John Pilger: The Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent

John Pilger talks about the persecution of the WikiLeaks publisher and the rapid crackdown on investigative journalism in a wide-ranging interview with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico.

By Dennis J Bernstein and Randy Credico
KPFA Flashpoints 

The muckraking work of Oscar- and Emmy-award-winning filmmaker John Pilger is revered and celebrated by journalists and publishers all over the world. While still in his twenties, Pilger became the youngest journalist to receive Britain’s highest award for journalism, “Journalist of the Year,” and was the first to win it twice. Moving to the United States, he reported on the upheavals there in the late 1960s and 1970s. Pilger was in the same room when Robert Kennedy, the presidential candidate, was assassinated in June 1968.

John Pilger.

His reporting in South East Asia and his subsequent documentary, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” raised almost $50 million for the people of that stricken country. Similarly, his 1994 documentary and dispatches report from East Timor, where he travelled under cover, helped galvanize support for the East Timorese, then occupied by Indonesia. In Britain, his four-year investigation on behalf of a group of children damaged at birth by the drug Thalidomide, and left out of the settlement with the drugs company, resulted in a special settlement. In 2009, he was awarded Australia’s human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in the U.K. and abroad. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work.

In this interview with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico, Pilger talks about what is happening to his friend and colleague Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, and how his persecution could be the beginning of the end of modern investigative reporting as we know it. Since Assange’s high-profile arrest and maximum-security imprisonment on a bail-jumping charge, journalists and whistleblowers have been pursued, arrested and have their documents and hard drives seized in the U.S., France, Great Britain and Australia.

Bernstein: Good to speak with you again, John.  Thanks for talking with us. What’s happening — not only with Julian Assange — but the future of journalism is extremely disturbing. Now we have seen high-profile raids of journalists in Australia, France, and here in the U.S. in San Francisco, where police put a reporter in handcuffs, while they searched his house and seized his hard drive. We know Julian Assange is in maximum security and Chelsea Manning is also locked down. These are terrible times for the open flow of information.

Pilger: Well, it’s happening all over the world now and certainly all over that part of the world that regards itself as the enlightened. We are seeing the victimization of whistleblowers and journalists who tell the truth. There is a global war on journalism. More than that, there’s a global war on dissent. The speed with which these events has happened is quite remarkable since April 11th when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by police. Since then, police have moved against journalists in the United States, in Australia, spectacularly, in Latin America. It’s as if somebody has waved a green flag.

Credico: I was thinking by now that Assange would be out. Didn’t you think at this point that he would be out of the dire situation that he was in when I last saw him two years ago?

Pilger: I’m reluctant to be a futurist. I did think a political deal might have been done. Now looking back, that was naive in the extreme because the very opposite was planned for Julian Assange. There is an “Assange Precedent” at work all over the world. In Australia there was a raid on the public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where the federal police marched in with warrants, one of which gave them the authority to delete, change and appropriate the material of journalists. It was one of the most blatant attacks on journalistic freedom and indeed on freedom of speech that I can remember. We saw even Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation attacked.

The political editor of one of Murdoch’s papers, The Sunday Telegraph, watched as her house was ransacked and her personal belongings, intimate belongings, rifled. She had reported on the extent of official spying on Australians by the Australian government. Something similar has happened in France where [President Emmanuel] Macron’s police have moved against journalists on the magazine, Disclose.

Assange predicted this while he was being smeared and abused. He was saying that the world was changing and that so-called liberal democracies were becoming autocracies. A democracy that sends its police against journalists and carries away their notes and hard drives simply because those journalists have revealed what governments have not wanted people to know is not a democracy.

(Unity4J)

CredicoYou know, John, some of the mainstream media here in the U.S. and I guess in the U.K., now that their ox is possibly being gored, have suddenly come out in defense of Assange particularly on the use of the Espionage Act and the gathering of information. I don’t want to denounce them for waiting so long but why did they wait so long and what kind of help can they offer at this point and what should they do since they are in the crosshairs, as well?

Pilger: Let’s look at who is actually in the crosshairs. WikiLeaks co-published the Afghanistan and Iraq War Logs in 2010, in collaboration with a range of media organizations: Der Spiegel in Germany, The New York Times, the Guardian and Espresso. The co-publishers of the Iraq material were also Al Jazeera, Le Monde, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Channel 4’s “Dispatches” in London, the Iraq Body Count project in the U.K., RUV (Iceland), SVT (Sweden) and so it goes on.

There’s a list of individual journalists who reported this and worked with Assange. They echoed his work; they were collaborators in the literal sense. I’m looking at a list right now: On The New York Times there is Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt, Andrew W. Lehren, C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Jacob Harris, Alan McLean. On The Guardian there is Nick Davies, David Leigh, Declan Walsh, Simon Tisdall … and so it goes on. All these journalists are in the crosshairs. I don’t believe that many will find themselves in the dire straits in which Julian Assange finds himself because they don’t present a danger to the system that has reacted against Assange and Chelsea Manning; but they have, prima facie, committed the same “crime,” that is, publishing documents that the U.S. government did not want made public. In other words, they are as “guilty” as Assange of journalism.

That applies to hundreds of journalists if not thousands all over the world. The WikiLeaks disclosures were, if not co-published, were picked up by newspapers and journals and investigative programs on television all over the world. That makes all the journalists involved, all the producers, all the presenters, all of them complicit. And, of course, the hounding of Assange and the intimidation of others make a mockery of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that you have every right to publish; you have every right to “publish and be damned.” It’s one of the demonstrably noble principles of the U.S. Constitution that has been thrown away completely. And what’s ironic is that the journalists who looked down on Assange, even maintained he was not a journalist, are now running for cover because not only is he a journalist of the highest order he is a far more conscientious journalist than most of them. He — and they in his shadow — were doing a basic job of journalism. That’s why I call it a global war on journalism and the precedent of Julian Assange is unlike anything we have seen.

Bernstein: John I want to sort of pick up where you left off with Randy and I want to unpack more and deepen peoples’ understanding of exactly who Julian Assange is and the, if you will, the beat that he chose for his work. How would you describe Julian Assange’s beat and the people he chose to work with?

Pilger: When I first met Julian Assange, I asked him, “What’s WikiLeaks all about, what are you doing here?” He described very clearly the principle of transparency. In fact, he was describing the principle of free speech: that we have a right to know. We have a right to know what our governments are doing in our name. He wasn’t saying that there is a right to endanger people. He was saying that in the normal business of liberal democracies, we have a right to know what our governments are doing for us, at times conspiring against us, in our name. We have the right to know the truth that they tell in private which are so often translated into untruths in public. That transparency, he said, was a moral principle.  That is the “why” of WikiLeaks. He believes it passionately and, of course, that should strike a chord with every authentic journalist, because that’s what we all should believe.

What the Assange case has shown us is that this war on journalism, this war on dissent, has yet to enter the political bloodstream. None of the candidates now running for the presidency of the United States has mentioned it. None of the Democrats have uttered it. We don’t expect the Trump gang to talk about principles like this but there is some naive hope that maybe some of the Democrats might. None of them has.

Bernstein: [What does it say when] Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning; a publisher and one of the most significant military whistleblowers of our time, are in jail and locked down?

Assange: “Exemplifies the best of truth telling.”  (Twitter)

PilgerThey want to get their hands on Julian Assange because he protected his source and they want to get their hands on Chelsea Manning because she, being the source, has refused to lie about Julian Assange. She’s refused to implicate him. She’s refuses to say there is a conspiracy between them. These two exemplify the very best of truth telling in the modern era. We’ve been bereft of the likes of Assange and Chelsea Manning.

Yes, there’s been some fine investigative reporting and disclosures but we have to reach back to the caliber of Daniel Ellsberg to appreciate what Chelsea and Julian, these two heroic figures, what they’ve given us and why they’re being persecuted. 

If we allow their persecution, so much is lost. The intimidation and suppression will work on all our lives. In the media that once abused Assange, I detect fear. You read some of these editorials by those who once attacked Julian Assange and smeared him, such as in The Guardian, and you see their fear that they may be next. You read famous columnists like Katie Benner in The New York Times, who attacked Assange and now sees a threat from his tormentors to all journalists. The same is true of David Corn [at Mother Jones] who now sees a threat to all of journalism. They are justified in being frightened.

CredicoWhat was the fear of Assange? That he would have continued to work on new avenues of exposure? Why are they so afraid of Assange?

Australian Federal Police raiding ABC Sidney office. (Twitter)

PilgerWell, I think they were worried – are worried – that among the 2 million people in the U.S. who have a national security clearance are those whom Assange has called “conscientious objectors.”  I once asked him to characterize the people who were using WikiLeaks to release important information. He likened them to the conscientious objectors in wartime, people of principle and peace, and I think that’s quite an apt description. The authorities are worried that there are quite a few Chelseas out there. Perhaps not quite as brave or as bold as Chelsea, but who may start releasing information that undermines the whole war-making system.

CredicoYeah I spoke to Julian about this about a year and a half ago when I was in London, about trying to make a comparison to mid-19th century Antebellum South and journalists like Elijah Lovejoy and David Walker who were murdered for exposing the brutality and destinism of slavery and I said, “You know, we gotta’ start packaging you in that kind of light,” and he’s says, “You know, there’s a big difference, Randy.” He said that, “See those guys only had one, one side to deal with, that’s it; the people in the South and some of the collaborators in New York that were part of the cotton shipping business. But the rest of the North pretty much was on the side of the abolitionists. I exposed the war crimes and got the conservatives upset with me. And then I exposed misbehavior, malfeasance by the Democratic Party. So, I target everybody, I don’t exempt anybody so it doesn’t apply to me.”

And that’s what’s happened here. [You see it in the small size of the protests on his behalf.] I was at a demonstration the other day, a small little protest for Assange in front of the British embassy,  and only half a dozen people were there, a few more the previous week. He’s not generating that kind of interest thus far. And you had people walking by saying, “Assange is a traitor.” I mean, they are so disinformed and I want to go to this quote that you quoted, Vandana Shiva, in your book “Freedom Next Time,” she talked about the “insurrection of subjugated knowledge,” can you talk about that?

Vandana Shiva: “Insurrection of subjugateted knowledge.”
(Fronteiras do Pensamento, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

PilgerVandana Shiva is the great Indian environmentalist and political activist whose books on the threat of monoculture are landmarks, especially the threat of the multinational agri-power companies that impose themselves on vulnerable, rural societies like India. She described an “insurrection of subjugated knowledge.” It is a fine truism. I have long believed that the truth resides in a metaphorically subterranean world and above that is all the noise: the noise of the accredited politicians, the noise of the accredited media, those who appear to be speaking for those below. Now and then, truth tellers emerge from below. Take the Australian war correspondent, Wilfred Burchett, who was the first to reach Hiroshima after the atomic bombing. His report appeared on the front of his newspaper The Daily Express in London, which said, “I write this as a warning to the world.”  He was warning about nuclear weapons. Everything was thrown at Burchett to smear and discredit him. The New York Times correspondent was leading this: the same New York Times correspondent who denied that people were suffering effects of radioactivity: that people had died only from the blast. He was later found to be in bed with the U.S. authorities. Wilfred Burchett suffered smears over most of his career. As all whistleblowers do — those who are affronted by the indecency of something they discovered perhaps in a corporation they work for, or within a government — they believe that the public has a right to know the truth.

The Guardian, which turned on Julian Assange with such viciousness having been one of WikiLeaks’ media partners, back in the ‘80s published the disclosures of a Foreign Office official who had sent them the plans of the U.S. to install medium-range Cruise missiles throughout Europe. The Guardian published this and was duly praised as a paper of disclosure and principle. But when the government went to the courts and a judge demanded the paper hand over the documents that would reveal who the whistleblower was — instead of the editor doing as editors are meant to do, standing up for principle and saying, “No, I will not reveal my source” — the paper betrayed its source. Her name is Sarah Tisdall and she went to prison as a result. So, whistleblowers have to be extraordinarily brave, heroic people. When you look at the likes of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, it’s as if the full force of the American national security state backed by its so-called allies has been imposed on them. Julian represents an example that they must make because if they don’t make an example of Julian Assange, journalists might even be encouraged to do their job and that job means telling the public what they have a right to know.

CredicoVery well said. In your preface or introduction in your book, “Freedom Next Time,” you also quote Harold Pinter and his Nobel Prize speech in which he talked about the vast tapestry of lies that we feed on and he goes on and says that American crimes were superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged. This is something that Julian Assange has broken out of that mode, big time, and he has exposed war crimes by the U.S. and whatever kind of shenanigans the State Department has perpetrated. You talk about Harold Pinter, what a great influence he’s been.

PilgerYes, I recommend to your listeners Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, I believe it was 2005. It was a superb and eloquent testament of how and why the truth should be told and why we should no longer tolerate political double standards.

Harold Pinter was comparing our view of the Soviet Union and of Stalin’s crimes with America’s crimes; he was saying the main difference was that we know about the scale of Stalin’s crimes and know little about Washington’s. He was saying that the vast silence that enveloped our crimes — when I say, “our crimes,” I mean those of the United State — meant, as he said, memorably, “These crimes didn’t happen, they didn’t even happen when they were happening, they were of no interest, they didn’t matter.”

We have to rid ourselves of these double standards, surely. We have just had a unctuous celebration of June the 6th, D-Day. That was an extraordinary invasion in which many soldiers took part and laid down their lives but it didn’t win the war. The Soviet Union actually won the war but the Russians weren’t even represented, weren’t even invited or spoken of. It didn’t happen, as Pinter would say. It didn’t matter. But Donald Trump was there, lecturing the world on war and peace. It is truly gruesome satire.  This silence, these omissions, run right across our newspaper — right across the BB — as if it’s even a semblance of the truth, and it’s not. 

Bernstein: I want to pick it up with Wilfred Burchett and the implications, and the enormous responsibility that these big-time journalists have for allowing terrible things to go on unnoticed, based on issues of patriotism and claims of national security. I’m thinking, they had to shut down Willfred Burchett because that could have opened the whole door about how dangerous nuclear weapons and nuclear power is, exploding the myth of the peaceful atom.

Pilger:  That’s very true, Dennis, and it also undermined the moral plans of the “Good War,” the Second World War which ended with these two great crimes — the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after Japan posed no threat. Credible historians now don’t tell us the fairytales that these atomic bombs were needed to end the war. So, it’s destroyed in many respects the great moral mission of the war. 

It not only did that, it declared, the atomic bombing, that a new war was beginning, a “Cold War,” although it could very well have turned very quickly into a “hot war” with the Soviet Union. And it was saying “we”— that is the United States and its allies like Britain — had nuclear weapons and we’re prepared to use them. That’s the key: We’re prepared to use them. And the United States is the only country that has ever used them against another country.

Of course it then went on to test them throughout the United Nations’ Trust territory, which was meant to be held in trust by the United Nations in the Marshall Islands, setting off many Hiroshimas over a period of 12 years. We didn’t know anything about that at the time. And how much do we know about the development of nuclear warheads that President Obama got underway and committed something like a trillion dollars that President Trump has certainly carried on.  

And those treaties that offered some fragile defense against a nuclear holocaust, treaties with the Soviet Union such as the intermediate-range weapons treaty torn up by this administration. One thing leads to another. This is truth telling.

Nuclear weapon test Mike (yield 10.4 Mt) on Enewetak Atoll, Nov. 1, 1952, 07:14. This was the first hydrogen bomb tested, an experimental device not suitable for use as a weapon. (National Nuclear Security Administration via Wikimedia Commons)

Bernstein: I want to come back to remind people of the kind of structure that Julian Assange created at WikiLeaks to protect whistleblowers. This is crucial because we’ve seen now other journalists being a little more careless and we see sources being tracked down, arrested, and facing major jail time. And I think this is the way that Julian Assange honored whistleblowers by protecting them is a crucial part of who he is and what he did.

PilgerHe invented a system whereby it was impossible to tell who the source was and it allowed people to use a letterbox drop to leak material without their identity being disclosed. The WikiLeaks system gives them that protection. It’s probably that that has so enraged those who are pursuing him. It means that people of conscience within governments, within systems, who are troubled like Chelsea Manning who was deeply troubled by what she saw, have the opportunity to tell the world without fearing that their identity will be exposed. Unfortunately, Chelsea revealed her identity to somebody who betrayed her. It is an unprecedented means of getting the truth out.  

Bernstein: John, please tell us about your recent visit with Assange at Belmarsh maximum security prison in Great Britain. How is he holding up?

Pilger:  I would like to say one thing about Julian personally. I saw Julian in Belmarsh prison and I got a vivid sense of what he has had to endure. I saw the resilience and courage that I’ve known for many years; but now he is unwell. The pressure on him is unimaginable; most of us would have bent beneath it.  So, there is an issue here of justice for this man and what he has had to take; not only the lies that were told about him in the embassy and the lies that sought a full-scale character assassination of him. The so-called respectable media from The New York Times to The Guardian, all of them have reached into the mud and thrown it at him; and today he is a very vulnerable, and I would say to your listeners:  He needs your support and solidarity. More than that, he deserves it.

Bernstein: Say a little more about the conditions there and why it’s so significant that they would treat him to a year in this kind of prison.

Pilger:  Well, I suppose because of what a threat he is. Even with Julian locked away, WikiLeaks carries on. This is a maximum-security prison. Anyone in for just bail infringement — first of all, they wouldn’t have been sentenced to 50 weeks as he was. They might have been given a fine and at best a month but of course this has now morphed into an extradition, a case with all these ludicrous charges coming from the indictment in Virginia. But Julian, as a person, what’s always struck me he’s the diametric opposite portrayed by so many of his detractors. He has a sharp intellect so he’s clever, of course. He’s also gracious and he’s very funny. He and I often laugh. We even managed to laugh the last time I saw him at the embassy when there were cameras all over the room, you could tell as we swapped notes and we had to cover up what we were actually writing on the pad. He managed to laugh about this. So, there’s a dry, almost black humor and he’s a very passionate person but his resilience has always astonished me. I’ve tried to put myself in his position and I couldn’t imagine it. And when I saw him in prison and we had to sit across from each other, I was with a couple of other people, when one of us went around the table just to be close to him she was told to go back by one of the guards. This is what somebody who has committed no crime, yes, he’s committed the crime of journalism, and this is what he has to endure.

Listen to the interview.

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.” You can access the audio archives at Flashpoint.  You can get in touch with the author at dbernstein@igc.org.

Randy Credico is an American perennial political candidate, comedian, radio host, activist and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.

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42 comments for “John Pilger: The Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent

  1. LJ
    June 17, 2019 at 19:32

    The “Screws” always turn them until their own wrists start to ache . With every twist they further harm their own credibility as defenders rather than offenders of the faith.. Eventually there will be a correction and not an Institutional correction rather an Anti-Institutional correction. I respect John Pilger. These are Strange Days in Casablanca….
    .A Nation once again,
    A Nation once again,
    And lreland, long a province, be
    A Nation once again!

  2. Nathalie Haymann
    June 17, 2019 at 19:31

    The UK, US and Australia must be truly running scared if the UK feels compelled to lock Julian Assange in a maximum security prison for fifty weeks for a bail infringement, with a US indictment brought against him on 17 counts of ‘violating the US Espionage Act”. The Australian government washes its hands of the situation as democracy heads rapidly towards authoritarianism. How far will they go in their attempts to keep their war crimes hidden?

  3. Zhu
    June 17, 2019 at 00:18

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the MSN that’s smeared Assange. Many leftsh alterna I’ve media sites, have crapped all over Assange, too. Somehow, they blame him for Mrs Clinton losing the election in 2016. In reality, many of us declined to vote for either monster.

  4. JWalters
    June 16, 2019 at 20:13

    Thanks for this great interview. The “global war on journalism” looks like a part of the “global war on terrorism”. If we “follow the money” into the roots of the war on terrorism we find war profiteering banksters. And it turns out those same war profiteering banksters started taking over America’s mainstream media in the early 1900’s. Basic background information is at http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

    “The speed with which these events has happened is quite remarkable”. This speed suggests a COORDINATED effort. That raises the question, Who is the coordinating entity? Not only who benefits in the vast network of complicit players, but who takes direction from whom? Who says “Go”? I’d love to see John Pilger follow up on his insights from this interview.

  5. Jacquelynn Booth
    June 16, 2019 at 12:45

    Sunday, June 16
    HEADS UP, everybody! “The Duran” opines that Julian Assange will quickly be extradited to US, never mind silly things like trial dates in Britain, & Assange will be tried for RUNNING A SPY AGENCY, with CHELSEA MANNING as his agent/employee. If this occurs, a possible string challenge under US laws can be made regarding the definition of an “agent” of an employer. I’ve detailed this on Joe Lauria’s piece of this date. In brief, “employer” for federal purposes must control certain aspects of the “agent’s” remunerated (in any way) work hours and work location. See CFR and manuals and decisions of the stand-alone agency the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
    Good luck to all. Thanks, Mr Pilger, for being heroic. Randy Credico, Hi ! to your adorable pup-sidekick!

    • Jacquelynn Booth
      June 16, 2019 at 12:48

      Correction: “possible string challenge” ???
      Should be possible strong challenge.
      (Spellchecker is ignorant)

  6. Yun Xia
    June 16, 2019 at 10:01

    John Pilger is the best.

  7. John Smith
    June 15, 2019 at 18:32

    John is mistaken in his claim that none of the current Democratic presidential candidates have raised the Assange situation. Tulsi Gabbard did so a number of weeks ago.

  8. Rick Sterling
    June 15, 2019 at 14:54

    Democratic candidate TULSI GABBARD has spoken out forcefully in support of Assange.
    See links below. And please SUPPORT HER AND SPREAD THE WORD.
    Somebody tell John Pilger too. He should know this.

    “every American certainly every journalist must strongly condemn this anti-democratic act”
    https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1136260129681108999

    “the message is be quiet, toe the line, otherwise there will be consequences”
    https://twitter.com/tulsigabbard/status/1116671800090382336?lang=en

  9. June 15, 2019 at 12:39

    An excellent interview. One small point for John Pilger: He mentioned that none of the Democratic candidates for their presidential nomination has come out for Julian Assange. TULSI GABBARD has spoken passionately about it and is not regularly declaring that she is committed to protecting freedom of speech and the press.

  10. June 15, 2019 at 11:57

    I wish people would not forget the treatment of Tommy Robinson too, even if you disagree with his views, as he has also clearly been lied about and persecuted.

  11. Jay
    June 15, 2019 at 11:51

    Paul,

    No, the the USSR largely didn’t pay for the lend lease gear, nor did the British.

    Also like another in these “responses”, you’ve preposterously pretended that 11 billion US dollars in 1943/44 was some small amount of money. (The Manhattan Project, through the production of the bombs dropped on Japan cost less than 2 billion in those dollars, and that was staggering in size.)

    • Red Douglas
      June 16, 2019 at 07:21

      All of the lend lease recipients paid for the surviving materiel that was used for/converted to civilian purposes. That was the deal. And both Britain and USSR/Russia ultimately paid the total agreed-upon sums, as adjusted.

      • Jay
        June 16, 2019 at 10:28

        Red Douglas:

        “And both Britain and USSR/Russia ultimately paid the total agreed-upon sums, as adjusted.”

        No they didn’t. And in fact the US bailed the bankrupt UK out after the war.

        “All of the lend lease recipients paid for the surviving materiel that was used for/converted to civilian purposes.”

        Right, I’m sure the Soviets accurately reported remaining 2.5 ton trucks and remaining ground attack planes in 1946. I’ve got a bridge to sell you; it connects lower the city halls of Manhattan and Brooklyn. (Yes, Brooklyn was a separate city until the late 19th century.)

  12. Jay
    June 15, 2019 at 11:47

    Jeff Harrison:

    You post is a joke I hope.

    No, trucks supplying the front lines, then no push from east to west by the Red Army.

    I sincerely hope you never try to run any kind of construction project.

    Oh, and one of the big reasons the Nazis lost is that they couldn’t maintain supply lines, and the SECOND HUGE reason is that Nazi factories couldn’t keep up with the production of US and USSR factories.

    You basically know nothing of the victory by the Allies in World War Two.

  13. Jay
    June 15, 2019 at 11:43

    Abe:

    Except for your first paragraph, where you pretend that 11 billion dollars was some tiny amount of money in 1944, YOUR ENTIRE response largely backs up exactly my point.

    So indeed thanks.

    That’s right, you even basically reiterated my point about trucks (with petrol) being hugely important for supplying tanks warfare.

    Irony.

    • Abe
      June 15, 2019 at 18:17

      “Jay” falsely claims that Pilger is somehow “misrepresenting things”.

      However, Pilger’s point is entirely correct:

      “We have just had a unctuous celebration of June the 6th, D-Day. That was an extraordinary invasion in which many soldiers took part and laid down their lives but it didn’t win the war. The Soviet Union actually won the war but the Russians weren’t even represented, weren’t even invited or spoken of. It didn’t happen, as Pinter would say. It didn’t matter.”

      Pilger clearly acknowledges the contributions of the Allied forces in western Europe while accurately pointing out the far greater contribitions of the Allied forces in eastern Europe that resulted in ultimate Allied victory in Europe during the Second World War.

      While Pilger does not mention Lend-Lease, the United States program to provide aid and military materiel to the Allies during the Second World War, there is no misrepresentation of the matter in Pilger’s remark.

      The Eastern Front of World War II encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. If Germany defeated the Soviet Union, the most significant front in Europe would be closed.

      Roosevelt recognized that if the Soviets were defeated the other Allied forces would be far more likely to lose the war.

      Roosevelt concluded that the United States needed to help the Soviets fight against the Germans. Lend-Lease definitely helped the Allied nations, including the Soviet Union, win the war.

      However, Lend-Lease did not have a significant impact on the course of hostilities in 1941-1942, when Soviet soldiers were bearing the brunt of the war.

      Lend-Lease supplies from US and UK supplies were limited before the turning point in the war, the Soviet victory at Stalingrad in early 1943. The main supplies of weapons and other the materials under Lend-Lease were received by the Soviet Union in 1944-1945.

      The influx of aviation fuel, machine tools, high-explosives, motor vehicles and other logistical supplies under Lend-Lease were of enormous assistance to the Soviets, allowing them to concentrate on a few key industries like armored fighting vehicle production.

      However, Harry Hopkins, the senior administrator of the Lend-Lease program, stated at the end of May 1945: “We never believed that our help Lend-Lease is the main factor in the Soviet victory over Hitler on the Eastern front. It was achieved by heroism and blood of the Russian army.”

      Repayment under Lend-Lease was primarily in the form of Allied military action against the enemy, and successful Soviet military action (supported to whatever degree by Lend-Lease) unquestionably saved numerous American, British, and other Allied lives.

      So comrade “Jay” really has no “point” in questioning Pilger’s correct point that the “Soviet Union actually won the war”.

      Comrade “Jay” demonstrates the saying:

      Better to remain silent and be thought a troll
      than to comment further and to remove all doubt.

      • Jay
        June 16, 2019 at 10:38

        Abe:

        “The influx of aviation fuel, machine tools, high-explosives, motor vehicles and other logistical supplies under Lend-Lease were of enormous assistance to the Soviets, allowing them to concentrate on a few key industries like armored fighting vehicle production.”

        Correct, you’ve affirmed my point. No trucks and tools, no tanks.

        Pilger’s representation was not just simplistic but outright wrong, for reasons that I have well documented.

        “Better to remain silent and be thought a troll
        than to comment further and to remove all doubt.”

        Trolling isn’t pointing out what’s wrong and documenting why.

        “So comrade “Jay” really has no “point” in questioning Pilger’s correct point that the “Soviet Union actually won the war”.”

        Except the Soviet Union didn’t win the war. The Allies did, based largely on the industrial capacity of the USA with some significant capacity coming from the Soviet Union too. Right though the P51 used the Spitfire’s Merlin engine, those engines were US made.

        Now, absolutely correct the Red Army won the war from the east, and without that sustained war after Kursk, the Allies in the west may not have been able to beat Nazi Germany before it fully developed…

      • Abe
        June 16, 2019 at 22:28

        Comrade “Jay” merely repeats a simplistic opinion and distorted interpretations of the facts.

        In fact, Germany had suffered severe setbacks and an unexpectedly prolonged engagement on the Eastern Front. Hitler had assured the German people that the Soviet Union would be crushed well before the onset of winter in 1941.

        The Second World War in Europe was transformed into a war of attrition as the Soviets bore the brunt of the fighting against the German advance during 1941 and 1942.

        The increasing fighting power of the Soviet army from 1942 to 1945 cannot merely be credited to Lend-Lease, American industrial capacity, and more equipment deliveries from the great “Arsenal of Democracy”.

        The Soviets were fighting to liberate their homeland using improved application of the deep operation doctrine in battles such as the 1943 Belgorod-Kharkov Offensive, 1943-1944 Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive, 1944 Operation Bagration, 1944 Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, and the 1945 Vistula–Oder Offensive.

        “Jay” cackles about “documenting” but actually provided zero documentation, just the repetition of a simplistic claim: typical troll behavior.

    • Abe
      June 19, 2019 at 00:14

      “We hold sacred the contribution of all the Allies to the common Victory in that war, and we believe any attempts to drive a wedge between us are disgraceful. But no matter how hard the falsifiers of history try, the fire of truth cannot be put out. It was the peoples of the Soviet Union who broke the backbone of the Third Reich. That is a fact.”

      – Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, “On Victory Day”
      http://en.interaffairs.ru/experts/918-article-on-victory-day-by-foreign-minister-sergey-lavrov-for-international-affairs-magazine-june-4-2019.html

  14. Jay
    June 15, 2019 at 11:37

    Red Douglas:

    “Pilger didn’t “misrepresent” anything. It’s quite correct, and not disputed by competent and honest historians, that the USSR did the lion’s share of the fighting and suffering in the battle against the Nazis and was largely responsible for the Allied victory.”

    That is an entirely different point than what I posted.

    The fact remains despite claims of “the Soviets only got 11 billion dollars (in 1940s dollars) in lend lease aid, that the USA ran massive amounts of supplies into the USSR. So the Red Army could keep up the fight.

    The whole Manhattan Project cost less than 2 billions in 1940s dollars.

    So big deal, Britain got more aid than the Soviets, not something I dispute.

    • Red Douglas
      June 16, 2019 at 07:24

      You must be replying to someone else’s post, or to a misunderstanding of what I wrote. I don’t dispute that the US provided massive assistance to the other Allies, I dispute the assertion that Pilger “misrepresented” something.

  15. Jill
    June 15, 2019 at 10:09

    Does anyone have the clout to ask for an interview with leading “luminaries” of the US press so as to ask them questions about Assange? I’d like to see the smearers interviewed in a calm manner, asking them one question after another so they make their position clear to those who hear/read the interview.

    I believe forcing them to state their position clearly and unequivocally would be helpful. They are not used to confronting anyone who disagrees with them so it would be interesting to hear what they say when confronted with a very well informed interviewer who simply kept asking them to explain questions they have never dealt with before.

    We need a Frost/Nixon for Pilger/Keller and a Greenwald/Viner.

    If they are going to say inaccurate and hate based spews, then they should be directly, extensively forced to defend what they are saying and doing.

    • Lily
      June 16, 2019 at 03:08

      Jill,

      that would be great but i fear that journalists who took part in the smearing campaign will never have the courage to let themselves question in public. They know they have been lying and they did that to keep their job. So why risk their job now?

      Lyers are lyers so much so that they believe their own lies in the end.

      John LeCarré once had been asked to interview the lyer Tony Blair. He refused on the ground that there is no getting through to him. Questions would not reach that man anymore. Lying has become a sort of armor.

  16. michael
    June 15, 2019 at 07:19

    Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate who the MSM treats as a pariah, came out against Julian Assange’s arrest April 11, 2019, noting it was a “slippery slope” for journalists and Americans.
    Wouldn’t expect Pilger, Credico and Bernstein to know this, since Gabbard does not receive the coverage Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg get on CNN. All the other Democrats by now have their fingers in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing and surely a few others have come out in support of Assange.

  17. Skip Scott
    June 15, 2019 at 06:45

    Great interview. There is one correction I would like to make. Tulsi Gabbard has spoken out for Julian Assange. She is the only democratic candidate for president who has done so, as far as I know. It is understandable for the average person to be unaware, since she gets so little coverage, but I am surprised that Pilger’s remark went unchallenged in this interview.

  18. jmg
    June 15, 2019 at 03:50

    From the extraordinary video included in this wake-up interview (Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech), for example at 10:37 Pinter says on politics and truth:

    “Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power.

    “To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies upon which we feed.”

  19. Tom Kath
    June 14, 2019 at 21:27

    Socrates was put to death, and then only his mother and his “disreputable” girlfriend supported Jesus at the end. And yet these men were, and remain far more significant and world shaping than all the MSM combined.

  20. Deborah Harris
    June 14, 2019 at 21:12

    Connections in brief, because I keep losing my comment,on mobile, and have to retype all the time.

    John Pilger + thalidomide + ASIO raid on ABC over leaks for The Afghan Files + leaker defence lawyer David McBride, who faces a life sentence if found guilty in secret court in Australia, of the charges over the leaks + David’s father Dr William McBride, in 1960’s alerted the world to the link between thalidomide and birth deformities.

    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-28/william-mcbride-dies-aged-91/9919530?pfmredir=sm

    For some background on Australia another book worth reading is “War Criminals Welcome” by Mark Aaron’s, I found for free on Internet Archive, otherwise pay thousands secondhand on Amazon.

    PS. Good to see Consortium News include a few articles about Australia. I always loved reading Robert Parry’s articles, and like everyone here I was upset over his early death. I felt sadder that Australia missed the opportunity to welcome Robert in Australia, which he apparently was intending to do. ?

  21. hetro
    June 14, 2019 at 19:45

    I think John nails it here with these two comments, to help us understand what is going on:

    from a recent CN piece quoting Pilger:

    “In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the ‘Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch’ foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally. The ‘mission’ was to destroy the ‘trust’ that was WikiLeaks’ ‘centre of gravity.’ This would be achieved with threats of ‘exposure [and] criminal prosecution’. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.” …

    “According to Australian diplomatic cables, Washington’s bid to get Assange is ‘unprecedented in scale and nature’ . . .”

    And this CN today June 14:

    Pilger: He invented a system whereby it was impossible to tell who the source was and it allowed people to use a letterbox drop to leak material without their identity being disclosed. The WikiLeaks system gives them that protection. It’s probably that that has so enraged those who are pursuing him. It means that people of conscience within governments, within systems, who are troubled like Chelsea Manning who was deeply troubled by what she saw, have the opportunity to tell the world without fearing that their identity will be exposed. Unfortunately, Chelsea revealed her identity to somebody who betrayed her. It is an unprecedented means of getting the truth out.

  22. hetro
    June 14, 2019 at 19:33

    In case you missed these:

    Julian’s father visits him and comments (from June 11) at about 2hours19 minutes
    https://sputniknews.com/europe/201906111075797541-assange-ai-weiwei-prison/

    Gordon Dimmack received letter from Assange; reads it on youtube (letter dated May 13)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es6OT4VsQAo&t=2s

    This on the letter to Dimmack includes photo shot of a page of it in longhand
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51738.htm

  23. Thomas W. Lucas
    June 14, 2019 at 16:54

    Thank you for saying this.

  24. SPRNCER
    June 14, 2019 at 15:32

    First they came for the Journalists—-because they did not want the public to know the truth—about the war crimes they are committing in our name . The Public has a right to know the Truth .

    • Jay
      June 14, 2019 at 16:21

      @SPRNCER:

      Not at all to trivialize the abuses that Obama and Trump have heaped upon Assange: But they came for Wilhelm Reich in the 1950s, and then in as recently as 2004 an editor publishing on largely (but not obviously) the same subject was simply arranged to be murdered in Connecticut.

      Then from the 1940s through today a variety of people have been suicided for saying too much about various forbidden topics. Look into Dorothy Kilgallen in 1965. And she had fame and money.

  25. Jay
    June 14, 2019 at 14:45

    “The Soviet Union actually won the war but the Russians weren’t even represented, weren’t even invited or spoken of.”

    Tiresome. The Red Army absolutely defeated the Nazis in the east.

    However the US ran massive supplies into the Soviet Union via Murmansk, by air from Alaska, and via a railroad through Iran (which the British had taken over.) So that Red Army coming from the east was yes using GM trucks to supply the tanks. Ask the Finns about the Red Army using US supplied planes to attack Finland, if Pilger needs a source.

    So Pilger though often correct is misrepresenting things here. He did so the regards Bernie Sanders’ record in 2015/16 too.

    • Paul
      June 14, 2019 at 17:41

      most of the lend-lease stuff came from the British. Also it wasn’t free, the Soviets had to pay for it.

    • Red Douglas
      June 14, 2019 at 23:06

      Pilger didn’t “misrepresent” anything. It’s quite correct, and not disputed by competent and honest historians, that the USSR did the lion’s share of the fighting and suffering in the battle against the Nazis and was largely responsible for the Allied victory.

      It is true, as you point out, that the US provided large amounts of materiel to the Soviet effort, but not mentioning that, in this context, hardly constitutes misrepresentation.

      Since this subject is important to you, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to overlook the fact that the aid was provided, as was the case with the other Allies, in the form of the Lend-Lease. After the war, the US attempted to demand $1.3 billion in repayment for civilian materiel provided to the USSR. Years of disputes over the amount followed but ultimately, the Soviet Union, and then Russia, repaid all of the agreed-upon adjusted amount (nearly $700 million).

    • Jeff Harrison
      June 15, 2019 at 01:02

      Talk about tiresome. War materiel doesn’t win a war or defeat an opponent. Only military units using that war materiel and fighting and dying in the process do that.

    • Abe
      June 15, 2019 at 01:53

      A very tiresome misrepresentation of Lend-Lease from Jay.

      In fact, some $31.4 billion worth of Lend-Lease aid went to Britain while US deliveries to the Soviets through Lend-Lease amounted to only $11.3 billion. (An additional $3.2 billion in Lend-Lease aid went to France, $1.6 billion to China, and the remaining $2.6 billion to the other Allies.)

      Obviously the matter of Lend-Lease aid to the British Empire has presented no obstacle to British participation in D-Day commemorations.

      Under Lend-Lease, roughly 17.5 million tons of military equipment, vehicles, industrial supplies, and food were supplied to the Soviet Union from October 1941 to May 1945, with 94% coming from the US.

      For comparison, a total of 22 million tons landed in Europe to supply American forces from January 1942 to May 1945.

      Lend-Lease supplies to the Soviet Union peaked in the year 1944 (35.5% of total shipments).

      Hundreds of thousands of trucks, vital for a modern army’s logistics and support, were supplied to the Soviets by America under Lend-Lease. By 1945, nearly a third of the truck strength of the Red Army was U.S.-made, including the Dodge 3/4-ton and Studebaker 2 1/2 ton.

      The Soviet air force received 18,200 aircraft, which amounted to about 30 percent of Soviet wartime fighter and bomber production. Lend-Lease also supplied significant amounts of weapons and ammunition to the Soviets.

      Most tank units were Soviet-built models but about 7,000 Lend-Lease American tanks (plus more than 5,000 British tanks) were used by the Red Army, amounting to about 8 percent of Soviet war-time production.

      1,386 M3 “Lee” medium tanks were supplied to the Soviet Union through Lend-Lease between 1942 to 1943, although only 969 of these reached Russian ports, due to German U-boat and air attacks on Allied convoys. However, the Soviets were supplied only 22% of the total of Lend-Lease M3s versus 45% handed over to the British government.

      After mid-1943, with almost 1,500 of their own T-34 tanks being built every month, Soviet use of the M3 declined.

      4,102 M4 “Sherman” medium tanks were supplied to the Soviet Union between 1944 and 1945. Once again, the Soviets were supplied only 18.6% of all Lend-Lease M4s versus versus roughly 78% supplied to the British Empire.

      Soviet victories certainly were supported by Lend-Lease. However, without the Soviet effort against the Wehrmacht in Eastern Europe, British and American victories in Southern and Western Europe had they occurred, undoubtedly would have been at a very much higher price in men and material.

      In 2014, Putin attended the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Allied landings. Asked on June 6, 2019 why he was not invited to 75th anniversary events, Putin replied “Why do I have to be invited everywhere to some event? […] I have enough of my own business. This is not a problem at all.”

      Putin also put the 1944 Anglo-American invasion in perspective: “As for the opening of the Second Front, I draw your attention to the fact that this is the Second Front. The first was with us. If you count the number of divisions, the strength of the Wehrmacht who fought against Soviet troops on the Eastern Front, and the number of troops and equipment that fought on the Western Front from 1944 on, then everything will be clear.”

      In fact, there would have been no successful 1944 Anglo-American landing (Operation Overlord) and expansion inland in Normandy (Operation Cobra) without the massive Soviet effort in the East, particularly the Belorussian strategic offensive (Operation Bagration) that destroyed Germany’s Army Group Centre in the summer of 1944.

      Operation Bagration, in combination with the neighbouring Lvov-Sandomierz offensive in Ukraine, allowed the Soviets to recapture Belorussia and Ukraine within its 1941 borders, advance into German East Prussia, and gain control of Poland east of the Vistula river.

      The battles on the Eastern Front involved more land combat than all other World War II theaters combined. The Wehrmacht suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front. Lend-Lease to the Soviets was a good investment for the Allies.

      Successful Soviet operations in the East arguably ensured the success of Allied operations in the West. Pilger knows this history and is correct.

    • Zhu
      June 17, 2019 at 01:08

      Is this article about Julian Assange? Or about amateur historians refighting WW II?

      • Abe
        June 17, 2019 at 12:49

        Pilger’s remark is correct in context based on the facts.

        The interview with the Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary film maker addresses questions about Assange, journalism and dissent.

        Thus the attempt by “Jay” to impugn Pilger with a false charge of “misrepresentation” cannot be ignored.

  26. jmg
    June 14, 2019 at 14:38

    Thanks to Julian and people like him, we had hope. Now, it’s a war on truth…

    https://karoo.me/app/uploads/2016/06/first-they-came-for-assange.jpg

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