Glenn Greenwald Says His Family Hasn’t Left House Without Armed Security Teams and Armored Vehicles in a Year
Glenn Greenwald spoke to the New Yorker this week about the charges against him in Brazil — revealing the dangers he faces as an adversarial journalist under Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency.
Greenwald, who has deemed Brazil’s far-right president a fascist, has in return been a target of the administration and its supporters. When asked by New Yorker writer Isaac Chotiner if he has a sense of fear since Bolsonaro’s election, the journalist — who lives in Sao Paolo with his husband, a Brazilian congressman, and their children — revealed the dangers of his day-to-day life.
“Neither my husband, nor I, nor our children have left our house in the last year without armed security, armored vehicles, teams of security,” Greenwald said. “We get death threats all the time.”
He continued (bracketed reporting courtesy of the New Yorker):
Our private lives have been dug through in the most invasive ways. Every one of our friends has been offered money to either reveal things about our private lives or make up lies about our private lives. There is a hugely powerful fake-news machine that supports the Bolsonaro movement that has churned out lies about our family and about our children and about our marriage. Obviously, the threats of imprisonment. It has been every single kind of threat imaginable, and it really goes back to 2018, when one of our best friends, Marielle Franco, the black L.G.B.T. city councilwoman, was savagely assassinated in a crime that the Bolsonaro family has subsequently become linked to. [Last March, two police officers were charged in the murder of Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes. Bolsonaro has denounced reporting that he has personal connections to the officers.] So there has been political violence and intimidation in the air for a long time, and we have become the main target of a lot of it.
In the interview, Greenwald defended himself against the charges of “cybercrimes,” which accuse him of participating in the hacking of Brazilian officials. Prosecutors accused Greenwald of being part of a “criminal organization” that hacked cell phones and spread that stolen information. Greenwald previously reported on corruption in Brazil’s judiciary for The Intercept, the website he co-founded.
Greenwald told the New Yorker that when he first spoke to his source, he “had already obtained all the material that he ended up providing us, making it logically impossible for me to have in any way participated in that act.” The journalist added that federal police already concluded he was not guilty of a crime.
In addition to that defense, Greenwald accused the Bolsonaro government of pining for a military dictatorship.
“I think that what a lot of people are not fully understanding about Brazil is that there are a lot of people in the government, beginning with the President himself, who explicitly want a resurrection of the military dictatorship that ruled the country until 1985,” he said. “They are not joking about it. They are genuine authoritarians who don’t believe in democracy, don’t believe in basic freedoms, and don’t believe in a free press. And all they know is brute force. They want a return to that military regime.”
Read the interview here.
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