I got your leading conservative intellectual right here

by Michael Bérubé on April 8, 2009

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Inviting one and all to the April 15 <strike>Tin Foil Hat Parades</strike> Tea Parties to protest Obama’s gay Islamic socialism and the Obama Depression it has brought upon us all.  And also to protest fraud in government, a subject about which Newt is an acknowledged expert.

Please join Newt and the “big ideas” people of the new GOP — Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck, and J. T. Plumber — as they issue their bold new Declaration of Independence from Economic Reality one week from today.

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Photographing the police

by Chris Bertram on April 8, 2009

I’ve posted before about harassment of photographers by police, para-police, security guards etc. The latest panic in the UK has concerned section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. I’m inclined to think this is actually less of a problem than random and unlawful action by police officers, and the British government, in the shape of Shahid Malik MP (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department) has told us all to calm down, “in the following terms”:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090401/halltext/90401h0005.htm

bq. It makes it an offence to elicit, attempt to elicit, publish or communicate information about an individual who is or has been a constable, or a member of the armed forces or intelligences services. The information must be of a kind that is likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing acts of terrorism. It has been suggested that the new offence could criminalise people taking or publishing photographs of police officers. A photograph of a police officer may fall within the scope of the offence, but would do so in only limited circumstances. The offence is designed to capture terrorist activity directed at members of the protected groups, which, sadly, we know occurs. An offence might be committed, therefore, if someone provides a person with information about the names, addresses or details of car registration numbers of persons in the protected groups. The important thing is that the photographs would have to be of a kind likely to provide practical assistance to terrorists, and the person taking or providing the photograph would have to have no reasonable excuse, such as responsible journalism, for taking it.

Well now we “have a very good example”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/07/ian-tomlinson-g20-death-video of why it is important for the public to have the freedom to photograph and film the police: in order to gather evidence against them of violent and oppressive conduct. The Independent Police Complaints Commission has appealed people who have film or photographs of the events leading up to Ian Tomlinson’s death. It would be perverse if the taking of those photographs were itself a crime.