Daily Archives: October 2, 2008

Rothschild criticizes City of London for lack of ethics

Rothschild: Banks turned a blind eye to sub-prime

This is Money | Oct 2, 2008

by Jonathan Prynn and Hugo Duncan

One of the banking world’s most respected grandees criticised the City today and called for a massive overhaul of regulation.

Sir Evelyn de Rothschild said there had been a collapse in ethical standards among banks in recent years, which had been ignored by watchdogs, rating agencies, shareholders and accountants.

The 77-year-old head of the banking dynasty issued a sombre warning that the crisis would get worse before it gets better. ‘We should not be under any illusion in this country that sub-prime is only an American problem,’ he said.

It came as another senior City figure, private equity boss John Moulton, said it could take seven years for the British economy to recover from the crisis that has brought the world’s financial system to its knees.

The outspoken comments were made on another day of grim economic news pointing to increasing damage to the ‘real economy’ from the credit meltdown.

A survey from the Bank of England suggested that banks plan to rein back their lending to families and small businesses over the coming months.

The report said: “In the three months to mid-September, lenders reported that they had reduced the availability of credit to households and corporates by more than had been expected three months ago. Lenders anticipated additional reductions in credit availability in the next three months.’

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There were also bad figures from the construction industry, record falls in house prices reported by the Nationwide-and a six per cent fall in sales from Marks & Spencer.

The only good news was that City economists now believe that a cut in the Bank of England’s base rate to avert a slide into a deep and long lasting recession is likely. That would cut the rate from 5% to 4.75%, bringing instant financial relief to millions of borrowers on tracker mortgages.

But the worsening economic outlook increased recriminations over how the City landed the economy in such a mess.

Sir Evelyn, speaking on Radio Five Live, accused the banking community, including the regulators, of turning a blind eye to the explosion in the British sub-prime mortgage market.

He also declared that investors in the banks should have acted to control bankers’ pay and the risk-taking of management. ‘What are shareholders for? I think shareholders have not been speaking up.’

He added: ‘You can also look to the accountants. It is their job to dig deep into the accounts and assess the risks a bank is taking. I mean, some of these American banks were 20 to 30 times leveraged – that is something I have never heard of.’

De Rothschild said the only way out of the crisis was to improve regulation and license anybody involved in financial services.

The veteran financier, who has seen many crises, added: ‘You have to have regulators who are properly paid and who properly understand the situation. And you should have a licensing system like you have in pubs where if you break the rules, they take away your licence.’

Major military exercise staged days before 26 dolphins died

Dead dolphins on the bank of the Percuil river, near Falmouth, England, Monday June 9 2008. Rescue crews worked Monday to save dolphins that became stranded in a river in southwest England. Rescuers believe a pod of about 15 dolphins swam up the Percuil River in Cornwall and were beached, and that other dolphins responded to their distress cries.

Cornish Guardian | Oct 1, 2008

THE Government has confirmed that 20 ships were involved in an intense military exercise off the Cornish coast, just days before the mass stranding of dolphins this summer.

The death of 26 dolphins in the incident in June, most of them in the shallow waters of Porth Creek on the Roseland, was one of the UK’s biggest wildlife tragedies in recent years.

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Dolphins stranded after live-fire naval exercises
Though up to 200 other dolphins were saved by the intervention of RNLI and wildlife volunteers, campaigners say that 80 more could have been traumatised by the incident.

The Royal Navy at first denied involvement in the disaster, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) later confirmed it was carrying out exercises in Falmouth Bay just hours before the dolphins beached themselves.

A request to the MoD under the Freedom of Information Act has now revealed that a substantial exercise involving 20 Royal Navy ships and submarines, as well as vessels from foreign navies, was being conducted in the area in the days leading up to the strandings.

The MoD has confirmed that sonar “dipper” devices were used seven times by Merlin and Lynx helicopter crews in the week before the incident. The mid-frequency sonar used, which is just beyond the range of human hearing, has been associated with strandings of marine life in the past.

Sonar on a similar frequency was also being used by one of the Type 23 Royal Navy frigates on the regular training exercise commonly known as the “Thursday War”.

The newly released data records in addition that inert 4.5 inch shells were being fired, as well as Sea Wolf missiles and machine guns. This confirms reports from local people, who said they heard heavy firing off the Roseland coast for days before the tragedy.

Sarah Dolman, science officer at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said the new data was “very interesting” and that the sonar activity included the dipping sonar from a Merlin which at 2-4 kilohertz is in the range of common dolphin hearing.

Ms Dolman believes the dolphins, which initial post mortem examinations found to be fit and healthy, stranded because they were fleeing.

“It was probably a flight response from something like a killer whale or something human, like an intense sound source,” she said. “But if there had been killer whales out there, given the numbers of people that were on the water, I think they would have been seen.

“If a number of ships were echo-sounding, it is possible that they could have had a herding effect on the animals. If noise is the cause of these strandings, it is either the sheer number of vessels making noise, causing confusion or herding the animals ashore, or it is some kind of activity on the day.”

McCain: “I Always Aspire To Be A Dictator”

The fact that McCain said he yearned to be a dictator without so much as cracking a smile makes the comment all the more disturbing especially in comparison to similar sentiments expressed at least three times by George W. Bush.

Prison Planet | Oct 1, 2008

by Paul Joseph Watson

During an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board yesterday, John McCain – presumably making an attempt at humor – said with a completely straight face that he aspired to be a dictator, while decrying the Congressional rejection of the bailout bill.

“I just want to make a comment about the obvious issue and that is the failure of Congress to act yesterday. Its just not acceptable,” said McCain. “This is just a not acceptable situation. I’m not saying this is the perfect answer. If I were dictator, which I always aspire to be, I would write it a little bit differently.”

McCain has urged the Bush administration to bypass the will of Congress and invoke executive orders to pass the bailout bill, along with a further $1 trillion dollar spend on buying up bad mortgage debt.

McCain’s senior economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin has also called on the executive branch to ignore Congress and force through the bailout legislation, which was voted down on Monday.

Another senior economic advisor to McCain, Phil Gramm, vice chairman of UBS’s US division and a lobbyist for UBS, successfully pushed for foreign banks to be included in the bailout plan after they were initially excluded.

The fact that McCain said he yearned to be a dictator without so much as cracking a smile makes the comment all the more disturbing especially in comparison to similar sentiments expressed at least three times by George W. Bush.

Bush infamously said, “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator,” during a December 2000 speech.

He also remarked, “A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it,” in a July 2001 Business Week interview.

When Bush was Governor of Texas in 1998 he stated, “You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.”

Buckingham Palace butler ran paedophile ring while working for the Royal Family

Former Royal butler Paul Kidd has admitted 29 sex charges involving three boys

During his years in Royal service, he was said to have met and looked after three American Presidents including Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan plus many other Heads of State from around the world.

Daily Mail | Oct 1, 2008

A former Buckingham Palace butler has been unmasked as a sexual predator who ran a paedophile ring while serving the Royal Family.

Bachelor Paul Kidd, 55, groomed at least one of his teenage victims for sex by taking him for tea with the Queen Mother at Clarence House, it has emerged.

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To the public, he had been the urbane gent who waited on the Royals for nine years – first the Queen at the Palace and then her mother.

He often publicly gushed about his blue blood employers talking of the Queen as ‘courteous and genuinely caring.’

But behind the facade, Kidd was leading a secret double life as a serial child abuser who molested a string of boys over a 30 year period.

He was finally exposed after one of his victims read a newspaper article in which he boasted about his links to the Royals and talked fondly of Princess Diana and her musical tastes.

Police raided his two bedroom home in St Johns Street, Stalybridge, where they found almost 19,000 pornographic pictures and videos of children.

Included in the haul were some nude pictures of a teenager who officers were able to trace and interview.

Some images were hidden in a safe while others were encrypted on his computer.

Kidd admitted 29 sex charges involving three boys namely indecent assault, sexual activity with a child and the possessing and making of indecent images of children between December 1974 and January 2008.

An accomplice David Hobday, 56, of St Johns Street, Dukinfield admitted seven charges involving one of the victims of sexual activity with a child and possessing indecent images. Both men face a maximum 14 years in jail.

A police source said: ‘Kidd was a very accomplished groomer of children.

‘Given that he has been behaving like this for 30 years the likelihood is there could be many other victims out there who have not yet come forward.

‘This man used his Royal connections to impress and seduce young boys. He even had autographed pictures of Manchester United players on his walls at home.

‘He was acting with at least one other man and it’s possible he could have been communicating with many other paedophiles over many years.

‘These offences are probably just the tip of the iceberg.’

Kidd had honed his skills as a silver service waiter when he joined the Royal Navy after leaving school – looking after the captain and officers.

During his naval service he visited 22 countries around the world. In 1976 he was appointed as butler to the Queen at Buckingham Palace and served there for six years until being transferred to Clarence House where he served the Queen Mother.

During his years in Royal service, he was said to have met and looked after three American Presidents including Jimmy Carter and Ronald Regan plus many other Heads of State from around the world.

He was also said to have worked closely with Princess Diana at Buckingham Palace in the six months prior to her wedding to Prince Charles.

In 1985 he gave up Royal Service due to a cancer scare but then started charging up to £4,000 a time as an after dinner speaker talking about his work with the Royal Family.

He ran a series of lectures including one he called: An uncomfortable experience for the Queens page boy.

Kidd also starred on numerous TV chat shows in the UK and USA including the Caroline Rhea show in New York.

He also appeared on stage with Hollywood actor Robin Williams at the Nemacolin Spa & Resort Centre in the USA.

He joined Robert Kilroy Silk’s UK Independence party standing unsuccessfully as a candidate in local council elections.

In one interview Kidd said of the Queen: ‘She was always very courteous, but she only ever addressed me as ‘Kidd’ – never by my first name.

‘She deals with people in a genuinely caring manner. Her children are the future of the country, they cannot be brought up in a namby-pamby manner.

‘But in private, as a mother and grandmother, she dotes on the children.’

Police began investigating Kidd earlier this year after a victim, now 41 read a newspaper article about Kidd in which he talked about Princess Diana on the 10th anniversary of her death.

The victim was thought to be so disgusted by his bragging, he went to police and told officers how he was 14 when he was abused by Kidd after meeting him through a CB radio group.

Kidd introduced the lad to his Royal employers and took him for tea with the Queen Mother in the late 70s.

It is believed the victim even spoke to the Queen Mother – at a time when the late Royal had no idea he was being secretly abused by her servant.

It emerged he had met Kidd though a religious group when he was 14 and he was sexually accused and passed onto another paedophile.

A third victim later came forward to say he was abused in the 1980s when he was 15 after meeting him when Kidd was training to be a nurse.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Kidd and Hobday were told they would be sentenced on November 20 after probation officers complete a report assessing whether they are a risk to the public.

Various other charges will be allowed to lie on file.

Both were remanded in custody and Judge Mushtaq Khokhar told them: ‘You have both pleaded guilty to serious offences and you will be under no illusion that the likely sentence is going to be custody.’

Related

Beyond the Dutroux Affair
The reality of protected child abuse and snuff networks

Belgium defends king against ‘assault’

The Belgian Government has threatened legal action against one of France’s leading publishers for releasing a book linking King Albert II to a paedophilia scandal.

Belgian “Nebuleuse” tied to child abuse networks, Iran Contra and the BCCI’s “Black Network”

FBI Prevents Agents from Telling ‘Truth’ About 9/11 on PBS

The FBI has blocked two of its veteran counterterrorism agents from going public with accusations that the CIA deliberately withheld crucial intelligence before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

CQ Politics | Oct 1, 2008

FBI Special Agents Mark Rossini and Douglas Miller have asked for permission to appear in an upcoming public television documentary, scheduled to air in January, on pre-9/11 rivalries between the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.

The program is a spin-off from The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by acclaimed investigative reporter James Bamford, due out in a matter of days.

The FBI denied Rossini and Miller permission to participate in the book or the PBS “NOVA” documentary, which is also being written and produced by Bamford, on grounds that the FBI “doesn’t want to stir up old conflicts with the CIA,” according to multiple reliable sources.
Bamford, contacted by phone, said he could not comment because his publisher has embargoed his new book for release around Oct. 10.

The author of two other ground-breaking books on the NSA, Bamford also said his general policy is not to discuss his negotiations for interviews with intelligence agencies.

Pre-9/11 intelligence mishaps have been generally attributed to bureaucratic screw-ups — a “failure to connect the dots,” exacerbated by spy agency rivalries.

But Rossini and Miller, who were assigned to the CIA-run Counterterrorist Center during the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, are prepared to describe on camera how the CIA blocked them from sharing crucial intelligence with FBI headquarters – and then later pressured them not to tell the truth to investigators.

The first allegation is not entirely new, having been reported by author Lawrence Wright in his 2006 book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, among other places.

But what is new is that Rossini and Miller — who still hold sensitive jobs in the FBI, and are identified here for the first time — are prepared to say publicly that, under pressure from the CIA, they kept the full the truth from the Justice Department’s Inspector General, which looked into the FBI’s handling of pre-9/11 intelligence in 2004.

“There was pressure on people not to disclose what really happened,” said sources close to the IG investigation.

Rossini, in particular, is said to have felt threatened that the CIA would have him prosecuted for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act if he told the IG investigators what really happened inside the CTC.

CIA officials were in the room when he and Miller, as well as a sympathetic CIA officer, were questioned.

The IG investigators showed them copies of CTC intelligence reports and e-mails.

But the FBI agents suddenly couldn’t remember details about who said what, or who reported what, to whom, about the presence of two al Qaeda agents in the U.S. prior to the 9/11 attacks,

The IG investigators were suspicious.

Indeed, their report, which used pseudonyms for the CIA and FBI agents its interviewed — Rossini and Miller were called  “Malcolm” and “Dwight,” a CIA analyst was dubbed “Eric” — hinted at a cover-up.

“When we interviewed all of the individuals involved about the CIR [Current Intelligence Report] they asserted that they recalled nothing about it,” it said

The focus of the IG was what the CIA had witheld about the movement of two al Qaeda operatives, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, from Malaysia to the U.S. in early 2000.

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Russia’s Dissident Bloggers Fear for Their Lives

The gunshot death of a Web journalist heightens alarm about efforts to muzzle dissent on the Internet

US News | Sep 30, 2008

By  Alastair Gee

MOSCOW—A new chill is spreading among Russian bloggers following the death of the journalist-owner of an opposition website.

While opposition viewpoints are rarely presented in Russian newspapers these days (and even less frequently on television), the Internet has remained a place where Russians of all ideological stripes are able to express themselves.

But following the mysterious death of Web journalist Magomed Yevloyev and the prosecution of disaffected bloggers, there are fears that authorities are trying to squeeze shut that remaining outlet for freewheeling debate.

The issue came sharply into focus with the August 31 killing of Yevloyev, the founder of a popular site called Ingushetia.org that reports on human rights abuses in the restive southern Russian region of Ingushetia.

After he landed at the airport in the Ingushetian town of Nazran, a police convoy picked him up. Less than an hour later, he was delivered to the hospital with a fatal bullet wound to his head. Prosecutors have suggested the shooting was an accident, perhaps the result of Yevloyev trying to grab an officer’s gun, though his supporters say it was punishment for his muckraking site. “It was a premeditated murder,” concludes Musa Pliyev, a lawyer for Ingushetia.org.

Russians have enjoyed unfettered freedom of speech on the Internet—the news site run by opposition head Garry Kasparov serves up stinging criticism of the state, while Russian bloggers of every political persuasion congregate on LiveJournal.

And there have been grand promises that the Internet will remain unrestricted, such as a June pronouncement by President Dmitry Medvedev that it should be protected from interference by authorities.

But according to activists, interference is already a fact.

Andrei Richter, head of Moscow’s Media Law and Policy Institute, says there is no nationwide offensive such as China’s Golden Shield Project, sometimes called the Great Firewall of China, which blocks access to a raft of news and blogging sites.

However, Russia’s regional administrations are taking the initiative and charging bloggers who criticize the regime. They’re “testing the waters, seeing which statutes work better in regulating the Internet,” Richter says. “It’s a very dangerous trend.”

Russia’s rulers ostensibly have little reason to worry about Net users. United Russia, the political party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Medvedev, overwhelmingly dominates parliament and the country’s political discourse, and Russians are happy with their increased affluence under Putin.

Still, that support could fade if, say, Russia’s economy were to falter. “Now the government is realizing that the Internet is becoming political,” says Clothilde le Coz, head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders in Paris. “It’s a means for people to gather and spread a message, for example against the government, and that’s a problem.”

Ingushetia.org, founded in 2001, documents abuses that rights organizations say are endemic in Ingushetia, in particular graft, and the abduction and killing of residents by security forces. Authorities often justify the killings in the name of a struggle with separatists and Islamists, although there has been a backlash. The Moscow Helsinki Group, a nongovernmental watchdog group, warned this month that Ingushetia is verging on a civil war.

Ingushetia.org frequently ranks as one of Russia’s most-viewed sites. “We’re the only site that talks about what is really going on in Ingushetia,” says Roza Malsagova, its editor-in-chief, who oversees five editors and around 10 freelancers.

In recent years, Ingushetia.org’s employees have come under increasing pressure.

The president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, has said the site aims to destabilize the region and accused it of “publishing materials of an extremist, anti-Russian bent.”

Ingushetia.org’s editors and lawyers have been subject to criminal charges and searches and are treated with deep suspicion; they communicate with each other using the Internet because they say their calls are monitored.

In April, a court ordered that the site, which formerly used the Russian domain “.ru” and was called Ingushetiya.ru, be shut down for inciting racial hatred. The site’s lawyers said last week that a regional organization that manages domain names deleted its registration, though it immediately reappeared using the .org suffix.

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