Detailed Transcript Supporting Links are linked – For details, Click on Blue Underlined words
Plain Text Interview Transcript Here
Interview recorded Saturday 13th November 2016.
Host: Terry Bain @TwBainusW
Guests: Suzie Dawson @Suzi3D
Redstar @Redstar309Z (Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator)
TERRY: Hi and welcome back to Voices. This is Episode 10 of Voices, this is Occupy:Asylum, which is oh so appropriate here on so many le
vels. We’ll have a link to that, where that word comes from, the root word to it is sanctuary and that fits on several different levels. Our guest here is… first off.. you’re new to the show, Redstar, you were a part of Occupy Auckland, say hi please.
RED: Kia ora. Really, really, really happy to be here. Thank you very much for this privilege.
TERRY: It’s great having you here. Our guest for this show, is returning, this is your 3rd show with us, plus you’ve done analysis on a really crucial
show that we did, please say hello Suzie.
SUZIE: Hi, thanks for having me Terry.
TERRY: OK we’ve got a lot to cover and not that much time to cover it in so let’s just get this show on the road. There was a really short news blurb in Scoop NZ saying that you were having to file for temporary asylum in Russia and I haven’t heard anything since that in the last 5 days. Suzie, what is going on?
SUZIE: Well that is correct Terry, I have applied for temporary asylum in Russia and it seems that I am the first Kiwi journalist or the first New Zealand journalist to do so. As you know and as most people who follow my work know, I have been pretty severely targeted by various intelligence agencies in the last few years. I went into exile, I had to leave
New Zealand because of it, in early 2015 and unfortunately that targeting of me continued. There has been some recent developments over the last few months that seem to indicate that I was one of 88 New Zealanders who were, not only illegally spied on by the New Zealand spy agencies, but that they then took our personal data and sent it to the NSA where PRISM was used against us. The NSA in Hawaii, in 2012. There are also several really worrying law changes that are happening in New Zealand which could really endanger myself and my two young children who are with me. So, I have been forced to apply for asylum because this is the first place that I have found in the last two years where I have been safe, and am not being harrassed and stalked and hurt. So I am really grateful for that opportunity.
TERRY: For people that are new to the Occupy, what was going on against us, there was a news blackout and we all had to start covering the news ourself. Redstar, you were head of your media team at Occupy Auckland and how did Suzie get started with this? Have you seen this kind of harassment?
RED: I have, I have. Basically what happened here [in New Zealand] is, like what happened all around the world is that the media pretty much just blacked out our movement. So we had to counter that. The team which we assembled was up to about 24 people who were all committed to the cause and Suzie was no different. Suzie, I remember she came rocking into our media centre on the 2nd or 3rd day that we had set it up, we were running on the smell of an oily rag literally. She came in bearing gifts of computer paraphernalia and from that point on she was a very, very, very central member of our team. In terms of harassment, what happened to us is probably not too dissimilar. Because the state always wants to take the mouthpiece of any movement. Personally I was harassed, I would be picked up at will by the police, interrogated, harassed, even when I had my son, which was not very cool, and a few other things as well. Another one of our media team members, she pretty much lost her house, had her dog taken off her and impounded, faced jail time, harassment by the police. Another one of our media team members, he actually identified when we got evicted, the fact that several police officers were wearing the same CIB, which is the police identification badge, and he really pushed this story out along with us. He lost his house, lost his relationship and then was put into a custodial position within a hospital. What I saw with Suzie is that she was targeted, she was followed, she had private investigators coming after her, she was trailed, her communications… the list just goes on and on and on. I remember later on in the piece, there was a huge event, you may or may not remember this, it was called the Moment of Truth. It was run by the Internet Party and Kim Dotcom and basically they were coming out swinging against our current government and the GCSB which is the international spy agency which is part of the Five Eyes and Echelon. Saying that New Zealanders were being spied on illegally. They had Julian Assange speak on livestream and also Edward Snowden. That very night [leading up to the event] Suzie had been really concerned that she was being targeted and harassed so she came and sought refuge with me because it was a safe space. She did an interview that night with Perthtones, [the interview is posted] on another blog, I remember quite clearly that things were going awry and it wasn’t the first time I had seen it. The whole time, during our first few months to a couple of years, that I’d known Suzie, she was never really one to stand up and be like ‘look at me’. She always used to hide from the camera if I was livestreaming, always made me do all the interviews, which I didn’t mind because I loved playing with the mainstream media. This is just how it is. So I’ve never seen her as being a person wanting or seeking attention, it’s just the way that things have come full circle that she’s had to really fight for her freedom. Simple. And she’s had to come out and go ‘I’m here, I’m doing this, I need to be safe.’
TERRY: We’re about 8 minutes into the show. Suzie’s first involvement with us on Occupy America, which is what Voices used to be called, we put out a show called Occupy:COIN, or counterinsurgency, where military and the private sector are used against private citizens, basically a form of warfare being used against private citizens. The biggest part of counterinsurgency is based on information control and that’s what we want to get into here for the next 12 minutes. Can you tell us about information control? The harassment that you see, there are 3 components to information control –(Note, see top of page 5 in this link) they work on counter ideology, they want to change how you think. They work on counter sanctuary, they want to make you feel not safe. And they work on counter motivation, perhaps they’re not as concerned with what you think or what your ideas are as long as you don’t act on them. The key word is motive, move. What are your thoughts, guys? What have you seen as far as information control?
SUZIE: I think one of the reasons that I was aggressively targeted, I mean there’s many of them, but one of them is because my house became a place of refuge for occupiers and for our media team members. I now find myself in a situation where I have to ask for help but it used to be my home that people would come to when they had nowhere else and it used to be me running around trying to help everyone out and advocate for everybody so I think there was a very clear agenda to make me have to sell my house, make me lose my house, because then that would deny us a place of sanctuary. As far as…
RED: I would agree with that…
TERRY: Go ahead, Redstar…
RED: Yeah, I would agree with that. I saw it, very, very directly with what happened. You know, it is very, very, very evil how the powers that be do this. Because realistically, we work, we live and we try and provide for ourselves and our family. And when we get home after our slave-ridden job for some hideous corporation, getting paid shit wages, all we want to do is have a safe space. So when the state sees someone that dares to put their head above the rest of the pack, they of course will target that safe space. I’ve had it happen to a lesser or greater extent and Suzie has definitely had it happen to a greater extent and it’s absolutely immoral. From my point of view, in terms of information, from our little island in the South Pacific we were really punching above our weight. We were really getting out the stories to the international media that they wanted to hear and people like RT would run with the stories that Suzie was pushing through our channels and through her own channels. And that really freaks out the establishment. Theoretically this and possibly directly and absolutely this is one of the many reasons why Suzie has been targeted and it’s fundamentally wrong. We need whistleblowers, we need truth-tellers…
SUZIE: They were trying to contain us. They were trying to contain the information…
RED: They want to keep us within prisons of our own mind and our own paranoia and fear. We all know that we’re stronger together rather than being alone and being afraid and they want us to be alone and they want us to be afraid so then we shut up. But that’s just never going to happen.
TERRY: There’s a word that gets thrown around a lot, panopticon. The key principle of the panopticon was that just the possibility that you’re being observed will change your behaviour. Any thoughts on that?
RED: I absolutely agree. In New Zealand we are in a very highly permissive surveillance state. We’ve had monitoring of everything for a long, long time and from the period between, I’d say, 2009 and now, especially during and after Occupy, we saw the levels of interference rise, the saw the levels of surveillance, like through CCTV everywhere, rise. We would get stalked by people taking our photos while we were eating dinner, I remember quite clearly sitting with Suzie having a casual dinner, and being photographed. And we were laughing at the time but I don’t think at that point we realised what it meant moving forward, and here we are…
SUZIE: It escalated. It really escalated. In 2011 we had like, we just thought it was like maybe some cops or maybe some undercover cops looking for some low-level crime. We didn’t really have any idea. I remember us getting followed around by Auckland Transport vehicles, and other people on media team complaining that they were being harassed and accosted by people from the Council and from Auckland Transport and we still just thought that it was just like, local level harassment, but then when my house started getting broken into and then when there was disturbances in my home, over and over again, and then the private investigators stalking us, you know, it seemed to ramp up a little bit and we were like, ok, well maybe these guys have just been hired by the Council. But when things started to get really crazy was after the Kim Dotcom FBI raid and about that time I started to write about, I was blogging about FBI, blogging about CIA, blogging about a lot of these agencies and then things started to get more and more severe. As it came out later that year that there had been some spying by the GCSB on Kim Dotcom then we started to realise, hey, these spy agencies are up to no good and we started to really focus on the domestic spy agencies. It was at the end of that year, just a couple of months later, that I was publically doxed, information about myself and my kids, our address, our phones numbers, were posted all over the internet. I went to the cops and they outright refused to do anything about it. They didn’t even just refuse to do anything about it, they actually said to me, ‘because you’re an activist this is happening to you and as long as you’re an activist this is going to keep happening to you.’ Through 2013 we were building the GCSB movement, the mainstream media who had ignored and ridiculed us to that point had to get on board because it got to the point where our audience was so large and where we were getting this information out so far and wide that they had to acknowledge it or they were literally going to be obsolete in New Zealand. Also because we had been really personally calling them out on an individual basis, the journalists who had been lying and smearing us and our movements. So those journalists decided that it was better for their career to get on board and cover those issues than it was to have these results about them on their Google searches about them that they didn’t like. And all of a sudden the tide changed and we had mainstream covering these issues five days a week at prime time. At that point it became…
RED: …they were begging for, like, commentary, begging, after months if not years of lambasting and just belittling us. You may not remember this Suzie but there’s a popular sort of, comical show here called Jono and Ben…
SUZIE: …yeah of course, I know them…
RED: …they came to our camp and they tried to lambast us. I pushed back and that really freaked them out and that was the beginning of us really pushing back. It was absolutely remarkable how [mainstream media] then, further down the track, were then coming and begging, then ripping off our content and not even citing us, I mean this is just the way [they operate]…
TERRY: We’ve got about 3 minutes left in this section, we’re 17 minutes or so into the show. You mentioned the ‘Moment of Truth’ and as far as I could tell New Zealand was further ahead at actually turning this into an election success, a lot of votes, a massive amount of votes percentage-wise, can you talk about what the ‘Moment of Truth’ was?
SUZIE: The ‘Moment of Truth’ was an event with Snowden, Greenwald, Assange and Kim Dotcom, as Redstar explained before. There was, in the year leading up to it, the formation of the Internet Party which was Kim Dotcom’s political party which was an attempt to harness some of the millennial and progressive support and they got into an alliance with the Mana Party which was the indigenous movement in New Zealand. They only had about six or seven months of campaigning before the election but they were becoming a force to be reckoned with and we threw our weight behind them because they were political outsiders and because we needed some change in our country to push us past the standard status quo parties. This was in the direct wake of the GCSB movement. So there was something that came out in 2013 called the Kitteridge Report which was leaked to the public and that report contained information that it was not just Kim Dotcom that was illegally spied on by the GCSB, that it was in fact 88 New Zealanders at least, that were illegally spied on by the GCSB.
RED: Including journalists…
SUZIE: That’s true, including journalists… so a couple of months ago, actually I think it was in September of this year, The Intercept in conjunction with a famous New Zealand journalist, Nicky Hager, released the first of the names of the 88 citizens and they confirmed in that article that those citizen’s personal data were passed to the NSA in Hawaii, so that is really an aggravating factor. So in 2013 we had the GCSB movement and things were getting really hot but in 2014 in the lead up to the Snowden event which was also in the lead up to the General Election, that’s when things just got pure crazy. There were days, many days actually in 2014 where I didn’t expect to make it through the day or through the week. I mean, I’m sitting here now not knowing if I’m going to have a country in six week’s time to live in, but there were days in 2014 where I honestly did not expect to see the light of day in that week.
RED: I remember that very clearly. I remember talking to Suzie at great length about this, and her coming to me because I had a safe space for her and it was absolutely harrowing for her but it was absolutely soul destroying for me seeing one of my best friends go through this and I will never forgive the powers that be for targeting such a beautiful person and a whistleblower, a person of truth and mana.
TERRY: It’s difficult for people to comprehend how much pressure can be brought to bear, with some of the stories and we are about to segway into the second 20 minutes segment here, which is ‘Diary’, where Suzie is documenting what it’s like to be a person of interest. Again, these stories, if you’ve never had this done to you, sound like some kind of conspiracy theory but conspiracy theory is conspiracy fact, it’s happening in Canada.. it’s happening all over the world. Alright Suzie can you start us off, why did you do the documentary ‘Diary of a Person of Interest’?
SUZIE: So, at the end of 2014 after there had been several overt attempts on my life, which I document in the documentary and which I’d also written about previously, and once the ruling government won reelection there were constant death threats against me and I was told openly that if I didn’t leave the country that I was dead. So I sold my house and everything and I left New Zealand and I went to Berlin in Germany. In Germany I really felt a huge obligation to try to tell people what was happening in New Zealand because I was really conscious that I got out but that there was other activists still back there facing the same people. I really felt like, the specific individuals that work for these agencies that were targeting and trying to hurt me, they weren’t out of a job just because I left the country. They were still targeting other people, and doing that to other people. So I went to the Chaos Communications Camp in August and I did a talk there that I had prepared. Which was a chronological retelling of everything that had happened and trying to explain it in a really cohesive way that everyone could understand. So in Part One I talked about our media team and what we did and how I got into media, and in Part Two I talked about why we were targeted, and I went through the various campaigns, from Occupy, to Anonymous supporting us, to our involvement in promoting Kim Dotcom’s situation and speaking up against the FBI, to the Internet Party and GCSB, to the Five Eyes which is the intelligence sharing alliance of United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, to the Snowden and Greenwald event, to the TPPA movement, #TPPANoWay, which we were very heavily involved in promoting for years on end. To various other movements and also my support for WikiLeaks. Then I went right through who does this, so I broke down the state agencies, the various agencies by name and by role, and then the private agencies. Because privatised spying and privatised policing is huge, this is what we face now, is for-profit companies that make money from targeting us. Then I talked about the different types of people that they target and then how they target us. I broke down all the methods of physical surveillance that they used against us and I really incorporate like, my personal experiences into each of these categories as well which hopefully makes it a bit more real to people. Then the methods of signals surveillance and the public surveillance systems, which is like facial recognition and the various Council and civic infrastructure surveillance systems. Then I got into what they actually do to us personally. So that’s the ways that they harass us and the ways that they isolate us and the way that they sabotage our lives and our belongings and our relationships and our opportunities and our careers and the ways that they entrap us. I talked about some really personal ways that they’ve had agents try to entrap me, and the social engineering. And then the instituationalisation, which Redstar touched on earlier when he told you that one of our media team members was actually forcibly hospitalised in a mental hospital to try to discredit him and he is not the only one.
TERRY: If you can’t disprove, discredit. Standard tactics.
SUZIE: Exactly. Then I covered off the specific assassination attempts that I experienced in the lead up to the Moment of Truth event. Then I finished up the documentary with talking about, what do they want? What do they want us to do? And how do we learn to combat it? Which is basically by responsibly documenting what is happening to us and by telling people that this is happening to us because if we cover it up we are aiding the people who are doing this to us. So I gave this talk at Chaos Communications Camp like I said and I promised, actually, Redstar was with me, he actually came to Berlin, which was quite amazing cos it was the first time I had seen anyone from home in all that time. Unfortunately conditions there prevented us from livestreaming the event so I promised my supporters who had not got to see it that I would make a video version. So this documentary is really me taking that talk that I did at the camp and turning it into something that anyone around the world can watch and hopefully learn from.
RED: It’s pretty remarkable.
TERRY: Redstar, you’ve actually seen the documentary and you were there when [the talk] was [done], can you bear witness that this is hard for people to believe that have never had this done to them. But you’ve actually seen what Suzie’s talking about, correct?
RED: Yes, I’ve seen it. Watching and being part of that was very, very hard for me, not because I experienced as much as Suzie did, personally, but because it was like picking a scab, a scab that hadn’t healed. It’s festering. It’s will be remarkable for people that are living in their safe little bubble, paying their bills and going to work, to hear this but it’s the reality of the situation. You know, we watch these movies about these, espionage, spies and stuff, and it’s all fanciful and it’s all bright lights and pretty images but it’s real, it’s happening and it’s going to continue to happen until we all start really challenging it and it’s important that we do stuff like this to do so.
SUZIE: Do you guys remember that Will Smith movie? Enemy of the State?
SUZIE: I remember watching that like, what, 6 or 8 or 10 years before I became an activist, and I remember thinking like you say, this is a great spy movie, spy thriller movie. But so much of what is in that movie is exactly what happened to us. Like, how his credit cards get cut off, like over and over again my credit cards would be cut off for no reason, my bank would mess with me over and over again. Especially in the wake of that legislation that they passed that they think enables them to do that. I would find things like cuts in the bottom of my shoes and things sewn into the seams of my clothing, just totally, totally insane things and I would be constantly sent this stream of regurgitated narrative that had happened in my house with various people. They were just trying to let me know that they were listening, you know. I was having to be constantly aware of the fact, like, everywhere, in my house, car, inside my house, outside my house, everything I was saying was being heard, I was being watched at all times. I had the interior ceiling of my house painted and then little holes would appear in my ceiling, just randomly – it’s so sad – I used to go and stick chewing gum in them or pick-up-sticks – honest to God – because one day my ceiling has no holes in it then the next day there’s these little holes in it and I’m like ‘what the hell is going on?’ Honestly. My lawyer said to me the other day and I thought it was a really good point… he said “any one thing that has happened to you can be explained but all of it, cannot be.” There’s just dozens of incidents. In the movie I talk about how they tried to drive me and my children off a cliff at night in Northland in a place called Dome Valley. Redstar will know where that is. It’s a really, it’s a blackout area where there’s no mobile coverage and it’s a clifftop, it’s a windy road and it was dark and at night. [Clarification: it was actually between Wellsford and Warkworth, north of Dome Valley. The terrain is identical to Dome Valley and it is as stated a mobile black-out zone.] I was actually coming back from visiting one of our other media team members who had also been really heavily targeted and I was… that incident, we were so close to literally being driven off a cliff that night that whenever I went to visit that media team member again, I would literally call her before I entered the valley and call her immediately after I exited the valley, just so that someone would know, you know, I’m going into this blackout, I will call you as soon as I’m coming out of it. That’s the kind of terror that we would have to face. I would literally not know whether I was going to make it to the other end of my journey or not. And it’s just so unbelievably extreme. When I was being targeted inside my home I would go out into the city and I’d call that same media team member and I’d say ‘I’m being targeted, I’m going onto TrapWire’ and that was like our code word. That was the code word that meant, I’m going into the city where I will be on public surveillance because I had discovered that they were less inclined to harm me when I was in a public space that had surveillance cameras, than they were in my house where they were the only ones controlling the cameras so in a strange way that became sanctuary for me.
TERRY: Redstar what pieces of this can you personally confirm that you saw? We will have links that show that you guys are not the only ones who are reporting this, when they try to make you look like you’re crazy that is called gaslighting. Ernest Hemingway, he used to be basically portrayed as paranoid because he thought that he was being followed by the FBI. It was just released through historic records that he wasn’t paranoid, he was being watched by the FBI. It led to his suicide, there’s no doubt. Go ahead Redstar, please…
RED: I can confirm all of this. I saw it personally when I was cruising around with Suzie. I remember going over to her house and we’d literally just gone out down the road, to a 7-11, a dairy, to get something and she’d left her phone [at home] and when we got back the phone was gone…
SUZIE: Oh, yeah! [laughs]
RED: Things just add up, add up over time you know. At the time I was like… oh yeah, whatever, but I’m pretty pragmatic. But you know, now… just the sheer amount of it…
SUZIE: They would steal my phones over and over again. This is the kind of craziness of it, the level of interference that we were facing..
RED: It’s remarkable.
TERRY: It is by design to make you a) question your sanity and b) if you tell these stories, gaslighting is so that people won’t believe what you’re saying. If you can’t disprove…
SUZIE: I just want to make two points there, sorry to interject but I just want to make two points. One is that, none of the activists that I work with or any of the political figures have ever disbelieved what happened to me because to some degree it’s happening to all of them. So the only people who really disbelieve, or who profess disbelief for this, are people who are not activists or are not in the political sphere at all or who are informants who are paid to try and discredit me by saying ‘she’s making it up’ or ‘she just wants to be famous’ or whatever they come up with. But the other thing that I would like to point out that there are people who hold mountains more evidence than even I do as to what has happened to me and that is the spy agencies. They know everything that they have done to us and they have God knows how many hours of tapes of us talking to each other about this in real time as it was happening. Me on the phone to my media team members saying ‘this happened to me today, this happened to me yesterday’, and them talking about their experiences. So I have no doubt that the government is going to come out and attempt to smear me but at the end of the day they know exactly what they have done to me and they hold the proof.
RED: Very true.
TERRY: That is an excellent point, that those of us who have had this done to us know it doesn’t sound crazy. You know it’s happened to you. And another key point here is that it’s happening to more and more people worldwide, every single day. There was just another news story out of Canada that this is happening to journalists, to politicians. Did anyone else see that…
RED: No, I didn’t see it.
TERRY: We’ll have a link to it, that’s the nice thing about the internet is we can let you see what we’re talking about so that you can make your own decisions. We are not the only ones saying this, it is documented worldwide. You were targeted by our FBI, they sent an informant who is pretty famous is that correct, Suzie?
SUZIE: If you’re referring to Sabu, yeah that was definitely one of the stranger experiences of my life. To say the least.
TERRY: Can you please elaborate?
SUZIE: Sure, I wrote an article about it called ‘Suits, Spooks and Sexual Predators: What Sabu Really Got Up To With The FBI’ and you know this really ties back into what I was just saying about, they hold the proof. The FBI have the logs, they have the footage of everything that they did to me. There is no greater source of evidence of what was done, than the FBI. But of course they don’t want people to know that they get up to these kind of depraved things, so they don’t let that evidence come to light. But in short, a very famous FBI informant, infamous FBI informant, targeted me, and he targeted me by pretending to be somebody who I had talked with on the net for years and years and years. Well before, years before I ever became an activist. He did so explicitly to get into a relationship with me and he wanted to know about articles that I had written about a flash occupation at the High Court in Auckland that I had documented and where the High Court had recently found Occupy Auckland not guilty of a case that had been brought against us by the Council. Because the funny thing about the situation is that everything we did is actually legal, completely legal. It’s not only legal it’s a protected democratic practice. Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to dissent, the right to seek redress, this is all enshrined in our law and in our democracy. And so the people who are up to no good and are acting illegally is these agencies, it is the state, so when they can’t pin anything on us they attempt to entrap us and this guy Sabu, this is what he does, what he did, attempted to entrap multiple people and he is the reason that some very well-known people including Jeremy Hammond are in jail to this day. So, I believe that I am extremely lucky in the sense that he only had his claws into me for 2 months or 3 months before it was leaked to me that this person who I was talking to was actually an FBI informant and at that point I was able to cut all contact with him before he had managed to do too much damage to my life.
TERRY: How did he get… these guys are good and I mean that in a professional sense. This guy impersonated someone that you knew well enough that you didn’t know you were talking to a complete stranger. This is documented to. What is the final status? What happened to Sabu, that’s on the record?
SUZIE: I think a lot of what is on the record about Sabu is not true. They manufactured a fairy tale around him. One of the reasons I wrote the article is because they were trying to make him out to actually not be such a bad guy after all, they were trying to angle for him to get speaking positions on the speaking circuit, they were trying to redeem his character despite the fact that there were really amazing whistleblowers languishing in jail because of him and I really took offense to that. They were trying to make out like it was all in the interests of national security and whatnot and it wasn’t. What he did to me is proof of that. Because he was actually engaging in sexual activity as part of what he was doing to me and it came out that I was not the only one that that was happening to and with. So as far as I’m concerned, there is no public mandate, there is no law which allows them to do that. There’s no law that says that you can trap people into having sexual contact with you in the pursuit of law enforcement. It’s a despicable practice.
TERRY: Red, what are you seeing, what are your thoughts, what did you actually see?
RED: I remember. I remember cos thankfully and fortuitously I’m very, very close to Suzie. So of course we talked, as friends do and I remember Suzie telling me ‘I’ve reconnected with this person’ and I was like ‘yeah, cool!’. And apparently he was going to come here and it was all going to be good and then it all came out that it wasn’t quite the fact and that was really cruel. Really cruel. And that’s just another way that the state play on emotions and manipulate and it’s awful and it’s disgusting. Again, being privy to it, being party to it, it’s just another one of the very cruel, malicious things that has happened and it’s just inexcusable.
TERRY: We’ve got about 15 minutes of the show left – counterinsurgency, again, is based on information control. They have to control the information. There is a war on reporters, there is a war on whistleblowers. Can we talk about that in the last few minutes we have left here, any thoughts?
SUZIE: I think there is definitely a war on journalism. Like we touched on earlier I think it was about containment because my reach was getting too big and I was getting followed by people with audiences that were exponentially bigger than me and by late 2013, early 2014 I was doing Twitter for #TPPANoWay along with yet another member of our media team and we pushed the hashtag to #2 trending worldwide. And for New Zealand actions to have that level of exposure was pretty much a nightmare for the government and our movements were all in direct opposition to current United States policy and our Prime Minister is a United States vassal, that’s the only way I can put it really. He’s like a proxy power for the United States. So the United States was pushing… he was a member of the New York Federal Reserve, which is one of the biggest Federal Reserves, the most important and historic Federal Reserve Banks in the United States. So the United States was all about the Pivot To Asia and that’s including New Zealand and the South Pacific. They were all about the TPP and we were opposing the TPP, they were trying to extradite Kim Dotcom and we were supporting Kim Dotcom, they were trying to pass the USA Freedom Act and the UK IP Bill and the Aussie Data Retention Act and the GCSB Bill and we were opposing the GCSB bill. They were trying to push asset sales and we were opposing asset sales, the list just goes on. We were standing in the way of absolutely everything that they were trying to do to our country and I was the conduit to the international media and to breaking the information out of New Zealand and getting it into the global sphere. And I think that that is one of the many reasons that they came down on me particularly hard.
RED: Yeah, I agree. As Suzie was saying, we were really… as we do here in New Zealand we punch above our weight. It’s a national psychological condition, I don’t know why but it’s fantastic. We were really pushing the stories out and really building the momentum and shining a light into the darkest recesses of our current government’s local and international dealings, working within the Five Eyes mechanisms. Because we are a small country but pretty much the anchor of that whole network I would argue.
SUZIE: We’re like the testing ground. If you look at the chronology of when the spy bills were being passed and that was drafted in Washington. So we have American-drafted legislation being instituted in New Zealand and then the other similar pieces of legislation one by one went across the rest of the Five Eyes so [New Zealand] were really the spearhead of that. If you look at the Moment Of Truth, there really had not been too many similar events up to that point. So, it was immediately before, one month before, more like a week actually, that it looked like the Prime Minister might actually be able to be toppled so it was absolutely high stakes. The other aggravating factor too is that the Minister who was in charge of the GCSB, of the spy agencies, at the time that the warrants were signed to send our data to the NSA, was the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The ex-Member of the Federal Reserve Prime Minister of New Zealad. So if I am one of the 88 as seems to be the case then the Prime Minister of New Zealand personally signed off on the warrant that allowed me to be targeted by a foreign country.
TERRY: Is he American?
SUZIE: No, he is not.
TERRY: How did he come to be a member of the Federal Reserve, is what comes to my mind? We’ll have to look for the documentation on this but we just did a show on the money power… this is a series of shows that we’re trying to put together so that people can understand… it’s easy to blame America for this and we do have our share of the guilt but we’ve been..
SUZIE: He was the only head of state to be named by the Panama Papers whistleblower. He was implicated through his lawyer in the Panama Papers and he was originally head of, was it foreign.. derivatives trading? And foreign exchange, I think, for one of the big top investment banks. He was connected to the Ireland housing bubble and what went on there. So he had an international track record of working for these major banks and that is, I assume, how he became a member of the Federal Reserve. When he came to prominence in New Zealand, very few people had actually heard of him. So he was seen as the outside candidate, against a Prime Minister who had been in for donkey’s years in New Zealand and he managed to topple her to get into power. Pretty much since then, in 2008, our country has completely changed. It’s changed in environmental policy, in economic policy, we’ve now got austerity, we’ve got massive ramped-up Defence budgets, we’ve got, obviously, the retroactive legalisation of illegal spying against our own citizens. We’ve got a homelessness crisis, we’ve got a child poverty crisis, we have a suicide crisis, you name it, we’re going through it. I wrote an article called ‘The Desecration of New Zealand’ which pooled a hundred different source links about what has happened to New Zealand since 2008, but our country, we cannot even recognise it since he has been in power.
TERRY: We’ve got about 8 minutes left and again, let me bring us back again to information control, to counterinsurgency – there is a war on reporters. We just did a show two shows ago, Serena Shim was a United States citizen, there’s been a news blackout on what happened to Serena Shim and the upshot is, we still don’t know and the State Department won’t run an investigation on it. There was another reporter that was kind of a personal story for me, Gary Webb, it’s kind of a personal story for me, but he was not backed up. There was a news blackout on him because of the story he wrote and there was actually even a counter story saying he was wrong, by the mainstream media and the record has never been corrected, it ended up with him committing suicide. How do we stop this, how do we band together to stop this? How do we manage to stop the war on reporters?
RED: Well, my thoughts on this is that we have the tools at our fingertips, literally, so we should really, really use them. We’re in a very strange time currently with elements of disinformation and counterinformation, echo chamber propaganda being thrown at us. The mainstream media has learned our tricks but we need to organise and rise and push through the counter counter counter narratives that have been thrown against us. So the way that we can do it I firmly believe is by information sharing and fact checking and sourcing the facts and holding these people to account. Pushing the stories through, challenging the mainstream narrative and refusing to let the echo chamber drown us out.
TERRY: How do we stop the war on reporters? It’s open season on reporters and our colleagues are not reacting…
SUZIE: Well that’s the key! It has to come from the other journalists. If journalists are complicit in it by remaining silent when they’re being picked off one by one, then we’re screwed. And that’s really been the situation to date. Michael Hastings is a classic example. The fact that the mainstream sat largely quiet through that is appalling.
TERRY: We still don’t know what happened to Michael Hastings. We don’t know what happened to Serena Shim. We don’t know really what happened to Gary Webb but the coroner’s report was a finding of suicide – he shot himself in the head, twice – the most remarkable suicide in history. These stories are not isolated. We have to react. An attack on any single one of us has to be reacted against by the entire media and I don’t see that happening. I don’t see our colleagues backing each other up. Starting with the people on this conversation, any thoughts?
SUZIE: I’m really happy and I’m really grateful for the number of people that have backed me up and that have stood by me and for the organisations who have stood by me because there were people who amplified my work, WikiLeaks quite famously amplified my work, Greenwald amplified my work, Kim Dotcom’s amplified my work and I’m really really grateful for that because that does help to give me some visibility but also to give the issues visibility when the mainstream blacks them out so I think we really have to applaud the organisations and the people who do have the courage to amplify for those of us who are outside the mainstream and we do have to hold the mainstream accountable. And just on the Michael Hastings front as well, like we say we don’t know what happened, because technically we don’t, but if you look at the science, it’s really obvious that the official story is not what happened. If you look at the science of 9/11, it’s obvious that there is a lot of questions to be asked there, just purely from a scientific perspective. Even as you say, about Gary Webb, shooting himself twice in the head, the science there doesn’t add up either. So regardless of what the mainstream says, the science says something different.
TERRY: Again, that’s a key point. We may not know exactly what happened. But we do know that the official explanation just doesn’t hold. Nobody believes this crap anymore. This last election that we just had, the mainstream media’s performance, the only good news to it that I can see is there’s a lot more people looking at us independents than there was. Any thoughts there guys? We are the mainstream media. The independents are the mainstream media now. By numbers.
SUZIE: And the audience is just growing and growing and growing.
RED: Yeah, there’s way more of it.
SUZIE: We’re now… WikiLeaks got 52,000 retweets on a single tweet. That must be giving the deep state paroxysms. Because, seriously… I remember when Glenn Greenwald used to get like 80 retweets, or 100 retweets, then it was 200, then it was 400, now it’s like 2,000… 4,000… 5,000… 10,000… and it just grows and grows and grows. And that is probably the biggest sign of hope I think that we have, how much the audience size is growing for alternative news sources.
TERRY: It sounds like Chris has just joined us. Welcome aboard Chris. It’s a pleasure to get to talk to you. The question before us now is, there’s a war on reporters, and as a candidate for Member of Parliament, weren’t you, what are your thoughts on that?
CHRIS: That’s a really good question, where do I even start. Look I think there’s a war on actual journalism these days. There’s more than enough examples now when we look at mainstream media, just when we see how biased journalism has become in the mainstream network where it’s pretty much become tabloid journalism. So you know there are real journalists out there that are investigating stories and doing the groundwork but very few of them really get their work recognised and get their work out there and read? They really do have to fight at times. So is there a war on real investigative journalism? I think there is.
RED: I would agree, 100%.
TERRY: The war on Suzie…
SUZIE: The war on Suzie?! [Groaning] You know, that’s a great topic isn’t it.
TERRY: How many times have we lost our communications signals here? There’s this thing.. it’s in the spy museum in Washington DC and one of those rules is, like Suzie’s lawyer was saying, if it happens once, maybe it’s mischance, twice, maybe a coincidence but third time, that’s enemy action. A James Bond movie was another place that used that. But it’s actually quoted in the spy museum. We even have a museum to spies in this country, let’s glorify that. What about you Chris, what do you see? What have you seen in the war on Suzie?
CHRIS: Oh yeah, the war on Suzie. Look, I’ve known Suzie for several years now, long enough to call her a good friend. I always find that everything that she’s focused on in her role in covering journalism, you know, doing a lot of citizen journalism, whatever it is, she’s always been really… had a real strong intent on wanting to expose the truth. On getting right to the very bottom of it all. Anyone that tries to expose the truth, they get heavily criticised and attacked. It would be a fantasitc world if everyone who was honest, people just openly received that, they read it, they embraced it, the world would be a much better place because of it. But, yeah look I think Suzie has gone through more than her fair share of being persecuted but you know whenever you’re dealing with the truth you’re dealing with a lot of people that have been brainwashed to think other things. We’re in a world now where… I honestly feel like we live in a real-world Matrix. There really is a red pill and a blue pill. So we’ve got people like Suzie that are looking to expose the truth, looking to get the real message out there. But, you know, it’s just such a shock to the system, that either a) people are not ready to listen and to appraise it or, two, there’s agendas to cover it up, or people are just not ready. So you know, the truth is a hard road to go down.
TERRY: Suzie, last word to you please..
SUZIE: I’d like to kick it back to Chris. Chris, one of my memories is you picking me up and driving me out to, what we called the #PMDebate which was where Prime Minister John Key… they said it was not a debate, he was not there to debate everybody, but it was, sure enough, a speaking event with him and a lot of the other candidates… I remember, you had another one of your friends, or was it another one of the Internet Party candidates with you, I can’t remember, but I remember they were asking me questions about me being targeted and I was pretty much spilling my guts in the back of the car…
CHRIS: Yeah, yeah I remember that and if I remember that correctly, our friend who was with us was finding it hard to believe that that was something that you were going through and I think that for anyone that hasn’t been exposed to that kind of thing it is hard to believe..
TERRY: If we don’t stop it happening to her, it will happen to you, it will happen to anybody that is listening to this show, eventually. Please go ahead with that thought, what do we do to fix this? How do we stop the war on reporters? How do we stop the war on Suzie?
CHRIS: Oh, that’s a good question. I think it starts with shows like this. It starts with knowing who your friends are, it starts with people that are united with wanting to share the truth and getting it out there and providing that support to one another to amplify that message. It will be a very rare thing if it starts in another way. Someone has to be brave enough to back someone like Suzie, to share what’s going on and to let people know. Then it comes from that amplification building a much more aware community of what’s going on. That’s my guess as to what we do but it all starts with uniting people that are on that same wavelength, who believe in the same things and then getting them to unite and spread that message.
SUZIE: I think that Chris exemplifies what he was just talking about because Chris is someone who, I think, like me didn’t have an activism background coming into this, he had quite a mainstream profile actually, and he did have the choice to take the red pill or the blue pill and he did take the red pill and he’s done really impressive and amazing things for our country then. I really appreciate that he is putting himself on the line as well, just to speak the truth about what happened. So what he’s saying about the importance of community is really beautiful for me because these guys are part of my community and I am really lucky and it ties back to what I was saying before. Which is that those who have been involved in this stuff, they never doubt me. It’s the people for whom it’s completely outside their experience, that do. And they do need to understand, like I talked about in the documentary, with the privatisation of spying, and with the profit motive now being involved, it can’t just be activists that they spy on. It will eventually be every single person. Just the way that we have seen surveillance cameras spread from one area, to absolutely everywhere, the same thing is happening with the spying. That also ties into the Snowden revelations in the sense that they proved that mass surveillance is spying on everybody. So there are some people that want to say ‘oh it’s only if you’re targeted that it will be used against you’ but they’re now making money off it. They’re making money off collecting the data and analysing the data. We see people at football stadiums having their facial profiles captured. They’re not doing that because those people are targeted, they’re targeting every person in that stadium. So this is becoming a danger to everybody and this is going to touch everybody’s lives and eventually will be judged by the state based on the data that is captured through the surveillance.
CHRIS: Yeah and I think they’re trying to kind of minimise it by saying that it’s mass collection, which sounds like a very passive thing, as compared to mass surveillance which seems like a really active thing. So when they say, oh, it’s mass collection, it’s trying to really minimise what’s going on but it’s all one and the same.
SUZIE: Every year that passes they find new uses for the data that they collect. So them collecting it now, they could use it in God knows what ways in 5 years time or in 10 years time. And also Snowden just recently in the last week made the point about Trump… Obama has helped to build these systems, now Trump’s going to be the one using them and that’s very, very true. What are we setting ourselves up for in the future?
RED: One of my key arguments when talking about mass surveillance, and the nay-sayers are like oh well if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear… and I say well, do you know how metadata works.. and they’re like no… and I say well imagine that you’re going for that job, the one that you’ve worked really hard for, that you’ve studied really hard for, and in the future society they say ‘Well Mr Smith, we see that you used to send a lot of interesting dick pics, you used to look at a lot of really interesting websites, so sorry you’re not going to have this job.’ And that’s the reality and that’s what we’re fighting against. It’s more reason why we should rise up and more reason why we should be transparent because they’ve got it all anyway.
TERRY: I find it to be an optimistic thing that Chris, you were a candidate for a member of Parliament, correct?
CHRIS: I was a candidate with the Internet Party that campaigned during the New Zealand 2014 General Election, yeah. I wasn’t in Parliament but I was a candidate running for it, yeah.
TERRY: A lot of people don’t make it on their first try at office, theoretically, or hopefully, you’re going to try again, and again, and again, and people can support you to get voices that are talking the truth out there, where it can actually be put to use in the Parliament in New Zealand. I don’t know who’s just punched out again but I think we’ve got enough for an hour’s show guys. Who’s still here?
SUZIE: I’m still with you.
CHRIS: In response [to Suzie] you’ve had a significant role in being able to break stories through your work. You’ve not only started several of your own journalism sites but your work has been published elsewhere on other bigger sites to get the story out. I feel you’re making a tremendous differenece to just getting the truth out there on a lot of major issues so your work is highly significant in my opinion. Because of that, that’s why I’m there for you because I think we can all be really tired of the propaganda and the manipulation and the spinning that happens in day-to-day. We need good people who are actually going to inform people of the truth. We need more people like Suzie to inform the general public and inform people of what’s really going on. The truth is something that I feel really strongly about and I know Suzie as a good friend and I highly respect what she does as a journalist so that’s why I’m there for her and I want to support her in whatever way that I can.
RED: The significance of your work is that you speak truth to power. You are the absolute embodiment of ‘you should always speak the truth even if your voice shakes’. I’ve seen you develop and grow and blossom like a beautiful rose in the desert and I’ve been absolutely privileged to be there with you and to shoot the proverbial on issues. On moments, on live, on love, on existence and on the future. I support you 100% and I’d do anything for you and you know that. I think we are, reluctantly or consciously, part of a new wave into a brand new bright golden, beautiful future. We are the warriors of the revolution and more power to all of us.
TERRY: So say we all.
— Citizen Halo (@haloefekti) November 14, 2016