Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 19th Aug 2013 14:05 UTC

The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

Miranda also had all his equipment confiscated. He has done nothing wrong - there's no charges, no criminal suspicion, nothing at all. His only crime is being the partner of a famous journalist who, among other things, is one of the driving forces behind shining a light on the NSA's mass surveillance.

There is no war on terror, because the terrorists have already won.

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RE: "UK abuses terrorism law"
by mutantsushi on Mon 19th Aug 2013 23:31 UTC in reply to ""UK abuses terrorism law""
Member since:

Although the law throws out any requirement for normally justifiable suspicion, the purpose of questioning is still legally required to pertain to determination of involvement in terrorism, which by all accounts was not even touched upon in their interrogation.

According to the Code of Practice of the Terrorism Act of 2000 itself:

"The purpose of questioning and associated powers is to determine whether a person appears to be someone who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. The powers, which are additional to the powers of arrest under the Act, should not be used for any other purpose."

(props to: for bringing that detail to my attention)

Although your point stands that regardless of the details of the law, granting such broad police state powers is practically inevitable to result in abuses such as this.

Edited 2013-08-19 23:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: "UK abuses terrorism law"
by flypig on Tue 20th Aug 2013 00:06 in reply to "RE: "UK abuses terrorism law""
flypig Member since:

Thanks; that's very interesting. However, the quote you provided is from the guidance, which has no legal enforceability as far as I'm aware. As it says in the guidance:

"The notes for guidance are not provisions of the code but are guidance to examining officers on its application and interpretation."

The act itself does state the purpose of questioning someone has to be "for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b)", but I don't see any check on this in the text.

I'm not a lawyer, didn't read the full legislation and would love to be proven wrong, so if you know otherwise I'd be very happy to hear it. Luckily the law is currently under review, so hopefully this incident will at least help reinforce the need to rein in these powers.

Reply Parent Score: 2

mutantsushi Member since:

Yeah, the "for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b)" seems to be the exact impetus for (or equivalent of) the guidance.

Regardless of legal details, a bill NAMED the Terrorism Bill is understood to pertain to terrorism, otherwise is simply misleading, and applying it outside that scope is abusing the trust of reasonable people who believe a law to be what it says it is (which would probably include the MPs who passed the law).

I'm certainly not trying to apologize for the bill itself and present this event as some 'regrettable incident' with the law itself being reasonable, I hope the whole thing is scrapped or otherwise returned to judicial norms, and hopefully this guy can sue the police for abusing him and stealing his equipment (and presumably, sending off copies of the data to the US).

Hopefully something about this happens on the ECHR level as well, allowing the UK security regime to do whatever they prefer to sweep it under the rug, ignoring the fundamental issues can't be allowed to happen. People in other countries of the EU should take this just as seriously as the neo-Nazi Austrian party that was briefly in power. All the more so because most of the other EU governments are in bed with this whole system.

Edited 2013-08-20 01:41 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2