13 January 2008

Gordon Brown's new chief of strategy: "'What I tell them is nine-tenths bullshit and one-tenth selected facts."

According to the Guardian:

"The man appointed to Downing Street by Gordon Brown to improve the running of government and help restore Labour's flagging fortunes allegedly 'misled' the media and 'issued false statements' that helped to inflate artificially the share price of a massively indebted telecoms company, according to court documents filed in the United States.

Stephen Carter, Brown's new chief of strategy, who has given up a lucrative job chairing a City PR firm to take up his new £137,000-a-year government post, was chief operating officer at British cable TV company NTL between September 2000 and 2001. When Carter arrived, NTL had $17bn of debt on its books and the company was struggling to retain customers. He continued to reassure investors and the media that the company was performing well and was expanding its customer base, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in the Southern District Court of New York in 2002. One document alleges that following a teleconference call with investors and analysts in 2001, Carter was asked by his customer marketing director, Charles Darley: 'How can you ... persuade investors to believe that NTL is going to be OK when you know it isn't?'

According to Darley's recollection, quoted in the lawsuit, Carter allegedly replied: 'What I tell them is nine-tenths bullshit and one-tenth selected facts.'"

"The settlement is likely to prove an embarrassment for the man who is now Brown's key fixer, charged with ensuring the government averts future crises after the debacles involving missing data, secret donations and Northern Rock.

While friends of Carter, 43, have been quick to argue that NTL's problems were not of his making and that what he found when he arrived from advertising firm JWT 'shocked him', allegations that he attempted to spin the company out of its problems are likely to be seized upon by opposition parties."

And quite rightly too...

More on this in the Times:

"Soon after his alleged remarks the group - dubbed NTHell by disgruntled customers - went bankrupt with debts of £12 billion.

It was one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in American history. But in a move that outraged investors, Carter walked off with £1.7m in compensation, including a £600,000 bonus."

The Times points out something that should have us all worried:

"Brown surprised Westminster last week by appointing the former advertising executive to beef up his administration after a string of high-profile scandals. The £137,000-a-year job makes Carter one of the most powerful officials in government."

This is getting outrageous now, wherever we turn we see criminals getting rich, and they are then rewarded...

Here's the Independent on Sunday'd obituary of Philip Agee:

"Philip Agee: Former CIA agent who accused his government of 'state terrorism'"

Other news:

Libya key transit for UK-bound migrants

"Up to a million migrants have gathered in Libya, from where they will attempt to sail across the Mediterranean for Europe and, ultimately, the UK.

New estimates reveal that there are two million migrants massed in the North African country and that half of them plan to sail to the European mainland and travel on to Britain in the hope of building a new life.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), most have travelled from sub-Saharan states such as Ghana and Sierra Leone, attracted by Libya's reputation as a centre for people smugglers. Most are expected to wait until the spring, when the seas are calmer, before making the crossing on unseaworthy and crowded vessels."

Damian Thompson is a leader writer for the Daily Telegraph and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald. The Daily Telegraph has just given him free space to advertise his new book and in passing take a swipe at what he calls "counterknowledge: misinformation packaged to look like fact" for people "who are susceptible to conspiracy theories": "Lies, damn lies and 'counterknowledge'". The establishment must be getting really worried!

If you want to have good laugh read it, if not forget it. It's really just more propaganda for the truly gullible...

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