A panel of experts tasked with reviewing the BBC’s future have raised the idea of scrapping the licence fee in favour of an optional subscription service from 2020, it has been reported. The Sunday Times claims the radical plan was mooted by some members of a 12-strong centenary review panel of economists, consultants and academics who were invited to give an outside assessment of the BBC’s future.
One member of the review panel, David Elstein, a former Sky and ITV executive, was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: “It is socially unjust that so many are fined and indeed go to prison for not paying the licence fee. “And it makes more sense too for the BBC to move to subscription from 2020, which is about the date when set-boxes go, and standard definition is phased out to high definition.”
[...] Privatisation hurtles on in the UK, regardless of the damage. Even David Cameron and George Osborne acknowledge that we have been badly served by the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), under which companies build hospitals, schools and prisons, then lease them back to the state, locking taxpayers into decades long maintenance contracts.
In Yorkshire, to take one modest example, the cost of rebuilding Calderdale Royal Hospital is £65 million. The public will end up paying £773 million. For providing one extra grit bin (value £200) outsourcer Amey charges Birmingham Council £4,500, the BBC reported the other day.
PFI will ultimately cost the taxpayer £300 billion, a Guardian investigation has revealed. ”The irony is that we privatised the buildings but nationalised the debts. It’s crazy,” said Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee that is supposed to guard taxpayers’ interests.
It is almost two centuries since the father of modern policing Robert Peel laid down the so-called Peelian Principles on which his new ethical police force would be founded. There are only three and of those just one relates to crime. The other two demand that officers earn the trust of the people they seek to police by exercising power openly and honestly, and that they are accountable for whatever happens afterwards. After last week’s revelations regarding the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder 20 years ago, I wonder if we should give those principles a crime number because they’ve suffered serious injury.
Forgive my anger, but I worked on the 1999 Macpherson Report which followed the Lawrence killing. I gave evidence which pointed to institutional corruption in the Met being at the heart of the case. It was evidence that Sir William Macpherson chose to dismiss because in his opinion, institutional racism was to blame. The Met didn’t like the sound of either but decided to plead guilty to institutional racism, believing it was the lesser of the two charges.
So I do feel vindicated by the announcement this week of a new inquiry into police corruption, centred on the Lawrence case. But I am also deeply concerned, and, yes, ashamed that my investigations into the dirty money and risky favours which tie bent coppers to the criminal underworld were not enough to wrench the two apart all those years ago.
It matters, not because of my professional ego, but because it’s meant a further 20 years of a corrupt knot of officers believing they can operate above and beyond the law. It’s a truth nobody wants to acknowledge. So let me tell you about some of examples of corruption I have come across in my years investigating and writing about big, box office villains and the men who set out to catch them but somehow lose their way.
The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes.
England’s establishment is not what it was; the old imperial elite has become crude and mercenary. On Monday, a British civil servant was photographed arriving in Downing Street for a national security council meeting with an open document in his hand. We could read for ourselves lines from a confidential report on how Prime Minister David Cameron’s government should respond to the Crimea crisis. It recommended that Britain should “not support, for now, trade sanctions,” nor should it “close London’s financial center to Russians.”
The White House has imposed visa restrictions on some Russian officials, and President Obama has issued an executive order enabling further sanctions. But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting profit first. It boils down to this: Britain is ready to betray the United States to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money. And forget about Ukraine.
Britain, open for business, no longer has a “mission.” Any moralizing remnant of the British Empire is gone; it has turned back to the pirate England of Sir Walter Raleigh. Britain’s ruling class has decayed to the point where its first priority is protecting its cut of Russian money — even as Russian armored personnel carriers rumble around the streets of Sevastopol. But the establishment understands that, in the 21st century, what matters are banks, not tanks. The Russians also understand this. They know that London is a center of Russian corruption, that their loot plunges into Britain’s empire of tax havens — from Gibraltar to Jersey, from the Cayman Islands to the British Virgin Islands — on which the sun never sets.
Fearing its latest round of bonuses would create negative headlines and trigger a backlash, Barclays decided to act. But rather than rein in fat-cat remuneration, it came up with a novel way to head off public anger – turn off televisions in branches so customers couldn’t watch the news. Earlier his week Barclays announced that 500 super-rich bankers pocketed at least £1million each last year. Concerned about ‘negative coverage’ it urged staff in its high-street branches to turn over from news channels and, in a last resort, to unplug the screens.
Last night bank bosses denied they had made a direct instruction to change the channels but spoke of their regret over the memo in which the ploy was outlined. The memo read: ‘It’s likely there will be some media interest. We’d like to give you the heads up so you can change the channel in your branch to support colleagues in the event there is negative coverage.’ It recommended a couple of channels, adding ‘as a last resort find the power source and turn off the TV’. Yesterday customers at Barclays said they were ‘stunned and outraged’ by the directive and accused the bank of trying to mask a fat cat culture.
The crisis engulfing the Metropolitan police following fresh revelations about the Stephen Lawrence case intensified on Friday night as the leader of its black officers’ association called on the commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, to admit that the force was still institutionally racist. Janet Hills, chair of the Met’s black police association, told the Guardian that the report by Mark Ellison QC into alleged police wrongdoing in the Lawrence case was the latest example of the force failing the communities it serves.
Her comments came as the repercussions from Ellison’s report, commissioned by the home secretary, led the Met to move its head of counter-terrorism, Commander Richard Walton, out of his post after he was caught up in allegations that a police “spy” was placed close to the Lawrence family. The first public inquiry into the Lawrence case by Sir William Macpherson in 1999 resulted in the force being branded “institutionally racist” for its failings that led the teenager’s killers to escape justice.
Years later the Met said the label no longer applied because it had improved so much, but the leader of the Met’s own ethnic minority officers disagreed. Hills said: “We believe the Met is still institutionally racist.” She said this was shown by issues such as higher rates of stop and search against black people, and “the representation of ethnic minorities within the organisation, where ethnic minorities are still stuck in the junior ranks”. She added: “For me, it lies in the fact there has been no change, no progression.”
- Former Met chief denies authorising spying on Stephen Lawrence’s family
- Hogan-Howe vows to restore trust in Met after new Lawrence row
- Police spies snooped on Lawrence marriage: Shocking intrusion on Stephen’s grieving parents by undercover officer
- Terror chief axed in Lawrence row: Commander named in damning report is first head to roll
- Corrupt officer in Lawrence case could be linked to murder of private investigator found with an axe in his head
Privately schooled, Oxford educated and a former editor of arguably the world’s poshest magazine The Lady, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Rachel Johnson rarely mixes with ordinary proles. That all changed, however, when as part of a new documentary from the BBC, Ms Johnson, who is the sister of London Mayor Boris Johnson, joined a family in Deptford, south-east London, where the budget for food was little more than a £1 a day. Chastened by the experience Ms Johnson said it had left her feeling guilty about how much money she wasted and that she would now think twice about spending £3 for a “flat white coffee” when that money could feed a family for a day. The experience changed her initial view that poor people spent all their money on cigarettes, television and alcohol. “The poor people you see on the box are all fat. How, in God’s name, can you be overweight and hungry? Now I know.” Ms Johnson told the Radio Times: “There’s this terrible sense of human waste. They’re existing, rather than living, like battery hens. Apart from the telly and the cigarettes, they are living like animals.
New Zealand’s Maori King Tuheitia has refused to meet Prince William and Catherine during their royal tour of the country next month, saying that he is “not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be visiting New Zealand on 7-16 April with their young son George, but King Tuheitia’s office rejected the offer to meet with them, arguing the 90 minutes allotted is not long enough to observe the proper protocols.
Prime Minister John Key said he was disappointed by the snub, but King Tuheitia’s office blamed it on the inflexibility of “faceless bureaucrats” who organised the trip, and that they were not prepared to compromise their customs to fit into a predetermined schedule.
Free consumer banking in the UK is coming to an end, Royal Bank of Scotland’s chief executive has warned. Ross McEwan said that customers need to realise that they will have to pay for accounts, whilst also warning that further job cuts are inevitable at the taxpayer-owned bank. His comments, which came just days after the bank announced £576 million of bonuses for its executives, prompted an angry response from the Labour Party which raised concerns that the less well off will be excluded from the banking system.
Anti-poverty campaigners have claimed that 11 per cent of low income households do not have access to a bank account which makes it harder for them to receive welfare payments under the UK government’s benefit reforms. Mr McEwan insisted that paid-for accounts should be “addressed in the market place.” His comments came after he announced that RBS, which is 80 per cent owned by the taxpayer, has dumped its so called teaser rates for accounts.
Royal Bank of Scotland has lost all the money invested in it by the taxpayer six years ago when the lender came close to collapse. The bank has confirmed its total losses since its bailout have now drawn level with the £46bn pumped into it in 2008 in return for an 81pc stake. RBS made a loss last year of £8.2bn, its sixth consecutive annual loss, taking its cumulative losses to £46bn.
The scale of the losses means that all the capital provided by the taxpayer has now been used up dealing with the toxic legacy assets on the bank’s balance sheet. Losses at the bank came after it took a £3.8bn bill for customer mis-selling compensation and a £4.8bn impairment charge against the continued run down of its bad loans.
Excluding these costs, RBS reported an operating loss for the year of £2.5bn, with profits from its retail and commercial business falling 4pc year-on-year to £4.1bn, while its markets division reported a 58pc fall compared to 2012 making a profit of £638m. Despite, the loss RBS said it had put aside £576m to pay staff bonuses for 2013.
A close aide to David Cameron has resigned over allegations involving child abuse images, Downing Street has said. Patrick Rock has been closely involved in drawing up government policy on internet porn filters. He was arrested by detectives from the National Crime Agency (NCA) over a “potential offence relating to child abuse imagery”, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
The spokesman said: “This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the Prime Minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.” Mr Rock was a protege of Margaret Thatcher and has held a series of senior posts in the Conservative Party. He has been close to Mr Cameron for two decades.
Britain is drawing up plans to ensure that any EU action against Russia over Ukraine will exempt the City of London, according to a secret government document photographed in Downing Street. As David Cameron said Britain and its EU partners would put pressure on Moscow after it assumed control of Crimea, a government document drawn up for a meeting of senior ministers said that “London’s financial centre” should not be closed to Russians.
The picture of the document was taken by the freelance photographer Steve Back, who specialises in spotting secret documents carried openly by officials entering Downing Street. The document was in the hands of an unnamed official attending a meeting of the national security council called by the prime minister to discuss the Ukrainian crisis.
- Ukraine crisis sends Russian stock market tumbling
- Ukraine crisis hits shares around world and sends oil and wheat prices soaring
- US, EU can put economic pressure on Russia (Video)
- Russia’s Ukraine actions ‘incompatible’ with G8 membership, west says
- Britain pulls out of G8 preparatory talks
- U.S. ‘Suspends’ Role in Russia G8 Summit After Obama, Putin Speak
Working class children should act middle class if they want to succeed in higher education and land the best jobs, a government advisor has said. Peter Brant, head of mobility at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, claimed less well off pupils needed to change appearance and mannerisms. He also said in a blog on the Commission’s website that they needed “shared cultural values” such as choice of clothes, restaurants and having varied hobbies.
Mr Brant wrote: “It seems likely that worries about ‘not fitting in’ will be one reason why highly able children from less well-off backgrounds are less likely to apply to the most selective universities. It probably contributes to a lack of confidence amongst those who are upwardly mobile as they struggle to adapt to their new social environment with detrimental impact on their ability to reach their potential.
“And the lack of effective networks and advice to help navigate this new alien ‘middle class world’ probably make it more difficult to translate high attainment into success in the professional jobs market.” Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, said last year that it was “truly shocking” that a privately-educated elite still ran Britain.
The children of Islamist radicals should be taken into care, Boris Johnson said last night. The Mayor of London said hundreds of children were at risk of being turned into fanatics by extremist parents. But he warned that in many cases social services and the police are simply too influenced by ‘absurd’ political correctness to take them into care.
Mr Johnson said young people were increasingly being ‘radicalised at their home’ and taught the sort of ‘crazy stuff’ similar to the views espoused by the killers of Lee Rigby. He said lack of clarity about the law meant the authorities were reluctant to intervene.
The Mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph: ‘A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused – but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic view of the world that could lead them to become murderers.
‘It is the strong view of many of those involved in counter-terrorism that there should be a clearer legal position, so that those children who are being turned into potential killers or suicide bombers can be removed into care.’
Eton-educated Tories are treating control of the country “like a play thing” to be passed on between them, a senior Conservative has claimed. Mark Pritchard spoke out amid fresh speculation over the ambitions of the Mayor of London to succeed his fellow Old Etonian as Tory leader. He tweeted: “Inside and outside of Parliament people are fed up of Old Etonians thinking they can pass on No10 like some sort of play thing or baton.” Mr Pritchard, a former secretary of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, will irritate Downing Street as it battles accusations it is a run by a cabal of men from elite public schools.
It fiercely denied a report last week that a group of Old Etonians would mainly be responsible for writing the party’s 2015 general election manifesto. Mr Johnson’s future intentions were thrown in the spotlight on Saturday when it was claimed George Osborne had delivered a message to Mr Johnson challenging him to stand for Parliament in 2015. The Chancellor’s move was reportedly designed to force him to prove his loyalty to Mr Cameron by tieing the Mayor’s political fate to the Tories’ election performance. The Mail on Sunday quoted a Johnson ally accusing Mr Osborne of trying to “destabilise Boris”.
Labour wants new powers for police and security services to crack down on cyber crimes like child pornography and terrorism. However, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper is warning technological developments have sparked a wave of new types of crime and a 30% hike in recorded online fraud is just the “tip of the iceberg”.
But fears about abuse of information in the wake of leaks by ex-US security contractor Edward Snowden, which revealed widespread spying by government listening post GCHQ, means new safeguards are needed to protect privacy. Controversial plans by Home Secretary Theresa May to enable the police and security services to track emails and other online communications under a “snooper’s charter” were blocked by the Liberal Democrats.
Sir Brian Leveson “pulled his punches” over evidence of “serious police corruption at the very highest level” because it was “too hot to handle”, according to a complaint that has been lodged with the judicial watchdog by a News of the World hacking victim. Ian Hurst, a former British Army intelligence officer whose family computer was infiltrated by private investigators working for the now defunct Sunday red-top, has written to the Ministry of Justice to complain that the senior judge “failed in his judicial duty” during his public inquiry into inappropriate relationships between the press, the police and politicians.
In his letter sent to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, the former spy said Sir Brian “covered up” the existence of a Scotland Yard intelligence report detailing a corrupt relationship between a very senior former police officer and a News of the World executive – neither of whom have ever been charged with criminal offences. Mr Hurst said his complaint was prompted by The Independent on Sunday revealing the milestone inquiry had ignored the classified document, which alleged the policeman obtained highly confidential information on decisions taken by Lord Blair when he was Metropolitan Police Commissioner in 2006, and passed it to theNOTW.
Looking back from 2014, it seems extraordinary that an organisation with a name like the Paedophile Information Exchange was taken so seriously for a time in the 1970s that it was able to present itself as a legitimate pressure group. Yet the continuing row involving Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt, Jack Dromey and the Daily Mail reminds us that this was indeed the case. While superficially it may seem that there were a lot of gullible people in the 1970s prepared to consider PIE’s arguments, the reality is more complex. The boundaries of what was acceptable in terms of sexual behaviour were changing rapidly. Homosexuality had been decriminalised in 1967 but there was still considerable discrimination against gay people. Gays were beginning to hold demonstrations; even the word “gay” was just starting to be accepted. The wider political movement of the libertarian left encompassed a whole range of other issues, from abortion rights and domestic violence to getting troops out of Northern Ireland and supporting liberation movements in third world countries. Naturally a lot of confusion ensued about what was acceptable and where the boundaries should lie.
Into this maelstrom plunged PIE, which was formed in 1974 by a group of paedophiles who defined themselves as child lovers – as the word literally means in Greek – rather than necessarily being interested in sex with children. The strategy was masterminded by Tom O’Carroll, the organisation’s public face. (This did eventually cost him his job as press officer for the Open University.) PIE’s aim was “to alleviate suffering of many adults and children” by campaigning against the laws on the age of consent, to allow adults to have sex with children. Knowing that the idea of middle-aged men buggering young children was an unpalatable image to promote, members transformed their message into a language of liberation in tune with the zeitgeist. Since the Gay Liberation Front represented homosexuals and the feminist movement supported women, paedophile activists could be for children’s rights. People interested in children were to be considered as “kind persons”. just as homosexuals had managed to appropriate the word “gay”. It seems a preposterous plan; but for a while it came close to working.
- How did the pro-paedophile group PIE exist openly for 10 years?
- Patricia Hewitt ‘sorry’ for stance on paedophile group
- Hewitt ‘Backed age of consent as low as 10′
- Jack Dromey denies approving NCCL call to lower age of consent
- High Court judge Anselm Eldergill ‘resigned in disgust’ from 1970s human-rights group over paedophile link
- Hewitt’s civil rights campaign offered legal advice to adults who have sex with 14-year-olds
- New evidence casts doubt on Harriet Harman’s defence over paedophile links
- Harriet Harman rejects allegations of 1970s link to paedophile campaign
- Newsnight: Harriet Harman talks exclusively about the Paedophile Information Exchange (Video)
- Did Thatcher’s Government Give Taxpayers’ Money To Paedophile Group PIE?
- Savile’s child victims ‘were laughed at and told they were lucky to be targeted by the DJ’
- UK Establishment Closes Ranks as Organised Child Sex Abuse Network Leads Back to No. 10
Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images: Interview with James Ball
‘The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed “Optic Nerve” compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in the GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called “undesirable nudity.” The program was reportedly also used for experiments in “automated facial recognition” as well as to monitor terrorism suspects.’ (Democracy Now!)
Giving evidence to MPs before Christmas, Sir Iain Lobban, the director of GCHQ, used the analogy favoured by the security agencies to explain what they do. He likened the gathering of intelligence to building a haystack and said he was “very well aware that within that haystack there is going to be plenty of innocent communications from innocent people”. The latest revelations from the Edward Snowden files show this haystack also includes webcam images of millions of internet users, some of whom are involved in deeply adult forms of in flagrante ”communication”.
Surveillance of this kind puts a new spin on William Hague’s defence of GCHQ‘s snooping programmes: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” In some ways, the Guardian story about GCHQ’s Optic Nerve operation brilliantly illustrates the tangle that ministers and the intelligence services have got themselves into. And it poses a big question mark over the repeated assertion that mass surveillance is proportionate and necessary. [...] GCHQ insists the activity is legal. And doubtless it is, if you believe that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which was passed in 2000, was drafted with this kind of surveillance in mind.
GCHQ’s spies, who see themselves as the country’s eyes and ears, don’t like being the center of attention. It was only through the actions of American whistleblower Edward Snowden that the world learned about many of their operations. The documents Snowden leaked, from the innermost circles of the US National Security Agency (NSA), revealed that the British agency has begun monitoring increasingly large portions of global data traffic in recent years — infiltrating computer networks around the world, launching attacks and extracting information from mobile telephones.
In 2008, GCHQ agents began testing the “Tempora” program, which they hoped would allow them to tap into global data links, especially fiber optic cables. In the four years that followed, the agency’s access to data grew by 7,000 percent, according to a PowerPoint presentation described in the British newspaper The Guardian. Today the agency — which cites “mastering the Internet” as one of its objectives and boasts about extracting more data from the web than the NSA — employs 6,100 women and men, almost as many as MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, combined.
While GCHQ refuses to answer questions about its objectives, its former employees paint a picture of an agency that, in decades of existence, has become a modern surveillance monster.
One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.
Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”
By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses. But, here, I want to focus and elaborate on the overarching point revealed by all of these documents: namely, that these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.
Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.
Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy”.
Is there a vaster chasm than that between ‘worthy charitable giving’ and ‘swindlers at the top of society’? This is par for the course though when you do an internet search for the Freemasons. Last week brought more hard evidence of the latter (and darker), with the second leaked report from UK criminal justice authorities in as many years to conclude that mobsters use Freemasonry to freely recruit corrupt detectives, being one of ‘the most difficult aspects of organized crime corruption to proof against.’
Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius report was written over a decade ago but has only this week been made public by The Independent’s investigations editor, Tom Harper. It follows on from Project Riverside, revealed by Channel 4 News’ Andy Davies in March 2012 from the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), which also describes Freemasonry in round terms as ‘a firm within a firm’. Incredible though it may seem, although paid for with public money, both these reports have taken nearly a decade to surface, and then only as partial press leaks.
So why did the authors of Scotland Yard’s Operation Tiberius’ find Freemasons so difficult to winkle out? Most know Freemasonry sits somewhere between a religious cult and a pyramid selling scheme but have no idea where ‘The Craft’ came from, or what makes Masons tick. It’s the oath of secrecy, similar to the Mafia’s Omertà, on pain of death, which, in theory, makes any revelation about ‘The Craft’ a slip of the tongue you can die for.
- Wikipedia: Prince Michael of Kent
- Would you want to be a Freemason?
- How gangs used the Freemasons to corrupt police
- Freemasons’ millions aren’t true charity, rules judge
- Freemason cops banned from working on Hillsborough cover-up probe
- Nick Davies: Freemasons in the police
- Wikipedia: Propaganda Due (1945-1976)
- Wikipedia: Suppression of Freemasonry
- Wikipedia: John Robison, author of ‘Proofs of a Conspiracy…’
- The Brotherhood: The Secret World of the Freemasons by Stephen Knight
- Inside the Brotherhood: Explosive Secrets of the Freemasons by Martin Short
- Inside The Brotherhood: Documentary based on the book by Martin Short
- Rites and Wrongs: HTV documentary on Gloucestershire Freemasons
- Freemasonry Watch: Archive of British Masonry in the News
Three former Barclays employees have been charged over the alleged manipulation of Libor benchmark interest rates. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) named them as Peter Charles Johnson, Jonathan James Mathew and Stylianos Contouglas. The men are accused of conspiracy to defraud between 2005 and 2007 and are due to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a date still to be announced. The SFO said its Libor investigation was continuing.
Just in case you hadn’t noticed recently, the City and its banks have been continuing to live down to their shabby reputations and men like these represent but the visible tip of an iceberg-sized problem of alleged criminogenisis within the Square Mile. The City of London has, over the past few years, become synonymous with every kind of skulduggery, sharp practice, flaky conduct and downright criminality it is possible to imagine. The banking sector has developed into a mafia-like organised criminal enterprise, where every kind of wrongdoing has been permitted and encouraged in order to earn profit for the organisation.
Oh, there are many who will cavil at this description and who will accuse me of hyperbole, but what other description can you apply to a business sector which repeatedly has to set aside many millions of pounds in order to pay penalties and fines imposed for its criminal conduct, and which has had to repay billions of pounds in restitution for criminally-acquired revenues arising out of downright fraud, deceit and lies.
Despite all the attempts by Government to soft-soap the criminal activities committed by the banks by calling their wrong-doing ‘mis-selling’, a concept hitherto completely unknown to English criminal jurisprudence, the fact is that someone has been committing the crimes which have penalised so many innocent clients or investors. The banksters have been receiving their bonuses, that’s for sure, and they couldn’t have been paid these figures unless they had delivered the level of profits to justify them.