‘Courage is Contagious’: Glenn Greenwald electrifies Chicago crowd speaking on Snowden, journalism and the NSA

ActivismUS Politics
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Friday night in Chicago Glenn Greenwald addressed the Socialism 2013 conference live via Skype and reflected for the first time on what the past month has been like for him in the wake of his interview with Edward Snowden, and subsequent disclosures regarding the National Security Agency’s spying on American citizens.

Greenwald had been scheduled to address the conference live, but instead chose to appear via Skype out of fear of attempting to enter the United States following calls for his arrest. Greenwald appeared relaxed and gave the capacity crowd in attendance, in addition to countless viewers online, a rousing call to action in addition to revealing some soon to be published new leaks from the Snowden files.

The evening began with an impassioned introduction from journalist Jeremy Scahill who called Greenwald the “conscience of America” and took direct aim at Greenwald’s attackers in the press. Most notably Schahill commented on recent smear jobs against Greenwald in the New York Daily News and on BuzzFeed. With the crowd cheering Scahill ended, “To the dingbat factory that’s constantly attacking Glenn Greenwald — I stand with Glenn Greenwald!”

Greenwald then took over with a surprising amount of humor and candor. The first part of his talk was a personal reflection on how he came to meet Edward Snowden and how the episode has changed him. The title of this post comes from a conclusion Greenwald repeated throughout his talk in several ways – courage is contagious, the acts of one whisleblower leads to similarly brave acts from others. Greenwald spoke of being inspired by Snowden’s choice to come forward and his willingness to sacrfice whatever possibility he would have for a normal, secure life.

Greenwald also had a nugget to share with the rapt audience, a coming attraction of an upcoming report. He said that the NSA has new technology that enables it to redirect 1 billion cell phone calls a day into its database for collection and analysis. He promised there were many more disclosures to come.

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