Sunday, 16 October 2011

Interesting Links

Although the resignation of Dr Liam Fox did not come as a surprise, you can't help wondering if further digging into his dealings would have thrown up some dirt on the bigger players in the British Government. The shadowy Atlantic Bridge Charity for example which Liam Fox chaired could have been a rich source of embarrassment, especially as it was swiftly wound up after the Charity Commission demanded that its "current activities must cease immediately" because "the activities of the charity have not furthered any of its other charitable purposes in any way".
A charity that was set up but was shut down 14 years later because it hadn't actually done any charity work?
Unfortunately the Atlantic Bridge website has been closed so we can't actually get to see what it was all about. At least we can't unless we have a trip through the websites archive.
The Our Aim page shows the Mission statement as: 'to preserve and promote the Special Relationship exemplified by the Reagan-Thatcher partnership of the 1980s. Its goal is to become the premier Anglo-American voice advocating free market principles to a broad range of common issues. To those ends, The Atlantic Bridge works to re-establish and foster a strong, well-positioned network of like-minded people in business, politics, academia, law and journalism on both sides of the Atlantic.'
So who was in this special club?
The UK Atlantic Bridge Board Members were headed by Honorary Patron Margaret Thatcher while ministers, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and William Hague were all on its advisory council alongside Fox, its UK chairman .
In 2007, things get interesting. An apparently unconnected US-based lobby group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) set up a sister charity in the US - also known as Atlantic Bridge.
"Washington, DC-The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pleased to announce the launch of The Atlantic Bridge Project as the latest component of its International Relations Program. The project aims to foster positive relationships between conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, so that they may further the ideals exemplified by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.'
ALEC is supported by the likes of Exxon Mobil, tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer and Koch Industries Ltd. All interesting bedfellows but especially the Koch Industries, whose founders, the oil barons Charles G Koch and David H Koch, have funnelled tens of millions to climate-denial front groups.
On the Atlantic Bridge Executive committee we have Scott Syfert, a lawyer with Moore & Van Allen, which represents military, chemical and energy interests. Also on the executive board is Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, which represents casino operators and Michael Hintze, who has donated more than £1m to the Tories and whose firm, CQS, deals with defence contracts.
Far from being a small, conservative talking shop, the Atlantic Bridge was a well connected networking club linking most of the UK cabinet to powerful business interests.
The man who bought down Fox, Adam Werrity, had links to a company called Pargav who financed his trips abroad. Pargav was partly funded by Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, chairman of Bicom, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, who are 'dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain.'
Interesting connections indeed between our Government and those with very deep pockets and a vested interest in influencing UK policy.


David G said...

Lucy, if there was a God and He/she/it decided to send the angel of death to visit and dispatch every human who was on the take, I'd estimate that half of the world's population would disappear!

And it would be no loss at all. Since the worship of greed took over, morality has all but gone along with honesty and integrity and nobility.

I cannot imagine what the world will look like in another fifty years (assuming the U.S. and its Allies haven't destroyed most of it by then).

Have a nice day!

Lucy said...

There would certainly be less politicians floating around David. It is becoming so the ones who are NOT on the take are in the minority.