Another pertinent article by Finian Cunningham.
Another pertinent article by Finian Cunningham.
An important study reported by Global Research.
With each passing day, as I read and see more and more injustice and cruelty from this feeble excuse of a government, I wonder just what the hell is going on here?
Here’s a selection of video interviews by the amazing Artist Taxi Driver to make my point for me. The last one made me so angry and frankly, ashamed to be British and it reminded me of a documentary I saw online recently exposing the truth about the British monarchy. Its called Royal Babylon and I’ve included that too. Prepare to be shocked if you’re the kind of person who thinks the Queen is just a sweet old lady and Winston Churchill etc were ‘great’ British leaders…this is definitely NOT the version of British history that Michael Gove wants to ram down our kid’s throats.
Earlier today I posted a summary of research into Unum and ATOS by Mo Stewart. Here are two further summaries she has sent me with permission to post on this blog.
Mo Stewart is a former healthcare professional, a disabled female veteran and, for the last 3 years, has researched the links between the DWP, Atos Healthcare & Unum Insurance. To date, the research evidence has been quoted during welfare debates in the House of Lords, the House of Commons and in Westminster Hall. Mo routinely shares all research evidence with academics, medical and healthcare professionals, frontline national charities, selected
politicians and service users.
Her most recent report has just been published by the Centre for Disability Studies at Leeds University.
Mo’s website, well worth a visit, is here
FROM THE BRITISH WELFARE STATE TO ANOTHER AMERICAN STATE
From The British Welfare State to Another American State © Mo Stewart 17th May 2013
From The British Welfare State to Another American State © Mo Stewart 17th May 2013
The ongoing welfare reforms have created an atmosphere of fear and despair within the British disabled community, that includes sufferers of chronic ill health and those with mental health difficulties. Claimants in receipt of the former Incapacity Benefit are being transferred to the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) but, to retain this disability benefit, claimants are required to make themselves available for an ‘occupational assessment’, known as the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as exclusively conducted by the private contractor Atos Origin IT Ltd Medical Services; better known as Atos Healthcare.
Since 2008 successive British governments have adopted the WCA with the intention of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) removing as many claimants as possible from disability benefit, to permit the long ago planned move from the welfare state to welfare funded by private insurance. During three years of detailed independent research, I exposed the links between the British government and the American healthcare insurance giant Unum (Provident) Insurance as first identified in the 2010 report: Atos Healthcare or Disability Denial Factories.(1) This report exposed the links between the DWP and the healthcare insurance giant, and also identified the fact that the WCA had been designed in consultation with Unum Insurance and was the realisation of the long ago planned ‘Thatcher Legacy’, which was the total destruction of the welfare state.(2) This foreign influence on British welfare reforms was to become the focus for the second year of my
research that culminated in the report: Welfare Reform – Redress for the Disabled(3) as first
quoted during the welfare reform debates in the House of Lords during September 2011.
Over time, this often disturbing research evidence was published across the Internet and was welcomed by various academics, a growing number of frontline national charities, medical and healthcare professionals and service-users. The interest was growing as the research exposed the fact that the DWP’s American corporate ‘adviser’ was identified as one of the most discredited health insurance giants in the world.(1)(3) By 2005, following copious numbers of successful legal cases throughout the USA, the California Department of Insurance Commissioner, John Garamendi, stated: “Unum Provident is an outlaw company. It is a company that has operated in an illegal fashion for years…”(4) By 2006, New York Attorney General Spitzer ordered Unum (Provident) Insurance to reconsider 200,000 previous claims, in a settlement benefitting 48 States, and also levied another $15 million dollar fine against the company in addition to the multimillion dollar fines already imposed over several years via successful litigation.(1)(3)(5) In 2007, the American Association for Justice identified Unum (Provident) Insurance as “..the second worst insurance company in the US.”(6)(7) To date, the company have not carried out the 200,000 reconsiderations, ordered in the 2006 multi-state settlement, as Unum Insurance does appear to
continue to be a law unto themselves. A name change to, simply, Unum Insurance has not altered this company’s long history of resisting payment to genuine health insurance claimants(8) as confirmed in a compelling CBS News interview.(9)
Yet this is the company chosen to ‘advise’ successive British governments since 1994 and this
American influenced system of disability denial was adopted by the DWP, using Atos Healthcare to conduct the WCA as a guaranteed method of reducing the welfare budget, regardless of the large amount of detailed evidence against it.(1)(3)(7)(10) Indeed, in America, Professor John Langbein of the Yale School of Law produced a paper identified as ‘The Unum Provident Scandal’ that exposed Unum’s policy of disability denial that continues to be referenced to this day.(10)
Not only was the Atos examination exposed as being ‘unfit for purpose’ by the President of the Appeal Tribunals,(11) but also most recently by the representatives of Britain’s doctors and nurses as the WCA was identified by both the British Medical Association (BMA)(12) and the Royal College of Nurses (RCN)(13) as being totally detrimental to the welfare of patients. DWP Ministers continue to disregard all reported evidence against the Atos assessment.
For six years from 2003 Unum (Provident) Insurance funded the former DWP Chief Medical
Officer, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who retired from his role at the DWP to become the
Director of the ‘UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research’ at Cardiff
University. During that time, Professor Aylward co-authored arguably the most damaging report in the history of British welfare as The Scientific & Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits, TSO 2005(14) was, effectively, a blueprint for the introduction of the WCA.
The Green Paper: A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering people to work – 2006(15) was
subsequently exposed by the academic Professor Alison Ravetz, whose detailed independent
assessment identified the content of the Green Paper as leaving much to be desired.(16) It remains cause for concern that Professor Ravetz’s critical assessment of the Green Paper was provided as a contribution to the public consultation process; so the DWP accessed this disturbing evidence and then totally disregarded the significance of it,
“On closer examination, it appears that this entire body of work is largely self-referential – that is, it appeals for validation to itself and is framed within the same political and policy agenda. In practical terms, it means opting out by the state of responsibility for a large section – estimated two thirds – of those affected by illness or disability. In future, it will be harder to qualify for the benefit, while those already receiving it, in many cases over long periods will, despite assurances, have justifiable anxieties about their future benefit status UnumProvident, an American company, is involved in a number of lawsuits for ‘bad faith’ in refusing to honour disability insurance claims. This reinforces the caution against taking this apparently impressive body of work at face value. It is not research undertaken in the spirit of open enquiry. It is commissioned research and, as such, pre-disposed towardsideologically determined outcomes.”(16)(My emphasis. MS)
This statement was written by Professor Ravetz in 2006 and it has now come to pass, with the nation’s chronically sick and disabled benefit claimants living in fear of the arrival of their appointment for the WCA, as conducted by Atos Healthcare, and the endless incorrect decisions regarding future benefit entitlement by DWP ‘Decision Makers.’(17)
The main influence of the Green Paper content was The Scientific & Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits, TSO 2005(14), as authored by Professors Mansel Aylward and Gordon Waddell and published by the UnumProvident Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, Cardiff University. Research evidence has confirmed the profound influence of a discredited American corporate insurance giant with the DWP since 1994 and the most damaging reports, used to influence and inform government policy on welfare, have been produced via a research centre who have adopted the Unum philosophy and cannot possibly be considered to be ‘independent’ research evidence.
On 17th April 2013 the United Kingdom honoured Baroness Thatcher with a ceremonial funeral at an admitted cost of £3.6million, to acknowledge the nation’s first female Prime Minister, whilst her lasting legacy to the British people will be the successful destruction of the welfare state.
From The British Welfare State to Another American State © Mo Stewart 17th May 2013
(1) Atos Healthcare or Disability Denial Factories: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveteranssummary.html
(2) Margaret Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed:
(3) Welfare Reform – Redress for the Disabled: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#WRES
(4) Online Lawyer Source: http://www.onlinelawyersource.com/unum/complaints/
(5) State Insurance commissioners reach settlement with Unum Provident:
(6) Unum Claims Denial – Legal Help: http://unumclaimsdenial.com/2011/07/unum-ranked-2nd-worst-insurance-company-in-america/
(7) The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America – The American Association of Justice
(8) Unum Lawsuit Plaintiff Wins Re-instatement of Unum Disability Benefits, MARCH 2013:
(9) Did Insurer Cheat Disabled Clients: CBS News interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gknSNvGoX-c
(10) John H Langbein – The Unum Provident Scandal & Judicial Review of Benefit Denials, Yale University School of Law: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=917610
(11) HH Judge Robert Martin: President of Appeal Tribunals, Report 2007-08:
(12) Scrap work capability assessment, doctors demand
(13) RCN Congress: http://www.rcn.org.uk/newsevents/congress/2013/agenda/1-disability-assessments
(14) The Scientific & Conceptual Basis of Incapacity Benefits, TSO 2005
(15) A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering people to work: 2006
(16) Green Paper: A New Deal for Welfare: empowering people to work. 2006
– an independent assessment of the arguments for proposed Incapacity Benefit reform http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/ravetz-Green-Paper-IB-critique.pdf
(17) Unfit for Purpose: Citizens Advice Scotland: http://www.cas.org.uk/publications/unfit-purpose
GOVERNMENT USE MIGHT OF AMERICAN INSURANCE GIANT TO DESTROY UK SAFETY NET – UPDATE
Whilst the Prime Minister employs talented script writers, and waxes lyrically about the nation’s concerns for our most vulnerable people, the reality is that the medical tyranny used to assess anyone claiming sickness or disability benefits has, by the Department for Work and Pension’s(DWP) own admission, resulted in 1100 deaths between January – August 2011.** Significantly, more recent death totals are not yet available from the DWP…
These genuine benefit claimants were removed from Incapacity Benefit and placed into the ‘work related activity group’ following a ‘medical assessment’ as exclusively conducted by Atos Healthcare – a subsidiary of the IT giant Atos Origin, who were awarded the very lucrative IT contract for the recent Olympic Games. The ongoing human tragedy is that, regardless of diagnosis, prognosis or treatments, these victims were removed from the safety net of the welfare state by under-qualified DWP staff, following a totally inadequate medical assessment by Atos Healthcare, forced to prepare for work and then died trying.**
This ongoing, relentless sinister attack on the welfare state was planned by the Thatcher
government in 1994(1), with successive governments contributing to the fear now faced by over three million chronically sick and disabled people. The Prime Minister announced last year that disability benefits should only be available to those whose reduced health was due to ‘no fault of their own.’* Playing ‘the blame game’ whilst demonstrating his very dangerous lack of comprehension of the sinister implications of all serious addiction was thought at the time to be extreme comments by the Prime Minister, but it was only ever the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that every chronically sick and disabled person in the UK, in receipt of disability benefits, has learned to live in fear of their own government that is shared by the claimed ‘moderate’ political party; namely the Liberal Democrats.
Most civil servants and MPs are able bodied, with very few having any detailed personal knowledge about the vast subject of chronic illness or disability, so sweeping generalisations feed the national press whilst one particular man, with a past history in finance, was given unlimited authority. He was ennobled to permit his appointed to government, and he was never elected, but his opinions are never challenged by government so Lord Freud, as the Minister for Welfare Reform, enjoys unprecedented authority about a subject that he demonstrably knows nothing about. With a past history in the world of finance Lord Freud only knows about budgets, and he engaged with the insurance industry to reduce the burden of government funded welfare.(2) In his own words(3), Lord Freud admitted that he knew nothing about welfare or disability. Yet, three weeks following his
appointment, he produced a report that was adopted by government and now the weakest in society live in fear of frequent obligatory government medical assessments, as conducted by Atos Healthcare, that have been demonstrated to be totally ‘unfit for purpose’ by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, national front-line charities, welfare agencies and concerned high calibre professionals. The government ignores them all.(1)(4)(5)
Atos Healthcare (AH) are engaged to undertake all medical assessments on behalf of the DWP for anyone in receipt of Incapacity Benefit – now changed to the new Employment Support Allowance(ESA) – but the AH assessments remain totally free from all public accountability according to the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission.(1) Undeterred by public concern, the £multi million contract between the DWP and AH was recently extended(6), whilst countless numbers of our most vulnerable citizens testify to this bogus medical assessment, that remains as far away from genuine medical evaluation as it’s possible to be.(1) In reality, the Atos assessment is a limited non-medical assessment, that discounts all input from the patients’ GP and Consultants, and remains very high risk as it is based on the totally discredited Bio-Psychosocial Model(BPS) of disability(7) that totally disregards the diagnosis and prognosis of the benefit claimant.
However, behind the might of Atos Healthcare(AH) are government advisers Unum Insurance, introduced to the UK government in 1994 by Professor Mansel Aylward when Chief Medical Officer at the DWP, and who was to leave the DWP to become the first Director of the Unum Centre for Psychosocial Disability Assessment. Some years later, mounting public criticism forced the removal of Unum from the title of the Centre, but the Professor remains unrepentant. When known as Unum Provident Insurance, the company were identified as one of the most discredited corporate insurance giants in the United States(US)(8), and the ‘medical assessments’ undertaken by AH are alarmingly similar to those used by Unum for the assessments and denial of income protection insurance claims, as the Atos assessments also use the totally unacceptable and highly discredited BPS model of disability assessment.(8)
The US courts discredited Unum Provident’s “non-medical” model for assessing medical
conditions(8) yet successive UK governments adopted it to reduce the welfare budget, regardless of the human cost of this imported US medical tyranny. Now known as Unum Insurance, the company have rebranded periodically over the years, depending on the numbers of $multi-million fines imposed due to unacceptable medical assessment practice(9), and they offer income protection (disability) insurance but, as a company, have a disturbing past history of resisting paying out when an insured person hits hard times with illness, or the onset of a disability, and needs to make a claim.(8)(9)(10)(11)
Previously known as Unum Provident or First Unum, the company have been advising successive British governments since Thatcher was Prime Minister and this corporate giant, described as operating ‘disability denial factories’ inspired the research report: Atos Healthcare or Disability Denial Factories(1), as now accessed by welfare professionals throughout the UK. Indeed, Unum Insurance were identified in 2009, by the American Association for Justice, as being ‘one of the top two worst insurance companies in America’(8) yet have been involved, behind the scenes, with the DWP for almost 20 years.(9)(12)(14)(15)
Disturbing evidence of the eventual planned move from the British welfare state to the US style of welfare, to be funded by private insurance, was first exposed in the House of Lords during the welfare reform debates last year. Members of the noble House quoted from the detailed research report: Welfare Reform – Redress for the Disabled(9) as written at the request of noble members. Unsurprisingly, the government decided that all suggested amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill, hard won in the House of Lords, were to be disregarded due to the use of Financial Privilege(16) – an ancient authority of the House of Commons. Hence, this coalition government’s contempt for any challenge was complete, unstoppable, and demonstrably dangerous for the nation’s chronically sick and disabled population.(8)(9)
One of the reasons for Professor Aylward inviting the involvement of Unum Insurance was the DWP’s ultimate plan to follow the American lead in welfare, to identify such conditions as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a ‘psychological condition’ by using the BPS model of disability assessment and thus to, eventually, justify not funding welfare benefits for sufferers, as in the US.(17)(18)(19) Considering that, at the time of the introduction of Unum (Provident) Insurance to the British government by Professor Aylward, in 1994, Unum already had an atrocious reputation in the US for failing to fund payouts from the insurance policies they sold, one must wonder as to why their advice was so willingly accepted and adopted by all successive UK governments ever since… (1)(9)(17)(19)(20)
Within three months of leaving the DWP Professor Aylward, recently rewarded with a Knighthood for services to disability assessment, was appointed as the Director of the then named Unum Centre for Psychosocial Disability Research at Cardiff University and his appointment as the Centre’s Director led to the Professor’s appointment as the first ever Chair of Public Health in Wales.
Professor Sir Mansel Aylward is also a Director of the Health Claims Bureau(13), a private company involving Unum Insurance with the ‘medical assessment’ for claimants of income protection or disability insurance for industry. Yet, this assessment is virtually identical to the tyranny used by Unum (Provident) Insurance, as exposed by the Yale School of Law(21) when identified as the Unum Provident Scandal, and now copied by the UK government to remove helpless victims from State financial support.
To guarantee that Atos Healthcare remained confident about their purpose, Unum’s former Chief Medical Officer Mike O’Donnell crossed the Atlantic Ocean and was appointed as the new Chief Medical Officer for Atos Healthcare but, of course, both companies deny that there is any professional relationship between them.
None of this news will disturb a UK government that has now been warned against more benefit cuts by the United Nations(22) and who appear to be trying very hard to be removed from all responsibility under the European Court for Human Rights(23). Meanwhile, the Professor recently denied any knowledge of this medical tyranny when confronted by disability activists outside a lecture hall where he had been advising representatives from the insurance industry…..(24)
When previously known as Unum Provident Insurance, this US corporate insurance giant were actually banned from 15 States in America and 6 countries, worldwide, until 2008(1), when they again changed their name to become known simply as Unum Insurance. Someone, somewhere surely now needs to be asking the question as to why was this highly discredited corporate insurance giant ever invited to advise the British government about welfare reforms….?? Someone, other than investigative TV journalists(25), needs to be asking what was the ultimate goal, and who were to be the undoubted beneficiaries of this government funded medical tyranny, imported from America, against the most vulnerable people in our society?
Unum’s unacceptable influence with successive UK governments was recently exposed at the
Liberal Democrat Conference by the courageous young Mr George Potter.(26) If only the political leaders of the Liberal Democrats enjoyed some of the courage displayed by George Potter, millions of chronically sick and disabled people would no longer need to live in fear of this coalition government, that has totally failed to protect them, despite claims by Liberal Democrat leaders.
Copyright: Mo Stewart 27th October 2012
(**) 32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit:
(*) PM vows to get addicts into work: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13152349
(1) Atos Healthcare of Disability Denial Factories: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#docs
(3) Welfare is a mess, says adviser David Freud: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/1577313/welfare-in-a-mess-says-adviser-David-
(4) CAB evidence on ESA work capability assessment: NOT WORKING: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/not_working
(5) Disability test a ‘complete mess’ says expert: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/feb/22/new-disability-test-is-a-complete-mess
(6) Atos wins £400m deals to carry out disability benefit tests: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/aug/02/atos-disability-benefit-tests
(7) A Tale of Two Models: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/jolly/A%20Tale%20of%20two%20Models%20Leeds1.pdf
(8) The Ten Worst Insurance Companies: The American Association for Justice (UNUM is listed as 2nd WORST insurance company in America) http://www.Denied-disability-claim.com/media/2009/02/tenworstinsurancecompanies.pdf
(9) Welfare Reform – Redress for the disabled: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html#docs
(10) Memorandum submitted to Prof Harrington: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosmemowcayear3.html
(11) Unum and Business: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosbusinessunum.html
(12) Mutual Benefits: Private Eye Issue 1301: http://www.private-eye.co.uk
(13) Health Claims Bureau Directors: http://www.hcbgroup.co.uk/pages/aboutus
(14) UNUM advises gvt: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmworpen/401/3021203/htm (Dec ’02)
(15) UNUM advises gvt: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmworpen/616/616we37.htm (Mar ’06)
(17) Unum influence in the UK continues to wreck havoc: http://lindanee.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/unum-influence-in-the-uk-continues-towreck-
(18) Downgrading disability: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17021
(19) Welfare reform tyranny direct from the USA: http://lindanee.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/welfare-reform-tyranny-direct-from-the-usa-bymo-stewart/
(20) New evidence of corporate giant’s influence on welfare reform:
(21) The Yale School of Law: The Unum Provident Scandal & Judicial Review of benefit denials under ERISA:
(22) Budget cuts could downgrade UK rights watchdog’s UN status:
(23) The Equality and Human Rights Commission is being destroyed
(24) An academic responds with disbelief to Aylward’s denial of responsibility:
(25) Disabled or faking it? http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lldrc/Panorama_Disabled_or_Faking_It/
(26) Liberal Democrat Conference: Party votes to review impact of welfare reform:
And here’s George Potter speaking out at the LibDem Conference last year. I’m not a supporter of the LibDems but I take my hat off to him for having the bravery to criticise his own party at their own conference.
The report reproduced (with kind permission) below is a short summary of the vitally important research into the origin of the current government’s campaign against disability and incapacity benefits and the involvement of Unum (formerly UnumProvident) and ATOS. This remarkably detailed work was carried out over the last three years by former healthcare professional and disabled veteran, Mo Stewart*. Mo has worked relentlessly and determinedly, despite her own pain and fatigue, to bring together a vast amount of damning evidence against this cruel system which has and continues to bring misery and even death to people whose only ‘crime’ is to be chronically sick or disabled. What you are about to read below is but a tiny example of far, far more material some of which can be found on her website here or by following the links she provides in her reference list at the end of the articles.
*(Mo Stewart is a former healthcare professional, a disabled female veteran and, for the last 3 years, has researched the links between the DWP, Atos Healthcare & Unum Insurance. To date, the research evidence has been quoted during welfare debates in the House of Lords, the House of Commons and in Westminster Hall. Mo routinely shares all research evidence with academics, medical and healthcare professionals, frontline national charities, selected
politicians and service users.)
THE HIDDEN AGENDA: a research summary by Mo Stewart
(The Hidden Agenda © Mo Stewart – March 2013)
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is exclusively conducted on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by the corporate giant Atos Origin IT Ltd Medical Services, better known as Atos Healthcare. This ‘non-medical assessment’ was introduced in 2008 by the Labour government, and was identified as a ‘medical examination’ to be used to identify genuine claimants for long term sickness and disability benefit. However, what was unknown at the time was the fact that the WCA was a continuation of the planned agenda of the previous Thatcher government, whose ultimate goal was the destruction of the Welfare State.(1) The WCA was promoted as a ‘fitness for work’ assessment for claimants of what was once known as Incapacity Benefit, now re-named as the Employment and Support Allowance.(ESA) In reality, in order to reduce the welfare budget, the WCA was designed to resist as many sickness benefit claims as possible regardless of confirmed and identified permanent illness or disability. By 2010 the planned DWP welfare budget reduction was deemed to be
too slow. The new Coalition Government enhanced the WCA and, following the previous Labour Government’s lead, it became much more difficult to qualify for the ESA(2) as the WCA totally disregarded diagnosis, prognosis or limited life expectancy.
Aided and abetted by the national press, using insidious press headlines to manipulate public opinion(3)(3b), the Coalition Government successfully introduced tyranny, fear and despair to the nation’s most vulnerable people, using a disability assessment model as designed in consultation with Unum [Provident] Insurance; one of the most discredited corporate insurance giants in the world.(4)(4b) At the same time, reported disability hate crimes in the United Kingdom(UK) were rising to record levels.(5) The first two years of independent research into the WCA concluded at the end of November 2011 with the
exposure of two government memorandums provided by Unum Provident Insurance.(6) Initially, the link between the UK welfare reforms and the likely move to an insurance based benefits system was identified by Baroness Tanni Gray-Thompson during the welfare reform debates in the House of Lords.(7) Nine months later, the link between Atos Healthcare and Unum Insurance was exposed by Kevin Brennan MP during debate in Westminster Hall(8) and, more recently, during an emergency Backbench Business debate in the House of Commons(HOC), Michael Meacher MP identified the possible influence of Unum Insurance with the UK Government.(9)
Of course, this destruction of the welfare state could never have been so readily achieved without the unelected former Labour adviser, David Freud. He was ennobled to permit appointment initially to the Shadow Cabinet but, following the 2010 General Election, he was appointed as the Minister for Welfare Reform for the Coalition where he has excelled. Indeed, one of Lord Freud’s most recent claims was that: “Poor people should be prepared to take more risks because they have the least to lose…”(11) Clearly, this man is yet another millionaire Minister who demonstrates no concern, and no comprehension, of human need.
The ongoing DWP medical tyranny, masquerading as welfare reform, has permitted Atos Healthcare to conduct the WCA by employing the totally discredited Bio-Psychosocial(BPS) model of disability assessment that remains free from all public accountability according to the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission. The BPS is the assessment model as used by Unum Insurance when assessing healthcare insurance claims, and it is also the assessment model enthusiastically promoted by Professor Sir Mansel Aylward. The Professor is the Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University, initially sponsored by Unum Insurance from its inception in 2003 to 2009.
However, prior to his move to the Centre, the Professor was the DWP’s Chief Medical Officer who, in 1994, was in post when Unum Insurance was invited to become corporate ‘advisers’ to the UK government.(12) Whilst the BPS model is an interesting theory, the selective use of the BPS model of disability assessment, as used by both Unum Insurance and Atos Healthcare, was exposed long ago as an invention of the insurance industry.(13)(14) By concentrating on the psychological model of disability, to the detriment of the social model, the WCA was always destined to promote unacceptable results for many thousands of ESA claimants. In one six month period alone 37,100 people had waited up to a year to have their ESA benefit reinstated following appeal, yet no-one is asking what would have happened to these genuinely sick and disabled people if they had not had the strength to pursue their claim to appeal?(10)
Indeed, a recent Panorama documentary: ‘Disabled or Faking It’,(15) demonstrated quite categorically the dangers of the WCA with seriously ill patients, diagnosed with life threatening conditions such as heart failure and end stage emphysema, being found fit for work.(15) However, with the national press still refusing to expose the identified influence of Unum Insurance with the DWP welfare reforms, the British public remain in ignorance as the government covertly convert the UK welfare state into the American healthcare system, ultimately to be funded by private insurance.(12)(13)(14) Meanwhile, Unum Insurance is happy to continue to offer new careers to former government ‘advisers’. (16) The WCA is an American imported ‘disability assessment model’ and has no medical credibility whatsoever, as confirmed by the British Medical Association(17), yet it is enthusiastically employed by the DWP and causes devastation to those least able to protest. This ‘medical assessment’ is working very well as the thousands of genuine claimants that have either died, committed suicide, been forced into poverty due to mounting debt, or who have developed a mental health problem due to anxiety are now the disregarded victims.(10)
Many had been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit before being re-assessed by Atos Healthcare, using the fatally flawed WCA, only to fail to qualify for benefit following ‘assessment’. The Internet provides evidence to this government imposed suffering at a cost to the tax-payer of £110million per annum for the confidential Atos contract and an estimated £60 million pounds per annum, and rising, for the costs of the appeal tribunals. Yet, still, Members of Parliament (MP) continue with their very courteous and diplomatic debates(8)(9) as the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and, especially, their corporate partners all celebrate the ongoing planned destruction of the welfare state that appears to be unstoppable.
What is still disregarded is the fact that Professor Sir Mansel Aylward’s research activities were funded for six years by Unum Insurance.(12) Indeed, due to his significant contribution to the future reduction of the DWP welfare budget by promoting the use of a ‘non-medical’ assessment, the Professor was rewarded with a Knighthood for “services to disability assessment.” Therefore, his support for the BPS disability assessment model was presumed to be guaranteed. Yet, when confronted six months ago, the Professor actually confirmed that he now considered the BPS model to be “unsatisfactory” and that he believed it “no longer addresses the real needs of disabled people and the exclusion of disabled people from society”.(18) Of course, the question remains as to why there was no official DWP announcement following this amazing change of ‘expert’ professional opinion, as the entire national press totally disregarded the press release that was distributed last September following Sir Mansel’s unexpected statement. Perhaps the Professor was safe in the
knowledge that the press release would be ignored, and perhaps this is why he continues to travel widely, still lecturing about the virtues of the totally discredited BPS model of disability assessment? The most recent lecture was at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference in Birmingham, from 5th-6th March 2013,(19) where Professor Sir Mansel Aylward was listed as a keynote speaker on the subject of: The New Public Health Agenda: Its Impact on Health and Wellbeing at Work. Given the title of his speech, one can only presume that the Professor has yet to advise other professionals of his reported change of expert opinion.(18)
This is how the UK welfare state will be destroyed. There is a BPS ‘expert’ in place, and an American corporate insurance giant has influenced the UK Government to totally disregard human suffering, in favour of a reduced welfare budget, using an identified bogus ‘medical assessment’. Unum Insurance have begun their mass marketing to encourage able bodied members of the British public to invest in their ‘Income Protection Insurance’ or their ‘Back-up Plan,’ that’s only available via the workplace, and these are the healthcare insurance policies that the company has historically tried very hard to resist funding when a claim is made.(20)(21) Given that the unacceptable practice of Unum Insurance was previously exposed by MPs during a House of Commons debate in 1999(22), the question remains as to why was this highly discredited American corporate insurance giant ever permitted to influence UK welfare reforms and why the national press, en masse, refuse to expose this insurance company’s confirmed influence despite it being identified by a BBC News report in 2007?(23)
The recent exposure of a 2005 internal Unum report, that actively boasted that the company was ‘driving government thinking’ regarding the reform of Incapacity Benefit (24) leads to the much more sinister possibility that the DWP are simply administrators of these brutal welfare reforms, and that the perpetrators of the devastation caused to the victims of this UK government funded medical tyranny are, in fact, Unum Insurance. Michael O’Donnell was the author of the 2005 internal Unum report that was written when he was the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Unum Insurance. Michael O’Donnell is now the CMO for Atos Healthcare…..
The difficulty remains that no-one is asking the relevant questions. Perhaps MPs should be asking the Prime Minister why he’s been funded by ‘healthcare companies’ to the value of £750,000(27) since he became Prime Minister (25) or why every report produced by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, all of which identified the Atos Healthcare WCA assessments as “failing to coincide with reality”, was totally disregarded by the DWP? (12)
Until and unless more significant questions are asked in the House of Commons, victims of this government funded medical nightmare will be forced to turn to the law for help, just as in America.(26)
Until and unless the national press demonstrate that the UK really does benefit from a free press, and not a government controlled press, the most vulnerable of all British people will continue to suffer and the British public will continue to be deceived.(12)
1) Margaret Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed:
(2) Cuts to UK benefits: http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/type/text/cuts-to-uk-benefits.html
(3) ‘Ello, John, got a new Motability motor? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2047593/Motability-schemes-starting-resemble- worst-excesses-Arthur-Daley-.html
(3b) Half a million incapacity benefit claimants are fit for work, Government’s own figures show: Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2115476/A-incapacity-benefit-claimants-fit-work-Government-s-OWN-figures show. html#axzz2JqkmNFAR
(4) New York Attorney General Spitzer’s ruling: http://www.insure.com/articles/healthinsurance/unum-settlement.html
(4b) The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America – The American Association of Justice
(5) Hate crimes against disabled people soar to a record high:
(6) The truth behind welfare reforms: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveteransreport20111120.html
(7) BnsTanni Gray-Thompson: House of Lords, welfare reforms
(8) Private Members’ Debate: Atos Healthcare: 4th Sept 2012
(9) Backbench Business: Atos Work Capability Assessment debate: 17th Jan 2013
(10) British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants?
(11) Lord Freud’s welfare ‘lifestyle’ comments show ‘nasty party is back’, say Labour:
(12) Government use might of American insurance giant to destroy UK welfare safety net – update 27th Oct : http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveteransreport20121027.html
(13) An academic responds to statement by Prof Aylward:
(14) A Tale of Two Models: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/jolly/A%20Tale%20of%20two%20Models%20Leeds1.pdf
(15) Panorama: Disabled or Faking It?
(16) Peter Dewis: Steppin’ Sideways from Government to Unum:
(17) GPs call for work capability assessment to be scrapped:
(18) Former DWP medical boss makes WCA pledge to protesters:
(19) Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference, NEC Birmingham: http://www.healthatwork2013.co.uk/
(20) “The denial on the part of Unum in the Mondolo case appears to mirror denials of other Unum disability claims historically, going back several years. To that end, the Court noted Unum’s history of biased claims administration.” (MARCH 2013)
(21) CBS News 60 minutes: DID INSURER CHEAT DISABLED CLIENTS:
(22) Permanent Health Insurance debate, Westminster Hall, 21st December 2009
(23) BBC Ten ‘o Clock News report: 6th Nov 2007 http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/UNUM_on_BBC_News_061107.wmv (BBC NEWS report – video)
(24) Unum bragged about ‘driving government thinking’ on incapacity benefit reform:
(25) MPs’ links are so unhealthy: http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/378233/MPs-links-are-so- unhealthy
(26) High Court rules Work Capability Assessment arguably unlawful:
(27) NHS reform leaves Tory backers with links to private healthcare firms set for bonanza:
James Quinn 6th June 2013
Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
The world makes less sense every day. Little children are randomly slaughtered in their schoolrooms. Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children (collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country). Drugged up mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded quiet desperation until they snap. Ignorant, government educated, welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others, assault, kill and rob within their government created urban jungles. Sociopathic criminals who committed the largest financial crime in world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as compensation for crushing the American middle class. Academics, whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt issuance that will sink our ship of state. Corrupt, bought off politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election campaigns, which never end. Delusional, materialistic, egocentric, math challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens) live for today, enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care not for future generations. The alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society has spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country.
Pink Floyd released The Wall 33 years ago. It was a concept rock opera album that explored the issues of ababdonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. I attended the Roger Waters Wall Concert this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with my three sons. Three decades later, the message is more powerful than ever. The government oppression and never ending wars waged by the American Empire around the world have created a society built upon fear and loathing. Roger Waters’ vision is colored byOrwell’s 1984 dystopian nightmare of lies, misinformation, propaganda and brutality. The missing piece, which Waters didn’t see coming in 1979, was the ability of the oligarchs to use their control of the credit system to entrap the masses by convincing them to love their servitude and become so consumed with material possessions and the love of money that they would become nothing more than passive egotistical consumers.
Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. Over this same time frame total wages and salaries have risen from $1.3 trillion to $6.9 trillion, a 531% increase. GDP has grown from $2.6 trillion to $15.8 trillion, a 608% increase. Luckily for the oligarchs, the math challenged masses don’t understand that 375% of the increase in GDP is strictly due to Federal Reserve created inflation, as the U.S. dollar has lost 68% of its purchasing power since 1979. This GDP growth was driven by debt, with consumer expenditures rising from 61% of GDP in 1979 to 71% of GDP today. In the one hundred years since the creation of the Federal Reserve the country’s population has tripled, while our public debt and unfunded liabilites have risen from $2 billion to over $200 trillion, a ten million percent increase. The masses have been programmed and conditioned to love their debt servitude and yearn for more debt to fix an economic system that collapsed due to excessive debt. The cadre of ruling elite are obliging by creating debt at hyperspeed levels. The corporate media, Wall Street shysters and low-life captured politicians assure the sheep-like masses that this is normal and beneficial to their interests, as the sheep are sheared and led to slaughter.
“There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.” – George Orwell
“And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” – Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley and Edward Bernays realized in the 1920s that the utilization of conditioning and propaganda techniques could be used to control and manipulate the masses. Ivan Pavlov, the famous Russian physiologist, conducted the ground breaking work on conditional reflexes. Pavlov discovered that when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to a dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell. To a critical thinking human being who questions authority, resists being told what they should think, and values their humanity, over what is crammed down their throat by government run schools and the corporate controlled media, the thought of being treated like a dog is revolting. But to people like Edward Bernays, who believed manipulation of the masses by an invisible contingent of intellectually superior men, conditioning the minds of the masses through propaganda was a necessity in a democratic society to keep the herd under control.
Just a cursory examination of our society reveals a population of salivating consumers (dogs) who can be stimulated to buy the latest iPhone or techno-gadget with a simple Madison Avenue advertising campaign (bell). Everyone has seen the videos of the masses lining up like cattle on Black Friday, stampeding through aisles, and fighting each other like their the entertainment at Michael Vick’s house on a Saturday night. All the mega-corporate retailers and the corporate media have to do is ring a bell (SALE) and the dogs start salivating. Product placement, Hollywood star endorsements and influential people using a product immediately convince the easily manipulated dogs to salivate and purchase the products. The difference is that these dogs have credit cards issued by the Wall Street banks and funded by the Federal Reserve with dollars created out of thin air. We are inundated with millions of TV, newspaper, radio, billboard, and internet advertisements designed to make us salivate (spend). Huxley’s dystopian vision of a society whose economic values, in which individual happiness is defined as the ability to satisfy needs, and achievement as a society is equated with economic growth and prosperity, has come to full fruition. He never conceived of consumers having the ability to consume without even having the money to do so. The credit card became our form of Soma. The so called progressives point to our ever increasing “advancements” in technology as proof that our society is progressing. Huxley knew otherwise, decades before we reached this disgusting point in history:
“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” – Aldous Huxley
In reality our “technological progress” has done nothing more than create a humorless, shallow, superficial world of alienation and egocentric desires. Just as in Huxley’s Brave New World, science and technology have not been used to seek truth and advance our culture. They have been used by the State to sensor, control, and monitor the citizens. They use technology as a means to create electronic entertainment machines that generate both harmless leisure and the high levels of consumption and production that are the basis of societal stability and state designed happiness. When those in control talk about progress, they mean greater control over our lives. When the consumption of material goods isn’t enough to fill the holes within our souls, our owners are quick to prescribe a pill to smooth over those feelings of unease and discontent. In Huxley’s novel the population voluntarily consumes Soma to dispel any anxieties or negative emotion. The saying was, “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.” In America the government controlled drug industry has thousands of pills to treat every ailment or unhappy thought that might ail you. Just don’t try and treat yourself with an unapproved natural or banned substance. The threat of imprisonment always lurks in the shadows. They just want us to be interchangeable bricks in the wall.
And the Worms Ate Into His Brain
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley
Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
The tragic deaths of twenty children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut this past week and the similar tragedies in Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson are a reflection of the twisted society we’ve created. The progressive control freak do-gooders that believe the government can solve all problems and improve our lives with another law or regulation, have as usual come to the wrong solution for the wrong problem. Stricter gun control laws would not have averted this this tragedy. Connecticut has the 5th toughest gun restrictions in the country according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The guns were purchased legally by the mother of the killer. Mentally deranged people should not have access to guns, knives, automobiles, gasoline, or baseball bats. The real issue is not what he used to kill these innocent people, it’s what caused him to snap. Those in power want to divert the attention from this crucial question. In Huxley’s novel the characters do everything they can to avoid confronting the truth about their own lives. They try to alter reality by ingesting Soma, encouraged by the state as the ultimate form of willful self-delusion. Soma clouds the realities of the present and replaces them with happy hallucinations, and is thus a tool for promoting social stability. America has taken Huxley’s dystopian vision to an extreme. There are millions of children in this country being drugged on a daily basis to keep them under control. A majority of the mass murderers were taking psychotropic drugs, including the mentally deranged killer this week. These killings are a result of the state sponsored drugging of children, a culture that promotes narcissism, broken families and our technologically enhanced suburban sprawl isolation from human relationships, love and compassion for others.
We glorify technology even though it encourages the building of brick walls, creating a self-imposed isolation from society. The traditional family unit has been discarded, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 43% of all children born out of wedlock. Millions of families are dysfunctional, with parents too busy with their careers and acquiring material possessions, to bother with raising their children in a loving nurturing way. One in ten American adults choose to escape their man made cells with prescription anti-depressants. Almost one in four women in their 40s and 50s are popping pills to escape their depressing lives. Huxley envisioned a Soma Nation. America is a Prozac Nation. The wealthy think medicating their kids, spoiling them with toys, gadgets and cars, and occupying their days with organized sports and activities passes for involved parenting. Poor urban children are lucky if they ever lay eyes on their father. Ignorance, violence, and dependency are a given for most of these kids. And all of these children are matriculated into the government run schools whose sole purpose is to teach kids what to think, rather than how to think. Our owners need to keep us “happy” and focused on feelings, material possessions, and an infinite number of distractions, so they can retain control and continue their pillaging of the national wealth.
Our leaders have attempted to design their own Brave New World, retaining control by making America’s citizens so contented and superficially fulfilled that they no longer care about their personal freedoms, liberties and civic responsibilities. The consequences of increasing state power are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions. We are losing our humanity. The society created by Bernays and his minions who occupy the executive suites in NYC and slither through the halls of Congress has been built upon destroying all human truths, such as love, friendship, community, and personal connections. Decades of media propaganda, public education mind control, and peddling of debt convinced the majority that happiness meant immediate gratification of our desires for food, sex, drugs, clothes, iGadgets, and all the other consumer crap made in corporate sponsored slave labor factories across Asia. These delusional hallucinations of happiness are the prison walls we’ve built brick by brick.
“This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” – Aldous Huxley
It took the intellectuals and progressives that wield power across the land only moments to hijack the feelings of sorrow and pain sweeping the nation, to misdirect attention from the mental illnesses caused by the society they’ve created, towards the false storyline that gun violence is sweeping the land. In reality, violent crime has been falling for over a decade as gun sales have soared. The homicide rate in this country is the lowest since 1964, with the vast majority of homicides occurring in the urban kill zones created by the five decade long progressive war on poverty. The truth is of no interest to those brandishing power. After decades of conditioning, the masses are psychologically captive to the messages designed to make them salivate. They will be compelled to think, feel and act as instructed by the Alphas. There will be calls for more police, despite the fact that police rarely stop a crime. With all of their armaments, technology, high powered weaponry, and political clout, they can be counted on to arrive five minutes after the tragedy is over. But they are brilliant in luring clueless Muslim teenagers into terrorist plots, picking the target, providing the fake bombs, and taking credit for foiling the plots they created. More union police officers will increase our safety as much as more union teachers have made our kids smarter. This tragedy will be used by the propagandists to impose further restrictions upon those who choose personal responsibility and self-reliance over dependency and trust in the efficiency and fairness of our benevolent government overlords.
As the father of three sons I can’t imagine the pain, sorrow and emptiness the parents of these beautiful children must be experiencing. The grief is overwhelming. I mourn for the children and adults slaughtered by a mentally deranged young man created by our truly perverted culture of alienation. I mourn for the children being raised in a society run by evil psychopathic liars that use the power of propaganda and the tools of debt to control and manipulate its citizens. I mourn for unborn generations that will be forced to confront the dreadful depraved chaos created by our culture of egocentric greed and narcissism. The things we value in this culture – accumulating wealth, outward beauty, acquisition of material possessions, instant gratification, access to debt, government control, and curing our ills with drugs – are driving us insane. Who is really abnormal in a profoundly abnormal society? Believing that possessions, more laws or another medication will truly make us happy is insane. Popping a pill, buying a new iPhone, or passing another law will not cure the disease that permeates this nation. We need to recapture the humanity, civic pride and self-responsibility that built this country. Only an awakened populace can change our course.
Huxley feared that our desires would ruin us. Orwell was afraid that what we fear would ruin us. The oligarchs have pushed the Huxley vision to its sustainable limit. The avarice and greed of these invisible power brokers has devoured the vast resources of the nation. These psychopaths weren’t satisfied with siphoning off most of the wealth of the country. They wanted it all and wrecked the global economy in their odious pursuit of mammon. We are now in the death throes of the most decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Those in power realize it is slipping away. Their “solutions” reflect an air of desperation. Their propaganda efforts have been redoubled. As more middle class workers lose their jobs, more young people graduate from college with tens of thousands in student loan debt and a future of dramatically reduced expectations, and more people are driven beyond their breaking point, this materialistic shroud of happiness will be torn asunder. Anger is building like a lava dome within a volcano. A critical thinking minority are questioning the motives of those in power. The unsustainability of our economic paradigm is certain. The seeds of revolution are being sown. Our society is only fantasy. The wall is too high. It will be up to an irate tireless minority of freedom minded citizens to tear down the wall. The alternative is to allow the worms to eat into our brains. Each of us must answer a simple question. Are you just another brick in the wall?
But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
The oligarchs will not give up without a fight. Their realization that the Brave New World method of controlling the masses has run its course has convinced them to shift their methods towards Orwell’s 1984 tactics. In part two of this series – Mother Should I Trust the Government? – I’ll address how the use of fear, war, pain, and surveillance are becoming the new controlling method of the oligarchs.
Lately I’ve been so distracted with events here in the UK I’ve not really been following what’s been going on over in the United States as much as I used to. But the recent news about Detroit’s bankruptcy has brought it back in focus for me – and it makes shocking reading.Its not just The Motor City that’s falling apart. The whole country seems to be crumbling into physical, economic and social decay, yet for some reason our media commentators on things economic, if they mention it all, tell us the US economic recovery is ahead of ours.
The truth seems to be very different. Youth unemployment over there is higher than its ever been, with African American youth unemployment currently well over 40%. Like here, a low wage economy is causing unprecedented poverty forcing almost 48 million families on to food stamps – the equivalent of food banks over here.And a chronic lack of investment in infrastructure has led to a dangerous neglect of buildings, roads and bridges making some cities appear worse than Afghanistan in places.
What worried me most though were the countless reports found all over the internet of the erosion of American citizens’ Constitutional rights. Some are now calling the ‘land of the free, home of the brave’ a police state. They talk of arbitrary arrests, children being confiscated, FEMA camps and perpetual ID checks by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) who use the excuse of terrorism and drug trafficking as reasons to set up road blocks and search people’s cars,often in frighteningly intimidating fashion. According to blogger Michael Snyder, for example:-
Increasingly, police departments all over the United States are being transformed into military-style units. These days, even very minor violations of the law can result in a SWAT team raid…Once upon a time, the police were one of the most respected institutions in America, but now most Americans fear them. Almost every single day there are multiple stories of police brutality or misconduct that make the national news.
So what exactly is going on over in America? And could it happen here? Could this be the reason behind David Cameron’s anxiety to get rid of our Human Rights Act? I found the following article by James Quinn, a senior director of strategic planning at a major US university, who has blogged a lot about the deterioration of American society. You’ll find quite a lot of frightening parallels to what’s happening here…
Obedience To Authority, Should We Trust The Government?
Jan 02, 2013
Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?
Mother, do you think they’ll like this song?
Mother, do you think they’ll try to break my balls?
Mother, should I build the wall?
Mother, should I run for president?
Mother, should I trust the government?
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?
Is it just a waste of time?
Pink Floyd – Mother
The lyrics to Mother had both a literal and figurative meaning for Roger Waters. He was literally describing his overprotective single mother (his father was killed in World War II) building walls to protect him from the outside world. The figurative meaning is Big Mother sending its boys off to war and using fear to control and manipulate the masses. At the time he wrote this song in 1979, the Soviet Union was thought to be at its peak of power and the Berlin Wall represented a boundary between good and evil. Nuclear war was still a looming fear. Waters has always had a dim view of totalitarian states and institutions (English schools). Having seen his Wall Tour performance this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with a diverse crowd of 40,000, ranging in age from senior citizens to teenagers, it seems this song has gained new meaning. He sang a duet with himself from 1980 projected on the Wall and when he sang the lyric, “Mother, should I trust the government?” the entire stadium responded in unison – NO!!! This revealed a truth that is not permitted to be discussed by the corporate mainstream media acting as a mouthpiece for the ruling class. A growing legion of citizens in this country does not trust the government. This is very perceptive on their part.
In part one of this two part series – Hey You – I examined how an invisible government of wealthy, power hungry men have utilized the propaganda techniques of Edward Bernays and lured the American people into a narcissistic, techno-gadget, debt based servitude. Over the last one hundred years they have created a totalitarian state built upon egotism, material goods, and fulfilling our desires through Wall Street peddled debt and mass consumerism. It has been an incredibly effective form of control that has convinced the masses to love their servitude. The ruling oligarchs correctly chose the painless, amusement saturated, soft totalitarianism of Huxley’s Brave New World over the fearful, pain inflicting, surveillance state, house of horrors detailed in Orwell’s 1984.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
The nefarious establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913, launch of welfare programs in the 1930s, expansion of the entitlement state in the 1960s, creation of the credit card in 1970, mass media marketing propaganda, and the formation of an empire of debt laid the foundation for a society based on triviality, egotism, irrelevance and mass delusion. The conscious manipulation of the habits and opinions of the masses by an invisible government of powerful men using media propaganda and easy to access consumer credit has reached its mathematical limit. The oligarchs built a society dependent upon exponential growth. This unsustainable prototype began to show signs of strain in the 1990s. The powerful interests have been growing ever more desperate and blatantly obvious in their looting and pillaging of the debt bloated carcass of a country. They used their control of the political system to repeal Glass-Steagall, allowing the Wall Street banking cabal to become Too Big to Control. The oligarch puppets at the Wall Street controlled Federal Reserve did the bidding of their masters by reducing interest rates and expanding the money supply to create two epic bubbles.
The Dot.com bubble was created by Wall Street utilizing hype and misinformation to fleece millions into believing we had entered a new paradigm. The only people who got rich were the Wall Street hucksters, shysters and shills. When the Dot.com bubble burst, Alan Greenspan came to the rescue, at the urging of Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman, by creating the largest banker made bubble in the history of the world. The combination of excessively low mortgage rates, complete lack of regulatory oversight by the Federal Reserve, control fraud committed by the Wall Street banks, and buying frenzy stirred up by the corporate MSM and NAR, led to the biggest financial collapse since 1929.
The white collared psychopathic criminals on Wall Street reaped billions in profits, paid themselves millions in bonuses, and cost taxpayers trillions when it all blew up in 2008. The ruling elite have added $6 trillion to our national debt and their central banker has added another $2 trillion to our ultimate tab, while providing free money to their Wall Street bank owners. They realize their efforts to restart the exponential growth engine have failed. They gutted our productive manufacturing based economic system by shipping the blue collar jobs overseas to Chinese slave labor facilities, replaced workers with machines, stimulated consumption with unlimited distribution of high interest debt, and allowed conglomerates to drive small business owners out of business with their cheap foreign sourced goods, all in the name of capitalism. The plan worked so well that real wages haven’t risen in 40 years, inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the middle class, 47.7 million people are dependent on food stamps to survive, and the masses can’t even afford the cheap slave labor produced trinkets any more. There is too little cash, too few jobs, too much debt, too many takers, too few makers, too many bankers, too much delusion, and too few resources to sustain the unsustainable. We have entered the end stages of a ravenous locust swarm. The fields have been stripped barren.
When the men in smoke filled rooms realized their soft totalitarianism was losing its grip on the oblivious, submissive, egoistical, distracted masses, they began phase two of their effort to retain their wealth, power and control. They began to institute Orwellian measures to strike fear into the populace. Their illusion of control is dissipating and they are resorting to force in order to maintain hegemony. It began with the immediate passage of the Orwellian Patriot Act one month after 9/11. Did the corporate media question how a 363 page all-encompassing expansion of police state power was written in a few weeks after 9/11 and passed by October 26? They did not. The bill was pre-written and ready for instant implementation when the time was right. The Orwellian version of America was launched.
“If the ideology had been a lie, then they are not heroes and gods on earth, but monsters and criminals, and their life has been self-serving and meaningless, without significance and honor. And that is the credibility trap. It is the impulse for the leaders to keep doubling down in the hope of a win, until exhaustion and collapse.” – Jesse
Obedience to Authority
“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.” – Stanley Milgram – Obedience to Authority
Just as Edward Bernays knew the unruly masses could be manipulated by propaganda and molded to believe whatever the small group of intellectually superior men wanted them to believe, conditioning using fear and authoritarian methods have also been perfected by the ruling class. Doctor Stanley Milgram unwittingly provided the oligarchs with confirmation the average citizen could be ordered to do anything by invoking expertise and authority over their subjects. Milgram started his experiments in 1961, shortly after the trial of the World War II criminal Adolph Eichmann had begun. Eichmann’s defense that he was simply following orders when he exterminated millions of Jews roused Milgram’s interest. How could millions of Germans participate and condone such genocide? Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs.
Writer Kendra Cherry describes the experiment:
The participants in the Milgram experiment were 40 men recruited using newspaper ads. Milgram developed an intimidating shock generator, with shock levels starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts. The many switches were labeled with terms including “slight shock,” “moderate shock” and “danger: severe shock.” The final two switches were labeled simply with an ominous “XXX.”
Each participant took the role of a “teacher” who would then deliver a shock to the “student” every time an incorrect answer was produced. While the participant believed that he was delivering real shocks to the student, the student was actually a confederate in the experiment who was simply pretending to be shocked.
As the experiment progressed, the participant would hear the learner plead to be released or even complain about a heart condition. Once the 300-volt level had been reached, the learner banged on the wall and demanded to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.
Most participants asked the experimenter whether they should continue. The experimenter issued a series of commands to prod the participant along:
The level of shock that the participant was willing to deliver was used as the measure of obedience. How far do you think that most participants were willing to go? When Milgram posed this question to a group of Yale University students, it was predicted that no more than 3 out of 100 participants would deliver the maximum shock. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram’s study delivered the maximum shocks.
Of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks while 14 stopped before reaching the highest levels. It is important to note that many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught and angry at the experimenter. Yet they continued to follow orders all the way to the end. Why did so many of the participants in this experiment perform a seemingly sadistic act on the instruction of an authority figure? According to Milgram, there are a number of situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience:
The American people have been participants in their very own Milgram experiment being conducted by their government since 9/11. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, the government continues to demand that its citizens increase the voltage in the name of security. Since 2001, the Orwellian measures have included:
Just as Milgram pondered how the German people could follow the orders of those in authority to slaughter millions, one must ponder how the American people have allowed those in power to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms and liberties in the name of safety and security. They have conditioned the masses to passively accept their fate by utilizing fear, authoritarian measures, thought control, and propaganda. Human beings never change. They have been driven by emotions throughout history – fear, greed, love and hate. There will always be psychopathic men who seek wealth, power, glory and control. It happened during the decline of the Roman Empire and it is happening today during the decline of the American Empire.
“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.” – Tacitus
Big Brother is Watching You
“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.” – George Orwell – 1984
What the average person can’t seem to process through their government public school educated non-critical thinking brains is that there are actually a small group of bankers, politicians, corporate executives, media magnets, and shadowy billionaires who call the shots in this country. They constitute Bernays’ invisible government, run the show, mold the minds, form the opinions, suggest the ideas, and create the reality for the masses because they believe they are intellectually superior. The left/right and Democrat/Republican discord is a planned diversion for the masses. The country has devolved into a corporate fascist warfare/welfare state. We are clearly moving in the direction of Orwell’s state in which government monitors and controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought will be against the law. The longer this is allowed to progress the more likely any effort to resist like Winston Smith will be met with brutal measures.
The parallels to Orwell dystopian nightmare state grow by the day. Those in control use technology to bombard Americans with psychological inducements designed to overwhelm the mind’s capability for autonomous thought. In Orwell’s 1984 the giant telescreen in every citizen’s room blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the failures and shortcomings of the Party appear to be triumphant successes. In Obama’s 2013 the 72 inch Chinese made HDTVs in every McMansion blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the zombie-like occupants buy trinkets and gadgets with a thin piece of plastic and makes the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya appear to be triumphant successes. Our corporate/fascist party uses their control over the media message to indoctrinate and control the public mind through propaganda and repetitive messaging. In Orwell’s world, the Party undermines family structure by inducting children into an organization called the Junior Spies, which brainwashes and encourages them to spy on their parents and report any instance of disloyalty to the Party. In our world children are indoctrinated in government run public schools that fill their brains with government manufactured history, social engineering claptrap and what they should think, rather than how to think. The Orwellian Department of Homeland Security (Thought Police) instructs them to report anyone they think is suspicious with their “See something, Say something” campaign. Children are “encouraged” to re-educate their parents about green energy and global warming. Corporations fund schools to advertise their products within the hallways of learning. The outputs of this corporate/fascist partnership are non-critical thinking, functionally illiterate, willfully ignorant Proles who obey the Party and consume products as instructed.
In Orwell’s 1984 the Party keeps the population in a general state of exhaustion by making them work long grueling hours at government run agencies. This was designed to keep them from thinking or having the energy to resist. About one in six workers work for the government in the United States, with a substantial portion of private jobs dependent upon government largesse. The true distinction in our society can be seen in the income levels over decades of our own Inner Party, Outer Party and Proles.
The government educated masses were purposely not taught about the impact of Federal Reserve created inflation on their lives. Even using the government manipulated CPI, the real household incomes of the masses have barely risen in the last forty five years. Using a true measure of inflation, the real household incomes of the average family have fallen. In addition, prior to the 1980s those household incomes were predominantly provided with one parent working and the other raising the children. Today the vast majority of households require both parents to work in order to just tread water. Child rearing was delegated to the state and parents have been kept in a constant state of exhaustion, like hamsters in a cage on a spinning wheel. Household income was replaced by credit card debt, mortgage debt, auto debt, and student loan debt peddled by our very own Inner Party (Wall Street bankers). The Inner Party members have seen their incomes soar over the last four decades. This was not an accident.
As those at the top accumulate an ever increasing percentage of the national wealth, while consolidating their power through ever more sophisticated use of technology for surveillance, warfare, and financial theft; urban decay and blight spreads across the land. Totalitarian regimes are ferociously effective at augmenting their own power and wretchedly incompetent at providing for their citizens. Just as the London in Orwell’s dystopian world was a decrepit, run down city in which buildings were crumbling, amenities such as elevators never worked, and basics such as electricity and plumbing were exceedingly undependable, the urban killing fields that are home to tens of millions in the United States are dangerous, disintegrating, hallowed out carcasses of once thriving metropolises. Hunger, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and violence are the earmarks of society for the Proles. True unemployment exceeds 20%, with youth and minority unemployment exceeding 40%. There are 47.7 million Americans subsisting on food stamps (program administered by JP Morgan), accounting for 20% of all the households in the country.
The incompetency and mismanagement by our totalitarian governing body is evident for all to see, as bridges collapse, water mains burst, gas lines explode, mass transit shuts down and structures deteriorate due to decades of neglect. The priorities of those in power are clearly visible as they spend trillions on weapons used to attack sovereign countries, distribute billions in “aid” to foreign dictators, provide trillions to the criminal banking cabal on Wall Street, and devote billions to technology designed to monitor and control their citizens. Our entire rotting, fetid, bloated, corrupt society has about reached its limits. It is only a matter of time until it implodes like the former Soviet Union.
“Diminishing returns of ever-increasing complexity addressed with ever-more layers of complexity, larded with systematic lying based on mystifying, opaque jargon, sanctioned statistical misreporting, felonious cronyism, and scuttling of the rule of law. In short, the markets have been taken over in effect by a criminal racketeering syndicate. In doing this, so much resilience has been removed from these market structures that they are riddled with rot, like a mansion infested with carpenter ants.” – Jim Kunstler
We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry.
Mamma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true,
Mamma’s gonna put all of her fears into you,
Mamma’s gonna keep you right here, under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing,
Mamma’s gonna keep baby cozy and warm.
Oooh babe, Oooh babe, Oooh babe,
Of course Mamma’s gonna help build the wall.
Pink Floyd – Mother
The concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak are alive and well in our increasingly Orwellian society. The massive long-term campaign of large-scale psychological manipulation, described in detail by Edward Bernays in 1928, has succeeded in breaking down the capacity for independent thought by the masses. Those in control of the media have molded the minds of millions to believe anything the government tells them, even while possessing information that runs counter to what they are being told. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the government and their media propaganda mouthpieces had convinced 69% of the American public that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks, even though there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support that claim. The storyline of Iraqi soldiers murdering Kuwaiti babies in their incubators during the first Gulf War was another example of propaganda designed to manipulate public opinion. By controlling the media message, those in power control the present and can manipulate the past. The government controls the curriculum in public schools and writes our history to conform to whatever storyline that supports their agenda. With 20% of the adult population in this country functionally illiterate, the formulation of ideas or critical thought is virtually impossible for these people. This is exactly what is desired by the ruling class.
The outrageous example of Doublethink in Orwell’s 1984 occurs during the Hate Week rally. The Party shifts its diplomatic allegiance, so the nation it has been at war with suddenly becomes its ally (Eurasia), and its former ally becomes its new enemy (Eastasia). When the Party speaker suddenly changes the nation he refers to as an enemy in the middle of his speech, the crowd accepts his words immediately, and is ashamed to find that it has made the wrong signs for the event. The American people have been programmed to accept the same logic from our leaders. Saddam Hussein was our ally when he was fighting our enemy Iran, who had been our ally ever since we had overthrown their democratically elected leader in the 1950s. Then he became our enemy for using weapons of mass destruction, provided to him by the U.S., on his own people and threatening our control over Middle Eastern oil. Osama bin Laden was our ally when he was fighting our mortal enemy, the Soviet Union. Then he became our mortal enemy because we refused to leave Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War. Ghadafi was our sworn enemy after blowing up an airliner filled with Americans, until he helped us after 9/11 and became an ally. Then he became an enemy again for fighting to maintain his dictatorship. Mubarak was an ally for decades as we provided him billions in military hardware so he could brutally maintain control. Then he became an enemy when we decided he was no longer of use. Do you get the picture?
Do you see any parallels between Orwell’s Ministry of Plenty (oversees economic shortages); the Ministry of Peace (wages war); the Ministry of Truth (conducts propaganda and historical revisionism); and the Ministry of Love (the center of the Party’s operations of torture and punishment) and our Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, and Department of Homeland Security?
“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” – George Orwell
Should I Trust the Government?
So the oligarchs have utilized all the plays in Huxley’s playbook and are half way through Orwell’s playbook, but they are rapidly losing their credibility as a small minority of critical thinking people is using the internet to spread the truth and form phyles with like-minded citizens with similar values based on liberty and freedom. The political system is broken beyond repair as $2 billion was spent during this last “election” to maintain the status quo. The looting and pillaging of the middle class continues, while the poor are kept controlled, sedated and enslaved by entitlements, debt, drugs and prisons. The financial system is succumbing to the mountains of debt that have been accumulated trying to keep the game going. In the last ten years worldwide total credit market debt, on balance sheets, sovereign obligations, corporate debt, household debt – has grown from $80 trillion to just over $200 trillion. U.S. unfunded liabilities committed to by the politician parasites that pass for our representatives surpass $200 trillion. There are $1.2 quadrillion of interconnected derivatives outstanding in the world today, 20 times the size of the worldwide economy. The accumulation of worldwide debt, aging developed country populations, depletion of resources, perpetual war, financial fraud and rampant corruption are going to lead to a collapse of epic proportions. It may not happen in 2013, but it will happen within the next five years. Jesse explains why the status quo will never relinquish their power, illegally acquired wealth and control without a fight:
“A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including them. The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.
And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counter-productive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.
The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious hypocrisy.”
The people of this country must regain a sense of responsibility for their lives and the lives of future generations. Enough people need to perceive they are being manipulated, controlled and used by the thought leaders and awaken from their narcissistic materialistic debt financed lives. Our culture has failed. The animosity and anger in the country is beginning to bubble over. The masses are beginning to realize they have been screwed. They haven’t figured out who to blame because they are still trapped in the Republican/Democrat false dogma. There is one Party putting on a show, as displayed this week with the fiscal cliff farce, as the government controlled media proclaimed victory because the status quo was maintained, nothing was cut, and $4 trillion was added to the National Debt. More people need to question and challenge the authorities. We must cast aside our willful ignorance of facts and accept the consequences of decades of bad decisions and delusions of grandeur. More government is not the answer. We must break free of the conditioning and mind control used to make us love our servitude and trust those in power.
Kyle Bass recently revealed a fact about our government leaders:
“They’re not going to tell you that a collapse is coming. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen. These guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, not to tell you the truth.”
We need more people to respond to Roger Waters’ question, “Mother, should I trust the government?” with this answer before we can begin to tear down the wall that seemed too high.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
Join me at www.TheBurningPlatform.com to discuss truth and the future of our country.
James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.
Makes you wonder what these two really talk about, doesn’t it?
The following post is reblogged from the Black Feminists website who have set up a petition against the current disgraceful behaviour from the Home Office involving the offensive “Go Home” vans and stop and search policy at tube stations. Please sign their petition which can be found on their website by following the link above. Lets show David Cameron and his party of prejudice that we won’t stand by and let them treat people like this.
Visa Checks in Tube Stations – and They’re Not New #UKBA
August 3, 2013 in Immigration
By Kiri Kahkhwende
Spot immigration checks on public transport are in the headlines now – its news now, but it’s certainly not new. An exclusive report by the Independent calls it “the new stop and search”. Londoners have been tweeting eyewitness reports of predominantly black people being stopped at tube stations in places like Walthamstow and Stratford. One incident at Kensal Green tube station was witnessed by a reporter for the New Statesman, who duly reported on it.
However, anecdotal reports from people living in West and North London suggest that these spot immigration checks have been going on since at least 2008. This would appear to be backed up by an episode from the first season of Sky’s UK Border Force programme, made in 2008, which shows, in the first six minutes, a team from UK Border Force stopping a black man at North Greenwich station and later arresting him when he tries to flee. They do not specify how they know that someone is an illegal immigrant; the officer states only that they are looking for “anyone suspected of committing immigration offences.” An African man who challenges the officers (“Go and control your borders, not the station!”) is also stopped.
He has a point. Random checks at tube stations are not an effective border control solution. It is inconsistent and serves only one purpose; PR. Like the ‘racist van’, it is a publicity stunt aimed at reassuring the British public that the government is doing something about illegal immigration and but the effects of these stunts are felt disproportionately by people of colour.
You can’t tell someone’s immigration status just by looking at them. Notably, these checks have not extended to Clapham or Earl’s Court, where high numbers of Australians and New Zealanders live. Instead, the checks are happening – and have been happening for years – in mixed areas of London, in tube stations and on buses. The ‘racist van’ controversy has brought this into the public domain but racial profiling is rife in areas of London outside of the media gaze. The only difference now is that we’re more aware of it.
This is the new stop and search. And like stop and search, its benefits are disputed but its damage to community relations is undeniable. The assumption underlying this is that only white people are British. Those defending tough policing aren’t just overlooking their prejudices about race and Britishness, they are denying the historic resonance of black people arbitrarily being asked to justify their right to belong.
Know your rights. There is a growing abundance of information about what to do in case you are stopped, the responsibilities of the officer involved and how you should respond. This infographic is a handy tool – print it off, carry it with you, share it. For an in-depth analysis of your rights and the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) own rules on the checks, read Ian Dunt’s article on politics.co.uk on the high standard which officers have to meet to make a spot immigration check. Even if you’re not stopped, you can help someone else: Record everything. You can also inform the person of their rights.
And if you’re stopped, remember: “It is illegal for an officer to conduct a speculative check on your immigration status. If you are a commuter simply going to the Tube station, you do not satisfy this standard. Demand to know why you are being questioned. If you do not receive a decent answer, inform the officer of your rights and walk away. You can walk away, because this is a free country.”
Its that time of year when people up sticks and head off for a couple of weeks of sea, sand and souvlaki. Only everyone’s skint this year, thanks to the Bedroom tax, the fuckups over benefits that have left people penniless for weeks on end, the…
For the last few days the Home Office has been tweeting boastfully about the number of arrests that have been made by officers of the UKBA of ‘suspected’ illegal immigrants in London boroughs. The underlying message this sends is chilling to say the least. They give no information about where these unfortunate people are being held, or under what conditions. Have they had access to legal representation? We don’t know. How long will they be held for? We have no idea.
As this Home Office experiment was about to launch the Sun did a poll of its readers asking if they supported the ‘migrant vans’. From the results, seen here, it would seem that even rampantly right wing Sun readers are not overwhelmingly in favour of this latest demonstration of Tory bigotry. And when I checked out the (huge) response on Twitter, last night, to the Home Office’s boasts of arrests NOT A SINGLE ONE expressed support; in fact the overall message to the Home Office can be summed up as ” This is disgusting. Not in my name, please”.
Then this morning, by a strange coincidence, I came across the following blog post reporting on a comparable situation in Greece, which although more extreme than what’s going on here, made me wonder nonetheless just how close we were to scenes like it….
Operation Zeus in August last year marked the start of an ugly reminder of a European past that we thought we had long buried. Nearly 60 years after the end of the Second European War, migrants were round up from the streets of Greece and shoved unceremoniously…