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« This has to be a spoof | Main | A strange convergence of interests »
Tuesday
Mar082016

Facebook: the greens' pet censor

Phelim McAleer - the man behind the Fracknation documentary film - has been covering an important US court case in which residents of Dimock Pennsylvania are seeking compensation from a shale gas driller, who they say has contaminated their water supply and poisoned their children.

It's hard to imagine that the case is not going to be thrown out as a complete fabrication - the judge has already expressed concern over the veracity of the claims. When you read that the plaintiffs reacted to their children coming down with neurological, gastrointestinal, and dermatological conditions by not taking their children to a doctor, the house of cards starts to collapse before your very eyes.

Expect a determined silence on the subject from the BBC.

In fact, you should probably expect a determined silence everywhere, because it seems that Facebook has started to remove posts about the case from McAleer's page at the behest of green activists.

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Reader Comments (50)

Well I "liked" his posts some days ago when this first happened. Seems to be back up now.

Mar 8, 2016 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

From Facebook:- "I wanted to let you know that our FrackNation Facebook page has been attacked by activists leading to two posts being removed and the page being locked for 24 hours.
As you know I've been covering the Dimock Water Trial that is finally revealing the truth about this scam - where two families are claiming an oil and gas company have polluted their water. Well - their case is collapsing because they have no evidence and in fact the evidence is emerging that the case is nothing but an anti-fracking multi-million dollar bogus lawsuit.
I've been the only reporter to be in the courtroom all through the trial and revealing, on the FrackNation Facebook page, the ludicrous lies at the heart of this case. This has infuriated anti-fracking activists who have started up a concerted campaign flagging up my posts as "inappropriate".
This has led Facebook to delete two damning posts that shows the fraud at the heart of the lawsuit but most damagingly of all it has led to Facebook suspending the account for 24 hours over the weekend. This meant I was prevented from posting onto the page so you could not learn more about the case."

Do read it all.

Mar 8, 2016 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

They're obviously running a search & destroy sweep on climate skeptiks. My modest Facebook page got the sudden bullet in the back of the head a few weeks ago.

Pointman

Mar 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Did Fracking pollute the fresh water supply in Flint Michigan?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/flint-families-sue-michigan-governor-other-officials-over-tainted-water-1457383508

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I heard (was it in WUWT?) that the water 'pollution' took place long before the first well was fracked, and that the judge has pointed this out.

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Behind a paywall for me. Anyone got a link?
Thank you.

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan bates

Facebook have capitulated. The fightback campaign of like - ing the pages plus commenting on Zuckerberg's page has worked. Fracknation now back to normal.

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianJay

I posted this on Unthreaded on 4th March, but it seems worth reproducing here (between the dashed-lines):

---------------------------------
Those nasty people who sometimes daydream about getting climate scaremongers into courts of law, either under oath or charged with something, so that they may be questioned and have to sit there while evidence is presented to an attentive jury, might like to read this by Phelim McAleer
Quote:


It's sad that people such as Professor Ingraffea can make so many damaging claims, scaring people, telling them their water is poisoned, and all these years later admit in a court that he never had any evidence to back up his scaremongering.

Hat-tip: Greeniewatch

-----------------

In a recent interview, Benny Peiser had this to say about censorship in and around academia (with particular reference to climate issues):

It is about not the pursuit of knowledge but the enforcement of what people deem as acceptable knowledge. There is acceptable knowledge and there is unacceptable knowledge, and students and the academics who think that there is some knowledge that is simply not acceptable, not tolerable, think it should never be mentioned, it should not be raised in public. And that’s the simplest way to an un-free society, which we had in the Middle Ages.

Facebook is playing with our freedoms here. Perhaps they know not what they do?

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

It looks like the Streisand effect is taking hold here. It's always the cover-up that does them in.

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Alan Bates: I had the same problem with the paywall but I got round it by Googling Flint Families Sue Michigan Governor and the first hit was the WSJ and I was able to read the piece. Curious. But it worked.

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Is this not just a case of Facebook removing posts flagged as inappropriate by activists, and then restoring them after investigation?

(which has brought it to a wider audience)

Mar 8, 2016 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

kellydown, If you're suggesting that the Facebook policy of "shoot first, ask questions later" is acceptable, I beg to differ. Very often, the motives of those flagging up 'inappropriate' are as much or more in question than those they seek to gag.

Mar 8, 2016 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterilma

kellydown, If you're suggesting that the Facebook policy of "shoot first, ask questions later" is acceptable, I beg to differ.

Fair enough. It's their website. If their methods are not acceptable, then use some other platform

Very often, the motives of those flagging up 'inappropriate' are as much or more in question than those they seek to gag.

No argument from me there. I'd go further and say the word "inappropriate" is one of the most nauseating weasel-words in current use.

Mar 8, 2016 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Facebook is a private company. They can do what they like in so far as it retains eyeballs and interaction.

If you signed up and agreed to their terms and conditions you have chosen to accept their policies. I've seen cases like this before where due to the popularity of Facebook people think it is about Freedom of Speech. It is, but only as long as it does not compromise their business model.

Mar 8, 2016 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

It seems some of these "Greens" are only in it for the money, not bothered by the lives of others at all, or facts, or evidence, or science.

It is not surprising the Green Blob are trying to bury bad news, to cover up, and suppress the public's access to the truth.

It needs a UK MP to raise this in the House of Commons, to test the BBC's neutrality.

Mar 8, 2016 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The latest statement on the Facebook page (click Bish's "covering" link) says:

WE BEAT FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP

You did it - you made Facebook back down and we have succeeded in beating the censorship organized by anti-fracking activists.
As you know Facebook have removed several of my posts regarding the Dimock Water Trial after a targeted campaign activists flagged up the post s as "inappropriate" and Facebook removed them alleging we "violated community standards".

...

And then the media started getting interested with stories about the censorship appearing in Breitbart, Glen Beck's The Blaze, Newscasters and I've even had requests for interviews from media in Canada.
It was enough to force Facebook to back down and the stories have been restored and what stories they have been.
...

Mar 8, 2016 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Of course climate hysterics suddenly don't like consensus science when the consensus says fracking is safe.

Mar 8, 2016 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Paul Matthews, Green Blob Propaganda must be paying overtime rates, to all their clandestine subversive agents. Where do they get all the money from?

Mar 8, 2016 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Of course climate hysterics suddenly don't like consensus science when the consensus says fracking is safe.

Because the consensus in favour of fracking is in the pay of Big Oil. (I wish!)

Mar 8, 2016 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

BBC, ask Phelim McAteer if you can use the clip below of scientavist Prosessor Ingraffea for the piece you're going to do on the Dimock trial. You will be doing a piece, won't you?

https://www.facebook.com/FrackNation/videos/vb.288353704562837/1038903379507862/?type=2&theater

Mar 8, 2016 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCB

CB, what the BBC really don't need now, is for a journalist and national newspaer to point out BBC reporting bias, just as their credibility passes the tipping point of no return, with the UK taxpaying public.

Mar 8, 2016 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Who in their right mind still uses 'facebook' the fascists portal?

Mar 8, 2016 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Harry Passfield, the Colorado flaming tap water in the antifracking movie was shallow coal bed methane contamination before any deep Niobrara fracking had begun. Outright fraud, since flaming tapwater in Logan County CO has been in the news since the 1930's.
The Dimrock Pa incident was a single improperly cemented Marcellus shale gas well. When the problem was detected, the well was plugged and abandoned, and the shallow groundwater aquifers returned to normal in a few weeks (cause in hilly/mountainous country, groundwater 'flows'). PA now requires before and after drilling monitoring in a radius around each well. Plus it requires cemented steel casing to 1000 feet, well below any ground water aquifers. Josh had a cartoon on this some time ago. The ambulance chasing lawyers claiming harm to two Dimrock families from the incident have been shot down in part because there is no doctor's evidence of any harm.

Mar 8, 2016 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

It’s an on-going fascination how the ideologically-driven fiddle with the language, as Orwell put it, to corrupt thought.
The Benny Peiser quote above “… there is acceptable knowledge and there is unacceptable knowledge, and students and the academics who think that there is some knowledge that is simply not acceptable, not tolerable …” reminded me of the recent ‘feminist glaciology’ paper where the abstract says “… this paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge …” etc.
What or who are “knowledge producers”?
“Producers” are manufacturers, makers, fabricators, creators.
Scientists don’t ‘produce’ knowledge, they discover and disseminate it.
‘Knowledge production’ implies a novel and sly shift in meaning I think.

Mar 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

No surprise that the fractivists play all the same cards and refuse to engage - Josh Fox's toxic antics when confronted with awkward questions comes to mind - I'm not a gambling type - but I'd wager that the heavily bespectacled prat had a hand in this - he has plenty of "previous".

Fractivists are used to getting a free pass in the MSM - local rag the WIltshire Times dropped the recent "87000 petition against fracking in Wiltshire" article roughly half way through its standard trajectory down the news feed when I posted a comment stating "Ingraffea's a liar - and here's the evidence"

It's always the case that they call us names - but when we call them out as liars and fantasists that's "innapropriate", "offensive", "breaching community standards", and a few ists and isms if they can work 'em in...

I'm pleased to see that Facebook (which I don't "do" on a personal level) seemed to have applied a bit of balance - I am very suspicious of Google meddling though as Mr Schmidt has made his position pretty clear and steered the giant into a fair amount of climate antics.

The tactics of complaining about "the enemy" and trying to criminalise / gag / exclude are a regular feature of the eco-loon playbook.

I know that Richard North is viewed by many here as rude and exceeding abrasive - but his treatment by The Environmental Audit Committee was yet another manifestation of the eco-loon gamesmanship we're seeing here - and I'm confident that Mr Monbiot licked his finger and painted a "1" in the air when the ushers or whatever they're called told him he (North) wasn't going to be allowed to present his evidence - as he was invited /requested to do officially by the committee. (I noticed that the sly gits have doctored the committee web page to show that North wasn't invited ....)

I FoI'd the committee (who?/why?/evidence?) - they claimed Parliamentary Privilege - trouble is - as I understand it Select Committes are a special case when it comes to privilege. Again as I understand it - the scope of privilege at a committee is that it can only claim privilege for items formally submitted - i.e. on the record. Unless the next FoI response gives chapter and verse I'll escalate to Mr. Bercow - which will be interesting :-)

Mar 8, 2016 at 9:06 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Looks like an update

http://pindanpost.com/2016/03/08/ambulance-chasing-fracking-lawyers-lose/

Mar 8, 2016 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

tomo, it is quite clear that the most toxic pollutants in Local Authority Planning, are emitted by Green Blob Professional Activists relying on totally unreliable faking experts, like Ingraffea.

Cross contamination of forensic evidence is a feature of controversial miscarriages of justice. I am sure Green Blob Professional Activists will blame their own lack of expertise, as the reason why they placed so much credibility with proven liars, but the stench of effluent will linger in UK Planning Committees. Hopefully they will be better able to spot the fakers, their fake evidence, and fake concern.

Mar 8, 2016 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Anoneumouse, 6.17pm: I totally agree.

Mar 8, 2016 at 10:41 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

@golf charlie

provincial tin pot politicians will head towards any crowd / issue that might (in their tiny minds) garner them votes.

The way that eco-ism has been primped up as a catch-all pious buzzword riddled mantra-fest that is equally alluring to all shallow pols regardless of their "orientation" is actually quite an achievement. The righteous brook no criticism - and the stupid incurious gits go along with it almost unquestioningly as long as the gravy is slathered thick enough to hide the unpleasant and rotten lumps.

cynic ... moi?

Salopian@10:41 - I'm told FB doesn't have to be a toxic sump of shallow "Generation Y" narcissism and spitefulness - but I'm not convinced

Mar 8, 2016 at 10:52 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The Dimock case was not the only item of Facebook censorship. On his own page Phelim Mcaleer decided to quote on March 5th something I said in June 2014. That has now been removed. The quote was from the end of a long article I wrote about

A senior geology professor in Miami, who also chairs the science committee for the Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force, has views on future sea level rise that are way more extreme than the available evidence. As a result, Southeast Florida Regional Plans could have been affected, with public money wasted, unnecessary stress caused to home owners, and land devalued.

This comment that Mcaleer quoted (now in bold) was:-


Any questioning of the scientific authority has been treated as equivalent to denial of established fact, and with a manufactured moralistic contempt akin to that meted out to those who question the truth of the holocaust.

Mar 8, 2016 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Fakebook, the faking fraudsters friend.

I have never used Fakebook, but with computer faking technology, it only takes one person in a key position to destroy any companies reputation. When faking is the order of the day, the true scale of the problem may be unknown, particularly to Fakebook.

Faking Climate Scientists have inspired so much faking fraud with their faking computer models. Hydraulic Fracturing seems far safer, and a positive contibution to mankind's future.

Mar 8, 2016 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Tomo, in the UK, people become Local Authority Councillors for a variety of reasons. Some because of deep political conviction and a desire to play their part in the bigger picture, some because of a single local issue, others for career advancement up the greasy political ladder, etc.

Once elected, the most 'powerful' Committee to sit on, is Planning. It has traditionally been the best opportunity for corruption too. The Planning Committee members are also the most public and vulnerable to local pressure groups, especially when promoted by hostile local papers. The Green Blob know this, and your recent success in Wiltshire, is all the more remarkable! It would do no harm to remind local planning committees how they are being discredited and deceived by a bunch of faking activists.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:16 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Tomo,

The petition came to full Council, but according to officers only about 1500 signatories were Wiltshire residents. However, the opposition, ever keen to try to get one over on the administration, had proposed a Motion to ban fracking in Wiltshire. This was headed off as to pass that Motion (so to speak) would have placed the Council in a position for challenge by the frackers. Gloucestershire have passed a Motion banning fracking and we await a judicial challenge!

Any exploration will require planning permission and officers will then present the case to a planning committee. In the meantime, a report on the pros and cons of fracking will be prepared to give an unbiased view of the fracking process for all councillors so that they will be properly informed for when they have to make a decision.

I have noticed a few Keep Wiltshire Frack Free signs about the place, but not many. No doubt the pressure will be ratcheted up when and if an application is made.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Grumpy, do check any fresh submissions for additions/deletions in the light of revelations about Ingraffea and faking evidence. Elected Councillors do not appreciate being lied to, especially if the same people appear to have lied to them before, and are either repeating the lie, or are now telling a 'hastily revised' story. In some legal proceedings, it would be considered 'contempt', but Planning Committee powers do not extend beyond the individual Application.

Who will be preparing the 'unbiased' report on fracking? Who will confirm it is unbiased? At a national level, having a Public Enquiry is a great way of delaying a decision, and outsourcing responsibility. Preparing an unbiased report on fracking will allow Full Council to defer making a decision. The anti-fracking activists will simply apply pressure on the 'expert' writing the unbiased report, with Non Violent Direct Action if it seems appropriate in their opinion.

Be aware that an 'unbiased' report will attract national coverage, if the BBC deems it to have reached the 'politically correct' conclusion.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This particular "green gambit" seems to surface on Facebook from time to time. As I had noted almost five years ago:

The latest wrinkle to emerge from the environmental activists’ language laundry concerns the word “abuse” as it has apparently been translated by an unknown number of unknown Facebook (FB) users. Both Donna Laframboise and Watts Up With That reported that FB pages of those with a skeptical viewpoint had been flagged as “abusive” – thereby ensuring that they could not be shared by other users.

FB seems to consider items flagged as abusive in much the same way as the U.K.’s libel laws: i.e. “guilty until proven innocent”. FB has the capacity and technology to send notifications to users regarding any number of trivial matters; at the very least one would have thought they would have the decency to notify a user that one (or more) of his/her posts had been so labelled.

Isn’t it time that MSM journalists finally started shining a bright investigative light on such scurrilous attempts to silence those whose opinions diverge from the so-called “consensus“?

See: Of labels, libels and language launderers

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:52 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

I applied for that Facebook job.

Mar 9, 2016 at 6:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterAyla

This is an amusing take on the story (link below)

"This week, Lewis [plaintiff's lawer] appeared to struggle with industry terminology, confusing gas wells with water wells, casing with cement. At one point, she referred to the oil-and-gas services company Schlumberger as "Schlumberjack." [There must be a song in that! I'm a Schlumberjack and I'm ok.....]

And one of those 'concerned scientists' Anthony R. Ingraffea, a Cornell University civil-engineering professor, gets himself into a pickle. (you can find him on Youtube as an apparently credible anti-fracking expert).

"He also said that to "maintain objectivity and personal integrity," he directed that his fee be paid to a nonprofit charity of his choice. "I want to be seen as completely without conflict." Under cross-examination by attorney Stephen C. Dillard, Ingraffea admitted the fees went to PSE Healthy Energy, a nonprofit the professor co-founded that is active challenging fossil-fuel development. Ingraffea said he is not compensated by the organization."

Read more at
http://www.philly.com/philly/business/energy/20160304_Two_Dimock_families__Cabot_fight_on_over_fracking_and_tainted_water.html#sboQThA4Ht8Ii1Sl.99


http://www.philly.com/philly/business/energy/20160304_Two_Dimock_families__Cabot_fight_on_over_fracking_and_tainted_water.html

Mar 9, 2016 at 6:44 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/6986518/Queen-hailed-as-a-backer-of-Brexit.html

The head of the British State wants her State back.
Happy Birthday Malm as in Palm. She still rocks at 90
Can't rely on the E U to build us another Nuke Power Station .German Coal and UK Shale saves the Euro

And U S Shale kept the Obama Administration afloat.Lucky for Hilary and Donald.

Mar 9, 2016 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

Who will be preparing the 'unbiased' report on fracking?

Simply not possible.

The very notion that the "fracking" part of a well is a central issue is already biased in the extreme, as those who have done frac jobs around the UK & elsewhere before the importation of US "Fractivism" could attest.

Mar 9, 2016 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

@Grumpy

the epicentre of fractivism in Wiltshire appears to be Frome ... in Somerset - closely followed by Bradford on Avon :-) which appear to be trying to emulate Glastonbury's success. I've seen the Frome town signs acquire "Frack Free" additions.

Local councillors are indeed quite a diverse bunch which is a good thing I believe - but - the formation of cabals, intoxication with municipal "power" coupled to a taste for "smoke filled rooms" and a dismal lack of due diligence in research (and the exposition of evidence) mean that many times decisions are taken that are profoundly ill informed and pivot on the whim of a few members (or worse in my view - the whim of officials with an agenda all of their own).

Wiltshire's transition through the last spasm of reorganisation has been quite a bumpy ride - littered with much questionable activity by councilors + officials and quite a few resignations.

It does not help that financial reporting from Wiltshire Council appears to be in chaos (vestigial?).

@kellydown
absolutely....

Mar 9, 2016 at 10:28 AM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo
"Frack Free Frome"! What's not to like?
Next up Frack Free Frinton? I'm not aware of any oil or gas under that part of Essex but why should that stop them?
You can't say their slogans aren't catchy, if a bit simplistic. Not to mention irrelevant in a lot of cases.
Having spent several years being paid to watch the antics of planning committees at close quarters I found that most councillors did largely what was expected of them, namely to put a personal, local dimension on what was being proposed.
Councils vary in their policies on how applications are dealt with but an extremely large number of all planning applications (I wouldn't like to put a figure on it but certainly over 75%) are dealt with by planning officials under delegated powers often with a right by a local Councillor to "call in" applications in their area for discussion by the committee.
Beyond that councillors must have regard to approved Structure Plans but can depart from them if they can provide a good reason and I have seen many applications bounce to and fro between council and applicant as councillors and officials try to make a development which is acceptable in principle acceptable in practice in their locality.
I could also point you towards councillors who dearly wish that applications for wind farms, oil/gas exploration, opencast coal and other mining, landfill sites and incinerators would go away! As far as they are concerned there is no upside to these because whatever decision they take will cost them votes. And they are also conflicted by the fact that as a sweetener the developer is probably offering big sums (my community council was in line for £25K for a wind farm application if I remember correctly) if the development goes ahead.
Councillors do not want to be put in that position, believe me! Government is better placed to resist the blandishments (or more likely threats) of activists with a bee in their bonnet. Let them make the decision.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:57 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Tomo Grumpy & others

the Green Blob look for 'spectaculars' that grab headlines. Ingraffea's toxic legacy of lies, should not be allowed to go unnoticed by the Public, or Planning Officers, or elected Planning Committees.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mike Jackson

What about "Leccy Free London"?

It would really help residents of London appreciate the rank hypocrisy, if they lived in regular blackouts, whilst the privileged few continued with their lives courtesy of diesel powered emergency generators.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC
That'll do nicely. I was trying to think of something similar that would keep the alliteration over all three words but nothing was coming.
I'll be inspired eventually.

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, the old rallying call of 'Power to the People' is not understood by the modern Green/Left in the UK. It is why they are politically powerless, as the people are not as stupid as some of the idiots believe.

Mar 9, 2016 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Trivial but telling

then and now

btw - I have a suspicion that BH has a few lurkers on/from Westminster HoC select committee staff ;-)

Mar 9, 2016 at 10:30 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, good to know that some inhabitants of the HoC have realised that they are being fed a carefully controlled diet, by the Green Blob, now outnumbering the rats and mice in the corridors of power.

At least their corridors have power supplies backed-up by diesel generators, but if any of them have wives and/or girlfriends and/or children worth visiting in rural areas, they might appreciate how vulnerable their employment is, in the event of power cuts due to inadequate supplies. The Green Blob vermin don't allow it to be mentioned.

Mar 10, 2016 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@golf charlie

I'm not altogether convinced that those "some inhabitants" have actually discovered much - let alone any sense of self awareness. The insularity of Westminster is the stuff of some legend and let us not forget about the voting on the CCA.

Coincidence it probably is - but the fast(er) reply - from several tiers up the food chain referencing aspects of the matter that were not part of the direct dialog (but elaborated in blog comments) and tinged with a smidge of combative lèse-majesté nudged the needle on my BS detector :-)

Some public servants (not all!) have gotten pretty bold about resisting FoI - even simply giving (un-FoI'd) answers to simple questions that are self evidently of public interest (not the legal test thereof) is resisted. In many cases the answer is obvious and the removal of doubt about the deliberations of our representatives would / should reinforce our confidence in them - they choose otherwise because they are cowards who actually doubt their own judgement.

Parliamentary Privilege has been fought for for centuries - and by people who stood to lose quite a bit more than temporarily loosing their dignity. The essence is that things can be said in public in that place which are not actionable outside Parliament - telling truth to power if you like... What we're seeing is creeping subversion from unconditional freedom of speech to cultivating an unfettered, furtive pantomime and parody of representative democracy that seeks to stifle well founded dissent.

It would seem they simply want to stage events and issue press releases - this can only end badly.

Mar 10, 2016 at 7:27 AM | Registered Commentertomo

@Mike Jackson 11:57 AM

I defer to your experience - I can only really relate what I've seen out in one particular shire.

There are well informed, responsible and diligent councilors out there - just not enough in my neck of the woods.

Mar 10, 2016 at 7:46 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Phelim McAleer is also the truth-telling hero behind the Gosnell movie (and, if you don't recognise the name "Gosnell", you can thank the lamestream media for that, too).

Facebook won't be thanking him for telling the Gosnell story, either.

Mar 11, 2016 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

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