The true nature of the British state is revealed in its treatment of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glen Greenwald, who was held hostage at Heathrow Airport, whilst in transit from Berlin to his home in Brazil. As is the usual procedure, the ‘authorities’ used draconian anti-terrorist legislation, even a cursory reading of which shows has no relevance to the case. Mr Miranda is not a terrorist nor was he ever suspected of being one.
After initially distancing themselves from the matter, by hiding behind the ‘operational independence’ of the police, government ministers have now admitted that they knew all about the plan to detain Mr Miranda, and defended the action with the classic ‘national security’ canard. All but the most pitifully-naïve recognise ‘national security’ as a euphemism. It is not the nation which is being protected, but rather the state and its operatives, who are protecting themselves from the public finding out about their activities, illegal and/or immoral.
Meanwhile Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is telling a bizarre story of how GCHQ spooks came over to the newspaper’s offices to oversee the destruction of a computer hard-drive, a futile act, given that the information stored on the drive is held elsewhere, – as part of a campaign of intimidation – what else would you call it? – from HM Government.
Thus the continuing drama following whistle-blower Ed Snowden’s revelations of the vast extent of US state surveillance, and the participation of British Intelligence in the same practices. Whilst those who take an interest in such matters will have learnt little new from Snowden, it has certainly put the issue in the public sphere and provoked a debate that neither the US nor the British state wishes to take place. In America, the NSA’s actions represent egregious violations of the 1st and 4th Amendments of the Bill of Rights, whereas here we have the somewhat vague protections of the Human Rights Act, and what little remains of our Common Law protections. However, paper rights don’t amount to much when the state is so willing to disregard them, unless some kind of way to hold its creatures to account can be found.