Thanks for the information so far. There are other aspects to this case that must also be mentioned and which may have legal implications which I would like to explore. This organisation has been blocking jobs, consultancy, promotion etc to those whose supposed political views it dislikes. It has destroyed friendships. It has been illicitly recording conversations of the victims and I believe using selective quotations to put them into an extremely adverse light. There is obviously financial loss and reputational damage involved. What, if any, of these activities are illegal? Is this not tantamount to at least harassment? It is, finally, quite possible that these activities will results in physical illness, breakdown and even suicide of victims. (Think of the Red Guards' activities in China under Mao. The parallel is not much exaggerated).
this is an organisation but not one with a formal, legal identity.
At a guess several hundred
Thanks for this detailed reply. It is rather useful.
However, if one were able to pursue a harassment case against an individual, say one of the leaders, this would presumably not be costless? So, if as you say, each time the multi-headed hydra were just to grow another head, the costs could tend to infinity?
So are you saying that this would be the only grounds on which one might argue they are breaking the law, and that this would be potentially extremely costly to pursue and so a waste of time?
Thanks for the detailed reply. Very useful.
There is a final complication. All the evidence available for a civil case would be from witnesses to defamation carried out against this individual and presented as reasons for blocking his publications by the organisation. These individuals might be reluctant to appear as witnesses in a court case for defamation or harassment. The more significant evidence of a campaign would only be available by hacking into the email correspondence of the organisation and this is illegal under the Computer Misuse Act I understand. Is there a public body e.g. MI5 that would be prepared to hack emails on this person's behalf?
So, if I may (inexpertly) summarise:
1.This organisation has been blocking publications, jobs, consultancy, promotion etc to those whose supposed political views it dislikes. It has destroyed friendships. It has been clandestinely recording conversations of the victims and I believe using selective quotations to put them into an extremely adverse light. There is obviously financial loss and reputational damage. It is, finally, quite possible that these activities will results in physical illness, breakdown and even suicide of victims.
2. The only legal redress available to the victims consists of a charge of Harassment or possibly slander/libel. H is only available if the harassment is committed by individuals and if there is legally admissible evidence available to support it. This cannot be supplied by email hacking but witness testimony might do the trick.
4. This would be pursued as a civil action and might result in an injunction against the individual but not in damages or imprisonment. It would also be costly and it might be necessary to repeat the process if another member of the organisation were to replace the first, and so on.
5. There is a problem if the witnesses to this harassment refuse to testify in court as these may be subject to the same H themselves and without their testimony not even an minimal redress in the form of an injunction can be obtained. Such witnesses cannot be subpoenaed.
6. In short, whilst a potentially limitless personal tragedy is occurring in the lives of a growing number of entirely innocent people in this country, there is no way of stopping this happening within the law.
so what is the solution? Talk to my MP to get them to put in a Private Members' bill to change the law?
You said earlier that intimidation of editors and referees of a journal by threatening to proscribe their own publications is not unlawful. What would make it unlawful then? If they threatened physical violence or tried to extort money? Both are unlikely in this case. Would their be any criminal liability if the proscribed party were to become ill as a result of this discrimination?
I wonder if it would be worth considering lobbying my MP or some other MP to get a change or changes in the law to deal with what in common parlance is straightforward intimidation of individuals and clear cases of slander and libel against them, and therefore to outlaw such behaviour? But again without subpoenering a witness it would be difficult to prove a breach of the law.
A potential non-Parliamentary solution might be to set up one's own journal and publish that way. The problem is that if one were to set up an alternative journal this would not have the same status as the journals from which a person is excluded.
What do you think?
Referring to the points from Jan 1 above, it is very clear that the final outcome of this person's persecution is either (a) to provoke an attack by a fanatic who believes the propaganda in question and desires revenge for some imaginary crime or threat or even attitude of mind; or (b) to drive this person to suicide by making his/her life feel pointless. Is there any redress under the law on incitement? Although this is not an incitement by one identifiable individual to commit murder, the involvement and 'motivation' of an increasingly large set of individuals means that sooner or later someone may be provoked to act.
I find it very difficult to know what the possible alternative outcomes might be apart from the two I have mentioned. What did you have in mind as possibilities?
Alternatives to (a) and (b) above.