PEPIS #61 - Bilderberg's backstabber at the BBC
- PEPIS #61 - Bilderberg's backstabber at the BBC - 30Aug04
The role of BBC board member and 2004 Bilderberg attendee Pauline
Neville-Jones in the ousting of the BBC's popular Director General
Greg Dyke is revealed in the UK papers this weekend.
Someone somewhere must like Dame Pauline because her term as a
governor has been extended for an extra year beyond the normal maximum.
Below, from today's Independent, is the first analysis, albeit brief,
I've yet seen of the business interrests of the various governors. A
subject we should all make our job to scrutinise.
In another Bilderberg related story a suspected Isreali spy has been
found in the office of Bilderberger, number three civillian oficial
and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.
See also this article by Belgian analyst Marek Tysis examining the new
unelected European Commission (government) candidates due to take over
on 1st November 2004. http://www.bilderberg.org/2004.htm#corporatism
(qinetiq is spelled as such not quinetiq which I have erroneously
written from time to time - their website is at www.qinetiq.com )
My clashes with the two 'posh ladies'
How two pillars of the establishment helped to engineer a very British
coup at the BBC
Greg Dyke Sunday August 29, 2004 The Observer
Two BBC governors, Pauline Neville-Jones and Sarah Hogg, were far more
vocal than the rest, and I nicknamed them 'the posh ladies'. It was
clear neither liked me much and Sarah, I now know, actively disliked
me. The feeling was mutual.
Pauline, a career civil servant at the Foreign Office and a former
chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was among a number of
governors who opposed my appointment as director-general. She was a
powerful voice on the board, worked hard and was very clever in a
manipulative, FO sort of way.
But neither I nor the two BBC chairmen I worked with, Christopher
Bland and Gavyn Davies, ever totally trusted Pauline. She had applied
to be deputy chairman and was turned down. She was incredibly
ambitious but I always suspected she had not been as successful in
life as she had wished.
Although a big supporter of the BBC, Sarah Hogg never left her
politics or prejudices at the door of governors' meetings. She was
married to a land-owning Tory MP, Douglas Hogg, and lived in a
When we tried to update our political coverage, Sarah led the
opposition: we shouldn't upset the politicians. She was upset by the
lack of coverage of the Countryside March in September 2002 (probably
the only march she'd ever been on). She insisted the BBC was not
covering rural affairs properly, and got a full investigation, costing
thousands of pounds.
This struck me as a classic case of special pleading from a governor
who lived on the family estate in rural Lincolnshire.
Her term as a governor was due to finish, and she didn't want it
renewed. Neither did Gavyn or I. By the time Hutton published his
report, Sarah's time was almost up.
The day it appeared the governors met from 5pm until the early hours.
Gavyn and I left after 40 minutes when they began discussing what
should happen to the management team. We had agreed with Pauline
Neville-Jones the previous night that it would be impossible for Gavyn
and I to resign at the same time.
However, Gavyn announced his resignation before the meeting. As we
left, I reminded Simon Milner, the BBC secretary [for governance and
accountability] of what Gavyn and I had told him of our talk. It was
Milner's job to tell the governors that if I was to go on, I needed
their public support.
Sarah Hogg had her last chance to settle old scores. I now know that
she arrived determined to get rid of me.
I waited in my office for maybe an hour and a half before Milner came
to say Pauline and the deputy chairman, Richard Ryder, wanted to see me.
Ryder was pretty blunt. He said the governors had decided I should go:
if I stayed I'd be a lame-duck director-general. This was ridiculous:
there was never a chance of me being a lame-duck anything.
I asked if this was the view of them all. Richard told me he hadn't
expressed a view but was reporting the views of the rest. Pauline said
I hadn't seen it coming. I was completely shocked. I had no idea what
to say. I pointed out I had a contract they would have to honour, but
if they didn't want me I wouldn't stay.
I went back to my office and sat stunned. I had worked flat out for
four years to turn round a deeply unhappy and troubled organisation,
and I was now being thrown out by the people I respected least, the
governors. My main emotion was disbelief.
Before Gavyn headed home at about 11 pm, he decided to say a final
goodbye to his former colleagues, but when he walked into the room he
found the atmosphere had changed completely. It was a very hostile
environment, with the aggression mainly coming from Sarah, who, he
said, 'was seething'.
I've since discovered that she told Gavyn the day before that he
shouldn't resign, but I should. He told her there were no
circumstances in which he'd let me go while he stayed, and I think
that was one reason Gavyn resigned: if one of us should go it should
be him, and that way he would protect me.
Others at that meeting say that when Gavyn walked in Sarah launched a
ferocious attack, accusing him of 'cowardice under fire'.
It was three days before I began to realise that perhaps all was not
as it had seemed. This idea came to me when someone at the BBC told me
she believed some of the governors had been out to get me, regardless
of Hutton. It got me thinking: did some of them have another agenda?
By then I knew that three of the 11 governors had supported me in the
vote: the ballet dancer Deborah Bull, the Oxford academic Ruth Deech
and voluntary sector consultant Angela Sarkis.
The 'posh ladies' had opposed me, led by Sarah Hogg.
I began to think about the conversation Gavyn, Pauline Neville-Jones,
and I had the night before Hutton was published. If Pauline had said
she thought it impossible for Gavyn and me to leave at the same time,
shouldn't she have argued on my behalf, given that Gavyn had already
gone? Yet she had not. I thought some more.
Pauline had always been a big supporter of Mark Byford. Like most BBC
lifers, he was better [than me] at the politics of dealing with the
It was a game I refused to play. I saw no reason to treat the
governors differently from everyone else. I certainly wasn't going to
regard the earth they walked on as holy ground.
After I had left the BBC one senior executive said to me that if I had
been a bit more servile to them, I would still be there today. I have
no doubt that's true. Certainly both chairmen in my time there
suggested I ought to be more respectful and make fewer jokes at
governors' meetings, but I was never going to do that. I have never
respected position for its own sake and I was hardly likely to start
in my fifties, particularly when dealing with a group of people, most
of whom knew nothing about the media and who would have struggled to
get a senior job at the BBC.
So why hadn't Pauline supported me? Again I thought back a few months.
In early December 2003, Gavyn told me Pauline and Sarah had been to
see him, demanding that Mark Byford be appointed my deputy and be put
in charge of BBC News. I was then to have been told it was a fait
I objected, though in many ways the idea of Mark becoming my deputy
was a good one. With Hutton pending, even someone as naturally
combative as me recognised this was not a time for a bust-up with the
governors. To appease them, I suggested we appoint Mark as my deputy,
but with different powers from those they suggested.
The governors agreed, and he began work on 1 January last year. A
month later I was gone and he was acting director-general. The
establishment figures had seized their chance and got rid of the
upstart. It was, in many ways, a very British coup.
The BBC has a good man as its new chairman in Michael Grade, but to do
his job well he needs better, more knowledgeable governors to support
him. I hope the six current governors who voted to get rid of me -
Dermot Gleeson, Merfyn Jones, Fabian Monds, Neville-Jones, Robert
Smith, and Ranjit Sondhi - will realise that what they did that
January night was bow to pressure from a political thug called
What happened to me is irrelevant. Director-generals come and go; but
there is no greater betrayal of BBC principles than to fold under
political pressure, particularly from the government of the day.
These governors got it seriously wrong and they should accept that.
They should now resign. The BBC deserves better.
THE GOVERNORS WHO VOTED FOR DYKE TO GO...
Independent - 30th August 2004
Position: He is executive chairman of MJ Gleeson Group plc. Time spent
on the board: Appointed a BBC governor in November 2000 and
reappointed for a further four years last month. His term of office
now runs for another four years, to the end of October 2008.
BARONESS SARAH HOGG
Position: Chairman of Frontier Economics and 3i. Also a director of
P&O Princess and appointed deputy chairman of GKN from 1 December
2003. Time spent on the board: Appointed a BBC governor in February
2000, her term completed February 2004.
Position: A historian and broadcaster with posts at University of
Wales and University of Liverpool, where he was director of continuing
education. Time spent on the board: BBC national governor for Wales
from 1 January 2003 until the end of 2006.
Position: Professor Monds is chairman of Invest Northern Ireland, the
economic development agency. Time spent on the board: He
becamenational governor for Northern Ireland in 1999. In June last
year his term was extended to July 2007.
DAME PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES
Position: Chairs the BBC's audit committee and the governors' World
Service Consultative Group. Time spent on the board: She was appointed
in January 1998 and her term of office has been extended to the end of
next year. (doesn't mention her job as a director of the new private
defense company QuinetiQ ed.)
LORD (RICHARD) RYDER OF WENSUM
Position: He became acting chairman on 28 January and resumed as
vice-chairman on 17 May. Time spent on the board:He became
vice-chairman on 1 January for four years. His resignation from the
board took effect in June.
SIR ROBERT SMITH
Position: He is chairman of the Weir Group, deputy chairman of
Scottish and Southern Energy and holds several non-executive
directorships. Time spent on the board:He was appointed national
governor for Scotland in August 1999. In 2003 his term of office was
extended to July 2007. In July this year he said he would step down at
the end of 2004.
Position: He is a senior lecturer at Birmingham University, where he
co-ordinates a new degree in race and ethnic studies. Time spent on
the board: Appointed in August 1998, his term of office was renewed in
2002 and now finishes in October 2006.
...AND THOSE WHO WANTED HIM TO STAY
Position: She had a 20-year career with the Royal Ballet until 2001,
becoming principal dancer in 1992 and touring the world with the
company. Time spent on the board: She became a governor on 1 August
2003 for a four-year term.
Position: She is a trustee of the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation and a
bencher of the Inner Temple, and holds an honorary doctorate from
Strathclyde University. Time spent on the board: Appointed in October
2002 for a four-year term.
Position: An independent consultant with a management interest. Member
of the African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance and the Home Office's
active community unit advisory panel. Time spent on the board:
Four-year term from 2002.
Iran-Contra II? Fresh scrutiny on a rogue Pentagon operation.
By Joshua Micah Marshall, Laura Rozen, and Paul Glastris
On Friday evening, CBS News reported that the FBI is investigating a
suspected mole in the Department of Defense who allegedly passed to
Israel, via a pro-Israeli lobbying organization, classified American
intelligence about Iran. The focus of the investigation, according to
U.S. government officials, is Larry Franklin, a veteran Defense
Intelligence Agency Iran analyst now working in the office of the
Pentagon's number three civilian official, Undersecretary of Defense
for Policy Douglas Feith.
The investigation of Franklin is now shining a bright light on a
shadowy struggle within the Bush administration over the direction of
U.S. policy toward Iran. In particular, the FBI is looking with
renewed interest at an unauthorized back-channel between Iranian
dissidents and advisers in Feith's office, which more senior
administration officials first tried in vain to shut down and then
later attempted to cover up.
Franklin, along with another colleague from Feith's office, a polyglot
Middle East expert named Harold Rhode, were the two officials involved
in the back-channel, which involved on-going meetings and contacts
with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and other Iranian
exiles, dissidents and government officials. Ghorbanifar is a storied
figure who played a key role in embroiling the Reagan administration
in the Iran-Contra affair. The meetings were both a conduit for
intelligence about Iran and Iraq and part of a bitter administration
power-struggle pitting officials at DoD who have been pushing for a
hard-line policy of "regime change" in Iran, against other officials
at the State Department and the CIA who have been counseling a more
Reports of two of these meetings first surfaced a year ago in Newsday,
and have since been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Whether or how the meetings
are connected to the alleged espionage remains unknown. But the FBI is
now closely scrutinizing them.
While the FBI is looking at the meetings as part of its criminal
investigation, to congressional investigators the Ghorbanifar
back-channel typifies the out-of-control bureaucratic turf wars which
have characterized and often hobbled Bush administration
policy-making. And an investigation by The Washington Monthly --
including a rare interview with Ghorbanifar -- adds weight to those
concerns. The meetings turn out to have been far more extensive and
much less under White House control than originally reported. One of
the meetings, which Pentagon officials have long characterized as
merely a "chance encounter" seems in fact to have been planned long in
advance by Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Another has never been reported in
the American press. The administration's reluctance to disclose these
details seems clear: the DoD-Ghorbanifar meetings suggest the
possibility that a rogue faction at the Pentagon was trying to work
outside normal US foreign policy channels to advance a "regime change"
agenda not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or
even the president himself.
The Italian Job
The first meeting occurred in Rome in December, 2001. It included
Franklin, Rhode, and another American, the neoconservative writer and
operative Michael Ledeen, who organized the meeting. (According to
UPI, Ledeen was then working for Feith as a consultant.) Also in
attendance was Ghorbanifar and a number of other Iranians. One of the
Iranians, according to two sources familiar with the meeting, was a
former senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who claimed to
have information about dissident ranks within the Iranian security
services. The Washington Monthly has also learned from U.S. government
sources that Nicolo Pollari, the head of Italy's military intelligence
agency, SISMI, attended the meetings, as did the Italian Minister of
Defense Antonio Martino, who is well-known in neoconservative circles
Alarm bells about the December 2001 meeting began going off in U.S.
government channels only days after it occurred. On Dec. 12, 2001, at
the U.S. embassy in Rome, America's newly-installed ambassador, Mel
Sembler, sat down for a private dinner with Ledeen, an old friend of
his from Republican Party politics, and Martino, the Italian defense
minister. The conversation quickly turned to the meeting. The problem
was that this was the first that Amb. Sembler had heard about it.
According to U.S. government sources, Sembler immediately set about
trying to determine what he could about the meeting and how it had
happened. Since U.S. government contact with foreign government
intelligence agencies is supposed to be overseen by the CIA, Sembler
first spoke to the CIA station chief in Rome to find out what if
anything he knew about the meeting with the Iranians. But that only
raised more questions because the station chief had been left in the
dark as well. Soon both Sembler and the Rome station chief were
sending anxious queries back to the State Department and CIA
headquarters in Langley, Va., respectively, raising alarms on both
sides of the Potomac.
The meeting was a source of concern for a series of overlapping
reasons. Since the late 1980s, Ghorbanifar has been the subject of two
CIA "burn notices." The agency believes Ghorbanifar is a serial
"fabricator" and forbids its officers from having anything to do with
him. Moreover, why were mid-level Pentagon officials organizing
meetings with a foreign intelligence agency behind the back of the CIA
-- a clear breach of U.S. government protocol? There was also a matter
of personal chagrin for Sembler: At State Department direction, he had
just been cautioning the Italians to restrain their contacts with
bad-acting states like Iran (with which Italy has extensive trade ties).
According to U.S. government sources, both the State Department and
the CIA eventually brought the matter to the attention of the White
House -- specifically, to Condoleezza Rice's chief deputy on the
National Security Council, Stephen J. Hadley. Later, Italian spy chief
Pollari raised the matter privately with Tenet, who himself went to
Hadley in early February 2002. Goaded by Tenet, Hadley sent word to
the officials in Feith's office and to Ledeen to cease all such
activities. Hadley then contacted Sembler, assuring him it wouldn't
happen again and to report back if it did.
The orders, however, seem to have had little effect, for a second
meeting was soon underway. According to a story published this summer
in Corriere della Sera, a leading Italian daily, this second meeting
took place in Rome in June 2002. Ghorbanifar tells The Washington
Monthly that he arranged that meeting after a flurry of faxes between
himself and DoD official Harold Rhode. Though he did not attend it
himself, Ghorbanifar says the meeting consisted of an Egyptian, an
Iraqi, and a high-level U.S. government official, whose name he
declined to reveal. The first two briefed the American official about
the general situation in Iraq and the Middle East, and what would
happen in Iraq, "And it's happened word for word since," says
Ghorbanifar. A spokesman for the NSC declined to comment on this and
other meetings and referred The Washington Monthly to the Defense
Department, which did not respond to repeated inquiries. Ledeen also
refused to comment.
No one at the U.S. embassy in Rome seems to have known about this
second Rome meeting. But the back-channel's continuing existence
became apparent the following month -- July 2002 -- when Ledeen again
contacted Sembler and told him that he'd be back in Rome in September
to continue "his work" with the Iranians (This time Ledeen made no
mention of any involvement by Pentagon officials; later, he told
Sembler it would be in August rather than September.) An exasperated
Sembler again sent word back to Washington, and Hadley again went into
motion telling Ledeen, in no uncertain terms, to back off.
Once again, however, Hadley's orders seem to have gone unheeded.
Almost a year later in June 2003, there were still further meetings in
Paris involving Rhode and Ghorbanifar. Ghorbanifar says the purpose of
the meeting was for Rhode to get more information on the situation in
Iraq and the Middle East. "In those meetings we met, we gave him the
scenario, what would happen in the coming days in Iraq. And everything
has happened word for word as we told him," Ghorbanifar repeats. "We
met in several different places in Paris," he says. "Rhode met several
other people -- he didn't only meet me."
Not a "chance encounter"
By the summer of 2003, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had
begun to get wind of the Ghorbanifar-Ledeen-DoD back-channel and made
inquiries at the CIA. A month later, Newsday broke the original story
about the secret Ghorbanifar channel. Faced with the disclosure,
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld acknowledged the December 2001 meeting
but dismissed it as routine and unimportant.
"The information has moved around the interagency process to all the
departments and agencies," he told reporters in Crawford, Texas, after
a meeting with Bush. "As I understand it, there wasn't anything there
that was of substance or of value that needed to be pursued further."
Later that day, another senior Defense official acknowledged the
second meeting in Paris in June 2003, but insisted that it was the
result of a "chance encounter" between Ghorbanifar and a Pentagon
official. The administration has kept to the "chance encounter" story
to this day.
Ghorbanifar, however, laughs off that idea. "Run into each other? We
had a prior arrangement," he told The Washington Monthly: "It involved
a lot of discussion and a lot of people."
Over the last year, the Senate Intelligence Committee has conducted
limited inquiry into the meetings, including interviews with Feith and
Ledeen. But under terms of a compromise agreed to by both parties, a
full investigation into the matter was put off until after the
November election. Republicans on the committee, many of whom
sympathize with the "regime change" agenda at DoD, have been resistant
to such investigations, calling them an election-year fishing
expedition. Democrats, by contrast, see such investigations as vital
to understanding the central role Feith's office may have played in a
range of a dubious intelligence enterprises, from pushing claims about
a supposed Saddam-al Qaeda partnership and overblown estimates of
alleged Iraqi stocks of WMD to what the committee's ranking minority
member Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D-W.Va.) calls "the Chalabi factor"
(Rhode and others in Feith's office have been major sponsors of the
Iraqi exile leader, who is now under investigation for passing U.S.
intelligence to Iran). With the FBI adding potential espionage charges
to the mix the long-simmering questions about the activities of
Feith's operation now seem certain to come under renewed scrutiny.
Research assistance provided by Claudio Lavanga.