War by Other Means

War by Other Means

1992, Politics  -   44 Comments
Ratings: 8.62/10 from 402 users.

John Pilger and David Munro examine the policy of First World banks agreeing loans with Third World countries, who are then unable to meet the crippling interest charges.

Won Geneva International TV Award at the North-South Media Encounters event, Geneva, 1993; Gold Medal in the 'Best Documentary Production category' of the International Television Movie Festival, Mount Freedom, New Jersey 1993; Gold Award in the 'Political/International Issues category' at WorldFest-Houston (Houston International Film & Video Festival), 1993; Silver Hugo Award in the 'Documentary - Social/Political category' of the 29th Chicago International Film Festival, 1993.

Directed by: David Munro

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44 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Jane

    How is it the debt of the Philippines, when it was the electric company who wanted it built?

  2. not me

    It has become worse since then.

  3. Glenn

    Greed is rapidly destroying our mother earth, our true God and it is the rapeing of our planet which will be all of our demise. Thank you John.

  4. Blabber_Mouth

    I love Pilger's docs.

    It's such a shame that so many people have to go through such suffering, so that a tiny amount of swine can have enough money, individually, to support some countries!!

    There HAS to be a Hell, nothing else makes sense. It's gonna be standing room only down there, too.

  5. DustUp

    Probably can still find it/them, articles from a fellow who was an advance man for usa corporates wanting into South America. His job was to persuade and bribe presidents and/or officials if he could. If he was unable, they would eventually send others to get rid of those thwarting their access to the natural resources. He mentioned an airplane accident and the next president being much more cooperative, getting his pockets filled while the people get screwed. Same same for the those usa presidents and recent State Department Clinton selling out to foreign interests as well as the PTB much of which is represented(or their representatives) are in the CFR which you can watch Hillary bowing to verbally on youtube. "Glad you are so close to the state dept. so I can pop over and see what you want done..." Obama trying to influence elections of other countries being a puppet of the powers that be(PTB). Those PTB have been trying to consolidate power further so we will be easier to manage. Salute to the brits who put a monkey wrench in that power consolidation scheme of the EU. Others should follow.

    So the problem is, how do potential leaders of the so called 3rd world who have a good plan to put their people to work, creating a vibrant economy, to keep them free and content, while keeping out the banksters ...how do they remain alive let alone get elected? No doubt the PTB have slithered into the elections of many a country by hook or by crook. If you can figure that out and put it into action, we in the first world will need to do same.

    1. Diane Emling

      Reflections of an Economic Hitman

  6. Samo Soviett

    Nothing have been changed in 2014 / Killing is everywhere. When this all will change !!!

  7. Steve Perreira

    Bankers are parasites. Where individuals need help getting started with a business, micro-lending on affordable terms has worked - such as initiated by the Gr-amine Bank in India. The large central planning projects financed by the World Bank are almost always a boondoggle. It is a fallacy to think that an elite few can plan the course for billlions of bright, but less privileged people. I believe in individual initiative and capitalism, but I despise cronyism. Jesus taught us, blessed are the meek. My prayers are they shall rise up against the elite and be unburdened.

  8. Dan

    Great doco

  9. Wasike

    Absolutely important documentary as relevant now as it was over two decades ago when it was produced.

    The tragic comedy is that much of the debt in the 3rd world was inherited from the previous colonial regimes, who due to their vested interests continue to perpetuate neo-colonialism, by imposing stringent conditions that keep 3rd world countries locked in debts they will never fully settle especially with interest payments on top.

    Even with a burgeoning middle class in many of these third world countries the wealth gap has expanded significantly thanks in part to the debt crisis and its SAP measures which as is evident in this documentary film benefits only those submissive to the whims of the economic imperialists.

  10. Kip Keino

    We're all brought up to agree that it's good to borrow - as much as possible. It's a wrong-headed belief. Re; the Philippine Nuke reactor: Have everyone involved with the funding for that fiasco, pay a commensurate share to pay back the Filipino treasury.

  11. Cy Jer

    Mr Pilger Good day to you and I commend youwith the journalistic work you do. Your courage and deep commitment to the opressed nations is admirable as a n invastigating journalist and more importantly as a human being. I admire your work mostly from the human stand point. You are the voice for the voiceless peoples of our world. I always watch and read anything produced by you. May you and your work be blessed and I sicerely hope there be more professional journalists like you. Keep up the good work. with regards, from a stranger in CA, US

  12. John Doherty

    An outstanding piece of historical reportage when viewed today. Needs to be updated for balance sake and to reflect this period of austerity

  13. rtm

    why doesnt anyone say weather they liked the freaking doc or not just a bunch of discussions.

  14. Nicole Sandrini

    what can i do about this? giving to charity doesn't seem substantial

  15. Zengo Selmanoski

    It is "GREED" that will destroy human existence. Throughout the human "existence" there has always been two classes at least the"Ruling" and the "Ruled" Class. Therefore one of the ways to eliminate "banking" system is through internal psychological changes of our thought process, however the greed does not allow human species to evolve at the necessary higher level. We have become accustomed to being "materialistic" society in the west, we value people by how much money they have rather on intellectual, human and emotional level. The Banks are too powerful at the moment they are running the show and therefore unless there is some kind of "Global" catastrophe where the earth rebels against the human species, we have no chance in changing the "status" at the moment. The middle and upper middle class is the only way to make a dent on the "banking Sector", by organizing and self financing, but unfortunately most of the "well-off" middle class is employed by the banks. For example one of the great "bank-free" ways is the new internet-based financing i.e crowd-sourcing (by the people) for projects and ideas. The politics have to change and that can only happen when the people stop paying their debt to bank and paying taxes. Use the "loopholes" that are made for the wealthy. Use Cash Only, do not purchase 'materials" excessively. Do not borrow from the big banks. Empty the accounts (ie pay cash). Purchase and convert your savings into Gold and Silver. As long as the banks do not have people "borrowing" and going into debt their fortune and power will start to fall, therefore their influence will fall also. And do not invest in stock or Bonds or Any other "Crap" that the bank tells you to do, you are only wasting your money. Banks make money when people borrow money from them. One rule if you can't afford it Cash do not buy it, period.

    1. Steve Perreira

      Dear Zengo. Thank you for your sincere comments. Banks are too powerful, and yes, the public plays into their hands by being materialistic and borrowing instead of saving they buying with cash. Maybe "crowd sourcing" is a better way, but I have seen plenty of scams on crowd sourcing too. The best way is to be frugal, avoid borrowing. The best way to get rid of banks is to not borrow. There is a problem though, that being the governments that borrow against the will of the people they govern (and sometimes with their will). This is a severe challenge -Steve-

    2. Lauriesheri

      Just to clarify, I think you made a typo. I think you meant, "Saving then buying" not "Saving THEY buying."

  16. SammyRi

    Work for the love of it, do away with the monetary system, there's no possible way it could be worse than this.

  17. awful_truth

    Anytime people from 1st world nations are feeling sorry for themselves, they need only watch documentaries like this to remind them how good they really have it. The solution to global economic problems lies in obliterating the man made cancer we call 'interest'. (usury) This single concept saps equality, and fairness from the very people who do the most work.
    Since all money is created from nothing, (fiat currency) people need to ask themselves why they are paying interest on loans to begin with. This is without a doubt the greatest threat to global stability, and until this single issue is addressed,(removed for good) our demise as a species is assured.
    This is a terrific documentary for exposing the 'lies' justifying wealth creation to combat poverty.

    1. Geno X

      One important to-do for everyone is study the circumstances that led to the assassination of JFK because of his plan for the US to print the dollar (instead of the Federal Reserve).

    2. awful_truth

      You are absolutely correct. Sadly, there was many others issues as well that JFK was going to attempt to address before he was murdered. (pull troops out of Vietnam, rights for African Americans, co-venture with Russians for moon landing, dis-assemble the CIA, and yes of course, disempower the federal reserve) Since all of these actions were a threat to the 'powers that be', it isn't hard to imagine why Lucien Sarti was contracted to assassinate him.
      In the final analysis, greed rules the day, and until this construct is replaced with a new paradigm of thinking, humanity's destruction is assured.

    3. stubones49

      Every dollar that you earned and spent, your father earned and spent and probably his father earned and spent, was nothing short of an I.O.U. to the U.S.A.rous (usurarous) Rothschild Ashkenazi Jew Dynasty-

    4. Steve Perreira

      Dear AT: Interest is not a cancer. Interest is necessary, as well as other means of Return on Investment, because every government in the world has a policy to INFLATE their currency - in other words, to steal from savers. This right monetary policy is zero inflation. Then we can contemplate zero interest loans. More importantly, borrowing is a weak strategy. Almost everyone i know who bought a house and borrowed money to do it - in my neighborhood - lost they house after the 2008 recession. Meanwhile, I struggled without a loan, used my own labor, recycled materials, spent my SAVINGS, and built a modest yet beautiful home and have NO DEBT. How sweet it is! -Steve-

    5. awful_truth

      Thanks for the response Steve, and I appreciate your position. The problem, is we have a system that is based on the perception of reality, (not reality itself) and one of continuous growth. My beef with interest is that vast majority of money people earn is diverted to a small number of individuals who own the banks, and other constructs such as the federal reserve in the U.S. (collects a trillion dollars a year in interest for doing nothing) Since the money is created from nothing, (fiat currency - based upon debt/people's labor) interest merely drains the population's effort, and reinforces the status quo. (global pyramid scheme)
      Since homes/property are the collateral of the loan, their is no need for interest. Of course, while some people may receive a return on investment, it is a rigged game, (greed/evil is running the world) where the vast majority of people lose on their investments. (401 k's, pension plans, hedge funds, derivatives, etc) If people were not paying so much on interest, they could invest in themselves. The idea of making money while doing nothing, or producing anything of value, only leads to the acceptance of exploitation of others who have less.
      Where we draw a moral line in the land of grey says something about the nature of the society we live in. (legal doesn't guarantee moral) Of course, all of this is just my opinion, and should be taken as such; since we are all inherently flawed, yet have so much to offer to one another. Take care, and best wishes Steve.
      P.S: You are absolutely correct that borrowing is a terrible strategy, and cudos to you for being able to avoid it in purchasing your house. (great job)

    6. Steve Perreira

      Thanks AT! I read a bunch of your other discussions ... very nice and polite. You'd have lots of friends up here in the Sierra foothills. Stop by if you pass this way. I think if everyone realized that banks do get "money for nothing" and then lend out many times that amount against the reserve that they got for nothing, then they might demand lower, more affordable interest rates. Today, business reports announce record bank profits. I agree strongly, there is a big problem with making money while doing nothing. -Steve-

    7. awful_truth

      Thank you for the kind words Steve. I would love to check out your stompin grounds. (the Sierra foothills are in what, California, or Nevada? - apologies, I am Canadian, so my American geography is spotty) Last time I was out in that general direction was in Los Angeles for 8 days for a computer convention back in 1997.
      Take care, and best wishes Steve, and keep fighting the good fight!

  18. Steven Fraser

    This is why I don't take anyone "fighting poverty" seriously. If you don't have a gun in your hand shooting the bankers, you aren't doing anything to alleviate poverty.

    1. bluetortilla

      If you believe in your heart that the economic system is unjust you have the duty to boycott that system as an individual and live outside it as much as possible. People in general underestimate the power of the individual.
      If you really feel compassion for the hardships of the majority, you should try living on the same means as they do, as long as you can do so following the first condition above.
      Passive resistance is a method that has been used with varying degrees of success. Still, I think the record supports it efficacy and its potential is great. It requires strong leadership and even stronger commitment though. It is war in a new dimension, the dimension of the mind and soul and soldiers in such a war must be willing to risk their lives.
      As the problem with finance is systemic, it must be suffocated. It is a cliche, but bankers are paper tigers (and no pun intended either). When attacked, what are they going to do- throw their accountants at you? No, they'll whine and groan to the military. Fortunately, historically speaking the military prefers not to rule directly (exceptions noted) and is capable of persuasion. Toppling a bank is easy. The really hard part is not just educating the people, but fostering courage to do so. It reminds me of the last scene in Alice in Wonderland.

    2. Steven Fraser

      Very well thought out comment.

    3. Pysmythe

      Beat all bankers over the head with tallysticks and then throw them in the woodchipper feet first.

    4. Steve Perreira

      The best strategy is to boycott them. Don't borrow. Banks will disappear and banksters will have to find something else to do, hopefully something productive and useful to humanity. -Steve-

  19. ungovernable

    what do you expect when the world is run by the biggest criminals of the lot. they all need locking up and put to work on a chain gang-might make the b"%&*^ds think about what they have done.
    i feel sorry for the future generations of this world which sad as it is, is why i have chosen not to have children myself.
    money is not everything, there is no neeed for anyone to be starving to death when these $^%&*^*^ have billions of $ that they will never spsnd, dont need makes me sick to even be part of a race that can do such things to other humans.
    peace :(

    1. Odizzle

      refreshing honesty, well said.

    2. Leasy

      The saddest part is TWENTY years after the making of this documentary, absolutely NOTHING has changed. We can plead with money men to write off debt that should never have happened in the first place but it will never happen. Greed, indifference, inhuman thy name is World Bank. Every country that has debt should, collectively, refuse to pay it back. Do you think the West can go to war on them all at the same time?

    3. bluetortilla

      Good on ya, As much as I fancy the idea, the people would end up shot/bombed or in prison/labor camps. I'm diggin' on a Ghana dude getting a class action law suit going against electronics corporations waste dumping in his community's back yard.
      These people coordinating 'third world' debt repayments are BANKERS and we cannot forget that. Bankers never forget and never forgive. But, bankers are very legalistic and that's the best weapon to fight them with- legal action. In fact, Aquino had success with that. Probably we shouldn't care too much about the IMF as such (they don't care whose blood it is as long as it's blood) but focus rather on hitting the corporations for huge compensation for environmental destruction and loss of human life. That would promote more awareness and have a better chance of success.
      A big part of this problem too is that these nation's governments don't care about their people any more than the world bank does. Marcos was iconic of course but every country has an elite that is looking out for itself, amassing wealth, and could care less about living conditions in the slums. It will not be easy to change cold hearts but on the other hand we are by no means helpless.

  20. Margaret

    Excellent documentary! Now, 2010 and the same things are still going on. The concept of development we have must be changed, it is all a joke.

  21. chocolatestarfish

    @toodance: not only in the US mate.

    and then we wonder why some folks are easy prey for hatemongers and incite people to commit violence.

  22. WTC7


    Excellent summary! All joke and irony - which most people in the developed world have no ability to see through, lulled by good life. They actually think that their countries are helping those poor fellas in the Third World, and the question "how come that I have all I need and these guys don't" has a very convenient answer "well, those poor guys are mostly lazy, uneducated and corrupt". I wish that was the real answer...

  23. Luke Wilson

    Wow. Eye-opening. This was made in the early 90's and nothing has changed in almost 20yrs and I dont expect anything to change in the next 200 either. Sad that the value of humanlife and nature itself has been reduced to almost nothing. It amazes me when I see the slogans of this big international so-called humanitarian organisations as they are meant as an ironic joke of somekind. World Bank and IMF to eradicate and fight world poverty, irony. The UN to stop wars from happening, another piece of irony. Charitable events like live-aid and comic relief another piece of irony designed to make those who profit from the suffering of other people sleep better at night - lets raise 10 million in aid but lets not mention the 2 billion we're gonna receive in interest payments from the same ppl this 10million is going to. Amazing. Planet earth, the place to be.

    1. Lauriesheri

      A very intelligent and perceptive comment, Luke.

  24. toodance

    I admire John Pilger. He presents information that is hard to look at. In USA, most people prefer not to look at it, or even think about what he choses to report on.

    1. bluetortilla

      Me too. He's a hero.

  25. platoson

    Well written well researched, but at the same time quite shocking to see how the rich exploit the poor.

    Excellent documentary, though sadly, some 17 years later, and after Jubilee 2000 and the situation tragically remains the same.