Target: Theresa May, British Home Secretary
Goal: Apologize for detention of David Miranda on false terrorism charges
David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, was detained recently at London’s Heathrow Airport under the Terrorism Act 2000 on his way to Rio de Janiero. He was questioned by police for almost nine hours and all electronic materials in his possession were seized. A criminal investigation subsequently was launched by police. However, the whole episode has had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with government intimidation of the press.
Miranda is the civil union partner of Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian journalist who first reported leaks from U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Among Miranda’s seized belongings were stored computer files containing information from Snowden, intended to be given to Greenwald. He later told The Guardian “They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate…it was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” The UK Home Ministry also raided Guardian offices to destroy files from Snowden there, with CNN reporting prior pressure on the newspaper to do so came from a Cabinet member acting on behalf of Prime Minster David Cameron.
Significantly, critics of Miranda’s detention include not just actors such as Human Rights Watch and the Brazilian government, but also one of the people who helped introduce the Terrorism Act 2000 itself. Lord Falconer, who was Lord Chancellor under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, has stated that he believed what happened to David Miranda was an abuse of the law.
Most recently Miranda received a High Court ruling that police must stop investigating his materials, except when considered important to protect national security. As the “national security” excuse was previously used to detain him and act against The Guardian, this means nothing has changed. The British government should not feel it has a right to abuse to the laws to target and intimidate journalists and their families. By signing this petition, you will demand that Home Minister Theresa May apologize to Miranda for his detention and ensure all his seized possessions are returned.
Dear Secretary May,
The recent detention of David Miranda and seizure of his files under the Terrorism Act 2000 is rightfully being criticized as an abuse of police power. There was no evidence linking Miranda to any planned terrorist act, and his treatment had everything to do with intimidation of the press.
As you know, Miranda is the civil union partner of The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first interviewed and reported information from U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Files from Snowden recorded on hard drive were on the list of electronic materials sized from Miranda, and subsequently after his detention the newspaper’s offices were raided for additional Snowden-related materials.
This clearly is a misuse of government power to harass journalists in the name of “national security” and has nothing to do with preventing terrorism. It is worth noting that Lord Falconer, who helped introduce the Terrorism Act, has himself called what happened to Miranda an abuse of the law.
Journalists have every right to perform their job of informing the public without intimidation directed against them or their spouses and families. I ask that you apologize to Miranda for his detention and ensure that all materials seized from him are returned.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Glenn Greenwald via Facebook