When Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was detained yesterday for nine hours at Heathrow airport “under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (sic)” and all electronic devices including laptop, USB sticks, memory cards, DVDs and mobile phone seized, I instantly thought that it might have been a test arranged by Greenwald about whether he ever could leave Brazil where the couple is residing. So, probably not, no more. Miranda had reportedly met with Laura Poitras in Berlin, Germany, Poitras is the filmmaker who was first contacted by Edward Snowden in January and who, together with Guardian journalist Greenwald flew in June to Hong Kong to interview him.
Greenwald is smart and Miranda was probably well-advised not to carry along any material related to Snowden when returning to Brazil. This is a test for all of us – with a revealing result so far. Claims by the U.S. administration that they knew about Scotland Yard’s plans to detain Miranda but were not involved are hardly credible. As Juan Cole writes slightly exaggerating, and Jimmy Carter has recently warned in a speech behind closed doors at Die Atlantikbrücke, the United States struggles with its democratic values. A first step in getting it on the right track again is exposing its wrongdoings whenever they occur or become available. That’s what whistle-blowers have done in the past couple of decades.
The test is not over. Coverage, even by mainstream media, of illicit total surveillance attempts, the Bradley Manning case and Wikileaks is widespread and seems to be lasting. This is because journalism itself is in limbo, America’s First Amendment.
20 August 2013 @ 6:25 am.
Last modified August 20, 2013.