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Friday, April 18, 2008 

Scum-watch: Septic isle betrays our heroes!

Not to come over all self-referential, but I can't help but be delighted by the headline the Sun's chosen for gor blimey merchant Jon Gaunt's latest column:


More than happy to oblige.

While we're here, we might as well deal with this blatant lie from Gaunt:

Do you remember when the illegals and the bogus asylum seekers set fire to their modern detention centres because Sky TV was turned off? Yes, you do.

But do you hear the liberty campaigners of this world moaning when our troops live in rat-infested barracks? Of course you don’t.

Yes, I do indeed remember when those "illegals and bogus asylum seekers" rioted when Sky was turned off; not because they were suddenly being deprived of Murdoch's wonderful programming, but because the report they were watching just happened to be on the conditions in, err, their detention centre. Anne Owers' report on the Harmondsworth detention centre found that it was:

being run with a regime that is as strict as any high security prison, with those facing deportation victimised by staff and some strip-searched and temporarily locked in solitary confinement, according to the chief inspector of prisons.

Anne Owers says that the privately-run removal centre, which holds 500 men facing deportation at any one time, has slipped into "a culture wholly at odds with its stated purpose" since a riot took place in 2004.

The prison inspection team says it had serious concerns over the way Harmondsworth was run by United Kingdom Detention Service, with 44% of detainees reporting they had been victimised by staff and 60% saying they felt unsafe in the centre.

More than 2,000 failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants pass through Harmondsworth each year and those interviewed by the prison inspectors described the custody officers as "aggressive", "intimidating", "rude" and "unhelpful", especially towards those who could not speak English.

The chief inspector says the centre is run "with a disproportionate emphasis on security" with a high use of force and with rules and systems that "would have been considered over-controlling in a prison, let alone a removal centre".

So forgive this liberty campaigner if he doesn't cry crocodile tears for the plight of our brave heroes who aren't being held against their will or treated in anywhere near such a fashion as those at Harmondsworth were.

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