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Sunday 18 August 2013 14.44 EDT
Detaining my partner: a failed attempt at intimidation
The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended
At 6:30 am this morning my time - 5:30 am on the East Coast of the US - I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a "security official at Heathrow airport." He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been "detained" at the London airport "under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000."
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I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done. The Guardian has the full story here.
Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian's lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.
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The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used "to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."
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Worse, they kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him. We spent all day - as every hour passed - worried that he would be arrested and charged under a terrorism statute. This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ.
Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consuls, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.
This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they feel 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.
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 02:52 PM (357 replies)
Sunday 18 August 2013 14.21 EDT
Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours
David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.
David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.30am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. According to official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.
Miranda was then released without charge, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 02:39 PM (123 replies)
Sens. Widen & Udall on Wash Post NSA Report:"This confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg."
Wyden, Udall Statement on Reports of Compliance Violations Made Under NSA Collection Programs
Friday, August 16, 2013
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) issued the following statement regarding reports that the NSA has violated rules intended to protect Americans' privacy thousands of times each year. Wyden and Udall are both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The executive branch has now confirmed that the 'rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans' have been violated thousands of times each year. We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg.
While Senate rules prohibit us from confirming or denying some of the details in today's press reports, the American people have a right to know more details about of these violations. We hope that the executive branch will take steps to publicly provide more information as part of the honest, public debate of surveillance authorities that the Administration has said it is interested in having.
In particular, we believe the public deserves to know more about the violations of the secret court orders that have authorized the bulk collection of Americans' phone and email records under the USA PATRIOT Act. The public should also be told more about why the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has said that the executive branch's implementation of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has circumvented the spirit of the law, particularly since the executive branch has declined to address this concern.
We appreciate the candor of the Chief Judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding the Court's inability to independently verify statements made by the executive branch. We believe that the Court is not currently structured in a way that makes it an effective check on the power of the executive branch. This highlights the need for a robust and well-staffed public advocate who could participate in significant cases before the Court and evaluate and counter government assertions. Without such an advocate on the court, and without greater transparency regarding the Court's rulings, the checks and balances on executive branch authority enshrined in the Constitution cannot be adequately upheld.”
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 04:19 PM (54 replies)
Source: The Age
Snowden not interrogated by Russians: Assange
by Philip Dorling - 16/08/13, 8:20 PM
United States intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has not been interrogated by the Russian security services, according to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who is hopeful there will be a wider "rollout" of revelations about the global nature of US internet and telecommunications surveillance.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Assange has confirmed that WikiLeaks personnel have continuously accompanied Mr Snowden since he left Hong Kong for Moscow on June 23, and that he has not been interviewed by Russian intelligence.
"Since Hong Kong we have had someone physically by his side the entire time," Mr Assange said. “We have had someone with him for 54 days."
Numerous US and other media reports have speculated that Mr Snowden has fallen into the hands of the Russian state security services, specifically the Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the Soviet-era KGB. However Mr Assange said WikiLeaks has been "watching the situation closely and the Russian authorities have behaved well".
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/snowden-not-interrogated-by-russians-assange-20130816-2s1iq.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 02:43 PM (63 replies)
ALEC: "You don’t need people to do this... just control over the legislature & money & we have both"
Wisconsin Democrat who infiltrated ALEC: ‘They don’t want people involved in the political process’
By Theresa Riley, Bill Moyers & Company
Friday, August 16, 2013 12:56 EDT
Via Moyers & Company. Theresa Riley
Representative Chris Taylor is a Democrat elected to the Wisconsin legislature in 2011. Last week, she attended the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference in Chicago. Writing about her experience at The Progressive magazine’s website, she describes her experience inside the “ALEC universe” and writes: “ALEC members have been quietly working out of the public eye to develop their agenda so that when given the opportunity, they are ready to start creating an ALEC nation. That time has come. And they are ready.”
We caught up with her by phone back in Wisconsin to talk about what she found out about the conservative policy-making machine.
Riley: Why did you want to attend the conference? What did you hope to achieve there?
Taylor: I’m very new in the legislature. I came in the middle of last term. So I missed a lot of the Act 10 . I was working on various issues when all of that was going on. But I wanted to learn more. I wanted to have a better understanding of the group, so that I could, when I needed to, fight some of these very regressive policies better.
I think it’s so incredibly important for people to understand where these (model) bills are coming from and try to understand the rationale. I was quite blown away by the extent of where (Wisconsin) policy is coming from, because so much of it is coming from this group.
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Taylor: No, if somebody asked me I was not going to lie. I really was there just to listen and to try to figure out where some of these people were coming from.
One guy I was talking to, who was from one of these right wing think tanks was saying we need to curb Obama’s reckless power with these administrative regulations, and he wanted a federal constitutional amendment saying Congress has to approve federal regulations. I said, I don’t think most people are going to want to amend the Constitution for that. I don’t think that ignites people. Maybe it does on the far right, but most people don’t really care about that. And he said, “Oh, well, you really don’t need people to do this. You just need control over the legislature and you need money, and we have both.”
That sentiment was underscored so many times to me, that they don’t want people involved in the political process, or in the policy process. And that seems to be the intent in a lot of ways: You have a think tank in every state and all they do is come up with these very, very regressive policies, you have corporations who are going to benefit so they fund it all, and then you have the legislators as your foot soldiers to carry out the tasks.
There were a couple of instances where legislators actually did challenge some of the policies, but they always lost. The legislators were admonished many times during this conference for not doing enough and for not standing up to the federal government more.
MORE AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Aug 16, 2013, 02:09 PM (4 replies)
U.S. soldier Manning could break silence as WikiLeaks trial nears end
By Ian Simpson
Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:02am EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, convicted of providing secret files to WikiLeaks in the biggest data breach in U.S. history, could break a long silence on Wednesday as the sentencing phase of his court-martial wraps up.
Manning, 25, faces up to 90 years in prison for providing more than 700,000 files, battle videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, a pro-transparency website.
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The former junior intelligence analyst could end that silence on Wednesday when his attorneys read a statement to the court, a military spokesman said.
Its content is unknown. It would be the first time Manning has spoken publicly at length since late February, when he read a 10,000-word statement in a pre-trial hearing.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/14/us-usa-wikileaks-manning-idUSBRE97D0C220130814
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Aug 14, 2013, 05:45 AM (5 replies)
Exclusive: Video of 'lame' cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs
By P.J. Huffstutter and Lisa Baertlein
Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:09am EDT
(Reuters) - At a beef industry conference in Denver last week, the animal health auditor for meat producer JBS USA presented a video showing short clips of cows struggling to walk and displaying other signs of distress. The animals appeared to step gingerly, as if on hot metal, and showed signs of lameness, according to four people who saw the video.
The people in attendance said the video was presented by Dr Lily Edwards-Callaway, the head of animal welfare at JBS USA, as part of a panel discussion on the pros and cons of using a class of drugs known as beta-agonists - the additives fed to cattle in the weeks before slaughter to add up to 30 pounds to bodyweight and reduce fat content in the meat.
Edwards-Callaway told the audience the cattle had been fed a beta-agonist, but did not identify which brand. She also said various factors - including heat, transportation, and animal health - may have contributed to the behavior seen on the video, according to JBS spokesman Cameron Bruett. He said the video showed cattle were "reluctant to move," and told Reuters JBS wanted feedback from animal welfare experts, who were among those attending, on what JBS's own staff had been seeing.
Reuters was unable to determine what feedback was received. Edwards-Callaway did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The video was shown on the same day the nation's largest meat producer, Tyson Foods Inc, declared it would no longer accept cattle that had been fed the most popular brand of the feed additive, called Zilmax, a powerful and fast-selling product from pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Tyson, in a letter to its cattle suppliers, said the decision resulted not from food-safety questions but its concerns over the behavior of animals that animal health experts said could be connected to the use of Zilmax.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97C02M20130813
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Aug 13, 2013, 12:20 AM (6 replies)
DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/12/1229820/-REPUBLICANADO
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Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 09:58 AM (33 replies)
Source: New York Times
@BreakingNews: Judge rules stop-and-frisk policy in New York City violated rights - @nytimes
@AP: BREAKING: Federal judge appoints outside monitor to oversee changes to NYPD stop-and-frisk policy. -MM
Stop-and-Frisk Practice Violated Rights, Judge Rules
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
Published: August 12, 2013
In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.
In a decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. Officers often frisked these people, usually young minority men, for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband, like drugs, before letting them go, according to the 195-page decision.
These stop-and-frisk episodes, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, according to the ruling. It also found violations with the 14th Amendment.
To fix the constitutional violations, Judge Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan said she intended to designate an outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth, to monitor the Police Department’s compliance with the Constitution.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/nyregion/stop-and-frisk-practice-violated-rights-judge-rules.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 09:18 AM (34 replies)
THURSDAY, AUG 8, 2013 03:03 PM EDT
Glenn Greenwald offered Brazilian protection from U.S.
Greenwald tells Salon he intends to visit the U.S. soon -- but says the risk of prosecution against him is real
BY BRIAN BEUTLER
A Brazilian official has taken the unusual step of publicly announcing that the Brazilian government will offer Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald protection from the U.S. government after determining he risks facing legal action if he returns to the U.S.
To receive protection from Brazil, Greenwald would have to officially request it. But though he takes the risk of prosecution seriously, Greenwald tells me he has no intention of taking the Brazilian government up on the offer — and that he plans to return to the U.S. sooner than later, come what may.
“I haven’t requested any protection from the Brazilian government or any other government because, rather obviously, I’ve committed no crime — unless investigative journalism is now a felony in the U.S.,” Greenwald said via email. “But the fact that Brazilian authorities believe there is a real possibility that the U.S. would unjustly prosecute journalists for the ‘crime’ of reporting what the U.S. government is doing is a powerful indictment of the U.S.’s current image in the world — just as was the requirement that the U.S. promise it will not torture or kill Snowden if he’s returned. It’s an equally potent reflection of the massive gap in opinion between the U.S. Government and the rest of the world when it comes to how the NSA disclosures, my reporting, and Snowden are perceived.”
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Greenwald — who once wrote for Salon — has published several articles based on classified surveillance documents he received from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Prominent elected officials in the United States have accused Greenwald of being complicit in the crimes they accuse Snowden of committing, which feeds suspicions, both domestically and abroad, that Greenwald might face legal action if he returns to the U.S. That’s part of the reason why Greenwald himself — a former appellate lawyer — isn’t shrugging off the possibility.
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Aug 9, 2013, 04:05 AM (15 replies)