Why the Government should ignore David Anderson

David Anderson QC, the “independent” reviewer of terror powers, was a guest with me on BBC Newsnight. He speaks first in this video.

In advance of even speaking to the police, it is clear Anderson has made his mind up on the basis of partial facts. First, no man in his position should be on BBC Newsnight expressing “concerns” and speaking so negatively about a detention we all now know to have been wholly justified – talking about abuses of power etc before even meeting the police.

Frankly disgraceful on his part.

An independent reviewer is meant to keep an open mind. Anderson clearly did not. We all know what his review will say and Theresa May was strong and correct to announce that she will ignore him.

My second point is that, in the clip, Anderson complains about “British Asians” being disproportionately stopped under the law. This again is wholly inappropriate on his part. Profiling is an absolutely necessary weapon in the war against terror. Not a perfect weapon but a necessary one.

Nor is disproportionate stopping of Asians race-based and this is another reason David Anderson does not deserve his job. Countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, amongst others, have a far higher incidence of terrorist training camps and terrorist actions against the UK than say Switzerland or Thailand or Rwanda. Nationals and those traveling to and from countries with a higher terrorist activity level are more likely to be, and ought to be more likely to be, stopped than other travelers. If Yemenis or Pakistanis are disproportionately stopped it is because they are from Yemen and Pakistan, not because they are Asian. The same applies to Britons who travel frequently to those countries.

This keeps us safe. In an earlier age when the threat to the UK was mostly from Irish terror, I lived in Dublin for a couple of years. As a young woman flying alone with hand-luggage I fit a profile and I was stopped almost every time I flew in and out of Stanstead. Whilst it was annoying (and predictable) I did not mind it and in fact, it reassured me that the plane I was getting on was safe and well-watched.

On a Conservative point of principle the Government have brought the shabby bias displayed by David Anderson on themselves by having a quangocrat in place to “review terror laws” – same with Leveson. The people reviewing laws should be Parliament, who are elected by, and accountable to, the people. Quangoes, judges and QCs are unaccountable (except by us bloggers and journalists) and the electorate cannot sack them.

Quangos and Anderson style Quango-crats are profoundly unConservative. I would like to see Michael Gove do an audit of how many “David Andersons” there are out there, and following the fiasco of his prejudice on display in this clip, remove them before they do more damage.

David Miranda is lying, and the Guardian is covering it up

Short one today:

David Miranda is lying. Why are the Guardian not reporting this?

The Guardian said they paid for his flights and expenses because he was “assisting a reporter [Greenwald] in his work”. They said “as his partner he often assists [Greenwald] in his work.”

Yet in their own interview with him Miranda denied assisting Greenwald in his work on the story, claiming to have had nothing to do with it, and not to know what had been taken from him: 

“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.”

Believable? No, not at all. But not questioned by the Guardian despite their statement that his flights (and expenses)  were paid for because he was “assisting a journalist with his story”.

But have a look at this video from yesterday’s blog, and slide the cursor to 5:05, to see Miranda again lying through his teeth: Greenwald, next to him, cannot supress his smirk. CNN’s anchor asks if Miranda was muling classified intelligence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1FgWsOSg4&feature=youtu.be

“I don’t know that… I was just taking the fil- … those materials back to Glenn. You know Glenn been working with a lot of stories along the years…I didn’t quite follow everything that he writes every day…I can’t follow him, because I have to have a life.”

 

Uh-huh. So now we have Miranda saying not only that he didn’t know what he was muling but that he didn’t even know which story he was supposedly working on! You know, my husband writes lots of stories! Who can keep track of them? Certainly not David Miranda. He flew Rio-Berlin to meet with Snowden hagiograpgher Laura Poitras, but the story might not have been about Snowden! It could have been about German architecture, or the decline in real schnapps production! How is David Miranda supposed to know, dudes? He has to have a life!

Only, Miranda quite clearly and distinctly says to camera “I was just taking the files” then stops himself (as Greenwald smirks) and substitutes Rusbridger’s “[journalistic] materials” just in time.

This is nice, easy, simple proof that David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald are speaking falsely. Miranda knew he was muling classified intel, and Glenn Greenwald knew his spouse was held for that reason and NOT “to intimidate me” as he claimed.

Why isn’t the Guardian reporting on this?

They are cover-up merchants supreme.

I have no doubt they fear what authorities in London and Washington now know from Miranda’s “encrypted” thumb drives. In an editorial today Alan Rusbridger made it quite clear his paper was not going to respect British judges or obey British law:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/commentisfree+world/edward-snowden

…prevent publication of further material by legal means. To have resisted such action would have involved handing over ultimate control of the material to a judge and could have meant that no stories could have been published for many months, if at all.

 

Damn those pesky judges and the rule of law!

 

 

 

UPDATE: 18 questions for the @Guardian

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UPDATE: It would appear that – if Buzzfeed is right – an employee/s or agent/s of the New York Times and/or the Guardian knowingly and willingly smuggled life-endangering stolen intelligence across our borders:

Now the Times or an agent for the paper, too, appears to have carried digital files from the United Kingdom across international lines into the United States. Discussions of how to partner on the documents were carried out in person between top Guardian editors and Times executive editor Jill Abramson, all of whom declined to comment on the movement of documents. But it appears likely that someone at one of the two papers physically carried a drive with Snowden’s GCHQ leaks from London to New York or Washington — exactly what Miranda was stopped at Heathrow for doing.

Remember, the Guardian said they agreed to destroy their computers – all of them – that contained the intel; they professed that they did not know what David Miranda was carrying – I believe their corduroy pants to be on fire even as we speak.

If they lied and kept copies and physically shifted the data, the UK and US intelligence agencies should go after them full throttle for espionage. At the bottom of this blog we have the police opening a criminal investigation into Miranda - remember the relief against that bit is only temporary – for transporting this data… if the Guardian have done it, they should be pursued in exactly the same way. Same with the New York Times.

Being a journalist doesn’t allow you to traffic in intel that can endanger lives OR impair the ability of the UK to conduct its intelligence capabilities: The Miranda judge said that clearly today in his draft judgement.

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/queen-on-application-of-miranda-sshd.pdf

  1. It is also significant that one of the exceptions in Section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 to the protection for journalistic sources and in Article 10(2) is where the interests of national security require disclosure. In X v Morgan-Grampian (Publishers) [1996] 1 AC 1 at 43 it was stated that, once it is shown that disclosure will serve one of the interests specified in Section 10, ie. national security and interests of justice, “the necessity of disclosure follows almost automatically”.
  1. The court also considered inspection and disclosure for the purpose of protecting national security, including by preventing or avoiding the endangering the life of any person or the diminution of the counter-terrorism capability of Her Majesty’s Government (the terms of the exclusion from the undertaking the defendants were prepared to make) should be permitted in the limited period until 30 August, notwithstanding the high importance of protecting journalistic sources

We should also ask why the Guardian is panicking and has run to America (possibly with a copy of the Snowden data it would have been lying about not retaining in the UK).

I speculate, because RIPA and TACT were correctly used to force Miranda to share his passwords: and the UK government and police now have a whole bunch of stuff on Greenwald, Poitras, Miranda, Snowden, Wikileaks and the complicity of the Guardian. They know our guys – and the Americans – have them bang to rights and criminal charges and indictments for Greenwald et al may well be coming down the pipe.

Thanks once more to our security forces at Heathrow for their immense work in catching Greenwald and his non-citizen mule red-handed.

—————————————————————————————

 

1. Why did you initially lie about David Miranda not being offered a lawyer, and then fail  andto correct the record all day long?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow

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.

2. Why did you alter the original story that included this lie, wiping the fact that it was Glenn Greenwald who filed it?

http://www.trendingcentral.com/who-wrote-the-guardians-initial-report-on-david-miranda/

3. Having known all day long that Miranda had been offered a lawyer, why did you only run your interview with him admitting this at 10pm, after other UK papers had gone to bed and could not correct their supportive editorials?

4. Why did you first give the entire British press the misinformation that David Miranda was merely your journalist’s husband, when he had been paid by you to work on and “assist in the story”?

5. Since you claim the high ground on “press freedom” I am sure you will wish to be transparent, and address claims that you were not engaging in “journalism” here at all, but instead knowingly abetting espionage. Here we go:

You state

The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flights. Miranda is not an employee of the Guardian. As Greenwald’s partner, he often assists him in his work and the Guardian normally reimburses the expenses of someone aiding a reporter in such circumstances

You paid for David Miranda’s flights and expenses because, you claim, he was “assisting Glenn Greenwald” in his work.

But how was he assisting Glenn Greenwald? If he was transporting purely “journalistic materials”  why did Greenwald not use FedEx? If the data needed to be secure, why not use a P2P fileshare site? Why did the Guardian approve paying Miranda’s expenses when there are direct flights from Berlin to Rio that Poitras and Greenwald could have used?

Is it because Glenn Greenwald explained to you that as a US citizen he could not email, transport, or securely share stolen information about US and UK intelligence operations against foreign regimes without committing a serious felony and needed to use his husband as a mule?

In that case is not Guardian Media Group corporately responsible for abetting espionage against the United States and United Kingdom?

6. The question of “Exactly HOW was David Miranda “assisting” in the story while your paper was paying him to do so” arises even more strongly when we look at Miranda’s statements to US TV. Here is a video of him and Greenwald talking to Anderson Cooper at CNN. You will want to slide the cursor to 5:05.

Here you will note Miranda’s hilarious “not me guv” pretence of not being a mule and Glenn Greenwald’s corresponding smirk sitting next to him.

Miranda: “I don’t know that… I was just taking the fi- … those materials back to Glenn. You know Glenn been working with a lot of stories along the years…I didn’t quite follow everything that he writes every day…I can’t follow him, because I have to have a life.”

Get that, Mr. Rusbridger? Your man “assisting on the story” says that he doesn’t even know what this story is about, he wasn’t even paying attention to it, because he “has to have a life”.

In what way then was he assisting in the story and why was the Guardian paying for his flights and expenses – unless the paper knew that Miranda was needed to physically transport stolen classified US intelligence because, unlike Greenwald and Poitras, he is not a US citizen?

For what reason did you not ask Mr. Greenwald why flights and expenses were necessary for Mr. Miranda?

How precisely did you understand Mr. Miranda to be “assisting a reporter in his work”?

Assuming you knew that David Miranda was transporting incredibly damaging, life-threatening CIA and GCHQ national intelligence, how is the Guardian Media Group not complicit in this?

7. If the GMG is indeed complicit, through knowledge and payment, in the cross border smuggling of stolen NSA and GCHQ data, why should not the US authorities and the Home Secretary prepare corporate and criminal charges against the Guardian, David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras?

8. I believe it to be the case (I am open to correction) that Mr. Rusbridger has stated he did not know what David Miranda was carrying. Is this not completely disingenuous, as the only way he would have paid for the flights would be he suspected a human mule was necessary to transport the dangerous files?

9. Alan Rusbridger tweeted what he claimed was a photo of a smashed Macbook destroyed by security services. In fact, the internet soon proved there were parts from at least four computers in the picture. Why was the Guardian storing unbelievably dangerous material that threatens our national security on as many as four office computers, at least, that could easily be remotely hacked by any number of foreign spy agencies?

10. On a total of how many drives and computers did the Guardian copy this material?

11. On a total of how many basic office computers around the world has Guardian Media Group made copies of this material?

12. You know that on Portugese TV your reporter Glenn Greenwald threatened revenge exposure of British spy agencies, & that Mr. Rusbridger claimed this would not happen. Yet yesterday the Independent newspaper exposed a top secret British base working against our enemies in the Middle East, thereby endangering British intelligence efforts against terrorism and the lives of British intelligence agents?

13. Did the Guardian Media Group or, to your knowledge, any of its employees, particularly Mr. Greenwald, leak this incredibly damaging story that endangers UK intel to the Independent, out of a desire for revenge?

14. Why did you assert that Mr. Miranda was carrying “journalistic materials” if you claim you had no idea what he was carrying?

15. Why do you assert that journalism – reporting about a story or news item – is the same as possessing, smuggling, and copying, stolen classified intelligence information that endangers the life and work of British intelligence agents?

16. In deciding to insecurely hold this information on multiple office computers and goodness knows what other means, were you aware that (again speaking in a foreign language) your “reporter” Glenn Greenwald said to Argentina’s La Nacion:

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/matthew-dancona-in-this-spy-story-the-state-is-not-so-clearcut-a-villain-8777943.html

Last month, Greenwald told the Argentinian daily newspaper, La Nacion, that Snowden had “enough information to cause more harm to the US government in a single minute than any other person has ever had”

If you are not aware of this, why not? If you are aware of this, why is Guardian Media Group storing this information on insecure basic office computers?

17. Since Mr. Greenwald has made you aware of the incredibly damaging and dangerous nature of this information, why have you not supplied copies to the US and UK governments, so that they can see what Snowden has leaked to China, Russia and Wikileaks, and take steps to protect the lives of their agents and intelligence assets – lives that you and Guardian Media Group are well aware are now at risk from exposure?

Because you yourselves have said you have held back even more damaging and identifying material, you clearly have had sight of it. Why are you not allowing the US and UK to also have sight of it so we can protect our people? Do you literally not care about their lives, knowing full well they’re endangered by your reporter, Glenn Greenwald?

18. Why are you disabling questions on the ironically-named “Comment is Free” on your Greenwald articles? Is it because you have no shame?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10259658/Scotland-Yard-launch-criminal-investigation-over-David-Miranda-data.html

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, appearing for Scotland Yard to oppose a legal challenge by Mr Miranda, said: “That which has been inspected contains, in the view of the police, highly sensitive material the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety and thus the police have now initiated a criminal investigation.

“I am not proposing to say anything else which might alert potential defendants here or abroad to the nature and the ambit of the criminal investigation which has now been started.”

He added that the material amounted to “tens of thousands of highly classified UK documents”.

David Miranda – Snowden’s Mule, and physical data

Why was Glenn Greenwald using David Miranda as a mule for stolen, classified U.S. intelligence?

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When I tweeted thanks to our security forces, saying Edward Snowden had stolen classified info and now we had it back, there was an outcry from lefties along these lines:

Louise Mensch doesn’t understand data. She thinks there’s only one copy. She thinks if I copy a photo I’ve stolen it. etc etc etc.

Equally, we had Alan Rusbridger trying to deflect the attention of the UK’s papers from the Guardian’s lies, smears and omissions on the Miranda mule story by diverting their attention to the smashing of Guardian computers by GCHQ. ‘We had copies of the data in New York and Rio’ he said, tweeting an obviously faked picture of a MacBook Air he said heavies had smashed that was actually the components of all sorts of different computers, leading to suspicions by normally on-side geeks that the Grauniad was faking the photo for effect with random computer parts.

Now I don’t want to do our Fourth Estate’s job for them but it looks like I’m going to have to  (again) – after their supine closing of ranks just because Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, and their unwillingness to look at him, Miranda or the Guardian with a critical eye until after the damage was done.

Look, boys and girls, you hold politicians to account, hold YOUR OWN  to account too. No fear no favour – stop turning a blind eye and swallowing the spin so uncritically.

Ask yourselves this damned obvious question. If the data was copied everywhere and it didn’t matter, why is Rusbridger talking about “copies in New York and Rio”?

Why is David Miranda carrying it on encrypted thumb drives?

Why is David Miranda acting as a go-between at all?

Haven’t Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenberg and the Guardian heard of Dropbox? Or P2P filesharing sites? There are a million ways to store locked data in the cloud.

Let’s review:

He was returning to their home in Rio de Janeiro when he was stopped at Heathrow and officials confiscated electronics equipment, including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

This Guardian quote does not say “rolls of film… written notebooks” etc. It describes only electronic storage devices for data. They could have saved David Miranda “He is my partner, he is not a journalist” ‘s ticket price and expenses by, you know, storing all that in the cloud or shipping it via FedEx.

Glenn Greenwald to the New York Times:

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.

But Miranda and Poitras used a human mule (if indeed we believe him, I absolutely don’t, that he didn’t know what he was carrying).

Why? 

Yes, I realise I’m asking journalists to ask hard questions about another journalist and they like to keep those for people outside their club. Thank goodness for blogging and Twitter – and the smashing of big media’s gatekeeping hold on information. 

Ask yourselves if Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, are actively assisting Edward Snowden in his treacherous dissemination of classified, incredibly sensitive US and UK intelligence? From where I’m sitting, it looks like an attempt to fight charges in advance – by claiming that they are journalists and everything they do is covered by the First Amendment. Hence the New York Times putting Poitras on the cover of its magazine supplement this week and Greenwald’s repeated lies about the role of his husband and the events and aftermath of the detention to British journalists, unchallenged anywhere in the UK press, until I started tweeting about it  & wrote my last blog on the topic.

They hope that claiming a journalistic role will protect them when they are stealing, storing and disseminating classified intel about not just NSA snooping but America’s intelligence programmes against China, Russia and so forth. They are, in doing so, risking countless lives. So are the Guardian newspaper. As Malcom Rifkind said countering BBC bias yesterday on the Today programme, the Guardian had no right to store that stolen intelligence or to report even on GCHQ data collection (legal, not illegal, data collection). As he said, the Guardian’s angle was the GCHQ could legally penetrate comms in a deeper way than was known – and of course the Guardian let Al Qaeda and others know that, meaning that terrorists will start protecting their communications. Some terrorists are sophisticated – others, like many extremist Islamist cells, are not. The latter have been warned off by the Guardian from ways that UK spooks were tracking them.

“Rusbridger was on weak ground” Rifkind said. “He knew he had no legal right to possess the material.” And the point about the Guardian’s immense arrogance was made extremely well in the Daily Mail by Simon Glover:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2398470/The-Guardians-murky-waters-love-country-venture-says-STEPHEN-GLOVER.html

In a BBC radio interview yesterday, Mr Rusbridger claimed his newspaper had ‘held back a great deal’ of information from Snowden that might be harmful to Britain if it ever saw the light of day. Maybe it has, but some stuff has been published that was damaging.

It was because the Government feared the Guardian’s hard drives could contain unused material that might be hacked into by terrorists that it not unreasonably persuaded Mr Rusbridger to destroy them.

 

Indeed. On these physical hard drives a newspaper – just a newspaper, which takes on new staff all the time, where people come and go every day, including brand new employees, the Grauniad stored dangerous stolen classified intelligence. Remember Rusbridger’s tweeted “Macbook” photo that contained parts from all kinds of computers. One of two things is true about it:

1. The photo was faked by Rusbridger, and Guardian hacks assembled parts of many computers, not smashed up by GCHQ, for effect.

2. The photo was not faked. All the parts came from computers the Guardian allowed GCHQ to smash up. That would mean they were storing this classifed stolen data on multiple computers.

So let’s assume that 2. is true although I find the Guardian less and less trustworthy on all matters to do with this story. That means they were storing stolen data that could imperil our intelligence and UK and US intelligence agents’ lives, and materially help terrorist networks and despotic regimes like China and Russia, on a bunch of office computers.

Nice one, the Guardian! Because really, no sophisticated spy agency can remotely access any of those, can it? On your PC and Macbook and MacBook Air and all the other different computers in that pic, no terrorists can send a kid in as an (unpaid) Guardian intern who could pretty easily hack your stuff? You are secure over there in King’s Place, are you, #GuardianBond? And you are holding this stuff on all kinds of different computers, increasing the likelihood of hacks with each one?

In fact the shame is that the Government and GCHQ waited to go in there and demand destruction of the drives. They should have done it right away. 

And so back to the question that the UK’s media and Twitter’s Greenwald obsessives are not asking.

If the data is stored in the cloud why is King’s Place keeping it on physical hard drives? Why is Glenn Greenwald using a human courier at all?

Because Greenwald, and not Miranda, is a US citizen – and it would be a serious felony for Greenwald to transmit, mail, send in the cloud etc, stolen CIA data that risks the lives of US intelligence agencies. If Miranda is doing the transporting Greenwald can argue that he never did this. That he only received the information and did not disseminate it.

Lastly, why is it so important that our police questioned Miranda for 9 hours – after offering him that lawyer that he refused? Well, they got him to surrender his computer and social media passwords. Quite bloody right too. God willing, on that phone, that computer, those soc med accounts, they find some encryption keys, some ways to get in to the Snowden intel he was muling, and save American lives. Of course we know Snowden, the traitor, has permanently leaked that intel to the enemies of America, from his interview with the South China Morning Post and the boasting of Julian Assange:

There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage.  Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can’t be pressured by any state to stop the publication process.

Let’s just remind ourselves of Assange’s attitude to American lives and allies like translators:

Declan Walsh, the Guardian’s Islamabad correspondent, recalls one tense evening: “We went out to a Moorish restaurant, Moro, with the two German reporters. David Leigh broached the problem again with Julian. The response floored me. ‘Well, they’re informants,’ he said. ‘So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.’ There was, for a moment, silence around the table. I think everyone was struck by what a callous thing that was to say.

 

That’s the guy Snowden has given his files to. He should rot in jail for it for the rest of his life. So why does it matter that our security forces help the Americans with the stolen Snowden data they got back from Miranda? Because it’s by no means clear the Americans yet know the extent of what he has endangered:

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/20/20108770-us-doesnt-know-what-snowden-took-sources-say?lite

By cracking the code from Miranda’s copy of the Snowden data,  MI5 can help our American cousins know how bad it is and protect their, and our, intelligence agents from Snowden’s filthy treachery.

Well done indeed to our Border Police. And Theresa May and David Cameron need to be strong on this and absolutely unyielding. Being a journalist entitles you to report on a story. It does NOT entitle you to own, or to traffic, stolen intelligence data that puts UK and US spy programmes and agents’ lives at risk. These are not the Pentagon Papers; we already knew that when Edward Snowden told the Chinese regime, via their state engine the South China Morning Post, about US intelligence efforts against them, and we confirmed that when he leaked everything he had to the rape-charge fugitive Julian Assange. 

If UK intelligence can show US intelligence that Glenn Greenwald was passing stolen, highly classified intelligence info – trafficking in it – to and from Laura Poitras, they should prepare indictments and extradition warrants for both of them. For that goes far beyond reporting on a story, to actual espionage.

Cameron and May should remain strong – let Labour and Yvette Cooper be the ones telling the British public that Miranda should have been free to smuggle CIA data on Britain’s GCHQ around, without let or hindrance.

And the Obama administration should think long and hard before they pre-judge (as a spokesman did) whether they should seek a warrant for the New York Guardian hard drives. Yes there is the First Amendment, but the “fire in a crowded theatre” rule doesn’t apply to openly leaking US intelligence operations against foreign powers. The Obama spokesman rather feebly ran from Britain’s stronger actions saying that in the US they wouldn’t do that (get a warrant to seize computers). Well, they should bloody well try. We might have retorted that in Britain, we wouldn’t have let a twenty-something hacker with no history of service have access to our deepest intelligence computers, either, and lift intel endangering our spies and our allies’ spies with total ease. If Obama were Bush, the US media would be all over that failure.

However, as with this post, it is for bloggers to ask the questions that journalists refuse to. Thank God for the internet, eh?

PS: don’t try to seize this post. It’s stored in the cloud. 

 

 

 

The Smears of Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian – a primer

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Like most people, I fully supported Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA surveillance programme on Americans. I called for a Presidential pardon for Snowden right here on this blog, and suggested the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story, should win a Pulitzer prize for it.

http://unfashionista.com/2013/06/09/obama-must-pardon-edward-snowden/

Unfortunately, within barely a few days, my naive belief that Snowden was a patriotic whistleblower started to unravel. He fled to Hong Kong and it became apparent that he had targeted his job not just to gain intelligence on the NSA, but to expose American – and British – spy programmes, putting our agents at risk around the world, and aiding some of the world’s most repressive regimes. With the interview Snowden did with the South China Morning Post, he exposed US intel in China. He then dumped his entire stash of files with the anti-American Wikileaks and Julian Assange, who has previously stated ‘so what’ if US intel assets are killed from leaks.

My blog on that was here.

http://unfashionista.com/2013/07/02/assange-turns-snowden-into-a-traitor/

But with all this distressing realisation that Snowden was just a shitty little spy, one who was happy to suck up to the homophobic regime in Russia where he has taken asylum, i kept looking at Glenn Greenwald’s feed – @Ggreenwald  on Twitter – hoping to see some condemnation of the plain and obvious treason committed by his source. Yet there was none.

I put this down to journalistic “Stockholm Syndrome”, that Greenwald was so in love with his story and his source that he had just gone blind and could see no wrong. When Greenwald frenziedly attacked a Wall Street Journal reporter who suggested he, Greenwald, might have aided and abetted Snowden, I supported Greenwald. I honestly did not believe that Greenwald would stoop so low, knowing as he did by then that Snowden was happy to leak US intel operations against repressive regimes.

The Guardian came out with a “story” that GCHQ had spied on Russia at the G8 and it was rightly met with total derision on Twitter, even amongst lefties. #GuardianBond was the hashtag. (They were shocked, shocked that our spies spy! and on Russia, too!)

Well, the sell-out traitor Snowden took asylum with the homophobe Putin, issuing a fawning statement of thanks, and I assumed the story was dead for a while.

Until the “scandal” of David Miranda’s 9 hour detention broke on Twitter. Boy, did it seem pretty bad – the husband of a journalist, nothing to do with this story himself, detained for no good reason for nine solid hours, denied a lawyer, held under the Terrorism Act, purely to intimidate his husband. Wow. I had no idea our security forces at Heathrow were such utter bastards, abusing their power in violation of all professional standards and ethics.

Except…. for that very reason I didn’t quite believe it.

Everybody else believed it though, and fellow UK papers, the AP, the NUJ, all ran the story unquestioningly – by the way, the lot of you, this blind acceptance because a journalist throws an accusation is a violation of your OWN ethics.

Here’s how the story utterly unravelled over the course of the day.

Glenn Greenwald to the New York Times, pretending Miranda was just there as a spouse, and was not himself a journalist:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/19/world/europe/britain-detains-partner-of-reporter-tied-to-leaks.html

He is my partner. He is not even a journalist.

This was the first clue. It turned out that the Guardian was paying for David Miranda’s flights and that David Miranda was working on the leaks story, making him a journalist. My direct question to Greenwald – and the Guardian – as to whether the Guardian was paying Miranda for his work on the story went unanswered, though Greenwald instead asked me a question of his own.

Here’s where the Guardian admit they were paying for his flights and he was assisting with the story:

The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flights. Miranda is not an employee of the Guardian. As Greenwald’s partner, he often assists him in his work and the Guardian normally reimburses the expenses of someone aiding a reporter in such circumstances

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/david-miranda-detention-labour-glen-greenwald

This showed that Greenwald was lying by saying that Miranda was merely a spouse – he was actively involved in the story with Greenwald.

But hey, no biggie – even if Miranda WAS acting as a journalist himself, you can’t detain someone under the Terrorism Act just for being a journalist. Freedom of the press. And you can’t deny them a lawyer, as Greenwald said the airport police did:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/18/david-miranda-detained-uk-nsa

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.

Except, giving an interview to the Guardian just before 10pm and after all the UK papers had gone to bed (so they couldn’t report this) David Miranda confirmed he had been offered a lawyer:
He was offered a lawyer and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities.
Right. Now let’s pause for a moment and talk about lies of omission. All day long, both the Guardian newspaper and Glenn Greenberg had known that David Miranda was offered a lawyer by airport security. Yet all day long they had allowed the falsehood to be tweeted and written about that Miranda was detained without being offered a lawyer.
Pretty shocking. Pretty untransparent, that, from self-appointed truth seekers.
I was arguing at this point that Miranda, who was clearly working as a journalist assisting on the story, was obviously suspected of not just reporting, but helping Snowden disseminate his intelligence on UK and US spying programmes, which would clearly be a serious crime. I qualified it by saying Miranda may not have been doing that, but it could be reasonably suspected.
I didn’t know then what we all know now, and what Greenwald and the Guardian knew throughout the day but kept secret.
But the final shoe fell. Glenn Greenwald admitted to the New York Times that David Miranda had been carrying, as a mule, stolen, encrypted thumb drives actually containing intelligence data that Snowden stole from the CIA – and those encrypted drives were confiscated.
Remember, Greenwald knew this all along. He knew his husband was not only a journalist but much more to the point, he was carrying top secret, encrypted drives with stolen intelligence information on them – information not just about the NSA but about UK and US intelligence action against foreign powers. Yet he was so quick to lie and viciously slander our security services, saying they targeted his husband only to intimidate him, Greenwald. He always knew Miranda was transporting top secret encrypted files Snowden stole.
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.
Note the NYT correctly says “the two journalists” – though at this point they are far beyond that.
As I tweeted away on this bombshell, fellow tweeters denied it was possible, even when again and again I pointed them to the quote. Then they asked “If Miranda was carrying encrypted stolen Snowden data, why wasn’t he arrested and charged? Eh? Eh?”
Well, probably because the thumb drives are encrypted and it would take police more than 9 hours to decode them – by which time they had to release Miranda under the law. The only reason we know for sure that Miranda was smuggling this is because Greenwald admitted it to the Times - once Miranda was safely back on Brazilian soil.
In Brazil now Greenwald was threatening, out of sheer revenge, to expose British intelligence and therefore British agents. He tried to deny these threats later, but unfortunately for him, CNN reported his exact words with the video to prove it:

Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who broke the news about secret U.S. surveillance programs, said the authorities who took his partner into custody at London’s Heathrow Airport “are going to regret what they did.”

“I am going to write my stories a lot more aggressively now,” the Guardian reporter told Brazil’s Globo TV on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

“I am going to publish many more documents now. I am going to publish a lot about England, too, I have a lot of documents about the espionage system in England. Now my focus is going to be that as well.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIvF8KXTW3s (slide to 1:20 for Greenwald)

And lastly of course, we have the juxtaposition of the quotes by David Miranda to the Guardian and the statement by Glenn Greenwald to the New York Times. Miranda states (if you believe him, and I don’t) that he had no idea what he was carrying. Greenwald states that he was transporting Snowden’s stolen, top secret CIA intelligence data on encrypted thumb drives. So basically, you have Greenwald using his spouse as a mule to actively assist Edward Snowden, and you have Miranda lying at the airport when he answers that damned basic security question… “Has anyone given you anything to carry on board?”

“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 [David Miranda] 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.”

You lied to airport security, then, David, didn’t you?

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.

And you knew this all along, Glenn Greenwald, yet you continued to smear our intelligence police, just as you knew all along David Miranda was offered a lawyer yet failed constantly to correct the record?

But you know, why is the New York Times breaking the story that Miranda was transporting stolen intelligence data, stolen by Snowden? Why wouldn’t our fearless truth-seekers at the Guardian let Britain know what David Miranda was really doing?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/david-miranda-detention-labour-glen-greenwald

He was returning to their home in Rio de Janeiro when he was stopped at Heathrow and officials confiscated electronics equipment, including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

Oh my goodness! Those awful Guardian subs are at it again. They totally forgot to mention that the “memory sticks” confiscated contained classified information about UK and US intelligence programmes against repressive foreign regimes, stolen by Edward Snowden! Ooopsy! Must tie a knot in your handkerchief, Alan Rusbridger, so you can remind your reporters to mention little details like that next time…. before they accuse our security forces just doing their job of intimidation.

Shame on the Guardian for its smear story, its partial reporting, and its vile accusations against our border agents. Shame on Glenn Greenwald for not correcting the idea that David Miranda was denied a lawyer. Shame on Greenwald and the Guardian for not admitting Miranda was smuggling encrypted Snowden files. Shame on Miranda for lying at security about being “asked to carry anything for somebody else”. Shame on Greenwald for – if we believe David (I don’t) – not telling his husband that he was carrying top secret encrypted CIA data that Snowden stole. And a plague on all their houses for conflating whistleblowing on the NSA with revelations of intelligence actions against foreign powers.

Lastly, shame on Greenwald for attacking a fellow journalist, Edward Epstein, for questioning him – as to whether he was actively assisting Edward Snowden. The encrypted thumb drives his husband was smuggling are a pretty solid proof of that.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323873904578573382649536100.html

to end, let’s just remind ourselves of Edward Snowden fearlessly betraying his country to the South China Morning Post:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/06/20/edward-snowden-blows-it/

Coda – many have argued that David Miranda, even if assisting in espionage, should not have been detained under the Terrorism Act. This is of course flat wrong. The Terrorism Act does not only apply to men with bombs and guns. Interrupting electronic systems to influence the govt of a foreign power for political purposes is EXPRESSLY COVERED.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/ctd.html

Terrorism is defined in the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT 2000) and means the use or threat of action where –

  1. The action –
    1. involves serious violence against a person,
    2. involves serious damage to property,
    3. endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
    4. creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
    5. is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system AND
  2. The use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, AND
  3. The use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause

1 E, 2, 3 are absolutely covered here.

photo by Agencia Senado

Prescott’s Oxford Class War (from the Lords)

ox

My old sparring partner on Twitter, @JohnPrescott, is up in arms because @StephenNolan told him about a pupil from NI who was rejected by the University with seven Grade A* A-levels. The kid has now gone on to Stanford, many congratulations.

Prescott put this down to class war on the part of Oxford. Let’s get rid of this tired old myth once and for all. I said the kid probably wasn’t good enough for Oxford, and he probably wasn’t. Which is not to deny his evident high intelligence but to say he may not have had the specific type of intelligence required for Oxford.

I want to have breakfast outside so this is a bit rushed into bullet points, but

1. Seven Grade A* A levels is not the slam dunk it would have been in 1988, say. Labour’s grade inflation was epic. Very, very many pupils apply to Oxford with large numbers of A* A-levels.

2. Oxford admissions directors go out of their way to try to recruit undergraduates from working class backgrounds. It’s always an advantage and never a disadvantage.

3. However the university refuses, thank God, to drop its academic standards. They will not admit those who are not up to Oxford’s particular teaching style no matter where they come from.

4. This is not class-ist – the interview at Oxford matters more than the grades – grades just get you through the door to the interview. Kids with amazing A level records get turned down all the time FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS. My little sister, applying in 1991, had eleven grade A GCSEs, 3 grade A A levels, and two grade 1 S-levels (Scholarship levels – one grade above A levels back then. This was pre the worst grade inflation, of course, and there were no A*). She did not get in. She was turned down by Magdalen, Oxford and went to Trinity,  St. John’s,* Cambridge (and went on to be highly successful in two careers). My sister was privileged, but had never received a B in any subject in any stage of her school career. Turned down for Oxford. Not a class thing.

5. At Oxford (as opposed to Harvard and Stanford who both wanted the kid) you have a different TYPE of learning than in America. The Ivy League has you “Major” in one subject and “Minor” in another and you must take compulsory classes in various subjects.** At Oxford, you specialise in just one, at most two, and usually one, discipline. Thus his Seven As were irrelvant. They show terrific all round intelligence, suitable for any Ivy League college. They don’t, by themselves, prove or disprove mastery in his chosen subject.  And that’s what Oxford interviewers are looking for.

6. I went to Oxford with a worse record than my sister (10 O levels – 6As two Bs two Cs, 3 grade A A-levels). But I took a risk; I elected to take the then available Oxford Colleges Entrance Examination. If you passed, and passed your interview, you could matriculate with just two grade D A levels (I got three As anyway). The OCE was tougher than A levels. I took it in English. I wanted to differentiate myself from the flood, then as now, of highly qualified applicants jostling for places. I knew I wanted to specialise in Early English and related languages and therefore I taught myself Early Middle English through an old, Victorian Morris & Skeat primer in the school library, gathering dust, and sat the entrance exam writing a paper on “The use of cinematic imagery in “The Owl and the Nightingale”, adding in some references to “King Horn” as I recall.” As this was not on any school curriculum, and is the kind of thing they set at university, I was confident they would be surprised enough to invite me for interview. It worked.

I may have got those C’s in maths and biology O level  - I am rubbish at maths and science, I have an arts/humanities brain – but for Oxford, I could prove myself to have a level of mastery in my SPECIALISED subject of early English. That’s what they were looking for and they took me. Another note – OCE papers were identified by number only. Until they selected me for interview the college did not know my school, my class background, my race or even my sex. It was absolutely meritocratic.

If Prescott wants to get worked up about class and education he needs to get foursquare behind Michael Gove’s revolutionary programme of Free Schools, academic improvement and school independence from LEA’s. Not start chucking around class-ist accusations from his ermine robed seat in the Lords, an institution he professed to despise until they offered him a title. (I see you “Sir” Bob Russell MP. When the speaker first called Russell that a Labour wit heckled “satire is dead!”. We all laughed).

The kid from NI will do tremendous stuff at Stanford and be very well suited there. Or it could be he’s Oxford material but had a bad day at i/v. Unfortunately, 13 years of Labour grade inflation means Oxbridge have more qualified applicants than they know what to do with. It’s not classist.

Oxford has never been so. Indeed I only exist because Oxford admitted my mother, the working class daughter of a Union foreman from the East End (he worked the printing presses on the Daily Mirror), and at St. Hilda’s, she met my father (ChCh), from an old Derbyshire family of landed gentry. That was social mobility, 1968. Thank you Oxford for not being class-biased. I’ve enjoyed my life, and this porridge tastes delicious. Dominus Illuminatio Mea.

photo by Sisiphus007

* I get confused by the Fenland Poly colleges. So grey, the lot of them

** this is why I made it into Oxford but would almost certainly have been turned down by Stanford, unlike the NI pupil. I don’t have all-round intelligence, I am a specialist. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.

A short fashion post – I love you Issa

Well, I’ll never have a pop at Kate Middleton again. She basically discovered Issa for the rest of the world (or those of us unfashionistas who are style-challenged) and for that I now want to send her bouquets.

Readers of the old unfashionista (and we are working to replicate it) might recall that one of my fashion rules is “Show your waist”. Whether thin or not. Waist to hip ratio is good to emphasize for everybody including plus sizes.

So I wanted an Issa dress but can’t justify spending that much money. Anyway, I finally cracked and bought one at http://www.theoutnet.com – and it looks terrific – and then, just as I was ending a spree of buying autumn work clothes, I catch a tweet from @GlamourMagUK raving about the new “Issa for Banana Republic” collection. Well, scarred by Kate Moss for TopShop and Missoni for Target – all those designer “collections” with five pieces in them so you get “sold out” right away – I did click on the US site for BR, and as it was 6am everything was still available. And I filled my boots. Awesome looking dresses for just $130, about £95. Following every rule I’ve had on the blog for office wear and What Men Want. Knee-length. Fitted, even with a flare skirt, because of the tight wrap waists. Often 3/4 length sleeves. Feminine. Elegant. The only dresses I didn’t buy were the too short ones.

Anyway, they turned up (me guiltily vowing to return anything I didn’t like) and I’m not sending back ONE ITEM. I may as well forget fashion blogging because it’s all Issa all the time for me now. The dresses pack a Forties glamour, they are SO feminine and elegant, they are the kind of dress that will have a man catching his breath whilst not being even slightly tarty or “daring”. Yes, Issa-the-label does some plunging vees and great if you can get away with that or if you want to, but it’s not for me. But the Banana Republic collection isn’t that way.

Here are a couple of shots of two of the dresses: and one with the dress smartened for work with a Hobbs jacket. So often a dress looks lovely online then hangs like a sack. Not these ones. They are keepers. So is the tote, the scarf and the bag.

LOVE. Anyway, if you can get them, get them. I didn’t buy the kimono ones or the short ones; other than that I bought every dress, top and cardigan; I also bought the bracelet and the tote and all three scarves.

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=87919&departmentRedirect=true&mlink=5002,6879655,4&clink=6879655#department=136

Brown dress (all dresses with my favourite Jessica Simpson Given heels)

zebra with Hobbs jacket zebra dress IMG_0038 IMG_0033 IMG_0036 IMG_0039

10 Rules for Red Hot Women

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The photo on the left is me in 2004. On the right, 2013.

It’s a great thrill to be in Red Magazine this month and to be one of the judges of the Red Hot Women Awards this year. I was once a nominee (didn’t win – always the bridesmaid) – and I loved the whole spirit of the thing, the unashamed celebration of women achievers in all fields and all backgrounds.

So, since by now everybody knows that self-help books are my guilty pleasure, here are my top 10 rules for a happy life as a woman (uncensored).

1. Be nakedly ambitious.

It doesn’t matter if other people (hi, Daily Telegraph! Hi!) use the word “ambitious” about you as a pejorative. From the cradle, you have been trained to be a Queen Consort; to achieve wealth, power and status by marrying a man. That’s the tale of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Marry well, and all your troubles will be over.

The fact is that women – just like men – have a need for significance, and the female virtues of self-sacrifice, modesty, meekness, silence and collaboration, while estimable, are a recipe for depression and an alcohol disorder unless you can do something for yourself. Aim high in your field. If that’s not working out, try another field. The game isn’t over until you stop playing; believe yourself to be special and act accordingly. Take a night class. Learn a new language. Start a website. Run for office. Apply for at least one great new job or internal promotion every month – unless you’re founding your own company. I really don’t care who you are; people from poorer backgrounds than you, with greater disadvantages, have started and succeeded.

Don’t be afraid to have male role models. Margaret Thatcher and Arnold Schwarzenegger were mine, when I was growing up.

2. Beauty matters.

It may be right or it may be wrong, but a huge part of our self-esteem is stamped into how we look. Instead of decrying this as unfeminist and refusing to wax our upper lips, flip it on its head; tell yourself that making yourself look as good as you can is your gift to yourself, a sign of how you value yourself. Age is not as important as everybody says. If you swapped my picture above for the ten years younger version I would be horrified.

3. Brains matter more.

Bimbos never prosper; you should constantly learn, adapt, and update your skills even when nobody is paying you to do it. Training yourself keeps you young and again, sends you that signal that your story is not over. You are going to make big changes. You’re moving to Rome, you’re buying a house, you’re taking a doctorate, you plan on getting a pilot’s license. Keep at it. You will never be this young again – take advantage.

4. Love your work.

Either find a way to love your job or work hard at finding a new job. Most of your life is spent in the office. You can’t be happy trading five days a week for two. You need to be happy every day.

5. Better to be single than with a loser.

Do you love him? Do you want him? If the answer to either of these is no, just cut bait. So many women still feel incomplete without a guy. Growing up I never had a boyfriend, not a single one til I reached college. It still worked out OK.

6. Have adventures.

Oh my God, this is so important. Studies have proven that it is experiences, not possessions, which give our lives joy. Travel is the simplest shortcut – indeed, if you go to Egypt and walk in the Valley of the Kings you will return a changed woman – but you should do other stuff, too. Learn to ski in middle age. Walk over a firepit barefoot (I did this). Scam your way backstage at a gig (I did that one billion times). Write to your greatest hero (a letter, not an email). It works, it’s wonderful. If I told you all the incredible things that have happened in my life none of you would believe it for a second.

7. Make sure that you feel intense desire for the man you marry.

If you don’t, your marriage will be miserable.

8. Get money, all the money you can. Women are trained to be reticent about asking for good pay and perks (for fear of seeming “pushy”) and to regard money as hideously selfish capitalist piggery while next to them, less experienced men are shoving themselves forward. “Job satisfaction” is nice but it won’t pay your mortgage bills, and you will be doomed to a lifetime of anxiety. Save and invest (in a house or flat) instead of buying designer stuff. Try to get a flat you can rent out, some kind of income that is not dependent on you being employed. And ask for the job you want. Just ask your boss to promote or employ you. It works more often than not. Benjamin Franklin said “Money is coined liberty.” Freedom; think of it like that.

9. Get fit and stay fit.

OK, so no BS; the magazines and fitness industries have spun you a lie. Three times a week for 20 minutes is going to do the square root of sod all for you. You need to jog about five times a week and lift weights twice a week. Don’t forget the weights. You lose lean muscle mass after 30; pick up that dumbbell, and don’t let an old woman crawl into your body. And don’t diet; you only lose muscle and then regain it in fat.

FIVE times a week. Arnold Schwarzenegger says to do something every day. Listen to him, because he’s gorgeous. I stuff my face with porridge, frozen yoghurt and endless handfuls of nuts but I also work out. If you’re going to kick all that ass, you need some energy. Plus, it makes you happier and less depressed. I’m 42, three kids.

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10. Write down your goals.

Just writing them down helps you achieve them, because it crystallises them in your mind. And you start moving towards them. Don’t wait for your birthday, or January 1st. A new year started today. Pick three or four big changes and just achieve them. And if you fail, so what? The honour in life is in the attempt. Keep trying. And then try other stuff. Nobody ever succeeded at anything by thinking small.

So good luck. Be red hot. Don’t wear too much make up (men hate it. Yes I care what men want. I love men). Go for your dreams and encourage others to go for theirs.

Here’s a short motivational video from Schwarzenegger, my Yoda. What can I say – Thatcher never made any. Watch this, and see if you don’t want to start something special for yourself.