Thanks to Wikileaks the concept of whistleblowing is once again, rightly, back in the prime-time news slots.
To highlight the British legal doublethink when it comes to whistleblowing cases, I reproduce below an article I wrote in 2006 for the excellent UK Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom organisation (CPBF).
Basically, the ruling stated that a whistleblower cannot repeat their own disclosures in public, even though anyone else in the world can:
In 2006 I hadn’t heard of Mr “Justice” Eady (he had yet to reach his maximum velocity), but he seems to have built up of bit of form since then. He is now most notorious for his punitive rulings in many “libel tourism” cases and celeb sex scandals, not to mention the odious concept of the super-injunction, startlingly exemplified in the Trafigura case about allegations of dumping toxic waste off the Ivory Coast – one of Wikileaks’s earlier media successes.
Obviously Eady, the man in charge of ruling on UK freedom of expression cases, was the person to go to if you had something to hide.
Thankfully he was replaced earlier this year by Michael Tugendhat QC, who fluently represented the media’s corner during the Shayler whistleblowing years, and some of Eady’s most egregious decisions have already been overturned by his successor.
It was another resounding success for British justice, according to Annie Machon. Mr Justice Eady granted a permanent injunction against David Shayler in the High Court today (Friday 28 July). In a breathtaking ruling, Eady stated that David was not entitled to present evidence or cross-examine his accusers (again), but instead issued a summary judgement based on assertions made by MI5.
This means that David can now only talk about a restricted range of disclosures – specifically what appeared in the Mail on Sunday on 24 August 1997. This means that he cannot talk about a whole range of topics which are in the public domain and have already been cleared via the injunction and for the publication of my book, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers.
Specifically, this means that, while I and the rest of the world can talk about state-sponsored false-flag terrorism, including the Gaddafi plot, David is banned. Very convenient when the 911 campaign is taking off.
The temporary injunction was issued in September 1997 on the explicit understanding that a full legal hearing would be needed before it could be made permanent. David has now been denied this.
Also, the injunction has been abused repeatedly, for example allowing the government to spin lies against him when he wished to reveal the wrongful conviction of two innocent Palestinians, Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh, for the bombing of the Israeli embassy in London in 1994. Also, when he tried to alert the government to murder and a major terrorist attack organised by MI6 officers in the Gaddafi plot, he did so legally via the injunction.
For his pains, he was the one thrown in prison in Paris in 1998.
The injunction has also repeatedly been used to intimidate journalists (one of whom was tried and convicted) and to stop the media investigating the criminality of MI5 and MI6. With this ruling, the judge has also abolished at one stroke the media’s right to publish whistleblowers’ testimony if they can argue it caused no damage to national security.
If any future whistleblower emerges from the intelligence services, and is injuncted, the media has lost this defence, enshrined by parliament in criminal law (Section 1.5 of the OSA). And why is an injunction necessary anyway? There already exists a criminal sanction under the Official Secret Act. The judge was kind enough to say that the injunction was for David’s own good and would stop him having to break the OSA again! We are through the looking glass.
Yours in wonderland, Annie