Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Lobbyists who cleared 'Climategate' academics funded by taxpayers and the BBC

A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC.

A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC.
The Zoological Society of London, the world famous charity behind London Zoo, provides Globe with scientific advice from its top conservationists and zoologists Photo: PA
The little-known not-for-profit company works behind the scenes at international conferences to further its aims.
One of its key supporters headed the official investigation into the so-called "Climategate emails", producing a report which cleared experts of deliberately attempting to skew scientific results to confirm that global warming was a real threat.
Another scientific expert linked to the group came forward to praise a second independent investigation into the Climategate affair which also exonerated researchers.
Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.
It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to
It has also paid out at least £75,000 on travel for prominent UK politicians, including for its former presidents Elliot Morley, the ex-Labour environment minister now facing jail for expenses fraud, and Stephen Byers, the former Labour cabinet minister who was suspended from the Commons after he was filmed describing himself a "cab for hire" when offering to lobby his parliamentary contacts for cash.
Now Globe is planning a mass lobby of the United Nations Rio 2012 summit in Brazil, where world leaders will discuss climate change, by holding a World Summit of Legislators in the city to coincided with the event.
Next week the group's current President Lord Deben, the former Tory Cabinet Minister John Gummer, is due to launch a major report on climate change policy alongside Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary.
Globe has also recently held behind-closed-doors meetings with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and other senior Coalition ministers.
Last year two prominent experts linked to Globe were drawn into the controversy over emails leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.
Lord Oxburgh, the organisation's director, was called in to head an internal inquiry into the leaked emails which included one infamous message referring to a "trick" to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.
The peer's investigation cleared the scientists of malpractice. But critics claimed the report was a whitewash and Lord Oxburgh also failed to declare his involvement with Globe before he began his investigation.
Meanwhile Bob Ward, from the Grantham Institute, which works alongside Globe, praised a second inquiry by former civil servant Muir Russell, which also cleared the climate researchers.
He said it had "lifted the cloud of suspicion" and demonstrated that "the integrity of climate science is intact."
Globe International's work is paid for with donations from multi-millionaire backers and through partnerships with other environmental groups.
Globe also confirmed last night that it received direct funding from the Department of Energy and the Department of International Development (DfID). including a grant of £91,240 provided by DfID since the Coalition came to power last year.
More cash from DfID is filtered through the Complus Alliance - a "sustainable development communications alliance" of broadcasters based in Costa Rica which is also supported by the BBC World Service Trust, the Corporation's independent charity,.
Complus, which was awarded DfID cash last year and in 2006, says it has an "ongoing relationship with Globe" helping it run "shadow negotiation" teams at international summits of world leaders.
A spokeswoman for Complus said: "The BBC is a founding member not a funding member. They can make in-kind contributions, like organising events, supporting logistics, sharing content."
She added that Complus did not fund Globe but work with them on "convergent objectives".
Last night a DfID spokesman confirmed the department had given Complus £250,000 in total to provide research, advocacy and communications work on the impact of climate change.
The spokesman said: 'These contributions were awarded under the previous Government. The current Government has not given them any funding.
'We only support projects that meet our strict conditions of delivering value for money and can prove their ability to reduce global poverty.'
The BBC trust's money is drawn from the £15.2 million-a-year it gets from the Foreign Office and DFID and £800,000 from licence payers. The BBC charity failed to respond to questions about its relationship with the project and how much this involvement was costing.
The Zoological Society of London, the world famous charity behind London Zoo, also provides Globe with scientific advice "providing high level input" from its top conservationists and zoologists. Globe said it paid ZSL for its expertise.
Last night Globe's general secretary Adam Matthews said: "Globe is not a lobbying organisation. It is an international group of legislators. It was set up by the legislators themselves.
"We facilitate them coming together to discuss environmental issues. Our members have multiple views - some quite sceptical on some aspects of the climate change debate."
"We are funded by the World Bank, the EU, international parliaments and Governments, including the UK Government. The coalition Government contributes to our work through DFID."
Globe International, registered as a not-for-profit firm under the name The Global Legislators Organisation Ltd, makes minimal discloses about its finances to Companies House.
Last year it declared a £500,000 loss, but still managed to fly a number of key supporters to summits and international conferences.
Barry Gardiner MP, its vice president and former Labour biodiversity minister, attended to at least four international conferences on Globe's behalf, including a trip to Tokyo, Japan, Seoul and South Korea costing more than £7,000.
Another trip to China cost more than £8,000. Mr Gardiner's daughter is also a member of Globe's full time staff.
It also paid nearly £3,000 to fly Gregory Barker, now Coalition climate change minister, to Washington DC.
Peers Lord Hunt, former head of the Met Office, and Lord Jay, the former head of the Diplomatic Service, both declared club class travel to summits paid for by the organisation.
Lord Hunt, father of Tristan Hunt, the historian, television presenter and Labour MP, also lists Mr Matthews, Globe's secretary general, as a member of his House of Lords staff.
Mr Matthews was once Barry Gardiner's researcher in the House of Commons. His chief adviser, Gauri Kiik, is listed as being on the House of Lord's staff of Lord Jay.
Lord Deben declares his work for Globe as a "non-financial interest" to the House of Lords. He is also yet to declare any foreign travel funded by the organisation, although Globe confirmed last night that it had contributed to his travel and accommodation costs in the role.
Lord Deben also runs an environmental consultancy company, Sandcroft International, which declared a turnover of almost £2 million in its last accounts. He is also chairman of Forewind, which has won the rights to build a controversial offshore wind farm in the North Sea off the Yorkshire coast.
Among Globe's principle backers are a charity set up by the Swedish multi-millionaire Niklas Zennstrom, founder of the internet phone service Skype, and British-born wealth fund manager Jeremy Grantham, whose personal clients include Dick Cheney and John Kerry.
Mr Grantham bankrolls the Grantham Institute at the LSE, which works alongside Globe.
He believes "weather instability" is the world's biggest "investment problem" and his $107 billion fund pushes alternative assets including a massive portfolio of forestry.
The fund was believed to be preparing to invest in the abandoned Government sell off British forests.
Globe's staff also includes Dr Sam Fankhauser, Globe's chief economist, is an "independent adviser" to the Government on climate change. He is a member of the Government's Committee on Climate Change which advises on policy.
And Terry Townshend, Globe's director of policy development is married to Libby Townshend, a diplomat, who was on the UK team at the UN Climate Change summit in Copenhagen.
Globe Internationals' influential supporters include:
President: Lord Deben, former Tory Agriculture Minister John Gummer. Paid expenses.
Vice President: Barry Gardiner MP. Ex-environment Min. Regular club class flight. Daughter works for Globe.
Former President: Elliot Morley, ex-environment minister facing jail for expenses fraud.
Former President: former Cabinet Minister Stephen Byers who described himself as a “cab for hire” for lobbyists.
Director: Lord Oxburgh, appointed to oversee the internal investigation into Climategate affair. Failed to declare his link to Globe.
General Secretary: Adam Matthews. Works in the House of Lords former Met Office boss Lord Hunt. Previously worked as a researcher of Barry Gardiner.
Globe’s chief economist: Dr Sam Fankhauser is an “independent adviser” to the Government on climate change.

AV campaigner gets gagging order to protect his privacy

A leading campaigner for the Alternative Vote is the latest public figure to secure a gagging order from the courts preventing the disclosure of details of his sex life.

Labour launching their 'No to AV' campaign on College Green Westminster
Labour launching their 'No to AV' campaign on College Green Westminster Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND
The man persuaded a High Court judge to prevent his identity, profession or the allegations against him being revealed.
An order issued by Mrs Justice Sharp warns that anyone found in breach of the ruling may be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized.
The individual has recently taken a high profile stand in the increasingly acrimonious campaign backing the Alternative Vote in the run up to the referendum on electoral reform on May 5.
The gagging order, which makes no reference to his political role, says that protecting his "rights and interests" outweighs "any public interest in reporting the proceedings".
The man, referred to only as "CBL", is the latest public figure to use the courts to prevent the reporting of damaging allegations against the rich and famous.
Last week the Prime Minister said he was "uneasy" about the way the courts were using so-called "super-injuctions" which in some cases even prevent the reporting of the existence of the court order itself.
David Cameron said it should be left up to Parliament not judges to decide on the balance between press freedom, the public's right to know and the rights of individuals to protect their privacy.
The latest case follows a string of other similar court actions by more than a dozen actors, footballers and television personalities - many of them married - who have obtained draconian court orders preventing revelations about extramarital affairs or other indiscretions.
The courts have been applying gagging orders using secrecy laws originally reserved for child murder cases.
Last Tuesday the Appeal Court ruled that there should be a news blackout on another well-known entertainment industry figure who had an affair with a colleague.
The judge in the case said the order was necessary to protect the star's children from playground bullying.
Also last week another actor gagged discussion of his relationship with a prostitute and a Premier League footballer, who had an affair with Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, also won the right to anonymity.
The actions were brought under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, brought it by the Labour Government, which grants the right to privacy.
The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, is currently carrying out a review of the rights and wrongs of the use of super-injuctions. The report, due next month, could lead to a change in the law.
The gagging orders caused a farce on Friday night on Have I Got News For You, the BBC’s prime time television quiz show.
Tory MP Louise Bagshawe was censored after dropped a hint at the identity of a married Premier League footballer who allegedly had an affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas during a round about superinjunctions.
Miss Bagshawe said: “You’re not allowed to know who they are. They may or may not have done something with ladies who are not their wives. One of them definitely doesn’t rhyme with … even though he is a footballer.”

Monday, 18 April 2011

The mystery of Lady Nina, Arsenal and her 'insignificant' first marriage

She is the elegant and enigmatic Indian woman who made nearly £123 million from selling her shares in Arsenal football club.

Lady Nina: The mystery of Lady Nina, Arsenal and her 'insignificant' first marriage
Nina Kakkar is, according to public records, the daughter of Kuldeep Chand Kakkar, a retired diplomat from Delhi 
Her decision to sell up ended a long running takeover battle and handed control to an American businessman over his Uzbeki billionaire rival.
Now a Sunday Telegraph investigation can reveal for the first time how she was actually born Nina Kakkar, and was a hotel beauty therapist with a mysterious past until she transformed herself into a wealthy member of the aristocracy.
Lady Nina's multi-million pound stake in Arsenal was handed to her by her husband Sir Charles, heir to a dynasty founded by his grandfather, Tory MP Sir Bracewell Smith, Arsenal's post war chairman, who made his fortune as then owner of the Park Lane Hotel and the Ritz.
Sir Charles' second wife, she took over running her husband's business affairs shortly after their marriage in 1996.
During a brief period on the Arsenal board she was described as a "retired Indian diplomat's daughter from New Delhi" and her photograph, taken in a VIP box at the football ground, was published in the match day programme.
But while Lady Nina was a regular at Arsenal home games, board meetings and even on Twitter, her 55-year-old husband, who lists his interests as "comparative religion, mystical theology, philosophy, psychology, Arsenal FC, music, reading poetry" has all but vanished.
One family member last week said he had "opted out" and was disinterested in business or money and left the running of his affairs to his wife.
Nina Kakkar is, according to public records, the daughter of Kuldeep Chand Kakkar, a retired diplomat from Delhi. Most of the records suggest Nina was born in India in November 1955.
But Debretts, the genealogical guide to the British aristocracy, claims she is ten years younger and was born in Bonn, Germany.
She studied business at the DAV Institute of Management in Delhi, which, according to the colleges' internet site, is "empower souls across the world to effortlessly optimize potential by imbibing the best of values and beliefs of east and west".
The future Lady Nina came to Britain in the early 1990s, rented a "pokey" flat in Mayfair and began work at one of the nearby hotels.
Then in 1991 she married Mark Forsyth, a struggling computer programmer she hardly knew.
"I met her through a friend," Mr Forsyth said. "She was working as a beauty therapist, I can't remember what hotel it was, but she was working in a hotel."
Mr Forsyth is openly gay. On his Facebook page he describes himself as "married" to a fashion designer. The couple live in a £1.2 million town house in Islington.
"I haven't seen her for a long, long time," he said.
They were introduced through a friend and apparently on a whim decided to marry.
"It was a terrible, terrible mistake," he said.
"It was a drunken decision that was carried through and almost immediately regretted."
He denies that it was a marriage of convenience. In 1991 an Indian national would have needed a work permit to live and work in the UK. A German passport holder would not have needed a visa.
He added: "I would now identify myself as gay, then I wouldn't have done. I got the impression, I never met her family, her family were all in India, and I got the impression she was quite indulged.
"It wasn't that quick, but it was fairly quick."
The wedding took place on 20 August at Westminster Register Office and two hotel colleagues of Nina's witnessed the occasion which was followed by drinks in a pub and a curry.
The couple then went their separate ways for the evening. They neverlived as man and wife and formally divorced in 1995.
Last week he said he did not even have a picture of his former wife and he had had no idea that she had anything to do with the Arsenal buy out.
The end of the four year marriage came after Nina Kakkar had reverted to her maiden name and moved in with Sir Charles the previous October.
Sir Charles had sold his and Lady Carol's former marital home following her death on 11 July 1994, leaving around £1 million in her will, and he and Nina purchased a grand apartment in an Edwardian mansion block overlooking Regent Park.
It is unclear how and when the peer met the new woman in his life. He and his family owned the Park Lane Hotel and one business associate said: "I believe they met at the hotel. She was working there. She caught Sir Charles' eye".
By November 1995 Nina Kakkar, the former beautician, had become a director of Sir Charles' investment company Tymalls, taking over the share holding once controlled by the late Lady Carol.
Two months later she became a director the Park Lane Hotel and remained on the board while Sir Charles and other members of his family negotiated its multi-million sale to the Sheraton Hotel group.
One of those involved in thrashing out the deal, who asked not to be named, said: "I met them in the meetings they had to attend to complete that transaction. They were a rather unusual couple.
"I did not get to know them well. They were monied wealth and they were slightly eccentric. Apart from her being very elegant and very charming and very professional.
"He was slightly eccentric. He was very laid back, he was very sort of hippie like, relaxed. They were an odd couple."
The couple married in July 1996 in the same Register Office room where Nina had married Mark Forsyth.
This time the witnesses were her father and a member of Sir Charles' aristocratic family.
Sir Charles, the fourth baronet of Keighley, listed his profession as "peer of the realm" on the marriage certificate. Nina gave her profession as "company director".
Within a few years Sir Charles had all but given up attending meetings of his businesses and had signed all his share holdings over to his wife.
She became company secretary of his multi-million pound investment vehicle, Tymalls, in 1998, winding it up four years later with £5 million in its bank account, and taking control of all his shares in Arsenal by 2004.
Sir Charles' cousin Richard Carr, also had Arsenal shares, a role at the club, and was a director of Tymalls. He stood down the same year Lady Nina took over.
He was reluctant to talk about her or Sir Charles.
He said: "I'm really not inclined to talk to you. This is family. She's my family. I don't talk about members of my family outside of my family. She is married to my cousin and I really don't want to engage in any sort of talk that might effect that."
His half-sister Lady Sarah Phipps-Bagge was slightly more forthcoming.
She said: "It is not really for me to discuss. I cannot shed any light on it. To be honest, I have to say I hardly know her.
"I haven't seen my cousin in years. He's just opted out. Put it like that. He decided to opt out. He's left (everything else) with Nina. He's opted out. That's all he's done."
Last night Sir Charles and Lady Nina failed to return messages asking them to comment.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Tripoli arms fair

British soldiers touted for trade at Tripoli arms fair
JASON LEWIS Investigations Editor

3 April 2011
The Sunday Telegraph


 DAVID CAMERON'S Government used serving soldiers as salesmen to try to persuade Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to buy British weapons.
The Army specialists were sent to Tripoli just five months ago to act as "demonstrators" to convince the regime to invest millions in British-made battlefield equipment.
They were deployed to an arms fair organised by a senior Libyan general and ordered to use their expertise and experience to help sell items including unmanned spy-in-the-sky drones and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons suits.
The disclosure shows that, despite previous criticism of Labour over its alleged "back door" trade deals with Libya, the Coalition was happy to continue to try to cash in on improved links with Col Gaddafifollowing the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber.
Last year Britain sold more than £200million of military and so-called "dual use" equipment to Libya - a 10-fold increase on the previous year and the trade's best year ever. The deals included £112million of "information security ware" and £41million of "cryptography" equipment that is believed to have been used to upgrade Libya's command and control systems.
It is likely that this specialist equipment would have been destroyed in the first waves of Allied attacks on Libya earlier this month.
The deals were done in the nine months before the Government sent the Army specialists, including a highly trained bomb disposal expert, to the four-day Libyan Defence, Security and Safety Exhibition (Libdex) arms fair held at Tripoli airport last November.
Depending on the success of the show, defence exports to Col Gaddafi's regime in 2010 - full figures for which are not yet available - could have topped £300million.
Libdex was attended by more than 50 British firms, including leading defence manufacturers such as General Dynamics UK, which recently upgraded the communications of Col Gaddafi's elite armoured brigade in a deal worth £100 million.
At the centre of a large British pavilion was the official Government stand run by the Department of UK Trade and Investment's Defence Security Organisation. Pictures show it was decorated with the insignia of the Army and was bristling with the latest battlefield technology.
Working alongside a team of civil servants were "three or four" serving British soldiers sent to Tripoli "not as salesmen", says the department, but as "end users" to "explain the equipment and promote its capability".
Sending the team of soldiers, who are seconded to the Government's arms sales team from their units for two years, and exhibiting at the fair cost the British taxpayer £55,000.
Last night a UKTI spokesman said that the decision to send the servicemen to Libya had been approved by the department and had been cleared by the Foreign Office.
The four-man team at the exhibition was drawn from a 23-strong contingent of servicemen on full-time secondment to UKTI. Defence ministers are not routinely made aware of their day-today work and they do not report to the Chief of the Defence Staff. Instead, they are under the direction of a civilian civil servant at UKTI.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "It is a longstanding practice for a small number of military personnel to be attached to UKTI to support the UK defence industry; this has no impact on operations."