Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

09 - JAN 28 - Réponse ex. HO à FOI



Le Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) britannique, « loi pour la liberté d'information » est inspiré de la loi américaine signée le 4 juillet 1966 par le président Lyndon B. Johnson dans le contexte de la guerre du Vietnam, et entrée en application l'année suivante. Fondée sur le principe de la liberté d'information, elle oblige les agences fédérales à transmettre leurs documents à quiconque en fait la demande, quelle que soit sa nationalité. L'accès à l'information est toutefois restreint par neuf exemptions : la sécurité nationale, le secret défense, la politique internationale, les secrets de fabrication, le secret médical et la vie privée, ainsi que certaines informations géologiques et géophysiques.
75 pays dans le monde ont une procédure de type FOIA. Celle de la Suède est en vigueur depuis 1776, celle du Royaume-Uni depuis 2005. En France, c'est la Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs (CADA), créée en 1978, qui est compétente pour fournir des avis aux particuliers qui se heurtent au refus d'une administration de communiquer un ou plusieurs documents qu'elle détient.

Réponse du Home Office 

à une requête d'information sur les comptes en banque des MC et leurs cartes de crédit, faite à l'abri du Freedom of Information Act 2000
La question découlait du fait que ces informations bancaires, demandées par la PJ dès le premier jour de l'enquête, et redemandées plus tard par les enquêteurs, n'ont jamais été été fournies par les autorités britanniques, bien que ce type de diligence soit basique dans une affaire criminelle. Certaines données (leurs adresses bancaires) concernant les TP7 sont parvenues à la PJ, quant aux MC, les autorités britanniques ont fini par déclarer qu'elles ne fourniraient aucune information d'ordre financier concernant le couple, se limitant à déclarer qu'il n'y avait pas trace de carte de crédit ou d'emprunt.


Questions :
Y avait-il quelque document montrant que ni Gerald ni Kate MC ne possédait de carte bancaire, de crédit ou de débit,  entre le 25 avril et le 12 septembre 2007 ? Y avait-il  quelque document montrant qu'une telle affirmation avait été faite par le HO au LC ? Et si un tel document n'existait pas, une telle affirmation avait-elle été faite oralement par un agent du HO à un agent du LC ? Y avait-il enfin quelque document ou extrait bancaire attestant de transactions faites par les MC entre le 4 mai2007 et le 21 juillet 2008.

La section 1 du FOIA concerne deux exigences faites aux autorités publiques face aux requêtes. La première est de cofirmer ou de réfuter que l'information requise est réellement détenue par l'institution questionnée. La seconde est que l'information requise soit fournie là où il a été confirmé qu'elle existe.
Le HO n'est pas en mesure ni de confirmer ni de réfuter qu'il détient l'information pertinente concernant la requête car la première exigence ne s'applique pas en vertu des préconisations suivantes :
- porte préjudice )aux relations internationales,
- porte préjudice aux activités des forces de police,
- met en danger la santé et la sûreté (la santé et la sûreté concernant MMC)

Résultat : refus 

Par ailleurs, le HO ne commentera aucune information contenue dans le livre de Gonçalo Amaral, La Vérité du Mensonge, car cela minerait potentiellement les enquêtes en cours.
On remarquera que, à cette date, aucune enquête n'était en cours.
Il y a plusieurs éléments sensibles dans votre requête, étant donné que MMC est encore perdue de vue et que l'enquête continue. Confirmer ou réfuter si une information est détenue pourrait miner l'enquête, porter préjudice aux relations internationales et mettre en danger la santé et la sûreté des membres du public.
Nous avons pris en compte l'intérêt du public dans notre décision et nous croyons que, en ce moment, celui-ci celui-ci va fortement dans le sens de ne pas confirmer ni réfuter que l'information requise est ou n'est pas détenue par le HO.
Cette réponse ne devrait pas être prise pour une preuve concluant que l'information demande ou bien existe ou bien n'existe pas.

Comment faut-il la prendre alors ? Comme une réponse qui n'en est pas ? Une apparence de réponse, un objet factice imitant une réponse, un semblant de réponse ou un faux-semblant ?  L'action d'envoyer une réponse est un simulacre, on feint d'exécuter l'action de répondre. Comment nommer un tel énoncé ? Une non-réponse ? 
Un recours est possible ! Mais l'histoire montre que ite missa est, ce qui est dit est dit.
On appréciera que la sûreté et la santé de MMC sont évoqués en association avec un "assaillant". Le HO a beau dire que la juridiction principale est portugaise, il fait comme si le rapport de non-lieu n'existait pas.

Steve Greenberg



Organised & International Crime Directorate
5th Floor Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Switchboard xxx Fax xxx Direct Line xxx E-mail xxx
http://www.homeoffice.gov.ukMs xxx Our ref: xxx
xxx@xxx
Date:28th January 2009
Dear Ms xxx
RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST
HOME OFFICE MATERIAL RELATING TO MADELEINE MCCANN


I am writing further to my correspondence on the 16th December 2008. We are now in a position to offer a full reply to your request. I would like to apologise for the length of time it has taken to respond to your request. This delay has been due to giving full and due consideration to the public interest test together with the necessity to consult with other agencies.

It is noted that your request was to essentially seek information for any record or document or extract thereof reporting or evidencing that neither of the parents of Madeleine Beth McCann possessed any credit card or debit card from any financial institution during the period 25th April 2007 and 12th September 2007. You additionally requested any record or document or extract thereof reporting or evidencing that the alleged affirmation was made by any official of the Home Office to any police officer in the Leicestershire Constabulary and failing the existence of any written record whether such affirmation was made verbally the name of the official(s) and the recipient officer(s). The request was also seeking information of any record or document or extract reporting or evidencing the credit card or debit transactions made by the parents of Madeleine Beth McCann between the 4th May 2007 and 21st July 2008.
Your request for information has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) and we are now able to provide you with a substantive response to your request.
Section 1 of the Act places two duties on public authorities when handling requests. The first of these duties, provided at s1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information requested is actually held by that authority. The second duty is for that information to be disclosed where it has been confirmed that it exists. This is provided under s1(1)(b).
The Home Office can neither confirm nor deny that we hold information relevant to your request as our duty under s1(1)(a) does not apply by virtue of the following provisions of the Act:
* Section 27(4) – prejudice to International Relations;
* Section 31(3) – prejudice to Law Enforcement activities; and
* Section 38(2) – endangering Health & Safety.
This letter therefore also serves as a refusal notice under s17(1) of the Act.
Furthermore, the Home Office will not comment on any of the information contained in Goncalo Amaral's book, 'A Verdade da Mentira' as it would potentially undermine ongoing investigations.
There are a number of sensitivities relevant to your request, given that Madeleine McCann is still missing and the investigation is still ongoing. Confirming or denying whether any information is held could undermine the investigation, prejudice international relations and could endanger the health and safety of members of the public.
We have considered public interest considerations in making our decision and we have attached these to this letter. We believe that, at this time, the public interest strongly favours neither confirming nor denying that the information you have requested is or is not held by the Home Office.

This response should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested either does or does not exist.
If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling of your request by submitting your complaint within two months to the below address quoting reference xxx


Information Rights Team
Information and Record Management Service
Home Office
4th Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
Or email: xxx
During the independent review the department's handling of your information request will be reassessed by an official that was not involved in providing you with this response. Should you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.
I realise that you may be disappointed with this response. However we have considered your request with great care, and the Home Office always seeks to provide as much information as it is able to.
Thank you for your interest in the Home Office.
Yours sincerely
xxx
Team Leader
UK Central Authority

Public Interest Considerations
s.17 – Refusal of request

(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision in part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with section1(1), give the applicant a notice which -
(a) states the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
s.27 – International Relations
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice,
(a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other state,
(b) relations between the United Kingdom and any international organisation or international court
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) – (a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

s.31 – Law Enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
(a) the prevention or detection of crime,
(b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders,
(c) the administration of justice,
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)
s.38 – Health & Safety
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to-
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or
(b) endanger the safety of any individual.
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

Harm and prejudice
The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still ongoing. There are significant unknowns in relation to her disappearance. Leicestershire Constabulary are the lead force in the UK dealing with this investigation but the principle investigation agency is Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal. We believe that significant harm to the investigation could result from either confirming or denying that we hold the information you have asked for.
Should this investigation lead to a prosecution, saying whether or not this information is or is not held by the Home Office would risk undermining the human rights of any suspect to a fair trial and the rights of a victim, particularly if the prosecution would fail due to such an announcement.
If the Home Office was to either confirm or deny that it did or did not hold any information that was gathered in the course of this investigation, it might risk compromising the conduct of this investigation. This could ultimately prejudice the administration of justice. In any event, to confirm or deny that any such information that was or was not obtained in the course of a criminal investigation, either voluntarily or through compulsory powers, ought not to be generally disclosed, save as far as it is necessary for the purposes of establishing or defending rights in litigation. 
There is consequently a strong public interest in ensuring that evidence is not contaminated for any future trial. In addition there is a strong public interest to preserve relations with the Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal whilst Madeleine remains missing.
Two of the Home Office's objectives are to support the efficient and effective delivery of justice, and to lead visible, responsive and accountable policing. The manner in which the Home Office works to support the Police Service as a whole is one of our core business functions.
If the Home Office prejudiced such a high-profile and sensitive investigation by confirming or denying that we either do or do not hold any of the information that you have requested, we would be seen as working against the efforts of both UK and Portuguese policing authorities, undermining their determined efforts to locate Madeleine McCann and her assailants. This would not be in the best interests of the public.
Any prejudicial effects to these ongoing investigations could jeopardise the health & safety, of Madeline McCann, in that it might significantly affect the chances of her being found. There is no actual public interest served in releasing information that may jeopardise the health & safety of any individual.
There is a strong public interest in the UK maintaining the arrangements it currently enjoys with other States in matters of judicial and mutual legal cooperation in criminal and other matters. Any act that would prejudice this investigation may discourage other States with complying with reasonable requests issued by the UK or from pursuing legitimate investigations in the UK for fear that the product of such requests or investigations may be disclosed to private citizens.