Blogs
US Veterans in Crossfire for Exercising Free Speech
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.

Close
Photo: flickr.com

US Veterans in Crossfire for Exercising Free Speech

7306

As Georgia-based Bureau Chief for US based “Veterans Today publication (VT), the country not the state, and a regular USA Really Contributor, my life has suddenly changed in the age of one-sided media and BIG Brother.  VT is an American news and information website dedicated  to matters of intelligence and issues facing former members of the US Armed forces.

I have been writing and giving interviews about a wide range of subject for many years. However, only recently have they resulted in such controversy and attention, perhaps because of the interesting company that I keep and the topics I write on, many of which are a little too close to the nerve of the powers that be.

VT editor-in-chief, Gordon Duff, recently wrote, about the plight of VT’s website and what US veterans and writers like myself are experiencing:

“VT has been investigated by the FBI repeatedly, based on bizarre assertions made in the Washington Post, Newsweek, The Hill, and Politico. The FBI found them groundless...and quite probably actionable [if they want to push it] and they were quite open about it. VT personnel are stopped by DHS regularly and subjected to not just interrogation but also seizure of their devices.

VT is currently under DDOS attack and has been hacked numerous times. We have traced these hacks back to a Department of Veterans Affairs office in Washington. We have been partially down for 10 days.”

It is really saddening that a US veterans’ group is being harassed in such a manner by the US government and the Veterans Administration. They should be supporting us and not attacking.  Part of the problem is that we cover issues that they want to hide from the public and are willing to cooperate with other parties, even those that are accused of being against the American way, for instance, interfacing with a Russian funded site, USA Really, and in my case, giving interviews with various Georgian newspapers and Russian TV outlets. These media outlets collaborate with VT with political and economic investigations, and cover a wide range of topics, including public healthHYPERLINK "https://journal-neo.org/2019/01/13/lugar-biolab-will-the-truth-be-revealed-before-the-spin-doctors-label-it-a-conspiracy/?fbclid=IwAR0JhyPBAajspOPxoUEAhko2TMHN_KX4emmqlpXsarA_3G8lvItgbd3AlIA" threats.

Would you say that's accurate in your case?

I was recently contacted by a freelance journalist, Dean Sterling Jones,  who is writing an article about USA Really and how American journalist who collaborate with it have been impacted by US imposed sanctions. He wrote to me stating:

“I'm an independent journalist. I'm researching a story about how the recent sanctioning of USA Really has affected the website's American contributors.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the sanctions and how they have affected your work for USA Really. I welcome any other comments you might have.

Quick question for clarification: When I asked Alexander Malkevich if USA Really has continued to compensate its American authors and reporters, he told me that "our authors continue to cooperate with us."

Would you say that's accurate in your case?

Thank you in advance, I look forward to your reply.”

At first, I hesitated to reply, and even discussed it with Pradeep Banerjee, a fellow contributor to USA Really, who opined that anything that I would say can be taken out of context. Why should we share our side of the story unless there’s a guarantee that our words won’t get twisted? After all the American mainstream media is known for its dubious tactics.” he said. 

To make a long story short

-----Original Message-----
From:
To: Stm1989
CC: ; Aclu Ky Info
Sent: Tue, 15 Jan 2019 5:06

Subject: Would you say that's accurate in your case? Yes

Dear Dean:

Thank you for getting in contact with me, as for the sanctions, "I don't know how these could legally apply to a US citizen, as the 1st Amendment still stands. As for one of your questions, "yes, I continue to cooperate, and with greater enthusiasm. I don't like being told as a US citizen that I am subject to 1984 and USSR-styled censorship."

I have copied this to the ACLU in Kentucky as the last time I arrived in the USA I had serious problems at the airport, both while going in and while coming out. The special treatment was most likely related to my muckraking journalism, and perhaps links to USA Really.

I asked for clarification from the US Embassy in Tbilisi regarding my legal status when I first heard of the possibility that I might somehow be breaking some law by writing opinion pieces.

American Citizen Services did not answer. I noted to the journalist that  to please fact check as to why no response has been forthcoming. I told that I was willing to sign a privacy release to that effect, and I have written the same to the US Embassy.

I can only conclude that these sanctions are just lame scare tactics and no answer will be forthcoming.  Veterans Today, a military publication, also received some National Security Letter because of my cooperation with them.

I think that too is not to be taken seriously.

Did you read my most recent articles?

Jeffrey K. Silverman

Why put myself in the crossfire?

Perhaps it is putting myself in open by giving interviews, as I have previously done with the New York Times, however, if we don't share information, we will be accused of stonewalling and not being transparent/evasive, obviously with something to hide. There is a method in madness, putting myself at risk for admitting that I am publishing under my own name and getting paid for it, albeit not much.

As the next time I arrive to or depart from the US, get detained, as was the case last summer with HLS, I can say with an open heart that I have nothing to hide—and if you want to know about me, just Google.

And there is much to find, especially given that in recent weeks I have been giving interviews with the Georgian and Russian media about dangerous pathogens (EDPs) and the current outbreak of flu in Georgia.

I have described the characteristics of the strange strains of flu which have developed since the last deadly outbreaks a few years ago. I went into details of how the US and Georgian governments have been evasive.

Conclusion

As I explained to the journalist, "I don't know how these sanctions could legally apply to a US citizen, as the 1st Amendment still works. "Yes, I continue to cooperate, and with greater enthusiasm. I don't like being told as a US citizen that I am subject to 1984 and USSR-styled censorship."

I have copied this to the ACLU in Kentucky, as the last time I arrived and departed from the USA [over the summer] I had serious problems at the airports in DC and New York. The special treatment was most likely related to my muckraking journalism--and perhaps links to USA Really and [VT].

I have also asked clarification from the US Embassy in Tbilisi as to my legal status, when I first heard of the possibility that I may be somehow breaking some law by writing opinion pieces. American Citizen Services does not answer. PLEASE FACT CHECK AS WHY ... I AM WILLING TO SIGN A PRIVACY RELEASE TO THAT EFFECT.

I can only conclude that these sanctions are but lame scare tactics and no answer will be forthcoming. I also work for Veterans Today, a military publication, and they have already received some National Security Letter over my cooperation.

I think that too is not to be taken seriously.”

As this was going to press, I received more feedback from the journalist and I hope he will be successful in getting all his questions answered and facts checked. “I'll try to follow up with American Citizen Services, although with the ongoing government shutdown they might not respond for a while. I'll also try with the US Embassy in Tbilisi.

  • Do you have a copy of that national security letter?
  • Did the letter have any effect on your working relationship with Veterans Today?
  • And what happened to cause you trouble when flying in and out of the U.S.?
  • Just to clarify for accuracy: are you working for USA Really on a paid basis?”

I have answered all his questions. Let’s see how his article turns out and hope for the best.

Author: Jeffrey Silverman