As the Conservatives – AKA The Party of the Rich – prepare for their annual conference in Birmingham, British people are realising in greater number than ever before just how little the elite politicians care about ordinary citizens.
An example of this can be seen in how the Tories are aiming to allow the mainsteam communications media to continue to self-regulate, even as the scandal of phone-hacking is still being investigated, and police are still in the process of questioning and charging possible criminal suspects.
It is exactly the same with the financial crisis: the failed and disgraced bankers and financiers are close friends, colleagues and relatives of members of the Tory Party – that is why there have been no arrests stemming from the actions leading to the world recession.
Those close to the corridors of power suggest this is because the politicians know that it will be easier to sneak this lack of statutory regulation through before any high profile sentences are passed against the Prime Minister’s former media secretary, Andy Coulson, and close friend Rebekah Brooks.
Hacked Off said it was concerned by comments made by Tory ministers.
Appearing before the inquiry, the education secretary, Michael Gove, argued against the statutory regulation of the press and urged Leveson to “consider carefully” his proposals.
Theresa May, home secretary, has given a warning on possible “unintended consequences” if self-regulation were scrapped. Gove, of course, formerly worked for Murdoch’s News International, a subsidary of News Corp.
On 5 July 2011 in partnership with Professor Brian Cathcart and other concerned individuals, the Media Standards Trust formed the “Hacked Off” campaign.
The Media Standards Trust was formed in 2006 to address concerns of a deterioration in journalistic standards at a time when the media were becoming enormously powerful while remaining largely opaque and unaccountable.
After the BBC claimed to be ‘horrified’ at allegations about Jimmy Savile and sex abuse, more women have come forward to add to the controversy.
Yet the media still call this abuser ‘Sir’
According to today’s UK Guardian, two women have come forward with further allegations of sexual abuse by Savile.
The BBC now says it will assist any police investigation.
One alleged victim waived her anonymity to describe how she and a friend were allegedly molested by the Jim’ll Fix It star in the 1970s when they were 14.
Dee Coles told ITV News that she and her friend were made to perform sex acts on Savile in a camper van when they were on holiday in Jersey.
“He didn’t seem like a stranger. He was on our telly every Saturday night. It was exciting being with someone on TV,” said Coles.
“But I felt immense panic as soon as the door locked. Afterwards, it was shame.”
Unbelievably, Michael Grade told Channel 4 News on Tuesday night that he heard rumours about Savile’s conduct while he was boss of BBC 1, but said any suggestion of a cover-up was ”ludicrous’.
Grade said he had fleetingly heard rumours, claiming: “There were question marks, certainly.” But he added: “I never heard anything that gave me cause to think we should investigate or do anything about it. There were questions, but the entertainment industry is awash on a sea of rumours.”
But as this Savile bloke had access to children and vulnerable people, Grade’s hand-wringing counts for nothing. If he had heard stuff he should have investigated and not stopped his own journalists from doing so properly.
We’ve just watched a really mind-blowing documentary film about 9/11 – in particular the supposed attack on the Pentagon.
BTW Does anybody know why this building has five sides?
The movie is entitled
If you only watch one 9/11 film in your life, then I suggest you spend one hour twenty minutes on this movie.
This is what the makers say about the documentary:
In 2006 Citizen Investigation Team launched an independent investigation into the act of terrorism which took place at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
This exhaustive three-year inquest involved multiple trips to the scene of the crime in Arlington, Virginia, close scrutiny of all official and unofficial data related to the event, and, most importantly, first-person interviews with dozens of eyewitnesses, many of which were conducted and filmed in the exact locations from which they witnessed the plane that allegedly struck the building that day.
Be forewarned: Our findings are extraordinarily shocking and frightening. They are also deadly serious, and deserving of your immediate attention. This is not about a conspiracy theory or any theory at all.
This is about independent, verifiable evidence which unfortunately happens to conclusively establish as a historical fact that the violence which took place in Arlington that day was not the result of a surprise attack by suicide hijackers, but rather a false flag “black operation” involving a carefully planned and skillfully executed deception.
(More at citizeninvestigationteam.com)
News broke today that creepy former Radio 1 deejay and television presenter Jimmy Savile was interviewed under caution by Surrey police in 2007 about sexual assault allegations dating back to the 1970s.
However, the force dropped its 2007 investigation after the Crown Prosecution Service advised that there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution, the force said on Monday.
The development came to light after up to 10 women told a documentary they were assaulted by the Jim’ll Fix It frontman, who died last year.
The supposed ‘lack of evidence’ can be read to mean Savile was rich and connected to powerful figures, as a former BBC presenter says she actually caught him abusing a young girl.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini has added to the claims that Savile sexually abused schoolchildren, claiming the star used his charity work and ‘imperial personality’ within show business to prevent his private life being exposed.
Speaking ahead of a forthcoming ITV documentary that claims Savile abused schoolgirls during his many years of stardom, Gambaccini said his former Radio 1 colleague played tabloid newspapers “like a Stradivarius” in order to keep the abuse secret.
Now the BBC is under pressure to explain why it stopped an investigation by it’s own journalists.
Late last year the BBC decided to drop a Newsnight item investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Savile, who died last October aged 84, leading to accusations the piece was ‘killed’ to spare the Corporation’s reputation. Instead, two tribute programmes celebrating his BBC career were aired.
However, a BBC spokesman said no evidence of any allegations of misconduct had ever been found in its files, so it was “simply not possible for the Corporation to take any further action”.
If you’re prone to worrying about leaving your emails to pile up rather than deal with them promptly, then hold on, you’re in good company.
The Pakistani secret service, the ISI, hasn’t answered theirs for over a year.
But wait you say, that’s no big deal, most emails are junk anyway. They’re probably only spam and letters from relatives raving about the holidays you weren’t invited to go on with thousands of pictures of people you never want to see again.
And the ISI won’t reply so they can claim it is nothing to do with them…
And in the crazy world of counter-terrorism and international law, the US government lawyers regard this as tacit approval, because Pakistan does respond in kind. It does this by “de-conflicting” its airspace – in normal speech – Pakistan prevents its aircraft from flying in the areas concerned.
In an April speech, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration has concluded there is nothing in international law barring the U.S. from using lethal force against a threat to the U.S., despite the absence of a declared war, provided the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat.
So that’s okay then.
LAUNCH THEM DRONES…
Drugs, politics, Mexican Narco-cartels and Mormons. What could be more exciting?
In this set of 7 short films, VICE founder Shane Smith went down to Ciudad Juárez, near the US border, to investigate this bizarre story.
We learn how the “Mormon Manson” turned his family into assassins, leading to the murder of 40 people, all in the name of blood atonement. The cartel boss “El Rikin” gets revenge against a local Mormon community leader.
The Mormons illegally arm themselves and implement counter-terrorism techniques the US military used in Iraq and Afghanistan. VICE team is stalked by the cartel after going on patrol with the police and drinking with the Mormons.
We also learn what Mitt Romney’s Mexican cousins think about his strict immigration policies. VICE talks to Mitt Romney’s Mexican relatives about the time a family member was kidnapped and held for ransom by the cartel.
We also hear how the so-called War On Drugs has failed and ideas on how to reduce the violence.
Domestic violence – who suffers?
We all do…
Britain has colluded with the Pakistani leadership for decades as a way of stopping democratic change which would weaken the UK’s power in the region. It is the same in Egypt where successive UK governments have worked behind the scenes with the Muslim Brotherhood to prevent nationalist and liberal forces gaining power. See also the coup against a democratically elected government in Iraq orchestrated by the CIA and MI6 which put the Shah in power. Blame the ones who created this situation – blame the UK and US.
Animal rights campaigners and British animal lovers have vowed to block “by any means possible” the wholesale murder of the UK’s largest wild carnivore – the badger.
According to the UK Guardian, the government is poised to give the go-ahead to the first full-scale cull of badgers in England, under a policy that could soon mean as many as 100,000 of the animals – a third of the national population – will be hunted down and shot dead by farmers and hired marksmen in a futile attempt to protect cattle from bovine tuberculosis.
Remember it was the Thatcher Conservative government that caused BSE in the UK that led to the killing of four and a half million cattle and the deaths of 200 people worldwide.
Proof that the scientific advice doesn’t support the government’s murderous plans can be seen in the fact that the minister responsible won’t release papers applied for under Freedom of Information rules, claiming they were ‘internal documents’.
According to Whitehall sources, the first of two licences is expected to be issued as soon as Monday for a large pilot cull area in Gloucestershire, which is a hotspot for bovine TB.
The last Labour government said an oral badger vaccine would be ready by 2015. The coalition cancelled five of six trials of injectable vaccines, and said a viable oral vaccine was “years away”.
I ask folk to boycott all English beef and try not to eat meat at all – it’s bad for you in many ways and raises cholesterol levels and causes bowel cancer.
For further disgusting details see my recent post: http://dogsharon.com/2012/09/16/meat-is-murder-for-the-animals-the-environment-and-the-climate/
NEW DOC FROM TOP DOCUMENTARY FILMS
At the Edge of the World chronicles the controversial Sea Shepherd Antarctic Campaign against a Japanese whaling fleet. The international volunteer crew, under-trained and under-equipped, develop a combination of bizarre and brilliant tactics with which to stop the whalers.
But first they must find the Japanese ships, a far more difficult challenge than ever imagined – long-time activist Paul Watson and first-time captain Alex Cornelissen employ an array of strategies in the hopes of finding an elusive adversary in the vast expanse of the Ross Sea.
With one ship (the Farley Mowat) too slow to chase down the whaling fleet, with their second ship (the Robert Hunter) unsuited for Antarctic ice conditions and with no country supporting their efforts to enforce international law, the situation becomes increasingly desperate. Against all odds, however, a real life pirate tale unfolds – a modern-day “David vs. Goliath” adventure.
BOYCOTT JAPANESE GOODS UNTIL THEY STOP KILLING WHALES!
Is there anything more insidious than NATIONAL SECURITY?
Everybody knows governments do terrible things in our name and then claim they are protecting the nation.
But in reality they only protect the interests of a few as these agencies are working for a small elite and see their populations as part of the problem. They spy on us and feed us bullshit while claiming they are protecting us from the very violent groups they employ for their games of conquest and control.
Now they are attempting to add another level of legal secrecy to cover-up their evil practices. Torture is illegal under all circumstances – there are no exceptions whatsoever.
This vile government and the shitty New Labour administration before them are complicit in crimes against humanity – they acted as the US’s stooge and assisted in rendition and torture against suspects and haven’t got the courage to admit it. So they try and change the law to hide this from public scrutiny.
It is important to remember that in Britain the elite are drawn from a very small group of people. They went to the same few schools, the same two universities and come from a small number of trusted families. It’s been this way for centuries and our rulers don’t want it to change as they are totally corrupted by power.
So-called democracy hasn’t changed this power structure because the elites control the law, military, media and state.
Below is a report from the UK Guardian explaining the Justice and Security Bill is currently in the Lords (unelected elites) under scrutiny from senior former judges and lawyers (also part of establishment). If passed it will allow the government to apply to the courts in civil cases for evidence either to be struck out altogether through a public interest immunity certificate or heard in secret if disclosure in open court would prejudice national security.
In actuality this means either revealing torture or that the states was complicit in other illegal activities.
But remember, judges are from the small elite – they probably played at Eton or Harrow with members of the government – and you can read that in several ways!
At present the government can only apply for a public interest immunity certificate to protect sensitive intelligence material from being disclosed or even considered by the judge.
Ministers are trying to introduce an additional avenue for sensitive material in civil cases to be heard through a closed material procedure, where the evidence could be examined in private by the judge, prosecution lawyers and a special advocate acting on behalf of the claimant. Strict limits would be imposed on what the special advocate could disclose to the claimant.
Concern about the government’s plan – contained in the Justice and Security Bill – was expressed by Prof Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture. “If a country is in possession of information about human right abuses, but isn’t in a position to mention them, it hampers the ability to deal effectively with torture,” he said. Méndez, himself a victim of torture in his native Argentina in the 1970s, was speaking at the thinktank Chatham House on Monday night.
After attacking the US for what he called the “extensive use of state secrets” to suppress evidence of torture and other abuses, Méndez referred to the so-called control principle, which allows governments to determine how its intelligence can be used once shared with another state.
UK Ministers claim the secrecy is needed to protect its intelligence-sharing relationship with the US and other governments, while critics argue it is to conceal crimes committed by the British government, including involvement in the rendition and torture of British citizens suspected of being terrorists.
Another 9/11 documentary on TOP DOCUMENTARY FILMS
What happened on the morning of September 11, 2001? Why were US defenses ineffective? Pilots For 9/11 Truth analyze NORAD response, Audio recordings as well as Radar data provided by government agencies.
War Games, Simulated radar tracks, aircraft exceeding their max operating limits by more than 130-150 knots, inaccurate aircraft position reports, false aircraft target reports, aircraft converging – flying virtually in formation with – and then diverging from reported 9/11 aircraft, fighters launched in the wrong direction, aircraft seemingly still airborne after the alleged attack, poor communications, phones not working…
Pilots for 9/11 Truth is an organization of aviation professionals and pilots throughout the globe who have gathered together for one purpose. They’re are committed to seeking the truth surrounding the events of the 11th of September 2001.
Their main focus concentrates on the four flights, maneuvers performed and the reported pilots. They do not offer theory or point blame at this point in time. However, they are focused on determining the truth of that fateful day based on solid data and facts – since 9/11/2001 is the catalyst for many of the events shaping our world today – and the United States Government doesn’t seem to be very forthcoming with answers or facts.
It’s always sad when folk die and an ambassador is no exception. But let’s get it in proportion, 30,000 poor kids die every day globally from preventable illnesses – that’s the real tragedy of our times.But the old journalist’s adage is true – one American death is more newsworthy than 100 poor folks’ demise…
Most people can remember what they were doing on the 11th of September 2001, yet most people do not know what really happened on that day.
Since then hundreds of thousands of innocent folk have died – men, women and children – and don’t forget the awful effects on the environment of all these bombs, missiles and other acts of war – yet most of the world does not believe the US government’s account.
So I suggest you think for yourself – examine the evidence – consider, critically evaluate and discuss this event with others. What is definite is that nation states do lie and run False Flag Operations – the UK has done it many times, the US has done it many times. Russia has done it, no doubt every miltary power does.
Think what being a ‘military power’ means…
There are several key questions to consider when thinking about the attack on the World Trade Center:
What was the historical relationship between US intelligence and Osama Bin Laden?
Why exactly did the Twin Towers collapse? There are many related issues here – the buildings were designed to withstand exactly this type of impact. No buildings of this type anywhere else in the world have suffered catastrophic collapse due to fire and this design is still being used for new buildings.
Why were no fighter jets scrambled to intercept the airliners? This is one of those unbelievable coincidences that strike you as crazy when studying 9/11 – there was supposedly a training exercise running at the very moment it happened with a scenario of jets crashing into the World Trade Centre.
It’s worth comparing this to the London 7/7 bombings – there were training scenarios running at the same time these explosions went off. Do you believe that? Also, why was no actual video footage of the four alleged7/7 bombers released or shown.
Why did Building 7 collapse? Building 7 was another huge construction on the site which wasn’t hit by anything but fell like a controlled demolition.
Why did President Bush keep reading to primary school kids for some time after he knew what was happening? There’s film of this – watch his face.
Why did Bush and his cronies keep saying Iraq was responsible?
What really hit the Pentagon? There’s film of this – check out the hole and wreckage – do you really believe a jet airliner caused that? Listen to professional pilots who say a commercial airliner couldn’t have flown that path and angle.
Why wasn’t there a proper investigation?
Why were members of the Bin Laden family secretly flown out of the USA without being questioned?
Why was the head of Pakistani intelligence in New York that day and why was money wired to him and leaders of the terrorists?
Why were wives of the dead vilified and had their calls for proper investigations blocked?
Why if most of the alleged hijackers Saudi Arabians did the US attack Iraq?
Why did so many of the survivors and first-responders report multiple explosions in the towers like a controlled demolition? Have you seen a controlled demolition? Watch some online then compare to the Twin Towers and Building 7 collapses.
Why did US Navy Seals supposedly kill Osama Bin Laden if the US authorities claim he was behind the 9/11 attacks? Why not put him on trial?
Why are so many experts and senior people all over the world calling for a proper investigation?
The best place to start this examination is at TOP DOCUMENTARY FILMS – they have 44 documentaries on 9/11 alone.
Here’s the link – check it out and let’s have an informed debate…
Also check out these other bloggers comments:
Brilliant article about the long-term effects of the 9/11 attacks
Looking back 11 years ago at the 9-11 Terror Attacks, its sad to see the assaults against innocent people in America didn’t stop with those planes crashing into the World Trade & the Pentagon…
I recall that fateful day, how our heart went out to first responders like those brave officers in NYPD who lost their lives.. We embraced them and held them up high and gave them all that they needed to protect the city. 11 years later we have come to see how NYPD took their newly granted powers and use in the most vicious ways against fellow New Yorkers..
We’ve seen NYPD under the guise of ‘fighting terror’ use tactics like Stop and Frisk resulting in them inconveniencing and often times absolutely humiliated close to 700k people last year alone.. Under Stop and Frisk we’ve seen over 85% of those stopped being young Black and Brown males…
View original post 1,221 more words
Google “Operation Gladio” and “P2 masonic conspiracy” for more mind-blowing stuff…
President of Italy’s Supreme Court to Refer 9/11 Crimes To International Criminal Court
Says that 9/11 was “False Flag” Terror, Just Like the Strategy of Tension in Italy
Ferdinando Imposimato is the honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy, and former Senior Investigative Judge, Italy.
Imposimato presided over several terrorism-related cases, including the kidnapping and ultimate assassination of President Aldo Moro, the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, other political assassinations and kidnapping cases and several cases against the Mafia. He is a former Senator who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three administrations.
Imposimato is also a former legal consultant to the United Nations regarding institution of laws to control drug trafficking.
This week, Judge Imposimato stated publicly in writing that 9/11 was just like the “strategy of tension” carried out in Italy.
Specifically, the former Italian Prime Minister, Italian judges…
View original post 391 more words
No doubt readers have recently seen reports suggesting the global elites have hidden some $21 trillion in offshore accounts to avoid paying tax. This practice of offshoring funds is also used by criminals and the various mafia-type organisations to launder their illegal gains from large scale criminal enterprises. It is tempting to think there is some difference between ‘legal’ business and ‘illegal’ criminal enterprises, but both resort to the same techniques to hide funds from the authorities, and therefore the public. Indeed, I was told by an investigating magistrate in Sicily – home of Cosa Nostra, the model for all other mafias – that if big business cooperated with the authorities, organised crime would quickly become a “thing of the past”.
To understand the scope and subtleties of money laundering (ML) techniques, it’s useful to briefly examine the history and development of offshore financial centres, tax havens and related investment vehicles and business practices used by so-called legitimate institutions for tax avoidance and tax evasion.
In the early 20th century, the Vestey Brothers had monopoly control over the British meat market. In 1921, an attempt to avoid tax on their multinational business empire, they created an offshore trust to hide the profits from the Argentinian authorities. So began the offshore business revolution. Since the 1920s a bewildering range of offshore centres and financial instruments have been created by a burgeoning professional sector of lawyers, accountants and investment bankers in league with politicians, the super-rich and transnational corporations.
A tax haven or offshore business centre is a virtual location providing services favourable to business and international investors. The French term is paradis fiscal and the Spanish say paraiso fiscal. It has been suggested that the word “haven” has been confused or linked to the word ‘heaven’ and this explains the reference to paradise. Nicholas Shaxson defines a tax haven as,
A place seeking to attract business by offering politically stable facilities to help people or entities get around the rules, laws and regulations and jurisdictions elsewhere.
Havens provide secrecy combined with regulations designed to block investigations and requests for exchange of information from other jurisdictions. For this reason they are known as secrecy jurisdictions. Tax havens, as their name suggests, also offer zero or very low rates of tax. Another important aspect of havens is that the services provided are for non-residents of the state – local residents have to pay normal rates of tax. Tax havens tend to have large financial services sectors compared to their ordinary economy. In a report in 2007, the IMF claimed the UK was a major offshore location. 50% of global trade passes (on paper) through tax havens, and 50% banking assets and 33% of direct foreign investment by transnational corporations is routed offshore. 85% of international banking and bond issues take place offshore. In 2010, the IMF estimated that 33% of global GDP is found on the balance sheets of financial centres of small islands.
Peter Lilley explains how International Business Companies (IBC), used legally by multinationals, are abused by professional criminals. An IBC is an anonymously-owned corporate vehicle that does no business in the state it is licensed in giving a range of benefits to owners. IBCs can be created quickly and cheaply, there is virtually no paperwork, they have limited liability and are not restricted in terms of the activities it can conduct. Many offshore centres offer these facilities. The owners of the IBC can open anonymous bank. Likewise, the bearer shares – documents recording the company’s owner are anonymous and solicitors or others may stand in as another line of defence. Lilley points out that it is cheap and easy to buy an offshore bank licence from tax havens. This can be done over the Internet.
Multinational corporations benefit greatly from the accounting technique of “transfer pricing” which creates a complex paper trail crossing several secrecy jurisdictions. Corporations transfer money, goods and services between subsidiaries to further cloud matters. Most of the world’s biggest corporations pay little tax in the areas where they conduct most business. This has global ramifications. Christian Aid suggest developing countries lose up $180 billion yearly due to the practice of transfer pricing as 2/3 of cross-border trade occurs within multinationals. In addition, it is obvious this practice is useful for criminals eager to launder the proceeds of crime.
Shaxson claims there are roughly 60 secrecy jurisdictions made up of four main groups. First come the British, concentrated on the City of London, with a network based on colonial connections. Next come European states such as Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, The Netherlands and Switzerland. The US has its own economic sphere of influence, centred on Manhattan with rings of smaller states similar to the British. Finally there are individual states offering services. 50% of tax havens are connected to the City of London.
Shaxson identifies three tiers or layers of the UK offshore network. Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man form the closest ring, British Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, form the second, and the outer ring consists of former territories such as Hong Kong, Ireland, Dubai, the Bahamas and Singapore. Finally, in the outer ring, South Pacific island state Vanuatu developed an offshore centre with Barclays Bank. Perhaps half of all global banking assets are held by this combination of British offshore accounts and assets controlled by the City of London. And where there is money and secrecy, there is Transnational Organised Crime (TOC).
TOCs produce, synthesise, smuggle and retail narcotics; they traffic people and run prostitution and manufacture pornography; they operate protection rackets, frauds, counterfeiting and copying scams; they murder and abuse, bribe and corrupt. All of this takes a great deal of money. We will look below in more detail at how criminals have learned from and copied legitimate multinational corporations in an attempt to become more efficient businesses. But first we will consider what has been described as the ‘most economically important function’ for a TCO – Money Laundering.
UNDOC describes ML
As the methods by which criminals disguise the illegal origins of their wealth to avoid the suspicion of law and not leave evidence of crime.
The Law Society says:
ML is a process by which the proceeds of crime and its true ownership are changed so the funds or goods seem to come from a legal source.
The United Nations estimates that TOC accounts for 2-5% of global GDP. If global GDP is approx $58 trillion then 2% is over $1 trillion and 5% is almost $3 trillion. The vast majority of this money must be laundered so a portion can be saved for the long term, some must be available for managers to use for working capital and new ventures, maintenance of facilities and wages – just like any other large organisation. We will now look at how ML has developed over the last century.
It has been suggested that the term “laundering” has both literal and metaphorical sources. As money derived from the proceeds of crime is thought of as “dirty” then by extension it becomes possible to clean it in some way. The French phrase blanchiment d’argent, meaning “bleaching the money” shows this idea clearly. It has been suggested that US mobsters in the 1930s purchased companies dealing in cash such as laundries and taxi firms to mix their illegal proceeds with legitimate takings. An associate of Al Capone, Meyer Lansky – reputedly the inspiration for a character in the film The Godfather – is credited with beginning modern malpractices.
While Capone was incarcerated for tax evasion in 1931, Lansky developed methods to get illegal money out of the United States in an effort to bring it back ‘dry-cleaned’. He worked with Swiss banks and moved money and valuable goods via Liechtenstein to Switzerland. The banks then lent the money back to Lansky’s associate in the U.S. who could use it legally. The scam was deepened by deducting the interest repayments for the loan from the Mob’s legitimate business incomes. He next opened casinos in Cuba and built up drugs, racing and gambling businesses. According to Shaxson, he built an offshore ML centre for the American Mafia, described as ‘an anti-Disneyland’, and the ‘most decadent spot on the planet’.
Lansky moved to Bermuda and developed his illegal schemes through bribery and corruption of local politicians. The British State did little to prevent organized crime development and casinos and ML boomed through the 1960s. When political change led to the Bahamas becoming independent in 1973 much of the illegal money moved to a nearby offshore facility in the Cayman Islands. This became an important centre for money laundering. Lansky died in 1983 and escaped all criminal charges laid against him. Apparently he once claimed that TOC he was associated with were bigger than US Steel.
According to Lilley, there are three parts of the process in money laundering. The first is placement which involves getting the money into the system. There are many ways of doing this. Money can be invested into cash-rich, legitimate businesses especially casinos, bars, all retail outlets, restaurants and dealers of all kinds. Also fictitious companies can be set up and wholly falsified transactions can be created. The proceeds of crime can be in cash or many other forms. Because the criminal can be linked to the initial proceeds, this is the most dangerous time for the offenders. We will see below some examples of failed laundering schemes. The second stage in the process is termed “layering” and sometimes “commingling” or “agitation”. In this stage, criminals move the money about, both within institutions and to other institutions, across national boundaries and from one form to another.
Failed business tycoon and alleged Israeli spy Robert Maxwell laundered money, illegally earned in Bulgaria, via the Bank of Bulgaria to Credit Suisse. I met him once in Birmingham. Nasty piece of work with an expensive suit and egg stains on his tie!
From there it went to the Bank of Montreal, next to banks in Mexico and other South American countries, before crossing the Pacific Ocean and finishing in the Discount Bank of Israel. An expert in layer and techniques attempts to break the initial money up in to discrete pieces and send them off in different directions. The final stage involves taking the laundered funds out of the system for any purpose.
An example of the whole process is the Colombian black market peso/dollar exchange scam, which has been estimated to launder $6 billion drug profits p.a. (from a total $40 billion for Mexico as a whole). Colombian exchange brokers deposit pesos in the accounts of traffickers working in the US. These are exchanged for tainted dollars. This money is moved into separate accounts and U. S goods are bought to be smuggled back into Columbia, often through Venezuela and Panama, thus avoiding taxes.
We have seen above how the global proceeds of TOCs could be between $1-3 trillion: that amount of money takes a lot of laundering. Criminal organisations have been very creative in their efforts to rehabilitate their tainted money and have been assisted to a great extent by the attitudes of financial institutions, state agents and professionals including accountants and lawyers. The organisations have also recruited professionals and bribed and corrupted politicians and legal agents to further their illicit business ends.
According to David Southwell, TOC and multinational corporations have several common characteristics. Because both organisations attempt to become more efficient and professional and have highly dedicated staff they are successful at expanding to gain a greater market share whatever the competition. Both wield power and influence that is equal to or greater than that of a small nation state. Both types of organisation succeed by a mixture of ruthlessness and business sense. Both groups have strong command structures, are able to formulate effective policies and are able to survive in hostile political and social cultures. In addition, both organisations exist outside state boundaries giving them flexibility and some immunity from assets sequestration. Finally, both groups use violence when they consider it in their interests. Violence and aggression by organised crime is well documented, but oil companies and drinks manufacturers, among many others, have been indicted in courts for violence towards indigenous people and union members respectively.
We will now look at some actual examples of ML by TOCs. Unfortunately, it is not hard to find reports of ML crimes. Below are brief details of a major corporate offender and then some smaller cogs in the criminal machine that were in the news recently. It is worth remembering that some claim 99.9% of ML offences are never prosecuted. If that is true, then the cases below are drawn from 0.1% of the actual crime committed.
In one of the biggest ML crimes ever, the Wachovia bank of Miami, Florida, was fined $160 million – the equivalent of 2% of annual profits. The offences took place between May 2004 and 2007. The bank laundered proceeds from the Mexican Sinaloa cocaine cartel to the value of $378 billion – a figure equal to a third of Mexican GDP. The prosecution was bought by the United States DEA after whistle-blowing by an English employee of the bank based in London. Martin Woods, an ex-Metropolitan Police officer, was the senior anti-ML officer at the London branch. He flagged up suspicious transactions of Mexican casa de cambios (currency exchanges) and the paying-in of large value travellers’ cheques. Instead of being rewarded by his employers, Woods was hounded and eventually left his job with depression. Eventually he received a letter of commendation from the American authorities.
A British money launderer and professional gambler was jailed for seven years for his part in a £60 million mobile phone VAT fraud. The offender used gambling on horses to cover his ML crimes. Mobile phones and computer chips were imported and VAT was illegally claimed: the goods were resold and the VAT claimed back again. A customs officer and banker were also jailed for their part in the conspiracy. In another case, two men were charged with ML and conspiracy after drugs and cash to the value of £200,000 were recovered in Leicester. Similarly, five people were arrested and charged with ML and drugs offences after cannabis and £10,000 in cash were found in two raids at Newcastle.
In other recent cases, a solicitor from Wales was jailed for four years for ML and perverting the course of justice after obtaining mortgages and other financial products illegally for his drug-dealing friend, and police in Scotland have claimed that organised criminal gangs have been buying up nurseries and childcare facilities. Officers have already detected criminals involved in security firms and taxi companies and warn that criminal gangs are always on the lookout for cash rich businesses to manipulate.
Finally, a man was convicted of running a significant number of prostitutes working from 35 brothels spread across the United Kingdom. Young women and girls worked in these establishments, one was aged just 15. Many were trafficked to Britain from Nigeria and South America. Thomas Carroll has been ordered to pay £2 million or face a further 10 years in jail. Apparently the offender has decided to sell four Welsh properties, three houses in South Africa and four cars including two top-of-the-range Mercedes. Carroll is already serving a seven year term for vice and ML offences. His wife and daughter were also jailed for ML crimes.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental organization responsible for developing and promoting policies to combat money laundering. The task force monitors and reviews states parties’ progress in implementing the necessary measures. FATF began in 1989 and reviews its mission every five years. FATF made 40 recommendations which created a complete set of measures and provisions to cover justice and law enforcement, the financial industry, regulation and international cooperation.
SOCAs Financial intelligent Unit (FIU) has responsibility for organizing the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) regime. UKFIU receive and then dispatch 200,000 SARs annually to local police forces, local authorities and government departments.
The reports list any suspicious activity that could possibly hint at money laundering or terrorist funding methods. It is a requirement of the third European Union money laundering directive article 21 that each member state must create FIU to combat money laundering. Britain is also part of the Egmont Group – a global forum to exchange intelligence, promote cooperation and share training and expertise in the fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering.
The legal approaches detailed above appear on paper to be robust and must surely challenge the criminal’s activities – at least that is what one would expect.
Yet according to the former head of the UNDOC, Antonio Maria Costa, $352 billion of illicit drug profits was laundered into the global economic system in 2008. He said, “The money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. Liquidity was the banking system’s main problem.” He added that gangs often kept proceeds in cash or invested offshore to hide it from the law, but the banking crisis allowed criminals to invest their money in supposedly reputable organization. Evidence of the flow of money came from officials in the United States, Italy, Switzerland and Britain.
Peter Lilley is also critical and argues that cooperation between agencies and regulators involved in finance and corporate matters is inadequate. Even post-9/11, when things were supposed to be different, it is amazingly easy to open anonymous accounts and move money around the world out of the gaze of the authorities. But he sees no quick fixes and is pessimistic about the future. He notes that all serious crime leads to and from dirty money that was cleaned in the system. He ends his book with the phrase ‘the apocalypse is now!’
Nicholas Shaxson is also pessimistic. He notes the important work done in international, intergovernmental treaties and national legislation developed to defeat ML, but, in an echo of FATF’s 40 recommendations, offers his own 10 commandments/areas of urgent change. These include; pursuing transparency in international finance, prioritising the needs of developing countries, breaking the power of the City of London, reforming offshore regulations and tax havens and generally changing our business and financial cultures.
Another critic of the system is Norwegian-born Eva Joly, who has been lauded as Europe’s most successful prosecutor of fraud, and is also a leading figure in the French Green Party and an MEP. She was originally known for her decade-long investigation into the sleazy affairs of oil multinational ELF and the French establishment in the 1990s. Subsequently she has been an adviser to Icelandic government special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson, who is leading the criminal investigation into the financial meltdown in autumn 2008. Their work has been described as the largest white collar crime inquiry ever attempted anywhere in the world.
Joly’s investigation into slush funds and political corruption, both in France and in Gabon, resulted in the boss of SNCF and a former French foreign minister going to jail. She also named another 42 significant people as part of an alleged web of corruption. Even after years of investigation Joly considered she knew only fragments of the full picture. Money and resources were moved between tax havens which meant the investigators were always trying to catch up with the money launderers. She was assigned bodyguards due to death threats but decided to leave France and took up the post in Iceland.
In 2005, Joly created Network, a group of like-minded judges and investigators to come together to fight global corruption. She is campaigning for tougher European Union laws regarding tax havens and is said to be considering standing to become president of France. Joly says she’s going into politics to fight fraud on behalf of ordinary people. She thinks we must fight to prevent oligarchs taking all society’s money and resources, and asks that citizens wake up and stop living in a ‘collective illusion’. She claimed the former Nigerian dictator Abacha laundered millions through the city of London, and the banks that took his money must have known what they were doing. She cites the UK scheme of non-domicile tax breaks for super-rich foreigners as a ‘serious hole in European tax cooperation’.
Joly is critical of the lack of political will to confront economic crimes in many parts of the developed world. She notes that much of the suspect behaviour that took down Icelandic banks originated in London. She claims it is scandalous that the Serious Fraud Office in the UK is under pressure to cut staff or merge with other agencies to save money, when we need more resources to investigate economic crime and money laundering. Finally she suggests the cuts in services foisted on the British people would be unnecessary if the government regulated the City of London and closed the loopholes in the offshore markets it controls.
We have seen how ML is a central, if not the central, activity of TOC. Such money and power cannot be allowed to remain in the hands of those who promote violence, people trafficking, drug abuse, prostitution and other crimes, if we are to hope for a decent society in the future. But as Joly and others have found, the global financial system was not created for the benefits of the majority, but so that business elites could hide their fortunes, ill-gotten or otherwise. Also many think these practices continue because national intelligence agencies are involved and use organised crime as and when necessary. Surely with such an important issue as money laundering by transnational organised crime at stake, global security concerns must trump corporate and so-called national security: a new era of transparency in financial affairs is needed.
Klein, N., (2001) No Logo. London: Flamingo
Klein, N., (2008) The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism London: Penguin
Lilley, P., (2009) Dirty Dealing: The Untold Truth about Global Money Laundering, International Crime and Terrorism. London: Kogan Page
Pilger, J., (2002) Hidden Agendas. London: Vintage
Ross, A., (2005) ‘Technology’ in New Keywords: A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society eds. Bennett, T., Grossberg, L. & Morris Meaghan Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
Shaxson, N., (2011) Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World. London: The Bodley Head
Southwell, D., (2011) Dirty Cash: Organized Crime in The 21st Century. London: Virgin Books
Thomas, G., & Dillon, M., (2003) The Assassination of Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Superspy. London: Chrysalis Books