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#FreeJersey - Banned Journalist

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#FreeJersey - Banned Journalist

Post by Rico Sorda on 15.09.12 11:44

“Author and journalist Leah McGrath Goodman watched the investigation and digging at Haut de la Garenne from her U.S. home with interest. As the national and international TV cameras turned away from the story, she remained interested and decided to write a book on the subject. She began making trips to Jersey to research allegations of cover-ups...She set up a meeting with the Immigration Service and says it was all going well until she told them what she was writing about...”

– BBC


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Leah McGrath Goodman is an American investigative journalist, author and former UK resident who began researching reports of the breakdown of the rule of law in Jersey – a British Crown Dependency and one of the world’s leading offshore tax havens – after the island made international headlines in 2008 for the alleged mass abuse, torture and possible murder of children at the orphanage Haut de la Garenne.

Those accused of harming countless children under care include privileged visitors from abroad, the orphanage’s own staff members and prominent citizens of Jersey – some of whom, appallingly, continue to work with the island’s children in high-ranking government positions.

Some background: the Haut de la Garenne scandal saw nearly 200 victims accuse Jersey’s government of turning a blind eye to horrific crimes against defenceless orphans for decades; the illegal suspension of the island’s chief of police; the sacking of its health minister and key evidence – including the exhumed teeth, blood and bones of children – irreversibly compromised, as Jersey’s government scrambled to shut down the investigation at all costs. After succeeding in doing so, Jersey’s government, to this day, squanders millions of pounds from the public purse to try to silence and discredit its critics – and, most shockingly, shield the accused from being brought to justice – if necessary, even by means of undertaking secretive legal action.

Ms. Goodman successfully conducted her research until 11 September 2011, when the UK Border Agency detained her at the request of the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. Absent any charges, Ms. Goodman was fingerprinted, photographed and stripped of her passport, phone, wallet and possessions and held in the basement of Heathrow Airport for more than 12 hours – past the legal limit – without access to a lawyer or the U.S. consulate. The UK Border Agency copied her papers without her consent and questioned her about her work in Jersey before sending her back to the U.S. In January 2012, the Border Agency then sent Ms. Goodman a letter informing her it had taken the additional step of banning her from entering the UK Common Travel Area for two years, but did not explain the reason for this action. It denied her the right to an appeal. UK Member of Parliament John Hemming interceded to reduce her ban to one year, expiring 11 September 2012.

In order for Ms. Goodman to finish her research safely, she must receive pre-entry clearance from the UK – clearance it has so far declined to give her even before it imposed her ban.

As a member of Jersey’s parliament, I have been witness to the extensive efforts made by Jersey’s government to keep the international press at bay and guard against even the slightest further marring of its public image. Jersey may be one of the world's leading offshore financial centres, but it still operates much like a mini-politburo, claiming to be a “democracy” but seeking to discredit and even suppress media and Web content; redacting court and legislative records; forcing policemen and elected officials out of their jobs while denying them due process – and, now, seeking to gag the international press so no one will know about it. With our checks and balances duly hamstrung, the international media may be our last hope for reclaiming our democracy and re-establishing the rule of law.

In Jersey, the real organ of power wielded against those who would expose the facts is our judicial system, which takes aim at anyone who might attempt to bring the truth to light – a system I believe to be rife with conflicts of interest. We are in need of a major overhaul of our troubled system if we are ever to effect change. I will be addressing this through the legislative process, but we will need broader support.

Much has been made of how billions can corrupt the governments of large nations. What does that say about the effect of billions on a five-by-nine-mile island?

Please sign this petition if you believe in the principles of a free and open democracy – with a government and judicial system that will work to protect its citizens, not oppress them.

On behalf of the people of Jersey, this is quite literally an S.O.S

Rico Sorda

http://www.change.org/petitions/ukhomeoffice-restore-the-tier-1-uk-visa-of-journalist-leah-mcgrath-goodman-freejersey

Rico Sorda

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Re: #FreeJersey - Banned Journalist

Post by Rico Sorda on 15.09.12 17:57

Just like Hillsborough we also have a lead police officer leaking highly spun information to the journalist who was trashing the investigation.

http://ricosorda.blogspot.com/2011/11/scrutiny-review-findings-2.html

Thank you to all who have signed the petition. please spread the word. Just like HILLSBOROUGH so will Maddie get her Justice

rs

Rico Sorda

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Re: #FreeJersey - Banned Journalist

Post by Guest on 20.09.12 22:07

I had this in an email:

Friends:

I am heartened to tell you that this petition topped 1,000 signatures well before the deadline – thanks to you. We have received so much international outreach, it has been hard to keep up. In Jersey, politicians and the island's citizens have begun to tentatively voice their support and calls from the media are coming in.

There's just one thing: the Jersey immigration authorities remain silent.

To move the needle, please keep on sharing this petition and don't forget the #FreeJersey hashtag – you will be the reason we succeed: http://chn.ge/S9KWw

An international broadcast I did on Jersey last week: http://bit.ly/OJm9KW

This week, UK Member of Parliament John Hemming gave a speech highlighting Jersey's uphill battle for true democracy and freedom of the press – even as the fate of its children hang in the balance. Among his comments:

"Sadly, there are too many cover-ups that continue to succeed...There is a country where there are allegations that crimes by powerful people are not being investigated and prosecuted. A journalist has been refused entry to stop reporting about an issue. The chief of police has been suspended to stop him investigating crimes. Bloggers are being threatened to stop them talking about people. Decisions by the state not to prosecute cannot be challenged, nor is private prosecution allowed. The country is Jersey. The journalist is Leah McGrath Goodman."

Right now, there are some in Jersey who would have this investigation quashed where it stands. We cannot allow that to happen.

Thank you!

Leah
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