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Photos by: joanneleon. August 15, 2013.


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This post by Glenn Greenwald has, as of 8:15am Eastern, 22,612 Facebook shares, has been tweeted 13,600 times and has 3549 comments. Almost every comment is remarkably intelligent and sane, in stark contrast to what we see here whenever he or one of his stories is the topic of a diary. The difference is very noticeable. And this group of commenters is clearly international and Greenwald, long ago, asked the Guardian comment moderators to let things be, so there is little moderation too.  I saw one comment that looked like a concern troll ("the Russians!!") trying to divert attention ("don't be concerned about this, be concerned about this instead!") and it was the only comment with zero recommends and no threadjack.  The first couple of comments in the thread have thousands of recommends.  Many are very warm and supportive, others angry at what is happening to their countries. Go on over and read the comments today if you are sick and tired of trolls and craving some sanity. It will do your heart good.  This is the kind of commenting environment we will promote on our new site too.

Glenn Greenwald: detaining my partner was a failed attempt at intimidation
The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended

Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian's lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.

According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, "fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders" (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). Moreover, "most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour." An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.

The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used "to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."
David was unable to call me because his phone and laptop are now with UK authorities. So I don't yet know what they told him. But the Guardian's lawyer was able to speak with him immediately upon his release, and told me that, while a bit distressed from the ordeal, he was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance to me. I already share it, as I'm certain US and UK authorities will soon see.

Kevin Gosztola.

Greenwald: Brazil’s Intervention Likely Kept Partner from Being Charged Under UK Terrorism Law

“David is smart and strong,” Greenwald told Firedoglake. “But still, it was scary: Guardian lawyers were speculating all day that given how much time he was held – which is very rare – he’d possibly be arrested under a terrorism statute.”

“It’s speculation, but I think the only reason that didn’t happen was because Brazilian government at high levels intervened so aggressively and angrily,” Greenwald added.

Juan Cole.
Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship

How to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps:

1. Misuse the concept of a Top Secret government document (say, the date of D-Day) and extend classification to trillions of mundane documents a year.

2. Classify all government crimes and violations of the Constitution as secret

3. Create a class of 4.5 million privileged individuals, many of them corporate employees, with access to classified documents but allege it is illegal for public to see leaked classified documents


Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, databasing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planet while forestalling climate activism

Good gawd, even Peggy Noonan gets it.  Here's something you'll probably never see again. I'm going to link her.
Noonan: What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy A civil libertarian reflects on the dangers of the surveillance state.

A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."

Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies—firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance—they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.


“It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his husband has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance,” said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.
“David’s detention was unlawful and inexcusable. He was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be abused for petty vindictive reasons.”

He was detained under Schedule 7 of the UK terrorism Act of 2000, an extremely broad law which has repeatedly been criticized for making the abuse of individuals possible because it is so vague. So far, calls to reform the law have not been heeded.
“There is simply no basis for believing that David Michael Miranda presents any threat whatsoever to the UK government.  The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his husband, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analyzing the data released by Edward Snowden.”
"States cannot pass anti-terror acts and claim they are necessary to protect people from harm and then use them to retaliate against someone exercising his rights. By targeting Miranda and Greenwald, the government is also sending a message to other journalists that if they maintain their independence and report critically about governments, they too may be targeted."

Update:  Some more stories about the Miranda (won't it be ironic if some law about detention, rights, due process comes about in the UK as a result of this, even as our Miranda rights are systematically being eroded in the US?) situation.  A couple of these are from Guardian writers and it wouldn't surprise me if there are more as the day goes on. And all of this is happening as Europe and the UK is on August vacation, as is our Congress and many Americans.  Brazilian officials are also outraged, justifiably, especially so soon after the Bolivian president's plane was forced down in Europe.  I'll continue to add stories and columns that I find on the subject through the morning, and perhaps later in the day, just to collect them for readers and to document the event a bit.

Rowena Mason at the Guardian.  The Labour party in the UK has called for an investigation.

David Miranda detention: Labour demands review of anti-terror powers
Yvette Cooper's comments come after partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was held for nine hours at Heathrow

Labour has called for an urgent investigation into the use of anti-terror powers to detain David Miranda, the partner of a Guardian journalist who interviewed US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said ministers must find out whether anti-terror laws had been "misused", after Miranda was held for nine hours by authorities at Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act.

Greenslade at the Guardian.
Deafening press silence greets arrest of Guardian journalist's partner

The story got full measure on radio and TV news bulletins last night and this morning. So how did the rest of the British press cover this major story?
Well done therefore to the Daily Telegraph, which managed to get a mention in print from its second edition onwards [...] I couldn't find it in print in The Independent, but the paper's website gave it a big show. [...]  there was nothing in the former paper of record, The Times. And it wasn't even on its website as far as I could see.

The Daily Mail restricted its coverage to its website [...]

There was nothing in the Daily Express, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Financial Times.

Nine-hour detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner calls anti-terrorism law into question

The arrest and nine-hour detention of journalist Gleen Greenwald's partner at Heathrow Airport has driven home the potential for abuse of anti-terrorist laws. As reported yesterday, David Miranda was stopped and questioned by police under a rarely-used British terrorism statute that allows people entering the country to be stopped without reasonable suspicion. According to government figures, only 3 in every 10,000 people are stopped under the law, and of those, 97 percent are released within an hour. But Miranda was held for the full nine hours allowed under the law, after which police confiscated his phone, laptop, camera, and other electronics. The New York Times reports that among the items seized were encrypted flash drives containing files from Laura Poitras, who has been working with Greenwald and Edward Snowden to distribute leaked documents; his trip was also paid for by The Guardian.

In the wake of Miranda's detention, critics have demanded answers from the British government. Greenwald has kept a running list of responses, including calls for reform within the government. Home Affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz has asked police for an account of the event, asking whether the law was being applied inappropriately. "It certainly is a surprise to me, as someone who was in parliament when this act was passed, that it can be used in circumstances that don't relate in any way to terrorism."

Glenn is running a liveblog today. Go check this out. It's impressive. Also, the Guardian, as we've seen before, has invested in some software to run these live blogs and format them and it's quite impressive.  It's just filled with both breaking news and links to reference pieces.
Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow - reaction
Rolling coverage of the reaction to the detention of David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's partner, at Heathrow under terrorist legislation

The use of terror legislation to detain David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has broken a series of stories about mass internet surveillance by the US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, for almost nine hours at Heathrow on Sunday, is generating a storm of protest.

The key facts of the case are set out in today’s Guardian splash.

The headline on the huge all CAPS Huffpo headline splash for this story is "GREENWALD VOWS VENGEANCE: SAYS 'ENGLAND WILL BE SORRY'" and in the story it says that Miranda was only released after he started shouting in the airport lounge.  Greenwald is arguing over the translation of what he said (it was in Portugese).
Glenn Greenwald To Publish UK Secrets After Britain Detains Partner

"I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did," Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese, told reporters at Rio's airport where he met Miranda upon his return to Brazil.

"They wanted to intimidate our journalism, to show that they have power and will not remain passive but will attack us more intensely if we continue publishing their secrets," he said.

Miranda told reporters that six British agents questioned him continuously about all aspects of his life during his detention in a room at Heathrow airport. He said he was freed and returned his passport only when he started shouting in the airport lounge.

From the Guardian liveblog. Lib Dems put out a milquetoast response (not surprising, they are in coalition with the Tories running the govt.) but still question it at least.

Guardian Liveblog

The Lib Dems have finally put out a line about the detention of David Miranda. This is from a party spokesman.

It is important that the police use these powers [schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act] proportionately and for good reason. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation has already asked for more information on this incident and we will wait to hear his conclusions.
Unsurprisingly, it's much the same as the line Sir Menzies Campbell was taking earlier. (See 2.32pm.)
BREMMER: The UK And US Are Likely Preparing To Indict Journalist Glenn Greenwald Over Snowden Leaks

One initial theory about the detainment in the Twittersphere was that UK authorities were trying to hassle and harass Greenwald, who is obviously the bane of secrecy-loving government authorities these days.

But this morning, geo-political expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group suggested that the motive was far more serious.

Assholish article in Wonkette. Again, not surprising from them.

The Reuters article has a picture of Greenwald and Miranda, who looks really tired and worn out.  Not surprising since they grabbed him at about 3:30am Eastern, yesterday, and six British agents interrogated him, at times simultaneously, for nine straight hours.  I believe that these quotes were all spoken in Portugese and I think it's fair to ask for Greenwald's English translation in addition to this translation, presumably by someone else.

Snowden journalist to publish UK secrets after Britain detains partner

"I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England too. I have many documents on England's spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did," Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese, told reporters at Rio's airport where he met Miranda upon his return to Brazil.

"They wanted to intimidate our journalism, to show that they have power and will not remain passive but will attack us more intensely if we continue publishing their secrets," he said.

Miranda told reporters that six British agents questioned him continuously about all aspects of his life during his detention in a room at Heathrow airport. He said he was freed and returned his passport only when he started shouting in the airport lounge.


Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

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