On May 17th, 2017, Suzie was interviewed on Western New York’s Black Tower Radio.
The full transcript is available below.
Josh: Why don’t we start off with your personal story on how you got into this line of work, how you ended up coming under persecution and what made you decide to go to Russia? I’d like to dive into that part of your story off the bat so Suzie why don’t you break it down for us.
Suzie: I’ll do my best! Basically I accidentally became a journalist during the Occupy movement in 2011. I was supporting my local occupation and our local media in New Zealand were initially blacking out the movement but then participating in the worldwide smear campaign against it. So from my perspective the media created me and my work. Had they actually done their job and covered the movement fairly I probably would never have written a single word. But because they didn’t, I felt duty bound to my fellow occupiers to do everything that I could to amplify their voices on the global stage. So I started to, my whole media team started to connect with other Occupy media people all around the world and to share their work and have our work amplified through them. Then there was some very strange happenings going on in New Zealand that took our focus off the local media and local politicians and onto the intelligence agencies and the military in New Zealand, in particular the Five Eyes intelligence network of Australia and New Zealand, the US, the UK and Canada. And that was when we had the FBI incursion into our country – there’s no other word for it really – to raid the mansion of Kim Dotcom who is a tech entrepreneur and millionaire, a very successful guy, who used to run the site MegaUpload. The FBI got in cahoots with our police force in New Zealand and did this huge military-style raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion and arrested him and several of his co-workers. Three days before they then raided Occupy Auckland which was my home occupation. So I began to investigate some of the funny goings-on around this and the more I looked into the FBI connection and the intelligence agencies, the more crazy stuff started going on in my own life. My house was getting broken into, my vehicle was getting tampered with, my relationships and communications were being interfered with, and my bank account and all kinds of stuff. And the more that my journalism reached a larger international audience and the more visibility my work got, the more intense the targeting of me became. Kim Dotcom then started a political party called the Internet Party, which is similar to the international Pirate Party movement, and he had Edward Snowden and Julian Assange do a big event promoting Snowden’s releases in terms of their significance to New Zealand, in the lead-up to the General Election in 2014 and I was very instrumental in promoting that event and others in the lead-up to it, and the targeting of me just continually intensified. So they began breaking into my house and doing funny things to me in 2011 but by 2014 when the Internet Party was in full swing in the lead-up to that election, the targeting of me was crazy intense and that’s when it started getting really physical and they were really blatantly physically endangering me. So then the sitting government, who has been complicit in all of these goings-on, won re-election in 2014 and they basically made it really clear to me that I needed to get out of the country or I was toast. So I heeded that advice, because of how seriously what was going on was, and sold up my belongings and packed myself off to Berlin. I was hoping that in Berlin that there would be lots of like minds, which there was, and that maybe there would be some safety. But I soon discovered that the targeting of me followed me across the world to each country that I visited or went to. I was physically surveilled and digitally surveilled 24/7, I had incidents of sabotage and people interfering with me and eventually that led me into Eastern Europe because I discovered that it wasn’t until I was outside of the NATO countries that all of a sudden it stopped. Like, all of a sudden there was no longer teams of people stalking me and all of this crazy and oppressive stuff happening to me. So that’s what ultimately led me to Russia.
Josh: And before you went to Russia did you have any idea that Russia would accept you or were you going on a hope that you would be granted asylum there?
Suzie: No, because my understanding of what has been happening to me has grown over time as more revelations have come out into the public arena about… because I was not the only person being targeted. So we discovered in 2012 that the GCSB which is our equivalent of the NSA in New Zealand, our domestic spy agency, they were only supposed to spy on international people, they were not supposed to spy on New Zealand citizens. When it came to light that they had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom and a number of people associated with him, then later in 2013 a report was released that showed that they actually had illegally spied on at least 88 New Zealand citizens, I suspected that I was one of those because of all the things I had been going through but I didn’t have any way to demonstrate that. So as we came through 2014 and the election with things getting much worse and then in January 2015 I left New Zealand and like I said, the stalking and interference just followed me when I left the country, but then later on there was another release from the Snowden documents where the first of the 88 New Zealand citizens that had been targeted was named. Not only was he named but it turned out that lo and behold he was in fact a peaceful pro-democracy activist that had been targeted and they cancelled his passport. They left him stateless. And so this was something that we had not known before. We found that out in August last year and by that point I had already been to Russia but I hadn’t applied for asylum because I didn’t know how exactly to explain what on earth had been happening to me. I knew it from being inside the situation, I knew it from what I had personally experienced, but I didn’t have the paper trail to show really the bigger picture of how I fit into it all. But then once I found out that one of the targets had actually had his passport cancelled, I got legal advice, and the legal advice to me was that it was not safe for me to travel. Because if I travelled and they revoked my passport while I am in transit, that leaves me in a legal no-mans-zone, a grey zone, where no one knows what would happen next. So that was when it became abundantly clear to me that this was serious enough that I did really need to apply for asylum. The other thing that was revealed in mid-2016 is that those 88 targets were not just targeted by the GCSB and the New Zealand agencies which is what we had believed up until that point. It turns out that those 88 targets were referred by the GCSB to the NSA in Hawaii in 2012. So that’s a completely different ballpark yet again because it means that not only was I targeted by my own country, but my own country passed my personal data to a foreign power and had them target me.
Josh: I was talking to a friend at the coffee shop today and I was telling him about your story. I’m like, there’s this reporter from New Zealand, she was under a tremendous amount of persecution for doing just very run of the mill reporting in terms of activism, in terms of activism reporting, not that your writing is run of the mill but in activist circles you’re writing about topics that are… I mean, it’s not like you’re producing WikiLeaks’ original documents is what I’m trying to say, and he was like, are you serious? He was like, I thought New Zealand was the land of unicorns and just open fairness, and I’m like No… it’s a Five Eyes country and that’s what they face there, just like reporters face similar things across the Five Eyes countries. I mean, the UK… the UK is horrible with journalism right now, I can’t even believe it. What is your take on the state of journalism across the Five Eyes countries which supposedly value free speech. I mean, there’s a lot of countries like Turkey you know that don’t value it, and we supposedly do, but we are even coming down on it now.
Suzie: Well first of all, with regards to my personal situation, not everything that I was involved in is public at this time, because to be honest with you, I spent years actually trying not to have my name known and not telling people what I was up to. It was only out of sheer necessity in 2014 when there was actual assassination attempts then I started saying, hey, this is my name, this is what I’m up to, please keep an eye on me because this is really dangerous. But in the years prior to that I used a pseudonym and I worked as part of a media team and I used to avoid a lot of interviews and things because it wasn’t about trying to make a name for myself at all. I used to publish with no by-line, etcetera etcetera. But I was forced into a position ultimately where I had to out myself as being me and write under my own name. But what I was writing about was serious corruption in the intelligence agencies and I was spearheading a movement, the #GCSB movement, I was the #1 influencer on that movement in social media and very involved behind the scenes in bringing some big names on board behind it, to campaign across the country to hold the GCSB accountable for its illegal activity. So when you combine writing about something with actually trying to effect change, and that something happens to be a massive intelligence agency then I think it’s a little bit of a different ballpark probably than just writing opinion pieces for a paper somewhere. The other thing that I was doing, is I was consistently breaking news about protest movements in New Zealand to an international audience and that was putting New Zealand on the international stage week in and week out. People like RT were picking up my work, WikiLeaks was circulating some of my work and there were not many people in New Zealand who were doing that. So I was shining a huge spotlight on our country and not just the government agencies but the private contractors in our country did not like that one bit and they were pretty determined to shut me up one way or another. With regards to the state of journalism internationally, you’re absolutely right and I get really frustrated particularly with the situation in Russia because I feel like, if you’re a Russian journalist and you’re persecuted, then the whole world is happy to talk about it. They will endlessly rant on about it. But if you’re Serena Shim, a US citizen murdered in Turkey for revealing Western funding and support for ISIS, or if you’re Michael Hastings, blown up on a boulevard in Los Angeles, or if you’re me, exiled from my country in New Zealand, nobody wants to talk about that. That’s like a taboo subject. The idea that Western governments would persecute or even kill their own journalists is completely off the table for newspapers and mainstream media to talk about. But if you’re a journalist from one of the countries that is yet to be subjugated by the US Empire, like Russia, China, Iran, etcetera…then they’ll scream to the high heavens about press freedom and human rights. So as far as I’m concerned the Western countries are just total and utter hypocrites.
Josh: It’s a sad state of affairs, amongst freedom loving nations, quote. I don’t even, I don’t believe that they’re freedom loving. Behind closed doors a lot of our politicians, I mean they don’t talk about anything resembling freedom or democracy in my opinion. But I’d like to get into some of your work. This article you did for Contraspin, ‘Glenn Greenwald and the Irrelevance of Electoral Politics.’ [quoting] “Revelations from the Snowden documents prove that the military-industrial complex sees its supremacy as impervious to the outcome of electoral politics.” And I’d have to say that’s 100% right. I think what we’re seeing right now with the intelligence community, their treatment of Donald Trump.. I mean, whatever your opinion of Donald Trump is, I think it’s quite clear to anyone that he’s under attack by the intelligence community in the United States and maybe across the Five Eyes countries, I have no idea. But he was pretty dovish as a candidate and I think he is pretty dovish as a statesman and they don’t like that. And I think that’s part of what’s happening here. Their agenda is not being supported by him in a lot of different ways and they want him out of there. What do you think Suzie? I mean, besides the Trump thing, besides your article, what do you think about what I just said?
Suzie: What I see happening in America at the moment is an absolute classic Divide and Conquer. If you go back to 2011 to the Occupy movement, we had mass protests protesting against the political power. And now we have protests protesting against the protesters. When I see Berkeley, and I see ‘free speech’ versus Antifa… all I see is one group of protesters protesting another group of protesters. And I flashback to – hey – we already knew in 2011 that the entire system was broken. And we knew who our enemy was and our enemy was not each other. So the fact that now we’re all being told to pick one camp or another, and then to hate on the other people, who does that serve? It can only serve the elite. And the way the Berkeley cops kind of, literally stood there smiling as people beat each other up, and I’m just thinking, hang on a second! They used to be beating us up. It was the police mass arresting us. It was the police pepper spraying us. And now we’re pepper spraying other protesters? Something has gone badly wrong here. I think that the Deep State definitely preferred Hillary Clinton, because almost every head and ex-head of the intelligence agencies signed letters in support of the TPP and they came out and supported Hillary Clinton for President, so definitely I think she was their preferred candidate and I think we would already be seeing war – new wars – in more countries – had she been elected. So I’ve got to admit, I was extremely happy when she was not elected. But I think that, for representative democracy for 300-something million people to come down to choosing between one of two flawed, corrupt candidates, is a total farce. And we knew it was a farce in 2011. I feel like in 2017 we’ve forgotten that. And that article about ‘Glenn Greenwald and the Irrelevance of Electoral Politics’ – those documents from the Snowden files, were internal documents from the NSA where they were saying, we don’t care who gets elected, we don’t care if its the left wing or the right wing, because we’re here for 35 years or 40 years, and they’re there for 4 years or 8 years, and we will have our way regardless of who is elected. To me, that is a massive problem. That is the big colossal huge problem. Is that people who are not elected are running the planet for generations and people in the puppet show who we do elect are running it for 4 or 8 years and never really getting a handle or a grip on the entire apparatus of power. So I think there is a limit to what Trump will be allowed to do before he is kicked out or assassinated. And that’s not just about Trump, that’s about every leader that we’ve had since these agencies have been running the show. I recently discovered something that I was never taught in school. That’s that there was a Prime Minister in Australia in 1975, Whitlam, who was fired while he was the sitting Prime Minister, by the Governor General, who was the Queen’s representative in Australia. He was the elected leader of the country and he was stood down because, the CIA was involved unsurprisingly, but primarily because he was enacting socialist policies that were improving things for the majority of Australians but which were not serving business interests. He was doing free education and healthcare and all the kinds of things that we badly need and that we should be able to afford. Every government on the planet can afford it if they stop feeding the military machine and stop feeding the wars and start feeding their own people. And they straight up got rid of him. Now for me, a New Zealander, to not even have been told that this happened, not even have it acknowledged, I had to get to 35 years of age before I find out that this happened right next to my country. It’s just unbelievable the way that they cook the history books. So, Trump is the same. If he causes enough trouble for them then they’ll get rid of him one way or another. I think most of the pressure that has been applied to him so far has really been like a warning for him. They want him to tag along. And I also think there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that we don’t hear about in the media. Because usually, whatever the intelligence agencies let be known publically, is not what is really going on. So I wouldn’t take it all at face value. And when I read about how Trump has given the CIA powers to do their own drone targeting, so now it doesn’t lay just with the President to sign off on the targeting? That’s the kind of thing that really worries me. Because, you know, they were droning in 1 country then 2 countries, then 7 countries, then 9 countries… and I just wonder like, how long is it before we see weaponised drones flying over the United States of America? Probably not very long.
Josh: Speaking of what you were talking about, Divide and Conquer… this article is not only about the… it not only went on in the US elections but it’s still going on and it’s ramped up to right now. And your article is titled and this is on Contraspin – “Just As Intended: The US Election Is Tearing Us To Shreds”… [quoting] “…how the US election created faultlines among activists, journalists and friends.” Now you see all these, like you said, these battles of Antifa versus Trump supporters… where both sides are ultra-violent and just ridiculous… it’s gotten to a point where I enjoy watching them because I enjoy watching stupid people destroy each other. But, like you said, this is tearing apart the activist community so there’s this serious underlying issue to this whole thing. What’s your take, Suzie?
Suzie: I think there’s a huge amount of people out there who don’t fit in either camp. I wonder sometimes if they’re like the silent majority at the moment, and maybe they need to speak up. Because I’ve had long-time friends, activists, saying to me ‘you have to side with Antifa because A, B, C, D, E…’ and then I have people who are supporting Trump saying to me ‘you have to side with Trump because A, B, C, D, E…’ and I’m looking at them both and I’m like, what KoolAid have you drunk? Have you forgotten who the real enemy is? First of all, how can Antifa and whatnot be aligning themselves with the interests of the intelligence agencies who have been targeting us and persecuting us for years and how can the Trump supporters think that the enemy of the people is the people? The enemy of the people is not the people. They say that they want to target the Deep State, they say that they want to get rid of the Deep State, that they want to drain the swamp, but they’re not going after the Deep State. They’re not campaigning outside the CIA headquarters. They’re not doing sit-ins at the Pentagon. They’re at Berkeley fighting with university students. So I can’t take either side seriously at the moment. I think there’s a lot of people.. actually Glenn Greenwald is a great example. I thought the whole world had gone completely insane in January of this year and then Glenn actually started writing about exactly this, saying… look, both sides have got their heads up their asses quite frankly. Excuse my terminology but really they have. And he didn’t use those words but its essentially what he means. Because we are not supposed to fight each other, we already knew years ago who our enemy was. We knew that this political system is broken, that it needs a total overhaul. We knew that Left and Right have more similarities than differences. We knew that the entire electoral process is a sham that does not serve us no matter who is elected. So we need to focus on these real problems. Actually the only people that I’ve seen consistently focusing on exactly this are WikiLeaks. And that is one of the many reasons why I support them 100%. Because they know who the real problem is. And they are going after them.
Josh: Suzie Dawson, thank you so much for coming on this show today. If you want to find her work, go to Suzi3D.com. Suzie I’d like to give you the floor to plug any new article or project you are working on, or any message you want to get out to the audience, you’ve got it.
Suzie: Thank you. Well the first thing I want to say is Free Julian Assange. Because so much is possible in this world and especially in journalism right now because of what WikiLeaks has done and he has been taking the brunt of that. He has been paying the price for it. He is the ultimate Targeted Individual. Many of us have been hurt for our journalism and many of us have played a price but none more than him – very few more than him! So I think that people need to put aside their differences and look at the bigger picture of what has been accomplished by WikiLeaks and get on board and support them. Also support the Courage Foundation because there are very few people on the planet who are there for those of us who are under serious threat from these intelligence agencies, but Courage are there every step of the way. So, CourageFound.org – please go and donate to them and support them because what they do is heroic and amazing. Also, my own little plug is that I got really sick of people thinking that I’m in some unsafe mafia state with rampant political oppression so I have started a little TV web series called Kiwi In Moscow. So if you go to You Tube and type in Kiwi In Moscow or if you go to Twitter and look up @KiwiInMoscow the first episode has just been released. And what I do in each episode is I tour around town with a friend and just show people what Moscow is really like in 2017. Because it is nothing at all like you think it is. If you have not been here you will be so surprised by what you see. It is a really incredible place. Then I do interviews at the end of each episode as well, with local Moscow people and then with people in New Zealand. So you’ll get to see a lot more of my life and what things are really like for me here.
Josh: Suzie Dawson, again, thank you for coming on the show and we’d like to have you back on in the future.
Suzie: Thank you so much.