Corruption

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Johnson will never resign

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2022 - 6:38pm in

Yet, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis says that he and his colleagues in the 1922 Committee yesterday were asking the Prime Minister questions about rebuilding trust. Fat chance. Trust is irrelevant to Johnson, who has proved beyond any doubt that he is in it for himself. The country, the Conservative party, Wine Time Fridays and everything... Read more

Johnson’s survival will mark the start of a new assault on our freedoms

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/05/2022 - 5:52pm in

After a few days of disruption I admit to being on a late start this morning.

What I did manage to do was follow much of the shenanigans in and around parliament yesterday as the Sue Gray report was published. The detail is too well known to require comment. The failure of Johnson to respond in any meaningful way - with his contrition for failings visible from space lasting 30 seconds or so - was predictable.

The idea that he will have to be dragged kicking and screaming from No.10 now seems appropriate. I even wonder if the seemingly inevitable (barring Tory corruption) finding of the Privileges Committee that he lied to parliament will see him resign. I think he would rather risk a vote of no confidence and hope to brazen it out. With some Tory MPs now saying they are happy for an obviously out of control, law breaking and contemptuous prime minister to be in charge of the country, he might just win that.

I am going to presume he will. The game of ‘surely this time he must go’ has lost its appeal. My suspicion is that Johnson will now lead the Tories into the next election. That will be, because of the collapsing economy, be in autumn 2024, I suspect (October being likely, to reduce the student vote as they will all have just moved). And, the aim between now and then will be severalfold.

First, there will be relentless attacks on the right to vote to persuade as many as possible on lower incomes not to do so.

Second, the freedom to speak will be under enormous attack. It already is with the Public Order Bill.

Third, I suspect there will be moves to prevent opposition parties cooperating with each other. I anticipate a Bill to cut permitted funding for parties that agree platforms for change in elections.

Fourth, I anticipate a tougher election law relating to social media to restrict those who might use it to seek to influence election outcomes from a non-party position.

And fifth, I suspect there will be rafts of very right-wing policies to appeal to the core Tory vote. Even the death penalty will be back on the agenda.

And there will be tax cuts.

Nothing of benefit to the country intended to meet real need will happen. Instead everything will be focussed solely on the perpetuation of Tory power, reducing politics to a game of corrupt vanity power, and not public service.

The risk that our democracy, public sector, public life, human rights and freedoms will be sacrificed to Boris Johnson increased significantly yesterday.

Starmer was good yesterday. So were others. Tories were noticeably quiet. But Johnson is still there. And there is as yet no obvious alliance to be rid of him. And that greatly worries me.

Controversial Firm Linked to Rishi Sunak Among Those Allowed to Set ‘Global Anti-Corruption Agenda’ by World Economic Forum

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/05/2022 - 6:45pm in

Dimitris Dimitriadis digs into the scandals linked to a number of firms participating in a flagship global anti-corruption initiative

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast a shadow over this year’s G20 summit – with delegates staging walk-outs in protest at Russia’s participation – a group of companies with controversial track-records are being allowed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to “set the global anti-corruption agenda” and possibly influence global discussions from the sidelines.

The WEF’s Partnership Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) describes itself as the “leading business voice on anti-corruption and transparency” and brings together some 90 companies that “actively shape the B20 policy agenda”. The B20 is a select group of businesses that delivers proposals to the G20, the world’s 20 richest countries.  

However, several members of PACI – the same initiative that touts its role in promoting efforts to tackle global corruption – have faced scandals and significant public scrutiny, while others are controlled by states with poor human rights records. 

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation and Saudi Telecom Group are both majority owned by the Saudi state, which recently executed 81 people in one day. But they both get a seat at the table of PACI – the “principal CEO-led platform in the global anti-corruption arena” and one of the WEF’s “strongest cross-industry collaborative efforts” – a boon to their reputations and credentials. 

Also among PACI’s signatories is Infosys, an Indian multinational IT company which is backed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murthy, and which was shamed by Western media into pulling out of Russia after the invasion. In response to the scrutiny, Infosys, which reportedly has strong historical ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin, said that it was “urgently closing its Russia operations”. 

Commodity trading and mining giant Glencore, whose UK subsidiary was recently charged by the Serious Fraud Office with seven counts of bribery in connection with its oil operations, is also listed as a PACI member. While the company has condemned the invasion of Ukraine, it continues to hold substantive interests in Russia including a stake in aluminium and hydropower group EN+ from which it concluded “there is no realistic way to exit” at the moment. In its latest annual report, Glencore says “we actively participate in PACI”, adding that it has incorporated its guidelines into its business. 

Oil major TotalEnergies, another PACI member, was recently criticised by climate activists for being too slow to announce that it would phase-out of Russia, lagging behind its rivals, and for its refusal to stop purchasing Russian gas. The company has denied any accusations of complicity in the conflict, adding that it has condemned the invasion and that it will “ensure strict compliance with current and future European sanctions”, as it gradually suspends its activities in Russia. 

A recent sustainability report from TotalEnergies states that it is “exposed to corruption risks due to its presence in certain countries that have a high perceived level of corruption according to the index drawn up by Transparency International” and that it applies a principle of zero tolerance of corruption for all its employees and suppliers, while also encouraging a culture of speaking up among its workforce. 

TotalEnergies has also faced scrutiny from green groups and a probe over an alleged conflict of interest involving its chief executive, Patrick Pouyanné, and Ecole Polytechnique. This came after the prestigious university voted to allow TotalEnergies to build a research and innovation centre on its Saclay campus – a decision that complainants including the French arm of Greenpeace, anti-corruption group ANTICOR, and La Sphinx alleged was unduly influenced by Patrick Pouyanné, France's TotalEnergies CEO, who is also on the university board. 

Pouyanné has denied the allegations, saying that the launch of the research centre pre-dates his position as a member of the university board and that there had been no “crossover” between his two roles. 

Gatekeepers

Yara International, a state-backed Norwegian fertiliser producer, was caught up in one of the country’s highest-profile corruption scandals after it acknowledged in 2014 that it had paid bribes to officials in India and Libya and was fined $36 million by Norwegian authorities.

Prosecutors originally accused four of its former top executives, including its CEO, of paying the bribes, but only its former chief legal officer was convicted and received a seven-year sentence by an appeals court. The others were acquitted. In addition to being a PACI signatory, Yara International is a WEF strategic partner

A spokesperson for the company said that the case referred to is more than a decade old and does not reflect the firm and what it stands for today, adding that since the scandal Yara has worked on “strengthening knowledge, attitudes and systems (routines and regulations) to prevent the recurrence of such an event”. 

PACI says that it is driven by the “needs” and “interests” of member companies. 

Other signatories include Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), a state-run oil Brazilian oil major which in 2018 agreed to pay the US Department of Justice, Securities Exchange Commission and Brazilian authorities a total of $853.2 million to end a long-running corruption probe following which the company “successfully rejoined PACI”.

Since then, the company says it has “finally turned the page” and has a “robust control system and anti-corruption measures that go beyond those required by law”. 

In 2019, Standard Chartered, another PACI member, was ordered to pay US and UK authorities £842 million to settle allegations that it had breached sanctions against several countries including Iran. The bank, which is listed as a ‘gatekeeper’ – a special subgroup of PACI signatories that are “strategically positioned to prevent or interrupt illicit financial flows” – was also fined more than £21 million in 2020 separately for allegedly breaching sanctions against Russia. 

The WEF initiative states on its website that members gather at “bi/annual meetings to discuss business integrity while looking at progress in terms of implementation of collective action on anti-corruption.” It also boasts that PACI gets to “actively shape the B20 policy agenda”. 

According to its website, PACI last year “co-chaired the taskforce under the Italian presidency, representing the business voice on anti-corruption towards the G20”. It also “continues to act as a networking partner of the B20 for the 2021-2022 term under the Indonesian presidency” which refers to this year’s G20 summit. 

Meanwhile, the summit, which is still in progress, has seen finance ministers from various countries including the US walk out of a closed-door session when a Russian official began delivering his remarks – a move that was made in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This article was produced by the Byline Intelligence Team – a collaborative investigative project formed by Byline Times with The Citizens. If you would like to find out more about the Intelligence Team and how to fund its work, click on the button below.

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The Tories are fascism in progress

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/05/2022 - 5:19pm in

In the midst of Partygate and all that goes with it the possibility that the continuing passage of the Public Order Bill now before the Commons.

As Caroline  Lucas said of the Bill during the Second Reading debate this week:

This is a deeply dangerous Bill, and I am pleased to support the reasoned amendments. The measures in the Bill represent a fresh outright attack on our fundamental rights. Indeed, as others have said, the human rights organisation Liberty has called it a

“staggering escalation of the Government’s clampdown on dissent.”

We are in the grip of multiple crises: a cost of living scandal that is pushing millions of households into fuel and food poverty; a war in Ukraine with disastrous consequences; and the accelerating climate and nature emergencies. What we need at this critical juncture is more democracy, not less—not a ban on our constituents participating in certain protests, not subjecting them to 24-hour GPS monitoring for the crime of disagreeing with the Government, and not barring them from participation in public life.

I agree with Caroline, and many Labour opponents including Yvette Cooper, of whom Priti Patel is clearly terrified. This is a Bill intended to restrict our right to protest and to free speech still further. The penalties are draconian. It will, in effect, be a crime to express dissent with the government in a peaceful fashion.

This is what the issues with the Tories really is. Partygate reveals their contempt for the law. What this Bill reveals is their contempt for political freedom. And that means they are fascism in progress.

We need a democratic and constitutional revolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 4:26pm in

There are any number of ways of seeing the photograph’s issued yesterday of the party Boris Johnson attended on 13 November 2020.

Denis Swayne MP managed to call it a work event yesterday, which was no excuse.

No doubt Grant Shapps will destroy any remaining credibility he has by telling the morning media round some lie or other as to why this was not an illegal gathering when we know it was, since people have been fined for being at it, and that the prime minister was entitled to be there as he was at home, which is not true as his home is in his fiat.

The Met must also gave their reasons for not fining Johnson when they did others at the same event, but I doubt they will.

But, candidly, literally nothing anyone can say will alter the fact that this was very obviously a party. And parties were illegal at the time.

So what really happened? It seems to me that an illegal party was held. The Prime Minister must have endorsed it, because he could have stopped it. He had the power to do so. No one had more power than him. He was therefore responsible for this event. He should have been held responsible for it, and should have been honed, heavily, as a result.

He lied to parliament about this event. He was asked if any party took place on this day. He said none had. He had never corrected the record. The Standards Committee now needs to address this issue.

The Met chose not to penalise him. It is said they have seen this photo. Their action is totally inexplicable.

So what to do? First, conclude that the Met is utterly corrupt. There is no other explanation for their actions. All the senior officers involved need to be disciplined, in my opinion. A total reorganisation is required and its excess powers need to be stripped from it.

Second, there is no point expecting the Met to take further action, and anyway this is all about politics now.

Third, the Standards Committee needs to suspend Johnson for lying to the House. The penalty should be at least ten days. Then there can be a recall petition in Uxbridge. This is the right way to punish this charlatan.

Fourth, we need a government that realises we face a systemic, existential crisis. It must appreciate we have faced fascism. It must be aware fascism has almost won. It must be willing to address that. It has to create unity and real choice. It has to sweep away the systems that let us reach this state. We need a democratic and constitutional revolution. We need all democrats to combine to guarantee the delivery of that now. We need them to name the enemy we face. We need to start this process immediately. We are in deep danger. We are in the biggest political crisis I have ever known. I just hope politicians can rise to it.

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NB: please note moderation will be very sporadic today. I am having to help a relative who needs support and am taking time off to do so. Please understand if it takes me time to get to comments.

Health to me – but not government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 9:22am in

With those toe-curling pictures of Johnson toasting health, while Britain was in full lockdown and many were not allowed to visit dying relatives, we have established that there is absolutely nothing in government’s so called accountability…. We have now the probability of the Metropolitan Police not having investigated Partygate as comprehensively as they could in... Read more

Let’s face it: the Met must be corrupt. Partygate is really hard to explain unless that is the case

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 5:15pm in

A great deal is being said about Partygate today. Those with considerably more legal expertise in this area than I have got appear to be befuddled by the Met’s decision-making process.

How is it possible for one person to be fined for attending an event that was obviously illegal in itself, and for another person known to have been there to be found not guilty when attendance was, in itself, the crime? That is very hard to work out. Unless, that is, the Met is a corrupt instrument within a fascist state, knowing what is required of it. Then everything makes sense.

Which leaves just one question to ask. What are the odds that the Durham police are also corrupt? I can only guess, but my money would be on that being the case.

The F word is already on the way..

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 6:56am in

Mhairi Black speaks for just over four minutes on why our current givernment is so dangerous – because that F word is fascism:... Read more

Johnson may have received Russian money for his leadership campaign

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 19/05/2022 - 6:42am in

So reveals a recent New York Times article I’m not surprised – Putin must have been delighted that such a self serving Narcissist was likely to take charge of the Tory Party and hence Britain. At least Labour are asking questions – even if the UK Mainstrem media haven’t even mentioned it… Nothing remarkble about... Read more

The inflation we are suffering is by government choice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 18/05/2022 - 4:45pm in

The ONS has published new inflation data today. The news is not good, although there is no surprise about that. This is the summary chart:

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is the headline rate everyone but the government refers to. The Office for National Statistics, acting as the government's disinformation department, prefers CPIH, which adds in literally made up (I kid you not) owner-occupier's supposed housing costs, and tends to be lower - as the chart shows.

The CPIH breakdown over time is as follows:

The change in the month was:

Household energy caused the change. There is no surprise there.

Four things can be done about this, all of which make sense when the goal of the government is to keep inflation low and stop it being embedded in the economy.

First, taxes and duties included in domestic energy costs can be cut so that the sum collected is a fixed sum equivalent to that paid in April 2021, and not a variable as now. There is no reason why the government should profit from what is happening in energy markets now, but it is and is revelling in doing so as this makes it easier to balance its books. This has to stop.

Second, electricity can be priced on the average cost of production plus a fair profit margin rather than on the basis of the marginal cost of the most expensive form of production, as used now, which seriously hikes prices.

Third, we could have a windfall tax, but they have voted against that.

Fourth, we need to increase benefits, pensions and low pay now, but they are vehemently opposed to that.

So, this inflation is by choice. It is not necessary at the rate it is being suffered at. Nor is the suffering resulting from it necessary. But the government seemingly wants both the profiteering (including by itself) and the suffering.

No wonder people are angry.

And no wonder that I have seen reports that banks are preparing for civil unrest this summer.

You can't force a population to suffer without good reason and not expect a reaction.

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