02:34 GMT +327 February 2017
    Speaker of the House John Boehner(L),R-OH, swears in members of the House during a ceremony in the House of Representatives as the 114th Congress convenes on Capitol Hill January 6, 2015 in Washington

    'Dividing and Ruling': 'Rampant Extremism' Runs Western Democracies

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    In the midst of an election year in the United States, Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker is joined by investigative journalist and filmmaker John Pilger to discuss the idea that “extremists” run Western political systems, and the important role of whistleblowers.

    "This is the first time that a…major international organization, an official body, has had the opportunity to examine all of the salient information to do with the Assange case," Pilger tells Loud & Clear host Brian Becker, referring to a recent ruling by the United Nations that the WikiLeaks founder is being "arbitrarily held."

    "This is the first time all that evidence, all those facts, have been brought in one arena and examined, and the very clear judgement…shows the extent of not only the miscarriage of justice that Julian Assange has had to endure, but the attack on him, on WikiLeaks, and indeed, on all whistleblowers, truth-tellers, who push down the façade of propaganda."

    But the treatment of Julian Assange by the governments of the West is no surprise, given the draconian methods by both the US and UK, not only domestically, but also abroad.

    "An embargo, so-called sanctions, were imposed on the population [of Iraq]," Pilger says. "which gave each Iraqi barely crumbs to eat, which denied the children vaccines, which denied them the hospitals, syringes, which denied this developed society the most basic essentials for its life.

    "Most of the calculations are that perhaps a million people died during that decade, leading up to the beginning of Iraq’s holocaust, when shock-and-awe began in 2003."

    The tragedy of the Iraq War is the responsibility of elected Western government representatives, and, while many recognize that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, violence continues in other countries.

    Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends Munich Security Conference
    © Sputnik/ Dmitry Astakhov

    "Yemen, where half the children are malnourished, is being pounded and has been pounded with American cluster weapons for the last eight, nine months, almost a year, with the Saudi’s let off the leash to do what they have wanted to do for a long time, that is to destroy Yemen.

    "This landscape of violence really has come out of the beginning of a particular kind of extremism in Washington," he adds. "I think there was a military coup, of a kind, in Washington."

    Pilger describes the enormous influence of the Pentagon in American political circles.

    "We need to understand that there is a real extremism now rampant in our so-called democratic societies."

    In the future, he asserts, this extremism is likely to grow.

    "We’re going through a period of extremism, but we don’t apply that word, that concept, to our own governments. And yet the evidence is there before us."

    The NATO bombing of Libya, he says, is a prime example.

    "This was a cohesive, independent state in the Middle East, a state created from warring and potentially warring tribal groups as a single entity, and it was destroyed by 'us,'" he says, referring to the United States and its allies.

    While there are signs of dissatisfaction in the United States – the rise of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for instance – Pilger remains skeptical that anti-war movements will have any real effect on Washington.

    "The great anti-war movement…had the rug pulled from beneath by the election of Barack Obama. We had all that nonsense about 'hope,' and if we’re running through that script again with Bernie Sanders, I think we should stop and pause and really consider," he says.

    "The Democratic Party…has invaded more countries, or its governments have invaded more countries than the Republicans. People can scream about Donald Trump, but if they get Hillary Clinton, perhaps Trump’s rather grotesque eccentricities may even seem attractive in retrospect."

    Pilger discusses his latest film, “Utopia,” covering racism in both America and Australia, and the need to look beyond single-issue politics.

    "Yes, the United States was the land of slavery, but racism, again, can’t be taken out as a separate issue. It’s political," he says, "and Martin Luther King really became a dangerous opponent of the system in the United States when he joined up all the dots. He joined the dots between racism in the United States and racism and war in Vietnam. Racism is political. It must always be seen as political."

    "Everything has to be thought of as part of the whole," he says. "We need to understand that crucial matters, such as class, are indivisible from gender. The rights of women is indivisible from the rights of children. The rights of men, the rights of working people, if we allow them to become single-issue, then we become divided, and that’s what imperial systems…are very, very good at. Dividing and ruling."


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    2016 election, Iraq War, imperialism, United Nations, WikiLeaks, Pentagon, Julian Assange, John Pilger, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Australia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, United Kingdom, United States
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    • avatar
      michaelin reply to03sixer(Show commentHide comment)
      03sixer, ah but then they would be activists and no longer disinterested. My point was about the lack of engagement by the 'electorate' at any level on the political spectrum. I do agree though that things could always be worse.
    • Baybars
      ""This landscape of violence really has come out of the beginning of a particular kind of extremism in Washington," he adds. "I think there was a military coup, of a kind, in Washington."

      That a coup could happen in Washington is no surprise because over the years many different interests have highjacked the government for one or more nefarious reasons. Bankers, War mongers, Netanyahu supporters have all taken their shot at bribing the government bodies and getting the most powerful nation on earth to get the dirty work done for other nations.

      What is the answer? Trump? Sanders? Kucinich? What ever the outcome of the next US election, the country will remain occupied by monied interests that only hasten the nations downfall. It will take an act of God to rid that place of all the rats.
    • Is it because I am black?
      I think that Pilger is not very original, typical Australian woozyhead.
    • Mother Gorillain reply toIs it because I am black?(Show commentHide comment)
      Is it because I am black?, d'accord, he knows some about Australian aborigines, but next to nothing about blacks or women, or the Middle East. Tariq Ali's theory of the extreme center leaves his for dead, because Ali also covers the propaganda aspect of the current system.
    • avatar
      An interesting article, with Pilger having many insightful observations. But what is really at the root of the extremism and does it really differ from past extremism? As for the suggested coup within the Outlaw US Empire, that happened long ago and its actuality and significance has been carefully airbrushed from history so most people have no idea. The most important coup in world history happened in 1787 when the Articles of Confederation and the body of governance it authorized were overthrown by the most secretive of coups and replaced them with the current US Constitution and governmental bodies in 1789. It's vital to recall that the proceedings in Philadelphia that overthrew the Articles were never to become public--ever. Thankfully, that didn't happen, although it was 50 years later when the notes taken in Philadelphia were revealed and published, thus allowing the insightful historian Charles Beard to publish his outstanding work, "An Economic Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution," which caused a great tumult that was covered up by the onset of the First World War. The most important aspect of the 1787 coup was the executive portion of the government it installed--an absolutely unrestricted executive unless congress was intensely vigilant and did its job when the executive overstepped its bounds, as it did almost immediately. But that is only a partial bit of history and doesn't examine the root cause of extremism; that can be found in "Leviathan" by Hobbes with his thesis that people will submit to most anything to avoid the nasty and brutal aspects of life that lead it to be cruel and short: The desire for comfort and ease and the greed for their attainment they inspire. Contemplate this old Arabic saying while digesting the above: Better a century of tyranny than a moment of chaos.

      To totally examine all the facets and roots of extremism, a book's needed. North and South America were invaded by religious extremists and remain mostly ruled by them. Yes, there've been moments when the degree of extremism was lightened, but lightened extremism is still extremism. The 1787 coup ensured that the USA would remain an oligarchy, that the people at large would never gain any real power, and that paradigm remains in force. None of the above is really "radical history" or "revisionist" and can easily be found in most university libraries, but rarely in their classrooms.

      Pilger is a great source revealing buried historical facts of great import, and those disparaging him here are either fools or trolls. Looked at dispassionately, there is little difference between the extremism of the Outlaw US Empire, Saudi Arabia and Daesh.
    • avatar
      Always interesting to listen to John Pilger, such an amazing man who has done so much work to enlighten people.
    • avatar
      Considering Russia theft of the Crimea and hidden war against Ukraine, blaming the West for something we do ourselves would be stupid. For example, just last year, Russians and their puppets killed more innocent people than Israel so let’s just say that thanks to the intervention in Syria, Russia has more friends now than Americans do. The question is for how long they are able to keep their expansionist ambitions on leash? Will they leave Syria or the’ll just reduce their military power there on “demand” of president Assad ?
    • avatar
      "The Democratic Party…has invaded more countries, or its governments have invaded more countries than the Republicans. People can scream about Donald Trump, but if they get Hillary Clinton, perhaps Trump’s rather grotesque eccentricities may even seem attractive in retrospect."
      I appreciate this honest and accurate view. Too many people are locked into loyalty for a political party agenda, and not an ideology. Hillary Clinton will be the worst available choice.
    • Ann in reply tocmat.wolfgang(Show commentHide comment)
      cmat.wolfgang, They should take the one they gave to the warmongering kenyan back.
    • Ann in reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, Yes - things can always get worse, right up until those mushroom clouds reach their peak...I think that's about the apex of "worse" that we will ever live to see.
    • Ann in reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
      karlof1, great dissertation, thanks.
    • Ann in reply topivomir9(Show commentHide comment)
      pivomir9, Why don't you go troll MSNBC. They may appreciate your outright lies. Tell your boss we said "hi"
    • avatar
      michaelin reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      sixpack6t9, or even die to see...:( agreed
    • avatar
      The former prime minister of Sweden Olof Palme was one of the few political leaders who opposed the USA led war policy and he was assassinated on an order from USA. Imagine, he opposed the war in Vietnam, went on a visit to Cuba and was to visit Gorbachev in Russia.
      Any wonder why the participants at the Munich security conference were bothered, when the American representatives ignored the dinner. Well, they might just know that some terror action against them might be on the go, if they do not do exactly as USA tells them to do.
    • avatar
      03sixerin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, you are one smooth cold operator. A technique displayed by making a general statement followed with a clever musing. In this case the feeble line relating to garbage. Then when you get the attention you seek in a response, depending on the response content, you twist it with a specific qualifying explanation to tailor it to your narrative as the last word.

      Oh, and those activists you so frigidly disregard, they fought for something they believed in and paid dearly. That will always hold more weight than your deft hollow statements.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply to03sixer(Show commentHide comment)
      03sixer, I believe that you may be reading into my comments things which are simply not there. This often occurs in written conversations on fora such as this. The other concerning thing is that you attribute behaviour to me based on an assumption of my motivations - this, when you and I have never spoken.
    • avatar
      pivomir9in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      sixpack6t9, That you stole Crimea is true. That you started war with Ukraine is also true. That you killed more people than Israel last years and don’t help Syria for free is true as well so you better come up with some facts if you don’t want to be called a liar yourself. You guys are amazing. You’ve killed much more people than Americans, enslaved millions of Europeans yet you have guts to criticize others for something you’ve mastered into perfection. Why is that????
    • Ann in reply topivomir9(Show commentHide comment)
      pivomir9, You are a liar.
    • avatar
      You are a liar.A sixpacked,brainwashed liar disconnected from reality, living in lala land where Russians can't do any wrong,but that's OK because I know you well.You were in my country for decades. Uninvited....
    • avatar
      karlof1in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      sixpack6t9, You're most welcome and thanks for your kind words. For many years it was taught that the reason George Washington was made the first president was because he could be trusted to not become a dictator, which raises an interesting question/observation. If the new constitution was considered superior to the Articles, why was there a fear (amongst the rich men who directed the coup) that the executive could easily become a dictator and thus a well known and trusted man was required to fill the post? FYI--There was no executive under the Articles.
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