In the final years of his long life, which encompassed world wars and assassinations and numerous terrors, the great cellist and human rights advocate Pablo Casals urged humanity to “make this world worthy of its children.” Today, as we face a world that treats its children as worthless, we are challenged like we have never been challenged to consider the deepest existential calculus of bringing new life into a troubled world — what is the worth of children, what are our responsibilities to them (when we do choose to have them, for it is also an act of courage and responsibility to choose not to), and what does it mean to raise a child with the dignity of being an unrepeatable miracle of atoms that have never before constellated and will never again constellate in that exact way?
When a young mother with a newborn baby at her breast asks for advice on children and parenting, Gibran’s poetic prophet responds:
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Modern diplomacy can generally be traced back to the late 19th century and the intercession of professional diplomats in the foreign relations between major and minor powers of the era. International negotiations to resolve problems were primarily handled by diplomats prior to politicians giving their assent to peace treaties and compacts. The Congress of Berlin of 1878 and 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth (New Hampshire) helped resolve the Russo-Turkish War and Russo-Japanese War, respectively. These early diplomatic efforts would eventually lead to treaties establishing the League of Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the United Nations, in addition to a variety of regional and specialized international agencies. Each of these international agencies brought into being a corps of international diplomats who, for the most part, were committed to hammering out disputes between nations through negotiations and not armed conflict. The lessons of World Wars I and II provided an impetus for nations to commit to dialogue rather than war.
In recent years, the world has seen the rise of anti-diplomacy occasioned by the appearance on the world stage of political brutes, all operating under the color of “populism.” Aristotle defined a tyrant as someone who rules solely for his own benefit and pleasure. The world has seen the steady rise of such tyrants over the past few decades. What is alarming is that tyranny and anti-diplomacy has flourished in erstwhile democratic nations having traditional presidential-legislative and parliamentary systems of government.
Perhaps it is fitting that Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul and former Italian prime minister who introduced brutish governance to Europe in the 1990s, has returned to politics after a respite brought about by several indictments and a 2013 conviction for tax fraud. Berlusconi leads his right-wing Forza Italia political party as a member of the European Parliament. Berlusconi’s populism is consistently directed against “Communists.” Berlusconi now directs his ire at the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which recently forced an old Berlusconi political ally – the right-wing Northern League led by Matteo Salvini – out of a coalition government. Salvini and Berlusconi now vie for the support of some 30 percent of the Italian electorate that continues to admire World War II fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Berlusconi is recognized more for his crude comments than his neo-fascist policies. In 2003, Berlusconi suggested in the European Parliament that German Social Democratic MEP Martin Schulz play the role of a “kapo,” a concentration camp inmate who was empowered by the Nazi camp officials to enforce rules and labor details, in a forthcoming film. In another reference to German concentration camps that same year, Berlusconi said, “Mussolini never killed anyone, he just sent dissenters abroad for vacation.” Italian relations with Germany and Israel soured. In 2009, at a G20 Summit photo shoot with Queen Elizabeth II and other world leaders, the queen was irritated by Berlusconi’s loud shouting, prompting her to ask Barack Obama – who Berlusconi previously called “sun-tanned,” – “Why does he have to shout?” In 2010, Berlusconi further irritated Israel by telling a joke about a Jew who hid fellow Jews in his basement for money without telling them World War II was over. In 2011, Berlusconi said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “an unfuckable lard-ass.” Berlusconi also made crude remarks about Finland’s female president, Tarja Halonen and criticized the Spanish government for having too many women in its Cabinet. Berlusconi insulted China when he claimed that under Mao Zedong, the Chinese government “boiled children to fertilize the fields.” It was a clear sign that the age of modern diplomacy had hit rocky shoals and was about to rapidly sink. In 2011, the worst was yet to come.
Berlusconi’s vulgarity and anti-diplomacy would soon be matched by that of Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines. Duterte called the US ambassador in Manila a “bakla,” which means an effeminate man in the Tagalog language. Duterte also called President Obama a “son of a whore” and Pope Francis a “son of a bitch.” After Iceland criticized Duterte’s human rights record, he responded by stating that Icelanders “go about eating ice” and claimed that Iceland had “no policemen.” He added that Iceland had “too much ice, and there is no clear day or night there.” Duterte’s Foreign Secretary, Teodoro Locsin, Jr., who is nominally in charge of the country’s diplomatic corps, emulated Duterte by referring to Europeans as people “who don’t shower at least once daily and [were] likely on cartel payroll.” Asked about the Philippines and the “international community,” Locsin replied, “Fuck the international community. It can be bought.”
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack recently insulted South Pacific leaders concerned about the effects of global climate change on their vulnerable nations when he said of Pacific islanders, “They’ll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit.” Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga reacted by threatening to pull his nation’s citizens out of Australia’s seasonal workers program.
Such undiplomatic outbursts were once rare, even at the height of the Cold War. Dwight Eisenhower entertained visiting world leaders, including West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, French President Charles De Gaulle, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, at his Gettysburg, Pennsylvania farm, where, in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev made a point of inviting Eisenhower’s grandchildren to visit Moscow with their grandparents on a future state visit. The era of diplomacy – both quiet and for public consumption – was one of carefully-written communiqués and protocol-conscious photo opportunities. Four letter epithets were never publicly overheard in matters of diplomatic statecraft.
The personalized insult rhetoric was normally consigned to Third World firebrand dictators like Uganda’s Idi Amin, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh. In the current post-diplomacy era, such insults would no longer emanate from well-guarded presidential palaces in Kampala, Harare, or Banjul, but from the White House, Number 10 Downing Street, and Parliament Hill in Canberra. Leaders and their close advisers now sound more like drunken sailors leaving a bar than representatives of nations with long democratic traditions.
Britain’s Boris Johnson has had a non-distinguished history of insulting people, both as Mayor of London, Foreign Secretary, and now as Prime Minister. He once called those in Commonwealth nations, who avidly welcomed the British Queen, “cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies” bearing “watermelon smiles.” Johnson also said the people of Papua New Guinea, a Commonwealth member nation, practiced “orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing.” Johnson also referred to Africa as “that country.” As Foreign Secretary, Johnson was prepared to recite a crude poem, titled the “Road to Mandalay,” written by Rudyard Kipling about colonial era-Burma. Johnson happened to be visiting the most scared Buddhist temple – the Shwedegon Pagoda – in Yangon, Myanmar. Johnson was prepared to utter the following stanza that referred to Buddha: “Bloomin’ idol made o’ mud/ Wot they called the Great Gawd Budd” – before the British ambassador stopped him with a warning that it was definitely not appropriate to recite such words in the Buddhist religious shrine.
Johnson also insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who is no shrinking violet when it comes to his own insults – with a crude limerick he wrote:
“There was a young fellow from Ankara Who was a terrific wankerer Till he sowed his wild oats With the help of a goat But he didn’t even stop to thankera.”
Not to be outdone, Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were fond of trading insults, with each calling the other a “terrorist.” Erdogan also insulted Australia, stating that “anti-Muslim Australians” in Turkey would return to Australia in coffins like their grandfathers, a reference to the World War I Gallipoli, Turkey invasion that saw thousands of Australian soldiers killed in battle.
Johnson’s ideological and vulgar doppelganger in Washington, Donald Trump, has similarly disparaged Africa and Africans by calling their nations “shithole countries.” At a Republican Party fundraiser in the millionaire enclave of The Hamptons on Long Island, Trump mimicked South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by speaking in a mock Asian accent. Trump’s insults of Mexicans resulted in then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceling a visit to Washington in 2017.
Prior to his love affair with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump referred to him as “little rocket man.” Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau was called “very dishonest and weak” after Trump stormed out of the 2018 G-7 summit in Quebec. Trump called Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as “nasty,” after she rejected as “absurd” Trump’s proposal to buy Greenland from Denmark. Trump also insulted Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II by canceling, at the last minute, a state visit to Denmark, leaving the Danes with pre-purchased state dinner food and drink. Trump insulted Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after the prime minister informed Trump that he had no power to release from jail a fourth-rate US rapper named A$AP Rocky who was charged with the assault of a man on a Stockholm street.
Others who have fallen victim to Trump’s personal insults include French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Merkel, former British Prime Minister Theresa May, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Montenegro Prime Minister Duško Marković, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (who had to arrange for his own transportation to downtown Washington, DC after arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia for a visit to the White House),Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (whose only invitation to meet with Trump was to be at an abruptly-canceled “secret” meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David in Maryland during the same week that marks the 9/11 attack). There have been others similarly insulted.
The schoolyard antics of Trump and Johnson are matched by Brazil’s Adolf Hitler-loving President Jair Bolsonaro. After President Macron criticized Bolsonaro’s handling of Amazon rainforest arson-inducted fires, Bolsonaro criticized the age of Macron’s wife, Brigitte, who is 66, as compared to Bolsonaro’s wife, who is 37. Macron responded, “I think that Brazilians, who are a great people, will probably be ashamed to see this behavior.” In July of this year, Bolsonaro canceled a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to get a haircut.
After United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet criticized police abuse and the killing of Amazon indigenous tribal leaders in Brazil, Bolsonaro replied, “While [Bachelet] says that Brazil is losing democratic space, she forgets that her country is not Cuba thanks only to those who had the courage to put a stop on the left-wing in 1973,” a reference to the 1973 military coup that ousted Chile’s democratically-elected Socialist President Salvador Allende. Bolsonaro added insult to injury by praising the Chilean junta’s execution of Bachelet’s father, Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet. Bolsonaro bragged that “among the communists during that era was her [Bachelet’s] brigadier father.” Bolsonaro’s Economy Minister, Paulo Guedes, piled on, stating that: “What I see in the newspapers is that he [Bolsonaro] insulted [Michelle] Bachelet, or that he called Macron’s wife ugly . . . He did say that and it’s true – the woman is indeed ugly.”
Too many diplomats, from UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold and UN Middle East mediator Count Folke Bernadotte to Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, US ambassador to Cyprus Rodger Davies, and UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson, have died in diplomatic service in furtherance of peace to allow low-class ruffians and gangsters to hijack modern diplomacy for their own greedy and extremist purposes.
For Thierry Meyssan, Boris Johnson’s policy is in perfect continuity with British history. If we refer to the writings of the British Prime Minister and not to her campaign remarks, she is much more guided by the danger felt at the birth of a continental supranational state than by a desire for economic independence.
During the dissolution of the USSR, France and Germany tried to maintain their place in the world by solving the problem of their size against the US giant. They decided to reunify the two Germanys and to merge together in a supranational state: the European Union. Armed with their experiences of inter-state cooperation, they thought it possible to build this supranational state despite Secretary of State James Baker’s dictate of forced enlargement to the East.
During the debates on the Maastricht Treaty, the Gaullists opposed “European supranationalism” to “sovereignism”. They equated the national framework with democracy and the European scale with the bureaucracy. On the contrary, President François Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl, to overcome their resistance, began by confusing democratic sovereignty (only the people are sovereign) and nationalist sovereignty (the nation is the only known framework for exercising democratic power). Then, they assimilated all forms of “sovereignism” to “chauvinism” (the fact of considering everything that is national excellent and despising all that is foreign).
This Treaty was adopted and transformed a system of inter-state cooperation (the European Economic Community) into a supranational state (the EU), even though there was still no “European nation”.
History is rewritten both to equate nationalism with war and to erase the traces of anti-Russian chauvinist politics. France and Germany created a binational television channel, Arte, whose programs were to present Nazism and Sovietism as two totalitarian regimes produced by the same nationalism. German nationalism was confused with Nazi racialism (although it is incompatible with the Germanic national idea based on language and not on race). And the traces of Soviet efforts to seal an anti-Nazi alliance were erased. In this way, the significance of the Munich Agreement and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was changed .
Thirty years later, institutions designed at 6 and developed at 12 were unmanageable at 28 as the US had anticipated. The European Union has become an economic giant, but there is still no European nation. The peoples of Europe have largely lost their democratic sovereignty, and their states have lost their national sovereignty, but there is still no common political ambition.
All you need to do is ask a soldier of the European army embryo if he is ready to “die for Brussels” and to observe his dismayed air to measure the extent of the mistake: he is ready to give his life only for his nation, not for the European Union.
The myth according to which “the EU is peace” won it the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, but
Gibraltar is still a British colony in Spanish territory ;
Northern Ireland, another colony in Irish territory;
and above all, the north of Cyprus is still occupied by the Turkish army .
France and Germany wrongly believed that, with the passage of time, historical British particularism would dissolve in the supranational state. This was forgetting that the United Kingdom is not an egalitarian Republic, but a class parliamentary monarchy.
Due to the remnants of its colonial empire in Western Europe, the United Kingdom has never been able to join the Franco-German supranational state project. It refused whole swathes of the Maastricht Treaty including its supranational currency, the euro. Its internal logic urged it to strengthen its alliance with the United States, where it shared the same culture as some of the elites. It seemed to it more effective to maintain its influence in the world by relying on the military force of Washington, rather than on the economic strength of Brussels. That is why in 2000, the Bush administration considered including the United Kingdom in NAFTA and organizing its exit from the EU .
The fact is that the British Parliament has never chosen between the two sides of the Atlantic. It was not until the 2016 referendum that the people decided by choosing Brexit. But the possible UK exit from the EU has once again opened up a plague that had been forgotten. The creation of a customs border between the two Irelands calls into question the Irish peace agreement (known as the “Good Friday Agreement”) between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. However, this one was conceived not to solve the problem, but to freeze it (by resorting to the religious principle of the consociatio).
The British political system is based on bipolarity. It physically joins the benches of the House of Commons, where the deputies are sitting face to face and not in a hemicycle. Brexit raises two existential questions: whether or not to belong to the EU and whether or not to maintain colonization in Northern Ireland. Everyone has seen in the last three years that the House could not achieve a majority on any of the four possible options. This situation has seriously affected the British economy. According to a confidential report from Coalition, bank commissions are earned less and less in London and now more and more on Wall Street. British financial supremacy has been declining since 2008 and is falling apart.
The British political system is pragmatic. It has never been thought of as such and has never been written. It is the result of a thousand years of confrontations and power struggles. According to the current state of the constitutional tradition, the monarch has power only when the survival of the nation is at stake . That is why the Queen decided to suspend (“extend”) Parliament to allow her Prime Minister to unblock the situation. Normally, the Queen has the right to suspend Parliament only for technical reasons (an election for example) and especially not to put democracy in parentheses.
It is very interesting to observe the emotion provoked in the United Kingdom by the Queen’s decision. All those who opposed Brexit realize that they spent three years in sterile discussions and reached the limit of democracy. Some, including on the European continent, discover with astonishment that democracy presupposes the equality of all citizens and is therefore incompatible with what remains of a class monarchy.
This misunderstanding itself refers to the creation of European authorities on the model imagined by Winston Churchill. It has never been the case for him to unite democracies or to create a democratic supranational state, but to prevent the existence of a hegemonic power on the European continent. That is to say, at the same time to prevent Germany from rising and facing the Soviet Union . Contrary to the slogans he admirably handled, it was not in opposition to the communist model, but to pursue the policy he had led during the Second World War: to weaken the two main continental powers, Germany and Europe. USSR, which he left alone to fight against each other from June 1941 to September 1943 without intervention of any British army, including colonies.
It is therefore not surprising that François Mitterrand, who participated alongside Winston Churchill in the founding congress of The Hague in 1948, did not worry about the democratic deficit of the supranational state that he imagined with Helmut Kohl during the dissolution of the USSR.
Boris Johnson is a pure product of Eton College, although partially raised in the United States (in 1996, he renounced US nationality to stand for election in the House of Commons). He is a disciple of the two great figures of the British Empire. First of Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of Queen Victoria. He borrowed his concept of “Conservatism One Nation“: wealth confers social responsibility; the elite (upper class) has the duty to give work to the poor classes so that everyone stays in their place. Next of Winston Churchill to whom he devoted a book .
Theresa May had successively considered three different tracks to compensate for the exit of the EU: become the agent of exchange of the Chinese yuan in the West, strengthen the “special relationship” with Washington , and revive the Commonwealth (Global Britain). Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is in the continuity of his models by focusing on “special relations” with the United States and throwing himself into the arms of President Trump during the G7 although he does not share his views, neither in economics, nor in international politics. It is also logical that he had brazenly lied against Russia in the Skripal case  and that he not only wanted the British withdrawal from the EU whatever the price, but sabotaged this supranational continental adventure.
If Boris Johnson were to remain Prime Minister, the international policy of the “Perfide Albion” would be to advise Washington and to inflate conflicts between Brussels and Moscow.
“The time is right for the Supreme Court to build on these earlier cases, recognising a further sister principle to the principle of legality, restricting the scope of all prerogative powers so that they do not extend to undermining fundamental constitutional principles – including democracy and the separation of powers. To do so is not to interfere with a political decision as to the timing or length of prorogation. Rather, it is to accept that a broad prerogative power does not extend to include the use of that prerogative to undermine fundamental principles of the constitution. Political choices are bound by legal limits. The courts are both constitutionally and institutionally suited to determine the limits of the law.”
Constitutional lawyers often point to key cases as milestones in public law. Recently, the Supreme Court decision in Privacy International joined the ranks of leading public law cases, adding to the cases discussing ouster clauses and the extent to which courts can review decisions of inferior courts and tribunals in Anisminic and Cart. As Privacy International also demonstrated, milestone cases often take on a life of their own. The judges in Anisminic may be surprised at how the case was later interpreted. But this is how the common law works. Anisminic was interpreted in a series of later cases to demonstrate that all legal errors are jurisdictional errors. This then became part of the common law.
CCSU (or the GCHQ case) has long been regarded as a milestone case regarding judicial control over prerogative powers. In R (Miller) v Prime Minister, (Miller 2) the High Court…
In a groundbreaking case, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that a child services agency breached a mother and her son’s rights by forcibly removing her son and giving him to a foster family several years after he was removed from her custody as a newborn.
The grand chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concluded that Norway’s Barnevernet child services agency had violated Trude Lobben and her son’s rights to family life, and had not carried out adequate investigations into the mother’s parenting skills or provided adequate evidence to bolster its claim that the child was vulnerable and that adoption was in his best interest.
Commons Speaker issues direct challenge to ministers threatening to ignore legislation
John Bercow, delivering the Bingham Lecture at Middle Temple in London.
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA
John Bercow has threatened Boris Johnson that he will be prepared to rip up the parliamentary rulebook to stop any illegal attempt by the prime minister to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.
In a direct warning to No 10, the Speaker of the House of Commons said he is prepared to allow “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to allow parliament to block Johnson from ignoring the law.
“If we come close to [Johnson ignoring the law], I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook or ticking of the clock will stop it doing so,” he said, delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London. “If I have been remotely ambiguous so far, let me make myself crystal clear. The only form of Brexit that we have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”
He also proposed a written constitution to stop “executive malpractice or fiat”, which could potentially have avoided the constitutional crisis that the UK has found itself in over Brexit.
Bercow’s dramatic intervention will be one of his last as Speaker, as he has announced that he will stand down at the end of October just two weeks after parliament is due to return from its current state of suspension.
Speaking after an event about shipbuilding, Johnson said it was “absolutely not true” that he lied to the monarch in advising her to suspend parliament, insisting it was a decision taken to facilitate a Queen’s speech in mid-October. The prime minister, who is due to give a speech in the north of England on Friday, highlighted a differing judgment by the high court in London and said it was for the supreme court to make a final adjudication next week.
With his options narrowing, Johnson appears to be increasing efforts to secure a deal with the EU, possibly by moving more towards a watered-down form of Northern Ireland-only backstop. However, he maintains that a no-deal Brexit on 31 October is still possible and sought to minimise the significance of the Operation Yellowhammer documents published by order of parliament on Wednesday. These set out the threat of food and medicine shortages, travel disruption and public disorder in a worst-case no-deal scenario.
The prime minister has pledged to abide by the law in general but he has also said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask the EU for another Brexit extension and suggested in a letter to Tory members that he is only bound by the legislation forbidding a no-deal exit on 31 October “in theory”. His top adviser, Dominic Cummings, is said to believe that the law does not make the government bound to secure a delay from the EU, but various options – such as sending a contradictory letter to Brussels – have been dismissed as illegal by experts. Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, has suggested Johnson could be a “Brexit martyr” if he holds out against requesting an extension.
In his speech Bercow lambasted the idea that Johnson could even consider ignoring legislation passed by MPs, which mandates the prime minister to seek a three-month Brexit delay if no deal is struck by mid-October.
He went on to compare any attempt by Brexit advocates to ignore the law in pursuit of what they believe to be a higher cause to “robbing a bank on the basis that the cash stolen would be donated to a charitable cause immediately afterwards”.
“Not obeying the law must surely be a non-starter. Period. Surely. In 2019, in modern Britain, in a parliamentary democracy, we parliamentarians, legislators, cannot in all conscience be conducting a debate as to whether adherence to the law is or is not required,” Bercow said.
“What conceivable moral force do the public’s representatives have in seeking to tackle antisocial behaviour, in seeking to prosecute the fight against knife crime and seeking to argue the state should protect itself against all sorts of nefarious illegality if we are to treat for a moment the proposition it might be in order in the name of some higher cause to disregard … It is astonishing that anyone has even tried to entertain the notion. It would be the most terrible example to set to the rest of society.”
“I have been a sceptic in the past about the desirability of a written constitution for the UK,” he said. “I have come to the conclusion that it’s worth establishing a royal commission or a Speaker’s conference to explore [the options].”
It should aim to ensure, he said, that the authority of the House of Commons is “never distorted by executive malpractices or fiat … We must consider whether a written constitution is what we need.”
Three outcomes, Bercow explained, were most likely when parliament returns on 14 October: a new withdrawal agreement supported by parliament, a no-deal Brexit backed by a Commons majority, or a request by the government to Brussels for a future temporary extension of the UK’s membership of the EU.
Bercow has become a vilified figure among Brexiters who believe he has been complicit in thwarting efforts to leave the EU.
Addressing his critics, Bercow said he believed he had never bent or broken the rules of the House of Commons.
He condemned those “bigots” who conduct personal attacks on MPs. Portraying MPs such as Dominic Grieve in newspapers as “enemies of the people” is a dangerous development, he said. And using such terms as “Go back” is noxious and repellent, he added.
“Pain is a multidimensional experience with numerous areas of the brain activated. If pain following trauma is the fault of another person, the brain’s response is heightened; recovery is hindered and the risk of pain and disability in the years ahead is significantly higher.” Judith Land
“If a child is separated from a parent, how much psychological pain will they experience, and how much post traumatic stress will they endure? The brain’s ability to modulate pain has been shown to vary, not only between individuals, but also within an individual over time. This is partially based on the context of the painful childhood separation experience.” Judith Land
How does it feel to be an adoptee?
Adoptees suffer a major psychological loss at the initial separation from the birth family. Even if the loss is beyond conscious awareness, recognition, or vocabulary, it affects the adoptee on a very profound…
After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved
Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood
Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).
Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.
And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”
In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.
One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.
For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.
In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.
Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.
Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.
Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.
But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.
Praying for a Pearl
Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.
Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”
So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”
As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”
Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.
Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”
In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.
No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.
While NORAD sleeps
Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”
In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.
Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.
World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.
American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.
By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.
‘Angel was next’
World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.
According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.
All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.
At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.
World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.
World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.
Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled: “We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”
This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.
Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned, “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”
In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.
Osama “dead or alive” bin Laden would rather lose his kidney than pass up the opportunity to celebrate the eighth anniversary of September 11, 2001, on the United States. And like clockwork, he resurfaced in an 11-minute, al-Sahab-produced audiotape last week (sorry, no video, just a still picture), where he states how a series of grievances had “pushed us to undertake the events of [September 11]”.
But there may be no mobile dialysis machine operating in a mysterious cave somewhere in one of the Waziristan tribal areas of Pakistan after all. According to David Ray Griffin’s new book, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? and based on a Taliban leader’s remarks at the time, the mellifluous Saudi jihadi died of kidney failure in Tora Bora on December 13, 2001. Problem is, by that time, according to local mujahideen, Bin Laden had already escaped across the mountains with a bunch of al-Qaeda diehards
to Parachinar, in Pakistan, and then to a shadowy underworld.
A decoy? A ghost? The devil himself? Who cares? Bin Laden, the brand, is still very good for (“war on terror”) business. All this with the Barack Obama administration insisting the US is fighting the elusive, seemingly eternal Taliban leader Mullah Omar and the Taliban plus al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, while General Stanley McChrystal – General David Petraeus’ former top death squad operator in Iraq – insists there is no al-Qaeda in Afghanistan (but he wants up to 40,000 extra troops anyway).
Last week, Asia Times Online published Fifty Question on 9/11. The article stressed the questions were only a taste of the immense, mysterious 9/11 riddle. (Arguably the best 9/11 timeline on the net may be seen here.
Due to overwhelming reader response, here’s a follow-up with 20 more questions – with a hat-tip to all who joined the debate.
1. In the first months of 2001, three years after Bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa against the US, Mullah Omar wanted to “resolve or dissolve” the Osama-Taliban nexus in exchange for Washington maneuvering to lift United Nations sanctions. Would anyone from the first George W Bush administration confirm a solid Taliban offer? Kabir Mohabbat, a Houston-based, Paktia (Afghanistan)-born businessman also involved in the (failed) 1990s negotiation for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan pipeline, and then named by Bush’s National Security Council as a key Taliban contact, has sustained that was the case.
2. Eight names on the “original” Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) list of 19 Muslim hijackers happened to be found alive and living in different countries; the FBI has always sustained that the identity of the hijackers was established from DNA collected at all four sites – the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash site. Would the FBI explain how is that remotely possible?
3. All four planes referenced in the official narrative have thousands of parts with a serial number, plus tail numbers. Any one of these would have been enough to identify the plane(s). How come all of these parts disintegrated or vaporized? Why was not a single one of them recovered and/or matched up with all the mass of data about these four flights?
4. How come cell phones miraculously find a signal and work properly at 10,000 meters?
5. How to explain the enormous surge in “option puts” on both United Airlines and American Airlines on September 10?
6. How come the passport of alleged hijacker Satam al Suqami (and not Mohammed Atta, as reported) was miraculously found amid massive World Trade Center debris – either by “police and FBI” or by “a passerby who gave it to the NYPD”, according to different versions?
7.Why was a military grade of thermite – a super-explosive – found at all sample sites surrounding Ground Zero? A peer-reviewed, scientific journal analysis is here.
8. How come Barry Jennings, who worked for New York City’s Housing Department, reported on 9/11 to ABC News how he heard an explosion on the 8th floor of WTC 7? Jennings happened to die just a few days before the release of the NIST report on the WTC 7 collapse. A great number of actual 9/11 witnesses also heard and saw explosions going off inside the Twin Towers long before their collapse. A montage of news reports about these explosions can be seen here.
9. Why did the BBC confirm live on air the collapse of the WTC 7 building – which was not even hit by any plane – no less than 23 minutes before it actually collapsed? In the BBC live report, the WTC7 building is shot still standing.
10. Why there has been no investigation of Dov Zakheim? He was a prominent member of the Project for the New American Century group, and chief executive officer of SPC – a company making systems for remote control of airplanes – for four years prior to 9/11. Six months before 9/11, he became supervisor of a group of Pentagon comptrollers responsible for tracking no less than $2.3 trillion missing from the Pentagon books; many of these comptrollers died on 9/11.
11. The “five dancing Israelis” question. How come Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari, Paul Kurzberg, Sivan Kurzberg and Yaron Shmuel had set up a video camera on top of their white van pointing at the Twin Towers even before they were hit? Later they were seen celebrating. The FBI established that two were Mossad agents and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems, was a front operation. The investigation about them was killed by the White House. After being deported from the US, they admitted on Israeli TV that they had been sent to New York to “document” the attacks. How about other reports of vans packed with tons of explosives intercepted on New York bridges?
12. How come two US employees of Odigo, an Israeli instant messaging company based in Herzliya, the headquarters of Mossad, received an SMS about an attack on the WTC two hours before the fact?
13. How come there was no investigation of ICTS International, owned by Ezra Harel and Menachem Atzmon, and crammed with former Israeli Shin Bet agents? This was the company responsible for airport security at Dulles, Logan and Newark airports on 9/11.
14. Why was there no full investigation of the circumstances related to how Larry Silverstein leased the WTC only seven weeks before 9/11 – as facilitated by New York Port Authority chairman Lewis Eisenberg? Silverstein over-insured the WTC against terrorism and made an astonishing profit.
15. Why were anthrax packages mailed to the only two US senators who voted against the Patriot Act?
16. Why did situation room director Deborah Loewer follow Bush to Florida on 9/11 – considering that’s not part of her job description?
17. Where are the full tapes from the Pentagon’s security cameras? The hole in the Pentagon may be the most glaring hole in the official narrative – as the destruction caused by a Boeing 757 was simply not compatible with the size of the hole. Why were no significant plane debris and remains of passengers ever found?
18. Why did the 9/11 Commission not consult reputed engineers and architects to show that in the real world, steel and concrete skyscrapers simply cannot dissolve into molten metal and fine powder in only 10 seconds after very localized and relatively low-temperature fires? Kerosene simply cannot melt steel.
19. Why did the 9/11 Commission not consult airline specialists who insist trainee pilots who had practiced on very light aircraft for a few weeks simply cannot land a jet on the ground floor of the Pentagon after allegedly slicing through half a dozen light poles and evading a series of trees, cars and overpasses?
20. How come no one investigated claims by the two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, who wrote in the New York Times on January 2008 that the Central Intelligence Agency “failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot [and] obstructed our investigation?”
A mother who was forced to give up her child for adoption in the Netherlands is suing the state for emotional damage.
The lawsuit claims that a policy which allowed the state to forcibly remove her child from her care was in breach of Dutch and international law.
Trudy Scheele-Gertsen, who is now 73, is one of over 10,000 women in the Netherlands who gave up their children at birth in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She was also the first woman to take the Netherlands government to court over the legality of forced adoption at the time the policy was enacted.
The lawsuit cites several procedural irregularities, which it says led to Scheele-Gertsen’s son languishing in care for the first three years of his life.
The Scottish Court of Session (Inner House) today ruled that the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament was unlawful. The High Court of England and Wales today handed down its judgment on the same issue – and came to the opposite conclusion.
How can these two conflicting judgments be resolved? They can’t, so it’s off to the Supreme Court on 17 September.
Before we delve into the decisions of both courts, a reminder of some of the key issues:
Prorogation: The act of discontinuing a parliamentary session, until the State Opening of Parliament which commences the next session. It is unlike recess, which is a break in the parliamentary session when parliamentary business is merely suspended, and MPs can be more easily recalled if required. It is also unlike dissolution, which occurs before an election and mean that every MP must re-stand for election.
When Parliament is prorogued, all business comes to an end. Bills which remain in progress (i.e which have not become law) lapse and must be restarted when Parliament is re-opened.
The Prime Minister decided on 28 August 2019 to advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament. An Order in Council was made that day by the Queen, effecting the Prorogation. Parliament was prorogued on 9 September 2019, and – as it stands – will not sit again until 14 October 2019.
Justiciability: The concept of a matter being susceptible to, and capable of, review by the courts. ‘Non-justiciability’ encompasses a number of principles. In Shergill v Khaira,  UKSC 33 the Supreme Court has distinguished two categories of non-justiciability, (1) issues with no basis in domestic law and (2) issues in respect of which judicial restraint will be exercised, due to the separation of powers and judicial competence. The latter is in issue in these cases. Political questions, and certain matters involving the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, are often argued (and held) to be beyond the reach of judicial review. Recent decisions show that the concept is not absolute, even with regard to prerogative powers.
The High Court heard a challenge to prorogation brought by Gina Miller on 5 September 2019, supported by a number of interveners. The matter was heard by a heavyweight bench, comprising the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls, and Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division.
Ms Miller’s challenge was to the advice given by the Prime Minister to the Queen to prorogue Parliament, said to be an abuse of power and contrary to the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty. The claimant noted the unusually long period of prorogation and its timing, occurring shortly before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, with no terms of withdrawal.
It was argued that prorogation would seriously impede Parliament’s power, and that this could not be justified, even given the Prime Minister’s broad discretion in such matters. Further, the PM’s decision was said to have been “substantially influenced by a wholly extraneous and improper consideration”: the desire to hinder Parliament in enacting legislation to prevent a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
As to justiciability, the Claimant argued that the fact that the source of a power is the prerogative does not exclude judicial scrutiny, rather the question is whether there are appropriate legal or judicial standards for the court to apply. It was submitted that in any event, an otherwise well-founded claim should only fail for lack of justiciability in exceptional circumstances, and that this was not such a case.
The Prime Minster, represented by Sir James Eadie QC, responded by first asserting that the issue was not justiciable. While acknowledging that prerogative acts have been subject to judicial review (see Miller No. 1), that case impinged on individual rights. As the prorogation of Parliament is inherently political, it is not justiciable – there are no judicial or manageable standards to test its lawfulness and it would not be constitutionally appropriate for the courts to intervene.
The Defendant referred to the ‘Benn bill’ (the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill), which passed through both Houses in three days, to undermine the Claimant’s argument that Parliament had been disabled from legislating on Brexit.
The Divisional Court delivered a single judgment. The claim fell at the first hurdle, with the Court concluding that the claim was not justiciable.
While recognising that actions of the Executive carried by out by way of the exercise of the prerogative are not inherently non-justiciable, the judgment also recalls the courts’ well-established refusal to review political decisions [§§43-50]. The decision to prorogue Parliament and the advice accordingly given
were inherently political in nature and there are no legal standards against which to judge their legitimacy [§51].
The Claimant had sought to argue that the duration of prorogation was excessive, and that it can be reasonably inferred that it was motivated or influenced by a desire to prevent or frustrate Parliament from passing legislation to prevent a No-deal Brexit [§52]. The former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, intervening, observed the distinction between prorogation and recess, the latter allowing legislation to continue and MPs to be recalled [§53].
The Court could not accept these arguments due to the lack of any measure by which to assess the lawfulness of the length of a prorogation (§54, 56). Moreover, the submission that Parliament would not have time to hold the Government to account was rejected. The Court could not assess any measurable standard for how much time is required to do so. Further, the passage of the Benn bill highlighted the speed with which Parliament can sometimes act:
The ability of Parliament to move with speed when it chooses to do so was illustrated with clarity and at the same time undermined the underlying premise of the cases advanced by both the claimant and the interveners, namely that the prorogation would deny Parliament the opportunity to do precisely what it has just done. [§57]
Finally, the Court declined to accept the Claimant’s broad description of Parliamentary Sovereignty.
In the first place, alongside the principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty, the separation of powers, reflecting the different constitutional areas of responsibility of the courts, the Executive and Parliament, is also a fundamental principle of our unwritten constitution [§60].
The decision to prorogue was political, prorogation has a number of purposes, and there are in any event no measurable standards by which a court can assess the decisions in question [§60]. Standing Orders elaborate the procedural relationship between two branches of the state: the Executive and Parliament, and this is
a territory into which the courts should be slow indeed to intrude by recognising an expanded concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty [§64].
The claim for judicial review was accordingly dismissed, but with permission granted to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
The Inner House of the Court of Session — Cherry and Ors
Joanna Cherry QC MP and others for Judicial Review
Like Miller (No. 2), the Scottish case was a challenge to the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen that Parliament should be prorogued from a day between 9 and 12 September until 14 October.
Unlike Miller however, the Scottish case was itself an appeal from a decision of the Outer House, which on 4 September 2019 had refused permission for judicial review. The Lord Ordinary dismissed the petition, finding that the PM’s advice on prorogation was, as a matter of high policy and political judgment, non-justiciable [§26]. There were no legal standards by which the courts could assess the decision [§26]. Even if this was wrong, Lord Doherty added, he was not persuaded, on what he had seen, that the reasons for the advice were unlawful [§34].
The appeal was heard on 5-6 September. The full judgment is not due to be handed down until midday on 13 September, but not wanting to leave us in suspense the Court of Session has now published a helpful summary of the decision.
The Inner House ruled that the PM’s advice to the Queen was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament.
The Inner House unanimously decided that the advice was justiciable. While noting that advice given under the royal prerogative is not justiciable under the normal grounds for judicial review, Lord Carloway decided that where the purpose of the advice was to impede parliamentary scrutiny (a central tenant of democracy and the rule of law), the courts were permitted to declare it unlawful. Lord Brodie agreed that where the purpose was the frustration of Parliament, it was open to the courts to assess lawfulness. The summary suggests that Lord Drummond Young went even further, determining that
the courts have jurisdiction to decide whether any power, under the prerogative or otherwise, has been legally exercised. (emphasis added)
As to the lawfulness of the advice itself, all three First Division judges agreed that the prorogation was unlawful. The circumstances of the advice (presumably, the timing and length of the prorogation and the issues before Parliament at the time), as well as certain documents produced by the Prime Minister, showed that the true reason for prorogation was interfering with parliamentary scrutiny of the executive. Lord Brodie (it is summarised) described this as an
egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities.
Regarding the documents before the Court which led to its conclusion on the true reasons for prorogation, readers may be interested in David Allen Green’s article ‘The curious incident of the missing witness statement’, cited in Parliament by Joanna Cherry QC MP herself on 9 September.
The spectacle of three senior Scottish judges effectively finding that the Prime Minister misled the Queen about the purposes of prorogation is an extraordinary event, whatever the decision of the Supreme Court. What this means remain to be seen.
The Court accordingly made an Order declaring that the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.
Both decisions will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which is to hear both appeals in one go on 17 September 2019.
The hearing will be live streamed on www.supremecourt.uk, perhaps a welcome tonic for those readers already missing binge-watching BBC Parliament.
In the meantime, in light of the Scottish court ruling that prorogation was unlawful, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, has tweeted that “Parliament must be recalled immediately to allow the essential work of scrutiny to continue.” Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Speaker of the House of Commons has apparently declared that “Any decision to accelerate the meeting of Parliament during prorogation is a matter for the government.”