By Mark Wachtler
August 7, 2012. Washington. (ONN) When US Sen. Rand Paul switched sides in America’s fight for liberty and justice, he was accused of selling out America’s patriotic grassroots movement by endorsing the elite establishment’s Mitt Romney. Confirming his new loyalties, the former libertarian is now using federal authorities and the shadow government to threaten and intimidate the few indy media journalists trying to expose the truth – a cause Paul used to support.
Abby Martin of RT America and Media Roots, threatened with firing and arrest. Image courtesy of MediaRoots.org.
Media Roots and We Are Change
The series of threatening incidents began harmlessly enough – with two reputable, credentialed, independent media reporters asking US Senator Rand Paul a couple questions as he walked the Capitol grounds and then down a public street.
Luke Rudkowski, founder of We Are Change, was fairly blunt with his question. “Please Senator Paul, my name is Luke of We Are Change,” Rudkowski told Sen. Paul as they walked down the busy public street, “We had an interesting conversation before about the Bilderberg Group. And knowing what you know, how can you support Mitt Romney when the Guardian reported that he was at the Bilderberg meeting?”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) ignored the reporter and the question and continued walking with no response.
Abby Martin, the popular and talented reporter and anchor from RT America, isn’t just an indy media icon and founder of Media Roots. She’s also a respected and credentialed journalist for an international news outlet. As Senator Paul walked the halls of Congress with members of his staff and a small contingent of other reporters, Abby Martin trailed behind, asking her question to the former rising star of the liberty movement.
“Hey Rand. Abby Martin from Media Roots. I just wanted to ask one quick question,” she began her brief questioning of Sen. Rand Paul, “Your endorsement of Mitt Romney, people have a lot of questions about it?” That was as far as she got. No reply, acknowledgment or response from the darling of the Tea Party movement.
Empire Strikes Back
Luke Rudkowski and We Are Change are small potatoes and a mere pesky thorn in the establishment’s side compared to the lovely and popular Abby Martin. With her outlet at RT America, she has the potential to do some serious damage to Rand Paul and his new partners in the global corporate media. Between the two indy media journalists, Martin would be their target.
Explaining what happened next, Martin says, “The next week, I went into the studios, went into RT America. My boss said, ‘Come in to our office. We need to talk to you.’” Once inside the main office at RT, Abby was asked a series of mysterious questions.
Martin described the exchange that took place behind closed doors, “They just said, ‘What did you do last week and why are we getting threatening phone calls from the Capital Police, and also the Senate Media Relations Committee at the Capital building?’” Abby Martin went on to quote her answer, “I just told them exactly what happened. I showed them the video. I said that it was totally unaffiliated with RT America.”
Martin’s bosses at RT went on to tell her their account of the suddenly strange situation. As paraphrased by Martin, “They said this guy was calling them saying they were going to send the Capitol Police down there to arrest me, threatening to strip not only me of my press credentials, but everyone at the station of their press credentials.”
America’s free press feels the heat
When asked who was behind the threatening phone calls, apparently coming from within the government and targeted upon members of the press, Abby Martin explained.
“They originated from the Senate Media Relations Committee,” Martin admitted. Speaking of the intimidating Committee senior staffer, she goes on to say, “He was calling to threaten me, on behalf of him, coming directly from the Senator. This was confirmed to me later.”
Explaining what followed, RT and Media Roots’ Abby Martin recounts, “After that, I actually had to go meet with them in the Capitol building, and it was really an intense and intimidating experience.” Recalling her traumatic experience, Martin continues, “So, I had to go to the Capital building and meet with this guy, in a small room, like an interrogation room. And it wasn’t just him. It was the bureau chief of Al Jazeera, the bureau chief of CNN, Fox News, MSNBC. All these bureau chiefs had sat at a table and just basically confronted me about what had happened and wanted to get my side of the story.”
Abby Martin goes on to detail her experience saying, “They said, ‘Did you sneak Luke in, like how did you get in there?’. And I was just like, no, we were registered, independent press. All we did was go through the metal detector and go in the Capital building.”
Giving a glimpse of the lax security at our nation’s Capitol, Martin describes how she walked right into a media event featuring US Senator Rand Paul. “No one even checked. It was so lax,” she describes with an incredulous tone, “We walked in there. We even told the woman at the front desk ‘We’re here for this press event, down the way’, and she was just like, ‘go ahead’.”
Confirming Martin’s account is Luke Rudkowski of Media Change, who also happened to be attending Senator Paul’s media event. He describes his experience saying, “We were registered for an event inside the Senate building. Nobody sneaked in. We walked in through security. We were walking towards the event. We saw Rand Paul and we asked him a question. There’s no other way to go around it.”
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Regrouping for moral support, and to relay the story to other independent media outlets, Rudkowski describes Martin’s situation since the incident. “These people came at you with full litigious might, verbal and email jujitsu, tried to scare you and intimidate you, for simply asking the question.”
What was that dangerous question again – “Your endorsement of Mitt Romney, people have a lot of questions about it?”
Looking back on their experience, Rudkowski asks Martin, “It must have been a very scary feeling?” Abby Martin confirms explaining, “It was very scary, very, very scary. I was in contact with you the whole time saying, what should I do? Should I come out with a story? This story’s huge. I mean, Rand Paul is trying to get me stripped of my press credentials for what happened. I mean, that is insane.”
We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski jumps in to continue the list of threats made to Martin including, “and fired or arrested, for simply asking him a question.”
Martin concludes her recollection in the video released this weekend by reminding the rest of us in the independent media and grassroots political movements of what we’re fighting for, and what we’re up against.
“As we know now, there was no charge that they could really do. It was totally baseless. It was completely empty threats, very underhanded, intimidation tactics against journalism,” Martin finishes, “You know, DC is just really scary like that. I just had no idea that that would happen for what we did.”
Speaking of Rand Paul, Abby Martin has some choice words that many in the independent media community are now echoing, “Just the fact that we asked him something he didn’t like, he ran away like a coward, with his head down…It was just really, really, intense, really scary, intimidating, and you know, at this point, I’m just going to come out with a story. Because I think people need to know, who still think that Rand Paul is somehow, you know, has to make deals for him to play the long game so he can do good things later. No. I mean, he’s sold out. He’s a sell-out to the Republican establishment and he’s underhandedly trying to intimidate journalists who try to confront him about his selling out.”
Abby Martin talks to We Are Change about the incident. Video courtesy of MediaRoots.org.
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