The plot thickens...
"Meanwhile, a Brazilian man held for nine hours at Heathrow airport under anti-terror laws on Sunday has said he was forced to divulge email and social media account passwords.David Miranda said his interrogators threatened that he could go to prison if he did not do so."
Not exactly a great advert for tourism. Although I suppose David Miranda wasn't just any tourist - but even so - what happened to freedom of the press? Some heid-bummer from the UK civil service paid the Guardian a visit and asked that the computer holding information leaked by Edward Snowden be destroyed.
Apparently two 'experts' from GCHQ stood over newspaper staff - in an advisory roll - while hard drives where smashed in a just-so fashion.
|If you are worried about the UK's security, here it all is.|
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said later
"We were quite clear we were not going to hand this material back to the British government so we destroyed it ourselves under advice from a couple of GCHQ intelligence experts, who told us which bits of the hard drive to smash up, in what way."
The thing is - and I'm no expert* - the information was held electronically. Smashing up a computer is no guarantee of anything other than you've smashed up a computer. I truly believe all copies of Dan Brown's book 'The DaVinci Code' should be destroyed because its derivative crap with moronically contrived characterisation, but it won't happen if I smash my Kindle - assuming it had a copy of that arse-gravy on it - which it doesn't.
If GCHQ and UK security in general hinges on the following -
"Hello, have you smashed up that hard drive with the country-shattering data on it?"- then Edward Snowden probably isn't the biggest threat to the UK's security apparatus - the UK security apparatus is the biggest threat to itself.
"Yes, yes we have."
"Did you copy the apocryphal nation-destroying information?"
"OK, bye then."
Put in the simplest of terms. Edward Snowden leaked information (via Glenn Greenwald, who's partner is David Miranda) which showed that the USA and the UK regularly 'listened in' on email traffic, the governments in question claimed surveillance was only ever intelligence led - it turns out - they've been monitoring people and organisations with no justification.
The UK and USA security services do this for our protection, the mantra often bleated by the naive is - if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. That might be true, but that our government thinks all of us do have something to hide - to me anyway - smacks of totalitarian police statism.
Meanwhile, the checks and balances of a free press are slowly being eroded with moronic GCHQ reps standing over journalists as they smash up a container but not necessarily the content.
What this really looks like is - the UK and US administrations got caught out - and now they're having a bloody good flounce about it.
Whether you think its OK to be monitored and spied upon 'for your own safety' is subjective, whether you trust the government with the job is a good bit less so if you're prepared to take any previous behaviour into account.
Perhaps the destruction of privacy & liberty, the ability to hold government to account and to criticise it enthusiastically when it fucks up or oversteps the mark is a fair price to pay to fight 'terrorism' and maintain 'security'...
Mmm, I don't think so either.
* Working within a given field does not necessarily qualify a person as an expert in that field - as evidenced by GCHQ 'experts', my own accidental (and unfortunate) IT career and the chap in the photo above.