Erhöhung des monatlichen Mindestlohns von 400 auf 700 ägyptische Pfund

Increase of the minimum monthly wage from 400 to 700 Egyptian pounds (from 41 euros to 72 euros per month), which Egypt passed in 2011.

The French multinational Veolia has been suing Egypt for this since 2012. The case is still ongoing. It’s being heard before an arbitration tribunal at the World Bank. Veolia said increasing workers’ wages by 31 euros a month violated garbage collection agreements they made in a public-private partnership with the city of Alexandria.

(Air HƏH oong   dess   moan ott lichh en   MINNED est loans   fonn   FEAR hoon drett   ow! F   ZEE ben hoon drett   aigue IPPED tish ah   FOONED.)


Foundations for providing scholarship money to “gifted” students.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine said in addition to the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes [Studies Foundation of the German People], there are 12 smaller foundations in Germany that also provide scholarships to “gifted” students. The twelve are anchored in core society groups such as the political parties, religions, labor unions and employers. The smaller foundations receive some or all of this scholarship money from the federal Education Ministry and pass it on to the students they select, after taking 14% for administrative costs.

1% of German university students receive money from these groups, nearly 26,000 students in 2013.

In the past, the gifted scholarships consisted of a need-based monthly allowance, calculated using Bafög data, plus a monthly supplement called “books money” [Büchergeld] that has now been renamed [Studienkostenpauschale, “study expenses grant”] after it was announced in February that it would be increased to 300 euros/month effective September 2014.

A similar merit-based scholarship of 300 euros/month—150 from the Education Ministry, 150 from a sponsor— that was seen as competition to the books money is called the Deutschlandstipendium, Germany Scholarship, available to any German university and to qualifying students from any nationality.

(Beh GOB ten fir-r-r dare oongs verk ah.)


Mercenary companies. Private military contractors in Europe include:

United Kingdom:

G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, is based in London and is one of the world’s largest employers, employing ~620,000 worldwide. Created in 2004 when the U.K.’s Securicor merged with the British-Danish Group 4 Falck.

G4S acquired a large U.K.-U.S. competitor and Iraq & Afghanistan contractor, Armorgroup, in 2008 (cf. Defence Systems Ltd below).

Other interesting G4S acquisitions:

Wackenhut (U.S.A., 2002), Progard Securitas (Serbia, 2008), ArmorGroup (see Defence Systems Limited below; U.S.A./U.K., 2008), Touchcom which “installs and maintains web-based electronic security systems and facility management software” (U.S.A., 2008) and GLS, “a provider of outsourced justice services,” i.e. a prisons contractor (U.K., 2008). English Wikipedia listed, among the 2009 acquisitions, “Secura Monde International Limited and Shiremoor International Engineering Limited, together, the UK’s leading specialist banknote and high security technical and commercial advisory companies; All Star International for $60M, one of the premier facilities management and base operations support companies providing services to the US Government; Adesta, US-based provider of integrated security systems and communication systems; and Hill & Associates Consultants Limited, Asia’s leading provider of specialist risk-mitigation consulting services.” In 2010 they bought a large South African security firm. In 2011, they bought an electronic monitoring device manufacturer and what looks like a U.K. alarm system company.

Clients include Israel.

Complaints were made about Wackenhut’s guarding of U.S. nuclear facilities and military bases due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements. In 2013 G4S said they would be divesting themselves of their U.S. government services contractors.

Defence Systems Limited, an early private military contractor (est. 1981) that the founder of Hart Group managed before he left and founded Hart in 1999. DSL was run by Hart’s Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, and Sir Alistair Morrison. The company was bought in 1997 by a Florida manufacturer of body armor, riot-control equipment and armored vehicles, merged into a company headquartered in Wyoming, then became ArmorGroup, which was bought by the British giant G4S in 2008, bringing in about 9000 employees. It appears they also merged with an offshoot of the Soviet K.G.B., called Alpha-A (est. 1991), in 1997—the K.G.B.’s Alpha group is said to have helped with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and suppressing protests in Lithuania. Before G4S acquired them, DSL’s clients included oil companies, mining companies, government embassies, international organizations hiring them for post-conflict humanitarian missions and groups around the world hiring them for counterinsurgency training. ArmorGroup still existed after G4S’s 2008 buyout and removal from the London Stock Exchange, because in 2009 they lost the contract to supply the security for the U.S. embassy in Kabul due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements.

Hart Group, established in 1999 by former British military officer Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, the group’s headquarters are in Bermuda. A website said their website once said, “Hart specialises in mitigating security risk globally, across land, sea and air.” That is essentially what their website still says today, only bigger.

The originally-British Hart Group’s companies include: CTG Global, Erinys International, Hart, Longport Aviation, Symbion Power and Hart Maritime Hubs:

CTG Global: part of Hart Group, which says CTG does “human resource management and consultancy services.” Their website says they specialize in post-conflict humanitarian work.

Erinys International, a British private security company headquartered in the Virgin Islands. Founded in 2001 by a former British military officer, it grew big in 2004 fulfilling contracts in Iraq. A subsidiary of Hart Group, which says Erinys does “risk mitigation across Africa primarily in the Oil and Gas sector.”

Longport Security‘s website says, “Prevent acts of unlawful inteference with Civil Aviation.” This is another subsidiary of Hart Group.

Symbion Power is a U.S. engineering firm that has been awarded massive contracts for rebuilding Iraq’s electricity infrastructure. A member of Hart Group.

Aegis, a British firm hired by the U.S. to oversee U.S. contractors in Iraq. Aegis employees were allegedly the ones shooting at Iraqi civilians in video that surfaced in 2005.

Rubicon International, a British firm that e.g. recruited for Erinys and merged with Aegis in 2005.

AKE Group, a U.K. firm (est. 1991) with offices around the world that provides security and intelligence services.

Babylon Gates Ltd provides patrol and detection dogs, de-mining and security services.

Control Risks Group, a British firm that provided guard services in Iraq. Apparently originally founded in 1974 to provide risk analysis to Lloyd’s of London? Now a major private military contractor.

Edinburgh International, based in London and Dubai, provides “risk management and security.”

FSI Worldwide might be a British company that provides military services. Their website says they got their start in 2006 providing Gurkha contracting and they have a British charity.

Genric Security, a British firm that provided security services in Iraq in partnership with the Kuwait-based Arab Orient Group.

Global Risk, a British firm that provided security in Iraq.

Henderson Risk, a British firm that worked in Iraq. Today their website says they provide “Business Intelligence, Asset Protection and Crisis Management services.”

Infinite Security Solutions, a company registered in Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Ghana, Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K. that provides risk management services on land and sea. Affiliated with London insurance companies.

International Defence Systems UK Ltd, a company that provides air support parts and services.

Risk Advisory Group, a British umbrella group for private military contractors.

Janusian, a risk management subsidiary of the British Risk Advisory Group.

New Century consulting, founded by a Belfast-born top British officer in Iraq. Provides police and military services and training.

Olive Group is a for-hire security services company headquartered in Dubai who are apparently helping write some of the U.K.’s standards and codes of conduct for private military companies. During the second Iraq war they had an office in Mayfair, London, U.K.

Restrata was an Olive Group company guarding a large housing development construction project outside Baghdad.

Pilgrims Group, a British firm that provides security and intelligence support and training, as well as security, surveillance and communications equipment.

Saladin Security, Ltd, previously known as KMS, Ltd, is a London-based company established in 1975 that provides security services, equipment and training. And kidnap & extortion mitigation.

Security Support Solutions, 3S, a London company founded in 2003. Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile said 3S “provides armoured vehicles; helicopter solutions; aviation security; maritime security; and security consulting, including risk assessment, threat analysis, and vulnerability assessment. It serves governments, NGO’s, private security companies, news agencies, and the military sector.”


Tangiers Group, an organization based in Malta and affiliated with Lloyd’s of London that has the following subsidiaries:

Tangiers International, “the high touch, frontline medical and emergency services division of the group.”

Tangiers Global, “the insurance underwriting and brokerage arm of the organisation.”

The Organisation for Better Security or OBS, “a membership community for Tangiers’ clients that provides actionable intelligence about conditions in conflict zones.”


Reconnaissance Group, based in Dublin. Their website says they enable business to be done in hostile environments, providing services under the categories of “Reconnaissance Market Entry, Security & Risk Management, Executive Protection, Project Support, Crisis Management, Intelligence & Investigations, TSCM (de-bugging), Cultural Awareness Training.”

Reconnaissance Trace Management Security Services & Key Holding, a subsidiary of Reconnaissance Group, says their name stands for Tracking, Reconnaissance Intelligence Management Solutions (RIMS), Alarms, CCTV and Electronic Surveillance Counter Measures.


Securitas AB, in Sweden. Owns the Pinkerton detective agency now. In 2012, they had about 300,000 employees around the world.

The company that became Group 4 was formed as a division of Securitas AB in 1968. In 1981 it was it was separated from Securitas AB when the owner’s sons divided the company’s Swedish and international operations after buying out their father. The international entity became known as Group 4 because it combined four British security companies. They merged with the Danish Falck in 2000 to form Group 4 Falck, which merged with the British Securicor in 2004 to form the world’s biggest security firm by revenue and the world’s second or third-largest employer by employees, G4S.

 The Securitas founder’s sons bought the company from him in 1976 and reorganized it in 1981. The Securitas remainder was sold in 1983. The company’s enormous expansion began in 1989.

Security firms acquired by Securitas include, in addition to the famous Pinkertons,

Protectas SA, a Swiss security company.

Update on 08 Jul 2014: Munich police searched 13 Securitas “objects,” including offices and a suspect’s villa, because the company is suspected of subcontracting work in exchange for bribes. The company informed police themselves after receiving a tip. Securitas’s Munich branch has about 1400 employees and is subordinated to a holding company in Düsseldorf.


Falck, which merged into Securitas AB and then G4S, was a Danish security company.


Secopex, based in Carcassone and founded in 2003, with a structure “based on the large Anglo-American companies that dominate this sector,” according to a 2011 newspaper article written because one of their top officers was killed in Benghazi.


Ecolog International provides services to the German Bundeswehr and clients from other N.A.T.O. countries and was able to grow as a company via contracts in the post-9/11 interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. German media said Ecolog has created a complicated Geflecht of subsidiaries around the world that are legally independent entities, making the enterprise less transparent. Employees of the company have been investigated in several countries for money laundering and drug smuggling.

Interesting story in the Frankfurter Rundschau: During the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Afghanistan, they had problems in 2006 with camouflage uniforms coming back from Ecolog’s laundry services slightly pink in color, which could make the soldiers more visible on night patrols, “with appropriate viewing devices,” F.R. said. It was attributed to using the wrong soap, and contracts were changed twice to prescribe which soap should be used. But it sounds like someone just threw in a red sock at the laundry.


Ge2b Seguridad Internacional, a Spanish company that provides security-related manpower and services to governments and industry.

(ZILLED nah FEAH men.)

“Schattenwissenschaft des Krieges”

“Shadow science of war,” headline to a Sü article about >$10 million the U.S. military has invested since 2000 in research projects at at least 22 German universities, careful curious institutions where $10 million can buy a lot of study. The Pentagon helped fund investigations into military explosive materials at Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität in Munich, for example; bulletproof glass [Panzerglas] and warheads [Sprengköpfe, exploding heads] at the Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg; at Marburg, mini-drones and “nocturnal visual orientation in flying insects” useful for targeting munitions; at Saarland, $120,000 from the Army Research Laboratory for mathematical studies of linguistic structures, presumably useful in surveillance technology.

Sü and its investigation partner the Norddeutsche Rundfunk criticized the lack of transparency at the German universities and research institutes about having received the funding. Despite having “packs or prides of marketing experts,” the mostly-taxpayer-funded German schools’ reticence about U.S. military sponsorship meant journalists could only find them by going through lists in U.S. documents, including online searches of the database of the Federal Procurement Data System, which S.Z. said publishes all U.S. government purchases >$3000.

“And afterward strained excuses were even voiced, such as, the money was for basic research that surprised everyone when it turned out to have military applications. But the Pentagon would never have opened its cash register for pure love-of-neighbor, nor for scientific curiosity.”

Sü said 14 German universities have added “civil clauses” [Zivilklausel] to their by-laws stating that they will not accept research money from the German military, which also sponsors such projects. The University of Bremen did this, for example, and was then shocked to find its name in the U.S. database, having received $40,000 in 2011 and again in 2012 from the U.S. Air Force to study metal emissions in the upper atmosphere. Even if schools have such so-called civil clauses, the newspaper wrote, it is each individual German academic’s decision whether to accept military money for “dual-use” projects because academic freedom is guaranteed by Art. 5 of the German Constitution, section (3), which can be translated as “Art and science, research and teaching, are free. The freedom of teaching does not release instructors from their constitutional obligations” (to democracy and the human rights mandated elsewhere in the Grundgesetz, GG).

Update on 17 Dec 2013: The Swiss newspaper SontagsZeitung reported that in the past two years the Pentagon has provided “about a dozen” Swiss universities with “over a million dollars” in sponsoring for research projects in aerospace and computers. Schools included E.T.H. Lausanne and the universities of Zurich, Bern and Neuenburg.

(SHOTTEN vissen shoften   dess   CREE gess.)

Mit Steuermitteln geförderte Dopingforschung

Taxpayer-funded performance-enhancing-drug research.

In 2011 historians from Humboldt and Münster universities finished an 800-page report called “Doping in Germany from 1950 to the present” that remained unpublished supposedly because of data privacy concerns for the many West Germans named in it. It found that a West German institute called the Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft (“German Institute for Sports Science,” B.I.Sp.), founded in 1970, systematically with politician support researched performance-enhancing substances. At the time the researchers said they were trying to prove substances did not enhance performance, but when they found one that did it was then widely administered to West German athletes. The sports medicine physicians conducting the human experiments and administering the substances to athletes said West German politicians explicitly wanted this. This was not a reaction to East German doping; it was done in parallel, starting as far back as the 1950’s even before the East-West Germany conflict, according to sport historian professor and pundit Giselher Spitzer.

Athletes were not told about side effects. The substances were given to children, “to test age effects.” Pro soccer players doped too (pervitin and then amphetamines), though apparently there were few sports not involved. Epo experiments were done as early as 1988. The scientists worked with national sports groups to help doped athletes elude capture in competition testing. Sponsoring money for the performance-enhancement research was considerable, flowing from the West German government and from private sports associations mostly to the Freiburg university hospital but also to sports medicine centers in Cologne and other cities.

The Humboldt University sports history study was ordered by the Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaften (B.I.Sp.) and sponsored by the Deutscher Olympischer SportBund. Its findings were kept unpublished for two years. After an 03 Aug 2013 Süddeutsche Zeitung article about the report a spokesperson for the Deutscher Olympischer SportBund said the failure to publish and resulting ongoing exclusion from public discussion and review was the researchers’ decision. On 05 Aug 2013 the B.I.Sp. finally published it and apparently Hans-Peter Friedrich (C.S.U.)’s Interior Ministry, which the B.I.Sp. is still a part of, also released it.

What we still don’t know: Before the evaluation, many important files were apparently shredded. Files requested in 1991 from B.I.Sp. to use to answer a parliamentary inquiry from the S.P.D. party turned out to have been destroyed, for example (and apparently the B.I.Sp. started the Humboldt University research project at about the same time??). Not all the relevant original files were apparently registered in a-or-the federal archive [“Bundesarchiv“?], so historians will be unable to find them there due to that library guerrilla move. The Deutscher Fussball-Bund reportedly set unacceptable conditions for access to its archives, so information they contain did not flow into the study. Joseph Blätter’s international soccer organization Fifa only recently (2011) stopped destroying World Cup soccer players’ test samples only three months after collection. People are upset that anonymity and lack of prosecution have been apparently enjoyed by West German sinners but not East German. The study was sponsored to investigate only up until the year 1990. Apparently the published version is missing several hundred pages.

Solutions: Justice ministers from several German states are demanding a federal-level anti-doping law making the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs a criminal offense; this has been under discussion for years now. The president of the Deutscher Leichtathletik-Verband called for more such research to prevent all West German athletes from that era from being suspected of having illegally taken performance-enhancing drugs. Also, as news anchor Claus Kleber pointed out, because the actors have never admitted culpability we can’t know whether the unethical practices were stopped. They might still be going on today.

(Mitt   SHTOY ah mitt ellll n   geh FUR dirt teh   DOPINGK for shoong.)


“Europe-wide.” A controversial Arte documentary has drawn attention to the new EU water guideline the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier (of Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party) is about to issue in which local European government water projects will accept bids from all of Europe. Water activist Jean-Luc Touly warned the current plans for the guideline will make it difficult for public utilities to compete against profit-driven private utilities that are, he said, not primarily motivated by consumers’ best interests. 80% of the French water market has been privatized, the 2010 Arte documentary “Water Makes Money” claims to show instances of corruption in that French privatization and there was an increase in French water quality problems post-privatization, Touly said.

Around the world, many privatization contracts appear to have gone to subsidiaries of just a few big companies such as Bechtel (USA), Enron (USA, now spectacularly bankrupt), RWE (Germany) and Suez/Veolia (France). Opening privatization of city water utilities to Europe-wide bidding might encourage reductions in international competition among these providers.

(Oy ROPE a v eye t.)



“Recommunalization,” remunicipalization. A twenty-first-century response to the twentieth century’s privatization trend. After experimenting with water privatization for over a century, for example, many French towns are now reacquiring privatized, for-profit utilities and turning them back into not-for-profit services.

This accords with the ideas of the great groundbreaking French engineer Henry Darcy who experimented with pipe, sand filtration and spring sources to create a technologically and socially advanced water system for the town of Dijon in 1840, a project he then carefully documented in a beautiful book published in 1856. My Texas colleague Patricia Bobeck translated it into English, including the following:

“As much as possible, one should favor the free drawing of water because it is necessary for public health. A city that cares for the interest of the poor class should not limit their water, just as daytime and light are not limited.”

[The Public Fountains of the City of Dijon, 42.]

Austerity measures may be increasing pressure on governments of financially troubled EU countries to sell off their water and other utilities such as Greece’s recent sale of 33% of the Greek state lottery and gambling organizer OPAP to the Czech-led consortium Emma Delta for 712 million euros (of which 60 million was dividends on profits from 2012). Wikipedia says OPAP is Europe’s largest betting firm and as of 2008 the Greek government only owned 34% of it.

(RAY com you noll iz EAR oong.)

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