In Refugee Week Support The SOAS 9

Refugee Week is in part funded by the Home Office/Border Agency. While its Simple Acts are worthy, only one out of twenty suggest joining a ‘campaign in support of refugees‘ and none suggest direct action helping migrants & refugees currently under attack by the government and the racist thugs of the Border Agency. So may I suggest adding the Simple Act of supporting the SOAS cleaners- 3 are currently disappeared, whereabouts unknown and 6 have supposedly been deported by force already, one of whom is six months pregnant. All because they won the fight for fair wages, their employer ISS [contracted by the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)] responded by arranging an ambush with over 40 immigration officers in full riot gear and had those without proper papers bitte hauled away to the immigration gulag. Clearly their immigration status was only an issue when profits were threatened. It also does not speak well of the values of the SOAS. Maybe they could get someone in to teach fairness and basic common decency to those who run it.

Keep checking freesoascleaners.blogspot.com

Rally Wednesday 12pm outside SOAS

Join occupiers, staff and others for a rally to show SOAS management that the fight for justice for the SOAS 9 continues! Demonstrate the campaign is growing and we won’t give up till management meet our demands!

Sign this petition.

And Facebook.

And some on the spot citizen journalism from HarpyMarx.

Posted in Anti-Racism. Tags: , . Comments Off on In Refugee Week Support The SOAS 9

‘Preventable National Disgrace’

Border Agency? Lying thugs? Govt. covering up? Who’d a thunk it?

In October last year, The Independent ran a front-page article revealing 200 allegations of racist and physical abuse committed by British guards against failed asylum-seekers. Most of the cases involved abuse of immigrants during the process of being sent back to the countries from where they were fleeing persecution. The then Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) said it could not find evidence supporting such high levels of allegations and demanded to see all the cases so they could investigate. We agreed but said that permission first needed to be sought from the alleged victims and the groups representing them.

When the story was raised in the House of Commons, ministers defended themselves by accusing The Independent of failing to hand over full details of the claims. In short they were accusing us of exaggerating or inventing the story.

Since then, the Home Office’s own audit complaints committee has confirmed the similar high numbers of allegations of mistreatment made by failed asylum-seekers. It also reported serious failings in the investigations carried out by the BIA.

In July, asylum groups and lawyers working for the victims of abuse were able to hand over a dossier of complaints which had now reached 300 cases, around 50 of which were suitable for investigation by ministers. Lord Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons who read the report, said if only one of the allegations was proved it would amount to a “preventable national disgrace.”

How To Profit From The Migrant Gulag

Fire staff and replace with prisoners paid at 83p an hour. Kerching!

GEO, the multinational corporation that runs Campsfield under contract from the Home Office, not content with making huge sums of taxpayers money to imprison people whose only crime is to have come to the UK in search of a better life, is currently paying migrants £5 for six hours of work – either in the kitchen or cleaning.

In a bid to extract as much profit as possible from the misery caused by the migration regime, GEO (since taking over the running of Campsfield) has cut back on both staffing levels as well educational, recreational and other provisions at the centre. The Home Office says that migrants imprisoned in detention centres are exempt from the minimum wage and are not forced to work. But those migrants that we have spoken to have said that there is so little to do in Campsfield that working gives them something to do and takes their minds of the uncertainty of what possibly lies ahead.

More @ noborderswales.wordpress.com

Read about Jean Pierre Gueutchue a torture survivor currently imprisoned there with our govt. intent on returning him to the torturers. And a good takedown –They have no compunction– of the bullshit tabloid xenophobia inflating a report by two sidelined politician’s with racist form into what some papers termed an ‘all party call’ for caps on immigration.

Hurray For The New Statesman, But A Small Whine

The New Statesman had a readers poll for what they should investigate/campaign on, the options they gave were

  1. Conservative Party Funding.
  2. Lobbying.
  3. Prince Charles.
  4. The State of British Childhood.
  5. Asylum Crisis.

The response as described by Martin Bright (ooh now I feel dirty!) was-

There has already been a phenomenal response to our New Statesman Investigates feature. At the last count more than two-thirds of people were voting for us to look into the scandal of the treatment of asylum seekers in this country. There are still large numbers voting for us to have a dig around the UK’s lobbying industry. But not so much interest in Tory party funding, Prince Charles or the state of British childhood. We will keep the polls open, but so far asylum is the run-away choice. Already the campaign has grabbed the attention of asylum activists at the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns.This has already been an interesting process. I was convinced that Tory Party funding would have been of most interest to NS readers, but I appear to have been completely wrong. Such exercises can be perverse (the fact that so few of you seem to care about the state of British childhood may well be further evidence that we should be looking into the subject). But the vote is so overwhelming that it looks like asylum will almost certainly be our first subject. I was also impressed by the suggestion that we should into the business of human trafficking. I’ll make sure we add that one to our next poll.

Now they have launched an investigation/campaign- No Place for Children -Yes they are looking into the migrant gulag (not that they call it that) but they are making it about children in migrant jails so I guess they subsumed their keenness for a series about childhood into the issue the readers democratically plumped for. So yes it is good they allowed their readers to throw aside their rather rubbish suggestions (they put asylum at number 5, does that mean amongst the staff it had the least votes?). I mean Bright doesn’t seem exactly thrilled at what the readers have very rightly voted for. Perhaps it is because it will entail an examination of New Labour’s abject tyranny against migrants rather than a chance to stick the knife into tories, which hey, who doesn’t enjoy but it’s nowhere near as pressing as the prison camps throughout the country under the guise of a ‘border policy’, as Kyle and Brownfemipopwer say about the US-

I continue to be thankful for an independent new media at the conventions.  It’s where I get all my worthwhile news.  I just got this from brownfemipower:

Cold Snap Legal is staying on top of what is happening to protesters at the RNC. Among some of the latest updates:
#ICE agents are entering jail and pulling out arrestees with “foreign-sounding names!
#Men in jail have been on 23 hour lockdown, They are on hunger strike until this ends and they are either charged or released.
#f you’ve been released from jail and have NOT had your property returned, please call the Coldsnap hotline (651.356.8635). We can help out!

brownfemipower – La Chola (3 September 2008)

This after “raids” were conducted on protestor’s homes in advance of the Republican National Convention.  It’s what pro-migrant bloggers have been saying for a long time now.  The U.S. migration debate affects everyone residing in the U.S.  If you think it just affects migrants, you’ll get your answer when the government bashes your front door in.

The New Statesman, a major magazine, are covering asylum issues and maybe it is smart tactics to go for the child angle but personally I find it a little patronising and ‘Children in Need-y‘. I do hope it doesn’t descend into a facile -ahh poor kiddies- conscience soother, it must fully connect with the real issues, our complacency & guilt, the economic & political -neoliberal globalisation, imperial wars of agression/client regimes- and also cover the inhumanity of New Labour in their imprisonment of migrants young/old of whatever sex. Anyway that quibble aside this is very good news and I feel some hope the migrant gulag is about to see some sunlight through this human rights campaign and the seeping racism our immigration policies are a symptom of is confronted. So go have a look-

The New Statesman No Place for Children campaign calls on the government to end the detention of children for immigration reasons

Self Harm Up 73% In Six Months In Migrant Prisons

This is a Red Alert that the jails and the Border agency system are absolutely wrong and inhumane in their approach. This is an expression of human pain that tells you the migrant gulag must be dismantled, for such activity to rise 73% in such a short time is profoundly indicative of the inequities and brutality of the institutions. Kudos to Emily Dugan for this report in The Independent-

Incidences of self-harm in immigration detention centres rose 73 per cent in the first six months of this year, Home Office figures have revealed. The sharp increase has provoked calls for the Government to re-examine its policy of treating asylum-seekers as prisoners. .

In the first six months of this year there were 109 cases of self-harm requiring medical attention. Colnbrook detention centre in Berkshire had the highest number, with 32 incidents so far this year. The numbers on self-harm watch have also risen – with 722 cases in the first half of 2008, up from 678 in the last six months of 2007. The total population of the country’s immigration detention centres is typically below 2,300.

When the Independent Asylum Commission concluded a review of the entire system earlier this year, it recommended the detention of asylum-seekers be reconsidered. Sir John Waite, the former High Court judge who chaired the commission, said: “This alarming figure confirms the anxiety which was expressed by us about the appropriateness of detention for asylum-seekers. It also confirms the need for a root-and-branch review of the entire policy.”

The UK Border Agency has already been criticised for its detention of vulnerable migrants and for the extended stays that many are forced to endure. Contrary to UN recommendations, there is no legal limit to the length of time a person can be held in a UK immigration detention centres. The Home Office no longer publishes a breakdown of the length of detention. Experts say it is not uncommon for asylum-seekers to be held for more than six months at a time. Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “It is unacceptable to detain people without charge for long periods. There is only one proper response to the unacceptably high level of self-harm in detention, and that is for the Government to end the use of detention as part of its asylum policy.”

Despite the latest figures, the Government is determined to expand the immigration detention capacity from 2,500 to 4,000. Dr Cornelius Katona, of the asylum charity Medical Justice, said: “There is an enormous body of evidence that says detaining asylum-seekers is bad for their mental health. These are people who are very vulnerable.” Dr Katona estimates that at least half of the UK’s detainees suffer from mental illness. John O, of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, said: “I speak daily to people in detention and there is no solace you can give to a detainee who does not understand why they have been detained.”

A Border Agency spokesman insisted detention centres were “safe and secure”.

A detainee’s story: ‘They don’t treat you like a person’

Terri Matsvimbo, a 28-year-old asylum-seeker from Zimbabwe was held in Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire for four months this year. She was so distressed by her incarceration and her fears that she would be sent home that she began to self-harm.

In the worst of these incidents, she slit her wrists with razors that were provided by staff at the centre, despite her medical history of depression.

“I was just desperate,” she says. “They don’t treat you like a person there; people keeping animals would treat them with more respect.

“Being in Yarl’s Wood was the lowest I’ve ever been: it was mental torture at its worst. Now I’ve got mental and physical scars that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

More Refugees on Hunger Strike in UK Migrant Prison

I missed this in the week, but saw it on Jim Jay’s blog. I remember vaguely when Bobby Sands was on hunger strike, that was a big deal, now 50 people are striking but as they are ‘unpeople’ in one of our migrant prisons this is largely ignored in mainstream national media (one PA story and the Grauniad), disgraceful. So thanks to IndyMedia [go to the report for fully linked text]-

Some 50 refugees held at Campsfield immigration prison, near Oxford, are on hunger strike in protest at their continued detention. The hunger strike was started on August 9th by 13 Iraqi-Kurdish detainees, who demanded that forcible deportations to Northern Iraq are stopped. This is the second such protest at Campsfield this year and one of many throughout the UK detention estate.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi-Kurdish refugee has taken his own life after being forcibly returned to Iraqi Kurdistan. Hussein Ali shot himself in his home in Sulaimania on August 10th, two days after he was deported to Erbil via Jordan. An emergency demonstration in support of the hunger strikers, called by the Campaign to Close Campsfield, was held outside the immigration prison on August 12th.

On August 9th, campaigners received reports from detainees inside Campsfield saying that 13 Iraqi-Kurdish asylum seekers detained at Campsfield immigration prison are refusing food in protest at their continuing detention and demanding that forcible deportations to Iraqi Kurdistan (northern Iraq) are stopped. Later reports confirmed that some 50 other Campsfield detainees from around the world have joined the hunger strike. A message from the hunger strikers read:

“We are protest[ing] because we are human beings; we are not criminal. We are locked in the cell like prisoners. We want freedom and justice.”
The UK is one off the few European countries to forcibly ‘remove’ asylum seekers to Iraq. In 2005, an agreement was reportedly signed between the Iraqi Government, the Kurdish Regional Government and the UK Home Office to accept forcibly returned asylum seekers. Since then, over 500 rejected asylum seekers have been deported to Iraqi Kurdistan on special charter flights.

The argument the Home Office has used to deport Iraqi-Kurdish asylum seekers to Kurdistan (northern Iraq) is that the northern parts of the country, unlike the rest, are “relatively safe”. This is, of course, totally unfounded. In its position paper on Iraq, UNHCR recently said that the security situation in the three northern governorates (Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Duhok), “remains tense and unpredictable” and that “careful consideration” must be given before any returns are carried out.

Who’s responsible?
A day after the hunger strike started, an Iraqi-Kurdish asylum seeker, who was forcibly removed to Northern Iraq after 50 days in detention, took his own life. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) was told by a detainee in Oakington detention centre that his friend, Hussein Ali, shot himself in his home in Sulaimania on August 10th, two days after he was deported to Erbil via Jordan.

Hussein Ali was 35 years old. He had arrived in the UK six years earlier but his asylum claim was rejected. Whilst in detention, he wrote many letters to the Home Office asking to remain in the UK but all fell on deaf ears.

This is the second this year suicide by Iraqi-Kurdish refugees on return from the UK. The other man, known as Heman, hanged himself from a tree shortly after return. Another Iraqi-Kurdish refugee, Kadir Salih, was kidnapped last month in front of his house in an area controlled of Patriotic of Union Kurdistan party shortly after returning home. His daughter was so distressed at his disappearance that she committed suicide. After five years of fighting for asylum and not being able to work, Kadir had given up and signed on the IOM’s ‘voluntary return’ scheme.

Another Iraqi refugee died from cancer on August 3rd. Mohammad Hussain had stomach cancer that went undetected and untreated while he was detained in Lindholme immigration prison near Doncaster (see here for more details).

Meanwhile, Iranian refugee Nadir Zarebee hanged himself in a Manchester park on August 5th after being asked to leave his home in Trafford by his private asylum accommodation providers, MNQ. An emergency protest was called last on August 9th by the International Organisation of Iranian Refugees (IOIR) and supported by the North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG) and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI). Protesters gathered in Piccadilly Gardens and then marched to the BBC offices, who protesters said censor the “racist treatment and brutal human rights abuses of migrants and refugees.”

Well maybe that had some impact as the BBC has some coverage (although only local & they now have relayed the UK Border Agency saying it’s 15 or less). But still it remains hugely under-reported. Check out www.closecampsfield.org.uk

A Deliberate & Deadly Confusion

Confusion over the rules on NHS care for failed asylum seekers means people are being turned away from hospitals and GP practices, a report says.Trusts are currently told to decide if people should be treated on a case by case basis.

But an online article for the British Medical Journal reports trusts are making “appalling” decisions and denying people free care. The Department of Health says the situation is under review.

I would venture to suggest that the ‘review’ is one of those very long ongoing processes that is to allow the government not explicitly to say to the NHS- Do not treat failed asylum seekers (which = negating the Hippocratic oath and well, kill people) and to ‘let the trust decide’ is again a way of having responsibility displaced when people are killed by withholding of treatment. We already have deported a cancer patient who subsequently died-

Ama Sumani suffered from malignant myeloma and was receiving kidney dialysis at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, but was deported after her UK visa expired.

Her removal from hospital by immigration officials in January was described as “atrocious barbarism” by the leading medical journal the Lancet.

A pending appeal reveals their real disposition towards basic humanitarianism-

In April, a High Court judge ruled in the case of a Palestinian who claimed denying care for his chronic liver disease breached his human rights, saying banning failed asylum seekers from receiving free NHS treatment was unlawful. However, the Department of Health was given permission to appeal, and the case is due to be heard in November.

So whatever their current fudge we can deduce they are moving towards denying treatment to those people deemed ‘illegal’ as if killing someone classed in such a way is acceptable, they are…untermensch. The BMJ article (behind a paywall dammit -work arounds or emailed texts gratefully received- extract here) quoted by the BBC has some specific instances and it is hard not to conclude the personal prejudices and incipient officious cruelty of gatekeepers to treatment played into the decisions-

Adam Hundt, the lawyer who represented the Palestinian man, said he had been contacted by many doctors who were confused about what they should do. He told the BMJ: “They are telling me they’d been led to believe they didn’t have any choice about who they can treat.

“Some managers are interpreting the rules too restrictively and are saying unless someone is at death’s door you shouldn’t treat them unless they pay. This is wrong.”

He said he has learnt of some “appalling decisions”, such as expectant mothers being wrongly told they would not be cared for if they turned up to hospital in labour.

He added: “Three of my clients – including a child – have died after treatment was refused.” Mr Hundt said he was not directly linking the deaths with the decisions, but added: “We’ll never know whether they would have died anyway or not, but they weren’t given the chance to survive.”

The student group Medsin are pursuing with FOIA requests a government consultation that was dropped in 2004-

The government began a consultation in 2004 on whether failed asylum seekers should be eligible for free GP care, but never published its responses. Now Medsin, a student health group, has used the Freedom of Information Act to track down half of those who provided submissions, and found three quarters of healthcare providers were concerned denying care would put them in breach of their professional responsibilities.

So again they are basically using consultations and reviews to duck the issue -for years- and in the vacuum give a nod and wink to management of hard pressed trusts to take the decisions knowing full well the financial pressures the government impose on those hospitals.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said a review was under way, but there was no date set for publication.

And just to remind you the chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency is Lin Homer a NuLabour apparatchik who was involved in overseeing voting ‘discrepancies’ in Birmingham. Seems fraud was a gateway drug to widespread mistreatment of human beings and best of all she loves privatisation!- Outsourcing Abuse: the use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers (pdf).

Take some action:-

Amnesty International UK on Asylum the National Coalition Of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

British Government Goes Ahead With Deportations To Iraq

In an email from National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

today’s charter flight did go ahead. 140 people were scheduled to be on the flight, but 11 were taken off at the last moment because they became too ill to fly.

As far as we know the 11 were taken back to detention. In at least one case the solicitor has applied for bail because the individual cannot now be removed before his removal directions expire on Sunday.

Context-

More than 1,400 rejected Iraqi asylum seekers are to be told they must go home or face destitution in Britain as the government considers Iraq safe enough to return them, according to leaked Home Office correspondence seen by the Guardian.

The Iraqis involved are to be told that unless they sign up for a voluntary return programme to Iraq within three weeks, they face being made homeless and losing state support. They will also be asked to sign a waiver agreeing the government will take no responsibility for what happens to them or their families once they return to Iraqi territory.

The decision by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to declare that it is safe to send asylum seekers back to Iraq comes after more than 78 people have been killed in incidents across Iraq since last Sunday.

Well it’s more than 78 now, I don’t care what piece of paper they were harangued into signing, the government has responsibility for any harm that befalls them. Although all the cogs in the mechanism that did this, shame on you too. Shame on you.

The Border and Immigration Agency In Denial

Today-

The most comprehensive examination of the UK’s asylum system ever conducted has found it “marred by inhumanity” and “not yet fit for purpose”.

The report, published by the Independent Asylum Commission, is a damning indictment of the Home Office’s failure to deal fairly with those applying for sanctuary in this country.

The commission found that Britain’s treatment of asylum-seekers “falls seriously below the standards to be expected of a humane and civilised society“. Its interim report will be delivered to the Home Office today by a delegation of asylum-seekers.

The report details how the “adversarial” system is failing applicants from the very first point of interview, with officials accused of stacking the odds against genuine claimants. “A ‘culture of disbelief’ persists among decision-makers,” it said. “Along with lack of access to legal advice for applicants this is leading to perverse and unjust decisions.

The findings are the result of the most thorough look at the system in history, with testimonies from every sphere of society, including three former home secretaries, more than 100 NGOs, 90 asylum-seekers, the police, local authorities, and hundreds of citizens.

All-day hearings were held in seven major cities, where hundreds of people gave evidence, from those who brand the system too lenient to those who think it is a blot on the country’s human rights record.

As well as this current information, an independent academic body was tasked to gather all documents already published on the issue in the past five years, from both sides of the political spectrum.

But the Border and Immigration Agency has rejected the report, claiming it operates a “firm but humane” system.

Cognitive dissonance much BIA? To say the least the BIA’s response is totally unacceptable (I’m being awfully fucking polite here). It’s nice of the Independent Asylum Commission to catch up though, below are two previous posts that detail that the Border and Immigration Agency is a big stinking pile of arrogant, cruel, racist shit (in that way one might reflect it is the perfect institutional embodiment of the ignorant spiteful racism of the gutter press and their imbecilic fucking readers)-

Buried Alive, The Migrant Gulag

Chief Exec Lin Homer (more of whom in those links) says-

“I totally refute any suggestion that we treat asylum applicants without care and compassion. We have a proud tradition in Britain of offering sanctuary to those who truly need our protection. We operate a firm but humane system, supporting those who are vulnerable with accommodation and assistance. But we expect those that a court says have no genuine need for asylum to return home voluntarily, saving taxpayers the expense of enforcing their return. We will enforce the removal of those who refuse to comply, always ensuring first that it is safe to do so.”

Well here are your choices Lin, you are either-
a/. a big fat liar…or
b/. mentally ill.
I’m sorry but those are your only choices here in reality. Either way you should not be holding your current position (something Birmingham people can appreciate after her NuLabour vote rigging exploits there, ahem. Oh look, we just found the reason she keeps failing upwards). This would be the agency that recently deported a cancer patient who then died, I would call that corporate manslaughter and is now trying to deport people to…Iraq (you honestly can’t make this shit up). So Lin, you should be fired and prosecuted. But in the post Blair -hey what’s so wrong with being a war criminal- Britain we have no such standards of ethical behaviour, that is another consequence of this war, an epidemic corruption at the heart of the state with no end in sight.

Fight the scum in the BIA- National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

Politicised Asylum

At the same time the government is allowing 2,000 Iraqis (and had to be shamed into that) who worked for UK occupation forces to come to the UK it is determined to deport other Iraqis already here. They pretend they do not send people into dangerous situations yet-

Foreign and Commonwealth website paints a different picture:
We advise against all travel to Baghdad and its surrounding area, the provinces of Basra, Maysan, Al Anbar, Salah Ad Din, Diyala, Wasit, Babil, Ninawa and At-Tamim (At-Tamim is often referred to as “Kirkuk Province”). We also advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Al Qadisiyah, Muthanna, Najaf, Karbala, and Dhi Qar. The security situation in Iraq remains highly dangerous with a continuing high threat of terrorism throughout Iraq, violence and kidnapping …”

As does the recent appeal from the UNHCR for EU countries to provide more support for Iraqi refugees.

NCADC has been reliably informed that an “Ethnic Charter Flight” to Iraq is planned for 19:00hrs on Thursday of this week (27th March 2008). We now know of 39 people in Campsfield, Colnbrook and Oakington, who are likely passengers on this flight. There are known to be 39 refused asylum seekers from Iraq in detention and facing forced removal to Iraq tomorrow Thursday 27th March; 30 in Campsfield, 5 in Colnbrook and 4 in Oakington. We suspect the actual number detained is much higher.

What you can do:
Send urgent faxes/emails immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that all those Iraqi’s currently detained are released and granted protection in the UK. Download model letter Iraqi’sJS.doc which you can copy/amend/write your own version.

Fax: 020 8760 3132 If you are faxing from outside UK – Fax: 20 8760 3132

Email: jacqui.smith@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

2) As this is a general issue, you should also contact your local MP

Please notify campaign of any faxes/emails sent:
Swansea Campaign for Asylum Justice
C/o Flat 4 Brockley Court
103 St Helen’s Avenue
Swansea
SA1 4NW
Tel No: 0845 345 5768
scaj.iraq1@ntlworld.com

Source for this page:
Swansea Campaign for Asylum Justice (ht2 Chicken Yoghurt)

Sadly the government has in part responded to the campaign to give asylum to Iraqi’s who worked for the UK forces in the narrowest terms. What had to be called for is asylum for any Iraqi, for example Syria has taken in around a million refugees and they weren’t responsible for the war that created the crisis. The call needs to be- asylum for those request it, no deportations of Iraqis- until the home secretary would be happy to go on a caravanning holiday around Iraq… without a platoon of body guards in an armoured column & 4 helicopter gunships giving dedicated close air supoport. If the price for asylum is in-country collaboration with the occupiers then that is an unholy a bargain as any offered by the militias.

The Border & Immigration Agency Is Not Fit For The Purpose

After a documentary exposed racist abuse at an immigration jail (detention center? No, jail. Enough newspeak) because apparently the service’s own management and governement inspectors do not do their jobs, an official review was ordered and carried out by Focus Consultancy between 30 January 2007 and 9 March 2007. Focus Consultancy’s website is currently offline, (so erm I guess they are not putting all that public money into servers). Border and Immigration Agency Chief Executive Lin Homer is a NuLabour apparatchik failing upwards who escaped serious trouble in vote rigging scandals in Birmingham-

“The petitioners also accused the city’s returning officer and chief executive Lin Homer of failing to discharge her duties in accordance with electoral law. Judge Mawrey said that Ms Homer “threw the rule book out of the window” to deal with overwhelming numbers of postal vote application forms received.”

She was upset Charles Clarke lost his job and in this dreadful fawning interview in the Grauniad she thinks the public sector isn’t ‘pacy enough’ and she loves big brother-

Homer says early trials of the e-borders programme mean the agency already captures between 22 and 24 million passenger movements electronically, which have generated about 12,000 alerts and 1,000 arrests.

And from the Times we learn -shock horror- she is trained in the law, oh you cheeky technocrats you- and sees what she does as a business. The banality etc. anyway onto the report, which is interesting in light of what I wrote yesterday (and I had no idea this was coming out) excerpts-

(PDF) When detainees were asked if there was a Race Relations Policy at the detention centre, awareness of there being such a document varied greatly, between 73% of respondents at Haslar IRC and Lindholme IRC knowing of its existence, 45% at Colnbrook IRC , 43% at Oakington IRC, 39% at Tinsley House IRC, to only 13% at Harmondsworth IRC. (The other detention centres scored 60% and above.)

All centres, except Harmondsworth, returned between 10-50% of the staff questionnaires that were sent to them prior to the inspection visit. Pressure of work notwithstanding, this fact was indicative of staff attitude towards race relations at Harmondsworth IRC, and highlighted potential difficulties for the successful implementation of the policy.

many of the detainees that were interviewed felt that formal complaints were “a waste of time” because “no action was ever taken.”

Training (specific and bespoke cultural communication, diversity and race) was not being renewed regularly, as per the UKIS Standards of annual refresher training.

Race equality and cultural awareness days for staff and detainees were lacking at some centres and there was no evidence that staff knew the legal definition of a racist incident as defined by the McPherson Report. (“A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.)

Privacy of the system varied greatly from having to ask officers for a complaints form at one centre, because they had previously been “wasted and used as scrap paper” and the forms being made available with privacy envelopes, in places which were outside of the CCTV system, such as laundry rooms at another centre.

Unfortunately, the majority of detainees had little faith in the RRC (race relations) meetings and did not believe that any change could take place as a result of attendance. They therefore saw verylittle point in coming forward.

Detainees had no confidence in the complaints procedure; they felt that they would be bullied by officers if they complained. They saw formal complaints as a means of ‘giving officers an excuse to bully!’ The problem was compounded by the fact that complaints boxes, including IMB boxes, were all within sight of patrolling officers.

Asked what could be done to a detainee to repatriate them one reply was-

There are no limits it is our job to get them back to their country and that, at the end of the day, is what we have to achieve, whatever it takes.

Or in one instance-

When asked: “What is the best way to treat a detainee?” – “You won’t go far wrong if you treat a detainee like a 5 year old.”

Also-

  • One female officer at Colnbrook, near Heathrow airport, who taunted the detainees by saying “Animals, lock-up time,” also described immigration offenders and failed asylum seekers as “black bastards”.
  • At Lindholme immigration removal centre in South Yorkshire, one member of staff described north African detainees as “donkeys”, accompanied by “full animal sounds”, the report said.
  • At Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, also near Heathrow, the investigators found that in-house inquiry repeatedly missed alleged racism.
  • There were even “staff on staff” problems at Harmondsworth, where an auditor overheard a senior officer tell an Asian colleague: “Talk proper, I can’t understand you.”

    And at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, which was badly damaged by a fire shortly after its opening in 2002, the report recommended cultural awareness training for staff after a CCTV operator raised the alarm about a “riot” in the library which was, in fact, an enthusiastic game of checkers by Jamaican inmates. “Their loud speech and slamming of fists on the table had been interpreted as aggressive behaviour,” the report said.

    The inspectors also found a “tense” atmosphere at Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, where a member of staff said: “If this was white British people in here we would be a lot stricter, it is because they are black people that we are afraid.” A member of staff at Yarl’s Wood told auditors that white detainees were treated with more discipline, but the presence of black people caused “paralysis and a softer approach”.

    Jeebus! Racists, idiots, authoritarians. The service attracts them all and clearly they are setting up a system where complaints are stymied (the detainees are absolutely correct the complaints procedure is a waste of time, it is gamed to absolve the jailers and destroy complaints) and abuse runs rampant built around an iniquitous policy. I hate the phrase but the Border and Immigration Agency is not fit for the purpose, in fact for any purpose. It’s a real life Stanford prison experiment going on unseen and encouraged because awful politicians and awful media make these into unpeople, ‘illegals’. If this agency interacted with more favoured groups it would be a scandal, that there is not a huge furore over this migrant gulag is a thoroughly shameful expression of national bigoted cruelty.

    Immigration Service Vs. Adedoyin Fadairo…a 3 Year Old Girl

    Oh yes, the big brave nationalists of the immigration service are targeting the full bureaucratic -banality of evil- might on a 3 year old girl. Oooh, you big brave things, what is this an attempt to make paedophiles seem sympathetic?

    The plight of Adedoyin Fadairo, who was born in America but has lived almost her entire life in London, has shocked asylum campaigners. She has been issued with deportation papers telling her to report to Heathrow where she must board a flight for the US, although she has no family there. The order warns her that while in Britain she must not breach immigration rules and threatens her with detention.

    Home Office officials have also written to her mother informing her that her daughter, who has a serious kidney disorder, is not entitled to medical attention as she is not a UK citizen. The case has been taken up by the European Court of Human Rights which will consider the girl’s treatment and the legality of separating families who are claiming asylum in this country.

    The 32-year-old mother, a Nigerian citizen who has lived in Britain for 10 years after fleeing persecution, is being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire where she is facing removal to west Africa. She has been separated from her daughter for 10 months. Now the European Court of Human Rights has ordered the UK government to cancel the deportation so it can investigate the case.

    Adedoyin is being cared for by her grandmother in London while her own daughter is detained. Repeated attempts to reunite mother and daughter have been rejected by the government, which has accused the mother of breaching immigration rules by allowing her daughter to benefit from medical treatment on the NHS.

    The case highlights the ordeal of thousands of children caught up in the asylum system and raises concerns about Britain’s reliance on an opt-out of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which it says is necessary to maintain an effective immigration policy. In 2001 the Government introduced a tougher policy for the indefinite detention of families with children without any formal recognition of the special legal status of children in international law.

    So firstly, thank you Europe for intervening in our national idiocy and showing some actual humanity. Then…we are an island which sort of makes a big watery thing a natural barrier to migrants (frankly if you get here, well done!) so why did we need extra exceptional op outs of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, unless we planned on being exceptionally fucking nasty, ooh look- we were. And dear writers of such letters you do not deny medical care to a child, if you do that it is a variant of manslaughter you retarded technocrat shit smears.

    I am a treasonously unpatriotic person, however I do take my share of the responsibility for how the country I live in behaves and right now you are not doing me any fucking favours. Just stop it, just fucking stop it. Stop pandering to anti-immigrant morons or if that is you yourself here’s an idea- suicide. What fucking part of you thinks it is ok to sit in an office earning a salary by inflicting this on people? You have jailed a mother, separating her from her toddler for almost a year. Not to mention the idea of flying the 3 YEAR OLD girl to America and…leaving her in the airport? $10  and a map of nearby fast food outlets? ‘Don’t speak to strangers (to the extent you can speak) but given you have no one to care for you here maybe you’ll have to and when they…well try to close your eyes, lie back and think of England’.

    (Her) mother’s claim for asylum is based on her membership of a persecuted human rights organisation active in Nigeria, of which her father was a leading member. The mother, who does not want to be named because she fears victimisation in this country and Nigeria, says: “After 10 years I thought I was safe here and now I find myself caught up in a nightmare where I have become separated from my daughter. All I want is to be reunited with her and allowed to continue to live as a family in Britain. What is so wrong with that?”

    Nothing. The only, THE ONLY thing wrong here is how the government is acting and all the little cogs in that process who are just following orders/memos/instructions/policy/human resources training seminars. All of those cowardly excuses for human beings are hugely fucking wrong. This scumbag NuLabour sham is wrong. A system designed to override individual moral senses, bind them into an unthinking bureaucracy of immense racist inhumanity is wrong. And that’s being generous, frankly what kind of power tripping racists/nationalists are infesting this organisation? Are attracted to getting work there? Who apply so they can satisfy their retrograde impulses? Fed by tabloid media & junk TV ‘discussion’ shows to think they are somehow possessed of reasonable informed opinions. And they are ‘protecting’ something by inflicting cruelty on others.

    But then…there is a connection here, fearing persecution in Nigeria for her human rights connections instead she is persecuted here by exactly the same kind of people who would attack her in Nigeria. Borders become immaterial, this is simply cruel people versus a powerless woman and her daughter. It’s wrong here, it’s wrong in Nigeria, it’s wrong in Timbuktu & Kalamazoo yet see how the concepts of borders and ‘illegality’ of ‘aliens’ create the necessary authoritarian cues to enable abuse…and far worse. Maybe if she was called Madeline we would care?

    I Read The News Today, Oh Boy

    So war pimps go on holiday, an Israeli delegation travels to the US in a bid to persuade the country that Iran still seeks nuclear weapons. Russia delivers the first shipment of atomic fuel for Iran’s Bushehr power station, that’s POWER STATION. While back home IDF snatch squads are intruding into besieged Gaza and kidnapping politicians and intellectuals looking like a coordinated action with the aid talks that will reward Abbas over Hamas and there is Blair and some very free market reforms while Oxfam hits the zionist nail on the head-

    The PA pledges both to cut government spending and reform Palestinian institutions. Some 70% of the aid is for budget support (including the salaries of more than 150,000 state employees) and 30% for development. 

    Scepticism about the benefits of aid is deep-rooted: despite receiving $10bn in international funds since the formation of the PA after the Oslo agreement in 1993, Palestinians are getting poorer; 65% now live below the poverty line. Per capita GDP in 2006 was 40% less than in 1999, on the eve of the second intifada. Eighty percent of Palestinians are dependent on aid. Oxfam points out that millions of dollars of aid is already being lost due to Israeli policies. The economics won’t work, critics chorus, unless the politics change.

    Turkey says the US opened air space for their bombing raid on Kurdish Northern Iraq, the US denies it, clearly ‘keep it schtum’ didn’t translate to Turkish. While a nightmare authoritarian state Judge Dredd would be proud of emerges-

    U.S. forces in Iraq soon will be equipped with high-tech equipment that will let them process an Iraqi’s biometric data in minutes and help American soldiers decide whether they should execute the person or not, according to its inventor…The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008. 

    Yeah read that again, ‘papiere bitte?’ Oh look you’re on the hit list, blam. Heart and minds people, hearts and minds. At least we turned tail and skedaddled. In the ‘Homeland’ strong words for the torturers-

    “We want to hold the community accountable for what’s happened with these tapes. I think we will issue subpoenas…You’ve got a community that’s incompetent. They are arrogant. And they are political. And I think that we’re going to hold [CIA director] Mike Hayden accountable.”

    Except that came from a Republican, bang up job you ‘opposition’ dems, at least there is some resistance to the secret police and Cindy Sheehan: Impeach Pelosi for collaboration with Bush administration on torture.

    Shock Doctrine: Gazprom in Russia, corporatocracy accomplished-

    Gazprom has almost everything – its own cities, its own airline, and even its own private army. It has nearly half a million employees, and the chairman of the board seems set to become the next president of Russia. Now, the biggest subsidiary of Kremlin Inc wants new headquarters to reflect its importance in the new Russia, and wants to build it in St Petersburg, home town of President Vladimir Putin, the chairman of the board, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s probable next president, and Alexei Miller, Gazprom’s CEO.

    And is it the 12th century again?

    The pursuit of profit produced inequality and contemporaries bewailed the breakdown of community and family. Finally, there was a crisis of authority in 12th-century Europe, with the church and nobility riddled with corruption and a revolution in government as it sought to expand its power into its subjects’ lives.

     How did our 12th-century forebears deal with all this insecurity and dramatic change? They invented a persecution society, one that systematically identified whole categories of people and then set about exterminating, subjugating or segregating them. Just as the origins of modern Europe and its global expansion can be tracked back to the momentous political and economic changes of the 12th century, so can its corollary, a state built to persecute minorities, which has intermittently characterised Europe’s history ever since. 

    Persecution? Riot and now hunger strike at immigration detention center, Google news count? 8 stories, so a quiet persecution-

    This morning there were claims the disturbance was started when staff went in to remove a man from his cell. Inmates became angry at his treatment and Bob Hughes, of the group Campaign to Close Campsfield, said CCTV cameras and lights had been broken. Inmates were now on hunger strike, he added.

    Police have only said so far there was an “ongoing incident”. At the centre there are several fire engines, a heavy police presence, what appear to be prison-style riot officers in black uniforms and shields and paramedics. Some staff from the centre are reportedly being turned away from work this morning.

    And John Pilger on…the shared values of …consensus building?

    ..the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (BAP), set up in 1985 with money from a Philadelphia trust with a long history of supporting right-wing causes. Although the BAP does not publicly acknowledge this origin, the source of its inspiration was a call by President Reagan in 1983 for “successor generations” on both sides of the Atlantic to “work together in the future on defense and security matters.”

    The BAP rarely gets publicity, which may have something to do with the high proportion of journalists who are alumni. Prominent BAP journalists are David Lipsey, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and assorted Murdochites. The BBC is well represented. On the popular Today program, James Naughtie, whose broadcasting has long reflected his own transatlantic interests, has been an alumnus since 1989. Today’s newest voice, Evan Davis, formerly the BBC’s zealous economics editor, is a member. And at the top of the BAP Web site home page is a photograph of the famous BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman and his endorsement. “A marvelous way of meeting a varied cross-section of transatlantic friends,” says he. 

    The BAP’s British “alumni” are drawn largely from new Labor and its court. No fewer than four BAP “fellows” and one advisory board member became ministers in the first Blair government. The new Labor names include Peter Mandelson, George Robertson, Baroness Symons, Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff), Baroness Scotland, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Mulgan, Matthew Taylor, and David Miliband. Some are Fabian Society members and describe themselves as being “on the left.” Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is another member.

     On the U.S. board is Diana Negroponte, the wife of John Negroponte, Bush’s former national security chief notorious for his associations with death-squad politics in central America. He follows another leading neocon, Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the invasion of Iraq and discredited head of the World Bank. Since 1985, BAP “alumni” and “fellows” have been brought together courtesy of Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris, and British Airways, among other multinationals. Nick Butler, formerly a top dog at BP, has been a leading light.

    UN Body Finds Torture ‘Routine’ In Uzbekistan

    This as right now the UK government tries to deport a member of the opposition Jahongir Sidikov back to Uzbekistan where he will meet that ‘routine’ treatment, this is what our government thinks is a safe place for someone whose family has already been harassed by the authorities after he was filmed protesting in the UK by Uzbek government operatives-

    the bulk of the document six of nine pages expressed a range of serious concerns about what the committee termed “[n]umerous, ongoing and consistent allegations concerning routine use of torture committed by law enforcement and investigative personnel or with their instigation or consent,” and “[f]ailure to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into such allegations.” 

    The committee further expressed concern about the Uzbek government crackdown on civil society…The committee also called for “a full, effective, impartial inquiry” into the May 2005 massacre in Andijan where Uzbek government forces killed hundreds of mostly unarmed demonstrators. Further on the Andijan events, the committee noted “with concern” the government’s “failure to conduct full and effective investigations into all claims of excessive force by officials,” and the fact that it had “limited and obstructed independent monitoring of human rights in the aftermath of these events, thereby further impairing the ability to obtain a reliable or credible assessment of the reported abuses, including ascertaining information on the whereabouts and reported torture or ill-treatment of persons detained and/or missing.”

    The committee also highlighted for particular concern “reports of forcible return of recognised refugees and/or asylum seekers from neighbouring countries” and the lack of information about their “conditions, treatment and whereabouts” in Uzbekistan. It called on the Uzbek government to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees which it expelled in March 2006 to return to the country. 

    Holy shit we are not even a neighbouring country and for some reasons our government wants to pay the airfare to send him back to this UN condemned totalitarian state. They plan on doing it this evening, is kidnap, false imprisonment and delivering the hostage to known and universally condemned torturers and murderers what our government should be doing in our name? Problem is this is institutional, with no one bothering to see what the immigration service and their home office conspirators are doing they are routinely sending desperate people back to appalling fates. Immoral, illegal and absolutely not fit for the purpose, yet in immigration scare mass media culture no one even gives a shit, in fact they celebrate this cruelty under their masters instructions. Just a while back we made a big fuss over the abolition of slavery, well woo-fucking-hoo we effectively still condone and perpetrate the treatment of people as subhuman baggage to be inhumanly treated, ignored and despised by demagoguing media of low intelligence and ethics. All of which enables the government to proceed with its brutal repatriation crimes in the hidden ghetto of the migrant gulag. Often under that catch all badge for the repression of civil society into the lockdown- the war on terror. Write to this ‘gentleman’ and tell him what you think-

    Mr Liam Byrne MP
    Minister of State (Borders and Immigration)
    Home Office
    2 Marsham Street
    LONDON SW1P 4DF

    Or- The Home Office 020 7035 4848

    Or use Write to them or They work for you to use the customary channel of using your constituency MP.

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