Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Going after the fourth estate

Glenn Greenwald is a very bad man.

At least that's the impression the Obama administration wants to give you. It was Mr. Greenwald who introduced us to Edward Snowden. It was Mr. Greenwald who informed the world as to how the US government was spying on its citizens and its own allies.

Of course in President Obama's world Mr.Snowden did a great disservice by exposing the NSA's dirty laundry. According to President Obama, he was looking at ways to reform the NSA long before Mr. Snowden met with Mr. Greenwald. Strange, though, that Mr. Obama's announcement of reforms to the agency weren't made until after Mr. Greenwald's articles were published in The Guardian. Funny how the announcement came after the House of Representatives narrowly defeated a bill that would have restricted NSA activity.

The US government went hard after Pfc. Bradley Manning who exposed human rights abuses committed by the US in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The US and Britain went hard after Julian Assange who published the documents provided by Mr. Manning. And now they're both going hard after Mr. Greenwald.

This past weekend British authorities detained Mr. Greenwald's partner David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, who was stopping over in London on his way back to Rio de Janiero from Germany. Under an anti-terrorism law passed in 2000, Mr. Miranda was held at the airport for nine hours - the maximum a person can be held without being charged under the law - and questioned by six agents. His phone, laptop, video games and memory cards were all confiscated.

And why was Mr. Miranda detained? Could it possibly be because he assisted Mr. Greenwald in his work? Could it possibly be because he was in Germany with American-filmmaker Laura Poitras who has been a frequent target of US government coercion because of her work exposing government lies and hypocrisy? Could it be because it was the only way the US and British governments thought they could get to Mr. Greenwald?

The national security state will do whatever it takes to survive. The detention of Mr. Miranda is but the latest example.

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