Tuesday, April 30, 2013

London meeting marks birthday of Kim Il Sung

Dr Goodacre pays tribute to Kim Il Sung

By New Worker correspondent

FRIENDS and supporters of Democratic Korea met last weekend near Kings Cross in central London to mark the birthday of revolutionary leader and theorist Kim Il Sung and hold a wide-ranging discussion on the crisis sparked by the ongoing US exercises and the controversial Korea Undercover BBC Panorama documentary.
The event was organised by the Juché Idea Study Group of England and the Association For the Study of Songun Politics UK, and attended by supporters of the Korean revolution, members of the New Communist Party, progressive academics and members of the general public.
Dermot Hudson, chair of the JISG, and Shaun Pickford spoke about the American “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” nuclear war games which, they said, had the clearly stated aim of “regime change” in the DPRK, and included “counter-insurgency” exercises with US and south Korean troops  rehearsing the rounding up of civilians and Workers’ Party members.
Shaun said south Korea was a US puppet state, and recalled that Park Chung Hee, father of the current president Park Geun Hye, took power in a military coup and introduced the fascistic “Yushin” (“renewal”) ideology under which the electoral system was rigged.
He added that the DPR Korea has never intervened in any foreign country, but since the Second World War the United States has intervened in 195 states. In practice, he said, “any retreat or concessions by the DPRK would lead to subjugation and self-destruction”.
Dermot reminded the meeting that it was one year since the election of dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un as First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, showing the support, trust, respect and affection of the masses of the Korean people and members of the Workers’ Party.
On the issue of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons, he said they were “not a bargaining chip for economic gains, but a national treasure which cannot be sold for millions of dollars”.
He pointed out that there is no international border with the South Korea, only a military demarcation line, which the DPRK does not recognise. He also said many defectors from the DPRK were actually returning, complaining of poor treatment and long working hours in low paid jobs in south Korea.
James Taylor spoke on the life and revolutionary activities of Kim Il Sung, saying: “All true revolutionaries who have encountered his works and heard of his deeds can only feel themselves inspired and heartened by his example and leadership, by his contributions to applying Marxism-Leninism to Korean conditions and his evolution of the Juché Idea.”
Dr Hugh Goodacre of the University of London recalled meeting with comrade Kim Il Sung in 1990, and quoted from a new booklet by Kim Jong Un: "When meeting workers, he held their grease-stained hands without reserve and in a rural village, had friendly talks with the peasants at the edge of a field; his speeches were often mixed with jokes, humorous and down to earth. Even though he was held in high respect and admiration by our people and progressive peoples of the world, he disallowed any special favour or privilege for himself, and always led a simple and frugal life with his people."
Dr Goodacre said that Kim Il Sung’s greatest feat was to author the Juché Idea, based on the aspirations and ideas of the people, which became the basis of a theory and ideology able to enlist the inexhaustible strength and creative wisdom of the masses for national liberation.
Theo Russell of the New Communist Party brought greetings from the NCP, recalled his visit to the DPRK in April 2012, and spoke about the “shameful episode” of the hijacking of a London School of Economics study tour to infiltrate hostile BBC journalists into the DPRK.
Dermot Hudson added that many people who watched the Panorama documentary actually learned different lessons from those intended, and that since it was broadcast the JISG had gained five new members!
At the close of the meeting a message to the dear respected leader Marshal Kim Jong Un was adopted by acclaim.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

London news roundup

Shaker Aamer may never come home

SHAKER AAMER, the last British detainee still held without charge or trial for more than 11 years now, may never return home, even though he was cleared for release in 2007.
The reason, given in a recent report in the Guardian, is a “secret deal” US authorities, Saudi Arabia and British intelligence services.
According to the report, earlier this month, two Metropolitan Police detectives interviewed Aamer to gather allegations that MI5 and MI6 were complicit in his torture.
If he returned to London he would almost certainly be a key witness in Scotland Yard’s investigation into allegations of British complicity in torture in the post 9/11 years.
His legal team alleges that the US, Saudi Arabia – where he was born – and British security services are trying to ensure he never goes back to Britain.
But officials in Saudi Arabia have threatened him with imprisonment.
“It seems highly probable that the British security services are in bed with the Americans on trying to keep Shaker from coming back to the UK.
We can only hope that Hague will hold them to account,” Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity reprieve, which is representing Shaker, told the Guardian.

Met still institutionally racist

THE METROPOLITAN Black Police Association (BPA) last week claimed that, 20 years after the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, south London, the Metropolitan Police force is still institutionally racist.
The BPA, the biggest group representing minority officers in the force, says despite the training and community initiatives put in place over the past two decades, Scotland Yard has failed to tackle the mind-set at the heart of failures over Lawrence.
Senior officers will not like this report. Former Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson announced in 2009 that that after much hard work the force was no longer institutionally racist.
"The [BPA] association still believe that the police service is institutionally racist," said the BPA statement. Its chair, Bevan Powell, added: "Institutional racism is not about labelling individuals racists but rather police practice and procedures that bring about disproportionate outcomes for black and minority ethnic communities.
He said close examination of key statistics relating to the race and policing bears that out. "An examination of section 95 data (Criminal Justice Act) provides the supporting empirical evidence to support my assertion."

Met still chasing Stephen Lawrence killers

SIR BERNARD Hogan-Howe, chief of the Metropolitan Police, last week declared: “We will catch those involved” in the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, 20 years ago this month.
Two men, Gary Dobson, 37, and David Norris, 36, were jailed for life after being found guilty last year of the attack.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said it had taken "too long" to convict the pair. “After taking too long, we did get convictions in two cases last year and what we're going to do is catch the other people involved," he said. "We still have got suspects identified."
A poster has been put up in New Scotland Yard with a personal message from Sir Bernard. It reads: "Twenty years ago the Lawrence family lost their loved son, Stephen.
"We let them down by not catching his murderers. Then last year we finally brought two of his killers to justice. The Met won't forget Stephen Lawrence."

Sinn Féin marks the Good Friday Agreement in London

By Theo Russell

SINN FÉIN MPs Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy visited London last week for a highly successful, and sold out, dinner at the Troia restaurant near the London Eye organised by Friends of Sinn Féin to mark the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
The event was shared by many international friends, including the Cuban Ambassador and representatives from the Venezuelan Embassy, the Kurdish National Congress, the Basque nationalist Eusko Alkartasuna party, the Wolfe Tone Society and the Connolly Association.
Speaking briefly to the guests Michelle Gildernew said there was much unfinished business left over from the Good Friday Agreement on the equality agenda and power-sharing, and said that Sinn Féin is now officially calling for an Ireland-wide poll on whether to remove the border as provided for in the 1998 agreement.
She also spoke about the campaign to pressure the Dublin government to extend the vote in Irish elections to members of the large Irish diaspora in Britain and elsewhere.
Conor Murphy described the ongoing work by Sinn Féin to build relations with the Unionist community in the north of Ireland, saying that “Unionists need to realise that they have a better future as a large part of the Irish people than they have hanging on to a British government which doesn’t particularly care about them.”
The MPs also reminded the gathering of a major London conference coming up in October to be addressed by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Towards a New Ireland.
An excellent time was had by all, with superb Turkish food and traditional Irish tunes (and the odd rebel song) by musicians from the North London band The Popes. The evening was a welcome distraction from the seemingly endless depression of Austerity Britain.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Supporting Democratic Korea!

By New Worker correspondent

Friends and comrades returned to the Marchmont Centre in central London last Saturday to show their solidarity with Democratic Korea under threat from US imperialism. Though the meeting called by the Friends of Korea committee had been originally been intended to simply celebrate the 101st anniversary of the birth of great leader Kim Il Sung much of the discussion naturally focused on the current crisis on the Korean peninsula that threatens to plunge all of northern Asia into war.
            Chaired by NCP leader Andy Brooks a panel that included Michael Chant of the RCPB (ML), John Mcleod of the Socialist Labour Party and Dermot Hudson of the British Juche Society opened a wide-ranging discussion that ranged from Korean-style socialism to the recent measures taken by the people’s government in the north to counter the military threat from the United States and its lackeys in south Korea.
Though most of the audience comprised of long-standing supporters of the Korean revolution there were a number of new visitors who came because they wanted to hear the Korean people’s side of the story and were convinced enough at the end to support the solidarity message to Korean leader Kim Jong Un that was endorsed unanimously at the close of the afternoon session.
             The meeting was organised by the Co-ordinating Committee of the Friends of Korea, which brings together all the major movements active in Korean friendship work in Britain today.  It is chaired by Andy Brooks and the secretary is Michael Chant.
            The committee consists of the New Communist Party of Britain, Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML), Socialist Labour Party, European Regional Society for the Study of the Juché Idea and the UK Korean Friendship Association.
 Meetings are open to all friends of the Korean revolution and the committee organises events throughout the year in London, which are listed by the supporting movements and on the Friends of Korea blog.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Police justify assault on handcuffed teenager

 A WOMAN who witnessed a brutal assault on a teenager was shocked when the police Professional Standards Unit ignored her, dismissed the victim’s complaints and justified the attacked a “proportionate”.
Anna Larkin was at her kitchen window filling up a hot water bottle shortly after midnight on 1st November last year when she says she saw two plain-clothed officers assault Agnelito Da Costa, aged 18, as he and a friend made their way home in full face paint after celebrating Halloween at an East London pub.
Larkin, who is a communications officer for a prestigious art institution in Angel, North London, said she was horrified as she watched one of the officers push handcuffed Da Costa’s face into the bonnet of a car and hold it there while a colleague kicked his legs away so he fell to his knees, kicked his legs apart, kicked him hard between the legs and stamped on his ankles.
But Da Costa and his friend, Matthieu Dufour, who works as a graphic designer in Shoreditch, were quickly released after Larkin’s camera began flashing as she took pictures of the scene on the corner of Mare Street and Westgate Street in Hackney moments after the alleged attack.
While Larkin’s account corroborates that of Da Costa’s and Dufour’s, who were all interviewed separately, Hackney’s Police Professional Standards Unit (PSU) did not acknowledge or deny her account, but admitted force was used saying it was justified in the interests of officer safety after the teenager became aggressive.
Responding to Anne Larkin’s complaint, PSU investigator Mark Simkins, who also works as a Special (volunteer officer), wrote: “[the officers] fully justify their use of force against the subject involved. … One male was fully compliant and the other was not. Whilst we do not expect every member of the public to bend over backwards for us we do not expect acts [of] aggression from the very outset. The two original officers who stopped the male in question were faced with just that.”
Da Costa admits he was verbally aggressive, but only after the police nearly ran him over and put him in cuffs. He said an unmarked car had driven past with the occupants looking at them as he and Dufour walked along Mare Street towards Hackney Town Hall when moments later it pulled up in front of them.
Two officers jumped out and handcuffed his friend. As he crossed the road an unmarked car drove at him almost knocking him over, he said. “I thought I was going to be run over. [The driver] came out of the car and I went up to him and said what are you doing … and he went straight to the conversation asking me what are you doing here, where are you heading? ”
Before he answered, Da Costa said he was handcuffed and threatened with arrest unless he gave his name and address. He continued: “I said I’m not going to give it to you and I was screaming at the officers because I was really angry because I was literally just handcuffed for no reason, but after a few minutes I decided to give them my name because I didn’t want to be arrested.” Da Costa said he then questioned why he had been stopped and cuffed when the assault occurred.
Simkins pointed out to Larkin that she had not seen Da Costa’s “aggressive” behaviour and was unaware of the potential risk the officers were facing.
Larkin admitted she did not see the point at which the pair were stopped and cuffed or Da Costa remonstrating with the officers, but said the arts student was handcuffed at the time of the “assault” so posed no threat.
In a letter to Simkins complaining of the “flimsy” investigation, Larkin wrote: “Whether or not the young man was initially fully compliant, the incident I witnessed occurred when he was fully incapacitated. … I find it incredible that you believe the subsequent kicking and stamping was a reasonable and necessary course of action following the officers’ risk assessment. What possible risk could the young man pose on his knees, handcuffed from behind and his face being held down on the bonnet of the car?”
Larkin and Da Costa also complained of the officers laughing at him when he asked for their identification numbers, which they are obliged to give during a stop, after being released.
Da Costa, who also sings in a band with Dufour, said: “They were just messing around literally just laughing saying I’m not going to give you my number. I asked them a few times. … One of the officers decided to make a joke. … They were just saying random long numbers … and every officer was just laughing.”