Democracy

FOIA's 40th Birthday Marked By Plans to Weaken It

Jeffrey Addicott, Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, will head a $1 million project funded by the U.S. government to produce a "model statute" to restrict information disclosed under the 40-year-old Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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BBC Archives Reveal Spooks Vetted Staff

Archived internal BBC documents from the 1980's, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph under Freedom of Information legislation, reveal that the British spy service, MI5, was used to vet existing and potential staff at the public broadcaster. The paper reported that the documents revealed that "at one stage it [MI5] was responsible for vetting 6300 BBC posts - almost a third of the total workforce." The BBC adopted "categorical denial" as its "defensive strategy" to deflect questions about the practice by unions.

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Big-Spending Brethren

While members of the conservative Christian church, the Exclusive Brethren, are not allowed to vote, they have been big spenders in recent election campaigns in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. They spent $NZ1.2 million in the 2005 New Zealand election, while in the 2004 US election their Thanksgiving 2004 Committee spent $US636,522.

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International News Media as Collateral Damage

While "the latest target is the New York Times," for reports on a U.S. program tracking international financial records, journalists and media outlets around the world have been criticized -- and prosecuted -- for publishing stories related to the so-called Global War on Terror.

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Hill & Knowlton Spins Repression

The Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Maldives, Ahmed Shaheed, has confirmed that Hill & Knowlton is still helping the government polish its image. "They are observing political advancements and other changes. They occasionally check these things," said Shaheed. "They are doing several reviews for the government. ...

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