The Latest from Brazil, New CIA/JFK Revelations & Answering Viewers' Questions
Video transcript: We cover the Brazilian election and transition of power, offer insight on the new JFK files, and take audience questions
Watch System Update Episode #9 here on Rumble.
Note From Glenn Greenwald: The following is the full show transcript, for subscribers only, of a recent episode of our System Update program, broadcast live on Rumble on Thursday, December 22, 2022. As I indicated last week, we now have a service in place that will produce full transcripts of all the live shows we do – Monday through Friday, live on Rumble, at 7:00 pm ET – for our subscribers here.
Our show resumes tomorrow, Monday January 2, 2023 live on Rumble. This week we’ll begin publishing full transcripts of every show here within the next 24 hours for those we prefer to read the program rather than watch.
Up until now, our format has largely consisted of one long, in-depth monologue, which we intend to always be the anchor of our show since it allows us to dive deeply into issues, followed by a 20-minute interview or panel discussion. In this episode, however, we do things a bit differently: we examine a series of different topics, starting with the latest news in Brazil and new developments in the still secret CIA documents on the JFK assassination and more, follow by questions from our subscribers on Locals.
So, we begin tonight in Brazil. Many people have been asking what is going on in Brazil, in part because the news has been somewhat enigmatic and complicated for reasons I'll talk about in just a second, but also because this year's presidential election generated more interest in Brazil from around the world and certainly the United States than ever before, in large part because the Brazilian presidential election consisted of two extremely different but equally charismatic figures -- the incumbent right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, who is against the two-term president from 2002 to 2010, the left-wing candidate, Lula da Silva.
The contrast between those two candidates and the energy and charisma and skill as a politician that they each bring, combined with the fact that there has been a strong left-wing trend in Latin American politics, created far more attention in Brazilian politics than I had ever seen previously. So, I want to take the time to examine exactly what is taking place there, because a lot of people have questions about it and there's a lot of confusion.
So, let's just begin by reminding you of the core facts. The first round of Brazil's presidential election was held on October 2nd. Brazil conducts its presidential elections similarly to the way France does. There are usually multiple parties and multiple candidates that run in the first round. And if, as usually happens, no candidate gets more than 50% of the valid votes, the top two vote-getters then move on to the runoff.
All year leading up to the election, polling data showed Lula with an enormous lead over Bolsonaro, to the point that most people in Brazil thought the election was over many months ago. It was often showing Lula with a ten- and a 15-point lead, sometimes even more. In the polls right before the October 2nd election, the poll showed Bolsonaro at 34% and predicted that Lula could get very close to 50%, if not actually exceed 50%, and therefore a win without the need for a runoff.
To say that the polls were off is to gravely understate the case. Lula ended up ahead of Bolsonaro in that first round, but only by five points. Far from the 34% that he was projected to get by most of the leading polling firms, Bolsonaro instead ended up with 43%. So, there was a ten-point gap, at least, in terms of what polls were predicting his support would be and what his polls actually ended up being. So that was already something that was somewhat disturbing.
Now, there are two really important notes to make about that first round of voting. The first is that while Lula ended up ahead of Bolsonaro, the Bolsonaro movement had an incredibly successful evening, far more successful than anyone, at least in the world of polling data, predicted. The party that Bolsonaro ran on became the leading party, the most represented party in both the Senate and in the lower chamber, the equivalent of the House of Representatives, something that had long been held by Lula's Workers Party.
And in just four years, Bolsonaro's party, which barely existed before he ran, is now arguably the dominant party because it has the most seats in both houses of Congress. But beyond that, Bolsonaro's allies and his fellow party members won key races, including the governorships of the most influential states in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. So, one of the things that he did was that running up to the election, Bolsonaro was continuously warning that he thought that there would be fraud in the election and then in some way the success of his movement in his party that first night of the October 2nd, the first round of voting, really deflated in many ways that claim. How is it that there could be lots of voting fraud in the machines when at the same time, Bolsonaro’s party and Bolsonaro’s movement had such a successful evening?
But the other aspect was the polling data was wildly off, not just in the presidential race, but in some races way more severely, including in those governors’ races that I just mentioned in Sao Paulo and Rio, including a Senate race in Sao Paulo, where sometimes the polling was off by 30 points: things I’ve never seen before, where the Bolsonaro allied candidate was predicted to lose the first round by 15 points and instead ended up winning by 15 points. That pattern repeated itself over and over. And that obviously added to the question of why is it that Brazilian polls for the second consecutive election had so significantly undercounted the support that the Bolsonaro movement and President Bolsonaro himself obtained.
Now, the fact that Bolsonaro and Lula were the two top vote-getters meant that they were going to be running against one another in a runoff to determine who would win. And it was widely assumed, again, that Lula would win, given that the third and the fourth-place candidates both ended up supporting Lula. They’re center-right, center, center-left candidates, but certainly not Bolsonaro supporters.
So, given that Lula ended up in front by five points, given that the third and fourth-place finishers both urged their voters, or in at least one case urged voters, the other case mildly suggested to his voters that they support Lula and not Bolsonaro. It was widely assumed that those voters would migrate to Lula and he would win by an even larger margin. But that's not what happened. The race was incredibly close the entire night. As the votes were coming in, Bolsonaro maintained first a five-point lead, then a four-point lead. It started declining as the strongholds of the Workers Party in the northeast part of the country began registering, and then late into the night, with 80% of the vote total or so, Lula finally went ahead and clung on and won by just under two points. So, it was an incredibly close race.
Now, the question was, would Bolsonaro incite his movement to attempt to overturn the outcome of the election by insisting that there was systemic fraud and insisting that the real winner was he himself, Bolsonaro -- and that Lula was declared the winner only by virtue of fraud?
Now, there were major protests, large, significant protests of Bolsonaro supporters that began emerging, notably outside the military bases of major cities. And they selected those because they were essentially calling for the Brazilian military to intervene and overturn the election. They didn't want to go to the courts and ask the courts to rule that the elections were the victim of fraud. They didn't trust the courts. They wanted the military to intervene.
And that is a very sensitive spot for Brazilian history, because in 1964, during the Cold War, Brazil had a democratically elected center-left government that the United States government under John Kennedy warned had become too left-wing. They were undertaking some mild reforms like land reform and rent control that the Kennedy administration in the Cold War thought meant they were moving too close to Moscow and warned them they better stop. And, of course, that government said we have the right to our autonomous politics and policymaking and didn't stop. And so, under Lyndon Johnson, the CIA worked with right-wing Brazilian generals to overthrow that government through force, drove the elected president out of the country, and proceeded to impose a 21-year military dictatorship where all rights were trampled, and all rights were abolished.
From 1964 to 1985, the Brazilian dictatorship ruled Brazil essentially with an iron fist with very few democratic rights. Some people on the Brazilian right see it much differently. They see that narrative as this was a revolution against a corrupt regime. But, in any sense, when you call for the military in Brazil to intervene this way, it's obviously a very sensitive matter in Brazil. And there were many Bolsonaristas, supporters, outside of these military bases doing that in a way that made it very clear that if Bolsonaro had emerged and said ‘This election was manipulated through fraud, and I am the real winner. And I urge and encourage my supporters to go out into the streets and demand that the military correct the fraudulent election,’ there would have been a lot of serious instability here in Brazil.
In fact, it's quite unclear how grave that instability would have been. But when you add to the fact that many of Trump's or rather Bolsonaro’s most enthusiastic supporters are members of the police, the military police, the people with the guns, you certainly would have expected something much more serious than, say, a three-hour riot like what happened on January 6, in the United States, that to this day, people for some reason call an insurrection.
Amazingly, though, what Bolsonaro did was the exact opposite of what Trump did after the election. Almost immediately after the election, you will recall, Donald Trump began saying that first night, “I am the real winner,” “There was major fraud in all of these key states, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and other states” where he was declared to have not won, Georgia, and was pounding the table and urging his supporters to do exactly what Bolsonaro supporters were ready to do had he asked, which is gone out on into the streets in even larger numbers.
And yet, very strangely, Bolsonaro basically all but disappeared from public life. He barely spoke, and he has barely made public appearances since the election, all the way back on October 30th. So, almost two months now. He made a public statement very briefly because right after the election, the protests involved truckers blocking the streets of Brazil and he issued a statement urging them not to do that, to abide by the law and not impede economic life in Brazil, and impede the lives of Brazilians by blocking the streets with their gigantic trucks, as they were doing. But basically, he just stopped appearing in public, and made almost no statements, even while his supporters were in very large numbers still out on the streets, protesting outside of military barracks, urging military intervention to correct what they believed were the fraudulent results.
The Bolsonaro family itself is a major political force. It's not just Bolsonaro, but he has three sons, all of whom are significant political figures in Brazil. One of his sons is a senator, Flavio Bolsonaro, representing Rio de Janeiro. Another son is Eduardo Bolsonaro, who represents Sao Paulo and I think is sort of the most capable and most intelligent of those sons. He's a congressman. (I don't know if I said senator). Eduardo Bolsonaro is a congressman from Sao Paulo. And in 2018, he got the most votes of any candidate for Congress in all of Brazil. So, he's a significant figure with a lot of political power. And then a third son, Carlos Bolsonaro, is a city councilman in Rio de Janeiro, which really understates his role as kind of masterminding the communications network of his father's campaign.
So, while all these people were out on the streets ready to cause serious instability, Bolsonaro disappeared. There was, by all reports, he was depressed. There was a report at one point that he had suffered an infection on his skin that prevented him from putting his pants on. And that's why he wasn't making any public appearances. But he really just kind of shrunk and shriveled into the corner in a way that left his movement leaderless. And then what to me was sort of the final proof that the Bolsonaro family, for whatever their reasons, was not really going to attempt to incite their followers to overturn the election was when Eduardo Bolsonaro took this picture that appeared on, obviously, the Internet, and it became very viral.
It was a picture of him and his wife in Doha. I don't know if we can bring that up. If we can bring that up, let's do that. But it was a picture of him and his wife, clearly kind of in a very festive way, watching the World Cup, which everybody in the world, but certainly Brazilians would have loved to have done, traveled to Doha. And when you have your protesters and your supporters out in the streets demanding that this election result be nullified, and the leader of the movement basically disappeared, and then the second most important member of the Bolsonaro family is partying in Doha, it's sort of a sign that we're not very serious about our intention to stay in power.
Now, once this happened and his supporters were upset, his wife claimed, ‘oh, you don't understand, we're actually in Doha not to party, but because there are really important documents that we brought to show the key people the truth about what happened in Brazil” -- and it just so happened to be that it brought them to Doha, the city where every Brazilian wanted to go to watch Brazil in the World Cup. But this was a sign, I think, even to his hardcore supporters, that for whatever reason, they weren't very serious about inciting the followers to overturn the election results.
As a result, we're nine days away from what is scheduled to be Lula’s inauguration as president. The courts have certified him as the winner. There is, I would say, almost no real movement, any institutional signaling of any kind that any institution, including the military, is prepared to overturn this election. Bolsonaro's vice president, who is a general, a retired general, and a very influential member of the military, Hamilton Mourão, from the beginning, was meeting with and helping to facilitate the transition to the next government, which will be Lula's government.
So, if you asked me what probability I give to the likelihood that Lula will in fact assume office peacefully on January 1st -- maybe there'll be some outbreaks of violence in isolation, I mean no systemic or organized violence to prevent it -- I would predict 98 or 99%. I see no signs whatsoever that anything is going to happen that will impede that. Not talking about whether it should or shouldn't happen for the moment, just talking about the fact that I think clearly it is not going to happen. Lula, by all appearances, will indeed become the president on January 1st.
Now, I want to talk to you a little bit about who Lula is because I frequently hear American conservatives saying two things: number one, that the election was fraudulent, and number two, that Lula is a communist. So, I just want to address those two points. And some of you may not want to hear this because it may not be what you think. But, you know, I've said from the beginning that the purpose of this program is not to come every night and try to tell you what you want to hear, because I don't think there's any value in that, but to tell you what I see as the truth and what the evidence shows, even if it kind of forces you to disagree or reexamine your own views, that's part of what I've always asked of my audience was -- not to expect me to reaffirm what they want to believe or flatter or vindicate their views but to give you my best views with the most persuasive evidence I can and let you decide for yourself.
So, first of all, on the question of whether there was fraud, I think it's very, very difficult and, honestly, I'm kind of confused about how someone, who is an American observer of Brazil from afar, who doesn't speak Portuguese, and is not particularly familiar with the intricacies of the very complex politics of Brazil, could speak so definitively and assertively by claiming that there was fraud in the election. That's something that you would really need a lot of evidence for in order to credibly assert. And I think that if you're somebody who wants to believe there was fraud or that you've heard people that you trust, like Steve Bannon or others, telling you that there's a fraud, you should be unwilling to believe that unless you have in your hands or have access to concrete and convincing evidence that there was systemic fraud, enough to make the real winner of that election, Jair Bolsonaro, end up as the loser. And I don't think that most American conservatives that I've heard asserting this seem to have the level of knowledge, let alone the evidence necessary, to justify their making that claim, at least so definitively.
I can understand asking the question, and I think it's like anything like racism accusations or anti-Semitism accusations or anything else like that. If you just start making those kinds of claims every time you lose an election, the way American Democrats have started to do -- in 2000, the election was stolen, they say; in 2004, they were convinced Karl Rove stole Ohio from John Kerry using Diebold machines that they say he manipulated; the next time they were declared the losers, in 2016, they said Trump wasn't a legitimate president.
Two-thirds of Democrats believed that the voting machines had actually been hacked by Russian hackers and that the votes had been changed from Hillary votes to Trump voters. It's almost like a reflex now that when Democrats lose elections, they say that they were the victims of fraud. And I think if you're going to do that, it's going to mean that when there's actually a fraud, you're going to have a lot harder time getting people to believe you because every time there's an election that you lose, you end up claiming that there’s fraud. That's the first point.
The second point is I often hear people saying that Lula is a communist. I really dislike political labels in part because they mean so many things to different people to the point where they almost mean nothing. And if you're somebody, for example, who believes that, say, Chuck Schumer is a communist -- even though Chuck Schumer loves capitalism, he works all the time with Goldman Sachs and with Wall Street: that's the base of his power -- or Nancy Pelosi is a communist -- if that's something you believe, even though her life and wealth is about trading stocks and she defends the virtues of capitalism every time she's asked -- the word kind of loses its meaning. And then I guess you can say Lula is a communist, consistently with that worldview because he is similar to, say, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
The reason I reject that view, that argument -- that he's a communist -- which doesn't mean there aren't valid criticisms of him -- it's because he was already president of Brazil for eight years from 2002 to 2010. So we have evidence of what happens when Lula is president. Brazil did not turn into a communist regime during the eight years that Lula was the president of Brazil, followed by six years of his successor, Dilma Rousseff -- who then governed the country from 2011 until 2016, when she was impeached. So, Lula’s party, the Worker's Party, governed Brazil for 14 years, from 2002 to 2016. In fact, Lula left office, he leaves office, in 2010, with an 86% approval rating -- 86% approval rating.
And one of the reasons was that during the second term of his presidency, the Brazilian economy exploded in economic growth. It wasn't Venezuela: it was the opposite. Here you see from The Guardian, in 2012, the headline [“Brazil's Economy Overtakes UK to Become World’s Sixth Largest”] -- It grew to become larger than the British economy and became the world's sixth largest. That is not the byproduct of a communist regime. Rapid economic growth that feeds the wealthiest sectors in society, that grows the economy. Or if it is communism, it's the first time communism has succeeded on this level.
But beyond that, the kinds of things that Lula did to try to address what has always been the central plague of Brazil, which is the most severe and brutal and violent economic inequality, things like a social program called “Bolsa Familia”, which didn't just hand out money to poor people, the way the welfare system often works in the United States, but instead conditioned those payments on those people who wanted those payments, doing things like proving their children were vaccinated, proving their children were attending school regularly. That was the only way for them to get those payments that lifted millions of people out of poverty in Brazil, but it got praise from all kinds of neoliberal outlets like The Economist, obviously no fan of communism, precisely because it was viewed as the right way to eliminate inequality by not just handing out things to people but requiring of them things in return that will help the society like ensuring their children who are attending school.
Here, from 2010, the headline is “How to Get Children Out of Jobs and into Schools”. That's what Lula wanted to do: to prevent 12-year-olds from having to work, painting houses or doing domestic work, or selling things on the street, instead, be able to go to school by saying to their parents, ‘If you get them into school, we will give you a payment’. And here you can see The Economist talking about it: “By common consent, the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) has been a stunning success and is wildly popular. It was expanded in 2003, the year Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became Brazil's president, and several times since; [12,4m households are now enrolled].
Candidates for the presidency [in 2010] are competing to say who will expand it more”. That's how popular it was. It goes on: “Brazil has made huge strides in poverty reduction, and the programme has played a big part. According to the Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), a university, the number of Brazilians with incomes below 800 reais ($440), a month, has fallen more than 8% every year since 2003 […]”. So, it worked to get rid of poverty, but at the same time, it avoided any kind of resemblance to communism.
Now, in 2016, I interviewed Lula for the first time. I've interviewed him subsequent to that as well but 2016, was the first time that I interviewed him. It was when I was at The Intercept -- You can watch the full interview. It was in Portuguese, but there are English subtitles -- and I actually asked Lula about the perception in the West that his Workers Party and he himself is essentially indistinguishable from, say, the Cuban communist regime under Fidel Castro or in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez.
This is what I asked Lula: “There is a common belief in the West that the Workers Party (PT) has a lot in common with left-wing parties in Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, or Ecuador, and that you and Dilma” -- his successor – “would like to put Brazil on that same path. I also hear this a lot among Brazilians. Is it true? What are the principal differences between the Workers Party and those political parties in Venezuela and Cuba?” And this is what Lula responded to me:
Don't be unfair to the Workers Party, for the love of God, because the Workers Party has a lot in common with the German Socialist Party and the British Labor Party, also with the French Socialist Party and Spanish Socialist Party. The Worker's Party has a lot in common with all of them.
He then went on:
Let me tell you something, the Workers Party is Latin America's biggest left-wing party. It has never even defined which kind of socialism it follows since the party says that it will be defined and built by the people itself and not the Workers Party with its intellectuals telling us what kind of socialism we want. The Workers Party is more open than the other leftist parties in Latin America.
He went out of his way, as he often does, to distinguish Brazilian left-wing politics under his Worker's Party from the communist regimes of Venezuela, Cuba, and other parts of Latin America. He then concluded by saying this:
We are greater, more diverse. No other political party in the world is more democratic or open than the Workers Party. Within the Worker's Party, there's anything you can imagine. It's like Noah's Ark, which means anyone or any political belief is welcome in our party. However, one must understand that once something is decided by the Workers Party, it becomes an obligation to all of its members.
Again, this does not mean that I don't think there are valid critiques of Lula, if you ask a member of the Workers Party, these days, what they think of me, you will hear probably a lot more negative sentiments than positive ones -- even though it was my reporting that revealed the corruption that led to his imprisonment and allowed him to get out of prison -- because I have often criticized Lula's party.
My husband, who is a member of Congress, joined the party that was designed specifically to critique the Worker's Party as a neoliberal party, as a party that was constantly doing business with global institutions and the wealthiest members of society, which is what it was doing. So, by saying he's not a communist, by distinguishing between, say, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez or Nicolas Maduro, I'm not defending him. I'm just pointing out the truth.
On top of which, even if Lula were a communist, even if you wanted to believe that Brazil is a very sophisticated and advanced democracy with all kinds of constraints that constrain what he could do, even if he wanted to, we just saw that with Bolsonaro, where the Congress and the courts, and the media were very active in opposing Bolsonaro, his party, and constraining what he wanted to do.
As I mentioned, the last time the Worker's Party was in office, it ended because, in 2016, Congress voted to impeach Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, on corruption grounds. The Supreme Court ratified and approved it and she peacefully left office. That is not the behavior of a communist dictator, someone who leaves office peacefully because Congress votes to impeach them and the courts approve them. That is, those are basic democratic values.
Now, the one last point I wanted to make about Brazil is that despite all of that, what I just said about how strong its democratic institutions are, there is real authoritarianism in Brazil, and it's coming from Brazil's Supreme Court. If you believe, as I do, that there is a real problem with American censorship -- censorship in the United States, and censorship in Europe -- what's happening in Brazil makes the United States and Europe seem like bastions of liberty.
Right now, in Brazil, there are 10 members of Congress, either who have been previously elected or who just got elected, all from the right wing, including two of the three top vote-getters in the 2022 election, all nationwide -- of all the people who ran for Congress, two out of the top three biggest vote-getters, along with eight other members of Congress from the right -- are banned from using the Internet or banned from having social media, all by the order of a single judge, Alexandre de Moraes, of the Supreme Court, who has sole and unchallengeable authority to take people's social media accounts away from them by accusing them of spreading disinformation to the point that even The New York Times, obviously no fan of Bolsonaro, has published two articles in the last two or three months leading up to the election, warning of how dangerous and authoritarian the Brazilian Supreme Court has been in the name of stopping Bolsonaro.
Here is one of those articles from September 26, where the headline is “To Defend Democracy, Is Brazil's Top Court Going Too Far?”. And it essentially makes the argument or raises the argument that, just like in the U.S., where the Democratic Party and the Deep State and Big Tech and corporate media thought they were fighting fascism and united to stop it, and in doing so, used authoritarian techniques like censorship, like imprisoning people for political reasons with no trial -- like on January 6 -- The New York Times is raising the question: to defend democracy is the Brazilian Court becoming itself authoritarian?
And they returned with a second article in October, nine days before the runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro: “To Fight Lies, Brazil Gives One Man Power Over Online Speech”. It was an article about how much power has been centralized in this single judge. And he has been using it to order right-wing bloggers and journalists in prison. He has ordered a member of Congress who is one of Bolsonaro's closest allies removed from Congress and imprisoned.
And now there are ten members of the Congress, elected by the people, including two of the three most popular who are banned from using Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. So, I think it's really important to recognize that when I say that Lula, I don't believe is a communist or that communism is on the horizon, in part because I watched him for eight years, how he governed, in part because there are way too many constraints on him -- his vice president that he ran with is a man named Geraldo Alckmin, who is a kind of center-right figure that I would equate to say, Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan, people who believe in serving the banking industry, who don't like social programs, who want to lower taxes and not raise taxes, who are opponents of redistributing policies.
There’s a lot of constraints around Lula, including the fact that it's Bolsonaro's party with the most seats in both Congress and the Senate. But the other reason I want to point out that there's nonetheless authoritarianism is because it's coming from the Supreme Court in the ways that The New York Times itself even is worried about. So that is the nature of Brazil and the overall picture. You could do an entire show on Brazil. And I think the reason why it's worth doing so is because Brazil is actually an extremely important country. It's the sixth most populous country in the world. It's the second largest country in this hemisphere after the United States.
It has some of the world's most important oil reserves, called pre-salt oil reserves, that are very deep into the ground and that are hard to extract but are very high-quality crude, and there are gigantic reserves that Brazil has. And it also has the world's most important environmental resources in the Amazon. What happens in Brazil matters, and it has always been by far the most geostrategically important country, which is why in the Cold War, both Moscow and Washington were so desperate and eager to control it. So, it is a country worth paying attention to in lots of different ways. So that's the overview of what's happening in Brazil.
Let me move now to the second story I want to cover, which is the, I think, rather remarkable fact that just this week the CIA released some documents from its archives regarding the assassination -- the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy -- so, almost 60 years ago. And I think the news here is not so much that they released similar documents, but that they continue to conceal at least 4000 documents that are still marked top secret and that they refused to release about the Kennedy assassination.
How can anybody consider that justifiable? It's not designed to protect anybody. Almost all of those people involved are dead. We're talking about an event 60 years ago. And yet, the CIA has so little respect for democratic values or for the law, that they just refuse to release these documents, even though the law requires them to do so.
Some of you may recall, those who were old enough, that in the early nineties, Oliver Stone, then the most successful and influential directors in Hollywood, he had won three Academy Awards for Platoon and other films he directed, had produced a film about JFK that imagined, not asserted, but just imagined fictionally a different scenario about how to understand what happened, suggesting it was highly unlikely that the president of the United States was killed by a single gunman, acting alone, who just so happened to have all kinds of connections to the CIA and, then, right before he could speak, the day after the day of the murder, someone just was able to walk right up to him, Jack Ruby, and shoot him. And ever since that film and the success of it, there has been a lot more awareness on the part of the American people that they know the truth has been kept from them.
This film ended with a screen noting that documents that would shine light on what actually happened -- that the Warren Commission used to conclude that this was a lone gunman, there was no conspiracy, that the House used to investigate -- would mark top secret and would not be released until 2037. And the pressure that got created in the wake of that film basically forced the hand of Congress, and Congress enacted a law that required all documents to be declassified and released to the public relating to the JFK assassination by 2017, five years ago, and yet, to this day, there are still 4000 documents the CIA refuses to release, just in blatant violation of that law that required them to release it.
Now, what entitles the CIA to do that, to act as its own government and to simply ignore the law? Apparently, they're getting away with it.
One of the videos that we produced here on Rumble prior to beginning this show about seven or eight months ago, asked the question, “Why is it that Donald Trump failed to pardon Julian Assange and Edward Snowden?” Despite reports -- and I was getting these reports privately at the time that he was very, very close to pardoning at least Snowden, not quite as close to pardoning Assange, but strongly considering it.
One of the things I explained was that the reason they initiated that second impeachment against him, even though he was leaving office and there was no reason to do it, it would never have gotten him out of office, was because it was a sword of Damocles over his head to control him, because Republicans in the Senate, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, the kind that serve the National Security State, were petrified and angry that Trump was even considering pardoning people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and basically said to him, If you do that, we will vote to convict you and you will never be able to run again. But what they were also worried about was not just the pardons of Assange and Snowden, but also the fact that Trump was very likely to declassify all of these documents he'd been vowing to for years, and he left office without doing so, and I regard that as one of the main reasons why.
Now, there is a book about the CIA and the post-World War II history of the U.S. National Security State that I cannot recommend highly enough. The book is by David Talbot, whom I know because he was a founder of Salon. I ended up writing at Salon. The book is entitled The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, The CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, and it tells the story of how we ended up with this permanent power faction in Washington, the intelligence community that operates completely in the dark, without any democratic accountability and with complete secrecy to the point where they continue to keep secret the truth about what happened in one of America's most important historical events, the assassination of our president because they simply wanted to.
And there's nobody that has the power, evidently, to force them to abide by the law. This book, along with a second book I will recommend to you by Vincent Bevins, the journalist Vincent Bevins called The Jakarta Method, that talks about what the CIA has been doing in secret since the end of World War II, tells the story of why this is such a menacing and insidious agency. But how are we not out in the streets, furious, that the CIA just refuses to reveal these documents we have the right to see when the law requires them to do so?
JFK’s nephew, Robert Kennedy Jr, the son of JFK's brother, Robert Kennedy, who also was assassinated, posted this week a tweet about a segment Tucker Carlson did on the CIA and he wrote: “The most courageous newscast in 60 years. The CIA's murder of my uncle was a successful coup d’état from which our democracy has never recovered.”
As I said, Allen Dulles, as I talked about this last night, was probably the second or third most powerful person in Washington, maybe the most powerful in the 1950s when he ran the CIA until John Kennedy fired him, in 1961, because he blamed Dulles for the fiasco in the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. And Dulles had every reason in the world to want to kill Kennedy, as did a lot of people in the CIA.
But here, let me show you part of what Tucker Carlson said about why, under the Trump administration, these documents were not released, despite the law requiring that they should be, and despite Trump's repeated promises to do so.
Tuck Carlson: Americans have trusted their government less with every passing year since the killing of John F Kennedy. Maybe this is why. And people have known this for a long time. The people who knew would include every director of the CIA since November of 1963. And that list would include Obama's CIA director, John Brennan, one of the most sinister and dishonest figures in American life. That list would also include, we are sad to say, our friend Mike Pompeo, who ran the CIA in the last administration. Mike Pompeo knew this. We asked Pompeo to join us tonight, and though he rarely turns down a televised interview, he refused to come. We hope he will reconsider.
First of all, I'm really glad that Tucker emphasized the role that Mike Pompeo played here because Mike Pompeo has deceived a lot of trusting Trump supporters who assumed that -- because he was Trump's CIA director and then Trump made him Secretary of State -- Mike Pompeo must be a believer in America First or MAGA foreign policy. Mike Pompeo is everything but that. He is the most standard old-school establishment Republican that exists. His foreign policy is indistinguishable from Dick and Liz Cheney's. His foreign policy is everything that Donald Trump ran against.
One of Trump's major weaknesses, as I think most people know, is that he's very susceptible to flattery by smart people. Pompeo is smart. There's no denying that. And he easily deceived Trump by pretending to be on his side and getting into his good graces, always remaining loyal, but every step of the way, subverting what Trump wanted to do. Pompeo is an old-school warmonger and neo-con, and his voting record in the House leaves no doubt about that.
He was also the primary official in the Trump administration most responsible for the destruction of WikiLeaks and the prosecution of Julian Assange. That was Mike Pompeo's dirty work when he was at the CIA. And also, as Tucker says, Pompeo was the person who impeded and refused to release when he was at the CIA these documents that all of us have the right to know. Why would you ever trust Mike Pompeo with anything after what you know?
Now, let me just make one point about this secrecy regime that we're seeing with the CIA, that they think they have the right to keep everything from you even 60 years later. One of the things that was obviously the most important experience journalistically in my career was the work that I did with Edward Snowden and the gigantic archive of top-secret documents he gave me from the U.S. Security State that came from the NSA.
And although I've never put an exact number on how many documents we received, I've often said that is many, many, many hundreds of thousands of pages of top-secret documents, a huge archive. And yet you can go and look at how many we published over the course of three or four years of reporting on that archive and you will see the number is a tiny fraction of many hundreds of thousands. I think we ended up publishing maybe 2,000, or 2,500. And people often ask me why. ‘Why did you publish so few of those documents?’
One reason was that my source, Edward Snowden, imposed conditions on us when he brought us these archives: he made it very clear that he did not want the entire archive published. If he wanted that archive published in full, indiscriminately, he didn't need to work with us. He could have just dumped it on the Internet or given it to WikiLeaks to publish it in full.
He asked us to curate it very carefully to make sure that no programs that were genuinely or legitimately necessary to protect American lives would be exposed and that we did not reveal anything that could put innocent people in harm's way. And we honored those wishes, we would have adopted them ourselves anyway. We think that's the ethical way to conduct journalism. We didn't just go around the world indiscriminately releasing documents. We only did release documents we believe were necessary to inform the public.
But the other reason was that most of the archive was just boring. It was banal and uninteresting. And what was so amazing about that fact -- I'm talking about instructions on how to get parking credentials at NSA facilities or how to put in requests for vacation days, or what kind of staffing would be at the lowest levels of NSA on the administrative level. These kinds of documents have no interest to anybody, they're just even too boring to want to read. Every one of those documents was marked top secret or classified or secret, meaning it was a crime to reveal them, even though they are not conceivably sensitive in any way. And what does this show? Something very important.
It shows that the U.S. security state regards everything they do -- everything they do -- as presumptively secret. That's not how that's supposed to work. Classified information. We're supposed to have a government that is presumptively transparent. We're supposed to have access to everything the government is doing, except in those rare cases when they need to make it secret for legitimate reasons, like troop movements or to protect things that are genuinely sensitive to national security. I don't even put this another way, a kind of broader and more principled way. I think this is a crucial point to understand. If you think about it this way, it's a reason why I talk so much about the U.S. Security State and the dangers it poses.
If you think about a healthy society, and how a healthy democracy functions, we would know -- we, the citizenry would know -- essentially everything that our government is doing. That's why they're called public servants or the public sector. It's supposed to be public and open and transparent. We're supposed to know what our government is doing because they're doing it with our money and in our name, and it's supposed to be a democracy, which can only happen if we know what our government is doing, so, we can make informed decisions.
And by contrast, they're supposed to know basically nothing about us. That's why we are called private citizens. Our lives are supposed to be private. So, we should know everything that the government is doing and except in those rare cases -- when they have a legitimate right to secrecy -- and except in very rare cases -- like when they get a search warrant because they can prove that we're likely to have been involved in a crime -- they're not supposed to know anything about us. We're supposed to be private citizens and they’re not supposed to keep dossiers on us.
And yet what we've learned is that is completely reversed. The U.S. government has built an almost impenetrable wall of secrecy around it so that even the most banal documents or the oldest documents, from 60 years ago, are kept secret so we know nothing about what that government is actually doing and, at the same time, they know everything about us. They track our movements. They track our telephone calls. They surveil our conversations, all without warrants. That was the point at the start of the story. That is all continuing to go on.
So, think about that power dynamic where we're supposed to have power over our government, they're supposed to be our public servants, but -- because we know nothing about what they're doing, because they hide it all behind a wall of secrecy, and they know everything about what we're doing since we're subject to mass, indiscriminate warrantless surveillance -- the power dynamic has completely reversed. And that to me was the point of the Snowden story and it's the point of this latest refusal of the CIA to release all of the documents that are required under the Law of Release and instead releasing just enough to make us think that they're complying with this process, five years after the law required the full disclosure of the entire archive.
Now let me turn to a third topic, which is the issue of a tactic that I was hearing a lot of while making the argument that I made last night questioning the war, the U.S. war policy toward Ukraine. And after that show, we posted segments of our show that suggested that we should be asking why our government is spending $100 billion to send to the war in Ukraine and what benefits the United States is getting or American citizens are getting from that.
And I was also on Tucker Carlson's show, where he also asked similar questions, and I was able to as well. And what I heard last night and this morning was an amazing critique of my doing that, and of his doing that, and of other people's doing that. And the critique went like this.
The critique said, if you're somebody who is doubtful about whether the U.S. should stand up to Russia and prevent its invasion of Ukraine, you're essentially the same as Neville Chamberlain, in 1939, who didn't want to stand up to the Nazi government, the Nazi army, the Nazi regime, when it invaded Czechoslovakia, and then Poland, and said, ‘oh, let's not worry, let them invade those countries’. And then, of course, they would have gone on to dominate all of Europe.
And this tactic is really important to take a look at, because it is the standard tactic that neo-cons use to manipulate Americans to support every war they want to engage in, by telling you that Hitler is not the singular figure of evil, and the Nazis weren't this singular, powerful army. Essentially, everybody that the U.S. wants to go to war with, every leader they want to topple is somehow equivalent to Hitler, as if Hitler is just a totally ordinary and banal figure in history. They tell us this over and over. So, the comparison of Russia to Nazi Germany by itself is insane. It's so insulting of the victims of Nazism and the people who fought against the Nazi regime did say to you that Russia is the new Hitler or the new Nazis.
First of all, Russia spends 1/13 of what the United States government spends on its military. We've shown you this chart a couple of times, the one that we're about to put up here. You see, the United States, for 2021, had a military budget of $801 billion. It's now 855 billion. And Russia, they're in fifth place with a budget of 65 billion, 1/13 of what the United States spends. The German army was the most powerful and sophisticated army in the world. Russia is a shadow of what the United States or China, for that matter, has. Beyond that, Russia, their economy is smaller than Italy's and Canada's.
They're not even in the top ten of the world's largest economies. They aren’t a threat to the United States. They can't even hold small towns in Ukraine, let alone conquer Ukraine, and then go on to Poland and then go on to Germany and France in these deranged conspiracy theories or these deranged fear-mongering scenarios that they're feeding you to get you to think that Russia is suddenly now a threat to the American homeland or as threatening as Nazi Germany -- they're nothing close.
It's true Russia invaded Ukraine unjustifiably, but if every time a country invades another country unjustifiably, they become Nazi Germany, there's a lot of Hitler's running around -- including George W. Bush, who invaded Iraq, and Barack Obama, who invaded and did a regime change operation in Libya and Syria. It takes a lot more than that to become Hitler. You need the most powerful army in the world with the intent to conquer the world. Russia has nothing even remotely similar to that. This is a regional border conflict, nothing even like what happened in 1939.
But all the way back in 2006, I was pointing out, months after I started writing, that this is the most common technique that neo-cons and warmongers use, is they use only one historical event in history that they seem to know, which is 1939, and they present you with two options. You get to be Winston Churchill, the strong, tough, crusading freedom fighter, which you become as long as you support every new neo-con war. And the only other option is you're Neville Chamberlain, the disgraced historical figure who went down in history for trying to appease Hitler by allowing him to take Czechoslovakia and Poland, only for him, then, go on to try and conquer the West.
That's the only historical event they know. Everyone that they want to topple is Hitler. Every army they want to fight is Nazi Germany. That's how primitive and simplistic their propaganda is that they feed you. They called more leaders than I can count in the last 20 years Hitler. They said that Saddam Hussein was like Hitler or worse than Hitler. They said that the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, was worse than Hitler. There's an article in The Atlantic by its editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, titled “Is Gaddafi the New Hitler?”.
They just pull out this example every time. Let me show you what I wrote back in 2006, when I first noticed this. It was when I was still just a blogger on my free blogging site at Google. And there you see the headline, “The Chamberlain Appeasement Cliche”, because I was noticing if this is what the neo-cons were doing in every instance where they wanted to go to war in the War on Terror. And this is what I wrote -- I noted that this attack that your name, Neville Chamberlain, if you want to engage in diplomacy, if you want to avoid wars, was even launched by some members of the far right against Ronald Reagan for the crime of him wanting to negotiate with Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders.
This is what I wrote: “In fact, though Ronald Reagan has been canonized as the great Churchillian warrior, back then he was accused of being the new 1938 Neville Chamberlain because he chose to negotiate with the Soviets and to sign treaties as an alternative to war”. Conservative Caucus Chair Howard Phillips, for instance, “scorned President Reagan as a ‘useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda’”. Do you see the rhetoric never changes? That's why they called Reagan a ‘useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda’ and he published ads in various newspapers which “likens Reagan's signing of the INF treaty to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, signing of an accord with Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler in 1938.
The ad with the headline “Appeasement Is As Unwise in 1988 As in 1938” shows pictures of Chamberlain, Hitler, Reagan and Gorbachev overhung by an umbrella. Chamberlain carried an umbrella and it became a World War II symbol for appeasement”. That article went on: “According to January 19, 1988, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, when Pat Robertson was campaigning for president in Missouri, in 1988, he ‘suggested that President Ronald Reagan could be compared to Neville Chamberlain… by agreeing to a medium-range nuclear arms agreement with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’”. […] “The Orange County Register editorialized that ‘Ronald Reagan had become the Neville Chamberlain of the 1980s” and on and on and on.
Here you can see an ad that was actually taken out in a newspaper that equated Ronald Reagan with Neville Chamberlain and Mikhail Gorbachev to Adolph Hitler -- there you can see the big umbrella. And at the top, it says “Appeasement is as unwise in 1988 as it is as it was in 1938”. So, I think it's very important to be aware of these propagandistic techniques: the idea that Muammar al-Gaddafi was Hitler or Saddam Hussein was Hitler or Ahmadinejad was Hitler or that Putin is Hitler. And this is similar – it’s an insane argument, but that's how they get people to be afraid to object to their war policies by telling you that you're just like those people in 1938, the only historical event they seem to know who didn't want to go to war with Hitler. Everyone is Hitler. Every war is a war to stop Nazi Germany, and that is, to put it mildly, extremely deceitful.
So, what we're going to do now is we're going to take some questions from our audience, we have a few minutes left in our show. We're going to go a little bit over. This is what we do every night on our aftershow on Locals, which is the aftershow I do on the part of Rumble’s platform called Locals. It is available to our subscribers. Anyone who subscribes to my Substack page or anyone who subscribes to my Locals community here on Rumble, which you can join by just clicking Join in the upper right-hand corner, has free automatic access to the aftershow every night and is designed to be interactive. We take questions and we answer the things that are on your mind in a way that I always have believed was necessary for journalistic accountability.
So, we're going to take about a twenty-second pause to get set up and show you what it is that we do on our aftershow for about 10 minutes or so, 15 minutes. We'll take some questions we got from our subscribers and also that you put in the chat and I'll just address them and then we'll move to the actual aftershow and, of course, like we do every night, to continue that audience interaction.
So, I hope you'll stay with us for this so you can see what it is that we're doing here. I've always regarded audience participation and answering your critics as extremely important, and I'm about to show you how it is that we do that here. So, stay tuned.
So welcome to the part of our studio that you generally don't see unless you're a member of Locals. This is where we sit and we answer all kinds of questions and we're going to show you a little bit of that now. We typically have a bunch of dogs running around as we do it.
We're going to go ahead and take some of the questions, some of the best questions that we saw in the chat. We have an email that is a permanent email that we have set up for people to send in questions that they want me to address, and you can send those questions in. Some of them come from there, but we also picked up some from the chat.
So, we're going to go ahead and start with a video question that comes from a member of our audience. It's a question that I get asked a lot. He sent it in by email in the form of a video. Here is the co-host of this segment, by the way, his name is Kane.
His name is Pierre, the person who asked the question, and here's the question that he asked. Go ahead and play that video.
Pierre: Hey, Glenn, thanks for taking questions. I know that you push back a lot on people who accuse you of being right-wing, and I agree that you aren’t right-wing. However, I just want to say why you don't spend any time -- basically at all -- criticizing the right for any of their behaviors and their inevitable hypocrisies. It seems like the ratio of criticizing liberals to right-wingers is off the charts and sometimes people say, ‘Well, it's better to hold your own side to account more than the other side’, but I don't see that you're any closer ideologically to liberals than you are to the right. So maybe that's why you can get misconstrued that way. Do you have any thoughts?
G. Greenwald: Yeah. So, this is a question that I hear all the time. I've actually answered it many times in many venues but I know, you know, not everybody can pay attention to every utterance of mine forever. And the reason I think it's worth answering it’s because it does shed light on how I view my role journalistically. So that's the reason why I'm happy to answer this question.
First of all, I don't really mind when people call me whatever name they want to call me. I've been called every name, ideologically, just, you can look in The Washington Post, even just one paper over the last year where I've been called a far leftist, an influencer, a conservative pundit, a right-wing pundit, every kind of libertarian journalist, you know, a contrarian, a civil libertarian. None of these labels concern me at all. As I said at the beginning of the show, what I try and do is present to you the evidence as I see it and to explain using that evidence how I think is the most compelling way to see the world and leave it up to you to do so by giving you the tools that I think are necessary to open up the walls of secrecy behind which powerful factions operate.
But I think a lot of this goes back to how it is that I started my journalism career. You know, I did not start by going to Columbia Journalism School. Thankfully, I was never indoctrinated in the ways of mainstream journalism. I didn't work for The New York Times. I didn't get a job covering zoning board hearings from a local newspaper and then worked my way up to The Washington Post or NBC News. I just started by one day -- because I had things that I wanted to say that I thought were not being sufficiently covered, namely the civil liberties abuses that were being imposed in the name of the War on Terror by, first the Bush-Cheney administration, and then, in similar ways, by the Obama administration. And the reason why I started a blog to cover those things was that I thought that they were not being covered elsewhere. If I thought that they were being covered elsewhere, I would never have started my own blog. There would have been no reason to. There would have already been media outlets covering them in ways I thought were sufficient. But it was precise because I thought the media was failing, that I wanted to participate in this conversation, and that is always how I looked at my role as an independent journalist: not somebody who's here to say things that you can hear on every other cable outlet or media outlet that you turn on but to tell you the things that I feel like you're not hearing, the information that you're not getting.
And so, I always had covered the Republican Party critically when I first started writing about politics, because the Bush-Cheney administration was the dominant force in Washington, the Republicans controlled until 2006 both the Senate and the House, and the Republican Party were by far the demonic force politically in the United States. And so, most of my focus was devoted to them in ways that it was not being covered, as well as to the way in which the corporate media was failing to cover those issues. Those were my two principal targets. I wrote books on the Republican Party and on the American right that I thought needed to be written because there were criticisms that I thought needed to be said.
And so that's always been my view: how can I write about things? How can I do journalism? How can I bring attention and light to things that every other media outlet isn't already doing? Because otherwise, it would have no value if I was just echoing what they were saying, it would make my career much easier if I were to do that, especially once I had the Snowden story and the Pulitzer and all the awards that made all of those doors wide open to me to join the mainstream media. I was offered all kinds of incentives to kind of get co-opted in the way that they try and co-opt you but I knew I never wanted to be part of that because I wanted to have my independent platform and always at least one foot outside, because I always wanted my goal to be to cover things that weren't being covered.
So, in 2015 and 2016, and 2017, the overwhelming consensus of almost the entire media, with the exception of a handful of outlets, was that Donald Trump was not just a menacing figure, but that he himself was another new Hitler, that his movement was basically devoted to imposing a white nationalist dictatorship, that Russiagate, every part of that scandal from Trump campaign, having colluded with the Russian government to hack into the DNC emails, to Vladimir Putin holding blackmail leverage over Donald Trump.
The entire media bought into all of that and not all of that was true. And they did nothing but tell you every day that Trump was an orange Hitler, that he was fundamentally corrupt, that he was this unseen force, this unprecedented danger that arose in American politics, none of which I believed. And so, like I said before, when I was analyzing what happened in Brazil, where a union of institutions that were petrified of the Bolsonaro government unified to stop him and became authoritarian in ways much more powerful than he, I believe that was what happened in the United States as well. You have a union in response to Trump of the U.S. Security State, of corporate media outlets, of Big Tech, of big finance, all of whom were singularly devoted to stopping the Trump movement, even if it meant adopting authoritarian techniques themselves.
And so, it would have made my life a lot easier if I was just yet another voice saying, ‘Every day Trump is in bed with Putin” and “Trump is a fascist”, and “We've never seen anyone like Trump before’ -- that's how people made money in the Trump years, by saying that. The person who got the richest on Substack is a writer who does nothing but write every day to this very day anti-Trump articles. The second most wealthy or lucrative and profitable Substack is an anti-Trump blog funded by Pierre Omidyar with Bill Kristol that does the same thing, to all the bestselling books about how Trump was the singular evil. So, I wasn't here to just echo and recite what everyone else is saying.
In part, it's because I didn't see the world that way, but in part, because I felt like what was really missing was coverage of what the anti-Trump institutional forces were doing, what the CIA and FBI were doing in abusing their power, what Big Tech was doing, in turning the Internet into a machine of censorship, what the corporate media was doing in disseminating constant lies and turning themselves into political activists in servitude to the Democratic Party. The premise of that question was actually untrue. I do spend time and I always have, and even during the Trump years, did, critiquing both parties, including the establishment wing of the Republican Party, often pointing out how much they're warmongers, how they often defraud their own followers by pretending to be opponents of Big Tech while, in secret, shielding Big Tech from legislative reform.
I'm highly critical of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and Marco Rubio in their union with the Democratic establishment and in supporting many of the same policies. And I'm much more interested in this kind of left-wing and right-wing populist wings that have emerged that have a lot more in common than differences.
But the reason I don't spend all my time or most of my time attacking the Republican Party is that you can go turn on CNN or MSNBC any second of the day to hear all that. You can open the op-ed pages or the news pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post and every single digital outlet in Brooklyn if you want to hear that. My doing that would contribute nothing other than facilitating my own career. I wanted to cover the things that I believe weren't being covered, and that's why my focus is what it is. That's how I've always seen journalism pointing out the radical flaws and deceit in overwhelming mainstream propaganda. And that's what I continue to do. So that's the answer to that question.
We have another question from -- I don't know if we should be using these people's full names -- so I'll just say from Kim, by email.
Kim: We don't hear anything from the secretary of state (I can't even remember who it is) about anything?? It seems so unusual.
G. Greenwald: This is a really interesting dynamic and I made this point the other day. Just go and randomly pick any day and look at the front page of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS News and you'll find something remarkable. There will be all kinds of articles about Donald Trump. There will typically be many articles about Russia and Vladimir Putin, official enemies of the Democratic Party, who they still blame for having cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election. They don't blame themselves. They blame Putin. And almost no articles on the Biden administration. Almost nobody talks about the Biden administration. You never see cable shows covering Joe Biden or his cabinet. You almost never see these media outlets reporting on what the Biden administration is doing, in part because no one cares about the Biden administration – it is boring to people. Joe Biden is boring. The government is boring. But the much more substantive reason is that they don't actually want to critically report on the Biden administration. They desperately want Trump to remain front and center because he's the oppositional force around which they all coalesce.
And so, the fact that you don't even remember the secretary of state's name, it's Anthony Blinken -- but it's true, you barely hear anything about him or Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense, let alone the lesser cabinet ministers -- the only one we ever hear from is Pete Buttigieg, to talk about everything except transportation --, is because the media has basically decided not to cover the Biden administration in any way other than to occasionally praise them, in part because they know covering Trump or Elon Musk or Putin is how they get their liberal base riled up, but also because they're political activists. And so, covering Biden in a critical way interferes in and subverts their political agenda while criticizing and reporting on Trump and Putin and whomever they regard as an enemy of their political movement, like Elon Musk, the newest villain, is what advances that movement. And in this lack of coverage of the Biden administration, who, remember, Joe Biden is the president, the Democratic Party right now controls the House and the Senate and has for the last two years and will still control the Senate and the new Congress.
I've never seen a presidential administration have so little journalistic scrutiny paid to it. And so, it also relates to that first question. That's a reason why I spend a lot of my time talking about Democrats and all of their allies in centers of power because so few other people in the media are doing so.
Let's look at the next question. It's from Suzanne. She sent a very nice email where she told me her daughter has become interested in this show and they've been watching it together, which obviously is very gratifying for me to hear. And she raises an interesting point. This is her telling me what her daughter said about the show after having watched it:
Suzanne: She (her daughter) raised an interesting point after last night's show. She said, you have done a good job showing how journalists have lied, but you hadn't explained why the ‘truth’ was true. Like, The New York Times was lying in one instance, then why was it okay to accept the Times as the arbiter of truth in another? It made me realize that we’ve all jumped onto this “political awareness” train at various stops along the way. My daughter has me there to explain the back story (e.g., why the New York Times was wrong in one instance and correct in another; why Taylor Lorenz is mental?) -- ( these words were hers, not mine)--, but we do well remember that it can be bewildering at first. I realize it must be tricky to balance the need of old and new followers but you managed to get my apolitical daughter intrigued and engaged. She was amazed that you were answering actual questions from viewers on the Locals, and the dogs are always a hit
G. Greenwald: So, I think this actually points out two important points. Number one is I have always had, as one of my main focal points journalistically, the behavior of large corporate media outlets. And that was in part because when I first started writing, I was coming from the perspective of a lawyer. I thought that I was going to be able to have these kinds of legalistic and constitutional debates about why the many War on Terror policies that I regarded as illegal or unconstitutional were in fact so. And I quickly realized that it was impossible to make any progress or have any impact unless you were willing to dissect and report on the deceit and propaganda coming from corporate media outlets -- because there's no way to make any progress unless you're willing to say, “I know The New York Times is saying something different. I know CNN is telling you something different. And I need to explain to you and prove to you why it is that they're lying”.
So that's a major reason why I have always focused on corporate media outlets and will continue to, in part because you can't make any progress but, in another part, it's because my job as a journalist is to report on powerful institutional actors. And obviously, gigantic media corporations wield a lot of influence and a lot of power, and they deserve journalistic scrutiny, every bit as much as Wall Street or Silicon Valley, or the CIA does.
The other issue is the question of what real reporting is. You know, sometimes these journalists who have never broken a story in their lives, have never been persecuted by any government, who never bothered any power centers, love to say, ‘oh, Glenn Greenwald doesn't do any real reporting’. ‘Or maybe he did once, you know, ten years ago but he doesn't do real reporting anymore’. And by real reporting, they mean picking up the phone and calling the CIA and calling the Pentagon and writing down what they tell you to say and then publishing it.
Obviously, that's not my view of real reporting. I believe that when you take propagandistic narratives of the media and you can expose them by proving that they're false, you've made large strides in showing what the truth is. So, if the media in unison is making some claim about Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and you can prove that it's false or there's no evidence for it -- or you can prove that when they say, in conjunction with the CIA, that the Hunter Biden laptop is Russian disinformation, you can prove that’s false. There's no evidence for it. You've made a lot of progress in getting people to see the truth, namely that these media outlets are lying.
And on the question of why is it that sometimes I'm willing to cite The New York Times and The Washington Post and other Times and say that what they're saying is untrue, it's because it's not that simple. There are true facts you can find in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Sometimes they include in their reporting things that are true. Sometimes in the middle of their propagandistic stories, there are facts that are true, and they've twisted those facts. But ultimately, you should never trust or distrust anything that you hear simply because of the opinion of whom it comes from, including me.
That's why I'm always so obsessed with showing you on screen the evidence that I'm using to say things, sometimes that make what I'm saying take a little bit longer to say because I've never wanted an audience who's willing to just take my assertions on their word. I've always wanted to have an audience that wants to see the evidence for it. And it's one of the big benefits of the Internet that you no longer have space constraints, that the audience doesn't have to take your word about what original documents say.
They want to see those documents themselves and you can show them to them using this technology. It's one of the reasons why I'm excited about the show. I think the video and visual aspect of journalism helps so much convey the truth and convey points. So, in so many ways, when you dissect and dismantle the propaganda of other media outlets, what you're doing is essentially showing the truth. And ultimately, I will believe The New York Times, if they convince me with evidence that what they're saying is true, I won't automatically reject what they're saying simply because it comes from them. Just like I don't think that you should trust or distrust any source unless you're seeing the evidence for it.
That's what I was saying earlier about claims that the Brazilian election was the byproduct of fraud. You shouldn't just believe that because someone you trust, like Steve Bannon, says that. You should want to see the convincing evidence for it. That's the respect that I think we all owe ourselves.
Let me move to this next question: it’s from Ronald.
Ronald: What are your impressions of foreign sites that offer legitimate dissenting views? They sometimes provide rather scathing and dissenting views (in part anti-American views). As I search different world sites, I'm hard-pressed to find anti-mainstream (corporate) media viewpoints. What I appreciate from some of the above are world-complex explanations, and how U.S. policy affects other countries”.
G. Greenwald: So, let me just say here that I believe that every country indoctrinates their population in propaganda. It's just part of how we are. We're tribalistic by nature. We integrate into a group and then we feed on that group's collective beliefs and it shapes what it is that we think, whether we want it to or not. We're obviously the byproduct of our culture, of the things we've been taught since childhood before we even have the capacity to critically evaluate or accept or reject it. So, none of us is immune from that. And that's why I think that it's so vital to hear from all sides to keep the Internet free and open.
And that's why I think, you know, one of the most offensive laws that I've seen from the perspective of basic freedom and avoiding repression is what the EU did right after Russia invaded Ukraine by making it illegal for sites from platform R.T., another Russian state outlet, even if those sites want to, because of course, RT and Sputnik contain propaganda, Russian propaganda, just like The New York Times and CNN contain all kinds of CIA propaganda and propaganda from the U.S. government. That's something we cover on our show all the time.
That's not controversial to say. So, I want to hear what propagandistic outlets are saying. I want to know what CNN is saying, even though I know that what they're saying is deceitful and propagandistic because it has an effect on the world, and sometimes what they're saying has truth to it. And I want to hear what R.T. is saying, too, because sometimes what they're saying has truth in it, even if it's designed to advance the interests of the Russian government, their critiques of the United States still may be very true, and that's why I'm really genuinely proud. It's going to sound like some information infomercial and I don't intend to be that way at all. It's one of the reasons why I'm so excited to be on Rumble and I decided to take my journalism here is because I am convinced that they are genuinely and steadfastly devoted to resisting any kind of censorship orders, whether it comes from corporate media pressures or the coercive attempts of governments.
And it's not just because I believe them or take them at their word. It's because I've seen them live in those principles, even when it's not necessarily beneficial to their own business interest. And I'll just give you one example. Once the EU banned the platforming of RT, every Big Tech firm, including Google, instantly obeyed and didn't challenge that law, including by banishing RT from YouTube where they had a very large audience. Rumble immediately made clear that R.T. and any other news outlet and any other individual with a particular point of view, left or right or anything in between, will be welcome on their platform because the point of Rumble is not to advance an ideology or to manipulate the world through deceiving or controlling or censoring information.
It's the opposite. It is to advance free inquiry by enabling you to have access to all the information that you want to have access to, so you can make up your own mind. Rumble doesn't think their role or their competency is to decide the truth for you. They think what they're here to do is to enable the Internet to empower you to access the information that you want to hear. I want to hear what R.T. is saying, just like I want to hear what the CIA is saying. And so, Rumble went and platformed RT. They offered RT a way to be heard in the United States and RT took them up on that and RT appears on Rumble.
Just recently -- now, let me say that the decision by Rumble caused this company enormous amounts of attacks and problems: from vendors, from media attacks. Oh, there are MAGA sites, there are far-right sites, or obviously, a Kremlin apologist, simply because they're allowing RT to appear alongside Reuters and Fox News and any other outlet that wants to appear on Rumble. Rumble’s an open-door policy. Every view is welcome and the audience can choose what they want to hear. It's not paternalistic, it's simply a content-neutral, free-speech platform. So, they did that knowing that it would cause a lot of backlashes, knowing that they wouldn't make much money there. RT doesn't have a huge audience in the United States. They did it on principle.
And then, two months ago, the French government contacted Rumble and said, ‘We regard your platforming of RT as a violation of our laws and offensive to our national values. And if you want to continue to have access to the French market, you're going to have to remove RT from your platform”. And the people who run Rumble who founded Rumble were disgusted by that idea. Why should the French government, a foreign government, get to dictate to a U.S. and Canada-based social media platform what views they can and can't platform? What right does the French government have to reach over to the other side of the world and dictate to social media companies whom they have to censor? Why would Rumble want to be censored by the French government? Take orders from the French government?
And Rumble said we would rather lose access to the French market and not be seen in France than sacrifice our principles to obey your censorship orders. And so, they refused to remove RT. And as a result, anyone in France who tries to watch this show or any other show on Rumble can't do so because they have been cut off at the IP level. Rumble actually said to France, ‘You don't have to cut us off. We're going to leave France because you you're going to cut us off anyway. We rather sue you and let the courts decide’.
Now, I hope French citizens at some point rise up and say we don't want our government dictating that we can't see certain media outlets that we want to watch. But I think there is real value, if you want to understand what's going on in the war in Ukraine -- you're not going to get the whole story by just watching RT or Sputnik. You're going to be propagandized and there's going to be information that's going to be massaged in and deceived for the benefit of the Russian government. But you're also not going to get the full story if you're only watching The New York Times or CNN or The Washington Post or NBC because they're doing exactly the same thing for the United States government.
I mean, how many more examples do we need of the U.S. media doing the bidding of the U.S. Security State? So, seek out as many different foreign outlets as you can. If you want to know about Brazil, go watch right and left-wing Brazilian media outlets. If you want to know what's going on in India or Pakistan or China, go seek out those outlets and add them on top of the other information you're getting. Because for sure those foreign outlets entail propaganda, but so do the media outlets that we've all been trained to respect and to trust, and the only way to get the full picture is by having access to all of it.
And that's why censorship is so offensive because it prevents you from fact-checking what it is that you're hearing, from getting access to all of the information, and keeps you captive to the propaganda that they want you to be captive to, by having the inability to hear, countering ways of countervailing, ways of looking at the world. And that is why free speech is so important. It's the thing that safeguards the freedom that you have in your mind to understand the world without being controlled and manipulated.
So, that was quite a lot of questions. Some of them were taken from the chats, others by email. We had a couple of other things planned for this evening, but we went a little bit over, in fact 25 minutes over. But we wanted to kind of show you why this interactive part of the show is so important. It's what we do every night in Locals, like I said at the start of the show, we're still experimenting with the format on Rumble. I'm sure they're going to be nights when I don't do a 30 or 40-minute monologue, but instead we kind of cover a bunch of different topics in five and seven and eight-minute or ten-minute segments. Although I do think the ability to dive deep into a topic, by even taking 30 minutes to talk about Brazil like I did at the start of the show, is what makes this show different. It's what makes it interesting to me.
I don't want to be confined to the constraints of cable news where I have to say everything in 90 seconds or two-minute soundbites or talk about complex topics in four-minute segments in between commercials. I want to have an audience that I respect and that wants to be respected enough to have the attention span to delve into complex topics in an adult way. We're not going to have a bunch of devices, and we're not going to assume that you can't pay attention if we're not constantly changing topics every 3 to 4 minutes or bringing on guests or bands or juggling acts. We will have dogs occasionally. So, I guess there will be that. But you know, we want to have an audience that we respect enough to do a substantive and in-depth show. And so, we're going to experiment with our different formats as we do it along the way, and we hope you'll continue to kind of experiment with us.
The audience size to our show have been amazing, given that we just started nine days ago, and that we're starting in the last two weeks of December, the slowest time journalistically and politically of the entire year, that we chose to withhold most of our advertising budget and our advertising campaign until January. And yet, you know, we have 100,000/ 150,000 people, thousand people watching our show in that 8 to 12 hours after we air it, which is far in excess of our expectations. I think in part, that's a tribute to how fast Rumble has grown far faster than people know because people are fleeing Big Tech censorship.
But also, I think there is and always has been an appetite for the kind of journalism that I do, where the articles are a little bit longer and we do ask that your attention be devoted a little bit more so that we can delve into topics in an in-depth and nuanced way and not just give you the kind of emotion-provoking headlines, but kind of show you the evidence, the facts that I'm working with that inform my worldview so that you can assess for yourself whether or not you agree with it.
So that's a lot of insight about journalism. We cover a lot of different topics. I hope you enjoyed the show. It was 90 minutes instead of an hour. Usually, it will be an hour. It will appear live, always exclusively on Rumble, Monday through Friday, 7 p.m. Eastern. We really appreciate those of you who have been with us from the beginning. We hope others will continue to join you and we hope to see you tomorrow night and every night right here on Rumble, exclusively, 7 p.m. Eastern. Until then, have a great evening.
This seems a very good and evenhanded discussion of the situation in Brazil, and especially so because we know from previous posts that Glenn really, really, really doesn't like Bolsonaro. I learned a lot about the situation. Here are some random thoughts on it.
I share Glenn's dislike of the "communist" label. I'm a conservative, but I really don't like the way way many on the right throw the term around blindly, much the way the left calls everything they don't like "white supremacist" or "Nazi." I actually even have trouble calling actual communists that, since the term has become so overused. But having said that, the term has several different and independent connotations. So it's not surprising that someone might refer to someone as a communist for displaying some but not all of these characteristics. I know little about Lula, and am not speaking about him here.
I'd say the most important communist traits are its totalitarian/oppressive nature, its religious need for global dominance, and its collectivist/centrally-planned economic system. All three of these are very dangerous, and during the Cold War we very much saw them as the antithesis of everything the American tradition represented. But ironically, our current crop of elites, the globalist crowd, despite being the top echelon of capitalist operators, loudly embrace many of the ideas that not that long ago we criticized the communists for. The globalists pretty clearly have a scary totalitarian vision, and the high-tech machinery to back them up. And globalism by nature implies imposing a unified rule over the whole planet, which is further evidenced by their disdain for local and national independence. And they also very much see central planning and monopoly as preferable to the chaotic markets. They even like to refer to themselves as socialists.
I bring this up to observe that the neoliberals (who are largely interchangeable with the globalist elites) are much more akin to the old-time communists than today's actual communists, who may be brutal and backwards, but tend to be localized and aren't part of the large international religious movement that 20th century communism was. They'll reliably destroy their own neighborhoods, but don't seem likely to threaten outsiders. The neoliberals, on the other hand, have power and lots of it, and are systematically accruing power, both in and out of govt. So, in my book, while a leader who seeks to align his or her country with the globalists/neoliberals may not actually be a communist in the technical sense, is nevertheless nor really all that different on a conceptual level. This is something that many conservatives in particular have difficulty digesting. We on the right are so used to thinking of capitalist enterprises as counterbalances to govt power that it's hard to recognize that it's the same people running both.
Regarding elections. Democracies run on faith. The general public needs to have trust in the system, otherwise they can't perform one of the most critical tasks in a democracy, which is to accept your losses. I have no idea what the complaints in Brazil are based on. But here in the US, we're increasingly seeing irregularities, which are undermining our faith. Irregularities are not proof of fraud, but they are problems. And when we see irregularities, we need to be able to audit, and get transparency.
A big lesson of 2020, and to lesser extent in the most recent elections, is that our system just doesn't provide any effective way of disputing an election. We seem to only have the courts, which are absolutely not the place to resolve disputes. We desperately need to enact reforms so that the vast majority of the population feels confident that our elections are fair. Which means lots and lots of transparency. Given how loudly the D's have screamed fraud over the past quarter century, and how disenchanted the R's have been over the last few years, you'd think that there would be a consensus that we need to do something. And yet, there clearly isn't.
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