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Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Snowden Warns Targeting of Greenwald and Assange Shows Governments ‘Ready to Stop the Presses—If They Can’ | Common Dreams News

Posted by M. C. on January 30, 2020

” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/27/snowden-warns-targeting-greenwald-and-assange-shows-governments-ready-stop-presses

In an op-ed published Sunday night by the Washington Post, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden connected Brazilian federal prosecutors’ recent decision to file charges against American investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to the U.S. government’s efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”
—Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower

Snowden, board of directors president at Freedom of the Press Foundation, is among those who have spoken out since Greenwald was charged with cybercrime on Jan. 21. Reporters and human rights advocates have denounced the prosecution as “a straightforward attempt to intimidate and retaliate against Greenwald and The Intercept for their critical reporting” on officials in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

Greenwald, who is also on Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board, is one of the journalists to whom Snowden leaked classified materials in 2013.

As Common Dreams reported last week, the NSA whistleblower, who has lived with asylum protection in Russia for the past several years, is also among the political observers who have pointed out that although even some of Greenwald’s critics have rallied behind him in recent days, Assange has not experienced such solidarity. Assange is being held in a London prison, under conditions that have raised global alarm, while he fights against extradition to the United States.

In his Post op-ed, “Trump Has Created a Global Playbook to Attack Those Revealing Uncomfortable Truths,” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

Snowden—who said in December that he believes that if he returned to the United States, he’d spend his life in prison for exposing global mass surveillance practices of the U.S. government—explained:

In each case, the charges came as an about-face from an earlier position. The federal police in Brazil stated as recently as December that they had formally considered whether Greenwald could be said to have participated in a crime, and unequivocally found that he had not. That rather extraordinary admission itself followed an order in August 2019 from a Brazilian Supreme Court judge—prompted by displays of public aggression against Greenwald by Bolsonaro and his allies—explicitly barring federal police from investigating Greenwald altogether. The Supreme Court judge declared that doing so would “constitute an unambiguous act of censorship.”

For Assange, the Espionage Act charges arrived years after the same theory had reportedly been considered—and rejected—by the former president Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Though the Obama administration was no fan of WikiLeaks, the former spokesman for Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder later explained. “The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said the former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

Although Obama’s administration was historically unfriendly to journalists and leakers of classified materials, President Donald Trump’s administration has taken things a step further with its indictment of Assange. “The Trump administration,” he wrote, “with its disdain for press freedom matched only by its ignorance of the law, has respected no such limitations on its ability to prosecute and persecute, and its unprecedented decision to indict a publisher under the Espionage Act has profoundly dangerous implications for national security journalists around the country.”

Highlighting another similarity between the cases of Greenwald and Assange—that “their relentless crusades have rendered them polarizing figures (including, it may be noted, to each other)”—Snowden suggested that perhaps “authorities in both countries believed the public’s fractured opinions of their perceived ideologies would distract the public from the broader danger these prosecutions pose to a free press.” However, he noted, civil liberties groups and publishers have recognized both cases as “efforts to deter the most aggressive investigations by the most fearless journalists, and to open the door to a precedent that could soon still the pens of even the less cantankerous.”

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence,” Snowden concluded. “These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”

Journalists and press freedom advocates have shared Snowden’s op-ed on social media since Sunday night.

Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, tweeted Monday morning that Snowden’s piece “should be read in tandem” with an op-ed published Sunday in the New York Times by James Risen, a former reporter for the newspaper who is now at The Intercept. Risen also argued that “the case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange.”

And, according to Risen, Greenwald concurred:

In an interview with me on Thursday, Mr. Greenwald agreed that there are parallels between his case and Mr. Assange’s, and added that he doesn’t believe that Mr. Bolsonaro would have taken action against an American journalist if he had thought President Trump would oppose it.

“Bolsonaro worships Trump, and the Bolsonaro government is taking the signal from Trump that this kind of behavior is acceptable,” he said.

Notably, Risen added, “the State Department has not issued any statement of concern about Brazil’s case against Mr. Greenwald, which in past administrations would have been common practice.”

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Snowden and Greenwald

American whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room with journalist Glenn Greenwald in a scene from Laura Poitras’ documentary film Citizenfour. (Photo: Citizenfour/screenshot)

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Brazil’s charges against Glenn Greenwald reek of authoritarianism | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2020

Brazil likely will not have to be bothered with having Greenwald locked up to die in a foreign prision.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/21/brazil-charges-glenn-greenwald-freedom-press

The move to retaliate against Greenwald, who has reported critically on Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, is a threat to the press everywhere

In a shocking attack on press freedom, the Brazil’s rightwing government announced on Tuesday it was charging the journalist Glenn Greenwald with “cybercrimes” in relation to his reporting on the Bolsonaro administration and corruption within its ranks.

Thankfully, as of now, Greenwald remains free; a federal judge must affirm the charges before he is officially indicted. But make no mistake: this move by the Brazilian government is an outrageous attempt to retaliate against a journalist who has reported critically on Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro; its justice minister, Sergio Moro; and their allies – and it reeks of authoritarianism.

Journalists everywhere should be disturbed by what this means for press freedom in the world’s fifth-largest country.

Over the past year, Greenwald and the Intercept Brasil, where he is a founding editor, have published a series of explosive stories based on leaked text messages that show Moro, who was a judge at the time, closely coordinating with prosecutors during high-profile corruption trials. Most notably, Moro presided over the trial that sent Bolsonaro’s main rival for the presidency, the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to prison. After Bolsonaro was elected, Moro was quickly named justice minister.

The Intercept’s investigations have rocked the political establishment in Brazil, have become a huge international story, and have created buzz that the Intercept will win major journalism awards.

Yet Bolsonaro spent last year publicly suggesting Greenwald should be thrown in prison, saying he “committed crimes” (without evidence) and that he “may do jail time”. He had previously hurled homophobic slurs at Greenwald. Bolsonaro’s fanatical supporters have also relentlessly harassed and threatened Greenwald and his spouse – the federal congressman and Guardian US columnist David Miranda – with physical harm. In June of last year, rightwing publications in Brazil sympathetic to the president said he was under investigation by the police.

At the time, dozens of international press freedom organizations (including Freedom of the Press Foundation, where I am executive director and Greenwald is a board member), condemned the physical and legal threats as they were escalating. But then, in a sweeping decision, a judge on Brazil’s supreme court ruled that any attempt by the Bolsonaro government or the police to investigation Greenwald and the Intercept for its reporting would “constitute an unambiguous act of censorship” and would violate Brazil’s constitution.

The Brazilian government claims that Greenwald is part of the “criminal enterprise” of hackers that initially obtained the leaked text messages, despite the fact that a federal police report unequivocally cleared Greenwald of any wrongdoing just a month ago. And as Thiago Bottino, a legal expert at Fundação Getúlio Vargas University in Rio de Janeiro, told the New York Times: “There’s nothing in the complaint showing that he helped or guided” the alleged hackers. “You can’t punish a journalist for divulging a document that was obtained through criminal means,” he said.

Greenwald is known for his principled, unrelenting and sometimes caustic voice, so it was heartening to see a wide swath of US commentators, including those who have had disagreements with Greenwald over the years, come to his defense on Twitter after the charges were announced.

It should be clear to anyone – no matter their political persuasion – that the Bolsonaro administration is taking these actions in a purely retaliatory manner in an attempt to criminalize journalism. Bolsonaro has been furious about the Intercept Brasil’s reporting for months, and the Intercept Brasil has published over 90 articles on the leaked chats and their aftermath.

As the ACLU’s Ben Wizner put it in a statement: “The United States must immediately condemn this outrageous assault on the freedom of the press, and recognize that its attacks on press freedoms at home have consequences for American journalists doing their jobs abroad.”

Greenwald, to his credit, is defiant as always, declaring in a statement shortly after the charges were announced: “We will not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists. I am working right now on new reporting and will continue to do so. Many courageous Brazilians sacrificed their liberty and even life for Brazilian democracy and against repression, and I feel an obligation to continue their noble work.”

Thankfully, at least as of now, Greenwald remains free to continue his work. Let’s hope he remains that way.

  • Trevor Timm is executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation

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Assange

 

 

 

 

 

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Greta Thunberg To Poor Countries: Drop Dead | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 28, 2019

The challenge here arises from the fact that for a middle-income or poor country, cheap energy consumption — made possible overwhelmingly by fossil fuels — is often a proxy for economic growth.

After all, if a country wants to get richer, it has to create things of value. At the lower- and middle- income level, that usually means making things such as vehicles, computers, or other types of machinery. This has certainly been the case in Mexico, Malaysia, and Turkey.

But for countries like these, the only economical way to produce these things is by using fossil fuels.

https://mises.org/wire/greta-thunberg-poor-countries-drop-dead

On Monday, celebrity climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech to the UN Climate Action summit in New York. Thunberg demanded drastic cuts in carbon emissions of more than 50 percent over the next ten years.

It is unclear to whom exactly she was directing her comments, although she also filed a legal complaint with the UN on Monday, demanding five countries (namely Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey) more swiftly adopt larger cuts in carbon emissions. The complaint is legally based on a 1989 agreement, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, under which Thunberg claims the human rights of children are being violated by too-high carbon emissions in the named countries.

Thunberg seems unaware, however, that in poor and developing countries, carbon emissions are more a lifeline to children than they are a threat.

Rich Countries and Poor

It’s one thing to criticize France and Germany for their carbon emissions. Those are relatively wealthy countries where few families are reduced to third-world-style grinding poverty when their governments make energy production — and thus most consumer goods and services — more expensive through carbon-reduction mandates and regulations. But even in the rich world, a drastic cut like that demanded by Thunberg would relegate many households now living on the margins to a life of greatly increased hardship.

That’s a price Thunberg is willing to have first-world poor people pay.

But her inclusion of countries like Brazil and Turkey on this list is bizarre and borders on the sadistic — assuming she actually knows about the situation in those places.

While some areas of Brazil and Turkey contain neighborhoods that approach first-world conditions, both countries are still characterized by large populations living in the sorts of poverty that European children could scarcely comprehend.

Winning the War on Poverty with Fossil Fuels

But thanks to industrialization and economic globalization —  countries can, and do, climb  out of poverty.

In recent decades, countries like Turkey, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, and Mexico — once poverty-stricken third-world countries — are now middle-income countries. Moreover, in these countries most of the population will in coming decades likely achieve what we considered to be first-world standards of living in the twentieth century.

At least, that’s what will happen if people with Thunberg’s position don’t get their way…

Both, however, also conclude that the challenges posed by climate change do not require the presence of a global climate dictatorship. Moreover, human societies are already motivated to do the sorts of things that will be essential in overcoming climate-change challenges that may arise.

That is, pursuing higher standards of living through technological innovation is the key to dealing with climate change.

But that innovation isn’t fostered by shaking a finger at Brazilian laborers and telling them to forget about a family car or household appliances or travel at vacation time.

That isn’t likely to be a winning strategy outside the world of self-hating first-world suburbanites. It appears many Indians and Brazilians and Chinese are willing to risk the global warming for a chance at experiencing even a small piece of what wealthy first-world climate activists have been enjoying all their lives.

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Poverty In Brazil - The Borgen Project

 

 

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Brazil’s Insane War Against Trees – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 28, 2019

Recycling all wood is the first step. Banning open-air camp fires is another sensible step. Those who make a living by killing trees and animals must be advised to find other work at a time when labor is short.

Aside of Eric that is new to me.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/08/eric-margolis/brazils-insane-war-against-trees/

By

Cut down the trees. Kill the wild animals. Burn the bush. Pollute the rivers. Pave over the grass. Raise more beef, pigs and poultry in cages.

That’s the credo of the new right. Hatred of Nature is an integral part of its politics. President Donald Trump is the high priest of such environmental vandalism. In his narrow land-developer mind, Nature is a left-wing liberal conspiracy.

Trump’s Brazilian wannabe, President Jair Bolsonaro, is now doing his mentor one better: he encouraged Brazilian farmers, loggers and miners, all key Bolsonaro constituencies, to accelerate their destruction of the Amazon rain forest, which provides 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.

The farmers, miners and loggers responded to his call by burning the irreplaceable forest, the world’s largest, at a rate over 80% higher than last year. Rarely has the world seen a more horrifying example of humans destroying the small planet on which they live.

Bolsonaro and his fellow Brazilian vandals say they lack the means to stop this incendiary epidemic. Nonsense. The Brazilian president is a former army officer. He must deploy the entire Brazilian Army to protect his nation’s most important resource, the Amazon. Neighboring Bolivia, Columbia and Paraguay should join in. Here is a perfect example for the UN Security Council to take action by declaring the 75,000 man-made fires a threat to all humanity and threaten to sanction Brazil’s exports if its does not take decisive action.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron put it right at the current G7 meeting at Biarritz, ‘our house is on fire.’ France, Spain and Portugal all have their very serious dry season fires, but they send small armies to combat them. Climate change is playing a major role in sparking the raging fires. Unlike Bolsonaro, the European nations don’t absurdly claim the fires were begun by NGO’s (non-governmental environmental organizations).

Brazil’s army numbers 222,700 men, backed by reserves of 1,980,000. Mobilize them. Bolsonaro has been eager to send special paramilitary militia groups into slums in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Send them to the Amazon, which has three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people….

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Amazon Rainforest Preservation Law: A Work in Progress ...

 

 

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