Greenwald/Miranda Roundup

There is nothing like this to spice up the slow moving last weeks of August.

Even if you had been in a drowsy snooze, I am pretty sure you have caught wind that David Miranda, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport over the weekend under Britain Terrorist Act. His laptop and other electronics were seized.

I find interesting the opinions of the acts committed by the Brits along with reactions and criticisms of Greenwald.

Initially, it seemed like this was an act of intimidation towards Greenwald and his partner:

“David (Miranda) is the partner of a journalist, not a journalist himself. The British government clearly believes it’s perfectly fine to target and intimidate journalists and their families and associates — their partners, husbands, wives, children, friends, colleagues — if it’s in the interest of its surveillance partner, the United States.”

I agree that it is not right to harass innocent family members just because one is doing their job. But, in these times, it would be naïve to think that family members and associates are not being watched and this kind of thing is not going to happen.


But, it gets a little more complex:

Mr. Greenwald’s partner, David Michael Miranda, 28, is a citizen of Brazil. He had spent the previous week in Berlin visiting Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who has also been helping to disseminate Mr. Snowden’s leaks, to assist Mr. Greenwald. The Guardian had paid for the trip, Mr. Greenwald said, and Mr. Miranda was on his way home to Rio de Janeiro…

Mr. Miranda was in Berlin to deliver documents related to Mr. Greenwald’s investigation into government surveillance to Ms. Poitras, Mr. Greenwald said. Ms. Poitras, in turn, gave Mr. Miranda different documents to pass to Mr. Greenwald. Those documents, which were stored on encrypted thumb drives, were confiscated by airport security, Mr. Greenwald said. All of the documents came from the trove of materials provided to the two journalists by Mr. Snowden.

Miranda was “mule for the cause” carrying classified material and really not so innocent. But, it would be ridiculous to classify Miranda as a terrorist. Confiscating and keeping Miranda’s personal property seems a little over the top. I don’t think “the authorities” knew exactly what Miranda was carrying, but, I can almost bet that “intelligence” has a pretty good idea what information Snowden collected and there was probably no need to keep any of Miranda’s things.

Then, there is the whole “you’ll be sorry” thing. Apparently a quote from Reuters was not translated from Portuguese correctly and was reported like this:

“I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I am going to publish things on England, too. I have many documents on England’s spy system. I think they will be sorry for what they did,” Greenwald, speaking in Portuguese, told reporters at Rio de Janeiro’s airport where he met Miranda upon his return to Brazil.

Greenwald really meant this:

Greenwald said in a subsequent email to Reuters that the Portuguese word “arrepender” should have been translated as “come to regret” not “be sorry for.”

“I was asked what the outcome would be for the UK, and I said they’d come to regret this because of the world reaction, how it made them look, and how it will embolden me – not that I would start publishing documents as punishment or revenge that I wouldn’t otherwise have published,” he said in the email.

The Washington Post:

Greenwald’s point seems to have been that he was determined not to be scared off by intimidation. Greenwald and the Guardian have already been publishing documents outlining surveillance programs in Britain, and Greenwald has long declared his intention to continue publishing documents. By doing so, Greenwald isn’t taking “vengeance.” He’s just doing his job.

Let’s take a look around at some other opinions.


Goddammit, British authorities. Glenn Greenwald does not need any actual real-world reasons to feed his crusading martyr complex. It is what gets him out of bed every morning!

Ugh, we hate it when Greenwald makes his egomaniacal threats. We also hate agreeing with him about anything even when he’s being hysterical (which is always). STOP MAKING US AGREE WITH GLENN GREENWALD, YOU LIMEY TWITS.

David Atkins:

I’ve had my issues with Greenwald. But I don’t care if you believe that Greenwald and Snowden are the embodiments of the Anti-Christ. I don’t care what documents Greenwald’s spouse was carrying, how classified they were, or whether you believe that Greenwald is a journalist. I don’t care.

When a government detains someone who is very clearly not a terrorist for nine hours without access to an attorney under a terrorism statute, that government has proven every point Greenwald wanted to make. The argument is over right there.

Betty Cracker:

Using terrorism statutes to routinely harass Laura Poitras and detain Greenwald’s spouse for nine hours is wrong because they aren’t terrorists. Greenwald’s fulminations about the US/UK targeting Miranda because he’s Greenwald’s hubby are bollocks because the government(s) had very good reason to believe Miranda is an agent in l’affaire Snowden, not just an innocent family member/tourist, but that doesn’t change the fact that anti-terrorism laws are supposed to be about preventing terrorism, not harassing journalists or even polemicists and their assistants.

Tough crowd.

Greenwald’s work regarding Snowden and exposing of the extent of the NSA’s capabilities and other spying is commendable. The information has even shook some on the Right to start criticizing the programs that are eroding Constitutional Rights that many on that side of the spectrum willingly gave up post 9/11.

But, there are plenty of folks keeping a critical eye on the messenger.

3 thoughts on “Greenwald/Miranda Roundup

  1. The obligatory ad hominem attacks on Greenwald and Snowden which are included in most “left” assessments of their work make me want to puke. It’s the “progressive” blogosphere’s version of being a Very Serious Person.

    Early on, many “progressives” discounted the impact of the Snowden revelations as being restatements of what was already well known, or at least what should have been assumed by any knowledgeable, critical observer of the national security state. Now that we have had a very close House vote on limiting the NSA, Clapper’s statements have been revealed as lies, the Sunday talking heads ruminate on security vs civil liberties, and the NYT has declared that the NSA are bad guys it is crystal clear that Greenwald/Snowden have served our country in ways that equal or exceed the release of the Pentagon Papers. At great personal risk.

    This is what has been revealed in high relief and pushed into the public debate: “…Obama cannot get anything done; he cannot even get the most innocuous appointees in office. …Yet he can assassinate American citizens without due processes (Holder’s sophistry to the contrary, judicial process is due process); can detain prisoners indefinitely without charge; conduct surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant; and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees…. And not a peep from congressional Republicans…, Democrats, with the exception of a few like Ron Wyden, are not troubled, either — even to the extent of permitting obvious perjured congressional testimony by certain executive branch officials….

    “Clearly there is government, and then there is government. The former is the tip of the iceberg that the public who watches C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part is the Deep State, which operates on its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. The Deep State is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies, key nodes of the judiciary (like FISC, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Southern District of Manhattan); cleared contractors, Silicon Valley (whose cooperation is critical), and Wall Street. ” (Mike Lofgren quoted by James Fallows, Atlantic)

    Admittedly, this isn’t exactly news to those relatively few of us who have been paying attention. What is new is that the “Deep State” is being dealt with in Congress, in the MSM, and is penetrating the consciousness of the voting public. Greenwald/Snowden precipitated the unprecedented focus and attention. OK, Manning too, but that was more effectively hushed up.

    And the “Deep Government” is scared. “In the realm of national security, dissent matters only when it penetrates the machine’s interior. Only then does the state deem it worthy of notice.

    To understand this is to appreciate the importance of what Manning and Snowden have done and why their actions have produced panic in Washington. Here is irrefutable evidence of dissent penetrating the machine’s deepest recesses. Thanks to a couple of tech-savvy malcontents, anyone with access to the Internet now knows what only insiders were supposed to know.”

    But, hey, let’s not let that divert us from the really important stuff. Let’s talk about what an arrogant, narcissistic SOB Greenwald is. And what an irresponsible, cowardly naif Snowden is. And what a troubled weakling Manning is. Because in the final analysis, the personality characteristics that (partly) motivated and inspired their actions are more important than the effect of their revelations.

  2. Hey Susie!! Check out this opinion from Yves over at naked capitalism. Would Glenn even admit to it if true????? No offense to Glenn but it does seem maybe a little too combative and/or savvy even for him. That’s not being nasty towards him but I don’t think he would put the hubs in harms way like that but who knows. BUT it’s a very, very different take on things.

  3. But, there are plenty of folks keeping a critical eye on the messenger.

    Hey, I’ve got an idea!

    Let’s not talk about the NSA some more!

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