Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Threat to life: Updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Under construction

Our Church and State website has no less than 40 Nobel Prize winners on it; for details, see this blog's sidebar under "Church and State" (updated today).

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms formulates what is the core of free speech. "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression." In an important interpretation of this article, the European Court of Human Rights in Handyside v. UK (1976) indicated that this "freedom of expression" should be construed as follows. It "is applicable not only to 'information' or 'ideas' that are favourably received, or regarded as inoffensive, or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population." Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no "democratic society".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

(Introduction paragraph to be posted.)

His Excellency Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva
Switzerland

April 2018

Your Excellency,

I write as the Managing Director of the non-profit Network for Church Monitoring to ask you to urge the United Kingdom to accede to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the multilateral treaty that commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19 of the ICCPR and construed by the European Court of Human Rights in Handyside v. United Kingdom (1976).

The First Optional Protocol sets out a system by which the UN's Human Rights Committee can receive and consider complaints from individuals who allege a violation of the ICCPR. But since the UK Government has not ratified the First Optional Protocol, individuals living in the UK are not currently permitted to submit written communications to the Committee. Indeed, the UK is the only European Union member state (prior to its exit from the EU in 2019) and one of only three members of the Council of Europe not to have acceded to the Protocol.

My wife and I complain of an orchestrated campaign of harassment and intimidation by the UK's Security Service (MI5) and/or Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) over a period dating back to 2003. We have exhausted all available domestic remedies and my claim has been dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights on the ground that it "did not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols". Please see my Communication enclosed herewith. Paragraphs 50-56 outline why the Vatican and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church should be monitored.

We note the UK Government's response cited in the sixth periodic report under the ICCPR, in which it states that the UK Government does not see "a compelling need to accept individual petition to the UN" and that it is the UK Government's view in this regard that "the practical value to the individual citizen is unclear". We believe that the UK Government should be urged to reconsider accession to the First Optional Protocol in order to guarantee effective and consistent protection of the full range of ICCPR rights to those living within its borders.

Yours sincerely,


Declan Heavey
Managing Director
Network for Church Monitoring

Re: Threat to life

Paragraph 39 of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

39. It has been acknowledged by the GLA in judicial review papers that the Applicant and his wife can live independently – they do not have addictions or mental illness or behavioural issues. Their needs are solely related to the persecution and opposition they routinely face. Following their unavoidable court action against St. Mungo's last year (see para. 37 above), they anticipate that their tenancy will not this time be renewed on the same terms as their original tenancy agreement. (The two-year fixed term of their tenancy expires for the second time on 16 May 2018.) The Applicant may then be left with no option but to challenge this decision in the High Court (Judicial Review) as unreasonable, unlawful and incapable of legal justification. As the matter stands, therefore, there is a threat to life and well-being considering the following range of factors as applicable:

(i) The Applicant has a history of serious respiratory illness and has suffered bouts of pneumonia and other respiratory infections since childhood. Both he and his wife doubt he has the respiratory health to survive even another year or two on the streets. He is in his late fifties and during his and his wife's first period of homelessness he was twice hospitalised, once with pneumonia in December 2006 and the second time with a viral infection in October 2007. Near the end of their second period of homelessness in April 2014, the Applicant was diagnosed with asthma as well as a chest infection (see para. 31 above).

(ii) Both the Applicant and his wife have serious concerns about the health care the Applicant has or has not received over the years from National Health Service (NHS) England. Prior to his hospitalisation with pneumonia in 2006, he lost consciousness while vomiting and could have easily died had his wife not been with him. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital discharged him 42 hours after admission whilst still unwell (into the shivering cold and dense fog), placing him at risk. The Applicant most recently complained to NHS England about emergency dental treatment he received in January 2018. He complained in part that he had a nerve removed from a tooth but was only prescribed antibiotics after the eruption of the tooth days later. NHS England did not uphold any aspect of the Applicant's complaint. The tooth itself was extracted a month to the day after the emergency treatment.

(iii) Back on the streets the Applicant and his wife will be restricted to sleeping on night buses, notwithstanding the Applicant's asthma and now increased susceptibility to respiratory illness. They were forced into this predicament prior to coming off the streets the second time because of an excessive use of force by police officers to move them out of where they had been sleeping. This included the Applicant's wife being threatened with arrest on the trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer (see para. 32 above). Since the subsequent escalation of the migration crisis in Europe, the police have been given more powers to crack down on rough sleeping and need less to resort to excessive force (such as arrest without lawful authority).

F. Housed by the Mayor of London's RSI programme 2014 up to the present day

34. On 17 May 2014, the Applicant and his wife were housed by the Mayor of London's Housing First programme in a flat owned by Family Mosaic (now called Peabody Group), with support provided by the Single Homeless Project (SHP). Housing First is an internationally acclaimed programme for entrenched rough sleepers, the core principles of which is the provision of permanent accommodation and non-compulsory support (Johnsen and Teixeira, 2010). The principles were contained in Schedule 1 of the Funding Agreement between the Greater London Authority (GLA) and SHP dated 13 March 2014, which provided that "clients who meet the criteria for a Housing First offer will be offered long term tenancies…. Long term tenancies would mean for a minimum of two years with the possibility to extend and preferably for the lifetime of the client". The Applicant and his wife spent on furnishings the deposit they had for a flat, having been informed they had the possibility to extend their tenancy beyond the expiry of the initial term. Family Mosaic provided the flat without furnishings save cooker, fridge and carpets. The Applicant even had to install shelves that had been removed from the kitchen and replace curtain rails, curtains and net curtains that had been removed from bedroom and living room windows.

35. Less than four months into the Applicant and his wife's tenancy, on 4 September 2014, the Applicant received an email from SHP informing him for the first time that Housing First was a pilot scheme ending in March 2015 and that they would be referred to the GLA-commissioned Clearing House service, run on behalf of the Mayor of London by St. Mungo's. Clearing House departs significantly from the provisions of Housing First, in that accommodation may not be permanent nor support voluntary. The latter means that the client may be required to comply with holistic support plans. The Applicant and his wife were deeply concerned by this turn of events, especially considering the problems they were having with their SHP support. First, the Applicant received on 21 July 2014 a support plan from SHP that stated that he and his wife "appear very grandiose in their thinking" and that "they both demonstrate symptoms of mental ill health". Second, the Applicant then discovered that not only had SHP passed this information onto Clearing House, but they had also submitted to the service inaccurate information about him and his wife in relation to their employment status and financial standing. On 8 May 2015, District Judge Brooks ordered the deletion of all this data from the SHP and Clearing House websites and the payment of damages to the Applicant for distress of £750 (see annex 13, p. 35).

36. The Applicant repeatedly protested to the GLA his and his wife's open-ended referral to Clearing House, but to no avail. His application for permission to apply for a judicial review against GLA was dismissed by Lavender J. in the High Court on 12 August 2015. The Applicant then filed a claim in the Central London County Court against GLA, citing Connors v UK (2004) in saying that the legal framework applying to the referral decision that deprived the Applicant of a review did not provide him and his wife with sufficient procedural protection of their rights. At a preliminary hearing on 3 February 2016, District Judge Silverman ruled that the County Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case (see annex 14, p. 36). However, Silverman J. received a commitment from counsel acting for the GLA that round table talks between the Applicant and St. Mungo's would be arranged. A subsequent meeting between the Applicant, St. Mungo's CEO Howard Sinclair and Clearing House Manager Kate Moon resulted in a written support agreement that specifies that the Applicant and his wife will not be subjected to "assessment" or "support plans" and that their "support is voluntary". This then paved the way for the renewal of their tenancy on 16 May 2016 on the exact same terms as the original agreement.

37. On 31 October 2014, SHP wrote: "As previously advised, GLA Housing First Pilot will be ending, but it is every agency's aim that you stay within your current accommodation with the support and service you require" (emphasis added). However, it is evident that St. Mungo's has not provided the Applicant with the support and service he requires. He has repeatedly requested support for volunteering as a befriender with Newham Council's Active Newham. On 27 May 2016, he attended a meeting at St. Mungo's office on the premise that a phone call would be made to Active Newham on his behalf. However, his name was never used during the phone call and he was forced to file a claim in the Central London County Court in July 2016 to have the case notes from that meeting and an earlier meeting rectified. It took the scheduling of a preliminary hearing in October 2016 to have both case notes rectified as the Applicant had requested all along; and that rectification only took place after a failed attempt by an international firm of solicitors, Osborne Clarke, to have his claim struck out on the papers. The judge at the preliminary hearing dismissed St. Mungo's application to strike out the Applicant's claim for compensation (see annex 15, pp. 37-42), and District Judge Avent's order dated 11 March 2017 does not state why he dismissed the claim (see annex 16, p. 43). In a witness statement dated 14 September 2016, St. Mungo's said that they were "keen to work with Mr. Heavey to ensure that he remains securely housed and does not face homelessness again". However, although the support agreement dictates that case notes are updated, St. Mungo's has not carried out a support review since the second meeting in May 2016. And Active Newham has yet to confirm the acceptance or rejection of the Applicant's befriending application dated 3 June 2016 (see para. 38(i) below).

38. St. Mungo's has not been the only stumbling block for the Applicant and his wife during the last two-year period of their tenancy. They are convinced that if they did not have the status of clients of the Mayor of London's Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) programme and a housing association flat, they would have long been given notice to vacate. These are some examples (by no means exhaustive) that shed light on the high levels of persecution and opposition they have experienced during this period:

(i) After receiving a newsletter from Active Newham that sought volunteer befrienders for older or isolated residents in the community, the Applicant applied on 3 June 2016 to become a volunteer befriender. On 20 July 2016, following the intervention of his local councillor, he met with three senior officials from Newham Council. It is a matter of written record that he was told at this meeting that he would be informed of the date of the next befriending training session, however this has never happened. The Applicant has made several complaints of discrimination against Newham Council on the matter. All have fallen on deaf ears, even though he has recommendations for care work, one of which is written by a retired American physician, then based in London, who received his MD from Harvard Medical School (see annex 17, p. 44).

(ii) Newham Council has twice suspended the Applicant's Housing Benefit following false notifications from the Department for Work and Pensions that he and his wife had vacated. The first notification, in October 2016, triggered a full-blown investigation by Newham Benefits Service. The Applicant produced a paginated bundle of 57 pages and additional documents, and was interrogated for over an hour and a half by a senior council tax and benefits officer before the benefit was de-suspended. The second notification took effect the week before the Applicant's court hearing against St. Mungo's on 20 February 2017, and the benefit was only de-suspended the day after the hearing. The Applicant hasn't even been able to secure his and his wife's address from misconduct by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff, despite several high-level complaints related in part to an unauthorised update to their address by HMRC on 11 July 2017.

(iii) Facebook has waged a concerted campaign against the Applicant and his wife's Church and State website, which has escalated this past two months with six blocks against the site for a total of 46 days (see para. 42 below). There have also been more than 1,100 blocks on public access to Church and State due to internal error notifications that render the site inaccessible for generally one or two minutes – a leading web hosting company, SiteGround, is paid $1,000 per year to host the site and manage the server. As the Applicant's wife reveals in her blog, these blocks began with the Applicant's lodgement of his claim against St. Mungo's with the county court in July 2016. And the Applicant and his wife's home internet access – for which the Applicant pays Britain's leading telecommunications company, British Telecom, £850 per year – has been cut over 180 times since May 2017 (twice for over a half an hour). Despite all of this, last November the Church and State website topped more than 3 million hits over the previous eleven months.

39. It has been acknowledged by the GLA in judicial review papers that the Applicant and his wife can live independently – they do not have addictions or mental illness or behavioural issues. Their needs are solely related to the persecution and opposition they routinely face. Following their unavoidable court action against St. Mungo's last year (see para. 37 above), they anticipate that their tenancy will not this time be renewed on the same terms as their original tenancy agreement. (The two-year fixed term of their tenancy expires for the second time on 16 May 2018.) The Applicant may then be left with no option but to challenge this decision in the High Court (Judicial Review) as unreasonable, unlawful and incapable of legal justification. As the matter stands, therefore, there is a threat to life and well-being considering the following range of factors as applicable:

(i) The Applicant has a history of serious respiratory illness and has suffered bouts of pneumonia and other respiratory infections since childhood. Both he and his wife doubt he has the respiratory health to survive even another year or two on the streets. He is in his late fifties and during his and his wife's first period of homelessness he was twice hospitalised, once with pneumonia in December 2006 and the second time with a viral infection in October 2007. Near the end of their second period of homelessness in April 2014, the Applicant was diagnosed with asthma as well as a chest infection (see para. 31 above).

(ii) Both the Applicant and his wife have serious concerns about the health care the Applicant has or has not received over the years from National Health Service (NHS) England. Prior to his hospitalisation with pneumonia in 2006, he lost consciousness while vomiting and could have easily died had his wife not been with him. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital discharged him 42 hours after admission whilst still unwell (into the shivering cold and dense fog), placing him at risk. The Applicant most recently complained to NHS England about emergency dental treatment he received in January 2018. He complained in part that he had a nerve removed from a tooth but was only prescribed antibiotics after the eruption of the tooth days later. NHS England did not uphold any aspect of the Applicant's complaint. The tooth itself was extracted a month to the day after the emergency treatment.

(iii) Back on the streets the Applicant and his wife will be restricted to sleeping on night buses, notwithstanding the Applicant's asthma and now increased susceptibility to respiratory illness. They were forced into this predicament prior to coming off the streets the second time because of an excessive use of force by police officers to move them out of where they had been sleeping. This included the Applicant's wife being threatened with arrest on the trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer (see para. 32 above). Since the subsequent escalation of the migration crisis in Europe, the police have been given more powers to crack down on rough sleeping and need less to resort to excessive force (such as arrest without lawful authority).


25 March: Threat to life: We have started our "threat to life" defence against the Greater London Authority. Facebook blocks against our Church and State website have massively escalated this month (WITH UPDATE 15/4/2018)

***

We have never been under any illusion about the formidable power the GLA has in any court in the Royal Courts of Justice, even by association with a charity or social cause. We are also mindful that we were made homeless a second time (for another 13 months) after we were evicted from our previous flat in March 2013 because according to our then live-in landlady's ex-husband, Dr Nigel McKenzie, a consultant psychiatrist in Highgate Mental Health Centre, our flat was needed for somebody with a mental illness. Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler also lived with human rights activist Belinda McKenzie in the same political 'safe house' for a couple of years until 2007. According to BBC Panorama, Shayler "caused the biggest crisis of official secrecy since the spy catcher affair"; he was jailed for seven weeks in 2002 for breaking the Official Secrets Act. It's unfortunate that Shayler declared himself the Messiah in 2007, became a squatter, and was subsequently ridiculed in the press for changing his name to Delores Kane. A New Statesman article published in September 2006 featuring Shayler and Belinda gives no indication that Shayler believed he was the Messiah at that time; whilst a Daily Mail interview with him the following year reveals he believed himself to be Jesus by June 2007. He has never regained his normal self.

The Esquire article below* is mentioned in a Guardian article dated 27 March 2012. It's an eye-opener, highlighting the monitoring and surveillance that Shayler had to live with back in 2000, and the contradictory briefings and slanders that were coming out of the British establishment and the media. The author, Dr Eamonn O'Neill, is a lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University.

*On 2 May 2013, Issuu removed this pdf from my Issuu account following a copyright complaint by Hearst Communications. I had uploaded the article to my Issuu account in December 2012. In March 2013, when last I checked, the article had been viewed more than 15,000 times. It can be read here.

BBC PANORAMA: The David Shayler Affair (August 1998)

Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler "caused the biggest crisis of official secrecy since the spy catcher affair", according to BBC Panorama. He was jailed for seven weeks in 2002 for breaking the Official Secrets Act.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

1,138 blocks on public access to our Church and State website since 26 July 2016. One block so far today (as of 11.36am) on DAY 2 of Facebook's 37th block against Church and State since 1 December 2015


Re: Blocks on public access to our Church and State website since 26 July 2016

From my Facebook post's Update 15 April (11.21am):

"And it's not just Facebook blocks, blocks on public access to our Church and State website, and the daily targeting to fluctuating degrees of category pages throughout the site. Since 26 May 2017, we have been recording Internet cuts to boot; see my blog post of 21 June 2017, Internet cuts: We pay £65 per month for BT Infinity but feel we are in a race against time to stay online (WITH UPDATE 15/4/2018 RE: 183rd Internet cut since 26 May 2017). Perhaps of particular importance in all this is the fact that last November Church and State topped more than 3 million hits over the previous eleven months and despite the even then far from level playing field."

15 April (11.36am): 1,138 blocks on public access to our Church and State website since 26 July 2016 (89 blocks 2016; 871 blocks 2017; 178 blocks 2018). See my blog post of 16 January 2017, The blocks on public access to our Church and State website continue unabated (WITH UPDATE 15/4/2018 RE: 1,138th block since 26 July 2016). 183 blocks in the last three months of 2017 that included 7 blocks on 19 October; 59 blocks last month; 19 blocks this month; 10 blocks last week; 1 block so far today.

1. 810th 19 October 2017, 6.40am
2. 811th 19 October 2017, 12.14pm
3. 812th 19 October 2017, 2.03pm
4. 813th 19 October 2017, 5.13pm
5. 814th 19 October 2017, 7.18pm
6. 815th 19 October 2017, 8.22pm
7. 816th 19 October 2017, 10.54pm (7)
---------------------------------------------------
Last week:
319. 1,128th 8 April 2018, 5.41pm
320. 1,129th 8 April 2018, 11.48pm (2)
321. 1,130th 10 April 2018, 10.04am
322. 1,131st 10 April 2018, 11.52pm (2)
323. 1,132nd 11 April 2018, 9.54am (1)
324. 1,133rd 12 April 2018, 4.02am (1)
325. 1,134th 13 April 2018, 3.33am
326. 1,135th 13 April 2018, 6.31am
327. 1,136th 13 April 2018, 10.53am
328. 1,137th 13 April 2018, 11.59am (4)*
---------------------------------------------------
So far this week:
329. 1,138th 15 April 2018, 2.05am (1)

October 2017: 57 blocks
November 2017: 52 blocks
December 2017: 74 blocks
January 2018: 55 blocks
February 2018: 45 blocks
March 2018: 59 blocks
April 2018: 19 blocks (ongoing)

* This 1,137th block occurred the day before Facebook's 37th block against Church and State since 1 December 2015; see my blog post of 7 December 2017, Fighting for survival in London: Facebook's 26th block against our Church and State website since 1 December 2015. Last month Church and State topped more than 3 million hits over the past year (WITH UPDATE 15/4/2018 RE: Block 37 DAY 2). The following are the last 14 of these Facebook blocks (all without explanation save the 30th block which maintained that everything from Church and State "looks like spam"):

24th 28 October - 8 November 2017 (12 days)
25th 23-30 November 2017 (8 days)
26th 7-8 December 2017 (2 days)
27th 10-17 December 2017 (8 days)
28th 28 December 2017 - 4 January 2018 (8 days)
29th 16-23 January 2018 (8 days)
30th 28 January - 4 February 2018 (8 days) ('spam')
31st 12-19 February 2018 (8 days)
32nd 26 February - 5 March 2018 (8 days)
33rd 7-14 March 2018 (8 days)
34th 16-24 March 2018 (8 days)
35th 24 March - 1 April 2018 (9 days)
36th 4-11 April 2018 (8 days)
37th 14-21 April 2018 (8 days) (ongoing)

November 2017: 16 days
December 2017: 14 days
January 2018: 16 days
February 2018: 15 days
March 2018: 29 days
April 2018: 17 days (to 21 April)

See The War on Free Expression by our honorary associate Flemming Rose (of Danish Cartoon Crisis fame), who is also one of our 13 authors.


'Independent' court scrutinising public authorities and law enforcement agencies is located inside the Home Office in Westminster, London.

Re: Investigatory Powers Tribunal

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) dismissed Declan's complaint against the secret services on papers in less than three weeks, on 1 September 2011, stating that it was "obviously unsustainable". This is paragraph 11 of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

11. The IPT was created in October 2000 by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and given the power to investigate any complaints against GCHQ, MI5 or MI6, as well as complaints about surveillance operations mounted by the police or any other public bodies. The Guardian reported on 5 March 2014 that the tribunal, which claims to be completely independent of the UK Government, is secretly operating from a base within the Home Office, by which it is funded. The newspaper found that the IPT had investigated about 1,500 complaints and upheld only 10 (five of these concerned members of one family who had all lodged complaints about surveillance by their local council). No complaint against any of the intelligence agencies had ever been upheld. The discovery that the IPT is lodged within a Whitehall department fuelled criticisms of the tribunal that had been levelled by rights groups, lawyers and complainants. The IPT's critics complain that the secrecy is excessive and that its procedures are stacked so heavily in favour of the government and against complainants that it is fundamentally unfair. According to The Guardian, some senior lawyers have described the IPT as "Kafkaesque", while one eminent barrister has dismissed it as "a kangaroo court". The newspaper also reports that as a consequence of the secrecy surrounding the tribunal and the perception that it is unfair, many would-be complainants spurn it.

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25 March: Threat to life: We have started our "threat to life" defence against the Greater London Authority. Facebook blocks against our Church and State website have massively escalated this month (WITH UPDATE 15/4/2018)




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