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Mr May: yet another example of the ‘cosy relationship’ between government and the arms industry

A Liverpool reader draws attention to the news that Philip May, husband of the UK prime minister, works for Capital Group, the largest shareholder in arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, whose share price has soared since the recent airstrikes in Syria, employs. It is also the second-largest shareholder in Lockheed Martin – a US military arms firm that supplies weapons systems, aircraft and logistical support. Its shares have also rocketed since the missile strikes last week.

Selected evidence of the revolving doors between Whitehall appointments, their family and friends and the ‘defence’ industry in our archives, in chronological order:

Admiral Sir John Slater, the former first sea lord, left the military in 1998 and became a director and senior adviser to Lockheed Martin UK.

Michael Portillo, the secretary of state for defence from 1995 to 1997, became non-executive director of BAE Systems in 2002 before stepping down in 2006.

Lord Reid, secretary of state for defence from 2005 to 2006, said in 2008 that he had become group consultant to G4S, the security company that worked closely with the Ministry of Defence in Iraq.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, the chief of staff from 2006-2009, retired from the RAF last year and will become senior military adviser to BAE Systems in January.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, under-secretary at the MoD, became  chairman of Finmeccanica UK, owner of Westland helicopters in 2007 and has a variety of other defence related appointments.

Major-General Graham Binns left the military in 2010 and became chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, a leading security company.

David Gould, the former chief operating officer of the MoD’s procurement division, became chairman of Selex Systems, part of Finmeccanica in 2010.

Lady Taylor of Bolton was minister for defence equipment for a year until 2008 and became minister for international defence and security until Labour lost the general election in May.In 2010 she joined the arms contractor Thales, which is part of the consortium supplying two aircraft carriers that are £1.541bn over budget.

In 2010 Geoff Hoon, the ex-Defence Secretary caught attempting to sell his services to fake lobbyists back  alongside Stephen Byers. When he was an MP, military helicopter company AgustaWestland were awarded a billion-pound order. Now out of Parliament, Hoon earns his way as the company’s Vice-President of international business.

Andrew Tyler (above, right), the British Defence Ministry’s former procurement chief, became chief operating officer of Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), responsible for the procurement and support of all the equipment used by the British Armed Forces. Siemens’ Marine Current Turbines unit appointed Andrew Tyler as acting CEO in 2011 and in 2012 he became the chief executive of Northrop Grumman’s UK & European operations; NG is a large American global aerospace and defence technology company. Above, still from a video made at a 2015 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair

Then Business Secretary Vince Cable was one of 40 MPs on the guest list for a £250-a-head gathering in 2015 at the Hilton hotel on Park Lane. he gave a speech at the event organised by trade organisation ADS, the trade body for UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries arms fair..

Ministers were wined-and-dined in 2015 by the arms trade at a £450-a-head banquet on Tuesday night just hours after parliament’s International Development Committee said the UK should suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, some of the senior politicians or members of their families lobbying for the nuclear industry were listed on this site (Powerbase source):

Three former Labour Energy Ministers (John Hutton, Helen Liddell, Brian Wilson)

Gordon Brown’s brother worked as head lobbyist for EDF

Jack Cunningham chaired Transatlantic Nuclear Energy Forum

Labour Minister Yvette Cooper’s dad was chair of nuclear lobbyists The Nuclear Industry Association.

Ed Davey, Lib Dem energy minister’s brother worked for a nuclear lobbyist. When failed to be re-elected went to work for the same nuclear lobbying firm as his brother.

Lord Clement Jones who was Nick Clegg’s General Election Party Treasurer was a nuclear industry lobbyist.

Tory Peer Lady Maitland is board member of nuclear lobbyist Sovereign Strategy.

Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher’s press spokesperson, has been nuclear lobbyist for over 25 years.

Lord Jenkin was a paid consultant to nuclear industry.

MEP Giles Chichester is president of nuclear lobbyists EEF.

Concerns about the ‘cosy relationship between the government and the arms trade’ are expressed well by CAAT:

A disturbing number of senior officials, military staff and ministers have passed through the ‘revolving door’ to join arms and security companies. This process has helped to create the current cosy relationship between the government and the arms trade – with politicians and civil servants often acting in the interests of companies, not the interests of the public.

When these ‘revolvers’ leave public service for the arms trade, they take with them extensive contacts and privileged access. As current government decision-makers are willing to meet and listen to former Defence Ministers and ex-Generals, particularly if they used to work with them, this increases the arms trade’s already excessive influence over our government’s actions.

On top of this, there is the risk that government decision-makers will be reluctant to displease arms companies as this could ruin their chances of landing a lucrative arms industry job in the future.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/dec/17/defence-minister-mod-overspend-ann-taylor

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/arms-trading-bae-systems-and-why-politicians-and-men-from-the-military-make-a-very-dubious-mix-8210897.html

https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/the-revolving-door-from-the-ministry-of-defence-to-an-aerospace-and-defence-technology-company/

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/vince-cable-one-of-40-mps-on-guest-list-for-arms-dealers-dinner-in-london-10026302.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ministers-wined-and-dined-by-arms-trade-hours-after-mps-demand-ban-on-selling-weapons-to-saudi-a6850751.html 2.16

https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/revolving-doors-39-nao-calls-to-order-politicians-supporting-nuclear-power/

https://www.caat.org.uk/issues/influence/revolving-door

 

 

 

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Broken Britain – 1

The corporate world continues its vitriolic but insubstantial attacks on the Labour Party leader whose approach threatens their unreasonably affluent lifestyles. Will increasingly media-sceptical people who seek the common good be affected by them?

In brief, the reference is to arms traders, big pharma, construction giants, energy companies owned by foreign governments, food speculators, the private ill-health industry and a range of polluting interests. Examples of the damaging political-corporate nexus are given here – a few of many recorded on our database:

Arms trade: Steve Beauchampé“A peacenik may lay down with some unsavoury characters. Better that than selling them weapons”.

The media highlights Corbyn’s handshakes and meetings, but not recent British governments’ collusion in repressive activities, issuing permits to supply weapons to dictators. In the 80s, when lobbying Conservative MP John Taylor about such arms exports, he said to the writer, word for word: “If we don’t do it, someone else will”. Meaning if we don’t help other countries to attack their citizens, others will. How low can we sink!

Big pharma

Reader Theresa drew our attention to an article highlighting the fact that the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), a lobbying company working for some of the world’s biggest drugs and medical equipment firms, had written the draft report for NHS England, a government quango. This was when the latest attempt at mass-medication – this time with statins – was in the news.

Construction

Most construction entries related to the PFI debacle, but in 2009 it was reported that more than 100 construction companies – including Balfour Beatty, Kier Group and Carillion – had been involved in a price-fixing conspiracy and had to compensate local authority victims who had been excluded from billions of pounds of public works contracts. The Office of Fair Trading imposed £130m of fines on 103 companies. Price-fixing that had left the public and councils to “pick up the tab”.

Utilities

In Utility Week News, barrister Roger Barnard, former head of regulatory law at EDF Energy, wondered whether any government is able to safeguard the nation’s energy security interests against the potential for political intervention under a commercial guise, whether by Gazprom, OPEC, or a sovereign wealth fund. He added: “Despite what the regulators say, ownership matters”. The Office of Fair Trading was closed before it could update its little publicised 2010 report which recorded that 40% of infrastructure assets in the energy, water, transport, and communication sectors were already owned by foreign investors.

Food

A Lancashire farmer believes that supermarkets – powerful lobbyists and valued party funders – are driving out production of staple British food supplies and compromising our food security. She sees big business seeking to make a fortune from feeding the wealthy in distant foreign countries where the poor and the environment are both exploited. These ‘greedy giants’ are exploiting the poor across the world and putting at risk the livelihoods of hard working British farmers, their families and their communities. She adds that large businesses are gradually asset-stripping everything of value from our communities to make profits which are then invested abroad in places like China and Thailand.

Health-related

Government resistance to funding long-term out of work illness/disability benefits followed the publication of a monograph by the authors funded by America’s ‘corporate giant’ Unum Provident Insurance which influenced the policy of successive governments. After various freedom of information requests, the DWP published the mortality figures of the claimants who had died in 11 months in 2011 whilst claiming Employment and Support Allowance, with 10,600 people dying in total and 1300 people dying after being removed from the guaranteed monthly benefit, placed into the work related activity group regardless of diagnosis, forced to prepare for work and then died trying. Following the public outrage once the figures were published, the DWP have consistently refused to publish updated death totals. Information touched on in this 2015 article has been incorporated into a ResearchGate report identifying the influence of Unum Provident over successive UK governments since 1992, the influence of a former government Chief Medical Officer and the use of the Work Capability Assessments conducted by the private sector – described as state crime by proxy, justified as welfare reform.

Air pollution

The powerful transport lobby prevents or delays action to address air pollutants such as ground-level ozone and particulates emitted by cars, lorries and rail engines which contribute directly to global warming, linked to climate change. They emit some common air pollutants that have serious effects on human health and the environment. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma.

Victimised whistleblowers, media collusion, rewards for failure and the revolving door 

  • A recent whistleblower report records that Dr Raj Mattu is one of very few to be vindicated and compensated after years of suffering. The government does not implement its own allegedly strengthened whistleblower legislation to protect those who make ‘disclosures in the public interest’.
  • This media article relates to the mis-reporting of the Obama-Corbyn meeting: there are 57 others on this site.
  • Rewards for failure cover individual cases, most recently Lin Homer, and corporate instances: Serco and G4S were bidding for a MoD £400m 10-year deal, though they had been referred to the Serious Fraud Office for overcharging the government on electronic monitoring contracts. Another contender, Capita, according to a leaked report by research company Gartner was two years behind schedule with its MoD online recruitment computer system – yet the government had contracted to pay the company £1bn over 10 years to hire 9,000 soldiers a year for the army.
  • The 74th instance of the revolving door related to Andrew Lansley’s move from his position as government health minister to the private health sector. An investigation by the Mail found that one in three civil servants who took up lucrative private sector jobs was working in the Ministry of Defence: Last year 394 civil servants applied to sell their skills to the highest bidder – and 130 were MoD personnel. Paul Gosling describes how the Big Four accountancy firms have PFI ‘under their thumbs’ and gives a detailed list of those passing from government to the accountancy industry and vice versa.

Steve Beauchampé asks if the barrage of criticism apparently aimed at Jeremy Corbyn is more about undermining the politics he stands for which are probably less far to the left than those of many in the current government are to the right. Most political commentators and opponents aren’t worried that Labour will win a General Election under him, but they are alarmed that the movement his leadership has created might one day lead to an electable left winger.

 

 

 

 

Bob Geldof accuses the younger generation of being ‘stained with blood’ – he should listen to former US air force service members

bob geldof

He addresses the young:

“This generation, your generation, is already stained with blood.

“Your age group are the killers of Syria.

“The people your age are murdering people in Beirut, Sharm el Sheikh”.

He has the wrong target and should look at the death-dealing record of the destructive post-war generation:

List excluding soft-power destabilisation & covert support for undesirable regimes

Korean War (1950-1953)

Vietnam War (1959-1975)

Bay of Pigs (1961) The U.S. orchestrated the invasion, an unsuccessful attempt by Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist regime in Cuba.

Dominican Republic (1965) President Lyndon Johnson sent marines and troops to quash a left-wing uprising in the Dominican Republic

Lebanon (1982-1984) U.S. troops formed part of a multinational peacekeeping force to help the fragile Lebanese government maintain power.

Grenada (1983) President Reagan invaded the Caribbean nation of Grenada to overthrow its socialist government, which had close ties with Cuba.

Panama (1989) President George H.W. Bush invaded and overthrew Panamanian dictator and drug-smuggler Manuel Noriega.

Gulf War (1991) Iraq invaded Kuwait, and a U.S.-led multinational force came to Kuwait’s aid

Somalia (1993) A U.S.-led multinational force entered Somalia

Bosnia (1994-1995) During the Bosnian civil war, the U.S. launched air strikes on Bosnia to prevent “ethnic cleansing,” primarily by Serbs against Bosnians.

Kosovo (1999) U.S.-led NATO force intervened with air strikes

Global War on Terrorism (2001-present)

children drone killed

War in Afghanistan (2001-present)

Iraq War (2003-2011)

Four former US air force service members, with more than 20 years of experience between them operating military drones, have written an open letter to Barack Obama.

They warn that the program of targeted killings by unmanned aircraft has become a major driving force for Isis and other terrorist groups. Cause and effect?

 

Geldof: “We [the older generation] can’t do much anymore”

Yes you can. No arms trade, no more attacks and no more invasions.

A tale of three politicians: which would you trust?

alistair video

The Huffington Post reports that Alastair Campbell has said David Cameron’s attack on Jeremy Corbyn was likely to be “effective.”

cameron speech

Speaking in Manchester on Wednesday, the prime minister accused the Labour leader of holding a “Britain-hating ideology.” He suggested that Corbyn thought the death of Osama bin Laden a “tragedy,” rather than repeating his precise idea, which was that bin Laden’s extra-judicial execution without trial was a tragedy. A petition demanding that Cameron retract is being circulated.

JC elected

David Cameron’s attack on Jeremy Corbyn is likely to be ineffective – and indeed to strengthen his support base.

Every time these dubious characters make some charge against the Labour leader, thousands more are recruited.

Why?

Because, at long last, the LabCon regime has been rumbled.

The general public has woken up to the corrupt nature of their elected parliament, with the exposure of relatively minor peccadilloes – claiming unmerited expenses, seeking cash for questions – to serious but legal corruption. This sees senior MPs powerfully influenced by large corporations which offer them non-executive directorships and/or retirement positions and then make decisions which increase their benefactors’ profits, rather than the common good.

Ordinary people try to make ends meet as these spivs use taxpayers’ money to:

  • promote the global casino with commodities trading,
  • subsidise trade in weapons,
  • sell off the country’s assets and utilities,
  • privatise health and local government and
  • make the poorest pay for the banker-politician-made crash.

As the drip feed of slander and innuendo proceeds apace, the Labour Party membership continues to increase; many thousands flock to hear Jeremy Corbyn and make their presence enthusiastically felt on social media, radio, TV or in public – wherever there is an audience.

So the ‘dream team’ was not elected – now, more of the same

At least, one writes, there will not be the heartache of watching such a team fail – as did the widely hailed Blair and Obama – beset by vested interest and failing to fulfil expectations. Instead on past record there will be:

  • more austerity for the ‘have-nots’, continuing as senior bankers flourish – despite causing the economic crash;
  • declining public services;
  • sub-standard education and training for the young from poorer families;
  • ‘aspirational’ housing built on green spaces as council housing lists grow;
  • the revolving door between big business and government continuing to spin, ensuring that decisions are made in favour of the rich;
  • courting of foreign investment
  • more poorly monitored, polluting incinerators;
  • permission given for fracking in the politically opposed north;
  • exploitation of smaller food producers, favouring food for export;
  • lavish expenditure on HS2 and Trident;
  • private companies entering the NHS and putting profit first;
  • increasing export of armaments, causing mayhem in other countries;
  • assistance for America’s military aggression.

And perhaps more:

broken britain 3 mps bankers


PCU’s last word on BAE systems and the arms industry

Prompted by a link sent by Rianne: BAE Systems hires Britain’s former envoy to Saudi Arabia: Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who played a key role in ending the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into BAE’s al-Yamamah arms deal: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/18/envoy-saudi-bae-systems.

Selected entries from PCU’s archive:

Arms industry

A pragmatist asks if Britain still needs an arms industry – 2007 http://www.spectator.co.uk/business/104601/does-britain-still-need-an-arms-industry.thtml

Money spent on McKinsey, consultants well-integrated in political circles but lacking relevant military and industrial experience:  http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=in_the_back&article=155&issue=1249

MP Douglas Carswell calls for investigation of for senior civil servant Sir Kevin Tebbitt now employed in arms industry 2010: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1265017/Troops-pay-blood-price-ex-MoD-chief-protects-1bn-helicopter-contract.html#ixzz0klHBBdgX

Lock the Revolving Door: http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/calltheshots/revolving.php

BAE systems

Bribery allegations 2008: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/engineering/article3958404.ece

The most persistent mendicants for public funds are the arms exporters 2010: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2b8b272e-a4b4-11df-8c9f-00144feabdc0.html

Lobbying 2010: http://order-order.com/2010/06/28/up-in-arms-back-again-despite-being-twice-stripped-of-passloophole-lets-lobbyist-back-into-legislature-for-third-time/

Conflict of interest: Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, the BBC chief who played a pivotal role in how the corporation covered the Iraq war and the David Kelly affair, stands to profit out of a firm with lucrative military contracts in Iraq: http://bpc-world.co.uk/2010/09/bbc-governor-under-fire-for-iraq-contracts/

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Search Results – on this site:

Celebrate – the ‘Industry and Parliament Trust’ has achieved its aims! January 11th, 2011

Through the revolving defence door – Lady Ann Taylor December 18th, 2010

Corporate hospitality will be under scrutiny – a good move? December 3rd, 2010

Bad decisions by government – 15: BAE aircraft carrier contract November 5th, 2010

The Defence Review: Steven Schofield November 3rd, 2010

The Speaker’s 100% solution: a ban on second jobs for MPs August 5th, 2010

New government: time to pursue corporate tax evaders June 1st, 2010

Bad decisions by government – 3: manipulation of the press April 30th, 2010

Bad decisions made by government – 2: subservience to the arms industry. April 29th, 2010

MP calls for an investigation into defence contractors’ influence in Whitehall April 11th, 2010

Symon Hill: Government is treating corporate fraud more lightly than benefit fraud February 22nd, 2010

The Revolving Door: news from the CAAT newsletter and other sources February 5th, 2010

Direct action February 5th, 2010

BAE Systems – guilty February 5th, 2010

Campaign Against the Arms Trade and other groups focus on BAE, advisors and government February 4th, 2010

Will continuing to write about this make the slightest difference?

Bad decisions made by government – 7: encouraging arms exports

Weapon Face by Anthony Micallef

Weapon Face by Anthony Micallef

This week David Cameron – and the Burmese military leader – will visit India. Mr Cameron will lead a delegation of cabinet ministers on a trade mission. The FT’s Defence Industries Correspondent surmises that he hopes to sell Hawk jets and design plans for aircraft carriers to India.

Mercenary companies and spying are seen as key growth areas

Britain’s defence exports surpassed £7bn in 2009, taking nearly 20% share of the global market. The UK security sector also performed well, with exports for 2009 of about £1.4bn, up about 14% on 2008. Security and intelligence are seen as key growth areas by companies in the sector.

But the world’s second largest defence exporter does not even provide adequate equipment for its own serving forces – “a lack of radios, water, food and medical equipment”

The latest in a long series of  scandals: Lieutenant Mark Evison, 26, serving in Afghanistan, recorded the shortage of medical equipment in his diary. He had written: ‘As it stands I have a lack of radios, water, food and medical equipment. This with manpower is what these missions lack. It is disgraceful to send a platoon into a very dangerous area with two weeks’ water and food and one team medics pack. Injuries will be sustained which I will not be able to treat and deaths could occur which could have been stopped. We are walking on a tightrope and from what it seems here are likely to fall unless drastic measures are undertaken.’

Mark Evison bled to death after being hit in the shoulder. The soldier who first treated him did not have a team medical pouch on him – which contained crucial equipment including special bandages that stop arteries bleeding – because it had not arrived in time before they were sent out that day.

Applause and neglect

Lucrative subterfuge which breeds tension, profitable mercenary companies and trading in arms which facilitates oppression and the use of armed force – well away from our own backyard – is applauded.

Meanwhile our rulers neglect the equipment of young people sent out to die to protect a web of oil and gas pipelines.

Corporations have the power to persuade, influence, dictate to or override governments

John Tyrrell writes:

We know that corporations have the power to persuade, influence, dictate to or override governments with the connivance of politicians who may be getting considerable gains for their efforts. 

It has been noted that in the UK election debate the fact that Britain is at war is not mentioned. While it is clear that many ordinary citizens want nothing of it, the arms dealers and their mates in government have different ideas. 

War is profitable, so let’s have bigger and better conflicts with ever increasing and sophisticated weaponry. 

As we saw in the Gaza conflict that weaponry inflicts greater damage and injury to frail human beings. Injury to both humans and livestock was reported to be extraordinary in the way it severed limbs. The use of supposedly banned materials such as phosphorous and depleted uranium has seen to it that the unborn suffers.

Full article:  

http://johntyrrell.co.uk/