Aug 19

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.

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Jan 07

Customs officers were ordered not to look for drug smugglers at Heathrow over Christmas because of staff shortages.

An extraordinary email was sent to all staff at the UK’s busiest airport on December 23, telling them not to ‘actively seek to identify any passenger with internal concealments’.
The UK border – through which 100,000 people enter every day – was left open for three days thanks to the command, allowing possibly ‘scores’ of drug mules to get in.

Smugglers with hauls of cocaine, heroin and cannabis in their stomachs would have been waved through the airport, which handles 70million passengers a year.

Mark Kennedy, the UK Border Agency’s senior detection manager, blamed staff shortages for the order, which he said should be in force for 72 hours up to and including Christmas Day.

The email, leaked by a whistleblower, also warned officers that if they did arrest smugglers, they would have to work a 24-hour shift guarding prisoners.

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Mar 24

Sounds like there is much more to see than you have been told.


An airport worker allegedly caught ogling images of a female colleague in a full-body scanner faces the sack after being given a police warning for harassment.

The Heathrow worker, named by The Sun newspaper as 25-year-old John Laker, allegedly made lewd remarks to colleague Jo Margetson, 29, after she entered an X-ray machine by mistake.

She reported the matter to her bosses and to police.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said today: “Police received an allegation regarding an incident that happened at Heathrow Terminal 5 on March 10.

“A first instance harassment warning has been issued to a 25-year-old male.” Continue reading »

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May 10

Thousands of foreigners are being allowed to work in high security parts of Britain’s airports without passing proper criminal record checks, it was disclosed last night.

Despite warnings that terrorists would try to recruit people working “airside” in terminals – with direct access to aircraft and baggage – no attempt has been made to check whether foreign workers have committed any offences abroad.

The vetting process checks only for crimes committed in Britain. Foreign workers – arriving from inside or outside the European Union – are not checked in their country of origin.

This means that someone with a conviction for firearms or explosives offences committed abroad could, for example, take a job loading bags on to aircraft at Heathrow, Gatwick or any other airport, provided they had committed no crimes here.

The security lapse was called “absolutely astonishing” by David Davis, the shadow home secretary, who demanded “full and immediate checks”. Continue reading »

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