John Pilger: The media, Iraq, & Israel


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 00:21:25 +0800
To: •••@••.•••
From: Betty Daly-King <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: John Pilger from Australia

Richard,  17 January, 2003.

John Howard, Australia's PM, is the mouse that roars
for America...... It is all true!

30 Jan 2003
  In its leaders supporting the war in Iraq, the Observer
  proves that it has truly buried its great liberal
  editor David Astor, and his principled, "freethinking"

29 Jan 2003
  William Russell, the great correspondent who reported
  the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the
  expression "blood on his hands" to describe impeccable
  politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass
  killing of ordinary people.

17 Jan 2003
  John Howard, Australia's PM, is the mouse that roars
  for America, whipping his country into war fever and
  paranoia about terrorism within. John Pilger reports
  from Sydney

13 Jan 2003
  The Independent Television Commission has rejected all
  complaints made against the John Pilger's documentary
  PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE. Read the full judgement

20 Dec 2002
  John Pilger writes on the "secret" war which has seen a
  300 per cent increase in bombing raids on Iraq.

12 Dec 2002
  Two years ago a project set up by the men who now
  surround George W Bush said what America needed was "a
  new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims have, alarmingly,
  come true.

Source: The New Statesman
Source: The Guardian  
    This section contains many of John Pilger's published
    articles in the New Statesman and The Guardian since
    1998, as well as an excerpt from his book, Hidden
    Agendas, and his chapter from the recently published
    Iraq: Under Siege. As and when he publishes any new
    material it will immediately appear within this
    section. His latest published piece is printed below.

In its leaders supporting the war in Iraq, the Observer
proves that it has truly buried its great liberal
editor David Astor, and his principled, "freethinking"
legacy : John Pilger : 30 Jan 2003 The Palestinian
writer Ghada Karmi has described "a deep and
unconscious racism [that] imbues every aspect of
western conduct toward Iraq". She wrote: "I recall that
a similar culture prevailed in the UK during the 1956
Suez crisis and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Nasser
was the arch-villain and all Arabs were crudely
targeted. Today, in Britain, such overt anti-Arabness
is unacceptable, so it takes subtler forms.
Saddam-bashing, a sport officially sanctioned since
1991, has made him the perfect surrogate for anti-Arab

Reading this, I turned up the Observer's tribute to its
great editor, David Astor, who died in 2001. In
opposing the British attack on Suez in 1956, Astor,
said the paper, "took the government to task for its
bullying and in so doing defined the Observer as a
freethinking paper prepared to swim against the tide".
In a famous editorial, Astor had described "an
endeavour to reimpose 19th-century imperialism of the
crudest kind". He wrote: "Nations are said to have the
governments they deserve. Let us show that we deserve
better." The present-day Observer commented that "the
richness of [Astor's] language and relevance of the
sentiments resonate today".

The absence of irony in this statement is bleak. Little
more than a year later, in its editorial of 19 January
2003, the Observer finally buried David Astor and his
principled "freethinking" legacy. Pretending to wring
its hands, the paper announced it was for attacking
Iraq: a position promoted by its news and feature pages
for more than a year now, notably in its barren
"investigations" seeking to link Iraq with both the
anthrax scare and al-Qaeda. The paper that stood
proudly against Eden on Suez is but a supplicant to the
warmongering Blair, willing to support the very crime
the judges at Nuremberg deemed the most serious of all:
an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country offering no

Not a word in the Observer's editorial mentioned the
great crime committed by the British and American
governments against the ordinary people of Iraq.
Withholding more than $5bn worth of humanitarian
supplies approved by the Security Council, Washington,
with Blair's backing, maintains a medieval blockade
against Iraq. Cancer treatment equipment, water
treatment equipment, painkillers, children's vaccines,
to name a few of the life-giving essentials that are
maliciously withheld, have resulted in the deaths of
tens of thousands of vulnerable people, mostly infants
under the age of five. Extrapolating from the
statistics, the American scholars John Mueller and Karl
Mueller conclude that "economic sanctions have probably
already taken the lives of more people in Iraq than
have been killed by all weapons of mass destruction".

When the Observer celebrates the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein, with pictures of exhausted Iraqis "thanking"
their liberators, will it explain to its readers that
as many as a million people, mostly children, could not
attend the festivities thanks to the barbaric policies
of the British and American governments? No. A
contortion of intellect and morality that urges
participation in what has been described as "a
firestorm of 800 missiles in two days" censors by

We come back to Ghada Karmi's references to the veiled
racism that propels every western attack on Arabs, from
Churchill's preference in 1921 for "using poison gas on
uncivilised tribes" to the use of depleted uranium in
the 1991 Gulf slaughter. This racism applies,
quintessentially, to her homeland, Palestine. While the
Iraq pantomime plays, America's proxy, Israel, has
begun the next stage of its historic ethnic cleansing
of Palestinians. On 21 January, the town of Nazlat 'Iza
in the northern West Bank was invaded by a force of
armoured personnel carriers, tanks and 60-ton,
American-made Israeli bulldozers. Sixty-three shops
were demolished, along with countless homes and olive
groves. Little of this was reported outside the Arab
world. Some parts of the West Bank have been under
curfew for a total of 214 days. Whole villages are
under house arrest. People cannot get medical care;
ambulances have been prevented from reaching hospitals;
women have lost their newborn babies in agony and pools
of blood at military checkpoints. Fresh water is
permanently scarce, and food; in some areas, more than
half the children are seriously undernourished. One
image unforgettable to me is the sight of children's
kites flying from the windows and yards of their

Then there is the slaughter. During the month of
November, more than 50 Palestinian civilians were
killed by the Israelis - a record by one calculation.
These included a 95-year-old woman, 14 young children
and a British UN worker, shot in the back by an Israeli
sniper. Human rights groups say the deaths occurred
mostly in circumstances in which there was no exchange
of gunfire. "The Israelis have killed 16 Palestinians
within 48 hours," said Dr Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah
on 27 January. "That's an average of one Palestinian
every three hours. The silence about this is simply

While Blair damns Iraq for the chemical weapons that a
swarm of inspectors cannot find, he has quietly
approved the sale of chemical weapons to Israel, a
terrorist and rogue state by any dictionary meaning of
those words. While he accuses Iraq of defying the
United Nations, he is silent about the 64 UN
resolutions Israel has ignored - a world record.

The Israeli terrorists, who subjugate and brutalise a
whole nation, demolishing homes and shops, expelling
and killing and "systematically torturing" (Amnesty)
day after day, are not mentioned in the Observer
editorial. No "decisive action" (the Observer's words)
is required against the prima facie war criminals Ariel
Sharon and General Shaul Mofaz, who, along with their
predecessors, have caused a degree of suffering of
which Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda can only dream. There
is no suggestion that the British force heading for the
Middle East should "intervene" in the "republic of
fear" that Israel has created in Palestine in defiance
of the world, and "displace" them. There is not a word
about the weapons of mass destruction that Sharon
repeatedly flaunts ("the Arabs may have the oil, but we
have the matches").

To most people in Europe, and across the world, these
double standards offend common decency. Overhear people
on the bus and in the pub if you need to know why. This
decency, combined with a critical public intelligence,
is not understood by the suburban propagandists, whose
fondness for and imagined closeness to power mark their
servility to it. The same power and its court were
defined succinctly by that distinguished scholar of
international politics, the late Professor Hedley Bull.
"Particular states or groups of states," he wrote,
"that set themselves up as the authoritative judges of
the world common good, in disregard of the view of
others, are in fact a menace."

cyberjournal home page:

"Zen of Global Transformation" home page:

QuayLargo discussion forum:

cj list archives:

newslog list archives:

subscribe addresses for cj list: