Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Glenn Greenwald Has Some Harsh Words for Brookings

In one of his recent pieces, journalist Glenn Greenwald, who became widely known for his reporting on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, attacked Hillary Clinton and her choice of venue (the Brookings Institution) for her recent speech on Iran.  Here is more:
Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this morning delivered a foreign policy speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By itself, the choice of the venue was revealing.
Brookings served as Ground Zero for centrist think tank advocacy of the Iraq War, which Clinton (along with potential rival Joe Biden) notoriously and vehemently advocated. Brookings’ two leading “scholar”-stars — Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon — spent all of 2002 and 2003 insisting that invading Iraq was wise and just, and spent the years after that assuring Americans that the “victorious” war and subsequent occupation were going really well... 
Since then, O’Hanlon in particular has advocated for increased military force in more countries than one can count. That’s not surprising: Brookings is funded in part by one of the Democratic Party’s favorite billionaires, Haim Saban, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Israel and once said of himself: “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” Pollack advocated for the attack on Iraq while he was “Director of Research of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.” Saban became the Democratic Party’s largest fundraiser — even paying $7 million for the new DNC building — and is now a very substantial funder of Hillary Clinton’s campaign...
So the hawkish Brookings is the prism through which Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy worldview can be best understood. The think tank is filled with former advisers to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and would certainly provide numerous top-level foreign policy officials in any Hillary Clinton administration. As she put it today at the start: “There are a lot of long-time friends and colleagues who perch here at Brookings.”

In the piece, Greenwald links to a Think Tank Watch story about the Saban Center at Brookings.  Here is a 2007 from Mother Jones entitled "Glenn Greenwald Will Not Be Hired by Brookings Anytime Soon."

This is not the first time that Mr. Greenwald has had harsh words for Brookings.  Awhile back he said that the think tank "demands servile journalism."  More generally, as Think Tank Watch recently noted, he said that some of the planet's worst people are housed at think tanks (without singling out any one think tank).

That leaves us wondering if Glenn Greenwald likes any think tanks.

In related think tank/Iran news, a variety of other Iran-related speeches/talks were given at think tanks, including former Vice President Dick Cheney's talk at the American Enterprise Institute (which faced several protest incidents), and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP).