‘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
The US government has made a late request to have Julian Assange extradited based on a new indictment, prosecutor Claire Dobbin told Westminster magistrates’ court at yesterday’s hearing. Washington is seeking to expand the charges against him, including by extending the group of people he is alleged to have conspired with beyond former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning,
Continue reading Assange faces new US extradition demands
The other week I watched for the second time the 2015 TV film An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley, based on a play that revolves around the apparent suicide of a young woman called Eva Smith. As was the case when I first saw it, I found it gripping from beginning to end and that’s not just because it was filmed in Yorkshire and featured one of my favourite locations, Salt’s Mill in Saltaire Village, near Bradford.
It is set in 1912 when the unsuspecting and very wealthy Birling family are visited by a mysterious Inspector Goole. The family is headed by pompous factory owner Arthur Birling, who is hoping to get a knighthood, his snobbish wife Sybil and young son Eric who are celebrating the engagement of daughter Sheila to eligible Gerald Croft (rich, privileged and a member of the aristocracy), when the inspector calls.
Continue reading An Inspector Calls