Glenn Greenwald's work focuses on issues of security, terrorism and individual liberty. A former constitutional and civil rights litigator, Greenwald brings a legal expertise and argumentative ferocity to his widely read commentary. His "independent and highly persuasive writing has earned him the acclaim of being one of the country’s most influential political writers by major media outlets including Forbes, The Atlantic and New York Magazine".
Prior to joining The Guardian as a columnist on civil liberties and U.S. national security, Greenwald was a contributing writer at Salon.com. Throughout his career he’s written for various publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The National Interest and In These Times. Greenwald is also the author of four books, three of which are New York Times best-sellers. The first two, How Would a Patriot Act?, and A Tragic Legacy, confronted the Bush administration’s executive power and foreign policy abuses, and his most recent, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful offers a “scathing indictment” of America’s two-tiered justice system.
Greenwald is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and is the winner of the 2010 Online Journalism Association Award for his investigative work on the arrest and oppressive detention of Bradley Manning.
Greenwald lives most of the time in Rio de Janeiro, the hometown of his Brazilian partner, David Michael Miranda. In a profile in Out magazine, Greenwald explained that his residence in Brazil is due to the fact that American law, the Defense of Marriage Act, bars the federal recognition of same-sex marriages and thus prevents his partner from obtaining immigration rights in the US.
Greenwald was born on March 6, 1967, in Queens, New York City, the son of Arlene and Daniel Greenwald.Shortly after his birth Greenwald moved with his family to South Florida.He earned a B.A. from George Washington University in 1990 and a J.D. from New York University Law School in 1994.
Greenwald started his blog Unclaimed Territory in October 2005, focusing on the investigation pertaining to the Valerie Plame affair, the CIA leak grand jury investigation, the federal indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy. In April 2006, Unclaimed Territory received the 2005 Koufax Award for "Best New Blog"..
In February 2007, Greenwald became a contributing writer at Salon.com, and the new column and blog superseded Unclaimed Territory, though Salon.com prominently features hyperlinks to it in Greenwald's dedicated biographical section.
Among the frequent topics of his Salon articles were the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, and the candidacy of former CIA official John O. Brennan for the jobs of either Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) or the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after the election of Barack Obama. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for the post after opposition centered in liberal blogs and led by Greenwald.
Greenwald's criticism of the conditions in which U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker, was being held ultimately led to a formal investigation by the U.N. high official on torture, denunciations by Amnesty International, and the resignation of State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley after he publicly criticized Manning's detention conditions.Since then, Greenwald has been a strong supporter of Manning. He calls Manning "a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives", and "a national hero similar to Daniel Ellsberg."
The Izzy Award is named after maverick journalist (and Soviet spy) I. F. Stone. Presented annually for "special achievement in independent media," the Izzy Award goes to an independent outlet, journalist, or producer for "contributions to our culture, politics, or journalism created outside traditional corporate structures".
The judges are communications professor and author Robert McChesney; Linda Jue, director and executive editor at the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism; and Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.
Cato Drug Study
RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, and many others.
Greenwald to the defense
In December 2011, Glenn Greenwald's Salon colleague Justin Elliott revealed that AIPAC’s former spokesman, Josh Block, had been encouraging neoconservative journalists and pundits on a private email list to attack as “anti-Semites” various Middle East commentators employed by two of the most influential Democratic-Party-aligned organizations: the Center for American Progress and Media Matters.
Block distributed a dossier containing posts by these CAP and MM writers about Israel and Iran that he claimed evince anti-Semitism, and then issued these marching orders (emphasis in original): “YOU SHOULD AMPLIFY this. And use the below [research] to attack the bad guys.” According to Glenn Greenwald, The predictable roster of neoconservative, hatemongering extremists on that email list – led by The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin, who recruited the Simon Wiesenthal Center to the cause — dutifully spewed out articles echoing Block’s attacks against these mostly young, liberal writers: Matt Duss, Ali Gharib, Eli Clifton and Zaid Jilani at CAP’s ThinkProgress blog and Media Matters’ MJ Rosenberg (a former AIPAC employee).
Block’s once-secret email campaign followed a Politico article by Ben Smith which accused these CAP and MM writers with deviations from “the bipartisan consensus on Israel” and voicing “a heretical and often critical stance on Israel heretofore confined to the political margins”; moreover, Smith wrote, “warm words for Israel can be hard to find on [CAP's] blogs.” Block was quoted in that article accusing the two progressive groups of publishing “anti-Israel” and “borderline anti-Semitic stuff”; Smith subsequently acknowledged that it was Block who had fed him files containing the supposedly anti-Semitic posts in order to enable the article to be written.
The Democratic-aligned Truman National Security Project then expelled Block for using “mischaracterization or character attacks” in order to impede “the ability to debate difficult topics freely.”
In late December, The Jerusalem Post published an article about what it called “the anti-Israel writings of the ThinkProgress bloggers.” It quoted the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor accusing the CAP writers of “classical anti-Semitism,” and the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center accused them of “dangerous political libels resonating with historic and toxic anti-Jewish prejudices.”
According to Greenwald, In January 2012 in Haaretz, "Marty Peretz’ long-time assistant, Jamie Kirchick, "ironically claimed that it was Block and other neocons who are the victims of “McCarthyism” even as Kirchick, in the same column, advanced the witch hunt to expose hidden anti-Semites in America’s think tanks and media outlets (an even greater irony is found in Kirchick’s self-anointed status as anti-bigotry crusader despite his long-term work for Peretz, probably the single most flagrant bigot and unapologetic spewer of hate speech in mainstream American discourse: but since it’s aimed at Arabs and Muslims, it’s all permissible)".
Greenwald went on to say;
- Then there’s Jason Issacson of the American Jewish Congress, who told The Jerusalem Post that “references to Israeli ‘apartheid’ . . . are so false and hateful they reveal an ugly bias no serious policy center can countenance.” Make sure to write that down: unless you want to stand revealed as an anti-Semite, you’re not allowed to point out the stark and tragic similarities between South African bantustans and the way in which residents of the West Bank are walled off into tiny enclaves and Gazans are forcibly confined to ghettos. Those guilty of anti-Semitism on this ground not only include the President of Turkey, the Foreign Minister of Finland, and a former American President – all of whom have made that comparison – but also the publisher of Haaretz, who last year repeatedly compared Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to South African apartheid; the Israeli writer Yitzhak Loar, who has argued that the situation in the occupied territories is actually worse than South African apartheid in material ways; and also, once again, Israel’s own Defense Minister (and former Prime Minister), who last year warned that the only alternative to peace is apartheid: “If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”
Greenwald gave a keynote address on “Civil liberties under Obama”.
He also ended the evening of July 3, as part of a plenary entitled “Revolution and imperialism in the Middle East” with Beesan Kassab, Chicago based pro-Palestine activist Ali Abuminah, Mostafa Omar,and International Socialists leader Ahmed Shawki.
- Glenn Greenwald, with Salon.com, spoke next and addressed the challenges around the US led war in Libya. This war begun by the Obama administration has shaped public opinion in some very interesting ways, according to Greenwald. He points out that many of those who opposed the Bush wars are now defending the Obama war in Libya as a “humanitarian intervention.”
- Greenwald also noted how the war is purely illegal in that it not only violates the US Constitution, but it violates a Vietnam era piece of legislation that says that the US cannot engage in military aggression abroad for more than 60 days unless there is a Congressional vote. It has already been 90 days.
- Greenwald ended by saying that the bi-partisan nature of this war will be part of the legacy of this administration, along with drone wars. He also mentioned a CIA report provided by WikiLeaks, which showed that the main weapon against anti-war sentiment was a president that was the opposite of the character of Bush, but would continue the same policies.
"Obama’s Illegal Assaults"
- Barack Obama has continued virtually all of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s once-controversial terrorism and civil liberties policies, a fact now recognized across the political spectrum. Even the right wing acknowledges these policies have continued under the Obama presidency, which is interesting, because for decades Republicans have made political hay by accusing Democrats of being weak on national security (or “soft on terrorism” in this age of terror).
- For example, Jack Goldsmith, a right-wing ideologue and a high-ranking Justice Department official in George W. Bush’s first term–when “enhanced interrogation techniques” (what the civilized world calls “torture”) were frequently employed–has criticized Dick Cheney’s daughter and Irving Crystal’s son for claiming that Obama has abandoned these policies. In a 2009 article for The New Republic, he writes:
- This premise that the Obama administration has reversed the terror policies is wrong. The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it and has narrowed only a bit. All of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol and rhetoric.
- The first area where we see this is true is in indefinite detention–the idea that human beings can be caged for years without an opportunity to defend themselves or contest the validity of the charges against them (if they are lucky enough even to be charged). The president’s plan for “closing” Guantanamo was not really to close Guantanamo at all. It was simply to move it 2,000 miles north to Illinois, where the controversial aspects of it–namely, imprisoning people for life without due process–were going to be fully preserved and retained.
- Another policy that Obama has continued, and actually worsened, is the idea that habeas corpus, the most minimal right a prisoner can have, isn’t guaranteed under the constitution. In 2008, the Supreme Court actually ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that prisoners at Guantanamo do have the right to habeas corpus. But–despite the horrendous record of imprisoning people without due process, including the obviously innocent–the Obama administration took the position that habeas corpus applies only to prisoners in Guantanamo, not anywhere else that the United States imprisons people, such as at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. The administration has thus far won in court with this argument, meaning that it has won the right to circumvent the Supreme Court decision by simply not bringing prisoners to Guantanamo. Instead, it simply imprisons them in Afghanistan or Iraq.
- Finally, let’s not forget one of the most controversial aspects of the Bush assertions of executive power: the Bush presidency’s warped version of the state secrets privilege. The Obama administration has continued this doctrine to the point that policies many condemn as blatantly criminal–like illegal eavesdropping and rendition and torture–are now, under this administration, declared such vital state secrets that they cannot even be subjected to judicial review.
- Disturbing innovations
- And then there are the Obama administration’s own two disturbing innovations in national security policies and practices.
- The first is the idea that the president has the right and the power to target American citizens not just with warrantless eavesdropping, as Bush did, but with assassination.
- In January 2010, the Washington Post reported that four Americans were on Obama’s list of terrorists whom the CIA is instructed to hunt down and murder. One of these people was Anwar Alwaki, a U.S.-born American citizen in Yemen who the U.S. government hates because he speaks effectively to the Muslim world about the violence that the United States commits regionally, and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to that violence. The CIA has shot cruise missiles and used drones on at least two occasions last year to try and kill this U.S. citizen without due process–not on a battlefield, but in his own home.
- The second of Obama’s innovations is his war on whistle-blowers. Whistle-blowing is one of the very few avenues left to learn about what the government does, and the Obama administration is trying to criminalize it. In Alexandria, Va., an aggressive grand jury is meeting to determine if what WikiLeaks does–like make leaked government documents available to the world–is a crime. This challenges the very core of investigative journalism.
- The administration has gone so far as detaining people it suspects of being associated with WikiLeaks at airports when they try to re-enter the country. They have not only been detained by the FBI, but some have had laptops and other electronic devices seized, all without any form of judicial oversight or warrant.
- A permanent climate of fear?
- Having a Democratic president adopt these national security policies–which put people into cages without due process, which try to kill people without letting them defend themselves in a court of law, which collectively discard many civil liberties Americans take for granted–has converted them from controversy into bipartisan consensus.
- The way American political discourse works in establishment media circles is that the things Republicans and Democrats agree on simply do not get debated. To this day, journalists respond to questions of their diligence in the run-up to the Iraq War by saying that there were no Democrats calling them up and complaining. It is disagreement between the two parties that defines what journalists believe is worthy of conversation.
- A climate of fear arises whenever a government systematically proves that it is both willing and able to transgress the legal limits it is supposed to be subject to. That fear is not just the outcome, but the purpose: Fear is always the primary tool used to justify assaults on civil liberties. If a climate of fear is potent enough, it changes the relationship between the populace and the government such that it is no longer necessary to take away rights formally. Instead, citizens willingly relinquish them. What eventually happens is the character of the citizenry begins to change and the nation’s character fundamentally transforms.
- One of the most vivid instances of this transformation occurred in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 1. The CIA’s assassination inspired celebratory chest-beating, epitomized by the crowd that spontaneously gathered outside the White House that Sunday evening. This was highlighted most effectively by what President Obama said when he announced the killing: “The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”
- What now gives Americans nationalistic purpose–what reminds us that we can do “whatever we set our mind to”–is our ability to hunt someone down and riddle their skull with bullets and dump their corpse into the ocean. This attitude reflects the degradation of the national character of a country that suffers systematic assaults on its civil liberties.
- But happily enough, these policies actually contain within them the seeds of their own destruction. Empires cannot sustain themselves. A population inculcated with fear is paralyzed and incapable of sustaining national prosperity. As the United States declines in strength and influence, government will hold onto these policies tightly. Declining empires always cling to militarism more tightly at the end than they do anything else.
- Al-Qaeda hoped a single attack on U.S. soil, very minimal in scope compared to the level of deaths that the United States has been bringing to the world for decades–from Vietnam to illegal wars in Central America–would trigger bankruptcy-inducing policies. Ironically, the only thing that can truly strengthen America’s national security is a weakening of America.
Why Hong Kong?
Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong because he believed he wouldn't get a fair trial in his home country, the journalist who broke the story says.
Glenn Greenwald, of the British-based Guardian newspaper, said Edward Snowden chose the semiautonomous Chinese region because it was the least bad option open to him.
Greenwald said in an interview that Snowden wants to remain out of the "clutches" of the US government for as long as possible but is fully aware that he won't succeed.
"If the Justice Department does end up indicting him, which almost certainly it will - it's basically inevitable at this point - he doesn't really trust the judicial system in the United States to give him a fair trial," Greenwald said in Hong Kong.
"I think if he trusted the political system and the political culture in the United States he would have just remained there and said 'I did what I did and I want to defend it'," Greenwald said.
He said Snowden chose Hong Kong because it has a history of strong political activism, free speech and respect for the rule of law. But he added that once Snowden decided to leak the information, "all of the options, as he put it, are bad options. There were no good options for him".
Glenn Greenwald also attended Socialism 2013;
- “As someone who speaks at all sorts of political gatherings every year, I can say with certainty that no event assembles more passionate activism, genuine expertise, and provocative insights than the Socialism Conference. This will be my third straight year attending, and what keeps me coming back is how invigorating and inspiring it is to be in the midst of such diverse and impressive activists,
- Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have both made tremendous contributions in exposing the truth about U.S. politics and the way the government behaves at home and abroad. Do not miss Greenwald and Scahill at Socialism 2013 and this incredibly urgent discussion about the attack on civil liberties, U.S. imperialism, and how we can fight back.
- Glenn Greenwald is a journalist for the Guardian, responsible for exposing the National Security Agency’s massive spying operation of the U.S. government on its own citizens.
- Moyers and co bio, accessed June 13. 2013
- [Garofoli, Joe (2006-05-12). "Book Tops Charts Before It's Published". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-12-12]
- [Glenn Greenwald". Salon.com. Retrieved 2008-12-13]
- [Greenwald, Glenn (2010-06-18). "The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks". Salon.com]
- 2009 Izzy Award Ceremony, AMY GOODMAN and GLENN GREENWALD
- CATO Institute, Drug Decriminalization Policy Pays Off By Glenn Greenwald This article appeared in The Politico on October 14, 2010
- [http://www.salon.com/2012/01/19/the_smear_campaign_against_cap_and_media_matters_rolls_on/, SALON, Glenn Greenwald, Thursday, Jan 19, 2012 10:59 PM NZDT The “anti-Semitism” smear campaign against CAP and Media Matters rolls on, A campaign to disparage progressive writers makes a shameful comeback ]
- Chicago district of the International Socialist Organization — For Workers' Power and International Socialism, Vimeo, Civil liberties under Obama, with Glenn Greenwald
- GRIID, Revolution and Imperialism in the Middle East, July 3, 2011
- STUFF, Who is Edward Snowden? 11/06/2013