Consortium News Radio— Episode 1: Peter Van Buren

INTRODUCING Consortium News Radio, an ongoing series of radio interviews with newsmakers and Consortium News writers intended to delve deeper into stories published on Consortium News.

On the premiere edition of Consortium News Radio we speak with Peter Van Buren, a former State Department official, whistleblower and victim of Twitter censorship. Van Buren speaks about his experiences in Iraq, the critical book he wrote about those experiences and how the Obama State Department eventually attempted to have him tried under the Espionage Act. This week Van Buren had his Twitter account permanently shut down and seven years of his Tweets wiped from the record. Why? Because he challenged mainstream journalists who contested a Tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald that mainstream reporters support America’s wars and help bring them about.  One corporate journalist decided to silence Van Buren by complaining to Twitter, which, within two days, and with no due process, obliged. Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News, interviewed Van Buren on Wednesday, August 8 for 40 minutes.

Here is the first episode of Consortium News Radio:

If you enjoyed this original interview please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more like this.








53 comments for “Consortium News Radio— Episode 1: Peter Van Buren

  1. David H
    August 11, 2018 at 23:36

    Couldn’t finish “broadcast” last night and likely will not tonight, but real interesting [just did a double]. This approach is right-on AFAIC. Just recently Scahill’s podcast in May finally came clear in my mind–bomb Iran was as big a boondoggle as any of these other scams with DT. Could be it got him the most $ for the Israeli PR assistance and whatever else.

  2. August 11, 2018 at 19:03

    ‘We had good intentions’?

  3. Chris
    August 11, 2018 at 18:55

    I may disagree with who Twitter chooses to ban, but I’ll defend their right to ban whoever they want for whatever reason they want–provided they follow their own stated policy. I’m also boycotting them, and encourage others to do the same.

    Also, I’m fine with audio only for this radio show, but I wish the mp3 was available to download directly.

    • August 11, 2018 at 19:04

      Well stated.

    • Chris
      August 11, 2018 at 19:05

      Another possible approach might be to develop bots that would automatically file complaints about everyone on Twitter. Overload Twitter’s complaint-filing system. (Are you paying attention, you “Russian hackers?”)

  4. Steve Hill
    August 11, 2018 at 12:16

    I agree with the listener above who mentioned the pop-guard on Mr. Lauria’s mic, but all in all a great show about a very disconcerting issue and trend in our country as well as elsewhere.

  5. h
    August 11, 2018 at 10:43

    I don’t know if you received Peter’s contact info, but found this link over at his website –

  6. F. G. Sanford
    August 10, 2018 at 22:33

    Does anybody remember the “Mighty Carson Art Players”? Johnny would be made up with greasy black hair, a mustache, and a tasteless suit. He had a stick he’d whack against the desk, playing a huckster selling some nonsensical product with a pitch: “Got no money? We don’t care. Got bad credit? We don’t care. Got no credit? We don’t care. Say you’re not gonna pay us? THAT’S when we start to care.

    This all comes down to ‘plausible deniability’. Social and other media platforms are full of wild and not-so-wild accusations against the government. A significant number of them may be true, but they mostly don’t seem to care. And, those platforms have no doubt been fielded, at least in their infancy, by agencies like DARPA and In-Q-Tel. In other words, “You’re driving on their highway”. Don’t expect it to take you where you want to go.

    “You say we commit political assassinations? We don’t care. You say we blackmail politicians? We don’t care. You say we support terrorist organizations? We don’t care. You say we subvert foreign governments? we don’t care. You say we control the press? We don’t care. You say you can prove it? THAT’S when we start to care.”

    There are an awful lot of distractions afoot lately: putative “progressive” outfits street fighting on a par with brownshirts, supposed “socialists” behaving like Bolsheviks, John Birchers making a comeback, both sides seeking to abolish free speech, etc. Of course, all of this enhances the need for police protection and adequate surveillance. Do people really believe there are no such things as “crisis actors”? After all, adds do appear in papers. Suddenly, proper gender pronouns have become more important than 25 million starving Yemenis. Obviously, the social contract has been completely sabotaged. Anybody think it’s an accident?

    Alex Jones, after being allowed to bellow for years, has suddenly become a threat. Did he touch on some forbidden truth…or does he somehow fit the Phil Donahue model? Y’all remember what happened after Phil got fired…doncha?

  7. August 10, 2018 at 15:24

    Van Buren’s final point, referenced “First they came for”.

    It wasn’t, of course the Jews that were last people they came for. It was for the respected members of the German establishment who finally spoke up – in this case, Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor who initially supported Hitler, but gradually changed in mind, spoke out, and was arrested in 1937, and was imprisoned in concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.

    The full quotation is:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  8. Hide Behind
    August 10, 2018 at 11:51

    And the village idiots became the town criers all while the old lamplighters put out the flames, and what was not seen because of darkness, the idiot could but repeat the same cry, “All is well”; and the children who played in la la land, day dreamed and sleep, within their self imposed ignorance..

  9. Lin Cleveland
    August 10, 2018 at 10:34

    Good idea, Consortium! I hope this radio program goes well! I have neither a Facebook nor Twitter account. Sad to hear that Twiitter has chosen to censor Van Buren.

  10. Robyn
    August 10, 2018 at 09:33

    This is great. I’d really appreciate this in podcast format if possible please.

    • Glennis
      August 11, 2018 at 15:15

      Ditto for a downloadable format. I don’t want to spend time at my computer if I can listen to the show via MP# player.

  11. PEG
    August 10, 2018 at 03:28

    Congratulations on the establishment of Consortium News Radio! And the interesting interview with Peter Van Buren.

    Why not – if technically doable, I think it should be – set up a video news platform, similar to a youtube, as opposed to voice-only broadcast.

    One approach to combat the ever-tightening noose on free speech, which is now underway, is to set up one’s own video or other platform, competing in a modest way against google/youtube and the other behemoths of the internet age.

    Also congrats to Joe Lauria for success in continuing Consortium News and carrying the torch of Robert Parry onwards – a most worthy successor.

  12. Dr. Ip
    August 10, 2018 at 02:45

    Dear Joe,
    Excellent interview but you need a pop-guard for your microphone in order to stop the “pops” when you pronounce words with “p” and “b”. These are known as plosive speech sounds. The basic plosives in English are t, k, and p (voiceless) and d, g, and b (voiced).
    You don’t need to get the pop-guard from the site below, but get one from somewhere please to improve the technical quality. The pops are distracting.

    The pop guard:

  13. Jeff Harrison
    August 10, 2018 at 02:02

    Thanx, Joe. I appreciate the podcast; it would be better (in my view) if this was a video. I’ve read Mr. Van Buren since he got in trouble for expressing his opinion back in the day. It was great to hear his voice. I have no idea why that would be important, I dunno, maybe I’m just human. I also like the idea expressed elsewhere here of having a link to a transcript.

  14. Holly Nelson
    August 9, 2018 at 22:47

    Looking for podcasts. Any available?

  15. August 9, 2018 at 21:10

    This is fantastic. Mr. Van Buren goes on a long list of ex-government officials who are exposing the intelligence agencies’ real purposes: To keep endless war for profit going and to crush whistleblowers and anyone who stands up for truth. Great new venue, and I look forward to many more of these!

  16. backwardsevolution
    August 9, 2018 at 18:56

    Great interview. I feel for Mr. Van Buren. Sounds like they baited him (and that is exactly what they do, on purpose) until he said something they could use against him. I’m quite certain they didn’t take his words literally, but they did provide a much-needed excuse for banning him. And Van Buren said they took such “glee” in getting him banned.

    “After two days I got a robo response that said my writing harasses, intimidates or uses fear to silence someone else’s voice.” What a complete crock. Yeah, I’m sure they were shaking in their boots (not)! So they silence your voice in favor of their own. Dangerous.

    “The most controversial issues of our day—gay rights, abortion, race, religion, sexuality, political correctness, police brutality, et al—have become battlegrounds for those who claim to believe in freedom of speech but only when it favors the views and positions they support. […]

    On paper – at least according to the U.S. Constitution – we are technically free to speak.

    In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official – or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube – may allow.

    Emboldened by phrases such as “hate crimes,” “bullying,” “extremism” and “microaggressions,” the nation has been whittling away at free speech, confining it to carefully constructed “free speech zones,” criminalizing it when it skates too close to challenging the status quo, shaming it when it butts up against politically correct ideals, and muzzling it when it appears dangerous.

    Free speech is no longer free. […]

    Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned—discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred—inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

    It’s political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite.

    We’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. And we’ve allowed ourselves to become so timid in the face of offensive words and ideas that we’ve bought into the idea that we need the government to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean. […]

    Instead of intelligent discourse, we’ve been saddled with identity politics, “a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought.”

    Safe spaces.

    That’s what we’ve been reduced to on college campuses, in government-run forums, and now on public property and on previously open forums such as the internet.

    The problem, as I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, is that the creation of so-called safe spaces—where offensive ideas and speech are prohibited—is just censorship by another name, and censorship breeds resentment, and resentment breeds conflict, and unresolved, festering conflict gives rise to violence.”

    Free speech should be just that – free.

  17. August 9, 2018 at 16:15

    Mr. Lauria,

    Could you give me the contact information for Peter Van Buren? I would like to invite him to speak about his Iraq book.

    Bob Embry

    Robert C. Embry, Jr.
    Abell Foundation, Inc.
    111 S. Calvert Street, Suite 2300
    Baltimore, MD 21202
    410 547-1300

  18. August 9, 2018 at 15:41

    I don’t like listening to videos or podcasts. I like having relaxing classical music going on my stereo and READING. I prefer reading than listening to discussions because I can re-read, ponder, analyze, and easily go back and forth to compare parts of the discussion.

    So, I know it’s all the popular thing now to switch online stuff over to videos and podcasts. But please, why can’t you also provide a transcript for us readers?

    Thank you.

    • luxetveritas
      August 9, 2018 at 21:50

      yes indeed, well said, agree 100%
      that is why attorneys are required to submit written briefs in appeals

    • eyesopen
      August 10, 2018 at 14:43

      I agree. Content is much more logical and checkable if provided in textual form. Radio/podcast is for dummies and I doubt that it increases “contact” with a larger audience.

      • Robyn
        August 10, 2018 at 19:59

        ‘Radio/podcast is for dummies …’

        I spend hours every day reading but with podcasts I get through a lot of additional important material while driving/exercising/doing housework – material I wouldn’t otherwise have time to get to. Podcasts have their place.

  19. August 9, 2018 at 15:35

    People on the “left” who cheer the repression of people like Alex Jones are so fueled by hatred of Trump that they have forgotten the main targets of censorship: people like them and further to the left of them.

    • Anne Jaclard
      August 9, 2018 at 22:33

      It’s interesting to see that Twitter has not banned Alex Jones, as the rest of the social media companies have, but has banned this excellent anti-war figure, whom after listening to I might want to read his book. I don’t think anyone should be banned because historically censorship has always reached around to affect anyone opposing the government or, more importantly, corporate power. A few months back the US ruled that Trump couldn’t block anyone because Twitter was a public forum. Will such rulings eventually affect Twitter has a whole, not just in the US but internationally? I hope that becomes the case. An intriguing question for the new Supreme Court nominee.

      • LarcoMarco
        August 10, 2018 at 03:19

        I believe the court ruled that, because Trump is a public figure, HIS Tweeter a/c is a public forum, and therefore, HE cannot block anyone.

  20. Jeff
    August 9, 2018 at 15:24

    Can you make the audio downloadable so that I can listen at my convenience on my phone?

    • August 10, 2018 at 15:04

      Jeff, what I do is to go to one of the “YouTube to MP3” sites, and thus turn the video into an MP3 which I then put on my phone.

      • August 15, 2018 at 02:29

        4k is a good one. They have free versions of video only and vid to mp3. They are simple – clean interface, only features you’d want – my preference.

  21. Bob Van Noy
    August 9, 2018 at 15:18

    Many thanks Joe Lauria for this first Consortiumnews Radio episode. Thanks too to you Peter Van Buren. I often wondered where the creditable opposition to Iraq was, and now with this interview we can hear how internal opposition was effectively and illegally suppressed. It is important that the documentation of government abuses to its own employees come to light as we establish cases against our many illegal Wars. Now we can see the further suppression of the freedom of informed professionals to oppose official policy. Thanks to this interview we will be able to follow Mr. Van Buren more intensely than ever…

  22. Gregory Kruse
    August 9, 2018 at 14:31

    I love this new thing. If Joe could back away from the mike a little, that would be good. I read on Black Agenda today that Glenn Ford also is opposed to censorship of Alex Jones. I have been a supporter of CN and many other outlets like it (TRNN, Truthout, Truthdig, Common Dreams, etc.) for years, and oddly, they are the ones that are being suppressed. So I am being suppressed. I will only be silenced by death.

  23. Dunderhead
    August 9, 2018 at 14:27

    Fuck twitter and all the corporate platforms if consortium wants to make a habit of these radio interviews they should also consider an alternative platform as YouTube is also in the pocket of the social Marxists, make the change before the corporations do it for you.

  24. Mrs. Debra L. Carr de Legorreta
    August 9, 2018 at 13:21

    As revisionist set out to white wash Obama’s legacy, I decided to a make a list of Obama’s “achievements” What’s most surprising is not how bad things Obama did, but how pervasive they were. Each week’s news bring new items to add to this list:

    Here’s some of what Obama accomplished and set up for Trump to expand on:
    The abolition of welfare: no social security, no medicare/medicaid, no food stamps, etc.,
    The deregulation of the financial system,
    The bombing of Serbia,
    The bailout of Wall Street, ($700 Billion TARP),
    The $4.7 Trillion “Quantitative Easing” handout to the financial sector,
    The crackdown on whistleblowers (e.g. Snowdon, Van Buren, more),
    The refusal to pardon whistleblowers (e.g. Snowdon, Van Buren, more),
    The slashing of wages for autoworkers,
    The Flint Michigan lead in the water cover up,
    Drone-missile warfare with no congressional oversight,
    The destruction of Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries,
    The build-up of NSA mass surveillance,
    The expansion of US military bases to 80+ countries,
    The military coup in Honduras ousting “Mel” Zelaya,
    The murder of Berta Cáceres,
    Mass deportations, more than in any other period in US history,
    Mass incarcerations,
    CIA Operation Timber Sycamore in Syria,
    The parliamentary coup in Brazil, ousting Dilma Rousseff,
    Blocking Argentina’s loan at the Inter-American Development Bank and the WB, leading to regime change
    The expansion of the Endless War in Afghanistan,
    The murder of an old, sick captive purely for political purposes,
    Manipulating the OAS to overturn the Haiti elections, threatening to deny post-earthquake aide, leading to regime change and mass disenfranchisement,
    The expansion of the strategic nuclear weapons program,
    The kill list
    The expansion of covert military operations to over 70 countries,
    The expansion of the AUMF
    The revolving door: The appointment of former Eli Lilly executive, Alex Azar, to head of HHS
    The revolving door: The lucrative position at Lockheed Martin for former DHS head Jeh Johnson
    The revolving door: Geitner to head Mariner Finance, a firm that preys on the poor.
    The revolving door: Mary Shapiro from the SEC to board of directors of Morgan Stanley
    The end of habeas corpus, detentions without trial and arrests without cause
    The failure to stop Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections
    The failure to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections, (what got Trump in trouble in Helsinki . . . they looked the other way when Obama did the same thing)
    The missing $10 Trillion; concerted Bush-Obama-Trump tax cuts resulted in the loss of $10T from the public funds of which $2T went directly to the 1%

    . . . every week we discover yet more Obama-era/ Obama-enabled shenanigans! Obama basically made possible the Trump wrecking ball. Talk about collusion. Talk about treason. That’s the real collusion. That’s the real treason. Our struggle is less and less with Russia and more and more with Goldman Sachs.

    Ever wonder why Obama has such a contagious smile? Turns out he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    So what’s next for Goldman Sachs, Obama’s paymasters?
    IMHO, The old “hope and change” deception wagon; specifically, the hijacking of Universal Basic Income movement, the UBI movement.

    Wall Street’s Goals?
    Restore Obama’s standing among democrats,
    Shut out progressives,
    Keep UBI from actually happen, or own it if it does.

    • Bart Hansen
      August 9, 2018 at 14:56

      I don’t know about Russian meddling, but here are two more items:

      Promising to help the Bankster-caused underwater homeowners and then refusing to.

      Continuing sanctions against perceived enemies in several parts of the world.

      • August 15, 2018 at 02:54

        Obama ‘helped’ the underwater (mostly people of color and the vulnerable) victims of the prime mortgage scandal when he was Senator. The uncaring, obsequious Obama never cared, as his support – using positive-sounding, pro-people language that made the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 appear to be the opposite of what it was – shows.

        From “Barack Obama and the Politics Of Illusion,” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank, the following:

        == =
        On February 10, 2005, Senator Obama voted in favor of the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005… It passed the Senate 72-26 and was signed into law on February 18, 2005.

        Here is an excerpt of remarks Senator Obama made on the Senate floor on February 14, 2005, concerning passage of this legislation:

        “Every American deserves their day in court. This bill, while not perfect, gives people that day while still providing the reasonable reforms necessary to safeguard against the most blatant abuses of the system. I also hope that the federal judiciary takes seriously their expanded role in class action litigation, and upholds their responsibility to fairly certify class actions so that they may protect our civil and consumer rights.”

        Three days before Senator Obama expressed that fateful yea vote, fourteen state attorneys general, including Lisa Madigan of Senator Obama’s home state of Illinois, filed a letter with the Senate and House, pleading to stop the passage of this corporate giveaway. The AGs wrote: “State attorney’s generally frequently investigate and bring actions against defendants who have caused harm to our citizens… In some instances, such actions have been brought with the attorney general acting as the class representative for the consumers of the state. We are concerned that certain provisions of S.5 might be misinterpreted to impede the ability of the attorneys general to bring such actions.”

        The Senate also received a desperate plea from more than forty civil rights and labor organizations, including the NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Human Rights Campaign, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Justice and Democracy, Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), and Alliance for Justice….
        = ==

        All of which meant that one important avenue for victims of the later sub-prime scam to get redress was blocked. Way to go killer!

    • Litchfield
      August 9, 2018 at 15:13

      useful list, except I think this is off-base:
      “The failure to stop Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections
      The failure to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections”

      Cf. Noam Chomsky on this false trail narrative.

      • August 9, 2018 at 19:24

        You’re right about the meddling nonsense.

    • August 9, 2018 at 19:23

      I would call Obama’s smile “infectious” rather than contagious, in that it was really toxic to the poor suckers who voted him into office, myself included in 2008. People are still taken in by it.

    • ronnie mitchell
      August 10, 2018 at 17:10

      I don’t buy the Russian ‘meddling’ story, one revealed in wikileaks as a product of the failed Clinton campaign but the rest of the list I very much agree with and here are a LOT more things to add to the list.

    • Bill Michel
      August 11, 2018 at 00:31

      Nevermind the Russians; Obama Justice should have prosecuted Republican State Officials for stealing elections.

      We should also remember that he wanted to “look forward”, and ignore all the foreign policy crimes under Bush. Yoo, Bybee,
      et. al.

  25. Someone in the crowd
    August 9, 2018 at 13:01

    Well done! So glad you have started this. I admire Van Buren’s writings and common sense. Looking forward to hearing more conversations like this.

  26. T
    August 9, 2018 at 12:59

    But all on YouTube, with no indication whatsoever of any fall-back alternative platform, for when Google/Alphabet decides to pull the plug on you. And van Buren apparently did nothing to save the material on his account for himself.

  27. Tayo
    August 9, 2018 at 12:56

    Congrats! Be sure you have this as a podcast as well. It would make it easy to listen in and keep up with events while in the middle of other things in this busy, crazy, upside down world.

  28. Sam B
    August 9, 2018 at 11:59

    Congrats! Make sure to release this as a podcast too — I’d listen every week.

    Long live Robert Parry!

    Sam from West Virginia

  29. August 9, 2018 at 11:59

    Congrats on this maiden voyage into the podcast-osphere.

  30. George Lane
    August 9, 2018 at 10:46

    Awesome idea! Be sure to upload these to iTunes podcasts and other websites like Soundcloud and Spreaker to get the widest reach possible.

  31. JMMorgan
    August 9, 2018 at 09:08

    Glad to have CN podcast! But Joe needs a “pop filter”on his microphone!

  32. mike k
    August 9, 2018 at 08:18

    The Powers that be are desperately trying to hide the truths that are coming out on internet sites like CN. It is a testimony to the real and growing power of the truth about our sick and failing American Empire. The mask is coming off our Fascist Rulers.

  33. mike k
    August 9, 2018 at 08:09

    Excellent article below on how Alex Jones and others are being censored by high tech giants. 1984 anyone?

  34. Tom Welsh
    August 9, 2018 at 03:56

    Thanks for this podcast. It’s great to hear Mr Van Buren explaining his experiences in person.

    Keep up the good work!

  35. LarcoMarco
    August 9, 2018 at 03:42

    TWEETER (TWTR) July 6 close on NYSE = 46.65. Aug 8 close = 31.84, a decline of 31.75%.

    • TomG
      August 9, 2018 at 09:05

      LarcoMarco–great reminder! Long live gravity (as Wendell Berry would say)!

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