The Guardian’s David Miranda is a Liar

Greenwald

 

David Miranda is a liar. So is his husband Glenn Greenwald. Thanks to @jeremyduns, investigative blogger, for this spot. Let’s hope the Home Secretary’s lawyers, and Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police, are paying attention.

In this Buzzfeed interview, Miranda claims:

After I spent several weeks with Miranda and Greenwald in and around their home in the upscale, artist-friendly Rio neighborhood of Gavea over the last month, one thing has become very clear: David Miranda knew exactly what he was doing. To believe he was played as some type of dupe or mule by Greenwald not only ignores the real nature of their relationship but also assumes that there’s some safer way to transport sensitive documents across the globe. Is there any device more fail-safe and secure than the person you love the most? Does Apple make that sort of product?

Miranda knew very well that he was traveling from Rio to Berlin to see Greenwald’s reporting partner, documentarian Laura Poitras, and that he would be returning through the U.K., all the time carrying a heavily encrypted flash drive directly related to the trove of documents that former and now notorious CIA employee Edward Snowden had vacuumed from the National Security Agency and had given to Greenwald earlier in the year.

“I have been involved in every aspect of Glenn’s life, why wouldn’t I be a part of this?” Miranda asserts over lunch at a fashion mall in Rio’s São Conrado neighborhood the next afternoon.

And Greenwald says that anybody who calls his husband an unwitting mule is just a racist. A racist, goddamnit! And a homophobe.

“David is a grown, 28-year-old man,” Greenwald says, visibly bristling at the accusation that Miranda was an exploited errand boy. “He is the most insanely willful person I have ever met; it makes me crazy sometimes. He was an orphan and had to take care of himself very early on in a way few people do. So it’s absurd to think that I could manipulate him into anything he didn’t want to do. A lot of this is pure racism, classism, and ethnocentricity: Some white Americans see a nonwhite Brazilian who grew up poor and doesn’t speak perfect English, and so disgustingly assume that he’s dumb, naïve, and easily manipulated.”

Unfortunately for both David and Glenn, that’s exactly what David Miranda claimed in his   “pants on fire” interview to Anderson Cooper of CNN after Heathrow police so correctly stopped him and removed the stolen files from him:

slide cursor to 5:05

Anderson Cooper: “David… did you know what was stored on those devices? Did you know it was classified material?”

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. I mean I can’t know everything that he’s been working with.”

So there you have it Glenn. Your husband is not only a liar, he’s a racist, classist, ethnocentrist on top of it.

There’s tons more in the Buzzfeed piece that screws the Guardian’s other lies to the wall. I have been too busy to blog much, but the paper is running scared, as well they should be. More to come on that later.

Guardian/GCHQ names: A free press must have some balls

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There was some traction today on the Guardian’s trafficking of GCHQ agents’ names abroad, because the Telegraph had the guts to challenge the cosy journalists’ club.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10426204/Guardian-refuses-to-say-whether-it-sent-details-of-British-spies-overseas.htm

Written by Tom Whitehead, the story printed all my facts from yesterday’s blog, including calling the Guardian out for their earlier lies.

The British newspaper has previously announced that it has shared some of its leaked GCHQ files with international partners but insisted on at least one occasion, that the identities of British spies were not included.

The sub for the online story wrote:

Guardian under fresh scrutiny as New York Times report on leaked GCHQ files contains detailed information on eavesdroppers

It went on:

Asked last night whether this suggested the files sent to the US contained the details of British spies, a spokeswoman for the Guardian said: “It is well documented that we are working in partnership with the New York Times and others to responsibly report these stories.

The development comes ahead of the latest legal battle surrounding the GCHQ files in the High Court this week.

I am truly grateful to the Telegraph for having printed this story. The more so, because it is fair to say I cordially detest its editor Tony Gallagher, (@GallagherEditor ) and he me, as our frequent spats on Twitter will attest.

But it is fairly obvious that just about every word in Tom Whitehead’s piece came from my blog yesterday. The reason that we can safely say this is, if it were a piece of original research, it would have been written up on Sunday, when the New York Times exposed that the Guardian had handed them the NSA-GCHQ wiki, and then printed on Monday.

Here’s what didn’t come from me:

 Asked last night whether this suggested the files sent to the US contained the details of British spies

You see what Tom Whitehead did, rest of the British press? He asked them the goddamned question.

A free press depends on a ballsy press. It depends on a lack of collusion. It depends on journalists showing no fear and no favour. Will Lewis (then Telegraph) went after MPs on their expenses and the whole world cheered, and now MPs who oppose the Leveson straitjacket cite that story to fight the royal charter,

But if the UK press closes ranks, acts like those few bent coppers in the Mitchell affair, declines to ask Rusbridger and Gibson any tough questions because well, they know them, they’re mates with them, they drank with James Ball in a pub once – then that really sucks. Freedom of the press totally depends on the guts of journalists and a willingness to investigate your own, your side, your mates.

I have always been against Leveson and the Royal Charter, in Parliament and out of it. My campaign against the Guardian is on a particular issue, the fact that they have very clearly sold our intelligence agents out for money. I do give a shit about the men and women in GCHQ who protect us. Those suckers the Guardian sneered at because they only make £25,000 a year to risk their lives. I don’t believe in state control of the press, and investigating whether highly paid corporate executives like Rusbridger and Gibson have broken the law is not state control of the press. I believe that existing laws are good enough. There’s a hacking trial going on right now, isn’t there? And those saying ‘hey there have been no arrests at the Guardian’ have forgotten that  the Metropolitan police have opened a criminal inquiry after the arrest of Miranda. Don’t assume they aren’t looking at that NSA-GCHQ wiki stuff.

But if there’s going to be collusion amongst papers to protect their own, then fuck it, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps Ed Miliband was right, and the press should be controlled by the government. Maybe @HackedOffHugh and the Brian Cathcart pizza party were on the right track at 3 am.

Here are exchanges today between me and the normally sensible journalist John Rentoul, of whom I am a long-standing admirer.

John Rentoul ‏‪@JohnRentoul

/‪@LouiseMensch Do you think you could make your case against The Guardian without using the words “lie”, “trafficking” & “mule”? Thank you

        ‏‪@LouiseMensch‬ 5h 

. ‪@JohnRentoul unfortunately not, since they lied, they trafficked, and they muled, and there is chapter and verse on all three.
Details 
           

 ‏‪@LouiseMensch‬ 5h 

. ‪@JohnRentoul it would be fantastic if a paper other than the ‪@Telegraph had the guts to challenge them on their lies. Like, say, yours.

  1. .‏‪@JohnRentoul‬ 3h 

‪@LouiseMensch Guardian statement to Daily Mail on 9 Oct may have been incomplete & misleading but it was not a lie. ‪http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456843/MI5-concerns-The-Guardian-sending-secret-files–Fedex-Newspaper-used-public-courier-firm-post-data-country.html#ixzz2je7dOu7r …

 

 

@JohnRentoul‬ 3h 

‪@LouiseMensch I disagree. Deliberately misleading is different from lying. Distinction is important itself but also as a matter of tactics.

So here we have a senior, well-respected journalist asking me to drop the word “lie” and “mule” and “traffick”. When challenged, however, John admits that on October 9th the Guardian deliberately misled the Daily Mail when they denied to them that they sent agents names to America by FedEx (because they had sent them, according to the New Yorker, using James Ball, a 27 year old ex wikileaks activist). But Rentoul argues that “deliberately misleading” is different from “lying”.

FFS John, man up. Ask the bloody paper why they lied.

As to his objections to the very clear “mule” and “traffick”  I asked him:

‏‪@LouiseMensch ‪@JohnRentoul what is your objection to “mule”? New Yorker cites ‪@jamesrbuk and ‪@janinegibson boasts of flying people “round the world”

He didn’t answer.

That kind of clubby “they deliberately misled but they didn’t lie” and “don’t use mule and traffick even when Janine Gibson boasted online that that’s exactly what they did” is fear-and-favour journalism, the kind that looks after its own.

Earlier, John Rentoul tweeted that when Julian Smith MP raised a point of order about the Guardian shipping out GCHQ agents’ names, “the Speaker says it’s no such thing.” I hate to say it to a journalist I really do admire and like, but that was sheer bollocks. A point of order is almost always a rhetorical device in the House of Commons. John Rentoul, a political journalist, knows that full well, he knows it like the back of his hand. He was being dishonest. The Speaker condemned the Guardian’s “equivocation” on whether they had passed the names of spies to American papers. John didn’t have the guts to report that, however, because it didn’t fit his agenda. Paul Waugh of politics home did.

Look, British press, get some bloody balls. Challenge Rusbridger. Here is a British paper that has sold the names of GCHQ agents out for money, and you are closing ranks and not asking the questions. The New York Times is challenging Glenn Greenwald more effectively than any of you are doing. Don’t make a blogger (me) do all the heavy lifting. I am a columnist for the Sun on Sunday, and proud of it. I have featured this story again and again in my column. Do your part. I’m not an investigative journalist. Some of you call yourselves that. I don’t see much bloody sign of it. I see chumminess that would shame the smoke-filled rooms of a Tory selection committee circa 1954.

Here – off the top of my head –  are seventeen sample questions you could ask the paper, if any of you had even a tiny bit of shame. And by “the paper”, I mean Alan Rusbridger. And Janine Gibson. They are the editors. Any chance of holding them to account?

  1. The New Yorker story states that you used James Ball, a young ex wikileaks collaborator, to fly these files to New York and Brazil. Why didn’t you, Rusbridger, take that legal risk on yourself instead of pinning it to a 27 year old?
  2. Why did you lie to the Daily Mail on the 9th October when you stated the files you sent to America didn’t contain the names of any British agents?
  3. Why did you pass these files to bloggers at ProPublica?
  4. If the Guardian has broken the Terrorism Act 2000 should they be prosecuted, or are they above the law?
  5. What was the public interest for your story in August when you reported on GCHQ agents’ gay and lesbian clubs, recreational and charity drives, and the internal chats of GCHQ agents? Why were any of those details necessary? Didn’t they flag up to hostile actors just how much identifying info was in the Snowden files?
  6. Janine Gibson boasted online that ‘by far the hardest challenge has been the movement of materials – we’ve had to do a great deal of flying people around the world’. Given this boast why did you lie about David Miranda’s paid-for role, alleging that he was harassed just because he was Greenwald’s spouse?
  7. Why did you boast in August that the Snowden story had lifted your web traffic above the Daily Mail’s when you were giving out GCHQ agents’ names to achieve this? Kind of a shitty attitude, isn’t it?
  8. The New Yorker story states that Ball flew the files not only to America but also to Brazil, and Gibson uses the words “a great deal of flying around the world”. To how many countries have you shipped our agents’ names?
  9. How many people worldwide have you passed agents’ names to?
  10. Given that every exposed agent is in danger, have you let GCHQ know which agents and their families you have put at risk?
  11. Glenn Greenwald claimed that the Guardian US ran every story under his byline past the NSA for legal reasons, even though it then ignored their objections. Did you give GCHQ a similar chance to object?
  12. Are there any financial rewards or bonuses tied to increased web traffic for Rusbridger, Gibson or any other Guardian executives? If so, how much? And why did you not report that when selling GCHQ agents down the river and boasting of the traffic you derived from it?
  13. You talk about security for your files yet the New Yorker reports you kept them in a room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Are you aware how laser microphones work? In a story on 20 August you admit a government security expert had to explain this to you.  Shouldn’t you have asked GCHQ about secure storage of files previously yourselves?
  14. Given your hilarious “secure room” with the floor to ceiling windows, don’t you think it’s just possible GCHQ might be more aware of security risks than you are?
  15. What precisely is the point of saying – falsely – that you kept files “secure” when you then duplicate them and mule them, as you have said, all over the world?
  16. You’ve been happy enough to give the New York Times, some Brazilians, and ProPublica (at least) copies of the GCHQ files. How about giving a copy back to GCHQ so they can assess the damage you’ve done to the UK, as well as to their agents?
  17. What redactions did you make to the 50,000 GCHQ files you muled abroad to protect British intelligence officers? Did you make any redactions?

And I haven’t even started on the Tor story.

Come on, British press. Show some guts. Do your jobs. There are 6100 agents at GCHQ, so the Guardian tells us. They cannot strike. They cannot protest. They cannot email Alan Rusbridger asking why he is giving the NSA-GCHQ wiki to the New York Times. They have no voice.

You are meant to be their voice. No fear, no favour. Do your bloody job. Have some balls.

* and to those who might think this sexist, I will quote the great Sharon Osbourne: “Women have balls. They’re just higher up.”

Betrayed: how the Guardian muled the names of GCHQ personnel to American bloggers and papers

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The Guardian has lied to the British people. They HAVE passed to foreign papers and blogs the names and identities of GCHQ agents, having lied and stated they did not to avoid prosecution, and to dupe other papers, police and some MPs into thinking that all they did was report on data collection, never giving up the names of British intelligence officers.

 

From the start of this affair, and the ‘David Miranda is only a journalist’s spouse’ lie, the Guardian has sought to deceive its fellow papers and the public. But I confess that even I did not believe they would just dump out the identities of our intelligence personnel, copying those files and smuggling them to foreigners.

We already know Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson have duplicated and muled abroad the Snowden files, handing them to the New York Times and some bloggers at ProPublica.

For some months, I have been asking the Guardian to admit if they betrayed the names, or identifying details, of anybody working at GCHQ to foreign papers in order to boost their online readership while their paper sales are crumbling to insignificance.

 

It was not surprising that they refused to answer me, because communicating material identifying any person that works at GCHQ, and which could be of use to terrorists, is itself a terrorist offence under British law. Not just publishing the names, mark you – communicating them. To anybody.

 

I’ve blogged before about how the editors of the Guardian boasted they were above the law, so I won’t reiterate it here. They are also very fond of giving self-congratulatory online interviews and talking to lapdogs at the BBC, as well as giving unwittingly revealing profile access to friendly magazines. Nobody at the Guardian is willing to give even a single interview to a challenging paper.

 

In a nutshell then in the past month or so we have had:

 

Alan Rusbridger saying he is above the law: that he decided to ship the files to foreigners because of a “threat” to go to law: that he would not let British judges rule on the files: that he knows better than judges and security experts; and that Sen. Feinstein of the US Senate Security Committee knows less than him about it because she is, and I quote, “an eighty year old woman.”

 

US editor Janine Gibson boasting of the trafficking they did “By far the hardest challenge has been the secure movement of materials. We’ve had to do a great deal of flying of people around the world.”

 

And a New Yorker profile that stated that James Ball, formerly of Wikileaks and an Assange devotee, 27, was chosen to be the physical mule that carried the data to New York. Ball was threatened with exposure of emails between himself and the Wikileaks hacker Jacob Appelbaum, by Appelbaum, if he did not publish a story on Tor. Days later his byline appeared on the story that blew up GCHQ’s efforts to decrypt the Tor network on which child pornography, illegal arms and drugs like crack are traded.

 Ball has recently been moved by the Guardian from London to New York in the wake of that New Yorker story, presumably to avoid  arrest if the New Yorker was correct on his role.

Throughout, in between breaks from pouring scorn on the British judiciary and laws, the Guardian have been busily lying to the British public. Saying that what they are doing is only journalism they have squirmed when asked (by me on Twitter, directly to @Arusbridger) and by the MP Julian Smith in Parliament, if they have passed over and sold out the names of British intelligence personnel working at GCHQ.

When the idea that they had revealed not just data collection news but actually given up the names of our intelligence agents surfaced, the paper started to panic. They denied it to the Daily Mail on October 9:

“The newspaper also said that the files it FedExed to America did not contain any names of British spies.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456843/MI5-concerns-The-Guardian-sending-secret-files–Fedex-Newspaper-used-public-courier-firm-post-data-country.html#ixzz2je7dOu7r

 

This was a lie. It didn’t matter if the names of our spies were in the 100 documents the Guardian FedExed to America. Ball had already taken them to New York, and Brazil, at least according to the story the New Yorker:

 

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/07/131007fa_fact_auletta?currentPage=all

 

The idea that the Guardian handed over only 100 documents was yet another lie. There may have been ‘only’ 100 top secret documents in that FedExed memory stick (Dear God).  But there were over 50,000 GCHQ documents muled abroad by Rusbridger and Gibson.

 

Think about that for a minute. Fifty. Thousand. Fifty thousand top secret GCHQ documents, and they are lying to the Daily Mail that none of these contain the names of any of our spies.

Yesterday in New York that lie was exposed, and the breathtaking extent of the Guardian’s disregard for our agents’ lives was laid bare.

 In their front-page story, the New York Times laid it all out. It’s a pretty long story, but I’ve read it so you don’t have to.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/world/no-morsel-too-minuscule-for-all-consuming-nsa.html?_r=0

 

“documents taken by Mr. Snowden and shared with The Times, numbering in the thousands and mostly dating from 2007 to 2012, are part of a collection of about 50,000 items that focus mainly on its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters or G.C.H.Q”

 

“Even with terrorists, N.S.A. units can form a strangely personal relationship. The N.S.A.-G.C.H.Q. wiki, a top secret group blog that Mr. Snowden downloaded, lists 14 specialists scattered in various stations assigned to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terrorist group that carried out the bloody attack on Mumbai in 2008, with titles including “Pakistan Access Pursuit Team” and “Techniques Discovery Branch.” Under the code name Treaclebeta, N.S.A.’s hackers at Tailored Access Operations also played a role.

 

In the wiki’s casual atmosphere, American and British eavesdroppers exchange the peculiar shoptalk of the secret world. “I don’t normally use Heretic to scan the fax traffic, I use Nucleon,” one user writes, describing technical tools for searching intercepted documents.

 

But most striking are the one-on-one pairings of spies and militants; Bryan is assigned to listen in on a man named Haroon, and Paul keeps an ear on Fazl.”

 

Did you get that? The Guardian – Alan Rusbridger, and Janine Gibson, editors, and James Ball, of Wikileaks, gave the New York Times and Pro-Publica the names and identities of GCHQ intelligence personnel in the NSA-GCHQ wiki. A bunch of staff at the New York Times can read their conversations and names, and the names of their targets.

 

To see how wide and deep the danger to GCHQ personnel really is, we can turn to the Guardian’s first, grossly irresponsible story on just how much of GCHQ personnel’s names and identities they had access to: they printed it on August 1st:

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/02/gchq-spy-agency-nsa-snowden

 

a glimpse into the world of the 6,100 people crammed into the open-plan and underground offices at GCHQ; the fact that there is a sports day at all reveals something about the agency which most people outside their bubble could not appreciate.

Last year, GCHQ organised trips to Disneyland in Paris, and its sailing club took part in an offshore regatta at Cowes. It has a chess club, cake sales, regular pub quiz nights and an internal puzzle newsletter called Kryptos. A member of Stonewall since last year, GCHQ has its own Pride group for staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

There is also a paranormal organisation. Describing itself as “GCHQ’s ghost-hunting group”, it is open to staff and their partners “whether they are sceptics or believers” for visits to “reputedly haunted properties”.

Staff date themselves on the internal directory, “GCWiki”, by their “internet age”, a measure of how many years they have been adept on the web.

They make friends during annual family open days, or via messages on the agency’s internal version of MySpace, which they have called SpySpace.

Colleagues are likely to find others cut from the same cloth. The agency’s 2010/11 recruitment guide says GCHQ needs high-calibre technologists and mathematicians familiar with the complex algorithms that power the internet. It has room for a sprinkling of accountants and librarians. Classicists need not apply. Nobody at Cheltenham is particularly well paid, compared with the private sector at least – a junior analyst might earn £25,000. “We can offer a fantastic mission but we can’t compete with [private sector] salaries,” one briefing note lamented.”

 

The story goes on and on, talking about the wiki, quoting internal comms, describing the fears of one of GCHQ’s “most senior officers”.

 

All these documents have been muled to the Americans, because Alan Rusbridger doesn’t like British judges. He was paying David Miranda specifically to spread and mule these files on GCHQ – 53,000 of them, the same number cited by the NYT – and now we know just how bad the paper’s betrayal of our GCHQ personnel has been. Worse than even I could ever have imagined.

 

In his article for the Daily Mail recently, David Davis MP defended the Guardian’s selling of British intelligence secrets. How bloody terrifying to think that but for a public meltdown he could have been Home Secretary. And when Julian Smith challenged the Guardian in a Westminster Hall debate, the Tory MP Dominic Raab said that he was scare-mongering. I wonder what those two of my former colleagues would say now. Would they defend the liars at the Guardian who swore they didn’t give out any GCHQ names? Or do they think it’s OK to mule and traffic to Brazil and American bloggers the NSA-GCHQ wiki? Every pair of eyes that sees those names can pass them on to anybody they like.

 

They gave out our intelligence agents’ names, Dominic, David. Is that OK with you?

 

I pray to God it isn’t OK with the Prime Minister, with Theresa May, and with anti-terror police.

 

Back when Miranda was stopped as he muled, Oliver Robbins, the National Security Adviser, said

 

“ ‘A particular concern for HMG is the possibility that the identity of a UK intelligence officer might be revealed.’

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2407152/Lives-MI6-agents-risk-secret-files-seized-Guardian-journalists-partner-Heathrow.html#ixzz2jeKIln00

 

But I’m afraid it was a bit more than just one.

 

Of course, £25,000 isn’t a lot of money to risk your life keeping Britain safe. Alan Rusbridger makes a hell of a lot more money than that. But it wasn’t enough for him, Janine Gibson, or James Ball, or any of the other Guardian staff to show some compassion and keep secret the identities of our agents Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald had endangered. Instead, the millionaire Mr. Rusbridger preened for the cameras, lied to other journalists, and threw GCHQ personnel to the wolves.

 

Mr. Rusbridger says he is above the law. I hope to God the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary – and our anti-terror police, and our judges – have the guts to prove him wrong.

The Terrorism Act 2000 lists various Terrorist Offences. Here is the last of them:

Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc

(1)A person commits an offence who—

(a)elicits or attempts to elicit information about an individual who is or has been—

(i)a member of Her Majesty’s forces,

(ii)a member of any of the intelligence services, or

(iii)a constable,

which is of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b)publishes or communicates any such information.

(2)It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that they had a reasonable excuse for their action.

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine, or to both;

(b)on summary conviction—

(i)in England and Wales or Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;

(ii)in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.

(4)In this section “the intelligence services” means the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ (within the meaning of section 3 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (c. 13)).

 

Emphasis mine. 

 

 

 

What the Independent tells us about the Guardian’s crimes

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Julian Smith MP has filed a complaint to the Metropolitan Police about the Guardian and its potential breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. Under the Act, it is a terrorist offence to communicate names, or any identifying material, of GCHQ personnel – not just to publish those names, but to communicate them.

The Guardian shipped GCHQ files to American bloggers and the New York Times. In so doing they did a lot more than journalism, ie receiving files and reporting on them. They became traffickers and distributors.

They have refused to answer my questions on Twitter as to whether their trafficked files included names of GCHQ staff, issuing a classic non-denial denial to the Daily Mail that reads like an admission: “We did not include the names of any British spies.” Spies? It’s a terrorist offence to communicate identifying info on any GCHQ personnel.

Well, the Guardian gets all the love and money from this betrayal of our security forces, but there’s another British paper that got to see the Snowden files. The Independent, in August, ran a story about a secret British base in the Middle East.

I believe this story was abominably irresponsible and a betrayal of national security. The excuse was the paper didn’t provide an address and a map. So what? They revealed the existence of the base and put all its operations and operatives in jeapoardy.

However, and it is a big however, the Independent here was “committing journalism” as the Guardian likes to put it when trying to avoid the police. They received the files and they reported on them. Irresponsibly and morally wrongly, but that’s all they did,

They didn’t copy the files. They didn’t traffic the files. They didn’t hand the files to foreigner papers and bloggers. They just reported on them.

Once the Telegraph and the Daily Mail – to their eternal credit – started to challenge the Guardian’s muling and commercial trading on our agents’ safety, the Independent published this little-noted editorial. But for the purposes of the police investigation, it is a crucial one, because it tells us just exactly what Guardian editors copied and gave to foreigners in order to get their dying paper more money from online clicks.

In August, we too were given information from the Snowden files. It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I think that’s pretty damned clear.

Yes, it is ludicrous that the Independent thinks publishing a front-page story revealing a secret British Middle Eastern base is not “sensitive” or “damaging”. But they are informing their readers – roughly the same base as the Guardian, the liberal left – just how awful the GCHQ Snowden files are.

Glenn Greenwald, who has now left the Guardian for a French-funded company with his fellow traitor Laura Poitras, was kind enough to tell the world on Twitter that Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson were concerned not to expose any NSA spying, but merely to endanger British operations. He told us what the documents they copied and muled to a blog and the NYT were on September 10th

@peterkofod As for NYT, I had no role at all in that – those were 1 set of docs only about UK that G had. They made that choice without me.

Julian Smith MP’s letter does more than ask the police to investigate if GCHQ personnel were identified in these “just about Britain” documents the Guardian trafficked to foreigners. He also asks the police to compel Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson to help in decryption efforts. After all, they have the documents, and they are happy to hand them to bloggers. And from the Independent, we know that the documents could not be more dangerous to the security of this nation. If a British commercial media company is sitting on the decyrption key, they have to hand it over to our intelligence forces. Instead of helping the police and GCHQ see what damage has been done, which agents’ names are out there, and assisting them in saving lives, Rusbridger has admitted online that he has actively prevented this vital information being accessed:

Are you taking any precautions to prevent US/UK government tampering/stealing with the documents?

Alan Rusbridger: Yes. And many of them are now with the NYT

Julian Smith MP has taken direct action by referring all of this to anti-terrorist police. But of course, it is a question for the Government too. The Home Office Committee is now investigating the Guardian. I have no doubt they will rightly ask ministers if they asked the Guardian for access to these terrible documents and if denied, whether and when they sought an injunction or subpoena to compel this commercial company to give the security forces access.

Once again, thanks to the Independent’s honesty in its editorial, we know the stakes for our intelligence services could not be higher.

It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I believe that anti-terror police are already actively on to breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. But the Government, for whom defence of the realm is its first duty, must also play its part and not be cowed by the Guardian-BBC axis. We must never let fear of the press stop us from doing the right thing. The legal tools are there to compel the Guardian to share access to these files not just with commercial papers and bloggers but with the forces that defend us. In the same Q&A Rusbridger also said this:

Would The Guardian have been willing to hand copy to authorities if there hadn’t been threat of prior restraint?

Answer:

Alan Rusbridger: We had not yet decided what eventually to do with the original material at the point the Government asked us to return it or destroy it.

Theresa May and the Home Office should help Mr. Rusbridger to make up his mind. ‘Destroying’ it is not an option now the Guardian has distributed and trafficked it. Instead, Rusbridger and Gibson, who have access to it, must share that access with our security forces. As the Indie has told us clearly, national security is at stake.

What happened when the Guardian asked me for an interview

 

Image

You guys know the Guardian, right? The ones so fearlessly reporting on the personal sports teams, lives, sexuality and private conversations of British agents working at GCHQ?

Editors Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson boldly do hand-picked Twitter questions where anybody who supports them can ask  any supportive question they like?

They stand strong for freedom of information and government openness, don’t they?

Well, here’s a recent exchange I had when the Guardian asked me for an interview:

Dear Louise,
> I work on the features desk on the Saturday Guardian and am emailing to enquire as to whether you might be interested in being interviewed for our big slot in the main paper? I know that Decca has interviewed before and she is most keen to do so again. In light of your announcement that you are to become an American citizen we thought it might be the perfect time for an up to date conversation. Is this something that you’d be interested in?
> If so please do not hesitate to let me know
> Kindest Regards
> (Name of Guardian journalist redacted)
> Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

Here’s my reply:

 

As well as the recent exchange re Decca (whose writing I still admire as I said) if I were interviewed by the Guardian I would be pressing them on whether they gave files identifying our intelligence agents at GCHQ to the New York Times and trafficked them around the world, and I frankly don’t trust the paper to print any of the points I would raise with them on how they did that (as is my belief) and spun the role of David Miranda deceptively.

I think you guys would hear all the questions and then print something totally different, leaving those bits out. So no. If I thought you would report it I would do it, (no matter what critical stuff you chose to print in addition), but the selectiveness on reporting your paper’s own role in that story has been something to behold.

Louise Mensch: Sent from iPhone

 

Aaaaaand…..reply came there none.

 

Come on Alan – let’s talk. You can ask me anything you like and I’ll chat as to whether you handed over the files you used to write your abominably irresponsible story in my first link here – the one where you make it clear you have access to the names, identities, and internal comms of all 6100 British agents at GCHQ – to the New York Times so you could make money through online clicks.

Because not at all co-incidentally, in August the Guardian hit its worst ever circulation figures – 189,000 – and they need this story to survive. So safety of our operatives be damned, right? Who cares about them? 

 

As the Guardian’s Nick Davies told Julian Assange (he laughs about it in the Wikileaks ‘We Steal Secrets’ documentary, 56 minutes in – ‘They might go after you but we have immunity.”

Let’s see in the days ahead just how much “immunity” for profiting from the trafficking of our agents’ identities the Guardian and its editors really have. 

Vince Cable, Tim Loughton and why political loyalty matters

cam thatch

Today’s storms in the UK’s political tea-cups were from Vince Cable and Tim Loughton. Both share something in common; they are relentlessly disloyal to the government. OK, more than one thing; they both come across as embittered, losing the argument, toys-from-pram types.

Cable is in government, sort of. He has no control and no influence. Nobody in parliament takes him seriously. On the Tory benches he was despised, not because he was anti-Tory but because he refused to resign from a government whose policies he professed to loathe. Cable famously hates Osborne, and tried to make it a condition of coalition that Osborne not be Chancellor (ha ha, hilarious). Having been shut out of the Treasury, “Dr.” Cable (how we all chuckled when the Speaker calls him by this name, as he insists) spent the whole of the rest of Parliament sulking and trying to get his name in the papers by criticising government policy but not resigning. It’s been a series of disappointments for Vince, after his glorious “Gordon Brown/Mr Bean” moment – he thought he was going to lead the LibDems, and then the TV debates happened and Clegg rose from utter obscurity to a nice result.

So close Vince, so close.

But no cigar. And things got worse for the Sulker in Chief after two young Telegraph reporters got him to say he was “declaring war on Rupert Murdoch” and “he could destroy the coalition with his nuclear weapon”. His already-pointless department was decimated with key functions heading to DCMS.

Surprisingly, Vince hasn’t cheered up since. The recent Times article on his sulk over the economics resolution revealed this key snippet: LibDem MPs voted against Cable, and with Clegg, 55 to 2. You see it’s not only the Tories who despise Dr. Cable. Imagine having the lack of self awareness to think that your MP colleagues would back you over the leader. Whining and undermining in public is just not that attractive.

Tim Loughton did not criticise Sarah Teather over not having a family, it’s clear he meant “family policy” (I listened to the tape). He said “she didn’t produce one” and meant “policy” not “family” by the pronoun. But he has been vociferous in attacking Michael Gove, the PM, and the Dept of Education where he used to be a minister. Other ex-ministers have done the same. Today Loughton added to his sloe-like bitterness by having a go at “Harriet Harperson” (use of this phrase instantly identifies you as a pillock) and “feminism”. I don’t know any of the 100 new Tory MPs who are not feminists, in the sense of supporting equal rights and opportunities for women. Cheryl Gillan has also attacked the government, as have various other ex-ministers.

It always annoys and saddens me when this happens. Why does it matter? Sacked employees having a go is part and parcel of life, surely? Maybe; but not, I think, in politics. In Cable’s case it speaks to immense hypocrisy – he knows where the door is, if he doesn’t like his own government’s agenda. In Loughton’s, and Gillans, it says something more pernicious.

It says: I never believed in any of that stuff in the first place. I only toed the line to get a promotion. Suckers!

This is one reason people lose respect for politicians. They don’t think you believe the message you are giving out. They think you’re lying.

When I left Parliament I continued to tweet, post, and write articles in the same vein that I did in Parliament. This is because I believed in what Cameron and Osborne are doing then, and I believe in it now. I wasn’t on-message – I believed in it. Socially liberal, economically conservative is the future for the conservative movement globally.

If you are not a believer, that is OK too. Just do not accept office in a department or a government you fundamentally disagree on. Sarah Wollaston MP is a free thinking Conservative – a true Conservative – but she has profound disagreements and votes and speaks her conscience. She has disdained to accept office that would prevent her from speaking out. Hence she (like Jacob Rees-Mogg) is one of the most respected MPs in Parliament. Tracey Crouch, Priti Patel, I can think of many others; they take their jobs as backbench MPs seriously, to hold the government to account. The much-maligned A list has produced a great many of these free thinking, intelligent MPs with integrity.

Those who join the government and support it also have integrity. Matt Hancock MP for example, the Skills Minister, and Claire Perry MP, advisor to the PM; the talented minister Helen Grant MP – I know these and many others well and I know their minds. They are true believers.

Of course collective responsibility means we all go along with the odd policy we don’t agree with. I wanted to vote for Stella Creasy MPs bill against loan-sharking, but did not as it was a three-line whip and not a conscience issue for me; Stella was and is right. I would not routinely vote against the government, or the party under whose colours I stood.

But with Loughton’s ceaseless anti-Gove campaign, David Davis MPs embarrassing critcism of Theresa May over the data mule David Miranda (before the facts were known), Gillan’s tweets of disappointment in the govt, and Cable’s endless snippy barbs from the sidelines … all of that just says to voters “I never believed in the first place, and now, from the backbenches, I am free to say THE TRUTH!”

Have integrity; do not join a government you do not back. And if you do back them, you will also back them after you are fired. Because either it’s about policy, or it’s about office, a title, and your personal perks. And no Ministerial car is worth that much.

Photo by Andrew Parsons for the Conservative Party

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