The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. August 21, 2013: “From the moment that the Guardian started pubishing the devastating inside intelligence material about the enormous domestic spying programs now working full tilt inside the country, there has been frenzy, fury and fear manifested in the higher levels of governmenr.
The President, according to a friend in the White House, is screaming for Edward Snowden’s head and various other agencies are working over time with the burn bags and egging computer geeks into greater action in cleansing their computer files of damaging information.
Obama, furious at being balked by Putin in the matter of getting his hands on Snowden, is ordering his minions to terrify anyone remotely connected with him.
From the Oval Office, calls have been made to try to pressure the judge in the Manning case to put him in prison for as long as possible.
The Department of State is still pressuring both the British government and that of Sweden to get their hands on Julian Assange so they can try him for treason and put him in prison for life.
This is rather interesting because Assange is not an American citizen so the question of treason is of a kindergarten nature.
What all of this motley crew is terrified of are future revelations about their misdeeds. They reason that if the American public gets wind of everything they did, and are doing without interuption by the way, there will be a revolt not seen since 1776.”
August 20, 2013
by Chris Mason
President Barack Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a “lawyer”. He surrendered his license back in 2008 in order to escape charges he lied on his bar application
Michelle Obama “voluntarily surrendered” her law license in 1993. after a Federal Judge gave her the choice between surrendering her license or standing trial for Insurance fraud!
https://www.iardc.org (Stands for Illinois Attorney Registration And Disciplinary Committee).
Barack Obama was NOT a Constitutional Law Professor at the University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago released a statement in March 2008 saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) “served as a professor” in the law school-but that is a title Obama, who taught courses there part-time, never held the title of Professor of Law,” said Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago School of Law
The Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission lists President Obama’s registration status as “voluntarily retired.”
It lists Michelle Obama’s status as “voluntarily inactive.”
It’s true that although both President Obama and the University of Chicago have stated at various times that he was a “professor of law” or “professor of constitutional law” at the U.C. Law School, he never officially held that title. He was first a Lecturer (1992-1996) and then a Senior Lecturer (1996-2004) until elected to the Senate in 2004.
It’s true that neither the president nor the first lady holds an active license to practice law. A search on the website of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois shows that Barack Obama is listed as “voluntarily retired and not authorized to practice law,” and Michelle Obama is listed as “voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law.”
President Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Illinois on Dec. 17, 1991. Prior to being elected to the Illinois state Senate in 1996, he worked as a civil rights lawyer at the firm formerly known as Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Four days after Obama announced that he would run for president in February 2007, he voluntarily elected to have his law license placed on “inactive” status, according to Grogan. Then, after becoming president, he elected to change his status to “retired” in February 2009.
Michelle Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988, and was admitted as a lawyer by the Supreme Court of Illinois on May 12, 1989. Following graduation, she joined Sidley Austin, a corporate law firm in Chicago. But a few years later, in 1994, while working for the Public Allies project in Chicago, Obama voluntarily had her license placed on “inactive” status.
For copies of records, etc. call 917 675-4391 for a free file to be sent to you. Also included are a number of reports originating from Chicago law enforcement about various activities they investigated earlier.
And further, we have an actual televised interview with Obama, before he ran for the White House, in which he very, very clearly states that he was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as his supporters would have you believe. This would clearly prohibit him for becoming President. He is, however, illegally in the Oval Office and given his operations in the completely corrupt Illinois in general and Chicago in particlar political scene, we have another Clinton in the White House. No wonder they are terrified in Washington about what Edward Snowden might have found and, worse, what he can reveal!
That is why the CIA is even now searching Russia for a hit man to take care of Snowden, both as a warning to others and as payback for what they think are his misdeads in daring to expose their fun and games aimed directly at the American public!
Chris Mason Крис Мазон
Mason, Christopher , P.O. Box 25765, Arlington, VA 22313
The Turkish media are rife with speculation that a former U.S. Navy and State Department officer who is married to Yasemin Çongar, once the Washington bureau chief of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and now affiliated with Taraf, is a C.I.A. agent. The main evidence linking the two has been provided by an April 2002 article that Çonger published in the Foreign Service Journal, in which she identified herself as being “married to FSO Chris Mason”.
Mr. Mason has written to the Evening Gazette, categorically denying the allegations made in the original 2 Feb 2010 article about him by Oray Egin. In particular, Mr. Mason reportedly has denied ever being associated with, or having received compensation from, the C.I.A. or the RAND Corporation, as alleged in the article. He states that he is a retired diplomat with an academic interest in Afghanistan, and has demanded that the Evening Gazette retract their false and unfounded allegations, while reserving the right to further legal actions against the paper.
This may well be true but as his public curriculum vitae shows, he seems to have had and continues to have close working relationships with the U.S. intelligence community. He claims to lecture regularly at the Joint Special Operations University, the Naval Postgraduate School, the National Defense University, and to teach at the Fort Bragg Special Operations Center, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, and other military posts.
Although his curriculum vitae no longer appears on the Naval Graduate School website, Chris Mason’s research, publication, and advisory work is still amply documented on it. For example, “NPS Senior Research Fellow and retired Foreign Service Officer Chris Mason” addressed the Conference on Culture and Counterinsurgency in Southern Afghanistan, Aug. 25-27, 2009, which was attended by U.S. Lt. Gen. McChrystal and Canadian Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard and a dozen top officers of his Joint Task Force-Afghanistan; Mason reportedly made a presentation on “using Pashtun culture for strategic advantage”.
M. Chris Mason is a Senior Research Fellow with the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, focusing on the history and ethnography of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Mr. Mason is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served as the Afghanistan Policy Officer for the Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the State Department for four years beginning in June 2001, developing U.S. security policy on Afghanistan, ranging from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to the Disarmament Program (DDR) and the Afghan National Army (ANA).
While at the State Department, he worked closely with the intelligence community on a number of classified projects involving tribal mapping and the tribes of Afghanistan. He was considered the State Department’s expert on the history, culture and ethnography of the country and served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell.
In 2005, he served as the Political Officer on the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Paktika Province on the Pakistan border. As the senior US government civilian in the province, he traveled widely with the provincial governor and U.S. Army maneuver elements, engaging thousands of Afghans at speeches and Shura (elders) meetings across the province. Prior to that tour, Mr. Mason had previously traveled frequently to Afghanistan, beginning in January, 2002 on a variety of security-related projects.
He is currently also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies in Washington, DC, and serves as the South Asia Desk Officer for the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Culture Learning (CAOCL) in Quantico, Virginia, where he developed the Marine Corps’ classroom program and distance-learning training programs for Afghanistan, wrote the Afghanistan Deployer’s Cultural Guide, and trains Marines deploying to Afghanistan.
Mr. Mason served 23 years in the U.S. government as a Naval Officer and Foreign Service Officer. From 2001 to 2005, he was a policy officer on the Afghanistan Interagency Operations Group at the State Department and most recently served as the political officer on the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Paktika Province. He lectures regularly on Afghanistan and Counterinsurgency at Joint Special Operations University, the Naval Postgraduate School and the National Defense University, and teaches Afghan history, culture, and ethnography to military personnel deploying to Afghanistan at the Fort Bragg Special Operations Center, Fort Carson, Fort Drum, and other military posts. He holds a Master’s Degree in Military Studies, and is a PhD candidate in History at The George Washington University
Earlier Mr. Mason had been a Senior Research Fellow with the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Mr. Mason currently lectures on ethnography and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan at the National Defense University, the Joint Special Operations University, Fort Bragg, RAND, DynCorps, and the Naval Postgraduate School.
In addition, he teaches a course on Counterinsurgency for the Master of Security Studies (MSS) program at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and lectures on Afghanistan history, culture and the Taliban for the U.S. Army’s traveling Leadership Development and Education for Sustained Peacekeeping (LDESP) program which trains military personnel deploying to Afghanistan.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1990, Mr. Mason served as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America from 1977-1979 and naval officer on active duty from 1981-1986, with tours as a gunnery officer (USS John Young, DD973), a forward observer (2d Battalion 12th Marines) and a naval gunfire officer (2d ANGLICO Airborne). He earned Navy Master Parachutist wings, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Korea Defense Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, Zimbabwean Army parachute wings, the State Department Superior Honor Medal, and other awards. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master’s Degree in Military Studies from Marine Corps University, and is currently a PhD candidate in South Asian History at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
The fact that Mr. Mason “served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell” is of interest. In a long (11-page) article in the U.S. News and World Report, David Kaplan had reported on the “Red Cell” as follows:
Twice each week, a top-secret report with distinctive red stripes lands on the desks of select policymakers in Washington. Called the “Red Cell,” it is the work of a CIA unit by the same name, set up after the 9/11 attacks to think “outside the box.” “Some of it is really wacky, even scary,” says an insider. “Like bombing Iran.” The “Red Cell,” in a very real sense, is emblematic of the trouble the U.S. intelligence community finds itself in today. Its reports, in-house critics say, are getting stale. “There’s not a lot of young blood,” an analyst says, “and there’s not enough turnover.”
In the light of this background the fact that Mr. Mason admits to having “served on” the C.I.A. Red Cell is not without significance. Further, the revelation that there was a “Pashtun Red Cell” raises questions about what kind of “outside the box” thinking Mr. Mason and his friends have been engaged in on the Pashtuns? If bombing Iran was not off the table for Red Cell thinkers, then certainly creating Pashtunistan (or balkanising Pakistan) would not be off the agenda either.
Mr. Mason’s close links to the intelligence community are plainly spelt out in his speaker’s introduction at a Jamestown Foundation event (on “Waziristan and the Uzbeks”) held on 6 June 2007:
While at the State Department, he worked closely with the intelligence community on a number of classified projects involving tribal mapping and the tribes of Afghanistan and the FATA, and served on the CIA’s Pashtun Red Cell.
The introduction also states that in March 2007 Mr. Mason had visited Quetta, Peshawar and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan.
Finally, there seems to be more to the Turkish press coverage—especially in scandalising Çonger’s marriage to an American, with alleged C.I.A. links, on the one hand, and her position at the controversial Taraf newspaper, on the other; Taraf is (1) suspected of being funded by Fethullah Gülen (a moderate observant Muslim living in self-exile in the United States), and (2) accused of being staunchly pro-AKP (Adalet ve Kalk?nma Partisi, or Justice and Development Party, of the President and the Prime Minister), and (3) of being anti-military.
NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ
Secret payments revealed in leaks by Edward Snowden
GCHQ expected to ‘pull its weight’ for Americans
Weaker regulation of British spies ‘a selling point’ for NSA
August 1, 2013
by Nick Hopkins and Julian Borger
The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.
The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands. “GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight,” a GCHQ strategy briefing said.
The funding underlines the closeness of the relationship between GCHQ and its US equivalent, the National Security Agency. But it will raise fears about the hold Washington has over the UK’s biggest and most important intelligence agency, and whether Britain’s dependency on the NSA has become too great.
In one revealing document from 2010, GCHQ acknowledged that the US had “raised a number of issues with regards to meeting NSA’s minimum expectations”. It said GCHQ “still remains short of the full NSA ask”.
Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA’s “dirty work”, but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain’s surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a “selling point” for the Americans.
The papers are the latest to emerge from the cache leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has railed at the reach of the US and UK intelligence agencies.
Snowden warned about the relationship between the NSA and GCHQ, saying the organisations have been jointly responsible for developing techniques that allow the mass harvesting and analysis of internet traffic. “It’s not just a US problem,” he said. “They are worse than the US.”
As well as the payments, the documents seen by the Guardian reveal:
• GCHQ is pouring money into efforts to gather personal information from mobile phones and apps, and has said it wants to be able to “exploit any phone, anywhere, any time”.
• Some GCHQ staff working on one sensitive programme expressed concern about “the morality and ethics of their operational work, particularly given the level of deception involved”.
• The amount of personal data available to GCHQ from internet and mobile traffic has increased by 7,000% in the past five years – but 60% of all Britain’s refined intelligence still appears to come from the NSA.
• GCHQ blames China and Russia for the vast majority of cyber-attacks against the UK and is now working with the NSA to provide the British and US militaries with a cyberwarfare capability.
The details of the NSA payments, and the influence the US has over Britain, are set out in GCHQ’s annual “investment portfolios”. The papers show that the NSA gave GCHQ £22.9m in 2009. The following year the NSA’s contribution increased to £39.9m, which included £4m to support GCHQ’s work for Nato forces in Afghanistan, and £17.2m for the agency’s Mastering the Internet project, which gathers and stores vast amounts of “raw” information ready for analysis.
The NSA also paid £15.5m towards redevelopments at GCHQ’s sister site in Bude, north Cornwall, which intercepts communications from the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic. “Securing external NSA funding for Bude has protected (GCHQ’s core) budget,” the paper said.
In 2011/12 the NSA paid another £34.7m to GCHQ.
The papers show the NSA pays half the costs of one of the UK’s main eavesdropping capabilities in Cyprus. In turn, GCHQ has to take the American view into account when deciding what to prioritise.
A document setting out GCHQ’s spending plans for 2010/11 stated: “The portfolio will spend money supplied by the NSA and UK government departments against agreed requirements.”
Other documents say the agency must ensure there has been “an appropriate level of contribution … from the NSA perspective”.
The leaked papers reveal that the UK’s biggest fear is that “US perceptions of the … partnership diminish, leading to loss of access, and/or reduction in investment … to the UK”.
When GCHQ does supply the US with valuable intelligence, the agency boasts about it. In one review, GCHQ boasted that it had supplied “unique contributions” to the NSA during its investigation of the American citizen responsible for an attempted car bomb attack in Times Square, New York City, in 2010.
No other detail is provided – but it raises the possibility that GCHQ might have been spying on an American living in the US. The NSA is prohibited from doing this by US law.
Asked about the payments, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions.”
A senior security source in Whitehall added: “The fact is there is a close intelligence relationship between the UK and US and a number of other countries including Australia and Canada. There’s no automaticity, not everything is shared. A sentient human being takes decisions.”
Although the sums represent only a small percentage of the agencies’ budgets, the money has been an important source of income for GCHQ. The cash came during a period of cost-cutting at the agency that led to staff numbers being slashed from 6,485 in 2009 to 6,132 last year.
GCHQ seems desperate to please its American benefactor and the NSA does not hold back when it fails to get what it wants. On one project, GCHQ feared if it failed to deliver it would “diminish NSA’s confidence in GCHQ’s ability to meet minimum NSA requirements”. Another document warned: “The NSA ask is not static and retaining ‘equability’ will remain a challenge for the near future.”
In November 2011, a senior GCHQ manager working in Cyprus bemoaned the lack of staff devoted to one eavesdropping programme, saying: “This is not sustainable if numbers reduce further and reflects badly on our commitments to the NSA.”
The overriding necessity to keep on the right side of the US was revealed in a UK government paper that set out the views of GCHQ in the wake of the 2010 strategic defence and security review. The document was called: “GCHQ’s international alliances and partnerships: helping to maintain Britain’s standing and influence in the world.” It said: “Our key partnership is with the US. We need to keep this relationship healthy. The relationship remains strong but is not sentimental. GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight.”
Astonishingly, the document admitted that 60% of the UK’s high-value intelligence “is based on either NSA end-product or derived from NSA collection”. End product means official reports that are distillations of the best raw intelligence.
Another pitch to keep the US happy involves reminding Washington that the UK is less regulated than the US. The British agency described this as one of its key “selling points”. This was made explicit two years ago when GCHQ set out its priorities for the coming years.
“We both accept and accommodate NSA’s different way of working,” the document said. “We are less constrained by NSA’s concerns about compliance.”
GCHQ said that by 2013 it hoped to have “exploited to the full our unique selling points of geography, partnerships [and] the UK’s legal regime”.
However, there are indications from within GCHQ that senior staff are not at ease with the rate and pace of change. The head of one of its programmes warned the agency was now receiving so much new intelligence that its “mission management … is no longer fit for purpose”.
In June, the government announced that the “single intelligence account” fund that pays for GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 would be increased by 3.4% in 2015/16. This comes after three years in which the SIA has been cut from £1.92bn to £1.88bn. The agencies have also been told to make £220m savings on existing programmes.
The parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) has questioned whether the agencies were making the claimed savings and said their budgets should be more rigorously scrutinised to ensure efficiencies were “independently verifiable and/or sustainable”.
The Snowden documents show GCHQ has become increasingly reliant on money from “external” sources. In 2006 it received the vast majority of its funding directly from Whitehall, with only £14m from “external” funding. In 2010 that rose to £118m and by 2011/12 it had reached £151m. Most of this comes from the Home Office.
Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours
David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
Alan Rusbridger on Snowden, Greenwald and the threat to journalism
August 18, 2013
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 less than 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.
Since 5 June, Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing the NSA’s electronic surveillance programmes, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Guardian has also published a number of stories about blanket electronic surveillance by Britain’s GCHQ, also based on documents from Snowden.
While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian. The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flights.
“This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process,” Greenwald said. “To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.
“But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively.”
A spokesperson for the Guardian said: “We were dismayed that the partner of a Guardian journalist who has been writing about the security services was detained for nearly nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport. We are urgently seeking clarification from the British authorities.”
A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said: “At 08:05 on Sunday, 18 August a 28-year-old man was detained at Heathrow airport under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was not arrested. He was subsequently released at 17:00.”
Scotland Yard refused to be drawn on why Miranda was stopped using powers that enable police officers to stop and question travellers at UK ports and airports.
There was no comment from the Home Office in relation to the detention. However, there was surprise in political circles and elsewhere. Labour MP Tom Watson said he was shocked at the news and called for it to be made clear if any ministers were involved in authorising the detention.
He said: “It’s almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald’s partner was a terrorist suspect.
“I think that we need to know if any ministers knew about this decision, and exactly who authorised it.”
“The clause in this act is not meant to be used as a catch-all that can be used in this way.”
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act has been widely criticised for giving police broad powers under the guise of anti-terror legislation to stop and search individuals without prior authorisation or reasonable suspicion – setting it apart from other police powers.
Those stopped have no automatic right to legal advice and it is a criminal offence to refuse to co-operate with questioning under schedule 7, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence.
Last month the UK government said it would reduce the maximum period of detention to six hours and promised a review of the operation on schedule 7 amid concerns it unfairly targets minority groups and gives individuals fewer legal protections than they would have if detained at a police station.
The government of Brazil issued a statement in which it expressed its “grave concern” over the detention of one of its citizens and the use of anti-terror legislation. It said: “This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation. The Brazilian government expects that incidents such as the one that happened to the Brazilian citizen today are not repeated.”
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.”
David Miranda: ‘They said I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate’
Partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald gives his first interview on nine-hour interrogation at Heathrow airport
August 19, 2013
by Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro
David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian journalist who broke stories of mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency, has accused Britain of a “total abuse of power” for interrogating him for almost nine hours at Heathrow under the Terrorism Act.
In his first interview since returning to his home in Rio de Janeiro early on Monday, Miranda said the authorities in the UK had pandered to the US in trying to intimidate him and force him to reveal the passwords to his computer and mobile phone.
“They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate,” said Miranda. “They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK … It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Miranda – a Brazilian national who lives with Greenwald in Rio – was held for the maximum time permitted under schedule seven of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas.
During that time, he said, he was not allowed to call his partner, who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language.
“I was in a different country with different laws, in a room with seven agents coming and going who kept asking me questions. I thought anything could happen. I thought I might be detained for a very long time,” he said.
He was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Miranda was seized almost as soon as his British Airways flight touched down on Sunday morning. “There was an announcement on the plane that everyone had to show their passports. The minute I stepped out of the plane they took me away to a small room with four chairs and a machine for taking fingerprints,” he recalled.
His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well two newly bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.
“They got me to tell them the passwords for my computer and mobile phone,” Miranda said. “They said I was obliged to answer all their questions and used the words ‘prison’ and ‘station’ all the time.”
“It is clear why they took me. It’s because I’m Glenn’s partner. Because I went to Berlin. Because Laura lives there. So they think I have a big connection,” he said. “But I don’t have a role. I don’t look at documents. I don’t even know if it was documents that I was carrying. It could have been for the movie that Laura is working on.”
Miranda was told he was being detained under the Terrorism Act. He was never accused of being a terrorist or being associated with terrorists, but he was told that if – after nine hours – his interrogators did not think he was being co-operative, then he could be taken to a police station and put in jail.
“This law shouldn’t be given to police officers. They use it to get access to documents or people that they cannot get the legal way through courts or judges,” said Miranda. “It’s a total abuse of power.”
He was offered a lawyer and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities. The questions, he said, were relentless – about Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras and a host of other apparently random subjects.
“They even asked me about the protests in Brazil, why people were unhappy and who I knew in the government,” said Miranda.
He got his first drink – from a Coke machine in the corridor – after eight hours and was eventually released almost an hour later. Police records show he had been held from 08.05 to 17.00.
Unable immediately to find a flight for him back to Rio, Miranda says the Heathrow police then escorted him to passport control so he could enter Britain and wait there.
“It was ridiculous,” he said. “First they treat me like a terrorist suspect. Then they are ready to release me in the UK.”
Although he believes the British authorities were doing the bidding of the US, Miranda says his view of the UK has completely changed as a result of the experience.
“I have friends in the UK and liked to visit, but you can’t go to a country where they have laws that allow the abuse of liberty for nothing,” he said.
The White House on Monday insisted that it was not involved in the decision to detain Miranda, though a spokesman said US officials had been given a “heads up” by British officials beforehand.
The Brazilian government has expressed grave concern about the “unjustified” detention.
Speaking by phone from the couple’s home in the Tijuca forest, Miranda said it felt “awesome” to be back. “It’s really good to be here. I felt the weight lift off my shoulders as soon I got back. Brazil feels very secure, very safe,” he said. “I knew my country would protect me, and I believe in my husband and knew that he would do anything to help me.”
Glenn Greenwald: detaining my partner was a failed attempt at intimidation
The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended
August 18, 2013
At 6:30 am this morning my time – 5:30 am on the East Coast of the US – I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a “security official at Heathrow airport.” He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been “detained” at the London airport “under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000.”
David had spent the last week in Berlin, where he stayed with Laura Poitras, the US filmmaker who has worked with me extensively on the NSA stories. A Brazilian citizen, he was returning to our home in Rio de Janeiro this morning on British Airways, flying first to London and then on to Rio. When he arrived in London this morning, he was detained.
At the time the “security official” called me, David had been detained for 3 hours. The security official told me that they had the right to detain him for up to 9 hours in order to question him, at which point they could either arrest and charge him or ask a court to extend the question time. The official – who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654 – said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.
I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done. The Guardian has the full story here.
Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian’s lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.
According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, “fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders” (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). Moreover, “most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour.” An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.
The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used “to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.”
But they obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop “the terrorists”, and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name.
Worse, they kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him. We spent all day – as every hour passed – worried that he would be arrested and charged under a terrorism statute. This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ.
Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.
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. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.
If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world – when they prevent the Bolivian President’s plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today – all they do is helpfully underscore why it’s so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.
David was unable to call me because his phone and laptop are now with UK authorities. So I don’t yet know what they told him. But the Guardian’s lawyer was able to speak with him immediately upon his release, and told me that, while a bit distressed from the ordeal, he was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance to me. I already share it, as I’m certain US and UK authorities will soon see.
Greenwald Fund Raiser
As you know, I hold a fund-raiser at the end of each year to support my journalism. When I left Salon for the Guardian in August, our agreement was that I would continue to write with full editorial and journalistic independence and, to accomplish that, would continue to rely on support from my readers at the end of each year.
Because I’ve only been at the Guardian for a few months, we mutually agreed the best way to do that this year would be for me to appeal directly to those readers who have supported my journalism in the past rather than writing about it at the Guardian: hence this email.
Reader support has always been and remains vital to my ability to work independently. It enables me to have a research assistant which is invaluable, to fund some travel and technology I use to cover stories, and most significantly, to avoid having to join anyone’s staff or do unconstructive work that distracts from the journalism I think is important. The most important aspect of reliance on reader support is, I’ve always believed, that it frees me from having to concern myself with the reaction of anyone to my work – other than my readers.
As always, donations can be made via paypal (UnclaimedTerritory@yahoo.com), at Google Checkout (link here), or via mail (checks should be made payable to Dos Santos Management, LLC and sent c/o Daniel Novack, 360 Furman Street, #931, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
I always truly appreciate all forms of reader support. It is deeply gratifying and emboldening, as well as very helpful. Either way, this is an excellent opportunity for me to thank you for your past support –
Guardian says Britain made it destroy Snowden material
August 20, 2013
by Estelle Shirbon and Michael Holden
LONDON – The British authorities forced the Guardian newspaper to destroy material leaked by Edward Snowden, its editor has revealed, calling it a “pointless” move that would not prevent further reporting on U.S. and British surveillance programs.
In a column on Tuesday, Alan Rusbridger said he had received a call from a government official a month ago who told him: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.” The paper had been threatened with legal action if it did not comply.
Later, two “security experts” from the secretive Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had visited the paper’s London offices and watched as computer hard drives containing Snowden material were reduced to mangled bits of metal.
Asked by the BBC who he thought was behind those events, Rusbridger said he had “got the sense there was an active conversation” involving government departments, intelligence agencies and the prime minister’s Downing Street office.
Downing Street and GCHQ declined to comment.
Rusbridger said the “bizarre” episode and the detention at London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday of the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald showed press freedom was under threat in Britain.
The nine-hour detention under an anti-terrorism law of David Miranda, Greenwald’s Brazilian partner, has caused a furor with Brazil, British opposition politicians, human rights lawyers and press freedom watchdogs among those denouncing it.
Greenwald was the first journalist to publish U.S. and British intelligence secrets leaked by Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who is wanted in the United States and has found temporary asylum in Russia.
Snowden’s leaks have revealed details of NSA and GCHQ surveillance of global communications networks. Washington and London say their security agencies act within the law and the leaks are a threat to national security.
Britain’s Home Office, or interior ministry, defended Miranda’s detention on Tuesday.
“If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that,” it said in a statement.
London’s Metropolitan Police said Miranda’s detention had been “legally and procedurally sound”.
Miranda, who was in transit on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro where he lives with Greenwald, was questioned for nine hours before being released without charge, minus his laptop, mobile phone and memory sticks.
He had been ferrying materials obtained from Snowden between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, an independent film-maker based in Berlin who has also published reports based on Snowden material.
Miranda has launched legal action against the British police and government to question the legal basis of his detention and stop the authorities from viewing, copying or passing on his data, his lawyer Gwendolen Morgan told Reuters.
The White House said on Monday Washington was given a “heads up” ahead of Miranda’s detention but had not requested it.
Dunja Mijatovic, media freedoms chief at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a 57-nation human rights and security watchdog, said she had written to the British authorities to express concerns about Miranda’s detention.
“The detention can be interpreted as putting pressure on Glenn Greenwald after his recent reporting on security issues in the Guardian,” she wrote.
Britain also came under attack from press freedom group Index on Censorship, which denounced the forced destruction of computers revealed by Rusbridger in his Tuesday column.
“It is clear that the Snowden and NSA story is strongly in the public interest … It seems that the UK government is using, and quite literally misusing, laws to intimidate journalists and silence its critics,” the group said.
Rusbridger said the destruction of the computer material was “pointless” as there were other copies of what was lost, and it would not stop the Guardian from pursuing Snowden stories.
“We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents. We just won’t do it in London,” he said.
A British source with knowledge of the security services said GCHQ had no powers to seize material from the Guardian, but could have accused the paper of possessing stolen materials and demanded they be destroyed.
(Writing by Estelle Shirbon, additional reporting by Andrew Osborn in London and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Peter Graff)
Rusbridger: destroying hard drives allowed us to continue NSA coverage
Guardian editor-in-chief says he agreed to ‘slightly pointless’ task because newspaper has digital copies outside Britain
August 20, 2013
by Josh Halliday
Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor-in-chief, has said that the destruction of computer hard drives containing information provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden allowed the paper to continue reporting on the revelations instead of surrendering the material to UK courts.
Rusbridger told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One on Tuesday that he agreed to the “slightly pointless” task of destroying the devices – which was overseen by two GCHQ officials at the Guardian’s headquarters in London – because the newspaper is in possession of digital copies outside Britain.
The move followed weeks of private discussions with Whitehall officials who eventually threatened legal action over the material “unless we handed it back or destroyed it”, he said.
“It was a rather bizarre situation in which I explained to them that there were other copies and, as with WikiLeaks, we weren’t working in London alone so destroying a copy in London seemed to me a slightly pointless task that didn’t take account of the way that digital information works these days,” said Rusbridger.
“Given that there were other copies and we could work out of America, which has better laws to protect journalists, I saw no reason not to destroy this material ourselves rather than hand it back to the government.”
Rusbridger added that the alternative to destroying the computer hard drives would be “essentially surrendering control of that material” to the courts while fighting a lengthy legal case with only a small prospect of winning.
“It seemed to me fruitless to go through that exercise of fighting that case, which would have meant that we could not write about the Snowden material when there were other copies. So it’s simply a matter of transferring our reporting to America,” he told The World at One’s Martha Kearney.
Rusbridger described as “alarming” the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, in Heathrow airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act for nine hours on Sunday.
Miranda is threatening legal action against the Home Office and the Metropolitan police unless they agree to return the electronic devices taken from him and not share any material taken from them with others.
“The problem is the use of this little-noticed schedule to the Terrorism Act, because what it does is to say that Britain’s ports and transit lounges in airports are an area of Britain where the normal rules don’t apply. I think that’s what has shocked the rest of the world,” said Rusbridger.
“If they were to arrest David Miranda in Heathrow car park they would have to use bits of the law which have checks and balances to protect journalistic material, among other things, but by doing it in a transit lounge they are operating in a kind of stateless way where they can interrogate someone for nine hours, seize whatever they want, under rules that are about terrorism. Once you start conflating terrorism and journalism, as a country I think you’re in some trouble.”
Rusbridger said the Snowden revelations had started a public debate aboutfears that the US and UK are on the road to “a much more complete regime of surveillance than anything that was imagined by anybody or by the laws that we have”.
“That argument was made to us early on that writing anything about this would be letting the bad guys in on the methods, and that is an effective way of shutting journalists up and saying let’s actually not have a public debate,” he said.
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David Miranda’s lawyers threaten legal action over ‘unlawful’ detention
Partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald seeks return of equipment seized during nine-hour interrogation at Heathrow
August 20, 2013
Lawyers for the partner of the Guardian journalist who exposed mass email surveillance have written to home secretary Theresa May and the head of the Metropolitan police warning them that they are set to take legal action over what they say amounted to his “unlawful” detention at Heathrow airport under anti-terror laws.
In their letter to May and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe they warn they are seeking immediate undertakings for the return David Miranda‘s laptop and all other electronic equipment within seven days.
His lawyers at the London firm Bindmans are seeking an official undertaking that there will be “no inspection, copying, disclosure, transfer, distribution or interference, in any way with our client’s data”.
But they say if there has already been an inspection of his laptop and other equipment it should not be disclosed to any third party, domestic or foreign and should be kept secure pending the outcome of the legal action.
Miranda, whose partner Glenn Greenwald has been working since May with the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, was transiting in Heathrow airport en route from Berlin to Brazil on Sunday when he was detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
He was questioned for nine hours and according to the letter had belongings including his mobile phone, laptop, memory sticks, smart-watch, DVDs and games consoles confiscated.
The letter says the decision to detain Miranda “amounted to a frustration of the legislative policy and objects of the Terrorism Act 2000” and was for “an improper purpose and was therefore unlawful”.
Bindmans say if the undertakings are not given by Tuesday afternoon they will have no option but to seek an urgent interim injunction in the high court.
The lawyers say they will also be seeking a “quashing order” confirming that his detention was “unlawful” and a mandatory order that all data seized is returned and copies destroyed.
“The decisions to use schedule 7 powers in our client’s case amounted to a grave and manifestly disproportionate interference with the claimant’s rights” under European human rights legislation, the letter adds.
Gwendolen Morgan, the lawyer at Bindmans dealing with the case, said: “We have grave concerns about the decision to use this draconian power to detain our client for nine hours on Sunday – for what appear to be highly questionable motives, which we will be asking the high court to consider. This act is likely to have a chilling effect on journalists worldwide and is emphatically not what parliament intended schedule 7 powers to be used for.”
Bindmans say the police used the anti-terror laws in order to have “deliberately bypassed” the normal statutory procedures for seeking confidential journalistic material such as court orders under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Using Pace police can get permission to search premises and seize property but some classes of material are protected, including journalistic material.
“The decision was a flagrant misuse of the defendant’s statutory powers,” says the letter, which is signed by Bindmans.
The letter says Miranda was detained by police for almost nine hours in a secure area at Heathrow airport, adding that this was an unlawful “deprivation of liberty” under article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: “David Miranda has filed a legal claim with regard to his detention at Heathrow airport on Sunday 18 August under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act. The Guardian is supportive of that claim.”