Why Barnard Castle?

Reproduced in full from: Craig Murray Please share widely.

UPDATED Dominic Cummings specifically stated now in the press briefing that he had been eager to “get back to work to get vaccine deals through, move regulations aside” and that is why he drove to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight.

Now it may be entirely a coincidence that the place to which he chose to drive for his eyesight test happened to be the site of the major factory of GlaxoSmithKline. It may be an entire coincidence that two days later, on the very day Cummings actually started work back in Downing Street he has stated was “to get vaccine deals through”, GlaxoSmithKline announced an agreement to develop the vaccine.

It is however plainly not crazy to ask the question. This astonishing Twitter pile-on against Clive Lewis for retweeting my piece says something very worrying, when you consider that the large majority of those piling in are supposedly part of the “opposition” and include many journalists. A society where it is viewed as a sign of madness to look into the prospect of corruption involving a company as massively, provenly corrupt as GlaxoSmithKline and a figure as shady as Cummings, is a very unhealthy society indeed.

One red flag to me is the number of trolls claiming GlaxoSmithKline only has a small and remote office in Barnard Castle. This is not the entire site, and in a further £96 million investment two new blocks are in construction or recently finished:

So to return to my original posting:

In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline were fined $3 billion for fraud, overcharging and making false claims about medicines in the USA. In 2016, GlaxoSmithKline were fined £37.6 million in the UK for bribing companies not to produce generic copies of their out of patent drugs, thus overcharging the NHS.

Despite the fines, these frauds were still massively profitable for GlaxoSmithKline. A perfunctory search on the company brings up similar frauds and fines it perpetrated in South Africa and India. All this within the last decade. I cannot find any information that anyone was jailed, or even sacked, for these criminal activities. It is absolutely astonishing that such an habitually criminal enterprise carries on serenely in the UK. And what is particularly interesting today is that it carries on its crooked activity from its massive manufacturing and research base in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

On 12 April Dominic Cummings was seen in Castle Barnard during lockdown. Two days later, GlaxoSmithKline of Barnard Castle signed an agreement to develop and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine with Sanofi of France.

Of course, that could be coincidence. As a child I lived in nearby Peterlee and I know families may go to Barnard Castle just for relaxation. Even when that is illegal. But GlaxoSmithKline Barnard Castle has been working 24/7 during the coronavirus crisis including the weekends. It was working.

The government’s extraordinary refusal to confirm or deny Cummings visit to Barnard Castle appears to make little sense if he just went there for a walk.

But surely if he was discussing Covid-19 vaccine business on behalf of the government, that would answer all the critics of his trip, would it not? They would want to trumpet it from the hills? I mean to believe otherwise, you would have to propound a crazed conspiracy theory. You would have to believe that criminal activity may be occurring again involving GlaxoSmithKline of the kind which might lead to fines of 37.6 million pounds for overcharging the NHS, or of three billion dollars for fraudulent medical claims in the USA. Nobody sane believes that kind of thing, do they?

UPDATED: I should never be surprised by the puerile nature of debate on the internet, but I frequently am. There appears to be organised pushback stating that this article is only speculation. Of course it is. It states a number of facts not generally known, and wonders if there is a connection. It does not claim to have proof Cummings visited GSK, let alone of what he did when there. But both GSK and Cummings are known bad actors.

The even sillier argument is that Barnard Castle is the research and manufacturing centre and not the corporate HQ and therefore no deal could have been done there. Because when a company is involved in a massive criminal conspiracy, as GSK undeniably was in the multi-billion fraud in the USA or its price-fixing to the NHS, such criminal actions obviously can only be arranged in the main London company boardroom during normal working hours with lots of people around and the maximum chance of inconvenient people finding out what is happening? That is a stupid argument.

Equally, those who claim I have uncovered a criminal conspiracy are wrong. I have not. All I have done is put together some circumstances around Cummings denied trip to Barnard Castle, that could potentially provide a more reasonable explanation for why he would take the risk of going there, and why the government would stake all politically on denying it, than a day trip for a walk for his wife’s birthday. I have not proven anything.

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We’ve known since Grenfell and Windrush what it’s like to be gaslit by the Tory government

“Keep the same energy you have for Dominic Cummings’ misdemeanours for issues that specifically affect the underprivileged during Covid-19.”

gal-dem

It has been nine long weeks since Boris Johnson first declared the national lockdown. Throughout this time, people have witnessed their incomes dwindle, oftentimes to nothing at all, their livelihoods stripped away from them, weddings, concerts, graduations all cancelled. And many of us have been experiencing real heartbreak and tragedy, the kind that before now only really existed in apocalypse films and dystopian novels, with patients dying alone in ICU and their loved ones unable to attend their funerals, with sick relatives struggling alone in their homes and thousands of people enduring a kind of grief that is marked by solitude and self-isolation. All for the sake of the greater good, so that hopefully, other people would escape the earth-shattering losses that they had the misfortune to experience. However, now it has been revealed that all of this sacrifice, forgoing the chance to hold a dying parents hand or help out a struggling friend with children, is in fact “optional”. Well, at least to the PM’s closest and most trusted friends.

A joint investigation by the Guardian and the Daily Mirror revealed that

read article

Red and Black Telly roundup





While you all obsess over Cummings this is the reality for the rest of us

In the midst of the wall to wall coverage of the Cummings ‘taking a road trip’ to Durham scandal that seems to have grabbed the attention of pretty much every commentator across the political spectrum, here’s a much needed reality check regarding what really matters…

Steve Topple | theCanary | 24.5

The so-called ‘Westminster bubble’ and Twitter users are continuing to obsess over the Dominic Cummings ‘driving to Durham’ scandal. But while it goes on, a charity shared a short film on social media. And it sums up why, away from the privileged quarters of the media and some on Twitter, the Cummings story might not matter to many people.

The Cummings scandal: back in the real world

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) tweeted a video of the queue for a foodbank:

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IFAN UK @IFAN_UK

The queue for @dadshouse independent food bank yesterday morning. Does the Government understand…

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Anathema, a Philadelphia anarchist periodical: Volume 6 Issue 4, May 2020.


Volume 6 Issue 4 (PDF for reading 8.5×11)

Volume 6 Issue 4 (PDF for printing 11×17)

In this issue:

  • Lockdowns & Incarceration
  • What Went Down
  • Homelessness
  • Resource Extraction Updates
  • The State Of Surveillance
  • Interview With A West Philly Rent Striker
  • When Things Get Rough We Ride Together
  • A Short Timeline Of PA ELF Actions
  • Loving Anarchy (LA)
  • A Quick Rant On COVID
  • Expropriationist Anarchy In Crisis Times
  • Philly Bingo Card
  • Chapter Report Background

Reading Group Recommends: A history of anarchism

London Anarchist Federation

Our regular, monthly reading group meetings are currently on hold due to Covid 19. Until we’ll be able to meet again, we’ll switch from books to films and recommend documentaries relevant to anarchists.

This is a documentary we already looked at in the early reading group days, however, it’s an excellent introduction to anarchist history, especially for anyone new to the subject!

While a couple of things might be simplified (and not all interviewees have the credentials they claim to have, i.e. Michael Schmidt), this summary of anarchist movements around the world is a great source to start your research with!

part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzGVT3XDLiU&list=PLLEMpXvr0s1SLMPl27wpWKvwty8lW0rHu&index=1

part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2rLO-vtGis&list=PLLEMpXvr0s1SLMPl27wpWKvwty8lW0rHu&index=2

part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-nz7CR1KRQ&list=PLLEMpXvr0s1SLMPl27wpWKvwty8lW0rHu&index=3

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History of the Irish in Britain Representation Group by Patrick Reynolds. Part 1:1981

lipstick socialist

Patrick Reynolds was one of the founders of IBRG and played a key role in its history. He is now writing up that history and putting it into the context of radical history in Britain and Ireland in the C20th. This is  the story of the first year of IBRG………….
What do you want to do ?

New mailCopyPatrick Reynolds was one of the founders of IBRG and played a key role in its history. He is now writing up that history and putting it into the context of radical history in Britain and Ireland in the C20th. This is  the story of the first year of IBRG………….

Pat Reynolds speaking at Bloody Sunday rally Pat speaking at the annual Bloody Sunday March

1981: The Founding of IBRG

1981 was a pivotal In Irish history with the death of ten men on Hunger Strike in Northern Ireland. It led to significant shifts in Irish political history…

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Heckler online crisis edition No.12

Here’s the 12th online crisis edition of the Heckler

Lockdown restrictions of some kind look set to be norm for months and possibly years to come. That’s unless popular anger against them starts to grow and they get busted by a restive population. Needless to say, we’re doing what we can to, ahem…’stir things up’…

Anyway, until things do get ‘stirred up’, it looks as though we’ll be knocking out online editions of the Heckler for some time to come. Obviously we’re still going to be covering how the COVID-19 crisis evolves and morphs. However, we’re also going to get back throwing the spotlight on local authorities who are hoping the crisis will divert people’s attention away from their iffy dealings and ineptitude…

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Red and Black Telly roundup












Reading Group Recommends: Life in North Korea

London Anarchist Federation

Our regular, monthly reading group meetings are currently on hold due to Covid 19. Until we’ll be able to meet again, we’ll switch from books to films and recommend documentaries relevant to anarchists.

With North Korea recently being in the news again, it’s easy to forget that this demonised country has actual people living in it, suffering from a dictatorship and trying to live their everyday lives.

It’s rare to find images and interviews from North Korea without either capitalist sensationalising or USSR nostalgia, but this documentary shows the lives and living conditions of North Koreans, respectfully focussing on their circumstances, (almost) without using them for the documentary makers’ own agenda or propaganda:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StjIv33zJ9c

For an anarchist history of Korea, have a look at:
https://libcom.org/history/anarchism-korea-independence-transnationalism-question-national-development-1919-1984
and a review of the book:
https://blackrosefed.org/review-korean-anarchism/

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