the next war

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By JOHN PILGER*

Beijing doesn't want war with anyone, but Western propagandists insist on starting a war with China

In 1935, the Congress of American Writers was held in New York, followed by another two years later. During the event, “hundreds of poets, novelists, playwrights, critics, short story writers and journalists” were called upon to discuss the “rapid collapse of capitalism” and the possibility of another war. Electric events then took place which, according to a reported report, were attended by 3.500 people.

Arthur Miller, Myra Page, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett warned that fascism was growing, often in disguise, and that it was therefore the responsibility of writers and journalists to speak openly about the issue. Supporting telegrams from Thomas Mann, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, C. Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read.

Journalist and novelist Martha Gellhorn defended the homeless and unemployed as "we are all under the shadow of a great violent power". Martha, who became a close friend, later told me, “The responsibility I felt as a journalist was immense. I had witnessed the injustices and suffering caused by the Depression and, moreover, I knew, we all knew, what lay ahead if the silences were not broken.”

His words echo through the silences currently maintained: they are silences full of a propaganda consensus that contaminates almost everything we read, see and hear. I'll give an example:

On March 7, Australia's two oldest newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the The Age, published several pages about “the imminent threat” from China. They colored the Pacific Ocean red. The Chinese eyes were martial, constantly marching and menacing. Lo and behold, the “yellow peril” was about to fall as if under the weight of gravity.

No logical reason was given for an attack by China on Australia. An “expert panel” consulted had not provided credible evidence. However, one of them, former director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a front of the Department of Defense in Canberra, the Pentagon in Washington, the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan and the Western arms industry, said the following: “Beijing may attack within three years” – he warned. “We are not ready” – he concluded. Billions of dollars should be spent on American nuclear submarines, but this, it turns out, is not enough. “Australia's vacation from history is over” – whatever that might mean.

There is no threat to Australia – none. The faraway “lucky” country has no enemies, least of all China, its biggest trading partner. However, the attack on China, which builds on Australia's long history of racism towards Asia, has become something of a sport for the “experts” who so consider themselves to be such. What do Chinese-Australians say and do about it? Many are confused and afraid.

The authors of this grotesque piece that responds to a “whistle for a dog”, that is, an obeisance to American power, are Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott, both known as “national security reporters”. I remember Peter Hartcher with his pranks paid for by the Israeli government. The other, Matthew Knott, is a spokesperson for Canberra suits. Neither has ever seen a war zone with its extremes of degradation and human suffering.

How did this come about? Martha Gellhorn, if she were here, she would say: “where are the voices that say no? Where is the solidarity?”

Voices are heard in the friendly [reports copied and spread] originating from this site and others. In literature, names like John Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, George Orwell are obsolete. Postmodernism is in charge now. Liberalism climbed a political ladder. Once a sleepy social democracy, Australia has now enacted a web of new laws protecting secretive and authoritarian power, to thwart the right to know. Whistleblowers are criminals, they must be tried in secret. One particularly sinister law prohibits “foreign interference” by anyone working for foreign companies. What does that mean?

Democracy has become notional now. There is an all-powerful corporate elite mixed with the state that demands “identity”. US admirals receive thousands of dollars a day from the Australian taxpayer for "advice". Across the West, our political imagination has been pacified by propaganda, distracted by the intrigues of corrupt politicians such as Johnson, Trump, Sleepy Joe or even a Zelensky.

No writers' congress in 2023 is worrying about “capitalism in ruins” and the lethal provocations of “our” leaders. The most infamous of them, Tony Blair, a criminal first faction under the Nuremberg standard, it is free and rich. Journalist Julian Assange, who dared to show his readers what they had a right to know, is in his second decade of imprisonment.

The rise of fascism in Europe is uncontroversial – that is, “neo-Nazism” or “extremist nationalism”, as you prefer. Ukraine like a fascist hive of modern Europe has seen a resurgence of the cult of Stepan Bandera, the passionate anti-Semite and mass murderer who praised Hitler's "Jewish policy" that left 1,5 million Ukrainian Jews slaughtered. “Let's lay your heads at Hitler's feet,” proclaimed a bannerist pamphlet, referring to Ukrainian Jews.

Today, Stepan Bandera is hero-worshipped in western Ukraine and dozens of statues of him and his fellow fascists have been paid for by the European Union and the US, replacing the Russian and other cultural monuments that liberated Ukraine from the original Nazis.

In 2014, neo-Nazis played a key role in a US coup against elected president Viktor Yanukovych, accused of being “pro-Moscow”. The coup regime included prominent “extreme nationalists” – all of them consummate Nazis.

At first, this was widely reported by the with the BBC and by the European and American media. In 2019, Time magazine highlighted the “white supremacist militias” active in Ukraine. A NBC News reported: "Ukraine's Nazi problem is real." The immolation of trade unionists in Odessa was filmed and documented.

Led by the Azov regiment, whose insignia, the “Wolfsangel”, was made infamous by the German SS, Ukraine's military invaded the Russian-speaking eastern Donbas region. According to the United Nations, 14.000 people were killed. Seven years later, with the Minsk peace conferences sabotaged by the West, as Angela Merkel confessed, the Russian army invaded Ukraine.

This version of events was not reported in the West. To pronounce it is to fall into the trap of being a “Putin apologist”, regardless of whether the person writing this (like me) has condemned the Russian invasion. Understanding the extreme provocation represented by the creation of a border armed by NATO in Ukraine for Moscow, the same border through which Hitler invaded Russia in 1946, is anathema.

Journalists who traveled to the Donbas were silenced or even harassed in their own country. German journalist Patrik Baab lost his job and a young female reporter freelancer German woman, Alina Lipp, had her bank account hijacked.

In Britain, the silence of the liberal intelligence is due to intimidation. Issues sponsored by certain states, such as in Ukraine and Israel, should be avoided if you want to keep a campus job or teaching tenure. What happened to Jeremy Corbyn in 2019 is repeated in Israel when opponents of the apartheid Israeli are casually vilified as anti-Semitic.

Professor David Miller, ironically the country's leading authority on modern propaganda, was sacked by the University of Bristol for publicly suggesting that Israel's "assets" in Britain and its political lobby wielded disproportionate influence around the world - a fact for which the evidence is voluminous.

The University engaged a lead agency to independently investigate the case. Its report cleared David Miller on the "important issue of academic freedom of expression" and found that "Professor David Miller's comments did not constitute unlawful speech." However, Bristol sacked him. The message is clear: no matter how outrageous it commits, Israel has immunity and its critics must be punished.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then Professor of English Literature at the University of Manchester, assessed that “for the first time in two centuries, there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the Western way of life”.

No Shelley spoke for the poor, no Blake for utopian dreams, no Byron condemned ruling-class corruption, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin revealed the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw have no equivalent today. Harold Pinter was alive then, “the last to raise his voice” – wrote Terry Eagleton.

Where did postmodernism come from – the rejection of real politics and authentic dissent? The publication in 1970 of the bestseller by Charles Reich, The Greening of America, offers a clue. America, then, was in a state of upheaval; Nixon was in the White House, but a civil resistance known as "the movement" had come out of the margins of society amid a war that touched almost everyone. In alliance with the civil rights movement, this "movement" represented the most serious challenge to Washington's power in a century.

On the cover of Charles Reich's book were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like the revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.”

I was a US correspondent at the time, and I remember the elevation to guru status of Charles Reich, a young Yale scholar. The New Yorker had sensationally published his book, whose message was that the "political action and truth-telling" of the 1960s had failed and that only "culture and introspection" would change the world. It seemed that the hippie was opposing the consumerist classes. And in a sense it was.

In just a few years, the cult of "I-ism" has virtually dominated many people's sense of getting things done, of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political and the media was the message. Making money is what matters - it was said.

As for the "movement," its hopes and songs, the Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton years ended everything it stood for. The police were now in open warfare with blacks. Bill Clinton's infamous welfare bills set world records for the number of mostly black people sent to jail.

When 11/20 happened, the fabrication of new "threats" on "America's frontier" (such as the Project for a New American Century) completed the political disorientation of those who, XNUMX years earlier, had formed a vehement opposition.

In the years that followed, the United States went to war with the world. According to a largely ignored report, Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the death toll in the US-led "war on terror" has produced “at least” 1,3 million dead in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

This figure does not include those killed in US-led and fueled wars in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia and beyond. The actual number, according to the report, “could well be higher than two million (approximately 10 times higher than the number that the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and has been propagated by the media and large NGOs). “At least One million people were killed in Iraq, say doctors, that is five percent of the population.

The enormity of this violence and suffering seems to have no place in Western consciousness. “No one knows how many” is the media refrain. Blair and George W. Bush — and Straw and Cheney and Powell and Rumsfeld et alli — were never in danger of being prosecuted. Blair's propaganda maestro, Alistair Campbell, is constantly celebrated as a "media personality".

In 2003, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the acclaimed investigative journalist. We discussed the invasion of Iraq a few months earlier. I asked him, "What if the world's most constitutionally free media had seriously challenged George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of spreading what turned out to be gross propaganda?" He replied. “If we journalists had done our jobs, there was a very, very good chance we wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq.”

I asked the same question of Dan Rather, the famous news anchor. CBS, which gave me the same answer. David Rose, from Observer, who had promoted the “threat” of Saddam Hussein, and Rageh Omaar, then a correspondent for the with the BBC in Iraq, I was given the same answer. Rose's admirable contrition at being "cheated" spoke volumes to many reporters who lacked her courage.

This point is worth repeating. If journalists had done their job, if they had questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, a million Iraqi men, women and children could be alive today; millions need not have fled their homes; the sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites might not have started and the Islamic State might not have existed.

Throw in this truth about the voracious wars unleashed by the United States and its “allies” since 1945 and the conclusion is breathtaking. Was this already discussed, or was it silent, in journalism schools?

Today, warfare through the media is a fundamental task of so-called journalism. mainstream. Let's remember what a Nuremberg prosecutor said in 1945: “Before every major aggression, with a few exceptions based on expediency, a press campaign was begun calculated to weaken the victims and psychologically prepare the German people... propaganda… it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons”.

One of the persistent strands in American political life is a cult extremism that verges on fascism. Although Donald Trump has been credited for this, it was during Barack Obama's two terms that American foreign policy seriously flirted with fascism. And it was almost never reported.

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” said Barack Obama. He expanded on a favorite presidential pastime, authorizing bombing raids and death squads known as "special operations," as no other president had done since the first Cold War.

According to a survey by Council on Foreign Relations, in 2016, Obama dropped 26.171 bombs. There are 72 pumps a day. He bombed the poorest people and people of dark color in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan. Every Tuesday – reported the New York Times – he personally selected those who would be assassinated by hellish missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, pastors were attacked, along with those trying to collect the body parts commemorating the “terrorist target”.

A top Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, approvingly estimated that Barack Obama's drones killed 4.700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said; but that's how we got some senior members of Al Qaeda out of circulation.

In 2011, Barack Obama told the media that Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was planning "genocide" against his own people. “We knew…” he said, “that if we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte [North Carolina], could suffer a massacre that would reverberate throughout the region and tarnish the conscience of the world.”

That was a lie. The only “threat” was the defeat of the fanatical Islamists by Libyan government forces. With his plans for a revival of independent Pan-Africanism, an African bank and African currency, all financed by Libyan oil, Gaddafi was cast as an enemy of Western colonialism on the continent where Libya was the second most modern state.

Destroying the “threat” of Gaddafi and his modern state was the objective. Backed by the US, UK and France, NATO has launched 9.700 strikes against Libya. A third were directed at civilian and infrastructure targets, the UN said. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves and Unicef ​​reported that "the majority [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".

When Hillary Clinton, Obama's secretary of state, was informed that Gaddafi had been captured by insurgents and sodomized at knifepoint, she laughed and told the camera: "We came, we saw, he died!"

On 14 September 2016, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in London reported the conclusion of a year-long study into the NATO attack on Libya, which it described as a "series of lies" - including the story of the Benghazi massacre.

NATO bombings plunged Libya into a humanitarian disaster, killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands more, transforming Libya from the African country with the highest standard of living into a war-torn failed state.

Under Obama, the US has extended covert “special forces” operations to 138 countries, covering about 70% of the world's population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa.

Reminiscent of the race for Africa in the XNUMXth century, the US African Command (Africom) has since built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and weaponry. Africom's “soldier-to-soldier” doctrine incorporates US officers at all levels of command, from general to security officer. Only helmets are missing.

It is as if Africa's proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, has been consigned to oblivion by the black colonial elite under a new white master. The “historical mission” of this elite, warned the connoisseur Frantz Fanon, is the promotion of “an unbridled albeit camouflaged capitalism”.

In the year that NATO invaded Libya, in 2011, Obama announced what became known as the “pivot to Asia”. Nearly two-thirds of US naval forces would be deployed to Asia-Pacific to “address the threat from China,” in the words of its defense secretary.

There was no threat from China; there was a US threat to China; some 400 US military bases formed an arc along the edge of China's industrial heartland, which one Pentagon official described approvingly as a "loop".

At the same time, Barack Obama placed missiles in Eastern Europe targeting Russia. It was the beatified Nobel Peace Prize laureate who increased spending on nuclear warheads to a level higher than that of any US administration since the Cold War – having promised, in an emotional speech in central Prague in 2009, “to help rid the world of nuclear weapons”.

Barack Obama and his administration were well aware of the nature of the coup that took place in Ukraine in 2014. His Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, was sent to oversee the process, and everyone knew that it would provoke a Russian response and likely lead to war. . And so it happened.

I have been writing about this since April 30, 1975, the last day of the longest war of the 52th century, the Vietnam War, in which I worked as a journalist. I was very young when I arrived in Saigon and since then I have learned a lot. I learned to recognize the distinct roar of the engines of the giant B-XNUMXs, which dropped their carnage from above the clouds and spared nothing and no one. I learned not to walk away in front of a charred tree decorated with human parts. I learned to value kindness like never before. I learned that Joseph Heller was right in his masterful Catch-22: that war is not a fit thing for sane people. And I learned about “our” propaganda.

Throughout this war, the propaganda said that a victorious Vietnam would spread its communist disease to the rest of Asia, allowing the great yellow peril to its North to expand. Countries would fall like “dominoes”.

Ho Chi Minh's Vietnam was victorious and none of that happened. Instead, Vietnamese civilization flourished, remarkably, despite the price they paid: three million dead. The maimed, the deformed, the addicted, the poisoned, the lost.

If the current propagandists succeed in starting a war with China, what I have presented will only be a fraction of what is to come. Speak Now!

*John Pilger is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and screenwriter. Author, among other books, of Freedom Next Time.

Translation: Eleutério FS Prado.

Originally published on the author's blog [www.johnpilger.com].


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