John Pilger: The Coming War — Time to Speak Up

Silences filled with a consensus of propaganda contaminate almost everything we read, see and hear. War by media is now a key task of so-called mainstream journalism.  

Dec. 20, 2008: Protesters in Montreal threw shoes at a target poster of President George Bush outside the U.S. Consulate to show support for the Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeizi , who threw his shoe at the real Bush. (Anirudh Koul, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

By John Pilger

In 1935, the Congress of American Writers was held in New York City, followed by another two years later. They called on “the hundreds of poets, novelists, dramatists, critics, short story writers and journalists” to discuss the “rapid crumbling of capitalism” and the beckoning of another war. They were electric events which, according to one account, were attended by 3,500 members of the public with more than a thousand turned away. 

Arthur Miller, Myra Page, Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett warned that fascism was rising, often disguised, and the responsibility lay with writers and journalists to speak out. Telegrams of support from Thomas Mann, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, C Day Lewis, Upton Sinclair and Albert Einstein were read out. 

The journalist and novelist Martha Gellhorn spoke up for the homeless and unemployed, and “all of us under the shadow of violent great power.” 

Martha, who became a close friend, told me later over her customary glass of Famous Grouse and soda:

“The responsibility I felt as a journalist was immense. I had witnessed the injustices and suffering delivered by the Depression, and I knew, we all knew, what was coming if silences were not broken.”

Her words echo across the silences today: they are silences filled with a consensus of propaganda that contaminates almost everything we read, see and hear.  Let me give you one example: 

On March 7, the two oldest newspapers in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, published several pages on “the looming threat” of China. They coloured the Pacific Ocean red. Chinese eyes were martial, on the march and menacing. The Yellow Peril was about to fall down as if by the weight of gravity.

No logical reason was given for an attack on Australia by China. A “panel of experts” presented no credible evidence: one of them is a former director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a front for the Defence Department in Canberra, the Pentagon in Washington, the governments of Britain, Japan and Taiwan and the West’s war industry.

“Beijing could strike within three years,” they warned. “We are not ready.” Billions of dollars are to be spent on American nuclear submarines, but that, it seems, is not enough.”‘Australia’s holiday 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 largest trading partner. Yet China-bashing that draws on Australia’s long history of racism towards Asia has become something of a sport for the self-ordained “experts.” What do Chinese-Australians make of this? Many are confused and fearful. 

The authors of this grotesque piece of dog-whistling and obsequiousness to American power are Peter Hartcher and Matthew Knott, “national security reporters” I think they are called. I remember Hartcher from his Israeli government-paid jaunts. The other one, Knott, is a mouthpiece for the suits in Canberra.  Neither has ever seen a war zone and its extremes of human degradation and suffering.  

“How did it come to this?” Martha Gellhorn would say if she were here. “Where on earth are the voices saying no? Where is the comradeship?” 

Post-Modernism in Charge

The voices are heard in the samizdat of this website and others. In literature, the likes of John Steinbeck, Carson McCullers, George Orwell are obsolete. Post-modernism is in charge now. Liberalism has pulled up its political ladder. A once somnolent social democracy, Australia, has enacted a web of new laws protecting secretive, authoritarian power and preventing the right to know. Whistleblowers are outlaws, to be tried in secret. An especially sinister law bans “foreign interference” by those who work for foreign companies. What does this mean? 

Democracy is notional now; there is the all-powerful elite of the corporation merged with the state and the demands of “identity.” American admirals are paid thousands of dollars a day by the Australian tax payer for “advice.” Right across the West, our political imagination has been pacified by PR and distracted by the intrigues of corrupt, ultra low-rent politicians: a Boris Johnson or a Donald Trump or a Sleepy Joe or a Volodymyr Zelensky. 

No writers’ congress in 2023 worries about “crumbling capitalism” and the lethal provocations of “our” leaders. The most infamous of these, Tony Blair, a prima facie criminal under the Nuremberg Standard, is free and rich. Julian Assange, who dared journalists to prove their readers had a right to know, is in his second decade of incarceration.

The rise of fascism in Europe is uncontroversial. Or “neo-Nazism” or “extreme nationalism,” as you prefer. Ukraine as modern Europe’s fascist beehive has seen the re-emergence of the cult of Stepan Bandera, the passionate anti-Semite and mass murderer who lauded Hitler’s “Jewish policy,” which left 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews slaughtered. “We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet,” a Banderist pamphlet proclaimed to Ukrainian Jews. 

Stepan Bandera torchlight parade in Kiev, Jan. 1, 2020. (A1/Wikimedia Commons)

Today, Bandera is hero-worshipped in western Ukraine and scores of statues of him and his fellow-fascists have been paid for by the EU and the U.S., replacing those of Russian cultural giants and others who liberated Ukraine from the original Nazis. 

In 2014, neo Nazis played a key role in an American bankrolled coup against the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was accused of being “pro-Moscow.” The coup regime included prominent “extreme nationalists” — Nazis in all but name. 

At first, this was reported at length by the BBC and the European and American media. In 2019, Time magazine featured the “white supremacist militias” active in Ukraine. NBC News reported, “Ukraine’s Nazi problem is real.” The immolation of trade unionists in Odessa was filmed and documented. 

Spearheaded by the Azov regiment, whose insignia, the “Wolfsangel,” was made infamous by the German SS, Ukraine’s military invaded the eastern, Russian-speaking Donbass region. According to the United Nations 14,000 in the east were killed. Seven years later, with the Minsk peace conferences sabotaged by the West, as Angela Merkel confessed, the Red Army invaded.

A march of Azov veterans and supporters in Kiev, 2019. (Goo3, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

This version of events was not reported in the West. To even utter it is to bring down abuse about being a “Putin apologist,” regardless whether the writer (such as myself) has condemned the Russian invasion. Understanding the extreme provocation that a NATO-armed borderland, Ukraine, the same borderland through which Hitler invaded, presented to Moscow, is anathema. 

Journalists who travelled to the Donbass were silenced or even hounded in their own country. German journalist Patrik Baab lost his job and a young German freelance reporter, Alina Lipp, had her bank account sequestered.

Silence of Intimidation 

In Britain, the silence of the liberal intelligentsia is the silence of intimidation. State-sponsored issues like Ukraine and Israel are to be avoided if you want to keep a campus job or a teaching tenure. What happened to former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2019 is repeated on campuses where opponents of apartheid Israel are casually smeared as anti-Semitic.

Professor David Miller, ironically the country’s leading authority on modern propaganda, was sacked by Bristol University for suggesting publicly that Israel’s “assets” in Britain and its political lobbying exerted a disproportionate influence worldwide — a fact for which the evidence is voluminous. 

The university hired a leading QC to investigate the case independently. His report exonerated Miller on the “important issue of academic freedom of expression” and found “Professor Miller’s comments did not constitute unlawful speech.” Yet Bristol sacked him. The message is clear: no matter what outrage it perpetrates, Israel has immunity and its critics are to be punished.

A few years ago, Terry Eagleton, then professor of English literature at Manchester University, reckoned 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 damned the corruption of the ruling class, no Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin revealed the moral disaster of capitalism. William Morris, Oscar Wilde, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw had no equivalents today. Harold Pinter was alive then, “the last to raise his voice,” wrote Eagleton.

Where did post-modernism — the rejection of actual politics and authentic dissent — come from? The publication in 1970 of Charles Reich’s bestselling book, The Greening of America, offers a clue.  America then was in a state of upheaval; Richard Nixon was in the White House, a civil resistance, known as “the movement,” had burst out of the margins of society in the midst of a war that touched almost everybody. In alliance with the civil rights movement, it presented the most serious challenge to Washington’s power for a century.

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

At the time I was a correspondent in the United States and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of Reich, a young Yale academic. The New Yorker had sensationally serialised his book, whose message was that the “political action and truth-telling” of the 1960s had failed and only “culture and introspection” would change the world. It felt as if hippydom was claiming the consumer classes.  And in one sense it was.

Within a few years, the cult of “me-ism” had all but overwhelmed many people’s sense of acting together, of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political and the media was the message. Make money, it said. 

As for “the movement,” its hope and songs, the years of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton put an end to all that. The police were now in open war with black people; Clinton’s notorious welfare bills broke world records in the number of mostly blacks they sent to jail.

George Floyd protesters in Miami react to police firing chemical irritants on May 30, 2020. (Mike Shaheen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

When 9/11 happened, the fabrication of new “threats” on “America’s frontier” (as the Project for a New American Century called the world) completed the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition. 

In the years since, America has gone to war with the world. According to a largely ignored report by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the number killed in America’s “war on terror” was ‘at least’ 1.3 million in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

This figure does not include the dead of U.S.-led and fuelled wars in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia and beyond. The true figure, said the report, “could well be in excess of 2 million [or] approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware and [is] propagated by the media and major NGOS.” 

“At least” one million were killed in Iraq, say the physicians, or 5 percent of the population. 

No One Knows How Many Killed 

The enormity of this violence and suffering seems to have no place in the 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 al — were never in danger of prosecution. Blair’s propaganda maestro, Alistair Campbell, is 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 constitutionally freest media in the world had seriously challenged George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of spreading what turned out to be crude propaganda?”

He replied. “If we journalists had done our job, there is a very, very good chance we would have not gone to war in Iraq.”

I put the same question to Dan Rather, the famous CBS anchor, who gave me the same answer.  David Rose of the Observer, who had promoted Saddam Hussein’s “threat,” and Rageh Omaar, then the BBC’s Iraq correspondent, gave me the same answer. Rose’s admirable contrition at having been “duped,” spoke for many reporters bereft of his courage to say so.

Their point is worth repeating. Had journalists done their job, had they questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, a million Iraqi men, women and children might be alive today; millions might not have fled their homes; the sectarian war between Sunni and Shia might not have ignited, and Islamic State might not have existed. 

Mock coffins placed near the offices of military contractors during a protest against the Iraq war in and around Washington. March 21, 2009. (Victor Reinhart, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Cast that truth across the rapacious wars since 1945 ignited by the United States and its “allies” and the conclusion is breathtaking. Is this ever raised in journalism schools? 

Today, war by media is a key task of so-called mainstream journalism, reminiscent of that described by a Nuremberg prosecutor in 1945:

“Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically… In the propaganda system… 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 cultish extremism that approaches fascism. Although Trump was credited with this, it was during Barack Obama’s two terms that American foreign policy flirted seriously with fascism. This was almost never reported. 

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, who expanded a favourite presidential pastime, bombing, and death squads known as “special operations” as no other president had done since the first Cold War.

According to a Council on Foreign Relations survey, in 2016 Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day. He bombed the poorest people and people of colour: in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan.

Every Tuesday — reported The New York Times — he personally selected those who would be murdered by hellfire missiles fired from drones. Weddings, funerals, shepherds were attacked, along with those attempting to collect the body parts festooning the “terrorist target.” 

A leading Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, estimated, approvingly, that Obama’s drones had killed 4,700 people. “Sometimes you hit innocent people and I hate that,” he said, but we’ve taken out some very senior members of Al Qaeda.’

In 2011, Obama told the media that the 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 have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”

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

Destroying Gaddafi’s “threat” and his modern state was the aim. Backed by the U.S., Britain and France, NATO launched 9,700 sorties against Libya. A third were aimed at infrastructure and civilian targets, reported the UN. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten.”

When Hillary Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state, was told that Gaddafi had been captured by the insurrectionists and sodomised with a knife, she laughed and said to 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 an “array of lies” — including the Benghazi massacre story.

The NATO bombing 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 U.S. extended secret “special forces” operations to 138 countries, or 70 percent of the world’s population. The first African-American president launched what amounted to a full-scale invasion of Africa. 

Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the 19th century, the U.S. African Command (Africom) has since built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds U.S. officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith 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 a new white master’s black colonial elite. This elite’s “historic mission,” warned the knowing Frantz Fanon, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged.”

In the year NATO invaded Libya, 2011, Obama announced what became known as the “pivot to Asia.” Almost two-thirds of U.S. naval forces would be transferred to the Asia-Pacific to “confront the threat from China,” in the words of his defence secretary. 

There was no threat from China; there was a threat to China from the United States; some 400 American military bases formed an arc along the rim of China’s industrial heartlands, which a Pentagon official described approvingly as a “noose.”

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

Obama and his administration knew full well that the coup his assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, was sent to oversee against the government of Ukraine in 2014 would provoke a Russian response and probably lead to war. And so it has. 

I am writing this on 30 April, the anniversary of the last day of the longest war of the 20th century, in Vietnam, which I reported. I was very young when I arrived in Saigon and I learned a great deal. I learned to recognise the distinctive drone of the engines of giant B-52s, which dropped their carnage from above the clouds and spared nothing and no one; I learned not to turn away when faced with a charred tree festooned with human parts; I learned to value kindness as never before; I learned that Joseph Heller was right in his masterly Catch-22: that war was not suited to sane people; and I learned about “our” propaganda.

All through that war, the propaganda said a victorious Vietnam would spread its communist disease to the rest of Asia, allowing the Great Yellow Peril to its north to sweep down. Countries would fall like “dominoes.”

Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam was victorious, and none of the above happened. Instead, Vietnamese civilisation blossomed, remarkably, in spite of the price they paid: 3 million dead. The maimed, the deformed, the addicted, the poisoned, the lost.

If the current propagandists get their war with China, this will be a fraction of what is to come. Speak up.

John Pilger has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism and has been International Reporter of the Year, News Reporter of the Year and Descriptive Writer of the Year. He has made 61 documentary films and has won an Emmy, a BAFTA and the Royal Television Society prize. His Cambodia Year Zero is named as one of the ten most important films of the 20th century. He can be contacted at

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

57 comments for “John Pilger: The Coming War — Time to Speak Up

  1. Billy Field
    May 3, 2023 at 18:04

    Seems, quite so, and, the “bought ones” doing the lying to the public are really quite few..& ridiculous…the fake stories are so laughable…really they are wide open for us getting laughs!

  2. Billy Field
    May 3, 2023 at 17:54

    Reasons to be cheerful;- word of mouth works wonders…that is why they now want their STASI style “Restrict Act” (to criminalise dissent & opinion as “harmful” or “disinformation” etc… w up to 20yrs prison & $1M fines. 2) Due to advent of internet “the truth” is available to the masses for first time in all history. Restrict act or not, they can’t stop it. 3) Mass dissemination of opinion, debate & “Truth” is available to all….& 5.3 Bill people even have mobile phones now, many I presume with internet. 4) Once their tactics are exposed “They” have to change course & “we” are doing that, DO keep it up all!. Their game is up now, too many know it. 5. “They need to get the Militaries & the Police to back them and I am guessing the Pentagon et al are not too keen to go into bat against Russia & China. Seems so! 6. The Judiciary might/could come clean and effectively “deal with them”. There are numerous other chances to fix this mad corruption…one problem is they use torture, assassinations, mass murder, imprisonment in solitary (Assange) & we don’t ….that too can change. My view is, do have the courage to take the “discussion” to everyone you even see…even the Checkout folks. Word of mouth works miracles…YES “little drops make a great Ocean”, well said indeed.

  3. peter mcloughlin
    May 3, 2023 at 05:50

    Another world war is approaching. In every war, especially a global one, someone has to lose. Still everybody convinces themselves they will win – they have to. In WW III everyone will lose: in a joint statement the five main nuclear powers declare that nuclear war must not be fought because it cannot be won. Yet the pattern of history and the dictates of nuclear deterrence doctrine say otherwise – they will fight it nonetheless. Denying this truth, and trying to silence it, will make that outcome inevitable. Even a faint voice as my own has been suspended by Twitter, allegedly breaking the company rules on “platform manipulation”. If the smallest of voices can be silenced so can the larger ones.
    Thank you Consortium News for giving me a voice.

  4. May 3, 2023 at 05:03

    Excellent summary by John Pilger, and good comments.

  5. RWilson
    May 2, 2023 at 19:42

    The MSM appears to have no actual reporters left. Those have all been fired or fled. The remainders have decided, for whatever personal reasons, to take their fat paychecks and deceive their audiences, betray journalism and the 1st Amendment, and sabotage democracy.

    Who can afford to control the entire MSM? And who wants to silence it regarding Israel’s ongoing apartheid, ethnic “cleansing”, mass murders, and land thefts? Who wanted to have the US military invade the Middle East on their behalf? And if they can afford to own the Media Industrial Complex, might they not also afford to own the Military Industrial Complex? And the Medical Industrial Complex? And the Banking Industrial Complex? And use the media to cover up a wide swath of crimes?

    Is it not logical that the same people are pushing the US into the current war with Russia? Did Zelensky not say Ukraine will become a “big Israel”? Is not the Wolfowitz Doctrine of ruling the world a modern version of an ancient aspiration? Is it not time we allowed ourselves to talk about these well-known facts openly? While innocent civilians go about their daily lives unaware of the massive destruction looming in the minds of a few obscenely wealthy criminal sociopaths?

  6. Harriet Heywood
    May 2, 2023 at 14:35

    The US is truly a rogue state whose hubris has led it to believe that it will survive a nuclear war. We are being led to our doom, with a complicit media too afraid to speak out against the madness.

  7. lester
    May 2, 2023 at 12:35

    If and when the US government does start it’s war with PR China, I hope it’s just a stupid VN/Iraq style invasion, not a nuclear first strike.

    I hope Chinese Americans are not interned, as Japanese Americans were. No pogrom, likethe one in1917 against German Americans, either.

    • Humwawa
      May 2, 2023 at 17:11

      The US is a maritime power, it can’t invade China. The US will provoke China into a military response, perhaps over Taiwan. However, my guess is that the US will try to strangle the Chinese economy by sanctions. If that doesn’t work, the US might try a naval blockade or close sea routes to Chinese shipping. That’s why China tries to build a blue water fleet to protect its international trade.

      Wars are unpredictable and most war plans don’t survive the first contact with the enemy. If things spiral out of control, we’ll all die.

  8. Barbara Mulllin
    May 2, 2023 at 11:38

    I recently received an email written by Dan Rather and a second person celebrating the firing of Tucker Carlson who unbeknownst to many non followers invited guests to actually criticize the GOP as well as did not agree with himself on some issues. This is what journalism is supposed to be all about. Don’t forget it was Dan Rather who told we the people that JFK’s head only moved in one direction at the time of his assassination. Years later we saw the video film that this was not true. Rather’s comment went along with the government/deep state position of there only being one bullet and one assassin.

    • Gene Poole
      May 2, 2023 at 14:33

      Yes! Rather told the world that Kennedy’s head was “thrown violently forward.” He probably never imagined that the world would eventually see the proof of his lie. His reward was to be put in the front seat of the propaganda juggernaut.

  9. Em
    May 2, 2023 at 10:48

    John Pilger has been the staunchest of investigative ‘whistleblower’ journalists, for generations.
    The probability for the power of speech is hereditary in everyone, yet the power to control free speech has long ago been usurped through illegitimate government’ interference.
    How much more profound can one humane being be than John Pilger!
    He has literally been one of the exceptions, yet the intensity of his voice is still not being heard.
    It’s as if his pitch is too high to penetrate the ears of the lowly mammal, called mankind; for it is seemingly beyond our overall American sociocultural sensibilities to fire up, in concerted action.

    • Valerie
      May 3, 2023 at 06:21

      This came out today in the Guardian:

      “Media freedom is in dire health in a record number of countries, according to the latest annual snapshot, which warns that disinformation, propaganda and artificial intelligence pose mounting threats to journalism.

      The World Press Freedom Index revealed a shocking slide, with an unprecedented 31 countries deemed to be in a “very serious situation”, the lowest ranking in the report, up from 21 just two years ago.

      Increased aggressiveness from autocratic governments – and some that are considered democratic – coupled with “massive disinformation or propaganda campaigns” has caused the situation to go from bad to worse, according to the list, released by the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).”

      There’s been quite a number of articles lately regarding AI and the fear of it. Dr. Geoffrey Hinton (the godfather of AI) recently quit Google in order to speak freely of it’s dangers. Something’s up for sure.

      • Em
        May 3, 2023 at 10:34

        Very true, at this ‘moment’ in history, the issue now, is global, no matter a ‘governments’ political proclivities.


  10. May 2, 2023 at 08:50

    For some reason, historically, United States media owners strive to lead the United States into war despite a reticence to do so by the American people and a few individual journalists, writers, poets and clerics, although that reticence has seriously eroded following World War II. Consider: journalism’s highest accolades are named in honor of the infamous Yellow Journalist, Joseph Pulitzer, and the world’s most prestigious awards, including the highest recognition of striving for peace, are named after the inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel. That infectious quest for blood has spread to United States allies. Truth has never proven an obstacle. Look at what this article discloses about media favorite Barak Obama?

    Perhaps the foregoing reality should be noted on the tombstones of all the soldiers and all the civilians who have perished as a result of that thirst for blood, more pernicious than that of any fictional vampire. Shakespeare was wrong, it’s not the lawyers who ought first to be sought out, although we tend to be pretty awful as well. But that’s another story.

  11. Ilona
    May 2, 2023 at 06:24

    Thank you John Pilger. One of the few journalists left who are willing to speak the truth.

  12. Paul Citro
    May 2, 2023 at 06:20

    Nice writing. But how many will have the time and patience to read it all?

    • rosemerry
      May 2, 2023 at 14:22

      Oh please. If the people who receive CN don’t bother to read it, what hope is there for thr cable TV watchers????? If you give up hope there is no value in living , and if John Pilger, with all his work and experience, still keeps going, you can at least be positive!!!

      • JonnyJames
        May 2, 2023 at 16:34

        Thank you rosemerry I totally agree. I urge people to watch, or re-watch John Pilger’s documentary:The Coming War on China from 2016. It was/is cutting-edge investigative journalism. It’s available online

  13. Rafael
    May 2, 2023 at 04:32

    This is powerful, eloquent, and truthful writing, as always from John Pilger, but it leaves me confused on one point. In the midst of making a very strong case for Russia’s military intervention in the Ukrainian war, John writes that he has nevertheless “condemned the Russian invasion”. If you condemn an action you must think that the actor had an alternative, in this case another way to defend itself from the existential threat that John so graphically evokes. Was there such an alternative? I don’t know, but I’d welcome some explanation from the author.

    • vinnieoh
      May 2, 2023 at 10:10

      Rafael I read the situation just as you have – where, oh where, was the alternative? The alternative was to surrender before there was even a struggle. It is aggravating that all the writers and pundits we so admire here all qualify their comments with this same statement. By not acknowledging the truth that Russia had no alternatives left, or rather that that the US had made sure that all other alternatives were closed off, it expunges the US of the true and full level of guilt that it must bear for not only what already has happened (so much needless death and destruction) but may yet could happen.

    • Blessthebeasts
      May 2, 2023 at 12:25

      Good point. It’s ridiculous that he feels the need to “condemn the Russian invasion.” So many others too….

    • rosemerry
      May 2, 2023 at 14:28

      This was the only time I disagreed with John and with the many people who seems to feel they must condemn the “invasion”. 8 years’ warning, unanimous UN resolutions, 14000 people killed in the Donbass, plenty of evidence on youtube for years about the Nazi influence, even the buildup of Uke troops preparing for attacks in February last year (not reported in Western media at the time of course) yet what other option did the infinitely patient Putin have??

    • Valerie
      May 2, 2023 at 14:32

      “Was there such an alternative? ”

      I suppose he could have invaded/ occupied the NATO HQ and held it hostage. LOL
      (Then he would have killed two birds with one stone.)
      And yes, i would appreciate any alternative solutions anyone thinks.

    • Gene Poole
      May 2, 2023 at 14:40

      Russia invaded Ukraine. The US/NATO provoked the invasion. Both are true. This is called cognitive dissonance. It creates pressure; you feel you must decide that one side us right and one is wrong. The way to knowledge leads between the two.

    • IJ Scambling
      May 2, 2023 at 20:07

      Additionally, the term “invasion” is not suitable. A civil war had been underway for years between West and East Ukraine, with the West bombarding or invading the East, and stepping up its bombardment–a sudden massive increase–right before Russia stepped in or intervened. The term “invasion” suggests unprovoked attack, plus in this case works as historical innuendo for Hitler’s actions in sweeping across Europe. This perspective was utilized as propaganda immediately following Feb 24 last year.

      The only alternative I can think of is more words after more than a decade of pleading on the problem of NATO encroachment.

  14. Michael Trainor
    May 2, 2023 at 00:53

    Do we need to start thinking of offering a preemtive pardon to the likes of Nuland, Blinken and Sullivan et al, in order to give them an out from escalating us into this war with China? If things continue as they are going, and the US population get wind of the true extent of the destruction wreaked upon them, they may bae for blood and the Neo nutters may think they have nowhere to go except for too big to fail

    • Joan Flo
      May 2, 2023 at 16:29

      Ongelooflijk dat de EU als een hondje achter USA-Biden aanloopt…..
      We (onze kinderen) gaan deze idiote arrondissement van USA betalen ..en de opbouw van Ukraine gaat ook de EU betalen
      Want USA is bijna Bankroet…..een schande dat al die Stomme politici in Den Haag mee doen met deze Hegmony van USA…en Obama wordt verheerlijkt ..WALGELIJKE man..
      De hele EU met Stoltenberg aan kop is toneelspel ..die duizenden levens heeft gekost van Ukraine’s
      4 mei roept Nederland ..datNOOIT MEER ..HYPOCRIETE GEWOUWEL …want Nederland levert wapens …dus
      Houd je DOMINEES. VINGER in je zak en ga je SCHAMEN HEEEEEL DIEP

  15. lester
    May 1, 2023 at 23:26

    Great article, Mr. PIlger.

    May 1, 2023 at 23:12

    With Respect: Dear Senator Wong,

    The Australian Government has made all Australians to be partners with the U.S., a Nation responsible for many unjust political and military interventions against many other Nations; A Nation that has some 850 military bases around the Earth; A Nation that has published intentions, “To War against China once Russia has been weakened”The war in Ukraine, engineered by the U.S. is meant”To Weaken Russia”: this is their published intention.

    Much is written about “The Force posture” agreement, However, one concomitant aspect is totally overlooked; In order to keep faith with U.S. instruction The Australian Government will be forced to enlarge all of our Military establishments, in order to “defend”? ourselves against China. Australia is now a forward supply and communications base, with U.S. autonomous Bases, over which Australia has no jurisdiction or Sovereignty. Make no mistake, the U.S. fully intends this War with China, when it starts, Australia will be a legitimate target. The Australian Government has stepped up its advertising to increase Military personnel, this will fail, so within two years from now the Australian Government will be obliged to Legislate for urgent conscriptions and call ups. In other words Australian sons and daughters must be trained to kill or be killed, there is no sugar coating for this. China is not threatening war against any-one why must we fight because the U.S. is doing so?

    Why waste such large sums of money, whilst the Australian population has dire need of health care, education and training, and yes, housing too. Have we taken leave of our sensibilities?

    Looking forward to your reply, with warm regards. Thomas W. Adams.

  17. Joe Lanteigne
    May 1, 2023 at 23:00

    Great article, Great comments too. Aside from some Greta Thurnburg style actions I’m planning on, I have been re-posting every article I find that is in line with this one and other related peace topics , media topics etc. Every platform should be used by all of us , as much as possible. Short of marching in the streets,(which has to happen) I bombard everyone with my political views on empire. We have to stop this insanity.

    • Valerie
      May 2, 2023 at 13:57

      Good idea Joe. Little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

  18. Wilma V
    May 1, 2023 at 22:02

    How do we speak up? We try, but no one listens. Sorry, but instead of speaking up, I’ve given up.

    • Valerie
      May 2, 2023 at 14:52

      Oh yes they listen Wilma. They are listening now. Never give up. That’s exactly what they want.

  19. wildthange
    May 1, 2023 at 21:09

    Perhaps the reality is that the western superiority complex with its god given wars can’t stand the idea of a diverse world culture arising that has technologically advanced and can resist our own war based system. With permanent war the real threat is the necessity of ending the centuries of human warfare in the name of progress and the survival of human civilization. This is a critical century for mass survival or mass extinction.

  20. Lois Gagnon
    May 1, 2023 at 19:49

    Thank you John Pilger for gathering the irrefutable evidence that it is the US and it’s Western vassals that are the threat to all humanity and life on earth. The people of the West and the US in particular have been heavily propagandized to the point of being incapable of critical thought where their governments’ policies in dealing with the rest of the world are concerned. It’s beyond astonishing to watch them lap up blatant lies even after past lies have been revealed. How to explain? The truth is too horrible to contemplate. But contemplate it we must or we will all surely perish from collective cowardice.

  21. Rudy Haugeneder
    May 1, 2023 at 18:08

    No matter who initiated it, 911 changed everything and social conscience all but disappeared even more quickly than individual rights which continue to be demolished worldwide, unless you are or are financially obliged and tied to the oligarchs who rule no matter the name of the country you call home.

    • Valerie
      May 2, 2023 at 13:53

      Right Rudy. 9/11 i too believe was the defining moment. Things really started to go downhill from there.

  22. Paula
    May 1, 2023 at 17:02

    Oh come, Africa! You are destined for greater things than to be handled by white masters’ colonial elite!

  23. Paula
    May 1, 2023 at 16:48

    “When Hillary Clinton, Obama’s secretary of state, was told that Gaddafi had been captured by the insurrectionists and sodomised with a knife, she laughed and said to the camera: “We came, we saw, he died!” This is the epitome of the unforgettable and unforgivable ugliness of this woman. We can’t keep letting the corporations, MIC and the DNC select such monsters for the highest offices in our country. No wonder it is all a shambles. People of good must begin to speak up.

  24. Peter Loeb
    May 1, 2023 at 16:19


    Nowhere in this article or in the comments on is there any reference to the thorough and extensive
    work that has already been done. Books by Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Tim Weiner and James Bamford all
    document what has been done. (Including the “Palmer raids” under Woodrow Wilson and organized by
    J Edgar Hoover) or the political developments described by Joyce and Gabriel Kolko.

    All available publicly.

  25. Richard L
    May 1, 2023 at 14:52

    I agree with everything John says. I have lived all those events myself through the eye of the NewsHour on PBS. The components of the political system are grossly speaking: the politicians, the journalists, the pollsters, the thinktank’s and the lobby groups. The voters are not part of it except once in a while at election time but the outcome of any election is nothing but a swap within the pool of politicians; this has no impact on the system itself.

    The problem is not that the public is poorly informed. There are good journalists publishing on alterbative platforms who provide the facts to anyone who wants to look. The problem is that the current politicians see only what they themselves want to see.

    The way out is to get the citizenry back in the political system. i think that referendums on sensitive issues are a good way to focus the political agenda on reality. Politicians hate referendums and they want them elimibated whenever they can. Anyway citizens need to get organized openly but then we all know of the perils of ultra-nationalism and Nazism, so how to do it correctly? Those perils are probably one reason why the “system” keeps the people as much out of the loop as possible. On the other side elitism comes with its own set of problems as illustrated by the results of 30 years of Neocons and Neoliberal ideology. We have big problems in our hands!

  26. ray Peterson
    May 1, 2023 at 14:36

    And thanks to you John I learned all those things you
    learned and taught them as history lessons, especially
    your documentary on “China being next,” and “Palestine
    Still the Issue.”
    Journalism works with words and words convey truth
    to we human beings. Christian truth is that no more
    sacrifice is needed. That one time sacrificial suffering and
    death once and for all has been enough for two thousand years.
    Now it’s time for humanity to practice “it’s mercy I desire
    not sacrifice.”
    That’s the belief of the Western way of life. The American
    Way of life is more death and destruction. Authentic journalism
    is a religious vocation.

  27. bozkurt karaoglan
    May 1, 2023 at 13:49

    Thank you!

  28. Dienne
    May 1, 2023 at 13:44

    No reporters were “duped” about Iraq. They willingly consumed and propagated empire lies. I was just a schmuck with an internet connection and I knew it was all lies. Any “journalist” (sic) who didn’t chose not to.

    • vinnieoh
      May 2, 2023 at 09:57

      I absolutely agree with that. I wrote letters to the editor of my local paper before and during the invasion not because I loved seeing my name in print but because it was obvious the professional media was not going to question ANYTHING. Their job – it is obvious now – was to manufacture consent, and that tome is what? 40yrs old?

      Either manufacture consent or frighten naysayers. And there were times I expected a brick, or something worse, to come hurtling through my front window.

    • Blessthebeasts
      May 2, 2023 at 12:30

      I didn’t even have internet at the time but I could see the truth buried between the lies in the Arizona Republic. ?

  29. Anon
    May 1, 2023 at 13:42

    Tnx CN for this chance to be “first to speak up.”
    And tnx John for this historical survey of WAR… as GoTo Diplomatic Strategy.
    Art (when created)… must be Displayed… in order to be Recognized as Art by those other than the Artists Themselves…
    Media Reporting (in essence)… Is ART…
    So… tnx Again CN… for providing Rare ProgArt Venue!

  30. Dienne
    May 1, 2023 at 13:37

    “Class, gender and race were separated.”

    Can you tell me a time when class, gender and race were ever united? Race as a concept was invented for the purpose of creating in-class conflicts among people with different skin tones and geographical backgrounds. The police have *always* existed to keep the poor, predominantly Black, rabble from rising.

    • Rafi Simonton
      May 1, 2023 at 17:40


      Dienne, I agree that the alleged solidarity of some golden past is mythical. The one (U.S.) exception being the C.I.O. Unlike the skilled trades, the industrial unions had to organize everybody–including women and Black people. As a young blue collar union activist in the ’60s, I was trained by those who’d been ’30s labor organizers. Besides, my grandfather was a Wobbly (I.W.W.) My reaction to dogmatic leftists and their “vanguard of the working class” is: yeah, we get it. De facto class prejudice because you think we’re too stupid to manage our own revolution. F. U.

      As for race and gender…well, I’m reservation raised, a trans (FtM–so born F) two-spirit, and gay. On the left news sites like this, it has become increasingly common to proclaim that identity issues are merely a distraction from the REAL issue of class. Said by cis white hetero men (and distressingly, more than a few gay men) who’ve never had to struggle for a lifetime collectively and individually just to be who they are.

      Usually the issue is framed in terms of how the white working class has been conditioned to think of themselves apart from POC. Which of course is in itself a bigoted dismissal of a group as if they were all the same. The Dem party ditched the New Deal and abandoned labor. They did nothing for the Rust Belt, which unsurprisingly now leads in deaths of despair. Wouldn’t a more effective and certainly more humane strategy be to learn to talk with such people?

      Most important to us BIPOC, LGBTQI, and other lettered designations is respect for our claims. Go ask homeless trans Black women, many of whom have been on their own since they were teens working the streets, whether cis straight white people’s ideas of class solidarity will solve everything.

  31. shmutzoid
    May 1, 2023 at 13:37

    Pilger’s sobering and thoughtful essay here is spot on. …..”The personal is political – the medium is the message”. How true.

    The populace has been socially engineered over many decades to be exactly what it is. —–> incurious, alienated, atomized, politically disoriented and apathetic. The US is the land of spectacle: cheap thrills, shallow images and a 24/7 mediascape of the imperium’s propaganda/ celebrity worship/violence. ……. We have it hammered in to us how we are the most free people in the world. (never mind your material conditions – you live in FREEDUMB!)……….. The ethos of ‘individual liberty’ is extolled as life’s greatest meaning. —— Concerns about society, the public good, the commons and other notions of our common humanity are castigated as “socialist”, or even “communist”. …….The Ayn Rand-ian dystopia is here. “I’ve got mine, what’s YOUR problem”—–> seems to be the national credo.

    The entrenchment of this socially engineered mind-set is too strong for there to be any reforms to course-correct. The oligarchs have won. The people have been successfully pacified. …………… The empire will do what it’ll do and the people will simply go along for the ride. ……. The people really have no say in any of it. Electoral politics holds no hope for any fundamental change.
    ……… As long as we live under a global capitalist system ,this trajectory will continue. It’s a system that feeds on war and ever expanding inequality. ….. Can anyone refute that?
    ……. At some point there MUST be revolution on a global scale to upend capitalism. We Must transition to an eco-socialist model of reorganizing society. It’s the only way to begin to heal the biosphere and lift up the least fortunate among us in the world.

  32. Louis Béchard
    May 1, 2023 at 13:27

    The main stream global media? Bought, muzzeled and bribed. Who controls the US MIC? The predatory, exploitative central banks, NATO and the GREED THEIVES for a never fulfilled MORE & MORE WHO WILL NOT STOP UNTIL THE WORLD BECOMES DUNG. Interesting times indeed.

    • JonnyJames
      May 1, 2023 at 15:03

      I call it the Mass Media Cartel: corporate-consolidated and merged with the “intelligence community” and the US State Dept. Not to sound too cliche, but this amounts to a privatized Ministry of Truth who control the Unified Hegemonic Narrative.

  33. May 1, 2023 at 13:09

    This should be our moment. May Day, with people in the streets in France.
    Are we willing to move, or should we just look at our phones for the rest of our lives?

  34. vinnieoh
    May 1, 2023 at 12:46

    Mr. Pilger by the time I finished reading this I was almost in tears. Not because you told me anything I didn’t already know, but because you summarized it all so well in one place. It has always amazed me that there were never any revenge killings carried out against the US by the victims of “The American War” against Vietnam.

    Many US soldiers did come back from that nightmare aware that they were fighting for the wrong side.

    • JonnyJames
      May 1, 2023 at 15:00

      Me too. The truth can be very painful, that’s one reason so many choose to remain in deep denial.

      Pilger’s documentary, The Coming War on China (2016) was way ahead of the curve. I take comfort in knowing that folks like John Pilger are out there.

    • John Medcalf
      May 1, 2023 at 18:27

      I appreciate such well rounded summations of the history I was to ignorant to learn early in life.
      I protested the Vietnam war on many days but I didn’t really feel the horror I’ve come to understand.
      And the beat goes on.
      Funny thing is humans are likely unique in their ability to conceive of history stretching both sides of today.
      And humans feel they have free will to make decisions.
      In some parallel universe maybe all humans wake up tomorrow and decide the hell with war.
      I’ll be looking for the wormhole into that universe.

      • Valerie
        May 2, 2023 at 14:41

        “I’ll be looking for the wormhole into that universe.”

        I’ll be right behind you John.

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