Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If we don't like what you're doing, we'll just destroy your shit

If you think Sunday's story was bad -- and it was -- wait'll you hear this.

Not only did the UK security thugs (same as US security thugs -- peas in a pod) abuse Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda (and, hey, how stupid can a spook be? Did they really think he was going to be carrying incriminating evidence?? When Greenwald already knew he was a target? When he's written about it? When his and Miranda's house in Brazil had already been broken into and the only thing taken was a laptop? There you have it -- our billion-dollar "security" forces in action) -- not only did they detain and harass and rob him at the airport, they also marched into the offices of the UK newspaper the Guardian.

And they didn't just harass the editor, they destroyed property. Right there, in the basement. With Guardian employees watching.

Savonarola had nothing on these guys.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger wrote about it. Some excerpts:
A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.
The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."
You've had your fun. You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more. We know best. We're your overlords and we know best.

The arrogance of these people.

It gets better:
Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?
The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.
It sounds like something from a novel. Or from 1930s Germany (if there had been portable computers then). But it's not. It's from 2013. It happened. And no amount of head-in-the-sand, it-can't-happen-here willful ignorance is going to make it unhappen. (And never mind the rank stupidity of the security goons yet again on display: of course the Guardian has any data from those hard drives also stored elsewhere. Lots of elsewheres.)

So my question remains: when are people going to wake up? What will it take for the seriousness of these actions to sink in? When will the supine press start standing up for our rights? When will you? 

How many Barrett Browns, James Risens, Bradley Mannings, Julian Assanges, Laura Poitrases, Thomas Drakes, Edward Snowdens, Jacob Applebaums, David Houses, Michael Hastingses, Barnaby Jacks, David Mirandas, Glenn Greenwalds, Alan Rusbridgers will it take?