Journalist and author Matt Taibbi joins the show to talk about his latest book chapter, titled: “It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD: The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it” and we discuss some corporate media reaction to the piece. We think back on the changes to American policy and American life brought about by the WMD lies, the Iraq War and the War on Terror and the likelihood of serious, real world consequences of the Russiagate conspiracy. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to re-examinine the origins and details of the Russiagate story now that it has collapsed.
But even as the Russiagate conspiracy collapses, the curiously bipartisan consensus on the matter of Russia being a threat to our democracy lives on -- or at least the establishment and national security state are working hard to make sure it survives even if all or most other aspects of the narrative die.
Matt Taibbi is an author, journalist and contributing editor for Rolling Stone. He won the 2008 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. His most recent book is ‘I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,’ about the infamous killing of Eric Garner by the New York City police. He’s also the author of the New York Times bestsellers 'Insane Clown President,' 'The Divide,' 'Griftopia,' and 'The Great Derangement.'
Recorded on March 27, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Editor and journalist Kevin Gosztola joins the show to talk about the jailing of former US Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning for her resistance to a grand jury investigating Wikileaks. Kevin has been reporting on Manning’s case from the start in 2010 and has been a tireless advocate. Secret grand juries, and investigations have been used against dissidents and activists for more than a century as a political tactic of repression, isolation, intimidation and harassment. But there is also a long tradition of resistance. As Kevin wrote: “Chelsea Manning is carrying on this tradition through her bold defiance.” In Manning’s own words:
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”
We discuss what little information we have about the secret grand jury and speculate about other factors that might be affecting the timing of the Manning subpoena. We also talk about the wild political flip flops of the Left and the Right on the subject, about Julian Assange and Wikileaks publications before and after the 2016 election. We toss around some ideas on how the Trump-Russia investigation (aka Russiagate) might factor in. Finally we discuss how Manning’s well being and her health related needs, especially given the history, are the most important priorities and foremost in our minds.
Chelsea Manning’s legal defense fund can be found at xychelsea.is. Her friends and volunteers are managing her Twitter account @xychelsea and her support committee Twitter account @ResistsChelsea while she is in jail. They published an address where she can receive letters (They note that the jail does not accept books or cards):
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road Alexandria, VA 22314
Recorded on March 11, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Dr. Alan McLeod has done extensive analysis of the past two decades of media coverage on Venezuela ,since the election of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution. He joins us today from Scotland to share some of that analysis and one particularly interesting observation. Corporate media has used Venezuela, “consistently demonized and misrepresented in the US press,” to pressure left-leaning political movements conform with and even promote aggressive American foreign policy.
We look at the current case of Bernie Sanders and his positions on regime change in Venezuela to illustrate this process of policing narratives and manufacturing consent for meddling and aggression. We also talk about how regime change operations against countries with strong socialist policies are driven not just by the desire for domination and the pursuit of resources. They’re also used to manipulate politics at home: to suppress anti-imperialist dissent and to subvert the rise of left-oriented populist movements.
MacLeod, an expert in sociology, media theory and analysis, is a writer, and a member of the Glasgow University Media Group. His research interests include social media, Latin American politics and propaganda. He is the author of 2018 book titled: Bad News from Venezuela: Twenty years of fake news and misreporting and he is currently working on a project to update and refine the Propaganda Model of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky.
FOLLOW him on Twitter at @AlanRMacLeod
Recorded on March 7, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Today former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed for contempt of court. She is resisting testifying in front of a grand jury convened in the Eastern District of Virginia to deal with sealed charges against Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Manning said the matter was related to her 2010 disclosures. She has already spent 7 years in prison, before and after being convicted by a military tribunal on her leaking of material related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her sentence was commuted by President Obama before leaving office in 2017. Journalist and filmmaker Ford Fischer was at the courthouse today and is here to tell us about it.
Ford Fischer is an independent videographer and editor, a computer scientist and web designer. He’s the editor-in-chief and co-founder of News2share.com where citizen journalists and independent videographers contribute content to the evolving news cycle. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC and more. He also does freelance work as a videographer/journalist.
In protestation, Wikileaks made statements and published other people’s statements on Twitter. They said: “This is America, 2019: A secret trial against a source for refusing to testify against a journalist.” Their lawyer, Jen Robinson said: “No journalist or their source should ever be subjected to this.”
Wikileaks cited Glenn Greenwald’s response: “This is disgusting, and all due to the efforts of the DOJ to criminalize the publication of classified information in order to prosecute WikiLeaks and Assange: something all press freedom groups, major newspapers & even the Obama DOJ said would be a major threat to press freedom."
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dan Ellsberg issued a statement calling for Chelsea Manning to be released. He called it a travesty and said that “an investigation into Wikileaks for publishing is a grave threat to all journalists’ rights.” He said that she has suffered enough and should be released immediately.
Chelsea Manning’s legal defense fund can be found at the website xychelsea.is.
Recorded on March 8, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.
Audio clips from outside the courthouse included with Ford Fischer’s permission.
Sharmine Narwani joins us today to talk about how western regime change wars are born and raised. She offers some of her research and analysis on Middle East wars, particularly the war in Syria as a comparison to what we are seeing in Venezuela today and with a special focus on how it all starts with a carefully crafted narrative.
Sharmine is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics based in Beirut. She is a former senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and has been published by a wide variety of publications, including the New York Times, the Guardian, Asia Times Online, al Akhbar English, Al Jazeera and RT. And you can always find her writing at her website, MidEastShuffle.com.
The methods used in much of the regime change and destabilization that we have seen so frequently in recent years is laid out in the 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces, which was leaked in 2010. Sharmine has written about it and shares some of those insights today. This manual begins with the following paragraph:
“The intent of U.S. [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives…For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.”
But, as we note in our conversation, the world is changing and the success rate of these methods, used for decades by the American empire and its allies, is declining. The political environment in America and even more consequential, the balance of power in the world is also in a state of flux, dynamic and uncertain. There are many signs that the American people want to adopt a new approach toward the world and foreign policy. But it remains to be seen whether the elected government, the plutocrats and the dominant national security state will be able to accept a new global reality and the loss of their sole superpower empire.
Recorded on March 1, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.