Legal doublethink re whistleblowers — my CPBF article, July 2006

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:

Hogarth_judge 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 tour­ismcases 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.

 

CPBF_Logo  Another suc­cess for Brit­ish justice — Annie Machon (31÷7÷06)

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