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99 thoughts on “Farewell to John Pilger

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  • Jack

    Pilger represented what the political left should be about: seeking out the truth, speaking truth to power, not being afraid to be radical or take uneasy positions when the wind is blowing the other way.

    Pilger is not even in the casket yet but the media have already begun to frame Pilger in a negative way:

    John Pilger, controversial campaigning journalist and documentary maker – obituary.
    He drew world attention to human rights abuses but was accused of making up facts to fit his anti-US political prejudices

    John Pilger: 6 books by controversial journalist and campaigner
    A legacy of investigative journalism, social justice, and contentious views

    Intellectual critics/leftists like John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Robert Parry, Gareth Porter, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Norman Finkelstein, Robert Fisk and of course our host Craig Murray are the type of people everyone should hear, read but also study because they all have that vital personality trait of being fearless.

    • Jack

      To follow up, this is how the same Telegraph covered the death of Henry Kissinger last month: with glorification and praise

      Henry Kissinger, US diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize winner, dies aged 100
      George W Bush leads tributes to former Secretary of State who left lifelong mark on American foreign policy

      Not a word on his involvement in grave warcrimes, no criticism, no “controversial” labeling.

      • Squeeth

        I began reading the TLS in 1986 but gave up on it in 2004 after its hagiographical articles on Ronnie Ray-Gun after he died. It took a few weeks for dissenting opinion to appear (in the letters page). No formal mention of his crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Shome mishtake shurely? I’d stop reading the Graun and the Inderelictependent over their lies about Pilger but I never read the Graun and gave up on the ‘derelictependent in 2004 as well. I hope his films on Youtube don’t disappear.

    • Bayard

      “but was accused of making up facts to fit his anti-US political prejudices”

      “Innocent until proved guilty” long preceded you into the grave, John.

    • Sue

      We’re part of the Syrian activists on the ground organisation, and we collated hundreds of evidence that supported Assad during a time there were war crimes against civilians. We can’t be insincere and ignore parts of a human being because it doesn’t serve an agenda. He was both brilliant and flawed. People can be both.

    • joel

      True to form, all the establishment propaganda outlets he condemned for leaving out key facts are printing obituaries that leave out the very insights and truths that earned him such popularity and respect.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      If our host had ‘that vital personality trait of being fearless’, Jack, I doubt he’d have been living in Switzerland for the past couple months.

      • Clark

        Lapsed Agnostic, it could equally be a rational response. If Craig were imprisoned awaiting “trial” he couldn’t continue his valuable coverage.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Clark. That’s a possibility, though the swift nature of his departure shortly after his detention at Glasgow Airport suggests otherwise. In my view, it’s more likely than not that he won’t be charged with any terrorism offences, since Polis Scotland – who would have been aware of his ill-advised tweet* after being tagged in by various ‘concerned citizens’ – could have done that the morning after he’d got back from Iceland, and then confiscated his passport. I think they just wanted to give him a shot across the bows, and get hold of his phone for whatever reason. However, even if he does get charged, I suspect the authorities might have difficulty keeping him on remand, since the time served by Anjem Choudary would suggest that he wasn’t remanded in custody for a similar offence in 2015.

          Happy New Year to you.

          * which a completely rational person wouldn’t have made in the first place, especially as it actually baited the authorities to come and arrest him.

      • Jack

        That is a rational response to flee in that situation, perhaps if you were as fearless yourself you would have sympathized with Craig. I guess you simply cannot relate.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply, Jack. See my reply to Clark above. People that have little fear also tend to have little sympathy, because they are psychopaths. I would say that I probably have more fear of things than our host, but then having spent quite a while in the less touristy parts of one or two towns & cities in Teesside & West Yorkshire (which would be bad enough even in a parallel universe in which the opium poppy & coca bush had come up with completely different biochemical means to deter insect pests), I’m aware that it only takes one mistake.* I also don’t drink as much Lagavulin as he does.

          Happy New Year to you.

          * This is one of the better articles I’ve read in the Graun in recent years and, though I’ve never worked in a chicken shop or been a drug addict, rang a few bells:

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Will. I don’t have particularly strong opinions about John Pilger, otherwise I would have left a full comment rather than just replies to other comments. I haven’t read very many of his articles, nor viewed most of his documentaries, although one I have seen is ‘Year Zero’ (which I note that none of his mini-eulogists here have mentioned). That must surely rank as his greatest achievement, as it led to millions of pounds being raised in the UK for Cambodia in the wake of the Khmer Rouge horror, and doubtless thousands of lives being saved – although I don’t believe he made the documentary with the intention of using it to appeal for aid.

            Happy New Year.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Squeeth. So by your logic anyone who has decided to not to comply with the Israeli injunction to leave his or her home in northern Gaza could have only done so because they’ve become paralyzed by fear. Amirite?

  • Jen

    A great loss indeed, at a time when he is needed more than ever before.

    May his family find comfort knowing that he has done all he possibly could in his long life-time and was still trying to achieve.

    RIP John Pilger.

  • Ingwe

    A terrible loss.
    There are fewer and fewer writers who are able and bold enough to tell it how it is.
    Thanks for all the truths told and hope given.
    Condolences to all family and friends.

  • Iain MacInnes

    It’s no wonder John Pilger was invited to the studios of Question Time. A genuine truth teller who gave me my initial understanding of the lies and criminality that rule us all.

  • Mr Mark Cutts

    In a world where the current crop of journalists hold the courage of someone else’s convictions ( namely the convictions they are paid to hold for various TV Companies and other news outlets) John Pilger stands out as a proper conviction journalist with that rare ability to tell the truthful tale on camera or in print.

    Rarer still – he had – held and broadcast his opinions- his own opinions.

    Unlike the news presenters who just read things out without the raise of an eyebrow.

    I was looking on the net for his opinions on Gaza a couple of months ago and now I know why there were no articles.

    A genuinely sad loss but his work will be kept alive on the internet and journals worldwide.

    The epitome of a proper reporting journalist.

    He must have always been doing something right as The Guardian ‘ let him go ‘ in 2015.

    And as has been shown above – if the Telegraph never liked him or his work then for John his life’s work was all worthwhile.

    Every journalist on the planet should aim to annoy the Telegraph and even the Guardian these days too plus the BBC.

  • caroline choille

    A wonderful accessible journalist who sought out truth. He came across as someone who had such integrity and conviction in doing the right thing.
    He will be sorely missed by many.

    RIP. Condolences to all his family and friends.

  • Doug Scorgie

    Happy New Year to all Craig’s followers!
    I wonder if the Word’s Zionists will make a new years resolution to stop killing Palestinians?
    Perhaps that’s too much to hope for.

    • Clark

      They could stop killing Israelis too while they’re at it, though they already kill a lot less of them. But after all these decades, they really should question whether killing people is the right approach.

  • John Monro

    Thanks Craig, a brief but appropriate acknowledgement of the death of this crusading journalist, who could not remain “neutral” or morally ambivalent in the face of the atrocities he witnessed and recorded, and who ultimately was to blame for them. This is unlike the reporters and commentators for the BBC whose professed neutrality is a smokescreen for a serious moral failure. When the BBC supplied their obituary, predictably, they described Pilger as “controversial” – standard practice when you wish to discredit a man before you’ve even started the process. Any praise will come begrudged and hypocritical. “John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, said that although he disagreed with Pilger over the years, “I admired the force of his writing, even when I often didn’t support what he wrote, and he was always warm when we met”. Great, so what exactly did you disagree with John Pilger about, for instance, do you think Belmarsh prison is the right place of residence for your fellow journalist, Julian Assange?

    • Crispa

      Damning him with faint praise was I thought the BBC line when I first read its coverage soon after the announcement of John Pilger’s death, and which has only been slightly moderated since to reflect some grudging appreciation from the likes of Simpson and Morgan.

    • zoot

      Simpson is too cute to specify what it is he disagreed with, particularly at a time when everyone can see what the US and UK really are. it is better to just leave open the suggestion that John Pilger wrote bad or foolish things, so should not be taken seriously.

    • Jack

      Indeed, I knew that framing was coming and was reminded about the same lousy weasel-wording- article on Seymour Hersh last year:
      This is how NATO Media manipulates the readers:
      Once legendary and famous Seymour Hersh turned into a controversial blogger working with poorly documented sources

      We live in world where hardworking people with sparse resources that dedicate their whole life on finding out the truth from governments are framed as “controversial” while someone that murder toddlers in Gaza are hailed.
      How can certain people become so perverse and corrupt in their thinking?

  • Alan Glass

    The greatest of great journalists. Successive cruel administrations denied him the happiness of seeing Julian Assange walk free.

    • AG

      if I may use the occasion, thank you for your text on Chomsky on the German Overton blog.

      p.s. Since you noted Chomsky´s long absence (he did go public after Oct. 7th) – could it be that Dan Ellsberg´s death was the reason? I had the impression when the news about his diagnosis hit one year ago it was a shock for Chomsky who, I think, really liked Ellsberg. Appearances of them together were special, with Ellsberg talking even more than Chomsky (!) and Chomsky more of the interviewer. Those were fun shows.

      p.p.s I always wondered what the background was for one particular phrase in Steven Spielberg´s “The Post”. When Ben Bagdikian first time mentions a guy named Ellsberg who he knew from RAND he says about Ellsberg “he was a bit of a showboat but smart”. Why put this in.

  • zoot

    John Pilger left a big mark, highlighting major crimes that would otherwise have been forgotten or not properly understood. he opened eyes to the greatest source of evil and was the inspiration for many of the excellent young dissident journalists of today. a wonderful legacy for the great man.

  • Oskar Trainor

    The first journalist whose name I made a point of remembering. I remember thinking thinking, this guy is saying something that must be wrong, but at the same time I knew it was true.
    Thank you John Pilger

  • Clark

    So. We begin 2024 with John Pilger no longer with us, but he compiled a huge body of work documenting his extensive investigations. I have read only Hidden Agendas, and that only once. I think it is time I read it again. I should also explore his website more:

  • A Bruce

    I am devastated by this news. I have followed, listened, and read so much from John Pilger since around 1980. Now one of the very rare sane voices who stood steadfast as a courageous warrior for Humanity has ceased to exist. I will miss him dearly.
    My condolences to his family and many friends. I am also thinking especially how this news will affect his friend and countryman Julian Assange. RIP John Pilger

  • A Bruce

    I have just rewatched an interview I saw in NZ in 2003. It really is John Pilger at his best taking apart the hostile arguments of Kim Hill who calls herself a journalist. The topic is Iraq, Saddam Hussein, sanctions, the UN, American propaganda and veto power. 20 years later just replace Saddam Hussein with Hamas and Kim Hill would be making the same asinine arguments.This is on YouTube TVNZ 2003, Kim Hill interview with John Pilger.

  • Ingwe

    I cannot bring myself to read any of the mainstream newspapers’ or the BBC’s obituaries on John Pilger. Their dishonest, insincere prattlings are just too predictable and reading or listening to them gives them a credence they don’t deserve.

    Perhaps in a private moment some of these untalented scribblers might reflect that, had they even 1% of John Pilger’s integrity, their bought-and-paid-for lives wouldn’t be trapped in the dismal world within which they receive their forty pieces of silver.

  • Simon

    The vastly disproportionate influence of Australians on the media and journalism over the past two decades, courtesy mostly of Rupert Murdoch and Julian Assange is curious. And Pilger, along with Neil Davis (Vietnam War cameraman and journalist), was without peer.

  • writerman

    The thing with John Pilger was, that he showed what life as a journalist could really be like, if one chose the path of not bowing down to the rules and serving the interests of the State or the giant media corporations. One could both be free and successful; and the other ‘slave journalists’ hated him for it.

    His career trajectory shows how journalism flourished for a while, a few precious decades after WW2, when the ruling class were exhausted and concerned about the status and power of the great mass of the people, who had risen up to fight against fascism during WW2, won a great victory and weren’t gonna be but back in their box that easily.

    That a mega successful journalist like Pilger, who had a readership of millions when he took over whole pages in the Daily Mirror, and later in his ground-breaking documentary films; could be ‘canceled’ and sent off into a kind of media Siberia, far from the mainstream; is worthy of a story itself. How could someone like Pilger be… disappeared like this?

    Of course it’s linked to the rise of the State, Corporate society: two powerful snakes intertwined in ghastly embrace that Mussolini would have recognized as a modern form of Fascism. Come back Benito, all is now forgiven, your time has come again.

    The State wanted to shut Pilger up and it succeeded, just like it gagged and punished Julian Assange for simply daring to tell the pure unvarnished Truth, rather than spewing misinformation as most journalists do, especially those employed within the hallowed halls of the BBC/Guardian fake church. We won’t see a man like Pilger again inside the mainstream media again in our lifetimes, because we won’t see those times again.

  • Deb O'Nair

    Pilger was a champion of truth and justice, you can not have one without the other. As the world gets darker the truth shines brighter.

  • iain

    It would have been a sad day under any circumstances to lose John Pilger. It cuts particularly deep however in the midst of this depraved propaganda blitz, with western journalism justifying mass slaughter and starvation of a trapped people, straining to portray the perpetrators as victims and their enablers as righteous.

    Perhaps to a greater degree than at any other time during his life it emphasises the importance of John Pilger’s work and the loss he now represents.

  • Denis McKeown

    Oh, so sorry to learn in this post that John has passed. I was saying to Emma my wife just yesterday that John was such a beacon of justice.

    Denis McKeown,
    North Yorkshire,
    Retired, Academic

  • nevermind

    My son bought me a second hand copy from a bookshop. John Pilger wrote it: it’s called ‘Heroes’ and was printed in 1987. I started to read it.
    I’ll let you know how it turns out. It begins with the horrid history of prison transports to Australia.

  • AG

    4 x Pilger on Consortium:

    Alexander Mercouris, 3:52 min.

    collection of short tributes:

    Kiji Noh with Pilger´s “Pearls and Irritations”:
    (“The head of the British Independent Television Authority once called Pilger “a threat to Western Civilization.” Kiji Noh reports.”)

    Pilger´s last piece for Consortium, on Assange, Nov. 9th:
    “We Are Spartacus”

  • Embarrassed

    “I couldn’t believe my fortune when he became my friend, because like you I had admired him since I was a teenager”

    This struck a chord as I have also admired you and followed your work closely for nearly twenty years. Anyone who can call you their friend is truly fortunate Craig.

    Now, I’m embarrassed to admit that aside from books I’ve never supported your work financially. I’m going to rectify that.

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