The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) released a video of Glenn Greenwald's keynote address last weekend during the organization's 17th-annual Faith in Freedom banquet at the Anaheim Hilton.
For all those not in attendance, the journalist who first exposed the massive surveillance of the National Security Agency (NSA) earlier this year through interviews with whistleblower Edward Snowden in The Guardian, was not physically in attendance himself as he would have like to have been.
“I'm really sorry that I'm not able to be there in person,” he stated in his videotaped remarks that came after a compiled highlight reel of media appearance. “If we had a government that could be relied upon to protect basic press freedoms, I would be there with you tonight. Unfortunately, we don't have that kind of government so I'm not.”
Greenwald's keynote presumably pre-taped in his home of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, checked in at just under shy of twenty minutes addressing issues of civil liberties in the Muslim American community and beyond. He relished all the haters who wrote screeds leading up to his speech asking if the journalist “hates America” saying if he didn't garner such “accolades” he wouldn't be adequately doing his job.
The journalist also had kind words for those who invited him. “There's no more patriotic work than the work that CAIR does which is defending the civil liberties of American Muslims,” Greenwald said, “which in reality is tantamount to defending the core constitutional liberties of all Americans.”
As mentioned before, Greenwald's potent series of articles regarding NSA spying activities carried out in the United States and abroad with more gusto than a Facebook stalker first appeared in The Guardian. He has since left the UK-based newspaper to start a joint media venture with colleagues Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Though the venue has changed, expect more of the same. “I'm not afraid at all,” Greenwald remarked about his reporting in bringing the keynote to a close.
“The reason why I'm not afraid is because there are huge numbers of people around the world who are engaging in similar defenses of civil liberties and core political principles under far greater dangers than the ones that I faced.”
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz