The most in-depth, intimate interview of Suzie to date. DJ Anonytrace from UAnon People’s Radio digs deep on Suzie’s application for temporary asylum, on WikiLeaks, on her life and family and the impact on her of all she has been through.
TRACE: Hey, we’re back for another show and today we have who I class to be the legendary Suzie Dawson. Legendary because of what she’s had to suffer just to stand up for truth and freedom of speech. Are you with us Suzie?
SUZIE: Yeah, hi, how are you Tracey?
TRACE: I’m fine. How are you more importantly?
SUZIE: I’m good thank you, I’m still in one piece.
TRACE: You’re still in one piece, not frozen solid?
SUZIE: [laughter] No, the winter here is much milder than most Westerners would imagine.
TRACE: So what’s the temperatures over there at the moment?
SUZIE: I’m not sure actually, there’s snow on the ground pretty consistently, which is exciting for us given that we’re from a city where we rarely ever see snow. But actually, it’s lovely here at the moment. It’s good.
TRACE: I’m envious actually, if there’s one place that I’d really like to go and live, but I just can’t keep up with the lingo, and that’s Russia. Trying to learn Russian is quite difficult. How are you getting on with the language and stuff?
SUZIE: I’m finding it easier than German but it’s certainly challenging.
TRACE: Oh, so you’re multilingual already?
SUZIE: I wouldn’t describe myself as that but I’m giving it my best shot.
TRACE: One of the reasons why Suzie is on the show and I feel this is so important is that at the moment it seems like anyone who wants to speak the truth gets persecuted in every single damned way. You know, two years ago, a journalist stood up, Serena Shim and exposed the links between ISIS and Turkey and two days later she was found dead. She was run over by a cement mixer. You know, a complete accident which Anonymous at the moment has got Operation Serena Shim running for. We’ve got whistleblowers going to prison. It seems that at the moment that our governments don’t want people to know the truth. It’s like we’ve got this huge facade of everything and then as soon as anyone realises this and speaks out they’re shut up instantly. Recently, there was a Canadian reporter wasn’t there Suzie, who went to cover the Dakota pipeline and he was denied entry into the USA. Did you read about that?
SUZIE: No, I had heard about it but I hadn’t read about it.
TRACE: It’s actually getting quite crazy. As soon as you start writing for something… why has it got like this, do you know?
SUZIE: I think to a certain degree it might have always been like this but I think that at the moment there certainly is a war on journalism and of late and I’m sure it is tied into the whistleblowing that has been going on. I think that journalists are acting as whistleblowers, specifically, independent journalists have been acting as whistleblowers. On my Twitter profile for a while now it has said that every good journalist, you know, they whistleblow with every piece that they write. I think that that is very much the case so I think we’re getting a bit of that treatment. I think that it’s not so easy for them to prosecute us so they tend to use extrajudicial means to oppress us wherever possible and that certainly is what’s led to my current situation of needing to apply for asylum.
TRACE: Do you reckon Assange is still in the Ecuadorian Embassy at the moment or do you think that someone’s gotten rid of him? There’s so many theories at the moment.
SUZIE: I think the theories that something has happened to him and that it’s been covered up is completely ludicrous. I think it is people who do not know very much about WikiLeaks, its history or its staff that are making those claims. I think that the people who benefit from those claims are the same people who are in fact involved with persecuting him. Not that the people making those claims are involved with persecuting him personally, but those who benefit from those claims. If you look at the aim, the aim is to prevent people from submitting information to WikiLeaks and to attack WikiLeaks’ funding model and it’s pretty clear who that would benefit. But anyone who knows anything really about WikiLeaks knows that Julian’s number one champion through all of these years has been Christine Assange who is his mother and his number two champion has been Sarah Harrison. So, for something to have happened to him, and for that to have been hidden from the public suggests that both Christine and Sarah are involved in some kind of coverup and there is absolutely no way whatsoever that that is the case, I can tell you that with 100% surety. If there was something going on with Julian, Christine would be raising hell worldwide and so would Sarah.
TRACE: These are crazy times aren’t they because when you look at Assange himself and when you look at the fact that the United Nations have already told the UK and Sweden to back off from him and starting treating him with respect to his human rights and give him his freedoms back, no one wants to do this. He’s still in the same position regardless of where he is, which I’m starting to even find a bit scary, a little bit perverse, that someone as high profile as that and countries are still laying him to siege. It’s almost like a war…
SUZIE: He’s target number one. This is the thing. He’s literally on the shitlist of most of the governments of the planet. I think he’s in a very unprecedented position. When you look at other figures throughout history that have been persecuted by governments, they’re usually persecuted only by their own government. Thinking like Mandela, and South Africa for example. Assange has reached unprecedented levels of targeting from dozens of countries and his situation is extremely unique so I think that’s what we’re seeing now.
TRACE: I totally agree with you when you look at one side but on the other, he’s not the same in a lot of ways. Yes, he’s a high profile person, yes, they leak all these emails out. But without collectives behind him, without all that information being fed into WikiLeaks, Julian Assange wouldn’t be who he was. What I don’t understand is, if Julian Assange was assasinated tomorrow, something else would open up as a pool for collective, leaked information. So this is where I’m not too sure if they’re doing this as propaganda towards those who actually hack and gain such information, I’m not too sure. Do you think he’s being used as an example moreso than because of his status?
SUZIE: You know how in Iraq they had the deck of cards of the various figureheads of terrorism organisations or whatever, that they were after? It’s like in publishing, in whistleblowing and journalism there is a deck of cards and Julian is at the top of that deck of cards. You’re completely right when you say that there is a vast organisation behind him. They work with hundreds of journalists and lawyers and others and Julian is a cryptographic expert, he is also a genius. Literally a genius and so are many of the other people associated with WikiLeaks and as Julian said they have had years to plan what they would do in various eventualities, for example, his internet being cut off. So, the organisation, I have zero doubt, will continue publishing no matter what happens to Julian. The work will continue and in fact, people will be so incensed if anything happens to him. I hesitate to use the term cyberwar but I really think the internet would absolutely erupt worldwide were something to happen to him. So I think that them focusing their attention on him is kind of an own goal for these governments. They’re being distracted from the actual spread of the information by focusing on him.
TRACE: I totally agree with you and they’re aggravating the cyber world, it’s each and every single one of us now and by doing what they’re doing to Julian Assange they’re aggravating the entire populace of the world now aren’t they, in so many ways. I don’t know if they really know what they’re doing, or do they want this, what’s happening? Sorry to change the subject very slightly but wasn’t it also the United Nations who said that what the US was doing with the Dakota pipeline was also unlawful?
SUZIE: The UN and even the court systems, particularly the High Courts in most countries, the institutions who still respect international law or whose core operations are to rule based on international law or on Bill of Rights domestically, tend to side with protesters or tend to side with journalists or whistleblowers because the laws that exist are supposed to exist to protect us. That’s why we have a Bill of Rights, that’s why we have international laws, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights exists to protect human rights. The governments who are in opposition to the whistleblowers and the journalists and the protesters of the various movements, do not give a toss about international law or about human rights and therefore they just trample over them wantonly left, right and centre. Unfortunately for them we can win in the courts but unfortunately for us, they do not respect the findings of those courts. So that’s why we have a situation where the UN is rightly speaking up for Julian Assange, has found in his favour, but belligerent governments are refusing to respect that decision.
TRACE: Yes, this is the scary thing about it all now. You know, native people are trying to defend their land and I was looking at a video documentary not so long ago and there were people who had been blasted with water canons in sub-zero temperatures and the force of the water was so great it had taken the skin off their hands and fingers down to the bones and people were suffering severe hypothermia, being shot in the head with tear gas and the rest of it and you’re thinking, whoa, hang on a second, am I in reality? I think about this when I wake up in the morning, almost. It’s like, I don’t recognise this world as the world as I was brought into any longer. Each and every government is waging war on its people in so many ways. This is what I was coming to with yourself, because, yourself, you’re going through just as much as anyone else right now and its all bestowed upon you by someone that doesn’t want you speaking the truth.
SUZIE: I think in my case it’s been very much malicious on the part of certain figures in my government and certain figures in the United States government but you’re right that they’re making war on their own people. They’ve been making war on the people covertly. They’ve been using, or employing, counterinsurgency theory against occupiers and everybody since. For me, I think that where I am at right now is probably the better place that I’ve been in for a very long time. For the first time in a long time, I’m not stalked, I’m not harrassed, I’m not tortured, I’m not interfered with physically in the ways that I was in my own country and when I was travelling. Predominantly through Western and through NATO countries, I was absolutely not safe in those countries. So for me, I am really blessed that I am safe presently and I feel really good in this space. I have absolutely no idea what will happen, I don’t know what the outcome of my asylum application will be, but it’s easy to think of me as being in a really terrible position and I am in terms of never knowing whether I’m going to have a country or what’s going to me next but physically I’m in a good position and I’m really grateful for that.
TRACE: That’s good, what I was going to actually ask, because I’ve listened to previous podcasts and also small documentaries and stuff you’ve done and you’ve sounded so stressed and sometimes you can hear the stress and the fear in your voice in so many ways and the frustrations, and what I’ve noticed talking to you over the past couple of days or so is that you’re very relaxed and comfortable with yourself now, so you actually feel safe?
SUZIE: Very much so. It’s hard to describe, you know… it takes a while to settle in that you are safe. Because when you are… I want to use the word tortured… like, when it was happening to me, the escalation was so gradual that it was hard for me to see it as torture but now we are in a place where I’m not under physical duress constantly, I understand that I actually was being tortured, I was being tortured for a prolonged period of time and using an entire toolbox of psychological and physiological stresses on me and it’s when that stops that you remember all of a sudden, what it feels like to be safe and to be autonomous again. And it’s that contrast… and it took me a little bit of unwinding to get used to it because at first you expect that any day now it will go back to that, then as the days go on, you start to unwind and realise, wow, I actually am safe, I am safe again.
TRACE: That’s so nice to hear because I can feel for you in so many ways with this. It’s amazing how things, you know, you fight and you fight and you fight and you don’t realise the effects that all of what’s going on is having on your life until there is major change and you realise there’s no getting out and you’re trapped and all you can do is keep on fighting. I have every admiration for people like yourself and others who have been through this and managed to come out the other side and I’m so pleased that you’ve actually found an amazing country that you have a possibility to actually spend the rest of your life in, in safety in so many ways. So on that note let’s have a short break, have a couple of tracks and then let’s come back and discuss how it all occurred.
SUZIE: Sure, thank you so much.
TRACE: Suzie… before we actually started recording, we were discussing Dakota pipeline and something I didn’t even know about, it’s the 5th of December and you were saying that Obama has actually revoked the permit for the pipeline.
SUZIE: Yeah, I did hear that, I haven’t got to read up on it yet but I did hear that that had been done.
TRACE: That’s amazing. So they may be temporarily suspending the pipeline? So they may be able to negotiate with the Indians further?
SUZIE: I am just having a look… I’ve got to do the reading on this, sorry, before I make any statement on it as this is just not my thing… but I did hear that.
TRACE: No, no, I’m just putting you on the spot… there must be movement on it anyway.
SUZIE: To be honest it’s been a really unusual day for me as I’ve barely been on Twitter, actually all weekend, I would usually know a lot more, I just knew from chatting with friends that that had happened.
TRACE: I suppose in a way this just gives us all the more reason to keep on fighting and it gives you the more reason to keep on fighting as well, for us all. The power of the internet, the power of collective thought now. The way that the protest, or the protectors, the protest itself, exponentially just blowing out of proportion to the point where its almost like a mini Civil War up there, it’s phenomenal. I personally have a passion that we as a human race need to stand up now, we need to disclose everything that’s being done and we need to get rid of this stupidity, this war on the population that the governments seem to be waging now in so many ways. This is something that you are doing and where you’ve been persecuted something rotten. Your troubles really began with Occupy, didn’t they?
SUZIE: Yes, they did. Sorry to just backtrack a few minutes but I see a call here from the NoDAPL people to join them at the White House right now for celebrations so it seems like yes indeed that has happened. They’re saying that the Army Corps of Engineers are blockading the pipeline now rather than the protesters.
TRACE: Engineers? As in the US military?
SUZIE: Tulsi Gabbard who is a Congresswoman and also a veteran is saying that they were also successful in getting an environmental impact statement ordered for the entire project and there’s an official press release out from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe so yeah, that’s absolutely huge.
TRACE: My congratulations go out to everyone that has been a part of that. It’s been a phenomenal thing, it’s been a major fight. There’s a lot of people who have been injured, there’s a girl who is losing her sight, another who has nearly lost her arm, so many unnecessary injuries, so much fighting just to get to a conclusion that we need to appraise this and find an alternative route for it. Why couldn’t we have done this in the beginning? Why couldn’t they have respected someone’s land? Why couldn’t they have respected someone’s rights?
SUZIE: I find it extremely interesting that there was a mainstream media blackout of this for several months and it’s only been in the last four or five days that we’ve seen this being covered on CNN and on the big networks so that’s a really interesting turnaround and a really interesting timeframe.
TRACE: Doesn’t that give you a good feeling though Suzie, when something does… when something is so successful, just from the actions of the everyday common person?
SUZIE: We’ve been in need of victories for a long time. We’ve had the proverbial kicked out of us in movement after movement. I think that’s a big part of why people have taken such a stand here. So to have that victory is really, really precious and hopefully will set a precedent going forward. I also think the veterans were a game-changer because they represent, effectively, a mutiny of people within the system against the system itself. I don’t think that there’s any way they could have treated those veterans the way they treated the protesters, in terms of the militarised police force attacking them, because for each of those veterans there’s probably still active duty members of the forces that are part of their family. There’ll be mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and sons and daughters who are still serving. So the system would have had to attack itself if it was to continue the aggression there and it seems that that has made a difference. For quite a few weeks now I’ve seen people saying that Obama could end this with a phone call and it looks like he has.
TRACE: It seems that, it’s so sad though, that things have to go to extremes. It’s so sad that it has to get to a point where if they continue, they’re literally going to be promoting civil war. They’re going to be killing people, it’s going to be obvious that they’re turning on their own people. It’s got to the point where, as you say, there had to be a massive mutiny against the government, and took its own service personnel to actually bring this to a head. So why couldn’t they have respected the native people in the first place…
SUZIE: They’ve never respected the native Indians and there’s been a civil war going on for a long time. It was civil war when teenage girls were getting maced in the face and beaten and mass arrested throughout Occupy and whatnot and we saw that same kind of blackout in play. When the mainstream media broke the blackout on Occupy they came out with the same derogatory messages against the protesters and I don’t think there was a convincing smear that they could have come up with against that many veterans and that’s why I think that the veterans really have been the tipping point for this and have given us the victory and I think that’s awesome. Also I’d just like to point out that the veterans, like Scott Olsen was a classic example, the veterans who began organising in support of Occupy have really set a benchmark for what we’re seeing now which is veterans getting involved en masse in activism movements and protecting people. It’s so awesome. A long time ago I wrote, back at the beginning, that it’s from within the ranks of the system itself that we shall be emancipated. That’s a direct quote and it’s what we’re seeing now. That it’s the everyday people in the ranks of the system that will protect us, that are protecting us from the destruction wreaked by the system.
TRACE: When we were off air I was telling you about what happened to me and in a way, the only thing that kept me going was the deepest love and respect that I found for myself and we were talking about the strength that it takes for people to continue and look at you now. You’re fighting, you’re supporting yourself and you’re a journalist and you’ve had to trot from country to country, but you’re not just a journalist, you’re a mother as well. So you’ve got all this to keep going all the time, you have the welfare of some very precious children but you’ve had to support all of this and keep everyone safe while you’re still fighting which is admirable in many ways. You came up with something and I’ve forgotten already but what did you put your fighting down to?
SUZIE: I told you it was righteous indignation. [laughter] It’s true, that’s what keeps me going. It’s righteous indignation. It’s righteous because what has been done to me and to my family and to my friends and to people all over the world proves that we are right. It’s like the methods of the corrupt betray their motives because they would not be flat out trying to destroy us unless there was something to suppress and that is the truth. They’re trying to suppress the truth. So the more nasty, malicious, endangering things that they did to me and to my family, the more it proved to me that they are completely corrupt, that they have no moral basis whatsoever for their position and that it is more critically important than ever that we continue to sacrifice to bring the truth to light. So that’s my own indignation because I know that we are righteous in truth-telling.
TRACE: I totally agree, I realise that if I give up now, that I’m accepting that I can be treated like this forever so I can’t give up and this is why I wanted to bring up the subject because I admire people that have almost looked death in the face and have persisted through it and just kept fighting in the same direction and I feel in a lot of ways like it’s an inspiration to others to come and join us in the fight and to make this a better place for us all. Did you ever realise, when you started off with Occupy and journalism, did you know the risks of what could happen to you?
SUZIE: I didn’t have the slightest clue. We did no’t have the slightest clue. Another member of my media team did an interview recently and she said you know, I came in green, I was dumped in the deep end, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into. All I knew is that there were people who were thinking the same things as me. I very clearly remember looking at the first messages coming out of Occupy and having the sensation of – oh my God – it’s not just me. It’s not just me that’s been thinking that the world is totally messed up, that politics is a complete joke, that everything is going to hell. I had this sensation all of a sudden of, I am not alone, other people are thinking this to, and not only are they thinking it but they’re doing something about it, they’re organising, they’re creating something, they’re building something. So I was compelled – not even compelled – I couldn’t not join in. I had such a massive moral obligation to support the people who were showing me that they were just like me, were thinking just like me, and then once I went to the occupation I just made friends, I formed relationships, I formed bonds with those people which gave me a sense of responsibility. I had to make sure that I did everything I could to help to feed them, to help to look after them, to help to organise. I became a journalist by accident, I became a journalist because the media are corrupt. If the media were not corrupt I would never have written a single word. I wouldn’t have written a single post, I wouldn’t have written a single article. If our government were not corrupt, I would never have written a single word against them. If our intelligence agencies were not illegally spying on people, I would never have campaigned against them. So, it’s not so much about me as it was just me reacting to the environmental factors.
TRACE: You know the amazing thing with what you just said, it’s amazing how our lives are dissimilar in some ways and yet so similar in another. You saying you became a journalist because of all the corrupt media going around and you needing to get the word out for the people. Three judges in the past year have summarised me as an advocate in equality and criminal law funnily enough. Someone in a public authority asked me why I knew so much law and was I a lawyer. I said no and she said well how do you know so much. I said, because you’ve subjected me to so much and I’ve had to learn and now I’m pursuing you.
SUZIE: This is exactly the point. Imagine a world where the mainstream media covered Occupy on day 1. Imagine that we saw them cover if we turned our TVs on and read in our newspapers, that we’d actually seen the mass protests at One Police Plaza. Imagine if the New York Times headlines had been ‘Militarised Police Mass Pepper Spray Poor Teenage Girls In Union Square’ or wherever, in New York City. I might have just sat at home and been like, wow that’s horrific, thank God we have the media to tell us this. I might never have written a word. What compelled me to action over and over again was witnessing the truth being covered up. I was seeing the truth on the livestreams, I was turning on my TV and there was nothing and that is why I’m a journalist. And I am just one of thousands of Occupy media people that are in the same boat, that was the same experiences that led them into journalism. And now we’ve become a force to be reckoned with, so the corruption in the media created us. Just as the corruption in the government spawned these protests.
TRACE: Well Suzie, I’ve come to realise that we are sisters but in parallel universes but one thing I’ve got over you is that I have bigger balls.
SUZIE: Well you might not have [laughter]. I quite frequently brag about the size of my balls actually. [laughter]
TRACE: I must admit, it was the Crown Prosecution Service when I was starting this criminal prosecution against a Chief Inspector and she said ‘oh my god you’re so brave aren’t you’ and I said ‘yes, I’m the only woman in the country with big balls’ and she just went totally silent and I was laughing so much and I said ‘you can laugh, it was supposed to be a joke’… it’s amazing how our services have become so literal but let’s get back focus to you because you’re the most important thing here. Not thing, human being. But when you were starting with the Occupy and when you were starting to get the media out, you started getting harrassed by a lot of nasty people that didn’t want you to get the message out, the truth out, didn’t want you to publish anything and I’ve been reading through and there was a lot of alarming stuff happening to you which was sick and again I can see it with me, how things have happened with me and you had no choice but to continue but I’ve been reading and one time someone was trying to run you off the road in a car…
SUZIE: Yeah, they were. They were using military grade equipment to do it and that equipment has become accessible to private contractors as well as to state agencies and that’s another kettle of fish in and of itself. The complete lack of accountability and the lack of case law surrounding it and the lack of investigation because the police will not investigate anything along these lines whatsoever means that its very difficult to get any redress or to find out who was doing it or why they were doing it but it certainly did happen and I’m really lucky that I’m not just a canary in the coalmine, that my entire media team have come out one by one have come out in support of me and said yes, this was happening, yes we knew this was going on and to a certain degree it was going on with all of us and with a lot of people. Occupy is how I first, I don’t know, got on the radar of the agencies I guess but we had a unique set of circumstances in New Zealand surrounding the FBI raid of Kim Dotcom’s house which occurred just a few days before the Occupy raids and in particular it came out later that year that the state spy agency which was not supposed to spy on its own citizens had in fact been spying on them and this upset us so much that we launched a movement against that agency and I pretty much campaigned fulltime for a long time to bring awareness to that and I used every contact that I had to grow that movement and especially in the independent media spheres and internationally. So that was when things started to get progressively more and more crazy. Then in the wake of Snowden coming out, again things escalated. Then throughout 2013 and 2014 right up to the General Election in September of 2014. So like I say it was a slow escalation like it started in 2011 but it just got progressively hotter and hotter and hotter. But even despite being nearly driven off a cliff in 2014 alongside every other crazy thing that was done to me, actually one of the most dangerous moments in the last five years actually was earlier this year when I was involved in organising the #JA4Me campaign to try and free Julian Assange. That hit a huge nerve and the pushback against me for it was swift and it was brutal and it was international and it was again, life threatening. Which tells me a few things. It tells me that the powers that be more than anything under the sun do not want a mass movement to free Julian Assange. And that tells me that it is critically important that we form a mass movement to free Julian Assange.
TRACE: I know. I think that will happen almost automatically in a way. So far there’s been so many instructions by the United Nations but every country doesn’t want to comply with such requests. They’re waging a war, if you consider, we’re facing a war on transparency. It’s all of our rights, not just Julian Assange, isn’t it. It’s a demonstration of what is going to be bestowed on all of us. Is there something going on, is there something running at the moment on that side of things Suzie?
SUZIE: Well, that campaign has never officially ended, its just that those people who care enough to do something for him once a month are doing so, but I think that you are correct to say that its almost inevitable that whether its that campaign or another campaign, it doesn’t really matter what the campaign is called or who organises it, does not matter. What matters is the objective and the objective being acheived and I think that WikiLeaks has such massive saturation now, it has such a huge voice now and is such high impact. It is without a doubt the most significant publisher in the world. Perhaps in the history of the world now. So I do agree with you that its inevitable that something will happen.
TRACE: Is there – are there any websites that our listeners could go on and have a read about what’s going on?
SUZIE: Sure, the best one in terms of Julian’s case is Justice4Assange.com. And of course there’s plenty of information at WikiLeaks itself, many of his press releases and information relating to his case. There is tons of it on Twitter if you look at #FreeJulian and JA4Me.org is still there, you can have a look at that as well. One thing that really worries me is that I see us march against governments, I see us march for the environment, I see us march against oil drilling, against fracking, I see us march, even like NoDAPL is a great example of an effective movement, but I don’t see us marching for whistleblowers and that scares me. If we want Chelsea out of prison, why do we not have an occupation outside the prison 24/7 raising hell to get her out? It’s not just enough to have internet memes. It’s great that we’re fundraising for the legal defence funds but where is the action, where is the direct action for the whistleblowers? Why aren’t we marching for Julian?
TRACE: Well Suzie, one thing I’ve noticed lately and I don’t know if you’ll agree with me but our activism seems to have turned itself inside out. What I see on Twitter is that people are forming these DM rooms so they can all talk but they seem to be posting old news into rooms saying oh we must do something about this, look how terrible this is, but they’ve forgotten what activism is all about and I feel it so strongly that we need to set an example and actually lead these people out from internal activism out into the open so we can awake the masses, so we can actually get the word out, so we can actually start getting support for all these things. Myself, my fight is, at least you’re lucky with Occupy, you’ve got some support there, and I want to come back to this because you’re just like this true, strong activist that is continually fighting and I want to come back to this because this is about you this evening but myself for instance, I do not have a community behind me. My community is so sporadic and it’s full up of people that are marginalised and desperate for help or for a social life or whatever, so for me my fight is on a singular basis and I’ve learned to live with that now and I do all my own research and do all my own fights. Like on Tuesday, I’ve pushed the police force into actually agreeing that something’s gone drastically wrong and they’re coming down to do interviews for internal investigations after the last two arrests, they arrested me once for asking for help and the other time I was arrested for reporting a crime and I was actually detained for two days without investigation and without even interview. But it is to the point now where I think we’re so used to being behind our keyboards, we’ve forgotten what activism really is. Do you tend to agree with me on this?
SUZIE: I fear the Aaron Swartz precedent and that’s what I just wrote about before, that we have all these photos of Aaron Swartz and we have these memes of him and its great to celebrate him and its great to raise awareness of him but where is the Aaron Swartz that is still alive and what are we doing for them? Courage asked for 100,000 pounds for their general fund which they needed for core funding and they got 8,000. I mean, that makes me want to scream the roof down and it’s not all about money, why will we not support the whistleblowers? I was very involved with organisations that undertake direct action in New Zealand and when I reached out to them and tried to arrange for there to be marches for Julian they were just “too busy”. You know, they didn’t want to know about it. That drives me nuts because those same people worship Ed Snowden. Julian saved Ed. Julian wanted to set a precedent to show that a whistleblower can live. That someone who contributes as meaningfully as Ed did, can live. But living is just the first step. We need to support them and we need to emancipate them. I am genuinely happy for the Pardon Snowden movement, I think it’s great that people are getting on board with that but I think there has been nowhere near enough coordinated direct action for Julian and I think there has been nowhere near enough coordinated direct action for Chelsea and that’s what I want to see out of some of these big organisations, is not just memes and not just the fundraising drives but actual action.
TRACE: Do you think it’s time that perhaps we should form, for instance, this sounds really crazy, but do you think we should form some sort of association of activism. Just like an association where everyone falls under one roof type of thing, where everyone falls under one roof and can get access to up-to-date information and we can concentrate, like we can say look guys, we need help here today. Or we need, perhaps we ought to be looking at the fact that perhaps in a way, there is so much and I have noticed that there is so many different programs running at the moment and a lot of them they should realise that by joining the larger picture they would be helping their own cause and perhaps in a way if someone’s listening, I think it’s time that, we are slowly getting bigger in the movements, everyone’s joining something on the internet, perhaps it’s time that we can have a global association so that we encourage, motivate and focus our efforts on what is actually required. Do you think that would make sense?
SUZIE: As a general principle I’m against centralisation of anything but if what you’re talking about is like what we used to have with the needs of the occupiers, where we used to post information about what people could do to help, what they could do, sure I think that would be really great. In terms of coordinating I think a lot of the mass actions are too dependent upon the labour movements which tend to be corrupted at the top and corrupted by money. I think we are too dependent upon the NGO’s, I think there’s only a handful of NGO’s and there’s issues with political co-option of them as well. I think that decentralised action is actually the way forward. I would rather see a hundred different groups around the world doing a hundred different things to free Julian than I would just try to get 20,000 people to march down the street once every three months.
TRACE: I totally agree with you but we have a trend setting up right now which is quite scary and I see it alot, in a lot of ways people are losing their direction. Even Anonymous is half asleep at the moment in a lot of ways but that is indicative of Anonymous. You know, it’s a living breathing organism. Sometimes it’s almost dormant and sometimes it’s out there doing something really cool. I suppose every activism is the same and right now people haven’t got as much money and they’re struggling that much more and it’s harder for them to do things, I’m not sure, but something needs to change. I do see a lot of dysphoria in what an activist really is now and yes it’s good to have things plastered across the media and to make people aware of but like you say, we need bums on seats. We need activists out there. Look at Dakota pipeline, look at what’s happening, that now they’re celebrating, now they’re starting to win. That wasn’t done from sitting on Twitter saying oh look, there’s this pipeline coming down the road. They actually got off their asses and went and sat in the way of the pipeline and over time got support. We need to start doing the same things with everything else. Something has to change. I see it every day now. Oh this is terrible, let’s just put a post in a DM room and everybody says yes that’s terrible, then just gets on to another subject and this is where I think we have lost our direction. So um, Suzie..
TRACE: This show is about you, and you keep on diverting back to issues…
SUZIE: Oh, look. I have to be honest with you. There is some small minority of people who reject anybody using their personal identity and sure, I was actually one of them for a very long time. Who would just think that I’m just famewhoring or whatever. To those people I would say: if I wasn’t the walking dead I would never have used my name, I would never have showed my face. I shot over 100 live videos and I never once put myself in the frame of the camera. I used a pseudonym for three and a half years. You hear my media team coordinator in an interview complaining that I used to refuse to do the interviews and get everybody else to do them and it’s because it was never about me. It was never about me from the beginning. It was about supporting the occupiers, supporting the occupation, standing up against the FBI invading my country and persecuting Kim Dotcom, pushing back against the spy agencies who were illegally spying on us, trying to prevent the TPPA being signed, trying to prevent state houses being removed at G.I., campaign after campaign it was about what we were trying to do for our country. It was about trying to repossess our country which had become a vassal state of a vast military power that was piece by piece trying to destroy the planet. That is what it’s about. So it’s very difficult for me to sit here, you know I’m new to this doing interviews at 4am from Moscow thing, believe me I’m very new to it. So, I don’t… I can’t sit here and tell you about me because it’s not about me. I did not do any of it for me. I can’t even count how many hundreds of thousands of words I wrote until the last month I never earned a dollar from it. People giving me money in support of what I do is extremely new to me. Me sitting on camera in my documentary was extremely new to me. These are, this is something that does not come naturally to me. I ran away from the livestream cameras because I did not want to be… I refused to speak at events because I did not want to be a name on a list, trying to make a career out of it. I already had a career which was completely separate from activism, that had nothing to do with activism and I was happy to use my resources from that career to try and provide for other people but the state came after me so hard and so viciously that I was toast if I did not say, this is who I am, this is what I’ve been doing and this is what is happening to me. So I don’t know what to tell you other than that. I don’t see myself as being the story.
TRACE: Well, perhaps after the break perhaps we’re going to find out what makes Suzie Dawson tick. How the hell she’s survived through what she’s survived through and how she was able to keep her head above the water and her dependants heads above the water from chopping and changing different countries. I’ve listened to your, you know, historical stuff and now, I hear someone that’s so strong, so relaxed and so positive, after the amount that you’ve been through and you’re still fighting and that’s admirable. And I think in a way we need to know more about the Suzie Dawson, the fight, the soul, the everything and it’s admirable Suzie. Yes I know there’s a lot to do but you know a lot of people would just lay down and stick their toes up. You, you take the bull by the horns and keep on fighting. Let’s go for a break but you know, I can see you going down in a blaze of glory Suzie.
TRACE: We’re back again and since we’ve started this show I’ve been trying to interview Suzie Dawson and we seem to have interviewed Obama… we’ve talked about Obama and Dakota Pipeline and a multitude of things and I keep on trying to get to Suzie Dawson and something always gets in the way doesn’t it Suzie.
SUZIE: [laughter] My own reticence usually…
TRACE: So. What’s in the way this time?
SUZIE: Well, I’ve literally two minutes ago I’ve just been informed that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, who is the ex-Federal Reserve Bank of New York investment banker who has been running our country into the ground for the last eight years has just voluntarily submitted his resignation as Prime Minister. He says his wife asked him to for family reasons. This is an excuse that’s been heard many times before and I have no doubt that it is in fact just an excuse. John Key was the Minister in charge of the spy agencies who were illegally spying on New Zealanders. He… his office, was implicated in documents that were provided to me in response to privacy act requests that I had made to the spy agencies and it was my belief and my lawyers belief at the time that we obtained those documents that they would not have implicated his office unless they believed that he would not still be Prime Minister at the General Election next year.
TRACE: So do you think that he has resigned for a particular reason?
SUZIE: I think that he has resigned for more than 400 reasons. Because there are more than 400 demonstrable lies that this man has told and been caught out in that have actually been documented as lies. He is loathed domestically in New Zealand for very good reason. I think that the debacle over… my last article about New Zealand was specifically about, it was in the immediate wake of President-Elect Trump being elected in the United States and it was about John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand using a variety of very strange tactics to try to pressure America into signing the TPP even though Trump had said that he would not and two days after I wrote it, actually Kim Dotcom did retweet that article and cc’d it to President-Elect Trump and his elder children on Twitter… and two days later Trump put out his video of the very first things that he would do when he got into office and the very first thing he said is that he would get rid of the TPP. Now, John Key has been championing that agreement for years, I mean, six years or something like that? Six or seven years now. And there has been mass actions… and when I say mass actions I mean shutting down city onramps, shutting down traffic flows, untold thousands of people in more than a dozen cities and towns in New Zealand taking action against that agreement. It was extremely unpopular among the New Zealand public and yet Key continued to progress it at every step. So his methods at trying to get Trump to reverse his position on the TPP were… really arrogant to be honest with you, they were really arrogant methods. So I’m not surprised that he is out the door. Unfortunately it doesn’t do much to change my situation because my situation involves foreign spy agencies roaming free in New Zealand and I don’t think that situation will change just because John Key is gone and because I’ve been targeted by the United States as well as by New Zealand unfortunately I won’t just be able to jump back on a plane anytime soon but it is huge news for New Zealand, absolutely huge news.
TRACE: Does this mean that he will be moving to Russia too, just for his own safety?
SUZIE: [laughter] Given his position on supporting the military efforts of the US Empire I don’t think so. He should because the food is great and the people are wonderful and this country is absolutely everything that the West refuses to let people know that it is.
TRACE: Perhaps he doesn’t like cabbage.
SUZIE: I think that he will be on the first plane to his holiday home in Hawaii. Hawaii of course being where the NSA office was that was involved in spying on New Zealanders on behalf of the New Zealand government. It’s a funny situation because as Minister in charge of the spy agencies this man would have signed off on the warrants for those of us who were spied on. But I’ve never felt able to hate him. I’ve had every reason to hate him but I’ve never felt able to hate him because I’ve always understood that he is an employee of something much bigger than himself and even of our country. I have no doubt that whoever is chosen or elected to replace him will continue to employ the same agendas. It’s sad but true.
TRACE: This man obviously… well.. getting back to you. I think it’s really important that people understand what you’ve been through and how you’ve managed to pull yourself out of everything but you know, you’ve been so badly victimised for being a reporter and for being part of Occupy that you’ve ended up literally in exile. How do you find things? Because you know, when you’re exiled, you also become marginalised don’t you? Do you find yourself becoming marginalised away from even friends and family?
SUZIE: It’s certainly had a huge effect on my family and on my friends. Oh look I experienced so many things about being in exile. The way that I undertake journalism and activism has changed dramatically. My exile was successful in keeping me off the front lines of activism in New Zealand. I used to be literally on the ground on the front lines of every major action in New Zealand and covering what was going on and pushing that message out to the world and getting as much international attention as possible for it and to a certain degree I’ve been prevented from doing that, physically certainly. I still do what I can to support online from afar but its definitely not what it once was. However my situation has given even more significant reach to my long-form journalism so… in New Zealand we’d say tatou tatou e, as it comes so it goes so there’s pluses and minuses on all fronts.
TRACE: So how long have you been away?
SUZIE: I left New Zealand in January 2015.
TRACE: So without going into detail, how many countries have you had to stay in? Just to keep yourself safe?
SUZIE: I would have to literally sit here and count them. Because of visa restrictions we have had, because of time limits on visas, we did have to move around quite a bit. Particularly this year. There’s been a few.
TRACE: Did you always have Russia on your mind or was that your last thought? It’s interesting… just knowing how you, obviously you know it must be quite traumatic, one minute you’ve got a house, a family, and your life then the next minute you’re fleeing for your life and for the safety of your family, having to sell everything up and leave. So taking that step and leaving like you did, into the unknown and leaving like you did it is such a huge step and it must take huge amounts of courage. It just interests me so much. Obviously everytime you found somewhere you realised that it wasn’t right or that you were going to have further problems?
SUZIE: The persecution followed me. That’s something I didn’t really anticipate but it did follow me. From the first destination to the second to the third and it wasn’t until I got eventually out of the NATO countries that it stopped, that I was no longer being physically hunted. So the progression to the East was somewhat natural in that way. If you look at other people who have been in similar situations, if you look at for example Julian Assange, this is prior to the 2010 manhunt, in the preceeding years, he was having to move from country to country and every country he was going to, massive surveillance operations were being physically installed next to where he was staying and he was hunted and harassed in a similar way. It’s not just me, there are other people whose footsteps I have unknowingly followed in, that are in similar circumstances just because of the degree of the targeting, the severity of the targeting. But no I didn’t have Russia in mind, I had Berlin in mind. I hoped that there would be a degree of safety there. We know quite recently that they’ve just… there is a tendency amongst these country to do things that are illegal then to retrospectively or retroactively legislate. Recently Germany has just passed a law that enables them to spy on foreign-born journalists. Clearly I was in Germany last year and clearly I was spied on amongst other things. Why I’m seeking asylum in Russia, why I made the decision, was because I had put in requests to the spy agencies, specifically because more information had come to light. The first of the 88 New Zealanders targeted was revealed by The Intercept in August and his passport had been cancelled by our government and our government has been strengthening legislation around exactly this, stripping citizenship from people that they don’t like. So there was a very real fear that if I tried to travel again… I already happened to be in Russia on a private visa, and my fear was that there was a very real possibility that if we attempted to travel again that the government might cancel my passport and the legal advice was that if they did, that they would wait and do it while I was in transit. From that point I would be in a legal no mans zone, a grey zone, and we had no idea what would happen from there.
TRACE: You’d be taken back to NZ wouldn’t you?
SUZIE: In theory but nobody really knows. And then in September, the responses finally came back from the spy agencies, and while they refused to confirm or deny on the surface that I’ve been a target, the particulars of their responses and some of the supplementary information and the manner in which they undertook providing those responses made it really clear that reading between the lines that yes I was a target. So for the first time in all these years I was actually in physical possession of official documentation that had some degree of support for my claims. So it was no longer just me having self-documented it or other people saying ‘yes we’ve seen it’ so this took it up a notch. So it was on that basis that once I received those responses I went ahead and applied for asylum.
TRACE: It’s amazing because if you think about it right the way through everything you’ve kept pushing and pushing and pushing, you haven’t given in on anything really at all have you.
SUZIE: Oh, you can look at it one of two ways, you know, either I’ve kept pushing or I’ve kept being pushed because to be honest they never let up on me ever, they didn’t give me two inches room to move and it’s just so brutal and so unjust and it’s so against everything that I knew of my country growing up. We were an independent nation. We were not a vassal state. We pushed back against nuclear testing, we pushed back against the US warships, nuclear warships, coming into our waters. We had a really strong national identity and that identity was slowly stripped from us over the last eight years and so I really did feel like I was fighting for the identity of my country and the sovereignty of my country and I’m just one person. I am just one person. I had a really defining moment when I literally decided that I would begin fulltime campaigning against the GCSB and I had a pretty strong feeling at that time that, you know, I was putting myself in a position of risk because I was just one white middle class solo mum from the suburbs against these billion dollar agencies and I knew that they could crush me if they so desired to but I couldn’t let them destroy my country and sit there and say nothing, I couldn’t let them turn us into a police state.
TRACE: Do you find in a way that you reach a threshold that you go over where it doesn’t matter anymore, you know they’ve done their worst to you and now they can’t take any more away from you… it’s like me, you know, I fight and the worst thing for them now is that I have nothing to lose anymore so I’m probably more dangerous to them now than I was four years ago, in so many ways. But you must have gone through some really really bad points in time because obviously you didn’t know any of this was going to happen to you and you weren’t aware of it and let’s face it back then none of us was aware of the risks we were entering into at certain points. Cos obviously you’ve got responsibilities and everything, I just don’t know how you coped with all of this. You know, it would have just sent a normal person into breakdown or something. How did you get through this all? It must have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions or something. I’m not too sure. This is what really interests me, how you overcame it all?
SUZIE: Look I’m not sure that I have overcome it Tracey. I remember having a conversation with Sarah Harrison in Berlin and talking to her about what had happened to me and she said something like ‘oh that must have been so hard’ or ‘that must have been so difficult’ – she was just empathising with me because she’s a really empathetic person… and it stopped me in my tracks, like I remember literally just being shocked for a minute and trying to think to myself ‘how did it really feel?’ And I couldn’t even answer, I couldn’t even connect to that question because I’ve never had the space to sit around and think about how I feel about it. I’ve never had the closure. I’ve never had the complete understanding of what has happened to me in order to begin to process it. Like I know it from the side of experiencing it in the first person but I’ve never had that validation, I’m still waiting for that. I’ve never seen my file, I’ve never seen tangible proof of every single thing that they did to me, I just get these little snippets of information and my understanding slowly grows over time but until I really understand the full picture behind the bits that I’ve seen, I can’t begin to process how I feel.
TRACE: Can I just say something? I think that I can understand you. Maybe I’ve gone through something that you’re still waiting to go through, I’m not too sure. This is some time ago, maybe about three years ago, no, maybe about two years ago. I had been extremely ill and was fighting to try and get some help and I was being turned away from everywhere. My doctor had written to me in 2014 and said that he could not get a hospital to treat me and I had been out of circulation about four or five months and anyway I’d gone to buy some ink for my printer and I went to this retail park so I thought I’d go shopping for some clothes and I went into Debenhams (?) and I found some things I wanted and I went down to the checkout and the woman’s eyes lit up and she said ‘how are you Tracey, we haven’t seen you for ages’ and she was almost tearful saying ‘we thought you’d died, we were so worried’ and so we spoke as long as we could before there was this massive queue and I had to go. Then I remembered I had needed some shoes so I went upstairs you see then when I came back down I was waking towards the exit, this huge crowd of people, well it wasn’t huge, perhaps between 7 and 9 people, caught me in the corner of my eye first, they were walking towards me, and it was all the staff in the store, they’d come across to say how I was and it was a little bit overwhelming in a way. When we’d finished I got out to my car and started it and I had to take this deep breath and I felt like I was going to explode emotionally and I pulled out of the retail carpark and I’d even forgot to get my inkjet cartridges and I was driving back and I was shaking and I just burst into tears. I had to pull over, it was just so much, I almost broke down and I realised that the reason why I broke down is that I was driving back to a living hell. Those people had put a complete perspective on what I was actually suffering and it’s amazing how we seem to build up this defense and one day something very simple will come along and just tear down that defense completely and then somehow you’ll be aware how much you’re really suffering. Have you got to that point yet?
SUZIE: To some degree I’ve got to it in terms of finally having spent a couple of months not being harassed and tortured and interfered with but every day, you know… I never talk about the kids because I don’t think it’s fair, it’s bad enough what they’ve gone through, it’s not fair to drag them into it. But every day I have to tell them, ‘it’s ok, we’re going to be ok, everything’s going to be fine, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that’ so I can’t let them see me break down and be upset about it, I’ve always had to be really focused on what are we going to do next, where we are we going, what are we going to do. So I haven’t had the down time yet really to try and process what has happened but also I’m missing pieces of the puzzle and until I have those pieces I won’t have the understanding and until I have the understanding I can’t have the closure or the grief… really experience the grief. I mean, I don’t know if we’re going to have a country in a month’s time, I think if the asylum is granted it will be a huge step towards some healing for me, just to know that we’re going to be safe in the long term, that we’ll be able to build a home. But I just don’t know and while I don’t know I guess there’s a big piece of me that I just fence off because I don’t have the luxury of sitting around and exploring my feelings, I have to stay pretty focused. We’ve been in crisis mode, you know, when people are trying to kill you you go into crisis mode and you are too busy having to try to survive to really sit around and feel… feel what is happening.
TRACE: Perhaps at the same time, I remember, it was my daughter, we got tied up in a riot over in Marseilles when we were in this hired car and anyway, we had tear gas going everywhere and we were crying, there was two of us in the front and we were trying to laugh and be happy so that the little one in the back would think that it’s all fun and sit there being happy too. You have to forget about the severity of the situation just to keep your dependents happy. So in one way, you’re waiting for closure on a lot of things but can you ever have that closure? Because if you allow your guard down, will you be able to cope for a while with those dependents? Do you see where I’m coming from? For you it must be very difficult because you are the building blocks of everything for your family so I suppose in a way it makes it harder for you to be able to accept what’s happened to you and you have to just keep on fighting. Does that make sense?
SUZIE: Yeah it does. Oh Tracey, I don’t know. This is really difficult for me to try and even wrap my head around. The price has been more than just money and belongings and my house and my country and my friends, the price in a lot of ways has been half of my thirties, half a decade of my life gone, I can’t do the most normal things and I haven’t been able to for so many years and I haven’t begun to process it, I mean the things I’ve had to learn… I’ve had to learn don’t stand on the curb of the street because someone can shove you in front of the way of a car, don’t stand by the railroad tracks because someone can shove you onto the third rail… if someone’s shining fricking military grade blinding lights into your rear view mirror, turn your rear view mirror up to face the ceiling so that you don’t drive off a freaking cliff… these are things that people shouldn’t have to worry about but thats the world that I’ve been thrust into and there’s basic elements of the life of a woman who’s in their early to mid 30s that have been completely unavailable to me like for years and years I have not been able to have an intimate relationship because… for many reasons. Firstly my situation is so extreme that I have never felt like I could bring someone into, or expose them to the kinds of things that I get put through, you know… it makes a very short list of who I could love or be with because I wouldn’t want anyone to be in the shoes that I am in. There’s a lack of a lot of things in my life that normal people would take completely for granted, like the Sabu experience meant that I couldn’t take anything at face value, I couldn’t even ever really know if my friends or the people that I loved or cared about, were in fact them. I never knew who’s on the other end of the keyboard. I never know who is or who isn’t who they say they will be. I can’t make friends the way I always had before in my life. I can’t have relationships the way that other people do. I can’t take anything for granted whatsoever and so I haven’t begun to process that because I’m still living in it. I’m still living in it. Until that pressure comes off and I can start to build a life I won’t fully appreciate what I’ve lost or what I’ve been through.
TRACE: Your life sounds so similar to mine, it’s so so severe. This is why I like to look at the person because unless people know, they dont appreciate. And see, this is what is admirable. You have no choice, you are committed, you are condemned to pursuing your light. Wasn’t it Columbus he said, it’s always stuck in my mind, nothing that results in human progress is achieved by unanimous consent. Those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to pursue that light in spite of the others. Well condemned is the right word because once you’re committed, you know, you’re in there and you have no choice. So the emotional impact and the impact on people’s lives is phenomenal and it’s like right now, deep down inside you’re probably, well it’s pretty obvious, just like any other natural human being. All the natural things that anyone else… it’s there isn’t it but for someone like you it’s not, for someone like me it’s not. This is the bit I’m getting at because it shows your inner strength. And how did you describe your inner strength again?
SUZIE: My righteous indignation. [laughter]
TRACE: Yes, your righteous indignation has kept you going for so long and that side of things is so admirable. Especially yes, your emotional state, the fact that you’ve got to be a pillar for two very, precious dependents if I can put it that way. You’ve got to keep not just your head above the water but also everyone’s head above the water. The strain of it must be immense and yet you still keep fighting and perhaps in a way, it’s something that people ought to look at because in a lot of ways you’re an ideal role model for so many activists. Perhaps in a way… you do a blog now, don’t you?
SUZIE: I have a number of blogs. We had a very successful blog called OccupySavvy.com during Occupy and it was under constant attack. Having hundreds of blogposts pooled under one domain made us really susceptible to attacks on that domain and eventually that domain was essentially stolen from us actually by WordPress, by the hosting service, while it was still in the renewal period and should not have been able to have been taken from us and when that happened that broke tens of thousands of links that were all over the internet to our work so that taught me to decentralise everything. So I have separated my work across a number of different domains and publications since that point so. So I have SpinBin.co.nz which is where my work writing about New Zealand media and politics and about the Prime Minister and the government is predominantly published at. I have Contraspin.co.nz which is where I talk about international issues particularly around whistleblowers and WikiLeaks and related topics. I have a personal blog which is endarken.co.nz which is a blog I put up just for my occasional rant. I have a new project called DecipherYou.com which is where I analyse Snowden documents and WikiLeaks documents and some film reviews of Field of Vision and I have Suzi3d.com which is my official website which aggregates all of my work and my news about what’s going on for me. I’ve been really lucky too to be published by some really amazing places. I’ve been published by TASS here in Russia which is a really massive news service and I’ve been consistently published by MintPress News which is a really incredible independent publisher in the United States, a really fantastic publisher, they’ve carried a lot of my work over the years, and by a handful of other places as well.
TRACE: That’s amazing. What amazes me is how you keep on and on and on, you’re just pounding at the door all of the time. I feel for that in so many ways because I know what it takes to be able to do that and what sacrifices in your life. How can people help? In so many ways… is there anything that listeners can do to support you or anything?
SUZIE: Sure. Like I said before, I had a really great career, an I.T. career that was completely separate from my journalism but as my activism and journalism became more high profile and as the government attacks became more voracious it was impossible for me to continue that career so I was unable to continue funding my activism so I ended up having to sell my house and most of my belongings just to keep us alive over the last couple of years. I went as far as I could on my own funds and then by about three or four weeks ago I was out of options and I began appealing for help from my readers and from New Zealanders who were aware of my work and I’ve been really blessed in that people have started to help and they’ve really stepped up for me. It’s really humbling for me and it’s also really gratifying that when I finally did start asking for help that people have taken that seriously. So if people do want to contribute to help me and the kids, I can’t work while I’m seeking asylum so it is really meaningful for us to have that help, you can donate through my website Suzi3D.com or you can reach out to me on Twitter @Suzi3d. Some really cool people set up a help account for me as well, that’s @HelpSuzi3d. So I’m really lucky, I mean, it’s been a huge deal for me to see all the people stepping forward and validating what I’ve said because you know it’s a big ask for other people, even people who did know what was happening, for them to step forward publically and ratify what I say, so I really appreciate the bravery of other people in doing that, it’s really courageous of them and it’s just so lovely to see. For me, as much as there’s been pain and tribulation there’s also been really wonderful, amazing moments. I’ve been so lucky, some really great things have happened to me, I got to meet a lot of people who I have a lot of respect for, I’ve got to cover a lot of events in New Zealand as well as just the activist events. I’ve been really blessed.
TRACE: I was reading a small poster – “the truth is something that I feel really strongly about. I know Suzie as a good friend and highly respect what she does as a journalist so that’s why I’m here for her. Someone has to be brave enough to back someone like Suzie, to share what’s going on and let people know” and that was from Chris Yong. He’s… I was going to say he’s a pop star but you told me not to because he’ll kill us all.
TRACE: He’s quite a large rock star isn’t he? He’s got a rock band or something in New Zealand?
SUZIE: In like, circa 2000 or 1999 he was the guitarist in one of the best known New Zealand bands, I think they had a double platinum album, they were called Tadpole, they were one of my favourites actually so it’s amazing how things work out.
TRACE: Did they not write a song about Occupy or about you or something?
SUZIE: No, that’s something else entirely. Shihad wrote an entire album actually, about the Five Eyes. About Waihopai spy base in New Zealand and about the issues. They wrote about privacy and about the phenomenon of illegal spying and the direction that things are heading in. Shihad are like, I want to say the godfathers of rock in New Zealand. They’re a very old school band that has been around for 25 years and their albums just get better and better and better. They’re close friends also with Chris Yong. Chris went on to do many other things. He continued playing in bands up until this day. He had a show on a music television channel in New Zealand and various other things. Most recently he became a candidate for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party in New Zealand. So he’s another example of a really good friend that I’m really blessed to have and who has stood by me. He had not much to gain and everything to lose by putting out statements like that in support of me but he’s done it on principle. I really… that kind of loyalty means everything to me. I was trawling back through my old Facebook account a little while ago. It had been dormant for a long time because I can’t stand Facebook. They’re pretty much for everything I’m against in terms of privacy in software. But I found this post that I wrote years ago and this reminds me of what I was talking about in it. This young activist in New Zealand, she was probably about 18. She came up to me and she said – this was in the wake of another teenage girl having been attacked by the police in New Zealand and I had very voraciously and at great length stood up for that girl when she was attacked – so this other teenage activist came to me and she said “Suzie I know that if the state came after me that you would stand up for me.” She said specifically that “You would have my back. I know Suzie that you would have my back” and I swear to God for me to hear that, it was more than winning any award or accolade that could be given to me, it was more than money it was more than anything. That was the most satisfying moment for me that this young, vulnerable girl knew that I would stick up for her, that I would have her back if something happened to her, if the government came after her. She knew that I would raise all hell in her defense and that’s one of those moments… like, if there’s something for me to be proud about myself, I’m proud of that. I’m proud that these young, vulnerable girls knew that I had their back. That for me is what I’m proud of. In New Zealand we have the concept of mana. That is where my mana lies. I voraciously stand up for those who are being attacked and if I put myself on the line in doing so, then so be it. So if there’s anything that I would consider an accomplishment, it was that those girls knew that they were not alone.
TRACE: Well let’s hope that other people can do that for you now and help you through this section of your life and see if we can help stabilise things and help you start living a relatively normal life in safety. I’m sure that we all owe it to you in so many ways because without people like you, we would be in a worse position than we are now. You know, Chelsea Manning is now in prison. You’re literally exiled away from your own country. Snowden-stan. Jeffrey Sterling is being tortured in prison from whistleblowing. Serena Shim, she’s dead from telling the truth. Now there’s so much constraint on media and everything that a lot of reporters are scared to do what you do. So I ask everyone that’s listening and everyone that listens to this broadcast that please, if you can do something for Suzie… what are those websites again Suzie, I’ll put them on the poster… what were your websites?
SUZIE: Honestly, I want them to tell the truth and I want them to stand up for other people more than I want them to give them money or support me.
TRACE: No, at the same time we need to…
SUZIE: We need money, it’s a fact of life, but this is about more than that and like you’re saying, those journalists who are too scared – they’re why I exist. Their fear is why other people stand up and take action. So sometimes I think it’s almost necessary that those journalists are fearful because it is what has led to this new information revolution around the world and I think that those reporters who place prestige and money and their positions above the truth and the public and the planet, they know deep down that they’re doing it, that they’re selling out and they might be last on board but I think that the day will come where even they, even they will return to the roots of actual journalism and begin to broadcast the truth because what we do shines that light back on them. We saw this in New Zealand. It came full circle. It came to the point where even the mainstream had to acknowledge what was happening. Primarily, stand up for other people. Stand up for Julian Assange. He has stood up for so many people. Courage exists because of people like Julian. Courage Foundation exists because of it. Stand up for Courage. Every five minutes… even I applied to Courage, many people apply to Courage for help because there is no organisation like Courage except Courage and that in itself is a problem so stand up for them. Go and donate to them so that they can help other people. Because them getting 8% of their funding goal is an attack on every whistleblower. We have to support the organisations who support the people who are in crisis.
TRACE: Suzie, it’s been an incredible pleasure having you on the show and please, anytime you want to come back with updates, seriously, I would always like to know what’s going on with you because you’re such a nice person and to tell you the truth, you are a role model. I admire people like you and love people like you so please, could you please keep us sort of up to date with how you are and everything from time to time and perhaps in the future come back on the show. We’re all human, we’ve got to be able to laugh and smile and cry. Anyway it’s been a real pleasure to have you on the show. All I can say really is thank you. I’ve been a little bit nervous about talking to you because I wanted to see the real you, I didn’t want to talk about agencies and all this, I wanted to see what makes you tick but I didn’t want to upset you in any way because of the extremes you’ve had to go through. So yes, it’s been a nervewracking – you’re the first person I’ve been nervous with!
SUZIE: I don’t mean to make you nervous at all. I’m really… I’m very Kiwi chick, I’m very much a product of where I’ve come from and I’m very straight up and down and I’m very blunt and I’m flawed! My God, I’m flawed. Please understand that I am a flawed character. I have a very complex background so I’m not to be put on a pedestal. There are things about me that should inspire people, sure, and there are things about me that would probably drive people up the wall so I would prefer to be seen for both sides.
TRACE: Suzie, there are very few… you are what I class as a survivor. There are two different sorts of people on this planet, well three. There are those who would just turn their toes up and they would just die. Then there’s the other end of the extreme and they are the survivors. You are one of them. People like you have always fascinated me. How you can keep on going through so much when most would actually just give up. You’ve gone through it all and you’ve kept your faith and your belief and you’ve gone through it all standing up for others. It’s admirable. So I think that’s what I’ve had trouble with, I just didn’t want to let you down any way in the interview. Thank you so much for coming on the show and we’ll see you again no doubt.
SUZIE: Trace, I agreed to come on this show because I heard your OpStopSuicide show and the way you dealt with that extremely difficult interview was so sensitive and so empathetic and so professional and I will come to you any time because you are independent media. When I put out my press release about my asylum application I didn’t even bother sending it to mainstream media and I didn’t even bother pursuing mainstream interviews. Down the line, that may come. I may end up doing that if my asylum is granted, I don’t know. But first and foremost my allegiance is to independent media and that is why my press release was published on independent media and that’s why I’m here with you right now because I believe in independent media and I believe in our platforms.