Stop the first mass deportation flight to Baghdad

Via Earwicga

First demonstration at Communications House, London, on Wednesday 14th October, 5pm.

The Stop Deportation network and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, along with other groups and organisations, are demanding that the first mass deportation flight to southern Iraq, expected to leave on Wednesday, is suspended and the detainees threatened with forcible removal are released immediately. Over the last week, detainees in various immigration detention centres have been given ‘removal directions’ clearly stating they will be removed to Iraq, rather than the Kurdistan Regional Government-controlled region, which was stated in previous removals.

Deporting people to a war zone like Iraq would put the lives of many deportees at risk. As recently as the 11th October, three car bombs exploded in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing at least 19 people. Violence and bloodshed continue throughout the country, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year alone. There are also widespread food shortages, lack of access to clean drinking water and other grave humanitarian crises in many areas.

The British government, through its participation in the war on and occupation of Iraq since 2003, is responsible for these crises and the consequent displacement of millions of Iraqis. Instead of helping accommodate refugees fleeing war and violence, it is now is planning to send them back en masse to face their possible death.

Deportation charter flights limit refugees’ access to due legal process. The UK Border Agency states that “charter flights may be subject to different arrangements where it is considered appropriate because of the complexities, practicalities and costs of arranging an operation.” Charter flight deportees are told that “removal will not necessarily be deferred in the event that a Judicial Review is lodged.” The emphasis, thus, is on filling the flight rather than ensuring the appropriate legal avenues have been exhausted. Detainees have also lost the right to know the date and time of their removal, making it more difficult for their legal representatives to act properly and leaving deportees in fear and uncertainty for days or weeks.

Iraqi refugees have been forcibly deported to Iraqi Kurdistan (northern Iraq) since November 2005. Mass deportation flights to Kurdistan have been removing 50-60 men almost once a month since June 2008, with the Home Office arguing that, unlike the rest of the country, the Kurdistan area is ’safe’. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees estimate 1,000 people have been deported to Kurdistan from the UK since 2005. Despite these claims of safety, however, several people have died or disappeared following their forcible return, including Hussein Ali who killed himself two days after his arrival in 2008. Many others have been forced into hiding.

The Stop Deportation network and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees call upon all groups, organisations and individuals opposed to this brutal action by the UK government to stand with us in calling for all deportations to Iraq to be stopped. Join us on the first public demonstration against mass deportations to Iraq this Wednesday, at 5pm, at the local immigration reporting centre, where many deportees are first arrested without prior warning whilst signing on (Communications House, Old Street, London, EC1).

If you would like to add your or your organisation’s name to this statement, or for any further information, please email stopdeportation[at]

Other things you can do to help stop this flight:

Contact your local MP and ask them to put pressure on the UK Border Agency to cancel the deportation. You can find your local MP at

Contact the UKBA directly to demand the deportation be cancelled:

Contact the minister for borders and immigration Phil Woolas:
House of Commons phone number: 020 7219 1149
House of Commons fax number: 020 7219 0992
Constituency phone number: 0161 624 4248
Constituency fax number: 0161 626 8572

Please copy stopdeportation[at] in your email correspondence.


The Military Parasite

…as Tom Engelhardt recently reminded us, that Obama’s “civilian” advisors include “Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired lieutenant general who is the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Douglas Lute, a lieutenant general who is the president’s special advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan (dubbed the “war czar” when he held the same position in the Bush administration), and James Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, who is national security advisor, not to speak of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency”? Are we surprised, then, that when we “turn crucial war decisions over to the military, [we] functionally turn foreign policy over to them as well”? And that they, in turn, always opt for more troops, more money, and more war?

Stop Welsh Fascists

Hope Not Hate- The Welsh Defence League – a violent group of anti-Islamic football hooligans – plan on holding an event in Swansea this Saturday and in Newport a week later.  A few weeks ago racists attacked worshippers at a mosque in Swansea, culminating in a pitched battle involving sixty people. Now the WDL want to have another go.

Such actions shame us all – and we must do all that we can to stop this violence occurring again.

Our Welsh organisation, Searchlight Cymru, have just written a letter to the Western Mail stating that we all reject the fear and intimidation of the Welsh Defence League.

And I’d like you to co-sign the letter as well – the WDL may be focusing their attacks on the Welsh Muslim community but by doing so they attack us all:

In truth, this isn’t about religion. It’s about figures on the far right trying to create fear and tension within and between communities – and then capitalise on this division.

But as we understand what they are trying to do, you, I and the thousands of people who view each of us as equals can organise against their hatred and send a clear message: we reject your hate, we reject your fear, we are stronger together than apart.

If you agree with this sentiment please co-sign my letter – and then pass it to all of your friends to co-sign as well:

Together we can make a difference.

Unemployment In Wales Jumps 72%

Alarming figures (and these are the registered claimants, so true numbers will be larger)

THE number of people claiming job seeker’s allowance in Wales soared by 72% in the last 12 months. The largest rise came in the over 50 age group, which increased by 79%.

There was also an 78% rise in those aged between 25-49 seeking to work, and 62% for those who are between 18 and 24 years old. The job seekers benefit count, which had been around 40,000 during every August since 2005, jumped from 45,975 in 2008 to 79,155 in August 2009.

But in contrast, the number of unfilled vacancies across Wales in the same month stood at less than 11,000. The largest proportion of jobcentre vacancies in Wales were in Swansea West constituency at 10% of live unfilled vacancies.

In North Wales, Alyn and Deeside had the highest proportion of unfilled vacancies at 3.8%, followed by Wrexham at 3.6%. Clwyd South has the lowest proportion of similar unfilled vacancies at just 0.6%, compared to 1% in Cynon Valley and 1.1% in Rhondda, Ogmore and Merthyr & Rhymney, and 1.2% in Ynys Môn.

On Anglesey, 1,695 claimants were looking at 131 vacancies, compared to 1,845 claimants and 394 vacancies in Wrexham, and 1,945 claimants and 412 vacancies on Deeside.

The figures were obtained by Plaid Cymru AMs Leanne Wood and Chris Franks, who argued that it would be wrong to expect unemployed people to chase jobs that did not exist. Leanne Wood said: “Any attempt to reduce the overall benefit budget will be disastrous for Wales. These figures show that you cannot force people into jobs that don’t exist.

nb. the use of accepted newspeak jobseekers, seeking work etc. these are government created linguistic scams, the only thing we can objectively say is people are unemployed and that should be the language the media use. There is an ongoing pressure to make unemployment -which neoliberalism relies upon to maintain a ‘flexible’ labour market, ie without protections or a living wage- an unacceptable state of being in order to facilitate cutting welfare, introducing workfare & further terrorising workers into a submissive pliable ‘human resource’. You either work or are desperately trying to work, the fact the jobs do not exist does not mitigate this stigmatising of an ‘undeserving poor’ for our political and media class.

Andrew J. Bacevich: Afghanistan – The Proxy War

Somewhat cold and calculated but nevertheless an interesting dissection of the issues in the US establishment-

No serious person thinks that Afghanistan – remote, impoverished, barely qualifying as a nation-state – seriously matters to the United States. Yet with the war in its ninth year, the passions raised by the debate over how to proceed there are serious indeed. Afghanistan elicits such passions because people understand that in rendering his decision on Afghanistan, President Obama will declare himself on several much larger issues. In this sense, Afghanistan is a classic proxy war, with the main protagonists here in the United States.

The question of the moment, framed by the prowar camp, goes like this: Will the president approve the Afghanistan strategy proposed by his handpicked commander General Stanley McChrystal? Or will he reject that plan and accept defeat, thereby inviting the recurrence of 9/11 on an even larger scale? Yet within this camp the appeal of the McChrystal plan lies less in its intrinsic merits, which are exceedingly dubious, than in its implications.

If the president approves the McChrystal plan he will implicitly:

■ Anoint counterinsurgency – protracted campaigns of armed nation-building – as the new American way of war.

■ Embrace George W. Bush’s concept of open-ended war as the essential response to violent jihadism (even if the Obama White House has jettisoned the label “global war on terror”).

■ Affirm that military might will remain the principal instrument for exercising American global leadership, as has been the case for decades.

Implementing the McChrystal plan will perpetuate the longstanding fundamentals of US national security policy: maintaining a global military presence, configuring US forces for global power projection, and employing those forces to intervene on a global basis. The McChrystal plan modestly updates these fundamentals to account for the lessons of 9/11 and Iraq, cultural awareness and sensitivity nudging aside advanced technology as the signature of American military power, for example. Yet at its core, the McChrystal plan aims to avert change. Its purpose – despite 9/11 and despite the failures of Iraq – is to preserve the status quo.

Hawks understand this. That’s why they are intent on framing the debate so narrowly – it’s either give McChrystal what he wants or accept abject defeat. It’s also why they insist that Obama needs to decide immediately.

Yet people in the antiwar camp also understand the stakes. Obama ran for the presidency promising change. The doves sense correctly that Obama’s decision on Afghanistan may well determine how much – if any – substantive change is in the offing.

If the president assents to McChrystal’s request, he will void his promise of change at least so far as national security policy is concerned. The Afghanistan war will continue until the end of his first term and probably beyond. It will consume hundreds of billions of dollars. It will result in hundreds or perhaps thousands more American combat deaths – costs that the hawks are loath to acknowledge.

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