British government plan to jail journalists and whistleblowers

This video from Britain says about itself:

26 December 2016

Councils were given permission to carry out more than 55,000 days of covert surveillance over five years, including spying on people walking dogs, feeding pigeons and fly-tipping, the Guardian can reveal.

A mass freedom of information request has found 186 local authorities – two-thirds of the 283 that responded – used the government’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) [‘against terrorism‘] to gather evidence via secret listening devices, cameras and private detectives.

Among the detailed examples provided were Midlothian council using the powers to monitor dog barking and Allerdale borough council gathering evidence about who was guilty of feeding pigeons.

Wolverhampton used covert surveillance to check on the sale of dangerous toys and car clocking; Slough to aid an investigation into an illegal puppy farm; and Westminster to crack down on the selling of fireworks to children.

Surveillance has gone too far.

Maybe British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, during her recent visit to dictator Erdogan in Turkey to sell him British weapons, saw the persecution of journalists and dissidents in Turkey, and thought that would be a good idea for Britain as well?

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 13 February 2017

New Espionage Act under way to jail journalists and whistleblowers

THE Tory government is set to introduce a new Espionage Act under which its judiciary will be able to jail journalists and ordinary members of the public as spies for revealing information that the government demands be kept a secret.

The government’s advisers have recommended a ‘future-proofed’, draconian Act that will put leaking information and whistleblowing in the same category as spying for foreign powers and turn the UK into one big prison for basic democratic rights.

The plan is to treat whistleblowers, leakers and journalists as agents of a foreign power, even if they are British nationals, and even if they insisted that they were acting in the public interest. The recommendations of the UK Law Commission are contained in a 326-page consultation paper titled Protection of Official Data.

One legal expert said the new changes would see the maximum jail sentence increase from two years to 14 years; make it an offence to ‘obtain or gather’ rather than simply share official secrets; and to extend the scope of the law to cover information that damages ‘economic well-being’. ‘It is clearly an attempt to criminalise ordinary journalism,’ said Jim Killock, chief executive of the Open Rights Group.

John Cooper QC, a leading criminal and human rights barrister who has served on two Law Commission working parties, added: ‘These reforms would potentially undermine some of the most important principles of an open democracy.’

Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship, said: ‘The proposed changes are frightening and have no place in a democracy, which relies on having mechanisms to hold the powerful to account. It is unthinkable that whistleblowers and those to whom they reveal their information should face jail for leaking and receiving information that is in the public interest.’

Such official data will range from the secret plans of the government for running down the NHS, to the functioning of the nuclear power industry, or any strategic industry. The Law Commission report asks, rhetorically, if ‘sensitive information relating to the economy should be brought within the scope of the legislation… in so far as it relates to national security’.

Alan Rusbridger, the former Guardian editor who published the Snowden revelations has commented that: ‘It is alarming that such a far-reaching proposed reform of laws which could be used to jail whistleblowers and journalists should have been drafted without any adequate consultation with free speech organisations.’

According to the Commission, the proposed ‘redrafted offence’ of espionage would ‘be capable of being committed by someone who not only communicates information, but also by someone who obtains or gathers it’.

To emphasise that the enemy is the whole of society it is being stipulated that there should be ‘no restriction on who can commit the offence,’ from hackers, leakers, elected politicians, journalists, NGOs or just citizens who have got themselves into a situation where they just know too much as far as the government and its secret state is concerned.

Cited as a primary reason for the new legislation is the fact that the former Guardian editor Rusbridger could not be thrown into prison for handling copies of ten documents that were passed to his reporters by Edward Snowden. As it was state agents could only threaten him with a gagging order and prison, and then force him to destroy newspaper computers.

A proposed feature of the new legislation is that British Embassies abroad, intelligence and security offices, and data centres not officially publicised by the government would be designated as ‘prohibited places’ or ‘protected sites’, making it an offence to publish information about them or to ‘approach, inspect, pass over or enter’ for any ‘purpose prejudicial’ to national security.

The proposed law would replace four Official Secrets Acts dating back to 1911, as well as a raft of other government restrictions on releasing information, providing extra powers instead. There should be no statutory public-interest defence for anyone accused of offences, the Commission says.

Racist British Conservative politician suspended

This video from Britain says about itself:

Diane Abbott: Beyond Downton Abbey

19 February 2013

See more of Diane Abbott at ‘What’s Left Now‘, a debate about the future of progressive politics.

In response to the hit television serial Downton Abbey, provocative Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott presents a less saccharine, refreshingly outspoken view of British history.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Councillor suspended over Abbott ‘ape‘ tweet

Friday 10th February 2017

A TORY councillor has been suspended over a retweet that compared shadow home secretary Diane Abbott to an ape wearing lipstick, it was revealed yesterday.

This came after Ms Abbott received misogynistic criticism for having told Brexit secretary David Davis to “f*ck off” after he reportedly tried to kiss her in the Commons’ Strangers Bar on Wednesday night.

Faringdon Parish councillor Alan Pearmain has been suspended and is facing an investigation by the Tories after the message he retweeted in December was reported to the Labour Party.

The original tweet showed an ape with the captions “forget the London look, get the Diane Abbott look” and “let’s get fatty back in a zoo!”

Donald Trump and Britain’s Theresa May

London 4 February anti-Trump demonstration poster

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

May’s Shady Trump-Style Track Record (and his invite still stands too)

Wednesday 1st February 2017

Campaigners condemn PM’s ‘racist’ policies as home secretary

THERESA MAY is under growing pressure to come clean over when she knew about US President Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” as campaigners highlighted her own “Trump-style” track record on immigration.

Following days of speculation and calls for her to say whether she was told about the executive order before she invited the US president on an official state visit, a Downing Street press spokeswoman refused to deny reports that the Prime Minister was informed by Mr Trump during their Washington talks on Friday.

Her continued failure to speak out against Mr Trump and his planned state visit saw around 5,000 people demonstrating outside Downing Street on Monday night as she was branded “Theresa the appeaser.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd blasted the travel ban yesterday as divisive and a “propaganda coup” for Isis.

Despite the protests and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s demand that she retract the invite, Ms May insisted at a joint press conference with Irish premier Enda Kenny in Dublin yesterday that Mr Trump’s state visit would go ahead as planned.

The issue will now be debated in Parliament on February 20 as a petition opposing the visit has reached over 1.6 million signatures.

A rival petition supporting Mr Trump’s invite has been signed by just 114,000 and will also be debated.

Ms May, who famously referred to the Tories as “the nasty party,” has been accused of leaving a “toxic legacy” as home secretary because of her support for a string of “Trump-style” policies.

In 2013 she sent vans across London with billboards threatening foreign nationals to “Go Home or Face Arrest.”

The vans caused uproar and accusations of racism with even then Ukip leader Nigel Farage condemning their use.

A string of complaints led to a race-hate inquiry by the Advertising Standards Authority as then shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper acccused Ms May of using the language of the National Front.

Ms May was embroiled in further controversy in 2012 when she revoked London Metropolitan University’s licence to sponsor overseas students, leaving 2,000 faced with the prospect of being forced to leave the country.

And in a speech outlining reasons to scrap support for the Human Rights Act she made the false claim that it helps people like “the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because — and I am not making this up — he had a pet cat.” (She was making it up.)

As Prime Minister she has backed Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s racist plans for bosses to draw up lists of foreign workers. However the government was forced into a spectacular U-turn after the plans were branded sinister and “fascist.”

At Tory Conference in 2016 the Prime Minister announced plans to increase the number of British doctors working in the NHS saying that foreign doctors will be allowed to stay “until further numbers are trained,” leading to fears they would be deported.

People’s Assembly national organiser Tom Griffiths told the Star: “Theresa May is a racist. She was responsible for sending vans across London telling people to ‘Go Home’ and as prime minister supported plans for employers to make lists of foreign workers.

“The fact that May is so close to Trump shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s essential that everyone who wants a fairer society, everyone that opposes racism and Islamophobia should be standing together, saying No to Trump and shame on May.”

A major national Stand Up to Trump demonstration, called by Stop the War Coalition and supported by Stand Up to Racism, the People’s Assembly and the Muslim Association of Britain, will gather at the US embassy, Grosvenor Square, London W1A from 11am on Saturday February 4 before marching to Downing Street.

In an outpouring of opposition to US President Donald Trump and in defence of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, thousands of people attended protests Monday throughout the UK. Denunciations of Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May for their Islamophobia were central to the protests. Protestors were overwhelming young. A number considered themselves socialists and supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: here.

THERESA MAY’s Home Office put NHS bosses under “immense pressure” to hand over confidential patient information in a bid to trace illegal immigrants, it was claimed yesterday: here.