[Mb-civic] John Pilger: Echoes of Mussoline

ean at sbcglobal.net ean at sbcglobal.net
Fri Sep 17 21:34:04 PDT 2004

The New Statesman - Sept 16, 2004

"Only by recognising the terrorism of states is it possible to
understand, and deal with, acts of terrorism by groups and
individuals which, however horrific, are tiny by comparison."

Blair Echoes Mussolini

by John Pilger

The world is dividing into two hostile camps: Islam and "us." That
is the unerring message from western governments, press, radio and
television. For Islam, read terrorists. It is reminiscent of the cold war,
when the world was divided between "Reds" and us, and even a strategy of
annihilation was permissible in our defence. We now know, or we ought to
know, that so much of that was a charade; released official files make
clear the Soviet threat was for public consumption only.

Every day now, as during the cold war, a one-way moral mirror is
held up to us as a true reflection of events. The new threat is
given impetus with every terrorist outrage, be it at Beslan or
Jakarta. Seen in the one-way mirror, our leaders make grievous
mistakes, but their good intentions are not in question. Tony
Blair's "idealism" and "decency" are promoted by his accredited
mainstream detractors, as the concocted Greek tragedy of his
political demise opens on the media stage. Having taken part in the
killing of as many as 37,000 Iraqi civilians, Blair's distractions,
not his victims, are news: from his arcane rivalry with treasurer
Gordon Brown, his Tweedledee, to his damascene conversion to the
perils of global warming. On the atrocity at Beslan, Blair is
allowed to say, without irony or challenge, that "this international
terrorism will not prevail." These are the same words spoken by
Mussolini soon after he had bombed civilians in Abyssinia.

Heretics who look behind the one-way mirror and see the utter
dishonesty of all this, who identify Blair and his collaborators as
war criminals in the literal and legal sense and present evidence of
his cynicism and immorality, are few; but they have wide support
among the public, whose awareness has never been higher, in my
experience. It is the British public's passionate indifference, if
not contempt for the political games of Blair/Brown and their courts
and its accelerating interest in the way the world really is, that
unnerves those with power.

Let's look at a few examples of the way the world is presented and
the way it really is. The occupation of Iraq is presented as "a
mess": a blundering, incompetent American military up against
Islamic fanatics. In truth, the occupation is a systematic,
murderous assault on a civilian population by a corrupt American
officer class, given licence by its superiors in Washington. Last
May, the US Marines used battle tanks and helicopter gunships to
attack the slums of Fallujah. They admitted killing 600 people, a
figure far greater than the total number of civilians killed by
the "insurgents" during the past year. The generals were candid;
this futile slaughter was an act of revenge for the killing of three
American mercenaries. Sixty years earlier, the SS Das Reich division
killed 600 French civilians at Oradour-sur-Glane as revenge for the
kidnapping of a German officer by the resistance. Is there a

These days, the Americans routinely fire missiles into Falluja and
other dense urban areas; they murder whole families. If the word
terrorism has any modern application, it is this industrial state
terrorism. The British have a different style. There are more than
40 known cases of Iraqis having died at the hands of British
soldiers; just one soldier has been charged. In the current issue of
the magagazine The Journalist, Lee Gordon, a freelance reporter,
wrote, "Working as a Brit in Iraq is hazardous, particularly in the
south where our troops have a reputation (unreported at home) for
brutality." Neither is the growing disaffection among British troops
reported at home. This is so worrying the Ministry of Defence that
it has moved to placate the family of 17-year-old soldier David
McBride by taking him off the AWL list after he refused to fight in
Iraq. Almost all the families of soldiers killed in Iraq have
denounced the occupation and Blair, all of which is unprecedented.

Only by recognising the terrorism of states is it possible to
understand, and deal with, acts of terrorism by groups and
individuals which, however horrific, are tiny by comparison.
Moreover, their source is inevitably the official terrorism for
which there is no media language. Thus, the State of Israel has
been able to convince many outsiders that it is merely a victim of
terrorism when, in fact, its own unrelenting, planned terrorism is
the cause of the infamous retaliation by Palestinian suicide
bombers. For all of Israel's perverse rage against the BBC - a
successful form of intimidation - BBC reporters never report
Israelis as terrorists: that term belongs exclusively to
Palestinians imprisoned in their own land. It is not surprising, as
the recent Glasgow University study concluded, that many television
viewers in Britain believe that the Palestinians are the invaders
and occupiers.

On 7 September, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 16 Israelis in
the town of Beersheba. Every television news report allowed the
Israeli government spokesman to use this tragedy to justify the
building of an apartheid wall - when the wall is pivotal to the
causes of Palestinian violence. Almost every news report marked the
end of a five-month period of "relative peace and calm" and "a lull
in the violence." During those five months of relative peace and
calm, almost 400 Palestinians were killed, 71 of them in
assassinations. During the lull in the violence, more than 73
Palestinian children were killed. A 13 year old was murdered with a
bullet through the heart, a five year old was shot in her face as
she walked arm in arm with her two-year-old sister. The body of
Mazen Majid, aged 14, was riddled with 18 Israeli bullets as he and
his family fled their bulldozed home.

None of this was reported in Britain as terrorism. Most of it was
not reported at all. After all, this was a period of peace and calm,
a lull in the violence. On 19 May, Israeli tanks and helicopters
fired on peaceful demonstrators, killing eight of them. This
atrocity had a certain significance; the demonstration was part of a
growing non-violent Palestinian movement, which has seen peaceful
protest gatherings, often with prayers, along the apartheid wall.
The rise of this Gandhian movement is barely noted in the outside

The truth about Chechyna is similarly suppressed. On 4 February
2000, Russian aircraft attacked the Chechen village of Katyr Yurt.
They used "vacuum bombs," which release petrol vapour and suck
people's lungs out, and are banned under the Geneva Convention.
The Russians bombed a convoy of survivors under a white flag. They
murdered 363 men, women and children. It was one of countless,
little known acts of terrorism in Chechnya perpetrated by the
Russian state, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, has the "complete
solidarity" of Tony Blair.

"Few of us," wrote the playwright Arthur Miller, "can easily
surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The
thought that the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many
innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be
internally denied."

It is time we stopped denying it.

[John Pilger's new book, Tell Me No Lies: investigative journalism
and its triumphs, is published by Jonathan Cape next month]


You are currently on Mha Atma's Earth Action Network email list, option D 
(up to 3 emails/day).  To be removed, or to switch options (option A - 
1x/week, option B - 3/wk, option C - up to 1x/day, option D - up to 3x/day) 
please reply and let us know!  If someone forwarded you this email and you 
want to be on our list, send an email to ean at sbcglobal.net and tell us which 
option you'd like.

Action is the antidote to despair.  ----Joan Baez
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www.islandlists.com/pipermail/mb-civic/attachments/20040917/93b18940/attachment.htm

More information about the Mb-civic mailing list