Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

On Journalists Who Refuse To Defend Dissident Journalists

Alternative media circles have been buzzing for the last two days ever since news broke about the arrest of Grayzone journalist Max Blumenthal, who was reportedly jailed for two days after a SWAT-style police team showed up threatening to break his door down last Friday.

Blumenthal is charged with simple assault alleged to have taken place five months ago during the notorious standoff when the US government was working to remove the official Venezuelan government from its DC embassy and replace it with diplomats from the Guaido-led puppet government it was attempting to force into power. Dissident journalists, including Blumenthal, stationed themselves in the embassy in opposition to the illegal eviction and to document the behavior of the evictors. Blumenthal calls the assault charge "a 100 percent false, fabricated, bogus, untrue, and malicious lie."

I watched the news of the embassy standoff with much interest, largely because the obnoxious, oafish behavior of the anti-Maduro counter-protesters on the scene were a perfect reflection of the obnoxious, oafish behavior I'd experienced from anti-Maduro accounts online. I've argued with every major political faction in America at one point or another, and some of them can be downright vile, but I've never run into such an intellectually dishonest, crude, nasty group of people in my three years on this job as those who've been cheering on the Trump administration's regime change agenda in Venezuela. There's not a doubt in my mind that someone from this unscrupulous, shady group would be capable of making false allegations against a dissident journalist who disagreed with them.

"According to an individual familiar with the case, the warrant for Blumenthal’s arrest was initially rejected," Grayzone reports. "Strangely, this false charge was revived months later without the defendant’s knowledge."

Strangely indeed.

I was arrested on Friday on a COMPLETELY FALSE charge manufactured by the Venezuelan opposition related to their siege of the embassy in DC. I spent 2 days in jail, was shackled for extended periods & was denied my right to call a lawyer. Here's the facts: https://t.co/2Nco0OzQ7P

— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) October 28, 2019

Strange as it is, alternative media figures are the only people talking about an opposition journalist being arrested on highly suspicious grounds in a highly suspicious way. Mainstream media reporters have been completely ignoring this story.

"Arrest and caging of opposition US journalist Max Blumenthal reminds me (and others I know) of the worst of Russia," tweeted journalist Mark Ames. "Except there, when oppo journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested, most big-name Russian journalists—including Putin-friendly—publicly supported Golunov. Here—silence."

This silence is unsurprising at this point, because this same media class has for years been either mute or vocally favorable on the persecution of another dissident journalist, Julian Assange. Ambitious young journalists are made well aware that the very easiest way to demonstrate your loyalty to the media-owning plutocratic establishment is to participate in the relentless smear campaign against the WikiLeaks founder which has worked its way into virtually all political sectors of the western world, and the very easiest way to lose standing within the plutocratic media is to defend him.

There's a popular quote that a German pastor wrote after the second World War that goes,
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me."

It's a good quote, and, understandably, people have been invoking it for the steadily escalating war on oppositional journalism we've been witnessing throughout the western empire. Cries of "First they came for Assange" and "First they came for the journalists" are common in circles which value the existence of a free press which is capable of holding power to account, the argument being that if you let them come for journalists like Assange and Blumenthal, it's only a matter of time before they come for you, too.

Only one problem: it isn't true.

Arrest & caging of opposition US journalist @MaxBlumenthal reminds me (and others I know) of the worst of Russia. Except there, when oppo journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested, most big-name Russian journalists—including Putin-friendly—publicly supported Golunov.
Here—silence.

— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) October 29, 2019

It isn't true that if you allow authority to come after dissident journalists they'll necessarily end up coming after you. That's only true if you intend at some point to publish something that those in power don't want you to publish. If you've closed the door to the possibility of your ever doing that, then you know that there is no risk to you, so there's no need to defend dissident journalists when their reporting sees them targeted for legal persecution by the powerful. Which is exactly what mainstream reporters who fail to defend Assange and Blumenthal are telling us about themselves: they've closed that door and chosen the side of power, come what may.

This is where the silence comes from. It isn't that those who work in mainstream news media lack an understanding that at some point power structures may shift and you'll want to report facts that are inconvenient for the powerful without fear of imprisonment; these people all watched Donald Trump get elected. They already know that things can take a very dark turn in the future for where power is located, and they've already decided they don't care and will always side with the powerful going forward. If the election of Donald Trump wasn't enough to show these people that it's a good idea to make sure the press can continue to hold power to account in the future, then nothing will. They're not ignorant, they're subservient. They've made a lifelong commitment to continue to worship at the altar of power.

If we were to re-write the "First they came" poem to describe the current war on dissident journalism we're seeing in 2019, it would go more like this:

First they came for Assange, and I did not speak out—
Because I was a mainstream western journalist with no intention of ever usetting the powerful.

Then they came for Blumental, and I did not speak out—
Because I was a mainstream western journalist with no intention of ever usetting the powerful.

Then they came for all the other dissident journalists, and I did not speak out—
Because I will never be a dissident journalist.

They never came for me—
Because I have chosen to serve power.

______________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Overseas Investment Rules: New National Interest Test

Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and other critical infrastructure are not assessed through a national interest lens.

“We are introducing a number of new powers, consistent with global best practice, to protect New Zealanders’ best interests in such important – often monopoly – assets,” David Parker said.

Responding to concerns about overseas investment in water bottling, the Government will also require consideration of the impact on water quality and sustainability of a water bottling enterprise, when assessing an investment in sensitive land. More>>

 

Matter Of Trust: Peters Says NZ First Loans Legal

"Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years." More>>

ALSO:

PGF CONFLICT OF INTEREST:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Age Problem, And The Port Hills

Labour has been steadily improving its gender balance to the point where there are now 21 women in its caucus out of 46 MPs in all... Yet Labour has been just as steadily losing the generational battle to the Greens. More>>

ALSO:

Child Deaths Revealed: NZDF Deal To Clear Afghan Firing Ranges

The Defence Force has agreed a deal to clear unexploded ordnance in Afghanistan after revelations seven children were killed by unexploded devices left there. More>>

ALSO:

Charles & Camilla: Visit Takes Royals From Waitangi To Christchurch

Domestic violence services, conservation and education are all on the list for the royal tour. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will spend a week travelling the country from Waitangi to Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Farming Sector’s Persecution Complex

The narrative that our farmers are ‘doing it tough’ plays into a number of wellworn stereotypes ... More>>

ALSO:

corrections, prisonCorrections: Independent Review Of Prisoner Mail Management

The independent review into the prisoner mail system has today been released, with Corrections accepting all 13 recommendations and making a number of changes to strengthen the management of prisoner mail. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Unlawful Detention Of Teenager; Influence Of Investigation

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that former Inspector Hurimoana Dennis unlawfully detained an Auckland teenager in 2015, and improperly influenced the outcome of a criminal investigation into his own son in 2014. More>>

ALSO:

SOP For Gun Bill: New Measures For Modified Pistols

The new controls will • Prohibit short-barrelled semi-automatic rifles which currently are defined as pistols because they are shorter than 762 millimetres. • Introduce tighter controls over pistol carbine conversion kits… • Prohibit firearms which contain a part known as a centrefire lower receiver… More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels