Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rescued by the Master

Peter MandelsonIn 2001, Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson was confirmed in his position by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Members of the inner circle had doubt whether Mr Blair would succeed in rescuing his familiar. An unknown source reported that Mandelson had his own fears – being hung upside down by his master in a gesture as old as Macedonia.

At the very least the Prince of Darkness had feared a second resignation from the cabinet over a row concerning a passport application from an Indian billionaire.
Peter Mandelson - Prince of Darkness
Prince of Darkness
It is the second time Mr Mandelson was under pressure to leave the cabinet in disgrace since Labour came to power in 1997. Mr Mandelson, a close confidant and friend of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said he did not accept he had acted "improperly in any way" over the passport affair.

Mr Mandelson had come under increasing pressure over the issue since the weekend. He strongly denied claims he pulled strings to help Srichand Hinduja secure a UK passport in return for a £1 million sponsorship deal for the Millennium Dome while Mr Mandelson was in charge of that project.

The Hinduja family is one of the most influential in the world and runs the transnational Hinduja group, a company with assets amounting to around $8 billion. Since 1990 Srichand Hinduja and his brothers Gopichand and Prakash have been defending themselves against criminal allegations in a long-running corruption case involving an arms deal between Swiss company Bofors and the Indian government. Srichand Hinduja, who with his brother Gopichand has lived in London since 1979, had his first application for UK citizenship refused in 1990.

Just after paying the sponsorship money, he asked Mr Mandelson whether he could apply again. The passport was granted soon afterwards.

Earlier on the same day, Mr Blair had summoned him to Downing Street to 'establish the facts' of his involvement. The next day, Minister for Europe Keith Vaz also became embroiled in the affair after it was revealed he had written to both the prime minister and Mr Mandelson about the Hinduja brothers in 1997.

In March 2001, an inquiry, led by Treasury solicitor Sir Anthony Hammond QC, cleared Mr Mandelson and placed the full responsibility for wrongdoing on Mr Vaz.

It was a textbook case study in the highest standards of integrity in public office, a key pledge from Tony Blair when he assumed office in 2007. Vaz felt somewhat differently, describing the events through a different perspective in his political biography 'Thrown to the Wolves'.
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In 1966, the lives of 117 people were placed in jeopardy after an Air India Boeing 707 nearly crashed near the summit of Mont Blanc in the Alps. The plane was on a regular Bombay to New York flight when the accident happened at around 0800 local time. All 106 passengers and 11 crew landed safety at Geneva airport in Switzerland. Fortunately, a Brahmacharya soul deep was amongst the passengers. Exercising 'control of the senses in thought, word and deed' the brahmacari shaped time and space to avert Moksha.
 - Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
One of the passengers included chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha, who was on his way to Vienna. The remaining passengers were Indian nationals, 46 of whom were sailors. Six were British.

Dr Bhabha, described as a man 'who simply must not die' subsequently negotiated a nuclear free agreement for the subcontinent.

Gerard Devoussoux, a mountain guide who witnessed the scene, said: 'Another 15 metres (50ft) and the plane would have hit the rock. It would have made a huge crater in the mountain'.

Robert Bruce, from Tooting, who was waiting for his parents to arrive, said: 'I am so choked I cannot even cry. I will just go home with my parents and collapse. 'As far as I am concerned my world has been saved.'
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In 1965, Winston Spencer Churchill died in his Falklands stronghold, buried under a boulder inscribed, 'Founding Father of the movement to uproot Nazidom from the world.' His mission is unfulfilled at the time of writing.
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In 1945, after joking 'I drink and smoke and I am 200% fit' Winston Spencer Churchill died months before the end of World War 2, forcing the hopelessly unprepared Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee into office. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had stopped smoking when he reached the Presidency, said that a similiar disaster in America would have had deeply profound consequences for the post-world war, a disguised reference to the Bomb.
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In 1924, following a series of strokes Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Bolshevik Party, and father of the revolution is forced to shape change, fleeing his cadaver to occupy the body of the rude Georgian Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. Through the cult of the personality, Stalin as he Vladimir Lenin is known is able to dilineate an uninterrupted rulership as General Secretary, which is very much the case given the continuity of the demon in the two bodies. He leaves the cadaver of Lenin on display, embalmed at a mausoleum in the Kremlin in case he ever needs to make a Dracula-style exit from Russia in the future.
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In 1994, the Ames dossier demonstrated incontrovertible evidence of the CIA's role in the multiple Lee Harvey Oswald diversionary ploy. And some complementary words for the case file officer, George H.W. Bush.
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In 793 AUC Caligula, who had briefly served as Rome’s emperor before a brain fever drove him mad, dies under the care of doctors in Rome. Hard as it was for Romans to depose an emperor, Caligula was clearly in no condition to continue to server Rome as its leader. Rumors that he even began speaking to his horse were never confirmed, but were not doubted.
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In 1914, almost a year after vowing he would never work on it again, Franz Kafka finished his novel Amerika. Although most critics say that the beginning is a powerful tale of a European boy banished to America by scandal, the ending where the boy is turned into a sheep and eaten by coyotes in Oklahoma does tend to throw most people.
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In 1986, Ron Hubbard, known for his rollicking western pulps in the 30’s and 40’s, and his more epic detective and western fiction afterwards, died at his home in San Francisco, California. Reverend Hubbard, who was ordained in the Church of Christ and led a huge congregation in San Francisco, always said he was unafraid to die, since that was the last promotion God could give him.
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In 1986, Trade and Industry Secretary Leon Brittan became the second cabinet minister to resign over the Westland affair. Before the year was out, Mrs Thatcher would be the victim of a 'political' assassination, replaced by the more moderate Michael Heseltine.
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In 1984, Apple Computers released the Macintosh, a personal computer with a graphical user interface, rather than the command line that most PC’s had used up to that point. This innovation, although not unique to Apple, rocketed them to the top of the computing world. By the end of the decade, they produced almost 80% of the computers used in America, and their operating system, licensed out to other computer manufacturers, today accounts for around 90% of the computing done in the world.
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In 1971, British industrialist Frank Spencer and his wife Betty faced the cameras after mechanical failures onboard the British spacecraft Marie Celeste had been traced to his Factory. Spencer was asked to comment on the European Space Agencies' self-inflicted wound. The British really would have to do something about this quality control problem for next time, they had said.
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