UK Foreign Secretary Didn't Know What The Customs Union Was. Boris Johnson, the former UK…
UK Ministry Of Defence Wasting Billions Of Taxpayers’ Money.
As the UK faces another round of austerity to schools and hospitals amid a growing cost of living crisis, tens of billions of pounds of public money are being wasted on unusable and extravagant weapons systems, irrelevant to modern conflict.
The Tory government wants to award the armed forces close to £200billion extra by 2030 – the biggest increase in their budget since the start of the Cold War.
By then their spending would double to £100billion a year.
There have been years of damning reports from MPs and parliament’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, on the waste of public money by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
To take one current example: the ministry has spent more than £3billion of the public’s money, with the prospect of having to pay out £2billion more, on an armoured car called Ajax.
The vehicle, tests show, it deafens and injures the occupants, it cannot reverse over obstacles more than 20cm high, and is too unwieldy to fit in the RAF’s transport aircraft.
The project was conceived in 2010 and due to be completed in 2017.
By December 2021 the MoD had paid £3.2billion for just 26 Ajax vehicles, none of which it can use.
The company pocketing billions from the Ajax is the UK subsidiary of the American company, General Dynamics.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) castigated the MoD in a recent report: “We have seen similar failings again and again in the Department’s management of its equipment programmes”, it said.
In a report last year the PAC said it was “extremely disappointed and frustrated by the continued poor track record of the MoD and its suppliers, and by wastage of taxpayers’ money running into the billions.”
It was “deeply concerned about departmental witnesses’ inability or unwillingness to answer basic questions and give a frank assessment of the state of its major programmes”.
The Committee also said the ministry did not know how the extra £16.5billion it was awarded in the 2020 Spending Review would benefit the armed forces.
It warned that the money “could be swallowed whole by the up to £17.4billion funding black hole at the centre of our defence capabilities.”
( Richard Norton-Taylor, 20.10.2022 ) .. declassified.org
British Taxpayers Forced To Pick Up The Tab For Tax-Avoiding Meat Companies.
The global megacompanies supplying some of Britain’s most popular meat brands, including KFC, Nando’s chicken and Sainsbury’s organic range, appear to have been using offshore companies that allow them to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax in the UK.
An investigation by the Guardian and Lighthouse Reports has found that two companies – Anglo Beef Processors UK and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (owned by Brazilian beef giant JBS) – appear to have reduced their tax bill by structuring their companies and loans in a way that allows them to take advantage of different tax systems, in what one expert has described as “aggressive tax avoidance”.
These practices are not illegal, but they have proliferated over the past couple of decades as multinational companies and their accountants spot opportunities to reduce their tax bills.
Many argue that complicated financial structures can allow some companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax.
And that, they say, leads to falling income for national governments as taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab.
The Guardian and Lighthouse Reports estimated that the two meat companies appear to have avoided paying tax on more than £160million.
( Tom Levitt, 26.09.2022 ) .. theguardian.com
The UK And The U.S. Provided Financial Support To Opposition Groups In The 2014 Coup In Ukraine.
The UK and the U.S. was heavily involved in the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which saw the removal of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych from power.
The coup, which was supported by many Western governments was a response to Yanukovych’s decision to reject a trade deal with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Russia.
The UK and the U.S. involvement in the coup began in 2013, when then-UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland met with opposition leaders in Ukraine to discuss ways to pressure Yanukovych to sign the trade deal with the EU.
Both the UK and the U.S. also provided financial support to opposition groups, and were closely involved in the planning and execution of the coup.
In the aftermath of the coup, both the UK and the U.S. played a leading role in supporting the new government, with Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama calling for increased sanctions against Russia and providing financial aid to Ukraine.
However, the UK and the U.S. involvement in the coup has been highly controversial, with many critics arguing that it undermined the principles of democracy and national sovereignty.
( Wilfred Soon, December 2021 )
The Brutal Colonial War In Malaya To Protect British Commercial Interests.
In 1948 the UK stepped up a brutal colonial intervention in Malaya, presenting it as a war against Chinese communism.
British forces herded hundreds of thousands of people into fortified camps, heavily bombed rural areas and resorted to extensive propaganda to win the conflict.
But although the war in southeast Asia has long been presented in most British analyses as a struggle against communism during the cold war, the Malayan National Liberation Army received very little support from Soviet or Chinese communists.
Rather, the major concern for British governments was protecting their commercial interests in the colony, which were mainly rubber and tin.
A Colonial Office report from 1950 noted that Malaya’s rubber and tin mining industries were the biggest earners in the British Commonwealth.
Malaya was the world’s top producer of rubber, accounting for 75% of the territory’s income, and its biggest employer.
As a result of colonialism, Malaya was effectively owned by European, primarily British, businesses, with British capital behind most large Malayan enterprises.
Some 70% of the acreage of rubber estates was owned by European, primarily British, companies.
Malaya was described by one British Lord in 1952 as the “greatest material prize in South-East Asia”, mainly due to its rubber and tin.
The roots of the war lay in the failure of the British colonial authorities to guarantee the rights of the Chinese in Malaya, who made up around 40% of the population.
The Malayan Communist Party, which was anyway agitating for an uprising, either had to accept that its future political role would be very limited, or go to ground and press the British to leave.
An insurgent movement was formed out of one that had been trained and armed by Britain to resist the Japanese occupation during the Second World War.
In combating an insurgent force of 3,000-7,000, the key year was 1952.
It was then that Sir Gerald Templer, a former director of military intelligence and vice chief of the Imperial General Staff, was appointed High Commissioner in Malaya by prime minister Winston Churchill.
Templer declared that “the hard core of armed communists in this country are fanatics and must be, and will be, exterminated”.
Heavy bombers had been brought into the war, dropping thousands of bombs of up to 4,000lb on insurgent positions.
Britain conducted 4,500 air strikes in the first five years of the conflict.
In October 1951 the insurgents managed to ambush and kill the High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney.
Atrocities were committed on both sides and the insurgents often indulged in horrific attacks and murders.
The most well-known atrocity was committed at the village of Batang Kali, north of the capital Kuala Lumpur, in December 1948 when the British army slaughtered 24 Chinese, before burning the village.
The British government initially claimed the villagers were guerrillas, and then that they were trying to escape, neither of which was true.
Decapitation of insurgents was also practised – intended as a way of identifying dead guerrillas when it was not possible to bring their corpses in from the jungle.
A photograph of a Marine commando holding two insurgents’ heads caused a public outcry in the UK in April 1952.
Britain achieved its main aims, defeating the insurgents and essentially preserving its commercial interests.
At independence for Malaysia in 1957, the UK handed over formal power to the traditional Malay rulers and fostered a political alliance between the United Malay National Organisation and the Chinese businessmen’s Malayan Chinese Association.
Probably to cover up the extensive brutality of the war, which coincided with similarly vast repression in Kenya, British officials subsequently destroyed official documents on the war or refused to fully release them to the National Archives, along with other episodes at the “end of empire”.
We will probably never know the true, full story of this forgotten war.
( Mark Curtis, 13.09.2022 ) .. declassified.org