Action Alert! Freedom for Hassan Khan

15 years ago Hassan Khan (Prisoner Number: A1187AK) was convicted of robbery and got a “two strikes” sentence – a mandatory life sentence for people convicted of a second serious sexual or violent offence. This sentence carried a 4 year 166 days minimum tariff but he has been inside for 15 years.

He grew up in care in Birmingham and has a Pashtun Father and a Welsh Mother. He had a very troubled childhood with his problems with the law starting at 8 years old. He sued West Midlands Police, having been framed by them and was awarded £23,000 damages. Not long after winning this case he was set up a second time by a corrupt police officer who planted evidence on a crime scene setting him up for a robbery he didn’t commit.

A close relative of Hassan’s stated that:

The system has never forgiven Hassan for exposing, through a landmark case, a corrupt West Midlands Serious Crime Squad as liars, falsifying statements and tampering with vital evidence. This eventually led to many innocent people, like the Birmingham 6 for example to be released. The ‘brotherhood’ within the judicial, legal and police system has never forgiven him for that.”

Hassan has spent 15 years behind bars this November. He faces an impossible situation – his security file in his parole dossier, that will be used to make the decision to release him or not, is full of racist lies alleging he is connected to Muslim gangs, Isis, and dealing drugs and phones. These lies are complete nonsense and the prison won’t even tell Hassan where this “intelligence” came from. Hassan has no way of challenging their racialised accusations against him.

He has 4 grown up sons in north Wales and desperately wants to be part of their lives. His mental health has deteriorated to the point he wants to give up hope but he has kept his resolve and has undertaken several lengthy hunger strikes to protest about his situation. Hassan needs to be released immediately to a hostel or his friend’s house in North Wales so that this 63 year man can try and salvage his relationship with the children he has missed growing up due to the corruption of the racist West Midlands Police. This is our campaign goal and we are asking people to contact HMP Gartree where he is imprisoned.

These are the Guardian articles outlining the way he was set up – twice.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/jun/01/hassan-khan-miscarriage-police-set-up

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/nov/04/sunglasses-armed-robbery-missing

Why Hassan needs us to take action:

Hassan has a parole hearing coming up on the 19th of October. Despite him doing his best to comply with the prison system his security file that the parole board will read is full of racialised lies about him because of his ethnic background and because he is a practicing Muslim.  He cannot progress through his sentence when coming up against the lies like this – especially in the current political climate. Hassan belongs with his family in north Wales. He wants to go and live with his friend who is in poor health and support him.

Life in prison is taking its toll on Hassan – he has written an autobiography called “A Wasted life.” which the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee are hoping to publish as a booklet.

Hassan needs us to act NOW! His parole is imminent (on the 19th of October) and this will be the only chance to set him free in the next 2 years. He has been considering that if he does not get parole he will undertake a hunger strike until death.

What you can do:

You can only write by letter – and all letters need to be received by the 17th of October, please post your letters to arrive by this date.

Write or email to the Governor of HMP Gartree voicing your concerns about his situation and that he should be released. You can find a template below but we recommend you put this into your own words if possible as it will have much more of an impact. Please let the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee know if you’ve written to them so we know people are responding and fighting for Hassan.

Address: Gallow Field Road,

Market Harborough,

Leicestershire,

LE16 7RP

Dear Ali Barker

I am writing to express my deep concern about prisoner Hassan Khan who is currently in HMP Gartree. He is a “2 strikes” prisoner over a decade over tariff, with a parole hearing coming up on the 19th of October.

It has emerged that his security file is littered with Islamophobic and rascist lies. It is a travesty that someone like Mr Khan who is in prison with his case now at appeal centring on allegations of police corruption, and that now, after 15 years in prison – over 10 years over his original tariff is being obstructed in the progression of his sentence by these baseless accusations. This is having serious consequences for Hassan’s friends, family and Mr Khan himself. These false statements are likely to be obstructing Hassan’s progression in his sentence.

He is serving an indeterminate sentence and denying him a fair hearing is literally putting his life in danger, him having peacefully protested in the past with several hunger strikes at the injustice of his situation, not to mention this having a knock on effect on his progression.

I ask with urgency for you to investigate why Hassan’s security file is full of these utter lies and for the officer(s) alleging these things against him to be investigated for a form of institutional racial abuse

Hassan has several friends and members of his family supportive of him coming home. I look forward to your written response confirming that you will take action to put Mr Khan on the right path to a life outside of prison.

Yours sincerely,

xxxxxxx

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End Toxic Prisons Tour Dates & Details

All over the world prisons are toxic environments causing social and ecological harm. Folks from the US have been organising resistance at the intersection of mass incarceration and the environment, successfully delaying the only current Federal prison construction for over 2 years!

Through grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action they have been challenging the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. Learn about their strategy and tactics, as well as broader struggles of prison abolition, anti-racism, and environmental justice.

Information will then be shared about resistance to the six new mega-prisons in England and Wales, which themselves are proposed for toxic sites, including radiological contamination and asbestos pollution, as well as habitat destruction at every site. Learn how you can get involved!

Learn more:

Check out a recent article we wrote:  –  Fight Toxic Prions: Mass Incarceration and Ecology

About

This Autumn, the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons from the US will be touring the UK with Community Action on Prison Expansion.

All over the world prisons are toxic environments causing social and ecological harm. Folks from the US have been organising resistance at the intersection of mass incarceration and the environment, successfully delaying the only current Federal prison construction for over 2 years!

Through grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action they have been challenging the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. Learn about their strategy and tactics, as well as broader struggles of prison abolition, anti-racism, and environmental justice.

Information will then be shared about resistance to the six new mega-prisons in England and Wales, which themselves are proposed for toxic sites, including radiological contamination and asbestos pollution, as well as habitat destruction at every site. Learn how you can get involved!

Tour Details

Thursday 28th September
London
7pm, 125 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9RG
https://www.facebook.com/events/114869449183950/

Friday 29th September

Cardiff
With IWW Cymru Wales and No Prisons De Cymru
Connect International English Academy, First Floor, 26-28 Churchill Way, CF10 2DY Cardiff https://www.facebook.com/events/129793397664005/

Saturday 30th September
Port Talbot
10.30am, Aberavon Beach Hotel, The Princess Margaret Way, Swansea Bay, Port Talbot, SA12 6QP https://www.facebook.com/events/116023012410416/

Swansea
With No Prisons De Cymru
7pm, Swansea Environment Centre, SA1 1RY
https://www.facebook.com/events/115834292452554/

Sunday 1st October
Bristol
With Bristol Anarchist Black Cross
7pm, Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol, BS5 6JZ
https://www.facebook.com/events/686514301554356/

Monday 2nd October
Manchester
With Manchester No Prisons
11am, Partisan Collective, 19 Cheetham Hill Road, M4 4FY Manchester, https://www.facebook.com/events/695802160615245/

Tuesday 3rd October
Leeds
With Yorkshire Campaign Against Prisons
Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf St, Leeds LS2 7EQ
https://www.facebook.com/events/262431267610681/

Wednesday 4th October
Leicester
With Leicester Prison Resistance
Venue TBA
https://www.facebook.com/events/664969193699307/

Thursday 5th October
Norwich
With DIT Collective
Space Studio, Swan Lane, Norwich, NR2 1HZ
https://www.facebook.com/events/538149689910439/

Friday 6th October
Liverpool
Venue TBA
https://www.facebook.com/events/167401487144097/

Day of Action Against Youth Prisons

The Empty Cages Collective is calling for actions in solidarity with the Australian campaign against youth prisons, Shut Youth Prisons Mparntwe.

First nations people and non-Indigenous people from around Australia have called for an International Week of Action at the end of September to shut youth prisons and end deaths in custody. We want to strengthen their action and bolster their message, whilst also raising awareness about the traumatic reality of our own youth prison system. The UK call-out can be read here.

Two events are taking place in London on Friday September 29th to support the Week of Action:

Please get along if you can and share the events online!

Perez, Maria, 1917-1942, aka La Jabalina

A short biography of Spanish anarchist Maria Perez, who fought with the Iron Column and was murdered by the Francoists in 1942, from Libcom

Maria Perez Cruz was born at Teruel in Spain on the 3rd of May 1917. Her parents were Manuel Perez de la Esperanza and Isabel Lacruz Civera, also originating in Teruel. Maria’s nick name of La Jabalina (which can be translated as The Javelin in English but also is the name for wild pigs) comes from the fact that her mother’s family were from the village of Jabaloyas, and this nickname was given to all the women of the family.

Economic necessity forced the family to move to the port town of Sagunto in Valencia when Maria was only six years old. A railway linked Sagunto to the Teruel mines and minerals mined there were then shipped to other parts of Europe. There were serious problems of housing and health in the town and this triggered the first workers’ protests.

The family settled near the municipal market. Maria and her five brothers helped the family by working at a vegetable stall in the market. She also helped her mother in the house and worked as a cleaner at the house of a local doctor. Angered by the condition of the working class in Sagunto, Maria joined the Libertarian Youth in 1934 at the age of seventeen. She joined the anarchist militia The Iron Column in August 1936. This had been put together from various groups, including Sagunto metalworkers. She served with it as a nurse, and helped set up a hospital on the front.

During the Battle of Teruel on August 23rd 1936 she received a gunshot wound in the leg at Puerto Escandon, which fractured a femur. She then was hospitalised until December 24th at the Valencia hospital.

After this she worked in an arms factory at Sagunto and then at Cieza in Murcia at a steel works. With the victory of Franco, she attempted to go unnoticed in Sagunto. She was now pregnant.

On April 23rd 1939 she was arrested by the Guardia Civil. After questioning, where she was asked about who she knew in the Iron Column, her head was shaved and she was paraded through the streets, and then released.

She was again summoned by the Guardia Civil on May 30th. She refused to sign a statement read out by the military judge, saying that some of the content was untrue. She was released but on the following day was imprisoned in the Sagunto jail.

She was then charged during a military trial of “aiding the rebellion” and a whole list of deeds, most of which had occurred whilst she was hospitalised, including the assault on the Castellon prison when 11 warders were killed. One of the crimes cited was the murder of the Bolivian consul in Valencia (where no such consulate had existed), whist other murders, including eight priests and an MP, were assigned to her. Local Falangist leaders said that “she had not taken part in the atrocities” but a neighbour testified that “it was said” that she had taken part in the burning of a church. The Director of the Valencia Hospital vouched that she had been there in the period when these deaths happened.

On November 4th she was transported to the Valencia Hospital because of the state of her health and her advanced pregnancy. She was released from there in January 1940 and returned to prison and later the provincial women’s prison.

She was tried before a court martial on July 28th 1942 and sentenced to death. Ten days later on August 8th she was shot with six other male prisoners against the cemetery wall at Paterna. She received a bullet to the head and another to the chest.

During her three years in prison she had been beaten and tortured but refused to own up to anything, apart from being the lover of Paco el Frances (French Paco), who may have been the Column’s war delegate in Sarrion. It is assumed she gave birth to a child on January 9th 1940, but nothing is known further of this child. Many children of prisoners of the Franco regime were given up for adoption, and this seems to have been the fate of the child.

In 2003 a women’s association of the Baladre neighbourhood of Sagunto carried out a campaign Breaking The Silences which remembered Maria and others killed by the Franco regime. A square in Sagunto has now been named after her.

Manuel Girona Rubio wrote a book about her “Un Miliciana en la Columna de Hierro”, published in 2011 and this was followed by a novel based on her life “Si me llegas a olvidar” by Rosana Corral-Marquez and a play written and acted by Lola Lopez, both in 2013.

Nick Heath

Sources:
http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m0cgsn
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADa_la_Jabalina
http://mayores.uji.es/blogs/antropmorve/2011/12/06/maria-%E2%80%9Cla-jabalina%E2%80%9D-una-victima-de-su-tiempo/
http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qnkb9q

 

Banksy, Balfour and Bethlehem 5th September in Southampton.

News from Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Here are some important dates for your diary. Please come along and join us we would love to see you. We meet monthly to plan actions and events. For dates and agendas, please e-mail

The Dorset Book Fair Sat 3rd June at Portfield Community Hall, Christchurch, BH23 2AQ. This is a fair promoting anti-oppression, anti-racism and environmental awareness of all kinds. There will many stalls and speaker events taking place. Southampton PSC will have a presence there and if you want to be involved please contact us.

A Celebration of May Day in Southampton, Monday May 1st 11am to 3pm, Palmerston Park, SO14 1ND. Please see attachment for further information. If you are available to help on the PSC Stall at this event then please get in touch. It should be an enjoyable day.

Sponsored Walk 28th May. A walk from Salisbury to Tisbury, through beautiful countryside. Please join us; it is a lovely opportunity to get to know others in the group. The sponsorship is for Medical Aid for Palestinians as well as PSC. Meet at 9.55, platform 4 Southampton Central. Back by 5pm.

Saturday 10th June London, Lunchtime Celebration of Palestinian Culture and Grand Send off for those walking in “Just Walk to Jerusalem.” Just Walk to Jerusalem is a campaign organised by Amos Trust to raise awareness of Justice for Palestine. See how you can become involved:

An Action you can take:

On Friday 7th April, Kamel Hawwash member of PSC Executive and also vice chair of the British Palestine policy council was refused entry into Israel under the new anti- boycott law. This follows the refusal last month to allow entry to Hugh Lanning PSC chair, and last weekend to Anuar Majluf, director of the Palestinian Federation of Chile. Kamel was on a family holiday with his wife and son, who he had to leave at the airport. Kamel’s wife has Jerusalem ID and he has many relatives in Jerusalem. Kamel has stated “I am personally devastated at my denial of entry. Firstly because I could not be with my wife and son for our holiday, but also because I have been denied entry to my homeland. I have elderly relatives that I will never see again if I am not allowed to enter in the future. I had to leave my wife and son alone in the airport in tears.”

Ben Jamal PSC Director stated ”The BDS movement peacefully pressures Israel to comply with international law and cease human rights violations. It draws directly from the tactics of Gandhi and Mandela to effect positive change. According to the Israeli government, human rights activism is a security threat. Fundamental democratic norms and freedoms don’t matter. The British government must demand that Israel ceases this harassment.”

Please write to your MP and ask that he/she writes to the foreign secretary and ask that they protest to the government of Israel in the strongest of terms.

e-mail

Website

Blog

Jihad: the political is personal. By Mal Content.

Khalid Masood was, like me, born into Britain’s post war social democratic settlement and came of age under thatcher. He would have had every reason to despise the establishment and long for its downfall, as we all did. The political left offered no serviceable antidote to neoliberalism, so many of us drifted into individualist pursuits: hooliganism, petty crime, using and selling drugs, some went to prison as did Masood. I swerved it myself, more by luck than judgement. Still pissed off, I became an anarchist.

That Masood was pissed off is beyond doubt, he may also have been mentally ill. His history betrays violent mood swings; too much coke will do that as well, mind. What then, is the appeal of an ultra-conservative, authoritarian death cult to a feckless hedonist? Perhaps it’s just a badge, like the hammer-sickle or swastika conferring an outlaw identity. Mediaevalist Islam is hardly liberation theology, yet with the collapse of Marxism-Leninism it has managed to position itself as the default anti-imperialist movement. Jihad is one of those concepts, like dictatorship of the Proletariat, or war on terror, that sounds good when you say it but on reflection is incredibly stupid.

Being of African heritage and growing up in Dartford probably didn’t help. In living memory thousands of Africans were murdered, abused or displaced from their land by the British state, and the Franco-Algerian conflict still rumbles on in the French suburbs. Only by internalising white supremacy are their descendants allowed to play the liberal game. I can barely imagine the weight of such resentment piled on top of my own class anger.

We’ll most likely never know whether Masood actually supported the aims of the self-styled Islamic State – to precipitate the apocalypse – which coincidentally is what our elders and betters were planning throughout our formative years. His desperate act took the lives of strangers who for all he knew, might have shared his alienation, and be jarred by the same dissonance; there was nothing ideological about it. The symbolism that marked this indiscriminate violence as ‘political’ was its location adjacent to the palace of Westminster, the seat of our oppression. Even the killing of a cop, which could be construed as an attack on the state, might equally be an angry child stabbing at authority. Nevertheless, whereas the sadistic proclivity and petty spite of individual colonists terrorised their subjects into compliance for hundreds of years, now the despair and low self-esteem liberal-bourgeois states foster in their citizens is being used against them by their latest enemy. Given the epidemic of suicide and self-harm among our Class, there must be thousands of such people in existential crisis, with nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

While the state’s security agencies tripped over their bootlaces, arresting and releasing people apparently at random, the perpetually bewildered Theresa May reassured her followers, at some length, that events would have no effect on the British way of life, or its democracy. To sum up: you will still be ordered about by people considerably richer than you and judged solely on your ability to increase their wealth. The executive will still be selected by Rupert Murdoch – and big up the filth, who are keeping you safe, except when they shoot you. The next morning we were told that ‘London had gone back to work’, and that it was ‘open for business’. The extraction of surplus-value is uninterrupted.

As its colonial chickens come home to roost the desperate ruling class struggles to cover the catastrophe of neoliberal globalisation by cobbling up a pretence of national identity from the ragged mess of state-supported oligarchy mashed up with state-manufactured destitution. As Kevin Carson put it:

“The ideological framework of “national unity” is taken to the point that “this country,” “society,” or “our system of government” is set up as an object of gratitude for “the freedoms we enjoy.” Only the most unpatriotic notice that our liberties, far from being granted to us by a generous and benevolent government, were won by past resistance against the state. Charters and bills of rights were not grants from the state, but were forced on the state from below. […]

[…] This ideological construct of a unified “national interest” includes the fiction of a “neutral” set of laws, which conceals the exploitative nature of the system of power we live under. Under corporate capitalism the relationships of exploitation are mediated by the political system to an extent unknown under previous class systems.”

‘The Iron Fist behind the Invisible Hand – Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege’.

The liberal media self-consciously pats the head of any union jack-waving Muslim who accepts the legacy of primitive accumulation as given. Kids who grew up as targets for abuse by the police are being exhorted to confide in them their suspicions of friends and neighbours who appear to take their culture a little too seriously – fat chance, I’d say. To adopt ‘British values’ is to concur that the Empire civilised the rest of the world at gunpoint, rather than simply robbing it blind. Such ideas are as bogus to me as they may have been to Masood, but I also struggle with the idea that anyone actually believes in god in the 21st century – you’ve got an I-phone and a youtube account for crying out loud! A boss in heaven is just an excuse for a boss on earth as Bakunin had it, and indeed Western civilisation has little more than divine authority for its excesses. The murderous Blair and Bush went in for a lot of god-bothering in between condemning multitudes to death. Mythology only serves to fill a gap in reality, and that gap is maintained by capitalism.

In the society of the spectacle capitalism perpetuates itself by denying its existence. The very mention of the word usually places its author on the political margins. The bourgeoisie are never acknowledged as such by their apologists; the Great Expropriation is long forgotten. Class is trivialised, the alienation of labour denied, its fetishes and reifications presented as (capitalist) reality, the only game in town. The simple mechanism that guarantees the power and status of the ruling class under liberal democracy is hidden behind homely concepts such as market, work ethic, enterprise, membership of society, serving the community; conjuring a mirage of pre-capitalist village life – which is of course what humans are most comfortable with.

Whilst the warmongers were smashing the infrastructure of the Middle East, the Jihadis were all living quietly in Birmingham. If the R.A.F. were Hitler’s children, the present crop of home-grown Jihadis are thatcher’s. They grew up in Western societies that had nothing they wanted, and made no pretence of accommodating them. Small wonder the misfits turn to mythology, when society itself is founded on myths.

Stolen lives: public meeting about immigration detention in Dorchester 10th March.

stolen-lives-poster-final_1_orig

Verne Visitors Group are holding a public meeting about immigration detention at Dorchester Corn Exchange on Friday 10th March at 7:30 p.m. free admission, all welcome.

If you can, please come to make the point that detention is not wrong for all the bad effects it has (which are frequently listed – mental health, physical health, loneliness, despair etc), although it certainly does have these effects.

It is inherently wrong to lock people up just because they don’t have the right nationality papers

For information: EMAIL