Criminals See NHS As ‘easy target’

The NHS has launched an investigation into thefts, amid reports criminals see the service as an “easy target”. So far the police have yet to question this man-

The British Medical Association has called for continued investment in the National Health Service and has warned against the dangers of a ‘slash and burn’ cull of staff and services in a bid to save money.

The Association has this week launched its UK General Election manifesto – Standing up for Doctors, Standing up for Health – calling on all political parties to acknowledge the value of the NHS, which, it stresses, “provides better value for money than any comparable healthcare system in the world”, and to commit to the long-term sustainability of the service.

The NHS is currently facing one the toughest challenges since its inception, having to weather a period of economic downturn and tighter budget constraints at a time when demand on its services is increasing.

But Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, argues that “even during a time of financial stringency, continued investment in the NHS is vital”, and he warns that “a slash and burn response to the need for savings would be dangerous and short-sighted, risking long-term damage to the infrastructure of the health service”.

In another attack on the use of private providers to fill gaps in the service, the manifesto claims efficiency savings could be delivered if the NHS in “were restored as a publicly provided service”, and it says that instead of being directed at frontline services the axe must fall on “expensive market-based policies, such as the overuse of private management consultants, the Private Finance Initiative and Independent Sector Treatment Centres”.

“When the drivers are profits, it has to be asked whether patients’ interests are really being served, and value for money being achieved,” Meldrum said, and argued that “creating a market means high transactional costs and bureaucracy, with money that could be spent on patient care going to private companies and shareholders”.

Keep Our NHS Public

Arms & Bribes

In 2006, Tony Blair’s government shut down inquiries into the sale of Tornado warplanes to the Saudi royal family, a deal which had lasted 20 years and grossed £43bn in revenue for BAE.

Allegations emerged that £1bn and a personal Airbus jet had been transferred to Prince Bandar, son of the Saudi crown prince. Another £1bn had been moved to Swiss accounts linked to prominent Saudis.

BAE are finally about to get prosecuted, if the UK government doesn’t step in and protect the crooks again (that being all of them), however our Stateside cousins might want to ask the Pentagon about this deal-

A U.S. unit of BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L) has won a Pentagon contract worth up to $313.3 million for gunner restraints, vehicular safety belt kits and accessories for the Army and Marine Corps, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Being as-

BAE had its fingers on $8 billion of the Pentagon’s cash mountain last year; the British arms dealer ranks sixth among US defence contractors, the only significant foreign firm, the only one trusted enough to get juicy, sensitive projects.

It is not entirely bluster, when BAE threatens the British Government that unless it is treated better it might move its headquarters to the US.

But a conviction for bribery could ruin everything for BAE because the US Department of Justice (DoJ) is on the warpath against cheating, bribing foreigners.

Yet the Pentagon see fit to continue doing business with BAE, a firm who (along with Barclays bank) once fiddled an aid agreement with Tanzania to take debt relief and education funding to instead buy a totally pointless military radar system, aided and abetted by…Tony Blair. I suppose for BAE it might be hard to know who to bribe right now, New Labour as they can spike the prosecution, the Tories as they can once in power, or the Pentagon so they can move to the US with its military spending that outstrips, er all of planet Earth combined. Or maybe all three to be safe and when/if Tony swindles becoming EU president expect a lot of reasons why NATO needs to have wars and thus new equipment, oh except that part is already going on.

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Baha Mousa & The Rotten Barrel

Baha Mousa was tortured to death by British troops. There is little need to wonder about whether our forces were given the green light to torture,they were-

[June 2007] The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is facing accusations that he told the Army its soldiers were not bound by the Human Rights Act when arresting, detaining and interrogating Iraqi prisoners.

Such were the concerns of legal advisers on the ground over the Attorney General’s views that the MoD arranged for the senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, Gavin Hood, to visit Permanent Joint Headquarters to settle any worries. Crucially, the emails make clear Lord Goldsmith’s legal opinion was not shared by Colonel Mercer, who contacted his superiors in London to ask for guidance after he had witnessed the hooding of 40 Iraqis at a British PoW camp in March. The men were all forced to kneel in the sun and had their hands cuffed behind their backs. Worried this could leave the soldiers vulnerable to prosecutions, he told the MoD that in his view soldiers should behave in accordance with the “higher standard” of the Human Rights Act.

But the response from the military’s Permanent Joint Headquarters in Qatar was that Lord Goldsmith had told the MoD the human rights law did not apply and soldiers should simply observe the Geneva Conventions.

When Colonel Mercer said he disagreed with the Government’s most senior law officer he was told that “perhaps you should put yourself up as the next Attorney General”. Colonel Mercer also asked for a British judge to be flown out to oversee the procedures for the detention of Iraqi prisoners, but this also was blocked at a high level.

Furthermore Ben Griffin is still gagged from speaking publicly on UK forces role in torture and their knowledge of US torture.

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Whitewash Manufacturers Say Recession Is Over

An independent inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war has opened in London, with its chairman promising to call Tony Blair, the UK prime minister at the time of the 2003 invasion, as a witness. Sir John Chilcot, a former civil servant, said he would “not shy away” from criticising decisions taken about the war and insisted the probe would not be a whitewash.

Chilcot stressed that the inquiry will be heard in public wherever possible, adding that it could be televised and streamed live on the internet. But some evidence will be taken in private for national security reasons and to ensure “complete candour”, he said, adding that although witnesses could not be compelled to give evidence, he did not expect anyone to decline.

Just as L/Cpl Joe Glenton delivers a letter to Gordo-

A serving soldier who is refusing to return to Afghanistan has delivered a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to “bring our soldiers home”. L/Cpl Joe Glenton, of the Royal Logistic Corps, delivered his letter to 10 Downing Street on Thursday. He said: “I know that the Afghan people are very resilient. I can’t see us getting much further.” The soldier, who lives in York, faces a preliminary court martial on Monday for refusing to go back to Afghanistan. In his letter he claims the war in Afghanistan is being fought in the interests of US foreign policy.

Fellow soldiers who have come to this blog from a link posted @ ARmy Rumour SErvice are less than enthused. May I suggest they read ‘Raising My Voice’ by Malalai Joya (review coming soon!) and reflect upon the misuse of soldier’s professionalism and comradeship by ruling classes with a taste for imperialism. To aid you in your revery-

John Singer Sargent at War

You forge of your self a dull weapon

Information for Members of the British Armed Forces

‘the law does not require you to intervene’

A businessman who was held and mistreated in the United Arab Emirates following the London bombings believes he has evidence that British consular officials asked permission from the UK’s own security services to visit him while he was detained. Heavily redacted documents seen by the Guardian appear to indicate that the request to visit Alam Ghafoor was made to an unidentified British intelligence officer and not to officials in the UAE.

Ghafoor is one of several British men who allege there has been British complicity in their detention and torture while abroad. The businessman, who is 38 and from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was detained and tortured while on a business trip to Dubai following the London bombings in July 2005.

Ghafoor and his business partner, Mohammed Rafiq Siddique, flew to the UAE on 4 July. They were dragged out of a restaurant as they dined on 21 July. The two British Muslims say they were threatened with torture, deprived of sleep, subjected to stress positions and told they would be killed and fed to dogs.

Ghafoor has obtained copies of correspondence from consular officials to the Foreign Office in London while he was in custody that show those officials were asking someone other than the UAE authorities for permission to see him. Who that person is, and who they represented, is unclear, as their name was censored before the copies were handed over. Some of the reports were so heavily redacted by the time Ghafoor received them that the only words not blanked are his name.

MI5 and MI6 officers who question terrorism suspects they know are being tortured, are acting in line with a secret government interrogation policy, drawn up after the 9/11 attacks. The policy states: “we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it” and that “it is important that you do not engage in any activity yourself that involves inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners.” It also advises intelligence officers that if detainees “are not within our custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene” to prevent torture.

Student Bursaries Frozen

The good news is though people who want to study betrayal won’t need to attend university to learn about it, all you need to know is manifested in New Labour’s every move-

Bursaries for England’s poorest students will no longer have to cover the gap between grants and fees. The Office for Fair Access (Offa) has decided the minimum bursary universities must offer if they charge fees should be 10% of the fee level. Currently it has to make up the difference between the £3,290 annual fee and the maximum grant of £2,906. For next year grants are frozen but fees go up. The bursary will be £55 short of the £384 difference. Offa’s move follows revised guidance from the Higher Education Minister, David Lammy.

NUS vice-president Aaron Porter said: “Today’s announcement is nothing short of shameful. “In 2004, we were told that universities would only be allowed to charge top up fees if they guaranteed that poorer students would not be out of pocket. The government has now gone back on its word.”

Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “I cannot understand why a government that is looking so hard at social mobility has taken the decision to charge the poorest students more money to attend university.”

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Prime Minster Mandelson

According to the Cabinet Office, Lord Mandelson sits on 35 of the 44 Cabinet committees and sub-committees which oversee government business. He sits on more committees than either the prime minister, the chancellor or the foreign secretary. These include areas such as health, immigration, climate change, trade, Africa, Olympics planning and food.

He’s not elected and “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich, as long as they pay their taxes”. The UK’s reputation globally is that of a tax haven, a situation engineered and promoted by… New Labour, so no wonder rich Lords can be so ‘relaxed’.