My piece for Spinwatch earlier this week on the Bilderberg meeting in Watford:
A remarkable collection of politicians, diplomats, industrialists, bankers, royalty and other notables assemble in Watford today for the 61st Bilderberg meeting, a discreet high-level transatlantic policy forum that has met almost annually since 1954.
In recent years Bilderberg has taken to publishing its guest list and a brief agenda, in a bid to dispel the aura of conspiracy that has traditionally surrounded the event. (The data has been uploaded to the Bilderberg 2013 Watford page at Spinwatch's Powerbase wiki, which hopefully provides a more illuminating format than the Bilderberg site).
Uncritical acceptance of claims by [Oleg] Gordievsky about how Litvinenko died
is particular bizarre -- given that he has made different and
incompatible claims at different times, so as a simple point of logic
some of what he has claimed has to be false. A further curious feature
of Gordievsky's accounts, however, is that much of what he has claimed
directly contradicts central elements of what has become the official
British version of Litvinenko's death. And in fact, while one would be
ill-advised to take anything Gordievsky says at face value, some of
what he has claimed fits in distinctly better with the publicly
available evidence than the official version does.
The report was ostensibly written by five former NATO generals, including Britain's Lord Inge, the chairman of Aegis Defence Services.However, a postscript adds that "to assist in the writing process, the authors were joined by Benjamin Bilski, who lectures in philosophy at the Faculty of Law of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands; and by Douglas Murray, an author and Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion in Westminster."
The Independent has unearthed a remarkable find in the National Archives:
A secret Foreign Office memo dated 6 May 1976, entitled Italy And The
Communists: Options For The West, floated one possible course of action
as "action in support of a coup d'etat or other subversive action". The
authors admitted: "By its nature, a coup d'etat could lead to
unpredictable developments." But they added that, in theory at least,
"it could be promoted. In one way or another, the force of the right
could be counted on, with the support of the police and the army". The
idea of a coup to remove the PCI or stop it coming to power "could be
considered attractive" – but the idea was rejected as "unrealistic". (Independent)
A coup might have been discounted, but the mechanism to promote one did exist, in the form of the NATO stay-behind network Gladio, revealed by Giulio Andreotti in 1990.
The Italian Foreign Ministry has apparently engaged Tim Spicer's Aegis Defence Services to protect its staff in southern Iraq.
As a result, Aegis was the subject of a 20 minute documentary being broadcast on Rainews24 today and yesterday. Journalist Maurizio Torrealta visited London to interview Craig Murray, Paul Collins of War on Want and myself, while one of his colleagues spoke to Jean Mc Bride and Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre in Belfast.
The documentary Affari Di Guerra is currently available in Italian on the RAI website. I'm told that there will be an English version at some stage.
"Inchieste" of Rainews24 edited by Maurizio Torrealta presents:
By Flaviano Masella, Mario Sanna, Angelo Saso, Maurizio Torrealta
A car full of armed men travels at high speed on an Iraqi road. When another car tries to pass it, a machine gun appears from the window of the first car and it starts shooting a burst of machine-gun fire until the second car stops. The operation recurs more and more times, on the road side an increasing number of cars and wounded people stand still. They are the "contractors" of "Aegis", the British company, who try to defend themselves from the risk of possible attacks. The video has been broadcast by the British tv station Channel 4 with the comment of a former Aegis soldier.
I've just received an email from Free Stater to bring me belatedly up to speed with the latest Viktor Bout developments. Apparently, a company liked to the merchant of death has been involved in some extraordinary arms shipments between the Balkans and Iraq:
The Pentagon has secretly shipped tens of thousands of small arms from Bosnia to Iraq in the past two years, using a web of private companies, at least one of which is a noted arms smuggler blacklisted by Washington and the UN.
According to a report by Amnesty International, which investigated the sales, the US government arranged for the delivery of at least 200,000 Kalashnikov machine guns from Bosnia to Iraq in 2004-05. But though the weaponry was said to be for arming the fledgling Iraqi military, there is no evidence of the guns reaching their recipient.
Senior western officials in the Balkans fear that some of the guns may have fallen into the wrong hands. (Guardian, 11 May)
For the full story and its implications, check out the Amnesty international Report, and the posts by Doug Farah and the Yorkshire Ranter.
Uzbekistan is not the only place where British diplomats are being accused of complicity in torture.
A major scandal has been breaking in Greece, where 28 Pakistani men were allegedly abducted and brutally interrogated by Greek security officers and the local MI6 station chief in the aftermath of the July bombings in London.