American journalist Glenn Greenwald was charged by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with “cybercrimes,” as reported by The New York Times. Bolsonaro’s regime alleges that Greenwald is part of a “criminal organization” that hacked into Brazilian officials’ cellphones to write stories for The Intercept, an online news magazine co-founded by Greenwald in 2014.
The 52-year-old journalist, who’s married and shares two children, ages 9 and 11, with Brazilian politician David Miranda, responded to the charges with a strong statement to The Daily Beast.
The Bolsonaro government and the movement that supports it has made repeatedly clear that it does not believe in basic press freedoms — from Bolsonaro’s threats against Folha to his attacks on journalists that have incited violence to Sergio Moro’s threats from the start to classify us as ‘allies of the hackers’ for revealing his corruption.
Less than two months ago, the Federal Police, examining all the same evidence cited by the Public Ministry, stated explicitly that not only have I never committed any crime but that I exercised extreme caution as a journalist never even to get close to any participation. Even the Federal Police under Minister Moro’s command said what is clear to any rational person: I did nothing more than do my job as a journalist — ethically and within the law.
1. Miranda Is A Socialist Rio de Janeiro Council Member
The tension and threats between the Brazilian government and Greenwald have been brewing for quite some time. Things escalated in July after The Intercept published damning text messages between government officials that put the legitimacy of Bolsonaro’s election into question.
Miranda defended his husband and the validity of his articles. He told The New York Times, “We are the antithesis of Bolsonaro. We’re everything they hate.”
After these new charges against Greenwald were announced on January 21, Greenwald said in his statement to The Daily Beast, “We will not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists. I am working right now on new reporting and will continue to do so. Many courageous Brazilians sacrificed their liberty and even life for Brazilian democracy and against repression, and I feel an obligation to continue their noble work.”
2. Miranda & Greenwald First Met By Chance On The Beach In 2005
In an interview with TIME, Miranda, 34, opened up about the fateful day he met the man who would become his husband. Nearly 15 years ago, Miranda accidentally knocked over a bystander’s drink while playing volleyball on Ipanema beach. The bystander was Greenwald, who at the time was in Brazil merely as a tourist.
The two struck up a conversation and the rest is history. With Greenwald’s support, Miranda returned to school to finish his education. He graduated from ESPM, a publicity and marketing school in Rio.
“We’ve been together ever since,” Miranda said. In addition to their two adopted sons, they have 25 rescue dogs.
3. Miranda Didn’t Get Involved In Politics Until Greenwald’s Explosive Article About Edward Snowden Was Published In 2013
Greenwald’s career as a journalist skyrocketed after he and his team at The Guardian, along with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, published the bombshell article that revealed evidence of the U.S.’s mass surveillance systems.
While catching a plane from London back to Rio, Miranda was detained by U.K. police for nine hours under their terrorism act laws. “After that, I was forced onto the front line,” Miranda said, and he started to get involved in local politics.
4. Miranda Was One Of The First Two Black & Gay Officials Elected To City Government, Along With Marielle Franco, But Is The Only One Still Alive
In 2016, along with Marielle Franco, a black gay woman, Miranda was elected to a seat on Rio de Janeiro’s city government. Together, they were the first black and openly gay candidates to be elected in Rio’s history.
Miranda and Franco quickly became friends and cohorts in transforming government policy. With Miranda’s Law, transgender people would be permitted to use their preferred names on official documents.
However, in March 2018, Franco, 38, was shot and killed, as was her driver. Franco was on her way home after giving a speech on black women’s rights, and her death made international headlines. While investigators arrested two former police officers for her death, Miranda said that wasn’t enough. “It’s not enough to know who pulled the trigger,” he said to The Daily Beast. “We need to know who ordered her death.”
“People always say Marielle became much more influential in her death, but if she was alive today I assure you she would be just as great,” Miranda continued. “She had such a bright future. I need to take everything she did and keep going forward.”
5. There Was An Outpouring Of Bilateral Support For Greenwald On Twitter Following Bolsonaro’s ‘Cybercrime’ Charges
The charges against Greenwald quickly became the No.1 trending topic on Twitter. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom Press, tweeted, “Oh my god, this is beyond disturbing. The Bolsonaro regime has charged journalist @ggreenwald with ‘cybercrimes’ for publishing stories showing widespread corruption in Brazil.”
Vox writer Ezra Klein tweeted, “Like others, I’ve had my disagreements with @ggreenwald over the years. But this isn’t the time for those. The Bolsonaro government’s effort to intimidate and threaten him is chilling. Everyone who cares about press freedom anywhere should denounce it.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted, “Important context for the arrest of
@ggreenwald — Brazilian President Bolsonaro has been threatening Greenwald for a long time because of his aggressive and excellent journalism.”