Saturday, January 15, 2005

Food for Thought

Archivists are becoming accustomed to the implications of the recent Freedom of Information Act, or at least we think we are. We may flatter ourselves on a new system of openness even if we are now encumbered with more bureaucratic procedures and higher public sector costs.

However, is the whole subject of Freedom of Information a giant deception?

In a previous blog click here I have considered deficiencies in the Act at least from the historian or researcher's point of view. Now let us consider the EU dimension.

As the member state governments of the EU gradually transfer decision making, legislative powers and sovereignty to the European Commission, they also transfer accountability and records of actions. Left with fewer real powers and increasingly petty decisions to make, member state governments like the UK's can well afford to open their files to public inspection. Such files are increasingly lacking in sensitivity. Files containing evidence of the really important decision making now affecting our lives through membership of the EU are in Brussels not London and are not subject to a similar openness. Thus democratic accountability has also been lost.

The following is taken from

Article 1, Chapter 1 of Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the E.U. states that '...premises and buildings of the Communities shall be exempt from search, requisition, confiscation or expropriation, and their archives shall be inviolable'.

Article 12 of Chapter 5 states, 'In the territory of each member state and whatever their nationality, officials and other servants of the Communities shall.... be immune from legal proceedings in respect of acts performed by them in their official capacity, including their words (spoken or written). They shall continue to enjoy this immunity after they have ceased to hold office'. Thus no buildings or offices, filing cabinets, archives or bottom drawers belonging to the EU, wherever they are located, can be snooped, searched or inspected EVER. These two exemptions alone place the staff and premises of the EU, in their official capacities, completely above the law. This flies in the face of the basic principles of British or any decent justice system.

The European police force Europol is protected by EU law. Their officials are immune from prosecution and its files cannot be subpoenaed by any court. It is based in the old fortified Gestapo building in The Hague. This allows criminal cases to be constructed on evidence fabricated by Europol. Article 8 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, signed into law via British Statutory Instrument 2973:1997, concerning Europol officers, declares that, 'such persons shall enjoy immunity from suit and legal process in respect of acts, including words written or spoken, done by them in the exercise of their official functions'

The proof of these incredible statements came in 1999, when the entire EU Commission resigned, having been exposed for fraud, yet nobody was prosecuted. The EU has been unable to sign off its accounts for the last nine years and an estimated 5-8% of its £63 billion budget disappears in fraud and mismanagement every year.

Read more

The moral is that we not only have no right of access to EU archives but such archives crucially now contain much of the evidence of an emerging totalitarian superstate.


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