John le Carré: Speaking Truth to Power

John le Carré (1931-2020) on the Iraq War, Corporate Power, the Exploitation of Africa & More

Democracy Now! (2020)

Film Review

This video is a replay (following his December 12 death) of a 2010 Democracy Now interview with David Cornwell. Famous for spy thrillers under the pen name John Le Carré, Cornwell will always been my favorite novelist. I love his work, in part owing to his exquisite character development and, in part, owing to his scathing critique of the politicization and corruption of Western intelligence services.

Most of this interview relates to the malfeasance of multinational corporations, particularly banks. Cornwell begins with a reference to the $352 of laundered drug money analysts credit for preventing economic collapse in 2008. He then quotes from an International Herald Tribute article about all the banks* who have pleaded to money laundering and paid a fine. After paying a small fine (which Cornwell refers to as “the government’s cut), they resume business as usually without anyone serving a single day in jail.

Conwell also deplores the way both US and UK intelligence services were politicized to justify the illegal US/UK invasion of Iraq. Cornwell personally participated in the 3 million strong UK anti-Iraq war protest in March 2003.

Commentator Amy Goodwin and Cornwell also discuss two of his books: The Constant Gardener (about Big Pharma’s unethical/illegal drug trials in Africa) and The Mission Song about continuous civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Cornwell blames the latter on greedy multinational corporations determined to exploit DRC’s precious mineral resources. My favorite, A Delicate Truth, is a novel about the CIA’s illegal extraordinary rendition scheme. See A Novel About Extraordnary Rendition


*He mentions Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Union Bank of California, Wachovia, American Express and BankAtlantic.

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