In this second episode of Live on the Fly – Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom, Randy Credico delivers an exclusive interview with the legendary documentarian John Pilger—a man whose searing vision and crusading exposés of government greed, hypocrisy, tyranny, injustice, poverty and heartbreak have fired the passions and inspired the activism of millions.
John is a longtime friend and supporter of Julian Assange, whom he recently visited in Britain’s maximum security Belmarsh prison after Julian was dragged from the Ecuadoran embassy by police.
Pilger has borne personal witness to many of the epochal events of our time. Deploying his camera to shock, enlighten, and radicalize audiences throughout the world, he marched with America’s poor from Alabama to Washington following the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968, and was in the same room when Robert Kennedy was shot and killed in June 1968.
Based in the United Kingdom, John is an Australian journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is a strong critic of American, Australian and British foreign policy—a policy which he considers to be driven by an imperialist agenda. Pilger has also criticized his native country’s treatment of Indigenous Australians. In the British print media, Pilger worked at the Daily Mirror from 1963 to 1986 and wrote a regular column for the New Statesman magazine from 1991 to 2014. Pilger won the Britain’s Journalist of the Year Award in 1967 and 1979. His documentaries have gained awards worldwide. The practices of the mainstream media are a regular subject in Pilger’s writing.
His provocative films are sometimes so excruciatingly truth-telling that—despite winning a multitude of prestigious prizes and awards—they often fail to find venues brave enough to show them. For example, in 1970 Pilger flew to New York at the invitation of Mike Wallace, the supposedly courageous host of the CBS-TV show 60 Minutes, to preview his embarrassing (for Nixon and Kissinger) discovery of the rapidly disintegrating morale, and the outbreak of mutiny and “fragging” among U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. It was the first documentary to do so. But after agreeing that Pilger’s film was “something of a scoop,” Wallace said, “real shame we can’t show it here.”
His work in South East Asia produced an iconic issue of the London Mirror, devoted almost entirely to his world exclusive dispatches from Cambodia in the aftermath of Pol Pot’s reign. The combined impact of his Mirror reports and his subsequent documentary, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia, raised almost $50 million for the people of that stricken country.
Similarly, his 1994 documentary and dispatches from East Timor, where he traveled under cover, helped galvanize support for the East Timorese, then occupied by Indonesia.
Pilger has won an American TV Academy Award, an Emmy, and a BAFTA (British Academy Award) for his documentaries, which have also won numerous U.S. and European awards, such as as the Royal Television Society’s Best Documentary. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia among the ten most important documentaries of the twentieth century.
See John’s work at johnpilger.com.
Randy Credico, host of Live on the Fly, is a political satirist, civil rights activist and former director of The William Mosea Kunstler Fund For Racial Justice. Randy has an uncanny knack for circumventing mainstream media disinformation and official stonewalling to bring you live-audio debriefings and analysis from lawyers, journalists, whistle blowers, organizers and activists who are fighting to protect Assange from a lifetime sentence behind the bars of a U.S. maximum security penitentiary.
Randy visited Julian at the Ecuadoran embassy in London and is actively coordinating public support for him in the U.S. and abroad. Because Randy is adept at evading news blackouts and cutting through official stonewalling, Live on the Fly delivers gripping live-audio debriefings and analyses from the defense attorneys, witnesses, journalists, activists and many more.
Prior and returning guests to Live on the Fly include renowned investigative journalist and documentarian John Pilger; investigative journalists Stefania Maurizi and Max Blumenthal; animal rights activist and environmentalist Pamela Anderson; whistle blowers Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Coleen Rowley and ex NYPD Detective Frank Serpico; whistle blower, human rights activist and former United Kingdom Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray and many more.
Nathan Fuller is also back with Randy co-hosting the interview. Nathan is the director of the Courage Foundation which runs Julian Assange’s public defense campaign at defend.wikileaks.org.
The Courage Foundation supports whistle blowers and other journalistic sources who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record. Before Courage, Nathan covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
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About the Author
Randolph A. Credico is a comedian, radio host, and activist, and the former director of the William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice. Credico currently hosts LIve On The Fly and Assange: Countdown to Freedom.