As some know, I have strenuous disagreements with Glenn Greenwald. But they are usually less on the issues than on tactics. While I think his criticism of executive overreach are consistent, they are also overblown and nearly hysterical at times. And his tendency to viciously attack and berate his critics in attempts to intimidate them are melodramatic, churlish, and too often excused by his fanboys and girls.
And of course, his many exaggerated claims about Bradley Manning's treatment (without immediately disclosing that he had a book coming out with a major chapter on such mistreatments) was a blow to some of his credibility in my eyes.
I feel that Greenwald appeals to a global civil libertarian lobby that, while quite vocal and often strident, is largely impotent and entirely ineffective. I'd like to see leaders emerge on the left who can be much less divisive to the left. People who can persuade by sheer force of evidence and moral argument, than by hyperventilating so often that outrage fatigue is the net effect on many. Such people would be able to fight for our rights without helping to enable and empower the Republicans and Corporatists who are so keenly bent on making our lives and liberties that much worse.
So, while I disagree with him at times, I nonetheless respect him; and no matter what any of us thinks of Mr. Greenwald’s substantive positions on the issues, we have to be alarmed by this, as reported on the Tech Herald website today:
This thugocratic effort to discredit or intimidate Greenwald, assuming it's all true as written by the Tech Herald, is a throwback to some of our darkest days when politicians and industrialists (and even some Unions) often acted with impunity against domestic enemies. It cannot be acceptable, even as a plan that is never executed. (There doesn't seem to be any evidence that any of what the Tech Herald exposed was actually implemented, but given what we know from Wendell Potter about Cigna's efforts against Michael Moore, I am inclined to believe some of them were implemented—or at least close to being implemented.)
I am weary of people on the left and the right who think that all issues and disagreements are one-dimensional affairs, when our problems are so multi-dimensional. Like Dave, I can strongly disagree with Greenwald's manner and tactics on parts of an issue, while respecting his views and passions on others parts that issue. I think we'd all make more progress if others were more willing to make concessions to situational pluralism; openly, honestly, and without hesitation.
That said, and without excusing these planned corporate gangsta tactics in any way, I also think this can serve as a reminder to Glenn, his fans, and everyone else, that bullying and other forms of intimidation are never acceptable, no matter who unleashes them on whom.