This IS Shock Doctrine

“We now believe that the Spanish economy’s shift away from credit-fuelled economic growth is likely to result in a more protracted period of sluggish activity than we previously assumed,” Standard & Poor’scredit analyst Marko Mrsnik said.

The credit ratings corporations are attacking a country for ideological reasons, Spain (and note a left wing-ish government) wants to run its economy in ways that interfere with the financier’s business, thus they pretend in some scientific objective empirical fashion the nation is downgraded, it is smoke and mirrors. This is a political campaign by global corporate capital to reorder our failing democracies into helpless profit centres for their predation.

What a disaster for the people of Greece.
And what a triumph for Standards and Poors.

Because let’s be clear – Greece will carry on. Its people will survive. With support from Europe democracy will prevail in a country that has seen dictatorship far too recently.

And this then is a crisis created, in the main, by bankers – who put in place too many of the strictures inherent in the Euro; by libertarians who promote the hatred of the states and the poor regard for regulation that has denied the Greek government so much of the tax revenue it is owned and by financial institutions who (as Goldman Sachs seem to demonstrate, time and again) just love just situations to make short term profit at cost to ordinary people.

The UK will likewise be managed, the IFS cuts campaign began yesterday, again posing as some objective scientific empirical truth, it is nothing of the sort-

there’s no such thing as independence. The IFS is financed to promote conventional economic thinking on the UK economy. That’s a particular, and extremely normative view of our reality appropriately called neoliberal economics that prescribes certain outcomes irrespective of circumstance. So, for example, neoliberal economics assumes government is bad and the private sector is good, so it prescribes cuts. And neoliberal economics assumes tax is harmful to private income maximisation – which is a very narrow definition of well being – and as a result automatically rules out the use of tax increases as a mechanism for rebalancing the government’s finances.

The Met Police Are Protecting A Killer They Know The Name Of

I wonder…if Officer E, the killer of Blair Peach, is named and if god forbid some member of the public foolishly follows the incitement by the right wing media (who never fail to side with the police oh the irony) to take an eye for an eye and enacts vigilante justice on the officer then the police can write a report about it, sit on that for 31 years and then release it but refuse to name or prosecute the murderer. Seems barbaric and wrong doesn’t it?

Also see Harpy– the illegal weapons, the Nazi regalia and the Police commander reiterating that police are allowed to murder people in a riot.

Torture Bleeds

As no single source includes the full story I have edited together the following from current reports because all the details are relevant to why this has caught my attention-

Two policemen were jailed for 18 months today for inflicting “deliberate cruelty” on a 19-year-old woman in custody in an incident described by a judge as a “little short of torture”. Pc Jason Hanvey, 37, and Sgt Andrew Kennedy, 51, showed “appalling and inexcusable conduct” at Collyhurst police station in 2008, a jury heard.

The incident began in October 2008 when Miss Keigher and Jamie Lee Hall, also now 19, were arrested -on suspicion of carrying out a racially aggravated assault- following an incident in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre. Both girls was taken to Collyhurst police station and were being booked in when the ordeal began.

Hanvey taunted her that he earned more money than her and that she was on benefits.

When they arrived Miss Hall complained that officers were being so rough they were in danger of breaking her arm. Kennedy responded by saying: “I think you’ve lost, don’t you? Who gives a —-?”

PC Jason Hanvey, 37, attacked 19-year-old Amy Keigher at a police station and threatened to rip her ‘f*****g skull off’. Hanvey grabbed her by the hair and forced her head down on to a desk -which caused her to complain the police were “pathetic”. He then brought the handcuffs over her head from behind while she sobbed in pain, she is searched and the girl can be heard asking him to let go of her. In CCTV pictures taken in the police station, he is seen to hold her in that position for more than a minute. While Keigher sobbed in pain, Kennedy stood nearby showing “complete indifference” and appeared to condone Hanvey’s actions. When she pleaded that Hanvey was hurting her, the custody sergeant retorted: ‘If you misbehave you will be hurt. It is the technique we are trained to do – hurt.’ Before Hanvey orders the traumatised teenager to beg for mercy by saying: ‘Pretty please’.

Kennedy later failed to inform her of her right to both free independent legal advice and to inform someone that she was being held in a police station. When she asked for a phone call he refused, expressing doubt that anyone would be concerned for her and saying he did not want her to wake anyone up at 2am.

The court heard the two suspects later pleaded guilty in court to an offence of common assault and although Miss Keigher did initially make a complaint about her treatment by police which resulted in the investigation into the officers, she later withdrew it.

Detectives passed the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which led an investigation before it referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The police refused to release the CCTV footage of the incident to the media, “to ensure future disciplinary hearings are not compromised”.

The judge told Hanvey: “You could and should have stopped what as happening. That was your job and you allowed Hanvey to act in the way he did. Moreover, you appeared to approve of what he did by going on to deny her er right to a telephone call. That is why I’m giving the same sentence to both of you.” Judge Gee said Hanvey’s actions could be described as “absolute thuggery”. Referring to his conviction in 1998, he went on: “Despite the age of that conviction, I regard it as a relevant fact in your case. Cases of assault by police officers are difficult to detect and are always regarded as serious when they are detected”.

The October 2008 attack at Collyhurst police station came 10 years after Hanvy was convicted for punching a prisoner in the face at the city centre Bootle Street station but was allowed to keep his job. He was convicted of assault by magistrates in Manchester and then faced a disciplinary hearing in February 1999 which was conducted personally by the then chief constable Sir David Wilmot. Sir David concluded the offence was “out of character” and that the suspect had contributed in some part to the incident, Manchester Crown Court heard. The Judge said, “On May 15th 1998 you struck a man, Mark Hewitt, in the face causing injuries. You denied the offence and were convicted for common assault. Somewhat remarkably you were allowed to keep your job.”

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: “The offence in question occurred 12 years ago and, following the resulting misconduct hearing before the Chief Constable at the time, he was retained by the force due to his previous good character. Thereafter the officer’s behaviour was monitored for a suitable period of time before, like anyone else, he was deemed suitable for deployment in any operational role.”

Hanvey has now resigned from GMP following his conviction for using unlawful force, while Kennedy, of Atherton, has retired after his conviction for failing to prevent such force.

Judge Gee said to the pair: “During the time we have had together I have detected in neither of you not one hint of remorse or regret for what happened that night. In the witness box you sought to justify what you did in what I regard as an arrogant fashion.”

Members of both officers’ families were in court and one woman gasped “no” as the judge imposed his sentence.

[from:- Manchester Evening News, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Fleetwood Weekly News, BBC]

I do not believe this was an aberration by the officers, neither reacted to the others abuse with shock or telling them to stop it, especially with Hanvey’s record the Sgt didn’t even warn him off so he didn’t get into trouble again (let alone because it was wrong). Also it says she was searched, so did a WPC do that and thus another officer who failed to stop it or did the male officers search her, while she was held in a stress position (so beloved of torturers) and taunted while she begged for the pain to stop, in which case I find it hard not to think some element of sexual sadism (clearly of the non consensual variety) may be involved. In concert with the power taunting over relative wealth and status. Also please note the current police rigid handcuffs made by Hiatt (who also supply Gitmo) –

Amnesty International has also criticised Hiatt, claiming that implements made by it have been used by despotic regimes around the world in the torture and incarceration of prisoners. Hiatt refused to say how many pairs of handcuffs it makes for police forces in Britain but confirmed it was by far the biggest supplier.

British police prefer rigid handcuffs or speedcuffs, which are hinged in the middle and said in the Hiatt catalogue to offer “greater subject control”. The more traditional chain-linked handcuffs have been supplied by Hiatt to law enforcement agencies in other parts of the world.

They are an innovation that along with the removal of our right to silence signalled the slow drift into a more oppressive security force role of the police. The refusal to allow a phone call and get a brief are predictable in these thuggish abuses of power. As is her later dropping the complaint which suggests to me there might have been intimidation. But for them it was too late, the detectives kept the case going, so good for them and amazingly the IPCC managed to get a prosecution with the video evidence (something they apparently can’t manage with the Met). There is just no way this behaviour came out of nowhere and as the previous conviction shows there is form, Hanvey and Kennedy’s attitude did not magically appear that night, this is an expression of how they relate to people of less power, they taunt and abuse them, there is also a misogynist undercurrent. Certainly it is shocking for the families of the officers, the one woman gasping ‘no’ suggests support for them but I would venture to suggest there will be some quiet sighs of relief among people who have had to live with these men’s behaviour.

Torture is not new or rare in police settings, the development of torture is in part because democracies enact state violence on its citizens but the cultural and political climate demands this is done in such ways as to leave little evidence or permanent -physical- damage. However the war-on-terror era has normalised torture, has damaged work towards better human rights, in this case it creates more room for people like these officers to operate in, it is more permissive of pain compliance (hello Taser Inc!), more unquestioning of authoritarian memes. It is intriguing the Judge saw fit to say ‘Cases of assault by police officers are difficult to detect‘. However there is hope in the actions of the detectives, who did not cover up for their colleagues, who were rightly disgusted with these thugs and kept the case moving forward, of course we should not expect anything less, the attack and torture was on CCTV and for once the camera did not mysteriously *malfunction that night* or some other scam. Maybe it was just they were took stupid & overconfident and ran out of friends in the force. Despotic regimes will staff their security forces with bullies and sociopaths, they are both useful for controlling the populace and in failing to be good enough at police work to catch the serious criminals who make up the regime and it’s cronies. Ridding the police of bullies like this is a small step to avoid that future, even if our elections suggest otherwise.

PS. I would add treatment like this goes on in our migrant detention camps and the govt with a nod and a wink approves it.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Human Rights, Torture, War On Terror Era. Tags: , . Comments Off on Torture Bleeds

Happy Norooz!

Yes that is my favourite spelling! Admittedly as Naj also recounts it is a bittersweet affair, the revolutionary establishment have embraced tyranny, the Iranian people caught amidst international intrigue, power games and domestic repression. I think Juan Cole is far too generous in accepting Obama’s public pronouncements, we know he says good things publicly, but we also know he does backroom deals and continues imperial policy out of the public view, healthcare, Dennis Ross, bunker busters(?). Interestingly Counterpunch reports Joe Biden making a semi public/ semi private statement that was not for US consumption-

So here’s the vice president of the United States of America,standing with all the injured dignity of a man who has just had a bucket of sewage dumped over his head and who amid his discomfiture, actually did use the word “condemn” and “Israel” in the same paragraph. The next day Biden heads for Tel Aviv university and confides to the audience that he is a Zionist and that, “throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.” Get that: “the center of my work.” This mission statement is not quoted in the U.S. press.

I’m sure he was playing to the crowd, but can you imagine a US VP saying in Tehran ‘I am a supporter of the Islamic Republic…throughout my career, Iran has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.’ I’m guessing that might make the papers back in The Homeland. There is little difference now between the two governments, both are playing games to placate their own elite friends and empower themselves, Iran has detained many dissidents although the more visible abuses have seen some redress –Iran tries suspects in protester prison deaths– their overall treatment is appalling (I suppose at least there is a case, no torture cases in the US even when they admit it proudly on TV). This however does not make a case for military attacks or blind sanctions designed for other agendas. So Happy New Year, bittersweet as it is.

Tutu Calls Burma Election A ‘Charade’

In a message of encouragement to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, South African Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said he looks forward to traveling to Rangoon “to join you in your celebrations when you, my sister, are inaugurated as the true, freely elected leader of Burma.” Tutu addressed his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate in an interview with The Irrawaddy, in which he also dismissed the planned 2010 general election as a “charade.”

Read the interview here. Also-

In the latest sign that this year’s vote will be neither free nor fair, Burma’s ruling junta has ordered censors to ban reports on new election laws and other controversial election-related issues, according to Rangoon-based journalists. “Soon after the election laws were announced, we interviewed members of various political parties to get their views on this subject,” said the chief editor of one Rangoon-based journal. “But when we submitted our reports to the censor board, we were told we couldn’t publish them.”

According to sources in Rangoon, a special body has been formed to oversee the work of the Press Scrutiny Board during the election period. The censor board must now submit draft publications to a “special security force” consisting of high-ranking officials, including Lt-Gen Myint Swe, who is close to junta head Sen-Gen Than Shwe.

And, funny how you don’t hear about the need to attack Burma innit?-

Burma’s ruling junta has finished construction work on three nuclear reactors in the country’s north and will soon be ready to put them into operation, according to military sources at the elite Defense Services Academy (DSA) in Maymyo, Mandalay Division.

The technology for Burma’s nuclear research project was provided by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (RFAEA), which agreed in May 2007 to help design and build a 10-megawatt light-water reactor using 20 percent enriched uranium-235 fuel.

However, the Russian agency has since distanced itself from the Burmese nuclear program. This has led to fears that the regime has turned to North Korea for assistance in achieving its nuclear ambitions.

Govt. Can’t Stop Covering Up Torture

It’s interesting this case also involves Moazzam Begg the focus of the recent campaign against Amnesty by Decent types.

The government will attempt today to have a case about torture heard entirely behind closed doors in a move that some lawyers say would extend secrecy to a new area of hearings, overriding ancient principles of English law. This morning a case will come before three appeal judges in London in which seven men are seeking damages against the government for mistreatment during what they say was their “extraordinary rendition” and torture facilitated by the British security services. The men include former Guantánamo Bay detainees Binyam Mohamed and Moazzam Begg. But the government is seeking to have the case held in secret, less than two weeks after the court of appeal ruled that seven paragraphs of secret evidence in the case of Mohamed should be made public.

Lawyers for the men say that if successful, the government’s application would extend closed proceedings into findings of fact in the civil courts for the first time.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Corruption, Human Rights, War on Terror Scam. Tags: . Comments Off on Govt. Can’t Stop Covering Up Torture

Meg Hillier Wins The Thatcher Award For Abusing Hunger Strikers!

Not content with keeping them detained in Yarl’s Wood where they have suffered violence and racist abuse (now minus five who were bum rushed out in an attempt to stop the strike, see below) she has launched a propaganda assault. She sent a letter (pdf) to every MP claiming everything there is just peachy keen, however her fellow Labour MP Dianne Abbot has written in the Guardian a refutation of her claims- Meg Hillier may deny the extent of the poor conditions at the asylum detention centre, but I have seen them for myself– further to this here is another answer to her propaganda, her points with corresponding correction from Women Against Rape and Black Women’s Rape Action Project-who are in contact with the hunger strikers-

Meg Hillier, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, has written to every MP denying that women are still on hunger strike: “Whilst there are a small number of detainees refusing formal meals from the canteen, they are buying food from the centre’s shop and vending machines and having food delivered by visitors.”

34 women wrote denying these lies and pointing out that visitors are banned from bringing in food.

Other false claims in the government letter include:

1. “Women are only removed after their cases have been ‘fully considered.” Rape survivors and victims of other torture are still routinely assessed under the fast-track, where a case is settled in 10 days leaving no time to gather expert reports crucial to corroborating a claim of persecution. 99% of cases are refused. Listen to this week’s Woman’s Hour interview with Isata Denton Ceesay of All African Women’s Group, whose case was fast tracked, and Gauri van Gulik, Human Rights Watch on their report “Fast-Tracked Unfairness.”

Reliable legal representation is almost impossible to find. Appointments with lawyers at the Legal Services Commission clinic in Yarl’s Wood are at max 35 minutes long and often less. Many women come to AAWG & BWRAP with claims which have been refused without the evidence of rape, torture and persecution being considered. How much more is spent by the Home Office opposing asylum claims than is spent on legal aid by people trying to make a claim? Evidence of blatant hostility, racism and other discrimination by Home Office case workers is well documented.

2. “Detainees prolong their detention by appealing.” Women are increasingly denied the right to appeal in the UK or end up representing themselves leading to great injustice. Research has exposed Immigration Judges systematic hostility and discrimination (Misjudging Rape: Breaching Gender Guidelines & International Law in Asylum Appeals). In addition, when women win their claim, sometimes after years, the HOME OFFICE APPEALS! We are in touch with three women in Yarl’s Wood in this situation – one who has been in since June 2009 and won her case in October. She is in detention waiting for a hearing which is not till the end of March.

3. “Yarl’s Wood has free on-site primary healthcare provision and this reflects the level of care provided by NHS general practices.” Similar claims were made a few years back but a HM Inspector of Prisons report found: “weak clinical governance systems, inadequate staff training, insufficient mental health care . . . unresponsiveness of the IND to clinical concerns about an alleged history of torture or adverse medical consequences of continued detention.” (1) Complaints of brutal, unresponsive health care continue to flood in including women recently released from detention who spoke in the House of Commons

4. “Any claims that one detainee is on the verge of renal failure, or that others are suffering ill health as a result are false.” Please contact Dr Frank Arnold of Medical Justice for his statement confirming his examination of this woman and his findings.

5. “. . . a detainee claims she should have her case looked at because she is not a criminal and has a little girl. In fact she was previously convicted of a serious criminal offence and is subject to legal restrictions by the courts for access to one of her children.” Singling out one mother to discredit the hunger strikers shows the level of desperation at the Home Office. Ms A, who this refers to, had only been in the UK for seven weeks and was destitute when she was convicted of child neglect after her son was injured by one of the people she was dependent on for housing. She was severely depressed at the time but unable to get her medication – all of which the judge took into account when sentencing her. She served her sentence and is therefore entitled to say. She is not a criminal, she’s a distraught mother, traumatised by knowing how her children are suffering without her. She is now in danger of being deported and permanently separated from her children

Government and media hype about “dangerous foreign criminals” living in Britain has led to thousands of immigrant people, many of whom are convicted of minor offences of survival and poverty, being swept up in raids, detained and deported. Some hunger strikers were destitute when they were convicted of shoplifting or using fake documents to work, enrol in college, or open a bank account. Others were convicted of travelling on false documents when they came to the UK to escape persecution. Use of this offence to dismiss an asylum claim was condemned by Judge Sedley as a “serious invasion of judicial independence.” (2) Even drug convictions are almost always because of severe poverty or coercion, where mothers, who are in fear of their own and their children’s lives, or don’t know where their next meal is coming from, have agreed to carry or sell small amounts of drugs. All are people of colour and easy targets for an institutionally racist police force and court system.

6. A denial of “incidents of racial abuse and violence directed at detainees.” Complaints of racist abuse are in statements given to lawyers and are being pursued. There are too many and they are too consistent for there to be any serious doubt about their veracity. The report Outsourcing Abuse (3) documents almost 300 cases of alleged assault of detainees by immigration staff between 2004 and 2008. We look forward to the Independent Monitoring Board’s report and to Serco, the multi-national which runs Yarl’s Wood, responding to MPs request to providing unedited CCTV footage.

7. “The current misreporting, based on inaccurate and fabricated statements by those who campaign against our policy, is irresponsible as it causes unnecessary distress to the women at Yarl’s Wood.” We are in daily contact with hunger strikes and they have consistently pressed us to publicise their situation saying that media coverage is the best protection against retribution and further violence. Their hand written statements listing their complaints and demands were specifically done for the media. Some have expressed their fear of what would have happened if there had been no publicity.

22 FEBRUARY STATEMENT:

“We the undersigned have been on hunger strike since the 5/02/10 to date.. At no particular point in time have we gone to eat in the dining room, got food from the vending machines or at the shop. We would also like to point out that Yarl’s Wood has a no food, no drink policy, this has always been the case therefore saying that “visitors bring us food” is untrue.“

Signed by 34 women.

Lawyers are launching a legal challenge on behalf of four women held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, claiming their incarceration amounts to “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment that breaches their human rights. What you can do to help-

1. Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 919 “Hunger Strike at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre” (see below). You might want to send them the update so they are armed against Home Office propaganda.

2. Write to ministers demanding: that mothers, victims of rape and other torture and all vulnerable women be immediately released; an independent investigation into the treatment of hunger strikers; a moratorium on all removals and deportations.

· Phil Woolas MP, the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration woolasp@parliament.uk orhttp://www.philwoolasmp.org/emailPhil.html

· Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Home Secretary johnsona@parliament.uk or public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

· Meg Hillier MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Home Office meghilliermp@parliament.uk orapc.secretariat@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

The Yarl’s Wood Five-

Denise McNeil from Jamaica
Aminata Camara from Guinea
Sheree Wilson from Jamaica
Shellyann Stupart from Jamaica
Gladys Obiyan from Nigeria

UK citizens cannot be remanded to prison, except they have been brought before a judge and the judge orders it so. Denise, Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, have not and will not be brought before a judge, they have been remanded to prison on the whim of Phil Woolas MP, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration.

The detained women are asking you to Email/fax/phone/write to: Rt. Hon Alan Johnson, MP, Secretary of State for the Home Office, requesting that Denise, Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, are returned to Yarl’s Wood immediately or released into the community.

Model letter is below which you can copy/amend/write your own version, there are no Home Office reference numbers available as the women were moved from Yarl’s Wood, with out their belongings.

Please let the campaign know of faxes/emails sent:
WomenBehindTheWire@ncadc.org.uk

Please keep sending Solidarity messages

Model letter-

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