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Glenn Greenwald Decries The Spying He Helped Enable When He Supported Bush!

GGGWI have this fantasy that there are real journalists left in the world of cable news. But just like my other fantasies, they never seem to come true. (Insert Rimshot here)

Glenn Greenwald’s latest piece of “advocacy” journalism deals with events that started in 2002 and ended in 2008. It involves the NSA under President Bush spying on 5 prominent Americans who are Muslim. For the record, at the time the Cheney/Bush administration was selling their lies to the American people, I was marching against their march to war.

What was Glenn Greenwald thinking in 2002, when this spying began. From the preface to one of Glenn’s books, his own words…

I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. (emphasis mine)

Think about that for a minute. Greenwald was 36 years old at the time, according to my calculations. Not some young naive kid. Whenever he has tried to refute my pointing that out, he usually says something like, “everyone was doing it.” As my mother would occasionally say, if everyone jumped off a cliff, does that mean you should too?

More from Glenn Greenwald’s own keyboard…

During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president’s ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president’s approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance. [...]

Glenn “strongly approved of his (Bush’s) performance.” As I was screaming at my television as the propaganda poured out of the television, with conjecture, flag waving, minimization of dissenting opinions…”if you’re not with us, you’re against us.” Well, Glenn Greenwald was WITH President George W. Bush as he started his “aggressive response” and “exact(ed) vengeance on the perpetrators.”

I’m sure Glenn regrets writing that preface, just a little more of his love for President Bush.

Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

I guess Glenn Greenwald made the cable TV rounds the other day after publishing his latest piece. Back to my fantasy. I was amusing myself by thinking of questions Chris L. Hayes might ask him on his show like…

1. In 2002, when this surveillance began, you were supporting President Bush and even put in the preface to your book that you were “ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators.” Do you feel any remorse for enabling the exact thing that you now decry?

2. Do you still believe that “American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country”, as you put in your book? What exactly were you thinking in 2002 when you wrote that?

3. Why is it that you “trusted”, “deferred to”, had “confidence in”, “strongly approved”, was “fully supportive” of Bush, gave Bush the “benefit of the doubt” and believed that President Bush “was entitled to have his national security judgement deferred to” BUT when a Democratic president comes into office, one who ended the Iraq War, ended the torture of innocent people, ended DADT, is ending the war in Afghanistan and hasn’t started any wars…why has that president has had nothing but negative blog posts written by you about him?

Those are just a few of the questions I fantasize about journalists asking of Glenn Greenwald.

Feel free to make your own conclusions about why Greenwald was so supportive of the administration that brought on most of the NSA abuses but has nothing but contempt for President Obama, one of the very few voices in the lead up to the Iraq war who was brave enough to stand up as a State Senator and say…

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. (emphasis mine)

There is quite a contrast there, wouldn’t you say?

Check out this quote from an article in the New York Times about Glenn Greenwald when he shared his approach to “journalism”…

“I approach my journalism as a litigator,” he said. “People say things, you assume they are lying, and dig for documents to prove it.”

Jonathon Chait talked about this quote in an interesting article he wrote comparing Glenn Greenwald to Ralph Nadar

That is a highly self-aware account. Of course, the job description of a litigator does not include being fair. You take a side, assume the other side is lying, and prosecute your side full tilt. It’s not your job to account for evidence that undermines your case — it’s your adversary’s job to point that out.

Glenn Greenwald has clearly taken a side, just like he did in 2002 when the Cheney/Bush administration began to “exact vengeance on the perpetrators” and Glenn was there cheering them along.

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Hypocrisy Watch, National Security, Politics, Republican Party | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glenn Greenwald, Perpetually Wrong, But Allowed To Be So!

abc_tw_greenwald_nsaI frequently get asked why I write so much about Glenn Greenwald. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror many times and asked the same question.

I think back to when I first read one of his posts at Salon during the end of the Bush administration. He was railing against Bush at that time and I was certainly sympathetic to that sentiment. But as I read his pieces, I noticed that he exaggerated an awful lot and took leaps with his conclusions and that didn’t sit well with me. I was all for attacking Bush, but because I am a political junky and was pretty informed on things, I noticed the exaggerations and in some cases, blatant lies. I didn’t join in with others in praising his “journalism”.

It was many years later that I learned that Glenn Greenwald hadn’t always railed against President Bush. In fact, he supported Bush and the many horrible things he did in the wake of 9/11 including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as supporting Bush during the time when the Patriot Act was passed. In light of what he is saying now, it should speak volumes about his integrity. Glenn has written about those of us who point this out and his attempt to dismiss his support for Bush is pretty lame. Ben Cohen from The Daily Banter wrote about this, go read it and have a laugh at Greenwald’s expense. Ben gives Glenn way too much credit, in my opinion.

Like Ben, I’m happy that Glenn finally opened up his eyes and realized the error of his ways. A little context though, Glenn wasn’t exactly a young, naive lad when he “had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration”, or “gave the administration the benefit of the doubt” or felt that President Bush was “entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to”. No, Glenn was 36 years old in 2003, when the bombs started falling on innocent people in Iraq, a war that I marched against.

So  Glenn’s dishonesty and tendency to exaggerate and mislead his readers turned me off immediately. But that isn’t the main reason I write about Glenn Greenwald so frequently.

Glenn Greenwald is a bully. I hate bullies!

If you want to read more about his journalistic brutality, go read this post, or this one, or this one. Or just go to Google and search, there are many examples out there besides the ones I’ve written about.

How Can Greenwald Be So Wrong, So Much Of The Time

Glenn Greenwald loves hyperbole. Decades from now when scholars write about The Age Of Hyperbole that we are currently living in, Glenn Greenwald’s picture will surely be accompanying the journal articles.

A few of my favorites from the last year.

“The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!”

“The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.”

I know there are a lot of paranoid people in this world who love that kind of talk, it feeds their paranoia and makes them feel like they are not alone. Any thinking, reasonable person who isn’t consumed with hatred or paranoia can read those words and realize they are completely over the top and can not possibly be true.

How many NSA employees do you think it would take to “MONITOR every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”? You see, Glenn doesn’t just think that the NSA is gathering meta data on who is calling who, after getting a warrant from a the FISA court (as dysfunctional as it is) because of intelligence on a suspected terrorist. No, Glenn thinks that there are people monitoring “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Bob Cesca has been keeping track of Glenn’s NSA “journalism” better than anyone and has coined the term “the 24 hour rule”, which basically says we should wait for the other shoe to drop before believing what ole Glenn Greenwald says.

Last week, Glenn made several statements to Christine Amanpour in an interview. Here are two of his long-winded, never stopping for a breath, answers. (My transcription and emphasis)

Answer 1: Let’s just use our common sense when analyzing the claims of political officials when they say that. Ever since 9/11, British and American officials have screamed terrorism over and over and over every time they get caught doing bad things they shouldn’t do – from lying to the public about invading Iraq to setting up a worldwide torture regime to kidnapping people and taking them around the world to be tortured – they just want to put the population in fear by saying the terrorists will get you if you don’t submit to whatever authority it is that we want to do. And that is all they are doing here, it’s the same tactic they always use. Let’s just use common sense, every terrorist who is capable of tying their own shoes, has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government  is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can. That isn’t new, we didn’t reveal anything new to the terrorists they didn’t already know. What we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world. That is what was not previously known and that is why American and British officials are so angry because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is from the people at whom it’s directed and that is the only thing that is new in what we reported.

Answer 2: Well first of all a lot of people like to ask why is there so much anti-American sentiment around the world all you have to do is listen to that tape of Mike Rogers to understand it. He basically is going around telling the world that they ought to be grateful that without their knowledge, we are stealing ALL THEIR COMMUNICATIONS data and invading their privacy (Amanpour nods in agreement) None of this has anything to do with terrorism. Is Angela Merkel a terrorist? Are sixty or seventy million Spanish or French citizens terrorists? Are there terrorists at Petrobras? This is clearly about political power and economic espionage, and the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit.”

I’ll get to the latest “24 hour rule” moment in a bit, but first let’s take a look at his penchant for hyperbole.

As with most of Glenn Greenwald’s rants, it isn’t necessarily the broad, populist, quotable punch line that is the problem, but what he says leading up to it. Make no mistake, Glenn is probably a great trial lawyer, although I’m sure a good opposing lawyer would be screaming “I object” an awful lot.

What stood out to me in Glenn’s response to Christine was the tainting of the jury along the way. I laughed out loud when I heard him say “Let’s just use our common sense” as he started. See the above part about how many NSA people it would take to monitor “every single conversation and every single form of human behavior” as you listen to Glenn talk about common sense.

Glenn starts his twisted reasoning by appealing to common, shared perceptions to get people nodding…like Amanpour herself…by, among other things, saying that U.S. and British officials always “scream” terrorism when they get caught doing “bad things”. He lists some of these bad things, starting with “from lying to the public about invading Iraq”…whoa, whoa, whoa…Glenn was supporting that group that was lying at the time and I know he is oh so sorry about that, but he fell for the bullshit none-the-less. There were a lot of us who didn’t. It speaks to his judgement at the tender age of 36.

Greenwald then gets bold and says “to setting up a worldwide torture regime”, which is clearly directed at his paranoid, conspiratorial readers. Because it isn’t just a few places where our government and allies take prisoners to be held and questioned, and yes, sometimes tortured too…which of course, I don’t approve of, but to Glenn, it’s labeled a “worldwide torture regime”. Oh, that hyperbole must make him tingle.

A little bit further on in his rant, he uses a pretty slick tactic when he says that “Every terrorist…has long known that the U.S. government and U.K. government  is trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can” and then claims that this is “nothing new”. Except, uh, Glenn…you told the terrorists “how” they are being monitored and that IS new.

Glenn then proceeds to his real thesis that the “spies” aren’t out to get terrorists, they are out to get innocent, little ole YOU! This thesis occurs frequently in his writings and is much more pronounced in his TV appearances, because he can’t go back and edit his words once they’ve flown out of his mouth and he can’t add “updates” to Christine Amanpour’s program like he is known for in his hyperbolic writing. This is what he said, “the spying system is largely devoted not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world.” He really believes that the target of all this spying is innocent people. He has strayed from what most people probably think – that in the effort to get terrorists, innocent people are being “monitored” and having their rights trampled on. Glenn sees it as a fiendish plot to go after YOU, run hide, build a bunker, buy some guns…they are coming for you. A little later he claims that it is “because they wanted to hide what the true purpose of the spying system is”, once again, referring to “innocent” people, just like you.

In the final sentence of his interview, Greenwald says “This is clearly about political power and economic espionage…” in reference to the accusations of the NSA spying on Germany and France. Well the “24 hour rule” destroys Glenn’s hyperbolic proclamation. Turns out the intelligence agencies in each of those countries shared that information with the U.S. government and the cooperation was geared towards tracking down terrorists. From of all places, the Guardian…

The German, French and Spanish governments have reacted angrily to reports based on National Security Agency (NSA) files leaked by Snowden since June, revealing the interception of communications by tens of millions of their citizens each month. US intelligence officials have insisted the mass monitoring was carried out by the security agencies in the countries involved and shared with the US.

I’m sure all of that is appealing to the paranoid, conspiracists and the narcissists who think the whole damn world revolves around them and don’t have any problem thinking they are so damn important that the U.S. government is paying someone lots of money to monitor them and steal “ALL YOUR COMMUNICATIONS DATA”. Cue the Twilight Zone music!

Part of the problem with the current state of our politics and media is that it is loaded with narcissists, nihilists and conspiracy loons. Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Greenwald all know who their target audience is and Glenn has just sliced off a piece from the left flank of that crowd.

I wish more of the national media would listen more carefully to Glenn Greenwald or wait for the other shoe to drop before running with one of his stories, but I’m sure many of them just don’t want to deal with the other thing Glenn is good at…the bullying.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Afghanistan War, Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Romney’s Job Plan – Hire The Bush People That Caused Our Problems!

The President and Vice President aren’t just talking shit when they say that electing Mitt Romney will be a return to the Bush era. When you look at the people Romney has surrounded himself with, it is clear that the same bunch of boneheads who got us into this mess are the ones making up Mitt’s entourage.

1. Vin Weber. Who is Vin Weber? He’s a former Congressman from Minnesota. A former Health Care lobbyist. A former lobbyist for Freddie Mac. He is also the former regional director for George Bush.

2. N. Gregory Mankiw. A professor of Economics at Harvard University. From 2003-2005, Gregory was Chairman of the Council of Economic Adviser under George W. Bush

3. Kevin A. Hassett. Economic Adviser to George W. Bush. Policy Consultant to George H.H. Bush. Works as an Economist at the right wing American Enterprise Institute. A specialist in investing in the stock market.

4.R. Glenn Hubbard. Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Chairman of Economic Advisers under Bush/Cheney. Areas of expertise are health care and tax policy.

And it isn’t just the domestic policy people that make up Mitt’s “nightmare team”….a play on the “Dream Team” idea, get it? :) From Mugsy, writing for Crooks & Liars…

Back during the 2008 Presidential campaign, I couldn’t help but notice how frequently & easily the Republican candidates (including Mitt Romney) would rewrite the history of how we ended up going to war with Iraq in order to paint Bush as less culpable. One of the most disturbing arguments was that we were FORCED to invade Iraq after “Saddam refused to allow the weapons inspectors back in”, which I KNEW was a load of… eh, rubbish (this is a family site). So I dug through the BBC News archives and pieced together the following video. It’s five years old now, but today on the eve of the third and final Presidential Debate, this time on foreign policy, with a Republican candidate whom has (as Rachel Maddow reminded us Friday) SEVENTEEN of his TWENTY-FOUR Foreign Policy Advisors coming from the Bush Administration, I thought that maybe now was the perfect time to look back for a moment to remember history as it actually happened, and think long & hard about possibly returning these people to the White House just four short years later:

These are the same people that sold us two unfunded, unnecessary wars, trillions in tax cuts mostly to the wealthy with the promise of jobs, jobs, jobs, an expansion of Medicare that wasn’t paid for and deregulation of Wall Street and the housing markets that led to the worst recession/near depression since the Great Depression.

There is no doubt that if Mitt Romney is elected president, he will return us to the same dumbass policies that created the mess we’ve been trying to dig out of for the last four years.

We must not let that happen. Make sure you VOTE and drag every Democrat you know to the polls, make calls, give rides, volunteer….but please, let’s keep the former Bush employees as far away from the White House as possible.

Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

October 26, 2012 Posted by | 2012 Election, Economy, Jobs, Mitt Romney, Politics, President Barack Obama | , , | 2 Comments

Remember – Bush Wasn’t That Concerened About Osama bin Laden!

Remember this, jump to 1:20 for the meat of it.

May 1, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan War, Republican Party | , | Leave a comment

   

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