As the cracks in the Tory-led coalition government grow more and more obvious, the biggest question may be whether it is incompetence or corruption that will depose the clowns who have been pretending to run the country for the last two years. In terms of the Olympics, which, two months ago, I described as a militarised, corporate, jingoistic disgrace, the incompetence particularly involves security and travel, and in terms of corruption, it involves the tax haven created for the duration of the Games, as reported last week.
On the security front, it was revealed that G4S, the biggest employer listed on the London Stock Exchange, with more than 650,000 staff worldwide, had spectacularly failed to fulfil its £284 million Olympics contract, in which it was supposed to provide 13,700 personnel for the Games. Just two months ago, it was reported that G4S had had 100,000 applications for 10,000 job vacancies, the inference being that all was proceeding smoothly.
That, however, was spectacularly untrue, as became apparent on Thursday, with just two weeks to go before the Games begin, when it was revealed that the government was arranging for 3,500 military personnel to be provided to make up for G4S’s inability to meet its commitment.
As the Guardian noted, “The news was met with disbelief. Diana Johnson, the shadow home office minister, tweeted: ‘This is the same G4S who aspire to win policing services through privatisation. Not reassuring.’” Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, the Guardian reported the extraordinary story that KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root), the Texas-based former subsidiary of the Halliburton corporation (of which former US Vice President Dick Cheney was the CEO), is part of a consortium that has made it through to the final shortlist for a £1.5bn contract to “run key policing services in the West Midlands and Surrey.”
KBR, which was sold by Halliburton in 2007, was involved in building the Bush administration’s reviled “war on terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, and “was still part of Halliburton when it won a large share of Pentagon contracts to build and manage US military bases in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.”
When the “police privatisation” plan was first touted in two months ago, the Guardian explained that “[p]rivate companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects” under the radical privatisation plan being put forward by West Midlands and Surrey, “two of the largest police forces in the country,” who had “invited bids from G4S and other major security companies on behalf of all forces across England and Wales to take over the delivery of a wide range of services previously carried out by the police.” Read the rest of this entry »
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