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WATCH: The Spider’s Web – Britain’s Second Empire

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire, is a documentary film that shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power.

At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it behind obscure financial structures in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth may be hidden in British offshore jurisdictions and Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are the largest global players in the world of international finance. How did this come about, and what impact does it have on the world today? This is what the Spider’s Web sets out to investigate.

The Spider’s Web was written, directed and produced by Michael Oswald, you can sponsor his future films on Patreon. The film’s official website is here, and you can read about Queue Politely’s other works on their website here.


36 Comments

  1. Fair dinkum says

    Cosmic justice always prevails.
    Every single psychopath dies.
    Sad, ain’t it?

  2. What are the underlying ideas that are acted out and embodied in this scenario?

    A major theme is the supporting and defence of the means to keep secret the fruits of what is done in secret so as to gain power through the holding of the fruits of secrets and lies.

    Systems devised and designed to be unaccountable to any but insiders who effectively recruit or install those who would otherwise regulate or report on dark-power.

    The phrase dark is often used for partitioned off and kept secret – as in the dark web. Likewise the dark world operates in parallel with and beneath the illusions and half-truths that are used to maintain the world and the people as food, or energy supply by which to maintain the deceit.

    Secrets and lies are of a kind. For lies revealed as such are no longer secret and no longer accepted as true – even if overtly complied with under threat.

    The power gained over those who are induced to sacrifice their own integrity , to get it, is the ability to direct events and shape human thinking and society from behind all seeming governance.

    I hold this as true in the individual as in the body corporate.

    The vigilance against the deceiver is largely subverted by the deceiver to instead operate a vigilance against the light of true witness in defence of a lie or self-illusion.

    The defence of a false power inherently demands the sacrifice of the true, and does so as IF a crusade against evils seen and attacked in others to thereby to confer association with moral justification.

    But recognition of the false as false is the freedom to align truly.

    Without recognition of the false AS false, no real choices are available. But always the illusion of the good set against the evil and the ‘lesser of evils’.

    ‘Don’t let truth get in the way of a good story’ can also be stated as ‘don’t let truth get in the way of a narrative identity’.
    The control-mind is set up to keep truth out and lock you in. But is it the ‘control’ that it seems to be or is the ‘protection’ a racket? I cannot look at your defences for you – but you can see if what you are protecting by keeping secret is in fact the true of you or is costing you the awareness of the true of you.

    As stark insanity becomes ever less able to be masked over, the true nature of our allegiances must come into question. The deceiver works through a ‘fallen nature’ – that is through a sense of self-lack masked over and kept ‘secret’ that then operates as hidden agenda beneath the forms and presentations of seeking to GET back what is feels denied or deprived of.

    True self interest has to pause to connect with the true nature of what is here. The conditioned reactions of a past made in anger are already attacking (judging or denying) the true of others without even a moment of real connection.
    Its all running on false currency. What then Is true? If you ask the mind that made deceit expect an answer that persists in deceit. A problem is not resolved within the framing of the problem. Truth is upstream to mind-distortions – but investment in the fruits of self-illusion effectively rules out opening the Inflow of fresh perspective.

    It may be that pathogens and parasites are not really ‘invaders’ and violators’ so much as expressions of a specific environment of toxic, damaged or uncleared obstruction and imbalance resulting from and exacerbating a lack of vital energy. A sense of isolation and disconnection from Life is the result of a private fantasy given worthship over true relation.

    (I appreciated the documentary – and in particular that it did not peddle fear or seek to manipulate by emotional manipulation). Hate and blame along with fear work to distort the mind even while seeming to sharpen it along the lines of emotional charge. This is why I also see owning our feeling as part of uncovering the ‘territory’ of our own otherwise unconscious participation.

    The appeal for fantasy gratifications is one of the ways we are hacked by a hidden manipulative intent.

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    • DunGroanin says

      I said it.

      Blew the doors off!

      Innit Bro.

      You can’t catch up.

      Lesgo.

  3. rtj1211 says

    Every Govt official who ever signed off a PFI contract to contractors financed at 15% interest is in criminal dereliction of basic duties, needing imprisonment, confiscation of every asset of theirs and prevention of their children receiving any form of elite education.

    Tony Blair, Gordon Brown Alastar Campbell and whichsoever Senior Tories oversaw such criminality must be slaves for life, stripped of every penny and preferably subjected to Extraordinary rendition to extract further facts from them.

    It is the most criminal activity available to ensure that 15% of all contracts paid go in interest payments, when the State itself could raise finance at 5% or less.

    If Jacob Rees-Mogg defends such criminality, any integrity he claims to possess is dead….

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    • Reg Varney says

      Couldn’t agree more , very well written, and yet the same bastards can walk away from the train franchise they threw in because it didn’t work ( Virgin and Stagecoach) no penalties nothing, capitalism at it’s best, and still they vote for it.

  4. DunGroanin says

    (Third attempt at posting this…Mods????)

    To fully appreciate the City – a state within a state – one should start at the beginning as the Romans set up the trading post at the upper reaches of the tidal Thames. As it developed through history the names of its lanes and streets are a great clue to the Bankers who took over.

    These bankers have been instrumental in EVERY war and imperialist conquest ever since making money from every side.
    They own just about everything now. But they can’t STOP!
    WHY???
    Because THEY are psychopaths.

    They have systems in place that identifies young psychos and nurture them to the top to keep the plan running over the ages (e.g Cecil Rhodes)

    What plan?
    The racist conquest of the planet, no less!
    (They forgot to ask the other races – so it has not been as easy as they thought)

    HOW are they organised?
    As a PATHOCRACY : “a system of government thus created, wherein a small pathological minority takes control over a society of normal people.”
    From:
    ‘Political Ponerology: The scientific study of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes was forged in the crucible of the very subject it studies. Scientists living under an oppressive regime decide to study it clinically, to study the founders and supporters of an evil regime to determine what common factor is at play in the rise and propagation of man’s inhumanity to man.’
    https://en.pilulerouge.com/shop/pp/

    This is not secret knowledge. It is not fantasy. It is history. History which THEY try and suppress.

    Learn and FIGHT.

      • Robbobbobin says

        Akiss me Hardy.” – the easiest way to impugn Lord Nelson if you never met him nor sailed on the same ship. An intercepted post will end up in your spam box with luck or a nod from afar. See also: “Slow down, you’re posting too fast:” – the invisible hand of the rigged market made visible.

  5. Paul X says

    Excellent video, thank you. David Cameron must one day be unmasked as the most deceitful PM we’ve ever had? And all in the interests of hard cash seeking a safe haven.

    • BigB says

      I dunno, our Tony got elected on a part mandate to clean the Aegean Stable sewer that is the City of London Corporation. When he got in, he was persuaded by the likes of “Lord” Levy (whose title was bought over a game of tennis, no doubt) to let the City “reform ” itself. Which they duly did, by expanding. Recent research has shown that this “finance curse” has cost each and every one of us £67.5K …or £4.5tn total.

      Thanks Tone, still he made £25m or so. Who said crime doesn’t pay? It does if you make it legal.

        • BigB says

          Them too. It must have been the autotype that changed it! 😀

          • Jen says

            The Aegean Sea probably does need a huge Herculean clean-out too of all the ships sunk there over the centuries in wars, starting with the wars between the Greeks and the Persians (or maybe between the Mycenaeans and the Minoans, or between the Mycenaeans and the Hittites) and continuing on to World Wars I and II. 🙂

      • Paul X says

        Yes there are many candidates for the title. Maybe Neville Chamberlain should take the Crown as the man who did more than anything to guarantee WW2 was as destructive as it turned out to be. But I guess my suggestion Cameron takes the biscuit is really because he had no principles about it, no ideology just lust for money safely stashed away for family and chums. At least Chamberlain really believed Communism was the work of the devil which meant he couldn’t stomach a Treaty with the Soviet Union and that Hitler was at heart a conservative like him.

      • ‘…Here’s the keys to the government, just do want the bankers tell you to’

        -from The Hunt For Tony Blair (The Comic Strip Presents)

  6. Excellent documentary. It ought to be required watching for those who think the present clusterfu*k is brought to us by a handful of conniving individuals (Soros, Trump etc.) and that their individual of choice (Putin, Corbyn etc.) can “save” the world. It is certainly true that individuals can amass great power, and that power buys influence, but the world is not a superhero comic and it takes more than a rotating cast of Hollywood inspired cartoon villains and heroes to keep it running (and to change its course).

    If the left wants to halt the reactionary right-wing steamroller that it needs to ditch divisive liberal identity politics and right-wing inspired conspiratorial strongman fantasies and get back to its roots as a movement which seeks to replace capitalism with a viable alternative. The first part of that is recognizing where power resides in liberal market societies – namely in the control of capital, as this film succinctly demonstrates. Steve Bannon gets it (if only as a rhetorical device to attract the working class) and the left seriously needs to uncouple itself from the neoliberal global capitalist clown car and take a decisive stand.

    • DunGroanin says

      Having most of the Blairites off the front bench and leadership is a good start for the Labour party.

      Getting them out of parliament and replaced by grassroots selected replacements is the next step.

      Letting the membership have the maximum power is the only way forward for democracy everywhere.

      By keeping away the bankers, robber barons and their lawyers and lobbyists from the MP’s and civil services and defence departments, the people will finally get a government for the majority of normal people not the psycho minority greedy bastards.

  7. Cromwell conspired with, & was funded by “European financiers” who established the Bank of England, 1694. This was the start of both the Brit National debt & National fractional reserve banking.

    King William of Orange, a Dutchman, sold the Brit people into servitude to the Banksters in order to shift his personal debt of £1,250,000 onto the shoulders of the Brit population, to be collected by a general taxation.

    Book: Pawns in the Game, by WWII Canadian naval intelligence officer, William Guy Carr.
    Or read for free on http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net
    Use the search box.

    John Doran.

  8. BigB says

    This film did have an impact: Britain has now officially closed down its Tax Havens. Well, given them till 2020 to produce a public register of investments. On all of its former overseas territories: except Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

    The deed was done by a cross party committee led by Andrew Mitchell and Margaret Hodge. That’s right, THAT Margaret Hodge. Who – when not exchanging cordial pleasantries with JC – pays just 0.01% tax on £2.1bn of her families assets. The rest is squirrelled away in (offshore) Lichtenstein.

    I smell a rat.

    https://www.taxjustice.net/2018/05/04/yes-britain-is-closing-its-tax-havens-but-lets-not-forget-it-created-them-in-the-first-place/

    • zach says

      Man, that is some deeply corrupt, antisocial sh*t. Throw in the monarchy the house of lords the feral press and you can see why the USSR and the PRC always viewed Britain, even more than the US, as the dark heart of global capitalist reaction. Corbyn would have a job of work just keeping his face above water if he ever reaches Downing Street.

  9. mark says

    Britain itself has never been a force for good in the world, whatever the achievements of individual Britons.
    Most of the crimes and atrocities of the past are just airbrushed out of history or thrown down the memory hole.
    Ireland is a case in point, 800 years of war, oppression and genocide.
    People know vaguely about the potato famine and the troubles from the 1960s onwards.
    But much else is never discussed or written about.
    From 1641 – 1652, there were a series of wars in Ireland under British rule, culminating in Cromwell’s invasion and massacres.
    Over this period, the population of Ireland fell from 1,500,000 to 600,000.
    500,000, a third of the population, died over this period from war, massacres, brutality, expulsions, famine, exposure and disease.
    Another 400,000 were enslaved, in exactly the same manner as African slaves. They were rounded up and taken to West Indian and American plantations in the holds of slave ships, sold at slave auctions, and had the status of chattel slaves. There were relatively few African slaves at this time – most slaves were Irish. Irish slaves could be bought for £5, while a male African slave cost £50. Slave owners bred Irish slave women with more expensive African slave men. This continued till the early 1700s, when the African slave trade took off and no doubt many of the Irish slaves had died.
    Australian aborigines were almost exterminated under British rule. Aborigines were hunted for sport like rabbits, with women spectators holding picnics.
    Britain played a significant part in the extermination of the American Indians. The number of victims exceeded 100 million, though Britain gained only the bronze medal in that genocide, yielding first and second places to the Spaniards and the independent United States.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Don’t forget the series of Great Famines in India under English rule, the last in Bengal in the 1940s. They took off tens of millions more.

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      • BigB says

        For a full list of the crimes of Empire …it’s going to take a while. I normally sum it up as exporting genocide, torture and terrorism since 1095 (the year of the First Crusade). Before that, we focused on domestic terrorism.

  10. Whatever evil is, it is without conscience. Money is the conduit through which evil most easily passes. As we know, this unholy alliance currently enforces its agenda through social polarization, censorship and military might. It has all the tools it needs to maintain control. We are it’s squealing serfs. For now, a necessary annoyance.
    The slippery, well known, yet unchecked activities of the Clinton Foundation is examined in.the documentary …..’Clinton Cash.’ It is another good example of money laundering at the highest levels. Also, as has been discussed on this site, the financial activities which were behind banning “The Magnitsky Act Behind the Scenes’ comes to mind.
    What a show. Butter on your popcorn ?

  11. “The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire” is possibly the most important, brilliant documentary film of the year. If ever there were a film deserving of the Academy Award for Best Documentary, this is it. The film and its director Michael Oswald might indeed take home the Oscar, especially after Donald Trump, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, Benjamin Netanyahu and so many other “world leaders” have watched it and come out with such strong public praise for the film … NOT.

  12. Jen says

    I’ve seen this documentary twice and can recommend it highly. Much of it is based on Nicholas Shaxson’s excellent book “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World” and Shaxson and one of his sources, John Christensen, also appear in the documentary.
    http://massivelyinvisibleobjects.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Treasure_Islands.pdf

    The only issue I have with the documentary is that it does not mention transfer pricing and profit sharing among subsidiaries of a global company as a method of shifting profits and under-declaring tax. The short article in the link explains how this is done:
    https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/economics/transfer-pricing/

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  13. The documentary has omitted one major element that the Establishment has transformed itself further by running organised crime through its agencies. This includes excise and VAT carousel fraud in which billions of taxpayers’ money has been taken offshore.

  14. James Connolly says

    Great doc. Very disheartening that British public culture tolerates such off the charts corruption and cheating of the public purse and the common good.

    Imo, the media is as big a facilitator of this depressing reality as the politicians. Not only by failing to shine a light on the cheating, the revolving door, etc (let alone rail against it), but most crudely by propagating the giant lie about what caused the deficit in 07-8 and who should be forced to pay for it. Much is explained by the prevalence of financial services predators and parasites on the boards of the BBC, the Scott Trust Ltd, etc.

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  15. harry stotle says

    What is the point of decimating country after country, enslaving weaker economies or treating workers like battery hens if you are not allowed to funnel ill-gotten gains into an over-shore tax paradise?

    But what sort of well dressed, publically educated, softly spoken actor would sign up to preserve such iniquitous arrangements – not those respectable gents in the city of London, surely?

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    • What if the people who sign up to preserve such iniquity are not “people”, as such, but the specimens referred to by Tibetan monks, who apparently believe that there are people walking around amongst us who look human enough, but are not?
      Sounds like superstition from a backward society, doesn’t it?
      Until you actually look around you…
      To be fair, the parents of those currently running the City may well have been quite reasonable, well-brought-up people themselves, but the consequences of untold wealth without any sort of guiding hand can utterly destroy the character of one’s offspring. It takes a very wise Caesar to avoid this catastrophic pitfall, and few have managed it.
      Just sayin’…
      Modern society is now, without question, apocalyptic.

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