UK forces the Guardian to destroy computers, detains partner of journalist for nine hours

All in the guise of fighting terrorism

If you live outside of London and don’t read a lot of “foreign” news, you’ll probably not hear about the first half of this story. That’s the bit about government officials demanding that a major newspaper destroy hard drives containing documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

If you live outside of the NY-DC corridor and don’t follow news about the surveillance state, you’ll probably not hear about the second half, either.

  • The UK spy service, GCHQ, demanded that the Guardian destroy computer hard drives or turn over documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The US is paying the UK at least $150M a year for access.
  • Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras worked together to break the Edward Snowden story in early June. On Sunday, Greenwald’s partner – David Miranda – was returning to their home in Brazil after meeting with Poitras in Germany. His trip took him through London’s Heathrow. He was detained for nine hours – the maximum allowed by law – under the UK terror act.

There must be a cosmic jester pulling strings for all of this to have happened in Great Britain, the home of George Orwell.

Poitras is also no stranger to airport detention. After her award-winning documentary on Iraq in 2006, she was routinely detained in domestic and foreign airports. For hours. She’s never been charged or told why she was being detained.

This is important for watchdog journalism.

This is important for democratic forms of government.

And it’s why net neutrality and organizations like Wikileaks are essential if either of those institutions are to survive the digital age.

Here’s the Storify: