Some say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Well, we live in a time where people want to convince you that truth works the same way. I’m here to push back at the subjective Spectrum. To shine a light and dispel the fog of lies. My name is Parker Terrell and I’m looking for the truth, the whole truth and, most importantly, the Plain Truth.
There are those that say adulthood hits when you realize your parents are liars. For me, it was when I realized that the institutions I believed to be good and righteous were fallible and even corrupt. It was a powerful moment, but the true test of character comes after.
Will you accept it? Put your head down and continue on, or will you try to change it?
On today’s show, I’m proud to be joined by someone who elected the latter option. Someone who has had the curtain pulled back and chosen to do something about it.
Janis Takats is a former journalist for the Terra Gazette, a NewsOrg that has always claimed to elevate the pursuit of truth above all else. Well, it seems that pursuit has its limits. Today Janis is bringing us an exclusive story that even the Terra Gazette was too terrified to run. Welcome, Janis, so glad you decided to do this.
Janis Takats: It just didn’t feel right to keep something like this quiet.
Let me give the audience a little context. Now, I’ve known you since my early days, back when I was slugging at New United —
Janis Takats: The Cueto Scandal, I believe.
That’s right. But you’ve been an investigative journalist at the Terra Gazette for going on fifty years, right?
Janis Takats: Way to make me feel old, Parker.
Extremely experienced was the implication. More specifically, you’re not the type to chase a crackpot story like a lot of the rookies out there trying to make a name for themselves.
Janis Takats: As I’m sure you remember, a journalist gets dozens of tips for potential stories every day. These tipsters range from trusted sources to random anonymous people. Experience teaches you how to sniff out the crazy.
So why don’t you tell us your story.
Janis Takats: As I’m sure most of you know, the Galactic Aid Organization is known for supplying needy Citizens and civilians with donated cybernetic and artificial organs. It’s a well-respected charity that by many accounts does amazing work, so, when I received a tip that the GAO wasn’t on the up-and-up, I was skeptical.
So what happened once you dug deeper?
Janis Takats: I started with a paper trail provided by my source that showed a percentage of valuable and functional devices were being classified as “beyond repair.” On paper, those devices were incinerated, but in reality, they were sent to a scrapyard for repair and new serial codes before winding up on the black market.
How can you be sure that the GAO was aware of what this scrapyard was doing? Is it possible that they believed these items were indeed going to be incinerated?
Janis Takats: I obtained decrypted comm-exchanges between several mid-level GAO executives in which they determined that these devices were too valuable to give away, and began directing them to this specific recycling center. They were careful, too. The proceeds were not enough to raise any flags during an audit, but enough for it to be extremely profitable.
Just so the audience knows, you spent nearly nine months investigating this story. Making sure that your source’s information checked out. So it wasn’t like you were simply jumping to conclusions. What happened when you filed the piece with the Terra Gazette?
Janis Takats: They claimed that the story bordered on being libelous and “put the NewsOrg in a precarious legal position,” and that they would require assurances before running it. They wanted my source to go on the record, which wasn’t an option out of fear of reprisals. Then the GAO lawyers claimed the leaked documents were forgeries and threatened to sue if they were published.
So my editors killed the story. Weren’t even interested in reshaping it into something that worked. I kept pushing them to do something until, finally, I was put on “indefinite leave.”
That’s when I contacted other news sources to see if they wanted it, but no one would touch it. Finally, an old friend told me about rumors being circulated that I had gone off the deep end. That I had a personal vendetta or something against the Galactic Aid Organization because of my spouse dying years ago from cybernetic failure, and this story was a desperate attempt to bury them. That’s just not true. This whole thing has been about trying to let the public know the truth.
That’s why I had to bring you on. A story as important as this doesn’t deserve to be buried. Just because the GAO does good doesn’t mean that it is good.
Janis Takats: Couldn’t have said it better myself.
I really appreciate you coming forward. It’s only through dedicated and fearless champions of truth, like you, that we can get people to focus on making our institutions benefit all of us — not just the rich and powerful.
We need to take a quick break and you need to rethink where to donate any of your artificial organs. When we get back I’ll be talking to an activist who’s tracking military spending in New Corvo. He’ll be giving us a breakdown of how your money is being wasted. That, and more, when Plain Truth returns.