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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

In retrospect

It is reported in the Guardian that the career of a noted creative artist is coming to an end.

… the offences of Phil Shiner, the human rights lawyer who has just been struck off by the solicitors’ disciplinary tribunal, are worse even than they appear at first sight. It is hard to comprehend the nightmare faced by British soldiers he wrongly accused of torture and murder in Iraq. But he did not only fail those he traduced in court. He failed Iraqis who believed they had a case; he failed genuine victims of abuse who will face a harder fight in future. And his dishonesty and deception, and the bringing of baseless cases, risks tainting the whole case for human rights.

There is quite a bit to agree with in this editorial, but the insouciance of the writer takes my breath away. Will the Guardian, so long his leading patron and publicist, be holding a retrospective exhibition of its own extensive Phil Shiner back catalogue?

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12 comments to In retrospect

  • Paul Marks

    At least the Guardian is trying (not very well – but trying) to report the Phil Shiner fraud and TREASON honestly – if the “I” (what is left of the “Independent” newspaper now owned by an “ex” KGB man) was reporting the story it might be very different.

    According the “I” the riot at Berkeley (smashing, fires, women maced in the face….) was “Donald Trump’s Free Speech Threat” (yes somehow they twisted it round 180 degrees) with the headline implying that Donald Trump was threatening free speech, not suggesting it be defended.

    The “I” version of the Phil Shiner story would be most likely be…….

    “British government persecutes dissident”.

  • I have long thought, after many years dealing with solicitors, that there should be a change in the law to reflect the nature of the profession, to provide a statutory presumption that a solicitor is lying about any matter (other than being a solicitor) unless the contrary is proved.

    When you have a profession with entry barriers and legal privileges, costs tend to rocket and quality tends to suffer, albeit some solicitors do amazing work.

    I have long had misgivings about the Army, perhaps from the avoidable slaughter and failures we debate here so frequently, the tales of my grandfather’s time in WW2, and reports of sadistic drill instructors inserting broomsticks into recruits’ rectums, the military value of which escapes me, but I would rather trust a soldier than a solicitor in almost any circumstances (e.g. except with a broomstick).

  • I was reminded of the line from Harry Potter (end of 5 IIRC) when Hermione quotes from the Daily Prophet: “..’forced to bear ridicule and slander’ … I notice they don’t mention the fact that it was them doing all the ridiculing and slandering.” 🙂

    I suppose the real message is how little invested some of these people are in the narratives they push.

    – Partly, this reflects how, for many of these people, beliefs – even (or especially) vehement ones – are about party lines, or “the time is not yet right.” A real believer would have found it harder to be so ‘insouciant’ in noting how regrettable this all was.

    – Partly, it is the ever-present leftwing memory hole. How could left-wingers stay confidently left-wing if they recalled all their failed past predictions?

    “insouciance” is a gentle term for this behaviour, but I’ve not thought of a better as yet – and, as Paul states, it is better the Guardian report it at all than ignore or spin in the way one might have expected.

    Insolence was my term for what the Guardian was doing back when it was crediting Shiner. One could add others.

  • I suppose the real message is how little invested some of these people are in the narratives they push.

    – Partly, this reflects how, for many of these people, beliefs – even (or especially) vehement ones – are about party lines, or “the time is not yet right.” A real believer would have found it harder to be so ‘insouciant’ in noting how regrettable this all was.

    I disagree. I think the lefty narrative is starting to openly disintegrate and as such we will be seeing much more of this insouciance in the future.

  • Regional

    Callous indifference would be more accurate.

  • Darin

    Better than nothing, but being disbarred ( and treated as hero and martyr by the left in the future) is really the only consequence of his behavior?

  • Rob

    I find it hard to believe that procuring fake evidence with payments is not a criminal offence. We have a Crown Prosecution Service which thinks a claim that a DJ touched some woman’s arse in 1968 is enough to prosecute, but apparently making payments to procure fake evidence is not, given the absence of visible activity relating to his prosecution.

  • Rob

    Better than nothing, but being disbarred ( and treated as hero and martyr by the left in the future) is really the only consequence of his behavior?

    Well, a Government minister demanded that he apologise, so they are really getting tough with him.

  • Watchman

    Rob,

    I suspect there is a CPS file, but wierdly enough this is tricky stuff – they have to have the evidence he paid the money to find victims in the intent of perverting the course of justice. There is rightly a higher degree of proof needed for criminal conviction than for being struck off by a statutory authority, the latter requiring only misconduct not criminal activity.

    That said, I expect a criminal charge will arrive sooner or later from what I have read – it does appear that what he did is fairly obvious.

    I do hope he does become a hero to the left (they need a new one – Julian Assange has really disappointed them…), as that will make them so much easier to laugh at.

  • Mr Ed

    I wonder if he broke US Federal Law, e.g. subornation of perjury, by getting $$ signs in his eyes when he saw a new client? And what is he sent an email in some way related to any of these cases that at some point passed through a server in the US, might that be wire fraud?

    It would be awful if he were to face extradition to the US on some obscure Federal charges.

  • Laird

    Mr Ed, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, not even Shiner.

  • bobby b

    I’m no expert on British law, but if it’s like American law in this respect, there may be a jurisdictional problem with charging him with bribery or fraud.

    If all of his acts of bribery occurred in Iraq, there may be no jurisdiction for criminal charges in England.

    His disbarment for presenting a fraudulent claim might well be the only punishment that the law can reach. There’s an entire industry of whiplash claims that survives only because we expect a certain amount of overstating in the legal arena.