John Pilger on the rebranding of the US occupation of Iraq

Legendary journalist John PIlger speaks to Riz Khan about the ostensible US withdrawal from Iraq. In his otherwise sensible commentary, Pilger claims that troops will remain to protect oil contracts, which of course doesn’t make much sense because all the major contracts are held by Russian, Norwegian, Chinese and French companies.

US combat forces have left Iraq, but who should be held accountable for the invasion and occupation that has left hundreds of thousands dead? Veteran investigative journalist John Pilger joins the show to discuss.

Also see this this important article in which Pilger defends Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is now the subject of an international smear campaign.

Why Wikileaks must be protected

by John Pilger

On 26 July, Wikileaks released thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan. Cover-ups, a secret assassination unit and the killing of civilians are documented. In file after file, the brutalities echo the colonial past. From Malaya and Vietnam to Bloody Sunday and Basra, little has changed. The difference is that today there is an extraordinary way of knowing how faraway societies are routinely ravaged in our name. Wikileaks has acquired records of six years of civilian killing for both Afghanistan and Iraq, of which those published in the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times are a fraction.

There is understandably hysteria on high, with demands that the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is “hunted down” and “rendered”. In Washington, I interviewed a senior Defence Department official and asked, “Can you give a guarantee that the editors of Wikileaks and the editor in chief, who is not American, will not be subjected to the kind of manhunt that we read about in the media?” He replied, “It’s not my position to give guarantees on anything”. He referred me to the “ongoing criminal investigation” of a US soldier, Bradley Manning, an alleged whistleblower. In a nation that claims its constitution protects truth-tellers, the Obama administration is pursuing and prosecuting more whistleblowers than any of its modern predecessors. A Pentagon document states bluntly that US intelligence intends to “fatally marginalise” Wikileaks. The preferred tactic is smear, with corporate journalists ever ready to play their part.

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Pilger on Honduras and Palestine

“Legendary author and filmmaker John Pilger talks about the expansion of US empire in Asia and Latin America” on Flashpoints Radio.  This is a promotion for Socialism Conference, which will presumably upload Pilger’s saturday lecture, and has many great speakers, including friend of Pulse Dahr Jamail.

Pilger on Flashpoints: MP3

Fake faith and epic crimes

In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes a worldwide movement that is ‘challenging the once-sacrosanct notion that imperial politicians can destroy countless lives and retain an immunity from justice’. In Tony Blair’s case, justice inches closer.

These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole”. International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, “if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves”.

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War Comes Home to Britain

John Pilger describes “the erosion of liberal freedoms” as “symptomatic of an evolved criminal state.”

Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.

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Come on Down For Your Freedom Medals

John Pilger puts forward his nominations for Bush freedom medals.

On 13 January, George W. Bush presented “presidential freedom medals,” said to be America’s highest recognition of devotion to freedom and peace. Among the recipients were Tony Blair, the epic liar who, with Bush, bears responsibility for the physical, social and cultural destruction of an entire nation; John Howard, the former prime minister of Australia and minor American vassal who led the most openly racist government in his country’s modern era; and Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia, whose government, according the latest study of that murderous state, is “responsible for than 90 per cent of all cases of torture”.

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