Miley Cyrus rescues The Guardian from Edward Snowden and and that confusing free speech
WHO knew that when the Guardian cheered the demise of a newspaper – the News of the World – and championed State influence over what journalists can and cannot write and investigate, they were being foolish? Well, we did. Free speech has no buts. It is either free or it isn’t.
Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian editor, is shocked that the State is meddling in its writers’ lives. Hitting tabloid writers is fine. But look out anyone who messes with the broadsheets. The three main police operations resulting from the News of the World hacking scandal are the biggest investigation in UK criminal history.
So far, 59 journalists have been arrested, including: News of the World (23), The Sun (21), The Times (2), Sunday People (3) Sunday Mirror (2), Daily Mirror (1) and Daily Star Sunday (1). (Full list here.)
The Guardian is fine with journalists being arrested when its the popular tabloids getting it. Although a look at that paper’s website reveals that popularism isn’t all bad so long as its analysed fully:
“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.”
Glenn Greenwald on the Guardian’s Comment is Free writes in light of his partner David Miranda being detained at Heathrow:
“This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they feel threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.”
Roy Greenslade notes on his Guardian blog:
“Edward Snowden is an heroic whistleblower. The journalist who wrote his story, Glenn Greenwald, was responsible for breaking one of the world’s greatest exclusives. Should we journalists, as a community, not be rallying to their cause rather than looking the other way?”
Not hacker. Whistleblower. Hackers and blaggers are awful people. Whitleblowers are heroic. So says the Guardian.
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:
“In a Guardian basement, officials from GCHQ gazed with satisfaction on a pile of mangled hard drives like so many book burners sent by the Spanish Inquisition.”
Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail:
“The Guardian, of course, is almost single-handedly responsible for Leveson because of its — later debunked — allegation that the News of the World deleted the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. Nor can I help pointing out the newspaper that has shed copious tears for Mr Miranda, held for nine hours, had no such concerns over the interrogation of dozens of red-top journalists. Some were arrested at dawn in front of their families, deprived of their computers for months and released on bail. Charges won’t be brought against some of them. Others will end up in court. But even the most culpable among them never attempted to damage their country. With friends like Edward Snowden, and employees such as Glenn Greenwald, that is what the Guardian is in danger of doing.”
Fraser Nelson in The Spectator:
“Press freedom is indeed under threat in Britain. The Guardian, for all of its proud history, has proven a rather unreliable defender of these freedoms in recent years — especially when it has spotted an opportunity to sock it to Rupert Murdoch. There is a growing case for a British Bill of Rights that would define and protect press freedom for the digital age, giving us the same protections that the Americans are afforded by the First Amendment. But there is not, and never has been, a fundamental right for newspapers to acquire and publish state secrets that weaken our national security and put the country at risk. Any ally of press freedom ought to be able to make this distinction.”
It’s not freedom the Guardian is protecting. It’s an agenda.
Finally a look at news the Guardian did not lament:
The arrest of Rhodri Phillips at 6.30am on 19 July 2012 by officers from the Operation Tuleta computer-hacking inquiry led to outrage among Sun colleagues at the time.
It has previously been reported that his arrest was linked to an MP’s mobile phone which was handed in to The Sun and that Phillips was tasked with finding out if the phone warranted a ‘security scare’ style story.
Press Gazette has now learned that Phillips never even saw the phone.
The incident dates back to late 2010 when the mobile phone of Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh was handed in to the offices of The Sun.
Press Gazette understands that staffers were told that it had been left on a train and they believed it might contain information which would constitute a security breach. It has since emerged that the phone was stolen from the MP’s car.
Phillips was told to make sense of a transcription of material from the phone which was given to him and he wrote a briefing email to the newsdesk, explaining that there was no evidence of a security breach.
No story appeared and it is believed that the phone was handed back to the MP.
Phillips’s email to the newsdesk was turned up by News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee after that body was set up to scour the company for evidence of illegal activity following the phone-hacking scandal and the closure of the News of the World in July 2011.
After the email was passed on by the MSC to the police, Phillips was arrested at his north London home at 6.30am on the morning of 19 July 2012 in front of his wife and two young children, who were aged six and two at the time.
Officers searched his house for three hours and then drove him two hours across London to Charing Cross police station where he was held for further questioning. He was finally released at 5pm that day.
Police took away mobile phones, private diaries, notebooks and computer equipment from his home which they have yet to return. Phillips was re-bailed four times, but never questioned again.
Phillips said yesterday in an email to colleagues: “I am delighted to have been cleared of any wrongdoing after my arrest 13 months ago but my thoughts today are with my colleagues who have been charged or remain on bail.
“This has been a massive ordeal but my family, friends and colleagues have been a tremendous support throughout.”
Such are the facts…