Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Greenwald’

Glenn Greenwald in Brazil

May 19, 2021

SECURING DEMOCRACY: My fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Bolsonaro’s Brazil by Glenn Greenwald (2021)

Glenn Greenwald’s new book tells the story of his latest exploit, the publication in 2019 of leaked information exposing corruption and abuse of power in Brazil, his adopted country.

His reporting on leaked information about abuses of power by President Jair Bolsonro and Justice Minister Sérgio Moro threatens their political power.

The risks he faces—prison and death—are possibly greater than in 2013, when he helped publish Edward Snowden’s leaked information about abuses of power by the NSA, CIA and Britain’s GCHQ.

I’ve long been an admirer of Greenwald, and Securing Democracy is doubly interesting to me because it tells something of his back story.

I started reading his blog, Unclaimed Territory, in the mid-2000s.  Its theme was the Bush administration’s abuse of power.

When Barack Obama succeeded George W. Bush, Greenwald held Obama to the same strict standard that he applied to Bush.  This won him a following across the political spectrum.

Greenwald was, and is, very lawyer-like.  His writing focused on the relevant law and facts, without any evident personal bias.  His judgments were without fear or favor.

In fact, I don’t know Greenwald’s political beliefs, beyond a general belief in democracy, freedom of speech and equal justice under law.

I followed Greenwald as his blog was picked up by Salon, then as he became a columnist for The Guardian.

I didn’t know at the time that he was (1) gay and (2) living in Brazil.

In the book, he told how, after quitting his job in a New York law firm in 2005, at age, he went to Rio de Janeiro to unwind on its famous Ipanema beach. 

A volleyball knocked over his drink, and a handsome 20-year-old man named David Miranda came up to apologize.

It was love at first sight, and they’ve been together ever since.  It is like an ideal love relationship out of Plato’s Socratic dialogues—a mature older man loving and mentoring a handsome and noble younger man.

Miranda grew up in a favela, one of the squatter shantytowns that have grown up around Brazil’s big cities. 

Favela residents typically live in shacks build of scrap wood, bricks and other scavenged materials.  They usually lack electricity, a public water supply or sewerage, although residents sometimes tap into the electrical grid illegally.

Drug gangs have more power in the favelas that the legal government does, Greenwald wrote.  They also are sometimes invaded by private militias financed by wealthy right-wing Brazilians.

Miranda was born in a favela to a poor woman who worked as a prostitute.  He never knew his father.  His mother died when he was five, and he was raised by an aunt, until he left home at age 13.

At first he slept in the street, but, by means of hard work, talent and charm, he had worked his way up to a stable job in offices at the time he met Greenwald.

After they met, Miranda got through junior high and high school, then got a degree in marketing from a top Brazilian university.

Miranda’s ambition was to design and promote video games.  Greenwald was unimpressed by that ambition, until Edward Snowden told him that he got his first ideas of duty, morality and purpose by playing video games as a child.

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Greenwald on the threat to freedom of speech

February 22, 2021

During the previous four years, Democratic leaders and pro-Democratic newspapers and broadcasters aligned with U.S. intelligence agencies to undermine the Trump administration. 

Now that Democrats are in power, the alliance continues.  It’s highly improbable that the Biden administration will dial down any of the covert wars now being waged by the United States.

As usual, Glenn Greenwald, who got his start as a civil liberties lawyer, has the facts.

I’m not a supporter of Donald Trump.  As one who believes in historic American ideals of freedom and democracy, I’m concerned about the large fraction of the 74 million Trump voters who endorse mob violence or believe in the crazy Q-Anon conspiracy theory.

But trying to suppress people’s basic rights is not a good way to refute their belief that there is a conspiracy to suppress their basic rights.

Also, progressives and left-wingers are naive if they think the social media crackdown is going to be limited to their enemies. 

Donald Trump was a very bad President.  I’m glad he’s no longer in office.  But I don’t believe in attacking historic constitutional liberties in the name of preventing Trump supporters from destroying historic constitutional liberties.

LINKS

Congress Escalates Pressure on Tech Giants to Censor More, Threatening the First Amendment by Glenn Greenwald.  “In their zeal for control of on-line speech, House Democrats are getting closer to the constitutional line, if they have not already crossed it.”

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Fake news and the storming of the Capitol

February 17, 2021

It is not true that Officer Brian Sicknick was beaten to death by a pro-Trump mob during the storming of the Capitol, Glenn Greenwald reported last night. 

This raises big questions about the credibility of reporting of the event and the justification for a “domestic war on terror.”

The report in the New York Times on Jan. 8, based on quotes from two anonymous law enforcement officials, and in a follow-up article.  It was cited as fact in the articles of impeachment against ex-President Donald Trump.

But on the same day, ProPublica published an article quoting Sicknick’s brother as having received a text from SIcknick after the riot saying he was okay, in spite of having been pepper-sprayed.  But then later they got word he had a blot clot and was on a ventilator.  He died that night.

Nobody has produced video evidence of the alleged beating of Sicknick.  Many of the rioters have been charged, but nobody has yet been charged with Sicknick’s murder. 

On Feb. 2, CNN published an article, noting in passing that the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick’s death has not been released, but quoting one investigator that there were no signs of head injuries and investigators no longer believe the fire extinguisher story.

I am not making excuses for Donald Trump or for the rioters.  It is clear to me that Trump intended the mob to storm the Capitol in order to intimidate Vice President Pence and the Senate into refusing to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory.  This was wrong.  It was a symbolic and real attack on the democratic process.

Neither am I trying to trivialize the tragedy of Officer Sicknick’s death or deny that it was duty-related.

However, nothing is gained by false reporting or by believing false reporting.  You only weaken your cause.

I don’t fault the reporters of the initial NYT article.  When you’re reporting on deadline, you go with the information you’ve got.  But I do fault the NYT and the rest of the Washington press corps for not trying to check or verify the facts the next day. 

The great temptation for any reporter, as I know from my own experience, is to come across information that seems to confirm your biases and assumptions, and look no further.  This is the great fault of the so-called mainstream press in the Trump era.

The New York Times over many decades built a reputation as a reliable source of information by taking great care to be fair and accurate.  But it is much more easy to lose a good reputation than to gain one, and that is what is happening now.

Self-described liberals mock President Trump for talking about fake news.  They can’t understand why so many people believe things like the Q-Anon conspiracy.  But if respected institutions such as the NYT can’t be troubled to get things right, its editors and reporters shouldn’t be surprised if some people turn to disreputable sources.

LINKS

The False and Exaggerated Claims Being Spread About the Capitol Riot by Glenn Greenwald.  “Insisting on factual accuracy does not make one an apologist for the protestors.  False reporting is never justified, especially to inflate threat and fear levels.”

“This Political Climate Got My Brother Killed”: Officer Brian Sicknick Died Defending the Capitol; His Family Waits for Answers by J. David McSwane for ProPublica.

Investigators struggle to build murder case in death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian SIcknick by Evan Perez, David Shortell and Whitney Wild for CNN.

MAGA Blood Libel: Why Are They Hiding the Medical Report? on Revolver News  [Added 2/18/2021]

Mom of US Capitol police officer Brian Sickwick believes he died of a stroke by Laura Collins for The Daily Mail.  [Added 2/24/2021]

What we know about Capitol Police officer Brian Sickwick’s death by Bill McCarthy for PolitiFact.  [Added 2/24/2021]

Journalists who are enemies of free speech

February 8, 2021

The Journalistic Tattletale and Censorship Industry Suffers Several Well-Deserved Blows by Glenn Greenwald on Substack.  “The NYT’s Taylor Lorenz falsely accuses a tech investor of using a slur after spending several months trying to infiltrate and monitor a new app that allows free conversation.”

Glenn Greenwald on the real threat to democracy

December 28, 2020

Monopolists Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos

The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. Is Very Real and Has Nothing To Do With Trump by Glenn Greenwald.  “The COVID-driven centralization of economic power and information control in the hands of a few corprorate monopolies poses enduring threats to political freedom.”

The passing scene: Links 12/6/2020

December 6, 2020

Make them cry: Tear-gasms now a matter for American boasting by Thomas Frank for Le Monde diplomatique.

After the Deep State Sabotaged His Presidential Bid, Bernie Sanders Mocks Those Who Believe It Exists by Glenn Greenwald on Substack.

Glenn Greenwald on the crimes of Trump

November 7, 2020

President Bush and Vice President Cheney

Those who want to insist that Trump’s evils are unprecedented — such that their own service to or support for prior presidents should not exclude them from the realm of the Patriotic, the Decent and the Noble — should be prepared to explain which acts of Trump’s compete with the destruction of Iraq, or the implementation of a global regime of torture, or the “rendition” kidnappings and CIA black sites and illegal domestic eavesdropping under Bush and Obama, or imprisoning people for decades with no due process, and on and on and on.

No Matter the Liberal Metric Chosen, the Bush / Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump by Glenn Greenwald.  None of this is an excuse for Trump, of course.

Attempt to censor Greenwald is a big deal

October 31, 2020

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The Intercept’s attempted censorship of Glenn Greenwald is a symptom of the state of freedom of the press in the USA.

Greenwald wrote an article about how major broadcasters and publications refused to acknowledge new information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s ties to a corrupt businessman in Ukraine.  His editors at The Intercept refused to publish it unless he deleted information derogatory to Joe Biden.

This is a big deal because Greenwald joined The Intercept, a news web site bankrolled by a billionaire named Pierre Omidyar, because it promised him freedom from censorship. 

Greenwald originally was a civil liberties lawyer with a blog.  It became so popular that he was invited to join Salon and then The Guardian. to which he agreed only on condition of complete freedom to express his opinion, within the limits of libel law.  Omidyar’s FIrst Look Media promised him the same freedom.

His critics say it is wrong of him to criticize Joe Biden in the run-up to the election because it is all-important to defeat Donald Trump.  It is “not helpful to the left,” as one of his editors wrote.

Actually the New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s computer was not all that important in itself.  It only added circumstantial evidence to what was already known.  If not for the effort to suppress the article, it probably would be forgotten by now.

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Greenwald originally gained favor with self-described leftists because of his writing about the George W. Bush administration’s attack on civil liberties.  He lost favor when he held the Barack Obama administration to the same standard.  He remains in disfavor because of his skepticism about the Russiagate conspiracy theory, even though he has been vindicated by the facts.

Other independent reporters also were marginalized.  Seymour Hersh was a top investigative reporter for the New York Times and then for the New Yorker magazine.  His Russiagate skepticism cost him that position.  His writings appeared in The Guardian for a time.  The last article of his that I read was in the English-language edition of a German newspaper.

Matt Taibbi is another Russiagate skeptic.  He backed out of an invitation to join The Intercept when it was first organized.  He recently started a new blog on the Substack platform, which Greenwald also has joined.

I don’t see Greenwald, Hersh or Taibbi as part of “the left,” whatever that may be.  I’ve never seen any indication that any of them has any particular ideology, except intolerance of tyranny, atrocities and high-level corruption and a keen nose for BS.

I’m not sure what “left” or “right” mean any more, beyond adherence to one of two political factions.  Evidently the current “right” position is that business monopolies such as Facebook and Twitter should not have the power to stifle opinions their executives don’t approve of, while the “left” position is that freedom of speech only applies to freedom from government censorship.

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Glenn Greenwald resigns from The Intercept

October 29, 2020

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald has resigned from The Intercept, a news organization he co-founded in 2014, because of its refusal to publish an article he wrote about Hunter and Joe Biden.

Ironically, the original idea behind The Intercept was that journalists would be able to write without editorial censorship of content.

I’ve long admired Greenwald and have read his writings since he was just a lawyer with his own WordPress blog.  He is going back to being an individual blogger.  Here are the first three posts on his new blog, plus The Intercept’s response.

LINKS

My Resignation From The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald.

Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored by The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald.

Emails With Intercept Editors Showing Censorship of My Joe Biden Article by Glenn Greenwald.

Glenn Greenwald Resigns From The Intercept by The Intercept.

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Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From the Intercept by Matt Taibbi.  [Added 10/30/2020]  Taibbi, like Greenwald, has gone back to being an individual blogger, also using the Substack platform.

Glenn Greenwald Leaving The Intercept, Claiming He Was Censored by Katie Robertson for The New York Times [Added 10/30/2020]

The Extraordinary Pierre Omidyar by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine for MSFW Corp. [Added 10/30/2020]  A 2013 article about the billionaire who bankrolled Greenwald and The Intercept.

The Aftermath of My Move Back to Independent Journalism by Glenn Greenwald.  [Added 10/31/2020]  Greenwald already is among the top 10 Substack bloggers in terms of number of subscribers.  He took a big risk.  His former employer not only paid him a six-figure salary, but provided security to protect him from kidnapping and assassination attempts—a real danger for him because he lives in Brazil and has fearlessly criticized its authoritarian government.

Greenwald’s Intercept Resignation Exposes the Rot in All Mass Media by Caitlin Johnstone. [Added 10/31/2020]

The Media Has Not Ignored the Hunter Biden Story by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.  [Added 10/31/2020]

Hunter Biden’s easy access laptop was national security nightmare by Caroline Graham and Ian Gallagher for The Daily Mail in London.  [Added 11/1/2020]  Version on RedState.

Ebay Founder Pierre Omidyar Is Funding a Global Media Information War by Alexander Rubenstein and Max Blumenthal for Mint Press News.  [Added 11/1/2020]  A 2019 article about The Intercept’s owner.  This is bad stuff, but I doubt if Greenwald would have kept his independence if he had remained with The Guardian.

Glenn Greenwald Sparks Snowden Deja-Vu by Jack Hunter for The American Conservative.  [Added 11/1/2020]

Inside Glenn Greenwald’s Blowup With The Intercept by Peter Sterne for New York magazine.  [Added 11/1/2020]

Glenn Greenwald sums things up

April 8, 2017

Glenn Greenwald, on The Intercept, said pretty well everything that needs to be said about President Trump’s attack on Syria.

  1.  New wars will strengthen Trump: as they do for every leader.
  2.  Democrats’ jingoistic rhetoric has left them no ability — or desire — to oppose Trump’s wars.
  3.   In wartime, US television instantly converts into state media.
  4.   Trump’s bombing is illegal, but presidents are now omnipotent.
  5.   How can those who view Trump as an inept fascist now trust him to wage war?
  6.   Like all good conspiracy theories, no evidence can kill the Kremlin-controls-Trump tale.
  7.   The fraud of humanitarianism works every time for (and on) American elites.
  8.   Support for Trump’s bombing shows two toxic U.S. conceits:  “Do something” and “Look strong.”
  9.   Obama’s refusal to bomb Assad hovers over everything.
  10.   None of this disproves, obviously, that Hillary Clinton was also a dangerous hawk.

LINK

The Spoils of War: Trump Lavished With Media and Bipartisan Praise for Bombing Syria by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.   Hat tip to peteybee.

Citizenfour

November 18, 2014

Full Democracy Now broadcast and transcript

Last night I saw Citizenfour, the documentary movie about Edward Snowden.  Laura Poitras, the maker of the documentary, never appears on camera, but, next to Snowden himself, she deserves the most credit for bringing his information to light.  She  understood that she had to adopt the same mentality and procedures as somebody in an earlier era operating behind the Iron Curtain.

Poitras lives in Berlin, Germany.  The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who wrote most of the articles about the Snowden leaks, lives in Rio de Janeiro.  Snowden had to flee to Hong Kong and then to Moscow.  It is striking that these truth-tellers live outside the United States so as to be outside the reach of the U.S. government, while people who have committed actual crimes have nothing to fear.

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The Question of Edward Snowden by David Bromwich for the New York Review of Books.  [added 11/21/14]

The passing scene: Links & comment 8/14/13

August 14, 2013

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets by Peter Maass of the New York Times.  Hat tip to Daniel Brandt.

The documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was the key figure in bringing Edward Snowden’s information before the public.  Glenn Greenwald is brave enough, but she was the one with the skills to evade the surveillance state.  She is like the heroine of some dystopian science fiction novel about a totalitarian state of the future.  This well-written, informative article is worth reading in its entirety.

Bandar Bush, ‘liberator of Syria’ by Pepe Escobar of Asia Times.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who at one time was so close to the Bush family that George W. Bush nicknamed him “Bandar Bush,” flew to Moscow to offer to buy huge amounts of Russian weapons if the Russian government would withdraw its support for the Assad regime in Syria.  As Pepe Escobar noted, this will never happen.  Vladimir Putin would never tolerate Syria being taken over by radical jihadists, whose next target undoubtedly would be Chechnia, less than 600 miles away.

Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions by Owen Bowcott of The Guardian.  Hat tip to Jack C.

Three Serbian generals were acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because they did not give orders for the atrocities committed by troops under their command.

Buddhism’s ‘lords’ must be challenged by Sanitsuda Ekachai of the Bangkok Post.

An editorial writer said that the Theravada Buddhist clergy are governed by an autocratic system that tolerates corruption and misconduct but not dissent and reform.  Accountability is needed, she wrote; one starting point would be for Thais to only contribute to temples with transparent accounting systems.

Judge Says That Baby ‘Messiah’ Will Have to Change His Name Because He’s Not Jesus Christ by Hemant Mehta on Patheos.

I was surprised to learn that “Messiah” is one of the 1.000 most common first names for newborn male babies in the United States.  The Tennessee judge is out of line, but perhaps the parents could settle for naming their baby “Senator,” “Colonel,” “Professor” or “Doctor”.

Glenn Greenwald asks a question

September 28, 2010

President Obama has ordered the assassination of Anwar Awlaki, a Muslim cleric in Yemen who reportedly supports, and recruits for, al-Qaeda.  He is a U.S. citizen, he has not been charged with any crime and his father has filed a lawsuit asking for a court injunction against his son being summarily killed.  The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit without a hearing, on the grounds of “state secrets.”

If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn’t he have the power to do?

via Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.

What doesn’t the President have the power to do?  He doesn’t have the power to take action on global climate change.  He doesn’t have the power to enact a stimulus program sufficient to make a dent in 9 percent unemployment.  He doesn’t have the power to carry on the routine business of government.  He doesn’t have the power to get confirmation of appointments to key governmental positions or federal judgeships.  The Federal Reserve Board lacks a quorum, key positions such as director of Office of Management and Budget are unfilled, and vacancies in federal judgeships go unfilled because the Republican minority in the Senate obstructs votes on confirmations.

The Republican Party leadership and the Tea Party faction say that requiring all Americans to buy health insurance is tyranny.  But the Obama administration, even more than the Bush administration before it, gets a pass on actual acts of tyranny – torture, assassination, universal Big Brother-type surveillance of private citizens.

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