Racism and Close Supervision Centres, by Kevan Thakrar.

Over the past decade the levels of racism in society have drastically increased with the use of discriminatory language becoming acceptable to the extent that the country’s Prime Minister has felt safe to deploy such abuse. With this becoming common in the mainstream media, as well as demonisation of Muslims through the prejudicial policy known as ‘Prevent’, it is of no surprise that prisoners have suffered as a result.

So many prisoners lack a basic education, that enables them to be easily influenced by the propaganda sprouted by the likes of the BBC. For those illegal regimes of practically 24 hour lockdown, the television can quickly become their only source of comfort. Day-after-day of minority groups being negatively portrayed whilst living under conditions recognised worldwide as torture, is a recipe for brainwashing with devastating effects.

The rise of racist gangs, especially within high security prisons holding men who can be serving up to a whole life sentence, coupled with the tendencies to resort to drug taking to pass the time which has meant in recent years the mind altering ‘spice’, has spiralled out of control. Unsurprisingly, it is within the most oppressed, desperate and disturbed of the population that this phenomenon can best be identified.

The Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system was originally designed by the sadistic Michael Spurr back in 1996, long before his unfortunate rise to leader of the entire prisons and probation service. Its intended purpose from the beginning has been to brutalise these prisoners labelled as posing too much of a control problem on a wholly arbitrary basis. Since the day it opened in 1998, racist scum have occupied its units both as staff and those detained within. The repressive slide of wider society’s models and values, coupled with the ideologically driven swingeing cuts to the legal aid and prisons budgets causing even harsher conditions, have left around one third of CSC detainees seeing racism as correct.

The majority of the CSC prisoners who are racist have sought refuge within the CSC, preferring blatant and ridiculous behaviours to be designated as too much of a risk to be managed on main location. Many of them have already tried to seek safety within a Vulnerable Prisoner (VP) wing first, or believing that by not officially becoming a VP makes then somehow not be seen as the cowards that they are. It is with this background that their behaviour within the CSC can be understood, as unlike anyone with any sense, they actually want to forever be CSC prisoners both for their own protection through their isolation from mainstream prisoners, and the foolish belief that it is somehow a badge of honour to be labelled as a CSC prisoner.

Officially, the CSC holds only the most dangerous prisoners, which currently is around 50 men. The racist element within this population is unlike the rest, they crave the dangerous reputation in the hope that this will be enough to protect them and cause their otherwise disgusting pasts, which tend to be of a sexual nature, to be overlooked or forgotten. They stand out and they know it. With many of them having banded together seeking safety in numbers in the racist extremist gang calling themselves ‘Death Before Dishonour’ (DBD), or their ‘secret’ codename 4-2-4 signalling the position of the letters in the alphabet, one would imagine it would be easy to separate this insidious group.

Screwboy is a term used throughout the prison system for a prisoner who does the bidding of the prison officers or ‘screws’. It should be unimaginable for someone within the CSC to appropriately be referred to as a screwboy, yet about every single racist there displays the behaviour that would lead them to be an outcast at best within the mainstream population. Here is where the most significant difficulty arises, the racist scumbags in the CSC are effectively working for the screws against the minorities they live alongside for power partly, but also to remain within the CSC. This includes providing false information to legitimise someone being stitched up, harassing minorities with constant abuse shouted out of windows etc for all to hear, and even attacking minorities usually with weapons from behind. When these behaviours are rewarded rather than punished, they become more and more attractive to others suffering the CSC regime, who will often join in with it.

The CSC Operational Manager is responsible for the placement of CSC prisoners throughout the 6 units currently in existence, and throughout the segregation units of high security prisons. The man holding this title at present is Stephen Waldron, formerly in-charge of the now abolished Managing Challenging Behaviour Strategy (MCBS) and before then a junior governor of HMP Durham. During his tenure at MCBS, a significantly smaller role, a Ukranian racist extremist who was in prison for the murder of a Muslim prisoner for ‘praying too loudly’ during his previous prison sentence, was made to associate with Muslim prisoners at HMP Woodhills MCBS Unit. Ignoring the fact this scumbag was only not on the CSC because HMPPS support racist attacks, as the centrally managed MCBS unit contained as few as eight prisoners maximum it could not have been difficult to foresee the conflict inevitable by his presence. The final outcome being that the other prisoners had, had enough of him, and killed him. With a history like that, you would expect Waldron to be especially sensitive to the placement of racists alongside minority prisoners.

Waldron has been reported to have told officers who have been complaining that since he took over the CSC, their job has been made significantly more difficult due to him allocating prisoners to the same unit who cannot mix, generally due to racist beliefs and minority characteristics, that they should be careful what they wish for––as, if he placed together only those who got along, they would attack officers as soon as the cell doors opened instead of each other. A calculated policy therefore appears to be in operation, which can easily be seen by the increasing frequency of racist attacks occurring since his appointment.

It is within this environment, under these circumstances, surrounded by more and more scumbags, where I have been living for the last ten years. Emboldened by the support of their masters, ignorant of the consequences of their actions and decisions due to being in a constant state of intoxication through prescription medication and/or spice, these racists have made it impossible to tolerate their existence any longer. Having arrived at HMP Full Sutton in September, within three months I have twice been attacked with a weapon by a racist as I have sought to avoid conflict to enable me to progress out of this oppressive system.

The first attack came from the certified VP, John Mansfield. He tried to hit me with a metal flask he had just filled with boiling water. Fortunately, I managed to block it, and being in full view of CCTV and four officers preventing anything further, I assumed it would be dealt with. Following his guilty plea at adjudication of the charge of assault, Mansfield was given a suspended sentence to go on top of his multiple other suspended sentences. As also expressed a fear to ever be unlocked with me again, my regime time has been cut to around forty percent of what others get, to allow him to be out without me.

The last time Mansfield had conflict with another prisoner on this unit, he paid his mate Kevin McCarthy to try to stab the other guy. It was not difficult for him to do this, as Mansfield wears dentures––having none of his own teeth remaining––meaning when being administered controlled prescription drugs, he can easily hide the tablets behind the dentures. McCarthy accepted the tablets out of his friends dirty mouth, before engaging in the attack, which resulted in him being knocked out, as the intended victim saw it coming.

Then there is the fact that only two years ago, McCarthy cut the throat of a prisoner, who at the time was disabled and using a walking stick. Whilst at the servery of the HMP Whitemoor CSC Unit, McCarthy waited for his victim to begin receiving his meal so his hands were full before cutting him from behind with a razor, then running back to his cell. His motive? Well earlier that day, another prisoner had reprimanded him over his ongoing failure to do the job he was paid for and clean the prisoners’ facilities, leaving others to have to do it for him. As that prisoner was Muslim, McCarthy thought attacking a disabled, defenceless Muslim in retaliation was acceptable, despite him having nothing to do with it.

Why McCarthy was ever allowed to mix at all so soon after his previous violence cannot legitimately be explained, but it was through the support of the HMPPS psychologist he shares with Mansfield, Louise Coughlin, that this was signed off. As the CSC management were fully aware of McCarthy’s history and loyalty to Mansfield, to place him in the cell directly opposite the servery, and to unlock him as I collected my meal, so he could sneak up behind me without being searched goes beyond negligence. He strolled past two officers, weapon in hand, then in full view of five officers who made no attempt to alert me, sound the alarm, or restrain him, McCarthy began stabbing me in the back using two hands in attempt to plunge it through me. I was not aware what was happening, could just feel the banging in my back and hear him growling, ‘die,’ behind me. As I turned around, confused by the lack of action, McCarthy back beyond the officers who duly protected him, so much so that he was allowed to walk back to his cell with the weapon as the officers focused on me as if I was the threat.

Despite McCarthy’s intent, his weak physical prowess limited my injuries. Most of what he did left scratches as the only blemish, with only a few strikes actually breaking the skin with the deepest wound around 1 cm. Had he been armed with something requiring less strength than a ten-year-old child to operate, my life would have been in serious danger. The governing Governor of this prison, Gareth Sands, visited this unit a couple of days later but made sure I was locked away before coming on to the landing. This dishonest weasel went around writing everyone, including McCarthy and Mansfield, ‘Merry Christmas’ whilst not saying a word to me or doing his job to check on my welfare. With that level of attention from senior management, how could anyone conclude anything other than that HMPPS do not care whatsoever about those they are paid to look after.

Within seven days of the attack, and before any attempt to search or secure evidence had occurred, McCarthy was allowed to pack all of his belongings to be taken to the main segregation unit with him the following week where he had requested to be moved to. Until the move occurred, he was held in the end cell on this unit where he was supplied with his game console and radio, as well as prison issue TV to make his stay easier. Mansfield remains one of five prisoners sharing this unit with me, making sly comments as he’s allowed to freely pass my cell as I remain locked-in for his benefit.

In 1997, Amnesty International (AI) condemned this unit causing it to be shut down and its then name of Special Security Unit (SSU) to be abandoned. Functioning as a CSC, with so many seriously mentally ill and/or racist prisoners now being allocated to what AI said was torture, is significantly worse. My experience of this unit is that it should never have been reopened, and the safety of anyone held here will always be at risk.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE Close Supervision Centre
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
York
YO41 1PS

www.justiceforkevan.org

Contactable via emailaprisoner.com

Upcoming solidarity events with Russian antifascist prisoners and Kevan Thakrar

Cautiously pessimistic

Two important anti-repression events coming up in London in the near future:

On Thursday 27 February, there’s a solidarity demo with the Russian anarchist and antifascist prisoners at 6:30pm outside the Russian Embassy, 6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QP. This event is part of the international week of action called by Crimethinc and the Rupression network.

On March 9th, Kevan Thakrar’s birthday, the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee have organised a protest at the Royal College of Psychiatrists to demand that they stop providing humanitarian cover to a system that’s held Kevan in solitary for ten years. In their words:

“Demonstrate to mark Kevan Thakrar’s 10th year in Close Supervision Centres within the British prison system. Close Supervisions Centres (CSCs) are the most extreme form of imprisonment in the UK, modelled on the ‘supermax’ prisons in the United States. People held in CSCs are often kept apart from others, allowed out of their cells for only a short time each day and denied basic human contact.

Kevan is regularly held in his cell for 23 hours per day and is prevented from speaking with other prisoners. Numerous studies and papers have pointed out the severe damage solitary confinement can cause for those placed in it. As a 2006 paper in Washington University Journal of Law & Policy put it, it has ‘long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning’. To quote from a paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, ‘psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture’.

View full post

ACTION ALERT: KEVAN THAKRAR

IWOC

Urgent support needed!

Our member Kevan Thakrar is currently being held in the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) at HMP Full Sutton. He is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who recently attacked Kevan with a metal flask. The cell is in a blind spot with no CCTV, and Kevan and his family are worried he’s being set up for another attack. Kevan has repeatedly been the victim of racist attacks by other prisoners and guards during his time in prison, most recently when he was stabbed with a shank on 23 December 2019. Prison guards have previously ignored assaults, and Kevan has not been allowed to access appropriate healthcare.

We need everyone to get in touch with HMP Full Sutton to demand that Kevan is NOT MOVED TO THIS CELL. Phone calls, emails, letters all help keep Kevan safe and shows the prison governor that we are aware of what’s happening. Numbers matter! We need as many people to write and call as possible.
Write to

Prison Governor Gareth Sands
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS
Gareth.Sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk
Or phone the prison on 01759 475100
Fax 01759 371206
Cite Kevan’s prisoner number, A4907AE.

Call script:

Hello, I am calling on behalf of Kevan Thakrar who is currently in the CSC at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan has been informed that he is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who has previously attacked him. I am extremely concerned for Kevan’s safety and demand that he is not moved to this cell, but rather is moved out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately.

You can also email the following:

Executive Director for High Security & Long Term Estate for HM Prison and Probation Service, Richard Vince, demanding Kevan be moved from the CSC to a safer location: Richard.Vince02@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Email Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Riding: sothcottt@parliament.uk

Keep Kevan updated with all your actions by email through emailaprisoner.com or letter to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

Red And Black Telly: “WEIRDO” ANDREW SABISKY RESIGNS.

India: Biggest general strike in human history

Barrikade Info.

January 8, 2020 will go down in the history books as the world’s largest 24-hour general strike to date. In India, more than 250 million workers went on strike during the general strike or “Bharat Bandh”, which was joined by ten major unions as well as a number of independent associations. Associations organising bank employees, farmers and teachers, but also the student movement played a leading role. The electricity supply was also affected, with up to 1.5 million people going on strike in the power stations. The same applies to local and long-distance public transport. Across the country there were also rail blockades.

The strike had the biggest impact in the politically leftist state of Kerala, where the “communist” party CPI traditionally receives the most votes. Here, but also in many other places in India, traffic and public life were virtually at a standstill.

The strike was directed against the policy of the ruling Hindu Nationalist Party (BJP), which not only tries to split the population along ethnic and religious lines with classic nationalist policies, but also to severely restrict workers’ rights, to massively promote precarious employment and privatisation of public institutions (such as rail transport) and to provide tax breaks to large corporations.

Core demands of the unions were the creation of new jobs for the unemployed (currently 8% unemployment in India, that is 73 million people), basic workers’ rights for all workers, the increase of wages and the minimum wage, as well as a five-day week. They also called for the withdrawal of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which makes naturalisation easier for Hindu immigrants (or Jains, Sikhs) but excludes Muslims, Tamils or Tibetans. The law had already triggered massive protests across India in 2019. In addition, their demands were also directed against the biometric registration and counting of the entire Indian population, which also has special racist regulations, which are explicitly directed against Muslim citizens, for example.

More about the protests against the CAA for example here: www.anarkismo.net/article/31703

On the one hand, the right-wing BJP government tried in vain to enforce sanctions against strikers – for example, in the state of Tamil Nadu there were mass arrests of strikers; in Delhi, BJP youth organisations attacked striking students. On the other hand, the BJP publicly played down the importance of the protests.

In vain – the organized Indian workers yesterday demonstrated their enormous strength and raised the bar for the rest of the world. However, it remains to be seen whether they can sustain a prolonged confrontation with the government at this level of strength. From an anti-authoritarian point of view, the question also arises whether the strikers will allow themselves to be hitched to the cart of the parliamentary opposition parties, which ultimately only want to use the dynamics created by the mass struggles to come to power themselves – or whether the workers will succeed in taking their cause into their own hands…

The Indian anarchosydicalist organisation “Muktivadi Ekta Morcha” (Libertarian Solidarity Front) from Bhopal is rather skeptical in this respect. In a short statement it writes: “general strikes like these are for the most part electoral political facades at cost of genuine workers grievances. Most, if not all unions affiliated with “left” parties treat their workers as infants in these demonstrations controlling them more severely than they are in their workplace. There are some independent unions that are less authoritarian but hardly any genuinely democratic workers organization. We are working to change that.” – It is of course difficult for us to judge from a distance to what extent this assessment is correct, but we generally find it important to point out contradictions and limitations of social movements with the aim of overcoming them. In any case, we wish the Indian comrades a lot of success in their cause!

Either way, the success of the mobilization alone is a symbol that the organized, oppressed and wage-dependent class has the potential to unhinge the world!

Red And Black Telly: SOME POST ELECTION FALLOUT.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell comments show us what the Tories really think about people of colour

It’s our fervent wish that Rees mogg finds himself trapped in a burning building real soon, so we can see how clever he is. If it’s the house of commons, so much the better.  – Ed.

gal-dem

Header image by Carcharoth

You could be forgiven for thinking that in this day and age, certain false narratives like the myth of meritocracy and racial superiority are a thing of the past. Not so, felt Jacob Rees-Mogg, who this week decided to test his usually teflon-tongue, speaking on Nick Ferrari’s radio show about the report on Grenfell Tower. When asked about the causes of the 72 reported casualties, attributed in part to race and class discrimination that meant their concerns about the cladding went unheard until they burned to their deaths, he chose to partially blame the victims themselves for not ignoring the fire brigades’ advice and fleeing the building.

He then compounded this narrative of how, and on whom, to apportion blame by asserting that, unlike the black and brown working class victims, “you and I” (the interviewer and himself) would have had the “common sense” to know better than to listen to the fire brigade. Despite the fact that any reasonable person might suspect the fire brigade are experts on fire safety, Jacob claims he would have exited and fled to safety. It is not immediately clear what distinction Jacob draws that holds himself and Nick on one side and the Grenfell inhabitants on another. But, Jacob and Nick are both white men, both Leave voters and both drive (and enjoy talking about) their expensive cars, a Jaguar for Mr Ferarri and at least one Bentley for Jacob. Or to put it simply, whilst the Grenfell victims were people of colour and poor, Jacob and Nick are both white and rich.

View post