Monday, October 17, 2011

Lifting the Rock on Little Britain

Lifting the rock on the scandal involving former British defence secretary Liam Fox reveals an array of bizarre creatures not used to the harsh light of day:

"It began with a story about corporate 'blackmail' and ended in the downfall of one of the most effective defence secretaries in a generation. The final blow to Liam Fox - after 8 days of increasingly uncomfortable headlines - came when The Times revealed the names of some of the wealthy financiers who funded the first-class lifestyle of Adam Werritty, 33, Fox's globe-trotting friend and self-styled adviser. Evidence that Werritty's luxury travel to foreign shores alongside the defence secretary was part-bankrolled by a corporate intelligence firm with an interest in Sri Lanka, an investor who lobbies for Israel and a venture capitalist supporting closer ties with Washington, raised further questions about how Fox operated and whom he allowed in his inner circle... Finally on Friday The Times revealed that G3 Good Governance Group, a corporate intelligence company, Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, the chairman of BICOM - an organisation that lobbies the British government on behalf of Israel - and John Mouton, a venture capitalist, were among more than 6 different entities that each paid up to 35,000 pounds ($53,000) to a not-for-profit company set up by Werritty, which was used to fund his travel and entertainment." (The minister & the mystery man, Deborah Haynes, The Times/The Australian, 17/10/11)

Look at this one hopping around:

"Adam Werritty, the man at the centre of the Liam Fox cash-for-access scandal, has been involved in an audacious plot to topple Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it was claimed last night. The self-styled adviser to Mr Fox, whose close personal friendship with the former defence secretary led to Mr Fox's downfall, has visited Iran on several occasions and met Iranian opposition groups in Washington and London over the past few years, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. Mr Werritty, 33, has been briefed by MI6 about his travels and is so highly regarded by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad - who thought he was Mr Fox's chief of staff - that he was able to arrange meetings at the highest levels of the Israeli government, multiple sources have told The IoS." (Revealed: Fox's best man and his ties to Iran's opposition, Jane Merrick & James Hanning, The Independent, 16/10/11)

And this one, furiously trying to burrow out of sight:

"BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, is Britain's major pro-Israel lobby. Founded in 2001 as an equivalent to America's hugely influential AIPAC, it is bankrolled by its chairman Poju Zabludowicz, a Finnish billionaire and former arms dealer. Over the past 3 years Zabludowicz has given over 2 million pounds in donations. This year [2009], they sent 30 representatives to the AIPAC conference in America, a sign of BICOM's growing ambition. Incredibly, almost no one we interviewed for the film [The Pro-Israel Lobby in Britain] had even heard of Zabludowicz, a key player at the heart of the pro-Israel lobby in Britain. Our questions continually met with blank expressions from senior politicians and people in the Jewish community. Zabludowicz fiecely guards his privacy and does so with great success... Zabludowicz's father, Shlomo Zabludowicz, made his money through Israeli arms manufacturers Soltam Systems, a company which continues to thrive and recently provided the IDF with artillery for its Gaza campaign. Poju Zabludowicz also ran Soltam, but has since moved his money from arms into property. He is now estimated to own around 40% of downtown Las Vegas. Far more significantly, we have discovered that he owns property in the illegal settlements in the West Bank. He has a stake in a shopping centre in Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement which is seen as strategically crucial in ensuring Jerusalem remains in Israeli hands... He hoped to create one lobby that oversaw media and politics in the style of AIPAC, but met with resistance from the parliamentary Friends of Israel groups, guarding their patch. He does, however, play a role at Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) as a significant donor. He has also established a relationship with David Cameron, the man almost certain to be Britain's next prime minister. In September 2005 when Cameron was planning his Conservative leadership election campaign he met Zabludowicz for a coffee. Zabludowicz was suitably impressed with what he heard, and Cameron received 15,000 pounds from Zabludowicz over the course of his election campaign. To ensure that the donations complied with election law, he made the donations through his British subsidiary Tamares Real Estate Investments. Despite the CFI and BICOM not formally merging there is a huge amount of co-ordination. Many of BICOM's key figures also play roles in the CFI: Trevor Pears, Michael Lewis and Poju Zabludowicz are driving forces behind both lobbies. David Cameron also accepted 20,000 pounds from Trevor Pears in his leadership election." (The Pro-Israel lobby in Britain, Peter Oborne & James Jones,, 13/11/09)

Stay tuned.

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