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back to article Guardian teams up with New York Times for future Snowden GCHQ coverage

Faced with a mounting backlash from UK authorities, The Guardian newspaper has announced that it will collaborate with The New York Times to release further documents detailing the activities of the UK's Government Communications Headquarters. "In a climate of intense pressure from the UK government, the Guardian decided to …

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Fourth estate

The fourth estate may be sick and as corrupt as the other estates but they are all we have left to protect our rights. Keep the leaks dripping. Keep the issue in the news. Fight the good fight for the people. Our political parties sure as hell aren't.

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Happy

The thick...

... plottens!

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Anonymous Coward

It appears...

There are "Spooks" in "The Thick of It".

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Anonymous Coward

Brilliant!

Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA

Have the NY Post post secrets on GCHQ

Catch 22

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Anonymous Coward

But.... but...

you can't have the Americans providing information on the Brits, and the Brits providing information on the Americans!

That'd just be underhanded and tantamount to a confession that what you're doing is more or less illegal and should be stopped, wouldn't it?

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Re: But.... but...

That'd just be underhanded and tantamount to a confession that what you're doing is more or less illegal and should be stopped, wouldn't it?

I'm reserving judgment on the situation, primarily because nothing is distinctly black or white, but I would at least like to point out that there's a difference between what's ethical and what's legal. If you haven't learned anything else from this entire mess, you should at least learn this much, that laws are not inherently morally just.

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re: Brilliant!

Having UK report on the US and vice-versa is basically what the spooks have been doing for years. No sir, say the yanks, we don't spy on our people. The brits say likewise. Only they conveniently forget to mention that their other half does the spying on their behalf. Turnabout is fair play, I say!

Also, not sure about that editor. When he says "The Independent was not leaked or ‘duped’ into publishing today's front page story by the Government" you'd think that he'd be able to construct a sentence better. The "by the Government" part could be glommed into the sentence to mean either "today's front page story by the Government" or "The Independent was not [leaked or] ‘duped’ by the Government". Just sloppiness (as engendered, no doubt, by it being a twitter post) or something else? Probably the former, but it's still one of those "things that make you go hmmm".

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Big Brother

@AC 23:41 - >"Brilliant! Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA. Have the NY Post post secrets on GCHQ. Catch 22"

==========================================

Putin must be laughing his butt off. You know - when he's not stripping down to his underwear and wrestling with alligators, sharks, or tigers.

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@Andy Prough

I doubt that's true. Everyone knows that Putin underwear wrestles simultaneously with alligators, sharks AND tigers!

(Icon is actually pic of Putin getting ready for his next bout!)

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Anonymous Coward

"Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA. Have the NY Post post secrets on GCHQ"

The irony, it is delicious.

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Re: "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA. Have the NY Post post secrets on GCHQ"

Putin might be a twat but hes not a spineless bag of lies like our "coalition". And indeed hes probably loving the diversion from his own internal issues.

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Re: But.... but...

I assume the AC was pointing out the irony of this arrangement, and its similarities to the US/UK arrangement to spy on each others citizens in order to sidestep laws banning domestic spying.

These two newspapers are now doing essentially the same thing, in order to avoid laws being used to silence them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But.... but...

I think the GPP meant to say that it would be illegal if done directly and not by the exchange of agencies. Obviously the present arrangement is to provide a legal fig leaf. It's a fair point and perhaps too subtle for you to grasp.

What interests me is - what if a load of American privacy activists decide to come and picket GCHQ?

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Re: But.... but...

Irony detection failure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But.... but...

I assume the AC was pointing out the irony of this arrangement, and its similarities to the US/UK arrangement to spy on each others citizens in order to sidestep laws banning domestic spying.

These two newspapers are now doing essentially the same thing, in order to avoid laws being abused to silence them.

There I fixed it for you.

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> Putin must be laughing his butt off

I very much doubt that. Putin is no fan of freedom of the press, and while he may get som joy from seeing the US and UK squirm, the only possible outcome of this is increased freedom of the press, and russians wondering if their own government is up to something similar (hint: they are).

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Re: But.... but...

In my opinion, that's exactly what they are doing now with each other to defeat the claims that they are spying on their own people. They aren't directly.

GCHQ collects the data comnig ashore in the UK and passes it back to the NSA, and the NSA technically collecting information supposed to be outside the country, can then pass it to GCHQ. Quite an effective loophole. Both sides get what they want, and they haven't directly broken the law.

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Re: But.... but...

The NSA spies on the Brits, GCHQ spies on the Yanks. They exchange intelligence. What's sauce for the goose (etc).

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Re: But.... but...

When it comes to Memworth Hill you wouldn't get anywhere near.

(Some people who I know (But don't particularly like) were up around there. To be fair they look the type of people who might do such a thing. Within a few miles they were stopped by people in full body armour with machine guns just asking them what the hell they were doing. Putting a machine gun closer and closer to their head until they cracked. They were only picking mushrooms (When wet ones were legal) which the Americans were totally uninterested in. They did look potential protesters though.)

Dunno what would happen in Cheltenham.

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Re: re: Brilliant!

Frumious Bandersnatch wrote:

Also, not sure about that editor. When he says "The Independent was not leaked or ‘duped’ into publishing today's front page story by the Government" you'd think that he'd be able to construct a sentence better. The "by the Government" part could be glommed into the sentence to mean either "today's front page story by the Government" or "The Independent was not [leaked or] ‘duped’ by the Government". Just sloppiness (as engendered, no doubt, by it being a twitter post) or something else? Probably the former, but it's still one of those "things that make you go hmmm".
I'm glad I'm not the only one to have thought exactly the same thing. Although I'm inclined to believe he's actually telling the truth; The story wasn't leaked and they weren't duped because it actually came from government and they know it. What he didn't say is that they weren't threatened to publish it perhaps by a visit from the same guys that paid the Guardian a little "friendly" visit. This is complete conjecture of course but nothing about this whole affair would surprise me any more!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USAF Menwith Hill (not Memworth)

Mark Thomas and friends managed to fly over the base at very low altitude in a fuel-starved hot air balloon for a 1999 TV show still available via the usual video library sources.

He already knew what Echelon was about, as should be obvious from the first couple of minutes of the show.

What chance a show like that getting airtime these days?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But.... but...

"They did look potential protesters though."

How evil of them, looking like protestors. As if anyone would want to protest against the actions of Our Dear Leader.

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FAIL

"....Have the NY Post post secrets on GCHQ...." But why would the Yanks be interested in what happens in the UK? The NYT is sinking and needs to generate readership and articles on what the UK gets up to are not going to do that. The NYT need exposes on Obambi and the NSA, not Cameron and GCHQ.

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WTF?

Re: Danny 14 Re: "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA....."

".....hes not a spineless bag of lies...." Hmmmm, so I take it you approve of Pootie's alleged preference for just having troublesome journos murdered then?

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Re: But.... but...

"...you can't have the Americans providing information on the Brits, and the Brits providing information on the Americans!"

Ironically, this has long been the arrangement between the English-speaking intelligence services. Remember when Margaret Thatcher didn't trust some of her minsters and had the Canadians do the necessary spying (via Echelon). This was not illegal for the Canadians but might have presented some issues for the British intelligence services.

Mind you, it seems the Americans can't be bothered with this arrangement and just spy on their own people regardless.

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Re: Danny 14 "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA....."

Matt, the keyword is alleged.

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Facepalm

Re: Sand-in-her-bitz Re: Danny 14 "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA....."

"Matt, the keyword is alleged." Yeah, well I was going to call Anna Politkovskaya to ask her about that, and whether she agreed with the idea that life for journos is really "as bad" in the UK and US as in Russia, only she's not answering her phone.....

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Re: But.... but...

Illegal?

Probably not. One of the most worrying things is that what is being done is perfectly legal. The problem is that it is is legal based on:

* Legislation that was passed in private

* Continuing resolutions by publicly-elected members subjected to secrecy restrictions

* Secret judgments made by a secret court not subject to any oversight

So the problem is not that this behaviour is illegal, it's that the various governments have secretly voted themselves ridiculously broad powers enabling them to essentially do what they like. Further, where (in the US) they might fall foul of the fourth amendment, the have side-stepped that pesky stricture by invoking 'national security' - you can't challenge the government in the supreme court if you are never allowed to now what's going on.

In fact, legally, you can't ever challenge the legality of the system. In other words, even the government has acted illegally, it is still illegal to try to stop that behaviour.

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Re: But.... but...

what with it taking 9 hours to clear customs, most will prolly give up

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@Twat Bwyant Re: Danny 14 "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA....."

Meanwhile you can call Ahmed Bouchik and de Menezes.

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FAIL

Re: Sand-in-her-bitz Re: @Twat Bwyant Danny 14 "Have the Guardian post secrets on the NSA....."

"Meanwhile you can call Ahmed Bouchik and de Menezes." Neither of whom were journalists. Try again, just with a hint of relevance next time.

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Re: But.... but...

" If you haven't learned anything else from this entire mess, you should at least learn this much, that laws are not inherently morally just."

Law 101 - first day, most colleges

One of the very first things drummed into wannabe lawyers that it is NOT a justice system, it's a Legal system and the two things must never be confused.

Some take that more to heart than others (canker & seagull, Prenda law as f'instances)

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Re: But.... but...

"The NSA spies on the Brits, GCHQ spies on the Yanks."

And the french spy on everyone.

It's entirely possible that the NYT could run a story and D-Notices be used to prevent them being run in the UK, but that would lead to some interesting Internet antics.

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Danger already present

"...the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger"

Noble & wise - also a little naive.

Factually, people have already been placed in danger - the ones who perpetuate this secret world skullduggery, and I'm guessing they won't exhibit the same moral fibre in their efforts to perpetuate it, danger being part & practice of their stock-in-trade. I'm hoping Snowden has taken multiple precautions with the distribution & stewardship of the remaining info.

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Re: Danger already present

Interesting that the two don't quite agree:

Snowden says: "The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger ..."

Greenwald says: "I'm not aware of, nor subject to, any agreement that imposes any limitations of any kind on the reporting that I am doing on these documents. I would never agree to any such limitations."

So which is it?

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Stop

Re: Danger already present

Not really. Snowden is referring to journalists' treatment of the material. Greenwald is referring to (and rebutting) an allegation abouttthe government (namely that he is subject to a an agreement with the government that restricts his ability to report). Simple really.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Danger already present

False dichotomy. Go away, troll.

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Re:

"It was not immediately clear why The Guardian chose The New York Times as its partner for future disclosures about the GCHQ."

This is absurd. The uber smug New York Times was absolutely quivering with anticipation, as they are of course well remembered as the gleeful publisher of the Pentagon Papers, of Daniel Ellsberg leak-fame. They'll be hand in glove with the equally smug Guardian [wot a name!] as self-chosen arbiters of their respective country's I.T. programs as regards public safety.

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"The uber smug New York Times was absolutely quivering with anticipation, as they are of course well remembered as the gleeful publisher of the Pentagon Papers..."

The Washington Post also published the Pentagon Papers.

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> This is absurd. The uber smug New York Times... etc

Yeah, you're right: both newspapers are committed to serious and -as far as humanly possible- unbiased reporting, even when that reporting puts them at odds with their governments. I understand that this seems like a quaint, even irrational, attitude to a US rightwinger.

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Anonymous Coward

They also sat on documents relating to Bush's shenanigans unlike the pending election had passed and he was re-eelected.

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Re: Vociferous

"....unbiased reporting...." You obviously don't know the history of the Guardian. It was formed and funded by "liberals" with the sole aim of being anti-establishmentarian and has always been left-of-center. Amusingly, given the sudden love of the Guardian shown in these forums, the Guardian was a core mover behind Tony Blair's rise to Prime Minister. It's about as unbiased as Pravda.

The Guardian's readership has been in steady decline in the UK for decades so it's hardly surprising that they're moving to the US, where there is both a larger audience of liberals and much greater protection for lose journalism under the First Amendment.

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history of the Guardian

" history of the Guardian. It was formed and funded by "liberals" with the sole aim of..."

Huh? It was "formed" by the Manchester Guardian, founded in 1821, which had achieved national circulation (unlike *any* other paper from outside London), relocating to London and dropping the "Manchester". In 1821 it was indeed "liberalist" but that meant opposing government oppression such as the Peterloo Massacre. The founders were for democracy and free trade.

It was however the first British newspaper to print the word "fuck" after Kenneth Tynan used it on live TV.

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Re: Yes Me Re: history of the Guardian

Yeah, where's the bit that whe you disagree that the Guardian has a leftist bias? Oh, you don't. Next!

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No doubt they did, they sometimes take the "unbiased" thing too far and avoid reporting things which might influence elections.

There was a lot of that going on during the 2004 election. My favorite is that the Democrats had a "gentleman's agreement" with the republicans that they'd not press the issue of how the Bush administration had pressured CIA into fabricating evidence to support the Iraq war, and in return the republicans would agree to a full inquiry after the election. It goes without saying that as soon as Bush had won he reneged on that deal (and presumably burnt all evidence). Bush's complicity in the forging of evidence for the Iraq war has never been investigated, and in all probability never will.

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Re: Yes Me history of the Guardian

Leftist bias, as opposed to what? The right wing crap spouted by the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Times et al or how about the fairweather reporting of the Sun determined by which political party is currently inviting Murdoch to tea or offering him the opportunity to own more of the British Media.

The Guardian is often to be found providing political opinions with which I find myself in conflict however, I do give it credit for taking a stance that is far more focussed on the common man than the wealthy and political elites. In this instance the Guardian has done the UK people a fair amount of good by exposing the fact that its Government and those that influence power are using technology to spy on them, gather evidence that can be used against them should they pose a threat and find's them a most untrustworthy majority.

As my old dad used to say, the Establishment uses its power and wealth to attack the working class claiming them to be potential spies and terrorists when in fact the majority of those who betray the UK are rich or middle class. The Guardian has now provided evidence to support this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes Me history of the Guardian

You appear not to know the difference between "liberal" and "left". Are you by any chance a citizen of the US? Because that's usually their problem.

The Guardian supported New Labour - which was by postwar British standards a right wing party - and the Lib Dems in the last election. The Lib Dems are far from left wing.

It is in fact a newspaper of the middle and upper middle classes; if you have a household income under 6 figures it is a bad idea to read the Saturday edition, full as it is of £65 a head restaurant reviews, £1500 dresses, cruise and long distance holiday adverts and the like.

The Guardian's political position is simple; instead of being run by the 1300 (or whatever it is) families that currently run Britain, it should be run by a broader base of upper middle class people. This is a classical Liberal position, in the usual sense of widening the scope of permitted behaviour and relying less on the "traditional" beliefs of the small number of people that run the country. But the Guardian would be horrified if there was any real chance that the country would be run by the lower middle and working classes.

The "left" consists of (a) people who believe in democracy and believe that the country should be run using the collective views of everybody (a small number) and (b) a larger group of people who believe it should be run by the representatives of the proletariat and the peasantry - i.e. union leaders, and political organisers who have identified themselves with the interests of the workers. There are books about it, but I guess you've been too busy to read them.

The interests of Liberals and the Left are very different. A left wing government would have the staff of the Guardian up against a wall, while the staff of the Sun would be having it explained to them that they could, as usual, peddle the agenda of their new masters or they could alternatively die. The next day the Sun would publish as usual, with beautiful shop steward's daughter Tanya on Page 3 and a long editorial about how the new Government was entirely on the side of Sun readers, and, along with historical inevitability of the triumph of Marxist-Leninist doctrine, it was the Sun wot done it.

The Independent, now...there's a definite leftish agenda starting to creep in there.

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@Bluenose Re: Yes Me history of the Guardian

Denying the Graun has a left-wing bias would be like denying that the Sun has tits on page three. They may once have been anti-establishment but as things stand now they're very much part of it, considering their close relationship with the BBC.

They are, nevertheless, performing a valuable service releasing these documents. One might question their potential willingness to do so had Labour been in power, but since Labour aren't in power the point is moot: they're releasing the information and we, as a whole, will hopefully benefit from that.

Never let it be said I'm not fair. Though I might be somewhat unbalanced...

Mine's the one with a copy of the Beano in the pocket.

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Re: Bluenose Re: Yes Me history of the Guardian

"....In this instance the Guardian has done the UK people a fair amount of good by exposing the fact that its Government and those that influence power are using technology to spy on them, gather evidence that can be used against them should they pose a threat and find's them a most untrustworthy majority....." Male bovine manure. Firstly, the Guardian exposed nothing that wasn't already well-known (you were obviously too busy wishing for The Revolution, eh, Comrade?), and secondly, the data being gathered is only being searched for those that pose a terrist threat, not left-overs from when the Berlin Wall fell. Get a clue, the Cild War is over and Communism lost, so it's about time you stopped bleating the class-war bollocks, mmmkay?

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