The Kinshasa Interviews: Glenn Greenwald - the interview that breaks the internet
Glenn on broken media, the sociopathic elites, run-ins with Bolsonaro, sex with women, and being 'unpatriotic'
It’s rather important to understand why highly accomplished individuals like Glenn Greenwald succeed at what they do. There is no person alive today who is more self-loathing than Glenn, who has internalized homophobia to the extent that he has, who is simultaneously both an extreme misogynist and TERF, and who tops it off with being a self-hating Jew. How does he do it? This interview seeks to find out how. I agreed to conduct this interview with Glenn for two reasons. The first reason being that he needs some positive PR to increase his appeal among his natural constituency: Nazis, Fascists, and Anti-Semites and homophobes. The second reason being that he indicated his willingness to use his powerful legal mind to make a strong case in front of Rania Khalek as to why she should let me impregnate her. I asked him to do the same with Tulsi Gabbard but he informed me that "Michael Tracey has already called dibs on her. I can't do much to help you out until she gets around to finally filing the inevitable restraining order against him”. Glenn thinks he’s funny.
Why are you gay?
When I was quite young, I observed that most of the straight boys were similar to you: obnoxious, uncouth, plagued with stunted emotional development, an unwarranted sense of ego, and a sociopathic lack of empathy, all topped off with very thinly veiled fascist tendencies. I set out determined to find a way to not to be that, and settled on gay. Also, my mother was extremely beautiful and I knew early on that no woman would ever measure up. Her name was Norma Bates. Finally, have you seen pictures of my husband?
Anyway, the intent of this interview is to understand Glenn Greenwald: thinker, investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner, sex symbol. What is at your core? What makes you the universally-loved and admired man that you are today? I am a strong proponent of Age Regression Therapy, and take inspiration from brilliant minds like Hippolyte Bernheim, Theodore Xenophon Barber, and Sigmund Freud, who taught us that trauma in youth will significantly impact one's character development into adulthood. More than formative, it is central to that person. What I am trying to figure out here is what made you a seditious little shit? What singular moment made you hate America? Did you get vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate on the 4th of July when you were 5 five years old? Is this what led you to hate America? Why don't you get on the winning team, son? Come in for the home run. Help us with this final drive for the touchdown, YOU PINKO FAGGOT!
I absolutely believe that our personalities shape how we interact with and perceive societal institutions and therefore our political thought. As you suggest, the genesis of that perspective, or that relationship with authority, is formed in childhood.
The formative childhood experience for me was realizing I was something which society scorned and regarded as diseased and shameful: being gay, or to use the charming vernacular of yourself and many of your readers, a “PINKO FAGGOT.” It is an obviously monumental experience to realize that the society around you has long ago decreed that something that is inside of you without your having chosen for it to be there renders you irredeemably broken, dirty, immoral and dysfunctional, and that your only survival option is to desperately hide who you really are and present a false illusion to the world to manipulate them into not discovering the truth.
There are several identifiable ways young, largely defenseless gay children might react to that realization. One strategy is to construct one’s own internal world which resides in the imagination. A more pleasing and welcoming dimension to which one can escape and which replaces the harsh reality that has rejected them, which I think is what explains why gays have excelled in the creative arts. That’s how we get David Bowie, Elton John, Alexander McQueen, James Baldwin, Gianni Versace, Freddy Mercury, Handel and Tchaikovsky.
Others set out to prove to society that they are actually exactly like them, and adopt assimilation as their primary weapon: pleading with others to stop thinking they are different. That’s how we end up Pete Buttigieg, Josh Barro and Ellen. Others still tragically internalize this baseless societal condemnation as true, and that’s why so many LGBT youth end up committing suicide or suffering mental health pathologies.
Like others, the path I chose was to declare war on the structure that viewed itself competent to impose this condemnation on me. To do that, I first had to interrogate what moral and intellectual credibility this constellation of authorities possessed that justified its self-proclaimed right to formulate and issue such judgments. I found that credibility woefully lacking, and once I did, it permanently prevented me from blindly trusting authoritative pronouncements. My pre-adolescent and adolescent strategy was to set out to prove that those who adopted this conceit of moral superiority were far dirtier, more broken, and sickly than those they had condemned (including me).
This manifested as vicious warfare on institutions of authority and, fortunately for me, the skill set with which I was endowed turned out to be well-suited for such combat. I turned the judgmental microscope back onto those who I perceived had first directed it at me, and the amount of bacteria and disease and pathology I saw when doing so was stunning. And I made no secret of the judgment I had formed about my judges.
These attacks of mine, in their early years, were sometimes a bit sloppy and imprecise: lots of collateral damage as I attacked targets that seemed at the time to possess real power but, in retrospect, were just captive servants to it. But it was still excellent training for the work I would end up doing as a lawyer, activist and journalist. And that is the central experience that shapes how I navigate the world. Human institutions are inherently and invariably fallible, and the more certainty and moral superiority they claim, the more filth and deceit they are likely trying to conceal behind that clean, lofty veneer.
The reason why I believe that you are dangerous to God and America is because you are disordered. You watched the 1993 Richard Linklater coming-of-age movie Dazed and Confused, and you identified with the wrong character. You could have identified with Mitch the freshman, as the story centred around him. Or Randall "Pink" Floyd because you wanted to be like him. Or even Wooderson, the coolest character in the entire movie, which would have let you walk around saying "alright, alright, alright' all day long. Cool as fuck. You could have even chosen Darla Marks because she was funny...for a woman. Instead you chose to identify with Mike Newhouse, the annoyingly high strung guy who got punched out and only wanted to dance, because his goal in life was to become a lawyer for the ACLU. This makes you an oddball. By this point in your life you were already too far gone. You chose to go on a crusade to defend the indefensible.
I didn’t see that film, rendering your drawn-out theory embarrassingly pointless.
But it’s spot on.
You and your spouse, David Miranda, run a shelter for dogs in need, most of which have been sexually abused by white women. This is very honourable and the two of you should be commended for your volunteer work. You love dogs, you have talked about your love for them, and have written on this subject as well. You are also a vegetarian and have spoken out about the cruelty involved in factory farming and why we should do our best to wean ourselves off of meat. In these two ways you resemble another animal-lover and vegetarian who went by the name of Adolf Hitler. Are you Hitler reincarnated? Both of you have declared war on America.
I’m a vegan, not a vegetarian: one of the few differences between Hitler and myself. The more I looked, the more astonished I became at the unspeakable industrialized cruelty we now inflict on sentient, emotionally complex, and highly intelligent animals. Many people instinctively oppose veganism because they believe in the nobility and beauty of family farms. Leaving that question to the side, the way we now consume food has nothing to do with family farms: industrialized agriculture is the exact antithesis of family farming; indeed, it is destroying family farms by consuming the entire supply chain. Commercial family farms barely exist any more, thanks to the Smithfields and JBS’s of the world.
By every conceivable perspective -- moral, ethical, religious, environmental, humanitarian, public health, and just basic human decency -- the systematized torture of pigs, cows, birds, and lamb by the billions is grotesque and indefensible. The toxic waste and sludge alone dumped into communities is nauseating and dangerous. The filthy conditions make them a breeding ground for zoonotic viruses and epidemics and the excessive use of antibiotics creates a large risk of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains that can kill humans. The U.S. Government and large corporations even breed dogs for no reason other than to conduct gruesome experiments on them. Many people find that repellent because they love dogs, but there is no conceivable moral distinction between abusing dogs and abusing pigs and cows.
Our shelter was originally motivated by our love of dogs -- we have 27 rescue dogs of our own, plus hundreds more we fostered (I know that sounds like we’re insane hoarder people but we’re not, or maybe we are) -- but it then morphed into a fascination with the uniquely profound connection between dogs and the homeless people who care for them. Most people who have dogs also have other things -- work, family, friends, etc. -- so they love their dogs but not so single-mindedly, whereas homeless dogs and homeless people have nobody and nothing but one another which creates a bond unlike anything I’ve seen.
Our shelter, now in several locations, simultaneously employs homeless people and helps them exit the street while paying them to do what they most love: caring for abandoned animals. I realize, for judging a person’s worth, it’s not as noble or important as putting a rainbow flag or a #BLM hashtag in one’s Twitter bio, but we’re doing the best we can.
The Part of the Interview Where I Let Glenn Act Like He’s Smart So As To Play To His Out of Control Ego
These past five years have witnessed a profound collapse in trust in the American political system. Egged on by an increasingly hyper-partisan media, conspiracy theories have taken root on both sides of the traditional aisle in US politics. Yet where QAnon is rightly rejected as being completely detached from reality, polite company pushed the equally false Trump-Russia narrative for years, blasting it on all media day and night. Why do you think that the mainstream elite fail to see themselves as little different from your typical QAnon when it comes to dealing with reality? Is it a case that their power is greater, and therefore their ability to mould and shape reality makes them right in their own minds despite all evidence to the contrary?
It has always been this way. Deranged conspiracy theories are spread most aggressively, prolifically and destructively by the guardians of mainstream thought. Such conspiracy theories are scorned only when they are endorsed by the unlicensed and uncredentialled. When they are disseminated by prestigious mainstream sources, they are widely treated as Truth.
The most respected and celebrated news outlets and foreign policy analysts spent all of 2002 and the first part of 2003 telling Americans and the world that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical weapons and an active nuclear weapons program: easily the most toxic conspiracy theory of this generation. Because of their lies, by September, 2003 -- six months after the invasion of Iraq -- roughly 70% of Americans believed that Saddam personally planned the 9/11 attack. Yet other than the scapegoat Judy Miller, nobody suffered any career harm. The leading disseminators of this maniacal fiction were promoted and rewarded: Jeffrey Goldberg went from telling good liberal pseudo-intellectual New Yorker readers that Saddam was in alliance with Al Qaeda to running The Atlantic.
The most dangerous and deranged conspiracy theory of the last four years is the multi-headed Russiagate fantasy: the Kremlin has infiltrated the U.S. Government and controls it through sexual blackmail, Moscow has invaded the U.S. electricity grid and is poised to shut off heat in winter -- the craziest and most moronic shit possible. A 2018 poll found that ⅔ of Democrats — ⅔!! — believe that Hillary really won the election but Russians invaded the voting systems and switched her votes to Trump.
Yet the people who did this not only still have their media perches but now use them to posture with indignation about the conspiracies spread by MAGA boomers on Facebook and 4Chan teenagers. They don’t mind conspiracy theories at all. To the contrary, spreading them is their business. They just get angry when others -- especially the peasants -- intrude into their turf.
No 'pillar' of American democracy has collapsed more than media these past few years. Trust is at an all-time low. The country now has competing narratives that cancel each other out. Gone are the days when objectivity (at least attempting it) in journalism was sacrosanct. Advocacy journalism now rules. Large parts of the mainstream media are little more than stenographers for the Biden regime. One may claim that advocating on behalf of those without power is sensible and moral, but the main advocacy that we see today is done by corporate outlets that only serve to buttress the ruling elite. Chomsky and Herman outlined this for us in their seminal work 'Manufacturing Consent', a book (and a documentary) that greatly changed my perception of the media. Yet despite their efforts, most people continue to absorb media so long as it conforms to their preconceived notions. Combine all of these factors and the situation is rather dangerous. No country with competing narratives can stay united. One side will win out against the other, with or without violence.....but at what cost?
The dominant liberal sectors of the corporate media love to self-victimize, constantly complaining about the unfair loss of faith and trust by large sectors of the public in their pronouncement. Notably, they almost never seek to understand why this is beyond blaming others: we’re unfairly demonized; right-wing leaders call us Fake News; uneducated people want to hear what pleases them, not reality and the truth, etc.. It’s the playbook of Hillary Clinton after her humiliating 2016 loss: they blame virtually everyone on the planet other than themselves for their own failures.
Due to this steadfast refusal to look in the mirror -- and really, given what they would see, it’s hard to blame them -- there is no possibility for reform. The major cause of this loss of credibility is themselves. They aren’t trusted because they don’t deserve to be. But their pomposity and adamant belief that they are divinely entitled due to their superiority to control the flow of information will never permit them to acknowledge that. So they will continue doing what they’ve done, losing more and more trust and driving people away to other, often-unreliable sources of information, and that cycle will never end.
The only way out is for people to restore trust and faith in journalism by demonstrating that it can be done not to aggrandize a particular faction or ideology but by doing one’s best to find the truth given the subjective prism through which all humans see the world.
My view is that the lack of accountability in US media is what has brought us to this situation. The neo-conservatives of the Dubya regime couldn't believe their luck when Trump began to wins primaries in 2016 because it allowed them to re-brand themselves as members of #TheResistance. Overnight, Bill Kristol, David Frum and others who were responsible for pushing the WMD lie that laid the groundwork for the catastrophic US invasion and destruction of Iraq in 2003, were rehabilitated. Regardless of that fact, they were STILL on the scene during the the interregnum between the Iraqi catastrophe and Trump's Presidency. David Frum was hired by Woke IDF Prison Guard Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic Monthly, and Bill Kristol was a mainstay on cable TV news. None of them were held accountable for what they did, and now they have been rewarded for attacking what was largely a scarecrow.
That is one of the many ironies of the Trump years: under the self-glorifying and unhinged banner of #Resisting fascism, American liberals marched behind and empowered war criminals, CIA and FBI goons, neocon sociopaths, the scummiest of the Bush/Cheney operatives who easily scammed them under the name “Lincoln Project,” and the long-discarded and disgraced McCarthyite script that everyone who opposes you is a Kremlin agent and a traitor. Even worse, they relied upon a union of state authority in the form of the Democratic Party and Silicon Valley monopolies, fearful of what Democrats would do when they ascended to power to systematically silence their critics and disappear them from the internet. As I’ve said before, this is the first #Resistance movement in human history that venerates secret security agencies and oligarchical power.
With trust in institutions at an all-time low, and with the political temperature set permanently to MAX, many claim that the USA is tottering and is headed towards collapse. I take the opposite view. My take is that the USA is shedding one skin and morphing into something else. The elites have never been more united despite the sniping between R and D. Time published a piece recently that detailed how the elites came together to torpedo Trump's re-election. That in my mind shows resiliency. Add to this the 4 year long constant drumbeat of TRUMP-RUSSIA, and attach to the increasingly loud anti-China noise from the right, and we have a situation in which half the country wants revenge against Russia, while the other half want to punish China. This is an almost ideal situation for the military-industrial complex. Failures at home can be channelled into foreign policy objectives that serve the interests of the elites. And with the Biden regime re-assembling the Obama Era foreign policy team, we are well on our way to seeing what I call Turbo-America: a hyper-interventionist state that uses everything from sanctions to bombs to punish or coerce countries that fall afoul of its increasingly arbitrary rules.
In one sense, it is true that people in the U.S. are more “polarized” than ever, but it is true only in a limited sense. Take the typical self-identified leftist and stick them in a room with someone right-wing and they will viciously argue for days about race, gender, trans issues, immigration and abortion. But they will have almost no strong views one way or the other key U.S. power centers: the Pentagon, the CIA and intelligence community, Wall Street, Silicon Valley. Watch how often our discourse even mentions these things except in the most fleeting, superficial and reverential ways. To the extent that they talk about economic policy, they will likely find a huge amount of agreement on a wide range of issues without realizing it: how to treat the working class, the malevolent influence of centralized Corporatist power, the menace of monopolistic tech giants, the toxic nature of “free trade” agreements and globalist institutions.
The problem is that they’re trained — largely by media outlets, which rely on people being at each other’s throats constantly and immune to seeking common ground (see Matt Taibbi’s brilliant book Hate, Inc.) — to rush to those areas where they viciously disagree. It provides a sense of purpose and a rush of endorphins and adrenaline which becomes highly and quickly addictive. Those who benefit most from this dreary, lowly dynamic are the key power centres, who most people end up ignoring because they find agreement about those people when they think about them at all. The one thing media outlets and power centres work hardest to prevent is citizens setting aside their endless war posture against one another to realize the common interest they have against the U.S. ruling class, which is composed of the establishment wings of both parties and particularly their corporate funders.
For around a decade now I've been having debates with friends as to whether US elites actually believe what they say with regards to exporting democracy or identity politics, or whether they are a cynical move that serve underlying interests that revolve around power and money. I imagine that the answer is somewhere between the two, but the idea that such a massive and powerful global empire contains true believers is difficult for me to digest. I look at Biden's foreign policy statement from earlier this month
and then see Anne-Marie Slaughter's follow-up
Howard French @hofrenchBiden just now: There is no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy, and to push back against authoritarianism effectively, the US must make racial equity a "whole of government effort."
and I can't help but think how neo-colonialist this is. This is the polar opposite of realpolitik; it is ideological and fanatical, akin to Lenin and Trotsky's World Revolution. American power continues to be unrivalled, and US media has become so powerful that it is able to craft narratives totally divorced from reality that begin to impact globally based on America's unmatched power. Are American elites becoming increasingly detached from reality?
I’ll share with you something I learned from the dark days when I was a litigator. After doing it a few years, I noticed that I invariably believed that all of my clients were the pure victims, and the people against whom we were litigating were pure villains. Rationally, I knew that was highly unlikely; the probability that the people who happened to walk through my doors to hire me to represent them were all angels, and those who they claim had wronged them were all devils was extremely remote, almost non-existent. But emotionally and instinctively, that’s how I approached each case; that I was not just advocating for them in order to be financially compensated — as a job — but I was on a righteous crusade, on the side of Good against Evil.
I realized that in order to be an effective advocate or propagandist — and there is some of both in being a lawyer — you have to get yourself to believe what you’re saying. That’s necessary not only to be effective (though it is that). It’s hard to persuade people of things if you consciously know it’s bullshit, because people will sense that on an intuitive level and that’s where most persuasion happens….but it’s also necessary to be able to believe you’re on the side of good, something which all humans other than absolute sociopaths and psychopaths want to believe. I’m sure there’s no shortage of each of those categories in elite U.S. ruling class circles, but most people operate by the same dynamic as the rest of us. So I think, yes, they do get themselves to believe what they’re saying, that it’s not consciously cynical.
I’d respect it more if it were consciously cynical. The fact that these imbecilic media cretins and career State Department and CIA functionaries actually believe themselves when they say that they’re deeply offended by the repression of Putin or the CCP or Iranian mullahs or Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro — right after they get off a call about the latest U.S. arms shipments to the Saudi monarchs or cash transfers to Egyptian despots or support for a coup against the democratically elected government in Bolivia — is frightening. How could anyone believe that the U.S. actually opposes domestic repression? That kind of self-delusion means humans can get themselves to believe literally anything. That’s more frightening to me than if they were knowingly lying for power.
All of us have watched the coalescing of the Deep State with corporate media and Silicon Valley. Where once the internet promised freedom, we only got 24 hour surveillance. Individual privacy is a thing of the past, but this three-headed beast is something worse. Your work with Snowden (a certain bureaucrat from Chicago that I know insists that he is a CIA agent) and Manning blew the lid off of NSA spying, and the hope was that this would shift the battle in favour of privacy. But the opposite has happened: the security state managed to piggyback the outrage over Trump to convince people that not only are the CIA and NSA the good guys, but that the use of these surveillance tools are required to be used to punish Americans who fall outside of accepted parameters of thought. Congress is dusting off a mammoth domestic terrorism bill that has been waiting for the right moment to be introduced (with that 'right moment' being a simple riot on Capitol Hill, far from an 'insurrection'), that creates the conditions for possibly treating large swaths of the American public as little different than members of al-Qaida. How fucked are Americans?
Tell your Chicago bureaucrat friend he’s an absolute idiot (impolite -ed.). Also, Manning didn’t reveal NSA spying; she revealed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and systematic state corruption around the world, so maybe it’s no wonder that you two have forged such a beautiful friendship.
If you look at the political history of the U.S. over the last century, much of it is driven by fear: fear of Communism, of Muslims, of black crime, of immigrants, of the Chinese and Japanese, of white nationalists, etc. Or, at the very least, that’s been the tactic to induce the population to acquiesce to having the U.S. be in a posture of endless war, highly militarized, putting more of its population in cages than any other in the world, torture, rendition, internment, etc. Even if some of those fears had a grain of truth, they have been constantly inflated and exploited to allow the state — and particularly the undemocratic components which operate with no accountability i.e. the security state agencies — to acquire virtually unlimited power in the name of protecting Americans from what they have induced them to irrationally fear.
When you train a population for generations to be impelled primarily by fear, it is very hard to reverse. It becomes a cultural instinct. I don’t think Americans realize how aberrational, rogue and bizarre it is to just go around constantly bombing different countries, because they’ve been trained for so long to accept that as normal (one of many reasons I found anti-Trump fanatics’ obsession with returning to “normalcy” so repellent). Again, if you look at our supposedly intractable political differences, they almost never involve those agencies. As a result, they keep cruising right along with few people paying attention, which is how they like it. The one thing Americans have legitimately to fear — their domestic ruling class — is, amazingly, the one thing they seem not to fear. More often than not, they worship the ones on their team like teenagers worship their favourite girl or boy band. I don’t even want to think about how many media people have pictures of Kamala Harris, Mitt Romney or Nancy Pelosi on their walls.
Civil libertarians like yourself were at the forefront of the battle against the anti-terrorism laws that grew out of the Global War on Terror. It was a rather simple binary: the state was encroaching on rights and civil libertarians would defend these same rights from encroachment. Easy-peasy. Fast forward less than two decades later and we are seeing significant cracks in the edifice of civil libertarianism, even within the ACLU which has prided itself on adhering to its principles to the point of fanaticism. There are calls to rescind accreditation from law schools that do not conform to the ever-changing rules of diversity. There is also growing pressure applied to law firms to not take cases of 'problematic' types, with Donald Trump being the best example. Protection from harm seems to be winning the battle against the defence of individual rights. Is civil libertarianism dying in the USA, and if so, why?
Civil libertarianism is definitely dying in the places where it once thrived: the ACLU and various sectors (though not all) of left-wing politics. But that does not mean it is dying. The reason we’re seeing the ACLU and media organizations abandon all but the most partisan goals (with rare exceptions, largely due to the intrepid efforts of some old-school lawyers and journalists still lingering within them) is two-fold: 1) in the Trump era, they profited greatly by positioning themselves as anti-Trump #Resistance bulwarks, and are now imprisoned by their overwhelmingly liberal donor and subscriber base who will not tolerate any work or ideas that subvert their partisan beliefs and goals, and 2) the clear reality that many people of the Millennial and Gen Z generation (the former of whom are now entering mid-management and middle age) largely do not believe in values like free speech and due process, and older Gen X and Boomer managers in these institutions are petrified of them — because they can end careers (and love to do that) — and so are coerced into acquiescence.
In the past, the natural allies of civil libertarians were leftists (in opposing McCarthyism and the War on Terror, for instance) and libertarians. But now it is the right that is often singled out as targets of censorship and other forms of recrimination free of due process, so many on the right are re-discovering, or discovering for the first time, the necessity of these values. Ultimately, the only way these values will be preserved is if everyone across the spectrum defends them not just when they and their allies are persecuted, but in all instances — in fact, even more fervently when one’s political adversaries are targeted, because that is what elevates and enshrines these values as a sacrosanct principle rather than a weaponized tactic of convenience.
Brazil, Bolsonaro, and the Bunda
When I think of Brazil, I have a rather common focus on both soccer and bunda. I also have an admittedly patronizing attitude towards the country as I've assigned them the role of "Guardian of the Amazon Rainforest". The problem that I face is that I don't know who to trust when it comes to Brazil, and especially on that subject. Anglophone media in the West already settled on Jair Bolsonaro as a Trump of the Southern Hemisphere even before he was in office. Outlets like the UK Guardian were ringing the alarm, telling us that he was going to set the Amazon ablaze to enrich industrial interests that he represents. But if he was already convicted of being the wrong kind of populist prior to taking office, how can I trust them in light of their atrocious reporting of Trump during his Presidency?
As I explain in the answer that follows, the western media, with a few exceptions, are completely lost and confused when it comes to Bolsonaro (some Guardian journalists are based there, speak the language, and do a decent job, and the NYT has been OK as well). But both the establishment western press and even the establishment Brazilian press has become consumed with a derangement similar to what they harboured for Trump that so often prevents them from reporting in a reliable way. I agree with them, for the reasons I explain next, that Bolsonaro is dangerous, but they are incapable of even acknowledging those isolated instances where he is on the right side, and are even more incapable of distinguishing between standard bad acts of a politician and fascist genocide. That makes their ritualistic, reflexive, maximalists daily denunciations hard to trust for anyone not devoted to limitlessly hating him (which is still roughly 70% of the country, half of those who like him and half who are uncertain or divided). He’s bad enough without having to let their visceral contempt color what should be their reporting.
You yourself have had run ins with Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters. Bolsonaro personally called you a 'faggot' and you've received both abuse and death threats due to your criticisms of his rule. You were actually charged with 'cybercrimes' with the specific charge of 'phone hacking' and another one of 'belonging to a criminal organization'. You also uncovered shady court officials who conspired to deny ex-President Lula a third run for the Presidency. It seems that wherever you go, you can't help but cause shit. What are the fault lines in Brazil that not only colour its politics but that which also propelled Bolsonaro into power? Is there an undercurrent of right-wing authoritarianism beyond Bolsonaro? BTW, my friend, The Bronze Age Pervert, insists that you watch the Brazilian movie Tropa de Elite, and that you like it, or you will face his wrath!
I’ve seen Tropa de Elite. Everyone in Brazil has. Its director, Jose Padilla, was hired to direct the documentary about the journalistic work I did that you mentioned: which led to Lula’s release from prison along with my (now-dismissed) criminal indictment, among other fun outcomes. My leftist friends were furious at this selection, insisting that this film glorified fascist police violence and, more than anything else, paved the way for Bolsonaro. I’ve talked to Padilla about this and he is equally adamant that the film simply portrays the reality of this elite squad and does not do so favorably, just neutrally. Since I’ve been threatened to endorse the film, I’ll purposely leave that debate to others. I’m not afraid of The Bronze Age Pervert and will kick his ass with the slightest provocation. His muscles are designed to mask his internal weakness.
There is so much confusion and mythology, in both the western right and the western left, about Bolsonaro. That’s primarily due to the inability of western journalists, who barely ever think about this region, to explain him without resorting to primitive shorthand such as “the Trump of the Tropics,” a term which, for better or worse, convinced many people that Bolsonaro is basically just a Latin American version of Trump. He isn’t. There are many superficial and stylistic similarities — in part because he consciously copies Trump — but there are very few substantive ones (not none, but few).
I regard Trump as part of the New Right with people like Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage. Bolsonaro is mostly definitely not that. He was an Army Captain in the Brazilian military dictatorship that brutally ruled the country for 21 years until 1985, beginning when the U.S. assisted right-wing factions in the military to overthrow the democratically elected center-left government in 1964. He is much more of a throwback to the old Cold War right-wing authoritarians that the U.S. propped up for decades. He is obsessively vilifies gays for political gain. He also believes he’s fighting an existential war against Communists; fuses his politics with constant religious/evangelical themes; and explicitly praises dictatorship as a superior form of government to democracy, claiming that things were better in Brazil prior to its 1985 re-democratization. He is also is irredeemably corrupt, with ties to violent paramilitary gangs, and his outsider posture is a complete fraud. Prior to being elected president, he was a Congressman for almost 30 years from the epicentre of corruption in Rio de Janeiro, and he fit very comfortably within the corrupt sectors of the political class. At least two of his three politician-sons are implicated in serious corruption scandals. His economics guru is one of those University of Chicago austerity fanatics, Paulo Geddes, who wants to privatize all state assets and sell them off to foreign capital, turning Brazil into Chile.
Does any of that sound like Trump or Le Pen or Farage, whose focus is on immigrants, Islamic radicalism, nationalism and anti-globalism? Beyond that, it takes a politically illiterate person to equate Brazil and the U.S. The latter is a 235-year-old Republic with extremely stable and increasingly powerful institutions devoted to preservation of the status quo. That’s why they set out from the start of Trump’s presidency to either keep him in line or destroy him. Brazil has virtually none of those stability checks and is therefore far less predictable and far more vulnerable to radical incursions.
The one important similarity is why they were elected. Despite the repetitive invocation of bigotry accusations against Bolsonaro — not entirely unjustified, to put it mildly — huge numbers of black Brazilians, working-class Brazilians, even LGBT Brazilian voted for Bolsonaro. They did so not because of his more outlandish and offensive statements but despite them. They were desperate and filled with valid contempt for the ruling class, and so ran into the arms of whoever most convincingly postured as an anti-establishment radical bent on destroying the ruling class that had oppressed them. The more the Globo media and establishment mavens spewed hated for Bolsonaro, the more convinced they became that he was on their side. That, to me, is the primary factor in both Bolsonaro’s win as well as Trump’s.
Deep Inside Glenn
Both of us were recently named in the top 10 list of media heroes of 2020 by RT. Word has it that President Putin personally insisted that both you and I both be included in it. And both you and I are members of the Substack Master Race. Substack has launched what some are claiming to be a Silver Age of Blogging, and have secured big names like yourself, Matt Taibbi, Scott Alexander, Curtis Yarvin, and myself, and lesser lights like Matty Yglesias. On Substack we are allowed to not only act as our own content editors, but have the ability to interact directly with our massive built-in audiences without interference from above or through middle-men. We also have removed ourselves from the environment of psychological terror that now stalks offices such as those of the New York Times, where the Red Guard is constantly on the hunt for the next sacrificial lamb. There is an audience for honest journalism and writing, free of the ever-growing constraints of conformist elitist culture. What I'm asking you Glenn is: how much do you love the freedom that we now have?
Everyday, I thank the supreme power of the Universe for the creation of Substack. It is the most important human invention since penicillin, and maybe even better than that (I far prefer rapidly spreading bacterial infections to censorious editors and woke millennial newsrooms). Even with the degradation the platform suffered from the arrival of Matt Yglesias and his endless carousel of banal, calculated observations delivered in the whiniest, most petulant and nerdiest manner possible, the ability of writers to find an audience without the constraints plaguing most other institutions is vital. I’m certain that the tattletale journalism brigade at CNN, NBC and the New York Times will soon be targeting Substack with their hall-monitoring censorship demands — fortunately, for now, they seem to be spending most of their time in Clubhouse waiting for someone to say a bad word so they can tell the teacher on them — but it’s only a matter of time before they train their little guns onto Substack. I believe Substack is devoted to resisting those repressive forces.
I never take questions from others for my widely-praised interviews, but this time I am making an exception. Minor podcaster Anna Khachiyan (you've probably never heard of her, so please use the interview that I recently conducted with her) is desperate for some exposure so I agreed to her request. She and her sister want to know (and I quote) how you "feel about being played by that finicky homosexual Zachary Quinto" in Oliver Stone's "Snowden"? Anna suggested that your should have been played by Chris Pine. My view is that Bradley Cooper, or better yet, Tom Hardy would have fit the look and the role perfectly.
To learn who she was, I just clicked the link you supplied of your interview with Anna Khachiyan and could not get past the second paragraph: what a boring and annoying woman she is. That’s a joke, as I am a huge simp for Red Scare — I forced them to put me on the show twice. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as both Anna and Dasha are off-the-chart fag hags. I’m convinced their audience is composed of transgressive gays, fascist-but-horny incels, disaffected former Sanders supporters, and misogynistic-adjacent women. In other words, I’m not surprised you’re a fan. OK, where was I?
The whole experience of watching someone else pretend to be you on a movie screen is creepy and uncomfortable. I thought Zachary was fine, even though I know Oliver Stone required him to queen it up by making me seem like a spitting, petulant queer (a well-known actor asked Oliver if he could play me before Zachary was cast, and Oliver told him “sorry but no, because only a gay actor can play Glenn, because they need to be able capture Glenn’s unique mix of the hyper-masculine and the hyper-feminine”. Once I heard that, I was certain he was going to hire like Harvey Feinstein or that guy from Modern Family to play me with instructions to queen it up, so I regarded Zachary as a perfectly acceptable choice, even though most people complained that, for the sake of realism, Oliver should have found a much better-looking actor like Brad Pitt or a young Tom Cruise.
If you were straight (like I am) and not gay (like I am totally not), which women would you consider impregnating? I would put a baby inside of your Lebanese friend Rania Khalek and would be rather happy to do so. Really hammer it into her. Repeatedly. Over and over again. Pound Pound Pound. Maybe you see yourself as part of a media power couple? Maybe a Fox News Blonde (you have appeared on the Tucker Carlson White Power Hour and must have seen the lineup there)?
I was going to answer this question about who I would marry if I had the curse of being straight. However, as I compiled the list, I realized that there was no way to answer without providing easy cancellation ammunition to my enemies — even more so than the other answers here, or even just by talking to you at all — so I will refrain. I like to make them work for it.
(The audience will note that Glenn actually gave me a list and chickened out at the last second, excluding it from the official answer list. Bidding will begin at $5,000.)
One of the guys in the room across the hall was named Doug. He and I had gotten to be more of acquaintances rather than friends. He just seemed kind of standoffish. He was drop dead good looking and he knew it. He always seemed to be the centre of attention when he was in a group because of his looks, but he never seemed to take much of a liking to me. I didn't know why and just tried to treat him like a friend. Doug was the stereotype "surfer dude". He had the blond hair, the tan and all the right muscles to fit the bill. He wore his hair a bit long in the back and wore a thin strip of leather around his right ankle which I thought was really cool. One morning Doug and I both arrived at the shower in the morning at about the same time. There were two shower heads behind a single curtain that were separated by a fibreglass type divider mounted on the wall. It only stuck out about a foot from the wall and ran from about shoulder height down to my knees. I had showered with a few of the guys before, including Doug, and it was never any big deal.
As you affirmed earlier, you are totally not gay.
You are being hunted down by a team of MI6 killers who have cornered you in a warehouse in South Africa. They have orders to shoot-to-kill after successfully filing for, and receiving, a license from Her Majesty. The forms were in order and processing didn't take too long. They aim to kill you for routinely making an idiot of various media talking heads. As you say your final civil libertarian prayer before the inevitable bullet drains you of your life, Mel Gibson drops in through the roof, and armed like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, he tells you to piggyback him as he blasts his way out of the siege, taking hundreds of British agents out along the way. You arrive at the chopper with Mel, and begin to thank him profusely for saving your life. Downcast, he cuts you off and asks you "Glenn, don't thank me. Can you please just stop your people from starting all the wars? I know you can. I believe you. I see how you rescue dogs." Who would play Glenn Greenwald in this scene?
The Bronze Age Pervert.
Thank you Glenn for sitting down with me and allowing me to interview you. I hope that this interview goes a long way in normalizing Glenn Greenwald.
I’m quite certain it will do exactly the opposite. Thank you so much for luring me into your den of evil.