David Miranda, Picking Through The Issue

DM1There is considerable discussion of the detention of David Miranda and the lines are forming up.

On one side, those who seem to hate Glenn Greenwald and would probably justify any action against him or his partner, short of throwing them into Gitmo!

On the other, those concerned with the implications of the detention. I rarely find myself agreeing with Andrew Sullivan but he sums up the wider issue of Snowden’s exposé:

“Readers know I have been grappling for a while with the vexing question of the balance between the surveillance state and the threat of Jihadist terrorism. When the NSA leaks burst onto the scene, I was skeptical of many of the large claims made by civil libertarians and queasily sympathetic to a program that relied on meta-data alone, as long as it was transparent, had Congressional buy-in, did not accidentally expose innocent civilians to grotesque privacy loss, and was watched by a strong FISA court.

Since then, I’ve watched the debate closely and almost all the checks I supported have been proven illusory. The spying is vastly more extensive than anyone fully comprehended before; the FISA court has been revealed as toothless and crippled; and many civilians have had their privacy accidentally violated over 3000 times. The president, in defending the indefensible, has damaged himself and his core reputation for honesty and candor. These cumulative revelations have exposed this program as, at a minimum, dangerous to core liberties and vulnerable to rank abuse. I’ve found myself moving further and further to Glenn’s position.”

Joshua Foust is having none of that, essentially arguing that it was legal and that is what government do. Therefore, there is not much to complain about. I feel that is a rather narrow perspective, particularly for a journalist.

Nevertheless he writes:

“So, this is complicated. The UK authorities were correct to question David Miranda, but they were stupid, wrong, and abusive to have held him for so long — and in doing so, they ruined any possible legitimacy their questions might have held. It was a needless own-goal.

There’s also a bit of historical literacy we should perhaps add to the discussion. Histrionics aside, most governments, and many more unsavory groups, treat secrecy very seriously — sometimes with deadly seriousness. Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of his decision to help pilfer and distribute the treasured secrets of several governments, to do so openly, with such braggadocio, is not only arrogant it is misguided. This is not a game, especially to the governments being exposed, and casually involving a spouse to take a hit when he won’t risk it is a bizarre and troubling decision.”

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Swedish Lawyers, Humour in Assange And Death Threats For Being Gay

The Assange story carries on like a poorly written epic poem, but there is humour in it, as Sadie Smith shows in Internet Wars: The Assange Saga

The Blog That Peter Wrote examines What Has Happened to Wikileaks.

Yet another Assange piece at the New Statesman. It is not notable because of the argumentation, but rather the comments from Assange supporters. Their remarks come over at lacking in evidence, prone to conspiracies and peppered with non-sequiturs.

The marvellous Sandi Toksvig talks about coming out:

“In the early 90s, Toksvig was told she was about to be outed by a tabloid newspaper. She and her then partner, and their children, went into hiding. “We had death threats, mainly from very religious people who very kindly were going to kill me on God’s behalf because he’s busy.” She laughs, then adds: “It was scary. I’m on kissing terms with the police hate crime squad.” She brightens. “I’ll tell you what makes it worth it. I still get young women who come up to me and say, ‘Thank you, because I was able to say to my mum, ah, but you like Sandi and her life is OK.’ I might not have chosen [to be gay] – it’s hard to be outside of the norm – but I’m glad because it has made me more tolerant. Now I’m 54, I’m delighted and happy – but the years when I was scared for my children, I could have done without that.” “

Mark Klamberg covers Glenn Greenwald’s clumsy intervention into Swedish legal matters:

“In my previous post I described how the Swedish extradition procedure works and its sequence. I explained that prior to the evaluation and decision of the Government the law provides that 1) the Prosecutor-General shall deliver a statement of opinion on the matter and 2) the Supreme Court shall rule on the matter. I wrote that the Government is the final body to approve an extradition request and it may deny a request even if it has been approved by the Supreme Court, but I did not go into the question of the discretion of the Government when there is an extradition agreement. Glenn Greenwald cited parts of my post on the Guardian website on this matter.

The problem is that Greenwald earlier and later in the same text argues for a sequence that would put the Government before the Supreme Court. In essence he is arguing that the Government should have the first and the last say with the Supreme Court in the middle. That would make the Supreme Court redundant which is contrary to the sequence that is provided for in the Extradition Act which I have tried to describe. It may also violate the principle of separation of powers. To be more specific, Greenwald writes in his debate with David Allen Green the following. “

Taliban hack heads off of party goers.

Afghanistan’s Lost Women.