12 January 2024

The Death of the Greatest Film Journalist that the British Media Rejected - John Pilger 1939-2023

True to form – the Guardian’s Obituary Fails to Mention Pilger’s  Searing Criticisms of their Treachery Over Julian Assange

John Pilger In His Own Words: The Late Great Journalist In A Never Before Released Interview

I’m not sure if he was trying to send a message, asking me to pick up the baton, but John Pilger died on my birthday! I can’t think of anyone today who even approaches Pilger’s record of campaigning journalism.

I had a premonition that John Pilger was not long for this world when someone mentioned that during the genocide in Gaza his voice had not been heard. It’s not hard to imagine what Pilger would have made of the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the pretence that it is all about destroying Hamas.

Pilger would have instantly seen through the lies of the war criminals who rule us, Blinken, Biden, Sunak and Starmer, and his invective would have been all the sharper for that. We live in a world of lies where there is a pretence that Israeli genocide and its attacks on ambulances, hospitals, homes and children, are all about Hamas rather than the ethnic cleansing that Israeli politicians openly proclaim.

Pilger was a staunch supporter of the Palestinians. Not for him the vile and fabricated accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ against anyone who criticises this wretched apartheid state.

The Zionist lobby reacted with their usual cries of ‘anti-Semitism’ when he produced Palestine is Still the Issue for ITV in 2002.

Palestine is Still the Issue (2002) - John Pilger

In Why my film is under fire Pilger described how

The pro-Israel lobby intimidates journalists to ensure that most coverage remains biased in its favour.

Does anyone imagine that Pilger’s article would get past its Zionist gatekeeper, Jonathan Freedland, today? Freedland and Guardian Editor Kath Viner would argue that accusing the ‘victims’ of ‘anti-Semitism’ of making false allegations was itself anti-Semitic, even if those ‘victims’ were rich and powerful supporters of genocide. To Freedland Palestinians are never victims. Only Jews merit that title.

Pilger described how Michael Green, Chairman of Carlton TV, attacked his 2002 film Palestine is Still the Issue in the Jewish Chronicle. Green was rebuked for that by Carlton’s Factual Department.

John Pilger's Legendary Career Praised by Fellow Journalists

Pilger was recruited by the Mirror in 1963 and became chief foreign correspondent before he was sacked at the behest of the Zionist spy and thief who owned the Mirror, Robert Maxwell, at the end of 1985. He briefly returned when Piers Morgan was editor. None of this was mentioned in the Mirror’s obituary. He was also their war correspondent in Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Biafra

Pilger also wrote for the New Statesman, where he had a column from 1991 to 2014, and the Independent. His last piece for the Statesman was in 2014. As it moved to the right his message became uncomfortable to its Blairite Editor, Jason Cowley.

The Mirror was not the only paper which was selective in what it said. The Guardian ran the most dishonest obituary. It described Pilger’s journalistic history thus:

He left the Mirror in 1985 and wrote for other papers, including the Guardian. He was a supporter of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

And that was it. No explanation as to why he hadn’t had an article published in The Guardian since 2019.  For that we have to turn to his interview with KPFA in 2018 where he described how his

last appearance was in the Guardian which 3 years ago got rid of people like me in what was pretty much a purge of those who were really saying things the Guardian no longer says anymore. That has happened right across the liberal media.

The War on Democracy – Latin America

Pilger was an anti-imperialist and his obituary writers found that hard to deal with. That meant he opposed US foreign policy and the devastation that it has wrought. Not a subject for The Guardian!

In The War on Democracy - Latin America Pilger described how serial US intervention, overt and covert, had toppled a series of governments in the Latin American region since the 1950s. The democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende, for example, was ousted by a US backed coup in 1973 and replaced by the military dictatorship of General Pinochet. Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador have all been invaded by the US. Pilger said of the film that it was “about the struggle of people to free themselves from a modern form of slavery". These people

describe a world not as American presidents like to see it as useful or expendable, they describe the power of courage and humanity among people with next to nothing. They reclaim noble words like democracy, freedom, liberation, justice, and in doing so they are defending the most basic human rights of all of us in a war being waged against all of us.

The Quiet Mutiny - World in Action (1970)

The Vietnam War was instrumental in disillusioning many of us who had grown up on American rhetoric of freedom and democracy. His first film The Quiet Mutiny, was made by Granada TV’s World in Action (1970).

The film broke the story of insurrection by drafted troops in Vietnam. In The First Casualty, Phillip Knightley described Pilger's revelations as among the most important reporting from Vietnam. The soldiers' revolt – including the killing of US in Indo-China.

Vietnam: The Last Battle - John Pilger (1995) - Vietnam War Documentary

In Vietnam: The Last Battle Pilger returned to Vietnam 20 years after the US had left only to find ilosing many of the gains it had fought for as it was drawn into the globalised market economy while imperialist control exerted itself through the World Bank, the IMF and other global institutions. It is called ‘market socialism’.

John Pilger: Paying the Price Killing the Children of Iraq 2000

Pilger campaigned against the Iraq War and what led up to it in his film Paying the Price Killing the Children of Iraq 2000. Pilger described the bombing of Iraq and sanctions as ‘a war against the children of Iraq’. The US sanctions killed half a million children but when asked about it US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it." When Pilger questioned her spokesman James Rubin about this, he claimed Albright's words were taken out of context.

Year Zero: The Silent Death Of Cambodia

Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia alerted the world to the horrors wrought by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The film was originally broadcast on commercial TV in Britain and Australia without advertising, which was unprecedented. The British Film Institute listed it as one of the 10 most important documentaries of the 20th century.

Pilger revealed that as many as 2m people out of a population of 7m were killed or starved by the Khmer Rouge. ‘The genocide of Pol Pot was begun by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger.’ US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 to 1973 caused such turmoil that the rise of the Khmer Rouge to power in 1975 was made inevitable. Pilger says

‘The new rulers of Cambodia called 1975 Year Zero, the dawn of an age in which there would be no families, no sentiment, no expressions of love or grief, no medicines, no hospitals, no schools, no books, no learning, no holidays, no music, no song, no post, no money; only work and death... For me, coming here has been like stumbling into something I could never imagine and what follows is the first complete film report by Westerners from the ashes of a gentle land.’

 ‘Nothing had prepared us,’ he said.

There was no power, no drinking water, no shops, no services of any kind. At the railway station, trains stood empty at various stages of interrupted departure. Personal belongings and pieces of clothing fluttered on the platforms, as they fluttered on the mass graves beyond.

At Tuol Sleng extermination centre, where men, women and children were tortured and killed, black-and-white photographs of the victims stare out of the screen. Outside, deserted streets are interrupted by the lone figure of an infant – his parents almost certainly dead or missing – weaving his way down the middle of the road.

Pilger's spontaneous, vivid reporting of the power politics that caused such suffering is a model of anger suppressed. He described how, as a means of punishing the Vietnamese, whose army had liberated Cambodia the US and its allies declared a blockade on stricken Cambodia. Unicef’s representative, Jacques Beaumont, said,

‘In one of the very poor barracks with practically nothing, there was already 54 children dying. One of them was sitting in the corner of the room with swollen legs because he was starving. He did not have the strength to look at me or to anybody. He was just waiting to die. Ten days later, four of these children were dead and I will always remember that, saying: “I did not do anything for these children, because we had nothing.”’

The Red Cross representative, François Bugnion, took Pilger aside and asked him if he could contact ‘someone in the Australian government who can arrange for an aircraft to fly in a truck, food and drugs to save thousands of lives while the politics are being ironed out’. The Australian ambassador in Bangkok didn’t respond.

Near the end of the film, he refers to a starving boy whose screams can be heard rising and falling in agony. ‘Of course,’ he says directly to the camera, ‘if you're in Geneva or New York or London, you can’t hear the screams of [this] little boy.’

Year Zero’s broadcast in Britain had a phenomenal public response. 40 sacks of post arrived at the ATV studios in Birmingham, with £1m in the first few days. ‘This is for Cambodia,’ wrote an anonymous Bristol bus driver, enclosing his week’s wage. An elderly woman sent her pension for two months. A single parent sent her savings of £50.

Frontline News described how Pilger won an International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award for his 1979 film Year Zero: The Silent Death Of Cambodia, which revealed the extent of the Khmer Rouge’s atrocities.

Screened in 50 countries and seen by 150 million viewers, Year Zero was credited with raising more than $45 million in unsolicited aid for Cambodia, which helped rescue normal life: it restored a clean water supply in Phnom Penh, stocked hospitals and schools, supported orphanages and reopened a desperately needed clothing factory, allowing people to discard the black uniforms the Khmer Rouge had forced them to wear.

Year Zero won many awards. Pilger himself won the 1980 United Nations Media Peace Prize for ‘having done so much to ease the suffering of the Cambodian people’.

Pilger made a total of five documentaries on Cambodia. Their later films reported on the American and British governments' back-door support for the exiled Khmer Rouge. In 2008, the former SAS soldier Chris Ryan, then a bestselling author, lamented in a newspaper interview that

when John Pilger, the foreign correspondent, discovered we were training the Khmer Rouge in the Far East [we] were sent home.  [Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia]

John Pilger - Stealing A Nation - Diego Garcia (Chago´s Island) [HD]

Pilger opposed the hypocrisy and deceit of US and British imperialism. No more obvious a case was there than the islanders of Diego Garcia. In Stealing A Nation - Diego Garcia (Chago´s Island) in 2000 Pilger described  how

‘there are times when one tragedy one crime tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic facade and helps us understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments often justify their actions with lies.’ 

Pilger described how a government that called itself civilised

‘tricked and expelled its most vulnerable citizens so that it could give their homeland to a foreign power for a military base.’

Pilger was referring to how Chagos Island was handed over the United States behind the backs of the islanders.

‘In Death of a Nation: The East Timor Conspiracy’

One of Pilger’s most important films in terms of the impact it had was his 1994 film ‘In Death of a Nation: The East Timor Conspiracy’. Portugal decolonised in 1974. Independence was declared by Fretilin on 28 November 1975 and the Indonesian military invaded East Timor on 7 December 1975 and did not leave till 1999.

The Indonesian government subjected the people of East Timor to routine and systematic torture, sexual slavery, extrajudicial executions, massacres, and deliberate starvation

In 1996 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two men from East Timor, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Ramos-Horta, for their ongoing efforts to end the occupation. In 1999 a referendum resulted in an overwhelming majority in favour of independence.

Indonesia’s invasion had been supported by the US and Australia. Once again the US, whilst preaching freedom support dictatorship. Australia has as is clear with the Aukus Pact, been the US’s main ally in the Pacific and a local imperialist power in its own right.

The First Australians Fight Back - John Pilger - The Secret Country – 1985

It isn’t surprising, given that Pilger was Australian, that he was particularly concerned with the question of the Aboriginal people.

The First Australians Fight Back Pilger described how

As children, we were given to understand that we were merely innocent bystanders to the slow and natural death of an ancient people, the First Australians, rather than the inheritors of a history every bit as rapacious as that of the United States, Latin America, Africa.

John Pilger - The Last Dream - Secrets 1988

In the Last Dream Pilger returned to Australia to make a special, three-part documentary, The Last Dream, screened at the time of the country’s bicentenary in 1988. Reflecting on 200 years of White Australia, it is an antidote to the celebrations that followed.

Gough Whitlam - Australian Prime Minister Overthrown in a CIA/British Coup

Secrets was the second of the trilogy and Pilger focused on the treatment of the Aborigines. Pilger remarks that:

This film is about another Australia, an Australia behind the beer-can images and well-worn stereotypes, a place of secrets. The story of my country has been, and remains, an epic cover-up.

Highlighting Aboriginal deaths in police custody, he noted that Australia has the highest rate of imprisonment for black people in the world and likens film of the funeral of a black who died from head injuries while being held by police to scenes in the South African township of Soweto.

Breaking the Silence : Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (2003) - John Pilger

In his 2003 film Breaking the Silence : Truth and Lies in the War on Terror  Pilger describes the lies and falsehoods that preceded the invasion of Afghanistan. Tony Blair promised that:

To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broadbased, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence.

 George Bush had said a few days earlier:

The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people.

Almost every word they spoke was a lie as we can see with Biden’s scuttle from Afghanistan but they prepared the way for the conquest of both Afghanistan and Iraq. It was also the start of the ‘War on Terror’ which was a war against Muslims at home and state sponsored terrorism abroad. Pilger described Kabul as

a glimpse of Dresden post-1945, with contours of rubble rather than streets, where people live in collapsed buildings, like earthquake victims waiting for rescue. They have no light and heat; their apocalyptic fires burn through the night. Hardly a wall stands that does not bear the pock-marks of almost every calibre of weapon. Cars lie upended at roundabouts. Power poles built for a modern fleet of trolley buses are twisted like paperclips. The buses are stacked on top of each other, reminiscent of the pyramids of machines erected by the Khmer Rouge to mark Year Zero.

It could be Gaza today that Pilger was describing.

John Pilger Documentary - The Coming War on China

The Coming War on China was completed in the month Trump was elected President. The film investigated the manufacture of a ‘threat’ and the beckoning of a nuclear confrontation and tells how when the US decided that China was a threat to its imperial dominance, two-thirds of US naval forces were transferred to Asia and the Pacific. This was the ‘pivot to Asia', announced by Obama in 2011.

Seldom referred to in the Western media, 400 American bases surround China with ships, missiles and troops, in an arc that extends from Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India.

Chapter 1 is set in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, which the US took over as a UN ‘trust territory’ in 1945 with an obligation to ‘protect the population’s health and wellbeing’. From 1946 to 1958, the US exploded the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb every day in the islands, contaminating its people and environment.

Filmed on irradiated Bikini Atoll, which cannot be safely inhabited today, perhaps ever, Pilger described the testing in 1954 of the world's first hydrogen bomb, codenamed Bravo, which vaporised an entire island. The inhabitants had been moved to a nearby atoll, Rongelap, where the ‘unexpected’ fallout endowed them with multiple cancers.

The film is a portrayal of US imperialism in all its ugliness. An ugliness that the BBC is dedicated to hiding.

Julian Assange in conversation with John Pilger

When Julian Assange and WikiLeaks could win readers and prizes for the Guardian, the NYT and other 'papers of record', he was celebrated.

When the dark state objected and demanded the destruction of hard drives and the assassination of Julian's character, he was made a public enemy. Vice President Biden called him a 'hi-tech terrorist'. Hillary Clinton asked, 'Can't we just drone this guy?'

The ensuing campaign of abuse and vilification against Assange - the UN Rapporteur on Torture called it 'mobbing' -- brought the liberal press to its lowest ebb. Pilger called them Vichy journalists.

This was a 68-minute interview with Julian Assange, recorded during the filming of John Pilger’s THE WAR YOU DON’T SEE. We owe it to Pilger to ensure that Assange is freed from Belmarsh prison.

Governments and Media roles in War Propaganda | THE WAR YOU DON'T SEE |

In The War You Don't See, Pilger returned to the subject of war reporting and its role in the making of wars. This ‘drum beat’ was the theme of Pilger's 1983 documentary, a history of war journalism from the Crimea in the 19th century (‘the last British war without censorship’) to Margaret Thatcher's Falklands War in 1982.

The War You Don’t See analyses propaganda as a weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan. The title refers to censorship by omission – ‘the most virulent form of censorship,’ and the collusion of journalists in nominally free societies such as Britain and the United States.

The film begins with shocking footage from Iraq in 2007. A US Apache gunship opens fire on a Baghdad street, killing in cold blood two Reuter journalists, along with civilians. There is no provocation – the victims are unarmed. One of the Apache crew comments ‘Nice’ as he murders people at a safe distance. Titled ‘Collateral Murder’, the video was leaked to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning.

‘Selling’ the 2003 invasion of Iraq is the centrepiece of Pilger's film. The news media is exposed as a source of illusions, such as a non-existent link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of 9/11. A CIA witness says the primary aim of intelligence supplied by the Pentagon is to manipulate public opinion.

The New Rulers of the World (2001)

In The New Rulers of the World in July 2001 Pilger explained that

“A small group of powerful individuals are now richer than most of the population of Africa. Just 200 giant corporations dominate a quarter of the world’s economic activity... The famous brands of almost everything from running shoes to baby clothes are now made in very poor countries with cheap labour, at times bordering on a form of slave labour.”

Globalisation had become a topical subject by the time The New Rulers of the World was screened. More than a million people opposed to the increasing gap between rich and poor had staged a series of anti-capitalist demonstrations.

John Pilger’s documentary brought together several themes that run throughout his work – the way in which superpowers use small countries as pawns in their global strategies, the courting of dictators by the West to open the doors to valuable resources and the exploitation of workers to provide riches in which they do not share.

The film puts the story of multinationals’ global domination into a political context and demonstrates how the West has increased its stranglehold on poor countries by using the might of the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation to control their economies.


Utopia was Pilger’s fourth film about the Aborigines. Released in 2013 Utopia broke what amounted to a national silence about the brutalising of Indigenous people.

New footage is juxtaposed with that of his earlier films. The point was made that little has changed for many of those excluded from white Australia's wealth, regardless of an official apology for 'wrongs past and present'.

The material comfort of Whites contrasted with the First Australians who died from Dickensian diseases in their 40s and were imprisoned at a rate six times that of blacks in apartheid South Africa. Western Australia, the richest state had the highest incarceration rate of juveniles, mainly Indigenous, in the world.

Pilger takes a journey from million-dollar properties in Sydney and Canberra to the ironically named Northern Territory region of Utopia, where communities are without basic services, such as fresh running water. In Darwin, he shows shocking footage of police routinely mistreating a seriously ill Aboriginal man who is left to die in a cell, his cries for help unheeded.

A former prisons minister describes 'racking and stacking' Aboriginal prisoners. A shadow Labor Party minister becomes abusive when Pilger asks him why, after 30 years in Parliament, he has not alleviated the poverty of his black constituents. Utopia also revealed a new ‘stolen generation’ of children taken from their mothers.

Thalidomide 1974; The 98 We Forgot

Thalidomide: The Ninety-Eight We Forgot, his 1974 programme for ITV, helped win compensation for children who suffered birth defects when expectant mothers took the drug. He went on to have his own half-hour documentary series on ITV from 1974 until 1977.

‘This is a war of propaganda’: John Pilger on Ukraine and Assange |

In Silencing the Lambs — How Propaganda Works Pilger told how in the 1970s he met Leni Riefenstahl, whose films glorified the Nazis. She told him that the “patriotic messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? he asked.  “Yes, especially them,” she said. Pilger noted that ‘I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.’

Pilger described  how in his lifetime, the USA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments. It has interfered in democratic elections in 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of 30 countries, most of them poor and defenceless. It has attempted to murder the leaders of 50 countries.  It has fought to suppress liberation movements in 20 countries.

The extent and scale of this carnage is largely unreported and those responsible continue to dominate Anglo-American political life.

Pilger described how his friend, Harold Pinter, a Jewish anti-Zionist, in the years before he died in 2008, made two extraordinary speeches, which broke a silence. “U.S. foreign policy,” he said, is “best defined as follows: kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in.’

In accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pinter said:

“The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Pilger described how he asked Pinter if the “hypnosis” he referred to was the “submissive void” described by Leni Riefenstahl.

It’s the same. It means the brainwashing is so thorough we are programmed to swallow a pack of lies. If we don’t recognise propaganda, we may accept it as normal and believe it. That’s the submissive void.”

Pilger described the news from the war in Ukraine as not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission. Pilger described how he had never known such blanket propaganda.

In February 2022 Russia invaded Ukraine as a response to almost eight years of killing and destruction in the Russian-speaking region of Donbass on their border.

In 2014, the United States had sponsored a coup in Kiev that got rid of Ukraine’s democratically elected, Russian-friendly president and installed a successor whom the Americans made clear was their man.

In recent years US “defender” missiles have been installed in eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, accompanied by false assurances by James Baker’s to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO would never expand beyond Germany.

NATO on Hitler’s Borderline

Ukraine is the frontline. NATO has reached the borderland through which Hitler’s army stormed in 1941, leaving more than 23m dead in the Soviet Union. Last December, Russia proposed a far-reaching security plan for Europe. This was dismissed, derided or suppressed in the Western media. Who read its step-by-step proposals?

The history, the lies, the peace proposals, the solemn agreements on Donbass at Minsk counted for nothing.

ITV Report on Hostility of Mariupul’s population to the Ukrainian Army

Pilger asked when will writers stand up, as they did against the rise of fascism in the 1930s? When will film-makers stand up, as they did against the Cold War in the 1940s? When will satirists stand up, as they did a generation ago? (This is taken from an edited version of an address to the Trondheim World Festival, Norway, 6.9.22.)

The Guardian and Julian Assange

It is no surprise that the Guardian passed over its relationship with Assange in one sentence. Pilger had been a bitter critic of the paper. Pilger wrote about how it had been open season on Assange for more than a decade.

‘In 2011, The Guardian exploited Julian's work as if it was its own, collected journalism prizes and Hollywood deals, then turned on its source.

In a Guardian book by David Leigh and Luke Harding, Assange is quoted as saying during a dinner in a London restaurant that he didn't care if informants named in the leaks were harmed.

Neither Harding nor Leigh were at the dinner. John Goetz, an investigations reporter with Der Spiegel, actually was at the dinner and testified that Assange said nothing of the kind.

Lecturing a group of City University students, David Leigh mocked the very idea that "Julian Assange will end up in an orange jumpsuit". His fears were an exaggeration, it was paranoia he sneered. Edward Snowden later revealed that Assange was on a "manhunt timeline".

Another despicable Guardian journalist was James Ball who wrote

‘The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride. The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US...’

Luke Harding was outside the Ecuadorean embassy on the evening Julian sought asylum. Standing with a police line he gloated "Scotland Yard may well have the last laugh."

The campaign was relentless. Guardian columnists scraped the barrel. "He really is the most massive turd," wrote Suzanne Moore of a man she had never met. Suzanne Moore, a right-wing feminist commented in the New Statesman after the arrest:

‘O frabjous day! We are all bored out of our minds with Brexit when a demented looking gnome is pulled out of the Ecuadorian embassy by the secret police of the deep state. Or “the met” as normal people call them.’

Pilger wrote that Julian Assange’s only crime was revealing government crimes and lies and so performed one of the great public services of his lifetime. Pilger wrote in 2020 how a decade previously

the Guardian exploited Assange's work, claimed its profit and prizes as well as a lucrative Hollywood deal, then turned on him with venom. Throughout the Old Bailey trial, two names have been cited by the prosecution, the Guardian's David Leigh, now retired as 'investigations editor' and Luke Harding, the Russiaphobe and author of a fictional Guardian 'scoop' that claimed Trump adviser Paul Manafort and a group of Russians visited Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy. This never happened, and the Guardian has yet to apologise.

Pilger spoke of

the Judases on the Guardian who flirted with Julian, exploited his landmark work, made their pile then betrayed him, have nothing to fear. They are safe because they are needed. (my emphasis)

Pilger, in JULIAN ASSANGE MUST BE FREED, NOT BETRAYED told how in 2011, David Leigh told journalism students at City University that Assange was "quite deranged". When a student asked why, Leigh replied, "Because he doesn't understand the parameters of conventional journalism".

Pilger commented that it was

precisely because he did understand that the "parameters" of the media often shielded vested and political interests and had nothing to do with transparency that the idea of WikiLeaks was so appealing to many people, especially the young, rightly cynical about the so-called "mainstream".

A Guardian editorial on Assange’s extradition said

It is not a question of how wise Mr. Assange is, still less how likable. It's not about his character, nor his judgement. It's a matter of press freedom and the public's right to know.


what the Guardian is trying to do is separate Assange from his landmark achievements, which have both profited the Guardian and exposed its own vulnerability, along with its propensity to suck up to rapacious power and smear those who reveal its double standards.

Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment at ITV described Pilger as “a giant of campaigning journalism” who offered viewers a level of analysis and opinion that was rare in mainstream television.

He had a clear, distinctive editorial voice which he used to great effect throughout his distinguished filmmaking career. His documentaries were engaging, challenging, and always very watchable.

He eschewed comfortable consensus and instead offered a radical, alternative approach on current affairs and a platform for dissenting voices over 50 years,” he added.

Tony Greenstein


  1. Absolutely profound article on the work of the greatest journalist, writer and filmmaker this world has ever known. Pilger’s exposure of the atrocities of centuries of abuse on citizens of so many countries throughout the world; whereby western governments and the repressive media have destroyed truth and journalists have been forced to bow to the capitalist power that controls their ability to report. John Pilger was a true hero to the people in countries throughout the world. We will never again see his honesty and goodness expressed again. He has been one of my greatest hero for decades and I like millions of others we will miss him and his truth.

  2. A very special man, who never once crossed the line between integrity and distortion of the truth. Even James Cameron, who Pilger himself respected, never reached such venerable heights, having crowed about Israel's emphatic victory after the six day war.
    Thanks for this fitting tribute, giving me so much more to read on a heroic role model of the human race at its very best.

  3. Thank you Tony you show the amazing depth and breadth of the journalism covered by John Pilger. I was a teenager in the late 60s and the Vietnam war greatly influenced my political education that and doing social and economic history at O level and later reading The Making of the English working class. It is having empathy and a sense of Justice that motivates great Journalism and John Pilger showed that in both his writing and the amazing films from Vietnam onwards, Year Zero was really horrifying and Informed the public of How USA carpet bombing of Cambodia led to the rise of Pol Pot.

  4. At last, an obit covering the full and incredible breadt of achievements by this outstanding journalist. I cried on hearing of his death and still tear up at the thought of what an outstanding journalist and human being the world has lost. But his legacy lives on. Rest in power John, the world was a better place with you in it.

  5. While Pilger certainly excelled as a journalist in many areas, his ignorance and bias in regard to Australian aboriginal history was deeply disappointing. One presumes having spent half a century in the UK he was British and feeling guilty about giving up on his native country. Anyone who has a knowledge of Australian history regarding aboriginal peoples knows without a doubt that Pilger on this count was egregiously biased and the source of both misinformation and disinformation. Still, no-one gets it all right and he got a lot right so we can forgive him even this glaring omission of journalistic professionalism and integrity.

  6. This is the obituary the rag that is the Guardian should have printed on the death of the great journalist, publisher, documentary maker, wonderful Julian Assange supporter and all human man, John Pilger. Thank you so much Tony for penning it. And you would be the perfect man to attempt to emulate him, and I look forward to your first documentary.

  7. Did you see the Daily Mail piece Tony entitled 'Killing Fields journalist John Pilger was truly courageous. But he let his hatred of Britain and America push him into the arms of dictators like Putin and Castro, writes STEPHEN GLOVER'? The Telegraph did something similar. I just this minute did a search on the Sun's website, and it looks like they didn't bother saying anything, but seven results/articles came up, one of which was a What's on TV Tonight column, which very briefly mentions The Coming War With China, and the other six mention John in passing. One of the articles was in fact a Sun COMMENT piece about Jeremy Corbyn just prior to the 2017 GE, and entitled 'Jeremy Corbyn knows terrorism is political dynamite – but he is a REAL threat to our security, and is just totally poisonous from start to finish. Here's a few clips:

    Millions of sensible men and women will have swallowed the sly lies and shallow deceits of a Marxist revolutionary and his demented pillion passenger Diane Abbott.

    They will reject a government which has created a jobs miracle, cut our monstrous welfare bill, lifted the poorest out of tax and is now transforming our schoolchildren’s life chances.

    And they will choose a peacenik PM who despises everything this country stands for and lies through his teeth about his support for our enemies.

    In 1984, after the Brighton bombing, Corbyn’s hard-left Labour Briefing chillingly declared: “The British only sit up and take notice when they are bombed into it.”

    His support undoubtedly prolonged The Troubles, leading to claims he has “blood on his hands”.


  8. Thank you Tony for honouring the much missed John Pilger, with this excellent overview of his life’s work. This is the real obituary in my view. The guardian is just a rag now, like the rest of the rags out there.
    Like you, I too was worried about him when I noticed there wasn’t much coming from him since the breakout. I followed him on X but there wasn’t much at all.
    It’s such a huge loss for all of us. The world is a poorer place without that wonderful, brave voice of truth. We love him and honour him.
    Maybe he was handing the baton to you! Your voice of truth and encyclopaedic knowledge of all you write about is a rarity and so essential.
    Many late happy returns for your birthday! Sorry this post is late.
    Vassa Nicolaou


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