This has been an important year in the struggle for peace, freedom and democracy, and for the revival of real journalism as it was at least imagined by the founders of the nation.
We had the courageous act of NSA contract worker Edward Snowden, who blew a nuke-sized hole in the National Security Administration’s secret spying program that is still smoking, even as he has been forced to hole up as a refugee from repression in, of all places, Russia. We have had too, the courageous act of Jeremy Hammond, an activist and, yes, a journalist, who did what reporters at our so-called corporate “news” organizations should have done, and exposed the links between private intelligence operators, notably Stratfor, and the government spooks like the CIA and NSA, for which act Hammond was maliciously sentenced to 10 years in jail.
We have Chelsea Bradley Manning, the courageous soldier who alerted the world to the crimes of American power in Iraq and Afghanistan, who unapologetically admitted his actions, and who is now facing a long, hard prison sentence in a military brig at Leavenworth.
Most of the information about these people and what they have revealed, you have to learn by turning to the alternative media. The corporate media — print and electronic — hide it or filter it or sanitize it. Hell, they won’t even tell us the name of the CIA station chief in Pakistan, just outed there by an opposition party. The rest of the world’s media are reporting his name — Craig Osth, a long-time CIA dirty trickster who was also once station chief for the Agency in Brazil, but our toothless media are keeping it secret from us here in the Land of the Free.
You have read about a lot of these things that are really happening over the past three years here at ThisCantBeHappening!, and you read a lot more too — reports on our racially biased and profit-driven prison industrial complex, on the scurrilous corporate campaign to gut Social Security and Medicare, and about an apparent government plot to execute leaders of the Occupy Movement — the ugly capstone of a no-holds-barred full-press effort by governments at all levels, coordinated by the Obama administration, to crush that popular 2011 uprising against the oligarchy that runs this country.
We seven members of the TCBH! Collective continue to do our work as best as we can, basically working in our spare time, because we all have to do other things to feed our families and pay the rent.
As it is, we won our fourth Project Censored Award this fall — that’s four in three years. But we could be doing so much more, if you, our readers, would really step up and support what we do.
Some of you do support us, and we are grateful. This year we received, to date, just shy of $2000 in donations from readers. That money allowed us to hire a web wizard to make our site able to accept interest-based ads from Google, which brought in another $1300 this year. We were also able to pay to have the site fixed so that people can get smart-phone suitable versions of our stories, an innovation which we hope will bring more younger readers to the site.
That’s all great, but what we really need is tens of thousands of dollars a year, which would allow the seven of us to actually devote real reporting time to this project.
There are important stories to be done. For example, we’ve been tipped that the military may be flying drones out of bases like the one in Willow Grove, PA, and not just piloting drones on the other side of the world as claimed. The latter is bad enough, but it would be truly terrible if the military were also flying spy drones over our own heads.
We’d like to go down to Dallas and smoke out what kind of outfit the Craft mercenary firm is, whose members we saw all over the place at the end of the last Boston Marathon, wearing black backpacks exactly like the one that was offered up by the FBI as one of the ones that contained one of the pressure-cooker bombs.
We’d also like to be out in Los Angeles, trying to ferret out what really happened to journalist Michael Hastings, killed earlier this year in a car crash that did something cars just don’t do: blow up in a huge explosion and throw the engine and transaxel a hundred feet down the road.
Nailing down stories like these takes time, and we simply haven’t had the time to do them.
We are about to cross a new threshhold: our 4 millionth reader visit! That’s in just three and a half years of publication.
We don’t know how many of our 100,000+ visitors per month are the same regulars, but we’re pretty sure that we’ve got at least 30,000 people — maybe even 50,000 — who come to the site at least occasionally.
If all you readers — not just the regulars, but the occasional visitors — would give us just $5.00 a year — the cost of two or three cups of coffee! — we would have at a minimum $150,000 to work with, instead of a few thousand dollars.
Think about that a minute, and about the potential such increased reader financial support would have. We call ourselves “a major destabilizing influence,” but really, we’re just a minor destabilizing influence right now. Come through with that $5 dollars of support, though, and we will realize our motto.
Wishing all of you out there a better, freer, more peaceful and democratic New Year!
The TCBH! Collective