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How to create a blog for $250,000,000
Things aren't as easy as they seem.
Most people reckon it's easy to make a blog today. Go to WordPress, sign up, choose a template, start to write. It's not that easy. Word now has it one needs at least USD 250,000,000 to make a proper start.
Just ask NSA journo Glenn Greenwald who's been wandering like a Traven ship without a port for the longest time. But as heat grew around the ears of Alan Rusbridger and further publication in Grauniad got dicey, along came @Pierre and offered the NSA warrior journos a home. Pierre Omidyar, multibillionaire founder of eBay and controller of PayPal, sponsored Glenn.
@Pierre also sponsored the Kiev putsch, which makes things a bit uncomfortable. Not to mention the first debacle when @wikileaks wondered how @Pierre could champion them even as his PayPal continued to exercise a financial blockade.
Alexa O'Brien doesn't give up easily, and her questions to @Pierre in this matter were persistent, but @Pierre is an artist. He managed for weeks to answer each of her questions with an answer to another question not asked. Alexa and @wikileaks staff were perplexed, as were countless millions who furrowed their brows over it all.
And then was born the Intercept. What a name. It's the new platform for Glenn Greenwald, once of the Grauniad, earlier still of Salon, earlier still the proprietor of his own blog. But that blog didn't have 250 million smackeroonies behind it, yet still somehow managed to make a splash. There are so many things that those of us who are not billionaires do not understand.
The involvement in the Ukraine was especially uncomfortable. One had something that started as a popular uprising but soon got co-opted by the US Department of State's Victoria Nuland, who together with her ambassador on location charted the future of the country: who to put in power, who to encourage to stay on the sidelines, and above all: 'FUCK THE EU'.
And it worked! They got exactly what they wanted! From a peaceful manifestation they'd taken things into increasing violence with notorious unsavoury groups like Right Sector and Svoboda, with Molotov cocktails, rocks, batons, frenetic street battles, and finally in the coup de resistance, shooting one's own and making it look like it was the sitting government that was responsible. Yet careful study of the video footage showed that the 18 victims were shot behind their lines, not in front; and then along came the Estonian who confided that the inner circles in Kiev had enough to conclude it was the neo-Nazis so thick in Kiev who had taken to eating their own. The putsch was soon a fait accompli, and since then the world's weirdest non-government sit in Kiev and try unsuccessfully to look legal.
And who backed that celebrated operation? Why none other than the owner of Glenn's Intercept!
There's a fundamental issue, a fundamental worry, in running for cover to the wrong people. What do the evil powers that be do when they can't control the Snowden docs? As Snowden said himself, the bad guys still don't know what's out there. He turned everything over to GG before Sarah Harrison whisked him out of Hong Kong. And it's all encrypted.
Here's the worry: most of the material hasn't been released and it's only a semi-precious few who have it. For all the rest of us know, it may never be released.
Did the humanitarian @Pierre ever approach WikiLeaks and drop a cheque on their reception desk? Did he do that when finances for the organisation were at their worst? He's dumping 250,000,000 into a blog; you'd think he could allocate at least as much again to the organisation that started it all, the organisation most still recognise as the main mover even today?
Glenn continues to churn out crumbs from the Snowden mega-tranche. @Pierre keeps watching over his shoulder. If you can't steal the Snowden docs back, at least get as close as you can so you have a fighting chance.