Category Archives: Refugees

Journalist arrest after Kent refugee camp protest shows how the Tories put down dissent

Napier barracks: I believe this is one of the images that led to the police arresting Andy Aitchison. But if he was behind a camera, how could he have been carrying out criminal damage?

Whoever would have predicted that the United Kingdom would descend to this?

The Conservative government, under xenophobic Home Secretary Priti Patel, has opened a series of concentration camps where they have dumped hundreds of asylum-seekers.

I wrote about them in December last year.

The camps have inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities.

Camp residents are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

They have to sleep in dormitories of up to 28 people – which is probably why more than 100 people at the Napier Barracks camp in Kent have contracted the virus in the last two weeks.

The Home Office reaction was to blame people living in the camp, saying residents (inmates would be a better word) refused to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules that they could not have followed because of the conditions forced on them by the Home Office.

Conditions there led to activists protesting outside the site on Thursday morning, where they allegedly threw buckets of food colouring, water and shampoo or conditioner – fake blood – at the gate and on the ground in front of the gate.

Demonstrators had signs reading: “Close Napier now” and “Priti Patel: there will be blood on your hands”.

Freelance photographer Andy Aitchison attended and took photographs, some of which appeared in local press reports of the protest.

Around six hours after the protest, matters took a sinister turn when police arrived at Mr Aitchison’s house and arrested him for criminal damage.

Really? Criminal damage? He took some photos of a demonstration that was embarrassing to the Conservative government and to Priti Patel and this arrest looks like suspicious use of the police for political purposes.

On Friday afternoon (January 29), a fire broke out in the camp – cause unknown. Fortunately Mr Aitchison can’t be blamed – one of his bail conditions is not to go to the camp.

Patel herself had the cheek to publish a statement accusing people at the barracks of vandalising property, threatening staff and putting lives at risk.

She actually told us that this behaviour was “deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country”:

No, Priti Patel. You are deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country. You have made us complicit in providing facilities of such poor quality that they actually endanger the lives of the people you force to live there.

This Writer thinks there should be an investigation into what is happening at Napier Barracks and any connection between that and Patel.

I think the use of the police to intimidate a photojournalist for doing his job must also be probed.

Sadly, I know the UK’s institutions are as corrupt as they come. No such investigations will happen and if there has been corrupt behaviour, those responsible will be protected. Over the last 40 years, it’s what we’ve all been voting for.

Source: ‘It’s censorship’: Journalist arrested after photographing protest outside controversial asylum camp | The Independent

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If you think conditions in Priti Patel’s planned concentration camp are bad, you should see them in the ones she already has

Auschwitz was a concentration camp: it seems Priti Patel may have found in Covid-19 a more socially-acceptable way of wiping out her refugees than the gas chamber.

It seems a lot of people were shocked by the revelation that Priti Patel is planning to open a concentration camp in Hampshire – with all the connotations of that phrase – for foreign refugees.

If you thought that was bad, what will you think of the fact that she is already running two such camps – subjecting the inmates to squalor, indignity and the threat of Covid-19 – in south Wales and Kent.

An article in The Canary describes conditions in the Penally camp, south Wales, as “hellish”.

Camp residents complain of inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities. They are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

60% or more of the camp’s 42 toilets were not working, leaving the residents in severely unsanitary conditions. The toilets were eventually fixed but … this wasn’t the first time the toilets had been out of action. In fact: “This is the fourth time in three weeks.”

The only functional showers in Penally are shared, without any private cubicles. “A month ago they brought in caravans containing private showers, but no-one use them because they have no hot water. So they are just for show.” When residents have finished showering, they have to put on their coat straightaway to go out into the freezing cold.

There are precious few measures in place to protect against the spread of coronavirus in Penally. “Hand sanitiser and soap dispensers are often either empty or not working. Outside the canteen, there is one dispenser which is often left empty, including for three days on one occasion.” Mask wearing is only enforced within the dining area, and masks are only available on request.

A minibus of 15 new residents arrived at the camp on Wednesday 16 December. Some of the existing camp residents asked if these newcomers had been tested for coronavirus; they were told ‘It’s not your business’. “They say that we need to be careful about spreading Covid, but they put us all together in shared rooms, with not enough toilets and shared showers We eat in the same dining hall, and we wait together in the queue for food – I think they sent us here to get Corona and die.”

This is the situation in Priti Patel’s concentration camp Britain. People are sent to filthy, degrading hovels which they are forced to share with others who may have a disease that is currently killing hundreds of people in the UK every day.

And she wants to open more.

Source: ‘Every day it’s getting worse’ – a refugee calls for ‘massive protests’ over conditions at Home Office camp | The Canary

Patel plans concentration camp for 300 refugees with no mains water

Devil in a dress: Priti Patel is building a concentration camp for asylum seekers in the UK.

Priti Patel – Tory Home Secretary and Boris Johnson’s version of Heinrich Himmler – has demanded that a concentration camp be ready to have asylum seekers dumped in it from January 1.

The minute the UK completes its exit from the European Union, this daughter of refugees intends to have refugees thrown into a camp with no drainage, mains water or sewage and no on-site doctor near Barton Stacey, Hampshire.

Water will have to be brought in by tanker, meaning the 300 male inmates may be subjected to shortages whenever Patel feels like it problems occur.

Even fellow Tory – and local MP – Caroline Nokes is against it:

“It will be like a prison camp and conditions will be appalling. There are no plans to provide healthcare services on site, which will add to the strain on local GPs. I am shocked anyone could think this is a good idea.”

According to the Home Office, the plans have not been finalised, but all accommodation provided is required to be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped.

By whose standards?

Source: Priti Patel ‘plans to dump 300 refugees in “prison camp” with no mains water’ – Mirror Online

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George ‘Useless’ Eustace doubles down on lie that Tory government has provided money to feed kids

Defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice believes children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

There’s a good reason his nickname is ‘Useless’.

Environment Secretary George Eustace has repeated the insistence of Boris Johnson’s government that it will not provide any funding to feed poverty-stricken children at Christmas.

Interviewed by Kay Burley on Sky News, he said:

Burley provided robust rebuttals of his claims, and could have also pointed out that there is a five-week wait before Universal Credit claims are honoured (if they are allowed) – and that free school meals were provided outside of term time earlier this year because of the Covid-19 crisis that has forced millions of people to take a huge pay cut and that crisis is still going on.

As for the £63 million fund to councils…

Useless – sorry, Eustice – covered himself with shame during his trip round the TV stations today (October 28).

After two adults and two children died on a boat trying to get into the UK, he supported Priti Patel’s line that, rather than creating a new system which would allow asylum seekers to apply for refuge in the UK from outside its borders, the UK should block off all legal channels to do so.

This, of course, creates a huge market for illegal traffickers to send would-be migrants on unsafe channel crossings in which they may die. To Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast, Eustice said:

As you can tell, he doesn’t care if Johnny or Jane Foreigner dies; he just wants to keep them out.

To top it all, when Walker asked why the Johnson government ignored the advice of SAGE to have a lockdown in September in order to avoid having more than 200 deaths a day by mid-November – advice which seems to have been borne out by the fact that 367 deaths were recorded yesterday (October 27) – Useless Eustice said Johnson had chosen to do what he thought was right for the economy, not for the people:

Eustice is a former public relations executive who apparently learned his journalism at Cornwall College in Pool, Cornwall – which happens to be where This Writer did a postgraduate course in journalism.

I don’t think he was there when I was. Otherwise I would now be filled with regret for missing the opportunity to contribute to the national well-being by putting him off politics.

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#Nazi-thinking #Tory: #PritiPatel wants to deport asylum-seekers – to the South Atlantic

Yes, the devil horns again: Does anybody have an image of Priti Patel in a Nazi uniform?

The UK’s Home Secretary goes from dire to diabolical.

The latest chapter in her descent to damnation is this, from the Financial Times:

Here are some details:

This is Nazi thinking:

Patel’s Nazi sympathies are becoming increasingly pronounced; consider her attack on travellers, only days ago.

And nobody in the Johnson government – or the wider Conservative Party – has lifted a finger in question.

Still, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.

The parallels between the Tories and Nazis are strong.

Just look at the way they treat people who have disabilities.

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Priti Patel has ashamed us all with her mistreatment of asylum-seekers

Remember this?

The Guardian has reported on what happened to these people – and it reflects very poorly on Priti Patel and her Home Office.

The 11 men were left destitute after being dumped in Madrid, Spain, by the Home Office chartered flight:

Barbara Pomfret, an adviser to corporate companies about social responsibility, who is based in Granada, said she wanted to offer support to the asylum seekers, especially when she learned they had been left in the street. The 40-year-old paid for food and a few days of accommodation for the group and set up a crowdfund page with her husband, Thomas Pomfret, to help support them.

“As a UK citizen I am ashamed that our government would leave asylum seekers on the streets with absolutely no support. As I see it the only difference between me and this group of people is luck. And if I was ever so unlucky as to find myself in a similar situation I hope that someone with more luck would be willing to help me.”

Several of the asylum seekers told The Guardian they had close family members in the UK. All had fled persecution and some had experienced torture.

All but one of them say they were removed from the UK without having their identity documents returned to them. Home Office sources said they were looking into this.

The Home Office has said it is under no obligation to monitor the treatment of asylum seekers it has returned to another country.

In other words, Patel and her cronies would have been happy if these people had starved, as long as it was on the streets of some other country.

I am reminded again of the words of Tony Benn: “The way a government treats refugees shows how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”

I am also reminded of the way the Tories have treated sick and disabled people they have unfairly cut off from receiving benefits; they never bothered to check up on the well-being of those people so we have no idea what happened to them.

So Ms Pomfret is right: we should all be ashamed of living in a country whose government turns its back on people who need help.

Source: Woman who helped deported Syrians ‘ashamed of UK government’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Patel resumes refugee deportation – and attacks on ‘activist lawyers’. Why aren’t her own legals on strike?

The Home Office tweet about ‘activist lawyers’ that was released only a week ago. Officials have been barred from using the phrase but the Home Secretary continues to do so.

If I was a lawyer working for the Tory government, I would be on strike from today in solidarity with my “activist” colleagues whose only interest is in ensuring that the UK’s government does not break the law.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has tweeted that deportations of refugees who came to the UK by small boat have resumed with a flight to Spain.

She stated that this happened in spite of “activist lawyers” – in an act of defiance against those who achieved a ruling from her permanent secretary that the use of the phrase by Home Office officials was inappropriate.

Unfortunately Matthew Rycroft’s pronouncement does not apply to the Home Secretary herself, so she broadcast this on Twitter:

The tweet has provoked a wave of protest, which This Writer expects was exactly what Patel wanted:

Yes, I think it’s what she wanted – because for every tweet in protest, she’ll have roused people like this commenter:

It creates division.

And division allows Tories to act without inhibition – and the rule of law is diminished in favour of Tory dictatorship.

The tweeter who complained about migrants moving into the North of England has received angry replies, meaning that smaller arguments are breaking out, diminishing the larger point against Patel:

You see how it works?

That’s why I say the best response to Patel would be a strike by people in the legal profession working for the government.

But will it happen?

Or are government lawyers far more interested in fat salaries than in upholding the law itself?

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Victim of its own success: Banksy-funded migrant rescue boat is itself rescued

A ship funded by Bristol street artist Banksy to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean was so successful that it had to call for help itself after it became too loaded with migrants to move.

The ship, the Louise Michel, ended up with more than 200 traumatised migrants on its deck, meaning it was unsafe to move, while it was in the see near Malta.

The Italian coastguard responded to calls for help and took 49 people, and another rescue ship, Seawatch4, arrived to help as well.

But the ship’s 10-strong crew poured scorn on the lukewarm attitude of most European countries who, they said, had been “ignoring our emergency calls for immediate assistance”.

The Italian coastguard finally responded after the crew warned Maltese and Italian authorities: “Don’t let it become a body count. Do your job. Rescue them.”

It seems the UK’s is not the only European government for whom humanitarian aid is a foreign concept.

Source: Banksy-funded refugee rescue boat in distress helped by Italian coast guard

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Home Office deletes “fascist Dad’s Army” ‘migrants’ clip released after it was forced to abandon deportation flight

It seems there was more to the Home Office’s video clip about “activist lawyers” than met the eye – and that was already pretty bad.

Apparently the government had been forced to abandon a deportation flight to Spain after last-minute legal challenges meant all 23 passengers had to be allowed off the plane.

It seems that HO had tried to rush through the deportations fast, in order to deny these asylum-seekers the right to appeal; that would be breaking the law. All the lawyers did was insist that these people be allowed their legal rights.

In response, the government department released the tweet attacking “activist lawyers” who “delay and disrupt returns”.

So it seems the line saying, “Soon we will no longer be bound by EU laws and can negotiate our own return arrangements,” was an attempt to taunt those lawyers.

That was a mistake. It provoked complaints – some of them from the lawyers who carry out these actions.

So now the tweet has come down and HO permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft has issued instructions that the term “activist lawyers” should not be used again.

The most effective complaint seems to have come from the economist Jonathan Portes. This Site has huge respect for this gentleman, going back to discussions of the UK economy here many years ago.

He posted a thread showing part of the response he received:

Later, he added this:

By this time, some of the lawyers concerned had already taken to Twitter to put their side of the story across – and it makes interesting reading:

It’s another own-goal for Boris Johnson’s Tory government – and the Home Office that Johnson insists must be run by Priti Patel.

Source: Home Office wrong to refer to ‘activist lawyers’, top official admits | Home Office | The Guardian

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Home Office ‘migrants’ clip: “It’s like Dad’s Army but WE’RE the fascists”

Priti Patel: I was going to paint a Hitler-style moustache on her upper lip but let’s be honest – there’s no need.

[Note: The Home Office has taken down the offending tweet. However, that’s no reason not to know what was in it. Let’s discuss:]

Priti Patel’s Home Office has taken a (goose) step too far with it’s latest anti-migrant video.

It says – well, see for yourself:

Wow.

The graphic really is like the opening titles of Dad’s Army, but the message is perverse.

Behind graphics reminiscent of the old TV sit-com, that represented the UK’s older (and younger) citizens fending off the Nazi hordes, the Home Office comes across as having been taken over by the Nazis,

“We are working to remove” – take note of that language, remove. It means the Home Office is sending people back to the home countries they fled to seek asylum in the United Kingdom – “migrants with no right to remain in the UK”. Migrants like Mercy Baguma who, rather than being removed, was starved to death in her Glasgow home after the Home Office removed her right to remain but then did nothing, leaving her in limbo without any way of feeding herself?

“But current return regulations” to which the UK signed up “are rigid and open to abuse…” If they’re “rigid”, then it shouldn’t be possible to abuse them; they’d mean one thing only. Is it not more likely that the current regulations simply don’t allow the Home Office (as run by Priti Patel) to just kick people out willy-nilly?

“… Allowing activist lawyers” – activist? Activist? Apparently an “activist” is a person who campaigns to bring about political and social change. The use of the word suggests that this is a bad thing. But if the current regime is keen to expel innocent people to an uncertain future – on the basis of questionable information (what are the facts on which the Home Office seeks to deport these people, anyway?) then it seems to me that political and social change is not only desirable but demanded.

“… to delay and disrupt returns…” Good for them!

Then it starts to get really sinister: “Soon we will no longer be bound by EU laws and can negotiate our own return arrangements.” Doesn’t this suggest that the Tory-run Home Office, overseen by Priti Patel, is looking forward to the freedom to treat Johnny Foreigner with extreme prejudice? To treating migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers as people with no rights at all?

I fear for the future of anyone falling into the clutches of such a regime. Fascism comes very strongly to mind.

Of course, we are British – and the clip is already getting the treatment it deserves:

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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