British Press Gearing Up to Destroy Britain – #FakeNews Empidemic


ArmstrongEconomics

Redwood John

John Redwood, a prominent and experienced Brexit MP, posted on his blog today (http://johnredwoodsdiary.com) about doing an interview on British Press:

The BBC wants to change the news, not report it

Yesterday I was phoned to be asked onto the BBC Radio 4 Today program this morning. They said they wanted me to answer questions about how the election would change the UK’s ability to negotiate a new, good relationship with the EU. I was happy to do so, and said I could make any time at their studio. It seemed like a good topic, and central to what the PM said about her reason for calling the election.

They then proceeded to ask me a series of questions all designed to get me to disagree with the UK negotiating position and Prime Minister. I explained that I supported the PM, agreed with her Brexit White Paper and stated aims, and suggested if all they wanted to do was to criticize her, they should approach the opposition parties. They continued to try to get me to disagree. They did not seem to have read the White Paper or the PM’s speech on the topic, so I had to tell them what was in them and why I agreed with them.

I explained again that their thesis that the leave supporting MPs were in disagreement with the PM and were “rebels” was simply untrue. We are not in disagreement with the PM and we have been strongly supporting the government’s statements and legislation on Brexit. She said she would get back to me about the invitation to go on, with the details.

She did not of course bother to, as it was clear I was unwilling to feed their view of what the news should be.

I then found that another Leave supporting Conservative MP had been given the same treatment, and he too had thought the BBC were trying to change the  news rather than report the position. When I came to do a live interview on some other BBC program, I was faced with the same stupid thesis and had to explain on air how wrong their idea was.

I do not know who is feeding the BBC this nonsense, but it is frustrating that they do not accept the truth from those whose views they claim to be reporting, and do not bother to get back and openly say they do not want you on because you won’t say what they want you to say.

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City of London is the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade


Independant

London is now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert.

Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano says ‘the British treat it as not their problem’

Roberto Saviano says the City of London is the money-laundering centre of the world’s drug trade Getty

The City of London is the money-laundering centre of the world’s drug trade, according to an internationally acclaimed crime expert.

UK banks and financial services have ignored so-called “know your customer” rules designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”

His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of it amounts to a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”. It added that the same money-laundering networks used by organised crime were being used by terrorists as well.


Roberto Saviano’s ‘Gomorrah’ has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)

Interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Mr Saviano said of the international drugs trade that “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade. “Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that drug trafficking organisations were blatantly recycling dirty money through European and American banks, but no one takes any notice,” he said. “He found that banks were welcoming dirty money because they need cash, liquidity during the financial crisis. The figures are too big to be rejected …. Yet there was no reaction.”

Referring to HSBC’s record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) US fine for money laundering for the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in 2012, Mr Saviano said: “The biggest UK bank! Yet it has scarcely been written about. The British treat it as not their problem, because there aren’t corpses on the streets.

“They think it’s all happening ‘over there somewhere’, so they needn’t worry about it. Sure, HSBC has been reported but there has been no debate. You need to fill the papers. The intellectuals have said nothing. [David] Cameron has said nothing. It’s his country. How can he say nothing on such a piece of news?”

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Related:

HSBC bank ‘helped clients dodge millions in tax’

Banking giant HSBC helped wealthy clients across the world evade hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tax, the BBC has learned. Panorama has seen…read more

Major British bank sued for drugs murders – full BBC report | Mr Ethical

Reported today by Bloomberg. And here is a search for BBC coverage. (The Chair of Trustees of the BBC is an HSBC director): Read more…

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Save The Children said ‘Sorry’, but war criminal Blair keeps award


…a very convenient apology…and just like a circus, the farcical show goes on

… hoped that supporters would accept that organizations “make mistakes.” – Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children

RT

Save the Children apologizes for handing Tony Blair legacy award

War criminal Blair

The charity which came under fire for presenting former Prime Minister Tony Blair with a global legacy award has apologized for upsetting staff and supporters.

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children, said he was “very sorry” to staff and members of the public who were offended by the decision, saying the issue was an “unnecessary distraction.”

Forsyth, a former aide to Blair, told the BBC’s Today program: “I know that many of our supporters and volunteers were very upset and our staff, several of our staff too, and I’m very sorry for that.”

He said it was “wrong” to have given the former PM the award for his global work, rather than his action in Africa specifically.

The apology follows a widespread backlash against the decision, with an online petition garnering over 100,000 signatures. The petition called for the award to be rescinded, with over 500 staff at Save the Children backing that request.

Protesters were outraged that the charity had seemingly overlooked Blair’s decision to invade Iraq as part of the US-led offensive in 2003, which was responsible for the killing of thousands of civilians.

Forsyth said the decision to hand Blair the award was made by the charity’s “sister organization” in America, where Blair did not have as controversial a reputation.

He further said the award was only for his work in Africa.

Yes, it was a global legacy award. It was called that. But actually it was an award very, very specifically for Tony Blair’s efforts on Africa at two G8 summits at Birmingham and Gleneagles, not his wider legacy.”

And if it had been for his wider legacy I think it would be wrong, but it was for something quite specific that helped Africa and children,” Forsyth said.

“I‘m sorry it’s upset so many people. It’s not really what we do at Save the Children. What we’re really doing is on the ground in Syria with the Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone – that’s the work we do.

“This has been really an unnecessary distraction. I do apologize to those people that it’s upset,” he added.

Forsyth accepted that damage to the charity’s reputation had been caused “in part” by the row, but hoped that supporters would accept that organizations “make mistakes.”

Forsyth was recruited as an aide to Blair to help tackle poverty and climate change. A Save the Children biography says he was “one of the driving forces behind the Make Poverty History campaign.”

Before eventually joining Save the Children, he was a strategic communications and campaigns director for former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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Malaysia – The book “Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia”


The Malaysian Insider

Taib

Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud has on multiple occasions been asked to explain his allegedly vast wealth. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 16, 2015.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud
are attempting to stop a BBC interview from being broadcast, said 
a Swiss-based rainforest advocacy group.

The Bruno Manser Fund said a London law firm had been commissioned by the controversial Taib to stop a BBC interview on Lukas Straumann’s book, “Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia”, which exposes the former chief minister’s vast wealth allegedly derived from illegal logging.

“During an interview with the BBC’s World Service this afternoon, author and BMF executive director Straumann was shown a ‘strictly private and confidential’ letter by Mishcon to the BBC.

“In the letter, Taib’s lawyers asked the BBC not to cover the book on Taib’s environmental crimes in their broadcasts,” BMF said in a statement today.

However, Mishcon’s request was not backed by evidence on why the interview with Straumann should not be broadcast, apart from the book being “full of errors”.

In a separate development, Mishcon did not to reply to a letter by Straumann in which he had asked for an explanation for Taib’s extreme wealth.

Last week, Straumann challenged Taib to explain the source of his wealth and set a January 13 deadline for his lawyers to reply.

Straumann also invited Taib to make a public statement on the sources of his wealth on the occasion of the London book launch, to be held on January 16.

Taib, through his lawyers, had also attempted to stop the book from being published.

However, despite the legal threats, Swiss publisher Bergli Books and Amazon decided to publish and distribute the book globally.

The book has since been reviewed by National Geographic, The Huffington Post, The Ecologist, Malaysiakini and a number of other media.

“Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia” contains details of how Taib, who was Sarawak’s chief minister for 33 years until he stepped down last year, allegedly amassed profits of up to US$15 billion (RM53.51 billion) with the complicity of global financial institutions.

BMF in a statement said Straumann’s book told the story of those “who lost their ancient paradise to a ‘wasteland of oil palm plantation, pollution and corruption’ – and how they hope to get it back”.

It said the book would rock “Malaysia’s corridors of power” as it investigates what former British prime minister Gordon Brown has called “probably the biggest environmental crime of our times”, in relation to the massive destruction of the Borneo rainforest by Malaysian loggers.

Brown’s sister-in-law, Clare Rewcastle Brown, manages the Sarawak Report blog which actively campaigns against the state’s deforestation and has in the past documented Taib and his family’s alleged extraordinary wealth.

Straumann had approached those who lost their homes in the forests and “criminals” who earned billions through illegal timber sales and corruption.

BMF had earlier estimated Taib’s worth at US$15 billion, and said 20 of his family members had a collective wealth of US$21 billion.

An undercover investigation by international non-governmental organisation (NGO), Global Witness implicated Taib with involvement in corruption, land seizure and tax evasion.

In February this year, BMF lodged a police report against Taib’s family for laundering timber corruption proceeds in Canada.

It said the report with the Canadian police was based on “new evidence” which apparently proves a financial link between Richfold Investments Ltd in Hong Kong and Sakto Development Corporation in Ottawa, Canada.

Sakto Development Corporation is a multi-million-dollar developer run by Taib’s daughter, Jamilah Taib Murray.

Six months ago, several local NGOs and opposition parties ran an unsuccessful campaign against Taib’s appointment as the Yang di-Pertua, pointing out corruption allegations against him.

Taib was sworn in as Sarawak’s 7th governor on March 1 last year, taking over from Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng.

Taib became the Sarawak chief minister in 1981 at the age of 45, and was the longest serving chief minister in Malaysia. – January 16, 2015.

Related:

Taib Mahmud passes up chance to explain how he made his billions – THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Lukas Straumann

Lukas Straumann (centre) at the launch of his book ‘Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia’ with other panellists in London on Friday. The book exposes Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s source of extreme wealth. – Pic courtesy of Bruno Manser Fund, January 18, 2015.

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BBC US Editor Parrots CIA, Republican Talking Points on Senate Torture Report


RPIlogo

by Rupert Stone

bbc lies

The BBC is supposed to be an “impartial”, “honest” and “independent” news outlet, but today its US Editor, Jon Sopel, showed very clearly whose side he is on. In a short post, “A whiff of hypocrisy about CIA report?”, he regurgitates some staple Republican talking-points and makes arguments eerily similar to those presented by former CIA and Bush officials in their various self-exculpatory media appearances this past week.

His piece bears the revealingly Cheney-esque tagline: “America has not come under serious attack since 9/11 on its home soil – so you would think that would be a source of celebration.” Then, just like CIA Director Brennan at his press conference last Thursday, Sopel kicks off with the September 11 attacks. He speculates that there might eventually be two versions of 9/11, one in which “a war on terror was declared, and those responsible were hunted down and detained, and there were no further attacks on US soil”, another in which “the torture tactics used to hunt down and detain those responsible brought condemnation and America lost its moral authority in the world”.

Both of these versions are inaccurate. His assumption is that the CIA’s interrogation and rendition program was the only factor involved in capturing terrorists. Of course there were other departments of the US government at work – most importantly the FBI (which did not use torture). And there were other methods, besides human intelligence, which yielded information (for example, signals intelligence was crucial to the hunt for Bin Laden).

Sopel also implies that every single person captured and detained was involved in 9/11, despite the fact Abu Zubaydah (once heralded as the “number 3 in Al Qaeda”, and whose torture is recorded in gruesome detail in the Senate’s summary) is now recognized by the US government to have played no role in 9/11 and to have never even been a member of Al Qaeda. Moreover, the Senate’s report documents 26 cases of prisoners who were held mistakenly by CIA (note that the report excludes victims of extraordinary rendition to 3rd countries for torture and all those held by the US military). Interestingly, he seems to assume that the torture worked (note that, in his second version of 9/11, he writes that the torture brought “condemnation”, not false intelligence). But the Senate’s report has produced page after page of detail refuting that assumption, and there is plenty of other evidence to support its thesis. To take one example among many, Col. Morris Davis – the former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, who was familiar with the intelligence gained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other high-value detainees – told CNN last week that he was not aware of a “single plot” stopped by the torture program.

Sopel then claims that most Democrats “think that there are NO circumstances EVER when coercive interrogation techniques can be condoned”. Note the use of capitals to underscore the absolute nature of their position, as if they’re extremists – but this view simply reflects the law, as embodied in the UN Convention Against Torture, which insists that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever” can be used to justify torture. Anyway, it is presumptuous to say that “most Democrats” are absolutely opposed to torture. Obama’s own CIA Directors Panetta and Petraeus have both testified to Congress that extreme techniques might be considered in ticking-bomb scenarios if conventional methods failed. That being so, he is possibly right in the next paragraph when he implies that a Democrat administration would have responded in similar fashion after 9/11, and that their indignation at the report is somewhat hypocritical. But so what? This report does not need to be read and assessed through a party-political prism. If the Democrats are being hypocritical, that does not alter the evidentiary record of gross torture and war crimes assembled in the summary. As law professor Stephen Vladeck said on C-Span’s Washington Journal last weekend: “The facts in the report speak for themselves. What we did was illegal.”

Sopel then advances a tired jingoistic argument made by Dick Cheney, George W Bush and Barack Obama himself. “Weren’t the overwhelming majority of CIA operatives at that time just driven by one thing – a patriotic duty to keep America safe, by whatever means?” He seems to be suggesting that most CIA operatives involved in the torture program should be excused because they were patriots: not an apology he would likely make for Syrian or North Korean torturers. Besides, the Senate’s summary contains page after page of meticulously-assembled evidence documenting unprecedented criminal brutality, and there is no exception in the applicable laws for patriots trying to “keep America safe”. In fact it seems that many CIA officials objected to the savagery they were being asked to participate in – a point omitted by Sopel, who associates patriotism with protecting America by “whatever means”  (hat-tip to Dick Cheney) – while of course true patriotism entails obeying, not breaking, long-standing legal prohibitions against cruelty and barbarism. As Jane Mayer writes in a recent piece at the New Yorker, “There have been a number of true “torture patriots,” many of them at the C.I.A….They are the officers who blew the whistle on the program internally and externally, some of whom have paid a very high price for their actions.”

Sopel’s next paragraph is, quite simply, risible, and deserves to be cited in full:

“Of course I can sit here at my keyboard and pronounce that torture can never be justified. It is an absolute. I do totally believe that. But what if a child of mine had been kidnapped, and the police arrest the kidnapper, but say to me, “Well we’ve got the guy who took your kid, but despite us asking him really politely where he’s being kept, he’s not telling us… However there are these things called enhanced interrogation techniques – we could give them a go.” Would I say no? I’m really not sure.”

So, he’s absolutely against torture, but might support it: a glaring paradox. Sopel’s trying to oppose torture categorically, like any good BBC journalist, while making excuses for the torturers. Respect for civilized values and the rule of law must always be balanced with obedient deference to state power, even when the state in question has ridden roughshod over those very values and laws. Is that what the BBC means by impartiality and independence? Or are war crimes just fine provided they come wrapped in the stars and stripes?

As a brave member of the fourth estate, forever holding the government to account for its abuses, Sopel is “uncomfortable” that CIA should be held “publicly accountable for their actions”. As Brennan snapped at the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman on Thursday, there’s been enough “transparency” with the release of this report. Sopel scoffs, a la Cheney: “This is not the highways department where the road maintenance programme is under debate. This is national security.” But transparency is not the same thing as accountability: the former involves disclosure of information, the latter involves punishment for wrongdoing. This is a crucial distinction. If there were to be serious legal accountability, members of the CIA and Bush administration could find themselves in very hot water, indeed, given the abundant evidence of criminality detailed in the report.

And this is the most revealing aspect of Sopel’s piece. Nowhere does he acknowledge that the CIA broke the law, even though Ben Emmerson, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism, last week described the CIA program as a “vast criminal enterprise” and a “criminal conspiracy” at the highest levels of government, emphasizing that, under international law, the ban on torture is absolute and admits of no extenuating circumstances whatsoever (a view echoed by numerous rights groups, along with Morris Davis, who in the interview cited above described the CIA’s actions as “war crimes” and advised the culprits to “vacation domestically”). That “enhanced interrogation techniques” constitute torture was obvious to any rational person even before the release of this report, and is now entirely indisputable (the European Court of Human Rights had already ruled earlier this year, before the Senate’s summary was disclosed, that the CIA had tortured prisoners on Polish soil). In his earlier reporting on the summary, Sopel again echoed Brennan when referring to the CIA’s “mistakes”. But these were no “mistakes”: they were cruel, calculated crimes devised at the highest-levels of government.

Sopel ends with yet another Republican talking-point. “I just wonder whether in 10 years’ time, when my successor is sitting at this desk, whether he or she will be writing a blog on the just-released Republican-led intelligence committee report laying into the drone programme from when President Barack Obama was in the White House.” There is no reason to believe the Republicans would produce such a report, given they’ve supported drone strikes throughout Obama’s presidency. Even if they did, the (hypothetical) report should be judged on its own terms: you cannot just dismiss a report because it was produced by this or that party. That the summary is a partisan effort by Democrats, is yet another argument advanced by former CIA and Bush officials to discredit the Senate’s conclusions. And it’s a poor argument: the report is based on millions and millions of CIA records, its findings corroborated by numerous other reports, sources and news stories. And it is not entirely partisan: after all, the Obama administration held up the summary for months arguing over redactions, and tried to stall it at the last-minute when John Kerry called Diane Feinstein to warn her, with standard CIA scare tactics, that the disclosure might provoke violence abroad (it hasn’t). Fox News has made much of Obama’s hypocrisy, using drone strikes which kill people and opposing torture which doesn’t, and that point is reflected here, like so many other utterly partisan and vacuous Republican, CIA arguments.

Why can’t Sopel condemn, in clear terms, a spy agency that has so clearly violated the law? The CIA did not act alone: Britain, along with many other foreign countries, was involved in the rendition program, permitting flights to pass through its airports and possibly allowing a black site to operate on Diego Garcia. The Senate’s report could provide damning new evidence of UK complicity, and some MPs have already called for a judge-led inquiry into British participation. But, as Sopel writes, there’s been enough transparency. I’m sure Tony Blair, Jack Straw, David Miliband and others would agree.

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Nigeria axed central bank chief


BBC

Nigeria central bank head Lamido Sanusi ousted

ls

Lamido Sanusi was named central bank governor of the year for 2010

Nigeria’s central bank governor Lamido Sanusi has been suspended by the president for “financial recklessness and misconduct”.

Mr Sanusi caused shockwaves in Nigeria when he alleged that $20bn (£12bn) in oil revenue had gone missing.

Nigeria’s state oil firm has denied failing to account for the money, saying the claim was “unsubstantiated”.

Mr Sanusi is widely respected after undertaking reforms to the banking sector since his appointment in 2009.

He was named central bank governor of the year for 2010 by Banker magazine.

He told the BBC he would challenge his suspension in order to preserve the central bank’s independence.

Foreign exchange, bond and money markets have stopped trading because of uncertainty caused by the move, Reuters news agency reports.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos says Mr Sanusi’s allegations threaten to expose high-level fraud in Nigeria’s notoriously opaque and corrupt oil sector. Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers.

“The reality is anyone who challenges the oil sector is striking at the heart of the vested interests that control the Nigerian state and one should be ready for the consequences,” Mr Sanusi told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

The controversy also comes ahead of next year’s elections, with the governing party split over whether President Goodluck Jonathan should contest.

Anti-corruption credibility

Earlier this month, Mr Sanusi told a senate committee that out of $67bn of oil sold between January 2012 and July 2013, $20bn had not been accounted for.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said the allegations showed “little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry”.

Mr Sanusi is currently in Niger attending a meeting of top officials, which he has now left.

His deputy, Sarah Alade, who is travelling with him, will fill in until a new governor is appointed.

President Jonathan asked him to resign in December but Mr Sanusi refused, sources told the BBC Hausa service.

The president does not have the power to sack the central bank governor – only the National Assembly can do this.

His term in office was due to end in June but correspondents say the decision to suspend him now is still highly significant.

The presidential statement announcing his suspension said he had been removed pending “investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate” of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It said his “tenure has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct… [and] far-reaching irregularities”.

While Mr Sanusi’s critics question whether he is using his job to harm President Jonathan’s chances of re-election, many Nigerians will think the president has chosen to suspend the whistleblower rather than focus on stopping fraud, our correspondent says.

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Intel CEO on environmental and ethical responsibility.


Intel vows to stop using ‘conflict minerals’ in new chips

Brian Krzanich said he wanted to stop Intel "inadvertently funding human atrocities"

Brian Krzanich said he wanted to stop Intel “inadvertently funding human atrocities”

Intel will no longer use minerals mined in conflict zones to build its microprocessors, the company has said.

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Intel’s chief executive Brian Krzanich urged the “entire industry” to follow suit.

Gold, tungsten and other minerals used in electronics manufacturing are mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and surrounding countries.

Production and trade of the materials are often controlled by armed groups.

Intel’s policy comes after increased international pressure for technology firms to investigate the sources of their raw minerals.

Tracing Origins

Gold-laden pebbles, fresh from a mine, are crushed into silt in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Gold-laden pebbles, fresh from a mine, are crushed into silt in the Democratic Republic of CongoThe company, which is the world’s largest chipmaker and has factories around the world, says all the microprocessors it ships in 2014 will be “conflict free”.

Most electronic devices contain either gold, tantalum, tin, or tungsten, much of which originates from sub-Saharan Africa and is mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses.

In 2010, US President Barack Obama introduced a law requiring public companies to report whether their products contained minerals from these areas.

Mr Krzanich, who took over as the head of Intel last year, told the audience at CES that the company had been trying to determine the sources of the metals used in its chips for some years.

“We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities,” he said.

‘Important issue’

The company is already a member of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative run by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, which encourages environmental and ethical responsibility.

Miners chisel loose tungsten ore near in Rwanda

Miners chisel loose tungsten ore near in Rwanda

“This is not an issue we would normally be talking about at CES. But it’s an issue that is important to me,” Mr Krzanich said.

“You begin to think about the impact of the supply chain and the potential issues you can be causing.”

At the same keynote session, Intel also announced it would be scrapping the McAfee anti-virus brand name and replacing it with Intel Security.

Software rebrand

The move is intended to sever the connection to the software’s eponymous founder, John McAfee, who has been mired in legal troubles, and has confessed to extensive drug use.

But Mr McAfee told the BBC he was was elated by Intel’s decision.

“I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet,” he said.

“These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users.”

Last year Mr McAfee released a video showing how to “uninstall” the firm’s anti-virus software by blasting a laptop with a bullet.

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