Australian cardinal ‘guilty of child abuse’, media censored

This July 2016 video says about itself:

Les Tyack says he saw a naked George Pell expose himself to three young boys in the Torquay surf club changerooms in the late 1980s. Police are investigating multiple child abuse allegations levelled directly against Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, Cardinal George Pell, the ABC’s 7.30 program has revealed.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Media in Australia can not report anything about ‘the country’s biggest story’

Cardinal Pell, the third man of the Vatican, is thought to have been found guilty in Australia of abusing two altar boys. We do not know whether that is true, because Australian media are being censored about the trial.

“Everything about this trial, including the charges, is kept secret”, says correspondent Robert Portier in the NOS Radio 1 news. “This is due to a publication ban that the judge imposed on Australian media.”

“There are two cases against Pell, both about abuse of children, and the judge does not want the two different juries to be influenced by publicity from the other one”, says Portier. This case was about the abuse of two altar boys. He is said to have forced them into oral sex in the back of a cathedral.

‘Biggest story’

“You can imagine that Australian media are not happy with the publication ban. “It’s the nation’s biggest story”, a frustrated Daily Telegraph shouted on its front page”, says Portier. The Herald Sun also revolted and made three-quarters of its front page black with the word “censored” above it.

Many Australians are therefore dependent on social media because of the ban on publication. “It is of course a bit of a weird discussion, because in 2018 you can get that news in all possible ways.” News media outside of Australia are not covered by the ban and they publish sparingly about the case. “In Australia, the cardinal was trending on all social media, so Australians really know something about it”, says Portier.

The case is followed closely because Pell has such a high position in the Catholic Church. “He was archbishop in Melbourne and is a cardinal, he can not go any higher

except by becoming pope

and he actually belonged to the top three in the Catholic Church”, says Paul van Geest, professor of church history. “He was a kind of Minister of Economic Affairs in the reforms in Vatican City and was therefore very visible.”

According to the professor, Pell has been accused of sexual abuse since the 1990s, even before he was a bishop. “And when the abuse within the Catholic Church became notorious his name was always mentioned, yet he was spared because he was so high in the Catholic Church.”

The cardinal has always strongly denied the accusations. On 19 January he will hear what his punishment is.

From the Daily Telegraph (the British paper, not the Australian one), 12 December 2018:

Pope removes two cardinals linked to sex abuse allegations from his inner circle

By Josephine McKenna, Rome

Two leading cardinals allegedly linked to sexual abuse have been dismissed from Pope Francis’ inner circle.

Australian Cardinal George Pell and Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz have been removed from the so-called C9 Council of Cardinals, an advisory body set up by Francis, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

Cardinal Pell, appointed head of the Vatican’s economic secretariat by the pope in 2014, has taken a leave of absence to fight allegations of historic sexual misconduct in Australia.

He is still officially in charge of Vatican finances, a position considered one of the most powerful in the Catholic hierarchy.

Francisco Errazuriz Ossa has been accused of covering up allegations against abusive priests in Chile. …

The Catholic Church has been hit by a series of child abuse scandals in recent years in countries including the US, Ireland, Chile and [Iceland], with widespread allegations of cover-ups against clergy, including the pope himself.

Mr Errazuriz … was archbishop of Santiago from 1998-2010.

He has come under fire in recent months amid claims that he hid the crimes of Chile’s allegedly abusive priests including Fernando Karadima, who has been accused of a string of child sex offenses going back to 1984.

[Rupert Murdoch‘s] News Corp’s Miranda Devine says police are ‘hunting Catholics’ after George Pell charges. Columnist launches attack on Victorian police chief as force insists investigation of cardinal followed usual procedure for allegations of historical sex offences: here.


‘Saudi prince guilty of murdering journalist’, Trump’s own party says

This 4 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

CIA Director Briefs Senate Leaders on ‘Smoking SawLinking Saudi Prince to Khashoggi Murder

WASHINGTON — The select few senators who were briefed today by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi emerged convinced of the culpability of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and some wanted the facts revealed to all senators.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Senators after CIA briefing: crown prince probably behind Khashoggi murder

A group of prominent American senators is “more certain than ever” that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed has commissioned the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Senators from both parties say this after a briefing by the CIA.

According to Republican Lindsey Graham, you have to be “deliberately stupid” to deny the crown prince’s involvement.

Graham said after the briefing that it is important to maintain the bond with Saudi Arabia. “But not at any cost. Mohammed bin Salman is a wrecking ball, he is complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, I think he is insane and dangerous”, says Graham.

According to Graham there is no ‘smoking gun‘ in the Khashoggi case, but a ‘smoking saw‘. He refers to the saw with which the journalist was probably cut into pieces. He says that someone must be willfully blind to the facts in order not to conclude that the killing of Khashoggi was carried out by people under the command of the crown prince.

“The image that I already had was only reinforced”, says Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. …

The prominent Republican Bob Corker also says that he does not doubt for a moment that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the murder. “If he were to stand before a judge, he would be convicted within 30 minutes: guilty.” According to Corker, President Trump whitewashes the murder of the journalist because he does not want to condemn the crown prince.

This 29 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Yemen Proves U.S. Foreign Policy Can’t Be Based On Defense Contractor’s Sales: Bernie Sanders

Due to Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, over 85,000 children have already starved to death. Senator Bernie Sanders, along with Barbara Lee, and others are fighting to stop U.S. involvement in that genocide. “We cannot let them determine U.S. military priority” Sanders tells Thom Hartmann and the audience that weapons contractors, pathological liars like Donald Trump, and the Saudi royal family cannot lead U.S. military policy.

Journalist John Pilger organises film festival

This 29 November 2018 video from Australia says about itself:

Video featuring The Power of the Documentary on ABC News

Power of the Documentary is a film festival curated by John Pilger and in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring 26 different documentaries.

Video Credit: ABC News Weekend Breakfast, Journalist Miram Corowa.

By Richard Phillips in Australia:

“Well-paid journalists have become gormless cyphers of the propaganda of war

John Pilger discusses his “The Power of Documentary” film festival

3 December 2018

Veteran investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and author, John Pilger, is currently hosting a special film festival in Australia. Entitled The Power of the Documentary: Breaking the Silence, the festival is on at Riverside Theatres in the western-Sydney suburb of Parramatta and at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay in central Sydney. It will run until December 9.

Curated by Pilger, the festival is screening 26 films, including a number of his own documentaries, several significant works by Australian filmmakers and three foundational films from the US and Britain.

Pilger, who has made 62 documentaries since 1970, is one of a handful of journalists internationally who vigorously defends WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On June 17, he addressed a rally in Sydney organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) to demand Assange’s immediate release.

Some of the early Pilger films to be screened include: The Quiet Mutiny, his first documentary for British television; The Outsiders, which features interviews with war correspondents, such as Wilfred Burchett and Martha Gellhorn, and other individuals in 1983; and The Last Dream: Other People’s Wars (1988), about the history of Australian military involvement in British and American imperialist interventions.

Recent Pilger documentaries to be shown, some of which have been reviewed by the World Socialist Web Site, include Palestine is Still the Issue (2002), Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (2003), The War You Don’t See (2010), Utopia (2013) and The Coming War on China (2016).

This 2009 video says about itself:

Salute (trailer)

One of 2008’s biggest documentary films is about to be unleashed onto screens Worldwide. SALUTE is a film by Matt Norman, the nephew of 200m Silver Medalist Peter Norman who was involved in one of the most powerful moments in Olympic history where Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave their Black Power Salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Being released through Paramount Pictures and Transmission films in Australia on the 24th of July 2008, and then around the world shortly after Salute promises to be a wake up to what’s happening today especially with the 2008 Beijing Olympics just around the corner.

The Richard Phillips article continues:

Other important films to be shown are Curtis Levy’s The President vs David Hicks (2004) and Matt Norman’s Salute (2009), about track athlete Peter Norman and his victimisation by Australian authorities after he supported US athletes who gave a “black power” salute during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.

Finally, “The Power of Documentary” festival includes three classic works: Edward R. Murrow’s Harvest of Shame (1960), an exposure of the slave-like working conditions of farm workers in the US; Peter Watkins’ long-banned War Game (1965), one of the first docudramas which recreates the horrific impact of a nuclear attack on Britain; and Peter Davis’s Hearts and Minds (1974), the first mainstream American documentary opposing the US intervention in Vietnam to secure a theatrical release. Full details of the festival program can be accessed here.

Pilger conducted the following email interview with the WSWS last week, just before the festival began.

Richard Phillips: Can you explain why you decided to organise this festival? What do you mean by “Breaking the Silence” in the title and why is this necessary?

John Pilger: By silence I mean the exclusion of ideas that might change the way we see our world, or help us make sense of it. There are 26 films and each one pushes back a screen of propaganda—not just the propaganda of governments but of a powerful groupthink of special interests designed to distract and intimidate us and which often takes its cue from social media and is the enemy of the arts and political freedom.

A documentary is not reality TV. Political documentary is not the consensual game played by politicians and journalists called “current affairs”. Great documentaries frighten the powerful, unnerve the compliant, expose the hypocritical. Great documentaries make us think, and think again, and speak out, and even take action…

Well-paid journalists have become gormless cyphers of the propaganda of war: lies known these days as fake news and spread by the intelligence agencies. Why do we allow governments, our governments, to commit great crimes, and why do so many of us remain silent?

These are questions for those of us privileged to be allowed into people’s lives and be their voice and seek their support. It is a question for filmmakers, journalists, artists, arts administrators, editors, publishers. We can no longer claim to be innocent bystanders. Our responsibility is urgent; as Tom Paine impatiently wrote: “The time is now.”

RP: You began making documentaries in 1970 with The Quiet Mutiny, about the Vietnam War. Can you speak about the filmmakers that influenced you in the early years and the most important thing you learnt in that formative period?

JP: My formative period as a documentary filmmaker was as a journalist. For me, the two crafts complement each other; the most expressive journalism is often cinematic. As a young war reporter in South East Asia, I was struck by the surreal spectacle of the American invasion and its atrocious consequences. The Quiet Mutiny is a factual, political film that uses irony and satire bordering on black farce, together with the music of the time, much of it political.

I was influenced by many I worked with; in the beginning by my producer Charles Denton, who encouraged me to depart from the formula of “current affairs”. When The Quiet Mutiny was broadcast, the then Director General of the Independent Television Authority in Britain (a pompous fellow Australian with a knighthood) called me “a dangerous subversive”. It was the highest honour I have received, and I am grateful to him.

This video says about itself:

“The Quiet Mutiny” in 1970 was the first of over 60 documentary films by Pilger. Filmed at Camp Snuffy, the film presented a character study of the common US soldier during the Vietnam War revealing the shifting morale and open rebellion of Western troops. Pilger described the film as “something of a scoop” – it was the first documentary to show the open rebellion within the drafted ranks of the US military that led to the withdrawal of the land army in 1973.

“When I flew to New York and showed it to Mike Wallace, the star reporter of CBS 60 Minutes, he agreed. “Real shame we can’t show it here”” Pilger said in an interview with the New Statesman.

The Richard Phillips article continues:

RP: Since then you’ve made scores of documentaries. These include exposing US war crimes in Vietnam, Iraq and many other countries, the danger of nuclear war, state brutality against the working class and the poor, ongoing oppression and social mistreatment of Aborigines.

Your second documentary was shot in West Yorkshire and was entitled Conversations with a Working Man and broadcast on British television. It’s difficult to imagine anything with a title like that being screened on the celebrity obsessed television networks today.

JP: I agree. But as with almost every film I have made, I had my struggles. The executive producer decreed that my use of “the people” was unacceptable because it was a “Marxist term”. He refused to allow me to use “working class”; if you listen carefully, you will hear me say “working heritage.” This nonsense made not a blind bit of difference; the viewers understood and a record audience watched the film.

RP: Why do you think there are so few of these sorts of exposures today? Is it because of financial and distribution problems, or a question of self-censorship and/or lack of political perspective?

JP: It is all those things. I would put lack of political perspective at the top, alongside an enthusiasm to join the system of elite power. Many on the BBC believe that once they join that institution they rise to a Nirvana of purest impartiality and objectivity when, in truth, they have become part of the most refined propaganda system on earth.

RP: The festival is showing Edward R. Murrow’s Harvest of Shame, Peter Watkins’ The War Game and Hearts and Minds by Peter Davis. Could you speak briefly about their importance?

JP: Each of these films is truth-telling in its highest form, especially The War Game. No film-maker has matched Peter Watkins’ astonishing achievement in recreating a town in England devastated by nuclear war. He did it all with official documents, which was why his film was banned by the BBC for 23 years.

Unknown to the British people, their governments were planning precisely that which Watkins reconstructed in The War Game. His film was profoundly threatening because it would possibly change the minds of millions of Britons towards Cold War policies, even war itself.

I’ve read the declassified documents of Harold Wilson’s cabinet secretary, Sir Burke Trend; the government was horrified by Watkins’ film because it was true. I admire him enormously for the same reasons I admire Julian Assange.

Harvest of Shame was a very different film, yet its bracing journalism was also committed to the truth. The regression today means none of these films would be made.

RP: You’ve also selected some films by Mark Davis, Curtis Levy and other Australian documentarians. Do you see any parallels between The President vs David Hicks, which follows the courageous fight waged by David’s father Terry to secure his son’s freedom from Guantanamo Bay prison and the situation facing Julian Assange?

JP: Yes, they are similar; Terry Hicks is a supporter of Julian. For their moral courage, both Terry and Julian are the best kind of Australians.

RP: You’ve coined the phrase “Vichy journalism” to describe journalists who have joined the campaign of slander, lies and frame-ups against Assange and WikiLeaks. Why has this occurred and what are the consequences for Assange and investigative journalism? What is the current situation facing Assange?

JP: Most “mainstream” journalism has been integrated into corporate and so-called national security systems that rule the West, especially in the United States and Britain. When I was working in what was known as “Fleet Street”, the press was conservative but there were spaces for different, dissenting work, and a certain range of views. This was even encouraged. Today the spaces have closed, and the best journalists write online, or in foreign publications, or in a new samizdat, or not at all.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the counter to this oppression, and, of course, he is subjected to a smear campaign. The greater his impact and symbolism the more vicious the campaign against him.

The Guardian’s sordid role as a platform for the scuttlebutt of spooks is shocking. Those involved are no different, morally, from those who collaborated under the Vichy government in France during the Second World War.

Julian’s situation is serious. The person contracted to bring his food to the Ecuadorean embassy has been told she is no longer wanted. This does not mean he will go hungry, but it demonstrates the depth of his struggle. That said, he is a very strong character with an abiding moral purpose and a dark sense of humour. He needs, as Martha Gellhorn wrote about those who stand up to rapacious power, “the alliance of us all … the support of decency.”

RP: Can you speak about your last documentary The Coming War on China and what prompted you to make it? What will be the consequences of such a war? Can you comment on Australia’s involvement in these preparations and the mounting anti-China hysteria in the Australian media?

JP: China is surrounded by more than 400 American military bases that reach from Australia, through the Pacific to Asia and across Eurasia. A State Department official described it as “actually a noose.” Low-draught US warships probe the waters of southern China and US drones overfly Chinese territory. This has been a fact, mostly unreported, for many years and was inverted during the Obama presidency to propaganda, the falsehood, that China was threatening the US, Asia, the Pacific.

As expected, Australian politicians, “experts” and journalists have echoed this. It has become a chorus. The Chinese—like the Russians—are becoming the enemy of Australia, which in reality has no enemies, apart from its own forces of institutionalised paranoia. I grew up during the first Cold War and it is all familiar: perhaps worse in its inventions and deceptions.

RP: Finally, what’s your advice to young people who want to become documentary filmmakers and investigative journalists today?

JP: My advice is always follow your star. By that I mean: never abandon your commitment and idealism and keep in mind that journalists and film-makers are truly credible as the agents of people, never of power.

Corporate media racism in the USA

This 2 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

The Corporate Controlled Media FUEL America’s Racism

The corporate controlled media just can’t say enough nice things about white people. Even when they kill scores of American citizens. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss this issue.

Saudi crown prince and murder of journalist, new evidence

This video says about itself:

MBS communicated with adviser during Khashoggi killing: WSJ

2 December 2018

The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has overshadowed much of the G20 Summit. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, appeared isolated initially amid the allegations of his involvement in the killing.

Pressure has been mounting on the United States to take a firm action against Saudi Arabia amid reports of MBS’s role in the case. A report in the Wall Street Journal claimed to have seen details of 11 messages Prince Mohammed had sent to his close adviser Saud al-Qahtani, who oversaw the so-called hit team in Istanbul.

The report says that this led the CIA to conclude MBS might have ordered the killing.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher reports from Buenos Aires.

Donald Trump’s own broadcasting corporation, satire

This 28 November 2018 satiric animation video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

Trump News Network

Yikes! The first broadcast of the new state-run Trump network: TNN, America’s Most Trusted Source of Trump.

More here.

This 21 November 2018 satiric animation video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

You’re Welcome, America First!

Straight from the White House, the annual message of You’re Welcome!

(And Happy Thanksgiving from me.)

More here.