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Glenn Greenwald and the Anti-American Conspiratorial Tradition

The Guardian columnist embraces a brand of "anti-imperialism" informed by a palpable loathing of America.

by
Adam Levick

Bio

June 13, 2013 - 12:37 am

Glenn Greenwald is a former blogger at Salon.com and currently a columnist on civil liberties and U.S. national security issues for the Guardian. His political orientation embraces a brand of “anti-imperialism” — common within the UK far-left — informed by a palpable loathing of America, a nation characterized as a dangerous force in the world. Greenwald’s anti-Americanism is so intense that he once compared the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq to the Nazi conquest of Europe.

As is the case with many Guardian-brand commentators, Greenwald’s anti-imperialist ideological package includes a strong hostility to Israel, and a corresponding belief in the injurious influence of organized U.S. Jewry on American foreign policy in the Middle East. Indeed, Greenwald has not infrequently advanced explicitly antisemitic narratives, darkly warning of the Israel lobby’s total “stranglehold” on American policy which, he’s argued, represents a control over political debate in the U.S. so complete that it’s even eroded free speech protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution. Greenwald claims that the “real goal” of the Israel lobby is to ensure “suffocating control” on U.S. foreign policy, so that Americans aren’t even allowed to debate their country’s “indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli action.”

Greenwald also often imputes the darkest, most ignoble motives to his political opponents, once, for instance, accusing conservative Jewish columnist Charles Krauthammer of possessing a “psychopathic indifference to the slaughter of innocent people in pursuit of shadowy, unstated political goals.”

Understanding Greenwald’s imputations of bad faith and conspiratorial (often bigoted) narratives is vital in contextualizing the story which he broke at the Guardian last week about the NSA collection of phone records of Verizon users, and allegations that big tech companies granted the government access to private user information via an operation called PRISM. While significant allegations included in Greenwald’s “scoop” — such as the claim that the NSA had attained “direct access” to company servers, and the casual suggestion that the NSA has been acting illegally — don’t seem to hold up to critical scrutiny, he has also engaged in characteristically risible hyperbole in attempting to frame the issues. During a recent CNN interview, he argued thusly:

There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal. … And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.

Issues raised by the Guardian story, such as how best to balance U.S. national security while protecting the privacy of American citizens, are, of course, open to debate. However, Greenwald — who has championed the cause of Bradley Manning, labeling him a “hero” who “deserves a medal and our collective gratitude” — is not someone the media should be taking seriously to initiate such an important national discussion.

As the always lucid Walter Russell Mead has argued, it’s important to maintain our sobriety, and understand that while there are no perfect solutions to the vexing national security problems of our day, the “airing of the issues within America’s open and deliberative democratic process” should ensure a result which protects Americans from the dangerous threat of global jihad while also defending against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

While Americans can, of course, reasonably be concerned with the level of government snooping on the internet and social media, the Guardian columnist’s hysterical suggestion that the U.S. is malevolently conspiring to “destroy privacy and anonymity” is informed by the same conspiratorial sensibilities which inspire his frequent scare rhetoric warning of a furtive attempt by organized American Jewry to stifle debate and hijack U.S. policy.

Anti-Americans and antisemites share a similar tendency to find convenient, simplistic “root causes”; tend to subscribe to deeply skewed ideas about how the world works”; and, by failing to rationally interpret complex political events, lack the cognitive tools necessary to reflectively diagnose often maddeningly complicated political phenomena.

Whatever subsequent revelations may emerge about surveillance techniques employed by U.S. security agencies, those warning that the NSA data-collection program represents the existence of a master plan to subvert freedom around the world are drawing from a conspiratorial tradition within American politics which is as politically toxic as it is intellectually unserious.

Adam Levick is Managing Editor of CiF Watch (a CAMERA affiliate).

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
reenwald claims that the “real goal” of the Israel lobby is to ensure “suffocating control” on U.S. foreign policy, so that Americans aren’t even allowed to debate their country’s “indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli action.”

Pal, you provide one reason why we should give up supporting Israel instead of a bunch of whining, backstabbing, stubborn as a mule, uncompromising, murdering, terrorism embracing, and fundamentally untrustworthy Jordanians posing as Palestinians, and we would be happy to maybe change our position on Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Exactly. Greenwald is no friend of America. He is an opportunist who is jumping at the chance to smear America more than he already has. Kiss off, Greenwald.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Notice one thing: Osama won.
With the help of Obama, he turned us into a police state.

Obama declared the end of the War on Terror, yet he snoops us under the threat of Terror.

Obama who sees no evil in Islamist murders of American citizens, sees enemies under the tables, under the beds, under his bus.

He scapegoated an obscure filmmaker who made an obscure video to cover up his Benghazi debacle, his IRS minions targeted his political opponents, yet we trust him that his NSA will not use our electronic communications against us.

How stupid are we?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (40)
All Comments   (40)
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>Greenwald is no friend of America. He is an opportunist....<

I have no argument with either characterization of Greenwald. But sometimes even an enemy can do you a favor by pointing out some very real flaws.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We should consider what options we have in keeping close electronic tabs on our Muslim enemy, if indeed we decide that that's what we want to do. In other words, where, exactly, do we draw the electronic lines to "surveillance"? Either we do the surveillance of our self-declared Muslim enemy or we don't.

Condoms don't apply here.

From the tone of what I see posted, there is considerable feeling that we should not have any nationwide electronic communications surveillance.....then, what would you do instead of that? How to keep track of our sophisticated and very elusive enemy? We've already been attacked.....do we need more evidence?

If I've not misread these anti-NSA posts, when, not if, do we grant carte blance for communications to our Muslim enemy?...or do we draw some type of colored line [better delete that word "colored"].....or, do we contrive some other type of sieve for the filtering of clues leading to the neutralizing of our Muslim enemy before they launch their surprise attacks, as is their wont.

I'm cranky on this subject because I think that as a Nation we're in denial that we're at war with these Muslims - these Muslims who repeatedly tell us that they indeed are at war with us.

Don't anyone gasp, but try to think for a moment of the possibility of our Founders so acutely aware of our Freedoms, who might just say, "Use all of the means at your disposal to defend the Freedoms we sacrificed so much for you to thrive under."

They weren't exactly shrinking violets on the battlefields...of whatever type at their time, or using the available "techniques" of their own very bloody era.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
....just noticed a typo....pls read...carte blanche......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do not think the time is ripe for this subtle push back. No need to order your crow so soon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everyone who has been sucked in by Greenwald (including most of you) do not think before you pontificate. The "mining of numbers called" is clearly used as a storage depot for future links to real terrorists. It provides a store of previous contacts which can be used to trap terrorists. It is hardly a serious matter to know that I called someone in the past. But it does matter if I am a person who is calling terrorists now, and my contacts in the past provide more info to link to others. What fools we are to make a big deal about this. I do not trust Obobo, but we lessen the real bad acts by him when we make a big deal about nothing. IRS and Benghazi are real invasions, not the stupid ravings of a communist and Jew hater.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do not agree with Glenn Greenwald on a lot. However, on the NSA he is spot on. Pro, not anti, American

BTW, Glenn is an American
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Re:
"BTW, Glenn is an American "

........why, then, work for the anti-Ameddican Guardian....and not the New York Times?.....does he value his United States "passport of convenience" as it suits him? ...like a Merchant Ship under the Panamanian Flag?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Adam Levick,
Just because Glenn Greenwald is an anti-semitic Communist it does not necessarily follow that he is wrong about Edward Snowden and the NSA. If Snowden's assertations are true, and the head of the NSA essentially confirmed before congress yesterday that they are, we are in a Surveillance State. Snowden is not Manning. Both motivation and behavior are different. Manning got people killed. Snowden? He has shown us we are ALL being monitored and asserts that power is being abused. Time will tell --let's continue to look at the evidence. I sure don't trust an Obama administration with this power. They have already PROVEN themselves unworthy of Trust.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Greenwald did not "compare" the US invasion of Iraq to the Nazi invasion of the Sudetenland in the sense of morally equating the two. Rather, he picked the extreme example of Nazi conquest to illustrate why Kurds celebrating the Iraq invasion did not justify said invasion.

Now, there certainly was more to Goldberg's argument beside this one point and we should evaluate his argument in its entirety. Goldberg could have shown a little humility, conceded the point and said, "Greenwald is factually correct, but the liberation of the Kurds was just one benefit among many." Instead, he and Joe Klein chose to attack Greenwald's character by distorting the intent and content of his analogy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
reenwald claims that the “real goal” of the Israel lobby is to ensure “suffocating control” on U.S. foreign policy, so that Americans aren’t even allowed to debate their country’s “indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli action.”

Pal, you provide one reason why we should give up supporting Israel instead of a bunch of whining, backstabbing, stubborn as a mule, uncompromising, murdering, terrorism embracing, and fundamentally untrustworthy Jordanians posing as Palestinians, and we would be happy to maybe change our position on Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
TREADING VERY CAREFULLY . . .
Interesting times we live in, to say the least. The reflexive reaction to the NSA leaks in the context of all the other scandalous revelations (IRS, AP, HHS, etc.) is schadenfrude because it is happening on Obama's watch. But what if this NSA leak had happened on Romney's watch? Would we PJM'ers have reacted in a similar fashion? I don't think so. Not that we would have automatically jumped to Romney's defense, but our reactions would, as an aggregate, being different. It would have been the same "scandal," since all this happened before Nov. 2012.
National security matters, and, like it or not, the NSA exists for a vital purpose these days. Or, it is supposed to have a fairly narrow purpose aimed at genuine real and potential threats.
So what is the real underlying issue? Is it the idea of monitoring communications traffic for threats, or is it the blanket monitoring and gethering of ALL data just because "we can?" And as for the Greenwalds and Snowdens and Mannings and Assanges: they hate America, and they are behind these huge and damaging leaks. Ponder that while you berate Obama.
At the center is this issue: the abuse of power by a government that is even too large for "big government." Surveillance tools and data-gathering tools intended for one set of purposes being re-purposed by the malevolent and power-hungry for another use. THAT is definitely happening. What has also happened in modern America is that all Americans are subject to suspicion and scrutiny now. That was never the intent of this country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>But what if this NSA leak had happened on Romney's
watch?....<

I don't agree with your supposition at all. If it had happened during a Romney FIRST TERM, I believe we'd cut him some slack, depending on how he reacted and what steps he took to get back to a constitutional basis.

But this is Obama's SECOND TERM. He's had plenty of time to fix this problem, but has only kept it hidden, and then tried to defend it when the story emerged. Additionally, there;s a very reasonable suspicion that Obama has actually used the snooping power of government to further his own political fortune. So NO, there is no comparison between a putative Romney administration and this filthy, corrupt regime.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OK. I thought PJM had fixed its HTML issues, but apparently it is confusing ANY closing code tag for a return tag. How long before you guys get all this fixed?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I get it. Greenwald doesn't like Israel. So we're going to defend a bunch of psychopaths who tried to arm the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to conquer Damascus, because they love Israel so much and pretend to be your friend Mr. Levick? Quit being a dupe for the Reichstag defenders of the NSA. Read the Daily Mail story about the parents of a Navy SEAL who died who have credible claims that the NSA tapped their phones. Why? Because the Bin Laden raid was a fraud, along with the whole 'buried at sea' thing?

And how stupid are people like Ledoun to think they have to vigorously defend the same NSA that is building dossiers on their friends? Ah yes, Oceania will protect them from Eurasia and Eastasia. Ledoun, J.R. Nyquist and Clifford Kincaid are nothing more than useful idiots on the Right for this regime.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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