Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Tale of Two Hills

England has David Cameron and Notting Hill. Here in America, we have John Edwards and Chapel Hill - currently my home town in North Carolina.

Both politicians affect a concern for the less fortunate. David talks of Compassionate Conservatism; John of Two Americas - the one rich, the other poor.

John Edwards will shortly be announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2008. He will be doing so from the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the area worst affected by Hurricane Katrina. He tells all and sundry that this is reflective of his genuine concern for the poor in society.

However, what might be more reflective is where he has situated his new Campaign Headquarters: a suburban village (Southern Village) in Chapel Hill, which I have lovingly christened the Upper Ninth. As in the houses you can buy there reach into the Upper $900K's; or the average income is in the Upper Ninth percentile of all Americans...

The HQ itself occupies the upper floor of what can only be described as a luxurious faux rendition of the sort of Mediterranean villa you might find in the smarter parts of Palm Beach, Florida.

The moral, I guess, is: beware politicians who affect concern for an issue, but then have a lifestyle that belies that affected concern.

We have an abundance of that in Chapel Hill, where the 'progressives' tend to be what we call Merlot Democrats. There used to be an equivalent in England - the Glenda Jackson, Hampstead set of Champagne Socialists. Have they been overtaken by the Cameron, Notting Hill set of Beaujolais Tories?

Arms Corruption, BAe and New Labour

I'm not surprised that Tony Blair halted the investigation of the Serious Fraud Office into BAe bribes associated with Al Yamamah, the $150 billion arms deal between Great Britain and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing that surprises me is that no-one asked if it might have been because the SFO were about to discover that New Labour, like the Tories before them, were benefiting from BAe's largesse.

What do we all think Tony's right-hand man, Peter Mandelson, was doing when he spent those weekends with Saudi arms middleman, Wafic Said, at his country home in Surrey?

Why, the same thing that Jonathan Aitken, on behalf of the Tories, was doing in 1993, when he met with Wafic and Said Ayas, in Mohammed al-Fayed's Ritz Hotel, in Paris - namely, carving up the Al Yamamah bribes.

(l. to r. - Wafic Said, Sir Denis Thatcher, Rosemary Said, Lady Thatcher - Dallas, 1994)

Arms Corruption, and the death of Diana

In December 2006, Lord Stevens published the whitewash...I'm sorry...the Report on his investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

No-one, not even Inspector Knacker, will ever know what happened in that Paris tunnel in August 1997. However, if it was not an accident, why do we all assume Diana was the target?

Barely a month before, Dodi's father, billionaire former arms dealer, Mohammed al-Fayed, had promised to name all of the Arab middlemen who had done dirty arms deals with the Tories in the Eighties - deals which included huge political arms bribes.

We now know, from Saudi reaction to the SFO investigation into Al Yamamah bribery, that Arabs get really sensitive when someone tries to wash their dirty arms laundry in public.

The Saudi Royal Family responded by threatening to break off diplomatic relations with Great Britain. Arms middlemen can't do that. But to what other lengths might they have gone to shut down Mohammed...?

There is an old saying in the Middle East: if you want to hurt someone, hurt the one they love. And if you want to underline the threat, send an exclamation point.

There could have been no more poignant an exclamation point to the threat to Mohammed from those ruthless arms middlemen than that the collateral damage included the death of Diana.

Mohammed will, of course, point the finger at anyone else - I mean, what would the great British public have to say of a man who allowed the "Peoples' Princess" to die because of his sleazy arms past?

Now, do I personally think the crash was a set-up, rather than an accident? All I will say is this: I have a problem believing that a billionaire would hire a drunk to drive his meal-ticket to the British aristocracy...

David Cameron knows...

If you've been to my web-site about arms corruption in Great Britain, you will know that I wrote to David Cameron, leader of the British Conservative Party, before their annual conference in October 2006, challenging him to come clean about arms corruption in the Conservative Party.

My concern is not limited to the actions of past Conservative Governments. I am troubled that David has made important appointments, to sensitive positions in both the Party and his Shadow Cabinet, which suggest that he will allow arms corruption to flourish once again, when he becomes Prime Minister.

Not surprisingly, David did not respond to me directly. But he did acknowledge my concerns - in a roundabout sort of a way. He agreed to post to his new videoblog, Webcameron, the entirety of the open letter that I sent to him. Frankly, I was so gobsmacked, you could knocked me over with an English batsman...

Well. David. Now that you've had a while to think about it some more, want to come onto the blog and answer the challenges? Take responsibility? Step up to the plate? Er...I've run out of batting analogies...

Ian Gilmour knows...

Ian (Lord) Gilmour, a former Secretary of State for Defence under Margaret Thatcher, and a former Member of Parliament for Amersham (the Parliamentary constituency immediately to the north of Beaconsfield), has already admitted on BBC Newsnight that Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia were founded on bribery.

Ian told the BBC: "You either got the business and bribed or you didn't bribe and didn't get the business."

Ian knew Simmonds well. Hated him, because they had different views on Europe. But knew him nevertheless. Knew me too. But I don't know what he thought of me. Notwithstanding the fact that I received national press attention when I opposed his appointment as President of the National Young Conservatives.

The important question is, along with knowing about arms corruption in general, did Ian know about Simmonds' role? Another port of call when I return to England. Unless, Ian, you'd like to save us all the trouble...?

Michael Heseltine knows...

A journalistic source confimed to me that Michael Heseltine knows all about arms corruption in the Conservative Party. I pushed the issue in Dead Men Don't Eat Lunch. And then in correspondence with Michael, after Dead Men was self-published.

We played some verbal gymnastics. Suffice it to say, that as of writing, Michael has agreed that what I have said about him may stand, and that the allegations in Dead Men are true. Bless him.

Of course, Michael not only knows all about arms corruption. He also knows all about trees - having one of the best-stocked private arboretums in England. The Tories know a bit about trees too, having just chosen one to be their new logo.

In fact, what is it with Tories and trees at the moment? It's all a bit creepy. Wasn't it one of the late Spike Milligan's comic characters who sang, "I talk to the trees; that's why they locked me away..."?


Does Liam Fox know the truth?

You know Liam. Current Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Defence (the Government Department which oversees the D-Notice program). Came within a whisper of being Cameron's sole opponent in the run-off for the Conservative leadership in 2005.

What you may not know is that Liam spent some time in the Beaconsfield Parliamentary Constituency, playing politics, before he got his own safe Conservative seat in Woodspring. He was on the Beaconsfield Town Conservative Committee, and still lists his membership of the Beaconsfield Conservative Political Discussion Group in his bio details.

Well. He did. Until I brought it to his attention. And then he removed mention of it. So why would Liam be embarrassed about his Beaconsfield Conservative connection?

Unless it was because Hugh Simmonds served on the same Committees as him. Because Liam was Hugh's personal doctor. And perhaps most damning of all - Liam was the doctor who signed Hugh's death certificate in November 1988...

New Labour in denial?

One of my next ports of call was the New Labour government in 1997. I wrote to Tony Blair asking if he had anything he'd like to add about this alleged deal involving GEC (UK) engines.

Among a number of interesting responses, the most amusing was from one 'D. Walters,' in the Foreign Office. You've got to love the remnants of the British Empire. While the rest of us have moved on, and generally refer to each other by our first names, the old public school boys still affect the last name and initial salutation. Bless them!

Anyway, 'D.' responded by saying that as far as the New Labour government was concerned, there never had been any sales of dual-use technology to Iraq.

I creased up. And then got onto the UK Parliament web-site, to start counting the left-wing Labour MPs who would probably have had seven kinds of conniption if they knew what was being claimed as their government's standing policy on the subject. I got as far as 171 before I lost interest...!

Jim Prior's Double-Speak

One of the first high-profile protagonists in this saga from whom I sought comment was Jim (Lord) Prior, back in 1996. He was at that time Chairman of GEC (UK). Jim had been Margaret Thatcher's first Secretary of Employment, and a leading 'wet' - if any of you out there remember that phrase from the grave!

My odyssey through the back-corridors of arms corruption in Westminster and Whitehall brought me, of all places, to a strange Italian bank, with a branch in Atlanta, Georgia - the Banco Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL).

In 1993, the manager of that branch, one Christopher Drogoul, was convicted of running a fraudulent scheme, under which he had illegally loaned some $5 billion to both US and UK companies, allowing them to export dual-use technology to Iraq, for the latter to use for military purposes - in both of the Gulf Wars in which US and UK military personnel lost their lives.

I spoke with Chris in 1996. He confirmed that he knew the name 'Simmonds,' and recalled it in connection with a deal in 1986 to sell GEC (UK) engines to Iraq - which deal BNL had financed with a Letter of Credit, issued to the Central Bank of Iraq, in the sum of $28 million.

My source in Israeli Intelligence confirmed that same deal to me. He stated that the engines were to be used to extend the range of Iraq's Scud-B missiles. And that it was his understanding that, once Simmonds had laundered the proceeds, the ultimate beneficiary of the deal would be the Thatcher family. He would be no more specific than that.

I wrote to Jim Prior asking for his comments. His reply was a model of the dissemble which helped both to build the largest Empire the world had ever known - and then to lose it (along with the Ashes...).

It was a very short letter. The first paragraph stated that Jim thought it highly unlikely that there would be such a deal involving GEC (UK) engines. Mind you, he didn't outright deny it.

But bless him, he then went on to conclude by saying that he could remember meeting Simmonds on a couple of occasions...

I still can not help but wonder if we're talking about meeting at the Henley-on-Thames Annual Ladies Knit 'n Bar-B-Que - or when Jim, Hugh and the boys from dispatch were loading the warheads onto the back of the flatbed...?

The BBC D-Notice

My "rollercoaster" began in March 1989 with a claim by journalist Chris Hutchins, then of The Today newspaper, that he had been told by a producer of BBC Newsnight that 15 minutes of a half-hour slot on Simmonds had been D-Noticed.

I asked Chris to confirm the details of the D-Notice with the producer. Chris came back to me very confused and surprised. He told me that the producer had totally changed his story. He was now saying not only that there was no D-Notice, but that he'd never said there was one.

Years later, I discovered from a source in British Intelligence that the D-Notice was most probably Category A, under which both the material and the D-Notice itself are D-Noticed. Very heavy stuff.

One of the first things I will be doing on my return to England is tracking down the BBC producer in question. Unless he wants to come forward, and put up a post on this blog...? Does this ring bells with any of you out there?

What makes a "rollercoaster ride"?

Let me see...

Try some of the following: getting shot at by British Military Intelligence; warned off by the CIA; having your drink spiked; meeting with Israeli Intelligence in Montreal, Canada; and a car chase in Glasgow, Scotland.

Is that good enough for starters? It's all in Dead Men Don't Eat Lunch...

What can you do?

Make our country a genuine citizens' democracy.

Don't leave it to the professional politicians or the mainstream media and the front-line blogs. There are many good ones. There are also those who have no interest in the truth or in the interests of ordinary people, like you and me.

If something around you doesn't make sense, the chances doesn't make sense. If it stinks, make a stink right back. Something happened around me that didn't make sense. I started making a stink - and I haven't finished yet! You can do the same.

The Internet provides us with all the tools we need to take on entrenched interests and expose the truth. Don't let anyone tell you that your voice or your vote don't matter. Remember Edmund Burke (and I paraphrase): all that is needed for bad things to happen is for good people to sit around and watch TV all night long.

What do I want to do?

My first book, Dead Men Don't Eat Lunch raises all sorts of questions about the mysterious death of my good mate, Hugh Simmonds CBE, who among other things was also Margaret Thatcher's favourite speechwriter.

I believe that those questions paint a trail that leads all the way to arms corruption in both the Conservative and New Labour parties. If you don't want to wade through the book (which would be a pity - you'd be missing a good yarn), go to my web-site ( and get a summary of the allegations.

Now, I would be the first to admit that I raise more questions than answers. Heck, I'm a one man band, and it's taken me 18 years to get this far - which is further than all of the mainstream press and front-line political blogs combined.

What I want to do now is to return to England for at least two years, so that I can take all of those questions to the appropriate people, and start to get the answers. How? Same way I did it first time round. Just get in their face.

Thing is, I need support to execute this exercise. I need a commission from a publisher, newspaper or television; a grant from a foundation; a job that augments the investigative work; someone to prove I'm the father of Anna Nicole's baby - something.

So, if you read this, and have a creative solution, don't be shy - drop me a line. Be a part of history. Prove that ordinary citizens, like you and me, can make a difference against entrenched interests.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Who am I...?

Ok. The longer version - and the first thing I should point out is that I'm a serious individual, until I collapse in helpless laughter at the general absurdity of life...and my seriousness. So, excuse the endless mix of serious and satire.

My name is Gilson, Geoff Gilson. I spent 10 years as an eager Conservative foot-soldier with 'Maggie's Revolution' in the UK in the Eighties. Ran the largest Young Conservative organisation in the country - out of Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Raised money - in much the same fashion as Tony Blair did for New Labour. Wrote speeches. Assisted Parliamentary Candidates with PR. Was elected a Councillor. Spoke at a couple of Conservative Party Conferences. Women threw underwear at me. Some boys too. You know the drill.

Then, my good mate, and Margaret Thatcher's favorite speech-writer, Hugh Simmonds CBE, turned up dead in 1988. I poked around. Discovered he was MI6. Spent 18 years on a rollercoaster ride through the strange worlds of covert intel and arms corruption. And lived to write the book about it - Dead Men Don't Eat Lunch. My first taste of getting to the heart of the real story.

Now that I've returned to the land of the living (what the crap happened to our cricket team while I was away!!), I write, blog, compose, make bad satirical points, broadcast, and crusade.

Folks, arms corruption in the UK is the worst blight ever to have befallen the land that gave the world democracy (ok, those parts that Dubya didn't save for himself...). You may think it doesn't affect you, but get this - one in five people in the UK are employed in occupations that support the UK arms trade.

I don't give a rat's fig what people do with their lives. It just eats my craw when they can't manage to do it without f*****g up other peoples' lives. Fair? Actually, I think that's the libertarian credo - makes mental note: see what they'll pay for it...

In the meantime, I use whatever media outlet I can find to poke fun at authority on both sides of the Atlantic, and occasionally ask it pertinent questions that mainstream blogs and the media generally avoid like the plague - in other words, getting to the real story: the one behind the polish and the spin.

Since the mainstream boys (and girls) sometimes ignore me (bless them), I'm working on some media outletting of my own. I'm upgrading from non-profit community radio to commercial radio in North Carolina - more of that soon (ish).

And when I can find the time, I will start adding some posts to this site - a mix of chronicle of my ongoing investigations into arms corruption, and commentary on the political silliness that regularly occurs in both the UK and the US.

Final comment of the day: Having returned from the jungle of 'oops, I'm not really here,' where did the Queen's English go? Why does everyone of any profile in the UK now affect this MetroAtlantic, 'I'm really from South London' accent?

So, stay tuned, for the real story...from your very own real tory...