THE picture painted by Home Secretary May of the police doing their duty in the Snowden affair, as they saw it, without any government input, is in the starkest contrast with the reality that has emerged.
This is that Tory leader Cameron personally sent a leading state official down to the Guardian newspaper to insist that the Snowden material that the newspaper possessed be surrendered or destroyed, and that refusal would see the government taking legal action against the Guardian.
This is hardly non-government interference, just weeks before the detention of David Miranda at Heathrow for nine hours.
In fact the Guardian gave way to the overmighty government and state.
The sight of GCHQ spy agency officials standing over and supervising the destruction of computer hard drives at the Guardian is not one that smacks of government non-interference.
Even the US government has had to pull back a little from the hard-line dictatorial methods of the Cameron clique. US state officials have said that they could not see one of their number going into the New York Times or the Washington Post and ordering and supervising the destruction of computer hard drives.
Cameron’s action signals that the capitalist state rules, and that the freedom of the press is a thing of the past now that British imperialism is fighting for its life, in the midst of a huge world crisis.
The message that the game is up for the free press was hammered home, especially in the light of the fact that copies of the destroyed material are already in other hands abroad.
The message is publish and you will be damned, arrested, raided, legislated against and ultimately imprisoned for harming ‘security’ i.e. exposing the enormous worldwide spying apparatus in which the GCHQ and British intelligence play a major role.
The destruction of the hard drives took place in July. This was then followed up by the detention of Miranda at Heathrow this week, when he was forced to divulge email and social media account passwords and told that he would go to prison if he did not do so. His electronic equipment was confiscated. His lawyers confirmed that the state confiscated his laptop, an additional hard drive, two memory sticks, a mobile phone, a smart watch and a video games console.
Miranda said he felt very threatened during his detention. The new regime is clearly to be, publish and be damned.
Rifkind, who is the chairman of the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Neither Mr Snowden nor the editor of the Guardian – or the editor of any other newspaper – is in a position to necessarily judge whether the release of top-secret information may have a significant relevance in the battle against terrorism.’
He added: ‘Sometimes you might genuinely think you can release a document and it’s not going to be of any assistance to a terrorist when in fact you might be wrong – and that’s simply a question of your inability to judge if you are a newspaper editor or a journalist as opposed to somebody involved in the intelligence work that has to be done.’
The Big Brother state and government knows best. You are about to be jailed, or fined for your own good, so admit now that ‘the state knows best’ and shut up or else.
Miranda was detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Passed under the Labour government it allows police to hold someone at an airport, or international railway station for up to nine hours for questioning about whether they have been involved with acts of terrorism. Non co-operation is a criminal offence that warrants imprisonment.
Labour and Tory governments have already established the basis for a police state. As the crisis deepens this state will be used against the working class and the trade unions to maintain bankrupt capitalism by getting rid of basic trade union and democratic rights. The only way to deal with this state apparatus is to smash it with a socialist revolution that replaces bankrupt capitalism with a socialist society.