Glenn Greenwald

Responses to the detention of David Miranda

I have seen no commentator more exercised by the latest Greenwald story than Little Green Footballs’s Charles Johnson.  He is infuriated by what he sees as misleading coverage of David Miranda’s detention under the 2000 Terrorism Act at Heathrow.

The Guardian has now added a line that they paid for Greenwald’s partner’s trip, without noting that it’s an addition.

Apparently the Greenwald apologists are going to now pretend Miranda might have just been carrying grocery lists.

Why sure! What happened to David Miranda is *exactly* like the FBI invading the New York Times newsroom! No difference at all.

That’s right – Glenn Greenwald wrote that the UK government is worse than the Mafia.

To be fair, judging from responses I’ve seen on Twitter, it really isn’t just Greenwald apologists who are expressing disquiet over this news.   For example, apparently only 1 in 2000 detainees are kept for more than six hours, whereas Miranda was held for the maximum of nine hours.

This seems a useful, reasoned evaluation of the actions taken by the UK authorities:

So, this is complicated. The UK authorities were correct to question David Miranda, but they were stupid, wrong, and abusive to have held him for so long — and in doing so, they ruined any possible legitimacy their questions might have held. It was a needless own-goal.

But if the UK authorities acted excessively, Greenwald has certainly responded in kind:

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 feel threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

Greenwald manages to imply that the UK is somehow worse than the many countries around the world where it is seriously difficult and dangerous for journalists to operate freely.  I quite liked this wry response to the hyperbole (as retweeted by the indefatigable Charles Johnson).

David Miranda is still a free man. So ends another day under the tyranny of belligerent centrism.

Alan A adds

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.