terça-feira, 20 de agosto de 2013

The Guardian acusa Governo britânico de forçar destruição documentos de Snowden. David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face / Guardian / Alan Rusbridger. David Miranda processa Governo britânico depois de detenção em Heathrow.

Alan Rusbridger Editor /Guardian
The Guardian acusa Governo britânico de forçar destruição documentos de Snowden
20 Agosto 2013, 09:46 por Lusa

O editor do The Guardian disse esta terça-feira que o Governo britânico forçou o jornal a destruir os documentos sobre programas de espionagem norte-americanos e britânicos fornecidos por Edward Snowden, ameaçando com um processo judicial.
Alan Rusbridger disse que foi contactado por "um alto responsável do Governo", que afirmou que "representava a opinião do primeiro-ministro".

 Posteriormente, o editor do The Guardian terá tido dois encontros com o referido responsável, que lhe exigiu "a devolução ou destruição de todo o material sobre o qual o jornal estivesse a trabalhar".

 O jornal estava a trabalhar na publicação das revelações sobre o programa de vigilância em massa levadas a cabo pela Agência Nacional de Segurança (NSA) norte-americana e pela agência de espionagem e segurança britânica - a GCHQ -, após a entrega pelo antigo consultor norte-americano Edward Snowden de milhares de documentos secretos.

 "Vocês têm-se divertido muito. Agora queremos os documentos de volta", escreveu Alan Rusbridger num artigo publicado hoje, alegadamente a citar afirmações das autoridades britânicas.

 O editor declarou que o Governo ameaçou intentar uma acção judicial para tentar recuperar os documentos secretos, se o jornal não os destruísse por si mesmo.

 "E então ocorreu um dos momentos mais bizarros da longa história do Guardian", acrescentou.

 "Dois peritos em segurança da GCHQ vigiaram a destruição dos discos duros na cave do The Guardian para se certificarem que não restava nada que pudesse constituir ser passado a agentes chineses", revelou o editor.

 O artigo foi publicado numa altura em que as autoridades britânicas estão a ser alvo de uma vaga de protestos, depois da detenção durante nove horas de David Miranda, o companheiro do jornalista do The Guardian, que trabalhou com Snowden para revelar os programas de vigilância.

 Alan Rusbridger condenou a detenção de David Miranda e advertiu que "pode não levar muito tempo até que se torne impossível para os jornalistas terem fontes confidenciais".

David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face
As the events in a Heathrow transit lounge – and the Guardian offices – have shown, the threat to journalism is real and growing

Alan Rusbridger

In a private viewing cinema in Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me – thanking Keller for "not giving a shit" – used to be Malcolm Tucker, a foul-mouthed Scottish spin doctor who will soon be a 1,000-year-old time lord. And Keller will correct me, but I don't remember ever swearing at him. I do remember saying something to the effect of "we have the thumb drive, you have the first amendment".

The fictional moment occurs at the beginning of the DreamWorks film about WikiLeaks, The Fifth Estate, due for release next month. Peter Capaldi is, I can report, a very plausible Guardian editor.

This real-life exchange with Keller happened just after we took possession of the first tranche of WikiLeaks documents in 2010. I strongly suspected that our ability to research and publish anything to do with this trove of secret material would be severely constrained in the UK. America, for all its own problems with media laws and whistleblowers, at least has press freedom enshrined in a written constitution. It is also, I hope, unthinkable that any US government would attempt prior restraint against a news organisation planning to publish material that informed an important public debate, however troublesome or embarrassing.

On Sunday morning David Miranda, the partner of Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, was detained as he was passing through Heathrow airport on his way back to Rio de Janeiro, where the couple live. Greenwald is the reporter who has broken most of the stories about state surveillance based on the leaks from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Greenwald's work has undoubtedly been troublesome and embarrassing for western governments. But, as the debate in America and Europe has shown, there is considerable public interest in what his stories have revealed about the right balance between security, civil liberties, freedom of speech and privacy. He has raised acutely disturbing questions about the oversight of intelligence; about the use of closed courts; about the cosy and secret relationship between government and vast corporations; and about the extent to which millions of citizens now routinely have their communications intercepted, collected, analysed and stored.

In this work he is regularly helped by David Miranda. Miranda is not a journalist, but he still plays a valuable role in helping his partner do his journalistic work. Greenwald has his plate full reading and analysing the Snowden material, writing, and handling media and social media requests from around the world. He can certainly use this back-up. That work is immensely complicated by the certainty that it would be highly unadvisable for Greenwald (or any other journalist) to regard any electronic means of communication as safe. The Guardian's work on the Snowden story has involved many individuals taking a huge number of flights in order to have face-to-face meetings. Not good for the environment, but increasingly the only way to operate. Soon we will be back to pen and paper.

Miranda was held for nine hours under schedule 7 of the UK's terror laws, which give enormous discretion to stop, search and question people who have no connection with "terror", as ordinarily understood. Suspects have no right to legal representation and may have their property confiscated for up to seven days. Under this measure – uniquely crafted for ports and airport transit areas – there are none of the checks and balances that apply once someone is in Britain proper. There is no need to arrest or charge anyone and there is no protection for journalists or their material. A transit lounge in Heathrow is a dangerous place to be.

Miranda's professional status – much hand-wringing about whether or not he's a proper "journalist" – is largely irrelevant in these circumstances. Increasingly, the question about who deserves protection should be less "is this a journalist?" than "is the publication of this material in the public interest?"

The detention of Miranda has rightly caused international dismay because it feeds into a perception that the US and UK governments – while claiming to welcome the debate around state surveillance started by Snowden – are also intent on stemming the tide of leaks and on pursuing the whistleblower with a vengeance. That perception is right. Here follows a little background on the considerable obstacles being placed in the way of informing the public about what the intelligence agencies, governments and corporations are up to.

A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."

During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route – by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intention. Prior restraint, near impossible in the US, was now explicitly and imminently on the table in the UK. But my experience over WikiLeaks – the thumb drive and the first amendment – had already prepared me for this moment. I explained to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?

The man was unmoved. And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred – with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.

Whitehall was satisfied, but it felt like a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age. We will continue to do patient, painstaking reporting on the Snowden documents, we just won't do it in London. The seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera will similarly have no effect on Greenwald's work.

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like "when".

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint. Those colleagues who denigrate Snowden or say reporters should trust the state to know best (many of them in the UK, oddly, on the right) may one day have a cruel awakening. One day it will be their reporting, their cause, under attack. But at least reporters now know to stay away from Heathrow transit lounges.

David Miranda processa Governo britânico depois de detenção em Heathrow
Miranda quer recuperar os equipamentos que lhe foram retirados pela polícia 
Downing Street defende actuação da polícia e garante legalidade da operação.

O brasileiro David Miranda, que foi detido e interrogado durante nove horas no aeroporto de Heathrow, ao abrigo da Lei Anti-Terrorismo do Reino Unido, vai processar o Governo britânico e exigir a restituição de todo o material electrónico e informático que lhe foi confiscado.
Miranda, de 28 anos, foi abordado pela Polícia Metropolitana de Londres no desembarque de um voo proveniente de Berlim. O brasileiro, que vive em união de facto com o jornalista do diário The Guardian Glenn Greenwald, seguia para casa no Rio de Janeiro, transportando “informação jornalística” relativa aos programas de espionagem electrónica da Agência Nacional de Segurança dos Estados Unidos e da sua congénere britânica, que têm vindo a ser expostos pelo seu companheiro.
O Governo britânico defendeu a intervenção da Scotland Yard e garantiu que a operação que levou à detenção de David Miranda decorreu dentro da legalidade. “Sempre que a polícia acredita que um indivíduo tenha em sua posse, e de forma ilegítima, informação secreta ou sensível que pode contribuir para acções terroristas, tem a obrigação de actuar no quadro estabelecido pela lei”, justificou o Ministério do Interior, em comunicado.
A invocação do artigo 7º da legislação anti-terrorismo, que autoriza a polícia a agir sem supervisão judicial na apreensão – até um limite de nove horas – de indivíduos considerados suspeitos de terrorismo e que se encontrem em trânsito no país, está a provocar intensa polémica na Grã-Bretanha, e foi denunciada pelo sindicato dos jornalistas e organizações de defesa dos direitos cívicos e da liberdade de imprensa como um abuso de poder e uma intimidação.
A advogada Kate Goold, que representa David Miranda, disse que o seu cliente quer recuperar os equipamentos que lhe foram retirados pela polícia e certificar-se que as autoridades não podem aceder ao seu conteúdo. Segundo uma nota divulgada pelo escritório de advogados Bindmans, a polícia já recebeu uma notificação no sentido de se abster de “inspeccionar, copiar, divulgar, transferir, distribuir ou interferir de qualquer forma com os dados pertencentes ao seu cliente, enquanto a sua queixa não for avaliada pelo tribunal”.

O gabinete do primeiro-ministro, David Cameron, confirmou que Downing Street foi previamente informado da operação planeada pela Scotland Yard, mas rejeitou qualquer envolvimento político ou interferência na decisão de deter David Miranda. “O Governo não dirige as investigações policiais”, observou o porta-voz do número 10.

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