On the 13th October, 2011 at 4.13pm it will be five years since the collapse of Farepak Food & Gifts Limited.

Tens of thousands of people had their savings stolen resulting in approx £38 million being owned to Farepak Victims.

What has happened since the collapse:

BDO Stoy Hayward - On the 13th October 2006 were appointed Joint Liquidators. The last accounts given in 2010 stated that payments made totalled £4,489.716.

Included in this total is £822,445 for Liquidator's Fees; £9,050 for taxation work and £1,450,384 for forensic work.


In April 2008 BDO initiated proceedings against the Directors to try to recover further monies that were owed to the Farepak Victims. A settlement with no admission of liability was reached with the Directors. An amount of £4 million (inclusive of costs) has been received by BDO. The terms of the settlement are confidential and the Liquidation Committee and the Joint Liquidators cannot say anthing else about this.

On 21st September 2009 cheques are sent out to 5,900 Farepak Victims who had payed monies into Farepak Food & Gifts Limited bank account after the 13th October, 2006. They are still owed monies payed in before the date of liquidation.

It is estimated that the Farepak Victims will receive 15p in the £ but BDO are unable to confirm when these payments will be made.

2011 Report to the Creditors is yet to be published.

The Directors - February 2011 the Government's Insolvency Service applied to the High Court to disqualify all nine former directors of Farepak and its parent company.

One of these Directors is Sir Clive Thompson who currently is Deputy Chairman of Strategic Equity Capital with £3,030,000 in Ordinary Shares.

If the High Court action is won and Thompson is disqualified (could take 2 years) the question is will he really be all that concerned? He has had 5 years to increase his vast wealth.


FAREPAK VICTIMS - December 2006 the Farepak Response Fund issues vouchers worth around 15p for every £ lost.

October 2011 116,413 Farepak Victims are still owed £36.9 million.

The unfairness of this situation is very apparent – When will there be justice for the Farepak Victims?

To continue the fight for justice the Farepak Victims Committee has lodged a Government e-petition which currently is being look at by HM Treasury.


The views of a British Tax expert.

There's a sickening dimension to today's agreement between the UK and Switzerland that is getting to let thousands of wealthy tax criminals off the hook – without them ever being held to account or even having to admit to their crimes.

At the moment the UK government is turning this deliberate blind eye to massive, large scale, organised looting of the UK's tax system it is also bringing criminal charges against more than thirty young people who recently took part in a in a wholly peaceful UK Uncut demonstration against tax avoidance.

They are facing criminal charges in the UK for having leaflets condemning tax avoiders when at exactly the same time the government was negotiating a deal to make sure that tax criminals were let off without ever facing the consequences of their crime.

This is a sickening indictment of the UK criminal justice system, our respect for free speech, the values of this government and the fact that we live in a society where it is now a crime to criticise the criminality that did and does pervade much of the financial services sector that deliberately promotes tax havens to facilitate crime of the sort which those using Switzerland have just been excused of.

No wonder people are angry. They have every right to be. We are being led by moral cowards who excuse crime whilst prosecuting those who exercise the supposed human right of free speech to criticise those facilitating it. It's Cameron and Osborne who should be in the dock, not the Fortnum and Mason's protesters from UK Uncut.


SLP Policies - Scottish Election

The Socialist Labour Party was founded to fight for socialism. Unlike New Labour, SNP, Tories and Lib Dems in this election, Socialist Labour understands that: "It is capitalism, not the complexion of governments, which is responsible for the economic and social devastation which results in: the destruction of basic manufacturing industries, mass unemployment, homelessness, helplessness and despair. Only by dealing with the root cause - capitalism itself, can this devastation be stopped and a long term alternative be constructed." -Arthur Scargill, SLP Leader. Socialist Labour's programme: EMPLOYMENT FOR ALL. The scourge of unemployment can be tackled but only with radical policies: a four day week without loss of pay. a ban on all non-essential overtime. voluntary retirement at 55 on full pay. INDUSTRY. To deal with the immediate economic and social crisis we propose: regeneration of our manufacturing and production capacity. re-opening deep mined coal, engineering and shipbuilding works. rebuilding all industries that generate real wealth and opportunities for Scotland's battered communities. investment in renewable energy industries. ENVIRONMENT. Environmental concerns must go hand in hand with resurrecting our industry: an immediate end to the madness of nuclear power stations. clean coal technology with carbon capture and an end to open cast mining. development of renewable energy resources. HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES. Rebuilding and further development of our NHS and social services will be a high priority for Socialist Labour: universal access to free health and social services the right to health and social services enshrined in law. the abolition of private health schemes - no one should get rich from the suffering of others - private health care also undermines our NHS. HOUSING. To tackle the housing crisis and provide work for thousands of unemployed building workers: the building of thousands of new homes each year for the duration of the next Scottish Parliament. all empty properties to be identified, modernised and converted into homes. POVERTY. Recent surveys have told us that one third of children live in poverty. This is a national disgrace, we propose: the introduction of a national minimum wage based on two thirds median male earnings. no taxation on income below £15,000. the doubling of state pensions coupled with their linking to wages and the cost of living. EDUCATION. Our comprehensive, further and higher education system is under attack and faced with deep cuts from those in government who have benefitted from a free system in the past: free, high quality education for all. free access to lifelong education. abolition of the class privilege of private education. restoration of mandatory student grants and state benefits linked to minimum wage levels. PEACE. Socialist Labour is against war. This country has got involved in many wars that are not in the interests of the Scottish people and has caused death, misery and destruction across the world. We would campaign to end current wars, to bring troops home and oppose future wars of conquest and aggression on sovereign countries. We would: remove the Trident nuclear system from the Clyde and support unilateral nuclear disarmament. withdraw this country from the aggressive NATO military alliance. oppose the concept of a "European" army oppose the arms trade. INTERNATIONALISM. With today's world racked by unjust wars, we oppose all of Britain's racist asylum and immigration laws which condemn people seeking refuge to detention, imprisonment, torture or death. The Socialist Labour Party is committed to fighting racism and fascism wherever they occur. We would: oppose the illegal and unjust sanctions upon the Cuban people. support FAIR trade and oppose "free" trade policies imposed upon impoverished nations. develop international links with peace and environmental movements, trades union organisations and womens' movements. Socialist Labour has detailed policies on these and other issues - see www.socialist-labour-party.org.uk for full details.



On 5th May we ask you to vote for the Socialist Labour Party with your second or regional vote.


Because the SLP is committed to fighting for full employment, a free NHS and education system, a housing programme which guarantees everyone a home and the restoration of fairness in the workplace by repealing anti-Trades Union laws.

The SLP wants to see a socialist Scotland. We do not see the point in gaining autonomy for Scotland simply to give it away to the unelected and unaccountable European Union. EU bureaucrats in Brussels deny the Scottish Parliament the right to introduce common ownership and the rebuilding of industry, large and small, that has been butchered by the indifference of consecutive governments of ALL the main parties. The SLP is the only party campaigning to get Scotland out of the clutches of the EU.

The regional vote allows smaller parties the chance to gain enough support to get MSP's elected with as little as 5% of the vote. Socialist Labour MSP's in Holyrood will fight the coming deep cuts that will be imposed no matter which "main" party or coalition of parties forms the next Scottish government. We will work with local communities to campaign for more, not less, resources and services that are so essential to the life and soul of communities throughout Scotland.

Vote Socialist Labour Party - Regional Vote


Kosovo and the myth of liberal intervention

by Neil Clark

15th December 2010.

'The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles ... Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values." So declared the neocon US senator (and current foe of WikiLeaks) Joseph Lieberman back in 1999 at the height of the US-led military intervention against Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia.

It would be interesting to hear what Senator Lieberman makes of the report of the Council of Europe – Europe's premier human rights watchdog – on his favourite band of freedom fighters. The report, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, details horrific rights abuses it claims have been carried out by the KLA, the west's allies in the war against Yugoslavia 11 years ago.

The council claims that civilians – Serbian and non-KLA-supporting Kosovan Albanians detained by the KLA in the 1999 hostilities – were shot in northern Albania and their kidneys extracted and sold on the black market. It names Hashim Thaçi, the former leader of the KLA and Kosovo's prime minister, as the boss of a "mafia-like" group engaged in criminal activity – including heroin trading – since before the 1999 war. The report is a damning indictment not only of the KLA but also of western policy. And it also gives lie to the fiction that Nato's war with Yugoslavia was, in Tony Blair's words, "a battle between good and evil; between civilisation and barbarity; between democracy and dictatorship".

It was a fiction many on the liberal left bought into. In 1999 Blair was seen not as a duplicitous warmonger in hock to the US but as an ethical leader taking a stand against ethnic cleansing. But if the west had wanted to act morally in the Balkans and to protect the people in Kosovo there were solutions other than war with the Serbs, and options other than backing the KLA – the most violent group in Kosovan politics. They could have backed genuine multi-party negotiations, or offered to lift sanctions on Belgrade if a peaceful solution to the problem of Kosovo could be found.

Instead, a virulently anti-Serb stance led the west into taking ever more extreme positions, and siding with an organisation which even Robert Gelbard, President Clinton's special envoy to Kosovo, described as "without any question, a terrorist group". In 2000 the Sunday Times revealed that, prior to the Nato bombing, US agents had been training the KLA. Shaban Shala, a KLA commander, claimed he had met British and US agents in north Albania in 1996.

It was the KLA's campaign of violence against Yugoslav state officials, Serbian and Kosovan civilians in 1998, which led to an escalation of the conflict with the government in Belgrade, with atrocities committed on both sides. We were told the outbreak of war in March 1999 with Nato was the Serbian government's fault, yet Lord Gilbert, the UK defence minister, admitted "the terms put to Miloševic at Rambouillet [the international conference preceding the war] were absolutely intolerable … it was quite deliberate".

The subsequent 78-day "humanitarian" bombardment of federal Yugoslavia massively intensified the ethnic cleansing of Kosovan Albanians by Yugoslav forces. Between 2,000 and 10,000 Kosovan Albanians were killed by these forces, with between 500 and 1,500 people killed by the Nato bombing.

But even after Russian pressure forced a Yugoslav withdrawal from Kosovo, ethnic cleansing and rights abuses in the region continued. Under the Nato occupation an estimated 200,000 ethnic Serbs, Roma and other minorities from south Kosovo, and almost the whole Serb population of Pristina, have been forced from their homes.

A report on Kosovo by Minority Rights Group International claimed: "Nowhere [in Europe] is there such a level of fear for so many minorities that they will be harassed or attacked, simply for who they are." And in October 2010, a report by Human Rights Watch stated that "Roma and related minority groups deported from western Europe to Kosovo face discrimination and severe deprivation amounting to human rights abuse". As for democratic advances, Sunday's elections in Kosovo, boycotted by the Serbian minority, have seen widespread allegations of fraud, with a turnout of 149% reported in one area.

Far from being Tony Blair's "good war", Nato's assault on Yugoslavia was in its own way as immoral as the assault on Iraq. But as the Iraq war has become discredited, so it is even more important for the supporters of "liberal interventionism" to promote the line that Kosovo was in some way a success. The Council of Europe's report on the KLA's crimes makes that position much harder to maintain. And if it plays its part in making people more sceptical about any future western "liberal interventions", it is to be warmly welcomed.


Ireland and the European Union: Who is to blame?

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey,


Like a house of cards, one by one, the European Union starts to collapse. First Greece, then Ireland, next who knows? The "experts" blame the banks, blame the bankers, blame the financiers...but who is apportioning the blame to where it really lies: to the system itself?

It is by now patently obvious that no system is perfect. The Communist system in which the State provides security for its citizens, where everyone contributes towards the common good, was implemented in many countries in the twentieth century where in general terms it was hugely successful. The capitalist system, one whose vision is a society in which people are free to create their own business and stimulate the economy by creating wealth and jobs, while paying taxes to create a social umbrella, operating alongside Trade Union movements which protected workers' rights was a nice idea and on paper a good ideal.

The problem is, one system worked and the other did not. In the Communist countries, healthcare was excellent and free, schooling was excellent, and free; having a house and a job was a birthright; public transportation was free, public utilities were free; basic foodstuffs were free and distributed by the State, which in turn provided national security with strong, defensively-oriented armed forces and security on the streets - people were free to walk around without being attacked by marauding gangs of drug addicts, inner cities were free of feral children.

The other side of the Iron Curtain spent trillions of dollars trying to sabotage the model, trying to assassinate the political leaders of Communist countries (such as Fidel Castro) and from day one in Russia started interfering (the Civil War). This side of the Curtain was happy to call Stalin Uncle Joe when 26 million Soviet citizens were losing their lives defeating Hitler (90% of the Wehrmacht casualties were sustained on the Eastern Front) yet after the Great Patriotic War finished, settled back into its customary policy of antagonism against a political and social system which freed millions from the tyranny of Imperialism across the globe and brought impoverished and backward societies into the front line of development in just a few decades.

Instead of siding with and working towards the success of this system, this side of the Curtain sabotaged it and by a skilful policy of dangling carrots in front of the noses of a generation of donkeys which blindly took the bait, sent the entire world, just two decades later, into the worst economic and financial crisis it has known. And it isn't over yet. Make no mistake: the economic black hole is so vast in certain countries that there is no sunshine on the horizon and there will not be for decades to come.

And what has this wonderful capitalist system done? For a start, it turned against the attractive ideals which underpinned its basic policy, that of creating societies free to reap the reward of personal endeavour. Predictably, it has turned into a system whereby dog eats dog. Where are the high street grocery stores? They have gone, sucked into horrific black holes called hypermarkets or big spaces, where all your movements are controlled from the minute you enter to the second you leave, by the use of aromas (bread, makes you buy), the strategic placing of goods, leading you to go past the products you would not normally buy as you make for the staple goods, by manipulation of music to make you walk faster or slower, right up until the check-out, where the impulse buys are placed at just the right height to catch the attention of the average baby sitting on a supermarket trolley or the average toddler walking beside mother.

While the Communist system distributed houses for free, the other side of the Curtain turned people's lives into a nightmare from the moment they are born to the second they give up and die, no doubt being asked if they know how much money they are costing the National Health Service days before they do (as was the case with a close family member). After twelve years of education, it seems many cannot even write, higher education has become a business, as has healthcare, leisure time activities and transportation. Getting and retaining a job is a drama, buying and maintaining a house another, while a decent pension is a thing of the past. This, while bottom-line policies dictate how few police there are on the beat as the citizens grapple with living in societies in which an old lady does not feel safe to go out after dark.

Wonderful. However, that is just the start of it. As if the system itself were not bad enough, they brought in international mechanisms of control which directly affect the lives of citizens the other side of the world and in the EU, they exported it and imposed it on an inter-continental scale, in a top-down attitude of "do as I say and shut up", repeating referenda in countries whose populations obviously did not want to live in a Federal State. Take Ireland as a prime example.
And here we reach the crux of the matter: the globalization of stupidity. As if it were not enough for the "system" to turn its back on its founding principles, which were valid, it invented vectors by which rating agencies such as Fitch, Standard and Poor and Moody's (based in the USA, where else?) can stipulate how much a country's capital is worth and thereby directly affect the lives of its citizens. This has nothing to do with a system in which citizens are free to create wealth and therefore let's not call it Capitalism any more. It has morphed into something far, far worse: The speculative system.

In a word, gambling. Whereas in the past money was based upon value, i.e. trading in sea shells or the value of a silver coin (which was in Medieval times cut in half or quarters to provide the real value of a payment) speculation took its first uneasy steps when the promissory note became the currency in circulation, not worth the paper it was printed on, but having the value of the promise to pay the bearer a certain amount of money (e.g. one pound). The stake into the heart of the money-based-on-value system was the decision by the Nixon Government to unilaterally end the policy of fixing the value of the dollar to gold in 1971, destroying the Bretton Woods agreement to peg exchange rates among currencies.
The second step was the insurance market, tying monetary sums to eventualities and as time went on, these products became more and more complex, drawing in the banking system itself, insurance and reinsurance policies, investment funds, pension funds, municipalities, University funds, healthcare authorities' trusts, basing their wealth on future products of commodities, shares, government bonds, taking out insurance policies on these values...and when the public confidence in the economy collapsed, all of these products lost value because they were never based on anything tangible, purely on speculative and intangible waves of euphoria.

Nobody knows exactly how many trillions were vaporised because the knock-on effects are still being felt. It was this catastrophic backdrop which the banks were facing, their investment funds intrinsically tied up in this fog of ratings agencies and a more and more globalised economy: a world-wide house of cards waiting for a hurricane.

This system was bound to be wide open to the effects of its endemic and chronic vector of failure to create employment, where a 4% unemployment rate is classified as "healthy" (creating an underclass from the outset) and by now based upon the power of the USD, was wide open to the effects of the USA manipulating the value of the dollar to stimulate exports and to reduce its debt.
With the banks up to their ears in catastrophic investments and with unemployment rising, it came as no surprise that the system itself had positioned itself on thin ice. In Ireland's case, the budget deficit had reached 32% of its GDP, while the European Union had stipulated in its Convergence package that economies could only have a 3% deficit.

How Ireland gets back from the brink without seriously harming its consumers, who after all have fulfilled all the demands made of them, paying their taxes and following the laws imposed upon them, is a telling question for today's globalised world.
Suffice it to say that were the intelligent powers that be to raise just a one per cent tax on financial derivatives traded, hundreds of billions of USD would become readily available, taking the burden away from the citizens. This will never happen, because this system is controlled by a handful who have become super-rich at the expense of the rest of the population, consigned over time to becoming members of a global under-class.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have allowed ourselves to be duped by a global system controlled by the few, catering to their interests and rendering the endeavour of billions of people meaningless. It is as if a cabal of gamblers has taken over the world.

And guess who gets to pay their debts?




What exactly are 20,000 USA troops doing there?

Is it a pretext of Humanitarian Aid!

by Steve Whatham (Lawyer and member of The Socialist Labour Party).

I watched a news item from Haiti on the evening news, 4th November. It showed Haitians surviving in make shift crude shelters following the earthquake which occurred quite a long time ago on January 12th 2010. Very little appeared to have been carried out to provide proper shelters.

My thought drifted back to reports that International help was flooding into this impoverished country. I was aware already that Cuban doctors in great numbers had already been working in Haiti for a number of years and had set up clinics where sick people could get medical help at no cost.

News reports stated that the United States had sent in Navy ships and up to 20,000 troops. My, what you can do with this amount of help if sent for the purpose of helping the people.

Assuming this huge deployment was to help the afflicted but not trusting the intentions of the Americans with their record of interventions throughout the world I surfed the web and obtained the following assertions.

Writing for “Global Research Articles”, Marguerite Laurent states the following which I have shortened but not altered the information.

"After being called crazy and un-American for writing that the 2010 earthquake gives the US the perfect disaster-capitalism opportunity to come out from behind the UN and openly occupy Haiti to secure Haiti's oil, strategic location and other riches for the corporatocracy...

The Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and their offshore waters, probably hold at least 142 million barrels of oil and 159 billion cubic feet of gas, according to a 2000 report by the U.S. Geological Survey. Undiscovered amounts may be as high as 941 million barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the report. Among nations in the northern Caribbean, Cuba and Jamaica have awarded offshore leases for oil and gas development. Trinidad and Tobago, South American islands off the coast of Venezuela, account for most Caribbean oil production, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

I've been writing for years now that the US has been trying to get rid of Haiti's democratically elected government since 1991 so they could get to "their" strategic reserves without any fear of a populous president nationalizing the oil and gas reserves to benefit the miserably poor majority in Haiti as has been done in Venezuela or elsewhere in Latin America. (See, Haiti is full of oil, say Ginette and Daniel Mathurin, where these scientist say there's more oil in Haiti than in Venezuela.) No one has been listening. Not even the white liberals who are such defenders of Haiti. To the best of my knowledge, other than Haitians, over the long years before the earthquake, the only non-Haitian observers who ever paid attention and picked up on our reports and concerns about the plundering and pillaging of Haiti's riches, were John Maxwell and Chris Scott of CKUT Radio in Canada. That's it. All the others bought the State Department line that Haiti was a charity case and had no resources to mention.

Today Haiti has oil and 20,000 troops are down there to secure it and Haiti's other riches while the vision is to perhaps herd the displaced earthquake victims - who don't die from their TV-aid - into hastily constructed pre-fabricated houses and let the ghettos fester as they do in Kingston, Jamaica, while the areas the whites and Haitian oligarchy want are developed into tourist havens and all capital is flown out of Haiti.

There exists a “Lavalas map” of Haiti's resources which shows that Kafou's Morne Cabrit the area affected by the quake housed a huge reserve of oil. Here's the article I wrote, last year documenting that Haiti had oil and that was the reason for the US/UN forced removal of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. I do so hope, this time, to honour the lives lost and really help protect the remaining survivors of Bush the first and Bush the lesser's two regimes changes in Haiti and now this total occupation, that conscious Americans and all decent folks on this earth, are paying attention and will help us stop this latest travesty.

The just thing for now, is to allow former President Aristide who was kidnapped out of Haiti on a rendition plane by the US Special forces and has been practically under house arrest in South Africa for 6-years, forbidden first by US Secretary of State Condi Rice and now Hillary Clinton from returning home, to return to his country. He ought to be returned to Haiti so he may assist Haiti’s majority at this agonizing time and help in the relief and rebuilding of the nation".

A further article dated October 15th on Axis of Logic by a columnist called Dady Chery was headed:- Hatians Demand UN to take its colonial Army, MINUSTAH Out and said:-

"It is high time to bid good riddance to MINUSTAH (MIssion des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haďti), a colonialist army that has terrorized Haiti for the last six years and is currently overseeing the sham presidential and legislative elections in the country.

The most popular political party, Lavalas, is being excluded from the elections. MINUSTAH’s 1994 appearance came on the heels of Aristide’s transport into exile after he decreed a minimum-wage increase. Brazil, Canada, and the United States, all countries with powerful interests in Haitian sweatshop labour, are the key supporters of this army, which consumes more than one fourth of Haiti’s state budget.

Haitians -- rich and poor, and throughout the political spectrum -- despise MINUSTAH. Its horrors range from the daily confiscations of drivers licenses and computers, to well-documented cases of rape and murder.

Even so, year after year, the UN Security Council renews MINUSTAH’s mandate. Such renewals typically follow several weeks of insecurity so predictable one could set one’s watch to it. This year is one year too many. Throughout the critical first 72 hours after the January 12th earthquake, cowardly MINUSTAH soldiers scrambled to rescue their own personnel and left the Haitian earthquake victims to themselves.

On October 15, 2010, MINUSTAH’s mandate expires. Perhaps readers can offer some other reason for the deployment of the 20,000 American soldiers?"

The full article by Marguerite Laurent and Ezili Danto is on the web and gives possible reasons for what triggered the earth quake which for some reason was in the area where oil is said to be present and did not go as far as the border with the Dominican Republic.