Monday, 7 March 2011

Census Or Not

I got my census though the post today. Should I fill it in?

Its being run by the USA weapons company Lockheed Martin. They are involved in Trident nuclear missiles, cluster bombs and mines.

Some Protesters say they are willing to break the law and face a £1,000 fine and a criminal record by refusing to fill in the 32-page questionnaire. Resistance to the decennial census is growing as a coalition of anti-war groups, pacifists, religious organisations and digital activists begin raising public awareness about the role of Lockheed Martin, America's largest arms manufacturer.

Siân Berry, who led the Green party's 2008 campaign against Lockheed's bid for the contract, said:
"The really worrying thing is the fact that the information being collected in the next census – including new questions on sources of income and place of birth [to help monitor immigration] – would be ideal fodder for the kind of anti-terror analyses being carried out by Lockheed, and could lead to a faraway database identifying thousands of us as potential 'threats'."

Lockheed Martin is involved in surveillance and data processing for the CIA and FBI. It has controversially provided private contract interrogators to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. All US-based companies are subject to the Patriot Act, which allows the US government to have access to any data in the company's possession. Campaigners have warned this could give the US government access to detailed and personal data on the UK's entire population.

Any boycott of the census could lead to further funding problems for local councils, who already fear they will miss out on hundreds of millions of pounds of funding from central government because hundreds of thousands of people will not be counted.

The last census in 2001 has been accused of failing to count a million people and this time a number of major councils have expressed fears that lessons have not been learnt, a claim denied by the Office for National Statistics.

Lockheed Martin ranks number one on the “contractor misconduct” database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group."
Lockheed Martin Idaho Technologies Company was fined by the Department of Energy for violating nuclear safety regulations. “Workers removed a plastic cover that had become highly contaminated with the radioactive material. When the cover was moved for disposal, the radioactive europium powder spread and contaminated the entire facility.

Lockheed Martin Energy Systems was fined by the Department of Energy for multiple violations of nuclear safety requirements at its site in Oak Ridge, TN. These violations included: (1) The December 8, 1999, explosion of sodium potassium liquid metal in the Alpha 5 Facility that resulted in injury to 11 workers. The contractor failed to identify and mitigate the explosive hazards associated with this material, despite a number of opportunities to do so.; (2) Violations of criticality safety requirements and work process controls which resulted in a DOE-ordered operational stand down on November 5, 1999, and curtailment of fissile material movements in Building 9212 on December 14, 1999; (3) Significant deficiencies in the design, procurement and fabrication of the Hydrogen Fluoride Supply System, a critical system required for resumption of enriched uranium operations. The investigation identified failures with virtually every phase of the project...

There is a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to complete and return the form, but in 2001 only 38 people were prosecuted. 011 Census director Glen Watson said: "people could also fill in their details online. This will be quicker and it's better for us," he said, "because we won't need to scan the forms and decipher all that handwriting."

Instead of a boycott perhaps it should be filled out in the spirit of the 'Jedi Knight' religious question. in April 2006, Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, asked whether he would be allowed to set up a Jedi knights faith school during a Committee debate on the Education and Inspections Bill.

Its all a bit 1984.


Jonathan said...

Lockheed Martin will get paid whether you complete the census or not.

If you don't fill in the census, then the powers that be will conclude that you don't live in Reading, and won't allocate any money to your council, your local GP commissioning consortium etc to provide public services for you. That is a major problem in Slough for example where the population figures that Tesco use for providing shopping facilities is double what the government is using.

Adrian Windisch said...

My objections to Lockheed Martin do not include them getting paid. I do rrach a similar conclusion to you however, as youvcan read in the post.

I will still be cautious about what information I give them. And I live in Wokinhham council now, not Reading.

CIA said...

Mine was addressed to "The Occupier", so I just sent it on to the Israeli Embassy.

Adrian Windisch said...