Being spied on and punishing the whistleblowers and journalists
I thought everybody should read this article. Especially in light of New Zealand today passing a law permitting spying on citizens. It's written by an Editor from the Guardian and I know a lot of people are suspicious of people from my profession, but we're not the guys with guns or a magic wand that can correct wrongs. Governments of the world seem to be ganging up on us, they refuse to entertain the people's calls for steps against corruption, criminals and transparency. We write about it daily, you'll see a pattern.
In countries like the US or England or my own, there's usually just two main parties and what I feel we've all increasingly realised is that they're no different from each other and they take care of each other's people.
I hope this post is not construed as political, rather I am asking for an understanding between people of different countries on where the global system has gone wrong in trying to suppress our legitimate right to a life of dignity and freedom from fear and oppression. And perhaps some kind of solution. The politicians don't want to hear me, they're busy with the lobby groups, so hoping you guys will listen and tell me what I can do as a simple, honest and uncorrupt journalist.
Here's the article by Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian:
Neither the bizarre visit from British spooks to the Guardian offices nor the detention of columnist Glenn Greenwald’s partner will stop the newspaper from reporting on state surveillance
In a private viewing cinema in London’s Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former Executive Editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me — thanking Mr. Keller for “not giving a s**t” — used to be Malcolm Tucker, a foul-mouthed Scottish spin doctor who will soon be a 1,000-year-old time lord. And Mr. Keller will correct me, but I don’t remember ever swearing at him. I do remember saying something to the effect of “we have the thumb drive, you have the first amendment”.
The fictional moment occurs at the beginning of the DreamWorks film about WikiLeaks, The Fifth Estate, due for release next month. Scottish actor Peter Capaldi is, I can report, a very plausible Guardian Editor.
This real-life exchange with Mr. Keller happened just after the Guardian took possession of the first tranche of WikiLeaks documents in 2010. I strongly suspected that our ability to research and publish anything to do with this trove of secret material would be severely constrained in the U.K. America, for all its own problems with media laws and whistleblowers, at least has press freedom enshrined in a written Constitution. It is also, I hope, unthinkable that any U.S. government would attempt prior restraint against a news organisation planning to publish material that informed an important public debate, however troublesome or embarrassing.
On August 18, David Miranda, the partner of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, was detained as he was passing through London’s Heathrow airport on his way back to Rio de Janeiro, where the couple live. Mr. Greenwald is the reporter who has broken most of the stories about state surveillance based on the leaks from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Mr. Greenwald’s work has undoubtedly been troublesome and embarrassing for western governments. But, as the debate in America and Europe has shown, there is considerable public interest in what his stories have revealed about the right balance between security, civil liberties, freedom of speech and privacy. He has raised acutely disturbing questions about the oversight of intelligence; about the use of closed courts; about the cosy and secret relationship between government and vast corporations; and about the extent to which millions of citizens now routinely have their communications intercepted, collected, analysed and stored.
In this work he is regularly helped by David Miranda. Mr. Miranda is not a journalist, but he still plays a valuable role in helping his partner do his journalistic work. Mr. Greenwald has his plate full reading and analysing the Snowden material, writing, and handling media and social media requests from around the world. He can certainly use this back-up. That work is immensely complicated by the certainty that it would be highly unadvisable for Mr. Greenwald (or any other journalist) to regard any electronic means of communication as safe. The Guardian’s work on the Snowden story has involved many individuals taking a huge number of flights in order to have face-to-face meetings. Not good for the environment, but increasingly the only way to operate. Soon we will be back to pen and paper.
A dangerous place to be
Mr. Miranda was held for nine hours under Schedule 7 of the U.K.’s terror laws, which give enormous discretion to stop, search and question people who have no connection with “terror”, as ordinarily understood. Suspects have no right to legal representation and may have their property confiscated for up to seven days. Under this measure — uniquely crafted for ports and airport transit areas — there are none of the checks and balances that apply once someone is in Britain proper. There is no need to arrest or charge anyone and there is no protection for journalists or their material. A transit lounge in Heathrow is a dangerous place to be.
Mr. Miranda’s professional status — much hand-wringing about whether or not he’s a proper “journalist” — is largely irrelevant in these circumstances. Increasingly, the question about who deserves protection should be less “is this a journalist?” than “is the publication of this material in the public interest?” The detention of Mr. Miranda has rightly caused international dismay because it feeds into a perception that the U.S. and U.K. governments — while claiming to welcome the debate around state surveillance started by Mr. Snowden — are also intent on stemming the tide of leaks and on pursuing the whistleblower with a vengeance. That perception is right. Here follows a little background on the considerable obstacles being placed in the way of informing the public about what the intelligence agencies, governments and corporations are up to.
A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior British 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 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 government 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 the government looked mystified. “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”
During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian’s reporting through a legal route — by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government’s intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the U.S., was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the U.K.
But my experience over WikiLeaks — the thumb drive and the first amendment — had already prepared me for this moment. I explained to the man from the government about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. 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 Mr. 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 security experts from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) 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.
The government was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won’t do it in London. The seizure of Mr. Miranda’s laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Mr. Greenwald’s work. The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes — and, increasingly, it looks like “when.”
We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting — indeed, most human life in 2013 — leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Mr. Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from airport transit lounges. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013
(Alan Rusbridger is Editor of the Guardian.)
What next? Being gunned down like in Egypt? Or Syria? Or Russia? Or Iraq?
Wow....To be quite honest, it's very hard for me to respond to this in keeping with in the rules of "no politics" here.
But if I had to throw a quick COC-friendly response out there, I would say that a journalist in this day and age needs to:
a) get the truth out there and never, ever quit
b) do it in a way that people will listen
TL, NTTRBTL(too long, no time to read before the lock).
England has three main political parties, though the government in the UK itself has more. England ≠UK. Though I will agree that they are all the same shade of brown.
As per the guy held at customs, he was believed to be carrying secret intel from the country he was passing through, a fair assertion given his partner's track record. Likewise the Guardian had government information it wasn't meant to have.
By all means post and share the information, but don't be surprised if you get caught out while doing it. I'm also doubtful that all of these reporters are completely honest and out for the truth, I wouldn't be surprised if some are trading/selling information with outside parties in place of presenting it to the public.
If you're going to mention a two-party system and how the media treats and is treated by each, it's going to devolve into a political mess because one party, when holding the white house, is investigated and scrutinized daily, accused of violating rights of citizens with impunity. The other is beloved, excused and ignored, while actually violating rights of citizens with impunity.
Whether or not I agree with their policies, I'd much rather have a party in power that the media dislikes and is not afraid to attempt to expose for wrongdoing. It seems the guard dogs are on the wrong side of the fence lately.
This is rather political and will likely be closed pretty soon.
I have no problems with TB closing political threads. That said, I'd also be reluctant to discuss political matters in other on-line places.
intelligence (in the professional sense) and journalism have a certain amount of overlap. i think people who work in the frontline of intelligence are aware of the consequences if they get caught. maybe less so, others.
that said, it is a shame when a government stamps down hard on those who reveal its wrongdoings. that is all i will say.
Gubments have secrets, they don't want them spilled. Just like people.
We get the corrupt government we make. See all the media slurpers defending the (rogue currupt) military today. Those are the ones who insist government should have spying power while simultaneously claiming the mantle of freedom and patriotism. It's over folks...nobody listened when warned, and pride keeps them from admitting such. Freedom and America are dead. Get used to it.
........and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
- Gettysburg Address
Check out Eisenhour's farewell address for the answer to that question.
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted
concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it."
President John F. Kennedy April 27, 1961
I actually saw a comment today that said "Manning should rot regardless of right and wrong."
And that should tell you what our problem is.
I agree. We live in dark times. The vast majority of us toil our lives for the enrichment of a select few.
In before the lock?
I wish it was 1776 again, those guys are rolling in their graves.
Is it really that difficult to see the difference between a national defense and a national offence?
Apparently it is for some.
Keep them fat and happy with 60" TV's full of NFL and Kardashans and you can do whatever you want.
Keep them thinking there's a boogieman around every corner and you can really go to town.
Keep in mind that those freedom lovers in 1776 were outnumbered by loyalists and were in fear for their lives.
Well, it got my attention at "timelord"!
Interested to read it now.
The modern equivalent of Tennessee Williams, Author Rick Bragg, pretty much summed up our situation in the title of one of his books
"All Over But the Shoutin"
We used to hear about some "tipping point" we were going to pass that would mark the point where it's too late for us to stop 1984 from being a prophetic cautionary tale to the reality we exist under.
Well folks, I got news, our tipping point here in America came on 9/12/2001 when we failed to inundate military recruiting stations nationwide, fighting each other to be first in line to get some muslim ass. It was our golden opportunity to tell our government what WE wanted to do and turn the rising tide of government oppression though what was once a given in this country that anyone stupid enough to attack us would pay in blood tenfold, and would do so at the hands of a multitude of righteously hacked off and angry average Joes willing to give their life to let that fool know we were not to be messed with.
Instead, we cowered in our homes and begged our government to take our rights in exchange of a (more than dubious) promise of protection from the bogie man de jour, and our government obliged. Seriously folks, did you expect them to do any less than take the ENORMOUS power we granted them and NOT take undue advantage of it?
By the time we came to our senses and realized what we’d done, it was too late and we had become the very thing we spent every waking minute since the end of WWII fighting to stamp out. I’m not talking about the classic ideological political philosophies of our cold war enemies, I’m talking about the highly accelerated spawning of a HUGE internal bureaucracy dedicated strictly to watching US under the guise of national security.
We asked for it and as is usual, we got way more than we ever asked for.
I hate to break it to ya, but you might as well relax off in to it because it’s going to be a long time before we see the bottom of this rabbit hole. It has become larger than any one individual, party, or desire to see it gone. Face it ya’ll, if we are too afraid and too self-absorbed to unite in pursuit of our sworn enemies, what in your wildest imagination leads you to believe we will ever be able to unite enough to stand up to our own Uncle?
It's been nice knowing ya.
-Soapbox returned to the stowed and locked position-
"kick some Muslim ass"? :thumbdown::mad::banghead:
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