What happened when the Guardian asked me for an interview

 

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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

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. 

 

 

 

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