English Officials Accuse Greenwald’s Partner Of “Terrorism” In Transporting Snowden Documents

250px-V_for_vendettaxWe have previously discussed how, after Sept. 11th, officials have simply begun to classify acts to be terrorism to use ramped up surveillance and sentencing laws. It was inevitable that with Western countries giving official unprecedented anti-terror powers, they would start to move as many crimes as possible under the expanding category. That is evident after it was disclosed this week that British authorities framed the case against David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, as a case of terrorism “terrorism” for carrying documents from Edward Snowden.

We have previously discussed the alleged decision of Greenwald to have his partner serve as a courier of the documents. Putting aside the wisdom of using family or personal friends as couriers or colleagues in such cases, it was clearly not terrorism unless you view all whistleblowers and journalists as engaged in terrorism when exposing abusive surveillance.

Miranda filed a lawsuit over his treatment at Heathrow. At a hearing, a document called a “Ports Circulation Sheet” was read into the record from Scotland Yard. The document was written in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency and states that “Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security.” That is of course an absurd conclusion since they knew of his connection to Greenwald. However, the document then includes the following line: “Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”

That is the chilling line. It seems something right out of “V for Vendetta” and all that is missing is Peter Creedy and his agents of Finger.

Police officials say that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Greenwald immediately said that his partner was carrying the Snowden documents.

Recently, Prime Minister Cameron called on measures to be taken against the media for reporting on the documents and their content.

The casual and easy transition from a journalist/whistleblower case to a terrorism case demonstrates the slippery slope that the West is now on. These officials did not appear to have the slightest hesitation in converting the case into a terrorism case. Indeed, they created a type of legal shape shifting charge where they could claim either espionage or terrorism — effectively admitting that such classifications are now entirely arbitrary.

It is distressing to see both England and the United States slipping into such authoritarian constructs. What is most distressing is that the desire for such powers seems to reside like a dormant virus in some law enforcement circles. The ease with which the Miranda case was treated as espionage or terrorism shows an utter lack of concern over the implications of such ill-defined offenses. Under this definition, the Pentagon Papers could be treated as the same act as the 9-11 bombings.

83 thoughts on “English Officials Accuse Greenwald’s Partner Of “Terrorism” In Transporting Snowden Documents”

  1. https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-free-speech/sloppy-fbi-work-leads-spying-journalists

    11/06/2013

    Sloppy FBI Work Leads to Spying on Journalists

    By Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California

    This was originally posted by the ACLU of Northern California.

    Remember Antiwar.com, the online news magazine that discovered it had been targeted by the FBI? The ACLU of Northern California filed a freedom of the press lawsuit to obtain full FBI records on Antiwar.com and its founding editors, Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo.

    The ACLU got involved because freedom of the press is a cornerstone of our democracy. Government surveillance of news organizations interferes with democracy and journalists’ ability to report the news.

    We received the first disclosure of documents in response to our lawsuit, and they confirm our suspicions that the FBI targeted and spied on Antiwar.com, Garris and Raimondo based on their First Amendment protected activity and kept records about that activity in violation of federal law. They also illustrate some very sloppy work on the part of the FBI and how following up on a bogus lead generates a cycle of wasted intelligence resources and targeting of innocent Americans.

    (The FBI disclosed 47 pages of documents, but is still withholding over 100 additional pages it collected on these journalists. One key memo was produced with information disclosed that had previously been redacted—prior deletions are highlighted in this copy of the documents for ease of reference.)

    This is what the documents we did get reveal:

    Newly disclosed portions of the key FBI memo confirm the purely journalistic nature of Raimondo’s, Garris’s, and Antiwar.com’s activities.

    The recommendation (made in the memo) to open a preliminary investigation was based on incorrect information and deeply flawed factors.

    One of the factors that prompted the FBI to investigate the editors of the online magazine was that Justin Raimondo writes under this pseudonym. The content of a writer’s published opinions and whether they write under a pseduonym should never be used to characterize someone as a potential threat to national security, or justify an FBI investigation. The First Amendment protects anonymous speech too. News articles and the comments of the public should not be included in FBI intelligence files unless they’re necessary to a real criminal investigation.

    The second flawed factor that prompted the FBI investivgation is that “many individuals worldwide…including individuals who are currently under investigation” view the website. Presumably people around the world, “including individuals who are currently under [FBI] investigation” view all kinds of websites and news sources. Being part of a successful media outlet should not make a journalist suspicious and should not be the basis for government surveillance.

    The third flawed and incorrect factor was the FBI’s mistaken conclusion that Eric Garris had threatened to hack the FBI website. In fact, Garris reported to the FBI that he was the recipient of a hacking threat to Antiwar.com. After reporting this threat, he was instructed to forward the email to the FBI, which he did. The FBI later concluded that Garris had threatened to hack the FBI website and placed him under suspicion.

    The rest of the good and bad news from this disclosure? Well, the good news is that the San Francisco Field Office of the FBI declined the suggestion to open a preliminary investigation. The bad news is that two FBI offices later wrote memos citing the original flawed and improper threat assessment, showing both a waste of intelligence resources and how bad intelligence keeps producing more bad intelligence, leading to more and more records in an FBI file about innocent people engaged in constitutionally protected activities. As if to demonstrate how long this information can sit around haunting an innocent person, the FBI file also included a 1972 memo about Eric Garris’s constitutionally protected participation in an anti-Vietnam war protest.

    The improper investigations mean that Garris and Raimondo continue to be flagged in FBI memos. This downward spiral is based on the improper and incorrect conclusions the FBI made in the initial investigation. This is enough for us to ask the court to expunge these records from our clients’ files, which we will do.

    We also plan to keep pushing for the 137 pages from the FBI’s files on Garris, Raimondo and Antiwar.com that the FBI withheld from disclosure. It’s troubling to know that the FBI kept so many more records on these folks and imagine what they might say. Stay tuned to find out.

  2. Dredd, Thank you for the follow-up information, I appreciate your effort and It’s helpful. Thank you all for your assistance.

  3. “Individuals have a civic responsibility to fight the suppression of information regarding matters of critical public importance. Telling the truth is not a crime.” -Edward Snowden

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/statement-edward-snowden

    Statement From Edward Snowden

    The German magazine Der Spiegel published a statement Sunday from Edward Snowden that it translated from English to German. Snowden has provided the ACLU with the original English text:

    “In a very short period, the world has learned that some intelligence services operate unaccountable and occasionally criminal dragnet surveillance programs. While the NSA and GCHQ appear to be the worst offenders, we must remember that mass surveillance is a global problem and needs global solutions. Such programs are not just a threat to privacy, but to free expression and open societies. We must not allow the existence of spying technology to determine political policy; we have a moral duty to ensure our law and values constrain surveillance programs and protect basic human rights.

    “Society can only understand and control these problems through robust, open, and informed debate. In the beginning, a few governments, embarrassed by the revelation of their mass surveillance systems, engaged in an unprecedented campaign of persecution to suppress that debate by intimidating journalists and criminalizing truth-telling. At that time, the public had no ability to measure the benefit of these revelations, and deferred to the judgment of government regarding the wisdom of this decision, but today it is clear that this was a mistake, and such action does not serve the public interest. The fruits of the debate they sought to avoid are now being enjoyed in countries around the world, and the beneficiary of this new public knowledge is society.

    “Individuals have a civic responsibility to fight the suppression of information regarding matters of critical public importance. Telling the truth is not a crime.”

  4. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131104/14443925125/nsa-official-positively-compares-metadata-searches-to-stop-frisk.shtml

    “NSA Official Positively Compares Metadata Searches To Stop And Frisk

    from the an-apt-comparison,-but-hardly-in-the-way-he-means-it dept

    There’s a huge disconnect between the mindset of the intelligence community and everyone else outside it. Considering the majority still lies with those on the outside, you’d think they’d make more of an effort to connect. But, as this statement, made to the PCLOB (Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board), indicates the gap hasn’t narrowed in the slightest.

    Employees at the National Security Agency follow the same standards as controversial “stop and frisk” policies when accessing phone surveillance data, intelligence officials said Tuesday.

    Though the agency collects data about all U.S. phone calls, NSA employees need to demonstrate “reasonable and articulable suspicion” when they want to access that phone call data.

    “It’s effectively the same standard as stop and frisk,” NSA General Counsel Rajesh De said during a hearing held by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which supervises anti-terrorism surveillance programs.

    It simply cannot be stressed enough that you need to choose your words wisely when discussing programs that are already suspected of violating civil liberties. Comparing them to something just as controversial only calls the programs into further question, not to mention Rajesh De’s judgement.”

  5. Lotta, Pete is a pretty quiet guy but when he does say something it is something thoughtful and sometimes very funny. Sanity seems to prevail in his life. That’s why the Examiner piece caught me by such surprise. I’ve since followed the Examiner’s links. They are truly a schlock outfit. They are owned by a right wing billionaire who also owns The Weekly Standard and a couple of other right wing publications. The Examiner came into being in 2008 and describes itself as providing a forum for 100,000 writers . They describe their content as journalism and entertainment. It is junk and using it as a source is a disservice. Such sources are being used more frequently here – even by Mr. Turley. The Daily Mail is a tabloid, a rag, an equivalent to our old Enquirer. Brits know the Daily Mail and its terrible history. Leading up to WWII, they supported the Nazis. Their “journalism” has not improved with age. It seems to me an award winning law blog ought to aim higher. At least if it wants to be trusted and taken seriously.

  6. In honor of the subject matter of this post, and JT who began the post inter alia with this gem:

    However, the document then includes the following line: “Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism …”

    That is the chilling line. It seems something right out of “V for Vendetta” and all that is missing is Peter Creedy and his agents of Finger.

    Since his post has to do with Snowden, surveillance, and the military NSA, let’s revisit the USNORTHCOM statement on their website in 2011:

    The PCA [Posse Comitatus Act] generally prohibits U.S. military personnel from direct participation in law enforcement activities. Some of those law enforcement activities would include … conducting surveillance, searches … and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.

    (Will The Military Become The Police?- 3). This would seem to indicate that the military NSA is bound to Posse Comitatus — assuming it is still law.

  7. gbk 1, November 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    LK,

    Wasn’t a dream, but it might be déjà vu.

    In 2002 USNORTHCOM was created during the Bush Administration whose stated mission, “is homeland defense and civil support, specifically to conduct operations to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories, and interests within the command’s assigned area of responsibility; and as directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, provide military assistance to civil authorities including consequence management operations.”

    In 2008, active army combat units (1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry) were transferred from Iraq to Fort Stewart, Georgia.

    Posse Comitatus died in 2002, and was buried, without honors, in 2008.

    There might be something more recent than this; I would not be surprised.
    =============================
    I was researching this once upon a time, and in 2011 I found a USNORTHCOM opinion on their website which indicated that Posse Comitatus was still in full force and effect:

    The PCA [Posse Comitatus Act] generally prohibits U.S. military personnel from direct participation in law enforcement activities. Some of those law enforcement activities would include interdicting vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; conducting surveillance, searches, pursuit and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.

    I also found posts by DHS personnel who disagreed that Posse Comitatus was still law:

    The Posse Comitatus Act has traditionally been viewed as a major barrier to the use of U.S. military forces in planning for homeland defense. In fact, many in uniform believe that the act precludes the use of U.S. military assets in domestic security operations in any but the most extraordinary situations. As is often the case, reality bears little resemblance to the myth for homeland defense planners. Through a gradual erosion of the act’s prohibitions over the past 20 years, posse comitatus today is more of a procedural formality than an actual impediment to the use of U.S. military forces in homeland defense.

    (Will The Military Become The Police?- 3, quoting “The Myth of Posse Comitatus“). Interestingly, the military removed their post from their website, but I supply a link to in from The Wayback Machine in that post.

  8. lottakatz 1, November 5, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Insominia is hell/yellow journalism #2
    If you read the CNN link in GBK’s posting those troops are being trained in civilian policing.

    =================================
    Here is another quote from the Lockett case I just commented about above (my comment to you which the censors peed on themselves over has still not shown up yet … so OS hasn’t shown up either yet).

    This quote has to do with military police being immune from liability for various wrongdoing while policing:

    Lockett contends that the district court erred in finding that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity with respect to his claim of false arrest. As set forth below, because there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendants had probable cause to believe that Lockett was driving in violation of the speed limit, his arrest does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The district court therefore properly afforded the defendants qualified immunity regarding his claim of false arrest.

    The doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials “from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights …”

    (Will The Military Become The Police?- 2).

  9. lottakatz 1, November 5, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Insominia is hell/yellow journalism #2
    If you read the CNN link in GBK’s posting those troops are being trained in civilian policing. here’s a relevant quote: “The Army says the unit would be deployed to help local, state or federal agencies deal with such incidents, not take the lead. The law enforcement-type training is not connected to its new mission, it says.” Right.

    ==============================
    The manual I provided a link to up-thread was published in 2010.

    Katrina was in 2005, so three years after that the military police were still doing traffic cop stuff in the theater of operations we call NO:

    In July of 2008, Lockett was driving in his vehicle to a class at the Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO). At the same time, two military police officers, Jonathan Bieber and Brandt Arceneaux, were conducting patrol in the area as members of the National Guard Task Force assisting the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with law enforcement duties pursuant to an order issued by Governor Jindal after Hurricane Katrina. Bieber and Arceneaux [military police officers] observed Lockett’s vehicle and believed it to be traveling over the speed limit. Based on this observation, the defendants effectuated a traffic stop of Lockett.

    (Will The Military Become The Police?).

  10. OS,

    lottakatz,

    I replied to a lottakatz comment but it seems that the Concerned Comment Scanners of the World Censors artificial intelligence corps had not had First Breakfy yet.

    CENSORED.

  11. lottakatz 1, November 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Dredd, I read within the last couple of weeks that there was going to be a dedicated Army unit trained for use in the US, that the formal assignment would be forthcoming within a matter of weeks. They were being pulled out of someplace (like Japan or Guam) and would be reassigned domestically. They would be used for emergencies of one sort or another. I’ve done several searches and can’t find the story. It was on a site that seemed legit but I forget which one. Have you run across something like that very recently? I have checked all my folders and can’t find it and I just can’t do a search that turns up anything like that? Was it all a dream? Don’t go to any trouble, I’m just asking.
    ===========================
    They are already trained and deployed, and have been operational since at least 1975.

    Here is a quote from the manual:

    The rules in figure 10-1 are similar to those used in support of Operation New Arrivals in August 1975 at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. They also parallel the rules posted in support of Panama’s Operations Just Cause and Promote Liberty and Hurricane Katrina relief operations in New Orleans.

    The scope is worldwide, not just in CONUS (continental US):

    10-18. Military police units may be deployed and employed in support of civil-military operations anywhere in the world. Military police who are supporting civil-military operations must be briefed and understand the intent of these operations. Police intelligence operations are significant enablers during civil-military operations as is the proper treatment of all categories of detainees and DCs. Having a proper mind set and good situational awareness is critical. U.S. armed forces may be called upon to relieve human suffering (such as that encountered after a natural disaster), and appropriate discipline measures and controls are enacted to meet each situation.

    The basic squad is 32 soldiers, but it goes up to a battalion as well:

    3-2. The [theater detainee reporting centers] TDRC is a modular organization that is comprised of 32 personnel who are capable of deploying as a full organization in major combat operations as a team or a combination of up to 4 teams to support small-scale operations. It functions as the field operations agency for the CONUS-based NDRC. It is the central agency responsible for maintaining information on detainees and their personal property within an assigned theater of operations or in CONUS [continental US]. The TDRC is a theater asset that provides detainee data management. The TDRC normally colocates with the CDO staff, but may be located at the TIF in small-scale operations.

    Remember that those who prepared these manuals are following orders from Pentagon sources who see themselves as humanitarian saviors.

    Those interned may or may not see it that way, depending on the factual situation that was used as the reason for their detainment, re-programming, and/or relocation.

    Global warming induced climate disasters worldwide are the subject-matter of these military police operations, but they also have the word “terrorism” in the manual.

    As JT and other commenters point out, that word can mean whatever they want it to mean at any given time.

    IOW there will be some journalists among those who are “saved”, but others who are there will be grateful people … perhaps those whose homes have been destroyed by fossil fuel use and its impact on the Global Climate System.

    BTW the military is the single largest user of fossil fuels there is on Earth.

    It would be cheaper if they changed to renewable energy.

  12. Insominia is hell/yellow journalism #2
    If you read the CNN link in GBK’s posting those troops are being trained in civilian policing. here’s a relevant quote: “The Army says the unit would be deployed to help local, state or federal agencies deal with such incidents, not take the lead. The law enforcement-type training is not connected to its new mission, it says.” Right.

    As far as The Examiner article being yellow journalism, true. The article is that alright but the first paragraph about being put on alert, potentially deployed? That is chilling to me because I think it’s true. Not necessarily for the reasons stated nor for the ends envisioned but true nonetheless. We have deployed soldiers at civilian DUI checkpoints (as observers as I recall) on California highways at least once. I’m not cool with that. That’s un-American IMO.

    We don’t have military on our streets and highways unless a situation is so extraordinary that no other force is capable of dealing with a matter. It took about two weeks to deploy military troops to NOLA and darn near 50k National guard were already there but the place was still chaos. The National Guard was mobilized in new York on 9/11 but military troops weren’t, the Air Force not withstanding. There weren’t military troops on the ground. We don’t put troops on the ground in America and the first steps in that direction short of another Katrina are scary as hell. Because it becomes easier.

    Pete was just offering a link that I might have seen and been the one I was talking about. He is without sin.

    http://www.duiblog.com/2008/12/16/here-come-the-feds-contd-marines-at-dui-roadblocks/

  13. Insominia is hell/yelow journalism #1
    PDM, I think that government capacity, or capability drives government actions in many cases. If you can build a nuclear bomb well lets build 9,482 of them! If you can start a war for shites and grins and you feel as if you need to do something, for some reason, well let’s start bombing Baghdad! If you can actually sweep up every electronic communication in the world on a daily basis, well by ghod, let’s do it!

    What then? people with access to all that information are going to do name specific searches on spouses, significant others and neighbors, oh wait, they have already done so. Somebody is going to want a foreign presidents notes for an upcoming meeting with the President or Secretary of State, oh wait, they already do that. Someone in government is going to want all the financial info or sexy-time emails (if they exist) from a rival or a Congressman or an activist or an outspoken lawyer or a journalist. How do we know that has not been done? Trust in the integrity of the players? We don’t even know who all the player are and I don’t trust any of them, whoever they may be.

    So if I see a first paragraph that says a particular military force, dedicated to domestic incidents (which is pretty amazing in itself) is ready to deploy if directed by the Commander in chief I believe it. I’d be flabbergasted if they aren’t in the alerting pyramid and ready to go wherever and as soon as they are alerted to maintain a state of readiness. Of course they are. We got ‘e we use ’em. Every other relevant federal and state and possibly (targeted) municipal LEO and intelligence organization has been or will be. Every incident that will have large numbers of people in motion, or congregating, for any reason will be assessed for potential threats of various kinds and alerts will go out. The higher the value or level of political involvement the higher the alert. That’s what we do now, we have the capability and a perceived need.

  14. Justice Holmes –

    “Terrorism’s definition is now so broad that is has lost its meaning except as a method of control over cowering citizens.”

    It’s so broad that “anti-terrorism” is now another form of terrorism. It’s a threat of violence against those who won’t be silent or obedient.

    “Criticize us, and we’ll throw you in prison or send a drone after you” only differs from a threat of a suicide bomb or hijacking in that the perpetrators won’t face legal consequences.

    ————————————————————

    The attempts to silence Greenwald through harassment of Miranda are a lot like what happened to Peter Wright in the early 1980s and Philip Agee in the 1970s.

    The Thatcher regime tried to silence Wright (the author of “Spycatcher”) for “violation of the official secrets act”, charges on par with treason. And the US tried to silence, arrest and black bag Agee who was writing and then published “CIA Diary”.

    The reason they’re called dirty secrets is because it’s the filth of the world who try to keep them secret.

  15. Lotta, that was junk “journalism”. It reads like The John Birch Society Daily or Poison Planet. These days when everyone can self-publish and self-publish some hateful political agenda (propaganda), there is a responsibility to assess the source. Do you know who published this? Did you notice the footnote on Cato? Could that give it political implications? Are there any secondary known publishers that confirm such a report? Have you seen any armies, or FEMA camps? A useful lesson was served this past weekend on bad sources. I’d hate to see them become acceptable sources.

  16. My real name has as its root a word barred by WordPress. The name for a female dog should not be labeled as a cuss word. Maybe they should call the censor CussWordPress. So, I have to print my name in Pig Latin. I get aggravated when some astardBay like Cameron has his name printed on the blog without censorship. He is one smelly artFay. And he thinks that his itShay does not stink. Then there is that Piers MorganFay who is not related to Capt Morgan. He attacks our Constitution every night on CNN and no one calls him a terrorist. Perhaps he is a scareorist. I am going to have to ask that guy JackMehoff if there is anything to such a name. A pro Second Amendment person is not a gun nut. A gun nut is a certain kind of buckshot which one uses when the little round pellets are scarce. Nuff said.

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