Charles Powell

 

Lord Powell of Bayswater KCMG joined the Diplomatic Service in 1963 and served successively as Third Secretary, Foreign Office, 1963-65 (Desk officer, Muscat and Oman); Second Secretary, Helsinki (Finland) 1965-67; Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 1968-71; First Secretary and Private Secretary to HM Ambassador (Lord Cromer), Washington United States 1971-74; First Secretary, Bonn Germany, 1974-77; FCO, 1977-80 (Counsellor, 1979; Special Counsellor for Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) and Zambia negotiations, 1979-80); Counsellor, UK Permanent Representation to European Communities, 1980-84.

In 1983-91 he was Private Secretary and adviser on foreign affairs and defence to Margaret Thatcher and for the first months of John Major’s government.

Since 1992 he has been an “international businessman”, currently serving on the board of a number of major companies including Caterpillar, Schindler in Switzerland, Yell Group in the UK and Mandarin Oriental Hotels, Safinvest Limited and Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy, British Mediterranean Airways, and Northern Trust Global Services

Powell is also a member of the International Advisory Boards of Rolls Royce, Barrick Gold, Magna Corporation and the UK advisory boards of Hicks Muse, Thales, GEMS Oriental & General Fund, International, Alfa, Wingate Capital ACE and lastly Diligence which we will examine in some depth below.

He is a cross-bench member of the House of Lords, where he serves on the Economic Affairs Committee. He is Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship.

Previous directorships include Jardine Matheson Holdings and associated companies (1992-2000), National Westminster Bank, Arjo Wiggins Appleton, Said Holdings, J. Rothschild Name Co., Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, Arjo Wiggins Appleton, Trafalgar House. “Old money” or what?

Family

Powell has three brothers, Chris (a senior figure in Boase Massimi Pollitt and who worked for Labour’s advertising campaign in 1987), Roderick and Jonathan Powell, who became the Chief of Staff to Tony Blair’s privately funded office private office, a member of the Labour Party. Charles’ wife is Carla Bonardi who he married in 1964. Thought of as ‘highly extrovert” (Macintyre, 1999:293-305) she accompanied Peter Mandelson to a conference organised by the North Atlantic Initiative.

Norton-Taylor (1995:75) notes that the Scott Inquiry (into the arming of Iraq) did not summon Powell to give evidence in public and only requested written evidence from him in the summer of 1994, six months after Thatcher’s testimony to the inquiry. Powell told Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, in answer to a series of written questions in April 1994, that, at that stage, he had not been asked to give evidence, and he had not volunteered any. In an interview in The Times newspaper on September 6, 1994, he said:

“You have to take some things on your own shoulders, you’ve got to turn things away, to let a Prime Minister free from the detail.”

Powell added cryptically:

“At the outset, the inquiry accepted that the Prime Minister knew everything about everything. In general, it was good to cultivate that view, but not in this case.”

Norton-Taylor states that the inquiry highlighted the extraordinary power of officials in ministers’ private offices. “There is a freemasonry among private secretaries, where they have more license to express their personal views than some of the rest of us,” Sir Robin Butler, himself a former principle private secretary at 10 Downing Street, told the inquiry with more seriousness than jest. Private secretaries control the flow of papers coming to ministers and decide what should be placed, and in what order, inside the red boxes ministers take home at night and at weekends. One senior civil servant told the author, “Private secretaries are more important than permanent secretaries. They keep ministers informed, but they also take decisions on what ministers see.”

Apropos of the Al-Yamamah Arms Deal and the role of Wafic Said, Gambill (2003) stated in Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (an offshoot of Pipes and Krystol’s The Middle East Forum) that:

“Sir Charles Powell, a long-time foreign policy advisor of Thatcher who was present during the negotiations for this deal, was later hired as chairman of Sagitta Asset Management Limited, of which [Wafic] Said is the primary shareholder.”

Stephen Glover in the Spectator of Nov 24, 2001, quotes Powell as refuting such allegations:

“I am indeed a friend of Mr Said’s, and am proud to be so: he is a remarkable man and an extraordinary benefactor of good causes in this country. But I conduct no business on his behalf in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East. Nor do I have any connection with First Saudi Investment Company to which Mr Glover refers.”

But maintains:

“The two men first met in the late 1980s when Lord Powell was the prime minister’s private secretary and Mr Said was involved in the 20 billion Al Yamamah arms contract between Britain and Saudi Arabia. In 1994, having left the Foreign Office, Lord Powell became a director of Said Holdings. In 1996 Mr Said made him a trustee (unpaid) of the Oxford Business School which he had just endowed. In February of this year Lord Powell became chairman of Sagitta Asset Management Ltd, which is Mr Said’s main investment vehicle. Sagitta, and the companies with similar names clustered around it (e.g. Sagitta Investment Advisers Ltd), would repay hours of study. Last year Sagitta Asset Management made a loss of 1,238,395 on a turnover of 2,524,097 and paid its highest-paid director 910,000. All the Sagitta companies are subsidiaries of Sagitta International Limited, registered in Bermuda and controlled by Wafic Said.”

Powell became a paid adviser to BAE’s chairman and was caught up in the Guardian’s investigation into Al Yamamah:

“Since 2003 he has been a political adviser to BAE’s chairman, firstly Dick Evans and then Dick Oliver. In 2005 it was revealed that Tony Blair was employing him as his special envoy to Brunei, at the same time as BAE was embroiled in a dispute with the south-east Asian state over the purchase of three warships. Powell denied a conflict of interests.”

The Guardian argues that Powell and his family “have intimate knowledge of the al-Yamamah deals”. His younger brother Jonathan was Tony Blair’s chief of staff “when the Saudis put pressure on Downing Street in 2006 to drop the Serious Fraud Office inquiry.” Saudi officials are reported to have “met Powell to communicate their anger.” Charles Powell’s son, Hugh, “heads the Foreign Office’s security policy department, which is concerned with BAE.”

Oxford Business School

After leaving John Major’s transition team in 1991, Lord Powell joined the board of Said Holdings and the board of the Said Business School at Oxford University.

The school was itself the subject of controversy. Said donated £20m and its location was shifted from a central playing field to a car park by Oxford railway station.

Michael White, in The Guardian, 2001 stated that as well as the vice-chancellor of Oxford and three senior academic colleagues, the trustees of the business school include five appointed by Mr Said, subject only to the vice-chancellor’s approval. They are Lord Alexander of Weedon (chairman of the NatWest Group of companies), Robert Genillard (a Swiss financier and industrialist), Professor William Pounds (formerly Dean of the Sloan School of Management, MIT) Ms Catherine Roe (Director of the Karim Rida Said Foundation which commemorates Mr Said’s late son) and Lord Powell.

Powell’s other affiliations include the

  • Aspen Institute
  • Atlantic Partnership
  • British Museum
  • China-Britain Business Council
  • Henry Jackson Society
  • Oxford University Business School Foundation
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • New Atlantic Initiative

Now let us turn to Diligence.

Diligence?

According to their website

“More than half of the company’s 100 employees are former intelligence agents” and The company was founded in 2000 “by former members of the CIA and its British counterpart, MI5.”

The website also offers this definition:

“Diligence is an intelligence gathering and risk management firm that helps its clients confront difficult business challenges. In this role, we provide companies with both the information and analysis to enable them to identify, manage, and mitigate risks stemming either from the normal flow of business or from unanticipated contingencies.”

Their case studies, which are entirely unsourced and almost impossible to verify include elements of penetration and subversion of protest groups:

“Diligence was retained by a prominent European scientific research group to provide early warning of a possible attack by a violent activist organization that had accused the institution of testing products on animals and that had also begun to harass managers of the institution. Our research indicated that there was friction within the activist group. The less extreme element believed that the group’s violent actions not only alienated the public, but that violence would result in the facility being closed and testing moved to Eastern Europe, where research on animals would be under much less regulation and oversight. Diligence’s staff played on these concerns, and managed to provide warning of any planned attacks. Information was passed to the police, arrests were made and senior managers at the facility were protected from assault.”

And in Case Study 09 strike-breaking:

“A large multinational was having labor problems at a manufacturing plant in India. There had been increasing unrest among its employees and more frequently, impromptu strikes were being called for no apparent reason. Furthermore, senior management at the plant had started to receive personal threats […] Diligence was called in to help management better understand what was going on, to determine who was responsible and to provide early warning of the agitators’ intentions. Former intelligence officers on the Diligence staff started to develop a network of sources within the work force. They quickly determined that the strike instigators were local organized criminals who were trying to take over the union in an attempt to extort money from the workers and to benefit from theft at the plant. They had hoped that by organizing strikes and making threats they would have the current union officials dismissed. Diligence worked with the plant managers, union officials, and local media sources to expose the perpetrators by publicizing their plans in a local newspaper.”

They also work for the large Oil companies as with Case Study 01:

“A Western oil “major” was ready to embark on the acquisition of a large Russian oil company. The head of the company’s mergers and acquisition group asked Diligence to determine the beneficial ownership of several offshore entities belonging to the potential Russian acquisition target.”

Case Study 04 deals with Commercial & Competitive Intelligence:

“A Diligence client was bidding on a major defense contract in the Middle East. The client suspected that a competitor was trying to undermine the tendering process by bribing procurement officials within the Middle Eastern government. Diligence was asked to discreetly determine whether the client’s suspicions were well-founded and, if so, to gather any discloseable evidence. Diligence monitored the interaction between procurement officials and the competitor’s capture team at an international trade show and concluded that a kickback scheme was being put in place. Over a period of months, Diligence catalogued more inappropriate behavior and obtained specific details of payments and promises of kickbacks. The client shared this information with senior officials inside the Middle Eastern government and as a result, the competitor was excluded from the process. The client went on to secure an $870 million contract.”

This is somewhat ironic given Charles Powell’s position on the board and his role in the the BAe and Al- Yamamah affairs. The firm currently has offices in Washington, New York, Miami, London, Brussels, Moscow and most recently, in Berlin. In 2003 Diligence opened an office in Baghdad to provide security services and is now targeting Latin America.

The company is based in 1776 Eye Street, near Pennsylvania Ave., in the ‘Golden Triangle’ section of the District — four blocks from the Whitehouse — part of the growing sector of organisations which sprung up to exploit the demand for private security in the wake of 9/11 and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Partners in Diligence Middle East (DME) include the Kuwaiti-based Al-Mal Investment Company and the Washington D.C.-based New Bridge Strategies, which provide DME with significant business development and networking skills because of their connections to the US government. New Bridge Strategies, is headed by Joe M. Allbaugh, Bush’s campaign manager in 2000 and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency until March. Other directors include Edward M. Rogers Jr., vice chairman, and Lanny Griffith, lobbyists who were assistants to the first President George Bush and now have close ties to the White House. Allbaugh also served as Bush’s national campaign manager for the 2000 election and as the campaign manager for Bush’s first run for Texas governor in 1994. He also served as Governor Bush’s Chief of Staff. Along with Bush’s longtime aides, Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh is known as one of the three members of Bush’s so-called “iron triangle.”

The network of influence has been the subject of a TV investigation that alleges insider business deals between Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense and several companies many related to his “former” business associate Marc Zell, including: Zell, Goldberg and Company, Diligence, New Bridge Strategies, Barber, Griffith and Rogers, SAIC and The Iraqi International Law Group.

Diligence’s People?

Nick Day: Chief Executive Officer: A former officer of Britain’s Security Service (MI5) Day is a founding partner of Diligence. Following his government service, Day worked as a senior investigator for the Maxima Group, a leading European fraud investigations firm. According to the Independent Day joined the Marines at the age of 18 before becoming an officer in the Special Boat Service, the maritime equivalent of the SAS. Following time in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Bosnia (where he gathered intelligence), he became as spy, joining MI5 and specialising in Middle Eastern terrorist groups. He set up Diligence with ex-CIA agent Mike Baker in 2000.

Marc Triaureau: Chief Financial Officer: A former CFO with Cataligent and GetWell Network, Triaureau has also worked with a currency hedge fund and the venture capital firm, Fontainbleau Ventures. Fluent in French and Spanish, Triaureau has an MBA from INSEAD (the US-funded elite business school) and an M.S. from Colorado State University.

Russ Corn: Managing Director, London: A former senior advisor to Prudential plc, the global financial services company in London, on operational and political risk. Corn served in several regions with the U.K Special Forces. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and an alumnus of London Business School.

Jon Greenaway: Managing Director, Brussels: A former investigative journalist, Greenaway has written for a variety of publications in Europe and Asia, including the Irish Times, the Australian Financial Review and the South China Morning Post. He received his MBA from Cambridge University.

Ewan McPhie: Senior Managing Director, Washington, DC. With over 15 years of experience with the U.K. Security Service (MI5), McPhie performed in a number of analytical and operational roles and was a member of MI5’s senior management group. Prior to joining Diligence, he served as policy director of a leading nongovernmental organization working on the “digital divide”, the nexus between information technology and economic development.

Michael Redman, Managing Director, Moscow: The founder of Diligence’s practice in the Russian Federation, Redman previously worked in London, advising banks, insurance underwriters and telecom companies on business conditions in Russia and Eastern Europe. Fluent in Russian and Serbo-Croatian, he graduated from Cambridge University.

Advisory Board

Judge William Webster: The former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1987-91) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1978-87), Webster is now a senior partner in the law offices Millbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in Washington, DC., where he specializes in arbitration, mediation and internal investigation. He has worked closely with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Webster was appointed to the FBI in the wake of the investigations of the FBI in the mid-1970’s, similarly President Reagan called upon him in 1987 as the Iran-Contra investigations were ongoing, and the CIA was facing new and intense pressures. He is a director of the American Arbitration Association and the advisory board of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution. He is a trustee of Washington University in St. Louis.

In 2006 Webster was appointed as the Chair of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). According to Naomi Klein in the Guardian as a brand-new arm of the state created by the Bush regime, the HSAC is the clearest expression of a ‘wholly outsourced mode of government:’

“Although the stated goal was fighting terrorism, the effect was the creation of the disaster capitalism complex – a fully fledged new economy in homeland security, privatised war and disaster reconstruction tasked with nothing less than building and running a privatised security state, both at home and abroad. The economic stimulus of this sweeping initiative proved enough to pick up the slack where globalisation and the dotcom booms had left off. Just as the internet had launched the dotcom bubble, 9/11 launched the disaster capitalism bubble. “When the IT industry shut down, post-bubble, guess who had all the money? The government,” said Roger Novak of Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a venture capitalism firm that invests in homeland security companies. Now, he says, “Every fund is seeing how big the trough is and asking, ‘How do I get a piece of that action?'””

Webster’s business interests undermined his credibility to serve in position supposedly crucial to restoring faith in integrity of the US’s financial system. Webster was on the board of U.S. Technologies Inc., (UST) a once high-flying Washington firm, which “ceased to exist as a publicly traded company when its stock was de-registered, four months after chief executive C. Gregory Earls was convicted of defrauding investors of $13.8 million.” UST used prison labour to manufacture its products and according to the Washington Post:

“William H. Webster was chosen to head the federal accounting board panel created in the wake of the scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc. Following news reports that U.S. Technologies had been sued for fraud by investors, Webster withdrew his name from consideration. The brouhaha helped prompt the resignation of Webster’s sponsor, Harvey L. Pitt, who was chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission at the time.”

According to Nathan Newman, a union lawyer and vice president of the NYC National Lawyers Guild:

“Webster also managed to get appointment in the early 1990s to the three-member government panel overseeing corruption in the Teamsters. Yet despite being paid $100,000 per year for the job, paid out of hardworking Teamsters’ dues, many union officials have argued that Webster has been doing very little to earn his money. In serving on the board, Webster has clear conflicts of interest, since he serves on the corporate board of Anheuser-Busch, which negotiates contracts with the Teamsters. As well, Webster serves on the board of Pinkerton Security and Investigations Services, notorious in labor history for its strikebreaking. Unions and affiliated groups like the Labor Party have passed resolutions condemning the Teamster review board for allowing Webster to serve in such a position.”

On October 30, 1990, Judge Webster was presented the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award.

Rt. Hon. Michael Howard, Q.C., M.P.: the former leader of the Conservative Party, has filled many government posts, including Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Employment and Secretary of State for the Environment. Since leaving office he was Shadow Foreign Secretary and then Shadow Chancellor. Following the 1992 election, Howard was appointed Secretary of State for the Environment. In this position he played a major role in securing the participation of the USA at the Earth Summit in Rio which he attended on behalf of the Government. After a period as Minister for Water and Planning in 1988/89 during which he was responsible for implementing water privatization in England and Wales.

Howard is on the board of Thorium Power, Ltd. In April 2007, the company announced a strategic alliance with Red Star, a Russian government-owned entity and one of the premier nuclear design bureaus in the world. It argue “thorium could be a major step towards making nuclear power cleaner, safer and more secure.”

Thorium Power develops and owns nuclear fuel technology to take advantage of the current expansion of the nuclear power industry. They argue they offer ‘cleaner’ nuclear power by using Thorium (a cheap and relatively plentiful element occurring in minerals) and that this stops the reactor from producing nuclear weapons-usable plutonium. The process was developed by Alvin Radkowsky an American-born Israeli nuclear physicist (1915—2002) who helped build the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, in the early 1950s and, later in his career, worked on developing Thorium nuclear reactor fuel that would produce a minimal amount of radioactive waste.

Radkowsky believed that Western governments should be pressured into selling only RTR-type nuclear reactors to developing nations. The RTR can be installed in developing countries which lack natural sources of power such as coal, oil or even firewood, without fear that unstable governments may divert the reactor fuel for weapon purposes. Radkowsky was Chief Scientist of the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program from 1948 to 1972 and studied under Dr. Edward Teller. His invention has been declassified and is now used by almost all commercial reactors. Radkowsky joined Tel Aviv University’s Faculty as professor of nuclear engineering in 1972. Funding for his research on RTRs came from the Raytheon Corp., Nuclear Division and private investors.

Edward J. Mathias: After his graduation from The University of Pennsylvania, Mathias served as an officer in the US Navy Supply Corps. He also served as a White House military social aide during the Johnson Administration. A former member of T. Rowe Price’s management committee, Mathias was instrumental in the early 1990’s in founding the Carlyle Group, the Washington-based private equity firm. He now serves there as a managing director. He is also on the board of ThinkEquity Partners LLC, Valhalla Partners and was chairman of various equity mutual funds, including the New Horizons Fund (1982 – 1993). Mathias is a special limited partner in Trident Capital, a partnership focusing on business and information service companies. Mathias is chairman of the board of visitors at American University’s Kogod School of Business Administration and serves on the boards of Overseers at The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Science. He is a director of US Office Products, Sirrom Capital, Pathogenesis, NexCen Brands, Inc., Endeavor Acquisition Corp., and Ovation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art and Chief Executive of the [[Leadership Institute]] and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Investment Advisory Committee.

Georgette Mosbacher: Mosbacher is the CEO and President of Borghese Inc. a cosmetic, skin care, Toiletries Company with world wide distribution. Mosbacher has served for the last ten years as the Republican National Committeewoman for the State of New York, and has served as a New York Delegate at the last three Republican National Conventions, and has chaired the Republican Governor’s Association. In 1994 Mosbacher raised a record-breaking $15 million by orchestrating all facets in the planning of the 1994 Republican National Gala. Mosbacher also serves as a Trustee on the Board of The Hudson River Park Trust, the 550-acre park is the largest open space development in Manhattan since the completion of Central Park.

Mosbacher was the Chair and CEO of Georgette Mosbacher Enterprises, an international entrepreneurial and consulting business in New York. Other affiliations include: Board Member New York Racing Association, The Foreign Policy Association, A Fellow The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Member USO, Board Member Harvard Center For Public Leadership, Advisory Board Member Center for Democracy.

Thomas F. McLarty: President Clinton’s Chief of Staff and then Special Envoy to the Americas. McLarty is now president of Kissinger McLarty Associates.

Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel: The former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and earlier, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Ambassador Schnabel is the founder and Co-Chairman of Trident Capital in Los Angeles.

Arnaud de Borchgrave: Newsweek magazine’s long-term chief foreign correspondent, De Borchgrave is now a senior advisor and director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and is also editor-at-large at United Press International.

William Preston and Ellen Ray wrote a history of disinformation in the U.S., and observed:

“The greatest assistance in disinformation —especially during the current Administration —is always forthcoming from the Reader’s Digest. In 1977 the Times exposed Digest editor John Barron as having worked hand in glove with the CIA on a book about the KGB. Other fraudulent journalists like Robert Moss, Arnaud de Borchgrave, Daniel James, Claire Sterling, and Michael Ledeen, among others, seem to pick up disinformation themes almost automatically. In fact, coordination between the development of propaganda and disinformation themes by the covert media assets, the overt propaganda machine, and the bevy of puppet journalists is quite calculated. A theme which is floated on one level—a feature item on VOA about Cuba for example— will appear within record time as a lead article in Reader’s Digest, or a feature in a Heritage Foundation report, or a series of exposes by Moss and de Borchgrave or Daniel James in some reactionary tabloid like Human Events or the Washington Times or Inquirer. Then they will be called to testify by Senator Denton’s Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, repeating one another’s allegations as “expert witnesses”. After that they are given credibility by the “respectable” Cold War publications like the National Review, Commentary, and the New Republic. And finally, since they have repeated the theme so many times it must be true, they are given the opportunity to write Op Ed pieces for the New York Times or the Washington Post.”

Prof. Dr. Kurt J. Lauk: A former management board member of Daimler-Chrysler, VEBA and Audi AG, Lauk is currently president of Globe Capital Partners, an investment advisory firm he founded in 2000. He is also a member of the European Parliament and serves as chairman of the Christian Democratic Party’s Economic Council.

Richard Burt: Burt began his career as a journalist: from 1977 until 1980 he reported from Washington for the New York Times on national security issues. Prior to his management position at Diligence, he worked from 1992 – 1995 as a partner at the consulting company McKinsey. Between 1985 and 1989, he served as US Ambassador in Bonn, after previously heading up the Europe section at the State Department. Burt was chief negotiator at the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with Russia. In the corporate arena, Burt was a partner at McKinsey & Co. between 1991 and 1994 and has also held seats on the boards of Weirton Steel Corp., IGT, and Archer Daniels Midland.

Burt serves on the Board of Hollinger International, as well as on the Board of International Games Technology (IGT), the largest gaming machine manufacturer in the world. He is also a trustee of the UBS family of mutual funds (New York board) as well as the Deutsche Bank’s board of the Scudder mutual fund group and is a member of the board of the Winslow Group, a hedge fund business. In addition, he is a member of the [[Textron]] Corporation’s International Advisory Council and the Alfa Bank’s Senior Advisory Board in Moscow. He is also an International Director of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers who share the same offices as Diligence and have worked closely with them (see Day’s profile above). BGR also have a connection to Freedom’s Watch.

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