Socialist Worker

Target Practice

Issue No. 1787

The Israeli army plans to build a mock Palestinian city in the middle of the desert to practise laying siege to Palestinian areas. Senior Israeli army sources openly talk of carrying out increasingly large-scale operations invading Palestinian areas.

Ariel Sharon's government is set to pay $8 million to build the mock city. The Israeli Defence Force will practise carrying out raids, roadblocks, checkpoints, and armed house to house searches. They will then use their well rehearsed deadly methods to assault real Palestinians.

'The military are prepared to go in with massive forces to Jenin and Nablus, and find, identify and destroy as much as possible,' confirmed Gerald Steinberg, an Israeli professor who specialises in security issues. An unnamed Israeli Defence Force commander said, 'If the mission is seizing a densely populated refugee camp or taking over the Qasaba in Nablus then we must analyse lessons of earlier battles-even, however shocking it may sound, how the German army fought in the Warsaw Ghetto.'

It is no surprise, then, that Ariel Sharon's year in power has been the bloodiest in Palestine for a generation.

Is this a fair cop?

The Police are to misuse the draconian powers of New Labour's anti-terrorism measures. New Labour argued that the sweeping powers were needed to fight the new threat of terrorism.

Yet police on patrol in Westminster, the area seen as one of the most likely potential terrorist targets, have not once used these powers. But the police are so anxious to hold on to the powers that they are massaging the figures. A leaked memo about security patrols in Westminster sent to officers by a superintendent is 'encouraging' officers to stop and search people walking in central London.

Are these people suspected of committing a crime? No. The memo states the reason is 'to support future applications for its continuance'.

Lord Wakeham, the ex Tory cabinet minister and infamous Enron executive, can still manage to rake in money for nothing.

Wakeham stood down as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). He is now due to face questioning about his role in the Enron collapse. But Wakeham is still pocketing the £156,000 that goes with the PCC job.

Does your estate look quite like this?

Priviledged residents in London's most upmarket housing estate face being exposed to the reality of the market. Dolphin Square is a plush council estate in Westminster. Unlike most council estates, it houses nearly 50 MPs, a variety of retired generals and barristers, and a selection of well heeled residents. Tenants include former Tory leader William Hague and his wife Ffion, and Labour's former cabinet minister Jack Cunningham.

They have enjoyed some of the lowest rents in London. Many pay as little as £62 a week for spacious apartments that come with 24-hour porterage, tennis courts, landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. Unlike your own council estate, it even features its own Gary Rhodes restaurant. Since 1964 Westminster council has subsidised the rent for all residents who use their apartments for at least four nights a week and don't have a second home in London.

Now Westminster council may sell off the lease to a private company, and rents are set to rise. Meanwhile Westminster council is hounding people sleeping rough. The richest council borough in the country is considering setting up a hotline. Rather than using this to help house people, it wants to encourage people to snitch on those begging!

Where others fear to tread

DELEGATES ARE looking forward to a corporate security summit due to take place in London next month. A keynote workshop will be on 'The psychology of fear and its implication for risk management'.

It will cover 'maintaining the trust of your employees', 'judging the level of information to divulge' and 'legalities involved in managing awareness'. Who better to deliver it than Jamie Jemmson-head of security at Enron.

Pissing off the palace

When Police chief superintendent Kevin Pitt flew to Lithuania, the government of the former Eastern Bloc country expected to get a few tips on tackling corruption.

Instead, after a night out, Pitt, the district commander of Stockton-on-Tees police, was captured on CCTV urinating on the presidential palace. Security officers watching the CCTV ran out and seized him. A local official compared Pitt's behaviour to 'having a pee against Buckingham Palace'.

The Belgian government has finally apologised for its part in the assassination of Congo's elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961.

Louis Michel, the Belgian foreign minister, read out the apology during a parliamentary debate into the killing of the first prime minister of Congo. An official Belgian government report admits that it bears a moral responsibility for Lumumba's killing, and also narrows down the precise time that he was executed.

Things they say

'SOMEWHERE in the world today walks the next Marx. He or she will attempt to seize upon the trends behind today's headlines to shape a competitor to 'American capitalism' that the disenfranchised in nations around the world can embrace.'
DAVID ROTHKOPF, former director of Kissinger Associates and Under-Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration

'I GOT $3,500 over ten years, but our friend, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, she got $99,000. Heck, I'm the chairman of the committee. That was an insult.'
ERNEST G HOLLINGS, chair of the US Senate commerce committee on contributions from Enron

'FOR THIS contribution you're going to get good government. You're going to get a president that has a great mind.'
DON EVANS, US Commerce Secretary, on what he told all corporate donors to Bush's election campaign

'THIS IS very reminiscent of the 1970s. A lot of the big union leaders, particularly in the public sector, appear unable to deliver their members. There is a growing band of militancy.'
Confederation of British Industry director general DIGBY JONES

'AFTER Enron's demise, many people think that accountants should be given as strict a time as the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. They are right.'
Business magazine the Economist

'THE MOST radical change would be to take responsibility for audits away from private accounting firms altogether and give it lock stock and barrel to the government. Perhaps such a change may yet become necessary.'

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 16 Feb 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1787
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