A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

Glenn Beck would like you to stand with Israel

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 11:03 AM PDT

More here on how to embrace a Christian fundamentalist, pro-settler Zionism.

Privatised services ignore duty of care and yet governments love them

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 10:47 AM PDT

Clare Sambrook reminds us of a tragic story in Australia that should provide a salutary warning to governments desperate for privatised “efficiency”:

Last week in Western Australia, Graham Powell and Nina Stokoe, two former private security guards, pleaded not guiltyto charges relating to the death of renowned Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, cooked to death while being transported more than 220 miles across searing Goldfields in a badly maintained van with faulty air conditioning in January 2008.
Powell and Stokoe’s employer, then called GSL, is part of G4S, the outsourcing monster with a £7.4 billion annual turnover, which dominates the world security market. The UK is the company’s home and a £1.2 billion chunk of business: G4S manages PFI deals, transports half a million prisoners a year, runs prisons and immigration detention centres (including, opening soon, the government’s new ‘I can’t believe it’s not child detention’ facility at Pease Pottage near Gatwick). To G4S, our welfare state is a £159 billion opportunity-in-waiting, the dismantling of the NHS another exciting prospect for growth and enrichment.
G4S, which may yet face corporate manslaughter charges here in the UK over last year’s death of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga after “restraint” by G4S operatives, has repeatedly tried to pin the blame for Mr Ward’s death on Powell and Stokoe alone. After the Western Australia State Coroner found in June 2009 that the State, the company and the workers had all contributed to Mr Ward’s death, Tim Hall, G4S’s mouthpiece in Australia, insisted on national television that the company’s procedures “were not totally inadequate. Why this incident happened was because two officers disobeyed an instruction they were given to stop every two hours.”
But that isn’t anything like the whole story. Indeed the case of Mr Ward provides a shocking glimpse behind the corporate spin, exposing shakiness in the logic that has propelled the global boom in privatisation of core public services.

Murdoch empire and ethical reporting will never go together

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 10:23 AM PDT

Here’s yet more evidence:

Pressure is building on the Metropolitan police to expand their phone-hacking inquiry to include a notorious private investigator who was accused in the House of Commons on Wednesday of targeting politicians, members of the royal family and high-level terrorist informers on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
Guardian inquiries reveal that the former prime minister Tony Blair is among the suspected victims of Jonathan Rees, who was involved in the theft of confidential data, the hacking of computers and, it is alleged, burglary. According to close associates of Rees, he also targeted:
• Jack Straw when he was home secretary, Peter Mandelson when he was trade secretary and Blair’s media adviser Alastair Campbell;
• Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent, all of whom are said to have had their bank accounts penetrated, and Kate Middleton when she was Prince William’s girlfriend;
• The former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Sir John Stevens, and the current assistant commissioner, John Yates, who later supervised the failed phone-hacking inquiry for 19 months;
• The governor and deputy governor of the Bank of England, whose mortgage account details were obtained and sold.
Rees, who worked for the Mirror Group as well as the New of the World, is also accused of using a specialist computer hacker in July 2006 to steal information about MI6 agents who had infiltrated the Provisional IRA. According to a BBC Panorama programme in March, Rees was commissioned by Alex Marunchak, then the News of the World’s executive editor, to hack the information from the computer of Ian Hurst, a former British intelligence officer in Northern Ireland who had stayed in contact with several highly vulnerable agents. Marunchak has denied the allegations.

It’s ironic that Blair may have been targeted since he was essentially groomed and backed by the Murdoch empire during his entire reign in government.

Democracy Now! on the Egyptian and Hamas blocked border with Gaza

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 09:49 PM PDT


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