£Billions Sucked Out Of UK Universities By Equity Finance Enterprise Registered in the Grand Cayman Islands – And There Are Links to the Trump Russia Scandal

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTO University Partnerships – Labour Party Private Finance Initiative For Further Education

Every year, INTO helps almost 14,000 students from 150 countries and territories around the world achieve their dream of studying overseas.

Investing more than £46 million annually and working with around 1,000 carefully selected education counsellors, we provide a permanent presence in more than 31 countries around the world.

INTO works together with university partners providing specialist degrees and pathway programmes designed for international students.

Students are guaranteed a great education with INTO, wherever they choose to study.

Our university partners and affiliates are respected worldwide. And they’re dedicated to providing a great student experience.

 

 

 

Who Started the Programme?

The innovative joint venture model emerged from a collaboration in 2005 between then-Vice Chancellor Sir David Eastwood of the University of East Anglia and INTO’s co-founder Andrew Colin.

Sir David’s ambitious plans for internationalization depended on first developing a globally diverse student body, but he recognized that a significant increase in international students was beyond the university’s ability to accomplish alone.

By the same token, he was unwilling to outsource such a critical university goal, so deeply rooted in academic programs, to a commercial entity over which the university had no direct control.

Ultimately, Sir David and Andrew Colin set about designing a partnership in which the university could access private sector investment while retaining critical control over the university’s brand and its academic programs.

The result was the world’s first public-private partnership in higher education predicated on a joint venture model of shared mission, shared investment, shared risk, shared governance, and shared reward.

 

 

 

About the INTO Partnerships

Andrew Colin is the founder/owner of INTO University Partnerships. He provides the leadership and vision which has helped INTO to develop partnerships with leading universities across three continents.

He combines a strong entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for education and international student mobility.

Back in 1981, while studying law at the London School of Economics, he launched his first company – providing Apple-sponsored computer courses for schoolchildren.

In 1990, he founded and directed Study Group, which, under his leadership, became a major force in international pre-university education with centres established throughout the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2005, he founded INTO University Partnerships, with the aim of transforming the international student experience and helping leading internationally-focused universities to expand access and improve student mobility.

Since its establishment, INTO has delivered world-class educational experiences to international students through joint venture partnerships with leading universities across the UK, the US and China. (Crunchbase)

 

 

 

01 May 2008: INTO Rejected by the Higher Education Trade Unions

Andrew Colin, unpopular chairman and owner of INTO University Partnerships, the private provider of English-language courses for foreign students, has been accused by the University and College Union of leading the “creeping privatisation” of UK higher education.

INTO’s joint ventures with the universities of East Anglia, Newcastle and Exeter sparked protests and claims that it is undermining terms and conditions.

The Combined Union Committee of Glasgow Caledonian University organised a protest against plans by the university to use INTO to “recruit and teach” international students, claiming “massive support”.

Colin launched a point-by-point defence of his company and set out his plans for ambitious expansion into several other British universities, including Essex, Goldsmiths, Stirling, Queen’s University Belfast and other universities.

He said INTO was countering the “chronic under-investment” in English-language programmes that threatened the UK’s share of the international student market and argued that his vocal critics were motivated by simple ideology.

One key concern of the company’s critics is a lack of financial transparency – illustrated by INTO’s failure to file its accounts on time.

Colin said this was a simple mistake. Accounts for 2006 are now filed, and the next set of accounts, due to be filed in May, will show a £1.7 million loss.

The deficit, which he said was “totally in line with projections”, relates to the cost of maintaining a large international marketing team.

He has personally invested more than £8.5 million in INTO and its subsidiary property companies, £3.7 million of which has gone on marketing. “By our third year, we will be well beyond break-even,” he said.

Colin is also chairman of a property investment and development businesses and critics have also alleged that making money from property is a prime motivation for him.

For each joint venture, INTO has set up a subsidiary to develop a site and lease the building back to the host university.

Mr Colin denies that he expects to make more money out of the estate than student recruitment, maintaining that the union’s opposition is simply ideological.

“I’m an old-fashioned Blairite. I believe that private capital can support public provision, and the UCU is opposed to that ideologically … The union sees Into as a profound threat to higher education structures, but it isn’t meant to be that.”

One UCU member from the University of East Anglia explained that their opposition was to “the idea that the private sector is essentially exploiting public-sector resources”.

Colin said: “I’ve asked for a dialogue with the UCU, but they won’t talk to us. The union causes a lot of anxiety and talk about standards and job losses, they don’t mention the fact that we are creating jobs and that the university is responsible for academic standards.”

On terms and conditions, universities can choose whether to transfer staff to INTO or to keep them in university employment. Colin admits, however, to paying INTO staff less than those in equivalent positions in the university.

“Rates of pay are probably worse,” he said, but he added that INTO compares well with the UK’s private English-language teaching market. INTO is carrying out a study to provide benchmarks for its employees, he said.

At Newcastle University, a UCU spokesman claimed that INTO had fallen short of its teacher recruitment targets, which meant class sizes had gone up from 12 to 16 and that new employees had no experience of teaching academic English.

An INTO spokesman said class size for English was standard at all its centres, with 16 regarded as the optimal size. He added that INTO’s appointments criteria were the same as those for university-based staff.

Although Colin may lack union support, he does have a powerful backer in Sir David Eastwood, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. As vice-chancellor of the UEA, he was a driving force behind the first Into joint venture.

“I’d been helping David Eastwood with an international project at UEA, and he asked whether I would do a joint venture,” Colin said. “We discussed outsourcing, and David said that international recruitment was strategic to the university and that he didn’t want to lose control. We created the 50:50 joint venture so that the university retained control.”

Colin set up INTO in 2005 with the aim of increasing the number of UEA’s 40 “pathway” students to 500 in five years. “We got them in two,” he said.

Now about 70 per cent of students meet the qualification criteria for access to the host institution. “That gives you 1,000 extra international students on campus over three years,” Colin said.

The venture, he said, had also contributed significantly to a 40 per cent increase in direct international recruitment at UEA since 2005.

Colin wants to see 25 INTO centres set up by 2012, about 11 of them in the UK. As well as Glasgow Caledonian and Essex, the company is about to sign a deal with the University of Manchester.

“English-language programmes have suffered from chronic under investment in the UK, compared with Australia,” he said. “We believe the UK will perform poorly in international recruitment if there is no investment in high-quality provision.” (The Times)

 

 

 

INTO Ropes in USA Universities to Lure Foreigners

In July 2008, INTO announced that it had signed its first agreement in the United States, to operate a foundation year programme for Oregon State University.

OSU said that it had long wanted to expand the number of international students, and turned to INTO for its worldwide infrastructure and expertise in recruitment; some staff, on the other hand, expressed concerns over working conditions.

It intends to begin with 150-200 students. The new venture will “replace the English Language Institute, a self-sustaining program that has helped international students learn English for 43 years”, a move that fills its former director with concern.

 

 

Spring 2008 INTO – UK University Foundation Courses – Russian Students

Russian high school programs finish a year earlier than those in the UK, which means Russian students looking to do a UK degree course almost always need a need to do a foundation year first.

There are two types of foundation programs. One has its course content validated by a UK university, and successful students are guaranteed a university place.

These offer courses in specialist subjects together with academic English. They employ highly qualified teachers – the English language staff, for example will have at least a diploma.

The other kind does not have validated courses and does not guarantee a university place. At best they offer a good top-up in a specialist subject and/or a solid academic English course.

From 2009, Russian students who wish to study at private institutions will need to enrol in a college accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) or a language school covered by Accreditation UK to obtain a visa.

Unfortunately, the BAC inspects only specialist subjects while Accreditation UK inspects only English-language teaching. Foundation programs should offer both. In addition both schemes accredit courses that don’t guarantee university places as well as those that do.

So how do you choose a good foundation year? By asking some very tough questions.

If you already know which university you want, simply ask the admissions office. The university may run its own foundation program or outsource it to a state college, private college or a language school while guaranteeing degree places to successful students.

In either case, it is important to check what assistance is available if the student fails. “If a student [barely] fails the foundation year, we help them find a place somewhere else,” says Claire Ballard of Reading University’s International Office.

An increasing number of universities have private-sector partners who run foundation programs on the university campus.

Students can enrol direct with these partners and get help choosing a university subsequently. Most of these organizations have formal arrangements with other universities for students who don’t quite make the grade.

INTO is involved in joint ventures with a number of British universities, which means the university remains responsible for academic quality. Again other universities will accept their course.

INTO are also building on-campus centres for their courses which include pre-foundation courses for those whose English is weak through to English-language support for students during their degrees.

Students who haven’t decided on the university to which they wish to apply, could consider a foundation year at an accredited college whose programs are formally accepted by a number of university partners.

Proper validated foundation years are very expensive. Courses without validation are much cheaper. But if no university will accept them, what is the point? (Career Centre RU)

 

 

But There is Resistance

Several British universities approached by INTO, including Bristol and Southampton have decided not to link up with INTO.

A survey of staff at Essex University, 90% rejected the proposed partnership for two reasons: that INTO does not recognise unions, and that Colin acknowledges that the hourly rates of pay rates offered are likely to be worse.]

The International Centre for English Language Studies (ICELS) at Oxford Brookes University strongly opposed INTO’s approach, the University College Union (UCU) claimed credit for the opposition influencing the university’s decision). The university stated that it would not go ahead with the project because it required such a large real estate commitment.

In February 2007, the Times Higher Education published an article featuring the UCU’s dispute of guarantees that INTO offered to existing Newcastle staff.

Andrew Colin rejected the UCU criticism, saying in 2007, “Give me three years and I will show you it is possible to create secure, well-paid jobs in EAP, and more of them,” and rejected the similarity of his business model to private finance initiatives (PFI).

Andrew Colin said of the lecturers’ union in 2008, “I’ve asked for a dialogue with the UCU, but they won’t talk to us.

The union causes a lot of anxiety and talk about standards and job losses, they don’t mention the fact that we are creating jobs and that the university is responsible for academic standards.”

In July 2008, INTO threatened UCU with a legal suit for defamation, in response to a union briefing entitled “Into the unknown.” The union removed the document from their website.

 

 

 

March 2013: INTO Cracks the US Equity Market

A US private equity company has paid over $100 million for a 25 per cent stake in Into University Partnerships, valuing the total UK-based international education company at over $400 million, or quarter of a billion pounds.

The sale to New York-based Leeds Equity Partnerships, which invests exclusively in education and knowledge-based industries, is designed to provide INTO’s university partners with access to external capital, according to INTO chairman Andrew Colin, who said he was ‘delighted to confirm that we have secured this significant new funding to support the continued development of public-private partnerships’.

Unlike other global pathway programmes, INTO operates a joint venture model with partner universities in the UK, US and Asia, benefiting from international student fee income on pre-university programmes and retaining control over academic standards and branding.

Sources at INTO said the money would be used to increase market presence, particularly in the US, where international students make up only 4 per cent of total enrolments compared to some 14 per cent in the UK and 20 per cent in Australia.

Funding will also focus on regional education hubs and Transnational Education programmes, in which English-medium universities deliver programmes in the students’ own country.

The INTO group, which was founded only six years ago, turned over a quarter of a billion dollars (£160 million) in the last financial year and has an infrastructure portfolio with a current investment value of over $300 million.

Jeffrey T Leeds, co-founder and president of the US company, said, ‘We are excited about partnering with such an exceptional team. Andrew Colin, John Sykes and Steve Sale have built a successful, impactful business.’

The Leeds–INTO deal sees Andrew Colin teamed up with Colin Powell, former US secretary of state and chair of the Leeds board of advisers. Other members of the board include two former US secretaries of education: Richard R Riley, who served under Bill Clinton, and Roderick R Paiger, who served under George W Bush.

Private equity firms have taken an increasing interest in the international sector.

The Carlyle Group acquired the Aspect chain of language schools from US education company Laureate before selling it on to Kaplan, part of the Washington Post group of companies.

Study Group, founded by Andrew Colin in the early 1990s, was acquired by Providence Equity from Australian private equity firm CHAMP and Petersen Investment in 2010 for $660 million. (elgazette.com)

 

 

2 Apr 2014: University of Stirling and INTO launch major internationalisation partnership

The centres will provide a range of academic and English language preparation courses for international students, with teaching due to begin in September 2014.

Programmes on offer at the Stirling campus include General English, Academic English, International Foundation, International Diploma and International Graduate Diploma courses, together with pre-sessional and in-sessional support.

Students who successfully complete the preparation courses will be able to progress to undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes at the University of Stirling.

Agreements already signed with affiliate partner institutions in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland will offer students additional options for progression.

Students at INTO Stirling will have full access to all of the University’s academic and support services as well as the full range of sporting and social facilities.

The London centre will offer a range of Master’s degrees in Business and Management, Finance and TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) in addition to a wide range of English Language courses.

The London centre will also provide validation services for Master’s degrees offered by the London Academy of Diplomacy.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “INTO shares the University of Stirling’s commitment to high quality education.

The partnership will achieve a step change across the University in relation to our international student experience.”

He added: “The new London base for the University of Stirling will provide students with internationally recognised degrees in the heart of one of the world’s most important financial, cultural and political centres.” (What base? It is shut! and Professor Mifsud cannot be located).

Andrew Colin, Chairman of INTO University Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to enter into partnership with such an ambitious and innovative university.

Scottish higher education has helped shape the world for centuries – and with this venture we look forward to helping the University of Stirling extend its global impact in the century ahead.”

“Our partnerships in the UK have helped to re-define the international student experience, enrolling almost 40,000 students and delivering truly world-class experiences. We are proud to work with a University who shares this commitment to extend opportunities for life-changing higher education to students from around the world.”

 

 

17 Nov 2017: Trump/Russia Affair – The Mysterious ‘Professor’ and His 37,000 shares in INTO

Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese “professor” who liaised between the Russians and Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, had fingers in many pies…….so many that it’s difficult to be sure what his real job was.

When he went into hiding earlier this month, Mifsud was a “professorial teaching fellow” (whatever that means) at the University of Stirling, had a vaguely-defined role at Link Campus University in Italy and was a “board adviser” at the London Centre of International Law and Practice Limited (LCILP).

According to a document released by the US Department of Justice, Mifsud and Papadopoulos first came into contact during a three-month period early in 2016 when Papadopoulos was also working at LCILP.

In addition, Mifsud was director of the London Academy of Diplomacy for several years before it was quietly shut down in 2016, in circumstances which have yet to be explained.

Now, however, yet another of his many roles has come to light. In 2013, Mifsud was reported to be working as “consultant” for a company called INTO University Partnerships.

But his involvement with INTO may go further than that: company records currently show someone named “J Mifsud” as owning 37,000 shares in the business [see “confirmation statement”, 27 July 2017]. (al-bab.com)

 

 

 

 

 

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Bogus Colleges – Bogus Student’s – Bogus Diploma’s – Bogus Directors – Backdoor Immigration on an Industrial Scale – Need to Undo the Gordian Knot

 

 

 

 

18 Jun 2004: Clampdown on Bogus Colleges

The government has given details of a new register designed to stop people entering Britain by posing as students. Ministers want to stop people gaining visas by claiming to be students at bogus colleges. From now on, all colleges and other educational establishments will have to register with the Department for Education and Skills. Visas will only be granted to students enrolling at registered establishments.

The announcement came as three men arrested during police raids on Wednesday to smash an alleged student visa scam were appearing in court on immigration and money laundering charges. In April, the Home Secretary David Blunkett announced that a clampdown was on the way. The register will be up and running by the end of the year.

Education Secretary Charles Clarke said: “Student mobility is a welcome feature of 21st-Century globalisation and we benefit from it. “The recent British Council report showed that students from overseas currently contribute £3 billion a year to the UK economy. “But, we must make sure the system is not abused.

Those coming to study here must be genuine students studying at a genuine and approved college.” Officials say education providers who receive public funding or are accredited will automatically be added to the register. Private colleges which are not accredited will need to register over the next few months. Private English language schools are being encouraged to seek accreditation with existing bodies such as the British Council or the Association of British Language Schools.

 

 

07 Jul 2004: Shadow Foreign Secretary – Michael Ancram in ‘University’ Dispute With Prasenjit Kumar Singh

A dispute has broken out over the use of the term “university” by some US organisations serving students in the UK. The Department for Education and Skills says it is reporting the Wyoming-based Preston University and Halifax University for using the title without permission.

Halifax has also upset the Conservative Party by saying its campuses in London and Birmingham were launched in a grand ceremony by the deputy leader, the shadow foreign secretary, Michael Ancram. A university spokesman insists this is what happened – and says there is nothing wrong with the use of “university” in a trading name. Ancram did attend a Preston “graduation ceremony” at a hotel in London last year and handed out diplomas and medals to students. A party spokesman said that, while he was there, it was announced that its associated institution, Halifax University, was opening campuses in London and in Birmingham. He had welcomed this, out of politeness – but that had been the extent of his involvement.

The disputed claim was repeated on Halifax University’s UK website. “These campuses were launched in a grand ceremony by Rt Hon Michael Ancram, QC, MP The Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs and the Deputy British opposition leader.” The Conservative Party spokesman said it asked for this to be toned down. But in the prospectus for Preston University, Middlesex, are photographs of Mr Ancram at its ceremony in May 2003, along with another Tory MP, Peter Luff, and the 1999 Miss World, Yukta Mookhey.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) said in a statement that Preston University and Halifax University were American institutions with operations in the UK. “Because the word ‘university’ is protected under UK law, both of the organisations … have been reported to Companies House for use of the word ‘university’ without permission to do so in the UK.”

Companies House regulates the use of business names. Preston and Halifax are “licensed” by the Wyoming state department of education as degree-awarding private institutions. Preston’s UK campus is in Hayes, west of London. Its website says: “Preston University Middlesex campus is the trading name of Preston International College London Limited and is a part of Preston University world wide chain.” It has a letter from the UK Home Office, dated 5 March 2002, confirming it as a bona fide private educational establishment and saying that its qualifications are “acceptable”.

But the DfES said it did not comment on the quality or authenticity of private or foreign institutions. “Our only argument with Preston is that they shouldn’t operate in the UK using the name ‘University’ without prior Privy Council Office approval. “The letter gives a Home Office view on whether Preston University and its degrees are ‘acceptable’ – for immigration purposes.”

Preston’s website says awards of degrees are conditional upon satisfactory completion of all coursework, a dissertation or thesis and written professorial approval – and payment of all fees, which are £3,900 a year for a Bachelor of Business Administration, for example. “All official academic documents are embossed with the Preston University seal. These documents also have a covered letter sealed by the department of education State of Wyoming USA,” it says. It adds: “Upon request, Preston University Middlesex may get the degree legalized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London where it will be signed by an official on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government.”

The Dean of Preston University, Middlesex, Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh, said that, for a fee, the Foreign Office would attest that the degree certificate, seal and stamp were genuine. He stressed that it was made very clear, however, that his institution was not offering UK degrees – which would be illegal. He said there were 300 students at the Middlesex campus, on both undergraduate and PhD courses, and a number of highly qualified faculty members, working both full-time and part-time mostly teaching business and information technology. Singh said Halifax University was not run by the same company as Preston but was “under the same management”.

Halifax had a £1.2m building in Birmingham and had “inaugurated” its London campus but did not yet have a site for it, although this is not clear from the Halifax website – parts of which appear to be identical to pages on the websites of other, long-established universities. Singh said his advice had been that it was not an offence to use the “university” title in the UK provided it also said clearly this was a college’s trading name. He disputed the Conservative Party’s version of Mr Ancram’s involvement in launching the new campuses.

Singh said previously that he welcomed the government’s move to compile a register of genuine colleges in the UK, in response to concerns about bogus students obtaining visas. “There are more than a hundred private colleges with two or three rooms in London, I’m sad to say, but we didn’t practise that way – we have a very reputable organisation, within our own limitations,” he said. “I’m so fed up with some other establishments,” he said. He added: “We are a bona fide establishment and meeting the requirements of the UK immigration rules.”

Halifax University’s US website says it “proudly announces the official openings of three new campuses, as London, Birmingham, UK and Dublin in Southern Ireland. BBC news

 

 

 

The History of Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh’s Educational Enterprises

Albert College Limited: 39 Welbeck Street, W1G 8DR London (18 October 2005-13 January 2012). Compulsory Wound up: Court Order.

In 2007, London University complained that Albert College was offering its students some of the university’s external courses, but had not asked for up-to-date study materials and had never put forward any candidates for examination. Northumbria University also complained that Albert College was advertising the university’s distance-learning law course in its prospectus without the right to do so and threatened legal action.

Halifax College (UK) Limited: 31 August 2004 – 13 January 2012 (declared insolvent) Compulsory Wound up.

Established in 2004 as the British arm of Halifax University in Wyoming whose degree courses were not accredited by the US Department of Education. The British branch attempted to describe itself as a university but the government intervened to stop it. This caused some embarrassment for the Conservative party (which was in opposition at the time) because one of the party’s grandees, Michael Ancram, had performed the opening ceremony. Although Halifax College ended up insolvent, in 2009 it made donations to the Conservative party in Reading West amounting to £5,000. At the time, Reading West was a marginal constituency held by Labour. The following year, Alok Sharma captured it for the Conservatives.

Preston International College London Ltd: (16 Mar 2004-18 Apr 2005)

Honor Among Thieves – Preston University Diploma Mill. Preston University Ajman now has more than thousand students in its various programs. In the UK, it has invited MPs such as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs Michael Ancram and former Miss World Yukta Mukhi to dish out degrees during a graduation ceremony in the recent past. It is operating the “Halifax University” enterprise in the UK as well. With more than 50 campuses worldwide, Preston “University” is fooling thousands of students by claiming that they are obtaining an “American” degree……..I don’t know how its owners can sleep at night. Don’t they ever consider that they are playing on the gullibility of these students? But one thing is for sure: They are making a heap of money. Regardless of what they might counterclaim, the quoted materials on this blog are self explanatory. Preston cannot claim that the information on this blog is false.
Full story here: http://theprestonuniversityfraud.blogspot.co.uk/

Halifax Educational Research Ltd: 1 Darris Close, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 9RX. ( 26 May 2010) Wound up.

Birmingham College UK LLP: (16/03/04-18/04/05): Wound up.

Techno School of Business & Engineering Ltd: 1 Darris Close, Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 9RX. (26 May 2010) Wound up.

Narsingha Private Limited, Ground Floor, The Glass Centre, Brierley Hill, DY5 3EP. (06 August 2014-05 September 2014) Wound up.

Swiss College of Management Ltd. Berne, CH-036.3.054.566-8, Morgenstrasse 148, 3018 Berne, Aktiengesellschaft (10 Jul 2012-15 Oct 2015) Liquidated

Purpose: The Company aims to provide students and graduates with scientific and professional courses in business administration and management. The Company may engage in all commercial, contractual, financial and other activities which promote the Company’s purpose or which are directly or indirectly related to it. The Company may participate in other companies in Switzerland and abroad and may establish, acquire and dispose of branches and subsidiaries. The Company may acquire, hold, encumber and sell real estate both domestically and abroad. Share capital: CHF 100,000.00. Payment of share capital: CHF 50’000.00. Shares: 1’000 registered shares at CHF 100.00. Publication organ: SHAB. Notifications to shareholders: Publication in SOGC, by letter or e-mail. According to the declaration of 10.07.2012, the limited revision was waived.

Registered persons: Kumar Singh, Prasenjit, British citizen, in Middlesex (UK), President, with individual signature; Lal-Nagar, Neelam, from Rohrbachgraben, in Hinterkappelen (Wohlen near Bern), member, with individual signature.

Director, London School Of Executive Training Ltd, 1 Darris Close, Hayes, UB4 9RX. ( 22 August 2016-Active)

 

 

 

12 Nov 2017: College chums: another academic link in the Mifsud puzzle

The London School of Executive Training (LSET) is a dynamic institution located in the heart of London with a “world-renowned” teaching faculty…..or so its website says.

As part of its mission “to drive global transformation”, the school aims to attract “business leaders, bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers” and others for short courses lasting one to four weeks. A one-week course costs £1,500 which includes some sightseeing and, for the better-off students, “helicopter hire is available”.

A photo on LSET’s website shows a substantial stone-and brick building which casual observers might assume to be the school. The website doesn’t give its exact location but a few checks on Google show that the building is Hamilton House in Bloomsbury, best known as the headquarters of the National Union of Teachers. However, Hamilton House also has spare rooms that can be hired for meetings……which appears to be where LSET fits in.

LSET is the latest in a series of academic or fringe-academic institutions with links to Joseph Mifsud, the now-vanished professor at the centre of the Trump/Russia affair.

In 2014 LSET told inspectors it was “working in partnership” with the London Academy of Diplomacy where Mifsud was director until the academy’s recent closure.

The owner of LSET is Prasenjit Kumar Singh, a donor to the British Conservative party who, in a post on Facebook, has described Mifsud as one of his “good old friends”.

That in itself might not be significant……..Mifsud appears to have been a virtuoso networker……but Singh was also a Facebook friend of Olga Polonskaya, the mysterious Russian woman who in March last year attended a meeting with Mifsud and Trump “adviser” George Papadopoulos posing as a niece of President Putin.

Last month, Mifsud and Singh both attended a Conservative party fundraising dinner where they were photographed with foreign secretary Boris Johnson. Singh posted the photo on Facebook, where it was “liked” by Ms Polonskaya.

LSET was inspected in 2014 by the British Accreditation Council which gave it a broadly favourable report while noting that at the time it had a total of
only five students.

Before launching LSET in December 2013, Singh was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses:

 

Joseph Mifsud

 

 

13 November 2017: London School Of Executive Training Ltd – linked to Trump/Russia affair covers its tracks

The London School of Executive Training: one of a number of quasi-academic institutions linked to the Trump/Russia affair….clearly has something to hide. Exposure of Singh’s relations with vanished professor Joseph Mifsud and with a Russian woman who posed as Putin’s niece and with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, has resulted in the deletion of all mention of its board of governors from its website.

The school’s action echoes a similar move by the London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP) which deleted staff profiles from its website once it became known that Mifsud…….the middleman in the Trump-Russia affair………and Trump adviser George Papadopoulos had been colleagues together at LCILP for several months last year.

The London School of Executive Training (LSET).  People listed as governors:

 

Dr Prem Sharma, OBE FRSA – Chairman Board of Governors: Sharma is the father of Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West. He has held senior positions within the Conservative Party for decades. He is also the founder Patron of Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India and was recently awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen.

 

Mr K.V. Rajan: Chairperson LSET Advisory Council – Asia Pacific: K. V. Rajan is a former member of the Indian Foreign Service. He has served in many senior diplomatic assignments, including the rank of Ambassador, in a number of countries including France, USA, UK, Zambia, Algeria and Nepal. He holds over a dozen positions within various Governmental and Non-Governmental organisations including several institutions of Higher Learning.

 

Peter Sage

 

Peter Sage: Adjunct Professor of George Washington University, (teaches yoga): Member: Ananda Marga Movement
Sage has been working in the academic area for the last 10 years and is serving as an Adjunct Professor of George Washington University, (teaches yoga). He provides exceptional guidance and support to the academic department of London School of Executive Training College. http://petersage.info/bio/

 

Mr. Peter Bowyer: Sole Director, UK Learning Academy. Offers qualifications in management and other related areas. http://www.uklearningservicesltd.co.uk/uk-learning-academy

 

Professor Iain Dewar: An independent Education Management Professional. Currently seeking teaching and examiner roles : Iain Dewar Training Caledonian University Glasgow. Key attribute is in providing the opportunity for students to develop not just their knowledge but to assist them to develop learning strategies by which they learn the techniques and mechanisms to allow them to explore real time business cases and be able to focus on the real issues and present realistic and viable solutions to issues identified.

 

 

Dr Charles Chatterjee who studied law at the University of Cambridge and the University of London held several professorial positions in international commercial and criminal law at UK Universities. Dr Chatterjee is also a Barrister in England and Wales and has been practising law for over 20 years. He is currently a Senior Associate Fellow of Warwick University and an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London and a visiting academic at the London Diplomatic Academy (the recently-closed institution where the recently-disappeared Joseph Mifsud was director).

 

Marie Haughey, MBE: Owner, Work Permit Experts Ltd: Worked for over 40 years in the Civil Service. Served the UK Border Agency as Regional Head of the Passport Agency in Northern Ireland Later served as an Assistant Director in the UK Border Agency, and for her exemplary public service, was honoured with an MBE.

Second career: Work Permit Experts Ltd. Marie Haughey MBE and her team are are specialists in all areas of United Kingdom immigration casework work (except asylum) and are expert in corporate immigration compliance matters. We have been providing specialist immigration advice and services for over 15 years. We have offices in central London (Wapping – not far from Tower Bridge), central Sheffield and Londonderry Northern Ireland. We differ from many other reputable immigration advisers in that our consultants are lawyers and former employees of The Home Office (and other Government Departments) having detailed knowledge and experience of policy, practice and procedure in The Home Office. We represent both individual and corporate clients, presenting applications and making representations to The Home Office in the most effective and professional manner.

An example of the service provision of Marie Haughey MBE:
I went with my partner to this immigration law firm, as she was looking to switch from a Tier 2 work visa to a Tier 1 General visa. She had talked to one of the directors, Marie Haughey (MBE) on the phone prior to visiting, outlining her case, and was told that their fee was £750 and they had an in-person appointment for the Home Office within a week available for her case. When we got there for our appointment with a fellow Director of the company, we were immediately told that the fee was actually £995, non-negotiable. We were mad, but after a bit were prepared to accept it, as we’d gone through all the trouble and really needed that appointment. Then after half an hour of document checking, we were then told that he didn’t have an appointment available for this week, but one for 2 weeks time! That defeated the whole purpose as we really needed to get the visa done within a week, and so we left, empty handed, and cross. Avoid this law firm at all costs… they don’t seem to care about customer service at all, they’re a small company, the professionalism was just not there, and they change their fees whenever they want. Plus we found that other immigration law firms were offering the same services for £700-£850! https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/work-permit-experts-wapping

 

David Webb: Retd. Superintendent Commander of Police: David Webb worked in the police force for more than 25 years. He joined Hertfordshire Constabulary and transferred to the West Midlands Police before retiring as Superintendent Commander of Police in Birmingham. He pioneered Community Policing and is the author of “Policing the Rainbow,” which promotes the philosophy and practice of policing a multi-racial society.

 

 

Prasenjit Kumar Singh: owner of LSET. An Engineer by profession, Prasenjit Kumar Sing is the think tank behind the success of a group of Colleges for the last 14 years. He has also served as the President and Chancellor of a US based University for eight years. The undivided devotion and effort he has put into the group has resulted in some well-established Colleges and numerous companies internationally.

The first part is rubbish. As reported yesterday, before launching LSET in December 2013, Singh was involved in a succession of failed educational businesses.

He also seems reluctant to name the “US based university” of which he claims to be president and chancellor but it may be one of these. “Anandamurtijee” in the last sentence refers to Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, founder of the Indian Ananda Marga movement.

In 2009, one of Singh’s educational ventures, Halifax College (UK) Limited, donated £5,000 to the Conservative party in Reading West……… money which presumably helped Alok Sharma to capture the seat for the Tory Party from Labour a few months later.

Last month Singh and the elusive Mifsud both attended a Conservative fundraising dinner in Sharma’s constituency where they were photographed alongside foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

 

Alok Sharma MP for Reading

 

11 Nov 2017: Putin’s niece – Russian Honey Trap and Brexit Activist Dr Prasenjit Kumar Singh

On Friday, the New York Times identified a woman in the documents whom Mifsud introduced to a Trump campaign operative, George Papadopoulos, as “Putin’s niece”.

The New York Times named her as Olga Polonskaya, 30, from St Petersburg, the former manager of a wine distribution company. The FBI documents state that she has high-level connections to the Russian government.

And she is also a contact of Singh’s, though he claims he had no idea of her connection to the Trump-Russia investigation until told by the Observer. He said he had met her at Link Campus University in Rome, where Mifsud was based. “I had no idea she called herself ‘Putin’s niece’! She was just a normal student. Very nice. An ordinary girl.” He said she had rung him “about two and a half months ago” and had asked to meet.

“I was with my family and we were going to the Westfield shopping centre and I said: ‘Yes, come and meet me there.’ She was going to translate my website – for the London Executive School – from English into Russian so I could try and attract more Russian students. She did that: I just haven’t put it up yet.”

She had not been in touch since, Singh said. Nor had he heard from Mifsud who appears to have gone to ground. Polonskaya has now changed the privacy settings on her Facebook page, but a freelance investigative journalist, Gavin Sheridan, had already downloaded her data and discovered she had “liked” the photo of Joseph Mifsud and Boris Johnson and a status update of Prasenjit Kumar Singh that showed him with Theresa May.

Chris Bryant MP, the vice chair of the all-party parliamentary Russia group, said: “It’s all distinctly fishy. Boris Johnson’s relationship with the truth right now seems distinctly casual.

We asked him about Russian interference in Brexit in the foreign affairs committee last week and he categorically denied he had seen a shred of evidence.

I just thought ‘blimey’. Even as a junior minister in the foreign office, Russian stuff came across my desk every single day.” Guardian

 

If you are interested in the unfolding story follow this chap: https://twitter.com/brian_whit?lang=en

 

 

 

 

Trump – Putin Congressional Investigation – Moving Finger of Fate Pointing at the Tory Party and Stirling University on the Hook as Well

 

 

 

George Papadopoulos

 

 

 

Papadopoulos and His Bid For Political Stardom

George Demetrios Papadopoulos was born in August 1987 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

He graduated from DePaul University in 2009 with a degree in political science and government.

Richard Farkas, a Russian politics professor at DePaul University, on discovering that his former student was one of Trump’s few foreign policy advisers said:

“he studied for a bachelor’s degree in political science. All the classes I taught at DePaul during his tenure would’ve centred on Russia. His expertise was virtually non-existent. It was thin and embellished. Lots of young people, when they aspire to get close to a campaign, exaggerate their experience. George did that in spades and it was the talk of the department here. I’ve been really generally embarrassed by the fact that I don’t have a lot to share, my classes were 20 to 25 and he was invisible even in a class that size.”

As an undergraduate, he was involved in “The Hellenic Professional Society of Illinios” taking an academic interest in Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot politics.

After graduating, Papadopoulos enrolled at, “University College, London School of Public Policy” where in 2010 he gained a “Masters of Science” degree in security studies.

Returning to the US he was employed by the Hudson (right wing think tank) Institute, first as an unpaid intern then as a research assistant to a senior fellow at the institute from 2011-2014.

He left the Hudson Institute in 2014 to work for a small, oil and gas firm called Energy Stream in London, which lists only two employees.

Then his fortunes changed for the better.

In November 2015 there was a terrorist attack on Paris, France and in the days following every Republican presidential candidate began frantically scrambling to hire experts to bulk up their campaign’s foreign policy credentials. But all the of the Republican foreign policy establishment was working for the front runners, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Barry Bennett, Campaign Manager, for Republican candidate, Ben Carson recalled: “It was utter and total desperation to find people.”

So when a resume from an unknown young man named George Papadopoulos arrived, unsolicited, at the Carson campaign headquarters, Bennett gave it more attention than it may have deserved.

Bennett had never heard of Papadopoulos, who was in his late twenties at the time, nor did he recognize much on the young man’s resume.

But he did notice that between 2011 and 2014, Papadopoulos had worked at the Hudson Institute, a conservative, Washington, D.C.- based think tank, where Bennett’s friend, Kenneth Weinstein, was president. So he called Weinstein to check him out.

“I said, ‘Who’s this guy? Did you like him? Did you fire him?’” Bennett recalled, with a laugh. “Ken didn’t know him well, but said, basically, ‘He’s junior, he’s smart.’ So we hired him and that was it.”

Papadopoulos brief period as an advisor to the Carson campaign seems to have passed largely without note.

Armstrong Williams, who served in various roles in Carson’s campaign, said: “After the Paris terrorist attack, Barry Bennett and his deputy Lisa Coen thought we had to have substance so they had this hiring spree, employing all these people to show we had foreign policy experts, Papadopoulos was one of those people.”

He was paid $8,500 for his work in December 2015 and January 2016, and then received only a partial salary, $2,125, in February, when he left the campaign.

Bennett resigned from the campaign in December and within two months, most of those new people were let go due to restructuring and cuts.

No one in the Carson campaign remembers much about Papadopoulos, perhaps in part because he worked remotely from Chicago, Bennett said. “If there was any work output, I never saw it. It never ended up on my desk.”

Shermichael Singleton, Carson’s communications director said: “I don’t remember the guy. I recognised his name in emails, but I can’t recall ever meeting him.

 

 

 

 

George Papadopoulos Gets Trump in His Sights

Up to “Super Tuesday”, 1 March 2016, the Trump campaign had been a largely family affair with little external input or support from the Republican Party and he was lagging in the polls.

But when the swingometer shifted in Trump’s favour there was a realization that “Team Trump” was devoid of competent foreign policy advisors and this generated an urgent scramble to compile a legitimate list of experienced people as the media and those in political circles kept pressuring the campaign to release names.

According to a Trump campaign spokesman, Sam Clovis, then a Trump policy advisor, urgently put together a “team” (including Papadopoulos) so that Trump could release names in an attempt to “at least shut up” the critics.

During the campaign, Clovis defended the roster he had compiled for Trump, saying that “these are people who work for a living” who have “real world” experience, and that “if you’re looking for show ponies, you’re coming to the wrong stable.”

But to this day, some senior staffers in the Trump White House blame Clovis for recruiting staff without due diligence, saddling Trump with the incompetent Papadopoulos.

 

Mifsud

 

 

 

Enter Professor Mifsud – Conman Or Confidant?

Mifsud’s interest was sparked after being told by Papadopolous, who was then living in London, that he had been appointed to the Trump campaign team as an advisor.

The FBI claimed that they first met in Italy on 14 March 2016 and again in London 24 March 2017. (1)

At the second meeting Mifsud was accompanied by a woman who, according to Papadopolous, was introduced to him as a relative of Vladimir Putin. (2)

After the meeting Papadopolous emailed Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski advising that he had discussed with Olga Vinogradova the possibility of arranging: “a meeting between Trump’s campaign team and the Russian leadership to discuss US – Russia ties under President Trump.” The manager told him he had done “great work” and to keep him informed.

Around a week later he attended a campaign team meeting in Washington at which he touted his connections and proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Putin. Jeff Sessions (now Attorney General) dismissed the proposal “out of hand” declaring it to be a non-starter. (3)

But, by 11 April, 2016, ignoring the earlier directive, Mifsud and the Russian woman were on an email chain with Papadopolous in which the campaign adviser sought a meeting for himself in Russia to discuss foreign policy.

Mifsud replied: “This is already been agreed. I am flying to Moscow on the 18th for a Valdai meeting, plus other meetings at the Duma.”

Mifsud attended a Valdai summit in Sochi, Russia, on 19 April, 2016.

Papadopolous stated in the stipulation that he next had breakfast with the professor at a London hotel on 26 April, 2016.

Mifsud, recently returned from Moscow, told Papadopolous that he had learned the “Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton” in the form of “emails of Clinton… they have thousands of emails.”

It is not clear, at the meeting of 26 April 2016, which tranche of Clinton emails Mifsud was referring to the Russians possessing.

That same month, a hacker group known as “Fancy Bear” had breached the network defences of the “Democratic National Committee”. But the hack was not made public until 22 July 2016.

But, Wiki-Leaks, who denied any connection with the Russian government, had, by 16 March, 2016 already published a searchable archive of Clinton emails from her private server obtained, the group explained, through the “Freedom of Information Act”. (5)

But, according to the FBI, Papadopolous believed the information would still be valuable to the Trump campaign and according to the stipulation he circulated within the team the prospect of a meeting with the Russian government.

Olga Vinogradova later emailed Popadopoulos the message: “we are all very excited by the possibility of a good relationship with Mr. Trump. The Russian federation would love to welcome him but only once his candidature is officially announced.”

Popadopoulos emailed Mifsud around 30 April 2016: “it’s history making if it happens,” thanking him for his: “critical help.”

A few weeks after, a contact, alleged to be Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation Council, spoke with Papadopoulos over Skype about laying the groundwork for a meeting between the Trump campaign team and officials in Moscow.

Papadopoulos was persistent throughout the summer of 2016, repeatedly emailing members of Team Trump seeking permission to establish contact with individuals whom he believed had high-level Russian government connections—and could supply the campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

In August 2016, at a meeting of Team Trump in Washington, DC, he told the group that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-presidential candidate Trump and President Putin.

Paul Manafort and Sam Clovis who were aware of Papadopoulos’ efforts to set up a high-level meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russians praised his work ethic.

But a wary Manafort advised it would be inappropriate for Trump to attend any meetings.

Manafort subsequently forwarded an email to his associate Rick Gates firmly rejecting the idea of Trump making a trip to Russia. It said: “We need someone to communicate forcefully that DT will not be doing any trips or meetings with Putin. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send the wrong signal.” (6)

Months passed but the “history making” meeting was never convened. Papadopoulos had clearly been catfished and conned.

 

Papadopoulos

 

Notes:

1. The meeting in Italy was not the first time they had met (as claimed by the FBI). Mifsud served as convenor and Director for “International Strategic Development” in the London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) in 2016. The LCILP’s director for “International Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law” from February to April 2016 was George Papadopoulos.

2. Reference by Papadopolous to President Putin’s niece was spurious since he does not have one. Information that could have been confirmed in less than a minute through a “Google” enquiry.

 

 

The woman, later identified as, Olga Vinogradova, was described by Mifsud as “just a student, but a very good-looking one, and Papadopoulos’s interest in her was very different from an academic one.” Later revelations revealed “Olga Vinogradova,” to be a 32 year old graduate from St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. Now a wine company manager, (married name) Olga Polonskaya, lives in St Petersburg and is one of a dozen Russian women listed as friends on Facebook with Mifsud.

Polonskaya’s brother, Sergei Vinogradov, told the press that she had never worked for the Russian government, and had been introduced to Papadopoulos having previously met with Mifsud to discuss a promised internship. Her english was poor and at the meeting on 24 March 2016, she was not able to fully follow the conversation between Papadopoulos and Mifsud. He added: “it’s totally ridiculous, She’s not interested in politics. She can barely tell the difference between Lenin and Stalin.”

But the affidavit filed together with Papadopoulos’ guilty plea indicates Polonskaya continued with her catfishing, allegedly emailing Papadopolous: “I have already alerted my personal links to our conversation and your request for a foreign policy trip to Russia.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Papadopoulos hoped that Putin’s “niece” would introduce him to the Russian ambassador in London.

Papadopoulos was likewise interested in Mifsud: “because, among other reasons, the professor claimed to have substantial connections with Russian government officials, which he thought would increase his importance as a policy advisor to the campaign.”

 

Sam Clovis

 

3. Press leak identified Trump’s National campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis.

4. A carefully phrased message giving no indication she knew President Putin

5. Rubbish. The alleged offer, from the Russian’s on 26 April, 2016, to “dish the dirt” on Clinton through the provision of emails was useless since Wikipedia had already published the information 16 March 2016.

6. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and his long-time assistant, Rick Gates, have subsequently been indicted by the FBI on 12 counts, including conspiracy against the United States, making false statements to federal officials and committing financial crimes, including laundering more than $18 million in cash.

 

Papadopoulos

 

 

 

Papadopoulos Arrested by the FBI

In late January 2017, FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos about his interactions with Russian officials. Papadopoulos initially claimed there had been none.

When questioned about his relationship with Mifsud he told investigators he first met Mifsud over a year previous and well before he joined the Trump team.

Papadopoulos downplayed Mifsud’s Kremlin ties, calling the man “a nothing” and “just a guy bigging up connections or something.”

Papadopoulos also minimized his interactions with the woman he had described as “Putin’s niece,” telling FBI investigators that he had no relationship with her, other than sending emails that amounted to “hi, how are you?” But it transpired his assertions were untrue. He was aware he had been catfished but maintained a relationship with her.

Papadopoulos knowingly connected with the Kremlin-linked professor after he joined the Trump team and had met Olga Vinogradova in person, and Skyped with her multiple times.

FBI officials interviewed Papadopoulos again on February 2017.

The following day, he deleted his Facebook account, where he had been communicating with the Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director of the Valdai Club Foundation Council and created a new account, scrubbed of all the old messages. Days later, Papadopoulos ditched his phone and started using a new number.

He was arrested on 27 July 2017, in Dulles International Airport. His arrest, was kept secret, providing opportunity for Papadopoulos to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of alleged Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election and alleged ties between Trump Tower and the Kremlin.

Papadopolous struck a deal with special prosecutor Robert Mueller investigating the possible influence of Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The FBI affidavit for Papadopolous’ plea deal indicated that London-based, Professor of Diplomacy, Professor Mifsud had been instrumental in arranging connections between Papadopoulos and supposedly Kremlin-tied Russians – one of whom had pretended to be Vladimir Putin’s niece.

The full FBI Affidavits:

https://static01.nyt.com/packages/pdf/politics                       /2017/statement_of_the_offense.filed_.pdf

https://static01.nyt.com/packages/pdf/politics/2017/statement_of_the_offense.filed_.pdf

 

 

 

The White House Response

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, described Papadopolous as a low-level campaign: “volunteer on a council that met once” whose attempts to interest the campaign in a Moscow meeting were greeted with disinterest.

 

Special Prosecutor – Robert Mueller,

 

 

The Fall of George Papadopoulos – The Trump Adviser Who May Kill Trump’s Presidency

The most remarkable thing about George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the course of the 2016 campaign, is that he managed to get to this point at all.

Former high school classmates failed to recall him. College professors said he was a below-average student. Peers in Washington, D.C., described him as unremarkable, and many senior colleagues on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign thought he was a hanger-on.

And yet Papadopoulos found himself squarely in the middle of the most remarkable political scandal of a generation.

A nonentity who rose to unfathomable heights through self-promotion and opportunistic timing. Only this particular bit character may now bring down a president.

 

Mifsud on right

 

 

 

But Who the Hell Is Professor Joseph Mifsud?

People who know him say Mifsud is a “Walter Mitty” character who was always networking and constantly exaggerated his access to decision-makers. The content of his stories was frequently contradictory.

1960: Born in Malta

1982: Gained BAed. University of Malta.

1989: Obtained the Laurea in Pedagogia (Dott. Ped.) from the University of Padua.

1993: Obtained his Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) at the Queen’s University in Belfast.

1997-1999: Head of Department in the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.

2000 -2005: Head of the European Unit at the University of Malta, later director of the international office and professor of international relations in Malta, Perugia, London and Rome.

Malta representative on the Board of the Bologna Follow up Group, on the Erasmus Mundus Committee and on the Tempus Committee.

Malta representative on the Socrates Committee, on the Socrates Sub-Committee for Higher Education and on the Joint Research Centre (European Commission).

Programme Committee Member for the 6th Framework Programme on Research & Infrastructure and Mobility.

Representative on the Executive Board of the Compostela Group of Universities, Utrecht Network and Santander Group.

2006-2007: Chef de cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta and adviser to the centre EMUNI on EuroMed higher education during the Slovenian EU Presidency.

2008-2012: Elected President of Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in Slovenia. left in haste, in 2012, owing the university a significant amount of money

 

Mifsud on left

 

 

 

2013: Ineligible’ Expenses – Professor Joseph Mifsud In Trouble

Expense claims and high mobile phone usage have landed a Maltese academic in trouble with the Slovenian Government.

Joseph Mifsud, the former Director of the University of Malta’s international office, allegedly owes at least €39,000 to Slovenian-based EMUNI University for an excess of expenses claimed during his tenure as president.

According to an audit report commissioned by EMUNI, his mobile phone usage last year cost €13,767, when he was only eligible for €3,600.

“The Slovenian Government is awaiting documentation from EMUNI in relation to this matter and shall consider whether to pursue judicial proceedings, be they civil and/or criminal, against Dr Mifsud,” a spokesman for the Slovenian Minister of Higher Education said.

The spokesman added that action was being considered in liaison with OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud agency.

Dr Mifsud owes a total of €39,332 in wrongly-claimed expenses, mobile phone “over-sage” and penalties regarding “non-compliance” with his handover of business duties, according to the same report.

For failing to comply with the stipulated handover, Dr Mifsud was also penalised €9,600. In addition, the audit report found €15,377 in “ineligible expenses” taken without providing the necessary documentation and €14,024 in mobile expenses exceeding his annual allowance of €3,600.

This emerged from a review of EMUNI’s accounts, which took place after Dr Mifsud resigned from his role as president in July 2012.

 

Mifsud in centre

 

 

 

The Mysterious Work of the Maltese Professor Identified in the FBI’s Russia Probe

Joseph Mifsud is an enigma. The Maltese academic admitted that he is the mysterious professor at the centre of Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s attempts to arrange a meeting between Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

But he insists he has a “clear conscience” and fervently denies Papdopolous’s claim that he knew the “Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.”

Mifsud said that he’d had “absolutely no contact with the Russian government,” and reiterated that, “I do not know anybody from the Russian government…I am an academic.”

But hold on, that’s not quite true. Mifsud has had contact with multiple Russian officials.

He met the Russian ambassador to the UK, greeted a counsellor from the Russian embassy, invited a former Russian senator to his academy, and was listed at a conference as having advised the Russian government on “international education issues.”

 

 

 

A Closer Look at The London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP)

The LCILP is a curious law firm. A former employee said that: “there was a lot of secrecy going on about what they do.” After several months there, the same person said, “I hardly know what kind of business they do.”

The source described the firm, which was founded in 2014, as constantly in search of, and seemingly never obtaining, big contracts.

Mifsud’s role at LCILP was to bring in potential clients—ideally governments whom the company could advise on international law, the former employee said.

Papadopoulos and LCILP director Nagi Idris are friends on Facebook. Idris is a British national, originally from Sudan, and has been director of 18 companies at various times since 2001, according to Companies House filings.

A reporter visited LCILP’s headquarters inside a handsome Georgian building and found that the office amounted to four people working in an undecorated backroom, all of whom declined to comment.

LCILP has paid rent in a series of highly prestigious locations in London’s legal district, despite ending 2016 with debts of £329,000—a considerable sum for a company with just a handful of employees.

Shortly after rumours about Mifsud’s connection to Russia and the Trump campaign began circulating on 30 October 2017, his profile was removed from the website, along with those of all other members of staff.

 

 

 

 

And What About The London Academy of Diplomacy

Mifsud was listed as both a director and honorary director at the Academy but his role and the function of the Academy is unclear.

Indeed, an enquiry on Loughborough University London asked whether Mifsud was employed at its Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance and was told there was no record of him in the university’s files.

The Academy, closed in the Autumn of 2016, has at various points, over the year’s also been associated with the University of East Anglia.

Most recently a Stirling University spokesman confirmed Mifsud has been employed as a professorial teaching fellow since May 2017. But no-one can recall ever being taught by him.

The University magazine The Brig is investigating the scandal and it’s published articles reveal a catalogue of intrigue worthy of a Jmaes Bond movie.

More here: https://brignews.com/2017/10/31/professor-at-heart-of-trump-russia-scandal-is-from-university-of-stirling/
https://brignews.com/2017/11/04/what-we-know-so-far-about-joseph-mifsud/
https://brignews.com/2017/11/12/revealed-stirling-universitys-ties-to-academy-run-by-russia-inquiry-professor/

Comments:

Keep digging guys. It is incredible that this shadowy character has been moving through respectable academic institutions as well as dubious front organisations with so little known about his qualifications, experience and actual achievements.

Most of what is known is – either untrue, dubious or mysterious. You need to explore who appointed him at Stirling and why. I suspect that this story leads to more hidden depths of dodgy dealing in academia.

Who is covering up their involvement with him and why?

 

 

 

Mifsud and the Russian Think Tank – Vavaldi Club

In a 2014 conversation at the Valdai Club, a Russian think tank with close ties to the Russian government, at which Putin speaks every year, Mifsud suggested that the US would soon tire of its role as global policeman.

He reportedly said, (at the time the Ukraine war was raging) that: “global security and economy needs partners and who is better in this than the Russian Federation.”

In 2015, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, (who had ruled the country since the fall of the Soviet Union) was re-elected gathering 98% of the vote.

Mifsud, acting as an observer reported that it had “actively corresponded to all norms.”

In contrast, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe described Kazakhstan’s election as having “limited voter choice,” “stifled public debate” due to a “restricted media environment,” and “serious procedural deficiencies and irregularities.” (QZ.com)

 

 

 

 

Professor Mifsud and His Recruiting Visit to Washington DC in 2014

Speaking at the American University, Mifsud expounded on the London Academy for Diplomacy (LAD) and encouraged students to join it.

Early into his address, Mifsud asked the audience whether they had heard of the “Valdai Group” (a Russian discussion forum). No one had.

Mifsud then praised the increasing role of social media in diplomatic messaging. Mifsud described a recent meeting “with 45 ambassadors in London,” suggesting he was an effective mover on the diplomatic circuit.

Another interesting comment came when Mifsud described discussing the then-upcoming Brexit vote with a Member of Parliament (MP). The MP, Mifsud said, was from an ethnic minority but strongly opposed to immigration.

A telling part of Mifsud’s speech came at the end, when he asked if there were any students “interested in diplomacy.”

For those that were, Mifsud said, “we have some funds for scholarships as well, so people who are interested… you can send me an email, I’d be very, very happy to do that… Or else if people are passing through London who would like to come spend some time with us…”

During a question-and-answer session, Mifsud also indicated that he offered paid internships.

Indicating that he had brought brochures for students to peruse, the American University representative helpfully held some up in the air.

The offer of “scholarships” to the American University students “interested in diplomacy” is significant.

The American University attracts top students from all across the world, many of who will pursue careers in government.

Mifsud’s offer fitted the commonly used intelligence recruitment pattern, namely: target government career focused students, get them abroad and then recruit them.

It would be of informative if the “scholarships” money trail could be traced identifying any students who took Mifsud up on his offer.

Asked to comment former NSA counter-intelligence officer, John Schindler said: “I’d like to know who was paying for all this travel and activities by a semi-academic. Any counter-intelligence investigator would have questions here.”

Yet, Mifsud’s Washington visit didn’t end at the American University. He also spoke with The Washington Diplomat magazine about his London Academy.

Describing Mifsud as a former Maltese diplomat and cutting edge foreign policy thinker, the Diplomat noted that “The London Academy of Diplomacy arranges visits to the Houses of Parliament, the Commonwealth Secretariat and business organizations in London.”

The Diplomat further explained that the Academy also takes “students to The Hague, the European Parliament, NATO, EU headquarters and the United Nations.”

He also claimed the Academy to be: “a foundation funded from tuition fees. We do not accept any corporate funds. We don’t even accept national grants.”

The Diplomat was sold the package, proudly noting that it had previously awarded the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) its “diplomat of the year” award in 2012 “for distinguished contributions to diplomacy in London.”

 

 

 

Papadopoulos and Mifsud’s Tory Party Network

We now know that Papadopoulos is connected to a number of Tory MPs, the first of whom was Tobias Ellwood, MP a senior minister at the Foreign Office when Papadopoulos met him at the UN in September 2016, in the run-up to the Presidential Election.

Papadopoulos’ network expanded further through his relationship with the Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud who met with … Alok Sharma, MP , at the time a Foreign Office minister for Asia

And when Mifsud attended Sharma’s constituency dinner in October, who should be there, but London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Mifsud is reported to have bragged that he’d be “meeting Boris Johnson for dinner Re: Brexit”.

Bozza claimed he didn’t know Mifsud and had no recollection of having met him.

It is reasonably certain that the UKIP contingent and their hangers-on will be the subject of some of those still sealed indictments; the inability of Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore to keep schtum is the dead giveaway.

 

 

 

 

Boris Johnson – Trump – The Tory party

Three senior past and present Foreign Office ministers, including the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, were targeted by individuals identified by the FBI as central to their investigation into Trump-Russia collusion.

Alok Sharma MP said: “I did not introduce Mifsud to Boris Johnson and I don’t think anyone else did either.”

But indications of Russian efforts to make contacts with British officials could prove embarrassing for Johnson, who was asked about possible foreign interference in Britain last week and replied: “I haven’t seen a sausage.”

But there were meetings and encounters between British ministers and two individuals named in FBI indictments unsealed last week – George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser for Donald Trump’s campaign, and a “London professor” with high-level connections to the Russian state, subsequently identified as a Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud.

Alok Sharma, a Foreign Office minister until June this year and MP for Reading West, confirmed he had met Mifsud “a couple of times” and he had attended a fundraising dinner in his constituency on 19 October this year, where he had “briefly greeted” him.

An email from Mifsud to a colleague, uncovered by Byline, the crowdfunded independent journalism site, revealed Mifsud had told a colleague he would be “meeting Boris Johnson for dinner re Brexit” on that date. Sharma confirmed Johnson was the guest speaker at the event.

The revelation comes as an investigation into foreign influence places him in a web of relationships between a known Russian spy, Sergey Nalobin, expelled from Britain in 2015, and Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of Vote Leave, the official Leave campaign headed by Johnson.

A witness said: “We’re starting to have a much clearer picture from America of how the Russian state sought to influence the US election and I think there are multiple questions to be asked about how and in what ways the Russian state may have been exerting influence in British politics.

Given the gravity of the allegations against Mr Papadopoulos, the government should make public any meetings these two individuals had with British officials and what was discussed.”

Even more questions are raised by a meeting between Papadopoulos and Tobias Ellwood, then a senior minister in the Foreign Office, at the UN general assembly in New York in September 2016.

This was when Papadopoulos was still working for the Trump campaign and, according to the FBI’s documents, had made multiple contacts through his intermediary – the “London professor” – with “high-level Russian officials”.

Ellwood’s meeting occurred after Papadopoulos had discovered in April that the Russians had “dirt on Hillary Clinton” in the form of “thousands of emails” but before WikiLeaks started publishing her emails in October.

Ben Bradshaw, the MP who has been one of the few voices asking questions about possible Russian interference in British democracy, said the Foreign Office’s explanation that such a meeting was “routine” was implausible. “In my experience, it is not normal for a minister to meet party campaign operatives while on official government business.” He added: “If Mr Papadopoulos’s role was as junior as Trump has been claiming, I would be surprised that a minister as senior and experienced as Mr Ellwood would agree to meet him.”

More here: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/04/boris-johnson-brexit-russia-trump

 

 

 

How the Hell Did Arron Banks afford to Fund the Brexit Campaign?

In September 2013, the man who bought Brexit – Arron Banks – was in trouble.

For the past two years, financial regulators in Gibraltar had been scrutinising his insurance under-writer, Southern Rock. They had discovered it was keeping reserves far below what was needed.

Banks claimed he had already provided £40 million to plug the hole. He also told the regulator he would step down as a director, but has since been required to find an eye-watering £60 million in extra funding.

A year later, these financial worries seem to have completely evaporated.

Banks had begun buying diamond mines, investing millions into chemical companies and wealth management firms, setting up loss-making political consultancies, and most famous of all – funding the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). One question remains though.

If Banks was in such a tight spot in September 2013, how did he manage to be so generous the following year?

Full Story Here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/adam-ramsay/how-did-arron-banks-afford-brexit

 

 

 

 

Andy Wigmore Head of Communications for the Brexit Campaign

Andy Wigmore gave me access to their entire delicious email database, as well as all their text message records.

Their correspondence with politicians, lobby journalists, the BBC, and everyone else from Posh Spice to NASA, made for hilarious reading and enabled us to piece together what is effectively a contemporaneous account of the referendum campaign.

Full story here: http://www.isabeloakeshott.com/bad-boys-brexit/

 

 

 

 

 

Hayley Valentine – Yet Another BBC Unionist Supporting Grasshopper Imposed On Scotland – Like it or Lump It Auntie Beeb Doesn’t Give A Toss

 

 

 

Hayley Valentine

 

 

Hayley Jane Valentine – A few Personal Details

Family: Part of the Valentine’s Book Binding family of Falkirk. Born in Glenrothes in 1971 the youngest of three children.

Schooling: Attended Auchtermuchty High School and Edinburgh University – Degree in Journalism

Career: Started her career in Journalism working in Dundee then transferred her skills to commercial radio in Edinburgh.

Progressed to producing television programming with Scottish Television then moved on to work for BBC Scotland.

She was soon on the move again transferring to BBC London taking up a post editing Breakfast TV.

She then set her sights at working on radio and was rewarded with the appointment to the post of Head of News for BBC Radio 5 Live.

Public service employment must be catching since other Valentines also work(ed) for the BBC in various capacities.

Family: Married Andrew Christopher Masters (works in finance) in 2003.

They have 2 children, (both at private school) and live in Edinburgh.

 

 

 

Mentorn Television Production Surfaces in Scotland in 2002

Not long after Scottish devolution, following a sustained storm of protest from Scottish viewers and politicians the BBC agreed to transfer a significant amount of television programming to Scotland vastly increasing Scottish content satisfying complaints.

Implementation of the change was to be achieved without disrupting staffing and or operational routine in London and the BBC contracted the Tinopolis Group, an international media producer and distributor to produce television programmes in Scotland.

A subsidiary company, Mentorn set up its Glasgow office in 2002.

From that time the production and development base in Scotland has produced hundreds of hour’s original Scottish content. Namely:

Robot Wars.
Question Time.
Traffic Cops.
The Big Questions.
Cowboy Trap.
Hotel of Mum and Dad.
Watermen.
A Dirty Business.

So the BBC is buying in programming not producing it, Scottish content is not to be seen. What a con.

 

 

 

10 Mar 2011: Question Time On the Move

More rank stupidity at the BBC is emerging from the decision to  move Question Time to Glasgow.

The salary of the new editor, Nicolai Gentchev, now in the employment of Mentorn Glasgow, is to be paid through a transfer of funds from BBC News in London to BBC Scotland, Glasgow. Then on to Menthorn.

Profits on the contract will be transferred back to Mentorn, London, then onto the parent company Tinopolis in Wales.

Hayley Valentine, promoted to the new post of Executive editor will monitor the performance of Nicolai for the BBC a role previously undertaken by London-based Gavin Allen, who, will probably retain his current role at BBC Millbank, as “Head of Political News”.

Hayley is therefore filling a totally new highly paid Executive additional unfunded post which will not present a problem for Atholl Duncan, Head of News and Current Affairs in Scotland. The whole thing is a bloody nonsense.

 

 

 

11 Mar 2011: BBC Question Time Changes Are Under Attack

Nicolai Gentchev, who is to take the helm of BBC One’s flagship political programme in the summer when the production team makes its controversial move from Westminster to Glasgow, has written for International Socialism Journal and Socialist Review.

Gentchev wrote an article in the International Socialism Journal in 1995 entitled “The Myth of Welfare Dependency”. writing: “Even capitalism’s supporters do not see an end to mass unemployment and low wages… all they offer is to make living on welfare so unbearable that even more people are forced off benefits and into conditions which were common… before the creation of the welfare state. While we fight to make sure such plans never become reality, we have to get rid of the system which has brought us to this point.”

The website of the International Socialism Journal says that it is associated with the Socialist Workers’ Party. The website continues: “The International Socialist Tendency unites revolutionary organisations around the world on the basis of workers’ power [and] revolution not reform.”

Gentchev wrote for Socialist Review as late as 2003, when he reviewed the book Labour Party Plc by David Osler.

Philip Davies MP, a Conservative member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “This probably comes as little surprise, but it is a further indication of left-wing bias at the BBC. We can expect more of the same from Question Time – audiences that are hostile to the government, left-wing panels and a left-wing agenda being pushed.”

Gentchev joined the BBC in 2006, and became a senior producer on Radio 4’s Today programme in 2008.

During his time on Today, Gentchev produced a special series from Russia with Bridget Kendall looking at how the country had changed under Putin and in November 2009 travelled with reporter Andrew Hosken to Pakistan to produce a series of reports during the South Waziristan offensive.

He currently lives in Glasgow, where he is on secondment as the editor of Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

Question Time’s move to Glasgow has been openly criticised by its presenter, David Dimbleby, who has insisted that weekly editorial meetings continue to take place in London.

The programme has seen the resignation of its current editor, Ed Havard, over the move, despite Mr Havard being very highly regarded by Mr Dimbleby.

The BBC also announced that Hayley Valentine, who was head of news at Radio 5 Live until last summer, will be Question Time’s new executive editor.

A BBC insider said: “No disrespect to Nicolai, who was very well regarded on the Today programme, but this is a big promotion for him. It would be interesting to know whether other candidates on higher pay grades turned the job down because it would involve moving to Scotland.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Nicolai joined the BBC in 2006 long after these pieces were published and it is nonsense to suggest they have any bearing on his impartiality.”

BBC Director of News Helen Boaden said: “Question Time has an outstanding new team to lead it. Nicolai and Hayley have a great depth of experience in the political institutions across the UK. They will ensure that one of the BBC’s most important programmes goes from strength to strength.” (The Telegraph)

 

 

 

17 May 2012: Mentorn Media retains Question Time contract

Question Time producer Mentorn Media has controversially  retained the contract to make flagship BBC1 current affairs programme for another three years.

London-based independent producer Mentorn, a subsidiary of Tinopolis, has made Question Time since 1998.

David Dimbleby will continue to host the show from venues around the country when the new production contract begins in September.

Question Time last year switched production from London to Glasgow, with Mentorn Scotland picking up the contract.

Nicolai Gentchev will continue as Question Time editor, with Hayley Valentine as executive editor for BBC Scotland.

 

 

 

14th June 2013: Question time More Pantomime Than Serious Debate

Balanced and informative media is vital for a good democracy.

The BBC’s decision to invite controversial politicians to participate in a Question Time panel in Edinburgh overlooking two of Scotland’s elected parties was greeted with astonishment across social media yesterday.

The Electoral Reform Society Scotland (ERSS) was particularly concerned that the decision badly failed the invited audience of 16 and 17 year olds.

How the media behave in the run up to the independence referendum in 2014 will be paramount in informing the debate and making that clear now will, we hope, ensure fair and thorough media coverage as we approach the poll.

Message to the BBC:

From: Electoral Reform Society Scotland

To: Hayley Valentine, Exec Editor Question Time

Subject: Re: complaint to the BBC Question Time

Date: 13 June 2013

Dear Ms Valentine

The Electoral Reform Society in Scotland seeks to inform and improve Scotland’s democracy. With that in mind, we have being undertaking an inquiry into what a good Scottish democracy looks like.

A major theme that has emerged from this year long, citizen led inquiry, is the importance of the media to instruct, publicise and inform the debate.

There has been support for a publicly funded media provider, but a strong sense that that body should be impartial and should seek to provide balanced and informed coverage of politics.

Clearly this is of particular concern in the run up to the 2014 referendum.

We were concerned therefore to see the line-up for the BBC Question Time programme to be held in Edinburgh this evening (Thursday 13th June).

Not only does the selection of panellists fail to represent the make-up of Scottish politics, but it also seems to be aimed more at pantomime than serious debate.

That this should be the case when the audience is, very pleasingly, to be made up of 16 and 17 year old’s in recognition of the extension of the franchise to that group for the referendum is worrying.

It seems to show a lack of respect for these young audience members – implying that they do not deserve serious political debate.

It also fails to allow them to hear from their elected representatives in this public debate forum which receives the widest of political attention.

Two of the parties which will be competing for their vote in 2014 are unrepresented and the Yes and Better Together campaigns are needlessly unequally represented.

Were this not bad enough, available spaces on the platform are taken instead by George Galloway MP and Nigel Farage MEP, two individuals and parties who are not represented in Scotland.

We welcome the decision to involve 16 and 17 year old’s in a public debate about the referendum, but the chosen panellists do those 16 and 17 year old’s a disservice as they will not be able to hear from the parties who represent them and who will be seeking their vote in 2014.

We would ask the BBC to urgently reconsider the panel, and at the very least to re-schedule a repeat of this edition of Question Time, but with a panel representative of Scottish politics that respects the BBC’s role to be impartial and equal. (Willie Sullivan)

 

 

 

Scottish Greens Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“Tonight’s Question Time line up is particularly bizarre, and following a telephone discussion with the editor it is clear to me that this programme has been contrived to deliver sensationalist confrontation, rather than serious debate.

The lack of balance is staggering and I know from comments we’ve received it’s not just Green supporters who are alarmed.

“This situation is particularly unacceptable a week before the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in Aberdeen Donside, which should require particular attention to political balance.

The BBC has shown serious misjudgement in allowing tonight’s programme to go ahead and we look forward to meeting senior managers to discuss how they intend to rectify a situation that will have harmed the broadcaster’s reputation for fairness.”

The complaint from the Scottish Green Party to the BBC’s Executive Editor Hayley Valentine and Phil Abrams of the Editorial Policy Unit is as follows…

Dear Ms Valentine,

We wish to object in the strongest possible terms to the choice of panellists for BBC Question Time tonight (13 June).

This follows our consistent raising of concern over a number of years about the Scottish Greens’ lack of representation on the programme; in 14 years of continuous Parliamentary representation, we have been invited to participate on 1 single occasion. That occasion was nearly two and a half years ago.

Tonight’s programme will be coming from Edinburgh, with an audience of 16 & 17 year old’s, debating independence – this is specifically billed on the BBC website.

The panel chosen is extremely skewed on the independence question; with only one panellist explicitly committed to independence as a preferred constitutional option, the programme is showing no balance whatsoever on this crucial question.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie is a member of the Yes Scotland advisory board and could have provided the required balance; he is also a member of Referendum Bill Committee in Parliament, which has been handling the legislation to reduce the voting age to 16.

Given that this decision is being made by the Scottish Parliament, we can see no basis for the decision to include only one MSP on the panel, and specifically one who is opposed to the reduction in the voting age.

George Galloway is an MP for an English constituency representing a political party, Respect, which literally does not exist in Scotland, and contests no elections.

On the one occasion when they did, Mr Galloway stood for election in Glasgow and even in a PR election was only able to secure 3.3% of the vote.

Nigel Farage has also been added to the panel at the last minute.

UKIP has no elected representation in Scotland at any level, as against SGP’s 2 MSPs and 14 local councillors. In the last Scottish Parliament election they secured 0.91% of regional votes across Scotland.

This panel is taking place during the Aberdeen Donside by-election, and the BBC has a duty to demonstrate balance at such a time.

Donside is part of the North East Scotland region, where UKIP achieved 0.9% of the vote in the 2011 election.

The rationale for this selection may include UKIP’s recent success in the English local elections.

UKIP now have approximately the same number of local councillors as GPEW, despite blanket media coverage.

But this is NOT an English local election, it’s a debate with a Scottish independence focus, taking place during a Scottish Parliamentary by-election.

This failure even to attempt balance in party political terms, or in terms of the referendum debate is surely a breach of the BBC’s duty to impartiality.

Patrick Harvie discussed these various points with Nicolai Gentchev this morning, and our head of media Jason Rose raised them with Phil Abrams of the BBC policy unit.

Mr Gentchev defended the decision to include Mr Farage on the programme citing his recent encounter with protesters in Edinburgh; we are deeply disturbed if the BBC’s flagship political debate programme gives greater attention to political stunts than to fair balance.

We seek an urgent meeting to discuss how you intend to redress this situation, not only in the short term but in the run-up to the referendum in 2014. (Martha Wardrop and Patrick Harvie, Co-conveners of the Scottish Green Party).

 

 

 

28 November 2013: Mentorn Media Confirms Hayley Valentine as its new director of current affairs.

Valentine is joining Mentorn from BBC Scotland where she has been executive editor at Question Time.

Based in Glasgow, she will continue to oversee the programme for Mentorn as well as BBC One’s The Big Questions and continuing the growth of Mentorn’s current affairs output across all broadcasters.

Chief executive of Mentorn Media, John Willis, said: “Hayley is the perfect person to head up Mentorn’s current affairs programming.

She has extensive knowledge and experience and we are delighted she will be responsible for developing even more programming from our ever-expanding Glasgow office.”

Valentine said: “I’ve been on the receiving end of the impressive editorial work that Mentorn has produced and I look forward to maintaining that level of commitment to BBC programming as well as developing new and engaging formats across all broadcasters.”

 

 

The boss of BBC Scotland’s new hour long news programme is to be the former editor of Question Time.

November 2017: Hayley Valentine to be appointed boss of BBC Scotland’s proposed news hour

Valentine, executive editor of the BBC’s much criticised flagship political debate show, is to be editor of the news programme which is to be a key part of the new BBC Scotland digital channel.

The corporation has said that the “integrated news hour” will be a key part of the BBC Scotland channel, subject to it receiving regulatory approval from Ofcom.

The new bulletin will include national and international news and be broadcast between 9pm and 10pm on the new channel.

Presently director of current affairs at Mentorn Scotland, the company which makes the programme for the BBC she said: “to be given the opportunity to launch a brand new programme at the heart of the proposed new BBC Scotland Channel is a real privilege and a rare treat. “I am looking forward to creating a really distinctive programme with a broad Scottish, UK-wide and international news agenda which has the priorities of a Scottish audience at the centre of everything we do.”

Gary Smith, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, said: “Hayley has an outstanding track record and I’m delighted she is joining us. “I’m confident that under her leadership we will produce an exciting, distinctive, and brilliant new programme for our audiences. She will also join my management team, and play a key role in the running of the department and the recruitment of the 80 new jobs which are being created through the BBC’s major investment in journalism in Scotland.’

Plans are that the new channel will broadcast from 7pm to midnight every day, as well as being available online and on iPlayer.

With an initial budget of around £30m it will feature acquired programmes and programmes from partners in the creative sector and from other countries and a selection of content sourced from other BBC services.

It is expected that that Ofcom’s decision on the new channel will be made in March, 2018.

 

Tory MSP Attacks Scottish Government’s Record On NHS General Practitioner (GP) Recruitment – His Wider Family Live In England How Are They Doing?

 

 

 

6 Nov 2017: Tory List MSP Mile Briggs moans that a Scottish NHS recruitment drive has failed

A Scottish Government plan to boost GP numbers has resulted in the recruitment of 18 doctors since it launched two years ago, according to figures highlighted by the Conservatives.

The party said the “handful” of new appointments from the GP Recruitment and Retention Programme will “barely have had any impact at all”.

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “It’s no wonder Scotland is in the grip of a general practice crisis when the SNP government fails so miserably to attract doctors to the job.

“This was launched with the promise of delivering GPs for rural and deprived areas. “Instead, it’s led to a handful of new appointments which will barely have had any impact at all.

“This is just another blatant failing of the SNP workforce planning, and the consequences on the ground are a population struggling to get a GP appointment, and those family doctors who are left feeling the strain.” (The Herald)

But is the picture any better in the Tory controlled English NHS?

NHS England published “GP Forward View” (GPFV) 18 months ago promising 5,000 more GPs in employment by 2020. So one year on, where do things stand?

Recently published figures by NHS Digital show that the full-time equivalent (FTE) GP workforce dropped by 445 in the three months to 31 December 2016, a fall that came on top of a decline of nearly 100 over the previous year.

The independent doctors and dentists review body (DDRB), which advises the government on doctors’ pay, warned in a report on Tuesday that it was ‘unclear’ how GP services could be maintained over the coming five to 10 years in the face of the growing workforce crisis.

GP leaders said the latest official workforce data were a ‘huge blow’ for general practice, which underscored how far the NHS was from hitting the government’s target of increasing the GP workforce by 5,000 by 2020/21.

GP Forward report here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/gpfv.pdf

https://caltonjock.com/2017/05/17/miles-briggs-tory-list-msp-a-pseudo-scotsman-his-heart-is-forever-english-a-hard-line-unionist-hyper-critical-of-snp-governance-he-needs-to-reflect-on-his-beloved-partys-performance-in-eng/

Northern Sea Route Developing Fast – But What Happened to the Transshipment Container Terminal Capacity in Orkney – Fingers Out Or Scotland Misses Out Yet Again

 

 

 

Scapa Flo Orkney

 

 

 

Container Transshipment and Demand for Container Terminal Capacity in Scotland

Scapa Flow in Orkney provides the best available deep water port in Europe with the potential to handle any amount of major transshipment of today’s mega-size container ships.

The container port market in Northern Europe is expected to continue its upward trend, demand more than doubled over the 2001-2015 and is expected to double again between 2015-2030.

With container traffic increasing faster than output, transshipment growth will be even more rapid as carriers, due to ship upsizing, reduce the number of direct port calls and move towards hub and bespoke services.

For the fast growing Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, New Zealand, other Asian markets and existing European and North American Authorities, the efficiencies and economies will be matched by the opportunity to achieve through use of the Orkney facility, the secure gateways required.

Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland will benefit directly from economic spin-off, cheaper transport and a major stimulus to the development of sea and water-borne alternatives to the UK road network.

Full details here:

2003: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmselect/cmtran/783/783we23.htm

2004: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2004/09/19885/42553

2004: http://www.napier.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/impact-case-studies/the-greenest-port

2006: http://sutranet.plan.aau.dk/WP4/nov2006/SCAPA/FLOW/CONTAINER/TERMINAL/COASTLINK/PERTH/26/SEPT/2006.pdf

2011: https://www.computescotland.com/scapa-flow-crossroads-for-container-terminal-4184.php

2014: http://container-mag.com/2014/05/02/the-orkney-floating-container-terminal-alternative/

 

 

 

The Impact of Global warming on World Trade

As the seas around Russia are released from the grip of the Arctic ice studies are projecting: “remarkable shifts in trade flows between Asia and Europe, diversion of trade within Europe, heavy shipping traffic in the Arctic and a substantial drop in Suez traffic.

Russia has not been slow to recognise the new opening for trade and is building nuclear powered ice-breaker ships well capable of keeping sea channels open to commercial traffic.

Cost savings achieved using a new “Northern Channel” are eye wateringly high and joint development, with Russia or China of a new trans container facility, at the southern end of the channel, in Orkney would bring significant benefits to participating countries.

Presently the channel is freely navigable in the summer and autumn months, ice breaker support is required over the winter period but a report by the Copenhagen Business School found that large-scale trans-Arctic shipping will become economically viable by 2040.

2016: https://services-webdav.cbs.dk/doc/CBS.dk/Arctic%20Shipping%20-%20Commercial%20Opportunities%20and%20Challenges.pdf

 

 

 

6 Sep 2017: The Northern Sea Route is completely ice-free and shipping thrives

As Russian Arctic ice shrinks to this year’s lowest, a big number of ships are moving in. In waters normally covered by thick ice, ships are today sailing easily and without escorts.

Ice data from Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute show that the whole Northern Sea Route now is ice-free.

Even in the waters between the Kara Sea and the Bering Strait, normally a highly complex and ice-covered area, shipping appears smooth and easy.

The ice edge in the East Siberian Sea is now retreating to north of the 75th parallel and practically the whole Laptev Sea is ice-free.

There is only some scattered ice around the Vilkitsky Strait, the area separating the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea.

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2017/09/northern-sea-route-completely-ice-free-and-shipping-thrives

 

 

 

The Northern Sea Route – The Russian Perspective

Due to global warming, it will become viable to deliver goods from Europe to the Pacific throughout the Arctic as ice floes melt.

There is reason to believe that China would be interested in participating in the development of the NSR, as the waterway will save time and can help China find a way out of the Strait of Malacca dilemma that has long plagued importers and exporters.

Efforts to open up the NSR would help pump fresh investment into the country and would benefit the development of Russia’s Far East.

The NSR has the potential to become a significant new area for cooperation between China and Russia. It is expected that the Belt and Road initiative will create an opportunity for Russia’s NSR ambitions to turn into reality.

https://sputniknews.com/infographics/201709051057097124-northern-sea-route-suez-canal-alternative/

 

 

 

 

The Northern Sea Route – The Chinese Perspective

The Northern Sea Route, one of three Arctic shipping routes that connect East Asia and Europe along the Russian coastline, is now subject to more attention than ever before. The Northern Sea Route Administration notes that in 2016 traffic volume on the Northern Sea Route reached 7,265,700 tonnes – an increase of 35 percent in comparison with 2015.

As the world’s third largest ship-owner, China has a strong interest in Arctic shipping, especially in the Northern Sea Route. That was reflected in China’s decision to include the Arctic in its Belt and Road Initiative.

On June 20, 2017, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and State Oceanic Administration published the “Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative” (the Vision). The Vision officially incorporates the Arctic into China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Moreover, before attending the G20 Summit in Hamburg, President Xi Jinping visited Russia and signed the “China-Russia Joint Declaration on Further Strengthening Comprehensive, Strategic and Cooperative Partnership” (Joint Declaration) on July 4, 2017.

Described as the Ice Silk Road, the development of the Northern Sea Route is a key area of cooperation between China and Russia.

The Ice Silk Road can be seen as a further step in shaping China’s Arctic policy. The three main pillars of this policy are: respect, cooperation, and sustainability.

Moreover, the BRI now officially extends to the Arctic, which could help achieve the objectives of China’s Arctic policy. It is now very clear that China is keen to play a role as a user of the Northern Sea Route.

As elaborated in the Vision:

China is willing to work with all parties in conducting scientific surveys of navigational routes, setting up land-based monitoring stations, carrying out research on climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as providing navigational forecasting services.

China supports efforts by countries bordering the Arctic in improving marine transportation conditions, and encourages Chinese enterprises to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route.

So why is China keen to use the Northern Sea Route?

It is commonly known that the Northern Sea Route could shorten the distance of transportation between China and European ports.

China also sees the opportunity of resources development in the Russian Arctic. But perhaps more importantly, China believes that the Northern Sea Route is strategically important for its energy security.

China is facing the dilemma that energy from Africa and the Persian Gulf passes through waters dominated by strategic competitors (the United States and India),   threatened by piracy, or bottle-necked at the Strait of Malacca. It would therefore be helpful to have an alternative shipping route along a politically stable area.

https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/china-russia-trouble-on-the-arctic-silk-road/

 

Jamie Halcro-Johnston – Tory Gentleman Farmer – Four Time Election Loser Gets Into Holyrood by Default

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tory Party and the farming community of Scotland

I am at a loss when it comes to understanding the mentality of the bulk of Scottish farmers who continue to pledge their futures to Tory Party millionaire Gentlemen farmers and to the counsel of the Scottish Farmers Union which is the accepted mouthpiece of said farmers.

They are interested only in “feathering their own nest” ensuring any financial benefits, which might be forthcoming from government are channelled through complicated systems designed to ensure denial of aid and the consequent demise demise of many of the smaller Scottish farms.

Recent developments indicate that Scotland’s farmers, (not the rich ones) will be screwed by the Westminster government, (of any colour) after Brexit. I despair.

Check out the article below. A revealing look at the Halco-Johnston family of Orkney.

 

Stromness

 

 

 

The Rich and powerful Halcro-Johnston Family of Orkney

Hew Halcrow, said to be directly descended from the King of Norway, was first recorded living in Orkney around the time Queen Margaret married King James 3rd. of Scotland and her father pledged the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Scotland as his daughters dowry.

The Johnston’s settled in Stromness, towards the end of the 16th century. They were experienced merchant traders, possibly originating from London, and very quickly cornered the market positioning the family as a powerful entity within the islands society.

Life on Orkney for its inhabitants, at that time was harsh, isolated and poverty stricken, conditions which allowed the Hudson Bay Company of Canada to recruit a largely Protestant workforce, untainted by Jacobite influences of the Scottish mainland who would be well suited to the cold, wet, inhospitable climate of the North of Canada.

Facilitating the growth of the company the sea traffic to Northern Canada from London was routed through Orkney contributing greatly to the growing wealth of the Town merchants and the islanders.

In 1749, Joshua Johnston, married Margaret Halcro, the eldest daughter of William Halcro, owner of the Coubister estate, on which was located a large farm at Gyre, in the parish of Orphir Joshua subsequently inherited the estate.

Over 300 years later Gyre is still owned and farmed by the family.

 

 

 

Gyre Farm Orkney

 

 

Hugh Halcro-Johnston

 

 

 

Gyre Farm – Orkney – Present Day – (Gentleman Farmer) Hugh Halcro-Johnston

Personal Details:

b1936

Education:

Edinburgh University

Marlborough College:1957 – 1961 – BSc (Elec), Power Systems

Business:

Senior partner: J Halcro-Johnston and Sons, Farmers.

Underwriter member Lloyds of London, (principal activity of company, trading as a Lloyd’s corporate capital member).

Director, at some time of:

The Orkney Towage Company.

The Orkney Meat Ltd.

Orkney Windpower Ltd.

Weyland Farms Ltd.

Orkney Ferries PLC.

Environment and Resource Technology Ltd.

HIE Orkney.

The Orkney Boat Museum.

The Peir Arts Centre.

Nameco (No. 1071) Ltd.

Politics:

Convenor: Orkney Islands Council. Member (22 years+).

North of Scotland Electricity Consumers’ Committee.

Elder, Orphir Church.

JP (Ex Officio).

Member of Institute of Electrical Engineers.

Chairman: Liberal Democratic Party (Orkney).

Currently: Highland Committee Member Scottish Rural Property and Business Association.

Scottish Natural Heritage (Orkney Area Advisory Group).

Vice President COSLA.

Member of the European, Committee of the Regions.

Awards:

CBE services to the community.

Common Agricultural Policy

(CAP) payments 2015: Halcro-Johnston & Sons: Orkney: £105,563.89 (The largest subsidy payment in Orkney & Shetland by a significant amount)

Lloyd’s Underwriting:

Hugh: is a major financial investor with Lloyd’s of London benefiting from excellent returns on investments in recent years.

In a recent statement the CEO of the investment company said:

“private investors providing underwriting capital to Lloyd’s insurance syndicates have boosted capacity by approximately £175 million over last year.

We are extremely happy with the increase in both investors and levels of investment in Lloyd’s.

Many private investors have begun to see that Lloyd’s is a unique alternative asset class that has been out-performing many hedge funds and private equity funds.

Lloyd’s is making a well-justified comeback in wealthy families’ portfolios.”

 

Jamie

 

 

21 Apr 2014: Orkney and Shetland should dump Scotland – Hugh Halcro-Johnston

The idea was floated by Hugh Halcro-Johnston, a prominent Orkney isolationist, who previously held political control as convenor of the Orkney Islands Council until losing his position in local elections in 2003.

He said: ” If Scotland should vote ‘yes’ then everything changes. I think that scenario would provide an opportunity for the islands to seek special status – particularly in relation to defence in view of the islands’ strategic importance and any deal should also establish who controls oil reserves located offshore from the Islands.”

The current political leaders of the islands refused to endorse the proposal, but stressed they wished to ensure islanders continue to benefit from agreements in place for many years.

Convenor of Shetland Islands Council Gary Robinson said: “We seek to benefit from the exploitation of the resources surrounding our islands by way of community benefit and more control over what happens around us,”

He stressed that the islands would not split from Scotland if Scots back independence in September’s referendum. “I haven’t detected any overwhelming desire for outright independence for the islands or crown dependency status,” he added.

Robert Leslie, who runs the pro-independence “yes” campaign in Orkney, said that the proposals to annex the Northern Isles was: “not surprising coming from a movement that is determined to defend the privileges currently enjoyed by the political and business elite in the UK.”

 

Flotta Terminal

 

 

 

Oil and Orkney

The wealth the Flotta terminal, in Orkney has generated is difficult to calculate.

The sums involve the wages paid to staff and contractors over the years, the service industries that benefit from oil-related work and the dues Orkney’s Harbours Department charges the tankers that take oil and gas away from Flotta.

Orkney Islands Council, which has generated huge cash reserves in oil linked income, estimates that Flotta has contributed £ billions to the local economy.

Hugh Halcro-Johnston, the council’s convener, said:

“Orkney was lucky that major oil developments took place first in Shetland. It learnt a lot of lessons from their experience. It meant that we got many of the benefits of oil developments without many of the less acceptable aspects. One of the big advantages here was the creation of the terminal on Flotta, a small island well away from the main centres of population. This meant that the massive disruption during the construction phase was far less damaging to the Orkney community.”

The Flotta Terminal was built to handle oil from the number of North Sea fields. After processing at the plant, oil and gasses more valuable than those that light the night sky are shipped by tanker to destinations throughout Britain and Europe.

During negotiations with the original owners of the terminal, special arrangements were drawn up to ensure Orkney benefited from becoming a major oil port. Essentially, a range of payments is made to the islands council, which invests the money for the greater good of the community as a whole. They have funded many economic and social projects and continue to do so.

There will always be some people who will think we could have done better, said Councillor Halcro-Johnston. But I think the deal was fair. It was within what the industry could afford and it has brought huge benefits to Orkney.

There has also been considerable recent speculation among industry analysts that oil companies developing new Atlantic Frontier fields will choose to land the crude at Flotta using the shuttle tanker system developed for Foinaven. Again, this will be important business for the terminal.

The islanders gained significant financial benefits from Oil and Gas. Which is more than the rest of Scotland did.

 

Jamie

 

Jamie Halcro Johnston – (Gentleman Farmer) and Tory MSP (Excuse me Jamie your daddy was a Lib/Dem)

Personal Details:

b1975, in Oxford. Relocated with his family to Orkney in 1979. The back to England, boarding school, then University

Education:

Radley College, Oxford then Exeter University

Business:

Worked for the Financial Times in London then returned to Orkney to assist with management of family business.

Politics:

Joined the Conservative Party when studying at Exeter University. Elected (1999) NUS Conference Delegate for the Guild of Students at Exeter.

A Member of Orkney Conservative and Unionist Association, Jamie promoted the Tory party in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election.

Press Officer (SPad) in the Scottish Parliament for a number of Tory MSP’s.

Unsuccessful Tory Candidate for Moray. 2005 UK General Election.

Unsuccessful Tory Candidate for 2007: Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber.

Unsuccessful Tory Candidate for Orkney. 2011 Scottish Parliamentary Election.

Unsuccessful Tory Candidate 2016 Scottish Parliamentary Election.

Unsuccessful Tory Candidate 2017 Orkney & Shetland, UK General Election.

June 2017: Selected from the Tory party list (fourth choice) to represent electors in the Highlands and Islands. Filling vacancy.

What a loser.!!