Monday, 15 February 2016

Skulduggery in Westminster

How MI6 pushed Britain to join Europe

Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, Sunday Telegraph, 27 April 1997,

A brief foreword to those who say they were never offered a referendum to join a European Union although many people did vote YES to join the European Economic Community (EEC) voting for closer trade ties with Europe. So who signed Great Britain into this European Union? This article was written in 1997. The skulduggery is breathtaking and is still taking place today

A secretly-funded Foreign Office unit used public money to mount a covert propaganda operation aimed at ensuring Britain joined the European Community. Paul Lashmar and James Oliver investigate.

IN LATE 1972, Alistair McAlpine, later Lord McAlpine, was recruited as treasurer for a pro-European lobby organisation called the European League for Economic Co-operation. It was only much later that he discovered the reason for his appointment. A "branch of the security services, called, I believe, something like the IDA", had been financing breakfasts and lunches for this and other bodies, he later wrote..........

Now, the full extent of the involvement by the MI6-linked Information Research Department of the Foreign Office in supporting Britain's joining the European Economic Community can be revealed.

For nearly two years, IRD had been funding invitation-only meetings between senior media figures and pro-European politicians, diplomats and businessmen. These were regular, expensive, and well-attended breakfasts at the Connaught Hotel.

McAlpine said last week, Sir William Armstrong, at that time head of the Civil Service, found out about the events. He went to the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, and the IRD funding ceased. As a result ELEC had taken over running the breakfast meetings and McAlpine, then as now a fund-raiser extraordinaire, was brought in.

British and American intelligence services had traditionally supported Britain's entry into the European Economic Community a bulwark against the Communist Eastern bloc. The CIA funded the European Movement, the most prominent extra-governmental group, seeking to influence public opinion for a European Community. Between 1949 and 1953, it was subsidised by the CIA to the tune of £330,000.

In June 1970 Edward Heath's Conservative government had been elected with a pro-European manifesto. But public and parliamentary support for Europe was slipping and Britain's entry was in doubt. Although the Cabinet was dominated by pro-Europeans, Heath presided over a party that was deeply ambivalent about the "Common Market".

Later that year, a meeting of senior information officers in Whitehall was convened to discuss what could be done. An official present at that meeting says the only department that seemed capable of achieving something effective was the Foreign Office's Information Research Department. IRD had been set up in 1948 by Christopher Mayhew, then Foreign Minister, to place covert anti-Communist propaganda throughout the world and was funded by the intelligence budget - the secret vote. IRD was closely linked with MI6 and shared many officers - including at one time the double agent Guy Burgess. 

By the late Sixties, IRD had more than 400 people occupying River-walk House opposite the Tate Gallery and undercover officers in embassies all over the globe.

The civil servant who ran the covert pro-Europe campaign was Norman Reddaway, Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, with a brief covering IRD and other FO information services.
Mr Reddaway, who later became ambassador to Poland, and is now retired, set up a special IRD unit to propagandise in favour of British entry and counter those who opposed it. In an unpublished interview, Mr Reddaway says: "The researchers were extremely good at researching the facts about going into Europe"

The unit worked closely with a number of pro-European politicians to rebut anti-EEC arguments. IRD wrote and brokered articles which were placed in the press "There was no shortage of MPs who were pleased to see something published under their name in The Times and elsewhere," a former insider said.

The separate, breakfast offensive, meanwhile, was organised by the ex-director of publicity for the Conservative Party, Geoffrey Tucker. Mr Tucker had left the position following the Conservatives' victory in 1970 to return to independent public relations, but, as a convinced European, had suggested to Mr Heath that a series of informal meetings should be organised to find ways of ensuring support for entry.

These meetings were to be between "insiders" from the Government and Civil Service (including the negotiators) and "outsiders" (such as media figures and opposition leaders). Tucker set about arranging what would become known as the media breakfasts held in a private room at the Connaught Hotel.

Pro-Europeans from all parties were represented. Those from the Labour Party included Roy Jenkins, Roy Hattersley and Gwyn Morgan, the deputy general secretary of the party, now working for the European Commission. Also present was Michael Ivens, director of the Aims of Industry organisation. The breakfasts were usually attended by Norman Reddaway and Ernest Wistrich, director of the British European Movement.

The meetings usually involved 20-30 people. By bringing in figures such as Nigel Ryan from News at Ten, Ian Trethowen, then managing director of BBC Radio and Marshall Stewart from the BBC Radio Today programme, the media breakfasts were able to suggest pro-European ideas for television and radio programmes. 

Tucker allowed the media guests access to the EEC negotiators. "Into the breakfasts came the people from Brussels. so the people who went to the breakfasts from the media got a briefing on what was actually going on day by day. So we were making news," says Tucker. He says News at Ten started a series of five-minute specials on the EEC, with a strong factual tone, as a direct result of the breakfasts.

Nigel Ryan told us: "I certainly met Tucker many times in the period as he was Heath's media man. I cannot specifically remember these media breakfasts in this distance of time, but the ITN special items may have come out of them. These items would have been made with the usual editorial independence that ITN so fiercely guarded."

Marshall Stewart recalls attending a number of the meetings which he says he found useful to gather information "at a time when there was a paucity of facts about the EEC"

Mr Tucker has even claimed that, after pressure from the campaigners, the broadcaster Jack de Manio was removed from his job as a presenter of BBC Radio's Today programme because he was "too anti-European", But Marshall Stewart denies the claim, describing it as "bizarre"

Very few of the participants appear to have been aware of the source of the funding for the breakfasts, although some had their suspicions. Michael Ivens says he suspected that it might have been funded by IRD. "Tucker once told me that Ted [Heath] objected to the cost of the breakfasts." he said. Tucker says he thought they had been funded by the European Movement. Ernest Wistrich says he is unsure where the money came from.

Following withdrawal of IRD support," the flame was kept alive" according to Tucker, by Geoffrey [later Lord] Rippon and the European League for Economic Co-operation.

After Armstrong prevailed on Edward Heath to cut IRD's secret subsidies, ELEC appointed McAlpine to find funds to keep the pro-Europe media campaign going. "One matter I really do know about is how to organise a good breakfast," McAlpine says. The breakfasts - now in the Dorchester - continued until after the 1975 referendum.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot.

As Carl Sagan wrote, "We succeeded in taking a picture of earth from deep space and if you look at it you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a star spectacled cyclorama.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot.

How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds, our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

Excerpt from a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996. Dr. Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot .

No help will come, let us not be coy, there is no need to rest on protocol, let’s name names. After the Japanese whaling fleets have successfully wiped out all the Minke whales from the worlds oceans, purely for scientific purposes you must understand, when the Malaysian loggers have managed to strip the worlds forests bare from Sumatra through to the Amazon Basin.

Maybe when the Indonesians stop mindlessly setting their country alight in yearly preparation for another years planting of crops causing the resulting smoke to cloud the skies of their cities and towns to spread as far as their neighbouring countries and causing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to rise and heat up this pale blue dot.

The drugs lords from Columbia and Burma stop killing the blue dots inhabitants or managing to send a large percentage of its population in a hypnotic daze from hawking happy dust to its people, and the masses of starving humanity over-populating this pale blue dot without any due regard to the this small planets sustainability.

Rich countries who refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement because of the possibility of affecting their countries economic growth. Indonesian fishermen who have depleted their own fish stocks and now resort to trawl illegally in other counties waters just to remove fins from sharks.

The mindless decimation of much of our fauna or to drain the bile from living bears because it is supposed to be an aphrodisiac and will heighten the sexual cravings of superstitious aging Oriental males, the list is endless. Sagan was right “There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

I am informed from the day I am born I can watch the Chinese people march past me and I will never see the end of the line in my lifetime because of their current numbers. I now read that this is claim to fame is about to be over-taken in the not too distant future by India because of their breeding rates which are beyond comprehension.

If the Indians can do that to their own large country what hope has England got for any sort of future. But who cares. The government doesn’t appear to; they refuse to admit a looming problem exists. They cannot or will not see the big picture it interferes with their plans for a vast globalised consumer market, but eventually well past their lifetimes their descendants are going to pay a very high price indeed for their uncaring selfish greed.

So what is the future for this pale blue dot hanging inconspicuously against a velvet ebon backdrop, what will happen to its peoples, its animals, its birds, its giants of the sea and the hopes and fears of the children left on a dying planet caused by their ancestor’s greed and self interests?

Unknowingly we could be the only planet amongst the entire multiple universes that a greater being planned as the great experiment. As regards other extra terrestrial intelligence? Maybe they don’t exist, who knows? Maybe we really are one of a unique kind, and we blew it!

Who will come and help us? We appear not to be able to help ourselves. But judgement day could be much sooner than we think, because our ills are rising exponentially and very rapidly, we won’t get a second chance.

We must also ask ourselves, do we really care about our planet our people our children and the continuance of this great experiment? We all chorus, yes of course we do, but we are seeing very little pressure put on governments in an effort to stop the heating up of this pale blue dot before it turns grey and dies.