Thursday, January 28, 2010

We are on high alert!

Our local jobcentre, Highgate Jobcentre Plus of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has us on high alert! Once again, we have been selected to be interviewed on what would appear to be any number weeks about the jobs we are applying for – before Christmas it was for six weeks in a row. Moreover, this jobcentre has turned out to have more than its fair share of dirty tricks and devious practices (see, for example, blog of 14 January “2nd letter to the manager of Highgate Jobcentre”).

It was the DWP that put us to the street in November 2006 because Declan did not “sign on” two days before he was due to do so (see “About us”), and kept us there until NAC Honorary Associate Dr. James Fetzer by some sort of miracle found us a roof over our heads on 13 July last (see blog of 12 July 2009 “Police threaten us with physical force at the place we sleep, Salters”), more than 2 1/2 years later.

First thing tomorrow morning, I have my 7th interview at this jobcentre in 10 weeks (allowing for the 2-week Christmas recess). In fact, things have gotten so bad with this jobcentre that Declan is personalising envelopes containing this letter from Dr. Fetzer to solicitors and direct contact counsel throughout the City of London:


Lawyer
Welfare Benefits Specialist
London, UK

To whom it may concern:

Declan Heavey and his wife, Lola, are in difficult straits because they have encountered enormous obstacles in obtaining benefits to which they are lawfully—and, in my judgment, morally—entitled. They suspect, as I believe, that their ongoing abuse at the hands of the authorities (which is continuing to this very day) is almost certainly related to a website that they maintain and I fund, which deals with controversial issues. Notice, in particular:

* They have been living homeless for more than 2 1/2 years of the last 3
* They have only rather recently gained access to a roof over their heads
* They are being directed to apply for specific positions on threat of termination
* The suspension or termination of benefits would return them to the streets
* They—and I—strongly suspect their ongoing abuse is politically motivated

Declan and Lola have documented the violations of their rights at many levels in her blog, "Network of those Abused by Church Blog". They are looking for someone who might represent them pro bono because of the importance of this case. What may make their situation of more than ordinary significance is that we believe their difficulties appear to be motivated by the desire to suppress or otherwise undermine their exercise of freedom of speech by means of the website they maintain at religionandmorality.net. If you visit the site, you will see that they address many controversial issues, from the abuses inflicted by religious entities to 7/7, 9/11 and the “war on terror”.

The political ramifications of all this may be crucial. They and I are currently in the process of organizing a symposium on “Debunking the ‘War on Terror’” that will feature, as speakers, Elias Davidsson from GER, Kevin Barrett and myself from the US, and a prominent Muslim speaker from the UK. We are going to accent the abuse of human rights, where I have now interviewed Yvonne Ridley about her experiences, which is archived at http://tinyurl.com/yaxu4ql. It would not surprise me in the least if the difficulties they are encountering are intended—at least in part—to subvert our current efforts.

In my opinion, treatment to which they are being subjected appears to involve coordination by several layers of authorities to deny them benefits to which they are entitled. It bothers me tremendously that the Crown should be engaged—directly or indirectly—in such corrupt conduct. I have encouraged them in this search in the belief that there must be at least one lawyer in the whole of England who will oppose this abuse and stand for what is right and just.

We would be especially appreciative if you might be able to tell (a) whether they are acting lawfully by directing the Heaveys to apply for specific jobs on threat of termination, and (b) what can be done to prevent recurrence of this form of unfair treatment. We believe that indication of interest in their case by a lawyer or someone with legal standing may be enough to straighten this out forthwith. They are being denied basic rights and stand in urgent need of counsel. Is there any chance you may be able to assist them in any way? I would be glad to discuss all of this either via email at jfetzer@d.umn.edu or even by phone, if that would be preferable.

With great appreciation,

James H. Fetzer, Ph.D.

McKnight Professor Emeritus,
University of Minnesota Duluth
http://www.d.umn.edu/~jfetzer/
Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth
Scholars Site: http://911scholars.org
Home phone: (608) 835-2707
Cell phone: (608) 354-4280

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG IS HACKED

Last night Declan and I had to pull down the blog we had posted, titled “Conversation on Skype hijacked”, because within an hour it had been vandalised: graphics had been deleted and text altered. This disclaimer will appear on all future blogs pending the transferral of my copy of the entire blog to a new site. Declan may in fact turn my copy of key blogs (see “About us”) into PDFs.

Below are two of the graphics I was running in last night’s blog (I actually posted five graphics from the local internet café, two illustrating the almost zero internet connection from the internet café itself!). The day before yesterday my conversation on Skype was hijacked. One moment I am conversing with NAC Honorary Associate Dr. Jim Fetzer, who is Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The next moment Declan’s profile picture is replaced with a cartoon and a homophobic remark and insults are hurled at Dr. Fetzer.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

2nd letter to the manager of Highgate Jobcentre

As I said in the blog of 19 December 2009 “Letter to the manager of Highgate Jobcentre”, Declan wrote to the manager of Highgate Jobcentre, Patrice Mulligan, under the Data Protection Act 1998, a copy of which he also sent to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Yvette Cooper, requesting information about him from the Department’s computer system. During our last advisory interview in this jobcentre – we were notified on 5 November that Declan and I had been selected to be interviewed on six consecutive Thursdays about the jobs we are applying for – Declan discovered that a history was being created against his name on job applications he has never made!

Well, he received this by way of reply from Mulligan: “I have discussed this request with the Data Protection Officer and we are happy to treat the request as normal business rather than through the formal Subject Access Request route of the Data Protection Act 1998. In view of this I have enclosed a print of the information you requested.” Yet, when I requested a print of the same information on myself, we were told that I would need to submit my request under the Data Protection Act - the contents of Mulligan's letter to Declan apparently was of no concern to the customer services manager! We have no idea what is in store for us when we go to the jobcentre today but it would be an understatement to say that we will be turning up with the eyes on the back on our heads!

We have some history with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), of which this jobcentre is a part: We came to England in 2003 and for two years attempted to get NAC up and running; we went on benefits in July 2005; the DWP terminated Declan's joint claim for Jobseeker's Allowance on 27 September 2006 because he did not “sign on” two days before he was due to do so on 29 September. Declan exhausted the appeals process from the street, having been denied the internal appeal process by procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority (the DWP). His case was dismissed by the High Court (Judicial Review), Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights (see blog of 21 October 2008 “European Court of Human Rights declares application inadmissible”). In fact, if it wasn’t because NAC Honorary Associate Dr. Jim Fetzer, Distinguished McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth, found us a roof over our heads on 13 July 2009 (see blog of 12 July “Police threaten us with physical force at the place we sleep, Salters”), we would still be sleeping rough! Dr. Fetzer has also been funding the NAC website since 4 February last (see blog of 26 July 2009 “We are interviewed on The Real Deal by Jim Fetzer”).

Anyway, this is the letter Declan sent by registered post to Mulligan on Friday:

                                                         BY REGISTERED POST

Dear Mrs. Mulligan,

Data Protection Act 1998, Subject Access Request

Thank you for your letter of 5 January with a print of the information my husband requested, namely, a copy of the history section on the Department of Work and Pension’s computer system that lists the job applications that Highgate Jobcentre Plus registered against his name.

As requested yesterday evening by Highgate JCP Customer Services Manager, Mr. Fort (Christian name withheld), I hereby make a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 1998 for a copy of the history section on the Department’s computer system that lists the job applications that Highgate JCP has registered against my name.

I am concerned that on 17 December my husband discovered during his advisory interview with Najmin (“not obliged to provide surname”) that two phone calls he made to prospective employers the week previous had been registered by her as job applications against his name on the Department’s computer system, and his three job applications for the same period omitted, his protestations notwithstanding. According to Najmin, the record details could not be rectified, amended or completed.

In reference to my husband’s history section on the Department’s computer system, I can confirm that during his advisory interview on 26 November one of your personal advisers told him to apply for two jobs she handpicked for him. He is currently making contact with solicitors and direct contact counsel throughout the City of London to determine (a) whether Highgate JCP is acting lawfully by directing him to apply for specific jobs on threat of termination, and (b) what can be done to prevent recurrence of this form of unfair treatment.

I also confirm that your records in respect of this subject access request go back to the reinstatement on 17 July 2009 of my husband’s part of his joint claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Notice, in particular:

* My husband’s joint claim JSA was terminated on 27 September 2006 because he did not “sign on” two days before he was due to do so on 29 September 2006.

* We have been sleeping rough on the streets of London for more than 2 1/2 years, from 3 November 2006 to 13 July 2009.

* My husband exhausted the appeals process from the street: his case was dismissed by the High Court (Judicial Review), Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights in spite of the fact that we were denied the internal appeal process by procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority.

* My husband’s joint claim JSA was not fully reinstated until 9 October 2009 - almost three months after we gained access to a roof over our heads on 13 July 2009 - because my National Insurance number was "lost" from the Department’s computer system.

Yours sincerely,
Maria Heavey

In addition to our difficulties securing the benefits we are entitled to, we also continue to have major problems with internet access. Only for the grand total of little more than a month and a half out of the last six months has my laptop and/or Declan’s notebook been able to connect to the access point which our live-in landlady Belinda McKenzie gave me back in July to be able use her broadband network – see an article in the New Statesman stating that Belinda’s house “doubles as the hub of the British and Irish 9/11 Truth Campaign” here. Internet connection via our access point “Guest” was restored out of the blue at the beginning of November (see blog of 11 November “Letter from The Queen”), and then cut off once again on 13 December. Belinda’s other two access points (McKenzie-1 and moj) have always been working fine, and she has concurred that only forces from outside the house could be repeatedly disconnecting “Guest” (see blog of 15 December “We are cut off from the internet”).

To add to no internet access from the flat, for months now our bandwidths have been “squeezed” in the public libraries we frequent, almost to death, whether we are on a library computer, my laptop or Declan's notebook (see, for example, blog of 26 October “Internet access at the British Library”). Highgate library is only a few minutes away for us, and according to Haringey Council, which runs the library, I should be able to get “fast and reliable wireless broadband”. Yet, I seem always to get the complete opposite: on Wednesday, for example, as the graphic below clearly shows (click on it to get a bigger version), my connection was 0.08 MB (or 88 Kbps) – I couldn’t even open google.com! I say “always” because on the 6 and 7 January I got 0.432 Mb and 0.464 Mb respectively (I couldn’t believe myself!), but on 8 January it was back to the usual 0.08 MB or so!





In September, the BBC ran an article titled “Squeeze file-sharers, stars say”, reporting that British musicians were insisting that those who persist in the illegal downloading of music “should have their bandwidths ‘squeezed’”. Well, maybe I am wrong, but I don’t know of the existence of any law currently on the statute books that says internet service providers (ISPs) can cut people from the internet and/or restrict their bandwidths without a warrant from the Home Secretary (see blog of 9 March 2008 “Home Office denies warrant to intercept communications”). Perhaps I should ask British Telecommunications (BT) – Highgate library’s ISP, according the second graphic above – if there is in fact such a warrant out on us! Dr. Fetzer is also mentioning the problems I am having with my internet access in his blog (see, for example, “Doug Horne, "INSIDE THE ARRB" - Part II”). Oh, well!