"You should refund this overpayment of $105,240.00 within 30 days."
For almost nine hours today, the government of Great Britain detained Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda.
British security forces at Heathrow airport held him on suspicion of terrorism while he was en route back to Brazil, where he and Greenwald live.
"They obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot," Greenwald wrote in The Guardian.
"Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian, and I are doing, as well as the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law."
According to Greenwald, they seized Miranda's "laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would."
This is an outrageous assault on press freedom, and every journalist and media organization in the world ought to be lodging a protest with the British government.
As Greenwald put it so well: "This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they feel threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples."
It is time, way past time, for all those fancy credentialed reporters and editors and pundits at The New York Times and The Washington Post, at CBS and NBC and ABC and PBS, at CNN and MSNBC and even Fox to stand up for freedom of the press and to recognize the danger that Big Brother represents and the threat to democracy that global surveillance poses.
Put aside your jealousy and all your carping about Glenn Greenwald, and come to his and his partner's defense right now.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Obama, the Pensive War Criminal.
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.