'We face a crisis of epic proportions, Circus Clown College in Congress a joke' - whistleblower
Is the drama in Washington, a comedy or a tragedy? What's a better term for American democracy? When will the debt time bomb detonate? Who can stand up against American exceptionalism? We discuss this and more with National Security whistleblower, Mark Novitsky
.Sophie Shevardnadze:Our guest today is another national security whistleblower, and no it’s not Edward Snowden – his name is Mark Novitsky and he joins us from the American city of Minneapolis.
So the drama in Washington – what was it? Is it a comedy or a tragedy?
Mark Novitsky: It’s really disturbing to refer to what’s happening in Washington as a joke, and on behalf of all critical, clear-thinking Americans I want to apologize to the rest of the world for our Circus Clown College in Congress, and only the American Congress could pat themselves on the back and break their elbows for kicking the can down the road instead of actually doing their job, and delaying this for another three months on an issue that they should have handled couple years ago.
SS:There is no default this time, but only for now, the root causes aren’t really going away, be they political or economic, don’t you think?
MN: The situation is that actually there was a default, we went into default in May, and the Treasury department actually started dipping into US government pension funds to make up for that deficit. All of these things are really scary and I think that we would have to take a look at these issues as if what would be the consequences for the average person if they were to pile up their credit card debt to the point where they can’t afford to pay their mortgage and going to get another credit card – there has to be some type of resolution to all of this nonsense from an economic perspective. I think the first thing you do when you’re in the bottom of the hole is stop digging.
SS:Why is it that every draft bill turns into existential crisis for Congress? I mean, beforehandCongress was somewhat able to make more pragmatic decisions, come to an accord – but now it’s all about life and death struggle..
MN: Because the concept of social control being best managed through fear predates Christ from a political perspective, and in order for there to be fear so that one may have social control have to have a crisis. People often tend to refer to me, saying “Mark, you’re so negative!” That’s because we have a new crisis every week that we need to deal with and the way that we end up dealing with this crises is piling them on top of each other and nothing ever gets resolved. We need to hold our government officials accountable to the rule of law, to the Constitution, and I want to thank Russia Today for having me on, because the media is such a big component of that – and, tragically, Americans find themselves the best-entertained people on the planet and the least informed. But I think that that tide is turning, people are starting to understand the use propaganda, and being a little bit more selective.
I’ll be honest with you – when I told people that I was going to do a program on Russia Today people were saying “why would you do that? You’re going to look like a Commie!” And I said, “Listen, you need to broaden your perspective. You need to find a news source or news service that doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear.” You have to be critical, you have to think about what they are trying to sell you, when you’re talking about the news. What becomes news here in America is when a teen actress named Miley Cyrus sticks her tongue out and gets more naked and there’s three hours’ programmed on CNN.
SS:Well, thank you very much for being so positive about Russia Today, but talking about narrowing things down or broadening them – American Democracy is narrowed down to two parties and even then the Congress fails to agree on things. Is there a better term than “democracy” to describe it?
MN: Feudalism, I guess. Pseudo-democracy. We are in the United States of America and we ended up coming down to having a choice between two pre-selected candidates who spend the most money. A look at what just transpired with our country and our government with regards to this “every six month debt limit increase” or it’s a fiscal cliff, or it’s austerity – there’s always something to be afraid of, but at this point in time if we look at the television and see these two idiot teams bickering and fighting back and forth.
I’ll be candid with you, when I have a mental image of American politics I see two warring factions of chimpanzees baring their teeth and screaming at each other and waving and flailing their hands above them and throwing feces at each other. That’s where we are at. We got to get back to being the beacon of freedom, the beacon of democracy, the beacon of common sense.
SS:The American debt looks increasingly insane with no improvements or even signs of desire to pay down. Where is the US going with it?
MN: That’s a situation that we are afforded having a luxury being the international reserve currency of the world, and with that should come a certain responsibility. There have been periods of time when governments have been the international reserve currency of the world, you know, pre-World War II it was the UK, before that that was Spain, before it was Portugal – so a country being in the position of holding an international reserve currency is not a static thing. What we have to take a look at is getting our spending under control, eliminating useless and severely detrimental wars that we’re involving ourselves in relation to support of the military industrial complex. We should be like a responsible adult, pay what we own and live within our means.
SS:The US is printing money in enormous amounts to serve its financial purposes – it is their national currency, of course, but it’s also an international commodity, whose consequences resonate through every corner of the world, including riots and revolts in countries with destroyed economies. Is this an American exceptionalism at play?
MN: I’m troubled by the fact that president Obama mentioned the word “American exceptionalism”, because I think that God created us all equal. That’s kind of a point that I would not have made, especially to the UN General Assembly. Somebody has to do it. Somebody has to be the international reserve currency, there has to be oversight, there has to be transparency and that’s where the process or procedure of improvements needs to be made.
We have a system that’s broken. We have to find the best and the brightest people in the US and internationally, that have the resolve to correct the problem. We’re off the tracks, we’re off the rails and so we can’t go back to continuously doing the same thing. So we need to put a team of objective independent critical thinkers behind the problem and address these concerns.
SS:But do you personally think America is exceptional?
MN: Well yes, I do. And I think that we have a potential for being exceptional. But again, do we have problems? Yes, we do. But do we have the capacity to address these problems? Yes we do. I think a sense of nationalism is something inherent in every society and that’s a good thing. But what we have to do is to be grown ups and understand that not everything we do is in the public’s best interest and rein in those people that are taking us off the rails.
SS:Is there any valid force to stand up to this exceptionalism in the form we have it now?
MN: The people, the American people and the people of the world. You know, the internet, in what you’re doing here has changed so much, because information is power, and the fact that we have so many avenues for information and sharing information. I really have not been allowed, and nor has Karen Hudes, nor have many people been allowed, to say the types of things we’re saying to the American media. That has to change and that’s why I thank Russia Today for having the opportunity to express this opinion and to say that this can no longer be confrontational, we’re all in the same team and we all need to work together. This is a crisis of epic proportions – if the US goes down, tragically, we’re going to take the rest of the world down with us, and so we have to look at this as a global concern.
SS:You are a national security whistleblower – tell us your story. Has your story resonated at all?
MN: Yes and in fact, I’d like to lead off with the fact there’s a national security whistleblower coalition, and the senior academic advisor - his name is William Weaver - actually advises people against being a national security whistleblower, that if you do that you’ll be destroyed, you’ll go through character assassination, you will lose your family, your job, you’ll lose your credibility and that goes back to the way that you can tell a society is in decline by how they treat their truth-tellers.
Now, this whole issue of Ed Snowden and national security and domestic surveillance – as everyone knows, this is international surveillance issues and concerns. I worked for a company called Teletech Holdings, which is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. I was illegally and maliciously sued by this company in federal court. Against all odds and unlimited resources of Teletech’s legal coffers and basically pro se, I managed to fight Teletech’s illegal and malicious accusations and charges against me, to win a dismissal with prejudice. And in the end of that term I thought that that was a victory and it really was it, because early on in the situation I was warned by the former CIO – its chief information officer at the Teletech subsidiary I used to work for – that Teletech had the capacity to wiretap my phones and ISP and they would see to it that I would never work again.
Now, at that point in time I had no idea that this company was involved internationally and had a special subsidiary called Teletech Government Solutions. It was couple of weeks after that warning that my son found two people in the house, that I presumed to be people that were setting up to attach wiretaps to the phones. We know that they don’t need that information now, but what I understood was that Teletech had friends in very high places and they would see to it that I would never work again, and tragically that was the case.
The further along I got, I realized I was on the receiving end of the domestic surveillance, and that this was a government contractor, and they seem to be receiving preferential treatment and cover by the government. So I did everything the whistleblower is supposed to do. I went to the media, I went to lawyers, I went to, then, my Congress people…
SS:But did your story got out, did people listen to you?
MN: None whatsoever. I mean, I handed people a Pulitzer Prize-winning story on a golden platter, and people in the media would say “Oh my God, I can’t believe what you’re telling us!” I came to them with everything that I’m going to tell you and everything that I’ve got is public record information. I’m not telling any top-secret information.
See, there is the thing of the internet that if Congress and their staff actually wanted to, they could find a whole lot of information. So when President Obama and members of the Congress say “this isn’t about spying on the American citizens,” that is blatantly untrue. And I am a victim of that.
Based on the information and belief, on everything that I’ve gone through, I’ve been blowing the whistle on the fact that the government is going after whistleblowers, they’re going after journalists, they’re going after government employees, they’re going after lawyers and judges. Think of the ramifications of all of this. If George Orwell was alive today, he’d do a spit-take about what’s going on. One of the points that I wanted to try to make was just how long has this been going on and sent you some information, with respect to some of the programs the government has been involved into. That goes back to ’60s!
SS:Mark, you’re saying that no one will hire you, you’re being tapped, no media will take your story. Are you reaching your goals? Is whistleblowing worth it?
MN: You know, somebody has to do it. If not me or us, then who? What I advocate is... I mean, was it my life goal to become a martyr? Absolutely not, I had unrealistic expectations of how I would be treated by the media, by the government officials. I figured that if I went and provided all of these documents and the information to the government officials, about domestic surveillance perpetrated against the American citizens that is being covered up. And I was essentially told that under the Patriot Act, it’s against the law for the government officials to tell you if you are under surveillance. In fact, my senator Al Franken recently commented in a CNN op-ed, and I’m going to paraphrase what he said: “If we told the American people what the NSA was doing, then Congress could face federal charges for leaking information.”
SS:To get back to whistleblowing. Do you believe people can fight back their right to know what is going on and to govern the process? What needs to happen to make them actually start pushing?
MN: In the US we’re presumed to have equal access to courts and equal access to due process of the law –if you can afford it. The way that our – I don’t call it “justice system” – our legal system works, it a for-profit enterprise. And so, here I went to the majority of the largest local and national associated law-firms, and I laid down my case for them about this hostile abuse. I took this to the state attorney-general, and at the time the deputy attorney-general looked at me and said that this is one of the most egregious acts of civil injustice that he had ever seen, but there was nothing he could do.
When I went to a variety of lawyers, they looked at this and said “Oh my God, this is horrible. This was a travesty of justice. This was a lawsuit brought against you with no evidential support and this was a hostile and malicious attack!” But they said there’s nothing they could do, unless I could afford to pay them $250,000 upfront for the retainer.
A corporation of the size of the Teletech is just going to outspend you. That’s not a justice system. Also, we have a real big problem with a judiciary and the rulings of the court. I think it would be in the best interest of the US and the world that if we actually had a whistleblower protection program to be in place and afford credible national security whistleblowers and financial whistleblowers.
I am also a financial security whistleblower, in 2007 and 2009 associated with my case with the Teletech, I found out that there was a hotline in the SEC, the Security Exchange Commission, to stop or stall investigations and this in fact happened to me. So I went to Congress and told them first in 2007 about this hotline and showed them the evidence. I also warned about the 2008 financial collapse - hundreds and thousands of people actually warned about the 2008 collapse – and nothing happened. Because as I said earlier in the conversation, there is a need to have a crisis.
I think it was Mayer Rothschild who said that the best time to buy is when it’s blood in the streets, and so we create this crisis and these bubbles, and bubbles are built to explode, and we start the whole process all over again. What we need to do with the whistleblowers, and this was a promise that Obama made when he was a senator and when he was candidate – that whistleblowers represent the best of the US and we need to do everything in our power to protect whistleblowers – when in fact he had done specifically the opposite, and had seemingly attacked whistleblowers with a bloodlust, and keeping things private and secret. That’s getting back to “you can tell where society is headed towards how they attack their truth-tellers”
SS:Mark, I want to talk to you a little bit about the credit crunch of 2008 and its consequences. We’ve seen stocks drop, bailouts, bankruptcies, riots – most agree the major financial institutions were to blame, but nobody really bore the responsibility for that. Can you explain to our viewers, who you see as the main players – banksters you’ve talked about?
MN: That’s the problem. Everything you talk about can be fixed and should have been fixed. I could take American 5th-graders and show to them and demonstrate really to them that these financial crises were not only preventable, by all appearances they look like they were intentional! Again, what happens here impacts the whole world’s economy.
In 2005, mortgage companies and banking institutions and rating agencies coalesced together into this massive concept of fraud and were pushing this fraudulent mortgages on to people and signing people up for houses that they couldn’t afford, knowing that this was going to be a big problem, and then bundling those packages together and selling them on international market, knowing that they were going to default, and then, against the advice that were giving to their customers, actually shorting the investments and securities that they were marketing and promoting to their customers that were not in the loop.
There was information with respect to Fannie Mae and the massive and systemic fraud and abuse by Fannie Mae, but the chairman of Fannie Mae at the time – it was a guy named Franklin Raines – he ended up getting a $2million bonus! So tragically with President Obama and Attorney-General Holder, who comes from the Defense industry, protecting the white-collar criminals, they haven’t grasped the concept that crime expands to our willingness to tolerate it.
The system seems to be gamed for the incentive of fraud and corruption and abuse. Until we start putting bankers in jail for their crimes against humanity we’re going to continue with the same problems. But when we go to our congresspeople, to the regulators, when we go to the FBI - all things I’ve done – I was not only shunned, these people started working against me, and that’s not how the program should work.