Category Archives: Freemasonry

Cameron faces fresh questions over knowledge of Ashcroft tax status

Billionaire Tory donor alleges Cameron conspired to mislead public before 2010 election over knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom status

Cameron was ‘fully aware’ of Ashcroft’s tax status, the Tory donor claims in his new book.
Cameron was ‘fully aware’ of Ashcroft’s tax status, the Tory donor claims in his new book. Photograph: John Giles/PA

David Cameron is facing fresh questions from Labour and the SNP over allegations by the former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft that the prime minister conspired to mislead the public before the 2010 election about his knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom tax status.

Ashcroft, a billionaire businessman, Tory donor and former key Cameron ally, has said he is not seeking to settle old scores, but also claimed in a long-awaited unofficial biography that Cameron took drugs at Oxford University and was involved in an initiation ceremony involving mock sex with a dead pig.

In the preface to his book Ashcroft asserts he discussed his tax status with Cameron in 2009 in detail. He writes that Cameron was “fully aware of of my status as a so-called non dom. Indeed we had a conversation about how we could delay revealing my tax arrangements until after the election.”

But in March 2010 when Ashcroft confirmed his tax status shortly before a freedom of information disclosure which would have shone light on his affairs, Cameron claimed to have known about it for only for a month. A non-dom does not have to pay tax on overseas earnings in the UK, and Ashcroft had promised William Hague in 2000 as part of his receipt of a peerage that he would take up “permanent residence in the UK”.

The question about Cameron’s knowledge of Ashcroft’s tax status came after Downing Street was forced to deny the most lurid allegation in the book. No 10 sources denied that Cameron had been involved in any initiation ceremonies at university, saying he had not been a member of the decadent Piers Gaveston club where the initiation ceremony allegedly took place.

Earlier, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said she would not dignify the book with a comment, and pointed to the fact Ashcroft had himself said he was motivated by anger at Cameron’s refusal to honour an undertaking to give him a high-profile ministerial job in the wake of the 2010 election.

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s shadow minister without portfolio, called on Cameron to clarify his knowledge of Ashcroft’s tax status and whether he had agreed with Ashcroft effectively to mislead the British public ahead of the 2010 election.

He said: “Amidst the furore around Lord Ashcroft’s new book there lies a serious question mark over the consistency of the prime minister’s statements about the peer’s tax status.

“Lord Ashcroft stated today that he made the prime minister fully aware of his non-domiciled status in 2009. However, in March 2010, when his status was made public, David Cameron said the full details were ‘only’ known by Lord Ashcroft and the Inland Revenue. Furthermore, his spokesperson confirmed that David Cameron was only made aware of the peer’s status the previous month.”

The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, told Channel 4 News: “If I can perhaps make him feel better, he’s entertained the whole country on a dreary Monday morning, so there’s got to be something in that.

“Actually though, there is one thing – put aside all the lewd and salacious allegations that I have no knowledge of the truth or otherwise of them – but there was one serious allegation this morning that I think perhaps he does have to answer and that was about the fact allegedly he knew about Lord Ashcroft’s non-dom status much earlier than he admitted to knowing about it, so that’s one that perhaps shouldn’t just be allowed to disappear into the ether with some of the more lewd ones.”

On 2 March 2010 Cameron said: “Clearly the full details of Lord Ashcroft’s tax status are something that is between him and the Inland Revenue and those full details are only known by him and the Inland Revenue and that is as it should be for him as for anyone else.”

Cameron’s spokesman at the time said later that the prime minister had only found out about Ashcroft’s status in February 2010. His current spokeswoman refused to comment on Cameron’s knowledge in 2009-10.

Ashcroft himself gives no details of the date he informed Cameron in 2009. Ashcroft also asserts Cameron only offered him a post as junior whip in the Foreign Office despite ploughing £8m into the coffers of the Conservative party. He described the offer as “declinable”, and was subsequently told by Cameron that his appointment had been vetoed by Nick Clegg. The former deputy prime minister said he had no recollection of trying to block Ashcroft.

In the book, co-written by the journalist Isabel Oakeshott, a university friend of Cameron’s said they had smoked cannabis occasionally while listening to Supertramp as part of a group called the Flam club.

James Delingpole, now a rightwing journalist, told the authors he took the drug with Cameron and another friend at his room at Christ Church college, Oxford. “My drug of choice was weed, and I smoked weed with Dave,” he reportedly said.

 

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MPs criticise Dispatches/Telegraph ‘sting’ as Straw and Rifkind cleared of misconduct – Politics live

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Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as they happen

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Here is a statement from Kevin Barron, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons standards committee, about the standards report. (See 11.19am.)

The committee has not hesitated to take action in the past when a media investigation has revealed the rules have been broken. The debate about whether or not MPs should have outside interests is a legitimate subject for media scrutiny, but the rules currently permit it provided that these are registered in the register of members’ financial interests, and the lobbying rules are not breached. Everything Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind said about their earnings was already published on line in the register of members interests. What was said in the interviews should have been reported accurately and measured against the rules of the House Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were presumed guilty…

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Head of MI5 Child Abuse Child Abuse “Cover-Up” Allegation

Head of MI5 Child Abuse Child Abuse “Cover-Up” Allegation

Sky News — July 23, 2015

Pictured in London before his death in Jan 2015, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan was also among the accused . Click to enlarge

Police should be able to investigate child abuse allegations against high-profile politicians “without fear or uncertainty” of how high up in Government they can go.

David Cameron said police should be able to take action on any new information and urged anyone who knew anything about “these terrible crimes against children and young people” to come forward.

He spoke after it was disclosed that the former head of MI5 urged the Government to keep quiet about allegations of child sex abuse made against a senior MP in the 1980s.

The illuminating detail has come to light after the Government was forced to reveal that secret files exist that name key Westminster figures in the 1970s and 80s – following months of requests from Sky News.

It has now emerged that the then director general of MI5, Sir Antony Duff, looked into allegations against one MP in 1986 but told the cabinet secretary at the time that “the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger”.

According to a report by Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, and Richard Whittam QC, released by the Government on Wednesday Sir Antony’s comments showed the “risk to children is not considered at all”.

Mr Cameron said: ” … the police on their part should then follow the evidence without any fear and without any uncertainty about how high they can go – they can go as high as they like.

“These are terrible crimes and that is why we have set up the Goddard inquiry, which will get to the bottom of a lot of problems in the past. These are still live investigations and if there is intelligence or information then get it to the police and the police where appropriate should take action.”

Mr Wanless and Mr Whittam last year released a review of the loss of hundreds of Home Office files relating to child abuse allegations made against key public figures in the 1980s.

However, they have more recently been passed government papers that had not previously been made available to them and in their new report said the correspondence showed “that issues of crimes against children, particularly the rights of the complainant, were given considerably less serious consideration than would be expected today”.

The report discloses that in response to claims by two different people that an MP “has a penchant for small boys”, Sir Anthony accepted “his word that he does not”.

Sky’s Deputy Political Editor Joey Jones said: “(Sir Antony Duff’s) reaction to that does seem to show either a rather cavalier disregard for the safety of children or, at worst, a desire to cover something up.”

On Wednesday, Sky News revealed that four key Westminster figures had been named in secret papers.

It was previously reported that the documents either could not be found or do not exist but Joey Jones said it was becoming increasingly clear that the opposite is true.

One of the accused, Sir Peter Hayman. Click to enlarge

The papers that emerged on Wednesday feature details about Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, former home secretary Leon Brittan, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee.

They also reveal that the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland was at the heart of further correspondence involving the security services and that former intelligence officer Colin Wallace raised concerns about abuse there.

The four named men have passed away and the detailed contents of the papers have not been revealed, but they are to be passed to the Child Abuse Inquiry headed up by Justice Lowell Goddard.

In January Sky News forced the Government to release the details of a file prepared for Margaret Thatcher’s office on the ‘unnatural sexual’ behaviours of one of the men, Sir Peter Hayman.

In response, the NSPCC suggested that it showed the government at the time did not take children’s safety seriously.

An NSPCC statement said: “This is a clear illustration, as the original review revealed, of the misplaced priorities of those operating at the highest levels of government where people simply weren’t thinking of crimes against children and the consequences of those crimes in a way that we would expect them to.

“It reiterates the need for an inquiry that will explore this in death.”

The Child Abuse Inquiry has got under way but is not expected to report back until 2020.

THE PERMANENT GOVERNMENT

THE PERMANENT GOVERNMENT

Elections are held, but the real rulers remain the same – people like the Rothschilds (David de Rothschild above), Rockefellers, Hapsburgs and Oppenheimers, and, their underlings such as Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair or Barack Obama.
According to former banker Gerald James, writing in In the Public Interest, 1995:
Thatcher was brought to power by people within MI5 and MI6, certain top civil servants  and certain top people within Industry and the City.
“Whether Margaret Thatcher was herself at the real centre of power as the leader of this inner group cannot be said for certain…

“The cabal needs the City to finance its deals and launder its funds… The passasge of officers from British Intelligence to the City is a common enough occurrence…”

..
So, it is a CABAL that makes the big decisions, and not Parliament.
In 1914, Prime Minister Asquith and most of his cabinet did not want war. The US Congress did not vote in favour of carrying out 9 11.
The big banks, such as Rothschilds, are intimately connected with the security services and are often run by former spies.
MI6’s George Kennedy Young worked for Kleinwort Benson.
MI6’s Peter Middleton became chief executive of Lloyds of London.

“Kock … negotiated the £2bn Malaysian defence deal before George Younger (above), the Defence Secretary even knew of it.” The Illegal Arms Trade..

Stephan Adolf Kock worked for MI6 and for the Midland Bank.

Kock was an arms dealer.

Former banker Gerald James, writing in In the Public Interest1995:
“I actually said to (top politician) Peter Shore, ‘Why has the main witness not been interviewed (in the Malaysian arms deal affair)?’
“Shore, assuming that I meant Thatcher, began to reply: ‘It’s her prerogative as Prime Minister…’
“When I interrupted, telling him I meant Kock, Shore’s telling response was, ‘But that is another level of government altogether.'”

According to former banker Gerald James:

“It has been clearly demonstrated that Parliament has no control of knowledge of events…

“Stepahnus Adolphus Kock had high level political connections to Thatcher, Heseltine, Younger, Hanley, etc as well as MI5 and MI6 connections.

“It is now clear to me that he was involved in the murder of Dr Gerald Bull in Brussels on 22nd march 1990 and Jonathan Moyle in Santiago, Chile on 31st March 1990.”

Big Brother – One Man’s Story / Gerald James – Wikispooks.

The Profumo Affair, involving Christine Keeler (above right), destroyed Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

The UK’s security services are not always controlled by the UK Prime Minister.

According to the author Stephen Dorril:

In July 1961, Cabinet Secretary Norman Brook failed to pass to the Prime Minister information about War Minister John Profumo’s affair with Christine Keeler.
“The Cabinet Office, not the Prime Minister’s office, had overall control of the security service …  putting the real power into the hands of permanent government rather than elected government…”

Dorril quotes a security source saying that the Home Secretary ‘hasn’t got a clue what is going on.’


Nick Clegg as a private schoolboy‎ Daily mail 27 April 2010.

Expect the UK’s Liberal Democrats to do much better than expected in the UK General Election.

The Liberal Democrats are allegedly run by the security services.

Think of how Sir Cyril Smith and Jeremy Thorpe were ‘protected’

UK Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is the British Obama? asked The Guardian

Nick Clegg’s job is to crush the anti-war and anti-nuclear parties, such as the Scottish nationalists?

His job is also to promote the European Union? (because THE PENTAGON CONTROLS THE EU?)

It looks as though UK Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg could be an asset of the security services.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has admitted that he worked for Britain’s MI6 security service.


Ashdown shakes hands with Powell

Hubris supplied this comment:

From Paddy Ashdown onwards, and possibly before for all I know, the Security Services/Military ‘clique’ in the Brit establishment has controlled the Lib Dems.

Paddy Ashdown was their man, which he proved during the ‘Rape of Yugoslavia’.

After Pantsdown came Charles Kennedy. It appears Kennedy was a bit too much of a wild cannon for the SS/military clique.

Kennedy was kicked out after ‘revelations’ about his drinking – of course his actual real opposition to the Iraq Slaughter had nothing to do with ‘the powers that be’ wanting to shut him up (end sarcasm) – his ousting was so well-coordinated it had to qualify as a conspiracy – IMHO a Security Services conspiracy.

SO after him came the security services/Military-connected Menzies Campbell.

His ‘election’ was a strange one indeed. After the media and Security Services conspired (IMHO) to oust Kennedy, they then proceeded to conspire to nobble every other candidate, bar Campbell

EVERY other candidate was kyboshed along the way, usually by embarrassing ‘revelations’ leaked to the media.

Once again this appeared to be so well-coordinated it had to qualify as another conspiracy – IMHO another Security Services conspiracy – or if you like – a continuation of the same conspiracy which ousted Kennedy.

Since it was obvious to me at the time that Campbell hadn’t a hope in hell of attracting voters to the Lib Dem camp, since most people wouldn’t vote for him in a fit, I remarked to many that he was intended merely as a place-holder until some murky forces could better-position their own candidate to take over from the doddery old Campbell, with a view to challenging the other two parties – so as to continue the illusion that the UK is an actual real-live ‘Democracy™’

Lo and behold, within a week or two of Campbell’s ‘election’, littleNicky Clegg, previously a complete non-entity, was fast rising in stature within the media and therefore the party (or vice-versa, makes no difference)

So I immediately surmised that Clegg was the Security Services plant to take over and run the Lib Dems – so as to continue the illusion that the UK is an actual real-live ‘Democracy™’

On 27 April 2010, The Times reminds us that Nick Clegg’s great-great-aunt, Baroness Moura Budberg, was a Russian spy. (Is there a bit of the baroness in Nick Clegg?)

She died in 1974.

MI5 spied on her for more than 30 years.

She was “charming, unreliable and ruthless.”

“No one ever knew whose side she was really on.”

She was suspected of spying for the Germans during the First World War.

A letter to Dick White, head of MI5, specifically described her as a Soviet agent.

Spy Putin.

It has been reported that all of the following work for the security services:

Obama (Obama – government and military connections?)

Merkel (Angela Merkel of the CIA?)

Sarkozy (SARKOZY AND THE CIA)

Putin (Putin’s Career Rooted in Russia’s KGB)

and Gordon Brown. (BRITAIN RUN BY AGENTS OF FOREIGN POWERS?).

Janner child sex abuse allegations: private legal challenges explained

The Rape of Justice

Guy Adams, Sam Marsden — Daily Mail April 24, 2015

Lord Janner chaired the Holocaust educational Trust and was Vice President of the World Jewish Congress. Click to enlarge

The most damning evidence yet of how the Establishment hid Lord Janner’s alleged child abuse can be revealed today.

Police and social workers were told more than 20 years ago that the peer took a vulnerable boy to Labour Party offices and Parliament before molesting him in his marital bed.

A ten-page witness statement details the alleged victim’s harrowing ordeal at the hands of Janner. But all references to the politician were removed from the child’s social services file, according to legal papers obtained by the Mail.

A children’s home manager told bosses she feared he was having sex with the child but her concerns were ‘swept under the carpet’.

The scale of the cover-up helps explains how the former Labour MP repeatedly escaped justice.

The Director of Public Prosecutions says there was sufficient evidence to charge Janner with 22 offences of paedophilia against nine children. But Alison Saunders outraged campaigners by ruling the 86-year-old should not face court because he has dementia. The latest proof of the Establishment’s strenuous efforts to protect one of its own came as it emerged that:

· Janner hosted at least four private banquets as well as dinners and afternoon teas at the House of Lords after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s;
· A dossier about the peer is among 114 files on child sex abuse that have gone missing from the Home Office;
· Mrs Saunders has admitted that having dementia is ‘not a bar’ to being prosecuted.

The newly-uncovered documents from the early 1990s outlining Janner’s alleged abuse will pile fresh pressure on the authorities.

In a detailed ten-page witness statement, a married father accused the politician of sexually abusing him for nearly two years when he was a teenager at a Leicestershire children’s home in the 1970s. He alleged that the former Leicester MP took him to party headquarters, to his constituency surgeries and to the Houses of Parliament. Janner is accused of sexually assaulting the then 14-year-old at his London house in December 1974 while his wife and children were away.

The alleged victim claimed they had a ‘full sexual relationship’ for nearly two years, with the assaults taking place at the peer’s home, in swimming pools and at a Leicester hotel. Janner was diagnosed with dementia in 2009 but went on to host several hundred people at the taxpayer’s expense in the Lords over the next three years, official records show.

His role organising high-profile parliamentary events for Jewish groups until April 2012 raises further questions about his health. Mrs Saunders defended her decision not to bring charges against Janner, saying she was surprised at the political backlash she has faced.

The chief prosecutor stood by her ruling that the case should not go to a special fact-finding hearing where a jury would determine if the allegations against the peer were true.

‘Dementia in itself isn’t a bar to either a trial or to a trial of the facts, but you have to look at – and the law is very clear about this – is there a need to have a trial on the facts for the public protection?’ she told the BBC. ‘In many of the cases where we do use that procedure, it’s because there’s an ongoing risk to the public. Again the medical evidence was very clear in this case: there was no ongoing risk.’

Janner’s family have issued a statement insisting he was ‘entirely innocent of any wrongdoing’. A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘In the light of these very serious allegations, Lord Janner has been suspended from the Labour Party.’

The stench grows: The Director of Public Prosecutions has ruled Lord Janner should not face sex crimes charges – read this devastating report and decide if she’s right

By Guy Adams — Daily Mail

The middle of the night at a large family home in one of North London’s most genteel residential neighbourhoods. In one of the upstairs bedrooms, a teenage boy lies awake. It’s eerily quiet, and he’s a long, long way from the children’s institution that has in recent years been home.

The house is dark and shadowy. Scary, even. He feels frightened, confused and very much alone.

But this boy is not alone. In the gloom, he picks out an unmistakable figure shuffling across the carpet. It’s the middle-aged father-of-three who owns this house where he is staying.

Continues …

Leading QC Urged Lord Janner Be Charged

theneedleblog

Untitled If the cap fits…

The director of public prosecutions rejected the advice of one of the country’s principal authorities on sex offences when she ruled that Lord Janner of Braunstone should not be charged with child abuse.

Eleanor Laws, QC, was leading counsel to Leicestershire police’s investigation into the veteran Labour peer and recommended that he be put on trial despite his age and dementia.

There is recent precedent — Michael Collingwood was convicted in his absence by Exeter crown court in 2010 of abusing six young girls. Like Lord Janner the defendant was suffering from advanced dementia.

Alison Saunders ruled this week that because of Lord Janner’s illness it would not be in the public interest to prosecute despite there being sufficient evidence to charge him with 22 offences against nine alleged victims over three decades.

Mrs Saunders’s decision, which was communicated to police at the start of…

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British Hypocrisy and War Crimes, Triumphalism and a “Corporate Covenant”

British Hypocrisy and War Crimes, Triumphalism and a “Corporate Covenant”

The Queen and senior members of the royal family and government attend the commemoration service for Afghanistan at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Click to enlarge

The only Cross at the National Arboretum, is made from shells fired in the Middle East. Shells that often killed.
What kind of Christian Cross is this? A Satanist one, most certainly.
How does the Church of England allow the establishment to get away with this kind of abomination? They can surely only be part of the death-dealing Masonic hierarchy. As becomes clear toward the end of the following article.

British Hypocrisy and War Crimes, Triumphalism and a “Corporate Covenant”

Felicity Arbuthnot — Global Research April 12, 2015

“ … and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:3-4.)

England’s Easter was the culmination of recent events which have brought the would-be great and good to their knees – and knee deep in hypocrisy.

Prime Minister David Cameron, after attending an Easter service near his rural Oxfordshire home said it was “shocking” that people abroad were still being “threatened, tortured – even killed” because of their faith.

There was no mention of Britain’s hand in this result of the ongoing “Crusade” to which Tony Blair committed Britain’s forces in 2003 and which generated the horrors. Cameron is on record as calling Blair his mentor – moreover, when Blair was Prime Minister, Cameron aspired to be “heir to Blair.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg tweeted of the: “cruel and barbaric killings that took place in Kenya.” Indeed, but it was Christian students – nearly one hundred and fifty of them – mercilessly singled out and slaughtered. Was the massacre another misconceived response to the “Crusade” – an expression which reverberated around a horrified Muslim world. The word and our deeds has resulted in violence engulfing the Middle East and North Africa with ever increasing ferocity – and ever spreading twelve decimating years on.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, referred to the Coptic Christians killed in Libya last month – a country subject of another illegal Western overthrow, assassination of the Head of State, resulting in a now ruined, failed nation.

However those who are dying are of all faiths and none, in numbers unimaginable. Tortured, crucified, beheaded, dismembered, incinerated, bombed. Their homes, countries, histories looted, destroyed, erased in unending pogroms (dictionary definition: “to destroy, wreak havoc, demolish violently”) by land, sea and air.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu opined that Christians were at greater risk in many parts of the world because: “they follow Jesus Christ.” He ignored the reality that until the “Crusade’s” unleashing, believers of all religions had, broadly, co-existed in the affected regions for centuries. Being from Uganda he should also also know a fair amount about Western duplicity.

Ignored in all statements were the Muslims, Yazidis, Mandeans, Sabateans, Druze, Zoastrians, Shabaks and others of faith, dead and  dying in this very democratic (ie no one excluded) holocaust which has engulfed from Baghdad to Bengazi, Aleppo to Aden, Kabul to Kerbala, Helmand to Homs.

Justin Welby, in his Easter address referred to murdered Christians being: “witness, unwillingly, unjustly, wickedly … martyrs in both senses of the word.”

The sense of the loss of every single precious human life was starkly missing in the mayhem created by the most criminal of actions – wars against the peace, wars of aggression – unleashing individual tragedies on a cataclysmic scale.

Perhaps the Archbishop’s mind was still on a service he had conducted on Friday 13th March – in Western superstition an unlucky day when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, states Wiki, succinctly. He will certainly also have been aware of the Easter connection, a belief springing from the thirteen guests at the Last Supper on the 13th of Nisan, the night before Christ’s death on Good Friday.

In London’s great St Paul’s Cathedral a ceremony of thanks to the 220,000 British troops who had served in Afghanistan was held, a commemoration of the four hundred and fifty three who died and a tribute to an estimated seventy five thousand wounded, disabled, sick or psychologically damaged. (1) The last troops left Afghanistan in October 2014 – almost thirteen years to the day since they first deployed.

To an onlooker, it seemed less tribute and more triumphalism. The royal family attended in force, all the men dressed military uniform, laden with orders, decorations and medals, adorned with golden braid, tassles and chains to dazzle.

The Lord Mayor of London wore a long black velvet frock, a crimson velvet cape, trimmed with another ermine one, silk stockings, patent court shoes with steel buckles and a tricorne hat. Tradition.

No Event would be complete without an unwanted guest and Tony Blair, who as Prime Minister obeyed his Master, George W. Bush’s voice and sent troops to die and be maimed in a country posing no threat to anywhere, duly turned up. Having suffered a backlash from relatives of those who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, he was faced with them asking why on earth he had been invited.

Bob Wright, whose son Corporal Mark Wright was killed in a minefield in 2006 spoke for many, telling the Daily Express that Blair was: “the last person I would want to see”, calling it “cheek” he added: “He took the country to war, cost all those lives and he’s got blood on his hands.”

Gordon Brown, Blair’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, thus wrote the cheques for the carnage for six years was also there. As Prime Minister after Blair’s resignation in 2007 he did not change policy. Afghans continued to be murdered in the guise of being “freed” and British coffins and medevacs continued to be flown home.

The service included the Archbishop of Canterbury’s public thanks to those who had served. Prime Minister Cameron – with Britain on a permanent state of high alert – said the country was safer because of the efforts of the troops.

Cameron also talked of the scale of achievements in vanquishing Al Qaida. Where has he been? As USA today noted, multiple insurgencies across multiple lands have taken up its cause. It has simply morphed into new movements. (USA Today, 10th September 2010.) And apart from the trumped up 9/11 reason, were we not told that the Taliban the reason for going to Afghanistan?

Perhaps the real reason lay in Afghanistan’s untapped Trillion $ bonanza of “mineral wealth and energy resources (including natural gas)” which have been known of since the 1970s. (2) In the light of which one homily at the service was particularly ironic:

Lord we pray with one accord,

For a just and equal sharing

Of the things that earth affords

It ends: “All that kills abundant living, Let it from the earth be banned.”

A bit late for that, after the firing by the UK of forty six million bullets. Further, in just one instance, according to the Ministry of Defence, at least eighty thousand 105mm shells (costing £100 million) were fired within five seconds of support being called in. (3)

Which brings us to the most bizarre part of the service. A cross made from used shell casings, mounted on a 105mm shell case base, bearing the names of the British dead, was borne through the Cathedral by representatives of the Army, Navy and Air Force and presented at the Altar for the Archbishops’s blessing and dedication. Formerly hung in the HQ at Camp Bastion, it is now to hang at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire in the north of England.

The cross, made from shells which had ended lives, mired in flesh and blood was dedicated:

To the greater glory of God

And in thanksgiving for lives well lived

And good examples set …

Tell that to the grieving, bereaved, orphaned, homeless of Afghanistan. Not so much swords to ploughshares, but killer casings for Crusaders. It also has to be wondered whether it is a radioactive cross. The British certainly used depleted uranium in shells the first Gulf war, whether they still are is not certain, but to have abandoned it’s use would have been a major change of policy unlikely to be missed.

The commemoration ended with a triumphal military parade and fly past, which included a Chinook helicopter and Apache attack helicopter, presumably to remind of the “special relationship” which had brought about the whole bloody mess. At least “Onward Christian soldiers” was not on the hymn sheet.

In an interview with Forces TV, Tony Blair said he had not foreseen just how long the troops would remain in Afghanistan. Clearly history is not his strong subject. In this “graveyard of empires” Britain was roundly defeated in 1812 and 1842. In 1919 in a territorial spat with Russia they decided not to return.

In a blistering assessment Will Hutton views the last twelve years as little better, writing: “The Ministry of Defence and the military establishment are revealed as over-optimistic boneheads. Everything militated against success. The amount of money that was squandered beggars belief … Too much of what was planned was driven not by military need or political calculation – but by trying to impress the US.” (4)

The ceremony’s venue was another irony. St Paul’s was the greatest of the creations of Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) whose passion for Islamic architecture is mirrored in his buildings. It is witnessed in the structure of the domes in the aisles and the vast one atop the Cathedral. Were it gold, one would surely be looking at a mosque.

Archbishop Welby, with Archbishop Sentamu had another military related occasion in the last weeks. They signed a “corporate covenant” with the armed forces in an: “expression of moral obligation that the government and the nation owe the Armed Forces Community.” (5)

We have come a long way from “Thou shalt not kill”, “love they neighbor” and “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” But perhaps as a former oil man, the Archbishop has a different perspective. His son, Peter, incidentally, works for Tony Blair.

Notes:

1.    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11138811/Help-for-Heroes-Up-to-75000-British-scarred-by-Iraq-and-Afghanistan.html

2.    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-is-worth-waging-afghanistan-s-vast-reserves-of-minerals-and-natural-gas/19769

3.    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/569070/British-Army-fired-millions-bullets-Taliban

4.     http://stopwar.org.uk/news/how-britain-spent-40bn-suffering-humiliating-defeat-in-afghanistan-while-trying-to-impress-the-us

5.    http://www.army.mod.uk/news/26906.aspx

Meet The Secretive Group That Runs The World

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the centuries there have been many stories, some based on loose facts, others based on hearsay, conjecture, speculation and outright lies, about groups of people who “control the world.” Some of these are partially accurate, others are wildly hyperbolic, but when it comes to the historic record, nothing comes closer to the stereotypical, secretive group determining the fate of over 7 billion people, than the Bank of International Settlements, which hides in such plain sight, that few have ever paid much attention.

This is their story.

First unofficial meeting of the BIS Board of Directors in Basel, April 1930

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The following is an excerpt from TOWER OF BASEL: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World by Adam LeBor.  Reprinted with permission from PublicAffairs.

The world’s most exclusive club has eighteen members. They gather every other month on a Sunday evening at 7 p.m. in conference room E in a circular tower block whose tinted windows overlook the central Basel railway station. Their discussion lasts for one hour, perhaps an hour and a half. Some of those present bring a colleague with them, but the aides rarely speak during this most confidential of conclaves. The meeting closes, the aides leave, and those remaining retire for dinner in the dining room on the eighteenth floor, rightly confident that the food and the wine will be superb. The meal, which continues until 11 p.m. or midnight, is where the real work is done. The protocol and hospitality, honed for more than eight decades, are faultless. Anything said at the dining table, it is understood, is not to be repeated elsewhere.

Few, if any, of those enjoying their haute cuisine and grand cru wines— some of the best Switzerland can offer—would be recognized by passers-by, but they include a good number of the most powerful people in the world. These men—they are almost all men—are central bankers. They have come to Basel to attend the Economic Consultative Committee (ECC) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is the bank for central banks. Its current members [ZH: as of 2013] include Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England; Mario Draghi, of the European Central Bank; Zhou Xiaochuan of the Bank of China; and the central bank governors of Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, India, and Brazil. Jaime Caruana, a former governor of the Bank of Spain, the BIS’s general manager, joins them.

In early 2013, when this book went to press, King, who is due to step down as governor of the Bank of England in June 2013, chaired the ECC. The ECC, which used to be known as the G-10 governors’ meeting, is the most influential of the BIS’s numerous gatherings, open only to a small, select group of central bankers from advanced economies. The ECC makes recommendations on the membership and organization of the three BIS committees that deal with the global financial system, payments systems, and international markets. The committee also prepares proposals for the Global Economy Meeting and guides its agenda.

That meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, in room B and lasts for three hours. There King presides over the central bank governors of the thirty countries judged the most important to the global economy. In addition to those who were present at the Sunday evening dinner, Monday’s meeting will include representatives from, for example, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Governors from fifteen smaller countries, such as Hungary, Israel, and New Zealand are allowed to sit in as observers, but do not usually speak. Governors from the third tier of member banks, such as Macedonia and Slovakia, are not allowed to attend. Instead they must forage for scraps of information at coffee and meal breaks.

The governors of all sixty BIS member banks then enjoy a buffet lunch in the eighteenth-floor dining room. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss architectural firm which built the “Bird’s Nest” Stadium for the Beijing Olympics, the dining room has white walls, a black ceiling and spectacular views over three countries: Switzerland, France, and Germany. At 2 p.m. the central bankers and their aides return to room B for the governors’ meeting to discuss matters of interest, until the gathering ends at 5.

King takes a very different approach than his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, the former president of the European Central Bank, in chairing the Global Economy Meeting. Trichet, according to one former central banker, was notably Gallic in his style: a stickler for protocol who called the central bankers to speak in order of importance, starting with the governors of the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bundesbank, and then progressing down the hierarchy. King, in contrast, adopts a more thematic and egalitarian approach: throwing open the meetings for discussion and inviting contributions from all present.

The governors’ conclaves have played a crucial role in determining the world’s response to the global financial crisis. “The BIS has been a very important meeting point for central bankers during the crisis, and the rationale for its existence has expanded,” said King. “We have had to face challenges that we have never seen before. We had to work out what was going on, what instruments do we use when interest rates are close to zero, how do we communicate policy. We discuss this at home with our staff, but it is very valuable for the governors themselves to get together and talk among themselves.”

Those discussions, say central bankers, must be confidential. “When you are at the top in the number one post, it can be pretty lonely at times. It is helpful to be able to meet other number ones and say, ‘This is my problem, how do you deal with it?’” King continued. “Being able to talk informally and openly about our experiences has been immensely valuable. We are not speaking in a public forum. We can say what we really think and believe, and we can ask questions and benefit from others.”

The BIS management works hard to ensure that the atmosphere is friendly and clubbable throughout the weekend, and it seems they succeed. The bank arranges a fleet of limousines to pick up the governors at Zürich airport and bring them to Basel. Separate breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are organized for the governors of national banks who oversee different types and sizes of national economies, so no one feels excluded. “The central bankers were more at home and relaxed with their fellow central bankers than with their own governments,” recalled Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, who at- tended the Basel weekends. The superb quality of the food and wine made for an easy camaraderie, said Peter Akos Bod, a former governor of the National Bank of Hungary. “The main topics of discussion were the quality of the wine and the stupidity of finance ministers. If you had no knowledge of wine you could not join in the conversation.”

And the conversation is usually stimulating and enjoyable, say central bankers. The contrast between the Federal Open Markets Committee at  the US Federal Reserve, and the Sunday evening G-10 governors’ dinners was notable, recalled Laurence Meyer, who served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve from 1996 until 2002. The chairman of the Federal Reserve did not always represent the bank at the Basel meetings, so Meyer occasionally attended. The BIS discussions were always lively, focused and thought provoking. “At FMOC meetings, while I was at the Fed, almost all the Committee members read statements which had been prepared in advance. They very rarely referred to statements by other Committee members and there was almost never an exchange between two members or an ongoing discussion about the outlook or policy options. At BIS dinners people actually talk to each other and the discussions are always stimulating and interactive focused on the serious issues facing the global economy.”

All the governors present at the two-day gathering are assured of total confidentiality, discretion, and the highest levels of security. The meetings take place on several floors that are usually used only when the governors are in attendance. The governors are provided with a dedicated office and the necessary support and secretarial staff. The Swiss authorities have no juridisdiction over the BIS premises. Founded by an international treaty, and further protected by the 1987 Headquarters Agreement with the Swiss government, the BIS enjoys similar protections to those granted to the headquarters of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and diplomatic embassies. The Swiss authorities need the permission of the BIS management to enter the bank’s buildings, which are described as “inviolable.”

The BIS has the right to communicate in code and to send and receive correspondence in bags covered by the same protection as embassies, meaning they cannot be opened. The BIS is exempt from Swiss taxes. Its employees do not have to pay income tax on their salaries, which are usually generous, designed to compete with the private sector. The general man- ager’s salary in 2011 was 763,930 Swiss francs, while head of departments were paid 587,640 per annum, plus generous allowances. The bank’s extraordinary legal privileges also extend to its staff and directors. Senior managers enjoy a special status, similar to that of diplomats, while carrying out their duties in Switzerland, which means their bags cannot be searched (unless there is evidence of a blatant criminal act), and their papers are inviolable. The central bank governors traveling to Basel for the bimonthly meetings enjoy the same status while in Switzerland. All bank officials are immune under Swiss law, for life, for all the acts carried out during the discharge of their duties. The bank is a popular place to work and not just because of the salaries. Around six hundred staff come from over fifty countries. The atmosphere is multi-national and cosmopolitan, albeit very Swiss, emphasizing the bank’s hierarchy. Like many of those working for the UN or the IMF, some of the staff of the BIS, especially senior management, are driven by a sense of mission, that they are working for a higher, even celestial purpose and so are immune from normal considerations of accountability and transparency.

The bank’s management has tried to plan for every eventuality so that the Swiss police need never be called. The BIS headquarters has high-tech sprinkler systems with multiple back-ups, in-house medical facilities, and its own bomb shelter in the event of a terrorist attack or armed conflagration. The BIS’s assets are not subject to civil claims under Swiss law and can never be seized.

The BIS strictly guards the bankers’ secrecy. The minutes, agenda, and actual attendance list of the Global Economy Meeting or the ECC are not released in any form. This is because no official minutes are taken, although the bankers sometimes scribble their own notes. Sometimes there will be a brief press conference or bland statement afterwards but never anything detailed. This tradition of privileged confidentiality reaches back to the bank’s foundation.

“The quietness of Basel and its absolutely nonpolitical character provide a perfect setting for those equally quiet and nonpolitical gatherings,” wrote one American official in 1935. “The regularity of the meetings and their al- most unbroken attendance by practically every member of the Board make them such they rarely attract any but the most meager notice in the press.”8 Forty years on, little had changed. Charles Coombs, a former foreign exchange chief of the New York Federal Reserve, attended governors’ meetings from 1960 to 1975. The bankers who were allowed inside the inner sanctum of the governors’ meetings trusted each other absolutely, he recalled in his memoirs. “However much money was involved, no agreements were ever signed nor memoranda of understanding ever initialized. The word of each official was sufficient, and there were never any disappointments.”

What, then, does this matter to the rest of us? Bankers have been gathering confidentially since money was first invented. Central bankers like to view themselves as the high priests of finance, as technocrats overseeing arcane monetary rituals and a financial liturgy understood only by a small, self-selecting elite.

But the governors who meet in Basel every other month are public servants. Their salaries, airplane tickets, hotel bills, and lucrative pensions when they retire are paid out of the public purse. The national reserves held by central banks are public money, the wealth of nations. The central bankers’ discussions at the BIS, the information that they share, the policies that are evaluated, the opinions that are exchanged, and the subsequent decisions that are taken, are profoundly political. Central bankers, whose independence is constitutionally protected, control monetary policy in the developed world. They manage the supply of money to national economies. They set interest rates, thus deciding the value of our savings and investments. They decide whether to focus on austerity or growth. Their decisions shape our lives.

The BIS’s tradition of secrecy reaches back through the decades. During the 1960s, for example, the bank hosted the London Gold Pool. Eight countries pledged to manipulate the gold market to keep the price at around thirty-five dollars per ounce, in line with the provisions of the Bretton Woods Accord that governed the post–World War II international financial system. Although the London Gold Pool no longer exists, its successor is the BIS Markets Committee, which meets every other month on the occasion of the governors’ meetings to discuss trends in the financial markets. Officials from twenty-one central banks attend. The committee releases occasional papers, but its agenda and discussions remain secret.

Nowadays the countries represented at the Global Economy Meetings together account for around four-fifths of global gross domestic product (GDP)— most of the produced wealth of the world—according to the BIS’s own statistics. Central bankers now “seem more powerful than politicians,” wrote The Economist newspaper, “holding the destiny of the global economy in their hands.” How did this happen? The BIS, the world’s most secretive global financial institution, can claim much of the credit. From its first day of existence, the BIS has dedicated itself to furthering the interests of central banks and building the new architecture of transnational finance. In doing so, it has spawned a new class of close-knit global technocrats whose members glide between highly-paid positions at the BIS, the IMF, and central and commercial banks.

The founder of the technocrats’ cabal was Per Jacobssen, the Swedish economist who served as the BIS’s economic adviser from 1931 to 1956. The bland title belied his power and reach. Enormously influential, well connected, and highly regarded by his peers, Jacobssen wrote the first BIS annual reports, which were—and remain—essential reading throughout the world’s treasuries. Jacobssen was an early supporter of European federalism. He argued relentlessly against inflation, excessive government spending, and state intervention in the economy. Jacobssen left the BIS in 1956 to take over the IMF. His legacy still shapes our world. The consequences of his mix of economic liberalism, price obsession, and dismantling of national sovereignty play out nightly in the European news bulletins on our television screens.

The BIS’s defenders deny that the organization is secretive. The bank’s archives are open and researchers may consult most documents that are more than thirty years old. The BIS archivists are indeed cordial, helpful, and professional. The bank’s website includes all its annual reports, which are downloadable, as well as numerous policy papers produced by the bank’s highly regarded research department. The BIS publishes detailed accounts of the securities and derivatives markets, and international banking statistics. But these are largely compilations and analyses of information already in the public domain. The details of the bank’s own core activities, including much of its banking operations for its customers, central banks, and international organizations, remain secret. The Global Economy Meetings and the other crucial financial gatherings that take place at Basel, such as the Markets Committee, remain closed to outsiders. Private individuals may not hold an account at BIS, unless they work for the bank. The bank’s opacity, lack of accountability, and ever-increasing influence raises profound questions— not just about monetary policy but transparency, accountability, and how power is exercised in our democracies.

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WHEN I EXPLAINED to friends and acquaintances that I was writing a book about the Bank for International Settlements, the usual response was a puzzled look, followed by a question: “The bank for what?” My interlocutors were intelligent people, who follow current affairs. Many had some interest in and understanding of the global economy and financial crisis. Yet only a handful had heard of the BIS. This was strange, as the BIS is the most important bank in the world and predates both the IMF and the World Bank. For decades it has stood at the center of a global network of money, power, and covert global influence.

The BIS was founded in 1930. It was ostensibly set up as part of the Young Plan to administer German reparations payments for the First World War. The bank’s key architects were Montagu Norman, who was the governor of the Bank of England, and Hjalmar Schacht, the president of the Reichsbank who described the BIS as “my” bank. The BIS’s founding members were the central banks of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and a consortium of Japanese banks. Shares were also offered to the Federal Reserve, but the United States, suspicious of anything that might infringe on its national sovereignty, refused its allocation. Instead a consortium of commercial banks took up the shares: J. P. Morgan, the First National Bank of New York, and the First National Bank of Chicago.

The real purpose of the BIS was detailed in its statutes: to “promote the cooperation of central banks and to provide additional facilities for international financial operations.” It was the culmination of the central bankers’ decades-old dream, to have their own bank—powerful, independent, and free from interfering politicians and nosy reporters. Most felicitous of all, the BIS was self-financing and would be in perpetuity. Its clients were its own founders and shareholders— the central banks. During the 1930s, the BIS was the central meeting place for a cabal of central bankers, dominated by Norman and Schacht. This group helped rebuild Germany. The New York Times described Schacht, widely acknowledged as the genius behind the resurgent German economy, as “The Iron-Willed Pilot of Nazi Finance.” During the war, the BIS became a de-facto arm of the Reichsbank, accepting looted Nazi gold and carrying out foreign exchange deals for Nazi Germany.

The bank’s alliance with Berlin was known in Washington, DC, and London. But the need for the BIS to keep functioning, to keep the new channels of transnational finance open, was about the only thing all sides agreed on. Basel was the perfect location, as it is perched on the northern edge of Switzerland and sits al- most on the French and German borders. A few miles away, Nazi and Allied soldiers were fighting and dying. None of that mattered at the BIS. Board meetings were suspended, but relations between the BIS staff of the belligerent nations remained cordial, professional, and productive. Nationalities were irrelevant. The overriding loyalty was to international finance. The president, Thomas McKittrick, was an American. Roger Auboin, the general manager, was French. Paul Hechler, the assistant general manager, was a member of the Nazi party and signed his correspondence “Heil Hitler.” Rafaelle Pilotti, the secretary general, was Italian. Per Jacobssen, the bank’s influential economic adviser, was Swedish. His and Pilotti’s deputies were British.

After 1945, five BIS directors, including Hjalmar Schacht, were charged with war crimes. Germany lost the war but won the economic peace, in large part thanks to the BIS. The international stage, contacts, banking networks, and legitimacy the BIS provided, first to the Reichsbank and then to its successor banks, has helped ensure the continuity of immensely powerful financial and economic interests from the Nazi era to the present day.

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FOR THE FIRST forty-seven years of its existence, from 1930 to 1977, the BIS was based in a former hotel, near the Basel central railway station. The bank’s entrance was tucked away by a chocolate shop, and only a small notice confirmed that the narrow doorway opened into the BIS. The bank’s managers believed that those who needed to know where the BIS was would find it, and the rest of the world certainly did not need to know. The inside of the building changed little over the decades, recalled Charles Coombs. The BIS provided the “the spartan accommodations of a former Victorian-style hotel whose single and double bedrooms had been transformed into offices simply by removing the beds and installing desks.”

The bank moved into its current headquarters, at 2, Centralbahnplatz, in 1977. It did not go far and now overlooks the Basel central station. Nowadays the BIS’s main mission, in its own words, is threefold: “to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in these areas, and to act as a bank for central banks.” The BIS also hosts much of the practical and technical infrastructure that the global network of central banks and their commercial counterparts need to function smoothly. It has two linked trading rooms: at the Basel headquarters and Hong Kong regional office. The BIS buys and sells gold and foreign exchange for its clients. It provides asset management and arranges short-term credit to central banks when needed.

The BIS is a unique institution: an international organization, an extremely profitable bank and a research institute founded, and protected, by international treaties. The BIS is accountable to its customers and shareholdersthe central banks—but also guides their operations. The main tasks of a central bank, the BIS argues, are to control the flow of credit and the volume of currency in circulation, which will ensure a stable business climate, and to keep exchange rates within manageable bands to ensure the value of a currency and so smooth international trade and capital movements. This is crucial, especially in a globalized economy, where markets react in microseconds and perceptions of economic stability and value are almost as important as reality itself.

The BIS also helps to supervise commercial banks, although it has no legal powers over them. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, based at the BIS, regulates commercial banks’ capital and liquidity requirements. It requires banks to have a minimum capital of eight percent of risk-weighted assets when lending, meaning that if a bank has risk-weighted assets of $100 million it must maintain at least $8 million capital. The committee has no powers of enforcement, but it does have enormous moral authority. “This regulation is so powerful that the eight percent principle has been set into national laws,” said Peter Akos Bod. “It’s like voltage. Voltage has been set at 220. You may decide on ninety-five volts, but it would not work.” In theory, sensible housekeeping and mutual cooperation, overseen by the BIS, will keep the global financial system functioning smoothly. In theory.

The reality is that we have moved beyond recession into a deep structural crisis, one fueled by the banks’ greed and rapacity, which threatens all of our financial security. Just as in the 1930s, parts of Europe face economic collapse. The Bundesbank and the European Central Bank, two of the most powerful members of the BIS, have driven the mania for austerity that has already forced one European country, Greece, to the edge, aided by the venality and corruption of the country’s ruling class. Others may soon follow. The old order is creaking, its political and financial institutions corroding from within. From Oslo to Athens, the far right is resurgent, fed in part by soaring poverty and unemployment. Anger and cynicism are corroding citizens’ faith in democracy and the rule of law. Once again, the value of property and assets is vaporizing before their owners’ eyes. The European currency is threatened with breakdown, while those with money seek safe haven in Swiss francs or gold. The young, the talented, and the mobile are again fleeing their home countries for new lives abroad. The powerful forces of international capital that brought the BIS into being, and which granted the bank its power and influence, are again triumphant.

The BIS sits at the apex of an international financial system that is falling apart at the seams, but its officials argue that it does not have the power to act as an international financial regulator. Yet the BIS cannot escape its responsibility for the Euro-zone crisis. From the first agreements in the late 1940s on multilateral payments to the establishment of the Europe Central Bank in 1998, the BIS has been at the heart of the European integration project, providing technical expertise and the financial mechanisms for currency harmonization. During the 1950s, it managed the European Payments Union, which internationalized the continent’s payment system. The BIS hosted the Governors’ Committee of European Economic Community central bankers, set up in 1964, which coordinated trans-European monetary policy. During the 1970s, the BIS ran the “Snake,” the mechanism by which European currencies were held in exchange rate bands. During the 1980s the BIS hosted the Delors Committee, whose report in 1988 laid out the path to European Monetary Union and the adoption of a single currency. The BIS midwifed the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the precursor of the European Central Bank. The EMI’s president was Alexandre Lamfalussy, one of the world’s most influential economists, known as the “Father of the euro.” Before joining the EMI in 1994, Lamfalussy had worked at the BIS for seventeen years, first as economic adviser, then as the bank’s general manager.

For a staid, secretive organization, the BIS has proved surprisingly nimble. It survived the first global depression, the end of reparations payments and the gold standard (two of its main reasons for existence), the rise of Nazism, the Second World War, the Bretton Woods Accord, the Cold War, the financial crises of the 1980s and 1990s, the birth of the IMF and World Bank, and the end of Communism. As Malcolm Knight, manager from 2003–2008, noted, “It is encouraging to see that—by remaining small, flexible, and free from political interference—the Bank has, throughout its history, succeeded remarkably well in adapting itself to evolving circumstances.”

The bank has made itself a central pillar of the global financial system. As well as the Global Economy Meetings, the BIS hosts four of the most important international committees dealing with global banking: the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on the Global Financial System, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, and the Irving Fisher Committee, which deals with central banking statistics. The bank also hosts three independent organizations: two groups dealing with insurance and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB, which coordinates national financial authorities and regulatory policies, is already being spoken of as the fourth pillar of the global financial system, after the BIS, the IMF and the commercial banks.

The BIS is now the world’s thirtieth-largest holder of gold reserves, with 119 metric tons—more than Qatar, Brazil, or Canada. Membership of the BIS remains a privilege rather than a right. The board of directors is responsible for admitting central banks judged to “make a substantial contribution to international monetary cooperation and to the Bank’s activities.” China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia joined only in 1996. The bank has opened offices in Mexico City and Hong Kong but remains very Eurocentric. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Slovakia (total population 16.2 million) have been admitted, while Pakistan (population 169 million) has not. Nor has Kazakhstan, which is a powerhouse of Central Asia. In Africa only Algeria and South Africa are members—Nigeria, which has the continent’s second-largest economy, has not been admitted. (The BIS’s defenders say that it demands high governance standards from new members and when the national banks of countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan reach those standards, they will be considered for membership.)

Considering the BIS’s pivotal role in the transnational economy, its low profile is remarkable. Back in 1930 a New York Times reporter noted that the culture of secrecy at the BIS was so strong that he was not permitted to look inside the boardroom, even after the directors had left. Little has changed. Journalists are not allowed inside the headquarters while the Global Economy Meeting is underway. BIS officials speak rarely on the record, and reluctantly, to members of the press. The strategy seems to work. The Occupy Wall Street movement, the anti-globalizers, the social network protesters have ignored the BIS.Centralbahnplatz 2, Basel, is quiet and tranquil. There are no demonstrators gathered outside the BIS’s headquarters, no protestors camped out in the nearby park, no lively reception committees for the world’s central bankers.

As the world’s economy lurches from crisis to crisis, financial institutions are scrutinized as never before. Legions of reporters, bloggers, and investigative journalists scour the banks’ every move. Yet somehow, apart from brief mentions on the financial pages, the BIS has largely managed to avoid critical scrutiny. Until now.

MI5 and police partly to blame for radicals – say 4/10 British Muslims

MI5 and police partly to blame for radicalisation – say four in 10 British Muslims

Police escort Islamist demonstrator marching to protest outside the US embassy in London on September 11, 2011. Click to enlarge

Four in 10 British Muslims believe that police and MI5 are partly responsible for the radicalisation of young people who support extremists, new polling has found.

A survey commissioned by Sky News, also found that more than a quarter of British Muslims have some sympathy with those who have left to join fighters in Syria.

Among Muslim women and those under the age of 35, the figure rises to a third.

While almost three quarters of Muslims polled said they believe “values of British society” are compatible with those of their religion, one in seven said they were not

But the polling of 1,000 Muslims and 1,000 non-Muslims by Survation, also pointed to a growing sense of alienation between members of Britain’s fastest growing faith groupand wider society.

A third of Muslims said they experience more suspicion from others than a few years ago.

The perception is backed up by polling of non-Muslims, of whom 44 per cent of non-Muslims – and 49 per cent of men – admitted they were more suspicious of Muslims than they were.

Strikingly, only one in five (22 per cent) of non-Muslims saw Islam as compatible with British values with just over half saying it is not.

It also exposes a major mismatch in views over integration with two thirds of Muslims believing that they are doing enough to integrate into British society but only 18 per cent of non-Muslims agreeing.

While six out of 10 Muslims polled strongly condemned those who left the UK to join fighters in Syria, 28 per cent expressed sympathy with those who did so.

That includes eight per cent said who they had “a lot” of sympathy with those who did so and a further fifth who said they had “some sympathy”.

Notably one in seven non-Muslims also expressed sympathy with those who travelled to fight.

But the research also suggests widespread support in some areas for the idea that the actions of the police or security services were partly to blame for the actions of those who travelled to Syria to join terror groups.

Earlier this year, the pressure group Cage claimed that harassment by the security services had contributed to the radicalisation of Mohammed Emwazi, the London student identified as “Jihadi John”, the killer from the so-called Islamic State.

Downing Street, condemned the claims as “completely reprehensible.

But the polling found that 39 per cent of British Muslims agreed with the idea that the actions of police and MI5 are contributing to radicalisation and only 28 per cent disagreed.

The finding was similar when the results were broken down by age and gender.

Meanwhile 16 per cent of non-Muslims polled also agreed with the idea and only half disagreed.

A spokeswoman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “This poll once again confirms that Muslims feel British and have a strong affinity with our shared universal values.

“We are sad, however, that the survey also shows that non-Muslims are more suspicious of Muslims, reflecting a growth in Islamophobia in the country to the extent that it is now socially acceptable.

“We need collective action to heal the rifts amongst our communities: we must continue to build bridges between communities and explain the true meaning of our faith; but we must also ask whether the discourse amongst the media and politicians has played a role in dividing the community.”

She continued: “The poll also highlights the missed opportunity our law enforcement authorities have in working more closely with British Muslim communities, especially in relation to counter-terrorism.

“For many, current counter-terrorism measures, particularly related to the Prevent strategy, actually lead to greater alienation as Muslims are seen through the lens of security, rather than tackling the scourge of terrorism itself.”

And, she added: “We do not know the motivations of people who wish to go out to Syria or those who sympathise with those who do travel to Syria to fight.

“What is certain is that leaders across British Muslim communities and scholars have all warned against going to the region.

“The Syrian people are best served by lobbying and raising money here in the UK.”

Undercover elite child sex abuse investigation ‘scrapped by police commanders’

Undercover elite child sex abuse investigation ‘scrapped by police commanders’

BBC Newsnight has claimed that an undercover police operation in possession of evidence that a member of the security services and a prominent MP were involved in child abuse was scrapped by commanders shortly after investigating officers sought to make arrests

The Wanless review asked Home Office staff to search their files for references to Cyril Smith, the late MP

The Wanless review asked Home Office staff to search their files for references to Cyril Smith, the late MP Photo: REX FEATURES

An undercover police operation that had evidence that a member of the security services and a prominent MP were involved in child abuse was scrapped by commanders shortly after investigating officers sought to make arrests, it has been claimed.

The BBC’s Newsnight programme claims to have received information that Liberal MP Cyril Smith was detained in connection with an inquiry into sex parties involving teenage boys but was quickly released.

A former officer familiar with the investigation claimed that detectives were ordered to hand over all of their evidence and subsequently threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if they disclosed details of the episode, according to Newsnight.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan police declined to discuss the new claims but called on “anyone with information which they believe can assist such inquiries to pass it onto police for consideration”.

Newsnight says it was informed of operation, believed to have begun in 1981, involving a team of undercover regional crime squad officers.

The squad believed that boys from care homes were being provided for sex parties.

Newsnight has been told that during a three month secret inquiry, officers gathered a substantial amount of evidence of men abusing boys aged around 14 years.

Evidence included photographs and video taken from inside a flat with a hidden camera that had been installed with the help of a caretaker.

Smith was then seized at a property in Streatham where he had been taking part in a sex party

with teenage boys, according to an account given to the BBC.

It is understood he was taken to the former Canon Row police station, opposite the House of Commons, but was released that night.

A desk sergeant was allegedly reprimanded for seeking to keep Smith in custody.

Newsnight journalists further claim that the squad had evidence relating to a member of Britain’s intelligence agencies, and two senior police officers, though the BBC has declined to name them.

The inquiry was abruptly shelved when the investigating officers were told to hand over their notebooks, photographs and video footage gathered during the inquiry.

They were then threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act should they consider speaking out, according to one anonymous account.

The former officer who told Newsnight about the dropping of the

investigation spoke to journalists through an intermediary for fear of recriminations.

Prescott says Blair’s ‘bloody crusades’ radicalise Muslims

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Lord Prescott says Tony Blair’s ‘bloody crusades’ radicalised Muslims

The former Labour deputy prime minister appears to link the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the radicalisation of British Muslims as he says that Mr Blair “wants to invade everywhere”.

By Peter Dominiczak, Political Editor

Tony Blair’s “bloody crusades” in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to the radicalisation of a generation of young British Muslims, John Prescott has suggested.

Lord Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, said that Mr Blair is “unfortunately” a supporter of regime change in the Middle East and that he “wants to invade everywhere”.

In controversial comments made in February, Lord Prescott, who has been brought into Ed Miliband’s inner circle as a climate change advisor, appeared to link the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the radicalisation of British Muslims.

It comes amid a growing national discussion about young British Muslims travelling to the Middle East to fight alongside terrorist organisations like Isil.

At the event, Lord Prescott also criticised the current Labour leadership’s failure to “argue the economic case” and warned that the party “lose an awful lot of people in that process”.

The comments were made at a February fundraising event for Lord Prescott’s son, David, in Gainsborough.

The event came just days before Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, announced that the former deputy prime minister was becoming his special adviser on climate change.

A Labour spokesman distanced the party from the comments and said: “John’s views on this do not represent the views of the Labour Party.”

Lord Prescott said: “I was with Tony Blair on Iraq. We were wrong. They told us it wasn’t regime change. It was. And that’s exactly what the Americans have had. Now Tony, unfortunately is still in to that. I mean the way he’s going now , he now wants to invade everywhere.

“He should put a white coat on with a red cross and let’s start the bloody crusades again.”

Lord Prescott added: “When I hear people talking about how people are radicalised, young Muslims. I’ll tell you how they are radicalised. Every time they watch the television where their families are worried, their kids are being killed and murdered and rockets firing on all these people, that’s what radicalises them.”

At the event on February 19, Lord Prescott, also hit out at the Labour leadership for refusing to defend the party’s record on the economy.

He said that figures in the party have “been a bit stupid about not making our case”.

‘Sometimes we get caught up with trying to argue the economic case which I think we lose an awful lot of people in that process,” Lord Prescott said. “I think we’ve been a bit stupid not making our case. Cause there’s been too much attention and when I’ve questioned them about it our own party and I’ve said ‘eh, why are we not defending our record on the economy, on other things, but on the economy?’. And I’m told, in front of the PLP, they said ‘we’re focussing on the future not the past’.”

Mr Miliband was last month accused of making a “desperate attempt to burnish his working class credentials” by appointing Lord Prescott as his special adviser on climate change.

Watch: Ed Miliband and his awkward Labour leadership gaffesThe Labour leader has faced repeated criticism from both his own MPs and Labour supporters for failing to address the needs of the party’s core voters.

He announced in February that he was appointing Lord Prescott, who was known during his time in office as “two jags”, to help “bash heads together” and secure a deal on climate change in the wake of the election.

At the event Lord Prescott praised Mr Miliband’s leadership of the party, referencing his decision to “take on” Rupert Murdoch over the phone hacking scandal. He also criticised The Telegraph over HSBC and the controversy surrounding the bank.

Bob Neill, the Conservative vice-chairman, said: “This latest lapse into introspection shows Labour haven’t changed. Their bitter divisions would cause chaos for Britain if they got into Government.

“They obsess over Tony Blair and his legacy because Ed Miliband has none of the leadership needed to pull his party together – let alone the country. The Conservative Party offer competence and a plan for a more secure future, but Labour are looking backwards.”