Assassination of the Humanitarian Princess: The Killing of Diana

1992 was the year that the relationship between Princess Diana and other senior British royals changed irreversibly. In June Diana collaborated with UK author Andrew Morton in a book which exposed Prince Charles’ relationship with his lover Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana’s mistreatment by senior members of the royal family. The reaction was swift. Within 11 days of the book’s publication Diana received a bombshell letter from her father-in-law, Prince Philip. The letter alarmed her and Morton says that she sought out a solicitor to help draft a reply.1 Within months the Queen had moved to set up the royal Way Ahead Group – a committee dedicated to helping the royal family deal with major issues and planning the way forward. Its first meeting was held in November 1992 and in the following month the Queen requested the formal separation between Charles and Diana. This was announced in the House […] Read More

UK Follows Iceland’s Example As Mass Arrests Of Bankers Begin

The first group to go on trial is HBOS bankers who are charged with fraudulent trading, money laundering, and corruption. The UK is set to follow Iceland’s footsteps as the first group of top Bankers are to go on trial. NN| Authorities have now begun the process of arresting and prosecuting the bankers who were responsible for the crash of 2008, with HBOS bankers being the first group to face trial, charged with fraudulent trading, money laundering, and corruption. The first trial of its type will be heard at Southwark Crown Court, with some predicting that this will open floodgates for similar cases in the UK and around the world. Presstv.com reports: Two former senior HBOS managers and six other defendants will appear in court this month. The heavily postponed trial was originally scheduled to start at the beginning of the year. The defendants were initially charged in 2013. Those charged also […] Read More

Prince Andrew Named in Underage ‘Sex Slave’ Case

Woman alleges investment banker Jeffrey Epstein lent her to the duke to have repeated forced sexual relations. A woman who claims that an American investment banker loaned her to rich and powerful friends as an underage “sex slave” has alleged in a US court document that she was repeatedly forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew. The accusation against the Duke of York is contained in a motion filed in a Florida court this week in connection with a long-running lawsuit brought by women who say they were exploited by Jeffrey Epstein, a multi-millionaire convicted of soliciting sex with an underage girl after a plea deal. The woman, who filed the motion anonymously, alleges that between 1999 and 2002 she was repeatedly sexually abused by Epstein who, she also alleges, loaned her out to rich and influential men around the world. The document – a motion to expand […] Read More

UK spy chiefs to face MPs over mass surveillance

Heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ expected to use committee hearing to condemn NSA leaks and justify scale of operations The three heads of the British intelligence agencies are to make an unprecedented public televised appearance in front of the intelligence and security committee of MPs where they will seek to justify the scale of their surveillance activities. Before the 90-minute hearing on Thursday afternoon, the former head of GCHQ Sir David Omand claimed the effectiveness of the committee itself was as much on show as the spy chiefs themselves. The session, subject to a two-minute TV delay to avoid secrets inadvertently being broadcast, was agreed before news of mass surveillance by the UK and US was leaked by Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency contractor. It will feature the head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, his MI5 counterpart, Andrew Parker, and Sir Iain Lobban, head of […] Read More

2013: MPs set to investigate Guardian's involvement in Snowden leaks

Keith Vaz says home affairs committee to look at newspaper’s activities as part of inquiry into counter-terrorism A powerful group of MPs will investigate the Guardian’s publication of stories about mass surveillance based on leaks by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, as part of a wider inquiry into counter-terrorism. Keith Vaz, the Labour head of the Commons home affairs committee, said he would look into “elements of the Guardian’s involvement in, and publication of, the Snowden leaks” hours after the prime minister suggested a select committee might look at the issue. It had emerged the matter would be considered by Vaz’s parliamentary committee after former Tory cabinet minister Liam Fox asked him to investigate what damage the Guardian may have caused to national security. “I have received a letter from Liam Fox requesting that the home affairs select committee consider elements of the Guardian’s involvement in, and publication of, the […] Read More

2013: The Snowden files: why the British public should be worried about GCHQ

When the Guardian offered John Lanchester access to the GCHQ files, the journalist and novelist was initially unconvinced. But what the papers told him was alarming: that Britain is sliding towards an entirely new kind of surveillance society In August, the editor of the Guardian rang me up and asked if I would spend a week in New York, reading the GCHQ files whose UK copy the Guardian was forced to destroy. His suggestion was that it might be worthwhile to look at the material not from a perspective of making news but from that of a novelist with an interest in the way we live now. I took Alan Rusbridger up on his invitation, after an initial reluctance that was based on two main reasons. The first of them was that I don’t share the instinctive sense felt by many on the left that it is always wrong […] Read More

NSA chiefs defend agency's conduct in letter to families of employees

General Keith Alexander and deputy director John Inglis sign letter ‘in light of unauthorised disclosure of classified information’ The National Security Agency has sent a letter to its employees’ family members, in an effort to “reassure” relatives about the agency’s work. The letter, signed by NSA director General Keith Alexander and deputy director John Inglis, is dated 13 September and is addressed to “NSA/CSS family”. It characterises press reports of NSA overreaches as “sensationalised” and laments how stories published on documents leaked by Edward Snowden have seen the agency portrayed “as more of a rogue element than a national treasure”. “We are writing to you, our extended NSA/CSS family, in light of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by a former contractor employee,” says the letter, which was published on The Dissenter website on Friday. “We want to put the information you are reading and hearing about in the […] Read More

UK information commissioner to examine Snowden disclosures impact

Christopher Graham asks advisers to look at encryption and other technology issues raised by Edward Snowden’s disclosures Britain’s information commissioner, Christopher Graham, has asked his expert advisers to investigate the impact of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of the spy agencies’ mass internet surveillance on the privacy of UK citizens. The information commissioner’s technology reference panel will in particular look at the privacy concerns raised by the latest disclosures on the capacity of the US National Security Agency and Britain’s spy listening centre, GCHQ, to crack commercial encryption codes, including those used in online banking. The latest disclosures revealed that the NSA is monitoring international banking and credit card transactions, including those undertaken through Visa. The NSA developed a database that held 180 million records in 2011, according to the German news magazine, Der Spiegel. Graham revealed the development at an international conference of information commissioners in Berlin amid fresh calls […] Read More

1995: How British Free Trade Starved Millions During Ireland’s Potato Famine

by Paul Gallagher Printed in The American Almanac, May 29, 1995. Not Potatoes, But Slavery Any historian, who has studied the subject further than former Vice-President Dan Quayle, knows that potatoes (or the lack thereof) did not cause the Irish famine and genocide 150 years ago. The potato blight which struck the harvest in autumn 1845 had begun in North Carolina, and spread to destroy potato crops throughout the Northern Hemisphere for several years; it did not cause famine or mass death anywhere except in Ireland. Nor were potatoes the only major produce of Irish agriculture at the time; they were just the only produce which the Irish – 75 percent of whom were feudal tenants of British landlords, fanatical preachers of “free trade” – were allowed to eat or to feed to their livestock. The historian Arthur Young had written, like many others, that the Irish tenant farmers […] Read More

2008: In our ever-growing surveillance society, the average Briton is being recorded 3,000 times a week.

In our ever-growing surveillance society, the average Briton is being recorded 3,000 times a week. Richard Gray reports. 17 Aug 2008 In many cases information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities With every telephone call, swipe of a card and click of a mouse, information is being recorded, compiled and stored about Britain’s citizens. An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has now uncovered just how much personal data is being collected about individuals by the Government, law enforcement agencies and private companies each day. In one week, the average person living in Britain has 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, most of which is kept in databases for years and in some cases indefinitely. The data include details about shopping habits, mobile phone use, […] Read More