Monthly Archives: April 2016

Ain’t No Use

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All About TTIP & ISDS

Just reading about BHS and how easily money can be made
(if you have the right contacts);

Sir Philip Green bought BHS for £200m in 2002, extracted £400m and then sold it to a consortium for £1 in 2015

The consortium, Retail Aquisitions led by Dominic Chappell, extracted £25m before putting it into administration on Monday (25 April 2016) with debts of over £1.3bn.

No need for them to worry too much about about the £571m pensions black hole left in BHS, which will, in all probability, be largely filled by the Government’s Pensions Protection Scheme.

Nice work if you can get it. Green is said to be worth 3.5billion

If I’d realised the investment would return £25m within a year, I could have offered Sir Philip £2 for it.

All of which serves as a timely reminder of what Corporations might hope to gain if the TTIP deal is concluded in the EU, which was largely the reason Obama was in Europe this week. Little surprise that he should want the UK to remain in the EU.

RT reporter Jonathan Pie’s view of TTIP, January 2016

And from the Independent yesterday;

Mr Obama’s trip to Europe has been seen as an effort to drum up support for TTIP before the end of his time in the White House.

He has been pushing for its completion since parties were scheduled to sign in 2014, promising the treaty would remove “regulatory and bureaucratic irritants and blockages to trade”.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have “few or no benefits to the UK”, according to the only official assessment of the deal commissioned by the UK Government.

The warning was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request by anti-TTIP campaigners Global Justice Now.

‘…the deal could give corporations the power to sue governments when they pass regulation that could hit firms’ profits through an international court called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).’

‘United Nations figures show US companies have made billions of dollars by suing other governments nearly 130 times in the past 15 years under similar free-trade agreements.

Details of the cases are often secret, but notorious precedents include tobacco giant Philip Morris suing Australia and Uruguay for putting health warnings on cigarette packets.’

“Ultimately, we conclude that an EU-US investment treaty that does contain ISDS is likely to have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs,” the report said.

What is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare you
Lee Williams, Independent October 2015

1 The NHS
Public services, especially the NHS, are in the firing line. One of the main aims of TTIP is to open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies. This could essentially mean the privatisation of the NHS.

2 Food and environmental safety
TTIP’s ‘regulatory convergence’ agenda will seek to bring EU standards on food safety and the environment closer to those of the US. But US regulations are much less strict, with 70 per cent of all processed foods sold in US supermarkets now containing genetically modified ingredients. By contrast, the EU allows virtually no GM foods.

3 Banking regulations
TTIP cuts both ways. The UK, under the influence of the all-powerful City of London, is thought to be seeking a loosening of US banking regulations, effectively handing all those powers back to the bankers.

4 Privacy
The ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) was thrown out by a massive majority in the European Parliament in 2012 after a huge public backlash against what was rightly seen as an attack on individual privacy where internet service providers would be required to monitor people’s online activity. It’s feared that TTIP could be bringing back ACTA’s central elements, proving that if the democratic approach doesn’t work, there’s always the back door.

5 Jobs
The EU has admitted that TTIP will probably cause unemployment as jobs switch to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower. It has even advised EU members to draw on European support funds to compensate for the expected unemployment.

6 Democracy
TTIP’s biggest threat to society is its inherent assault on democracy. One of the main aims of TTIP is the introduction of Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS), which allow companies to sue governments if those governments’ policies cause a loss of profits. In effect it means unelected transnational corporations can dictate the policies of democratically elected governments.

More about TTIP in these 2015 videos;


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Third Key Kincora Witness Pulls Out of Hart Inquiry


Roy Garland

As I suggested  yesterday, following the statement released by Colin Wallace and after talking to Richard Kerr HERE, yet another key witness with information regarding the Kincora child abuse cover-up has decided not to participate in the Northern Ireland Hart Abuse Inquiry.

Roy Garland was William McGrath’s deputy in Tara, which was for a short time allied to the unionist paramilitary group, the UVF. William McGrath was employed at Kincora Boys Home from 1971 – around this time Garland had started to hear allegations from younger Tara members that McGrath had made sexual advances toward them and left Tara. William McGrath was later convicted of abuse at Kincora and sentenced to four years in 1981. Roy Garland had been one of the key individuals who had helped to expose William McGrath.


Historical Institutions Abuse Inquiry  

                                                11 April 2016


The demands of victims that an investigation into historical abuse at the Kincora Boys Hostel should be taken up by the Goddard inquiry have finally been denied by the High Court.  This is deeply disappointing because only the Goddard inquiry has the right to compel witnesses.  Survivors are now likely to live out their lives with an inadequate understanding of why the abuse could continue despite many complaints made down the years.

Furthermore, over four decades of abuse of young Christians at Faith House – a Belfast evangelical residential institution – appears to have been excluded from consideration by all inquiries.  Thus the explanation for the continued abuse over the decades of scores and possibly hundreds of young Christians – mainly male but also females and some children – may now never be known.   While the High Court denies Kincora survivors the possibility of being part of the Goddard Inquiry, Faith House appears to be excluded from all inquiries.  Yet Faith House and Kincora were intimately linked through a prominent abuser.

Attempts were, it seems, made in every decade from the 1940s to at least the 1980s to stop the abuse.  The police were occasionally informed and more latterly Military Intelligence.  Some whistle blowers have faced risks to life and limb in trying to expose the abuse, yet it seem the truth will continue to elude us.

As with the Hughes Inquiry that I had agreed to attend but ultimately was not invited to participate in, the Hart Inquiry is unlikely to be capable of taking adequate steps because of legal restrictions.

It is for this reason that I have decided I do not wish to take part in the Historical Institutions Abuse Inquiry now operating at Banbridge.

Roy Garland


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Press Release From Colin Wallace Regarding Abuse Inquiries And Kincora


Richard Kerr and Colin Wallace

The press release states that Colin will not be participating in the HIA (Hart Abuse Inquiry for Northern Ireland)
Talking to Richard Kerr this morning, he informed me that he also would not participate in the HIA. “I feel that the Hart Inquiry could only get to part of the  truth about Kincora and the security services, just like every Kincora inquiry over the last 30 years… I want the whole truth to come out, not just part of the truth – anything less would be a betrayal of those boys that lost their lives and the Goddard Inquiry is the only way to get to that truth… There are other witnesses who live in Northern Ireland who don’t feel they can talk to Hart but would talk to Goddard and others with information related to Kincora who live in England which the Northern Ireland Inquiry wouldn’t listen to.”
I’m told by other informed sources that Colin Wallace and Richard Kerr are not the only ‘key figures’ with evidence relating to the Kincora abuse scandal who will not now participate in the HIA.
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry – Statement by Colin Wallace
9 April 2016
“The High Court Judgement will have come as a bitter blow to a great many people, not least of all to the victims of abuse at Kincora and at other homes in Northern  Ireland.
The harsh reality is that the Government has seen fit to provide the HIA with significantly less powers than the Goddard Inquiry, yet it has provided no cogent reason for why this difference is necessary. That appears to me to me to be manifestly unfair. This discrepancy is all the more significant bearing in mind the total failure of previous Inquiries to uncover the full facts.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the members of the HIA are totally committed to establishing the truth about what occurred in Kincora, but I do not believe that this can be achieved without the same legal powers as the Goddard Inquiry. Commitment by itself does not provide answers.
I fully accept that most of the really sensitive Intelligence information about Kincora and related matters will have been destroyed years ago, but that should not preclude the HIA from having the powers to compel disclosure, or the attendance of witnesses. As I know from bitter personal experience, expecting Whitehall simply to volunteer ‘sensitive’ information is totally pointless. Also, having been involved in the Saville Inquiry into ‘Bloody Sunday’ I am very conscious that the Government’s approach to that Inquiry was strikingly different – even the former Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was required to attend, give evidence and be cross examined.
In addition, the growing amount of evidence – including new revelations about Dr Morris Fraser – which shows strong links between child abuse in Ireland and England, makes the current separation of the two Inquiries a bureaucratic nonsense. Is the sexual abuse of children in London really more significant than the sexual abuse of children in Northern Ireland?
Sadly, in the current circumstances, I feel that no useful purpose would be served by my participation in the HIA. However, I am sure that other members of the Security Forces, including the Intelligence Services, who have knowledge of child abuse in Northern Ireland during the relevant period will make up their own minds about whether or not they should participate in the Inquiry.”


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Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes

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