“Julian Assange is no hero. I should know — I lived with him and his awful gang.”– James Ball
Right wing investigative reporter James Ball has attacked Julian Assange once again. This time in the Sunday Times. But is there anything new in his article?
The vindictive former WikiLeaks intern uses the emotive word ‘awful’ to refer to Assange’s gang. But Ball was himself part of that gang. Either his commitment to WikiLeaks was authentic – or he was an opportunist bad faith actor.
Judging by his subsequent career moves and undignified pronouncements, I strongly suspect the latter.
Blairite Ball says that if Assange is not extradited to the US and if he manages to be subsequently freed from jail that he should not be allowed to run WikiLeaks again. Because “as a journalist, Assange is reckless, incompetent and immoral”.
He then runs through a list of vague and unproven smears without going into his own role at WikiLeaks or the nature of his obsession with Assange.
The fact that James Ball, a ‘journalist’ who no longer even works for a newspaper, is recommending, on the record, the wholesale censorship of the man who gave him his biggest break says more about Ball than it does about Assange.
In the following Guardian piece Ball misleads his audience by claiming it unlikely Assange would face prosecution in the US.
Sponsored journalists like Ball serve higher powers and cannot be trusted to act against their own financial interests in favour of the truth or of their readers.
I find it hard to distinguish between Ball’s agenda and that of Isabel Oakeshott, Darren Grimes, Raheem Kassam, Mahyar Tousi, Andrew Neil, Fraser Nelson, Rod Liddle, the Guido Fawkes mob and many others.
In this article Ball admits to having taken money from the Integrity Initiative, a government and NATO funded propaganda unit designed to shape opinion in a direction hostile towards Russia and favourable towards increased militarism.
The Integrity Initiative was supposedly against Russian interference in UK politics but it amplified anti-Corbyn tweets.
Ball blames Murdoch-owned Fox news for amplifying Russian propaganda but has had no problem attacking Assange in the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times.
Murdoch was in the room in 2017 when Michael Gove ‘interviewed’ then President-elect Donald Trump and Murdoch’s News International hired Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson to work on the Johnny Depp Amber Heard libel case which has meant that she hasn’t seen Assange for over a year.
It’s no secret that money talks but, in today’s anti-Assange hit piece, James Ball keeps very quiet about exactly what attracts him to the billionaire oligarch Mr Rupert Murdoch.
Piercing the Corporate Veil
Mr Sunak is trying to mask one thing with another.
The factors that caused the 2008 crash were never addressed – ie bubbles and irresponsible lending.
The fundamentals are largely the same – plus a decade of QE.
So the Covid thing and the Climate thing are very conveniently being used to boost Wall Street, City of London, & EU investment banks.
While ‘the people’ are being blamed for consuming energy, for wanting to go for a walk, and for wanting to be with loved ones.
Alok Sharma & COP26
Alok Sharma is charged with stopping our house from catching fire.
Promotion for his success as housing minister during Grenfell.
I’ve heard the author of this story Nicholas Hellen is not the nicest of chaps.
And maybe this story is being released for The Sunday Times to remind its readers of its biggest ever investigation.
But given its lack of interest in Valproate, I conclude that the lobbyists have learned and modern day ‘Thalidomide scandals’ are now more easily suppressed / managed.
We all know the press is able to play down the significance of one scandal and play up the significance of another.
Which leaves so much room for distortion and inconsistency.
I believe we are ruled by a power structure that fears truth and goes to enormous lengths to hide it.
The resulting erosion of trust leads to withdrawal & extremism – which only benefits the entities with the most to gain & hide.
If you want to understand more about what Brexit means with regard to consumer protection then watch this video from 2017 featuring Emma Friedmann who campaigns on pharmaceutical regulation.
Taken from Emma Friedmann’s Twitter account:IMMDSReview_Web
Comment is Banned
They used to say on the Guardian website that comment is free.
But now it’s more a case of Comment is banned.
In the Guardian opinion section, of the 20 main articles, only 3 have a comment section.
This Martin Kettle Brexit piece is from the day before yesterday and yet it is the most high-profile article in the comment section. Why does it not allow comments?
Tom Kibasi’s article was written 2 hours before the Martin Kettle article and has received more than 1000 more shares. However it has been given a lower profile than the Kettle piece.
Of course it’s been allowed no comments. Does the Guardian not trust the public on Brexit?
Three out of twenty articles have comments enabled. Two on Covid and one on the way a city treats its invisibles.
The Brexit deal is simply not up for discussion.
Last night an article was published saying there will be resignations from the Shadow Cabinet – but it was not given due prominence and no opportunity to comment:
For me this is in line with the idea that the government is working with the Guardian to reduce any public involvement in the discussion of Brexit.
Matt Kennard identified the Guardian Government rapprochement following the Snowden Affair
Of course nothing from the Guardian on Julian Assange:
Meanwhile here’s a little something from the FT on the “Deal”
And here Vote Leave architect Matthew Elliott marks his own homework:
But what is:
Where's the line between politics and economics?</p> <figure> <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-longtime-banker-deutsche-bank-191551805.html"> <img width="580" height="386" src="https://londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg" alt="" loading="lazy" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?w=800&ssl=1 800w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?resize=150%2C100&ssl=1 150w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?resize=696%2C464&ssl=1 696w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/trumpdeustsche.jpg?resize=630%2C420&ssl=1 630w" sizes="(max-width: 580px) 100vw, 580px" /> </a> <figcaption>FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump walks as he arrives from travel to West Point, New York, on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2020. REUTERS/Cheriss May</figcaption> </figure> "first ensure no-one knows where they stand, then just carry on looting" <img width="1080" height="1440" src="https://londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/gates.jpg" alt="" loading="lazy" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/gates.jpg?w=1080&ssl=1 1080w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/gates.jpg?resize=225%2C300&ssl=1 225w, https://i2.wp.com/londonconversation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/gates.jpg?resize=768%2C1024&ssl=1 768w" sizes="(max-width: 1080px) 100vw, 1080px" /> Donald Tee Rump Lead Chief <p>When you see these guys conducting their operation you have to accept that they have it sown up</p> <blockquote> <p> 'Corruptissima republica plurimae leges.' 'The more corrupt the state, the more laws.' <footer> <cite>Tacitus</cite> <a href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=%27Corruptissima+republica+plurimae+leges.%27+%27The+more+corrupt+the+state%2C+the+more+laws.%27+%E2%80%94+Tacitus&url=https%3A%2F%2Flondonconversation.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fadmin-ajax.php&via=financialeyes" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Tweet </a> </footer> </blockquote>
Jo Stevens is a member of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition.
She’s also the Shadow Media, Culture, & Sport Minister.
This tweet is her gloating at finally getting some detail of the clandestine meeting that took place between then Media Minister Matt Hancock and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Stevens is looking keen for the Online Harms Bill.
But what’s this?
Jo Steven’s Labour colleague Margaret Hodge is against online anonymity and backs the Online Harms Bill to protect her from the tens of thousands of abusive tweets she gets a month.
Stevens’ predecessor is Tom Watson, who got on very well with Margaret Hodge.
Watson, like Hodge, spent more of his time attacking then leader Jeremy Corbyn over allegations of antisemitism than he did on scrutinising the way media is governed.
So Watson, Hodge, Stevens, and Labour are all for the Online Harms Bill and dead against Jeremy Corbyn.
They think the Online Harms Bill can help them persecute the more left end of the Labour Party that supported Jeremy Corbyn.
Though Zuckerberg is not known as a Corbynista and Facebook’s advertising policy has been used to benefit the Conservatives far more than Labour, he will still be squeamish about cracking down on freedom of speech.
The double standards are obvious. Some messages are allowed to circulate but others are not.
Online behaviour is starting to be regulated, but who regulates the regulator?
Facebook has an Oversight Committee, sometimes referred to as a Supreme Court. This committee will have the final say over whether a post should be removed and why.
For now the Committee will not look into the issue of questioning deplatforming decisions.
The rationale for deplatforming is opaque – and not currently open to appeal. The left has suffered enormously due to the Facebook algorithm and its decisions to delete accounts.
Murdoch & Leveson
What did Hancock and Zuckerberg really discuss? Can’t have been that much. The real conversation is surely between lobbyists and lawyers.
Hancock made noise about policing Zuckerberg because Rupert Murdoch wanted him to.
Hancock cancelled the Leveson Inquiry to please Murdoch.
He argued that the papers had learned their lessons from the days of phone hacking, surveillance, bullying, entrapment and illegal data capture.
That the real threat to society comes from the online giants and that newspapers need to be protected from the likes of Facebook and Google.
UK tabloids pushed for Google and Facebook to be regulated even while they themselves sought to escape regulation by citing the need to protect the Freedom of the Press.
And there you have it.
Freedom is ok so long as it is for a Billionaire who owns a Newspaper.
Never argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel
And the Ritz is still owned by the tax-exile Barclay brothers who also own the Telegraph and the Spectator – publications that have paid Boris Johnson handsomely.
Matthew Gould : Surveillance Capitalism Spook
Matthew Gould was appointed to head NHSX, a digital form of the NHS, without any competition, temporarily, in April 2019.
Matt Hancock appointed him. He’s still there.
Gould obviously operates in a world of spies, mandarins and geostrategic military lobbyists – democracy and the rule of law mean nothing to him.
Before leaving Israel (he was the UK ambassador to Israel from 2010 to 2015) Gould controversially thanked the British Jewish community for the huge support it had shown Israel over the years.
Nothing wrong with stating a fact?
Maybe, but an inappropriate comment all the same.
It would be easy, from that statement, to think Gould was the Israeli ambassador and not the British one.
I would argue that the consequences for the UK of not identifying and dealing with Mr Gould’s moral and ethical breaches have been enormous.
Thousands dead due to Coronavirus incompetence and countless more to suffer due to Gould’s lax attitude to medical privacy and data.
It should come as no surprise that NHSX Gould is more loyal to Silicon Valley than British citizens. His concern has been to promote the Cybersecurity Agenda and the interests of the large tech players.
Health data is of little concern to him. But he is concerned about Online Harms if they disrupt national security.
And by that we mean … Margaret Hodge.
Censorship levels have gone through the roof in 2020.
The UK is the first country to test the vaccine on its citizens and will be the first to deliver an Online Harms Bill.
But what will it contain and how will it be interpreted?
Will it be an excuse to launch raids on any person or organisation who expresses ideas that are at odds with government policy, or will it be used to fine and genuinely police the online giants?
The Great NHS Heist
Lines are being drawn between distinct racisms at UK universities. Anti-Jewish racism in particular is to be treated differently to other types of discrimination.
According to the Tweet below, UK Labour, under Sir Keir Starmer, will be backing the Government’s threat to defund universities that don’t adhere to the controversial IHRA definitions of anti-Jewish racism.
How could the need to defend Jews from racism cause controversy?
Could it be that, under these proposals, other students will not be afforded the same protections as Jews?
In India there is tension between ‘high caste’ Brahmins, and ‘low caste’ Dalits / ‘untouchables’ because of both perceived privilege and affirmative action.
In the US there has been a backlash against affirmative action with some campaigners saying that Universities discriminate against certain ethnic groups despite their high academic achievements.
Make them believe, that offensive operations, often times, is the surest, if not the only (in some cases) means of defence.George Washington
Criticisms of ‘cancel culture’ and ‘no platforming’ are generally used to defend freedom of speech and to allow controversial figures highly sought after platforms at universities.
I was at University in Manchester when Al Qaeda were recruiting heavily as were the BNP.
My preference leans toward freedom of speech.
I understand that deals are done between different student societies, student politicians and union officers in order to keep everyone happy.
But tension is still there.
The idea that there is no racism at university is misplaced.
Yet, it is important to ensure the university environment is a safe one for everyone.
It would be an unfortunate outcome if, by particularly defending the rights of one group, the government ends up making things harder for individuals of that group on campus.
Operation successful, patient died.
The Austrian French conversation has historically given us Adolf Hitler and Marie Antoinette.
Now French President Emmanuel Macron has been bonding with the Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz over the rejection of ‘political Islam’.
The article below from the Irish Times references Mehreen Khan of the FT’s piece reminding Macron that he risks alienating France’s Muslim population precisely when he needs them most.
Macron complained to the FT about the article and they took it off their website.
Former Telegraph and Mail political reporter Peter Oborne replied on Middle Eastern Eye:
So it looks like tension is only increasing. And that it is all so avoidable. Why bother making life harder for either group?
The English approach to weaponizing anti-Jewish sentiment may help achieve certain political aims in the culture war. But will it help individual Jews?
Will Starmer and Johnson’s approach promote harmony or encourage segregation?
It appears to me that they are both divisive politicians who would prefer as much segregation as possible in society, as would Macron and Kurz.
All this talk of fishing rights in the ongoing French / UK Brexit talks is a complete distraction from how much they all have in common.
The EU and Britain are clearly both focused on a particular way of doing things.
Big Business & Banking are working with Big Government to keep things sewn up for the people up top.
That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. But for now resistance against increasing inequality is particularly weak. Whereas inequality has tended to be lowered only after serious struggles, at this point the struggles themselves are being outlawed.
The only reason people are not noticing this is that the spin and propaganda machine is so strong that we are left begging for censorship and to be permanently misled.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.”
It’s only a year since I said I was dreaming of a Brown Brexit.
As if by magic, UK policy in the organ donation space has opened up.
How did they do it? By getting rid of free will.
Opened for Business
So the NHS can now automatically claim your organs as soon as you pass away.
And start trading them to the highest bidder on global organ markets.
London could claim top spot in the human body part trade.
Here’s the UK advert telling the public that their government happens to have stolen their organs.
People used to talk about Zombie Banks and Vampire Capitalists, but we haven’t even started yet.
Just 4 you London
All this talk of organ markets reminds me of that Bodysnatch track:
Can we have your liver then?
The Body Snatcher
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a short story about Body Snatching in Edinburgh in the late 19th Century.
It was adapted into a movie in 1945
CBS Radio Mystery Theater
Nightfall Canadian Radio
Philanthropy as a Service
Pity the Billionaire
Bill Gates has sponsored the Guardian Development Section for nearly ten years now.
Many journalists say that if he didn’t fund it that there might not be a development section at all. That at least he pays.
That argument implies that without Gates we wouldn’t know about development issues.
His international expansion is dependent on moral support to make him look like he’s not evil.
He is funding the Guardian operation to stop the staff saying anything bad about him.
Or they’d lose their jobs.
The Guardian says Gates has nothing to do with the editorial line.
But he’s gagging them. He’s buying their silence. And filling the media with his puff.
So do they ever criticise him? Of course not.
Every cult needs to recruit. One would have to start somewhere.
So how about using powerful imagery & slogans to tap into undefined ideas about Social Justice?
That would get ‘right thinking’ people feeling that a necessary national debate is taking place.
That one ought to pay attention, and make one’s voice heard.
I feel well qualified to talk about propaganda because I have fallen for so much of it.
Here’s an image from the Stand Together website. Compare the image above with the less adulterated one further up.
As I previously admitted, I’ve fallen for Left and Right propaganda. I would rather find out what the right’s strategy is before it happens than than simply hearing about it on the news.
I doubt very much the right would put up with much dissent among its ranks either but perhaps more than the left.
This is Charles Koch. Owner of Koch Industries. He refers to himself as a philanthropist. It is clear that ‘philanthropy’ is a billionaire’s strategic way to fund ther wider business aims.
Different billionaires have different approaches.
Back in 2011 Thomas Frank covered the way the Tea Party sold the idea of billionaires being ‘of the people’ and Democrats all being elitist.
Of course this helped explain how Trump did what he did.
In 2014 the English ‘left’ – by which I mean a group of NGOs – decided to copy the Koch’s and set up a left wing media hub.
It was a very controlling group that was very unwelcoming of debate or dissent of any kind.
The link is below but it comes with a warning.
The hubris coming out of the ‘mainstream media’ doesn’t dilute. Check out the opening paragraph of today’s anti-antivaxxer piece in yesterday’s FT.
Mr William Wallis appears to have been FT’s Africa correspondent for the last twenty years. Perhaps this explains his attitude to ward the natives here in UK.
Look at this development
The papers are to some degree controlled by the Government and they are forcing vaccinations on us all.
One day they are talking about using celebs and cyberwarfare to encourage vaccination uptake – the next they are using enforced social isolation as a motivation technique.
These government people are not people who like being argued with. Avoid actual confrontation if you can. I think it’s fair to say we are descending into fascism. It’s been happening for a while.
I had to call the council a few weeks ago because I had no money left after I’d applied for Universal Credit and been given an emergency loan of £360.
Normal payments are made 5 weeks in arrears so I was left waiting for the first normal payment to come in.
The council told me I could go to a food bank. They arranged for a voucher to be sent to the Food Bank and off I went on the day I was told to be there.
Therefore I’m currently paying off a Universal Credit emergency loan and going to the North Paddington Food Bank.
The people there are very nice and I don’t know what I’ve had done without them.
When I saw this story in the Guardian just now it didn’t surprise me one bit.
The country is not in a good way and the debate around Universal Basic Income really must be had.
I assume the Labour Party are dead against it but where do they think they will get their votes from when so few people are able to work and many jobs will simply not return?
Going to the Food Bank because you are repaying the most basic bills like council tax and small universal credit loans feels very similar to structural adjustment programmes imposed by the world bank and IMF on developing countries from the 1980’s onward.
James Wolfensohn died the other day – apparently he did something to help 35 countries. I’m not so sure.
Here is the Indian Biometric ID card system, Aadhaar, linked to health and welfare benefits:
I’ve blogged about Aadhaar before.
I rarely look back at my old blog posts – but this one was pretty good:
A proper investigation into the death of an 11 month old disabled child has been delayed over and over again for 20 years.
Clearly a series of different organisations working together to prevent the truth from ever emerging.
The coverup culture in the NHS amounts to serial killing.
What goes through the minds of the professionals that allow this to happen?
For some reason Hunt permitted this report.
Unspeakable cruelty to not provide full explanations.
Perhaps the private firms that had the contracts to look after the baby had strong political links and were able to act like nothing happened.
Still quite a lot of effort to go to to cover things up.
Accountability clearly completely out of the question.
I wonder how many people they’ve done this to.The_life_and_death_of_Elizabeth_Dixon_a_catalyst_for_change_accessible
The NHS is thinking of asking “sensible” celebrities to persuade the public into taking the soon to be available coronavirus vaccine, according to newspaper reports.
Ministers are alarmed at the impact that online propaganda is having on public opinion. A recent report found that more than one-third of people are uncertain or are very unlikely to be vaccinated.
Footballer Marcus Rashford is the only name that has been suggested.
The NHS source says the Royal Family are being considered, but politicians are off the table.
The army’s 77th brigade contains a defence cultural unit which was set up in 2010 and works closely with psychological operations teams.
It is claimed that soldiers are monitoring ‘cyberspace’ for Covid19 content to analyse how British citizens are being targetted online.
Is this team that was supposed to protect Shamima Begum from being radicalised online?
According to the Sunday Times the team is gathering ‘vaccine disinformation’ from hostile states including Russia.
The stock market has certainly benefitted from the vaccine
And it is well know that government Ministers’ friends benefited to the tune of billions of pounds from PPE contracts.
So why, given the enormous amount of corruption taking place, wouldn’t the public be rightly sceptical of anything proposed by such a dishonest government?
Yesterday this blog revealed that Matthew Gould, head of NHSX and this country’s former Cybersecurity Chief, had no qualms telling NHS staff to ignore data protection legislation if they felt it got in their way.
When intelligent highly trained civil servants and politicians are openly and serially ignoring the rule of law the British public will know that something is up.
The right-wing Daily Telegraph has pointed out that Elvis Presley was photographed receiving his shots for polio on the Ed Sullivan show
And for Typhus, Tetanus, and Asian Flu when entering the Army.
Will the Army be going after Belfast Blues singer Van Morrison?
Or Manchester’s Ian Brown?
We looked yesterday at how NHSX and the Information Commissioner have chosen to use Covid to loosen restrictions around our medical data.
NHSX Boss Matthew Gould makes no secret of the fact that he used Covid to tell NHS Staff to ignore data protection or information governance legislation.
In this interview at Future Med 2020, an Israeli Health Conference whose opening address was delivered by Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu, Gould, former UK Ambassador to Israel and assistant to Tony Blair, refers to a ‘one pager’.
The CLALIT 100 Logo at the top right of the video represents the largest Israeli not for profit public private health provider. Clalit is over 100 years old.
Here are COPI (Patient Confidentiality) letters from the Health Minister to NHS England and Improvement Chief Sir Simon Stevens, to whom Matthew Gould reports, and to Sarah Wilkinson who runs NHS Digital.COPI-notice-to-nhs-england-improvement-covid-19
I believe this may be the original message that Gould referred to in his video.
For more on the looting of NHS data by private firms such as Google watch The Great NHS Heist which was released late last year.
Gould has form when it comes to spookery. He was UK director of Cybersecurity, UK Ambassador to Israel and worked directly for Blair, Brown and Miliband.
Though it would be extremely bad form to suggest that he was more loyal to Israel than to the UK, Gould is an enigma, no stranger to controversy and clearly in the employ of UK military intelligence but quite possibly also friendly with Israeli Military Intelligence as well. We may never know.
Paul Flynn had to apologise for extremely clumsy working of his critique of Gould whose Blairite credentials suggest he has something of the Common Purpose about him.
But back to the bigger issue, if the Government says it’s suddenly ok for NHS staff to break data protection rules, then why would those rules ever be respected in the future?
By referring to a can-do attitude and not “getting caught in knots about massive detail of the law”, Matthew Gould, like his friends George Osborne, Matt Hancock and Simon Stevens is accelerating the destruction of the NHS.
A New Leadership
What is Starmer saying? Does he really want to get rid of fossil fuels?
He’s using the language of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion.
But unlike them he is the leader of a political party who claims to believe in democracy.
Under Jeremy Corbyn Labour made a commitment to cut emissions to net zero by 2030. But is this even possible?
Will Starmer intervene to ‘save the planet’?
Where will the cuts in energy consumption come from?
From what level to what level? Who is going to have to make the sacrifices?
If Starmer’s plan is to move Labour in the direction of environmentalism then why does he have people in his Shadow Cabinet who voted to expand Heathrow?
Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy, John Healey, Jonathan Reynolds, Jonathan Ashworth, & Kate Green all voted to expand Heathrow in 2018, along with most Tories. Boris conveniently left for Afghanistan that day.
Billionaires Vote Democrat, The Republican Party is for Mere Millionaires
Given the huge majority of MPs who voted for Heathrow expansion, you would have thought the expansion would go ahead.
But anti-expansion campaigners won the appeal and now the case has been heard by the Supreme Court which will deliver its judgment in January.
The case can be watched hereSC-Hearing-Memo
Heathrow still plan to build a third runway.
But who exactly are Heathrow’s owners?
So the majority of MPs have decided to go with foreign capital to build a third runway.
At the same time that the Government is accelerating deportations, increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric, and airlines are going out of business due to the current financial crisis.
So what’s to be done?
Will UK PLC find a way to be awarded the right to build another runway, even as the Government ploughs ahead with COP26 (sponsored by Nat West)?
Mr Starmer himself voted against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, but that’s not to say that every Labour MP who voted against Heathrow expansion is against expanding airports.
My MP Karen Buck told me that she voted against Heathrow because she prefers Gatwick.
Starmer, like former Transport Secretary and current London Mayor Sadiq Khan, is proud to call himself pro-Business.
Can business and environmentalism co-exist?
When ex Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who will play a prominent role at UN COP26 in Glasgow in November, claims to want to monitor climate risk and avoid climate breakdown I am reminded that he was appointed by the Cameron Government which went from Vote Blue, Go Green, to Vote Blue, Get Real.
Carney also said nothing when Theresa May got rid of the UK Government Climate Change department. May generally voted against measures to prevent climate change.
Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?
This article was written 25 years ago. I’ve never read it but just stumbled across it now. I couldn’t find it when I last searched for it in 2013. I did listen to some of the Richard White podcast above around the same time. Mr White mentions the tar sands in Canada.sust-white
The Money System
COP26 looks like it is going to be a an authoritarian power grab by the banks.
This is Roger Lewis of Moduloft’s recent magazine on the Great Reset.
It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court rules on Heathrow in January. There will be a ruling on Julian Assange around the same time.
It’s hard not to look at these cases and not feel that British Justice itself is on trial. With the current people in charge, I’m certainly not betting on justice anytime soon, but you never know.
This morning a story about NHSX Chief Matthew Gould appeared on the Guardian / Observer website. It never made the physical paper.
In June at an Israeli health summit Gould, Zionist former UK Ambassador to Israel, was asked how he had managed to use Covid to bring about unprecedented ‘digital health adoption’ in the UK.
In his response Mr Gould appears to have told NHS workers to pay no attention to existing UK legislation. He goes on to suggest that this is a winning formula.
There’s a claim Matthew that Covid 19 was an exceedingly effective accelerator of digital health adoption, maybe the most effective one ever. And
you’ve mentioned some aspects of this earlier on when you talked about the adoption of online care and alluded to some of the symptom checkers.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your experience in the UK and
how which digital health transformation aspects were accelerated during Covid 19? And what actually changed that allowed it?
Was it regulation that changed? Was it acceptance by the physicians and by the unions that changed? Or maybe it was acceptance by the patients or just bare necessity?
One of the things we did earlier in the crisis that i think made a massive difference was we produced a really simple one-page guide to information governance for people working in health and care saying essentially if you are in good faith trying to look after your patients and acting in sensible ways then you’re not going to get into trouble.
And that was endorsed by our information commissioner, by the national data guardian and it had a really positive effect.
Because it sent a signal: look just be sensible do the right thing, don’t get yourself caught up in knots over um sort of the massive detail of law – but just get on with it. And that was extremely positive and we need to capture that can-do spirit and sort of bottle it and keep it for the future
Who is Matthew Gould?
Matthew Gould is an old school friend of George Osborne.
He worked on foreign affairs directly for Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Miliband.
He was involved in the Liam Fox / Adam Werrity arms lobbying scandal.
Gould’s friend George Osborne was on the advisory board of Atlantic Bridge which part-paid for Werrity’s travel expenses as he pretended to be a member of the Ministry of Defence.
Straight-talking MP Paul Flynn apologised for suggesting that Gould should not have been appointed UK Ambassador to Israel on account of him being Jewish.
Flynn said that Gould was vulnerable to accusations “of having Jewish loyalty” and that the position should be given to “someone with roots in the UK”. Flynn said, “there hasn’t been a Jewish ambassador to Israel and I think that is a good decision – to avoid the accusation that they have gone native.”
Upon returning from Israel Gould was UK Cabinet Office Head of Cybersecurity and then worked for Matt Hancock at the Media Department, specialising in the digital economy.
Gould was appointed Head of Cybersecurity by George Osborne after the Talk Talk cyber attack in 2015. Talk Talk was then headed by Conservative Peer Dido Harding who now runs Public Health England’s replacement organisation as well as NHS Improvement.
Gould’s Twitter profile mentions showjumping – a passion for horses that is shared by Dido Harding, Matt Hancock, & Owen Patterson – all of whom have done very well out of the Covid crisis.
Sadly Owen Patterson’s wife died mysteriously on his birthday in June.
Harding also runs Track and Trace with Gould. She was also appointed without any interview process. Bizarrely Harding’s husband John Penrose, also a Tory MP, is the UK’s anti-corruption tsar.
Given that Matthew Gould has boasted of instructing NHS workers to ignore the law, perhaps he should be prosecuted for corruption himself.
But don’t hold your breath. The UK Government has shown no regard for international, human rights and employment law on so many occasions lately that we have to accept that normal laws simply don’t apply to them any more.
Maybe one day things will change, but certainly not without a fight.
The UK Broadcasting Regulator Ofcom has released its annual report on the BBC. I like the fact that the BBC exists. But it is an incredibly out of touch organisation.
Even when it appears to be polished, neutral, & honest the BBC is far from impartial.
The report itself contains the word disinformation only three times.
This is highly disappointing because it is well known that the corporation worked with the government to control the coronavirus narrative.
Instead of using simple language to describe the extent to which this took place, when it happened, and why – Ofcom has let the BBC and the government off the hook by effectively saying nothing.third-bbc-annual-report
So the UK population was repeatedly lied to and gaslit by the BBC and the government over Covid, lockdowns, and the number of deaths up and down the country, but Ofcom, the so-called regulator, has decided it is best to behave as though this myriad of lies and deception, in which it is now complicit, simply never occurred. There’s a word for this.
Ofcom’s boss Melanie Dawes’ starting salary is £315, 000 a year. She started her new job in February. Before that she had been Britain’s most senior female civil servant – permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which she took over from Bob Kerslake in 2015.
The Housing and Local Government Ministry saw savage cuts during that time.
Dawes’ husband Benjamin Brogan was Deputy Editor of The Telegraph from 2009 till 2014 before becoming Head of Public Affairs at Lloyds Bank. Lloyds received substantial state aid after the financial crisis but the Government finally sold its stake in 2017.
There are some who would say that being married to a right wing former newspaper editor turned banking lobbyist should automatically exclude anyone from running Ofcom, the national broadcast regulator. I share that view. But clearly Ms Dawes, Mr Brogan, and the corrupt former Chair of the Treasury Select Committee and Media Minister who should have known better, Baroness Morgan, saw things differently.
Morgan is a rule onto herself. She flipped from Remainer to Brexiteer in a heartbeat. One of the first things she did when Boris Johnson appointed her Media Minister in summer 2019 was to end all government pressure on Evening Standard and Independent owner Evgeny Lebedev for having sold 30% of Lebedev Holdings to the Saudi State.
Of course Lebedev had always backed Boris and a year later was rewarded with a peerage. Lord Lebedev of Hampton in Richmond Upon Thames and Siberia in the Russian Federation.
I have never previously heard of a Lord of the Russian Federation before – though Lord Barker and Lord Peter Mandelson do lobby for Oleg Deripaska.
Back to Dawes and Brogan . . .
Here are some words from Public Affairs Networking on what it means to work in “Public Affairs”
One of Brogan’s colleagues when he was at the Telegraph was Peter Oborne.
When Oborne resigned from the Telegraph in 2015 he made it clear that the paper did not report honestly when it came to covering the notorious British Bank HSBC.
Even though it was well known that much money laundering had happened through the bank, Telegraph journalists were discouraged from reporting on the bank’s activities due to fears HSBC would pull its advertising from the paper.
But Lloyds Bank, where Ofcom Boss Dawes’ husband Brogan runs Public Affairs has also been up to no good:
Not only has Lloyds defrauded its Reading business customers of hundreds of millions of pounds, but it has so far got away with compensating only 5 victims.
And who, pray, is responsible for ensuring that the government doesn’t get involved in this affair and that as little as possible of this information is communicated to the public? Benjamin Brogan, Melanie Dawes’ husband.
How Corrupt is Britain?
So not only is she being paid upwards of £300k to police broadcasters, but her husband is being paid to keep his own bank’s scandals out of the news.
Now that’s another Great British Power couple. Not sure if they have any ethics though.
Ben Elliot, the Chairman of the Conservative Party, nephew of Prince Charles, close friend of Zac Goldsmith, and Boris Johnson’s tennis partner, co-founded and co-owns Quintessentially, an elite services or ‘concierge company’ which created and registered the website of an international escort agency offering “high class models” to “high-profile gentlemen”, according the Financial Times.
Le Besoin’s Netherlands profile was last updated in February 2018. An image of 25 year old ‘Bianca’ appears with a German telephone number, a Dubai location, the www.lebesoin.com web address, and an “ask for price” statement.
Another profile is still up on a Dubai Escorts page
Le Besoin’s Twitter account is also still going, though not active for seven years.
Elliot’s firm Quintessentially won a £1.4 million UK Government contract to entertain wealthy decision makers
Elliott was also accused of being a bully and a fraudster by two female former partners in Quintessentially – he settled out of court.
Along with that other alleged bully Priti Patel, Ben Elliot cut his teeth doing PR for Patrick Robertson at Sir Jimmy Goldsmith’s Referendum Party
Robertson represented Augosto Pinochet and worked with Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken and Tim Bell. He recently represented Bill Browder.
It’s a Family Affair
According to a 2001 Guardian article, Quintessentially was set up by Ben Elliot and his first cousin Tom Parker Bowles, Prince Charles’s step-son and godson.
Elliot owns 20% of Hawthorn Advisors a PR firm that has represented Huawei, Tory Lord Barker who lobbied for US sanctions to be lifted against Russian aluminium firm EN+, and Alison Rose in her succesful bid to become CEO of RBS / Nat West.
Quintessentially’s numbers make absolutely no sense as the firm reported $23m revenue in 2018 while claiming to employ 1,000 staff.
There is clearly something other than just business driving this hospitality firm.
For more on the alternative take on Bill Browder and Magnitsky:
Opinions like gasholes, Everybody got one
In Two Identities
questions nobody is asking
Answers that won’t be received
My Head is Spinning, to Feel the Bind
‘Information as a biological unit’ came the stern reply.
The Poet Statesman
The place was not only pleasant, but perfect, if once he could regard it not as a deception but rather as a dream. Even if the people were not “artists,” the whole was nevertheless artistic. That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face—that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem. That old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat—that venerable humbug was not really a philosopher; but at least he was the cause of philosophy in others. That scientific gentleman with the bald, egg-like head and the bare, bird-like neck had no real right to the airs of science that he assumed. He had not discovered anything new in biology; but what biological creature could he have discovered more singular than himself? Thus, and thus only, the whole place had properly to be regarded; it had to be considered not so much as a workshop for artists, but as a frail but finished work of art. A man who stepped into its social atmosphere felt as if he had stepped into a written comedy.GK Chesterton — The Man Who Was Thursday — A Nightmare
This announcement, in today’s Murdochian Times is almost identical to the one made by former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell in an interview he gave me for Real Media nearly four years ago:
Sadly very few people paid any attention to this interview at the time, but the ideas are bizarrely all appearing in Government announcements.
Now that the government have announced a national infrastructure bank, Green Bonds and their version of a Green New Deal, John McDonnell appears to have won the last election.
Enoch Powell famously claimed that all political careers end in failure.
Mr McDonnell was lambasted by the left for appearing in an interview with Alastair Campbell just before the December election – if he hadn’t done so the People’s Vote mob would have told all their followers to vote Lib Dem and that would have completely destroyed the Labour Party.
So, whether you like it or not, McDonnell essentially took one for the team.
We didn’t start the fire — so who did?
Violent 50s and 60s imagery from Billy Joel here.
Are Roy Cohn, Eichmann, Belgians in the Congo in the same category as Ho Chi Minh ?
Lê Đức Thọ was famously awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize for peace along with Henry Kissinger but he turned it down – I wonder why.
AN INQUISITION UPON FAME AND HONOUR
Fulke Greville was a 17th Century poet statesman. Like Rishi Sunak, he was also once Chancellor of the Exchequer. He attended Shrewsbury School just like Private Eye founders Christopher Booker, Paul Foot, Richard Ingrams and Willie Rushton
Private Eye appears to be dominated by spookery at this point. But not so badly as to no longer be worth buying.
I made this experimental video a year and a half ago in homage to Peter Cook and his hero N. F. Simpson. The visuals and audio are taken from the news at the time as well as Simpson’s One Way Pendulum: :
This Peter Cook film says far more about modern politics than any other film I know. Watch it all the way through:
It is a bit weird to see Dominic Raab / Alan B’stard strutting his stuff on the world stage.
Strange seeing Raab in Vietnam trying to get approval for the CPTPP trade agreement.
Is anyone actually following any of this? I never see it mentioned anywhere.TRADEJUSTICE
Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson’s wife is being referred to as having taken her own life.
Today’s Daily Mail article does not mention that she is the sister of Tory hereditary peer Matt Ridley or that she ran Aintree racecourse and was therefore head of the Grand National.
Randox Health started sponsoring the Cheltenham Racecourse, The Grand National, and partnered with the Jockey Club as of 2016.
Baroness Dido Harding of Winscombe was recently appointed, politically, by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, to oversee the NHS National Institute for Health and Protection (NIHP).
NIHP replaced Public Health England
Harding and Matt Hancock happen to share a love of racehorsing.
Harding, like Rose Paterson was, is on the board of the Jockey Club which is responsible for several major horse-racing events including the Cheltenham Festival.
Here Sports Minister Oliver Dowden – justifies allowing the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead despite Covid:
Harding’s husband John Penrose is this country’s anti-corruption tsar, mainly working on local government fraud. Amazing given that his wife Dido Harding is still the Chair of NHS Improvement, overseeing NHS Foundation Trusts, patient safety as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care. :
This is a document John Penrose brought out in June:Fraud_and_corruption_risks_in_local_government_procurement_FINAL
Penrose’s predecessor was Eric Pickles. Pickles was local government minister before that. A job now taken up by Robert Jenrick. Pickles is also head of ACOBA, which means he is supposed to police the revolving door.
As we know Paterson is a prime beneficiary of the revolving door. But there are many others. Including, no doubt, Eric Pickles himself.
In June 2019 the current Chancellor, Housing Minister, & Sports Minister all backed Boris to lead the Tories.
This blogpost is merely descriptive. It does not seek to make fresh allegations or to accuse anyone of anything. If there is such a thing as corruption in this country, this article may be nodding in its direction, but certainly not pressing charges.
That is for the likes of John Penrose, Eric Pickles, the Police (overseen by Priti Patel), the Courts (overseen by Robert Buckland) and possibly even Parliament (with a Tory majority controlled by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings)
Here’s the rest of that Mail article.
Just as UK PM Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson makes out that his surname is Johnson, despite the surname on his paternal grandfather’s birth certificate being clearly Kemal, so too does Democrat Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris make little mention of her élite Tamil Brahmin heritage.
Whether re-purposing the original anti police brutality Black Lives Matter hashtag or pretending to be a European artistocrat as opposed to the great grandson of an élite Turk, when courting public favour, politicans and their families are obliged to conform to a rigid set of underlying assumptions.
If these politicians are willing to publicly compromise on day one, then what won’t they be willing to sacrifice when they’re in power?
The Wall Street Journal, which I assume will be rooting for Trump, has published an article about Kamala Harris’s mother’s side.What-Kamala-Harris-Isn’t-Saying-About-Her-Mother’s-Background-WSJ
For more on Boris Johnson’s family history, the BBC did a Who do you think you are? some years ago.
Julian Assange has to report to Court today – in person – though he may use a video link due to respiratory conditions.
Funny how this article uses the Depp / Musk spat to talk about Depp’s lawyers and then AI.
It’s written by a tech correspondent so the identity of Depp’s lawyers is not particularly relevant.
No mention, of course, of the fact that Amber Heard’s lawyer is Jen Robinson who represents Julian Assange.
Last week Vivienne Westwood was protesting outside the Old Bailey as a Canary in a Cage to highlight the Assange Trial.
This made BBC, ITV and even the Sun.
I can’t help but think Jen Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers had something to do with this spectacle. Robinson is a media lawyer, not a divorce lawyer.
The Amber Heard Trial is actually The Sun Vs Johnny Depp.
So Robinson is actually working together with Murdoch’s lawyers.
The whole Vivienne Westwood thing makes the Assange story newsworthy, in UK tabloid terms, in a way only the likes of Pamela Anderson can.
Westwood and her son Joe Corré funded Real Media, a venture I was once part of, and, though do I agree with them on this issue, it feels as though the issues themselves do not matter – it is all just pantomime.
Riding a wave of public sentiment.
Like they did with fracking. Like they did with Punk.
The new espionage act will outlaw quite a lot of public interest journalism.
It was funny to see the Guardian comment this weekend, when its columnist Owen Jones’ far-right attacker was given a custodial sentence, that no journalist should be subject to personal attacks.
If only they would adopt such a view for Julian Assange.
The fallout from the Russia Report has meant the Govt are planning more draconian measures to ruin the country.
They want to set up a spy register and, following a 2017 Law Commission report they want to introduce a new Official Secrets Act.
This will effectively ban public interest reporting on ‘national security’ matters, eliminate trial by jury and incriminate any journalist that relies on whistleblowing.
The Economist has done a good piece here on the Shadow Banking sector and regulatory arbitrage in banking.
There is a lot of talk of Monopolies and Anti-Trust right now.
The Big Tech firms will be scrutinised ‘on the hill’ in Washington DC on Wednesday. They also report their second quarter numbers this week.
Rana Foroohar did this in the FT, bringing in anti-trust in Big Tech but also banking and linking this all to the upcoming US election:
And the New York Times just did a great piece on the secretive Global Anti-Trust Institute :
Daisuke got a quote from a former EU anti-Trust regulator:
Apple won a tax case against Ireland last week (worth several billion dollars) but the EU can still appeal.
Some British Remainers are acting as though the coronavirus funding deal the EU struck last week is a sign that everything is going well in those parts.
This piece by ex-IMF man and current Chief Economic Adviser at Morgan Stanley Reza Moghadam seems entirely reasonable until the last line.
In which he leverages his entire argument to call for FISCAL UNION!
So I repeated Moghadam’s call . . .
At least this piece indicates below the radar disquiet in Ireland.
Have a brilliant week. What gambit will they come up with next?
According to Bloomberg HSBC may have lied to US authorities about their knowledge of Huawei’s dealings with Iran.
Meng Wanzhou – Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder – was arrested over this on 1 December 2018 in Vancouver.
But Meng’s lawyers argue, she was transparent about the Iran dealings.
They say there are two slides in a presentation she made to HSBC that were omitted from the U.S. filing.
According to Bloomberg:
In its first public comments about Huawei’s legal battle in North America, the U.K. bank said it has no “hostility” toward Huawei and didn’t “ensnare” the company. The bank said it only provided information to the U.S. Department of Justice when it was compelled to do so.
“In response to the U.S. DOJ’s requests for information, HSBC simply presented the objective facts,” the bank said in a statement Saturday. “HSBC did not ‘fabricate’ evidence or ‘hide’ facts. And HSBC would never distort the facts or seek to harm any of our clients for our own gain.”
HSBC has become embroiled in Huawei’s legal fight to block a U.S. request to extradite Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou from Canada to face trial over allegedly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver since she was detained at the request of U.S. authorities in 2018.
When HSBC saw Meng Wanzhou’s presentation in 2013, they were already under a Deferrred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the US Department of Justice due to lots of previous money laundering activity.
The terms of the agreement meant that any further illegal activity could have cost them their US banking licence.
And who was charged with overseeing HSBC’s compliance with the DPA?
A firm called Exiger.
And who was Exiger’s head of investigations and Europe, Middle East and African (EMEA) business?
The current Head of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Lisa Osofsky.
Lisa Osofsky has been in the news recently for receiving chummy text messages from a private investigator in relation to the UNAOIL case.
For more on UNAOIL:
SFO also recently signed a recent DPA with G4S over the prison tagging fraud from the early 2010’s.
So far no jail time so far for G4S executives who have managed to secure more and more contracts and make millions of pounds from the UK taxpayer since the original fraud was uncovered.
People sometimes ask who regulates the regulators.
Prisoners are managed by G4S and G4S supposedly, when they do wrong, by the SFO.
But who regulates the SFO?
In today’s Daily Mail BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis claims to have received a supportive text message from the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser Dominic Cummings after chiding him on the programme in May.
This video by PoliticsJoe goes over the Maitlis monologue.
If she really did receive his text what does the exchange imply?
Newsnight presenters receiving text messages from No10 Special Advisers could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Should this be declared on some sort of a register?
Freedom of Information Request
According to Wikipedia Maitlis was made a contributing editor to the Spectator in 2007:
Wiki also states that Dominic Cummings wife Mary Wakefield was assistant editor at the Spectator at the time:
Though this doesn’t mean Maitlis and Cummings know each other socially, it certainly wouldn’t be that surprising if they did.
Outspoken Zionist Ben Goldsmith, a non executive on the board of the Department of the Environment has been lying to his neighbours about feeding and releasing wild boar from his farm in Somerset.
A National Pig Association statement said : ‘Feeding wild boar is irresponsible but even more so if they are near to or on a pig farm. In addition to the disease risk, they destroy crops, gardens and woodland, cause road traffic accidents and have attacked people.’
The youngest son of the tycoon Sir James Goldsmith opted for victim status by saying he is an enthusiast for ‘rewilding’ – bringing wild animals back to areas from which they have disappeared, and returning areas back to nature without human intervention.
He said he was an ‘easy target’ because he champions rewilding, but insists he did not release the wild boar.
Goldsmith is an enthusiastic Zionist and denies the existence of the far-right and white nationalists in the UK.
He obviously sees no contradiction between his support for bringing animals back to areas from which they have disappeared and the behaviour of the Israeli Government which since the late 1940s has knowingly contravened international law by expelling innocent Palestinians from their homes before either stealing the homes or bulldozing them in favour of Israeli settlements.
Ben Goldsmith’s brother Zac is an environment Minister and currently a member of the House of Lords.
Zac Goldsmith was voted out of his Richmond constituency in December but rewarded with a peerage and made a Minister despite being democratically ejected from Parliament by his constituents.
Zac Goldsmith was defeated by current London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the 2016 elections mainly because Goldsmith fought an Islamophobic campaign under the guidance of Boris Johnson’s election strategist the Australian Lynton Crosby.
Kiss me, Man, Kiss me. When I’m being fucked I like to get kissed a lot.Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon
Wide Ranging Food Fraud Chat – October 2019
2020 UK Parliament Food Fraud Report <(click)POST-PN-0624
Taken from Stack Exchange
What is the legal definition of food in the United States?
Particularly, in the context of food, food products, food industry, food additives, etc., what is a precise, formal, legal definition of food?
Some references to potentially useful sources, and some discussion:
(f) The term “food” means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.
21 CFR §170.3(m) defines food as (for the purposes of the subpart on food additives):
Food includes human food, substances migrating to food from food-contact articles, pet food, and animal feed.
The primary portion of this is also a tautology: food includes food. It says that ‘food’ includes human food, but what constitutes this human food?
(This definition serves the purpose of establishing the word food as more broad, for the subpart, than just human food, including also residues from contact substances and animal food. But I am interested in what defines the human/animal food that it refers to).
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) does not seem to add any definition of food.
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994
amends the FD&C and provides definitions for dietary supplement. The
act deems dietary supplements as food, and also distinguishes them from
“conventional food”. But does not define food nor conventional food.
So the question is: what (besides chewing gum) constitutes food? And where is it defined?