Great overview of Chomsky’s work over the last five decades
This video shows part of rhe classic Canadian documentary Manufacturing Consent based on the Noam Chomsky/Edward Herman book by the same name. Explores the propaganda model of the media.
By Noam Chomsky, Truthout in the USA:
Friday, 05 October 2012 09:11
With the quadrennial presidential election extravaganza reaching its peak, it’s useful to ask how the political campaigns are dealing with the most crucial issues we face. The simple answer is: badly, or not at all. If so, some important questions arise: why, and what can we do about it?
There are two issues of overwhelming significance, because the fate of the species is at stake: environmental disaster, and nuclear war.
The former is regularly on the front pages. On Sept. 19, for example, Justin Gillis reported in The New York Times that the melting of Arctic sea…
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A map for the future 🙂
Our current civilization is based on the dominancy of capitalist mode of production relations and other social relations that are in large portion outcomes of or strongly determined by the principal relationships of this mode, including ‘foreign’ relations between alienated human societies.
The rising people’s grassroots movement openly and clearly challenges and wants to change these relationships at a global scale.
This conscious ‘demand’ of the peoples is being unsuccessfully undermined by the mainstream media.
The existence of astonishing number of alternative visions for the aftermath of the approaching collapse is the proof of this: the gift economy, solidarity economy, participatory economy, resource based economy, commons based economy, and many more.
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DON’T FIGHT THE SYSTEM – IGNORE IT!
The Max Keiser show, On The Edge, was really good this week and the guest Mike Ruppert from collapsenet.com explained clearly the ideas behind my novel DOG Sharon: The Future is Female and the related Womanifesto!
Mike Ruppert is an interesting character with plenty to say about the state of the human world. He’s advocating growing your own food, getting together and building local partnerships, and ignoring the authorities as much as possible. He suggests we let ’em sink in their own incompetence, because their business model has failed.
A paradigm shift in human consciousness is needed to move onwards and upwards. But it’s no good tinkering with the system or looking to leaders.
EVERYBODY IN EVERY GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF THEIR MINDS – THERE’S A TOTAL DISCONNECT WITH REALITY! Mike Ruppert
The inequality of the current economic system has developed from the idea that all the lands of the Earth and all the peoples are just commodities that may be owned by a small elite.
This hierarchical system can be easily visualised as a pyramid with a king, emperor, prime minister, president, priest, pope, patriarch, imam, ayatollah, shah, csar or tyrant on the top and everyone else beneath.
Below the kings come the nobles and below them the middle classes. Of course, the bottom tier is by far the largest as it is made up of the working masses.
Without the masses the elites would be at the bottom, so they need lots of new workers.
Shit comes down, money and power flows up.
It’s a brilliant idea – if you’re near the top.
But, most of us are at the bottom.
In the shit.
Lowerarchy is the opposite of Hierarchy 😉
As more and more of us see through the illusion of control a tipping point of consciousness will be reached which will allow everyone else to make that leap.
That’s the paradigm shift.
The only way is up…
WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
I’ve felt since I was old enough to understand life that being wealthy was wrong.
Hence I’ve always identified with the Robin Hoods rather than the robbing bastards.
Which side are YOU on?
And I thought we couldn’t learn much from the Ancients…
Collective debt cancellation has a significant and long lived historical precedence.
It’s time to revive the tradition !!
In this article political scientist Eric Toussaint, highlights some of the most notable features of debt cancellation as it was practiced in Mesopotamia and Egypt from 3000 to 1000 BCE. Eric Toussaint is president of The Committee for Abolition of Third World Debt.
The Long Tradition of Debt Cancellation in Mesopotamia and Egypt from 3000 to 1000 BC
by Eric Toussaint
Hammurabi, king of Babylon, and debt cancellation
The Hammurabi Code is in the Louvre Museum, in Paris. The term “code” is inappropriate, because what Hammurabi left us is a set of rules and judgements on relations between public authorities and citizens. Hammurabi began his 42-year reign as “king” of Babylon (located in present-day Iraq), in 1792 BC.
What most history books fail…
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12 months ago, a group of angry people decided to direct a protest at those they held most accountable for the current economic crisis: the bankers, the stock brokers, the mega-corporations. The protesters were, on the whole, ordinary people bewildered to find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water through no fault of their own. Educated people, hard-working people shocked into the realisation that they were not in full control of their own lives, but were at the mercy of financial institutions and global businesses whose only goal is to drive profits. People angered by the realisation that the government they thought existed to protect their rights is more concerned with protecting the status quo.
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Please read for details on how to support these people
IN AN OVERPOPULATED WORLD
OR WE WILL BREED
I’ve been asking bloggers about where their viewers originate recently and although between us we’ve had folk from most of the world stop by, none had seen anyone from China.
“They’re no doubt blocking their citizens…” we mumbled to each other. “Same as with Facebook,” my erudite Pink mate suggested and I assumed he was right without checking.
But this week I had my first person from the world’s most populous nation come to this blog.
And it set me thinking: who writes about Chinese issues? I certainly haven’t, and to be fair I don’t go to Chinese sites. So why should they come to me? I’ve always followed US people, politics and news because it affects all the world. Well now I’m going to read more and learn more about Chinese culture because pretty soon they’ll be vying with the US for top dog status.
So bloggers, why not consider how to attract folks from other cultures and language groups? English speakers are very fortunate in that much of the world has to learn our native tongue – perhaps we should show more respect to them and write something of interest to other cultures more often 🙂
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.
Recently people keep talking about this or that politician, or they say let’s petition parliament or the president. But these are the bastards that are oppressing us – we don’t need governing – that’s what kings, dictators and emperors have done for thousands of years. Governments are just the same – they are a way of managing the people – they’re not for us!
We don’t need hierarchies so I’ve invented the word LOWERARCHY
If we are all the same let’s act like it – don’t give your power to leaders – they’re part of the problem not the solution.
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…
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A short documentary made by Aljazeera showing the human cost of the housing crisis on America’s poor – mostly black and brown families who were conned into subprime mortgages and renters who come home to find the locks have been changed and they’re homeless.
This powerful little film follows social activists who are trying to fight back and clean up some empty properties to rehouse the millions without a roof over their heads.
As the social activist said, “We could have bailed out the banks or the people – but we bailed out the banks…”
It should be upsetting to see folk lose their homes, but the rich don’t care, and Obama didn’t care enough to actually do anything.
But this is the future for the UK, Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe and much of the world if we don’t change the system – it’s time to wake up from the nightmare of the American Dream…
This is a fantastic post! Love the Earth and counter the evil alienation caused by capitalism and militarization. What could be more important?
For a fast-paced, radical take on global economics watch ‘On the Edge‘ on Press TV.
Each week Max Keiser talks to a guest – a mix of academics and commercial pundits – about hot economic topics.
You don’t need to be an expert to understand the discussions and I’ve learned a whole lot about economics over the last few months.
New shows are available each Saturday, and there are also links to past editions on the right of the page.
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
What kind of world do we live in when so-called comedians explain social policy and politicians make a laughing stock of the population?
Wealth – a terrible disease that can be easily cured…
Much respect to Nonviolent Conflict for excellent blogging to save the world x
More bad news about modern Britain…
Thanks to Dear Kitty. Some blog for her dedication and work x
This video is called Pupils speak out about UK child poverty.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Thursday, 6 September 2012
Parents going hungry! – to help feed their children
THE parents of Britain’s poorest children are going hungry so that their children have some food on the table.
Both parents and children are missing regular hot meals, unable to afford warm coats and new shoes and suffering enormous emotional strain, according to a new report from the Child Poverty Action Group.
One in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day and one in ten of the UK’s poorest parents cut back on food to make sure their children have enough to eat, the report reveals.
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Tim Berners-Lee said today: “The internet is designed as a decentralised system. At the moment, because countries connect to each other in lots of different ways, there is no one off switch, there is no central place where you can turn it off.”
“In order to be able to turn the whole thing off or really block or suppress one particular idea then the countries and governments would have to get together and agree and co-ordinate and turn it from a decentralised system to being a centralised system. And if that does happen it is really important that everybody fights against that sort of direction.”
As if they would do that to their people…
Hands up who can remember their fathers working Saturday mornings? I’m 54 and can just recall those days. Well folks – that’s what your political masters have in store for all you naughty lazy people – and you can forget the Minimum Wage as well.
So to all those who parrot the government’s lies about ‘Austerity’ and ‘We’re all in this together’ bollocks – do you now see that you were used? Used as working people have always been used – in wars, coalmines, factories, offices and brothels.
I can understand the bosses and billionaires saying it – understand but not condone – because they benefit from your stupidity, from your ignorance.
But in an age where we can all find out about history, science, politics and technology there’s no excuse for being ignorant.
So who wants to bring more children into a world like this? Perhaps you think it will be different for your kids – tell me how. Perhaps you think children will somehow make you ‘whole’ – they don’t. Did you make your parents whole? Of course not.
Every extra person is an additional load on the planet’s resources.
But wait, I hear folk thinking – there’s plenty of space for more people – if we all lived closer together, or, or…
And don’t bother looking to religions for an answer because they’re part of the problem – a massive part – following these fools will make things worse. For you, me and all the kids who are hungry, thirsty and have no hope of a decent life.
So take a look at yourself and ask – am I part of the solution or part of the problem? There’s no time to sit on the fence – we’ve reached the tipping point and there’s no going back.
Do something about it – before it’s too late.
GREECE’S eurozone creditors are demanding that the government in Athens introduce a six-day working week as part of the stiff terms for the country’s second bailout.
The demand is contained in a leaked letter from the “troika” of the country’s lenders, the European commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. In the letter, the officials policing Greece’s compliance with the austerity package imposed in return for the bailout insist on radical labour market reforms, from minimum wages to overtime limits to flexible working hours, that are likely to worsen the standoff between the government and organised labour in Greece.
In US election year, Peter sardonically examines American democracy and shows how the capitalist system controls our thoughts and actions so there are no real choices. He shows how puppet politicians are bankrolled by corporations and asks why we need these leaders at all. This is the same point I make in Womanifesto and we agree that modern leaders play the same role as kings, emperors and dictators did formerly.
For democracy to work, all citizens must be educated to understand the issues, yet critical thinking and logic are ignored and learning by rote is taught to millions. Joseph argues the US two party political system is a con – there is no real choice and all good change derives from pressure from below – not the Republican and Democratic parties.
He also shows how the big parties came together to set up and control the Presidential debates so killing intelligent discussion and stopping smaller parties getting airtime. This is exactly the same as in the UK and most other so-called democracies. Noam Chomsky has been saying this for years.
Even now as more and more species become extinct, the climate changes to who knows what and humanity teeters on the brink of disaster, most folk are more interested in inane celebrities, fashion and consumerism.
Peter also shows how religion creates an unthinking populace who do as they are told rather than questioning everything.
So if you care about the future, the ecosystem and your own minds – watch and engage with this film – what could be more important?
It’s an election year in the richest country in the world, but tent cities for the homeless are springing up around the nation. Panorama finds out what it means to be poor in America.
With one and a half million American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth.
From those living in the storm drains under Las Vegas to the tent cities now springing up around the United States, Panorama finds out how the poor are surviving in America and asks whatever happened to Barack Obama’s vision for the country.
Sad news from the world’s only superpower…
I’ve just found that the BBC have blocked this film in the UK – am checking if there is another source – sorry folks – not sure if it’s available elsewhere x
This is truly amazing – please reblog xx