Friday, August 26, 2011

Jail population at new record high (uk)

The prison population in England and Wales has reached a record high for the third consecutive week as the courts continue to jail hundreds of people involved in the riots.
But the speed with which the prison population is rising following the riots appears to have slowed, with an increase of 167 this week compared with 723 last week, Ministry of Justice figures showed.
The total number of prisoners hit 86,821, compared with last week's record of 86,654, taking the population to about 1,500 short of the usable operational capacity of 88,338.
The Government has said there will be enough jail places for anyone sentenced to custody as a result of the violence and looting which swept across England's cities earlier this month, and contingency measures are also in place.
The rise - about 20 per day over the last week, compared with about 100 a day the previous week - comes as almost 1,500 people have appeared in court charged with offences linked to the riots.
A tough approach by the courts has seen seven in 10 of those charged remanded in custody, compared with just one in 10 of those charged with serious offences last year.
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt has said there will be a "one-off increase in prison numbers as people serve their sentences" but that the new wave of inmates will not necessarily change long-term estimates of prison numbers.
Speaking on Tuesday, he said jails can cope with the spike in numbers and has defended the tough sentences in the wake of rioting.
"We are completely confident that the prison system and justice system are going to be able to cope with what the police are producing for us," he said. "This is an exceptional event. What we have to do is make sure there are prison places for those sent to prison by the courts and we will continue to do that regardless of how many people are sent to prison."
Contingency plans to manage the "unprecedented situation" could involve bringing on new accommodation early, using extra places in the public and private estate, or reopening mothballed accommodation. And it could also trigger plans to accommodate prisoners in police cells.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Uninvited Visitors u.k.

Zaythoun Suleman | 20.02.2011 
On Wednesday 26th January 2011 at approximately 6am in the morning, my son had just made the first adhan for Fajr and was waiting to make the second adhan. All of a sudden, there was a bang on the door.

He didn’t know what to do; he saw the police through the window and feared he would be arrested. The banging got louder as they banged second time and then the third time which was so loud that he thought the door would be broken. He was so scared and confused that he didn’t know what to do. He finally came and woke us up.“Mum, there is someone banging on the door, it’s the police!” I jumped out of bed and looked out of the bedroom window.

Outside, I saw two police officers on the street and one near the door. I woke my husband up who went to open the door. I grabbed my hijab and jilbaab and covered myself, by this time our baby daughter was also awake. My son’s startled and worried face looked at me as I proceeded to go downstairs. He raised his hand to make the adhan…

As I walked through the living room, I saw three plain clothed men come through the door with a plain clothed woman. The man said he had a warrant to search the property under the Terrorism Act, he told me to come into the room. Two uniformed policemen came in and went upstairs and said the area is secure and shouted there were three children and a baby.


The second adhan was not vocalised as two police officers ran towards him, he moved out of the way as they passed and sat on the floor with his back against the wall petrified with fear.

“Hello, what is your name and who are you?” demanded the police officer.
“My name is****” he replied in fear and confusion.
“Do you have any brothers and sisters?”
He told them where everyone was “What are you doing here?” My son asked the officer.
“We are just gonna have a chat and then we will be on our way” and then the officer proceeded to wake his brothers up.


The woman said we need to go upstairs and get some clothes for the children and get them dressed as we would have to leave the property for a couple of days.

“Where are we supposed to go?” I asked.
“Is there somewhere you can go? You must have family or friends!” The lady said.
“No, I don’t have family here.”
“Family anywhere? We will take you anywhere you want to go.”
“You need to sort the children out to get ready to leave”. The lady escorted me upstairs to where my other sons were woken up by the uniformed police.

They were asleep upstairs when the police officer put the light on. My older son thought he was dreaming and rubbed his eyes. The police officer didn’t explain anything to my son who was startled to find him in his bedroom.
I told them to get dressed.

“You have to hurry up,” the plain-clothed woman officer said. My baby needed breastfeeding and they wanted me to get her clothes packed. I began getting her baby grows and vests together to put in the holdall bag, she took them off me, searched them before putting them into the bag herself. My daughter began to get upset as she was hungry so I told the lady I needed to feed her. I told my older son to pack a couple of clothes for him and his brothers and I came into my bedroom and closed the door.

The woman came in with me and watched as I fed my daughter. I began to get redressed in my jilbaab so I could use the bathroom. Another woman had joined us by then who said she had to search me before I went to use the bathroom. I told her that she had just been watching me breastfeed my daughter. She said she had to still search me and told me to undress, so I took my hijaab and jilbaab off and she proceeded to pat me down under my bra and through my hair.

The Adhan alarm on my husband’s phone was playing, so I reached to switch it off. The lady told me not to answer it. I told her I was switching the alarm off. She nodded and told me I was not allowed to touch my phone or any other phone.

I had a sister coming around in the evening, I wanted her number so I could call her and let her know not to come but they would not allow me to get her number from my phone. She told me that I would have to sort that out later and that right now the priority was to get us out of the house.
After this, I was allowed to use my own bathroom. Once we got all our clothes and nappies which were all being checked before they went into the bag, I was escorted into the kitchen to get baby food jars, I put a half eaten porridge box and a full one into a plastic bag. The lady took the half eaten box out when she searched what we were allowed to take. I went to pick my baby and brought her downstairs. We had been booked into a hotel.


The police officer watched my older son get undressed telling him that he wasn’t looking. My son continued to look at him and didn’t undress until he nodded and looked away.

My older son began to take his phone and put it in his pocket. He then took his money and a coin fell. The police officer heard it.

“You are not allowed to take your money, put it down; you are not allowed to take anything. Do you have anything else in your pocket?” My son took his phone out. “Do you have anything else?”

My son said “No,” the police officer then patted my sons pocket without any of us being present. My eight year old son was so scared to see them as soon as he woke up and feared he was going to be arrested, the police officer said “hello,” and began questioning him, they told him to get dressed. The police officer told **** to get dressed. He was thinking how to dress if the officers kept looking at him.

“I need privacy to get dressed”.
“Oh, I’m not looking at you; it’s just that I don’t want you to take anything dangerous.” The police officer re-assured him. My son tried to use a cover to cover himself so he could get dressed, the police officer said “Drop it, don’t pick it up, just get dressed right now”. He was so scared that he wore his trousers over his pyjamas.
“Go downstairs now!” My son wondered why he was acting like this. He went down and saw five police officers with my husband.
The same man who asked him his name before asked his name again.
“Oh, what is in your pocket?” the woman said pointing at his coat pocket.
“It’s just junk!” She took his wallet and searched it. The lady took his money; there was £55 and papers.
“That’s a lot of money” She said “Where did it all come from?”
“I saved it over Eid and pocket money”

She took it off him and put it on the table. He tried to take it but she said “You are not allowed to take it; your parents have enough money.”
My husband was searched three times, once before he went to the toilet, second when he came down and thirdly before he left the house. All this time, he had an escort of three police officers even when he was on the toilet at which time he had to leave the bathroom door open.


My older son was sat in the living room after he got dressed “What’s your name?” The police officer asked him.
“Usamah” replied my son.
“Usamah Bin Laden?” The police officer mocked.


As we left there were at least ten officers in the house and police vans and police cars as we were taken from our home. I was allowed to take £80 of my own money, no phone and my coat had to stay in the house to be searched before they brought it to me later. We were booked into a local hotel, with allowance to eat up to £22.50 per person per night. Anything we needed from our home over the next few days had to go through a police contact who left his details with my husband. We were given a phone the next day to make calls with a £10 top up, it had the police contact on it. The next day we were moved to another hotel in Milnrow which had a bar as a restaurant so we couldn’t eat there. We had to order food from a Halal takeaway which was reimbursed, they constantly reminded us it was tax-payers money and they were accountable for it. My husband overheard the hotel receptionist calling the officer as they were leaving.

“Hey guys, the restaurant next door need you to pay for your drinks”


The police volunteered to take my older two children to their Qur’an class saying that this is what they were here for.


During our stay away from home, four plain clothed men and a plain clothed woman escorted me, my three sons aged 12, 11 and 8 and my four month daughter to Asda’s for breakfast. This was all “low key” especially when the cashier in Asda’s became startled as to why two men in suits were paying for the meals of a Muslim hijabi and her children. They also ordered their coffees and paid for everything with what I assume was “tax-payers” money.

Whilst dropping my husband off at the hospital, the driver following the sat nav got lost. The other officer led him to a dead end before finally reaching the hospital.

On our way back to the house on the fifth day, the plain-clothed officer driving us told me they kept it “low-key” so we could tell the people whatever we wanted. The “low key” entailed police tape around the front bins and back yard, police presence 24 hours a day for four days and police escorting us everywhere we wanted to go. She told me that we would be handed back to the Metropolitan police who would show my husband around the house and explain what had been taken. Me and my children would sit in the car.

My husband told them that anything they had to say would have to be said in front of me so we were taken inside. They proceeded to take us through the house vaguely explaining what had been taken from each room. In the house all things were folded neatly, the officer explained they did this so they knew where they had searched; they told us that they had even washed the dishes. They refused to give us their names and contact numbers. Through persistent pushing from my husband they gave a Scotland Yard number and a name which the solicitor said is the general number. The uninvited visitors said they would be in touch and left.


Old holes which were filled were reopened and not fixed properly. Carpet was lifted and was not put back under the grips. There are traces of where they searched and an eeriness of knowing that your privacy was invaded as we try to function as a normal Muslim family.
They left us with a fear of not knowing who will come knocking and the power these people have in entering your homes and doing what they wish. Being burgled by a stranger is illegal in this country but having the police come into your house, taking laptops and mobile phones is legal. It leaves you numb and produces a wakeup call that nothing really belongs to you as it can be taken from you at anytime. The neighbours and passer bys want to know what happened, a few ladies went passed the house and shouted at the window. Another few were looking through our letterbox. There are more police patrolling the street we live on as well as police cars driving past.

Three weeks later, on Saturday 12th February 2011, two plain clothed officers knocked on the door. My husband went to open the door and they told him they had a list of property they had seized and wanted to talk inside. They said they didn’t want the neighbours to know what is happening, my husband said just say what you want to say. He replied it was private, so he let them in. My children were in the room, they wanted them to leave the room but my husband said “Say it in front of the children.”
“Are you sure you want them to know?”
“Just say it”
“You are suspected of terrorism, you and your associates should stop what you are doing as we will be monitoring you”
“What am I doing? I’m not involved in anything. Give me your name and number.”
“I am just a messenger, I can’t give you my contact name, and I’ll give you my contact number.” He wrote it on the back of the “property seized” list.
“My colleague is just trying to help you.” stated the other officer.
“Just leave, thank you” My husband showed them the door and called his solicitor.
We looked through the list, amongst them was my sons PS2 memory card, £900 cash including my son’s pocket money and eid money they had been saving for a year, my husband had got tickets for paintball and they took them also. The items that were taken were items that can be found in any family household and have nothing to do with terrorism which extracts the question “Who could be the next target? It could even be you…
As I finish writing this article, the adhan for Maghrib is being vocalised in the background. May Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala keep all Muslims safe and protected from harm and strengthen them for this world and grant them the best in the Akhirah… ameen.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

#495 | Revealed: video footage of Greek army training to supress demonstrations

The video below is a filming of a military exercise of the Greek army in barracks of Northern Greece. The exercise, called “Kallimahos” [lit. 'fighting well'] included training on… suppressing civilian demonstrations. At approximately 2’50” into the video (the embedded video below links directly at that time), “demonstrators” chanting “we want peace” (in English) and holding peace banners are confronted riot police, vehicles and even with dogs (never used in demonstrations in the country so far).

Monday, January 24, 2011

From The Guardian Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.
The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.
Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists.
The one stipulation, according to the officer from the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit formed to prevent violent disorder on the streets of London, was that falling in love was considered highly unprofessional because it might compromise an investigation. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job".
"Everybody knew it was a very promiscuous lifestyle," said the former officer, who first revealed his life as an undercover agent to the Observer last year. "You cannot not be promiscuous in those groups. Otherwise you'll stand out straightaway."
The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.
However Jon Murphy, Acpo's spokesman on serious and organised crime, said last week that undercover officers were not permitted "under any circumstances" to sleep with protesters.
He added: "It is grossly unprofessional. It is a diversion from what they are there to do."
Mounting anger among women protesters will see female activists converge on Scotland Yard tomorrow to demand that the Met disclose the true extent of undercover policing. The demonstration is also, according to organisers, designed to express "solidarity with all the women who have been exploited by men they thought they could trust".
Climate campaigner Sophie Stephens, 27, who knew Kennedy, said there was fury among women who felt violated by the state: "We know women have been abused by men posing as policemen and it's becoming clear this was state-sanctioned. These women did not know they were forming a relationship with policemen. It's appalling – and now we want the full details of the undercover officers to be made public."
The protest will be followed on Tuesday by the appearance before the Commons home affairs select committee of the acting Met commissioner, Tim Godwin, and Commander Bob Broadhurst, who is responsible for public order in the capital. Both will be asked to explain why Scotland Yard gave false information over the use of covert operatives during the London G20 protests in 2009. The issue of sexual activity by operatives is also likely to be brought up.
The former SDS officer claims a lack of guidelines meant sex was an ideal way to maintain cover. He admitted sleeping with at least two of his female targets as a way of obtaining intelligence.
"When you are on an undercover unit you were not given a set of instructions saying you could or couldn't do the following. They didn't say to you that you couldn't go out and drink because technically you're a police officer, that you shouldn't go out and get involved in violent confrontations, you shouldn't take recreational drugs.
"As regards being with women in very, very, very promiscuous groups such as the eco-wing, environmental movement, leftwing, or the Animal Liberation Front – it's an extremely promiscuous lifestyle and you cannot not be promiscuous in there.
"Among fellow undercover officers, there is not really any kudos in the fact that you are shagging other people while deployed. Basically it's just regarded as part of the job. It'd be highly unlikely that you were not [having sex].
"When you are using the tool of sex to maintain your cover or maybe to glean more intelligence – because they certainly talk a lot more, pillow talk – you would be ready to move on if you felt an attachment growing.
"The best way of stopping any liaison getting too heavy was to shag somebody else. It's amazing how women don't like you going to bed with someone else," said the officer, whose undercover deployment infiltrating anti-racist groups lasted from 1993 to 1997. Two years later the SDS became the National Public Order Intelligence Unit, the secretive organisation that employed Kennedy and whose activities are the subject of three investigations.
The officer added that undercover police were strictly encouraged not to form a bond with women they were sleeping with and said that he knew Jim Boyling, the undercover officer who married an activist he was supposed to be spying upon.
Boyling, a specialist operations detective constable with the Met, was suspended on Friday pending an investigation into his professional conduct.
The former SDS officer, who has now left the Met, said one stipulation by senior commanders was that undercover officers should be married, so that they had something to return to. He said the move was introduced when a spy never returned after five years undercover.