Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

How Britain’s ex-diplomats are profiting from global conflict zones

RT | May 3, 2016

Former UK diplomats are cashing in on their contacts and experience and advising despots, venture capitalists and Gulf regimes, according to a new investigation.

Britain’s ex-ambassadors to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, as well as former MPs, are legally profiting from conflict zones and poor countries in the Global South, according to the Daily Mail.

It has led to concerns that former diplomats are using their years of exposure to state secrets and their enviable contact lists to win lucrative paydays with big corporations.

One of the most high-profile figures involved is a former ambassador to Afghanistan, and one-time critic of the war and occupation, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles.

Cowper-Coles took a job working for British arms firm BAE in 2010 after taking early retirement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Critics have connected him with halting a major investigation into the UK/Saudi arms trade in 2006.

He left BAE in 2013 to take up a role with HSBC. Both appointments were approved by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA), which examines if any conflicts of interest arise from such appointments.

Another former diplomat named in the investigation is Sir Dominic Asquith, who served as ambassador to Libya between 2011 and 2012 – the period immediately after the UK’s disastrous intervention to remove the Gaddafi regime.

Asquith now advises the Libya Holdings Group, which seeks out investment opportunities in the war-torn North African state.

Former ambassador to Nigeria Sir Andrew Lloyd later became a vice president of Statoil, under the proviso from ACOBA that he not deal with the firm’s Nigerian operations.

The highly experienced Sir William Patey – a former UK representative to Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia – later became an advisor for private security firm Global Risks.

Elected politicians have also been involved in similar venture capital schemes in the developing world.

Former Tory Africa minister Sir Henry Bellingham once sang the praises of UK mining firm Pathfinder Minerals to the government of Mozambique when the company was involved in a legal dispute. He now chairs the firm.

Blairite ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband is reported to have earned up to £1 million from his advisory jobs within two years of leaving office. That includes £15,000 for one day of advising a Pakistan venture capitalist and £65,000 for sitting on a foreign ministerial forum in the United Arab Emirates.

Recently a number of retired British military generals have been seen to be involved in similar activities.

On April 27, ex-general Simon Mayall, former Ministry of Defence advisor to the Gulf, told a parliamentary committee on the arms trade that its inquiries were “unwelcome and self-defeating.”

After leaving the military in 2015, he took up a role at Greenhill & Co, a major investment bank with global reach and Middle East energy interests.

On April 18, former general and ex-head of mercenary firm Aegis James Ellery was interviewed by the Guardian over allegations the company was using former Sierra Leonean child soldiers as private guards in Iraq.

Ellery, who left Aegis in 2015, lamented the state of the mercenary market, saying: “I’m afraid all we can afford now is Africans.”

Ellery’s previous jobs include demobilizing Sierra Leone child soldiers as part of a UN program.

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shame, Lies and Secrecy on Diego Garcia

The Limited Usefulness of Wikileaks

By Craig Murray | April 30, 2013

Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands remains a deep shame to the United Kingdom. In the 1960′s we forcibly deported an entire population a thousand miles, very much against their will, to make way for a United States air base. This is not an ancient evil; it continues to seep its poison into current actions, and the remnants of the deported population still linger in Mauritius, dreaming of home.

The Chagos outlines the stark hyprocrisy of UK policy on the Falklands. There we state the will of the islanders is paramount. In the Chagos, we state the will of the islanders is meaningless. Of course, the Falklanders are white-skinned, the Chagossians brown-skinned. That is the limit of the FCO’s attachment to self-determination as a principle. It is not for “Man Fridays”.

“Man Fridays”, according to the US Embassy Cable describing the briefing on Diego Garcia given them by FCO official Colin Roberts, is how Roberts referred to the inhabitants:

Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands.

In the Diego Garcians’ latest attempt to get their home back, Roberts under cross-examination denied emphatically that he had used the term “Man Fridays”. It is difficult to see why the US diplomats who recorded his meeting with them used the term and put it in quotation marks, if Roberts did not use it. Roberts appears, on the face of it, to be potentially a perjurer in court. It was at this point the judges brilliantly resolved this issue by declaring the US Embassy cable ineligible in court on two grounds; firstly, its possession was a contravention of the UK’s official secrets act, as Roberts’ disclosure of the UK government’s duplicity was an official secret; secondly for it to be noticed by a court would contravene the Vienna Convention on the confidentiality of diplomatic communications.

This not only wiped out the problem of the apparent perjury by Colin Roberts; it collapsed the Chagos Islanders’ case that the US Embassy Cable clearly shows that the declaration of a Chagos Islands marine conservation area was merely a ruse to make it impossible for the inhabitants – who are artisan fishermen – to return:

He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.”

Of course, I knew at the time what the evil David Miliband was doing, and I blogged about it in May 2010:

Miliband has now produced what is one of the most cynical acts in the history of British foreign policy. Dressed up as an environmentalist move, and with support from a number of purblind environmentalists, the waters around the Chagos Archipelago have been declared the world’s largest marine reserve – in which all fishing is banned. The islanders, of course, are fishermen.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36139130/ns/world_news-world_environment/

The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking. If we were really cooncerned about the environment of Diego Garcia we would not have built a massive airbase and harbour on a fragile coral atoll and filled it with nuclear weapons.

The subsequent wikileaks release of the cable recording the US Embassy briefing by Colin Roberts – which shows just what an odious, immoral creep Colin Roberts is – confirms the truth at what I am saying. I am still very angry at the environmental organisations which allowed themselves to be used in this way; they were blinkered and stupid. There is nothing more dangerous than a good man with a monomania.

The Guardian rightly execrated the ludicrous court decision to pretend the wikileaked US cable did not exist. It rather undermines the famous legal maxim that “facts are stubborn things”. A truer maxim would be “Facts are things which vicious, authoritarian judges can make disappear when it benefits the government for them to do so”.

The implication that facts, no matter how true, can be ignored in court if the government did not wish those facts to emerge, is a major blow to the very possibility of whistleblowing. A judicial system where the court only considers government approved fact, is a cornerstone of fascism. What happened in that court was very serious indeed. Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting are a disgrace to their profession, the compliant tools of a policy that should disgust all moral men.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye Miliband; Don’t Come Back

By Stuart Littlewood | Palestine Chronicle | March 28, 2013

The tears shed by assorted media at the news of David Miliband’s departure from British politics for a new life in New York had me reaching once again for the sick-bag.

“British politics will be a poorer place without David,” said brother Ed, leader of the Labour Party.

Will it? I’m pleased to see Peter Oborne’s straight-talking piece in The Telegraph putting Miliband D in his place.

“We are, after all, talking about someone who was at best a minor politician, no towering colossus,” writes Oborne. “After Labour’s 1997 election victory he was the poster boy of a new ruling elite which seized control of the commanding heights of British politics. Anti-democratic, financially greedy and morally corrupt, this new political class has done the most enormous damage. Since David Miliband was its standard-bearer, his political career explains a great deal about what has gone wrong with British public life, about why politicians are no longer liked or trusted, and about how political parties have come to be viewed with contempt.”

Oborne makes the point that Miliband set the pattern so many others, including his brother Ed, have followed. “Obsessed by politics at university, he has never had even the faintest connection with the real world. From life in think tanks he became a Labour Party researcher and special adviser, before being parachuted into the north-eastern constituency of South Shields as an MP.”

Miliband wrote Labour’s vacuous 1997 and 2001 election manifestos and was at the heart of the Labour machine when it generated the now notorious falsehoods over Iraq. Oborne also notes the irony of Miliband’s new job heading a humanitarian organisation “when the government of which he was such a loyal member created so many of the world’s disasters”.

We are reminded that Miliband was inexperienced and had no idea how the world worked, so was out of his depth when promoted to the Foreign Office. “During his short, undistinguished career, Mr Miliband has done grave damage to British politics. He is part of the new governing élite which is sucking the heart out of our representative democracy while enriching itself in the process… David Miliband has belittled our politics and he will not be missed.”

And having gone, many will be praying the Miliband brat won’t be back.

He will be forever remembered as the British foreign secretary who shamelessly apologized to Israel’s gangsters for the risk they ran of being arrested if they set foot in London. Back in 2009 Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog, cancelled engagements in London for fear of ‘having their collar felt’. Israel complained bitterly and Miliband promised Lieberman that UK laws relating to ‘universal jurisdiction’ would be changed. He asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw for urgent action.

When the general election ousted him from the Foreign Office, Miliband’s groveling promise was eagerly taken up by his replacement, William Hague, another fanatical ‘friend of Israel’, who declared that a situation where politicians like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest in the UK was “completely unacceptable… We have agreed in the coalition about putting it right, we will put it right through legislation… and I phoned Mrs Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals.”

Never mind that the arrest warrants were issued to answer well-founded criminal charges. Never mind that under ‘universal jurisdiction’ all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. And never mind that there should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Human rights activists resorted to private arrest warrants because the government was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and dragged its feet until the birds had flown.

Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence is an ancient right in common law and, in the words of Lord Wilberforce, “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority.” Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”.

And the beauty of the private warrant was that it could be issued speedily.

The servile Miliband’s action disgusted those who will never forget that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, was largely responsible for the terror that brought death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead. Showing no remorse, and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of it. Speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”

Any British government minister who brings this degree of obsequiousness to his job and is prepared to undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her, deserves to be judged harshly.

Miliband is also remembered for not having the guts to visit Gaza, or even Iran, while in office. Yet he managed to reach Gaza in 2011 with Save the Children. “I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons,” he said in an article in The Guardian. What nonsense. The only danger would have been from an air-strike by his psychopathic friends in Tel Aviv or a Mossad assassin. Those risks go with the job. You can’t be an effective foreign secretary wrapped in cotton wool.

He said the purpose of his eventual trip to Gaza was “to get a sense of life… to get a glimpse, albeit brief, of life for the people”. A pity he didn’t do that earlier instead of wielding his ministerial power in ignorance

While David Miliband headed up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. What magical transformation has this pipsqueak recently undergone to make him the ideal candidate to run an organization like the International Rescue Committee? With the likes of Madeleine Albright, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and Henry Kissinger on board, you might wonder about the IRC’s presence in vulnerable countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

No-one is about to forget Albright’s infamous remark about the human misery caused by the intervention and mayhem in Iraq, that “the price is worth it”.

Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, can now be read on the internet by visiting http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk.

March 29, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Has David Miliband Changed His Spots?

By Stuart Littlewood | Palestine Chronicle | September 19, 2012

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has been providing vital help to vulnerable Palestinian communities ever since the Sabra and Shatila massacre 30 years ago.

Eyebrows therefore shot up when MAP announced that former foreign secretary David Miliband will be speaking at its Annual Gala Fundraising Dinner tomorrow (Thursday) held in the posh Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.

It seems he’ll be talking about his visit to the West Bank and Gaza.

Miliband will be forever remembered as the British foreign secretary who shamelessly groveled to Israel’s gangsters for forgiveness for their running the risk of arrest if they set foot in London.

And he’ll be remembered for not having the guts to go visit Gaza, or even Iran while in office.

Back in 2009 Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog, cancelled engagements in London for fear of being arrested. Israel complained bitterly

Miliband actually apologized to Livni and Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman for the arrest warrant issued against Livni. He promised Lieberman to begin working immediately to change the UK laws relating to ‘universal jurisdiction’. He asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw to find an urgent solution.

But the general election overtook him. Miliband’s groveling promise was echoed by his replacement, William Hague, who announced: “We have had good discussions with Israeli ministers on Universal Jurisdiction where the last government left us with an appalling situation where a politician like Mrs. Livni could be threatened with arrest on coming to the UK…”

He said it was “completely unacceptable… We have agreed in the coalition about putting it right, we will put it right through legislation… later this year and I phoned Mrs. Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals”.

Never mind that British law was operating perfectly properly. The warrants were issued to answer well-founded charges. Under universal jurisdiction all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. There should be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Applications could be made to a court for private arrest warrants, and this had been happening because the government itself was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and dragging its feet until the bird has flown.

The beauty of the private warrant is that it can be issued speedily.

Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence is an ancient right in common law and, in the words of Lord Wilberforce, “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority.”

Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”.

Who can forget that Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, was largely responsible for the terror that brought unspeakable death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead?

Showing no remorse and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands, and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead. And speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”

In a sane world no British government minister would undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her.

Yet Miliband’s successor Hague said: “We cannot have a position where Israeli politicians feel they cannot visit this country. The situation is unsatisfactory [and] indefensible. It is absolutely my intention to act speedily.”

He even tried to make Livni’s monstrous crimes look good by claiming, as reported on the Conservative Friends of Israel website, that “the immediate trigger for this crisis [the war on Gaza] was the barrage of hundreds of rocket attacks against Israel on the expiry of the ceasefire or truce.” It is well known that the ceasefire didn’t expire. It was deliberately breached by an Israeli raid into Gaza that killed several Palestinians with the intention of provoking a response that would re-ignite the violence and provide an excuse to launch Operation Cast Lead, which the Israelis had been preparing for months.

As for Avigdor Lieberman, he lives in an illegal squat on stolen Palestinian land and is a wanted criminal on that score alone.

Livni bleated: “It’s about the entire State of Israel and our ability to go on working together against common threats.”

Common threats? The threats Israel faces are caused by its racist expansion, land theft, general lawlessness and hateful attitude towards its neighbors, not to mention the nuclear menace Israel itself poses to others in the region and the Islamic world generally. To suggest we have anything in common with the Tel Aviv regime is absurd.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office butted in with this arrogant statement: “We will not agree to a situation in which [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert, [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak and [opposition leader and former foreign minister] Tzipi Livni will be summoned to the bench. We utterly reject the absurdity that is happening in Britain.”

Miliband never went to Gaza when he should have done. But he managed to visit Gaza with Save the Children. “I had not been able to visit while in government for security reasons,” he said in an article in The Guardian.

Bollox. Hamas were honor-bound to take good care of him. The only danger would have been an Israeli air-strike or a Mossad assassin. But those risks go with the job. You can’t be an effective foreign secretary wrapped in cotton wool.

With David Miliband heading up foreign policy it was frankly embarrassing to be British. What sort of transformation has the groveler undergone that makes him now worthy of an invitation to MAP? Has he become a new White Knight championing the Palestinian underdog against the evil occupier?

I hope so. But I’ll believe it when I actually see evidence that this particular leopard’s spots have well and truly changed.

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment