Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
The Establishment’s Desperate Demands That Nobody Engage With RFK Jr. Plus: Does Cuba Have the Right to Host Chinese Bases on Its Soil?
Video Transcript
June 22, 2023
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, June 21st. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live nightly show that airs every Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern, exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube. 

Tonight, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is consistently receiving between 15% and 20% among Democratic voters, while Marianne Williamson is receiving 6 to 8%. That's close to one-third of the Democratic Party electorate, which, before the campaign is even underway, is saying they intend to support a candidate other than Joe Biden. Nonetheless, the explicit position of the Democratic Party and its operatives – and MSNBC personalities – is that Joe Biden is already the Democratic nominee and that he will not even consider debating any Democrat running against him for the nomination. But this insistence of ignoring RFK extends far beyond the Democratic primary. It includes the liberal corporate media outlets. 

Last week, RFK sat down for a remarkable 4-hour discussion with America's most popular podcast host, Joe Rogan. Their discussion was wide-ranging, though mostly focused on what RFK argues are the decades of lies about the help from the health policy establishment about vaccines, including the COVID vaccine, as well as – and this is crucial – the extent to which the health regulatory agencies, including the NIH and the CDC, have been completely captured by industry interest. In other words, the government agencies that are supposed to exert oversight of the pharmaceutical industry are instead controlled by that industry's richest and most powerful corporations.  

As part of that discussion, Rogan and RFK discussed a physician named Peter Hotez – or Prof. Peter Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., as he calls himself – who became one of the leading stars of liberal cable TV and social media during the COVID pandemic. Over the last several years, Hotez expressed some truly alarming and ultimately false views, including demanding for months that everyone has the supreme moral duty to stay at home in order to stop COVID only for a densely packed street protest movement to emerge months later that he liked ideologically – the Post-George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests – at which point he urged everyone to participate. He also equated skepticism over vaccines to terrorism and depicted it as a “Kremlin plot” and thus urged highly militaristic and despotic efforts on the part of the U.S. government to, in his words, aggressively suppress such ideas. Hotez also relentlessly mocked the notion that COVID came from the Wuhan lab – and he still does that even while the most elite scientific units in the Department of Energy and the FBI now believe a lab leak is the most probable cause of the COVID pandemic. 

During that interview with Rogan, RFK said that Professor Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., was one of the most dishonest people in public life in the U.S. and that he had repeatedly requested that Hotez debate him. But Hotez – while giving countless adoring, uncritical interviews to MSNBC, CNN and even TMZ – refused to respond to RFK his debate request. 

After that program, Rogan offered to donate $100,000 to a charity of Hotez, his choice, If he would simply debate RFK in Rogan's programs about all the differences they have on these rather crucial issues. Others jumped on board this call for debate, including Elon Musk, and soon the amount reached was over $1 million to be donated to a charity of Hotez, his choice, simply for appearing for this debate. 

One would think that a debate between a highly informed environmental lawyer who spent decades suing corporate polluters and health agencies RFK and one of the most influential and beloved COVID preachers in liberal media, Professor Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., would be of great value for the country. It would be yet immediately people who call themselves journalists – those who should most seek debate on the most consequential policy debates – instead intervened and began demanding that Hotez not lower himself to debating RFK. They published articles and cable monologues on why Hotez should not put himself in a position where his views would face critical scrutiny and accountability, even though those views have long been intended to influence American public opinion and foreign policy. 

Watching journalists try to stop debates is like watching them become the leading advocates for censorship, which, in turn, is like watching a cardiologist extoll the virtues of cigarette smoking. It is completely contrary to the values that are supposed to define journalism. Yet it is as unsurprising as it is repugnant to watch these employees of media corporations do exactly that. 

Why are liberal establishment loyalists so eager to ensure that nobody engages with or debates RFK, Jr? And why are they particularly desperate that the pieties and orthodoxies they peddled to the public about COVID and lockdowns and the pandemic's origin and vaccines never be openly debates? We'll examine those reasons tonight.

 Then, a major leak of top-secret information occurred again, this time to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that U.S. intelligence has discovered that the governments of Cuba and China have agreed to have a Chinese military base station on Cuban soil. That raises this question: Does Cuba, a sovereign country, have the right to host the Chinese military on its soil if it wishes to do so? When it comes to Russia, the position of the U.S. government, especially those who support endless proxy war in Ukraine, is that Russia has no say of any kind over what happens in Ukraine - if the Zelenskyy government wants to host U.S. military and intelligence officials on its soil, if wants to be part of NATO, if it even allows the U.S. to change its government as it did in 2014, then that is no business of Russia's. Russia has no right to object to what the Kyiv government does on the other side of its border.

So, does this same reasoning apply to Cuba, the United States, and for that matter, the U.S. is currently encircling China with multiple military bases in multiple countries, including some that have nuclear-tipped warheads and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers? If the U.S. is justified in regarding Chinese bases in Cuba as deeply threatening and provocative – and many are calling for the Biden administration to take aggressive action to expel China from Cuba – does China have the same right when it comes to U.S. bases in Japan, South Korea, Guam, the Philippines and Australia? Does Russia have the same right regarding a massive NATO new presence on the other side of its border in Ukraine? 

We'll examine those vital foreign policy principles tonight – or whether there are any identifiable principles at all in play. 

As a reminder, System Update is also available in podcast form. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple and all major podcasting platforms. Follow us there. The episode is available 12 hours after they first broadcast, live, here on Rumble. And you can rate and review each episode. It helps the visibility of the program.

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

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Dog-of-the-Week goes to KIERA. Our cute-as-can-be cohost got some rest while Glenn and Victor did the heavy lifting of answering our Weekly Weigh-In questions. But, she wasn’t the only one, Toby – seen in our second photo – also got to nap.

UPDATE: Alan Dershowitz vs. Glenn Greenwald at The Soho Forum
15 hours ago

I’m impressed with how well informed and how IFORMING some of the audience here is! Someone offered a list of reports from Al Jesera that includes a report on the current use of the floating aid port and how it’s being received from the perspective of Gaza and the international community. It’s really important to know about! Thanks to who did this!

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As the Daily Wire Publicly Negotiated a Debate with Candace Owens, it Secretly Sought -- and Obtained -- a Gag Order Against Her
Due to a prior restraint order against Owens, the much-anticipated Israel debate with Ben Shapiro appears to be off.

On April 5, Candace Owens publicly invited her former Daily Wire colleague Ben Shapiro to a debate about "Israel and the current definition of antisemitism." It was Owens' criticisms of U.S. financing of Israel, and her criticisms of Israel's war in Gaza, that caused her departure from the Daily Wire two weeks earlier.

Both Shapiro and Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing responded by saying they would like to arrange the debate requested by Owens. That night, Shapiro appeared to accept her offer, writing on X: "Sure, Candace. I texted you on February 29th offering this very thing." The Daily Wire co-founder added: "Let's do it on my show this Monday at 5pm at our studios in Nashville; 90 minutes, live-streamed."

After Owens objected to the format and timing, she and Boreing exchanged several tweets in which they appeared to be negotiating, and then agreeing to, the terms and format for the debate. Owens had suggested the debate be moderated by Joe Rogan or Lex Fridman. Shaprio said he wanted no moderator. They ultimately agreed to the terms, with Boreing offering a series of conditions, including a no-moderator debate, and with Owens publicly accepting

Two weeks later, many readers of both Shapiro and Owens noticed, and complained, that the debate had not yet happened. On April 24, Owens addressed those inquiries by explaining that the Daily Wire had yet to propose dates, while reiterating her strong desire to ensure the debate happened.

But the debate was never going to happen. That is because the Daily Wire -- in secret and unbeknownst to its readers -- sought a gag order to be placed on Owens after she had called for a debate. They did this under the cover of secrecy, before a private arbitrator, at exactly the same time that they were claiming in public that they wanted this debate and were even negotiating the terms with her. To this date, the Daily Wire has not informed its readers, seeking to understand why the much-anticipated debate had not yet happened, that they had sought and obtained a gag order against Owens.

When seeking a gag order to be imposed on Owens, the Daily Wire accused her of violating the non-disparagement clause of her agreement with the company. To substantiate this accusation, the company specifically cited Owens' initial tweet requesting a debate with Shapiro as proof of this disparagement, along with concerns she voiced that Shapiro appeared to be violating the confidentiality agreement between them by publicly maligning Owens's views to explain her departure from the company. While the company claimed before the arbitrator that it did not object in principle to a "healthy debate," it urged the imposition of a gag order on Owens by claiming that the way she requested the debate constituted disparagement of Shapiro and the site.

To justify the gag order it wanted, the company also cited various criticisms of the Daily Wire and Shapiro on X that Owens had "liked." This proceeding took place as part of an exchange of legal threats between the parties after the public agreement to debate about Israel was solidified. Those threats arose from the fact that various Daily Wire executives and hosts, in both public and private, were castigating Owens as an anti-Semite. On March 22, Daily Wire host Andrew Klaven published a one-hour video that hurled multiple accusations, including anti-Semitism, at Owens. The Daily Wire cited Owens' response to that video -- her defense of herself from those multiple accusations -- as further proof that she needed to be gagged.

The initial tweet from Owens not only requested a debate, but also included a video from the popular comedian Andrew Schulz, who had mocked the Daily Wire for firing Owens over disagreements regarding Israel, and specifically mocked Shapiro for his willingness to debate only undergraduate students. The tweet underneath Owens's original debate request included a summary of Schulz's mockery of Shapiro which stated: Schulz now "realizes Ben Shapiro is only good at debating college liberals & can’t win debates against serious competition." 

After the prior restraint hearing sought by the Daily Wire and Shapiro, the arbitrator sided with them and against Owens. The arbitrator agreed with the Daily Wire that Owens' call to debate Shapiro, and her follow-up negotiations of the debate, constituted "disparagement" of the company and Shapiro. The company argued that any further attempt by Owens to debate, as well her suggesting that the debate would expose the Daily Wire's real "priorities," constituted criticisms of the site and of Shapiro, criticisms that the arbitrator concluded Owens was barred from expressing under her contract with the company.

The arbitrator thus imposed a gag order of prior restraint on Owens. Among other things, the order banned Owens from saying or doing anything in the future which could tarnish or harm the reputation of the Daily Wire and/or Ben Shapiro. Given that the Daily Wire had argued, and the arbitrator agreed, that Owens' offers to debate Shapiro about Israel and anti-semitism were themselves "disparaging," the Daily Wire has ensured that the debate with Owens that they publicly claimed to want could not, in fact, take place. Any such debate would be in conflict with the gag order they obtained on Owens from expressing any criticisms of the site or of Shapiro.

When asked for comment to be included this story, Owens replied: I "wish I could comment on this but I can’t." She added: "can neither confirm nor deny."

Boreing said: "your story is inaccurate to the point of being false," though he did not specify a single inaccuracy, nor did he deny that the Daily Wire had sought and obtained a gag order on Owens at the same time they were publicly posturing as wanting a debate with her. The confirmation we obtained of all these facts is indisputable. Boreing added: "I’m sure you can appreciate how fraught a high profile break-up like this is. For that reason, we are trying to resolve our issues with Candace privately."

It certainly seems true that the Daily Wire is attempting to achieve all of this "privately." Nonetheless, Ben Shapiro has constructed his very lucrative media brand and persona based on his supposed superiority in debating, a reputation cultivated largely as a result of numerous appearances at undergraduate schools around the country where he intrepidly engages with students who are often in their teens or early twenties. Both Shapiro and the Daily Wire have also predicated their collective media brand on an eagerness to engage in free and open debate with anyone, and to vehemently oppose any efforts to silence people, especially those in media, from expressing their political views.

It was the imperatives of this media branding that presumably led the Daily Wire and Shapiro to publicly agree to a debate with Owens over Israel and anti-semitism in the first place. Indeed, when it became apparent early after the start of Israel's war in Gaza that Owens had major differences with Shapiro, Boering responded to calls from Israel supporters for Owens to be fired by proclaiming in November: 

[E]ven if we could, we would not fire Candace because of another thing we have in common - a desire not to regulate the speech of our hosts, even when we disagree with them. Candace is paid to give her opinion, not mine or Ben’s. Unless those opinions run afoul of the law or she violates the terms of her contract in some way, her job is secure and she is welcome at Daily Wire.

But a mere four months later, Owens, despite being of one of the company's most popular hosts, was out. The company had concluded that her increasingly vocal criticisms of Israel, opposition to U.S. financing of it, and her views on anti-semitism were incompatible with the Daily Wire's policies.

All of those issues would likely have been the subject of the public debate that Owens sought, and that the Daily Wire claimed to want. Instead, the Daily Wire has succeeded in obtaining a gag order that, on its face, prevents Owens, in advance, from questioning or criticizing both the Daily Wire or Shapiro in any way.



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INTERVIEW: Professor Jeffrey Sachs on Ukraine's Failures, Israel's War in Gaza, China, and More

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Interview with Professor Jeffrey Sachs [13:12 - 1:10:23]

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