Review: Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the World

5 Star, Atrocities & Genocide, Corruption, Crime (Government), Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Iraq, Media, Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars
Work of Historic Value with Deep Meaning for the Future
September 6, 2009
John Pilger (Editor)

This is the middle book in the John Pilger set that I bought. The others that I am including in a review trilogy include:
2002 The New Rulers of the World
2007 Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire

Although the book is daunting at first site, at 626 pages, it is MUCH easier to read than Laurrie Garrett’s Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health, for the simple reason that it is a collection of twenty-nine stories by different investigative journalists and can be read in pieces.

Use “Inside the Book” provided by Amazon to see the range of the stories. This is mostly about government terrorism against its own people, or in a few instances (e.g. thalidomide, fast food) government complicity in corporate atrocities against the paying public.

Eight of the pieces center on Iraq from 2002 onwards.

I put the book down thinking along these lines:

1) This is a treasure chest for any class at any level including high school. Students can be challenged to read one of the 29 pieces, then go and do research to find the “official” story, and then be lead through a critical thinking process that includes fact-finding, analytic tradecraft, and ethics.

2) Something like this is needed for the corporate world of white collar crime. Although there are some tremendous books out there, such as Confessions of an Economic Hit Man or Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story, Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, and The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, the public has been dumbed down and a great deal of public intelligence activism is needed.

3) Finally, something like this is also needed for the intersection between transnational criminal gangs and governments. Moises Naim lays out the $2 trillion a year global crime economy in Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy; others have done partial studies on government corruption–what I find utterly fascinating is that government bribes are said to total $1 trillion a year, which is precisely half the estimated total of the transnational crime network.

The take-away for me, apart from once again confirming the value of individual integrity in the face of institutional pathology (see Pathology Of Power, is to also confirm what Robert Young Pelton taught me and 7,500 other mid-career officers, which is that government reporting from a standard Embassy is second to third hand at best, and there is NO SUBSTITUTE for “eyes on” ground-truth.

I pray for the day when every individual on the planet has a cell phone with a camara and we are able to create the World Brain and EarthGame such that fraud, waste, and abuse are instantly exposed at every level across every function. There is no lack of wealth on this planet–what we lack is integrity in our organizations, and public intelligence in our public. To that I turn my attention for my final twenty years.

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