April 2014

30
Apr
2014
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Gaza's Ark project attacked with explosives

Yesterday, the 29th of April 2014, a boat which planned to break the siege of Gaza was attacked in Gaza City port. Early in the morning Gaza's Ark received a phone call warning of an immediate attack on their vessel docked in Gaza City. Five minutes later an explosion rocked the boat, according to a press release by the group. The boat sustained extensive damage and is currently two thirds submerged in water and resting on the port's shallow seabed.


25
Apr
2014
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Arms dealers appear in court accused of selling illegal torture equipment

French arms dealers Magforce appeared at Thames Magistrates Court yesterday to answer charges that they and another company, Tianjin MyWay, exhibited illegal weapons at the DSEi arms fair last year in London.

Anti arms trade activists have brought the case against Magforce. Susannah Mengesha, the claimant, told Corporate Watch: "Today at the very court where we ourselves were due to stand trial for disrupting the arms fair, two international arms companies will finally begin to be held to account for their promotion of illegal torture weapons at DSEi.

This is a rare opportunity to confront the arms dealers for (some of) their actions on our own terms and for once in a forum of our own choosing.

We are absolutely clear that Magforce and Tianjin MyWay promoted illegal torture weapons at DSEi. It is also true that we oppose the sale for corporate profit of all machines designed to inflict torture and death more widely.


23
Apr
2014
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Avoiding accountability: Life in Ramleh prison hospital

Corporate Watch has been investigating the companies involved in the Israeli prison system and interviewing ex-prisoners. This interview is part of a series of articles to be released over the coming months that we hope will serve as a resource for action against companies providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison ‘Service’ (IPS).

Palestinian organisations are calling for action on 17 April, the international day of solidarity for Palestinian political prisoners, against G4S, a British-Danish multinational company working with the IPS, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major investor in G4S. Click here to find out more.


17
Apr
2014
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'If you don't fight, you've already lost'

Debbie Vincent, an animal rights activist from the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) campaign was sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy to blackmail after a five week long trial at Winchester Crown Court. She was also given an Anti Social Behaviour Order which means she can be arrested if she protests against or contacts Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) or its business partners for a further five years after her release from prison.


07
Apr
2014
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Ex-oil and gas worker among those convicted for blockading Cuadrilla

Four out of nine anti-fracking campaigners have been found guilty of obstruction of the highway after a six day trial at Brighton Magistrate's Court. Those convicted included an ex-oil and gas industry worker who had become disillusioned with companies seeking profit at the expense of the environment. Five others were acquitted of all charges. Update: a further five activists (including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas) were found not guilty of all charges on April 17 2014.

The defendants were arrested on the main action day of the Reclaim the Power mass protests against Cuadrilla's exploratory drilling at Balcombe last summer. The four who were convicted were blockading the road outside the main gate to the Cuadrilla site.


02
Apr
2014
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Serco risks losing Yarl's Wood contract after detainee dies

The Home Office is ‘selling off’ Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre to the highest bidder this month, Corporate Watch has discovered.

Outsourcing giant Serco has managed the controversial detention facility in Bedfordshire since 2007, but its contract expires in 2015.

The Home Office has now launched a one-month tendering process, with the deadline set for 23 April.

The bidding round comes at a time when Serco faces mounting criticism.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has questioned if Serco provided detainees with adequate medical care after a 40-year-old Jamaican woman, Christine Case, died at Yarl's Wood on Sunday.


02
Apr
2014
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Mitie's Campsfield £1m fire damage

Outsourcing firm Mitie could be liable for a £924,300 bill after its Campsfield detention centre was ravaged by a major fire in October 2013, Corporate Watch believes.

Farid Pardiaz, a 25-year-old Afghan man, was sentenced to 32 months in prison yesterday at Oxford Crown Court after pleading guilty to arson while detained at Campsfield last autumn. Mr Pardiaz said he was suffering from a depressive episode and had been denied access to a doctor when he set fire to bedding in his cell as part of a suicide attempt. The flames gutted the roof and Mr Pardiaz was hospitalised for smoke inhalation. The prosecution described the resulting damage to the wing as “catastrophic”, saying that “the cost of repairing the damage and rehousing the 178 inmates was £924,300”.


02
Apr
2014
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Oxfam’s PR firm helping to greenwash Sodastream

UPDATE 09/04/2014 – Response from Oxfam America: Oxfam claims that Fenton does not do any work for SodaStream at this time. It had a one-year relationship with the company that ended in 2012. Oxfam did not begin to work with Fenton until 2013.” Since this article was written Fenton Communications have removed the Sodasteam logo from their website.

If Fenton’s relationship with Sodastream ended in 2012 it begs the question: why was the Sodastream logo listed on the company website last week?