“Confident that the scheme would go undetected, Gordon continued to pay his wife (Sarah Brown), brother (Andrew) and sister in-law (Clare Rewcastle Brown) using taxpayers’ money to manage his housekeeping. Gordon was under the impression that the arrangement would never come into public view as Thomas had promised not to cast the spotlight onto MPs’ spending of second homes”
THE THIRD FORCE
On the 31st of May 1994, two Members of the British House of Commons, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, engaged in a tête-à-tête at Granita on Upper Street, Islington, before entering a gentlemen’s agreement over the question of succession. The agreement followed the untimely death of Labour leader John Smith nineteen days earlier – some two years after George Soros almost bankrupted the Bank of England and Bank Negara by speculating on the Malaysian Ringgit.
In 1992, Bank Negara (BNM) began stockpiling on the British pound to defend the unit against attempts to devalue it. But that was more the Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein and Mahathir version of history than it was anything else. Unbeknown to many, Soros had begun heavily shorting the pound only because Jaffar – then the governor of Bank Negara – was illegally cashing in on the Bank of England’s more than lucrative interest rates.
The people who put Soros up to the scheme were none other than Blair and Gordon themselves, who were then the Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Chancellor of Exchequer respectively. The duo wanted to weaken the leadership of John Major to facilitate their entry into the frontline of British politics. On the 16th of September 1992 (see Black Wednesday), Major’s government was forced to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) following its failure to float the pound above the ERM’s floor value.
Major’s decision caused the British pound to drop like a sack of hot potatoes and saddled Bank Negara with billions in losses. The debacle allowed Soros to teach Jaffar a good lesson – the billionaire magnate was pissed that the Bank Negara governor had caused his Cayman interests to suffer when investors began diverting funds into Jaffar’s speculative schemes and Daim Zainuddin’s offshore interests in the Bahamas.
But Daim was the least of Blair’s interests.
For him, the most important outcome of the manoeuvre was the destabilization of the British economy. Despite all efforts by Major to undo the damage, the pound sterling never fully recovered and continued to undermine his premiership. It was then that Blair and Gordon entered the aforementioned agreement at Granita to anticipate the fall of Major’s government.
Under the terms of this secret agreement, Gordon agreed to support Blair’s bid against John Prescott and Margaret Beckett in a subsequent leadership election that was called following Smith’s untimely death. Blair went on to become the leader of the opposition and promised Gordon the Chancellor of Exchequer post (equivalent to the Finance Minister’s post in Malaysia). The duo agreed that Gordon would be made Prime Minister in 2006.
To finish Major off once and for all, Blair and Soros agreed that the Asean economy needed to be weakened to fuel anxiety among British investors. With the help of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the then United States (US) Ambassador to Malaysia, John R. Malott, Soros and Blair were fed with inside information that originated from the then head of foreign exchange transactions at Bank Negara.
Then, early in January 1997, Soros instructed his associates at the Quantum Fund – a hedge fund he founded in the 70’s – to double its stock of the Thai Baht. Behind the scenes, the billionaire magnate began injecting the fund with the billions he looted from the Bank of England in 1992. To strike fear in the hearts of British investors, Soros instructed media groups under his shadow – the likes of Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal and what have you – to splash front page editorials insinuating that a second Black Wednesday loomed on the horizon.
The media reports worried investors immensely and caused some of them to pull their stocks from the British market. Both Blair and Soros – who knew that Major had to call elections before the 22nd of May 1997 – timed the reports in such a way that the impact on the UK economy was minimal yet politically significant.
The plan worked.
On the 2nd of May 1997, Blair’s Labour Party swept the election to make him the second youngest person to take office as Prime Minister. A little over a week later, Soros got Quantum to bet just under one billion of his twelve billion dollar war chest against the Thai Baht, having been assured by Anwar and Malott that Bank Negara would be caught off-guard. Back then, Soros already knew that the Bank of Thailand was almost dry of foreign reserves.
Question is, if Blair had already succeeded in becoming Prime Minister, why was there still a need to cripple the Malaysian economy?
Well, for one thing, Blair needed Dr Mahathir Mohamad out of the way. With Anwar as Prime Minister, the British premier had in mind the idea of establishing a Malaysian-based energy think-tank funded by EDF Energy to mediate Chinese nuclear agreements with the UK and the Mideast. Anwar’s job was to make damned sure that the Malaysian government would never jeopardise that plan by entering into separate energy agreements with China.
Now, being the Chancellor of Exchequer, Gordon knew that he could not pursue an active role in EDF. As a result, he got Blair to agree that his brother, Andrew Brown, be made the UK’s chief nuclear lobbyist to China in the event Mahathir was toppled. Just to be sure Blair would keep his word, Gordon negotiated Andrew’s entry into EDF as the company’s head of media relations in 2004, the year Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over the reins of the Malaysian government from Mahathir.
However, by December 2005, Gordon saw no signs that Blair would ever step down as Prime Minister. Seeing that the British premier was not about to keep his end of the bargain, Gordon undertook to leak to a reporter from The Telegraph – the only British daily that wasn’t fully Soros controlled – that Blair had brought about a “culture of deference” in Parliament by preventing House officials from questioning his spending habits.
According to Gordon, the culture also resulted in House officials refusing to challenge other Members of Parliament (MPs) who abused Parliamentary Expenses Privileges that were accorded to them. When Blair discovered the leak, he quickly announced Gordon as his favoured successor and made absolutely clear that he would resign as Prime Minister in 2007. In return, Gordon agreed to use the yet-to-be-established Tony Blair Associates (TBA) as the channel through which Chinese energy funds mediated by EDF would flow.
Blair’s second resignation announcement
The first announcement prompted Gordon to approach Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, who agreed to block the disclosure of a full itemized list of MP-spending on privacy grounds. Following the agreement, Gordon undertook to declare a flat in Westminster as his second home for purposes of allowances despite having the use of a taxpayer-funded apartment in Downing Street. As far as he was concerned, he was about to become Prime Minister and would be in control of Thomas just as Blair himself was.
Confident that the scheme would work, Gordon continued to pay his wife (Sarah Brown), brother (Andrew) and sister in-law (Clare Rewcastle Brown) using taxpayers’ money to manage his housekeeping. Gordon was under the impression that the arrangement would never come into public view as Thomas had promised not to cast the spotlight onto MPs’ spending of second homes.
But that was not to be.
To be continued…