4 November 2013 — WashingtonsBlog
“Espionage Or Terrorism … Classifications Are Now Entirely Arbitrary”
As we’ve documented ad nauseum, the American and British governments are treating whistleblowers and reporters as terrorists.
But don’t listen to us …
Professor Jonathan Turley is one of the nation’s top constitutional and military law experts. Turley:
- Is the second most cited law professor in the country
- Has worked as both the CBS and NBC legal analyst during national controversies
- Ranks 38th in the top 100 most cited ‘public intellectuals’ in a recent study by a well-known judge
- Is one of the top 10 lawyers handling military cases
- Has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues
- Is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues
Turley writes today:
[Glenn Greenwald’s partner] Miranda filed a lawsuit over his treatment at Heathrow. At a hearing, a document called a “Ports Circulation Sheet” was read into the record from Scotland Yard. The document was written in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency and states that “Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security.” That is of course an absurd conclusion since they knew of his connection to Greenwald. However, the document then includes the following line: “Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”
That is the chilling line. It seems something right out of “V for Vendetta” and all that is missing is Peter Creedy and his agents of Finger.
Police officials say that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Greenwald immediately said that his partner was carrying the Snowden documents.
The casual and easy transition from a journalist/whistleblower case to a terrorism case demonstrates the slippery slope that the West is now on. These officials did not appear to have the slightest hesitation in converting the case into a terrorism case. Indeed, they created a type of legal shape shifting charge where they could claim either espionage or terrorism — effectively admitting that such classifications are now entirely arbitrary.
It is distressing to see both England and the United States slipping into such authoritarian constructs. What is most distressing is that the desire for such powers seems to reside like a dormant virus in some law enforcement circles. The ease with which the Miranda case was treated as espionage or terrorism shows an utter lack of concern over the implications of such ill-defined offenses. Under this definition, the Pentagon Papers could be treated as the same act as the 9-11 bombings.
Given that the government can label each and every one of us as terrorists, keeping our heads down so as to avoid scrutiny or harassment does NOT work.