Famous Quotes & Sayings

John Pilger Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 50 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by John Pilger.

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The impact of the human tragedies I've reported on is that, more often than not, I'll be angry. I want to know why is this child dying? These are not acts of God; they're results of respectable politicians' decisions. — John Pilger

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When governments and other vested interests attack me personally I usually regard it as a vindication, otherwise they would use facts. That's why I believe in the wonderful Claud Cockburn dictum, 'Never believe anything until it is officially denied.' It has certainly been my experience. — John Pilger

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Orwell is almost our litmus test. Some of his satirical writing looks like reality these days. — John Pilger

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Whenever a journalist says to me, "Oh, you don't understand, I'm impartial, I'm objective," I know what he's saying. I can decode it immediately. It means he channels the official truth. Almost always. That protestation means he speaks for a consensual view of the establishment. This is internalized. — John Pilger

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When the invasion began, the British public was called upon to 'support' troops sent illegally and undemocratically to kill people with whom we had no quarrel. 'The ultimate test of our professionalism' is how Commander McKendrick describes an unprovoked attack on a nation with no submarines, no navy and no air force, and now with no clean water and no electricity and, in many hospitals, no anaesthetic with which to amputate small limbs shredded by shrapnel. I have seen elsewhere how this is done, with a gag in the patient's mouth. — John Pilger

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Since September 11, the Mirror has reached back to its roots, and decided, it seems, to be something of its old self again. I received a call asking if I would write for it again, which I've done. It's a pleasure to be able to do that. It's become an important antidote to a media that is, most of it, supportive of the establishment, some of it quite rabidly rightwing. The Mirror is breaking ranks, and that's good news. — John Pilger

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Official truths are often powerful illusions. — John Pilger

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The attack on Iraq has been long planned. There just hasn't been an excuse for it. Since George H.W. Bush didn't unseat Saddam in 1991, there's been a longing among the extreme right in the United States to finish the job. The war on terrorism has given them that opportunity. Even though the logic is convoluted and fraudulent, it appears they are going to go ahead and finish the job. — John Pilger

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We are beckoned to see the world through a one-way mirror, as if we are threatened and innocent and the rest of humanity is threatening, or wretched, or expendable. Our memory is struggling to rescue the truth that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution, but that peace is only possible with justice and with information that gives us the power to act justly. — John Pilger

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Using the passive voice is always very helpful. Mind you, a lot of that propaganda English emanates from here. The British establishment has always used the passive voice. It's been a weapon of discourse so those who committed terrible acts in the old empire could not be identified. — John Pilger

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Who are these evil ones? In 1984, the evil one was called Goldstein. Orwell was writing a grim parody. But these people running the United States mean what they say. If I were a teacher, I would recommend that all my students very hurriedly read most of Orwell's books, especially 1984 and Animal Farm, because then they'd begin to understand the world we live in. — John Pilger

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More terrorists are given training and sanctuary in the United States than anywhere on earth. They include mass murderers, torturers, former and future tyrants and assorted international criminals. This is virtually unknown to the American public, thanks to the freest media on earth. — John Pilger

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It's very clear that the Bush Administration is out of control. It contains some truly dangerous people. — John Pilger

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In Western Australia, minerals are being dug up from Aboriginal land and shipped to China for a profit of a billion dollars a week. In this, the richest, 'booming' state, the prisons bulge with stricken Aboriginal people, including juveniles whose mothers stand at the prison gates, pleading for their release. The incarceration of black Australians here is eight times that of black South Africans during the last decade of apartheid. — John Pilger

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There isn't a war on terror, there is a war of terror. — John Pilger

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An elite group of less than a billion people now take more than 80 per cent of the world's wealth. — John Pilger

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We have an extreme rightwing government in this country, although it's called the Labour government. — John Pilger

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I grew up in Sydney in a very political household, where we were all for the underdog. — John Pilger

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Iraq has been successfully demonized as if everybody who lives there is Saddam Hussein. In the build-up to this attack on Iraq, journalists have almost universally excluded the prospect of civilian deaths, the numbers of people who would die, because those people don't matter. — John Pilger

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During my lifetime, America has been constantly waging war against much of humanity: impoverished people mostly, in stricken places. — John Pilger

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In these surreal days, there is one truth. Nothing justified the killing of innocent people in America last week and nothing justifies the killing of innocent people anywhere else. — John Pilger

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The censorship is such on television in the U.S. that films like mine don't stand a chance. — John Pilger

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The people who died in the Twin Towers in that terrible crime mattered. The people who were bombed to death in dusty villages in Afghanistan didn't matter, even though it now seems that their numbers were greater. The people who will die in Iraq don't matter. — John Pilger

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Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the 'official truth'. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as 'functionaires', functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words 'impartiality' and 'objectivity' is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They've been taken over ... [they] now mean the establishment point of view ... Journalists don't sit down and think, 'I'm now going to speak for the establishment.' Of course not. But they internalise a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity. — John Pilger

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Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words "impartiality" and "objectivity" is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They've been taken over. "Impartiality" and "objectivity" now mean the establishment point of view. — John Pilger

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Vietnam was as much a laboratory experiment as a war. — John Pilger

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The British Labour Party has always had a very strong "Atlanticist component," with an obsequiousness to American policies, and Blair represents this wing. He's clearly obsessed with Iraq. He has to be because the overwhelming majority of the people of Britain oppose a military action. — John Pilger

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Not all the Americans in Iraq are those who torture and murder, or course they're not, I don't know how many are doing it, I know it is systematic throughout the United States military I think that's been revealed. — John Pilger

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It's only when journalists understand the role they play in this propaganda, it's only when they realize they can't be both independent, honest journalists and agents of power, that things will begin to change. — John Pilger

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Two increasing themes which appear to dominate our listening, reading and watching lives are propaganda and 'national security', or manufactured war. — John Pilger

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The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies - socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor - and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food. — John Pilger

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Rupert Murdoch gave up his Australian citizenship in order to buy television stations in the United States, which is symptomatic of the way Murdoch operates. Everything is for sale, including his birthright. The Mirror is not read by soccer hooligans. It's read by ordinary people of this country. That comment is simply patronizing. But to be criticized by the Moonies and Murdoch in one breath is really just a fine moment for me. — John Pilger

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Classic nineteenth century European imperialists believed they were literally on a mission. I don't believe that the imperialists these days have that same sense of public service. They are simply pirates. — John Pilger

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I love irony in pictures. There's one photograph from Vietnam by Philip Jones Griffiths that shows a very large GI having his pocket picked by a tiny Vietnamese woman. It told the whole story of the clash of two cultures and how the invader could never win. — John Pilger

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It is time we recognized that the real terrorism is poverty. — John Pilger

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Journalists don't sit down and think, "I'm now going to speak for the establishment." Of course not. But they internalize a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity. This leads journalists to make a distinction between people who matter and people who don't matter. — John Pilger

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What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot completed. — John Pilger

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It's quite clear that Gore won most of the votes. I think the accurate description for them is a military plutocracy. Having lived and worked in the United States, I must add that I don't want to make too much of the distinction between the Bush regime and its predecessors. I don't see a great deal of difference. — John Pilger

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There is no War on Terrorism; it is The Great Game speeded up. The difference is the rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all. — John Pilger

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Private Manning is the world's pre-eminent prisoner of conscience, having remained true to the Nuremberg principle that every soldier has the right to 'a moral choice.' His suffering mocks the notion of the land of the free. — John Pilger

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If those who support aggressive war had seen a fraction of what I've seen, if they'd watched children fry to death from Napalm and bleed to death from a cluster bomb, they might not utter the claptrap they do. — John Pilger

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The U.S. is a cosmetic democracy. — John Pilger

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British establishment uses "the royal we," as in, "We think this." You hear a lot of that these days. It erroneously suggests that those who are making the decisions to bomb countries, to devastate economies, to take part in acts of international piracy involve all of us. — John Pilger

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In the sublime days before 11 September 2001, when the powerful were routinely attacking and terrorising the weak, and those dying were black or brown-skinned non-people living in faraway places such as Zaire and Guatemala, there was no terrorism. When the weak attacked the powerful, spectacularly on 9/11, there was terrorism. — John Pilger

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Al journalism should be investigative, from football to cookery — John Pilger

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It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it. — John Pilger

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Watch how the propaganda unfolds once the bombing is over and the Americans are running Baghdad and their spin machine. There will be the discovery of Saddam's secret arsenal, probably in the basement of one his palaces. — John Pilger

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I'm absolutely convinced of that. Israel is the representative of the United States in that part of the world. Its policies are so integrated with American policies that they use the same language. — John Pilger

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Israel is the American watchdog in the Middle East, and that's why the Palestinians remain victims of one of the longest military occupations. They don't have oil. If they were the Saudis, they wouldn't be in the position they are now. But they have the power of being able to upset the imperial order in the Middle East. — John Pilger

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If development was measured not by gross national product, but a society's success in meeting the basic needs of its people, Vietnam would have been a model. That was its real "threat." From the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 to 1972, primary and secondary school enrollment in the North increased sevenfold, from 700,000 to almost five million. In 1980, UNESCO estimated a literacy rate of 90 percent and school enrollment among the highest in Asia and throughout the Third World. — John Pilger