The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a subject close to my heart. It probably isn’t something most people think about until they have to start digging to find some truth. In the UK, there is currently a review taking place to explore whether there should be curbs on the FOIA. In fact, for a number of years, some senior politicians, high ranking police officers and a whole host of the great and the good have been musing out loud whether the FOIA should be reigned in. Now, they are getting their chance.
One of the main issues I have with the review is that it is hardly independent. One of the members of the review is Jack Straw, who has previously made many comments in regards to restricting the reach of FOIA. Most other members of the review are senior politicians, all of who have a vested interest in the FOIA being hamstrung. In fact, by limiting of the FOIA we would lose one of the tools that forces a certain amount of transparency of those in power.
Of course, those in power already have their tricks to stop nosey outsiders asking too many questions. Many Government departments have adopted instant messaging systems that prevent a paper-trail. Many Government departments just plainly deny certain documents exist only to “find” them again when it suits them to do so.
Limiting the power of the FOIA will simply send a message that we, the people, have no right to question the actions and authority of those in power. How does this tie into UFOs? Well, the MoD have been getting themselves in a right mess with the documents they claim to hold. They previously claimed that they had released all their files, only to reveal that in fact, they still have lots of files. Of course, Messrs Pope and Clarke have rushed out and started mumbling about the process of releasing the files being “stalled” and such nonsense. In fact, as I have so often said, what the MoD have released is the tip of a very large iceberg. Limiting the scope of the FOIA would suit the MoD down to the ground. In fact, I think I can hear the paper shredders from here.
Our ability to ask questions, no matter what subject, is crucial to a functioning democracy. In George Orwell’s unpublished preface to Animal Farm, he defined liberty as: “the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.