Not so long before the mainstream media was lying the United States into a war with Iraq, I had purchased a book called ‘What Liberal Media‘?
The book made its case exhaustively; that there was not a liberal media bias but in fact a neoconservative one.
In 2011, it became one of many books that I donated to the People’s Library at Occupy Auckland. Ill-fatedly it seems, as that library was dismantled and the books seized by private security contractors hired by the Auckland Council (the High Court in Auckland later judged the seizure and the raids to be illegal but no reparations have ever been offered to or obtained by Occupiers).
There is very little about my personal politics that would ever have indicated to anyone, let alone myself, that I could be a Trump supporter. On the surface, he stands against everything I have all but sacrificed my life fighting for.
He prides himself on his ability to throw his weight around. To effectively bully people into getting his own way. In ‘The Apprentice‘ he presided over a televisual representation of the dog-eat-dog corporate world. One where lies flow fast and freely and people are tacitly applauded for doing hatchet jobs on one another. Where only the immoral survive let alone flourish.
He is the embodiment of capitalism, a dying economic experiment that is the cause of untold misery the world over.
Yet due to the endless tirades against him in mass media, and his anti-TPP and anti-war stances, many activists including myself began to empathise with him.
Witnessing what we just have in the course of the US election, it is now impossible to deny that there is a liberal bias in the media. The obviousness of the bias, the refusal of that media to hold themselves to account and the apparent inability of anyone else to do it either, has created a massive backlash against it.
A backlash that Trump has benefited from.
In his recent CBS 60 Minutes post-election interview, Trump said that social media, particularly his massive followings on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram, had played a large part in his victory. He said he gained 100,000 followers in a day, and believed his social media footprint directly tackled, and won over, what he described as ‘a billion dollars’ spent against him by the Clinton machine.
And it wasn’t just the Clinton machine or the traditional liberal media that were out to put the knife in him. My favourite publication, The Intercept, which should be acknowledged and commended for consistently running stories critical of both candidates and of the process as a whole, in fact ran a series of dozens and dozens of hit pieces against Trump.
When The Intercept‘s reporter Robert Mackey filed his first anti-Trump piece, I barely noticed. I actually had a massive antipathy towards the electoral process, which I saw as entirely flawed and a choice between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee – or “cholera versus gonorrhea” as Assange famously described it – sympomatic of the puppet show that is modern American politics.
It had been clear to millions of us around the world in 2011 that the system was irredeemably broken and corrupt and certainly there has been no meaningful reform since that time to change our opinions.
By Mackey’s third anti-Trump piece, it seemed like more of the same. By his sixth anti-Trump piece, it was becoming abundantly clear that Mackey just plain did not like Donald Trump and did not want him elected.
By the 12th anti-Trump piece I was becoming convinced (wrongly, I hope!) that Mackey might be part of some conspiracy involving the Clinton-endorsing New York Timeswith which he was formerly employed, and utilising The Intercept for Clinton’s own ends.
As an avid The Intercept reader, by the time the 20th anti-Trump piece rolled around I had decided that I just plain did not like Mackey, that he was a pro-Clinton bully, and that this Trump guy might not be so terrible if Hillary Clinton, arguably the most corrupt candidate of all time, and her supporters, disliked him so much.
Now to be fair to Mackey, he has been openly taking on Ann Coulter so he can’t be that bad a guy after all! I also think Greenwad wouldn’t back his work if he wasn’t convinced Mackey is genuine. But Mackey’s constant filing of anti-Trump themed articles made him appear to have an unhealthy obsession, which diminished any credibility his arguments had, and they all just melded together until they were indistinguishable, into one great big serialised diatribe.
At a certain point, the anti-Trump posts became so frequent that I stopped reading them at all. Just rolled my eyes and silently said to myself ‘oh, another anti-Trump piece, what a surprise.’
For the Trump camp, Mackey’s efforts became the practical embodiment of the phrase ‘even bad press is better than no press‘.
If I had to guess, I would have said The Intercept published 20 anti-Trump pieces. But according to him, the exact number was 37. In a three-week period.
Pushing an average of nearly two per day, what effect was it thought this would have? Since when has over-saturation not made people sick of whatever it is being shoved down their throats? The backlash was inevitable.
Trump, who I had no affinity with whatsoever, was being turned into an underdog besieged by establishment journalists in my eyes and I had just spent years standing up for underdogs besieged by the establishment. In a bizarre and twisted way, this simply served to make people like me want to defend him, despite the fact that he is someone who wields massive power and would not otherwise have ever been viewed as an underdog at all, nor a figure in need of defending.
Such is the polarising effect of this election – even the career anarchists picked a side. If even people considered as ‘radical’ as I (enough so to end up on a list passed from one government to the next) ended up participating in the Coke versus Pepsi contest, the string-pullers really are clinking champagne glasses while those of us who have been fighting for a systemic rebuild tear our hair out.
More than ever before, the media have become The Band That Played On. As Glenn Greenwald brilliantly pointed out, introspection is a foreign concept to the liberal class. The post-election period has only served to compound that the liberal media bias does exist and was in no way cowed let alone dismantled by their total and abject failure in the lead-up to election night.
The handling by CBS of the seemingly traditional first-post-election-interview of the President-elect is a great example of this.
I had hoped to put the questions up against each other in sequential order, for comparison. Except that would be impossible. Because although both interviews were roughly forty minutes in duration, 60 Minutes asked Obama 47 questions, but they asked Trump 73.
There is no greater indicator of the inherent bias of the editors than the note that each interview finished on. It’s so blatant it’s comical.
The last question asked of President-elect Trump and his family? “Let me ask if any of you think the campaign has hurt the Trump brand.”
The last question asked of President-elect Obama and his wife Michelle? “As President of the United States what do you plan to do about getting a college play-off for the national championship?”
Of the 47 questions asked of Obama, somewhere between 12 and 14 of them related to policy, depending on how strictly you apply the term. 3 of the questions were about his ex-apartment in DC. 2 questions were about what he was reading. Another 2 questions related to his mother-in-law and 2 more as to whether the incoming First Family would get a dog.
Despite Obama’s election win having occured in the middle of a Global Economic Crisis that drew constant comparison to the 30’s and the Great Depression (something Obama decries in the interview), the overwhelming majority of questions asked of him were jovial if not completely superfluous in nature. Each question led to a new topic, with very little pushback on any of his answers.
Of the 73 questions asked of President-elect Trump, somewhere around 6 were on policy, or if you include questions about his Cabinet appointments, about 10. How is this possible? That he would be asked substantially less about policy than Obama was, when he was asked two-thirds more total questions?
A closer look at the language is really revealing.
A question put to Obama is: “Have there been moments when you’ve wondered what did I get myself into?”
But with Trump it becomes “Are you in any way intimidated, scared, about this enormous burden, the gravity of what you’re taking on?”
I could go on and on, and usually would, but now that I’m endeavouring to write daily, have to keep this short. The full list of questions in each interview speak for themselves. There was every attempt to keep Obama at ease, and every attempt to provoke or trip up Trump. But the public didn’t buy it before and won’t now. That ship has sailed.
How many members of the public would love to get the heads and top anchors of the six major media organisations into one room and tell them exactly what they think of them? Apparently Trump has done exactly that.
The full story is available at the NYPost – at least what parts of it were leaked by the press organisations themselves despite their commitment to the meeting being off-the-record.
Trump, of course, would have anticipated this, and will be having the last laugh, as are all who are reading it and living vicariously. Whether or not it will be the wake-up call the press needed, remains to be seen. The most intriguing aspect of all is the extent to which the narratives of the major press corporations are an extension of the express wishes of the intelligence community and its covertly implanted members and thus what this really says about what is in store for America going forward.
The voice of reason may be John Stewart. His heartfelt appeal for people to understand how intellectually deprived it is to simply decry all Trump supporters as ‘racist’ is a must-read.
Or it may be the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) who has similarly appealed to his own community, drawing attention to a famous quote that African Americans should have ‘neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies, just permanent interests’.
This may be the tiny beginnings of reconciliation, though you won’t be able to tell that from today’s headlines in the New York Times, which are still scratching away at the same broken fiddle.
But funnily enough, derision doesn’t unite people and if you aren’t willing to reach out a hand to your ideological foe, you will never be able to bridge the faultlines that the elite so carefully devise and construct to divide us.
To that end, Robert Mackey, the next drink is on me.
In the backwards Orwellian nightmare we live in, exercising common sense or stating things as they quite plainly are and thus expressing views that oppose the monied and complicit status quo, is deemed a ‘radical’ and untenable position.
Radical because too few have the proverbial balls to openly speak their mind or own the full extent of their true opinions in public, making those of us who do a rarity.
Untenable because doing so makes you a target for relentless persecution or worse; a deterrent which is highly effective against those who treasure their public perception or persona, possessions, property, prosperity or (perceived) privacy above the need to appease their conscience by calling a spade a spade, honouring their humanity and openly advocating for the sociopolitical evolution we so desperately need.
It was only a few years ago that millions of people were emboldened to speak up and demand radical (read: common sense) change. The relative speed with which they were largely subdued and corralled back into the political mainstream is frankly shocking and testament to the lethal efficiency of the systems of social control that surround us.
Even Occupy Has Forgotten What Occupy Is About
“No true democracy is obtainable when the process is determined by economic power.” – The Occupy Wall Street General Assembly
The founding declaration of Occupy Wall Street needs to be periodically revisited, to remind us of what birthed the movement.
It is poignantly read below, by Keith Olbermann.
Unfortunately, the societal conditions described remain to this day and have become even further entrenched; exacerbated by the passage of time. Every word of the founding statement holds true, yet the spirit of resistance in which it was authored, has been mostly co-opted by the same politicians and organisations who it once critiqued and decried.
During Occupy, the idea that our main social media accounts – @OccupyWallSt & @OccupyWallStNYC would be used to congratulate politicians, would have led to a massive outcry, but we have become so used to the blatant co-option of our movement that few barely even notice it anymore.
“Our Revolution Endures” etched in the colours of a political party, above a “Paid For By Bernie 2016″ campaign disclaimer makes a complete mockery of the word revolution:
“Not the billionaires” it says inside parentheses, the words spelled out in a pale grey scale – as if, as I predicted in December 2015 that he would, Bernie hasn’t just sold his campaign supporters out to Hillary and the very same billionaires he spent so long decrying.
I got the month wrong – April rather than July – but it was clear from the outset that Bernie Sanders was B.S.
Occupy was born of the betrayal of the broken promises of Obama.
Of course the elites knew that ruse would work again. It always has. Generation after generation, we never learn.
And thus – when the politician full of attractive rhetoric eventually sells us out – the cycle of disillusionment, civic rage and institutional violence, oppression and then political co-option renews.
It isn’t revolution at all.
It’s a cycle and it’s perpetual. Manufactured by the elites. They just pull the levers and watch it spin, around and around again.
I smelled it coming when the compositional horror story that is the band “Nickelback” released the song “Edge of a Revolution.” I can’t even embed the video here because it is so revolutionary that anyone who uploads it to You Tube is instantly hit with a copyright notice and removal.
Bless her soul, even Jill Stein isn’t immune to using the word ‘revolution’ to describe a political campaign. I retweeted and liked the tweet despite it, because I also think if Bernie was worth his salt that in the wake of the betrayal, he would have joined Stein and not Clinton.
The real revolution started by Occupy and not yet finished can be quantified in the bodies of the literal dead – the hopes crushed, the houses lost, the citizens exiled, the relationships and careers destroyed, the homeless re-disenfranchised by the evictions, the property stolen and destroyed.
Every time a politician says the word ‘revolution’ that is all I see. Tents being ripped to shreds, the People’s library being hauled away in rubbish trucks ultimately paid for by the same People whose will was being subverted, whose dreams lay shattered.
Those who gave everything they were and had, to bring the movement to prominence, only to be completely betrayed and violated by the societal infrastructure that was supposed to protect us.
We are spat on every time the language of our struggle is misappropriated for temporary political gain.
The Age Of Hypocrisy
This is the age of hypocrisy that we live in. We know the political process is bullshit – we knew it in 2011. Prior generations knew it, railed against it and lost, just like us. But here we all are, participating in it once again nonetheless.
I know full well that it is all just a great big reality TV show. But I have still voted every election cycle of my adult life.
Most of the people who know me, with the exception of those few who are in even deeper trouble for their honesty and principles than I am, would tell you I am the most ‘radical’ person they have ever met.
Yet even I find myself writing tweets and articles – albeit criticisms, including this one – that feed the electoral monster just by giving it breath.
My own inadvertent complicity scares me almost as much as the corruption and the collusion behind the political farce – because it indicates the level of saturation of the message that participation in the political process – even the critique of it – is a requirement of a properly functioning democracy.
But we knew in 2011 that the process was irredeemably broken.
Just like we knew it in 2000. In 1986. In 1963. In 1935.
George Bush’s brother handing him the presidential election was “democracy” in action.
JFK getting shot in the head on live TV. That was “democracy” in action.
Wall Street making billions while everyone else goes bankrupt. Police beating, pepper-spraying and mass arresting protesters, while “protecting” a bronze bull statue. That was “democracy” in action.
The same nepotism, grand larceny, financial crimes and human rights violations that the USA accuses everyone else of but themselves. That, is “democracy” in action.
We don’t need or want it and desperately have to find a way to get free of the political mousewheel, for good.
In a real revolution, no one would be allowed to own luxury holiday homes in seven different cities that sit empty 50 weeks per year, while retirees and veterans sleep on park benches.
Every bedroom in the White House would be open to homeless families.
Public money paid for every luxury in that building, yet the public are restricted from even seeing the inside of it let alone enjoying it.
All politicians, including the U.S. presidents are the same ilk of usurpers, usurists and tinpot dictators that they so frequently decry.
A real revolution would put direct democracy into the hands of everyone, and undermine the power of the few.
It is long overdue.
Snowden Nailed It
The U.S. election is an illusion of choice and that fact, at least, is more widely accepted than ever before.
Edward Snowden’s publically expressed distaste for both political candidates tracks back quite some time.
WikiLeaks Led The Charge
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ criticism of Trump tracks back even further.
Largely as backlash for the wildly successful #DNCLeak, the world’s corporate press are currently accusing WikiLeaks of essentially being a front for Russian hackers and/or favouring Trump.
I look at it from the following perspective. I followed Hillary Clinton for years, you know that I have a personal issue with Hillary because she was Secretary of State when we published diplomatic cables and more recently emails refused to disclose. And she is much more warlike than Obama. What happened in Libya, the destruction of that country and the collapse of its state, it was mostly a war of Hillary. Hillary was behind it all. Pentagon generals opposed to intervene but Hillary pushed for that bombing. So now comes in Donald Trump, who is more ‘guerrero‘ than Hillary. So whoever wins will be even more aggressive than Obama. The Trump phenomenon is interesting. At this time there is not a massive flood of Latin Americans wanting to enter the United States. Then it is interesting to see where does this phenomenon. Trump is appealing to the same grotesque nationalism can be seen in discussions on refugees in Australia and Europe. The issue of immigrants really was not on the agenda significantly until Donald Trump began to lift. The rest of the Republican Party has more decency and more willing to like voters Hispanic roots.
[Note: The Google translation of the word ‘guerrero’ made little sense so I left the word in Spanish and linked to another translation of that specific term which seems to explain it]
More recently, Assange made his feelings even more plain:
If essentially calling Donald Trump “Gonorrhea” isn’t enough to convince you – time for more hard evidence than merely opinion.
WikiLeaks, it turns out, as part of the very same leak they are copping so much criticism for, actually published Donald Trump’s donor list.
WikiLeaks – A Library Besieged By Barbarians
For the Empire, WikiLeaks getting 16,202 retweets on a single tweet is a nightmare from hell. Especially when the tweet in question was an epic release of US government insider information from inside the political party of the sitting US president.
The corporate media are no doubt equally apopleptic over WikiLeaks getting 14,304 retweets on a tweet like this:
Even the spelling mistake couldn’t stop such a pertinent point about the obvious mass media politically-motivated collusion and hypocrisy from going viral.
Yet politically-motivated collusion is what those already proven to be engaged in, are so eager to accuse WikiLeaks of. Along with a slew of associated accusations that ultimately just serve to distract from the actual content of the disclosures, which have been catastrophic for the Democrats.
Their subsequent National Convention has devolved into nothing short of a circus, as disillusioned Democrats find their voices and raise them in unison.
Julian Assange has famously compared WikiLeaks to the ancient Library of Alexandria. A colossal treasure trove of authentic documentation – a catalogue of human knowledge and historical documents, unmatched in modern times and besieged by barbarians who wish to bury, burn or suppress that knowledge by any means possible.
The barbarians in question are a who’s-who of the military industrial complex, as well as politicians in positions of significant power in many governments around the world who have been embarrassed, inconvenienced or angered by WikiLeaks publishing hidden truths.
His insights are really welcome and the interview is filled with original thought.
The interview debunks a slew of the criticisms against WikiLeaks.
On leaks versus hacks:
Information is constantly stolen by intelligence agencies the world over, for their own ends – yet when it is “stolen” and released to the public for the public good, the same governments who profit from the antics of their intelligence agencies, suddenly take affront at the methods by which the information in the releases are obtained.
Greenwald tackles this beautifully, with his comparison to Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers:
With regards to criticisms (which are prevalent but for which no actual evidence has been provided by critics – only conjecture) that WikiLeaks withheld the DNC release until the most politically expedient time, for maximum damage – Greenwald entirely debunks the theory, stating that -if- this was done, that it is a common practice for news media to withhold stories, for a variety of reasons.
“I think there is a lot of hypocrisy going on in criticizing WikiLeaks for that.” – Glenn Greenwald
The journalist presses him on the issue, but Greenwald stands strong in the face of continued questioning. He goes on to tackle some of the major anti-Trump talking points also; pointing out that criticism of NATO’s interventionist escapades (especially post-Libya) and a desire to tone down the aggression against Russia does not actually make Trump an agent of Russia – that these are legitimate aspects of foreign policy debate that should be had regardless of who is standing.
The pushback gets even firmer when Greenwald states:
It gets better. Reading the next part, I’m literally applauding in my seat. Finally, finally, a major mainstream figure is speaking the righteous rage of the people, without co-opting the message to a particular political platform.
The quote is so incredible it really needs to be read twice.
The reason [Brexit] resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can’t imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo. – Glenn Greenwald
Absolutely correct and this sham of an election is just adding fuel to the fire.
I don’t usually litter my articles with swear words and neither does Greenwald usually propagate them in his interviews either. But this is the level of frustration we are experiencing.
Nothing meaningful has changed since 2011. And we are all sick to death – literally – of that. No justice – no peace.
The Slate interview is long and comprehensive and there is a ton more worthy content in it than what is discussed above. It is well worth your time to read.
Old Grudges Rehashed
Unfortunately the debunking of so much of the anti-WikiLeaks hysteria has been predictably overshadowed by the singular criticism Greenwald upheld – and not for the first time.
In a media environment where few words and fast output equals easy money for beleaguered “journalists” – a single tweet by Snowden often spirals into global news.
Few journalists are interested in the “big picture” unless it can be explained in a paragraph or two and in a way that aligns with their own strategic career goals.
At a time when the temperature of establishment rage towards WikiLeaks is well past boiling point, it was inevitable that any criticism levelled at them by a usually sympathetic figure, or anyone who may have been viewed as an ally, would be immediately picked up and capitalised upon.
And whoomp – there it is:
Snowden sharing the Greenwald interview? 610 retweets. Snowden concurring with the singular Greenwald criticism of WikiLeaks? 5,100 retweets.
Which really makes you wonder how many people lauding the criticism actually bothered to read the full interview.
But the point Snowden was making isn’t new. He’s said it all along.
Snowden’s tweet counts 138 characters. (Yes, I’m such a geek as to have checked). Which might account for some of the problematic language. Being, the diminutive “helped“, when WikiLeaks has arguably engineered, advanced and championed their field, at extreme risk and sacrifice; and the inflammatory “hostility“.
Hostility unfairly implies emotion rather than ideology, at least to my reading.
The tweet itself generated plenty of hostility – predictably dividing respondents into three categories – those who agree with WikiLeaks on principle, those who agree with Snowden on principle, and those who don’t want to see them criticising each other for whatever reason, and just want them to play nice and get along.
The emotiveness of the tweet is reminiscent of counter-criticisms that track back years regarding Snowden’s strategy for his release of information. I think both parties are so conditioned to receiving torrential waves of abuse regarding their every choice and utterance, that they are understandably tender from the constant bruising.
Snowden and Assange are not silly people. They are in fact, the smartest and most strategic thinkers on the planet. Neither are prone to rashness. They know full well the impact and consequence of their actions. I suspect there is likely much more at play than meets the eye, more than any of us observing can know or guess at.
The issue of curation is an interesting one to me, because in order to have curation, you must have a curator, or curators.
Snowden often makes the point of the behemoth surveillance apparatus – that it isn’t just about who controls the infrastructure and calls the shots now – but who will in the future.
The logical answer would be to have an editorial board, but in these times of freedom of information organisations being under siege – what guarantee is there that any such board would also remain in tact?
We have just witnessed the wholesale firing of the entire board of the Tor Project – or to be politically correct – their “graciously stepping down” en masse… on the back of revelations of a Central Intelligence Agency employee literally having left the agency one day and started work at Tor the next.
WikiLeaks is arguably THE most under-threat journalistic organisation in the entire world. (Which for the record, Greenwald has covered extensively in a long string of brilliant articles about the US persecution of Assange, WikiLeaks and associates).
So the question for me is, where would the curation start and where would it end? Every person has their own ideas of precisely how such curation should or could be done and it would be extremely difficult to get a unified consensus on every single instance.
For their particular threat model, having one fixed rule that can provide a benchmark and carry on for future generations seems the safe bet.
Then of course, there is the significant issue of resourcing. WikiLeaks has been under a historic banking blockade for years now. They can’t place ads in newspapers and hire staff. They rely on an extemely rare breed of people who are willing to quite literally dedicate their lives and risk losing everything they have, in order to skill share with the organisation.
It is high risk and often thankless work.
That they manage to produce what they do, under the circumstances they are daily confronted with, is frankly miraculous. None of their detractors could compete with their output. None are. Their tally was at over 10,000,000 documents some time last year. Over a dozen major releases in 2015 alone.
Many, many stones are cast but who can even begin to claim achievements on a similar scale?
It’s not even just a matter of their journalistic output – they somehow not only manage to keep their head above water while facing unprecedented levels of danger, obstruction, interference, infiltration, oppression and difficulty – but they also support others who are endangered.
Recently, they have constantly had the stuffing kicked out of them by some staff at organisations who they continue to support and promote on their pages.
At what point do we actually collectively pause, consider what they endure in a field few else are endeavouring to compete in and have the graciousness to say THANK YOU WIKILEAKS!!!!!!!!!!
Their publishing models and releases have been capitalised on by multiple news organisations who have made bank off their work and then stabbed them in the back. Yes, I’m looking at you New York Times and The Guardian, in particular.
News organisations all around the world have their own SecureDrop installations – and what is the genesis for the concept? WikiLeaks.
Brother Vs. Brother, Org Vs. Org, Friend Vs. Friend
I recently said on Twitter: “The US election is a public exercise in Divide & Conquer and the extent to which it is working is frankly depressing.”
I can’t help but wonder how many people all over the United States are falling out with each other over the Trump-vs-Clinton dichotomy. How many family members. How many workmates? Employers and employees? Siblings? Lovers? Husbands and wives?
Does this ridiculous, unnecessary side show result in divorces? Broken homes? Is the price really worth it?
What exactly do the public stand to gain?
The obvious irrationality of both candidates, and their unsuitability for office, is so obscene it would be hilarious if it weren’t so horrific.
The wife of an impeached president versus a casino, golf club and supermodel tycoon. And it’s even worse: this is the reality that few will confront, but everyone is really having to subliminally reconcile regardless:
The image on the left is a Huffington Post article begging people not to turn a blind eye to the current child rape allegations against Trump.
The image on the right is a Free Beacon article containing leaked audio of Clinton bragging about how she got a child rapist’s 30-year possible sentence reduced to 2 months time served.
Many people, especially this year, have been referring to me as an investigative journalist. I actually wouldn’t call myself that, because I’m not classically trained in investigative journalism and that hasn’t been my primary focus.
Nearly 5 years ago now, I began reporting live from events then blogging about them afterwards. News spotting in my spare time. Keeping a close eye on what was happening to our fellow independent media teams in occupations around the world and working with them to the best of my ability.
Amplifying for anyone I felt wasn’t getting the attention for their issues that they deserved.
I morphed into a long-form journalist by necessity – in a chronically nepotistic media microcosm (New Zealand) – telling as many people as possible about the corrupt political and media antics being wielded against people in my home town of Auckland. It wasn’t really journalism so much as whistle-blowing. Over and over and over again. Whistle-blowing on police, on civic authorities, on the intelligence agencies, on the military industrial complex.
I eventually came to the conclusion that that is what a good journalist is. Someone who blows the whistle and never stops.
It’s usually circumstantial rather than deliberate. I get curious and dig, or I accumulate scraps of information over a protracted period of time, or I witness things myself. My mental data-microwave goes “DING!” and out pops an article.
Overall what drives me is the realisation that I’m in a unique position to contribute and I feel morally obliged to, despite the obvious drawbacks.
Whenever our media team was burning out, overtired, overstressed, suffering from lack of resources and the strain constantly imposed upon us by state and private agencies and saboteurs – when we really didn’t feel like going on anymore – we would look at each other and say, “if not us, then who?” Then we’d get off our butts and go do it all again. That is the spirit in which I write.
I think the real reason I am being described as an investigative journalist is because I have a habit of unearthing significant information that corporate media haven’t or won’t. What few realise is how easy that is to do, and what an indictment it is on the mainstream press that they so often either fail at it, or refuse to look.
How did I find out WikiLeak’s position on Trump? I searched “@WikiLeaks” + “Trump” on Twitter.
The idea that the dozens if not hundreds of journalists falsely accusing WikiLeaks of being a front for Russia and/or Donald Trump didn’t do the same thing, is astonishing. Or that if they did, that they didn’t amplify the obvious.
But among the learned and free thinkers – there is consensus. Assange thinks, as does Snowden, and apparently Greenwald, that Trump is as bad as Clinton.
For what it’s worth, so do I.
As Greenwald stated in the Slate interview, much better than I could:
I think in general there is no effort on the part of media elites to communicate with [Trump sympathisers] and do anything other than tell them that they are primitive, racist, and stupid. And if the message being sent is that you are primitive, racist, and stupid, and not that you have been fucked over in ways that are really bad and need to be rectified, of course those people are not going to be receptive to the message coming from the people who view them with contempt and scorn. I think that is why Brexit won, and I think that is the real danger of Trump winning. – Glenn Greenwald
As for the accusation that WikiLeaks is in league with Russia… that has already long since been dealt to. It is an unfounded and ridiculous allegation. A smear.
If only the mainstream media would get the memo and cast off their willful blindness.
But that is merely wishful thinking. while money, promotions and status remain largely bestowed upon those most beholden to the corporatocracy that are the true string-pullers, the shadow governments of the West.
And while the vanguard of the people; namely WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; remain Public Enemy Number One.
[This post was blogged live. Thanks for watching! Further source links yet to be added.]
On 17 September 2014, three days before the New Zealand general election, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald gave an interview that, were it properly analyzed and circulated globally, should turn geopolitics on its head and destroy the critics who claimed he was taking a political “side” in his appearance at ‘The Moment of Truth‘.
Greenwald’s answers to leading Kiwi political commentator and new media aficionado Russell Brown get to the heart of the largest conceivable electoral issue: one that makes it clear our politicians are little more than reality TV stars in a projected fantasy; an illusion of democracy and governance that masks our true rulers.
The resulting conversation gives further context to the revelations of the warrant-less spying and mass-surveillance activities of the GCSB, New Zealand’s equivalent of the NSA:
Brown: …it’s not as if these activities have only taken place under governments of the right.
Greenwald: That’s a really important point. The GCSB is a long-standing agency, it’s a lot like the NSA. The NSA has grown more or less steadily regardless of whether there’s a Democratic or Republican administration, and of course currently in the United States there is a Democratic President who is perceived as more on the left than the right, and yet the NSA has grown dramatically over the last six years. These agencies really do exist outside the democratic process. They are in a sense their own autonomous beasts and election outcomes really don’t determine the extent to which they continue to grow, unfortunately. That’s part of the problem.
In pointing out that the surveillance/police state has continued to grow under the ruling parties of both political wings of most nations, Greenwald and Brown smash the left-right paradigm that divides us in one fell swoop, and soon move on to the crux of the mattter;
Brown: So what drives that growth?
Greenwald: I think that one of the things that has happened is that military structures in general have insulated themselves from the political process. And the kinds of claims that are made to justify their growth, whether putting people in fear of terrorism or other kinds of threats, are very powerful tools. No politician wants to be seen as making the country less safe, or to be vulnerable to claims that they stood in the way of the security of citizens. And these agencies are very good at manipulating public discourse to make sure that they’re continually fed greater authority and greater budgetary support – and just generally allowed to operate without much interference from political officials.
If the above were all there were to it, we could easily conclude that politicians are inept and more concerned by their own image than in performing effective oversight, and that this is evident in both the left and right political spheres.
Greenwald’s words, while enlightened and enlightening, are often written off as just being the opinion of one man.
But it doesn’t end there. Greenwald soon references disclosures made by Edward Snowden – specifically, documents containing the words of NSA officials themselves.
Greenwald: There is a document that we published maybe four or five months ago. It was an interview that was done internally at the NSA with the official in charge of foreign partnerships. And they asked him, why is it that for example in Europe, where you have wildly disparate swings in the election outcomes, from the right to the left, it doesn’t really affect the partnerships that we have with these countries’ intelligence agencies?
And he said, that’s because virtually nobody in the political process, anyone outside of the military structure, even knows these partnerships exist.
More conclusions: politicians aren’t just vain and inept, they’re in the dark and most are ostensibly happy to stay there.
Although Greenwald’s next reference is to New Zealand Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, a man who has repeatedly pressed the issue of illegal spying and mass surveillance and is the opposite of the caricature of a stereo-typical obtuse, morally-disengaged parliamentary representative, it further corroborates our theories;
Greenwald: You had the Green Party leader here in New Zealand say in an interview that I watched that he was on the committee that oversees the GCSB and yet he learned far more about what the agency does by reading our stories than he did in briefings. They really have insulated themselves from the political process and have a lot of tools to ensure that they continue to grow and their power is never questioned.
Conclusion: if not already willfully blinded by their own greed, ego, ambition, our politicians are blinded by lack of access to information required in order to make conscientious governance decisions and effectively pursue the oversight duties to which they are supposedly tasked.
The net effect for the intelligence agencies is a general immunity from political processes and from oversight; and therefore an immunity from the entire principle of democracy that, especially in the so-called “First World”, we are raised to believe is not only our societal framework and environment but an inalienable right.
Ironically the document Greenwald referenced is also an interview – not by one man with a perceived agenda, but by the NSA themselves.
In it, the “Deputy Assistant for SIGINT Operations” is asked if “foreign intelligence relationships” are “usually insulated from short-term political ups and downs”.
The Deputy Assistant answers:
NSA: For a variety of reasons, our intelligence relationships are rarely disrupted by foreign political perturbations, international or domestic.
Perturbations is a hell of a word. But what on earth does it mean?
So it means aggravations. Disturbances. But it also means;
Anxieties. Deviations. That lead to…
…discoveries! Knowledge. Evolution.
And how does this occur? What is the impetus, what are the tell-tale signs?
So it all comes down to physics and the laws of attraction. Physics is a hell of a thing to fear, or to try and avoid. Should we really want to? If new planets and solar systems can be discovered by perturbances, why are perturbances undesirable? Why are they something to be “insulated from”?
Sounds a lot like “business risk” language – for in commerce and industry, innovation can be perceived as a threat to profitability, for its ability to disrupt the status quo. This is what spawned”Risk Management” and “Change Management” as managerial pathways.
Thus it seems our intelligence agencies, always pitched in public as critically-important mechanisms that exist to defend the rights of citizens and protect their countries, are in fact commercial enterprises motivated not by moral principles but by business “risk”.
There is undeniable environmental evidence all around us that the interests of traditional business and the interests of the planet and humanity as a whole, are not in alignment.
With chaos and war all around the globe, we are left to wonder how important money or the economy will be, if our lack of innovation means there are no environmental resources left to sustain us.
The entire concept of money being more important or valuable than humanity is oxymoronical – without humanity or the planet there can be no money, no economy.
Greenwald shedding light on the utter subversion of our electoral process and the irrelevance of our politicians, is the start of a conversation that desperately needs to be had.
For while promises of political change can be so alluring – as we saw with the rise of Obama and even with attempts by smaller, new paradigm efforts like The Internet Party – if the systems they aspire to and operate in prevent them from ever achieving the core objectives of democracy then they are rendered utterly irrelevant.
As I write this, Twitter has inserted an ad into my timeline from the Bank of New Zealand. “Success as an adult hinges on being good with money” it begins.
Success as an adult hinges upon, when required, acting against your own immediate interests to ensure that your planet and future generations of your race – the human race – can continue and survive.
The ability to evolve, to learn, to grow, to live and to sustain life within our natural environment is more important than the ability to earn money within a manufactured construct.
Acting democratically is not about one vote every three or four years, or aspiring to enter a system which has been fundamentally corrupted.
It is about a true commitment to the consent of the governed; one which requires them to be informed and actively involved in achieving their own outcomes.
The greatest risk to electoral politics appears to be business and the greatest risk to business is not “perturbations” – it is itself.
For in its obsession to protect itself from perceived “risk”, the system is itself exacerbating the size of its own existential threat, every single day.
[This post was live-blogged and is now finished. Thank you for watching]