Woolas- Childsnatcher

No one knows how many children have been snatched from their beds in this way in Britain in the past year. But the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted in a letter to a concerned MP recently that more than 1,300 children were detained at three immigration removal centres in the UK during the 15 months between July 2008 and September 2009.

Some 889 children have been detained for more than 28 days in the past five years. In each of those cases an immigration minister or a judge had to sign a new authorisation every four weeks for their continued detention. The UK now has one of the worst records in Europe for detaining children.


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Patriotism, War Criminal’s Fan Club

Immigrants who take part in protests against British troops could be denied citizenship of this country under controversial new Home Office rules. The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, will launch a consultation tomorrow on a new points-based system for would-be migrants according to their behaviour, as well as skills and qualifications. Mr Johnson, writing in the News of the World, said: “Bad behaviour will be penalised, and only those with enough points will earn the right to a British passport.”

While he did not explicitly point to those who take part in anti-war demonstrations, the newspaper reported that this would be included in examples of “bad behaviour”. But there was confusion over the policy last night, as the Home Office appeared to backtrack on whether protesters would be penalised. An aide to Mr Johnson said the Home Office was consulting on what constituted bad behaviour, but refused to comment on the issue of protesters.

Commerce, Racism & Education

A private company working with the Border Agency to oppress its workers at a supposedly enlightened university, who’d a thunk…Via Socialist Unity 

Please Join This Group – Stop the Deportation of SOAS University Cleaners!


 This group has been set up in Solidarity with the 9 members of the cleaning staff at SOAS who, following a morning raid by border police, have been detained and threatened with immediate deportation from the U.K. We demand an immediate end to these deportations. Below is a summary of the events. Please sign up and show your support!

 Summary of the Border Agency raid at SOAS campus on 12/06/2009

 • All SOAS cleaning staff were called into a meeting by ISS (the company who contracts SOAS’ cleaning staff) at 7am, in a ground floor room and were given no warning about the raid.

 • 45-50 Immigration police entered through the fire doors and the main entrance to the room and surrounded the cleaning staff; the police officers were in riot gear.

 • They cleaners were locked in the room and then led one by one into another room, where their immigration status was checked during which they had no representation or even a translator (many staff are native Spanish speakers). A lot of the cleaners were in emotional distress. A trade union representative was refused access to the staff.


• The raid was instigated by the cleaning contractor ISS who requested the police action. Two members of SOAS Management were present during the raid liasing with the police, suggesting that they had prior knowledge of the raid.

 • 9 Cleaners, five of whom are UNISON members were taken into detention. One detained cleaner was six months pregnent, she is thought to have collapsed during the events.

 • Legal representation is being sought through UNISON and other parties, the authorities have not yet revealed where they have been taken, and the detained have no way to contact us.

 • ISS have informed UNISON that some cleaners detained may be fast-tracked out of the country, thus they may be deported within 72 hours.

 • Those detained have been working at SOAS for many years; they have settled in London and have families here. Deportation will be devastating not only for the individuals involved but also the families, who could be split up. They are also our friends and fellow colleagues.

 • The heavy-handed treatment which the cleaners received was grossly over the top and ISS/SOAS are complicit in this.

 • ISS knew that there was documentation problems with their employees yet have not acted to resolve this beforehand. It’s not a coincidence that the cleaners in question were among the first to fight for Union representation and a decent wage.

 • The actions today send a clear message to other agency workers in London not to fight for union representation, such levels of intimidation cannot be tolerated.

 • Boris Johnson has recently called for an amnesty for illegal workers in London, because he recognizes the vital work they do.

 • The raid is proof once again that SOAS cleaning staff need to be brought in-house and that companies like ISS which exploit and intimidate workers have no place at SOAS.

 • We are demanding an immediate end to the deportations!

 • We are demanding that cleaners be brought in-house where they will not be exposed to this level of harassment.

A protest is scheduled for tomorrow-

Monday 15th June at 8.30am on SOAS Steps. Please bring Union banners and other visual, audio aids.

Italian Fascist Ally of Berlusconi Suggests Segregated Buses

 At the same time they deny asylum rights to migrants by interdicting at sea, the EU need to stop being diplomatic with the Italian fascists less they appear (and become) yet another weak body that failed to stem European fascists. Or does that interfere with their Neoliberal outlook, which will end in authoritarian capitalist corporate states, hmmm-

A proposal to introduce racial segregation on trains, trams and buses in Milan provoked an outcry from Italian opposition politicians today. The scheme was put forward by a representative of the anti-immigrant Northern League, the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s main ally in government. Matteo Salvini, the league’s secretary in Milan, told a rally to launch his party’s European election campaign that he wanted “seats or carriages reserved for the Milanese” on local public transport.

 Dario Franceschini, leader of Italy’s biggest opposition group, the Democratic party, said: “One’s thoughts go back to the affair of Rosa Parks, the black woman who refused to give up her place on the bus and inspired Martin Luther King’s struggle.” Salvini tried to downplay the row, insisting: “It was just a provocation to say the residents are now in a minority and, as such, need safeguarding.” But the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, spoke of a “worrying” increase in intolerance, while the opposition Italy of Principles party called on the government to disown the idea publicly.

 However, Berlusconi, whose government is already under attack for its immigration policies after the Italian navy returned to Libya more than 200 boat people without letting them apply for asylum, said: “Salvini himself has said it was a quip, a provocation.” The interior minister, Roberto Maroni, a Northern League member, hailed it as a “turning point” in his battle to stem the flow of immigrants through Italy’s Mediterranean islands. But the UN and human rights groups accused the government of violating international treaties to which Italy is a signatory.

 On Thursday the occupants of three boats adrift, reportedly in Maltese waters, were escorted back to the Libyan coast by Italian naval vessels. It was the first time that Libyan authorities were known to have accepted back migrants who set off from their coast. The shift appeared to reflect recent agreements between Berlusconi’s government and Libya. According to UNHCR, three-quarters of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea apply for asylum and, of those, half are recognised as genuine refugees. Maroni said that, in the latest instance, Italy was not bound to consider the asylum requests because the 227 migrants had not reached Italian waters,

 But the UN’s high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, said the operation was a “source of very serious concern”. Human Rights Watch said Libya had a terrible record in dealing with migrants, who it said were sometimes subjected to indefinite detention “in inhuman and degrading conditions”. The EU justice commissioner, Jacques Barrot, carefully avoided joining the chorus of protest. He said his department was still gathering information on the circumstances.

After Escaping Burma, Migrants Face Brutal Exploitation

(IPS) – The mistreatment of Burmese migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Malaysia is the focus of a report released Thursday by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

After receiving disturbing reports of trafficking in 2007, committee staff conducted a year-long review of the allegations. The report, “Trafficking and Extortion of Burmese Migrants in Malaysia and Southern Thailand,” is based on first person accounts of extortion and trafficking in Malaysia and along the Malaysia-Thailand border. Committee information comes from experiences of Burmese refugees resettled in the United States and other countries.

Many Burmese migrants, escaping extensive human rights abuses perpetrated by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Burmese military junta, travel to Malaysia to register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for resettlement to a third country, according to the report.

Once in Malaysia, Burmese migrants are often arrested by Malaysian authorities, whether or not they have registered with the UNHCR and have identification papers. Burmese migrants are reportedly taken by Malaysian government personnel from detention facilities to the Malaysia-Thailand border for deportation.

Upon arrival at the Malaysia-Thailand border, human traffickers reportedly take possession of the migrants and issue ransom demands on an individual basis. Migrants state that freedom is possible only once money demands are met. Specific payment procedures are outlined, which reportedly include bank accounts in Kuala Lumpur to which money should be transferred.

It has become commonplace for the authorities to use the vigilante RELA force to periodically arrest and “deport” Rohingyas, a Muslim minority, but since Burma does not recognise them as citizens, the practise is to take them to the Bukit Kayu Hitam area on the Thai-Malaysia border and force them to cross over into Thailand.

Migrants state that those unable to pay are turned over to human peddlers in Thailand, representing a variety of business interests from fishing boats to brothels.

Human rights activists have long charged that immigration, police and other enforcement officials, have been “trading” Rohingyas to human traffickers in Thailand who then pass them on to deep sea fishing trawler operators in the South China Sea.

“People seeking refuge from oppression in Burma are being abused by Malaysian government officials and human traffickers,” said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The committee has received numerous reports of sexual assaults against Burmese women by human traffickers along the border. One non-profit organisation official states that “Most young women deported to the Thai border are sexually abused, even in front of their husbands, by the syndicates, since no one dares to intervene as they would be shot or stabbed to death in the jungle.” Women are generally sold into the sex industry.

“(The Burmese refugees) are treated as a commodity and frequently bought and sold and we have been condemning this practise for a long time,” Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a non-profit group that protects migrant workers, told IPS in January. “Our demands have always fallen on deaf ears despite the accumulating evidence of the involvement of uniformed officials in the trade.”

The report, the first of three, states that Malaysia does not officially recognise refugees, due in part to concern by the government that official recognition of refugees would encourage more people to enter Malaysia, primarily for economic reasons. Also, Malaysian officials view migrants as a threat to Malaysia’s national security.

“Malaysia does not recognise key international agreements on the protection of refugees and foreign nationals. Nor does it apply to foreign migrants the same rights and legal protections given to Malaysian citizens,” Fernandez said.

Foreign labor is an integral building block of Malaysia’s upward economic mobility. While Malaysia’s total workforce is 11.3 million, there are approximately 2.1 million legal foreign workers and an additional one million illegal workers, though no accurate information is available.

While Malaysia accepts the presence of Burmese and others from outside of the country for the purpose of contributing to the work force, persons identified as refugees and asylum seekers on their way to a third country are viewed as threats to national security.

In an interview with The New York Times, RELA’s director-general, Zaidon Asmuni, said, “We have no more Communists at the moment, but we are now facing illegal immigrants. As you know, in Malaysia, illegal immigrants are enemy No. 2.”


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The Thin End

The idiot slogan British jobs for British workers is doing just what the ruling class wants, divide and rule schmucks. Phil adds some nuance but it does come down to that nationalist slogan is a poisonous and self defeating one. Lenin said a lot but Dave says it best, (he tells me it is the SWP statement, so anyway, it says it best) here’s a taste-

The slogan accepted by many of the strikers is “British jobs for British workers”. That comes directly from Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party conference in 2007.

Update: Gordon has just reiterated it, utterly shameful.

And it has been encouraged by many in the higher levels of the Unite union. Derek Simpson and others at the top of Unite have done nothing to encourage resistance to job losses, or a fightback against repossessions or against the anti-union laws. Instead they go along with a campaign that can divide workers.

But it lets the bosses off the hook and it threatens murderous division at a time when we need unity in action to fight back.

It’s not Italians or Poles or Portuguese workers who are to blame for the attacks on British workers’ conditions.

Construction workers have always been forced to move far from home for jobs, whether inside a country or between countries. How many British workers (or their fathers or brothers) have been forced to work abroad from Dubai to Dusseldorf?

When workers are divided it’s the bosses who gain. Total Oil, who manage the Immingham refinery, make £5 billion every three months! Jacobs, the main contractor which has then sub-contracted to an Italian firm, made £250 million in 2007.

These are the people workers should be hitting, not turning on one another.

Those who urge on these strikes are playing with fire. Once the argument is raised it can open the door to racism against individuals. Already in some supermarket warehouses the racists are calling for action against workers from abroad.

We all know what will happen if the idea spreads that it’s foreigners, or immigrants or black or Asian people who are to blame for the crisis. It will be a disaster for the whole working class, will encourage every racist and fascist and make it easier for the bosses to ram through pay and job cuts. Already the BNP are pumping out racist propaganda supporting the strikes.

Everyone should ask themselves why Tory papers like the Express and the Sun and Mail – which hate union power and urge on privatisation – are sympathetic to the strikes.

Obama’s Aunt

Listen to Kyle-

The way the mainstream “progressive” netroots have handled the story of Obama’s Aunt is a complete embarrassment.  I wrote about it earlier this morning.  First, I was told several times by commenters on Daily Kos that “this is a non-story”.  Wrong.  It has been on the front page of memeorandum all day.  If you have turned on your TV, it has been blaring all over the 24-hour cable news networks.

The silence is deafening on the front pages of major “progressive” blogs like Daily Kos and Firedoglake.  My only conclusion can be that they agree that this is a non-story.  It’s to be expected from blogs that exist to elect “more and better Democrats.”  If it helps Democrats to be silent on one of the most important social justice issues of our time, U.S. migration policy, you can expect that the “progressive” blogs will follow.  It’s to be expected from those that have called migration a “pet issue.”

The few that have covered the story, like, Matt Stoller of Open Left, Digby, and Josh Marshall and Zachary Roth of Talking Points Memo, have completely ceded the U.S. migration debate to nativists.  The debate over this story has devolved into one of Republican nativism and Democrats and their allies either describing this as smear or running as far away from this as they can. If having an unauthorized migrant relative is a smear, than smear me too.

Read the full piece with links@ Citizen Orange

About Zeituni Onyango-

Onyango… is paid a small stipend for working as a health advocate in her housing complex. […]

For three years, she was a volunteer with Experience Corps, a nonprofit that trains adults over 55 to work with children in public schools, said Mary Gunn, the group’s executive director.

In a profile on the Experience Corps website, Onyango is described as a “former computer systems coordinator” who says she wanted to volunteer in the schools because “I felt that I should help the children in my community.”

“I love people and enjoy interacting with them,” Onyango said. “Also, I was idle, and this was a chance to get involved.”

Gunn said Onyango is a wonderful person, but said, “Zeituni wishes for me not to comment, and I want to honor her wish.”

Ms. Onyango lives in a disabled-access apartment and worked as a volunteer resident health advocate for the Boston Housing Authority before stopping recently for physical therapy following back surgery, said William McGonagle, deputy director of the authority.

I’m sorry, have we stepped into bizarro world where a helpful, volunteering woman who is enriching her community is considered a bad thing? But wait we have haven’t we, war is good, it spreads peace and wins hearts & minds, freedom is best defended by mass surveillance & torture and the basics of the economy are sound. And after a retard the Republicans are offering up a wife beater to appeal to voters, actually that bit’s business as usual.

A Word to the Wise

BBC:- Imprisoned and tortured in his native Iraq for his opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime, Rahim, 40, became an American citizen at a ceremony on 16 August, having arrived here as a refugee eight years ago.

…it was Rahim’s passion for composing and performing that forced him into exile. He used his talent and popularity to speak out against the regime by writing songs which protested against the Iran-Iraq war. The authorities didn’t hesitate. His recordings were banned and he was thrown into prison at the mercy of Saddam’s torturers. “But worst degradation was that they took my oud away,” he recalled. “I’d practice playing on my wrist. It was as though I could hear the music.”

“America is a wonderful place – the country is gorgeous and the people are so open and welcoming,” he said. “But Americans are very isolated. The only people around them are the Mexicans, who they treat badly, and the Canadians, who are just like them. If I can do anything while I’m here, I’d like to help them understand other parts of the world.”

I asked him how he was planning to use his first-ever free vote. The answer came back on the beat: Obama.

The occupation of his homeland had been a disaster. “I had mixed feeling when Saddam was overthrown because he was such a terrible man,” Rahim said. “But I also saw the devastation and the suffering that my people experienced as a result of the invasion. When there’s a snake in your house, you don’t destroy the house to get rid of it. But there have been four million people displaced in Iraq, one million dead, Shia turned against Sunni. It isn’t just about Iraq. We need change at home too. Ask anyone about how the economy’s affecting them. The Americans have suffered under Bush, too.”

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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

Bordering On The Ridiculous

The police are pushing for the creation of a 3,000-strong counter-terrorism border force made up of special branch and uniformed officers to improve surveillance at ports and airports.

The proposal, from the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), is expected to be included in a police reform green paper to be trailed today by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith. It would allow greater collaboration and data sharing between police and the new 25,000-strong UK Border Agency, which has brought together immigration and Revenue and Customs officers since April.

Will they intercept aircraft with kidnapped people on board being flown to torture chambers abroad? Because y’know ACPO’s record on this…not so good.

“ACPO have admitted to me in a private letter that their investigation amounted to little more than a cursory review of reports on the issue – which they issued, 18 months after I requested it…”

Also will terrorists be allowed in as long as they are discreet?

Gay and lesbian asylum-seekers can be safely deported to Iran as long as they live their lives “discreetly”, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has claimed.

I think she really has nothing left as an encore except to resurrect Section 28. So Labour peeps, just how betrayed do you have to be before you do something?

Light In The Darkness

Quite simply the most inspiring and life affirming thing I have read/seen in ages, a brilliant article with video documentary at Guardian Online of people organising resistance to thwart immigration police from arresting and deporting asylum seekers and migrants. This is people, local and migrants working together to fight state authorities from pursuing inhumane activities. Fuck me this is just great, what the Guardian should be doing and living up to its promise from its Manchester Guardian beginning. It’s better than drugs legal, prescription or otherwise reading/seeing this, a natural high of humanity and solidarity and doing the right thing whatever the uniformed goons and heartless suits of the state say and do. Just some brief excerpts but do yourself a favour and go and read/watch the whole piece –

All across the country, communities are organising themselves to stop their friends and neighbours from being deported. From lobbying the Home Office to foiling dawn raids, the resistance will stop at nothing to keep failed asylum seekers safe in Britain. By Rachel Stevenson and Harriet Grant

“We had been really going downhill – a lot of antisocial families were being put here. But after a year of the asylum seekers coming, the atmosphere became completely different,” Donnachie says. “These people couldn’t do enough for you, and I thought this was wonderful – it was like going back to when I was a child and you could leave the key in the door and if you needed help someone would come round.”

She got together with her friend Noreen and organised the residents into daily dawn patrols, looking out for immigration vans. When the vans arrived, a phone system would swing in to action, warning asylum seekers to escape.

The whole estate pitched in, gathering in large crowds in the early-morning dark to jeer at immigration officials as they entered the tower blocks. On more than one occasion, the vans left the estate empty – the people they had come for had got out in time and were hidden by the crowd. The estate kept this up for two years until forced removals stopped.

At the back of the Asda car park in Bury, Greater Manchester, is the Mosses community centre. Inside, along with the sewing group and the creche, Sue Arnall is working hard to protect the asylum-seeking families in the area. Born and bred in Bury and proud of it, the retired teacher was horrified to learn that children in her town were living in fear of being sent to countries some of them had never even visited. Like Donnachie, she felt compelled to act.

This belief is echoed in other parts of the country. In the Shetlands, islanders came together to stop a resident Burmese family being deported, spending months demonstrating until the Minn family won the right to stay. “We won’t put up with this sort of injustice here,” Brian Smith, one of the campaigners, says. “The Home Office only seems to care about what the gutter press thinks, and doesn’t want to listen to the rest of us.”

But Donnachie, Spooner, Jones and Arnall, and many more like them, believe the asylum system is fundamentally unjust. They say Britain is denying asylum to people genuinely in danger. Senior bishops are similarly critical of the system, as is the Independent Asylum Commission, headed by a former appeal court judge, and the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which have both described Britain’s asylum system as shameful. Outrage at the government’s asylum policy spans Britain’s social and political spectrum. (ht2 Lenin)

While this could lend itself to being read in political ways, socialism, anarchy even libertarianism, and make a point about the counter-productive atheism of Hitchens (many of these are church groups, I would venture to suggest they represent the left wing of religious faith, not about sex obsessed bigotry but of helping fellow humans. I’d rather some mythical being was not essential to their activism but they are doing good work so live and let live). It is inspiring because it rejects the fantasises of neoliberals who view society as self interested consumers, it rejects authoritarians who follow whatever law is laid before them because authorities must have a good reason so trust in them, it rejects the racist hysteria of the gutter press (and that sadly includes much more of the media than it used to) it shows self organising for resistance based on…well basic and essential elements to human existence, empathy, kindness and integrity. It resonates in the quote which lent this blog its name, in Aldous Huxley’s ultimate conclusions-

“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than “try to be a little kinder.”
–Aldous Huxley, novelist, philosopher, psychedelic pioneer (1894-1963)

And without having to specify and subdivide what political aspect this exemplifies surely we can agree that this is simply and purely correct and those who would oppose it are to be opposed. Whatever they may call themselves, or what party or ideology they clothe themselves in, what they really are is a cruel person, who would seek to make the world into their own pitiless image. Well fuck that. Join the resistance, join the human conspiracy.

Mehdi Kazemi Gets Asylum

The Home Office/Border and Immigration Agency make one good decision...after massive pressure & publicity. Now about the thousands of other decisions the atrocious BIA make, when does that change? (ht2 Jay @ Blazing Indiscretions).

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Riot Police Break Up Harmondsworth Hunger Strikers

Via Dave which in part is the story in itself, this has not been reported in the media. Only Indymedia and Socialist Worker covered this-

Around 6.30 this morning ( 05.04.2008 ) that ‘riot’ police were at Harmondsworth and detainees were being taken away from the centre in vans. Around 30 detainees have been taken out the centre and to unknown destination, according to the news we got. From previous experience this looks like a typical reply from the authorities to break up the protest by moving detainees to other detention centes around the country and putting people in isolation.

On Saturday 5 April, between 5 and 6 in the morning, around 50 police in riot gear entered Harmondsworth immigration removal centre and took 30 detainees away. The detainees have been involved in a mass food refusal from 1 April. The detainees also occupied the courtyard. Around 120 remained all night prior to the raid.

Some detainees detailing their situation (emphasis added)-

Alimamy Koroma
Former unaccompied minor fleeing torture and violence in Sierra Leone.
”We are tired of inhumane treatement. The protest started yesterday and is going to continue. It is a peaceful protest in the courtyard. Everybody is here, 300 people (he estimates). They are denying asylum to people who needs protection without giving them the opportunity to prove their cases. Legal representation is of bad quality and some legal representatives work for the Home Office, not in the interest of the asylum seekers. In the meantime people are kept in detention, some have been there up to 21 months.

The food is disgusting. The medical facilities are appalling. Some people have mental problems and should not be kept with the others and some are going crazy because they lock them up too long in deteintion. We are not treated like human beings. The fast track system is unjust and unfair, it is not practical becuse it gives decisions in 5 days and two days to appeal. People cannot prepare they cases in such short time. Some people are in fear to go back to their countries where they were persecuted because of their sexuality, political opinion or religion, some are victims of torture, that’s why they are seeking asylum and the UK are sending them back. There are not time limits to detention, some people go crazy.

We wrote a petition and signed it and we sent it to the European Court of Human Rights, John McDonnell MP, mayoral candidate Brian Paddick who promised to take our complints to the shadow Home Secretary and to the Liberal Democrats. In the petition we are saying that the asylum process is not fair; that they are keeping us in detention for too long; that evidence we show including torture marks is not taken in considreation. It is mental torture and people are going mad because of detention.

In Sierra Leon there is civil war and political unrest. I was beaten and tortured by the police because of my political opinions, as a result I got scars all over my body. The immigration judge just said I cut myself, but how could I cut myself all over? It does not make sense. There are other torture survivors in detention, they are not referred to the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture and they are denied the treatement they should get.

I am on the fast track. When I arrived in UK I was 17. Now I am 21. I was in the hands of who brought me here so I could not apply for asylum. I applied for asylum in January 2008: they took me to detention straight away and put me on the fast track. They gave me 5 days to prepare my case and two days to appeal. I lost the case. The Refugee Legal Centre sent a psychologist who diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and said I should not be in detention, but others have worst mental health problems than me: people who have been tortured and go mad because they are detained.

People get beaten at airport and they come back full of injuries. People are deported illegally when they still have cases pending. We are human beings, we want to be treated with dignity we shall stay in the coutyard until our demands are heard”.

C. Edwards
Married with four children, he went to prison and was his first offence: possession of a small quantity (£60 worth) of cocaine with intent to supply. He got a 30 months sentence, done 15 months and now they want to deport him to Jamaica.

”What I really find disturbing is that I cannot leave my children: when I was little my father went off to America for 1 year and that affected me very deeply, so I know what I am talking about. The main problem is that I am a risk to the public, according to Immigration, but before I left prison they gave me a paper with a stamp that shows I am unlikely to break curefew etc: the prison sevices have assesed me as not being a risk to the public. I did a lot of training and education in prison and I was looking forward to get a job once released. The reason for me offending in the first place was that I was unemployed, my wife’s benefit money went missing and I borrowed some money from a ‘friend’ to pay rent and bills: later I got threatened when could not give the money back in time! I left Jamiaca because of problems. When I was in prison my mother was attacked in Jamica. The police signed a statement saying my life will be in danger there. My wife had a nervus breakdown and suffers from depression, she cannot go to Jamaica and it would be dangerous for the children”.

Benjamin Osa-Iduma
From Nigeria, all his family are here.
”They give us food you won’t give to a dog. Some people are here for 18 months or more without having commited a crime, some people want to go back and they are held here
some want to be released. I came at 14 after my grandmaother died to join my famliy: 3 sisters 2 brothers my father and my stepmum. They are all British and I have got a British born son too. I have no family left in Nigeria.

I went to to school and college, now I am at South Bank University studying computer technology and electronic engineering. I have got a partner and we are living together with our little son. She is Nigerian and has Indefinite Leave to Remain. My asylum claim was refused and I have been in detention for 3 months. They say I would abscond if they release me but how could I abscond? I got family! We don’t need better conditions, more facilities or more education, we need out of detention. We forwarded a letter to the MP (Mc Donnell). We have not eaten since 9am, we have been out in courtyard since. We want the press to come here’.”

Put simply is this what Britain represents now? A concentration camp kept out of the media where people are treated in the same ways we protest at China for? Where is their protest? I have already said the Border & Immigration Agency is not fit for the purpose, a wide ranging report agreed. Yet has anything happened? The fact this went unreported demonstrates a sick determination to deny these people’s humanity. So here it is, plenty of copy for newspapers to glean and print, hey they have money they could investigate it themselves, consider the gauntlet thrown down. You feel me?

More at Indymedia- Harmondsworth hunger strike broken violently & Detained Mothers on Hunger Strike in Yarl’s Wood.

Early Day Motion For Mehdi Kazemi

Via the fabulously named Stroppyblog, if you are a UK citizen (ie you have an MP) click here have a look at the motion and if your representative isn’t signed on…then contact your MP to get them to sign it. Find your MP & details at They Work For You.

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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.


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.