– Glenn Greenwald’s Partner Detained For 9 Hours, Electronics Confiscated (Liberty Blitzkrieg,, Aug 18, 2013):
A month ago, I wrote a piece titled: If Flying into the UK, Your Phone Can Be Seized and Data Downloaded Without Suspicion. As you might suspect, the focus of the piece was something called schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act of 2000, which allows authorities to stop and search people “without prior authorization or reasonable suspicion.” Not only that, they are not automatically permitted access to legal counsel during the interrogation and they must cooperate. Oh, and your electronic devices can be confiscated.
I chose to write that article at the time to highlight the myriad ways it could be grossly abused. Well now we a very high profile example of such abuse as Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda was stopped for nine hours (the maximum allowed), his electronics were confiscated, and we have no explanation from the Home Office as to why he was considered a terrorist threat.
Here’s an idea for investigative journalists and activists worldwide. Do not fly through the UK unless you absolutely have to.
More from The Guardian:
The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.
David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05 am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. Accordingto official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.
Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
“This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process,” Greenwald said. “To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.
Scotland Yard refused to be drawn on why Miranda was stopped using powers which enable police officers to stop and question travellers at UK ports and airports.
There was no comment from the Home Office in relation to the detention. However, there was surprise in political circles and elsewhere. Labour MP Tom Watson said that he was shocked at the news and called for it to be made clear if any ministers were involved in authorizing the detention.
He said: “It’s almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald’s partner was a terrorist suspect.
“I think that we need to know if any ministers knew about this decision, and exactly who authorized it.
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act has been widely criticized for giving police broad powers under the guise of anti-terror legislation to stop and search individuals without prior authorization or reasonable suspicion – setting it apart from other police powers.
Those stopped have no automatic right to legal advice and it is a criminal offence to refuse to co-operate with questioning under schedule 7, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence.
From the land that brought us the Magna Carta. Nice works chaps.
Full article here.