Saudi journalist murdered, British Conservatives’ lame response


This video says about itself:

Representative Ro Khanna Condemns Saudi Barbarity from Disappearance of Saudi Journalist to War in Yemen

President Donald Trump is rejecting calls to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the disappearance and probable murder of the Saudi-born Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post is reporting the Turkish government told U.S. officials it has audio and video evidence that Khashoggi was killed last week inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Officials say the recordings confirm that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi after he walked into the consulate on October 2, before killing him and dismembering his body. We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California. He is calling for congressional hearings into Khashoggi’s disappearance. Khanna has been a leading critic of U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Thornberry criticises British response to Khashoggi disappearance

BRITAIN is “playing catch-up” with Donald Trump over a missing Saudi journalist, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry warned today.

Reports claim Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, with Turkish authorities reported to have obtained audio and video recordings of the alleged murder.

Ms Thornberry criticised the British response from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the Andrew Marr Show, saying he had failed to hold the Saudis to account in the face of mounting evidence.

She noted that former foreign secretary Boris Johnson had condemned the Russians “within hours” over what turned out to be a fake murder of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko.

In contrast, the Labour MP said, there had been “nothing but pusillanimous mutterings” from Mr Hunt over the disappearance of Saudi critic Mr Khashoggi, despite the US president threatening “severe punishment”.

She said: “He is being outdone by Donald Trump, whoever would have thought that?

“They’re playing catch-up with Donald Trump when it comes to condemnation of this and actually taking action and being prepared to stand firm.”

Ms Thornberry said the alleged murder was “yet more evidence of how the Saudi prince in particular appears to be out of control” and “this country has had enough.”

Mr Hunt has been under increasing pressure to take tough action over the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi, who has not been seen since October 2, and has said that if reports of Mr Khashoggi’s death prove correct, Britain would regard the situation as “serious”.

Ms Thornberry said this was “too little, far too late.”

Riyadh has faced a chorus of international calls to shed light on what happened to the journalist, and business leaders have already shunned the regime.

[Conservative] Commons foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said International Trade Secretary Liam Fox should boycott the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh this month if Saudi involvement in Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance was proved.

The Department for International Trade said it would “update on [Mr Fox’s activity] in due course.”

Turkish officials have said Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate on October 2 and his body removed.

These charges against America’s closest Middle East ally, also the world’s largest oil exporter at the heart of the global financial system, expose the brazen criminality of the entire financial aristocracy. A profound contradiction underlies the official response to Khashoggi’s murder. US and European businessmen and politicians are deeply tied to the brutal Saudi regime, which underwrites both US war strategy in the Middle East and the capitalist financial system as a whole. They are flocking to the “Davos in the Desert” conference planned for this month in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The initial conference last year was attended by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Nicolas Sarkozy: here.

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London Conservatives bullying Grenfell disaster survivors


Local residents join forces with firefighters to demand ‘No Justice No Peace’ on a march last June – the North Kensington Law Centre claims that Grenfell survivors are being pressurised into accepting sub-standard housing, 150 families are still without homes

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Grenfell survivors pressured to take sub-standard homes – alleges North Kensington Law Centre

KENSINGTON and Chelsea Council, rather than spend money doing up the 133 empty council-owned houses in the borough, has spent almost £30m on hotels for Grenfell survivors waiting to be re-housed.

Almost 16 months after the deadly blaze, more than 150 households that fled the inferno are still waiting to move into a permanent home. Grenfell Tower, which was built between 1972 and 1974, is estimated to have cost £500,000 to build. This is equivalent to around £6.2m in today’s money.

In other words, the council has spent more money on hotels than it would have cost to build almost five towers the size of Grenfell. The North Kensington Law Centre, which has been helping a number of former Grenfell residents, claimed that council officers were pressuring traumatised residents to accept housing that overlooked the husk of the tower in which 72 of their neighbours died.

One woman was coerced into accepting a property that did not have any flooring, the law centre said. She was told she had to accept by 10am the next morning or she would be classified as intentionally homeless, the law centre alleged.

Local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, meanwhile, said the council had tried to pressure disabled residents into accepting houses that did not have step-free access.

She accused it of ‘bullying’ survivors and claimed the authority was trying blame the hotel bill on them.

‘This is a shocking waste of public money due to the council’s failure to purchase properties suitable to Grenfell affected households’, she said. ‘Do traumatised people who have been through such a terrifying experience want to live six floors up? Do disabled people want to live with floor to ceiling windows so everyone can watch their daily struggles? ‘It is clear that despite everything that has been said in the past year, senior officers and councillors still have little idea how ordinary people live.’

Meanwhile yesterday at the Grenfell Inquiry, Nadia Jafari described how she escaped from the 11th floor but became separated from her 82-year-old father who died. She said that she had complained to the council that her windows kept blowing open when it rained.

She described the night of the fire, grabbing two rugs and panicking. She saw the whole frame of window break and flames entering the kitchen. The fire covered the whole window area of the kitchen and she saw the glass break and that plastic was burning. She said the curtains were on fire.

There has already been strong evidence that badly fitted windows during the refurbishment of the tower contributed to the spread of the fire. Nadia and her father got up and looked out the middle window. They could feel the heat and saw the flames below. Her father had a heart condition. ‘I bent myself out and the fire was just behind the window, underneath it’

She got out of the flat and entered the lift with others. The lift went down to the 10th floor, and then stopped. Nadia gave details about being trapped in the lift. She said: ‘There was no lighting, it was terrifying and the smoke was horrible. It was a strong, bitter chemical smell. I tried to speak but I couldn’t. A man was banging on the door with his legs. Then the doors opened and the lift filled with smoke. ‘I wasn’t able to see, so I closed my eyes and I was coughing and I fell like I needed to vomit.’

• Some residents from flats surrounding the fire were moved into temporary accommodation, hotels and B&Bs because many of them have children who were traumatised by the fire and could not bear to live beside it. The council have sent out a letter threatening them that if they do not return to their flats by October 25, they will lose their tenancy.

The Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists have called a lobby of the next Kensington and Chelsea full council meeting on Wednesday October 17 at 6pm.

The lobby demands:

Councils must not threaten families to end their tenancy if they do not return home! This is a disgrace!

Re-house all Grenfell families now!

Use the empty properties in the borough!

‘Grenfell’ flammable cladding, continue, British Conservatives say


A local resident holds up charred remains of Grenfell Tower cladding – 468 buildings across the UK are clad in the same flammable aluminium composite – the Tories refuse to ban it

This photo from London, England shows a local resident holding up charred remains of Grenfell Tower cladding; 468 buildings across the UK are clad in the same flammable aluminium composite. And the British Conservative government refuses to ban it.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Tories refuse to ban Grenfell cladding on 468 buildings

FLAMMABLE cladding is not going to be banned from existing buildings, Tory Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced yesterday at the Conservative Party conference. This is despite the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), survivors from the Grenfell Tower fire and the Royal Institute of British Architects all demanding that it is immediately banned and stripped.

Brokenshire announced that combustible cladding is only to be banned from newly built schools, hospitals, care homes, student accommodation and residential buildings in England and only if the building is above 18m (60ft) tall. The ban will not be applied retrospectively where materials have already been fitted.

After the horror of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, where flammable cladding rapidly spread the fire, buildings were tested around the country. There are 468 high-rise buildings in England which tests have identified as being covered in the same flammable cladding as the Grenfell Tower.

Firefighters union the FBU has called for a complete ban on combustible cladding and the immediate removal of flammable cladding on all buildings in the UK. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said yesterday: ‘This is not the outright ban on combustible cladding that firefighters have been calling for. The Westminster government continues to allow cladding of limited combustibility for any building work in the future. The FBU called for a universal ban on these flammable materials.

‘These measures do not deal with the existing cladding on nearly 500 buildings across England where people live and work every day. ‘The government’s proposals only apply to buildings over 18 metres high, plus hospitals, care homes and student accommodation – when they should apply to all buildings, whatever their height or use.’

Earlier this year, the Royal Institute of British Architects called for a total ban on flammable cladding, as well as a requirement for sprinklers to be fitted, and a second means of escape for high-rise residential buildings. Of 295 blocks of private flats across England with combustible cladding, including 28 high-rise hotels, only two have been completely fixed.

Of 159 social housing blocks that have cladding that failed fire tests in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, only 15% have had the cladding removed. The government has refused to say which buildings are clad in flammable material. They claim this information could ‘endanger the mental and physical health of people living in the buildings and could compromise their safety.’

However, in a number of councils the truth has come out. For instance, in the London borough of Hackney in east London, three blocks at Lincoln Court, in Bethune Road, Stamford Hill and at Hugh Gaitskell House in Stoke Newington unsafe flammable cladding is present.

Wardens are also patrolling seven-storey Burbage House in Poole Road, Hoxton, from 8pm to 8am to ‘keep an eye on the building’ because of its aluminium composite material with unmodified polyethylene filler which has been shown in tests to not adequately resist fire.

Alarmingly plans to re-clad Landmark Heights, in Daubeney Road Lower Clapton ‘are to be shelved’. Landmark Heights is privately owned but was originally built by the council.

London Grenfell fire disaster, Conservative crime


This video from England says about itself:

Grenfell: The first documents that show official fire safety warnings months before fire | ITV News

7 August 2018

ITV News has seen documents which are the first to reveal there were official warnings about fire safety at Grenfell Tower before the fire that killed 72 of its residents.

A fire deficiency notice from the then London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), served in November 2016, and a separate independent Fire Risk Assessment, both identified multiple failures at Grenfell that required prompt action by the building management, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

The warnings from the independent assessor were issued in June 2016, one year before the fire, with deadlines for action.

By Robert Stevens in London, England:

Further evidence of official criminality surfaces as Grenfell fire inquiry resumes

1 September 2018

The Grenfell fire inquiry resumes next week after its summer recess, with further evidence surfacing of the criminality of those who ignored warnings that the tower was a death trap.

The inquiry will not bring justice. It is the creature of the Conservative government and, under the provisions of the 2005 Inquires Act, has no powers to prosecute anyone. Its fraudulent character was epitomised by chairman Sir Moore-Bick’s insistence that issues of a “social, economic and political nature” will not feature in its deliberations.

Issues that have emerged during the recess include the revelations this month by ITV News that it has seen documents proving official warnings about fire safety at Grenfell Tower were ignored just months before the June 14, 2017 fire that resulted in the horrifying deaths of 72 men, women and children.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), which managed the building on its behalf, were served a fire deficiency notice from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) in November 2016. They were also given, months earlier, a deficiency notice from an independent Fire Risk Assessment that flagged up multiple failures at Grenfell, requiring urgent action by the KCTMO.

ITV reported that the fire safety audits revealed “problems with damaged or poorly fitted fire doors, fire doors that didn’t self-close, and raised questions about how the refurbishment had affected the operation of the building’s smoke venting system and the fire-fighter’s lift controls.”

The “warnings from the independent assessor were issued in June 2016, one year before the fire, with deadlines for action”, reported ITV. The assessor, as part of a routine inspection during the buildings refurbishment, recommended that action be taken to remedy more than 40 “high risk” issues at Grenfell Tower within two to three weeks.

Nothing was done by the KCTMO on more than half of the issues identified, with ITV reporting, “In October [2016], the fire risk assessor wrote to the KCTMO asking why action still hadn’t been taken on more than 20 issues he had identified in his June report.”

LFEPA’s fire deficiency notice was dated November 2016, with a deadline for remedial work to be finished by May 2017—just one month before the fire.

This evidence reveals a criminal level of indifference towards the basic safety of residents in a tower block able to house around 600 people.

The broadcaster points out that “based on inspections of the building after the fire by experts for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, there appears to be no evidence action was taken on many of the failings.”

Sandra Ruiz, the aunt of 12-year-old Jessica Ramirez, who died in the fire, told ITV, “It makes me really angry that somebody would have received that information and didn’t act on it.”

The issues cited in the fire audits have already been identified by Dr. Barbara Lane at the public inquiry. Lane was tasked with informing the inquiry as to why a small kitchen fire on the fourth floor of Grenfell was able to spread in a matter of minutes to engulf the entire 24-storey building, leaving many with no chance of escape.

The authorities didn’t act on the reports then and refuse to take any responsibility now. In response to ITV’s report, RBKC passed the buck to the public inquiry and the police investigation, knowing that they will do nothing. “This will be a matter for the public inquiry and to comment further could risk prejudicing the police investigation”, said RBKC. Neither the public inquiry nor Metropolitan Police investigation into the fire made any statement.

Nothing has been done to apprehend those responsible for the social murder committed by the authorities at Grenfell. The level of inaction is staggering. In nearly 15 months not a single person has been charged or even arrested. Since announcing in July that all they have done is to complete three interviews in relation to Grenfell, the police have said nothing more.

Many families made homeless by the fire have still not been rehoused. As of August 16, of the 204 households who lived in the tower, 53 households were still in emergency accommodation, 41 were in temporary accommodation, while 110 have moved into permanent accommodation. Of 129 households evacuated from the wider area, eight were in emergency accommodation, 74 in temporary accommodation and just one household moved into permanent accommodation.

Thousands of other public buildings around the UK are clad in flammable material of the type that resulted in the Grenfell fire becoming an uncontrollable inferno. Almost nothing is being done to make any of these structures safe. This led the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK’s human rights watchdog human rights, to declare the government in breach of its duty to protect lives under Article 2 of the European convention on human rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.

It warns, “Combustible cladding is still present in many other buildings as well, including schools, leisure centres and hospitals… Estimates of the number of buildings affected run into the thousands, with the estimated costs of replacing combustible materials running into many millions of pounds. All those costs stem from the state’s failure to provide a building construction and fire safety system that is fit for purpose.”

The only thing the ruling elite is doing is developing a carefully-orchestrated campaign, led by the Royal Family, to present a picture of everyone working in common purpose for the Grenfell community. The day after the Inquiry resumes, the BBC will screen an episode of its DIY SOS series that will feature Prince William chipping in to help construct a new building for the Dale Youth Boxing Club that was previously located in Grenfell Tower.

This is nauseating. William and his family have nothing in common with those being patronised with such stunts. A hard hat and high visibility vest cannot disguise the fact that he is a representative of the same British state responsible for the Grenfell atrocity. He resides just two miles from the burnt-out husk, but he may as well live on another planet.

Worth tens of millions of pounds, this privileged scion of the aristocracy lives in Kensington Palace. Thirteen other Royal parasites, including Prince Harry and Megan Markle, live in the same splendour.

Those guilty of social murder at Grenfell Tower must be arrested and charged, including former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Those instrumental in the decision to add the cladding to Grenfell must also be arrested and charged.

We demand:

  • Justice for Grenfell means no cover-up and no inquiry whitewash!
  • Arrest the political and corporate criminals responsible!
  • Stop the scapegoating of firefighters!
  • Quality public housing is a social right!
  • For an emergency multibillion-pound programme of public works to build schools, hospitals, public housing and all the infrastructure required in the 21st century!

The Grenfell Fire Forum, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, will be discussing these issues at its next meeting on Saturday, September 1, at the Maxilla Social Club in North Kensington, London. All are welcome to attend.

Grenfell Fire Forum meeting
Saturday, September 1, 4 p.m.
Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk
London, W10 6SW (nearest tube: Latimer Road)

For further details visit facebook.com/Grenfellforum

British Conservative racist Windrush deportations


This video from Britain says about itself:

Emily Thornberry on the Windrush scandal and the UK Government’s “hostile environment”

Taken from the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, 22/4/2018.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Windrush generation deported to die abroad! Tories and their racist policies must go! TUC must act now!

COME over as a child from the Caribbean to the UK in the 1960s, go to school in the UK, work an entire life time in the UK, raise children in the UK, only then to be told you are not welcome in the UK, and be kicked out of the country – deported to the Caribbean – to live your last days there.

The Home Office has admitted that at least 63 members of the Windrush generation have been treated in this fashion and wrongly deported to the Caribbean. The latest revelations by the Jamaican Foreign Ministry, that three wrongly deported members of the Windrush generation have died in the Caribbean before officials were able to contact them and tell them that they have every right to return to the UK, has deepened the Windrush scandal and the crisis of the Tory government.

Thousands of men, women and their children came over from the Caribbean on boats such as the Empress Windrush ship to work in the NHS and the transport system which at the time was still a nationalised publicly owned service. They were welcomed and urged to stay on to build a new life for themselves in England as they helped rebuild it after the war.

It never occurred to them that they would need to keep their landing cards to prove that they had come to the UK legally. Then, in 2010 the Home Office burned the landing cards, their evidence of their legal arrival.

PM May is responsible, she was Home Secretary at the time. She created a ‘hostile environment’ in which thousands had to prove their right to stay or face deportation, as the UK ruling class had no further use for the ‘rebuilders’.

Meanwhile, private out-sourcing giant Capita is now paid extra money by the Home Office for each and every person they deport. As part of the continuing investigation into the Windrush scandal by the cross-party joint committee on human rights (JCHR), committee chair Harriet Harman wrote to Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking a number of questions on the issue.

Harman asked: ‘Whether any payments from the Home Office to Capita were linked to numbers who left the country voluntarily or were even detained or deported?’ In responding Javid admitted that Capita did indeed operate an ‘outcome-based payment mechanism’ between 2012 and 2016.

So it was a pay-per-removal service that Capita supplied! The firm was paid between £10.58 and £22.63 per person contacted who ‘left the UK voluntarily’.

The committee condemned the Home Office in June after Capita sent two Windrush citizens, who had been living in the UK for about 50 years, to immigration detention centres in order to deport them out of the country. The committee said Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan had experienced a ‘total violation of their human rights’.

In the case of Paulette Wilson, she had been in Britain for 50 years when she received a letter informing her that she was an ‘illegal immigrant’ and was going to be removed and sent back to Jamaica, the country she left when she was ten years old and has never visited since.

She spent a week at Yarl’s Wood detention centre before being sent to the immigration removal centre at Heathrow. It was only a last-minute intervention from her MP and a local charity that prevented a forced removal. During her life Paulette actually worked in the House of Commons restaurant overlooking the Thames, serving meals to MPs and parliamentary security staff.

This is the way that the Tory government treat people who have dedicated their entire life working in Britain, only to be told that they are not British and to ‘go back to where you came from’. Apology or not, the Tories ‘hostile environment’ has not gone away in fact it has deepened.

However it has sparked its opposite . . . the entire working class are now extremely hostile towards the government and all of its anti-working class racist policies. At this year’s TUC conference a motion must be put down and acted upon to put an end to this Tory government by calling a general strike to go forward to a workers’ government that will welcome all workers from across the world as part of building a socialist society.

THE deaths of three British citizens who were wrongly deported to the Caribbean bring “shame” on the hostile environment’s “architect” Theresa May and her government, Labour said yesterday. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott called on the Prime Minister to “personally apologise” for “the latest tragic injustice suffered by our fellow citizens as a direct result of the Tories’ hostile environment”: here.

Windrush deaths have sent shockwaves through the Commonwealth, Abbott charges: here.

Tory Party Conference ’18: May condemned for defending her ‘hostile environment’ policies: here. And here.

Conservative anti-Caribbean British policies kill


This 18 April 2018 video from Britain says about itself:

Britain’s Windrush shame: RIP Dexter Bristol

Dexter Bristol was born a British subject in Grenada, but had never been able to get a British passport, and struggled to gather the extensive documentation required by officials to prove that he was not an overstayer. On 31 March 2018 he collapsed in the street outside his home and died.

By Sam Tobin in Britain:

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Windrush victim’s family walk out of inquest into his death

Relatives angry that coroner declined to consider the role of May’s ‘hostile environment’ in causing Dexter Bristol’s death

RELATIVES of a member of the Windrush generation who died trying to prove he had a right to live in Britain walked out of his inquest yesterday after a coroner refused to involve the Home Office in the hearing.

Dexter Bristol, 58, collapsed and died outside his home in Camden, north London, on March 29 during a long battle to prove he was in the country legally despite having lived in Britain for nearly 50 years.

He had not visited a GP for more than a year before his death, believing he could not change surgeries unless he could prove his immigration status, a pre-inquest review hearing previously heard.

His relatives wanted the inquest to address the role the Home Office’s hostile environment might have played in Mr Bristol’s death, but coroner Dr William Dolman ruled that its policies were not relevant to how he died.

Mr Dolman accepted Mr Bristol was “under some sort of distress or pressure”, but said this was not solely as a result of his problems with the Home Office and ruled that Mr Bristol died from natural causes, an acute cardiac arrhythmia.

But his family had already left the court.

Outside St Pancras coroner’s court, his mother Sentina Bristol said: “We want justice, that’s what we’re fighting for — justice. That’s what I would like to see happen.”

Her solicitor Irene Nembhard told the Independent that the family would seek an urgent review of the decision because Mr Bristol’s relatives had “no confidence in the process fearlessly investigating the role of the Home Office policies.”

Yesterday’s hearing also saw heated exchanges between the family’s lawyer, Una Morris, and the coroner as Ms Morris tried to address the court on the potential affect of Home Office policies on Mr Bristol’s health.

She said an expert medical report made clear that the stress Mr Bristol was placed under contributed to his death, which was “a question for the Home Office, about whether the Home Office in its various guises may have caused or contributed to the death of Mr Bristol.”

But Mr Dolman accused her of “trying to tell me how to run my court” and repeatedly ordered her to sit down. He then apologised to Ms Morris and Mr Bristol’s family after he took a short break.

Ms Morris responded: “My concern isn’t for myself as much as the impact on the family, the family are deeply upset at the way you spoke to me.”

Mr Bristol’s immigration lawyer, Jacqueline McKenzie, said his battle to prove his right to be in Britain had taken a devastating toll on his health and had made “a very robust person … decline into a shadow of himself.”

Barrister Leslie Thomas QC, a leading expert in inquests and claims against the police, commented: “It is deeply upsetting that in 2018 a family of colour has to face a hostile environment due to deeply racist Home Office policies, but then insult and injury are added to grief when they and their lawyers meet an equally hostile environment in court when searching for the truth.”

THE MOTHER and sister of Dexter Bristol (57), who died suddenly earlier this year after being classified as an illegal immigrant, angrily walked out of his inquest yesterday after the coroner ruled that the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ Windrush policy played no role in his death: here.

British Conservatives knew about fire hazards years before Grenfell, did nothing


This 2 August 2018 video from Britain is called Government told in 2014 that Grenfell-style cladding was highly dangerous.

By Tom Pearce in Britain:

UK government warned of dangers of flammable cladding three years before Grenfell fire

14 August 2018

As [early] as 2014, the UK government was warned of the risks of using combustible aluminum composite material (ACM) cladding on buildings and did nothing to stop its use or warn the population.

The details emerged just as the Grenfell fire inquiry broke for its summer recess. It was because Grenfell Tower was surrounded by highly flammable cladding that a small fire on the fourth floor rapidly became an inferno that consumed the entire block on June 14 last year, claiming 72 lives.

Inside Housing, the weekly trade publication, revealed minutes of a meeting of the fire group of the Center for Window and Cladding Technology (CWCT) on July 2, 2014. Inside Housing was able to access the minutes through a Freedom of Information request.

The meeting, held two years before Grenfell tower was covered in flammable ACM, was called after the CWCT received inquiries about the fire safety and performance of facades (cladding) due to the fact that there had been “a number of issues recently.” It was attended by officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

On the combustibility of insulation, the minutes state, “Limited combustibility insulation should be used above 18 metres when following the prescriptive requirements of Approved Document B (ADB) Cl[ause] 12.7 but other materials, principally foil faced phenolic foam are often used in rainscreen walls.”

This was not the case at Grenfell, with its cladding being compared to “solid petrol” by some experts.

The minutes show the building regulations to be deliberately ambiguous, providing grey areas where building control officers have allowed the use of combustible material that does not comply to the standards in ADB clause 12.7.

Regarding the use of ACM, the CWCT findings showed that, “This material generally achieves a reaction to fire classification of class 0 or class B s1 d0.” In the minutes, CWCT recommends that there are safer and less combustible options available. “There are versions available with a mineral core which can achieve A2 s1 d0. There are also similar materials available with other metals such as copper used for the facing.”

The minutes give a stark warning of the dangers associated with the use of ACM: “There have been major fires in buildings in various parts of the world including the Middle East and France where ACM materials have been used for the cladding with the ACM responsible for external fire spread.”

It is stated that “clause 12.7 of ADB is intended to prohibit the use of polyethylene cored ACM in buildings over 18m as they are not classed as limited combustibility. …

“In a building with a storey 18m or more above ground level any insulation product, filler material (not including gaskets, sealants and similar) etc. used in the external wall construction should be of limited combustibility.”

While it was made clear to the Department for Communities and Local Government that cladding was directly responsible for the spread of external fires in tower blocks, the government was doing nothing with this information.

These official guidelines were ignored by the government, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO)—that carried out Grenfell’s “refurbishment” on behalf of the council.

The minutes also point to the dangers in the use of cladding that has not been properly fitted and buildings that have not been designed to take the new forms of cladding:

“Cavities/openings may be formed in a fire due to melting or deformation of materials. The cavities/openings may lead to unexpected routes for fire spread. In ADB [Approved Document B] the requirement for insulation of limited combustibility applies to all insulation so includes insulation within a rainscreen cavity or within a curtain wall spandrel panel.”

This adds to the evidence pointing to the vast criminality committed at Grenfell by the political and corporate elite, who are doing everything possible to conceal their crimes.

In the Grenfell Inquiry’s last session, Michael Mansfield QC, representing some Grenfell families, interrupted inquiry chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, to insist there was a “sense of urgency” to act and help families still living in tower blocks with similar cladding. He said, “There is no need to wait another nine months to make recommendations that could—and possibly should—be made now.”

The same call was made in June by Pete Weatherby, QC, who demanded “a moratorium on the use of any insulation or rainscreen products that are below A1 (non-combustible) standard, at least until [the inquiry chair’s] final report.”

In response, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) claimed, “We are acting quickly” and are “consulting on banning the use of combustible materials on high-rise residential buildings. We are also restructuring building regulations fire safety guidance to ensure it is clear.”

The truth is that the government is “consulting” on the banning of ACM only in order to ensure that any such measure, if legislated at all, will result in the least impact on the profits of big business. A full ban is opposed by Sir Ken Knight, the chair of the government’s independent fire safety panel, who wrote to the MHCLG on July 2 calling only for a limited ban on combustible materials used on buildings.

Virtually nothing has been done to make thousands of people safe in their homes 14 months after the Grenfell fire.

In total, 470 public and private buildings in the UK are known to have Grenfell-type cladding. A year after the Grenfell fire, the government’s own building safety programme had identified 297 private high-rise blocks with ACM cladding. However, only 21 had begun the process to remove cladding and only four buildings have had their cladding completely removed. It is estimated by other sources that there are many more buildings clad in ACM, which are not being listed by their owners, who fear a collapse in the value of their property.

Recently residents at the New Capital Quay block in Greenwich, London had to prepare a class action suit against developers and insurers over building safety to force the company to agree to remove the cladding from their homes.

Those guilty of social murder at Grenfell Tower must be arrested and charged, including former London Mayor Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessors, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

Those instrumental in the decision to add the cladding to Grenfell must also be arrested and charged, including former RBKC council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown; his then-deputy, Rock Feilding-Mellen; former housing director Laura Johnson; former head of the KCTMO, Robert Black; the CEO of Rydon, Robert Bond; the managing director of Harley Facades, Ray Bailey; the CEO of Arconic, which manufactured the cladding panels used; and the chief executive officers of Celotex, which manufactured the flammable insulation.

  • For an emergency multibillion-pound programme of public works to build schools, hospitals, public housing and all the infrastructure required in the 21st century!

The Grenfell Fire Forum, initiated by the Socialist Equality Party, will be discussing these issues at its next meeting on Saturday, September 1, at the Maxilla Social Club in North Kensington, London. All are welcome to attend.

Grenfell Fire Forum meeting

Saturday, September 1, 4 p.m.
Maxilla Social Club, 2 Maxilla Walk
London, W10 6SW (nearest tube: Latimer Road)

For further details visit facebook.com/Grenfellforum