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Sunday 14 June 2015

Sunday Times Snowden Story Busted

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden lifted the lid on the overreach by the surveillance state, the spooks have caused a series of articles to appear in compliant newspapers, telling how the security services are being hampered by his leaks, or, worse, that the safety of “agents” is being put in danger. So today’s Sunday Times headline, “British spies betrayed to Russians and Chinese”, should surprise no-one.
What is also no surprise - more a matter of regret - is how other media outlets, including, to its shame, the BBC, have churned over this story as if it were fact. It clearly is not: this post will point out just three areas where the spooks and Murdoch hacks made glaringly elementary mistakes which prove it. Those that Robin Day so memorably - and correctly - called “here today and gone tomorrow politicians” would do well to address them.

One, a central premise of the ST article is that Snowden sought asylum in Russia by design. “Why do you think Snowden ended up in Russia? Putin didn’t give him asylum for nothing” the article tells. But Snowden did not intend to seek asylum in Russia: he was intending to travel to South America from Hong Kong when his passport was revoked by the US authorities. Allied to this assertion is the claim that he was carrying secret files with him on arrival in Moscow.

Snowden has always claimed he was not, and thus far no-one has credibly challenged that. Are the spooks now claiming he was lying? The assertion that the Chinese and Russians have those files rests on his having given them up as a way of gaining transit out of Hong Kong, but by his account, he had given them up to others by that point. Ryan Gallagher has covered that area well, see HERE.

Two, the talk of “agents”, as Craig Murray has pointed out (see his take HERE), misunderstands the nature of modern espionage. MI6 has “officers”, and those it uses to garner information are “agents”, these not being part of the security services. MI6 officers operate under diplomatic protection. The misuse of terminology extends to the article talking of “agents” having to be “lifted”, which is not the correct usage.

Lifting” refers to the interception or kidnapping of the opposition’s resources; perhaps the ST should give their hacks a private screening of The Ipcress File. And then, Three, the pièce de résistance, the ST pulls a downright whopper to try to stand up its story. “David Miranda, the boyfriend of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was seized at Heathrow in 2013 in possession of 58,000 ‘highly classified’ intelligence documents after visiting Snowden in Moscow”. Spot the howler yet? Here it comes.

David Miranda HAD NOT BEEN TO MOSCOW. He had been visiting Laura Poitras IN BERLIN. And the “58,000” figure is what the spooks have been feeding the more compliant parts of the media ever since. A half-competent sub-editor would have leapt on such an elementary mistake. Or, more likely, that error was part of the ST trying to stand up its story and it was inserted, and left in, deliberately.

The Sunday Times story will go down in history as on a par with the Hitler Diaries fiasco. It’s a pack of lies from start to finish. And too many people have fallen for it.

[You can see the follow-up post, detailing Rupert Murdoch's previous form for spinning for the spooks, and the lead author of the Sunday Times story making a fool of himself on CNN, HERE]


Stephen said...

Thanks for this. I thought it seemed a bit dodgy (IE, a load of old bollocks) when it was on the BBC news this morning, and it's good to have confirmation.

rob said...

You don't think that our most famous emigre, that inhabitant of Manhattan, who had "inside" information about the Snowden story and the Guardian "terrorists" gave up all her detailed research (hah!)to the Sunday Times by any chance?

To justify her six figure ("careful where you put the decimal point") fee?

Anonymous said...

A once credible, serious paper with high journalistic standard has long since been reduced to nothing more than a far right trashy comic, like the Sun and the Mail. Sad times.

SteveB said...

At what point will ST (or any others) explain to us how Snowden managed to lift so much (they say) confidential data about British operations? They have previously claimed the data includes things like which sports clubs offciers were members of. As I've said beofre, either British authorities handed it all over (why??) or the Yanks were hacking British servers BEFORE Snowden took the files.