UK Gov't: David Miranda Might Be A Terrorist Because Journalism Can Be Terrorism; Also: We Had No Idea He Was A Journalist
from the huh? dept
Following the initial argument that Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for nine hours at Heathrow under an anti-terrorism law because he might be a terrorist, it appears that the UK government is doubling down on this argument. The Miranda case was in court today, with the UK government arguing that publishing the documents Ed Snowden leaked “is capable of being an act of terrorism.” Yes, the UK has declared that journalism can be an act of terrorism. The Metropolitan Police further argue that Miranda was engaged in espionage, first saying that they stopped Miranda because the Security Service had alerted them that Miranda was “likely to be involved in espionage activity.”
Intelligence indicates that MIRANDA is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security. We therefore wish to establish the nature of MIRANDA’s activity, assess the risk that poses to UK national security and mitigate as appropriate. We are requesting that you exercise your powers to carry out a ports stop against MIRANDA.
We assess that MIRANDA is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives. Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism and as such we request that the subject is examined under Schedule 7.
Now here’s where it gets even more bizarre. When confronted by the issue of human rights and the right to free expression, the UK government is arguing that didn’t apply because didn’t know he was involved in journalism.
The exercise of powers in this case did not engage either Article 10 ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] or the protections accorded to journalistic material under Schedule 5 to TACT [Terrorism Act 2000] because (a) the MPS did not know or believe that Mr Miranda had acquired the material for the purposes of journalism; and (b) Mr Miranda did not when questioned claim to be a journalist or to be carrying the material on behalf of anyone else who was a journalist or to have acquired the material for the purposes of journalism.
So, let’s get this straight. The UK is arguing (1) that it knew enough that Miranda was carrying the Snowden documents, such that they believed he might help them get published and that’s terrorism, but (2) they had no idea he might be involved in journalism, so there was no human rights issue.
Anyone else notice a problem with these two lines of thought? Acts of journalism may be acts of terror, and the UK government can stop it… if they don’t know it’s journalism.
Clearly, the UK government is lying. They knew what Miranda was doing, because that’s how they knew he had documents on him. To then claim they had no idea he was engaged in journalism is impossible to believe. Hopefully the court recognizes just how insane this claim is.