Glenn Greenwald
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Is Israel’s War a US War? “Free Speech Advocates” Demand Silencing of Israel’s Critics. Is War w/ Iran Inevitable? & Israeli Media Calls for Restraint
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October 12, 2023
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, October 11.

Tonight: The war between Israel and Gaza is now in its fifth full day, and each day brings new escalation, new forms of violence, and extreme levels of civilian deaths on both sides of the border. It should not be surprising that virtually the entire political class in Washington sides with Israel – as we documented on Monday night show, support for Israel has been a centerpiece of bipartisan U.S. foreign policy for decades, and numerous politically influential groups in the U.S. feel a strong affinity for Israel for all sorts of political, geostrategic, cultural and religious reasons. 

While this pro-Israel sentiment is not surprising, it is most definitely necessary to discuss this question. To what extent are Israel's wars in general, as well as its new war in particular, also America's wars? Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said on Sunday, one day after this war began, “This is not just an attack on Israel. This was an attack on America.” Today, her fellow South Carolinian Senator Lindsey Graham, who treats every actual and proposed American war exactly the same way, he vocally cheerleads every last one of them went even further. Then, Governor Haley, in a Fox interview today said “We are in a religious war.” Is this true? When Israel is involved in a war, does it automatically mean that the U.S. is also involved in this new war as a participant? Is it possible as an American citizen to oppose U.S. government involvement in an Israeli war without being guilty of being “pro-Hamas,” similar to the way that Americans who opposed our government's role in the war in Ukraine are called pro-Putin, or how Americans who oppose their government's role in Syria were called pro-Assad, or how those who dissented from any parts of the Bush-Cheney War on Terror were accused of being on the side of the terrorist or pro-al-Qaida? Given the emergence of these kinds of statements from people like Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley, it is more vital than ever to ask what the proper U.S. role in this war is.

Then: Many media careers have been built over the last several years, very thriving and lucrative media careers based on a professed belief in free speech and opposition to what is called “cancel culture”,” which – we have long heard – has been typically practiced by the left: an attempt to suppress or punish the expression of views they like, dislike and rregardedas dangerous, hateful and likely to incite violence. We're now hearing it, it seems, from the other side. Yesterday, the quite conservative British home secretary, when speaking about pro-Palestinian protests in London, declared the following: “Waving a Palestinian flag or singing a chant advocating freedom for Arabs in the region may be a criminal offense.” Waving the Palestinian flag or chanting about freedom for Arabs in the region – If you do that in the UK, you may be committing a criminal offense. In Canada, the mayor of Toronto accuses pro-Palestinian protesters of having broken the law by failing to obtain necessary protest permits. The same argument Canadian officials invoked last year, to argue that those trucker protests against COVID mandates were also illegal. Oh, they didn't get the right permits. Meanwhile, in the United States, many prominent figures, including ones who have long denounced the evils of censorship and what they call “cancel culture”, meaning punishing private citizens for expressing widely unpopular views, especially when those views are declared to be hateful or inciting of violence, have spent this week compiling the names of students, a list of students at American universities, who signed pro-Palestinian statements and have devoted themselves publicly to pressuring companies, private companies, sometimes successfully, to fire those people for having signed those statements or announcing and committing to the fact that they will refuse ever to hire such people. Is this a violation of their previously stated opposition to censorship and “cancel culture”? Or is there something special and unique about this particular debate when it comes to Israel that renders such threats of criminalization from government officials or campaigns to have people fired for their views uniquely justified? 

And then: The Wall Street Journal on Monday purported to have confirmed that top Iranian officials directly planned and helped organize Saturday's attack on Israel, a claim that has been repeated by numerous presidential candidates and officials, including both Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham and others as well. This is obviously quite inflammatory claim. Recall that similar claims about Saddam Hussein's participation in planning the 9/11 attack are what led many Americans to support the regime change war against Iraq because they thought Iraq had helped attack the United States. 

Even U.S. and some Israeli officials have quickly denied knowledge of any such linkage between Iran and this attack. But some vocal anti-Iran voices, while some are also calling into question the veracity of this report, others have started to beat the drums of war against Iran. It illustrates how there are a lot of influential sectors in American political media circles that crave conflict with Tehran. This raises the question, I think, how many wars with how many different countries is the U.S. supposed to be fighting? The U.S. government is already heavily involved in one dangerous proxy war by using Ukraine to fight against and weaken the world's largest nuclear power, which is Russia. The U.S. is already heavily involved in this new Middle East war in similar ways by feeding Israel the money and weapons to wage this war and has even deployed major aircraft carriers to the region. At the same time, a non-trivial number of influential people in the U.S. see China as the gravest American enemy. And there is open talk in many key circles about how the likelihood of ending up in a hot war with Beijing is very real, especially if they harass or invade Taiwan. Most Americans in positions of influence, including the president, say they would go to war against China if that happened. There are a lot of wars already, serious, dangerous wars against countries with serious militaries. Should Iran a country three times the size of Iraq with a much more sophisticated military, be added to the list of the countries the U.S. is supposed to be considering, not just an enemy, but one that we should be preparing for a possible war against? The Wall Street Journal article made that possibility much more likely by announcing, seemingly with very little proof, that Iran was the key organizer of this attack on Israel. 

Finally, it is a notable paradox that the Israeli media contains many voices urging restraint in how Israel uses military force in Gaza to avenge Saturday's attacks by Hamas. They argue, and we'll show you a couple of representative voices that there is a crucial distinction between Hamas on the one hand and Palestinian civilians on the other. They argued the lives of Gazans, ordinary Palestinians have value, especially given that half of its 2.2 million population is composed of children, people under the age of 18. They further argue that Israel must observe basic humanitarianism and long-standing laws of war to avoid indiscriminately extinguishing massive amounts of innocent Palestinian lives.

This is a view heard, paradoxically, I think, more by the Israeli media than in the U.S. media. So, I think it's worth asking, especially as we examine the latest wreckage and death and destruction in Gaza, whether that argument that some Israelis are making is correct while there are a few people who have done so, there is nobody of any prominence in the United States who is cheering or defending or justifying the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, including children on Saturday. Any decent person, by definition, values innocent civilian life of all kinds, including obviously Israelis, and reacts with horror and disgust when seeing those videos from Israel on Saturday and believes it's always morally reprehensible to deliberately target civilian lives. The question, sadly prompted by our current discourse in the United States, including calls for the complete eradication of Gaza, is whether this basic humanitarian principle that innocent lives have value, whether that applies to Palestinian as well as to Israeli lives. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.

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CLIP: Glenn Greenwald Debates Alan Dershowitz on Iran

Glenn warns against waging wars during last week’s debate against Alan Dershowitz on whether the U.S. should strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Glenn argues: “We don't go around the world attacking other countries or trying to remove their government because we want to give those people freedom and democracy. We only [attack] when we see a government that doesn't do our bidding."

We are grateful to The Soho Forum and Reason for hosting the spirited debate. You can listen to the full debate here: https://reason.com/podcast/2024/05/24/glenn-greenwald-and-alan-dershowitz-debate-bombing-iran/

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Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted

For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access. Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok. Listen below.

Listen to this Article: Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok's Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted
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What’s happening in politics that you want to talk about? Are there any burning topics you think Glenn needs to cover? Any thoughts you’d like to share?

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Are you able to do a segment on Evan Gershkovich? What the accurate vs. inaccurate accounts are and how it relates to US/Russian relations?

The duplicity of the congressmen and senators is staggering and sickening. They spew the same old talking points to disguise their actions in either faith or wisdom, even though it is neither. Whether blasphemous idolatry towards Israel, supporting the Ukraine Proxy War or even war with China over Taiwan, it is all both nauseating and a telling sign of being bought and paid for. I have yet to see anyone tell me in scripture where anything is said to worship anything other than God, yet these people all do or claim to.

If Ron Paul, Col. MacGregor and Judge Napolitano know about what is going on in Ukraine and Israel, all of Congress does as well. They know yet view AIPAC or MIC support as more important. They all need to be fired.

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GOP War Hawks, Corporatists Revolt Against JD Vance; Demanding Low-Wage Workers Be Fired for Online Postings
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Good evening. It's Wednesday, July 17. 

Tonight, JD Vance, the 39-year-old first-term Republican senator from Ohio and the Republican vice-presidential nominee, will take the stage at the Republican National Convention to deliver what will certainly be his most watched and most important speech in his short political career. The symbolism is obvious: by choosing the first-ever radical candidate to appear on a major party national ticket, Trump is clearly signaling where he thinks the future of his MAGA movement lies, and in whose hands he envisions its continuation. 

However, not everyone in his party is happy with Trump's choice, to put it very mildly. Two separate wings of the Republican Party – the neocons and war hawks from the Bush-Cheney era, as well as the Reaganite believers in corporatist economic policies – are making their opposition to Vance and, indeed, their anger over his selection, very clear. It has long been obvious that, unlike the Democratic Party – which is almost entirely homogenized, unified in lockstep – the Trump era has ushered in a vibrant and sometimes bitter and, I think, healthy intra-party dispute in the Republican Party over the direction of what is called “the conservative movement,” what updates its needs from the past, as well as both the domestic and especially foreign policy that party ought to be pursuing. The negative reaction to Vance, among some of the worst and most destructive factions in the country are highly illustrative of what the Republican Party had been, why Donald Trump succeeded so successfully in 2016 by running against it and where some people – such as JD Vance and obviously Donald Trump – are trying to take the party in the future. 

Then, since October 7, we have been continuously documenting here on the show the excitement and enthusiasm on much of the pro-Israel right for so many of the values, the tactics and the weapons they long came to despise. As the sole providence of the “woke” left. In the name of protecting Israel, they have caused the censorship, firing, legal restrictions and other punishments imposed on American citizens who are simply harsh critics of Israel and the U.S.’s financing of its wars and/or supporters of the Palestinian cause. Countless people since October 7, in media, government, business and academia, have lost their jobs or otherwise been punished for the crime of expressing opposition to Israel and to the acts of that foreign government. But now, quite predictably, those tactics on the part of that sector of the right are starting to expand into other areas of other issues and starting to find quite a dark expression. Anybody who – in the wake of Saturday's assassination attempt on Donald Trump – publicly lamented that the bullet missed him, in other words, people who were wishing violent death to Donald Trump or saying it was deserved and it would be good for the country, are obviously expressing a despicable and twisted sentiment that goes without saying. And to the extent those doing that are people who wield some sort of significant influence or power in this country, demands for them to be held accountable for such statements will obviously be reasonable. That's what it means to wield public power and influence. 

That is not what's happening. Just as has been true of the efforts by the pro-Israel right to punish ordinary people, people with no power or influence for their speech since October 7, the campaign to punish people for expressing such demented thoughts about Trump is being aimed at those who wield no power. People who are hourly-wage workers for giant retailers, low-wage cashiers at places like Home Depot and the like. And so, I think it provokes the question, is it ever just or noble to target the least powerful and economically advantaged people in our society for the crime of simply saying something that was ill-advised, untoward, or even reprehensible after they get home from a 12-hour shift at a miserable job and they post something like that to twenty or so of their friends on Facebook? Should their lives be destroyed over that, their job taken away, rendered unemployable, their reputations permanently marred? That is what some on the right are actually doing and, although we certainly agree that the opinions they're targeting are, as we said, quite repugnant, we really want to examine both the wisdom and ethics of aiming those weapons at ordinary citizens who have zero power influence of any kind – in fact, the least amount of influence of power in our country. 

Finally, the independent roving reporter Michael Tracy continues to rove around the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where he is manically conducting more and more interviews of influential Republican politicians and others who are present at the Convention. For our program tonight, we have his interviews with people like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Reps Andy Barr and Brian Mast, as well as Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now. 

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SYSTEM UPDATE RECAP: July 8-12
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Welcome to the SYSTEM UPDATE recap: your weekend digest featuring everything we’ve covered throughout the previous week. 

Prefer to listen to your daily news analysis? Reminder that FULL episodes of SYSTEM UPDATE are available anywhere you listen to podcasts🎙️


MONDAY, JULY 8 - EPISODE 293

Biden Cannot Be Forced Out of Race Democratically by Oligarchs; What the U.K. and French Elections Mean for Establishment Politics in Europe

Biden, though mentally unfit for office, clings to power as Democrats and corporate media fail to force him out of the race. Elections in the U.K. and France, proclaimed by the media to be a victory for the left center, in reality are a major loss for establishment centers of power. 

 

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TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (10:27)

Under Pressure (16:25)

Centrist Collapse In Europe (1:00:33)

Outro (1:38:08)

 

TUESDAY, JULY 9 - EPISODE 294

Biden Administration Blames Russia for Age Concerns; Crackdowns on Israel's Critics Escalate in U.S.

The Biden administration resurrects the Russiagate conspiracy – once again – to shield him from growing calls to drop out. Speech crackdowns on U.S. college campuses reach new heights as three deans are removed at Columbia for texts that touch on “ancient antisemitic tropes.” 

 

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TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (9:10)

Russiagate, the Sequel (13:57)

Campus Crackdown (40:25)

Death Toll in Gaza Rises Dramatically (1:22:50)

Outro (1:35:21)

 

Supporters-Only After-Show for Tuesday, July 9

We moved to Locals for our supporters-only, interactive after-show where Glenn shared his thoughts on some audience questions and comments:

 

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 10 - EPISODE 295

Media Now Admits About Biden What it Long Denied; Is Biden a "Good and Decent Man"?; Ukraine War Appears Permanent During NATO Summit

The corporate media finally admitted what it denied and lied to the public about: Biden is unfit for office. A “good and decent man” is often used to describe Joe Biden moments before democrats denounce him as a mentally unfit candidate; Glenn investigates just how much of a “decent man” Biden has been. The Ukraine war appears endless as the NATO Summit kicks off in Washington.

 

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TIMESTAMPS: 

Intro (11:52)

Media Admits Biden Impairment (18:43)

A Decent Man? (48:59)

Endless Wars (1:22:45)

Outro (1:32:00)

 

FRIDAY, JULY 12 - EPISODE 296

Oligarchs Overriding the Will of Democratic Voters; Many Democrats Claim Push Against Biden is Racist; What Happened to Gaza in Liberal Discourse?

Democrat oligarchs scramble to remove Joe Biden from the ticket. Many Democrats complain that there is a racist element in forcing Biden out of the race, showing the constantly shifting nature of identity politics. Joe Biden has supported and financed – through American tax dollars – the war in Gaza, however liberal discourse around that war has all but ceased in the wake of the 2024 election, to only proclaim how great of a man he is. 

 

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TIMESTAMPS:

Intro (10:31)

Oligarchic Coup? (17:57)

Racially Biased Resignation Calls (46:38)

Liberals Now Silent on Gaza (1:05:28)

Outro (1:34:43)

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Michael Tracey LIVE at RNC in Milwaukee
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Michael Tracey LIVE at RNC in Milwaukee

 

All right. Our good, good friend of the show, Michael Tracey, who is, as I always say, a very independent, sometimes annoyingly independent, roving journalist, is in Milwaukee covering the Republican National Convention for us. He's there with our social media manager and producer, Meagan O'Rourke. They have been doing a great job covering the convention, doing interviews with all sorts of people. Rumble has a booth there, that's how we were able to get credentials. 

The last couple of days. Michael has talked to several different people with really interesting interviews. One of them is Mayor JonDavid Longo, who was present at the assassination attempt. He was a mayor of Slippery Rock, a city uptown, very close to where that occurred. He also was able to speak with Rep. Mike Collins, the Republican of Georgia, and Congressman Mike Lawler, the Republican from New York, who is not only probably one of the most vocal supporters of Israel in the entire Congress, but was the sponsor of that law that made it illegal in the educational sector to express all sorts of criticism to Israel that had been very common, the H.R. 6090, which passed the House and Senate by an overwhelming majority and went to the president, who then signed it, because pro-Israel views speed through the Congress with overwhelming majorities, for reasons we've covered many times, and hat was one of the gravest assaults on free speech in many years.  

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Michael was able to talk to him about that as well. So, we're going to show you these interviews. 


M. Tracey: All right. We are on the floor of the Republican National Convention right now. Gaze out at the amazing sights. I've never had more fun in my life. I guess what we're going to do is just kind of poke around and see if there's anybody of note to speak to. Let's see who I can spot. 


Congresswoman Victoria Spartz of Indiana

 

M. Tracey: Oh. How are you, Ms. Spartz? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: How are you? Good. 

 

M. Tracey: What's your reaction to JD Vance getting the nomination? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: That's good, you know. But I think, you know, we have a lot of great candidates, we have a very long bench, but it's all about President Trump and Make America Great. 

 

M. Tracey: What do you expect for a second term for President Trump in terms of, Ukraine and Israel as compared to the Biden administration? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: I think, you know, as President Trump said, you know, we need to restore peace. We need to restore our economy so that we have the ability for people to get wealth back and have growth in the economy because right now, inflation and this pattern is going to destroy a lot of people. And I think this is something about the future of the country and strengthen the country's sense of the borders, strengthen the people and really brings peace around the world. We have a disaster right now. It's awful what's happening. 

 

M. Tracey: President Trump has said that he has a good relationship with Zelenskyy, and some people question that because they think he's Putin's puppet or this kind of thing, which is silly. So, what is this relationship with Zelenskyy and Ukraine? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Listen, it's not too bad because […]

 

M. Tracey: Representative Spartz, you are Ukrainian, correct? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: I originally grew up there, but I'll tell you, it's about peace through strength. And President Trump had a lot of peace around the world and aggressors didn't move. And his policy it's to bring peace and actually put pressure on countries like Russia and China. He never gets too much credit but what he created in the Middle East was the Abraham Accords, headed to Russia to move further. He was the one who actually put sanctions on North Stream 2, and forced more production of energy. He has put pressure on China, not to […] 

 

M. Tracey: Put any sanctions on Russia. 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: That's right. And he is the one who actually forced Europeans, Canada to step up to create more deterrence, to spend money to deter Russia. He doesn't get credit for that. But his foreign policy was pretty powerful. 

 

M. Tracey: Well, Trump continues supporting funding for Ukraine? I've spoken to other members of Congress, in the Senate, who said that he supported the National Security Supplemental in April to send many billions to Israel and Ukraine, will continue supporting that? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Listen, it's not about – We cannot be stupid how we spend money. We need to have strategy and oversight. The Soviet Union was defeated not by weapons, but by smart strategy, by smart energy policy. And that's what it takes. And financial policy. And that's what he can bring to the table. Not to have never-ending wars that cost a lot of money and a lot of lives. And that's what you have to be much smarter. And he's – it's he's a very smart man. 

 

M. Tracey: What about the Biden administration policy, where they allow Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to hit certain targets within Russia? But it's never clear what the parameters are. 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: It's all politics. And ultimately, you know, we have a serious war and we shouldn't be doing it. Biden. You know what? They did it and threatened Putin over Twitter or X and in reality, slow walk at the aid. Okay. We need to have a serious conversation that Putin understands he shouldn't have advanced and he can not what he's going to do but force Europeans to step up. 

 

M. Tracey: Do you think Trump would remove some of the constraints that Biden has tried to impose on Ukraine? 

 

Rep. Victoria Spartz: Trump will do whatever it takes to bring peace back and that's what we need. And he will stand with allies like Israel. He won't put pressure on a lot of countries like Europeans that actually being not serious about this situation and now it's become a problem for all of us. And also seriously dealing with China, playing games with Iran and Russia to destabilize the whole world and come here. So I think he's very serious and he's brilliant on his foreign policy because he's unpredictable. That deters a lot of aggression. 

 

M. Tracey: All right. Thank you, Congresswoman. 


Congressman Mike Lawler of New York

 

M. Tracey: So, I want to ask you a couple of questions about a forthcoming Trump administration and Israel policy. You spent a lot of time on that. Also, issues around antisemitism. Do you expect to for Trump to be more aggressive in combating antisemitism, using the mechanisms available in the federal government to pursue some of the initiatives that you've tried to advocate in Congress? What's your general synopsis of that? 

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