The German government admitted Monday that the Federal Intelligence Service had recruited and spied on journalists from 1993 until as recently as last year.
“The government regrets the incidents,” said Ulrich Wilhelm, the government spokesman after he had been bombarded with questions during the Monday regular news conference.
Wilhelm said the Chancellery had ordered the Federal Intelligence Service to stop such activities following a string of allegations emerging over the last few days that the agency had recruited journalists to spy on their colleagues.
The parliamentary controller’s committee, which monitors the activities of the intelligence services, will hold a special session Tuesday amid calls by the German Association of Journalists and the Association of Newspaper Publishers for a “rigorous investigation.”
The European Commission is asking the Maltese government to explain its policy of banning journalists from immigrants? detention centres in response to a petition signed by 100 journalists and editors last February.
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Franco Frattini told the European Parliament that the Commission was demanding information from the Maltese government about the total media ban imposed by Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg.
Replying to parliamentary questions made by Labour MEP Joseph Muscat and H?l?ne Flautre (Greens), Frattini said he was aware of the journalists? petition and of Borg?s media ban and that he was seeking information from the government. The Commission is also aware of the conditions in immigrants? detention centres which have been the subject of much criticism from international human rights agencies and organisations.
Well, it’s been another quiet night in Ukraine, but the demonstrations have continued again today – the live feed shows that Independence Square is full of people again with hundreds of orange flags flying.
There have been a lot of updates on Maidan overnight, mainly of protests and rallies around the world, and still the rumours about Russian troops continue. The main news there, and at the Kyiv Post are of the call for a general strike by Yuschenko.
Louise Ferguson has an email from a Ukrainian academic that’s being forwarded around the world which makes for interesting reading. The key line, when talking about the election fraud is ‘I couldn’t remember such things even during the period of Soviet regime.‘ (the full text is below the fold)
BBC News has a short rundown of the faults with the election process identified by the election observers.
Elsewhere the EU/Russia summit will go on today with Ukraine on the agenda – it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of there, and I suspect much will remain on hold until that is over. However, the EU’s mediators should be in Kiev by now, which means things will be going on behind the scenes that we won’t notice.
On the ground, there are blog updates from Neeka, Obdymok, several from Le Sabot, Foreign Notes and continuing posts from Victor at the Periscope.
I’ll try and update the news as often as I can today, but I’m a lot busier today than I was yesterday, so hopefully some of my Fistful colleagues will take up some of the slack. I think it will be quieter today – though rumours will still fly – mainly because all the action will be taking place behind the scenes either in The Hague or Kiev.
Update: A couple of peope have asked for background information on the ethnic and nationalistic divisions in Ukraine. Well, like many issues of national identity in Europe, the answer is ‘do you want the long story, or the really long story?’ but for an overview there’s good article in today’s Independent and Wikipedia is a good web source – you can start with their Ukraine page and follow links from there.
In my roundup earlier, I also forgot to mention that Harry’s Place has links to articles on attempts by the current Ukrainian administration to get support in Washington. Harry also links to a good Timothy Garton Ash article in The Guardian.