State Opening of Parliament

Louise Mensch, author and former MP

A former British Member of Parliament has called journalist Glenn Greenwald a traitor who should be prosecuted under the Terrorism Act (2000).

Louise Mensch, an author and MP prior to giving up her seat in 2012 to move to New York, considers the work Greenwald and Edward Snowden are doing espionage.

A Twitter-storm erupted last week following Mensch’s comments that accused Greenwald of being a traitor.

A traitor to whom? And can we really call what Snowden and Greenwald are doing espionage? I think it would be a very difficult case to prove in the court of public opinion, and even moreso in the Courts of Justice.

fascismThe partnership between Snowden and Greenwald has revealed a host of overreaching, illegal snooping on the part of the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. Of course, people expect countries to spy on each other – but mainly when there is conflict, and certainly not on its own citizens.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is close to intervening in the case of the Guardian (London) and forcing them to stop publishing Snowden’s files. He cites national security as the reason.

The files that Snowden revealed to Greenwald show widespread abuse of anti-terror laws that run the gamut from requiring telecom operators to relinquish all call records on a month-to-month basis to hoovering up private data from the internet 24/7.

Shouldn’t this be something that Prime Minister David Cameron would be concerned about? Should he not be appointing a committee to find where the abuses are coming from and stop them? Not if he wishes state espionage to remain active.

is22Just a few days ago it was revealed that the United States had a tap on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. That has caused outrage in the German government to the point that it may become a full diplomatic incident with all the attending consequences.

Is this the sort of behaviour that Mensch wants to protect? If so we ought to be glad she resigned from her shambolic job as MP for Corby!

But the snooping goes further than that, like spying on foreign governments and companies – such as a Brazilian oil company.

Setting aside the fact that Greenwald is not a British citizen, her argument is not only illiberal, it also verges on state-sanctioned tyranny.

These sorts of arguments are of particular interest to journalists whose job it is to keep the public informed about what their government is doing. That is how a democracy works.

As a former Member of Parliament, Louise Mensch really ought to know better. She ought to care deeply about democracy. But, maybe with her move to New York, she no longer cares deeply about democracy. In fact, her words – to me in particular – indicate that she doesn’t care about democracy at all.

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