British “Security” Raid On Guardian Was Nasty “Symbolism”

U.K. Government Raid on Guardian “Symbolic”


21 Aug. (LPAC) The U.K. government “security” raid on the Guardian in the Edward Snowden affair last month, was in reality “largely a symbolic act. Both sides were well aware that other copies existed outside the UK and that the reporting on the reach of state surveillance in the 21st century would continue,” veteran Guardian journalist Julian Borger wrote yesterday, when describing chief editor Alan Rusbridger’s decision to smash the computer hard drives on the newspaper’s premises on July 20 rather than surrender the material to the U.K. authorities. As nasty as this police state operation was, Rusbridger’s action meant he could go on publishing, rather than face preemptive court restraints. In fact, some of the most damning material, including revelations about the XKeyscore spy program and how the NSA has funded operations at the GCHQ premises, has been published since the raid.

This is just another demonstration that the entire Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras /Guardian operation has involved extensive planning and international cooperation. Rusbridger deliberately involved the paper’s U.S. editor, Janine Gibson, in the initiation of contact with Snowden and decisions to publish, to take advantage of the First Amendment protection of the press in the United States.

Rusbridger destroyed the hard drives after weeks of private discussions with Whitehall officials, who were set on the Guardian at the behest of Prime Minister David Cameron, according to reports today.

“I explained to British authorities that there were other copies in America and Brazil so they wouldn’t be achieving anything,” Rusbridger said. “But once it was obvious that they would be going to law, I preferred to destroy our copy rather than hand it back to them or allow the courts to freeze our reporting.” Such a surrender would have betrayed Edward Snowden, because the files might be used to prosecute him, were he ever to come to trial, and the files could also be used as forensic evidence against journalists who had used them.

As Rusbridger yesterday told the BBC, which itself had played a key role in exposing the Tony Blair government’s lies about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and other issues leading up to and during the 2003 Iraq war, “Given that there were other copies and we could work out of America, which has better laws to protect journalists, I saw no reason not to destroy this material ourselves rather than hand it back to the government…. So it’s simply a matter of transferring our reporting to America,” he told the BBC World at One.

In addition, Lord Falconer, who was Tony Blair’s lord chancellor, yesterday stated that the Metropolitan Police had no legal basis to detain Brazilian citizen David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, under the Terrorism Act 2000. Falconer, who had helped introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said that the act makes clear that police can only detain someone to assess whether the person is involved in the commission, preparation, or instigation of terrorism. Falconer told the Guardian: “I am very clear that this does not apply, either on its terms or in its spirit, to Mr. Miranda.” He was very critical of Home Secretary Theresa May for supporting the detention of Miranda

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