Britain has decided to resolve the issue of mob attacks on banking terrorists by makiing it illegal for banks to report banking fraud. I don't think it's the victims and reporters inciting mob action it's the banking terrorists the government refuses to bring to justice.
Barclays tax documents: how Matthew Oakeshott told their lordships what we couldn't
Felicity Lawrence and David Leigh
The Guardian, Friday 27 March 2009
For the last week they have been one of the internet's worst kept secrets. They have been blogged about, debated on bulletin boards, twittered over and even published in their entirety on a whistleblowers website.
Until now, however, the Guardian has been banned from telling you as much. Under the terms of an injunction obtained by Barclays, newspapers have been prevented doing anything to "incite" or even "encourage" viewing a set of documents which appear to detail massive tax avoidance deals by the bank.
Yesterday in the Lords, Matthew Oakeshott, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, used parliamentary privilege to tell his fellow peers what newspapers could not. He said: "Documents leaked to the Liberal Democrats, which appear to detail systematic tax avoidance on a grand scale by Barclays, were injuncted last week.
"The Sunday Times and the Guardian had already made them front-page news and these documents are widely available on the internet from sites such as Twitter, wikileaks.org, docstoc.com and gabbr.com. Yet the Guardian had to remove them from its website and cannot tell its readers where to find them."
Oakeshott could reveal that the leaked documents were available because of the parliamentary privilege of freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights 1689.
Thanks to the onrush of what Mr Justice Blake, imposing the high court gag order, called "the age of the internet" the Guardian and other media are now in a rather unusual position.
British media are allowed to report what Oakeshott said. Speeches in parliament were specifically exempted from the gag order obtained by Freshfields, Barclays City lawyers. Newspapers are also allowed to "comment" on the issue and the Barclays tax avoidance schemes contained in the documents.
But under the injunction the Guardian was ordered to use its "best endeavours" to stop the virtual whereabouts of the Barclays documents becoming widely known. A number of postings had to be deleted on its website.
Thanks to the Hansard account of the affair newspapers are now permitted to "report" on where the documents are to be found (according to Oakeshott). But while they may "comment" on the documents media organisations still can't "encourage" their readers or viewers, much less, "incite" them.