no events posted in last week
Ukraine Buys Huge Amounts of Russian Fue... Fri Jan 20, 2023 08:34 | Antonia Kotseva
Turkey Has Sent Ukraine Cluster Munition... Thu Jan 12, 2023 00:26 | Jack Detsch
New Israeli Government Promises to Talk ... Tue Jan 10, 2023 21:13 | Al Majadeen
Russia Training Iranian Pilots Ahead of ... Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:19 | The Times of Israel
Lukashenko Abolishes Copyright Protectio... Tue Jan 10, 2023 15:05 | Nikki Main
A bird's eye view of the vineyard
The Next Stage in Western Escalation Fri Jan 27, 2023 20:00 | The Saker
by Batiushka for the Saker blog Introduction: The Story So Far So far the US has carried out regime changes and created military conflicts in countries friendly to or important
?Doomsday clock?: 90 seconds to midnight Fri Jan 27, 2023 15:06 | The Saker
by Pepe Escobar for PressTV, cross posted with the author’s permission The Doomsday Clock, set by the US-based magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has been moved to 90 seconds
Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/01/27 ? Open Thread Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:30 | cafe-uploader
2023/01/27 11:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of
An update about the blog Fri Jan 27, 2023 10:00 | The Saker
Dear friends Today rather than commenting on the risks of a major war in Europe, or even the entire northern hemisphere, I want to share a few things about the
7549 and Counting Thu Jan 26, 2023 15:36 | The Saker
The Saker >>
News Round-Up Sat Jan 28, 2023 00:25 | Toby Young
A summary of the most interesting stories in the past 24 hours that challenge the prevailing orthodoxy about the virus and the vaccines, the ?climate emergency? and the supposed moral defects of Western civilisation.
The post News Round-Up appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
Pro-Mask Crusader Trish Greenhalgh Plumbs New Depths of Distortion Fri Jan 27, 2023 16:30 | Dr Gary Sidley
Pro-mask crusader Prof Trish Greenhalgh recently plumbed new depths of distortion and misinformation in her mission to force humankind to hide their faces behind strips of cloth or plastic, writes Dr. Gary Sidley.
The post Pro-Mask Crusader Trish Greenhalgh Plumbs New Depths of Distortion appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
The Pfizer Exec Story is No Hoax Fri Jan 27, 2023 14:29 | Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Some sceptics have expressed doubts over the veracity of the blabbermouth Pfizer exec story, arguing it's staged. But that makes no sense and doesn't fit the evidence, says Thorsteinn Siglaugsson.
The post The Pfizer Exec Story is No Hoax appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
Lockdowns Responsible for Thousands of Alcohol Deaths ? ONS Fri Jan 27, 2023 12:08 | Dr Carl Heneghan and Dr Tom Jefferson
Lockdowns were responsible for thousands of alcohol deaths, new ONS data show, as the rate rises 27% on pre-pandemic levels.
The post Lockdowns Responsible for Thousands of Alcohol Deaths ? ONS appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
A Sensible Approach to Climate Change in the Classroom Fri Jan 27, 2023 09:00 | Anonymous
A teacher explains in the Daily Sceptic how to teach children about climate change without scaring the bejesus out of them.
The post A Sensible Approach to Climate Change in the Classroom appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
Lockdown Skeptics >>
Voltaire, international edition
Two European Union states poised to sever diplomatic relations with Russia Thu Jan 26, 2023 16:09 | en
The Whole of Europe Turned Into a Battlefield, by Manlio Dinucci Tue Jan 24, 2023 07:26 | en
The war in Ukraine to maintain the European Union under tutelage, by Thierry Mey... Tue Jan 24, 2023 06:59 | en
"Voltaire, International Newsletter" N°24 Mon Jan 23, 2023 06:55 | en
Russia calls for Angela Merkel and François Hollande to be put on trial Thu Jan 19, 2023 08:37 | en
Voltaire Network >>
Human Rights questions being asked in Mayo courts
The courts have recently become a very hotly contested arena in the conflict over Shell's imposition of their unsafe project on Erris. Charges and prosecutions have been coming thick and fast over the last year and a half, but they seem to be more about persecuting campaigners than any concept of justice, and recent weeks have shown a clear bias in the policing of protest.
Former Garda sergeant Benny McCabe has stated that the Gardai have acted with ‘impunity’, and described the approach to the policing of the protests as ‘anathema to the spirit of community policing’. Mr McCabe even went as far as to state :
“I have worked as a human rights observer with the UN, the EU and the OSCE in Cambodia, the Balkans, South Africa and in many post-conflict situations, but I have never been treated the way I was in Glengad in late June last year”
March’s special sitting of Belmullet District Court, to deal with cases arising from protests against Shell’s Corrib gas project, saw 27 people before the court on a whole range of public order charges, particularly relating to supposed obstruction and failure to comply with the direction of Gardai. And it had a startling result. Only one person was convicted, one was given the probation act, and a remarkable 25 people had all of their charges either dismissed or withdrawn, vindicating their right to the presumption of innocence. This would give any citizen cause for pause, given that the Gardai’s word is generally accepted in cases there.
The pattern is evident. Bring charges against as many people as possible, irrespective of the likelihood of achieving convictions. This is the essence of the misuse of police powers in attempting to impose huge pressure on citizens so as to make them fearful of pursuing their right to protest.
One case in particular stands out from March’s sitting, in which nine people were before the court in relation to a day when road blocking protests took place in Glengad last June while the Solitaire pipe-laying ship was in Broadhaven Bay. All of the people arrested that day were charged with relatively minor offenses under the Public Order Act, and yet Judge Devins saw fit to remand seven of the nine to prison pending trial, before her decision was overturned by the High Court after the campaigners had spent three and four days in jail. However, this was not the issue brought before the court recently. After lengthy legal argument in the test case of Eoin Lawless , Judge Haughton ruled that his detention was unlawful on three counts:
* He was held from 2.20pm until approximately 4.30pm before being brought to a Garda station for charge. By 4.30pm the detention had become unlawful.
* He was held in Ballina Garda Station for some hours, and was not fully charged until 9.15pm, rather than being charged expeditiously.
* He was brought before a special sitting of Ballina court at 5.30pm the following day, which was ruled not to fulfill the requirement to face a judge ‘as soon as practicable’. A court was available in Galway at 10.30am on the relevant day, and this is where he should have been brought.
The court ruled that these matters constituted a ‘conscious and deliberate breach of the accused’s rights’. After this ruling, the cases against the other eight people were withdrawn.
As outlined on the Human Rights in Ireland (HRI) blog, these are far from insignificant matters. HRI state that the case “raises very serious questions about the disproportionate application of the law to the powerful and, legally speaking, the powerless in society, the police of our State have breached fundamental rights of the campaigners.” They further emphasise that detention for more than 24 hours is only supposed to apply to the most serious offenses – in this case, the Gardai were not even entitled to hold the accused for more than four hours. It is further stated that “in these cases detention should have been for the purpose of arrest which should have been for the purpose of bringing the accused before a judge. This is not what happened.”
The article ends in questioning the manner in which Shell appear to be able to breach laws and regulations – such as assaults by their security staff against protestors such as Willie Corduff; laying part of their pipe in Glengad without planning – while campaigners are criminalised for their actions.
Criminalisation of the campaign has happened in a number of different ways, on a progressively growing basis. People are being subject to detention, without their rights to arrest, charge and trial being properly upheld. There is a continuing application of criminal law to campaigners who, on the basis of 25 of 27 people having their presumption of innocence vindicated, do not deserve it. Many campaigners would contend that the Gardai and the DPP are making use of what has been described by the chief inspector of constabulary of the British police, talking about issues around policing of protest, as ‘a conveniently harsh legal environment’. This works hand in hand with the media’s change in recent years to sending crime correspondents to report on the campaign in Erris, and the attendant problems of dependency on Gardai for stories.
There is another striking parallel with the practice of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), which are legal cases taken not in the expectation of victory, but rather to attempt to limit groups, such as oppositional campaigning groups from making their protest. The threat of this type of lawsuit also intends to intimidate individuals from taking action, even before such a case becomes a reality, and to exhaust them through many months of a legal process which is often alien and intimidating. It might be argued that this is a good comparison for the current approach of the Gardai to this campaign – prosecute a large number of cases, push for the harshest possible penalties, and above all, keep campaigners under threat and pressure. This policy follows on from previous approaches to the policing here, such as the ‘no arrest’ policy which was in force in 2006 (Gardai used violence to police the protests at this time), followed by 43 arrests during the summer of 2008, none of which were followed up with charges, to today’s situation of charging as many campaigners as possible.
This all feeds into the discourse of ‘illegality’ around the demonstrations here, serving the dual purpose of ‘justifying’ Garda actions and attempting to delegitimise and criminalise the actions of people opposed to the Corrib gas project. Further, it provides a smokescreen behind which the Gardai can hide their failure to investigate fully the numerous illegalities by Shell and their associates which have been reported to them.
This issue is also very much in the public eye in the UK, following controversy over the policing of last year’s G20 protests in London, including the death of Ian Tomlinson. George Monbiot argues that a confrontational attitude to policing these types of events is not a tactical issue, but rather is ‘deeply rooted in the politics and culture of the police’. When the chief inspector of the Copenhagen police (after the recent failed COP-15 summit) justifies holding four people without charge for three weeks for the ‘crime’ of unfurling a banner at a dinner for dignitaries as follows – “When you do that kind of thing, you are going to pay for it” – it becomes difficult to argue that the culture within the police has much concern for the rights of campaigners.
If this all seems very negative, then perhaps we should look at the example of five campaigners in the UK who were recently awarded upwards of 100,000 pounds sterling in relation to a case that saw them assaulted and unlawfully detained, restricting their ‘democratic right to peaceful protest’ after a demonstration at the Mexican embassy following the killing of a journalist in the state of Oaxaca. Their solicitor had this to say:
“This case shows that policing protest unlawfully carries a high cost. This includes the severe human cost to protestors, but also the cost to the public purse and more worryingly to public confidence in the police. The implications for those I am advising in relation to G20 are clear.”
I suggest that the implications are also clear for the nine people unlawfully detained in June of last year in Erris.