Charter Cities – Real Reason For Brexit And Bigger Picture

With our economy in tatters and the frightening roll back of our democratic rights now beginning to expose the true nature of Brexit, some leave voters are even beginning to question what Brexit was all about.

However, it is not that way for everyone involved, some truly are about to get their Brexit benefits. Namely the American billionaire-funded corporate-fascist networks and the Russian state/Putin circle that both heavily financed it.

The Russians were buying the general corruption and weakening of the UK state, the erosion of a once formidable opponent on the geopolitical stage, and of course they were protecting and enhancing their money laundering operation via the City of London too.

The American corporate-fascist network, historically backed by the heavy industry tycoon Charles Koch and hedge-fund manager/Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer Robert Mercer, and now bolstered by the new age Tech billionaires finance and insight were more interested in Charter Cities up and down the UK.

Not just for the unfettered exploitation of the UK’s people and natural resources, that is undoubtedly part of it, but they have their sights set on more than just taking our money.

WHAT ARE CHARTER CITIES

Exactly what the name suggests, privately owned and operated cities where everything from healthcare, education and the police force to the legislature and judicial system are ring fenced from the host country becoming a privately operated fiefdom.

All these institutions and more are operated by a private company that is accountable to nobody else. There is no independent or legal oversight of these cities, just the rules that they set in their privately owned legislative bodies and enforce with their privately owned judicial system.

Paul Romer (professor and mentor to Rishi Sunak who is now spearheading the UK’s Charter Cities plan) first proposed the Enterprise City model, which differed slightly to the Charter Cities plan being rolled out across Britain now.

Romer’s Enterprise Cities model was to establish these cities in underdeveloped countries, making a post-Brexit Britain with its rising inflation and collapsing living standards the perfect testing ground.

This calls into question the true motives for the various current crises in Britain too, has the “levelling-up” agenda been an intentional ploy to drive down our living standards and erode our rights, not only to force through the project under the radar but also to push us all to the point of willingly accepting that these cities may offer us the economic prosperity their proponents allege?

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TRANSPARENT DECISION MAKING

Crucially in Romer’s model decision making was to be transparent, each city would be backed by a developed nation and adopt the legal code of that nation. Romer officially distanced himself from the initiative following a distinct lack of transparency in deals with private companies in the thwarted first attempt to establish such a city, or ZEDE (Zone for Economic Development and Employment), in Honduras.

This eventually snowballed into an adoption of the more extreme private Charter City model and was only recently halted after significant protest by the local population.

Babson Global Inc, the commercial arm of Babson college, embarked on a new mission in 2013 to introduce a worldwide network of Charter Cities. The heavy industry tycoon Charles Koch is one of many notable graduates of Babson college, his Heritage foundation has active members serving on the board of Babson college and he is one of the central figures in this story.

Another important figure is Shanker Singham, a London born dual national who often refers to himself as American, who headed up this new project at Babson Global Inc as the Managing Director of Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities Project.

During his time there Babson Global offered packages for e-City installation to potential host countries, offering integrated support at every level. Their name for this desired global network of enterprise cities where laws are seen as services that businesses demand, was the World Operating System.

BABSON GLOBAL

Singham officially left Babson Global in 2015, however he has remained a major proponent of the idea ever since. He originally made his name in the privatisation of the English electricity market in the 1990’s and now lists his experience of privatising national assets as a key skill in his biography page for Competere Ltd.

In his time at Babson Global, alongside Erik Brimen and Dr Barbara Kolm, now director of the Hayek Institute, Singham was a key figure in reshaping Romer’s original state-backed Enterprise cities idea into the fully privatised Charter City model now being pedalled in Britain.

It is argued by the advocates of Charter Cities that this idea will unleash unrivalled economic growth and raise the residents of such cities up out of poverty. However, there is little if any evidence to support this theory and conversely, there is a mountain of evidence detailing the exploitation, corruption and lawlessness that similar arrangements cause.

The idea for Enterprise/Charter Cities is like that of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), of which there are many different examples around the world. Some SEZs are popularly cited as successful examples that we should be trying to emulate, such as Shenzhen, Hong-Kong and Bangladesh.

These examples are commonly touted by proponents of the idea as shining examples of what all Charter Cities could become. It is true that they have all been hugely successful in delivering economic growth for their areas. While each of these was a public-private partnership that had specific circumstances both locally and globally that made them successful, they also took years to find their feet.

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CHEAP EXPLOITABLE LABOUR

What the proponents of this idea fail to mention is that these circumstances, most important of which was access to cheap exploitable labour in a booming global economy, were fundamental to the success of these SEZs and are unlikely to be replicable now in other places.

Honduras was a key battle ground for the modern Charter City initiative prior to Brexit. Following Romer’s failed attempt and a subsequent change in legislation by the Honduran Supreme Court to outlaw ZEDEs, a new government bowed to another initiative that was launched for a fully private ZEDE.

Erik Brimen, formerly of Babson Global, returned with the financial backing of American billionaires including Peter Thiel, CEO of Palantir and co-founder of PayPal with Elon Musk, to try again. Brimen came incredibly close to realising the first truly privately operated city in Honduras, forming his company/town Prospera and attracting a significant amount of investment before ultimately the project imploded.

The neighbouring town of Crawfish Rock was connected to Prospera’s water supply at Brimen’s direction, following issues with their own system. He then went on to use the water supply in a power play during a dispute with the residents of Crawfish Rock and eventually cut the town off.

He continued to aggravate locals in a series of heated public exchanges over their concerns about the true intentions of his project and a lack of transparency over plans for future land acquisition. Following a significant period of protest Honduras elected a new government who promptly repealed the ZEDE legislation that permitted Prospera’s existence and the project eventually collapsed.

DANGEROUS IDEALOGUES

The example of the water supply in this situation is a basic yet clear example of how private companies, particularly those led by dangerous idealogues, will behave when given complete control of a territory.

Charter Cities in Britain will be no different, due to the sheer scale of the project it will likely be far worse than can be imagined now. In short shrift, there will be no public services to speak of and everyone must abide by the laws set out by the corporate owners or face the punishments that they also define.

Such an arrangement will only lead to massive human suffering and the enrichment of the few individuals who are pulling the strings. The first step will be the complete deregulation of everything within the boundaries.

Not this light touch deregulation we are seeing across the UK now, but the complete removal of all regulations surrounding workers’ rights, environmental protections and of course their own business and tax obligations. Everything will be privatised and these Charter Cities will operate under the rules defined by the Peel Group in Liverpool, DP World in London and the other private companies that now own the rest of the sites.

If you can’t afford to pay for healthcare, education or a private security force with the meagre wages that your 7 day-a-week, 12 hours-a-day job, in appalling conditions provides you, then too bad. That is your fault.

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GIVE AWAY ENTIRE CITIES

How did we get to a point where the UK government are about to give away entire cities up and down the country to private companies? As with most of the joy in Britain these days, it starts with Brexit and if you follow the money, you get a good idea.

Matthew Elliott, the former Chief Executive of Vote Leave and founder of the Tax Payers Alliance and Big Brother Watch, is recognised to have been instrumental in both the successful yet legally-questionable campaign to leave the EU and the subsequent huge shift right that British politics has experienced since.

In a speech to a US think-tank in 2017, Elliott announced that he had been coming to the US for >14 years to learn campaigning techniques from the highly influential libertarian lobbyist Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform group. It was during his time working with Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform that he met his wife Sarah, an avid Trump supporter and prominent right-wing Republican lobbyist.

Since then, they have both worked for powerful Koch-funded think-tanks/lobbying groups in the US and have openly sought to import the increasingly successful right-wing lobbying strategies to the UK.

Desmog carried out a detailed investigation into the dramatic push for environmental deregulation post-Brexit and concluded that Matthew and Sarah Elliott had been a vital bridge in the Transatlantic network of lobbying groups and think-tanks backed by Koch and Mercer and the subsequent push for deregulation orchestrated by these same groups. Some of which are the same groups now advocating for Charter Cities.

DEMOCRATIC REULATORY FRAMEWORK

The decision to leave the EU was always about getting away from the democratic regulatory framework and international rule of law that prevented such arrangements on the basis that they are exploitative, environmentally dangerous and function as both tax-havens and hot-beds for a raft of criminal activity, much like a Mafia state would.

The vote to leave the EU has now been widely reported to have been influenced by several highly-questionable and potentially illegal factors. From allegations of Russian finance and influence and the illicit overspending and coordination by Leave campaign groups to the controversial use of AI-driven “data-scraping” from Facebook by Cambridge Analytica, it seems it was far from a fair and democratic vote.

It is of note that some of the leave campaign groups were reported to have met with Steve Bannon, Trumps campaign manager, a key figure at Cambridge Analytica and a central figure in this wider ploy; and that Peter Thiel was a long serving board member at Facebook.

In this post-truth world, the UK has a lot to thank Carole Cadwalladr for. Her investigations and reporting have been essential in highlighting to the public the various elements of alleged corruption flowing through the leave campaign. The year-long investigation into the role and potential influence of Cambridge Analytica on the Brexit vote should have been a tipping point to opening official investigations into the results and all the allegations that have been reported.

Yet with the figurehead of the campaign to leave the EU now sat in Downing Street, changing laws at will to protect himself, there seems little hope of that happening soon.

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Adapted from Charter Cities: The Real Reason for Brexit and the Bigger Picture – click for a lot more in-depth detail.

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