Sir Martin Rifkind
Rifkind was born in Edinburgh (1946) to a Jewish family that emigrated to Britain in the 1890s from Lithuania.
Among his cousins are Leon and Samuel Brittan.
He was educated at George Watson’s College and the University of Edinburgh where he studied law before taking a postgraduate degree in political science.
He was called to the Scottish Bar in 1970 and practised full-time as an Advocate until 1974.
He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1985 and a member of the Privy Council in 1986.
From 1970 to 1974 he was a member of Edinburgh City Council.
1986: Rifkind promoted into the Tory cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland.
One of Rifkind’s most difficult challenges was the demand from the public for the abolition of the domestic rates system.
He supported the introduction of the Community Charge, or poll tax, which the Cabinet had approved shortly before his appointment.
He also agreed with the decision, that the new tax should be introduced a year earlier in Scotland than in England because of the political necessity to end the domestic rates.
Rifkind subsequently accepted that the poll tax had been a major mistake by the Government.
1992: Secretary of State for Defence
Rifkind was appointed Secretary of State for Defence after the 1992 general election.
Although he had no military background he was a firm believer in strong defence and armed forces with a global capability.
In 1994 he was faced with Treasury demands for major cuts in the Defence budget.
In order to protect the fighting capability of the armed forces he negotiated a settlement with the Treasury whereby he would deliver savings greater than they were demanding but that he would be allowed to keep the additional savings and use them for the purchase of new military equipment for each of the three Services.
Some his proposals, particularly in regard to defence medical services were, in later years, subjected to heavy criticism.(1)
With some of the additional savings that had been found Rifkind was able to secure the agreement of the United States to British purchase of cruise missiles.
The United Kingdom was, at that time, the only country to which the Americans were willing to sell cruise missiles.
Rifkind also reformed the Reserve Forces and initiated the policy review which led to the TA and other Reservists being able to be used in operations abroad without the need for full mobilization of the whole Territorial Army as had been needed in the past.(2)
(1). He decimated the Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Dental Corps and supporting services achieving significant financial savings, (which he used to purchase Cruise Missiles from the US.)
He then transferred medical and dental care of the forces to the NHS.
This created major difficulties in the provision of effective treatment and after-care of wounded members of the forces returned to the UK from Iraq and Afgahistan.
(2). He forward plans well in advance of any future threats to the UK.
Had he not made the change the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would not have been possible.
The UK “Reservist” forces were extensively used in combat and support provision in both wars.
1996: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs-including MI6
In the final years of the Major administration Rifkind was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
April 1998: Rifkind calls for pact to block nationalists
Rifkind called for the formation of a cross- party movement to protect the Union and prevent the SNP taking power.
The former foreign secretary’s comments are the first clear indication that the Tory party north of the Border believes that Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats can make common cause in attempting to halt the rise of the SNP.
“I think there will be a need for a non-party movement in Scotland to support the Union.
There is a powerful Scottish benefit in staying in the Union; it’s very important that we identify common ground.”
Rifkind, the Scottish party’s president, also accused Labour of exploiting “nationalist language” during its spell in opposition:
“The genie is out of the bottle and, like all genies, once they are out of the bottle they are difficult to put back in. (highbeam)
2003: Former foreign minister Martin Rifkind cashes in on Iraq crisis
A private security company headed by former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is making millions from a contract to protect Foreign Office staff working in Iraq, it emerged last night.
Armor Group, the biggest ‘mercenary’ security firm working in Iraq, is one of two companies that have raked in a total of £15m between them for providing round-the-clock cover in the treacherous environment of post-war Iraq during the past year.
Rifkind, the Tory candidate in Kensington and Chelsea, sparked protests from political opponents last month when he took over the chairmanship of Armor Group, which has 700 employees in Iraq.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has admitted they are paying the company – along with Control Risks – £ 50,000 every day to protect its bureaucrats stationed in Iraq, amid mounting concerns about the safety of civilians in the war-torn country.
The huge fee was described as a “miniscule amount” by one government official last night.
But furious MPs condemned the outlay as “appalling value for money”, and claimed the government should not be ploughing money into a controversial industry that is making huge profits as part of the reconstruction effort in Iraq. (the Scotsman)
2007: Andrew Fulton (formerly MI6) became the first high-profile former spy to join a listed British company when he was appointed as an adviser to the Armor Group, a firm that provides security services to national governments and large corporations.
The Armor Group, has more than 9,000 employees in 50 locations, (including 500 Gurkha’s and other ex UK and US military) providing security services in 38 countries.
It says its work is to ” identify, reduce and resolve exceptional risks in complex, sometimes hostile, environments”.
A company spokesman said most of its British employees in Iraq were former soldiers “all of whom had seen active service”,
Its Chairman is Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative foreign and defence secretary.
December 2003: The PFI pioneer: Rifkind, the father of the Private Finance Initiative
After losing the Edinburgh Pentlands seat Rifkind became more involved in his increasingly varied business interests.
His previous work at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a giant in the corporate finance advice world, took him back to the fold of the private finance initiative, a concept that he helped create as a cabinet minister.
Rifkind has been working with PwC in its operations in Central and Eastern Europe for some time.
And his political background made him a natural choice to join the firm’s new European corporate finance board as an adviser on privatisation.
He appeared happy to be out of the political world, for now at least:
“It’s very exciting indeed, having been involved in the very start of the whole process here in the UK, to come back to it now,” he says. (High Beam)
2008: Growing support for the SNP in Scotland triggers activation of secret MI5 anti nationalist working group.
In 2008 the growth in nationalist support in Scotland alarmed the US and Westminster.
The Labour Party was in meltdown and it was entirely possible an SNP government would be in place at Holyrood in 2009.
This would bring with it calls for Scottish independence and a referendum.
There were also on-going problems within the Scottish Tory Party, which had suffered yet another bad election defeat.
Voices within the Party in Scotland had begun to raise the spectre of a split from Westminster control so that the Party in Scotland would revert to its former Unionist Party status forming its own distinctly Scottish policies whilst retaining a more hands off relationship with the Conservative Party at Westminster.
The long prepared (anti-nationalist strategy), designed to deal with these potential problems was put in place.
British (Scots) spymaster Fulton, (a close colleague of Rikind’s for many years) was identified as the most effective “agent for change” available and it was agreed he would apply himself and his extensive resources to the tasks of completing a root and branch reorganisation of the party in Scotland, removing any person, (no matter how senior) who did not fully commit to Westminster Conservative Party ideals.
He would also design a long term strategy undermining the SNP government ensuring any referendum for independence would fail.
It was believed that the SNP would fall apart in the aftermath of a failure to gain independence.
Fulton is a major player in the military corporate nexus.
He has been placed in an overtly political position because the UK government is extremely worried about Scottish secession.
He is there to coordinate the destabilisation of the SNP government.
Golf and capuccinos are just distractions, he is a very dangerous individual.
His and the British Secret Service links with right wing elements in control of Glasgow University was exposed in the undernoted blog.
February 2008: Former spy in line for top Scottish Tory job
Former high ranking MI6 intelligence officer, Prof Andrew Fulton (1).
A spy who served behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War is in line to become chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party in a surprise move agreed by David Cameron and Annabel Goldie, the Scottish leader.
Fulton, whose last posting was “head of station” in Washington, has emerged as one of the favourites for the post that fell vacant when Peter Duncan, the former MP for Dumfries, stood down last summer.
The appointment of the Secret Service intelligence officer, will be seen as an attempt by senior Tories to inject fresh blood and new thinking into the Scottish party, which has struggled to recover from its 1997 wipe-out when it lost all its Scottish MPs.
Last year, he became the first high-profile former spy to join a listed British company when he was appointed as an adviser to the Armor Group (2), a firm that provides security services to national governments and large corporations.
Its non-executive chairman is the Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind.
He was unmasked as a former spy in 2000 when he was forced to step down as a member of the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit which provided media briefings on the trial in Holland of the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing.
His cover was blown soon after he was included in a list of 116 MI6 officers published on the internet by a disaffected agent in 1999.
The revelation raised concerns that he may have been in a position to influence the way the Lockerbie trial was being reported to ensure the minimum of criticism of the British and American intelligence services.
In his MI6 days, Fulton reportedly had been posted in East Berlin, Saigon, and New York.
He had served as “head of station” in Washington, D.C., and at the peak of his career he was the sixth-most powerful official in the organization.
In 1992, Fulton became the security officer who headed up European operations:
“He was one of the MI6 chiefs handed the plans to kill Serb President Slobodan Milosevic.” (The Telegraph)
(1). Spymaster, Andrew Fulton: Born in Glasgow in 1944, he grew up on the Isle of Bute and attended Rothesay Academy Rothesay.
He went on to study Law at the Glasgow University, graduating MA, LLB (1962–1967).
Diplomat: HM Diplomatic Service: (MI6) July 1968 – January 1999 (30 years 7 months): postings in Saigon, Rome, East Berlin, Oslo, the United Nations in New York and finally Washington DC.
President, (Founding Chairman): Scottish North American Business Council, (part of the British American Business network): January 1999 – Present (17 years 4 months)
Chairman: Global Scot World Wide Network (GPW): January 2001 – Present (16 years 4 months): global leaders in business intelligence, corporate investigations, dispute resolution, support and political risk management.
Senior Non Executive Director, IndigoVision: January 2011 – Present (5 years 4 months): United Kingdom based company engaged in the design, development, manufacture and sale of networked video security systems.
The Company’s segments include Europe, the Middle East and Africa; North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Its cameras, encoders, network video recorders and software are designed both internally and with technology partners and manufactured in Asia and Europe.
The Company’s end to end Internet protocol (IP) video security systems allow full motion video to be transmitted around the world, in real time, with digital quality and security, over local or other area networks, wireless links or the Internet, using market compression technology to minimize the usage of network bandwidth.
Senior adviser (All-Party Parliamentary MENA* Group at Westminster): 2013 – Present:
*The term MENA is an English-language acronym referring to an extensive region, extending from Morocco to Iran, including all Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries.
Fulton is the senior intelligence person advising the most senior political group in Westminster on all matters. (Wikipedia)
June 2009: Is Andrew Fulton, Tory Chairman still an MI6 Spy or Asset?
Let’s remember the Tories, in particular MI6 Station Chief, currently Chairman of the Tories in Scotland, Andrew Fulton.
Fulton is also involved in the Scottish North American Business Council and listed as an advisor to various organisations involved in intelligence matters.
Fulton was placed in the Glasgow University Lockerbie Briefing Unit until his cover was blown.
His title of Visiting Professor was allowed to be given to him by then Glasgow University Principal Graeme Davis.
Davis was also a member of the Scottish North American Business Council (SNABC)(1).
The unusual thing about Fulton’s Professorship was that he had never worked in the legal profession in any capacity, had never taught classes and did no research at Glasgow University.
So how was he suitable to be a Visiting Professor of Law?
It is probable that Graham Davis permitted MI6 to plant Fulton in the Media unit.
The American ambassador Philip Lader was also a member of the (SNABC) at the same time.
So this may have been used as a front organisation to allow Fulton and Lader to meet without drawing attention to them and talk about Lockerbie and how to handle the press to steer them away from the Americans.
(1). The (SNABC) is a little known but well connected atlanticist body aimed at fostering closer relations between business in Scotland and the US.
It is the Scottish chapter of the British-American Business Council.
It has interesting intelligence connections.
The current Chairman is former MI6 man Andrew Fulton, who was exposed as having been a former MI6 agent whilst working inside Glasgow University based Lockerbie Commission.
The former US ambassador to the UK Philip Lader (also chair of the board of spin conglomerate WPP) is also on board.
The Council retains Media House International for PR and its executive chairman Jack Irvine is a former board member. (Powerbase)
October 2009: Fools Believe in James Bond
There is of course a very long history of ‘ex’ (but are they really ever, ‘ex’?) intelligence officers and associated assets moving into overt, democratic politics.
Apart from Paddy Ashdown, it is also commom knowledge that Andrew Fulton, Margaret (‘Meta’) Ramsey and Pauline Neville-Jones, were but three of the more prominent contemporary figures who hold or have held key positions of influence/ gatekeeping in major political parties and national institutions (eg. the BBC).
This is concerning, but hardly unexpected.
Frankly, I am surprised that anyone would be at all surprised that a similar trajectory may apply in the case of Rory Stewart; to anyone with eyes and ears, it’s been rather obvious for some time.
I’m not sure he’s a neocon, more an old-style British imeperialistic adventurer a la Richard Burton, T. E. Lawrence, etc. – though in the end the difference may be somewhat academic.
I guess these differences among the elite relate to how best to manage an empire.
He’s an excellent writer, as many know, and on a personal level, even though it’s likely that if we got down to it, we would disagree on many things, particularly as regards wealth distribution, militarism and imperialism, at the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, I have to say that he has always been very decent, generous and affable to me.
Good ‘people skills’, perhaps, but, as Marlon Brando suggested, which of us doesn’t dissemble to some extent.
I know this has nothing to do with the geo-political angle, however, and I think the matter which Craig has raised points to deeper issues in relation to the hard state, social control, imperialism and British politics.
Another, quite separate, issue, is the recrudescence of the public school elite in control-room of the Conservative Party following their relative deposition by during the Heath-Thatcher period.
This is one of the reasons, I suspect, why David Davis was edged out, resigned and made that stand over detention. (Craig Murray)
July 2010: Veteran Rifkind to Lead MPs’ Watchdog
Former foreign secretary and defence secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind is perhaps the best-placed MP to chair the Commons committee on intelligence and security. For five years until 24 February 2015 he was responsible for the security service MI6. He fully supported NATO military intervention in Libya and supplying arms to the Libyan rebels. (Highbeam)
July 2011: Top Scots Tories fire broadside at Ex MI6 Spy Andrew Fulton over denial of natural justice for Malcolm Macaskill
Ex MI6 Spy Andrew Fulton, isn’t the flavour of the month with senior Tory stalwarts with decades of service under their belt.
They are rightly upset regarding the disgraceful treatment of Malcolm Macaskill who was removed as a candidate to make way for publicly unelectable Ruth Davidson.
Davidson is now a Glasgow list MSP although she lives in Edinburgh. Full story here: (Glasgowhumanrights blog)
November, 2011: Scottish Tories duly elect Andrew Fulton’s protégé as new leader. Job done Andrew Fulton returned to London
Order had been restored in Scotland. The threat of a Scottish Unionist Party breakaway has been extinguished. Westminster party Conservatives placed in all key posts.
Reacting to the result, Davidson said “This is the first time that our members have been asked to elect a leader for the whole party in Scotland and I’ve met our members from Selkirk to Shetland and all points in between.
They’ve been engaged, they’ve been enthusiastic, they’ve been welcoming and they’re excited about our bright future too.”
August 2013: Rifkind advocated British military intervention in the Syrian civil war, subject to certain important caveats.
He stated that the best response to proof of the Syrian Government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people would be United Nations Security Council approval of proportionate and limited military action, but that securing unanimity in the Council would be unlikely, given the near-certainty of a Russian veto.
He believed that, in such a case, if there were to be a broad international consensus for such military action, including among the nations of the Arab League, that the international community should not be ‘paralysed’ by a failure to act, and that the action should be used to target Syrian Government military sites. (wikipedia)
The TruthNews website reported:
” Sir Malcolm Rifkind known as “Malcolm the poof” is chairman of the British parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which oversees MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – the most important position in the UK intelligence community.
The ISC reports first to the prime minister, who retains – and uses – the right to censor material in ISC reports before parliament views them”.
February 2015: Rifkind caught up in a Conflict of interest controversy
In early 2015 Rifkind had discussions with what he thought were representatives of a Chinese company that wanted to set up an advisory council.
They turned out to be journalists for The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 News who recorded the conversations.
As a result, the party whip was suspended while the matter was investigated.
On 24 February 2015 Rifkind stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee while remaining on the Committee.
Shortly afterwards he announced that he would not stand as a candidate for his constituency of Kensington at the 2015 General Election.
The former foreign secretary said it was “quite obvious” that allegations made following an undercover sting had “become an issue”.
Rifkind said he had stepped aside as chair of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) because he did not want the work of the committee to be “distracted”.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the ISC, he said:
“I don’t think I did anything wrong. I may have made errors of judgment, but that’s a different matter.”
In September 2015 the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Standards Committee of Parliament concluded after a seven-month investigation that there had been no impropriety by Rifkind.
They severely criticised Channel 4 Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph for “distortion” and for “misleading the public”. (parliament)
29 April 2016: Riddle deepens over Ruth Davidson and allegations of referendum election fraud
Police Scotland have revealed for the first time that only three people gave witness statements during their year-long probe into allegations of election fraud in the Scottish independence referendum and they were all “subjects of the investigation”.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who gave a statement after being interviewed by the police, has consistently insisted that she was spoken to by police merely as a ‘witness’.
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives would only say in response to the latest development: “Ruth was only ever interviewed as a witness.”
Police say the three people were interviewed in connection with the investigation into allegations of electoral law breaches and had a “dual role” as both subjects of the investigation and as witnesses.
Davidson was interviewed by police after the Crown Office instructed that there should be an investigation after she said on a television that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18, 2014.
After a year-long probe, police announced that “no criminality has been uncovered”, but declined to explain the rationale for their assessment.
Police made initial telephone contact with Davidson before interviewing her at her parliamentary offices in October, 2014.
Party sources insisted at the time that Davidson was not the subject of the investigation.
She has since said she had not attended any postal vote opening sessions adding that there were other people who “are mandated” to do that.
Police Scotland has now confirmed for the first time that “three individuals were spoken to as witnesses and as subjects of the investigation
. Statements were only noted from the three individuals.” They confirmed that they were unable to elaborate the reasons for their conclusion at the end of the year-long probe as it could jeopardise any future legal proceedings “should further relevant information become known”.
Police Scotland has declined to confirm the identities of the three.
Police Scotland added:
“The requirement for secrecy in postal votes is set out under section 66 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Whilst defining the offence this section also identifies who may commit the offence and what requires to be proved to establish that the crime is complete.
Without these thresholds having been achieved a person who is investigated in relation to this offence cannot be said to have committed a crime.” (The Herald)
In video footage of Davidson talking about the ballot viewing sent to police, says:
“Postal votes are going to be enormously important in this campaign – about 18 per cent of the vote is going to come out of postal ballots and we have had people at every sample opening, around the country, over the last few weeks, while that’s been coming in. And we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results.”
Later, referring to postal ballots, she said:
“Different local authorities have had openings around the country”, adding, “there’s people in the room that have been sampling those ballot boxes that have been opened and have been taking tallies and the reports have been very positive for us”.
Ms Davidson had previously hit out at criticism of her position in the police investigation in the wake of potentially defamatory assertions about her role on Twitter. (wikispooks)