Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Defence industry dominates EU’s security research programme


EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AT 00:01 GMT, 25 September 2009

Defence industry dominates EU’s security research programme

The NeoConOpticon report, released today by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch, reveals the extent to which Europe’s largest defence and IT contractors are benefitting from a €1.4 billion EU “security research” programme that has the explicit aim of fostering a European Homeland Security industry to compete globally with the USA in a fast growing market.

“The whole process appears to have been designed by lobbyists, for lobbyists“, says Ben Hayes, TNI associate and author of the report. “In its desire to increase ‘industrial competitiveness’, the EU has effectively outsourced the design of the security research agenda to the some of the corporations that have the most to gain from its implementation”.

Defence giants including Thales, Finmeccanica, EADS, Saab and Sagem Défénsé Sécurité are amongst a host of corporations to which the European Commission has turned to help set the agenda for security research, develop Homeland Security strategies for Europe, and bring the relevant security technologies ‘to market’. Of 46 security research contracts awarded in the first year of the EU’s Framework Programme (FP7, the Union’s research programme for 2007-2013), 17 (or 37%) are led by defence sector contractors.

The report also reveals the extent of Israel’s participation in the EU security research programme, which is controversial in the light of widespread criticism of Israel's human rights record. Israeli actors or entities are participating in 10 of the first 46 projects, leading four of them. The Counter Terrorism Bureau of Israel’s National Security Council, the Israeli Defence Force and the Israeli emergency services are among the security experts selected to advise the working groups of the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF).

There has been only minimal democratic scrutiny of the programme and very little monitoring of its implementation. The design of the ESRP has been outsourced through sub-contracting and the creation of ad hoc EU groups comprised of government officials, security ‘experts’ and companies selling homeland security products.

“There is, of course, nothing new about governments consulting about policy, particularly at the EU level, but while corporations have been embraced by the ESRP, parliaments and civil society have been largely excluded. The process has been wholly undemocratic,” says Hayes.

The ESRP is promoting the development of a range of technologies that could engender systematic violations of fundamental rights, according to the report. They include militarised border controls, surveillance and profiling technologies, the widespread collection and analysis of personal data, automated targeting systems, satellite and space-based surveillance, and ‘crisis management’ tools. While these high-tech systems can be used for ostensibly positive purposes such as environmental observation and traffic control, they also represent an unprecedented state intrusion into every sphere of daily life.

“It is not just a case of “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”, concludes Hayes, “it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards.”

The research examined all 85 of the projects funded under the EU security research programme to the end of 2008, together with several thousand related EU-funded R&D projects from other thematic programmes.

Transnational Institute (TNI) +31-20-6626608

Nina Brenjo +31 (0) 63 484 2129 ( or

Ben Hayes +44 (0) 20 8802 1882 (

Download the NeoConOpticon report here: and

For more information visit:

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Saturday, 26 September 2009


With the recent economic crisis unemployment is rising rapidly and with this comes repossessions and an increase in homeless. Even before the present economic disaster the number of homeless in Scotland has been steadily increasing for the 7 consecutive years to 2007. During this period the number of homeless related cases handled by the Citizens Advice Bureau has double to 8,000 for 2007. In Scotland at this moment in time there are 40,000 listed officially as homeless, what will the total be by next year? Approximately 50% of the 40,000 official homeless are young people aged 16-24, and this figure does not include those who are not listed as they find a bed by moving around their friends. Add to this the fact that “social” housing is at its lowest level for ten years. While waiting lists for rented housing is rising steadily.

Glasgow is by far the worst in the homeless league with 7,310 officially listed, Edinburgh 2nd. with 4,912 and North Lanarshire 3rd. with 2,653. This with thousands of skilled building workers being paid off in the last 12 months.

What kind of society have we allowed to fester under our noses where the most basic necessity of civilised life, a home, is denied. Only by creating a society freed from the corporate greed for profit and based on the needs of the people will we see an end to this crime. The marriage of state and the corporate world is war and poverty for the many and luxury for the parasites.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Scab lorry blockaded in Edinburgh bin dispute

People acting in solidarity with the Council Cleansing workers successfully blockaded a WCR scab lorry for 30 minutes in Edinburgh city centre on 18th September. Waving IWW placards proclaiming NO MORE WAGE CUTS around 25 people stopped the WCR lorry at the top of Blair Street , as it moved out of Hunter Square . Cleansing workers are banning over-time and working to rule to oppose wage cuts, and Edinburgh Council have brought in private companies to do their work.

The scabs were unable to move their lorry or empty any bins, as protestors surrounded the vehicle and urged them to show solidarity with workers resisting wage cuts. Despite frantic scab phone calls it was only when the police eventually arrived around 6.30pm that the WCR lorry was able to escape.
Police demands for the name and address of one alleged participant were successfully resisted, and no arrests were made. One demonstrator said: "We are very encouraged by the success of our action today. We will definitely be back on the streets very soon to take more direct action in solidarity with the Council workers under attack."

" We explained to the workers who were scabbing that what they were doing was wrong and that in these hard times people have to stick together and not stab each other in the back........fighting for the crumbs from the rich man's table...", said one of the several IWW Union members involved.
The 3 workers in the lorry are believed to have been enlisted by the private agency Assist, which has been recruiting via St Andrews Square Job Centre. One claimed to have been forced to take the job by the Job Centre, but an activist from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty pointed out : "Your benefits cannot legally be cut if you turn down a job doing work normally done by workers in dispute. We will give 100% solidarity, including if needbe direct action, to anyone threatened with a benefits cut for refusing a scab job."

City of Edinburgh Council cleansing workers are banning over-time and working to rule to oppose wage cuts being imposed by the Council as part of so-called "pay modernisation". Supposedly intended to equalise male and female wages, the scheme is in fact reducing wages for many workers, cleansing workers being set to lose around £300 per month. Almost all Council manual workers are threatened by such pay cuts. Meanwhile cleansing workers in Leeds are on all-out strike against similar wage cuts.
For more info see Edinburgh Council cleansing workers speak out
  Scab lorries are operating throughout the city centre and other areas. They include small lorries with a white cab emblazoned with WCR, and a maroon cage on the back. There are also full size bin lorries, typically either maroon or dark blue, with WCR on the side. Some Shanks Waste lorries are also scabbing.
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Saul Alinsky on the 30's.

Taken from The Progress Report. Also posted on Politics in the zeros.
Part of a Playboy interview with Saul Alinsky in 1972.

PLAYBOY: How close was the country to revolution during the Depression?

ALINSKY: A lot closer than some people think. It was really Roosevelt’s reforms that saved the system from itself and averted total catastrophe. You’ve got to remember, it wasn’t only people’s money that went down the drain in 1929; it was also their whole traditional system of values. Americans had learned to celebrate their society as an earthly way station to paradise, with all the cherished virtues of hard work and thrift as their tickets to security, success and happiness. Then suddenly, in just a few days, those tickets were canceled and apparently unredeemable, and the bottom fell out of everything.
But then people began to come together, to join forces, to help each other.
Now, in America, new voices and new values began to be heard, people began citing John Donne’s “No man is an island,” and as they started banding together to improve their lives, they found how much in common they had with their fellow man. It was the first time since the abolitionist movement, for example, that there was any significant black-white unity, as elements of both races began to move together to confront the common enemies of unemployment and starvation wages. This was one of the most important aspects of the Thirties: not just the political struggles and reforms but the sudden discovery of a common destiny and a common bond of humanity among millions of people. It was a very moving experience to witness and be part of it.

PLAYBOY: You sound a little nostalgic.

ALINSKY: Yeah, those were exciting days to be alive in. And goddamn violent days, too. Whenever people wail to me about all the violence and disorder in American life today, I tell them to take a hard look back at the Thirties. At one time, you had thousands of American veterans encamped along the Anacostia petitioning the Government for a subsistence bonus until they were driven out at bayonet point by the Army, led by “I shall return” MacArthur. Negroes were being lynched regularly in the South as the first stirrings of black opposition began to be felt, and many of the white civil rights organizers and labor agitators who had started to work with them were tarred, feathered, castrated — or killed. Most Southern politicians were members of the Ku Klux Klan and had no compunction about boasting of it.
The giant corporations were unbelievably arrogant and oppressive and would go to any lengths to protect their freedom — the freedom to exploit and the freedom to crush any obstacle blocking the golden road to mammon. Not one American corporation — oil, steel, auto, rubber, meat packing — would allow its workers to organize; labor unions were branded subversive and communistic and any worker who didn’t toe the line was summarily fired and then blacklisted throughout the industry. When they defied their bosses, they were beaten up or murdered by company strikebreakers or gunned down by the police of corrupt big-city bosses allied with the corporations, like in the infamous Memorial Day Massacre in Chicago when dozens of peaceful pickets were shot in the back.
Those who kept their jobs were hired and fired with complete indifference, and they worked as dehumanized servomechanisms of the assembly line. There were no pensions, no unemployment insurance, no Social Security, no Medicare, nothing to provide even minimal security for the worker. When radicals fought back against these conditions by word or deed, they were hounded and persecuted by city police and by the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, who back in those days was already paranoid, while in Washington the House Un-American Activities Committee hysterically sounded the alarm against the gathering Bolshevik hordes. As bloody strikes and civic disorder swept the nation, the big cry was for law and order. Nobody talked about pollution then; yet the workers in coal and steel towns were shrouded in a perpetual pall of soot and black dust, while in cities like Chicago, people in the meatpacking areas grew up amid a stench so overpowering that if they ever ventured out into the country, the fresh air made them sick. Yeah, those were the good old days, all right. Shit, the country was far more polarized and bitter then than it is today.
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Monday, 14 September 2009


A recent statement by Brendan Barber, the General Secretary of the TUC, that that public sector job cuts could raise unemployment to four million and lead to “riots on the streets”, is correct in so much as unemployment will rise dramatically in the coming year and four million or more is on the cards. However what we don’t want to see is “riots in the streets” as that would dissipate the energy of the working class and allow them to be vilified by the media and clobbered by the state forces. What we want to see is mass occupation of work places and workers taking control of their own affairs. We can of course open up soup kitchens and wait for the corporate world to offer us more boring jobs at crap wages, or we can fight back and take control of our work places for the benefit of all in society. There are always choices, it is up to us, their way or our way.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


The multi-billionaire, former US Federal Reserve chairman and guru of the economic greed brigade, Alan Greenspan has recently stated that the crash will happen again. This is an idiot’s blinding statement of the obvious, we all know capitalism is not a system of perpetual growth as they would try to make you believe, it is a system that can only continue by getting as many ordinary people as it can in to the drudgery and slavery of massive debts. Remember, crash = ordinary folk losing their jobs and homes because of the greed of the parasites, and in their language, recovery means them getting back on the bandwagon of a greed feast at your expense. In there language, ordinary people losing their jobs, homes and facing bankruptcy = temporary economic setback. Without your debt the system will crumble. So all you good folks out there, pay off your debts, buy nothing but essentials, (better still, try swapping, recycling and free-exchange systems) and the watch this vile, stinking, corrupt system crash into oblivion, so we can stand by and watch all those parasites die of financial starvation. Then we would not have to witness the lives of ordinary people being devastated at regular intervals in the name of profit for the Greenspan brigade
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Friday, 11 September 2009

ANOTHER 9/11??

September 11 1973 saw the death of the first democratically elected Marxist socialist president of Chile, elected in Nov 1970, he was also the first elected Marxist socialist president of any of the Americas. History states that he died by his own hand during a US backed military coup by General Pinochet, who went on to be military dictator and ruled Chile with a brutal iron fist until 1990.
General Pinochet’s rule was noted for the savage repression and the number of disappearances of any who dared to oppose his brutal dictatorial regime. Working class organisations were viciously eliminated where possible.


      Ask the average person on the street what they think of “anarchists” and they’ll all probably say something like “chaos” “violence” “mayhem” or some other negative expression. Ask them what they have read of anarchist history or anarchist theory and they will probably say “nothing.” So where did they get their opinions? Obviously they got those opinions from the propaganda organ of the state and the corporate greed machine commonly called “the media”. Why should the media give anarchists and anarchism such a bad press? Could it be because they see anarchism as the greatest threat to their desire and ability to rule over and exploit the people of this world? The state is an hierarchical structure set up to control the people and legislates to protect the wealth of the corporate greed machine. Anarchism is a non-hierarchical system of sharing and mutual aid to the benefit of all in society, the two are totally incompatible. The corporate greed machine works to exploit the population and drag all the wealth up to a privileged few, it puts a price on everything and excludes all those who can’t pay the price, be it healthcare, housing, leisure, services or the necessities of life. Anarchism seeks to see to the needs of all in society and for society to be shaped by all those who take part in that society. The state/capitalist/corporate system produces an ever widening gap between rich and poor, plunders and rapes the planet in an endless drive to increase profits to the shareholders of the corporate beast. Anarchism seeks sustainability through a system based on free association, voluntary co-operation and mutual aid. Given a choice why choose to be exploited, why choose to struggle for the benefit of the privileged few, why sell your children into poverty? We can produce enough to see to the needs of all on this planet, the reason we don’t is not lack of resources it is simply that the system says “NO”, there must be profit in every action, profit for that greedy privileged few who control the corporate greed machine. We accept a system of winner take all and to hell with the hindmost, our compassion and commonsense surely demand we look at the alternatives. It is only commonsense to attempt to break the downward spiral of the corporate driven consumer juggernaut that destroys the environment and creates the illusion that happiness comes in pretty packaged boxes, at a price. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to try to create a better world of peace and freedom from deprivation for all. Anarchists point the way, anarchism is the tool.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

9/11 --- 12/16??

      Say 9/11 and everybody will know what you are referring to and as the 8th anniversary passes, heads of state will pass their comments similar to Tony Blair’s words, “the worst crime ever committed against humanity.” It was indeed a dreadful crime and many suffered and died with many more carrying the loss of loved ones for the rest of their lives. On the pretext of hunting for its perpetrators it also unleashed brutal violence and wars in other countries backed up with all the might of the Western world. That violence still continues in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, there is no comments from Western leaders on the brutal crime committed on 12/16?? December 16. 2009 will mark the 11th. Anniversary of an even more brutal crime against humanity than 9/11. A crime that caused more deaths and more destruction than 9/11. It will pass without any wall-to-wall media coverage, without the bowed heads of those political leaders in the West, I doubt if it will even get a mention. Its perpetrates will not be hunted down and brought to justice. Why, because they were Western leaders and not a vague foreign organisation. Three years before 9/11, December 16, 1998, Clinton and Blair set in motion Operation Desert Fox and for four horrendously terrifying nights, defenceless Iraqi civilians were brutally assaulted by an invisible enemy. 10,000 people died, mostly women and children, more than three times the number on 9/11. The “military” targets that were obliterated included Baghdad’s residential area, Hal Adel, the Baghdad Museum of Natural History, Baghdad’s Teaching Hospital, the Tikrit Teaching Hospital and the home of Saddam’s daughter Hala.What rained down on the civilians of Iraq those four nights included, 325 cruise missiles launched by the US Navy, 100 launched by the US Air Force. On top of this UK and US bombers flew 650 sorties. The pentagon had calculated on a “medium-based scenario” of 10,000 civilian deaths. A calculated, state perpetrated kill that had no legal sanction, no UN mandate, no form of international authorisation. Tony Blair has often used 9/11 as a support for the attack on Iraq, but Operation Desert Fox, 16/12 was three years before 9/11. Why are the perpetrators of the 16/12 “the worst crime ever committed against humanity” not being hunted down and brought to justice, we know who they are and where they are.
Originally printed in the Anarchist Critic Sept. 08 but worth printing again.


Those who still hold the illusion that capitalism brings prosperity to all should perhaps look at the unemployment figures for Scotland. In a written answer in the Scottish Parliament Jim Mathers wrote that the figure for those 18 to 25 years old in the Eastend of Glasgow who were unemployed and not in education or training in 2008 was 32%. The figure for Shettleston and Baillieston for the same year was 37.4%.
For those unemployed, not in education or training between 16 and 19 in the 15% most deprived areas of Scotland in 2008 it was a staggering 24.6%. The 2008 figure for Scotland as a whole for those 16 to 19 it comes in at 11.9%. For the Scottish population as a whole it is approximately 6%.
With those in employment struggling, and in some cases in poverty, we can be assured that each percentage point in these unemployment figures represents real poverty. Real poverty in the midst of arrogant flaunted wealth of the “elite” parasites that infest our society, and this will continue as long as we follow meekly the party political system and the corporate greed mongers. What the system has in store for us as it tries to “fix it” is higher unemployment and savage cuts to the social services, while they weave the illusion that happiness can be purchased in the high street and the only way to save the world is to feed the consumer machine.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Stealing somebody's land

What other country could get away with continually stealing another country's land. It seems that Israel can do as it wishes with its neighbours land and the world looks the other way. Have a look at the map showing Palestinian land in 1960 and compare what they have today, it is a mere fraction and the land grab goes on.
Construction of settlements began in 1967, shortly after the Middle East War
Some 280,000 Israelis now live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank
A further 190,000 Israelis live in settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem
The largest West Bank settlement is Maale Adumim, where more than 30,000 people were living in 2005
There are a further 102 unauthorised outposts in the West Bank which are not officially recognised by Israel
The population of West Bank settlements has been growing at a rate of 5-6% since 2001.
Israel has no intentions of stopping until there is no Palestinian land left and their dream of a "Greater Israel" will be a reality at the expense of the people of Palestine. I believe it is called genocide.

a lot of snouts at the trough!!

The number of politicians and their advisers on the UK public purse has now past the 29,000 mark. Last year’s cost of this feeding frenzy was almost £500 million. In the last 30 years this is about a 10 fold increase on the number of parasites that we feed. That special breed of ermine parasites called the "Lords" for the year 07/08 cost you approximately £20 million in expenses, salaries etc. Your MEP’s salaries cost you almost £5 million plus expenses, which the European Parliament refuses to publish.
Ask yourselves, is there a better and more cost effective way of organising our communities?. Do we need to feed this plague of parasites and keep them in luxury so that we can have boring jobs with crap wages? Think outside the box.


The death of Harry Patch, the last survivor from the 1914/18 trenches has given the state another opportunity to glorify war and call for blind patriotism. By state propaganda via its institutions and the media the “Great” war has become the Great lie, an illusion of the “Glorious Dead”. Anything associated with it becomes a grandiose spectacle of empty pomp, another attempt to legitimise the brutality of war.
As long as we attach words like honour and glory to what is no more than state instigated cold-blooded organised brutality on a mammoth scale, then it will never end. Modern war is a place where your actions kill the elderly, the innocent, women and children, all in the name of the corporate world and state power, war is never glorious. To talk in terms of glory regards war only encourages another generation of youth to step forward and carry on that carnage, to the benefit of the power mongers with no gain to the ordinary people of either side. Perhaps we should listen to the words of someone who was there, Harry Patch, when he says, “War is organised murder and nothing else.”
If we wish an end to war we must first “tell it like it is”, in all its pointless savage, indiscriminate, brutal slaughter, lay bare all the anguish and misery heaped on the ordinary people of both sides. Then we must attack the root cause, state power and corporate greed, creating a society based on mutual aid, voluntary co-operation and free association. A society that sees to the needs of all our people on principles of sustainability, free ourselves from the grip of those parasites the shareholders and their lapdogs, the “political parties” with their state institutions.