Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Power, Propaganda and Conscience in the War On Terror - by John Pilger (v.good): "When I showed evidence of a second massacre near the Santa Cruz cemetery in November 1991, the foreign editor of the only national newspaper in this country, The Australian, mocked the eyewitnesses. "The truth," wrote Greg Sheridan, "is that even genuine victims frequently concoct stories." The paper?s Jakarta correspondent, Patrick Walters, wrote that "no one is arrested [by Suharto] without proper legal procedures." The editor-in-chief, Paul Kelly, declared Suharto a "moderate" and that there was no alternative to his benign rule.

"Paul Kelly sat on the board of the Australia-Indonesia Institute, a body funded by the Australian government. Not long before Suharto was overthrown by his own people, Kelly was in Jakarta, standing at Suharto?s side, introducing the mass murderer to a line of Australian editors. To his great credit, the then editor of the West Australian, Paul Murray, refused to join this obsequious group. Not long ago, Paul Kelly was given a special award in the annual Walkley Awards for journalism ? the kind they give to elder statesmen. And no one said anything about Indonesia and Suharto. Imagine a similar award going to Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the London Times in the 1930s. Like Kelly, he appeased a genocidal dictator, calling him a "moderate.""

"A Czech friend, a novelist, told me; "You in the West are disadvantaged. You have your myths about freedom of information, but you have yet to acquire the skill of deciphering: of reading between the lines. One day, you will need it." That day has come. The so-called war on terror is the greatest threat to all of us since the most dangerous years of the cold war. Rapacious, imperial America has found its new "red scare." Every day now, officially manipulated fear and paranoia are exported to our shores ? air marshals, finger printing, a directive on how many people can queue for the toilet on a Qantas jet flying to Los Angeles.

"The totalitarian impulses that have long existed in America are now in full cry. Go back to the 1950s, the McCarthy years, and the echoes today are all too familiar ? the hysteria; the assault on the Bill of Rights; a war based on lies and deception. Just as in the 1950s, the virus has spread to America?s intellectual satellites, notably Australia."

"Of all the western democracies, Australia is the most derivative and the most silent. Those who hold up a mirror are not welcome in the media. My work is syndicated and read widely around the world, but not in Australia, where I come from. However, I am mentioned in the Australian press quite frequently. The official commentators, who dominate the press, will refer critically to an article of mine they may have read in the Guardian or New Statesman in London. But Australian readers are not allowed to read the original, which must be filtered through the official commentators. But I do appear regularly in one Australian paper: the Hinterland Voice ? a tiny free sheet, whose address is Post Office Kin Kin in Queensland. It?s a fine local paper. It has stories about garage sales and horses and the local scouts, and I?m proud to be part of it.

"It?s the only paper in Australia in which I?ve been able to report the evidence of the disaster in Iraq ? for example, that the attack on Iraq was planned from September 11; that only a few months earlier, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, had stated that Saddam Hussein was disarmed and no threat to anyone. Today, the United States is currently training a Gestapo of 10,000 agents, commanded by the most ruthless, senior elements of Saddam Hussein?s secret police. The aim is to run the new puppet regime behind a pseudo-democratic fa?ade ? and to defeat the resistance. That information is vital to us, because the fate of the resistance in Iraq is vital to all our futures. For if the resistance fails, the Bush cabal will almost certainly attack another country ? possibly North Korea, which is nuclear armed."

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