truman | 23.07.2002 16:59
One of the unions which eventually merged to form PCS was the Civil and Public Servants Association. In 1978, CPSA President Kate Losinska admitted that the “Daylight Group”, as the Moderates were known at the time, received finance from the Movement for True Industrial Democracy. TRUEMID was the brainchild of Colonel David Stirling, amongst others. Stirling had founded the Special Air Services (SAS), and also operated a private paramilitary strike-breaking force during the industrial unrest of the mid-1970’s. The TRUEMID saga is re-told in David Osler’s article “Big business and the Moderates - open the books!” first published by CPSA Rank & File in 1995.
Their cover blown in 1978, the Moderates’ political connections remained submerged until another major leak in the mid 1990’s. Documents proved that former and current CPSA Senior Officers held positions in the Trade Union Committee for European and Transatlantic Understanding (TUCETU). This organisation’s forerunner the Labour Committee for Transatlantic Understanding - still shown on TUCETU’s headed notepaper - was set up by the US labour attache Joseph Godson with money from the US Congress and NATO (see “Who were they travelling with?” by Tom Easton, Lobster 31; “Uncle Sam’s New Labour” by Robin Ramsay, drawing on material from David Osler; “An Unholy Alliance” by Phil Kelly, The Leveller; and “New Labour, New Atlanticism: US and Tory intervention in the unions since the 1970s” by David Osler, Lobster 33)
Barry Reamsbottom and Kate Losinska are both still Vice Presidents of TUCETU, along with Sir Ken Jackson.
But Barry Reamsbottom’s association with NATO goes further.
On 1-3 May 1998 he attended a Conference of The New Atlantic Initiative in Istanbul, Turkey. The NAI is headquartered at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D. C. and aims to further:
The reinvigoration of Atlantic institutions of political cooperation and consultation.
The admission of Europe’s fledgling democracies into the institutions of Atlantic defense and European economic cooperation, notably NATO and the European Union.
The establishment of free trade between an enlarged European Union and the North American Free Trade Area as a complement to strengthening global free trade.
The full delegates list makes interesting reading. Barry Reamsbottom is shown as General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union, Trades Union Congress (UK). He appears just below Norman W. Ray, Assistant Secretary General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Eight other delegates had NATO in their titles.
UK colleagues included John Gilbert (then a Labour junior Defence Minister and member of TUCETU), Michael Howard (Shadow Foreign Secretary), Andrew Neil (Editor - The European), Michael Portillo (Former Defence Secretary), Norman Lamont (Former Chancellor of the Exchequer), Alan Lee Williams (Atlantic Council for the UK & TUCETU), Peter Robinson (Director TUCETU) & Charles Powell, Former Adviser to the Prime Minister.
Amongst the international stars were former US National Security Adviser and Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Zbigniew Brzezinski... Ahmad Chalabi, Iraqi National Congress President... Dore Gold, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations... Richard N. Perle, former U. S. Assistant Secretary of Defense... and Paul Wolfowitz, then Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University - now Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sits on the NAI International Advisory Board chaired by Henry Kissinger with Vice-Chair Lane Kirkland, the AFL-CIO President Emeritus. Margaret Thatcher is a Patron.
The discussions in Istanbul included:
Broadening the Atlantic Perspective: The Politics of Oil, Water, and Pipelines
NATO Roundtable: Making Enlargement Work
Business Roundtable: Getting Capitalism Right
Defense and Security Roundtable: After NATO Enlargement: What Next? - chaired by Alan Lee Williams.
Members of PCS should certainly be extremely concerned about Barry Reamsbottom’s participation in such a forum and on whose authority he attended as General Secretary (not even listed as in a personal capacity). How many PCS members knew he went to Istanbul and why are the rest of us only hearing about it from this article?
Recently, PCS General Secretary-elect Mark Serwotka was slated and practically gagged by the NEC for speaking against the war in Afghanistan in a personal capacity. Should Barry Reamsbottom be immune from investigation when he appears at such shady international events billed as General Secretary?
Barry Reamsbottom also maintains complete secrecy about why he belongs to TUCETU, his role in this organisation and how being in TUCETU aids union members.
PCS members, with some justification, are now advocating a plague on both houses in the current court battle. But this is not a battle between left or right but a fight for union democracy, free from State interference.
State intervention in UK trade unions is not a rare phenomenon.
As Guardian journalist Seumas Milne says in “What Stella left out”, his review of former head of MI5 Stella Rimington’s memoirs:
“As assistant MI5 director in charge of F2 branch, targeting trade unions, Rimington supervised the most ambitious counter- subversion operation ever mounted in Britain. Under her guidance, MI5 infiltrated Arthur Scargill’s inner circle, oversaw the country’s largest-ever bugging and telephone-tapping effort in cooperation with GCHQ, coordinated the legal onslaught against the NUM and helped organise the strike-breaking effort. Little, if any, of this can be expected to surface in whatever of Rimington’s memoirs see the light of day. ”
Obviously, the Thatcher Government was extremely interested in developments within the NUM given the miners’ role in bringing down the Heath Government. But how interested is this current Government in the largest union representing Civil Servants who are tasked with implementing Government Policy?
Remember, members predominantly in the Executive Grades voted the Moderates in because they advocated change. They were not voted in to drag PCS through the courts at members’ expense. Members in PCS have the power and the choice - reject the dangerous right-wing extremists of the National Moderate Group.