The War You Don’t See

Dan Rather, heir to the iconic American news anchor Walter Cronkite, admitted: “if we [journalists] had done our job and stopped being war stenographers, maybe we could have stopped that war [in Iraq].” As we enter 2011, and at a time when for mainstream news outlets, facts don’t seem to matter anymore and when illusions are held for true, all we can hope is for a major paradigm shift to happen. What Wikileaks and other independent online whistleblower organizations do, is making the truth so compelling that it becomes very difficult or impossible to spin. This is tremendously important. The truth matters as it could have meant life and death, freedom and occupation for Iraqis, Palestinians and Afghans.

Make no mistake, the trial against Julian Assange is an attempt to stifle freedom of speech. It’s a pathetic case of character assassination.

So it’s all the more important to pause for a moment and remember where mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

John Pilger is a former war correspondent and award-winning documentary film maker. His latest film was first shown on British independent TV a couple of days ago. “The War You Don’t See” is a poignant look at the way mainstream media has manipulated the facts in the run up to America’s wars.

The full version is available free online until 10 January 2011. So don’t miss it. You can support Pilger’s work by buying his films online here.

Morocco: Back to Square One

“As you prepare for the Forum for the Future in Marrakesh next week, we’d like to bring to your attention a sharp spike in government repression in the host country, Morocco. The Committee to Protect Journalists, has documented an aggressive crackdown on independent news outlets and journalists that has occurred over the last five months and has included judicial harassment, politicized prosecutions, obstruction, and censorship.” Open letter to Secretary Clinton, from the Committee to Protect Journalists, October 30.

Bar(a)ka

Morocco will be hosting this week the ostentatiously dubbed, “Forum for the Future in the Broader Middle East.” A kind of Davos of the southern shore of the Mediterranean where ministers of foreign affairs, representing unelected, unpopular heads of states, will chat with the Americans, as good old friends about the future of a region stupendously strategic for the world.

Earlier, Clinton, in a clear departure from her previous administration’s stated policy, praised Israel for what she considered “unprecedented” concessions by the Israeli premiere. She just landed in Morocco, a country that I expect she will praise for “unprecedented” democratic achievements.

Two major international NGOs defending freedom of speech worldwide (RSF and CPJ), have, in an honorable move, sent an open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State urging her to put pressure on Moroccan authorities. But in a world of up-side-down logic and political intrigues, there is little hope Clinton would be bothering her Moroccan hosts. At least not so much as she has been “pressuring” her Israeli hosts on the settlement issue.

In the last 5 months, the Moroccan government has been waging a war against independent journalists, clamping down on what was once considered, the most vital, irreverent and challenging independent media in the region.

Bar(a)ka! (This must stop!) say Moroccan microbloggers who have been quick to react to their government’s repressive move.