A cross-party committee of senior backbench MPs said back in 2011 that successive governments had allowed British arms supplied to North Africa and the Middle East to be used for internal repression despite official guidelines to the contrary. To make matters worse, the very repressive regimes, such as Bahrain, the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia, were, and continue to be, invited to the fair. In 2011, 14 out of 65 delegations present at the exhibition were from countries defined as aauthoritarian regimesa by human rights groups. In 2013, it appeared that Britain had issued arms exports permits worth A12 billion for some of the worldas most brutal dictatorships, almost all of them on the DSEi guest list while being also listed among countries with ahuman rights concernsa by the British Foreign Office. The Israeli regime accounted for well over 50 percent of the value of the licences issued for the mentioned countries with 381 permits worth A7.8 billion and Saudi Arabia came in second with 417 licences worth A1.8 billion. Both were present at DSEi 2013. The embarrassment over the guest list was such that Sarah Waldron from the Campaign Against Arms Trade said ait reads like a roll call of authoritarian regimes and human rights abusersa, while the House of Commons’ Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) said there is an inherent conflict between strongly promoting arms exports to authoritarian regimes and strongly criticizing their lack of human rights at the same time. And, the last but not the least, DSEi 2013 faced daily protests including, hundreds of people blockading the fair venueas gates as well as preventing the entrance of ships and armored vehicles. As participants in the DSEi 2013 began setting up their stalls on Sunday September 13, hundreds of protesters disrupted their set-up, stopping vehicles carrying military equipment and blocking their access to the eastern entrance of the ExCel center. Blockades were also in place at the western entrance as priests and activists from Christianity Uncut performed an aexorcisma on the fair. With a drones conference planned for the following day on the eve of DSEias official opening on September 15, campaigners superglued themselves to the gates of the US arms giant Lockheed Martin, impeding the entrance for three hours.
London as you’ve never seen it: Urban explorers risk their lives to capture stunning images of city
Despite the new London whale settlements, JPMorgan still faces a criminal investigation of the trading episode by federal prosecutors and a separate civil probe by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Iksil, who no longer works for the bank, is cooperating with the criminal investigation by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office in New York. In a federal affidavit filed last month, two other former JPMorgan Chase employees directly involved in the London whale trades were charged with conspiracy, falsifying books and records, wire fraud and making false filings with the SEC. The two, Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout, were formally indicted Monday on charges they manipulated and inflated the value of the trading positions to cover up the true size of the deepening losses. London-based lawyers for Martin-Artajo have said they were confident he would be cleared of any wrongdoing. New York defense attorney Edward Little this week said Grout “was a junior trader’s assistant acting under the direct instructions of his managers and has been unjustly used as a pawn in the government’s attempt to settle its highly politicized case against JPMorgan Chase.” In announcing the charges against the two traders, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara signaled that senior bank officials had been aware of what the London traders had been doing. While declining to discuss the continuing investigation, he said, “They definitely knew they (bank traders) were cooking the books.” Sen. Carl Levin, D.Mich., whose Senate subcommittee issued the report critical of JPMorgan, said the issue of misinforming investors and the public was “conspicuously absent” from the SEC’s part of the settlement. John Coffee, a securities law expert at Columbia University Law School in New York, questioned why regulators imposed fines that would ultimately be borne by JPMorgan shareholders without finding any top bank officials at fault. “It is not a triumph without being able to identify who is responsible above the level of low-ranking officers,” Coffee said. Dan Marchon, a senior equity research associate at Raymond James & Co., said he was not surprised by the relatively muted stock market reaction to the settlement because JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake recently disclosed a more than $1.5 billion third-quarter increase in the bank’s reserves for litigation costs.
If you move in the wilderness, its totally expected that if youve got a big mountain next to your house, youre going to climb it. Everyone wants to see the view from the top of the mountain, he said. If you live in Southwark, and theyre building an 80-storey building, obviously you want to see the view from the top. The construction firms appear to make concessions, like putting the viewing platform in The Shard, but it ends up being only for people that have a large disposable income. A group of urban explorers on top of a water tower on the roof of an estate in Pimlico in London Bradley L. Garrett / Barcroft Media Garrett is also keen to dispel some of the myths that have grown up around the urban exploration community. A lot of people like to label this whole thing as us being deviant and smashing into places, but its actually not about that at all, its about appreciation for these places, he said. Its totally benign. We go out, nothing gets damaged, nothing gets broken, we go in, we feed the adrenaline rush, and we go home. While some of the group’s larger ventures such as an exploration of Burlington, an underground Cold War city designed to house the UK government in the event of a nuclear strike, required intricate planning, sometimes – as with The Shard – they would just let the city surprise them. “Its often those spontaneous explorations that end up being the coolest, when youre just walking through the city and someone says look, theres scaffolding on that building and you climb it and you get through a window and then all of a sudden you get on a staircase and then youre on the roof and youve got this incredible view of London at 2am in the morning. “You sit up there with your friends and chill out and take in the view, and then you climb down and spot a night bus and youre home and in bed in an hour,” he said. “And then you wake up in the morning and it feels like a dream, and then you stick the memory card of your camera in the computer and you go My God, that was real, that was amazing! and youve got these incredible photos to document this experience.” Garrett insists that all the urbexers he met during his PhD were united by two things: a passion for real-life adventure and a love of London. If you love the city enough and youve seen loads of places, you get to a point where youre like yeah, but I know these other places are here, I want to see those places too. Although trespass is generally not a criminal offence in the UK, setting foot on the railways is a different matter, and the explorers eventually fell foul of the law during their search for the disused ‘ghost stations’ of the London Underground. Garrett was marched off a plane by British Transport Police and his bail conditions currently prevent him from communicating with other members of the LCC. Nevertheless, he is adamant that in the long run the group will remain friends. “You build very particular bonds with people when you risk your lives together and when you spend your nights jumping over fences and running from security guards, its a very particular type of friendship,” Garrett said.