Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
New Trump Indictment Presents Now-Familiar Dangers. Plus: Zelensky Battles Draft Dodgers & a Failed Counteroffensive
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August 17, 2023
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Good evening. It's Tuesday, August 15. 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: It's getting very hard to count how many times Donald Trump has been indicted. We are now up to four, two federal cases and two state cases. Yesterday, a district attorney in Georgia, Fani Willis, who represents the deeply blue Fulton County home to Atlanta, convinced a grand jury to return an indictment of 13 felony counts against Trump, with many more against 18 of his closest political allies, including his attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The latest charges are based on very similar grounds as the prior indictment brought, this one by special counsel Jack Smith, namely, charges that the former president committed multiple crimes for, in essence, claiming the 2020 election was the byproduct of fraud and then seeking to invalidate the outcome of that election through what the last indictment and this one alleges are unlawful means for doing so. The primary difference between yesterday's Georgia indictment and the federal one brought last week by special counsel Jack Smith is that the law in Georgia is – as a result of having been shaped by a so-called tough-on-crime mentality for many years, decades, in fact – the law in Georgia is far more sweeping, rigid and threatening than federal law is. Indeed, Georgia has a very permissive entire racketeering statute, meaning the equivalent of RICO, the statute used by federal prosecutors to charge mafia bosses, with being part of a broad criminal conspiracy since they often are not susceptible to being convicted of any standalone crime. So, they created this racketeering theory to drag mafia bosses or other high-level mafiosos into broad crimes committed by low-level people that the district attorney would charge with crimes and then hope to convince or coerce them into becoming state witnesses against these higher-ranking people. The district attorney succeeded in characterizing the efforts of Trump and his allies as a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election and then treated it as eligible to be criminalized under the racketeering laws of Georgia, which makes everyone who did anything as part of the conspiracy, to further the conspiracy, a full and equal member of the criminal ring equally responsible for every crime, even if committed by others, as long as they were committed in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy. The real motive for charging so many people the way she did is to pressure the lower-level conspirators into turning the state's evidence and then accusing the higher-ups of criminality as a way of saving themselves, then trying to use that coerced testimony to convict the bigger fish. 

Needless to say, to a liberal prosecutor, representing a county full of Democrats, there is no bigger fish than convicting Donald Trump. Already the media worship of this district attorney has predictably begun. She's not quite at the level of toughness and attraction as Jack Smith is, but she's rapidly making her way there. And while this indictment suffers from many of the same flaws and dangers of the prior one brought by Smith, the rigidity and heaviness of Georgia criminal law pose real challenges to Trump's legal team, including the possibility of far harsher pretrial measures, almost certain to include his first mug shot, the possibility of pretrial restrictions or even jail pending trial, the immunity of the state prosecution to any presidential pardon – because it's a state crime –and the very pro-prosecutor provisions written into the law that will govern the pretrial proceedings and the trial itself. 

As we have noted before, criminally accusing populist and popular political leaders and then rendering them ineligible to run is an increasingly common West weapon in the democratic world and that is at least part of what is motivating this spate of prosecutions. We'll examine this latest indictment and its various implications and put it in the overall context of liberals and other establishment defenders around the country desperately seeking to find a way to return Joe Biden's primary election competition into a felon. 

Then: at the start of the latest stage in the war in Ukraine, in February 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged supporters of his cause and the cause of Ukrainians throughout the West to stop cheering for the war and make themselves feel strong and powerful and Churchillian by doing so on social media and instead go to Ukraine and pick up arms to help them fight against the Russian army, based on the argument, among many, that Ukraine has far fewer people to fight against the much more populous country of Russia. Unsurprisingly, very few of our pack of Western world cheerleaders in the media or political and punditry classes heeded Zelensky's pleas. Very few of them actually went to Ukraine to help them fight and expel the Russians. And as a result, Ukraine, which already faces a massive disadvantage in population size as compared to Russia, has really been struggling from the start, especially now that the most trained and most aggressive fighters, a lot of them, have been removed from the battlefield, killed or wounded, they're really struggling with an inability to match the sheer number of Russian men who are either willing or required to fight in this war. Lately, as a result, however, President Zelenskyy has become increasingly more repressive, both in terms of banning all dissent from being expressed. He has imposed martial law, making it clear that there will be no elections until this war is over, which means he will remain in power for the foreseeable future into the indefinite future and he has really had to crack down on the attempt by Ukrainian men, increasingly, either to bribe their way out of the country or to just risk their lives fleeing the country because they don't want to be used as cannon fodder in what they obviously regard as an increasingly futile war. We will look at the latest events in Ukraine, including on the part of President Zelenskyy, that are increasingly anti-democratic in nature, that signifies the futility of this war effort, as well as the U.S. role, and remind you of some of the worst offenses of media propaganda that have been designed to sell this war to the West, something that plainly is eroding as a majority of Americans have decided they no longer favor any further aid.

As we do every Tuesday and Thursday night, as soon as we're done with our one-hour live show here at Rumble, we'll move to Locals for an interactive aftershow to take your questions and comment on your feedback. That show is for subscribers to our Locals community only and members of that community also have access to our show transcripts delivered to your inbox the day after the show airs. We make a real effort to make those transcripts very well formatted, and very professionalized, including all the relevant links to make it a really well-rounded product that is easy to read. It's really like a standalone article for those of you who prefer more to read than consume news through video. 

To obtain access to our aftershow and to our Locals community that includes these transcripts and more, simply set up as a member of our Locals community. The red Join button is right below the video player here on the Rumble page. Doing that also helps support the independent journalism that we do here. 

As a reminder as well, we are encouraging our viewers to download the Rumble app [apple link], which is very high quality. It works, I think, a lot better than the browser, and that enables you to follow our show and any other regularly scheduled shows here on Rumble [google link]. That in turn allows you to be notified the minute we begin. You will just simply be notified the minute we're on the air and we start broadcasting and that will enable you to simply click on the button and come here to watch. That helps our program and helps Rumble as a platform and you can encourage other people to do that as well. 

Finally, as a last reminder, System Update is available in podcast form as well. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple and all other major podcasting platforms. Each episode is available 12 hours after they first are broadcast live here on Rumble. And if you rate and review the show, it helps spread the visibility of the program.

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

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

For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access. Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok. Listen below.

Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted
WEEKLY WEIGH-IN: Let us know!

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🏆Dog-of-the-Week:

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
16 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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THE WEEKLY UPDATE: MAY 13-17
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We are pleased to send you a summary of the key stories we covered last week on SYSTEM UPDATE. 

—Glenn Greenwald

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SYSTEM UPDATE RECAP: May 13-17
Weekly Recap

Welcome to the SYSTEM UPDATE recap: your weekend digest featuring everything we’ve covered throughout the previous week. 

 

Prefer to listen to your daily news analysis? Reminder that FULL episodes of SYSTEM UPDATE are available anywhere you listen to podcasts🎙️


MONDAY, MAY 13 - EPISODE 269

Jen Psaki's Lies Expose the Fraud of "Disinformation"; Israelis Endanger Americans and Block Humanitarian Aid

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (7:26)

Queen of Disinformation (14:11)

Israelis Block Gaza Aid (47:32)

Outro (1:12:12)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 14 - EPISODE 270

House Prioritizes Israel Over Funding U.S. Government; Seinfeld Commencement Debacle Fuels Antisemitism Panic; PLUS: China and Hungary's Close Ties Explained

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (10:29)

House Prioritized Israel Over U.S. (16:19)

Media Meltdown (48:28)

Hungary and China Strengthen Ties (57:50)

Outro (1:17:07)

 

Supporters-Only After Show for Tuesday, May 14

We moved to Locals for our supporters-only, interactive after show where Glenn shared his thoughts on some audience questions and comments:

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 - EPISODE 271

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

Full transcript available for paid supporters: HERE

 

WATCH THE EPISODE

Intro (6:31)

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

  • Ukraine (13:12 - 48:33)
  • Israel (48:34 - 58:40)
  • Columbia Student Protests (58:45 - 1:03:23)
  • China (1:03:24 - 1:10:23)

Outro (1:10:24)

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