Matrix leads challenge over detention of Guardian journalist's partner

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  • Glenn Greenwald: "I have many more documents to report on, including ones about the UK, where I'll now focus more. I will be more aggressive" and "they'll come to regret it".

    Incredible statements. Especially in light of the Guardian's claim to have deleted documents that endangered the UK's national security.

    Nothing illegal has happened. Customs have had the temerity to question the boyfriend of a journalist involved in leaking state secrets, who is also on the payroll of the Guardian and involved in stories about this subject.

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  • Are you serious, Anonymous @ 3.19pm?

    (1) Boyfriend was not on the Guardian's payroll - just had expenses paid for. Not that it would be OK if he was.

    (2) The powers exist for the purposes of investigating terrorism. There is no indication whatsoever that Miranda was involved in terrorism in any way or any grounds for thinking that the police believed him to be. If they did not, they did act illegally. Hence the legal action.

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  • Anon 3.34

    Are you serious? This couple are both involved in disseminating information which damages national security. A point admitted by Glenn Greenwald in his subsequent statements.

    Why shouldn't they be asked questions for a few hours?

    Why were you not as bothered by the 61,000 who answered questions under this legislation in the last year?

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  • This isn't the worst thing that has ever happened. 61,000 people had the same questioning last year. The only difference is that a journalist has played this to their advantage. I bet they were laughing their heads off when the cameras stopped rolling.

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  • Anonymous2 - why so sure they acted illegally?

    I appears that Schedule 7 allows officers to question (and therefore detain) a person "for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b)" i.e. a terrorist on the grounds that he "is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism".

    Schedule 7, para 2(4) goes on to say "An examining officer may exercise his powers under this paragraph whether or not he has grounds for suspecting that a person falls within section 40(1)(b)."

    Seems like these are pretty far-reaching powers.

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  • Isn't the main point that Miranda was not yet on British soil, as he was transiting, but was held by Britain? However, if the docs from Snowden were relevant to the National Security of Britain or her allies (as opposed to just being embarrassing) then surely Britain was entitled to investigate this? And the authorities would have no way of knowing this until they actually detained Miranda and checked the docs.

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  • I bet this doesn't reach court.

    Miranda has his ticket paid for by the Guardian, not his partner. His partner is in a country where he says he'll release files about UK security waiting for his boyfriend to arrive carrying a computer.

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  • Congrats anon 15.34. That is the point lacking from so much commentary. The powers given in sch 7 are given for a purpose, and the schedule is very explicit on this, and must be exercised for that purpose. This is both a legal and political point. The political point is that parliament approved the legislation on the basis it would be used for that purpose. That was the basis of the approval.

    One Tom Winsor (then at White & Case) wrote a very good article in Modern Railways (zzzz) some years back on the Department for Transport's misuse of powers to extract concessions when railway franchises were taken over. He referred to the Crichel Down affair of the 1950s. Now he is HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary, I wonder what his views are?

    The principle of governments using powers for the purposes for which they are given needs taking up more widely and is not just the property of the civil liberties fringe.

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  • There seems to be some confusion over what 'terrorism' and 'damaging national security' mean. Acts of 'terrorism', as defined in the Act, clearly does not include a journalist (or their partner) writing about the unlawful surveillance acts of national or foreign governments. This leads onto the second definition. There is an important difference between acts that damage the British people and acts that damage politicians or individuals responsible for public institutions (e.g. GCHQ). You will find that in every closed state (Iran, North Korea etc) any attempt to expose political wrongdoing is labelled 'terrorism'.

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