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Corporate Profiles: G4S

kamsandhu —  October 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

In part one of our profile on G4S, we focused on the UK services that this security giant has taken over, click here to read.

In part two, we look at G4S’ international record of human rights abuses and violations.

G4S-logo-for-website-feature-2

INTERNATIONAL COMPLICITY IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES

Palestine:

G4S bought two major Israeli private security companies (Hashmira in 2002 – now G4S Israel – and Aminut Moked Artzi in 2010) and signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority and are now providing security and prison services in Israel and the Occupied Territories, including:

• providing security for the apartheid wall

• providing security and scanning for checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza.

This raises issues of legality – some of these checkpoints form part of the illegal route of the apartheid wall

• protects businesses and residential clients based in settlements in the Occupied Territories – also may be legally problematic due to it’s potential link to complicity in violations of international criminal law

• installed a command room in a West Bank prison, where visiting is also highly restricted

• providing services to a number of prisons and a detention facility in Israel: Israeli prisons house detainees who have been transferred from arrest in the Occupied Territories, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, along with Palestinian child detainees. Violence, torture and detention without trial are all known to take place at these prisons and family visits are often very difficult to obtain.

• providing security equipment for Israeli Police in West Bank

Private Military Security contracts:

G4S bought the private military security company ArmorGroup in 2008 – part of a booming industry of Private Military Security Companies (PMSCs) which undertake activities that used to be carried out by state militaries. For G4S these have included contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Guantanamo Bay:

In 2014 G4S won a £70m contract to service Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

HUMILIATION, EXPLOITATION, ABUSE, INJURY – AND DEATH

Although a lot of the above could also fit under this category, there are some key cases where individuals have suffered or died in the care or at the hands of G4S.

• 2014: violence broke out at Manus Island immigration detention centre – Australia. Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Barati, was killed and 79 other people were seriously injured. G4S were ‘directly responsible’ for the violence in which their staff directly participated and ‘went on what can only be described as a violent rampage’. G4S staff running the detention centre were also ‘grossly under-trained’.

• 2014 – 79 year old disabled former serviceman awarded £6000 damages after suffering humiliation at the hands of G4S prison officers

• 2014 – G4S criticised for using immigration detainees as cheap labour, paying  as little as £1 per hour for cooking and cleaning duties

• 2013 – G4S were running Mangaung prison in South Africa where they were accused of ‘shocking’ abuses (including electric shocks and forced injections). South African government temporarily took control from G4S to investigate allegations.

• 2012 – ‘Unacceptable force’ used by G4S staff on a pregnant woman in a wheelchair who was being forcibly removed from the UK .

• 2010- Jimmy Mubenga died at the hands of G4S security guards who were restraining him while attempting to deport him to Angola as part of their contract to deport foreign nationals. The inquest into his death concluded that he was unlawfully killed. G4S have since lost their deportations contract, but the case highlighted a number of serious concerns with the way deportations are carried out and the treatment of deportees, including the use of dangerous restraining techniques and a payments system which prioritises keeping detainees quiet, ‘pervasive racism’ within G4S detention staff and lack of important training and legally required accreditation.

• 2011 – G4S fined $285,000 for its involvement in the death of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke while being transported in a prison van.

• 2010 Khu Mlotshwa, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, sustained a broken wrist whilst being deported from the UK by G4S guards.

• 2009 – An armed guard employed by G4S in Iraq murdered two colleagues and was employed there despite warnings of his violent behaviour

• 2004 – 15 year old Gareth Myatt died while being restrained by staff at G4S run Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre

by Tekla Szerszynska

What You Need To Know About TTIP

kamsandhu —  September 23, 2014 — 7 Comments

By Thomas Barlow

What is it?

  • TTIP is the largest trade deal ever to be done on the history of the planet
  • It is between the world’s two largest economies – the EU and the USA – making the largest trade zone in the world – like the EEC but even bigger
  • It is about regulation and tariffs – basically making laws the same or similar in both areas
  • This is the biggest change to happen to the UK since the formation of the EU – and means giving up far more rights and democratic control

Image:dw.deHow This Is Being Done

  • This is being decided in secret – even the politicians that are involved are only being given parts of the agreement to review
  • Workers, charities and legal bodies are barely represented – 90% of all the lobbyists represent multinational corporations
  • What we do know is mostly through illegal leaks – the process is obscure, bureaucratic and hidden

What Damage Will Be Done

  • Corporations will be able to sue governments for future lost earnings, if for instance, environmental regulation stops a profitable enterprise, or minimum wage increases decrease profits.
  • The courts of arbitration to make these decisions will be three corporate lawyers who will meet and decide in secret – this does not sound like an open and democratic process

What does this mean for us?

  1. NHS under threat – if opened up to US style competition laws and companies, the NHS may be broken up entirely, or at least sold off from within – cheap does not mean good, and profit has to come from somewhere – that means patients being seen as money rather than people
  2. The promises to freeze gas, water, transport, rent or other price controls may have to be scrapped
  3. Any minimum wage increases would have to be agreed by large corporations, essentially making it worthless – in fact minimum wages may eventually be removed as a barrier to profit
  4. Food regulation banning GM, hormone treated meat, chlorinated chicken, and cloned cattle in the EU may have to be lifted so we can import US food products
  5. Fracking may have to be legalised against national and local government objections
  6. There will probably be further banking deregulation, creating the conditions for a another crash
  7. Workers rights – including statutory holidays, collective bargaining and workers councils are under threat – none of these exist in the US and as such would be seen as unfair impediments to profit in the EU
  8. Environmental legislation is under threat – if corporations can sue for environmental protection, then either the tax payers will have to pay companies not topollute, or they will pollute and destroy with no checks
  9. Tax increases will have to agreed by corporations, so as not to destroy profit making.  The power to set taxes is a national government’s key power.
  10. Previous trade agreements (like NAFTA) have lead to a loss of jobs and an increase in poverty for all nations concerned, rather than the prosperity promised
  11. Intellectual property will be more closely guarded. It will be harder to use the internet freely without threat of legal action, and small companies will lose patent rights 
  12. It threatens to unleash greater commercial surveillance of citizens in the EU as it will create better mechanisms for the NSA and other US agencies to gain information about us along with all US companies
  13. It will further place the internet under the power of the most powerful corporations (like slowing down streaming and download speeds if you don’t pay a premium as is happening in the US).

 

14. Claims that it will boost the economy and jobs arevastly overblown”. A report commissioned by the British government concludes that ISDS “is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs.

15. “The most terrible power the state can wield is to take children away from their parents for ever”this privatisation is occuring with G4S and Serco, if – or more likely when – they fail and commit hideous misdeeds it will be impossible to take this power back.

  • Essentially this will lead to the worst aspects of the US system being forced upon us – something I’m sure we don’t want.  And this is without consultation or the agreement of the people of the UK, or Europe.
  • Even the supposed benefits of this – which are stated as fact – are actually best possible outcomes that will occur in 25 years from now.  And the stated benefits are tiny.
  • Essentially decisions will be fully taken out of the hands of politicians and put in the hands of business- there will need to be no facade that our ‘elected and controllable’  government will be able to set economic policy.
  • This is a true attack on British democracy (such as it is) – far greater than the threat of EU bureaucracy – there should be a popular backlash against this.

keepournhspublicoxfordshire.org.uk

How Do We Know These Things Will Happen?

What We Can Do + What We Need To Demand – This Is An Opportunity

Right now we need to demand:

  1. They open the doors and make the negotiations public
  2. They kick out all the corporate lobbyists
  3. Take out any references to corporations being given the power to sue national governments before any deal is even to discussed
  • Ultimately we need to demand the ending of TTIP – it represents the biggest corporate power grab in history, and must be stopped if there isany chance for democratic process to survive and thrive.

http://www.unison.org.uk/content/ConNewsArticle/5392

http://occupylondon.org.uk/stop-ttip-articles/

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/vince-cable-fix-ttip#petition

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/ttip

  • Encourage your union branch, community group, party, or any other organisation you are part of to take an active stance on educating its members about and opposing TTIP
  • See this as an opportunity.  There was once an alter globalisation movement that linked groups from across the world, started in opposition to NAFTA.  We need a global movement right now, and this can be the campaign that brings us together.

By Thomas Barlow

The beheading of journalists has us all disgusted and crying for a response, but before we take action we should look at the way the UK is really responsible for these deaths and the rise of ISIS – and what we should do to stop it.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

 

     1. WE HELPED FUND, ARM AND TRAIN ISIS

We have been funding, arming and training anti Assad rebels – albeit covertly – for the past year or so, which absolutely includes ISIS. More importantly we helped found, arm and train Al Qaeda, of whom ISIS is an off-shoot of.

 

     2. ‘WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EURASIA’ IS NOT A WAY TO CONDUCT FOREIGN POLICY

As so often happens, in almost perfect Orwellian twists, the people we support rapidly become our enemies, and our enemies our friends. We are now thinking of supporting Assad, the same ‘despot’ we were arming ISIS to deal with. We even planned to arm and train 100,000 rebels as recently as June.

 

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

 

     3. WE HAD NO PROBLEM WITH BEHEADING UNTIL NOW

Wahhabis and allied Arab royal families have been beheading people for decades, tacitly supported by us through our support for our allies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others.

 

     4. BRITAIN HAS HISTORICALLY ALWAYS BEEN ON THE SIDE OF THE BAD GUYS IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD

It is worth noting our other allies in the region include – or have included – Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Qadaffi (who went from friend to enemy several times) and Wahabbi friendly states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE – all of whom we have financed, armed and trained using British taxpayer’s money.  

We have been carving up the region and dividing it amongst terrorists and despots since the end of the First World War.

 

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

 

     5. AND IS CURRENTLY ON THE SIDE OF THE BAD GUYS

We supported Al Qaeda in Libya recently, amongst many other corrupt militias, and we may be supporting Al Shabaab in Somalia.  We support a puppet regime in Iraq that brutally murdered peaceful ‘occupy style’ protestors in their dozens just last year.

We support murderous, oppressive, homophobic, sexist, authoritarian, aristocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and across the gulf region.  

We fund and supply Israel with weapons, even whilst it is killing children and bombing UN protected schools.

 

     6. TONY BLAIR SAID IT ISN’T OUR FAULT – SO IT PROBABLY IS

There can be no doubt that the invasion and the subsequent pillaging of Iraq by UK corporations (with our money again), along with the installation of a corrupt, sectarian, puppet government (albeit nominally democratic) and no clear rebuilding plan or process, created the conditions for ISIS to thrive.

 

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

 

     7. IT IS HARD TO HOLD OTHERS TO A STANDARD WE DON’T HOLD OURSELVES TO

The invading forces of Iraq murdered journalists too, amongst many others.  They also tortured, raped and brutally oppressed many in Iraq.  We didn’t openly publicise it and put it on youtube (except in this and a few other cases), but maybe that’s worse…

 

     8. UK PMCS (OR MERCENARIES) ARE NOT LIKE THE A-TEAM

British PMCs (often funded by the UK taxpayer, using soldiers trained by the British army) operate in the region largely unchecked.  We are not entirely sure what these guns for hire do all the time exactly, but there are reports of sex trafficking, gang rape, public executions, and so many violations of international law that it is hard to list them all.  

 

James Foley was beheaded by ISIS Image: Global Post

James Foley was beheaded by ISIS Image: Global Post

 

     9. BOMBING FOR PEACE DOESN’T WORK

Our history of military intervention has been shaky at best. Since the Second World War it is hard to name an example where military intervention has made anywhere safer – especially when the result of an intervention has created ISIS and many other terror groups.  

The Balkans are often sited as an example of liberal intervention at it’s finest, but in fact, most official reports say the UK military intervention and the bombing that ensued cost far more lives than it saved.

 

     10. DESTROYING LIBERTIES DOESN’T STOP TERRORISTS, IT JUST TAKES AWAY OUR RIGHTS

FINALLY – Destroying our own liberties to fight ISIS will not only not stop people from the UK joining them (dedicated nutters/disenfranchised and excluded people will find a way whatever), but will hand them the very victory they want – to take away the freedoms of the British people.  Once taken away, they are nearly impossible to get back.  

It is also worth noting that the terror threat level we are now at, has been at this level in Northern Ireland for the past 4 years – there have been no major law changes there.

 

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IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT OUR HISTORY OF INTERVENTION HAS NOT BEEN SOUND AT ALL. AND THERE IS NO REASON TO THINK THAT IT EVER WILL BE.  

WHILST FOREIGN POLICY IS CREATED TO SUPPORT THE SCHIZOPHRENIC DESIRES OF A TINY BRITISH ELITE, OUR TAX MONEY, SOLDIERS AND NATIONAL SECURITY WILL BE SACRIFICED TO SUPPORT DESPOTS, TERRORISTS AND FUNDAMENTALISTS.  

WE MUST SUPPORT A POLICY OF COMPLETE NON INTERVENTION – WHICH MEANS WITHDRAWING EVERY MERCENARY, MILITARY ADVISOR, SECRET SERVICE AGENT AND ARMS DEALER OUT OF THE REGION IMMEDIATELY.

IN A WAR OF IDEAS, THOSE WITH THE BETTER IDEAS WILL WIN OUT, NOT BY FIGHTING, BUT BY LIVING THE CHANGE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD – LET US FOCUS ON THAT INSTEAD.

A SOLUTION