The US government hasn’t been happy at all that there is any press coverage of the Bradley Manning trial, and seems to bend over backwards to make their lives more difficult. However, it appears that they took things to an entirely new and ridiculous level this week in actively spying on and harassing journalists covering the trial.
@carwinb, @kgosztola, @nathanLfuller, and @wikileakstruck have tweeted about armed guards standing directly behind them as they type into laptops in the designated press area, being “screamed at” for having “windows” open on their computers that show Twitter in a browser tab, and having to undergo extensive, repeated, invasive physical searches.
Even the NY Times has noted how extreme it was:
Two military police officers in camouflage fatigues and armed with holstered handguns paced behind each row there, looking over the journalists’ shoulders, which had not happened during the trial. No explanation was given.
Reading through the various tweets, the MPs were specifically trying to stop journalists from using Twitter. Kevin Gosztola was directly told not to use Twitter and was later admonished for having “a window” open on his computer. No joke. The reporters also noted that they had to go through an incredibly detailed TSA-style search before they could enter the courtroom — and that this had not happened previously in their coverage of the trial. Multiple journalists noted how “creepy” it was and how intimidating it is to have military police with guns looking over your shoulder and watching everything you do. Freedom of the press? Not at all.
In response to all of this attention, the judge apparently claims that she ordered the “extra security” because of “repeated rule violations” of rules that no one was told about. But, reading through the details, it sounds a hell of a lot more like intimidation of the press than than about any attempt to stop “rules violations.”
Australia Takes a Step in the Right Direction
Whistleblowers stand to receive more protection when reporting wrongdoing under new laws passed in Parliament today.
The Public Interest Disclosure Bill, tabled by Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, gives public officials immunity from criminal, civil and administrative liability if they make a report to an authorised body.
It also makes it an offence for a person or organisation to retaliate against an official as a result of them making a public disclosure.
While advocates welcomed the landmark bill, they said whistleblowers were still at risk of having their concerns ignored by organisations.
‘It is absolutely essential that whistleblowers are given immunity from prosecution for breach of confidence,’’ said Whistleblowers Australia national president Cynthia Kardell. ‘‘This is a huge step … but the legislation is still failing because there are still ways that employers can stifle disclosure.’’
The law only applies to officials working in the Commonwealth public sector and federal agencies, not people in the private sector.
It will be overseen by the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS).
Greens Senator Christine Milne amended the bill to allow people to disclose wrongdoing or regulatory failures relating to the environment immediately.
She said the bill was a significant step in protecting people reporting wrongdoing and called on protections to extend to the private sector.
“Currently, brave public servants who come forward to expose corruption or maladministration usually do so at great personal, emotional and financial cost,’’ Senator Milne said.
The bill is a response to a 2010 House of Representatives standing committee report into whistleblower protection.
It contains provisions to ensure Commonwealth agencies properly investigate and respond to public interest disclosures.
“For the government to exempt themselves from the standards, rights and obligations it is seeking to impose upon all other public officials is wrong,’’ Senator Milne said.
Parliament passed the bill that legalised gay marriage in the UK, albeit with some stumbles along the way. News of the bill’s passing was greeted by high-pitched cheers from the assembled, and well dressed, crowd outside the Houses of Parliament.
A stereotypical image of the congregation at Britain’s first gay (C) The Daily Male.
This was immediately followed by over a hundred proposals of marriage between gay members in the crowd, some of whom had only just met.
“It’s amazing,” said Evan Stephens, a forty-four year old gay man of thirty-seven years.
This was followed by squeals from the crowd.
“Call it an oversight,” said a rather smug Julian Bedfellow, chairman of the Conservative Oversights committee. “I’m sure at some point Gay Divorce will become law, but currently, there is no legislation in place to allow gay people to get divorced.”
This ‘oversight’ has disturbing ramifications. With an estimated seven thousand gay marriages lined up for the remainder of the year. and three times that proposed (‘scuse pun) for next year, and with the divorce rate in the UK currently standing at one third of all marriages, over nine thousand people will suddenly find they are incompatible, have grown apart, cheated or snore, and will be unable to do anything about it.
“I expect,” said Bedfellow, snidely, “that we’ll pass a Gay Divorce bill in fifteen, twenty years? Maybe longer. I mean, let’s face it, the Gay Marriage bill only passed because most MPs don’t realise what ‘gay’ means now, and thought they were voting to force people to have happy marriages.”
The remarks by Colm Keaveney TD comparing the group of protesters in Dundalk to Golden Dawn whilst describing them as ‘neanderthals’ -an expression that recalls precisely the fascist perspective he claims to oppose- are the latest salvo in the assault on truth conducted by the Labour Party.
Labour and its supporters have repeatedly resorted to describing loud and rambunctious -though not at all dangerous- protests as ‘anti-democratic’ and attacks on free speech, and so on. Frequent references are being made to fascism and Nazism. The shameless arrogance and ignorance of such a stance, in the context of brutal attacks on the livelihood of working class people -which Labour claims the government is conducting in the name of the Irish people in the ‘national interest’, is all too unsurprising.
It is important to bear in mind though that this isn’t just an attempt by Labour flunkies to shore up legitimacy for its actions in government, but an implicit call for the police to batter such protestors.
Given this context it is important to highlight and emphasise, in public, on the one hand, the seething hatred of democracy that such a stance demonstrates; and, on the other hand, the impeccable democratic legitimacy of protesters who disrupt and frustrate a regime bent on stripping away wages, benefits and public services in order to sate insatiable financial loan sharks.
With crimes committed by MPs already quite numerous, anything which reduces the number of potential crimes for them to be found guilty of must be a good thing, according sources at the House of Commons.
A sitting MP, who wished to remain nameless, told us that reducing the number of crimes available to those representing constituencies across England and Wales was a positive step for British politics.
“Any voter caring to glance at newspaper headlines over the past couple of years will have been truly aghast at the illegal antics of those voted into power,” he began.
“To think that there remains countless opportunities for MP’s to err from the expectations of the British public, places us in an invidious position.”
“So what damage is there in removing one of the most harmful allegations left open to us – drug abuse – from the buffet of crimes we frequently avail of.”
Proponent of drug decriminalisation, Sheila Mount, dismissed calls for a relaxing of the law to suit politicians.
“Loosening drug regulations for the benefit of MP’s usage?”
“Permitting medical trials of potentially life-threatening substances for MP’s?”
Can you imagine working for a company that has just 635 employees, but has the following employee statistics? 29 have been accused of spouse abuse, 7 have been arrested for fraud, 9 have been accused of writing bad cheques, 17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses, 3 have done time for assault, 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit, 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges, 8 have been arrested for shoplifting, 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits, 84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year – and – collectively, this year alone, they have cost the British tax payer £92,993,748 in expenses! Which organisation is this?
It’s the 635 members of the House of Commons. The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line. And just to top all that they probably have the best ‘corporate’ pension scheme in the country! If you agree that this is an appalling state of affairs, please pass it on to everyone you know.
(2) Sister Mary Theresa Grogan, (62), also known as Sister Peter, faces 63 counts of indecent assault against seven girls at a Midlands school in the 1970s.
(3) David McConaghie, A former adviser to Northern Ireland MP David Simpson has been arrested after a camera was found in the lavatories of his constituency office, Democratic Unionist Party sources confirmed. David McConaghie, 47, is also a member of the fundamentalist Free Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland and a prominent representative for a religious foundation.
Why is their so much sex abuse in Ireland? Is it due to religious sexual suppression?
Perhaps the whole country is in need of therapy.