A moral interpretation of world affairs in a cynical age

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A moral interpretation of world affairs in a cynical age. Independent,n his powerful new book journalist and film maker. John Pilger strips away the layers of deception,dissembling language and omission that prevent us. from understanding how the world really works, From the invisible corners of Tony Blair s New Britain to. Burma Vietnam Australia South Africa and the illusions. of the media age power he argues has its own, agenda Unchallenged it operates to protect its interests. with a cynical disregard for people shaping and often. devastating millions of lives, By unravelling the hidden histories of contemporary.
events Pilger allows us to read between the lines He. also celebrates the eloquent defiance and courage of. those who resist oppression and give us hope for the. future Tenaciously researched and written with passion. and wit Hidden Agendas will change the way you see. Pilger is the closest we have to the great, correspondents of the 1930s The truth in his hands. is a weapon to be picked up and used in the,struggle against injustice. John Pilger grew up in Sydney Australia He has been a war correspondent. author and film maker He has twice won British journalism s highest. award that of Journalist of the Year for his work all over the world notably. in Vietnam and Cambodia Among a number of other awards he has been. International Reporter of the Year and winner of the United Nations. Association Media Peace Prize For his broadcasting he has won France s. Reporter sans Frontieres an American television Academy Award an. Emmy and the Richard Dimbleby Award given by the British Academy of. Film and Television Arts He lives in London,Acknowledgements ix. Introduction 1,I THE NEW COLD WAR,The Terrorists 19. Unpeople 1 44,The Crusaders 59,Unpeople 2 99,II FLYING THE FLAG.
Arming the World 115,III INSIDE BURMA,The Golden Land 155. We Shall Have Our Time 190,IV AUSTRALIA,Secret Waters 223. Anzac Day 249,V WE RESIST TO WIN,Xanana 283,Jose Ramos Horta 296. Bishop Belo 305,Jo Andrea Lotta and Angie 313,The Invisible Revolution 323. The Dockers 334,VI ON THE FAMINE ROAD,The Roots of War 361.
VII THE RISE AND FALL OF POPULAR JOURNALISM,Forward with the People 371. Breaking the Mirror 410,VIII THE MEDIA AGE,A Cultural Chernobyl 445. Guardians of the Faith 485,The Last Voice 526,IX RETURN TO VIETNAM. Still a Noble Cause 549,The Final Battle 564,China Beach 589. X EPILOGUE,The View from Dimbaza 597,ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.
I WOULD LIKE to thank the following people who in one way. or another have given me help and encouragement Jim. Aubrey David Boardman John Booth David Bowman, Roger Bratchell Carmel Budiardjo Scott Burchill Mike. Carden Robert Clough John Cody Ian Craig Hazel Croft. Hugh Cudlipp Roger Diski Faith Doherty Paul Donovan. Margaret Duerden Elizabeth Duggan Nic Dunlop John, Garrett Allen Myers and the writers of Green Left Weekly. Rachel Hagan Jorg Hensgen Tom Hyland Roger James, Myra Jones Shona Kirkwood Nicholas Lorn Helen Long. Greg McLaughlin Helen Martin Razi Mireskandari Bobby. Morton Don Mullan David Munro Joe Murray Andrea,Needham Lorraine Nelson friends on The New. Internationalist Helen Oldfield Deborah Orr Alex Palmer. Greg Philo Graham Pilger Jaine Roberts Vicki Robinson. Peter Schumpeter Gil Scrine Michael Seva Julie Stoner the. Third World Network in Penang Allan Ticehurst Jill. Tomkinson and Jo Wilson I would especially like to thank. Liz Cowen my excellent editor Will Sulkin of Vintage. Jacqueline Korn my agent and friend and Jane Hill whose. skilled and comradely hand is evident throughout this book. Who controls the past controls the future Who controls the. present controls the past,George Orwell Nineteen Eighty four.
INTRODUCTION, THERE IS SOMETHING in journalism called a slow news day. This usually falls on a Sunday or during the holiday period. when the authorised sources of information are at rest. Nothing happens then apart from acts of God and disorder in. far away places It is generally agreed that the media show. cannot go on while the cast is away, This book is devoted to slow news In each chapter the. setting changes from Iraq to the East End of London from. Burma to the docks of Liverpool and the West of Ireland. from Vietnam to Australia and the new South Africa In all. these places events have occurred that qualify as slow news. Some have been reported even glimpsed on the evening news. where they are unremembered as part of a moving belt of. images shot and edited to the rhythms of a Coca Cola. advertisement wrote one media onlooker pointing out that. the average length of the TV news soundbite in the United. States had gone from 42 3 seconds in 1968 to 9 9 seconds 1. That is the trend In American television a one percentage. point fall in the ratings can represent a loss of 100 million a. year in advertising The result is not just infotainment but. infoadvertising programmes that flow seamlessly into com. mercials 2 This is how commercial television works in. Australia Japan Italy and many other countries Britain is not. far behind the ever diminishing circle of multinational com. panies that control the media especially television take their. cue from the brand leader Rupert Murdoch who says his role. in the communications revolution is that of a battering ram. INTRODUCTION, In Britain on what is still lauded as the best television service. in the world only 3 per cent of peak time programmes feature. anything about the majority of humanity and almost all of that. is confined to the minority channels if you exclude Clive. James laughing at the Japanese In the media s global village. other nations do not exist unless they are useful to us 3. Regardless of the BBC s enduring facade of impartiality. and standards news is now openly ideological and uniform. as the demands of the market supercult are met When slow. news is included it is more than likely dressed in a political. and social vocabulary that ensures the truth is lost Thus in. Britain as in the United States and Australia the systematic. impoverishment of a quarter of the population is routinely. filed under underclass an American term describing a cor. rupting anti social group outside society The solution to. poverty which is the return of vast wealth taken from the poor. by the rich is seldom given a public airing The new system. of capitalism for the powerless and socialism for the powerful. under which the former are persecuted and the latter are given. billions in public subsidies is rarely identified as such Terms. like modernisation are preferred, Wars can be notoriously slow news Not the fireworks of. course Indeed like fast food the whizz bang of war has been. made convenient for the consumer at home in front of the. TV set The Gulf War in 1991 was reported as a technological. wonder an event of bloodless science in which rejoiced one. editorial writer there were miraculously few casualties 4 It. was one of the most covered wars in history yet few. journalists reported the truth still widely unknown that a. quarter of a million Iraqis were wantonly slaughtered or died. unnecessary deaths 5, Since that bloodfest the fate of the children of Iraq has been.
the slowest of news Who knows that at least half a million. children have died as a direct result of the economic sanctions. imposed by the Western powers Who understands that the. sanctions are aimed not at bringing down Saddam Hussein or. deterring him from building some mythical nuclear bomb but. at preventing the market competition of Iraqi oil from. INTRODUCTION, forcing down the price of oil produced by Saudi Arabia the. West s most important Middle Eastern proxy next to Israel. and biggest arms customer 6, The children of Iraq are Unpeople So too are the half a. million children who according to UNICEF die beneath the. burden of unrepayable debt owed by their governments to the. West 7 One Filipino child is said to die every hour in a country. where more than half the national budget is given over to pay. ing just the interest on World Bank and IMF loans These facts. are not allowed to interrupt the cosy British ritual of Red Nose. Day when the money raised for the poor of the world is but a. fraction of that paid by the governments of the poor to. Western banks on the same day 8 Britain which has an. ethical foreign policy demands levels of debt repayment that. far outweigh new loans or aid only the United States has a. longer record of taking more money from the developing. world than it gives out 9 It was not until the government of. Mexico threatened to repudiate its debt an action that might. have brought down the Western banking system that the. wider issue was retrieved from media oblivion, Unpeople are the heroes of this book Their eloquent. defiance and courage are as important as the secret histories of. their neglect In Part V We Resist to Win I chart the journey. of 500 Liverpool dockers who were summarily sacked in. 1996 most of them after a lifetime of service Replaced by. casual and part time workers their remarkable struggle is that. of millions of people against what Prime Minister Blair. echoing President Clinton euphemistically calls flexible. Hidden Agendas is about power propaganda and, censorship It picks up where my previous books Heroes A. Secret Country and Distant Voices left off In order to tell the. story so far I have included brief sections from these books. Several chapters began life as essays in the Guardian and the. New Statesman and have been substantially expanded and. brought up to date Otherwise the material is new and all of it. is close to my heart, Having spent much of my life as a reporter in places of.
INTRODUCTION, upheaval including many of the wars of the second half of the. century I have become convinced that it is not enough for. journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without. understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the. myths that surround it High on the list is the myth that we. now live in an information age when in fact we live in a. media age in which the available information is repetitive. safe and limited by invisible boundaries, In the day to day media much of this is the propaganda of. Western power whose narcissism dissembling language and. omissions often prevent us from understanding the meaning of. contemporary events Globalisation is a prime example This. smokescreen extends to journalists themselves who wrote. Michael Parenti in Inventing Reality The Politics of the Mass. Media rarely doubt their own objectivity even as they. faithfully echo the established political vocabularies and the. prevailing politico economic orthodoxy Since they do not. cross any forbidden lines they are not reined in So they are. likely to have no awareness they are on an ideological leash 10. Thus the true nature of power is not revealed its changing. contours are seldom explored its goals and targets seldom. identified This is counterfeit journalism because the surface. of events is not disturbed It is ironic that while corruption. among the system s managers and subalterns is at times. brilliantly exposed by a small group of exceptional journalists. the wider corruption is unseen and unreported, In The Serpent Marc Karlin s film about Rupert Murdoch. originally entitled The Cancer as a tribute to the playwright. Dennis Potter who named his lethal tumour Rupert the. director ruminates on how easily Murdoch came to dominate. the British media and coerce the liberal elite He illustrates. this with clips from a keynote speech which Murdoch gave at. the Edinburgh Television Festival The camera pans across the. audience of television executives who listen in respectful. silence as Murdoch accuses them of waging the same kind of. thought control as the Established Church before the invention. of the printing press This is the silence of the democrats. says a disembodied voice over and the Dark,INTRODUCTION. Prince could bathe in that silence 11, The silence of the democrats has been gathering for almost.
a generation since the defection of those who once prided. themselves on their resistance to the rapacity of power and. who understand how fragile is the vital link between the. people s right to know and be heard and liberty itself One of. the characters in Arthur Miller s The Price put it succinctly. We invent ourselves to wipe out what we know This is. examined in the centrepiece chapters of The Media Age. particularly in Guardians of the Faith which questions the. false assumption of many liberal communicators that their. position at the centre is representative of the broad band of. society and its best interests some like Tony Blair even. claim that it is non ideological Indeed the ideology he shares. with many in the media is one of the most powerful of the. modern era and more pervasive for its concealed and. unconscious attachment to a status quo of inequity based on. class and wealth The late Steve Biko described this political. illusion in the context of South Africa when he remarked that. the civilised collaborators view of apartheid was of an eye. sore spoiling an otherwise beautiful view 12,These are surr. A moral interpretation of world affairs in a cynical age Independent n his powerful new book journalist and film maker John Pilger strips away the layers of deception dissembling language and omission that prevent us from understanding how the world really works From the invisible corners of Tony Blair s New Britain to

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