Television reporters stand in front of the shut doors of banks in Athens and speak as if a few days more of bank closure brings the Greeks that much closer to catastrophe. Media coverage dwells obsessively on the theme that for Greece it is five minutes to midnight, but somehow midnight never comes. Shuttered banks... Read More
I spent last week in South Korea helping make a television documentary about my grandfather, Henry Cockburn, who was British Consul General in Korea shortly before the First World War. He arrived in 1905, just as Japan was occupying the country and extinguishing Korean independence, for a posting which was to change his life and... Read More
As a correspondent in Washington 20 years ago, I received occasional calls from local television stations on the anniversary of the burning of the White House by a British force in August 1814. The reason they wanted a comment was because the raid was jointly led by my distant ancestor, Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who... Read More
One of the more satisfactory aspects of being a journalist is the discovery that the powerful are hyper-sensitive to any revelation about their activities. The degree of venom and hysteria expressed by the US government in attacking Julian Assange and WikiLeaks reflects this acute sense of vulnerability. My father, Claud Cockburn, discovered this in 1933... Read More
As a child the only interesting fact that I knew about my grandfather Henry Cockburn was that he had read his own obituary in The Times. This happened because he was a diplomat in the British legation during the siege of Peking in 1900 during which the Chinese Boxer rebels were wrongly reported to have... Read More
My father Claud Cockburn once said that the report that God was on the side of the big battalions was propaganda put about by big-battalion commanders to demoralise their opponents. He saw the rich and powerful as highly vulnerable to journalistic guerrilla warfare of a type largely invented by himself. In 1933, he founded The... Read More
Patrick Cockburn is the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. His book on his years covering the war in Iraq, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction.