Tag Archives: Glenn Greenwald

On Margaret Thatcher’s death, parties and Glenn Greenwald

The news media are reporting on death parties of hate against former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s death and the song Ding Dong the Witch is Dead is making it up the charts but won’t be played by the BBC. I haven’t paid much attention but I do find Glenn Greenwald’s article on the death of public figures very interesting.

He writes of why we shouldn’t just stop criticising political leaders once they die.

Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world. She played a key role not only in bringing about the first Gulf War but also using her influence to publicly advocate for the 2003 attack on Iraq. She denounced Nelson Mandela and his ANC as “terrorists,” something even David Cameron ultimately admitted was wrong. She was a steadfast friend to brutal tyrants such as Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein and Indonesian dictator General Suharto (“One of our very best and most valuable friends”). And as my Guardian colleague Seumas Milne detailed last year, “across Britain Thatcher is still hated for the damage she inflicted — and for her political legacy of rampant inequality and greed, privatisation and social breakdown.”

To demand that all of that be ignored in the face of one-sided requiems to her nobility and greatness is a bit bullying and tyrannical, not to mention warped. As David Wearing put it this morning in satirizing these speak-no-ill-of-the-deceased moralists: “People praising Thatcher’s legacy should show some respect for her victims. Tasteless.” Tellingly, few people have trouble understanding the need for balanced commentary when the political leaders disliked by the west pass away.

Quite.

With Liberty and Justice for some, Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a hard-hitting, lawyer turned blogger who has recently signed up with the Guardian after leaving his writing platform of Salon. He has been described as excellent by the liberal-media critics Medialens and regarded with much defensiveness by already established journalists.

In With Liberty and Justice For Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, Greenwald takes on the effectively two-tiered US legal system which leads to elites facing no repercussions to the most extreme of law breaking while those of society who are the poorest and most powerless are ever increasingly and more harshly subject to incarceration and the full brunt of the law.

He begins by contemplating the type of society the founding fathers of the United States wanted, by tracing the principles of the constitution – equality before the law for all citizens and especially in order to subject those in power – and then contrasts this with the practises of the US governments in recent years.

The wire tapping practices which while blatantly illegal saw no one convicted and even had legislation passed to retroactively protect the perpetrators.

There is the Iran contra scandal and the conviction against the United States for arming Nicaraguan guerillas which was simply ignored.

There was the illegal war in Iraq; the torture which was widely admitted but which saw no one in a position of power convicted; and the use of arbitrary and secret extra-judicial killings by Obama: the infamous kill list. (see this brilliant Gawker video where a journalist asks Democratic delegates whether they would trust Romney with the kill list).

There is also an examination of the prison industry and Obama’s failure to prosecute Bush’s crimes.

“To date, Obama has succeeded in blocking and suppressing virtually every investigation into Bush crimes, whether by congressional committees, courts, international tribunals, or even internal executive branch inquiries.”

This is a thorough and motivating read as Greenwald’s anger gives it a vibrant tone. I had to put it down* a few times when the examples were so repugnant that it was hard to comprehend the type of society the United States have become. Some of the more heartbreaking points were statistics about people being jailed for life for small crimes. One person’s life destroyed, just like that, by an unfair system.

You can find Glenn Greenwald on Twitter

5/5

*figuratively speaking as I was reading an ebook on my Kindle app on my phone