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Reporters Without Borders Demand Free Return For Sarah Harrison
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darkhorse Offline

Posts: 788
Joined: Mar 2013
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Reporters Without Borders Demand Free Return For Sarah Harrison
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Reporters Without Borders is concerned about what may lie in store for British journalist and WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison if she decides to return to the United Kingdom after spending several months in Moscow with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a statement posted on the WikiLeaks website on 6 November, Harrison said she had left Russia and was now in Germany, where she has joined a group of Berlin-based journalists and activists, including Laura Poitras and Jacob Applebaum, who are investigating NSA surveillance practices.

On her arrival in Berlin on 2 November, WikiLeaks’ lawyers strongly advised her not to return to the United Kingdom.

“David Miranda’s detention at Heathrow Airport in August under the Terrorism Act and the nine-hour interrogation that ensued have given us an idea of the welcome that could await Sarah Harrison in Britain.” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The British authorities must give assurances to Harrison that she can return to her country safely if she wishes. The Terrorism Act and defence of national security must not be used as grounds for harassing journalists who investigate sensitive subjects.”

In September, at the height of the controversy about Miranda’s arrest, two United Nations experts expressed alarm about the British government’s use of national security concerns to intimidate journalists.

Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, said: “The protection of national security secrets must never be used as an excuse to intimidate the press into silence and backing off from its crucial work in the clarification of human rights violations. The press plays a central role in the clarification of human rights abuses.”

Nonetheless, the British government’s broad interpretation of the Terrorism Act tends to regard all forms of journalism based on leaked “classified” information as terrorism, even if there is considerable public interest in the information being made known.

Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said: “I urge the British authorities to review their operations to ensure that they comply fully with the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the right to liberty and security, and the right to respect for private and family life.”

In General Comment No. 34, an interpretation of article 19 (on freedom of opinion and expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee’s experts said in 2011 that national security laws should not be used to “prosecute journalists, researchers, environmental activists, human rights defenders or others” for disseminating “information of legitimate public interest” (Paragraph 30, CCPR/c/gc/34).

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11-13-2013 05:20 PM
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Greekemmy Offline

Posts: 37
Joined: Mar 2013
Post: #2
RE: Reporters Without Borders Demand Free Return For Sarah Harrison
Quote:“The British authorities must give assurances to Harrison that she can return to her country safely if she wishes. The Terrorism Act and defence of national security must not be used as grounds for harassing journalists who investigate sensitive subjects.”

I totally agree with this initiative. I would like to take the opportunity to ponder over what we see here evolving.

Isn't it interesting that authoritarianism in a democratic state acting covertly is finally showing its ugly face overtly when efforts are being made to expose its most effective tool: Mass Surveillance, via brave and determined journalists.

Britain is risking a lot through this open show of hand. Its very monarchy has been tolerated and accepted by modern society because of the relatively benign profile adopted internally the last couple of decades.Diana's death indicated how close society is in getting rid of Royalty. Still, monarchy remains the crescent of UK establishment.

A current Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition government has adopted authoritative actions (holding Assange hostage, almost raided an Embassy, Questioning David Miranda under the terrorism act, intimidating journalists in the Guardian with the physical destruction of equipment). It has also acted authoritatively in trying to politically orchestrate censoring the flow of information regarding the folding of a covert surveillance system country wide and with NSA co-operation world wide.

This authoritarianism is not alien in British past. It is embedded with this Monarchical and Colonial history, still alive today. If a democratic state apparatus emulates the tactics of Monarchy and Oligarchy it no longer is a democracy and the social contract drawn after WWII is ripped apart.

UK at home was spared the effects of Nazi Occupation (bar the Channel Islands a part of history generally ignored in the majority of the country). In the Continent, this brutal occupation had a profound social impact across the lands. It swept away monarchical structures, establishing for good state establishments based on universal suffrage and a democratic system of elections, developing political structures that at least aspire to being accountable to people, as politicians sought a mandate from the electorate every 4 years or so.

Britain never experienced the total annihilation of indigenous power structures imposed by Nazism, as a result it never gave up its monarchy. Furthermore, it actively sought to re-establish monarchy in foreign lands of its influence. The example is of course my home country, Greece. The Dekemvriana events are carved out in Greek history by British chisel and hammer. It was an overt British military involvement on Greek mainland soil to re-establish the power of the King which led directly to the outbreak of a most painful civil war in Greece that was aided and abated by Britain and the emerging power of the US. See here:

What has all this to do with the events we follow now?

Monarchy, Oligarchy, its links to the state are still very much alive in the UK. When the state overtly exhibits authoritative behaviour so openly, it reminds us these links, ultimately makes people wake up from their daily slumber and wish to know what is being done in their name. It is this awaking that will then not just contain itself in examining these events alone. Social awakening once it starts it can create an avalanche of social developments. On this particular occasion the Information revolution we are witnessing with the Snowden revelations reveal that state tools were engaged in undermining through surveillance the very political structures and individuals upon which state power exists. No MP no living soul of importance has been beyond the GCHQ/NSA's reach.

The exposure of this reality creates a picture so bleak it's the stuff nightmares are made of as George Orwell eloquently described.

In disbelief we see such authoritarian measures being exhibited by the state. Ultimately, everything changes and as social acceptance of the Status Quo withers no end of Royal weddings, baptisms and jubilees will save the Monarchy from being washed away in the changes to come.

So I will be watching with interest to see whether any intelligent political operator will change the course of change by turning the Snowden revelations into a vehicle of rejuvenating the current system of governance. If not change will happen but not controlled by any political group or established interest. This is anathema for British establishment that still harbours 90 hereditary peers in its Houses of Parliament, at the Upper House, where the Lords sit.
11-13-2013 09:32 PM
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