Occupy London – Solidarity with Census Refuser Judith Sambrook

13 Nov


” Judith is mother of five, single parent, currently raising two children of primary school age. She has kidney failure and is on dialysis three days a week. Judith is pleading not guilty to the charge and may run a human rights defence. If found guilty, she has pledged not to pay any fine imposed. ”


” The Director, Office of National Statistics, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Fareham, Hants,  PO15 5RR

Dear Sir

2011 Census of England and Wales

This letter is in response to the census forms which are not being completed by either myself
or my partner. As a long term university lecturer in the social sciences I am well aware of the
value of the census information to the government. But also as a long term pacifists we are
aware of the need to act with honesty towards one’s conscience when it comes to making
ethical choices. I find that the decision to award the data processing aspects of the census
to   an   armaments   manufacturer   (Lockheed   Martin   UK)   to  be  crass   in   the  extreme,   and
certainly   a   thoughtless   move   on   behalf   of   the   government   in   terms   of   guaranteeing
maximum compliance with the census.

By way of substantiating the above we would like to make the following points:

  • We never knowingly have dealings with unethical companies. You will be aware that,
    for instance, the Cooperative Bank does not deal with weapons manufacturers, and I
    have always banked with this company.  Most mainstream churches in Britain also
    do not support companies that are considered as unethical. We find it insensitive in
    the extreme that it is compulsory for us to help contribute to the business and profits
    of a company that manufactures cluster bombs, Trident nuclear warheads, and which
    controls a third of the Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory. We find it regrettable
    that ONS fails to appreciate this insensitivity. And now Lockheed Martin is moving
    into   the   rather   sinister   world   of   surveillance   and   intelligence,   with   their   US   Vice
    President (Lorraine Martin) being on record as saying “We want to know what’s going
    on anytime, any place on the planet”.
  • The ONS states that the census is being supported by Lockheed Martin (UK) and
    that this company is somehow completely separate from the US parent company.
    However, a perusal of the Lockheed Martin (UK) web site confirms that they too deal
    in the same military and surveillance areas as their US parent company. If they are
    totally   separate   companies   as   ONS   suggests,   then   it   seems   an   incredible
    coincidence that a company called Lockheed Martin should be carrying out both the
    USA and UK census processing! It is mere tautology to say that they are separate
  • Another depressing coincidence seems to be the fact that the census for England
    and Wales is being partly carried out by a subsidiary of a US company (Lockheed
    Martin) who themselves are involved in surveillance and intelligence and who were
    heavily   implicated   in   some   of   the   scandalous   activities   in   Afghanistan,   and   who
    controlled interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. At the same time the censuses for both
    Scotland and the Irish Republic are being partly carried out by the subsidiary of a US
    company (CACI International) who are also involved in surveillance and intelligence
    and who were also implicated in some of the scandalous Abu Ghraib prison activities
    in Iraq. Perhaps ONS can explain how this coincidence came about? These seem
    strange credentials for companies who are gathering 32 pages of data on all the
    citizens of the British Isles!
  • Maybe one answer to the above facts lies in the fact that  Sir David Manning was
    appointed to be one of Tony Blair’s top foreign policy advisors in 2001. He was
    British Ambassador to Israel from 1995 to 1998 and Mr Blair appointed him to be the
    UK   ambassador   in   Washington   from   2003   to   2007.  Wikipedia   notes   “His   close
    relationship with the Prime Minister suggests he has been a key figure in driving
    British foreign policy in respect of  the United States, particularly in the aftermath of
    the September 11, 2001 attacks and the decision to invade Iraq. In 2008 he became
    a non-executive director of Lockheed Martin, the multinational arms manufacturer
    that made millions supplying military hardware for the war, and he joined the advisory
    board   of Hakluyt   &   Company,   an   intelligence   company   partly   staffed   by
    former MI6 officers.”  One seriously questions whether Sir David might have had a
    major influence on LM getting the census work!
  • We hope that the ONS are aware of the fact that the Lockheed Martin US parent
    company is listed at No 1 on the USA Federal Contractor Misconduct database (run
    by the Project on Government Oversight), with 57 alleged cases of corruption, fraud,
    bribery,  environmental  damage   and   discrimination.   We  must   remember  that  with
    respect   to   most   of   these   cases,   private   companies   in   the   US   have   government
    contractor immunity from prosecution. It is also relevant to note that a New York
    Times profile of the company in 2004 opened with the sentence: “Lockheed Martin
    doesn’t run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it”, and
    further “Giving one company this much power in matters of war and peace is as
    dangerous as it is undemocratic,” says Bill Hartung, senior fellow at the World Policy
    Institute in New York. “Lockheed Martin is now positioned to profit from every level of
    the war on terror from targeting to intervention, and from occupation to interrogation.”
    With the help of Lockheed Martin, it is our opinion  that the national census has
    moved from a legitimate socio-economic activity to an activity that is part of  the
    sinister security world of intelligence and surveillance.
  • The   ONS   may   not   be   aware   that   the   Lockheed   Martin   Corporation   is   the   lead
    company behind the current United States government Next Generation Identification
    (NGI) initiative in which $1.6 billion is being spent on biometric developments that will
    allow many aspects  of an  individual’s  private  characteristics  to  be  gathered  and
    stored  in  a  vast  digital  warehousing  system.  For  those  who  champion  individual
    rights, this represents yet another step in the erosion of natural rights and individual
    liberties, and is a move towards a more robust and authoritarian police state. We
    would   remind   the   ONS   that   when   communist   governments   were   gathering   data
    (spying?) on their citizens during the Cold-War then we severely criticised this. But
    now we do this ourselves in a much more detailed and comprehensive manner.
  • The ONS claims that our census data is perfectly safe, and that the parent Lockheed
    Martin company will not be able to obtain it. A perusal of
    buying-solutions/  states   “We  feel  that   the   census   work   is   particularly   relevant   in
    demonstrating our end-to-end (my emphasis) capability ensuring cost effective and
    time critical delivery of benefits”. This seems to imply that the company are doing all
    of the data processing work, and that therefore they might have easy access to
    private data.
  • We are afraid that there has been too much evidence that our government is not to
    be trusted when there is a matter of looking after digital data. We have seen lost
    information, shared information, stolen information and we have seen how hackers
    can penetrate even the most secure data holding facilities. Of course ONS will claim
    data security but that is very different from upholding this claim. I simply do not
    believe that your offices can keep the census data from getting to the USA parent
    company, or that you can provide a rigid guarantee that it is safe from the US Patriot Act   whereby   the   data   can   be   passed   onto   the   American   government   when
    demanded, i.e. this matter has yet to be tested in the UK courts. We also have to
    consider that when it suits them, our government can claim that a circumstance is an
    issue of national security, and then any data promises can simply be ignored, and the
    Prime Minister of the day can simply make his/her own  rules. We saw this with
    regard   to   the   BAE   Systems   weapons   deal   with   Saudi   Arabia,   and   where   this
    company (the world’s  number one weapons  manufacturer) has since been given
    immunity from further prosecution in respect to paying bribes.
  • Since a UK company (UK Data Capture) has apparently been contracted to receive,
    scan and process the 2011 census information, then it is inconceivable to us that a
    non-contentious UK company cannot perform all of the census processing work, i.e.
    as was done prior to 2001. It would be interesting to know why UK Data Capture
    could not have been doing this work. Indeed what is it that Lockheed Martin are
    doing that UK Data Capture cannot be doing? Or maybe in practice they are the
    same company?

Over the past few weeks we have seen how the UK government seems to place huge
importance on selling weapons abroad, much to the detriment of many citizens in the Middle
East and north Africa. Our successive governments (of any party) clearly care little about
who   the   weapons   are   sold   to,   but   we   know   for   certain   that   Lockheed   Martin   was   the
company supplying most of the cluster bombs (and other weapons) that have killed 10,000s
of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is interesting to speculate on the reaction
of American citizens were they to be told, for instance, that BAE Systems was about to
undertake their census.

One would have to be extremely naive to believe that there was nothing rather sinister in
awarding the census contract to the Lockheed Martin company We simply refuse to have
any part in supporting this company, and we  wonder whether senior personnel in ONS
privately regret the decision to award the contract to this company?

Yours very sincerely “


One response to “Occupy London – Solidarity with Census Refuser Judith Sambrook

  1. tinkerbell

    2011-11-13 at 21:30

    what a brave woman for standing up for what she believes is right. I did not fill the census form in either, I threw it in the bin whre it belongs.


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