G4S A Rehabilitated Offender?

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Group 4 Securicor, isn’t that the cheapskate company that found itself unable to supply the required security staff for the 2012 Olympics, and yet insisted on claiming its’
£57 million pound management fee? The very same. A not so little company actually; with at least 654,000 employees it’s the third largest employer in the world. Employing people like Nick Buckles (the UK CEO ), who last year had no idea why his companies recruitment efforts for the Olympic Security Team had proven so shoddy. And men like Danny Fitzsimons (who in 2009), shot and killed two of his G4S colleagues roughly 36 hours after his arrival in Iraq, in what was allegedly a drunken brawl. The company might have avoided the loss of three of its security personnel,had it heeded the warning of one employee who personally knew Mr Fitzsimons and thought it dangerous to employ him; given his criminal record and mental instability. A spokesperson for the company later admitted that he had not been vetted in strict line with the company’s procedures. Which surely shows that if you’re looking for an astute and competent service provider, G4S isn’t the company for you. In fact one would have to say that a company so adept at being incompetent has no business tendering for public service contracts.
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Which probably explains why Mr Grayling gave G4S HMP Wolds to run.
According to Simon Newberry (Head of Community Services and Interventions),
re-engage,re-train and re-employ were the watch words of the day in this ‘working’ prison. According to the company statistics,61.8% of the inmates entered further education upon release and 50% found employment after prison.Unfortunately for them Chris Grayling felt it necessary to hand HMP Wolds back to the public sector,the reason?Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons expressed concern at the high levels of illegal drug use, the degree of ‘idleness’ and the poor behaviour of some inmates( the 50% who weren’t destined to find work perhaps?).

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You can’t fault G4S’s determination though, not content with setting the new standard in prisoner rehabilitation, they’ve also been busy monitoring 15,000 tagged offenders. Tags require batteries in order to work and occasionally batteries fail and a tag will malfunction; which is when a G4S worker phones up, enquires where the offender is (in case he’s out clubbing and getting into a fight), and then makes arrangements to replace the batteries in the faulty device . Except that according to yet another ignored (and subsequently sacked) employee this rarely happened,instead G4S employees became ‘keyboard trigger happy’ (keys F4 & F7 to be precise) pressing the requisite keys in order to log the breach of curfew and never bothering to phone and check that the offender had actually breached the conditions of their probation.
Take for example, prisoner B, aged 64,out on early release and sat happily at home one evening reading a book, the battery in his tag failed, G4S was alerted and with out bothering to phone him contacted the police notifying them that he had breached his curfew. Fortunately for him his probation officer realised what had happened and contacted G4S post haste, others have not been so lucky. Many offenders sitting happily at home watching the TV have been mistakenly logged as breaching the conditions of their curfew because of the poor condition of the electronic tags they’ve been fitted with, and have subsequently been sent back to prison for breaching their probation. The real reason their lives were upended? G4S was paid to fit and remove the electronic tags to the tune of £62.3 million, it got paid absolutely nothing for making those calls and monitoring the whereabouts of offenders. And so it discouraged its employees from doing so.
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The British taxpayers funding the persistently negligent services of G4S would never have known of this were it not for a maths teacher ,who worked for G4S part-time and who blew the whistle on the company’s practices.

According to the right wing Conservative think tank ‘Reform’

‘The evidence shows that a greater role for the private sector will advance the [prison] rehabilitation revolution which ministers want to deliver’

G4S has proven its inability to run public sector services repeatedly, yet still it gets awarded public sector contracts. One could be mistaken for viewing this as a classic case of ideology (and profit) driving competitive tendering with little or no regard for the genuine rehabilitation of the service users, let alone the wishes of the taxpayers funding it.
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G4S Shares Fall Amid Revelations Of Financial Scandal

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ALL A LADY’S RAGE: WOMEN & RAP MUSIC

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‘A sexually vulgar lady who dresses in a sexually vulgar way is a winner in our books. We just wouldn’t put a ring on that finger, if you know what I mean.’
– Ask Men: Better tweets for the better man

A bald statement of fact based on an even balder assumption that the lady in question would want to marry the writer of those words in the first place.

The first female rapper to have a number one on the American Billboard 100. The only female rapper (other than Missy Elliott) to have three platinum albums. One of the few female rappers to own her own record label (Queen Bee).

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Lil’ Kim is a woman who has in her day, posed nude in the back of a Limousine for a TV ad and given media interviews with her legs open and no underwear on. In the year she co-endorsed Mac’s Viva Glam III range of cosmetics, they made $4million, more than in any previous cosmetics campaign.

“Being dirty is good, it’s what made me what I am today, it’s what people love.”

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And what business man would have disagreed with her? Certainly not Larry Flynt, the porn magnate, whose video company has produced several profitable adult entertainment movies with another celebrated rapper, Snoop Dogg. And certainly not all the women who bought $4 million of cosmetics just because she endorsed them.
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To the women, Lil’ Kim and artists like her inspire, it’s all about female empowerment, the right to be as sexual and as sensual as you want to be without being judged.

‘The ability to get what you want when you want it without apology.’
– Lauryn Doll

Except that in what is still a predominately male industry heavily flavoured by sexism and some would say misogyny, getting what you want is never quite that simple.

For whilst rappers like Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre are still considered to be in their prime, from a musical point of view Lil’ Kim is well past her sell by date. In the words of Wendy Williams, the celebrity show presenter,

” For whatever reason we don’t like our lady rappers to be rapping past the age of thirty three years old”

‘For whatever reason’ a polite way of stating that for female rappers any success they enjoy will be limited in it’s duration, because ultimately they will age and therefore cease to be what the predominately male consumers of this music choose to fantasise about.

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And that’s the fate of the forty year old sexualised female rapper; just as disempowering as that of the middle aged porn star.

Why We Have Incorporated The ECHR

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Ever heard of a parent pulling their child into the middle of a duel carriageway and leaving them there? Or dispassionately looking on as their child opened a second floor window and then disappeared through it? No? Why? Because caring parents wouldn’t do that. They don’t neglect to feed their kids, clothe their kids or protect them. As for strangers, well, that’s different, there are no blood ties obligating them to take care of other people’s kids, the way they’d take care of there own. Which reminds me of a story I got told when I was old enough to understand the telling of it.

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There was this woman who lived next door to my mum and who never ever spoke to her. Now this irked my mother because as a rule, she spoke to everyone. Still, my mother elected to continue to be polite to this woman as a matter of course. Well one cold winter’s day my mother was pushing a pram up-hill with me in it and she slipped on the iced-over road. The old fashioned pram upturned and I flew out of it and through the air. Now it so happened that the lady who never spoke to my mum was passing by in the opposite direction, and as I catapulted through the air she sprinted down that icy hill and caught me. Then handing me back to my shaken mother, she smiled and continued on her way.
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A mother who lost her son, went looking for him in the place he was last seen in France, and eventually found out what had happened to him. Whilst hitch-hiking in a particular part of France, he was offered a lift by a person who appeared to be a police officer, but was eventually discovered to be a serial killer who had sexually assaulted several men, in that and other regions of France; her son was never seen again. She had taught him to respect and trust figures of authority and that respect led him to his death.

Now, this woman and my mother had one thing in common, the idea that if someone has reached a certain age, they must deserve the respect they are given. And that if someone has been given a certain measure of authority, it is because they have earned it and can wield it responsibly. It would never occur to us lowly folk, that there are people who see themselves as being above the laws that govern the behaviour of civilised society, and believe that they have been sanctioned in their right, to set themselves over those perceived by them to be a political and potential terrorist threat, to the extreme detriment of those they opt to detain and torture.

imageAnd so my heart goes out to the family of Adnan Farhan Abd AL Latif, who had to committ suicide in order to free himself from Guantanamo. In many cultures respect is often naively accorded to people whose unscrupulous ruthlessness, accompanied by a distinct lack of moral integrity, doesn’t warrant such respect.

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And how easy to make the assumption (initially) when you’re face to face with such people, that if you’re innocent and have nothing to hide you will eventually be released, and left to go about your affairs. Adnan Latif, was eventually proven to be innocent, he hid nothing, least of all the brain damaged condition that left him in need of a great deal of medication. Despite this, he was never released and so took his own life. He died in a foreign country, in a spartan prison cell, without ever laying eyes on the family he had been taken from.

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And so, President Obama, I would like to ask this question, during the Eid-Ul-Adha festivities, whilst you are busy taking military action against ISIS. When are you and your party going to get up the courage to set the innocent detainees free, and close the Guantanamo Detention Centre?

Your Own Personal Jesus: Drone Flights & Christianity

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“There’s nothing that complex about cold-blooded murder”
– The International

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The Borgia’s, an ambitious,powerful and thoroughly corrupt 15th Century Italian family. Headed up by Pope Alexander VI who fathered four children, the most infamous of whom ditched the priesthood for marriage and military domination.

Now, the Borgia’s I get, you see these were prominent and powerful aristocrats, to them the the ecclesiastical honours of Rome were really all about the acquisition of military and political power. What they chose to do in their roles as Popes and Cardinals had nothing to do with the grass roots version of Christianity that say, St Frances of Assissi, would’ve promoted .

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Now, to me the Borgias are reassuring, because for them being a Christian was incidental to pursuing whatever carnal, venal, intrigue filled, self-aggrandizing agenda they had.

I for one, have no difficulty being at ease with folk who are fond of the preaching and teaching so long as it doesn’t interfere with their right to wield a machine gun or rob the poor. Spiritual hypocrites are reassuringly predictable, one can know in advance how low they will sink. Not so with folk who honestly pursue what they mistake for honourable causes.

Take for example, Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia and founded by Jerry Falwell, a televangelist. Training ‘Champions for Christ’ since 1971, it is one of America’s top military friendly schools, training chaplains who then go on to serve in the armed forces.

Liberty also has a school of aeronautics sited off-campus and training its students in the art of flying umanned aerial vehicles (that’s drones to you and me).

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As a result of its online courses of study, Liberty is the largest Christian University in the world. A truly influential academic and spiritual institution that is training a significant proportion of its students to fly weaponised drones in the theatre of war.

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Now, visualise this, it’s a sunny Monday morning in Virginia and you are on your way to work having just attended a splendiforous bible study given by young Jed Arbuckle. Jed a well scrubbed, baby faced, church elder, inspired you no end with his take on the story of ‘the good samaritan’.

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Jed himself, a devout believer and university graduate, is inspiring. Especially when you compare him to young Buck who has just been released from a federal facility and hasn’t worked a day in his life and very likely never intends to.

Would you be nearly as inspired by Jed if you knew that he had recently graduated from a four year Drone Program; and now holds a job in which, on average, he will kill ten Pakistani civillians AND one militant (terrorist) each day he climbs into his ‘virtual’ cockpit?

The Borgia’s knew they were mocking Christian values to be what they were and do all they did they had to know it. But Jed? He honestly believes he’s doing his country (and Jesus) a service.

That has to be as sad and ironic as President Obama taking time out to visit Robben Island whilst doing little or nothing about the plight of the Guantanamo Bay Detainees.

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COME FLY WITH ME …..THE DAY THE ACLU HELPED KICK SOME ASS

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‘Because freedom can’t protect itself’
-ACLU Motto

“What was Uncle Timmy doing in the bathroom with Aunty Tisha?”

“Why ain’t Marla’s Mom home nights?”

“Why does Daddy smoke? My teacher says cigarettes kill”

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How often do parents look at the large, enquiring eyes of their off-spring desperately wondering how to answer the importunate and slightly awkward ‘adult’ questions they ask? And how often do they stave off lying by replying “When you’re older I’ll tell you”.

When you’re older I’ll tell you. If you’re a kid you expect to get that kind of evasive reply, adults are never straight up about the things that count. But governments should be and to give those you govern, the same answer you would a child, just won’t do.

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The phrase ‘a matter of national security’ appears to be the perceived cure-all for every human rights abuse the UK and the U.S governments don’t care to divulge.

“MI5 collusion with ‘gung ho’ CIA torturers?”
“No comment. It’s a matter of national security”
“Erroneous renditions?”
“No comment, it’s a matter of national security”
“What about the death of innocents, in detention centres thousands of miles away from where they were picked up?”
“National Security”

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The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) refusing to let the United States Government and its’ associates, get off ‘Scot-free’ with kidnapping and torturing innocent men, filed a civil suit against a company (a subsidiary of Boeing) which operated the planes that carried the kidnapped men to the detention centres where they were then tortured.

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The claimants in this case were men who had been rendered, detained and tortured and then subsequently released without charge. The only exception being Ahmed Agiza who it is suspected failed to receive a fair trial prior to his being imprisoned in Egypt (though he was also subsequently released).

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The ACLU didn’t have a hope in hell of winning the law suit, not against the argument that hearing the case could lead to a breach of ‘national security’ but then they would have known that. Just as surely as they would have known that the stories of these five ‘inconsequential’ men may never have been heard had that law suit not been filed.

Using Jeppesen Dataplan the ACLU tried and failed to hold the American Government and its allies to account, for a war that appears to have no territorial boundaries, no moral limit.

Where the ACLU, Wiki-Leaks, Human Rights Watch, Liberty and many others have succeeded is in enabling the grass roots to walk on through the doors they’ve partially opened and do some ass kicking themselves.

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People who did not know what the governments they had elected were getting up to in their name now do, and they are vocalising their opposition to the nefarious goings on in every legitimate way they can think of and then some.