Terror Raid in Forest Gate

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Conference
2006 National Delegate Conference
Date
9 June 2006
Decision
Carried

Conference notes with concern:

1)the raid involving 250 police that took place in Forest Gate, Newham, on Friday, 2 June, in which a young man was shot and two young men, one of them a member of the UCW, were arrested and held under anti-terror laws without charge or any evidence of any kind of wrongdoing. The raid greatly affected our whole community, including UNISON members living in the area;

2)that, just as occurred with last year’s fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes’, false stories blaming the victim for the shooting, were leaked to the press in the aftermath of the raid;

3)that intelligence for the raid, which also involved a five mile no flight zone, consisted of a single police informant and press reports indicate that suspicion was based on growing religious observance;

4)that media speculation about a chemical weapons factory in the house created a climate of division in our community and heightened Islamaphobia;

5)that the cordoning off of residents in surrounding streets who were unable to enter or leave homes without police checks and intrusive questioning of their guests is an unprecedented act and extension of police powers without legal sanction of any kind.

Conference believes that:

a)the war on terror has led to an erosion of civil liberties on which centuries old traditions such as habeas corpus, freedom from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention without trial are being destroyed;

b)terrorism should be opposed by all and defeated but the destruction of civil liberties entailed in the war on terror, and the associated anti-terror laws, is both ineffective in stopping terrorism and dangerous to democracy;

c)the war on terror, by targeting the Muslim community, or in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes those who are perceived to look Muslim, without accurate intelligence or evidence, as potential terrorists, is increasing racism, alienating the community and laying open a part of our membership to great injustice.

Conference resolves to:

i)express directly to the Home Secretary and Prime Minister our concerns about the impact of this raid, specifically the:

A)nature of intelligence and use of a single source to identify potential suspects;

B)holding of suspects without charge;

C)rules governing the use of firearms during such raids;

D)number of police officers involved in the raid and whether, given that local residents were not evacuated, the scale of the operation was proportional to the threat;

E)holding of local residents behind a police cordon for many days following the raid;

F)leaks to the press of false, slanderous and alarming misinformation;

ii)redouble work with the Stop the War Coalition and organisations such as Liberty to protect civil liberties and prevent the war on terror from eroding justice for all sections of the community;

iii)call on UNISON sponsored MPs to vote against all measures which undermine existing civil liberties in particular that allow for detention without charge or trial, use of evidence obtained by torture or shoot on sight.