The Athena Trust
The Athena Trust claims to be a "global leader in market research, assessment and strategic consultation for governments, private companies and humanitarian endeavours". It also claims to benefit "from its global network and range of experts in developing innovative, timely and useable solutions" to a variety of marketing problems. The Trust's website claims that it was founded in 1998 by "Anthony Aldebourgh and the renowned Paul Laker" and that it has worked in over 50 countries "providing high-impact, tailored and measurably successful market-research consultancy" . Despite these claims of "global leader" status however, there is a dearth of information about the Trust in the public domain.
Furthermore, the Chairman, the "reknowned" Paul Laker, who is described as "an expert in sociology and pyschosocial research [whose expertines were] further honed during his tenure as a visiting Professor in Europe" (see right) seems not to be renowned enough to feature either online or in any articles in the press (including the academic press). The situation is the same for CEO Anthony Aldebourgh, who the site claims has enjoyed a "40 year career in research, marketting, public deplomacy and academia" and "risen to senior positions within several large companies".
Allegations, made by the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, about other employees of the company suggest that the CEO and Chairman may be operating under different aliases. Director of Strategy, listed on the site as "Alexander Ashburner" is said to be Alexander Nix; and Research Director, listed as "Dr Andrew Shepherd" is said to be Dr Andrew Ritcheson. Both men hold or have previously held high profile positions within the Strategic Communication Laboratories group, which is a British private propaganda and psychological operations company. Revelations of the multiple identies of these individuals came in a press conference by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines  who accused the men of being involved (through the Athena Trust and SCL Elections) in the "Vote No" campaign for a referendum on constitutional change, which he claimed was being financed by "international residence and citizenship planning" firm Henley & Partners  - who he claims had a vested interest in constitutional change due to the impact on citizenship laws on the islands. Gonsalves references pictures on the websites of the Athena Trust, the Behavioural Dynamics Institute and SCL Elections to argue that Ashburner and Nix, and Shepherd and Ritcheson are the same person - however these pictures have since been removed from the Athena Trust website. His argument is still supported however, by the fact that the mens' full names are Alexander James Ashburner Nix and Andrew Shepherd Ritcheson.
Athena Trust Website - Between 01 March 2010 and 26th April 2010 many pages were removed from the site but remain available in Google's cache, and can be seen in screen-grabbed images to the right.
- Suite 142
- 405 Kings Road,
- SW10 0BB
Telephone no: +44 (0) 845 057 3945
- "Home", The Athena Trust, accessed April 26 2010
- "History, The Athena Trust, accessed 26 April 2010
- Searches performed between 3pm and 5pm on 26/04/2010 were as follows: :Google - ""Paul Laker" yugoslavia", "Laker Yugoslavia" and "Laker Psychoanthropology" :Nexis - "Paul Laker" and "Laker, Paul" (for all english language media):Social Science Citation Idex "Laker P OR Laker Paul"
- Searches performed between 3pm and 5pm on 26/04/2010 were as follows: :Google - "Anthony Aldebourgh", ""Aldebourgh" market research" :Nexis - "Anthony Aldebourgh" and "Aldebourgh, Anthony" (for all english language media):Social Science Citation Idex "Aldebourgh A OR Aldebourgh Anthony"
- Nov. 16, 2009 (Part 3) -- PM Gonsalves' Press Conference", Youtube, accessed April 26, 2010
- "Henley & Partners", Henley & Partners Website, accessed April 26 2010
- Strategic Communication Laboratories Annual Returns made up to 20 July 2006
- Behavioural Dynamics Institute Andrew Shepherd Ritcheson's profile from cached version of the page on 09/12/2009