Glenn Greenwald on the Amazon fires and the fight for Brazil’s future

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept discusses the record-setting Amazon forest fires, the struggle against Brazil’s far-right government, and how his reporting revealed to the world how all of this came about: a high-level plot that imprisoned Lula da Silva and prevented him from running in the last presidential election.

Guest: Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist.

Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept and a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, is at the center of one of the most important stories and struggles in the world. In the last several months, Glenn and his team at The Intercept Brazil have exposed massive corruption at the highest levels of the Brazilian government. Leaks obtained by The Intercept showed that the current Super Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, was involved in a plot to jail Lula da Silva, the former president. This prevented Lula from running in the last presidential election and paved the way for the victory of the far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who then appointed Moro to his cabinet.

For exposing this, Glenn Greenwald has been threatened with arrest and deportation. And as all of this is happening, we are now seeing the Amazon rainforest on fire at record levels as a result of the policies of Bolsonaro.

“When you combine [Bolsonaro’s] aggressive deforestation, with contempt for the indigenous, with the role that these agribusiness interests play in his government, there’s no question that the destruction of the Amazon — including by just sometimes lighting the Amazon on fire — there’s no question that ideology has played a key role in everything we’re seeing,” Greenwald says.

Greenwald also discusses the threats he’s received from Brazil’s far-right government and its supporters for exposing the corruption behind Operation Car Wash. “It’s been gratifying at the same time as it’s been somewhat intense, because when you go into journalism, or in David’s [Miranda, husband of Glenn Greenwald] case when you go into politics, this is what you go in to do – is to stand up to the people who are the most powerful,” Greenwald says.

“It’s very easy to pretend to be an anti-fascist warrior by tweeting meaninglessly, or by being in a country where you’re expressing ideas that you tell yourself are radical, but in fact are very mainstream and that don’t put you at risk. It’s another thing to really have the opportunity — which we got when this source gave us his information – to expose corruption at the highest levels of a right-wing, repressive, and authoritarian proto-fascist regime.”

“And so as dangerous as it is, and as difficult as it sometimes has been for us personally, it’s also been incredibly gratifying. This is what as a journalist I want most to be doing, is exactly this sort of work.”