Referendum Protocols – A Look back at the 1979 Debacle – February 2014 Voting Advice to the Scottish Electorate Which Fell Upon Deaf Ears

 

 

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Referendum Protocol

A referendum is concerned with major questions of policy change and views will be strongly divided. There is a clear need, therefore, that its conduct should be accepted by the electorate as efficient and fair.

Guidelines should be established early and accepted by all parties ensuring consistency of administration in their conduct maximizing confidence in the legitimacy of the result.

Given the Westminster Government will be committed to a “no” vote the referendum should be handled exclusively, (in all aspects) by an Independent Electoral Commission whose purpose (free of any political or financial influence) should be to ensure the referendum is conducted efficiently enforcing a fair presentation of competing views.

 

 

 

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Referendum Independent from Government

Responsibility for the publication and management of information relevant to the referendum should be exercised entirely outside of Government – by the Independent Commission The conventions which require the Civil Service to avoid engaging in political or public debate’ and which limit its actions to the provision of factual information, should be strictly adhered to.

The Independent Electoral Commission should, (on an equitable basis) provide facilities and funds for the production and distribution of leaflets written by a campaign group from each side (and is responsible for any arbitration between the competing claims of campaign groups).

Every household should receive a publicly funded leaflet (through the Independent Electoral Commission) giving general information on the holding of the referendum and statements of the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ cases relating to the referendum question.

Public funds, (other than the financial budget allocated by government to the Independent Electoral Commission) should not be used.

The Independent Electoral Commission should handle the process of consulting campaign groups, deciding on the establishment of umbrella organisations, and administering any appropriate financial assistance.

Political, groups, parties’ or individuals not wishing to be associated with any of the recognised campaigning organisations (and therefore not eligible for public funding assistance) should still be free to participate in the campaign.

 

 

 

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Broadcast Media Matters

A balance should be maintained between the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ viewpoints rather than between the different political parties. Broadcasters should be encouraged to provide a limited amount of
airtime for setting out the arguments for each option in the referendum.

The content of such broadcasts would be the responsibility of any formally recognised campaign organisations. In the absence of such organisations the Independent Commission should appoint production companies to produce such broadcasts.

Party political broadcasts should not be transmitted during the referendum campaign.

The broadcast media will occupy a central role in informing the Public of the issues and the arguments on both sides of the referendum question.  The three distinct areas which concern the broadcast media are:

* News and current affairs coverage,

* Provision of fair time for referendum broadcasts

* Paid News and current affairs programmes should operate according the rules and guidelines to political impartiality.

Broadcasters should apply a strictly enforced 50:50 balance (observing well established and tested guidelines) between opposing views ensuring that ”justice is done to a full range of significant views and perspectives during which the issue is active”.

 

 

 

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Other Media

Restrictions on political advertising do not apply to the print media. It is difficult to see how expenditure on newspaper advertisements could be subject a general restriction. Current advertising law requires that advertisements are identified as such and cannot be confused with the editorial content of the paper. There is no requirement for newspapers to present a balanced political view and the political affiliations of the national newspapers are well known. Other forms of campaign media, like direct mail and telephone canvassing, are similarly unregulated. It is likely that legislation to do so would be politically unacceptable.

 

 

 

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Referendum – Use of Threshold Targets

The establishment of a threshold target is confusing for voters and produces results which do not reflect their intentions.

A turnout threshold may make extraneous factors, such as the weather on polling day, more important.

If a threshold is used, it should be a set percentage of the votes cast and not a percentage of the eligible electorate.

If thresholds are set, a clear explanation of the meaning of the threshold for the electorate should be included in the public information provided.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/spp/publications/unit-publications/7.pdf”

 

 

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The 1979 Devolution Referendum Debacle

During the Parliamentary proceedings on the Scotland Act, a clause was inserted on the initiative of the Labour backbencher, George Cunningham MP. This provided that, unless 40% of those entitled to vote voted in favour, the Government had to lay an Order before Parliament repealing the Act. The turnout was 32.8%, (short of the 40% required.) The Labour Government accordingly tabled an Order repealing the Scotland Act. The outcome of the referendum produced lasting resentment, it was felt that the rules had been biased against advocates of a Scottish Assembly.

Outcome of the Referendum on Devolution for Scotland 1 March 1979:

Question: Do you want the provisions of the Scotland Act 1978 to be put into effect?

Yes: 1,230,937 – 51.6% No: 153,502 – 48.4% Spoilt Ballot Papers: 3,133 Turnout: 2,387,572 – 63.6% Percentage of Electorate which Voted Yes – 32.8%

 

 

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Factors Driving the 1979 Devolution Referendum

The BBC was the accepted “voice of the State.” The electorate in Scotland almost universally trusted “Auntie Beeb” to provide information with strict impartiality.

There was a very different level of media available at the time the 1979 referendum took place which was before the internet – so no web pages, twitter, podcasts – but also in the period when there were only three TV channels (Channel 4 did not appear until 1982).

There were few computers (not as we know them now anyway), no mobile phones, no telephone canvassing, and none of the modern campaigning techniques of recent years that have utilised technology (direct mail for example).

Campaigning was therefore quite traditional and involved pen and paper, leaflets, posters, public meetings, press releases to newspapers, limited TV coverage, etc.

The campaign did not have any party election broadcasts or even an information leaflet on devolution, setting out the arguments from the government. This was because the Party Whips warned that a Government leaflet held no appeal.

Even the provision of an explanatory leaflet in Post Offices in Scotland was not attempted, and although partly compensated for by private initiatives there is strong evidence suggesting that the turnout was reduced because voters had no information delivered to their homes.

Another factor was the content of the Act, which presented an extremely complicated set of responsibilities to be vested with widely differing proposals for Wales and Scotland. These had the effect of influencing the electorate that devolution mirrored the political scene in the country at the time, the (winter of discontent and the desperate struggle of the minority Labour Government to stay in power) were not necessarily in the long term interests of Scotland.

Campaigning was unregulated compared to now, with no spending limits for the campaign or any public accountability over campaign spending: It is estimated that the “no” campaign spent double the amount of money of the “yes” side.

Despite conflicting views on devolution a significant number of labour and Tory Party MP “no” activists joined forces and cross-funded campaigning efforts. Brian Wilson (strongly anti-devolution) was very active with this group.

Anti-devolution trade unions were supported, in their spoiling campaigning with finance laundered through a Tory backed, tycoon-fronted group “Scotland Says No”.

The Labour Party was almost exclusively against it’s own “Devolution Bill.” Party MP’s in Scottish constituencies, (with the exception of Willie Ross) were as one opposing the legislation, driven by an intense hatred of the SNP which blinded them to any suggestion that devolution would benefit their constituencies.

The political reality of the Lib-Lab pact that began in March 1977 had a serious effect on the devolution issue. It meant that Labour struggled to construct a parliamentary majority for its devolution proposals at Westminster, and this exposed it to influences of its own backbenchers (meaning Labour’s devo-sceptics such as Tam Dalyell, George Cunningham, Robin Cook, Brian Wilson, etc) as well as the Liberals and SNP.

The result was that Labour lost control of the devolution issue at Westminster and was forced to amend its legislative proposals to suit party dissidents –this resulted in the necessity of holding a referendum to implement the Scotland Act 1978 as well as the 40% rule: that 40% of the registered electorate would need to vote Yes to devolution for the Assembly to be created.

The SNP, was a new force at Westminster. The party’s electoral success in 1974 had brought 11 MPs to Westminster. This proved to be the catalyst for change that brought about proposals for devolution, within the lifetime of the parliament. But the devolution issue was also very controversial within the SNP. The party was not as one on providing support to the proposals and this was reflected in their poll ratings and performance in by-elections. The devolution agenda was a well designed “Harold Wilson” spoiler for the SNP and the party fell for it big time.

The Tory Party was well disciplined and contributed very little overtly to the referendum campaign. The cautious approach, (confining their efforts largely to the provision of funds to Labour party activists and unions) had been adopted so that the party would not adversely influence their prospects in the next election.

http://www.scottishpoliticalarchive.org.uk/wb/pages/referendum/1979/background.php

 

 

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UK General Elections

Application of the same criteria to the last four UK General Elections would have required a re-run of three. In 1978 the referendum was not re-run which is a blatant abuse of the 40% rule implemented by Westminster in 1978

2001: 59.4% 40.7%
2005: 61.4% 35.2%
2010: 65.1% 36.1%
2015: 66.1% 36.9%

 

 

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The Influence of the Newsquest Newspapers on the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum

In the course of the 2014 Referendum Campaign the Herald in Scotland often changed its editorial policy – At times supporting independence then confusing the issue going cold on the approach transferring their allegiance to “Better Together”. In the final months of the campaign the paper firmly backed “No”. Its sister paper, “The Sunday Herald” also favoured independence only to revert to supporting the “no” side in the last weeks. The introduction of “The National” (from the same stable) with an editorial policy supporting independence was a godsend for the “yes” campaign.

In February 2014 (when it was onside with independence) the Herald issued a message to the Scottish electorate which had it been heeded would have ensured a different outcome to the referendum.

 

 

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Scots should take to heart the lesson of the 1979 campaign – (28 February 2014)

The referendum campaign has entered another and perhaps decisive stage, reminiscent in many ways of the 1979 referendum campaign for a Scottish Assembly.

In 1979, the “No” campaign was run by the same commercial and political forces now in play. The Labour Government was notionally in favour of its own legislation, which it had allowed to be crippled by the 40% rule. It sat passive, leaving the trade unions and opposing Labour MPs to join with the Conservatives in opposing the creation of an Assembly with minimal powers.

Yet the deceptions and threats were still being made. The Assembly, they said, would lead to a wholesale withdrawal of Scottish industry with loss of jobs.  It wasn’t all that valuableThe oil located in Scotland’s waters was British. It wasn’t that valuable. It would run out and where would Scotland be then? Impoverished and ruined was the answer. And weren’t we under a duty to be selfless and help out England’s poor? Further generations of those English poor – and Scotland’s too are still with us – and using food banks for survival.

Fifteen years after the setting up of the Scottish Parliament, the disaster has not happened. None of Scotland’s companies kept to their threats to pull out. Instead many of the objectors have prospered. If there has been any problem affecting Scottish commerce it has come from the mismanagement of the British economy and its cataclysmic failure to control the credit explosion from which came the 2008 depression.

As for oil, the tax revenues went south, causing huge expansion in London at the expense of Scotland.

It’s all happening again. Standard Life says it “may” transfer jobs and capital south. Then there is the Weir Group, which is to produce an “independent” report to assess the advantages and disadvantages of independence. Some may remember the then chairman, Lord Weir, being amongst the most militantly opposed of Scotland’s industrialists.

Until the start of the year, London thought it had the result in the bag. Then six polls charted growing support for Yes. Abruptly, the Unionist campaign became aggressive.

The figment that “Better Together” was running a purely Scottish campaign was brushed aside. Alistair Darling was sidelined. In came the main armament of the British state. The British Government actively canvassed support from other countries, including Russia and Spain, to collate opposition that would be broadcast in Scotland.

Then there was the Cameron “love-bombing”, the Osborne and Balls “blitzkrieg” on the currency, followed by the President of the EU Commission saying that Scotland would have difficulty becoming a member of the EU and a “rare” meeting of the Cabinet in Scotland to proclaim Scotland’s remaining oil was better in London’s hands.

The timing and sequences demonstrate that although the “British Government” claimed it was not involved in the debate, it had laid the ground work for its direct intervention through a series of political hammer blows. The tactics as in 1979 are simple – destroy Scottish self-confidence and morale.

There was no attempt to put forward constructive reasons for Scotland to stay in the Union. Promises for more devolution may be made at the Scottish party conferences. Do not believe them. In the aftermath of a No vote, London will see no need to give more powers to Scotland.

If the Scottish people are as gullible as in 1979, there is not much that can be done. They will pay the price. The budget of the Scottish Government will be slashed when the Barnett revenue formula is abolished and £25bn of cuts come down the line. In that case, the harsh experience that follows will induce Scotland to win independence in 10 years’ time.

But why wait? The evidence from 1979 is that these threats never come to anything. They are propaganda only. What is a reality is that “Food Bank” Britain is crumbling. The bubble of accelerating growth of London and the South-east of England will provoke increases in interest rates that will reverse today’s shallow recovery and induce a further recession.

There is an economic case to be made for independence and so far it has not been projected strongly enough. Time for “Yes” Scotland to move from defence to counter-attack.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/13148078.Scots_should_take_to_heart_the_lesson_of_the_1979_campaign/

 

 

 

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2014 Scottish Referendum – Unionist Strategy – Treat the Scots like Children – Use the Carrot and Stick Approach – They Are Easily Manipulated

 

 

 

 

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Unravelling and reporting on the many plots and subterfuges of politicians is difficult but not impossible. It is sadly often the case that they enjoy long and successful political careers within which the finger of fate may be pointed in their direction but never sticks. This article highlights a small group of players who’s influence and machinations have shaped Scottish politics to their advantage but to the detriment of Scotland. Martin Rifkind, (the leader) :

 

a. Architect of the hated “Poll Tax” 1986.

b. As Minister of Defence decimated the regular army transferring responsibility for the defence of the nation to “Cruise missiles” and the Territorial Army 1994.

c. As Foreign Secretary had charge of Britain’s secret services 1995-2000

d. Founder of Better Together 1998.

f. Out of government. Takes up executive roles in a number of Security, Defence, medical companies outside parliament 2002-2004.

g. ArmourGroup, (Rifkind, Executive Director) awarded multi-million security contract in Iraq, by Jack Straw, Labour government Foreign Secretary 2004.

g. Returned to Westminster, ( retaining and expanding a number of executive roles in private companies). Appointed Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons 2005-2010

i. Appointed, Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee (actively involved in the work of Britain’s Secret Services). Supported military action against Iraq, Libya and Syria 2010 -2015. 

j. Andrew Fulton, ( ex MI6 senior spook) joined Armour Group 2007.

k. Andrew Fulton ( ex MI6 senior spook) sent to Scotland to assess the political situation and report back to Westminster 2008-9. Additionally  took up position as Chairman of the Tory Party in Scotland.  Ruthlessly axed many Party members from positions of influence. Anyone not on board with Cameron’s government in Westminster retired. Gerrymandered Ruth Davidson’s appointment as leader of the party in Scotland 2008-2011.

l. Rifkind  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) takes charge of the disinformation campaign.

m. Craig Murray (ex British Ambassador) confirmed the Security Services had been active in Scotland throughout the Scottish Referendum campaign 2015.

n. Politicians for hire? Jack Straw & Sir Malcolm Rifkind embroiled in “cash for access” scandal. Rifkind forced to retire from politics. Straw denied place in the House of Lords.

 

 

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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 were the first clear indication that the Tory party north of the Border believed that Labour, the Tory’s and the Liberal Democrats needed to make common cause in an attempt to halt the rise of the SNP. He said: “I think there will be a need for a non-party movement in Scotland to support the Union.”

We duly got that when “Better Together” was sent into action at the time of the 2014 Scottish Referendum. Planning had been in place from 1998!!

He also accused Labour of fostering the mood of nationalism within Scotland by 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.”

https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-18594617.html

 

 

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2004: Rifkind Secures New Role in ArmorGroup – Conflict of Interest Claims Over Latest Directorship

Sir Malcolm Rifkind has agreed to become non-executive chairman of ArmorGroup, which is the biggest private security company currently working in Iraq. Rifkind, who has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the safe Tory seat of Kensington and Chelsea, said: ”The work that the company does is of great importance at the moment. It is necessary to provide proper protection for people in dangerous locations. It is the leading company in its field. A spokesman for the Institute of Directors said: ”It’s all about contacts. That’s the one thing former cabinet ministers bring to big companies, particularly a former foreign secretary. He’s going to be an invaluable asset.”

Mike Weir, SNP trade and industry spokesman, said: ”Being an MP should be a full-time job and he also faces a clear conflict of interest. He has expressed views on UK government policy in Iraq on behalf of the Tory party, and now also has private commercial interests in the country.”

 

 

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2004: Former Foreign Minister Martin Rifkind Cashes in on Iraq Invasion

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.

ArmorGroup, 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 for Kensington and Chelsea, sparked protests from political opponents last month when he took over the chairmanship of ArmorGroup, which has 700 employees in Iraq. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted the UK government is financing the company to the tune of £50K each and every day providing protection to British bureaucrats stationed in Iraq.

Furious MPs condemned the outlay as “appalling value for money”, and claimed the Labour government should not be ploughing money into a controversial industry that is making huge profits as part of the reconstruction effort in Iraq.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/former-foreign-minister-cashes-in-on-iraq-crisis-1-1394339

 

 

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2007: ArmourGroup Recruit Former MI6 Spymaster

Andrew Fulton (formerly MI6) became the first high-profile former spy to join a listed British company when he was appointed adviser to the ArmorGroup. The company 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”. Its Chairman is Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative foreign and defence secretary.

 

 

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Early 2008: Increasing Strength of the SNP in Scotland Attracts the Attention of the Secret Services

The continued 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. An anti-nationalist strategy was needed designed to neutralise any potential problems.

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.

Andrew Fulton, (former MI6 senior agent and close colleague of Rifkind’s for many years) was identified as the most effective “agent for change” available. It was agreed he would apply himself and his extensive resources to the tasks of completing a root and branch reorganisation of the Tory 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.
Suhaylsaadi; an informed insider wrote;

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 cappuccinos are just distractions, he is a very dangerous individual.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/andrew-fulton-is-he-professor.html

 

 

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Autumn 2008: Former spy Takes top Scottish Tory Job

Former high ranking MI6 intelligence officer, Prof Andrew Fulton. An MI6 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 former 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, a firm that provides security services to national governments and large corporations. Its chairman is the Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

Fulton has operated in Scotland before. 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 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.”

He is presently the Senior adviser to the (All-Party Parliamentary MENA* Group at Westminster)

*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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MENA http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/1578128/Former-spy-in-line-for-top-Scottish-Tory-job.html

 

 

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June 2009: Is Andrew Fulton, Tory Chairman still an MI6 Spy or Asset?

The former MI6 Station Chief, is currently Chairman of the Tory Party in Scotland. He is also listed as an advisor to a number of organisations involved in intelligence matters. He has history in Scotland. He was placed by the UK government with the Glasgow University Lockerbie Briefing Unit. The title, “Visiting Professor” was awarded to him by then Glasgow University Principal, Graeme Davis. Davis held membership of, “The Scottish North American Business Council” (SNABC), chaired by Fulton. (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 it beggars belief how he qualified as a Visiting Professor of Law? Did Graham Davis permit MI6 to plant Fulton in the University Media unit. The American ambassador to the UK, Philip Lader was also a member of the (SNABC) at the same time. Useful front for meetings to discuss Lockerbie without attracting the attention of the UK press.

http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/is-andrew-fulton-tory-chairman-still.html
(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.

http://powerbase.info/index.php/Scottish_North_American_Business_Council

 

 

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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.

https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-230846010.html

 

 

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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.

Http://glasgowunihumanrights.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/top-scots-tories-fire-broadside-at-ex.html

 

 

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November, 2011: Scottish Tories duly elect Andrew Fulton’s protégé as new leader. Job done Andrew Fulton returned to London

Order is restored in Scotland. The threat of a Scottish Unionist Party breakaway is extinguished. Conservatives on-side with Cameron have been placed in all key posts. Scottish Unionists told behave or to get on their bikes. A joyous new party leader 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.”

 

 

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2013: Margo Macdonald Wrote to the Head of the UK’s Security Service and Asked for an Assurance that MI5 Spies Would not Interfere in the Independence Referendum.

In a letter to MI5’s director general, Andrew Parker, Margo MacDonald wrote: “I will be obliged if you can give me an assurance that UK Security Services will not be used in any respect in the lead-up to the Scottish referendum on sovereignty, unless, of course, the Scottish police have sufficient evidence to justify normal responses to potentially overtly criminal acts. I do understand that the Security Services are vital to all the countries and regions of the British Isles and the potential for law-breaking may be heightened during the forthcoming campaign. As action on the Security Services’ part is calculated to keep communities safe and aid cohesion, I would welcome an assurance from you that this will continue, and that no other consideration will inform your Department’s work.”

At interview Margo said the recent comments of former chancellor Denis Healey, who said the Labour Government of the 1970s had underplayed the value of oil revenues, underlined her concerns. She said: “The influence of the security services was insidious. If the opportunity came up to depress the self-confidence of Scots, then the opportunity was taken.” Asked if she believed the SNP and the wider Yes movement was currently infiltrated, she said: “Of course the security services have people in the SNP.”

A former intelligence adviser to the Joint Intelligence Committee, said he believed MI5 would monitor the independence debate. There’s definitely a national security angle to Scottish independence that the security services would be aware of and the agency would have a concern about the knock-on effect of independence on Northern Ireland.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13108551.MI5_spies_told__stay_out_of_referendum/

 

 

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Early 2013: Rifkind Controlled the Secret Services Throughout the Scottish Referendum Campaign ( ex MI6 senior spook)

”Sir Malcolm Rifkind known as “Malcolm the poof” is ( ex MI6 senior spook) 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”.

https://thecolemanexperience.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/leon-brittan-nick-clegg-malcolm-rifkind-william-hague-dolphin-square-missing-dossiers-and-the-vip-child-abuse-connection/

 

 

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2015: Craig Murray Provides an Informed Insight of MI5 Activities

Is it not strange that such a broad spectrum of the mainstream media react with instant vitriol to the very notion that the security services are active against the Scottish independence movement, when we know for certain that environmental campaign groups have been heavily penetrated by agents and agents provocateurs? When such tactics have been used against the Irish Republican movement for decades? When our intelligence services were up to their ears in torture and extraordinary rendition and repeatedly lied about it? When Edward Snowden has revealed the massive scale of surveillance by GCHQ?

In the days when the corporate media had a monopoly on the dissemination of information, simply shouting “conspiracy theorist”, “tinfoil hat” and “lizards” at somebody, excluding them from corporate media access, would be enough essentially to prevent anybody from reaching the public with information. But that no longer works in the age of new media, and especially it doesn’t work in Scotland after the referendum experience.

For the avoidance of doubt, let me spell this out. I have certain knowledge from an inside source that disruption of separatist activity in Scotland now features in MI5 tasking. The “tasking” of the security services – and that is what it is officially called – is a very formal written exercise conducted by the Joint Intelligence Committee on an annual basis, though it is possible (but very difficult) to insert new tasks in-year.

I have personally taken part – often – in Cabinet Office meetings of JIC sub-committees determining tasking, though in my case more for MI6 than MI5. It is a system I know very well. None of the “journalists” abusing me above has ever sat on a JIC committee. None of them actually know anything about it. None has contacted me to ask me why I have stated there is an MI5 anti-SNP operation. It is so much easier to collect your pay packet, quaff another Merlot and drunkenly catcall “zoooomer!”

 

 

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2015: Julian Assange says SNP right to be concerned about MI5 spying

Speaking via video link from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, he said that Scottish nationalists were not paranoid to be concerned that they were under surveillance. He told the Commonwealth Law Conference in Glasgow, “They are correct for a number of reasons.The attitude of the UK government is that this is a national security issue, that Scottish independence is, in effect, a threat to the state. This means that the full capacities of the GCHQ, for example, will be deployed. There is also the conduct of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office communicating secretly and extensively across the world lobbying other States to get involved influencing the Referendum result against the nationalists.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/julian-assange-says-snp-right-be-concerned-about-mi5-spying-1496574?webSyncID=2abcddc7-90d7-29c2-405c-074c772d5731&sessionGUID=25b97e31-2bd9-144d-d116-3635c84ea357

 

 

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A Delusional Ruth Davidson Reflects On Her Career as a BBC Reporter and Intrepid Signaller In the Bosnia War

 

 

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Look at me Ma: “Top of the World”

 

 

 

 

14 June 2016: An interview with Ruth (the Dragonslayer)) Davidson

Her advice to aspiring journalists: Keep your personal politics out of your reporting, explaining; “When I contacted the Conservative party and said that I wanted to join and be a candidate etc, their head of press (who I’d dealt with many times) had no idea I was a Conservative – and neither had the party’s leader who I’d interviewed often. “The job, particularly in broadcast, is to tell people what’s going on; it is not to be an active agent of change and try and shape what’s going on – it is to be an honest narrator.”  She went on: “I have known that folk can smell spin a mile off. They aren’t stupid. They know if you are not answering a question or if you don’t really mean what you say. So my best advice is to just try not to say anything you don’t mean and you’ll never be caught out.”

Danielle Gibson: https://danigibsonblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/an-interview-with-ruth-davidson/

 

 

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“Yup that’s some Johnson”

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2013 – Mitchell Library, Glasgow Scottish Independence Referendum Meeting – Use of the Royal “WE” by Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative Leader said she was talking personally and reflected on her three years as a Territorial Army reserve. ‘I was so proud we stopped the slaughter in Kosovo. Our armed forces are truly inseparable as is our NHS.’ She highlighted the job opportunities for young people and the value of exports to ‘our partners across the way.’ Control of health, Police and Parliament gave the ‘best of both worlds.’ She added: ‘Security with our armed forces and our NHS means we get the best of both worlds and stand up better together.’

 

 

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OK Boris, “step together on we go, heel for heel and toe for toe”

 

 

 

 

June 2016: Wembley London – BBC Televised Discussion – European Referendum

Boris Johnson criticised the European troops’ failure to stop the massacres during the Balkans wars which left 140,000 people dead and many more displaced. The Brexit-backing former London mayor said the killing was only halted and peace brokered after an American-led Nato force “asserted its primacy”.

His comments were quickly rounded upon by fellow Conservative Party politician and Remain campaigner Ms Davidson, who served as a signaller in the Territorial Army and spent time in Kosovo as a reporter.

She said: “I think Boris maybe misjudged this panel by talking about the Balkans because what he probably doesn’t know is that I was sent to the Balkans at the end of the Kosovo war as a reporter and I have never been more proud of being British in my life than watching British troops with a union jack on their arms, believing in something, pulling their weight, and helping in the European Union. “That’s what caused me to join up and serve.

I think I am the only one on this panel that has ever worn the Queen’s uniform.” She said that while she had deep respect for military figures like Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, who backs Brexit, that as a retired general he was not presently in charge of the safety and security of the nation. “And all of those people who are currently charged, every single one of them and every single one of our major allies, says we are safer within the European Union.”

 

 

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“Mine all mine”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Davidson – Over-stretching Incredulity Here are the Real facts – Compare against the foregoing

Davidson went to Kosovo in 2001 as a civilian reporter with a local newspaper, reporting on the work of The Black Watch who were in the country assisting with rebuilding work post conflict a full two years after the war there.

Yet press releases, uncorrected by Davidson routinely quote her saying “I was sent to the Balkans at the end of the Kosovo war as a reporter and I have never been more proud of being British in my life.” She is clearly “stretching the truth beyond breaking” saying she was there at “the end of the war”.

She also describes Kosovo in 2001 as a “war zone” and a recent BBC piece enhanced her CV with an illusion stating that she had, “served” in Kosovo as a reservist which is incorrect.

She signed up and attended training, in the UK as a territorial soldier from 2003-2006. when she was discharged from service on medical grounds. Apparently she was in training at Sandhurst and jumped out an open window causing injury to her back.

Another angle quotes her as saying it was the Bosnia conflict and the performance of British forces there that had inspired her to join up. But the war had been over for four years!!!!

 

 

 

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“I play the tune you dance the jig” Ruth Davidson’s message to Scots

 

 

 

 

Can Potty Mouthed Ruth Davidson Really be a Sunday School Teacher? or Leader of the Straight laced Tory Party?

 

 

 

 

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Ruth Davidson’s rose covered route from her humble home in Fife to the Holyrood Parliament a place she had no desire to be. Her destiny is as yet unfulfilled but she intends to get to Westminster, by any means.

 

 

 

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Potty mouth

 

 

 

 

 

February 2010: Ruth Davidson, an ex BBC journalist who finished well down the field at the 2009 by-election in Glasgow North East was shortlisted for the Ultra-Safe Bromsgrove Worcestershire, England seat. But lost out to: Sajid Javid – Businessman and entrepreneur with family connections to the West Midlands.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/goldlist/2010/01/the-six-names-in-the-frame-for-bromsgrove-the-first-to-be-chosen-under-the-byelection-rules.html

 

 

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May 2010: Davidson returned to Scotland still determined to win a seat at Westminster and subsequently stood once more for the Glasgow North East seat, but could only finish 4th. Facing the prospect of an extended period of unemployment having to potentially wait another 5 years until the next GE she contracted to work as an office manager for the Scottish Tory Party leader Annabel Goldie. Not for Davidson the Scottish Parliament which she held in some contempt believing it to be a very poor imitation of Westminster which she had set her heart on gaining admission to.

 

 

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June 2010 – March 2011: David Cameron, David Mundell and Andrew Fulton, ( supposedly retired senior MI5 officer) and recently appointed Party chairman in Scotland, selected Davidson for the role of party leader in Scotland. In the course of a secret meeting she reluctantly accepted the role which for her was a less attractive option. Over a period of months in 2010-2011 the Party in Scotland was brutally culled removing any obstacle to the coronation of the anointed Ruth. There were many bruising battles but eventually not long before the 2011 Scottish elections.

 

 

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25 March 2011: The Scottish Tory party was plunged into pre–election turmoil last night when key donors were reported to have withdrawn their support from the party after the unwarranted sacking of Malcolm Macaskill

Senior party sources claimed last night that wealthy donors – believed to include Tom Coakley, a former footballer turned millionaire property developer and John McGlynn, an airport car park magnate – had told officials they would no longer contribute to party funds after Malcolm Macaskill, a Glasgow businessman and justice of the peace, was removed from the top slot on the Tories’ Glasgow list by Andrew Fulton, the party chairman.

Mr Macaskill, who was virtually guaranteed a seat in the Holyrood elections on May 5, was kicked out by Mr Fulton, a former MI5 official. who made no mention of the reason for the dismissal, merely saying Mr Macaskill had been dropped “following discussions between the candidate and the party’s candidates’ board”. He then offered his thanks to Mr Macaskill for his service and announced that Ruth Davidson, a close aide of Annabelle Goldie and a former BBC producer, would be placed at number one on the list.

There was undisguised anger from Mr Macaskill’s supporters at his treatment last night. One senior party figure said “This is outrageous. Malcolm has served the Conservatives loyally for over 30 years and is treated like this.” Mr Macaskill was responsible for recruiting several wealthy donors, including Mr Coakley, a former professional footballer with Dundee FC who subsequently made his fortune buying and selling property in London’s Mayfair. Estimated to be worth £70 million, Mr Coakley announced two months ago that he would donate £100,000 per year for the next 10 years to Scottish Tory coffers.

However, a senior Tory with close links to the situation said last night: “Mr Coakley is furious and he has told the Tories that he will no longer be making any donations.” The same source said Mr McGlynn, whose companies own airport car parks all over Europe, and who also donates funds to the party, may also withhold future donations. Last night, Mr McGlynn said “This is outrageous. to penalise someone in this way is completely wrong.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8406040/Scottish-Tories-in-turmoil-after-top-candidate-sacked.html

 

 

 

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6 November 2011: Scotland’s youngest ever Queens Counsel Paul McBride speaks out – Tory MSPs are “dysfunctional” and “moronic”

In a stinging rebuke to the Conservatives, high profile supporter Paul McBride QC quit the party today. Mr McBride branded Holyrood’s Tory MSPs as “the most moronic, dysfunctional, introspective bunch of MSPs I’ve ever seen. They have no interest in the people of Scotland. Their only interest is their careers. I’m joining the 87 per cent of the population who don’t agree with a word they say.”

It was also clear that he lacks confidence in Ms Davidson’s ability to turn around the party’s fortunes. He said: “All they have done is replace one very nice woman, under whom the party declined, with another woman, who probably isn’t as nice, is going to get less votes and is supported by only two out of her 15 MSP colleagues.”

http://www.newsnet.scot/nns-archive/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3606:paul-mcbride-tory-msps-are-qdysfunctionalq-and-qmoronicq&catid=1:scottish-politics&Itemid=9

 

 

 

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24 January 2012: An Interview with Ruth Davidson

Young, not posh and not especially wealthy, Ruth Davidson is a new breed of Tory. But does she have the steel to do battle with Salmond over independence and stay true to herself?

She is a petite, gamine woman with short, dark hair whose manner is what might be called focus-group-affable, all practised smiles and little self-deprecating jokes, until she is asked a question she does not like, for example – as we shall see – about being gay, at which point out comes a basilisk glare. Michael Forsyth, meaning it as a great compliment, once said Davidson had the balls of Margaret Thatcher, and there are times during this interview when one can see what he means.

Davidson lives in the most affluent part of the West End of Glasgow. The flat, forms part of what at one time would have been a very grand house indeed. It is still pretty grand, all original wood panelling and cornicing, but decorated with some unorthodox touches. You wonder what the rich merchant or Victorian industrialist who once lived here might have made of the Banksy and Jasper John prints on the walls, or of the pool table (albeit covered with good Tory blue baize) in the front room. The place, indeed, could be read as a decent working metaphor for what Davidson’s leadership brings to the Scottish Conservatives: a veneer of modernity and a layer of liberalism laid over an oak-solid base of old-fashioned values.

Davidson, agrees that churches should not be compelled to carry out same-sex ceremonies. But for herself – a gay woman of faith – wouldn’t she like to get married in the place she worships? It’s not such a simple question,” she says. “I support same-sex marriage. I want to see the bill that is brought before parliament because it will have to be very thoughtfully written in order to make sure there aren’t huge parts of Scottish civic society that are alienated.”

How, I ask, did you reconcile your sexuality with your faith? Was that a difficult thing to do? Suddenly, I get the basilisk glare. “I’m hoping this entire interview isn’t going to be about my sexuality.” she said. I’ve only asked you three questions about it out of a number so far, I tell her, and I’m trying to relate it to matters in the public sphere. These are issues that are swirling around Scotland, and so I think it is valid to ask. She relied, “sure. As long as you understand I don’t read an awful lot about other political leaders’ religious faith in magazine articles. I wonder if they get asked the same questions. Or about their sexuality.”

But Davidson is the first openly gay leader of a mainstream political party in the UK. That in itself is noteworthy. Moreover, she leads a party which, rightly or wrongly, has often been perceived as homophobic. “I’m not sure whether that is the public perception,” she says. “We have more gay MPs at Westminster than Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined. The party has just elected me as their leader in Scotland. I think you are asserting that people think the Tories are homophobic. I’m not entirely sure that’s true.” OK. But will she answer my question about reconciling her faith and sexuality? She sighs heavily. “There are questions that you ask yourself. I think that I can reconcile and have reconciled my sexuality with my faith.”

And what were the questions you asked yourself? “Let’s move on.” she retorted.

We do. I ask about Paul McBride, the QC who quit the Conservatives shortly after Davidson succeeded Annabel Goldie to the leadership, saying, “All they have done is replace one very nice woman, under whom the party declined, with another woman, who probably isn’t as nice, is going to get less votes and is supported by only two out of her 15 MSP colleagues.”

And McBride is not the only high-profile supporter to have jumped ship. Only the day before, it emerged that Sir Jack Harvie, who had raised around £16 million for the Scottish Conservatives, has decided to stand down. Both losses are damaging, but McBride’s comments felt personal. How hurtful did Davidson find them? “Paul is a man of strong opinions and he’s entitled to those opinions,” is all she will say on the matter, which is about as far from answering the question as you can get.

That’s the really disappointing thing about Davidson. She gives the impression of being a breath of fresh air, but there’s something decidedly stale and politics-as-usual about such evasiveness. She may have Lady Gaga on her iPod and a Wii Fit beneath the telly, but she will need to demonstrate real substance, charisma and radical change if she is ever to tempt the Scottish voters to end their love affair with the SNP or to prevent them from returning to the arms of Labour.

And for all that she has given herself a decade to revive the Tories, she will have to work quicker than that if she is to win the argument over Scottish independence. No doubt it means a lot to her – “I feel 100 per cent Scottish but I feel British too, and I don’t like the idea that Alex Salmond gets to take that away from me” – but does she really, truly have what it takes to stop him?

“It feels like I’m doing the job I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. That may be so, and a sense of personal destiny – though she would disavow that phrase – will serve her well during the months and years ahead. But, having met Ruth Davidson, or at least the part she is willing to show, I am not convinced she is the leader destined to help the Tories get over their blues. Perhaps no one is.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/interview-ruth-davidson-politician-1-2071896

 

 

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10 August 2012: Ruth Davidson Castigates lazy Scottish Electorate for living off handouts from Westminster

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party claimed that nearly 90 percent of Scots households are currently “living off state’s patronage,” reports.

At a Tory conference on Monday, Davidson cited that only about 283,080 households in Scotland – 12 percent of the total number – pay more in taxes than what they receive in public services from the state. In addition, due to the dominance of the public sector in Scottish life, she said that state spending now represents at least one-half of Scotland’s wealth.

“It is staggering that public sector expenditure makes up a full 50 percent of Scotland’s GDP and only 12 percent of households are net contributors, where the taxes they pay outweigh the benefits they receive through public spending,” she thundered.

“The rotten system of patronage, which denies so many people real choices in their lives, has created a corrosive sense of entitlement which suits its political gang masters.”

Referring to the exalted 12 percent who are “responsible for generating Scotland’s wealth,” she rhetorically asked: “I wonder how many of them work on public sector contracts.”

Citing data from the Office for National Statistics, Davidson said that the average Scottish household uses £14,151 more in public services every year than it pays out in taxes. Even middle-income Scots, she noted, consume £20,000 more in state spending than they pay out.

Only Scotland’s wealthy, that is, those who account for the top 10 percent of earners, pay £17,205 more in tax than they receive in public services.

She also alleged that over-dependence on the public trough has created a generation of Scots who are hopelessly loyal to the Labour and Scottish National Party, at the expense of the Tories.

“If the gang master state is the only provider people can see for their housing, education and employment, it’s no surprise those who seek to break the stranglehold find barriers in their way,” she declared.

However, the Telegraph reported that on the whole Scotland paid 9.6 percent of the United Kingdom’s total tax bill, while accounting for only 9.3 percent of British public spending.

http://www.ibtimes.com/scotlands-mitt-romney-moment-tory-chief-claims-90-scots-dependent-state-welfare-842993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
April 30, 2016: The Tory Party cannot find a candidate to face up to disabled voters paying the price for benefit cuts.

Shameless Ruth Davidson claimed she was too busy to defend brutal Tory cuts to disabled Scots. The Conservatives were the only party to dodge an election hustings organised by the Glasgow Disability Alliance in the city yesterday. More than 300 people had turned up desperate to be given some kind of explanation for changes to benefits that have left them struggling to survive. Booing rang out across the room after a message was read out claiming Tory candidate Thomas Haddow had pulled out and that none of his colleagues were available as a replacement.

But party leader Davidson did have time to have fun on a trip to Loch Katrine in the Trossachs, where she posed for pictures on a steamship. Make no mistake, Davidson’s endless fooling around at photo-ops and ‘jolly head girl’ mugging for the camera are only there to disguise the brutal reality. Remove the clown’s make-up and you’ll find the cynical face of a politician who stands for the same unjust and downright cruel policies as her English counterparts.

So there we have it; Tory leader Davidson stands accused of acting the clown for the cameras – disguising the axe-woman hovering behind. Opponents say she is desperate to keep the focus on her jolly public persona to avoid the brutal policies of her Party being scrutinised. And while she plays the fool on the back of a buffalo or on a steamship, ordinary Scots are left counting the cost of Tory rule. Neutral financial analysts say the Scottish government has been left with a £2 billion financial deficit black hole caused by Westminster cuts under Cameron and Osborne. One eminent think tank are of the view that benefits cuts will cost Scottish claimants in excess of £600 million each year by 2020.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/spineless-ruth-davidson-refuses-defend-7865388

 

 

 

The Eye of the Beholder – Can you believe the BBC and the Newspapers – I think not!!

 

boy1boy2

 

 

 

 

 

The eye of the beholder

A few weeks back the Western press gave extensive coverage of the slaughter of innocents in the middle East conflicts. Pictures 1 and 2 were published depicting a young boy apparently slaughtered by forces in opposition to the West.

But a few days later the true facts of the situation surfaced on the internet in the form of picture 3. Another example providing support to the increasing views of a less gullible Western public that the US and UK administrations are selling the electorate a sick puppy.

 

 

boy3

 

 

 

 

BBC Forced to Publicly Admit Orchestrating UK – USA and French Governments Fake News Campaigns Against Syria – And They Acted in Association With the Oscar Winning !!! White Helmets

 

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BBC Forced To Admit Syrian Chemical Attacks Were Staged For Western Media TV Coverage

BBC Syria producer, Riam Dalati stated that video coverage of people treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma had been fabricated.

An independent journalist commented: “this is a damage limitation operation. Two Guardian newspaper journalist’s, James Harkin and Simon Tisdall both wrote that the incidents had been staged and the OPCW report that followed an investigation stated that organic phosphates, including sarin alleged in the widely screened Western media, BBC report, had not been used.

But the BBC has claimed its much delayed investigations are still on-going and there remains some doubt it will formally confirm producer Dalati’s previous statements.

It is also noteworthy that the Daily Telegraph website, on its timeline of alleged chemical weapon attacks inside Syria, still insists that sarin was used in Douma.

The Western media and BBC, anti-Syria campaigns provided an excuse for unlawful Cruise Missile and other air-attacks on so-called “chemical manufacturing bases” and Syrian civilians.

Yet again the USA, UK and France, under the umbrella of NATO, repeatedly violated international law in attacking a sovereign nation for no justifiable reason.

Also dammed are the British created, “Oscar” winning, trained, financed and supported “White Helmets” who, time and time again staged spurious “fake news”, chemical attack reports serving the UK, USA and French military in their intent to bring about regime change inside Syria.

Questions need also to be asked about the British government intent in involving “Amnesty International” and “Human Rights Watch”, providing the organisations with copious reports, all falsely criminalizing the Syrian government using tainted information supplied by the “White Helmets”.

 

Riam Dalati

 

Riam Dalati  BBC Syria Producer |

Truth is @James__Harkin got the basics right in terms of #Douma‘s “propaganda” value.
The ATTACK DID HAPPEN, Sarin wasn’t used, but we’ll have to wait for @OPCW to prove Chlorine or otherwise.
However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect. https://t.co/abRvSIMV1L

— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) 13 февраля 2019 г.

 

More information here:

‘They may be jihadists but they’re our jihadists’: White Helmets’ UK resettlement policy attacked

The UK has provided asylum to members of the western-backed White Helmets group, that operated in Jihadists-held areas in Syria.

The move has prompted dire warnings about who exactly Britain might be admitting.

Critics of the move have raised doubts around the White Helmets’ legitimacy as a human rights organisation, accusing them of containing within their ranks jihadists who are now set to be welcomed to Britain.

There are those such as UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who has heaped praise on the organization – which is funded heavily by the UK government – claiming Saturday night’s evacuation carried out by Israel was “fantastic news” as the White Helmets were the “bravest of the brave.”

The White Helmets were, on many occasions the first to provide footage from the sites of alleged chemical attacks and the purported aftermath in Syria, including the Khan Shaykhun and Douma incidents.

The self-styled volunteer first-responders operated in militant-held areas of Syria, and its members were repeatedly photographed and filmed fraternizing with jihadists, including those linked to Al-Qaeda.

Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague in April that the White Helmets video that was used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged.. (RT/UK)

 

 

Image result for ayman asfariAyman Asfari

 

 

Inside the Shadowy PR Firm That’s Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria – Posing as a non-political solidarity organization, the “Syria Campaign” leverages local partners and media contacts to push the U.S. into toppling another Middle Eastern government.

The shadowy “Syria Campaign” which is behind the regime change war being waged against President Assad and his government was initially founded and is sustained by Ayman Asfari, the CEO of the British oil and gas supply company Petrofac Limited.

Asfari is worth $1.2 billion and owns about 20% of the shares of his company, which employs near to 20,000 staff and has a turnover of around $7.5 billion annually. Through his Asfari Foundation, he has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to “The Syria Campaign” and secured a seat for his wife, Sawsan, on its board of directors.

Other very rich Syrian exiles routinely add their own significant financial contributions to the campaign. In the current year significant contributions have been received from The Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Annual income to the fund varies between 1.5 -3.0 billion

He is also a top financial and political supporter of the Syrian National Coalition, the largest government-in-exile group set up after the Syrian revolt began. A group determined to remove Assad, replacing him with one of its own. In London, his place of residence, Asfari has been a major donor to former British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party.

In May 2016, Cameron keynoted a fundraiser for the “Hands Up for Syria Appeal”, a charity heavily supported by Asfari that sponsors education for Syrian children living in refugee camps. Cameron was an unusual choice for the event given his staunch resistance to accepting unaccompanied Syrian children who have fled to Europe. However, Asfari supports Cameron’s exclusionary policy.

Asfari enjoys close relations with the Obama administration and has visited the White House many times since the start of the “Syria Campaign” until recently meeting with Philip Gordon, Obama’s Middle East policy adviser.  Gordon was, at the outset, a keen supporter of Asfari and the “Syria Campaign” but after leaving the admistration he urged Obama to give up on the mission to overthrow President Assad.  In September 2015 in a lengthy article for “Politico” he wrote, “There is now virtually no chance that an opposition military ‘victory’ will lead to stable or peaceful governance in Syria in the foreseeable future and near certainty that pursuing one will only lead to many more years of vicious civil war.” Asfari was livid and attacked Gordon accusing him of being fanciful and unrealistic.

 

 

20 Photos Describe The "war"

Allepo before and after

 

September 2016: The bombing of Allepo

Demonstrators gathered in city squares across the West for a “weekend of action” to “stop the bombs” raining down from Syrian government and Russian warplanes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Thousands joined the protests, holding signs that read “Topple Assad” and declaring, “Enough With Assad.”  Few participants knew that the actions were organized under the auspices of an opposition-funded public relations company called the “Syria Campaign.”

By partnering with local groups like the Syrian civil defence workers popularly known as the “White Helmets”, and through a vast network of connections in media and centres of political influence, the “Syria Campaign” has played a crucial role in disseminating images and stories of the horrors visited this month on eastern Aleppo. The group operates freely within the Obama administration in Washington and has the power to mobilize thousands of demonstrators into the streets.

The “Syria Campaign” presents itself as an impartial, non-political voice for ordinary Syrian citizens that is dedicated to civilian protection. The “Syria Campaign” strategy director James Sadri said “We see ourselves as a solidarity organization. We’re not being paid by anybody to pursue a particular line. We feel like we’ve done a really good job about finding out who the front-line activists, doctors, humanitarians are and trying to get their word out to the international community.”

But behind the lofty rhetoric about solidarity and the images of heroic rescuers rushing in to save lives is an agenda that aligns closely with the forces from Riyadh to Washington clamouring for regime change.

Indeed, the “Syria Campaign” has been pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria that would require at least “70,000 American servicemen” to enforce, according to a Pentagon assessment, along with the destruction of government infrastructure and military installations. There is no record of a no-fly zone being imposed without regime change following —which is exactly what the “Syria Campaign” and its partners want.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a recent hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee said “For us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”

While the military brass in Washington is reluctant to apply the full force of its air-power to enforce a no fly zone (N.F.Z.), the “Syria Campaign” is capitalizing on the outrage inspired by the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo to intensify the drumbeat for greater U.S. military involvement.

The “Syria Campaign” has been careful to cloak interventionism in the liberal-friendly language of human rights, casting Western military action as “the best way to support Syrian refugees,” and packaging a no-fly zone — along with so-called safe zones and no bombing zones, which would also require Western military enforcement — as a “way to protect civilians and defeat ISIS.”

 

 

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The White Helmets

Among the campaign’s most prominent vehicles for promoting military intervention is a self-proclaimed “unarmed and impartial” civil defence group known as the “White Helmets.”

Footage of the “White Helmets” saving civilians trapped in the rubble of buildings bombed by the Syrian government and its Russian ally has become ubiquitous in coverage of the crisis. Having claimed to have saved tens of thousands of lives, the group has become a leading resource for journalists and human rights groups seeking information inside the war theatre, from casualty figures to details on the kind of bombs that are falling.

But like the “Syria Campaign”, the “White Helmets” are anything but impartial. Indeed, the group was founded in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Office of Transitional Initiatives, an explicitly political wing of the agency that has funded efforts at political subversion in Cuba and Venezuela.

USAID is the “White Helmets” principal funder, committing at least $23 million to the group since 2013. This money was part of $340 million budgeted by USAID for “supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria” — or establishing a parallel governing structure that could fill the power vacuum once Bashar Al-Assad was removed.

Thanks to an aggressive public relations push by the “Syria Campaign”, the “White Helmets” have been nominated for the Nobel Prize, and have already been awarded the “alternative Nobel” known as the “Right Livelihood Award.” At the same time, the “White Helmets” are pushing for a NFZ in public appearances and on a website created by the “Syria Campaign.”

The “Syria Campaign” has garnered endorsements for the “White Helmets” from a host of Hollywood celebrities and with fundraising and “outreach” performed by the “Syria Campaign”, the “White Helmets” have become the stars of a slickly produced Netflix documentary vehicle that has received hype from media outlets across the West.

 

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Targeting the UN and aid convoys

September 2016: An aid convoy organized by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs came under attack on its way to the rebel-held countryside of West Aleppo.

The “White Helmets” pinned blame squarely on the Syrian and Russian governments. Indeed, a “White Helmets” member was among the first to appear on camera at the scene of the attack, declaring in English that “the regime helicopters targeted this place with four barrel [bombs].”

The “White Helmets” also produced one of the major pieces of evidence Western journalists have relied on to implicate Russia and the Syrian government in the attack: a photograph supposedly depicting the tail fragment of a Russian-made fragmentation bomb. (This account remains unconfirmed by both the UN and SARC, and no evidence of barrel bombs has been produced).

Ironically, the “White Helmets” have also figured prominently in the “Syria Campaign’s” push to undermine the UN’s humanitarian work inside Syria. For months, the “Syria Campaign” has painted the UN as a stooge of Bashar Al-Assad for coordinating its aid deliveries with the Syrian government, as it has done with governments in conflict zones around the world.

A Westerner who operates as a politically neutral humanitarian NGO in Damascus offered me a withering assessment of the “Syria Campaign’s” attacks on the UN. The source accused the “Syria Campaign” of “dividing and polarizing the community” along political lines.

Significantly, a few days before the aid convoy attack prompted the UN to suspend much of its work inside Syria, the “Syria Campaign” spurred 73 aid organizations operating in rebel-held territory, including the “White Helmets,” to suspend their cooperation with the UN aid program.

The Western press widely reported that, “The decision to withdraw from the Whole of Syria programme, in which organisations share information to help the delivery of aid, means in practice the UN will lose sight of what is happening throughout the north of Syria and in opposition-held areas of the country, where the NGOs do most of their work.”

Despite the “Syria Campaign’s” influence on the international media stage, details on the outfit’s inner workings are difficult to come by. the “Syria Campaign” is registered in England as a private company called the “Voices Project” at an address shared by 91 other companies. Aside from Asfari, most of the Syria Campaign’s donors are anonymous.

Looming over this opaque operation are questions about the “Syrian Campaign’s” connections to “Avaaz”, a global public relations outfit that played an instrumental role in generating support for a no-fly zone in Libya, and the “Syria Campaign’s” founding by “Purpose,” another PR firm spun out of “Avaaz.”

But, a careful examination of the origins and operation of the “Syria Campaign” raises doubts about the organisation’s and its supporter’s self created image as an authentic voice for Syrian civilians, and should invite serious questions about the agenda of its partner organizations as well.

 

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Avaaz – Purpose – Syrian Voices – Syrian Campaign – The Voices Project –  All interlinked smokescreen organisations

Best known for its work on liberal social issues, the New York – and London-based public relations firm “Purpose” promises to deliver creatively executed campaigns that produce either a “behaviour change,” “perception change,” “policy change” or “infrastructure change.”

As the Syrian conflict entered its third year, this company was ready to effect a regime change. In February 2014, “Purpose,” placed job adverts seeking “two interns to join the team at “Purpose” to help launch a new movement for Syria.” and third intern for the PR firm’s new “Syrian Voices” project. “together with Syrians in the diaspora and NGO partners,”

The sales pitch said, “Purpose” is building a movement that will amplify the voices of moderate, non-violent Syrians and mobilize people in the Middle East and around the world to call for specific changes in the political and humanitarian situation in the region.” The post-holder would be based in London reporting “to a Strategist based primarily in London, working closely with “Purpose” teams in both London and New York.

“Purpose” founder Jeremy Heimans drafted articles of association for the “Syria Campaign’s” parent company “The Voices Project”, and registered the company at 3 Bull Lane, St. Ives Cambridgeshire, England. It was one of 91 private limited companies listed at the address. An explanation has not yet been forthcoming explaining why the “Syria Campaign” had chosen the location or why it was registered as a private company.

“Purpose” Europe director Tim Dixon was appointed to the “Syria Campaign’s” board of directors. So was John Jackson, a “Purpose” strategist who previously co-directed the Burma Campaign U.K. that lobbied the EU for sanctions against that country’s ruling regime. Anna Nolan became the “Syria Campaign’s” project director, even as she remained listed as the strategy director at “Purpose.”

In summary; the job adverts for its “Syrian Voices” project boasted that “Purpose” grew out of some of the most impactful new models for social change” including “the now 30 million strong action network “avaaz.org.”

The “Syria Campaign’s” founder, “Purpose” co-founder Jeremy Heimans, was also one of the original founders of “Avaaz”. In an interview with Forbes magazine he said, “I co-founded Avaaz and “Get Up”, [the Australian activist group] which inspired the creation of “Purpose.”

 

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Enforcement of a No Fly Zone – Exposed – The “Syria Campaign’s” ties to “Avaaz”

In 2011, “Avaaz” introduced a public campaign for a no-fly zone in Libya and delivered a petition with 1,202,940 signatures to the UN supporting Western intervention.

John Hilary, executive director of “War On Want,” the U.K.’s leading anti-poverty and anti-war charity, warned at the time, “Little do most of these generally well-meaning activists know, they are strengthening the hands of those western governments desperate to reassert their interests in north Africa… Clearly a no-fly zone makes foreign intervention sound rather humanitarian—putting the emphasis on stopping bombing, even though it could well lead to an escalation of violence.”

John Hilary’s dire warning was fulfilled after the NATO-enforced no-fly zone prompted the ousting of former President Moamar Qaddafi. Months later, Qaddafi was sexually assaulted and beaten to death in the road by a mob of fanatics. The Islamic State and an assortment of militias filled the void left in the Jamahiriya government’s wake. The political catastrophe should have been serious enough to call future interventions of this nature into question. Yet Libya’s legacy failed to deter “Avaaz” from introducing a new campaign for another no-fly zone; this time in Syria.

“To some a no-fly zone could conjure up images of George W. Bush’s foreign policy and illegal Western interventions. This is a different thing,” “Avaaz” insisted in a communique defending its support for a new no-fly zone in Syria. The “Syria Campaign’s” support for a no-fly zone was being proposed as the product of a “deep listening process” involving the polling of Syrian civilians in rebel-held territories and refugees outside the country. “Avaaz”. was a “solidarity organization,” not a public relations firm, and if and when a no-fly zone would be imposed over Syrian skies, it would be different than those seen in past conflicts.

http://www.alternet.org/world/inside-shadowy-pr-firm-thats-driving-western-opinion-towards-regime-change-syria

 

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Scotland Will Rise and Be a Nation again – There will be a Full Sturgeon Moon in August 2018 – If the Portents are favourable Nicola Sturgeon may well elect to ask Scotland to decide once more. This time we need to get it right.

 

 

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The Next Scottish Independence referendum.

There are some who think that another referendum is inevitable and will be sparked by the negative outcomes of Brexit negotiations within the next 2 years. If this is to be the case then activists within the pro-independence movement would be wise to start an independence dialogue now. The fight for independence should be directed through the SNP government and wider party but those with views and opinions will need to be heard so that all aspects of the campaign are to be covered. l have compiled a small list for starters encompassing matters that the “yes” campaign were remiss on last time. I am sure others will be able to expand on it

 

 

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1. “Yes” campaign must not rely over much on emotion. Facts win arguments. The “Scottish” card should only be played at time when it can assist the campaign achieving a target.

2. Currency adoption, financial and stock market control systems should be clarified and accepted by the electorate in a sustained campaign set in motion well before a referendum.

3. Insurance, savings, pensions, (addressing the faster ageing population of Scotland) individual and corporate taxation and associated regulatory and consumer protection should be well presented and achievable.

4. A document should be produced by the Scottish government and circulated in the last weeks of the campaign, to every registered voter setting out in a “Q & A” format pertaining to policies such as: media (including newsprint) mail, telephone, the NHS, crime: (organised and ad-hoc), security: encompassing terrorism, defence, foreign policy, (NATO, EU,etc.) and/or any other threats to society.

5. Any negative impact on the imbalance of trade in goods and services, (with England, Wales & N Ireland) and its effect on employment should be researched and remedial measures explained.

6. Whilst the campaign is political and MP’s, MSP’s and pro-independence activists need to be assured and confident in their roles attention needs to be given to the appointment of a highly effective media team well able to counter any attacks (including negative campaign tricks) from the “no” camp.

7. The “yes” campaign will need to gather a substantial “fighting fund” and early attention should be given to this.

8. Focus in the early stages of the campaign should ensure the electorate are reminded of the many unfulfilled pledges of the, “three amigos” and their pipsqueak supporters.

 

 

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