Smoke Signals

smokesigslogoElms Guest House: 1980s paedophiles poised to be outed? As the obvious existence of long-standing systemic child sex abuse comes increasingly to light, more and more long-serving politicians are beginning to feel queasy. The fairly reliable word out there on the streets now is that two former Tory ministers, seven other MPs and various social luminaries from the late 1970s and early 1980s were regular visitors at the Barnes ‘venue’ featured above…….the boys all having been recruited from a nearby care home.

The ‘dead Liberal MP’ one would presume to have been Rochdale’s finest and fattest, but other names (I hear) are surprising: the span goes all the way from the BNP to the IRA, and from Buckingham Palace to the left wing of the Labour Party. As I said last month, the Establishment’s main problem here is that they genuinely don’t know how far this scandal will go before it’s burnt out: they cover up to protect what they fear, not necessarily to protect their own guilt.

Is an ill Wind blowing Hellas no good? In 2005 Hellas was the No 3 mobile phone operator in Greece. It had a mere €166m of debt on its balance sheet, while generating an eye-popping €234m of annual profits. And it provided services to 2.6m Greek mobile phone users. Unusually in Greece, its tax payments were squeaky-clean. It was the epitome of new eurozone-sanitised Greek business growth.

But just two years after US equity group carpet baggers Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and Apax came calling in a 2005 deal, Hellas found itself lumbered with more than €3bn of debt – 20 times what it had originally. Then TPG and Apax paid themselves a €1bn dividend just 60 days before they sold it to Egypt’s richest man, Naguib Sawaris, for €3.4bn. He renamed it Wind Hellas.

Once again, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, nobody went to jail. However, I hear from an interested party that Mr Sawaris and a whole host of other bigwigs involved in this messy perversion of a one-time go-go company may have cause to regret their subsequent actions in relation to Hellas Wind.

Just in time for the New Year….the End of the World. This is what The Slog opined on July 29th this year:

‘The bottom-line of today’s analysis is this: it’s easy to offer bromides about Syria being just another problem that will be quietly settled in the end because everyone has too much to lose. The Alhawites, Iranian Shi-ites, and the Israelis have everything to lose – as does Putin if he fails to win the right economic outlook for Russia. So be very afraid: this could all easily go spectacularly wrong.’

Five months on, this is what we’re looking at: while NATO was positioning its Patriot missiles in Turkey, a dozen mobile batteries, each carrying a pair of Russian Iskander missiles, were fixed into position opposite Turkey; another dozen were placed opposite Jordan and Israel. These Moscow weapons comprise 24 Iskander 9K720 cruise missile systems, designed for major theatre-of-war conflicts. The West and Israel have no answer to the Iskander’s hypersonic speed of more than 1.3 miles per second with a 280 mile-range – and a 1500-pound warhead which destroys targets with pinpoint accuracy. It is also nuclear-capable.

Three Russian warships have also put into Syria’s Tartus port – the Novocherkassk and Saratov landing craft, along with their MB-304 supply vessel.

We may well be looking at a major Black Dude/State Department miscalculation here. Let’s hope they know how to move gracefully backwards. And let’s even more fervently hope William Hague knows WTF he is doing.


Earlier at The Slog: How to steal £1 billion, plead guilty –  and stay out of jail