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Notice of Cancellation Published On Lannan Foundation Site
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. Salem-News.com
John Pilger/David Barsamian Event Cancelled..Speakers Struggled for Communication From Foundation.
John Pilger photo courtesy: truthrss.com
(WINDSOR, N.H.) - Roughly two weeks ago, I heard that the Lannan Foundation had, without comment to the speakers or the media, canceled a screening of John Pilger's landmark film, “The War You Don't See”, along with a companion conversation with John and David Barsamian, director of Boulder, Colo.-based Alternative Radio.
The event, arranged nearly a year ago and advertised extensively through the Foundation's various outlets and media connections had, in fact, been canceled with only a few days notice. That notice, received by John, was quite brief and offered nothing in the way of explanation. John and many others (including this writer) attempted to contact the Foundation, both through its publicists and organizers as well, Patrick Lannan, the founder and chief executive, to no avail. Emails, letters and repeated phone calls were not returned.
Confused, and feeling uncharacteristically snubbed by Patrick and the Foundation, John sent an open letter to Noam Chomsky and the general public questioning the “banning” of his event in such a manner. The letter can be viewed here.. http://kf.6c.sl.pt Alternative media covered this “snubbing” under various headings, all suggesting the film had, for unexplained reasons, been banned.
Australian born, John is a prolific (award winning) journalist, playwright, author and documentarian, having published 8 books and produced nearly 60 documentaries. He is an outstanding critic of both Western government and media and is a highly respected speaker.
Last year, John endorsed the Canadian Boat to Gaza, now on its way to join the other boats of Flotilla II-Stay Human! aiming to break the illegal sea blockade of Gaza.
“The War You Don't See” is a dramatic and brutally truthful coverage of the atrocities and human degradation brought upon Iraq under the false “flag” of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and the failure of mainstream media to open a window of truth to the public regarding this illegal and tragic war. Those who know of John's work will understand the painstaking effort that goes into every project John undertakes and will, no doubt, appreciate the confusion and slight John could not help but feel under the circumstances related to the cancellation of this event.
Those who take the time (it is a long film) to view this film, will walk away profoundly affected; unable to carry any previously lingering doubts with regard to the complicity of media and government in the waging of war; and no longer able to protect any gnawing reservations as to the shear depth of deception and depravity with which both media and government construct their “truth” for public consumption. The film can be viewed here http://kf.9y.sl.pt or http://jj.p0.sl.pt
What follows is the “explanation” Patrick Lannan posted on the Foundation's website (dated June 14). Please note the last line of Patrick's “explanation”.
Following this, a response from John Pilger.
14 June 2011
Statement by Patrick Lannan
President, Lannan Foundation
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
The cancelation of a Foundation-sponsored event featuring the journalist John Pilger was not based on censorship. Mr. Pilger was to speak Wednesday 15 June at the 820-seat Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe followed by a conversation with the journalist David Barsamian as part of the Foundation's Readings & Conversations series. Last week we learned from The Lensic that only 152 tickets had been sold, despite extensive full-page advertising. It became apparent to us that the Lensic event was not viable. In our opinion, to have Mr. Pilger travel thousands of miles from London to Santa Fe to face such a low turnout would have been embarrassing to him.
At the request of Mr. Pilger, the Foundation also had agreed to pay for a community outreach screening of his film The War You Don't See, an event the Foundation considered secondary to Mr. Pilger's Readings & Conversations appearance. The Foundation rented a local theater venue, The Screen. We advertised the film, and ticket proceeds were to have been donated back to the theater. Mr. Pilger was to have introduced the film and answered questions from the audience after the screening. The cancelation of the Lensic event clearly necessitated that the screening be canceled.
Both Mr. Pilger and Mr. Barsamian were paid their honoraria for their engagements, and both The Lensic and The Screen were compensated for venue rental fees.
The Foundation regrets that the reason for the cancelation was not explained to Mr. Pilger or to the public at the time the decision was made.
Lannan Foundation's record of supporting outspoken writers and social justice activists speaks for itself. Upcoming speakers for our public events include Richard Wolff, Tariq Ali, and Norman Finkelstein.
The Foundation will have no further comment on this issue.
John Pilger Replies
John Pilger replies on Lannan ban of his film
16 June 2011
Patrick Lannan has issued a statement breaking almost a week's silence since his sudden and unprecedented cancellation of my visit to the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe for the US premiere of my film, The War You Don`t See.
The reason that Lannan gives for the cancellation is that too few seats were sold for the event on June 15 planned a year ago, in which David Barsamian and I were to be in conversation about the media, US foreign policy and freedom of speech. "In our opinion," writes Lannan, "to have Mr. Pilger travel thousands of miles from London to Santa Fe to face such a low turn-out would have been embarrassing for him."
This is specious at best, absurd in reality. On 9 June, Barbara Ventrello, Lannan`s Director of Cultural Freedom Special Projects, with whom I had been in contact on almost a daily basis in preparation for the event and the screening of my film, emailed me:
I have just received a call from Patrick Lannan... Something has come up and he has asked me to cancel all events next week. He did not go into details and so I have no idea what this is about, and I apologize... We thank you for your understanding.
With best regards
If Lannan was cancelling my event because of the low turn-out, the principal organiser Barbara Ventrello would have known. Instead she "has no idea what this is all about".
I replied to her and Patrick Lannan that this presented a horrendous re-organisational situation as Lannan had accepted my offer to stage the US premiere of my film in The Screen cinema in Santa Fe. In his statement, Lannan distorts this as a "request". There was no request. At the time, the reply was that it would be an "honour" to show the film.
I was later informed by the manager of the cinema that a Lannan official had called to withdraw the advertising for the film. The same official withdrew advertising from the Santa Fe New Mexican and urged the paper to "pull" the major feature it was running about the film.
In my response, I asked that the film`s screening go ahead as its national promotional campaign was linked to the premiere in Santa Fe. This is the reply I received:
I am very sorry, but as stated in my email to you yesterday, all events related to your visit to Santa Fe are canceled. This includes the screening of your film.
Again, no reason was given. Not one of my subsequent emails and phone calls were returned, and no one called me. I have not known anything like it. Like all of us, the cinema management were shocked. I was informed by groups in Santa Fe who have organised similar events that the idea that too few tickets had been sold for the Pilger/Barsamnian event is "near impossible". When I tried to buy the air ticket Lannan had arranged for me, I was told by the travel agent: "I don`t understand it. They won`t allow you to buy it, even though this ticket, when cancelled, will be worthless. I have never known anything like this."
The truth is that there was not the slightest hint from Lannan until virtually the eve of my departure that my appearance would be anything but "very popular". I don't know why Patrick Lannan acted the way he did. At the very least, he has demonstrated that his wealth and power give him the capricious license to do what he wants to do when and how he wants to do it and without explanation, regardless of the consequences. Clearly, the tone and barely credible explanation now offered is designed to humiliate me. For him to now claim a self-regarding mantle as a patron of dissenting writers and film-makers, like myself, is disingenuous in the extreme and, again, absurd. Over 40 years as an investigative journalist and film-maker, I have faced similar action in its various guises, and it reveals itself whenever it happens. This is crude censorship however inexplicable and regardless of reputation and patronage.
Previous reports about John Pilger on Salem-News.com:
Pilger's Iraq Film Cancelled, Where is Santa Fe New Mexico' Soul? - Introduction by Rod Driver Salem-News.com
Pilger's 'The War You Don't See' is a Dose of Mind Numbing Reality - Film review by Tim King Salem-News.com
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is a Counselor and Conflict Resolution Specialist/Consultant (Mediation/Arbitration/Facilitation) (20+ yrs).
He is the Creator of Thought Addiction programs (Lectures Seminars & Workshops) (Intensive 21 day Addiction Recovery Programs designed for Artists, Actors, Musicians & Industry Leaders) residing in New Hampshire (US). (The Website for M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is currently under reconstruction) Contact: email@example.com 1-603-478-1544
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