A number of proposals have been made for reforming government abuses. Here are a few points:
Documentaries have already been done. They have some use in
recruiting activists, but almost none for effecting real reforms. If
they ever make it to a wider audience, the only result is a downtick
in public opinion polls, but no action. Anything less than detailed,
step-by-step, daily plans for the coordinated action by tens or
hundreds of thousands of dedicated individuals will work, and they
need to focus on real changes:
1. Legislation adopted and enforced. (Exact wording provided.)
2. Court decisions made and enforced, after winning on appeal (trial
decisions might help parties but don't make real changes). (Exact
3. Removal of officials from office, imprisonment of some, and
perhaps replacement by much better ones. (Win elections, remove
4. Changes in school curricula and what students are tested on.
(Change the teachers and textbook authors.)
5. Changes in the incentives for officials to do the right things,
and to open government to intervention by outsiders. (It's the
System — structures and procedures.)
6. Get control of the media. (Social media is a start, but that
doesn't reach the majority.)
Never arouse concern without providing specific action plans that
can be carried out by individuals using the resources under their
control. Otherwise the only result is despair and discouragement.
Discouraged people don't make reforms. When individuals do take
steps, they need to be commended and supported to keep them going to
take the next steps.
1. While most journalists may not want to investigate or write
stories, they usually know a lot of stories they can convey to you,
and thus can be a good source of information. They are worth
cultivating for that reason alone.
2. You need to write the stories for them. Most journalists don't
know enough about law to write about it. Most news reports are just
someone's press releases, so you need to flood the media with press
releases that tell the stories you want told, in effect making you
the investigative reporter. There are press release distribution
services that can do it for you at a cost you could not afford.
3. It is worth cultivating journalists through regular personal
encounters to develop your credibility and perhaps get them to cover
your own story sympathetically if you get in trouble doing all this.
4. The most receptive journalists are likely to be found in foreign
or foreign-owned media, such as the British Guardian and Telegraph
(Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, a friend from 1995 when he investigated
wrongdoing in the U.S., is now the editor of the Daily Telegraph.),
or Al Jazeera. They are also more likely to follow through
on a story over a period of time. Once they pick up on a story, that
makes the story news and provides domestic media some cover to pick
it up themselves. Fox News has been somewhat receptive,
especially since some of their associates and commentators are
5. Television media are reluctant to do stories without visual media
that can hold the attention of their viewers. Often their decisions
to cover are based more on good video footage than on the merits of
the story. The problem with coverage in this field is that so much
of what would make good visuals is barred from cameras, so you may
need to be clever about it. (That is the main reason judges ban
cameras from courts.) The good news is that they are increasingly
susceptible to using your footage rather than having to shoot their
own. But if you give them a copy (always keep the original), do it
with a contract that allows them first public use, while you retain
6. Some reporters learn about law by serving as courthouse
reporters, although they may be most fearful of losing access by
reporting the wrong stories or reporting the wrong way. Most
reporters, however, will only know enough to understand abuses
involving evidence, rather than abuses of due process or other areas
of law. For them, you may need to focus on the evidence rather than
confusing them with precedents.
7. In jurisdictions where judges are elected, their election
campaigns make stories about them more newsworthy, and provides
opportunities to insert critical material.
8. Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of judicial judicial
abuse is combined with prosecutorial abuse, because most such cases
involve the government as a party, or at least as an interested
background party. Indeed, the prosecutorial abuse is likely the
leading component of the overall problem. You can't fix one kind of
abuse without also fixing the other. And journalists are sometimes
more receptive to going after prosecutors than judges.
9. You can become a "stringer" for a media organization, feeding
them stories at a lower cost than from their regular journalists.
After feeding them with enough good material on general topics, you
can then start slipping in material on this more specialized topic.
10. Always keep copies of all the evidence you gather in a safe
place that will be disclosed if anything happens to you. Have more
than one copy in more than one safe place, because the opposition is
likely to always be able to find at least one of them. Don't let
your story die with you, as happened with Danny Casolaro
or Gary Webb,
who were "suicided".
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