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Justice & Security Bill (Secret Courts UK): Fully-Explained By The Guardian & How To Get Paid (Easy-Money) For Injustices

Before proceeding to the Guardian main article that which will be reprinted here with full permission, we would like to put a question that we know most of you have already had, a question with relevance and close associative-relation to the proliferation of secret courts in UK and the West, in general:

How does the Police and Security Services appear always to be able to ”Catch” their targets when no one talks to them?

Thus only in answering above question one might then come to an understand the logic behind secret courts. In other words, understanding how these actors, government and cohort, target and collect information through illegal surveillance and other methods that can not be admitted in the real courts of laws where possibly the judge might just turn over and hold the government and it’s security services in contempt for illegal behaviour on grounds of privacy invaded, warrant-less evidence, justification, and how they came to such point in the first place, namely to zoom-in on ”these targets” without having prior blanketed communities with surveillance: point of illegality. In short, secret courts as already stated in the past tend to work for these actors, governments and it’s cohorts, in

[a] fabricating,

[b] hiding their illegal acts against whole of communities, and which then ”led them” to the alleged-suspects, who are then mostly [1] encouraged towards the ‘criminal path’, entrapment, by these actors, for example these actors will put a person/s in forums or whatever chat-rooms and other places to ”provide websites” or other sources that these individual might be interested with, when without these directions these individuals might stop short of mere protesting and other non-violent means (already discussed as FBI favoured, though in UK and not reported it is also MI5/6 and law enforcement favoured approach). [2] or these ”alleged to be criminals” are then held up when they frustrate the entrapment-approach by claims of either perceived or probable intentionshere is an important word, intention (not even minority report style approach; as within this approach there is a ”aura of truth” in the intended criminal act to take place in the future!), to perform an act of criminal nature.

In sum, as already argued in this forum, secret courts are western/UK government’s cost-saving strategy to reduce counter-sues (see the article) from the innocent and the greater communities who have no idea of how deep their communities are infiltrated by surveillance devices and technologies operated by their own governments, trusted to protect and not to repress and spy upon. This is the broken trust, see this article, Broken Britain. For an higher authority, President of United States Mr. Obama see here on arguments against secret courts.

To answer our initial question then, secret courts exist to allow government and its cohorts to fabricate and present inadmissible ”evidences” which have largely been collected without consent and knowledge of the targeted communities and which is how these cohorts seem always to be able to ”catch their targets” even when no one inform or talk to them (have you ever contacted these parties on matter not directly of interests or effect upon yourself, of course no, and even if directly of impact you probably have shied away from contacting these parties right, and just say shit-happens!).

P.S. Before presenting the full article, for a perfect counter-strategy is to attack the feared approach, the fear of counter-sues, which costs these actors, governments and their cohorts, so much money (Mohammed Binyam costed millions in settlements, the Nottingham student over £20’000k from West Midlands Police etc). And how to sue, and perhaps a perfect method is every Muslim, or as many as possible, to start filling for Data Protection Act & Freedom of Information Act, simultaneously,  to seek to find out how much information or data does their government and it’s cohort has of themselves, and here is a list of lawyers that might be able to help you do so: Here is the List or just locate appropriate specialist legal support and KACHING: NOT ONLY WILL YOU GET AN EASY-MONEY BUT ALSO YOU WILL HAVE ASSISTED IN OVERWHELMING THE UNDEMOCRATIC ACT/SYSTEM: you will see who has been spying on your computer (see the post below for indicators: e.g flashing light when not using or browsing; hijacked browser ”behaving badly”; remote ”peeping and logging” etc); you home and so forth.

Now for the Guardian article in Full:

Secret courts: the essential guide

Is the justice and security bill a threat to fundamental legal liberties or a necessary veil to protect state secrets? Here’s what you need to know about the expansion of trials behind closed courtroom doors

The justice and security bill's critics believe that secret justice cannot constitute a fair trial.

The justice and security bill’s critics believe that secret justice cannot constitute a fair trial. Photograph: Chris Young/PA

1. The issue at a glance
2. The legal origins
3. Why are secret trials in the news?
4. A short history of secret hearings
5. What’s next?
6. The main arguments against the bill
7. The main arguments for the bill
8. What will disappear behind closed courtroom doors?
9. Key players
10. Glossary
11. FAQ
12. The final word

1. The issue at a glance

The justice and security bill‘s most controversial element is the extension of secret courts, known as closed material procedures (CMPs), into the civil courts in England and Wales. Opponents believe the powers will enable ministers, rather than judges, to manipulate the way evidence is withheld or presented in the courts – depriving claimants of a fair trial. The government claims the reform will enable judges to hear a greater range of national security cases. The bill also alters parliamentary scrutiny of the intelligence services.

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2. The legal origins

In May 2010, the government was forced to pay out millions of pounds in compensation to Binyam Mohamed and other former Guantánamo Bay detainees.

Binyam MohamedBinyam Mohamed, the UK resident secretly rendered to Guantánamo Bay, whose case sparked the row over intelligence disclosed in court. Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFPThe settlement came after the court of appeal rejected requests by MI5 and MI6 that they be able to present security evidence in secret without disclosing it in full to the claimants. “Trials should be conducted in public and the judgments should be given in public,” the judges ruled. Rather than reveal “sensitive” intelligence, the government settled out of court claims for wrongful imprisonment and complicity in torture.

The result, according to the former justice secretary Ken Clarke, has been a “UK justice system unable to pass judgment on these vital matters”. Claimants, he argues, are denied any judicial findings while the intelligence agencies cannot clear their names. The government says the justice and security bill is designed to ensure such a predicament never recurs by extending the use of secret courts while preserving intelligence-sharing with the US and other allies.

Without transparent justice, critics counter, abuses of power will remain hidden.

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3. Why are secret trials in the news?

The legislation, introduced in the House of Lords, has provoked deep anxiety among civil liberties groups, senior lawyers and politicians who fear it is the thin end of a wedge, overturning long-established, common law precedents about fair and open justice. Parliament is due to vote on the proposals this autumn. The Labour party supports some elements but argues that the secret court developments are “too widely drawn” and create “damaging mistrust and a dangerous gulf between government and the citizens it is purporting to protect”.

The bill is also sharpening divisions between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives within the coalition. The prime minister, David Cameron, justified secret hearings on the grounds that “… it isn’t currently possible to use intelligence information in a court of law without sometimes endangering national security”.

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4. A short history of secret hearings

Closed, or “in camera”, hearings are not unprecedented. Cases in the family division of the high court relating to child custody and divorce issues are regularly held in private.

Public interest immunity (PII) certificates date back to the mid-20th century and empower courts to make an order, usually at the request of the government, preventing disclosure of secrets if their release is deemed damaging to the public interest. Neither side in such cases can rely on the withheld information.

So-called “closed material procedures” (CMPs) go one stage further, enabling authorities to introduce sensitive information in a trial that can only be seen by the judge and security-cleared “special advocates” who represent the interest of an individual claimant. The special advocate may not give his or her client precise details of the evidence and can only provide a “gist” or loose summary. The claimant may not therefore be aware of all the allegations being made. Critics say this results in parties to a legal dispute no longer being on an equal footing, tilting the advantage in the government’s favour.

Royal British Legion Poppy AppealThe Royal British Legion and Nick Clegg pressured the government to exempt coroners’ courts from the bill. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesCMPs are used in employment tribunals, special immigration appeals commission (SIAC) hearings and the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), which handles complaints about the intelligence services. The justice and security bill would extend closed material procedures into the main civil courts, allowing the government to exploit intelligence material to defend itself against allegations such as torture.

In April 2012, parliament’s influential human rights committee, which draws members from both the Lords and Commons, condemned the government’s justice and security green paper proposals for failing to make the case for extending CMPs into civil proceedings or inquests. “The rule of law requires that decisions about the disclosure of material in legal proceedings be taken by judges not ministers,” it declared, “and the current legal framework of PII has not been shown to be inadequate.”

Under pressure from the Royal British Legion and Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, the government agreed in May to exempt coroners’ courts from the newly introduced bill.

The prospect of grieving parents of servicemen killed in Afghanistan being barred from security-sensitive sessions of an inquest into the death of their son or daughter and never discovering why they had died was judged to be politically indefensible.

In September, the Liberal Democrat party conference voted overwhelmingly to reject the bill.

The government’s own watchdog, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, warned in October that the bill could be incompatible with the Human Rights Act.

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5. What’s next?

The first test of parliamentary enthusiasm for the bill comes this autumn when peers vote on the report stage of the bill. The legislation also contains clauses on changing the mechanism of parliamentary oversight of the intelligence services and is likely to provoke intense debate in the Commons.

Jack StrawJack Straw, who faces legal action over claims that he personally permitted the illegal rendition of a Libyan dissident in 2004. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPAIn the meantime, a practical test of how courts handle security sensitive information is due to come before a high court judge, Mr Justice Mitting. A case has been brought against the Foreign Office by Noor Khan, whose father, Malik Daud Khan, was killed in a CIA air strike in Pakistan by a drone in 2011. The UK is alleged to have been involved because it shared intelligence with US agencies. The preliminary hearing is expected to deal with the question of whether the case can be heard without resorting to a closed material procedure.

Lawyers acting on behalf of two Libyan families who are bringing proceedings against the British government as well as Jack Straw and former MI6 counter-terrorism official Sir Mark Allen, following their rendition to Tripoli, are also moving quickly in the belief that the families will be denied justice once the bill becomes law.

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6. The main arguments against the bill

• Secret justice cannot constitute a fair trial and could damage public confidence
• The existing system is not broken
• Judges, not politicians, should decide
• Evidence of torture will be suppressed by the new generation of secret courts

Secret justice cannot constitute a fair trial and could damage public confidence
Critics point to a key passage in the supreme court’s decision in 2011 on Al Rawi v the security service (pdf), in which Lord Kerr asserted: “Evidence which has been insulated from challenge may positively mislead … the right to know the case that one’s opponent makes and to have the opportunity to challenge it occupies … a central place in the concept of a fair trial.” Also, the bill is silent on the open justice principle. The joint committee on human rights described this silence as “a serious omission”. The government’s own impact assessment conceded that the proposed new law could undermine public confidence in the court system (pdf). There are concerns that the bill may have an adverse impact on the Northern Ireland peace process.

The existing system is not broken
Most damaging for the government’s case is the opposition of special advocates who already operate CMPs in SIAC and other specialist courts. In their submission to the government’s green paper proposals (pdf), they declared: “There is no fundamental difficulty with the existing principles of public interest immunity (PII), which have been developed by the courts over more than half a century and which enable the courts to strike an appropriate balance between the need to protect national security (and other important public interests) and the need to ensure fairness.”

Judges, not politicians, should decide
In the face of criticism, the government agreed that a minister alone should not be able to order a CMP. That reassured few experts. David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation (pdf), pointed out residual problems when questioned in parliament in June. “Under the procedure devised in the bill, the judge does have the last word,” he said. “The only difficulty is that that word is dictated to the judge by the secretary of state. First, the judge can make a decision only if the secretary of state makes an application and has no other jurisdiction to consider it. Secondly, when the judge does come to consider it, it is not for him to weigh up the relative merits of PII or CMP, or to decide what the fairest way would be to decide the case. The judge’s hands are effectively tied.”

The United Nations security council has referred Libya to the ICC.The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture has intervened in the UK secret courts debate. Photograph: Joshua Lott/ReutersEvidence of torture will be suppressed by the new generation of secret courts
The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Professor Juan Méndez, an Argentinian, has intervened in the UK debate, warning that wrongdoing by security and intelligence agencies if undisclosed will not be confronted. “If a country is in possession of information about human rights abuses, but isn’t in a position to mention them, it hampers the ability to deal effectively with torture,” he told an audience at Chatham House in London in September 2012. The fact that the government has applied for the use of closed material procedure in a court case in which it is a defendant could itself be kept secret.

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7. The main arguments for the bill

• Cases that cannot now be tried will receive justice
• Not perfect but better than nothing
• Intelligence services will become more accountable
• Security co-operation with our closest allies is at risk without legal reform

Cases that cannot now be tried will receive justice
Ken Clarke spelled out in the foreword to the green paper (pdf) his rationale for expanding the use of CMPs. “… the UK justice system [is now] unable to pass judgment on these vital matters: cases either collapse, or are settled without a judge reaching any conclusion on the facts before them.

Ken ClarkeFormer justice secretary Ken Clarke spelled out his rationale for expanding the use of CMPs. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA”It leaves the public with questions unanswered about serious allegations, it leaves the security and intelligence agencies unable to clear their name, and it leaves the claimant without a clear legal judgment on their case.

“… The prize is improved executive accountability, a court system equipped to handle sensitive material, and security and intelligence agencies that are able to get on with their job: a safer Britain, a fairer Britain.”

Not perfect but better than nothing
The former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, the Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile, describes the debate as involving “finely balanced issues”. He comes down on the side of extending closed material procedures. “The puritans in this debate demand that ‘open justice’ must be protected, whatever the cost to the public and to the intelligence needs of our country,” he wrote this summer. “Subject to some fine tuning, the government is on the right track with a responsible piece of legislation … It should not be forgotten that claimants themselves have consented to closed hearings, realising that they were the only way in which their concerns would be properly scrutinised – one reason why I believe the government should ensure that both parties in a case can apply for a CMP.”

The current independent reviewer, David Anderson QC, believes the proposals would be “tolerable” as a last resort. He said there is “a small but indeterminate category of national security-related claims, both for judicial review of executive decisions and for civil damages, in respect of which it is preferable that the option of a CMP – for all its inadequacies – should exist.”

Intelligence services will become more accountable
The security services, who have lobbied for and publicly supported the bill, insist that nothing currently revealed will be hidden in future. In a speech at the Mansion House this summer, the director general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, declared: “At present our ability to account for our actions in the courts is constrained by the fact that sensitive national security related material relevant to civil proceedings can only be considered in open court. This means that such material cannot in practice go into court at all. This situation is bad for us, bad for the other party to proceedings and bad for the administration of justice.

“… No material that is currently considered in public will be made secret under the new arrangements and the effect will be that more, rather than less, material will go before the courts. But the sensitive material will be protected. This will mean better justice and better accountability.”

Security co-operation with our closest allies is at risk without legal reform
Malcolm Rifkind, the former defence and foreign secretary, believes that “foreign intelligence material provided by another country on the strict promise of confidentiality” should remain behind closed doors. “Many of the most serious terrorist plots in the UK in the past decade have had significant links abroad, so foreign material is often vital for the protection of the UK. When other countries share material with us, they want to know that we will protect it. It still belongs to them and is controlled by them: it is not ours to do with as we wish. This ‘control principle’ is sacrosanct and we must not break it. If we do, foreign agencies will not trust us and will not share material with us in future.”

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8. What will disappear behind closed courtroom doors?

Critics of the bill fear that a host of security scandals unearthed with the help of court challenges, including allegations of torture and secret rendition, would never have been exposed under the bill’s proposed system of closed material procedures. Even fundamental personal rights such as freedom from imprisonment, guaranteed by the ancient writ of habeas corpus, might be compromised by the new regime, peers have suggested. The fact that a court could sit in secret without giving notice to the public or the media of a forthcoming hearing has drawn comparisons with the excesses of privacy superinjunctions. The government dismisses such claims as alarmist.

While the government claims that the proposals are intended to protect the control principle that covers intelligence provided by foreign governments, the material sought in the Guantánamo case were mostly internal British government communications, and their disclosure caused grave embarrassment. The government says claimants will receive a summary of the closed material sufficient for them to instruct the special advocate representing their interests.

The US government made its first complaint that disclosure in the Binyam Mohamed case would damage the UK-US intelligence sharing relationship only after the foreign office asked it to do so.

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9. Key players

Ken Clarke, now a cabinet minister without portfolio but with a place on the National Security Council, will continue to steer the legislation through parliament even though no longer justice secretary. The Cabinet Office is now in charge of the bill.

Key figures in secret courts debate: Lord Lester, Shami Chakrabarti, Jonathan Evans and Sadiq KhanSome key figures in the secret courts debate: (clockwise from top left) Lord Lester, Shami Chakrabarti, Jonathan Evans and Sadiq Khan. Photograph: Rex Features/PA/Sarah Lee for the Guardian• Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5 – said by opponents to be the moving force behind the secret courts bill.

David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, occupies a pivotal position in the debate with government, intelligence agencies and civil liberty groups all trying to recruit him to their cause.

Lord Lester, the veteran Liberal Democrat peer and civil liberties campaigner, has been active in the Lords attempting to insert safeguards “for the principle of open justice” into the bill.

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s justice spokesman, is influential in deciding where his party strikes the balance between civil liberties and national security. It is an issue on which, he admits, the party “still bears the scars” following Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, is a determined opponent of the bill. She warns that the security services will be able to defend allegations of misbehaviour behind closed doors by hiding behind the mantra of “national security”. Other groups such as Reprieve and Justice are active campaigners against the proposals.

Dinah Rose QC, a leading barrister who has appeared as a special advocate, is a prominent critic of the bill. Her Atkin Memorial lecture, Beef and Liberty: Fundamental Rights and Common Law (pdf), is an impassioned rejection of the proposals.

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10. Glossary

Closed material procedures (CMPs): secret court hearings where only the judge and security-cleared special advocates are given access to sensitive intelligence material.

Special advocates: the security-vetted lawyers who are permitted to participate in CMPs, representing claimants or the government.

Gisting: special advocates are permitted to disclose to clients a simplified summary or “gist” of intelligence material used in secret hearings while withholding specific details.

Norwich Pharmacal court orders: developed to identify alleged infringers of intellectual property rights such as patents, one was deployed in the Binyam Mohamed case to try and force the UK government to hand over sensitive security material obtained from the US.

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11. FAQ

Is this the end of fair trials?
Critics claim that under a CMP, the legal playing fields are no longer even, entrenching the government’s advantage in any secret court case. The government insists such measures will only be used in a very limited number of cases and that courts, including Strasbourg, have found that CMPs are capable of delivering fair trials.

Have UK courts ever exposed US military secrets?
No examples have ever been given of past “betrayals” of confidential intelligence material obtained from allies. However, the government argues that the overturning of the Foreign Secretary’s PII certificate in Binyam Mohamed – and publication of seven paragraphs of advice – caused damage to the US-UK intelligence-sharing relationship and national security.

How large is the problem?
The number of civil cases affected is likely to be small but it is the expansion of the principle of closed material procedures that worries civil liberties groups. In the justice and security green paper, the Treasury solicitor’s department claimed that “sensitive information was central” to 27 cases then before the courts.

A great many cases against the British government that arise from the Troubles in Northern Ireland are, however, now being prepared by lawyers in the province, and the disclosure that British special forces were involved in the mass detention of Iraqi civilians, possibly unlawfully, following the 2003 invasion, means that the government cannot be sure how many arguable claims it could face in the future as a result of that conflict.

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12. The final word

• “No country allows [spies] to give evidence in court. You’d have terrorists in the public gallery lining up making notes” – Ken Clarke, when justice secretary.

• “This toolkit for cover-ups would mark the end of a fair trial tradition admired worldwide for centuries” – Shami Chakrabari, Liberty.
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Further reading

Justice and security green paper (pdf)

Responses to consultation on justice and security green paper

Justice and security bill

Parliament’s joint committee on human rights’ report on the justice and security green paper

Commons Library standard note on closed material procedures and special advocates

Justice and security House of Lords library note

Reprieve’s take on the justice and security bill

Justice’s take on the justice and security bill

Liberty’s take on the justice and security bill (pdf)



One thought on “Justice & Security Bill (Secret Courts UK): Fully-Explained By The Guardian & How To Get Paid (Easy-Money) For Injustices

  1. By the way we forgot to add this little advice:

    When you ask for your Data, as your natural right by law, and they WERE , at the time, TO CLAIM they have none on you, do not despair because now it means they can no longer admit any evidence against you CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN COLLECTED ”pre-date” of when you asked for your details; for example date as was Nov 9 2012, and then they are to claim to have ”evidence” of Dec 12 2011, or even Nov 8 2012 (a day old), it can’t be accepted.

    You get our point: In short remember the date you filed for details to be released and keep safe those released to you with stamped date of release as evidence. And also make sure you ”leak” the truth that they ”do hold-and-lie” about it, the undermining of ”democracy currency”.

    Good Luck,

    Oh, Thanks to Ms. P.M from the Facebook here is a little trailer of a documentary I reckon on the secret courts from youtube (I have not watched it yet): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6NXk7S5Ifg&feature=share

    and PRESSTV new-headline simialr to the letter I sent out to them, THANKS PressTV: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/09/271217/iran-raps-west-human-rights-situation/

    Posted by highfieldsoffice | November 9, 2012, 7:09 pm

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