Tag Archive: Freedom of Information Act


Government Hanky-Panky

Maybe it’s time for me to stop being drawn on this, but this morning I heard (sorry, I get confused) William Hague or Iain Duncan-Smith (I think it was William Hague) say something about harassment of journalists in Libya.  He paused before saying ‘in Libya’, as if trying to emphasise the point that he was saying Libya, and nowhere else, maybe not the UK.

Being the self-centred person that I am, I thought he was saying that I am harassing journalists and I got a bit upset.  Then I thought, ‘wait a minute, he’s probably trying to draw a distinction between the journalists in Libya (about whom he doesn’t have a bad word to say), and some of the journalists here, in our minds’.  I thought of Julian Assange.

I know many people will have seen the video of him outside the court about a week or so ago (I haven’t seen anything more recent) with him so close to tears saying he hasn’t had the chance to put his side of the story and that there have been incitements to violence towards him and his staff.

I don’t know him, but tears are very powerful with me.  Some people say they are a form of manipulation.  Maybe those people have never known real desperation.  I was frightened of my tears for years, after reading in a counselling type book that they are a form of manipulation.  I realise that tears only express our feelings and not necessarily the truth about the beliefs we hold that make us cry, but they must be one of the most valid expressions of personal, heartfelt reality, and for that reason I for one cannot despise them or be dispassionate about them.  If we took more notice of tears we might be a less violent, bigoted, punitive, testosterone-and-spleen-driven and reactionary world.  I believe real tears always should be reconcilers or at least a gateway to reconciliation.  His tears touched me.  I don’t know if they were real or not.  But how desperate does a person have to show themselves to be in order to have the violation of their legal human rights redressed by those who should and who think they have the right to judge instead?

My own emotions are mangled.  I’m being shouted at and banged at every day, especially when I’m just lying on my bed trying to connect my life to its source and neither moving nor speaking, just enjoying the feeling of beginning to recover the connection between my mind and emotions, then it all starts.  And I do the same thing back sometimes, even if only eventually and not on the spot.  Early in the morning I am too shocked and don’t know how to handle myself.  I can not get dressed for days because the violence makes me feel I can’t cope with life.  And then I feel ashamed of my own reactions when I give it back.

All that to say, condoning computer-hacking from anyone, including the government, excluded, I wish I could help Julian Assange and I would if I could, and would do so in every way that I could if he or his representatives asked me to.  There is no way I would not be prepared to help, believing as I have that he tried to help me.  Isn’t it funny how the government always steps forward to try to get you to disconnect from ‘bad influences’ only after they themselves have been exposed?  If they had not been exposed, if the timing of the leaks had not made me feel supported, I wonder what they would now be saying and doing?

‘The Big Society’ manifesto and plan almost completely replicates some of the concerns I raised in a document on my computer, following years of official abuse and neglect, including from the police, which was addressed to the chief of police in Sussex but not sent.  Given everything else it is hard for me to believe that someone hasn’t lifted it straight from my computer.  I know some people will believe or try to make out this is lunatic, but others will not, they even comment and sometimes get uncomfortable if I log on to a parliamentary broadcast, which I watch from the beginning and delayed, at the time that I actually log on and start watching.  This happened one Friday at the reading of a Private Member’s Bill, and the discomfort was particularly pronounced.  I keep intending to find it and watch it again, because at the time I thought I understood the discomfort.

My browser has crashed a couple of times while typing this, always when I am getting into a release of full flow.  It must show in my typing.  I think that, among other things, my key strokes are being monitored by someone.  I obviously don’t know who or why. There are people I think of and think of course I’ll stop if it’s them and they want me to, but I go on in stubbornness and/or uncertainty.

I started the post to say that it seemed fairly clear to me that, whatever William Hague was trying to communicate with his statement this morning, what appeared to be the surface message didn’t appear to me to be his main concern, and I wish they wouldn’t go around making object lessons and drawing comparisons and contrasts from another country’s distress while trying to appear to have a single message and motive.

Julian Assange, I love you.  I am absolutely backing you up with my best intentions and my strongest hopes for your safety, if that is all I can do.  I can’t quite connect with your reality, as I said when I try to connect with my own people cry out and start banging, I don’t understand the dynamic, I usually go for the explanation that makes me feel guilty, and it’s happening now and it is so distressing, so excuse me if you find this inappropriate, but I feel as if my own entrails are being fed upon.  I believe I have heard you trying to communicate with me, and from you in your position I appreciate that so much.  But I don’t know, maybe you’re communicating with me and every rights aware individual, and I’m just bending it to myself.  I hope you will get someone to contact me if I can help or be of any use to you.  That’s how I feel, whether it is appropriate or not.  I feel as if my whole community is the idiot brigade, and they’ve all come out now.  I’ve got another person now who somehow thinks it helps and is cool to shout hallelujah at me.  Maybe I should respond with better grace and gratitude.  I don’t know why they are doing it or who has given them the idea.  They only did it after searching me out with 5 minutes of yelling and me yelling back in the end.  I feel really bad about this.  It’s obviously an affirmation and I’m being ungrateful.  I should be grateful.  It’s so good to hear.

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353989/WikiLeaks-Police-sex-files-Julian-Assange-leaked-online.html?ITO=1490

I don’t feel able to comment on my feelings about these revelations, if they are true.

However, this is obviously a tit for tat move by whoever it was that made it.  I am supposing that the leaks, authorised or not,  must have come from someone inside the police force.

The obvious problem with this, it seems to me, is that this is an official body leaking details of allegations against an individual, before they have even been proved or the man found guilty.

I watched a video clip on Saturday of Mr Assange speaking via video link to a conference in Australia, and he said that ‘we believe in transparent power, not transparent individuals’.

I don’t like that either/or approach these days.  It’s what is known as a false dichotomy, I think, or is at least along the same lines.  It’s the ‘you have a choice between 2 options’ line, and it is always used to force a decision, I think, and closes down a person’s thinking. A little bit of wry, naughty humour coming in while I am writing, I think the best way to deal with this if you are faced with it might sometimes be to choose the option you know the person presenting the choice doesn’t want you to choose, if they are not open to reason.  Then they have to deal with it, not you.   If they are not open to reason, why would you want to go with them anyway?  It’s manipulative and coercive, although the person presenting the option doesn’t always realise that, they think it is the way to do it, sometimes.  It’s main concern, I think, is the maintenance of a method or way of doing things, or power of some description.

But there are three alleged offenses here, two of them obvious and one of them not.  The two obvious ones are the leaks from both Wikileaks and the police.  the one which isn’t obvious because not provable is the sexual offenses allegations.

Out of these three, if all of them are true, how many of them actually stand as crimes right now without further investigation?

If interception of communications and computer hacking are held to be crimes, Wikileaks has obviously committed a crime right there.  But possibly the government can’t afford to be too strong on that one, because the government has a policy to use that.  I think they have used it with me, a private individual,  without my knowledge.  Because they suspected me of something or thought I might be some sort of a threat?  I don’t know.  They have never told me and have refused to talk about it, referring me to mental health agencies whenever I have asked how I can find out if it is happening (Joan Ruddock’s senior case worker).  I repeat, for saying I thought it might be happening and asking how I could find out, I was referred to mental health agencies and told they did not know how I could find out.  If the government wants to continue to hide this kind of thing, it isn’t going to major on the hacking itself as being a crime.  It will major on the security risks of the actual information leaked (which apparently, according to a news programme I watched yesterday, Mr Assange first presented to the government, who refused to talk to him, before he actually leaked the information.  I suppose they knew he was a computer hacker at that point, and they made no effort to have him arrested for that, so I suppose they do not see that as a crime or, if they do, it is one they are also committing and it would therefore be too embarrassing for them to have him accused of the same thing.  The leaks talk about Hillary Clinton, for example, getting passwords to the accounts of people in the UN).

I think computer hacking is a crime, whoever does it, and that both of these bodies, Wikileaks and the government, are guilty of the same crime, by their own admission and policy.  But they have ruled that out of the equation.  Instead, one could theorise, the pursuit of Mr Assange has been diverted to a pursuit over sexual allegations, in order to get him for everything else?  If there is a real security breach, why have they not acted sooner on that nderstanding, and if he has committed a crime over that, in any way, why have they not arrested him for that, and not just for the sex allegations?  Is it because English law does not consider he has committed a crime, and that is why extradition to Sweden, for questioning, in spite of his constant (so we are told) co-operation with the police over the sexual allegations, is being considered as a first step in enabling an illegal rendition to the USA where he might find himself either in Guantanamo or condemned to death?  This is what is being presented.  This whole process is being presented as illegal, by his lawyers.  If it is illegal the UK should not be supporting it, because in doing so we become an accessory to a crime.

The sex allegations, even if they are true, are complicated by some factors, and might not be able to be proved as rape.  If the accounts are true, it would appear there was obviously a relationship in the context of which it happened.  I think it is not possible to make an assessment and come to a conclusion about his motivation, if it happened.  It says she normally wanted him to wear a condom, and he didn’t, but when awake she allowed him to continue.  Not knowing myself how long it was after this that the allegation of rape was made, I can’t guess at why she made it.  But she allowed him to continue.  Maybe on hindsight she realised it had been rape and felt differently.  To my mind, if she was asleep when it happened, and it was in a way which she had made clear she didn’t want (unprotected) it seems obvious rape might be a reasonable thing to call it.  But at the moment, according to what I have read, that is under debate as the question of whether what happened while she was asleep counts as rape ‘has not been tested by the justice system’.  If it happened.  If it did I think possibly it should be judged as rape.  Swedish law says that sometimes it would be, but in this case it has been thrown out by judges and I don’t know why.  But personally (not with legal knowledge) I also think his intention and understanding of the relationship at the time should be taken into account.  But (if it happened) he knew she didn’t want unprotected sex (if I have read it right).  So he would have to be judged mentally incapable, it seems to me, if the allegations were upheld and they were not treated as rape.  I keep saying ‘if it happened’.  That is my personal point of ignorance. I don’t know if he has acknowledged anything.  Everything I am writing is based on an assumption that he has not agreed that any of this happened.  That might be where my argument falls completely to pieces, but it might not.

Out of the three things involved, the sexual allegations, the leaks made by Wikileaks and the leaks made by the police, if we dismiss the issue of computer hacking about which there appears to be no legal clarity acknowledged, it seems to me there is only one indisputable crime, the leaks made by the police about the allegations made against Mr Assange.  I find it so enormously monstrous I can hardly address it.  This has to be the dirty tricks department at its worst.

It seems to me it compromises the trial.  It seems to me it is a gross breach of Mr Assange’s human rights (and also those of the women who have brought the allegations), and it is gross professional misconduct.  I don’t have to like any of what I am saying or think that I personally have a right to say it for it to be true.  If it is true, whether or not I have a right to say it doesn’t alter that fact.  It is an attempt to short-circuit the process of law, and probably in this case something even worse.  Perhaps I can’t make a categorical statement because perhaps the law is not this clear.  Not being a lawyer I don’t know.  But I think this is a clear case of perverting the course of justice, from whoever was responsible within the Swedish police force for the decision to release this information.

As a victim of computer hacking, I can’t condone the methods used by Wikileaks.  This may appear simplistic, who decides what the ‘right hands’ are and on what basis, and what can you do when those hands become the wrong hands?  But that does not mean that the course of justice should be perverted in the way the organisation or its founder is dealt with.  People speak against Anarchy.  But this is Anarchy from the top down, against the people they govern.  It is something I have experienced personally for over a decade, to my own knowledge.  I’m a Christian.  We need help.  We are in trouble, and maybe we always have been.  Maybe it only seems so bad to me, now, because this is when I am alive and experiencing it.

In the Book of Ezra, when the people are brought back to God, a call goes out, ‘to the word, and to the testimony’.  I’m not sure – I’ve just become sure.  I think this is applicable here because, however much the law is subject to change, what we do now needs to be based on the law as it is now, not as we would like it to be, and what happened in the past should be judged on the laws that were applicable then, not now, with regards to monitoring people’s communications.  That is the position of the European Court of Human Rights Act.  To me that seems just and the only way to maintain order and accountability in the way things are dealt with.  I love my leaders (at least, they make me feel that way.  They make me feel they love me too).  It is hard for me to say I think they have run riot, but I do.  The recovery we need is not only financial.  I believe that, as a society, we are in serious trouble.

Final note:  I realised while tagging this that I have forgotten to take the Freedom of Information Act into account.  Everyone is emoting over this, including Hillary Clinton (you can be an emotional woman for the war but not against it?), but it seems possible to me, not having kept up with any of this, that the information contained in the leaks should have been available anyway under the Freedom of Information Act introduced by Tony Blair, but it wasn’t.  I’m not sure how the Freedom of Information Act works in relation to the Official Secrets Act and whether some of the ‘spade a spade’ brigade would be right in calling the Freedom of Information Act a Mickey Mouse thing anyway.  But if the information contained in the leaks should have been available and wasn’t, and if the government turned Mr Assange away anyway when he went to them with it, it is dishonest that these people, who definitely would have known he knew this before the leaks were made, should now be presenting theselvesas so much ‘up in arms’ about it.  That is downright hypocrisy (sorry, I’m getting angry).

Tony Blair was quoted as saying he wishes he had never introduced the Freedom of Information Act and that it was one of the worst things he ever did.  He is entitled to feel that and entitled to his opinion.  But his feelings and opinion do not make the Wikileaks revelations wrong if, under that act, the information should have been available. We can’t say, “Tony wishes he had never done it, so we can call the Wikileaks leaks a risk to security and get cross about it”, if the informations should have been available anyway.  Maybe it shouldn’t have been, ma ybe there are exceptions under the Official Secrets Act to the Freedom of Information Act’s applicability to this kind of information, but I don’t know and I haven’t heard it discussed.  But if there is no exception there is no case against Wikileaks or Mr Assange for this unless it is computer hacking and invasion of privacy, and those are much lesser charges.  And to be extradited for questioning, at least in this case of sex allegations, is being presented as illegal, and he is supposed to have co-operated freely all along anyway, so excuse me, can someone please tell me what this is all about????  He’s not Jesus and he might be completely unsavoury in so many ways, but why is this being done to this man???? (I’ll keep my swearing to myself on this occasion).  And who else would they do it to if they got away with doing it to him?  It’s called setting a precedent.  We can’t let it happen.  Wake up, everyone.  Reality calls.  Possibly a man’s life is at stake, illegally.  Does anyone care?

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This matters to me so much partly because the last set of leaks from Wikileaks came at a time which felt personally significant for me, and so I feel implicated in whatever happens to Mr Assange.  In his communications he has used some references which are very easy for me to apply personally, including one about saving the whales not being the issue, but the freedom of information involved in making the decision.  For me that is very close to home, because one of Michael Mish’s musicals is called “The Boy Who Talked to Whales”, and for me the whale was, more than anything else, about the freedom of the human spirit.  That was how I understood it.  I am not saying that was Michael Mish’s intention.  Michael is, among other things, an environmentalist.  He could actually be offended (though I don’t think so) that what for him is a serious environmental issue is being reduced (or expanded) in that way, without regard for the issue itself.

There were other touch points in his address to the conference in Australia as well.  So whether or not I have been manipulated into this by a form of stalking, I do feel responsible for what happens to him, because I have believed that, if he released the leaks at the time he did in order to help me, he did so understanding the risks he might be taking.  Believing that to be a possibility I cannot be silent.  I know that someone handling his communication reads my blog and I hope they will contact me.

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