John Pilger and the Nobel Anonymous

Photograph Source: Flickr user walnut whippet – CC BY 2.0

John Pilger, a very influential and pioneering journalist and commentator, has died. I talk about him and his longtime partner David Munro in my new book Pisces Moon: The Dark Arts of Empire. went into Cambodia in 1979 and filmed a riveting documentary. Very brave men. People who showed people like me how to do it. The documentary was at Pilger’s website. I stayed with Munro in London in 1991 on my way to Vietnam. RIP.

Here’s the link to Year Zero – hope it works.

As an afterthought, ten years before Munro (who died in 1999 after making 20 documentaries with Pilger) and Pilger ventured into Cambodia, my good friend John Douglas and the Newsreel crew went to North Vietnam to make a documentary titled People’s War. One used to be able to see it for free at John Douglas’s webpage (see Now there’s just a trailer  and now you have to buy it for $150.00…

Here’s the summary on John’s page:

“In the summer of l969, Newsreel went to North Vietnam. From that trip came PEOPLE’S WAR. This film moves beyond the perception of the North Vietnamese as victims to a portrait of how the North Vietnamese society is organized. it shows the relationship of the people to their government-how local tasks of a village are coordinated and its needs met. It deals with the reality of a nation that has been at war for twenty-five years, that is not only resisting US. aggression and keeping alive under bombing, but that is also struggling to raise its standard of living and to overcome the underdevelopment of centuries of colonial rule. Amid much publicity, the footage was confiscated upon its return to the US. . Despite this attempt at suppression, PEOPLES’ WAR has become one of the most sought-after films on Vietnam.”

What they don’t tell you is that the Newsreel team, including David Dellinger, secured the release of US POWs, whom they delivered to a CIA delegation in Phnom Penh.

Ten years later when Munro and Pilger arrived, the place was in ruins.

Anyway, you’ll hear a lot about Pilger, a great man, yes, but not about Munro and the noble anonymous film crews that accompanied him into those dangerous places – or the people like John Douglas and the Newsreel crew who had been doing this sort of journalism for years before him.

Douglas Valentine is the author of The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs, and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics, and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA.