An open letter to Noam Chomsky and the general public – RE: Film Banned in U.S. by John Pilger

Updated: June 14, 2011

by John Pilger
Information Clearing House
June 10, 2011

Protect Free Speech Wikileaks = Pentagon Paper...

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Dear Noam,

I am writing to you and a number of other friends mostly in the US to alert you to the extraordinary banning of my film on war and media, ‘The War You Don’t See’, and the abrupt cancellation of a major event at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe in which David Barsamian and I were to discuss free speech, US foreign policy and censorship in the media.

Lannan invited me and David over a year ago and welcomed my proposal that they also host the US premiere of ‘The War You Don’t See’, in which US and British broadcasters describe the often hidden part played by the media in the promotion of war, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. The film has been widely acclaimed in the UK and Australia; the trailer and reviews are on my website

The banning and cancellation, which have shocked David and me, are on the personal orders of Patrick Lannan, whose wealth funds the Lannan Foundation as a liberal centre of discussion of politics and the arts. Some of you will have been there and will know the Lannan Foundation as a valuable supporter of liberal causes. Indeed, I was invited in 2002 to present a Lannan award to the broadcaster Amy Goodman.

What is deeply disturbing about the ban is that it happened so suddenly and inexplicably: 48 hours before David Barsamian and I were both due to depart for Santa Fe I received a brief email with a ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ from a Lannan official who had been telling me just a few days earlier what a ‘great honour’ it was to have the US premiere of my film at Lannan, with myself in attendance.

I urge you to visit the Lannan website Good people like Michael Ratner, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald are shown as participants in discussion about freedom of speech. I am there, too, but my name is the only one with a line through it and the word, ‘Cancelled’.

Neither David Barsamian nor I have been given a word of explanation. All my messages to Lannan have gone unanswered; my calls calls are not returned; my flights were cancelled summarily. At the urging of the New Mexican newspaper, Patrick Lannan has issued a one-sentence statement offering his regrets to the Lannan-supporting ‘community’ in Santa Fe.  Again, he gives no reason for the ban. I have spoken to the manager of the Santa Fe cinema where ‘The War You Don’t See’ was to be screened. He received a late-night call. Again, no reason for the ban was forthcoming, giving him barely time to cancel advertising in The New Mexican, which was forced to drop a major feature.

There is a compelling symbol of our extraordinary times in all of this. A rich and powerful individual and organisation, espousing freedom of speech, has moved ruthlessly and unaccountably to crush it.

With warm regards,

John Pilger



The War You Don’t See’ now available online worldwide following US ban

by John Pilger
14 June, 2011

John Pilger’s new film ‘The War You Don’t See’ is released online for the first time. On 7 June 2011, the Lannan Foundation in the United States banned the film and cancelled a US visit by John Pilger without explanation. You can watch the film online (worldwide excluding Australia) for $4.99.

‘The War You Don’t See’ premiered at the Barbican in London on Tuesday 7 December 2010 and on British television on Tuesday 14 December 2010. It is also available to buy on DVD in the UK and in Australia.

John Pilger will be speaking about ‘The War You Don’t See’ on 10 July at Duke of York’s Picturehouse, Brighton.




John Pilger: The War You Don’t See (extended clips)

Wiki Wha? by William Bowles

Noam Chomsky: Propaganda and Controlling the Public Mind (1996)

Edward Bernays and the Art of Public Manipulation


2 thoughts on “An open letter to Noam Chomsky and the general public – RE: Film Banned in U.S. by John Pilger

  1. Pingback: The Strange Silencing of Liberal America by John Pilger « Dandelion Salad

  2. We are in the midst of a total take over and suppression of any information that in any way negates the military industrial complex and the programming of that agenda. War War III is on and it is so subtle to so many that it goes un-noticed. The largest weapon in this arsenal waged against planet, human, and all life forms is the suppression of information, and of the technologies that are ready to be instituted, but would cost big corporate interests all their profits. Meanwhile day to day life goes on and many people have no idea that it is already in progress. They have capitalized on what people expect a World War to look, sound and feel like. So too many are asleep. Strange days indeed.

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