A 1991 letter from John Pilger on a newspaper's coverage of his documentary on Cambodia

A letter from John Pilger in The Sunday Times, 10 March 1991, page 18

IN your article headlined “Dimbleby fury over award to anti-war broadcaster”, you referred to my television documentary Cambodia: The Betrayal (front page, last week). You wrote that The Sunday Times had “investigated” Pilger's accusations last October (about the SAS training the Khmer Rouge) and “found insufficient evidence to substantiate them”.

Almost the opposite is true. On October 21, 1990 The Sunday Times published an article by Ian Glover-James, who confirmed that British troops were training Sihanoukist and KPNLF guerrillas. “They are fighting alongside the more powerful Khmer Rouge guerrilla army,” wrote Glover-James. He added that “there is evidence that, whatever the policy, distinctions on the ground become blurred. Khmer Rouge fighters have probably benefited...”

Indeed, Khmer Rouge and members of the other two guerrilla factions are now fully integrated in both specialist training programmes and units in the field. Ian Glover-James confirmed the evidence, of my film - that “SAS training of Cambodian guerrillas is believed to have started in 1985” and that “Pilger's documentary provided an uncomfortable reminder that 15 years after the massacres which won them international opprobrium, the Khmer Rouge are still powerful players in Cambodia, with a political future underwritten by Britain and other members of the UN Security Council”.

This flies in the face of the reaction of Douglas Hurd, whom you quoted as saying that the British connection in Cambodia was “untrue” and “unaccompanied by an serious evidence”.

You also mentioned a libel action against Central Television and myself by two former members of the SAS named in the film. Not only is this action being vigorously defended, but further extensive and independent investigation has provided vital new evidence that goes to the heart of Britain's role in Cambodia. Suffice to say that the film was 100% accurate, and that SAS personnel have been involved in training interrogation units.

John Pilger

Central Independent Television plc


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