US denies ordering UK 'Snowden' detention

The US government denies ordering authorities at London Heathrow Airport to detain the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has worked with former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to expose governments’ surveillance programs

US denies ordering UK 'Snowden' detention

World Bulletin / News Desk

The US government has denied it ordered officials at the UK’s Heathrow Airport to detain the partner of Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who has published information in both UK and Brazilian newspapers purportedly from US whistleblower and former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The US admitted it had been given a “heads up” about the detention of the journalist’s partner, 28-year-old David Marinda, but White House deputy spokesperson Josh Earnest said the decision was taken by the UK “independent of our direction” and without a request by the US.

Mr. Miranda, a Brazilian national, was detained at London Heathrow Airport on Sunday under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000, which is used to stop and detain people at airports, port and train stations and question them about their links to terrorism.

Mr. Miranda was travelling from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Mr. Greenwald, when he was kept for nearly nine hours while transiting through the UK airport – the full amount of time allowed under the law before a charge must be given or extra time for questioning granted.

Arriving back in Rio on Monday morning, Mr. Miranda told reporters at Rio’s Galeão International Airport that he had had a number of personal items confiscated during his detention.

“There were six different agents, coming and going, speaking with me. They asked questions about my entire life, about everything; they took my computer, video game, mobile phone, my memory cards, everything,” Mr. Miranda said.

Despite insisting that Schedule 7 was always used “appropriately and proportionally”, Scotland Yard have not given an explanation as to why the Brazilian was detained. Property taken under the law should be returned after seven days.

UK ‘bullying’ to spur ‘more aggressive’ reporting

Glenn Greenwald – who is a US citizen and lives in Brazil with Mr. Miranda, with whom he has on a stable union – has written articles, mainly for the UK’s Guardian newspaper, allegedly exposing far-reaching surveillance programs run by the US and the UK intelligence agencies.

He recently collaborated with Brazil’s O Globo newspaper to reveal the extent of spying by United States’ NSA intelligence agency over telecommunications in Brazil and throughout Latin America, including the widespread tapping of emails and telephone calls pertaining both to ordinary citizens, corporations and politicians.

The revelations sparked outrage from leaders across the region and caused noticeable tension on a recent visit to Brazil by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Having been reunited with Mr. Miranda at Rio’s Galeão Airport, Mr. Greenwald told reporters that the UK authorities had the intention of trying to intimidate him by interrogating his partner, but said the actions would have opposite effect:

“I’m going to write reports with far greater aggression than before; I’m going to publish many more documents than before. I’m going to publish a lot of things about England as well. I have a lot of documents about England’s spy system,” Mr. Greenwald told reporters.

“I think they are going to regret what they have done,” he concluded, saying their actions were tantamount to “bullying”.

Mr. Miranda is reported to have stayed with one of Mr. Greenwald’s colleagues in Berlin, US filmmaker Laura Poitras, and the authorities are likely to have believed the Brazilian was bringing Mr. Greenwald more documents with information from Edward Snowden.

Brazil demands answers over “unjustifiable” detention

After hearing about the detention, Brazil quickly responded over the incident. The country’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, called the detention “unjustifiable” and demanded answers from his British counterpart, William Hague.

The Itamaraty, Brazil’s Foreign Office, said in a note to the press on Sunday that: “The Brazilian government hopes that incidents such as that seen today with a Brazilian citizen will not be repeated.”

The UK Ambassador to Brazil, Alex Ellis, said on Monday that the detention was “an operational question for the London Metropolitan Police” and that Mr. Hague had held a private conversation with his Brazilian counterpart.

“They agreed that the representatives of the Brazilian and British governments will remain in contact on the issue,” Ambassador Ellis said, underlining the “strong relationship” between the two countries.

A number of senior UK politicians have called for the issue to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and The Guardian said it was “dismayed” by the incident and was seeking clarifications from the British authorities.

The paper, which had paid for Mr. Miranda’s flights but insisted he was not a member of their staff, has said that Edward Snowden had passed thousands of files to Mr. Greenwald.

Mr. Snowden has now sought temporary asylum in Russia, but is still wanted by the United States to answer charges of espionage and theft of government property.

UK officials said that of those detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, 97 percent are held for under an hour, and only one in 2,000 are kept for most than six hours.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Ağustos 2013, 09:11