David Miranda’s story

David Miranda is Glenn Greenwald’s partner and became much better known when he was detained and interrogated at Heathrow airport for nearly nine hours and had his computer and other electronic equipment confiscated because the British authorities suspected that he was carrying Edward Snowden-related materials from Germany to Brazil.

There is now a court case in the UK in which he argues that his detention violated his rights were violated because he was detained under laws that pertain to terrorism while there is no evidence that he was in any way involved with such activities. The British government has stretched the definition of terrorism to an unbelievable extent.

Miranda’s lawyers say the Metropolitan police misused schedule 7 and that his detention was a violation of his human rights. They have sought information about why Miranda was stopped and why his laptop, phone and electronic equipment were seized.

The PCS document, drawn up in consultation with the intelligence services, also said: “We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material, the release of which would endanger people’s lives.

“Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism and as such we request that the subject is examined under schedule 7.”

The media has portrayed Miranda as a pawn in the whole process, used as a courier by Greenwald and Laura Poitras but this detailed profile of him shows him as someone who, rather than being a passive bystander who happened to get involved, is actively supporting the efforts and is playing a major role in Greenwald’s operation.

After I spent several weeks with Miranda and Greenwald in and around their home in the upscale, artist-friendly Rio neighborhood of Gavea over the last month, one thing has become very clear: David Miranda knew exactly what he was doing. To believe he was played as some type of dupe or mule by Greenwald not only ignores the real nature of their relationship but also assumes that there’s some safer way to transport sensitive documents across the globe. Is there any device more fail-safe and secure than the person you love the most? Does Apple make that sort of product?

Miranda knew very well that he was traveling from Rio to Berlin to see Greenwald’s reporting partner, documentarian Laura Poitras, and that he would be returning through the U.K., all the time carrying a heavily encrypted flash drive directly related to the trove of documents that former and now notorious CIA employee Edward Snowden had vacuumed from the National Security Agency and had given to Greenwald earlier in the year.

It will be interesting to see to whether the British judiciary is as cowed by government use of the terrorism club as is the case in the US.


  1. invivoMark says

    By that definition, election stickers and pins with a candidate’s name count as terrorist weapons.

    That is absurd.

    The UK desperately needs to copy the First Amendment from the US Constitution and sign it into law right away!

  2. trucreep says

    This was always the natural course for the meaning of “terrorism.” It is purposefully left almost ambiguous so it can be used to apply whenever needed. The only requirement is that it allows the government to suspend or ignore guaranteed rights of an individual so it may be deployed whenever convenient.

    We can already see this in the states, where energy companies are pressuring the government to label environmental activists as terrorists.

  3. rpjohnston says

    Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government, and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause.

    Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.


    Also, voting. Also, political speeches. If they want to go with that definition, make ’em own it. Round up all lobbyists and anyone who has ever given a political speech.

    Of course that’s a pipe dream. Who governs the government?

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