Fancy car driven by Velikovsky journalist in Afghanistan interviews by WikiLeaks on the road trip in Mediastan (although it could be owned by Wahlstrom or anyone else). Can anyone tell me its make and value, and also why it has Arabic script on the license plate, part of which is blurred out in the film? Is this related to Wahlstrom's reporting on Palestine? ANSWER AND CORRECTION: It's not Arabic, and it's Pashtun, as it is in Afghanistan -- I hadn't realized when going over frames in the film that they were already in Afghanistan by this frame--CAF.
I've been researching Dmitry Velikovsky, the Russian journalist who seems to take a lead role in the Mediastan road trip, and is narrating and asking questions in the film -- second after Johannes Wahlstrom, who is listed as the producer. Velikovsky's name comes first on the list after Wahlstrom's.
I've been trying to understand who is helping WikiLeaks, who is helping with this film, how they tie into Israel Shamir, Wahlstrom's notorious father, and what the real agenda is.
Russkiy Reporter, the online news site, was involved in holding a screening and discussion of the film.
Velikovsky seems to do most of his publishing at RR, although he is also on Voice of Russia, which is a pro-government.
Russkiy Reporter is owned by the same media group that owns Ekspert, which they visit in Kazakhstan, which refuses to run the WikiLeaks cables. I will let the seasoned Moscow correspondents describe RR and its affiliations and its future possible sponsorship by the oligarch Deripaska. And RR may not even be the point, as the only reporter from RR on the Mediastan tour appears to be Velikovsky, but more research is needed.
Dmitry appears on the VoR radio show in a sympathetic story of Manning's trial. (I'll have to listen later to see if he didn't come to the US to cover this story and make contact with all the usual suspects.).
Another article, about Assange, called "Prisoner of the World" (uznik, in the sense of prisoner of conscience) is subtitled: "How the Western Establishment Beat Assange." And this tells you a lot about Velikovsky's psychology. Russians, especially those leaning toward the government or who are nationalist-minded even if urban hipsters, tend to have this feeling of insecurity/hatred/venom about the superior United States, and that's what attracts them so much to WikiLeaks and Snowden. They get to stick it in the eye of the loathsome West, which they've been taught to hate in everything they get in schools and the state-controlled media. They see WikiLeaks as an undergo on the run from the "gegemon" America, and they root for it.
So something like helping Wikileaks here is not just some mechanistic pro-government work like robots, or some intelligence plot, although I think we will find the FSB's fingerprints on this story given the presence of Wahlstrom and his dad lurking behind the scenes. No, rather it's that some Russians genuinely love the story. That the West tried to haul back Assange to Sweden to face questioning on a sex offense is offensive to Russians just on the face of it, culturally, as something like that would never happen in their sexist culture where domestic violence or sexual assault cases are very hard to get into court. That the NSA is snooping even on their Vkontakte somehow, and that Sweden is supposedly even selling Internet traffic from Russia -- these ideas are offensive to them, naturally, and they hate America first. Their own government is far worse a problem for them, but they've internalized that; indeed, the way they can even express themselves on these topics in a controlled media situation is to make America the target.
I see that a lot with Central Asians, as well -- they grab on to the issues of Guantanamo andWikiLeaks and Occupy with a vengeance and obsess about it because it enables them to feel part of the world and to not feel the sting and humiliation that comes with being intellectuals in a country that has situations of imprisonment and torture far worse than Guantanamo, and snooping far worse than the NSA -- and no WikiLeaks.
Here's another pro-Assange article by Velikovsky. He evidently went to his compound in London while he was there under house arrest with a leg device and interviewed him there, taking note of the kind of car. That's some kind of Google-translate version of a Russian article that doesn't appear to be available anymore, strangely.
Then at RR, if you see his list of stories, he has a strange amalgam -- story after story after story under just his own name, or only one other name about...cars. Racing cars, new cars, hot cars. He's a specialist on cars (and drives one in Mediastan, as he is shown narrating his story at the wheel.)
That's when he tells his story about how he made fake letters to the editor to please his boss, and then found that the marketing department didn't want him to print the real letters in a column about letters he was responsible for.
But somehow despite not working out in that job, he found his way to reporting on cars at RR -- and Assange.
Interspersed between the cars are stories on WikiLeaks, Manning, and unrest in Egypt for Ekho Moskvy as well as Southern Ossetia -- a favourite topic of Russian nationalists of course, who endlessly intrigue around the Russian-Georgian war.
One article in which Dmitry writes with 4 or 5 other people is a critical study of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky which takes him back to his days at the Komsomol's Youth, Science and Technology Center and the Menatep bank and all the rest. It's a fairly cynical study accentuating things like quotes purporting to show Khodorkovsky saying "in a normal country, I'd be put in jail," but it's not that different from what Western reporters say about him. I do tend to wonder if in a normal country, Khodorkovsky would merely be fined, not jailed, but he isn't in a normal country.
He also is among 6 authors who wrote favourable about five NGOs who were trying to fight off the "foreign agent act" that Putin is using to try to rein in groups that get foreign funding and engage in "politics" (it was Khodorkovsky's support of opposition parties that also bothered Putin and was the motivation for his imprisonment). This article seems fine, i.e. not snotty, but it's not clear which part of it Velikovsky wrote, that's just the thing.
In this recent piece, Velikovsky understandably trashes The Fifth Estate, but then at least notes that "an RR report was involved" in the movie he then praises, Mediastan. That's himself, of course. He says he prefers documentaries to Hollywood. He notes that Mediastan got thrown out of the Toronto Film Festival because they picked The Fifth Estate instead.
Velikovsky, although he mainly seemed to report on cars and fill in with a few other stories critical of the West's favourite topics, is described as a WikiLeaks expert by Voice of Russia.
And no doubt he is. That makes him suitable for the VoR program on the NSA and interception -- a program that aired in April 2012. April 2012 was when there was a huge flurry of activity against the NSA by WikiLeaks' Assange, Jacob Appelbaum, and Laura Poitras, which I've discussed at length in coverage of the Whitney Museum event on surveillance and other items in my timeline of the Snowden affair.
Do you see a pattern here? People doing active measures, well, they schedule them. They coordinate them. And remember, they don't have to have all the people "in the know" that they are actually part of some plot; they can merely be in the networks, they can be "agents of influence."
So...If I were a Moscow reporter, I'd no doubt have called Dmitry by now trying to get to Snowden. Among others that seem to have shown up around this story. Obviously, he was a figure trusted by the paranoid Assange for this Mediastan film -- and he goes several years back covering Julian very favourably.
I guess all doubt is removed with the appearance of Mediastan now that WikiLeaks is "removed" from Snowden or "not on Russia" anymore or somehow "not involved". While you could posit that Mediastan was filmed in 2011 and 2012 and therefore isn't relevant to 2013, the fact that a Russian publication could hold an evening with a film showing and involve Russians in Moscow related to Shamir currently in this means that WikiLeaks is still very much in the Russian tank. That WikiLeaks got hold of the film of Snowden from his Sam Adam award lets us know that, too -- and of course they would, given Sarah Harrison's presence at the event.
Yes, perhaps by now I'd be told there is a price for that entree to Snowden, like there was a price of supposedly $3000 for that Life News photo of him shopping. Geez, guys, you got burned on that, you should have waited a week, and you could get him in a suit holding a candle at a swank dinner.
Meanwhile I won't be a bit surprised if the next feature about Snowy comes from Dima.