Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Information Commissioner

Home Office Denies FOI Request In Cover-Up Of All Information On Cannabis Production Licences

with 5 comments

On 6th March 2018 CLEAR submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Home Office asking for full details of the licences accounting for the legal production of cannabis in the UK.  This arose from the story which we broke on 4th March revealing that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis, this according to data provided to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) by the government.

The Home Office has refused the request.  Its grounds for refusal are that disclosure “would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime“.

Presumably this means that the commercial interest of GW Pharmaceuticals and whoever else has been granted such licences would be prejudiced and that they would risk robbery or other crime at their places of business.

INCB Production of Cannabis 2015-2016

We consider this to be false and without any merit whatsoever. How would it prejudice anyone’s commercial interest?  We would not expect any detail that goes behind the licence holder’s normal commercial confidence and it must be right that the identity of those companies or individuals licenced to produce cannabis should be on the public record together with outline information about the terms of the licence – what is it for, for what period, in what quantities.  Furthermore, with the security precautions required for such a licence, any attempt at crime would be foolhardy and utterly stupid.  It would be much easier either to import or produce your own cannabis.  The sort of criminal enterprise that would be required to raid, for instance, one of GW’s grows would be on a grand scale, incredibly risky and with sentences probably higher than for production of cannabis.

Clearly, disclosure of the information around these licences could, in any case, be limited to redact any specific information which should be kept confidential

It’s quite clear that this refusal is simply an excuse, probably to cover-up not only the extent of the licences but also the basis on which they have been issued.

Of course, the Home Office has pre-empted the next step in a FOI request and states that “the public interest falls in favour” of not providing this information.  We consider this to be nonsense.  It is clear that the public interest (not just the interest of the public) is very much that the issue of such licences should be a matter of public record.  It is outrageous that this information is being kept secret.

The answer to the second part of our FOI Request provides further insight into how little trust can be placed in the Home Office and demonstrates that its answers are dishonest.  In answer to a written question in Parliament on 1st March 2018, Home Office minster Nick Hurd MP said “No licences for pharmaceutical companies to grow and process medicinal cannabis for exportation to other countries have been issued.”  However the INCB report, which information can only have come from the Home Office, shows that in 2015/16 the UK exported 2.1 tons of medical cannabis.  We asked for an explanation of how Mr Hurd’s answer is consistent with the facts reported.

Nick Hurd MP, Home Office Minister

The Home Office’s answer is that “these figures could include any plant material exported for pharmaceutical purposes or pharmaceutical products containing cannabinoids that are manufactured in the UK and exported, such as Sativex.” and that it takes ‘medicinal cannabis’ to mean “substances produced to be consumed, be that smoked or ingested in any way.”

It is clear therefore that the Home Office has given two different answers to the same question and that the answer given to the INCB is correct whereas the answer given by Mr Hurd is without doubt intended to mislead Parliament.  It also seeks falsely to create a distinction between Sativex and other forms of cannabis which is manifestly and beyond doubt another deception, based on information published by GW Pharmaceuticals which CLEAR revealed in 2016.

In summary therefore, the Home Office has refused to answer the FOI Request in relation to licensing on grounds which are entirely spurious and has demonstrated that it is actively engaged in deceiving both Parliament and the public on the export of medicinal cannabis from the UK.

Following the required procedure, we have now requested an internal review of the Home Office’s handling of the FOI Request.  We argue that: “It goes directly to the question of the massive public demand for legal access to cannabis for medical use and the total denial of this by government. This policy is itself irrational and against the public interest and the refusal to disclose the information requested is a political cover-up.”

We anticipate this will be a whitewash and further attempt at a cover-up. Thereafter we have a right to complain to the Infomation Commissioner.  At this stage we would also seek to mobilise support from MPs with an interest in this area.  Ultimately, we may be able to apply to the High Court for judical review of the Home Office’s decision and we will consider mounting a crowdfunding campaign to enable this.

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Banker Robbers Supreme At The Court Of Contempt

with 4 comments

In an outrageous and disgraceful judgment the supreme court (no more capital “S” or “C” from me) has protected our corrupt banking institutions from the Office Of Fair Trading.  See the full story here.

Stupid Old Fools

The supreme court had the opportunity in one of its first judgments to set itself on the side of the people and justice.  Instead it has shown itself to be on the side of the establishment, the banker robbers and the executive.  If only this would herald the arrival of the tumbrils and guillotine into the streets of London.  Then the bankers and the judges would understand the meaning of injustice as their headless bodies lie in the street and others twitch and dangle from the gallows.

The OFT has been shown to be as toothless and useless as the Data Protection Act and the Information Commissioner.  These institutions are established merely as a sop to public opinion.  The establishment, the banker robbers and the executive have  no interest in justice for the people, only in lining their own pockets and protecting their own interests.  They can lend each other £60 billion or more in secret, deceive the public interest, yet they will not overturn the gross injustice and blatant thievery that are bank charges.

The bankers and the judges molested and buggered each other at Eton and Harrow.  They molested and buggered each other at Oxbridge.  Now incapable, except for a little self-molestation, they are buggering us.  Watch them get away with it as they duck, dive, lie, cheat and bribe their way out of trouble.  It may be difficult to prove the brown envelopes changing hands but what is happening in these judges’ offshore accounts?  We hold you all in the deepest contempt!

Next will come the supreme court overturning Sir Christopher Kelly’s proposal for the reform of MPs’ expenses.  Coming up on the inside is the Iraq Inquiry which will almost certainly see Tony Blair off the hook for lying to Parliament and the people.

It may be difficult to contemplate revolution in the modern age but in 1789 Paris and 1917 Moscow that was their modern age.  The establishment needs to understand that its conduct is unacceptable, that with the gift of the internet and communications technology, the people have far more power. You are walking a tightrope towards your own destruction.

Experian And Equifax – Tyrants And Oppressors

with 2 comments

Recently I have been the victim of false and inaccurate information published on my credit file.  I am certain that there are hundreds of thousands of other people in the same position.  Experian and Equifax, the two key offenders in this, seem to be above the law, certainly above justice.  They can say what they want with impunity and if you want to do anything about it you are faced with convoluted, complicated and lengthy processes that are clearly designed to grind you down and deter any correction of the nonsense that these modern day robber barons want to publish.

The Data Protection Act, which is supposed to protect us from such iniquitous conduct and the Information Commissioner, who is supposed to be our guardian in such matters, are both toothless, useless and all part of the self-sustaining system promulgated by the banks which is a matter of national scandal.

Of course, a large part of their power comes from the fact that nobody wants to put their head above the parapet for fear of making their own position worse.  This is the real iniquity which makes their oppression self-sustaining, in fact, makes it stronger and stronger the longer it is allowed to continue.

At the most basic level you are entitled under law to get a copy of your own credit file within seven days for a fee of £2.00.  I wonder if anyone has ever actually achieved this?  It took me something in excess of six weeks to get mine after I’d been told that my requests hadn’t been received, that my identity needed to be verified, that they had a large backlog of requests.  They use the Data Protection Act as a reason they cannot  comply with the Data Protection Act and if you make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, as I have, well you might as well p**s in the wind because it just gets lost in a morass of queues, delays, bureaucracy and I expect I’ll be lucky to hear anything a year from now.

There are many, many more impenetrable layers to this.  Experian and Equifax both operate some of the worst designed, most difficult websites I have ever come across.  They provide you with reference numbers that when you enter them precisely as given to you in writing you are told that they are in an “incorrect format”.  They promise to acknowledge queries but do not do so.  They provide hundreds and hundreds of pages of useless, confusing, mind-numbing “information” which you have to wade through before you can make a specific enquiry.

There is only one conclusion that any reasonable person can make and that it that these websites are deliberately designed to obfuscate, to confuse and to deter the man in the street from proceeding any further.

I discovered a County Court Judgment registered against me in a case where I am suing a local authority (yes, I am suing them!) and in which I have a document in front of me with a Court stamp stating that no such judgment exists.  I discovered another entirely fictitious judgment which was shown on my credit file this month (August), supposedly made in 2006, which did not show on my own copy of my credit file in June.

The buck really does stop with the Information Commissioner but he, Richard Thomas, appointed by the Queen, as I have already demonstrated, is worse than useless and is merely a sop to deflect any concern about this dastardly conduct that the banks and financial tyrants are engaged in.