Pilger attacks US press over role in Iraq conflict

Pilger: claims film reveals America’s real agenda behind War on Terror

Campaigning journalist John Pilger’s forthcoming controversial documentary has blasted the US press, accusing it of a dereliction of duty for its role in propagating the war in Iraq.

The film, which primarily investigates the US-led “War on Terror” and American activities in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, called the US press “the voice of Big Brother, exercising notional freedoms”.

Pilger interviewed Charles Lewis, former anchor of CBS News magazine programme 60 Minutes and founder of the investigative journalism body the Center for Public Integrity, who indicted his country’s media for its role in justifying the war in Iraq.

“He [Lewis] said to me, ‘had the American press exercised its full freedoms and responsibilities and challenged the Bush administration’s version of events, instead of acting as a sort of echo chamber for it, there would not have been an attack on Iraq,” said Pilger.

Lewis cited the enduring belief among the US public that there were links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida, as an example of the press’s negligence.”I think he’s right,” Pilger 
                                                                                                                 added.

“He’s saying that if the press and the media had played the role it is meant to under the Constitution, there would have been no war. For journalists and the media in this country that’s an important point to make.”

The documentary showing on ITV1 on 22 September at 10.45pm is called Breaking the silence: truth and lies in the War on Terror – a special report by John Pilger. It also contains footage of the Iraq war from Al Jazeera, previously unseen on British television.

“It’s about America and the real agenda behind the so-called War on Terror,” said Pilger. “The film sets out to turn the language inside out, to take the so-called ‘victories’ in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, and turn them around. It also considers that the terrorism of great and powerful states is much more pervasive than the terror of groups such as Al-Qaida.”

Pilger told Press Gazette that during filming, a Pentagon colonel demanded he end his interview with Douglas Feith, US under secretary of defence for policy.

The colonel ordered Pilger to “stop the tapes” after the journalist asked about civilian casualties caused by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11.

By Wale Azeez

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