After feedback from newsletter subscribers, Real Media is bringing a mixture of short reports and/or links to recommended stories from other independent platforms. Rest assured, it’s not going to be regurgitated press releases – there’s plenty of original research and contextualisation. And it’s also not going to be all bad news – we’re looking for stories of inspiration and hope.

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Centene pulling out of UK NHS

Back in 2021, Real Media highlighted protests against NHS privatisation by stealth, revealing that the huge United States health insurance corporation Centene was busy buying up GP practices without public debate or proper scrutiny.

NHS campaigner Dr Bob Gill has outlined the path to NHS privatisation in several past interviews, citing the 2012 Social Health and Care Act as paveing the way for private sector involvement in NHS delivery. Companies like Virgin Healthcare, Care UK, and Centene (Operose) have piled in, but squeezed budgets have also seen some pull out.

Last week, Centene sold its Circle Health Group – a network of around 50 UK private hospitals, known for its takeover of the Cambridgeshire NHS Hinchingbrooke hospital and then early withdrawal just as a critical report came to light in 2018.

In the US, Centene accesses Medicare and Medicaid funding and it paid out millions of dollars to settle a claim of widespread overcharging for pharmaceuticals. Centene’s Operose GP practices are now being sold off as the company is finding them unprofitable.

Although it’s good to see them go, this is not necessarily a blow to NHS privatisation, as various private healthcare businesses eye up a potential deal before Christmas, and Circle’s private hospital chain has been bought by Abu-Dhabi based PureHealth.

Around 14% of UK hospitals are private, but they receive a lot of outsourced NHS work (mainly hip and knee operations and ophthalmology, as well as increasing numbers of people on long NHS waiting lists who get insurance or self-fund.)

During Covid, private hospitals had all costs paid for by the government.


Disaster Capitalism in Hawaii

In an interesting video interview on Democracy Now, law professor Kapua’ala Sproat reveals how vulture capitalists are circling around the climate devastation wrought on the island, and taking advantage of traumatised communities offering quick but cheap buy-ups of land and water rights rather than wait a long time for compensation schemes. The diversion of precious water away from poor communities and towards wealthy golf courses has been blamed for the rapid spread of recent wildfires which took the lives of more than 100 people, with around 1000 still missing.


Palestine Action target Elbit recruitment company

Continuing to expand their campaign to include supply chain and services companies associated with Israeli weapons firm Elbit Systems, a protest and office occupation took place on Friday in Manchester. Recruitment firm IO Associates are according to activists the sole recruiters for Elbit and last week they opened a new office in Manchester.

The office, situated in the city centre Express Building, received a visit from a dozen or so protesters carrying Palestinian flags and a banner which read ‘IO Associates recruiting for Elbit Murderers’. A film released by the group appears to show a man they claim is director Ross Markall assaulting people.

By the end of the day, all Elbit recruitment jobs had been removed from the company’s website, and it appears the same jobs have also been taken down from Elbit’s own website careers page.

IO Associates were contacted for a statement but they have failed to respond in time despite indicating that they would.


Two things you should know about Sir Keir Starmer

1 When he was Director of Public Prosecutions in 2011, before Israeli Tzipi Livni was due to visit the UK, he blocked a 2009 arrest warrant issued against her by Westminster Magistrate’s Court. Ms Livni is a former Mossad agent, deputy Israeli PM, and a justice minister. She has recently been elected a director of Elbit Systems.

2 Also while he was DPP, the CPS dissuaded Swedish authorities from coming to the UK to interview Julian Assange while he was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Despite his agreement to face questioning, Assange was prevented from speaking with investigators over allegations of sexual misconduct which were later wholly discredited. Investigative journalist Matt Kennard has also revealed a series of undocumented meetings between Starmer and the US prosecuting authorities.


Ecuadorian Amazon gets some respite

In election referendums last month, the Ecuadorian people voted for two important pledges. The Indigenous Yasuní national park is home to two voluntarily uncontactable tribes, the Tagaeri and Taromenane peoples. All new oil well development is now banned in the area – a major blow to the fossil fuel industry.

The second vote was by the people of Quito, who have voted against further gold mining near their city in an important area of highland biosphere.


No Vote For A Cashless Society

Corporations, banks, and authoritarian regimes would love to see a move towards a completely trackable cashless society (perhaps apart from elite wealth holders and discredited Prime Ministers).

But there has been no public discussion or democratic vote, even though in parts of London it can sometimes be hard to find a retailer who accepts cash. Many see this as socially divisive and certainly undemocratic. Although Real Media rarely promotes petitions and especially at the risk of aligning with conspiracists, this one might be worth sharing if we can get the numbers up substantially. It simply asks the government to pass a law requiring all establishments to accept cash payments.


See you later in September – we’re taking a long-awaited short break, so apart from our DSEI interview this week, you won’t see any new content for a couple of weeks.

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