27/08/2008

St Athan latest news - next meeting

1.Next meeting Mon 8th Sept 6pm Temple of Peace

2.Cosford letter to audit office

3. MP Calls for St Athan Rail Stop (oh yeah!)

4. Defence Training Review Over Budget

5. See the Private Eye article ...

The full article can be viewed here.

1. Look forward to seeing you at the next meeting at Temple of Peace 6pm Mon 8th Sept...please send items for the agenda.


2. Cosford letter to audit office

please download or use this copy below and send in and a copy to your AM and MP would be useful

Telephone Please reply to:

INSERT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS

To: Tim Burr
Comptroller and Auditor General
Private Office
National Audit Office
157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
London
SW1W 9SP
_______________________________

DEFENCE TRAINING REVIEW COSTS TO DATE

Dear Mr Burr,

I am writing to you concerning Package One of the Defence Training Review (DTR) Transformation programme, which is a programme worth some £12 Billion allegedly. It will be one of the most expensive PFI/PPP’s project ever undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and will be amongst the largest partnering arrangement ever undertaken in the United Kingdom and yet to date the NAO has never reported on this matter. I am extremely concerned about the escalating cost to the taxpayer that this project is incurring. I am aware to the vast amount of money being spent on consultants, some of whom are being paid at £1200 a day. The contract’s length of 30 years and the unheard of first breakpoint at fifteen years is a recipe for spiralling costs and a major impact upon the public purse.


I believed the MoD option selected for delivery of defence training would depend upon what is best for defence, combining both operational and value for money considerations. Work on this programme has been going on since 2001. To date every deadline has passed with announcements of further delays, which must increasingly mean additional expenditure of public monies. In July 2008 in the House of Commons, Minister Bob Ainsworth said “the financial appraisals have thrown up some difficult issues” ! He also talked about “affordability issues”, presumably the same “affordability issues” as mentioned by his predecessors Tom Watson, Don Touhig and Ivor Caplin who also knew that this programme is unaffordable.

You should also be aware that public monies were spent on Package 2 of DTR in trying to get a PPP/PFI solution, only for this to fall apart on “affordability issues” How much public money was spent on this failure and considering that the MOD have just given another few hundreds of millions pound to Package 2 to develop a different approach, it is disturbing to know that you have never audited the accounts of the MoD on this matter. Indeed your own literature states”The role of the National Audit Office is to audit the accounts of all government departments and agencies as well as a wide range of other public bodies, and report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which these bodies have used public money.”

Therefore I would request that as a matter of urgency the NAO conduct an enquiry or investigation into this programme as you had originally timetabled for in 2008/2009.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,
.............................................................

3. MP Calls for St Athan Rail Stop

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

Yesterdays article reported that the cost of the Defence Trainining Review had now increased by £1bn to £13bn. An article on WalesOnLine reports that Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith is calling for a dedicated rail stop to be built at St Athan, which will add more cost to the project. He thinks this will benefit the Welsh economy and ease congestion:

A DEDICATED rail stop should be built to serve the Defence Technical Academy in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith has said.

Thousand of trainees from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will attend the £13bn academy.

Mr Smith said: “In order for the Welsh economy to take full advantage from this record investment, the St Athan site must be served by an improved transport system.

“There are operational railway tracks running within very close proximity to the site. I believe there is a very strong case for building a dedicated rail stop at the academy. It will help reduce road traffic congestion, and prevent commuters and visitors to the academy the inconvenience of having to get off at Rhoose or Llantwit Major stations and transfer to a bus shuttle service.

“I will be writing to the Welsh Assembly Government, the local planning authority and the consortium responsible for building the academy asking them to consider building a rail halt at the site for the good of the Welsh economy.”

In addition WalesOnLine reports that a proposed road link that will service St Athan could cost up to £135m of tax payers money. Currently there are approximately 600 Civil Servants plus many military and private sector workers employed at RAF Cosford, the majority of these staff would be expected to move from Cosford to St Athan if the Metrix plans go ahead. Cosford is situated 800 meters from a motorway and already has it’s own railway station.

Is it right that so much taxpayers money is needed to support the Metrix bid is surely a question that needs to be asked. This is another reason that we are asking members to write to the NAO and get them to scrutinise this project which has already cost the tax payer millions in wasted consultant fees.

No responses yet

Aug 22 2008

4. Defence Training Review Over Budget

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

The latest edition of Private Eye reports that Brigadier Geoff Nield has let it slip that the cost of the Defence Training Review programme had gone up and is now over budget.

At a local “Stakeholders” meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan, home to a proposed new defence academy, the Ministry of Defence’s officer in charge, Brigadier Geoff Nield, let slip that the price had gone up from £11bn to £ 12bn. As the deal was slated to save the MoD just £400m at the old price, it seems the scheme will not only expose the armed forces to serious operational risks (see Eye 1213) but will actually cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions more than keeping training in-house.

The increasing delays to implementing the project has led to the National Audit Office (NAO) pulling its plans to investigate the deal. Members are encouraged to write to the NAO requesting that they undertake a review of the public monies spent on DTR. There is a link to a sample letter below, this can be amended as you feel fit.

Silly John Smith!!

MP Calls for St Athan Rail Stop

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

Yesterdays article reported that the cost of the Defence Trainining Review had now increased by £1bn to £13bn. An article on WalesOnLine reports that Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith is calling for a dedicated rail stop to be built at St Athan, which will add more cost to the project. He thinks this will benefit the Welsh economy and ease congestion:

A DEDICATED rail stop should be built to serve the Defence Technical Academy in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith has said.

Thousand of trainees from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will attend the £13bn academy.

Mr Smith said: “In order for the Welsh economy to take full advantage from this record investment, the St Athan site must be served by an improved transport system.

“There are operational railway tracks running within very close proximity to the site. I believe there is a very strong case for building a dedicated rail stop at the academy. It will help reduce road traffic congestion, and prevent commuters and visitors to the academy the inconvenience of having to get off at Rhoose or Llantwit Major stations and transfer to a bus shuttle service.

“I will be writing to the Welsh Assembly Government, the local planning authority and the consortium responsible for building the academy asking them to consider building a rail halt at the site for the good of the Welsh economy.”

In addition WalesOnLine reports that a proposed road link that will service St Athan could cost up to £135m of tax payers money. Currently there are approximately 600 Civil Servants plus many military and private sector workers employed at RAF Cosford, the majority of these staff would be expected to move from Cosford to St Athan if the Metrix plans go ahead. Cosford is situated 800 meters from a motorway and already has it’s own railway station.

Is it right that so much taxpayers money is needed to support the Metrix bid is surely a question that needs to be asked. This is another reason that we are asking members to write to the NAO and get them to scrutinise this project which has already cost the tax payer millions in wasted consultant fees.

No responses yet

PRIVATE EYE keeps up the story!!

Defence Training Review Over Budget

Published by Cheryl under Cosford, MoD

The latest edition of Private Eye reports that Brigadier Geoff Nield has let it slip that the cost of the Defence Training Review programme had gone up and is now over budget.

At a local “Stakeholders” meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan, home to a proposed new defence academy, the Ministry of Defence’s officer in charge, Brigadier Geoff Nield, let slip that the price had gone up from £11bn to £ 12bn. As the deal was slated to save the MoD just £400m at the old price, it seems the scheme will not only expose the armed forces to serious operational risks (see Eye 1213) but will actually cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions more than keeping training in-house.

The increasing delays to implementing the project has led to the National Audit Office (NAO) pulling its plans to investigate the deal. Members are encouraged to write to the NAO requesting that they undertake a review of the public monies spent on DTR. There is a link to a sample letter below, this can be amended as you feel fit.

St Athan secret and on the rocks?

St Athan secret and on the rocks?

UKDF Defence Viewpoints

Up-to-the-minute opinions and perspectives on defence and security issues from policy makers and opinion formers.

UKDF Defence Viewpoints - http://ukdf.blogspot.com/

15 August 2008

“Cloak of invisibility” over St Athan’s progress

It seems the MoD still wants to play its cards close to its chest over the development of RAF St Athan. Witness the following, taken from a recent FOI request for the Minutes of Board meetings on the matter,

“The last Programme Executive Board (PEB) Minutes (dated 16 June 2008) contain some sensitive Programme information which could undermine the confidentiality of the MOD’s position in advance of continuing negotiations with the Metrix Consortium. Such information is of a restricted nature and underpins our negotiating position, disclosure of which could hinder the MOD’s ability to achieve value for money. It is not in the public interest to have this position eroded and therefore these Minutes will not be published. The Minutes will be withheld under section 43 (Commercial Interests) of the FOI Act.”

As with all these kind of things, there is weighing up of the pros and cons attached to the response. Tellingly, we have,

“Disclosure of the information for Package 1 contained in the Minutes of the requested PEB meeting would undermine the confidentiality of the MOD’s position in advance of the further negotiations with Metrix. These further discussions are central to the Programme’s way forward in concluding the clarification and confirmation phase of the work (which will inform the investment decision).”

So, basically, the devil is going to be in the detail, and the MOD wants to make sure that the small print is best suited to its purposes. This does beg a few questions, of course: what is the MOD looking to include, what are the chances of it getting the outcome it’s looking for, and what will it get in the end?

It seems only time will tell…

Footnote:

By way of reminder, Package 1 is all about training for engineering and communications, in particular for REME and the Royal Signals, and it must, by EU law, be assessed separately from Package 2 (training for logistics, policing, languages, intelligence, and security, involving other bases). The initial DTR decisions split the two for the sake of “risk management” (see [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmwelaf/1657/1657.pdf] , which coincidently includes an MOD promise to “meet our obligations under the Freedom of Information Act”, and [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmwelaf/1129/1129.pdf]), even though Metrix ended up the preferred bidder for both.

UKDF Defence Viewpoints: “Cloak of invisibility” over St Athan’s ...
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08/08/2008

Coun Nic Hodges questions Academy feasability

Critics ask plaid Thursday 31st July Glamorgan Gem
‘do you really want defence academy’ by Philip Irwin

The recent visit to communities close to the proposed St Athan Defence Technical Academy (DTA) by the schemes backers has prompted a live debate - with a labour MP and a conservative AM bith questioning Plaid Cymru’s enthusiasm for the Plan.

In last weeks GEM Coun Nic Hodges, the leader of Plaid on the Vale council, visited the DTA exhibition and complained of a “lack of detailed information.” and suggested that the academy would be an “isolated “gated village“. He also said that nearby towns would see an increase in “squaddie rowdiness and drop outs from the academy“

Vale MP john smith replied “This is complete and utter nonsense. Leisure and sports facilities including a swim pool will be available to local communities. “The precise number of jobs is incalculable, nut it will be many thousands, plus an extra 2,000 at the aero space park.”

Conservative AM Alun Cairns said that he was “amazed” by coun hodges remarks, and questioned Plaids commitment to the scheme. He said “We always knew that Plaids official policy is to oppose any military activity in Wales, but we were told locally they were in support . “These remarks, however, seem to suggest that we don’t want the investment. Certainly the remarks in last weeks Gem are sending the wrong message and suggest that we don’t want such an investment”.

John Smith said “benefits to the Vales, especially Barry, and the South Wales economy are enormous, not just in terms of jobs and investment . It will transform the reputation of the reputation of the Welsh economy. “I can not believe that any responsible politician, never mind a leading member of Plaid, is opposing this knowledge and skills -based investment.”

Alun Cairns said; “If Coun Hodges is complaining that the training will go to outsiders, then of course they will. These are specialist jobs and the whole point of the project is to bring these people, currently operating all over the country, to one location - here in the Vale. Their spend will be in local shops, they will eat in local restaurants and will bring new money to our community”.

Alun Cairns added; ”I remember saying on the day that the announcement was made that, if handled properly, the Metrix deal would be of huge benefit to the local community. Let’s put party difference behind us on this project . We need to work together to ensure the impact is positive “.

However, Coun Hodges was unmoved , he said “to mr smith, I would say billions of PFI “never-never money’ does not make it a proper scheme. As far as Mr Cairns is concerned he should spend more time getting the details and information his constituents need.”
http://www.barry-today.co.uk/tindlepool/PDF/Barry%20Gem/web/GC310708001.pdf

Alun Cairns is Tory parliamentary candidate designate. He and John smith happy do/say anything if they think they will get votes!?
e-mail: alun.cairns@wales.gov.uk Alun Cairns AM, 44 St Johns Street, Porthcawl
CF36 3BB Tel: 01656 773060

09/07/08Military Academy phoney consultation hides New Labour toxic legacy

http://www.antimetrix.org/2008/07/military-academy-phoney-consultation.html
TOP SECRET MEETINGS
However top secret meetings reveal a different story. Private Eye 1213 points out that privatising defence training could turn out to be one of labours more toxic legacies, (supported by all Plaid AMs and MPs !)So does the ministry of defence. Private eye tells us that “Documents produced following a recent meeting of the “defence training review executive board” reveal that the project, under which training will be handed to the Metrix consortium through a 30m PFI contract worth around £11bn, poses catastrophic risks on the front line.” Not ‘benefits in efficiency’ then! A confidential “post meeting readout” of deliberations led by deputy chief of defence staff (personnel) Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson exposes “major AFFORDABILITY issues” requiring a “realistic contingency plan” for the deal to privatise training. Hinting at serious difficulties on the deal, the “affordability gap” could not be disclosed even to the project board as it was too “sensitive”.


More alarming still was a list of 15 significant risks with the project, including some that will fill the military on engagements around the world with dread. “trained output fails to meet requirement of operational commands” is one of them, on the grounds that “there is a risk that the Metrix solution will not be able to deliver the numbers of suitably trained personnel that are required and/or that the training output is not to a sufficiently high standard.”


letter in the Gem -St Athan jobs dwindle while costs rise

The Vale's MP is living up to his nickname John 'Metrix' Smith if he
thinks the rise in cost of the contract to "a whopping £12 billion is
great news for the Vale economy" (The GEM July 24). Doesn't he realise
that the extra £1 billion goes to the consortium partners, and that it
more than wipes out the cost advantage of £400 million that his government
claimed justified choosing Metrix over the internal MoD bid?

The other figures Brigadier Neild disclosed to the 'stakeholder'
meeting were numbers of personnel. Military trainer jobs
transferring to Metrix number 1123, some being at other sites than St
Athan, for 8 other 'learning centres' are planned St Athan would have
under 75% of the 6000 standing trainees. Brigadier Neild estimated that
1000 military personnel would be associated with the project, not
necessarily based at St Athan.

The politicians including John Smith should now be admitting they
were misled by Metrix's claims to create 5500 and later 4500 jobs.
Alun Cairns at least is accepting that the trainer jobs are for
specialists moving into the Vale (The GEM July 31).

He says the Vale would benefit from their spending in local shops,
restaurants etc. Yes, £1000 each per year would add £6 million to
the Vale's economy. Increase it to £10 or 20 million to include
spending on home appliances and furniture. Do politicians think an
£12 billion contract should be welcomed on the basis of this tiny spin-off?

Leanne Wood AM did at least raise in a formal Senedd question on July 1
the Defence Training Review executive board's report listing of 15
significant risks of the Metrix proposal, including risks to training of
frontline troops. Brigadier Neild did not deny that report leaked to
Private Eye, which implies service chiefs remain critical and brassed
off over the Metrix proposals.

Doubts over defence contract Shropshire Star , UK- Jul 15, 2008 For the first time, the Government has admitted that the contract won by the Metrix consortium for a new defence academy at RAF St Athan might not be ...
http://www.shropshirestar.com/2008/07/15/doubts-over-defence-contract/

send your thoughts to

Nic Hodges Address: 19 Lower Romilly Rd,Barry,CF62 3AZ ContactTel: (01446) 736906 Email:

NPHodges@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

Anne says ...The campaign against the military training academy say that the true facts about the academy should be given to the people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Despite the project being awarded to St Athan last year, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth admitted that the Ministry of Defence has not yet signed a contract with Metrix! (1)

I agree with Coun Nic Hodges comments in the Glamorgan Gem that there is a “lack of detailed information.” - in fact there is an information dessert. People in the Vale are been given a lot of spin and lies about this training academy which will be for mercenaries and anyone with the money - not just our military services. The very fact that Military training is being sold off, privatised should ring alarm bells about effectiveness, cost and accountability. .

Private Eye has run a number of articles recently highlighting the defence training review executive board grave concerns that the privatisation ‘poses catastrophic risks on the front line’ or grave danger for our soldiers. Another serious problem is ‘major AFFORDABILITY issues”. In fact they found 15 significant risks with the project. Some of the facts that John Smith Mp and Alun Ciarns AM and the PR firm running this pantomime consultation forgot to mention. (2)

The consultation documents do not mention the involvement in the metrix consortium of war profiteers Raytheon (of cluster bomb fame) and Serco, and the already proven incompetent Eds. Raytheon have been boasting that they want to use training as a means of expansion and arms sales. (3)

Nic Hodges suggested that the academy would be an “isolated “gated village“ and yes, security will be high as this will be such a concentration of military services and will invite protestors from all over the world. No chance of community folk strolling in to use the pool then!

John Smith MP must apologise for all the false promises of 5,ooo plus jobs that were a figment of his imagination and not based on fact. It is more likely that because the privatisation of military training project has such serious flaws that the contract may never yet be signed.


Notes

(1) Doubts over defence contract Shropshire Star , UK- Jul 15, 2008 For the first time, the Government has admitted that the contract won by the Metrix consortium for a new defence academy at RAF St Athan might not be ...
http://www.shropshirestar.com/2008/07/15/doubts-over-defence-contract/

- ANTI-METRIX http://www.antimetrix.org/
-
School for mercenaries, bright security companies, like blackwater? Campaign to oppose the St Athan privatised military academy - biggest PFI/PPP ever, with arms dealers Raytheon Serco Mike Hayle, chief executive Metrix consortium 'Our aim is that by 2013 if you travelled anywhere in the world and talked about military training, people would say that St Athan was the only place to go. 'It will genuinely be on the world map. People will come from Australia, the Middle East and other parts of the world to train.

Private has raised this issue numerous times and has raised some very worrying details not raised at the consultation. See below 1*


No mention of training mercenaries and who polices who comes to st athan for training. Blackwater? Who trains them - ex mercnearies from..anywhere...keep up the good work. My mobile 078 1751 3610


(2) 09/07/08Military Academy phoney consultation hides New Labour toxic legacy 1*
http://www.antimetrix.org/2008/07/military-academy-phoney-consultation.html

TOP SECRET MEETINGS
However top secret meetings reveal a different story. Private Eye 1213 points out that privatising defence training could turn out to be one of labours more toxic legacies, (supported by all Plaid AMs and MPs !)So does the ministry of defence. Private eye tells us that “Documents produced following a recent meeting of the “defence training review executive board” reveal that the project, under which training will be handed to the Metrix consortium through a 30m PFI contract worth around £11bn, poses catastrophic risks on the front line.” Not ‘benefits in efficiency’ then! A confidential “post meeting readout” of deliberations led by deputy chief of defence staff (personnel) Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson exposes “major AFFORDABILITY issues” requiring a “realistic contingency plan” for the deal to privatise training. Hinting at serious difficulties on the deal, the “affordability gap” could not be disclosed even to the project board as it was too “sensitive”.

More alarming still was a list of 15 significant risks with the project, including some that will fill the military on engagements around the world with dread. “trained output fails to meet requirement of operational commands” is one of them, on the grounds that “there is a risk that the Metrix solution will not be able to deliver the numbers of suitably trained personnel that are required and/or that the training output is not to a sufficiently high standard.”

13/07/08
(3) Raytheon want to use training as a means of expansion amd arms sales.
Note The Metrix-WAG presentation for "key stakeholders" is from 6-7.30 pm Mon 14th July at the Methodist Church "Gathering Place", St Athan centre. See below*

Shows how Raytheon want to use training as a means of expansion amd arms sales. Protest now!!! Write to your AM, MP today
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=a6X0tNLjSjQM&refer=uk
This
……Next week's event allows Raytheon to highlight its role in the Metrix team that won a 16 billion pound ($31.5 billion) contract from the U.K. Ministry of Defense in 2007, Teel, 63, said. That work has drawn interest from North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and from customers in the Middle East, he said.

Raytheon Says New Training Division Will Build on NASA, GM Work By Edmond Lococo july 9 (Bloomberg) -- Raytheon Co., the defense contractor that helped train astronauts and Mr. Goodwrench mechanics, plans to capture a larger share of the $9 billion professional instruction market, a company executive said.
Raytheon, maker of the Tomahawk missile and Patriot air- defense systems, next week will open a global training division to consolidate business previously spread across the company, said Steve Teel, senior vice president for strategic initiatives. The unit will use expertise culled from working with NASA and General Motors Corp. to pursue commercial and military customers worldwide, he said.
``It was a matter of coming to the realization that training was part of our business, and that we had world-class capabilities,'' Teel said in a June 30 interview.
The company will unveil the unit at the Farnborough International Air Show near London, Teel said.
Training services added about $550 million to last year's sales, or 2.6 percent of Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon's revenue. International growth will help lift training-services sales by more than 6.5 percent annually, Teel said.
The Global Training Solutions unit provides curriculum development, instructor-led training, manuals and simulators. For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Raytheon helps run a laboratory at the Johnson Space Center in Houston that prepares astronauts for spacewalks in a pool filled with underwater mockups. The company also helps operate a facility that features life-size models of the space shuttle and the space station interior.
`Mr. Goodwrench'
For Detroit-based GM, Raytheon has managed the Service Technical College that trains most technicians in the carmaker's Mr. Goodwrench program. The system has prepared 65,000 technicians for work at 7,000 dealerships in North America.
Raytheon redesigned training from a 98 percent instructor- based technique to one that blends Web-based methods and instruction by satellite. Customers include Pfizer Inc., the world's largest drug company, and Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest automaker, Teel said.
About 1,500 Raytheon workers are employed in training services, or 2.1 percent of the global staff.......Next week's event allows Raytheon to highlight its role in the Metrix team that won a 16 billion pound ($31.5 billion) contract from the U.K. Ministry of Defense in 2007, Teel, 63, said. That work has drawn interest from North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and from customers in the Middle East, he said.
Raytheon has a similar training role with the Army through a $11.2 billion program that provides live and computer-based training. Raytheon competes against training-services suppliers such as International Business Machines Corp. and Accenture Ltd.
To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Boston at elococo@bloomberg.net.
Last Updated: July 9, 2008 00:01 EDT
See also
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2008/07/08/new-homes-in-peril-as-1-100-jobs-axed-91466-21303481/
 This article also refers to DTR. In their new blurb Metrix say they plan to build 559 new homes. Thats not bad for the 5000 new jobs and families they promise !!


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=a6X0tNLjSjQM&refer=uk

HA HA
(Celtic News, France - 30 Jul 2008 Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones Deputy First Minister. )Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of Wales : "We are willing and eager to make our own decisions.................The Defence Training Academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan will provide thousands of high quality jobs, training service personnel in an academic environment that will turn Oxford and Cambridge green with envy when it opens for business next decade."
really? ...http://www.agencebretagnepresse.com/fetch.php?id=11660&title=Rhodri%20Morgan,%20First%20Minister%20of%20Wales%20:%20We%20are%20willing%20and%20eager%20to%20make%20our%20own%20decisions

07/08/2008

squaddies rampaging around llanwit major?

In the current edition of The Gem (vale of glamorgan's free newspaper) John Smith MP and Tory AM Alun Cairns (whats he got to do with the Vale) launch a dual attack on Plaid Cllr Nic Hodges who apparently made remarks at the st.athan public meeting about 'squaddies rampaging around llantwit major' as well as questioning the academy. The headline of the article is 'Critics ask Plaid: do you really want St. Athan?'."

St Athan Spin

the reply to a letter to the St Athan Consultation regarding ethical concerns around the role of Raytheon in the Metrix Consortium. (see below). It echos the line of the Welsh media and politicians.

Dear

Thank you for your email regarding Raytheon and its role in the Defence Technical Academy (DTA).

In the first instance, I would like to reassure you that Raytheon does not manufacture cluster bombs or any associated delivery vehicles. Any assertion to the contrary is based on dated information that is no longer correct. In addition, Raytheon has excellent relations with the Norwegian Government and continues to deliver a wide range of products to them, none of which are related to cluster munitions.

In context of the DTA, Raytheon Professional Services, the company’s training arm, will be involved in providing technical training to DTA personnel in aeronautical and electro mechanical engineering and communications/IT disciplines.

Raytheon Professional Services is well practised at delivering training around the world, in both the private and public sectors, and its clients range from NASA to General Motors. I hope this addresses your concerns, but if you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to be in touch using one of the following methods below.

Kind Regards,

Gemma
St Athan Project Public Consultation Services Call: 0845 618 0016

Write to:Camargue Group Ltd, Freepost RRKG-AZTG-JLJX,St Athan Consultation
Eagle Tower,Montpellier Drive,Cheltenham,GL50 1TA

Email:
enquiries@st-athanconsultation.co.uk
Visit: www.st-athanconsultation.co.uk

Companies Excluded from the Investment Universe

...Defence and Space Company) EADS Finance BV General Dynamics Corporation L3 Communications Holdings Inc. Lockheed Martin Corp. Raytheon Co. Thales SA. The press release from the Ministry of Finance The recommendation from the Advisory Council on Ethics

(Ministry of Finance, 03.02.2007)



Recommendation on Exclusion of Cluster Weapons from the Government Petroleum Fund Oslo, 16 June 2005

postmottak@fin.dep.no;

...Corp, L3 Communications Holdings Inc, Raytheon Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Alliant Techsystems...from the Government Petroleum Fund. Raytheon Company produces, according to its own web-site, 3 http://www.raytheon.com/products/stellent/groups/public..

(Ministry of Finance, 02.09.2005)

Norway excludes 3 arms producers from oil fund [Reuters]

Read the recommendation here (pdf)

The Ethical Guidelines List of Excluded Companies

Recommendation on Exclusion of Cluster Weapons from the Government Petroleum Fund- The Advisory Council on Ethics for the Government Petroleum Fund recommends that the companies General Dynamics Corp, L3 Communications Holdings Inc, Raytheon Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Alliant Techsystems Inc, EADS Co (European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company) and Thales SA be excluded from the Petroleum Fund because they are presumed to be involved in production of cluster weapons.

Serco Group Plc should be kept out of Wales because of its involvement in the production of nuclear weapons.

Why are our politicans not calling for the government to have ethical guidelines for investment like Norway.

Council on Ethics- Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global - Read more here : http://www.regjeringen.no/templates/Kampanje.aspx?id=434879&epslanguage=EN-GB

The role of the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund - Global is to provide evaluation on whether or not investment in specified companies is inconsistent with the established ethical guidelines. The Ministry of Finance makes decisions on the exclusion of companies from the Fund's investment universe based on the Council's recommendations. Both the Ministry's decisions and the Council's recommendations will be made publicly available on this website.

Recommendation on the exclusion of the company Serco Group Plc. The company is recommended for exclusion because of its involvement in the production of nuclear weapons.

As we have been saying for years...Serco - one to watch http://www.aldermaston.net/campaigns/serco_2004.php


05/08/2008

Police drop top secret NETCU guide to policing protest

Internet coup! NETCU anti-protest guide hits the public domain

5 August, 2008 here · No Comments

Oops! Police at the Climate Camp in Kent have dropped a clanger - or more specifically a copy of their demonstrators=turrists handbook, the NETCU Policing Protest Pocket Legislation Guide (“For Police Use Only”).

NETCU? Who they? Well, the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit “forms part of the national policing response to domestic extremism”, and gives advice to individual police forces and other ‘enforcement agencies’ relating to this. There’s even a handy little biography on the inside page of Policing Protest (with even handier contact details):

NETCU provides tactical advice and guidance on policing single-issue domestic extremism. The unit also supports companies and other organisations that are the targets of domestic extremism campaigns. NETCU reports through the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) to the Association of Chief Police Officers Terrorism and Allied Matters - ACPO(TAM) committee.

National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU)
PO Box 525, Huntingdon, PE29 9AL
Tel: 01480 425091
Fax: 01480 425007
Email: mailbox@netcu.pnn.police.uk
Web: www.netcu.org.uk

Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to public authorities in England and Wales. Under the Act, organisations listed in Schedule 1 to the Act - either by name or by description - have to provide public access to information they hold. NETCU is not a public authority as defined by Schedule 1 and therefore there are no obligations on NETCU to disclose information under the Act. Police forces are advised not to release this guide following freedom of information requests.

Edition 2 - November 2007

It could be seen as a successor to projects such as ARNI, the Animal RIghts National Index which was subsequently rolled out to encompass a wide range of environmental and social activists.

One can also see it in the context of the ‘Green Scare‘, the post-COINTELPRO pursuit of the ELF and others in the United States.

And let us also consider NETCU’s targeting of groups it considers to be engaged in ‘tertiary terrorism’ (most notably animal rights campaigns such as SHAC).

From creating databases which log the activities of entirely lawful groups and individuals, through to the arbitrary casting of politically-motivated behaviours beyond the spheres of the lawful, unlawful or criminal into the less rationally-bound romper room labelled terrorism (with all its attendant emotional responses); that is the nature of the NETCU game.

In other words, through bureaucratic manoeuvring, artless sophistry and ideologically-motivated authoritarianism, NETCU shifts the goalposts for what passes for legal protest. Thus a terrorist is not defined by her or his actions, but by having been labelled a terrorist (by way of ‘domestic extremist’). Thus terrorism is not “the systematic use of terror, esp as a means of coercion” (Penguin Pocket English Dictionary, 1990), it is any activity undertaken by those previously defined by the new terms of reference as ‘terrorists’.

That the NETCU website is liberally sprinkled with pictures of yogurt-weaving peace marchers, clowns(!) and, erm, the Countryside Alliance should give an indication of exactly whom the organisation considers a ‘domestic extremist’ - that’s right, pretty much anyone who ever dares dissent from the Westminster-approved script.

So read the Policing Protest book and find out how you should behave in future lest you accidentally become a dangerous terrorist.

Links:


01/08/2008

Plaid sell out - St Athan deal dead - somebody tell them


Celtic News, France - 30 Jul 2008 Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones Deputy First Minister. here

Rhodri Morgan,
First Minister of Wales : "We are willing and eager to make our own decisions.................The Defence Training Academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan will provide thousands of high quality jobs, training service personnel in an academic environment that will turn Oxford and Cambridge green with envy when it opens for business next decade."
really? ...
Don't think so!....this school for mercenaries by war profiteers will bring nothing more trouble IF it goes ahead..

Where was the decision to bring the defence training academy to Wales made? In Westminster by the hated new labour government!

Leanne Wood AM..."I accept that the decision around this development is not an Assembly decision and that it is not a devolved issue, but Members need to be satisfied that if this project falls apart, the Assembly’s budget will not be adversely affected." (more here)

Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour) recently "The right hon. Gentleman is right that this is taking longer than is ideal. The financial appraisals have thrown up some difficult issues, and we are working them through with a view to taking a decision before the end of the year."

Sold out ...Plaid....Ieuan Wyn Jones...what ever you say Rhodri!!!

The Government has finally acknowledged major affordability gaps in the delivery of the defence training review programme. Given the worsening of public finances, would Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones think to ask the prime minster to give an undertaking to have a review of this undeliverable and unaffordable project - Documents produced following a recent meeting of the “defence training review executive board” reveal that the project, under which training will be handed to the Metrix consortium through a 30m PFI contract worth around £11bn, poses catastrophic risks on the front line.” dummies...Call for the prime minister to immediately instigate a National Audit office investigation. STILL NO SIGNED CONTRACT..BIN IT!!!

other stories

Accusations fly on defence training Shropshire Star, UK - 22 Jul 2008
http://www.shropshirestar.com/2008/07/22/accusations-fly-on-defence-training/
The Government has been accused of backtracking on the defence training contract won by South Wales in a two-headed contest with RAF Cosford, reports London ...

Union leaders at Cosford believe that it is increasingly likely that the St Athan deal will fall through...Welsh Nationalist MP Adam Price told Mr Ainsworth yesterday: “This project was announced with considerable fanfare in the run-up to the Welsh Assembly elections, but, 18 months on, there is still no signed contract.

Yesterday in parliament
guardian.co.uk, UK - 22 Jul 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/jul/22/houseofcommons.lords

Defence ministers were accused of "backtracking" over plans for a new defence training academy in south Wales. Adam Price, for Plaid Cymru, said there was ...

New defence training academy in south Wales
Defence ministers were accused of "backtracking" over plans for a new defence training academy in south Wales. Adam Price, for Plaid Cymru, said there was "fear and concern" in St Athan that the multi-billion pound investment would not go ahead. Armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth conceded that the project had taken longer than expected. ...
...is this the same Adam Price who is against privatisation , war ? Yes fear and concern if it goes ahead..

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence
Defence Technical AcademyAll Commons debates on 21 Jul 2008
« Previous debate Next debate »
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-07-21a.515.5&s=Adam+Price#g517.0

2:30 pm

John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan, Labour) Link to this | Hansard source | Watch this

What progress is being made on the defence technical academy, St. Athan; and if he will make a statement.


Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour) Link to this | Hansard source | Watch this

The Department continues to work constructively with the Metrix consortium on a range of issues on defence training review package 1 to achieve an affordable, value-for-money, acceptable and deliverable project. Negotiations with Metrix are continuing and both parties are working hard to drive down costs and obtain maximum value for money for the taxpayer.
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John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan, Labour) Link to this | Hansard source | Watch this

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he take this opportunity to pay tribute to the integrated project team, Metrix and the Welsh Assembly Government for the way in which they are progressing this £12 billion private finance initiative, and especially their involvement of the local community in the planning and design stage, which has already resulted in a number of major improvements? Does he agree that, with a project of the scale, complexity and importance to the armed forces of this technical academy, it is important that we get it right and do not rush it?
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Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. As part of the planning process, we and Metrix are committed to an ongoing programme of consultation with the local community in Wales. We have involved the community in the redevelopment of St. Athan. That is a priority, and local comments will have a direct impact on how the details of any plans evolve. Public consultation exhibitions will take place—and, as my hon. Friend is aware, some are taking place at present.
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James Arbuthnot (North East Hampshire, Conservative)
But while it is important not to rush it, as John Smith says, the defence training review does seem to be taking longer to come to signature than everybody had thought. In Bordon in my constituency, this is a very important matter because the regeneration of the town depends on everybody having a clear idea of the Ministry of Defence's intentions. Are there any problems with the sale of MOD land that we need to be aware of? What is going on?


Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour)
The right hon. Gentleman is right that this is taking longer than is ideal. The financial appraisals have thrown up some difficult issues, and we are working them through with a view to taking a decision before the end of the year.
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Chris Bryant (PPS (Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC (Leader of the House of Commons)), Leader of the House of Commons; Rhondda, Labour)
The Minister will know that there is a warm welcome for this project not only in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Glamorgan, but across the whole of south Wales. There are people in my constituency who formerly worked at St. Athan and who are looking forward to the prospect of working there again in the near future, and many of them have important skills. Will the Minister confirm that none of the delay that has so far occurred has been because any of the services is reluctant to work with the other services, because where all the services work together in providing training they can significantly add value?
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Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour)
The St. Athan proposal added significant value to training in the whole area that was covered by package 1, and that was why it was considered to be value for money. That is not the reason for any hold-up. We are getting total co-operation from within the services, and also from the local community in Wales. There are affordability issues, however, which we are trying to work through with Metrix. That has caused some delay, but we are still doing our best to bring this to a good conclusion.
Add your comment

Adam Price (Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government; Culture, Media and Sport; Defence; Transport; Ministry of Justice); Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru)

This project was announced with considerable fanfare in the run-up to the Assembly elections, but, 18 months on, there is still no signed contract. We already have one empty aircraft hangar in the area that John Smith serves as a result of a previous MOD U-turn. Does the Minister understand that there is fear in the community that the Government may be backtracking on the scale of the project, and can he reassure it that there is no truth in that?

what adam had to say ...no to miliatarism no to privatisation.. but yes to the academy on 'economical grounds!!! See his letter here


Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour) Link to this | Hansard source | Watch this

All I will say to the hon. Gentleman is that he and his nationalist colleagues ought to reflect upon the size of the defence training capability in Scotland and Wales were they to get their way and form governments in either of those places.
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Robert Walter (North Dorset, Conservative) Link to this | Hansard source | Watch this

There are obviously serious difficulties with package 1, and it is clear that package 2 will never get off the ground. Does that not challenge the financial viability of the whole scheme, and has the Minister considered looking again at some of the investment the MOD has already made in my constituency at Blandford in the Defence College of Communications and Information Systems—more than £100 million over the past eight years—and at not sticking with the original defence training review plan, which was to locate communications and information systems training at Blandford?


Bob Ainsworth (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Coventry North East, Labour)
We have announced a change in policy on package 2. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the synergies and, thus, the advantages in bringing people together, in the package 2 area were never as strong as those in package 1, so we are examining alternative solutions in those areas. Package 1 remains the best way of enhancing defence training, and we are committed to working through these problems and trying to deliver the proposal for St. Athan.

...........

The Defence Training Academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan will provide thousands of high quality jobs, training service personnel in an academic ...
Architects’ new regional director...WalesOnline, United Kingdom - 22 Jul 2008
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business-in-wales/business-news/2008/07/23/architects-new-regional-director-91466-21385813/

“We have been appointed as the architect and landscape architect on the Defence Training Review in St Athan, which represents a significant regional ...