September 2014

30
Sep
2014
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For almost 20 years Corporate Watch has been providing information for action, supporting people struggling against corporations and capitalism: From campaigners against the privatisation of the NHS to people opposing companies manufacturing the weapons used to attack people in Gaza this Summer. We provide all our research for free online and produce DIY tools so groups can carry out their own research.

29
Sep
2014
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To the ends of the Earth: Underground Coal Gasification

UCG in the UK, and why we have to stop it

(Originally published in Centre for Alternative Technology's magazine: Clean Slate)


25
Sep
2014
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Barclays Stockbrokers facilitating investment in arms trade

Barclays Stockbrokers logo

Barclays Bank claims that it is “not an investor in the defence industry” (defence is the euphemism the industry uses to avoid talking about trade in weapons). However, the bank profits from investment in the arms trade through providing its Barclays Stockbrokers service, which facilitates the buying and selling of shares, including shares in arms companies. In one of the options offered by Barclays to its UK customers the bank advertises that: “Barclays Stockbrokers will hold your assets on your behalf”. According to the Barclays Stockbrokers sales team the bank allows its customers to invest in any company they wish in “up to 18 different markets”. Barclays Stock Brokers' customers are able to trade in whatever company they like, regardless of Barclays stated ethical policies.


22
Sep
2014
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Mining PR drive in Mongolia

Corporate flags flying at Tsogt-Tsetsii Naadam

Mining companies are on a charm offensive in Mongolia, attempting to convince Mongolians that the corporate takeover of large swathes of the Gobi desert will benefit local communities.

This year mining companies sponsored a community event in the town of Tsogt-Tsetsii in Omnogovi, South Gobi. The Nadaam festival is a traditional event, featuring wrestling, horse riding and archery, that happens all over Mongolia. This year, however, the flags of dozens of mining companies flew over the sports arena and corporate gers (or yurts) gave away free food, vodka and snuff as part of a PR drive aimed at keeping the local population sweet as the vast empty spaces of the Gobi give way to open cast mines and mining infrastructure.


19
Sep
2014
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Solidarity campaigners plan demonstration at Elbit Systems

Friday 17th October 2014, 1-3pm Stop arming Israel - Demonstration at Elbit Systems in Shenstone

 

During July and August 2014, 2,150 Palestinians were killed as Israel carried out another massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip. Entire neightourhoods were destroyed and mosques, market places, UN relief compounds and schools were deliberately targeted. There was no safe place for the 1.7 million people in Gaza to take shelter from the Israeli bombardment. Israeli unpiloted planes, known as drones, carried out over 800 major strikes. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, supplied many of the drones used by the Israeli military.

 


15
Sep
2014
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What it means to survive a drone attack

Mohammed Azzam, who was 16 when he was hit by a rocket from an Israeli drone

"On 6 November 2006, I was waiting for a bus to go from the north of Gaza city to school. A kindergarten bus was driving past. A rocket fell down and exploded. Five people died including a six year old child."

Mohammed Azzam, was 16 at the time of the attack. According to the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights the attack was by an Israeli drone.[1]


13
Sep
2014
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Video reveals pest infestation at deportation site

Secret filming has found asylum-seekers are being held in squalid conditions at Harmondsworth, Britain's biggest detention centre located next to Heathrow Airport.

 

The footage, obtained by Corporate Watch and Standoff Films, shows one detainee's arm covered in bed bug bites and a mouse running around his cell.

 

Detainees can be heard on camera complaining about an infestation, and saying the authorities have not done anything about it. “We've still got an infestation of mice, bed bugs in our cells, among other things”, one of the men explains.

 


12
Sep
2014
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Transport for London seeks new powers with developers

Transport for London (TfL) is currently seeking to team up with private sector partners to give it new powers, especially regarding land development, putting public land and affordable housing at risk, as well as creating more financial risk for TfL itself.

 

The current TfL bill could be crucial to the future of how public land is developed in London. Clause 5 of the bill would enable TfL to form 'limited partnerships', either as a general or limited partner, and to promote and assist limited partnerships. Limited partnerships lack transparency, in part because such partnerships do not have to file accounts do not have to file accounts at Companies House.

 


11
Sep
2014
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South West Water: a ‘no-risk monopoly’

 

Devon resident Stan Beale analyses the prices that the water regulator Ofwat proposes to allow South West Water to charge over the next five years, and considers the company’s future profits and the impact on local households.

 

The pricing levels proposed by Ofwat for the next 5 years allow South West Water to make a profit before tax of more than a quarter of its total revenue, and more than a quarter of the bills paid by households. This is an outrageous return for a no-risk, run-of-the-mill monopoly, with assured revenues.

 


06
Sep
2014
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Death at Morton Hall detention centre

7.20pm, Phil Miller

 

A male detainee passed away at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire last night. Not surprisingly, detainees are angry about the man's death and so there have been protests inside the detention centre throughout today.

 

Here's one distressing account about how the man died, from a detainee at Morton Hall:

 


05
Sep
2014
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Rival firms fight over deportation dividend

A security business owned by Conservative Party donor Brian Kingham has been accused by rival outsourcing firm Capita of unlawfully taking £11 million needed for a government contract to deport asylum-seekers, Corporate Watch can reveal.

 Reliance Secure Task Management (RSTM), part of Kingham's group of private security companies, started detaining and deporting asylum-seekers for the Home Office in May 2011, taking over the job from G4S. The four-year government contract was worth around £120m.

In August 2012, Capita bought RSTM from Kingham's Reliance Security Group, which it renamed Tascor. Capita has since brought a civil case to the High Court claiming that Reliance unlawfully received an £11.25m dividend from RSTM just before the sale. Capita is arguing that Reliance could not afford to pay the dividend because it was losing money on the UK Border Agency (UKBA) contract.

01
Sep
2014
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'Care & Custody': Mitie's detention centre contracts

 

As Mitie becomes the Home Office's largest provider of immigration detention this month, merging Colnbrook and Harmondsworth into a super-size 'Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre', Corporate Watch takes a look at the company's track record at Campsfield House, the only detention centre it has run before.

 

Already Campsfield has been marred by a major fire, suicide and three mass hunger strikes since Mitie took over in 2011. So how has Mitie won this new contract, and will asylum-seekers be any safer in their hands?