Strike 1: Married to the Mob
One of the many things of which the husband of cabinet minister Tessa Jowell (PC) was immensely proud he outlined in a letter sent with an application to practise in the United Arab Emirates in November 2005. The application and letter were part of an attempt by Mills to reassure UAE financial authorities that there was no reason to worry about the lengthy and ongoing investigation into his dubious activities by Italian authorities:
"You will know that I'm married to a minister in the government of this country and that in itself has caused a great deal of unwelcome publicity about this case. But I also want you to know, I have a lot of support and sympathy from very many people in public life, from the prime minister down." - David Mills
The sympathy and support of Blair, who on Saturday admitted to Parky and the world that his mettle is as weak as his conscience by stating that God would pass final judgement on how great a terrorist he had been, not in the moment, or the years of moments that would follow his ongoing perpetration of terrorism, but rather some time after he had fully exploited the personal privilege, opportunity and decadence that comes with being one of the most accomplished terrorists the world has ever seen, racking up hundreds of thousands of deaths in just a few short years.
For a man of Mr Mill's constitution, the support and sympathy of someone like Blair and his band of merry folk is indeed an accolade and proof of the existence of honour amongst thieves, liars and murderers. It may be the type of honour that is an alien antithesis to any sort of honour that the 'decent, law abiding citizens' in Britain might recognise and for whom Tony Blair is the principal and most vocal propagandist so perhaps it should be of some concern that these are the same 'decent, law abiding citizens' whom Blair chooses not to surround himself with and whom he wouldn't recognise if they bit him on the nose. In light of this, one might then be inspired ask what sort of things Mr Mills was doing that would receive such support and sympathy from Blair.
In the absence of any specifics, we must assume the general ongoing support and sympathy for the activities of Mr Mills which would presumably apply to this sort of thing:
David Mills had helped put Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest holding company, behind which lies a network of offshore companies 15 years earlier, Mills appointed Marcello Dell'Utri as a director for Publitalia International, a London-registered media advertising agency on the day of the company's incorporation in 1985.
The two men had roles in the company for a decade; Mr Mills was company secretary until 1997, and Mr Dell'Utri was a director until 1995. Mr Dell'Utri, known as Mr Berlusconi's braccio destra (right hand), was subsequently convicted of "mafia association", a crime which the court in Sicily ruled he had been committing throughout the time he was on the board, and for many years before.
Perhaps, once, nobody would quite credit the PM with sympathy and support for the mafia-related dealings of the husband of one of his cabinet ministers at the time it was occuring, but there it is; husband of cabinet minister Tessa Jowell (PC, 'legalised gambling', alchohol and tobacco regulation, etc), tasked with obfuscating the nature and extent of the material interests and dealings of one Silvio Berlusconi, Italian PM, president of the Forza Italia 'centre-right' (read: neo-Fascist) party and the Italian Prime Minister who, at least as far back as 1985, was not far removed at all from the mafia. It goes on:
Italian prosecutors are reported to have discovered that Mr Mills was the administrator of a company registered in the Isle of Man that bought into the deal in the port of Salerno in 1992. The chief beneficiary, Diego Attanasio, was jailed for bribing officials to ensure the deal went through, and is now appealing against his sentence. This would mean, according to Mr Mills' current account of his affairs and according to Ms Jowell's statement last week to Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, that their London home was paid for, in part, by a convicted criminal.
But then maybe that's how you get to be Prime Minister in Italy, the birthplace of Fascism. Berlusconi's involvement with the upper-echelons of the British state and ruling classes seem to extend rather further than merely allowing a few of them use of the villa in Tuscany. Let's hope nobody spots or mentions P2 links in the midst of the Mills, Jowell, Blair and Berlusconi mix as that might really stir things up a bit.
Strike 2: Married to the Minister
Despite his recent forced and faux separation from Tessa Jowell now that the merest hint of the level of international corruption may force at least a resignation or two and at most a revolution the likes of which this country has never seen, we must assume that the blighted Ms Jowell also had sympathy and support for Mills, firstly as his loyal and devoted wife and then as a loyal and devoted Blairite who announced that she would happily throw herself under a bus for her leader.
The Cabinet Office ministerial code of conduct states:
5.3 On appointment to each new office, Ministers are advised to provide their Permanent Secretary with a full list in writing of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict.
The list should cover not only the Minister’s personal interests but those of a spouse or partner, of children who are minors, of trusts of which the Minister or a spouse or partner is a trustee or beneficiary, or of closely associated persons. The list should cover all kinds of interest including financial instruments and partnerships, financial interests such as unincorporated businesses and real estate, as well as relevant non-financial private interests such as links with outside organisations, and previous relevant employment.
This means that whatever way you dice, spin and re-constitute the increasingly long and convoluted Mills/Jowell story of mortgages, re-mortgages, rapid repayments and a rather long list of miscellaneous other international
Under new 'anti-terror laws' if an ordinary member of the public is discovered to have committed the crime of being in possession of one thousand pounds in cash, the burden of proof is on the holder of the funds to explain how they came to be in possession of such a 'large' sum of cash. Elsewhere, above the law, the place where the real criminals operate unchecked, the issue of a wayward £350,000 from a dubious source is regarded as a trifling matter that, if it had been better managed, would have passed almost unnoticed.
If the code is of any indication at all of the standards to which ministers are expected to adhere, then Blair's continued support for Jowell - re-affirmed again today - falls short of both the code by which he charged them both with operating, and his own aspirations outlined in the foreword to the same code of conduct that Ms Jowell (PC) seems to have breached:
A Code of Ethics and Procedural Guidance for Ministers
The Prime Minister
In issuing this Code, I should like to confirm my strong personal commitment to the bond of trust between the British people and their Government. We are all here to serve and we must serve honestly and in the interests of those who gave us our positions of trust.
I will expect all Ministers to work within the letter and spirit of the Code. For the first time, the Code is split into two parts: a Ministerial Code of Ethics, and Procedural Guidance for Ministers. This takes account of a recommendation made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Ministers will find it a useful source of guidance and reference as they undertake their official duties in a way that upholds the highest standards of propriety.
I believe we should be absolutely clear about how Ministers should account, and be held to account, by Parliament and the public. The first section of the Code of Ethics sets out these responsibilities clearly, including Ministers’ responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
I commend the Ministerial Code to all of my Ministerial colleagues.
Somewhere in line with the principles outlined in these guidelines, somehow, further inexplicabilities must also be explained:
Questions were also asked about the single mother living on a council estate in London's East End who is recorded as a director or company secretary of 19 companies which Mr Mills established on behalf of his Italian clients.
Those working-class single mothers living on council estates, you really do have to keep your eye on them. Give them an inch. Comparatively speaking, working class council estate scumbags make the Mills, Jowell and Blair combo look like paragons of virtue.
Strike 3: Aeroplanes to Iran
Daughter: Mummy, mummy, can you get pregnant through anal sex?
Mother: Of course, dear, that's how lawyers are made.
Ministers have a code of conduct to follow, or breach, depending on your point of view. Lawyers on the other hand are generally known to follow much the same code of conduct the world over and it is this code of conduct that has landed the Mills-Jowell tag team in much the same water, of not entirely dissimilar elevated temperatures, on many occasions.
Another such occasion was in July 2002, when Mills wrote to then Foreign Office minister Baroness Symons (PC), whose portfolio includes the Middle East and international security, asking for help in securing a £125 million aircraft deal that contravened US law. Mills wanted to see if there was a way to
On 9 January 2005, under the heading of “Minister's 'Advice' on Iran Jet Deal”, The Observer published details of how Jowell's husband had lobbied Symons (PC) about the potentially lucrative deal to provide Iran with several British Aerospace jets after he sat next to her at a dinner party. Mills wrote to Symons (PC), asking for help to push the £125 million aircraft deal with Iran through. At the time Jack Straw (PC) and Symons (PC) were adamant that Mills, husband of Jowell (PC), did not receive any special treatment. However, the letter from Symons, written on headed government notepaper, was leaked and suggests that this was not the case. Symons wrote:
Given the obvious political sensitivities you will need to tread very carefully with this one. This is a difficult time to be raising Iran policy in Washington. The advice I have been given, with which I am inclined to agree, is that our official support for you with the administration would raise the profile of the case and, by so doing, increase the chance of eliciting a negative response.'
Her advice to Mills:
'So you will need to think very carefully about a lobbying strategy calibrated to achieve the right result. I am pleased that Allan Flood [the British Aerospace director] will be in Washington next week and that he will be calling on the Embassy to discuss this further. They are best placed to advise on next steps.'
'If after that meeting, you need further advice or help from me, please let me know.
On the face of it, it would appear that Mills was looking for a way to make a quick buck by finding a legal way of breaking international law and selling a few aeroplanes to one of Bush's 'axis of evil' countries before the imminent invasion that will reduce the place to the same piles of rubble and levels of barbarity as Afghanistan and Iraq before it.
Miscellaneous other offences for consideration
Remember Bernie Eccleston?
"Unfortunately, one of New Labour’s ‘promises’ had been to ban tobacco advertising, including sports sponsorship. With Blair in 10 Downing Street, Ecclestone asked to see him. Twenty-four hours later the Prime Minister had sent a memorandum to the Secretary of State for Health, exempting Formula One from the sponsorship ban. It was left to the Health Minister, Tessa Jowell, to tell the world what a good idea this was.
Alas, it was discovered that Jowell’s partner, David Mills, had been, until just after the election, a director of the Benetton Formula One racing company and remained its legal adviser. The minister derided suggestions of a conflict of interest. Then it was discovered that Ecclestone had given £1 million to New Labour. For his part, Blair claimed that he had already alerted Sir Patrick Neill, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, as to the ‘question of ethics’ of accepting such a donation, long before the press had disclosed it.
In fact, the letter to Neill was sent after the press published it. The government had not only acted in the interests of a powerful businessman and against the interests of the electorate, but had lied about it. Blair subsequently apologised, but his apology was really for a failure of public relations. If the public are to be fooled, they should be fooled efficiently. Of course, the only difference between New Labour’s and the Tories’ sleaze was that the New Labour variation involved more money."Source: John Pilger, THE MEDIA AGE
How about a bit of insider trading thrown in for good measure:
Mills dogged by claims of £68,000 pub profit, and mentioning wife in tax inquiry
John Hooper in Rome and Ian Cobain
Monday March 6, 2006
Ms Jowell, then public health minister, had played a major role in the decision not to outlaw smoking in pubs and other public places. This decision, announced in December 1998, was condemned by the British Medical Association. There is no evidence that Ms Jowell was aware of this investment or was influenced by her husband's shareholdings.
As the ministerial guidelines state, at all times it was and is the duty of Ms Jowell, or any other minister, to be aware of any of their familial financial dealings where a potential conflict of interest might be construed to exist. More than once there has been some doubt as to how well Jowell followed the ministerial guidelines.
Battening down the hatches
On what might appear to be an unrelated note, pages 9 (news) and 36 (comment) of the The Independent On Sunday carried the rather understated announcement by Geoff Hoon (PC) of his plans to 'ban Lords from challenging controversial bills' on the basis that the Lords are, to some degree at least, negatively impacting the ability of a dictatorial state to do whatever it likes.
Harping back to Tony Blair's opening statement in the minister's code of conduct for a moment:
"We are all here to serve and we must serve honestly and in the interests of those who gave us our positions of trust."
In any thinking human being, this sort of statement would then beg a question or two about whose interests those who observe the code must serve honestly and who gave them their positions of trust. Which brings us nicely to why the letters 'PC' appear in brackets after the names of politicians in this article.
Tony Blair, Tessa Jowell, Baroness Symons, Jack Straw and Geoff Hoon are all current members Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council. All of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Counsellors are administered the following oath before they take office:
You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen's Majesty as one of Her Majesty's Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.
Unsurprisingly, this archaic, anachronistic oath was a carefully guarded secret until recently. Indeed, one would think they could have hidden behind such nonsense only in the dark old days of King Egbert. But, no, it still continues to this very day.
Perhaps one of the reasons for not revealing the contents of such an oath might be that, if the 60 million or so residents of this country knew, realised and truly understood there is nothing more to the lives of state operatives than that of being a 'true and faithful Servant unto the Queen's Majesty', so help them god, then, perhaps, the material conditions of existence on pirate ship Britain would then exist for the mass consciousness shifts required to engender positive and progressive change in the public interests of many, over and above the private interests of the few.