[Marxism] pilger on the web as insurrectionary tool

Sudhir Devadas sudhirdin at gmail.com
Mon Nov 28 04:11:36 MST 2005

pilger praises the few fearless souls who have bruited the truth about
the iraqi invasion, and the complicity of administrations that
instigated it. the failure, and in most cases the connivance of 
conventional mainstream print and broadcast media, has paved the way
for the emergence of the worldwide web as a dynamic platform of
dissent. the credibility or the lack of it, attached to the web, has
under the circumstances undergone a positive transformation.



John Pilger - recommends the world wide web
John Pilger  28th November 2005   New Statesman

If you want to know the truth about Iraq, join the millions who have
given up on the silences of the mainstream media, writes John Pilger
The Indian writer Vandana Shiva has called for an "insurrection of
subjugated knowledge". The insurrection is well under way. In trying
to make sense of a dangerous world, millions of people are turning
away from the conventional sources of news and information and to the
world wide web, convinced that mainstream journalism is the voice of
rampant power. The great scandal of Iraq has accelerated this. In the
United States, several senior broadcasters have confessed that had
they challenged and exposed the lies told about Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction, instead of amplifying and justifying them, the invasion
might not have happened.

Such honesty has yet to cross the Atlantic. Since it was founded in
1922, the BBC has served to protect every British establishment during
war and civil unrest. "We" never traduce and never commit great
crimes. So the omission of shocking events in Iraq - the destruction
of cities, the slaughter of innocent people and the farce of a puppet
government - is routinely applied.

A study by the Cardiff School of Journalism found that 90 per cent of
the BBC's references to Saddam Hussein's WMDs suggested he possessed
them and that "spin from the British and US governments was successful
in framing the coverage". The same "spin" has ensured, until now, that
the use of banned weapons by the Americans and British in Iraq has
been suppressed as news.

An admission by the US State Department on 10 November that its forces
had used white phosphorus in Fallujah followed "rumours on the
internet", according to the BBC's Newsnight.

There were no rumours. There was first-class investigative work that
ought to shame well-paid journalists. Mark Kraft of (http://
insomnia.livejournal.com) found the evidence in the March-April 2005
issue of Field Artillery magazine and other sources. He was supported
by the work of the film-maker Gabriele Zamparini, founder of the
excellent site (thecatsdream.com).

Last May, David Edwards and David Cromwell of (medialens.org) posted a
revealing correspondence with Helen Boaden, the BBC's director of
news. They had asked her why the BBC had remained silent on known
atrocities committed by the Americans in Fallujah. She replied, "Our
correspondent in Fallujah at the time [of the US attack], Paul Wood,
did not report any of these things because he did not see any of these
things." It is a statement to savour. Wood was "embedded" with the
Americans. He interviewed none of the victims of US atrocities, nor
un-embedded journalists. He not only missed the Americans' use of
white phosphorus, which they now admit, he reported nothing of the
use, in Fallujah, of another banned weapon, napalm. Thus, BBC viewers
were unaware of the fine words of Colonel James Alles, commander of
the US Marine Air Group XI. "We napalmed both those [bridge]
approaches," he said. "Unfortunately, there were people there . . .
you could see them in the cockpit video . . . It's no great way to
die. The generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.

"Once the unacknowledged work of Kraft and Zamparini had appeared in
the Guardian and Independent and forced the Americans to come clean
about white phosphorus, Wood was on Newsnight describing their
admission as "a public relations disaster for the US". This echoed
Menzies Campbell of the Liberal Democrats, perhaps the most quoted
politician since Gladstone, who said: "The use of this weapon may
technically have been legal, but its effects are such that it will
hand a propaganda victory to the insurgency.

"The BBC and most of the political and media establishment invariably
cast such a horror as a public relations problem while minimising the
crushing of a city the size of Leeds, the killing and maiming of
countless men, women and children, the expulsion of thousands and the
denial of medical supplies, food and water - a major war crime. The
evidence is voluminous, provided by refugees, doctors, human rights
groups and a few courageous foreigners whose work appears only on the
internet. In April last year, Jo Wilding, a young British law student,
filed a series of extraordinary eyewitness reports from inside the
city. So fine are they, I have included one of her pieces in an
anthology of the best investigative journalism*. Her film, A Letter to
the Prime Minister, made inside Fallujah with Julia Guest, has not
been shown on British television. In addition, Dahr Jamail, an
independent Lebanese-American journalist who has produced some of the
best front-line reporting I have read, described all the "things" the
BBC failed to "see". His interviews with doctors, local officials and
families are on the internet, together with the work of those who have
exposed the widespread use of uranium-tipped shells, another banned
weapon, and cluster bombs, which Campbell would say are "technically
legal". Try these websites: dahrjamailiraq.com, zmag.org, antiwar.com,
truthout.com, indymedia.org.uk, informationclearinghouse.info,
counterpunch.org, voicesuk.org. There are many more.

"Each word," wrote Jean-Paul Sartre, "has an echo. So does each silence.

"* Tell Me No Lies: investigative journalism and its triumphs, edited
by John Pilger, is published by Vintage

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