Sunday, October 01, 2017

Henry Bolton and UKIP: Crusaders against Arms Corruption and Secular Supranationalism?

When you are one guy, researching a corruption which, after 29 years of active investigation, you believe distorts the entirety of the body politic of a leading nation (the UK), but you can find next to no-one of any consequence to support your contentions, to say that there is a constant battle between what is real and what swims around in one’s head is … um … an understatement.
I say that because there is no point in being other than brutally honest. And my investigation. Its path. Not to mention the book that chronicles the journey of disputed discovery. The adventure – for it was no imagination being shot at, meeting covert intelligence officers around the world, being warned off by the CIA. All of this may have just taken an important leap in a new direction.
Or not. That’s the point about reality. People have told me things. But have offered no evidence. People all around the world. With stories to tell. Which I do my best to test with intelligence, research, knowledge, informed speculation. But stories I cannot prove. Cf. one person. So, it could be that a whole string of seemingly unattached people, around the world, have taken the time, over 29 years, to concoct a montage of falsehood, just to keep this one person occupied. Possible. But unlikely. Yet, I can’t prove it one way or the other. All I can do is report what I am being told. What I see. And allow you to determine for yourself how it all adds up.
And so.
I think most of you regulars know something of the background. It’s 1988. I’m 32. My closest friend and mentor, Hugh John Simmonds CBE, and I are following paths we hope will take us into the UK Parliament. In the meantime, I work for him in the office of his sole-partner law practice. In a sleepy, upper-middle class, dormitory town just to the west of London.
Hugh turns up dead in some woods near our hometown in November of 1988. The death makes national and international headlines. He wasn’t exactly a nobody. Margaret Thatcher’s favorite speechwriter. Former Conservative Parliamentary candidate. Some time successful businessman. Appointed CBE in 1985. A man either just on the cusp. Or about to fall. The story becomes murky.
Whatever may be the reality, there is a deal of confusion. No-one really believes the line that he committed suicide. Yet that is what is presented. For a variety of reasons, selfish and altruistic, I decide to start asking questions. Apparently the right ones, in the wrong places. And my dangerous rollercoaster begins. I’m not going to spoil that story. Buy the book.
Bottom line. Over the next 29 years, I find myself living out of my own pocket. Traveling hither and thither. Meeting all sorts of strange people. With weird backgrounds. Who tell the tale of a man who was way more than he appeared. A troubleshooter of deep cover. A master of dirty tricks. Utilized to protect all manner of dark deeds in the US and the UK.
There is talk of senior politicians in the UK receiving millions in illicit bribes associated with the burgeoning UK arms trade. Pipelines of money into the Bank of England, the City of London, major political parties. Pipelines that needed setting up and protecting. By someone specialized in the art of money-laundering. A lawyer. Like Hugh. With knowledge of money-laundering. Someone with intimate connections to senior politicians. Someone. Like Hugh.
Trails that required covering. Which seemed to be a euphemism for people turning up dead, in mysterious circumstances. Trails that required covering by someone with knowledge of covering trails. Someone. Like Hugh. Who, it turned out, was a senior officer in British Intelligence. Trained to kill. A conflict of agendas. A final solution that had the troubleshooter appearing dead in circumstances not dissimilar to those he had allegedly become a master at designing.
And through all of this. Over nearly 30 years of double-checking. Triple-checking. Freedom of Information requests in the US. Letter-writing campaigns in the UK. A vision emerging of the UK body politic so completely corrupted by arms bribes that the entirety of the fabric of Westminster and Whitehall, the politicians and the civil servants, the economic, social and political decision-making at the very highest levels, has become totally distorted.
Leaders of the major political parties are held hostage by those who control the illicit purse strings of the arms largesse that buys all in its path. Foreign and military policy of all British Prime Ministers, whatever may have been their personal beliefs, rendered submissive to the needs of an arms industry that dominates employment in the UK, requires British embassies to become no more than sales offices for military hardware, and transforms the government’s International Aid budget into a sweetener for warships and fighter jets.
And then.
I begin to get rumblings that there are some who are no longer happy at the turn of events. That what may have been seen as exigent in the Eighties is perceived as a toxin in the 21st teens. A perception which carries this caveat: I ain’t sure I’m seeing what I’m seeing, hearing what I’m hearing; or if I’m just getting old.
So. First. Let’s back up a bit.
Let’s go back to 1950’s Britain. The Empire is fading. And Imperialists are not happy. The Colonial Service was a cottage industry for Britain’s gentry. A tiny country, on the edge of Europe, had spent a couple of hundred years running half the world. That required men of steel. Born to command. Trained to subvert. We had a network of special boarding schools. Where character was drilled into boys on the playing fields by day. And buggered into them in the recesses of the night.
This Praetorian Guard had its networks. Its rituals. Its secret societies. But most important of all. It had purpose. And that purpose was being flushed down the drain by a bunch of wimps, who truly believed that folks should be allowed to determine their own direction.
What was worse was that these same imperialists had fought off one set of enemies in two World Wars. Only to find themselves facing a new enemy in the East. Communism. Accompanied by what the PG perceived as its allies on the British domestic scene: trade unionists and socialists.
The solution being touted only caused the blood to boil to new heights. The answer being presented was to join forces with the lily-livers we’d had to rescue in the two World Wars. The countries of mainland Europe. Who had proven twice to be less than equal to the expansive ambitions of Germany. The imperialists felt they were being told to get with a program that included giving up national power to a pan-European vision. The very people the imperialists had either defeated or rescued.
All was not well in the Gentlemen’s Clubs of London.
The Sixties became a time of deep unrest. Everywhere. Those on the left plotted reform and revolution. Those on the right responded with political maneuvering, and parapolitical and paramilitary scheming.
Gentlemen associated variously with the City, high finance, the intelligence services and both legitimate and somewhat more suspect organizations on the right-wing of UK politics began coalescing and sharing their campaigns, both overt and not so much. Indeed, a casual observer from Mars might perceive little difference between London in the Sixties and Washington in this time of Trump, Bannon and Mercer.
The lethal combination on the British right eventually forced out a Labour Prime Minister and a left-wing Tory one, too. And set in their place Margaret Thatcher, the reasonably acceptable front for the subterranean right-wing machinations of the Sixties and Seventies.
Various developments followed. Drastic fiscal action was taken in the name of restoring the country’s financial probity. This required remedy for the ensuing evisceration of what remained of British manufacturing industry. A deliberate policy was set in motion of replacing ploughshares with swords.
Tens of billions of taxpayer pounds were ‘invested’ each year, by way of government-guaranteed overseas loans, to entice foreign entities, legitimate and otherwise, nations and sub-national groups, to buy newly-minted weapons from Britain’s refurbished and revitalized arms industry.
In the course of a decade, Thatcher transformed Great Britain into one of the largest arms exporters in the world. A nation where even trade unions supported the deadly trade, since one in every five people employed in the UK was and is associated in some fashion with the manufacture of military hardware or its technology.
The sons and daughters of the imperialists found new fields to plough. Where once they ruled global territory directly. Now they became kingmakers. With weapons. Or finance. Or mercenary armies.
The British civil service directed. Its servants licensed. The City financed. British Intelligence scouted. And facilitated. On the ground. With information. Money. Death squads. And weapons.
You need a new market? That requires a new leader? An investment bank in London will negotiate a mercenary army. Find you the weapons. The government will provide the end-user certificates. A tame billionaire will provide a ship or two out of Belize. Intelligence will arrange the overthrow. And voila. A few hundred million more in arms sales. And bribes.
Politicians. Of all hue. Turned the other way. Provided they had access to the Keepers of the Purse. A Purse residing within the dark depths of an account in the Bank of England. Into which at least $450 million still flows annually. From those grateful for the UK arms trade. To those willing to give it a free hand.
And then. Skip from the Eighties to the 21st teens. There are stirrings, at all levels, about the cost to Great Britain of its involvement in the European Union. And bits and pieces begin to happen.
I flit back to the early days of my adventure. And rumblings that never seemed to add up.
I got told a bunch of things. By different intelligence personnel. Around the world. Not all of which seemed to gel. But then, we’re talking about folks who lie for a living. It had driven me nearly nuts just trying to form any kind of picture that made sense, and fit in with what I could see as ‘real’ in the world. Of course, there would be loose ends.
But one loose end in particular just needled. Eastern Europe. And if you’ve stayed with me this long. Take a break. Come back. And stick with me some more. It gets interesting now. And up-to-date. Eventually.
My British Intelligence source, in the late Eighties, originally told me that Hugh had died because he’d become mixed up with something in the Middle East. Something about getting an agent out of a foreign country. There was talk of Lebanon. Hezbollah. Hostages. Terry Waite. Someone double-crossing Hugh. Ending up dead, in a woodland glade, outside of our hometown in England.
Then. In late 1989. The Velvet Revolution in Eastern Europe. My British Intelligence source is taking money over a fast-disappearing Berlin Wall. Not just to get spies out of jail. For the CIA. To subvert Communist apparatchiks. To ease the way for revolution. But apparently. Also to release friends within a strange organization called the Knights of Lazarus. To give them the opportunity to win a war “we’ve been fighting for a thousand years.”
Suddenly, the story changes. Hugh wasn’t engaged in the Middle East. It was Eastern Europe. Money into Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Many, many different forces at work. Intelligence agencies. Fraternal orders, straight of The Da Vinci Code. The Vatican. All vying for a piece of post-Eastern Europe. The only feature not to have changed was that someone double-crossed Hugh.
This is where I came face-to-face, tit-to-elbow, facepalm-to-fishgape, whatever. With the notion of my being used for other peoples’ benefit. Could I trust what I was being told? Or was I being used as a channel? My source said yes and no. To both questions. Plus, get my ass out of Europe. It wasn’t safe for me.
Some years later, my Israeli Intelligence source played a variation of the same game with me. Changing stories. Tease. Wink. Advance. Nod. Retreat. And he was the one who said it all came down to making money. Not geopolitics.
Yeah, yeah. He said. There were ‘good purposes’ in the Eighties and beyond. Velvet Revolutions. End of communism. Democracy. Freedom. Peace. Wars on Terror. Arab Springs. Whatever. But more than this. All of the people, entities and agencies involved. Their primary objective was to make a profit.
I already knew this to be true of Great Britain and its intelligence agencies. Thatcher set out to turn Great Britain into a leading arms exporter. In order, allegedly, to save British jobs. But she had been brought to power by British intelligence. And their payoff was carte blanche. To do what they liked.
And what they liked was the notion of going into business for themselves. Taking a cut of the arms trade. Hiring out the British military and its intelligence services to the highest bidder (usually the United States), to do their dirty work. Turning the City of London into the world’s leading bazaar for terror support activities: money-laundering, drug-smuggling, human-trafficking, mercenary-hiring, arms-dealing. Great Britain Ltd. became the living personification of SPECTRE.
My Israeli source told me that this only worked because the rest of the world went the same way.
But, in among all of this, he dropped a nugget. Which he never explained. But which nudged at the schizophrenia of my British source. My Israeli source told me that Hugh had been working with Robert Maxwell. Who was a covert asset for the Israeli’s.
What appeared to be the case. From the little my Israeli source told me. And extensive research. Although. Remember. Cf. one person. What appeared to be the case was that Maxwell was a former officer in British Military Intelligence. Who had been recruited by Mossad (Maxwell was originally a Czechoslovak Jew). Who built up a publishing empire. Much of it in Eastern Europe. Became a notorious billionaire. And owned the Daily Mirror in London, and the Daily News in New York.
While my Israeli source, and apparently every major intelligence agency under the sun, were making hundreds of millions in profits and kickbacks from selling arms to both sides of the Iran-Iraq War in the Eighties. The Israeli’s and the CIA needed somewhere ‘safe’ to launder their ill-gotten arms gains. The answer was Maxwell and his Communist dictator pals in Eastern Europe. And someone who knew about money-laundering. And 'safety.' Again, two of Hugh’s apparent specialties.
So. Something of a potential confluence between my two primary sources, Eastern Europe and money. But no definitive explanation. And there it rested for several years. As I got on with my life. Until I decided to dust if off this past year.
Wrote about it some. Mentioned it to my Israeli source. Who ironically I then introduced to my publisher. Who proceeded to reprint said source’s book from the Nineties. Ain’t the world a weird place? I introduce to my publisher the guy who most likely arranged for the death of my mentor. Trust me. This is the least weird example of weirdness I have encountered in 29 years of examining this weird subterranean expression of the human psyche.
Anyways. I’m revisiting. I’m caught up with the whole drama of Brexit. Driven as it is by right-wing British populists. And I’m reminded that it was a similar right-wing populism in the Sixties and Seventies that drove the British body politic into its omnipotent arms corruption. And I recall, from my own experience, chatting to those who knew Hugh from those days, and my own research, that one of the primary themes of those right-wing populists had been early Euroscepticism. Along with a desire to a return to Empire. Anti-communism. Anti-trade unionism. And taking up arms against the domestic socialists. Literally.
I trace in my mind how that Euroscepticism knew its ups and downs. Up with Thatcher. Although she took us into the ERM. Down with Major. With the Maastricht Treaty. Even further down with the creation of the European Union. Offshoot, from the Tory stronghold to the seeming backwaters of a new ‘fringe’ political party – UKIP. And then the rise of UKIP. Its success in various British European Parliamentary elections. And its ultimate victory with Brexit.
I remember Thatcher’s overwhelming support for expanding the EU into the former Eastern Europe. Now, once again, Central Europe. Her rationale being that a supranational body of 27 or more nations would eventually collapse under its own weight and natural internal differences.
I observe the spread in the 21st teens of the concept of the supremacy of the sovereignty of the nation-state. A concept Hugh and his right-wing mates had written about as an alternative to a federal Europe, back in 1975. A concept advanced by Trump in his speech to the UN in September 2017. The expression ‘full circle’ is vivid in my mind.
I recall my British source directing my reading to books which 'explained' the seeming mythology underpinning The Da Vinci Code. Decades before that alleged fiction was written. Serious books. The non-fiction behind the fiction. Books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy. Describing a Europe, if not a world, in the grips of a covert power struggle between nation-state intelligence agencies, the Vatican and ancient fraternal orders, with wonderful names like the Knights of Malta and the Knights of Lazarus.
Fraternal orders I would have dismissed as fanciful nonsense, if I had not been involved in a car chase with them through the streets of Glasgow, in 1989.
I had been attempting to regain contact with my British source for many years. To try to make some sense of Eastern Europe, Maxwell, fraternal orders, arms corruption, money-laundering and the like. Because it just seemed to hover at the edge of my consciousness. As a ‘thing’ of importance.
I had tracked him down to a Breitbart chat room. Where I discovered that his views were. Heck hem. Radically right-wing. I had never asked him about his political opinions. But, in light of all of the above. I was not surprised. And we made initial contact. First time in over twenty years.
I say ‘initial.’ I have had little success in developing that contact. Yet. But. This was always his way. Besides. There is no pressure on me now. I can go with the flow.
I post about this contact on Facebook. I may have completely the wrong end of the stick. I admit that upfront. Since the fellow I’m about to talk about (without mentioning his name). Will likely read this. So. Caveats a-plenty.
But said fellow writes to me. I had completely forgotten that, when he first befriended me on FB a year and a half previously, it had specifically been because he knew my British Intelligence source from his college days.
We chit and chat. To be honest. And I tell him this. I have no idea who he is. He seems real enough. Nice enough. But so have many of the people with whom I’ve chitted and chatted about these subjects over the years.
Anyways. My Facebook Friends are an eclectic and widespread bunch. In political terms. I like to network. Get different points of view. And I think matey is or has been a supporter of UKIP. Which is that new-ish British political party I mentioned. Which seems to have taken over the political stances of those formerly on the right-wing of the British Conservative Party. Especially as those stances relate to Europe, immigrants and the supremacy of the nation-state. Stances with which I had become familiar when studying Hugh’s mates from the Sixties and Seventies. The ones who brought arms corruption to Great Britain.
Yet. Matey tells me something interesting. Now. He could just be speaking for himself. But, he tells me that there are those in UKIP who are a teeny-weeny bit aggrieved at their characterization as the British franchise of the AltRight.
He tells me that one of the matters which truly exercises some within UKIP is what they regard as the distortion of the British body politic by the axis between the two major British political parties (Labour and Conservative), an axis the wheels of which are toxically greased with an abundance of arms bribes.
Well. You could have knocked me over with a feather. In fact, I did. I tried it. Knocking myself over with a feather, that is. I’m still trying to produce a YouTube of it. So it can go viral. So I can retire in semi-splendid glory.
UKIP as crusaders against arms corruption in Great Britain?
Again. I may have got the wrong end of the stick. I’ve had folks talk to me in riddles and parables for decades now. It seems to be something they specialize in at the various global spy schools. Today, we will study the Bible and then Monty Python: how not to be a transparent journalistic source.
But. It gets me thinking. I have not yet connected all the dots. Maybe you can. But I’ll share some of the thinking. You might want a toilet break.
Right-wingers in Britain in the Sixties. In the City, in British Intelligence, in politics. Scared about communism, socialism, loss of Empire. Nervous about the new supranationalism of the European movement. Organize. Plot. Bring Thatcher to power. Right-wing agenda. Euroscepticism. Hand British manufacturing over to the arms industry. Right-wingers in intelligence agencies rewarded. Make money. Arms corruption.
Thatcher goes. Right-wing unhappy. A federal Europe looms. Arms corruption continues. Under different political leaders. The City becomes corrupted. Not quite sure whether or not EU is good for arms. Or bad. Ditto with Brexit. But whatever. UKIP is formed. UKIP is successful. Brexit happens.
Meanwhile. Other pressures within Europe and within EU. Rise of ugly, right-wing nationalist leaders in Russia, Poland and Hungary. The latter two hotbeds of support for another fraternal order: the Teutonic Knights.
What is their agenda? It appears to be the agenda of those arraigned against them to have a federal Europe. So. Do the fraternal orders side with the notion of nation-state? Hence, the right-wing Euroscepticism? The anti-immigration stance? Is there, in fact, a correlation within the right-wing between anti-communism and anti-federalism? Is the correlation simply secular anti-supranationalism? Ok. Have no idea where that is going. It’s just there. In my head.
How does this align with the seeming anti-arms corruption now being suggested within UKIP, the British expression of anti-supranationalism? Maybe there is no connection. Beyond the fact that UKIP, along with other British third parties, can’t get a look-in so long as the two major political parties can buy their power with arms money? Or maybe it is that those within UKIP are more aware of the insidious arms corruption, even guilty about it, since it was their right-wing forbears who laid the foundations when they brought Thatcher to power?
In any event, on the one hand, I have decided it is time to start examining what the heck might have been going on in Eastern Europe. What is going on now in Central Europe. In terms of Hugh. Maxwell. And modern power games. Do I find somewhere in here some final answer as to why Hugh died? Do I find something that makes sense of what is going on in Europe? What has been going on? Maybe for the past thousand years? I could go on. But you have to read my book to understand the loose ends. And why I think they are important.
Meanwhile, I am presented with this suggestion. After I start airing my thoughts publicly. That there might be an overlap in interests between me and UKIP: arms corruption in the UK. I know. I find it a little odd myself. Not to mention unsettling.
And then. I read today of the totally unexpected election of Henry Bolton as the new leader of UKIP.
You don’t have to be a diehard conspiracy theorist to see that Henry has come out of nowhere, and that he has serious British Intelligence written all over him. I mean, c’mon, the man briefed David Petraeus in Afghanistan.
So. A serious fellow. With an OBE. A background in British Intelligence. The UN. Europe. Diplomacy. Has just taken over the reigns of UKIP. At a time I’m being told that UKIP is worried about arms corruption in Great Britain.
The last time British Intelligence helped a British political leader to get elected, we had Euroscepticism, the arms industry reboot, and the British establishment (including its intelligence services) corrupted beyond all recognition by its active engagement in said arms industry and its largesse.
What if some of those associated with British Intelligence, knowledgeable of its corruption, which would mean being close enough to it to have the same politics (right-wing) of those engaged in it, what if they believe matters have gone too far? Mainstream political agendas have become too distorted? What if they desire to make a change? And what if all that is left to them by way of available political vehicle is a minor political party? One with the same political views as them? UKIP?
But, but, surely they would choose the Liberal Democrats? Oh. You mean the third party in terminal decline? The third party which chose to support the Tories between 2010 and 2015? When said Tories gave no evidence of giving up their attachment to the flow of arms bribes?
Um. Yes. That political party. Interesting thing. Henry Bolton was a Liberal Democratic Parliamentary candidate in 2005.
What if the above is not all that far-fetched? What if Henry Bolton’s ascension is not a fluke? What if UKIP actually are crusaders against arms corruption in the UK? What if they see it as a necessary precondition to rescuing the British body politic, from itself, and then from secular supranationalism in Europe?
What if Eastern Europe is central to those objectives? What if Eastern Europe has been central to a struggle for power in Europe going back "a thousand years"? What if that centrality and that struggle required and requires the removal of all secular supranational influence, whether communist or EU?
What if that struggle involves not only the political entities we recognize as nation-states - which nation-states have rarely been in existence all that long, certainly in their current form? What if the struggle also involves the Vatican and ancient fraternal orders, many of which have been in existence longer than many European nation-states and their associated secular pan-European bodies? Which said Vatican and fraternal orders have, oftentimes throughout European history, reigned supreme over said nation-states?
What if there is a connection between UKIP’s seeming anti-corruption in Great Britain, Henry Bolton, and the forces for secular anti-supranationalism in Europe? Including (sigh, grab the tinfoil hat) its fraternal orders?
And what if my … hmm … preoccupations somehow provide a platform for understanding all these connections?

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British Labour Party: No Place For Hate

The British Labour Party held their annual conference this past week. I have never voted for Labour. And can think of few circumstances in which I might. What I have to say next should be set in that context.

I cut my political teeth in the UK in the late Seventies, early Eighties. One of the primary reasons I joined the British Conservative Party at that time was my belief from extensive research and discussion that the then Labour Party was close to holding views indistinguishable from the Communist Party.

The Tories are no angels. On many occasions since originally joining them, I have found myself unable to adhere to some of their policies and their antics. And more often than not, I've said so.

But, political parties, especially when you've sweat blood for them. Stayed up late, with fingers crossed so firmly the blood no longer flows. Political parties are like family. You stay loyal. So, I've never abandoned the Tories.

I read this morning an article written by Richard Angell, in Progress, the newspaper of the rightish element within the British Labour Party, saying much the same. He decries what is happening with Labour at the moment. But he is damned if he will leave.

I know there are those who are terribly excited at the ascension of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party. Who feel the Party has been re-energized. However, I see a darker side. Richard describes it.

During the Eighties, Labour was afflicted by the bullying tactics of far-left internal organizing groups like Militant Tendency. I see that again with Momentum, the internal Labour group supporting Corbyn. Richard describes their tactics at conference this past week.

Interestingly, those tactics are also used by Trump in the US. And they come from the same playbook used by the anarchists I encountered in Occupy, and since: make noise, bully, intimidate, marginalize, shout down, force to leave the room, and then effect the business you want.

I am truly happy for those in the British Labour movement who feel their Party has found new worth with Corbyn. However, there is no place in any organization for hate. In any society. For whatever reason. If you find yourself alongside someone demonstrating hate, find the courage to ask them to stop. Or disassociate yourself. As publicly as you can.

I say the same to the Tories. To Trump supporters. To the AltRight. To the left in the US (and in the US - I am a dual British-American citizen - I find myself what I describe as a Democratic Populist ( To AntiFa. There is never any place for hate. Cut it out ...

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Arms Corruption in Great Britain Continues

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. I offer in a companion piece my recorded views about the connection between her death and the then growing influence of arms corruption within British society and its body politic.
(SPOILER ALERT: If you want to miss out my analysis of why arms corruption in Great Britain is so important, and you just want to skip to the part where you sign a petition objecting to the London Arms Fair, um, go straight to the web-site for the (British) Campaign Against the Arms Trade. Spoilsports ... )
Where was I? Oh yes. Make no mistake. This is not just about one or two seedy politicians in the UK Parliament taking a couple of backhanders in exchange for turning a blind eye to the British government supplying some tanks to a dictator in southern Africa.
We're talking the wholesale and systemic corruption of Westminster, Whitehall. the British Civl and Foreign Services, the City of London and British Intelligence.
In the Eighties, forgetting the politics for a moment, Margaret Thatcher presided over the collapse of British manufacturing industry. It had to be replaced. Fast. So, she set in motion a deliberate policy of turning ploughshares into swords. Massively expanding the British arms industry. Today, Great Britain is one of the largest exporters of arms in the world.
The problem is, at that level, you can’t choose whom to supply, and then with whom to maintain supply. You may contract with a democracy. Which then becomes a dictatorship. And think about it. Dictators are more likely to need weapons than democracies.
Countries aren't going to buy your weapons in the first place, if they can't depend on you to service and maintain with spare parts. If they can't depend on you, whatever the changes in their system of government. Whatever their fluctuating record on human rights. Whether or not they are rendered subject to UN sanctions, for whatever reason.
You can’t guarantee arms jobs at home if you can’t guarantee regular exports of weaponry. Wherever the end destination may be. And today, one in five jobs in the UK is directly or indirectly associated with the British arms trade (which is why even the unions support it). So, you deal with whoever you have to.
If the client is ‘legitimate,' they get to use the ‘front-door,’ and have tea and crumpets with a nice government Minister, in a cozy, oak-paneled room in Whitehall. If the client is less than salubrious, banned by the UN, whatever, then they have to use the ‘back-door,’ and they likely meet with an 'unofficial' tailored suit, in an equally oak-paneled but decidedly deniable office in a City of London investment bank.
In my book, Maggie’s Hammer, I detail the trail that led me to conclude that the death of my mate, Hugh Simmonds CBE, in 1988, was due to his having been one of the team hand-picked by Margaret Thatcher (consequent upon his interesting skill set), and tasked with setting up the original ‘back-door’ arms operation in the Eighties.
One further unavoidable feature of the arms trade is that you can’t get business without grease. Bribes. For everyone. One of Hugh’s primary jobs was the creation of the money-laundering pipelines for the flow of bribes back to senior politicians within the UK.
Why has none of this British political corruption come to light more substantially? Well. Except for my book, that is. Answer: everyone is in on it. Either receiving the grease. Or turning a blind eye to it. Conservative. Labour. Lib-Con. And now back to the Conservatives.
Really, Geoff? British political arms corruption has been going on this long, totally uninterrupted, gathering steam? Everywhere? Without any serious success in exposure by anyone else? Not even a hint? The massed ranks of the media, law enforcement, well-funded investigative non-profits notwithstanding? Nada? C’mon, Geoff.
Hmm. Ok. Here’s a teaser from my book. By way of illustration of the ubiquity of the arms corruption in Great Britain.
Pick a guy. Any guy. I know. Try Sir Alan Duncan, MP, KCMG. Back in the Nineties, when he was a lowly British Conservative MP, not yet a Tory government Minister, he was the hand-picked successor to Jonathan Aitken.
Who was Jonathan Aitken? Well, read my other post. But, the short story is that Aitken was, until he went to prison for perjury, he was, in the Eighties and early Nineties, the guy who negotiated the arms bribes for Tory politicians, arising from arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Duncan was chosen by Aitken to take over this role when Aitken went to prison for perjury in the late Nineties.
Then, in 2010, the new British Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, made Duncan his Minister for International Development. One step below full Cabinet rank. Which was interesting. Seeing as Duncan had always been tipped for Cabinet.
But, here’s the thing. Cameron had more important work for Duncan. Arising out of his continuing, extracurricular arms activities. And Cameron needed Duncan to be doing that work, um, ‘out of sight.’
Britain has what many Tories (certainly) regard as a rather over-sized International Aid budget. Why? Because it ain’t about building dams. It’s about sweeteners to get arms deals. Buy our missiles and warships. Then you get a school and a dam.
In this regard, the Tories streamlined the vetting process. So that the program for clearing dams and schools was handled by the same person who signed off on the Export Licenses and Credit Guarantees for the associated arms purchases.
And that person, from 2010 to 2014, was Duncan. Tucked away, in the No. 2 position, in the seemingly warm-and-fuzzy International Aid Department.
Why so hidden? Because, from 2010 to 2014, the Tories were in coalition government with the sandal-wearing Liberal Democrat mob. Who might have been offended by the tie-in between International Aid and weapons. Not to mention blood-money bribes.
However. Not to worry. In 2015, after that year's UK General Election, David Cameron's Conservatives assumed sole control of the government. Duncan was moved sideways. Out of government. Cameron had him lined up instead to take over the Chairmanship of the joint Parliamentary committee overseeing Intelligence. Until those pesky Parliamentarians interfered.
Why was this committee important? Well. Seeing as Britain had by then become (and remains) one vast arms-dealing enterprise (which has included transforming the City of London into the world’s capital for dirty money), its Embassies have been morphed essentially into arms showrooms. And the primary function of British Intelligence is not to combat terrorism, but rather is to scout out new arms deals, and do opposition research on the competition.
Why do you think the guy who produced the notorious opposition research Buzzfeed Dossier on Trump, collated as it was from considerable knowledge of dirty money dealings with the Russians, why do you think that guy was a former British Intelligence operative with MI6? Because that’s their specialty now.
So, Cameron wanted a 'friend' in charge of Intelligence oversight who could spike any uncomfortable investigations. And, by the way, do not be thinking all this corruption was just the Tories. Labour kept the whole pot boiling while they were in power from 1997 to 2010. It's all in my book.
Still not convinced? Well. Read the book. And remember. I was shot at. Two senior British journalists told me they were warned off the moment they began investigating Hugh. Oh. And Hugh ended up dead in a woodland glade in 1988.
And so. Welcome to today. As we remember Diana. Whose death I say was intimately linked to nascent arms corruption within British society and its body politic. A body politic now thoroughly corrupted with arms bribes.
Approaching the 2017 London Arms Fair. Which is held every two years in September. And is one of the largest arms fairs in the world.
Of course it is. This is where we are now. And it is the primary reason for my writing this companion post to the one about Diana’s death. The arms corruption killed her. And it continues. It’s time to take a stand.
Why does any of this matter? Beyond the immorality. Gosh. Two examples:
1) Refugees. When jobs are dependent on arms. When your lifestyle as a politician is dependent on bribes. It is in everyone’s interests to keep on selling arms to whomsoever. Especially if you are able to do it to both sides.
The biggest market remains the Middle East. And its hot spots. Some of the hottest spots for a while have been Syria, Iraq and Libya. Where there are all manner of opposing parties to whom one can be selling military technology.
If you sell arms. Folks use them. Those arms have become devastating. And so, they devastate. Do you think all of those millions of refugees left their homes to go on holiday? They left because their homes had been devastated. With weaponry their own countries did not manufacture.
2) Britain sold the component parts for Sarin to both sides in the Syrian conflict. Not the USA. Not Russia. Great Britain.
This is why arms corruption in Great Britain is so important. It affects folks in Great Britain. It devastates people around the world. And this is why we should be so appalled by the London Arms Fair. Ok?
Now. Why not expand your knowledge about the devastation British arms sales cause to Great Britain and to peoples’ around the world by buying my book? And then, do something about it by signing the petition on the CAAT web-site.
Too many of us settle for shrugging and saying, well gee, I just didn’t know about this. Well. You do now. And you can find out more. So do it. And then, start making a fuss. As Britons, we are better than this. As human beings we are better than this. It deserves more than our switching on the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

'Maggie's Hammer': Diana, Arms Deals, Death

Was there a connection between the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the nascent arms corruption of the British body politic, which corruption I describe in my book, Maggie's Hammer, and which I allege now exerts a dominating and toxic influence over most of the workings of the British government and the UK Parliament? Yes. But it was not what you thought it might have been. Read on.
When the British Conservative Party was unceremoniously tossed out of power in May of 1997, after eighteen years of government under first Margaret Thatcher and later John Major, all manner of seemingly credible establishment figures began to make serious allegations about the involvement of senior right-wing Conservatives in very remunerative (um, bribes) and certainly illicit arms dealing.
One by one, the politicians among the accusers were bought off. With a juicy Shadow Cabinet position here. A threat or two there. All except for Mohammed al-Fayed, billionaire owner of Harrods, Fulham Football Club. And the Ritz Hotel, in Paris.
Al-Fayed had a continuing beef with the British Conservatives. They had denied him British citizenship. And he promised in 1997 to walk all over the grave of their election defeat with detailed revelations of the covert arms activities of senior Conservatives. Naming names. Of all the participants. Including the Middle-Eastern arms middlemen. Folks who normally preferred to remain nameless, in the shadows.
Al-Fayed’s crowning moment came in June of 1997 when, just a month after the Tories’ election defeat, he provided the evidence which scuppered the libel action former Tory Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken was bringing against the (London) Guardian newspaper.
In 1995, the Guardian had run a piece alleging that Jonathan Aitken, while serving as Tory Minister for Defence Procurement (for which read, Minister for International Arms Sales), had in 1993 met in al-Fayed’s Ritz Hotel with one Said Ayas, one of the primary arms bagmen for the Saudi Royal Family.
Bagmen are the high-flying, backroom fixers who negotiate the level of arms commissions (bribes) to be paid, and who decide who receives how much. In 1993, some $300 million a year in arms commissions was being paid by the Saudi government into a special Bank of England account, for the political party in power in Great Britain then to divvy up among its friends.
That money arose out of a multi-stage, rolling arms contract between the British government and Saudi Arabia, which began in 1985, continues to this day, and so far has been worth about $100 billion. The contract is known as Al Yamamah, Arabic for ‘The Dove.’
Aitken was meeting with Ayas, in Paris, in 1993, to put the finishing touches to the bribes to be paid from Al Yamamah II, while commencing the negotiations for the commissions arising from Al Yamamah III.
Naturally, all of the parties concerned were less than happy with al-Fayed’s boasts that he was going to reveal details of the illicit Tory arms dealing which had been taking place in his hotel.
However, no-one really took him seriously. Until, in June of 1997, al-Fayed triumphantly produced a fax which proved that Aitken had been lying in his libel action.
The fax made clear that, contrary to what Aitken had been insisting in his libel action, namely that he had never met Ayas, didn’t know him, and most certainly had been nowhere near the Ritz Hotel the weekend in 1993 when Ayas was holding court there. Aitken had indeed been in the Ritz Hotel that same weekend. Meeting with Ayas. In fact, the fax al-Fayed was waving in his grubby little hand was none other than a copy of Aitken’s hotel bill. Oops.
Libel action crashes. Aitken later goes to prison for perjury. Fayed is beside himself with joy. And the backroom arms dealings of the British Conservative Party and those shadowy Middle Eastern bagmen are suddenly being exposed all over the British media. Not a place shadowy arms middlemen like to have their photographs appearing.
I continue with an excerpt from my book:
“Al-Fayed was, of course, beside himself with joy. Not only had the offending event occurred in his hotel, but he had been able to get The Guardian story going in the first place, with his invaluable inside information about Jonny’s meeting.
More than that. Al-Fayed had then been able to apply the coup de grace personally. For it was he who had supplied the trial with the Ritz Hotel fax that had proven that Jonny’s wife was in Switzerland, and not in Paris. Tubby little Fayed bobbed and weaved around London, in merriment and mirth, rubbing his hands in glee, just like Danny de Vito as the Penguin in Batman Returns.
Along with the bobbing, and just before the weaving, al-Fayed was also trumpeting to the press that he would now hammer the nail well and truly into the coffin of the Conservative Party, with total exposure of the Tories’ remaining dirty dealings with respect to Al Yamamah. I put two and two together, and wondered whether he was in a position to do this because those dealings had also occurred in the Ritz Hotel?
I wrote a letter to al-Fayed (in early August of 1997), setting out my reasoning, and asking him if he’d happened to come across Hugh in his hotel, up to no good. Not really expecting al-Fayed to respond, I got a little “familiar” in the letter, and commended him on his courage in speaking out so boldly about arms merchants, who probably wouldn’t be too happy at his threats to expose them, along with right-wing Tories.
Less than a month later, in the middle of the night of August 31, 1997, his son Dodi was killed in mysterious circumstances in a car crash in Paris, as he was traveling from the Ritz Hotel back to his apartment. Also killed in the crash was his girlfriend. With him. In the back seat of his Mercedes.
The girlfriend was Diana, Princess of Wales.
To this day, Mohammed al-Fayed has not uttered a single word more about arms deals, arms merchants, arms middlemen, the Ritz Hotel or the (British) Conservative Party. He has four young children by his second marriage.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

'Maggie's Hammer': Thatcher, Miners, Poverty, Arms

A heart-rending description in today’s (London) Observer newspaper of poverty in the former coalfields of Northern England. So many to blame. So much to do. And so few driven even to try.
The tragic irony is that the Tories are now reaping the ‘benefit.’ For we were the ones who devastated the mining communities with our war on the unions in the Eighties. Not a proud moment in my life.
The article reminds us of the toxic danger of ignoring the long-term consequences of short-term political gain. And recalls for me the personal shame of having looked the other way.
It was the evisceration of British industry which served as the trigger for the massive corruption of the British body politic with arms bribes. As first Margaret Thatcher, and later her successors, of all political hue, sought to replace the lost industry with arms manufacture.

Tories, Neo-Liberalism and the Conservative Co-operative Movement

Oh look. The British Conservative Party does have thinkers. The linked to magazine is for those more towards the center of the Party. I’m always taken with what Jesse Norman has to say (Page 27). He comes from a banking background. But he realized quite early on that the economic model used by all major political parties in the UK, and by the UK Treasury, was totally broken. It treated people as predictable economic agents. Rather than the unpredictable a**holes we all are.
His general thinking is that the solution is to devolve as much decision-making process as possible to the people in all aspects of life. He is one of the prime supporters within the Conservative Party of mutualism. Established the Conservative Co-operative Movement (of which I am a founding member. And supports the concept of co-operative provision of both private and public services, including health care and education.
Now, while we’re on the subject of old economic models, and alternative Tory thinking, let’s include a handy history of what is currently still regarded as ‘traditional’ Tory economic thinking – neo-liberalism. All good background wonkdom …

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Life after (Election) Death for Red Toryism?

Nick Timothy, the ‘brains’ behind Theresa May’s pre-UK General Election 2017 brand of working-class Tory populism, is all over the place at the moment attempting to revive interest in Red Toryism.
The thing is, I don’t disagree with his central premises. That Tories should be interested in what is best for the whole nation. That they should always be concerned to reform, carefully. Wherever that reform sensibly should go. That they need to have an ear to what the populace wants. And that a lot of folk, especially working people, feel very uncomfortable with the prescription of the center-left for a supranational economic melting pot, which doesn’t appear to take care of those who can’t necessarily make the grade in the brave new world.
It is the healthier aspects of this approach which allow me to meld those aspects of Red Toryism with my own brand of US proletarian populism, which I call Democratic Populism.
The problem is, when people are scared, they aren’t always at their, hmm, ‘healthiest.’ And, as another Guardian article points out, it is often not the principle of free movement of labour, capital and goods that the ‘left-behinds’ vote against, as it is the colour of the skin doing the moving, and the fact that the capital ain’t moving into their bank account. Frankly, I think the author of this article, one Stephen Bush, misses a lot in his essay. But I do believe him correct when he says that, if Red Toryism dies, the alternative could be a lot uglier.
As Nick Timothy himself admits, he is as much to blame as anyone for the possibility that his policy baby may well have got thrown out with the election-failure bathwater. But, even before the 2017 UK General Election, some in the British Conservative Party were inadvertently doing their level best to condemn Red Toryism by allowing others favorably to compare it to Trumpism.
For myself, I do believe that politics in both the US and the UK will be driven, for a while to come, by a large section of the working population who feel they want to retake control of their economic future. I think that is best obtained by devolving as much power over economic decision-making as possible as far down the political ladder as possible.
The upshot of that will undoubtedly be less interest in supranational decision-making. A desire for some breathing space, while new priorities are designed. Which itself may take the form of an element of protectionism and isolation. Together with some localized intervention in the marketplace, to keep at bay the impersonal forces of capitalist change, while ordinary folk better prepare themselves for that brave new world. And it might even see a surge of interest in mutualism. All in all, a gentle ‘qualification’ of the absolute freedom of the free market.
What I strongly believe will not work is boffins of right and left seizing on the distress that exists to superimpose trendy prescriptions of social engineering, which are not desired, and have not worked in the past, and may only result in further distress, and a headlong rush towards greater political ugliness.
It is not left the people want. Nor right. Nor even the center. It is populism. It is what the people say they want. It’s easy enough to work out. Just stop prescribing before you’ve listened. And then have the generosity of political will actually to accept what you are hearing.

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