Mask Of Anarchy

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Iran Blogapalooza: Images Of Tehran

These pictures are courtesy of Jadi at inside Iran and I think they really help to get an idea of the city, for big versions and commentary by Jadi click the pics.

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100+ Women On Hunger Strike In Migrant Detention Centre

At Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, more than 100 women are refusing to eat, and there have been recent reports of major disturbances at Lindholme, South Yorkshire, and at Colnbrook in Middlesex.Self-harm is particularly acute at Yarl’s Wood, which reopened in September 2003 after half of it was gutted by fire during rioting in February 2002. It now houses hundreds of women, many of whom have attempted to claim asylum in Britain after fleeing war zones.

Amid growing concern over Britain’s overstretched asylum system, the campaign group Liberty will call tomorrow for the Home Secretary, John Reid, to order a public inquiry into the large-scale riot at Harmondsworth detention centre in west London last November. If Reid refuses, the group says that it intends to seek a judicial review of his decision on behalf of seven detainees it is representing – an unprecedented move that would see Britain’s immigration system placed under scrutiny in the courts.

An investigation last year into conditions at Yarl’s Wood found 70 per cent of women at the centre had reported rape, nearly half had been detained for more than three months and 57 per cent had no legal representation.

Conditions have not improved, according to campaigners. Assaults are said to be commonplace. One woman was stripped and thrown naked into a van taking her to the airport for deportation only for the pilot to refuse to allow her to fly as she had no clothes.

The women also allege staff regularly refer to them as ‘black monkey’, ‘nigger’ and ‘bitch’. They claim vital faxes from solicitors are going missing and information on basic legal rights is being withheld. Detainees also complain they are given days-old reheated food in which they have found hair, dirt and maggots.

Campaigners are also concerned about conditions at Harmondsworth, where detainees rioted after being banned from watching news coverage of a damning report on the centre.

The Liberty report, to be published tomorrow, contains a clutch of testimonies from detainees about the conditions in Harmondsworth before the riots. One man interviewed for the study told how he was taken to the centre’s medical clinic suffering from a bad back. ‘They just abandoned me,’ the man said. ‘There was no doctor and, when I asked where the doctor was, the detention officers laughed at me … One of them stepped on the hem of my trousers to make me fall over. He then started laughing and called me a “fucking negro”.’

Solitary confinement as a punishment for speaking out at Harmondsworth is common, according to Liberty. ‘If we made a complaint we would be given a warning,’ one man known as ‘K’ told Liberty. ‘If we were given three warnings, we would be put in an isolated cell. We were scared of making complaints against officers because we expected to be treated badly if we did. We were treated like pigs and very unfairly, as if we were serious criminals.’


These prisons for people who have committed no crime are run by private corporations (misery for profit) and this litany of appalling inhumanity should be a national disgrace. To lock people up is bad enough but to then treat them as subhuman by racist bullying staff shows some deep bigotry and callousness at work in British society. I am completely ashamed of this and of my country.

Links to National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns and Liberty.

The link to find your MP and Euro MP’s is in the blog roll but here it is again write to them.

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David Hicks Home In Australia

Hicks ate, chatted and looked out the window during his private jet flight to Adelaide, according to David McLeod. Then, along with his gaolers, he watched the first movie he’d seen in more than five years.

McLeod wouldn’t say what film the strange collection of viewers on board the government-chartered luxury jet had watched.

The Gulfstream landed at Edinburgh RAAF base in Adelaide’s outer suburbs at 9.50am (10.20am AEST).

McLeod, who caught a taxi to Yatala Prison while his client streaked ahead in a full police escort, said the trip had been very pleasant.

“David is well and he enjoyed the trip,” he said. “…He was very glad to be back on Australian soil, he was visibly overjoyed when we touched down in Edinburgh.”

Now Hicks says he wants to repay the faith of those who fought for his release by being a model prisoner. He has instructed Mr McLeod to immediately drop all court actions – including his push for British citizenship – and says he will not take further legal action and will not attemopt to profit from his story.

McLeod said Hicks had suffered some physical ill-effects as a result of his years in Guantanamo Bay, but bigger fears were held for his mental health.

“In the western world’s most notorious prison, he’s become institutionalized,” he said without elaborating.

Put simply it remains to be seen if his mind can ever be set free- and it is appalling that so many news stories report on the charges as if some kind of actual trial happened. The illegal tribunal found him guilty on charges of their choosing after torturing him for five years. I won’t hold my breath to see it reported by the MSM in those accurate terms that show no deference to power. This is how evil thrives, small steps day after day until what was once a lie is repeated as truth, torture becomes ‘abuse’ becomes ‘interrogation’, and a military kangaroo court with no standing in law is called a trial where the verdict is accepted as legitimate.

Chavez Lays The Smackdown On The Pope!

Via Tomorrow, What?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded Pope Benedict apologize to Indians in Latin America for saying this month in Brazil that the Roman Catholic Church purified them. Chavez, who regularly clashes with the Catholic Church in Venezuela but had not directly criticized the Pope before, accused the Pontiff on Friday of ignoring the “holocaust” that followed Christopher Columbus’s 1492 landing in the Americas.

“With all due respect your Holiness, apologize because there was a real genocide here and, if we were to deny it, we would be denying our very selves,” Chavez said at an event on freedom of expression.

In a speech to Latin American and Caribbean bishops at the end of a visit to Venezuela’s neighbor Brazil, the Pope said the Church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Indian leaders in the region were outraged by the comments. Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church, through slaughter, disease or enslavement.

Chavez, who has expanded the rights of indigenous peoples from the Amazon rainforest to the Caribbean, said he felt he was Indian because Venezuelans are a mix of the European race and indigenous peoples. Chavez spoke only days after Venezuelan media interpreted other comments from the Pope as singling out Chavez as a danger to Latin America when he warned of autocrats in the region.

Chavez, who regularly criticizes world figures such as U.S. President George W. Bush, describes himself as Christian, grew up expecting to become a priest and says his socialist policies have roots in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Always remember as well as his nazi youth this pope is a closeted gay who seeks to discriminate against gay people, he was head of the department formally known as the ‘inquisition’ and led the fight against liberation theology. So well done Hugo.