Tag Archives: Jeremy Scahill

Greenwald nails state of US “democracy”

Screenshot from 2016-05-04 13:09:58I’m a big admirer of the work done by Glenn Greenwald, not just in his efforts with the US whistleblower Edward Snowden but also for his ongoing work in exposing and commenting on the realities of US foreign policy. He and Jeremy Scahill have just come out with a new book on the US drone wars called “The Assassination Complex”, previewed here on the indefatigable Democracy Now! Looks like a must-read to me.

Greenwald’s withering assessment of the ongoing US primaries, Democrat and Republican, which he made during the same programme, bears repeating in full.

The “they” he is referring to are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, though both he and Scahill are justifiably critical of Bernie Sanders too.

Well, I mean, I just think it’s—in some sense, Washington, D.C.—not the United States, but Washington, D.C.—is getting exactly the election they deserve. These are the two most unpopular presidential candidates ever to run, I think, in 30 years. They have the highest unfavorable ratings of any nominees in decades. The only thing they’re able to do to one another is try and be as toxic and nasty and destructive as possible, because everybody has already decided, more or less, that they’re so unlikable. And so, it’s going to be the opposite of an inspiring election. It’s just going to be two extremely unpopular people trying to destroy the other on both a personal level, backed by huge amounts of money and serving more or less the same interests. And I think the two parties and the establishment leaders in Washington, and the people who support and run that whole system, have gotten exactly the election that they deserve. Unfortunately, Americans are going to have to suffer along with them.

It really is that bad.

So the most powerful nation on the planet – thereby the most powerful government in history given the weaponry at its disposal – shows no imminent signs of substantive political change at the top.

That makes the work of finding better ways of political decision-making, such as sortition and participatory budgets, all the more critical. If that link seems obscure think of it as the difference between government by the people – “democracy” – versus government by a wealthy few – “oligarchy“.

That’s why I’m planning on ramping up Democracy Talk – an as-yet experimental audio and video reporting series focused on innovations in our political decision-making processes and accompanying commentary on the quality of existing ones.

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Greenwald on Snowden, self and conventional media

Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald, who brought NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the public eye, speaks at length on the last few momentous weeks. His speech follows a series of scoops revealing the massive extent of US government surveillance and storage of digital communications worldwide.

The talk, which starts at 10 minutes in, features Greenwald’s reflections on how the Snowden story evolved over recent months. It’s funny but also hugely revealing about the sorry state of conventional journalism generally, just the point I try to make in Fraudcast News.

The talk gives additional insight into the extraordinary character that is Edward Snowden, how he deliberately chose the dangerous course he is now on rather than just closing his mouth in the face of mounting evidence of executive agencies having gone feral.

He talks of the bravery Snowden has demonstrated, an example from which he personally draws strength and urges others to do the same.

“Courage is contagious,” says Greenwald.

He rips into conventional journalism as done by the New York Times versus the work of Wikileaks – the difference coming down to whether or not the respective organisations are pleasing or displeasing the people in power.

Greenwald is introduced by Jeremy Scahill – whose talk starts from 3 minutes in – the  journalist behind Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield.  He’s also well worth a listen.

“We are living in a moment when real journalism is under attack,” Scahill says, highlighting the Obama administration’s criminalisation of investigative journalism, its escalation of covert drone strikes and attacks against whistleblowers.

“All of us have a moral obligation to stand in opposition to those declarations and those policies whether it’s a Democrat in office or a Republican in office,” Scahill urges.

He also condemned attempts to smear Greenwald’s name and reputation in the wake of his Guardian stories.

“This is what they do when someone stands up and tells the truth,” Scahill said.

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