How GCHQ and other agencies have immunity from prosecution

This always seems to surprise people when I explain this because they are under the misapprehension that the United Kingdom is a democracy with respect for the law.

In the United Kingdom one cannot, as one might expect, go to the authorities such as the police to complain about the misuse of powers which are available to the intelligence services. One must complain instead to a judicial body called the the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) which hears complaints about surveillance by public bodies and which is  “the only Tribunal to whom complaints about the Intelligence Services can be directed” The Tribunal has jurisdiction to consider complaints about the use of surveillance by any organisations with powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

Certain European Court of Human Rights judgments said the IPT offers no human rights remedy on surveillance questions, in particular Burden v United Kingdom (2008) 47 EHRR 3869 and Malik v United Kingdom (Application no.32968/11) [2013] ECHR 794 (28 May 2013)

Organisations under the IPT’s jurisdiction must provide details to the IPT of any activity that is being complained about. The IPT will only decide whether any surveillance that is being carried out is lawful—i.e., that it has been appropriately authorised and is being conducted in accordance with the applicable rules. If it investigates a complaint and finds that surveillance is being carried out but is lawful, it will not confirm to the complainant that they are under surveillance, merely state that their complaint has not been upheld. The IPT is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 so information made available to it in the course of considering a complaint cannot be obtained under a freedom of information request. There is no avenue to appeal, other than to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Only select IPT rulings are published. Statistics concerning complaints dealt with by the IPT are published each year in the Annual Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

Those statistics shows that very few complaints about surveillance have been upheld; from 2000 to 2009, five out of at least 956 complaints have been upheld and the likelihood of success has not changed since that period.

In effect, if one examines my case and one examines what is stated by the law, the intelligence agencies in the United Kingdom have effective immunity from any form of legal recourse and prosecution in cases where they abuse the powers which are available to them.

Furthermore even cabinet ministers, namely the foreign secretary and home secretary who formally have the responsibility for the intelligence agencies are not permitted, according to the Maxwell-Fyfe convention, as explained by the former home secretary Merlyn Rees to have oversight over or to know the operational deeds or misdeeds of those agencies..

In terms of the press, they are subject to something known as the DA committee whereby embarrassing stories which are embarrassing to the government are not covered.

It is on record the the Secret Intelligence Service amongst other things
1) Threatened to torture me and
2) Attempted to kill me.

Strangely newspapers such as the Telegraph and the Mail are rather reluctant when it comes at investing such matters and will hold the party line. In other words they will do what they are told.

It is fair to say that the press in concealing and justifying the corruption which exists within these agencies, is following a tradition whereby they are only too pleased to conceal things like:

  1. The Hillsborough disaster
  2. The Guildford Four
  3. The Birmingham Six
  4. The Battle of Orgreave
  5. Torture allegations made against the Secret Intelligence Service
  6. Jimmy Saville
  7. Cyril Smith

It is especially understandable that they should be at the beck and call of the authorities which in this instance come in the form of the intelligence agencies.

The point of journalism is from what I understand to hold the powerful to account, which they manifestly and repeatedly fail to do.

In effect where an agency have such great powers available to it, no oversight, such great secrecy and collaboration on the part of the press in concealing corruption, it is inevitable that it will attract certain criminal elements as was outlined by Jock Kane.


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