A grandfather from West Yorkshire who took part in environmental protests which caused chaos on the country’s busiest motorway has defended the action as “absolutely necessary”.
Just Stop Oil supporters brought the M25 to a standstill over a number of days earlier this month by climbing onto overhead gantries during rush hour, forcing the police to close large sections of the motorway.
Anthony Whitehouse, 71, from Dewsbury, was among 63 people arrested. He later pleaded guilty to a charge of public nuisance and was due to be sentenced at Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Whitehouse said: “We did it for the very necessary reason the government are not acting according to what is needed to prevent the climate emergency that is happening all around us.
“So unless we do take strong action to make people aware of what is coming down the tracks, then my children and my grandchild are going to suffer immensely.”
A Just Stop Oil protester has been jailed after a protest which saw “mile after mile” of tailbacks on the M25.
Jan Goodey, 57, of Brighton, admitted causing a public nuisance and was given a six-month prison sentence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
On 7 November he climbed up an overhead gantry at Junction 16 for the M25/M40 turn-off during the morning rush hour.
The judge told Goodey, who had carried out the protest with a high-visibility jacket and climbing equipment: “You deliberately set out and equipped yourself to cause the disruption that you did.”
Goodey was also told to pay a £187 statutory surcharge by 31 July.
“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” The Guardian, The New York Times, and other media outlets warned.
JAKE JOHNSONNovember 28, 2022
The five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 to publish explosive stories based on confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department sent a letter Monday calling on the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange, who has been languishing in a high-security London prison for more than three years in connection with his publication of classified documents.
“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate,’ it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets,” reads the letter signed by the editors and publishers of The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País. “Publishing is not a crime.”
The letter comes as Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, is fighting the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite him to face charges of violating the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. If found guilty on all counts, Assange would face a prison sentence of up to 175 years for publishing classified information—a common journalistic practice.
Press freedom organizations have vocally warned that Assange’s prosecution would pose a threat to journalists the world over, a message that the five newspapers echoed in their letter Monday.
“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” the letter reads. “Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalized, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker.”
The “Cablegate” leak consisted of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that offered what the Times characterized as “an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world.”
Among other revelations, the documents confirmed that the U.S. carried out a 2009 airstrike in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians. Cables released by WikiLeaks showed that then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh assured U.S. Central Command Gen. David Petraeus that the Yemeni government would “continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”
The media outlets’ letter notes that “the Obama-Biden administration, in office during the WikiLeaks publication in 2010, refrained from indicting Assange, explaining that they would have had to indict journalists from major news outlets too.”
“Their position placed a premium on press freedom, despite its uncomfortable consequences,” the letter continues. “Under Donald Trump, however, the position changed. The [Department of Justice] relied on an old law, the Espionage Act of 1917 (designed to prosecute potential spies during World War One), which has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.”
Despite dire warnings from rights groups, the Biden administration has decided to continue pursuing Assange’s extradition and prosecution.
Assange’s legal team filed an appeal in August, alleging that the WikiLeaks founder is “being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions.”
Additional video is a little dated: Jun 17, 2022 and refers to former UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.
National Highways said it secured the civil order to “prevent unlawful protests” on the country’s busiest motorway after a series of stunts during which members of the environmental group scaled gantries and caused major traffic disruption.
The injunction, granted on Monday before Mr Justice Soole, will remain in place until just before midnight on November 15 2023 or until further order.
It means that anyone entering, remaining upon or affixing themselves to any object or to any structure on the M25 may have civil proceedings launched against them for contempt of court.
They could face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, the seizure of assets or a combination of these sanctions.
Just Stop Oil have restarted protesting in London today with protests at Shepherd’s Bush in West London and Aldwych / The Strand in central London this morning. Just Stop Oil: “Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to ensure that the government commits to ending all new licenses and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK.”