UK Parliament Questions Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger’s Patriotism In Anti-Terrorism Hearing

UK Parliament questions Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger’s patriotism in anti-terrorism hearing

Photograph of the debating chamber of the British House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster, London, looking north-east. | Author: UK Parliament | Used under the Parliamentary copyright | Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:House_of_Commons.jpg
Photograph of the debating chamber of the British House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster, London, looking north-east. | Author: UK Parliament | Used under the Parliamentary copyright | Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:House_of_Commons.jpg

On December 3, 2013 the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger had to testify before the House of Commons of the British Parliament  in a hearing on anti-terrorism.

One of the rather stunning questions asked by Chair Keith Vaz was whether Rusbridger “love[d] this country [the UK].”

Rusbridger replied:

We live in a democracy and most of the people working on this story are British people who have families in this country, who love this country. I’m slightly surprised to be asked the question but yes, we are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of democracy, the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things [emphasis mine].

With us or against us – the excluded middle

Behind the questioning of Rusbridger’s “patriotism” because he, as a journalist, does not agree with the government’s national security narrative, lies the logical fallacy of the excluded middle. Either you agree with total surveillance of the world’s citizens in the name of national security or the terrorists win.

The possibility that there might be excesses in the surveillance architectures of the so-called Global War on Terrorism (there are!) , that much of what is being done in this area has probably more to do with gaining illegitimate advantages through economic espionage, or that there might be approaches that actually help fighting terrorism without eroding civil liberties does not occur in this line of thinking.

An uninformed citizenry cannot correct its government

The elephant in the room is this: Had it not been for Snowden, we the people of the world would never have known about the extent of surveillance against innocent citizens. Democracies rely on an adversarial press to keep the government in check.

Since the summer of 2013, the Guardian has been releasing articles based on the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, exposing the indiscriminate mass surveillance by the American NSA, the British GCHQ, and other intelligence agencies of the world’s citizens.

Read, see, and hear more:

[Audio and article] “Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger appears before MPs – live coverage.” (Paul Owen, Guardian, 2013/12/03) – Summary of the hearing and an audio recording can be found here.

Highlights from Guardian editor’s Parliament hearing.” (Kristen Hare, Poynter.org, 2013/12/03) – Many more questions to and answers from Alan Rusbridger.

MPs question Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s patriotism over Edward Snowden leaks.” (Ian Burrell, The Independent, 2013/12/03)

The progressive talk show The Young Turks reports on the hearing here:

 

 

Glenn Greenwald Interview On BBC HARDtalk

Glenn Greenwald Interview on BBC HARDtalk

On November 28, 2013, journalist Glenn Greenwald, known for reporting on the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, gave an interview to BBC HARDtalk, a format known for tough questioning that does not accept standard talking points.

The interview takes place at a time when the UK government, partly under pressure from the U.S., tries to attack the Guardian newspaper, i.e. shoot the messenger, for exposing the NSA’s and GCHQ’s blanket mass surveillance of the world’s citizens.

Read more:

Britain targets Guardian newspaper over intelligence leaks related to Edward Snowden.” (Washington Post, 2013/11/29)

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of telephone records of the Associated Press, reports the Associated Press.

The AP calls the DOJ’s action an “unprecedented intrusion.”

Here is what news agency Reuters reported.

According to the Guardian, the Obama administration wanted to find out the source of an “alleged Yemen terrorist plot story.”

Here is a report by Think Progress on the background of the DOJ’s action. According to them, the AP’s reporting on a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen “put AQAP [Al-Quida in the Arabic Peninsula] on notice that the CIA had a window into their activities.”

Here is the ACLU’s statement on the matter.

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project said the following:

Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power. Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.

Read more:

The Law Behind the A.P. Phone-Record Scandal.” (Lynn Oberlander, New Yorker, 2013/05/14)

Outrage Grows Over Justice Department Seizure of Associated Press Phone Records.” (Greg Mitchell, The Nation via Alternet, 2013/05/14)