Louise Mensch: What The Independent tells us about the Guardian’s crimes

The following was written by Louise Mensch and originally posted at her blog, Unfashionista.  It’s republished here with permission.

Julian Smith MP has filed a complaint to the Metropolitan Police about the Guardian and its potential breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. Under the Act, it is a terrorist offence to communicate names, or any identifying material, of GCHQ personnel – not just to publish those names, but to communicate them.

The Guardian shipped GCHQ files to American bloggers and the New York Times. In so doing they did a lot more than journalism, ie receiving files and reporting on them. They became traffickers and distributors.

They have refused to answer my questions on Twitter as to whether their trafficked files included names of GCHQ staff, issuing a classic non-denial denial to the Daily Mail that reads like an admission: “We did not include the names of any British spies.” Spies? It’s a terrorist offence to communicate identifying info on any GCHQ personnel.

Well, the Guardian gets all the love and money from this betrayal of our security forces, but there’s another British paper that got to see the Snowden files. The Independent, in August, ran a story about a secret British base in the Middle East.

I believe this story was abominably irresponsible and a betrayal of national security. The excuse was the paper didn’t provide an address and a map. So what? They revealed the existence of the base and put all its operations and operatives in jeopardy.

However, and it is a big however, the Independent here was “committing journalism” as the Guardian likes to put it when trying to avoid the police. They received the files and they reported on them. Irresponsibly and morally wrongly, but that’s all they did,

They didn’t copy the files. They didn’t traffic the files. They didn’t hand the files to foreigner papers and bloggers. They just reported on them.

Once the Telegraph and the Daily Mail – to their eternal credit – started to challenge the Guardian’s muling and commercial trading on our agents’ safety, the Independent published this little-noted editorial. But for the purposes of the police investigation, it is a crucial one, because it tells us just exactly what Guardian editors copied and gave to foreigners in order to get their dying paper more money from online clicks.

In August, we too were given information from the Snowden files. It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I think that’s pretty damned clear.

Yes, it is ludicrous that the Independent thinks publishing a front-page story revealing a secret British Middle Eastern base is not “sensitive” or “damaging”. But they are informing their readers – roughly the same base as the Guardian, the liberal left – just how awful the GCHQ Snowden files are.

Glenn Greenwald, who has now left the Guardian for a French-funded company with his fellow traitor Laura Poitras, was kind enough to tell the world on Twitter that Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson were concerned not to expose any NSA spying, but merely to endanger British operations. He told us what the documents they copied and muled to a blog and the NYT were on September 10th

@peterkofod As for NYT, I had no role at all in that – those were 1 set of docs only about UK that G had. They made that choice without me.

Julian Smith MP’s letter does more than ask the police to investigate if GCHQ personnel were identified in these “just about Britain” documents the Guardian trafficked to foreigners. He also asks the police to compel Alan Rusbridger and Janine Gibson to help in decryption efforts. After all, they have the documents, and they are happy to hand them to bloggers. And from the Independent, we know that the documents could not be more dangerous to the security of this nation. If a British commercial media company is sitting on the decryption key, they have to hand it over to our intelligence forces. Instead of helping the police and GCHQ see what damage has been done, which agents’ names are out there, and assisting them in saving lives, Rusbridger has admitted online that he has actively prevented this vital information being accessed:

 Are you taking any precautions to prevent US/UK government tampering/stealing with the documents?

Alan Rusbridger: Yes. And many of them are now with the NYT

Julian Smith MP has taken direct action by referring all of this to anti-terrorist police. But of course, it is a question for the Government too. The Home Office Committee is now investigating the Guardian. I have no doubt they will rightly ask ministers if they asked the Guardian for access to these terrible documents and if denied, whether and when they sought an injunction or subpoena to compel this commercial company to give the security forces access.

Once again, thanks to the Independent’s honesty in its editorial, we know the stakes for our intelligence services could not be higher.

It pertained to the operation of the security services, was highly detailed, and had the capacity to compromise Britain’s security.

I believe that anti-terror police are already actively on to breaches of the Terrorism Act 2000. But the Government, for whom defence of the realm is its first duty, must also play its part and not be cowed by the Guardian-BBC axis. We must never let fear of the press stop us from doing the right thing. The legal tools are there to compel the Guardian to share access to these files not just with commercial papers and bloggers but with the forces that defend us. In the same Q&A Rusbridger also said this:

Would The Guardian have been willing to hand  copy to authorities if there hadn’t been threat of prior restraint? 


Alan Rusbridger: We had not yet decided what eventually to do with the original material at the point the Government asked us to return it or destroy it.

Theresa May and the Home Office should help Mr. Rusbridger to make up his mind. ‘Destroying’ it is not an option now the Guardian has distributed and trafficked it. Instead, Rusbridger and Gibson, who have access to it, must share that access with our security forces. As the Indie has told us clearly, national security is at stake.

38 replies »

  1. It’s a pity that hanging is no longer used in the UK.

    The noose is tightening around Greenwald’s neck too. I notice that he doesn’t visit his home country any more.

  2. I guess the Ecuadorian Embassy in London might now have to start to think about expanding their premises as there may growing need to accommodate a few more “refugees” from the law.

  3. What the Government could, and should already be doing is to make sure that there isn’t any publicly funded advertising in “The Guardian” or “The Observer”. It should also actively encourage other public bodies to stop placing adverts in those papers as well.

    It would not only send them a message but hit them where it hurts, in the ‘bank balance’.

    • From today’s Guido Fawkes Blog, ‘Order-Order.Com’

      “Back when they were in government Labour used to give the Guardian a helping hand by bunging them taxpayer cash for advertising departmental jobs in the paper. It was one example of government waste the Tories vowed to crack down on. Well in 2012 Maria Miller’s DCMS gave the Guardian £10,698 of taxpayers’ money “as part of the drive to attract a wider spectrum of candidates to the boards of our country’s institutions and encourage more diverse public appointments”.

      The DCMS, (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) is not one of the largest Departments, so are the others also subsidising ‘The Guardian’ ?

  4. Yes, we know that CiFWatch despises the Guardian because of its coverage of Israel.

    What do the Snowden files have to do with anti-Semitism?

  5. “…became traffickers…
    …betrayal of our security forces…
    …their trafficked files…
    …betrayal of national security…
    …the Guardian’s muling…
    …commercial trading on our agents’ safety…
    …the Guardian trafficked to foreigners…
    …more dangerous to the security of this nation…
    …the Guardian …trafficked…
    …national security … at stake…”

    as a german this style of writing uncomfortably remind’s me on what i was teached in school about nazi-propaganda.

    Quoting from

    Assessing his audience, Hitler writes in chapter VI [of “Mein Kampf”]:
    “…all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward….”

    • “as a german this style of writing uncomfortably remind’s me on what i was teached in school ”

      What a shame they did not give you lessons about the English language.
      Truth, logic and history would have been useful as well, as you are clearly deficient in all four subjects.

      • sorry for my short-comings, gerald. guess you’re far superior when it comes to foreign languages! So let’s just continue in german:

        Es ist ja ziemlich offensichtlich, dass die Verunglimpfung/Beleidigung des Gegenübers deine alleiniger Ansatz in diesem Beitrag war. Hast du vielleicht noch irgendwas mit inhaltlicher Substanz zu bieten? Oder kommt bei dir immer nur heiße Luft?

        • As a newspaper, ‘The Independent’ is the last one to (a) parrot the intelligence and security service’s line as a matter of course, and (b) pass up on any story that would expose any form of official wrongdoing.

          The fact that they didn’t want to touch the Snowden stuff speaks volumes.

          Incidentally, if you think the threat to GCHQ operatives is theoretical – particularly for ones based overseas – I would get hold of a copy of Richard Aldrich’s history of this service and read the chapter on Kizildere (Aldrich again, I’d hasten to add, is no apologist for the agency).

        • No Alex I do not claim to speak German.
          That is one of the main reasons why I do not post on German websites.

          Apart from your obvious lack of proficiency in English I am sure you are lacking in truth, logic and history in any language.

          • “That is one of the main reasons why I do not post on German websites.”

            actually i don’t like it myself when people refuse to put even a minimum of effort into postings written in their mother language. With commenters writing in a foreign language it’s a completely different story. i’d rather live with some “language glitches” and exchange opinions than being stuck in an hole with limited perspective.

            But that’s your choice.

            “I am sure you are lacking in truth, logic and history”

            so how do you read that from my original posting? You’re obviously just trying to insult and there is a huge lack of substance in your replies! Would you like to elaborate?

            • “You’re obviously just trying to insult..”
              No Alex just tell the truth.

              If you find the truth insulting that is your problem not mine.

        • Wie du selbst schreibst, hast du in der Schule Nazi-Propaganda gelernt. Ist das der Grund, warum du auf jüdische Websites fixiert bist?

          • “As you pointed out you’ve been taught about nazi-propaganda in school. is this the reason you’re obsessed with jewish websites.”
            [I’ve translated your posting to give Gerald the opportunity to participate]

            What brings you to the conclusion that i have an obsession about jewish websites?
            Au contraire: i always try to get a balanced overall picture – this requires you to go to all kinds of sources. apart from german media for me that’s websites in english, french and italian from the conservative, liberal, and left spectrum. I do not read fascist /far right wing media though – only propaganda there. it’s a waste of time.
            Obviously you’re just trying to insult, too. No substance whatsoever.

            Whatever you think about the nsa revelations – to me louise’s blog post reads a lot like propaganda. this makes me suspicious and i’m surprised that neither the editors nor readers of this site seem to have a problem with the style. Isn’t this site about revealing propaganda?

            • “I’ve translated your posting to give Gerald the opportunity to participate”
              How very kind of you.

              “Obviously you’re just trying to insult, too. No substance whatsoever.”
              That is your standard response. Very boring.

              “ me louise’s blog post reads a lot like propaganda. this makes me suspicious and i’m surprised that neither the editors nor readers of this site seem to have a problem with the style.”
              To you Alex maybe it does. You may be surprised to discover that not everyone has the same interpretation of the content and style of Louise Mensch’s post as you do.

              “Isn’t this site about revealing propaganda?”
              The main mission of this site is clearly stated at the top. Perhaps you should take the time to read it.

            • Wrong, I wrote “… you`ve been taught nazi propaganda..”
              You brought forward no arguments, only your German resentments to Jews, USA and Great Britain.
              Otherwise you wouldn`t dare to smear the wife of a Jew who is published by a Jewish website by relating her to ns propaganda.
              You clearly are one of the dumb “new antisemites” of Germany who accuse Jews and/ or US-Americans to be nazi-like.

    • remind’s me on what i was teached in school about nazi-propaganda.

      Meine Fresse. Du bist vielleicht ein armseliges Würstchen.