Stop MI5 blackmail! Protect UK citizenship from attack!
7-9pm Friday 18 January 2013
Council Chamber, Camden Town Hall, Judd St (near Kings X station)
Saghir Hussain, Director, CagePrisoners
Sharhabeel Lone, Director, KTCO
Mohamed Nur, community worker, KTCO
Kurdish Federation UK
Tom Foot, journalist, Camden New Journal
George Binette, Branch Secretary, Camden UNISON
Frances Webber, Vice-President, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Les Levidow, CAMPACC
Over several years MI5 has been systematically blackmailing individuals to spy on their communities. In most cases, security agencies want information on political views and ordinary political activities. This covert surveillance spreads fear and distrust among communities here – all in the name of protecting ‘national security’.
In an extreme case, in October 2012 the Home Secretary withdrew the citizenship of a Somali-born UK citizen, Mahdi Hashi. As a care worker in the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO) in 2009, Mahdi had refused to become an MI5 informer. Then MI5 threatened him and four colleagues with being labelled as 'Islamic extremists' if they refused to become informers. Madhi in particular felt so harassed by the MI5 that he left the country for Somalia, where he has family members. The Home Secretary later revoked his citizenship, thus preventing his return. After leaving Somalia he disappeared and was held at a secret detention site. In December it became public that he was rendered to face 'terrorism' charges in a NY court. There he is accused of participation in al Shabaab, a Somali group resisting foreign domination. For details, see here
For several years MI5 had blackmailed many other British Somalis. MI5 told the men, 'Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist.' When they refused to cooperate, MI5 acted on the threat: afterwards some were detained and interrogated on trips abroad.
For further details, see below:
Such practices are widespread. Beyond a few well-publicised cases, MI5 has blackmailed hundreds of refugees, especially Kurds and Tamils. Refugees face much higher stakes: they could be deported to torture, or else they could be granted asylum as a reward for becoming informers.
Meeting is sponsored by: the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), CagePrisoners, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Kurdish Federation UK, London Somali Youth Forum, Hands Off Somalia, Camden Green Party
And supported by Camden Councillors Sarah Hayward (Leader of Camden Council) and Maya de Souza