Monday, 19 August 2013

Thought Crime

The reaction to the appalling treatment of David Miranda at Heathrow yesterday gathers apace. Someone calling himself RepoManCometh posted this online:

‘We endlessly drone on about human rights violations in places like Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan. What about this blatant violation at Heathrow? Detaining somebody for a thought crime? How very Orwellian.
As far as I'm concerned the UK just violated every single charter on human rights to which it's a signatory. The hypocrisy here is really spectacular.’ Comment is Free, Guardian

It is not surprising to read the reaction from a senior journalist at the Guardian. 

“Miranda's phone and laptop were confiscated and he was held incommunicado, without access to friends or lawyer, for the maximum nine hours allowed under law. It is the airport equivalent of smashing into someone's flat, rifling through their drawers and stealing papers and documents. It is simple harassment and intimidation.

Greenwald himself is not know to have committed any offence, unless journalism is now a "terrorist" occupation in the eyes of British and American politicians. As for Miranda, his only offence seems to have been to be part of his family. Harassing the family of those who have upset authority is the most obscene form of state terrorism.

Last month, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, airily excused the apparently illegal hoovering of internet traffic by British and American spies on the grounds that "the innocent have nothing to fear," the motto of police states down the ages. Hague's apologists explained that he was a nice chap really, but that relations with America trumped every libertarian card.

The hysteria of the "war on terror" is now corrupting every area of democratic government. It extends from the arbitrary selection of drone targets to the quasi-torture of suspects, the intrusion on personal data and the harassing of journalists' families. The disregard of statutory oversight – in Britain's case pathetically inadequate – is giving western governments many of the characteristics of the enemies they profess to oppose. (my emphasis)

How Putin must be rubbing his hands with glee.” Simon Jenkins, Guardian 19/8/13

In a factual article the Telegraph had the following from Amnesty International:

‘Widney Brown, Amnesty International's senior director of international law and policy, said: "It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his partner has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance.”
"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.”
"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 partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analysing the data released by Edward Snowden."

Stalin would have approved, as would the Stasi. And as for Putin? Hand rubbing plus.

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