U.K. authorities have given themselves the power to surveil, harass and jail whistleblowers under the new British National Security Act
By Kevin Hughes // Feb 21, 2024

Britons could find themselves behind bars on questionable grounds under the newly passed British National Security Act (BNSA).

According to investigative journalist Kit Klarenberg, the BNSA seeks to demolish WikiLeaks and other whistleblower outlets exposing war crimes. However, the Act itself is an immediate threat to crucial national security journalism.

The BNSA took effect in December 2023 after being ironed out in the British Parliament for 18 months. Under this law, authorities in London have given themselves the power to surveil, harass and eventually put in jail any British citizen on questionable grounds. Dissidents of every kind must now worry that everything they do or say could land them in prison for long terms, simply for failing to toe London's strict national security line.

"Under the aegis of protecting Britain from the threat of espionage and sabotage by hostile actors at home and abroad, the law introduces a number of completely new criminal offenses with severe penalties – and wide-ranging consequences for freedom of speech," Klarenberg said. "The law's terms are so broad, individuals will almost inevitably break the law without wanting to, intending to, or even knowing they have." (Related: Russia arrests WSJ reporter over alleged espionage charges.)

BNSA shares many elements with draconian 1917 Espionage Act

While no one has been prosecuted under the BNSA so far and its full consequences remain unclear, criticism of it in mainstream media circles is notably absent. Thus, scrutiny of the Act has been left almost completely to independent journalists such as Mohamed Elmaazi.

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In a July 2022 piece for Consortium News, the Egyptian journalist pointed out that the BNSA "shares many elements" with the "draconian" U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. "Ostensibly created to protect the U.S. from German spies during World War I, it was used to successfully prosecute people for their opposition to their country’s involvement in the war," he wrote. "Their convictions were upheld on appeal despite the fact that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

The Nixon, second Bush and Obama administrations utilized the same law to target whistleblowers, Elmaazi continued. Currently, it is being used to target WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

"Whistleblowers, journalists and publishers focusing on national security-related matters may be most at risk of being prosecuted. [Even] everyday members of the public face a potential life sentence if they receive or share 'protected information.'"

Klarenberg also mentioned in his piece that British lawmakers clearly mentioned WikiLeaks in numerous parliamentary debates on the measure. In one instance, a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) asked Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper from the Labor Party if she denounced "the WikiLeaks-type mass dumping of information in the public domain." The Tory MP also dubbed such activity as "hugely irresponsible" as it "can put lives at risk."

Cooper – the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford – replied that she "strongly" condemned such activity. "Some of the examples of such leaks that we have seen put agents' lives at risk, put vital parts of our national security and intelligence infrastructure at risk, and are highly irresponsible. We need safeguards to protect against that kind of damaging impact on our national security," she told the Tory MP.

Follow Censorship.news for more stories about the censorship of whistleblowers in the United Kingdom.

Watch WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discuss the importance of free speech in the video below.

This video is from Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Whistleblower docs expose key tactics of the censorship industrial complex: Matt Taibbi.

Western countries continue to enforce OPPRESSIVE MEASURES to silence free speech.

Fact-checking, anti-disinformation campaigns are destroying free speech in "Global Boiling Era."

Sources include:





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