Detained and Interrogated by British Counter-Terrorism Police, with Journalist Kit Klarenberg
Journalist Kit Klarenberg joins MintCast host Mnar Adley to discuss his detention and interrogation by British Counter-Terrorism Police.
Last month, on his way back to Great Britain, MintPress contributor Kit Klarenberg was detained and interrogated. The investigative journalist was met at the airport by six anonymous plainclothes counter-terror officers, who seized his electronic devices, and memory cards and took his fingerprints and DNA.
Under Schedule Three, Section Four of the U.K. 2019 Counter-Terrorism and Border Act, they grilled him for over five hours, asking probing questions on everything from his opinions on the current British leadership to Vladimir Putin to 9/11.
Kit Klarenberg joins “MintCast” host Mnar Adley to discuss the incident.
For Klarenberg, the real reason he was being targeted had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with his investigative reporting that has exposed the machinations of the British state. In recent months, this has included revealing that British spies plotted to bomb the Kerch Bridge in Crimea, how the U.K. government is constructing a “secret terror army” in Ukraine, and how British intelligence seemingly worked with state broadcaster, the BBC to smear anti-war academics.
While the United Kingdom continues to enjoy a reputation for being an island of relative freedom, prosperity and democracy, Klarenberg challenged this idea, pointing to several Draconian laws passed under the guise of keeping the public safe. As he told Adley:
Britain has, for a very long time, had the most sweeping counter-terror laws in the Western world and arguably in the world. They have overturned centuries-old and hard-fought-for rights, protections and freedoms that average citizens enjoy, and have granted police sweeping and disturbingly vague powers.”
Klarenberg’s reporting has also uncovered many connections between established corporate media and the U.K. national security state, to the point where it is sometimes hard to ascertain where one ends and the other begins. As he said:
The overwhelming majority of news that British citizens read in the media is edited, censored and maybe even written by Britain’s national security establishment.”
His detention sparked outrage across the world on social media but did not provoke a similar response from official press freedom organizations. The National Union of Journalists, Britain’s largest media trade union, put out a rather modest statement expressing concern over his treatment. Yet shortly afterward, the organization pulled its protest and went silent on the matter, possibly because of what Klarenberg called “an enormous amount of pressure from the very large number of people I’ve pissed off over the years.”
For many, the Klarenberg case seems eerily reminiscent of the treatment of another journalist forgotten by his mainstream colleagues: that of Julian Assange. Assange remains confined in Belmarsh high-security prison in London while British authorities negotiate with their American counterparts on whether to send him stateside.
What is clear is that critical investigative journalism is under attack and that those who value a free press must stand together to fight against it.