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The innocent have nothing to fear?

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, August 21st, 2013 - 18 comments
Categories: newspapers, Spying, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

Forget the hypotheticals – the likely future for journalism under the GCSB Bill was revealed in Britain when David Miranda, partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained by British police for nine hours under Britain’s Terrorism Act while in transit through London on his way home to Brazil.

He was questioned by a relay of six officers, all his electronic equipment was confiscated. After the nine hour limit this “terrorist” was released into Britain! All because his partner has been the journalist who wrote about the revelations about internet surveillance provided by Edward Snowden.

The White House said the British government took the decision to detain Miranda. No 10 initially refused to comment, saying it was an operational matter for the police. Later in the day they admitted that both David Cameron and Theresa May, the Home Office secretary, had been briefed beforehand.

Simon Jenkins’ comment is headed “So the innocent have nothing to fear? After David Miranda we know where this leads.” Too true, and from 12,000 miles away I fear too late. Time for all the media to wake up though.

 [Bunji: also note GCHQ in the UK destroying Guardian hard drives – despite the pointlessness of the action in these days of the cloud. As they told the editor: “You’ve had your debate, there’s no need to write any more.”]

18 comments on “The innocent have nothing to fear?”

  1. Bill 1

    My first reaction when I read about Miranda the other day was that the authorities were principally attempting to create a diversion. Surely, there is no way on this earth that Miranda would have been carrying any information pertinent to Snowdon’s revelations? And surely the ‘security’ services are smart enough to realise that too.

    However, having failed to smear Snowdon or make him the center of attention, plan ‘B’ may well revolve around attempts to make Greenwald and ‘the Guardian the story, rather than the revelations. And if they can follow up with some dirt on Greenwald or his partner and make it stick in some people’s minds, then hey…

    Looking at the Guardian yesterday and today, if that was the intent, it seems to have borne some fruit. The banners are all on Miranda and the editor of the Guardian, Rusbridger, explaining why he’d rather destroy hard drives than surrender them (…should have named the fcking agents or representatives who turned up at the Guardian offices imo, but anyway…). Again – the ‘security’ services know full damned well that it not the case that a pile of information sits on one unique hard drive.

    My mind goes back to the initial interviews with Snowdon and the effort he made (unlike Assange) to ensure that he was not going to be the story and that the focus was on the information he had provided. And I hope this latest episode isn’t the beginnings of the focus being shifted or diluted.

    • karol 1.1

      Diversion, but also intimidation.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Miranda was certainly intimidated. But Greenwald? He seems to be a guy who acts from heart felt conviction. And the thing with conviction is that attempts to intimidate usually backfire. I believe Greenwald has intimated that to be the case in this instance.

        • Colonial Viper

          as someone else has already written, even the Italian mafia had rules against targeting the loved ones of enemies.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Surely, there is no way on this earth that Miranda would have been carrying any information pertinent to Snowdon’s revelations? And surely the ‘security’ services are smart enough to realise that too.

      Miranda had just spent a week with the film maker Laura Poitras who was with Edward Snowden in HK alongside Glenn Greenwald.

      Miranda was physically couriering USB sticks and HDDs containing sets of Snowden documents between Poitras and Greenwald.

      I understand that all those electronic storage devices were heavily encrypted but I guess the spooks who confiscated Miranda’s gear are having a go at it now.

      • Bill 1.2.1

        I know Miranda had visited Poitras. But the idea that he was couriering sensitive info just beggars belief. As every competent drug smuggler knows, you get some ‘off the radar’ type to do the couriering.

        From what I’ve read, Miranda had no idea what was on the sticks. My punt is that they are either blank or full of smash and that ‘Granny McTavish’ was couriering anything of worth.

  2. Curtis 2

    I’m more scared of the police than Al Qaeda

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      i generally like the police but they have shot far more people in NZ without reason than AQ has…

  3. tracey 3

    Collins and banks sound like they have stuff to hide such is their outrage and the chance their emails could be read.

  4. Don’t be surprised if the Nat’s suddenly “discover ‘ emails etc that give them a reason to postpone the next election. It would not be the first time .The National Government under the Ghastly Fascist like Sidney Holland did just that in 1951,

    • Daveosaurus 4.1

      Not so. They actually brought the election forward – it wasn’t due until 1952.

      What Sid Holland did was what Muldoon did in 1981 – basically trolled (in the Internet sense of the word) the electorate. In 1952, they were dumb enough to believe it. In 1981, almost enough of the electorate saw through Muldoon, who only scraped into power that year by suborning Bruce Beetham’s support.

  5. vto 6

    Well that’s it then.

    The fucking gestapo are back, just as we all suspected.

    heil heil heil



  6. When as a 15 year old I visited what was then Czechoslovakia. The Prague spring (Hmmm) had just been brutally beaten down by the Russian army. The big king Wensceslas square was grey, sombre and the only things shining in the walls of the huge buildings was the newly exposed stone surface from the bullets impacting when they shot peacefully protesting Citizens. In one corner there was a black patch of burned walkway were Jan Palach had burned himself in protest.

    We met with our hosts and they made sure we got some local currency cheap and we gave them their presents; stockings and chocolate.

    When we went for a local dinner we stopped all conversations in the village restaurant/inn as strangers were at all times regarded with the utmost paranoia.

    When we left we were stopped at the border. It was late in the afternoon and there was 30 cm of snow. Our entire car was emptied and every suitcase was emptied and when the soviet soldiers where done we where left to repack everything and it was bitterly cold.

    Why were we a young family of tourists forced to unpack our car and go through this thoroughly humiliating showdown? Well, Ludmilla and her son Honza (John) were known activists and we stayed in their cottage outside of Prague and they were watching everybody.

    You see being watched doesn’t necessarily mean the target gets arrested when they do something wrong but their partner might find that all of a sudden don’t have a job anymore because his boss got a phone call from a stranger saying that the partner is a “troublemaker” or their friends get arrested and harassed when coming away from a visit to that political blogger.

    Spying is not about confronting a person about a perceived crime. It is about fear, social isolation and controlling the paradigm. It is about people being destroyed not by open persecution but manipulating them into grinding poverty and isolation and destruction of communities and about forcing people into the dysfunctionality of groupthink.

    It is insidious, secretive and toxic. It is about using toxic shame and trauma and causing the victims of this frightening stalking technique to succomb to PTSD. Trust me there are things way worse than being confronted by the police because they think you did something bad.

    To slowly find your friends fading away, your partner losing his job because of your opinions and to loose everything you thought was yours while nobody tells you why that is? That is what is really scary!

    • vto 7.1

      Well said travellerev, very well said and reminded.

      Of course that soviet-bloc action by those soldiers etc you describe above has just been exactly replicated by the British here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow

      It is here folks. Dark soviet and Nazi era ways and means are operating within British and US society right now today. By easy lead that means us too.

      Be wary, watch out, know that everything is being recorded. Know that you cannot trust authority.

      The British are the new soviets
      The Americans the new Nazis

      The proof is unassailable…….

      F E A R . . .

      • travellerev 7.1.1

        Thanks VTO,

        I stopped blogging and gone to ground so to speak. I have too much at stake at the moment to even want to be part of this anymore. I also forked out for this https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/ . I’m not saying that this is the one but my brother in law’s been using it for yonks and I trust him.

        • Sable

          My advice, steer clear of this kind of technology. It will just attract attention and then they will really start looking at you.

          Best advice, keep internet use simple. So sad to have to say that btw…..

    • Tracey 7.2

      Agreed, people who think that this is just about stopping terrorists are the real naïve in all this. Thought we might have heard from the RSA during all this. Afterall they died for our freedom.

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