The BBC World Service "Have Your Say" radio program was being broadcast live from Sydney, for the first time ever, and the discussion was titled "How Big Is Australia's Terrorism Threat"?
Sandra Eckersley (center, with sunglasses) and the BBC panel.
Panel guests included Neil Fergus, CEO of Intelligent Risk, Clare Murphy and David Connery from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, plus constitutional and civil rights lawyers. Media was represented by infamous Murdoch shill Miranda Devine and the Guardian's Paul Farrell, who has done some good reporting on anti-terror laws and events. So what qualifications or expertise did Sandra Eckersley bring to this discussion?
The presenter brought Sandra Eckersley into the discussion (at 14:48 minutes) but did not explain why she was there - instead he invited her to personally explain "who you are and what you do". Sandra then introduced herself as "an event producer professionally, but also a bit of a social commentator on Twitter and um, ah, with the newspapers".
In other words, a nobody.
Just another shrill voice in the endless ocean of tweets and online media comments. Not even a popular voice: despite posting over 72,000 tweets, @SandraEckersley has only 1,233 followers. She has written a total of three Humour & Satire articles for an obscure opinion site, focussing on hairdressing and fashion.
So why did the BBC think she deserved a seat at a table discussing Australia's anti-terrorism issues?
Don't get me wrong: I am all for hearing more ordinary citizens' voices on air. But why Sandra Eckersley, of all people?
Sandra later tweeted that she was invited to the discussion by someone at the BBC in London. Who was that? How did they get her contact details? Why did they think she would be suitable?
WHO IS SANDRA ECKERSLEY?
It's no secret that the US government has a monster Grand Jury investigating WikiLeaks, with the NSA hoovering up as much information as they can collect on Julian Assange and his associates. They have also revealed a sizeable budget for online grassroots activism (aka propaganda) targeting perceived "enemies of the State" (as WikiLeaks and their supporters have been officially labeled). If you wonder what such initiatives might look like when implemented in real life, you only have to check out Sandra Eckersley and her online friends.
Sandra has dedicated years of her life to trolling the #WikiLeaks and #Assange hashtags on Twitter, spreading daily lies and misinformation. She also attends WikiLeaks events and rallies in person - so much so that after one Sydney event, Julian Assange's mother complained that Ms. Eckersley was stalking her. She made a live appearance in the audience of ABC TV's Q&A show to ask a misleading question about Julian Assange to WikiLeaks' lawyer Jennifer Robinson, and she made an official complaint (allegedly 70 pages long!) about the ABC's excellent Four Corners investigation into Assange's Swedish sex allegations.
Sandra also appears to have been involved in a fraudulent WikiLeaks Forum trick to gather information on Julian Assange supporters, then abort the deceptive Avaaz.com petition which lured them in. The willfully deceptive WikiLeaks Forum has connections to an exposed paedophile who infiltrated WikiLeaks as an undercover FBI agent.
Interestingly, when she is not tweeting about Assange, Sandra frequently post tweets that support Australian Labor Party (ALP) policy. Sandra became active against WikiLeaks while the ALP was in power, so if she is being paid by someone, there could be an ALP link.
Has Sandra also been to London? Has she stalked WikiLeaks supporters outside 3 Hans Crescent? Is that where she made contact with her BBC friends?
Is Sandra Eckersley being paid to spy upon, harrass and spread disinformation about WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks supporters? Or are we to believe she is just a normal (albeit strangely obsessed) citizen? Either way, the BBC World Service should explain why they invited her onto a show about terrorism in Australia, and who made that decision.
The BBC has a poor reputation as a UK Establishment tool. Elevating people like Sandra Eckersley to media commentariat positions only further damages the BBC's credibility.
Sandra responds on Twitter that she was invited onto the BBC World Service show by BBC World Service producer Chris Ancil:
I have now asked Chris Ancil to explain why he invited Sandra onto the show.
Sandra also attempts to prove her credentials as an anti-terror expert by citing this short comment that appeared on ABC "Insiders"... um... nine years ago (whoop de doop). Ironically, "Insiders" is regularly criticized for exclusive use of, erm, "insider" voices.
BBC World Service producer Chris Ancil refuses to explain why Sandra Eckersley was invited on the show, who recommended her, or how he got to know her.
24.75 million people in Australia, over 4.75 million in Sydney, huge participation rates in social media, and we are supposed to believe that Sandra Eckersley was chosen at random to speak about a serious subject, despite her total lack of qualifications or experience in the area? Bullshit.