Sunday, December 29, 2013

Political Imprisonme​nt in the UK: I expect to be arrested early in the New Year

Declan and I have been staying at one of Crisis at Christmas residential centres since 23 December, but it closes at 9am tomorrow morning. I am fully aware that in the next few days the City of London Police are going to arrest me for failing to move out of the Barbican for want of anywhere else to sleep (see previous blog of 21 December, Salters fences us out of our sleeping pitch). After a night in a police cell, I could conceivably be brought before a judge the next morning to face a jail sentence on cooked-up charges, so this last week has been quite a break for me. Perhaps not quite so much for Declan, who has been stalked every day by a handful of homeless that have been targeting him for months. We don't even know what three of these characters are doing in this residential centre because they are no more rough sleepers than the scores of first-rate volunteers who have made this Christmas both safe and memorable for us both. Particularly memorable for Declan, on Thursday he was served his dinner by Jimmy Summerville of Bronski Beat and the Communards. Perhaps it's the intensity of our situation, but thanks to these volunteers from all over the country we have had a most enjoyable Christmas and are fully recharged for the most dangerous power play we have ever had to face down.

I am concerned about being physically attacked on Tuesday night under the cover of the New Year celebrations, so we will do another two or three nights in King's Cross train station before taking our lives in our hands in the Barbican. As I explained before Christmas, I will never sleep at a street level again; it is traumatising just to think about it (see blog of 4 December, Salters tell us they will fence us out in two weeks). Few people really know of the power of State, which uses Law as extension of its authority and can make sure competent people are rendered homeless, and then have them arrested and imprisoned for the simple crime of running a website critical of the wealthiest organisation the world has ever seen: the Roman Catholic Church. Once you are rendered unemployable, it can conveniently see to it that your benefits are suspended. It is little wonder there is so little going on. Declan shed some light on all this in his recent complaint to the United Nations (paragraphs 42-48 outline why the Vatican and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church should be monitored):

And yet we consider ourselves lucky. As Declan reveals in his complaint to the UN, we were evicted from our previous flat because according to our then live-in landlady's ex-husband, Dr Nigel McKenzie, a consultant psychiatrist in Highgate Mental Health Centre, our flat was needed for somebody with a mental illness (para. 24). MI5 whistleblower David Shayler also lived with human rights activist Belinda McKenzie in the same house for a couple of years until 2007. It is unfortunate Shayler then declared that he was the Messiah, became a squatter, and was subsequently ridiculed in the press for changing his name to Delores Kane. A New Statesman article dated 11 September 2006 featuring Shayler and Belinda gives no indication that Shayler believed he was the Messiah at that time; whilst a Daily Mail interview with Shayler explicitly shows he believed himself to be Jesus by June 2007.

The Esquire article below* is mentioned in a Guardian article dated 27 March 2012. It is an eye-opener, highlighting the monitoring and surveillance that Shayler had to live with back in 2000, and the contradictory briefings and slanders that were coming out of the British establishment and the media. The author, Dr Eamonn O'Neill, is a lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University.

*On 2 May 2013, Issuu removed this pdf from my Issuu account following a copyright complaint by Hearst Communications. I had uploaded the article to my Issuu account in December 2012. In March 2013, when last I checked, the article had been viewed more than 15,000 times. It can be viewed here.

BBC PANORAMA: The David Shayler Affair (August 1998)

According to BBC Panorama, Shayler "caused the biggest crisis of official secrecy since the spy catcher affair". In 2002, he was jailed for seven weeks for breaking the Official Secrets Act.

No matter how tough prison is made for either one or both us, we have what it takes to survive and tell the tale. Not only do we have our Church and State website, but our bilingual Church and State Press is now up and running and our first e-book is due out any day now, with the hard copy being readied in the United States for print on demand. It is actually a brilliant first book by Don Collins, who is Co-Chair of the Board of Advisers of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Don has been the principal contributor to our site for over a year now, and has most generously pledged all the proceeds from the sale of his book to us. One way or another, I intend keeping this blog going while Don's book "From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013" is doing the rounds. Perhaps Declan will have to do the writing!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Salters fences us out of our sleeping pitch

Last night we returned to our sleeping pitch only to find that Salters had finally fenced us out (see blog of 4 December, Salters tell us they will fence us out in two weeks).

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I don't think I have ever seen a building fenced off with a car inside the fence and the lights on in the building. I took this photo of Salters' Hall a couple of days ago: no fence and no car (our sleeping pitch was where the red arrow points):
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This had been our sleeping pitch since 16 September and although cold, it was safe. We moved here after we were fenced out of the pitch we had at the back of the building on a derelict St Alphage Highwalk (see blog of 17 September, Our sleeping pitch is fenced off). This is Declan packing up to leave a couple of days ago:
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Not only have the police been keeping us to the street (see blog of 29 August, City of London Police: Declan lodges proceedings with the High Court for a judicial review), but our benefits have been suspended for over two months. We really are unfortunate: we only had three nights to go before the homelessness charity Crisis opens its Christmas centres for the homeless, 23-29 December. Last night I was concerned about what may be in store for us over these three nights, so we decided to spend all three in King's Cross train station. We don't expect to get much sleep of course (we didn't last night), but at least we will be safe.

I am also hoping my feet are going to recover at one of Crisis at Christmas residential centres because I am finding it difficult to walk with all my bags (see previous blog). This fence off has been timed to perfection, but I don't think we were expected to be safe over the three nights in question. The last two nights of the year will be a very different matter of course, but at least we have until 29 December covered.
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What a time to be fenced out of our sleeping pitch

It's no secret my shoes have holes - and in fact it may explain why the night before last a security guard ordered us out into the torrential rain while we were under cover in the make-shift shelter around the corner from where we sleep at night. Not only does rain destroy my socks, but now my right foot is inflating and walking is a bit difficult. Unfortunately we are waiting to be fenced out of our sleeping pitch, and given our experience of the police's modus operandi to time everything to the maximum affect, it wouldn't surprise me if we have past our sell-by date: just when I have difficulty walking! Our benefits have also been suspended for over two months and so spending money on new shoes is a no-go.

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We are among the minority of rough sleepers that attend the Manna Day Centre. Nonetheless, I have just been told by a member of staff that there are no more tickets for Christmas dinner on Friday. Great! Declan has just written to its director, Bandi Mbubi, to determine if this means no wash, no tea and no breakfast too:
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Security orders us out of shelter from the rain

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This make-shift shelter is less than two minutes from where we sleep at night and beside a little park where we usually sit prior to making our way to our sleeping pitch. For over eight months, we have never had a problem using this shelter to stand in out of the rain. Until last night, that is!

We had no sooner stepped inside than a security guard came out of nowhere and ordered us out. He then stood there with his arms folded until we had stepped out into the torrential rain. His behaviour was so irrational and disproportionate that I have no doubt that this was the police's way of telling us that tonight we are going to be fenced out of our sleeping pitch, and that we can fully expect to be hunted down and ordered out of wherever we attempt to bed down (see blog of 4 December, "Salters tell us they will fence us out in two weeks' time").

We take this threat very seriously, and I am fully prepared for my arrest tonight for want of anywhere to sleep. British Police have a reputation for brutality. Only last week, London students took to the streets to rage against police violence in a 'cops off campus' demonstration.
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Here's a video:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Broadway Homelessness and Support still will not verify me as a rough sleeper

I sent this email to Broadway last Thursday. I still haven't received a reply.

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Salters tell us they will fence us out in two weeks

What on earth can warrant our incarceration? The world has gone mad. 1984 is upon us!

Last night Salters informed Declan and me that in two weeks time we will be fenced out of our sleeping pitch. As soon as this happens, we will have no option but to move back up to the highwalk we were on a few months ago. However, there has been nowhere on the derelict side of the highwalk we have been able to bed down since we were fenced out of there last September, therefore we will be forced to find a sleeping pitch somewhere in the residential part of the highwalk over a foot bridge, a complex called the Barbican which is owned by the City of London Corporation (public property). Strictly speaking, I cannot be arrested without a court order, but as they did back in September 2008, the City of London Police can arrest me on the trumped-up charge of breaching the peace for refusing to move on (see blog of 11 September 2008, "I am arrested for 'breach of the peace'"). We fully expect this to happen before Christmas, whether one or both of us have been badly assaulted first or not. We will never sleep at a street level again; it is traumatizing just to think about it (paragraphs 19-21 of Declan's recent complaint to the United Nations below deals with this under the title "Sleeping rough in London (3 November 2006 to 13 July 2009)").

Declan took this photo at 6.30am today after we had packed up to leave:

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This is the fence-off of our sleeping pitch last September on a derelict St Alphage Highwalk at the back of the Salters building.
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In our case bad news never comes alone. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have informed us they are going to terminate Declan's joint claim for Jobseekers Allowance any day now, having put the claim under suspension since 4 October. Since 18 October, Declan has had to deal with one unlawful sanction after another based on a claim the DWP made in his name which neither of us have signed nor seen. Unfortunately he has to deal with a HMCTS (Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service) tribunal before he can bring the case before the High Court in an application for judicial review. He is doing everything he can to get the case to HMCTS as soon as possible, but will probably not be able to do so this side of termination because the DWP are playing for time on just about every letter Declan writes.

As Declan's complaint to the United Nations below explains, a month after eviction from our flat on 14 March we were forced onto the streets, where an accommodation blockade through surveillance that has been maintained against us for over a year shows no signs of abating. For example, for over eight months Broadway Homelessness and Support, which has charitable responsibility for us as rough sleepers within its catchment area, have never spoken to us when we are bedded down, will not confirm or deny our verification as rough sleepers, and have yet to engage with us in relation to our welfare and access to their service for supporting clients to find alternative accommodation (paras 27, 28 and 31). This notwithstanding that we: (a) were provided with the deposit on a flat and one months' rent up front by a benefactor in America, (b) have an immaculate credit report from the credit reporting agency Experian, and (c) have a wholly acceptable reference letter from our previous tenancy stating that we "kept the property in very good order, were quite and paid the rent on time".

We are now deeply concerned about the threat limb and liberty posed by Salters' latest move against us. The last nine months have been anything other than a cake walk, including having to contend with hosings from Salters and an unmerciful racket by their cleaners for anything up to two hours in the early hours of every weekday morning (para 30). The Salters' Company, one of the most respected champions of improvements in science education in the UK, in reply to an email Declan sent to the Master of the Company Prof Sir John Holman from the University of York, stated on 24 May 2013: "[W]e are not in a position to take any action on your behalf and therefore please do not expect any further responses to any further communications from you. I wish you success in finding suitable accommodation in due course."

It's hard to know exactly where all this is going because there is always the possibility we could garner the support we need to come off the streets before the threat to limb and liberty come in to play. Our problem is the seemingly little time we have to attract such support.