Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release


Press Release

Libyan Renditions Case: Hearing Today on Secret Spy Policies

Two Libyan families who have sued the UK government over their rendition to Gaddafi’s torture chambers will today, in an Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) at 5pm, seek disclosure of secret government policies about whether private calls with their lawyers can be spied on and privileged information from those calls misused.
The families of Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi were kidnapped in Southeast Asia in 2004 and sent to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6-Libyan operation. Messrs. Al-Saadi and Belhaj were ‘rendered’ along with their two wives and Mr al-Saadi’s four children, who were between the ages of six and twelve at the time of the rendition. The two men were held in secret detention until 2010.The Belhaj family is suing the UK government, ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, and former MI6 counter-terror head Sir Mark Allen for their kidnap and torture, and cooperating with an ongoing Scotland Yard investigation into the UK role in the kidnappings.
Today’s hearing involves a related claim, in which the families allege that the UK government spied on their private calls with their lawyers about these cases, and that information from their conversations was improperly passed to lawyers or government officials involved in the torture cases.
The complaint was made after it emerged that each of the security services has a legal policy about what to do when private lawyer-client information is swept up during surveillance. Those policies have not been disclosed to the families in this case; the government claims that the contents of these policies are secret.
The IPT hears surveillance complaints against the security services, and operates under rules different from that of a regular court – it has, for example, routinely held hearings in a judge’s chambers without notifying complainants, such as these families, in advance. The Tribunal has also, to date, never upheld a complaint against the security services.
At today’s hearing, lawyers for the families will argue that legal policies on interception of privileged material cannot be properly secret, and that the IPT can – and should – order the government to turn these policies over. The Government have suggested that the IPT lacks power to order disclosure from the parties, a suggestion the families’ lawyers contend would mean the IPT would fail the most basic definition of a ‘court’.

The hearing will take place at: The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Rolls Building, Court 27
Before Mr Justice Burton, sitting with Professor Graham Zellick CBE QC. Thursday 16th October 2014, 5pm.

Cori Crider, Director of Reprieve’s Abuses in Counter-Terrorism team and counsel to the families, said: “The question at the heart of this case is simple. If the spies kidnap you and send you to a torture chamber, and you then sue them for that kidnap, it is all right for them to spy on your calls with your lawyers in order to defend themselves against the torture claim? The government is so desperate to avoid admitting it has done this that it is telling the IPT it has no power to order the government to reveal its policies in this area. But a ‘tribunal’ that cannot order the production of evidence is not really a court at all. We look forward to today’s hearing.”


Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·

Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo