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Posts Tagged ‘Craig Murray

Craig Murray on the “Zimbabwe solution”

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From Craig Murray

By inventing more money, there is an effect – not as simple as it sounds but very real – of reducing the value of existing money, to the detriment of those who have some, and redistributing value to those who get the new money.

This is the Zimbabwe solution, where Mugabe’s regime prints ever more zeros denominated notes, which of course go massively disproportionately to the military and regime members. They have the additional advantages of being able to change them at a hugely advantageous “official” exchange rate open only to them.

And in Brown’s Zimbabwe solution, who are the equivalent of the regime members, those who benefit from the game at the expense of you and me? Why, exactly the same beneficiaries who have already received over £15,000 from every man, woman and child in the country in various rescue measures and guarantees – the banks!

Yes folks, the 75 billion, and perhaps 150 biilion, of newly invented money is to go to the banks, in return for some pretty worthless bonds, in the hope that somehow the banks will lend it out responsibly to businesses and “Kickstart” the economy. As opposed to pay it out in massive bonuses to themselves, use it to hide their incredible bundles of “toxic debt” and invest it in dubous financial instruments, which is how they have wasted all the huge amounts of taxpayer cash they have been fed so far.

Brown’s blind faith in the banking system which he deregulated and allowed to go rotten, is the modern “trickledown economics”. The government hopes if they pump enough money into the banks, it will trickle out again and do something useful. The main useful thing they hope it will do is reinflate the bubble of our ludicrously inflated property market. In fact that would not be useful at all. If you have been the victim of a pyramid scam, it is not a good idea to try to repair your finances by joining another one.

Written by Richard Wilson

March 8, 2009 at 1:00 am

Sunday Times exposes UK government corruption: Labour members of the House of Lords agree to take cash for backing legislation changes

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From the Sunday Times

When the Labour peer Lord Taylor of Blackburn was forced to apologise last year for improperly asking a question in the House of Lords on behalf of a paying client, the Sunday Times Insight team decided to investigate further. Undercover reporters posing as lobbyists contacted 10 peers; five Labour, three Conservative, one Liberal Democrat and an Ulster Unionist, to seek help in amending legislation on behalf of a client.

The results reflect badly not only on the House of Lords but also on the Labour party. Of the 10, four were prepared to do business with our “lobbyists” for fees of up to £120,000 a year. All four were Labour and two were former ministers.

Lord Taylor boasted that he could pick up the telephone and arrange meetings with Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, and that he had succeeded in changing legislation on behalf of Experian, the credit reference company. Lord Truscott, a former energy minister, said he had helped to change the energy bill on behalf of a company selling so-called “smart” electricity meters.

All four Labour peers – the others were Lord Snape, a former Labour whip, and Lord Moonie, another former minister – offered to help secure legislative changes by putting in a word with ministers, civil servants, or with the relevant members of parliamentary committees. One boasted of the huge amount of such business done in the Lords.

See also:

From the Taxpayer’s Alliance, April 2008

The Noble Lord Snape, former railwayman and MP, has rushed to the defence of speaker Michael Martin, calling the inquiry into his wife’s £4,000 taxi bill a “load of fuss and nonsense about nothing”.

From The Guardian, May 2005

Two former ministers, Alan Milburn and Lewis Moonie, were fast-tracked by a government appointments watchdog to take up work with a Labour donating lobbying company which ignores a voluntary code of conduct not to pay or employ politicians. Lord Moonie became an associate director and consultant for the lobbying company, Sovereign Strategy, last December, having stood down as defence minister in July 2003. He said yesterday: “My job will be to teach clients how to lobby government, not to lobby government for clients.”

From Craig Murray, April 2007

Straw’s links with BAE are partly conducted through Lord Taylor of Blackburn, the former leader of the Blackburn with Darwen Council that includes Straw’s Blackburn constituency. Lord Taylor, an archetypal New Labour apparatchik from Straw’s constituency machine, has lived off the taxpayer in Labour Party appointed posts all his life. He is now chiefly known as the second highest claimer of expenses in the House of Lords. In 2005 Lord Taylor claimed over £57,000 of tax-free expenses, over three times the average claim of under £19,000. he spoke 15 times in the year.

But he doesn’t really need that public money anymore, as the grasping creep Taylor is the primary conduit between the defence industry and New Labour. He has been a highly paid “Consultant” to BAE for over a decade. He also has used some of that money to make major contributions to Jack Straw’s election expenses in his Blackburn constituency, declared by Straw in the Register of Member’s interests. Lord Taylor also regularly makes large contributions to fund Blackburn New Labour. When I stood against Straw in Blackburn at the last election, Taylor was present with Straw at a black tie event hosted by BAE in the constituency said to be “unrelated to the election”.

Interestingly, this year in the House of Lords’ Register of Members’ interests, BAE has disappeared from Taylor’s list of eleven paid consultancies and two paid directorships. It might be interesting to dig for links between these companies and BAE. Some are certainly arms firms – including the highly sinister Electronic Data Systems.

EDS is another of the arms companies that has made many billions from the Iraq war. Among their many current defence contracts is a $12 billion project on electronic systems for the US armed forces. Presumably a well-plugged in New Labour apparatchik like Lord Taylor was of no hindrance to EDS in March 2005 when they landed a �2.5 billion contract from the UK MOD for a similar project. Indeed, if Lord Taylor cannot help swing that kind of contract, why are EDS paying him?

I do not have power of words sufficiently to condemn the institutional sleaze of a system where a scumbag like Lord Taylor can be put, unelected, by Blair into a seat for life in the national legislature. There, while a legislator, he can act as a well paid and highly connected lobbyist for the arms industry.

Murray claims victory in phoney libel war with Aegis tycoon…

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From Craig Murray’s website

After just two days, a Google search on the precise phrase “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo brings up 1,810 hits. A great many of these lead to a free download of the book. 23,000 copies of Murder in Samarkand have been sold so far, and most of those have been read by more than one person. But readership of The Catholic Orangemen looks likely to overtake in two weeks the readership that Murder in Samarkand achieved in two years…

Now what of Tim Spicer? Having put the very expensive Schillings on to me, he has either discovered a new commitment to free speech, or he was bluffing. No injunctions have appeared at my home in Sinclair Gardens. So now Spicer has either to sue, or stand revealed to the World as a man who tried to bully the truth out of print.

He will not sue, no matter how much I goad him. Not even if I show him some of my own legal advice:

There is no doubt that Craig is telling the truth. I do not say this because on any question of fact I would believe Craig over Spicer, though that is the case. The simple fact is that Craig can corroborate his story whilst Spicer can’t… Since the comments Craig makes about Spicer are true I would have thought it most unlikely that Spicer would risk bringing a libel action against Craig. This is not just because in a situation where Craig can corroborate what he says whilst Spicer can’t the odds overwhelmingly point to Craig winning. It is because of the serious consequences for Spicer if he were to bring such a case and lost. These would go far beyond damage to reputation and financial loss. If a Court were to find that Craig had not libelled Spicer because Craig was telling the truth, Spicer could find himself once again facing criminal charges for illegal arms trading. His defence (that the the Foreign Office in the person of Craig had given him the green light) would be shot to pieces since it would already have been discredited in advance by the libel Court. The CPS would be looking at an open goal and this time it might be difficult to do what was done back in 1998 and simply close the prosecution down…

See also: Diplomat at the centre of “Arms to Africa” affair braves libel threats and Dog of war builds £62m business on Iraq

Written by Richard Wilson

January 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

“The Catholic Orangemen of Togo”

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I’ve just made a start on Craig Murray’s new book  “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” (which he is making available for free via this link), and it’s certainly a page-turner. I suspect that I’m slightly more obsessive than most about what makes for a really good first paragraph, but this certainly works for me:

I spent the eve of the Millennium in my garden, on the spacious lawns of Devonshire House in Accra, hosting a seven course meal for 120 people, with dancing, fireworks and unlimited champagne. Despite the hysterical rubbish with which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had been bombarding me for weeks, the World’s computers didn’t crash, and the future looked bright.

Osama Bin Laden doesn’t use the Christian calendar so wasn’t celebrating that night. He had already accepted the idea – not originally his – of suicide attacks involving hijacked aircraft. His al-Qaida network had about 180 members. Al Gore looked pretty safe to win the democratic nomination and the Presidency. George Bush was a blip on the horizon whose record as a Vietnam draft-dodger would surely scupper his chances.

The World was on the brink of unhappier times. But we didn’t know it, and I was happily immersed in what remains my first and abiding concern…

Click here for more…

See also The Ex Labour Minister & the African Private Equity Firm for a further extract, in which Murray alleges dodgy dealings by former DFID minister Baroness Amos.

Written by Richard Wilson

January 12, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Diplomat at the centre of “Arms to Africa” affair braves libel threats to highlight unanswered questions about Tony Blair’s role

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In “Don’t Get Fooled Again” I discuss Craig Murray’s exposure of UK government complicity in torture in Uzbekistan. Threatened with legal action in 2005 to block publication of confidential Foreign Office documents proving his case, Britain’s ex-Ambassador to the former Soviet republic arranged for the pdfs to be released simultaneously on dozens of websites around the world. The story spread quickly as hundreds answered Murray’s call to duplicate the information on their own blog. This in turn eventually became a news story in its own right. The UK government’s heavy-handedness had backfired badly.

Today Craig is seeking to repeat the same trick, following libel threats from the infamous law firm Schillings – acting for “security contractor” Tim Spicer, over Murray’s new book “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo”. The book raises new questions about both Tim Spicer and Tony Blair, in relation to the 1998 “Arms to Africa” scandal, in which Craig was a central figure.

After his original publisher pulled out of the deal, fearing a prohibitively expensive lawsuit under the UK’s rogue-state libel laws, Craig decided to publish the book himself, and then make the pdfs available online for free, on several different websites simultaneously.

Schillings have a track record of intimidating ISPs into taking down websites that paint their clients in a bad light, but by the time this post goes live, the entire book should be available via this link:

http://www.upwingers.net/craigmurray/orangemen2.pdf

…and there’s a contents page here: http://www.upwingers.net/craigmurray/orangemen.pdf

It will be interesting to see how this story pans out over the next few days. Schillings are a clever bunch and I wouldn’t be surprised if they anticipate this move, given that it worked so well for Murray the first time around. If they have, then they may also have thought up something sneaky to try to counter it. What that something is, and whether or not it works, will remain to be seen…

Here are some links giving more background on Tim Spicer, Aegis, Sandline and Executive Outcomes.

Written by Richard Wilson

January 12, 2009 at 12:30 am

Sceptic of the week: Craig Murray (again)

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It looks there may be some interesting things going on over at Craig Murray’s website shortly… Update to follow!

Craig Murray sceptial of Jack Straw’s protestations about Damian Green arrest

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From Craig Murray

Jack Straw, so called Justice Minister, denies that he had any foreknowledge of the arrest of Damian Green.

Jack Straw denied directly to the BBC in the documentary “The Ambassador’s Last Stand”, and denied to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, that he had any part in the false accusations laid against me or in my removal as Ambassador for raising human rights concerns. Yet, as detailed in Murder in Samarkand, I have obtained documents in Jack Straw’s own handwriting, directing the process, and he held at least three meetings with Sir John Kerr to organise it.

On being sacked, I very openly leaked a number of government documents concerning UK policy, the use of torture material by our intelligence services, and the government’s attempts to frame me. Most of these documents were classified more highly than the documents leaked to Damian Green, like this one for example:
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/documents/Declaration.pdf

Yet when I leaked a number of highly classified documents, openly on the internet with my name and address, did the police come knocking at my door? No, they did not. They consulted Home Secretary John Reid, who consulted Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. They concluded that they should seek to kill the story, and not generate publicity by arresting me.

Does anybody really believe that Ministers decided whether someone as obscure as I should be arrested, but were not consulted on whether Damian Green should be arrested?

Written by Richard Wilson

November 30, 2008 at 10:56 pm

UK trade unions condemn restrictions on press freedom and civil liberties

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The UK Trade Unions Congress has endorsed a motion by the National Union of Journalists expressing ‘grave concern’ over the erosion of civil liberties in the UK, and the effect that this is having on freedom of expression.

“The terrorising of journalists isn’t just done by shadowy men in balaclavas, but also by governments and organisations who use the apparatus of the law or state authorities to suppress and distort the information they do not want the public to know and to terrorise the journalists involved through injunctions, threats to imprisonment and financial ruin,” NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear told the conference.

Dear cited the case of Sally Murrer, who is currently on trial for allegedly receiving information from a police officer that he had not been authorised to disclose, and the treatment by police of press photographers in a raid on the “Climate Camp” protest earlier this year.

“Journalists’ material and their sources are increasingly targeted by those who wish to pull a cloak of secrecy over their actions.”, Dear told the conference.

In a similar vein, Craig Murray reports being pressured to making swingeing changes to the text of his new book, “The Orangemen of Togo” (great title!) after Tim Spicer, formerly of the mercenary company Sandline, and now head of the quids-in Iraq ‘security contractor’ Aegis, hired infamous libel firm Schillings, and brought a legal injunction to delay publication.

Murray says that he’s been told, among a range of other changes, that:

- I must refer to Sandline as a “Private Military Company” and portray their activities in Africa as supporting legitimate government against rebels
– I must portray Western action in Iraq as “peace-keeping”
– I must say Shell were involved in corruption in Nigeria “inadvertently”

A few years ago, The Center for Public Integrity did an incisive exposé on Spicer, the origins of the euphemistic term ‘Private Military Company’, and the shady role of such organisations in conflicts as far afield as Sierra Leone, and Papua New Guinea. It’s sobering to think that someone with this sort of history is now in charge one of the largest contracts awarded to any western firm currently operating in Iraq.

In “Don’t Get Fooled Again” I take a look at the disasters that can happen when freedom of expression starts to break down, and at Craig Murray’s role in exposing UK government wrongdoing after leaving his post as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan.