Tag Archives: women

#LetsTalk: Important New Procedural Information for #Womens Activists #global




For all activists working on behalf of women everywhere, this is to share some recent global procedural changes at the International Criminal Court in the Hague in case you haven’t seen them. I suspect they could prove extremely useful to us all.




The information came to light as a result of campaigning with #women2gether – a group of British women activists who have emerged as a result of campaigns representing the needs of poor, sick and disabled under austerity.

[For seeking deeper background, the rabbithole is here:

#women2gether began with this post from my colleague, Jayne Linney:


Seeing another petition to the ICC resulted in our doing this:


(Please note: the examples referred to in the petition are neither exclusive or exhaustive – they were used only for illustrating the principle issue of  austerity as a crime against humanity)


In response, a disability activist colleague – Samuel Miller – posted this about his experiences with the ICC and UN:


This is my ‘reply’ to his information:



It led me to take a further look at the ICC itself and its behaviour/decisions. This is what I found following a brief search:



(Please note how the women’s arguments are gaslighted, derailed, distracted, silenced and otherwise victim-blamed by legal and media commentaries.  Note, too,  the general assumption that there is no alternative to austerity).

We are not the only European women with similar opinions who are acting on them:







New Information:


As a result, I did another brief search of the ICC itself and it is this information particularly that I am aiming to draw to the attention of  global women activists (and the men who support us):


Firstly; past behaviour of the court shows clear evidence that its actions and decisions are  systemically and institutionally racist. Take a look at this:


There is no way anyone can convince me that crimes against humanity on this planet occur only in Africa. So the assumption that all other world governments – especially those led by white men – can be assumed to behave lawfully is clearly unsafe because it’s not supported by evidence. However…


Secondly: The ICC has a very interesting new Chief Prosecutor: Mrs Fatou Bensouda, of The Gambia, who took up her appointment on 15 June 2012. It is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Bensouda was not in overall charge of the case management of  Greek austerity, because the case was already up and running when she was appointed.


Thirdly:  Since her arrival in office, the ICC has published TWO new protocols – one applied and one in draft:

Code of Conduct for the office of the Prosecutor.pdf  (effective from 5th September 2013)


DRAFT Policy Paper on Sexual and Gender Based Crimes, February 2014 – OTP-draft-policy-paper-February2014-Eng.pdf


I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know the finer points of all this, but when we apply general Human Rights principles – which the Court exists to uphold – using the measures contained in both the Prosecutors’ Code and the Draft Policy, the problems we know are there become very apparent.


Activist Observations:


I’ve only perused these briefly as potential working tools for activists but I’m already impressed and see a number of very worthwhile opportunities worth testing. Personally, I would like to see ‘test-runs’ of BOTH procedures to check if they actually work for women.


I can also see opportunities to accuse the Court itself of gender crimes against humanity because, in their Greek austerity ruling, the following occurred:

1. The ICC only considered a very limited male view of the economic situation as ‘legitimate’. Women’s experience and evidence was ‘overlooked’ in favour of a very small but extremely wealthy interest-group who have vested interests in the case of austerity’s impact on women remaining unheard, despite incontrovertible evidence that the cumulative  impact is systemically lethal to both us and our children.

2. The ICC failed to address the serious economic inequalities of the presenting protagonists and take these into account. It did nothing to equalize this discrepancy in representation:

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/k7lk42 < (Women ought to recognise this situation only too well)

The  derogation of  the Court’s duty to ensure equality of resources for the legal representation of women cannot but result in anything other than an unsafe judgement. These were economically-deprived-by-intent non-legal professional women presenting legal arguments against well-trained and richly-rewarded lawyers aiming to excuse the ‘accused’ from their social duties and responsibilities towards women in their political and economic decision-making.  Under Human Rights standards, there is no way this could ever be regarded as a ‘fair’ hearing.

3. In only ‘recognising’ the men’s legal arguments around austerity  – already known to be deeply prejudiced against women in Britain alone – the Court excluded and silenced our voices and experiences, at a time when we can be shown to be carrying the greatest consequences, up to and including the violation of ALL our human rights.

If my interpretation is correct, this then renders the Court culpable in aiding and abetting economic gender-based crimes against humanity. The evidence shouldn’t be hard to find in events since this ruling was made.

4. In doing all of the above, as well as additionally and apparently participating in the gaslighting and legal mockery of the Greek women appellants, the Court took it’s eye off the ball of “Crimes Against Humanity” and colluded with silencing the viewpoint and experience of women,  derailing it into a legal cul-de-sac, where more general lawful principles of whether imposed economic austerity constitutes a crime against the majority of humanity was sidelined and silenced too. These principles – which the Court exists to uphold – appear to have been discounted in favour of legalistic arguments aimed apportioning blame and relieving government officials of their public duties or responsibilities to ALL the nationals they are answerable to. This is particularly the case in Europe, when ECHR lays these requirements down on those national governments forming a part of the EEC.

5. If my activist arguments have any traction, none of the above will accord with the Articles of Rome, which intends for women to have an equal voice in what constitutes crimes against humanity. Again, if my assessment is at all accurate, we ought to have tangible legal evidence pouring out of every orifice!

As both a woman and an activist, my own response is that can fuck off back wherever it came from, together with the corruption it rode in on.




From my own perspective, I can see any number of possible new opportunities for women in these developments, not just locally but globally. Additionally, it seems as though the ICC prosecutor is seeing exactly the same issues. Whilst us Brits will pursue our own activities, since this is a global problem we’re all experiencing, I believe it’s vital to share this.


When 90 percent of Iceland’s women went on strike in 1975

When 90 percent of Iceland’s women went on strike in 1975


Final thought:


One small thought about how the global women’s  situation might be resolved…


In the case of economic austerity, there does seem to be one simple solution in redressing the crimes against women and children. It particularly appeals to me because I can just imagine the reaction from the very small minority affected by it:

Economic inequality is very well recorded; the difference between the wealth of, literally, a handful of men and most women – globally – is so great as to be hard to actually conceive, even in the face of the evidence.




If we can prove there are gender crimes against humanity and have this ruled in the ICC, we’d have to consider arguments as to how it could be resolved. Taking a look at existing evidence, I’d say fifty-percent of  all humanity’s global wealth presently in the control of private interests was stolen from women… and we want it back. If men want to play hierarchies with their part of economy that’s their business – impoverished women have our own, very different, priorities that urgently need tending to.

If the ICC ruled in favour of women’s equality of resources, even just for legal preparation and investigations, it would begin the process of returning women’s economic resources to equal standards and enable us to begin undoing the lethal and cruel damage this entire system has crushed down upon women, and our children, everywhere…

And if these obscenely-rich and mainly white men refuse? That ought to be fascinating to watch… and record!


Whether any of this has any traction is for you to decide – I’ve simply see a realistic opportunity for all of us that’s worth sharing.



The Changing Standards of Acceptable Behaviour in British Public Life




Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I worked as a local government officer.


In the early 1980’s, before the Spirit of Thatcherism buried it’s taproot of power into the British political system, to be a public servant demanded a higher standard of behaviour. It was codified in a Contract of Employment that set these standards at a national level (colloquially known as ‘The Purple Book’) and these were negotiated by the white-collar trade union, NALGO (long since assimilated into UNISON). Whilst some trade union agreements might be negotiated at branch level, the Purple Book was the local government shop steward’s bible.


During my time as an LGO, I was also a NALGO rep and I learned a great deal about the standards expected of public employees from the personnel staff I dealt with. We wrote and reviewed staff disciplinary procedures together in order to maintain these standards and always, at the heart of any issue, were the mutual concerns that discipline be upheld in the interests of the tax-paying public.


Among these standards, in addition to actually being competent, was the demand for truthfulness and honesty because it was held to be vital to the delivery of public services. Call me old-fashioned but I still believe this is true. If anyone is involved in delivering such services, those who foot the bill for this through national and local taxation should reasonably expect honesty and truthfulness in the public interest. When these standards fail, disciplinary action should be expected to be taken against the perpetrator. At that time, such standards were also applied to elected public officials too.


As a shop steward I learned that, in practice, disciplinary action could often be averted because management had failed to follow the proper procedures designed to ensure that anyone facing allegations of misconduct was dealt with fairly. As one full-time official I knew put it, “A person who is guilty of misconduct should be disciplined or sacked – our task as TU officials is to make sure management do it properly.” It’s a basic rule-of-thumb I’ve never found reason to disagree with but somewhere along the line, someone has. Whether this alteration is in the public interest really is for the public to decide.


There is a reason I raise this issue now. In the last few days, the UK Prime Minister has reshuffled his Cabinet. One of the survivors of these changes has been the Home Secretary, Theresa May. This becomes interesting because, at age 56 (on 1.10.12), she outlasts slightly younger female colleagues who have, allegedly, been sacked for being “too old”. In addition, Mrs May has a criminal conviction as a direct result of her work as Home Secretary. Under the kind of employment contract I was subject to, this would have been regarded as a potentially sackable offence, yet the lady remains firmly in office, so something has changed and it might not be for the better.


Yesterday, I took a closer look at Mrs. May and her performance as Home Secretary during the London Olympics Security debacle – I might have called it a ‘scandal’ were it not for the fact that the issue seems to have disappeared from public view. I’m going to post my findings in full because, as a retired shop steward of the old school, I still adhere to the requirement for proper evidence.  As the reader, you are invited to make up your own mind on whether she has a case to answer. Bear in mind that, in the employment law I was taught, a decision to dismiss does not have to meet the standard of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ (the measure for criminal law) but can be determined on the balance of probability. My evidence is taken from media reports at the time.


The evidence begins here:



London 2012 Olympics: G4S blame £283 million security costs on Government and Locog | The Telegraph

The private security provider to the London Olympics has defended its £284m contract and blamed the tripling of security costs on the Government and Games organisers.




Time might run out for Olympic security recruitment | Financial Times

Mark Hamilton, the managing director of G4S’ security personnel, fears that time may run out for Olympic security recruitment as 10,300 of the necessary 13,300 guards are still awaiting training.

Unchecked – behind paywall: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d5cc5ada-a59a-11e1-a77b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1w5mGktSF


The story breaks here:



London 2012: concern mounts over potential shortage of security guards | Sport | The Guardian

The home secretary, Theresa May, has stepped in amid growing concern that additional military personnel may be needed to make up the shortfall. It is understood May called senior G4S executives on Friday after the firm failed to supply enough staff for patrols last week at venues in the Olympic park in east London.




Military drafted in after G4S Olympic staffing failure | Channel 4 News

‘Locog originally contracted G4S to provide 2,000 security guards out of the 10,000 required. But when Locog re-estimated the total number needed to 23,700, G4S agreed in December to supply 10,000 personnel total out of 23,700. The new contract is worth an estimated £284m.

Channel 4 News understands that G4S are subject to a penalty fine per venue, per day if they ultimately fail to meet the agreed staffing levels and that senior managers have been demoted as a result.’




Olympic security: army reinforcements called in to fill G4S shortfall | Sport | The Guardian

The home secretary, Theresa May, has been pressing G4S to provide assurances over its commitments, but patience in Whitehall ran out last weekend and talks began over whether the Ministry of Defence could fill the gap…

The Home Office permanent secretary, Dame Helen Ghosh, has admitted that Locog’s original “best estimate” of 10,000 security staff within venues had been a “finger in the air” exercise….



May battles for trust as army steps in – FT.com

Amid fiery questioning from fellow MPs Theresa May denied charges from the opposition that she was presiding over a security “shambles”, and admitted that the G4S personnel shortfall had only “crystallised” 24 hours earlier, despite close Home Office supervision of the £284m contract….

Ms May reassured MPs that all the costs would be met from the £553m budget for venue security, and that financial penalties would be imposed on G4S for failing to meet its obligations…



BBC News – Olympics security not compromised, Theresa May says

Theresa May said it was discovered only on Wednesday – 16 days before the Games begin – that contractor G4S did not have enough trained security staff…



Theresa May grilled over G4S Olympics shambles – YouTube



Other links:




EXCLUSIVE: Theresa May Wrong about G4S Olympics Security Farce, Says Soldier – IBTimes UK

Theresa May’s claim that the government knew that additional British Army soldiers were needed for Olympics security only on the day before she made the announcement has been branded inconceivable by a soldier drafted in at the last minute to work at the games….

A member of an air assault infantry battalion, who has served in Afghanistan, the source told IBTimes UK that his regiment was informed that they would be needed for the games on 9 July – two days before May claimed she knew.



They left Olympics high and dry – but G4S will not pay penalty – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

“But a senior Government source told The Independent that the contract with G4S did not include a penalty clause.

The revelation appears to contradict a statement by the Home Secretary Theresa May in the House of Commons. She told MPs that while the contract was between G4S and the Games organisers Locog, she understood that there were “penalties within that contract”.

A source said that in fact it was a pro-rata agreement where G4S were paid for each extra security guard they supplied – and not penalised if they did not make the overall target. “The person who negotiated the contract should be shot,” the source said.”




Olympic security not compromised by G4S shortfall, says Lord Coe | UK news | guardian.co.uk

“He (Hunt) said the government had “of course been monitoring the situation with G4S, and their management told us right up until last week that everything was on track. But we’ve had that contingency plan for many months and we are just very lucky to have fantastic armed services who can come when we need them and they will do a brilliant job.”

Home Office ministers were warned about security issues surrounding the Games 10 months ago. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary raised its concerns in a confidential report in September 2011 after a number of inspections to test that the security plans of Locog, the Games organising committee, were on track.

The Home Office said HMIC had not carried out an investigation into G4S, and the issues flagged by HMIC had all been dealt with by February.”



Exclusive: May ‘was told 10 months ago of G4S failings’ – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

“A confidential report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary was presented to Home Office ministers in September 2011, which should have raised alarm bells about the readiness of G4S.

The report by the police watchdog into Olympics security preparedness – which has never been published – raised serious issues over G4S last year, The Independent on Sunday understands. It is not known whether the Home Secretary personally saw the report or whether it only went across the desk of James Brokenshire, her junior minister.”




G4S assured us they would ‘overshoot’ Olympic staffing, says Theresa May | Business | guardian.co.uk

“She (May) also strongly denied weekend press reports that ministers knew long before last Wednesday that there would be not be enough private security staff to guard the 100 Olympic venues around Britain. MPs repeatedly raised with her reports that the London mayor, Boris Johnson, and his policing deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, had said that everybody involved had known about the problem “ages ago”.

She said of reports that G4S had warned the crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, at repeated meetings: “In fact, G4S repeatedly assured us that they would overshoot their targets,” she said.

May also rejected claims that ministers must have known about the shortfall because troops had been put on standby in April.”



Video: Theresa May: G4S failed in its Olympics obligation – Telegraph



BBC News – London 2012: May defends Games security plans

“But Labour’s Yvette Cooper said Mrs May should have known about the problem.

“Even G4S say they have been discussing the detailed shortfall for eight or nine days, yet last Monday the home secretary told the House she was confident our partners will deliver.

“It is incomprehensible that monitoring was that poor that no one told her until Wednesday,” she said.

“How on earth could the minister responsible for delivering Olympic security be the only person who didn’t know?”

Ms Cooper also told MPs Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson had admitted the problems were known about “ages ago”, and his deputy Stephen Greenhalgh had claimed security concerns had been raised “repeatedly”…”

“Mrs May told the Commons last week that there were penalties written into the G4S contract but did not give details.

Late on Friday, G4S said it faced a £35m-£50m loss on the £284m contract after failing to recruit enough security guards for the Olympics.”



BBC News – Locog missed G4S’s corner-cutting says insider

“An insider from the committee organising the Olympics (Locog) has told Newsnight that they failed to deal with the problems at G4S despite warnings over the last 18 months.

The individual, who does not want to be named, said: “G4S have been appalling.”

He claims those in charge of Locog’s security were “amateurish” and it was a mistake using one company to supply staff.

Newsnight put these allegations to Locog and they have not responded.

The insider says Locog’s event services division used a number of contractors to supply thousands of stewards and that has worked well but the security division put all its eggs in one basket.

“It was the wrong strategy, to use only one company.”

He also says that there was inadequate scrutiny.

“They couldn’t spot when contractors were cutting corners.”

The insider who has worked in security for many years asserts that “at the top level” the management of security at Locog was “thoroughly amateurish and incompetent”.

Watch the full report on Newsnight on Monday 16 July 2012 at 2230 BST on BBC Two. Or afterwards on BBC iPlayer and the Newsnight website.”




Nick Buckles: G4S reputation is in tatters after Olympics shambles | Metro.co.uk

“Mr Buckles explained how he had told organiser Locog on July 3 that his company experienced a shortfall over the weekend.

It was monitored daily but it was not until an Olympics Security Board meeting on July 11 that G4S said it was not going to meet its contract obligations…”

” ‘G4S only told the government that they would be unable to meet their contractual arrangements last Wednesday and we took immediate action,’ Ms May said.”

“However, further developments have suggested problems with the security contingent were first noted almost a year ago by senior workers closer to the planning.”



(Video) Theresa May grilled over G4S Olympics shambles | dotSUB



Home Sec Denies Damning HMIC Report On G4S | UK Police News – Police Oracle




 Home Secretary Theresa May accused of giving ‘selective account’ of G4S Olympics chaos

The revelations call into question claims made by the Conservative Minister who told the Commons the “absolute gap in numbers” was not known until July 11.

It has now emerged that the Home Secretary was aware of problems in security recruitment as early as June 27th.  The details of when she knew of the problems were contained in a letter sent by Mrs May to the Commons Select Committee which has been set up to look into the shambles.

Mrs May wrote: “On June 27 G4S and Locog attended an Olympics Security Board meeting at the Home Office and said they were experiencing scheduling problems.

“They warned of a possible temporary shortfall in G4S deployed number from July 1.

“G4S were unable to specify the size of the shortfall and could say only that it would be ‘significantly less than 1,000’.

“G4S stated that the shortfall was mainly due to the failure to take account of the fact that large parts of their workforce would be unable to begin work before July 27.”

Mrs May went on: “Locog and G4S were pressed to clarify the shortfall and factors which had created it urgently.

“The meeting considered a possible short-term and temporary call on the military contingency force (MCF) which had been created for Olympics purposes.”

Mrs May admitted that permission to put “a small part of the MCF” on 24 hours notice was sought as early as June 28, with the force being mobilised “several days later”.

“But at this stage, of course, G4S were still confident that they would deliver the required numbers,” Mrs May said.

“However, as we now know, this is no longer the case.

“On July 11 G4S told the Olympic Security Board for the first time that they were no longer confident of reaching their workforce targets.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Home Secretary was asked repeatedly when she and the Home Office were warned about problems at G4S, and she repeatedly gave everyone the impression they had only known since July 11.

“Why has Theresa May waited until now to admit the Home Office in fact were warned two weeks earlier? She needs to explain urgently how she justifies having given Parliament and the public such a selective account, and why the Home Office were so slow to respond.”

The admission will increase the pressure on the under fire cabinet minister who has faced criticism after troops and police from across the UK had to be mobilised in order to plug the security gaps left after security firm G4S admitted they could not provide the number of personnel required.”



BBC News – Home Office warned over G4S staffing



Theresa May warned G4S wouldn’t have enough security guards for Games two weeks before she initially claimed | Mail Online




Theresa May gave ‘selective account’ to MPs over supply of G4S guards – Politics – News – Evening Standard


G4S ‘said last month it could get guards,’ Theresa May reveals – Paralympic News – Olympics – Evening Standard



G4S may lose police support jobs after Olympic fiasco | Business | guardian.co.uk




and then something interesting happens…

G4S dismissed Olympic Games ‘teething problems’ – Home News – UK – The Independent




It is here that my own trail of evidence comes to an end.


It is clear that Prime Minister David Cameron believes there is no case to answer. Despite the above; despite Mrs May’s criminal conviction for contempt of court; and despite being ‘too old’, she remains firmly in post as Home Secretary. Nevertheless, in my old-fashioned mind, Theresa May appears to have a case to answer when it comes to standards of behaviour in public life.


What interests me the most is that no-one seems to be calling her to account. For the public – who are paying the bill – this seems very wrong to me but then I am of the old-school who believe there should be higher standards of discipline applied to those in public life. You, the reader, are free to make up your own mind.


As this piece was opened with the magical tool of the story-teller, so I will close it with the same discipline:


“This story was told to someone who told it to a hundred people. Each one told it to a hundred more and they, in turn, passed it on to another hundred. One of those told this story to me and you are one of the hundred I am telling it to.”