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Tuesday 20 August 2013

Don’t Menshn The Invention

Into the controversy and debate surrounding the detention of David Miranda, partner of Guardian correspondent Glenn Greenwald, at Heathrow on Sunday has waded the former Tory MP now representing the distant constituency of Manhattan Upmarket, Louise Mensch. And you must pay attention to her, because, well, it’s written, that’s why. And she’s been on telly recently.
Has she got news for us? Er, no

Ms Mensch has titled her rant on the affair “The smears of Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian – a primer” [note that the URL has “lies” instead of “smears”], which suggests that this is some kind of wholly factual text giving readers a straightforward, yet comprehensive, briefing on events. Sadly, though, and by her own admission, it is nothing of the sort. But there is invention and abuse in spades.

The tone is set at the start, as we are told of Edward Snowden “putting our agents at risk around the world, and aiding some of the world’s most repressive regimes”, an accusation that Ms Mensch does not stand up with any of those pesky things called facts. We have to take that as read – on her say-so. And remember, anyone wavering, Snowden “was just a shitty little spy”. And this is a “primer”?
Whatever. Glenn Greenwald is accused of having Stockholm Syndrome, and then the abuse ratchets up as Greenwald is accused of being a liar over his description of Miranda as “not even a journalist”. Ms Mensch fails to understand that one can be working with a journalist without actually being one. But she’s nailed Miranda with another “lie” over his claim not to have been allowed a lawyer.
Once again, she fails to understand that being offered an approved lawyer by a clearly hostile interrogator does not cut the mustard. The Guardian had sent legal representation to Heathrow, and Miranda was refused access to them. But then she goes ballistic: “Glenn Greenwald admitted to the New York Times that David Miranda had been carrying, as a mule, stolen, encrypted thumb drives actually containing intelligence data that Snowden stole from the CIA”.
Greenwald made no such admission. But Ms Mensch is not detained by such trivialities, banging on about “top secret ... stolen” information (which, on Twitter, was also “classified”), while also admitting in an exchange with me that she had no idea what information Miranda was carrying.

And Louise Mensch, of all people, should tread carefully when casting around the word “liar” as if it were so much confetti. This is, after all, the same Louise Mensch who twice used Parliamentary privilege to make wholly untrue (and highly damaging) statements about Piers Morgan which she subsequently had to withdraw. She would be best advised to put facts before embellishment in future.

In the meantime, this blog will certainly not be taking lectures on honesty from her.


Neil said...

[note that the URL has “lies” instead of “smears”]

Isn't that still libelous? It is still printed albeit in a different form.

Mike said...

The documents were stolen by Snowden who Greenwald is working with. Greenwald has admitted in the past he is using his much younger lover (not husband, even though they could get married in Brazil) as a mule. He brought Miranda into this.
It is perfectly reasonable for the authorities to try and get the material back.
As for the ludicrous talk that the UK is now like Russia, tell me how many journalists have been murdered in the UK. We all know some who have in Russia, so hardly the same.

Colin said...

The original URL also refers to Glenn Greenberg

somebody clearly cant even get the facts right about their subject matter.

Anonymous said...

If they were suspecting him of holding stolen documents, then they can arrest him for handling stolen goods. The issue is NOT what Miranda may or may not have done. The issue is the clear abuse of the Terrorism Act (read the Home Office guidance on when to use Section 7) for an issue that clearly has nothing at all to do with terrorism.

Anonymous said...

Does it even matter what he was carrying? Since when is "carrying state secrets" terrorism?

Anonymous said...

@Mike: While you might consider it "perfectly reasonable" for the authorities to try and get the material back (an opinion to which you are certainly entitled), it is not "perfectly reasonable" to use a law that is meant to detain possible terrorists for these purposes. That is stretching the definition of the word in order to go on a fishing expedition and should not be considered legal.

Apart from that, I'm not sure what you're added emphasis on Miranda being Greenwald's "much younger lover (not husband, even though they could get married in Brazil)" is, other than an ad hominem attack.

ninetto said...

The so-called “top secret ... stolen” information does not really seem so holy as Louis Mench would have us believe, given the fact that this info itself dealt with data STOLEN from normal everyday-users of the email, internet, etc.

Justin said...

What's this "much younger lover" bullshit? I've seen quite a few critics of Greenwald rubbing their hands in prurient glee that he's gay, as if it adds some level of depravity and counts against him. It shows them for what they are - nasty little smearing bullshit artists.

As for Mensch, I just wish people would simply deny her the audience she desperately and unedifyingly craves.

Merus said...

@Mike: I don't know exactly how the UK authorities intend to get back top secret files that were copied onto a USB drive. It's not like they're the originals. If the UK wanted the originals, all they had to do is ask their pals at the CIA exactly which files Snowden touched (which the CIA almost certainly know, and honestly it's a problem that MI6 aren't also across exactly what's in those files and exactly what information Greenwald has).

Anonymous said...

Mensch is pretty clearly a tool of the Murdochs, I wouldn't put it beyond doubt that she is also either an MI5 or a CIA willing drone, this has all the hallmarks of a security services disinformation piece. I have long suspected that one of the big agencies have people working in the Murdoch empire with Rupert's approval and they will have provided her with the material.

Anonymous said...

The anti-terror laws are there to catch terrorists, no people who purportedly have secret or even stolen documents on a USB stick.

The main point here is that the government cannot use anti-terror laws as a catch-all method to go after anyone who has done any crime, or who they just don't like and find irritating.

The government may suspect I illegally downloaded the new Rihanna album, and they have the right to send police officers round and question me, arrest me, within the confines of the UK law, with a lawyer present and due process, etc.

But they cannot hold me in an airport for 9 hours under anti terror laws for it. It is clear to all parties that David Miranda is neither a terrorist nor aiding terrorists. He is a man aiding a journalist, and the only possible justification for charging him using anti-terror laws is to logically categorize journalism as terrorism.

brianlj said...

"It is perfectly reasonable for the authorities to try and get the material back."

?? You mean like GCHQ tried to destroy the Grauniad's material by breaking a few (knock-knock. Hello, GCHW! They were only copies) hard drives?

paulocanning said...

Are you seriously going to deal with these issues by going for that softest of targets, Mensch!?

Not that she's wrong. The NYT from source Greenwald says he was carrying Snowden files. Why you omit that I dunno but I also wonder why you ignore other lengthy arguments (not just mine) criticising the Guardian?

Sorry Tim but this is a #fail

Anonymous said...

Great reply to the Louise Mensch post!

Anonymous said...

The most fun I've had in days, following this story, and the contortions the UK gov., and its lackeys, are doing to justify their breach of their law. Looks like they used the wrong statue in the law, and are about to take a good slacking for it. The Guardian should consider, an Iceland, Paris, New York office, in its rule as Imperial watchdoge, offshore originated publication is unstoppable under UK "D", notices. The old Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times is still true, and I for one would not have it any other way. LOL, What Fun. As any good planner, and politician, should know, stupid ideas, always look good on paper.

Anonymous said...

Suspect the 'lies' URL was the original title which she subsequently amended (perhaps after posting) to tone it down.