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The BBC Is the Most Effective Tool In the Secret Services Formidable Armoury and It Will Be A Cold Day In Hell Before They Give It Up

 

 

 

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BBC political presenter Sarah and her friend Ruth

 

 

August 2018: BBC Scotland – counter subversion vetting of staff

Unionist politicians of the Labour Tory and Lib/Dem party’s cast scorn on anyone raising the spectre of state control of the BBC in Scotland but finally the evidence is in the public domain.

It is a tale of secret agents and surveillance that could have come straight out the BBC Scotland’s classic spy drama “Whisky Galore”.

But the difference is that genuine spies are involved and they are operating behind the scenes at BBC Scotland.

Confidential papers, obtained and released by the whistle-blower “Jock Tamson” reveal that BBC Scotland permitted MI5 to investigate the backgrounds and political affiliations of around 400 of its employees, including newsreaders, reporters, continuity announcers, television producers, directors, sound engineers, secretaries and researchers.

The files shed light on the BBC Scotland’s hitherto secret links with the Security Service and show that it is responsible for vetting 450 different BBC Scotland posts.

They also confirm that the corporation in Scotland holds a list of “subversive organizations” and that evidence of certain kinds of political activity are a bar to appointment or promotion.

BBC Scotland’s reliance on MI5 reached a peak between 2010 and 2018 when the “Outlander” series, was denied to the Scottish viewing public at the time of the 2014 “Independence Referendum” by arrangement with the Tory government and the Sony corporation.

The papers show that senior BBC Scotland figures covered up these links in the face of awkward questions from trade unions and the press.

The documents refer to a “defensive strategy” based on “categorical denial”.

One file note, dated 1 March 2013, states: “Keep head down and stonewall all questions.”

BBC Scotland, has always refused to be drawn on the extent of its collaboration with the secret services.

It is only now, after the information was gathered and distributed by “Jock Tamson” that it has finally been forced to release details of the vetting operation.

Another internal BBC Scotland document, dated 2011, confirmed: “We supply personal details to the Security Service.

If there is any adverse information known, we receive this information also, where necessary, an assessment based upon the involvement of the individual.

This is presented to us as advice; line management then make the decision as to action.”

The documents do not name any of the individuals subjected to vetting, but it is accepted that many of BBC Scotland’s best known news presenters and other high profile figures are included.

Many employees, including senior officials, and their support staff have been checked because of their access to confidential government information in relation to their jobs as have those involved in live broadcasts since BBC Scotland is worried about the possibility of on-air favoritism of the SNP or other bias damaging to the Westminster state.

The details of freelance television and radio staff are also routinely passed on to the security services and even the posts of editor and deputy editor of Radio Scotland are subject to background checks by MI5.

In many cases, the spouses of applicants are also subject to scrutiny.

Positively vetted (PV) staff are forced to have the “union Jack” tattooed inside their bottom lip for identification purposes.

This policy might be reviewed soon due to the noticeable side effect of a number of news readers and presenters delivering their speil from the side of their mouth. A dead giveaway.

The  BBC in  Scotland declined to-comment.

 

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The foregoing was “fake news” or was it ???? The article reprinted in full below was published in the Telegraph

 

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2 July 2006: Revealed: how the BBC used MI5 to vet thousands of staff

It is a tale of secret agents and surveillance that could have come straight out the BBC’s classic spy drama Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

But the difference is that genuine spies were involved and they were operating behind the scenes at Broadcasting House rather than on the small screen.

Confidential papers, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, revealed that the BBC allowed MI5 to investigate the backgrounds and political affiliations of -thousands of its employees, including newsreaders, reporters and continuity announcers.

The files, which shed light on the BBC’s hitherto secret links with the Security Service, show that at one stage it was responsible for vetting 6,300 different BBC posts – almost a third of the total workforce.

They also confirm that the corporation held a list of “subversive organizations” and that evidence of certain kinds of political activity could be a bar to appointment or promotion.

The BBC’s reliance on MI5 reached a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s at exactly the same time as millions of viewers were tuning into the fictional adventures of George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and -Smiley’s People.

David Dimbleby, John Humphrys and Anna Ford all began their careers with the broadcaster when the system was still in place.

The papers show that senior BBC figures covered up these links in the face of awkward questions from trade unions and the press. The documents refer to a “defensive strategy” based on “categorical denial”. One file note, dated March 1985, states: “Keep head down and stonewall all questions.”

The BBC, however, has always refused to be drawn on the extent of its collaboration with the secret services.

It is only now, after a request by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, that it has finally been willing to release details of the vetting operation.

Another internal BBC document, dated 1983, confirms: “We supply personal details to the Security Service. If there is any adverse information known, we receive this information and also, where necessary, an assessment based upon the involvement of the individual. This is presented to us as advice; line management then make the decision as to action.”

The documents do not name any of the individuals subjected to vetting, but it is possible that some of the BBC’s biggest names were scrutinized.

Different posts were vetted for different reasons. Senior officials, including the director-general, and their support staff were checked because they had access to confidential government information in relation to their jobs.

But thousands of employees were vetted because they were involved in live broadcasts and the BBC was worried about the possibility of on-air bias or disruption.

In 1983, a total of 5,728, BBC jobs were subjected to this second kind of scrutiny known as “counter-subversion vetting”.

The vetting system, supposedly phased out in the late 1980s, also applied to dozens of other employees, including television producers, directors, sound engineers, secretaries and researchers.

The details of freelance television and radio staff were also routinely passed on to the security services and even the posts of editor and deputy editor of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour were subject to background checks by MI5. In many cases, the spouses of applicants were also subjected to scrutiny.

The BBC claim it tried on several occasions to be more open about the system, but the Security Service blocked this.

A memo, dated March 1985, states: “Secrecy of the complete vetting operation is imposed upon us by the Security Service – it is not of our making.”

During the first four months of 1983, security services were asked by the BBC to investigate 619 different individuals.

In the early 1980s, the BBC had a list of “major subversive organizations”, which included the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, Militant Tendency, the National Front and the British National Party.

In contrast, CND, which was very popular at the time, was not regarded as a “subversive organization”. Youthful attachments to extreme causes did not necessarily mean an automatic ban on employment.

The papers show that, in 1968, Sir Hugh Greene, the BBC’s then director-general, and John Arkell, the head of administration, successfully evaded questions on the issue during an interview with a journalist.

A memo from Mr Arkell, dated March 1968, to another senior colleague states: “You might like to get a bit of credit for the BBC next time you talk to MI5 by telling them that I stuck resolutely to the brief which you prepared for me in spite of very pointed and penetrating questions. “I still denied that we had any vetting procedures.” The BBC declined to -comment.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1522875/Revealed-how-the-BBC-used-MI5-to-vet-thousands-of-staff.html

 

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The John Smith Centre is a cover operation supporting the Secret Services in Scotland.

The John Smith Centre is Designed to Undermine the Integrity and Authority of What is Left of the Impartiality of the UK Civil Service Through the Expansion and Influence of Political Special Advisors

 

 

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Purnell the Labour Party plant with his hands firmly on the levers of power at the bbc – Cost the licence payer nearly £800k in year one of his employment.

 

 

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2007: Labour Party – Fake News – James Purnell

Culture Secretary, and local MP, Purnell, turned up late for an event at a Manchester hospital, and missed the official photo opportunity, only to appear in group press photographs of the ceremony.

He denied any knowledge of a decision to fake the photographs showing him in a group shot with fellow MPs.  But correspondence issued later revealed that the hospital had sent official messages in advance advising details of a plan, if he was too be late, to “mock up” the group pictures by “dropping” him into them.

It is a humiliation for Mr Purnell, who, in a speech to the Royal Television Society, said: “In both politics and television you devalue the only currency you have if you forfeit the trust of the public.”

Ardent Blairite Purnell, is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, and first worked for Tony Blair as a student cutting his teeth as a media policy specialist at New Labour’s favourite think-tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research.

He went on to become the BBC’s head of corporate planning and a Downing Street adviser.

Described by one parliamentary source as “a side-burned schmoozer” with a “constant smirk”, he is regarded as the ultimate net-worker and is one of a handful of senior politicians to use the networking website Facebook, where he has 117 “friends” including a host of political journalists. (telegraph)

 

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Other Purnell political career highlights

2008: crisis loans: Purnell proposed charging 26.8% interest on interest free crisis loans to the unemployed and pensioners.

2009: Expenses scandal: Purnell told the parliamentary authorities that his main home was in Manchester and claimed the “second home” allowance for his flat in London. Yet, in October 2004, he sold his London flat but told HM Revenue and Customs it was his “principal home”, not his “second home”. A spokesman said that

“Any allegation that James avoided capital gains tax is completely untrue. When he bought his constituency home, the sale of his London flat fell through, but it was sold within the period that HMRC continue to treat it as not being liable for CGT … This would have been true for any taxpayer – there was no special treatment”.

In 2004, Purnell claimed £395 for an accountant’s bill which included “tax advice provided in October 2004 regarding sale of flat”

Whilst renting a flat between 2004 and 2006, Purnell claimed £100 a month for cleaning expenses and £586 for repairs.

At the end of the lease, the landlord kept a £2,520 deposit, claiming the flat to have been in a poor state. A spokesman for Purnell stated:

“James felt frustrated that the landlord refused to return the deposit. He initially pursued the matter through legal channels but let it rest as the costs of fighting it further would far outweigh recouping the deposit”.

An allegation was made that Purnell claimed more than £1,500 a month rent for the flat although he was responsible for paying half of the £1,820 a month rent and his fiancée was paying the rest. A spokesman for Purnell said:

“Despite being entitled to claim in full for the whole rental cost incurred by him and his partner, James claimed less than the amount he himself spent. The rules of the House of Commons make it clear that an MP is entitled to be reimbursed for the rent or mortgage paid by the MP and their partner. Nevertheless, James went out of his way to ensure overall he claimed less for accommodation than he himself paid”.

Purnell also claimed £247 for 3,000 fridge magnets.

 

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Purnell-life after politics

2010: Purnell announced he would be standing down as an MP, saying:

“I have decided that I no longer wish to be an MP. I have spent all my working life in or about Westminster.”

After leaving parliament, he became the chair of the Labour Party, Institute for Public Policy Research.

 

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2013: The BBC ignored political advice and appointed former lifelong Labour politician, James Purnell as its new head of strategy, on a £295k salary.

The director of strategy post was created by Lord Hall, the new director-general who hand-picked Mr Purnell for the new role wishing to avoid a long and costly recruitment process.

A ministerial aide said of the decision: “It is beyond a joke. It all looks far too cosy.

It gives the impression that there is a swing door policy between Labour and the BBC”. Adding that the appointment had “lit the touch paper” on a range of grievances against the BBC.

 

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2013: £100m of licence payers money was written off against the badly bungled “Digital Media Initiative”.

The BBC’s Chief Technology Officer, John Linwood was sacked. He claimed his dismissal was unfair and the matter was referred to an employment tribunal which upheld Linwood’s complaint citing a email from Purnell which read:

“We need a clear line on Linwood on whether he is resigning or being fired and why”.

The tribunal’s response to this was:

“It was notable that there was no third option in Purnell’s mind, such as a different disciplinary outcome.”

The tribunal found the BBC’s processes to have given an “apparently cavalier disregard for any of the accepted norms of a fair disciplinary process”, and that there was a:

“deeply ingrained cultural expectation within the organization of sacrificial accountability”.

Linwood was awarded £80,000 in damages, and it was later revealed that the BBC had spent £498,000 defending the claim.

Comment: In his first year of employment Purnell cost the licence payers nearly £800k.

The jokes on the compulsory licence fee subscribers.

 

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a-bunch-of-spivs-crooks-and-wide-boys-the-tory-party-basks-in-the-glory-of-its-widespread-abuse-of-the-electorate-part-two

 

 

 

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2013: Christopher Wylie opens a can of worms

Canadian Wylie, claimed to be a central figure in the setting up of the Canadian digital company, AggregateIQ, (AIQ) which played a pivotal role in the official 2016, Vote Leave campaign, led by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.

Wylie explained:

“When I became research director for SCL (the parent company of Cambridge Analytica) we needed to rapidly expand our technical capacity and I reached out to a lot of people I had worked with in the past.

That included Jeff Silvester, my former boss, who lived in my home town, Victoria, in British Columbia.

I told him SCL was mostly involved in psychological warfare work for Nato, including many projects involving a socio-political element. I then suggested he should come and work for SCL, in London. But he had just had a family and didn’t fancy living in the UK”.

Silvester, in return, offered that SCL would benefit from support through a Canadian company.

AIQ was formed soon after, by Wylie, in partnership with his friend and business associate, Zack Massingham.

Silvester later stated that Wylie had never been involved with AIQ on the level he claimed, but admitted that he helped AIQ secure its first big contract saying:  “We did some work with SCL and had a contract with them in 2014 for custom software development”.  We last worked with SCL in 2016 and have not worked with them since.”

Although technically separate between 2013-2016 AIQ operated with no clients other than (SCL), in effect the company functioned as an internal department of SCL.

An intellectual property license linking AIQ and SCL was signed soon after with the intellectual property (IP), being retained by SCL.

AIQ, with 20 staff, operating 2,300 miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, in a cramped office, above an opticians in the provincial Canadian city of Victoria, managed  “Ripon” the SCL technology platform, developing the software, connecting then disseminating the all powerful algorithms to social, online advertising networks and SCL databases.

 

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Brexit and the manipulation of the UK electorate

In 2016, Mercer is reported to have offered Leave.EU, the free use of the facilities of Cambridge Analytica US.

But they were not the official “Leave” group. Another team, Vote Leave, led by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove had been selected to lead the referendum campaign  by the Electoral Commission.

The result was that Leave.EU needed and gained financial backing from Cambridge Analytical US which it used to influence UK voters through SCL in London.

The official Vote Leave team contracted AIQ in Canada and spent around 40 percent of its £7m campaign budget with the company.

But problems arose after Vote Leave gathered more finance than the £7m it could legally spend requiring fast thinking and speedy action in the last week of the campaign.

UK election laws coveniently permitted Vote Leave to gift its remaining funds to other campaigns but any coordinating campaigning  between them was expressly forbidden.

The activities of Vote Leave were closely monitored and noteworthy events recorded in anticipation of “jiggery Pokery” and the monitors were not to be disappointed.

Just a week before the referendum a hitherto unknown young fashion design student named Darren Grimes, the founder of a small, unofficial Brexit campaign, supported by university students, called BeLeave, (clumsily co-located in the same office as Vote Leave) received £625,000 from Vote Leave.

The money was subsequently transferred to AIQ, in Canada, providing evidence of collusion between Vote leave and BeLeave.

Veterans for Britain was formed to attract former military personnel who would be expected to have an affinity with the Leave EU cause.

David Banks, head of communications for the group advised he had been approached by Leave EU in the last week of the campaign, with an offer to finance a media contract with AIQ.

Having no reason to doubt the appropriateness of the offer the group accepted the financial gift of £100,000 which was subsequently transferred to AIQ.

The brexit supporting, Democratic Unionist party was allocated £758k.

Comment:

Martin Moore, Director of the centre for the study of communication, media and power, at King’s College London pointed out that elections were a newly fashionable tool for would-be authoritarian states. He said:

“Look at Erdogan in Turkey.  What Theresa May is doing is quite anti-democratic in a way. It’s about enhancing her power very deliberately. It’s not about a battle of policy between two parties”.

He also compiled a report for the London School of Economics (LSE).

His investigations required an examination of invoices submitted with the accounts of the various Leave EU campaigns. He identified a massive imbalance in the disbursement of campaign finance in favour of the little known company, AIQ, based in Canada.

The campaigns’ spend with AIQ was, in total, more than the total spend of all other campaigns combined.

He concluded that the laws underpinning the UK electoral laws were, “weak and helpless” in the face of new forms of digital campaigning, were no longer fit for purpose and needed to be urgently reviewed by Westminster.

Gavin Millar: a QC and expert in electoral law, described the situation as “highly disturbing”.

He believed the only way to find out what occurred would be to hold a public inquiry. But a government would need to call it.

A government that only recently triggered an election specifically to shore up its power base. An election designed to set the UK into permanent alignment with Trump’s America.

This is the UK in 2017. A country that looks increasingly like a “managed” democracy.

Paid for a US billionaire. Using military-style technology.

Delivered by Facebook. And enabled by the electorate.

If the referendum is allowed to stand it implies the implicit consent of the UK electorate. It is not now about Remaining or leaving the EU. It is well outside the remit of party politics.

It is about the UK’s electorate stepping blindly into a new undemocratic world governed by a select few at the top of the “New World Order”.

 

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Mar 2017: Vote Leave campaign denies collusion

Not long after, the media raised questions about the connection between SCL and AIQ.

In response SCL removed “SCL Canada” and Zack Massingham’s phone number from its website and said that AIQ was a: “former IT contractor”.

SCL’s work for Farage’s Leave.EU campaign, the Vote Leave campaign and the activities of AIQ were then subject to an investigation by the Electoral Commission.

Commenting, the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said: “AggregateIQ has not been especially co-operative with our investigation. We are taking further steps in that matter.”

Dominic Cummings, chief strategist for Vote Leave, explaining the methodology he used for selecting and contracting media support, claimed to have “found” AIQ “on the internet”.

But he must have had prior knowledge of the existence of AIQ since records show that the company had no internet presence at the time.

He also said: “Vote Leave data never went anywhere near SCL and repeated attempts by the media to show that Vote Leave and SCL were somehow secretly coordinating is not just without foundation but the opposite of the truth.”

Jeff Silvester, said: “AIQ never worked or even communicated in any way with SCL or any other parties related to SCL with respect to the Brexit campaign.

Any claim that we shared Vote Leave data with SCL or anyone else in any way is entirely false”. Adding: “AIQ has always been 100% Canadian owned and operated.”

 

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2017: AIQ database hacked revealing incriminating information

Records confirmed it was AIQ, that developed the “Ripon” technology for SCL who then sold it under contract,  to a number of wealthy clients for millions of pounds, and used it in support of Donald Trump in his 2016 US presidential election.

This information was of interest to UK and USA investigators who were pursuing leads seeking to establish whether multiple “Leave” campaigns had been illegally coordinated by SCL during the 2016 EU referendum.

Records also revealed that AIQ had successfully canvassed Breitbart News for work.

Briebart, a far-right website, was funded by US hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who just happened to be the principal investor in SCL.

Briebart News, armed with the SCL owned “Ripon” database, was contracted to WPA Intelligence, a US-based consultancy, founded by Republican pollster Chris Wilson, who was director of digital strategy for the subsequently aborted 2016 presidential campaigns of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as well as the campaign of Ukrainian steel magnate Serhiy Taruta, for the leadership of the Ukraine’s newly formed Osnova party.

Other projects under development by AIO, include a data software tool titled “The Database of Truth”. Designed to be integrated with voter files, consumer data, third party data providers, historical WPA surveys and customer data, the software is to be supplied to WPA Intelligence and to the “RNC Data Trust.” (the Republican party’s primary voter file provider).

At interview Wilson advised that his knowledge of the controversy over AIQ’s role in the UK was scant. He said: “I would never work with a firm that I felt had done something illegal or unethical. AIQ’s work for WPA followed a competitive bid process. They offered us the best options for the best price.”

AIQ is now the subject of an investigation by British Columbia’s privacy commissioner and the federal equivalent.

 

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2017: The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked

A shadowy global operation involving big data, a US billionaire and his associates aided by the disparate forces of the Leave campaign, influenced the result of the EU referendum raising the question. Is our electoral process fit for purpose?

In April 2017 a Senior intelligence analyst referring to the conduct of the various Leave groups, made a telling statement. He said: “It’s not MI6’s job to warn of internal threats”. A very strange thing to say. He may have been referring to shortcomings within the secret services or possibly the Tory government.

But only a few months before, Alex Younger, head of MI6 said: “the connectivity that is the heart of globalization can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims. The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty.”

 

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2018: Vote Leave whistle-blower reveals financial misdeeds

Shahmir Sanni, who worked for the official Vote Leave campaign, broke cover raising concerns that the group behind the 2016 vote in favour of Brexit, including key figures now working for Theresa May in Downing Street, may have broken the law by flouting referendum spending rules and then attempting to destroy evidence.

He claimed that a donation of £625,000 had been made by Vote Leave to an independent referendum campaign organization called Be Leave and said that the money had been transferred directly to AIQ a company with formal links to SCL, in violation of election regulations.

The donation had been sanctioned by the most senior figures in Vote Leave, including campaign director Dominic Cummings and CEO Matthew Elliott.

 

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2018: Allegations of criminal activity

Members of the official Brexit campaign during the EU referendum may have committed criminal offenses relating to overspending and collusion, according to lawyers advising whistle-blowers who worked inside the organization.

Clare Montgomery and Helen Mountfield, barristers from Matrix chambers, concluded in a formal opinion that there was a “prima facie case” that Vote Leave submitted an inaccurate spending return and colluded with Be Leave, which was aimed at students.

They were reviewing a dossier of evidence supplied by solicitors Bindmans, which contained examples of alleged collusion showing that Vote Leave and Be Leave were not separate and therefore that the leave campaign spent over the £7m legal limit set by the Electoral Commission. The dossier was passed to the Electoral Commission, which is responsible for election law.

Tamsin Allen, from Bindmans, told a press conference “that there is a strong suspicion that the campaigns were very closely linked and coordinated, in which case Vote Leave had spent huge sums unlawfully and its declaration of expenses was incorrect”.

Vote Leave formally declared it had spent £6.77m during the campaign in the summer of 2016, well below the £7m limit.

That figure, however, excluded £625,000 donated by Vote Leave to Be Leave which was spent on the same digital marketing company, AIQ, that Vote Leave used.

Vote Leave, whose leading members include Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, strongly denies any coordination with another campaign group during the referendum.

But Allen said there were grounds to suspect Dominic Cummings, Vote Leave’s campaign director, “of having conspired to break the law” because he was among those engaged in discussions with Be Leave about their organization, activity and funding.

Emails compiled by Bindmans indicated that Vote Leave assisted in the creation of Be Leave’s branding and that there was constant communication between to the two groups, who were based in the same office. They suggested that they used a single shared drive where campaign materials were shared.

Bindmans’ dossier was largely based on evidence supplied by Shahmir Sanni, a volunteer who worked at both Vote Leave and Be Leave, with supporting evidence from Christopher Wylie, a former employee of the political consultancy firm SCL who worked on the Trump election campaign and who had worked for AIQ.

A Facebook chat records Sanni discussing with the Be Leave founder, Darren Grimes, how they might set up independently in May 2016.

Sanni wrote: “We could just say that you and I will be handling the money and using our social media data to decide where best to spend our money”.

Wylie said that an employee of AIQ had told him the relationship between Vote Leave and Be Leave was “totally illegal” because “you are not allowed to coordinate between different campaigns and not declare it”.

The lawyers said there were also “grounds to investigate” Stephen Parkinson, Vote Leave’s national organizer, who now works as Theresa May’s special adviser and Cleo Watson, who was Vote Leave’s head of outreach and also now works at No 10.  Parkinson and Watson have denied any wrong doing.

Montgomery and Mountfield said in their opinion that there were “significant questions” about the role of a senior Vote Leave official who appeared to have removed references to themselves and others in discussions with Be Leave after the referendum by appearing “to change permissions on a Be Leave shared drive in March 2017.

Done at the time an Electoral Commission investigation into Vote Leave was under way” revoking permission for the official, Cummings and a third person from having access to Be Leave materials.

Separately, it emerged that AIQ has worked in the United States developing software for Cambridge Analytica US, which had been accused of benefiting from the harvesting of 50m Facebook profiles to use in political targeting.

Cummings wrote in a blog-post,  before the press conference that “a team would be submitting formal complaints to the EC and ICO Information Commissioner’s Office about the illegal conduct of the remain campaign”.

He previously argued that Stronger In also took advantage of loopholes to reduce the expenditure against its £7m limit.

The Electoral Commission previously assessed on two occasions and found in favour of Vote Leave both times. But a judicial review launched by the Good Law Project in November 2017 led to the commission opening a third investigation into the donation.

 

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British company with 25 years experience in military “psychological operations” and “election management”.

Cambridge Analytica:

A data analytics company formed in 2014. Robert Mercer owned 90%. SCL owned 10%. Carried out major digital targeting campaigns for Donald Trump campaign, Ted Cruz’s nomination campaign and multiple other US Republican campaigns – mostly funded by Mercer. Gave Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU “help” during referendum.

Robert Mercer:

US billionaire hedge fund owner who was Trump’s biggest donor. Owns Cambridge Analytica and the IP [intellectual property] of AIQ. A friend of Farage and close associate of Steve Bannon.

Steve Bannon:

Trump’s chief strategist. Vice-president of Cambridge Analytica during referendum period. A friend of Farage.

Alexander Nix:

Former Director of Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group.

Christopher Wylie:

Canadian who first brought data expertise and micro-targeting to Cambridge Analytica also recruited AIQ.

AggregateIQ:

A Data analytics company based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Worked for Mercer-funded political campaigns supporting the Trump presidential campaign.

Mercer owns AggregateIQ’s  Intellectual Property (IP). Paid £3.9m by Vote Leave to “micro-target” voters on social media during referendum campaign. Outside British jurisdiction.

Veterans for Britain:

Given £100,000 by Vote Leave. Spent it with AIQ.

BeLeave:

Youth Leave campaign set up by 23-year-old student. Given £625k by Vote Leave & £50k by another donor. Spent it with AIQ.

DUP:

Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. Spent £332k with AIQ.

Thomas Borwick:

Vote Leave’s chief technology officer. Previously worked with SCL,  Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ.

ASI Data Science:

Data science specialists. Links with Cambridge Analytica, including staff moving between the two and holding joint events. Paid £114k by Vote Leave. Vote Leave declared £71k to the Electoral Commission.

Donald Trump:

US president. Campaign funded by Mercer and run by Bannon. Data services supplied by Cambridge Analytica and AIQ.

Nigel Farage:

Former Ukip leader. Leader of Leave.EU. Friend of Trump, Mercer and Bannon.

Arron Banks:

Bristol businessman. Co-founder of Leave.EU. Owns data company and insurance firm. Single biggest donor to Leave – £7.5m.

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove

Leading campaigners for leave EU

 

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A bunch of Spivs Crooks and Wide Boys the Tory Party Basks in the Glory of its Widespread Abuse of The Electorate Part One

 

 

 

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Introduction

I follow articles written for the Guardian and the Observer, by the Wee Welsh Terrier, Carole Cadwalladr, a fearless journalist who doggedly searches for the truth in any investigation in which she participates.

In the last 2 years, reports and articles written by herself and her associates have exposed the systematic abuse of the UK electorate by obscenely rich business moguls, politicians, ex military and secret services officers linked to Cambridge Analytica and subsidiary companies.

Their work and the editorial policies of the Guardian and Observer led to the closure of the companies. But the investigations continue since there are many questions about the activities of the companies that have yet to be asked or are unanswered.

There is so much information, in the public domain about what went on, (much of it produced by Carole) which makes the presentation of facts and suppositions difficult to understand and I have summarized the saga using the information provided by Carole.

 

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The abuse of the British electorate starts here

Psychologists from Cambridge University created a team to work on a project designed to gather data for research into the possibility of identifying personality traits from “facebook” personal data. e.g. political partisanship, sexuality, likes, dislikes and much more.

They contracted Dr Aleksandr Kogan, a scientist at the university, to harvest the Facebook data. He did so by paying individuals to take a personality quiz which also allowed not just their own Facebook profiles to be harvested, but also those of their friends – a process then allowed by the social network. His pioneering work on personality was then peer reviewed and published.

Note: This is the same chappie:  A Russian-born scientist who was working in Russia with grants from the Russian government while harvesting Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica.  Now there’s trick!!!!

 

 

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An opportunity not to be missed

Interested parties, excited by the potential political benefits of harvesting data formed a new company, Cambridge Analytica to further develop the software enabling the gathering of personal data on a large scale.

The company purchased consumer data-sets (legally) on everything from magazine subscriptions to airline travel, then attached the information to each individual’s Facebook pages and transferred the data to the voter register.

The goal of capturing of many aspects of every voter’s personal information onto a national database to provide a rudimentary weapon with potential for further development enabling the process of targeting voters at elections had been achieved.

Armed with a treasure trove of personal data enabled it to target people high in neuroticism, for example, with images of immigrants “swamping” the country.  The key was finding the emotional triggers for each individual voter.

Progress was slow until the appearance of the American media executive, political figure, strategist, former investment banker, and former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon whose dynamic presence provided the impetus the company needed.

He negotiated controlled trials of the new software with 44 congressional, US Senate and state-level elections in the 2014 midterm elections. Its key objectives were, “voter disengagement” and “persuasion of Democrat voters to stay at home”. A tall order for unproven software to locate tiny slivers of influence able to tip an election in favour of a selected client.

It produced patchy yet very promising results. Banner was smitten and decided he would form a Cambridge Analytica, sister company in the US which would be semi-autonomous. This brought with it the need for an umbrella organization. Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) was available and the deal was done.

Abandon thoughts of social psychology and data analytics. The entrance of the military establishment through SCL, combined psychological warfare techniques with mass data-harvesting being introduced into the British public domain, the black arts of, psychology, propaganda and technology would be used together in a  new powerful way.

Comments:

Asked for his views, David Miller, Professor of sociology at Bath University and an authority in psyops and propaganda, said:

“It is an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy. It should be clear to voters where information is coming from, and if it’s not transparent or open where it’s coming from, it raises the question of whether we are actually living in a democracy or not.”

Tamsin Shaw, an associate professor of philosophy at New York University,  researched the US military’s funding and use of psychological research for use in torture.

“The capacity for this science to be used to manipulate emotions is very well established. This is military-funded technology that has been harnessed by a global plutocracy and is being used to sway elections in ways that people can’t even see, and don’t even realize is happening to them. It’s about exploiting existing phenomenon like nationalism and using it to manipulate people at the margins. To have so much data in the hands of a bunch of international plutocrats to do with it what they will is absolutely chilling.”

 

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SCL and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) old boy network and its links to the Tory party

A group, titled “Behavioral Dynamics” was first formed by old Etonian, Oakes brothers (Nigel and Alexander) in 1993. Their family and father, Maj John Waddington Oakes have long established links with the British Army.

Their sales pitch made claims about their achievements and ability to influence voter similar to those of SCL. But the UK press was unflattering in 2000 when it reported on their work for the Indonesian government.

Alexander Nix, a fellow old Etonian, joined the Oakes brothers in 2003 in the earlier incarnation of SCL.  Companies House data shows him linked to 10 other firms, all of which appear to be linked in some way.

The brothers first officially established and registered with Companies House, the Strategic Communication Laboratories, (SCL) in 2005.

From its outset as a UK-registered company the SCL Group attracted investors from the upper echelons of British life:

Lord Marland: Friend of David Cameron and trade envoy for the Tory government from 2010 and pro-Brexit, he held SCL shares personally and through two related investment vehicles, Herriot Limited and a family trust.

Roger Gabb: Introduced the Volvic water brand to the UK then went on to make millions selling wines including the Kumala label, at one time owned more than 25% of SCL.

At its formation he was named as a shareholder, as was the Glendower Settlement Trust which is linked to him and his wife.

Gabb has donated £707,000 to the Tories, making contributions to the main party and to his local branch.

He was also an avid campaigner for Brexit, signing letters on behalf of the campaign as a director of Bibendum Wine, and placing adds in local newspapers.

In October 2016 he was fined £1,000 by the Electoral Commission for failing to include his name and address in the adds.

Sir Geoffrey Pattie: One time parliamentary under-secretary of state for defence procurement and director of Marconi Defence Systems, had a key role in SCL for its first three years.

Vincent Tchenguiz: The property tycoon’s company, the Consensus Business Group, held (for eight years) just under a quarter of the shares in SCL, then valued at around £4m. He has also donated more than £130,000 to the Conservatives.

Julian Wheatland: a close associate of Tchenguiz, he was involved with SCL Group from the beginning, and was still a director at the company at 2018.

Steve Tatham: Commander Royal Navy (rtd). Former head of psychological operations for British forces in Afghanistan.

 

Note: • The Westminster, cross party investigation revealed that there was verifiable and extremely worrying evidence confirming SCL had completed a number of well remunerated contracts for the Tory government in recent years (psychological operational training for Ministry of Defence staff, etc.) and had been positively vetted by the secret services at the highest possible level and had received “secret” information about Afghanistan.

 

Full details here:

https://caltonjock.com/2018/06/14/fact-the-british-state-predetermined-the-outcome-of-the-2014-scottish-independence-referendum-by-hindering-scots-from-voicing-their-interest-through-their-votes/

 

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2013: US billionaire absorbs SCL into his world wide data-mining conglomerate

Robert Mercer is a brilliant computer scientist, a pioneer in early artificial intelligence, and the co-owner of one of the most successful hedge funds on the planet (with a gravity-defying 71.8% annual return). And, he is also good friends with Nigel Farage.

Mercer, provided financial backing exceeding £12m to SCL, the English registered parent company of the group, which had many years experience influencing operations on behalf of military and political clients worldwide.

The US part of the SCL group, Cambridge Analytical, controlled by Steve Bannon, conducted its business below the line, secretly gathering huge amounts of psychological profiling data on 230 million US citizens from any source that would supply it, with the purpose of targeting right leaning voters in high profile political campaigns. Assured of the billionaire’s backing, the company plunged £4m into the development of the “Ripon” database through AIQ in Canada.

 

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2013: Silicon Valley desires a piece of the action

A young American postgraduate named Sophie was passing through London, (in the summer of 2013) when she arranged a meeting with the boss of a firm where she had interned earlier in her career.

The company, SCL Elections, was purchased not long after, by the secretive hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who created the US subsidiary company called Cambridge Analytica, which gained notoriety as the data analytics firm that played a major role in the Trump and Brexit campaigns.

On that day in June 2013, Sophie met up with SCL’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, and in conversation, advised he should take his company into the data manipulation business suggesting he should meet a with people from “Palantir”, a firm owned by someone she knew through her father. And her father is? Eric Schidt—-Chairman of Google!!!! Gobsmacking!!!

Palantir is a data-mining firm contracted to provide services to governments worldwide, including GCHQ.  It is owned by Silicon Valley’s first vocal supporter of Trump, Peter Thiel, the millionaire co-founder of eBay and PayPal.

Sophie Schmidt moved on to work for another Silicon Valley mega-firm: Uber, confirming the worldwide dominance of Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Facebook and others providing evidence that the USA is at the centre of the global tectonic shift in data manipulation.

It also revealed a critical and gaping hole in the political debate in Britain. Because what is happening in the US will be transferred to the UK.

Brexit and Trump are entwined.   The Trump administration’s links to Russia and the UK are entwined.  And the now closed SCL group provided a point of focus through which all of these relationships could be observed.

 

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2013: The Trinidad connection

Just as Robert Mercer began his negotiations with SCL boss Alexander Nix about an acquisition, SCL was retained by several government ministers in Trinidad and Tobago.

The brief involved developing a micro-targeting programme for the governing party of the time.

AIQ, the same company involved in delivering the 2016 Brexit referendum for Vote Leave, was contracted to build the targeting platform.

The proposal was to capture citizens’ browsing history en masse, recording phone conversations and applying natural language processing to the recorded voice data to construct a national police database, complete with scores for each citizen on their propensity to commit crime.

The information throws light on a significant and under-reported aspect of the Trump administration.

The company that helped Trump achieve power has now been awarded contracts in the Pentagon and the US state department.

And, it is reported to be in discussions for “military and homeland security work”.

In the US, the government is bound by strict laws about what data it can collect on individuals.

But, for private companies anything goes. Is it unreasonable to see in this the possible beginnings of an authoritarian surveillance state?

A leading QC who spends a lot of time in the investigatory powers tribunal said that the problem with the data-ming technology was that it all depended on whose hands it was in.

Adding “On the one hand, it’s being done by companies and governments who say “you can trust us, we are good and democratic and bake cupcakes at the weekend”.

But the same expertise can be sold on to a repressive regime. In Britain, citizens still trust the government. There is respect for authorities upholding the laws of the land. There is trust in the rule of law. The UK society is free and fair. And it is the last observation that makes the present situation so profoundly unsettling.

 

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9 Principles of Honest Journalism – by which the media are judged by the public – Is there an honest Journalist in Scotland????? BBC presenter Isobel Fraser is one but she paid the penalty for it.

 

 

 

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The last honest BBC Scotland Director and we have to go back to 1933 to find him!!!!

 

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Principles of Journalism

In the USA, in 1997, a committee of journalists, concerned about failing standards, began a national conversation with the public and news people to identify and clarify the principles underlying journalism.

After four years of research, including 20 public forums around the country, the group released a “Statement of Shared Purpose” that identified nine principles.

Here are those principles. Statement of Purpose:

“The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society. This encompasses myriad roles helping define community, creating common language and common knowledge, identifying a community’s goals, heroes and villains, and pushing people beyond complacency. This purpose also involves other requirements, such as being entertaining, serving as watchdog and offering voice to the voiceless.”

 

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Nine core principles evolved from discussions providing a “theory of journalism”. These are:

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth

Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can and must pursue it in a practical sense.

This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation.

Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods, so audiences can make their own assessment of the information.

Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built: context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate.

The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever-greater flow of data, they have more need not less for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.

 

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2. Its very loyalty is to its citizens

While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor.

This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility; the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers.

Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them.

The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn.

In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture, not exploit their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.

 

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3. Its essence is discipline of verification

Journalists rely on a professional discipline for verifying information. When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists are free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work.

The method is objective; not the journalist. Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment, all signal such standards.

This discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other modes of communication, such as propaganda, fiction or entertainment. However, the need for professional method is not always fully recognized or refined.

While journalism has developed various techniques for determining facts, for instance, it has done less to develop a system for testing the reliability of journalistic interpretation.

 

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4. Its practitioners must maintain a independence from those they cover

Independence is an underlying requirement of journalism, a cornerstone of its reliability. Independence of spirit and mind, rather than neutrality, is the principle journalists must keep in focus.

While editors and commentators are not neutral, the source of their credibility is still their accuracy, intellectual fairness and ability to inform, not their devotion to a certain group or outcome.

In our independence, however, we must avoid any tendency to stray into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism.

 

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5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power

Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens. The Founders recognized this to be a rampart against despotism when they ensured an independent press; courts have affirmed it; citizens rely on it.

As journalists, we have an obligation to protect this watchdog freedom by not demeaning it in frivolous use or exploiting it for commercial gain.

 

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6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise

The news media are the common carriers of public discussion, and this responsibility forms a basis for our special privileges. This discussion serves society best when it is informed by facts rather than prejudice and supposition.

It also should strive to fairly represent the varied viewpoints and interests in society, and to place them in context rather than highlight only the conflicting fringes of debate.

Accuracy and truthfulness require that as framers of the public discussion we not neglect the points of common ground where problem solving occurs.

 

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7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant

Journalism is storytelling with a purpose. It should do more than gather an audience or catalogue the important. For its own survival, it must balance what readers know they want with what they cannot anticipate but need.

In short, it must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant. The effectiveness of a piece of journalism is measured both by how much a work engages its audience and enlightens it.

This means journalists must continually ask what information has most value to citizens and in what form. While journalism should reach beyond such topics as government and public safety, a journalism overwhelmed by trivia and false significance ultimately engenders a trivial society.

 

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8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional

Keeping news in proportion and not leaving important things out are also cornerstones of truthfulness. Journalism is a form of cartography: it creates a map for citizens to navigate society.

Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make a less reliable map. The map also should include news of all our communities, not just those with attractive demographics.

This is best achieved by newsrooms with a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. The map is only an analogy; proportion and comprehensiveness are subjective, yet their elusiveness does not lessen their significance.

 

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9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience

Every journalist must have a personal sense of ethics and responsibility–a moral compass. Each of us must be willing, if fairness and accuracy require, to voice differences with our colleagues, whether in the newsroom or the executive suite.

News organizations do well to nurture this independence by encouraging individuals to speak their minds. This stimulates the intellectual diversity necessary to understand and accurately cover an increasingly diverse society. It is this diversity of minds and voices, not just numbers, that matters.

Further reading: The Elements of Journalism:   Tom Rosenstiel and  Bill Kovach.

 

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Liam Fox and Ian Paisley – Tarred by the same brush – The Tory Party and the DUP cultivate a regime of shame – Scots should vote for independence and get shot of them

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 October 2011: Liam Fox and The Sri Lanka connection

It was a classic south Asian scene. Sundown, some drinks, a colonial-era hotel with fans cooling a terrace, waves crashing on the nearby beach, a group of British diplomats, a minister – and a 34-year-old businessman called Adam Werritty.

Quite what Werritty was doing at the table was unclear even to the senior Foreign Office diplomats sitting with him.

All they knew was that he had some connection to Liam Fox, the defence secretary who had flown out for a weekend to make a speech to a private local foundation.

Fox and his party slept at the high commissioner’s 1960s residence, filling its four guest bedrooms. Werritty had made his own arrangements.

Yet he was present at the minister’s speech – in honour of a Sri Lankan foreign minister assassinated in 2005 – and at the tea afterwards where he worked a room full of local politicians, diplomats and journalists. Then it was on to the hotel.

Werritty had last been in Sri Lanka in December 2010 when he and Fox had got involved in a difficult diplomatic incident.

Fox had been forced to cancel his trip as it coincided with the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables revealing American diplomats’ concerns over the Sri Lankan government’s human rights record.

Werritty was left to explain the situation to local officials. A task for which he was well equipped since he and Fox had met the Sri Lankan, president himself, in a suite in London’s Dorchester hotel only two weeks before.

A key interlocutor was the president’s foreign affairs fixer, a controversial former businessman called Sachin de Wass.

Sajin was accused of being involved in many controversies ranging from fraud, criminal record, remand time, fraud bureau investigations, unpaid loans, spying, overstepping and unfulfilled promises.

This was not the first time Fox had done Sri Lanka – or its government – a favour.

His own relationship with the troubled island nation dated back to the mid-1990s, when as a junior foreign officer minister he brokered an agreement between competing parties to co-operate in the search for peace.

It did not hold but the “Fox Accord” laid the basis for a long involvement in the island’s tortuous politics.

The President, a populist politician retained significant support among the ethnic Sinhala Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka, was set on a radical solution to the long-running civil war that had crippled the nation’s development over previous decades.

An expanded army with new equipment, backed by paramilitaries, would fight on to the finish, eradicating the Tamil Tiger separatists in the north.

Fox also brokered a multi million-pound media contract between the President and the Bell-Pottinger organization, to offset the expected international outcry.

Researchers working for human rights organizations were concerned that the Sri Lankan government might be seeking to enlist Fox’s support to ease restrictions on arms imports from the UK to the island nation and raised their concerns with the Foreign Office in London.

Information gathered later confirmed that the greatly feared defence secretary (brother of the President), had asked Fox to lobby for more access to British weapons.

The defence secretary was credited for the successes achieved by the Sri Lankan Military in defeating the Tamil Tigers, ending Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long civil war, but allegations of war crimes were soon referred to the World Court for investigation.

In March 2009, as the fighting intensified in the north of the island, Fox made a further visit to Colombo, meeting both government and opposition figures.

It is unclear if Werritty accompanied him but local journalists recall seeing him in Sri Lanka with Fox during almost all visits from spring 2009 onward.

Fox’s visits in March and August 2009 were seen by some observers as an endorsement of the hard-line government which had refused a full inquiry into the claims that tens of thousands of Tamil civilians killed at the end of the civil war or pressure to move towards any broader postwar political settlement with the Tamil population.

It was also in March 2009 that Fox established the Sri Lanka Development Trust in the UK. Records show it did little other than to contribute to the expenses for three of Fox’s trips.

An independent Tamil politician, who was in the forefront of those seeking an end to the abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Sri Lanka and for his integrity combating the climate of impunity enjoyed by human rights violators, met Fox in August 2009 and said that: “the credibility of the British establishment had been destroyed. We were mistaken in our belief that those coming here had the interests of everybody – Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim alike – at heart,”

The Foreign Office said the MoD was the “lead organization” for the project, despite it having no defence interests, and the Department for International Development said it had no record of funding the organization. Senior aid agency officials in Colombo said they were unaware of the trust, but did not rule out its existence.

Lord Bell, whose public relations firm Bell Pottinger who worked for the Sri Lankan government until the end of 2010, said that Werritty had attended meetings his firm had held with the Sri Lankan government but he could not say in what capacity or why he was present saying: “I’ve known Werritty, for a number of years and Liam Fox is a friend of 30 years.” (scoops)

 

 

 

 

Oct 2017: luxury Sri Lankan holiday’s and Tory/DUP hypocrisy

Ian Paisley Jr, a Democratic Unionist Party’s MP,  accepted from the Sri Lankan government, (a country he was securing a post-Brexit trade deal with) two all expenses paid trip holidays, worth £200k plus, ,

Documents revealed that twice in 2013, Paisley took his wife and four children to the country, flying business class. They then stayed in the finest hotels and were provided with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes, all paid for by the Sri Lankan government.

It was further revealed that, in the course of discussions with government officials he offered to assist the state broker an oil deal, saying he had: “significant arrangements with national oil suppliers” in Oman and Nigeria.

But the real objective of the ploy was to lure the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Conservative Government to subvert the UK’s Sri Lanka policy and to canvas support especially regarding Sri Lanka related UN human records resolutions and the nations post-war “image” in the West.

Paisley said his visits had been to enable him “to gain a wider knowledge of the political and social situation on the ground in Sri Lanka” although he had no doubt had some free time. His family had accompanied him but had not attended his official meetings.

But his assertion was rendered dubious when it was revealed that he had written to the Prime Minister urging him not to support the UN motion which “internationalized” the dispute within Sri Lanka.

That letter amounted to paid advocacy, putting Paisley in breach of paragraph 11 of the 2012 Code of Conduct for Members.

His efforts continued when, in September 2017, Paisley published a photograph on his social media, posing with the then Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London.

The caption of the photograph read: “With Sri Lanka high commissioner to discuss NI-Sri Lanka trade deal after Brexit.”

And, only two days after that meeting, Paisley posted yet another photo with yet another ‘friend’ of Sri Lanka in the Conservative Party, Dr Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary.

The primary reason why the trips caused controversy is that that they breached the parliamentary rule applying to all MPs, that they have to register family holidays, unless they are: “wholly unconnected with membership of the House or with the Member’s parliamentary or political activities”.

The Register of Members’ Financial Interests is an important mechanism for accountability.

It enables MPs to declare income, gifts or affiliations that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest with their parliamentary roles.

According to the report, expenses that go beyond the registration threshold should be declared, and the entries in the register should be highly detailed, covering the costs of travel, hotels, meals, hospitality and care hire.

 

 

 

comment:

Politics of shady networking, luring foreign policymakers with lavish gifts, holidays and perks is a strategy all too frequently used by Sri Lankan authorities as a “networking method”.

As detailed above, Paisley has his place in a list of British MPs who benefitted from generous treatment by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Other notorious MP’s who have a place on that list include Liam Fox and James Wharton, Tory MP for Stockton South from May 2010 to May 2017 who frequented Sri Lanka as a guest and defender of the Sri Lankan government in the British House of Commons. (Telegraph)

 

                  Paisley Jr with Dr Liam Fox, September 2017

 

 

19 April 2018: Liam Fox discusses trade with Sri Lankan President

Britain’s Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, who has a controversial relationship with Sri Lanka, met with the Sri Lankan President in London yesterday, where they discussed trade and investment opportunities between the two governments.

They had discussions regarding strengthening relations paving the way to the expansion of trade and investment.

Fox was forced to resign from his previous post as defence secretary in 2011, after a report into his conduct concluded that he “breached the ministerial code” and displayed a “failure of judgment”, as he had accepted at least three fully paid return trips to Sri Lanka, with accommodation and full board, funded by its government.

Hehad enjoyed  stays in five-star hotels and had first-class travel funded for himself and Adam Werritty, a self-styled ‘advisor’ and personal friend, who accompanied him on his trips and reportedly discussed arms deals with the regime. (Tamil Guardian)

 

 

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Liam Fox – Only for the serious reader of my blog – This post reveals just who runs the UK – and there’s more to come as I clarify the relevance of Fox to the future ofScotland

 

 

 

 

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Who runs Britain?

The British Israel Communications and Research Centre, (BICOM), is an influential pro-Israel lobby operating in the corridors of power at Westminster and is a common thread running through the political and financial network of political friendships enjoyed by Liam Fox.

 

 

 

Government within a government

Following up complaints about the conduct, in office, of Liam Fox, then Secretary of State for Defence, an investigation revealed Adam Werritty, (a personal friend of Liam Fox) to be one the hidden hands behind Pargav, a company which had received £147k funding from six different entities, including:

 

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Jon Moulton

 

Jon Moulton: Three months before the 2010 general election, venture capitalist and multi-millionaire Jon Moulton reportedly paid £60m for Gardner UK, which makes components for aircraft including RAF fighter jets and troop transporters.

In a statement, after publication of the report Moulton said: “Before the election, I made several, on-the-record donations to support Dr Fox following a request from the Conservative party fundraiser.

After the election I was asked by Dr Fox to provide funds to a non-profit group called Pargav, reportedly involved in security policy analysis and research and after obtaining written assurances as to its activities.

I provided £35k to Pargav.  Neither I, nor any of my associates, sought or received any benefit of any form from Pargav.

I have not received an account of Pargav’s activities, nor have I been involved at all with Pargav other than the funding. Adding: “I will not be doing this again.”

 

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Hazel Blears MP, Bicom chairman Poju Zabludowicz and Lorna Fitzsimons (third left)

 

 

Tamares Real Estate: An investment company, based in Liechtenstein owned by Poju Zabludowicz, one of Britain’s richest men, who owns approximately 40 per cent of the property in downtown Las Vegas, including numerous casinos, plus property in Washington DC and New York’s Times Square.

He bankrolled David Cameron’s campaign to become Tory leader and donated £132k to the Tory Party in 2010 .

His father built up the Israeli arms company “Soltam” in the 1950s, working closely with Shimon Peres, who was then the Director General of the Israeli defence ministry.

A spokesman for Zabludowicz said he owned a “legacy” arms business in the US, but added that it was not a significant part of his empire. Most of his assets were now in property.

He maintains strong links to the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) an organization that lobbies extensively at Westminster on behalf of Israel.

 

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Michael Lewis: Vice-Chairman of (BICOM) until 2007 and boss of Oceana Investments.

A Tory Party donor, he also gave £14k to “Atlantic Bridge”, the charity set up by Fox and run by Werritty from Fox’s parliamentary office. He also donated £5k to Fox’s leadership campaign in 2005.

 

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Lee Petar (left)

 

 

Lee Petar: Former communications chief of (BICOM), co-founded Tetra Strategy, and recently won the account to advise the emirate — one of the United Arab Emirates — on strategic communications and reputation management.

The deal, reportedly worth around £500k, is one of the biggest PR deals of the year.

Petar said: “It’s a real communications challenge and a real opportunity for me”.

Email’s provided evidence that Petar had been working to arrange a meeting between Boulter, a private equity boss based in Dubai, and Fox or Werritty for some time.

 

 

 

G3, (Good Governance Group): A multi-million pound, private intelligence company, donated £15k to Pargav.

The company is a major game-player in the intelligence industry employing 32 analysts in the UK and many others worldwide, providing advice on risky overseas investments, investigative services, competitor analysis and cyber security.

It also provides services to a number of defence contractors including BAE Systems.

It is styled as an “independent strategic advisory firm” offering “insight, analysis and advice to help leaders make informed decisions and realizing value in complex situations, placing the “highest priority on integrity, discretion and trust”.

Operating out of an undistinguished building in Mayfair (it is chaired by Chester Crocker, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs under President Ronald Reagan) since at least 2005.

The company has another office on Madison Avenue, in New York, and a network spread around the world, reportedly worth around £20 million.

Fox first approached the South African, Andre Pienaar, multi-millionaire, chief executive (and one time managing director of the secretive private intelligence company Kroll) in 2008 seeking funding for a Sri Lankan based charity.

Dr Fox had a long-standing interest in the country, dating back to the mid-1990s when he was a junior foreign office minister.

They agreed that G3 would pay to set up the Sri Lanka Development Trust through a Scottish law firm (enter Helen Liddel) to help with reconciliation and reconstruction of a country torn apart by years of civil war.

The charity, however, was never registered with the Charity Commission nor with Companies House and no details of its accounts appear in any public records.

Fox travelled to Sri Lanka three times on flights paid for by the trust in 2009 and 2010 while he was in opposition.

The flights were declared in Dr Fox’s register of MPs’ interests. The trust’s address is given as the business address of G3, although the company says it never carried out any work for the charity on its premises.

Between 2008 and 2011, G3 says it made payments to the Sri Lanka Development Trust totalling “no more than £45k”. A further payment of £15k was paid to Pargav.

A spokesman for G3 said last week: “In 2008, we were asked by Dr Liam Fox, then the shadow defence secretary, to give advice about the reconstruction of northern Sri Lanka after the sudden end of the civil war.

He explained that he wanted to play a constructive role in the peaceful reconstruction of the country. Our advice, which was provided on a pro-bono basis, related to how a charity of this nature might be structured.

“The Sri Lanka Development Trust was subsequently established but we have never had any involvement in its work.

Good Governance Group has no business or other related business in Sri Lanka, has no clients there and has never worked for its government.”

G3 admits holding meetings with Dr Fox, both in government and in opposition.

A spokesman said: “Mr Pienaar was keen to help Dr Fox while he was in opposition.

G3 had defence clients but wanted to get more”. The deal with Fox was kept quiet even within the company”.

Published accounts show that the firm enjoyed huge commercial success since it was established in the UK.

After recording a loss of £33k in 2009, it doubled its turnover from £6m to £12m and raised its profits from £1.3m to £2.4m.

G3 is closely linked to C5 Capital, which describes itself as “an independent investment company, focusing on the global security sector”.

One of C5’s employees is Lt General Sir Graeme Lamb, the former director of UK Special Forces.

The company website revealed: “We are closely associated with the Good Governance Group, which includes G3, a leading strategic advisory consultancy.

Through G3, we have unparalleled access to in-depth sector knowledge and to an extensive network of specialist advisers”.

G3 and C5 work so closely together that they are based in the same London premises, 40 George Street in Marylebone. And the two companies also share a director, Andries Pienaar.

 

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The Sri Lanka Development Trust: Another corporate intelligence company with close links to Sri Lanka. Coincidentally based in the same building as G3.

The trust was set up by Fox, using private finance to rebuild the country’s infrastructure. It reportedly relocated to Edinburgh.

 

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Pargav: Records at Companies House reveal that Werritty was not the director of Pargav, despite being its only prominent employee.

Oliver Hylton, charity adviser to a hedge fund, said that he had signed up as its director after being asked by Werritty.  Hylton added that he had met Werritty through Tory donors.

Perhaps the most damaging disclosures in the report showed that many of the financial transactions of Pargav corresponded with the 18 destinations that Werritty and Fox visited together between 2010 and 2011.

Other intriguing connections have surfaced revealing that (BICOM) paid for Werritty’s flights and hotel bills at the tine he attended a conference in Israel in 2009 to speak about Iran. (Scoops)

 

Liam Fox, Dr. Adam Werritty.

Stag: Dr Fox's Special Advisor Luke Coffey with wife Emily

Special adviser Luke Coffey and wife Emily

 

 

October 2011: Fox and Werritty enjoy a stag party during a taxpayer-funded trip to Dubai

Fox and his long-term travel companion, Werritty, went on a “stag do” while on a taxpayer-funded trip to Dubai.

The late-night drinking session in some of Dubai’s most exclusive hotel bars was for Luke Coffey, one of the Defence Secretary’s special advisers.

Coffey, currently a Margaret Thatcher Fellow at “The Heritage Foundation”, (an American Conservative party think-tank) is an American political adviser, and US Army veteran who did work for Fox.

The six-strong party reportedly started the evening at the opulent 41 storey, Shangri-la hotel where Fox was staying at a £500-a-night cost to the taxpayer.

They first went to the top-floor bar of the 63-storey Address, which is shaped like an ocean liner, before moving on to other bars where they downed giant “treasure chest” cocktails.

Celebrations apparently lasted until 3am. A source who witnessed the session said: “It was quite a boozy affair; they were drinking huge cocktails and they caused quite a stir”. The friends spent the rest of the next day lounging by the pool.

Fox spent three nights at the exclusive Dubai hotel on his way back from visiting troops in Afghanistan and it is open to question whether he extended his stopover in Dubai to give Coffey a special send-off into married life.

Protocol dictates that official trips back from Afghanistan or Iraq stop off in Qatar or Bahrain and questions have previously raised about Fox’s regular trips to Dubai who has been to Dubai five times since the 2010 election, meeting Werritty on each occasion.

The minister once took a “weekend leave break” in the emirate in August 2010. However, on the visit in June, Fox did not take leave and was being funded by the taxpayer.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment as to why Fox’s trip lasted three days when both engagements could have easily been done in one day.

Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central and a former parachute regiment officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “Our forces will be shocked that, while they are on the front-line risking life and limb, the secretary of state for defence is on a stag do on taxpayers’ expense.

Labour questioned why taxpayers were paying more than £170k a year for Fox’s three official advisers when he preferred to rely on the advice of Werritty.

Two of Fox’s highly trained official special advisers – the American, Coffey and Oliver Waghorn – are paid £61k a year, while Hayden Allan collected at least £52k, giving a total wage bill of at least £174k a year.

The bill for Fox’s advisers is the fourth-highest of any minister in parliament, behind only the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the chancellor.

Fox spent more on advisers than William Hague, the foreign secretary, and the leader of the Lords, Lord Strathclyde.

The American, Coffey, who oversees policy on Europe, the US, the Middle East, military operations and welfare, married Emily Moore, a family lawyer, at the exclusive St John the Baptist church on the Marquesses of Bath’s Longleat estate in Wiltshire.(Guardian)

 

 

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October 2011: Fox faces fresh questions on Sri Lanka links

Fox faced fresh accusations of running a shadow foreign policy, with his controversial friend Werritty as its key contact after it emerged he was involved in setting up a private investment firm to operate in Sri Lanka in apparent contravention of UK government policy.

Fox was involved in negotiations with the Sri Lankan regime as recently as the summer of 2010, agreeing a deal that allowed the Sri Lankan Development Trust to operate in the UK.

The Trust was a venture designed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure using private finance with a sideline in charitable projects for Tamil communities.

Lord Timothy Bell, whose PR firm Bell Pottinger was employed by the Sri Lankan government until last year to improve the country’s reputation abroad, said the deal had been struck between Fox and the head of the Sri Lankan bank: “In order for these funds to operate they would need an agreement with the country.

The financial interests of Sri Lanka come under the governor of the Central Bank. My understanding is that the infrastructure development fund would be set up and have an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to invest in Tamil communities in Sri Lanka.

It’s a fine idea with a good sense of purpose”, adding “part of the strategy was to improve the regime’s reputation abroad”.

Bell was awarded his peerage by Thatcher, being instrumental in the Conservative general election campaign victories of Margaret Thatcher.

For her first 1979 victory, he created the “Labour Isn’t Working” campaign and advised her on interview techniques, clothing, and even hairstyle choices.

He also courted newspaper editors and worked on devastating attacks on the Labour Party.

But prior to the approach by Fox, the previous Labour government had adopted an arm’s-length policy on Sri Lanka, calling for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes.

Since 2006 it had a policy limiting development work to urgent humanitarian assistance and “de-mining” areas affected by the civil war.

The policy had been retained by the incoming Tory government.

Kevan Jones, shadow defence minister, said: “If Fox was still striking deals with the Sri Lankans in the summer of 2010, how does that fit with official UK foreign policy?

You can’t have a situation where a government minister runs a completely separate foreign policy from that of the government.”

A Fox spokesman said that Fox had ceased to have any involvement with the Sri Lankan Trust when he entered government.

But the only activity the Trust appears to have been engaged in was the payment of up to £7.5k of Fox’s travel expenses.

In June 2010, Fox met the Sri Lankan foreign minister in Singapore.

He said: “the purpose of the meeting was to make it clear that although I would no longer be able to participate in the project, the others involved would continue to do so”.

It was then revealed that a further meeting had been conducted at which which Fox agreed with the governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that the trust would invest in road-building and other infrastructure projects using private investment.

 

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Philip Hammond replaced Liam Fox at the MoD and his links to Fox’s cronies are just as extensive – the king is dead long live the king

Michael Hintze, the Australian-born, multi-millionaire hedge fund baron and former banker with the disgraced banking conglomerate Goldman Sachs,  was a key backer of Liam Fox.

Hintze, who donated more than half the budget to the fake Atlantic Bridge charity, set up by Fox, is one of the richest men in the UK with an estimated fortune of £550 million and is the chief executive of a muti-million pound hedge fund.  He is close to a number of senior Tory’s and has donated more than £1.5m to the party.

It is now confirmed that the banker also hosted Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, appointed by David Cameron as a “safe pair of hands” at a series of lavish fundraising dinners for the Conservative Party. Details were written up by Hammond, in the  MPs’ register of interests recording Hintze as a financial donor – including one for “£1,700 hospitality at Carlton Political Club Dinner” – before and after Hammond became a Cabinet minister.

 

 

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plausible-paranoia-how-westminster-hoodwinked-the-scots-in-1707-and-2014-and-their-preparedness-to-do-so-again-part-9-The UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not.

 

 

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March 2015: Disinformation distribution continues

In a blatant misuse of taxpayers money a Con/Dem government leaflet promoting the “vow”, (production and distribution cost estimated at £3 million) was sent to every one of the 2.5 million households across Scotland promoting changes to be implemented over the next 2 years.

The 8-page “Scotland’s Changing” leaflet contained details of new powers together with the benefits people in Scotland retained as part of the UK.

Let’s have a closer look at the content of the leaflet:

Statement: “the “Vow” issued from Westminster a few days before the referendum promised, “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament to be “delivered by the process and to a timetable agreed” by the THREE Westminster parties.”

Comment:

There is no mention, in the leaflet of Scots being consulted on the timetable for change or what will happen in the event Westminster MP’s return a “no” vote on the proposed new powers.

Therein lies the problem for Scotland post the 2015 General Election, the “no” vote removed all pressure from Westminster.

Scotland gave the Unionist parties, (Labour Tories and Liberals) the freedom to do as they wish with Scotland and they set about doing just that, with zeal.

 

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Westminster Statement

“Scots have chosen to remain citizens of the UK with its strong defences and global influence. The forces provide added security for families in Scotland in an uncertain world.”

Comment:

UK defences are a joke since they have been dismantled beyond the point of safety in favour of retaining/replacing the Trident Nuclear missile system.

Conventional armed forces are in a perilous state having been reduced to unsafe levels, (with more cuts planned).

The navy is ill equipped and the surface fleet almost non-existent.

Fighter aircraft are in many cases incapable of completing operations.

An independent Scotland would have no desire to exert any global influence, except in the areas of trade.

Statement:

“The UK’s large and diversified economy will continue to shield Scotland from sudden shocks like the recent fall in oil prices, or the need to rescue banks during the financial crisis.”

Comment:

The UK’s large and diversified economy is a misnomer since it is carrying nearly £2trillion of debt, of which £1trillion has been added in the last 5 years of the Con/Dem government.

The remaining debt was incurred through the incompetence of the previous Labour government applying correcting measures bailing out banks caught up in the, “housing Bubble” fiasco of which Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown had 3 years advance notice and did nothing.

There are no “Scottish” banks since they all operate out of London. The reference to financial crisis and bank rescue is a red herring.

It is entirely possible, regardless of the outcome of the 2015 general election that any or all of the present party leaders might not be around, replaced with new leaders, who could be of a mind to abolish many of the powers presently devolved turning the Scottish parliament into a “talking shop” with very limited responsibility.

Scot’s should remember that Westminster is sovereign and can do as it pleases. What it gives it can take away.

Its called the “naughty step” punishment and  contributes to many Scots  suffering from the “Stockholm Syndrome”

Politicians are unable to pledge anything to the electorate until such time as they have a mandate to govern.

Anything pledged before the 2015 General Election is “tripe” and a clumsy attempt at sleight of hand tactics by the (three amigos) Unionist parties.

Incurring a spend of £3 million on political propaganda is a gross misuse of the nations finance but this is presented by Con/Dem politicians as the acceptable face of Unionism.

They underestimate Scot’s who are able to spot liars.

 

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The 2015 General Election, the “Vow” and matters arising.

Reflecting on the stance of the Unionist parties in Westminster at the start of the referendum discussions. With under 3 weeks before the start of the General Election “Purdah” period which curtails the activities of political parties. It will not be possible to get any of the proposed new powers, which will require a significant number of new Bills, to the statute stage.

Few MPs want extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, (including many Scottish Labour MP’s). They will rebel and vote against proposals for change submitted to the Commons. There will be a significant number of government defeats at the hands of rebels and whilst it might be possible to get proposed legislation through the Commons, (if all parties crack a 3 line whip) But they then go to the House of Lords and delays of up to a year that will bring to the process. So, no change this side of the General Election.

 

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May 2015 – Tomkins embraces the Tories

Tomkins, who negotiated for the Tories alongside the new Tory peer, Annabel Goldie, on the cross-party Smith Commission, has been invited to advise David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland on constitutional matters.

He will provide advice on a range of constitutional matters, with a primary focus on the passage of the Scotland Bill through Parliament and the delivery of new powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Tomkins said: “It is a great privilege to have been asked to support the Secretary of State for Scotland through this crucial period for Scotland.

I look forward to working with the minister and his wider team to provide support for the Scotland Bill process.”

Mundell said: “he brings unparalleled expertise and depth of knowledge to further support the Scotland Office.

His advice and insight will be invaluable as we deliver new powers for the Scottish Parliament.”

 

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May 2015 – Study by Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law says UK has reached a constitutional crossroads

A report co-authored by Adam Tomkins recommended there should be English votes for English laws saying:

“The piecemeal development of devolution means that the overall constitutional fabric of the UK has been weakened.  The process should start with a new charter of the union to provide the framework for a fair and durable settlement between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

The report also pointedly stated that any further transfer of powers to the Scottish parliament at Holyrood could endanger relationships, saying:

“The SNP’s preferred extreme form of devolution would seem not designed to preserve the union with the rest of the United Kingdom but to break it”.

Tomkins called for the abolition of the Barnett formula, because:

“it does not offer a fair solution across the UK.”

The SNP Justice and Home Affairs spokesman commented:

“Westminster needs to deliver the additional powers which Scotland has been promised – and the recent election result is a huge mandate for further powers beyond those recommended by the Smith Commission. In terms of a second independence referendum, that is a matter for future Holyrood elections, and whether or not there will be one is ultimately a matter for the people of Scotland.”

 

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Jun 2015: The SNP landslide

The SNP entered the General Election pledging to hold the Unionist parties to account.

Nicola Sturgeon spelt out clearly what the SNP would pursue on behalf of the Scottish people.

SNP MPs would seek to have the spirit of the Smith Commission honoured.

With even more austerity to be imposed by the Unionist Westminster government on an already suffering Scotland, the SNP would seek to obtain powers contained in the “vow”,  but subsequently removed after pressure from the Tories and Labour.

During the election campaign, there was much debate surrounding the pledge.

Unionists appeared across the media warning Scottish voters that a vote for the SNP would mean a loss of £7.6 billion to Scotland.

The message from Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems was hammered home in phone-ins, debates, interviews and news bulletins.

Accept our solemn undertaking that we will implement the full content of the “vow”.

There was worse to come when Ultra-Unionist Tomkins appeared on the Sunday Politics Show providing his views on the SNP’s proposals.

Tomkins’ Unionism is of the hard-line variety. The views he expressed on BBC Scotland were not surprising.

But why was he there at all? Tomkins is an advisor to Mundell, the sole Tory MP in Scotland.

Mundell is also the Secretary of State for Scotland. His mandate requires him to represent his local constituents , nothing more.

Tomkins doesn’t even have a mandate for anything. Yet here he was making pronouncements on how the UK Government would be responding to the SNP mandate.

During the interview, Tomkins stated that the SNP had not accepted the referendum result. Typical of BBC Scotland there was no challenge by lap-dog Brewer to the unsubstantiated assertion.

But the SNP seeking “full fiscal autonomy” (FFA) simply wished that the “Vow”  should be implemented in full.

The subsequent general election saw Scottish voters hand the SNP a whopping mandate. Scots gave the Unionist parties the shock of their lives.

 

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Jun 2015: The 2015 General Election

Scottish voters would not be denied their say and public reaction towards the outcome of the referendum was clear and decisive six months after when, in the 2015 general election the Scottish National Party (SNP) won all but 3 of the 59 seats in Scotland in an unprecedented landslide.

The three seats which went to parties other than the SNP were held by very small majorities and local circumstances applied.

In winning by such a margin the SNP became the first political party in the UK, in sixty years to win 50% of the Scottish vote.

The mandate given to the SNP confirmed a majority of Scot’s wished to be independent and had the leaders of the Party the courage they would have advised Westminster that Scotland would be withdrawing from the 1707, Treaty of Union, quoting the political circumstances that had resulted in its signature, that a small majority of officers of parliament in Scotland had voted in 1707 in favour of the treaty.

This being a settled precedence the ruling would apply since the Scottish political system had returned a majority of MP’s in favour of abandoning the Treaty

But the SNP government decided to abide by the rules set out by Westminster and went off to England, bagpipes playing, photo opportunities galore and committed political “hari Kari” on national television.

 

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Jun 2015:  Tomkins tells Scots – You’ve never had it so good

He said:

“The Smith Commission promised and the new Scotland Bill delivers.

The First Minister and her team will have all the powers they need to take action to reverse their effects or to point Scotland in a different direction.

Scottish ministers will have the power to top up any welfare benefit.

They will also have the power to create new welfare benefits and they will have the power to raise taxes in Scotland to pay for this additional public spending.

The SNP will be enabled to bring budget’s forward, increasing taxes, spending as lavishly as they want.

At last, Scots will find out if the Scottish governments commitment to social justice really is of a better standard than the rest of the UK.

Will Scots vote for higher taxes?  This is what real, adult politics is about – not the gesture politics of nationalism, but the tough, grown-up questions of what public services we want and how do we propose to pay for them.

No longer will Scottish politics be dominated by bleating about the powers it doesn’t have.

Instead, it will focus on the ways in which the SNP Government are making a mess of the powers they already have.

The new Scotland Bill is important because it means the SNP can no longer pretend that governing requires no more than finger-pointing and childish blame-game politics.

It’s time for Scotland to come of age, for the Nationalists’ bluff to be called and for home rule.”

 

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Jun 2015: Swinney rebuts Tomkins

He said:

“Delivering the Smith Commission recommendations was the minimum the UK Government had to deliver – and they have failed miserably.

Backed by all parties in the Scottish Parliament, the report proposed new, limited powers for Holyrood in areas such as welfare, employment support and income tax.

The Scotland Bill serves Scotland badly and falls well short of fully implementing the Smith proposals.

With our existing powers, we have demonstrated we can make a difference for hard-pressed families – through boosting childcare, freezing the council tax, encouraging more employers to pay the living wage and spending more than £100million a year just to mitigate UK welfare cuts.

With new powers, we can make even more of a difference by using additional economic and welfare policies to protect vulnerable households but also to create jobs, boost investment and grow the economy.

Yet the Scotland Bill badly lets Scotland down.

The Bill restricts who the Scottish Government would be able to pay certain benefits to. It fails to devolve the full range of employment support services currently delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

It contains no powers to create new benefits in devolved areas, if we wanted to, having considered how new welfare powers will complement existing devolved services.

It is missing or restricts powers in areas of consumer protection, energy and the Crown Estate.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the proposed Bill gives Westminster a veto over key policies.

That means myself or my Scottish Cabinet colleagues would still have to seek the explicit approval of the relevant Secretary of State before implementing new policies – such as scrapping the bedroom tax.

By any definition, that isn’t devolution and that is why the Scotland Bill must be improved, if it is to have any credibility, it must be changed to implement the Smith Commission recommendations in full.

Doing so should not be seen as some kind of concession from David Cameron’s Government.

It would only be delivering what they have already signed up to and already promised the people of Scotland.

This week, the Scotland Bill will be debated at Westminster – and the real work begins to get it into shape.

If the Westminster parties are not prepared to honour the promises they made to people of Scotland in the days before the referendum, then SNP MPs will seek to amend the Bill to do just that.

We want to remove the UK Government’s veto over key decisions, give the Scottish Parliament an explicit power to create new benefits in devolved areas and ensure that the Scottish Parliament cannot be abolished without the consent of the Scottish people.

These basic changes to the Bill will give future Scottish governments the freedom to exercise new powers without interference.

But going forward, we regard what is currently being proposed as the floor – not the ceiling.

That’s why we’ll also put forward proposals shortly for more powers to be devolved through the Scotland Bill including employment policy, the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy – the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty.”

 

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Jun 2015: Swinney calls for devolved full fiscal autonomy

The Deputy First Minister called for extra powers to give Holyrood:

“the levers to grow our economy and tackle inequality.

The Scottish Government believes we should move towards full fiscal autonomy as the best route to fulfill Scotland’s potential.

In the meantime, we are prioritizing the transfer of additional powers to incentivize key sectors, raise productivity and attract investment.

Powers over the minimum wage, employment policy and benefits would allow us to build a coherent approach to training, education and support for people out of work or experiencing in-work poverty.”

 

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Jun 2015: Tomkins rejects SNP call for full fiscal autonomy

The UK Government rejected the SNP’s call for full fiscal autonomy.

Whilst accepting the controversial UK policy was a shambolic mess Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, said ministers would not accept an SNP amendment on the issue when the Scotland Bill is debated in the House of Commons.

Tomkins, adviser to Mundell, stated that allowing fiscal autonomy would effectively reverse the result of the independence referendum.

“full fiscal autonomy isn’t devolution max, it is independence light,” he said.

Tomkins then told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme it would be irresponsible of the Westminster government to “devolve the national minimum wage, or employers’ national insurance contributions or corporation tax”.  Saying: “the Smith Commission did not reject them because of unionist intransigence, it did so because they significantly undercut the reason why we have the Union.”

 

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Jun 2015: The BBC is a major problem for Scotland

Only days before the independence referendum senior BBC Scotland news presenters openly assisted the “Better Together” campaign rabbiting on endlessly, telling Scots viewers that Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA) was on offer (the pledge) in the event of a “No” vote.

This turned out to be utter garbage, not one of the three London based Unionist parties had any intention of handing over Devo Max or anything like it.

 

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Jun 2015: JK Rowling in Twitter row

Humbled by the general election result – the English-born author, who lives in Edinburgh – spoke out about the abuse she had received after Labour’s crushing defeat.

She claimed she was being described as “Blairite scum”,  a traitor to Scotland and urged to leave the country.

She also said that she had SNP friends for whom it was “all about self-determination” and she respected their view, and said she hoped the overwhelming majority of the SNP were not anti-English.

Independence supporters told her to “grow up” and claimed they were tired of her using her influence to “mislead the public”.

An SNP spokesman said:

” the party counts  many thousands of English people resident in Scotland in its rapidly increasing membership which is indicative of membership support for the SNP policy that it will tolerate no personal abuse of any kind on any side of the debate.”

 

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August 2015 – Joining us now is North Britain’s most impartial Tory.

Trotting out Tomkins “whit aboot the constitution?” Tomkins the tory as an “impartial expert” when he was confirmed as a special adviser to Mundell confirmed the duplicity of the Tory Party.

On his conversion to “toryness” he related a story which in summary was:

“I offered my services to all the unionist parties, and it was the Tories who wanted me unconditionally, so clearly their instincts are correct.”

He is planning to stand as a Tory candidate in next years Scottish election with his only chance of success being to find favour with Ruth Davidson and get onto the “list” as a high priority.

 

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2016: The Westminster Debacle – 2015 – 2017

To say Scottish MP’s were mocked would be an understatement.

The corrupt Westminster system brutally ridiculed then destroyed them.

At every turn the English dominated House of Commons imposed its will over the Scottish opposition.

The one single claim to fame by the SNP at Westminster in 2016 was the acceptance of a one day motion removing VAT from ladies sanitary towels.

 

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2016: Scottish Parliament Election – 2016

The failure of the SNP at Westminster influenced the outcome of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election in which the party in which the SNP won a third term in government but failed to secure an overall majority.

In the election the Scottish Labour Party vote collapsed, to the benefit of the Scottish Conservative Party which increased their number of MSPs, overtaking Labour as the largest opposition party.

 

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2016: The Brexit Referendum – 2016

Just one month later, yet again, the Scottish public confirmed their wish to be independent of Westminster when at the 2016 EU referendum they voted 62.0% to remain with the EU.

But, as was the case many times before Scotland’s wishes were consumed by English voters and their decision to leave the EU.

Intention to withdraw from the Treaty of European Union was notified to the EU in March 2017.

 

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2017 General Election – 2017

From the beginning of 2017, facing growing opposition to Brexit, the Tory Government decided to “cut and run” and called a snap General Election on 7 May 2017.

The expectation, if polls were to be believed, guaranteed the Tory Party a working majority at Westminster.

But, from an opening 20-point lead, the Tory’s lead diminished in the final weeks of the campaign.

In a result that stunned Westminster, the Tory party enjoyed a net loss of 13 seats, while Labour made a net gain of 30 seats.

Other parties performed badly as England returned to the much discredited “ping-pong” two party voting patterns of the past.

In Scotland, the election resulted in the SNP remaining the largest party, retaining 35 of the 56 seats It had won two years before.

The Scottish Tory Party won 13 seats while Labour and the Liberal Democrats took 7 and 4 seats respectively.

The result provided ammunition for the opposition parties which they duly used in a sustained “fear” campaign against the SNP, orchestrated by the Red Tory Alliance claiming Scot’s had lost their appetite for independence.

The SNP hierarchy responded by abandoning a fundraiser for a possible referendum sometime after the conclusion of the 2 year Brexit negotiation period at the end of March 2019.

 

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2017 Scottish Independence Referendum – Post Brexit – 2019

Looking forward to the post Brexit period it is entirely possible that Scottish politicians will seek to hold another referendum on Scotland’s independence.

It is imperative that lessons are learned from the much discredited 2014 referendum and events since and changes applied.

Postal voting to be permitted but only if secured by a “failsafe” system.

The usual caveats would be applicable in the case of service personnel.

Voting by proxy to be permitted but birth certificates or other form of acceptable proof of identity to be produced by a named proxy at the time of placing a vote.

Adoption of the foregoing as policy would provide an opportunity for Scot’s and only Scot’s to express their wish for the future of their country.

 

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Jan 2014: Richard Keen QC appointed Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party.

A delighted Ruth Davidson said the appointment of one of Scotland’s highest earners, Richard Keen showed that the Scottish Conservatives were committed to recruiting the brightest and the best people in Scotland, adding:

“As one of the UK’s leading legal brains, he brings a wealth of external experience to the party, and I am looking forward to working closely with him as we lead the team at a critical time in the politics of our country.”

Keen added:

“As we face the potential break-up of Britain, there are many in Scotland who will be reminded of the values of our party and its role in maintaining what is so much more than just the political union of the UK.”

 

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May 2015: Just over a year later Tory supporter Richard Keen is appointed Advocate general-the most powerful legal position in Scotland

Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act requires that the Advocate General be provided with notice of all ‘devolution issues’ raised before courts or tribunals in Scotland.

Devolution issues include challenges to the legislative competence of an Act of the Scottish Parliament and to whether a member of the Scottish government has complied with the EU Convention on Human Rights or EU Community law.

The Advocate General may choose, intervene, on behalf of the UK government, in proceedings in which devolution issues have been raised if he so decides.

The Office of the Advocate General considers all Scottish Parliament Bills as they progress, in consultation with interested UK government departments, to assess their legislative competency.

Under section 33 of the Scotland Act, the Advocate General has the power to refer Scottish Parliament Bills to the Supreme Court for decisions on their legislative competence.

Their man at the very centre of any anyting to do with devolution or independence

 

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Jul 2016: And only a year Richard Keen is appointed to be the spokesman for Ministry of Justice business in the House of Lords.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson for the Lords is responsible for all departmental business in the Lords.

He also advises the Secretary of State for Justice on the following policy areas:

1. Civil justice (including discount rate and whiplash)

2. legal services

3. Global Britain

4. Relationship with the legal profession

5. Claims management regulation

6. Crown dependencies

Couldn’t get any worse for Scots. It’s called “tying up the loose ends.”

 

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Dec 2016: Bella Caledonia reported on Richard Keen’s performance, presenting Westminster’s Brexit case before the Supreme Court

“Watching the Tory government’s lead advocate for Scotland, Lord Keen, in his performance in the Brexit case before the Supreme Court, was to see the Scottish Unionist establishment in its fullest pomp.

But also, it seems to me, in its self-subverting arrogance too.

In order to do the Tory Brexiteers bidding, Keen ripped to pieces the rags of the “respect” agenda towards the Scottish parliament – by making brutally clear that Westminster command will always take ultimate precedence over any determinations coming from Holyrood.

There are signs that the Supreme Court has seen this.

When Keen noted that the Sewel Convention, requiring that Holyrood gives legislative consent to any changes in its constitution, was merely a “self-denying ordinance,” Lord Sumption pointedly asked how it could be merely so, if it was written into the law of the Scotland Act?

Added comments:

1. “The preening and word-splitting thereafter from Keen could only have been improved on with a full periwig from 1707.”

2. “During his long submission to the UK Supreme Court, the former chairman of the Scottish Conservatives and now Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Richard Sanderson Keen, Baron Keen of Elie, showed the court Westminster’s teeth with his snarled version of the truth in his statement:

“The UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not.” Heed and learn Scots!!!

 

Image result for scottish law

 

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A-Z – List of People of Angus (1689-1746) who Said no to Independence and their Fate at the Hands of Their English masters Is your Ancestor on the list??

 

 

 

 

 

After Culloden

The Angus Jacobite’s who rose up in 1745 were led by twenty year old Lord David Ogilvy, whose force of around 600 men came from his father’s estates.

His father and Sir David Kinloch later managed to raise another 400 men from Angus and the Mearns.

Following the disaster of the Battle of Culloden, Ogilvy captured a ship in the River Tay off Broughty Ferry and managed to escape to Norway.

He was eventually pardoned and returned to Scotland in 1778.

His sword, still preserved in the family castle at Cortachy, is inscribed with this legend: ‘The man who feels no delight in a gallant steed, a bright sword, and a fair ladye, has not in his breast the heart of a soldier.’

Those Jacobite rebels who were lucky enough to escape the carnage at Culloden were hounded by the Kirk.

The Westminster government’s list of rebels from the districts of Brechin, Arbroath and Montrose came to 338 men.

When the Duke of Cumberland arrived in Montrose, in February 1746, he issued an order demanding that all rebels ‘lurking in the Country’ should deliver themselves to a magistrate or a minister, ‘and submit entirely to His Majesties Mercy’.

He also threatened to have certain townsfolk whipped at the Cross because they had allowed their children to light bonfires to celebrate the birthday of the Pretender.

Some bold Jacobite ladies on that occasion had donned white dresses adorned wit white roses and marched through the streets.

The questions put to suspected rebels by the kirk sessions within the Presbytery of Forfar were as follows:

1. Was you in ye Rebellion by bearing arms in the service of the Pretender?

2. Do you contribue men or moe to ye rebels, and in what inducement?

3. Did you in your conversation or talking with your neighbours say anything to encourage ye Rebellion, or against His Majesty and ye great establishment?

4. Did you attend a non-juring meeting-house during ye time of ye Rebellion?

Among the 72 Brechiners to be interrogated was one Peter Logie, a crippled tailor from Tigerton of Balnamoon, who fought at Preston, Falkirk and Culloden.

When he was asked about what position he had held in the Jacobite army he glanced at his club foot and replied, ‘I had the honour to be his royal highness’s dancing master.’ He was subsequently freed.

Peter Logie’s laird was mentioned in the lists compiled by the Montrose excise: James Carnegie of Findourie, Brechin, acted as Lord Lieutenant Deput of the County of Angus, appointed Governors of towns and factors upon the forfeited estates…[he] raised himself men and money out of these estates.

Carnegie, better known from his official estate of Balnamoon (Bonnymun), collected the cess – or land tax – on behalf of the exiled Stuart ‘king’.

Balnamoon arrived home from Culloden the day after Peter Logie.

The redcoats were extremely anxious to discover this important outlaw, so he went into hiding in the wilds of Glen Mark and Glen Esk.

His principal hiding place and refuge was Balnamoon’s Cave, near the foot of Cannaud Hill. (Those searching for the cave can find it about a mile and a half beyond the Queen’s Well, 75 feet above the river bank.)

Although the kirk elders of Lochlee parish smugly reported that their parishoners ‘ had behaved themselves very well during the unnatural rebellion’, most people here were still sympathetic to the Jacobite cause and did not reveal Balnamoon’s bolt hole.

The glens filled up with government troops looking for the laird.

A large reward was offered for Carnegie’s capture, but he was secretly welcomed at many upland farms.

One cold and miserable night he arrived at James Mill’s home at Auchronie and was well settled by the hearth when a group of soldiers arrived.

While they were asking Mill if he had any knowledge of the fugitive, the man himself was too terrified to move.

Fortunately he was disguised as a hind (farm labourer), so he did not immediately attract the search party’s attention.

The farmer declared that he had not caught sight of Balnamoon for a considerable time.

Then he gruffly ordered his ‘servant’ to go and attend to the cattle in the byre.

Balnamoon hurried out and ran the four miles back to his cave.

He was later betrayed by a Presbyterian minister and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

But his luck held good and he was freed because of a ‘misnomer’.

He returned to Balnamoon and often entertained James Mill when the farmer ventured south.

 

 

 

An occupation force comprising many thousands of soldiers was deployed to Scotland after Culloden .

Forts, barracks and roads were built over a period of 12 years enabling the imposition of brutal martial law, hunting down and jailing or transporting of anyone favouring the Jacobite  cause.

That is the truth of the “Treaty of Union” It is now and always has been a lie perpetuated by the Unionists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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misuse of voters personal data for political gain is unacceptable and should be criminalized to protect the outcome of elections

 

 

 

Latest Royal News | Emmas Diary

 

 

August 9 2018: Emma’s Diary Data Used to Get Mums in Labour

The “Diary”, a subsidiary of “Lifecycle Marketing”, is one of the UK’s leading baby clubs for mums-to-be, providing expert advice on every aspect of pregnancy and childcare.

It claims to be the best UK new born baby club for taking mothers through every stage of pregnancy, from pre-conception up to labour and beyond.

Its database contains personal details of many millions of women in the UK.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently fined the “Diary” £140k for illegally collecting and selling personal information to “Experian Marketing Services”, belonging to more than one million people.

Experian created a database, to be used used to profile the new mums in the run up to the 2017 General Election.

To achieve this the information was sold on to the Labour Party, who used it for political campaigning purposes sending targeted direct mail to mums advising them of party policy to protect “Sure Start Children’s Centres”.

A sure fire vote influencer!!!!

The ICO investigation also discovered that the “Diary” privacy policy failed to disclose in advance that personal information provided would be used for political marketing or by political parties, which is a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Information Commissioner, said: “the democratic process must be transparent”.

The ICO has put the UK’s eleven main political parties on notice to have their data-sharing practices audited later this year, and that there are outstanding enquiries with a number of data brokers, including Experian.

The ICO judgement: https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/mpns/2259583/lifecycle-marketing-mother-and-baby-ltd-mpn-8-august-2018.pdf

But there is more to the story

The “Diary”, is owned by Nick Wells, who has over twenty years experience in the direct mail industry and is a past “Chair of the Institute of Sales Promotion”, and has been a member of the board of Directors of the UK’s leading direct marketing trade body.

So you would think he would know the rules applicable to Data protection.

 

Whistl :: Whistl Open Scottish Super Depot

 

 

 

Whistl UK Ltd –  holds data on all 26 million UK households

In 2014, Nick and his, (Tnt Post Uk Ltd) team completed a management buyout and created a new company, “Whistl UK Ltd” after securing a £65million asset based lending facility from the Royal Bank of Scotland, enabling further investment across all of its business divisions.

Whistl is the largest postal operator in the UK, after the “Royal mail”.

Its business divisions include downstream access (DSA), doordrop media, international, packets and parcels and logistics.

It has expanded from a greenfield operation in 2004 to collecting, sorting and transporting nearly 4 billion items a year to 26 million UK residences.

It employs around 1,700 people.

A list of Nicks Companies:

Nicholas Mark Wells PARCELHUB LIMITED Director 2018-06-01 CURRENT 2010-03-12 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT (FARNBOROUGH) LIMITED Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2003-08-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT (RUSHDEN) LIMITED Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2004-02-27 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT LTD Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2015-02-03 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells FAMILIES PRINT LIMITED Director 2017-06-20 CURRENT 2017-06-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED Director 2015-09-25 CURRENT 2015-09-16 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells NOMINEE 71 LIMITED Director 2015-09-25 CURRENT 2015-09-25 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells LIFECYCLE MARKETING (M & B) LIMITED Director 2012-04-06 CURRENT 1990-11-08 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL LONDON LIMITED Director 2008-02-05 CURRENT 2008-02-05 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL MIDLANDS LIMITED Director 2007-12-20 CURRENT 2007-12-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL SOUTH WEST LIMITED Director 2006-10-31 CURRENT 2006-10-31 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL NORTH LIMITED Director 2006-04-20 CURRENT 2006-02-08 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL GROUP LIMITED Director 2003-07-21 CURRENT 1974-03-12 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL LIMITED Director 2003-07-21 CURRENT 2001-07-30 Active

 

 

 

But there is even more to digest: Many moons ago I exposed the illegal database sharing activities of the “Better Together” campaign team and “Experian”.

30 January 2011: Credit check giant “Experian” is accused of ‘ripping off’ its customers

Britain’s biggest credit reference agency has been accused of misleading customers who sign up for a supposedly free service to check their financial records.

Experian advertises the service on its website, stating: ‘Get your free Experian credit report.  The UK’s No1 credit report!’

Those who take up the offer are then required to provide a range of personal information, including their address and credit-card details.

But after receiving their online credit report, customers are automatically signed up to a full service charging them £14.99 a month – and many claim that it is extremely difficult to opt out of the payments.

The full service includes a £6.40 identity fraud insurance and email alerts telling customers about any changes in their financial circumstances.

One customer said: ‘I searched for hours on the Experian website to get out of paying any money.

I couldn’t even locate the free-phone number which they say you have to ring to unsubscribe.

Even when I said I didn’t want to pay I was offered another service costing £7.99 a month.’

Within hours of being approached “Experian” admitted that the wording on the website, saying that the customer had been charged immediately, was misleading and promised to remove it.

A spokesman said: “we re grateful for you drawing this to our attention and we will immediately update the website to stop the wording from appearing.” However, he denied that the system for opting out of Experian’s premium service was unfair, insisting that it was transparent to all users adding: “There is a balance to be struck here. We don’t want to be so helpful that we encourage people to leave our service. After all, you don’t go into a supermarket and see signs for how to get a refund.”

Experian has seen its profits soar as consumers use its online service to check their credit-worthiness during the economic downturn.

It has also seen rising numbers of users checking their profiles after having their debit or credit card cloned.

Credit reports are one of the main sources used by financial institutions when deciding whether to offer loans.

Experian, with twice as much credit report business as its nearest rival in the UK. recently reported that it’s profits increased from £297m in 2007 to £436m in 2010.(Daily Mail)

 

 

 

Better Together” gains unfettered access to Experian’s database

The credit-checking group “Experian” was contracted by “Better Together” to devise a new data management tool.

The company created a software package from it’s extensive database titled “Patriot” which stored all consumer data obtained from lenders and companies who voters had contracts with.

This allowed “Better Together” to identify lifestyle indicators, categorise voters and link them with activists of a similar age or with similar social media friends in order to improve voter targeting and canvassing.

The initiative is yet another damming example of the hard-hearted, ill advised “Better Together,” appointment of the US media company “Blue State Digital,” the agency that managed the successful first election campaign for US President Obama.

And he said the US would not get involved in the referendum campaign. Liar.

The drive, manipulating information on social media and UTube was launched with the purpose of recruiting volunteers who were then provided with the personal details of members of the electorate given the task of cold-calling canvassing their support.

The information gleaned was also stored in the campaign database and provided to the three parties involved with “Better Together.”

The initiative was a follow on from the controversial April 2013 “Better Together.” campaign which included the widespread unauthorised distribution of unsolicited text messages releasing people’s personal details and information.

A campaign which was successful recruiting over 3,500, “cold-call” volunteers.

Afternote: The Scottish electorate should be concerned:

“Anyone with a credit card, bank account, loan, mortgage, store card or monthly/quarterly mobile phone will most likely have an Experian profile.

The company conducts millions of credit checks each year on many hundreds of thousands of UK citizens.

The level of data they collect and hold is frankly staggering. Making matters worse, the information “Experian” retain is very often gathered without the knowledge of the subscriber.

Companies run credit checks on potential customers whenever a new application for credit is made, yet it is rarely explained what “doing a credit check” actually entails.

In fact, the consumer has little to no choice over which company actually undertakes the credit check. They are chosen by the bank, estate agent, mobile phone network or any other commercial organization.

Not engaging with a credit reference agency is almost impossible. It would entail not having a bank account, not having any direct debits, not having a credit card, not renting or owning a property. We have to, whether we like it or not, engage with these companies.

The consumer needs to be able to trust companies such as “Experian” that handle massive levels of personal data, more acute when we have little to no say over what data they hold.”

 

Wings Over Scotland | Better Together leaked posters #5

 

 

19 July 2014: Scottish independence: “Better Together” targets voter ‘Tribes’

The group campaigning for a “no” vote in Scotland’s independence referendum has said it is conducting the most sophisticated targeting of voters seen in British political history.

Pro-union “Better Together” has launched its new “Patriot” system which divides Scotland’s four million voters into 40 different tribes. This allows the campaign team to contact undecided voters, using letters, emails and face-to-face discussions.

The technology, said “Better Together,” had been developed, cost £500k, using information provided by the “Experian” credit rating agency.

Input from “Blue State Digital,” former media advisers to President Obama, now working for “Better Together” allowed the identification of lifestyle indicators, such as the number of cars a family had and local house prices.

Voters are then “linked” to activists of a similar age or with similar social media friends.

In a statement, “Better Together” campaign director Blair McDougall said: “We are on the doorsteps and high streets and also on peoples smartphones, tablets and PCs. This new tool greatly helps our campaign bring thousands of volunteers together with voters who will decide the outcome of the referendum.”

Estimates are that “Better Together” had 10,000 volunteers, many with useful IT experience, resident in universities, colleges in England, signed up before the start of the campaign.

Social media had an important role as an enabling factor assisting “Better Together” to effectively mobilize volunteers, disseminating information using the “Patriot” software. (BBC)