Archive - Aug 20, 2013

Going After Family

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Memo to the UK and its enablers: YOU ARE DUMB.

So, in case you were wondering where we're at these days, the British government decided to give us all a bright, shining data point on Sunday.

Using a law designed for the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists, UK police detained David Miranda, the husband of reporter Glenn Greenwald, for nine hours, questioning him and confiscating his computer, cell phone, and other electronic equipment.

Greenwald, of course, is the reporter who broke the NSA spying story with the help of leaker and accidental expatriate Edward Snowden.

Edward Snowden, mind you, is not a terrorist. He's a lawbreaker, yes. The laws he broke, rightly or wrongly, were national security laws. But just because the national security apparatus opposes at least some forms of terrorism doesn't make all their opponents terrorists.

Glenn Greenwald, mind you, is not a terrorist. He's a journalist, and has broken no laws, and outside of the feverish ravings of the usual frothing wingnuts, nobody actually thinks he did anything outside the bounds of journalism. People don't LIKE what he did, but that's different from him doing something wrong.

David Miranda, mind you, is not a terrorist. He's a family member of a journalist who did some things people didn't like.

And today we learn that our government knew about it in advance, and while they're quick to insist they didn't request it, they're also quick to say they don't have a problem with it.

Now, I'm no stranger to ambivalence when a person I don't like suffers an injustice. But that doesn't mean I pretend it's not an injustice, it just means I'm willing to let other people fight that injustice without taking a particularly strong stance. But there's no reasonable way to deny that this is a blatant abuse of anti-terrorism policy. The kind of thing ostensibly freedom-loving, gun-loving Americans would be aghast at.

But since the reporters are liberals, the tribalist right has taken the official line "mess with the bull, you get the horns", and the institutional press, i.e. anyone outside about a three hour block on MSNBC, have a certain professional distaste for boat-rockers. I wouldn't go so far as to say the story's being buried, I'm just saying, 24 hours later, the top Google News story out of the UK was about the royal baby, not the royal clusterfuck.

This is a cut-and-dry unacceptable abuse of power, documented and publicized. If it goes uncorrected, largely because of the political environment that has portrayed the victims as undesirables and/or enemies of the state, well, like I said, another data point to let you know precisely where we are.