Background on Glenn Greenwald for Guardian readers: ‘sock puppets’ & ‘smart spam’

While the Guardian claimed they cut their ties with Josh Trevino over an ethical breach, the bullying by anti-Zionist extremists such as Ali Abunimah, who objected to Trevino’s unapologetic opposition to Islamist terrorists and their supporters, was clearly the main reason.

Either way, I thought it would be fair to provide an occasional glimpse into the background of Glenn Greenwald, the other U.S. contributor who the Guardian hired along with Trevino.

While we will spend a good deal of time, in subsequent posts, exposing Greenwald’s history of extreme anti-Zionist (and anti-American) commentary, including explicitly antisemitic narratives about the injurious effects of Jewish power on US policy, here’s a glimpse into an almost comical ethical breach by Greenwald which caused quite a stir back in 2006.

(First, a “sock puppet” in internet-speak is a reference to a false identity assumed by a member of an online community who spoke about himself while pretending to be another person.)

Here’s a good summary of the Greenwald ‘sock puppet’ scandal, as reported by the blog, Ace of Spades‘.

Shawn (at the blog, ‘Sky is Red’), started the ball rolling by noting that many of Glenn Greenwald’s on-line defenders seemed to use very similar languagecausing suspicion that these fake internet posters, or “sock-puppets,” were actually Glenn Greenwald himself.

A poster calling himself “Ellison,” defending Greenwald on this site, is found, conclusively, to have the same IP as Glenn Greenwald himself, posting on Patterico’s site. (Note: This article is written humorously, and is very long, because half of it is jokes. A briefer digest is available at Patterico’s, if you just want to get to the point. Read Patterico for the digest, read me for the jokes.)

Then more sock-puppets — “Thomas Ellers,” “Ryan,” and “Wilson” — were discovered on other websites, all somehow using Greenwald’s IP address.

Greenwald denies the charges with a vague insinuation his “magic friend” is obsessively trolling rightwing sites defending him under assumed names.

Another sock-puppet discovered, again obsessively defending Glenn Greenwald, this time under the name “Rick Ellensburg.” Worse yet, “Rick Ellensburg” is shown to use many of the same tics in writing style as Glenn Greenwald. (And of course he shares Greenwald’s IP as well.)

Even worse– the final nail in the coffin. While the previous post demonstrated “Rick Ellensburg” regurgitating Glenn Greenwald’s arguments, in his writing style, a closer examination shows he also PRE-gurgitates Glenn Greenwald’s arguments, writing comments very similar to Glenn Greenwald posts the day before Glenn Greenwald actually writes them on his blog.

Additional similarities in the writing style of Glenn Greenwald and his sock-puppets discovered, further undermining the already-preposterous claim that it is his “Magic Boyfriend” writing these posts.”

You can see a more thorough post on Greenwald’s sock puppetry at the blog, Patternico’s Pontifications.

Image courtesy of Patternico blog

Further, a few years later another incident occurred which raised questions about Greenwald’s relationship with the truth.

In 2010, blogger Adam Holland revealed that Greenwald ‘Liked’ conspiracy monger Alan Hart on his Facebook page.

As Holland noted, Hart believes (among other crazy conspiracy theories) “that, on 9/11, Israeli agents controlled the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center via remote control devices hidden in cell phones”, and  “that Israel stole nuclear weapons from a U.S. military base and intends to use them to destroy an American city.”

Greenwald responded at Holland’s blog, thus:

Holland replied to Greenwald’s bizarre reply by noting the following:

“Greenwald’s Facebook “likes” — the ones that all allegedly resulted from spam — included several anti-Zionists of an unsavory nature (Cynthia McKinney and Lew Rockwell stand out) but no Zionists.

He’s now taken the list from public to private on his profile. Or the Magical Mystery anti-Zionist Facebook spam is attacking again.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had mystery spam click a page ‘Like’ on Facebook which I didn’t approve.

Moreover, in the two incidents covered in this post, Greenwald’s explanations seem, at best, extremely implausible: ‘magical friends obsessively trolling right-wing sites’ and ‘mystery anti-Zionist Facebook spam’!

Stay tuned. It’s likely that the ethically challenged Greenwald may be the gift who keeps on giving. 

8 replies »

  1. Hart, it should also be noted, spouts the “Zionists are the [new] Nazis” trope.
    Greenwald, has also written(a few days ago, for the Guardian) a particularly egregious polemic on the subject of “Pussy Riot”, condemning the media(!) for daring to advocate on those poor girls’ behalf, due what he called “Double Standards”.
    Russian dissident, and Human Rights activist, Novodvorskaya, termed people like Greenwald “Treasonous fools to the Left ; Autocrats’ best friends”.
    Apparently, Greenwald is not too concerned with violations of Human Rights, provided the oppressor is as staunchly anti-American as He.(Russia in this case).
    Absurdity at its apex!

  2. They say the truth hurts the the likes of Glenn Greenwald wriggle out of the light and try to hid their posts the more they show themselve for what they are

  3. Glen Greenwald in short has so little respect for his public that he doesn’t bother to cover his tracks. Or is it that he wasn’t aware enough to understand that the way he behaved could betray his sock puppetry?

  4. Hi Adam,

    With regard to the post above, I just wanted to clarify something that I often wonder when reading this website. Do you think – as your criticism of Glenn Greenwald seems to suggest – that it’s de facto antisemitic to highlight the wealth, status and political influence of sections of the American Jewish community? Your criticism of Glenn Greenwald seems to suggest so.

    If so, I wondered what you made of these recent comments by Jane Eisner, the editor of The Forward, who called on the American Jewish community to acknowledge its “transition from a victimized minority to a group with extraordinary wealth, social status and political power.” (

    Does that also qualify as an antisemitic narrative? I ask because I’m genuinely curious and want to understand where you’re coming from.


    ps – I sincerely hope my question doesn’t prompt a barrage of abuse from others. Please note that I won’t be responding to anything of that nature, so it’s better not to waste your time! 🙂

    • “…Jane Eisner, the editor of The Forward, who called on the American Jewish community to acknowledge its ‘transition from a victimized minority to a group with extraordinary wealth, social status and political power.’ ”

      Truly obnoxious.

  5. Hi Chris,

    It’s not antisemitic of course to simply acknowledge that U.S. Jews have (with plenty of exceptions) attained success in America. However, as you’ll see from the Greenwald quotes I cited in my Times of Israel piece, and my analysis for JCPA, it’s antisemitic when you argue that Jewish power is dangerous or in some way injurious to the U.S. body politic. Greenwald has warned that Jewish power, and Jewish money, drives the US to pursue wars which it otherwise wouldn’t engage in. As I’ve argued, such tropes are indistinguishable from what’s found on the far right…such as Pat Buchanan. Please read my ToI or JCPA reports, and then I’d be happy to engage with you if you still doubt my characterization of Greenwald. Thanks.

    Here are a few essays I’ve written about him

    (jump to the Greenwald section of this long report, if you’d like to read more)

  6. If you have it flaunt it,whether it is extraordinary wealth,social status or political power…..there is no need to apologize for it.. …..every victimized minority on earth would love to have this kind of power….Use it…….