Re: So what's changed?
First, holding Miranda wasn't a farce.
Are you saying that the anti-terrorist laws shouldn't exist in the first place?
Sorry, but we've seen enough damage which caused the laws to be enacted in the first place.
From the article "David Miranda, the journalist's partner held for nine hours at HeathrowTh under anti-terror laws, has managed to get a partial High Court injunction to stop the police "inspecting, copying or sharing" the data they seized from him - except for national security purposes."
This is a moot point. The only reason the British Government wanted the documents is for their own purposes. They could give a rats ass about doing anything with it, except to improve their intelligence. The whole 'victory' of Miranda is nothing more than a way for Glenn and company lick their wounds.
Why was Miranda and not Glenn the courier? Simple if Glenn got arrested, the US would do little to bail him out and I doubt the Guardian would have much pull either. Miranda is a Brazilian citizen.
While the Reg wrote a piece about how they could have done this without risking an incident, there is more. There are other ways they could have sent the information without getting caught or even alerting the NSA. (Unlike the Reg, I'm not dumb enough to point it out.)
The reason Glenn and company sent Miranda is that they wanted him to get caught.
'Want' may be a strong word, but hoping for Miranda to be detained would be a better term. After all, it shows that the NSA and other spy agencies along with government anti-terror agencies are watching them and adds credibility to their story.
(Sorry I don't wear a tin foil hat, but if you think about it, people and government agencies can be predictable. )
Bottom line. Regardless of what's in the files we know a couple of things....
1) The spooks lost this round.
2) Glenn can still get the intel without them stopping it.
3) This was most likely a planned side show. (Hint: From Berlin... why did Miranda go through London to Brazil?)