An English friend in the US has reminded me of the current case of the journalist Graham Phillips, an English citizen journalist who has been reporting from Donbas since 2014, but who has now been put under anti-Russian sanctions by our government. He interviews the wrong people, and they say the wrong things, as far as our official narrative is concerned. This means his bank assets can all be seized, together with any residence he owns in England.
There is an excellent appraisal of the situation here, where the writer reminds us that this treatment appears to go against the foundational principles of Magna Carta, in condemning a British citizen without even the slightest legal process or right of reply. At least, any legal redress he might have is effectively blocked by the confiscation of the assets he would need to pursue it.
I thought to notify Toby Young of the Free Speech Union about this situation, who apart from replying about some of the things of which Phillips might be guilty (“might be guilty,” though, is the very reason there are courts to weigh evidence), added that it might, in fact, be illegal to give him legal assistance.
Think about that. It reminded me of the legend of the Saxon dissident Hereward the Wake, who was outlawed by the king’s arbitrary decree in the 11th century, thus removing him from any access to due process, and indeed making him fair game for anyone wishing to kill him. You would have thought we had moved beyond that, but it is becoming increasingly common to see cases brought in law simply to silence those whose words are an embarrassment to the State, or to be more exact, the Deep State.
Two recent incidents in the US exemplify this. The more recent was the raid on President Trump’s home, which according to a good number of analysts (not, of course, in the MSM) breeches both constitutional rights and legal precedent in numerous ways, for partisan political gain, namely to muddy the waters with another specious legal case just in time to prevent Trump standing for President again. The magistrate who signed the warrant (though it had to be endorsed by the head of the FBI itself, revealing that to be a corrupted agency) coincidentally happens to have been Jeffery Epstein’s personal attorney.
Just preceding this, and perhaps not coincidentally, came the outcome of the trial against Alex Jones, in which was fined a ridiculously punitive amount ($49m?) on what were incredibly shaky grounds. Both American situations are analysed at length here. What strikes me most, apart from the overtly stated intent to silence Jones’s always colourful exposure of national and international malfeasance, and to set a precedent to be used against other dissidents, is the blatant partisanship of the judge in the case, and the tactics used to rig the jury and silence any effective defence.
Now I’m not overly familiar with Jones’s work – though I have seen that his apparently hyperbolic claims usually turn out to be true. He is one of those select few who have given “conspiracy theorists” a good name amongst the sober-minded. But the account of his trial puts me in mind of another historical English precedent, which is our single most notorious judge, Baron George Jeffreys, the creature of the Catholic James II, who made it his business to use his court to further James’s political agenda rather than apply the law dispassionately.
He is most famous for the “Bloody Assizes” which condemned hundreds of the Duke of Monmouth’s rebels to hanging, hanging drawing and quartering, and even burning, and many more to transportation to Barbados as cheap labour (white privilege, anyone?). What was as unusual as his cruelty was his violent haranguing of those in court, making a mockery of due process. Some of you might want to compare that with the televised Capitol “insurrection” hearings.
But less known is Jeffery’s trial of the Puritan Richard Baxter, designed to make an example of a much-loved dissenting clergyman on trumped up charges that his New Testament paraphrase was disguised sedition against the English bishops. Silencing Baxter would, Jeffreys hoped, destroy the Non-conformists for good. The tone of the proceedings was set when the frail and ill Baxter’s request for a delay was refused by Jeffreys:
“I will not give him another minute to save his life. We have had to do, says he, with another description of persons, but now we have a saint to deal with, and I know how to deal with saints as well as with sinners.”
Much as appears to have been the case in Jones’s trial, innuendo and frank untruth was used by the prosecution, whilst Jeffreys consistently refused permission for an effective defence from Baxter or his counsel (who was also threatened from the bench):
“Richard, Richard, dost thou think I will hear thee poison the court? Richard, thou art an old fellow, and an old knave—thou hast written books sufficient to load a cart, every one of them as full of sedition (I might say treason) as an egg’s full of meat. Hadst he been whipped out of thy writing trade forty years ago, it had been happy for England. Thou pretendest to be a preacher of the gospel of peace, and thou hast one foot in the grave, it is time to begin to think what account thou intendest to give; but leave thee to thyself, and I see thou’lt go on as thou hast begun; but, by the grace of God, I shall look after thee. I know thou hast a mighty party, and I can see a great many of the brotherhood in corners, and no less than a doctor of the party (looking at Dr. Bates) at thine elbow, to see what will become of their mighty don; but, by the grace of Almighty God, I will crush you all.”
After a trial like that, it’s scarcely surprising that the jury immediately found Baxter guilty without even leaving their box.
The one difference of Baxter’s trial from Alex Jones’s is that there was no mainstream press to magnify his right-wing extremist guilt to all, and echo Jefferys in their glee at his condemnation. In Baxter’s case there was only word of mouth, which is, I suppose, the equivalent of those like The Duran discussing these issues freely, behind doors closed more by public complacency than actual censorship, at least for now.
But Graham Phillips’s case shows that fundamentals of the law can both be bypassed, and used to suppress citizens’ rights instead of defending them, in Britain every bit as much as in America. We have, too, other comparable cases of political use of the law, such as the one we share with America – the incarceration and extradition of another journalist, Julian Assange, in the end because his organisation’s revelations of Western political evils threatens the activities of the villains. That is a crime punishable in America by life imprisonment, and Britain agrees because it has already kept him in solitary confinement without trial for years.
Less known overseas, we have the case of Tommy Robinson, who has been silenced, demonised in the usual way by the Press as a Far-right extremist, and persecuted by both police and legal systems because he spoke out against the persistent cover-up of sexual abuse of young girls in many English cities, by Pakistani gangs. Resonances there with Jeffery Epstein’s elite paedophile-ring being protected by the US legal system, though with some interesting differences.
In fact the differences between the US and Britain are worthy of exploration – if all the investigators are not successfully silenced first. Our Deep State has a somewhat different character from America’s. Sometimes it seems to be just a subsidiary of theirs, with our courts dutifully furthering their agenda, and our press parroting all its narratives. Sometimes our MI5 and MI6 appear to be best friends with the shady operators in the CIA. Yet the system of government is different – and our Civil Service looks to have been captured by the globalist WEF ideology rather than being so obviously “in it for the money” as the cosy institutions of Washington.
But who’s to know? Big Pharma seem to have called the shots in Whitehall over COVID, and BAE seem equally likely to be using backhanders to keep us feeding the cannons with young Ukrainians as Raytheon is in the US. Leading politicians seem able to access all kinds of financial streams, and access lucrative jobs when they fall from cabinet grace.
What does, however, seem clear to me is that our legal system, once the guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen against even an over-weaning State, is rapidly becoming just another way to keep us under government control.
One historical consolation is that George Jeffreys ended up dying only four years after the Bloody Assizes in the Tower of London, having been arrested in a pub disguised as a sailor whist trying to escape the country after the Glorious Revolution that ousted James. That political event ushered in the age that made Britain’s legal system one to emulate for three centuries – yes, some revolutions can be glorious! I wonder what Nancy Pelosi would look like disguised as a sailor?