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.

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War Porn

I love watching war movies but sometimes it is important to take a step back and think about who’s pulling the strings behind the screen, what’s behind the marriage of convenience between Hollywood and the Pentagon, and why should anyone care. No one sums it up better than Chris Hedges, who appeared on an interesting (see video) program on Aljazeera this week: “Empire – Hollywood and the war machine.” I quote:

The difference with a dream, as articulated by Martin Luther King, is that you strive towards it. You live within an illusion. And that illusion of who we are, where we’re going and what we can become is… there’s a wider and wider gap between that and the reality. And the problem with living within illusions is that it allows you to perpetuate a kind of eternal infantilism… childishness, where reality is never an impediment to what I want. But as the walls break down, when it’s your house that is foreclosed, when your job and your neighbor’s job are not coming back, when you go bankrupt for your medical bills, then you react as a child. Which is to call for a savior, a demagogue, someone who promises moral renewal, vengeance and new glory. And we are already seeing these proto-fascist movements leaping up around the fringes of American society. And this is because our empire is imploding. It, itself, is an illusion,. If we don’t face that illusion, we’re finished.