Tragicomically, the Guardian predicted that, by 2007, Blair’s triumph would be seen as ‘one of the

great turning-points of British political history… the moment when Britain at last gave itself the chance to construct a modern liberal socialist order’.

(Ibid) Pilger was right, Rusbridger et al were disastrously wrong.

Blair went on to kill one million people in Iraq, transforming the Labour Party into a Tory-Lite façade that eliminated British democratic choice for a generation. The state-corporate propaganda blitz that recently consumed Jeremy Corbyn had its roots in Blair’s great coup, in frantic eff orts to maintain

the anti-democratic status quo he installed.

In 2005, Pilger said of Blair and Iraq:

‘By voting for Blair, you will walk over the corpses of at least 100,000 people, most of them innocent women and children and the elderly, slaughtered by rapacious forces sent by Blair and Bush, unprovoked and in defiance of international law, to a defenseless country.’ (Pilger,‘By voting for Blair, you will

walk over the corpses of at least 100,000 people,’ New Statesman, 25 April 2005)

A Rusbridger Guardian leader commented:

‘While 2005 will be remembered as Tony Blair’s Iraq election, May 5 is not a referendum on that one

decision, however fateful… We believe that Mr Blair should be re-elected to lead Labour into a

third term this week.’ (Leader, ‘Once more with feeling,’ The Guardian, 3 May 2005)

Pilger was right, the Guardian’s position was a moral obscenity.

No Offi cial Enemy leader responsible for mass death on such a scale would ever be forgiven and normalised in this way.

In June 2008, Pilger wrote of Obama:

‘Like all serious presidential candidates, past and present, Obama is a hawk and an expansionist. He comes from an unbroken Democratic tradition, as the war-making of presidents Truman, Kennedy,

Johnson, Carter and Clinton demonstrates.’

A Guardian leader under Rusbridger commented:

‘They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world…

‘Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too.’

Again, Pilger was right – Obama went on to bomb seven Muslim-majority countries.

He oversaw the devastation of Syria and Yemen, and the near-complete destruction of Libya.

In his book, Rusbridger mentions the word ‘Libya’ exactly once, in passing, referring to what he foolishly calls ‘the Libyan revolution’ (p.182. Showing a similar level of insight, Rusbridger describes Trump’s April 2018 blitz of Syria after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma as ‘retaliatory’, p.108). He makes no mention at all of the Libyan war, or of the Guardian’s relentless propagandising for war under

his editorship that, just eight years after the Iraq calamity, was again based on completely fake pretexts.

Once again, Pilger was a lone voice defying corporate media herdthink:

‘The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus “no fl y zone” to “protect civilians”, is strikingly similar to the fi nal destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the “rescue” of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today. Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a “new Hitler”, plotting “genocide” against his people.

There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo.’

A Guardian leader under Rusbridger saw things differently:

‘But it can now reasonably be said that in narrow military terms it worked, and that politically there was some retrospective justifi cation for its advocates as the crowds poured into the streets of Tripoli to welcome the rebel convoys earlier this week.’

Again, Pilger was entirely vindicated, not least by a 9 September 2016 report into the war from the foreign aff airs committee of the House of Commons. The issue Rusbridger ignores is no

small matter – in relentlessly promoting a devastating, illegal war, he and his staff were complicit in a major war crime.

Pilger ‘has become the doyen of a certain style of uncompromising journalism’, Rusbridger continues. He

means ‘controversial’:

‘His roiling anger is palpable and grows with each passing year, using language that has certainly “slipped the leash”.’ (p.201)

‘For instance’, says Rusbridger, quoting Pilger: ‘Should the CIA stooge

Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies. A fi re sale of Venezuela’s utilities and mineral wealth will surely follow, along with the theft of the country’s oil, as outlined by John Bolton.’

Perhaps because he’s an avid Guardian reader, Rusbridger appears to fi nd this outrageous.

In 2019, former Guardian journalist Jonathan Cook tweeted:

‘Oh look! Juan Guaido, the figurehead for the CIA’s illegal regime-change operation intended to grab Venezuela’s oil (as John Bolton has publicly conceded), is again presented breathlessly by the Guardian as the country’s saviour’ It was indeed a consistent and shameful Guardian trend.

Cook linked to a Guardian piece titled: ‘“¡Sí se puede!” shouts rapturous crowd at Juan Guaidó rally’.

Writing on the Grayzone website, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal supplied some


‘Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s

elite regime change trainers.

While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent

campaign of destabilization.’

We could go on adding examples of how ‘prickly’, unsavoury lift companion,

Pilger – with his ‘roiling anger’ and ‘Lear-like ranting’ at ‘too high a volume with no tone or

balance control’ (p.204) – was right in expressing forbidden truths that Rusbridger cannot discuss because it would mean exposing himself and the Guardian in exactly the way the ‘ten-ton truck’ would never


In 2006, Pilger wrote: ‘In reclaiming the honour of our craft, not to mention the truth, we journalists at least need to understand the historic task to which we are assigned – that is, to report the rest of humanity in terms of its usefulness, or otherwise, to “us”, and to soften up the public for rapacious attacks on countries that are no threat to us.’

This is not something Rusbridger could ever honestly discuss. Why? Because it’s exactly the role he performed as editor of the Guardian.

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