Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/444/5271
Anger mounting at bungled police raid
ANGER IS still mounting at the police dawn raid in Forest Gate. Muslim organisations have picketed New Scotland Yard to protest at the police shooting of postal worker Abdul Kahir and his arrest, along with his brother, as part of an alleged 'anti-terrorist' operation.
After being held in police custody for one week the brothers were released without charge. Their solicitor told reporters that they intended to sue the Metropolitan Police over the raid.
The lack of evidence and the size of the police operation (250 police) added to the suspicion that the authorities are targeting black and Asian people, especially Muslims. Over the last 12 months there has been a huge increase in stop and search measures by police of black and Asian people.
Local people are angry that they were under siege for hours, apparently on the word of a MI5 informer. No 'chemical weapon' or any other terrorist device has been found at the Forest Gate address.
Several newspapers claim the raid was forced on a reluctant Metropolitan Police by the MI5 security agency, backed by the Cabinet Office. However, after this bungled raid, the days of Met chief Sir Ian Blair look numbered. He already faces criticism from an Independent Police Complaints Commission report for a "catalogue" of police blunders over the gunning down of Brazilian migrant worker Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell tube station last year.
People support action to prevent death and destruction by terrorist acts but all the new police and legal powers make little difference in combating terrorism. These measures have, however, curtailed democratic rights. People can now be put under 'house arrest' without charge. Freedom of speech can be banned under a 'glorification of terrorism' clause.
In December 2005 a 25-year-old chef was convicted for reading aloud the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq! Last September 80-year-old John Catt was arrested under the Terrorism Act and handcuffed for wearing an "offensive" T-shirt, suggesting that Bush and Blair be tried for war crimes!
Moreover, the constant warning of terrorist threats by the government and media has created a political climate where Asian and Muslim people have become demonised in the eyes of some of the wider community. This has been a factor in the growth of support for the racist BNP.
Blair's support for Bush's 'war on terrorism' has produced two destructive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, led to the indefinite detention of people in Guantanamo Bay and to "extraordinary rendition" whereby people are abducted by US forces and flown to other countries where they are secretly tortured.
Imperialist wars for oil and political control of foreign countries by the US superpower and its UK ally stirred up hatred and hostility toward the West throughout the world, and helped terrorist organisations increase recruitment and political support. Rather than create a safer world, Bush and Blair's wars have led to more violence and greater insecurity in the world.
- Make the police accountable to the community they're meant to serve. For democratically elected local police committees.
- For a public inquiry, involving workers' and community organisations, into anti-terrorist policing.
Socialist Party public meeting
Police shooting, terrorism and Iraq Thursday 22 June, 7.30pm-9pm, Bryant Street Centre, Bryant Street, Stratford, London E15.
In The Socialist 15 June 2006:
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