8Published on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 by Agence France Presse
Hollywood Star Robbins Blasts US Media Ignorance of 'High Crimes' in Iraq
by Tim Harper

Acclaimed American actor/director Tim Robbins blasted the US government's policy on terrorism -- and the US media's failure to examine it critically -- at a news conference in Athens promoting his stage version of George Orwell's "1984".

"We have right now a media that is willfully ignoring the high crimes and misdemeanours of the president of the United States," the star of Hollywood hits including "Mystic River" and "The Player" told reporters.

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"Clinton lied about a blowjob, and got impeached by the media and Congress," Robbins said.

"(Bush) got us into (the Iraq) war based on lies that he knew were lies. ... His war has recruited more Al-Qaeda members than Osama bin Laden could ever have dreamed for ... yet no one in the media is calling for impeachment," he said.

Robbins pointed out similarities between current US policies on terrorism and the authoritarian society described by Orwell.

"Unfortunately, the book and the play is more relevant now than it ever has been," he said. "(It) talks about continuous warfare as a means to control the Western economy, and as a way to control rebel elements within society through the use of fear, constant fear."

"In my country we seem to be sanctioning renditioning of innocent people without trial ... put them in jail without telling anyone ... and torture them out of suspicion of what we think they might do," Robbins said.

"This is exactly what Orwell was talking about when he spoke of thought crimes," he added.

Orwell's bleak classic, published in 1949, is based on a futuristic society in which the government, known as "Big Brother", spies on its citizens' every move and tortures them on suspicion of dissent.

The play, which Robbins produces and directs, opened in Athens for a five-day run on Tuesday.

He is hoping to also direct a film version of the play in the fall.

Copyright AFP 2006