Monthly Archives: June 2011
The time has finally come. This was just posted:
Final Week Breakdown
by Everyman Bistro on Monday, 27 June 2011 at 14:55.
Breakdown of events, that is.
Monday 27th (Tonight)
Mouth of the Mersey Story Telling – 3rd Room
8 o’clock start
Tuesday 28th (Tomorrow)
Last Ever Everyman Folk Club – 3rd Room
8 o’clock start
Free Entry but normal cap collection
Wednesday 29th (Day after Tomorrow)
Appreciation of Wine Night – 3rd Room
8 o’clock start
Call for table availability! (0151) 708-9545
Thursday 30th (You gettit by now)
The Last Supper Club – 3rd Room
8 o’clock start
Main Room Music Night – 6 till 11
- Stan Ambrose
- Frank Maudsley’s Thoughts
- The Loose Moose String Band
- Beatnik Hurricane
- John Head
Midnight Special – 11 till 2
Main Room: Grapes Band
3rd Room: Norman ‘The Cat’ Killon
Also Barbieshop at some stage. Those girls are busy, so fingers crossed.
FREE ENTRY ALL NIGHT
All Day Multi-Room Spectacular – Midday till 2am
- More Stan!
- The Parade Jazz Band
- The 16 Tonnes
- Choral Voices
- Helen Accordion
- Sense of Sound Singers
- Street Party (“unadopted”)
- More Grapes Band!
- More Norman the Cat!
FREE ENTRY ALL DAY AND NIGHT
Our philosophy sees no compromise.
We’ll be serving the same top quality food and providing the same top quality liquid refreshment as we have for the last 41 years throughout the whole week.
I mean it.
It’s really happening. This time next week – no Ev. This seems appropriate:
Could be Jerusalem
Or it could be Cairo
Could be Berlin
Or it could be Prague
Could be Moscow
Could be New York
Could be Llanelli
And it could be Warrington
Could be Warsaw
And it could be Moose Jaw
Could be Rome
Everybody got somewhere they call home
Roger Waters, Home
Misdirection is an art form, superior to maskirovka, the art of concealment, because hiding something will always be easier than ensuring it is not looked at in the first place. It becomes easier, of course, when those you want to distract are willing to look elsewhere. The audience’s eye is taken by the assistant, not the magician. Soldiers assume their enemy will focus resources in the places they would. And lawyers are always happy to defend their profession.
Over the weekend, a post by legal blogger @_millymoo has attracted a great deal of online attention. It has been recommened by those who form opinion among legal bloggers, and widely read. It defends the professional lawyers who defended Levi Bellfield from the charge that they behaved improperly in vigorously questioning the family of Milly Dowler, and in airing details of their private lives in an attempt to present an alternative version of events. It is well written, impassioned, and persuasive.
But despite that, virtually all of it can be ignored. It’s responding to a slew of media comment criticising the trial process and the lawyers involved, and only at the very end says this:
By all means, put reporting restrictions on trial. Put the press on trial; but don’t put justice on trial. Those details could have stayed inside that court room, where, it could be said, they belonged. But the very press who are calling for the barrister’s head on a platter and a noose around the justice system’s neck, are the very press who disseminated that information in all its gory detail for public consumption. There is such a thing as restraint. But restraint should never be forced on the team responsible for ensuring a proper, robust defence is run. Justice demands that.
Remember the politician’s mantra: Don’t accept the premise of the question. Like all echo chambers, people read a defence of people like them, and think “This Is A Good Thing.” But it isn’t, not really. It’s accepted the premise – that we’re discussing criminal procedure – and lost the battle there and then. Because this isn’t an debate, where each side advances nice, reasoned, sourced cases, and the better one wins. This is a battle for opinion.
Lawyers – especially well paid criminal defence lawyers – are one of few groups the public have less respect for than the media. Moreover, those defending the conduct of Bellfield’s defence team must defend the breaking down of a grieving mother, and a decision to ensure that grieving father’s public reputation will forever be his private sexual preferences. This is the debate the media want to have. Making a case in that debate, even one ultimately getting to the point of knocking back your opponents definition, still amounts to accepting there’s a debate to be had.
I don’t use the term “the media” to suggest some corporate decision to behave in a particular way, simply to recognise that the interests of press outlets in this matter are broadly similar. If attention was to be widened from the conduct of the trial, people might begin to question whether the problem was really the fact that Bellfield’s barrister put the question, or the fact that the media carried the answers on their front pages.
Ask a simple question, a question I posed several weeks ago: Why does Max Mosley get more protection that Bob Dowler? Why are the media permitted to report one man’s sex life and not the other?
In the rush to defend the criminal bar from attack, possibly the most interesting aspect is being overlooked: reporting restrictions were applied for – by the CPS – and refused by the judge.
We now know – courtesy of the CPS – that the interests of “open justice” trumped those of Milly Dowler’s parents:
Once we became aware of the actual nature of the defence that was going to be put forward and the likely evidence that would be advanced to support the defence theory we applied for reporting restrictions on the cross examination. The judge, in balancing the representations of the prosecution with the interests of open justice, refused the prosecution’s application.
CPS statement on Levi Bellfield trial process
It’s this decision, not the conduct of the defence team which should be the focus. Failing to make it so is giving in to the misdirection, accepting the premise.
We do not know, but should be told, what process the judge followed to reach that decision. Did he, as Mr. Justice Eady apparently believes he should, balance the specific privacy rights of the Dowler family? Did he give due weight to the interests of their surviving daughter? We don’t know, because the same system of “open justice” does not provide any channel by which the judge’s reasoning can be directly communicated to the public.
That’s a serious problem to be dealt with. We have had statements from the defence, from the CPS, from the victim’s family. We have no statement from the judge, beyond his a few quotes, selected, filtered, and marshalled by the same media that tells us this is about criminal procedure, not privacy.
English lawyers take pride in our profession and in the system of justice we operate. When attacked – as over the Bellfield trial – a robust defence raises totems like “fairness” and “due process” and expects all right thinking people to rally to it. And yet, for all the first class minds we supposedly have at our disposal, we allow ourselves to be out-manouvered by the “gutter press”, for whom such totems as targets, easier to strike when raised.
We did it over privacy, failing to be critical friends to a civil judiciary that had gone too far, too fast, had failed to carry the public, and then arrogantly presumed its legitimacy would be undiminished.
It is happening over legal aid, where our trade unions are reaping their long term failures to explain the profession to the public and reform legal aid practice (while apparently missing a government proposal to deny exonerated defendants reimbursement of their non-legal aid costs!).
And now, apparently, it is to happen over criminal procedure, by simple dint of allowing the media to make it a debate about criminal procedure, not reporting restrictions.
If we allow this, what happens next is inevitable. We will see a campaign to restrict the freedom of defence counsel. We will see demand to restrict the information available to the defence. And we will watch as protections introduced after a sequence of miscarriages of justice are attacked because of one “hard case”.
Enter into the debate over criminal procedure, and lose the battle for opinion: I say it’s that simple. But make the argument about privacy, and maybe win. The first step is ignoring the misdirection.
My love of Adam Curtis documentaries is on record, even if I’m less than convinced by some of his conclusions. Here’s a lovely little spoof, done in a perfectly judged Adam Curtis style, taking a similar position – if with a sharper edge:
Adam Curtis believed that 200,000 Guardian readers watching BBC2 could change the world.
This was a fantasy.
In fact, he had created the television equivalent of a drunken late-night Wikipedia binge with pretentions to a narrative coherence.
ht to Scott Jordan Harris on the Spectator’s Arts Blog.
What constitutes an “armed attack”? Not a difficult to question to answer? You’d be surprised.
One of the cornerstones of the current framework of international law is Article 51 of the UN Charter, which preserves the right of states to act in self-defence. There are, however, conditions:
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Charter of the United Nations, Chapter VII, Article 51
In other words, states are still allowed to act in self-defence – or in defence of another state – provided that an armed attack has occurred (or, in line with the Caroline case/test, there is an imminent threat of one).
Quite what constitutes an armed attack is another matter, and the US government seems keen to expand the concept.
The US had employed the concept of equivalence as part of its nuclear posture – explicitly stating that an attack with chemical or biological weapons would be met by a nuclear response – until the 2010 nuclear posture review. A report in the Wall Street Journal, commenting on a Pentagon strategy document due to be published next month, claims that the same concept may now be applied to “cyber-attacks”, allowing the US to respond to them with military force.
Quite what constitutes a “cyber-attack” isn’t clear, and I’d be surprised if the new strategy includes a requirement for physical damage. The US claimed that one hacker, Gary McKinnon, caused more than $700,000 of damage, but those costs related to repairing the systems he compromised. It would be an extraordinary loophole to set “cyber-attacks” outside military response because they happen not to cause physical damage.
Importantly, such a change in policy would need to be read together with the existing US position on the source of “armed attacks”: the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was justified on a self-defence basis, despite the fact the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by a non-state actor. That approach is consistent with previous US actions, notably the intervention in Nicaragua, and in the US attack on the Al-Shifa factory.
Take these two strands – equivalence of “cyber attacks” and military action”, and the conflation of action by states and non-state actors – together, and you have a potentially expansive basis for action against states.
It’ll be interesting to see the detail of the US strategy document, but also the response from other states. The UK is reportedly developing “offensive” cyber warfare capabilities, while China have pursued cyber warfare capabilities for years.
Somehow, I doubt this issue will wind up paralleling the long running debates over the militarization of space, which – almost fifty years after McNamara cancelled the Dynasoar - have barely left the drawing board.