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British Death Threats, Journalist Intimidation and Internment

category international | anti-war | opinion/analysis author Tuesday August 20, 2013 04:33author by brionOcleirigh - AllVoices Report this post to the editors

Brutish Human Rights

The detention of David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald, a Guardian journalist, at London’s Heathrow airport, coupled with death threats relayed by agents aligned with Britain's secret services, to an Irish Human Rights activist and journalist, covering the internment of Martin Corey in British Occupied Ireland, marks a new low in Britain's brutish abuse of Human Rights.

Brutish Human Rights
Brutish Human Rights

The detention of David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald, a Guardian journalist, at London’s Heathrow airport, coupled with death threats relayed by agents aligned with Britain's secret services, to an Irish Human Rights activist and journalist, covering the internment of Martin Corey in British Occupied Ireland, marks a new low in Britain's brutish abuse of Human Rights.

The British government needs to clarify immediately why it detained Miranda for nine hours and where these death threats to the Irish journalist were issued from, precisely . The British also confiscated the journalist's electronic equipment. The British Secret Services also need to clarify, who exactly issued these orders and death threats.

The Irish journalist, who is also a human Rights activist was told that he would be "whacked' if he did not stop covering the internment without trial of Irish political activists and in particular Martin Corey. He was also told to cease calling for a boycott of all British goods because of Human Rights abuses in British Occupied Ireland.

David Mepham, UK director at Human Rights Watch, said, “It’s incredible that Miranda was considered to be a terrorist suspect. His detention looks intended to intimidate Greenwald and other journalists who report on surveillance abuses.”

British Secret Services held Miranda at the airport for nine hours the maximum time allowed under the UK Terrorism Act of 2000. The law also allows for immigration stops, even in the absence of reasonable suspicion. Human Rights Watch has consistently criticized British terrorism laws for being overly broad, allowing police to carry out stops on British streets, without suspicion, already severely criticised, by the European Court of Human Rights.

In British Occupied Ireland perfectly innocent people are being interned without trial. In the instance of Martin Corey who has been politically interned more than three years, having being incarcerated previously for almost twenty years. While censorship of journalists, has always been a major factor in British Occupied Ireland. Greenwald and the Guardian report, that the British Secret Service at Heathrow confiscated equipment, including mobile phone, camera, laptop, , DVDs, memory sticks and consoles. Human Rights Watch have demanded that the equipment and the data be immediately returned.

Greenwald said officials questioned his partner about his extensive reporting on surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). Greenwald said his partner Miranda, was in transit to his home in Brazil after being in Berlin, where he had stayed with a journalist colleague on the NSA story. The Guardian newspapers said it paid for the trip.

The UK director of Human Rights Watch, also said; “UK lawmakers should urgently demand answers from the government. Who authorized this detention and was it at the request of the United States? Parliament should also review this power to determine whether it is inherently abusive of rights.The confiscation of Miranda’s equipment seems a flagrant misuse of the UK Terrorism Act to snoop on the legitimate work of a journalist.”

British State Terrorism has already been involved in the murder of journalists, Human Rights Lawyers, police men and women, soldiers and politicians in Ireland.Because of these considerable Human Rights abuses by the British Government over a considerable number of years there are now calls for an international Boycott of all British goods and services. The publ;ic are asked for their help to publicize this Boycott by resharing on Facebook and re-tweeting the Boycott.

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com

Caption: The Concentration Camp is a British Invention.


author by brionOcleirigh - AllVoicespublication date Tue Aug 20, 2013 16:24Report this post to the editors

David Miranda: 'They Said I Would be Put in Jail if I Didn't Co-operate'

Partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald gives his first interview on nine-hour interrogation at Heathrow airport

By Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro

August 20, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "The Guardian" - David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian journalist who broke stories of mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency, has accused Britain of a "total abuse of power" for interrogating him for almost nine hours at Heathrow under the Terrorism Act.

In his first interview since returning to his home in Rio de Janeiro early on Monday, Miranda said the authorities in the UK had pandered to the US in trying to intimidate him and force him to reveal the passwords to his computer and mobile phone.

"They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn't co-operate," said Miranda. "They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK … It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong."

Miranda – a Brazilian national who lives with Greenwald in Rio – was held for the maximum time permitted under schedule seven of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas.

During that time, he said, he was not allowed to call his partner, who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language.

"I was in a different country with different laws, in a room with seven agents coming and going who kept asking me questions. I thought anything could happen. I thought I might be detained for a very long time," he said.

He was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Miranda was seized almost as soon as his British Airways flight touched down on Sunday morning. "There was an announcement on the plane that everyone had to show their passports. The minute I stepped out of the plane they took me away to a small room with four chairs and a machine for taking fingerprints," he recalled.

His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well two newly bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.

"They got me to tell them the passwords for my computer and mobile phone," Miranda said. "They said I was obliged to answer all their questions and used the words 'prison' and 'station' all the time."

"It is clear why they took me. It's because I'm Glenn's partner. Because I went to Berlin. Because Laura lives there. So they think I have a big connection," he said. "But I don't have a role. I don't look at documents. I don't even know if it was documents that I was carrying. It could have been for the movie that Laura is working on."

Miranda was told he was being detained under the Terrorism Act. He was never accused of being a terrorist or being associated with terrorists, but he was told that if – after nine hours – his interrogators did not think he was being co-operative, then he could be taken to a police station and put in jail.

"This law shouldn't be given to police officers. They use it to get access to documents or people that they cannot get the legal way through courts or judges," said Miranda. "It's a total abuse of power."

He was offered a lawyer and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities. The questions, he said, were relentless – about Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras and a host of other apparently random subjects.

"They even asked me about the protests in Brazil, why people were unhappy and who I knew in the government," said Miranda.

He got his first drink – from a Coke machine in the corridor – after eight hours and was eventually released almost an hour later. Police records show he had been held from 08.05 to 17.00.

Unable immediately to find a flight for him back to Rio, Miranda says the Heathrow police then escorted him to passport control so he could enter Britain and wait there.

"It was ridiculous," he said. "First they treat me like a terrorist suspect. Then they are ready to release me in the UK."

Although he believes the British authorities were doing the bidding of the US, Miranda says his view of the UK has completely changed as a result of the experience.

"I have friends in the UK and liked to visit, but you can't go to a country where they have laws that allow the abuse of liberty for nothing," he said.

The White House on Monday insisted that it was not involved in the decision to detain Miranda, though a spokesman said US officials had been given a "heads up" by British officials beforehand.

The Brazilian government has expressed grave concern about the "unjustified" detention.

Speaking by phone from the couple's home in the Tijuca forest, Miranda said it felt "awesome" to be back. "It's really good to be here. I felt the weight lift off my shoulders as soon I got back. Brazil feels very secure, very safe," he said. "I knew my country would protect me, and I believe in my husband and knew that he would do anything to help me."

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
author by brionOcleirigh - AllVoicespublication date Tue Aug 20, 2013 16:26Report this post to the editors

Journalism Under Threat:
The Day Agents Came and Smashed Our Hard Drives

By Alan Rusbridger
Guardian Editor

David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face

As the events in a Heathrow transit lounge – and the Guardian offices – have shown, the threat to journalism is real and growing

August 20, 2013 "Information Clearing House - "The Guardian" - In a private viewing cinema in Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me – thanking Keller for "not giving a shit" – used to be Malcolm Tucker, a foul-mouthed Scottish spin doctor who will soon be a 1,000-year-old time lord. And Keller will correct me, but I don't remember ever swearing at him. I do remember saying something to the effect of "we have the thumb drive, you have the first amendment".

The fictional moment occurs at the beginning of the DreamWorks film about WikiLeaks, The Fifth Estate, due for release next month. Peter Capaldi is, I can report, a very plausible Guardian editor.

This real-life exchange with Keller happened just after we took possession of the first tranche of WikiLeaks documents in 2010. I strongly suspected that our ability to research and publish anything to do with this trove of secret material would be severely constrained in the UK. America, for all its own problems with media laws and whistleblowers, at least has press freedom enshrined in a written constitution. It is also, I hope, unthinkable that any US government would attempt prior restraint against a news organisation planning to publish material that informed an important public debate, however troublesome or embarrassing.

On Sunday morning David Miranda, the partner of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, was detained as he was passing through Heathrow airport on his way back to Rio de Janeiro, where the couple live. Greenwald is the reporter who has broken most of the stories about state surveillance based on the leaks from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Greenwald's work has undoubtedly been troublesome and embarrassing for western governments. But, as the debate in America and Europe has shown, there is considerable public interest in what his stories have revealed about the right balance between security, civil liberties, freedom of speech and privacy. He has raised acutely disturbing questions about the oversight of intelligence; about the use of closed courts; about the cosy and secret relationship between government and vast corporations; and about the extent to which millions of citizens now routinely have their communications intercepted, collected, analysed and stored.

In this work he is regularly helped by David Miranda. Miranda is not a journalist, but he still plays a valuable role in helping his partner do his journalistic work. Greenwald has his plate full reading and analysing the Snowden material, writing, and handling media and social media requests from around the world. He can certainly use this back-up. That work is immensely complicated by the certainty that it would be highly unadvisable for Greenwald (or any other journalist) to regard any electronic means of communication as safe. The Guardian's work on the Snowden story has involved many individuals taking a huge number of flights in order to have face-to-face meetings. Not good for the environment, but increasingly the only way to operate. Soon we will be back to pen and paper.

Miranda was held for nine hours under schedule 7 of the UK's terror laws, which give enormous discretion to stop, search and question people who have no connection with "terror", as ordinarily understood. Suspects have no right to legal representation and may have their property confiscated for up to seven days. Under this measure – uniquely crafted for ports and airport transit areas – there are none of the checks and balances that apply once someone is in Britain proper. There is no need to arrest or charge anyone and there is no protection for journalists or their material. A transit lounge in Heathrow is a dangerous place to be.

Miranda's professional status – much hand-wringing about whether or not he's a proper "journalist – is largely irrelevant in these circumstances. Increasingly, the question about who deserves protection should be less "is this a journalist?" than "is the publication of this material in the public interest?"

The detention of Miranda has rightly caused international dismay because it feeds into a perception that the US and UK governments – while claiming to welcome the debate around state surveillance started by Snowden – are also intent on stemming the tide of leaks and on pursuing the whistleblower with a vengeance. That perception is right. Here follows a little background on the considerable obstacles being placed in the way of informing the public about what the intelligence agencies, governments and corporations are up to.

A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."

During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route – by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the US, was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the UK. But my experience over WikiLeaks – the thumb drive and the first amendment – had already prepared me for this moment. I explained to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?

The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London. The seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald's work.

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like "when".

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges.

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
author by brionOcleirigh - AllVoicespublication date Tue Aug 20, 2013 16:33Report this post to the editors

Nicholas Watt, and Adam Gabbatt in New York

The Guardian, Tuesday 20 August 2013
"Britain is facing intense pressure to give a detailed explanation of the decision to detain the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald after the White House confirmed that it was given a "heads up" before David Miranda was taken into custody for nine hours at Heathrow.

As the UK's anti-terrorism legislation watchdog called for an overhaul of the laws that allowed police to confiscate Miranda's electronic equipment, the US distanced itself by saying British authorities took the decision to detain him.

The intervention by the White House will put pressure on Downing Street, which declined to comment on the detention of Miranda on the grounds that it was a police operational matter and added that the Met would decide whether its officers had acted in a proportionate manner.

The No 10 position was immediately challenged by David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, who described the detention as unusual and said decisions about proportionality were not ultimately for the police. He told Radio 4's The World at One: "The police, I'm sure, do their best. But at the end of the day there is the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which can look into the exercise of this power, there are the courts and there is my function."

Last night, the Metropolitan police, which is due to meet with Anderson today, issued a statement in which it said the detention was "legally and procedurally sound". The statement said: "The procedure was reviewed throughout to ensure the examination was both necessary and proportionate. Our assessment is that the use of the power in this case was legally and procedurally sound."

It added: "As with any power, it is important that it is used appropriately and proportionately. There are a number of safeguards in place to ensure this happens."

Miranda, a Brazilian national who lives with Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro, described his nine hours' detention - the maximum time allowed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He said: "They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn't co-operate. They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK ... It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong."

The prospect of an investigation by the IPCC is likely to have been enhanced by the disclosure that the US authorities were given advanced notice of Miranda's detention after his name appeared on a passenger manifest. Miranda was detained at Heathrow on Sunday morning as he flew home from Berlin to Rio.

During his trip to Berlin, Miranda met Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has been working with Greenwald and the Guardian. The Guardian paid for Miranda's flights. Miranda is not a Guardian employee but often assists Greenwald in his work.

Josh Earnest, the principal deputy White House press secretary, said at the daily briefing: "There was a heads up that was provided by the British government. This is something that we had an indication was likely to occur but it is not something that we requested. It was something that was done specifically by the British law enforcement officials. This is an independent British law enforcement decision that was made."

Earnest had earlier said: "This is a decision that was made by the British government without the involvement - and not at the request - of the United States government. It is as simple as that."

The White House spokesman confirmed that Britain alerted the US authorities after Miranda's name appeared on a passenger manifest of a flight from Berlin to Heathrow on Sunday morning. "I think that is an accurate interpretation of what a heads up is," Earnest said.

He would not rule out whether the US authorities had been passed any information from Miranda's electronic equipment seized at Heathrow, which included his phone, laptop, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles. "I'm not in a position to do that right now," Earnest replied.

Miranda said he was questioned by six agents on his "entire life" while held at Heathrow. Arriving at Rio de Janeiro airport yesterday, Miranda said: "There were six different agents coming and going. They asked questions about my entire life, about everything. They took my computer, video game, mobile phone, my memory card. Everything."

In the World at One interview, Anderson said only 40 of the 60,000 to 70,000 people questioned under schedule 7 were detained for more than six hours. "You can see what an unusual case this was if it is correct that Mr Miranda was held right up to nine-hour limit," Anderson said.

The government is proposing, on the basis of a recommendation from Anderson, to reduce the maximum detention period from nine to six hours.

Anderson added: "At the moment anybody can be stopped under this power. There is no need for the police to believe they are a terrorist or to suspect they are a terrorist. The only reason they can talk to them is in order to determine whether they are a terrorist. It seems to me there is a question to be answered about whether it should be possible to detain somebody - to keep them for six hours, to download their mobile phone - without the need for any suspicion at all. I hope at least it is something parliament will look at."

Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the commons home affairs select committee, wrote to the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, to ask him who took the decision to detain Miranda. Vaz, who said his committee would examine the use of the law used as part of an inquiry into terrorism, said: "This is an extraordinary twist to an already complex story. It is right that the police have these powers but it is important that they are used appropriately."

The White House's explanation contrasted with the attitude of Downing Street, which declined to answer questions on the grounds that it was an operational matter. The prime minister's spokesman said: "The government takes all necessary steps to protect the public from individuals who pose a threat to national security. Schedule 7, which was used in this case, forms an essential part of the UK's border security arrangements."

David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, said the Home Office should issue a detailed response in light of the White House disclosure. Davis told the Guardian: "I find it wholly implausible that the Metropolitan Police would have taken such a decision and somehow notify the White House but not notify the home secretary ... Therefore the government has to say what was going on here. We are a country where freedom of speech and freedom of movement are fundamental and that is never more true when you are talking about journalists holding the light up to the actions of government."

The Liberal Democrats indicated they would be looking for assurances that police had acted in a proportionate manner. A spokesperson said: "The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation has already asked for more information on this incident and we will wait to hear his conclusions.""

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
author by Brian Clarke - AllVoicespublication date Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:49Report this post to the editors

The British government's attempts to stem the tide of articles on mass surveillance and political internment without trial have gone beyond intimidating the journalist behind the publications. Just a day after Glenn Greenwald's partner was detained at Heathrow airport, The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, came forward describing how the authorities pressured the newspaper to destroy documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Mr. Rusbridger has explained why he gave in to pressure from government agents, and destroyed hard-drives carrying information obtained from Edward Snowden.

Churchill on Nazis
Churchill on Nazis

Caption: Snowden data destruction won't harm our reporting' - Guardian


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