Cambodia to British “Killing Fields” director ‘Sir’ ‘Lord’ Puttnam: “What planet did you arrive from?”
British movie director ‘Lord’ David Puttnam returns to “The Killing Fields”, defends ex Khmer Rouge, condemns journalists, embarrasses London
By Nate Thayer
March 10, 2014
This is why Hollywood and journalism should be separated by an electrified iron curtain, like church and state.
And why, by extension, similar rules should apply to Hollywood and clueless moneyed elites being appointed to real jobs in governments.
It also raises the question why that goofy British government body of British celebrities and elite rich appointed to government by the Queen–the House of Lords–still exists.
The Killing Fields movie director and now ‘Lord’ and ‘Sir’ David Puttnam was recently appointed the British government trade envoy to Cambodia.
He arrived in Phnom Penh last week and embarrassingly supplicated himself to Cambodian dictator and ‘Prime Minister’ Hun Sen , praising him for his “commitment to ending corruption” and then denounced the media “as just another arm of the opposition.”
In comments made last week to the British Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh, Puttnam left many in his audience stunned when he defended Cambodian government corruption, the source of massive street demonstrations, scores of arrests,and numerous politically motivated murders in recent months.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where I have received such an absolute answer from government on the issues of stopping and stamping out corruption,” Puttnam said, according to the longtime British journalist James Pringle writing in the Asia Sentinel. “I find the commitment and determination here to confine it [corruption] and root it out is very real,” he said.
He condemned local journalists, dozens of whom have been arrested and murdered under the current Cambodian government of HUn Sen. The world’s longest-serving dictator is an ex Khmer Rouge military commander who came to power by violent military coup overthrowing a British and U.N. back elected government.
Puttnam said “the challenge for the media is that you have to decide what your role is: is it to inflame or inform?” His movie the “Killing Fields” starred foreign correspondents being caught in the bloody rise to power of Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge are known to have executed at least 33 journalists.
“Lord” Puttnam made his comments to the British Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh in his official capacity as the appointed member of the British House of Lords and in his additional official capacity and position as the British government trade envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, appointed by the British Prime Minister. His comments were made to the British Chamber of Commerce in Phnom Penh.
Both “Lord” David Puttnam and Cambodian “Prime Minister” Hun Sen did take similar career paths to arrive at their current perches in government power.
David Puttnam serves “at Her Majesties Pleasure” in the British government body–the House of Lords–where they still wear long grey wigs and dress in 17th century play uniforms.
Hun Sen was plucked from his previous job as a Khmer Rouge military commander by the invading Vietnamese army, appointed the youngest Prime Minister on earth, and now holds the distinction being the longest-serving dictator on the planet. After the U.N. spent $3 billion dollars to hold elections and Hun Sen lost, he threw a bloody military temper tantrum and directed an orgy of torture and murder destroying opposition political parties and media.
Puttnam made the brilliant movie ‘Killing Fields’ which was a blockbuster Hollywood success. There never was a sequel. I suspect–and this is pure speculation on my part–it was because in the true story line of post Khmer Rouge Cambodia history, there is nobody to plausibly play the role of the good guys.
“Lord” Putnam’s embarrassing spectacle recalls the private remarks of the French ambassador to Cambodia in 1998, shaking his head in contempt, after U.S. diplomat Kent Weiderman flew to Phnom Penh and met with the then (and still) same corrupt and bloody dictator, Hun Sen, in the wake of string of government orchestrated murders and torture of opposition leaders and journalists and said: “I am convinced Hun Sen and the Cambodian government are firmly on the road to democracy.”
The French ambassadors comment, then, applies to “Lord” Putnam, now, 15 years later: “What planet did he arrive from?”