A British judge has reached a decision in my freedom of information appeal against the UK Cabinet Office. Nearly four years ago, I asked the department for papers that could shed more light on UK covert involvement in the Golden Temple massacre at Amritsar in 1984, where hundreds if not thousands of Sikh pilgrims were killed by the Indian army. I had already exposed that Margaret Thatcher sent an SAS officer to advise on the attack and wanted to see what else the UK government was hiding. The judge agreed with me on two key points but did agree with the Cabinet Office on another point. The case has received plenty of coverage in the Indian media (e.g. NDTV, The Hindu, The Wire, Press Trust of India, CNNnews18 etc) and there are reports in the Times of India and Hindustan Times that a top Sikh official in India has thanked me for my research. The Guardian and BBC radio also covered the judgment.
For 38 Degrees, I investigated the companies who want to buy the UK’s Land Registry and found they all had links to tax havens. The findings were covered in the Times and prompted an editorial against the government’s privatisation plans
I’m working with a filmmaker to produce a documentary about Australia’s “stop the boats” refugee policy and how it is being copied by other countries, particularly in Europe, to deal with the migration crisis. To find out more see interviews on TV New Zealand and TV 3
Secret filming reveals conditions inside Harmondsworth immigration detention centre for the first time, where hundreds of people face deportation.
The footage was shot by a detainee and obtained by Corporate Watch as part of a five month investigation into Mitie, the outsourcing firm that took over Harmondsworth in September 2014 under a multi-million pound Home Office contract.
The videos, some of which are also featured on Channel 4 News tonight, reveal:
– Home Office staff admitting that conditions in Harmondsworth are “shit”, and that detainees are not allowed cameras to photograph inside the centre because the government “don’t want the bad publicity that would entail”.
– A guard saying that the new Mitie management has “fucked this place up”, making staff work more shifts and get less rest. “It’s just gonna break. There’s only so much people can take”, the guard warns.
– Paul Morrison, Mitie’s most senior manager at Harmondsworth, telling detainees that they will be locked inside their cells for two hours longer at night as part of the company’s new contract.
– Detainees living in unhygienic conditions with pigeons flying around inside, overflowing drains, rotting food in the kitchen and bed bugs in their cells.
– A detainee suffering injuries from what appear to be epileptic fits.
– Mitie guards selling counterfeit clothes to detainees that had been confiscated at customs by the UK Border Force.
Read the full report and watch the videos on Corporate Watch here
In January 2014, I discovered two letters at the UK National Archives. They revealed that Margaret Thatcher sent an SAS officer to advise the Indian army on a plan to attack the Golden Temple in Amritsar ahead of a massacre of Sikh pilgrims in June 1984. This discovery triggered debates in the British and Indian parliaments, and led Prime Minister David Cameron to order two reviews into the declassification of government documents, by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and by former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee Sir Alex Allan.