SURVEILLANCE BY U.S. AND U.K. AUTHORITIES
IN OFFSHORE FINANCIAL CENTERS
Okay! So now we’re down to it. Jurisdictions commonly acknowledged as offshore financial centres, that is to say that have enacted laws favouring the conduct of financial transactions by non-resident alien investors are commonly acknowledged to include inter-alia Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the BVI, the Caymans, the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey and Sark) the Cook Islands, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, the Seychelles, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, the TCI, Vanuatu, and W. Samoa.
CROWN OFFSHORE FINANCIAL CENTRES
With the exception of a handful of Western European countries virtually every one of the above is or was a colony, or dependency or former colony of the British Crown and has inherited English Common Law. This shared legal heritage lends itself to surveillance in that legislation, regulation, the financial system and the judicial system are interrelated. In all offshore financial centers with an English Common Law background or heritage, the legislation, regulations and judicial decisions in one jurisdiction apply in other jurisdictions unless dealt with explicitly by statute.
Attorneys or lawyers in the U.K. became independent financial investigators for the Crown when the Criminal Justice Act (1993) and the Money Laundering Regulations (1993) came into force. The legislation requires financial institutions and attorneys to report suspected laundering activities by their clients. So clients’ rights to confidentiality by banks and solicitors (lawyers) has now been over-ridden by a duty to report.
As with all U.K. legislation, this law (in Example (1) may be extended to Crown dependent territories and may also be enforced in Commonwealth Nations’jurisdictions. (e.g. The Commonwealth of the Bahamas). These could adopt legislation re-instating attorney-client confidentiality but given the role of the Crown in each jurisdiction’s constitution and government, such reinstatement is most unlikely. Without such correcting legislation, it is unclear whether attorney-client privilege extends to financial and trust transactions viewed by an attorney as either potentially suspicious or as compelling forced disclosure which could be resisted (what’s at stake? a licence to practice) - this applies in any Crown dependent territory or Commonwealth nation.
The Grupo Torras Case (see below)
TRAPS - THE GRUPO TORRAS CASE IN THE BAHAMAS
Traps for Unwary Trustees (for which read the island’s leading law firm - editorial comment!) and The Grupo Torras Case. This was reported on in the June 1998 issue of "Offshore Investment" a leading journal for the offshore world. It was written by Paul Stibbard and Andrew Keltie of the London office of Baker & McKenzie, the world’s largest and arguably best-known firm of international lawyers:
They made the following points in an extremely learned and technical article concerning trusts:
(i) Increasing duty of care is being imposed on trustees. It now encompasses not only due diligence issues such as the identity of the settlor and the initial source of the funds but it also now extends to the need to consider carefully the terms of the trust deed itself, the way the day-to-day administration of the trust is carried out and the manner in which they exercise discretion.
(ii) The Court of Appeal, Commonwealth of Bahamas October 27, 1997 - Private Trust Corporation v. Grupo Torras provides a stark reminder to trustees to peruse the terms of a trust presented to them by lawyers acting for potential gifters to the trust.
(iii) In this case there were some hardly unusual reservation of powers to the person named as the primary beneficiary; the "unusual" provisions of the flight clause made the trust potentially, only potentially, unenforceable in the trustee’s jurisdiction of residence; the underlying companies were being run for the benefit of a particular beneficiary (nothing unusual at all so far for trust structuring in common law jurisdictions); the beneficiary’s lawyer, rather than the trustees’ lawyer was used in the completion of various financial transactions (this is common!) - all these in the opinion of the Court of Appeal "cast doubt upon the independence of the trust structure".
(iv) As you would expect, the decision has been appealed to the Privy Council in London! The details of the case were as follows: The Bahamian Court of Appeal upheld a Mareva injunction (an order freezing worldwide assets issued by a foreign authority and designed to frustrate the execution of a possible judgment) against (a) the defendant trustee of a trust and its underlying companies connected with an individual "F". These proceedings were ancillary to litigation in England in which F. and others were alleged to have defrauded Grupo Torras in several transactions. Following the U.K. court proceedings it was discovered that F. had placed certain assets in a trust in the Bahamas, set up by the defendant trustees. F. was the main beneficiary, with others being members of his family.
In its judgment, among many other items of intense interest, the Court noted that if it was established that the trust was "a vehicle over which F. exercised substantial or effective control", (what after all is the purpose of establishing and settling offshore trust?) the court could rightfully pierce the structure of the trust - in the same way as the corporate "veil" of a company could be lifted. It could and would therefore regard the settlor F. as the beneficial owner of the assets of the trust. This was on the basis that the entity concerned "danced to the bidding" of some dominant person.
In reaching their decision the court cited the dicta of the presiding English judge (Justice Mance) who held that "it would be naive to assume that there are never circumstances in which the conduct of professional advisors and trustees yields to the reality of a dominant or controlling settlor or beneficiary".
2 key messages of the case (and of two others quoted - Abdel Rahman v. Chase Bank (CI) Trust Co. Ltd. (1991) and Turner v. Turner (1983)) is that where it can be shown that the underlying companies of the trust are being run for the benefit of the settlor ... the courts will likely extend the Mareva injunctions to such companies. Also, if trustees slavishly follow the wishes of prominent settlor(s) or beneficiary(s) this alone may of itself enable aggrieved third parties, whether they be creditors, heirs, spouses, or revenue and government agencies to attack. They are open to attack not only specific actions of the trustees but the very trust structure itself - this on the basis that the trust is under the substantial or effective control of a settlor/beneficiary and as a consequence the trust’s assets should be considered as his own for the purposes of the hostile litigation in question!
So what is this mysterious Crown? The Crown is not a person or a family. It is a bureaucracy. One organ of the Crown is the hereditary monarch that serves as sovereign; the House of Windsor. In a Westminster type Constitution (most of the above jurisdictions have these) the Crown is the government though this is most subtly concealed. Parliament does not exist without the Crown. The Crown under its inherent (the result of a 1000 year evolution) prerogative authority grants the country a constitution. This is a constitutional contract to which the Crown always remains a party. This contract also provides for English Common Law to be inherited, along with the decisions of English courts. English Common Law is thus international law and applies in all jurisdictions that have inherited it unless specifically amended, repudiated or excluded.
As the Executive Branch of a constitutional monarchy, the Crown must assent to all acts of "local legislatures" or Parliaments for the legislation to take effect. The Crown also retains the authority to legislate through Letters, Patent, Proclamations and Orders in Council! In Crown dependent territories, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, with Crown assent, may also legislate.
The Commonwealth is a series of separate and distinct Westminster constitutional contracts creating separate Crowns in each member State. Crown dependent territories are members of the Commonwealth in which the Crown directly oversees external affairs and defense - this encompasses matters relating to security, law enforcement, Admiralty jurisdiction, international treaties and diplomacy, constitutional changes, reciprocal enforcement of judgements, and intellectual property. The constitutions of colonies and dependent territories retain a right of appeal to the Crown’s highest court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Crown dependent territories may amend but may not repeal English Common Law. A Governor represents the Crown and in Canada, a Governor-General.
In May, 1999 Peter Smith CBE "took over" as Governor of the Cayman Islands and governs through an Executive Council. He joined the Foreign Office (diplomatic service of the U.K.) in 1962, served in Vietnam, in the U.S. for several years, was Deputy High Commissioner in Mauritius, and worked with Buckingham Palace on the Overseas visits by the Royal family. He took a year’s sabbatical with Royal College of Defence Studies in London (".... a marvellous year of geopolitics and power evaluation" he says).
Before leaving London, Smith atteded a conference in the U.K. at which all the governors met together under Baroness Symons, the U.K. Foreign Office Minister charged with overseeing the U.K’s overseas territories. Smith is quoted thus "Now that we have had the white paper and there is a new Overseas Territories Department within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the whole matter of overseas territories has become higher profile and more coherent in the way it is handled".
COMMONWEALTH STATUS, OR INDEPENDENCE DOES NOT
REPRESENT INDEPENDENCE FROM THE CROWN
The Crown in a Commonwealth nation is represented by the Queen’s Representative, the Governor - these have the constitutional responsibility to convene and dismiss Parliament, make or approve ministerial and judicial appointments, and assent to legislation. These duties are usually carried out in consultation with the Cabinet or Executive Council. Statutes may grant the Crown or Executive Council the authority to legislate, which often includes the power to vary or revoke any legislation. These officials also have implied powers.
POWER - THE POWERS OF THE CROWN
While Emergency Power Statutes and Executive Orders (purposely not discussed) under United States law are in theory subject to constitutional restraints, there are no similar restraints on the Crown’s authority in a Westminster constitution. There are no limits on the Crown’s ability to abrogate fundamental rights and freedoms. Nor is the Crown made accountable to the local legislature. The limits of these executive powers, which include authority over law enforcement and "security of the realm" are unclear.
The Crown can exercise almost unlimited powers - in the 1980’s a narcotics trafficking scandal involving high government officials in the Crown dependent territory of the Turks & Caicos Islands was discovered. The Crown shut down the entire offshore financial Sector and prohibited it from reopening until laws were amended to provide greater transparency, and existing regulatory supervisors were replaced.
The Crown may also enter treaties "on behalf of" but without the consent of local legislatures. An analogous situation would be for the U.S. President to instruct the State Department to negotiate a treaty and the FBI to enforce its provisions, without obtaining the consent of Congress.
THE STATUTE OF ELIZABETH (1571) AND GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE
But enough on the Crown. Let’s examine the effect of the Statute of Elizabeth (1571), for history buffs, this is Elizabeth the First of England. Many argue that repeal of this statute (which concerns the voiding of a transfer of property if a creditor presents a claim to it) is unconstitutional in a jurisdiction with an English Common Law background. However, it is incontestable that this statute and related legislation has had an effect - it facilitates surveillance and eliminates privacy. Preventing fraudulent transfers, provides an effective rationale to construct the global surveillance infrastructure that’s in place:
WOBBLY ECONOMIES AND THE COMMON LAW
Now to other reasons - No Solid Economies. Crown offshore financial centres universally lack an industrial infrastructure. They depend exclusively on income from tourism, eco-tourism and revenues attaching to their tax haven status. The contrast between these jurisdictions and non-common law offshore financial centres such as Panama with its Colon Free Trade Zone, the second largest in the world, and Liechtenstein, the most heavily industrialised country in Europe, is immense!
Organisations like the I.M.F. and World Bank exert great, great influence in jurisdictions that don’t have solid developed exporting agricultural and industrial economies.
Both the United States and international organisations such as the FATF have stipulated that international aid be contingent upon recipients complying in full with the surveillance and enforcement requirements of agreements such as the U.N.Vienna Narcotics Convention and the FATF’s 40-point financial transparency program.
Persons who think they’re escaping global surveillance by investing or doing business in these Crown offshore financial centres are deluding themselves.
"UKUSA", THE WORLD-EMBRACING INTELLIGENCE AGREEMENT TO VACUUM THE AIRWAVES FOR ANYTHING OF INTEREST
Intelligence. The U.K. - U.S.A. Intelligence Agreement (known as the UKUSA) signed by the U.S.,the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand and NATO countries divides the world into "spheres of cryptological significance." It mandates the exchange of information between the defence intelligence agencies of the signatories, the National Security Agency in the case of the United States. The NSA has the capability, but never is on record as admitting its use, of monitoring all electronic funds in or out of the United States. It is suspected that the Agency shares such data with the Crown intelligenc agencies; the question arises then Do these agencies have similar capabilities in Crown offshore financial centres?
Nick Hager’s book "Secret Power" was written as an investigation into the abuses of power at New Zealand’s secret service, but is of global interest as the most comprehensive expose of PROJECT ECHELON and the UKUSA agreement.
Hager reveals the complex role of America’s NSA in its most controversial undertaking ever: trawling through millions of private phone calls, faxes, telexes and emails relayed by satellite for "keywords" which trigger further scruitiny from one of thousands of agents. ECHELON routinely scans Intelsat and microwave communications - the ones you and I use. Anyone who regularly makes international phone calls has had their communications tapped by ECHELON. It is not focussed on target groups. It is a trawling operation.
This book resulted in the European Parliament’s STOA Committee launching an investigation into how European internal communications were being intercepted, but the report was brushed off by governments on the basis that there was nothing they could do to prevent it.
Menwith Hill (or "Flying dales") on the Yorkshire Moors in the north of England and Bad Aibling, Bavaria, Germany and both largely staffed by NSA personnel.
Furthermore, and everyone needs to be reminded of this as much abfuscation by commerce and tourism promoters abounds, U.S. dollar transactions in Crown offshore financial centres and world-wide too clear through the Federal Reserve. Data from these daily clearing operations is conveyed to FinCEN ("Financial Crimes Enforcement Network"). Question: Crown intelligence agencies monitor transactions in the pound sterling and turn such data over to FinCEN?
Officials from the Bank of England are routinely assigned overseas duties in Crown offshore centres; so are officials of international aid organizations - the I.M.F. has in the past supplied the Cayman Islands Inspector of Banks and Trusts! These and similiar exchanges of personnel between offshore centres and international regulatory and enforcement agencies imply a very high level of intelligence coordination!
US SPY SATELLITES ‘RAIDING GERMAN FIRMS’ SECRETS’
Security experts in Germany have uncovered new evidence of a big American industrial espionage operation in Europe using satellite listening posts in the Britain and Germany.
German business is thought to suffer annual losses of at least L7 billion through stolen inventions and development projects.
With Europe already locked in a trade war with its American ally over bananas, Germany’s high-tech industry wants its government to back a counter-offensive.
The main centres used for satellite tapping of millions of confidential phone calls, fax, and e-mail messages are believed to be terrestrial listening posts run by the American National Security Agency (NSA) at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and Bad Aibling, Bavaria, with the backing of the American government.
"Industrial espionage is becoming increasingly aggressive. Secrets are being siphoned off to an extent never experienced until now," said Horst Teltschik, a senior BMW board member and a former security advisor to Helmut Kohl. He is trying to co-ordinate a German business response to the spying problem. The practice of lifting industrial secrets via satellite listening posts has gown steadily in central Europe since the decline in political espionage that followed the collapse of communism. But it has been encouraged by advances in communications technology.
Victims have included such German firms as the wind generator manufacturer Enercon. Last year it developed what it thought was a secret invention enabling it to generate electricity from wind power at a far cheaper rate than before.
However, when the company tried to market its invention in the United States, it was confronted by its American rival, Kenetech, which announced that it had already patented a near-identical development. Kenetech then brought a court order against Enercon banning the sale of its equipment in the US.
In a rare public disclosure, a NSA employee, who refused to be named, agreed to appear in silhouette on German television last August to reveal how he had stolen Enercon’s secrets. He said he used satellite information to tap the telephone and computer link lines that ran between Enercon’s research laboratory near the North Sea and its production unit some 12 miles away. Detailed plans of the company’s alleged secret invention were then passed on to Kenetech.
"The theft of the secrets was a severe blow amounting to the loss of several millions," an Enercon spokesman Carlo Reeker, said last week. "Nowadays we never talk about the confidential projects on the phone, nor are the details transmitted anywhere by computer. Secret business is dealt with purely on a face-to-face basis."
Similar fears are voiced at Mannheim University where scientists are developing a system enabling computer data to be stored on household adhesive tape instead of conventional CDs. Last month researchers on the project noticed that their computers had been electronically raided by hackers.
Since then the project’s scientists have had to resort to the Cold War ruse of walking in the woods to discuss confidential subjects. "We don’t know how much of our research has gone elsewhere. We are just hoping that our patent comes through as soon as possible," said one research physicist Steffen Noehte.
The headquarters of the firm working on the project, the European Media Laboratory in Heidelberg, has fitted special fire-walls in sensitive areas to guard against electronic spying. Security services in Baden-Wurttemberg, the Silicon Valley of German states where the laboratory is located, say that since the early Nineties industrial espionage has burgeoned. Experts have little doubt that the NSA is at the forefront of the industrial espionage war, not least because Washington has instructed its security services to collect information for the benefit of American industry. Early in his presidency, Bill Clinton decreed that industrial espionage should be one of the main tasks of the CIA. "What is good for Boeing is good for America," he was quoted as saying. The NSA operates a global data surveillance network involving 52 super computers.
Specialists in European industrial espionage, such as the journalist Udo Ulfkotte who is to publish a book on the subject, entitled Market for Thieves, later this year, say there is strong evidence that Britain’s Menwith Hill is at the forefront of the offensive. "My research suggests that 70 per cent of the spying is done in Yorkshire," Mr Ulfkotte said.
From both the Yorkshire and Bavarian sites, data is transferred to the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland where 10,000 military personnel and 30,000 civilian employees trawl the information with the help of the British Memex computer identification system.
German industry complains that it is in a particularly vulnerable position because the Bonn government forbids its security services from conducting similar industrial espionage.
"German politicians still support the rather naive idea that political allies should not spy on each other’s businesses. The Americans and the British do not have such illusions," Mr Ulfkotte said.
But for Germany’s Association for Industrial Security, which backs the idea
of a counter-industrial espionage drive, the situation has become intolerable. "We will have to get used to the fact that industry is a part of our national security," said the association’s president Wolfgang Hoffman.
Tony Paterson The Sunday Telegraph, April 11, 1999
US TARGETS GLOBAL BUSINESS FOR TRADE SECRETS
In a recent report about the activities of the NSA (the National Security Agency) it was confirmed that the US government has sanctioned big industrial-espionage tactics in Europe. Mr. Horst Teltschik, a senior board member of BMW and the security advisor to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl said:
"Secrets are being siphoned off to an extent never experienced until now. Industrial espionage is becoming more and more aggressive."
There’s been much interest in Europe about Echelon, the satellite system whereby all telephone calls, faxes and emails can be monitored and stored in a vast computer network. Also mentioned were the NSA activities in Europe and how, with the collapse of the cold war no one seems to question the fact that centres like Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, England and Bad Aibling, Bavaria are still operating and are still top security zones.
Menwith Hill alone is believed to have the capacity to access 100,000 telephone calls simultaneously.
Echelon is a system designed and coordinated by the NSA (National Security Agency) in the USA. It targets non-military communications and potentially affects every single person within or between countries anywhere in the world. So how does it work?
It is not designed to target a particular individual or organization (business, government etc). Instead, it works indiscriminately by intercepting large quantities of communications and using computers to extract and store messages that may be of interest. A network of separate stations all over the world enables this to happen.
Some monitor communications satellites, others monitor land-based communications and others target radio communications. Echelon is the system that links all these together.
System 1 - is the Dictionary System. Computers are programmed with certain key words, phrases, names or dates. Thousands of messages are read in real time as they pour through the grid. If they contain one of the keywords they are set aside into separate files that are then examined. If the message is encoded, depending on the seriousness of the message, time may be spent deciphering the code. If it is in a language other than English, it will automatically be translated.
Until relatively recently, each system of interception was independent. Echelon enables the sharing of information by interconnecting all the different systems. New Zealand’s largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) therefore works closely with the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK, the NSA in USA, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) in Australia and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in Canada.
This alliance is formed under the UKUSA intelligence agreement. It poses a far greater thereat than each agency working individually ever could, because each station has separate search lists for each of the others as well as its own. This means information can be shared immediately. Amazingly enough, the non-NSA stations forward information without even reading it. In effect, therefore, the NSA has stations all over the world without having the expense of running them!
In the UK, the GCHQ station is in Cornwall, on the cliffs near Morwenstow. The vast satellite dishes can be seen perched on hilltops there pointing towards international communications satellites (Intelsats) above Europe, the Atlantic and also East towards the Indian Ocean.
An NSA station at Sugar Grove, in the mountains of West Virginia, near Washington DC, covers Atlantic Intelsats picking up communications in North and South America. Another NSA station at the Army’s Yakima Firing Centre, in Washington State, south of Seattle has a dish that points out towards the Pacific Intelsats and the East. Communications from the pacific that cannot be picked up by this centre are the province of the Australian centre at Geraldton Station in West Australia and the New Zealand station at Waihopai on the South Island.
The second part of the Echelon system is the one that intercepts and monitors satellite communications not carried by Intelsat.
There are at least five other stations set up to share information from other satellites. These are Menwith Hill in England, Bad Aibling in Germany, Misawa in north Japan, Leitrim in Canada and near one Darwin in Australia. These target the satellites not covered by the other sites above.
The third and final element of the Echelon structure is another group of stations that tap into land-based communications. These are the ones sent through cables under the sea floor or through microwave networks over land. They account for a large proportion of the world’s communications still, and are an easy target for interception. In a way, this third element of Echelon is more sinister than the other two. Menwith Hill and Co. are easy to spot. If you need a big satellite dish, you have to put it somewhere pretty exposed. But to intercept land-based communications, all you need is space in a building near the cables/microwave route. So, the worldwide network of facilities intercepting these communications is not nearly so well documented.
But because microwave networks focus in cities, and the embassies of major countries are all within big cities, the job is easier than you might think!
The Menwith Hill station taps directly into British Telecommunication’s microwave network with consummate ease. The reason? British Telecom created its microwave network specifically so that several major microwave links converge on an isolated tower, which is (surprise surprise!) connected underground to the Menwith Hill itself!
It is not legal to intercept every single communication in this way. But covert control is always more powerful than overt control. What we don’t see, we don’t complain about. What we don’t know about we don’t consider.
Most people were appalled and incredulous at the idea that there could be such a system in existence. But, forewarned is forearmed. We need to know the existence of a threat before doing something about it. If you are aware that Echelon exists, that it is now even more sophisticated than this simplistic description, then you can at least be shrewd in what you say or write. And the more of us who are aware of this sort of infringement, the more likely are we to be able to create a change.
Remember, that you do not have to be pre-targeted to be listened to. (This is always an expensive option.) If you use the wrong words in a telephone conversation, fax or email message, your words will be stored away and a file will be started on you. This will likely be in Fort Mead, Maryland, if you are a US citizen, where there are acres of computers in an underground centre, all specifically programmed to log, decipher and store messages that include key-words.
THE EUROPEAN SURVEILLANCE UNION!
As a Europol internal document obtained recently by German publisher Telepolis shows, massive attempts on the part of European police forces are underway to acquire the ability to eavesdrop on the Iridium system, currently in a sensitive stage of expansion.
The document entitled "Enfofolj98" from the group "Police Cooperation" dated September 3, 1998, deals with the "observation of telecommunications" and primarily addresses the so-called satellite-supported personal communication systems (S-PCS), but also the Internet.
The demands of the "legally empowered authorities", as they are so stereotypically called in the Enfopol papers, are listed throughout a total of forty pages and can easily be summed up with the word "everything". Even in-bound and out-bound connections which are not completed have been taken into consideration.
And "legally empowered authorities want all of this data immediately. The data relevant to connections should be available within milliseconds after the call is made ... in order to allow the collation of the event and the details of the call."
The point made in the "Introduction to the Topic of the Internet" that there is already formal governmental approval in the USA, Australia and Canada for national regulations to meet Enfopol demands, underlines a serious suspicion of the EU on the part of the STOA Committee.
In their controversial Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control, the technical committee refers to an "EU-FBI Global Telecommunications Surveillance System" which is to be established under the so-called third pillar of the Maastricht Treaty which covers cooperation in the areas of justice and police work.
A related "memorandum of understanding" with the file number ENFOPOL 11210037/95, signed by all the members of the EU, has been kept secret to this day. The background is the fear of European secret services that the control over analog satellite communication gained via the Echelon system will be lost in the digital age.
1996-98 Verlag Heinz Heise, Hannover From: TELEPOLIS Magazin der Netzkultur, November 20, 1998 - http://www.telepolos.de/tp/english/default.htm/
EDITOR’S COMMENT: This demonstrates how Big Brother is really attempting to get us by the short and curlies in the digital age. Since ECHELON is routinely used to scan public communications without warrants, and has been used against "friendly" governments like France and organizations like Amnesty International and the Red Cross, nobody can seriously believe that the new EU-NSA system will be restricted to monitoring criminals. We have no choice but to protect our assets and our asses with low-profile privacy and counter-surveillance techniques.
THE FIRST POLITICAL PRISONER IN MAINLAND U.K?
Lindis Percy is a 57 year old lady who happens to be a Quaker and is married to a Church of England minister. Not exactly an obvious candidate for arrest. But that’s the point. She is someone who believes passionately in peace. And she wants to know what is going on inside Menwith Hill, the vast communications system that lies in the middle of the Yorkshire hills and into which no ordinary public person can go.
Mrs. Percy is currently in jail in Suffolk, UK. She is there because she broke an injunction that restrained her from going to Menwith Hill. So much for it being a free country. (She never broke in to the place itself, but she did go up and write "invalid" on the bylaw signs that are erected outside the compound because she believes that they are illegal). She has a point. Menwith Hill was built specifically to deal with communications-monitoring during the Cold War. But the Cold War finished years ago, didn’t it?
Menwith Hill is guarded by men with machine guns and patrolled by military policemen. In 1997 the bylaw signs that are posted around the entrances to Menwith were ruled illegal in the Yorkshire Crown Court. The Ministry of Defence appealed and left the signs up. Lindis Percy said they should be removed. When the MOD refused, she put "Invalid" stickers on the signs.
The MOD took Percy to court for civil trespass and for breaking the earlier injunction against her. In March 1999 she was sentenced to 9 months in prison.
During her imprisonment she has had to spend two weeks in a segregation chamber which is 8ft by 11ft. The reason? Well, there were two reasons. The first was that she refused to be strip-searched. The second was that she sent a letter to her husband in which she jokingly wrote, "I wish I had my rope ladder!"
Because she had jokingly written to her husband that she needed a rope ladder, she was adjudged to be a security risk, and was put into a single cell and kept there for 23 hours a day, with no toilet (just a chamber pot), and no regard for her requests for leniency.
Amnesty International is starting to consider Lindis Percy as a political prisoner rather than someone who has been locked up for being a nuisance.
The lesson to learn from this is that if the UK is willing to ratchet up its attack on privacy and freedom, so will a lot of other countries. There has yet to be an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience on mainland UK - those that have been within the UK have been held in Northern Ireland. Perhaps, by the time you read this, Amnesty will have declared Percy to be the first mainland UK Prisoner of Conscience.
I hope so.
A World of Interest.
The practical effect of the Crown’s being both a hereditary monarch and a global organization on most jurisdictions’s legal heritage is this:
English Common Law eliminates conflict of law = bad news!
The arrangements summarized in "Bilateral Information Exchange and Forfeiture Agreements" and in "International Tax and Forfeiture Agreements", international surveillance operations, the influence of the Crown and common law are all attempts to avoid conflicting sovereignties and political tensions between vastly differing legal systems. Their goal is homogenization of systems, law and a common norm.
This goal seems analogous to the "one-world government" and "one-world law" documented so meticulously and to the grief of the insiders, in Professor Carol Quigley’s "The Anglo-American Establishment" (He was William Jefferson Clinton’s professor at Washington University). Is the Commonwealth the model for such an homogenization with English common law, and U.S. common law, the glue binding it together?
Continued in part seven of ten
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