Scott Horton Interviews Glenn Greenwald

Scott Horton, November 20, 2011

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Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses how Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon cut the last vestiges of the rule of law in America; the “too big to jail” justice system where powerful people need not fear incarceration; turning the Nuremberg court’s opinion on “aggressive war” on its head, as the US continually attacks countries that don’t pose a threat and government officials never face war crimes tribunals; the world-record US prison population, comprised of drug offenders and regular people who can’t afford to replace their (usually incompetent) public defender; and how US presidents refrain from prosecuting previous administrations, with the expectation that their own crimes will also go unpunished.

MP3 here. (30:33)

Glenn Greenwald is the author of With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He was a constitutional lawyer in New York City, first at the Manhattan firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and then at the litigation firm he founded, Greenwald, Christoph. Greenwald litigated numerous high-profile and significant constitutional cases in federal and state courts around the country, including multiple First Amendment challenges. He has a J.D. from New York University School of Law (1994) and a B.A. from George Washington University (1990). In October of 2005, Greenwald started a political and legal blog, Unclaimed Territory, which quickly became one of the most popular and highest-trafficked in the blogosphere.

Upon disclosure by the New York Times in December 2005 of President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program, Greenwald became one of the leading and most cited experts on that controversy. In early 2006, he broke a story on his blog regarding the NSA scandal that served as the basis for front-page articles in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, all of which credited his blog for the story. Several months later, Sen. Russ Feingold read from one of Greenwald’s posts during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Feingold’s resolution to censure the president for violating FISA. In 2008, Sen. Chris Dodd read from Greenwald’s Salon blog during floor debate over FISA. Greenwald’s blog was also cited as one of the sources for the comprehensive report issued by Rep. John Conyers titled “The Constitution in Crisis.” In 2006, he won the Koufax Award for best new blog.

Greenwald is the author of A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok and Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics.

8 Responses to “Glenn Greenwald”

  1. Glenn gets to the crux of the matter: that the Nuremberg principles are now discarded and forgotten is utterly damning, and the implications of this ought to give us nightmares. Everything from water-boarding to warrant-less wire-tapping are just the accumulated evils of the whole.

  2. Winston Churchill was asked what lesson he drew from the Nuremberg Trials. He replied, "Don't lose a war." The war crimes the Allies committed were simply buried. The crimes of the Germans were prosecuted. I never regarded these trials as the pinnacle of justice. They were merely punitive acts painted by allied historians as noble act sof justice.

  3. The US gov't had already itself committed massive war crimes in their aggressive war against the Phillipines just 50-60 years earlier, not to mention the fact that the US had dropped two atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in the same war in which the Nazis committed their crimes. That the already mass murdering US gov't was somehow in some morally superior position to prosecute and sentence the Nazis is one big sick joke.

  4. The Nazi submarine commander Admiral Doenitz called his American counterpart as a defence witness at his trial to tell the court that as a US submarine commander he was guilty of the same crime that Doenitz was being accused of. The trials themselves were very cynical affairs.
    The Nuremberg principles however defined the war of aggression and were supposed to set the benchmark for the future.

  5. Bingo! History, even a propagandized one, is written by the victors.

  6. Speaking of people who are 'too important to prosecute' what about people who are too 'unimportant' to find innocent despite lack of evidence? Troy Davis was executed even though there was only about 10% probability of his having committed that murder. Drones are launched at various people throughout the world, mostly in Pakistan presently, even though there is less than 1% probability that the targets are in fact insurgents.

  7. How much chance is there of Greenwald being nominated for an important job in the "Justice" Department? None, I'd say. Why? Because he believes in conventional legal principles and protections.

    In America today, there's plenty of punitive "justice" for Joe Sixpack. There's none for District of Corruption Establishment figures.

  8. Grand Admiral Doenitz's lawyer–Captain Otto Kranzbuehler–was a naval lawyer from the naval judge advocate's office. He proved to be one of the best defense counsel at Nuremberg. (The British prosecutor Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, KC later wrote, "Captain Kranzbuehler never put a foot wrong in ten months, which is saying a lot.")

    Kranzbuehler submitted an interrogatory to Fleet Admiral Nimitz, USN, the CinCPac. The latter replied that the USN had practiced unrestricted submarine warfare since December 7, 1941, and that American submarines had not rescued enemy survivors in cases where their boats or missions were at risk.

    Good bit of work, that.

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