Glenn Greenwald and his family face ‘grotesque’ threats of violence after publishing leaks about the Brazilian government
American journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been a major critic of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said on Thursday that he has been receiving “grotesque” threats of violence in his adopted home of Brazil after publishing leaked communications showing that Brazilian Justice Minister Sergio Moro conspired to keep leftist politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva out of the country’s 2018 presidential race.
As an anti-corruption judge, Moro played a key role in a huge federal investigation of graft that is known as Operation Car Wash in Brazil. In 2018, the far-right Bolsonaro railed against corruption in Brazilian politics and campaigned as a reformer — and after winning the election by double digits, he appointed Moro as minister of justice in his cabinet. But when The Intercept (which Greenwald co-founded) published the leaked communications that it received from an anonymous source, it triggered calls for Moro’s resignation.
Some of Moro’s supporters are furious. The 52-year-old Greenwald (a native New Yorker who now lives in Rio de Janeiro) told AFP that the threats of violence he has been receiving are aimed not only at him, but also, at his husband, Brazilian lawmaker David Miranda, and their two children.
The Car Wash probe was launched in 2014, and Moro was hailed by his supporters as a reformer. But the leaked communications received by The Internet cast major doubts on his credibility.
Greenwald explained, “We knew that when we were going to report on very powerful figures who are part of the Bolsonaro government that was going to generate a lot of hatred, animosity and threats.” And in Brazil, Greenwald has stressed, threats of political violence must not be taken lightly.
“We have received some really disgusting and detailed and grotesque, graphic threats that are pretty disturbing and we do take seriously,” Greenwald noted.
Despite the threats, the expatriate journalist has vowed not to leave his adopted home.
“We have taken all the measures that we feel like we should take for our legal and physical security,” Greenwald said. “After that, you have to go about and do your work.”
In South America, journalists have often described Bolsonaro as “the Trump of the Tropics.” But Greenwald has taken issue with that analogy, stressing that Bolsonaro has more in common with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.