So this story just makes me feel miserable:
The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.
David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 — over 97% — last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.
Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
The UK isn’t exactly known for respecting free speech, but this kind of intimidation is petty tyrannical crap.
And this detail in HuffPo‘s coverage didn’t help my mood:
Miranda was coming from Berlin, where, the Guardian said, he had stayed with Laura Poitras, the filmmaker and journalist who, along with Greenwald, has been at the center of the storm surrounding NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Ironically, Poitras, whose work usually involves sensitive national security issues, re-located to Berlin from America because she had grown tired of being constantly detained and questioned at airports.
Well isn’t that just great? Germany is the former homeland to the Gestapo and the Stasi, but now people are leaving my country to go there because the security goons manning our checkpoints are worse.
And while I was reading that other stuff, I stumbled across an Alan Dershowitz quote about Greenwald from a few weeks ago. Now is it all in my imagination, or was there a time when Dershowitz supported civil liberties? I notice that his official website’s list of his books omits two of his earliest books that helped shape my attitude towards criminal defense and civil liberties: The Best Defense and Taking Liberties. That Alan Dershowitz would have hated the Alan Dershowitz who says crap like this:
Dershowitz, for his part, insisted there is no gray area:
“Well, it doesn’t border on criminality – it’s right in the heartland of criminality. The statute itself, does punish the publication of classified material, if you know that it’s classified,” explained the guest. “Greenwald – in my view – clearly has committed a felony.”
Continuing his assessment of the reporter, Dershowitz held little back:
“Greenwald’s a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicizing information.”
I’m not a huge fan of Greenwald’s, but I think he hits it on the head in his response:
This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic.
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