Archive for December, 2011


Check out this well produced documentary on the Wikileaks

 

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THE CORPORATION engages in a lively, critical exploration of the dominant institution of our time — its inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts, and possible futures. Case studies, anecdotes, and true confessions expose influences in both the corporate and anti- corporate worlds. With dark wit, footage from pop culture, advertising, TV news, and corporate propaganda, the film illuminates the corporation’s grip on our lives. THE CORPORATION asks: What are the consequences—for human beings, democracy, and the ecology—of granting immense power to a structurally amoral institution, whose overriding priority is to create wealth for its shareholders? As worldwide concern about the growth of corporate power intensifies, THE CORPORATION canvasses insiders, outsiders, radicals, and conservatives, in 40 interviews with CEOs, whistleblowers, brokers, gurus, and a corporate spy.

Part 1

Part 2

 

The shocking truth about the erosion of our fundamental civil liberties by Tony Blair’s government will be exposed this summer in TAKING LIBERTIES, released on DVD in the UK cinemas by Revolver Entertainment October 15th 2007. Right to Protest, Right to Freedom of Speech. Right to Privacy. Right not to be detained without charge, Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Prohibition from Torture. TAKING LIBERTIES will reveal how these six central pillars of liberty have been systematically destroyed by New Labour, and the freedoms of the British people stolen from under their noses amidst a climate of fear created by the media and government itself. TAKING LIBERTIES uncovers the stories the government don’t want you to hear — so ridiculous you will laugh, so ultimately terrifying you will want to take action. Teenage sisters detained for 36 hours for a peaceful protest; an RAF war veteran arrested for wearing an anti-Bush and Blair T-shirt; an innocent man shot in a police raid; and a man held under house arrest for two years, after being found innocent in court. Ordinary law-abiding citizens being punished for exercising their ‘rights’ — rights that have been fought for over centuries, and which seem to have been extinguished in a decade. — http://www.noliberties.com

IHRC are holding their third annual Genocide Memorial Day on 22 January 2012 between 4 – 8pm at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS in London.

We will be hosting a number of guest speakers from around the world at a conference including Professor Ilan Pappe of the University of Exeter and Hasan Nuhanovic a survivor from the Bosnian genocide.  IHRC are calling for all students, teachers, parents & activists to get involved and raise awareness of the grave atrocities that have taken place across the world over the centuries and the many that continue to exist today.   So please ask your local schools, local religious centres and local communities to get involved in creating a movement to stop genocides by taking part in Genocide Memorial Day.  Log on to www.genocidememorialday.org  for further information or email gmd@ihrc.org if you have any enquiries.

IHRC are holding a poetry competition for 11-18 year olds – details will be given out at the conference

Entry is free.  To book a place please call 020 8904 4222 or email events@ihrc.org,

Date:           
22 January (Sunday) 2012

Time:           
4pm – 8 pm

Venue:           
Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H                         

Nearest train / tube:   
Russell Square (Piccadilly Square), Euston station (Northern Line, London Overground & National Rail ), Euston Square (Metropolitan Line), Kings Cross (Victoria, Piccadilly, Northern, Metropolitan , Circle, Hammersmith and City line)

Could the U.S Invasion of Iraq really be over? If the news of Obamas weapons deal to Iraq is anything to go by, ONLY if the US is Iraqs main supplier of essential material. The US initially went to war with Iraq based on the concept of WMD’s which then later changed to regime change. Although as we knew that oil played a big part in prompting the US to war, there may have been another key motivator.

According to the Time magazine article ‘Foreign Exchange: Saddam turns his back on greenbacks’ Saddam wanted payments for its oil to be made in the Euro and no longer wanted to accept dollars for its oil[1]. The repercussions of this decision would mean that Iraq would favour European suppliers over the U.S. Iraqs move towards the Euro symbolised a growing trend where North Korea, Venezuela and other states as well as OPEC expressing interest in leaving the dollar in favour of the Euro.

It is the consequences of these decisions that motivated the US to go to any lengths to protect the dollar. So Bush’s policy towards Iraq was not about WMD’s, Human Rights or Democracy. Bush’s policy towards Iraq was about protecting the dollar[2]. Now that the last batch of soldiers are about to leave Iraq the US will exit leaving the dollar as Iraqs reserve currency. Haitham Al-Jabouri stated “the trend that the Central Bank of Iraq’s retention rate of the dinar against the dollar during the current period, this index indicates that monetary policy in Iraq is able to make the Iraqi dinar is equal to the dollar”[3]

This is also another way for the US to sustain and grow its empire by financially tying colonised states (i.e Iraq) to the Coloniser (i.e the US) as a collapse of the dollar would wipe out much of the worlds foreign currency reserves which in turn would sharply reduce the worlds money supply[4]. This therefore would make it an imperative for the colonial states to protect the dollar therefore ensuring the continuation of the system. With the Euro now out of the way, the US has secured Iraq from other forces, like Russia, therefore ensuring profits for western defence organisations like Lockheed Martin

[Source]

By and

BAGHDAD — The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking to consolidate authority, create a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the American-backed power-sharing government.

The military aid, including advanced fighter jets and battle tanks, is meant to help the Iraqi government protect its borders and rebuild a military that before the 1991 Persian Gulf war was one of the largest in the world; it was disbanded in 2003 after the United States invasion.

But the sales of the weapons — some of which have already been delivered — are moving ahead even though Mr. Maliki has failed to carry out an agreement that would have limited his ability to marginalize the Sunnis and turn the military into a sectarian force. While the United States is eager to beef up Iraq’s military, at least in part as a hedge against Iranian influence, there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.

United States diplomats, including Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, have expressed concern about the military relationship with Iraq. Some have even said it could have political ramifications for the Obama administration if not properly managed. There is also growing concern that Mr. Maliki’s apparent efforts to marginalize the country’s Sunni minority could set off a civil war.

“The optics of this are terrible,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert on national security issues at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a critic of the administration’s Iraq policy.

The program to arm the military is being led by the United States Embassy here, which through its Office of Security Cooperation serves as a broker between the Iraqi government and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Among the big-ticket items being sold to Iraq are F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, cannons and armored personnel carriers. The Iraqis have also received body armor, helmets, ammunition trailers and sport utility vehicles, which critics say can be used by domestic security services to help Mr. Maliki consolidate power.

“The purpose of these arrangements is to assist the Iraqis’ ability to defend their sovereignty against foreign security threats,” said Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington.

But Iraqi politicians and analysts, while acknowledging that the American military withdrawal had left Iraq’s borders, and airspace, vulnerable, said there were many reasons for concern.

Despite pronouncements from American and Iraqi officials that the Iraqi military is a nonsectarian force, they said, it had evolved into a hodgepodge of Shiite militias more interested in marginalizing the Sunnis than in protecting the country’s sovereignty. Across the country, they said, Shiite flags — not Iraq’s national flag — fluttered from tanks and military vehicles, evidence, many said, of the troops’ sectarian allegiances.

“It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,” said Rafe al-Essawi, the country’s finance minister and a leading Sunni politician. “It is very risky with all the sacrifices we’ve made, with all the budget to be spent, with all the support of America — at the end of the day, the result will be a formal militia army.”

Mr. Essawi said that he was concerned about how the weapons would be used if political tension led to a renewed tide of sectarian violence. Some Iraqis and analysts said they believed that the weapons could give Mr. Maliki a significant advantage in preventing several Sunni provinces from declaring autonomy from the central government.

“Washington took the decision to build up Iraq as a counterweight to Iran through close military cooperation and the sale of major weapon systems,” said Joost Hiltermann, the International Crisis Group’s deputy program director for the Middle East. “Maliki has shown a troubling inclination toward enhancing his control over the country’s institutions without accepting any significant checks and balances.”

Uncertainty over Mr. Maliki’s intentions, and with that the wisdom of the weapons sale, began to emerge even before the last American combat forces withdrew 11 days ago. Mr. Maliki moved against his Sunni rivals, arresting hundreds of former Baath Party members on charges that they were involved in a coup plot. Then security forces under Mr. Maliki’s control sought to arrest the country’s Sunni vice president, who fled to the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north. In addition, Mr. Maliki threatened to release damning information on other politicians.

With these actions plunging the country into a political crisis, a few days later, Mr. Maliki said the country would be turned into “rivers of blood” if the predominantly Sunni provinces sought more autonomy.

This was not a completely unforeseen turn of events. Over the summer, the Americans told high-ranking Iraqi officials that the United States did not want an ongoing military relationship with a country that marginalized its minorities and ruled by force.

The Americans warned Iraqi officials that if they wanted to continue receiving military aid, Mr. Maliki had to fulfill an agreement from 2010 that required the Sunni bloc in Parliament to have a say in who ran the Defense and Interior Ministries. But despite a pledge to do so, the ministries remain under Mr. Maliki’s control, angering many Sunnis.

Corruption, too, continues to pervade the security forces. American military advisers have said that many low- and midlevel command positions in the armed forces and the police are sold, despite American efforts to emphasize training and merit, said Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Security and International Studies in Washington.

Pentagon and State Department officials say that weapons sales agreements have conditions built in to allow American inspectors to monitor how the arms are used, to ensure that the sales terms are not violated.

“Washington still has considerable leverage in Iraq by freezing or withdrawing its security assistance packages, issuing travel advisories in more stark terms that will have a direct impact on direct foreign investment, and reassessing diplomatic relations and trade agreements,” said Matthew Sherman, a former State Department official who spent more than three years in Iraq. “Now is the time to exercise some of that leverage by publicly putting Maliki on notice.”

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the head of the American Embassy office that is selling the weapons, said he was optimistic that Mr. Maliki and the other Iraqi politicians would work together and that the United States would not end up selling weapons to an authoritarian government.

“If it was a doomsday scenario, at some point I’m sure there will be plenty of guidance coming my way,” he said in a recent interview.

A spokesman for the United States Embassy declined to comment, as did the National Security Council in Washington.

As the American economy continues to sputter, some analysts believe that Mr. Maliki and the Iraqis may hold the ultimate leverage over the Americans.

“I think he would like to get the weapons from the U.S.,” Mr. Pollack said. “But he believes that an economically challenged American administration cannot afford to jeopardize $10 billion worth of jobs.”

If the United States stops the sales, Mr. Pollack said, Mr. Maliki “would simply get his weapons elsewhere.”

Michael S. Schmidt reported from Baghdad, and Eric Schmitt from Washington.

[Source]

The merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, two aeroplane manufacturers, in 1995 created the company Lockheed Martin, who today, are best known for their production and development of high technology weapons and warplanes. In 2004, Lockheed Martin was ranked No. 135th on the Fortune Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 biggest corporations with $35.5 billion in revenue. According to Richard Girard:

This figure places it among the top arms manufacturers in the United States along with Boeing ($52.55 billion in revenue 2004), Northrop Grumman (29.8 billion in revenue 2004), Raytheon ($20.2 billion in revenue 2004), and General Dynamics ($19.5 billion in 2005). These 5 corporations are perennially in the top 6 (British Company BAE is consistently ranked in the top 6) on the Defense News’ Top 100 leading international defense companies. Companies are ranked according to the amount of annual revenue from defense contracts. Lockheed Martin has been ranked 1st every year between 1999 and 2004. The total revenue from defense contracts of the big 5 US arms contractors in 2002 was $82.7 billion or 41.9% of the total revenue from defense contracts of the top 100 companies. The remaining 95 companies on the list received $114.6 billion in revenue from defense contracts. These statistics demonstrate how the consolidation of the arms industry after the cold war has resulted in a small group of multibillion dollar corporations based in the United States. The relationship between economic globalization, militarism, and security has become critical providing greater protection for corporations through a war economy. The move towards greater militarization came a decade after the end of the cold war, during which time the arms industry went through major changes. [1]

Each year Lockheed Martin makes $17.5 billion from the US Department of Defense. In recent years Lockheed Martin have provided much more than military services and contracts to the American government, they have also been awarded huge contracts from a range of federal agencies including the Social Services Administration, The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the US Postal Service, the Department of Transportation, The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Census Bureau. The corporation also takes almost $6 billion a year in revenues from international customers. [2].

 

US Political Connections

“I wrote the Republican Party’s foreign policy platform.” boasted Bruce Jackson, vice president of Lockheed Martin between 1993-2001, at the Republican Convention in 2000.[3]

According to The World Policy Institute‘s Arms Trade Resource Center, Jackson’s political influence is vast. “In February 2003, the White House was feeling anti-war pressure from France, Germany and other members of what they derided as “Old Europe.” A letter signed by 10 Central and Eastern European nations positioning themselves as the “New Europe,” strongly supported Washington’s war in Iraq, creating a spilt in Europe, that helped the Bush administration make a stronger case for war. Bruce Jackson, who has been working with the so-called Vilnius 10 since 2000 as they seek NATO membership, initiated and helped draft that statement.” [4]

Jackson, who also runs the Project on Transitional Democracies, is a long-time supporter and active proponent of the expansion of NATO to include former Soviet states. This has enabled Lockheed to create a whole new market for their products. By 2003 Jackson’s efforts came to fruition for Lockheed when his former company signed a $3.5 billion contract with Poland for 48 F-16 fighter planes. Which Poland will purchase with $3.8 billion in loans from the U.S. [5].

 

 

Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, served on Lockheed’s board, taking home $120,000 dollars per year.

In 1997-98 alone, Lockheed spent $10.2 million lobbying U.S. politicians.

Lockheed Martin in the UK

According to Lockheed’s website their UK operations include: [6]

  • New orders for the Joint Strike Fighter, these warplanes are built in partnership with BAE and Northrop Grumann for the Navy and Air force
  • NATS sustainment, provided the Air Traffic Control systems for Swanwick in England and in Prestwick Scotland.
  • Merlin, Navy Helicopter Programme
  • London Underground,
  • UK Cooperative Engagement Capability [UKCEC], supplies the UK with rocket launchers, radars and missiles
  • Metropolitan Police C3I, provide Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems
  • Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System [WECDIS]
  • Battlegroup Command and Control Trainer [BC2T].
  • Trident, Lockheed provide trident ballistic missile submarines
  • Advanced Postal Sorting Technologies, Lockheed have a contract from Royal Mail
  • In the UK 2001 Census Lockheed processed over 30 million census forms, they are currently one of two companies left in the running to land the 2011 UK Census.

Submarine launch of a Lockheed trident missile

UK Board Members

Non-Executive Directors

[7]

Lobbying

In 2008, Lockheed Martin are listed as a member of the American Benefits Council[8].

Sponsoring Israel Herzliya Conference 2008

In 2008, Lockheed Martin sponsored the 8th Herzliya Conference in Israel[9].

References

  1. Richard Girard November 2005, Polaris Institute, The Weapons Manufacturer That Does it All last accessed November 9th 2007
  2. Ibid 1
  3. Chris Arsenault, July 2004 The Occupation of Lockheed Martin Last accessed November 9th 2007.
  4. World Policy Institute, Research Projects, May 16th 2003 Lockheed Martin Mega-Merchant of Death Last accessed November 11th 2007
  5. Ibid 4
  6. Lockheed Martin Company Website The UK & Lockheed Martin Last accessed November 9th 2007
  7. Lockhead Martin Company Website Company Structure Last Accessed November 9th 2007.
  8. American Benefits Council Memberships Accessed 26th February 2008
  9. The Annual Herzliya Conference Series: on the Balance of Israel’s National Security (2008) Conference Conclusions. Accessed 12th August 2008

[Source]

by Jason Beattie, Daily Mirror 1/03/2011

THEY spent much of the run-up to the election trying shake off their image as the nasty party.

But a heartless group of Tories have ­revealed their true colours by banning charities from running soup kitchens for the ­homeless.

Conservative Westminster council in Central London also wants to make it an offence to sleep rough – while slashing £5million of funding to hostels.

Astonishingly, town hall chiefs claimed soup kitchens only “encourage” people to sleep on the streets.

Westminster council, one of the richest in the land, wants to bring in a bylaw making it an offence to “give out food for free”, punishable by fines. The twisted move blows apart David Cameron’s Big Society boast that an army of ­volunteers will flock to help those worse off.

And it sparked a storm of ­criticism. Reverend Alison Tomlin of the Methodist church in ­Westminster said: “The proposals are nothing short of disgusting. This bylaw punishes people solely for their misfortune and belongs in a ­Victorian statute book, not the 21st century.”

Labour’s London mayoral ­candidate Ken Livingstone added: “Only the Conservatives would try to make it illegal to give food to the homeless.

“With Tory mayor Boris Johnson cutting affordable housing to a trickle, the number of people sleeping on the streets is rising and cuts to housing benefit threaten ­thousands more with eviction and homelessness.”

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “Nothing illustrates the cold-hearted and callous approach of the Conservatives than this attempt to criminalise those offering help to ­homeless people.

“I thought this was what the Big Society was supposed to be all about, generous-hearted people giving their time to those less fortunate, at no cost to the public purse. This is a nasty, mean move from a nasty, mean party.”

A consultation paper says rough sleeping and soup runs would be banned in the Westminster Cathedral Piazza and surrounding area. Labour said the cruel move comes as the council ­withdraws funding for three hostels in the borough and housing trust.

But Westminster’s Daniel Astaire risked provoking further fury by declaring free food “keeps people on the street longer”. He added: “Soup runs have no place in the 21st century. It is undignified that people are being fed on the streets. They actually encourage people to sleep rough with all the dangers that entails. Our priority is to get people off the streets altogether. We have a range of services that can help do that.”

A council spokesman said soup runs attract up to 100 people at a time, “making it a no-go area for residents, with issues around litter, urination, violence and disorder”.

3Tory councillor John Fareham has apologised after calling opponents of Hull council’s £65million cuts “retards” on Twitter. He said: “I got it wrong.”

 

The aphorism “The poor are always with us” dates back to the New Testament, but while the phrase is still sadly apt in the 21st century, few seem to be able to explain why poverty is so widespread. Activist filmmaker Philippe Diaz examines the history and impact of economic inequality in the third world in the documentary The End of Poverty?, and makes the compelling argument that it’s not an accident or simple bad luck that has created a growing underclass around the world.

Diaz traces the growth of global poverty back to colonization in the 15th century, and features interviews with a number of economists, sociologists, and historians who explain how poverty is the clear consequence of free-market economic policies that allow powerful nations to exploit poorer countries for their assets and keep money in the hands of the wealthy rather than distributing it more equitably to the people who have helped them gain their fortunes.

Diaz also explores how wealthy nations (especially the United States) seize a disproportionate share of the world’s natural resources, and how this imbalance is having a dire impact on the environment as well as the economy. The End of Poverty? was an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

Some members of Preston Road, Wembley felt the force of the police today as the council ordered their local library to be emptied. I also saw this on my way to work as other workers, protected by police, opened the wooden wall surrounding the library in order to enter it. However, sometime later i found out from a local campaigner that these ‘other workers’ were in fact people who used to work in the library and were forced to empty the library of all of its books themselves. The decision to use the police came from the local council which came as a shock to the local campaigners as many of the campaigners were non-violent and are not in a position to use physical force. This is one issue, along with a plethora of other issues, that goes on to show that the police isn’t only an entity that exists the ‘protect’ the community, it is an entity whose main aims and objectives is to carry out the orders of the Government, even if it is against the community itself.

however with other related news according to the Brent & Kilburn Times article Library closure team honored at Brent Council Awards Ceremony  the council spent £15,000 on an awards ceremony where the team responsible for closing the libraries, The Libraries Transformation Team, was honoured. In regards to this the councils chief executive, Gareth Daniel, said “The awards provide a fantastic boost to staff morale in what are very challenging times for everyone working in local government”