Glenn Greenwald, um ano depois das primeiras revelações sobre a NSA

A 1 de Junho de 2013, Glenn Greenwald foi o primeiro jornalista a encontrar-se com Edward Snowden. Conheceram-se em Hong Kong, após meses de trocas de mensagens encriptadas. As primeiras horas foram passadas com o repórter a interrogar o antigo analista da NSA num hotel para perceber quais as motivações para aquela que seria uma das maiores fugas de informação da história. A primeira de um conjunto de notícias que lhe valeram o prémio Pulitzer foi publicada a 5 de Julho. Quase um ano depois, Greenwald está a lançar o livro “Sem Esconderijo” onde conta como tudo aconteceu e, em entrevista à PBS, recordou a importância das revelações que foram feitas.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o milionário que financia jornalistas e revoluções

No final do ano passado, o milionário Pierre Omidyar contratou Glenn Greenwald para criar um grupo de média independente especialmente vocacionado ao jornalismo de investigação. O primeiro projecto a ser criado foi a The Intercept, uma revista online cujo objectivo imediato é continuar a divulgar as informações fornecidas por Edward Snowden sobre os esquemas de espionagem da NSA. No entanto, o site Pando Daily revelou que o milionário trabalhou com o governo americano no financiamento aos grupos que estiveram por detrás dos protestos que levaram à mudança de governo na ucrânia. Vale a pena ler.

Pierre Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show


Just hours after last weekend’s ouster of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, one of Pierre Omidyar’s newest hires at national security blog “The Intercept,” was already digging for the truth.

Marcy Wheeler, who is the new site’s “senior policy analyst,” speculated that the Ukraine revolution was likely a “coup” engineered by “deep” forces on behalf of “Pax Americana”:

“There’s quite a bit of evidence of coup-ness. Q is how many levels deep interference from both sides is.”

These are serious claims. So serious that I decided to investigate them. And what I found was shocking.

Wheeler is partly correct. Pando has confirmed that the American government – in the form of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – played a major role in funding opposition groups prior to the revolution. Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from a US billionaire who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a US-backed “coup,” but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowing Yanukovych.

But that’s not the shocking part.

What’s shocking is the name of the billionaire who co-invested with the US government (or as Wheeler put it: the “dark deep force” acting on behalf of “Pax Americana”).

Step out of the shadows…. Wheeler’s boss, Pierre Omidyar.

Yes, in the annals of independent media, this might be the strangest twist ever: According to financial disclosures and reports seen by Pando, the founder and publisher of Glenn Greenwald’s government-bashing blog,“The Intercept,” co-invested with the US government to help fund regime change in Ukraine.

[Update: Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics. Adam Colligan, with whom Wheeler was debating, commented on Pando that “while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed.” Further “[Pax Americana] appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers’ willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state.” Neither Wheeler or Colligan has commented on the main subject of the story: Pierre Omidyar’s co-investment in Ukrainian opposition groups with the US government.]

* * * *

When the revolution came to Ukraine, neo-fascists played a front-center role in overthrowing the country’s president. But the real political power rests with Ukraine’s pro-western neoliberals. Political figures like Oleh Rybachuk, long a favorite of the State DepartmentDC neoconsEU, and NATO—and the right-hand man to Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.

Last December, the Financial Times wrote that Rybachuk’s “New Citizen” NGO campaign “played a big role in getting the protest up and running.”

New Citizen, along with the rest of Rybachuk’s interlocking network of western-backedNGOs and campaigns— “Center UA” (also spelled “Centre UA”), “Chesno,” and “Stop Censorship” to name a few — grew their power by targeting pro-Yanukovych politicians with a well-coordinated anti-corruption campaign that built its strength in Ukraine’s regions, before massing in Kiev last autumn.

The efforts of the NGOs were so successful that the Ukraine government was accused of employing dirty tricks to shut them down. In early February, the groups were the subject of a massive money laundering investigation by the economics division of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in what many denounced as a politically motivated move.

Fortunately the groups had the strength – which is to say, money – to survive those attacks and continue pushing for regime change in Ukraine. The source of that money?

According to the Kyiv Post, Pierrie Omidyar’s Omidyar Network (part of the Omidyar Group which owns First Look Media and the Intercept) provided 36% of “Center UA”’s $500,000 budget in 2012— nearly $200,000. USAID provided 54% of “Center UA”’s budget for 2012. Other funders included the US government-backed National Endowment for Democracy.

In 2011, Omidyar Network gave $335,000 to “New Citizen,” one of the anti-Yanukovych “projects” managed through the Rybachuk-chaired NGO “Center UA.” At the time, Omidyar Network boasted that its investment in “New Citizen” would help “shape public policy” in Ukraine:

“Using technology and media, New Citizen coordinates the efforts of concerned members of society, reinforcing their ability to shape public policy.

“… With support from Omidyar Network, New Citizen will strengthen its advocacy efforts in order to drive greater transparency and engage citizens on issues of importance to them.”

In March 2012, Rybachuk — the operator behind the 2004 Orange Revolution scenes, theAnatoly Chubais of Ukraine — boasted that he was preparing a new Orange Revolution:

“People are not afraid. We now have 150 NGOs in all the major cities in our ‘clean up Parliament campaign’ to elect and find better parliamentarians….The Orange Revolution was a miracle, a massive peaceful protest that worked. We want to do that again and we think we will.

Detailed financial records reviewed by Pando (and embedded below) also show Omidyar Network covered costs for the expansion of Rybachuk’s anti-Yanukovych campaign, “Chesno” (“Honestly”), into regional cities including Poltava, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Sumy, and elsewhere, mostly in the Ukrainian-speaking west and center.

* * * *

To understand what it means for Omidyar to fund Oleh Rybachuk, some brief history is necessary. Rybachuk’s background follows a familiar pattern in post-Soviet opportunism: From well-connected KGB intelligence ties, to post-Soviet neoliberal networker.

In the Soviet era, Rybachuk studied in a military languages program half of whose graduates went on to work for the KGB. Rybachuk’s murky overseas posting in India in the late Soviet era further strengthens many suspicions about his Soviet intelligence ties; whatever the case, by Rybachuk’s own account, his close ties to top intelligence figures in the Ukrainian SBU served him well during the Orange Revolution of 2004, when the SBU passed along secret information about vote fraud and assassination plots.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rybachuk moved to the newly-formed Ukraine Central Bank, heading the foreign relations department under Central Bank chief and future Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko. In his central bank post, Rybachuk established close friendly ties with western government and financial aid institutions, as well as proto-Omidyar figures like George Soros, who funded many of the NGOs involved in “color revolutions” including small donations to the same Ukraine NGOs that Omidyar backed. (Like Omidyar Network does today, Soros’ charity arms—Open Society and Renaissance Foundation—publicly preached transparency and good government in places like Russia during the Yeltsin years, while Soros’ financial arm speculated on Russian debt and participated in scandal-plagued auctions of state assets.)

In early 2005, Orange Revolution leader Yushchenko became Ukraine’s president, and he appointed Rybachuk deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into the EU, NATO, and other western institutions. Rybachuk also pushed for the mass-privatization of Ukraine’s remaining state holdings.

Over the next several years, Rybachuk was shifted around President Yushchenko’s embattled administration, torn by internal divisions. In 2010, Yushchenko lost the presidency to recently-overthrown Viktor Yanukovych, and a year later, Rybachuk was on Omidyar’s and USAID’s payroll, preparing for the next Orange Revolution. As Rybachuk told the Financial Times two years ago:

“We want to do [the Orange Revolution] again and we think we will.”

Some of Omidyar’s funds were specifically earmarked for covering the costs of setting up Rybachuk’s “clean up parliament” NGOs in Ukraine’s regional centers. Shortly after the Euromaidan demonstrations erupted last November, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry opened up a money laundering investigation into Rybachuk’s NGOs, dragging Omidyar’s name into the high-stakes political struggle.

O artigo completo está aqui.

E a reacção de Glenn Greenwald aqui.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: como a NSA detecta os alvos dos drones

É a primeira história da revista digital The Intercept, dirigida por Glenn Greenwald. E logo em grande: a publicação revela o papel secreto da NSA na identificação dos alvos do programa de assassinatos da administração norte-americana, levado a cabo por drones. Para além dos documentos fornecidos por Edward Snowden, o artigo é escrito com base nas declarações de dois pilotos destes aviões não tripulados.

Foto: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press.

Foto: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press.

The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. According to the former drone operator, the geolocation cells at the NSA that run the tracking program – known as Geo Cell –sometimes facilitate strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cell phone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike.

“Once the bomb lands or a night raid happens, you know that phone is there,” he says. “But we don’t know who’s behind it, who’s holding it. It’s of course assumed that the phone belongs to a human being who is nefarious and considered an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.’ This is where it gets very shady.”

The former drone operator also says that he personally participated in drone strikes where the identity of the target was known, but other unknown people nearby were also killed.

“They might have been terrorists,” he says. “Or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.”

What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision.

In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He added that, “by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

But the increased reliance on phone tracking and other fallible surveillance tactics suggests that the opposite is true. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties.

The NSA declined to respond to questions for this article. Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, also refused to discuss “the type of operational detail that, in our view, should not be published.”

In describing the administration’s policy on targeted killings, Hayden would not say whether strikes are ever ordered without the use of human intelligence. She emphasized that “our assessments are not based on a single piece of information. We gather and scrutinize information from a variety of sources and methods before we draw conclusions.”

Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs. “After any use of targeted lethal force, when there are indications that civilian deaths may have occurred, intelligence analysts draw on a large body of information – including human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage – to help us make informed determinations about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.”

The government does not appear to apply the same standard of care in selecting whom to target for assassination. The former JSOC drone operator estimates that the overwhelming majority of high-value target operations he worked on in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, based on the NSA’s phone-tracking technology.

“Everything they turned into a kinetic strike or a night raid was almost 90 percent that,” he says. “You could tell, because you’d go back to the mission reports and it will say ‘this mission was triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.”

In July, the Washington Post relied exclusively on former senior U.S. intelligence officials and anonymous sources to herald the NSA’s claims about its effectiveness at geolocating terror suspects.

Within the NSA, the paper reported, “A motto quickly caught on at Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’”

But the Post article included virtually no skepticism about the NSA’s claims, and no discussion at all about how the unreliability of the agency’s targeting methods results in the killing of innocents.

In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The NSA “will develop a pattern,” he says, “where they understand that this is what this person’s voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But it’s not always correct. There’s a lot of human error in that.”

The JSOC operator’s account is supported by another insider who was directly involved in the drone program. Brandon Bryant spent six years as a “stick monkey” – a drone sensor operator who controls the “eyes” of the U.S. military’s unmanned aerial vehicles. By the time he left the Air Force in 2011, Bryant’s squadron, which included a small crew of veteran drone operators, had been credited with killing 1,626 “enemies” in action.

Bryant says he has come forward because he is tormented by the loss of civilian life he believes that he and his squadron may have caused. Today he is committed to informing the public about lethal flaws in the U.S. drone program.

Bryant describes the program as highly compartmentalized: Drone operators taking shots at targets on the ground have little idea where the intelligence is coming from.

“I don’t know who we worked with,” Bryant says. “We were never privy to that sort of information. If the NSA did work with us, like, I have no clue.”

During the course of his career, Bryant says, many targets of U.S. drone strikes evolved their tactics, particularly in the handling of cell phones. “They’ve gotten really smart now and they don’t make the same mistakes as they used to,” he says. “They’d get rid of the SIM card and they’d get a new phone, or they’d put the SIM card in the new phone.”

O artigo completo está aqui.

The Intercept: a primeira revista digital de Glenn Greenwald

No final de Janeiro escrevi aqui sobre o que estava a ser feito pela First Look Media, uma organização jornalística criada pelo multimilionário fundador do eBay, Pierre Omidyar, sob a liderança de Glenn Greenwald. Agora, foi lançada a primeira de “inúmeras revistas digitais” que serão publicadas pelo grupo. Chama-se The Intercept e tem, nas palavras dos fundadores dois objectivos. O primeiro, de curto prazo, é ser “uma plataforma e uma estrutura editorial” para divulgar as informações fornecidas por Edward Snowden. O segundo, a longo prazo, é cobrir um vasto conjunto de assuntos que vão dos abusos da justiça civil e criminal a todas as formas de corrupção. 

A The Intercept nasce com duas histórias online: uma, assinada por Greenwald e Jeremy Scahill, sobre como as informações electrónicas recolhidas pela NSA são utilizadas no programa de assassinatos através de drones. Ou seja, os mísseis dos aviões norte-americanos têm como alvos telemóveis que se suspeitam estarem nas mãos de alegados terroristas – o que aumenta em muito o risco de vítimas civis inocentes.

A segunda é um projecto do fotógrafo Trevor Paglen, que publica imagens aéreas de três dos mais secretos edifícios dos Estados Unidos: a sedes da NSA, do National Reconnaissance Office e do National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Trevor Paglen

Trevor Paglen

O casamento entre uma empresa de tecnologia e um novo tipo de redacção

Já se sabia que o multimilionário fundador do eBay e filantropo, Pierre Omidyar, tinha contratado Glenn Greenwald para liderar um novo projecto jornalístico com fundos aparentemente ilimitados. Agora, ele revelou um pouco mais sobre o que está a ser preparado na First Look Media. E bolas, não há por aí um milionário que queira fazer uma coisa assim (pronto, pode ser um bocadinho mais modesta) em Portugal? 

Glenn Greenwald na primeira pessoa

Em 2013, Glenn Greenwald publicou a história do ano: o escândalo de espionagem da NSA. Elaboradas com base nos documentos desviados por Edward Snowden, as sucessivas notícias revelaram práticas ilegais por parte da agência de espionagem norte-americana. Por causa delas, o companheiro de Greenwald foi preso durante várias horas num aeroporto britânico. A Vice viajou até ao Rio de Janeiro – onde ele vive – para o entrevistar e saber mais sobre este advogado transformado em jornalista paladino das liberdades individuais.

Uma forma (muito diferente) de tratar as notícias


Hugo Farrant é um MC e poeta britânico que vive em Melbourne. Giordano Nanni tem um passado nas áreas da história, música e jornalismo. Em 2009 juntaram-se para lançar o Juice Rap News, um programa na internet que usa a sátira e o hip-hop para fazer uma análise poética e cómica de eventos actuais. Apresentado pelo personagem Robert Foster – interpretado de forma brilhante por Hugo Farrant – o programa alcançou, nos últimos dias, uma notoriedade internacional que ainda não tinha obtido graças à participação de Julian Assange numa paródia sobre as eleições australianas. O fundador do Wikileaks (que será candidato) usa uma peruca amarela e canta uma versão do hit de John Farnham You’re the Voice.

Apesar do escândalo, o episódio em causa é muito divertido. Chama-se A Game of Polls e vai buscar elementos ao Senhor dos Anéis, à Guerra dos Tronos, ao Beavis & Butt-head e, claro, os factos à realidade política australiana. Aqui está uma reportagem sobre os bastidores das gravações.


Ao longo dos 20 episódios, o Juice Rap News já abordou os ataques através de drones, questões ambientais, a venda de armas e, claro, o caso da NSA, Edward Snowden e Glenn Greenwald. Esse foi o tema central da penúltima paródia que usa a sátira e um conjunto incrível de rimas para contar como o governo norte-americano tem espiado os cidadãos, como nós próprios temos reagido a estas questões e lembrar que aqueles que são hoje considerados heróis, no passado desobedeceram às leis para tornar o mundo um lugar melhor para se viver. Vale mesmo a pena ver. 

“Já se divertiram o suficiente. (…) Não precisam de escrever mais”

A detenção de David Miranda durante nove horas, no aeroporto de Heathrow, não foi o único ataque à liberdade de imprensa no Reino Unido provocado pela publicação das sucessivas notícias com base nos documentos revelados por Edward Snowden. O The Guardian, o jornal onde Glenn Greenwald publicou a maioria das histórias sobre os sistemas secretos de vigilância electrónica da NSA, foi ameaçado pelo governo britânico: ou entregava a documentação ou a destruía. Caso contrário seria fechado judicialmente. Durante meses sucederam-se as pressões e os telefonemas. Até que os editores decidiram destruir o disco rígidos que continha a informação, na presença de funcionários do executivo britânico.

Foi uma destruição simbólica: a maior parte do trabalho sobre este tema já é feito em Nova Iorque ou no Rio de Janeiro. Os documentos estão guardados em várias localizações, por várias pessoas e as notícias sobre o assunto continuarão a ser publicadas. Ainda assim, o governo manteve-se inflexível. 

O resto do computador destruído. Fotografia:  Roger Tooth

O resto do computador destruído. Fotografia: Roger Tooth


Na segunda-feira à noite, o editor do The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, contou toda a história, na sequência da detenção de David Miranda. Esta é a parte mais impressionante. 

“A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.” There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”

During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian’s reporting through a legal route – by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government’s intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the US, was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the UK. But my experience over WikiLeaks – the thumb drive and the first amendment – had already prepared me for this moment. I explained to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?

The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian’s long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. “We can call off the black helicopters,” joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won’t do it in London. The seizure of Miranda’s laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald’s work.

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like “when”.

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges.”

O artigo completo pode ser lido aqui

Os ataques ao jornalismo, às fontes e as regras da máfia

Depois de saber da detenção do seu companheiro no aeroporto de Heathrow, Glenn Greenwald utilizou o seu espaço no The Guardian para descrever como soube da prisão de David Miranda, o que lhe disseram, as acções que tomou durante nove horas e como soube da libertação final. Deixou ainda uma promessa: as notícias vão continuar a sair.

David Miranda e Glenn Greenwald. Fotografia: Janine Gibson

David Miranda e Glenn Greenwald. Fotografia: Janine Gibson

“At 6:30 am this morning my time – 5:30 am on the East Coast of the US – I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a “security official at Heathrow airport.” He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been “detained” at the London airport “under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000.”

David had spent the last week in Berlin, where he stayed with Laura Poitras, the US filmmaker who has worked with me extensively on theNSA stories. A Brazilian citizen, he was returning to our home in Rio de Janeiro this morning on British Airways, flying first to London and then on to Rio. When he arrived in London this morning, he was detained.

At the time the “security official” called me, David had been detained for 3 hours. The security official told me that they had the right to detain him for up to 9 hours in order to question him, at which point they could either arrest and charge him or ask a court to extend the question time. The official – who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654 – said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.

I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done. The Guardian has the full story here.

Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian’s lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.

According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, “fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders” (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). Moreover, “most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour.” An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.

The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used “to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”

But they obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists”, and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name.

Worse, they kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him. We spent all day – as every hour passed – worried that he would be arrested and charged under a terrorism statute. This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ.

Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.

This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world – when they prevent the Bolivian President’s plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today – all they do is helpfully underscore why it’s so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.

David was unable to call me because his phone and laptop are now with UK authorities. So I don’t yet know what they told him. But the Guardian’s lawyer was able to speak with him immediately upon his release, and told me that, while a bit distressed from the ordeal, he was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance to me. I already share it, as I’m certain US and UK authorities will soon see.”

Quando uma democracia se aproxima da ditadura

A detenção em Londres do companheiro de Glenn Greenwald – o autor dos artigos sobre o escândalo de espionagem da National Security Agency, baseados nos documentos de Edward Snowden – ao abrigo de leis antiterrorismo, levanta inúmeras questões sobre a actual liberdade de imprensa. Quando um governo de um país democrático retém por nove horas o familiar de um jornalista apenas para lhe fazer perguntas sobre a sua vida privada e apreender todo o equipamento informático que transportava, sem quaisquer tipos de provas ou suspeitas, estamos mais próximos de regimes ditatoriais do que pensávamos. Isto foi o que David Miranda e Glenn Greenwald disseram à chegada do brasileiro ao Rio de Janeiro.

Mais tarde, os dois deram uma explicação mais detalhada, aqui.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o espião, os jornalistas e um Cubo de Rubick

Desde que foram publicadas as primeiras notícias sobre os sistemas de vigilância da National Security Agency (NSA) que as atenções têm estado centradas em duas pessoas: Edward Snowden, a fonte da informação, e Glenn Greenwald, o jornalista do The Guardian que assinou os artigos. Na sombra tem ficado Laura Poitras, a realizadora que filmou a entrevista com o ex-analista da NSA em Hong Kong e que, desde a primeira hora, tem sido a pessoa que mais contacto teve com Edward Snowden. Foi a ela que o espião recorreu para conseguir contactar Greenwald em segurança, foi a ela que ele enviou os primeiros documentos e foi com ela que combinou o encontro em Hong Kong onde apareceu com um Cubo de Rubick na mão. O The New York Times passou quatro dias com Laura Poitras e Glenn Greenwald no Brasil, onde o americano vive, e conta a história da realizadora – e de todo o processo que os levou a revelar um dos maiores escândalos dos últimos anos.

Olaf Blecker for The New York Times

Olaf Blecker for The New York Times

“How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets


This past January, Laura Poitras received a curious e-mail from an anonymous stranger requesting her public encryption key. For almost two years, Poitras had been working on a documentary about surveillance, and she occasionally received queries from strangers. She replied to this one and sent her public key — allowing him or her to send an encrypted e-mail that only Poitras could open, with her private key — but she didn’t think much would come of it.

The stranger responded with instructions for creating an even more secure system to protect their exchanges. Promising sensitive information, the stranger told Poitras to select long pass phrases that could withstand a brute-force attack by networked computers. “Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,” the stranger wrote.

Before long, Poitras received an encrypted message that outlined a number of secret surveillance programs run by the government. She had heard of one of them but not the others. After describing each program, the stranger wrote some version of the phrase, “This I can prove.”

Seconds after she decrypted and read the e-mail, Poitras disconnected from the Internet and removed the message from her computer. “I thought, O.K., if this is true, my life just changed,” she told me last month. “It was staggering, what he claimed to know and be able to provide. I just knew that I had to change everything.”

Poitras remained wary of whoever it was she was communicating with. She worried especially that a government agent might be trying to trick her into disclosing information about the people she interviewed for her documentary, including Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks. “I called him out,” Poitras recalled. “I said either you have this information and you are taking huge risks or you are trying to entrap me and the people I know, or you’re crazy.”

The answers were reassuring but not definitive. Poitras did not know the stranger’s name, sex, age or employer (C.I.A.? N.S.A.? Pentagon?). In early June, she finally got the answers. Along with her reporting partner, Glenn Greenwald, a former lawyer and a columnist for The Guardian, Poitras flew to Hong Kong and met the N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, who gave them thousands of classified documents, setting off a major controversy over the extent and legality of government surveillance. Poitras was right that, among other things, her life would never be the same.

Greenwald lives and works in a house surrounded by tropical foliage in a remote area of Rio de Janeiro. He shares the home with his Brazilian partner and their 10 dogs and one cat, and the place has the feel of a low-key fraternity that has been dropped down in the jungle. The kitchen clock is off by hours, but no one notices; dishes tend to pile up in the sink; the living room contains a table and a couch and a large TV, an Xbox console and a box of poker chips and not much else. The refrigerator is not always filled with fresh vegetables. A family of monkeys occasionally raids the banana trees in the backyard and engages in shrieking battles with the dogs.

Greenwald does most of his work on a shaded porch, usually dressed in a T-shirt, surfer shorts and flip-flops. Over the four days I spent there, he was in perpetual motion, speaking on the phone in Portuguese and English, rushing out the door to be interviewed in the city below, answering calls and e-mails from people seeking information about Snowden, tweeting to his 225,000 followers (and conducting intense arguments with a number of them), then sitting down to write more N.S.A. articles for The Guardian, all while pleading with his dogs to stay quiet. During one especially fever-pitched moment, he hollered, “Shut up, everyone,” but they didn’t seem to care.

Amid the chaos, Poitras, an intense-looking woman of 49, sat in a spare bedroom or at the table in the living room, working in concentrated silence in front of her multiple computers. Once in a while she would walk over to the porch to talk with Greenwald about the article he was working on, or he would sometimes stop what he was doing to look at the latest version of a new video she was editing about Snowden. They would talk intensely — Greenwald far louder and more rapid-fire than Poitras — and occasionally break out laughing at some shared joke or absurd memory. The Snowden story, they both said, was a battle they were waging together, a fight against powers of surveillance that they both believe are a threat to fundamental American liberties.

Two reporters for The Guardian were in town to assist Greenwald, so some of our time was spent in the hotel where they were staying along Copacabana Beach, the toned Brazilians playing volleyball in the sand below lending the whole thing an added layer of surreality. Poitras has shared the byline on some of Greenwald’s articles, but for the most part she has preferred to stay in the background, letting him do the writing and talking. As a result, Greenwald is the one hailed as either a fearless defender of individual rights or a nefarious traitor, depending on your perspective. “I keep calling her the Keyser Soze of the story, because she’s at once completely invisible and yet ubiquitous,” Greenwald said, referring to the character in “The Usual Suspects” played by Kevin Spacey, a mastermind masquerading as a nobody. “She’s been at the center of all of this, and yet no one knows anything about her.”

As dusk fell one evening, I followed Poitras and Greenwald to the newsroom of O Globo, one of the largest newspapers in Brazil. Greenwald had just published an article there detailing how the N.S.A. was spying on Brazilian phone calls and e-mails. The article caused a huge scandal in Brazil, as similar articles have done in other countries around the world, and Greenwald was a celebrity in the newsroom. The editor in chief pumped his hand and asked him to write a regular column; reporters took souvenir pictures with their cellphones. Poitras filmed some of this, then put her camera down and looked on. I noted that nobody was paying attention to her, that all eyes were on Greenwald, and she smiled. “That’s right,” she said. “That’s perfect.”

O artigo completo está aqui.

Entrevista a Edward Snowden, parte dois

Hoje, o The Guardian publicou a segunda parte da entrevista concedida por Edward Snowden a Glenn Greenwald e a Laura Poitras. Nesta conversa gravada em Hong Kong, a 6 de Junho de 2013, o antigo analista prevê a reacção do governo norte-americano às revelações sobre a espionagem interna e internacional.
A primeira parte desta entrevista está aqui.

O jornalista americano que vive no Rio de Janeiro e escreve para o The Guardian

Até 2005, era advogado em Nova Iorque. Nesse ano foi alguns meses para o Rio de Janeiro. Apaixonou-se e fixou-se lá definitivamente. Começou a escrever um blogue, o Unclaimed Territory. Os seus textos acutilantes tornaram-no um fenómeno na internet. Passou a escrever para o Salon e depois para o The Guardian. Há um mês foi um dos autores das notícias sobre o programa PRISM. Este fim de semana co-redigiu a manchete do jornal brasileiro O Globo, que dava conta de que o Brasil foi um dos alvos da espionagem norte-americana. No mesmo dia, o jornal publicava um perfil do jornalista que conta como foi contactado por Edward Snowden. Chamam-lhe um jornalista no caminho de Obama.

Foto: Gustavo Stephan / Gustavo Stephan

Foto: Gustavo Stephan / Gustavo Stephan

RIO – A história de amor entre Glenn Greenwald, um americano colunista do jornal inglês “The Guardian”, e um jovem brasileiro oriundo da favela do Jacarezinho, na Zona Norte do Rio, lembra um conto de fadas. Um conto que foi capaz de tirar o sono do presidente Barack Obama. Afinal, para realizar sua paixão, Glenn foi obrigado a abandonar Nova York e a profissão de advogado para viver no Brasil como escritor e jornalista, terra onde pôde conseguir um visto de residência e onde não é obrigatório o diploma para escrever. Foi nessa condição que ele divulgou o esquema global de espionagem telefônica e eletrônica da Agência de Segurança Nacional (NSA) dos EUA, denúncia que na visão dele promete mudanças profundas na política internacional e na forma de se ver a mídia no mundo. Nascido na Flórida em 1967 e formado em Direito pela Universidade de Nova York, durante anos Glenn trabalhou como advogado cível e constitucionalista. Conheceu o Rio de Janeiro durante as férias de 2000, nas quais pretendia passar cinco dias na cidade e outros cinco na Argentina. – Eu acabei ficando dez dias aqui e nunca mais consegui passar mais de oito meses sem retornar ao Rio. A Argentina até hoje não conheço. Glenn alega que os atentados de 11 de Setembro e a era George W. Bush trouxeram graves consequências para a vida comum americana, atingindo de forma cruel os direitos individuais, entre eles, a liberdade. Cansado das consequências disto no sistema judiciário, decidiu alugar um imóvel no Rio por dois meses em 2005. No segundo dia de sua “licença”, conheceu David Michael dos Santos Miranda, um jovem morador da Favela do Jacarezinho, na Zona Norte do Rio – naquela época uma comunidade subjugada pelo tráfico de drogas. – Nos apaixonamos imediatamente. Isto nunca tinha acontecido em minha vida, eu não sou assim. E isto aconteceu também com ele, e foi tão intenso que decidimos viver juntos. David nasceu e cresceu numa comunidade pobre e teve que parar de estudar aos 14 anos para ajudar no sustento da família depois que o pai morreu. Mas, o governo americano não dava cidadania no caso de relação homossexual e, para ficar com ele, decidi vir morar no Brasil. Blog alavancou estada no Rio Glenn chegou em fevereiro de 2005, e em outubro, ainda sem horizontes, resolveu iniciar um blog para protestar contra os abusos aos direitos humanos pelo governo do presidente Bush. Quatro dias depois do blog criado, ele publicou uma análise sobre o caso de Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Principal conselheiro do então vice-presidente dos Estados Unidos, Dick Cheney, Libby foi acusado de obstrução da Justiça, falsas declarações e perjúrio, no testemunho que prestou num inquérito sobre vazamento de informação. – Eu ainda estava pensando no que faria da minha vida para sobreviver. Sem qualquer plano, num dia iniciei um blog, mas passei três dias sem escrever porque afinal só havia eu mesmo de leitor. Só que, no quarto dia, escrevi sobre o caso Libby para mostrar que havia muito mais por trás daquela acusação e que a imprensa estava apenas repetindo a versão oficial. Um site de jornal lincou o artigo e eu fui visitado por 30 mil internautas. Suas denúncias constantes contra arbitrariedades do governo Bush em seu blog trouxeram a Glenn notoriedade, e ele escreveu seu primeiro livro “How Would a Patriot Act?” (2006), que se tornou best-seller. Depois, ele ainda escreveu outros dois campeões de vendas: “A Tragic Legacy” (2007) e “With Liberty and Justice for Some” de 2011. Para garantir seu sustento, passou a receber doações de seus leitores, num sistema conhecido como “reader-funded journalism”. – Esse sistema permite total independência para um jornalismo puro, livre de interesses. Em agosto de 2012, tornou-se colunista do jornal inglês “The Guardian”. Com a vida tranquila, estudando e escrevendo sobre a política americana em sua casa, na Gávea, Zona Sul do Rio, onde mora até hoje com David, Glenn teve uma nova reviravolta em sua vida a partir de dezembro, quando um estranho passou a procurá-lo por e-mail pedindo-lhe que baixasse um programa sofisticado de criptografia para repassar a ele “um segredo de Estado americano”: – O programa era muito complicado, e eu, a princípio, não queria baixar. Afinal, sequer sabia quem era… Ele insistiu várias vezes e até postou um vídeo no YouTube mostrando como fazer. Mas foi só quando ele foi até uma amiga minha e importante documentarista, Laura Poitras, que eu aceitei baixar o programa. Quando vi os primeiros documentos, caí para trás. Em três dias, eu estava embarcando para a China para encontrá-lo num hotel em Hong Kong. Foi tamanha a adrenalina diante daqueles cinco mil documentos que eu passei 12 dias lá sem conseguir dormir mais do que duas horas por dia. Até Glenn conhecer o ex-técnico da NSA Edward Snowden, seu blog recebia até cem mil visitantes. Mas depois, segundo ele, sua audiência saltou para 500 mil, às vezes um milhão. Mas de crítico, colunista e blogueiro, ele também virou desafeto do governo e de uma parte da imprensa americana. – A lei americana protege os jornalistas nestes casos. E há uma corrente que defende que eu seja processado porque afinal sou, segundo alguns críticos da imprensa tradicional, um blogueiro, no máximo um colunista, porque não sou formado, porque dou minha opinião. Eu acho que a diferença não está em dar ou não opiniões, mas em ser honesto ou não. Eu opino, mas apresento fatos, evidências do que estou defendendo. E até agora ninguém disse que eu contei alguma mentira. Os terroristas já sabiam que o governo americano usa a rede para espionar. Quem não sabia disto eram as pessoas inocentes nos Estados Unidos e no resto do mundo – rebateu Glenn. Advocacia nunca mais O colunista está de volta ao Rio, onde continua trabalhando nos documentos que lhe foram entregues pelo ex-funcionário da NSA. Depois de tudo que aprendeu sobre o sistema Prism, ele próprio evita trabalhar usando um computador ligado à rede: – Tenho um computador antigo, Positivo, que sequer tem acesso à internet – conta, sentindo orgulho de trabalhar em sua velha Remington digital. Ele diz que ainda não conseguiu retomar a rotina na cidade que escolheu para viver. – Eu já sabia das consequências de revelar uma das notícias mais importantes dos últimos anos no mundo. Mas fico feliz porque acho que a função de um jornalista é lutar contra os poderosos quando eles estão errados. Antes mesmo de tudo acontecer, conversei com David e ele me apoiou. Ele está se formando pela ESPM e, pode ser que um dia vamos viver nos Estados Unidos, mas agora estamos felizes aqui. Quando fala do Rio, diz que aqui reencontrou o “sonho de liberdade”. – Eu gosto de tudo. Das praias, montanhas, prédios. Do centro da cidade. Gosto de comer arroz e feijão. Tudo se encaixa com meu jeito de viver – comemora o advogado que não pretende mais exercer o antigo ofício: – Como jornalista de um blog, eu posso debater com meus leitores. Eu faço minhas próprias regras, isto está no acordo com o “Guardian”. A imprensa mudou e, ao contrário do que pensam alguns conservadores, todos os jornais hoje precisam de blogs porque eles é que atraem leitores.”

O ataque ao jornalismo de investigação nos EUA

Ontem, no programa da NBC “Meet the Press”, o apresentador David Gregory perguntou ao repórter do The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald, se ele não devia também ser acusado pelo governo norte-americano por ter “ajudado” o antigo analista da National Security Agency, Edward Snowden, a revelar a existência do programa PRISM. Sim, um jornalista da NBC perguntou isto mesmo a outro jornalista, neste caso de um jornal britânico. Esta foi a resposta de Glenn Greenwald.