Lord Carlile, the government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2001 until January 2011. He is a deputy high court judge and a recorder of the Crown court.LORD CARLILE (excerpts):
Thank you, Robert, as Robin said, I am a Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords, which means that these days, somewhat to my surprise, I find myself on the government's side. That means that we get three line whips, which I don't think I ever experienced as a liberal in the House of Lords. There we are. We have missed one vote and we will have to go back from the rest.
Can I start by echoing what has been said abot Camp Ashraf and the situation there today. I think everybody here would join with me and everyone, and Robin said this very eloquently, in passing our affection, our concern, and for me as a lawyer our deep sense of injustice, as to what the international community is allowing to occur at Camp Ashraf. It is my view that the international community bears a very strong responsibility for this in its weakness in advocating that injustice. We should hear far more from the leading governments of the world.
What I really wanted to talk about was a visit I paid to Washington DC in December of last year, 2010. I went with and on behalf of the PMOI to talk to American lawyers, including the PMOI's American lawyers and the United States government officials about the deproscription case in the United States.
All we are asking the United States government to do is what was eventually achieved here in the United Kingdom, albeit with attrition, and in Europe, which is to take the PMOI in the United States into the family of recognised international institutions.
But whilst I was there, I was table to talk, as I said, to lawyers in the United States, officials, including State Department lawyers, about the deproscription of the PMOI. Now Robin has already spoken about this. Let me just remind you with the short direct quotation of what Lord Philips, then sitting in the Court of Appeal, but now the President of the UK Supreme Court said. He said:
"It is a matter for comment and for regret that the decision making process in this case has singularly fallen short of the standards which our public law sets, and which those affected by public decisions have come to expect."
He confirmed in that judgment that the Secretary of State's decision to refuse to deproscribe the PMOI was a “perverse, irrational, not reasonable, and not such that could have been founded on an honestly held belief by the Secretary of State”. In the UK proceedings, the judgments of which are available publicly, and of course, in every detail to the United States government, every single allegations that could be trotted out against the PMOI was made. Every one of those allegations was considered and every single one of them that was material was demolished by the British courts. Whilst I was in the United States, I pressed the United States government lawyers to tell me of a single piece of evidence that they had, beyond wild allegations made by the regime that cannot be corroborated in any way, that was not rejected by the British courts in carefully reasoned at two senior court levels. They were able to tell me of nothing.
Now I am a friend of the United States, I am a lawyer in our common law jurisdiction, and I admire their common law jurisdiction, just as I think by and large they admire ours, but I do expect the United States, and I have said this to lawyers directly over there, to apply the same rigorous standards of judicial review of executive action to their State Department as were applied in the United Kingdom to our government. So far they have failed to do so. What possible reason could they not have for doing so? Well, Lord Clarke has used the right word in my view; appeasement. For years, as you have heard, the British government and the United States government have appeased the mullahs and Ahmadinejad because they have some kind of perverse belief that things will be better if they do not square up to them. But honestly, what is to be gained from not squaring up to them? What is the evidence that there is anything of advantage from not squaring up to them? What happens now with President Ahmadinejad is a sort of annual ritual. Some western governments appease him and try to ensure that things happen that please the mullahs, and then he goes every year to the United States with his diplomatic immunity, and makes a completely irrational ranting speech before the United Nations in which he repays the attention of the west by ridiculing them. I think it is time for that to stop, isn't it? The clearest way in which the United States government can signal that it is time to stop is applying their bill of rights, their constitution in determining that the PMOI will now be a legal part of campaign in the United States and free to make its cause openly.