The Shock of Panorama on G4S Abuse of Security Detainees 46

Every now and then BBC Panorama can still come up with a truly shocking investigation that can prick the public conscience. Today’s report by the excellent and brave Callum Tulley on the appalling physical and mental abuse of immigration detainees was so atrocious it may result in action other than the sacking of low level employees which appears to be in train. I do urge you strongly to watch the programme if you have not done so before.
The BBC failed dismally in their duty to explain that Theresa May is personally responsible for the abuse having supported the system throughout her long period as Home Secretary. We do not have similar undercover footage for the females held in Yarls Wood detention centre, but levels of physical abuse by staff are similar there and it is a matter of undisputed public record that they have included rape and sexual abuse.
Incredibly, Theresa May as Home Secretary blocked a United Nations Special Rapporteur from entering Yarls Wood to investigate. That is perhaps the second single most damning fact I know about the entire UK political system. The first most damning fact is that the BBC have never reported that fact.
The extreme brutality has undoubtedly been exacerbated by privatisation. The system is milked for maximum profit and the simple truth is that brutality is cheaper than care. That is the underlying cause, and another lesson the BBC failed to draw.
Nadira’s short film, Locked In, is based on real cases which took place in similar Category B detention centres but did not include violence against the detainees. It emphasises the extreme cruelty of locking up in this fashion asylum seekers who have been the victims of dreadful torture in detention in the country to which the Home Office is seeking to deport them. Here is the trailer:

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46 thoughts on “The Shock of Panorama on G4S Abuse of Security Detainees

  • Dominic Trounce

    That moment when you realise that the people in power are, in fact, and almost by definition, psychopaths…

    • Riaaz Tayb

      As the Whigs (if I recall correctly) pointed out, Imperialism is not possible without tyranny at home (Chalmers Johnson reiiterated it too).

      It is really sad to see the visible decline in the quality of people produced in power. The UK has beat up on the poorest nations in the world (UK govts – Labour and Tory, a bipartisan consensus at the WTO &.), and I suppose it was inevitable that the NHS would be brought to its knees. And that the bill for bailing out the bankers would be sent to the people (on welfare).

      The UK has been one of places that has spread the worst kind of policies around the world, and the BBC moved in lockstep with the moral degeneration of the country. And the UK handed over almost monopoly (or oligopoly) power to Murdoch and his ilk. Not torture, not a murderous war, but a private message led to the unravelling of some of the power these folk held, with Chilcot and Hutton putting the faux sweet glaze of accountability on it all.

      The logic of racism is genocide. And the West is in that kind of mood again. Pity the poor who rely on welfare, and the poor elsewhere who are in the crosshairs of the rising right in Europe and America. Imagine that, Putin and China being largely sensible, while the West stays on its same old track not realising that their ability to control the narrative has seriously declined. And there is no check on it all, it is all rather shameless… and there is the danger…

      • giyane

        Thank you Riaaz for being a Muslim witness against imperial evil. For far too long UK Muslims have tiptoed round UK foreign policy trying to avoid the attention of government. You are more patient and articulate than myself
        It disgusts me that the UK imams mock those who talk politics while sending youngsters to assist the war against Syria themselves

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Chapter and verse:

    United Nations General Assembly 19th May 2015
    Human Rights Council
    Twenty-ninth session
    Agenda item 3
    Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
    political, economic, social and cultural rights,
    including the right to development

    Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Rashida Manjoo
    Mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    Page 8

    “C. Violence perpetrated or condoned by the State

    28. The Special Rapporteur visited Hydebank Wood Prison in Northern Ireland, Cornton Vale Prison in Scotland and Holloway Prison for Women and Young Offenders in London.

    29. The Special Rapporteur regrets that, despite her repeated requests from the start of the mission, the Government did not permit a visit to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. In compliance with the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council (Council resolution 5/2, annex) and the terms of reference for fact-finding missions by special rapporteurs/representatives of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1998/45, appendix V) governing official country visits, she attempted to visit the Centre independently. However, she was denied entry and was informed by the Centre’s director that instructions had been received to deny entry to the Special Rapporteur.”

  • Q

    The BBC used to be totally Brilliant. I grew up on it, from before we had a TV We had a wireless and Listen with Mother. Then my Dad bought a black & white TV and me and my girlfriend Susan Speakman were called in by my Mum’s bell to see Andy Pandy and Little Weed. My mum (like my wife) was a Childminder. She gave up her job to be a full time Mum. Since then the BBC has gone seriously.downhill to.such an extent that it is an Embarrassingly Disgraceful EVIL propaganda War Machine and a large percentage of its employees should be on trial for war crimes against humanity. We know who you are..and some of the heros amongst you. Tony

    • Courtenay Barnett


      The BBC had far less of a challenge back then. In the sense that times change and journalistic attitudes and the public response and views to events also, with a willingness to question and go well beyond ‘arguments’ from authority ( unquestioned).

      A small example from the US. Back then during the Presidency of JFK it was an open secret that he was the ‘Bill Clinton’ of his day in the ‘Oral Room’. But the journalists did not write about it.
      You may come back at me with the Profumo scandal in the UK. But, sometimes get so big that even the press can’t avoid commenting on it.

      • Brian

        CB : I agree, but . . . they (the BBC) still think they “rigorously challenge” every view they report on. That’s what they told me in answer to a recent complaint.
        And because their charter calls on them to be impartial, they think they are!

        • Courtenay Barnett


          Thanks for your comment.

          Over the years, I have moved from student discussions ( activist) to professional life ( lawyer) and better informed debater. In so saying, I have grown far less opinionated over the years. I now fully accept that my view(s), even my deeply held views and opinions can be wrong. If I ask – what are the facts and where is the internal logic in an arguments – and – do these hold true upon close scrutiny ( ‘scientific analysis’ if you like) – then the conclusions thus resulting can, I believe, give a fair, honest and accurate indicator about the issue, based on logical analysis of the best evidence available.

          I think that in many ways the BBC is sometimes still in my ” student discussions ( activist)” phase. What do I mean? If one feels so self-assured and righteous about a point of view ( the ‘major premise’ if we term it that) – then therein lies the difficulty of being inherently unwilling to move to the phase of ” ‘scientific analysis’ “. Not saying that there are not many bright, brilliant and able folks at the beeb – but when you start believing your own bullshit too much then your ears tend to become closed and your eyes droop to half-open.

          That is how I see it.

          The partisanship with Craig Murray over his firing from his diplomatic post is an example of willing manipulation of official information. So, a reputable news organisation should be duty bound to burrow well beneath the surface of the official narrative and on the very crucial issues the beeb at times fails or becomes a partisan operative. Recall the little actor boy in Syria used by the BBC knowing full well that this was being stage-managed? Goes to the heart of lack of credibility – doesn’t it?

  • giyane

    Institutions can legitimise unlawful behaviour. Once legitimised it is almost impossible to resist the temptation to indulge in it. Obviously the most unlawful institutions are the ones that present a public image of the most propriety. Abuse of asylum seekers is condoned only because racism is condoned. If Mrs May wasn’t racist, she wouldn’t have instinctively interpreted Brexit as a vote for racism. That’s why we always have to condemn political racism wherever it occurs. We have always managed to do this before.

    As I see it a country’s politics evolves from its actions. After Britain colonised Africa there arose a great justifier of that crime in Charles Darwin. Similarly after the UK has engaged in 30 years of bombing and torture there arises a justifier. Mrs May is the UK’s justifier and Donald Trump is the US’s. The justifiers consolidate the mass guilt for mass attrition. Obviously if you hate your Muslim neighbours in the Middle East, 4 hours flying time away, you have to eschew your European neighbours. Beating up and raping asylum seekers is a logical conclusion to 30 years of war.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Someone working for the BBC leaked The Jane Standley 20 mins before it happened news video. Well.of course I didn’t ask him when he came back to our house for a party about 10 years ago with his BBC mate who can also sing a bit..but I reckon The little BBC archivist is a bit of a 9/11 hero too. Next time I see his mate, I will ask if he is still alive. Jane Standley is obviously completely.innocent. She was just doing her job live as a reporter for The BBC. And I am sure the kids her doing Pantomime at Wimbledon Theater. Its behind you Jane. She didn’t know that WTC7 had not yet been demolished…however a lot of her employers obviously did. They had prepared her script. I.hope she is well and not terrified
    Jane Standley is innocent. I’d love to meet her. Tony

  • K Crosby

    Commercialbbc must be feeling a little more pressure than usual, to trot out another shock horror expose of the small fry. Did they analyse the structures and functions of state organised cruelty? Did they follow the money? Did they patiently negotiate their way through all off the accountability shields put up by the state to insulate Whitehall and Westminster? My arse!

    • Rose

      KC – I agree – they didn’t do that, nor would they under the present system we all live under – that would be too much to expect. If there was any real investigative reporting going on then the whole shoddy set-up allowing such things to happen would be exposed. But that is not to say that individuals working within the system shouldn’t be held to account and brought to justice. We are all responsible for our own actions/inaction. There are questions for us all here: I’m darn sure that I too bear some responsibility for not kicking up more of a fuss when all this rubbish started in 1979.

      • K Crosby

        I know, I handed out a few measures of justice in my time in residential. In the end I was swept away by the returning tide of incompetence, negligence and corruption brought back (knowingly) by the framers of the Community Care Act.

  • Jack Shae

    No wonder the Tories want to get rid of the Human Rights Act, it will be a free hand to do whatever to whomever without lawful oversight.

  • Brian

    This is the BBC pretending to be a fearless investigative reporter. Credit to the lad who took the videos and exposed the brutality of the bullies on the ground. Who’s to blame for this cruelty? That’s a huge question, but for a start, the managers and directors who are responsible for the training, the guidance, the standards and the supervision. I’ve no doubt this will be part 2 of the Panorama investigation.

  • nevermind

    The BBC has thrown us a morsel, with all the debate about their massive wages, not a problem when all male presenters could be happy with the same monies their female colleagues receive. Fat chance.
    I agree that UN special rapporteurs will soon be barred from entering the country, once the Tories can lay their hand on the Human rights act and change it with a proclamation to Parliament.
    The BBC does not want to report on the damning state of international diplomacy, that it is treated with ignorance and devalued by perfidious actions against diplomats, foreign embassy premises and the statues of the UN.

    tune the music to ‘cum dancing’

    • giyane

      The BBC Today programme on radio 4 ran an interesting interview with an Icelandic politician talking about EFTA. Through EFTA they get free trade and free movement of people, but don’t get Federal Europe.
      They also have to comply with the EU Court of Justice Mrs Mars Bar hates so much because it gives citizens rights. One might conclude from this that the BBC is politely paving the way for Mrs Mars Bar to be politely snacked quite soon, and replaced by someone with some brains.

  • Peter Beswick

    The Guardian position on promulgating US propaganda is erratic, the BBC keeps to the line.

    Craig on occasion has provided an invaluable service to those seeking the truth and differing interpretations of the facts.

    Now Putin has spelt out the problem, it will be interesting how the BBC convey this, if they do.

    There is zero intensive for NK to give up its nuclear ambitions.

    Iraq gave up its WMD, the US and UK destroyed the country.

    Libya gave up its highly advanced nuclear programme , the US and UK destroyed the country.

    Syria gave up its Chemical Weapons, the US and UK still want to destroy the country.

    Putin may not be the nicest man on earth but his contribution is at least truthful and useful.

    The neutralisation of the Middle East was/is required for US economic survival, it had nothing to do with Nukes or C&Bio WMD.

    Persistent threatening NK was all the US had to do to get the result they want; China hemmed in, again to allow US economic survival.

    US Foreign Policy failed in the ME, killed millions, millions more forced to flee.

    US Foreign Policy for NK will kill 100’s of millions and potentially cause WWIII, a war the US cannot win.

    But in fairness to the BBC, convincing the British public that Russia-China-NK BAD, US-UK GOOD is not particularly useful anymore and has gone down the Daily Mail path of reporting dross.

    Keep up the good work Craig

  • Tony

    ” brutality is cheaper than care”
    Private prisons have no interest in rehabilitation of prisoners–quite the opposite in fact. A steady supply of prisoners means more profits. The US, in the not too distant past, had a fairly normal rate of incarceration. But then its prison population grew exponentially. Britain followed down this path but not to the same extent.

    Taking prisons back into state ownership is an essential move.

  • Republicofscotland

    We really shouldn’t be surprised at the state broadcasters position on this, nor the horrendous treatment of those held in the prison camps, for that in essence is what they are, in my opinion.

    As for G4S, well, from this it would appear that, their cruel services are required around the globe.

    Mr Almanza, a South African is the CEO of G4S, he’s also a director at Schroders, which made its intial fortune through Thatcher’s privatisation programme of the 80’s.

    • Sharp Ears

      You took the words out of my mouth, so to speak, regarding G4S’s activities in Israel.

      According to this, they sold on their business. To whom is not stated. Presumably the 8,000 enforcers of Israel’s appalling policies are still doing the same work under another banner. G4S found that their bottom line was suffering and affecting ‘group profits’.

      Their board –
      The usual suspects with the usual connections. Deloitte/BG/BAE Systems/Cap Gemini/Bank of England/..

      Shame on the lot of them.

      Security firm G4S leaving Israel, denies BDS to blame
      London-based company says ‘commercial reasons’ behind decision to sell its Israeli business, which employs 8,000 people

      • Republicofscotland

        Apparently in 2011 G4S became a signatory of the UN Global Compact.

        “The United Nations Global Compact is a United Nations initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation.”

        ” The UN Global Compact is a principle-based framework for businesses, stating ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Under the Global Compact, companies are brought together with UN agencies, labour groups and civil society.”

        ” Cities can join the Global Compact through the Cities Programme.”

        The UN’s Global Compact’s ten principles, are no way implimented by G4S, in my opinion.

  • Bert

    I am afraid I cannot watch the Panorama programme as suggested.

    I refuse to pay a television licence to be fed a diet of tory propaganda pig swill.

    If the tories want to feed us their insulting diatribe they can pay for it themselves.


    • Anon1

      It’s true that the BBC holds back a bit when the Tories are in power (it doesn’t want its funding cut), but make no mistake – the BBC is Labour to the core. And then you have C4, which is just rolling left-wing propaganda and ought to have all its public funding taken away.

      • D_Majestic

        Make no mistake-You clearly don’t know what you are talking about. BBC coverage of the election was clearly pro-May and the Tories. I won’t even get started on the 12+ months of anti-Corbyn propaganda we got from them.

        • Kempe

          No secret that Cameron’s displeasure at the BBC’s election coverage was behind the six year budget freeze which he described as “delicious”.

          Haven’t worked out the Tory propaganda message behind the latest Panorama exposing the brutality and incompetence of a favoured government contractor and further undermining the whole concept of outsourcing public services. I dare say the experts here will work something out though.

          Maybe it was all a false flag.

  • Sharp Ears

    An account of what he saw and experienced from the whistleblower as told to Alison Holt. She is an excellent and honest reporter and has reported on many social issues, including child sexual abuse.

    What I saw when I went undercover
    The 21-year-old whistleblower at the immigration removal centre

    The headings are START/Chaos/Violence/Drugs/The boy
    Whistle-blower | Define Whistle-blower at
    a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing. Origin of whistle-blower. 1965-1970. First recorded in 1965-70. whistle-blowing, noun.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The BBC weather forecast got it completely wrong again, but in this case I do not blame them or the Met Office..Whilst it is entirely possible both our tents will be blown away tonight..It is also possible that my Grandson will be dancing in the sea again at Weymouth Beach. The sunset and the moonrise are completely Awesome. So its very windy has rained a lot. We will survive it. Think about the poor kids the USA and The UK are dropping bombs on tonight…You people are despicable. Tony

    • Peter Beswick

      I hope you don’t get blown away by the wind, and trust you don’t get stuck in the Spaceship Tower.

      I agree the BBC weather is as reliable as the “news” it turns out. Not just the BBC, I simply do not know one news outlet that can be trusted with factual, impartial reporting.

      One exception was perhaps the Oldham Chron, I apologise in advance if I am about to shock you. Its closed down!

      When you were a lad somebody having their milk pinched from their doorstep could make it to the front page. Different times!

      Hope the rest of your holiday goes well.

  • FranzB

    G4S are serial offenders with regards to using brutality. See entry for Jimmy Mubenga in

    See also the entry for electronic tagging where G4S charged for tagging they never did. Note that the SFO started an investigation into G4S in 2013 – the investigation is still running

    Question is why does the Tory govt. keep giving contracts to G4S.

    Just heard a BBC R4 program on the privatised Thames Water ripping us all off (with the connivance of OfWat) so that they can give huge piles of wonga to McQuarie Bank who then presumably pass it on to the rich. The usual mix – private equity, tax havens, huge debts. What a cesspool the UK has become today. That became literally the case when Thames Water discharged raw sewage into the Thames. Keeps the profits up presumably.

  • Velofello

    @ Shrugsrug: maybe Anon’s wee fingers got tired at the keyboard. For sure he/she missed much that the SNP proposed today. Or maybe Anon is some kind of auto SNP- Bad algorithm.

  • mike

    Yes, it’s a good documentary. Finally something from Panorama that at least touches on the fringes of contracted-out state power.

    • J

      Perhaps there should be some discussion of what state power means when we all know that May, Cameron, Blair, Brown, Major, Thatcher et al are the masks which power wears. And how much of ‘state’ actually remains, or ever was.

  • giyane

    I just heard a dreadful Tory politician on the 10 p.m. radio 4 news say that immigrants who have no connection to the UK should not be allowed to come to work here. Are they zombies, or Martians, or octopuses, or killer whales? We are connected to Europe. Our ancestors, culture and religion are the same. Our further neighbours in the Muslim Middle East have even more in common with us than our nearer neighbours who have lived under Soviet atheism. These Tories are foaming mad. Why do they think that anyone they deem as completely foreign to us will feel the urge to trade with us? What is it about us they see as so very important that the world will carve its way to their detractors’ front door.

    Answer, they know that the politicians who articulate these racist insults are totally unrepresentative of the British people. Which in turn begs the question. Why are the polls so completely different from public opinion?
    The elections are rigged by the elite, aka Kenya.

  • giyane

    O/T sorry. I went to Glasgow this weekend. What a credit to Scotland the skylines of beautiful new living accommodation and high rise office towers. But on missing the turn to Carlisle I found myself steaming to Edinburgh on a gleaming new motorway. No problem I thought I’ll pick up the road down the East coast. Which is a single carriageway, 60 mph, pot-holed farm track connecting to the North-Eastern cities of the UK.
    Lost in a time-warp, with a mix of Enid Blyton coastal views and ’60s road conditions, the quaintness of the road did ease some of the boredom.

    Question is, why does Edinburgh not have a motorway link to the A1(M) by now? England has been spending trillions on widening its motorways from three lanes to four by using the hard shoulder lane and installing safety cameras. Why can’t they give Edinburgh two lanes?

  • Hugh

    It brought to mind the british concentration camps as in the second anglo-boer war (1899-1902)…

  • Vincent O'Cathain

    I think Callum did a fantastic job helping to expose the conditions as Brook House. A shame the BBC didn’t say that the few seconds clip of him refereeing a game of football has cost him his referees licence as he hadn’t got permission from the FA to be filmed. You can’t beat the English establishment’s mentality. He was a very promising referee who had been in the “Centre of Refereeing Excellence” and tipped to go far.
    A half decent job by the BBC, with so much ammunition available in relation to G4S past misdemeanors, much more could have been reported in relation to their fitness to manage such contracts.

  • Scrum5

    I was shocked at the casual brutality towards the inmates by warders who presumably have families of their own. But you’re right, Craig, the regime does not begin and end at the gates, it goes right to the heart of Government.

    I had the priviledge of listening to Roza Salih describe how she came to UK from Kurdistan and eventually to Glasgow where she attended Drumchapel High School and where many of her classmates were refugees fleeing persecution. They felt happy and supported until one of their classmates did not attend school one day and when they checked, her family had been removed at dawn and were taken to Yarl’s Wood. The campaign Roza and her friends fought to (succesfully) get the release of their friend led to them being dubbed the “Glasgow Girls”.

    Roza was inspiring to listen to but absolutely scathing of the Home Office in their treatment of refugees.

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