Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chalk Up Another One For Orwell

Or, to update the metaphor, computers being destroyed by the govenment:

The message is clear: citizens do not have the right to material that would allow them to decide for themselves whether the overarching and illegal domestic spying being carried out by western 'democracies' is justified.

Following revelations of the baseless detainment of Glenn Greenwald's partner at Heathrow Airport on Sunday for nine hours, along with the confiscation of his computer equipment, we are now learning that Britains's GCHQ raided the offices of The Guardian to destroy computers containing data leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, said “shadowy Whitehall figures” had ordered the destruction after his paper refused to hand over files on American mass surveillance programmes sent to it by Mr Snowden.

Mr Rusbridger said the computers were turned into “mangled bits of metal” after the incident and warned that the “pointless” vandalism represented part of an increasingly “formidable” effort to curb freedom of the press.

Both the detention of Miranda and the destruction of the computers are clearly intimidation tactics, the message of which is clear: You are nothing, you are powerless before the state, you continue to exist only at our sufferance.

Hyperbole? An overreaction on my part? Would it were so.

Click here to read the reaction of Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger to this bald flexing of state power.

As well, Glenn Greenwald's reaction to the state's mistreatment of his partner is one of defiance and contempt:

Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world - when they prevent the Bolivian President's plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today - all they do is helpfully underscore why it's so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.

You can read Greenwald's entire piece here.


  1. First they ignore you,
    then they laugh at you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win.

    1. Oh, I love the end result there, Anon. I'm hoping enough of us wake up, gird ourselves, and prepare to go into battle. (Wonder if those words could get me on a terrorist list?)

  2. Their goal is to control how many fingers we see, Lorne. And they will make it very difficult to cling to our vision of what is right and true.

    1. I sincerely hope, Owen, that final victory eludes them. It is up to all of us now.