APRIL 26th 2006
latest update APRIL 10th 2008
Bad luck on Charles Clarke that he should be the man sitting there when
this blew up. There is probably no period in the last 50 years when
more has been attempted by way of looking reality in the face in the
Home Office, against much obstruction from opposition parties who have
done nothing while in power to equip our country to deal with anything
to do with detention or deportation of foreign nationals. It is not a
simple problem. There are, have been and will be insoluble problems
created by incompatible demands of laws passed by different bodies, on
behalf of different interests, to deal with what each consider
overriding rights and priorities. Insoluble that is by simple,
automatic, systematic procedures. They are matters of judgment
It would be easy to say that as soon as a foreign national is admitted
to prison a process should start to determine whether on release they
should be deported or not. But it should be clear to most people that
human rights and possible miscarriages of justice come into play here.
It may well be that during the time of detention facts come to light
about the prisoner and the crime that would influence the decision.
There are also the rules against deportation which might sometimes be
relevant and cannot be anticipated.
immense overload of the prison service, the fact that the released
prisoners have come inevitably to the end of their sentence and the
practical impossibility of forcing all these cases through a legal
would stand scrutiny by those who now criticise the
failure so to do, brings us once again up against the truth:-
public expects near perfection of a state system that, if it were to be
supplied, would require a level of finance and talent that the said
wonderful British public is neither willing nor capable of supplying.
We wish to live beyond our means without even being questioned about
our liability to meet the bill or prepare the people required to supply
these services. If government ministers should resign for not
telling the public the hard truth, then all ministers of all
governments.should resign now, as no British public of this generation,
told the truth, would ever elect them.
people now baying for Charles Clarke's head are the same who are asking
any government to administer every service in the country, repeat every service,
without an identity system - whether or not the side issue of whether
we all have or carry cards in certain circumstances is
decided. Per...lease. Without
modern ID system and cards for most people if not all it will be
impossible to prove or disprove if anyone is a foreign national or not.
I suggest anyone calling for Charles Clarke to resign should say
exactly or even approximately how they would have set up an acceptable
process to deal with the increasing number of foreign nationals being
released and which other legal processes they would have to abandon,
people they would have had to train, buildings to build, buy or rent to
have set up the means to do it. Prisoners who are not due for
deportation are being released daily. It has been difficult enough to
set up hostels to deal with British Nationals it seems. Nobody wants
them built in their neighbourhood. The Home
Office's intrinsic problems and paradoxes have never been addressed by
previous governments. This government has done more than any other
under far greater pressure than any other. Charles Clarke is a
competent Home Secretary. The Home Office is barely able to control
itself, let alone its functions. Resigning or 'being resigned' will not
assist in rectifying the problem.
Today we hear from politicians and members of the public who apparently
think it is fine to put these people on a boat or plane to anywhere
elsewhere, but not to release them here. They would like life to be
simple, like many years ago, when even British citizens could be sent
to Australia. The fact is these people had finished their sentence and
if they were to be an unacceptable risk, there would have to be a
method to deal with it. But we all know there is no such method other
than perpetual detention or the death penalty of ensuring nobody will
re-offend. The Immigration and Nationality Department does not do its
job because its job is actually impossible with the staff and resources
it has and the national and international law which encircles their
activity. To blame this on Charles Clarke, the man who has tried to get
a grip, is utterly ridiculous. His resignation will not help and
is not needed.
A classic example of the ignorance of those who do not understand the
problems was given by a woman in a discussion on BBC Radio 4 tonight
who said: "Surely it's not too much to ask that when a prisoner is
being released, someone pick up the phone and find out if they were
recommended by the judge for deportation." This betrays such an
ignorance of the logistics and basic mathematics of a bureaucratic and
legal system covering all the variables, authorities and developments
over a passage of time that the mind boggles. It might be possible to
find out what the judge recommended, though not by 'picking up the
phone' and finding someone with that at their fingertips. From that to
establishing that the right thing to do was to put this individual on a
plane to another country is a sequence that is unpredictable and a
process of unknown outcome. For Charles Clarke to have been setting up
a method to deal with this, would would have meant a revolution in
relations between IND, Prison Service and Courts, at the same time as
dealing with what he has been occupying him 24/7 already, would have
been nice, but then why not try it standing up in a hammock?
So far all we know in detail of specific individuals concerned is one
man who was in prison on a rape conviction was fighting to clear his
name. He has been rearrested and put in Belmarsh because of this
fracas. He was legitimately released and may well have been innocent in
the first place. Tomorrow we can expect the usual outpouring in the
press by people who have absolutely no idea of the real world that they
write about, because that's all they can do. The next 10 years should
sort some of these journalists and politicians out. If they think
Charles Clarke should be sacked then they have no idea of what is
Now we hear that someone has been murdered by a released drug dealer. I
am sure a great many more people are going to be murdered by released
drug dealers over the years unless these are all executed or locked
away for life, so that's not a reason for the Home Secretary to resign
either. John Prescott is in quite a bit more difficulty, however, not
because he had an affair with his secretary but because he may be
accused of doing it at the tax-payers expense, not just in office time
but actually in the office. This is an unfortunate mistake. Some people
are accusing him of a bad attitude to women, but that doesn't stack
up. His wife loves him, his secretary loved him and neither of them had
anything to say against him till this blew up publicly. It is not in
the public or national interest that he should resign, but since when
did the press take those issues more seriously than stirring the pot.
I have commented elsewhere on the removal of Charles Clarke in the
cabinet re-shuffle. It was necessary only so that a new Home Secretary
could concentrate on dealing with the problems rather than our
irrelevant press and opposition parties. The problems are serious, and
neither the opposition parties or the or the media have contributed to
anything other than making them worse over the years. Nor, from the
remarks coming from most commentators now, are they likely to, though
some BBC radio presenters and others do seem to be getting their heads
it at last. The situation is as follows.
The last Tory Home Secretary told us confidently that 'Prison works'. I
was pleased to able to have a live moment on BBC radio in the early
nineties to assure him it did not, as instituted in this country, work;
and that I looked forward to him experiencing it on the inside one day
on a charge of criminal neglect. Fat chance of course, but the
inevitable consequence of this neglect, combined with the inevitable
progress of globalisation, has been to give rise to the present
live in a free country, without a death penalty. We do not punish or
imprison people for crimes we think they might commit unless we
publicly classify them as too dangerous to be allowed their freedom
after they have already committed a very serious offence. Those who are
not given a life sentence without parole are therefore released at the
end of their sentence. If the prison regime does not prepare the
prisoner or society for this release, then reoffending is very likely
to be more probable than was the original offence itself. If, dear
reader, you understand the English language, you will appreciate that
prison, as applied in the UK to a large number of people, is not only
unlikely to 'work', to use the ridiculous phrase of the absurd Mr
Howard; it is likely to make reoffending a near certainty in a
significant number of cases.
So, until we have completely re-organised and refinanced the prison
service and the way it prepares people for release and the country to
receive them on release, we have to face up to the fact that we will be
releasing potentially dangerous criminals into the community. If they
are to be released but not free from control (in other words tracked
24/7 with a means of instant intervention standing by at whatever cost
to re-arrest them), the cost, personnel and technology required would
be insupportable. If they are free, they can be 'lost' to 'the system'.
There will also be amongst them those who have no intention of
re-offending. There will be some who are foreign nationals. There will
be some who have family resident here, maybe dependents, wives,
children. If any are to be deported, it has to be on a rational basis.
If we do not condemn them to death here, it is not rational to send
them to where they will be tortured or killed on arrival. If they have
family and dependents, they must be officially separated or officially
kept together. If we think they should not be allowed their freedom
here because they are dangerous, this should be established well in
advance and negotiated with their knowledge and with the any country to
which their return is contemplated.
To put measures such as this in place requires the negotiation of at
least bilateral agreements with all countries involved. Historically,
human rights to this degree, while deemed desirable, were simply
classified as impossible. A little over a century ago, a man could be
hung for stealing a sheep in Hyde Park. That's why there were so few
sheep stealers. No doubt some innocent people were hung - collateral
damage was accepted. Today, even murderers and child abusers are not
hung, mainly because we have had a fear of miscarriages of
justice. If we are to use temporary imprisonment as a substitute
for permanent removal from society, then the end of the period and
conditions of release are more important than the beginning and more
important than the sentence itself. Deportation is not the answer
to anything except the presence of someone who has no right to be in
the country at all in the first place and is a citizen of another
country to whom we owe no duty of protection under the laws of asylum.
These are the matters the PM says we need to discuss and come to
conclusions on. Instead all we get from opposition and media (with
noble exceptions I have noted) is a load of time-wasting bollocks,
exactly what has led over the years to the present situation.
Today the news is broken of a British National who was released in
2004. The same scenario could apply to a foreign national
LONDON (Reuters) - A
violent sex attacker who killed a woman in a
"truly hideous crime" soon after being freed on licence from jail
should never have been released, according to a damning report on
In the latest of a string of
cases in which prisoners freed early or on
parole have gone on to kill, Anthony Rice was let back into the
community after 16 years in prison after being assessed as "low risk."
Nine months later he
strangled and stabbed 40-year-old mother Naomi Bryant in her Winchester
In a report into the murder,
Chief Inspector of Probation Andrew
Bridges said Rice should never have been released in the first place
and that, once out, there were "substantial deficiencies" in the way he
"The murder of Ms Bryant was a
truly hideous crime," Bridges said.
"Everyone involved owes it to victims and the public generally that
lessons are learnt about how to manage offenders like Anthony Rice more
"Our conclusion about this case
is that there were substantial
deficiencies in the way Rice was supervised by Probation and its
partners ... but in any case he was too dangerous to be released into
the community in the first place."
we accept the fact that we live in a world that is not without danger,
or we can lock up everyone who we think migh pose a risk. This
particular man had not murdered anyone before and as the law stands
will be let out again when he is in his seventies. It would be far
kinder, if he was really assessable as too dangerous to be let out, to
put him painlessly to death. However, the number of people who are
murdered every year has up till now been reckoned as a percentage of
the public and, if it does not go up and even goes down, has been
considered a fact of life. Those who do not accept the facts of life
and try to change them do not have a good record. Stalin, Mao, Hitler
etc all tried to achieve perfection by dealing in a perfunctory manner
with any individuals who were considered a threat to society before
they had actually committed a crime.
MAY 17th 2006
Today there has been some baring of the facts at last. A senior Home
Office official said they had absolutely no idea how many people were
residing illegally in the UK. When David Cameron complained about this
it was pointed out that there was no way of measuring it directly and
that over the years all attempts to identify individuals had been
frustrated by Tories and Liberals. On the foreign national criminals
The PM got a bit testy and although his actual words were a bit more
careful that they appear in the edited versions, he did imply that most
foreign nationals who served a prison term would be deported no matter
how dangerous this might be for them. In fact this cannot be the
automatic presumption. But what is true, as I pointed out in
another part of this web site many months ago (a page on TREASON if I remember rightly), the UK has an
extremely limited duty of care to any foreign national who does not
support our constitution, culture or laws. We no longer deport our own
criminal nationals as we used to, but there is no reason to strive to
protect those from other countries who are dedicated to our political
or social destruction.
a read of these:
strange thing is that all this has been known for a very long time,
even though the increase in numbers has escalated in the last few
years, except, it appears, to members of parliament - who seem
surprised, and those of the public who are not directly involved. The
role of the media has been ambiguous, perhaps because they have
actually realised the very great complexity of the problem (gosh - I
can't belive I wrote that).
APRIL 10th 2008
And so it goes. Our judges have a wonderful time absolving themselves
from all responsibility. All they have to do is find a loophole in the
law and pass the buck to the politicians. The do the same with
everything. A bigger bunch of hypocrites than most of the British
Judiciary you would be pushed to find without going abroad, and even
then.... But of course they are right: the law is the law. Let us
hope that just as with some other instances, common sense will prevail
till the law an be changed.
Preacher Abu Qatada wins appeal
Islamic preacher Abu Qatada
has won an appeal against deportation from the UK which could lead to
him being freed.
Qatada - in prison pending
deportation to Jordan - has been dubbed "Osama bin Laden's right-hand
man in Europe".
The Home Office says it will
challenge the ruling, and in the meantime he will remain in prison.
The Court of Appeal said it was
concerned that evidence allegedly
obtained under torture may form part of a future trial in Jordan.
The Jordanian national has been fighting extradition to his home
country where he has been convicted for terror attacks.
| I believe that we will be able to
secure his deportation to Jordan and we will push for it as soon as
Home Office minister
The appeal panel said the Special Immigration Appeals Commission
had misdirected itself in law over the issue of any evidence obtained
Responding to the decision, Home Office minister Tony McNulty said
he believed the deportation would still go ahead.
"I am pleased that the courts dismissed all but one of Abu Qatada's
reasons for appeal," he said.
"We are seeking to overturn that point, and I believe that we will
able to secure his deportation to Jordan and we will push for it as
soon as possible. In the meantime, he remains behind bars."
Jordan is one of a number of countries with which the
UK has signed a memorandum of understanding which ministers say will
ensure that any deported terrorism suspects will not face torture or
ill-treatment on return.
signed memoranda with Jordan, Libya and Lebanon in 2005
purpose is to facilitate deportation of terror suspects between
Office says they act as assurances from those countries that suspects
sent back will not be tortured
Critics say the agreements are neither binding nor offer suspects any
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis criticised the government's
saying it should concentrate on prevention and prosecution as well as
trying to deport individuals once in the UK.
He said: "They should answer our calls to establish a
dedicated UK border police to secure our borders and prevent foreign
terror suspects from entering the country in the first place."
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne
said the court was rightly concerned about the use of evidence gained
under torture in Jordan, which would not be admissible in a British
He said Qatada should now be charged in the UK courts, or released.
Gareth Peirce, Qatada's solicitor, said she welcomed the court's
decision but criticised the memorandum of understanding, saying it was
"unenforceable" and carried "no possible sanction or redress if
Human rights group Amnesty International called for
Qatada to be "fairly tried - not shipped off to Jordan to be sentenced
on the basis of evidence that was tortured out of someone".
In a separate ruling on Wednesday, the three appeal judges also
in favour of two Libyan suspects, after the government appealed another
decision by Siac.
Siac had ruled that the pair faced a risk of ill-treatment,
including torture, if they were returned to Libya.
As a result of the appeal court ruling, deportation proceedings
10 other Libyan nationals have effectively been abandoned.
A Home Office spokesman said the government would not appeal
against the judgment in this case.
Abu Qatada became one of the UK's most wanted men in December 2001
he went on the run on the eve of government moves to introduce new
anti-terror laws allowing suspects to be detained without charge or
In October 2002 the authorities tracked him down to a council house
in south London and took him to Belmarsh Prison.
He was eventually freed on bail in March 2005, but was made subject
of a control order to limit his movements.
In August that year he was taken back into custody pending
extradition to Jordan.