April 6, 2011: News in brief – Watching the Corporations
-G4S wins £100m Olympics security contract
-BP to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
-How Goldman Sachs rigs the game: new Spinwatch report
-Legitimising the repression industry: non-lethal weapon use and ‘misuse’ in Bahrain
G4S wins £100m Olympics security contract
G4S has been awarded a £100m contract by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to recruit, train and manage a “10,000-strong security workforce” to cover all the venues involved in the Olympic Games. JP Morgan Cazenove has estimated that G4S could also take on an additional £30m worth of security deals with corporate Olympics sponsors. G4S has been running security at the Olympics development site since 2008.
G4S is the world’s largest private security company, and the second largest private employer in the world, employing 50,000 people in the UK. It is a large beneficiary of UK government contracts – earning more than £600m for ‘services’, which include running four prisons, three immigration removal centres and 675 court and police cells in the UK. G4S guards are currently on bail and facing potential manslaughter charges, whilst Scotland Yard is considering a corporate manslaughter charge against the company as a whole, over the death of Angolan detainee Jimmy Mubenga after he was heavily restrained by G4S guards aboard a deportation flight.
G4S has announced that it will be using the Olympics as an opportunity to “bring thousands of new recruits into the security industry” by targeting “talented people from further education colleges” to train and apply for work at the 2012 games. G4S will manage this training and intake of students.
BP to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
Fifteen months after the Deepwater horizon disaster, BP is to resume drilling at ten wells in the Gulf of Mexico, from July this year. The speed at which the company is being allowed to return to ‘business as usual’ will shock and anger many. BP was working on the wells before the Deepwater tragedy, and, as yet, the company is not being permitted to drill any new exploration wells. It is thought, however, that BP will push for permission to start exploratory drilling later in the year.
Meanwhile, Transocean, also to blame for the Deepwater horizon disaster, has announced that it has achieved “the best year in safety performance in our company’s history”, for which its senior executives have been awarded ‘safety’ bonuses. Boasting of their “commitment to achieving an incident-free environment, all the time, everywhere”, Transocean president and CEO Steven L. Newman was granted a $374,062 bonus, and a $200,000 pay rise which has pushed his salary up to $1.1 million.
BP’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday 14 April in East London at the ExCel Centre. See the Diary for ways to get involved.
How Goldman Sachs rigs the game: new Spinwatch report
A new report, titled Doing God’s Work: How Goldman Sachs Rigs the Game, has been published by Spinwatch. Revealing multiple links between the investment bank and the Conservative party, the report exposes how the extensive lobbying activities of Goldman Sachs, both in the UK and at the EU level, has allowed it to capture politicians and political processes to its own destructive advantage. Mechanisms exposed include political donations, direct lobbying of MEPs (for example the bank held 36 meetings with just four Tory MEPs), ‘after office hours’ meetings with EU officials and MEPs, and membership of lobbying groups. The report finds that, over the past ten years, Goldman Sachs has given the Conservative Party a total of £8.5million in political donations. A particular focus of Goldman Sachs has been to prevent regulation of the derivatives markets, whilst at the same time participating heavily in trading food futures.
Legitimising the repression industry: non-lethal weapon use and ‘misuse’ in Bahrain
As country after country across North Africa and the Middle East rises up against dictatorial regimes, the web of corporations that both prop up, and profit from, these and other repressive regimes are becoming increasingly exposed. In the mainstream media, particular attention has been paid to the UK government’s sudden flurry of activity in regards to its own involvement in the export of ‘non’- and less-lethal weapons (NLW) to Bahrain, Libya and elsewhere. Much of this has been, if not initiated, then at least represented by the activities of William Hague. Although 44 export licenses (including some for NLW) to Bahrain, and eight to Libya, were revoked, the motivations of both individual politicians, and the political establishment, in ‘speaking out’ against NLW use remain to be seriously questioned.
Whilst obviously a crusade in personal politicking, Hague’s statements and actions are also serving to consolidate the framing of NLW deployment against civilian populations in terms of ‘correct use’ and ‘misuse’, absolving the corporations manufacturing these weapons completely of responsibility for the repression, injuries and deaths caused by their use.
The revoking of the export licenses to Bahrain came after the brutal repression of anti-government protests on February 14th, during which tear gas canisters, bearing the branding of the ‘Non Lethal
Technologies’ company were found and photographed (see http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/14/6052428-tear-gas-fired-at-anti government-protesters-in-bahrain”here and here).
Non Lethal Technologies, based in Homer, USA, advertise rubber bullets, baton rounds and tear gas.
Politicians and governments, who approve the export of NLW, should not feign surprise when those weapons are used, as in Bahrain, in lethal attacks against civilian populations. NLW are designed to kill and maim, framing incidents when death is caused by NLW as ‘misuse’ amounts to disingenuous double-speak.