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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