, and includes the term “red lines” in public addresses.

That describes, according to John Pilger, a situation which has become very dangerous, fuelled in large measure by the “demonization” of Russia. “It’s such a danger”.

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(Thank you to goingundergroundRT at YouTube)

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Journalist John Pilger – Conscience Keeper Of A Generation.

Posted April 9, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you say will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift of the coming human hell.”

– C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) American sociologist

blogger3-1John Pilger has created a large body of work in his over four decades as a journalist. He started out as a young, naïve reporter during the time of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, having experienced what he describes as “unworldly and indelible”. He is asked by interviewer Ms. Shoma Chaudbury if there is any single event that stands out from his long career reporting on the most tragic war atrocities in recent history. He responds by saying what stood out was “how great power imposed on ordinary people in vivid and disturbing ways has had the greatest effect on me”.

Ms. Chaudbury asks: “what is the nexus (between military power, media, and government) people don’t understand?”

Mr. Pilger, whose films and reporting from the 1970’s up till now have focused on the consequences of war as well as the real causes, points out to her that he has tried to connect those who exercise power with the consequences of that power. Most people on the ground do not understand the connections. He notes that if Tony Blair and George W. Bush were Africans they would be arrested for war crimes. He admits that he has tried in his way to get readers and viewers of his films to look in the mirror.

Although Mr. Pilger never mentions it specifically, one can see that all during his reporting career John Pilger has remained loyal to telling the truth about world events – most especially the biggest, most consequential events like war. One of his early films  – “The War You Don’t See” –  exposed the workings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in their debt-capture, natural resource extracting actions in developing, third-world nations around the Earth, benefiting for the most part those at the top of the wealth and political power pyramid while leaving many on the lower rungs out of hope.

He talks about western media’s minimization of, or omission altogether, of western states’ culpability during military events or other geopolitical movements. He notes that, since 1945, America has “intervened” 72 times in the affairs of other nations – including assassinations/assassination attempts, destabilization campaigns, “low-intensity conflict”, outright overthrows/coups, and direct military actions. He tells Ms. Chaudbury that in the past reporters who wrote about these “interventions” would become labeled as “un-American” or “unpatriotic”, but that those terms are rarely used now because people are coming around to understand and “get it”.

He laments that, since the Cold War was over, humanity should be enjoying peace, but there remains worry in the minds and hearts of people about possible wars breaking out. As an American, although my philosophy is a citizen of the Earth, it is hard to convey what Mr. Pilger says about inaccurate images of the United States. He finds that the main propaganda about the U.S.A. is that it is a benign, giving, and generous entity, when the opposite is the truth. In a separate interview from this one, he described a recent visit to the Smithsonian where there was a line of displays about the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, among others.

Vietnam and Iraq were two of the most disastrous and tragic foreign policy decisions ever in American history. Young children moved with the lines of people at the Smithsonian, came upon the Vietnam War display, and read the words: “The United States saved the lives of one million Vietnamese people…” Further on the Iraq War display read: “The United States helped Iraq’s people bring about democracy”.

Ms. Chaudbury congratulates him for his “encyclopedic coverage of atrocities for over 40 years”. He finds himself optimistic even after all he has seen and experienced, pointing to people like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and others, as well as the corresponding, courageous truth-telling organizations in nations and regions around the Earth. Individuals and groups who expose the lies powerful leaders of governments tell themselves in private – “what we journalists should have been doing a long time ago – “whistleblowing” – makes him hopeful for the future, having reached the age of 75.

He shares what one could suppose is his “big picture” view of the world. He sees a kind of international apartheid situation where on one side of the fence reside the comfortable, conforming, corporate people, and on the other side most of the Earth’s people living uncomfortable, sometimes non-conforming lives. He notes that the least we can do is report on the lives of those innocent men, women, and children living outside the comfort zone – on the wrong side of the rich/poor apartheid fence.

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Shoma Chaudbury thanks John Pilger for being the “conscience keeper of a generation”. 

(Thank you to telhelkatv at YouTube)

John Pilger: Journalist For Truth.

Amerikan Exposé
Amerikan Exposé (Photo credit: Saint Iscariot)

Posted October 1, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

John Pilger is a journalist of rare quality who fights to tell his readers the truth. After watching his 2003 documentary “Breaking The Silence” about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I found this short address by him from 2012 at a War and Media conference in London. From the little I know about John Pilger he has traveled to many countries around the world producing many reports from war-torn areas. He has  seen first-hand the consequences of wars and killing, and understands the geopolitics behind government sponsored terrorism. John Pilger has seen more than he cared to of the personal costs of war-the saddening human suffering media corporations find too “objectionable” to report.