Socialist Worker

Spooks, spies and 'counter-terrorism'

Issue No. 1866

DAVID KAY heads the Iraq Survey Group, which will soon produce another report on weapons of mass destruction. Kay's background shows how 'impartial' that report will be. Under President Reagan, Kay was a chief scientist for the Pentagon, as well as serving as a section chief for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Administration of the UN) from 1983 until 1991.

After the first Gulf War in 1991, the US used its influence to get Kay made chief nuclear inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (Unscom) on Iraq. He was removed from the job as evidence mounted that he was acting as a US spy. He sent military information about Iraq straight to the US authorities rather than going through the UN.

From 1993 until recently Kay was also vice-president of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a company with extremely close ties to the Bush administration.

Last year Bush commissioned SAIC to construct a replica of a mobile WMD laboratory of the sort allegedly used by Saddam Hussein, supposedly for training teams searching for WMDs in Iraq. During the last 18 months SAIC has received US government contracts worth $1.6 billion. Much of the work is connected to the Star Wars programme and electronic measures to 'counter terrorism'.

Several SAIC employees were named as members of the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council earlier this year. The council is an organisation of Iraqi exiles who have now been sent back to aid the US occupation.

SAIC is now involved in the construction and operation of a US propaganda radio station at Umm Qasr. This is intended to be part of a network including a nationwide propaganda television channel and an 'independent' propaganda newspaper.

In the Frame No. 23 - Pauline Hanson

The racist Australian politician founded the anti-immigrant 'One Nation' party. She whipped up vicious prejudice against asylum seekers, dragging her views into mainstream Australian politics and becoming an MP. Last week she was jailed for three years for election fraud.

NHS's biting shortages

FIVE hundred miles-that's how far Glynis Ludkin had to travel to visit a dentist last week. She had to go from Yorkshire to her old dentist in Norfolk because of the dire shortage of NHS dentists.

Last month over 600 people queued outside a dental practice in Carmarthen in Wales when it opened its lists. The number of adults registered for NHS dentists is now 1.5 million lower than when Labour was elected in 1997. In London it is just 40 percent.

Cop cashes in on blackout

PEOPLE IN New York are trying to find the man most wanted for offences committed during the power blackout. He's not a looter or a drug addict-he's a policeman.

People stuck in a huge traffic gridlock sighed with relief when a police car pulled up, thinking they were going to be helped by the authorities. Instead the police officer began writing parking tickets for those stuck in the queues.

Flogged from cradle to grave

OVER TWO million pensioners have been forced to return to work to make ends meet, according to a new study. The Prudential insurance firm found one in five pensioners is now working full or part time.

The number working has increased dramatically over the past three months. The main reason given for the extra financial hardship was the steep rises in council tax.

Don't be taken for a ride

'ASYLUM SEEKERS Eat Our Donkeys' was the front page headline on the Daily Star last Thursday. This comes hot on the heels of the Sun's 'Swan Bake' story. The Sun accused asylum seekers of stealing and eating swans and ducks from parks around London.

The Sun claimed a police spokesperson backed up their story, but the police later denied it. That hasn't stopped the Daily Star reporting 'Swan Bake' as a fact. Nine donkeys were stolen from Greenwich Park, south east London. This was all the excuse the Daily Star needed to have a go at asylum seekers. The paper's 'evidence' is a quote from an unnamed 'police insider' who says, 'We are totally baffled over what happened to the donkeys. Our main line of inquiry is that they may have been taken by immigrants who like eating donkey meat.'

But the only named officer, a police inspector, does not mention asylum seekers as a line of inquiry, let alone the main line of inquiry. The Daily Star also says the dead donkeys have been spotted with Albanian immigrants giving rides on Kent beaches.

The sick privateers ringing up a profit

PEOPLE WITH sick relatives and friends are being charged between five and 12 times the standard rate to call their loved ones in hospital. Patientline, a private company approved by the NHS, has supplied a phone, television, e-mail and internet system to 84 hospitals around Britain, with another 50 contracts in the pipeline.

It charges people 39p a minute cheap rate and 49p peak rate to phone in to patients. The BT landline cheap rate is just 4p a minute, and 7p to 9p a minute for peak rate calls.

One relative, Hal Taylor, is forced to call his aunt, who is a patient at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, from Berkshire. He said, 'I am her only blood relative and I live 180 miles away. This is a rip-off. My aunt, who is 89, is outraged and refused to use it. This is another block to being in touch with a patient. At the very least the money should go back into the NHS.'

Figure it out - 70 million

Is the amount in pounds that new directory services have spent on advertising. Some will charge up to £1 a minute to connect your call.

Who says?

'It was grim, it was grim for me, grim for TB and there is this huge stuff about trust.'
Alastair Campbell confides about the Kelly affair in his diary

'Now the Americans know what we are suffering. My only wish is that the temperatures would rise in America, so they could know what it is to live in 60C heat without electricity.'
Ali al-Khatib from Baghdad on the US power cuts

'We've heard about phones that overheated, melted and, in the worst case, exploded.'
SPOKESPERSON FOR NOKIA after a mobile burst into flames in Amsterdam

'The way I see it, there are two elephants in British Airways' rowing boat. One of them is the pension, the other is the debt.'
ROD EDDINGTON BA's chief executive

'If you are a Tory MP you will be told, repeatedly, by people you will have never clapped eyes on before, that you are a 'Tory tosser'.'
BORIS JOHNSON Tory MP for Henley

'I feel proud and empowered. I'd rather it was a political reason that brought us down off the top of the charts than a musical one.'
NATALIE MAINES member of the US group Dixie Chicks, attacked for being anti-war

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Sat 30 Aug 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1866
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