The Untrusteds drool at the possibility of UK secrets in China’s and Russia’s hands.

China's Lifan 320 - a BMW Mini Look-alike and amazing design coincidence. At Chongqing airport July 2009

China’s Lifan 320 – a BMW Mini Look-alike and amazing design coincidence. At Chongqing airport July 2009

The Untrusteds drool at the possibility of UK secrets in China’s and Russia’s hands.

MBC1955 as usual missing the point:

The point of the story is that the Guardian does indeed have offsite back-ups, and no doubt more than one, and that the destruction of the hard drives is no more than a symbolic gesture to a government force as ignorant as it is fascistic.

Another line has been crossed, and this is no longer Britain, or England, or however you want to describe it. Another step has been taken towards the creation of all those SF dystopias that people used to regard as exaggerated.

Followed by Sheff Pixie also failing completely to understand the point:

It is so cheering watching this horrible, authoritarian regime being given one in the eye.

And James Dixon

I don’t think it’s being particularly hyperbolic to suggest that we’re not so much at the top of a slippery slope, as we are already hurtling down it at a pretty rapid pace…..

And BeautifulBurnout at her most hackneyed:

Does anyone else feel like they have walked onto the set of “V for Vendetta” by mistake?

And thaumaturge in hero worship mode:

I’ve been critical of him in the past, but I think he’s spot on here and admire his fortitude in the face of what has surely been a huge amount of intimidation.

So the collected ranks of the Untrusted including it’s own tame barrister sees nothing amiss with the editor of the UK’s main left of centre newspaper caving in to the demands of two security officers from GCHQ who’ve walked into his office and instructed him to destroy two computer hard drives? And him complying like a school boy caught by the headmaster with some illicit magazines?

There was a time, and very recently when the Telegraph had a CD containing the details of all the corruptly obtained expenses of Members of Parliament. I can’t imagine that there wasn’t serious pressure on the editor to hand it over or destroy it. But in the long tradition of a free press this was refused. Now following Rusbridger’s short sighted folly, his action will be used as the means to threaten any and every newspaper and media organisation that happens to get hold of leaked government information. Rusbridger has used the excuse that he has backup copies in the USA and will continue to report, but does he seriously think that’s how the same Security Service personnel are going to play this the next time they want to intimidate an editor? (Rusbridger says he was intimidated.) Of course they won’t. What they’ll do is to point out that even the world famous editor of the Guardian – born out of the Peterloo Massacre, saw sense and co- operated.

Rusbridger added that the alternative to destroying the computer hard drives would be “essentially surrendering control of that material” to the courts while fighting a lengthy legal case with only a small prospect of winning. But he omitted to say that he could also have refused to co-operate and if necessary gone to prison as other journalists have done in the past.

And when did all this happen? Yesterday, last week? A month ago? On the 20th July and then after discussions had gone on for over a month.

The second issue given that this hard drive smashing all happened on 20 July, is what on earth the Guardian was doing using Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s partner, as a courier to carry the State secrets of the USA and the UK, that Snowden had stolen, on an international flight that required him to transit at Heathrow? Not only was this naive in the extreme, but it also shows an incredibly cavalier attitude to the safety of Miranda. For the moment I’m discounting the possibility of him being set up by the Guardian and / or Greenwald.

During his trip to Berlin, Miranda met Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has been working with Greenwald and the Guardian. The Guardian paid for Miranda’s flights. Miranda is not a Guardian employee but often assists Greenwald in his work.

In their rush to hero worship the Guardian, Greenwald, Miranda and Snowden, any critical thinking and analysis by the armchair revolutionaries and anarchists has been jettisoned. The Guardian, whatever praise it deserves for bringing the Snowden material into the open, although it did so alongside numerous other news outlets, has made some serious errors on the way as these reports indicate:

The left must challenge Greenwald

NSA Nutjob: Anatomy of a Fake ‘Observer’ Story

Cops blame “pressure cooker” questions on ex-employer tip, not government surveillance

This featured in an ATL Guardian article and attracted 996 comments, under the heading – “Long Island resident said her web search history and ‘trying to learn how to cook lentils’ prompted a visit from authorities but police say search was prompted by tipoff”.  The raid according the the article was conducted by a “joint terrorism task force”  Except it wasn’t and the tip-off was from her husband’s former employer.

One final question which is while Snowden was waiting for his flight from Hong Kong to Russia and later waiting in the airport lounges in Moscow, where was his luggage?

Far more important it seems to me is this story about the jailing for fraud of Kent businessman Gary Bolton, over the sale of thousands of devices based on novelty golf ball finders which he claimed could detect explosives and drugs but which detectives said were “nothing more than plastic handles with aerials as antennae. Human rights campaigners have reported they failed to detect bombs that then killed four people. Hundreds more have been wrongly imprisoned after the fake equipment indicated they had handled explosives.

A Home Office scientist who ran a test in 2001 that demonstrated the so-called bomb detector was useless said he had issued a written warning against the device which was circulated to at least 1,000 officials across Whitehall, the military and police departments. It was circulated before the government launched its cross-departmental promotional drive to sell the devices around the world.

Despite the stark warning, in the years after 2001, members of the Royal Engineers took Bolton’s products to several exhibitions and demonstrations in 2003 and 2004, including sales drives to the Bahrain Defence Force, Kuwait, Poland, France and Venezuela.

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