Are you all sitting comfortably...then I will begin. This story is an every day true story about fictional events and all about Savings Clauses.
A STORY OF AN ISLAND PEOPLEOnce upon a time I lived on the Isle of Wight, a little island off the South Coast of England, near Southampton and Portsmouth. (And in case you are wondering, no, I never met up with any Triffids). One day, I learned how to use computers and the world wide web (but not its dark side) and went surfing and found a search engine called Google, which I then furzed on and arrived at the Isle of Wight Council website. Being mildly interested in law and with an insatiable curiosity about politics I discovered the Constitution of the Isle of Wight Council.
Isn't the internet and world wide web just a wonderful invention? THEORY OF LAWOf course, all governments have constitutions of some kind, whether they be nation states, regional or local federations or states, and most of those constitutions, in countries which use Roman Law, the Common Law or English law, or American law, have general principles which they incorporate into those institutions. And, in creating the American Constitution the founding fathers (terrorists, actually, according to English Law) of the newly emergent American state based their Constitution on the lessons learnt from European Philosophers of law, like Bentham etc. rather than the unwritten constitution of England and her disunited kingdom. England,at the time, had rather a bad name for duplicity, deception, and downright brutality, even then; so had little credibility amongst the Tea Party of Boston. Unlike today... :-). GCHQ comes highly respected and commended by our American cousins across the pond.
THE RULE OF LAWA constitution is just a lot of words arranged in a certain way, like in sentences, but has provisions, sections, exceptions etc...and even a preamble, just like this little dissertation... :-). The main purpose of a constitution is to make sure that the rule of law operates in a society, and that any institution and individual in that society makes sure that it and they work within certain parameters and don't over reach or go further within their or its sphere of control than they are supposed to. This helps to protect clashes between institutions and groups and helps protect the rights of individuals to be free from unlawful intrusion into their affairs, seizure of their private property, and if so, giving them the right of redress through tribunals of some kind, like the courts, if they don't.
DEMOCRACY CORRUPTEDOne day, the local newspaper published a story about a major piece of corruption which had occurred on the island. It was very unusual, I thought, but as time went by, even more corruption was uncovered. Half of the money that had been given by the national government to the Council to fund a new road for tourists on the island, due to the old major road subsiding into the sea, vanished into the pockets of people from afar as Scarborough and bank accounts unknown and the other half was spent on lawyers and investigations into finding where it went, without any result or prosecution of the main offenders. The corruption was denied, why, I don't know, because it was bound to be found out...names were named, companies were named; but such are the ways of civil servants and politicians, like other members of the criminal fraternity, they think they are unique, what they are doing is original and that they are far too clever to get caught...and on this occasion...they were right. The government refused to pay out any more money to fund a civil action, and the police returned to catching the real criminals in society, motorists who don't clean their windscreens in the morning and all that sort of thing.
However, having captured my interest and curiosity, I started to look a little further, a little deeper into the malaise, (I should have added a smattering of French to my knowledge of languages in my resume on cryptome@freelists... :-). After looking more closely, I discovered a pattern of criminality due to the illegal, improper, short cutting of the procedure and misinterpretation of one of the clauses of the Council's Constitution.
CONSTITUTION DEFINEDNow, a constitution is quite a simple document really, once you understand it and what it is for. It is what Democracy is all about. As well as being the governing document of a local entity such as a Council, it contains the procedures for conducting the affairs of the organisation...just like the NSA has an Act of Congress and is governed by statute, or regulation or Executive Orders to limit, prevent or allow certain activities to legally occur. In the Isle of Wight and its Council, in common with other bodies, the Finance Committee is governed by certain procedures, from being an elected body with a Chairperson to funding the running of welfare services or tendering contracts out for road repairs.
STANDING ORDERSOne of those procedures is called, Standing Orders...and is a set of rules which governs, accounts and controls the income and expenditure of money by the Council. Nothing can be spent by the Council, a Councillor, Council Civil Servant or anyone else who works for the council or has access to Council money, unless they have the authority of this committee. Those Standing Orders are mandatory on the Finance Committee, and are there to prevent mismanagement of any kind, and so protect the rights of the taxpayer and residents who pay for these services.
SAVINGS CLAUSE OR EXCEPTION TO THE RULEHowever, the Finance Committee only meets once every six weeks, so there is a little provision, a little exception to the rule of Standing Orders, which is called a "Savings Provision". It allows the Chairperson of the Committee or his/her designee to hand out contracts in an emergency, it allows the Standing Orders to be suspended. Emergencies are strictly defined. This "Savings Clause" allows the main, everyday standing orders procedure to be ignored. It is, what is called " A Clause of Exception" and is designed to aid the organisation to work more efficiently on behalf of the citizens. It is only supposed to be used rarely. It is also what we would call a loophole, in that the hole is created, but there is a loop around it which is only there to allow nuffink bigger, or other than a rabbit to get through, like a snare....it isn't there to catch a worm or a bear or a tidal flow of money. An example would be, if an emergency repair had to be made to a road or a bridge, in between council meetings.
Some really bright kiddie (well, quite a number of them actually) on the block had discovered this tiny little provision, and used it to drive a coach and horses through the Council's legislation...and for a while, got away with the money. The same principle is being used by the drivers of the NSA to run a coach and horses through the protection legislation in the NSA Act of 1959.
NSA ACT OF 1959 SAVING CLAUSEAccording to the Plaintiff Ms. Mrs. Or Mz. Roark. The NSA is using such a clause to justify increasing its powers and lessening the rights of the American people by redefining, and extending the meaning and capture of the word "activities" in the NSA Act of 1959 section 6a.
Quote<<<<E. The National Security Agency Act of 1959 does not empower NSA to withhold any and all unclassified documents. The stated intention of the Act was to allow NSA to manage its civil service employees separately from the Civil Service Commission, for security reasons. NSA now claims sweeping authorities derive from the word "activities" included in section 6(a): Sec. 6.(a). Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, nothing in this Act or any other law (including, but not limited to, the first section and section 2 of the Act of August 28, 1935 (5 U.S.C. 654) (repealed by Pub. L. 86-626, title I, Sec. 101, July 12, 1960, 74 Stat. 427)) shall be construed to require the disclosure of the organization or any function of the National Security Agency, or any information with respect to the activities thereof, or of the names, titles, salaries, or number of the persons
employed by such agency. (Emphasis added.) However, the record makes clear that Congress did not intend to provide NSA broad, unique power to withhold any and all unclassified information. It reveals the problems Congress sought to address and explains the purpose of Section 6( a).
The courts frequently refer to legislative history for background on Congressional objectives and historical context. >>>End Quote (From Court Documents)She is therefore arguing that she is entitled to the return of her documents, comprising of over 10,000 emails, which were siezed in an illegal search and seizure operation, particularly those which only had an FOUO designation. (For Office Use Only). Presumably so that she can do a bit of whistleblowing on Thinthread and Trailblazer, which is why the NSA don't want her to have 'em.
Enjoy...Back to my afternoon kip....zzzzz ATB Dougie.P.S. It looks like Diane Roark is conducting her own case...if so...I am most impressed...