The behavior of NSA and the British counterpart GCHQ gets more bizarre every day.
David Miranda, the partner of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, was detained as he was passing through Heathrow airport this past weekend on his way back from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. He was held for nine hours under schedule 7 of the UK’s terror laws, which give enormous discretion to stop, search and question people. There is no need that these people actually have connections with “terror”, as ordinarily understood. Suspects have no right to legal representation and may have their property confiscated for up to seven days. Under penalty they even cannot refuse to cooperate.
Then there is this report, that some (not so) friendly gentlemen from GCHQ showed up at the Guardian, and demanded the destruction of computer hard drives supposedly containing material about the NSA leaked by Edward Snowden.
Folks, it is not about national security anymore or about the fight against terrorism. It is about freedom of press, an essential part of democracy. That is, it is about democracy.
Don’t think it is much better in the U.S. There is freedom of speech (not freedom of press) in the constitution, but it doesn’t mean you can say anything you want. Besides that you can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater when there is none, there have been rulings that people who have at some time worked for the government, are prohibited to talk about things related to “national security”, whatever this means. This is sanctioned by the U.S. supreme court, which we thought is really to upheld the U.S. constitution.
Even President Obama, in his most recent press conference, stressed that his first priority as commander in chief it to protect American citizens. We don’t remember saying him anything about the U.S. constitution.
He said something about “trust” in the government. Well. can we really trust anything that he or his government (or the British government) is saying?
Can you believe the listening of the NSA into phone conversations over a thousand times was an accident?
Can you believe Obama initiated a review about NSA practices even before the Snowden leaks became public?
Can you believe the proposed no-spy agreement between the U.S and Germany (or NSA and BND?) would change anything whatsoever?
So, the hard drives at the Guardian were destroyed “just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents”
Now why would that be? There is a good chance that the Chinese know already, and the Snowden files would not add anything to what they already know.
It is actually worse. There are indications that the NSA has outsourced computer spying to China, because “they are good at this”, and the lack of computer science knowledge within the American population due to spending cuts in the education system.