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The New Rulers of The World – John Pilger

John Pilger who was known as a campaigning journalist giant, sadly died yesterday, John has been commended for his bravery and integrity as a war correspondent, film maker and author.

The New Rulers of The World – John Pilger

One book authored by John, The New Rulers of the World was originally published in 2002 with the last new edition published in 2016.

The book description: In this classic book, with an updated introduction, he reveals the secrets and illusions of modern imperialism. Beginning with Indonesia, he shows how General Suharto’s bloody seizure of power in the 1960s was part of a western design to impose a ‘global economy’ on Asia. A million Indonesians died as the price for being the World Bank’s ‘model pupil’. In a shocking chapter on Iraq, he delineates the true nature of the West s war against the people of that country. And he dissects, piece by piece, the propaganda of the ‘war on terror’ to expose its Orwellian truth. Finally, he looks behind the picture-postcard image of his homeland, Australia, to illuminate an enduring legacy of imperialism: the subjugation of the First Australians. (source)

I would thoroughly recommend reading the whole book, which can be found in the usual bookstores including Amazon. However, as an Expose tribute to the legendary journalist, I would like to draw our readers attention to the preface of the 2016 edition of the book specifically, as I believe that it shows the type of man that John Pilger was.

The New Rulers of The World


I was recently in the Marshall Islands, which lie in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, north of New
Zealand and south of Hawaii. The geography is important; whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, ‘Where is that?’ When I mention Bikini, their reference is the swimsuit. Few seem aware that the bikini was named after the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini atoll; its Paris designer hoped his ‘unique creation’ would ‘cause an explosion right round the world’. Sixty-six nuclear bombs were exploded in the Marshall Islands: the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshimas every day for twelve years.

As my aircraft banked low over Bikini lagoon, the emerald water beneath me suddenly disappeared into a vast black hole, a deathly void. This is the crater left by the 1954 Hydrogen bomb known as ‘Bravo’. When I stepped out of the plane, my shoes registered ‘unsafe’ on a Geiger counter. A breeze did not stir palms petrified in what appear as unworldly formations. There were no birds.

On my return journey to London, I picked up an American magazine, Women’s Health, at the Honolulu airport. On the cover was a picture of a slim, smiling woman in a bikini swimsuit and the headline, ‘You, too, can have a bikini body.’ In the Marshall Islands, I had interviewed women who also had truly ‘bikini bodies’: each had suffered thyroid cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. All were impoverished, the victims and guinea pigs of a rapacious power still rampant.

Memory is a staple of this book – memory in a time of organised forgetting: of saturating pseudo-
information and the truth inverted. In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in Prague and promised to help ‘make the world free from nuclear weapons’. This was front-page news. Obama has since approved plans for an arsenal of nuclear weapons costing $350 billion, an all-time record. This is not news.

Unleashed American generals reminiscent of those in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove now talk
openly about ‘nuclear war-gaming Putin’s Russia’. One of them is a General Breedlove. He says
repeatedly and without evidence that the Ruskies ‘are massing and threatening’. A barrage of similar accusations and threats is aimed increasingly at China. ‘Perpetual war’ has become the jargon of those in the universities and media who describe themselves as ‘liberal realists’.

Since I wrote The New Rulers of the World these dangers have intensified as the current rulers
believe their dominance is threatened. The machinations described in the chapter ‘The Great Game’, are now so pervasive that the encirclement and intimidation of nuclear-armed Russia is not contentious. Propaganda is the principal weapon at this stage; news is a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first cold war. The Russian president is a pantomime villain who can be abused with impunity. The evil empire is coming to get us, led by another Stalin or, perversely, a new Hitler. Name your demon and let rip.

Among the drum-beaters there is the joie d’esprit of a class reunion. The liberal realists of the
Washington Post are the same editorial writers who, in promoting an invasion of Iraq in 2003, declared the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction to be ‘hard facts’. As many as a million men, women and children died as a consequence, and their ruined society converted to a breeding place of fanatics now known as Islamic State.

In the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, the biggest military buildup since the Second World War is
subjected to the most successful news blackout I can remember, along with Washington’s effective takeover of the Russian borderland in Ukraine and the role of neo-Nazi brigades in terrorising the Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine.

‘If you wonder,’ wrote Robert Parry, ‘how the world could stumble into World War Three – much as it did into World War One a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.’

Parry, the journalist who revealed the Iran–Contra scandal, is one of the few who has investigated the media’s central role in this ‘game of chicken’, as the Russian foreign minister called it. But is it a game? The US Congress has voted on Resolution 758, which, in a nutshell, says: ‘Let’s get ready for war with Russia.’

The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a military and missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s finance minister is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas ‘investment’. She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. The US wants Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.

Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember
Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.

In the nineteenth century, the Russian writer Alexander Herzen described Western secular liberalism as ‘the final religion, though its church is not of the other world but of this’. Today, this divinity is far more violent and dangerous than anything the Muslim world throws up. In his celebrated essay ‘On Liberty’, to which modern western liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill wrote: ‘Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.’ The ‘barbarians’ were large sections of humanity of whom ‘implicit obedience’ was required. ‘It’s a nice and convenient myth that liberals are peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers,’ wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, ‘but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature: its conviction that it represents a superior form of life.’ He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in which the then prime minister promised to ‘re-order the world around us’ according to his ‘moral values’.

Richard Falk, the respected authority on international law and the UN special rapporteur on Palestine, once described a ‘self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence’. It is ‘so widely accepted as to be virtually unchallengeable’.

In the news, whole countries are ordained for their usefulness or expendability, or they are made to disappear. The machinations of Saudi Arabia, a principal source of extremism and western-designed terror, is of minimal news interest, except when it wilfully drives down the price of oil. Yemen has endured twelve years of American drone attacks, and now an American-backed Saudi invasion. This bloodletting has none of the thrall of Islamic State (IS), a product of the destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria – just as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were the product of the genocidal bombing of Cambodia.

Latin America has also suffered this western disappearing trick. In 2009, the University of the West of England published the results of a ten-year study of the BBC’s coverage of Venezuela. Of 304 broadcast reports, only three mentioned any of the positive policies introduced by the government of Hugo Chavez. The greatest literacy programme in human history received barely a passing reference.

In Europe and the United States, millions of readers and viewers know next to nothing about the life-giving changes implemented in Latin America, many of them inspired by Chavez. Like the BBC, the reports of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and the rest of the respectable Western media were often notoriously in bad faith. Chavez was mocked even on his deathbed. How is this explained, I wonder, in schools of journalism?

Why are millions of people in Britain persuaded that a collective punishment called ‘austerity’ is
necessary? Following the economic crash in 2008, a rotten empire of capital was exposed. Banks were shamed as collective crooks with obligations to the public they had betrayed. But within months – apart from a few stones lobbed over excessive corporate ‘bonuses’ – the media message had changed and public memory diverted. The mugshots of guilty bankers vanished from the newspapers and this new propaganda buzzword, austerity, became the burden of millions of ordinary people.

Today, many of the premises of civilised life in Britain are being dismantled. The ‘austerity’ cuts are said to be £83 billion, which is almost exactly the amount of tax avoided by the banks and by corporations like Amazon and Murdoch’s News UK. Moreover, the banks are given an annual subsidy of £100 billion in free insurance and guarantees: a figure that would fund the entire National Health Service. The ‘economic crisis’ is pure propaganda, a conjuring trick by the rulers of the world, led by corporate and media class warriors whose ‘information dominance’ and ‘control of the narrative’ – to quote the jargon of the ‘realists’ – is their most powerful weapon.

‘Class’ almost never speaks its name. Class is not part of the new liberal ‘reality’ that has been
building for more than a generation. In 1970, Charles Reich’s book, The Greening of America, caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: ‘There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.’ I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of Reich, a young Yale academic. His thesis was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only ‘culture’ and introspection could change the world.

Within a few years, driven by the forces of consumerism and profit, the cult of ‘me-ism’ had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, of social justice and welfare for all and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message. Today, the promotion of bourgeois privilege is often disguised as feminism. In 2008, the elevation of a man of colour to the presidency of the United States was celebrated as a blow against racism, even the dawn of a ‘post-racial era’. This, too, was fake.

In a village in Afghanistan, inhabited by the poorest of the poor, I filmed Orifa kneeling at the graves of her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, and seven other members of her family, six of whom were children, as well as the graves of two children who were killed in the adjacent house. An American 500-pound ‘precision’ bomb had been dropped on their small mud, stone and straw house, leaving a crater fifty feet wide.

I remembered Orifa when the aspiring next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was
celebrated on the BBC’s ‘Woman’s Hour’. The presenter described Clinton as a beacon of female
achievement. She did not remind her listeners about Clinton’s profanity that it was ‘morally right’ to invade Afghanistan in order to ‘liberate’ women like Orifa. She asked Clinton nothing about her part, as US secretary of state, in a terror campaign using drones to kill women, men and children. There was no mention of Clinton’s idle threat, while campaigning to be the first female president, to ‘eliminate’ Iran, and nothing about her support for illegal mass surveillance and the pursuit of whistle-blowers.

There was, however, one finger-to-the-lips question. Had Clinton forgiven Monica Lewinsky for
having an affair with husband? ‘Forgiveness is a choice,’ said Clinton, ‘for me, it was absolutely the right choice.’ This recalled the 1990s and the years consumed by the Lewinsky ‘scandal’. That her husband, President Clinton, was then invading Haiti, and bombing the Balkans, Africa and Iraq, was of no interest.

In the middle of this ‘scandal’, UNICEF reported the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five as a result of an embargo led by the US and Britain. The children were media unpeople, just as Hillary Clinton’s victims in the invasions she has promoted – Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia – are unpeople. All that matters is that Clinton is a woman attempting to shatter the ‘glass ceiling’. Shattered lives across the world are testament to her ambition and political ruthlessness.

In politics as in journalism and the arts, dissent once tolerated in the ‘mainstream’ has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. The recent seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping black-shirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

‘For goose-steppers,’ wrote the historian Norman Pollack, ‘substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.’

Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with
every fibre of my being,’ said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee Carl Schmitt who said, ‘The sovereign is he who decides the exception.’

This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a
predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates Western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.

The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the ‘tragedy’ of
American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places – just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar for his movie American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a ‘patriotic, pro-family picture, which broke all attendance records in its opening days’.

I began this new preface with a description of the devastated Marshall Islands, which hold no place in our political and moral memory. The biggest atoll in the Marshalls is Kwajalein, home to the Ronald Reagan Missile Test Site. It is here that Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ project consumed billions of dollars. Set in a place of nuclear carnage, Kwajalein commands the Pacific and Asia, especially China. Here, the Obama administration is developing what it calls a ‘space fence’: the aim is to target China with missiles.

In the eighteenth century, Edmund Burke described the role of the press as a Fourth Estate checking the powerful. Was that ever true? It certainly doesn’t wash any more. What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda, and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power. We need what the Russians called perestroika. Vandana Shiva calls this ‘an insurrection of subjugated knowledge’.

Meanwhile, the responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the lies of those
who ‘control the narrative’, warmongers especially, and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self-respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured.

John Pilger, London, September 2015

I agree, it is the responsibility of the rest of us to identify and expose the lies of those who have taken control of the narrative, John Pilger, has certainly done his fair share of that, for that we are truly grateful, his voice will be missed by many.

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