In Britain, journalism is “terrorism”

by Justin Raimondo
November 04, 2013

If there was ever any doubt that the formerly “Great” Britain of today has devolved into a stinkhole of authoritarianism – a proposition I advanced in a recent column – it has been dispelled by the news that the British authorities justified the detainment of David Miranda by claiming that, in transporting materials released by Edward Snowden through Heathrow airport, he was engaged in a “terrorist” act.

Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald – who broke the story of the Snowden revelations – was passing through Heathrow on his way back to Brazil, where the two of them currently reside. Police detained him, seized his electronics, and held him for nine hours – the maximum allowed without charging him. He was then released and sent on his way, minus his belongings. Upon his return to Rio De Janeiro, Miranda filed a lawsuit demanding the return of materials seized and judicial review of the government’s actions. In a court hearing on the suit last week, according to Reuters, “a document called a ‘Ports Circulation Sheet’ was read into the record. It was prepared by Scotland Yard – in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency – and circulated to British border posts before Miranda’s arrival.” The document said:

“Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security. We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people’s lives. …Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”

Notice how the Official Definition of “terrorism” has been altered: it used to be that violence engaged in for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause was – properly – deemed terrorism. Now “terrorism” has magically morphed into journalism – or, in Miranda’s case, facilitating journalism – in pursuit of a cause that exposes government abuses. Snowden’s exposure of the US/British effort to violate the privacy of everyone on earth strikes terror in the hearts of government officials on both sides of the Atlantic – ergo, it’s “terrorism.” As George Orwell put it in his classic “Politics and the English Language”:

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

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