Glenn Greenwald attacks Alexandre de Moraes

Image: Collective Manifest


The journalist abandons technical and ethical principles and ignores the attempted coup d'état

Although Brazil suffered a very articulate attempt at a coup d'état by the extreme right on Sunday, January 8, five days later, the American journalist Glenn Greenwald preferred to leave aside the serious attacks that took place in Brasília and use his TV program (System Update) entitled: “Exclusivo: Extreme escalation of Brazil’s censorship regime”. About the attempted coup d'état broadcast live around the world, not a word.

O Show anchored by Glenn Greenwald, airlifted by the streaming Rumble and aimed at the US public, was unaware of the widespread depredation of the headquarters of the three Powers in Brazil. An attack at the same time symbolic, the assassination of the Republic, and effective, as it reached the physical heart of the institutions that structure the Brazilian State.

All of this was secondary to Glenn Greenwald, an attorney specializing in constitutional law. Less than a week after the attack, he chose to focus his criticism on a non-central aspect of the Brazilian scenario: the performance of Minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the Federal Supreme Court (STF). The reach of the program was important. Until the 19th, it had more than 500 views on Glenn Greenwald's Twitter account and another 500 on the Twitter account. System Update in Rumble itself – this without being able to account for replications to aeternum from Internet.

The program helped decisively in consolidating the old diffuse image that Americans have of rest of the world. In this case, Brazil as the empire of yet another supposed dictator of the Third World – Moraes –, as if the Brazilian justice system allowed the emergence of a despot who, alone and from one hour to another, imperially commanded everything and everyone. . These mental images were offered to the public by Glenn Greenwald, who for himself consolidated the Hollywood character of a hero defending the rule of law American around the world.

What you showed in your System Update, neither his technical training in law nor the fact that he has lived in Brazil for 20 years were enough for Glenn Greenwald to convince himself that he brought a distorted version of the Brazilian reality to the world, but one that fits perfectly with the redeeming self-image that Americans have of themselves. same. If General Custer's cavalry ever makes it this way, it will be motivated by information of the kind that Glenn Greenwald so emphatically publicized and defended in the days after the coup attempt.

The result of the attitude of Glenn Greenwald – who, until at least 2017, was a praiseworthy supporter of Operation Lava Jato – did not end on the night of his program’s broadcast. fake The Glenn Greenwald show will have its effects reverberated over the next few years of the Lula government, which, as we have already seen, will be turbulent. Glenn Greenwald made his contribution to further heightening the turmoil, making his US public believe a lie of the same quality and scale as those that fuel the worst perversities of Jair Bolsonaro worshipers.


Emergency situation

Glenn Greenwald did not inform his public that Alexandre de Moraes had to make legal decisions and that not having taken them would mean prevaricating. On that fateful Sunday, the 8th, the Minister was alone on duty during the holidays of the other members of the STF.

For this reason, the Minister of the highest Court determined ex officio the arrest of coup plotters, including the Colonel of the PM of the DF who should have commanded the protection of the Esplanada dos Ministérios; and determined the suspension of office, for 90 days, of the Governor of the Federal District (DF), Ibaneis Rocha, who is also responsible for the security of the Esplanada. At the very least, Ibaneis omitted to face the previously announced attempt to overthrow the federal government.

Alexandre de Moraes also ordered the removal of messages from all internet platforms that not only encouraged the commission of crimes, but also guided the achievement of the coup d'état. All measures taken ex officio by Moraes in the heat of events were later confirmed – unanimously, something that Glenn Greenwald also omitted – by the other 10 Justices of the Supreme Court.


"Good and bad"

Moraes' attitude, different from any conception of what censorship is, led Glenn Greenwald to defend an extreme and fundamentalist conception of “freedom of expression” – in accordance with the spirit of the outdated US Constitution.

In order to support a binary and Manichaean vision, centered on the traditional American way of summarizing all the complexity of the world between “good” and “evil”, Glenn deliberately left the fundamentals aside in his program. This was an inexplicable lack of ability to see the bigger picture, something not seen at other times in his victorious career as a journalist.

He did not mention that, in order to face an attempt to overthrow a constitutionally legitimate and newly elected and sworn-in government, Alexandre de Moraes was impelled by the course of events and the imminence of a tragedy without projectable proportions to take tough measures. All, however, strictly within the Brazilian Constitution, according to ordinary national laws and – importantly – based on the guidelines of all 11 Ministers of the STF, the country’s supreme court.

The rule of law only prevailed in Brazil that Sunday because the Presidency of the Republic intervened in the public security system of the DF and Moraes did not falter in the face of several legal urgencies that were imposed on him.

Among these guidelines is the one, defined by the plenary of the STF, which determines that Alexandre de Moraes, since 2021, will be responsible for the related investigations of the coup acts and mass dissemination of lies as a power dispute strategy. For this reason, he is responsible for similar cases that continue to arise, including those verified on Sunday, the 8th, including the dissemination of false news and threats against the Supreme Court itself and/or its Ministers. Glenn Greenwald did not see this whole situation.

Since the 2022 presidential campaign, when he presided over the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the body that regulates the elections, Alexandre de Moraes has been ordering the removal of the air, within a maximum period of two hours and under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 100, false information that blatantly aims to disqualify any of the candidates. Hard measures, no doubt. However, in accordance with the legal and sovereign order of Brazil.

Glenn stuck to a fundamentalist conception of “freedom of expression”, which imposes itself on all other rights – including the right to life and the right to a minimally democratic regime. He highlighted in his program the fact that the platforms affected by Moraes' decisions (Twitter, Facebook and Rumble) are American.. Unnecessarily citing the nationality of the platforms reinforces the feeling of omnipotence of the American public. In doubt remains the intention of Glenn Greenwald.

But, he didn't stop there. He defended Nikolas Ferreira's right to continue publishing lies and inciting hatred on his Twitter account (which was suspended by order of Moraes). Alderman and elected federal deputy, Nikolas Ferreira (PL-MG) lied repeatedly in 2022, inventing that Lula proposes to legalize drugs and that he “will persecute Christians”.

Finally, Glenn Greenwald did not follow an elementary rule of journalism – the publication of a contradictory opinion – and ended the program reaffirming his own point of view by interviewing Bruno Aiub from São Paulo for 15 minutes. Account operator on Twitter and Youtube with a sum of more than 2 million followers, in February last year Aiub, known on the internet as Monark, defended in the program flow podcast the legalization of a Nazi Party in Brazil, something expressly prohibited by law 7.716/1989, Article 20.

fired from flow podcast, Monark continued to defend on social media the same lies that animate Jair worshipers who attempted the coup d'état. That's why Monark also had his accounts suspended from social networking platforms on the internet, but none of these crimes were addressed by Monark or by Glenn Greenwald during the airing of the program on the 13th.


Where are the files on Snowden and Vaza Jato?

Unknown to the Brazilian public until 2013, that year Glenn became notable for being one of the main journalists of an international consortium of publications that denounced the US global spying scheme on the heads of state of several countries.

The leak of American spy Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, from The Guardian from England, showed that the telephones of then-President Dilma Roussef, as well as the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil and the management of Petrobrás, had been tapped by US espionage, among other heads of state.

In 2018, Glenn Greenwald, once again, played a unique role. He led, then as editor of the electronic magazine The Intercept Brazil, a whole network of Brazilian media that denounced what became known as Vaza Jato.

They denounced the crimes committed by Sergio Moro and Deltan Dalagnol in the conduct of Operation Lava Jato, based on documents hacked by Walter Delgati on Moro&Dalagnol's accounts on the Telegram messaging system. Glenn Greenwald became unanimous, especially among the progressive portion of Brazilian society.

Glenn Greenwald thus quickly qualified himself as a progressive political reference in Brazil, as he contributed in a central way for journalism to return, albeit for a short time, to being one of the main loci of politics in the country.

With the denunciations, he helped to make the last masks of Lava Jato fall and revealed the wide web of interests around Moro&Dalagnol that involved, in Brazil, from communication groups to representatives of the mega-bourgeoisie; and, in the US, the Department of Justice, which illegally influenced the actions of the criminal organization in Curitiba.

One question, however, remains to this day: where are the massive files delivered by Snowden to Glenn Greenwald and not used in the reports in 2013? The copy held by the The Guardian from London was stored on a hard drive that would have been destroyed at the newspaper's headquarters, following a demand from the British government.

I haven't been able to find out where all of these files are that should be public, given their global importance. The files that served as the basis for the reports published around the world are being gathered by the American organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), dedicated to guaranteeing freedom of expression on the internet. are available at

In the case of Vaza Jato, Glenn Greenwald worked in the same way and also did not publicize all the files given to him by the hacker Brazilian who still lives in Araraquara (SP) and which, according to Glenn Greenwald himself, would be much larger in volume than the Snowden archives. Delgati Neto has already complained several times about the position of Glenn Greenwald, who prefers to keep all of Vaza Jato's files with him.

For the second time, a question of the same type reappears: where is the enormous mass of information hacked by Walter Delgati Neto and unused by Glenn Greenwald, at The Intercept, nor by the publications that helped reveal the illegal scheme of Moro&Dalagnol?

Part of these files – it is not clear what the extension – is with the Federal Police (PF), which investigates the invasions of the cell phones of former Minister of Justice Sergio Moro. In August 2019, this content was shared with Minister Alexandre de Moraes, who is the rapporteur of the investigation that investigates the dissemination of false news and offenses against members of the Court. The STF advisory informed me that it is not possible to know the extension, much less the content of these files, since the investigation is being carried out in secrecy of Justice. That is: it is not known whether the PF and the STF have all the files leaked by Delgati Neto.

Glenn Greenwald has reiterated that he cannot open public access to Vaza Jato files because they contain personal information. This is just one line of thinking regarding hacked files. There is at least one more line – followed by Julian Assange, one of the founders of Wikileaks.

It advocates the full availability of leaked files on the internet, without maintaining the primacy of access to the journalist(s) to whom the material was delivered. As history has shown, this leaky second course of action is far more dangerous. In 2010, Julian Assange received and completely leaked on the Wikileaks website the archives of American inhumanity committed in the US invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). For having defied the empire, Assange is rotting in the English dungeon of Belmarsh, where the British crown usually imprison its worst enemies, awaiting the final decision on whether or not he will be extradited to the US, where he can face a sentence of up to 200 years in prison .

Until now, the correct analysis of the scenario in which he moved allowed Glenn Greenwald to receive awards, professional recognition and a lot of political space. But all of that, make no mistake, could go downhill as quickly as it arrived. It is enough for Glenn Greenwald to continue to abandon the technical and ethical principles he forgot in the incredible program discussed in this article.

*Carlos Tautz is a journalist and doctoral candidate in history at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).


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