White House got “heads up” Brits would detain Greenwald’s domestic partner

The White House has confirmed through a spokesman that it got a “heads up” from the British that they were going to “detain” David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s domestic partner, when he landed at Heathrow Airport. I’d seen indications that this was true (for example, here), but wasn’t able to find a link until now.

From The Guardian — I’ll present this information in segments, not necessarily in order from the article. First, the confirmation of White House involvement, at least in getting information, deep in the article (my emphasis and some reparagraphing everywhere):

The White House on Monday insisted that it was not involved in the decision to detain Miranda, though a spokesman said US officials had been given a “heads up” by British officials beforehand.

Note the White House saying they weren’t “involved” in the “decision”. As we learned here, most of their lies are presented in highly parsed language. That statement may just mean that the U.K. decision had already been made, and then presented to the White House first so they could say “Sure; go for it” or “Maybe hold off.”

That’s not “involvement” in the decision, right? After all, decisions can be made and, on further review, later unmade, right?

More from that White House press spokesman, via Press TV:

“This was a decision that they made on their own, and not at the request of the United States,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday. “This is something that they did independent of our direction,” he added. …

Earnest did not provide information about how far in advance British officials notified Washington that Miranda would be detained, according to Reuters.

Hmm. And there’s this from the cynical Dave Lindorff, making the worst-case case:

NSA-signIt is becoming perfectly clear that the outrageous detention of American journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda by British police during a flight transfer at London’s Heathrow Airport was, behind the scenes, the work of US intelligence authorities.

British police and the British Home Office (the equivalent of America’s Department of Homeland Security) are claiming that the action was taken by them on the basis of an anti-terrorist statute, passed in 2000, with the Orwellian name “Schedule 7.” The give-away that this was not something that the British dreamed up on their own, however, is their admission that they had “notified Washington” of their intention to detain Miranda, a Brazilian national, before the detention actually occurred.

Note that they did not notify Brazilian authorities. It was the Americans who got the call. And why was that?  Because, clearly, Miranda was on one of America’s “watch lists” and the British police needed instructions from their superiors in the US regarding what do do with him. …

It makes no sense that British authorities would have taken these outrageous police-state actions against Miranda, against Greenwald and against one of the UK’s most prestigious newspapers [read here for that], on their own. The issue after all is Snowden’s leaks, which are primarily of concern to the US and the NSA — the source of the documents.

Lindorff is making an assertion based on his reasoned read of the same news I’m reading. Is he right?

First bottom line — Whether Lindorff is all-right or just half-right, the U.S. and U.K. are clearly working this together. If they both knew, they both knew.

And after they both knew, did the Americans start feeding questions to the British? That’s not being “involved” in the decision either, is it. (That’s a statement, not a question.)

Or how about this — Who found out that David Miranda was going to be on that flight? NSA? Is it the Brits who track the name of every passenger on every flight in the world? Or us, the U.S. national security state — the U.S. Deep State as I’m coming to call it?

Miranda also thinks the U.S. was involved

From the article quoted above, it’s clear that Miranda thinks the U.S. was involved:

In his first interview since returning to his home in Rio de Janeiro early on Monday, Miranda said the authorities in the UK had pandered to the US in trying to intimidate him and force him to reveal the passwords to his computer and mobile phone. …

Although he believes the British authorities were doing the bidding of the US, Miranda says his view of the UK has completely changed as a result of the experience.

“I have friends in the UK and liked to visit, but you can’t go to a country where they have laws that allow the abuse of liberty for nothing,” he said.

Note that last, about trust. He’ll never travel there again. Nor will I. Nor will any reporter who doesn’t want to be rousted by the “terrorism” cops, who may or may not have NSA data to work with.

The issue is trust, and the State is losing its share

At this point, do you trust the State (here or in the U.K.) to tell the truth, or to treat you fairly if you cross its radar? First, David Miranda — note how little trust he shows by these actions:

He was offered a lawyer and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities. The questions, he said, were relentless – about Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras and a host of other apparently random subjects.

“They even asked me about the protests in Brazil, why people were unhappy and who I knew in the government,” said Miranda.

He got his first drink – from a Coke machine in the corridor – after eight hours and was eventually released almost an hour later. Police records show he had been held from 08.05 to 17.00.

He wouldn’t take a glass of water because he didn’t know what would be in it. Wise move or foolish? Either way, if trust in “security forces” were shares of stock, I’d sell. They’re in a bear market.

What was Miranda carrying?

Miranda doesn’t know what he was carrying:

He was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden. …

“[T]hey think I have a big connection,” he said. “But I don’t have a role. I don’t look at documents. I don’t even know if it was documents that I was carrying. It could have been for the movie that Laura is working on.”

Which leads to this interesting speculation from Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:

I find it remarkable that everyone seems to be assuming Miranda was a document mole. Did everyone manage to forget:

1. Snowden is the sole source of the documents?
2. Snowden met with GG and per GG gave him thousands (or maybe tens of thousands) of documents?

There is absolutely no reason to think:

1. Snowden has made a subsequent transfer
2. Even if 1. was true, it would go through Poitras (more people in the chain, more risk of interception).

And Miranda could have flown Frankfurt to Rio. Snowden has been quoted in the media as saying the UK is the worst place as far as info capture is concerned.

I’m sure this was a deliberate provocation to see if the Brits would be dumb enough to take the bait, and they did. My pet theory is the documents consisted of margarita recipes and Scotland Yard and the intelligence services are going nuts trying to figure out what they mean.

Sometimes smart people do dumb things (like fly via London with NSA documents). And sometimes they do really smart things (like bait the over-eager, testosterone-laced Global Security State with Margarita recipes). Let’s see which is which; I’m all on the edge of my seat, waiting for the leaks from Whitehall about their great cache from Snowden (sorry, Miranda; sorry, Poitras).

Which leads to this fun comment, from a recent comment to our postings here (sorry, can’t find a link to source):

GG has said he’s planning a trip to the US soon, so we shall see if we live in a police state or not.

Hmm. I play chess. Does Glenn? Let’s leave it here.

Your second bottom line? I think a bright line has been crossed, several of them. Trust in the State is falling rapidly. (Remember, the State is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.) And journalists, real ones, are on notice — the State and its clients are their enemies. This can only widen.

The result will not be pretty, folks. If the billionaires don’t stand down, and the State that protects them don’t stand down, you can take it to the bank — this will not end well.

Programming notes

I talked about the State with Dave Johnson in this recent episode of Virtually Speaking Sundays. Click to listen, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments — thanks!

I’ll be on the Ed Schultz radio show today (2:30 pm ET Wednesday, Aug 21) to talk about Fracking and your water supply — not to mention the billionaires who are driving the world to revolt. (Yep, it’s all connected.)

And I’ll be speaking with Arnie Arnesen at 12:30 pm ET Thursday (Aug 22) about Glenn Greenwald and all the fun the State has been having responding to his latest chess moves. To listen live, go here. The archive of program MP3’s is here.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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74 Responses to “White House got “heads up” Brits would detain Greenwald’s domestic partner”

  1. Guest says:

    The Brits Government is America’s pet poodle. The poodle enjoys leash free roaming.

  2. Butch1 says:

    If he stays in this country who would hire him? What would be the climate politically in this country at that time? Would he be safe? There is a question of whether he would go for a sex change as well; perhaps, a new identity would be a better way of coping if the damned media would leave him alone in this new phase of his life. Most prisons try and teach a person a new career but the military prisons are there solely to punish and I would bet that he will receive nothing but harassment for the entire time he is incarcerated.

    If he were to win this award and the award money was put in a safe account accruing interest over that time, he would have a decent nest egg when he got out to fall back on to take time and make some decisions. He would not be thrown out on the street and basically homeless which is the way our present administration would like to see him end up after they are finished with him. They would have preferred sending him to one of their black sites but he was already known by the world and this sadistic administration couldn’t get away with it so what they are doing now will have to do.

    With a Dishonorable Discharge, he gets nothing. When he applies for a job they always ask about your service record as well. Just his name recognition would probably be enough to keep him from ever landing a job but a DD would most likely cinch it when they asked the reasons why. If I were in his shoes this country plainly doesn’t like him or want him. I would start looking for another country more sympathetic to his cause and apply under the radar for papers. He should see if he can still get a passport after being in prison since I do not know the law about it. He did serve his time and why continue to punish him? ( we know our country; they never quit even after a person has paid their debt to society. )

    Once he has his papers in order, privately say his goodbyes to what loved ones that are left and get the hell out of here. Renounce his citizenship when he is safely in the other country where his money and account is safely stored. He should turn his back and ignore the media from that point on. Eventually, they will leave him alone. One knows the US will bring up more charges on him for evading taxes on the money he owes them. ;-) What a big joke after all they have done treating him in a military jail. They want money from his Nobel Peace Prize.

    Of course, we are counting his chickens before they have actually hatched. I do hope the honor is given to him; he does deserve it and it would throw some egg on the faces of those who serve justice on the wrong person when the true crimes are left alone to continue to perpetuate.

  3. HelenRainier says:

    I’m still not sure that Bush and Cheney didn’t have their dirty hands in it.

  4. JayRandal says:

    Tried to post earlier today about Manning and Snowden, but my remarks didn’t post then my PC crashed for Internet. As activist NSA goons are tampering with my PC. NSA goons are young guys
    whom are nerds with zits. I believe they pull their puds watching Internet porn.

  5. ezpz says:

    Actually, he posted 3 of his 5 comments on an Ablog, and the other 2 on Common Dreams.

  6. karmanot says:

    Obozo declared him guilty from the get go, all else was a show trial Stalin would admire.

  7. karmanot says:

    So glad to piss you off Oboti downers!

  8. karmanot says:

    I doubt it. Old joey 5 visits is a drive by troll.

  9. karmanot says:

    It’s comments like this that make a down vote so satisfactory.

  10. mirth says:

    There is some comfort in knowing that he may eventually live a still-young life as a free man, and while incarcerated that he knows many of his fellow citizens, perhaps a majority, coupled with enlightened citizens of the world, recognize the immense bravery of his actions.

  11. Monoceros Forth says:

    There are many sites that don’t permit downvoting by default but only allow it for users that have accumulated sufficient upvoting to be considered trustworthy. Mind you, I’m not sure that this is a good system; I’m only throwing it out there as an alternative.

  12. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oh man…I’m sorry, but if you scan through the top-level posts about Snowden here, I seriously doubt whether you’ll find anything like “blind allegiance”. Mr. Aravosis has been, rightly or wrongly, posting sceptical commentary about him for quite a while now. Do you actually read anything on this blog?

  13. angryspittle says:

    Bullshit. They got orders (a headsup) from the US.

  14. zorbear says:

    I’m not sure what age a person is when they get too old to learn anything else (I’m thinking about five), but could it be that you meant “too old to get a job in another field”?

  15. nicho says:

    For the record, John, this upvote/downvote thing is kind of meaningless. Trolls come by, don’t comment on anything, and then downvote like crazy. Makes the whole process moot. Can’t we replace it with something useful — like an “Ignore” feature?

  16. nicho says:

    The real problems arise when your idiots go rogue, step outside the plot line, and you can’t stop them. Tsarnaevs anyone?

  17. nicho says:


  18. JoeJMO says:

    I have generally enjoyed reading AmericaBlog for a number of years now. However, many of the recent commentaries, as well as readers’ responses, to anything related to the NSA issue is quite disappointing. Although the NSA surveillance may be an important issue to discuss, the almost hysterical reactions attacking Obama, and showing blind allegiance to “Rand Paul-devotee” Edward Snowden and so-called “journalists” like Glenn Greenwald, is troubling. Many people here seem to be acting just like the Tea Party extremists on the right. Get the full, unbiased story, and don’t just look at opinion bloggers for your news.

  19. karmanot says:

    I think they lose a gray cell for every downer. It’s a winner for us.

  20. Indigo says:

    Agreed. It’s like being accused of heresy by the Vatican. You’ve got to be doing something right to get that kind of attention.

  21. Indigo says:

    Ooo! I’m being BarryBotted!

  22. Indigo says:

    That’s a metaphor. We need an oh-my-goodness! scandal. Barry doesn’t do oh-my-goodness! very well, he’s no Bill Clinton on that front.

  23. Naja pallida says:

    Well, yeah… it’s easy to foil a plot you orchestrate entirely yourself, and then dupe some idiots who can barely tie their shoes without drooling all over themselves into going along with you.

  24. Butch1 says:

    I hope this honorable man wins the Nobel Peace Prize after getting this ridiculous prison verdict. It would be a huge slap in the face to this pseudo justice and this administration for what they did to Manning. At least the world recognized Manning for what he did.

  25. mirth says:

    In recent memory there are two events that could have changed, for the good, the course of human history: Immediately following 9/11 when the world opened their arms to us, and the election of Obama when the world shared our enthusiasm and joy for his promised changes. Recalling these two times, few are surprised at the enormous waste of Bush’s potential and to this day few are ridded of the sting – the hammerblow! – of Obama’s course. While one’s followers largely expected and approved his actions, the other’s followers have been left stunned and devastated. Excluding everything else, these simple truths are only one measure historians will use to judge the worst ever US president, and his name shall be Barack Hussein Obama.

  26. mirror says:

    A succinct statement of this stark example of how bad it has become.

  27. Ford Prefect says:

    I agree, of course. But this is one of those things for which the best response is ridicule. It’s too damn childish for me to take seriously.

    I’m at the point now that when I have a 14-downvote day, it makes me feel like I’ve done something right and that at least someone on the other side is reading the criticism. On their end, it’s self-defeating, but for me, it smells like “victory.”

  28. nicho says:

    All the terrorist plots that have been “foiled” — and a few that haven’t — have been FBI stings.

  29. nicho says:

    If 9-11 had not happened, they would have had to invent it.

  30. nicho says:

    Well, he’s been fucking the middle class for five years now. Does that count?

  31. BeccaM says:

    I think we all knew when this began, when ‘terrorism’ became the label for removal from due process, Constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights, freedom from coercive interrogation and all the rest, it was inevitable the definition would soon be expanded to include anything offending the Plutocratic Oligarchy.

    Now, possession of information is considered an act of suspected terrorism.

  32. nicho says:

    Nice little family you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to them.

  33. Bill_Perdue says:

    Oh, and thanks again Gaius. I forget to say that sometimes.

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    The brake is to forge alliances of groups radicalized by Clinton’s Depression on a basic, reasonable, but unattainable in a capitalist setting, program for change.

  35. Bill_Perdue says:

    Lots of Democrats downvoting today. They won’t say why they’re downvoting because they’re in denial.

    Events have proven that they enable moves towards a police state and they’re afraid of being pinned with it.

    It’s a bit too late for that.

  36. Indigo says:

    Interestingly, we’re watching it happen, commenting on it as it happens, and can’t seem to find the brake to make it stop.

  37. Ford Prefect says:

    14 downvotes for stating the obvious? I do believe you win this round of “Piss Off The Trolls.” Congratulations!

  38. ezpz says:


  39. Ford Prefect says:

    Yeah, it’s more of a Mob thing, isn’t it?

  40. Indigo says:

    That or the BarryBots heard that there’s disgruntlement among the AmBloggers and logged in to check it out. I hope the message gets back to Barry. Or Michelle. I bet she’d tell him.

  41. Indigo says:

    “The lesser of two evils is still evil.” -Jerry Garcia.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. I knew better than to vote for Barry the second time and I had my Socialist list in my grubby little paw when I went into the voting booth, but then my knee-jerk Democrat ancestors took over. Shades of FDR!

  42. Ford Prefect says:

    Actually, this “bed” has been with us a very long time. The Red Scares of the ’20s, the Palmer Raids, McCarthyism, COINTELPRO and so forth. This country flirts with totalitarianism on a regular basis. The difference is this time looks to be for keeps.

    Do remember that historically, Democrats have been as much to blame for all this as Republicans–Wilson got the Espionage and Sedition Acts passed, after all. The fact that a small number of Democratic office holders actually have moral compasses about all this does not negate the collaborative nature of the Democratic Party in the totalitarian project more broadly.

  43. Indigo says:

    Not yet. You need a sex scandal to make it stick.

  44. Indigo says:

    I feared it would be more. Maybe he’ll live to serve out the entire sentence. I hope so.

  45. karmanot says:

    Thanks for waking up. There are millions of us now and counting. Next step: Impeach Obozo!

  46. karmanot says:


  47. Indigo says:

    He embraced it, much to my horror.

  48. Indigo says:

    “The lesser of two evils is still evil.” -Jerry Garcia.

  49. karmanot says:

    What?, The First Lady of Uganda puts out?

  50. Indigo says:

    I agree but I’m disgusted with Obama that he just ran with it, he knew better, in fact he ran on a platform of not running with it, but then ran with it anyhow. He’s worse than Ronald Occupant, he’s the Presi-dilettante.

  51. samizdat says:

    Drone-bamabots, DESTROY!

    Oh, wait…just downvote…

  52. karmanot says:

    Obozo is the worst fail since Le Bush petite.

  53. Indigo says:

    If the US-stapo can arm twist the French and Portuguese into forcing the president of Bolivia’s plane to land, obviously the UK-stapo is going to want to play along lest they become not-first-class. And nobody kisses a** better than the Brits.

  54. ezpz says:

    Glen Ford at the Left Forum:

    No matter how much evil Barack Obama actually accomplishes during his presidency, people that call themselves leftists insist on dubbing him the Lesser Evil. Not only is Obama not given proper credit for out-evil-ing George Bush, domestically and internationally, but the First Black President is awarded positive grades for his intentions versus the presumed intentions of Republicans. As the author says, this “is psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.”


  55. Naja pallida says:

    Way to dash my hopes of finding a sugar daddy, nicho.

  56. Naja pallida says:

    They miss them all anyway. Case in point is that they haven’t actually foiled a real terrorist plot yet. Because you know if they had, it would have been plastered all over the news as proof that the whole spying on everyone and everything is good for us all. It’s absurd to think that by vacuuming up exabytes of data and filtering it through a bunch of algorithms that it’s magically going to point out the bad guys. This is actually a very expensive and time consuming distraction from real investigative and intelligence work.

  57. caphillprof says:

    This is non-partisan anticonstitutional thuggery.

  58. nicho says:

    Commit war crimes, get the Nobel Prize. Expose war crimes, get 35 years in jail. Up is down. War is peace.

  59. nicho says:

    And don’t imagine for a minute that US agents weren’t directly involved in the “interrogation” itself.

  60. nicho says:

    Maybe Bush started it, but Barry owns it now.

  61. nicho says:

    One thing about this is that it blows to hell the claim that “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.” That idiotic statement is dead as a doornail.

  62. nicho says:

    Yeah, cause all the billionaires are spending their time on sketchy websites looking for hookups. Oh, my god. Does anyone really fall for this shit?

  63. nicho says:

    Apparently, today is Americablog Day at BarryBot headquarters. I imagine they get a penny per downvote. Helps pay the rent.

  64. HeartlandLiberal says:

    This is the legacy of Dick Cheney and his lap puppet George Bush, who trashed the Constitution and ground it under the jack booted heels.

    Obama has just run with it. And he will deserve the same scorn by history.

    But don’t act all innocent. The GOP and the right wing neo cons and Bush and Cheney made this bed, and now the American people have to lie in it.

  65. dula says:

    I wonder how many real terrorist communications were missed while the US and UK were focused on Glenn and his partner.

  66. John Sage says:

    “Because, clearly, Miranda was on one of America’s “watch lists””

    Bingo. The US had made a prior designation of Snowden, Greenwald, and anyone associated with them as “terrorists” — to be looked-out for and detained when seen and when accessible. (Like interdicting an aircraft in mid-flight, upon unfounded rumor, maybe. Remember that?)

    Have no doubt that Snowden/Greenwald/Miranda et al are located and watched *before* their every move.

    So it’s trivial for Great Britain to watch passenger lists and flight manifests and know Miranda was going to touch down — however briefly — on British soil. Game over.

    What follows that is an incredibly ham-handed act of stupid intimidation. Like Miranda is going to be couriering unencrypted NSA documents on a thumb drive?

    uh… no.

    Ham-handed intimidation. But ham-handed intimidation of great, great philosophical significance.

    Said significance being entirely lost on the dim-witted governments of Great Britain and the United States.

  67. nicho says:

    Yeah, we voted for Barry because he was supposed to be the lesser of two evils. Turns out he wasn’t.

  68. Yeah, the Communist Party is terrible. To teach them a lesson, I’ll be voting for the National Socialists next time. This will work out well. #lesseroftwoevils?

  69. A_nonymoose says:

    “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

    This is your legacy, Mr. President. Not that anyone will ever be allowed to read that about your legacy, since the victors write the history books.

  70. Bill_Perdue says:

    The JCS, the Department of War, the US officer corps and the Obama Administration are right wing thugs intent on putting the finishing touches on the American police state.

    Now we’ll no longer say it can’t happen here, we’ll say it is happening here.

  71. CadnySS says:

    Are you still single and looking for your special someone? Welcome to___billionairefish.C0M___the place for finding a rich successful man or woman for a serious relationship. Give it a shot and hundreds of thousands of elite singles are there waiting! +_+

  72. nicho says:

    Breaking: Kangaroo Court gives Bradley Manning 35 years.

  73. nicho says:

    And don’t think this wasn’t a shot across the bow to members of the corporatist media. “Catapult the propaganda we feed you or else. Color outside the lines, and we’ll even go after your family.”

  74. Isaac says:

    Yes we live in a police state. Stop and frisk, arresting of protesters, domestic spying. So now that this president has destroyed our democracy by continuing the totalitarian policies of the previous admin who do we vote for? Republicans and democrats are both complicit in the destruction of our rights. I know I will never ever vote for another democrat again and I’ve voted democrat my whole life.

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