April 13, 2014

Glenn Greenwald home. Sarah Harrison exiled.


This is exactly the contrast that struck me on hearing that Greenwald had returned to the United States without incident, event or arrest.

Glenn Greenwald landed in New York and passed through customs unhindered.

Sarah Harrison cannot return to the UK. This is on the very real fear and very material likelihood of arrest and prosecution as a terrorist under the Terrorism Act 2000. Glenn Greenwald said here (16m) of the risk of arrest and prosecution:
"Every lawyer that Laura Poitras and I have talked to have said, you should not in any way put yourself at risk of getting apprehended by the UK government and as a British citizen she [Sarah Harrison] she is well advised not to return to the UK for the crime of working in a journalistic capacity to bring these stories to the world."
Sarah Harrison wrote in the Guardian and explained in full how she cannot return to the UK. Under the Terrorism Act 2000, terrorism is defined as an act or threat "designed to influence the government", that "is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause" and that would pose a "serious risk" to the health or safety of a section of the public.

Sarah Harrison explained that UK government officials have said that this risk under the Terrorism Act is present with the disclosure of any "classified" document. Glenn Greenwald recently spoke (15m) of Sarah Harrison with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now:
"The person at Wikileaks who sacrificed the most and who was the most heroic was Sarah Harrison who flew to Hong Kong and who met Snowden, who travelled with him to Moscow, who stayed with him for several months while he was first in the airport and then he was getting aclimated to his life in Moscow, and not only did she give up those months of her life and put herself at risk; but she's now in danger of not being able to return to her own home."
Glenn Greenwald said here (17m):
"Of all the criminality that we've exposed in this case, I think the most egregious is the attempt by the US and the UK government to convert journalism, not only into crime, and not only into espionage, but into actual terrorism, it's a real menace to a free press in an ongoing way." 
Glenn Greenwald has said before:
"There are ways to intimidate journalists. You can intimidate them en masse. But there are other ways to do it. And calling journalists working on stories, "accomplises" or having powerful chairmen of committees specifically accuse journalists of being criminals advocating for their prosecution, and having major media figures openly debate whether we ought to prosecute. It is a way to intensify that climate of fear."
He continued this here and said:
"There are ways to intimidate journalists. You can imprison them en masse, but there are other ways to do it... As is detaining my partner or marching into The Guardian's newsroom and forcing them to destroy those laptops. And I think, ultimately, the only way to deal with those kind of threats is to just do the reporting as aggressively, if not more so, than you would have absent those threats."
And importantly
"I think it’s important to recognize how intensified those threats became over the last nine or 10 months." 
Glenn Greenwald said that the tactics of fear being used against journalists, it was a matter of principle to return to the United States. Greenwald said here:
"I hope that, as journalists, we realize how important it is not only to defend our own rights, but also those of our sources like Edward Snowden."
Where in America, Snowden has prompted debate and reform. In Britain, debate has been muted, society indifferent and government belligerent. I explained before that, as Snowden said, "the GCHQ are worse than the US."

Therefore, not only does it fall upon us to debate and call for the reform of the British surveillance and anti-terrorism state, but we must also stand up for and defend free speech and the rights of journalists and whistleblowers in the face of an all-seeing and all-powerful state.

New York Times report on Greenwald's return here. New York Magazine here. Guardian here. Democracy Now here with video. Previous posts by Brian on the subject here and here. David Miranda judgement here where his detention was deemed lawful.

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