Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 20, 2013

Attack On British Media: Covered In Germany - Suppressed In UK

The United States and its United Kingdom puppet are taking extraordinary measures to stop further publishing of the Snowden leaks. Reporting about these actions is well covered in many European countries but seemingly suppressed in one of them.

Yesterday the partner of Glenn Greenwald, who is one of the main journalists covering the NSA spying story, was detained in London-Heathrow on "terrorism" charges because he was thought to be carrying files from the Snowden collection. All his electronic equipment was confiscated. The United States government was "informed" about this before it happened.

But even more extraordinary than this detention are the threats and actions the UK government is taking against The Guardian as its editor, Alan Rusbridger, now explains:

A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."

During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route – by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the US, was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the UK.
And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Destroying hard drives of a media company containing files that the government does not want to see published is an incredible, (though totally useless), attack on the freedom of the press.

One would have expected that other British media would be up in arms over such an attack. The German media are. The news of British agents destroying Guardian harddrives is front page news in Germany and other countries. It is currently top news of Der Spiegel (screenshot), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (screenshot) and Sueddeutsche Zeitung (screenshot). It is front page covered at Bild (screenshot) and other German media.

The detention and the Guardian raid are also covered on the front page of the New York Times and it is the most popular story at the Washington Post website.

But in the United Kingdom there is nothing like that. There is nothing about the attack on the Guardian on the front pages of the London Times (screenshot), the Independent (screenshot), the Telegraph (screenshot), the Daily Mail (screenshot) and the BBC (screenshot). (All screenshots were taken during the last half hour.)

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" - "Who watches the guardians" is given a whole new meaning here. The British press in its 4th estate role should scrutinize the actions of the British governments. But it is not even able to watch out for one for its own.

How can this be? How come that the British media are not covering this attack on their freedom while the German media have all out coverage of it? Why is this censored and by whom? Why is the Guardian editor blogging this issue on the Guardians "Comment is free" section and not reporting it as general news? Why and how is this censored in the UK and by whom?

Posted by b on August 20, 2013 at 8:56 UTC | Permalink


I'm sure this site is monitored but now censored? or just a glitch?

None of the screenshots will open. I get a "failed to open" message for each and every screenshot link.

Notwithstanding, the darkest of nights has descended upon us.

Posted by: juannie | Aug 20 2013 9:11 utc | 1

Even on Gibraltar the BBC is silent! It probaly outrage many to see that newspapers from Arab countries can be articulate:
"Spain told Britain on Tuesday it must remove 70 concrete blocks dropped into the waters off Gibraltar before Madrid will agree to dialogue in a heated dispute over the British outpost.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo sharply criticised Gibraltar's creation of the reef last month in disputed waters that were used by Spanish fishermen.

Spain is willing to restart a dialogue with Britain and it will accept the creation of ad-hoc forums that include Gibraltar and the neighbouring Spanish province Andalusia for issues relating to residents on both sides of the border, Garcia-Margallo said.

"But as Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy observed earlier month to his British counterpart David Cameron, it is first necessary for the UK to show that it intends to undo the damage that has already been caused, in particular by removing the concrete blocks."

The Gibraltar government says the concrete reef in the Bay of Gibraltar will regenerate marine life and argues that the Spanish raked for shellfish there illegally in its waters.

But Garcia-Margallo said Spain had "no doubt" about its sovereignty over the waters, arguing that they were never included in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht under which Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity.

"These waters and this land therefore have always remained under Spanish sovereignty," the foreign minister said.

Dropping the concrete blocks was a "violation of the most basic rules of environmental conservation," he said, adding that local fishermen who relied on the area for a quarter of their activity had been deprived of their livelihoods.

Spain stepped up checks at the border with Gibraltar this month saying it was cracking down on smuggling but creating hours-long traffic queues. Britain accuses Madrid of using the border to retaliate over the reef.

The European Commission is to send observers to the border next month at the invitation of both Madrid and London.

It is the latest in a string of diplomatic rows over the self-governing British overseas territory, which measures just 6.8 square kilometres (2.6 square miles) and is home to about 30,000 people.

Garcia-Margallo also protested against:

- The refuelling of ships in waters off Gibraltar, saying it risked releasing toxic discharges into the sea;

- Smuggling over the border from the low-tax territory. He said illegal cigarette seizures surged 213 percent between 2010 and 2012.

- The opacity of Gibraltar's tax regime. The minister said Gibraltar had 21,770 registered companies of which only 10 percent paid taxes and most had been formed by non-residents seeking to avoid taxes at home. Shell companies in Gibraltar concealed the true ownership of 3,000 properties in Spain, he said. And some 6,700 Gibraltarians lived in Spain while claiming tax residence in Gibraltar.

Garcia-Margallo urged Britain to re-open talks on sovereignty for Gibraltar, saying UN General Assembly resolutions established that the "colonial situation must end" through talks between London and Madrid.

Britain refuses to return sovereignty to Spain against the wishes of Gibraltarians, who are staunchly pro-British. But Garcia-Margallo said the UN did not recognise their right to self-determination, only calling for their interests to be taken into account."

Posted by: Mina | Aug 20 2013 9:13 utc | 2

b - all your screenshots point to -- notice the 3 three! 'o's ?

It was this AM local time still front page in ElPais, and I did see an item on the Independent (but quite down the front page). Some Japanese media talked about it, although it probably disappeared down the page by now.

Posted by: Philippe | Aug 20 2013 9:21 utc | 3

b - all your screenshots point to -- notice the 3 three! 'o's ?

It was this AM local time still front page in ElPais, and I did see an item on the Independent (but quite down the front page). Some Japanese media talked about it, although it probably disappeared down the page by now.

Posted by: Philippe | Aug 20 2013 9:21 utc | 4

Yeah, something fubar with the screenshot engine ;-) The Telegraph did cover the story but with a snarky blog item. Notice how they rely on the statements ATTRIBUTED to Greenwald by the NYT, but the NYT don't actually say "Greenwald told us in a phone call" or "in an email" and I think they made them up.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 9:41 utc | 5

Perhaps you should email GG and ask.

I do note that that Gaurdian paid for Miranda's, probably quite expensive, flight.

Which might lend some credence to the NYT's claimed statements from GG, no?

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 10:06 utc | 6

Somewhat related, Youtube close iranian PressTv channel after demands by ADL.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 20 2013 10:08 utc | 7

Press TV keep hammering on about their precious YouTube channel, but as soon as it became inaccessible, they opened another YouTube channel for the same volume of daily news videos, and it has been running OK since then, so I don't see any major issue.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 10:22 utc | 8

Reporting about these actions is well covered in some European countries but seemingly suppressed in others.

Is the news about German gold being given precedence coverage in Germany? NO. It is well covered in other European blogs. What about NSA spying? the SPD could only muster a few 100's of demonstrators. You get more for gay rights LOL.

Posted by: hans | Aug 20 2013 10:22 utc | 9

@juannie - "None of the screenshots will open."

My mistake, now corrected.

I checked a few other European sites. Le Monde has the Guardian as top story, as have other European papers. There must be some kind of suppression on this news by the UK government. How can this be?

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2013 10:58 utc | 10

Rusbridger is being interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 programme The World at One at 1 pm (British time),

The BBC has given fairly extensive coverage to the Heathrow detention but until now has been quiet on the computer smashing. The Telegraph has been completely silent on both stories.

The government might have issued a ban on the reporting of this incident - I forget the technical terms for it - but the Guardian has obviously broken it and the Beeb might be about to.

Posted by: johnf | Aug 20 2013 11:28 utc | 11

GCHQ has the legal power to muzzle any direct mention of its role.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 11:30 utc | 12

b @10: Have you heard of a "D-notice"? UK has had them for almost a century, Australia has them as well. Wikipedia sez:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A DA-Notice or Defence Advisory Notice (called a Defence Notice or D-Notice until 1993) is an official request to news editors not to publish or broadcast items on specified subjects for reasons of national security. The system is still in use in the United Kingdom.

In the UK the original D-Notice system was introduced in 1912 and run as a voluntary system by a joint committee headed by an Assistant Secretary of the War Office and a representative of the Press Association.
Any D-Notices or DA-notices are only advisory requests so are not legally enforceable and hence news editors can choose not to abide by them. However, they are generally complied with by the media.[1]

In 1971, all existing D-Notices were cancelled and replaced by standing D-Notices, which gave general guidance on what could be published and what could not, and what would require further advice from the secretary of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC).

In 1993, the notices were renamed DA-Notices.

As of 2008, there are five standing DA-Notices:[2]

DA-Notice 01: Military Operations, Plans & Capabilities
DA-Notice 02: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapons and Equipment
DA-Notice 03: Ciphers and Secure Communications
DA-Notice 04: Sensitive Installations and Home Addresses
DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Special Services

On 8 April 2009, the Committee issued a DA-Notice in relation to sensitive anti-terror documents photographed when Assistant-Commissioner Bob Quick arrived at Downing Street for talks about current intelligence.[3]

On 25 November 2010, the Committee issued a note to editors drawing attention to standing DA-Notices 1 and 5 in relation to sensitive documents expected to be imminently released on the website WikiLeaks.[4][5][6]

In June 2013 a DA-Notice was issued asking the media to refrain from running further stories related to the US PRISM programme, and British involvement therein.[7]


See the Wikipedia page for the references.

and this is supposedly part of the current DA-notice (no longer called D-notice, apparently):

D-Notice, June 7, 2013

Private and Confidential: Not for publication, broadcast or use on social media.

Defence Advisory Notice

There have been a number of articles recently in connection with some of the ways in which the UK Intelligence Services obtain information from foreign sources.

Although none of these recent articles has contravened any of the guidelines contained within the Defence Advisory Notice System, the intelligence services are concerned that further developments of this same theme may begin to jeopardize both national security and possibly UK personnel…

Posted by: kodlu | Aug 20 2013 11:35 utc | 13

And yet the G' s dodgy editor already mentioned GCHQ

Rather the opposite of muzzled, no?

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 11:44 utc | 14

Hmmm... the BBC on its website has one story this am on Miranda and toward the end refers to Guardian editor Russberger's story:

David Miranda detention legally sound, says Scotland Yard

This is what the BBC story says about the destruction:

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has written an article about Mr Miranda's detention and what it means for journalism

He also talks about how he was contacted by a "very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister" who demanded the return or destruction of the Snowden files.

Mr Rusbridger said that after two months of meetings and the threat of court action, two security experts from GCHQ, the UK's eavesdropping centre, came to the Guardian's offices to oversee the destruction of computer hard-drives.

He said the security experts oversaw the destruction "just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents".

"Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age," he said.

"We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London."

A government sources told the BBC the authorities had not "acted like thugs" and had been trying to ensure the material did not fall into the wrong hands.

I'm amazed (not really) that Russberger complied with the demand for the destruction of a Macbook, thumb drives etc but as he says, the govt are actually clueless about computers except they think they can control us through them.

"Two GCHQ security experts" indeed? Like the Guardian doesn't have countless backups, let alone all the other copies in circulation.

BTW, the BBSC has been doing a hatchet job on Greenwald and Miranda, dragging out a plethora of 'experts', all from the establishment, the worst criticism being that they used the wrong law to detain Miranda. They should have used the Official Secrets Act instead. Go figure...

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 20 2013 12:21 utc | 15

The Miranda story is on the front page of the Indy now. The story is on the Telegraph site, here, and so is a story about Greenwald's reaction, and there are two more blog items, one unfavourable and intially unfavourable, but then continuing:

[Rusbridger] goes on to tell a remarkable story about how a shadowy figure from the Government called him one day and demanded that Rusbridger hand over his Snowden material. They had a series of meetings (why? Why didn't Rusbringer simply advise him to take a running jump?) that the editor says climaxed in this scary exchange: "I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route – by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the US, was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the UK." If this is true then it's very, very worrying. Again, if The Guardian is indeed offering proof of the scope and shamelessness of government power then its whistle-blowing is to be commended.

It doesn't mention the destruction, actual physical destruction, of computers with NSA material on them, in the Grauniad basement - an amazing tale. But The Times (subs only) takes the bull squarely by the horns:
GCHQ ‘smashed paper hard drives’
The Editor of The Guardian told today how officers from GCHQ oversaw the destruction of computer hard drives in the basement of the newspaper’s headquarters after a spat with Whitehall over its reporting of leaked files on US surveillance programmes. Alan Rusbridger…

So clearly the UK press is not suppressing or avoiding the story, it just needed six hours to catch up.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 12:36 utc | 16

what does a regime have to do before its called a ruthless dictatorship and is removed from power? UK like France Portugal Italy etc is a puppet: run by party politicians whos allegiance is to an insidious foreign power

Posted by: brian | Aug 20 2013 12:43 utc | 17

Maybe people at other news orgs in the uk had some reservations regarding Rusbridger's veracity?

Do people seriously believe that GCHQ is unaware of the ability to make digital copies?


Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 12:48 utc | 18

The BBC/ Rusbridger interview dealt with the computer smashing story but the mild mannered Rusbridger was restrained throughout.

Much less restrained was David Davis, the libertarian Tory MP, Camerons rival in the 2005 leadership contest and ex Shadow Home Secretary, who was damning about the whole matter.

Posted by: johnf | Aug 20 2013 12:57 utc | 19

Do people seriously believe that GCHQ is unaware of the ability to make digital copies? Really? Posted by: hmm | Aug 20, 2013 8:48:14 AM | 18
Yeah... if they were being really heavy, they would search his home, and those of all the other journalists, and grab everything. It would never end. Maybe this was just a nominal thing, so that they could tell NSA they'd done their bit.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 13:01 utc | 20

Annie Machon to the rescue

Ta-ta UK freedoms! Miranda matter outs vindictiveness of wounded police state

(She sounds so happy about it, doesn't she?)

Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for the UK's MI5, who resigned in 1996 (pretending) to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Along came Annie, to lend some credence, i spose

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 13:07 utc | 21

Rusbridgers HD smashing story sounds more and more dodgy, less and less believeable

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 13:10 utc | 22

A return flight from Rio to berlin, via london

How much does one of those go for, these days?

Why would Rusbridger pay for Miranda to fly to berlin?

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 13:18 utc | 23

Whats the odds that Miranda flew business class the whole way?

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 13:19 utc | 24

22: It is perfectly believable. Now we smash your computers - look! - and then, if you don't stop, we smash your head.
Security people don't differ from mafia.

Posted by: sasha | Aug 20 2013 13:36 utc | 25

22: It is perfectly believable.

To you, obviously.

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 13:41 utc | 26

Murkier and murkier:

Contrary to some reports the man was offered legal representation while under examination and a solicitor attended.

Not that I'm defending the Police action in this instance . . .


I didn't see THAT in the Guardian's reporting

Perhaps the Plod are lying?

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 14:00 utc | 27

RT's latest:

Posted by: ben | Aug 20 2013 14:03 utc | 28

@hmm - posting lots of small, rather meaningless, comments in short order is a typical sign of trolling that disrupts the flow of comments.

I tend to kick trolls off the comments here.

Consider yourself warned.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2013 14:11 utc | 29

The people who work at GCHQ are smart, very smart, which leads me to suspect (as Rowan Berkeley does above) that this was purely for show perhaps to shut up their political masters or their political masters' political masters. If the British intelligence services had wanted to prevent further disclosures, there would not have been two months of discussions before any action was taken, it would have happened immediately. Don't forget that it was NSA material that was being released and I strongly suspect that GCHQ is careful about what informatation it passes to the NSA given how frequently idiots in Washington go blabbing off the record to the media so there might be have been nothing released that really worries GCHQ.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 20 2013 14:12 utc | 30

'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.

The story of his partner being held in detention has become the biggest story in Brazil, according to Greenwald.'

contrast aussie regimes abandonment of Assange

Posted by: brian | Aug 20 2013 14:16 utc | 31

Re #30
I think it's as Greenwald said, it's straight up intimidation, and aimed squarely at journalists and would-be whistle-blowers. Rusberger is part of the Establishment, as are all the editors of the MSM and the BSBC. The British state has all kinds of laws to deal with such things inc. Schedule D Notices. Breaking up computers? It's childish and clearly staged. Far better to use a powerful degausser if they're really serious about erasing data.

Was Rusberger saying all that to somehow legitimise his alleged anti-Establishment credentials? Pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Posted by: William Bowles | Aug 20 2013 14:23 utc | 32

BBC Radio asked to interview me as a Copt from ‪#‎Minya‬, but retracted once they read my views re international bias. ‪#‎Egypt‬

Posted by: brian | Aug 20 2013 14:28 utc | 33

can't see how relevant on topic questions about the G's financing of miranda's trip might be considered trolling, myself

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 14:29 utc | 34

Dr Jeremy Salt, Australian academic and ME expert: "The Role of the Media in Disinformation about Syria"

Posted by: brian | Aug 20 2013 14:35 utc | 35

I've flown a Cessna over GCHQ. Well, not directly over it. Get too close and you're considered a threat to national security.

The end.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 20 2013 15:14 utc | 36

The story is all over The Guardian now. It is hard to understand why it was not "leaked" when it occurred. The explanation that the destruction of the hard drives "didn't matter" and was "pointless" because there are copies elsewhere, doesn't wash. The action was extraordinary and of such importance that it ought to have been revealed immediately.

Taken together with the transparently illegal detention of Miranda, who neither falls under the Terrorism Act nor was questioned about anything that does, and, in the light of the matter of Morales's 'plane, these are extraordinary events. They are not unprecedented or unusual except that they are open and avowed: and that is what is particularly sinister.
Deceit and concealement, no less than hypocrisy, are tributes that political vice pays to constitutional virtue. When the mask is thrown away the chances are good that civilian clothes will be the next to go and dark uniforms, with party insignia on them, put on.

It ought to be remembered, too, how curious the Guardian's political gyrations have been in recent months: its vicious attacks on Assange for example, its open espousal of Likud politics and its ludicrously partisan reporting on Syria and Libya, made its co-operation with Greenwald and Snowden surprising.
No doubt there are more plot twists in the offing.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 20 2013 15:15 utc | 37

A TIME journalist was advocating the killing of Assange just a few days ago. Maybe he should volunteer to participate in the next Guardian autodafe by her majesty's people?

Good news! Wikileaks has released a new "insurance"

Posted by: Mina | Aug 20 2013 15:52 utc | 38

Lindoff in Counterpunch is good

A new series of air routes linking south America, Africa and EurAsia well away from NATO/US air space is needed.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 20 2013 16:05 utc | 39

There must be some kind of suppression on this news by the UK government. How can this be?
Posted by: b | Aug 20, 2013 6:58:47 AM | 10

About an hour ago, I heard a BBC World Service broadcast on the incident which closely follows the extracts quoted by b, above, but added that Rusbridger had pointed out the futility of destroying a hard drive whose contents have already been copied and re-distributed.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 20 2013 16:06 utc | 40

@blowback: The people who work at NSA are also very smart (at least they were back in the 1980's when I pulled my reserve military duty at NSA headquarters,) but, at least back then, their security people were notoriously heavy-handed and unimaginative.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 20 2013 16:36 utc | 41

Xymphora's latest post refers to the people who forced down Morales' plane and detained a Brazilian citizen at Heathrow, as America's "Euroweeny allies".

Imo, what makes these policies delightfully amusing is that they're so dumbass-ishly counter-intuitive, unsubtle and self-defeating, that they could only have been Made in America, or "Israel".

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 20 2013 16:43 utc | 42

[NSA's] security people were notoriously heavy-handed and unimaginative. Posted by: lysias | Aug 20, 2013 12:36:30 PM | 41
That ties in with what I was thinking about the Rusbridger lesson in luddism (smashing machines). His visitors would have been from GCHQ's security division, which is bound to be a completely separate organisation from GCHQ as such, probably Army. I was trying to remember what the exact designation for people who provide physical and personnel security for intelligence centres is, but I can't.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 16:50 utc | 43


That ties in with what I was thinking about the [alleged] Rusbridger lesson in luddism (smashing machines).

His [alleged] visitors [c]ould have been from . . .

All fixed now.

My pleasure . . .

Posted by: hmm | Aug 20 2013 17:18 utc | 44

Well, if the British government would simply follow our lead, they wouldn't have to resort to such tactics. The trick is to OWN the media, not simply suppress it.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Aug 20 2013 17:33 utc | 45

Oh, I wouldn't get too hot-and-bothered about the screenshot links. They weren't all that great. lol I kid, I kid. Good post.

Posted by: tsisageya | Aug 20 2013 17:35 utc | 46

@hmm - last chance

Write a comment that argues and makes your point. Do you think Rusbridger lied? Well, tell why you think so with some reasonable arguments instead of spitting unfounded oneliner nonsense at other commentators here.

Posted by: b | Aug 20 2013 17:51 utc | 47

Well, frankly, what would one expect from a country that spends its time, when not defending island at the other end of the world, cleaning zusas arse?

Does it make any sense? No, absolutely not. Whatever they have stolen from Miranda sure enough has been safe-copied and stored multiple times. About the only thing to be gained for uk was to send a clear - if completely meaningless - signal to Snowden supporters ("Don't count on us to care the slightest about fairness or law") and to zusa ("In case you feel an urge to defecate - we are more than ready anytime!").

I'm not so sure about another point, though. I mean, Miranda had every reason to assume that the brits would play dirty.
Considering that there *is* a direct flight from FRA (Germany) to Rio it seems to me that that whole thing was a trap to embarrass zio-uk and zusa.

Furthermore, there are different ways to reliably send paper documents (without mentioning "dangerous" names like Snowden); as for electronic documents it actually is a stupid invitation to transport those in person, in particular using someone very close to Snowden.

Well, whatever, I don't care. After all zio-uk never was a country I'd trust the slightest.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Aug 20 2013 18:00 utc | 48

Yeah, the BBC and UK official media generally = the pits at the bottom of deathly whatever.

(sidebar: G. Greenwald is a braver person one ever expected him to be.)

There must be some kind of suppression on this news by the UK government. How can this be?

The UK press is very heavily controlled by the Home office, or Elites, has been forever, etc. (See posts e.g. about the D notice, kodlu at 13, that happens all the time.)

One article about the latest deals is very telling (and from the BBC itself, so white-washed) Just look! at the talk about royal decrees, deals, etc. March 2013.

Some issues discussed in the past year:

Papers drop veto on watchdog appointments , also from the BBC, May 2013.

“Newspaper owners have backed down on demands to have a veto over the board members of any new press regulator.”

Err?? See how complicated that gets?

In GB the 4th estate is in a private-public position, there is no real pretense of independency.

No doubt others, Brits, will know better than me. Just illustrating.

In the US / other EU these relationships are not regulated or aired, they are run with silent, relational, consensual norms and contacts. Or other.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 20 2013 18:09 utc | 49

Nice insight from Yves Smith (Naked Capitalism):

I find it remarkable that everyone seems to be assuming Miranda was a document mole.

Did everyone manage to forget:

1. Snowden is the sole source of the documents?

2. Snowden met with GG and per GG gave him thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) of documents?

There is absolutely no reason to think:

1. Snowden has made a subsequent transfer

2. Even if 1. was true, it would go through Poitras (more people in the chain, more risk of interception).

And Miranda could have flown Frankfurt to Rio. Snowden has been quoted in the media as saying the UK is the worst place as far as info capture is concerned.

I’m sure this was a deliberate provocation to see if the Brits would be dumb enough to take the bait, and they did.

My pet theory is the documents consisted of margarita recipes and Scotland Yard and the intelligence services are going nuts trying to figure out what they mean.


Posted by: citizen x | Aug 20 2013 18:19 utc | 50

Reuters ran a Mark Hosenball story, complete with the smashed machines, yesterday, Monday Aug 19, at 7:19pm EDT. Was it on evening TV news in the US or Canada?

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 20 2013 18:37 utc | 51

A tour de force from David North at the WSWS
Concluding thus:

"....Nearly a quarter-century has passed since the First Gulf War, and the breakdown of democracy is far more advanced. This finds expression not only in the actions of the state, but in the virtual disappearance of a genuine democratically-minded intelligentsia. There exists today no equivalent of a John Dewey, an H.L. Mencken, a William Allen White (of the Emporia Gazette) or a Sinclair Lewis. The economic disintegration of the middle class over the last half-century has eliminated the social foundation which formed the basis for a broad-based democratic public opinion. The public intellectuals, small-town lawyers, editors and even businessmen whose petty-bourgeois avarice was tempered by gripes against the “unfair competition” of big corporations and who were, therefore, at least slightly receptive to democratic reforms have largely disappeared from the scene.

"The media is nothing more than the means of disseminating corporate-state propaganda. The fusion of state intelligence agencies and media news is epitomized by such figures as Bill Keller, Thomas Friedman, and C.J. Chivers of the New York Times, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, and the ineffably disgusting Wolf Blitzer of CNN. Today, there is mounting outrage over the tweet sent out on Saturday night by Mike Grunwald, a senior national correspondent of Time Magazine, in which he wrote: “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” Grunwald’s views are not exceptional. In a media utterly subservient to the state, authoritarian and fascistic inclinations are hardly an impediment to advancement. David Gregory of NBC News asked Glenn Greenwald why he, too, should not be indicted for having provided assistance to Snowden. There is hardly a prominent establishment journalist who would not be able to continue his or her lucrative career if a military dictatorship was established in the United States....."

Posted by: bevin | Aug 20 2013 19:58 utc | 52

@bevin CJ Chivers is a fright. It's hard to tell if he's a journalist pretending to be a mercenary or vice versa.

I think it is foolish to think there wasn't some other legalistic commitment to go along with the smashing of the hard drives. It had to be "destroy your copies" not "destroy some things for our sake." I doubt it works like that. Look at the Lavabit founder, he is not even allowed to say what the government demanded of him, and the free speech laws in the UK (have always been) more draconian. I have no proof that this is the case though.

I'd point out to all the people who thought that the "Snowden affair" was some "cover up" that Snowden is now safe and out of the spotlight, but the story continues to drag on the western governments with more weight than ever.

The gloves are obviously off, and on both sides (they've been off for a while, but now its "official" as bevin mentioned). There is no one left who actually cares about politics who can think we don't live under a very heavy handed autocratic regime (unless, perhaps, they're paid to write for the NYTimes).

I compared this before to the opening of the archives of a conquered country, but that isn't quite right, is it. The US/UK/Israel are as dangerous as ever - there are neither foreign troops patrolling their capitols (Berlin, 1945) nor carpetbaggers and scalawags taking over the positions of power (Moscow, 1991). I don't believe the world has ever seen anything like a government so completely denuded of morality and prestige yet so physically powerful. The question how those who have always kept the truncheons behind their backs when dealing with a certain "class" of people intend to deal with this situation.

The door is entirely open for a round of repression in the west like has never been seen before. Since all the tools of repression are now exposed, there are few reasons for those in power not to use them. They eased us into it by using constitutionally questionably methods against people who might reasonably appear to be criminals (by those so inclined to do so) such as those poor souls in Gitmo, John Walker Lind, Jose Padilla, and Anwar Al-Awlaki. Next, for acts still seemingly of questionable legality (by those who question such things) but of a higher caliber morally, they took down Assange, Snowden, and Manning. Now they'll go after those who have clearly done nothing illegal at all like Greenwald and Miranda and editors of papers. *ribbit**ribbit* Getting a bit warm in here, ain't it?

It seems rebellion has gone mainstream - the repression can't be far behind.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 21 2013 1:52 utc | 53

Apart from really important 'breaking news' such as another earthquake in Waikikamukau, the fishwrap here doesn't release all its new stories for the day to its online site until the print edition is being distributed.

So the Telegraph, Independent & Mail's seeming slowness in putting out the Rushbridger story could be more about a decision to prevent encouraging those who still buy hard copies from buying the grauniad that day by holding off publication about hard drive smashing until the print deadline, than some sorta fear of a D-notice.

As far as the actual smashing of drives goes I have no doubt it took place & Rushbridger jumped at smashing them to prevent a prior restraint order from a compliant judge, which would have prevented the guardian from reporting any more of the Snowden revelations. If the Guardian had stopped I have little doubt the NYT would have backed off too.
Newspapers have always been bullies and cowards masquerading as great public servants. They rarely get stuck into the thousands of horrors stories arising from police's routine injustices because they know if they did the police would take em 'off tap' for the sensationalized crime stories that sell fish wraps, Rushbridger going for the hard drive smash is a classic example of media toadying.

But the thugs didn't do it to prevent publication, they knew it wouldn't affect that in the slightest, it was done for the same reason as Miranda was detained, partially as a threat and partially as a step on the path of marginalizing the victim.

Most of us have a grasp of the subtextual messages contained within information disseminated through the mainstream.
The notion that white middle class males are 'reliable' 'law abiding' & 'commendable' is a common thread running through much of the information citizens are fed.
This means that agitating for a particular member of that subset to be exposed to harassment, intimidation and eventual arrest & incarceration must be undertaken carefully so as to ensure that all the other the 'protected ones' remain immune from easy character assassination.

I won't bore MoA readers with lengthy tales of how it is that a white fella such as Robert Downey jnr can drive around with a gun a bottle of whiskey & snootful of coke and when he gets caught just hafta keep his head down for a moment then suddenly 'be rehabilitated' while a Lindsay Lohan or Tiger Woods who may have done considerably less, is buggered for ever once he/she has been found wanting, cause it is easy to see the way it is, but the way that Glenn Greenwald has been 'outed' will make further attacks on his character much easier.
Why? I dunno but despite what the law says, in 2013 a big chunk of society does view a gay man differently than they the way do a straight man.

Same same with the Guardian, although I expect in that case the guardian was just given a wee taste of how things could go if they don't go back to their old relationship of helping the security services blacken Julian Assange etc, but news that the guardian was raided by the security services who had to destroy hard drives could have been used later on in conjunction with some new revelation as part of a move to 'de-legitimise' that newspaper.

And that is probably why Rushbridger decided to tell the world now when the guardian could have control over the news, rather than later when it may be on its back foot about some other revelation.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 21 2013 2:18 utc | 54

I don't want to imply that the old tricks for distraction won't be used. #1 story in the US right now is a classic race baiter - three teens, two black one white (though you wouldn't know it from the darkend mug shot) killed an Australian twenty something "just because". Every article I've seen, the mug shots are prominent.

Real news!

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 21 2013 2:31 utc | 55

Jeffrey Toobin Compares David Miranda To A 'Drug Mule'

"He was a mule," he said. "He was given something, he didn't know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules."

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 21 2013 2:41 utc | 56


"It ought to be remembered, too, how curious the Guardian's political gyrations have been in recent months...its co-operation with Greenwald and Snowden is surprising."

Hard to know if there is something going on underneath the surface or if we're seeing the for-profit-press commit a rare and shocking act of journalism for the page clicks.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 21 2013 3:13 utc | 57

Guest77, Toobin is doing a fantastic job of destroying the last shreds of reputation that he had. He's pulling the uniform on and discarding the civilian garb that he must always have been ashamed to be wearing.
The mystery is what rank he has been given.
Should it be Captain, Sergeant or Obersturmfuhrer Toobin, reporting for duty, Mr Commander in Chief?

The worrying thing is that these people have obviously bid farewell to their senses, and they know lots that we don't; if the world ends on Thursday we will know why they have been acting this way.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21 2013 4:12 utc | 58

Something still smells funny about the whole NSA "leak" affair (Snowden/Greenwald/Guardian & W-Post(huh?!?)etc., etc.). If it were that big, the MSM would be smack-down silenced. Somebody's getting gamed. Recently read about "limited hangout psyops" anything is possible. All seems like smoking mirrors aimed at keeping the sheeple distracted and pacified.

Posted by: easy e | Aug 21 2013 4:14 utc | 59

Some people (eg Tarpley, if he's serious) think that the whole of Wikileaks, the whole of Assange, the whole of Greenwald and the whole of Snowden are psyops. The only person Tarpley admits is genuine is poor little Manning, whom Tarpley considers was conned by Assange. Tarpley even thinks the evil Lamo, who betrayed Manning, was part of Assange's plot. I've been watching all this nonstop since 2002. In my opinion, none of these are psyops. By the way, the UK Telegraph blog called Miranda a "mule" on Tuesday morning, based on the admissions apparently by Greenwald in the NYT that Miranda was carrying Snowden info to & from Poitras. These Greenwald admissions in the NYT seem to me curiously unsourced, but I suppose that if he hadn't made them, he would be saying so by now.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 4:28 utc | 60

Toobin is an idiot. I could easily do his job, without any applicable degree. All you need is Wikipedia and the latest White House press release.

Posted by: Jessica | Aug 21 2013 4:47 utc | 61

I hate to say it, but my feeling has been similar to easy e's #58. I started feeling that way about the time the media began focusing on Snowden's stripper girlfriend, which just seemed a very Hollywood flourish to me. I've tried not to dwell on the suspicion that we are being played (again,) but in the end it goes back to my observations about Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, No-Fly lists and extraordinary renditions in general. Why do we even know about those things in the first place? Simply, because the message that is sent needs to be promulgated or it doesn't work.

Bentham and, later, Foucault's Panopticon principle only works when the receiving end is aware of its scope and existence. We are outraged about the NSA's abuses, but, just like cinéma vérité, the fact that we know about the camera subtly changes our behaviours whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Obama made comments about how he wanted to have this debate, and it sounded like desperate dissembling when he said it since he was elbow deep in the cookie jar at the time... but it's occuring to me that the program is pointless without this staged "debate" in order to normalise it. This may all be a deliberate and calculated part of a process that has been going on since the early 1970's.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 21 2013 4:55 utc | 62

Now its coming out.

Although strenuously denied until now, with the government claiming the whole thing was a police operation, now PM David Cameron, Home Secretary Theresa May, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Head Civil Servant Sir Jeremy Heywood all fully involved in ordering computer smashing and Heathrow/Miranda operation.

And police/government's description of what happened at Heathrow being shown to be one big fat lie:

Posted by: johnf | Aug 21 2013 6:06 utc | 63

OMG: Miranda refers to Greenwald as "my husband" at the end of this interview.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 8:20 utc | 64

Miranda again refers to Greenwald as "my husband" while sitting right next to him, in this Anderson Cooper video interview with the two of them. The caption refers to them as "Whistleblower & Spouse".

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 9:01 utc | 65

@Rowan #63:

That merits an "OMG" why, precisely?

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 21 2013 9:02 utc | 66

Cos a week ago they were romancing about Greenwald & Poitras, silly.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 10:28 utc | 67

Actually, it puts a completely different spin on the arrest story, making it into something that if witting (and presumably the intelligence services are better informed than the mass media) verges on sexual harassment. In just the same way, if the media could be bothered to look at it more seriously, the Manning/Lamo story verges on sexual entrapment.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 10:40 utc | 68

I can never keep up with celebrity relationships.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 21 2013 12:09 utc | 69

Miranda is a vulnerable target, partly because of the nature of the relationship. I think Anderson Cooper picked up on that aspect of it. Watch his face during the video, previously mentioned. That isn't just concern for a fellow newsman, it's personal sympathy, I think, which is interesting, because AC is as mainstream as you can get.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 12:30 utc | 70

The WSJ wakes up to the theme:

New Details Show Broader NSA Surveillance Reach

The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say.

The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say.
The systems operate like this: The NSA asks telecom companies to send it various streams of Internet traffic it believes most likely to contain foreign intelligence. This is the first cut of the data.

These requests don't ask for all Internet traffic. Rather, they focus on certain areas of interest, according to a person familiar with the legal process. "It's still a large amount of data, but not everything in the world," this person says.

The second cut is done by NSA. It briefly copies the traffic and decides which communications to keep based on what it calls "strong selectors"—say, an email address, or a large block of computer addresses that correspond to an organization it is interested in. In making these decisions, the NSA can look at content of communications as well as information about who is sending the data.

One U.S. official says the agency doesn't itself "access" all the traffic within the surveillance system. The agency defines access as "things we actually touch," this person says, pointing out that the telecom companies do the first stage of filtering.

The surveillance system is built on relationships with telecommunications carriers that together cover about 75% of U.S. Internet communications. They must hand over what the NSA asks for under orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The firms search Internet traffic based on the NSA's criteria, current and former officials say.

What You Need to Know on New Details of NSA Spying
Fish stinks from the head first:

David Cameron told Cabinet Secretary to get Guardian to hand over Edward Snowden documents

Confirming what I earlier asserted. US doesn't know what Snowden took, sources say

The NSA is pretty open for anyone inside its network. It does not have inside traps or access records. It therefore does not know what Snowden got out of them.

Posted by: b | Aug 21 2013 13:25 utc | 71

There is no domestic spying program ...

From the WSJ piece linked above:

For the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, officials say, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and NSA arranged with Qwest Communications International Inc. to use intercept equipment for a period of less than six months around the time of the event. It monitored the content of all email and text communications in the Salt Lake City area. ... NSA has discretion on setting its filters, and the system relies significantly on self-policing. This can result in improper collection that continues for years.

For example, a recent Snowden document showed that the surveillance court ruled that the NSA had set up an unconstitutional collection effort. Officials say it was an unintentional mistake made in 2008 when it set filters on programs like these that monitor Internet traffic; NSA uncovered the inappropriate filtering in 2011 and reported it.
When searching the data, intelligence officials say they are permitted to look only for information related to a "foreign intelligence interest." In practice, the NSA has latitude under that standard, and an American's communication could be read without a warrant, another U.S. official says.

Paul Kouroupas, a former executive at Global Crossing Ltd. and other telecom companies responsible for security and government affairs, says the checks and balances in the NSA programs depend on telecommunications companies and the government policing the system themselves. "There's technically and physically nothing preventing a much broader surveillance," he says.

Posted by: b | Aug 21 2013 13:51 utc | 72

The NSA is pretty open for anyone inside its network. It does not have inside traps or access records. It therefore does not know what Snowden got out of them. Posted by: b | Aug 21, 2013 9:25:11 AM | 71
That's impossible. I can see why they would pretend to have no logs, but they must have them. Security would insist upon it. We've established NSA has its own security division. What exactly it is composed of I don't know. Someone said they had served on NSA site security during their army reserve duty, and I would imagine certainly imagine that being army. When I imagine a big intelligence establishment, like for instance GCHQ here in England, I imagine army people policing it, physically. But personnel security, data security, I don't know. There must be some functionally independent division doing it, with its own command structure and its own requirements. There's no other way to do these things. You can't just leave them dangling, with no security at all.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Aug 21 2013 14:07 utc | 73

The Heathrow incident gives a totally new meaning to Miranda rights. Under Schedule 7 you have no right to remain silent.

Mi•ran•dize (mɪˈræn daɪz)
tr.v -dized, -diz•ing.
          Detain a person at an airport for questioning under Schedule 7 or similar anti-terror legislation.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 21 2013 20:54 utc | 74

The British Cabinet Secretary evidently told Rusbridger that the information in Snowden's files should not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.

Which is pretty much the way we all think: that our passwords, private correspondence, business, personal musings, net surfing and credit card numbers should not be allowed to fall into the hands of the state and its myriad minions.

The time has come for the state to destroy its macbooks,hard drives and data storage facilities. Until it does nobody should rest.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 22 2013 0:57 utc | 75

The comments to this entry are closed.