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In an episode of the Empire Files podcast, Abby interviews Paul about his investigation into the 9/11 attacks, his experiences in Afghanistan, and his interviews with climate scientists.
Welcome to the Empire Files Podcast. I’m Abby Martin. Today I’m happy to talk to my friend and colleague, Paul Jay. I always appreciate Paul’s insight and analysis, which you can get all the time at his new site, theAnalysis.news. Paul, thank you so much for joining me on the Empire Files podcast.
Thanks very much, Abby.
I want to move on to climate change and the nuclear doomsday, your conversations with Ellsberg, but let’s wrap this up. Just quickly commenting on something that you just mentioned. Of course, we could talk all day about the War on Terror, the lack of accountability, the fact that the media is completely manufacturing the outrage over women in Afghanistan. Where’s the last time you heard that? Oh, yeah, the fucking lead up to the invasion of Afghanistan. All of a sudden, they went dark for 20 years. Now they’re back, baby, with all the concern about women only when the U.S. is slated to leave.
But, Paul, you just mentioned 9/11, and I can’t help but bring this up before we move on because this was the initial reason why we are in this mess. We don’t have to belabour that point. But we are coming up on the 20 year anniversary, and we still don’t have hard answers to why there was the biggest intelligence failure of our lifetime? Why everyone involved got promoted? Why it’s still being exploited to embark on a worldwide fight against terrorism, even though terrorism only increases exponentially as the result of these policies.
Well, I don’t think it was the biggest intelligence failure of all time because I don’t think there was any intelligence failure at all. I think— I’m persuaded that— I can’t hold a congressional committee and subpoena people. Based on what information is in the public domain and my interviews with people who really know stuff, and I’m talking about people like Bob Graham, Thomas Drake, who was at the NSA [National Security Agency], and others. I am persuaded, convinced really, it was by design, and I mean Dick Cheney who created a parallel reporting trap for the intelligence agencies. He created silos, so the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] didn’t talk to the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], and the NSA didn’t talk to them. They were supposed to report to Richard Clarke, who is the anti-terrorism czar.
Well, what is the first thing? And I can talk about this for our whole hour. So I’ll try to be brief. George Tenet, the head of the CIA, in the first national security briefing to George Bush, and Cheneys there, tells them the number one threat to American National security is [Osama] bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Tenet said that in public at the 9/11 committee hearing. So it’s not some secret thing here.
What do they do a few weeks later? They demote Richard Clarke, who was the anti-terrorism czar, who had cabinet-level authority, which meant he could call a meeting of the principles: which is the heads of agencies and the undersecretaries of all the various departments of the government. He has the authority to call that meeting himself if he thought it was necessary. He gets demoted, and now he has to report to Condoleezza Rice.
Now how do you do that? Why on earth if you’ve just been told by the head of CIA that Al-Qaeda is your number one threat. How the hell do you demote your anti-terrorism czar. If you don’t like Clarke, fire the guy and put someone else there. But how do you demote the position? That’s how they begin the plan. I do believe this comes out of the gang who— most of the Bush’s foreign policy people were signatories to the Project for New American Century and the document they created with the famous line, the Vietnam Syndrome. Americans won’t put up with another war. Only another Pearl Harbor would get such and such going.
Well, they got their Pearl Harbor, and I don’t think— let me put it this way. I don’t see any evidence they organized this attack. I think there’s evidence they became aware of the attack. I think the way they became aware of it is more than likely through the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Bandar, who was nicknamed Bandar [bin Khalid Al Faisal] Bush. He was so close to the Bush family. They’re told something’s coming. I have no evidence they knew what that something was, and it’s almost irrelevant. But let’s assume they didn’t because there’s no evidence they did. But they knew something was coming. In fact, there was just something recently in one of these books that just came out about 9/11 and the period; that Bush was told a few days ahead of 9/11, an attack was coming and ignored it.
Just quickly to jump to one of the things I think has gotten almost no coverage at all. Bob Graham, when I said to him, did Bush and Cheney deliberately create a culture within the intelligence agencies of not wanting to know about terrorist attacks, not organizing about. Disorganization. He said to me, yes, but it’s more than that. I’m going to play this again in a couple of weeks on the anniversary. I’m going to replay all my interviews. He said there are things they did that proactively facilitated it. One of the examples was that in the famous memo, bin Laden plans to attack America. That Condoleezza Rice was grilled about it at the 9/11 committee hearings. She says, oh, we thought it was a historical document. Just a ridiculous thing because the CIA had just alerted them to it.
Graham told me, in the normal course of events after there is a Presidential Briefing, within a day or two, if there’s anything in that briefing, it goes out in another briefing called the Principles Briefing, which goes to head of agencies and undersecretaries, and so on. So they have to take measures, action, like the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] putting security on alert, that it would go out in the Principles briefing.
Graham told me that the bin Laden memo was omitted from the Principles Briefing that came out two or three days after they got the CIA briefing. I said, well, how do you explain it? He says the only explanation, he said, is someone looked at it and deliberately, consciously decided not to release it to the principles. Graham said to him, his investigators, and his committee that was an example of more than passive facilitation and active facilitation. As I said, I can go on about this because there’s other examples.
So I don’t think 9/11 was the failure of intelligence. I think it was by design. There were keystone cops but by design. Yes, the intelligence agencies were tripping all over each other, and when they found the cell in California, the CIA didn’t tell the FBI, and the FBI didn’t tell the CIA. It goes on and on, but by design.
I couldn’t agree more.
And all about the invasion of Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was part of the vision of the project for the New American Century because the real objective always was regime change in Iran. Iraq was a step. Then they were going to overthrow the government of Syria, and all of this was going to lead up to an attack on Iran and regime change in Iran. That was always the plan. And 9/11, unless there’s some evidence out the that I haven’t seen, it’s possible; that’s the story of 9/11. That it was all part of a process that would lead to the assertion of American hegemony in an area that they had lost control of: Iraq, Syria, and Iran, especially Iran. So that, to me, is the real story of 9/11.
Yeah, I mean, that was the catalyzing event that they needed. It is spelled out in the document, Paul, in a kind of ominous and eerie way. Considering that they got exactly what they were calling for, they were able to quote and rebuild America’s defenses, which they would not have been able to do without that new Pearl Harbor. There’s so many warnings—
Can I just quickly say one thing. I think what you just said is really important. It wasn’t just about the regime change. It was about massive new expenditures in the arms complex. They needed that, to do that too. So what you just said is very important.
Yeah. I mean, there were so many warnings coming from so many different intelligence agencies. At some point, you really have to be completely blind to think that everyone that was being warned firsthand by these people just ignored it completely for no reason. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense, Paul. I mean, Bush was reportedly even sleeping on an aircraft carrier days before because the warnings were so dire. It’s absurd every way you look at it. I could talk about this all day as well, but I think you summed it up pretty well, but at the very least, I think that the government let this happen. The callous disregard for human life that they knew would come really says it all.
I wanted to just quickly get your comment on Canada’s role in the Afghanistan war because we don’t really talk about that. People think, oh, Canada has peacekeeping troops around the world. I mean, you are Canadian. You have been doing political media coverage in Canada for your entire life, pretty much. Can you briefly talk about Canada’s interests and the role the country plays in relation to the U.S. Empire?
I interviewed a Canadian general, Lewis MacKenzie, back in 2000 and late 2001, or something. No, I’m sorry. It was later. It was after the invasion of Iraq. So this would have been 2003/04. Canada, on the whole, didn’t join the invasion of Iraq. To a large extent, the Canadian public opinion was so against it, especially in Quebec, where the Liberal Party, Jean Chrétien, was the Prime Minister. They were very, very concerned about losing seats in Quebec. Honestly, if it had been just English Canada, Canada probably would have gone to war in Iraq with the U.S., but Quebec was so against it.
Quebec has a real tradition against military intervention. They even opposed the draft in World War I, in Quebec. Chrétien kept on the whole—why I say, on the whole, there were some Canadians on some American boats here and there. But on the whole, Canadians didn’t go into Iraq. So when Afghanistan— when 9/11 took place and the invasion of Afghanistan had taken place, the war started developing. Canada stays— by around 2003, Canada didn’t do that much in Afghanistan, early on. After Iraq, there’s enormous pressure by the U.S. for Canada to get in on the deal in Afghanistan. So, I guess it’s around 03/04, Canada starts sending large numbers of troops into Afghanistan. Large in Canadian terms, anyway.
So I asked the general. I said, you know, we didn’t go into Iraq, really. Why did we go into Afghanistan? And he said, have you looked at the size of Canadian-American trade and how dependent Canada is on the U.S. market. He said, we went to Afghanistan because we had to prove to the Americans— for the relationship and the trading relationship we have, we’re willing, and this is a quote from him, to pay in blood.
Oh, my god.
We have to be willing to lose some soldiers in an American war, or we might suffer some consequences. The Americans were very pissed off about Iraq, and we had to prove our loyalty. So I think Canada went into Afghanistan for almost no other reason than to prove loyalty to the empire. To maintain its role as a junior partner in the empire.
Now, I know we can’t get into all this now, but Canada plays a diabolical role in the Caribbean and Latin America. It’s the subject for another conversation, but Canada has for years cooperated with attempting to support the opposition in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Honduras. Canada has played an absolutely despicable role supporting coups and right-wing dictators, and you name it.
So nice guy, Canada; it’s really a bunch of bullshit. But when it comes to Afghanistan, I don’t know that there was anything other than what I said because I don’t see how they got anything else out of it.
Yeah, you’re totally right. There’s always the junior collaborators that go and legitimize people like Juan Guaidó immediately on the behest of the U.S. It definitely should be the subject of a series of talks that you give certainly, definitely a future podcast in its entirety, Paul.
Let’s move on to climate change, though, because this is another subject that you’ve extensively covered on your project, theAnalysis, as well as your former project, the Real News Network. Let’s talk about your recent interview with the co-author of the new IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report; that calls this code red for humanity. I guess give us your takeaway from your discussion with this guy.
Well, what do you say? I mean, at the very end of the interview, I said if American policy doesn’t get serious— because compared to [Donald] Trump, [Joe] Biden looks good. But compared to what’s needed, Biden’s strategy is not going to meet any of the stated targets. Especially the reliance on carbon capture and new tech, and all this. I said, what do you think of the possibilities of the Americans actually dealing with this with some seriousness. This guy works for the Canadian government, right. So what he said, I wasn’t expecting. He said, how can you expect the country that can’t deal with the pandemic to deal with the climate crisis.
He was the co-lead author of Chapter Eleven. His co-lead author of Chapter Eleven, who I believe is Swiss or something. She was quoted when the report came out saying that she doesn’t know if she’ll ever participate in another IPCC report again because she said, what’s the point? Nobody does anything. She says it’s not a good use of scientist’s time to issue these reports—
Geez, that’s depressing.
When they essentially get ignored. Well, this is the problem: how do you talk about it in a real truthful way and not sound depressing? The biggest problem of all, and this, of course, doesn’t just relate to climate, but climate is without question, for me, the number one thing we have to focus on and then everything else has to be in the context of that. But the popular movement in the United States, and I have to say in most other countries, too, certainly Canada. If anything, it’s more of a popular movement in the U.S. than there is in Canada.
One, to the extent it exists, it is not very focused on climate. It’s very siloed into all kinds of issues. There’s an environmental movement, but all the other kinds of movements and issues the people take up are legitimate, but they don’t also connect to climate. So it’s not like there’s this building-wide, popular movement around climate.
The other thing is— there’s an interesting thing, Jane McAlevey, who’s this longtime Union organizer and trainer of Union organizers, she talks about activism. She says there is advocacy, where people advocate for an issue, and they go online and spread information. They have petitions. They may even get people to vote, sort of. But that’s not organizing.
She says then there’s organizing, and organizing is when you go into a specific factory or a specific community, and you literally get people to join an organization. Whether it’s a Union or a community organization, she talks about the full worker organization, like in unions, which means if you’re organizing a plan, you figure out what Church people go to, and you organize at that Church. You figure out where they do their recreation and the clubs.
What we’re missing, and I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, it’s just not on a scale that we need so urgently, is that kind of organizing connected with what you do, what I do. But what you and I do, and the media platforms do, it’s never going to be a substitute for that actual knocking on doors and organizing. And not just knocking on doors to get people to vote. Although, even that is important because you can see where people got progressives elected. It has more to do with knocking on doors than the Internet. But there’s no gravity. There’s no national center and a popular movement that organizes and organizes, especially demands— if there’s one thing that the Biden administration frustrates me, pisses me off more than anything, and of course, there’s a long list of things that you could say are frustrating, anger making, and all the rest. But I don’t get that angry because I didn’t have high expectations in the beginning. Why aren’t they promising fossil fuel workers in all the areas where there are fossil fuel industries, economies— and that’s mostly where the Republicans and Trump is strong. Why aren’t they promising everybody to keep their wages intact and when we phase out fossil fuel and transition quickly to sustainable energy. You don’t lose a penny of wages.
Bob Pollin priced it out. I believe the number was $2 billion would pay every fossil fuel worker the wages they’re making now for three years. So you could promise six years for $4 billion. They are throwing hundreds on Ford-class aircraft carriers.
One, it would politically help you in all the States that are voting Republican. It would get momentum behind quickly phasing out fossil fuels. Why aren’t they doing it? There’s only one answer. That would mean you’re getting serious about phasing out fossil fuels, and you’ll piss off the fossil fuel companies.
Where the fuck is the urgency. It’s almost the same problem with the pandemic. The disinformation war has really taken root, Paul, in so many districts and cities across the country where it does seem like it’s almost the more dominant narrative; that climate change is not real. It’s not a threat. It’s not happening. It’s fascinating. Kind of the same thing with COVID. How can we possibly galvanize and organize? Of course, that is the answer. It is about directly mobilizing working-class people and political education. It does seem very daunting when you are dealing with such entrenched propaganda coming from either conspiracist or just right-wing media circles that essentially profit off of fossil fuel advertising and stuff like that.
Yeah, there’s no question it’s daunting. I think some of us, and I include myself, over-estimated what was possible through internet media, as opposed to this kind of on-the-ground organizing of people. Because the problem was as successful— if you look at even the most successful of progressive internet media, whether it’s at Democracy Now or others, you can critique them or not, but still in the realm of progressive media and they’re relatively big compared to a lot of other progressive media and sending and print, it’s so marginal.
I mean, most of the Americans have never heard of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now. In fact, I’m quite sure if you get a poll, and I’m making up this number out of my rear end, but I’ll bet you 95% of Americans have never heard of Noam Chomsky. We all think everybody’s heard of him, but I bet you most Americans have never heard the name. So to fight with the media platforms as the primary means, we overestimated what was possible. And this need to be organizing in the working-class and certainly in the big cities, but also in the pro-Trump areas of the working-class; on the ground, knocking on doors, that kind of stuff.
Now the problem is how much time do we really got? I don’t know. I don’t want to sound euphoric or rosy. I don’t know.
Look, I’ll say that you don’t have to worry about being depressing because we don’t look at the world through rose-coloured glasses on this show, Paul. As you know, you helped us spearhead the Empire Files from the get-go. So we are what we like to call, as Karl Rove calls it, the reality-based community. So don’t hold back, my friend.
Well, I just turned 70. So I’m not entirely sure what I can do myself in this respect, but we need an army of people, and there needs to be funding on a big scale to make this happen because there needs to be practically— there’s no full time organizers. I think the focus should be to start with— I mean, everybody should do it wherever they are, but I think there should be a specific fight in some small States that have Republican senators. And try to knock off a place where the Democrats don’t have hope. And see if a progressive message, really progressive, can actually win over people in a small, Republican Senate race. I say small because it’s just cheaper, but they have the same amount of voting clout.
I imagine in the Senate now, which is so even, even one or two— and I think, I’m not one of these people that critiques Bernie [Sanders]. Given what’s out there, it’s better than anything else going, and he has his weaknesses, faults, blind spots, and all the rest of it. But still, it’s something. Imagine some real progressives that could actually hold some balance and power in the Senate. And the small state where it doesn’t cost so much to run with the real ground game of organizing.
The other thing is unionizing is critical. I know there are some serious efforts going on at Amazon organizing. If there was to emerge a real national campaign to organize Amazon, I know there was a defeat, but there’s some critique about how it was run. But one of the things and I don’t think the left can afford and shouldn’t give up on unions is that’s the one place there actually is organized workers. There is some funding and money. There needs to be a class struggle in the unions because not much of the Union leadership is so enmeshed with the corporate Democrats.
One because they do so well themselves, and they eat at Ruth Christies and the steaks that are 2ft thick. But two, they can’t imagine any alternative. They think if you don’t support corporate Dems, the Republicans get in. It’s not without some truth. Anyway, our problem right now is there’s no— where do you have this conversation where you can have a national strategy and develop a kind of organizing.
Yeah, I mean, we’re kind of rudderless. The Bernie movement fizzled out, and now it’s just kind of splintered. It is disheartening to see, at least the online media space, in terms of the progressive voices, it’s difficult, Paul, but I couldn’t agree more with you. The real battle and fight is not happening on Twitter. It’s not happening on social media. It has to happen in these workplace environments. I think that we cannot truly assess the responsibility that this country has and the solutions that are needed to happen to curb climate change without addressing militarism.
I mean, this is not just the U.S. This is omitted from all countries in the climate negotiations. I mean, that’s truly shocking.
You pointed out on your show; I think you did a whole episode on this. The number one carbon producer in the world is the American Armed Forces. I’ve been talking to Daniel Ellsberg, and one of the things we talked about is the need to convert, not just phase out fossil fuel and phase in sustainable energy, but convert military production to green production.
Really quickly, all the military vehicles— another thing that people don’t talk about is all of them are built for fossil fuel. I mean, imagine replacing the arsenal of our military hardware, B-52 bombers, these fighter jets, all of the shit; we’re not going to fucking slap solar panels on these things. I mean, these are all designed to run on oil, Paul. There is no incentive.
Yeah, but this is where you get the organizing in the working class. Like you go into a place that’s making arms and start talking to workers and organizing around converting the plan to making, whether it’s solar or windmill or railroads. There was a moment where this could have been done. During the 07/08 crash, when [Barack] Obama came in and quote, unquote, rescued the auto industry. There were auto workers at the time, organized auto workers, demanding, calling: don’t just prop these companies up again, use the quasi nationalization and turn the auto industry into an engine for a new green economy. Convert now and not just about electric cars, but even creating sustainable energy like windmills.
Of course, they didn’t do that. I mean, we’re in the conundrum now. You want to talk real? We’re in the conundrum that the popular movement isn’t strong enough to force the elite to do much. Certainly not in the position to take control of a national government. There might be an opportunity, maybe at a state level, to elect something. There’s some interesting stuff going on in New York now with the number of progressives that are in the state legislature, even some of the city Council.
So we’re going to also have to face the fact, and I don’t know whether what I’m about to say is how real it is or possible. Some sections of the elites have to wake up about this stuff because it’s going to destroy their own system. The climate crisis will destroy global capitalism, even if they can make a lot of money during the destructive process. Now, they are not going to have global supply chains when millions and millions of people that live in the global South head north. Where is the global supply chain then? Look at what the pandemic did to the global supply chains. Imagine that kind of disruption. The global South within 20 years, 30 years, sections even sooner could become unlivable.
You asked me about my interview with that IPCC guy. He said that they looked at what happened at four degrees warming. I said, why are you focusing on four? I mean, people are saying, you got to stop it at two and all that. He said, well, because the way we’re going, we’re not stopping it at it two. He didn’t say this, but others have said it. If you start heading north of two, it becomes a qualitatively different process that you can’t stop it.
One of his numbers was also chilling, which was as bad as the climate will be at 1.5, which we could be there within ten to 15 years, and it will be really bad. The effects of the extreme climate double at two degrees and quadruple as three degrees. But something else happens. When you start getting into 1.5, two and three, they talk about— and I can’t remember the exact terminology, but there’s events that could take place, which could be so dramatic it upends all the logic of the predictions of what happens at two, three and four. It could get so much worse. He uses the word it would be unimaginable. He says the only reason they didn’t put a number on statistically the risk of that; they just don’t have enough data to be able to say it in scientific terms. He’s quite confident that if one of the extreme events takes place, it becomes so catastrophic. We could be looking at the end— I mean, I said this to him, and he agreed with me. I said we could be looking at the end of organized human life within a few decades. I said, am I exaggerating it? He said no. I said, is it possible within even 10, 20, 30 years, most of the American agriculture in the Western United States is a dust bowl? Am I exaggerating? He said no.
So, where is the sense of urgency? Never mind amongst the elites, even in the left. Generally, where the hell is the sense of urgency?
Paul, one of these events that you’re saying, this hypothetical event that is, quote, unimaginable right now, is that kin to like the projections of the methane being released from the ocean? I mean, any number of these things that we just see casually being written about as a potentially catastrophic, cataclysmic thing in the wake of the warming temperatures. Is that what you are talking about here?
When he mentioned is that the oceans have the capacity to eat a certain amount of carbon. Then he said something which I didn’t quite get, so I can’t be too specific, but I’m going to figure it out. One of the processes by which oceans eat up carbon, there’s a thing that can happen to the oceans, and there’s an indication that it’s starting to happen and that it would disrupt the oceans eating up carbon. If thing unfolds, then all the predictions are thrown out the window, because then the issue of catastrophic weather events speeds up by decades.
So yeah, it could be methane from the Arctic, Siberia and the Arctic. It could be the oceans. I mean, it just boggles the mind how the elites, who at least now in rhetoric get the danger, are still so focused on bullshit. It’s in their nature. They focus on money-making.
I can’t wrap my mind around it, Paul. It is the biggest issue on the planet. It’s validated by all the science that you need. I mean, the only thing I can wrap my mind around, it’s just like kind of everything else. I mean, it’s out of sight, out of mind, even though it isn’t. You look out your window, and you see climate change happening right now, but it’s almost just that short-sighted profit-making that you just want to make super profits, and you just don’t give a fuck about what’s going to happen 10-20 years down the line.
I can’t wrap my mind around it because I have a fucking kid. You have kids. These people have children. I don’t get it, Paul. This is the planet. This should not be a political fucking issue.
They are so used to being insulated from the consequences of crisis. They just live— Rob Johnson, who knows a lot of the people I asked him about this. He says denial is comforting, and it’s just easier to live in your bubble. It’s not like there’s no members of the elites that don’t get the urgency, but they’re in such a minority. The majority live in opulence and an orgy of profit-making.
One bright light here— and I haven’t made up my mind of what I think of China. It is authoritarian. On the other hand, people’s lives are getting better. So I don’t know, I really haven’t made up my mind on what I think exactly what China is. That being said, there’s no comparison, the crimes the United States has committed around the world and what China is doing globally; you can’t even compare the two things. It’s apples and oranges.
The people I’ve talked to who have a pretty good handle on China, they say China is really serious about climate change. That they are really focused on transforming the economy. All the use of coal now, which China gets critiqued a lot for and rightly so, but they really do, according to the people I’m talking to, have a real plan to use coal in a transitional way. That they do plan, and they’re already the world’s leading producer of solar and wind energy. Only because of the Chinese has solar become affordable around the world.
Maybe if the Chinese get even more focused and more serious, it will pressure the elites elsewhere that they’re going to lose the climate change battle. If you want to worry about your rival, if your rival is really streaking out ahead of you on climate stuff, maybe it will pressure them to wake up. I don’t know.
Daniel Ellsberg has a good line about atomic weapons, which we haven’t even talked about. Unless not, it’s gloomy enough this conversation. At some point, we should. Dan says you have to act like you’re on the Titanic, and there is still time to turn away from the iceberg.
It’s true. I mean, we can’t give up now, Paul. I do have optimism. We have to face reality, and we have to do everything that we can to try to change where we’re headed right now, which is flying off of a cliff. I think that to a large extent, this fear-mongering about China is completely invented. Five-ten years ago, no one talked about China, really. It was all about Russia. I don’t even think it’s COVID that’s seeding the paranoia and fear. I think it really is just being planted by the corporate media. There’s no reason to fear China. There’s no reason to think China is a threat to us. It’s time, facing this urgent issue, to cooperate and collaborate with China, to do everything that we possibly can to try to mitigate this; Paul, I couldn’t agree more with you.
It’s just unfortunate that the elites at the helm are essentially doing the opposite: posturing for war, drafting all these plans to basically say no. We not only need to build up militarily to surround China, but also what the hell? While we’re at it, why don’t we modernize our nuclear arsenal and throw a fucking trillion more dollars at that? It’s complete and utter madness. It’s lunacy. It needs to end.
Let’s wrap this up. I’ve kept you on the phone long enough. I know you’re on the East Coast here. Paul, we’re going to have to pick this up later and talk more about your incredible conversation with Daniel Ellsberg. More about what you’re doing. You have this project called theAnalysis. You are an incredible journalist. You’ve been in the game for decades. You have several documentaries under your belt. Everyone should check out theAnalysis because it’s not just you interviewing people. I mean, you as people have just heard themselves like you have so much knowledge, and you’ve investigated so many topics over the course of your life. And just these incredible interviews that you really, really get to the core of so much with an incredibly astute political analysis.
Everyone check out theAnalysis; please subscribe to Paul’s mailing list. Paul, let’s wrap this up. You’ve actually been censored by YouTube. I mean, this is a big problem with new media, right? This is really hard. Here we are trying to pave a way in this alternative media structure. We have very limited capacity to do so. We have a very minimal audience reach. Noam Chomsky aside, I can’t tell you how little people in the country have heard of either of us.
So I don’t even have a question here, but I guess just talk about what just happened with your content on YouTube. How can people find your work? And I guess where do you see this going given the big tech censorship that’s just constantly increasing?
Well, I’ll try to do it quickly. First of all, you can find it at theAnalysis.news; that’s the URL. Yeah, YouTube took down three of our videos. One on a report I did on the events on Capitol Hill on January 6th, where I included some footage of Trump speaking to the crowd to show how he incited the crowd. Not to support his claims of fraudulent elections. That was deleted, and I got a warning.
Then they took down a video where I took out the Trump video and did another analysis where I talked about how I do believe there was an attempted coup by Trump and some of his allies. January 6th was supposed to be the final act of the coup, and it never went anywhere. The military leadership was opposed to it. The reason they were is because at that point, the financial elites were opposed to it. I went into that, again a subject for another day. The way the business elites bailed on Trump is a very important part of the story.
Then three, we had a piece on the role of Christian nationalism, dominionism, a real fanatical variant of evangelical Christianity within the military. I was interviewing Mikey Weinstein, who works on this issue. His estimate is that it could be as much as a third of the American military now is organized into Christian nationalism. They’re ready to support a Trumpian-style coup and are now very actively working towards— I asked him what do they want? He says watch Handmaid’s Tale. They want, what’s it called? Gilead. They want a theocratic, authoritarian American state, and that’s what they are fighting for. Trump was always just seen as the vehicle as part of that process and still is, and they could discard Trump and find some other vehicle.
Anyway, they took that down. All three of them they took down because they said we were spreading the misinformation, that the elections were won by fraud, which of course we never did. We’ve appealed and appealed it. Then I got— I know Matt Taibbi, so he wrote a piece where he asked YouTube: why did you take these things down? So they said, oh, we made a mistake, and they reversed it on the Christian one. They reversed it on the second January 6th one, but they wouldn’t reverse the first one. So I still have a warning against me.
So I don’t know. The only theory I have is that in order to show that they are not just going after the right-wing by cleaning the pro-Trumpian off YouTube and some of the other social media, they deliberately target progressive outlets in order to show how equal handed this was. Even though the progressive outlets, we’re not spreading misinformation and lies. There could be more sinister things.
I’m still looking and talking to some lawyers about finding some way to sue YouTube because I want to get them into court so we can have a discovery and try to force them to show us their algorithms. I would love in the discovery to tell us all of the relationships you have with the American Intelligence Agencies and do they in any way intercede and intervene in your algorithms.
I wonder whether I’ve been flagged personally because when Julian Assange was arrested, he came out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs carrying my book, which is my interview with Gore Vidal called The History of the National Security State. Ellsberg, after that happened, said you better be careful you’re really on their radar now. So I’d love to ask YouTube does the NSA or the FBI have the ability to flag within YouTube’s algorithms? Of course, they could have their own flags.
Anyway, the short of it all, there’s just no way that a civilized society would allow the major means of public discourse to be privately owned. Then have absolutely zero constitutional rights. There’s no such thing as freedom of speech. There’s no right to anything because it’s private. So they’re not bound by the Constitution, and it’s insane. It’s just another feature of what’s been happening in the whole media.
People use that as an excuse. They’ll actually proudly be like, well, it’s a private corporation it can do whatever it wants. And it’s like, well, that’s the problem. Don’t you feel like that’s not something that we should accept? That the public discourse is dominated by private tyrannies. That we have no Democratic say in how it’s governed. I mean, these are the public commons. They should be the public commons.
Yeah. I mean, the hypocrisy. This is where some of the progressives that are now in Congress, and some of them are, but instead of focusing too much, certainly the Democrats as a whole, they focus so much on censoring pro-Trump shit. They are not nearly focused, as they should be, on preventing big tech from being the arbiters of what’s allowable in public discourse. That’s the far more dangerous part of what’s going on. They need to be turned into public utilities. It has to be regulated.
I’m not a free speech absolutist quote-unquote. Nor are a lot of other people, including people like Matt Taibbi and others. You know, yeah, there are limits, but what is the process of defining the limits? Who gets to define them? It’s part of a bigger problem of democratizing American life. But there has to be a Democratic, transparent process, even if it’s through the courts; like in Canada, we have a hate speech law, but you can’t just be willy nilly and let a tech company say, oh well, that’s hate speech. Although, now there is some pressure to do that, mirroring what’s happening in the U.S. You get charged with hate speech. You have to go to court. There has to be proof that it was hate speech. One way or the other, there needs to be a process, but it can’t just be up to big tech to decide what is considered legitimate speech.
No, it’s incredibly dangerous. Then when you relegate these people’s ideas to a third lane, another plain of reality, what is that doing? That only silos people off even more. Further validates irrational theories or conspiracies that these people have maybe fallen into in the first place. It’s very dangerous.
I would rather know instead of having my reality sanitized for me on behalf of these tech overlords. We’ve both fallen victim to this, Paul. It’s not going to get better until the law changes, and we can only hope— it all goes back to organizing, right? That’s the answer to everything because there’s so many problems and there’s one source, and that’s our economic system.
Paul, we could talk all day. I think that this should be a monthly thing that we do, and maybe we can put it up on both of our outlets because it’s just really enlightening. Thank you so much for your time, Paul. To go over so many different issues, and yeah, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much for coming on the Empire Files Podcast.
Thank you, Abby. I really appreciate it. I hope I didn’t drown on too much. But what you’re doing is really important. This whole concept of the Empire and the focus on the U.S. foreign policy. It’s so critical because— I was talking before about the left being siloed. Well, so many of the silos of the left simply don’t include foreign policy at all. Unless there is some enormous crisis going on. So what you’ve been doing is really critical.
Everyone, check out theAnalysis.news. It’s an incredible website. You definitely want to get on the mailing list and not miss a single interview that Paul is doing.
Thank you, Abby.
Thank you, Paul.