Voice of Russia
December 16, 2013
Since the days of the Cold War the West has launched illegal wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and attempted to do the same thing in Syria. They have been successful in avoiding blowback and responsibility due to their monopoly on the corporate controlled media and the fact that most of the media in the world passively accepts their interpretation of world events. This is one of the reasons that alternative media and foreign controlled media are important. For many people in the West, the only truth they can actually get comes increasingly from non-corporate and even “foreign” media sources. The Voice of Russia spoke to Rick Rozoff on media and the current paradigm where journalism has lost the honor and ideals it once had.
You are listening to Part 2 of an interview with Rick Rozoff the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list. You can find Part I on our website at voiceofrussia.com.
Rozoff: And we are seeing now what could be a major military altercation in the East China Sea where China’s announced a new air zone over what China knows as the Diaoyu and the Japanese as Senkaku Islands. And it is the typical US press wire services where we refer to them, 100%, as Senkaku by the Japanese definition.
Robles: Right, the same thing with the Maldives.
Rozoff: But also occasionally you will see US media, not infrequently by the way, and sometimes government media, refer to the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf, which is a direct provocation to the government of Iran, of course; refer to Russia’s South Kuril Islands as Japan’s northern territory. So what you are seeing is, you know, the sort of political remapping of the world that would be a casus belli, I mean it would be a cause for a war, under other circumstances, and surely if the situation were reversed, so that the war of ideas, the battle of ideas is at least as critical as that of politics, economics and so forth.
And ultimately who presents the most accurate and the most persuasive view of the truth is the person who is probably going to emerge the victor in any contest around the world. And we’ve seen just such atrocious, egregious, unpardonable lies being spewed out by the West for every war they’ve conducted over the last 20 years, but particularly in the post-Cold War period with Yugoslavia, with Afghanistan, with Iraq, with Libya, with Syria. And I for one don’t believe the West would have been as successful, or however dubiously successful they’ve been, as they’ve been, if it wasn’t for the fact they could count on basically if not a monopoly then at least a preponderance of news around the world and knowing that most of the world would at least passively accept their interpretation of world events.
Robles: Very good what you’ve just said and I’m sure everybody will take it to heart and we all agree with you 100%. What you’ve just brought up raised in my mind recently a new phrase that has come out in alternative media I guess and some other sources that there is a war going on on journalists and on journalism by the US government in particular on whistleblowers, on truth seekers, on anyone who is against the official line. Would you like to comment on that?
Rozoff: That’s true, and this is again something that evokes both the Cold War, but I would say probably more World War 2 and the period leading up to it. When in Central Europe, when Nazi Germany became the dominant force in Central Europe, journalists were imprisoned, journalists were tortured, journalists were shot. And we are in a situation right now where truthfully we’ve already seen the prostituting of journalism, I can’t think of any other term for it, where it’s become more a profitable and prestigious career than it’s become a mission or a vocation in life, where people promote or peddle themselves as the story itself – that is, the journalist often times particularly the telejournalist – often times is the story. And whatever subject matter is being discussed is almost of secondary significance, it’s grist to his mill.
And we have to remember that there once was a time when journalists were very dedicated, usually self-effacing, oftentimes anonymous and people who were willing to risk their well-being, their economic well-being, and their lives. And that ideal image of a journalist is something that desperately needs to be revived right now. It, a journalist … journalism rather, can be a dignified and honorable profession instead of what it in many ways has become.
And this again is a distinctly Western phenomenon in that the prevalence of corporate media, mass entertainment media conglomerates that run supposed news sites, so that newspapers, television news programs, radio news programs are put out or issued by the same corporations that are putting out commercials and music videos and cartoons.
Robles: So that basically the days of the intrepid reporter trying to get this scoop, those days are long gone or do you think they are…?
Rozoff: Well certainly on the city beat. I’m living in Chicago where we have two, only two, newspapers, one is a tabloid. Most of the material in both of them is gathered as we were talking about earlier from the wire services, the press agencies, so that fewer and fewer countries have their own correspondents overseas, or even outside the city where they’re published. There is a tendency to streamline and consolidate the press.
At one time in Chicago a hundred years ago I’m sure there were dozens of newspapers, literally dozens of newspapers. You had five-star editions; the paper would be publishing five different editions in a day – one newspaper. You had competition between papers -you don’t have that anymore. So you don’t have that sort of journalist who is really going to go out and fight for a story because that is not what he is paid to do currently.
But that is more on the local level. I think that what we are talking about is, is the perception of world events, and I would say this: the framework within which we view events and this means basically – there is no other word for it – what is a person’s worldview? Is that a world view based on equity? Is it a worldview based on equity, is it a worldview based on peace and development, is it a worldview based on fairness and justice – or isn’t?
And if you have a world view cultivated throughout the globe based on what are essentially US, British, French and German press accounts of it, then it’s going to be, by definition, a narrow, constricted, biased, unrepresentative view of the news. And you hit on it keenly I think when you look at even the most basic terminology that appears in an Associated Press report, let’s be honest about it, Associated Press is for all intents and purposes the American government’s press agency.
Robles: Well we can’t, we can’t quote the Associated Press. I don’t even know if we can say their name, but go ahead – you said it, so it’s ok.
Rozoff: I’m not slandering them; I’m just reporting what it is. You go to a major American press government sources, armed forces online publications like Stars and Stripes, and the US government, the State Department, White House website and there’s photographs in there by Associated Press. The government itself doesn’t apparently even pay a photographer to accompany the president.
Here’s where it becomes a little bit more insidious, and this is another vital point I think people have ignored, that the fact that the US government has an obedient press corps at its beck and call, including Associated Press and Reuters, but pretends that they are independent, means one of the ways we can shut down independent journalists, particularly web journalists like ourselves, is through copyright infringement. So, for example, and I’ve argued his point for years, if the mayor of my city, Rahm Emanuel, goes to a neighboring city like Milwaukee, 80 miles away, and makes a statement there and there is a photograph of him there , I cannot put that out on the Internet because it’s copyrighted by Associated Press.
Robles: Even though he is a – I don’t want to say he is your public official – but I mean your tax Dollars are paying his salary, so…?
Rozoff: That’s correct. So even your content or photographs and other basic elementary material, you would think it was, is permissible to be passed on from one citizen to another is not. And you will be reined in quickly, you will be pulled up short, if you without seeking the written permission of Associated Press quote your own public official talking. You certainly can’t be there yourself, and be where these people go, and if you were you wouldn’t be a credentialed press person who is allowed to go into the briefing.
So where else are you are getting this information except by the government-approved private media, which then hides behind copyright infringement. This is a new form of political censorship that is not recognized as such.
Robles: I see. So, the new control mechanism is copyright infringement on the Net?
Rozoff: Yeah, copyright violation. It’s almost to the point where, if you clip out a newspaper article from your local press and mail it to somebody, I guess you could be accused of violating their copyright.
Robles: Maybe you can help me because I have a website, you have a website. Maybe you can tell me what the current standard is, but I remember it was AP that came out with something like: you could not publish more than the first three sentences or something of one of their stories and then include one or two links to it. What is the current standard?
Rozoff: I’d … to be honest with you, I’m familiar with what you are speaking about. I would have to go to each press agency and each newspaper to see what their particular policy is, but the long and short of it appears to be something quite like that: that you can tease the public with a short introductory …
Robles: The first paragraph or some…I don’t remember what it was, but they had it worked down to something like, even down to a word count or something, but it was pretty specific but…
Rozoff: But keep in mind, where else, if there is no official government site, are you going to find out what your own congressperson, what your own city council person, what your own president has said? Where else you are going to go unless you go to Associated Press, and then if you go there they are going to hold copyright penalties over your head. So you are effectively prevented from even saying what your own elected official said.
Robles: So by default, even just knowing the information, if you even report about it on the Internet you think you could be accused of plagiarizing or copyright or something?
Rozoff: This has happened to me with the Stop NATO mailing list. Roughly three years ago there was a series of websites all more or less subsumed under Military Times, run by the Gannett chain, the chain of newspapers, and they include Defense News, Marine Times, Air Force Times and so forth. They are all over the country, and they’ve been taking over small town, medium town newspapers and so forth. And then the printing is done in some other part of the country, and all that, so they are also eliminating jobs.
But anyway, the long and short of what had happened was, an article I had taken from, I believe, Defense News (part of the Military Times group), and I had sent it out on my private e-mail list – private e-mail list – it had been picked up by somebody (this a Yahoo list) it had been picked up by somebody else in Pakistan, and it was in the archives of a private e-mail list in Pakistan, and I was contacted by an attorney from Defense News and Military Times, saying if I didn’t remove it from a site that I didn’t even know exists – I have no idea who runs it – that they would consider legal action against me.
They turned me over to the Yahoo administration, which took their side and told me they would not only close down my e-mail news list, but all my private e-mail accounts, which I’ve used, in the case of Yahoo for 14 years. So, I’m told that any mode of communication I have is being cut off because somebody passed on something – God knows how many times – ended up in another country in the archives of a private e-mail list and I can face a legal penalty.
Robles: When was this, because that sounds exactly like what the SOPA bill was supposed to do and what this new TPP is supposed to be doing. When did that happen?
Rozoff: August of 2011.
Robles: 2011. Was there a legal foundation for that in the United States, or were they just huffing and puffing, or they were testing the water as to how much they could intimidate people, or what’s the deal?
Rozoff: When I heard from Yahoo News, they copied and pasted a legal argument against the use of it. Keep an eye on this, it wasn’t done for commercial purposes, it wasn’t published broadly, it was sent out privately.
Robles: I know, I’m a member of your mailing list by the way.
Rozoff: The only equivalent I could think of in the hard-copy age, in the pre-computer age is that somebody who is interested in fishing or something and they had magazines Field & Stream and they cut out an article about trout fishing, and they mailed it to their friend John, and he liked it so he mailed it to his friend Phil, and somebody caught Phil with the article and threatened the original person with cutting off his mail service.
Robles: It’s ridiculous when you take this stuff and put it in real world terms, all this stuff they are trying to do with the Internet. I mean, when Jeremy Hammond – had he in physical terms, as Susan Crabtree told me, when I talked to her right before he was sentenced to 10 years – if you had taken a car and driven right through the front doors of Stratfor and physically stolen all their files, he would have got something like three years and community service or something. And for doing this electronically he gets 10 years.
Rozoff: I know, that’s atrocious.
Robles: I’ve always wondered, it’s always seemed odd to me that cyberspace and the Internet and in reality it doesn’t exist, it’s not a tangible place. But why it has such real world effects when small things like this are done is beyond me.
Rozoff: It’s … we have to be honest about this, this is the new totalitarianism, and it’s information totalitarianism. And it’s, amongst other things, the Internet not only permits me to communicate with you, but it permits any powerful entity, governments in the first instance, to monitor the activity of its citizens and the citizens of the world. What else have we learnt by the expose about the National Security Agency but just that?
That the US is monitoring down to the finest most minute particular – every telephone call, every key stroke, every visit – of everyone on the planet. You would need a million George Orwell’s to be able to anticipate something this far-reaching, this comprehensive, and it’s frightening. And the fact is, we’ve had occasion to talk about it on your show before, that the person in charge of the National Security Agency – four-star General Keith Alexander – is the same person who was put in charge of US Cyber Command, which is a cyber-warfare command, pure and simple. It should certainly alert people to the fact that what we are dealing with right now is a new mode of conducting warfare. What the Pentagon has referred to in terms of cyber-warfare is the fifth battle space, and after land, air, sea and space.
Robles: And it is currently it’s not against armies or governments, or state actors; the target appears to be you and me and Joe Blow and Mary Smith.
That was Part 2 of an interview in progress. You can find Part 1 on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and I wish you the best wherever you may be.
Chris Hedges, Kade Crockford and Michael Ratner: National Security Overload (#NDAA) (domestic spying and journalism)