Law

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Concept.png Law Rdf-icon.png
Law.jpg
Type fundamental
Interest of Philip Alston
A system of rules that are enforced through social institutions in an effort to try to control behaviour. In the modern world, it is often enforced top down through a hierarchical system of paid functionaries.
“[A]n individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
Martin Luther King (April 16, 1963)  [1]

Official narrative

"Legal theatre"... Credit:Schlock Mercenary

Law is a system of rules society enforces upon its members. While society's individual members may not agree with all its rules, they must all agree with them, for the collective good. Prisons and police are needed to prevent infractions by threatening sufficiently painful punishment that people are cowed into obeying the law. Officially, no one is above the law, and it should be applied impartially to all.

Problems

Law has an uneasy relationship with the legitimization of inherited privilege. The legal process has always been captured to a certain extent, and has served as some sort of pretext for justifying ongoing oppression.

What kind of legal culture allows the massive deprivation of basic liberty without any evidence? If we want to put one person into a cage for a single criminal offense, we are required, at least in theory, to present evidence so compelling that there is no reason to doubt the person’s guilt. We have to be very close to certain, for example, that the heroin found in the backpack belonged to the accused. But laws authorizing the imprisonment of tens of thousands of people have gotten no such scrutiny — we have not required any factual showing that they lead to any benefits. Lawyers have never required evidence that jailing people with heroin in their backpacks furthers a compelling social purpose....

In courtrooms across America, people are sent to jail every day on the basis of a single witness’s testimony (often a police officer) with no supporting evidence, even though, as a matter of common sense, it is impossible for a reasonable person not to have a doubt about the observations or motivations of a single human witness.


Alec Karakatsanis, 2015[2]

Global political awakening

Full article: Global political awakening

As of 2015, a matrix of social changes - notably self-education through the internet - appears to be increasing awareness of the hypocrisy of the law in general and of unpunished establishment criminality in particular. Consider for example, the illegal mass surveillance carried out by the NSA, GCHQ and partner intelligence agencies, deep state false flag terrorism, the thefts referred to euphemistically as "bailouts" or Tony Blair's lying the inveigle the UK into the Invasion of Iraq.

Police State rollout

Full article: Rated 3/5 Police state

Concern about the implications of such a "global political awakening" may be spurring the deep state into a do-or-die to a power grab. In some of the self-styled "democracies" national leaders are abandoning long established legal practice (such as habeus corpus and civil liberties) in a rush to enable authoritarian rule by might rather than right.

US

Full article: United States/Police state

The US is already something of a police state, with open criminality by government leaders and flagrant abuse such as the DEA's purported right to seize property, even of those who are not accused of a crime[3], or (after a 2015 ruling by Lee Rosenthal) its complete lack to liability to those whose property it damages.[4] In April 2015, Alec Karakatsanis noted that "In the seven years that I have spent working in American courts and jails, one thing sticks out above all else: the divergence between the law as it is written and the law as it is lived."[2]

UK

In May 2015, David Cameron announced a radical re-think, a plan to give "the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”. He did this in the name of free speech, stating further "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone... Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law."[5] This prompted exasperation in some quarters, and the observation that "Leviathan jumps the shark".[6]

In May 2015 [When?] [Who?]Chris Grayling?[citation needed] announced a new policy was announced which would fine defendants £1200 if they plead innocent but were were found guilty - in addition to any fines or other costs including compensation orders and victim surcharges and costs. This has been criticised as creating an "unacceptable pressure to plead guilty" and because it is a flat rate, unrelated even to the crime, for penalising the poor. "Up to 30 Magistrates" resigned in protest about the charge. Unperturbed, the UK government has announced further increases in court fees.[7]

“Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction... if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong.”
Alexander Hamilton (1804) [citation needed]

On Wikispooks

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Examples

Page nameDescription
Cheney LoopholeA 'get out of jail free card' for the Fracking industry, to permit them to poison the US drinking water.
Civil Contingencies Act 2004
Digital Economy Act 2017
E-FOIAA widely flouted US law mandating openness in handling FOIA requests and publishing information online.
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013
Fair Sentencing Act
Federal Reserve Act
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act 2000
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
George W. Bush/Torture IndictmentThe Center for Constitutional Rights and the Canadian Centre for International Justice have been taking legal action against George W Bush for his role in authorizing and overseeing his administration's well-documented torture program.
Guantanamo Bay detention camp/Prisoners' appeals in Washington courtsAppeals in Washington courts of Guantanamo prisoners
International law
NDAA 2017
National Labor Relations Act
National Security Act
Nuremberg CodeThe Nuremberg Code is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation set as a result of the subsequent Nuremberg trials at the end of WWII.
Official Secrets Act 1911
Official Secrets Act 1989
Pan Am Flight 103/The TrialA juryless trial which sentenced Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to life imprisonment for the Lockerbie bombing.
Patriot ActA legislative coup d'etat
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Rockefeller drug laws
Single Convention on Narcotic DrugsAn important step in the globalisation of the illegal drug trade.
Terrorism Act 2000
Terrorism Act 2006
United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
 

Related Quotations

PageQuoteAuthorDate
Attorney General for England and Wales“It’s not unusual for the attorney general to intervene in cases in order to represent the public interest. He has sought to intervene in this case because it raises important issues about the scope of the criminal law.”2017
Robert Cooper“The postmodern world has to start to get used to double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But, when dealing with old-fashioned states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era--force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.”Robert CooperApril 2002
Brian Crozier“The ultimate sophistication of subversion is to take over the government, not by unlawful but by lawful means.”Brian Crozier
Kleptocracy“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”Frédéric Bastiat
Secret trial“No free man shall be taken, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, of his liberties or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed excepting by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the laws of the land.”1215 JL
Malcolm Turnbull“The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”Malcolm Turnbull14 July 2017
 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
File:Terrorism & Relative Justice.pdfpaper2007Mark Findlay


References

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