Battersea Power Station under investigation for “dubious” investments

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak (pictured below sharing a joke with David Cameron and Boris Johnson)  has been charged with corruption over a ‘£3.4bn fraud.’

Caption Competition: Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak, Boris Johnson and David Cameron

The purchase of Battersea Power Station, the biggest property deal in the UK, is under threat after Anwar Ibrahim, the new leader of Malaysia’s governing coalition said it would be investigated as part of “dubious” investments made by the previous administration.

The Guardian reported:

“Anwar Ibrahim’s comments will raise questions about the British government’s commitment to fighting corruption. He said the money trail of the 1MDB fraud ran through London, with $1.83bn of Malaysia’s cash funnelled into a Saudi-British company.

“There was no attempt by British authorities to investigate. But this was a crime using sovereign wealth funds for reckless spending sprees.” he said.

“I say to Britain: you talk about transparency and anti-corruption drives, now is the time for action. I am saying now allow the institutions to conduct investigations fairly and give the necessary cooperation.”

Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader spent nine years in prison on charges which have been confirmed as trumped up and politically driven.

We ask how does this impact on the future of the building? The signs are not good. Despite being festooned with cranes there does not seem to be much going on at the site, just the continuation of the demolition by stealth. The east and west walls of iconic art deco brick work have gone. The London luxury property market has effectively collapsed. Many key individuals, including long time CEO Robert Tincknell, have left the Battersea Power Station Development Company (did they jump or were they pushed?).

Are we going to be left, as predicted, with a useless and worthless ruin surrounded by hideous and empty flats that no one wants to buy? Will the poor workers of Malaysia ever see their money back?

You can read more about Battersea Power Station on our blog and watch our film Selling an Icon here:

 

Battersea Power Station: Selling an Icon from Spectacle Media on Vimeo.

‘Battersea Power Station: Selling an Icon’ tells the story of Battersea Power Station from its prominence as a site of industrial power through the years of dereliction, speculation and planning blight to the replacement of the chimneys under the current scheme – a key example of developer-led preservation. In an age of aggressive ‘big business’ redevelopment, the film gives voice to the local communities who are rarely consulted and often overlooked.

Filmed over 15 years, Spectacle’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaigns of Battersea Power Station Community Group to preserve the building for the public good. It takes us straight to the heart of the current conservation debate about whether – and how – historic buildings should be preserved, governed, modified or replaced, and ‘who’ they belong to.

Also available to purchase on DVD. For institutional buyers and public screenings, please contact us at distribution@spectacle.co.uk.

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Lush’s Charity pot helps Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics company has a campaign supporting charities concerned with human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. And now, one of those charities is Save Shaker Aamer.

shaker-aamer-charity-pot

In 2013, Charity Pot donated over £2.5 million to organizations around the world. The funding generated by Charity Pot sales is essential for the survival of independent groups. All of the proceeds, minus VAT, are donated to independent grassroots charities like East Kent Against Fracking to lobby against planning application; provided Stop The Cull with binoculars to locate shooters in ‘cull zones;’ and helped rental advisory group Digs, host a series of training events to build a campaign against exploitation by private landlords.

Lush has made a video talking about some of the charities that they support and why and how they do that.

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Video of Save Shaker Aamer Campaign protest

The Shaker Aamer Campaign held a protest vigil for Shaker Aamer on Wednesday April 9th in Parliament Square and they walked to the Foreign Office calling for the urgent release and return to the UK of British Resident Shaker Aamer, who is still held unlawfully in Guantanamo. The Shaker Aamer Campaign is still fighting to bring him back home with demonstrations around London explaining to people what is happening.

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Time is running out. Save Shaker Aamer Campaign protest on April 9th in Parliament Square

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN PROTEST VIGIL FOR SHAKER AAMER, “TIME IS RUNNING OUT”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign will hold a protest vigil for Shaker Aamer on Wednesday April 9th in Parliament Square, opposite Parliament, from 1pm to 3pm. Wearing orange boiler-suits and black hoods, campaigners will walk to the Foreign Office, King Charles Street, to hand in letters to the Foreign Secretary William Hague calling for the urgent release and return to the UK of British Resident Shaker Aamer, who is still held unlawfully in Guantanamo.

shaker postcard z 2011

The vigil will continue opposite the Foreign Office where they will read passages from Shaker Aamer’s own words. He has found ways to send a series of letters and messages to his family and the world even from his steel cell in Guantanamo. His poignant words tell of his daily brutal treatment by the guards, his sadness of not being able to be with his children to show his love for them and his hope that, in the end, truth and justice will be restored and the black stain of Guantanamo will end.

No one can forget the dignity and wisdom of his words even as he suffers the torture of solitary confinement and casual brutality of daily injustice. No one should forget Shaker’s cry from his steel cell, as recorded by CBS in November last year.

Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace – or tell the world the truth. Open up the place – let the world come to visit. Let the world hear what is happening. Tell the world the truth.”

Shaker Aamer has been held in Guantanamo for over twelve years without charge or trial in Guantanamo. He has suffered harsh treatment and torture. He was cleared to leave Guantanamo in 2007 and 2010. The UK Government has called for his release and return to the UK as a matter of urgency, President Obama has pledged to close Guantanamo but still there is no news of Shaker Aamer’s return.

Time is running out for Shaker. He has been in Guantanamo for over twelve years. His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has written to William Hague and stated that Shaker Aamer “is gradually dying in Guantanamo.” His health is of great concern. He has many serious conditions and suffers daily brutal treatment by the guards. At times he despairs of an end to his ordeal. Time is running out for justice and freedom for Shaker. The UK Government must act now to bring him home.

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign 01903 206588 / 07756493877

 

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN DEMO FEB. 14th MI6 BUILDING, VAUXHALL, LONDON SE1 7TP

PRESS RELEASE FOR THE SAVE SHAKER AAMER CAMPAIGN DEMONSTRATION ON FEBRUARY 14TH 2014, OUTSIDE THE MI6 BUILDING, VAUXHALL, LONDON SE1 7TP

February 14th marks the day, twelve years ago, that Shaker Aamer was cruelly transported from Afghanistan to Guantanamo. The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign will hold a protest vigil opposite M16 from 1pm to 3pm to demand Shaker Aamer’s release and return from Guantanamo to the UK.

shakerkidsborder

It is widely reported that M15 and M16 may be secretly briefing against Mr. Aamer to block his return, in an attempt to suppress any further allegations that UK agents have been complicit in torture abroad. Shaker Aamer has stated that UK agents were present when he was tortured in Afghanistan. He had been in Afghanistan for only a few months working for a charity to establish schools and projects to help poor communities.

After 9/11, the US and UK bombed Afghanistan and offered bounties to Afghan villagers for foreigners who remained in their midst. Over 600 men were abducted, tortured and rendered to Guantanamo. Now, twelve years later, British Resident Shaker Aamer is still there, in chains, in solitary confinement, despite facing no charge or trial. He was cleared to leave Guantanamo over six years ago by the unanimous decision of six US security agencies including the CIA, State and Defense Departments. In September 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to President Obama to

“make it clear that we want Shaker Aamer released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency.”

If MI5 and MI6 are lying about Mr. Aamer to prevent his return, they are acting against the will of Parliament. Their statements must be retracted. Mr. Aamer has been threatened to be forcibly transferred to Saudi Arabia, a country he fled from over 30 years ago. There he would be silenced forever. The UK Government has recognized Mr. Aamer’s right to return to the UK as a long-term British Resident. All the other Guantanamo British Nationals and Residents have been released to their homes and families in the UK.

All of them have made allegations of complicity of torture against the UK security services which have yet to be investigated. It is time for the Government to have a public inquiry into all these allegations as was promised three years ago. Shaker’s allegations must also be heard, NOT SILENCED.

SSAC will be protesting on this sad day to demand an end to Shaker’s ordeal. As it is also Valentine’s Day, SSAC will be presenting a card to Sir John Sawer, Chief of MI6, stating that “MI6, we would love you to … help us bring Shaker Aamer home. Shaker Aamer, unlawfully imprisoned and tortured in Guantanamo for twelve years – he faces no charge or trial- he has been cleared since 2007 to leave Guantanamo. So why is Shaker Aamer still there? Shaker Aamer would love to be at home with his wife and family in the UK. M16, you could help. Tell the truth about torture! MI6 have a heart, don’t block Shaker Aamer’s release to the UK from Guantanamo.”

Further details from The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign 07756493877

 

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Battersea Power Station Pop-Up Park ‘pops off’

IMG_9991

Last May, the Battersea Power Station developers opened what they announced as a Pop-Up Park, that would receive visitors from all over the world every weekend and host several events. The so called public park, that was even added to Google Maps, ( how did that happen?) soon ‘popped off’ and in late September closed its doors.

The Power Station is one of the few obstacles preventing walkers from strolling along the south side of the Thames Path. For years this path has been blocked– a fading sign claimed it was a “construction site” even though really it was a very agreeable and exclusive river front office for construction company Berkeley Homes. The Berkeley Group (Berkeley, St James, St George, St Edward ) are responsible for ”delivering” many of the ugly and soulless developments despoiling the south bank.

IMG_9990In a new sign hanging on the now closed door, the developers claim the reason why they are shutting access to the park is related to the beginning of restoration works of the Power Station. In fact phase 1, which has barely started, is the building of monstrous flats in the slither of land along the rail track, forever obscuring the wonderful views from the west. “Restoration” (or desecration depending on your view of art deco architecture) of the power station is phase 2.

The sign also states that they have had “a great time hosting over 55,000 guests” in the pop up park. Are they are including in that number the more than 30,000 people that visited the building during the London Open House weekend? If so the pop up park was already closed then. Or do they count those attending the numerous events they have hosted, regardless of the alleged danger of the chimneys falling, on the south side of the site?

Finally it suggests you write to zkelly@bpsdc.co.uk if you would like to discuss putting on an event- It would seem danger from the chimneys only affects the non-paying public but not private, paying guests.

Perhaps “PR Park” would be a more appropriate name than “pop-up Park”.

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Weeklies Snubbed for Event on Patch

Author: Helen Lambourne, July 9, 2013

Reporters from two weekly newspapers were refused entry to an event attended by Prime Minister David Cameron which was attended by the Press Association and international titles. The Wandsworth Guardian and rival weekly South London Press did not receive invitations to a ground-breaking ceremony at Battersea Power Station last Thursday and were not allowed entry when their reporters attended.

The event, which was also attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and London mayor Boris Johnson, was held to mark the start of work at the 39-acre site, including the creation of 3,500 luxury new homes and leisure developments, and was organised by the Battersea Power Station Development Company.

Jamie Henderson – Chief Reporter at Wandsworth Guardian said “it was disappointing not to be allowed entry because the paper had reported on the future of the site for many years. We thought an invitation would come from them. I thought I would go down anyway to see what was happening.

“We knew there would be protesters there because we found out about the arrival of David Cameron. Their press officer eventually came out and I thought they would let us in but they told us the press area was full.”

“It is pretty galling really that we have not only given this much support to the project but local people want to know through our newspaper what is going on. The reports in the nationals didn’t report on anything to do with the local area. There was nothing about Wandsworth or the people  who are hopefully going to get jobs.”

The Wandsworth Guardian has won the support of a number of Local Councillors and the Public and Commercial Services Union which was protesting at the event.

Cathy Cook, London Campaign Manager for PCS, told the paper:
“At a time when the country is in economic crisis the Prime Minister prioritising a meeting about luxury penthouse flats is a disgrace.”
“What we think is even more of a disgrace is that the local press were denied access to this meeting today. The local press has a major interest in what is going in its locality and its readership will be interested to know that their journalist was not allowed in.”
Having not being allowed access South London Press reporter James Cracknell the day before the event tweeted: “So, a big-name VIP is going to be at Battersea Power Station tomorrow for a ground-breaking ceremony. But I’m not allowed to say who. I’ve also been banned from attending because the South London Press doesn’t qualify as important media.”

On the day of the ceremony, he tweeted: “I was escorted off the premises of Battersea Power Station this morning by a security guard the size of a house. Oh dear.”

The Battersea Power Station Development Company declined to comment.

 

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2012 Unemployment increases in Olympic boroughs

The British Government promised work for 20,000 of the people who lived in the Olympics host borough. Despite that fact only 9,700 jobs went to the residents of these borough.

The Guardian wrote an article about how the unemployment has increased during 2012 in some of the Games host boroughs. What happened to Cameron’s promise to keep the legacy of the games alive and as a part of that legacy to bring jobs to people in East London? The long-term youth unemployment in Bethnal Green and Bow increased by 55% in 2012. Wasn’t it supposed to decrease according to Cameron’s promise?

So the real Olympic legacy, as in Athens, is debt, despair and less access to sport than before…

 

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Is alcohol abuse a new “scandal”?

Prime Minister David Cameron said he is determined to do more to tackle alcohol abuse, which he has called “the scandal of our society”. Addressing the crowd at an hospital in north-east England today, Mr Cameron also said that recent figures show that binge drinking costs Britain 22 billion pounds a year when taking into account the whole range of issues related to it: road accidents, crime, lost productivity and, of course, health problems.

There is nothing new about the negative impacts of the alcohol industry on our society, health and culture.

Drink abuse: a not-so-new problem for youth (painting by W.P. Frith)

Spectacle’s film Exodus Extended Mix explores, among other issues, the hypocrisy of a profit driven drinks industry being a licensed dealer of a legalized, but extremely harmful drug – alcohol and the prohibition of the far less harmful cannabis which criminalizes vast swathes of young people and forces the consumer to the hands of gangs who have interest in promoting the harder, more anti-community drugs like heroine, cocaine and its derivatives.

Exodus from Babylon exposes the role of a beleaguered alcohol industry that was losing the youth market to free parties. The film documents how the alcohol industry set up a powerful lobby group to push for more relaxed laws and licences, how it had a role in the shutting down, commercialization and take over of rave culture and music festivals and how it sought to win back and target the youth market by presenting beer as a cool psychoactive drug.

BOGOF In the spirit of the buy one get one free ethos of the alcohol pushers you can buy both these DVDs for the price of one.

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Battersea Power Station: Out of the frying pan into the fire

The horror story continues…

Nightmare on Nine Elm Street

The abysmal Vinoly plans for Battersea Power Station that we had all hoped were finally dead and buried with the collapse of previous owners REO has come back to haunt all who care about the beautiful building and the quality of life for all those living in its shadow and the surrounding area.

Just when you thought it was safe Architect Viñoly has been hired as “creative brain” behind developer Mike Hussey’s plan for a new stadium for Chelsea football club. AAAHHHHHHGGGGG……

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