Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Hunter Biden Sues Laptop Repair Shop—Confirming Authenticity, ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin, Kamala Beclowns Herself (Again), & More
March 22, 2023
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Hunter Biden is suing the now famous Delaware repair store where he left his laptop, alleging that they invaded his privacy and otherwise harmed him when distributing materials from that computer. Despite Joe Biden's attempt to pretend otherwise, this is necessarily an admission that the laptop - on which The New York Post pre-election reporting about his father's business activities in China and Ukraine was based - was entirely authentic all along. Authentic. And that, in turn, means that we have yet more dispositive evidence to add to the large mountain, proving that most corporate media outlets spent the weeks before the 2020 election spreading an outright lie that came directly from the CIA, namely that the laptop materials weren't authentic at all, but instead were “Russian disinformation.” We’ll, once again, examine the implications of these new revelations, including the fact that not one corporate outlet that spread that lie has yet retracted it or even accounted for it, and why they did it and never will do so.

The corporate media has been in virtual panic mode ever since it was reported that the most elite team of virologists of the U.S. Energy Department, as well as the FBI and their top scientists, have concluded that the most likely origin of the COVID pandemic was a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the very same theory that the corporate media, at the direction of Dr. Fauci, spent years telling the public was a crazy conspiracy theory that had been “debunked”. We'll look at The New York Times’ new attempt today to salvage the theory that COVID was naturally occurring, and the implications of this very significant media lie as well. 

Then, the International Criminal Court today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing him of various war crimes. The corporate media is ecstatic. We'll examine the multipronged absurdity of this indictment, the media reaction, and we'll welcome to our show, our regular guest and our friend Nick Cruse of the Revolutionary Blackout Network to examine what he calls – and I certainly endorse that –“the  NATO left’s” cowardly silence over the proxy war in Ukraine. 

And we'll also discuss the newest and latest self-humiliation of Vice-President Kamala Harris. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 


I'm seriously considering amending my will to stipulate that my tombstone has to make some reference to the Hunter Biden story. Because honestly, I am likely to go to my grave completely shocked and with my anger over this story unresolved. Because even though I know I shouldn't be, I am genuinely astounded at what has happened here and what continues to happen here. 

As a reminder, on October 14, just three weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the nation's oldest newspaper, The New York Post reported about Joe Biden's business activities both in Ukraine and then, the following day, in China. That raises serious ethical questions about those business activities regarding the presidential frontrunner and, as they said, the investigation they were able to do was based on materials taken from Joe Biden's son, Hunter, and they obtained that laptop because he left that laptop at a Delaware repair store to get fixed, but then failed to pick it up within 90 days. 

According to the agreement he signed when leaving it there, after 90 days, he forfeits ownership rights to the laptop and it becomes the property of the store, a very common agreement. The store then looked at the laptop, realized it was his, and turned it over to the FBI, as well as Rudy Giuliani, who gave it to the New York Post. And we were able to get a lot of reporting – previously unknown information about what Joe Biden and his family were doing in both China and Ukraine, trading on his name in order to profit off those family connections. 

The media's reaction, the corporate media's reaction to that reporting, instead of investigating it and talking about it, noting it, was exactly the opposite, because, as we all know, barely requires debate, the vast, vast, vast majority of the corporate media – including the media outlet which I founded in 2013, in which I worked during this moment – was desperate to ensure Donald Trump was defeated and Joe Biden won. As a result, any reporting that had the opportunity to undermine Joe Biden's chances to win or that reflected poorly on him in any way, such as this New York Post reporting, had to be not just demeaned and maligned and discredited and dismissed, but buried, censored. 

Then, the CIA created the lie – an absolute lie – about these materials. They said that these materials that came from Hunter Biden's laptop are not actually authentic. They didn't come from Hunter Biden's laptop at all – although the CIA had the decency, these ex-intelligence officials from the intelligence community, like John Brennan, James Clapper, all the standard career liars – had the decency to admit they had no evidence for their claims. They said that it was kind of this intuitive feeling they had deep in their gut from their decades of experience, that this was likely the Russians who were involved in procuring this information and that the information wasn't authentic, but instead was disinformation. 

Based on the claims from those ex-CIA and other intelligence agencies, and based on those claims exclusively, the corporate media spent weeks – weeks – over and over telling Americans an absolute lie, namely, that the materials on which the New York Post's reporting was based were Russian disinformation. They refused to air any dissent to that claim. They could spread it over and over because they were desperate that Americans did not hear this reporting. 

As a result of that lie, both Facebook and Twitter suppressed the story. Twitter outright banned any discussion. They locked the New York Post out of their account for the two weeks leading up to the election and Facebook, in ways they've never explained, algorithmically suppressed this spreading of the story on the grounds that they believed it was Russian disinformation. 

So, every power center in America, virtually the U.S. intelligence agency, Big Tech and the U.S. Security State united to lie about this story in order to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 election. We now have a mountain of evidence proving that the media lied, and the CIA lied, that this information had nothing to do with Russia, was not remotely disinformation, but instead was fully authentic. The reality is – it was obvious all along – that it was authentic. Right-wing media, which doesn't count as real journalism in most corporate media, had the proof that it was real. 

I talked about this many times before, about my work authenticating large archives like this Hunter Biden archive. The question when you get it as a journalist always is how do I know it's true, either in whole or in part? And there are certain ways that you go about authenticating it. It's what we did in the Edward Snowden case. It's what I've done many times reporting with WikiLeaks on the archives that they've reported. It's what I did when sources in Brazil handed me a gigantic archive of hacked conversations among Brazilian judges and prosecutors proving corruption. In each case, I had to authenticate those materials before I could report them. And I used standard journalistic means to do so and concluded they were authentic and therefore put my name on them. And in each case, they were authentic. And I knew before the election that the Hunter Biden laptop was authentic, which is why I tried to report on it, too. And when The Intercept precluded me, prohibited me from doing that reporting because The Intercept a week earlier, like most outlets, had published the CIA lie that this information was not real, but instead was Russian disinformation, that was when I quit The Intercept. But I did that because I knew it was authentic. It was easy to see. But since that election, the proof that this laptop was real all along has no longer come from right-wing media or from my journalistic, not just intuition, but investigatory knowledge, but, instead, has now come from the very media outlets that they trust the most. 

 The New York Times is the first to admit that they had authenticated that laptop here, on March 16, 2022, so almost a year ago to the day, The New York Times published an article in which they reported on the investigation into Biden's alleged tax fraud, according to the Justice Department, the FBI, they're investigating Hunter Biden for possible crimes committed. The New York Times wanted to report on exactly what happened and, in order to do that, The New York Times did the information on Hunter Biden's laptop, because a year and a half after the election, they were prepared to admit that the material on that laptop was fully authentic. 

So, there you see the headline “Hunter Biden Paid Tax Bill, but Broad Federal Investigation Continues.” In other words, he had paid his tax bill and found the money with his father as president. Congratulations to Hunter for finding the money to pay off his tax debt but that doesn't mean that whatever he did previously is resolved. So, The New York Times wanted to explain what this case was about and this is what they said, 


Last year, prosecutors interviewed Mr. Archer and subpoenaed him for documents and grand jury testimony, the people said. Mr. Archer, who was sentenced last month in an unrelated security fraud case in which a decision to set aside his conviction was reversed, had served with Mr. Biden on Burisma's board starting in 2014. People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 


Where did those emails come from – the ones that these investigators are using for their investigation? 


Those emails were obtained by the New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation. 

In some of the emails, Mr. Biden displayed a familiarity with FARA, and a desire to avoid triggering it. (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 


So, with Joe Biden safely elected, The New York Times is prepared to admit that they had independently authenticated these materials, which meant it wasn't Russian disinformation at all. It came exactly where everyone said it came from, which was the repair shop in Delaware. Russia had nothing to do with it, and the information was not disinformation but was fully authentic, which is why The Times is using it to do their reporting. 

After that, The Washington Post did the same thing. CNN did the same thing. CBS News did the same thing. In fact, months earlier, before that New York Times article even emerged, a reporter from Politico, Ben Schreckinger, who's a really good reporter whose work I've gotten to know, wrote a book called The Bidens and he had, as part of that book, done a lot of independent research in other countries to obtain emails that were in the archive and was able to compare the emails he got from independent sources to the emails in the archive, and was able to prove in his book that the email in the archive was word for word what the actual emails were proving - the archive was authentic, proving that it was not Russian disinformation. That book was largely ignored because it proved that the media lied repeatedly to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 election. 

So, we have today yet another piece of evidence, very, very conclusive evidence, proving that this laptop is authentic. Hunter Biden is now suing the Delaware repair store on the grounds that they invaded his privacy when they disseminated the materials from the laptop. Needless to say, the only way the laptop could be responsible for invading his privacy is if the material they disseminated was in fact, authentic. That's the necessary implication of the lawsuit. 

The Washington Post headline from today reads: “Hunter Biden Sues Laptop Repair Shop Owner Citing Invasion of Privacy. The lawsuit, a counter move against John Paul Mac Isaac, escalates the legal battle surrounding the president's son at a sensitive moment”. Here's what the Washington Post says, 


Hunter Biden has filed a sweeping countersuit against the computer repair shop owner who said that Biden dropped his laptop off and never claimed it, a legal action that escalates the battle over how provocative data and images of the president's son were obtained nearly four years ago. In the counterclaim, filed on Friday morning, in the U.S. district court in Delaware, Biden and his attorneys say that John Paul Mac Isaac had no legal right to copy and distribute private information. They accuse him and others of six counts of invasion of privacy, including conspiracy to obtain and distribute the data. The 42-page filing goes into significant detail on the ways Hunter Biden's data became public, a development that propelled it into the maelstrom of the last presidential campaign and, since January, to the center of a Republican-led congressional investigation of the president's son. The lawsuit could draw further attention to a sordid chapter in Biden's life, one involving nude photos, sensitive audio and a trove of personal texts and emails (The Washington Post. March 17, 2023). 


That's how the media always wants to depict this, as though it's about Hunter Biden's nude photos and all kinds of personal information when the reality was and is that the key part of the emails, the reason they became significant, is precisely because they were about not Hunter Biden, but Joe Biden, what he was doing in Ukraine to help Burisma, what Joe Biden and his family were doing to pursue profitable deals, 10% of which, according to a deal memo, would go to Joe Biden himself. It wasn't about Hunter Biden's naked photos or his drug use, which I personally don't care at all about and don't think is relevant to the public. What made it relevant –and if you go look at the first two New York Post stories you will see – that the focus of this investigation journalistically was what Joe Biden was doing in China and Ukraine, not what Hunter Biden was doing with prostitutes and drugs. But this is how the media tries to minimize the importance of it and justified their lying about it by saying, okay, we may have lied about it, but it wasn't important anyway. It was extremely important because it called into question the integrity and ethics of Joe Biden and his willingness to trade on his power and his name for profit. 

The Washington Post goes on and says

“Hunter Biden is seeking a jury trial to determine any compensatory and punitive damages. The suit also asked the court to require Mac Isaac and others to return any copies, or partial copies, of any data belonging to the president's son”. 


So, he's asking for this information back on the grounds that it was his all along. That is an implicit admission that the laptop that was given to the FBI and Rudy Giuliani by this laptop owner was, in fact, Hunter Biden's materials and his laptop. Otherwise, this suit would make no sense. 

Hunter Biden, knowing the implications of this for the media, inserted paragraphs into the complaint to try and deny that this is an admission that this is his. The Washington Post says, 


Still, the legal move required delicate positioning by the president's son, who has never explicitly confirmed that the laptop was his. Hunter Biden does not concede in his lawsuit that he dropped off the laptop, received an invoice and neglected to pick it up. In response to such claims by Mac Isaac, the filing states “Mr. Biden is without knowledge sufficient to admit or deny the allegations”.


But he does acknowledge that some of the data that has been released publicly belongs to him and concedes that Mac Isaac could have obtained it in April 2019. “This is not an admission by Mr. Biden that Mac Isaac or others in fact possessed any particular laptop containing electronically stored data belonged to Mr. Biden, the filing says. Rather, Mr. Biden simply acknowledges that at some point Mac Isaac obtained electronically stored data, some of which belonged to Mr. Biden (The Washington Post. March 17, 2023).  


That is a joke. This is a paragraph designed to allow the media and Biden's defenders to deny that Hunter Biden is admitting this was his because he says this is an admission. Of course, that's an admission. It has to be an admission or the whole lawsuit doesn't make any sense. 

One of the reasons why Hunter Biden has to deny that is admitting finally that the laptop is his is because he's been lying about this the entire time, pretending that he was in such a stupor from his drug use that he simply doesn't know whether he dropped the laptop off or not. Here was him telling that lie with the CBS “Morning Show” in April 2021, in a series of interviews he was doing when he released his book and wanted to promote his book. Watch what Hunter Biden says when asked if this was his laptop. 


(Video Hunter Biden on CBS. April 5, 2021)

Morning Show: You make just one reference to it in the book. Is that laptop yours? 


Hunter Biden: You don't need a laptop. You got a book. And I don't know. I truly that you don't know. The series answer is that I truly do not know the answer to that. 


Morning Show: Did you leave a laptop with a repairman? 


Hunter Biden: Not that I don't remember now. No. But whether or not somebody has my laptop, whether or not it was hacked, whether or not there exists a laptop at all. I truly don't know. 


Morning Show: Are you missing a laptop? 


Hunter Biden: Not that I know of, but, you know, read the book and you realize that I wasn't keeping tabs on possessions very well for about a four-year period of time. 




I mean, not only lying runs in that family, but like very, very poorly skilled lying runs in that family. That's a complete and total joke. So now we're supposed to believe that there's this blind owner of a tiny little laptop repair store in Delaware who somehow got Hunter Biden's laptop in a way other than Biden dropping it off to get it repaired. I mean, the most implausible thing about it is, of course, that everybody knows that Hunter Biden dropped off his laptop at this Delaware repair store and forgot to pick it up because he was in a drugged stupor. Of course, that's what happened. But whatever else is true in this lawsuit, he is admitting that the materials that got to the New York Post were real and that alone proves the media lied when they said it was Russian disinformation. And as I said, we know from many other sources, including The New York Times investigation, The Washington Post investigation and CNN, all of whom concluded long ago that this material is authentic. 

I could spend literally the next 50, 60 minutes doing nothing but showing you media lies in video form and in text form where they spend on every show on CNN and MSNBC and NBC and CBS, NBC and ABC, and every article in Politico and Huffington Post and The Intercept and every scummy Brooklyn-based liberal digital magazine that asserted over and over again what everyone now knows is an absolute lie, which is that this material's authenticity was in doubt, it's likely Russian disinformation. So, I'm just going to show you a couple of illustrative examples, in part because I don't want to spend the whole show doing that, and in part because I've done it many times before.

Here, for example, on October 19, 2020, is Jen Psaki, the extremely honest Biden White House press secretary who brought honesty back to politics and journalism, according to then CNN, now fired CNN host Brian Stelter, here she is tweeting, “Hunter Biden's story is Russian disinfo. Dozens of former intel officials say.” It now has context added to the tweet that reads, “On March 17, 2022, The New York Times confirmed that the Hunter Biden missing laptop is real as first reported by The New York Post prior to the 2020 election.” She was referring to the very first article that was published with this lie that, of course, came from Natasha Bertrand, the single greatest liar in media over the last six years, who has been repeatedly promoted as a result of spreading CIA lies mindlessly and uncritically. 

There you see the headline on Politico that kicked off this whole lie on October 19, 2020. “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinformation. Dozens of former intel officials say. More than former 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son.”

Here's Mother Jones: “Giuliani and The New York Post are pushing Russian disinformation. It's a big test for media. With its new Biden story. Murdoch's tabloid is a useful idiot for Vladimir Putin.” They just didn't even pretend to be in doubt at all. They just simply stated this is Russian disinformation and anyone who spreads it is an asset is as an agent of Vladimir Putin. Whenever Joe Biden was asked about this laptop, including in the presidential debate, he claimed that this was all Russian disinformation because his friends in the media lied for him, as did the CIA. And when Bo Erikson, a CBS reporter asked Joe Biden about it, he was mauled by most of the media, claiming that Bo Ericson was doing the job of Vladimir Putin by even raising this question with Joe Biden. It was one of the sleaziest, most toxic, most unjustified, and most destructive lies I've ever seen in journalism because it was intended to alter the outcome of the election and because it wasn't one outlet that told the lie. It was virtually all of them. Fox News debunked it. The New York Times, to its credit, expressed skepticism over it. They wrote an article saying, we’re not really convinced because we don't have the evidence. But pretty much every other media outlet affirmed it over and over and over and over and over again. 

Here for just as one example is what Erin Burnett did. She called on James Clapper, President Obama's former national security senior official, the director of national intelligence. And you can just watch what they did. This is October 17:


(Video James Clapper on CNN. Oct 17, 2020)


Erin Burnett: A bunch of questions from this. Let me just start with this. How much does the source matter, right? To hear the story of this laptop, we don't know a lot. We do know that the way that this information is getting out is through Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani. How much do the does the source matter here? 


James Clapper: Well, source matters a lot, and in the timing matters a lot. I think then to me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work. 



He just goes on like that. It's classic Soviet tradecraft at work. CNN tweeted that repeatedly affirming this career liar’s lie that this was Soviet tradecraft at work. And the thing that is most amazing about this story is despite the fact that we now have, as I said, a mountain of proof that all of these people right here lied over and over and over again with the obvious intent to manipulate the outcome of the election and with the possible success of having done so, we will never know the counterfactual of how many people would have heard this story, how much it would have played into the preexisting concern that Joe Biden has trouble with the truth and as a sleazy, long time New York, D.C. politician.  We'll never know. It was a very close election. It would have only had to swing a few votes in a few states for it to change the outcome. 

What we know for sure is that the media lied and it's journalism 101 that when you make a mistake, as you're going to do as a journalist, even big ones, the first thing you do is you go to your readers or your viewers and you say, I reported this, I've since learned it was false. This is why I got it wrong. I apologize. I retract it. And here's what we're doing to ensure it never happens again. That's what you do if you are actually a journalist. That's journalism 101. If you don't do that, you have no business claiming that title. 

Not one single corporate outlet, not one, not a single one, every single time there's more proof that they lied, has even acknowledged the evidence showing that they lied, let alone accounted for what they did, let alone retracted for it. And they never will. Even now that Hunter Biden is suing the repair store in Delaware, implicitly acknowledging that that laptop was his all along, that he left it at the Delaware repair store, there's not the slightest pressure to even acknowledge what they did or to retract it, because they are not journalists. They are there to lie on purpose. This is their mission. Why would you, if you have a job and you perform your job poorly, apologize? If you perform your job well, you don't apologize. They're showing you what their job is by not apologizing. Their job is to lie. Their job is to spread lies on behalf of the U.S. Security State and the Democratic Party to please their audience and to serve the political agenda that they all have. And that's what they did here effectively, and that's why they will never retract it. And the reason I say I want to put it on my tombstone is that it is amazing to me that nobody pressures them about this, that nobody says, how is it that you can possibly purport to be the guardians of the truth, the arbiters of disinformation, to censor the Internet, to remove false claims when you yourselves are the most toxic and casual and aggressive and frequent liars? And the proof is so easy to see. It is not a complicated case. 

So, every time there's new evidence of this, I'm going to report it, I'm going to note it. I'm going to talk about it. As I say, I'll probably do it until I die. And I know for sure, Hunter Biden could go on camera and say, I now have a recovered memory. I remember clearly bringing my laptop to this repair shop, and then I abandoned it there and I recognized every document that was published by the New York Post as my own – and that, therefore, the way The New York Post claimed they got the story is, in fact, how they got this story. He could swear to that under oath, and they still will never apologize for the lies that they spread for weeks before the election because lying is their mission, and they know that. And that's the only conclusion you can reach from that. 

Speaking of the media lying and knowing that that's their job, let's look at another episode from today, regarding the extremely disturbing media revelation that The Wall Street Journal reported just a few weeks ago that no one in government denies – in fact, everyone in government acknowledges. There you see the headline from February 26: “Lab Leak Most Likely Origin of COVID-19 Pandemic, Energy Department Now Says. U.S. agency's revised assessment is based on new intelligence.”

When you dig into this article, what you find is that it's not just the Department of Energy, but also the FBI that concludes not with certainty, but that the most likely way that COVID and the pandemic ended up being created and entering humanity was not through natural evolution or a zoonotic leap from species to human, but rather through a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That is the formal assessment of the Department of Energy and the FBI. The CIA is agnostic and other agencies continue to claim that it's more likely it came from a natural evolution, including Dr. Fauci. 

The Washington Post, a couple of days after this article was published, reported that this is not just any old part of the Department of Energy. This is the most elite team of virologists at the Department of Energy, which is the agency responsible for supervising the United States's own biological research labs. The labs that we claim we do gain-of-function research in, are not in order to weaponize bioweapons, but instead simply to produce defenses against them. But there's no question the U.S. weaponizes biological weapons. Remember, according to the FBI itself, the anthrax attack of 2001 – which we were told at the time, was extremely sophisticated – came from Fort Detrick, an Army research facility, because they were working there to take anthrax and weaponize it and make it far deadlier and far more transmissible, not – perish the thought –to use as a weapon against anyone else, but simply to develop defenses in case the bad countries do it to us. 

So, we know the government does this. It's the Department of Energy that oversees that work. Obviously, they had the best virologist overseeing this work, and it's that elite team of scientists that concluded that the lab leak theory is the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID. And the reason that's so alarming is that, as we reviewed the chronology a few days ago, Dr. Fauci worked desperately behind the scenes to coerce and bully scientists early on, who were telling him this came from this lab and not naturally occurring, to switch their view and to create a consensus, a false consensus, to convince the public that the natural origin of COVID had been proven. And the lab leak was a crazy conspiracy theory that only hateful bigots trying to stir up anti-Asian animus will actually affirm. As a result, Big Tech censored that claim, too, just like they censored the true New York Post story. Two stories of major significance that were censored on the ground they were disinformation: the Hunter Biden reporting and the lab leak theory. That's how you know that when people claim that they are disinformation experts, they are fraudulent. Those are the people who want to hide the truth by calling it disinformation and getting it censored from the Internet. 

This is a huge problem – for the media, for Big Tech, and for the U.S. government. Everybody remembers that they were told that the lab leak theory is a crazy conspiracy theory that was debunked and that nobody with any knowledge would actually believe only to learn that major agencies inside the U.S. government, including its most elite virology unit at the Department of Energy, believe not just that it is viable, but the most likely theory. That's a huge problem. How in the media can you defend yourself now, having spent two years telling people that this crazy conspiracy theory is one that you should laugh at only to learn that the government's own scientists at the highest levels believe that that's the explanation?  

The New York Times today published an article trying to salvage what they did. It has a very strong headline: “New Data Links Pandemics Origins to Raccoon Dogs at the Wuhan Market”. That's a pretty bold headline. New data. A new discovery proves a link between the wet market in Wuhan and the pandemic's origins. “Genetic samples from the market were recently uploaded to an international database and then removed after scientists asked China about them.” That's the New York Times article today: 


An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  


Look at the language here. You have this gigantic, bold, bombastic headline leading people to believe that new evidence was just found by scientists proving or at least strongly suggesting it came from the wet market, and already in the first paragraph, what we learn is these experts are saying it, there's no paper that you can read, there's no scientific data that has been published, there's no peer review survey. It's just experts claiming this. And then even the Times in the very first paragraph is already backtracking from that headline. Look at this language, “adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal”. So already they're saying this is not actually proof. There's no new study. It's just some experts saying we think we might have found something suggesting that this may have happened. 


The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages, and carts often used for transporting animal cages. 

In samples that came back positive for the coronavirus, the international research team found genetic material belonging to animals, including large amounts that were a match for raccoon dog, three scientists involved in the analysis said (The New York Times. March 16, 2023). 


This is not how scientific research works – that anonymous researchers make claims to the New York Times about the evidence you can't evaluate, not published in peer-reviewed journals. Now, here's the real paragraph that you have to really focus on, 

The jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected. And even if a raccoon dog had been infected, it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people. Another animal could have passed the virus to people, or someone infected with the virus could have spread the virus to a raccoon dog (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  


In other words, this proves nothing. 


But the analysis did establish that raccoon dogs – fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the virus – deposited genetic signatures in the same place where genetic material from the virus was left, the three scientists said. That evidence, they said, was consistent with the scenario in which the virus had spilled into humans from a wild animal. The new evidence is sure to provide a jolt to the debate over the pandemic's origin, even if it does not resolve the question of how it began (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).  


It most certainly does not resolve the question. And then it mentions the new Department of Energy study, which is why this New York Times is saying this. And then we get the following: “But the genetic data from the market offers some of the most tangible evidence yet of how the virus could have spilled into people from wild animals outside a lab”. And it then says, 


Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada who worked on the analysis, said that the human genetic material was to be expected, given that people were shopping and working there and that human COVID cases had been linked to the market. Dr. Goldstein, too, cautioned that “we don't have an infected animal and we can't prove definitively there was an infected animal at that stall. Genetic material from the virus is stable enough, he said, that it is not clear when exactly it was deposited at the market". He said anything that the team was still analyzing the data and that it had not intended for its analysis to become public before it had released a report. “But”, he said, given that the animals that were present in the market were not sampled at the time. this is as good as we can hope to get” (The New York Times. March 16, 2023).   


So, you take that analysis in the headline, which seems extremely conclusive and revelatory and by the time you get to the end of the article, not only is there no study, but it basically proves nothing. I think we have a tweet from my former colleague at The Intercept, Ryan Grim, who analyzed the flaws in this article. There you see the tweet and it says, 

There are a lot of reasons people don't trust the media, some good, some bad, but look at these last three paragraphs and compare it to the headline and you'll see one very stark example of why trust in the media is collapsing (March 17, 2023) 


They had to create a headline that gave people who want to believe in the zoonotic theory some way to believe new evidence was discovered as proof to get rid of this lab leak theory that just got a lot more credibility, when the article itself, once you read it, almost says nothing and certainly doesn't match the promises of the headline. 



Before we begin Nick on, let me just report on one issue that happened today. The International Criminal Court today, which is based in The Hague and is designed to punish leaders for war crimes, issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming he committed war crimes within their jurisdiction in the war in Ukraine. Here you see two CNN anchors responding to this with great excitement and glee. 

(Video CNN, March 17, 2023)

CNN: Breaking news, really important breaking news to turn to right now. Moments ago, we're just now learning that the ICC, the International Criminal Court, has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin and another Russian official. Both are at the center of an alleged scheme to forcibly deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. This is a topic that we've been talking about so much on the show. Let me get back to Ivan Watson. He's back in here. He's joining me now with more on this. Ivan, what are you hearing about this? 


Watson, CNN: Well, I mean, the headline here is that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the president of the Russian Federation. 


All right. Incredibly important news, extremely exciting. Shocking. There's only one problem with that, which is the relationship of the United States to the International Criminal Court is quite noteworthy, in particular, because the United States is not a signatory to the International Court –  it considers itself exempt from the International Court. Congress has refused to ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty that Bill Clinton wanted to sign, making the United States a member and not only that: the United States reserves unto itself the right, using a 2002 law, to use military force to rescue any American soldiers or officials who are put on trial at the International Criminal Court. 

In other words, the United States treats the International Criminal Court like an enemy and believes it has no jurisdiction or credibility to judge other nations and certainly not the United States. As a result, here you see the Voice of America news, which is generally pro-America, the headline there, “The ICC issues arrest warrant for Putin”, and it explores some of these difficulties. 


The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of war crimes for his alleged involvement in the abduction of children from Ukraine. A prosecutor presented the allegations, which were reviewed by independent judges who decided, “There is sufficient reason to believe these crimes have been committed by these persons, and as a result of this consideration, the arrest warrant was issued by the court today”, ICC President Piotr Hofmanski told VOA. 


U.S. officials appear hesitant to publicly cheer the ICC action given past American antipathy for the court. The United States was one of only seven countries (along with China, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Qatar and Yemen) to vote against the court's establishment in 1998 at the United Nations. Considering the sometimes “very tense” history between Washington and The Hague “it would not be as it would not be surprising that it would take them a moment to think through their position”, Leila Sadat, a Yale Law School fellow and international criminal law professor at the University of Washington in Saint Louis, told VOA (VOA News. March 17, 2023).


So basically, if you wanted to try Vladimir Putin at The Hague for war crimes, good luck trying to arrest him. I'd like to know how that's going to happen. But beyond that, you have to explain why George Bush and Dick Cheney aren't on trial there for the Iraq war. It's the kind of morass and contradictory values that all you have to do is just dig an inch deep – which, of course, these CNN anchors are incapable of doing – and suddenly you'll discover the kind of quicksand on which all of these moralistic narratives are based. 


The Interview: Nick Cruse


Let me bring in our guest tonight, who is Nick Cruse, who is an independent journalist, a founding member of the Revolutionary Blackout Network, and a now, let's call him regular guest, certainly a friend of our show System Update as I find him a very astute and independent-minded observer of American politics. We have a couple of things to discuss, beginning with the silence of the American left when it comes to the U.S. proxy war with Russia over Ukraine, as well as the latest very cringe-worthy embarrassment by our vice president, Kamala Harris. 


G. Greenwald: Nick, good evening. How are you.?


Nick Cruse: Always fun to do this show, if you don't mind, I do want to chime in on the ICC thing


G. Greenwald: I was going to bring you in on that. I knew you had a lot to say. So, by all means, I thought about it first and then I was like, you know what? Let me just get through this. But go ahead, by all means. 


Nick Cruse: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I love that they did this because they opened a can of worms. What the U.S. media is not telling you is that the Pentagon and the Biden administration wasn't all the way in on this. They actually, as you reported, did not turn this on because it wasn't they didn't want to do it because they didn't want to opt in United States citizens in the military-industrial complex into war crimes investigations. So, I'm glad that they opened this can of worms because – I don't know how much you've been following this discourse – because now that this happened, now everyone's like, how about George W. Bush? Who about Netanyahu? What about all these war criminals in the United States government? And it's hilarious to me because there’re liberals right now who really believe that Vladimir Putin has a higher kill count than Joe Biden, than Barack Obama, than George W. Bush, than Bill Clinton. That's why when this stuff happens, you open this conversation up, well, okay, if you think Vladimir Putin is a war criminal, explain Syria, explain Libya and Barack Obama. And this is the conversation Iiberals will want to avoid, but they walked right to the trap. So, narrative-wise, I think is good for anti-imperialism people who want to hold the war machine accountable because they walk right into this trial. And for the people that you see properly story up in a day celebrating Putin being charged with a war crime, as you see, I have no respect for these people, especially the middle left that we're going to get into here later, because there's no one – the height of cowardice is you live in the most violent empire, you benefit from U.S. imperialism, but you spend all your time focusing on Putin and the adversaries of the biggest criminal empire that humanity has seen in recent age. They're the biggest cowards. And you should focus on calling your state out. But that doesn't get to the tip of the iceberg. Iceberg on my comments on ICC, I love that this happened because of the hypocrisy of Western imperialism. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, I love it too. I mean, that's why the U.S. is extremely uncomfortable. How can they possibly upon a court that they not only regard as illegitimate but previously threatened with sanctions for daring to charge Americans with war crimes and they reserve the right to invade The Hague militarily in the event that The Hague was to put any American soldier or American official on trial? So not only that, you know, there's this whole kind of discourse tactic that liberals in particular and their media allies have been trained to use, which is anytime you make this point, so you say, oh, Vladimir Putin is being tried for war crimes at the ICC, why wasn't George Bush and Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama put on trial for war crimes as well? And then immediately they'll say, oh, that's “whataboutism.” They've been trained with this word to basically refuse to ever allow the inquiry of whether are you subjecting yourself to the same set of rules that you're purporting to impose on other people. The most basic requirement of morality is that everyone can go around pointing fingers at other people and saying they did this and they did that. The question is, if you yourself are doing it and even doing it worse, what credibility do you have to judge others? 


Nick Cruse: That's such a good point. They use whataboutism to reflect their lack of principles, their lack of morals. Could we hold the mirror about to them? In the same way, they had all the criticism of Donald Trump meanwhile, Joe Biden is funding ICE and the border industrial complex more than Trump, funding the military more than Trump. 

AOC literally did a whole photoshoot with her crying at the border, but Biden is doing the same thing. He's doubling down on Trump’s policy. There's nowhere to be found. “Whataboutism” points towards your party calling out their lack of consistency? And that is what the Liberals have. That's what literally makes my skin crawl and I thought the progressive – what I call now the NATO Left – I thought they were supposed to be burying this but they walk around these contradictions, walk around praising Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders endorsing Biden 2024. You know, Joe Biden's funding multiple genocides. But meanwhile, Bernie Sanders also condemned Vladimir Putin. These are the contradictions that we cannot tolerate. 

Now, to the point with the United States and their opposition to ICC is very clear, is because you had John Bolton, I know you saw his unhinged speech in 2019. “We call for the prosecution of the ICC”, “U.S. sanctions on the ICC”, which kind of rebuke to the ridiculous talking point from what comes from that Donald Trump was here to drain the swamp. You have John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, the war swamp monsters. And then those swamp monsters came in, and protected the other swamp from war crimes. So, I want people to understand it's a unified party. Both parties are going to continue to support the war. Don't believe the narrative that the president and the standards in Congress, follow the direction of the military-industrial complex that was their boss at the end of the day. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, yeah. I want to get to that point that you just made. But, you know, just to kind of finalize this part about the ICC, it's insanity to say that you can't examine a set of a system of justice for whether or not there's consistent application. It would be like if the government was only enforcing laws, let's say traffic laws, against Democrats, but not Republicans. So, you're a Democrat, you get ticketed if you speed if you're a Republican, you don't. The idea that that's not a valid point to bring up, but all you should do is say, well, look, the liberals broke the law, that all that you should care about is that they're being punished. Who cares? The Republicans, of course, that's a valid critique whether or not because if it's not being consistently applied, it's not actually a system of justice. It's just a cynical, corrupt way of wielding power, which is exactly, of course, what international law as it's used actually is. 

All right. Let's move to the issue of the thing that caught my attention that I wanted you to come on and talk about, one of the things, which is this tweet that you raised. It says: 


The only political group in Washington that refuses to speak on the Ukraine war is the NATO left. There is a giant debate after the DeSantis comments and Tucker Carlson asking all Republican candidates about it. Meanwhile, the NATO left congresspeople to have nothing to say. Cowards. 


Now, Nick, earlier today I saw this video that I found super interesting in the state of Maine. The Maine legislature, which is run by Democrats, they have a majority in both houses of the main legislature, decided for whatever reason, I guess they have nothing else to do that, they wanted to vote on a resolution applauding Joe Biden and NATO for supporting the war in Ukraine and urging that more weapons and more money be spent on fueling this proxy war. And in the Senate, it passed 27 to 4. Four Republicans voted no. The rest voted yes. In the House, the vast majority of Republicans voted no, 53 out of 63 Republicans voted no. But it still ended up passing because enough Republicans joined with every Democrat to vote yes. But here was one Republican – I'm not going to play you the whole thing. But he gave a speech. He stood up. He was a citizen, state senator it's Eric Brakey, he's actually a Republican. He explains why he refuses to join in on this resolution. Let's just listen to a little bit of what he has to say. 


(Video. March 10, 2023)


State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-ME): Mr. president, I rise in opposition to this resolution in the strongest terms possible as a piece of war propaganda that I will not have my name or my vote attached to. This resolution on the war in Ukraine is riddled with half-truths, historical omissions and dangerous conclusions that urge our nation down the path towards a potential global nuclear war, the likes of which no one alive or dead on this earth has ever seen, and one that humanity will never experience twice. 


Rather than urging peace talks to bring an end to this dangerous border dispute halfway across the world, this resolution presents a simplistic narrative with no grounding in the realities of foreign policy or the history of Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War in order to justify a continued blank check, now over $100 billion, much of it totally unaccounted for from the pockets of U.S. taxpayers to the Ukrainian government, in an undeclared proxy war, with no exit strategy and in which continued escalation endangers the entire world. 



Nick, why are we hearing that from Republicans all over the state legislators in the United States and in the United States Congress? Not all Republicans. In fact, most Republicans support Biden's policy, but a lot of them – and not heard this from any elected official on the left in the United States. 


Nick Cruse: It is my opinion that the Ukraine crisis has exposed them as cowards and not the best among us, but active agents of the Democratic Party into a perilous war machine. You heard the video there. Right now, the Doomsday Clock is closest to midnight it has ever been. Right now. Right now, the military-industrial complex is making record profits. Japan doubled its military budget. Germany is now a militarized country again. The U.S. is forcing Europe to militarize with the force of a gun. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and the progressive left have no criticism of this. This is an issue that Bernie and The Squad claim is not even on their radar, which is mostly a lie. 


G. Greenwald: The last time they voted, they actually voted for it. The last time they had to weigh in on whether to authorize $40 billion on top of the $15 billion immediately authorized at the start. Every last Democrat, including Bernie and AOC, voted yes. 


Nick Cruse: Yeah, absolutely. And I guess my point – I don't know if you saw that shameless interview that Bernie Sanders did when he was asked about this. One a few corporate media had to have the balls to ask Bernie about Ukraine. He said, oh, this hasn't been on my radar – but you voted for Ukraine funding. You are in support of this war. And he played the ball and said, Oh, actually I support the president on this. I support Joe Biden on his endless crusade to provoke World War III. And he said, I don't want your to vote for this stuff. You are 100% involved. And that is a lie in a coordinated strategy. And after seeing this goal for the last year, 100% of this progressive was told not to talk about this, to take the side of the Democrat Party, allow the quote/unquote “bad guys” like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson. That's why I believe they are allowed to speak out about this, because the establishment won't stand up against the Ukraine proxy war scam. They want that to be considered a right-wing position. So, they told Bernie Sanders and the NATO left: you get on board with what we're doing and you shut up and only allow the right wing to speak on this. So, that's why anyone who told the truth about this war is a right winger. No, AOC should be saying what Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying because it's a longstanding leftist belief that they are now throwing under the bridge and they are now ignoring it. You have Joe Progressive. You got people like Marianne Williamson, who says you want a primary Joe Biden, but she agrees with the commander in chief on a very important policy like Ukraine. How are you going to primary a president, the commander in chief, meanwhile, you agree with them on foreign policy? It's a joke. This is what a NATO left is and this is why at revolutionary blackout, we have no tolerance for people who are directly responsible for the explosion of the military industrial complex. That is a stain that will forever be on Bernie Sanders and AOC’s records. They did a vote. That vote led directly to write don't have record profit. That is a stain on their records and we will continue to hold them accountable. And all the folk progressives like Max, Wolf Ross and Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, who's a coward, who bowed their head to the military-industrial complex on this. 


G. Greenwald: So, look, that last point that you made is the one I want to focus on, because, you know, Bernie's been around for a long time. He's been very engaged in foreign policy, going back to, you know, the eighties. He would visit Cuba and Nicaragua and El Salvador. He was very outspoken on left-wing foreign policy. It's not like he hasn't been involved in foreign policy. And he actually wrote a good article right before the Russian invasion of Ukraine when it became inevitable that it was highly likely that they were going to invade. Laying out all the dangers that came from the United States’ possible involvement in this war. It was still unclear what role the U.S. would play. They were still saying at the time, it was really dangerous for us to get involved. It could lead to escalation. And Bernie wrote an article in The Guardian saying, look, I condemn Putin, I think this invasion is wrong, but here are all the reasons why it would be remarkably foolish and dangerous for the U.S. to get involved in this war. Three months later, when the vote happened, not only did Bernie abandon all those arguments and snap into line and vote yes, but Cori Bush, whom you mention, voted yes as well, and she issued a statement that read exactly like what someone smart would have said if they had voted no. She said, “My worry is all this money is really going to go to Raytheon and the CIA and corrupt people in Ukraine. My worry is this isn't going to save the people of Ukraine, but kill them, that it's all going to disappear in corruption, and yet she still voted yes. So, clearly, some of these people at least know these arguments. What are they so afraid of? Why are they so subservient to the Democratic Party staying in line and doing what they're told when Bernie and the Squad ran, their whole reason to exist was that they were going to challenge the Democratic establishment. 


Nick Cruse: Yeah. And that's why I wonder – crucial errors that many progressives in the United States have made. They believe that you can root out corruption if you get rid of “corporate money.” And that’s what AOC and Bernie Sanders claim, they said we don't take corporate money, so we are not corrupted. But the problem with this analysis is they ignore the many ways that you can become corrupted. You can ruin them just how Nancy Pelosi tamed the Squad just by being nice to them, offering them to go to lunch, giving them committees, and seat assignments, assuring them that they are on the right side of history. And then you get used to being paid $170,000 a year plus security benefits plus a lifetime pension. So, you pretend it's only the corporate money. If you don't take over money, you won't be corrupted, but you get part of the Democratic Party’s influence, which is impossible, impossible to overcome. Every single one progressive who had a great day, they became part of the party apparatus, and they flip. 

And, Glenn, I'll tell you, the person that has my mind on this project, the failed project of the Democrat Party, is Cori Bush. I live in Missouri. I knew who Cori Bush was long before she was elected. She was a legend in activism in Saint Louis. The fact that they turned her – she was a serious nurse, working-class activist, calling out William Lacy Clay for his corrupting with the St. Louis PD. You won't get anyone who is more well-meaning than Cori Bush, but she got elected and she's not sold out to the machine because of the coffee benefit being part of high society. They are totally doing great. They buy the media, get magazine deals. Cori Bush got a book deal. What the fuck she had to say? Nothing. But they gave her a book deal because she plays along and this stuff is intoxicating. You become addicted to this Washington behavior; it’s more than corporate money. And that just a very short summary of why people sell out. Bernie, I give him credit because, as you said before, he was a very harsh critic of Ronald Reagan. He had a long time of being an anti-imperialist after he called out Operation Condor and all this stuff. But now after a few decades he gave up and now he wants to be a PR machine at the Democrat Party. But what's shameful about AOC, Corey Bush, Jamaal Bowman, is how quickly they gave up; they immediately fell into the establishment. The second that Jamaal Bowman was endorsed by Barack Obama, he was all in there with no resistance. That’s why I put a lot of my focus towards these people because they pulled what I view as one of the biggest political frauds I have ever seen - in Barack Obama - and what they promised to do versus what they actually carried out. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah. You know, Chris Hayes, before he had his MSNBC show, in primetime, I think he still at that point had his MSNBC show on the weekend that nobody watched, that he tried to make elevated. I was on that show several times. It's actually a pretty interesting show, kind of very off-the-beaten-path. They didn't really care what he did. He wrote a book called “Twilight of the Elites”, and I interviewed him. I read the book. I wrote a book review of it, and then I interviewed him about it. And his argument was that these institutions of power are constructed so that no matter how well-intentioned you are when you enter them, no matter how determined you are to subvert and resist them, no matter how smart you are, or strong of character you are, that it is inevitable that it will be what he called cognitively capturing you, that you will start to see the world through their prism. Because every day the people with whom you're speaking are reinforcing the value system that they want to be implanted in your head and every incentive scheme around you punishes you for deviating from their value system and rewards you for affirming it. And human beings basically cannot withstand, he argued, the kind of institutional pressures that have been cultivated over decades for how to co-opt people. 

And I remember I asked him, I said, Chris, you're about to get, you know, your own primetime show and a big contract with one of the largest media corporations on the planet, Comcast. What have you done to prepare yourself for this, especially since you're saying that it's inevitable – and you can go and read the interview? There's a transcript on Salon – he said, “I really haven't thought about it”. And he should have because he is exhibit A, along with Rachel Maddow, in how well that happens. But oftentimes, I think you're exactly right that you want to kind of look for some very nefarious, you know, these people sold out or there's some kind of corrupt dealing going on when in reality they just get this like trivial but very enticing reward system thrown at their feet. But the price to pay is sacrificing all of their principles.  

You mentioned the debate that takes place within the Republican Party and there really is a real debate. I mean, most of the Republican establishment, Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio and all those people are absolutely fully supportive of Biden's war in Ukraine. But you have a substantial wing of the Republican Party in the conservative media led by Tucker Carlson, the most watched commentator on the right, who are vehemently opposed and making speeches very similar to the one that I just showed you from the Maine legislature. And, you know, say what you want about Fox News, but the reality is you hear so much more vehement and virulent criticism of Republican leaders, from Fox, than, in a million years, you would ever hear of Democratic leaders from MSNBC and CNN. And the reason for that? There are many. But the main one, in my view, is what you're saying, which is conservatives hold their leaders, their political leaders, with great skepticism and even kind of scorn, whereas liberals – this sort of left, the kind of part of the left that's now well the Democratic Party – views their political leaders with reverence, kind of like royalty, or like a rock star or like a Hollywood celebrity that you would just kind of revere. And you can really see the way in which that manifests. And so, I just want to tell people out there, you know, one of the things I hear people saying a lot is that there was kind of this old left that was very anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, and then, a lot of people on the populist right have respected more for that kind of left and more in common with that left. Then this new left that's very authoritarian and worshipful of the establishment. So even if you're not on the left, I really hope you will follow and watch the Revolutionary Blackout Network, because if you're not to the left, you're not going to agree with them on anything. That's what it means to have a coalition of people who don't agree on everything, but they really are this sort of anti-establishment, anti-establishment, anti-war authoritarian left that I respect from decades ago. And I think if there's going to be a coalition on various issues like war and corporatism of right, left-wing populists, that's where it's going to come from. So, I can't recommend that enough. 

All right. Before I let you go, we have to talk about our beloved vice president. Speaking of the kind of pro-establishment left, I think it's worth saying that nobody on the left really was ever fooled by Kamala Harris. She was always regarded with a huge amount of distrust and a huge amount of skepticism, given the fact that she began her career as a prosecutor, spent a lot of time prosecuting with great zeal and what seemed like glee, even nonviolent criminals, putting them into prison, not resisting the death penalty. She looks to me always like somebody who just walked out of a board of directors meeting of Aetna. She just seems like she has that vibe all the time. But I have to say, she's turned into something totally embarrassing and unrecognizable. As vice president, there are so many examples. Let's just look at the latest one. I honestly feel bad for her watching this, but we're going to have to get through it. Let's watch her on Stephen Colbert. 


(Video. Stephen Colbert. March 16, 2023)


S. Colbert:  Any discussion in the White House about what the blowback would be for approving the Willow Oil project, because people have gotten quite upset about it. I think there are some protesters outside right now. 


K. Harris: Well, I think that the concerns are based on what we should all be concerned about but the solutions have to be and include what we are doing in terms of going forward, in terms of investments. 


So, Nick, their concerns are based on what we should all be concerned about, but the solutions have to be based on what we're doing going forward. What? What happened to her? Why does she speak in these nonsensical, blatantly vapid phrases? 


Nick Cruse: I mean, one can only guess. I mean, my only theory is I think Tulsi Gabbard really broke her brain because I feel like that was a real turning point. 


G. Greenwald: Remind people what happened there. 


Nick Cruse: So that was when Kamala Harris, although if you guys remember, was polling like number one, number two, within the margin of error, after her debate, as she called him Jim Crowe Joe, she called out Joe Biden for her segregation policies that she 100% forgot about when she was elected as vice president. But we can talk about that another time. 


G. Greenwald: So after she basically called, she basically strongly implied that he was a racist, that he was on the side of segregationists and anti-busing, and that had he gotten his way, she said the little girl, that that was her would not have been able to go to the white schools she went to – or the predominantly white school that she went to – because she was black but she basically implied he was a racist. That was a big moment in the Democratic debate, as you say, the media started thinking maybe she can win, had a big jump in the polls and then the next debate, what happened? 


Nick Cruse: They had Tulsi Gabbard that ruined that. There is a direct correlation to that debate from a free fall when Tulsi Gabbard called out Kamala Harris’s criminal justice record and her psychopathy in the criminal justice system. 

And I think like when you look at her in her early performances, I feel like she was more allowed to be free. And then she had that moment with Tulsi Gabbard, she had a few other embarrassing moments. And then you had the Hillary Clinton people who were with Biden - she had a meeting in the Hamptons, with the Clinton people during the primaries.. You saw the awful job they did with Hillary Clinton, so they did Kamala Harris no justice as well. So, she became this overly coached thing, especially Tulsi, because that was a very devastating. Once again, that's just my theory. After that, she became a shell of herself. But I remember during the Brett Kavanaugh trial, she will put on very charismatic performances during the Senate hearings.

As someone who supported Bernie, I was part of the campaign at the time, I was deathly afraid of Kamala Harris because – I don't know if you remember – she pretended to be a progressive very early on when she was high in the polls. She pretended to be for Medicare for All. She would run on this nonsense that she's also a progressive prosecutor. So, I saw this: a woman who was sold out, though very charismatic during the Brett Kavanaugh trials. And since then, she has performed in such a way that is embarrassing and no one could predict. She thought maybe she could be the next Obama. But Kamala Harris is the perfect example of how there is no meritocracy in the liberal system. And that's based on between her and Pete Buttigieg. They are chosen by the establishment for the really weak reason of identity politics, because Kamala is a somewhat attractive woman, because Pete Buttigieg is a gay man. So, they push them on people, but it doesn't mean they’re talented.


G. Greenwald: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I think it's important when there are people you dislike ideologically or politically, to kind of be aware of what their skills are. You know, I don't play video games, but I've seen my kids play video games enough to know that like when they're preparing to, you know, do combat with someone – whom they're going to like trying to stab in the neck or whatever horrible thing the video game forces them to do to win – they analyze the strengths of the person they're about to fight, they like to analyze the strength and their speed and their agility. So, I never had trouble admitting, you know, when I saw Liz Cheney – is this an incredibly grave threat to everything I value that he was very smart. Liz Cheney is very smart. I don't have problems admitting that about Liz Cheney. 

So, I always thought Kamala was smart. When I watched her in the Senate, I recognized those skills. Those are skills of like a very adept lawyer. You know, her ability to construct questions, to trap people in these logical corners. That is a certain skill that requires a kind of intellect to think about where people are going to anticipate what their argument is to force them into corners. I think the problem became that she kind of got overwhelmed because the reality is, if you look at what she's done in her life, she doesn't know anything about foreign policy, like she went to Guatemala to resolve the root problems of Guatemala and immigration. And then she has to go to like Eastern Europe. She knows nothing about this. And I think the combination of like being overwhelmed and having her confidence destroyed, as you said, through the Tulsi thing, through her campaign being a complete failure, but also, I think they're constantly warning her you cannot error even by one word. And there's no freedom to what she speaks. There's no confidence. Her confidence is destroyed. And to watch this very poised and confident and skillful and intelligent woman become this object of pity because she can't even articulate a single sentence of any substance is really strange and bizarre to watch. I agree. All you can do is speculate. But I think the Democrats are really screwed because  the reality is, Biden said he was only going to be a one-term president. He's going to be 82 when he runs for reelection. That means he's going to be 86 if he finishes his term, of course, they're going to look for alternatives. The problem is, who do they have? They can't just sweep Kamala aside for like Gavin Newsom and just put a white male in front of Kamala. But they can't run Kamala because they know she's going to get destroyed. She's incredibly unlikable at this point. She can't even speak. So, they're really kind of in a terrible position because of her. 


Nick Cruse: Can you imagine a debate between Donald Trump – because I don't know if you saw Donald Trump's comments on Ukraine – imagine a debate between Kamala Harris and Donald Trump and the issue of Ukraine comes up. And I have no respect for Trump’s overall intellect. But if you look at his speeches and general statements on Ukraine, there is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump will run circles around or come later on Ukraine, because as you said, she had no knowledge of foreign policy. And you make another great point because she was amazing prosecuting, and she was great at the Brett Kavanaugh trial. But just because you're a great prosecutor – great at these controlled environment – don't mean you're going to be able to speak on the fly and be a great politician. It is saying with Ben Carson, when you – there's no doubt this man was a legendary brain surgeon – but if you ask him about foreign policy, this man has his brain blown. Another point I want to make is that at Revolutionary Blackout, we are a group of black lefties. I want to call and hold the ruling class accountable. I think one of the biggest obstacles to the black community has been black leadership. Kamala Harris I love that she is this because she's like the perfect example of this thing about all these black sellout leaders that you see promoted by the Democrat Party because they can hide behind her skin color, even though they support imperialism, even though they support a criminal Justice Department, 


G. Greenwald: Corporate power, corporate power. 


Nick Cruse: […] Wall Street. You have Hakeem Jeffries, who’s the biggest Wall Street shill, the biggest Zionist, the biggest supporter of Ukraine. You have Eric Adams, who's a giant police state boot licker. You have Kareem Jean-Pierre, who's a traitor to the Haitian people, supports U.S. occupation of Haiti. You have Lori Lightfoot, right, who’s absolutely horrible. Jim Clyburn who's absolutely horrible. So, this is a conversation you never hear. Also, because people are afraid of calling these people out, because if you target black politicians, you get called as a racist. They can’t use that against me. So, I've been calling these people out - Kamala Harris, Laurie - all these black leaders.The Black Congressional Caucus sold us out and the Democrats prop up black leaders who suck, who have no clue. Far cry from Malcolm X, MLK. I have no other way to say that they are intellectually shallow. Do you guys think Lori Lightfoot is the intellectual, Eric Adams is the intellectual, Hakeem Jeffries? No, they’re probably the biggest bootlickers, the people who want to sell the community the most, and we need to call them out. It’s easier for me because liberals hide behind identity politics to deflect criticism, and that's why they choose these people; it’s all extremely, extremely nefarious.


G. Greenwald: Yeah. I think Pete Buttigieg is a really good one too, which is if you look at him on paper, like Kamala Harris, he has like the perfect kind of profile for what a smart person is supposed to do and be and sound like, you know, his background of education is impressive. He went to McKinsey, he learned a limited skill set, just like Kamala did. He exercises that very well. But you can't just put him as the Secretary of Transportation and think he's going to know anything about the transportation system. And as a result, he's been a complete and utter disaster. As everyone knows, he has no idea what he's doing. And I think that you're exactly right that this kind of liberal artifice, this structure that they've built - of who you're supposed to respect as a smart and inspiring leader - is all starting to crumble. Because at the end of the day, I think there is enough diversity in politics. We had a black president, we've elected twice. We now have a black woman who's been the vice president. A lot of these barriers are now broken. 

And I remember Obama’s first press conference. They asked him: do you think Americans are going to be inspired emotionally by seeing you and your family walk into the White House as a black family, the first ever to be in the White House? And he said, you know, I think this is going to be an emotional punch to that for like a day. And then starting on the second day, people are going to want to know: what are you doing for me? What are you doing for my life? And identity politics is not going to take the Democratic Party very far at all. And the more kind of failures and frauds and people who are completely incompetent, they continue to advance thinking that identity politics or liberal resumes are enough to dress it up. I think the more this is all going to collapse in on them and Kamala is just a particularly weird and vivid and extreme example of watching that happening in front of us in real time. 


Nick Cruse: Yeah, and I could stress enough the damage that the liberal establishment and the ideology does to real legitimate ideas, like when you look at what the Black Panthers spoke about, when you listen to Malcolm X and all these people, there's a uniting positive idea behind identity politics. I as a black man, as this struggle, that struggle, the same struggle that you have, even though you poor and white, the same struggle that you have, even though you're poor, Latino, let's combat. We struggle together. This is our daily politics. We talk about the Palestinian struggle. That's identity politics. When we talk about a police state and how much of our community. But what the liberal establishment did was to take identity politics and bastardize it. And to turn it into, Oh my God, look at this black woman in position of power, even though she's a warmonger. Oh, my God, you're just a gay person, even though you support Wall Street. That is not what the original idea has been and thereby has been poisoned because liberalism, as applied, is a very toxic connotation to something that should be uniting.But once again, it's one of the main ways that the Democrat Party, through their rhetoric, through their politics, actually does a lot of harm to our community. But I can write a book on that. 


[01:24:34] G. Greenwald: Absolutely. So, I was just, once again, encouraging people to watch, including those of you who aren't leftists, I purposely try and find the smartest people who are the proponents of the ideologies. They don't support me. So even if you're not to the left, maybe, especially if you're not, look at Nick and his colleagues at the network, I've had Sabby on my show before, who's also incredibly smart. The thing I like best about what you guys do is you never speak without a very strong basis for knowledge. You read, you prepare, and you studied. None of it is dogmatic or reflexive without actually having really grappled with the substance. That's the thing I appreciate about you guys the most. 

Again, you can find Nick on Twitter and that has all the links to where there it is to where he appears as well. On their YouTube show. They have great guests. They have just interviewed Matt Taibbi. They cover issues in a really interesting way, as I think you can see from this discussion. Nick, thank you so much for coming back on. We're going to continue to harass you and coerce you back into our show in the future. It's always a pleasure. I hope you have a great evening. 


Nick Cruse: Yeah, the show is always very fun to do. It's very therapeutic. So, thank you for having me here.


G. Greenwald: For me as well. It's kind of cathartic. You have a great night. 


So that concludes our show for this evening. As a reminder, all of our episodes are now on the major podcasting platforms, which we did at your request. You can follow us on Spotify and Apple and the rest, which we hope you'll do. Every Tuesday and Thursday, after the show, we have a live feedback interactive show on Locals, which is part of Rumble. To join our Locals community, which not only gives you access to that show but also my written reporting as well, as just being part of our community. For those of you who have been watching, we're super appreciative. Our show continues to grow. That helps us get the guests that we need. It helps us do planning for the rest of the next few months to continue to grow. So, we hope you'll keep watching. Come back every night at 7 p.m. EST, our regular time, exclusively here, on Rumble. 

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Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

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Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

Glenn seems to be working as diligently as ever. I hope he is taking good care of himself while dealing with his recent loss. I am so grateful to Glenn for his ethics and perspective.

Thank you, Glenn, for putting on such an excellent show tonight regarding the Snowden Files. It was fascinating to hear you, Laura, and Edward relive and reflect on the experience and importance of releasing the files. It was also a touching tribute to David and his vital role in the project, as well as the salient role of Daniel Ellsberg as the model and inspiration for whistleblowing.

June 08, 2023

i would just like to thank you for the discussion between the three of you "rebels" on Wednesday. It was enlightening, exciting and touching. I didn't know the back story of everything that had to be considered and planned discreetly. Thank you for the insight you provided. Thank you for letting us in.

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Thoughts on Grief and the Grieving Process
The grieving process is horrible but not hopeless.

Note to Readers: Returning to more frequent written journalism is something I have been wanting to do for some time. The combination of David's 9-month hospitalization and the need to launch our nightly Rumble show during that excruciating experience made it virtually impossible to find the time and energy for that. It is something I am still eager to do -- I'm writing an article now about the life of Daniel Ellsberg and my friendship with him for Rolling Stone, as the 92-year-old Pentagon Papers whistleblower nears the end of his spectacular life due to terminal pancreatic cancer. I originally started writing the following thoughts on grief for myself, with no intention to publish it, but decided to do so in part because I know it may give comfort to others (as the article I discuss below gave to me), but also because, for reasons I can't explain, it sometimes helps to write about this for others, and my view of the grieving process has become that you should do whatever provides any help at all to get you through the next day. I realize this is not for everyone but it's what I'm capable of and what is dominating my thoughts right now. I hope to be able to return to producing more traditional written journalism soon. 


The pain, sadness, and torment of grief deepens as you move further away from the moment of the death of a loved one. It keeps getting worse – harder not easier – with each passing day and each passing week. I know that it will begin to get better or at least more manageable at some point, but that can and will happen only once the reality is internalized, a prerequisite for healing and recovery. But the internalization that someone is really dead - that there's absolutely nothing you can do to reverse that - requires ample time given its enormity. Three weeks is nowhere near sufficient.

One of the hardest challenges of grief, of the grieving process, is finding the balance between confronting the pain, loss and sometimes physically suffocating sadness – all without wallowing in it to the point that it completely consumes and then incapacitates you. But while you can't let yourself endlessly drown in it, you also can't let yourself use some mixture of distractions, work, exercise and other "return-to-normal" activities to remain in a state of denial or escapism, to avoid the pain and suffering, to deny the need to process a reality this immense and horrible, to anesthetize yourself from the mourning. The pain and suffering is going to come sooner or later, and the longer you evade or postpone it, the more damage it will do.

If you try to close yourself off to it entirety, to pretend it's not there, that attempt will fail. The pain and sadness will come at the worst times, when you're least prepared for it, in the most destructive form, and will find the unhealthiest expression. But if you force yourself to swim in those waters with too much frequency, for too much time, without maintaining a vibrant connection to the normalcy of life, to the people around you whom you love, and to the things you still cherish, it will paralyze and consume you - drain all your energy and life force and replace it with total darkness, mental paralysis and physical exhaustion: just a cold, inescapable sense of bottomless dread. 

There's no perfect sweet spot, but every day, you have to keep trying to find the right balance between confronting and avoiding. What's most daunting is realizing how long this process of processing and acceptance will be: very possibly endless. During the first week after David's death, I told both myself and our kids that the first two weeks would be hard but not the hardest, that worse days lay ahead, once the shock begins to wear off and the inescapable reality sets in, once the ceremonies were over and everyone else moved on and want back to their lives. I knew we would then be left with nothing but the reality of this enormous loss and horrific absence, and that was when the worst days would commence.

But telling yourself that is one thing; experiencing it is something completely different. Even when you think you're momentarily safeguarded from it, it can just penetrate without warning in the sharpest ways. On Thursday, I stumbled into this Guardian article about a top-secret leak in Australia and there was a description of David in the article's second paragraph, printed below, that was the first time I saw this formulation in print. It fell so heavily and jarringly – at a moment when I wasn't prepared for it – because no matter how hard you try and how much effort you devote to it, the reality of death takes a long time to fully internalize. It's just very hard to believe that the person with whom you expected and wanted to share all of your life – decades more – is instead not coming back, ever, in the only form you know, that a person so full of life and strength and force is no more:

I don't know why that phrase packed such a punch. I've seen hundreds of articles and tributes talking about David's death. But this phrase casually indicates that he is someone of the past, with no present and no future in our world. It didn't just talk about the fact that David died but referred to him as a now-and-forever dead person. That subtlety had an impact far more painful and destabilizing than I could have anticipated. It disrupted my emotional state until I could find a way to move on to something else: the central challenge of every day.


All of this is complicated -- a lot -- by the need to find this balance not only for yourself but also for your kids, whose grieving is as intense but also different. It's at least just as hard to know how much space to give them to use distractions like entertainment, sports, friends and school to find some breathing space. There's a strong temptation to encourage them to use escapism because one so eagerly -- instinctively -- wants to see one's kids smiling and laughing rather than crying and suffering.

But their own need to feel this loss, the mourning, the sadness, the pain is just as inescapable as your own. There's no avoiding it. It's coming one way or the other, so you often find yourself in the disorienting position of watching your kids cry and show pain, and you feel a form of comfort and relief from seeing it because you know it's good and healthy and necessary that they feel that, even while you are submerged in that sharp, expansive pit in the center of your being that comes from having to watch your own children suffer.

[Rio de Janeiro, March 30, 2022: four months, 1 week before David's hospitalization]

For those interested, I want to highly recommend this op-ed from last week by New York Times editor Sarah Wildman, whose 14-year-old daughter, Orli, just died after a somewhat lengthy and evidently very difficult battle with cancer. Without thinking about it, I messaged her to thank her for her article and we shared experiences, condolences and advice. One thing I did not expect was how much comfort I get from hearing from others - people I know well, people I don't know well, people I don't know at all – describe their own experiences with grief and loss. There's that old cliché that physical death is the great equalizer: the inevitable destination awaiting all of us regardless of status and station. 

That is true of death, but it's also true of grief. Unless one chooses never to love in order to avoid the pain of loss – a dreary, self-destructive, even tragic calculation – the impermanence of everything material that we love means we will all experience grief and the pain of loss until we die ourselves. There's now a substantial body of research on people's end-stage regrets: what humans who know they are dying say they wish they had done more of and less of. 

Virtually nobody nearing the end of life on earth says they wished they worked more or made more money (many say they regret working too much). Most say they wish they had spent more time with loved ones. When all is said and done, one of the few enduring things we really value and from which we derive meaningful pleasure - something we are built and have evolved to crave and need – is human connection. We're tribal and social animals. That's why isolation is one of the worst punishments society can impose, or that one can impose on oneself. And that's why, looking back over these last weeks and even during David's entire hospitalization, thoughts and notes and comments and kind gestures from so many people, to say nothing of those who took their time to write to me to share, often at great length, their own experience with long-term hospitalization of loved ones and profound grief, provided so much more comfort than I ever imagined it would have.

Wildman's op-ed is raw, moving and unsettling. She doesn't falsify or prettify anything for the sake of making her daughter's death more comfortable for others or herself. The death of someone you love at a young age is not pretty or comfortable. It's tragic and deeply sad and incomparably painful and there's no getting around that. Some of the best advice I got in the last couple of weeks was to avoid lionizing David or erecting a mythology around his life or around his death. I loved a human being, not a flawless saint or an icon or an otherworldly deity. And one of the things that moved me most about Wildman's op-ed was her frank discussion of her daughter's fear of dying. It would be so much more palatable - for yourself or others - to say and believe that the person you lost was at peace with dying. Her daughter wasn't at peace with dying, nor was David. They wanted to live and fought to live and were afraid to die.

That's a hard and painful truth that does sometimes make things much more difficult – it means you focus not only on what you lost, not only on what your kids lost, but on what the person who died lost – but one can also find beauty and grace and meaning and inspiration by confronting that rather than whitewashing it. It's disrespectful to someone's life to build mythologies about them - about their life and their death - no matter how comforting those mythologies might be. Wildman's op-ed refuses to do that, yet it leaves no doubt that her daughter inspired her and others not just in how she lived but in also in how she died: with her determination, courage and strength. 

I blocked it out and denied it at the time because I wasn't able to accept it, but David's doctors made clear in the days after he was first hospitalized in ICU last August that the probability that he would survive the week was very low. His inflammation and infection had already incapacitated his pancreas and caused full renal failure within the first 48 hours. By the end of the week he was intubated because sepsis delivered that inflammation to his lungs. Even a quick Google search reveals how dire that state of affairs is for anyone, no matter their age or overall health. 

That David fought so hard to live and return to us over nine excruciating months brought some horrifically difficult moments – watching him and his body get battered over and over every time it looked like he was possibly recovering was probably the worst thing I ever had to witness – but it also gave us and our kids some of our most moving, profound, genuine, loving and enduring moments with him and with one another that I and they will cherish forever, as I wrote about a couple months ago, in the context of gratitude, when I thought he was improving. 

It may seem at first glance that had he died a quick death in that first week, David would have spared himself and us a lot of agony. That may be true. But I am absolutely convinced that had he died in that first week without giving us and himself these opportunities, all of this would be infinitely worse. Every moment you share with someone you love - even if it's in an ICU ward with every machine imaginable connected to them - is a blessing and a gift, and David's characteristic fight gave us so many of those moments that, by all rights, we never should have had.

I really wish there some singular book or some magic phrase or some way of interpreting all of this that would make the still-growing and still-deepening pain disappear for myself, for mine and David's kids, for those who loved him, for those who love and lose anyone that matters so much in their life. There is no elixir. But that does not mean that nothing helps, that one is doomed to a life of endless pain, sadness, and dread, that it is impossible to find comfort and inspiration and even greater love in the grieving process. 


For that to happen, you need humility and an acceptance of what you cannot control. I can't bring David back - that's obvious - but I also can't find a way to entirely avoid the type of pain and sadness and despair that is sometimes utterly debilitating. I realized that very early on and so I'm no longer trying to avoid it entirely. 

Sometimes it comes when I seek or summon it, and sometimes it comes when I think I am far away from it - like happened this week when I saw the adjective "late" before his name and on a thousand other occasions when I looked at a photo of him and his eyes connected to mine, or when one of our kids shared a memory they had of him that brought him so vividly to life. When that pain comes, I don't try to fight it or drive it away. I let it come and sometimes stay in it on purpose, until I can no longer physically endure it. Other times I allow myself to be distracted: through work, though entertainment, through proximity to my kids, through conversations with them that are not directly about sharing our mutual grief over the loss of their father and of my husband.

I don't know if I returned to work too early or, instead, am sometimes succumbing too much to my desire not to work. Each day, I try to follow my instinct about what is best for me and for our kids, and to give myself a huge amount of space and forgiveness to calculate wrong and make the wrong decisions. Down every road lies sadness and even horror, but some of those paths also offer some beautiful moments of family and connection, ways to find inspiration, to embrace the spirit and passion and compassion and strength that defined David and his life.

I'm certain that one of the things that is helping most is our unified devotion to concretizing, memorializing and extending his legacy. One of David's greatest joys in life was seeing the construction and opening of the community center we built together in Jacarezinho, the community that raised him. It offers free classes in English and computers, psychological services and addiction counseling, support for animal protection and pet care, and meals for that community's homeless. We are going to create and build "The David Miranda Institute" to extend that work beyond that community. My kids are eager to assume a major role in working on this institute and community center – they know instinctively that it honors David and would make him so proud – and working on this together is one of the few things that provides us unadulterated comfort and uplifting energy. 

The grieving process is horrible but not hopeless. I'd be lying if I denied that it sometimes seems unbearable. Every day the reality that David lost his life and that we lost David in our lives gets heavier and more painful. But humans are resilient. We are adaptive. I can't prove it and there was a time in my life when I not only rejected but mocked this idea, but I believe our life has a purpose and, ultimately, so do our deaths. Each day I see that my suffering and our kids' suffering deepen and worsen for now. 

But I also see us, together, creating ways to find and remain connected to that purpose. David's life, David's spirit, David's legacy, and somehow even David's death are what is propelling us, elevating us, toward that destination. I would trade anything for David to be back with us, but since that option does not exist, getting through the pain and then finding a way to strengthen us is our overarching challenge.

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Chris Licht Out at CNN—The Latest Casualty of a Dying Medium, Tucker’s Explosive Return on Twitter, Ukraine’s Terrorist Attack on Russian Dam
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, June 7th. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live nightly show that airs every Monday to Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern, exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube. 

CNN's top executive barely lasted a year on the job. Chris Licht, who was brought in by the Most Trusted Name in News in the wake of multiple ethical scandals and collapsing ratings that drove out his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, was fired today. Most of the corporate press barely disguised their delight over his firing. One of Licht's primary directives was that the only way to save CNN and find a way to again attract an audience was to have CNN cease being little more than a messaging clearing house for the Democratic Party. 

Nothing enraged corporate media employees more than the idea that a news outlet should be independent rather than held in captivity to establishment neoliberalism. One of the few weapons they have left is ensuring that these media corporations remain a dissent-free sector of liberal propaganda, and Licht explicitly vowed to liberate CNN from that grim task. The reality is that cable news as a medium is dying, and CNN is close to irretrievably dead, so it hardly matters who captains that rotted ship as it deservedly crashes and then finally sinks. But the story is nonetheless worth covering because the media reaction to Licht, and their determination to keep every media corporation in line with Democratic Party ideology, reveals a great deal about their ongoing function.

Then: while CNN collapses, Tucker Carlson – the most successful cable host in the history of that medium – launched his show last night on Twitter, in scaled-down form for now. But there was no denying that the launch was a success. While view counts on Twitter are less than models of clarity and reliability, to understate the case, it is clear that millions watched Carlson's first monologue about Ukraine. That Carlson is able to find such a big audience without Fox, and that he's already obviously feeling far less constrained now that he's independent, are both highly encouraging signs for the future of independent media, and highly discouraging signs for the future of corporate media.

And then, finally: Russia once again suffered a major attack on key infrastructure: a huge dam in Russia-controlled Southern Ukraine. Despite the fact that its destruction would deprive Crimea of water, both Ukraine and leading U.S. and European elites are declaring as though it is proven fact that Russia is responsible for this attack – all this, despite the fact that we have repeatedly been subjected to lies and propaganda falsely assigning blame to Russia in the past, including claims that they blew up their own pipeline, exploded a cafe in St. Petersburg that kill a Russian nationalist journalist and injured 19 other Russians in attendance and that Russia even attacked the Kremlin with drones. 

We'll attempt to sort this all out - as well as analyze these other stories - with the most independent of independent journalists, Michael Tracey, who will join us shortly.

As a reminder, our System Update is available in podcast form 12 hours after the show first airs live here on Rumble. Simply follow us on Spotify, Apple and every other major podcasting platform. You can rate and review the show and help spread its availability.

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting now. 

Most of you don't likely know who Chris Licht is and there's really no reason for you to have known him. He was brought in roughly a year ago as the chief executive of CNN after his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, suffered all kinds of ethical scandals, including claims that he was involved in a consensual adult relationship with another CNN executive, that he was helping Chris Cuomo combat allegations against that CNN host, that he, too, had been engaged in improper conduct in helping his brother, the governor of New York, fend off assault allegations and all sorts of other problems at the network, including the fact that nobody was watching the network. It was simply a collapsing disaster. 

Chris Licht was brought in and one of the things that he immediately did and tried to implement was the idea that one of the reasons CNN is falling and failing is because nobody trusted it any longer. And the reason nobody trusted it any longer is that it is openly and blatantly little more than a messaging machine for the Democratic Party – and anybody who wants that already has MSNBC to give it to them. There's no reason anybody would go to CNN in order to get it. They became addicted to the ratings high, which was nothing more than a sugar high that they got that was actually ushered in by Donald Trump and by talking about Trump 24 hours a day. They staved off collapse but with Trump gone, there was simply no reason for anybody else to tune in to CNN any longer and their ratings continued to collapse. 

What makes this story interesting is not the fact that now they're going to bring in somebody else to oversee CNN's inevitable and well-deserved collapse. What's interesting is the reaction among most of the corporate media, both inside CNN and out, who are celebrating Licht’s demise solely because he wanted to transform that network away from being shills to the Democratic Party and into the independent news network that it once was. That really reveals how the corporate media sees itself in general and the fact that they wanted his head on a pike and now have it now are celebrating even while they know that it hardly matters who supervises or runs CNN, that cable news is dying along with much of the corporate media. That's the really revealing part. 

So, let's look first at what the story is from The New York Times today. It says, “Chris Licht is Out at CNN, Leaving Network at a Crossroads. Mr. Licht turbulent time running the 24-hour news organization lasted slightly more than a year.” 


Chris Licht, the former television producer who oversaw a brief and chaotic run as the chairman of CNN, is out at the network.


David Zaslav, the chief executive of CNN’s parent, Warner Bros. Discovery, informed staff on Wednesday morning that he had met with Mr. Licht and that he was leaving, effective immediately.


Mr. Licht’s 13-month run at CNN was marked by one controversy after another. He got off to a bumpy start even before he had officially started when he oversaw the shuttering of the costly CNN+ streaming service at the request of its network’s new owners, who were skeptical about a stand-alone digital product. The cuts resulted in scores of layoffs. (The New York Times. June 7, 2023) 


Let's take a moment to remember that because it was one of the funniest things to ever happen to media prior to Chris Licht's arrival. CNN and their bosses, including Jeff Zucker, had decided that one way to save CNN was to create a streaming service that you had to pay for. And on the streaming service, they were going to offer the same host whom you can already watch for free but – like everybody else in the country – you were choosing not to because you had no interest in what they were saying. So, they were essentially saying, here are all these people who, if you want, you can watch for free and you're choosing not to. Nobody watches them. And so, our genius idea is we're now going to make you pay to watch them so that we can generate profit for ourselves and you will pay to watch the people you've already made clear you have no interest in. It lasted a grand total of 21 days. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, on marketing and publicity and trumpeting the arrival of this exciting streaming service. And then Chris Licht brought it in. They ordered him to kill it. After 21 days, it was dead. And as The New York Times says, the cuts resulted in scores of layoffs for which he was blamed. It goes on:


Ratings plummeted during Mr. Licht’s management and a series of programming miscues — including an il-fated morning show co-anchored by Don Lemon, as well as organizing a town hall featuring former President Donald J. Trump that was subject to withering criticism — did little to shore up support with his colleagues. (The New York Times. June 7, 2023) 


I think this is the really important part. The straw that broke the camel's back for Chris Licht was his decision to take the presidential candidate who was leading in all the polls – not only to become the Republican nominee but to be the next president – he's winning virtually all polls against Joe Biden if he were to get the nomination and leading all polls by 20 or 35, 30 points over the next leading candidate, Ron DeSantis. So, needless to say, by definition, Donald Trump has a very good chance to become the next president. He also happened to be the president just two years ago. And yet the idea that CNN should interview him, should allow him to go on their airwaves and let the American people hear what he has to say in response to questions being asked of him by a reporter who was told to and is fully capable of responding to whatever he says, fact-checking him if she thinks it's merited as she did. This idea was so controversial inside CNN. In fact, it was worse than controversial. It provoked large amounts of indignation among CNN staffers to the point that people like Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour went on the air and criticized CNN for the crime of interviewing Donald Trump. This is how institutionally rotted that network is. They really do believe that their only mission is to promote the Democratic Party, or at the very least, do everything possible to sabotage Donald Trump and his movement. They are overtly an activist organization, and that activism is all about promoting the Democratic Party and ensuring the Trump movement never obtains power again, even if the American people decide to vote for Donald Trump. 

And so, putting him on the air in that town hall that they had with him was by far their biggest rating night in a long, long time: it got over 3 million viewers, which is a different universe for what CNN ever gets. They just had a similar town hall with Nikki Haley, who's another GOP presidential candidate with Jake Tapper and they got a grand total of 550,000 people watching – only 100,000 or 150,000 people in the so-called demo. The only thing that matters, really, the age group that advertisers care about, which is 25 to 54, they could barely get half a million people to watch a town hall with Nikki Haley. So, the only time that ever anyone watches CNN still is when they got Donald Trump to come on their network. And it becomes so ingrained in the culture and the ethos of American corporate media is the idea that their singular mission is to ensure the victory and success of the Democratic Party, CNN journalists were outraged about Chris Licht's decision to allow Donald Trump to vandalize their airwaves. That is how far gone the corporate media is in the United States. And it's not just CNN journalists who thought that way, most of the corporate media did. 


Things deteriorated last week when The Atlantic published a 15,000-word profile extensively documenting Mr. Licht’s stormy tenure, including criticism of the network’s pandemic coverage that rankled the network’s rank-and-file. (The New York Times. June 7, 2023)


The entire media was out to get Chris Licht for no reason other than the fact that he wanted to prevent CNN from continuing to act as a servant to the Democratic Party, not for ideological reasons but just because CNN was failing and collapsing by trying to be that – nobody was watching,


Further worsening matters was CNN’s financial performance. The network generated $750 million in profit last year, including one-time losses from the CNN+ streaming service, down from $1.25 billion the year before. (The New York Times. June 7, 2023)


You may wonder how CNN makes that much profit when nobody watches and the answer is twofold. One is they still do attract a lot of attention to things like their website. But the bigger reason is that CNN is on every cable network and is on every cable package. Cable companies pay CNN to include their network in their cable packages because they assume, even though it seems to be quite untrue, that people who pay for cable want CNN – they never watch it but that's where CNN's profit comes from: cable companies pay them for the right to include them in the cable package, even though nobody watches them. The article goes on: 


Mr. Licht’s abrupt departure, earlier reported by Puck, represents the latest hit in a tumultuous era for the network.


In December 2021, the prime-time anchor Chris Cuomo was fired amid an ethics scandal involving his brother, the former Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. 


Two months later, the network’s longtime chief executive, Jeff Zucker, was let go for failing to disclose a relationship with a colleague, the senior executive Allison Gollust, who was likewise pushed out within weeks of Mr. Zucker’s departure.


It did not help matters for Mr. Licht that Mr. Zucker enjoyed wide loyalty from top anchors as well as rank-and-file workers, even after his exit. Once employees began souring on Mr. Licht, Mr. Zucker turned into a quasi-grievance switchboard for frustrated staff members.


One of Mr. Licht’s first big programming moves was to reassign Mr. Lemon from his prime-time perch to a new morning show. Mr. Licht said the show, which Mr. Lemon would anchor with Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, would “set the tone for the news organization.”


Instead, “CNN This Morning,” which debuted in November, was marred by low ratings and tensions on and off the set. Two months after Mr. Lemon said that a woman over the age of 50 was not “in her prime,” he was fired, effectively blowing up the show that had been Mr. Licht’s signature project.


That was not the only misstep. Mr. Licht took his time — Warner Bros. Discovery executives believed far too much time — to figure out a prime-time lineup as it was rapidly losing viewers. 


To the shock of many CNN staff members, the network began last month to occasionally lose to Newsmax in total viewers in prime time. And the Trump town hall, which aired on May 10, was excoriated both outside and within CNN. (The New York Times. June 7, 2023)


In other words, that was really the last straw – the fact that he dared put a Republican – not just any Republican, but Donald Trump – on CNN's airwaves. They simply do not believe that media outlets any longer should report on people who disagree with Democratic Party ideology or who in any way have any relationship to Donald Trump or to his campaign. 

Now, a serious historical revision is going on in a way that only our media can do. What they're trying to say is that this is proof that any attempt to liberate media outlets from Democratic Party servitude or to suggest that the media outlets have a responsibility to do something other than just advance American liberalism is likely to fail. In other words, they're trying to say CNN was this model of great success until Chris Licht came in and caused it all to fail. 

Here, for example, is a tweet today from a former Washington Post journalist, and then he went to The Atlantic, Lowery: 


Chris Licht: the latest in a line of media leaders who burn their own house down with their determination to be anti-woke and prove their “independence” from liberals who criticize them on Twitter. (@Wesleylowery June 7, 2023)


So that's the narrative that they're trying to create – that CNN failed under Chris Licht because he had the audacity to say that news outlets should be independent and that they should be immune from the demands of liberals on Twitter, that they only adhere to liberal ideology. That is as explicit as it gets about what their views are and what media outlets should do. 

The reality is this is all a fairy tale. Long before Chris Licht came in to run CNN, CNN's ratings were already in total decline, in free fall, precisely because nobody trusted them, precisely because everybody knew they were a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. 

Here from Forbes in February 2022, so just days before Chris Licht was hired and Jeff Zucker was fired. There you see the headlines: “CNN's Ratings Collapse: Prime Time Down Nearly 70% In The Key Demo” – 70%. CNN's ratings were described as in collapse before Chris Licht came on board. And in great part, that was due to the fact that CNN lost all of the trust it had built up over several decades by turning itself into a pro-Democratic party, anti-Trump outlet during the Trump years. 

Here, too, from The Daily Beast in December 2021, a couple of months before Jeff Zucker was fired and Chris was brought in. “CNN bottomed out in 2021: Will viewers come back? The network reigned supreme at the end of the Trump era but has fallen back to earth. What happened?” 

That I think is the most important thing to note here: the reason these media outlets are collapsing is because people no longer trust them. And how you rebuild trust? There's only one way to do that, and that is to prove that you are not captive to either one of these parties, but instead are independent and willing to report things honestly. 

A major reason, according to Chris Licht, that CNN had lost faith among the public, that nobody trusted them any longer was because of their constantly hysterical COVID coverage. You probably remember when Donald Trump was president, they constantly had a clock or a chart counting in this gruesome, dreary way the number of people who died of COVID, as though each one of those corpses was a direct fault of Donald Trump. And then suddenly, when Joe Biden came in, CNN totally lost interest in how many people were dying of COVID, even though more people died of COVID under Joe Biden than under Donald Trump – despite the fact that Trump ushered in the vaccine that CNN told everybody to take. And obviously, when you do things like that, when you so blatantly exploit a pandemic for purely partisan and political ends, of course, the public will lose trust in you. 

Here is from the new media outlet Semafor which reports a lot on media. Its editor-in-chief is Ben Smith, who is a longtime media columnist for The New York Times. This is by Max Tanny on June 2023: “CNN Lost Trust Over COVID Coverage, Internal Report Found.” 


The Atlantic’s Friday profile of the embattled CEO profile Chris Licht drew cringes at Hudson Yards — but also anger over Licht’s criticism of the network’s award-winning pandemic coverage.


“In the beginning, it was a trusted source – this crazy thing, no one understands it, help us make sense of it. What’s going on?” Licht said. “And I think then it got to a place where, ‘Oh wow, we gotta keep getting those ratings. We gotta keep getting the sense of urgency.’”


“People walked outside and they go, ‘This is not my life. This is not my reality. You guys are just saying this because you need the ratings, you need the clicks. I don’t trust you,’” he said.


The network won multiple prizes for its coverage of Covid-19, including the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Cronkite/Jackson Prize, which was awarded to Dr. Sanjay Gupta for his coverage “correcting Covid-19 misinformation.”


But Licht’s criticism was drawn from CNN’s own research.


Last year, CNN commissioned a survey examining viewer trust and the places where CNN was succeeding and falling short with viewers across the ideological spectrum. According to a partial copy of the report, which hasn’t been revealed before, CNN’s coverage of Covid-19 was the third leading cause of distrust in the network behind liberal bias and “the Chris Cuomo situation.”


Survey respondents of all ideological stripes criticized the network’s "overly dramatic and sensational" and "dire" reporting, the report said. (Semafor. June 5, 2023)


So, this is the reality – the reason, trust and faith in media outlets and corporate media outlets are in freefall at exactly the time people are turning to independent media more and more as we're about to show you in the next segment – regarding Tucker Carlson’s return show on Twitter – is precisely because people understand that in the Trump years, these media outlets devoted themselves to the destruction of one party and the advancement of another. They also got extremely irresponsible with hysterical and false reporting on things like Russiagate and COVID. They are widely perceived to have a liberal bias and therefore nobody trusts them any longer. And so, with the exception of a couple of media giants like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, pretty much every sector of media is failing. Fox News is now failing because it got rid of Tucker Carlson, and its ratings have been in decline ever since because people understand that if you're a news network that fires your most popular host because he won't promote your ideology, you're not really a news network, you're an ideological activist outlet, and people no longer trust those. And that's why people are turning more and more to independent media. And the fact that the corporate media, almost all of them, reacted with such anger toward Chris Licht's attempt to make CNN just a little bit more independent, and to say that it should no longer be this outlet of partisan captivity in the Democratic Party, shows you that the corporate media believes, even if it means they're going to fail, that their overarching mission is to advance the Democratic Party and ensure the defeat of the Republican Party. People already see this. Polls overwhelmingly show that they see it. And the reason we decided to cover this somewhat amusing episode is not that it matters who steers the ship of any of these declining organizations. It doesn't. But because the reaction of the rest of the media is so revealing about how they see their own function. 

As I said in just a second after this little break, we're going to be back. We have Michael Tracey, come on. We're going to talk about Carlson's new program and the reaction to it and also the destruction of a dam in Ukraine that yet again, American the European elites are saying with no evidence, was carried out by Russia. We'll be right back. 


We, at System Update, would like to thank Field of Greens for being a great sponsor of the show. Field of Greens has allowed us to stay independent in our journalism. It’s a trusted brand of Glenn’s and he takes their fruit and vegetable supplement everyday. Visit and use promo code: GLENN for 15% off your first order and 10% more for recurring orders. Thank you Field of Greens and let’s get back to the show. 

Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox News on April 24, just about six weeks ago, despite the fact that he had long been and continues to be the most-watched host on any cable network. And the question is, why would Fox News fire its most popular and most-watched cable host? That is still a mystery that has not really been answered, although I think we're starting to get a lot of clues about part of the reason being ideological, the fact that Tucker Carlson was increasingly out of step with Republican establishment ideology. His most frequent targets, along with the CIA and the FBI, were leading Republican figures like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, much more so often than even Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer on the most central priority of the CIA and the U.S. security state, Joe Biden's War in Ukraine – Tucker Carlson was one of the leading opponents of that war, even though most of the GOP establishment is fully on board with it and vehemently supports it. 

Just like what happened with Glenn Beck roughly a decade earlier, when he was certainly the most-watched host in the history of cable at the 5 p.m. slot, and yet Fox News fired him. Part of the reason is ideological that no matter how many viewers you get watching your show, if what you're convincing them of is contrary to the political views or the interests of the owners of that network, you will only last for so long. And that's the reason why corporate media really cannot be trusted. There are people doing good work in corporate media. I certainly think Tucker Carlson did good work while he was at FOX, there are a couple of other people at Fox who I think are doing their best within those constraints. The reality, however, is that you can only do so much because as long as people are paying your paycheck and controlling what it is that you can and can't say, eventually – if you step over too many lines ideologically – it doesn't matter how successful you are, you will end up being fired. That was something I obviously discovered myself when I was at The Intercept, my own media outlet that I founded. And yet, because I wanted to report on Joe Biden in a way that was incriminating of him just a couple of weeks before the election, the senior editorial staff of The Intercept, even though my contract prohibited them from doing so, interfered with my editorial process, prohibited me from publishing my own article at the media outlet that was founded on my name because they had ideological lines that could not be crossed – specifically anything that might have helped Donald Trump win the election, even if it was good reporting, was something that could not be done. It was only once I left that I realized the full extent to which I had been constrained, even subliminally or subconsciously, by the fact that I was working within a corporate structure and a media controlled by other people. And obviously, Tucker Carlson has found that out firsthand as well. I can see it in how he left and now how he is speaking in a different way already with the first episode of a show that appeared on Twitter last night. 

Here you see it. He entitled it episode one. It is a scaled-down version of his show for now. He doesn't have any guests yet. It's only a 10 to 12-minute monologue similar to the kind that he would begin his show with when he was at Fox. I think probably the most important and popular part of his show was this monologue. So, for now, until they're capable and ready and up and running to have remote guests on, this is what the show is going to be, the monologue. And as I said, I don't think Twitter’s metrics are particularly reliable. It says here that it's been watched by 87.6 million people. I doubt 87.6 million people watched this monologue. I highly doubt that. In fact, if so, that would be the most-watched television event in the history of TV or for at least several decades, that essentially one-third or one-fourth of the American population. I think what happens a lot is if this gets retweeted into your feed, that counts to the View as if you scrolled by its account. But what clearly is the case, just based on the number of retweets alone, we don't have that here, but it's something like 270,000 retweets, close to a million likes. Yeah, it's 186,000 retweets and 700,000 likes already; 40,000 bookmarks, 21,000, quote-tweets. Clearly, more than a million people, well over a million people watched this monologue, which already makes it more successful than pretty much any show on CNN or MSNBC. And we'll see how once the awareness builds up the Tucker Show is on Twitter, remember, only 20% to 25% of Americans use Twitter regularly. So, he has a lot of ceiling left to fill. We'll see how many people end up watching it. But clearly, this is a successful debut. 

Now, before we bring Michael Tracey on to talk about this and most importantly, the content of what Tucker said in his monologue and the way in which it is characterized by the media, I want to just show you the media reaction to it. It was as predictable as it was negative, but the point in which they were angry over specific things that he said I think is incredibly interesting. So here, just take a couple of examples. 

CNN, which would kill to have that many people watching any of their programs when they don't have Donald Trump on, reports: “Tucker Carlson launches first episode of a low budget Twitter show after Fox News firing.


Nearly a month after vowing a return to right-wing commentary through a show on Elon Musk’s Twitter, the fired Fox News host made good on his promise Tuesday evening and posted a 10-minute monologue to the social media platform. 

The commentary, which appeared next to a “Tucker on Twitter” logo at the corner of the screen, was in the same style as viewers have come to expect from Carlson, a conspiracy-peddling talk show host who gave voice to some of the most extreme ideas in right-wing politics. (CNN. June 6, 2023)


What is that style, CNN, that viewers have come to expect from Carlson, “a conspiracy-pedaling” talk show host?


The NYT’s Katie Robertson and Jeremy Peters summarized the first episode like this: “He expressed sympathy for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and mocked President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine. He accused the mainstream media of lying. (CNN. June 6, 2023)


Oh, perish the thought. Apparently, only right-wing people mock President Zelenskyy and accuse the mainstream media of lying, which, by the way, is what the right-wing means now that if you don't trust institutions of power, mainstream institutions of power, the CIA, the FBI, Big Tech and large media outlets, that is how you get labeled right wing. Nothing else is required.


He wrapped up by declaring that UFOs and extraterrestrial life are ‘actually real.’” (CNN. June 6, 2023)


Just to try to make him seem crazy. Even though there are a lot of scientists, a lot of people who study extraterrestrial life, who believe that there is now evidence that it exists. But this whole article is just kind of an exercise in empty labels tossed around to signal the people that you're supposed to hate. Even though he focused his entire monologue on something that many, many Americans support, which is opposition to the U.S. role in the proxy war in Ukraine. 

According to The Guardian, their headline is “Tucker Carlson Peddles Conspiracy Theories on Twitter Debut From His Barn.” So, this is all part of the mockery. It's low budget, there were people noting that he operated his own teleprompter, he did it from his barn. Why is this bad? In order to be credible as a journalist, do you have to work for a gigantic media corporation and have a team of 100 people around you to operate every little device that you use? The sub-headline here is “Ex-Fox News host backs Russia and Insults Ukraine's Zelenskyy in a ten-minute monologue greeted with widespread derision”. 

Widespread derision among whom? Here's what they say: “Tucker Carlson's debut on Twitter was greeted with widespread derision.” It was watched by millions of people way more than would ever read a Guardian article. This “widespread derision” means the liberal part of the corporate media that nobody watches. 


Tucker Carlson’s debut on Twitter was greeted with widespread derision, as the former Fox News host backed Russia in its war with Ukraine, abused the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, invoked conspiracy theories about 9/11 and Jeffrey Epstein and mused on the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life.


“Tucker Carlson’s lies cost Fox $800m,” said Anne Applebaum, a historian of authoritarianism, referring to the $787.5m settlement the network signed with Dominion Voting Systems over its broadcast of Donald Trump’s election lies, shortly before Carlson was fired. “Now he is still lying, and Twitter will eventually pay the price too”. (The Guardian. June 7, 2023)


That paragraph is itself a lie. Tucker Carlson was not one of the people spreading the claims about Dominion voting machines. Not even the lawsuit alleged that. In fact, Tucker was one of the people going on the air at the time, as we showed you on an entire show we did examining this, telling his audience that didn't want to hear it, that the claims of Sidney Powell and others that Dominion had engaged in voter fraud lacked evidence and until that evidence was presented, you shouldn't believe it. So, the idea that Tucker Carlson cost Fox $800 million, which is what The Guardian said quoting Anne Applebaum, is a lie.  

But who is Anne Applebaum? Anne Applebaum is a neoconservative who was one of the people who told the American public that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. She was a vocal advocate of the war in Iraq. She was a vocal advocate of the regime change operation in Syria to remove Bashar al-Assad that destroyed Syria. She was a vocal advocate of the regime change war in Libya that turned Libya into a hellhole of ISIS and slave markets and anarchy. And of course, she was one of the people pushing every version of Russiagate, including the Steele dossier and all the ones that got proven to be lies. The fact that she's held up as this paragon of truth, while The Guardian says that it was Tucker Carlson who spread conspiracy theories and lies, shows you how just utterly manipulated these terms are. The article goes on. 


The first taste of what that audience can expect included claims that Ukraine blew up the Kakhovka dam, not Russia, and lewd insinuations about the Republican senator Lindsey Graham. Carlson said Graham was “attracted” to the “rat-like” Zelenskiy and “aroused” by “the aroma of death”. (The Guardian. June 7, 2023)


How is that not true? Like Anne Applebaum, Lindsey Graham has also supported every single American war, including Joe Biden's war in Ukraine. It's very reasonable to conclude that they are indeed “aroused by the aroma of death” as they spend their lives dedicating themselves to urging more and more wars. 


Carlson also called Zelenskiy “sweaty” […] a “comedian turned oligarch”, a “persecutor of Christians”. (The Guardian. June 7, 2023)


And he was referring there to the fact that President Zelenskyy ordered closed some of the oldest Russian Orthodox churches in Ukraine because of suspicions of their loyalty.


Carlson also said: “What exactly happened on 9/11? Well, it’s still classified. How did Jeffrey Epstein make all that money? How did he die? How about JFK? And so endlessly on”. (The Guardian. June 7, 2023)


Meaning “We're constantly being lied to by institutions of authority and power that use classified documents to hide the truth and hide what they do” – mainstream media outlets which are supposed to be devoted to being adversarial to those institutions. The only Pulitzer Prize The Guardian ever won into this long in history was when we published classified material showing the NSA was lying. And yet now, they want to stigmatize the idea that anybody who is skeptical of the pronouncements of leading institutions of authority or the idea that whatever Ukraine and the Ukrainian government say we have to accept on faith, that person is a conspiracy theorist. Why do they quote Anne Applebaum, one of the leading advocates of the Iraq war, and every other lie told to justify American wars since then, as the expert on what is and is not disinformation? This is the game they play all the time. 

All right. Let's bring Michael Tracey on. I know he's, as always, very eager, filled with all sorts of insights and all kinds of wisdom that he's dying to share with us. 

G. Greenwald: Mike, are you there? There you are. So good to see you. 


Michael Tracey: By the way, I'm now going by the title Historian of Authoritarianism. 


(They laugh)


G. Greenwald: I mean, it's just so funny that they invent these titles of expertise they just assign whomever they want to be the authority on something. How is she a historian of authoritarianism or the person whom you bring on to say what is a lie and what is not?  

So first of all, I just showed you the media's reaction to Tucker's return. They, like mocked a bunch of that kind of stylistic stuff but the reaction to the substance of what he said, which is really just 10 minutes of urging skepticism about the pronouncements of leading institutions of authority, is kind of amazing, given that's supposed to be their job, and yet now they stigmatize it. 


Michael Tracey: Well, yeah, I especially like that passive-voice ridicule in the Guardian article where they said that the show was greeted with widespread derision. That just means we at the Guardian hereby wish to deride Tucker Carlson. I mean, are they referring to other than themselves? But then just phrasing it as this passive-voiced little dig […] 


G. Greenwald: And like CNN journalist on Twitter and like other liberal journalists on Twitter, that's what they mean, the little, tiny incestuous world to which they pay attention and that they think is the only one that matters and that exists. 


Michael Tracey: Yeah, clearly the presumption on their part is that if they're going to deride the show no matter what – now, I think 87.6 million is a bit inflated of a number that would make the viewership of the Tucker debut on Twitter a notch below the Super Bowl – but regardless, there is the potential for this kind of broadcasting methodology to gain traction, and that would be a threat to the established interests of people who run these media institutions. I don't know if that's the exact kind of causal motivator for why they're going out of their way to just blindly spew the same kind of ridicule that they always did. But there you have it.  

Insofar as the content that Tucker touched upon in that monologue, it's true that he went fairly. – he took a hard line on Ukraine in a way that you wouldn't see virtually anywhere else in the media. But that was also roughly the case when he was at Fox. I mean, just a month or so after the invasion started, I happened to be in Poland doing reporting and I had to be on the show and not to touch that. But he helped confirm me. And Tucker's position was ‘help me confirm a story with the Pentagon.’ They got confirmation from the Pentagon that the Pentagon had imposed a gag order on all U.S. military personnel in Poland to prohibit them from speaking to the media because they didn't want any information to be publicized as to their activities right across the border from Ukraine and Poland. And that was at a time when there was even more of an intractable consensus around the Ukraine issue and deviating from that consensus was even more probably of a risky move. So, I think that's actually what's admirable about Tucker if you want to kind of find a way to praise him, is that what he said in the monologue, that was relatively almost entirely, I would say, consistent with what you might have expected him to say on Fox. In other words, he's not kind of dramatically modifying what he's saying based on the medium or the audience, which I would contend is actually a marker of intellectual consistency. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, I think and, you know, it's very hard to say because we're talking about subtleties and gradations, but I think when you have 10 minutes and you pack in not just a news story about Ukraine and you don't hear skepticism, but you pretty much say we're being lied to – it's not that we don't know; it's almost certainly the case that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, that did that. And then you got to just throw in for good measure what happened on 9/11 and where did Jeffrey Epstein get his money and how did Jeffrey Epstein die? And what about those UFOs? You're pretty much staking a position in the ground where you're saying this show is going to be very unflinching in its refusal to accept as good faith or reliable the claims about anything that comes from the leading institutions we're told to trust, even going so far as to question the narrative about 9/11 and Jeffrey Epstein. So, I think you can point to times in his show where he did talk about Jeffrey Epstein skeptically, the claim that he committed suicide. 


Michael Tracey: Yeah He talked about all those issues. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, absolutely. 


Michael Tracey: Other than 9/11, which I'm not sure yet. 


G. Greenwald: Not 9/11. And I think the way that he packed it all in and used very like –even this language about Zelenskiy, you know, being like rat-faced and sweaty and Lindsey Graham having an attraction to him. I think a lot of this stuff is maybe just a slightly more unleashed version of Tucker as compared to how he was on Fox. So, I agree with you. You know, I said you can't really prove it. It's one show, it's 10 minutes. But to me, having heard Tucker talk about these things a lot on the air, this seems a little bit more aggressive. And I would hope that he would because he doesn't have to be [...] 


Michael Tracey: Yeah, and maybe I should retract my statement. It was probably a bit more audacious than you might expect from just a typical broadcast of the Tucker Carlson Show on Fox. Not that I was a regular viewer and I sat around watching it all day, but to the extent that was familiar with the contents, this would strike me as probably a bit more audacious. And I think maybe one way to think about it is, even if it's not a deliberate kind of substantive modification of one's content, if you're on the 8 p.m. slot on Fox News each night, you have to be mindful – or you inevitably are going to be mindful – that a huge segment of your audience is just going to kind of default FOX viewers who haven't actively sought you out personally and maybe don't watch your content or consume what you say because they have a particular ideological affinity with you. They just have made a habit of watching Fox, including at your hour. Maybe they like you incidentally, but it's not like they're actively seeking you out. Whereas if you're not speaking to an audience that has in a much greater sense sought you out directly because they're going onto Twitter, they're taking certain steps that they wouldn't have taken if they were just consuming passively your show on Fox, then maybe there is a bit more of a latitude that you have to be totally sort of unrestrained in what you put out there. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, well, I think there are two other aspects to this, which is that –I'm getting back to personal experience here – so, one is and I alluded to this earlier, when you are attached to a media corporation or a news organization that has corporate bosses and senior editors and you have a bunch of colleagues, and especially when you're kind of one of the leading faces of it, the way Tucker was with Fox, the way I was when I was at The Intercept, there is a kind of subliminal constraint or sort of constraint it imposes on you, which are not even really conscious, but you just always know that if you're going to go to a certain place that provokes a lot of controversies, that's going to affect not only you but the entire organization. And it could […] 


Michael Tracey: It helps not know that. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, well, I'm saying it kind of gets embedded into your head so that even if you're not consciously interrogating that in that way, that it's […] 


Michael Tracey: You are like a fish. It's literally the water you're swimming in like a fish. 


G. Greenwald: Exactly. And so, once I left The Intercept, I realized how kind of liberated I was in ways that I wasn't even aware had been constrained to me before and I guarantee you that's going to happen way more so with Tucker, who was under a lot more pressure in terms of having this gigantic news corporation, and the Murdochs, hanging above his head. But the other thing I think that is almost certainly going to happen, and that's definitely happened to me, is when I got to The Intercept into the circumstance that I did and I realized that I had become victimized by this genuinely illiberal and repressive climate, it wasn't something I was describing any longer. It was something [that] had affected me negatively and restricted my ability to speak. You become a little bit more radicalized about just how corrupted these institutions are, and you want to – or you're able to – speak more clearly about them because you've now kind of personally experienced it. Tucker got fired despite being the most-watched show on that network, very abruptly and very suddenly, in a way, I'm certain he feels betrayed by and angry about and kind of thinks it is unjust. And that has to affect going forward how he speaks about a lot of these institutions, including media corporations. 


Michael Tracey: Yeah, And I would think that what you also inevitably would have to sublimate is that there's a ton of money that is invested in your position in the institution. So, it's not just you on the line that requires you to maybe stay within the confines of a certain set of expectations as to what content you're going to publicize or put out. In other words, it's not just your own interest that you have to be mindful of, and even financially, it's a whole conglomeration of people's interests that are dependent on you. And even if you put up guardrails to kind of insulate yourselves from whatever pressures or potential corrupting influences that present and you can be the most genuine person in the world in wanting to kind of prevent those influences from having any influence on you. It seems like it's just an inevitable fact of life that it suffuses your world in such a way that it's just impossible to fully do away with those influences. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah. So, I don't know if you saw this news, but I want to get to the substance of the issue with Ukraine and who blew up the dam, which was the topic of his monologue and then something I want to go over with you. But just one last thing on this Tucker issue and Fox: people were a little confused when he said he was going to bring his show to Twitter because it wasn't necessarily the most natural place for him to go. And especially that was the case when it became clear that he had no contract with Twitter. Twitter's not paying him to be on Twitter. And the reason, as it turns out, is because Fox, his view of their relationship is that Fox has not terminated their contract with Tucker. He's still an employee of Fox News. According to Fox, he's still bound by his contract. They're still paying him under that contract. And it's a lot of money, $15 million to $20 million a year. So, if you're taking out $1.5 million, $2 million every single month that Fox pays to Tucker, every month, $1.5 million, and their view is, because he's still an employee of Fox, he is prohibited from going anywhere else and working for one of our competitors. So, I think the idea with Tucker was, well, I'm going to just go on Twitter, I have no contract, nobody can say that I've taken a job at CNN or even Rumble, I'm not competing with Fox, I'm just speaking out on Twitter the way anybody else uses social media to speak out on. There's no way they can interpret that as breaching my contract or trying to silence me there. And yet, right before we were on the air, Axios reported that Fox News regards Tucker Carlson as in breach of his contract as a result of him doing a show on Twitter, even though he's not being paid by Twitter, not making any money. Their view is that for the duration of the contract, which is through 2025, apparently, he's barred from being heard publicly in any way, even on social media. And I have to think there's something ideological about that, that Fox is trying to realign the Republican Party with the old-school establishment ideology that it had always been attached to – all this time the Murdochs were promoting it until Donald Trump came along – and they see Tucker as this hardcore establishment, the anti-establishment voice, who in some ways seems so ideologically threatening to the Republican Party and to the Fox News executives who are now trying to kind of have a rapprochement with the Republican Party, that they want to use this contract to silence him entirely. Don't you find that very strange? 


Michael Tracey: Yeah. I mean, I guess it would depend on the actual wording of the relevant clause in the contract, but it would be strange to say that Twitter was one of the competitors that the drafters of the contract had in mind when they inserted that clause prohibiting Tucker from going on the platform of a competitor to Fox. If anything, Twitter is a supplement to Fox in that Fox, just like every other media outlet, uses Twitter to promote their content and they cite Twitter in their content on broadcast and so forth. So, it's interesting to see how that argument hashes out. But yeah, I mean, I guess this does potentially lend itself to the theory that there is more of an ideological motivator that maybe some had suspected when he was fired. That was a popular theory initially that I was a bit more skeptical of, just insofar, given the ambiguities of the circumstances of the firing, it seemed to me that there was probably kind of a more banal explanation that was ultimately at play for it. And the ideological explanation might have been a bit more sort of emotionally satisfying, I didn't see a whole lot of evidence for it, given that, like just as I said before, Tucker was going even more against the grain, given the political climate at the time, last year, a year ago, than it would have been in April. So, it just didn't add up to me. But, you know, I have to be open to evidence. And if it's established or if there's an accumulation of evidence that they are seeking to just prevent him from engaging on the public platform at all, even if it couldn't really be conceivably argued to be in breach of that contract – they're still trying to make that argument. I don't know. I guess it's possible but, at the same time, I do think that these corporate lawyers are pretty vengeful. So even if they have to stretch the argument to claim that Twitter's a competitor, maybe they just want to do it just to test their own ability to enforce the law. 




G. Greenwald: I think Fox has clearly lost a lot by getting rid of Tucker. I mean, you can see it in the ratings. Did you see it? They used to get 3 million viewers a night starting at 8 p. m., and then it would kind of go down a little bit, but not much. And now they start off with one and a half million. They apparently are ahead of MSNBC ever since Tucker's firing. They're kind of, you know, really brought down a huge peg. And I would think the last thing Fox would want to do, having angered their viewership to this extent by firing Tucker, is now going to war against him in a way that seems very vindictive unless there's a real ideological motive. And I think this has been so overlooked because the liberal wing of the corporate media has been incapable of understanding this. I think they hate Tucker and his show without really watching it. It is a very unusual situation to have such radically different agendas from the 8 p.m. show in primetime on Fox to the 9 p.m. show with the second biggest star on Fox, Sean Hannity, where, you know, Sean Hannity is doing what he's always done, which is kissing the ass of every Republican Party leader, cheering on the war in Ukraine, calling everybody a traitor and a Kremlin agent who's against it. And you have Tucker, who is probably the leading voice of everything Sean Hannity is criticizing. The Murdochs clearly have a political agenda. There are politicians they support, there are ideologies that they hate and they like, and to have such a radical split between your two biggest hosts is pretty much unsustainable unless you're only running Fox News as a business and not as a political project. But I don't think anyone has ever thought of the Murdochs as just apolitical, profit-mongers. I mean, they clearly have a political agenda, and I think a political agenda is tied to the establishment in the Republican Party, and they very much want Trump not to be the standard bearer of the Republican Party any longer. And I think they see […] 


Michael Tracey: That as although Trump was on Hannity show again this week. I mean, it's not as though that Trump has been banished from Fox. If anything, Hannity is solidifying his ties with Trump. 


(Voices overlap)


G. Greenwald: Yeah, I mean […] 


Michael Tracey: […] the election clearly […] 


G. Greenwald: […] Has come to their senses on. I mean, they clearly want to elevate DeSantis. I think like, I mean, at the end of the day, they fired Tucker and hired Sean Hannity. 


Michael Tracey: […] Trump is going on the daily every week for a very friendly and lovable town hall. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, but at the end of the day, Michael, they did fire Tucker and they did not fire Sean Hannity. And he's there are reports now that Laura Ingraham, the only other voice on there who's really an opponent of the war in Ukraine is also on her way out or at least leaving the primetime lineup. You know at some point the proof is in the pudding about who they like and who they don't. And all of these people are doing fine in the ratings. The thing that differentiates them is their ideological disposition. And it's hard not to believe that that wasn't a factor at all, given how these decisions seem to align with that. 


Michael Tracey: No, I think that could probably have been a factor. Don't really know how Trump himself factors into that, because there was hardly a bigger and more devoted booster of Trump throughout Trump's presidency than Sean Hannity. Again, as I said. Sean Hannity appeared at campaign events on stage with Trump and campaigned with him actively. So, I just don't know how. 


 (Voices overlap)


G. Greenwald: But that’s right that was the standard bearer of the Republican party that Trump […] 


Michael Tracey: That they're trying to get rid of Trump. 


G. Greenwald: No, but that's because Trump was the standard bearer of the Republican Party. There was no way to go against Trump and keep a Republican Party audience. You couldn't be openly opposed to Trump and during the Trump years, or even during the campaign, I mean, he dominated the campaign and then became the Republican Party nominee and then was the president. So, Sean Hannity was doing what he always does, which is sycophanticly hug whoever the standard bearer of the Republican Party is, I think remains to be seen what Fox's posture is, what Sean Hannity's posture is to run DeSantis […] 


(Voices overlap)


Michael Tracey: Certainly not, he’s doing the same thing last week with Trump. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah […] 


Michael Tracey: As I just told you, Trump was on Hannity Show. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, sure. And Hannity is never going to be openly hostile to Trump. But I think Fox and the network are clearly aligning themselves more with the establishment wing of the Republican Party. And that is where all the establishment is going, behind Ron DeSantis. All the money that was behind Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in 2016 is now going to Ron DeSantis. And even though DeSantis has to position himself as this kind of anti-establishment figure, I think most people in the establishment see him as their best choice for sinking Trump. And I think Fox is on that side, they do not want Trump to be the ongoing leader of the Republican Party and Tucker Carlson was the single most effective advocate of populist, anti-establishment politics within the Republican Party, a much better advocate even than Trump. And now he's out there and they're trying to keep him silent, even away from Fox. And I think the evidence is pretty compelling that that's part of the reason. 


Michael Tracey: Well, I think you're wrong in that DeSantis most certainly is anti-establishment. I mean, if the establishment is woke excess on college campus. Then, you know, I had never seen anybody who's more anti-establishment […] 


G. Greenwald: Right. Super exciting […] 


Michael Tracey: That's the emblem of the establishment. It's just, you know, college kids doing stupid stuff. I know that can be a legitimate story at times. But like, if your entire political persona is built around combating that particular scourge and nothing else, then it's amazing to now try to cast that as “anti-establishment" as other art factions of the establishment that are “anti-woke.” Maybe they have been stifled somewhat in the past few years, but to kind of make it. 


G. Greenwald: At the end of the day, nothing serves the establishment’s interests more than keeping everybody focused on the culture war. Because when you’re focusing on the culture war, I'm not saying it's unimportant, it means you're not focused on how financial power, how corporate power, how intelligence and military agencies continue to dominate Washington. It only focuses on things like, you know, the trans issue to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. That's a very good way to like kind of rile people up and make them think they're doing something radical. But in reality, staying away from establishment powers. 


(Voices overlap)


Michael Tracey: Yeah, true anti-establishment [...] 


G. Greenwald: It’s why it’s so popular on the left [...]  


Michael Tracey: 24/7 [...] 


G. Greenwald: It is the only thing people on the left are left with [...] 


Michael Tracey: 24/7 on this transition and nothing else […] 


G. Greenwald: Totally, totally. There are people on the left, the same way they know they can't challenge and don't want to challenge any establishment orthodoxy. So fighting Republicans on trans issues […] 


Michael Tracey: They don't care about anything else. 

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SNOWDEN REVELATIONS 10-Year Anniversary: Glenn Greenwald Speaks with Snowden & Laura Poitras on the Past, Present, & Future of Their Historic Reporting (Part 2)
Video Transcript

Note: This is part 2 of a two-part piece. 

Watch the full episode here:



G. Greenwald: All right. Let's talk about this. 


(Video. Citizenfour. Praxis Film. 2014.) 


Snowden: GCHQ has an internal Wikipedia at the top-secret, super-classified level where anybody working in intelligence can work on anything they want. Yeah, that's what this is. I'm giving it to you. You can make the decisions on that, what's appropriate and what's not. It's going to be documents of different types, pictures, and PowerPoints, and whatnot, and stuff like that. 


MacAskill: Sorry. Can I take that seat? Sorry, I’ve got to sort of get you to repeat. These documents they will show…


Snowden: Yeah, there'll be a couple more documents on that. That's only one part, though. Like it talks about Tempura and a little more things. That's the Wiki article itself. It was also talking about a self-developed tool called UDAQ, spelled u-d-a-q. It's their search tool for all the stuff they collect that’s what it looked like. You know, it's going to be projects, it's going to be troubleshooting pages for particular tool… 


MacAskill: Thanks. And what’s the next step, when do you think you go public or…? 


Snowden: Oh I, I think it's pretty soon, I mean, with the reaction, this escalated more quickly, I think pretty much as soon as they start trying to make this about me, which should be any day now. Yeah, I'll come out just to go ‘Hey, you know, this is not a question of somebody skulking around in the shadows. These are public issues. These are not my issues. You know, these are everybody's issues. And I'm not afraid of you. You know, you’re not going to bully me into silence like you've done to everybody else. And if nobody else is going to do it, I will. And hopefully, when I'm gone, whatever you do to me, there'll be somebody else who will do the same thing.’ It'll be the sort of Internet principle of the Hydra. You know, you can stop one person, but there's going to be seven more of us. 


MacAskill: Yeah. Are you getting more nervous? 


Snowden: Oh, no, I think, uh, I think the way I look at stress – particularly because I sort of knew this was coming, because I sort of volunteered to walk into it – I'm already sort of familiar with the idea. I'm not worried about it. When somebody like busts in the door, suddenly I'll get nervous and it'll affect me. But until they do, you know, I'm eating a little less. That's the only difference, I think. 


G. Greenwald: Let's talk about the issue of when we're going to say who you are. 


Snowden: Yeah.


G. Greenwald: This is you know, you have to talk me through this because I have a big worry about this, which is that if we come out and I know that you believe that your detection is inevitable and that it's inevitable imminently, There's, you know, in The New York Times today, Charlie Savage, the fascinating Sherlock Holmes of political reporting, deduced that the fact that there have been these leaks in succession probably means that there's some one person who's decided to leak.


Snowden: Somebody else quoted you as saying it was one of your readers and there's somebody else who put it out. 


G. Greenwald: So, you know what I mean? That's fine. I want people to… I want to… I want it to be like, yeah, you know, this is a person. I want to start introducing the concept that this is a person who has a particular set of political objectives about informing the world about what's taking place like, you know, so and keeping it all anonymous. Totally. But I want to start introducing you in that kind of incremental way. But here's the thing: I'm concerned about is that if we come out and say, here's you, this is here's what he did, the whole thing that we talked about, that we're going to basically be doing the government's work for them and we're going to basically be handing them, you know, a confession and helping them identify who found it. I mean, maybe you're right. Maybe they'll find out quickly and maybe they'll know. But is there any possibility that they won't? Are we kind of giving them stuff that we don’t know or […] 


Poitras:  It's what they know, but they don't want to reveal it because they don’t know or […] 


G. Greenwald: Or that they don't know and we're going to be telling them like, is it a possibility that they're going to need like two or three months of uncertainty and we're going to be solving that problem for them? Or – let me just say the “or” part. Maybe it doesn't matter to you. Like maybe you want it. Maybe you're not coming out because you think, inevitably, they're going to catch you and you want to do it first. You're coming out because you want to fucking come out. And you know […] 


Snowden: There is that. I mean, that's the thing. I don't want to hide on this and skulk around. I don't think I should have to. Obviously, there are circumstances that are saying that and I think it is powerful to come out and be like, look, I'm not afraid, you know, and I don't think other people should either. You know, I was sitting in the office right next to you last week. You know, we all have a stake in this. This is our country. And the balance of power between the citizenry and the government is becoming that of the ruling and the ruled as opposed to actually the elected and the electorate. 


G. Greenwald: Okay. So that's what I need to hear that this is not about… 

Snowden: But I do want to say, I don't think there's a case that I'm not going to be discovered in the fullness of time. It's a question of time frame. You're right. It could take them a long time. I don't think it will. But I didn't try to hide the footprint because, again, I intended to come forward. 


G. Greenwald: Ok. I'm going to post this morning just a general defense of whistleblowers. That's one. And you in particular, without saying anything about you. I'm going to go post that right when I get back and I'm out. And I'm also doing like a big fuck you to all the people who keep talking about investigations like that. I want that to be I can take the fearlessness and the fuck you to like the bullying tactics has got to be completely pervading everything we do. 


Snowden: And I think that's brilliant. I mean, your principles on this, I love, I can't support them enough, because it is it's inverting the model that the government has laid out where people who are trying to say the truth skulk around and they hide in the dark and they quote anonymously. And I say, yes, fuck that… 


G. Greenwald: Ok. Let's just so here's the plan then. I mean, and this is the thing. It's like once you – I think we all just felt the fact that this is the right way to do it. It's you feel the power of your choice. You know what I mean? It's like I want that power to be felt in the world. And it is the, I mean, it's the ultimate standing up to that, right, like, I'm not going to fucking hide even for like, one second. I'm going to get right in your face. You don't have to investigate. There's nothing to investigate. Here I am.  


G. Greenwald: I think if I had to list the two or three things that most affected me, this would definitely be on that list. I remember when we were in Hong Kong, we always used to kind of joke, and I was a little bit petulant about it, the fact that I wasn't able to sleep for any more than 90 minutes, even using large doses of narcotics that are designed to enable you to sleep. Just the adrenaline and the tension and the kind of excitement and the nervousness just made it impossible for me to sleep. I don't think you were sleeping very much either. And yet, you know, it was always like 10 o’clock at night and would say, every single night, “All right, guys. Well, I think I'm ready to hit the hay,” as though it was like any other day. And I think that for me was the biggest life lesson beyond the lessons about the revelations of surveillance and transparency and whistleblowing and journalism and all the things on which we were focused substantively was that if you are convinced that you have made a choice that comes from the best of motives, you are kind of doing it with a clean conscience and with a sense that what you're doing is just, even in the midst of this kind of extreme turbulence, it provides you a sort of inner tranquility and peace that is both – kind of gives you a sense of resolve, but also a sense of calmness. And I think you can see just in that scene how it kind of becomes contagious. It reinforced our own conduct in the wake of these fears, seeing Ed just so determined in the righteousness of what he was doing. What do you remember about that part of kind of the transcendent lessons that we learn from this? 


Laura Poitras:  I mean, it was remarkable. It was remarkable from the first day we met him. I mean, that first sort of interview slash interrogation that you did to find out who he was and get all of his backstories. When we went to look at the footage after the fact, he speaks in perfect, perfect paragraphs, with utter calmness. 

I mean, it was clear that Ed had made a decision. He'd crossed over a threshold, that there was no going back and he was at peace with whatever was going to happen. And I think we felt that every moment and the fact that we weren't, or that he wasn't more nervous – I mean, you can feel my nervousness like the camera movement and the sort of trying to find focus. I mean, I think, you know, luckily, I sort of had been making films for long enough, sort of my body knows what to do even if my head is like, freaking out. But Ed was completely centered. I mean, he was just completely centered in terms of the choice he had made. And, you know, also looking at these clips, when Ed says things move fast, I mean, I think your ability to turn this information around and report on it so quickly was also one of the things that kept us protected us. I think, you know, we were always one step ahead. And I think the government was probably waiting for the time that they would shut us down or have their own press release and we were just never given the opportunity. And that was because of the work that you were able to do, like after these sorts of filming sessions, to go and report a story every day. We first met on a Monday, the first story came out on a Wednesday and another story came out on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And then we released a video on Sunday. So that happened in a week. The pace was pretty, pretty intense. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah. You mentioned at the start the role that my husband, Dave Miranda, played and the reason that that happened in reality was because he was very suspicious of The Guardian from the start, not necessarily because they were particularly corrupt an institution, but because of this dynamic. I mentioned earlier that the government succeeded, in 2004, in bullying The New York Times from publishing what ultimately became a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about how the NSA was spying on Americans without the warrants required by law and the only reason they had even published it at all was because Jim Wright had had enough and was about to go break the story in his book and they didn't want to be scooped by their own reporter. And David was so sensitive to any – even slight indication that the Guardian might be willing to be bullied or intimidated, that even once they, on Tuesday, said, ‘We just need one more day to talk to the government lawyers and meet with the government lawyers,’ I remember David typing on Skype what he wanted me to say to the editor-in-chief of The Guardian, Janine Gibson – The Guardian in the U.S. – which is basically, if this story isn't published by tomorrow, we're taking our documents and we're going to go just publish them somewhere else. And that's what I mean, like this kind of spirit of how the ethos of how the reporting was done – the kind of determination to do it in the most aggressive way to keep our fears under control – really came from all of us. And it kind of just reinforced each other's resolve. 

I just want to ask you about Russia before we watch the third clip that was selected, because, obviously, that is something that's on people's minds when they hear about what you did and where you are. You almost can't have any kind of discussion about politics these days without mentioning Russia. Russia is the place where you have now lived for nine years and, since 2013, it is a place that has provided you essentially effective asylum. And you often say that that was not a place that you chose to be in. You were essentially forced to be there. How is it that you ended up in Russia? And why are you still there now? 


Edward Snowden: Yeah. So, if you go back and you look at the contemporaneous reporting, this is all very well documented but basically, I wasn't supposed to stay in Russia. It was a transit route trying to stop en route to Latin America, where because of the openness that South America showed for whistleblowers in the past, particularly in the case of Julian Assange, where they said that even though he's being hunted and desperately persecuted by the United States and the UK and Sweden, he would be welcome to go there. I had talked to a lot of lawyers at this point just in a few days, right?  We had to make decisions very quickly because, as you see in the clip, there was a burning fuse where we knew my identity was going to be revealed. It was very likely I would no longer be able to travel onwards. 

So immediately we went, all right, I have to get out to a safe place of asylum that's going to be Latin America. We had contacts, we had assurances this would probably be our best bet. I had originally hoped for Europe, but every diplomat that we talked to in Europe basically said this is not going to work like they're going to cave, the government's not going to back you or we'll try, but like no promises. And, you know, it was just very clear from the reporting that everybody in the world knew the United States had raised a gigantic hammer at. [audio problem…]  We're like, you know, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, they all looked like there were positive possibilities. They had the Caracas convention, or I can't remember which one it is, that was on non-refoulement basically. They didn't extradite people and they mutually respected that. So, there would be free movement. And so, I had a flight that was laid out. The tickets have been seen by journalists. Journalists were on the plane, we were supposed to go Hong Kong, to Russia, Russia - Cuba, Cuba to the final destination in Latin America. It was actually there were forks. There were a couple of different ones that I could go to basically, en route, did we see any response from the U.S. that was going to stop going to one or the other. 

But as soon as I left China, it was leaked, and the U.S. government – well, I'm in the air with no communications, headed to Russia – and the U.S. through a whole bunch of sort of emergency press conferences was like ‘Stop him,’ ‘His passport was canceled,’ you know, exactly the kind of thing that we suspected would happen. And so, I land in Russia and the border guards say your passport doesn't work. And I'm like, no, I don't believe this. And I recount the story in my book in great detail. But we basically got Wi-Fi in the business lounge and […]  oh, God, they really had done it. 

So then, it becomes a long period when I'm actually trying quite hard not to stay in Russia. If you look back at this period – this is what none of these critics say – I spent 40 days trapped in an airport transit lounge where I applied for asylum in, I think, 21 different countries and these are documented. There are public responses from the different countries’ representatives where all – places that you would expect to stand up for human rights and whistleblower protection – places like France, places like Germany, we even went to Italy. Iceland was a big possibility. Where you had one of two responses for the big countries, they went, basically, we won't do this. We won't agree to this because we're afraid of the U.S. response politically, and we just don't want to get engaged in that. If you manage to get here, you can apply with no promises, but you don't have a passport. So, oh, I guess there's nothing that can be done. Good luck with your life. 

And then the small countries, that were actually willing to, said “We would do this, but we don't believe we can actually protect you” because of the U.S. practice of “extraordinary rendition,” which is kidnapping – they just send a black-bag team and, of course, or anything, they just snatch somebody up, they put them in the U.S. court system or prison ship or whatever. And U.S. courts have held that this is not a problem, that they can do this but, I mean, that's a whole other story. 

And so now, while all of this is happening, we had the Evo Morales incident that you referred to earlier where Bolivia, which had been one of these countries that did telegraph that they would be sort of open to granting the asylum, had their president attend an energy conference in Russia. They had basically heard a rumor or something like that that I was going to be flying back on the presidential plane. And even though the president of the United States on camera, Barack Obama said, “I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get some 29-year-old hacker” literally a week or two earlier, they closed the entire airspace of Europe like a wall to prevent this plane from transiting. And it was a smaller plane because it’s a smaller country and they had to stop to refuel. It lands in Austria, in the airport, and the U.S. ambassador is there to greet it and they won't let the plane take off again – even though this is a president of a sovereign country – until the U.S. ambassador gets walked through and says, “Oh, now there's no guy on here, you know, thanks for helping, you can go now. And that was the moment when it became clear to everyone, including myself, that even if I got a promise of asylum from Germany or France, it wouldn't be safe for me to travel there, because you've got to travel over a lot of vassal states on the air path to get there that they would just close the airspace. And so, at that point, I was out of options. I applied for asylum in Russia. I was granted it. And actually, I've been left alone, remarkably, since then, which is really all that I could ask for given the circumstances. 


G. Greenwald: I remember the week after that happened with Evo Morales, I went to the Russian consulate in Rio de Janeiro to get my visa to visit you with Laura. We ended up filming the last scene from Citizenfour there. But also, was the first time I was able to see you since Hong Kong and the Russian consul recognized my name from the application and came out and said to me, “Look, we understand why the U.S. government wants to arrest Snowden. We don't support what he did. We understand why governments need to punish people who leak their secrets but please explain to me why they are so insane like this thing they did, the Evo Morales’ plane is so far outside of – they had no idea that you were even on the plane, It was like a hunch or like a suspicion, and they brought down his plane for that reason alone. It was very dangerous what they did. And even the Russians were shocked at just the extremity of that conduct. 

Let me ask both of you, just because this is something that I think about a lot. One of my big concerns before we started the reporting was whether we were going to make the right strategic choices in a way that would generate the attention we thought this story deserved. I remember feeling a huge amount of responsibility that I had just unraveled his life, I was always so worried that I was going to do this reporting. Laura was going to do the reporting. We would end up with like a segment on “Democracy Now!” and maybe a five minute-hit on Chris Hayes and then, that would be the end of the attention and the interest in what we were reporting. As it turned out, obviously the interest and the impact exceeded at least my best-case scenario by many multiples of what I was hoping in terms of attention. 

But ten years later, in terms of the reform, I think the kind of expectations or the desires we had about the ability to reestablish the capacity for individuals to use the Internet with some degree of privacy, I'm wondering what you think about the impact of the story from that perspective. It got a ton of attention. It made people aware. People debated Internet privacy for the first time. How do you, though, see now the strength of the U.S. and the Western surveillance state and the ability of people to use the Internet with privacy as compared to before we started the reporting, Laura. 


Laura Poitras: I think that that's what Ed did, I mean, his life kind of captures this historical moment where he experienced the Internet as the Internet sort of arrived into our cultures. And I think, as he says, very clearly, it was motivated by the power of that tool for good and for citizens to communicate what an amazing tool the Internet is and how corrupted it's been, how abused has been by governments, and obviously by corporations as well. So, it feels like that's a lost moment, right? I feel that that's people who grow up today don't have that moment of the Internet as a space for free expression. I mean, it's a space that's corporatized, commercialized and it's a surveillance tool. I mean, unfortunately. I do think we, though, have a bit more understanding that there are some tools and technologies that do protect people. I mean, encryption, you know, as of today, it still does work, you know, so that is positive when people know the importance of encryption in a way that they didn't before. 


G. Greenwald: But on that, I think a lot of things. One of the things people have forgotten is there was so much momentum in the wake of our reporting, especially about domestic surveillance, that some genuine reform was introduced in the U.S. Congress that was sponsored by Justin Amash, who, at the time was perceived as this kind of hard right Tea Party Republican representative from Michigan, very young, I think he was in his early to mid-thirties who was talking about the Internet in ways very similar to the way Ed was and why it is something we have to kind of protect is this crucial innovation. And he co-sponsored it with John Conyers, the long time, probably on the furthest fringes of the left wing of the Democratic Party as it gets, in terms of mainstream politics. As an African American representative in his eighties, at the time, he was a longtime civil libertarian, and they built a majority in both of the party's caucuses. Foreign Policy has an article that you can read right up today that the headline says, “How Nancy Pelosi Saved NSA Spying Powers.” It was all about how the Obama White House was vehemently opposed to any reforms. And despite Nancy Pelosi to whip enough Democratic votes to oppose this bill and ultimately defeat it by a small number, that was a great opportunity to reform and they had just enough NO votes in the Republican and Democratic parties to defeat it. 

There's now a controversy not getting a lot of attention, but some, and I think it deserves more, where the FBI wants to renew one of its most central tools for spying. Section 702, which the NSA also uses, and there seems to be some resistance again in both parties, out of concern that the FBI is basically completely out of control in how it spies on American citizens on the Internet, basically disregards any of the legal constraints that have been put into place, is minimal as they are. Do you have any hope for the ability to at least usher in some real reforms as part of this renewal, or do you think it's just going to, as it always has, so far at least, kind of slide through with just enough votes to continue? 


Laura Poitras:  Do I have hope in elected officials on either party? Not a lot. I have to say not a lot. But I do think we should use this good article to draw attention to it. I do think we should use this moment to draw attention that this should not be renewed. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah. We're going to do a show on that because I think, you know, once you start using words like Section 702, you can kind of hear the clicks of people turning off a program. And so, you know, finding ways to make people understand the personal impact that these things have on them is always the challenge. But we have a lot of practice. It's one of the, you know, kind of central projects, I think, of all of ours, over at least the last decade. 

And Ed what about you in terms of this question, obviously there was a huge amount of public attention that I think did exceed our expectations. I remember all the gratification I felt when I would come back to your hotel room in Hong Kong after doing more TV interviews than I could count all over the world and then I got to see you watching the effects of this reporting on your television. I always remember being so relieved and happy that you were able to see the impact in terms of the debate that your decision sparked. And it wasn't just on “Democracy Now!” or on Chris Hayes, but pretty much every global media outlet on the planet was talking about this for months. But in terms of the impact that you were hoping to achieve of reestablishing privacy, of diluting state surveillance, how do you see that 10 years later? 


Edward Snowden: Yeah. This was never going to be something like you revealed the documents, and like, in Hollywood, sort of there's sunshine and roses and rainbows the next day. That's not how the world works. That's certainly not how government intelligence agencies work. My desire had been to return public documents to public hands so the public could then express their will and that will would translate into, good or bad, into legislation. 

But exactly as you summarized before, we saw the opposite happen. We were doing a lot of polling. I became very close with the American Civil Liberties Union over the months that would follow. They were actually paying for private polling to make sure we had the most accurate information about what the American people, and people globally as well, in other countries, felt about – were these justifiable? When you take the government's strongest arguments into account, would they be supported and we know the facts, actually, the result was no, people wanted to see a change, they wanted to see these programs shut down. They wanted to see this activity behavior stopped. Basically, they just wanted the government and its agencies to comply with the law. And we saw, as you said, legislative efforts in Congress, fairly heroic efforts to make that possible. But then what we saw was the executive hijack the process – a task someone like, you know, a Nancy Pelosi type, who was personally implicated, by the way, in the criminal activities that were being revealed and discussed, for a long time, because she had previously been top dog on the intelligence committees and they basically thwarted the public desires and they knew what they were doing. They used proceduralism. They used deception. They used the kind of misinformation and disinformation that's becoming so talked about as the threat today, anything they could do to try to bury this. But that's kind of how it works. And that's the meta-angle of this story that you see in what I'm talking about. 

The remarkable thing about the early Internet is that you could have a child engage with an expert on equal terms. And it was the argument that was assessed and valued and measured rather than the identity because the identity wasn't known. They had both chosen their own names. They had both chosen to engage in the conversation. The kid, surely, nine out of ten times would be wrong but maybe one time they were right. They had a good point. The Internet and governance, conversation, debate, policy have become very identitarian. The Internet has become very identitarian. Both corporations and governments heavily pressure these sorts of a real name, real identity policies, where they want you to put your picture up there. They want you to put your face up there, they want you to put your name up there, and people end up pigeonholed. Their filter bubbled into little communities and even where they are sort of radical, or out there, they're shouting into a small void only occupied by people of like minds. And this is how the democratic process went sideways. And this is kind of what's happening or likely to happen with this approach to (section) 702 reform at the end of the year. You know, it's ironic that […] Go ahead.


G. Greenwald: Let me just introduce just a quick question, which is when I started seeing some of the footage from Citizenfour, that Laura took, and then when I watched the film and kind of just had some opportunity to breathe and reflect on what we did in Hong Kong, I ended up realizing that probably half of what we talked about was about the privacy aspect and the surveillance aspect, but probably half of it was about the role of journalism and the importance of transparency. The fact that if we're going to turn the Internet into what it was promised to be, which was this unprecedented tool of liberation, into the opposite, which is the most unprecedented tool of coercion and control through surveillance, that it ought to be at least something in a democratic society that we know about, that it's not done in secret. Even unbeknownst to many of our elected officials, we had members of parliament in the U.K. and members of Congress in the U.S. saying they had no idea any of this was being done until they learned about it from the reporting that we did and that your whistleblowing enabled. I think people look back at the story and think about it as being about privacy and surveillance, which of course it was. But what about the journalism and the transparency component of it? That was clearly a pretty big motivating factor for you as well. 


Edward Snowden: Yeah. I've been saying for 10 years now, like the reason that I didn't go to the New York Times, was the fact that they spiked a story one month before an election that would have changed the course of that election – that President Bush had broken the law and spied on every American, violated the Constitution the most flagrant way – and they were like, “yeah, the White House doesn't want us to do that, so, we're not going to do that.” And it's The New York Times, right? You would not think it to be the most pro-Bush organization. The reality is the distance between the left and the right institutionally is not very far. When you talk social issues, there are differences, right? Well, when you talk about the kind of thing they put on a bumper sticker, there are differences but when you talk about institutions, when you start talking about money, when you start talking about violence, when you start talking about power, they're really largely marching in lockstep there. 

What we saw in 2013, and the years after it, is that this is not a story about surveillance. It's a story that involves surveillance. This is a story about democracy and power – how institutions function and what we are taught to believe is a free and open society. But it will not and never can remain a free and open society unless we make it so. And we must make it so over the objections of the government. And that's something that I think a lot of people don't understand. I have been criticized as a hacker, right? To imply some sort of criminal cast on that. But what is a hacker? People think like Stock photos of some guy in a hoodie hunched over a keyboard. But a hacker is simply somebody who understands the rules of a system better than the people who created it. Hacks are the product of exploiting the gap in awareness between how the system is believed to function and how the system functions, in fact. And that's what's happened to our political system, not just for the last 10 years, but for the last many, many decades, where the public wants one thing, the public believes one thing, it's very clear there's support for one thing, but then, special interests or corporations or lobbyists or a party or both parties want something very different. Look at this: even just considering the way stock trading is handled for members of Congress, everybody in the country is getting poorer while they are becoming richer. And when you look at this, when you look at the story of 2013, when you look at the reforms that happened and the ones that don't, a lot of people fall into despondency, they become depressed. They think there's nothing we can do, but actually, we can, and we did. The important lesson to take away from 2013 is not that, “Oh, you know, the sort of bad guy was vanquished and everything is good again,” because that's not how it works. This is the work of a lifetime. This is the work of every lifetime. If you want a free society, you have to make it that way. But just like these institutions, hacked our government is to seize control away from us, in important ways, small groups of committed people, activists, volunteers, engineers, and people who have no political power whatsoever, coordinated and collaborated together to hack the Internet in a positive way, to defeat the very forms of mass surveillance that the government was doing without the public will on a technical level. This is the kind of thing we're talking about with encryption. In 2013, nobody used secure messengers unless they were, you know, cypherpunks, so, unless they were hackers, unless they were information […] 


G. Greenwald: Somebody on the U.S. government enemies’ list, Iike Gora. I think let me just say, it's really true, you know, obviously, I did not know how encryption worked when we first spoke. It wasn't something I was particularly talented at mastering, but I remember very well within the first month of the story, or two months after the story broke, several New York Times journalists, including some of the most well-known investigative journalists who work on the most sensitive national security matters, kind of called me with an attitude of sort of like, okay, we'll take it over from here. Why don't you go ahead and give us the archive and we'll go ahead and do the reporting and then, you know what? I made very clear that wasn't going to happen, that we were not going to just send them a copy of the archive because they were entitled to it, because it’s The New York Times, it started becoming a kind of like pleading sort of, can you please share one or two stories with us? And as we considered it, you know, I made very clear to them that using the most sophisticated forms of encryption that I had taken like a three-month course in, was a prerequisite to even considering that, and almost none of them knew what encryption was, seen with reporters at The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and just the fact now that we can talk about encryption, it's something that people are aware of. People use signals and purposely seek out privacy-enhanced means of communicating. All came from this report. None of that was true prior to 2013. I think you two were among 14 people on the planet that use encryption back then, and now, it's something that, maybe is not as common as we want, but infinitely more common than it was back then. 


Edward Snowden: That's absolutely right. Everybody who works in the news nowadays uses encryption. One of the – actually the only sort of public example of the damage that all of us collectively produced as a result of these disclosures – that was publicly argued by then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, most famous for lying to Congress – was that the revelations of 2013 about mass surveillance pulled forward the adoption of strong encryption on the Internet by seven years. And he said this on the sidelines of the Aspen Security Conference to reporters and he was like, this is like a terrible thing, like “oh, no”. This is one of the nicest things anyone's ever said about me. Like, this is a remarkable thing. Like, we made global communications more secure by seven years. A lot happens in seven years. 


G. Greenwald: Absolutely. So, we're going to talk about this third clip. You know, we've spent time talking about the significant risks that were in the air from this reporting, not as a means of congratulating ourselves for our great personal courage, but in order to illustrate how many tools Western governments have to punish people and to try and intimidate them if you actually do real reporting that undermines their interest – if you expose the lies and illegalities they do in secret. WikiLeaks was certainly hanging in there the entire time that we were doing this reporting. 

The first time I met Laura was when you came to Rio. You were working on a film about WikiLeaks at the time and came to interview me as part of that film. The fact that they were being persecuted back then was certainly something that was very much on our minds. And then once we did the reporting, the threats that people like James Clapper were making, both privately and publicly, the U.K. invading the newsroom of The Guardian and forcing them through threat to destroy those computers, although it was something the Guardian, I think quite cowardly, ended up acquiescing to unnecessarily. It was a pathetic image to see The Guardian destroying their own computers while government agents stood over them, instead of forcing them to go to court and getting an order to force them to do that. And then, the other episode was the detention of my husband, David Miranda, when he had gone to visit you in Germany and was traveling back to Rio through Heathrow International Airport and was detained for 12 hours under a terrorism law. I remember that day very vividly, and the only reason I believe he got released was because the Brazilian government, under Dilma Rousseff, was very aggressive about demanding his release. It became a big diplomatic scandal between the UK and Brazil. It was the biggest story in Brazil that the British government obviously picked David in large part because he was Brazilian. You would travel out of Heathrow, in and out of Heathrow, without problems, even though you actually had a government watch list for the United States. And so, this scene from Citizenfour is when they did release him. And I went to the airport at 4:30 in the morning to get him. And there was a huge throng of international media there. And you had sent somebody to film that scene and it became part of Citizenfour. Do you want to talk about the clip before we show it? 


Laura Poitras:  First of all, sort of going back to sort of the larger context. I mean, like in the work that I do, I think just important and it's also the work that both of you talk about – the sort of the myth of American exceptionalism that we go around saying that we care about press freedom and yet we're trying to put Julian Assange in prison for the rest of his life. And the importance of constantly talking about that. And one of the tools and techniques that the government uses when they want to target journalism that they don't like or criminalize journalism that they don't like is to use the label of terrorism. So, I know that very well. I was put on a terrorist watch list in 2016 after making a film about the war in Iraq, and this is what the UK did when it detained David. 

David had come to Berlin to work with me. I'm not going to go into a lot of details because it's not something I do often but it's true that I didn't trust many people and I trusted David and I wasn't going to trust anyone else. But I know now, in retrospect, I have no doubt that there weren't multiple intelligence agencies following every step of his travels, and they were just looking for the right moment to target him. I'm sure that they were in Berlin and I'm not going to speak to The Guardian's decision to route his flight through London but it's true. I'd already been there. And I think it's just a reminder that so many people made this reporting possible, not just the people whose names are out front. My name, your name, Glenn. So many people took enormous risks. And David really took an incredible risk as somebody who wasn't holding a U.S. passport and was taking enormous risks, too, to enable this journalism with no personal benefit and only personal risk. And I'm forever grateful to him. 


G. Greenwald: All right, Let's show this clip. 


(Video. Citizenfour. Praxis Film. 2014.) 


[Text on Screen]: On his return to meeting me in Berlin, Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, is detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for nine hours under the UK’s Terrorism Act.

The White House is notified in advance.


Greenwald: Oh, my God. David! You. You’re ok? 

(They have to cross a hall crowded with reporters)


Miranda: I just want to go.


Greenwald: Okay. Okay. Okay. You just have to walk through it. 


(In elevator)

Miranda: How are you?


Greenwald: Good. Good. I’m totally fine. I didn’t sleep at all. I couldn’t sleep. 

G. Greenwald: That really reminds me of when that happened, we both felt an obligation to present this very defiant and fearless posture because we wanted it to be very clear that the attempt to intimidate us in our reporting was not going to work, that that we were not in any way frightened by what had happened. We weren't bothered by it. This was something we felt very important to convey. And yet over time, David started to acknowledge, first to me and then to himself, that in fact, it was very, very traumatizing because – and this is something that I didn't think about at the time, and I found it so interesting that I didn't – which was that I think if you do hold an American passport, as you said Laura, or you just feel like you're kind of in a way protected. But, you know, he talked about the fact that if you're someone who's not white and you don't have a British or an American passport and you are accused of violating terrorism laws in the U.K. or the U.S., the governments have proven that there is no limit on what they will do to you. And he spent that day, you know, imagining things like being taken to Guantanamo or, not necessarily the most rational things, but with a good component of rationality to them. 

I remember I'll never forget the British official who called me that day and said David had been detained under a terrorism law. The first thing I did was go immediately online and found both of you. I don't remember in which order, but I do remember, Ed, that I don't think I've ever seen you as angry as you were that day. Neither before nor since, because there was just something about it that was so, you know, it really revealed exactly the reasons why these governments can't be trusted with these kinds of powers – and just like the abusive and thuggish nature of what they will do. Why was that something that I mean, you've talked about, the admiration that you've had for David many times, but why was that day in particular something that was just very emotional for you? 


Edward Snowden: First, I remember getting sort of a live update from you. And when David was finally released and you had communications of the breakdown of what had happened and how it was and, I mean, I was just extraordinarily impressed by his courage, which was almost otherworldly at one point. He's in interrogation with terrorism officers, Lord knows how many spies are in a cell in Heathrow. And, you know, they're like, oh, you know, do you want some water or something like that? And the guy's got to be parched. And he's like, I don't trust your water. And the message that sends and just the human desire to escape the situation just even for five minutes, the pressure to say, yes, please, give me something. He didn't give an inch. You know, that's an example that will stay with me for the rest of my life. But this is something that I had to deal with many times where I was like, what are they going to do with my family and people traveling to meet with me? It was just so greasy and underhanded to intercept somebody who was a family member of a journalist, working on this directly traveling in the service of a journalistic task, in a journalistic role, on a ticket that's funded by a newspaper. And they knew this, they knew this, but they didn't care. And that was the point like that, the whole thing where they're like they notified the White House in advance. They're clearly coordinating. A decision was made at the very highest levels because they knew the implications of this and they went, what can we get? How far can we push? Will this person cooperate? Is this something that we want to repeat? And it's important for people to understand, I think, the power of not cooperating and sending the example that this is not going to go down the way you think it is. And I think the world owes David a debt of gratitude. He is a remarkable man, a good friend. But most importantly, he was a good person who did good work for all of us. 


G. Greenwald: And so, as kind of the last question, we've talked about him a couple of times, but I do want to conclude by talking about Daniel Ellsberg, because this was somebody who, for me was one of my childhood heroes. And the fact that I was able to become a friend of his and then work with him at his side and yours, both of you, in the organization we created back in 2011, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which originally was about trying to break the blockade that the government had pressured corporations like Bank of America, MasterCard, Visa and Amazon from essentially excluding WikiLeaks from the financial system to prevent them from fundraising – an incredibly dangerous power to give the government extrajudicially with no charges just to cut off their funding – and now it's expanded to become a very broad-based press freedom group. 

The ability to have gotten to work with Daniel Ellsberg for me was one of the great honors of my life. I kind of consider him the pioneer, like the grandfather of modern-day whistleblowing, you know, this kind of large-scale, full disclosure of the way the government keeps secrets in order not to protect American people but to protect themselves from the lying and the lawbreaking that they do. Clearly, I think I can speak on behalf of us, he inspired us in all sorts of ways. I know he did for me. He was widely reported to have terminal pancreatic cancer. He's at the kind of end stage of his life. So, both in terms of like what he meant for the story, but also just like the impact that he had on the world Laura, what do you see as his kind of legacy? 


Laura Poitras:  And it was a good example of a bit of a whistleblower doing the right thing, Somebody who was exposed to knowledge that he knew that the public had a right to know. And I do think often that it shouldn't be the case that whistleblowers like Ed and Dan and Chelsea have to risk their lives for us to know what we've learned from them, that we know that our elected officials actually had the protection. They could go and read anything into the public record and face no political consequences because of their position as elected officials. And yet they refuse to do the right thing. For instance, anyone who was elected in Congress could release that classified torture report, just released into the public, read it into the public record, and they don't. And it's really, it's not a good sign of a society that people like Ed and Dan have to take the risks that they do when we have people in elected leaders, so-called leaders, who could do that and face very little consequences criminally. 


G. Greenwald: Yeah, just along those lines, before I ask you at that same question, I do think it's worth remembering, first of all, before Daniel Ellsberg went to The New York Times and gave those documents to The New York Times, he tried to get senators to use their constitutional immunity that essentially says that members of Congress can never be held accountable for anything they say on the floor of the House or the Senate to read the Pentagon Papers into the record, knowing they could not be held accountable. And they refused to do it and forced him into the position of committing what the government regarded as felonies. And he almost went to prison for it. There was something very similar, which is two members of Congress – Ron Wyden and I forget the other Democratic senator now, I don't know if you guys remember, you can tell me [...]


Edward Snowden: […] Senator Udall.


G. Greenwald: Yeah. Senator Udall.  Udall. Yeah, exactly. Wyden and Senator Udall went around for two or three years hinting and winking and saying, “Oh, if you only knew what the NSA was doing in terms of their interpretation of the Patriot Act and what powers they claim for themselves, this would shock you,” but they would never say what it was, even though they had that same power to go on to the Senate floor and talk about it without any consequences at all – or leaving it to Ed to risk his liberty, which he did – he could have easily ended up in prison and probably the odds were overwhelming that he would have, but instead end up, you know, now nine years in exile [...] 


Edward Snowden: And may still.


G. Greenwald: And you still might. Exactly. And that risk is still there. Hopefully, it's not going to happen. But they left it to you to go and do, and exactly as were said, it is the failure ultimately of people in power that leave it to ordinary citizens, who are defenseless, to go and do what they should be doing themselves. That's how Daniel Ellsberg came very close to life in prison. That's how Ed did as well. 

So, in terms of Daniel Ellsberg, who I definitely see as your predecessor, he always said that he regarded people like you and Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange as people he was waiting for his whole life to kind of emerge as people who did exactly what he did in the same spirit. He's long been one of your most vocal defenders from the beginning. How do you see his legacy and his life at this stage? 


Edward Snowden: Dan is a dear, dear friend of mine. But when you scope out of the personal, the remarkable thing about Daniel Ellsberg is he became an archetype. He established the archetype. There will probably never be another Daniel Ellsberg, but there will be many, many people who follow his example. And I am absolutely one of them. I do not believe I could have done what I did without the example of Daniel Ellsberg. When I was agonizing over what to do – Should I say anything? How should I manage this? – I watched a documentary, which is a beautiful callback to Laura's involvement, called “The Most Dangerous Man in America.” And just seeing his example, how the White House villainized him and said all the worst things – they immediately went after him. They used the media. They used dirty tricks. It provided just the bare outlines of a template that I would continue to flesh out, look at and revisit and poke at, and modernize something to work from a sketch of how it should be. What are people at their best? Daniel Ellsberg, when he released the Pentagon Papers, was a man at his best. 

One of the things that struck me, when we talked about the Russia thing and everything like that, that was when everybody was starting to freak out about that for the very first time, in the beginning, and saying I should come home, I should come home, I should go to the courts, Daniel Ellsberg came forward – and he had never spoken with me at that time – and he said, “No, absolutely not.” The United States of 2013 is not the United States of the 1970s. Our court system provides no meaningful defense against this. He'll be convicted. The story will shut down, he won't be able to argue his case. The jury won't be able to decide the central questions. The truth won't even be allowed to be spoken in the court because the government will object and the judge will sustain it and that's how the system works today. 

I think the most consequential thing about Dan, in his life, and his example is that he allowed us to scope out from that individual to look at the systemic problem through his example. He actually provoked the state into revealing itself for what it is, which is an entity that will stop at nothing, frankly, to preserve its own power. It's not about national security and it's not about homeland security. That's rhetoric. It's about state security, which is a very different thing for public safety. He taught me that. And I think we'll be learning from his example for a very long time. 


G. Greenwald: Absolutely. And from yours. And so, I just want to say I went into journalism to do stories like the one we did together, where you fulfill your function, you as a citizen. Laura and I, as journalists in this case. You discovered deceit and abuse of power by the most powerful people in society and then you used journalism and whistleblowing in order to expose it, to inform the public of things that should never have been kept from them. In the beginning, I do think it ushered in a huge amount of change, even though the NSA is still –the building has not collapsed in on itself – they are still spying. 

I think the example that you set as a whistleblower, that the film inspired, that we were able to do in terms of re-establishing the spirit of what journalism is supposed to be about is, one of the great honors of my life. It's one of the things of which I'm proudest 10 years later, more so than ever. And the fact that, even though, as Laura said, we did do it with a large number of people without whom it really would not have been possible, it began with the three of us in that hotel room in Hong Kong. And I'm very honored that I got to do it together with the two of you people whom I really admire and whose integrity and courage I have immense respect for. And so, I'm thrilled we got to do that together until we got to spend this 10-year anniversary together talking about it and talking about the implications of it. And I really just want to thank you for taking the time. 


Edward Snowden: It's been an absolute pleasure and I hope we can do it again in 10 more. 


G. Greenwald: Absolutely. Our 20-year anniversary – it's kind of like those high school reunions where every 10 years everyone gets a little older, but you still forge ahead with it. Great to see you guys. Thanks so much. 


Laura Poitras:  Thank you so much. 

Edward Snowden: A pleasure. Cheers.

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