A petition of a thousand names has been published in The
Independent, charging the government with literally taking
liberties. The home secretary Charles Clarke is proposing new laws
including house arrest on evidence untested in court and not even
revealed to the individual who will lose his or her freedom.
Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister has also said Muslims
should accept that they will be targeted by police. She is
presumably working on the assumption that a brown skin implies an
affiliation to Islam.
The petition calls, among other measures, for an end to detention
without trial and “recognition that human rights must not and need
not be sacrificed for effective security”.
An admirable sentiment but human rights have already been
sacrificed. A BBC investigation of Oakington Immigration Reception
Centre near Cambridge, run by Global Solutions Limited, which was
shown last week, illustrated what happens when political rhetoric
and propaganda is swallowed wholesale by the sadistic and
The two undercover reporters Simon Boazman and Andy Pagnacco
said most of the officers tried to treat detainees with respect but
a significant minority were racist and violent.
Fifteen members of staff have now been removed from the front
line while an inquiry takes place. They should have been sacked and
prosecuted since, arguably, sufficient evidence already exists on
film, to merit charges of sexual and physical assault.
One Global Solutions employee, Jason “Wolfie” Martin, was filmed
shouting abuse at a detainee whose mental health was giving cause
for concern, before tipping him out of bed. Another officer
boasted. “I’ve smacked them in their faces when no one’s looking.
I’ve busted noses.”
A union official said he knew his members were guilty but he
made sure they were cleared when a complaint was made. Staff
explained rhyming slang such as “Knives and forks and spoons equals
coons”, and acronyms such as “TGBs for thieving gypsy
Young men from Eastern Europe were locked in the secure unit on
invented charges where they were even more vulnerable to attack.
Children were denied proper social services assessments and
suffered from a range of ailments including diarrhoea.
We should back Liberty and every other campaigning group
prepared to offer resistance to anti-terror legislation that will
give further endorsement to what is already utterly inhuman.