British MP caught telling lies about Glenn Greenwald
Two things of note happened yesterday. In the US the White House released the independent report into the NSA global surveillance programs (I’ve done a quick summary on Infosecurity Magazine here: White House Releases the NSA Surveillance Review). Meanwhile, journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke to the European Union via video link.
The NSA review includes this little gem: “A particular concern involves preservation of the rights, and the security, of journalists and the press; their rights and their security are indispensible to self-government.”
I only hope that the UK government reads this report and ponders on that statement. No free press, no democracy.
But the reality is that if Greenwald had flown to Brussels to speak to the EU he would probably have been arrested. The UK could, probably would, have issued a European arrest warrant under the Terrorism Act; and the Belgian police would have been forced to arrest him – just as the UK was ‘forced’ to arrest Assange on an arrest warrant issued by Sweden. Such behaviour would have been par for the course from a government that is determined to curtail rather than protect the freedom of the press.
But unable to arrest him, they could only watch and fume impotently; and an impotent politician is a wondrous sight. British MP Julian Smith – the very MP who has been leading the charge against the Guardian and is trying to get it and its editor charged under the Terrorism Act – tweeted: “So @ggreenwald confirms to @TimKirkhopeMEP that @guardian gave him files he didn’t originally have #EPinquiry #EUdataP #NSA.” There was just one problem: Greenwald said nothing of the sort.
If it wasn’t so funny, it would be worrying. Here we have a member of the British Parliament so determined to kill the messenger that he quite openly and quite blatantly lies to get his way.
Compare and contrast the two nations: the US and the UK. The US houses the Big Brother of spy agencies (the NSA) which is the major culprit in global surveillance, spying and hacking. In response to public outcry it holds an independent enquiry and publishes the result. The UK houses the little subservient brother, GCHQ, which on a slightly smaller scale is just as bad. In response to public outcry it denies any wrongdoing, disrupts any attempts at public debate, and seeks to prosecute the Guardian. And its politicians – or this one at least – tells a stupid, indefensible lie that not merely holds himself up to ridicule, but makes you wonder about the cumulative IQ and morality of our leaders.