Letters / FRFI 221 June/July 2011

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 221 June/July 2011

Police ‘pre-Royal Wedding’ harassment

I was shocked to be arrested at 7am on 25 April by eight Territorial Support Group officers and, I believe, two detectives at my home in London for alleged ‘violent disorder’ during the TUC demo on 26 March. Initially the police failed to identify themselves, they just hammered on the door. They also failed to produce a search warrant when requested by both myself and my girlfriend. Only as they were leaving the property was my girlfriend given the warrant after much argument.

The search was very detailed, even though the warrant only mentioned items of clothing to be taken. They rifled through documents and even my girlfriend’s make-up. They removed a respirator, scarf, laptop and two rucksacks. I was taken to the local police station where I was told they were going to make the whole process as difficult as they could for me as there was a ‘marker’ on my file stating I’d made previous complaints about the police.

 

I was a bit worried about what they meant by that. The duty sergeant ordered a strip-search in the only cell with no cameras. I refused to leave the relative safety of the front desk. She understood my concern and I was strip-searched in a standard cell covered by CCTV and given white overalls to wear as if it were a forensic investigation. I was then examined by a doctor for a ‘full body map’ to see if I had any injuries; thankfully there were none.

I was interviewed by the two detectives and shown poor quality footage of the TUC demo where some masked protesters threw a traffic cone at a police van – it could have been anyone. The only reason I could see for my arrest was my previous peaceful involvement in other protests, making it unlawful and unjustified.

I was charged and released at 1.30pm, and all my possessions seized earlier were returned. I was bailed to report to the police station on 9 May and not to enter the City of Westminster. I had a bus booked for Scotland later in the day specifically to avoid the Royal Wedding, which I almost missed due to this unnecessary police action.

On my return to London my lawyer informed me that the violent disorder charge had been dropped and no further action was being taken. I will of course be taking further legal advice and live in fear of the next unfounded police sortie.

Harvie Brown

London


 

Police state in Ireland

While the Queen of England was visiting Dublin, I carried and waved the Irish tricolour, our national flag, at a demonstration. This was deemed a ‘crime’ by the Gardai. I was assaulted by the police, handcuffed and taken away in a police van.

Later that night I appeared in court charged under the Public Order Act, sections 6 and 8. I was effectively denied bail as the judge demanded €300 cash bail. I was to sign on three times a week at a Garda barracks and would be banned from entering the city boundaries between Dublin 1 and Dublin 8.

My solicitor pointed out that I was being illegally detained. I was held for approximately 30 hours before being released and appeared in court on 24 May. The case is continuing.

DERMOT

Ireland


 

Media cover-up for racist attacks on Celtic FC

I have been deeply disgusted by the mainstream?media’s coverage of the recent racist abuse?directed?at?Neil Lennon, manager of Celtic Football Club, and their clear political attacks on Celtic FC supporters. Not only have they tried to disguise the blatant?anti-Irish racism directed at Neil Lennon,?they have also described many?of the political songs?sung by?sections of Celtic supporters as sectarian. Nowhere has this been more evident than during?the?BBC’s coverage of the Scottish Cup Final when at half-time Sportscene host Rob Maclean?told the millions of viewers watching that ‘the Celtic supporters have been singing sectarian songs during the first half’. He must have been referring to ‘Boys of the Old Brigade’, an Irish rebel song which does not once mention religion. Funnily enough, just two months ago during a CIS Cup Final, thousands of Rangers FC fans could clearly be heard singing ‘Oh no, Pope of Rome, no chapels to sadden my eyes/No nuns and no priests and no rosary beads’. This could be heard loud and clear, and again Maclean was on duty that day, but didn’t utter a word about that. It is plain to see that the BBC will continue to distort and completely deny the truth. I would advise all to lodge a complaint against the BBC bigots. It is not sectarianism, it is anti-Irish racism.

CONNOR RILEY

Glasgow


 

Anti-imperialist activity in Dorset

I enclose money for ten copies of the pamphlet and 25 copies of the June/July issue of FRFI. Thanks for two excellent issues – it is helping several good comrades to coalesce and encouraging me to study more thoroughly.

There’s been quite a lot of activity here, with meetings and films on Palestine in Sherbourne and Dorchester – over 100 people attended the Dorchester event. There was a debate in Ilminster about Libya – the vote went against the war. 250 people rallied against the EDL in Weymouth, where the fascists had about 90, mainly elderly skinheads. The anti-fascist rally was good, with an open microphone. Films in Bridport, organised by anarchists, the IWW and us alongside some non-aligned people have been good – we screened the World According to Monsanto, a French film, for 45 people last Sunday week; the previous month it was Battle of Algiers to an audience of approximately 30.

JOHN BURBIDGE

Sherbourne


 

FRFI censored

I am currently at HMP Long Lartin. I was receiving your paper at HMP Belmarsh, then I was moved to HMP?Manchester aka Strangeways in October 2009, where they did not allow me to have the papers you had sent me. My solicitors Birnberg Peirce and Partners wrote to them and after months of delaying tactics they said, in a letter dated 11 May 2010, that I would be allowed to have the paper. Two days later I was moved to Long Lartin.

I’ve just read the April/May 2011 FRFI which states that there is still a blanket ban at Manchester prison. This is interesting as it seems that my legal team and I were deceived and they probably only wrote that I?could have the paper as they knew I would be shipped out in a couple of days.

I will be taking HMP?Manchester to court for a number of issues, including not allowing me to have FRFI while I?was there. If anyone has any evidence or information that shows that HMP?Manchester is still not allowing prisoners to have FRFI since May 2010 please pass it on to my solicitor Daniel Guedalla at Birnberg Peirce.

I would like to thank you for your excellent paper and the hard work you do to fight for justice and freedom, against discrimination and to give a voice to the voiceless.

AHMED ALI A2037AF

HMP Long Lartin


 

Abuse and assault under Close Supervision

I write to relate my personal experience of Close Supervision Centres (CSCs) and the torture I have been subjected to in prisons.

After officers sustained injuries at HMP Frankland in March 2010, only a sick individual could imagine the level of violence I sustained. This carried on at HMP Wakefield where I spent 13 days of extreme racial, physical and sexual abuse. After I reported this, I was quickly moved to Woodhill CSC. Psychological torture is extremely painful and, some may say, worse than the physical kind.  Orders are barked and failure to jump high enough leads to further abuse and, often, assault. I have on several occasions not jumped at all, like the time I was ordered to move my toothbrush from one clearly visible point in the cell to another, this resulted in no exercise, shower, phone call, food, library, nothing – behavioural modification skills these ex-army prison officers learned out in Afghanistan, Iraq and other wars.

From all the abuse I have suffered from prison staff, I now have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), resulting in severe anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares and constant fear. I have gone through such bad spells that I have been unable to leave my bed for days, as well as having attempted to take my own life on five occasions in the last ten months.

I am told I require a clinical psychologist to treat my PTSD but ‘none are available’. I therefore have to live an unbearable life, just waiting for the day I am forced to end it, or the staff do it for me and cover it up to make it appear to be a suicide. Either way, I am struggling and need some serious support.

The worst thing is that I am innocent of the crime which I have been imprisoned for in the first place. This resulted in a life sentence of 35 years and I am almost four years into it.

I have been the victim of an unprovoked attack by officers while at HMP Woodhill, resulting in a fractured wrist and six hours in Special Accommodation. I then received a nicking for ‘attempting to commit an assault’ as well as having my unlock level increased and ALL privileges removed.  It’s not the first time this has  happened.

KEVAN THAKRAR A4907AE

HMP WOODHILL, Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, MK14 4DA

(see http://justiceforkev.webs. com)

Anyone with information which might assist me against the charges I face in relation to HMP Frankland should contact my solicitor, Marie Bourke at Bark and Co solicitors, Bridewell Court, 14 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6AE. I am especially interested in anyone who has taken a civil claim against Frankland or sustained abuse by staff there.


 

Berlin: authorities collaborate with Neo-Nazis

On 14 May 2011 Berlin witnessed an unprecedented example of collaboration between the Neo-Nazis and the authorities of the department for demonstrations and the local council. The authorities had permitted a Neo-Nazi march to start midday on Saturday but kept it secret from the public. One of the Neo-Nazis revealed the details on the internet just hours before it was due to start, so it was possible to organise a counter-demonstration. Against 100 followers of the Neo-Nazi Freier Kameradschaften (Free Comradeship organisation) and members of NPD (National Party of Germany), there were 800 people organised to physically prevent the march. The 500-strong police force present brutally attacked the anti-fascist demonstrators with pepper spray and truncheons. However, they failed to disperse the protesters and the Neo-Nazis declared their event as finished. But nevertheless then Neo-Nazis ‘broke through’ the police kettle and savagely attacked the counter-demonstrators and passers-by. Four people were reported as injured.

The behavior of the authorities and the police showed clearly for the first time the pact between the Neo-Nazis and the police to prevent any kind of anti-fascist protest before it even starts. How else was it possible for the Neo-Nazis so easily to avoid police cordons? And after the attacks to the counter-demonstrators, the police just sent the fascists back to their meeting point rather than arresting them! This event clearly shows that not just the Neo-Nazis but the state police must be considered as an enemy force against any kind of progressive movement.

ANDREAS MEINHOF

Berlin


 

Unity needed against fascism

It was nice to read your article [on the joint resistance by the RCG and Socialist Party to EDL attempts at intimidation in Newcastle, FRFI 220]. As a Socialist Party member, I am proud that you supported us and likewise we did the same.

We may have our political differences, but at least we know who the enemy is!

PAUL

via email


 

Up the virtual garden path

Andrea Hill, the £218,000 a year Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council is on ‘gardening leave’ –the euphemism for employees who have been sacked or are leaving and have been instructed to stay away from work while remaining on the pay-roll.

Under the government’s New Strategic Directive to downsize the responsibilities of local councils, Andrea Hill led an initiative to promote a ‘virtual council’. The plan was to outsource all services to local social enterprises, charities and staff-mutuals (consortia of employees). Her plan collapsed under massive cuts to the local services budget, together with the need to observe legal requirements for statutory services to disabled people, children and others in need. Similar attempted transfers of local council duties by Bury and Brighton & Hove Council have crashed to a halt.

The lesson is that the civilising infrastructure of even a capitalist society cannot rely on the whims of some and the profits of others. There is no substitute for the democratic control of our services and that is what we must fight for.

SUSAN DAVIDSON

North London


 

 

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