Monthly Archives: February 2013

Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000: A police snooping tool to protect private profit

Corporate Watch researchers Tom Anderson and Therezia Cooper* have been stopped and questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 a total of five times between them at UK airports while travelling to Egypt and returning from research trips in Palestine.

In February 2013, Tom and Therezia returned from a research trip in Palestine separately, with a 10-day gap separating their arrival back in the UK. They were both stopped at Luton airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. As the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) has previously reported, this law is frequently used by the police to gather intelligence about activists. Schedule 7 is unique in that it is a law that provides the police with the power to stop, search and detain people without suspicion. It is also an arrestable offence not to answer questions, punishable on conviction with a three-month custodial sentence or a fine. Moreover, you have no right to advice from your solicitor, although you are often granted a phone call to your solicitor on request. The guidance to the law clearly states that Schedule 7 “should only be used to counter terrorism and may not be used for any other purpose.” (For the full wording of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACPO) Practice Advice on Schedule 7, see here). Continue reading

Cargoflora Ltd: Distributor for Agrexco, goes into administration

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Corporate Watch has received documents showing that Cargoflora Ltd has gone into administration. The documents state that “Their company is no longer operating and their affairs are being handled by an administrator”. The company is also listed as “in liquidation” on the Companies House database. Continue reading

“They destroyed our lives and then gave a few people a job. It is nothing”: Some unanswered questions for SodaStream

As we have previously reported Corporate Watch was recently denied a requested visit to the SodaStream factory in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim.

Despite the company’s insistence that anyone who visits the premises will find it to be a force for good in the area, it was not willing to let critics challenge this assertion for themselves. In a move that seems to go against its own self proclaimed eco-friendliness  SodaStream recently paid the expenses of local Brighton journalist John Keenan when he flew over from the UK to see the factory, yet they would not let researchers already in the West Bank in. Brighton is the location of EcoStream, SodaStream’s first own brand shop in the UK, and it has been met by weekly boycott demonstrations since its opening in the middle of 2012. As part of its PR strategy, SodaStream has also invited the Brighton MP Mike Weatherley to the factory. Weatherley had already previously issued strong worded statements against the protests and in support of SodaStream.

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Entrance to the SodaStream factory in the illegal settlement Mishor Adumim.

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Cherriessa: From occupied land to Europe’s markets

During a recent visit to the Jordan Valley, Corporate  Watch found evidence of a company operating from there that we previously haven’t come across.  Cherriessa, trading under the slogan  ‘From Farm to Market’ is a family owned business which claims to sort, package and export vegetables from Israel to Europe. According to Cherriessa Ltd’s web-site, the company was founded in 2009 to ‘address the developing and growth of ‘The Saada Family Modern Farm’. The Saada Farm was founded in 1989 and exported their produce through Carmel Agrexco.

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Cherriessa labels aimed for the European market obtained in the occupied Jordan Valley.

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Photo blog: ‘Organic’ Carmel Agrexco crops grown in the settlement of Kalia

A sign in the fields of the illegal settlement of Kalia in the Israeli occupied Jordan Valley for 'organic goods' grown by Hayun Yitzhak - taken by Corporate Watch researchers on 26/01/2013

A sign in the fields of the illegal settlement of Kalia in the Israeli occupied Jordan Valley for ‘organic goods’ grown by Hayun Yitzhak – taken by Corporate Watch researchers on 26/01/2013

Corporate Watch visited the fields of the illegal settlement of Kalia, a settlement kibbutz on the coast of the Dead Sea, on the 26th January 2013.

Carmel-Agrexco was Israel’s main agricultural export company, exporting 70% of all fresh produce from Israel’s illegal settlements, until September 2011 when it was formally liquidated, partly due to pressure from the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Formerly state owned, Agrexco has been privately purchased by Bickel Flowers and, according to Who Profits?, has regained a significant proportion of its former market.

A packing house bearing Agrexco signage, which was packaging goods for Agrexco’s ECOFRESH brand in 2010, was operating nearby but was packaging goods for export by other agricultural companies instead of Agrexco, indicating that Agrexco has lost some of its market in this region.

Crops were labelled as being grown for export by Carmel Agrexco. One sign read “Organic FC [Field Crops], Hayun Yitzhak”. Continue reading

G4S providing security services in Gilo settlement

The multinational company G4S is providing security services in the settlement of Gilo.

On the 4th February 2013 Corporate Watch researchers photographed a G4S sign on a building on the road leading to the Gilo military checkpoint.

Gilo is an illegal Israeli settlement in the Bethlehem area with over 40,000 inhabitants.

A G4S sign on a road leading to the Gilo military checkpoint, photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers 04/02/2013

A G4S sign on a road leading to the Gilo military checkpoint, photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers 04/02/2013

A building bearing a G4S sign on a road leading to the Gilo military checkpoint, photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers 04/02/2013

A building bearing a G4S sign on a road leading to the Gilo military checkpoint, photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers 04/02/2013

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A view of Gilo settllement

Some of G4S’s other operations in illegal Israeli settlements, uncovered by Corporate Watch, can be found here. Continue reading

Securing the ethnic cleansing of Silwan: Settlements in Wadi Hilweh using Pelco security equipment

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The neighbourhood of Silwan

The Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan is experiencing harassment and home demolitions at the hands of the Israeli state and settler organisations. This ethnic cleansing is enforced by security companies and surveillance technology and facilitated by revenue from international donors and from tourism. Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles over the coming months exposing the companies and charities carrying out this ethnic cleansing and those organisations who are funding it and profiting from it.

The communities of Wadi Hilweh and Al Bustan in Silwan in East Jerusalem are watched over by hundreds of Closed Circuit Surveillance (CCTV) cameras installed by settlers and the settler/colonial organisation El Ad. Continue reading

BDS Victory: EDOM’s Chairman promises to resign and divest shares

Jimmy Russo, the Company Chairman of EDOM, has told Corporate Watch that he plans to “resign” from his chairmanship and “actively seek to sell” his 20% shareholding in the Israeli company. His announcement was in reply to questions about new evidence found by Corporate Watch that EDOM UK, the Israeli company (despite the misleading name), is packaging cherry tomatoes in the Israeli settlement of Beit Ha’arava in the occupied Jordan Valley.

EDOM branded products are sold in Sainsburys stores in the UK

EDOM UK cherry tomatoes acquired from a packing house in the illegal settlement of Beit Ha'arava - Photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers February 2013

EDOM UK cherry tomatoes acquired from a packing house in the illegal settlement of Beit Ha’arava – Photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers February 2013

Packing house being used to package EDOM UK cherry tomatoes - the signs on the outside say Agrexco and Hadiklaim - photo taken by Corporate Watch 4th January 2013

Packing house being used to package EDOM UK cherry tomatoes – the signs on the outside say Agrexco and Hadiklaim – photo taken by Corporate Watch 4th January 2013

Back in 2010 Corporate Watch urged Russo to divest his shares. We wrote:

“To continue to maintain shares in EDOM is to ignore the suffering of those who have lived their entire lives under Israeli apartheid and occupation. The only way to remain ethical in this context is to divest.”

Russo, who is also the director of British company Valley Grown Salads (VGS), made the following “commitments” on 7th February 2013:

“1. I will confirm that I will resign as [EDOM] company chairman with immediate effect as I do not want my company, VGS receiving this constant harassment every year and being involved in political situations which are totally out of my control.

2. I will actively seek to sell my 20% stake holding in the company as the aggravation for no reward is not worth continuing with.”

Russo confirms that VGS will not source goods from the West Bank in the future but says that the company will continue sourcing from EDOM and other companies in Israel.

Russo also pledged to answer questions put to VGS by Corporate Watch and other media outlets.

Corporate Watch has contacted EDOM but has not received a reply. Continue reading

Arad: Supplying water meters to Sussex while helping bleed Palestine dry

An Israeli company which supplies water infrastructure in Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank is gaining contracts to supply equipment to water companies in the UK. Israeli company Arad has gained a contract to provide Southern Water with £7.1 million worth of water meters annually for five years with the option to extend when the contract expires. The contract was signed in February 2010 and the meters are currently being installed. Arad is also providing pressure sensors to the Welsh water utility.

Arad has installed 3,200 water meters in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel and the Barkan settlement industrial zone. The water system is managed by the Mei Ariel Water Corporation.

Arad also develops water meters for the Israeli state owned company Mekorot. Mekorot has a near monopoly on water supply in Israel and also operates and develops water infrastrucure in Area C of the West Bank, where Palestinians are forbidden to develop even basic water infrastructure.

A Mekorot water facility at the Reservoir Au France - occupied Jordan Valley - photo taken February 2013

A Mekorot water facility at the Reservoir Au France – occupied Jordan Valley – photo taken February 2013

Signage at the Mekorot water facility at the Reservoir Au France - occupied Jordan Valley - photo taken February 2013

Signage at the Mekorot water facility at the Reservoir Au France – occupied Jordan Valley – photo taken by Corporate Watch in February 2013

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Orange: Still making the future bright for Israel’s illegal settlements

Authorised Orange service center in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit - photo taken January 2013

Authorised Orange service center in the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Illit – photo taken January 2013

Orange has an authorised shop or kiosk, via its franchise, Partner Communications, in many of the larger settlements in both the West Bank and the occupied Golan and advertises very heavily in them. Orange mobile phone masts (operated by Partner Communications) are located both inside the settlements themselves and on land specifically confiscated for the masts. The masts are situated to benefit the settlements and the Israeli army. The Orange brand, owned by France Telecom, is entirely separate from the Partner Communications Company, but this does not mean that it is innocent in the situation. Continue reading