Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Aug 2013 10:39 UTC
In the News Another checkmark in our road towards a totalitarian society: government intimidating the free press, destroying materials, and threatening to take them to court - to shut down a newspaper. No joke. The British government demanded that The Guardian hand over all materials related to Edward Snowden so that they could be destroyed. If the newspaper did not comply, the British government would go to court to shut down The Guardian.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more."

During one of these meetings I asked directly whether the government would move to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route - by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working. The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intention.

The newspaper told the government that even if they did comply, it would be pointless - all the materials related to Snowden had already been spread throughout the world, the actual editing was done in New York, the journalist in question (Greenwald) lived in Brazil - but the British government stood fast.

And so one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred - with two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents. "We can call off the black helicopters," joked one as we swept up the remains of a MacBook Pro.


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Needs a reaction from the EU
by anda_skoa on Tue 20th Aug 2013 16:29 UTC
Member since:

I think it is time the EU asks the UK to leave the Union.

They have only been a half-hearted member anyway, lots of their people opposing being part of a strengthend Europe, blocking important improvements for European citizens and so on.

These recent incidents would make it next to impossible for any country applying for membership to get accepted, so in consequence it should not be tolerated by any already approved members.

While kicking them out would be a stronger signal to the rest of the EU population it would also unnecessarily boost the UKs already rampaging nationalism.

But they should definitely be offered the choice to either revert to a civilized political system or leave.

Reply Score: 8

lucas_maximus Member since:

We have a pretty civilised political system.

What typically happens in Spain (I live in Spain and work in Gibraltar) is far worse IMHO.

Recently the Prime Minister of Spain has been caught taking bribes, in the UK he would have be ousted straight away. In Spain it like kinda accepted, for a number of reasons that are partly cultural and some because as my Spanish friend said "we have only had democracy for 30 years).

Not too long ago a news anchor in Spain was sacked because she asked a politician some serious questions.

As for Nationalism, only the true thickos hate other nationalities. Most normal people are quite friendly and well adjusted.

It is akin to thinking that most American's are right wing fundamentalist christians because of rantings of some of the news networks over there. It simply isn't the case of the majority of people.

Nowhere is perfect.

Edited 2013-08-20 17:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

benytocamela Member since:

Yes. Spain's political climate is, and has always been, shitty. Which should be no surprise given how its elites have always been notoriously incompetent and corrupt. Specially in the South where you live.

But as usual it's a matter of perspective; some Spaniards could as well make the case that the corruption in the UK is worse. Those scandals you mentioned are peccadilloes compared to the magnitude and scope of the LIBOR scandal, the BP disaster, or the outright lies co-signed by the British government with regards to Iraq that led to thousands upon thousands of innocent victims, for example.

Which is why I am of the opinion governments, any government, should be 100% transparent. Specially among the EU states, which are far from being the panacea many of their citizens assume them to be.

Reply Parent Score: 6