Monday, May 16, 2016

Our access to our Church and State website is blocked for the umpteenth time

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Our chairman in North Carolina, Dr Stephen Mumford, pays SiteGround $1,000 a year to ensure that our Church and State website runs smoothly, even with 100,000 daily visitors. We actually have a very good Cloud hosting package (2x3.0 GHz CPU Cores, CentOS, 4GB RAM, and 20GB SSD), which is why we shouldn't be experiencing this sort of non-access to our site. Here is paragraph 11 of Declan's recent updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in respect of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which hears complaints about surveillance by public bodies.

HEAVEY v. THE UNITED KINGDOM

COMMUNICATION SUBMITTED FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE FIRST OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

Paragraph 11 of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations re the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT)

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. On 5 March 2014 the Guardian reported 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.


Related blog post 25 March 2016: Threat to life: Updated complaint to the United Nations

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