Cicero Yearly Archives

UK Law & US Consitution

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The Chilcott Delay!


Chilcot InquiryToday in the House of Commons; MPs reacted angrily to news that the inquiry  led by Sir John Chilcott into the 2003 Iraq War is not expected to reach it’s full report until after the general election

The inquiry said it did not see any “realistic prospect” of it’s publication of the report before elections are due to be held on the 7th May 2015 and the inquiry will probably face being questioned about it’s delay by a committee of MPs, while the chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway asked Sir John Chilcott to explain why the publication of the report has been delayed.

The inquiry was initially set up in 2009, under Gordon Brown to examine not only Britain’s involvement and it’s initial decision to go to war but also any cases of misconduct of British troops amidst claims of torture by both US and British allied forces against Iraqis forces and civilian. The report was expected to reach it’s conclusion within about three years and held it’s last hearing in 2011, following an unprecedented call for Tony Blair to give evidence to the inquiry in 2010. tony-blair-chilcot-inquiry

There was even speculation by many political observers and even MPs that delays of the reports findings may have occurred due to involvement or intervention from the former Prime Minister Tony Blair or those close to him pointing to a cover-up of the findings of the report following the invasion of Iraq by British and American forces after Tony Blair’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and after his decision to ignore, many people believe unlawfully, the United Nations Resolution 1441 in November 2002 that offered Iraq under Saddam Hussein one last final opportunity to comply with  disarmament obligations.

Leaders within coalition British Government have expressed concern over the delays with Nick Clegg saying that the delay was “incomprehensible” and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith saying the delay was “disappointing”. Sir John Chilcott had written to the David Cameron informing him that “substantial progress” had been made but that those criticised by the report needed an opportunity to respond to the criticism so far provided in the report. Mr Cameron in reply to Sir John has said he would have like to have seen the publication already and has criticised the former Labour Government for it’s delay in being published.

Cicero Lounge has a link to the Aitken Report (National Archives – MOD)  which documented and examined allegations of the British Army’s conduct against the allegations of abuse against Iraqi soldiers and civilians loyal to Saddam Hussein

See also the War Report for information on other reports issued following the Iraq and Afghan wars

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Organisations added to Terrorism Act Amendment


MPs will debate a motion to approve the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 in the House of Commons on Wednesday 21 January 2015.

Proceedings on the draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 will follow the conclusion of today’s Opposition Day debate on the NHS.

The draft Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2015 was laid on 20 January 2015 under the affirmative procedure. The instrument must be approved by the House of Commons and House of Lords before it can come into force.

Once approved the instrument will add ‘Jund Al-Aqsa (Soldiers of Al-Aqsa) and Jund al Khalifa–Algeria (Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria)’ to the list of proscribed organisations in the Terrorism Act 2000.

Privacy Versus Freedom of Speech – Twitter, Wikileaks and the Law?


English: Julian Assange, photo ("sunny co...

Image via Wikipedia

In the Universal declaration of human rights there are two interesting articles and it seems to me that they are both equally as important as each other however they can also be in opposition to one another – creating a subtle dichotomy in terms of the law and its interpretation the first article is Article
Article 12 states : “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” –
Article 19 states, however;
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Ths the dilemma the case of super-injunctions versus electronic expression of speech, from the micro-blogging site Twitter.

One a footballer taking out a super-injunction against the media’s printing of his affair with an ex-big brother model. And only recently ago worldwide Governments,  the US included calling for legal action against  Julian Assange , of Wikileaks decision to publish it’s US intelligence telegrams among the intelligence files it’s already published. So a footballer paying for ‘privacy’ law and Governments demanding ‘privacy on sensitive ininformation against Wikileaks published articles.

In spite of this the users and site owners on the internet are making history by disregarding either law or honour and choose to ‘publish and be damned’
Today however, Twitter’s new European boss has made clear that Twitter will co-operate with any local legislation and where users have been found to have broken local laws in their country that they will contact not only the user to inform them that they may face prosecution but also assist the authorities by providing user information should it be required. Users of Twitter have now been warned not to break their countries laws.

He has suggested that users who break privacy injunctions by posting on the site could face the UK courts. Of those users who flouted any privacy laws he said that those that did “bad things” needed to defend themselves – however he also warned that the site would hand over user information to the authorities where they were “legally required”.
Currently lawyers and the courts are looking to establish the identity of those people responsible for naming the footballer who had taken out the super injunction. These people will probably when found be not as fortunate as MP John Hemming who repeated the Twitter gossip to make Parliament aware on Monday of Ryan Giggs as named on Twitter as the person who had used a super-injunction to hide his alleged affair under the guise of discrediting the law surrounding the use of super-injunction. Mr Hemmings MP using his right of Parliamentary privilege to legally do so. He previously named disgraced banker chief Fred Goodwin as having taken out a super-injunction to cover a similar extra-marital affair.
Twitter‘s Mr. Wang told BBC reporters at the e-G8 Forum today though that social networking platforms have a responsibility to not to defend the user “but to protect that user’s right to defend him or herself”.
Legal jurisdiction and the internet is the hot topic at the moment at the e-G8 forum with Eric Schmidt of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook also speaking on the issue at the event. Many see that the US constitution allows for a clear cut answer – the freedom of speech over antiquated UK law , Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia likened the use of ‘privacy laws’ to secrecy and the Chinese government’s response to free speech “I do view it to being similar to the Chinese situation where they also cover up misdeeds of high ranking people,”
It is apparent that governments and popular celebrities preferring privacy and secrecy and the internet demanding open free speech will have to resolve this opposition to each other soon and unfortunately as the internet is global local jurisdiction and laws may now require a complete rethink.

Cicero.

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