Blacklisted – The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists (Dave Smith & Phil Chamberlain)

BlacklistedSo I am thinking on which angle to begin writing on this historical book? should it be on the “conspiracy theory”? or rather when the “theory”, after years of strenuous denial by the perpetrators, media & the regulators & legal operators that should have been bringing them down, gets total & utter public confirmation & an ‘oh yes! You were actually 100% right all along’ moment? Or should it be the repellent state-police-corporate bed-fellows collaboration that once again urges us to rethink the true allegiances of these institutions by their giant, corrupt & abominable co-actions & complicity? More than anything, this book concentrates on the construction industry in Britain & the blacklisting organization, The Consulting Association, that was finally disclosed publicly in 2009 after years of targeted illegal exclusion & covert sabotage of legitimate workers. This revelation by four members of the Information Commissioners Office brought about the closing of the TCA & “A 30-year covert operation involving the country’s top construction firms, with the co-operation of the security services”. What would get you on the blacklist? Dispute or striking action against – unsafe conditions, poor sanitation, pay, illegal practice & pretty much any contesting of the companies actions (or profits) & commercial conduct. Oh! & almost any display of political or socially-aware behaviour, rhetoric or thinking was another potential flash-point as one such example from the TCA log reveals – “very bad news-Buddhist, talks like a young Alf Garnett, Wears Anti Nazi League badges and insignia and is suspected of being a supporter”. Wonderful. It goes on & on with hundreds of cases referenced. “The Organization worked as a covert vetting service funded by the construction industry to monitor people applying for work on building sites” with “more than 40 of the biggest names in the business” having senior members from their Human Resources department liaising with the TCA. The results of falling foul of this despicable corrupt deliction would be almost total & unexplained exclusion from construction work the nation over, with those marked (not even knowing of course whether they had been submitted to the list, or even if it actually existed) strangely never being accepted for work applications no matter their qualifications. The results of this, catalogued throughout the book extensively, are frequently devastating. There are plenty of suicides, breakdowns, misery, smashed families & ruined lives. I would like to take this opportunity to say fuck the TCA! & fuck any companies that exploited this execrable malpractice. I hope to see you all jailed! as one victim provides documentation – “my family is riddled with debt and suffering. We had to do without food and clothing at times, no holidays. We were unable to ever apply for a mortgage and never knew why. We do now.” There’s PLENTY such tales of woe from the dreadful suffering this awful practice wrought on many an innocent man. About the first 100 pages of the book are an incredible vault of information. After this, I personally found things became a bit repetitive & less coherent, perhaps literally as you have just been bludgeoned with so much wrongdoing from the previous pages. It’s later in the book that things once again become extraordinary in their revelatory power & research from chapter 9’s “Under Constant Watch”. This is where the flagrant beyond belief & utterly iniquitous “state-police-private sector” mega-calamity oozes into focus. It’s a logical progression in the miasma, showing deep associations & interactions with the preceding chapters covered, but with the book now morphing to another footing, very similar to Rob Evans & Paul Lewis’s excellent & truly-shocking Undercover. It’s a jeremiad of furtive writhing between corporations/big business & the state & security “services” –  ‘specialist squads’ within the Metropolitan police, the Economic League, Trade Union for European and Transatlantic Understanding (funded by US Congress & NATO), Special Branch, National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, the now notorious Special Demonstration Squad, Control Risks, Kroll, Asset Protection Group, Threat Response International & other horrific & sinister clandestine entities spying, blacklisting, infiltrating & sabotaging in some of the greatest acts of democratic ravaging this country has ever seen. It’s so telling, all this huge institutional effort against – Justice Campaigners? Eco activists? People wanting safe working conditions in the construction industry? & who’s on the other end spurring & purring? Major corporations! What does that tell you? Preferential treatment, intentions, allegiance & priority underscored. One hell of a book, with some of the most damning information in years documenting some of the worst, shockingly egregious corporate-crimes-state-crimes. The dereliction of democracy & treasonous corporate submission & sell-out continues today with Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) in Yorkshire a prime example. Fracking is a disastrous, extremely polluting & destructive practice. That’s confirmed, there are no “environmental fears” just facts. Every UK citizen needs to watch Josh Fox’s brilliant Gas Lands 2 for purely factual documentation of the utter ruination & contamination from Fracking & support all resistance against this deplorable, polluting, damaging & destructive malpractice.

Author: Dave Smith & Phil Chambelrain

Publisher: New Internationalist