UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law

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Featured photo - UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”

Miranda, a Brazilian national, was carrying secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden from one reporter to another — from Laura Poitras in Berlin to Miranda’s partner, Glenn Greenwald, in Rio de Janeiro.

Greenwald and Poitras have published extensive revelations from the documents that Snowden provided them, primarily at the Guardian and the New York Times; both are now editors at The Intercept. Greenwald was working for Guardian US at the time.

In a decision released Wednesday morning, three judges on London’s High Court of Justice ruled that while Miranda’s detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom” it was justified and legitimate due to “very pressing” issues of national security.

The review of Miranda’s detention was widely seen as a test of how far governments that have adopted aggressive anti-terror policies will go — and will be allowed to go — in terms of treating journalists who expose secrets as criminals and terrorists themselves.

And yet, the ruling was not entirely surprising; the UK has historically been an outlier when it comes to both press freedoms and anti-terror policies.

Miranda said his suit will continue. “I will appeal this ruling, and keep appealing until the end, not because I care about what the British government calls me, but because the values of press freedom that are at stake are too important to do anything but fight until the end,” he said in a statement to The Intercept.

Though Miranda’s case was heard in what is called the High Court, that is only the first level of judicial review in the UK. Two more remain within the British legal system, followed by the European Court of Human Rights.

“I’m of course not happy that a court has formally said that I was a legitimate terrorism suspect, but the days of the British Empire are long over, and this ruling will have no effect outside of the borders of this country,” Miranda added. “I’m convinced they’ve hurt their own country far more than me with this ruling, as it emphasizes what the world already knows: the UK has contempt for basic press freedoms.”

Home Secretary Theresa May praised the ruling saying, “This judgment overwhelmingly supports the wholly proportionate action taken by the police in this case to protect national security.”

May added, “Although the courts have fully supported the use of schedule 7 [of the UK anti-terrorism act] in this case, we constantly work to ensure that our counter-terrorism powers are effective and fair. That is why parliament has recently approved further safeguards proposed by the government for the use of this essential border and ports security power.”

London’s Metropolitan Police said it was “pleased” with the court’s decision, adding that the anti-terror statute invoked to justify Miranda’s detention is a “key part of our national security capability and a vital tool used by the police to help keep the public safe.”

“We carefully considered the use of schedule 7 in this case and our assessment was that the use of the power was legally and procedurally sound,” the police said.

According to documents made public during Miranda’s civil suit, police determined that he was subject to the anti-terror law because he was “likely to be involved in espionage activity” and met the technical definition of a terrorist because he was “knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives” and was promoting a “political or ideological cause.”

After the police’s justification was made public in November, leading UK human rights groups and a member of the British parliament expressed outrage, saying it appeared baseless and threatened to have damaging consequences for investigative journalism, the Guardian reported .

Greenwald told The Intercept the UK has the unique distinction of being the only foreign government that has equated the NSA coverage he and Poitras are responsible for to terrorism.

“The journalism Laura and I have done with the Guardian and other major news organizations has spawned international debate and reform, and has been honored with top journalism awards all over the world, but it is only in the UK where our journalism is considered not just criminal but ‘terrorism’,” he said in a statement.

“We made clear long ago that we would not ever be deterred in any way in reporting aggressively on these documents by this kind of thuggish behavior from the British government, and we have been and will continue to be very true to our word,” Greenwald added. “It is ironic that as the world rightfully condemns the Egyptian military regime for imprisoning Al Jazeera journalists on the ground that their journalism is a form of ‘terrorism’, the UK Government yet again shows the repressive company it keeps by doing the same.”

Miranda was stopped at Heathrow airport at 8 a.m. August 18, 2013 while en route to the home he shares with Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro. He was traveling from Berlin, where he had met with Poitras. The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flight, as he was transporting materials related to the NSA stories.

The officers who stopped Miranda informed him that he would be questioned under schedule 7 of the UK’s terrorism act. The controversial law, enacted in 2000, aims to prevent individuals who may be involved in the “commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism” from entering the country. The law – which critics say unfairly targets minority communities – does not require “probable cause” or an identifiable suspicion to justify a detention. Subjects are not afforded an automatic right to legal counsel and refusal to cooperate with the process is considered a criminal offense.

Under schedule 7, subjects can be held for up to nine hours. While the vast majority of detentions are concluded in under an hour, Miranda’s detention very nearly met the full maximum of nine hours. His personal belongings were seized, including his laptop, cell phone, two memory sticks, a pair of DVDs, a Sony video game console and a hard drive.

Upon returning to Brazil, Miranda said British authorities threatened to imprison him if he did not cooperate. He said he was not questioned about his alleged role in terrorism or his relationship to terrorist groups, though he said he was asked about Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald.

Miranda’s detention sparked anger in his home country. The government of Brazil issued a statement asserting his detention was “without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation.”

As news of the incident broke, some British politicians raised doubts about the application of the terrorism law. “The clause in this act is not meant to be used as a catch-all that can be used in this way,” said Labour MP Tom Watson. “It’s almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald’s partner was a terrorist suspect,” he added.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed the UK had provided a “heads up” that Miranda was going to be detained, but that it “was not something we requested.”

On August 20, two days after Miranda’s detention, Britain’s Home Office moved to aggressively defend the action, arguing he was in possession of “highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism” and revealing that Prime Minister David Cameron was given advance warning of the police operation.

“The government and the police have a duty to protect the public and our national security,” a Home Office spokesperson said. “Those who oppose this sort of action need to think about what they are condoning.”

Miranda filed a legal action against the British government, and in November the court disclosed a Ports Circulation Sheet (PCS) detailing the official assessment offered to explain why Miranda should be stopped. The undated document was prepared by Scotland Yard in consultation with the counterintelligence agency MI5, and was distributed to British border posts in advance of Miranda’s arrival.

“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 Miranda poses to national security and mitigate as appropriate,” the PCS said. “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.”

Miranda’s attorneys argued that the stop was unlawful and a violation of Miranda’s right to freedom of expression. And they said his detention marked the first time the terrorism act had been implemented to seize journalistic materials.

Home Office attorney Stephen Kovats conceded that the material was journalistic in nature. He added, however, “We do not understand that raw ‘Snowden data’ is journalistic material.”

The government argued that it had to intercept the material Miranda was suspected of carrying, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Miranda’s attorneys, meanwhile, said that if the government wanted the Snowden documents, it should have put in an application to a judge prior to the stop. Attorney Mathew Ryder said the government was appealing to “doomsday scenarios” rather than responsibly considering whether the terrorism act had been proportionately applied.

Tuesday’s decision found the judges on the side of the government. Lord Justice Laws, with whom the two other judges concurred, wrote that it was clear the authorities stopped Miranda to “ascertain the nature of the material he was carrying.” He added that schedule 7 was “capable of covering the publication or threatened publication … of stolen classified information which, if published, would reveal personal details of members of the armed forces or security and intelligence agencies, thereby endangering their lives.”

Miranda said he has no regrets. “I am very proud of the work I did,” he said. “In fact, in light of today’s decision equating journalism with terrorism, I am more certain than ever that I did the right thing, since governments like this really need transparency.”

UPDATE AT 7:45 A.M. EST: Greenwald has published a blog post on The InterceptOn the UK’s Equating of Journalism with TerrorismThe Guardian  is providing live coverage of reaction to the decision.

Edited by Dan Froomkin.

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  1. Um. Did you REALLY think the court would decide otherwise? Anything like governments, courts that actually work ‘for the people, by the people’ are a thing of the past. Recent (and future) revelations virtually guarantee that very soon we will be living in are era of Police State the likes of which will prove, by comparision, that Orwell’s imagination was grossly under developed. The thing that may –may– slow the process is that they’re going to have to kill 50 million or so Americans who… rumor has it, have been stocking up on firearms. The 9/11 False Flag, Bush, that greasy Obamanation, NSA et al. all amounting to bone deep mistrust in government –all have been the BEST saleman the gun industry could have ever hoped for. Molon Labe

  2. I consider myself a normal individual and I am not concerned about the NSA or anyone reading my emails or listening to calls as long as it creates a safer society. Liberty is a privilege we enjoy because most of the bad stuff is stopped before we know about it. I get press freedom but not at the cost of safety of society. I travel and fly a lot and have no issue being stopped and asked for my purpose in visiting. In terms of PC and bots etc, I am glad the good guys are using such technology if it again makes society safer. I am sure the NSA are not really interested in my conversations regarding work or life and probably have very clever logic to assess posts, emails and voice mail, why should I be concerned.

  3. It is so depressing that in this country the Police and lawyers completely ignore both what is written and its intent, and twist the law to suit their own narrow interests. “Terrorists” use terror: the clue is in the word. They might as well arrest all booksellers for selling copies of old military manuals.

    The same MO is used with protestors: the Police try it on and arrest everybody to disrupt the protest and deter others, leaving it for the courts to right wrongs later.

  4. Has the article been amended? On an earlier reading I recall a scathing but accurate description of the British ruling class…

  5. The US should declare war on Britain and pound them until they restore freedom of the press.

    Then, Britain should do the same to the US.

    They’re both supposed to be the ‘leaders of the free world’, so, it’s time they start acting like it.


  6. It’s amazing how many people want their government to keep secrets from them. Democracies are supposed to be exercises in citizen self-government. How does one govern himself by shutting his eyes to facts or by allowing himself to be deceived, misled, or ignored? We shouldn’t be asking our government to try a little harder to be candid. We should evict that government from power immediately and replace it with a government of the people, by the people, for the people that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to the citizens.

    • No, it is time to enforce the Law of the Land, and prosecute all officials that have the effrontery to declare themselves, and their departments immune from breaching our constitutional freedom to go about our lawful business, without interference from the government.
      Providing we do not harm anyone, cause loss or damage to their property, act dishonestly, or in mischief, cause a breach of the peace, no crime has been committed.
      Surveillance cameras, except for security purposes, is an interference and unlawful. Instant fines, threats of fines before conviction in a court of law are are illegal and banned. (Bill of Rights). The issuer is attempting a criminal extortion, however, legally (entrapment) accepting an officials authority over us is deemed to mean we accept their authority, and jurisdiction.
      Now, Common Law, as listed above is simple because it’s common sense, therefore if any official attempting to act outside of the law, legally, is acting as a privates citizen outside of their lawful powers.

  7. In the corresponding Guardian article, it was stated by the court/police that Miranda carried 58,000 ENCRYPTED files from the Snowden fundus on an external hard drive. Yet, what Greenwald/Poitras said so far was that the files were military-grade encrypted, and that Miranda didn’t know the password for the encryption.

    I don’t understand this. Did the police crack the encryption? Did Miranda know the password, after all, and was forced to give it to them? Or did the police simply invent this information about the 58000 files out of thin air and lied to make it sound serious, even they don’t really know what (if any) files were on the drive?

    It would be great if Glenn could comment on this.

    • I’m not Glenn.

      If, however, you are really interested in better understanding the “58,000″ document number, I suggest you read the two analyses that Naomi Colvin, a UK blogger, did in late August 2013. She analyzed the statements of Caroline Goode, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), and Oliver Robbins, Deputy National Security Adviser. These two UK government “witnesses” for the David Miranda ?trial? do provide some interesting pseudo facts on what David was carrying when he was detained for nine hours on August 18, 2013.

      You can also read some of my posts on this subject for this article and for related Intercept articles by Glenn, Ryan, …

  8. Sorry David but outside of the Guardian newspaper and it’s dwindling readership, very few people have any sympathy with you. Acting as a mule for transporting stolen security documents via the UK was foolhardly in the extreme and seen by many as little more than a publicity stunt to breathe life into this dying story.

    • Serious question: If the story is “dying” why do you care enough to comment? You clearly aren’t disinterested; you care enough to follow it and post, actions at odds with your words.

      • Right on Mornings Minion! Governments ARE so corrupt and guess what? Why was is such a secret anyway? Whatever evil is done in secret, God will bring to light. What us people shouldn*t know that we *The free people of America* shouldn*t know they are not only listening to us on the phone but our computers also? If you really want to know the injustices of the gvnmts around the globe are just google, *Targeted Individuals* or *Organized Gang Stalking*. I challenge anyone who think the gvmt has the right to surveil us to google these terms. Your mouth will drop right open.

    • There is no evidence Miranda was carrying stolen documents. The initial assertion that he was was made by UK officials who needed that excuse in order to detain him. They don’t know what he was carrying as they haven’t yet broken the encrypted password protecting his drives, or if they have, they have found no such documents.

      What we, readers of Greenwald et al, know is that Miranda was carrying work in progress from Ms. Poitras to be shared with Mr. Greenwald. So when you repeat the untrue talking point promoted by criminal elements in the UK and US governments, you ignore the reality that there was and is no reason for anyone to be carrying stolen documents between Berlin and Rio for the simple reason that both Poitras and Greenwald already possess ALL of the documents.

      I suggest you are the mule since it is you who promotes the lies and distortions of those dishonest criminal elements; lies generated so as to prevent the collapse of the massive corporate structure built exclusively to secretly spy on and oppress the people.

        • Knowing for sure that the GCHQ/NSA didn’t or did crack the encryption password(s) for the file(s) is unlikely without solid evidence/proof from one or both of these two secretive organizations.

          My opinion, and it is an opinion, is that they did not and have not cracked the encryption of the file(s) that David Miranda was carrying to Glenn in Brazil. I base my opinion on what has been reported since Day One of the Snowden revelations.

          First, I think we can all agree that Snowden is a very technically smart person/geek to have outsmarted the NSA. Second, prior to making contact with Laura and Glenn, he required them to implement strong encryption for all communications with him, an encryption methodology that he dictated. Third, on meeting them in Hong Kong, he continued his instructions re strong encryption techniques, focusing on encryption of files generally and decryption of his files specifically. Based on him being very very familiar with the technical capabilities of the NSA and on his own actions in contacting and working with Glenn and Laura , we can assume that he used strong encryption and required its use by Glenn and Laura. Based on their personal admissions and reporting, he made Glenn and Laura “paranoid” (and rightfully so) about protecting their communications and files. I believe this to be true. Forth, David stated that he did not have or know the encryption password(s) for the file(s) that he was carrying. I believe him. Fifth, I believe that the file(s) David was carrying, except for his own personal ones, had been strongly encrypted in Berlin. Strong encryption, most cryptographers agree, is currently safe against any and all efforts by the NSA/GCHQ. I believe this is true. Sixth, all that I have read, including a UK blogger’s detailed logical analysis of the testimony of the two UK “experts” who claimed in court that there were 58,000 encrypted files, suggests that the UK “experts” 58,000 number was most likely based on the encrypted file size(s) and not on decrypting and counting the file contents.

          I would love to find and read the Miranda trial transcript and do my own “truth” analysis of the testimony of the UK “technical experts”.

          I would appreciate any technical or logical confirmation or counter argument(s) to what I have stated so we can all be a little more informed on this subject.

          • Your suggestion is that Snowden is the one ‘tech-savvy’ guy and directed/instructed the two others; this may be the case for Greenwald, but Poitras didn’t wait for Snowden! ;-)
            Her own interest and practice of encryption is what allowed the story to happen in the first place; it was sturdy enough that Snowden could communicate some convincing proof he was serious, motivating her to go visit GG in person… Clearly she was savvy enough back then.

            And the lengthy interview in Rolling Stones where they talked about the whole thing mentioned the reason for Miranda’s trip in July was precisely her ‘paranoia’ regarding sensitive stuff… She wouldn’t speak about details regarding her video material on the phone, wouldn’t send GG the data they needed by Fedex. Hence the need for a human courier.

            For the rest I agree with you, and would add we know for sure the solid encryption protocols haven’t been broken by the agencies yet: that’s why they store compulsively the encrypted communications they intercept for later use, and why they work so hard in breaking Internet’s security at the roots: because current, solid encryption is still beyond their reach.

    • It seems that all print newspapers have dwindling readership so what is your point? Today’s successful news organizations such as the Guardian are growing their readership online to more than make up for their dwindling newsprint readership. Like millions of other tablet and smartphone users (mine is an iPad), I access and read the Guardian online plus the NYT, Democracy Now, ProPublica, and a few others. If you follow the news. the future of News Organizations is building an attractive and informative online presence. The Guardian is the acknowledged leader in this arena so, once again, what is your point?

      If you follow the real news (not the faux news) here in the USA, there is growing concern re the outrageous secrecy and actions of our NSA and your GCHQ and their supporters. There is strong support for David Miranda because most informed Americans believe that he was detained wrongly as a “terrorist” and that the real reason for his 9-hour detention was to further intimidate journalists, especially his partner.

      You must find your super power of “hindsight” extremely useful when you critique others. Were you born with this super power or did it just magically appear? Who besides you saw this as a publicity stunt? If you have a loved one, would you subject them to such a threatening and traumatic interrogation? Would you?

    • Yet you took time out of your life to read the article and then post a comment…well done you. Perhaps read more closely next time as you evidently haven’t grasped the magnitude of the situation.

  9. This is the same govt that wants people to believe the deceased spy put himself in the carry bag. They are not very credible.

  10. “designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause”

    Is a definition of terrorism they provided. I can only conclude that the UK and USA governments are terrorist organisations as they also influence foreign governments for the purpose of promoting their political or ideological causes.

  11. Is a transcript of the trial proceedings available for free or a fee, or is it sealed and unavailable to the public as most ?National Security? trial transcripts are here in the USA? I enjoyed reading the transcript of the US District Court proceedings on the Ladar Levison case. It was sealed by the District Court but unsealed by the Appeals Court. I found it very enlightening.

    I’m curious how, besides claims by the UK authorities, the UK prosecutors proved that David Miranda was carrying “dangerous” documents? Does anyone know how the prosecutors proved this point, a point that seems basic and necessary for a conviction. Or are the British authorities so unquestioned that they don’t need proof only “claims” supported, I guess, by the sworn testimony of public servants who, in reality, were only guessing or, more likely, faithfully believing what they were told by the GCHQ or NSA? I’m befuddled. Don’t you have to do a “show and tell” for UK judges, where the show part is actual evidence of, in this case, dangerous documents discovered from the electronics carried by David Miranda? I guess the GCHQ could just haul out a few of their documents and show the judges and claim they were found on David’s electronics. That is what the NSA would do in a trial if it was up a creek without a paddle.

    • If you read Lord Justice Laws Approved Judgement dated 2/19/2014, you may be surprised, as I was, that and I quote ” We declined applications by the claimant for further disclosure, leave to cross-examine defence witnesses, and the joinder of Mr. Greenwald as co-claimant”. What does this tell you about the Miranda ?trial? results? It tells me plenty, especially the NO cross-examination – UK government witness statements can not be questioned. So tell your lies and keep repeating them and you will stay safe.

  12. I think someone needs to ask who could have squeezed the content out of the PM’s email left in a news media executive’s BlackBerry taken into custody by police. It was downloaded by the executives legal team after it was returned, and the PM’s email displayed no content. The executive told a court it was “compressed,” which meant no one could read the message. Only what we today call “metadata” was revealed.

    Now, in May of 2012, no one, outside the tech savvy, knew what compression was, much less a Tempora metadata file. So, who presumed something spooky had happened to that Berry and demanded it be put on the pubic record by having Mr. Jay question the executive about it in court?

    That wouldn’t be WATSON, would it, Surelocks? I HOPE the squisher was you, GCHQ, or you have to find out who’s been up to your compression tricks. Didn’t GCHQ tell NSA that THEY cracked the BlackBerry’s compression technology in November 2011? That was three months AFTER this failure to display.

    Now, we as American may speculate as to how this was accomplished. I say some idiot wiped the Berry in an ignorant attempt to destroy that evidence and then some other sorry soul tried to put back what had been wiped. But Cameron’s email was more than a month old, so all that was left in Tempora was the metadata file.

    Sounds like a national security issue to me. Is that why no one in the UK is allowed to ask why Cameron’s email came up empty even though that is public record? Or is that because it suggests someone tampered with the evidence? Reminds me of Nixon and his missing minutes of tape, but Cameron can’t blame it on HIS secretary, because his is in charge of the spooks!

    David Cameron has a far more serious problem with data than Miranda!! His is a metadata problem. Don’t tell me metadata’s harmless! This metadata might bring down Cameron’s government IF it is ever allowed to be debated, much less investigated!!

  13. Miranda’s action “[wa]s designed to influence a government, and [wa]s made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…” Wow.

  14. When do we say enough is enough? Obviously we are doing something very wrong.

    How is it ever tolerable, right or allowed to detain an innocent man as a terrorist. While I might be bias, I might want to believe what people smarter than me are doing IS working. There might have been some changes, we might be reaching some. After 6 + months of releasing information and data about the criminal actions and corruption of the worlds largest intelligence cartel – one bankrolled by my tax dollars, I have to be realistic. The release of these documents has had no real impact on the authority, power or threat these cartels pose on American or other citizens. I am not a threat, I am not a terrorist – NOR is my child. My nation is not in danger and my child is not at war with the US/UK IC or any government agency. Nor is 99.9% of this planet. I do not forget but I do forgive. This type of behavior and these actions need stopped. Those directly or indirectly responsible need to be held accountable.

    I am scared – hold me :)

    • That’s why I am pushing for truth and reconciliation. These agencies and those in charge of them and their oversight are so terrified of going to jail that they WILL destroy the Constitution to do so.

      So rather than having them go Cromwell on us, I suggest they BOW to our king, the LAW, and make amends by coming forward and giving us the goods. If they’d like to take a lashing like Henry II, it must be voluntary.

      I don’t want to have to put a price on their heads, because SOME things are unforgivable, like TREASON.

  15. The first victim of war is always truth. The paradox we have now is that war is being waged, but there is no declaration of war. In order to win wars, governments always find it necessary to suspend civil rights, including the freedom to disagree publicly or criticize their actions, all of which in wartime are held to be treasonous, whether by journalists or ordinary citizens. SCOTUS Justice Scalia was right to observe that it is wrong to abridge human rights, but that it is always done in time of war and always will be. However, heretofore populations have only accepted this abridgement of freedom during a limited period of declared war that is not the usual situation and is quickly resolved, and then liberty is restored. The situation is now that governments are engaged in permanent warfare, but cannot openly declare it, because there would be a confirmation that the suspension of constitutional liberties is now permanent, which would be resisted, resulting in the potential loss of the war due to having to wage it ineffectively. As the war polity and economy are now so well-entrenched and the ultimate ends so diffuse and unattainable, it is likely that as time goes on citizens will be forced into accepting wartime censorship and mass surveillance conditions forever.

    • I noted that panelist seated before our intelligence and judicial committees are frequently asked if they believe the US is engaged in a war against terror at the start of such briefs. This makes obvious what they think makes their wrongdoing right.

  16. If Greenwald wants to publish stolen files, then “as a journalist” he MIGHT have some basis of complaint if HE was stopped. By using his friend as a mule he showed himself as a thoughtless idiot by exposing his friend to exactly the sort of thing that happened. And Mirtanda can’t hide under the press thing. Miranda was a fool, a smuggler, and an associate to a theft. Nine hours? Should have been 9 years.

    • You seem quite confused on a number of definitions… For starters, “his friend” is his spouse. As for “publishing stolen files”, it’s funny how leaks are ever a problem only when they make the powerful look bad… Newspapers publish leaks by duly protected anonymous officials all the time, where’s your call for dozens of prosecutions and the imprisonment of most major journalists?
      And among those who did expose wrongdoings, it’s funny how the likes of you shriek national security and all… when systematically, the leakers are hailed as hero’s just a few decades later by the next batch of powerful people, finally recognizing their revelations were needed and did not harm lives.

      About the “mule” part, it’s a derogatory term meant to outline the cluelessness of the courrier, almost exclusively used when talking about young, uneducated, and/or non-White nationals. Which branch of disdainful bigotry did your comment from, I wonder? – Don’t answer, actually, I don’t.

      The docs were carried on behalf of The Guardian, which paid for the flight if you need proof this was very much official. That’s why the docs *were* journalistic material, something even the very people you are trying to defend have recognized…

      I won’t even comment on your brainless assertion journalism should be criminal and warrant a decade in prison. At this point, your crass ignorance makes you quite vulnerable a citizen, I feel kinda sorry and can only hope you never get into trouble with authorities… you’d get eaten alive, you have no clue…

  17. I kind of wish we had an upvote/downvote button for the comments section. I see so many great observations that I immediately start looking to vote them up like I did at the Guardian.

    • Don’t forget who sees it first and passes it along to them! Hay, GCHQ, how’s it stacking up these days?

  18. Governments, no matter the level, always takes the view that what they know, you cannot know; and, what they do, you cannot know. The Government would not have touched his partner for fear of the consequences of the law but it appears that Mr. Miranda was fair game because he was acting as a courier for and on behalf of his partner. It’s shaving the law rather finely but then again, the English have a way of doing that.

  19. It is rather misleading to describe this as a “lower court.” The High Court is in fact the junior court of the Senior courts of England and Wales. Lord Justice Laws is in fact an judge in the Court of Appeal although he was sitting as a High Court judge. In sum this was a group of very senior judges and it seems unlikely that the decision will be overturned in the either of the higher courts.

  20. Clearly you CANNOT rely on a lawless, corrupt, evil and out of control judiciary to rein-in a lawless, corrupt, evil and out of control judiciary. It’s like an inmate at Auschwitz going to Himmler in order to complain about living conditions at the concentration camp. Good luck with THAT.

    What the USSA and UK really need is a good, old fashioned VIOLENT REVOLUTION.

    Unfortunately however, a population of morbidly obese hedonists with a fondness for excessive masturbation, videogames and pharmaceutical drugs does NOT make for the ideal revolutionary.

  21. Hey! Miranda’s a girl’s name.
    You’ve got something in common with Bradbury Manning – you’re both traitors and dirty, bum-sniffing homos.
    And get a haircut.

    • Well, at least you’re not trying to hide your vacuous bigotry behind a pathetic attempt at “argumenting”, that’s refreshing. :)

      “What, the most powerful secret agencies in the world have drawn a net of systemic surveillance on entire populations, are actively abusing it and far laws to their personal leisure, and with the direct complicity of all three branches of governments are trying to criminalise and silence whatever opposition to their rule is left standing? FIRST THINGS FIRST: these guys have different tastes than me when it comes to sex!! WHO IS DEALING WITH THAT ATROCITY!? D: ”

      …Yeah, seems legit. :<

    • Bradbury you say, do you not mean Bradley (now Chelsea) manning. As for names, ye wouldn’t call your dog Cedric.

      Keep your homophobic rants for your boyfriend

  22. Okay, so the follow-up question is this:

    Miranda had the leaked files with him and all his belongings were seized. How many of the total files was he carrying with him? All of them? Is it safe to conclude that the NSA/GCHQ know the contents of what Snowden took because on 60 Minutes months back, they didn’t seem to certain. And a question to the Intercept? How many files/records/documents/pages did Snowden take? The “Snowden Files” indicates that it is in the thousands, and said Snowden has 50-60k files on GCHQ but how many are there total. The NSA keeps tossing out this 1.7 million number and I’ve hear Greenwald and Daniel Ellsberg say that is off by “magnitudes.” So how many does he have? I think this is relevant because if it is an obscene number and I was the NSA or GCHQ and saw that Miranda was essentially the mule, I’d probably want to temporarily detain him and view the contents also to inventory what was taken.

    • The encryption they are using will be far beyond NSA’s abilities to break without being supplied the password. It is likely that they cannot even tell the size of the encrypted block, as it will be masked among random data. I doubt they could even prove that there _is_ a substantial encrypted file on the thumb drive.
      It is in the NSA’s interest to inflate the figure for number of documents, because that makes Snowden seem more reckless. They’ve lied about everything else, so I place no trust in their figure. I recall Snowden saying, though, that he personally had reviewed what documents he was releasing. You can’t review 1.7 million docs, even in the most cursory fashion.

      • There is an easy way to debunk the 1.7 million claim though, and that is to say how many files he has. I am a bit confused why Snowden, Greenwald, et al haven’t shed light on this and given us the truth.

        • Why should Glenn tell them what they should know themselves, the security failures. I think it is informative that they haven’t a clue and then go hyperbolic with the estimates.

          Unless Glenn and crew intended to make them look like the goon squad they are, I doubt David was carrying complete copies of the original catch. That they CARRY the material rather than send it insecurely over the net suggests they care more about protecting that data than their own skin in the game..

          However, Glenn and Laura probably knew GCHQ was going to blow their cool and this would school the world as to their slippery sloped definition of terrorist. Why fly though the UK gulag if they didn’t want to reveal the depth of Cameron’s depravity?

    • Greenwald and Poitras grave essentiel the same trove, they don’t need to exchange the full thing by courrier… More likely, the drive contained whatever docs were relevant to the story or stories they were discussing at the moment – something pertaining to the GCQH I guess.
      But it wasn’t a drive full of just Snowden docs, that would have made no sense. Greenwald started in July they wouldn’t talk about the contents precisely, because of the ongoing lawsuit, and probably the reporting itself too. But it’s safe to understand the data was as much about journalistic work as it was about the raw docs… If at all.
      In fact, the UK has been quite evasive about that question too… which means they don’t know, or know the answer isn’t serving them. ^^”

      About your comment on what “you” would do: the question here isn’t whether their desire to know was understandable, but whether they had legal ground for their actions. And accusing Miranda of terrorism is pretty hard to defend, if you take away the magic “NatSec said so” button…
      Also, they authoritatively confiscated all his electronics, down to a gaming console. So they had all the time and leisure to work on *the docs* if that’s what they wanted. The nine hours retention was pure intimidation, they had nothing to gain once they knew he didn’t have the password. :/

      • Well the court concluded that this was legal, which leaves me nothing less than skeptical of the notion that this was “pure intimidation.” These comment sections seem a bit insular in that NSA and GCHQ are portrayed as the bad guys and that all their intentions are nefarious. Is there really an expectation that just because one steals thousands of classified documents and gives them to a journalist or advocate, that there will be no recourse!? Sure, the laws are vague to this new digital age ability but let’s not pretend Snowden did some in-depth analysis of the 50k-60k GCHQ documents in his possession (that figure is according to Luke Harding of the Guardian). I’d advise some people around here to not leave their skepticism at the door.

        • Did you follow the hearing? Plenty of explanations as of how they came to rule this lawful – and how it’s wrong on its face.
          Some details that come to mind from memory:
          - At first the GCHQ guys refused to tell the law enforcement guys why Miranda had to be arrested, they wouldn’t call him ‘a suspected terrorist’. Then their demand came back, law enforcement stating it wasn’t valid. So they sent it back, this time using all the qualifiers they now present as valid, lawful, fitting the situation, etc…
          - They are basing their judgement of ‘legality’ on the GCHQ claim that the NSA reporting fits the incredibly loose definition of ‘terrorism’ in UK law. That may be true, but it doesn’t validates their decision to apply it to a situation that was *obviously* never the target of anti-terrorism laws – i.e. criminalizing journalism. Several lawmakers have made that point, right after this ruling. Check the various comments here : – The only ones saying ‘this is a good ruling’ are the government/secret agency themsevles, and one MP who seems to take the ‘this reporting is a massive danger to Our National Security!!’ at heart, regardless of how often this is debunked.

          - This very ruling basically states “yes the actions were extreme and damaging to journalism, but no other law could have allowed us to do what we wanted so it was necessary”.
          When your judges rule that the government and secret agencies have the inherent right to do as they please, because Terrorism™ Is Real Shit, and actually validate bending the already-overreaching rules to do so, you should be more than just skeptical… and not of the people fighting this. :-/

  23. – White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed the UK had provided a “heads up” that Miranda was going to be detained, but that it “was not something we requested.” –

    Maybe that’s a true statement, maybe it isn’t, but when one’s superiors in the US keep going on about a “turbulent priest”, their underlings will act accordingly.

    • I commented elsewhere that the GCHQ or NSA would not know then or now how many documents were being “carried” by David Miranda since the digital file(s) were protected with strong encryption. Snowden, from the very beginning told Glenn and Laura that all files, e-mails, and other digital communications needed strong encryption, and he helped them (primarily Glenn) learn how to do it.

      Since I am a numbers person, I’m curious on the actual count(s) but I can wait until Snowden, Glenn, Laura and a few others in the know can safely divulge the numbers. I suspect that the count is in the 1000s or 10000s but no higher.

      I categorize any number spouted by the UK or USA folks as a SWAG. They just don’t know.

      • Any possibility NSA simply asked itself how many files they have stored and declared that number, the leakers? Not the first time since this started they have exposed secrets trying to make themselves look competent. The spooksperson who told us they’d taken all the computers out of Hawaii Snowden had accessed, even the CABLES, gave away the corrupted plug game before NSA’s own Store files confirmed. And their constant claim Russia and China had got hold of Snowden’s computer’s contents suggested the radio wave intrusions. What next, NSA? The kitchen sink?

  24. I know “terrorism” is not legally defined in the U.S. Does anyone know if it’s formally defined in the U.K.?

    • Yes it is anybody that seeks to reveal Government wrongdoing or that wants to write articles with a different point of view of the Government. Same as the US under the Patriot Act I believe !

      • “I fail to see how it could apply to writing news stories.”

        Thats because you’re not sophisticated enough to be in the Obama administration and his little lapdog puppet government in Britain. They have reasoning skills that the rest of us just cannot comprehend.

        We’ll just have to trust them.

    • Yes, in the Terrorism Act 2000 section 1. You can read this plus commentary at I find this legislation horribly over-broad; it could include such things as the hacking of websites. The author of the commentary, Lord Carlisle of Berriew, agrees that there are examples where individuals could inappropriately fall within this definition, though he doubts that the UK government will ever become malign enough that this legislation starts being used without proper discretion (!). He also notes that there is a policy of invoking conventional, rather than terror, legislation wherever possible: “the authorities should always treat suspects within the normal rather than special criminal laws unless their threat and structure requires operationally that they should be regarded formally as terrorists.”

    • The U.S. in fact defines a “terrorist” in IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT (INA): ACT 212:

      (iii) TERRORIST ACTIVITY DEFINED.- As used in this Act, the term “terrorist activity” means any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed (or which, if 4/ it had been committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws of the United States or any State) and which involves any of the following:

      (I) The highjacking or sabotage of any conveyance (including an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle).

      (II) The seizing or detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain, another individual in order to compel a third person (including a governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the individual seized or detained.

      (III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person (as defined in section 1116(b)(4) of title 18, United States Code) or upon the liberty of such a person.

      (IV) An assassination.

      (V) The use of any-

      (aa) biological agent, chemical agent, or nuclear weapon or device, or
      (bb) explosive, 4/ firearm, or other weapon or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property.

      (VI) A threat, attempt, or conspiracy to do any of the foregoing .

      Thus far, journalism is not an act of terrorism. And if someone really thinks think publishing documents is the same as highjacking of an airplane or an assassination he or she needs not to apply with the NSA, he or she most likely is already working for them.

      • The fact that terrorism is defined in the US Immigration Law may suggest that the US wants to define the type of people they want to immigrate into the US. Because USG operates the largest, fully global terrorism network and has a permanent need for recruits. Thus he Immigration Law is a Recruitment Law. Like the Cuban five for example, who did exactly what the law above describes and got Green Cards. Black jokes aside, precedent law is defined by the regime judges such as these. Therefore, they just need to jail a few journalists and/or journalistic material couriers and it becomes the Law: anti-regime journalism = terrorism.

      • The FBI/intelligence agencies have done every single thing on the above list to me.
        - They also seem to be using the U.N. Human Rights charter and Constitution literally as a checklist against me. As if they’re intentionally trying to break every single law when dealing with me.
        -It’s common for them to accuse someone of committing the exact crime they’re committing.

        The Constitution was written BECAUSE of them in the first place, to everyone else it was already common sense. So “new laws” don’t work because they only lie and steal and end up using them for their benefit and against everyone else.

        They’re the only ones in the world that do these things to people. There is evidence they descend from a chromosomally retarded individual. They are unhealthy and ill, they are making everyone else ill.

  25. An obvious solution for a problematic “law enforcement” would be a “freedom enforcement” agency with equal powers to free anyone at anytime, drop the charges and press charges on the wrongful accuser.

    They’re using “our” stolen technology and intelligence apparatus (it is our property that belongs to us) to locate and target the individuals who could create such a “freedom enforcement”.

    Allot of times they’re locating these potential individuals in childhood with education systems “metadata” and pure brain mapping test scores etc. Then they even begin to target high-potential children ambiguously. They say it doesn’t effect the average person, but it does because they’re essentially choosing our leaders(to be like themselves) as well as with the illegal use of intelligence they’re simply hiring people they know already agree with their methods.

    The technology and intelligence apparatus is “our” property. They are stealing it and using it to hurt people all over the world.
    They actually invented or developed very little of the technology themselves in the first place, they sit there watching and stealing everything that’s invented, then erasing the trail.
    Its important to know exactly who they are because every single thing they say is a lie directly to your face every single time and has nothing to do with the truth whatsoever.

    You know with the genetics testing (Y-DNA/X-DNA ETC.) that’s available they have that information right in front of them… and they have for a very long time.

    • So would all you libertarian freedom fighters defend free speech absolutely, in all cases? I’m thinking of the cases of internet abuse for which people have served prison time in the UK for example. I’m thinking of the desire some people may have to use racist terms. I don’t feel the need to do either, but I’ll defend their right to do so.
      Would you? Or does your “freedom of speech” desire extend only to those who don’t offend you?
      I’m guessing 99% of the time the latter – which puts you all in the “hypocrite” category.

      • For what it’s worth, I’m in France, which has some of the most restrictive laws on free speech of the whole gang. I absolutely support free speech, including when it’s for racist, homophobic or whatever else statements. The answer to these was never censorship, it’s been proven not to work: France is now arguably one of the most hateful and prejudiced countries of the West, since we can’t even discuss the problem at its roots. :/

  26. I see that the usual goose-stepping little authoritarian fascists have shown up in the replies to this article. Goose-steppers never see the harm in government oppression and intimidation unless of course, the government regulates pollution or some such thing, then their little justice meters go all bonky.

    Does the UK government thing we are so stupid as to believe that stopping one person and taking their hard drive is going to keep this information from being used to show what assholes they and their authoritarian mates in the US are? The information is in dozens, if not hundreds of places, not in one person’s possession. This alone proves that they were punishing Miranda and Greenwald for helping to reveal the massive unconstitutional activities of the US government.

    This was not about terrorism. The UK and US know all about what constitutes terrorism, being experts in spreading terror world-wide. This was all about intimidation. Cowards.

    • “This was not about terrorism. The UK and US know all about what constitutes terrorism, being experts in spreading terror world-wide. This was all about intimidation. Cowards.”

      Exactly! And it really would have resulted in some pretty eye opening bad publicity if it had been reported as a big story in the mainstream media. Too bad Glenn didn’t send Justin Beiber to Berlin that week. Then maybe the whole country would have seen what the US and UK governments are morphing into.

  27. …”the UK has contempt for basic press freedoms”… would read better if it had said – the UK government and Civil Service, but not the great majority of we “plebs” -

  28. met the technical definition of a terrorist because he was “knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives” and was promoting a “political or ideological cause.”

    Out of curiosity, if I’m in transit through England and I’m carrying how to manual on how to remove the wheel lugnuts from an airliner or bus, and I happen to be promoting “human rights” do I become a “legitimate terrorist suspect”?

    I mean clearly I’m “carrying information that could ‘endanger’ lives” if either of the lugnut removal protocols aren’t widely known outside the airline or bus maintenance industries and clearly promoting “human rights” is a political or ideological cause, so presumably I can be stopped so long as someone trots out this excuse for stopping me.

    • Sounds like simply doing one’s job can get one arrested for terrorism. Wouldn’t a soul who’s job it is to collect and safely dispose of radioactive medical waste be capable of same? I think all whos work could be interpreted thusly should stay home until they get a lawyer’s advise.

      Sorry, but that pencil could poke someone’s eye out if not handled properly, scholars. No school = Snowden Day!

      Hay, teachers! Leave those kids alone!!

  29. This ruling is great news. It will help undermine the corrupt system.

    No matter how nuanced the thinking was behind the ruling, the public will only absorb the 2 most relevant facts.

    1. Miranda was detained using an anti-terror tool.
    2. Miranda is clearly not a terrorist.

    No matter how hard you try to conflate journalism with terrorism, it will never work. Terrorism is that stuff with bombs. Journalism is that stuff in the newspapers.

    Detaining a newspaper’s courier under anti-terrorism law makes about as much sense as awarding Bin Laden a Pulitzer. It’s literally an insane inversion of common sense.

    Any argument that tries to show possible future indirect harm stemming from a free press reporting on government wrongdoing will backfire. It can’t fit on a bumper sticker, it does not sound right, and it conflicts with the free world’s gut-level principles.

    The UK is a special case – a monarchy with no press freedom operating as a franchise of vast US power. This was demonstrated conclusively during the Iraq war, and underlined by this ruling.

    A victory would have been nice but a loss may be more valuable.

  30. For all those apologists trying to come up with a justification for today’s decision, I have a suggestion: go read the American Declaration of Independence. What Mr. Jefferson wrote about the British Crown in that timeless document has relevance to the decision today. The British government was, and still is, engaging in violations of fundamental human rights. Some things never change.

    • And your country (presumably), the USA, is whiter than white? Where do you want us to start?
      Wait a minute, can’t be bothered trying to enlighten the uneducated and ignorant. There are far, far better things to do in this wonderful world.

    • I used to crack wisely that VanWinkle needs another nap, because we’re British, again!

      But this is a freaking nightmare!! The British have gone f-ing Croix de Feu! RUN, SHOSHANA!

      I will NEVER enter a port of theirs until this madness ends. I got enough of it to deal with here at home.

  31. Unlike quite a few other countries, the United Kingdom has an independent judiciary who considered all the evidence and concluded Miranda’s detention was justified. That is why the judges are so damning in their condemnation of him.
    If he had been detained at Moscow airport while carrying Russian secrets, he would not have been released after nine hours, he would have disappeared for months before being jailed for years in some appalling gulag. Has he forgotten what happened to Pussy Riot …. for singing in a cathedral?
    He really needs to get out of his ivory tower and come back into the real world.
    Miranda should count himself lucky for being dealt with by the UK authorities and needs to thank them for letting him leave our country after his nine-hour “ordeal”.
    Poor little chap. My heart bleeds for him and his heroic partner.
    Now we must all ask ourselves how much damage these misguided individuals have done to Western security and indeed how many people’s lives have been put at risk by their involvement in theft of intelligence material.
    Let us pray that this dangerous pair are never allowed to set foot in the UK again. Good riddance.

    • Do you really believe that any lives have been put at risk by the revelations, or do you really mean that its put at risk the elites commercial spying activities ? There has not been a single shred of evidence that any lives have been put at risk, but plenty of evidence that the mass surveillance program was being used for purposes which went beyond anti terrorism – like press censorship through spying on journalists, whistleblowers and political activists. Why should Miranda thank the UK authorities for detaining him for over 9 hours ? He is not a terrorist, or a criminal, and most intelligent people who can see through the misuse of anti terrorist legislation would agree. You just need to read more, and do some research and you might then understand that the UK and USA Government have created widespread fear of terrorism since the questionable 911 attacks. This was where WTC3 collapsed without a plane hitting it and the other two managed to collapse perfectly into their own footprint as though demolished ? We were told that plane fuel burning caused the collapse but in reality that cannot reach enough temperature to collapse a concrete core building hmmm ?? Oh and yes then there is the question of the plane which hit the pentagon – despite hundreds of cameras their no footage, and no plane debris hmmm Then of course there was the lies about the weaponns of mass destruction in Iraq which never existed ??? hmmm Well yes we will believe you that the revelations by Edward Snowden have put lives at risk !!! Perhaps you should ask yourself why, even before the revelations with the NSAs mass surveillance program unrevealed why was it that they completely failed to save lives in 911 and the Oklahoma bombings – perhaps they were too busy misusing the technology to spy on Wikileaks ?? It is only you and people like yourself, and the Governments you defend with their over reached mass surveillance activities that are misguided. David Miranda. Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange are courageous and heroic and you should be ashamed of your comments which are pathetic.

      • “Do you really believe that any lives have been put at risk by the revelations, or do you really mean that its put at risk the elites commercial spying activities ? There has not been a single shred of evidence that any lives have been put at risk, but plenty of evidence that the mass surveillance program was being used for purposes which went beyond anti terrorism”

        This is some interesting logic. Before the leaks occurred, I could have just as easily said “give me a shred of evidence that the NSA runs a pervasive metadata program!!” When you are discussing classified programs, I think it is safe to say that just because you don’t have evidence (it is secret after all), does not mean it’s non-existent. So when you say there is no “single shred of evidence that any lives have been put at risk,” what exactly do you expect!? Proof that Joe Blow, undercover CIA agent’s name was included in the Snowden leaks!? You don’t know because it wouldn’t be in the NSA’s interest to tell the public.

        • That’s why Snowden insisted that experienced journalists carefully remove details that might endanger someone, and confer with the security agencies themselves to ensure they get it right.
          I have a lot of faith in the Guardian and the Times to act responsibly. (Certainly more faith than I have in the NSA!) That’s why I find it highly unlikely that anyone has been or will be endangered by these revelations, and feel that the burden of proof is on those who claim that they have been.

    • I’d prefer you compare the UK to the US when looking for equivalency tests. It’s disingenuous to compare your nation to a dictator’s to convince yourself you’re gonna be OK. Your nation’s character is being assassinated by Home Office terrorism while mine is also losing it’s luster to home grown terrorismists. I just made that word up, it is NOT an editing error. Those who exploit terrorism to get over on their own are terrorismists.

      I bet lots of volks thought things couldn’t get worse before they did throughout time, and comparing one’s lot to the wurst off is one way to pretend it’s OK.

      Take note. My nation will NOT admit to assisting in this because we will tear Obama a new wind hole if he has. Of course he did, but he’s going to call YOU the imperaldickheads, that anti-colonialist!

      No one in the US is willing to stick up for that publicly except those who are in the hot seat themselves, NSA and their overlookers. It’s illegal, so of course THEY can get behind it.

    • the United Kingdom has an independent judiciary who considered all the evidence and concluded Miranda’s detention was justified. That is why the judges are so damning in their condemnation of him.

      You are a well-managed little larrikin, aren’t you dear.

  32. Could the High Court provide some guidance on becoming a proper “terrorist?” Unless my eyes are deceiving me, they said you must be political, putting someone at risk, and MAYBE spying. In the USA, that means we could make Alaska one big prison camp, because many would fit that criteria. Did you know they thought of that when Nixon was president? Me? I mind my own business.

  33. I am still not clear on a point of fact here.

    The British authorities confiscated all of the electronic equipment Miranda was carrying in the hope of acquiring Snowden related material – raw or journalistic. If everything of any interest to them was properly encrypted, then they obtained nothing.

    Is that in fact the case?

    • I believe you are correct. I’ve posted elsewhere on this subject.

      If available, I would like to read the transcript of the trial. I did read the notes of a very technical person who observed the proceedings for at least one day. He said the UK authorities didn’t have a clue as to what was or was not on the electronics they took from David. His technical analysis of what he observed was logical and consistent. I believed him. I would like to learn more and would like to read the transcript. In the past 15 years, I’ve read 1000s of transcript pages on diverse cases, both civil and criminal (some Federal), and found them enlightening.

      • The UK blogger was a she, Naomi Colvin. She did her analysis in late August 2013. I repeated her analysis recently and fully agree with her conclusions. The claimed 58,000 GCHQ document number is indefensible.

  34. I finally get it!
    Thank you High court for clearing that up. I know now what terrorism is

    Terrorism |?ter??riz?m|

    1.Doing anything that runs counter to the government’s wishes, esp. in the area of national security or foreign policy.

    2. Reading or visting websites that are in opposition to certain government policies, esp. in the area of nation security or foreign policy.

  35. I’m looking for the “foul” button. A government ruling on its own behavior is a farce. There should be independent courts that preside over any suit involving the government.

    • Our (UK) courts are independent. We have an independent Judiciary and clear avenues of appeal. This was not a lower court as stated in the introduction. It was the High Court with very senior members of the judiciary sitting on the case.

  36. It has to be the right of a nation state to classify information in the interests of national security, though there are always going to be times when such classification may seem at odds with the public interest.

    As I see it, the question is: who is to be trusted balance the interests between the interests of the security services and the interests of the public? Is the judgement of one journalist sufficient oversight in matters deemed to be a threat to security? I don’t think so. But the central issue is that someone that we all trust needs to be watching the watchers, but how do we find such an impartial body, as there would seem to be an inherant conflict of interests on either side of the fence?

  37. In October 2003 The Hon. Mr Justice Ouseley – as chairman of the SIAC (Special Immigration Appeals Commission) – delivered a grotesquely political judgement against ten alleged terrorists. The group included Jamal Ajouaou and Palestinian asylum seeker Mahmoud Abu Rideh, and eight named only after a letter of the alphabet. The British Establishment knows that this judge can safely be relied on to deliver the verdict that MI6 would wish for; this is the reason he was placed on the panel that reviewed the Miranda case.

    Solicitor Gareth Peirce, who represented detainees A and B and Mr Ajouaou, read a prophetic statement on their behalf:

    “Security has been chosen over due process and is a dangerous precedent for the future, and not just for these detainees. Their arrest and continuing detention marks the entry of this country into a new dark age of injustice. They expect now to remain locked up for the remainder of their lives.”

    On November 2, 2011, Mr Justice Ouseley was responsible for rejecting (on all counts) Julian Assange’s appeal against his extradition to Sweden. Again what’s more interesting is how it was that this judge in particular was chosen to consider Assange’s appeal.

    But the most disturbing aspect of the whole Miranda affair is the PCS (Metropolitan Police internal port circulation sheet):

    “We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives.”

    [^Deconstruct that sentence: the innuendo is that Miranda knew exactly what the material contained, and therefore deliberately intended to 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.”

    [^Deconstruct that sentence: we will not allow ordinary people to possess the means (information in this case) to hold the UK government to account. Anyone who does possess this information will be considered to be a terrorist because the information you have gives you too much power over us.]

  38. Oh, please. Miranda was not detained “as a terrorist” so don’t try to twist the facts to suit your ideology. He was detained under an Act that allowed for his detention because of the material he was carrying. As a British citizen I fully support the right of the democratically elected British government to institute laws that are upheld by the independent judiciary, and I am happy to live in a country that has adopted “aggressive anti-terror tactics”. Even if, as one commentator states:
    “The British Empire brutalized, tortured and wantonly slaughtered people all over the world”.
    Bollocks to that. Compared with the actions of the Spanish and Portuguese settlers in South America, the Belgians in Africa, and even the peace-loving Danes in Greenland, the British Empire was remarkably enlightened. Wanton slaughter is what the terrorists of 9/11 and 7/7 do, or maybe those good Brazilians who are happily exterminating the indigenous people of the Amazon. Oh, and by the way, Snowden in Russia? We all know how dedicated that country is to truth, freedom, and human rights. What a hypocrite.

    • Oh little things like the Opium Wars in China, hanging out in India, colonialism in Africa and taking lands from others all around the world to serve the crown. Naw, the British are little innocent lambs.

    • “Compared with the actions of the Spanish and Portuguese settlers in South America, the Belgians in Africa, and even the peace-loving Danes in Greenland, the British Empire was remarkably enlightened.”

      So the British were’t the most egregiously barbaric imperialists in history to rape, pillage, plunder, steal resources and subjugate native populations and for that they deserve a pat on the back. Got it.

      • Of course, of course, of course, Britain has done more horrible things to mankind than anyone else. We all know that. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Un can all confirm that too.
        Well … I have just returned to Britain after working in Sri Lanka and Myanmar for an international organisation and in both countries, for some bizarre reason, people went out of their way to say how they wished the British were back. Must be mad.

    • The king of wanton slaughter is the US war machine, responsible for 20 to 30 million deaths since WW2 (see for a brief summary). This puts it on par with Nazi Germany and somewhat behind Mao Zedong’s China, though in recent decades it is the clear winner for amount of blood on its hands. The UK, small-fry though it is, seems eager to ride on US coat-tails and catch as much of the splatter as it can.
      9/11 and 7/7, which numerically speaking are minute blips in the carnage, are memorable because bullies don’t expect to be hit back.

    • @ John: Well, actually since he was detained under an Act that allows for detention of terrorism suspects, it kind of does mean that he was detained as a terrorist. Contrary to your fulminations, the Act does not allow detention based on the suspicion that someone might be carrying classified information. That is, if we care what the letter of the law says.

      • “An examining officer may question a person to whom this paragraph applies for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b).[ie a terrorist]”
        So I could question you in order to determine whether you appear to be an idiot, but that wouldn’t mean that you were questioned as an idiot.

        Further, in the Port Circulation Sheet which requested his detention and questioning, it was stated “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.”

  39. “”and was promoting a “political or ideological cause.””
    Really so now, will this become their standard definition of a “terrorist”, does it matter if the “political or ideological cause” has no connections to terror. Does it matter that individuals in the UKgov “promote political and ideological causes” on a daily basis while leaking cherry-picked state secrets to support those causes which many times are directly connected to international terror.
    Sadly I assume not, a Government defined “terrorist” today can be a 9/11 level hijacker (your more likely to die from lightning than terror) to anyone who doesn’t share your world view, and both receive similar treatment.

  40. In sum, the U.K. Government wants to stop disclosure of its mass surveillance activities not because it fears terrorism or harm to national security but because it fears public debate, legal challenges and accountability. That is why the U.K. government considers this journalism to be “terrorism”: because it undermines the interests and power of British political officials, not the safety of the citizenry. I’ve spent years arguing that the word “terrorism” in the hands of western governments has been deprived of all consistent meaning other than “that which challenges our interests”, and I never imagined that we would be gifted with such a perfectly compelling example of this proposition.

  41. “In sum, the U.K. Government wants to stop disclosure of its mass surveillance activities not because it fears terrorism or harm to national security but because it fears public debate, legal challenges and accountability. That is why the U.K. government considers this journalism to be “terrorism”: because it undermines the interests and power of British political officials, not the safety of the citizenry. I’ve spent years arguing that the word “terrorism” in the hands of western governments has been deprived of all consistent meaning other than “that which challenges our interests”, and I never imagined that we would be gifted with such a perfectly compelling example of this proposition.”

    Glen is spot on… “they are afraid”

    • “In sum, the U.K. Government wants to stop disclosure of its mass surveillance activities not because it fears terrorism or harm to national security but because it fears public debate, legal challenges and accountability. That is why the U.K. government considers this journalism to be “terrorism”: because it undermines the interests and power of British political officials, not the safety of the citizenry. I’ve spent years arguing that the word “terrorism” in the hands of western governments has been deprived of all consistent meaning other than “that which challenges our interests”, and I never imagined that we would be gifted with such a perfectly compelling example of this proposition.”

      Yes Glenn is spot on, and they the Governments of the UK and USA should be afraid, very afraid because they are going to have to become more honest and accountable.

      The people deserve better, and will not forget or forgive.

      Expect more revelations

  42. The British and American governments are showing a great weakness when they detain people for performing journalism or being a so called accomplice to journalism. They are showing that they are afraid of the people and will stop at nothing to prevent government corruption from being exposed. They should be afraid of the people, we will stop them. With social media the days of state run media are numbered, with news media like “The Intercept” other news organizations are going to become more accountable for their reporting. It is starting to make a difference, people are starting to pay attention. Feeling optimistic today.

  43. . . so you lost when what you doing was getting your boyfriend to smuggle illegally obtained material through the country as you are too scared to do it yourself . . he got caught . . justice served . . now you both bleating about being detained for 9 hours . . boo hoo . . get over it and grow a pair

    • pretty shallow and petty response… and we all lose when civil rights are abandoned…you just don’t understand that…yet.

      a hard rain is gonna fall

  44. Total delight that these intelligence thieves have been blocked in the courts .Miranda and Greenwald are poseurs pretending that their aim is to out the NSA and GCHQ. They are data anarchists and terrorists who should be in jail alongside Rusbridger . Who is paying for all this appeal nonsense ?

    • Data anarchists? Terrorists? What exactly have they done that has gone beyond decent, properly sourced journalism? Please specify.

    • Take note that there is no indication as to what Miranda was actually carrying. It could have been anything you might imagine as it was encrypted. No one has come out and said what were the actual contents, that I am aware of.

      The judicial conclusions are far-reaching. If you are working with any kind of documents you feel need to be encrypted to protect your personal or business interests, this sets a precedent.

      This is seriously bad for UK business, particularly the financial sector. I expect this will be very positive for Swiss and off-shore private banking in the months to come.

  45. The British courts were absolutely right with this decision idiots like Miranda transferring secret classified information around the world.May I suggest he and his American lover start doing some work to wards helping the people of South America free themselves from corrupt and evil regimes like in Venezuela

  46. Remember when the UK police stalked and shot in the head an innocent person on his way to work because they suspected he might be a terrorist? This is much more benign but it was already clear the UK is a repressive country.

    • Of course if he had not illegally overstayed his visa he wouldn’y have been living in a cheap bedsit used by terrorists and he wouldn’t even have been in the country.

      • “Dude was killed” “But hey, *his visa was expired*, so what is there to complain about?!” You people can be so sociopathic at times, it’s scary… -_-°

        • I made the point he wasn’t “innocent”. Yeah, overkill (sorry about that). In case you forgot, we’d just had a major terrorist outrage in London. Does that not count as sociopathic, or are we just supposed to keep our stiff upper lips and carry on regardless? Mistakes will always be made, this does not make the UK a repressive country.

          • Mistakes will always be made by sociopaths.


            Is is a mistake for a sociopath to act in a non-sociopathic manner?

          • Are you referring to the psychotic man who killed the drummer? He’s a terrorist only because you let him call himself one. He’s a lunatic looking for attention with a big chip in his shoulder. Should we call those who kill others they hate terrorists? The man had little planning other than mayhem. He was talked down by a WOMAN! If that’s terrorism, we got lots of nutty killers to execute! Thank good you can’t kill yours.

      • So in your opinion overstaying your Visa in the UK is justification for being shot dead by police when going to work ? Lets hope that you dont become there next case of mistaken identity then, and make sure your visa or passports kept up to date !

        • Don’t deliberately twist my words. I never said it was justification, but it suits you to distort the argument. Let’s hope that you don’t become the next case of mistaken identity by being in the wrong place when the terrorists strike next. Oh, sorry, I forgot – terrorists aren’t interested who you are. You’re a target, full stop.

    • No, Miranda and Greenwald are back where they belong, in a far more repressive country where the police systematically murder dozens of street children. And I can’t be bothered enlightening you about the human rights violations and massive official corruption in Brazil.

  47. Once upon a time – there was a old lion. He was tired and almost blind. He has lost most of his teeth and no one did respect him anymore. So he could do nothing but waiting. He did not wait for his time to go for ever. He did wait for a lion like him – so proud and strong and full of dreams. He has seen many so-called lions. Little cats with big eyes full of tears and fear. How does he know about that other lion? He had his dreams too…

  48. Britain has always been about repression of the masses. The British Empire brutalized, tortured and wantonly slaughtered people all over the world so if you think for one moment they give a monkey’s about some third world guy you must be suffering from dementia.

  49. God you lot on here are just sad nut jobs. Please go outside and have some fun!!!! You all clearly need it. Open you curtains, stop maturbating over internet porn and go for a walk.

  50. The question that arises: is an UK Court neutral ground enough to judge an action of a BRIC citizen against its own police?

    • Though I already knew that the legislatures in the West had been captured by antidemocratic forces, I was naive to the fact the the judiciary was probably even more corrupted by power and influence, but it only makes sense cause it’s cheaper to buy a few judges with promises of power and promotion than it is to buy a large body of legislators. The Snowden documents have disabused me of all trust in the media and government, which are basically the same thing, and I find myself doubting everything I’ve ever read about history or politics as a result. This is what those in power should fear from this scandal. They will simply not be believed the next time they tell us about WMDs or fearmonger about terrorists that kill few while they rape and pillage the developing world and turn America into a backward country with no future and allow thousands to die from untreated medical conditions because the budget is spent on x-raying baby formula and killing powerless brown people the world over.

  51. I am sorry. I typically don’t comment on that which I don’t read entirely but I just could not get past the “Lord Justice”. Go fuck yourself and your archaic feudal system.

    • I typically don’t comment on people I don’t know, but you are clearly an idiot. Go fuck yourself and your inflated ego.

  52. I wholeheartedly support the courts decision in this case, it seems sensible and proportionate.

    • Really? Even when statements like this are made?

      Statements like that aren’t even intelligible on their own terms, let alone “sensible”.

      • Sorry, the following quote, which I pasted in above, didn’t appear (why is there no preview function here?)

        “Home Office attorney Stephen Kovats conceded that the material was journalistic in nature. He added, however, ‘We do not understand that raw ‘Snowden data’ is journalistic material.’”

      • Also, I understand that it wasn’t the judges who said that, but that’s still exactly the kind of reasoning the court is agreeing with. They may as well detain MPs who propose legislation, because their actions are “designed to influence a government… for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause”. They don’t even need to have an identifiable suspicion of wrongdoing.

        You see, this sort of reasoning certainly doesn’t end with journalists.

  53. From the article above, first paragragh :
    .A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”
    “an indirect interference with press freedom.”
    It would appear the judge has ruled that terrorism occured or was likely to occur first and the effect on journalism was a secondary and “an indirect interference with press freedom”.
    I suggest the primary reason shedule 7 was used was as an intimidation and restriction of the press and that terrorism was a conveniently produced third party play.

  54. “Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley and Mr Justice Peter Openshaw said that while Miranda’s detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom” it was justified and legitimate due to “very pressing” issues of national security.”

    Always the same old bullshit. National security. What crap. If any of these so-called democratic countries gave one shit about their population we would had a social structure where it’s not necessary to live in debt, beg on the street and steal from each other. But hell, fucking no. There is much more money to be made out of warfare, so fuck education and healthcare. We will rather privatize the shit out of the country and watch hunger games from our ivory tours. Fuck them and their so-called national security.

    • If this democratic country listened to the majority of its citizens then people would be flogged, hung and stoned depending on their ‘offence’ and there would be no welfare state at all – democracy needs to be kept under control or it becomes mob rule.

      • You are deeply confused, both about democracy and about the post to which you are replying. His point was that so-called “national security” interests never take into account the well-being of the population as a whole, but rather, often work against those interests.

        As for democracy, the reason we have protections for the press is to ensure that citizens are informed of what is being done in their name, and can make decisions based on educated debates about those issues. This is the exact opposite of “mob rule”.

  55. .. “promoting a political or ideological cause.”…

    This is the government’s definition of a potential “terrorist”. In theory that covers just about everyone on the planet.

  56. What a pathetic definition of a ‘terrorist’. Someone “knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives” and promoting a “political or ideological cause,” could for example include a political refugee who is carrying a list of contacts in his home country. Release of the list would endanger the people on that list.
    We (the public) have been bamboozled for too long with absurd usages of the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’. Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” Clearly, David Miranda is not a terrorist, having committed no violent acts and having made no attempt to provoke terror.
    Is there no requirement that legislation reflect the language it’s written in? Souldn’t the terrorism act be renamed the political dissident act?

  57. Startling incompetence even by the standards of the UK judiciary. I note the following quote, from today’s Guardian:

    He went on to say that neither Greenwald nor Miranda was in a position to form an accurate judgment on the matter because they would depend on knowing the whole “jigsaw” of disparate pieces of intelligence.

    In what world would this amount to a meaningful arrangement of syllables?

    Shameful shit, once again.

  58. Typo, paragraph 16: “identifiable suspension”. Should be “identifiable suspicion”?

    Carry on.

  59. It’s quite doubtful the higher British courts will rule any different… But do you think the European Court might overturn the decision?

    • The UK’s respect for human rights has its limits. It favors them in principle, but eschews them in practice.

      Senior ministers regularly attacked the Human Rights Act and the ECHR, and Home Secretary Teresa May stated that if re-elected in 2015 the Conservative party would scrap the Act and possibly withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights.

      It will be interesting to see if the Miranda case is what finally triggers the exit from the ECHR. It will no doubt be a relief to Tom Marvolo Riddle to finally acknowledge his true nature to the world and step forward as Lord Voldemort.

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