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14 October 2005

Harold Pinter on the Bush-Blair War in Iraq

This may seem a bit stale, but

* that-there Iraq War is still going on, and US military deaths alone are just about to reach 2000. To the best of my analysis, the Bush-Blair war in Iraq has not been streamlined or improved since Pinter made these remarks.

* Pinter's remarks weren't banned or censored in America. The American media just ignored them. It's not a political thing. He's a major English-language playwright and human-rights activist in his 70s. The American media tends to be fixated on hot movie and music babes in their 20s who show a lot of skin. (Vleeptron is not condemning this, but wishes the US media would learn to stretch beyond the scantily-clad babes now and then.) Also gangsta rappers.

* If Guantanamo isn't a concentration camp, what is it? A picnic park? A summer camp? It's not a Prisoner-of-War camp. The US Government refuses to recognize that its detainees in Guantanamo are prisoners of war subject to treatment agreed to in the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

(I don't usually say nice things about Nazis, but the Third Reich treated US and British prisoners of war during World War II in accord with the Geneva Convention; and likewise the Allies treated German military prisoners in accord with the Geneva Convention.)

Our new US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, when he was a White House lawyer, churned out Torture-Friendly legal opinions for the Bush administration. Torture is now officially an All-American Virtue.

The Guardian
Wednesday 11 June 2003

Pinter blasts 'Nazi America'
and 'deluded idiot' Blair

Angelique Chrisafis and Imogen Tilden

The playwright Harold Pinter last night likened George W Bush's administration to Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, saying the US was charging towards world domination while the American public and Britain's "mass-murdering" prime minister sat back and watched.

Pinter, 72, was at the National Theatre in London to read from War, a new collection of his anti-war poetry that had been published in the press in response to events in Iraq.

In conversation on stage with Michael Billington, the Guardian's theatre critic, Pinter said the US government was the most dangerous power that had ever existed.

The American detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where al-Qaida and Taliban suspects were being held, was a concentration camp.

The US population had to accept responsibility for allowing an unelected president to take power and the British were exhausted from protesting and being ignored by Tony Blair, a "deluded idiot" Pinter hoped would resign.

After a big operation for cancer, Pinter returned to public life last year to speak out against American belligerence. He called it a return from a "personal nightmare" to an "infinitely more pervasive public nightmare".

The playwright said: "The US is really beyond reason now. It is beyond our imagining to know what they are going to do next and what they are prepared to do. There is only one comparison: Nazi Germany.

"Nazi Germany wanted total domination of Europe and they nearly did it. The US wants total domination of the world and is about to consolidate that.

"In a policy document, the US has used the term 'full-spectrum domination', that means control of land, sea, air and space, and that is exactly what's intended and what the US wants to fulfil. They are quite blatant about it."

Pinter blamed "millions of totally deluded American people" for not staging a mass revolt.

He said that because of propaganda and control of the media, millions of Americans believed that every word Mr Bush said was "accurate and moral".

The US population could not be let off scot-free for putting the country under the control of an "illegally elected president - in other words, a fake".

He asked: "What objections have there been in the US to Guantanamo Bay? At this very moment there are 700 people chained, padlocked, handcuffed, hooded and treated like animals. It is actually a concentration camp.

"I haven't heard anything about the US population saying: 'We can't do this, we are Americans.' Nobody gives a damn. And nor does Tony Blair." Pinter added: "Blair sees himself as a representative of moral rectitude. He is actually a mass murderer. But we forget that -- we are as much victims of delusions as Americans are."

In a British society where people were increasingly encouraged not to use their brains, the only way to protest was by "thought, intelligence and solidarity".

· Michael Billington was last night voted theatre critic of the year in a survey of theatregoers for the website


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