Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The death of open justice in the UK

Secret trials of enemies of the state are one of the hallmarks of tyranny. They were used by the tyrant Charles I, who was deposed for it; by Stalin; and by practically every tinpot dictator of the twentieth century. And now, thanks to a UK court ruling, they're entirely legal in the UK:

The court of appeal has refused to lift reporting restrictions following the secret trial of a London law student who was cleared of plotting a terrorist attack on the streets of the capital.

However, the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, said that only the director of public prosecutions (DPP) could ask a court to sit in secret, and warned that MI5 and MI6 must not in future threaten to withhold evidence in a bid to secure courtroom secrecy.

Following an appeal brought by the Guardian and other UK media organisations, Thomas invited the parliamentary intelligence and security committee to investigate the role that MI5 and MI6 played in decisions that were taken around the prosecution of Erol Incedal.

...who will of course whitewash the whole thing, because the British establishment is incapable of reform, and incapable of holding its criminal spies to account, even when they murder and torture. Violating basic democratic norms is just everyday business for them, what they exist to do.

As for the victim in this, Erol Incedal, I have no idea if he is guilty or innocent. But a verdict given in these circumstances, on secret evidence which cannot be heard in court, let alone shown to the public, simply can not be trusted.

As for the UK, they have pervasive surveillance, spies who collude in torture, and now secret trials. While they still have (unfair) elections, they're fundamentally a tyranny, and utterly unreformable by democratic means. If you're in the UK, my suggestion is to leave while you still can.