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Opinion: His excellency's voting machine

18 June 2005

So here it was. The robots of the supreme leader came in from behind and when nobody was expecting it, voted for Ahmadinejad, a populist conservative with a socialist economy.

Basij and Sepah forces, added to millions of the Guardian Council's representatives who were at the polling stations all five millions of them, voted for Ahamdinejad and made it possible for the supreme leader to actually run the country, directly, for the first time.

Even if Rafsanjani goes to the second round with Ahmadinejad, Khamanei's voting machine will act again and will make Ahmadinejad the new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The pro-reform youth are so disappointed and depressed. Nobody knows what will happen next. But Khamenei is the biggest winner of this game. He now has both the big turn-out (plus a middle-finger to Bush), and a quasi-president who is only a cover for his excellency.

Is it possible the Iranian leader has learned this from Mr. Bush's win?

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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