Friday, August 23, 2013

Was Miranda a "Mule" or a Journalist?

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Previous Related Posts:
Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger Spins Away
Smashing Hard Drives: the Miranda - Snowden - Guardian Saga Continues
Glenn Greenwald Threatens to spill UK Secrets
UK Detains Greenwald's Partner, Twitter Wars Erupt


I was just taking materials back to Glenn.
~ David Miranda, spouse of journalist Glenn Greenwald, on CNN after being stopped and held for nine hours at Heathrow Airport while possibly carrying material from fugitive Edward Snowden

What is the Guardian's Position over David Miranda's Legal Action?
Alan Rusbridger, Editor, Guardian UK: The Guardian is supporting that action and we are supporting it in terms of financing it because David Miranda was acting on behalf of Glenn Greenwald at the time he was detained. So we support that action and I think it's a good thing to challenge that law and see why Terror and Journalism are being elided in this disturbing way.
David Miranda wasn't really "on assignment." He is Glenn Greenwald's partner. Glenn Greenwald's a very busy man and he assists Glenn in his journalistic work, and he was acting as a messenger or intermediary in a way that's difficult for Glenn at the moment because he's got a lot of work to be doing in Brazil, and I think he's also a bit nervous about traveling at the moment.
Was it wrong for the Guardian to pay a non-journalist to act as a courier this way, especially if he didn't know what he was carrying?
Rusbridger: Glenn Greenwald trusts David - he obviously does as his partner, and it was Glenn's decision and David's -- he's a grown-up adult. He wanted somebody he could trust and ... it was important that Glenn had somebody he could trust.
~ Complete Interview Transcript with Alan Rusbridger of Guardian Here

It sounds a lot like he’s being used by Greenwald and doesn’t fully understand the seriousness of what he’s wrapped up in. Now, like any other adult Miranda has agency and did not have the make the trip. And it’s possible he’s downplaying his role to sound innocent.
~ Joshua Foust

In short, the Brazilian was acting as a sort of ‘mule’, though Guardian reports have ignored or under-played this. The Tory MP David Davis, who has bravely campaigned against state surveillance, pointed out yesterday that whatever material was taken from Mr Miranda probably exists elsewhere.
But can you blame the British police for wishing to seize it?
By the way, Mr Miranda acted idiotically in coming via London on his way to Rio de Janeiro, as it is the one place in the world other than America where police were likely to take an interest in him.
~ Stephen Glover on The Daily Mail

Greenwald himself has previously told journalists that his partner assists him in his work. That present ‘work’ consists of engineering the leak of massive amounts of classified intelligence from a source – Edward Snowden – currently granted asylum in Moscow. Greenwald’s partner was travelling through London from a meeting using plane-tickets paid for by the Guardian and – it now transpires – appears to have been carrying files from Snowden. So all those ‘this could happen to any of us’ pieces are only really relevant if you happen to use your partner as a mule for industrial-scale sabotage against states you’re planning to travel to.
~ Douglas Murray on The Spectator

CNN Transcript: Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, Aired August 20, 2013 - 20:00 ET
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I sure do. Let's be clear about what Mr. Miranda's role was here. I don't want to be unkind but he was a mule. He was given something, he didn't know what it was, from one person to pass to another at the other end of an airport. Our prisons are full of drug mules.
Glenn's view is, as long as one of the two people on either end of that transaction was a journalist, he can take anything he wants. He could take the nuclear launch codes, he could take the names of our undercover agents --

COOPER: His flight was paid for by "The Guardian," though, so wasn't it in effect he acting in a journalistic capacity?

TOOBIN: No. I don't think that matters a bit who pays for your ticket. I mean, he's on a plane with stuff that is highly classified. You know -- anything he wants, it turns out it wasn't the names of our undercover agents, it was the extremely classified presumably NSA material. That is not the law.

COOPER: But does it -- I mean, he is being detained under a British -- UK Terrorism Act which is -- only supposed to be used to detect and find people who are connected to terrorist. There is no indication that David Miranda -- they knew who he was, they knew he's not connected to some terrorist group.

TOOBIN: Great Britain has its own laws that are similar to ours but then are somewhat different. Their terrorism law takes it one step farther. They say, it's not just the material -- this person is a terrorist, but can be used by terrorist. And frankly, if terrorist know how we surveil their cell phone calls, how we surveil their texts, that could be used for terrorism.
. . . Mr. Miranda was lucky that they used the terrorism law because he wasn't even delayed. He wasn't even stopped overnight. I mean, you know, I'm sure it was inconvenient to be stopped for nine hours at the airport, but, you know, when it -- but you know, when it happens to you on JetBlue they don't even offer you a lawyer.

So, I mean, I just don't think he was sent to the gulag. He was -- he was delayed for a while and they took what appears to be stolen classified information. I think Mr. Miranda actually did pretty well, considering what he was carrying.

. . . The word journalism is not magical immunity sauce that you can put on anything --
COOPER: Immunity sauce --
TOOBIN: That you can put on anything and make -- eliminate any sort of liability. You know what? If he had the nuclear launch codes on there, he could -- you know, they can take that. If he had the names of undercover operatives, they can take that.


Miranda states (if you believe him, and I don’t) that he had no idea what he was carrying. Greenwald states that he was transporting Snowden’s stolen, top secret CIA intelligence data on encrypted thumb drives. So basically, you have Greenwald using his spouse as a mule to actively assist Edward Snowden, and you have Miranda apparently lying at the airport when he answers that damned basic security question… “Has anyone given you anything to carry on board?”
Did you lie to airport security, then, David?
~ Louise Mensch on The Telegraph

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.
Louise Mensch on Unfashionista

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