Thrills, Pilgers & Bellyaches
John Pilger is an old fashioned lefty journalist, one who hasn’t settled for a cosy column in The Guardian or one of Murdoch’s rags but who still fights the good fight against the liars and murderers who camouflage their greed with noble words such as ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights.’
‘The War You Don’t See’ was a two hour onslaught upon the media more than the politicians. We don’t really expect anything better from the political pimps who control the White House and Downing Street as they’ve always been in the pockets of industrialists and wealthy city whizz kids. The media however, or atleast the serious media who like to talk of morality and the sacrity of facts, have a duty to report the truth whether or not this contradicts the statements of MPs, PMs, presidents and their propagandist spin doctors.
The ’embedding’ of reporters ensures that only one side of the conflict is ever reported and Pilger asked the heads of BBC and ITN news why they allowed themselves to become seduced by the machinations of government propagandists. They replied with the usual mix of sophistry and half-arsed apology. ‘We had a duty to report what the spin doctors and the politicians were saying’ they said, ‘and if we were duped, then we’re sorry, perhaps we should’ve dug a little deeper’.
Does this wash? Even a total moron knew that Colin Powell’s ludicrous ‘Dr. No’ style presentation of the Al Queda threat was a total invention. Even a Sun reporter would understand that Alistair Campbell bullied the intelliegence services and manipulated the dossier on Iraq in order to make the case for war. One man, sadly, paid a terrible price for blowing the whistle on that fraudulant document.
The people of Iraq and Afghanistan paid a heavier price for the imperialist greed of Bush and Blair. You don’t have to be a conspiracy crank to see through the flimsy arguments put forward to illegally wage war on oil rich or militarily significant countries. It doesn’t take a genius to see how Israel bullies any paper or broadcaster that dares criticise its occupation of Palestine using the old ‘anti-semite’ smokescreen.
All wars are economic no matter how they’re dressed up. Pilger was hardly revealing anything we didn’t already know yet he managed to shame those both from within the political infrastructure and a compliant media into admitting that they weren’t just naive but colluded with a policy in order to appear macho or patriotic.
The most chilling aspect of the film was the footage of an American helicopter bravely spraying a bunch of Iraqis with bullets from a mile way then blowing up a van containing children that came to rescue them. The gung ho shouts and laughs of the pilots as they murder these people is obscene but that’s REAL war, that’s what happens day in day out as ‘we’ spread democracy and human rights in the ‘war on terror.’
It’s so easy to play the ‘Support Our Brave Boys’ card, the ‘Help For Heroes’ crusade that never once questions the motives of why young mostly working class boys are sent out to the deserts and mountains to kill and be killed in the name of ‘freedom.’
The media and the BBC in particular as a supposed upholder of ‘the truth’ and ‘impartial, unbiased reporting’, is little more than a state propagandist allowing vested interests to set the news agenda and decide the format and tone of news reports. The same attitude displayed during the miners and dockers strikes is still displayed today with the BA cabin crew strike and the London Underground strikes. The same timidity in the face of government threats during the IRA era is still apparant today with anyone prepared to listen to jihadists or ‘insurgents.’
Pilger isn’t subtle but he doesn’t have to be. War isn’t subtle. Death isn’t subtle. Pilger remains an angry voice in an era when journalists and broadcasters can be bribed and bullied into line, distorting the truth and telling lies, which itself creates the anger that fuels yet more suicide bombers.
It’s not only Bush and Blair who have blood on their hands.