Blatant Intimidation: Glenn Greenwald's Partner Detained At Heathrow Under Terrorism Law, All His Electronics Seized
from the obnoxiousness dept
In a move that is clearly driven more to intimidate Glenn Greenwald than anything else, his partner, David Miranda, was detained for nine hours at Heathrow airport, which he was flying through on his way home to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin. On top of that, all of his electronics — his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles — were seized and not returned. This was nothing but basic government thuggery and intimidation. There is simply no credible reason to detain Miranda other than to “send a message” to Greenwald as punishment for doing his job and exposing government abuse. The law under which he was detained, Schedule 7, is extremely controversial already, but it appears that the UK officials were clearly abusing it.
40. Terrorist: interpretation.
(1) In this Part “terrorist” means a person who—
(a) has committed an offence under any of sections 11, 12, 15 to 18, 54 and 56 to 63, or
(b) is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
(2)The reference in subsection (1)(b) to a person who has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism includes a reference to a person who has been, whether before or after the passing of this Act, concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism within the meaning given by section 1.
In short, the only reason you’re supposed to be able to detain someone is to determine if they’re involved in committing, preparing or instigating “acts of terrorism.” Clearly, that’s ridiculous when it comes to even Glenn Greenwald, let alone his partner. The law is already ridiculous enough in that it allows officials to detain anyone, even without suspicion, solely for the purpose of questioning them to see if they fall under this section (i.e., having something to do with terrorism). Under the law, they have nine hours to do this questioning, and then they need to release or arrest the detainee. In this case, they held Miranda for all nine hours. This is not common. As the Guardian points out, the government’s own stats show that 97% of people detained under this law are released in less than an hour. Only one person out of every 2000 are kept for more than six hours. Yet, suddenly, they had to hold Miranda for all nine hours and then take all of his electronics?
That’s just government thuggery and intimidation.