Libya – Ghaddafi – Blair – Lockerbie – Al-Meghri – Rothschild – Ghaddfi’s Son – Mandelson – The True Story

osborne (2)OsborneMoS2 Template MasterBullindon Club

 

 

August 10 2009; From Libya to London – The World of a Wild Child Turned Power – Broker. The Financier Nat Rothschild is at The Centre of a Web of International Intrigue

Once again, the name of Nat Rothschild has emerged at the centre of web of intrigue, with questions over his links to Libya, his friendship with Peter Mandelson and his alleged role in the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Indeed, his name seems to be linked with almost every influential, rich and powerful person on the globe, from billionaires to presidents and royalty. But it wasn’t always like that.

For years Nat Rothschild appeared destined to be yet another scion of the rich and famous who had it all and blew it all – mainly through partying. At some point in the mid-1990s he underwent an almost Damascene conversion into a responsible financier, who managed to channel his gambling instincts into money-making investments for a hedge fund. As his skills in handling investments helped turn the Atticus hedge fund into a multi-billion pound concern, so his personal stock rose – in the 13 years he has been with Atticus he has built up his own multimillion pound fortune, quite apart from the £500m he is expected to inherit one day from his father, Jacob, the fourth Baron Rothschild. He has also become an increasingly influential figure not just in the world of finance but in political circles.

Influence is something deeply familiar to the Rothschilds, whose banking concerns have been a force in Europe for two centuries, but for the member of the Bullingdon Club who once rolled an occupied portable loo down a slope, it seemed an unlikely future. Instead of partying with models and socialites, these days he is more likely to be found hob-nobbing with some of the world’s richest and most powerful people. His sphere of influence, it has been revealed, now extends even into Libya, which during the 1980s and 1990s was reviled as a terrorist state. Seif Gaddafi, President Muammar Gaddafi’s son, was the guest of honour at a party held by the financier in New York in 2008 and this year he allowed his home in Corfu to be the venue for a meeting between the Libyan and Lord Mandelson.

The meeting took place earlier this month, just a week before it emerged that the Scottish executive was considering the release from prison of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. Lord Mandelson accepted that Megrahi’s name came up in the discussions but he strongly denied any suggestion he interfered in the decision to release the prisoner.

Nat Rothschild’s interests are further thought to overlap with those of Seif Gaddafi in Montenegro, where he has been linked to investments in the £500m Porto Montenegro project, which is intended to give the country a leading marina. Gaddafi is thought to be keen, signing up to a range of deals in Montenegro to benefit Libya.

Prior to winning friends in Tripoli, the former wild child had built up enviable contacts and deals with Russian oligarchs. Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, is reported to be one of Rothschild’s closest friends and he has been appointed as an adviser to Oleg Deripaska, the owner of Rusal, which became the biggest aluminium company in the world as part of a merger deal with two other companies that Rothschild helped to put together.

Deripaska, described as Russia’s richest man and the Kremlin’s favourite oligarch, had a fortune estimated at more than £16bn in 2007 and is believed to be close to Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister.

It was Deripaska whom George Osborne, the Conservative front-bencher, was said to have spoken to about a £50,000 donation to the Tory party. The MP admitted he discussed a donation but denied asking for or receiving any money. The row blew up when Mr Rothschild accused Mr Osborne of approaching the oligarch for a donation. He is thought to have been prompted by a breach of etiquette on the MP’s part by leaking the story of Lord Mandelson meeting the oligarch on a yacht – the two politicians were Rothschild’s guests. The row soured a friendship between the MP and the financier which dated back to contemporary membership of the Bullingdon Club.

Mr Rothschild’s success in recent years has come as a surprise to many who knew him in his wilder days. Peter Munk, the founder and chairman of Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer, recalled meeting the future fifth Baron Rothschild in the lobby of a London hotel in 2001. The financier was hoping to persuade Mr Munk to invest in Atticus but failed to impress at first hearing. “He did not carry the halo of being the future of the family. I wanted to get rid of the boy,” said the gold producer who now has him on his own advisory board. It is thought that as a young man Nat Rothschild was intimidated by the prospect of having to live up to the achievements of his father and ancestors. Now, he is seen as a man who may well set new high standards for his family. Mr Munk added: “This kid is special. It’s back to when they [the Rothschilds] were ruling the world.” “He is one of the few sons of great men who has enhanced the family stature and created his own wealth,” said Charles Phillips, who supervised him when he worked at the investment firm Gleacher & Co.

 

Rothschild Mover & Shaker SupremeNat Rothschild

 

 

 

Spheres of influence: Rothschilds connections:  Business associates:

Oleg Deripaska: The Russian oligarch owns Rusal, the world’s biggest aluminium company. Rothschild has won a position as an adviser to Deripaska and one of his select inner circle.

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi: Investment interests thought to overlap in Montenegro. He recently hosted a party with guests including Rothschild Prince Albert of Monaco and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

Roland Rudd: Atticus employed Finsbury, which is run by Rudd, as its PR firm. Rudd is a friend of Lord Mandelson and Oleg Deripaska is another of Finsbury’s clients.

Timothy Barakett: The founder of the hedge fund Atticus took on Rothchild in 1995. The two have never looked back. Atticus is now a multi-billion concern and its success has enabled Rothschild to make his own fortune instead of relying on his father’s money.

Friends:

Roman Abramovich: The Russian oligarch and billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club is a close friend of Rothschild. It was through Abramovich that Rothschild met Deripaska.

Peter Mandelson: The depth of the friendship is uncertain but Lord Mandelson has been linked to Rothchild on several fronts, including as a guest at his Corfu home.

George Osborne: Having known each other for years relations soured when Rothschild accused him of seeking donations for the Conservative Party from a Russian oligarch.

Matthew Freud: Rothschild was a guest at the 40th birthday party that Freud, the PR guru, threw for his wife, Elisabeth, Daughter of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, in Corfu last year.

 

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Love Interests:

Annabelle Neilson: Rothschild married the model and friend of Kate Moss at a ceremony in Las Vagas after eloping. The marriage lasted less than three years, with a divorce being agreed in 1997.

Petrina Khashoggi: The daughter of Jonathan Aitken, Ivanka Trump, the socialite and businesswoman daughter of Ivana and Donald Trump, and the actress Natalie Portman are among the women Rothschild has dated. Princess Florence von Preussen: The great great granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor, is the latest woman to be romantically linked to the financier. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/from-libya-to-london-the-world-of-a-wild-child-turned-powerbroker-1776482.html

 

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August 17 2009; Mandelson Met Gaddafi’s Son Before Lockerbie Bomber Move

Lord Mandelson met Colonel Gaddafi’s son at a Corfu villa only a week before the announcement that the perpetrator of the Lockerbie bombing could be released from prison. Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, widely seen as the Libyan leader’s most likely successor, was a fellow guest of the Rothschild family at its Greek property a fortnight ago in a wider annual gathering of powerful friends. Stays by the two men overlapped by only one night, according to Lord Mandelson’s spokesman. He said the pair spoke only briefly but they did discuss Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrah. “There was a fleeting conversation about the prisoner; Peter was completely unsighted on the subject,” he said.

It was only one week later that news emerged that Mr Megrah could get an early release on compassionate grounds because he is suffering from terminal cancer. Lord Mandelson said through his spokesman that he had had no involvement in the decision and only learnt of it through the BBC. Mr Megrah’s possible release was a decision entirely for the Scottish government rather than London. “It was entirely coincidental,” the spokesman said.

The government is likely to portray the meeting as unexceptional because relations between the UK and Libya have normalised in recent years. It was in 2003 that Muammer Gaddafi surrendered his weapons of mass destruction programmes and helped deliver the Lockerbie bombing suspects for trial. In November 2008 he agreed a $1.8bn (£1.1bn) compensation package for bomb victims.

Libya’s role as a large oil producer, with the potential for much greater mineral discoveries in the future, has made it a magnet for international business – including British oil companies. “Libya is . . . very much back in the mainstream of international affairs,” the British ambassador to Libya, Sir Vincent Fean, said this summer.

However, news of the meeting could renew questions about Lord Mandelson’s affinity for rich and powerful individuals and his ability to create controversy. Seif Gaddafi antagonized relatives of some of the 270 Lockerbie victims last year when he said in a BBC interview that they were “very greedy” and “trading with the blood of their sons and daughters”. 501 of 2845 https://archive.org/stream/ABCNews19781979/Libya-FT-2007-to-2012-b.txt

 

al-Megrahi at the time of his arrest for the Lockerbie bombingAbdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi

 

 

August 17 2009; Mandelson Sends Signals From Corfu

The business secretary used his summer break to convey contempt for his critics, By returning to the Rothschild family’s estate in Corfu for his summer break a fortnight ago, Lord Mandelson was making a characteristically defiant gesture. The veiled riposte to critics who question the company he sometimes likes to keep seemed to reinforce his intensifying sense of purpose and confidence as Labour’s most effective operator. As Matthew D’Ancona wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph: “It was a positive crowd-pleaser showing that the old stager is still ready to please himself and the punters with a bit of old-fashioned New Labour ligging and poncing off rich folks.”

Last summer the business secretary’s holiday with his friend Nat Rothschild led to his stay on the yacht of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch – and raised questions about a potential conflict of interest. A dinner at the local “Taverna Agni” with George Osborne, shadow chancellor, also ended up in the newspapers – although it was Mr Osborne whose reputation took a temporary knock.

This summer, as Lord Mandelson was spotted once again flying to Greece, his spokesman declared: “Peter is not going to allow what happened last year to put him off Corfu. He is there for a week – but this time without Russians, yachts or George Osborne.” True, of course. But it was an apparently chance encounter with another character – this time the son of Muammer Gaddafi, the Libyan leader – which could reignite questions of the business secretary’s judgment. Such is the secrecy surrounding the annual shindig at the Rothschild’s luxurious £30m estate that most conversations stay -private.

But the Financial Times has been told of another conversation, between Saef Gaddafi and Lord Mandelson, which touched briefly on a more serious issue: Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man imprisoned for the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 that killed 270 people. The two men had met on at least one previous “official” occasion – a formal event in London.

Both are mutual friends of Nat Rothschild, co-founder of the Atticus hedge funds and an international socialite. Mr Rothschild hosted a party for the Libya powerbroker at his New York townhouse last autumn – although Lord Mandelson was not present.

But the conversation’s timing, days before news of Mr Megrahi’s possible release, is an unfortunate coincidence for the business secretary. Feelings are running high on Mr Megrahi, with the US state department stating flatly last week that he should “spend the rest of his time in jail.” It could be seized upon by those who believe the British government is overly keen to improve relations with Libya because of the north African state’s large oil reserves. Asked if the two men discussed the oil industry, Lord Mandelson’s spokesman said: “[In] the context of this party, discussions on bilateral relationships cannot be very extensive.”

 

Peter Mandelson MellowingLord Mandelson       al-Megrahi on his return to Libya.Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi,

 

 

 

August 22 2009; Lord Mandelson Faces Fresh Questions Over His Links to Libya Following the Decision to Free the Lockerbie Bomber.

The Business Secretary denied that the Government had done a deal to free Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 terrorist atrocity that claimed 270 lives. However, his claims were contradicted by Saif Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, in a conversation with Megrahi as the pair flew home from Glasgow. In a transcript obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Gaddafi tells Megrahi: “You were on the table in all commercial, oil and gas agreements that we supervised in that period. You were on the table in all British interests when it came to Libya, and I personally supervised this matter.

Also, during the visits of the previous prime minister, Tony Blair.”Downing Street confirmed last night that Gordon Brown had discussed the possible release of Megrahi with Colonel Gaddafi when the two men met on the fringes of the G8 summit in Italy last month. A letter the Prime Minister sent to the Libyans, dated last Thursday, the day of the release, said: “When we met I stressed that, should the Scottish Executive decide that Megrahi can return to Libya, this should be a purely private, family occasion.”

Libya’s talk of trade deals has shone the spotlight on Lord Mandelson, who is facing mounting questions over his links with Mr Gaddafi, 37, the man widely tipped as his country’s next leader. An investigation has disclosed that the Business Secretary’s controversial businessmen friends, Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild, have a closer relationship with Mr Gaddafi than has so far been publicly known. Earlier this summer Mr Gaddafi hosted a birthday party at a resort where Mr Deripaska, a billionaire Russian oligarch, and Mr Rothschild, a wealthy British financier, held a business meeting the following morning. The 37th birthday celebrations took place in Montenegro, a tiny country whose interests have been championed by Lord Mandelson and where Mr Deripaska and Mr Rothschild have substantial business interests. Late last year Mr Rothschild hosted a party in honour of Mr Gaddafi in New York.

Lord Mandelson has met the Libyan at least twice in the past four months. Last week he admitted to a “fleeting” discussion with Mr Gaddafi about the convicted Lockerbie bomber at the Rothschilds’ family estate in Corfu. It came just days before it emerged that preparations were being made for Megrahi’s release and raised questions from opposition politicians.

Douglas Carswell, the Tory MP, said yesterday that the public would wonder whether Lord Mandelson had “once again” allowed his private life to mix with controversial decisions made in his role as Business Secretary. Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, demanded greater transparency over the Government’s role in the release. “The evidence is mounting that there was far more to the release of Megrahi than simply a judicial decision based on compassion,” he said.

Yet Saif Gaddafi said in his conversation with Megrahi, which was filmed for broadcast on Libyan television: “Frankly, we did a lot of work, secret and public, which involved all parties and took years. The work was constant to get your release.” The Business Secretary has denied acting improperly and his spokesman said claims of a conflict of interest were “farcical”, adding: “People are reading far too much into this.”

Colonel Gaddafi heaped further embarrassment on Britain by praising “my friend” Gordon Brown and his government for their part in securing Megrahi’s freedom. It also emerged that a Foreign Office minister had written to the Scottish government in what critics claimed was an attempt to put pressure on Scotland to set Megrahi free. Ivan Lewis, the minister responsible for Libya, wrote to Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, less than three weeks before Megrahi was freed. He is said to have explained that there was no legal reason not to accede to Libya’s request to transfer him into its custody under the terms of a treaty agreed between Tony Blair and Colonel Gadaffi in 2007.

Whilst confirming the letter, the Foreign Office last night insisted that it was only an explanation of the legal position, which Mr Lewis had given in response to a letter requesting clarification of the Treaty from Mr MacAskill. “Ivan Lewis reiterated our understanding of the legal situation. It is absolute rubbish to suggest that this letter provided any encouragement to transfer Megrahi to Libya.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/6073631/Lockerbie-bomber-Lord-Mandelson-faces-new-questions-over-Libya-links.html

 

mandelsonLord Mandelson

 

 

23 August 2009; Mandelson Denies Release Linked To Deal

Lord Mandelson has dismissed claims the release of the Lockerbie bomber is linked to a trade deal – as the head of the FBI has slammed the Scottish government. The trade deal claims were made by the son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi, Seif al Islam, in a television interview filmed as Abdel Baset al Megrahi was flown home. He said: “In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table. “All British interests were linked to the release of Abdel Baset al Megrahi.” The claim was rejected by the Foreign Office, and was followed by an angry response from the Business Secretary. “It’s not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion it’s also quite offensive,” Lord Mandelson said. He said he had met Colonel Gaddafi twice in the past year, and on both occasions he had raised the issue of Megrahi. “They had the same response from me as they would have had from any other member of the Government. The issue of the prisoner’s release was entirely a matter for the Scottish Justice Minister,” Lord Mandelson said. “That is how it was left, that is how it was well understood.”

Meanwhile, head of the FBI Robert Mueller, who as a US Justice Department lawyer led the investigation into the 1988 bombing, said the decision to release Megrahi made a “mockery of justice”. His comments came in a letter written to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, the man who made the decision to the release the bomber. In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi met Megrahi and praised the Scottish authorities for their “courage” in releasing him. He thanked his country’s “friends” in the Scottish Nationalist Party for the early release on compassionate grounds.

Megrahi is suffering from terminal cancer and is said to have less than three months to live. According to the Libyan official news agency Jana, he said: “I congratulate (the Scottish authorities) on their courage and for having proved their independence despite the unacceptable and unreasonable pressures they faced.”The British and US governments have expressed outrage at the “hero’s welcome” Megrahi received on returning to Libya.

Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the attack, which killed 270 people in the air and on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He has always denied involvement in the bombing and has told The Times he will produce new information that will prove his innocence. http://news.sky.com/story/718710/mandelson-denies-release-linked-to-deal

 

ap_saif_al_islam_gadhafi_ll_111221_wmainSeif al Islam  Gaddafi

 

 

August 24 2009 The Libyan Despot’s Son, The Rothschilds and Other Questions For Lord Mandelson

The Rothschild villa on Corfu and the oligarch-rich coast of tiny Montenegro have once more hosted what could easily be mistaken as a Mandelson – orchestrated salon of mutual backscratching. The despot’s son, a Corfu soiree and yet more questions for the Fixer Supreme. Mutual connections, ‘chance’ meetings and social back channels are often what make the diplomatic and economic worlds go round. But Lord Mandelson’s Adriatic vacations with his rich friends are in danger of becoming an annual cause celebre. Last summer they resulted in ‘ Yachtgate’ – his vicious spat with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne over what was said on their high seas holiday in Corfu with controversial Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

This year the Business Secretary faces growing speculation over his part in the release last week of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people. The backdrop to this fresh controversy is a very familiar matrix of exotic faces and locations. We have the involvement of Mr Deripaska, the Russian oil and metals baron, and British financier Nat Rothschild – two Mandelson cronies who were also central to Yachtgate.

But the crucial new figure this year is that of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, second son of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, whom he is widely expected to succeed.

Lord Mandelson denies that he had any influence over Megrahi’s release and triumphal return home, which has so infuriated the United States. But he has already had to admit that the matter was discussed at least once in private with the urbane Saif, who then declared on Libyan TV. ‘In all commercial contracts for oil and gas with Britain Megrahi was always on the negotiating table.’

It is worth remembering that last year it took some little time before Lord Mandelson admitted that he had known Mr Deripaska for at least two years longer than his office had previously let on. Will the forgetful Business Secretary have to make similar admissions this time round?

There is no doubt that Saif is the coming man on the Libyan scene and already an international player in both politics and business. If his one-time pariah father has managed a remarkable rehabilitation in the West – thanks in no small part to the 44billion barrels of oil as yet untapped on Libyan territory – then the London School of Economics educated Saif, who has exhibited as an artist, appears to be the regime’s more palatable future. And it is a future which offers immensely lucrative trade deals for the UK – one hint of the emerging relationship between Libya and Britain came with the news this weekend that Saif has just purchased a £10m mansion in Hampstead, North London.

Saif’s official role is that of running a Tripoli – based family charitable foundation. Last year he foreswore any active part in Libyan public life. He declared that democracy was the only way forward and that North African politics – Libya aside – was a ‘ forest of dictatorships’.

Such noble utterances are greeted with skepticism by Libyan dissidents. It is difficult to tell the truth about what Saif’s true politics and intentions are,’ says Ashour Shamis, a leading London-based Libyan opposition activist. ‘Saif says he wants a new beginning and for the country to be run with more freedom. We shall see. Do not forget that in Libya there is no opposition, only Gaddafi and his sons. They treat Libya as their own possession. Its assets belong to their family. ‘Saif is not rebelling against this regime. He is part of it. I place no credence in his saying that he has no interest in succeeding his father.’

Another Libyan exile was even more cynical: ‘Saif is his father’s son. The idea that anything dramatic will change under him is laughable. He is very good at presenting himself as a reformer and blaming the excesses for people around his father. But I for one do not believe him.’ Saif is not the only son of a head of state to appear in this circle of friends. Our own Prince Andrew, the UK’s special trade envoy, is a friend of his, having met him on a number of occasions in private and public capacities.

Saif has also been a guest at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The Gaddafi family are particularly keen to nuture this connection it seems. Another boost for them on the global stage. And what a small world it is. In March this year, Andrew went to Montenegro to open the new British embassy there. During the trip he took time out to be shown round the £500m Porto Montenegro marina which is being developed on the coast near Tivat. Two of the main investors in the project are Mr Deripaska and his financial adviser Mr Rothschild. Indeed, the former’s business interests make him the largest private employer in Montenegro.

 

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Early last year, when he was still EU Trade Commissioner and not yet ennobled, Peter Mandelson announced that he had secured a bilateral agreement with the tiny Adriatic nation. ‘Today’s signature is an important milestone,’ he declared at the time. Montenegro’s progress toward becoming a reliable world trading partner had been ‘ remarkable’. Mr Deripaska must have been delighted. It later emerged that during Lord Mandelson’s tenure as commissioner, there had also been two cuts in EU aluminium import tariffs, which has benefitted Mr Deripaska’s company Rusal – the EU’s biggest importer of the raw metal – by tens of millions of pounds a year.

In June this year what was described as the most lavish celebration ever held in the Adriatic took place near the Tivat marina. Saif Gaddafi had chosen the Splendid hotel in Becici as the location for his 37th birthday party. Among the guests, who flew in on a fleet of a dozen or more private jets, were Prince Albert of Monaco, Mr Deripaska and Mr Rothschild. Saif is said to be interested in investing in Montenegro. Presumably he and Mr Deripaska had plenty to talk about – the Russian also controls the oil company Russneft and Libya is looking for foreign investors in the energy industry. Business and pleasure combined in one ostentatious display.

August came and the Mandelson circus arrived back on Corfu. Displaying his trademark rhino hide, he brushed off the 2008 imbroglio and returned once again as a guest at the Rothschild villa. No Mr Deripaska this time. But sharing the Rothschild hospitality for 24 hours of his holiday was someone with the potential to be equally if not more controversial: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. Lord Mandelson has admitted to having met the despot’s son at least once before, in May this year. On Corfu they chatted. And, inevitably, the subject of Megrahi came up. Within the month the convicted mass murderer was free and being welcomed at Tripoli airport by a jubilant Saif.

We are asked to believe by the Foreign Office that there were no linked trade deals, and no input by Lord Mandelson. Unfortunately experience has taught us to be more than a little circumspect about the Business Secretary’s declarations. His soiree with Saif on Corfu, at a time when the Megrahi affair was about to reach a crisis, leaves too many questions unanswered from the fixer supreme.

For the moment there is only one clear beneficiary of the affair: Saif’s father. ‘Gaddafi is reaching a crescendo of success as he approaches his 40th anniversary,’ says Mr Shamis. ‘He is the chairman of the African Union, has visited most of the European and world capitals that were once closed to him and now he has freed Megrahi. He has achieved most of the things he wanted to do. ‘Lord Mandelson and other politicians in the West have fallen completely into his lap.’ http://blacklistednews.com/?news_id=5297

 

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August 29 2009; Lord Mandelson Accused of Secretly Lobbying For The Interests of Libya at The Time of The Alleged Prisoner-For-Oil Deal With Britain.

Informed sources say that, nearly a year after Lord Mandelson stepped down as European Trade Commissioner to return to the Cabinet, he continued to push personally for a new and quick European Union (EU) trade deal with Libya. The persistence of his lobbying on Baroness Ashton, his successor as Trade Commissioner, is said to have alarmed officials at the EU headquarters. “Mandelson has been putting Ashton under pressure to give something quicker to Libya,” said one European official close to the trade talks.

The Business Secretary has however strongly denied the allegation. Lord Mandelson’s growing links to Libya can be revealed just days after Saif Gaddafi, the Libyan leader’s son, insisted that freedom for the Lockerbie bomber was directly linked to lucrative deals in the North African country for British firms.

It has been revealed that Mr Gaddafi last week repeated his earlier claim that Megrahi’s release was always “on the table” during talks about trade agreements. Deals included a £545 million deal for BP. Last night there was more evidence to support this theory as it emerged that the British government had decided in 2007 that it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to pave the way for his return to Libya.

Letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, which show the government was abandoning its attempt to prevent Megrahi from serving out his sentence in his home country. The decision was taken after discussions between Libya and BP over the multi-million pound oil exploration deal hit difficulties.

 

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Fresh information comes to light

The Business Secretary, Gordon Brown’s right-hand man, faced fresh calls yesterday to “come clean” over his links to Mr Gaddafi and Libya. The country was a pariah nation until six years ago when, in return for a lifting of economic sanctions, it accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, above Lockerbie, in December 1988.

On February 27 2008, Lord Mandelson, as Trade Commissioner, proposed that the EU should start negotiations for a “Framework Agreement”, to develop trade and other links, with Libya. He said: “An ambitious Free Trade Agreement would intensify co-operation between the EU and Libya on trade and economic issues and would further strengthen and deepen our relationship.” Such an agreement usually takes up to 10 years to arrange.

In June of this year, British officials lobbied other EU member states to give interim trade breaks to Libya by scrapping tariffs on certain textiles and engineering products. In Montenegro, where Mr Deripaska and Nat Rothschild, two of Lord Mandelson’s most wealthy and controversial associates, have invested, their £500-million new marina project is on the site of a shipyard that had Libyan links. After the Porto Montenegro marina project, in which Mr Deripaska, Mr Rothschild and others have invested millions, was launched in 2007, some 100 workers from the former government shipyard on which it is being built were transferred to Libya. The workers had previously been overhauling Libyan warships.

The heat is on Lord Mandelson, the Prime Minister and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, this weekend after William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, demanded answers over their conduct. “If there was no UK government involvement in the decision to release Megrahi then Gordon Brown and Lord Mandelson should have no objection to releasing details of the government’s dealings with Libya,” he said.

The 24-hectare marina site in Montenegro was sold to Peter Munk, the Canadian mining tycoon, for a reported price of only £3.2 million in a deal personally overseen by Milo Dukanovic, Montenegro’s controversial prime minister. Mr Gaddafi, who was a guest of Mr Rothschild at his villa in Corfu earlier this summer at the same time as Lord Mandelson, was actively promoting Libyan business interests in Montenegro, which is aggressively courting high-profile foreign investors.

During his time as EU Trade Commissioner in Brussels, Lord Mandelson championed the cause of Montenegro, supporting its entry into the World Trade Organisation and ending EU trade tariffs on the country’s largest export, aluminum. That move benefited Lord Mandelson’s friend Mr Deripaska, who bought Montenegro’s former state aluminum plant.

 

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27 November 2009; Peter Mandelson’s Closeness to Gaddafi’s Son ‘Is Sickening’

Lord Mandelson should use his friendship with the son of Colonel Gaddafi to help negotiate compensation for people injured by IRA bombs, a victims’ campaigner has said. Willie Frazer, who lost his father and two uncles during the Troubles, said he was “sickened” by reports that the former Northern Ireland Secretary of State had attended a shooting party with Saif al-Islam Gadaffi in England earlier this week. He said: “At the minute, at the very least it is distasteful for that man, Lord Mandelson, to be affiliating himself with Colonel Gaddafi. “Has he forgotten what happened to British citizens and British victims? Until that’s dealt with there should be some respect for the people that have lost their lives and given their lives for the defence of British cities.”

Lord Mandelson and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi reportedly met at Lord Rothschild’s villa in Corfu, days before the announcement earlier this year that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was to be freed on compassionate grounds. Saif Gaddafi later accompanied the dying terrorist back to Libya. A Conservative frontbencher said victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism would be “sick to the stomach” at reports of the country house social event. Conservative Scotland spokesman Ben Wallace said: “The hundreds of victims of Libyan Semtex will be sick to the stomach to see Lord Mandelson gallivanting around the countryside with Gaddafi’s son.” http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/peter-mandelsons-closeness-to-gaddafis-son-is-sickening-28504340.html

 

 

strawJack Straw

 

August 31 2009; Home Secretary Jack Straw Letter Rekindles Megrahi Row – Opposition MPs Call For An Inquiry

The government dropped an attempt to exclude the Lockerbie bomber from its prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) with Libya two years ago after resistance from Tripoli, it emerged yesterday. Jack Straw, justice secretary, decided it was in the UK’s “overwhelming interests” to agree to Libyan calls for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi to be included in the deal. In a letter, Mr Straw wrote: “The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the [PTA] should be in the standard form and not mention any [specific] individual.”

Within six weeks of the decision on December 19 2007, Libya had ratified an exploration deal for oil and gas made with BP seven months earlier.

Mr Straw said yesterday that the decision was “academic” to this month’s release of Mr Megrahi, which was taken by the Scottish executive on humanitarian grounds outside the prisoner transfer agreement (PTA). But the disclosure, made in letters to Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, and leaked to a Sunday newspaper, prompted a strong reaction from opposition MPs yesterday, who said the government should hold an inquiry into the affair.

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said the letters were evidence that the government had been talking to the Libyans about Mr Megrahi with a view to safeguarding Britain’s commercial interests. Document 552 of 2845 https://archive.org/stream/ABCNews19781979/Libya-FT-2007-to-2012-b.txt

 

Blair Ghaddafi 2007 Does he ever change his clothes

 

 

September 2 2009; Oil Helps Grease Improvement In Relationship

The surge in Libya’s oil exports to the UK coincided with Britain becoming a net importer of oil since 2005. Mr Blair’s meeting with Colonel Muammer Gaddafi in March 2004, followed by a second visit in 2007, helped cement Libya’s re-admission into the international community. For oil companies the company that has the most riding on Libya is BP. The deal it signed in 2007 gave it a huge area to explore, and it plans to start drilling wells next year, but any discoveries are unlikely to result in production until late in the next decade. Document 555 of 2845 https://archive.org/stream/ABCNews19781979/Libya-FT-2007-to-2012-b.txt

 

blair-gadaffi Just Good friends

 

 

 

June 5 2010; Tony Blair Our Very Special Adviser by Dictator Gaddafi’s Son

Tony Blair has become an adviser to Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator’s son has sensationally claimed. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the former prime minister has secured a consultancy role with a state fund that manages the country’s £65billion of oil wealth. In an exclusive interview, Saif described Mr Blair as a ‘personal family friend’ of the Libyan leader and said he had visited the country ‘many, many times’ since leaving Downing Street three years ago. Personal friends? If true, the claims will plunge Mr Blair – now a Middle East peace envoy – into a fresh row over potential conflicts of interest between his public and private roles.

His business affairs have attracted widespread controversy because they are deliberately shrouded in secrecy. Last night, families of the 270 Lockerbie victims accused Mr Blair of breaking bread with people who ‘have blood on their hands’. They have in the past raised questions about Mr Blair’s relationship with Colonel Gaddafi especially over a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya that paved the way for the return of the Lockerbie bomber last year.

Saif made clear that the agreement – drawn up when Mr Blair was prime minister – was key to creating a ‘special relationship’ between Britain and Libya. Saif suggested Mr Blair was involved in ‘Africa projects’ with his father, alleging: ‘He also has some consultancy role with the Libyan Investment Authority.’ Mr Blair was adamant last night he had no relationship whatsoever with the LIA. However he is advising several firms seeking a slice of the massive revenues from Libya’s oil reserves.

 

Bullingdon Boy Jo

 

Saif, speaking in his private suite in Mayfair’s five star Connaught Hotel, said: ‘Tony Blair has an excellent relationship with my father. ‘For us, he is a personal family friend. I first met him around four years ago at Number 10. Since then I’ve met him several times in Libya where he stays with my father. He has come to Libya many, many times. ‘He’s adviser to the LIA, the Libyan Investment Authority. He has some consultancy role.’ Saif defended Mr Blair’s right to exploit his contacts in Libya. ‘Many people are unhappy with him [Blair] because of Iraq,’ he said. ‘It’s much easier to deal with the LIA than the Middle East. Tony Blair has the right to earn money. ‘It’s a good thing to be a businessman.

The LIA is ready to talk to anybody who wants to do business in Libya.’ Last night, Mr Blair’s spokesman said: ‘Tony Blair does not have any role, either formal or informal, paid or unpaid, with the Libyan Investment Authority or the government of Lybia. But sources close to the Gaddafi family said Saif – tipped to succeed his father as leader of his country – stands by his comments.

Colonel Gaddafi is understood to be on first name terms with Mr Blair, who saw his work in Libya as one of the great foreign policy successes of his premiership. Mr Blair has always insisted he played no role in the return of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, who was sent home last August by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after doctors wrongly said he had only three months to live. But Saif said Megrahi’s release was ‘always on the negotiating table’ in discussions about ‘ commercial contracts for oil and gas with Britain’.

Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, told the Mail: ‘If this is true, I guess this is Tony Blair’s reward from the Libyan government for what he has done. It’s important for world peace that Libya is brought back into the community of nations but that doesn’t mean that you have to honour people with blood on their hands.’

Saif, 37, was a key player in Libya’s bid to end its pariah status and renounce nuclear weapons. That decision led to Mr Blair’s trip to Tripoli in 2004, where he shook Colonel Gaddafi’s hand and declared a ‘new relationship’. The meeting led to lucrative Libyan oil contracts for Shell. A month before stepping down as PM, Mr Blair visited-Colonel Gaddafi in Tripoli again at the same time that BP signed a $900million deal with the Libyan National Oil Company.

Saif said: ‘Libya has a special relationship with Britain.’ Since becoming a part-time Middle East peace envoy on leaving office in 2007, Mr Blair has exploited his contacts to amass a personal fortune in excess of £20million. He has a lucrative contract to advise JP Morgan, which pays him £2million a year. Part of his job for them is to develop banking opportunities in Libya. It is understood that British firms Mr Blair is linked to are also being given contracts to tap Libya’s massive natural resources, and to help rebuild the country’s outdated infrastructure.The details are sketchy because he has built a labyrinthine business empire of interlocking partnerships designed, it seems, to conceal the sources and scale of his income.

 

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Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, who chairs the all-party Commons committee on Libya, said Mr Blair should spend more time on his role as a Middle East envoy than allegedly exploiting his links with the Gaddafi family. He said: ‘Mr Blair has a very important job. It does concern me greatly that he seems to spend so much time with the Libyans, who are not key players in the Arab-Israeli conflict. ‘There should be greater transparency to ensure that Tony Blair is not using his current position and his previous position to assist his business interests.’

Sources close to Mr Blair said it was a matter of public record that he has visited Libya since leaving office, where he has discussed a range of issues. They said he fully supported the decision to integrate Libya back into the international community and is proud of the role he played in the process.

Saif Gaddafi sits at the centre of a remarkable social web that has ensnared both Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson. The men are bound together by their interests in Libyan business and their friendship with the multi-billionaire financiers of the Rothschild family. Lord Mandelson once remarked that he was ‘intensely relaxed’ about extreme wealth, a position he has justified ever since. It was only natural that he should share an interest in networking and wealth with one of the world’s oldest banking families.

But even the Rothschilds have probably never described him as a ‘killer of a man’. That was Saif Gaddafi’s take on the former Business Secretary. After Labour’s election defeat, Mr Gaddafi said: ‘It’s bad news for the UK that he left because he is a killer of a man. It’s a loss for the UK.’  The two men met briefly last summer at the secluded cliff top mansion compound of the Rothschild family on the holiday island of Corfu. Curiously, their stays overlapped by one night and came only a week before the announcement-that the perpetrator of the Lockerbie bombing could be released from prison. They ‘fleetingly’ discussed the fate of the bomber Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi but Lord Mandelson’s spokesman said he was ‘ completely unsighted’ on the impending release.

Last November, Lord Mandelson spent more time in the company of Saif during a shooting weekend at Waddesdon Manor, Lord Rothschild’s mini-Versailles in Buckinghamshire. Cherie Blair was also a guest. Earlier this month, the former business secretary was seen zipping around the Swiss ski resort of Klosters in Nat Rothschild’s £250,000 Ferrari convertible. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1284132/Tony-Blair-special-adviser-dictator-Gaddafis-son.html

 

Bush-Blair-0555

 

 

 

September 19 2011; Blair Made Two Secret Visits to Gaddafi in Libya Before Lockerbie Bomber’s Release

Tony Blair held secret talks with Colonel Gaddafi in the months before the release of the Lockerbie bomber, letters and emails uncovered in war-torn Tripoli reveal. After he stepped down as Prime Minister, Mr Blair was twice flown to Libya on a Gaddafi private jet. He visited the dictator in June 2008 and April 2009, when Libya was threatening to cut all business ties with Britain if Abdelbaset al-Megrahi stayed in a Scottish jail. At one of his encounters, Mr Blair took a billionaire U.S. businessman with him. The Libyans wanted to discuss a beach resort deal.

The revelation of the meetings will provoke further claims that Mr Blair worked behind the scenes on behalf of the tyrannical regime to get the bomber released. But despite admitting that Gaddafi brought up the issue of Megrahi, Mr Blair strenuously denied having anything to do with his release, saying it had always been solely a matter for the Scottish Executive.

Pam Dix, whose brother died in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, said: ‘The idea of Gaddafi paying for Mr Blair’s visits is deeply offensive. ‘These new meetings are disturbing, and details of what was discussed should be made public. I am astonished Tony Blair continued to have meetings like this out of office.’ The emails and letters, in which Gaddafi is referred to as ‘The Leader’, show that in 2008 and 2009, Mr Blair negotiated to fly to the Libyan capital from Sierra Leone, where he was promoting tourism, in a jet provided by Gaddafi.

One letter was written on June 2, 2008, by Gavin Mackay, from Mr Blair’s office, to Libya’s ambassador to the UK. It said: ‘Let me begin my [sic] saying that Mr Blair is delighted that The Leader is likely to be able to see him during the afternoon of June 10, and he is most grateful that the Libyan authorities have kindly offered an aircraft to take him from Freetown to Tripoli and back to London.’

Another letter shows that Mr Blair took billionaire Tim Collins to the April 2009 meeting. Mr Blair’s events organiser Victoria Gould wrote to the British ambassador in Tripoli, Sir Vincent Fean, to ask whether the former PM could stay at his residence. She wrote: ‘If we were able to stay at the Residence, I know TB [Mr Blair] would be really grateful (as would we all).’ Sir Vincent wrote back: ‘Just to confirm that the residence is at your disposal.’

A week later, Miss Gould wrote in an email: ‘We have asked the Libyans to collect us from Sierra Leone and bring us to Libya. In terms of calls, if you could note that TB would like to do the following: a meeting with The Leader (partly 1:1 and partly with Tim Collins).’ The meeting came a day after Britain signed an agreement with Libya which paved the way for Megrahi’s release. This happened in August 2009 after doctors gave him three months to live because of cancer.

He is still alive. A spokesman for Mr Blair said: ‘The subjects of the conversations during Mr Blair’s occasional visits was primarily Africa, as Libya was for a time head of the African Union; but also the Middle East and how Libya should reform and open up. ‘Of course the Libyans, as they always did, raised Megrahi. Mr Blair explained, as he always did, that it was not a decision for the UK Government but for the Scottish Executive. As we have made clear many times before, Tony Blair has never had any formal role, paid or unpaid, with the Libyan Investment Authority or the Government of Libya and he has no commercial relationship with any Libyan company or entity.’ The former prime minister continues to have round-the-clock armed protection, and it is understood that Scotland Yard spent up to £20,000 during the trips to Libya. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2038765/Tony-Blair-secret-meetings-Gaddafi-Lockerbie-bomber-release.html

 

Tony Blair and George Bush

 

 

August 4 2013; Tony Blair Assisted Colonel Gaddafi in £1bn Legal Dispute With Victims of a Libyan Terrorist Attack

Documents show that Gaddafi turned to Mr Blair after a US court ordered Libya to pay $1.5billion (£1billion) in damages to relatives of seven Americans killed when a bomb exploded on a Paris-bound passenger jet in west Africa. According to the email, Mr Blair approached President George W Bush after promising the Libyan leader that he would intervene in the case. Mr Bush subsequently signed the Libyan Claims Resolution Act in August 2008, which invalidated the $1.5billion award made by the court.

UTA Flight 772 from Chad was blown up on Sept 19, 1989, by Libyan intelligence services, killing all 170 passengers. The attack took place nine months after Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie killing 270 people. The relatives of UTA Flight 772 had won the billion-pound court case in January 2008 after a seven-year legal battle, causing serious difficulties for the Libyan regime in the US. The ruling meant the proceeds of Libyan business deals, mainly in oil and gas but including other investments, could be seized in the US.

Mr Blair’s involvement in the case is outlined in an email obtained by The Sunday Telegraph. The document was written by Sir Vincent Fean, the then British ambassador to Libya, and was sent to Mr Blair’s aides on June 8, 2008, two days before Mr Blair met Gaddafi in Libya. It was one of at least six private trips made by Mr Blair to Libya after he quit as prime minister in June 2007. The first trip to meet Gaddafi was made in February 2008. The previous month a US federal court had made the $1.5billion award to Flight 772 victims. The email written by Sir Vincent outlines points for Mr Blair to raise in his meeting with Gaddafi. It also shows that a key aide to Mr Blair had met with a senior US diplomat to discuss the Flight 772 case.

Sir Vincent wrote: “On USA/Libya, TB should explain what he said to President Bush (and what Banner [a Blair aide] said to Welch [a US diplomat]) to keep his promise to Col Q [Gaddafi] to intervene after the President allowed US courts to attach Libyan assets.” The memo went on: “He [Blair] could express satisfaction at the progress made in talks between the US and Libya to reach a Govt to Govt solution to all the legal/compensation issues outstanding from the 1980s. It would be good to get these issues resolved, and move on. The right framework is being created. HMG is not involved in the talks, although some British citizens might be affected by them (Lockerbie, plus some UK Northern Irish litigants going to US courts seeking compensation from Libya for IRA terrorist acts funded/fuelled by Libya).”

The memo reveals that Nick Banner, Mr Blair’s chief of staff in his role as Middle East peace envoy, had spoken to David Welch, the US official who was negotiating with the Libyans over compensation for victims of terrorism. The American lawyer who had won the court order in January 2008 only to have it made invalid by the act signed by Mr Bush said his clients had “got screwed”.

 

Blair Ghaddafi 2007 Does he ever change his clothes

 

 

Stuart Newberger, a senior partner at the international law firm Crowell & Moring, said: “This case was thwarted by President Bush, who directed the State Department to negotiate a package deal that ended all Libyan-related terrorism cases, including my judgment. I had heard rumours about Blair’s involvement but this is the first time that role was confirmed.” He added: “I never considered this an honourable way to carry out diplomacy. It sent the wrong message to terrorist states – don’t worry about these lawsuits and judgments as the politicians will eventually fix it.”

Under the terms of the Libyan Claims Resolution Act, Libya made a one-off payment to victims of all Libyan state-sponsored terrorism including the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103, UTA Flight 772 and a Berlin discotheque. The payment, totalling $1.5billion, gave Libya immunity from all terrorism-related lawsuits. The relatives of victims of UTA 772 received about $ 100million, rather than the court award of $1.5billion. Relatives of victims of Pan Am 103 welcomed the agreement which saw them get the final instalment of compensation already agreed. The deal meant all victims of Libyan terrorism received the same award.

The Sunday Telegraph has also obtained a separate letter, sent on June 2 from Gavin Mackay – a Foreign Office official seconded to Mr Blair in his role as Middle East peace envoy at the Office of the Quarter Representative (OQR) – to Libya’s ambassador in London. The letter, on OQR-headed notepaper details Mr Blair’s gratitude that Libya is providing him with a private jet to fly him from Sierra Leone to Tripoli for a four-hour stopover and then on to the UK.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign Secretary, expressed concern that the trip appeared to be arranged through Mr Blair’s public role as Middle East envoy. He said: “Unless Mr Blair can come up with a convincing explanation as to why the Quartet secretariat should have been involved in this visit, it would indeed be a reason for legitimate and serious criticism.”

A spokesman for Tony Blair said: “The only conversation he ever had with regard to this matter was to give a general view that it was in the interests of both Libya and the USA to resolve those issues in a fair manner and move on.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/10220684/Tony-Blair-helped-Colonel-Gaddafi-in-1bn-legal-row.html

 

blair-gadaffi Just Good friendsPeter Mandelson Mellowing

Bank of England Financial Policy and Relocation of Banking Headquarters to England

1. Scottish Banks to Relocate Headquarters to England, (not much change then since 80% of the functions are already there)

a. The dirty tricks campaigners continue their single minded targetting of Scotland in pursuit of the removal from UK financial services of any risk to the Bank of England and Westminster. It now appears that Scottish banks are intent upon relocating their headquarters to London despite getting the, “no” vote they vociferously advocated, assisted by Sir Jeremy Heywood and his dirty tricks team in HM Treasury. A kick in the teeth for those that fell for the hype.

b. Jeremy Peat opened his article stating, ” A senior figure in the finance sector has warned that firms could move their legal headquarters out of Scotland due to continued uncertainty over independence”.

c. Peat accepted that the vast bulk of regulations applicable to the financial sector in Scotland are in place in support of financial control systems outwith London. Approximately 70% emanates from the European Union and this would be placed at risk in the event of a European referendum. To facilitate it’s continuing function he conceded that Scotland would need to focus on the retention of highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs particularly in the asset management sector, where Scotland already has an excellent reputation and large firms including Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments.

d. John Finney commented; “We continue to see the advantages of Scotland being a full participant in the European markets and what the EU referendum threatens to do is to jeopardise that direct relationship between Scottish companies and European markets.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-30526396

2. Extract and Summary of a Meeting of the Financial Policy Committee 26 September 2014

a. Stability of the financial markets in of utmost importance and to facilitate this briefing information will be widely distributed, through the media, banks and other information distribution organisations/systems.

b. In the event of a ‘yes’ vote the Bank of England will issue a statement immediately reaffirming its responsibilities for financial stability, prudential regulation, banknotes and monetary policy in the entire United Kingdom, including Scotland, until legislation enacting independence comes into force. This statement will be coordinated with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and HM Treasury, as appropriate, to provide a comprehensive explanation of financial stability arrangements during any transition period.

c. The incidence of risks will be much reduced if Scottish-domiciled banks chose to, and announce without undue delay, their intent to redomicile their holding companies into the rest of the United Kingdom. To this end and ahead of the vote, a number of Scottish based financial services firms had announced that they would redomicile in the event of a ‘yes’ vote. Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) supervisors have been working with these firms to understand their intentions and ensure their operational readiness.

d.The Bank of England have in place arrangements to meet any potential increased demand for Bank of England notes from holders of Scottish notes and provisions will remain in place providing that Scottish banknotes are backed fully by their issuers’ holdings of Bank of England notes, UK coin and deposits at the Bank of England. This would have been a key public message in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

e. It is noteworthy that large UK banks are required and maintain significant liquid asset buffers and that their Discount Window allows banks to access liquidity against the substantial amounts of pre-positioned collateral.

3. Record of Financial Policy Committee Meeting Held On 26 September 2014

a. The Committee reviewed economic prospects and the outlook for financial stability , as summarized below. Scottish referendum 2. In the United Kingdom, there had been intense focus on the referendum on Scottish independence. The Committee had discussed and received briefings on the possible financial stability risks associated with the Scottish referendum and associated contingency planning by the Bank in June, July and September. At those sessions, the Committee had reviewed the developments relating to the Scottish referendum focusing on financial stability implications. In July the Committee had received a detailed briefing on the Bank’s contingency planning.

b. The Committee had noted the possible impact of a ‘yes’ vote on market perceptions of the United Kingdom’s creditworthiness. If an independent Scotland were not to accept its
proportionate share of the debt, the Committee felt this could have modest implications for the United Kingdom’s sovereign credit rating. The implications for the implied credit rating of an independent Scotland could have been more material.

c. The impact of a ‘yes’ vote on regulated firms would likely have been varied. No significant concerns had been identified for UK financial market infrastructures but there could have been significant effects for those major UK banks and insurers which were domiciled in Scotland or had substantial Scottish assets and liabilities. The main financial stability risks would have arisen if: ? a lack of sufficient clarity over deposit insurance arrangements and/or credibility of central bank liquidity support had led depositors and other creditors of Scottish institutions to transfer their business to other financial firms; and/or ? Scottish-domiciled banks had been subject to ratings downgrades, as implied home government support was reduced, potentially affecting their ability to act as counter parties to other institutions and/or to access wholesale funding markets.

d. The Committee had noted that the main parties in the Westminster Parliament had ruled out a formal currency union with an independent Scotland. It had also noted the potential instability of any informal currency arrangement, such as sterlingisation. In the absence of credible institutions and resources to back financial stability and fiscal credibility, such arrangements could have led to expectations of future redenomination, particularly if an independent Scotland were seen to be on an overall path of economic
divergence from the rest of the United Kingdom.

e. In the extreme, it was possible that the prospect of that risk materialising in the future could have threatened financial stability in the present. If depositors, policy holders and other creditors believed that an independent Scotland would adopt a new currency, they might have preferred not to take the risk that their assets might be redenominated into that new currency. If financial companies believed they would face currency mismatches and therefore potential capital losses in the event that Scotland adopted a new currency, they too might have preferred to reduce their exposures to Scottish assets.

f. The Committee had noted that affected firms were undertaking extensive contingency planning – in liaison with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – in areas such as liquidity management, operations and communications.

g. A number of risks would have been enmitigated if Scottish-domiciled banks chose, and were able to announce quickly, and with credibility, their intention to redomicile their holding companies into the rest of the United Kingdom. Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) supervisors had been working with those firms to understand their intentions and ensure their operational readiness. Ahead of the vote, a number of Scottish-based financial services firms had announced that they would redomicile in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

h. The Committee had discussed the practical issues associated with redomiciling. It had judged that both the speed and certainty with which firms would be able to redomicile could be significantly improved by new legislation. Any such legislation would have been a matter for the Westminster Parliament, whose view could not be pre-supposed.

i. The Committee noted that redomiciling would not mitigate all risks to financial stability. For example, currency risk could also affect holders of Scottish assets or financial instruments (such as asset-backed securities) which contained underlying Scottish assets. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) had been discussing with firms how they would manage their potential currency exposures.

j. Based on regular liquidity monitoring, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) had assessed that the large UK banks’ wholesale funding positions were stable. Nonetheless, a key element of the Bank’s contingency planning work concerned the potential provision of liquidity support to individual institutions. The Committee had noted that the large UK banks had significant liquid asset buffers and that the Bank’s Discount Window allowed banks to access liquidity against substantial amounts of pre-positioned collateral.

k. A routine market-wide Indexed Long-Term Repo operation (ILTR) had been scheduled for 7 October, but the Bank was ready and able to announce extra operations at very short notice. It was subsequently decided by the Bank that, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote, and as a precautionary measure to backstop sterling money market liquidity, the Bank would immediately announce its intention to conduct additional operations in each of the two succeeding weeks, bridging to the already scheduled 7 October operation.

l. The Committee noted that the Bank had in place arrangements to meet potential increased demand for Bank of England notes from holders of Scottish notes. Under current arrangements, Scottish banknotes are backed fully by their issuers’ holdings of Bank of England notes, UK coin and deposits at the Bank of England. This would have been a key public message in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

m. The Committee noted that the Bank had been developing and implementing its post-referendum communication plans. In the event of a ‘yes’ vote it would issue a statement
immediately reaffirming its responsibilities for financial stability, prudential regulation, banknotes and monetary policy in the entire United Kingdom, including Scotland, until legislation enacting independence came into force. This statement would be co-ordinated with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and HM Treasury, as appropriate, to provide a comprehensive explanation of financial stability arrangements during any transition period.

n. The Committee welcomed the contingency measures taken by the Bank and emphasised the importance of readiness of the Bank, in conjunction where appropriate with HM Treasury, to take steps rapidly in the event of a ‘yes’ vote. It also recognised the need for careful communications in advance of the referendum, both to maintain the political independence of the Bank and to avoid inadvertently triggering the very risks the contingency planning was designed to mitigate.
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/records/fpc/pdf/2014/record1410.pdf

Sir Jeremy Heywood – Edward Snowden – Whistleblower – NSA & GCHQ – Data Collection & Surveillance of Individuals Worldwide

Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary to David Cameron also leads the UK’s civil service. He wields immense power and exercises it routinely in defence of the government and in furtherance of his own agenda.

Edward Snowden worked for the NSA for a time but became disillusioned with the service viewing it’s policies to be counter productive, invasive and illegal. He gathered sensitive information, disappeared from his office then surfaced in Hong Kong where he leaked copious amounts of information to, “the Guardian” newspaper who in turn released much of it to the UK public.

Needless to say the proverbial, “s–t hit the fan” and there followed many months of accusations, denials, warnings, threats and government interference which, at the time of writing is still on-going. Sir Jeremy featured at the UK end taking action against the Guardian designed to bring to an end, (without success) to the revelations of Snowden who subsequently took refuge in Russia.

There is a large amount of press coverage and I have gathered a selection of relevant writings for study, over some time. The content is disturbing but truly reflects the activities of the US and UK government’s secret services.

June 3 2013: British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

June 6 2013: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily – Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order

June 7 2013: UK security agency GCHQ gaining information from world’s biggest internet firms through US-run Prism programme
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jun/07/uk-gathering-secret-intelligence-nsa-prism

June 7 2013: Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks – Top-secret directive steps up offensive cyber capabilities to ‘advance US objectives around the world’
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/07/obama-china-targets-cyber-overseas

June 8 2013: Barack Obama defends US government programs that have reportedly conducted surveillance of people’s personal phone and internet activity. Federal authorities have allegedly been mining data from companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook to gain access to emails, photos and other files allowing analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts. The US president insists the surveillance programmes strike a good balance between safety and privacy
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/jun/08/obama-internet-surveillance-video

June 9 2013: Edward Snowden. “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things” – video interview
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-interview-video

June 9 2013: Data snooping: The foreign secretary, William Hague, says reports that GCHQ are gathering intelligence from phones and online sites should not concern people who have nothing to hide. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Hague claims all intelligence gathering done by the UK is governed by a strong legal framework. When asked directly about the UK’s links to Prism, the NSA’s secret surveillance programme, Hague declined to either confirm or deny it existed.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/video/2013/jun/09/data-snooping-law-abiding-citizens-nothing-fear-hague-video

10 June 2013: Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations – The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

June 11 2013: The NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data – NSA’s powerful tool for cataloging global surveillance data–including figures on US collection
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-informant-global-datamining

June 11 2013: Edward Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills: At the moment I feel alone, her blog – in which she described life with her boyfriend on Hawaii was taken down after Snowden identified as source of leaks
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/11/edward-snowden-lindsay-mills-guardian

June 17 2013: Phones were monitored and fake internet cafes set up to gather information from allies in London in 2009
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits

June 21 2013: British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

July 8 2013: Edward Snowden. ‘The US government will say I aided our enemies’ – video interview
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2013/jul/08/edward-snowden-video-interview

August 1 2013: Secret payments revealed in leaks by Edward Snowden • GCHQ expected to ‘pull its weight’ for Americans • Weaker regulation of British spies ‘a selling point’ for NSA
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/01/nsa-paid-gchq-spying-edward-snowden

September 6 2013: NSA and GCHQ unlock encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records • $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products • Security experts say programs ‘undermine the fabric of the internet’
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/05/nsa-gchq-encryption-codes-security

October 25 2013: Did Conservative MP Julian Smith endanger national security? Politician who claims Guardian endangered lives with NSA spying leaks shows photo of staff at high-security base in UK
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/25/conservative-mp-julian-smith-national-security-nsa-leaks

October 25 2013: Leaked memos reveal GCHQ efforts to keep mass surveillance secret. Exclusive: Edward Snowden papers show UK spy agency fears legal challenge if scale of surveillance is made public
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden

October 25 2013: The NSA scandal puts Europe to the test. EU member states have a duty to protect their citizens from snooping. There is surely more to come
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/25/nsa-scandal-puts-europe-to-test

October 25 2013: NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts • Agency given more than 200 numbers by government official • NSA encourages departments to share their ‘Rolodexes’ • Surveillance produced ‘little intelligence’, memo acknowledges
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/24/nsa-surveillance-world-leaders-calls

28 October 2013: David Cameron makes veiled threat to media over NSA and GCHQ leaks. Prime minister alludes to courts and D notices and singles out the Guardian over coverage of Edward Snowden saga
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/28/david-cameron-nsa-threat-newspapers-guardian-snowden

December 19 2013: In the US, the official response to Snowden’s revelations celebrates journalism and calls for real change. But in Britain, the picture is rather different

What a relief. It is, after all, possible to discuss the operations of modern intelligence agencies without having to prove one’s patriotism, be turned over by the police, summoned by politicians or visited by state-employed technicians with instructions to smash up one’s computers. The 300-page report into the Guardian’s revelations about the US National Security Agency commissioned by President Obama and published this week is wide-ranging, informed and thoughtful. It leaps beyond the timid privacy-versus-national security platitudes which have stifled so much of the debate in the UK. It doesn’t blame journalism for dragging the subject into the open it celebrates it. The five authors of the report are not hand-wringing liberals. They number one former CIA deputy director; a counter-terrorism adviser to George W Bush and his father; two former White House advisers; and a former dean of the Chicago law school. Not what the British prime minister would call “airy-fairy lah-di-dah” types.

Six months ago the British cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, was in the Guardian’s London office telling us there had been, “enough” debate on the matter of what intelligence agencies got up to. But here are Obama’s experts reveling in the debate; exploring the tensions between privacy and national security, yes – but going much further, discussing cryptology; civil liberties; the right of citizens and governments to be informed; relationships with other countries; and the potential damage that unconstrained espionage can cause to trade, commerce and the digital economy.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/19/obama-nsa-review-britain-debate-possible

December 24 2013: The NSA, founded in 1952, is the USA’s signals intelligence agency, and the biggest of the country’s myriad intelligence organisations. It has a strict focus on overseas, rather than domestic, surveillance. It is the phone and internet interception specialist of the USA, and is also responsible for codebreaking.
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/the-nsa-files

December 26 2013: Israeli PM condemns US and UK spying on predecessor as ‘unacceptable’
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/netanyahu-condemns-spying-nsa-gchq-unacceptable

December 29 2013: NSA ‘hacking unit’ infiltrates computers around the world • NSA: Tailored Access Operations a ‘unique national asset’• Former NSA chief calls Edward Snowden a ‘traitor’
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/29/der-spiegel-nsa-hacking-unit-tao

December 31 2013: President Obama claims the NSA has never abused its authority. That’s false. The facts that we know so far – from Fisa court documents to LOVEINT – show that the NSA has overstepped its powers

Comment CaptCrash: The NSA failed to prevent the bombing at the Boston marathon, or a massive leak of it’s secrets to newspapers, but surveillance has managed to identify households buying baggage and cooking utensils in the same week. The sweep of all personal data clearly cannot be analysed without hindsight of previous methods of terror, each method made redundant, necessitating new actions and language. It’s Stasi style of creepy, subversive to democratic and economic change, free speech and international diplomacy, and paid for by the citizens who are subjected to such snooping. We can hold different opinions of whether it is the right thing to do, but it is probably more dangerous than effective, which is exactly why East Germany fell. That is to say, the economy didn’t work for the majority, and the powers that were thought that mass surveillance and spying would control dissent. For a while it certainly did.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/31/nsa-powers-have-been-abused

January 5 2014: The left is too silent on the clunking fist of state power. Government’s role is vital, but an arrogant and centralised state is as big a problem as the out-of-control market
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/05/left-silent-state-power-government-market

January 31 2014: Footage released of Guardian editors destroying Snowden hard drives – GCHQ technicians watched as journalists took angle grinders and drills to computers after weeks of tense negotiations – In two tense meetings last June and July the cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, explicitly warned the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, to return the Snowden documents. Heywood, sent personally by David Cameron, told the editor to stop publishing articles based on leaked material from American’s National Security Agency and GCHQ. At one point Heywood said: “We can do this nicely or we can go to law”. He added: “A lot of people in government think you should be closed down.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/jan/31/snowden-files-computer-destroyed-guardian-gchq-basement-video
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/31/footage-released-guardian-editors-snowden-hard-drives-gchq

February 27 2014: Snowden leaks. MPs summon security services watchdog. Sir Mark Waller, intelligence services commissioner, has repeatedly refused to address home affairs select committee

A security services watchdog, Sir Mark Waller, has been summoned to appear before MPs after he repeatedly refused to appear to answer their questions over the Edward Snowden leaks and other counter-terrorism issues. Waller, who is the intelligence services commissioner, refused to appear before the Commons home affairs select committee in a rare clash over the parliamentary accountability of Britain’s intelligence agencies. The summons was issued at midday on Thursday and is a rare move by a parliamentary committee which has the power to send for people and papers. The order to appear on 18 March was approved without a vote on the committee.

Waller is one of two former senior judges charged with the oversight of the security services, including MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, which have been at the centre of disclosures over the US National Security Agency’s mass digital surveillance programmes. The other retired judge, Sir Anthony May, is responsible specifically for oversight of the interception capabilities of the security services. He told the committee earlier that the 570,000 requests a year for communications data by public authorities was, “possibly too large”.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the committee, said, “The intelligence services commissioner plays a vital role in keeping under review the way in which the home secretary and the intelligence services use the powers which they have been granted by parliament. This function was conferred on the commissioner by act of parliament, and Sir Mark must be accountable to parliament for the way in which he carries them out. “Both the information commissioner and the interception of communications commissioner have accepted invitations to give evidence to the committee in the last few weeks. We do not see why the intelligence services commissioner should be any different and the committee was disappointed by his refusal to attend. “Sir Mark has referred us to his published report. While information in this report is useful to the committee, effective parliamentary scrutiny requires the opportunity to ask questions and receive full answers. “We have therefore taken the unusual step of summoning Sir Mark. This happens only very rarely, where an essential witness declines to appear in response to an invitation. Indeed, it is the only time that this committee has summoned a witness in this parliament,” he said. The clash comes a fortnight after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, called for a major overhaul of the oversight of Britain’s intelligence services, including reform of the commissioners’ roles as part of his campaign against, “unaccountable power”.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/27/mps-summon-security-services-watchdog-mark-waller-snowden

February 28 2014: Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of, “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy”. GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans’ images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo

February 28 2014: Senators to investigate NSA role in GCHQ ‘Optic Nerve’ webcam spying. UK spy agency’s ‘breathtaking lack of respect’ over interception of Yahoo users’ webcam images

Three US senators are planning to investigate any role the National Security Agency played in its British partner’s mass collection of Yahoo webcam images. Reacting to the Guardian’s revelation on Thursday that UK surveillance agency GCHQ swept up millions of Yahoo users’ webcam chats, senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich said in a joint statement that “any involvement of US agencies in the alleged activities reported today will need to be closely scrutinized”. The senators described the interception as a “breathtaking lack of respect for privacy and civil liberties”.

On Friday, the Internet Association – a trade body representing internet giants including Google, Amazon, eBay, Netflix, AOL and Twitter – joined the chorus of condemnation, issuing a statement expressing alarm at the latest GCHQ revelations, and calling for reform. According to documents provided to the Guardian by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the GCHQ program codenamed Optic Nerve fed screengrabs of webcam chats and associated metadata into NSA tools such as Xkeyscore. NSA research, the documents indicate, also contributed to the creation of Optic Nerve, which attempted to use facial recognition technology to identify intelligence targets, particularly those using multiple anonymous internet IDs.

President Barack Obama said in a 17 January speech that foreigners ought to enjoy some degree of privacy from US surveillance, but has left the specifics undefined. In a statement, the Internet Association’s CEO Michael Beckerman said, “Today’s revelations, about British intelligence practices, are alarming and reaffirm the need for greater transparency and reform of government surveillance. Governments must immediately act to reform the practices and laws regulating surveillance and collection of Internet users’ information. The most pressing Internet user privacy issue continues to concern governments’ access to and use of electronic data. The Internet Association supports the Reform Government Surveillance principles and encourages legislation to limit governments’ authority to collect users’ information and increase transparency about government demands”.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/28/nsa-gchq-webcam-spy-program-senate-investigation

March 2 2014: Labour to overhaul spy agency controls in response to Snowden files

Labour will on Monday propose substantial changes to the oversight of the British intelligence agencies, including the legal framework under which they operate, in response to the revelations emerging from files leaked by Edward Snowden. The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, is preparing to argue that the current arrangements are unsustainable for the government, and that it is damaging to trust in the agencies if ministers continue to hide their heads in the sand. In a speech that represents Labour’s most serious intervention since the controversy about the scale of state surveillance broke last summer, she will say: “The oversight and legal frameworks are now out of date. In particular that means we need major reforms to oversight and a thorough review of the legal framework to keep up with changing technology.

Cooper will also argue the government needs to conduct a full review of Ripa, which governs interception regulation, including whether the new forms of communication have dissolved the once clear distinction between content and communications data – especially given the information agencies and private companies such as Facebook can gather on the pattern of visited websites.
Cooper’s speech criticizes the response to Snowden by the intelligence and security committee, a group of MPs appointed by the prime minister and currently chaired by former Tory foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, arguing it simply has not had the capacity or resources for a full inquiry into the revelations. The committee’s legitimacy would be strengthened, she adds, if it were always chaired by an MP from an opposition party, so it is not viewed as an extension of the government.

Comment: jimpson. It would be encouraging to hear that Labour would review the limitations on our surveillance state. However, on the basis of the actions of the last Labour administration I have no faith, or trust, that they will put any transparent or effective oversight into how any of our security services operate. The commissioners these are establishment characters who are there to provide a figleaf of legitimacy. As for her claim that Snowden has seriously damaged national security this is just the same nonsense pushed out by the agencies who have been caught spying on all of us. Unfortunately unlike the US we have no constitution that protects us from the overweaning power of the state.

Comment: lilstevey. Further debate” is political speech meaning “do nothing while producing the impression of doing something”. Remember, the current Labour is headed by the same New Labour people who were there in the previous government doing most of the work of turning Britain into a police state, with widespread surveillance and arbitrary, authoritarian powers. Both in that regards and in regards to being strong supporters of tax-evading corporates and the very wealthy, the New Labourites are the same kind of scum as the Tories.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/02/labour-spy-agency-controls-cooper-snowden-files

August 7 2014: Edward Snowden given permission to stay in Russia – video interview
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/aug/07/edward-snowden-given-permission-stay-russia-video

October 17 2014: Edward Snowden on GCHQ, Facebook and his new life in Moscow – video
http://www.theguardian.com/membership/video/2014/oct/17/edward-snowden-gchq-facebook-moscow-video?INTCMP=mic_233824

October 19 2014: Citizenfour review – Edward Snowden documentary is utterly engrossing – Laura Poitras’s documentary follows Edward Snowden as his leaks about the activities of the NSA shock the world
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/oct/19/citizen-four-review-edward-snowden-nsa-engrossing

October 29 2014: GCHQ views data with no warrant, government admits. GCHQ’s secret, “arrangements” for accessing bulk material revealed in documents submitted to UK surveillance watchdog

British intelligence services can access raw material collected in bulk by the NSA and other foreign spy agencies without a warrant, the government has confirmed for the first time. GCHQ’s secret “arrangements” for accessing bulk material are revealed in documents submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the UK surveillance watchdog, in response to a joint legal challenge by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. The legal action was launched in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations published by the Guardian and other news organisations last year.

Last week, the foreign secretary, Phillip Hammond, told parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee he expected that ministers who signed surveillance warrants would likely have to justify themselves in front of a public inquiry at some point in the future. “I’m sure I can speak for all of my colleague who sign warrants that we all have, in the back of our minds, that at some point in the future we will – not might be, but will – be appearing before some inquiry or tribunal or court accounting for the decisions that we’ve made and essentially accounting for the way we’ve applied the proportionality and necessity tests,” he said. Hammond was also criticised for some of his answers to the committee, with experts suggesting the foreign secretary appeared not to understand the legal framework for the warrants he was signing, following a mischaracterisation of which types of communication would or would not require individual warrants.

STEb1 commented. Much as I expected, the so called Snooper’s Charter was simply meant to legitimize what was already happening. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft_Communications_Data_Bill
This would essentially appear to indicate that we have a government that only pretends to believe in the rule of law. That they just see the law as a means to an end and have no real respect for it. Of course we the public were never meant to know about this. If the Guardian had never broken the story the government would undoubtedly be still pretending that this was only going to start when the legislation was passed. This is unbelievably knowingly cynical and sneaky. Yet we are supposed to live in a democracy. Exactly what is this supposed to be protecting? It most definitely is not protecting democracy or the rule of law, because it’s just driven a coach and horses through it. I actually feel frightened making this comment, because clearly these people have no respect for free speech or any principles they espouse. It’s just what they can get away with.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/29/gchq-nsa-data-surveillance

Closing the Loopholes Would Provide Tax Revenues Sufficient to Permanently eliminate the Annual Deficit and Leave Enough as Reduce the National Debt

Closing the Loopholes Would Provide Tax Revenues Sufficient to Permanently eliminate the Annual Deficit and Leave Enough as Reduce the National Debt.

UK lax tax laws provide a myriad of loopholes which are widely used for tax avoidance and the Treasury is losing many billions of tax revenues each and every year.

Five of the UK’ largest banks use tax havens, namely Barclays, Lloyds, TSB, HSBC, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Just about all of the larger retailers, (supermarkets) and food manufacturers compete for places in the top 10 tax haven users.

A survey of the UK’s largest 100 public companies revealed that there are over 8,000 linking offshoots involved in business activities, (onshore and offshore) all registered in tax havens.

Only 2 out of the 100 public companies had no offshoots registered in tax havens.

George Osborne, in a recent speech brought the issue to the attention of the UK public stating the matter needed to be resolved but the task of closing the loopholes and recovering tax due is proving to be just about impossible since the bulk of the offshoot companies are registered in UK Crown dependencies such as, Bermuda, Gibraltar and Jersey.

Best read with:

https://caltonjock.com/2014/09/30/725/

2015 General Election and it’s aftermath – What next for the UK?

2015 General Election and it’s aftermath – What next for the UK?

Mythical new powers for Scotland have yet to be brought forward, for discussion between political parties in Scotland and any, “relevant groups or individuals within Scotland”. The UK Government appointed Lord Smith is Heading a Commission aiming to get agreement between the SNP, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Greens on the way forward by 30 November 2014. Each of the 5 main political parties is to be asked to nominate two representatives to take part in cross-party talks.

The mission of the Commission is to produce, by 31 October 2014, an agreed, “Command Paper”, setting out the issues and proposals for change. The Paper will then be sent to Westminster for review, discussion, change where considered necessary and production of a, White Paper” by 25 January 2014. Mechanisms for change, (Acts of Parliament) reflecting agreed outcomes are to be prepared, ready for implementation, in the period February to April.

Implementation of proposed, “new” legislation is to be deferred to a newly elected parliament, at Westminster. It is anticipated readings in the Commons and the Second Chamber coupled with a binding vote in Parliament will be complete before the end of Jun 2015.

There is the caveat that an incoming, “new” government cannot be held to account in regard to proposals for change agreed but not implemented before it’s term of office. So it is possible the entire discussion period could well be an exercise in futility. We will not know until next July, at the earliest and the political scene in the UK and the World will be much changed by that time. There is a saying apt for this situation, “Delay is the most invidious type of Denial”. Is Scotland to be denied?
What Needs to be done in Scotland in the next few weeks

The Labour Party in Scotland has been wounded through it’s support of the Tory Party and the, “Better Together” campaign. The damage might well be temporary in nature, previous history indicates a number of Labour voters, particularly in the West of Scotland are tribal in their approach to politics and might well choose to be guided in their voting, as previously by church and community ,(Labour) activists.

Membership of the of the proposed, “Commission” is designed to, “divide and Rule”. Those in favour of substantial meaningful new powers are outnumbered 6 to 4.

There is also the matter of the members of the many, “Yes for Independence” groups that spontaneously formed and worked tirelessly throughout the campaign. Who is to speak for them? The SNP & Green Party should take up the mantle, without undue delay convening early meetings seeking the views of the foregoing important persons.

Then there is the May 2015 General Election which is just around the corner. Johaan Lamont is under pressure to stand down in favour of a stronger leader experienced in the hustle & bustle of UK politics. Jim Murphy has been muted in the press and despite protestations from some members of the party it is entirely likely he will take up the reins of power of a yet to be formally created, “Westminster Group” of the party in Scotland assisted by a deputy, probably Anas Sarwar. The role of the Scottish labour Party activists and MSP’s would be to take direction from and provide support to the Westminster Group as directed by Jim Murphy. I fully expect there will be speedy movement in the Labour Party to get things under way so that early attention can be given to healing the wounds created by the Referendum campaign.

Back to the, “Yes” campaigners. Are they up for the new battle for the hearts and minds of the Scottish Electorate? I think not. From my observation of many contributions to a number of, “blogs” the vast majority are still morosely, “licking their wounds” and in some cases insisting on fighting on hoping to overturn the result of the Referendum, which is not going to happen.

The, “Yes” campaign needs to rapidly re-group basing it’s broad strategy and forward thinking on that of the SNP, which in turn should broaden it’s base, for the period of a Westminster government, (2015-2020) forming a political group, “The SNP Alliance” encompassing any of the various smaller political parties, in Scotland that are prepared, (for the better future of Scotland) to place their political ideologies on the back burner agreeing to be bound by the rules of the, “Alliance” for the period of the next Westminster parliament.

This would allow the, “Alliance” to nominate a single candidate for election to each constituency in Scotland maximizing representation in Westminster at a crucial period in the history of Scotland.
Back to Westminster in May 2015

Should the Tory Party be re-elected with a small majority, (reliant on a number of smaller parties for support) it will bring forward New Scottish legislation, linking it with measures resolving the, “West Lothian” question. The Labour Party and possibly some other MP’s would vote against the package since it would effectively ensure it would never again take up the reins of government. A substantial group of Scottish , “Alliance” members would be in position enabled to get the package through.

A Labour Party government, with a small majority, (dependent upon it’s Scottish MP’s) would be honour bound to submit the, “package for change” to Parliament without recommendation, allowing a free vote, hoping that proposals pertaining to the, Lothian Question are rejected but allowing changes for Scotland to be implemented. A strong, “Scottish Alliance” presence
would be enough to ensure the defeat of the labour government bringing in the new legislation for England.
Summary

Much to do. little time to do it. Leadership is crucial at this time. I would offer Alex Salmond is best placed to bring about the creation of the Scottish Alliance allowing Nicola Sturgeon to get on with her new role as leader of the SNP

Benjamin Franklin – A Great Empire Reduced To A Small One

Benjamin Franklin – A Great Empire Reduced To A Small One

Benjamin Franklin, one of United States of America’s founding fathers, loved Scotland and the company of it’s highly respected philosophers of the, “Great Scottish Enlightenment.” Had he lived in these times he would have encouraged Scotland to vote, “Yes” to independence. In discussion with, Thomas Jefferson, (a fellow founding father and friend) referring to a nation’s right to be free he said; “He who sacrifices Freedom for security deserves neither”

His advice is clear and unambiguous. Do not succumb to the, “no” campaign’s patronising unspecified promises of jam tomorrow, (remember 1979.) Have confidence take the opportunity and elect for freedom.

He also wrote, “Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One”. Clearly Westminster politicians have either not read it or choose to ignore the advice contained therin, which is possibly the reason why Scottish independence will bring about all that is predicted therin.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Rules_By_Which_A_Great_Empire_May_Be_Reduced_To_A_Small_One”

The September Referendum

The September Referendum

Just a reminder that the Scottish Parliament of 1707 was dissolved by proclamation on 22 April 1707. The last official meeting of it was on 25 March 1707 when it was adjourned. The referendum in September is therefore to vote for the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty. It has nothing to do with separation since Scotland and England were never joined.