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John Pilger: A profile in courage for daring to tell the truth

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As both of the Republican and Democratic primaries loom large on the horizon in which both parties will select their candidate to run for president of the United States, I will first have to add, it has been one of the most lack-luster campaigns I have ever witnessed.  There have only been two lower-tier candidates on both sides that have captured my imagination and attention and their names are former Senator Mike Gravel and Congressman Ron Paul. 


But, this column is not about these two men, but what has been done in our name by previous administrations and what has been done by the present one.  I have always believed in the power of the vote and democracy itself and it makes me sick to know how we have overthrown foreign democracies for decades.  This first came to my attention after viewing Sky Television’s Secrets of the CIA and wrote of it for VHeadline.com.  I felt the need to speak out for those whose voices were snuffed out by our brute force.  The snuffing out of those lives was either directly tied to our actions or a result of them.  In both cases horror is the only word I can use to define these actions.


These actions that I do speak of have taken place under both Republican and Democratic administrations, so both parties are to be condemned for the taking of countless lives in which the only term that comes to mind is holocaust.  Morally as we come upon the 2008 General Election, I question my participation in voting in it.  Several candidates on both sides of the aisle have key endorsers in which some will pay attention to what these endorsers have to add to the mix: Yet who will listen to the names no longer present on this Earth?  I do not even know their names, they are merely collateral damage snuffed out to advance our way of life.


In my last piece, I spoke of the journalistic ethics broken by Tucker Carlson of MSNBC, in this piece, I will herald the journalistic ethics of John Pilger who has covered these atrocities which I suppose would make many of the journalists presently on television recoil in revulsion.  That is if some of them had a soul.  The same atrocities have taken place in Iraq since the early nineties and up to and including our invasion of Iraq in 2003.  John Pilger has even spoken of that and has condemned both the Clinton administration as well as the Bush administration and rightfully so.  He has also blamed the Blair administration for taking part in this travesty and we must as well.

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John Pilger is to be commended for the body of work he has produced showing man’s inhumanity to man over the past several decades.  As I have been researching him, most likely it was his piece, Year Zero which deals with the after affects of our bombing of Cambodia one must applaud his courage.  In this documentary he chronicles how the United States of America bombed that prosperous country and stood by as countless lives were taken with the rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.  If anything both Nixon and Kissinger deserved to be treated and judged like those in the Nuremburg trials.  Henry Kissinger in fact at one point won the Nobel Peace Prize and if I could have the ear of former Vice President Gore, it would be to return that prize since it is tainted.  The Nobel Peace Prize means nothing to me now.


In viewing that piece, Year Zero, Pilger warned the viewing audience before watching it and I will as well.  What you will see are indescribable horrors in which innocent people are starved to death, incur diseases as the west looked on and did nothing to alleviate their suffering.  This suffering was caused by the United States bombing that country with the force of several Hiroshima bombs as Pilger opined.  It was a  shameful and yet brutal act and was done to advance our way of life.  Our way of life should not come at the expense of other people’s suffering.


Rudy Giuliani often speaks of the horrors of 9/11 and in witnessing what this country has done over the decades makes 9/11 pail in comparison.  No, this is not to dismiss the suffering of that day, but our actions took the lives of many more innocent people and we wonder why we are hated?  I have often stated that the Iraqi people have suffered a 9/11 event on a daily basis for over four years now, but they are not the only ones to have suffered at our hands.  Also let me be crystal clear, the Iraqis did suffer during the Clinton administration through the sanctioning of that country.  It has been reported that one million have lost their lives since 2003, through our sanctions, one million died during that period according to people like George Galloway and reaffirmed by John Pilger.  Yet, folks wish to return to that era by supporting Hillary Clinton?  In witnessing Pilger’s body of work, my rose-colored glasses have been taken off for good.  Dare I say that former President Clinton deserves a judgment at Nuremburg for causing the deaths of one million Iraqis?  You tell me.

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When questioned by Sixty Minutes, Leslie Stahl this is what former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had to say when asked, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright’s response was, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.” Yet, folks wish to revisit this era as they support Hillary Clinton.  How could she stand by and do nothing if she felt she was Bill Clinton’s partner?  I am sorry, Hillary, the price was not worth it and you owe the Iraqi people an apology for your husband’s actions.  If you knew of these atrocities, perhaps you too should stand a similar trial as the ones held in Nuremburg.


The other night a writer for VHeadline.com sent me John Pilger’s production, The War on Democracy which highlights in great detail of our actions within Latin America as we toppled democratically elected governments.  Again, taking center-stage is the late and former President Richard Nixon who said this of Latin America, “People don’t give a sh*t about the place.” Again, within this hour and a half feed, you will see indescribable horrors done in our name.  I am still numb from watching that feed along with Year Zero.


Pilger goes into great detail of how we took part in the coup that overthrew President Hugo Chavez, but showed the people’s resistance to take back their power and return their democratically elected president.  Exactly what right do we think we have to overthrow other people’s democracies?  Pilger says that President Chavez is a threat to U.S. domination and again Tucker Carlson shoots off his mouth by calling his government “criminal” If any government is criminal it is our own.


One thing as I watched this piece specifically was how ordinary citizens took back power to reclaim their own destiny.  It makes me wonder why we can’t.  I think the reason for that is, we are distracted in so many ways and these indigenous people live in the moment.  No, they do not have cell phones for the most part or I Pods, but felt their own suppression.


As our presidential candidates speak of how they would deliver health care to all Americans, President Chavez has given all of his citizens’ free health care.  It is funded by the oil profits made off of CITGO oil.  Those profits are also used for free education, free food for the poorest of Venezuela’s citizens and even funding supermarkets which the prices are kept low.  On the backs of packages sold, printed on them are articles contained within the Venezuelan Constitution.  At least they abide by theirs while ours has been treated like a “god damn piece of paper” as cited by President Bush.


People in this country were abhorred when they learned of the torture that took place at Abu Ghraib; well the same torture took place as we installed Augusto Pinochet when we overthrew that government as well.  Another fine piece of work perpetrated by Henry Kissinger.  It was hard to witness the words of a nun as she described her gang-rape within this piece.  An American nun who only wished to do great works of compassion was the victim of her own country’s actions.

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How I wish I could go into every point brought up in these many feeds embedded within this piece, but I cannot.  That is your responsibility as you read this piece to sit down and actually pay attention to the voices that are no longer with us.  Should you pay attention to Barbara Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Pat Robertson, Chuck Norris or any other celebrity speaking out on behalf of the present crop of presidential candidates: Or do you listen to the voices who are no longer with us?  We must bear witness to all of them who have suffered, died and who are still with us to this day in order to change the course of this country.  That is if we can or are we too late?


As I condemned the actions of Tucker Carlson in my last piece, I herald the works of John Pilger who many may not know of but should.  I do think if we had courageous journalists such as Pilger broadcasting every single day, this country would be the better for it.  But, of course as Pilger relates in other feeds I have watched, the media is no longer the people’s but the corporations.  With the corporations owning more and more of our airwaves, we shall never see the horrors done in our name.  All of these horrors date back decades and one must ask: Do we have that right as a free nation to overthrow any other country’s right to be free and their desire for sovereignty?  We do not.


I will leave you with this one quote by John Pilger, “No country has a right to go its own way unless it coincides with the interests of the United States.” He also states, “History explains why we in the west know of the crimes of others, but nothing of our own.” Anyone who cares of our historical record, journalism, and the truth for that matter should listen to the words of John Pilger.  You must then ask: What is our future as you hear the words coming from every single presidential candidate.  Even those who are barred from taking place in said debates namely former Senator Mike Gravel who had published the Pentagon Papers which detailed our actions in South East Asia.  What courageous actions have other presidential candidates shown? If you cite me, Rudy Giuliani, all he wants is more of the same insanity that has gripped this nation for decades.


Author’s email address is, xmjmac@optonline.net


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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog http://www.mary-macelveen.blogspot.com I have been published by Buzzflash.com, TheLiberalPatriot.org and MikeHersh.com. I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)

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