Category Archives: freedom of information

As Julian Assange edges towards freedom investigative journalism takes a big hit.

It’s been a week of mixed fortunes for Julian Assange. On Monday many were taken aback by the ruling of district judge Vanessa Baraitser not to allow the US to extradite Julian to stand trial on criminal charges of conspiracy, hacking and violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. On closer reading it was clear that the judge had rejected all the defence arguments against extradition to protect free speech, that the extradition was politically motivated and he would not get a fair trial in the US. It was the appalling state of the US prison system that was the key factor and the ‘supermax’ prison ADX Colorado, where it is generally accepted Julian would have been sent, if sentenced by a US court. This taken with Julian’s mental health history led her to believe that he would be potentially in danger of taking his own life if so incarcerated.

Two days after her ruling against the US extradition came the setback when the same Vanessa Baraitser sitting at Westminster magistrates court rejected his application for bail, saying that Julian “…still has an incentive to abscond from these, as yet unresolved, proceedings. As a matter of fairness the US must be allowed to challenge my decision…”

Continue reading As Julian Assange edges towards freedom investigative journalism takes a big hit.

Remembering Clive Ponting

‘A popular government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and the people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.’ James Madison, USA President 1822.   (quoted in ‘The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the Belgrano Affair’ by Clive Ponting, 1985)

Civil servant, Falklands War whistleblower, writer and historian who died aged 74 on 28 July, was perhaps one of the outstanding 20th century campaigners against official secrecy. Continue reading Remembering Clive Ponting

Now the Tories are gunning for Freedom of Information

Just hours after government papers were released yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) revealing that British pilots have been involved in bombing in Syria, the government launched a cross-party review of the FOI which is likely to lead an assault on public access to government information.

Continue reading Now the Tories are gunning for Freedom of Information