The Silly Season is fully upon us now.
So somehow Greenwald managed to make the Snowden story about him again when he gave an interview to La Nacion in Argentina. I don't know whether the interview was conducted in Spanish or English, but of course, it was published in Spanish, and as picked up and reported by Reuters, it's a doozy in that Greenwald goes far beyond any previous demands and threats and denunciations into realms that are either playing to an audience or meant to raise eyebrows and hackles in the United States, and not merely the hackles of government drones (which has taken on quite a new meaning of late, hasn't it?) and agents.
In the interview, Greenwald is quoted by Reuters as saying:
"Snowden has enough information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had," Greenwald said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro with the Argentinean daily La Nacion.
This is the original Spanish of the passages in question:
"The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare."
"Snowden tiene suficiente información como para causar más daño al gobierno estadounidense él solo en un minuto del que cualquier otra persona haya tenido jamás en la historia de Estados Unidos"...
El gobierno estadounidense debe estar de rodillas todos los días rogando que nada le ocurra a Snowden, porque si algo le llega a suceder, toda la información será revelada y ésa sería su peor pesadilla.
Yes. Well. Greenwald is nothing if not a hyperbolic polemicist and propagandist on behalf of his cause. In this instance, he appears to be deliberately offering up a direct threat to the United States Government. There might-could be some repercussions. Ya think?
Well, some of Greenwald's critics started storming around and ranting about Greenwald's contempt and his implied and direct threats in this interview shortly after the Reuters article appeared.
Of course, it wouldn't be unusual for NSA's and other interested parties' scourbots to alert on the story for inspection and review for potential further action. I mean this is how your government and its many corporate partners work, and it's not pretty. Step out of line, the man come and take you away. More to the point, however, the man will make your life a living hell beforehand. The fact that Greenwald has been able to do his thing on an international basis without molestation (that we know of anyway) for all these years despite his, shall we say, provocations, is one of the indications that he is an asset on one of the teams contending for power over us, and until and unless he actually goes rogue, they're not going to do anything to him. Nor is the Evil, Perfidious, and All-Powerful Government going to do so. He's too valuable as a contrarian thorn in the side. (Yes, actually, there is value for the Powers That Be in having people like Greenwald around; it's a form of channeling and managing dissent, the more hyperbolically the better. After all, I go back to the days of Jerry Rubin.
While I loved Jerry's antics and theatrics and I saw him as a brilliant agitator and critic of the Establishment (and happened to meet him a couple of times -- he was so tiny!) he was also adopted by that Establishment, and his seamless transition from firebrand to multi-level marketeer was all but foregone. When he had a product -- like his books or his radicalism -- he packaged, marketed and sold them like liver sausage. Why not? This is America. The Marketeers' Paradise.
Or at least it used to be. For some, it still is.
I've read Greenwald's interview in both Spanish and auto-translate versions, and it seems to me that his critics are pointing to legitimate factors in the interview which appear to be intended to play to his Argentine audience and to raise hackles in the USofA -- while at the same time his critics are falling into the trap of the provocateur. This is among the reasons why he thinks his critics are teh stoopit. They are so often so easily waylayed by Greenwald's polemics and provocations. Too bad, suckers! (Rubin did this too; he was a master at it. Much better, in my view, than Greenwald.)
The issue is supposedly wanting "the United States on its knees" and threats that if anything (untoward) happens to Snowden, all his scary revelations about the Surveillance State will be released in a torrent. Yes, well. Sure.
Greenwald put up a post at the Guardian shortly after the alert went out about the Reuters piece, deflecting, denouncing and falsely denying the way he does, accusing his critics of stupidity and political revanchism and whatnot, as if any of that mattered. It doesn't, not really.
All that really matters in this latest hoohah is keeping the argument alive, because ultimately it's all about the argument and one-upping and besting one's opponent in the argument.
The odd thing is that this uproar was generated immediately after Snowden's appearance at Sheremetyevo, an appearance that had been orchestrated by WikiLeaks and the Russian government -- eagerly, almost desperately awaited by the global media -- in which Snowden essentially pleaded with Russian human rights representatives to intervene with the Putin regime to obtain temporary political asylum in Russia while he awaits safe passage assurances from Unnamed Western European and North American governments so that he may travel to his exile in Latin America.
Greenwald accuses Reuters of being a tool of the US Government, but good doG, Reuters is an international news agency, and it was Reuters journalists who were slaughtered in the infamous Collateral Murder gun camera video. Reuters reported on the interview in La Nacion because it's an international story of interest, and Reuters did not mischaracterize what Greenwald said.
The Greenwald attack on Reuters is uncalled for in any rational sense, but it takes attention away from Snowden's plight in Russia, a plight which seems to be genuine. He can't move. He's trapped at the airport, and as far as I can tell, that wasn't part of the Plan. His WikiLeaks handlers seem to be somewhat at a loss.
At any rate, the saga will continue for as long as it does.
That summertime news-hole has got to be filled with something.