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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

UK government still won’t come clean on Israel’s nukes

By Stuart Littlewood | Intifada – Palestine | July 13, 2013

(LONDON) – While the British government leads the charge to impose and tighten sanctions on Iran and makes other dire threats on the mere suspicion that the Islamic Republic may have nuclear weapons ambitions, its ministers continue to sidestep simple questions about Israel’s unsafeguarded nukes. Here is a recent example…

Written Answers — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: Israel (8 July 2013) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130708/text/130708w0002.htm#130708w0002.htm_wqn31

Bob Russell (Colchester, Liberal Democrat)

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of nuclear warheads possessed by Israel; and if he will make a statement.”

Alistair Burt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Afghanistan/South Asia, counter terrorism/proliferation, North America, Middle East and North Africa), Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

“We have regular discussions with the Government of Israel on a wide range of nuclear-related issues. Israel has not declared a nuclear weapons programme. We encourage Israel to sign up to the non-proliferation treaty and call on them to agree a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

Burt insults the intelligence of Parliament and the British public. So I have asked my MP Henry Bellingham to table another Parliamentary Question:

Dear Henry,

Mr Burt ducks the question. We all know that Israel is evasive about its nuclear weapons programme. Bob Russell asks for Her Majesty’s Government’s estimate of the number of nuclear warheads in Israel’s possession. We have an intelligence service, don’t we?

There can be no sensible discussion about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons plans (and certainly no sabre-rattling or other silly threats) without factoring-in Israel’s already established nuke stockpile and delivery systems. Why is the Israeli situation so ‘unmentionable’? Let’s take the lid off, so this nation can have a good look and be aware of the stark facts. Would you please lodge a written question, requiring a written answer, asking the minister to respond properly and in detail to Sir Bob?

Many thanks.

Mr Bellingham is a member of Agent Cameron’s ‘Torah’ party and was recently axed from his junior minister post at the Foreign Office. Let us see if he is prepared to pursue the truth about Israel’s nukes and coax it into the public domain.

Of course, our Muslim friends should prod their own MPs to table similar questions.

July 14, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment