Harold Pinter, Nobel Acceptance Speech:
- "The United States
supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40
years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this
regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.
- The Sandinistas weren't perfect.
They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political
philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were
intelligent, rational and civilized. They set out to establish a
stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished.
Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back
from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two
thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign
reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free
education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality
was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.
- The United States denounced these
achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US
government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was
allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it
was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and
achieve social unity and national self respect, neighboring countries
would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of
course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.
- I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of
lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described
Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the
media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair
comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the
Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no
record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were
ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the
government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian
dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The
United States had brought down the democratically elected government
of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had
been victims of successive military dictatorships.
- Six of the most distinguished
Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American
University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl
regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave
man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is
estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were
killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be
achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They
died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless
plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had
been their birthright.
- The United States finally brought
down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable
resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally
undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted
and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the
country. Free health and free education were over. Big business
returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.
- But this 'policy' was by no means
restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world.
It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
- The United States supported and
in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the
world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia,
Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines,
Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the
United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can
never be forgiven.
- Hundreds of thousands of deaths took
place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in
all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes - they
did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy.
But you wouldn't know it."
- Here's Pinter again:
- "The crimes of the
United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless,
but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to
hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation
of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal
good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of
hypnosis...It's a scintillating stratagem."
- Consider how the news was
shaped to make it look like the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan
were carried out for altruistic reasons. Thus, the war in
Afghanistan became "Operation Enduring Freedom",
stressing the selfless generosity of bombing a country into
oblivion and reinstating the thuggish warlords to power. The same
strategy was used for the invasion of Iraq which was celebrated as
"liberation from a brutal dictator."
- Liberation which cost the
lives of over 1 million Iraqis and the displacement of 4 million
more. Still, no one in the UN or so called international
community has pressed for removing the US from the Security
Council or prosecuting its leaders for war crimes.
- It's a testimony to the
success of the US media in upholding the "tapestry of
lies" of which Pinter speaks.
- Pinter: "What has happened
to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these
words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these
days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts
but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is
all this dead?
- Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds
of people detained without charge for over three years, with no
legal representation or due process, technically detained forever.
This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of
the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought
about by what's called the 'international community'.
- This criminal outrage is
being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the
leader of the free world'.
- Do we think about the
inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? What does the media say about them?
They pop up occasionally - a small item on page six. They have
been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never
- At present many are on hunger
strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties
in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anesthetic. Just
a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood.
This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about
this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this?
Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticize
our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act.
You're either with us or against us."
- Obama doesn't need to solve the
world's problems. He doesn't have to reverse global warming or
slow peak oil, cure AIDS or end world hunger. All he needs to do
is meet the minimal requirement of his job as president, which is
to deliver justice to his people. That's why the prosecution of
Bush for war crimes is more important than any other issue on the
docket. Justice precedes everything; it's the thread that keeps
the social fabric stitched together. Justice for the victims who
were killed in their homes with their families while they were
sleeping or eating dinner. Justice for the people who were bombed
in wedding parties or going to work or at the mosque praying to
God. That's what people want from Obama. Justice, nothing more.
The Reverend Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral
universe is long, but it bends towards justice." It's up to
Obama follow that arc and take at least one step on the path of
legitimacy, accountability and justice.
- Pinter: "How many people do
you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass
murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than
enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and
Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of
how CIA/FBI controlls media
regarding ufo-info- 8min interview with
Victor Viggiani in sound