9 February 2009

Torture, Rendition, Terror & Oil: A Primer on "Deep Politics"

Why is the Obama administration hell-bent on continuing rendition, and covering-up torture? Why are Western states complicit in these illegal activities? How can the systematic perpetuation of such criminal practices under the rubric of the 'War on Terror' be conducted by the very states who claim to be the guardians of 'international law' and 'human rights'?

The practice of rendition, linked inextricably to the facilitation of torture, is an integral part of the conduct of the western ‘War on Terror’, initiated after 9/11. It therefore needs to be understood in the context of western geopolitical, strategic and economic strategies, and their connection to national security policies. Only by grasping this wider context can rendition be understood in terms of its relationship to the logic of current western strategies, which are themselves rooted in longstanding social, political, ideological and economic processes tied to the protection of powerful vested interests. The movement against rendition will be ineffective if it fails to understand and confront precisely these underlying strategies, processes and interests in the context of which rendition is being practiced and facilitated by western states.

Torture and Rendition: Preliminary Definitions

It's important to start by being absolutely clear what we mean by these terms. Confusion about the inextricable linkage between kidnapping and human trafficking, rendition, and torture has led even groups like Human Rights Watch to come out and suggested there is a "legitimate place" for the "limited" practice of rendition.

Rendition is the process of transporting detainees from one jurisdiction to another without any due process. The practice of rendition by the United States government in alliance with the British and some European governments is generally linked to torture, as detainees are often sent to countries known to practice torture.

At every stage of its execution, rendition overrides due process and lacks legal justification:

1. Rendition begins with the identification of individuals as “terrorist suspects”. New anti-terrorism laws across the US, UK and Europe are designed to grant states the widest possible scope in ascribing this label to individuals in the absence of specific evidence. As such, individuals can be identified as “terrorist suspects” by the state without justification. It is no surprise then that the vast majority of individuals detained as “terrorist suspects” under new anti-terrorism legislation are never charged with any crime.

2. After being identified as a “terrorist suspect”, an individual is detained indefinitely without charge. For all intents and purposes, then, the label of “terrorist suspect” in itself fails to elicit any sort of criminal implications. In the absence of criminal charges, “terrorist suspects” are not “suspects” in any meaningful legal sense – they are merely detainees who remain innocent until proven guilty.

3. The “terrorist suspect” is subsequently transferred to another jurisdiction, often across other jurisdictions, where the presiding state routinely practices torture against detainees, and where due process and legal accountability are lacking. In this climate, the detainee is liable to be subject to torture. Information thereby obtained might be used as a basis to identify other “terrorist suspects”, or in relation to other security policies implemented as part of the “War on Terror”.

4. The “terrorist suspect” is at no time inserted into an accountable or objective legal process, and in fact is prevented from a process of prosecution and trial that might attempt to test the state’s actions toward them.

One will note the obvious fact that at every stage, rendition is devoid of legal justification. It violates the individual’s most basic human rights to due process, in particular the elementary notion of habeas corpus. The western state practice of rendition, in other words, although it portrays itself as an extension of the state’s law-enforcement powers pursued to protect national security, is on the contrary an entirely criminal act that violates the most basic security of the person.

"Deep Politics" and the Criminalization of the State

Rendition, however, is only one criminal practice among numerous others implemented in the context of the ‘War on Terror’. Iraq provides an obvious example, including issues such as the illegal commencement and conduct of the war on Iraq; the fabrication of intelligence on WMD; the systematic use of torture in Iraqi prisons; among many other policies. It is absolutely essential, therefore, that rendition be seen as integrally conjoined to other criminal practices by western states.

This demonstrates that rendition manifests a much deeper phenomenon in the development of western state policies: the increasing criminalization of the state. What is driving this process of criminalization? In the service of what powerful vested interests are states acting in this increasingly criminal manner?

The analysis of these issues is known as “deep politics”, a term coined by the Canadian political scientist Peter Dale Scott, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to Scott, a deep political system or process is one in which institutional, non-institutional and para-political bodies, criminal syndicates, politicians, judges, media, corporations and leading government employees, resort to

“... decision-making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those sanctioned by law and society. What makes these supplementary procedures ‘deep’ is the fact that they are covert or suppressed, outside public awareness as well as outside sanctioned political processes.” [1]

Deep political analysis is concerned with revealing the tendency of the state, which is the locus of law, to enter into criminal activity that conventionally would be viewed as anathema to the state’s professed laws. As Scott observes, from the viewpoint of conventional political science, law enforcement and the criminal underworld are opposed to each other, the former struggling to gain control of the latter. However:

“A deep political analysis notes that in practice these efforts at control lead to the use of criminal informants; and this practice, continued over a long period of time, turns informants into double agents with status within the police as well as the mob. The protection of informants and their crimes encourages favors, payoffs, and eventually systemic corruption. The phenomenon of ‘organized crime’ arises: entire criminal structures that come to be tolerated by the police because of their usefulness in informing on lesser criminals.” [2]

In time, this can lead to a form of police-crime symbiosis, where the defining parameters of which side controls the other are no longer clear. The present condition of western state practices in relation to the ‘War on Terror’ suggests that we are facing a serious state-crisis, challenging the legitimacy of the state as the harbinger of law, order and security. The comprehensive nature of the criminalization of the state, its penetration of both domestic and foreign arenas of policy, can only be explained in the context of the state’s increasing subservience to powerful vested interests that are unlikely to meet public approval, and that therefore must be secured without public consent. So what are these interests?

The Deep Politics of Terror in Algeria: A Case Study

The case of Algeria provides a powerful example of the overlap of these criminal western state practices which converge on a very precise set of strategic and economic interests:

1. Individuals identified as “terrorist suspects” have been transferred to, among many other states, Algeria. Algeria is a regime with a notorious record of human rights abuses including the systematic practice of torture which was detailed by the British Home Office in an April 2004 report prepared by the Country Information and Policy Unit used in assessing asylum claims. After its visit to Algeria in June 2005, Human Rights Watch concluded that the regime continues to practice torture, especially during interrogation of security suspects.

The interrogation of “suspects” using torture was responsible for the production of the false ricin-plot narrative. Algerian security services alerted the British in January 2003 to the plot after interrogating and torturing a “terrorist suspect” and former British resident Mohammed Meguerba. We now know there was no plot. Four of the defendants were acquitted of terrorism and four others had the cases against them abandoned. Only Kamal Bourgass was convicted after he murdered Special Branch Detective Constable Stephen Oake during a raid. Rendition attempts to institutionalize and legitimize torture as a means of the production of fundamentally compromised information used by western states to manipulate domestic public opinion. [3]

2. Algeria plays a crucial role in relation to the west’s ‘War on Terror’, and cooperates closely with the US, UK and France in particular on regional anti-terrorist initiatives. US and Algerian joint operations in the last few years for instance have involved the construction of a ‘terror zone’ across southern Algeria, northern Nigeria, Mauritania, Northern Mali, Northern Niger and Chad. In July 2003, under US auspices, Algeria, Chad, Niger and Nigeria ‘signed a cooperation agreement on counter-terrorism that effectively joined the two oil-rich sides of the Sahara together in a complex of security arrangements whose architecture is American.’ [4]

The agreement was quickly followed up with what has become the principal vehicle of American involvement, the Pan-Sahel Initiative, a $7.75 million military programme providing training and equipment to Algeria, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania to ‘improve their border security and deny the use of their sovereign territory to terrorists and criminals.’ [5] One thousand US Special forces, marines and contractors were sent to these countries in January 2004 to supply extensive military counter-terrorist assistance and coordination. The US is expanding the programme to include Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia, with a new budget of $500 million for the period until 2011, now with a new name, the ‘Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative’.[6] A major US military base operates from Tamanrasset in the south of Algeria, with 400 Special Forces. Algeria is viewed as pivotal to US plans for future military deployment in the region.[7]

3. Thirdly, Algeria is complicit in the facilitation of radical Islamist terrorist activity - with Western knowledge and support. Former Algerian government and security officials have independently confirmed that Algerian military-intelligence services had infiltrated and controlled almost all radical Islamist terrorist groups in the country, including the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). [8]

Foreign Office documents released to the Honourable Court in 2000 relating to the trial of three alleged Algerian terrorists, who were all acquitted, revealed extensive evidence to this effect. Whitehall’s Joint Intelligence Committee cited evidence of Algerian ‘government manipulation or involvement in [Islamist] terrorist violence’. One document stated, ‘Sources had privately said some of the killings of civilians [blamed on Islamist terrorist groups] were the responsibility of the Algerian security services’. Multiple documents ‘referred to the ‘manipulation’ of the GIA [the Armed Islamic Group, one of the principal Islamist terrorist groups in Algeria] being used as a cover to carry out their own operations’. A US intelligence report confirmed that ‘there was no evidence to link 1995 Paris bombings to Algerian militants’. On the contrary, ‘one killing at the time could have been ordered by the Algerian government.’ [9]

According to social anthropologist Jeremy Keenan - Senior Research Fellow and Director of Sahara Studies at the University of East Anglia - ‘contradictory Algerian intelligence reports and eyewitness testimonies suggest collusion between agents of Algeria’s military intelligence services and the Salafist Group.’ Not surprisingly, the State Department has ‘declined to comment on the matter.’ Indeed, the United States needs the GSPC terrorist threat to justify the extension of US hegemony to northwest Africa. ‘Without the GSPC,’ observes Keenan, ‘the US has no legitimacy for its presence in the region.’[10]

In several extraordinary analyses published in the peer-reviewed academic journal Review of African Political Economy, Keenan documents ‘an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that the alleged spread of terrorist activities across much of the Sahelian Sahara, has indeed been an elaborate deception on the part of US and Algerian military intelligence services.’ Keenan thus finds that the expansion of the GSPC presence in the Sahara was jointly facilitated by US and Algerian security services.[11]

4. Algeria is the subject of crucial strategic and economic interests on the part of the US, UK and several EU states, especially with regard to its oil and natural gas reserves. Northwest African oil reserves currently meet 17 per cent of US needs. An Algerian company, Sonatrach, plays a major role in US oil exploration as the largest company in Africa, with an estimated turnover of $32 billion in 2004.[12] Experts agree that by 2015, ‘Africa will become the US’s second-most important supplier of oil, and possibly natural gas, after the Middle East.’[13]

US commercial involvement in Algeria began in 1991, after the military coup that cancelled national elections. At the end of that year, the regime ‘opened the energy sector on liberal terms to foreign investors and operators.’ The main US firms include ‘Arco, Exxon, Oryx, Anadarko, Mobil and Sun Oil.’[14] According to European intelligence sources, CIA meetings with Algerian Islamist leaders from 1993 to 1995 are responsible for the lack of terrorist attacks on US oil and agribusiness installations in Algeria.[15] Approximately 90 per cent of Algeria’s crude oil exports go to western Europe, including Britain, where BP has a 31.8 billion pounds contract with the regime.[16]


The case of Algeria demonstrates that CIA-MI6 sponsored rendition and torture in Algeria cannot be understood in isolation from the dynamics of Algeria’s deep political relations with Western states, which can be explained by the economic and strategic interests that appear to inextricably bind the West and Algeria. Similar configurations of mutual interests explain the trajectories of Western security policies, including torture and rendition, in many other strategic regions in relation to the ‘War on Terror’. One of the most disturbing elements of these deep political ties is their implication for western policies toward ‘international terrorism’. The case of Algeria highlights how:

1. Western states use rendition and torture to manufacture intelligence to magnify the threat of terrorism in support of domestic and foreign security policies.

2. Western states are indirectly complicit in disturbing policies of cohabitation with radical Islamist networks, which appears to have selectively facilitated their activities.

3. This in turn has legitimized the expansion and consolidation of military-strategic control of regions considered crucial to western interests, particularly with regard to access to energy reserves and raw materials.

These three strands of policy cannot be separated, and to be challenged effectively they must be analyzed and deconstructed holistically. They are integral to a sophisticated international security system, geared to the protection of specific strategic and economic interests, that has been constructed by the US in cooperation with the UK and some EU states after 9/11, but many of whose principles were already in place well before those terrorist attacks.

This system has accelerated the criminalization of the state, resulting in a veritable crisis of corruption. In order to launch an effective and lasting challenge to western state criminal practices such as rendition, therefore, the security system itself - its structure, the key players responsible for its operation, and the corrupt interests it is designed to meet - needs to be understood, exposed and undermined.


[1] Scott, Peter Dale, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (California: University of California Press, 1996) p. 8.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Neil MacKay, ‘The new boom industry: Torture with CIA ‘extraordinary rendition’’, Sunday Herald (4 December 2005)
[4] Jeremy Keenan, ‘Terror in the Sahara: the Implications of US Imperialism for North & West Africa’, Review of African Political Economy (September 2004, 31 (101): 475–486), p. 491.
[5] Ambassador Cofer Black, ‘The Prevention and Combating of Terrorism in Africa’, Remarks at the Second Intergovernmental High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism In Africa, Algiers (Washington DC: US Department of State, 13 October 2004)
[6] Jason Motlag, ‘US takes terror fight to Africa’s “Wild West”’, San Francisco Chronicle (27 December 2005)

[7] Salima Mellah and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire, ‘Who Staged the Tourist Kidnappings? El Para, the Maghreb’s Bin Laden’, Le Monde Diplomatique (February 2005)
[8] For an extensive review of sources see my The War on Truth: 9/11 Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism (London: Interlink, 2005)
[9] Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Terrorist case collapses after three years’, Guardian (21 March 2000).
[10] Jason Motlag, ‘US takes terror fight to Africa’s “Wild West”,’ op. cit.
[11] Jeremy Keenan, ‘Terror in the Sahara', op. cit. Keenan reviews a wealth of evidence in excruciating detail. Also see his two other briefings which contain more extensive background analysis demonstrating a US-Algerian intelligence deception in relation to the GSPC: Keenan, ‘Americans & ‘Bad People’ in the Sahara-Sahel’, Review of African Political Economy (March 2004, 31 (99): 130–9); ‘Political Destablisation and ‘Blowback’ in the Sahel’, Review of African Political Economy (December 2004, 31(102): 691–703). Look out for Keenan's forthcoming book,
The Dark Sahara (London: Pluto, 2009)
[12] Salima Mellah and Jean-Baptiste Rivoire, ‘Who Staged the Tourist Kidnappings?’ op. cit.
[13] Pierre Abramovici, ‘United States: the new scramble for Africa’, Le Monde (July 2004)
[14] John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, (Pluto Press: London, 1998, pp. 205–6).
[15] Richard Labévière, Dollars for Terror: The US and Islam (New York: Algora, 2000), pp. 182–9.
[16] ‘Algeria’, United States Energy Information Administration (February 1999)


  1. The following article may be of some interest to you:

    My experiences, the Scott Inquiry, the British Legal System

    By Gerald Reaveley James

    I am reminded of the very appropriate quote from Edmund Burke (1729-97) “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”

    I am most grateful to Dr Badsha for inviting me and honoured to make this address at this Conference of the Environmental Law Centre.

    The Astra case and my case reflect much that has been to the fore in recent years in not only scandals around arms companies like Astra, Matrix Churchill, Ordtec, Forgemasters, Walter Somers, Ferranti and other companies like Polly Peck, BCCI and Maxwell but also in the Scott Inquiry, the BSE Inquiry and the Lloyds of London affair and other scandals. The underlying problem is secret unaccountable government which bypasses Parliament and how the law is administered in the UK, gives aid and succour to such a state of affairs. The most common device is the concealment of evidence and manipulation of cases. There is a tendency when challenged for those in authority to talk of conspiracy theories. My experience is that those who do so are usually part of the conspiracy.

    My company Astra gave rise to much of the circumstances which created the Scott Inquiry, the Supergun revelations (we reported it first), the Aitken affair, the murder of Gerald Bull in Brussels in March 1990 and much else.

    Background note:

    My name is Gerald Reaveley James. Until March 1990 and between 1980 and 1990 I was chairman of Astra Holdings PLC (“Astra”) which became a leading ammunition and weapons manufacturer. By the late 1980’s Astra had factories in the United States (9), Canada (2), Belgium (5), United Kingdom (5) and administrative headquarters in Washington Dc, Brussels and London and employed 4,000 personnel. The story of Astra is too long to recount here but a summary is contained in my book, “In the Public Interest” published by Little Brown UK hardback 1995, Warner paperback 1996, London. Astra became involved in covert weapons and ammunitions operations organised by MI5 and MI6 and the CIA, the MOD, DOD, FCO and the State Department and the DTI. To such an extent was Astra involved with its pricipal subsidiaries, Walters, Accudyne, Kilgore USA PRB Belgium, BMARC UK; in the covert trade manipulations of Foreign Policy. In 1989/90, following a reappraisal of Foreign Policy in the light of the demise of the Cold War and changing circumstances in the Middle East, where it became apparent the US, UK and EEC had transferred Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical weapons technology as well as conventional weapons to countries like Iran and Iraq, and the discovery Pakistan had the atomic bomb, the whole covert network was reorganised. This involved the collapsing of companies like Astra, Ferranti/ISC, Polly Peck, BCCI, Maxwell Group etc and the prosecution of lesser fry Companies and their directors – companies like Matrix Churchill, BNJ, Ordtec, Euromac, SRC, Forgemasters, Walter Somers are examples. The directors of Astra were to a large extent ignorant of the full range of covert activities carried out in their name but aware of some of these activities and the likely destination of their goods. As however all operations were sanctioned by the DTI, MOD, FCO, and in the US by the DOD and the State Department and in Belgium by the Belgian Government, not too many questions were raised initially. However, in late 1988 and 1989 it became clear to me as Chairmen that the clandestine operations far exceeded anything remotely sanctioned by the full Board and I set out to investigate in depth. I became aware that certain plants were used to secretly store and ship goods; that monies were being transferred to other operations without book records or board approval in secret commission payments; that our paper work and parallel bank accounts were being used to process arms shipments from major UK defence companies like British Aerospace, Royal Ordnance, GEC Marconi, Thorn EMI etc. A leading British Defence Journalist wrote a report which was largely kept secret which indicated £100m was stolen from the Export Credit Guarantee Department (“ECGD”) in a fictitious subcontract for propellant which BMARC, an Astra subsidiary, had secretly obtained in 1998 from Royal Ordnance.

    I also became concerned about payments to and business with MI6/CIA front company Allivane which had occurred between 1983 and 1988 via Astra. Is also became clear that all our main operations were involved in covert operations in the USA Belgium and the UK, and that Astra, when it acquired these companies, had inherited a hard core of MI6, MI5, DIA agents who operated behind the back of the original directors and who treated them as “useful idiots”. All our main companies were involved with Space Research Corporation (“SRC”) and the late Dr Gerald Bull who was behind the Supergun and other secret projects which Astra companies were also involved in. In 1989 I realised we had a hugely dangerous individual on our main Board and the BMARC Board who was an MI6 agent. This individual, Stepahnus Adolphus Kock had high level political connections to Thatcher, Hesletine, 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. BMARC was the only company outside the Atomic Weapons research Establishment and Government Arms depots with the capability to store nuclear bombs like Redbeard and WE177.

    By early 1990 my probing had become a major problem and a plot was hatched to remove me as Chairman shortly before the Supergun and other revelations and Bull’s murder. A new dummy board ld in reality by Kock with two MI6/MI5 stooges ran the company into the ground over the next two years. In order to explain away the destruction of the company with a £350m order book and a market capitalisation of £120m desperate attempts were made to find evidence of malpractice by the original directors. Gumbley, my Managing Director, who had been with Bull until an hour before he was shot had discussed with Bull suing UK Government and senior civil servants using Bull’s extensive knowledge of high level corruption and illegal operations. It had been agreed I would return with Gumbley to agree with lawyers how to proceed a week later. I had discussed such matters with Bull some six months previous but no further action had been taken. Gumbley was immediately framed up for corrupting an MOD official and jailed for 9 months and after desperately trying to find something on me and failing, Kock and MI6/MI5 decided to institute through Peter Lilley and the DTI a DTI Inquiry. Lilley was Secretary of state at the DTI at the time.

    The DTI Inquiry lasted three years and cost £2.5m plus (as much as the Scott Inquiry). The announcement of the Inquiry and the misleading press statements issued by the DTI and Government ensured the downfall of Astra. Crooks and MI5, MI6, agents or informers were put in chare of Astra – Kock, Roy Barber FCA and Tony McCann. Barber and McCann whose managerial and industrial competence and experience were negligible paid themselves £330,000 and £280,000 pa respectively. Barber took £100,000 in the first month. Barber’s annual payment was more than I received in salary and expenses as Chairman over ten years while I built the company. PRB was sold off immediately for £3m to avoid embarrassing revelations. MI5, MI6 and MOD police and Customs launched 17 raids on Astra premises in order to steal any sales and other documentation incriminating Government. No new orders were obtained in spite of the Gulf War and the company ran on the £350m order book we had left for two years, before it was put into receivership on 2nd February 1992 on the eve of me giving evidence to the House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee re Supergun, Project Babylon and arms to Iraq (and Iran etc). Press coverage was hue and adverse. This facilitated, as clearly city interests like Banks and Astra’s main shareholders 3i, Prudential and Clerical and medical cooperated with Government for their own interest and purposes against the interests of smaller shareholders ( a parallel with Lloyds techniques). Kock had a cover as a consultant in Midland Bank’s secret arms department, Midland and Industrial Trade Services (”MITS”). This was staffed by ex service officers, MI5, MI6, agents and intelligence affiliated bankers. Midland with the Bank of Boston were Astra’s main bankers and dominated by MI6 CIA agents. Kock was also said to be head of Group 13, the Government’s assassination and dirty tricks squad according to Richard John Rainey Unwin, a close associate of Knock himself who was a contract MI6 agent and Consultant to Astra. Kock and Unwin, with Martin Laing Construction, negotiated the £2bn Malaysian defence deal before George Younger, the Defence Secretary even knew of it.

    The MOD police arrested several of my colleagues, framed Grumbley up. I was subjected to harassment, burglaries; I was arrested by Customs, investigated by the Inland Revenue, subjected to surveillance, threats, bugging, telephone tapping (all documented), a DTI Inquiry which lasted 3 years and a DTI prosecution which lasted 4 years. In addition I had to give copious evidence to the Scott Inquiry over 4 years, 2 DTI Select Committees, Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Defence Select Committee, Public Accounts Select Committee, Public Services Select committee, Police (SOI), a huge law suit in the United States (Dooley case). My family suffered considerably, my two eldest sons army careers suffered, my youngest son’s education because of adverse publicity, my brother was killed in an accident never satisfactory explained which could have been intended for me.

    In the course of my own experiences I took considerable note and interest in parallel cases like Matrix Churchill, Ordtec, Euromac, Atlantic Commercial, BNJ, SRC, Forgemasters, Walter Somers, Polly Peck, Foxley Ferranti/ISC, BCCI, Maxwell etc. All these cases and others and the Astra case involved the gross abuse of power by Government and its agencies and servants, concealment of key evidence, intimidation, threats, false and selective prosecutions, manipulation of evidence, perversion of the course of justice. It has also been clearly demonstrated that there is no separation of powers within the United Kingdom. Key legal appointments like Lord Chancellor and attorney General, Solicitor General are wholly political. It has also been clearly demonstrated that Parliament has no control of knowledge of events and that a vast apparatus of permanent unelected Government exists. This permanent Government consists of senior civil servants, intelligence and security officers, key figures in certain city and financial institutions (including Lloyds of London), key industrialists and directors of major monopolistic companies, senior politicians. The Lord Chancellors Office which is responsible for the appointment of Judges, Clerks of the House of Commons select Committees and approval of Chairmen of such committees and the approval of the Queen’s Counsel, holds a total control of the legal administrative framework and has strong connections to the security and intelligence services. The last Clerk to the Crown in Chancery was Sir Thomas Legg, KCB QC who had strong links to the intelligence and security establishment and who was responsible for allocating Judges to controversial trials of a political nature where the “national interest” and “national security” (those much abused phrases) were involved, ie the Ponting Case. Legg’s successor will have a similar role. Sir Thomas was duly wheeled out to keep the lid on the Sandline Inquiry re the strange events surrounding the FCO, Sierra Leone and real foreign policy as opposed to the sham variety discussed at Westminster. He has been wheeled out again to keep the lid on an inquiry regarding the corruption in the hugely expensive building of new MP’s offices opposite Big Ben. The companies involved in this case are Alvis, formerly United Scientific Holdings and its Germany partner in the installation of a £35m contract for copper cladding. United Scientific Holdings is the company where ex Chief of defence Procurement and ex Lord Mayor Sir Peter, now Lord Levene was Managing director (later a Director of N.M. Rothschild) was Chairman. An American competitor alleges irregularities and corruption as it offered to do the work for a much lower price.

    The real framework which secretly controls our lives is little understood or studies even by those who work within its musty and murky depths. It has only recently emerged that Appeal Court Judges are secretly briefed making appearances before such luminaries a sham and a joke. The public can thank Mr Geoffrey Scriven for these revelations. Lloyds names can hardly have realised that legislation was secretly framed to prevent wrong doers being sued. (Times Magazine Article 21/2/00).

    The other area which is little understood is the Crown. To many the Crown represents the Royal family but we now have a Constitutional Monarchy. The Crown in its constitutional sense is the last home of secret government. Much is done in the name of the Crown which is without the permission or knowledge of the Monarch. Token gestures are made by sending her despatch boxes of “selected” information. The Crown is represented by the Monarch but does not represent the on secret and major issues. The armed forces (the last bastion of institutional integrity) swear their allegiance to the Monarch not to Parliament as do Judges and the Intelligence and security services – the latter are totally unaccountable as is the Lord Chancellors’ office which controls Courts and Judges. The Lord Chancellor is unelected as is the Attorney General who although chosen from the ranks of MPs is not elected, like the Solicitor General. The Attorney General holds sway over the Crown Prosecution service, serious Fraud Office, HM Customs (as revealed by the Scott Inquiry) and the Police in respect of sanctioning cases. The Law Officers, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General are the Chief Legal Advisors (assisted by the Solicitor General) has overall responsibility for the work of the Law Officer’s Departments:

    ie The Treasury Solicitors Department
    Crown Prosecution Service
    Serious Fraud Office
    Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

    All the duties of the above departments (and HM Customs) are ultimately supervised by the Attorney General.

    The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland is also responsible to the Attorney General for the performance of his functions. There are also additional responsibilities with regard to civil and criminal law.

    The other area which is key to overall secret control outside Parliament is the Privy Council. It is important to note that all main members of the Cabinet become members of the Privy Council as do leaders and sometimes the deputy leaders of the opposition parties.

    The Privy Council oath which all members take means they cannot freely discuss any matter they are informed of or told of “Under Privy Council terms”. This means that the Cabinet and opposition leaders cannot discuss freely in Parliament or elsewhere any matter told to them on “Privy Council terms”. This means in practice that the key MPs cannot discharge their democratic duties. It is in effect a gagging system like Public Interest Immunity Certificates dispensed by Judges on application of Government and its agencies. All senior Judges and Appeal Judges are Privy Councillors as is the Lord Chancellor, The Attorney and Solicitor General and other invited and key persons. This secret unelected body has a wide range of powers. On the surface other permanent secretaries, sometimes the Cabinet Secretary and certain members of the established aristocracy are Privy Councillors. The appointment is for life and Jonathon Aitken is one of the few members to resign.

    It should also be remembered Aitken was a Chairman of the Pinay Circle comprised of senior intelligence officers and world leaders who hold secret meeting around the world.

    It is widely and erroneously assumed the Cabinet is the Executive of the elected Government whereas in our unwritten ill defined constitution it is in reality the executive arm of the Privy Council.

    The Privy Council is responsible for the arrangements leading to the making of Royal Proclamations and Orders in Council for certain formalities connected with Ministerial Changes: for considering application for the grant or amendment of Royal Charters, for the security and approval of by laws and statutes of Chartered Institutions, of the governing instruments of universities and colleges, for the appointment of High Sheriffs and many Crown and Privy Council Nominees for governing bodies.

    Under the relevant Acts, the office of the Privy Council is responsible for the approval of certain regulations and rules made by the governing bodies of the medical and certain allied professions.

    The President of the Council has responsibility for the working of the Privy Council. A leader of the House of Commons he or she is responsible for supervising the Government’s legislative programme. He or she allegedly upholds the right and privileges of the House as a whole and in its capacity it falls to him or her to move motions relating to the procedure of the House. In January 1994 the Privy Council assumed responsibility for the newly formed Central Drugs Coordination Unit. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest Court of Appeal for the Commonwealth except the United Kingdom and those countries which had abolished appeals to it. It still can confirm death sentences in certain territories and in the UK hears ecclesiastical cases and appeals against disciplinary decisions by disciplinary bodies of the medical professions and certain allied bodies. Its more secret and sinister workings are little known and in theory it is the advisory body to the monarch. It appears that the bulk of elected politicians do not penetrate its inner recesses yet can be influenced by it.

    The Privy Council allied with the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and the Cabinet and Cabinet Intelligence Unit which is the real control over the security and intelligence services are part of the secret permanent unaccountable Government.

    We have seen from the arms to Iran, Iraq affairs, the Sandline affair and other scandals that politicians and Parliament have little or no control and are more like players in a pantomime put on for the general public and gullible public.

    The roots of this sinister power are rooted in history, particularly that of the usurping Tudors. The Privy Council and secret services have developed since then and it is wrong to regard MI5 and MI6 as the sole such bodies. As Douglas Hurd told a Commons Select Committee regarding nuclear proliferation they are but two tributaries of the main stream of intelligence. The communication and eavesdropping unit GCHQ works extensively with the intelligence and security services and with those of other countries including the intelligence services and National Security Agency of USA and with the Services of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Each regularly circumvents domestic laws for the benefit of the others under programmes like “echelon” and agreements between UK and USA. Politicians and civil servants and other leading figures who get out of line can be surveyed or bugged and then threatened, blackmailed, framed up or worse.

    Secrecy breeds corruption, secrecy is power, information is power particularly confidential information. There is no accountability and the calibre of MP deteriorates with each Parliament. The young politician with no experience outside is naïve and powerless and many now have a blind loyalty to their party. Ironically the hereditary peers of the House of Lords provided one of the last vestiges of honesty and independence now largely destroyed by self-important and self-deluding figures like Blair and Baroness Jay.

    This the background against which decisions affairs like Lloyds of London have been handled and decided.

    Secrecy has breed corruption and lack of accountability. Judicial Inquiries are cosmetic and carried out by the Judiciary who are key tools of the “cover up” and the status quo. (ie the Scott Inquiry). London is a key world money laundering centre (£500 billion per annum). Damage to Lloyds’ credibility will damage London and its position as a money or financial centre.

    Much of the Uk’s traditional industry is gone. To deal with Lloyds from the point of view of justice, will rock the boat and damage the so called national interest. Privileged persons in politics and the judiciary etc have been protected and the rest do not matter. The policy is to protect Lloyds and cover up. The same arrogant and self serving attitude was evident in the arms trade and the related drugs trade. Those on the inside are only interested in concealment, cover up, and their own on going benefits protected by secrecy and privilege. Justice does not count. The scandals involving political parties, large companies, the intelligence and security services, and corruption in Germany (Kohl), France (Mitterand/Dumas,etc) Italy (Craxi) are pale shadows of what has gone on in the UK. We have what the late Roberto Clavi of Banco Amnrosiano in Italy as described “potere occulto” –secret power.

    Ironically the main threat to this secret power is the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) Article 6 which overturns Uk legal decisions regularly and has already caused the sacking of deputy Judges, and Magistrates in Scotland while threatening Scottish Judges. Scotland under devolution adopted ECHR in 1999 and England did so in October 2000, although the Lord Chief Justice (Bingham) already recommended as a result of the Kebbilen case that the ECHR should be recognised in England before this.

    It is significant that the Home Secretary Shaw is proposing the abolition of juries and magistrates in many and perhaps eventually all cases. This will put further power in the hands of secret and unaccountable Government and corrupt Judges. The ramifications are extremely sinister and serious. Already the rules of evidence have been perverted in favour of secret an unaccountable Government who routinely conceal evidence and pervert the course of justice.

    It has never been more vital for people to challenge the views of politicians and opinion formers. We live in an age where much if not most of the media is controlled. The legal mechanism and Judges and the court system need to be beyond reproach. Sadly they are not and the chronicle of abuse and manipulation of cases is appalling. Judges are not independent in most government related cases and are no different to salaried and pensioned civil servants. The independence of the Judiciary is an allusion fostered by the Judiciary. Too often a Judicial Inquiry is a system for cover up and concealment. Too often the courts are influenced by political considerations as in the Scott Inquiry and the recent Lloyds of London case. Perhaps with pressure this can be changed.

    We do not want a society dominated by lawyers, accountants and monopoly commercial Interests with the courts administered by Judges who follow directions.

    Thank you very much.

  2. Too much Surveillance - The Secret State & MI5/6 and CSIS involvement

    We seem to be moving from an age of rule of law and accountable democracy, to one of arbitrary rule by the intelligence services and the establishment they represent. Human Rights, Civil Liberties, and integrity seem unimportant. Are they being replaced by corruption, rule by self appointed elites and torture. Is that the new cutting edge? Some would call it neo-fascism.

    I found Mr. James’s comments to your article to be very illuminating - particularly as I am myself a victim of the secret State and have experienced much of what Mr. James has written about.

    10-years of slander, intimidation, harassment and death threats, etc. followed. My story is outlined on a Wiki whose URL is:


    In my case the reasons are not so dramatic as Mr. James's. My persecution by the establishment and their MI5/6 secret police services relates to the fact that I was slandered by a bunch of idiots years ago for no reason other than perhaps petty jealousies amongst certain former colleagues. Unfortunately they were able to gear up even bigger idiots in the London establishment to help them. As someone put it to me - it only took them a 30 second phone call to the MI*s to ruin your career, and they wonder why you began to make such a fuss about it.

    As the wiki shows what I have in common with Mr. James is the following – continuous ongoing surveillance (for years) - professional defamation - intimidation, harassment and death threats - a police & government cover-up conspiracy - a corrupt judge - MI5, MI6 provably involved (and CSIS in Canada) – involvement of the establishment. Indeed like Mr. James I was also thrown out of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (I had asked the ICAEW's President twice for help in persuading the government to get this investigated and he did nothing; when eventually I ran out of money and couldn't pay the annual fees, they threw me out – after 35 years membership – so much for the ICAEW’s professional ethics).

    As clearly shown on the wiki there are multiple sources of corroborative evidence to back up my complaints, and the cover-up conspiracy is provable from documentary evidence alone. Some of this documentation is included with the wiki. My case has sufficient evidential backing to prove the existence of a secret state that can override rule of law, and corrupt politicians at the highest level. The galling thing about my case is not just that it proves the existence of a very nasty Secret Police State where establishment interests are concerned, but that it shows that this secret state is influenced by people who are not just evil but also extremely stupid. I was slandered for no reason other than petty jealousies.

    Where I differ from Mr. James is in two aspects.

    Firstly, since my issue was rather lower profile than Mr. James’s, they made a number of mistakes which yield evidence for corroborative purposes.

    Secondly, unlike in Mr. James’s case, I do believe that elements close to the Monarchy are involved in my case which is why two governments are trying to cover-it up. The owner of the company that slandered me is Prince Charles’s best friend.

    Ironically, when I spoke earlier this year to the 30th World Congress on Economic Crime Prevention at McMaster University on the subject of Corporate Terrorism & Government Cover-up, I ended my speech with that very same quote by Burke as Mr. James makes “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”

    Whether its phone tapping or being followed around, I have lived with surveillance for years. For anyone who wants to contact me I should mention that my email, post, and telephone are frequently controlled by MI5/6 & CSIS and I have proof of this. However I can usually be reached with perseverance. My contact details are on the wiki.
    Roderick Russell


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