ts. He is considered one of the last great journalists of our time, an inspiration to many young ones. John Pilger (*1939), Australian journalist, author and documentary filmmaker has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth. He has spent his career working for the mainstream, covering nine wars. But he has never seen coverage “so utterly consumed by a tsunami of jingoism and of manipulative jingoism” as the Ukraine war. “And that’s why nothing should be trusted.” And: The Western propaganda against China should not be overlooked.
He takes hostility in stride. “The great journalist James Cameron once said, “If they call you a ‘communist’, especially a ‘communist Jew’, then you know you’re doing something right, you’re succeeding.”” In the South China Morning Post, Pilger recently gave an interview recalling the role of propaganda in wars. He said that the Ukraine war was no different. “You must remember though that above all this is the war of propaganda. And I would think almost nothing one reads in the Western press about the invasion of Ukraine is to be trusted.” Scepticism is in place, he said, but he is not sure that readers and viewers in the US and Europe possess the skill of scepticism. “That is crucial now because nothing can be believed. Every day when I scan the media, I look at the source and it’s Ukrainian intelligence.” The propaganda operation in Ukraine is “quite brilliant”, he said. “They’ve managed to invent a chemical warfare attack when there wasn’t one. They’ve managed to keep out of the Western media the fact that so much of Ukraine is infested, if not run by, but infested with true extremists, fascists, ‘neo-Nazis’ they are called.” According to him, the US are playing the leading role in Ukraine. But one should not forget that “the US doesn’t give a damn about Ukraine. Ukraine is simply a pawn in this.” The aim of the USA, their defence minister said literally and publicly, was to destroy the Russian Federation.
“That’s been known for a long time. That is probably the most dangerous project in the world today because the Russians are not going to allow that.”
Understanding the conflict means letting both sides have their say. Before February 24th of this year, there were 60,000 Ukrainian soldiers on the line of contact across the Donbass. “Now, Donbas, as far as the Russians are concerned, is the last stepping stone. [...] Everything in modern Russian history and in not-so-modern history tells us that the Russians will never tolerate this. That they regard this as a threat and they have a lot of their history to justify that. In any discussion of geopolitics, history has to be part of one’s analysis.” He said that it was sheer Western ignorance of Russia, but also of China, that we do not want to take their perspective into account. This account should in no way endorse or approve of Putin’s invasion, but it must be understood. Russia will not benefit from it, he said. “Once you unleash war, then literally anything can happen.”
As a mainstream journalist, he had covered nine wars, but never had he experienced such a “tsunami of jingoism and manipulative jingoism”. He always tells people to deconstruct all the news in front of the TV, to check it. If that is not possible, then the account should be discarded. Since he, like most people, does not have the time for that, there is only one thing to do: ignore them.
Because: there used to be spaces for journalists who were committed to the truth, even in London, in Fleet Street, the press district, however, these spaces are now closed. One may dislike social media, but “it does mean that we at least have a way to question what we see and hear and read in the mainstream media.” Because “mainstream media is part of a propaganda war. That’s not said or meant to be in any way agitprop and speaking against the craft gave me a home throughout all my career. But that’s the truth and we must be sceptical. We must be sceptical of absolutely everything.”
As an Australian, Pilger also observes the mood-mongering against China. It is a “‘soft war’ that is already being waged against China. That’s what we live with day after day. It’s extremely dangerous.” Often there is biased reporting about China’s self-assertion in the South China Sea, but the fact is, and this is deliberately concealed, “that China is surrounded by some 40 US bases all the way up from Australia across the Pacific up into Asia, all the way to Korea and Japan and Okinawa. Floating bases all aimed at the industrial heartland of China.”
As for Australia’s independence from the US? “Australia follows the United States. Australian foreign policy, its military, its intelligence community, its media, much of its public intellectual life is integrated with the United States.” It is often an insult to call Australia the 51st state of the United States, he said. “But it is.” What the US covets, it usually gets.
Where are the journalists from Europe who follow the example of the upright fighter for truth from “down under”? •
Source: ‘This is a war of propaganda’: John Pilger on Ukraine and Assange |Talking Post with Yonden Lhatoo. 09.07.2022. South China Morning Post.
“If Julian is extradited to the United States, I think it will effectively end real independent investigative journalism,” John Pilger says. “Who will take that risk again if the United States and other countries, but if it’s in the United States mainly, can reach anywhere in the world? You take a journalist for writing something or revealing something it doesn’t approve of.” Censorship? Only on the others? Torture? Only with the others? For Pilger, there is no doubt: “if Julian goes to the United States and is effectively dropped in a penal hellhole, that will be the end of him, literally. He will die. Anything is better, of course, than going to the United States. But the torture, and it’s not a word I use idly, the torture he’s suffered has cost the man terribly.”
And what is his home country, Australia, doing for its citizen Assange? “One of the most egregious, outrageous aspects, if you will, of this case with Julian is that he’s an Australian citizen. But Australia has made no effort whatsoever to protect one of its own.” Yet Assange had committed no crime. “This is a journalist fighting for his life and for the right of real journalism to publish the truth about governments.”
The appeals of Assange’s father, but also those of Pilger, were not heard by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Pilger: “Does nationality mean nothing? Well, apparently it means nothing, because Australia has not only done nothing, it has colluded with the United States to keep Julian where he is.”
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