Sunday 21st of July 2024

familiar footprints ....

latest stench from the trough .....

The US department of justice is preparing to open a corruption investigation into the arms company BAE, the Guardian has learned. It would cover the alleged £1bn arms deal payments to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia.

Washington sources familiar with the thinking of senior officials at the justice department said yesterday it was "99% certain" that a criminal inquiry would be opened under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Such an investigation would have potentially seismic consequences for BAE, which is trying to take over US arms companies and make the Pentagon its biggest customer.

The sources say US officials were particularly concerned by the allegations in the Guardian that UK Ministry of Defence officials actively colluded in the payments. One said: "The image of all these Bob Cratchits in Whitehall sitting at their high stools processing invoices from Bandar has been a startling one to us."

The Guardian has revealed allegations that BAE used the US banking system to transfer quarterly payments to accounts controlled by Prince Bandar at Riggs Bank in Washington. Another senior US source said this brought the payments within the ambit of the FCPA. "Prosecutors have previously taken the view that the FCPA does reach that far," the source said.’

BAE Faces Criminal Inquiry In US Over £1bn Payments

the value of "special friends" .....

‘The most significant effect of this revolting scandal is being felt in the Muslim world. One of the major reasons for the fast-spreading influence of militant Islamic groups like Hezbullah, Hamas, and Taliban has been their success in uprooting the Muslim world’s endemic corruption and nepotism. We are so used to Islamists being demonized as “terrorists” that their highly effective and popular social accomplishments are rarely noted. In fact, their appeal and popularity is based primarily on their welfare and incorruptibility.

Islamic militants insist the west exploits their nations by keeping deeply corrupt regimes in power. In exchange for protection from their own people and neighbours, and fabulous wealth, these authoritarian Arab regimes – always termed “moderates” by western media – sell oil on the cheap to the west and do its bidding. US-installed governments in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan are all noted for egregious corruption, including secret payoffs from Washington to their leaders.

No wonder Prince Bandar was always so amiable and accommodating. Or that he managed to fly out a planeload of Saudis the day after 9/11 when all US flights were grounded. Or that the Bush administration was trying to position the always amenable prince as the next Saudi monarch.

The Bandar scandal is hugely embarrassing for Blair and Bush, who claim to be leading a crusade to bring democracy and good government to the benighted Muslim world. It starkly confirms Islamist’s accusations that the west promotes corruption. And it dramatically exposes the dirty underbelly of the west’s much-vaunted “special relationship” with the Saudi royal family.’

The Mother Of All Scandals

Fake faith

PM's Iraq war 'helped drive Catholics out of Downing Street' By Andrew Grice and Andy McSmith Published: 23 June 2007

Tony Blair's hard line on Iraq alienated three Roman Catholics who worked for him in Downing Street. All three, who were experts in foreign affairs, were deeply worried by what they saw as the rush to war in 2003, The Independent has learnt.

The revelation comes as Mr Blair prepares for this morning's audience with Pope Benedict XVI, where he is expected to discuss his intention to convert to Roman Catholicism. He will also hear the Vatican's concerns about the Middle East.

Mr Blair once declared that God would be the judge of whether he was right to go war in Iraq - but has not previously shown any sign of allowing the Pope or any other religious figure to influence him, despite his deeply held Christian beliefs.

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Gus: anyone with an understanding of Christian beliefs can see that Blair's "deeply held Christian beliefs" are fakes. The professing of such beliefs by Blair has been a well tuned ploy to con people that he had a conscience about going to war, when he of all people knew that his dossiers on Saddam WMDs had been so "sexed-up", he could looked like Madam Lash had proper light been focused on them. The only reason Blair went to war in Iraq is that his mate George had asked him, making Blair a few offers he "could not" refuse. Slowly but surely, as mentioned here on this site, the evidence of Blair playing a double game with the US and Europe will emerge. Forget the Christian faith thingies... These were just shop front little blackboards tooting the bargain price of things for sale in the trays. Blair, like our UnAustralian Howard, was just a clever spruiker, massaging the common person bigoted gullibility, to sell things, including a war. Sell him a peerage. The problem with people like Blair is they can end up believing their own manufactured BS, while the facts do not stack up. Should Blair be sent as an "envoy of the quartet" on the Middle East affairs, he will have a massive task. A hundred time more complex that the Northern Ireland problem. Who knows, his spruiking ability might help sort out the mess, but having said that, I will add that most Arab nations, the Saudis included, do not want that mess to be sorted out just yet, unless there is a clear territorial advantage for the Palestinians which would be totally unacceptable to Israel and the US. And the US — despite its protests "at Israel building another two settlements while demolishing one" in occupied territories (which are ligit Israel lands according to Israel) — will make sure Israel can do so with impunity.

The Pope should throw Blair out with compassion...

Mistakes?

Britain's Brown sorry for Iraq intelligence 'mistakes'


Britain's next prime minister Gordon Brown has apologised for mistakes in intelligence made in the run-up to the Iraq war in a BBC television interview.

Mr Brown has stressed he will push for a new emphasis in Iraq when he takes over from current premier Tony Blair on Wednesday but went further than before in his latest comments.

"We have apologised, and I repeat that, for the mistakes that were made in intelligence," he said.

"I think we've got to be honest about it that mistakes were made at the point of reconstruction after Saddam Hussein fell ... mistakes made by all of us in the reconstruction progress."

Mr Brown also says there will be clearer boundaries between intelligence and politics after he takes office.

"I'm setting in place what I think are far more rigorous procedures so that the intelligence is seen to be different from, if you like, any decision by a politician," he said.

"I want people to know that in future, they can be satisfied that, where public information is provided, it has gone through an authoritative process and it is free of political influence."

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Gus:  The analysis of the intelligence prior to war in Iraq was not mistaken. Only the political desire to take Saddam out of the landscape tainted the intelligence and sexed up the dossiers that Blair wanted on his desk... Lies? Yes. Those in the intelligence (all intelligent intelligence officers) who saw that all the rules of proper intelligence were broken could do nothing but watch the Anglo-speaking world go to war under false pretences... To carry on blaming intelligence for this is perpetrating the myth that Blair did not know he was wrong. He was wrong and he knew he was telling porkies deliberately to go to war... Blair should tell us the truth.

wrong man for the job

Robert Fisk: How can Blair possibly be given this job? Here is a politician who has failed in everything he has ever tried to do in the Middle East Published: 23 June 2007

I suppose that astonishment is not the word for it. Stupefaction comes to mind. I simply could not believe my ears in Beirut when a phone call told me that Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara was going to create "Palestine". I checked the date - no, it was not 1 April - but I remain overwhelmed that this vain, deceitful man, this proven liar, a trumped-up lawyer who has the blood of thousands of Arab men, women and children on his hands is really contemplating being "our" Middle East envoy.

truth out .....

A federal appeals court in Chicago overturned a $156 million jury award against a former Muslim charity once billed as the nation's largest and several other defendants yesterday, saying that the plaintiffs failed to prove that financial contributions to a Palestinian terrorist group played a direct role in the slaying of an American teenager in Israel.  

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit voided a lower court judge's 2004 ruling on behalf of Stanley and Joyce Boim, whose son David was shot by Hamas operatives in the West Bank in 1996.

The U.S. government designated Hamas a terrorist organization in 1997.

U.S. District Judge Arlander Keys in Chicago ruled then that the Boims did not have to show that the defendants aided the attack or were aware of it, only that they "were involved in a agreement to accomplish an unlawful act."  

Arlander said the defendants - defunct charities, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, and the American Muslim Society/Islamic Association for Palestine; and a man named Mohammed Salah - were liable for damages because they paid Hamas in 1993 and 1994 for speaking engagements and distributed propaganda for the group.  

In yesterday's strongly worded opinion, Appeals Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote: "Belief, assumption, and speculation are no substitutes for evidence in a court of law.... We must resist the temptation to gloss over error, admit spurious evidence, and assume facts not adequately proved simply to side with the face of innocence and against the face of terrorism."

Ruling Against Muslim Group Is Overturned

the lingering stench .....

The senior intelligence official responsible for Tony Blair's notorious dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction proposed using the document to mislead the public about the significance of Iraq's banned weapons.

Sir John Scarlett, who as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee was placed "in charge" of writing the September 2002 dossier, sent a memo to Blair's foreign affairs adviser referring to "the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional".

The memo, released under the Freedom of Information Act, has been described as one of the most significant documents on the dossier yet published.

The disclosure supports the evidence of the former intelligence official Michael Laurie, who told the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war that it was widely understood that the dossier was intended to make a case for war and misrepresented intelligence to this particular end.

The role of the Joint Intelligence Committee is to present impartial intelligence-based advice to ministers. Alastair Campbell, Blair's director of communications, told Scarlett that the dossier's credibility depended on it being seen to be the work of Scarlett and his team of experts.

But the 2004 Butler review found that the published dossier had presented a more certain case on Iraq's weapons than was set out in the committee's reports. In spite of this, Scarlett went on to be head of MI6.

Scarlett's memo was sent to Sir David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser, in March 2002 after an early draft of the dossier had been drawn up covering four countries with "WMD programmes of concern": Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, had commented that the paper "has to show why there is an exceptional threat from Iraq. It does not quite do this yet." In response, Scarlett suggested that the dossier could make more impact if it only covered Iraq. "This would have the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional," he wrote.

Clare Short, the Labour cabinet minister who resigned after the war had started, said: "Those words show that John Scarlett was in on the deception from the beginning and was being duplicitous deliberately."

Memo reveals intelligence chief's bid to fuel fears of Iraqi WMDs