Civil Liberty


He warned of the risks of “serious miscarriages of justice” after hearing that, to save costs, material was not always handed to defence lawyers.

It’s one of the first damn duties of the State, that Queen’s Justice thing. And they can’t even get that right.

When a new prosecution barrister took over the case the day before the start of the trial, he ordered police to hand over any telephone records. It was revealed that they had a computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages.

They showed that she continued to pester Mr Allan for “casual sex”, told friends how much she enjoyed it with him and discussed her fantasies of being raped and having violent sex.

Jerry Hayes, the prosecuting barrister, told the court yesterday that he would offer no evidence. “I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable,” he said.

Who is going to get fired for this?

An interesting retirement hobby

A 70-year-old woman living in a Vermont retirement home passed her time experimenting with homemade ricin, even testing it on fellow residents, the Justice Department said Friday.

No one had apparently been killed by Betty Miller’s activities at the bucolic Wake Robin retirement home in Shelburne, Vermont, which advertises a population of “vibrant, engaged people and a community in which you can be yourself.”

But Miller was arrested by FBI agents Thursday amid fears she had stockpiled a weapon of mass destruction.

The FBI was alerted to a dangerous substance at the home earlier this week, and discovered a bottle labelled “ricin” in her residence. Tests confirmed it contained the deadly substance.

“Miller stated that she had an interest in plant-based poisons and had conducted internet research on how to make them,” the FBI said in a statement.

“She stated that she manufactured ricin in the kitchen of her Wake Robin residence and, to test its potency, placed the ricin in the food or beverages of other residents.”

An FBI WMD team returned for a search of her apartment and found more ricin, and components from plants, including apple, yew, cherry, castor and foxglove, which all can be used to produce poisonous substances.

Why not learn how to poison people?

Extra points could be awarded for claiming to be Wiccan and thus covered by First Amendment protections…..hey, it works for some Indians and their drugs.

An interesting little thought

So, you can be punished for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Well, hey, why not? No, really, we’re a democracy, they over the Pond are too, such laws can indeed be passed and they have been.

If you’re going to offer a service to the public then you’ve got to do so in a non-discriminatory manner*.


Twitter can and does ban people for saying entirely legal but unapproved of stuff. So, if you’re offering a service to the public you don’t have to do so in a non-discriminatory manner*.


Rather the point of this civil liberty, rule of law, sorta stuff is that it’s not discriminatory in this manner, isn’t it? We don’t divide into Good ‘uns and Bad ‘uns, those who gain the protection of the law and those who don’t. Rather, all are subject to the same law and laws.


*My own answer is that producers and providers can do what the fuck they like** on any grounds whatsoever, let the market sort it out. But that’s not the zeitgeist is it, despite being logically valid as a position?

** Who they provide to that is, not how, obviously. As with the publican, short measures are illegal but the right to ban anyone whenever, whatever, exists.

And what should we be doing then?

When Sexual Assault Victims Are Charged With Lying
Across the country, police have prosecuted women for false reports that turned out to be true.

Not sure that police prosecute. Still, I’m also pretty sure that whoever it is that does prosecute has also charged and tried allegations of sexual assault which turn out not to be true. You know, a fairly large portion of those accused of such do turn out to be innocent after all.

If only we had some system of deciding these troubled cases. You know, a system of looking at the evidence, some group of people who were asked to decide about it all, a set of rules for how such an investigation into the truth or not of such a claim are to be run?

It’s a real pity that no human civilisation has yet come up with something like that, isn’t it?

Twitter used to be vehemently free speech, didn’t they?

Twitter announced new guidelines for verified accounts on Wednesday, one week after the company was harshly criticized for granting the coveted blue checkmark to Jason Kessler, the organizer of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in August.

“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines,” the company wrote on Twitter.

Among the behaviors that will result in the revocation of verification are “promoting hate and/or violence”, supporting hate groups, “inciting or engaging in harassment of others”.

Shortly after the policy change was announced, the company de-verified the accounts of the white nationalist Richard Spencer, the far-right activist Laura Loomer, the English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, and others.

Tempus mutandis, eh?

Wonder if promoting hate of the bourgeoisie will count here? Sure, a private organisation, they can do what they like. But, still, partiality….

Well, if that’s what the law says then….

Deliveroo won the right not to give its couriers the minimum wage or holiday pay on Tuesday, dealing a blow to campaigners for workers’ rights in the gig economy.

In a key legal ruling the Central Arbitration Committee, a body that resolves worker disputes, said the food delivery firm’s riders were self-employed contractors as they had the right to allocate a substitute to do the work for them.

The case, brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) as part of an attempt to gain recognition by the company, relates to couriers in the Camden and Kentish Town districts of north London. But it is seen as a test case for riders across the UK, including those working for other firms similar to Deliveroo.

Gives Uber an idea too no?

No, I’d never heard of him either

An American billionaire, who gagged the British press after being arrested on suspicion of raping a woman at a top London hotel, is at the centre of a legal dispute in the US following allegations that he paid money to settle the claim.

The businessman was questioned by City of London Police in May, after a woman said she was attacked in the penthouse suite of a hotel in the heart of London’s financial centre.

Details of his arrest emerged the following month, but the father of two went to the High Court, and after paying £100,000 in legal fees, succeeded in winning an injunction against The Sun newspaper, which meant no British publication could name him.

Now in an extraordinary twist, those allegations have become the subject of a high profile legal battle in the United States, with the businessman sueing a public relations firm he has accused of peddling smears against him.

Details of the case have been reported in the US media – where the injunction does not apply – and so are available online for British readers.

However, here’s the fun bit. If British readers – ie, someone sitting in the UK – does access that information then those articles accessed are subject to the injunction. Odd but true, that’s how it works.

That we’ve actually got to restate this basic piece of law

John Bercow has backed demands for MPs to be told details of offences they are accused of as he claimed they were being treated like terrorists.

Speaking to students at the Mile End Institute in east London, the Commons Speaker said MPs are “entitled” to be told of the allegations.

You need to be told what the charges are, to be able to face the accuser, to be able to mount a defence and all the rest of it. We sorted much of this out in the 13 th and 14 th centuries, didn’t we?

On the Japanese death penalty

Inmates on Japan’s death row are not notified of the date or
time of execution until an hour or so before it occurs. Former prison
officials suggest that some condemned are extracted from their cells
on the ruse that they are “wanted in the office”.7
At most, the aboutto-be-killed
are given only enough time to clean their cells, write a
final letter, and receive last rites. Death penalty supporters have
called this sudden “your-time-has-come” policy a “surprise attack”
(damashi-uchi). Whatever the nomenclature, what it means is that the
condemned live for years not knowing if the present day will be their
last. Sakae Menda, who was exonerated and released in 1983 after
spending 34 years on death row, had this to say about Japan’s prior
notification policy: “Between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning was the
most critical time, because that was generally when prisoners were
notified of their execution…You begin to feel the most terrible
anxiety, because you don’t know if they are going to stop in front of
your cell. It is impossible to express how awful a feeling this was. I
would have shivers down my spine. It was absolutely unbearable.”8

Relatives of the condemned are told of the execution after the
fact and are given twenty-four hours to collect the body.

Isn’t US gun control just going to be so effective?

The US air force failed to report the accused Texas church shooter’s domestic violence conviction to the FBI as required by Pentagon rules, a move that would have prevented the attacker from buying a gun.

All those people insisting that if only we had more laws to control guns. All those people not quite getting that having a law doesn’t actually solve problems – not entirely at least – because the state isn’t in fact all that efficient.

There’s a thing about the Japanese death penalty

A Japanese court Tuesday sentenced to death a one-time millionairess dubbed the “Black Widow”, who tricked elderly lovers into drinking cyanide and pocketed millions in insurance payouts and inheritance.

Kyoto District Court condemned Chisako Kakehi, 70, to the gallows for the murder of three men – including a husband – and the attempted murder of another, ending a high-profile case that has gripped the country.

Kakehi became notorious after using the poison cyanide to dispatch a number of elderly men she was involved with, drawing comparisons with the spider that kills its mate after copulation.

“The accused made the victims drink a cyanide compound with a murderous intention in all the four cases,” Judge Ayako Nakagawa told the court, according to public broadcaster NHK.

They don’t actually issue an execution date – it’s indeterminate.

When it does happen they open the cell door to deliver breakfast one, and one unknown to the prisoner in advance day, and then say, well, 15 minutes and then we’re topping you. Thus every morning becomes rather tortuous.

You can see the argument – those murdered din’t know their end date either. Can’t help but feel it’s a little too vicious to be the modus operandi though.

Of course, the elimination of the bourgeoisie is different, isn’t it?

On Wednesday, the website Reddit, known as the “front page of the internet,” banned 11 communities that advocated or glorified racism, ethno-nationalism, and violence. The communities kicked off the site included r/NationalSocialism, r/EuropeanNationalism, r/Nazi, and r/DylanRoofInnocent, as well as a variety of smaller subreddits.

“We will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people,” the website said in a statement.

Their gaff, their rules, obviously.

Naturally, Reddit’s decision to ban certain communities drew the ire of some users, who asked why more left-leaning subreddits like r/Socialism and r/Communism haven’t been banned as well — despite the fact that they don’t specifically and regularly glorify violence against minorities, as outlined in the Reddit policy change.

See headline. Reasons.

Err, no Jess, sorry, but no

It is seen by some women as a technologically convenient way to find a “part-time” husband. But the appeal of is driven by men drawn to the “Muslim polygamy matchmaking” site, as its British founder boasts that it has more than 100,000 users, a quarter of them in the UK.

I may or may not approve of the idea of two mothers in law but it’s not up to me to decide how others should live their lives.

Jess Phillips, a Labour member of the Commons women and equalities committee, said: “The popularity of this site worries me deeply. This site should be outlawed for UK use and follow the law in the UK which does not allow this. Women are not a commodity, they are not domestic slaves. People cannot be collected like ornaments.”

And that’s the point at which you can fuck off. For two entirely disconnected reasons.

The unimportant one is that the moment you start to ban things like this – and no, it’s not illegal – you’re also banning polyamory and the domestic lifestyles of a large portion of our own lumpenproletariat.

The important one is that it isn’t for you to decide, as with me, how consenting adults live their lives. If some wish to be second wives, or long term mistresses, or don’t, then fuck off, nowt to do with you nor me. For the aim of a liberal state is that as many people as possible get to live how they wish. That’s actually the point.

Tom Watson should lose weight, yes

I’m going on hunger strike from today. I’m not allowing myself anything but sips of water.

Why? This is not some George Osborne-inspired weight-loss plan. No. I’m following the Guantánamo diet in solidarity with two men who are being slowly starved to death by President Trump.

His administration has changed its practice towards detainees who choose to refuse food in protest at their incarceration. Previously they were force-fed, a cruel and inhuman punishment in itself. Now they are no longer fed at all. Make no mistake, these men will die at the hands of Donald Trump if nothing is done.

Perhaps the clarity of mind that hunger brings will aid his logic. Not force-feeding someone is not killing them.

Yes, yes, they are and good thing too

Taxpayers are picking up the tab for white nationalists’ ‘free speech’ rallies
Security for Richard Spencer’s latest speech will cost half-a-million dollars.

That’s what government is for isn’t it?

To protect the civil liberties of the people against those who would deny them?

Hunger striker complains that he’s losing weight


Guantánamo hunger striker accuses US officials of letting him ‘waste away’

The background here is vile, as we all know.

Zero trial, no possibility of facing evidence or accusers, not ever to be released and the legal tergiversions of the Yanks in doing this are all vile.

But there is that dark, dark, amusement that a hunger striker is complaining that they’re just, well, letting him get on with it. Are not intervening. That actually is his immediate complaint.

Khalid Qasim, held at the prison for 15 years without charge or trial, told his lawyer that doctors stopped force-feeding him and another inmate three weeks ago, and are no longer monitoring their medical condition.

“They have decided to leave us to waste away and die instead,” Qasim, 40, told his lawyer by phone for an article published by the Guardian. “I am in so much pain every minute that I know it can’t go on much longer. Now as each night comes, I wonder if I will wake up in the morning. When will my organs fail? When will my heart stop? I am slowly slipping away and no one notices.”

I fear Ms. Bennett does not understand

Although, unlike his efforts on behalf of global environmental and nuclear catastrophe, Trump’s alliance with the NRA endangers principally his compatriots, this staggering acceptance of the latest homegrown massacre could be what finally – if it cannot guarantee pariah status – shreds US claims to global leadership. A country that accepts 93 firearms deaths a day, on a wayward reading of an 18th-century statute, is not obviously better placed than the ostracised Aung San Suu Kyi to lecture on human rights or, as Trump at the UN, on global security. He fretted about “rogue regimes” that even threaten “their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity”. Idiots. Don’t they know over-the-counter semi-automatics will do the job perfectly well?

It really isn’t the guns. It’s the people.

The Czech Republic has similar levels of gun ownership. It doesn’t have the same incidents. It is therefore something other than the availability of the guns.

The 18th century statute is fun too, no? Freedom of religion, speech, rights to trial and all that? Just 18 th century statute we can cast aside?

Blame Canada!

Chelsea Manning, a former American soldier jailed for leaking troves of classified information, said on Monday that she was banned from entering Canada due to criminal convictions in the United States.

Manning had tried to cross at the official border office at Lacolle, Quebec, on Friday. On Monday, she posted a letter from Canadian immigration officials to her Twitter account that said she was not admitted because she was convicted of offences deemed equivalent to treason in Canada.

“So, I guess Canada has permanently banned me? Denied entry b/c of convictions similar to “treason” offence,” she wrote.

The document said that Manning had committed a crime outside the country that “would equate to an indictable offence, namely treason” in Canada and which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

Committing a crime elsewhere that would carry a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in Canada is grounds for a person to be denied entry, the document said.

My guess is that he knew this. But hey, gotta keep in the headlines, eh?