31 August 2017

Diana's Death a 'Tragic Accident': Maybe, Maybe Not

Princess Diana, 36, and Dodi Al Fayed, 42, died in a Paris car crash on 31 Aug 1997.

Gordon Thomas wrote of a scenario Diana's death in 1999 [summary below]. After the summary, there are chronicled news articles of Diana's death, which migrates through complete denial, investigation, inquest jury, and verdict. Her death remains an enigma with powerful parties involved.

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Thomas' account of her death plays out or not. Mohammed al-Fayed [Dodi's father] waged a 10-year campaign to prove that Princess Diana and his son Dodi were murdered in a conspiracy and challenged the account of their deaths in British court. Who would really expect to see a verdict against British royalty and British intelligence in a British court? Will al-Fayed seek justice outside the courts? What vengeance will the sons seek, especially with the resources at their command? It can be a deadly game when played on their level. And now it’s a movie – Unlawful Killing.

Gideon's Spies by Gordon Thomas, 1999, Death of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed

The Ritz Hotel had become important in Mossad's overall strategy. The hotel remained a meeting place for Middle Eastern arms brokers and their European contacts. Mossad had decided to have an informer in the Ritz who would be able to report on activities. As a chauffeur to VIPs, Henri Paul would be in good position to overhear their conversations, witness their behavior, see where they went, whom they met.

A Mossad psychologist had concluded that there was an inherent vulnerability about Henri Paul. The psychologist had recommended that steadily increasing pressure, linked with the promise of substantial monetary reward to finance Paul's social life, could be the best way to recruit him.

For Henri Paul in those last days of August 1997, there seemed no way out. He continued to drink, to take pills, to sleep restlessly, to bully junior staff. He was a man teetering close to the edge. Though he managed to conceal it, Henri Paul was unraveling mentally. Compounding the pressure was the forthcoming visit of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed. Paul had been put in charge of their security while they were in the hotel, with particular responsibility for keeping away the paparazzi.

Two weeks prior to their deaths, the service had held several meetings with Henri Paul, "who was a paid informer of MI6."  Henri Paul had installed a bugging device in the Imperial Suite at the Ritz hotel and had obtained tapes of the "last intimate moments" of Diana and Dodi. Shortly before their death, the couple had spent several hours alone in the suite.

Just past midnight on Sunday, August 31, 1997, the dead were Diana, Princess of Wales, mother of the future king of England; Dodi Al-Fayed, son of Mohammed Al-Fayed, the Egyptian-born owner of Harrods of Knightsbridge, the "Royal" store; and Henri Paul. The couple's bodyguard had been critically injured. "Paul had been blinded as he drove through the underpass by a high-powered flash, a technique which is consistent with MI6 methods in other assassinations."

Moments later, the mysterious white Fiat Uno, which had been seen zigzagging away from the scene of the crash and which traces of paint scrapes had  been found in the tunnel, had driven into a side street off the Avenue Montalgne. Waiting there was a pentachnicon, its ramp lowered. The Uno had driven up the ramp, and the pantechnicon's doors had been closed. Hours later, the Uno had been gripped in the claws of a crusher and was reduced to a block of scrap metal.

Mohammed Al-Fayed: "A decision had been made by the Establishment, and at the very top, that Diana must not be allowed to marry a Muslim. Then the future king of England, Prince William, would have an Arab as his stepfather and another as his grandfather. There was also a real fear that it would provide the money to allow Diana to become a rival to the Queen of England. The Establishment would do anything to end my son's relationship with the one woman he had ever truly loved."

Mossad's determined attempts to recruit Henri Paul could lead to accusation that this had played a part in Diana's death. To this day Mossad's involvement with Henri Paul has remained a well-kept secret - the way the service had always intended it should remain. Mossad acted at the behest of no one outside Israel.

In The News:

Public marks 20 years since Princess Diana's death
31 Aug 2017
Tributes are being paid to Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death. Dubbed the "people's princess" by then prime minister Tony Blair, she died after a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 aged 36. On Wednesday, her sons - Prince William and Prince Harry - visited the growing floral tributes being left at Kensington Palace.

UK relationship with France to continue after Brexit, says prince
17 Mar 2017
The UK's relationship with France will continue despite the vote to leave the EU, Prince William has said. Speaking at the start of a two-day official visit to Paris with the Duchess of Cambridge, the prince said friendship and co-operation "would not change". It is the duke's first official visit to the city where his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in 1997.

Princess Diana WAS pregnant on the night she died, shock new play claims
10 Jan 2015
Sensational claims about the death of Princess Diana will be aired in a controversial West End play, which opens this week: Truth, Lies, Diana. It will revive claims that Diana was pregnant with “a Muslim baby” when she died in a Paris car crash alongside lover Dodi Fayed in 1997. Writer and director Jon Conway – who also appears in the production – said: “I think it’s important the public is able to hear the whole story. I call it the D-word as nobody wants to talk about it.”

Diana death police find no SAS role
16 Dec 2013
There is "no credible evidence" the SAS was involved in the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Al Fayed, the Metropolitan Police has said. "The final conclusion is that whilst there is a possibility the alleged comments in relation to the SAS's involvement in the deaths may have been made, there is no credible evidence to support a theory that such claims had any basis in fact. Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi's father, was "disappointed but not discouraged" by the outcome, his solicitor Simon McKay said. He called the scoping exercise "the latest whitewash in a 16-year cover up".

Diana death: New information assessed by Scotland Yard
18 Aug 2013

The Metropolitan Police is assessing new information it has recently received about the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed in 1997. Scotland Yard said it was "scoping" the information and "assessing its relevance and credibility". Reports in several British Sunday newspapers suggest there are allegations the military was involved and that information had been passed to the police by an Army source. A spokesman for Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed said he would be "interested in seeing the outcome". In December 2006, the report into Operation Paget said it had found no evidence of murder and dismissed all conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths. Operation Paget concluded that driver Henri Paul had been drunk and driving at excessive speed.

Princess Diana film in Galway for first public showing
06 Jul 2011

A controversial documentary about the death of Princess Diana, Unlawful Killing, is to get its first public screening at an Irish film festival. Directed by Keith Allen and funded by the businessman Mohammed Al Fayed, its makers claim the film has evidence of a conspiracy around the Princess's death.

Unlawful Killing – the film the British won't get to see
07 May 2011
Inquest evidence showed conclusively that the crash was caused by an unidentified white Fiat Uno and several unidentified motorcycles, vehicles that were certainly not paparazzi, because uncontested police evidence confirmed that the paparazzi were nowhere near the tunnel at the time of the crash. British lawyers insisted on 87 cuts before any UK release could be contemplated. So rather than butcher the film, or risk legal action, the film is showing it in France, then the US, and everywhere except the UK.
Movie Trailer featuring Piers Morgan

Mohammed Al Fayed sells Harrods store to Qatar Holdings
08 May 2010
Mohammed Al Fayed has sold London department store Harrods to the Qatari royal family's investment company for a reported £1.5bn ($2.3bn). Qatar Holdings is the investment arm of the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, Qatar Investment Authority. Recognised for its celebrity-endorsed sales, food hall and signature green bags, Harrods is one of the world's largest and most famous department stores.

Mr. Al Fayed waged a 10-year campaign in an attempt to prove that Princess Diana and his son Dodi, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, were murdered in a conspiracy. Despite living in Britain for decades, the multi-millionaire businessman has repeatedly been refused a UK passport.

Egyptian tycoon wants to be Scottish president
25 Oct 2009
Mohamed Al Fayed, owner of plush London emporium Harrods, told The Sunday Times newspaper he was ready to become the first president of an independent Scotland. The Egyptian tycoon, 80, who owns an estate in the Scottish Highlands, said he was urging his "fellow Scots" to detach themselves from "the English and their terrible politicians". Fayed, who has been repeatedly refused a British passport, said he hoped to be offered Scottish citizenship if a planned referendum on Scottish independence leads to Scotland leaving the United Kingdom -- and then becoming a republic. "You Scots have been living in a coma for too long," he told the broadsheet. "Whatever help is needed for Scotland to regain its independence, I will provide it. When you Scots regain your freedom I'm ready to be your president."

Princess Diana unlawfully killed
07 Apr 2008
Princess Diana was unlawfully killed due to the "gross negligence" of driver Henri Paul and the paparazzi, an inquest jury has found. The jury reached the same verdict for her companion Dodi Al Fayed. In a statement read on Al Fayed's behalf [Dodi's father Mohamed Al-Fayed] he said the verdicts would come as a blow to "millions" of his supporters around the world.

Diana murdered, Al Fayed claims
18 Feb 2008
Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were murdered, Dodi's father Mohamed Al Fayed has told the inquest into their deaths in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Harrods owner Mr. Al Fayed claimed former prime minister Tony Blair, MI5, MI6 and the British ambassador to France were all part of the conspiracy. And he said Princess Diana "knew Prince Philip and Prince Charles were trying to get rid of her". He also said Diana had told him she was pregnant, and the couple was engaged. And he said Prince Charles was complicit, hoping to make way so he could marry his "crocodile wife" Camilla Parker Bowles. In his evidence, Mr. Al Fayed branded Prince Philip a "Nazi" and a "racist" and said: "It's time to send him back to Germany from where he comes."

Diana had 'no signs' of pregnancy
26 Nov 2007
There was no physical evidence that Diana, Princess of Wales was pregnant, according to the British pathologist who examined her body. But he said they would not necessarily be visible very soon after conception. Dr Chapman confirmed that fluids used in embalming could lead to some changes in a body, such as causing blood clots to form, but he said the chemicals would not obscure the physical evidence of a pregnancy if one existed.

'No evidence' of Diana pregnancy
03 Oct 2007
Intimate details of Princess Diana's life will be heard at the inquest into her death, but whether she was pregnant may never be known, the coroner said. Lord Justice Scott Baker said it was likely "pregnancy is a matter that cannot be proved one way or the other in scientific terms in this case". The inquest also heard how members of MI6 were in Paris during the summer Diana and Dodi Al Fayed both died.

Diana Death Anniversary Marked
31 Aug 2007
Among the absentees at the service was Mohammed al-Fayed, the father of Diana's Egyptian boyfriend. Al-Fayed, owner of the luxury London store Harrods, accuses Britain's royal family of ordering the couple's murder to prevent them from marrying. Diana died in the early hours of August 31, 1997, alongside Dodi al-Fayed, following a crash in a tunnel. Despite comprehensive police inquiries ruling out foul play, some Britons share al-Fayed's suspicions that the deaths were not an accident. An official inquest into the deaths will begin on October 2, propelling Diana into the headlines once again.

Diana Inquest: Royals on the Stand?
04 Mar 2007
Mohamed al Fayed, whose son Dodi died alongside Diana in a Paris car crash 10 years ago, wants to call Diana's ex-husband Prince Charles and her ex-father-in-law the Duke of Edinburgh as witnesses. The multimillionaire owner of the luxury Harrods department store, who is convinced the couple was murdered, won a major legal challenge last week when London's High Court ruled that the inquest should be heard before a jury.

Diana's Death a 'Tragic Accident'
14 Dec 2006
An official UK police inquiry into the Paris car crash which killed Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed has found no evidence the couple were murdered. The evidence suggests Princess Diana was not engaged or about to get engaged and scientific tests showed she was not pregnant, he said.

Date set for princess's inquest
18 Dec 2003
The inquests into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed will be opened on 6 January 2004, it has been announced. Princess Diana, 36, and Mr Al Fayed, 42, died in a Paris car crash in 1997. There will be two separate inquests. Princess Diana's inquest will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, while Mr Al Fayed's will open in Reigate, Surrey. Dodi's father, Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, welcomed the news, but said he would continue to call for a full public inquiry into the crash.

Earl rules out Diana conspiracies
22 Oct 2003
Earl Spencer has dismissed conspiracy theories about the death of his sister Diana, Princess of Wales, describing an apparent prediction of her own death in a letter as a "bizarre coincidence". "Diana felt quite beleaguered by what we call the establishment in Britain and looked at ways they might get at her.” He told NBC's Today show he understood from handwriting experts, that letters allegedly sent by Diana to former butler Paul Burrell saying she feared for her life, were genuine. In the alleged letter, sent about 10 months before the fatal Paris tunnel crash in August 1997, Diana writes about her fears of an accident being planned involving her car. The French inquiry in 1999 blamed chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, concluding he had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs and had been driving too fast.

Al-Fayed challenges Duke to sue
22 Nov 1999
Mohamed al-Fayed has issued a challenge to the Duke of Edinburgh. Mr al-Fayed called on Prince Philip to sue him over his allegations that the Duke had "masterminded" a conspiracy to kill the Princess of Wales and his son Dodi.

30 August 2017

Plutonomy Series

Referencing Michael Moore's spoofamentary on capitalism – Capitalism: A Love Story. The highlight for me was the mention of the Citigroup’s 2005 macro-economic analysis report which I’ve excerpted below. This insightful, blunt, and smug analysis was obviously meant for a select high-net-worth social group. Their conclusion - “So long as economies continue to grow, there is little threat to Plutonomy.” And that is the Achilles’ heel of plutonomy – perpetual growth. This is a repeat story with ample warning.

Other mentionable moments include Reagan as a spokesman for GE and Chesterfield cigarettes, a marketing success. Also good footage of FDR's forgotten Second Bill of Rights speech and Jimmy Carter’s Crisis of Confidence speech. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur urges Americans facing foreclosure to “be squatters in your own homes”. Elizabeth Warren has her own documentary on credit card abuse - Maxed Out. Gotta love that there's a legal term called "Dead Peasants" for insurance policies that companies purchase on their employees. And then the clip of companies profiting off the prisonization of Juveniles in collusion with the Court was truly evil.

Plutocrats by Chrystia Freeland, 2012, Excerpts
The emergence of this new virtual nation of mammon is so striking that an elite team of strategists at Citicorp has advised the bank’s clients to design portfolios around the rising power of the global super-rich. In a 2005 memo they observed that “the World is dividing into two blocs – the Plutonomy and the Rest”.

Plutonomy Series

Citigroup Equity Strategy Report, 2005, Excerpts
Analysts: Ajay Kapur, Niall Macleod, & Narendra Singh
16 Oct 2005

Citigroup Disclaimer: “We should at this point make clear that we have no view on whether plutonomies are good or bad, our analysis here is based on the facts, not what we want society to look like.”

Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America

US treasury secretary's wife Louise Linton apologizes for rant
23 Aug 2013
The wife of the US treasury secretary has apologized for an Instagram post in which she boasted of her wealth and belittled a commenter. The post showed Scottish-born actress Louise Linton exiting a US military plane, and was tagged with the brand names of several fashion designers. Her now-withdrawn Instagram post on Monday depicted her travels to Kentucky with her husband Steven Mnuchin.

Mexicans Are Not Happy With a ‘Vanity Fair’ Cover Featuring Melania Trump
27 Jan 2017
First Lady Melania Trump can be seen twirling a diamond necklace on the cover of Vanity Fair Mexico's February issue, just above a cover line that suggests she is "the new Jackie Kennedy." The photo first appeared in the April 2016 issue of GQ. Trump's new cover arrives as tensions between President Donald Trump and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto continue to grow. Yesterday, the two cancelled a meeting following Trump’s announcement that he was moving forward with plans to build his Mexico border wall.

Beijing overtakes New York as new 'billionaire capital'
25 Feb 2016
Beijing has overtaken New York as the city with the highest number of billionaires for the first time. A total of 100 billionaires are now living in the Chinese capital, compared with 95 in New York. Shanghai, China's center of commerce, comes in fifth place. Moscow was in third place with 66 billionaires. China has 568 billionaires after gaining 90 new ones, compared with the US which has 535. There are now 2,188 billionaires in the world, a new record.

Richest 1% to own more than rest of world, Oxfam says
19 Jan 2015

'This Week' Transcript: President Barack Obama
15 Sep 2013

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm looking at the cover of "Time" magazine this week. It says, "How Wall Street Won." 95 percent of the gains to the top 1 percent. That is so striking.

It is. And the folks in the middle and at the bottom haven't seen wage or income growth, not just over the last three, four years, but over the last 15 years. A couple of things are creating these trends. Number one, globalization. Capital, companies, they can move businesses and jobs anywhere they want. And so they're looking for the lowest wages. That squeezes workers here in the United States, even if corporations are profitable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's bigger than Washington.

OBAMA: Right.

US income inequality at record high
10 Sep 2013
The income gap between the richest 1% of Americans and the other 99% widened to a record margin in 2012, according to an analysis of tax filings. The top 1% of US earners collected 19.3% of household income, breaking a record previously set in 1927.

Barack Obama at Knox College: Reverse economic inequality
24 Jul 2013
Reversing US economic inequality should be Washington's top priority, President Barack Obama has said, as an autumn budget battle with Congress looms.
"Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1%," the Democratic president said on Wednesday. "The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong - it's bad economics."

Rich-poor divide accelerating, says OECD
15 May 2013
The gap between rich and poor widened more in the three years to 2010 than in the previous 12 years, the OECD group of industrialized nations has said. It says the richest 10% of society in the 33 OECD countries received 9.5 times that of the poorest in terms of income, up from nine times in 2007. Those with the biggest gaps included the US, Turkey, Mexico and Chile. Countries where the gap was least pronounced were mainly in the north of Europe, with Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia the most egalitarian societies.

Plutocrats: Who are the richest of the rich?
24 Jan 2013
Chrystia Freeland - author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else - and Anup Desai, a City University of New York professor involved in the Occupy movement, spoke to the BBC's Mishal Husain about the growth of the billionaire class, and what that means for the wider economy.

Davos 2013: Joseph Stiglitz attacks US 'inequality'
24 Jan 2013
The richest 1% of Americans now hold 25% of the country's wealth and more needs to be done to boost equality, Nobel Prize winning US economist Joseph Stiglitz has said. Mr Stiglitz, speaking in Davos, said this was a result of the top 1% seeing their wealth double since 1980. By contrast, he said that the median income level in the US had not changed since the early 1990s.

Wealth gap widens between super rich and rest
02 Feb 2011
Even as the global economy has grown overall, within countries, the gap between rich and poor has increased. This winner-take-all phenomenon has been particularly stark in the US, where, between 2002 and 2007, 65% of all income growth went to the top 1% of the population. But the divide has also widened in Britain, Canada, Germany and Scandinavia. It has increased in the booming emerging markets, too - communist China now has a gap between rich and poor as big as that of the laissez-faire US. This split between the super-rich and everyone else prompted three Citigroup analysts to conclude that "the world is dividing into two blocs - the plutonomy and everyone else". For the most part, today's plutocrats are not a leisured, landed gentry of inherited wealth. Today's plutocrats are the beneficiaries of globalization. They are a trans-global community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home.

Chairman Alan Greenspan, Monetary Policy Report to the Congress
16 Feb 2005
In a democratic society, such a stark bifurcation of wealth and income trends among large segments of the population can fuel resentment and political polarization. These social developments can lead to political clashes and misguided economic policies that work to the detriment of the economy and society as a whole.