Friday, November 8, 2013

Chris Hedges On 'The Criminalization Of Journalism'

Jaisal Noor, producer for The Real Network News, interviews the always plain-spoken Chris Hedges. I started to say "the indefatigable Chris Hedges," but honestly, Hedges looks as tired as I feel these days. It must be a terrible burden that he carries, largely on our behalf and for our education. Be that as it may, Hedges addresses the detention... face it, the criminal arrest... of David Miranda by British officials at London's Heathrow Airport, charging him with "espionage" and "terrorism" — i.e., journalism embarrassing to officialdom on both sides of the Atlantic. The interview is published both as a video and in print; it is worth viewing both forms. A couple of quotations:

NOOR: So, Chris, let's start off by getting your response to the British government accusing David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who often collaborates with Greenwald, of, quote, espionage and terrorism and saying those were some of the reasons why they held him for hours on end at Heathrow without letting him speak to his lawyer or anyone else.

HEDGES: Well, they didn't just told him. They seized all of his electronic equipment--his computer, his phone--because they were looking for some of the files that [Miranda's partner Glenn] Greenwald has been using to publish his stories that were leaked by Edward Snowden. And this is just part of the criminalization of journalism which has taken place not only within the United States but within countries like Great Britain as well.

NOOR: Britain doesn't have the same safeguards for journalists as places like the U.S. do. ...

HEDGES: Well, there aren't any safeguards left within the United States as well. ... the security and surveillance state has the phone--all of the electronic communications of every journalist in this country. They've used the Espionage Act aggressively seven times, the last time being against Snowden, to make sure nobody does talk to the press to expose the inner workings of power.

So we once had, at least legally, more protection as journalists than were provided to journalists in Great Britain. But all of it's gone up in smoke, both here and there. ...

NOOR: Now, the NSA and its defenders, they cite 54 terrorist plots they have been able to supposedly thwart due to this massive spying. But a recent report by ProPublica found that the NSA was only able to provide evidence in four of those cases. Why do you think the NSA is not providing additional evidence for those remaining 50 cases?

HEDGES: Well, because they're lying. ...

What's interesting is that a lot of times when they lie, they get caught because of courageous whistleblowers like Snowden who expose their [lies]. ...

Please read and/or watch the rest. The interview is short and to the point.

A mere few years ago I began to wonder whether the United States could survive the beating it has taken at the hands of Americans who truly do not care for its founding principles as long as they control the nation's power... Dick Cheney, the PNAC gang, Karl Rove, etc. I don't wonder anymore: in the words of Leonard Cohen, "The war is over. The good guys lost." The Bill of Rights... especially the First Amendment's freedom of speech and press... is nothing but pen-scratchings on parchment; there is no substance to those freedoms in the era of presidents George W. Bush Dick Cheney and Barack Obama. To parody the title of another Hedges book, war is a farce that gives the U.S. beatings.

It was great while it lasted. I feel I owe an apology to Thomas Jefferson and to my father, both of whom did their damnedest to create and then preserve a nation where things were done right — thank goodness neither of them survived to see what my generation has done to it.

AFTERTHOUGHT: A couple of days ago I began reading Jeremy Scahill's new book, Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. I have not read Scahill's other book, but I am reminded by his first chapter of Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals, a book which I went out and bought (used, of course) *after* I finished reading the library copy. One difference: the Scahill book is immense; you could use it to exercise your arms, pumping pulp instead of pumping iron. But the content is just as depressing as Mayer's excellent work. I may not be able to finish it...


  1. Leonard Cohen was certainly a prophet, as well as a poet. I go back and listen to that song from time to time, and just shake my head at how right he was. Sigh.

    1. BadTux, Cohen is still very much alive. He's 79, according to Wikipedia. Yes, he certainly got things right in that song.

  2. Steve, Cohen is not only very much alive, he's currently on tour in support of his new album "Old Ideas". Which is pretty good (I have it), though he doesn't so much sing on it as rumble at around the same frequency as earthquakes.

    1. BadTux, Stella is a hardcore fan of Cohen and has been so for decades. If I'm not mistaken, she has every recording of his that was ever transferred to CD. If she holds off a month, she may get "Old Ideas" for Christmas... but FAIK she may have already bought it.



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes