Cowering Before Capital

If this were debt cancellation and stimulus it would be interesting and the details are not out but I somehow doubt this will be much more than doing what the markets want, the level of debt created by financialisation and neoliberal policies is socially unsustainable unless police states become standard. Nowhere in the article are people mentioned, just banks & governments. The quote ‘inability of the Greek government to live within its means‘ is such a poisonous falsehood, as if financial institutions did not for years bribe key people into endless debt restructuring not because it helped them but because it made money for the banks. This is a merry game played by elites with the costs passed onto those not allowed to participate, yet the besuited oligarchs have the chutzpah to project their irresponsibility onto their victims. This is a rescue package within the rules of the game, better than what could have happened but ultimately it prolongs the scam. Neoliberalism, does not work, financialisation in place of actual productivity does not work (excuse the pun), capitalism unregulated and unconstrained does not work, Adam Smith was actually very clear on that despite what Randroids and laissez faire fundamentalists prefer to read into his works (by current standards he’d be labeled a socialist by corporate media). What we are seeing is a rolling breakdown of  systems of human activity because we are serving the economy not making the economy serve us.

Oh and some spurious wonky shit about elections, is it just me or are you sick of the (very masculine) obsession with numbers and deals and very little mention of the consequences to people of the cuts no one seems to want to think about (is this I suspect because they are all convinced of the neoliberal arguments and wouldn’t know a socialised market if they fell over one). Or am I just stupid for hoping just a tiny bit a coalition and public appetite for reform might stymie the cuts agenda of a lib/lab coalition because they can see the tories waiting to profit off the market fetishised ‘austerity’ measures (nice euphemism for class war and shock doctrine beloved by all those who fully expect not to suffer one iota because of them, until maybe that crime spike means it’s their home invaded and they get beaten the shit out of to give up all their valuables, no really I’m trying to feel sympathy for the self absorbed privileged twats).

What? You didn’t order a rant, well you got one anyway. Try the veal, I’ll be here all week… then I’ll be at http://www.tenpercent.org.uk/

Peace out motherfunkers.

UK Taser Use More Than Doubles

…new statistics record the use of the devices for the third quarter of 2009 and show they were used 402 times by specially trained units from July to September, up from 169 in the previous quarter. Officers discharged them 67 times over the period, compared to 36 for the preceding period. Units have now used Tasers 1,669 times since the trial began in September 2007 and discharged them 293 times.

According to the press release

The rise in the use of Tasers this quarter is largely down to updated figures of around 200 deployments by the Metropolitan Police going back over previous quarters. This also accounts for the rise in Taser discharges.

But please note-

We cannot be certain that historically all forces have recorded Taser usage in the same way, although this has been mitigated by ACPO issuing clear instructions to forces on reporting procedures

I think it is always worth remembering ACPO is a private company run by the country’s senior police chiefs and as such beyond the normal remit of freedom of information laws, it means our police forces are part privatised already. They share intelligence with other corporations and government and consider environmental, human rights & left wing activists as worthy of  spying upon as NeoNazis, which tells us something about their ideological -corporate- centre of gravity.

PDF showing quarterly statistics up to 30 September 2009 for Taser use –

  • in England and Wales
  • by authorised firearms officers outside of a firearms authority
  • by specially trained units.

Also the terms of Taser use-

  • Taser ‘use’ includes any time a Taser is drawn, aimed, red-dotted, arced, drive-stunned, or discharged.
  • Drawn: Officer draws Taser which a person could perceive as a ‘use of force’ whether or not accompanied by a verbal warning.
  • Aimed: The Taser is aimed at a person but the safety is not removed (i.e. the red dot laser sight is not activated).
  • Red dot: The safety is removed and the red dot laser sight is activated and placed on a subject, but the Taser is not fired.
  • Arced: The Taser is sparked without a cartridge being fired.
  • Drive Stun: The Taser is pressed against a person and cycled — this imparts a shock without firing the probes/barbs.
  • Discharge: The Taser is fired and the probes/barbs are discharged towards the subject.

Meanwhile even specially trained officers kill their own colleagues, albeit with a shotgun –taken off the safety catch on his gun, acted “instinctively” and pulled the trigger – given the known lethality of the ‘nonlethal‘ Taser this is not reassuring especially as Tasers are now routinely issued to non expert officers. Yes, better to be instinctively shot with a Taser than a firearm but in truth neither are in practice non-lethal. The evidence of use shows what Tasers do is not replace firearms, but create whole new categories of use where previously no weapon would have been used and they mainstream into everyday civil policing the concept of pain compliance. It becomes a shoot first ask questions later paradigm because the ‘shoot’ is perceived and promoted as a harmless use of stun technology. There is a good article- The soft-kill solution: New frontiers in pain compliance By Ando Arike, unfortunately behind Harper’s pay wall about the normalisation of pain compliance to deal with the social breakdown incurred due to Neoliberal ‘consensus’ politics, some excerpts via Digby

As communications advances in the years since have increasingly exposed such violence, governments have realized that the public’s perception of injury and bloodshed must be carefully managed. “Even the lawful application of force can be misrepresented to or misunderstood by the public,” warns a 1997 joint report from the Pentagon and the Justice Department.

“More than ever, the police and the military must be highly discreet when applying force.” It is a need for discretion rooted in one of the oldest fears of the ruling class—the volatility of the mob—and speaks to rising anxieties about crowd control at a time when global capitalism begins to run up against long-predicted limits to growth. Each year, some 76 million people join our current 6.7 billion in a world of looming resource scarcities, ecological collapse, and glaring inequalities of wealth; and elites are preparing to defend their power and profits. In this new era of triage, as democratic institutions and social safety nets are increasingly considered dispensable luxuries, the task of governance will be to lower the political and economic expectations of the masses without inciting fullfledged revolt. Non-lethal weapons promise to enhance what military theorists call “the political utility of force,” allowing dissent to be suppressed inconspicuously.

The next hurdle for non-lethality, as Colonel Hymes’s comments suggest,will be the introduction of socalled second-generation non-lethal weapons into everyday policing and crowd control. Although “first-generation” weapons like rubber bullets and pepper spray have gained a certain acceptance, despite their many drawbacks, exotic technologies like the Active Denial System invariably cause public alarm. Nevertheless, the trend is now away from chemical and “kinetic” weapons that rely on physical trauma and toward post-kinetic weapons that, as researchers put it, “induce behavioral modification” more discreetly. One indication that the public may come to accept these new weapons has been the successful introduction of the Taser—apparently, even the taboo on electroshock can be overcome given the proper political climate…

Originally sold as an alternative to firearms, the Taser today has become an all-purpose tool for what police call “pain compliance.” Mounting evidence shows that the weapon is routinely used on people who pose little threat: those in handcuffs, in jail cells, in wheelchairs and hospital beds; schoolchildren, pregnant women, the mentally disturbed, the elderly; irate shoppers, obnoxious lawyers, argumentative drivers, nonviolent protesters—in fact, YouTube now has an entire category of videos in which people are Tasered for dubious reasons. In late 2007, public outrage flared briefly over the two most famous such videos—those of college student Andrew Meyer “drivestunned” at a John Kerry speech, and of a distraught Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, dying after repeated Taser jolts at Vancouver airport—but police and weapon were found blameless in both incidents. Strangely, YouTube’s videos may be promoting wider acceptance of the Taser; it appears that many viewers watch them for entertainment.

The technology now exists for drone launched multiple Taser cartridges, protest is already ‘kettled’ or restricted to ‘free speech zones’ police assaults and murders even when caught on tape do not result in a change of policy by government, sooner or later these ‘nonlethal’ techs will be applied to demonstrations and protests. They have already been tested in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, note what that indicates about the attitude of the government to the governed, domestic extremists, insurgents & enemy combatants the lot of us.

Dogs Of War

Le Monde diplomatique, February 9, 2010, Marie-Dominique Charlier:-
Estimates of the numbers of PMC personnel in Afghanistan vary from 130,000 to 
160,000, the second-largest deployment after Iraq, which it is set to overtake in the near future. The 30,000 extra US troops bound for Afghanistan could be accompanied by up to 56,000 additional contractor personnel. PMC contractors will then account for nearly two-thirds of all the Pentagon’s personnel in Afghanistan, the highest ratio in any conflict 
in the history of the US.

The best known PMCs, Xe (Blackwater), DynCorp, MPRI (Military Professional Resources Inc) and Kellog Brown and Root, are all part of a grouping known as Private Security Companies of Afghanistan. Their involvement takes a big bite out of the funds intended for the reconstruction of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Although they are supposed to play an auxiliary role to the coalition, and to the US army, the legal status of the PMCs is vague. But behind the “turnkey” solutions they offer lie big business interests, which influence military decisions in the field. There is a convergence of financial interests between the PMCs and big US industrial conglomerates: most PMCs have been bought up by conglomerates through mergers and acquisitions, many since 2001.

Moreover, the boom in outsourcing coincides with the need of the US military to assure their own redeployment: most of the senior management of the PMCs are former military officers, who find it easy to make the transition from the public to the private sector. Former senior officers of US armed forces working for PMCs enjoy a close relationship with the Pentagon, which gives them easy access to classified information and guarantees a degree of impunity.

A British contractor said recently that the Americans, the British and other armed forces were in Afghanistan to win the war, but for his firm, the more the security situation deteriorated the better. This is not necessarily compatible with conflict stabilisation and the “Afghanisation” of peace.

MORE

BAE Are Guilty Of Bribery, So What Of Blair Who Pushed Through The Deal?

And closed down the investigation… It’s small beer compared to Iraq but… Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion not murder or racketeering, just saying is all.

The arms giant BAE today agreed to pay out almost £300m in penalties as the company finally admitted guilt over its worldwide conduct in the face of long-running corruption investigations.

For 20 years, the firm had refused to accept any wrongdoing, despite mounting evidence of alleged bribes and kickbacks, much of it uncovered by the Guardian.

But BAE said it would plead guilty to charges of false accounting and making misleading statements in simultaneous settlement deals with the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, and the department of justice in Washington.

The admissions in the US covered BAE’s huge £43bn al-Yamamah fighter plane sales to Saudi Arabia, and smaller deals in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in central Europe.

In the UK, the admissions cover a highly controversial sale of a military radar to poverty-stricken Tanzania, which development secretary Clare Short said at the time “stank” of corruption, but which the then prime minister, Tony Blair, forced through the cabinet.

The Serious Fraud Office said in its announcement that some of the £30m penalty BAE was to hand over in the UK would be “an ex gratia payment for the benefit of the people of Tanzania”.

Another $400m (£257m) would be paid in penalties to the US authorities. BAE will not face international blacklisting from future contracts, because it has only admitted false accounting, not bribery.

MPs admitted to mixed feelings about BAE’s admission of guilt and are still furious that the SFO’s own extensive inquiry into the al-Yamamah deal was shut down in 2006, following pressure from the company, and from Saudi officials who reportedly threatened to withdraw co-operation over security matters. The then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, cited reasons of national security when he announced the inquiry was being abandoned. Blair said he took full responsibility for the decision.

Corporate State, The F Word

In the midst of two wars and the fight against Al Qaeda, the CIA is offering operatives a chance to peddle their expertise to private companies on the side — a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent, POLITICO has learned.

In one case, these active-duty officers moonlighted at a hedge-fund consulting firm that wanted to tap their expertise in “deception detection,” the highly specialized art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation.

The never-before-revealed policy comes to light as the CIA and other intelligence agencies are once again under fire for failing to “connect the dots,” this time in the Christmas Day bombing plot on Northwest Flight 253.

But sources familiar with the CIA’s moonlighting policy defend it as a vital tool to prevent brain-drain at Langley, which has seen an exodus of highly trained, badly needed intelligence officers to the private sector, where they can easily double or even triple their government salaries. The policy gives agents a chance to earn more while still staying on the government payroll.

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It’s Almost Like Arms Manufacturers Are Evil Or Something

Via Richard Murphy

FIVE of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers have based multi-billion-euro companies in Ireland in order to avoid tax. Despite the size of these Irish-based operations, which in 2008 alone had a total of €6.34bn on their books, they have just two employees registered in Ireland.

A Sunday Tribune investigation has found that in the same year the companies had a combined turnover of €724.7m with profits amounting to €387m, but paid less than €375,000 to the Irish state, an effective tax rate of 0.09%. Ireland’s low tax regime, which charges just 12.5% in corporation tax, has made this country the ideal location for many multinationals to base themselves in order to maximise profits.

The eight Irish subsidiaries identified are shared between Boeing, BAE Systems, Thales, Raytheon and United Technologies Corporation (UTC), all major players in global weapons production. Between them they produce some of the most feared and deadly armaments available including nuclear submarines, fighter jets, helicopters, missile systems and other modern weaponry.

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That Newsnight Piece Trafigura Want Memory Holed

(Trafigura dumps toxic waste, people suffer & die on the Ivory Coast, Trafigura uses Carter Ruck to silence reporting with our draconian libel laws etc. I was mid real world stuff so missed out on the first round of this with the commons question stuff) From Don’t Get Fooled Again Via D-Notice (and more linksCensored Newsnight Story-pdf)-

I have downloaded the clips in case it disappears, please repost and spread it around. Google cache of the missing page here.

PS. Another report is still up (which had me confused at first) worth a read too.

PPS. On an ontological tangent, I take back ‘real world stuff’ this is real world too, I should say I was too busy with immediate family concerns to do much reading/surfing.