Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - All the bombs for the US war with Iran driven up the M4

Issue No. 2660

Weapons of mass destruction being placed on a lorry

Weapons of mass destruction being placed on a lorry


If you drove along the M4 motorway on one evening between 15 to 19 May you may have noticed large fleets of lorries.

The 71 vehicles were taking part in the largest munitions transport in Britain for a decade.

The lorries were provided by the apparently private firm KC transport.

The shipment contained a total of 121 containers valued at about £140 million and 450,000 pounds of explosive weight.

The website secretbases.co.uk has revealed that the explosives landed at Newport Docks on US ship “Ocean Globe”.

They were transported to RAF Welford. Welford ceased being an RAF base when it was converted into the largest munitions storage facility in Europe. Its primary use is to provide the US air force airbase at Fairford, Gloucestershire, with its weapons.

The episode is evidence that the US sabre rattling over Iran has at some reality to it. It also shows how embedded Britain is with US imperialism.

Coincidently on Monday 17 June 2019, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber, that flies out of Fairford, made an emergency landing at RAF Mildenhall.

Two out of its eight engines cut out while on undisclosed “European theatre exercises” by US forces.

Meanwhile what the tabloids like to describe as “ELITE Navy commandos” have been sent to the Middle East.

The Special Boat Service (SBS) is, as the source close to the army told the papers, “trained to launch underwater attacks and to kill or capture anyone”.

“They work very closely with Royal Navy divers who are the specialists at disarming mines and protecting shipping,” added the source.

“The SBS have a more aggressive role.”


MPs’ free TV licences

More than half of MPs have claimed for a free television licence at our expense while 3.7 million people over 75 will soon be forced to start paying for one.

More than 320 MPs have claimed £154.50 for a TV licence for their second home or constituency. Since 2010 the bill has reached £323,104—two thirds of it going to current MPs, according to the figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

One claimant is Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, who was reimbursed for a licence for his London flat until 2015. He has claimed for another, for his constituency office in Kenilworth, near Coventry, since 2016.

The BBC announced plans to axe free licences for over 75s, except for the poorest pensioners.

MPs are paid at least £79,468.


Cops checking own databases

Dozens of police and civilian staff have been caught accessing databases for secret information.

Workers use the Police National Computer to spy on family, lovers, neighbours and colleagues. Or they get money and do favours for crooks.

Forces in England and Wales have dealt with least 168 internal disciplinaries in the past two years. The true number will be higher as not all forces replied to Freedom of Information requests.

London’s Met dealt with eight and Greater Manchester six. Devon and Cornwall fired three cops.


No new arms sales to killer Saudi Arabia regime

The Court of Appeal ruled last Thursday that the British secretary of state broke the law by allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia that might have been deployed by the Gulf-led coalition in the war in Yemen.

The case against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

It argued that the Saudi-led coalition likely violated international humanitarian law, breaking arms-export licence criteria.

Since the bombing campaign began in 2015, CAAT said Britain has licensed £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including aircraft, drones and bombs.

The court ruled that the government failed to assess the risk of misuse of those weapons properly.

The decision does not mean Britain must halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia. For now, it cannot grant any new export licences to sell arms to the kingdom, but existing licenses and contracts will continue.


100 Army instructors have abused recruits

More than 100 Army instructors have been disciplined for abusing recruits and other misconduct.

At least 122 non-commissioned officers have been court-martialled or disciplined over four years for offences including targeting young troops.

Instructors were accused of putting soldiers through twisted “hazing” ceremonies as well as fighting, stealing, drug-taking and viewing child pornorgraphy.

Four soldiers died at Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, Surrey, between 1995 and 2002.

There are roughly 1,000 instructors in the army.

Recruits claimed they were humiliated, kicked, punched, forced into sick initiation rituals and threatened with violence if they complained.

Last year it emerged a lengthy Army probe into abuse at training bases heard 40 recruits say they had suffered at the hands of 30 instructors.


Royals grab more of our cash

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Frogmore Cottage has been renovated with £2.4 million of our money.

Harry and Meghan’s country residence underwent work to turn five properties back into a single home.

Accounts for the Sovereign Grant, which funds the queen and her household’s expenses, show the monarchy cost us £67 million in 2018-19.

It’s a rise of almost £20 million on the previous financial year.


Brutal Tory cuts shut 817 libraries

More than 100 libraries are closing each year amid “brutal” annual Tory cuts of £213 million.

As a result, 817 were shut or handed to volunteers since 2010 —with just 3,660 council-run ones left.

Up to 10,000 staff have gone in “fairly brutal” shrinkage.


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