Tuesday 16th of July 2024

killing the truth....

Daniel Everett Hale killed lots of innocent people. He went to jail, not for killing people – he was paid to do that by the US government – but for revealing the truth behind it. Recently released, he has an astonishing story to tell.

We should care – and care deeply – that all around the world the brightest and best of our truth tellers – whether they be journalists, academics, whistleblowers or politicians – are being eliminated, either physically or by one of the other 50 Ways to Kill the Story. It profoundly impacts the society you and your children live in and which we ignore at our collective peril. Europe’s tilt to the far-right should trigger alarm bells because it is a by-product of this.


Shoot the messenger, kill the story      By Eugene Doyle


Daniel Hale served in Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of the US’s global drone assassination programme. Hale’s first day on the job involved being part of a hit on someone who had a cellphone linked to the Taliban. They tracked the mobile to a hillside where a group of men were making a pot of tea. Without the slightest information of who these other people were, the missiles were fired, the hillside turned purple and red.

Around this time, President Obama assured the world the drone programme meant “with near certainty” that civilians weren’t in harm’s way. After taking part in lots of these killings, witnessing mothers pulling dead children from cars, farmers trying to harvest their own guts after being struck, and the like, Hale went on a personal journey and eventually decided to leak secret documents that proved the opposite: about 90% of the victims were innocents.

Charged under the Espionage Act, Hale wrote a moving 11-page letter to the judge. In it he said: “I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life. I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend that things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.” He was sentenced in 2019 to 45 months in prison. He got out recently and his ankle bracelet will be removed next month.

Chelsea Manning witnessed footage of an Apache helicopter crew massacring journalists and civilians in Baghdad and shared it with the world. The killers went free, Manning went to jail.

Daniel and Chelsea are heroes in a branch of journalism known as leaktivism or data journalism. The state will go to immense lengths to punish such people – Julian Assange and Edward Snowden being shining examples. Their treatment, and the shameful complicity of the governments of Australia and the UK, are classic examples of what Voltaire observed in Candide: it’s good to execute people from time to time pour encourager les autres (to encourage the rest).

When Mark Antony (yep, Cleopatra’s lover) wanted to make clear that there were new bosses in town he tracked down the great writer, statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero. Antony’s henchmen killed him, chopped off his hands and nailed them to the rostrum of the Senate. It sent a powerful message: this is what happens to people who write stories we don’t like. How many of our journalists have heeded this message and, worried, perhaps more for their paychecks than their hands, have adopted the dominant narrative, often going after truth tellers in their own ranks.

Others have paid with their lives: the car-bombing of Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia in Malta in 2017 for her investigations into the Panama Papers; the execution of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by an Israeli sniper in 2022; Anna Politkovskaya, the courageous journalist gunned down in central Moscow for her trenchant reports on the Kremlin.


Fire or de-platform them

Earlier this week another truth-teller was dealt to by the powerful; fortunately being only fired, not worse.

Briahna Joy Gray, a really insightful and gutsy journalist on The Hill was shown the door for her insistence on telling the truth about the US-Israeli war on Gaza. She was one of the first Americans to question the “beheaded babies narrative”, the failure of the media to go after Biden for lying about having seen evidence of this, challenging the now-discredited systematic rape stories, and shining a spotlight on Western complicity in the ongoing genocide. She’ll keep working but on platforms that have a fraction of the reach of The Hill’s two million followers.


Drive them to suicide

Earlier this year I wrote an article about the self-immolation of US serviceman Aaron Bushnell outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Daniel Hale was similarly moved by that sacrifice and said shortly after:

“The weight of guilt for the many crimes against humanity perpetrated by our own government hangs heavy over every veteran. Aaron succumbed to the most pervasive wound in the U.S. military – a moral wound.”


Smear them 

MEP Clare Daly, a critic of US and EU policy in Gaza and Ukraine, lost in the recent European elections. Who can argue with democracy: the people have spoken … but not before Daly was subjected to a blizzard of character assassination and hit stories by the Guardian, BBC, RTÉ, Politico and other outlets, smearing a courageous voice for peace in a blood-crazed Europe. The bad guys won, Europe has lurched to the right, and all Daly could do was snap at ‘journalists’ who cornered her at the counting session in Dublin: “You had no interest in talking to me for five years, so I have no interest in talking to you now.”

Who gets to be heard is vitally important. Many of the sharpest minds in the world when it comes to analysis of the Gaza conflict, the Israel lobby, AUKUS, China-US competition and the NATO-Russia war in Ukraine are largely banned from appearing on the major networks or in the newspapers of the mainstream media (MSM). Professor Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Medea Benjamin, Mouin Rabbani, Ambassador Chas Freeman, Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Jeffrey Sachs, Yanis Varoufakis, Jeremy Corbyn, and countless others are seldom if ever invited to share perspectives that would challenge the dominant narrative. Professor Mearsheimer’s lectures, for example, have been viewed by tens of millions worldwide but CNN, BCC and the others prefer to hear from those who have been consistently wrong but politically “correct”, like Generals Petraeus and Hodges.

Protecting journalists, such as Julian Assange, whistle blowers, such as Daniel Hale and other truth tellers like Briahna Gray is critical to preserving our societies. These are the people who help the population understand when crimes are being committed, what governmental powers are abused, how elites misuse military power, and what is really at stake in the current explosive environment. The narrowing of debate to a tightly controlled few enables the malice and the insane brutality we are witnessing globally to continue.

Maybe it’s time to go out and buy a whistle.






writing for peanuts.....


SOS – Save our scribes    By Duncan Graham


As legacy media dies we seek its phoenix

With the new financial year comes a welcome slump in begging e-mails for newsletter subs. Not just from the spare room laptoppers but also the towering universities that pay their vice chancellors millions yet want the public to fund an editor.

Appeals stress reading is free but production isn’t. The costs frequently exclude the work that makes the venture worthwhile – the journo’s fee.

This is like building homes but not paying the brickies whose skills are critical to the structure. The labourer being worthy of his hire seems to have been forgotten despite its Biblical endorsement.

Commerce trumps scripture.

Nonetheless, our culture still retains faith in a healthy work-life balance and tends to despise exploitation.

The Fair Work Act is supposed to “provide a balanced framework for cooperative and productive workplace relations that promotes national economic prosperity and social inclusion for all Australians.”

On the Labour Rights Index Australia gets ranked as having “reasonable access to decent work”; the terms are subjective.

The mainstream media is wading through a gory field of sackings, euphemistically labelled “downsizing to restructure”. The “production staff reductions” include the creatives whose work is central to sales.

Old media company boards have yet to discover how to treat hemorrhaging incomes; the first-aid kits are empty of bandages so they reach for the knife. Aesop defined their idiocy in Fable 87.

Ironically they’re now pleading for Canberra’s help to fight the international social media giants though having long stressed abhorrence of government interference.

Many young idealists fought to get into the media believing in the public’s need to be factually informed; we saw this as a basic human right built into the four-pillars of democracy.

The first three, Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary are funded by the public and that seems to be widely accepted. But apart from the ABC the Media pillar has been outsourced to capitalism, not primarily to “factually inform” but to make money.

Cadet naivety rapidly turned to cynicism when working in newsrooms. Although we’d write forever, the quick learners soon understood that if the investors weren’t getting enough returns they’d spike our efforts and switch from selling news to baked beans.

With Australia’s taxpayer-funded national broadcaster ($7.7 billion across five years) said to be central to our culture, we expect governments to be involved in ensuring democracy’s right to know.

The feds are thrashing around for solutions as the Meta Monster and Brother X refuse to pay for the stories that draw readers to their sites.

We might never have known of Tchaikovsky’s music or Michelangelo’s paintings if the creatives had not been supported by patrons centuries ago. The Renaissance was largely fuelled by the wealthy paying the artists.

Without them, the little swans would clump on stage and the Sistine Chapel would be a bureaucratic beige.

This is not a plea for government control of the media. May the wrath of the deities descend should we become like North Korea or Afghanistan, though we’re nothing to write home about when liberties are measured.

We rank 39 in Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, lower than NZ and the UK but better than the US.

The Reithian principles of educating, informing and entertaining that are embedded in the BBC Charter (1927) and adopted by the ABC are good for listeners and watchers. Why not the readers?

It was an accident of history because German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in 1439 pre-dated the electronic media, so well in place before the lawmakers awoke.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to fix the problem of tired modern media and cash-famished hacks.

NZ is showing a way to prop up the fourth pillar: The conservative National-Coalition government has decided a Cabinet Minister will run a media subsidy scheme.

She or he “will decide which media entities will be eligible to receive the proceeds of a levy the Government proposes to impose on Facebook and Google” estimated to raise between NZ$30 and NZ$50 million a year.

A few even further right than the pro-business government have called the idea “stupid”, “unprincipled” and “a move of breathtaking audacity” – but it’s going ahead.

Back on this side of the Ditch the Greens are pushing for a “Billionaires Tax and a Corporate Super Profits Tax to make big corporations and the super-wealthy pay their fair share so we can properly fund public services… ”

They claim a six per cent levy would raise $48 billion across ten years.

Their ambition seems doomed because the big parties will ignore and the nation’s 141 billionaires could use their ore-crushing power to pulverise the idea

That doesn’t stop them from sipping a nip of altruism before bedtime, adding a slice of media to the arts generally considered to be painting, theatre, writing and composition. To be fair, some philanthropists are already active in these four categories.

Then there’s sport; $97 million in the Federal budget over the next two years.

The money could go into an Independent Media Foundation separate from the government and donors, distributing pooled funds on application to newsletters that follow agreed guidelines like the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics.

By mixing up the dough patrons – like an imaginary WA mining tycoon – wouldn’t know if it was her generosity that was helping fund a commentary lauding or thrashing fossil fuel controls…

There are 25 independent  newsletters in Australia. Some have too narrow interests or are run by salaried uni staff, but others are the work of visionaries with ideas bigger than their wallets. They need the IMF. So do we.

This being Australia there’d be naysayers. Driving them away could reveal a new Renaissance – young creatives challenging old media, using fresh ways to tell truths and engage honestly with the public.

Farewell Rupert.

Disclosure: Like all contributions to Pearls & Irritations this piece is unpaid. It’s not an ideal arrangement – writers also have to eat. But the rewards are nourishing – exposing wrongs and pushing ideas alongside the thinkers that John Menadue has attracted and energised.





UN war on truth....


UN declares war on FREE SPEECH to censor the TRUTH, subvert accountability, control populations

Lance D Johnson


Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, (UN) just released the globalist’s latest game-plan for population control, surveillance and censorship. The game-plan, titled Global Principles for Information Integrity, seeks to put an end to “harmful misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech” online, all while “upholding human rights such as the freedom of speech.”


Guterres presented the game-plan with a sense of urgency, commanding governments, technology companies, the media and advertisers to take control and establish official narratives, while quashing opposition voices. The UN supports Big Tech’s algorithmic control over the information stream online and seeks to control online speech further. A global body of elites seek to delete what they believe is the disinformation, and they seek to discredit and demonetize the voices of dissent. All the censorship coming from global power systems is war on free speech, but it’s also a war on truth, so that these power systems cannot be held to account for their abuses.


UN’s information surveillance and control system seeks to centralize censorship for global domination

The UN is erecting an information surveillance and control system that crafts authoritarian narratives that limit access to life saving knowledge. These control systems not only censor, but they train people what to say, how to behave, and what to think. The UN wants to create a world of simps who surrender their sovereignty and bow down to manipulative and abusive entities and false authorities.


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These algorithms or automated review processes will be programmed to filter and remove content deemed objectionable or politically sensitive. This can include blocking websites, social media posts, or entire platforms that criticize the government, promote dissent, or discuss sensitive topics like human rights abuses or political opposition.


In times of political unrest or during manufactured crises, governments may impose internet shutdowns or restrict access to specific websites or social media platforms. This tactic effectively silences dissenting voices, prevents the spread of information about protests or the abuses of governments, and limits the ability of citizens to communicate and organize. Examples of this tyranny were observed on the Facebook social media platform, when Meta targeted and shut down community groups that discussed COVID-19 vaccine injury. Any opposition to vaccine mandates were derided as “misinformation” and any groups that organized for medical freedom were algorithmically shut down or their reach was severely restricted.


Furthermore, surveillance technologies can be used to monitor online activities in real time, tracking individuals' digital footprints, and identify dissenting voices or activists. This surveillance creates a chilling effect, deterring individuals from expressing controversial opinions or participating in political discourse online.


By manipulating search results, governments and pharmaceutical companies can influence search engine algorithms to prioritize or bury certain information about cures for infectious disease, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. By controlling what information surfaces at the top of search results, pharmaceutical companies can shape public perception, suppress alternative viewpoints, or promote propaganda and official narratives to keep people sick and coming back for more drugs and vaccines that don’t work.


UN will abuse their power to command narratives and skirt accountability for totalitarian actions

Governments may enact laws and regulations that impose restrictions on digital content, such as requiring platforms to remove "harmful" or "offensive" content. These laws can be vague and broadly interpreted, allowing authorities to target journalists, activists or ordinary citizens who express dissenting views. This was seen in the U.S. under the Biden regime’s targeting of the so-called “disinformation dozen” who were removed from and demonetized across social media platforms. The Biden regime also crafted a “do not promote list” for books that discussed the topic of vaccination. The federal government coerced one of the biggest book distributors – Amazon – to restrict access to these books.


Authorities may selectively target journalists, human rights defenders, activists or members of marginalized communities with harassment, intimidation or legal threats. This creates a climate of fear and self-censorship, where individuals refrain from expressing dissenting opinions or advocating for social change. The UN can throttle internet speeds or block communication channels such as messaging apps or VoIP services during periods of unrest and uncertainty. This restricts the ability of individuals to communicate securely, share information or coordinate protests or activism.


Like its predecessors, these UN-backed information control systems will be implemented without transparency or accountability, and there will be no due process for their targets. This lack of oversight allows those in power to manipulate information flows without public scrutiny, exacerbating the impact of censorship on democratic processes and civil liberties.


With this move, the UN and its military alliances are practically declaring war on the press, on research analysts and independent journalism.




zero free speech....


US Journalist Hinkle Says US Has 'Zero' Free Speech, Issue May Become Larger


MOSCOW, Jul. 11 (Sputnik) - US journalist and political commentator Jackson Hinkle told Sputnik that blocking of his accounts on Youtube and WhatsApp, as well as Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Meta, banned in Russia for extremism) signals that there is "zero free speech" in the United States, adding that this could result in larger issues.

"Yes, they are private companies, but this is all happening at the direct discretion and, you know, with the orders of the US State Department, the federal government, which just goes to show that there is absolutely zero free speech in America, which is another troubling division that I think a lot of people in the West are facing with the elites in their countries that could result in larger issues," Hinkle said in an interview.

The journalist said he was even unable to use marketplaces for selling his products and almost all dating apps.

At the same time, Hinkle announced that he would launch a new show in the near future that would be broadcast on Russian and Chinese social media, without specifying the details.

"Very soon I am going to be launching a new show. And we are going to be on, you know, Russian social media. We are already on Chinese social media, but we are going to be increasing the amount of work we are doing there and then Twitter as well," he said.

Hinkle assumed there was "zero chance" of getting his social media accounts back.

The US political commentator also said that major US media ignored the United Nations' briefing on a recent Donbas trip of US rights and political experts.

"You may have seen at the United Nations events, most of the mainstream media journalists did not even show up. It was supposed to be this big event. And, fortunately, we had some Middle Eastern journalists. I think we had some African journalists, Russian journalists. But the mainstream media in the West does not care to report on what's actually happening, despite the fact that we had American eyewitnesses documenting the grave risk that Ukraine is posing," Hinkle said.

The Western media would have to admit they were "lying for the past two years" if they chose to highlight any of the things reflected in the materials published by the US experts after their Donbas trip, he added.





SEE ALSO: https://rumble.com/v568lvk-israel-admits-to-killing-own-on-oct-7th-russia-blamed-for-hospital-bombing.html