Friday, March 25, 2016

Threat to life: Updated complaint to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

We have twice been forced to live on the streets - for almost 4 years in total; from 4 November 2006 to 13 July 2009, and again from 14 April 2013 to 15 May 2014. The second time, while enrolled on a winter night shelter programme for rough sleepers run by the West London Churches Homeless Concern, we were asked if we would be willing to be housed by the Mayor of London's Greater London Authority (GLA) Housing First programme. Housing First is an internationally acclaimed programme for entrenched rough sleepers, the core principle of which is the provision of permanent accommodation and non-compulsory support (Johnson and Teixeira, 2010). We thought this was too good to be true and of course it has turned out to be just that.

Less than four months into our tenancy we were informed that GLA Housing First was only a pilot project and was ending within months. Having sunk the deposit we had for a private sector flat into our new housing association home (it came without furnishings of any kind save cooker, fridge and carpets), we were referred by the GLA against our wishes to the Mayor of London's Clearing House service, operated for the Mayor by St Mungo's. GLA Clearing House provides a coercive programme of support and eligibility for flats terminates as soon as individuals are deemed to no longer require support to live independently. We have only kept the roof over our heads for the past two years because Declan has been challenging the GLA's referral decision in the courts. In paragraph 39 of the updated complaint below to the United Nations under Article 19 (freedom of expression) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Declan explains how we could now be looking at a third High Court application for judicial review against the GLA since our tenancy began in May 2014 - the paragaph is presented in isolation in the previous blog. This is his "threat to life" paragraph 40 that follows:

Paragraph 40 of Declan's updated complaint to the United Nations re the threat to life posed by the suspected sabotage of our tenancy by the Mayor of London's Greater London Authority (GLA) Clearing House service, operated for the Mayor by St Mungo's

40. The Applicant may have no option but to challenge in the High Court (Judicial Review) the decision of GLA Clearing House to breach its February 2016 agreement with him to provide voluntary support. As the matter stands, and as the Applicant has repeatedly pointed out in court papers, there is a threat to life and wellbeing in this case taking the following range of factors into account:

(i) In May 2014 the Applicant and his wife took the significant decision to spend on furnishings the deposit they had for a private sector flat after having been informed that as GLA Housing First clients they had the possibility to extend their tenancy agreement beyond the expiry of the initial term. Family Mosaic provided the flat without any furnishings of any kind save cooker, fridge and carpets. In order to render the flat habitable, the Applicant even had to install shelves that had been removed from the kitchen and replace curtain rails, curtains and net curtains that had been removed from bedroom and living room windows.

(ii) The Applicant is in his mid-fifties and during his and his wife's first period of homelessness was twice hospitalised, once with pneumonia in December 2006 and the second time with a viral infection in October 2007. In April 2014, during their second period of homelessness, the Applicant was diagnosed with asthma and a chest infection (see para 31 above). Asthma is a chronic or lifelong disease that can be serious, even life threatening; pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses are much more dangerous for asthmatics than other people.

(iii) Back on the street the Applicant and his wife will be restricted to sleeping on night buses despite the Applicant's asthma and susceptibility to pneumonia, as they had been prior to coming off the street as a result of an excessive use of force by police officers to move them out of where they had been sleeping that included the Applicant's wife being threatened with arrest on the trumped-up charge of assaulting a police officer (see para 32 above). Since the escalation of the migration crisis this past summer, the police have more powers to move rough sleepers on without having to resort to unlawful means to do so.


Declan sleeping on a bus early in the morning on 4 May 2014. Less than a month earlier he had been diagnosed with asthma and a chest infection. But a week after the diagnoses, the City of London Police visited us at our sleeping pitch and forced us to move on. Their behaviour was so outrageous that we had no choice but to sleep on night buses until our flat finally came through on 17 May 2014. (UN complaint, para 32)



It seems incredible to us that of all the homeless organisations in London it should be St Mungo's - given our history with this charity (UN complaint, paras 28-29) - and its Mayor of London's Clearing House service that we are now battling to keep a roof over our heads. And this after just concluding a battle royal with St Mungo's over fabricated data they were withholding against us in defiance of a court order issued last May (UN complaint, para 37(iv)). A friend of ours in Washington DC put it well earlier this month when he wrote: "The nature of Bureaucracy seems too often to lead good, well meaning people into decisions that don't connect with fair outcomes. Hope you can sort this out without further ado, but I doubt it." We doubt it too, and perhaps High Court this time also means Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights - just to have a roof over our heads next winter, if at all possible.

Paragraphs 50-56 of the complaint above outline why the Vatican and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church should be monitored.

'Let me recommend an important web site churchandstate.org.uk. Operating out of London this well-designed and exciting web site covers church-state, population, climate change and other issues. Check it out.' - Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty

***

We were evicted from our previous flat on 14 March 2013 because according to our then live-in landlady's ex-husband, Dr Nigel McKenzie, a consultant psychiatrist in Highgate Mental Health Centre, our flat was needed for somebody with a mental illness. As Declan states in paragraph 8 of his complaint to the UN above, former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler also lived with human rights activist Belinda McKenzie in the same political 'safe house' for a couple of years until 2007. According to BBC Panorama, Shayler "caused the biggest crisis of official secrecy since the spy catcher affair"; he was jailed for seven weeks in 2002 for breaking the Official Secrets Act. It is indeed unfortunate that Shayler declared himself the Messiah in 2007, became a squatter, and was subsequently ridiculed in the press for changing his name to Delores Kane. A New Statesman article published in September 2006 featuring Shayler and Belinda gives no indication that Shayler believed he was the Messiah at that time; whilst a Daily Mail interview with him the following year reveals he believed himself to be Jesus by June 2007. He has never regained his normal self.


The Esquire article below* is mentioned in a Guardian article dated 27 March 2012. It is an eye-opener, highlighting the monitoring and surveillance that Shayler had to live with back in 2000, and the contradictory briefings and slanders that were coming out of the British establishment and the media. The author, Dr Eamonn O'Neill, is a lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University.

*On 2 May 2013, Issuu removed this pdf from my Issuu account following a copyright complaint by Hearst Communications. I had uploaded the article to my Issuu account in December 2012. In March 2013, when last I checked, the article had been viewed more than 15,000 times. It can be read here.

BBC PANORAMA: The David Shayler Affair (August 1998)

Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler "caused the biggest crisis of official secrecy since the spy catcher affair", according to BBC Panorama. He was jailed for seven weeks in 2002 for breaking the Official Secrets Act.