Aug 202013
 August 20, 2013  Govt, Surveillance

Nicholas Watt and Rowena Mason of The Guardian report that the UK government is defending its detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner at Heathrow airport, claiming he had “highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism”.

Amid calls from across the political spectrum for a fuller explanation of the treatment of Miranda at Heathrow after a detailed statement from the White House, the Home Office made clear that his nine-hour detention was fully justified on the grounds that he was carrying leaked documents.

Read more on The Guardian.

And their suspicion that led to his detention was based on … exactly what? Before he was detained, did UK officials know he had been meeting with Laura Poitras in Germany? It appears they did, which means that he had been under surveillance.

That governments may be desperate to find out what files Greenwald and others possess is understandable. To detain and threaten relatives or friends or to seize their electronics should make everyone concerned. We’ve seen this with Bradley Manning’s friend, David Maurice House, we’ve seen it with Barrett Brown’s mother, and now with Glenn Greenwald’s partner. Unlike the first two situations, there seems to be tad more justification (for suspicion, not seizure) in Miranda’s case, as  The Guardian paid for Miranda’s travel tickets. So Miranda may not be a journalist or employee of The Guardian, but his involvement may be a bit more than most family members of journalists. But does that justify his detention and seizure of his electronics? <del>Maybe. Maybe not.</del> No.

Perhaps the government wishes us to be reassured that they will stop at nothing to protect our national security, but their actions do not inspire this blogger with confidence. To the contrary, we are teetering on the edge of a fascist cliff, I fear.

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