Archive for the Switzerland Category

HSBC documents reveal criminal conspiracy of banks and governments [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Bill Clinton, France, Fraud, Obama, Switzerland, U.K., US Government Cover-up, USA on February 22, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Andre Damon
11 February 2015

…international news outlets the Guardian and Le Monde, working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), published articles based on their analysis of leaked files showing that the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, functioned for years as a tax evasion and money laundering firm.

The company ran a branch that gave out “bricks” of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in foreign denominations and provided its wealthy clientele with advice on how to commit tax fraud, according to the reports.

These facts have for years been been in the possession of international financial regulators and governments throughout the world—including those of Britain, France and the United States—which systematically covered them up.  Neither the bank, nor its executives, nor any of the clients that utilized its tax dodging services have been criminally prosecuted.

No one should believe that HSBC is an aberration; there is no doubt that similar practices are carried out by all major international financial institutions. The HSBC files have unearthed a cesspool of corruption, criminality, bribery and collusion that pervades the entire capitalist system and the governments that defend it.

The HSBC revelations are only the latest in a series of scandals involving virtually every major financial institution.  These have included the selling of fraudulent subprime mortgage-backed securities, illegal foreclosures, commodities fraud and the manipulation of LIBOR and international foreign exchange benchmarks.

HSBC was one of the institutions whose greed and lawlessness plunged the world into a crisis in 2008 from which it has never recovered, cost millions of people their jobs and launched a wave of austerity all over the world involving the slashing of workers wages’ and social benefits.

The list of people who used HSBC’s services include corporate executives, fundraisers and major donors to American, British and Australian political parties, and politicians from at least 17 countries, including Britain.

The trail of dirty money reaches as high as former US President Bill Clinton.  British business tycoon Richard Caring, who once picked up more than five million Swiss francs in cash from the bank, donated $1 million to Clinton’s foundation from his Swiss bank account.

The report by the ICIJ notes that the month before Caring made his donation, he “funded a champagne and caviar extravaganza at Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, flying in 450 guests to be entertained by Sir Elton John and Tina Turner and addressed by Bill Clinton.”

It also notes that Charles Barrington Goode, a major fundraiser for the Liberal Party and chairman of ANZ bank, one of Australia’s largest financial institutions, held an account with the bank under a false name for three decades.

In addition to “legitimate” businessmen and high-ranking politicians, HSBC’s services were used by drug kingpins, weapons smugglers and traffickers in illegal “blood diamonds.”  Reviewing the reports, it is impossible to determine where the criminal underworld ends and the ruling class of bankers and corporate CEOs and their millionaire political front-men begins.

While no bank executives or wealthy clients have been prosecuted, the one person out of this morass of criminality who faces serious legal consequences is the whistleblower who exposed them.

In 2009, an HSBC technical employee named Hervé Falciani came to realize that HSBC’s private bank was operating a huge tax evasion operation, and began collecting information to provide to Swiss authorities, which showed no interest.

He subsequently turned files pointing to tax fraud by some 130,000 people over to the French police, who shared them with other governments, including that of Britain and America.  Falciani has since been charged with violating Switzerland’s bank secrecy laws and carrying out industrial espionage.

In 2010, then-French Minister of Finance Christine Lagarde provided a list of 2,000 suspected tax evaders to the Greek government, and the list subsequently came into the possession of Greek magazine publishers, who printed it.  They were subsequently charged, then found not guilty, of breaching privacy laws.

A portion of the files accumulated by Falciani were recently obtained by Le Monde and shared with the ICIJ and other newspapers. The files cover some 30,000 accounts holding nearly $120 billion in assets.

In the UK, more than 3,000 people have been investigated based on Falciani’s files, but the government has brought no charges against any of them.

Perhaps the biggest cover-up has been carried out in the United States, where in 2012 the Justice Department agreed to a $1.2 billion “deferred prosecution” settlement with HSBC on charges of money laundering for Mexican drug cartels, never mentioning the fact that the US government had evidence the bank helped its clients evade taxes.

One of the leading architects of the settlement with HSBC, Loretta Lynch, at that time the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, is now the Obama administration’s nominee to replace Eric Holder as attorney general.  The Reverend Lord Stephen Green, HSBC’s chief executive during the period covered by the files, was subsequently appointed the UK’s minister of state for trade and investment…

Excerpted; full article link:


Related article about HSBC’s bogus  ‘prosecution’ by the US gov’t for laundering Mexican drug money:

“Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke” [Rolling Stone] by Matt Taibbi  —


Post-war order must be firmly safeguarded, Chinese premier Le Keqiang says [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Fascism, Germany, India, Japan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, World War II on June 3, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

A rather significant pronouncement. On the one hand, China is asserting itself regarding what it sees as Japanese territorial encroachments on ‘disputed’ territories. On the other hand, it’s gruesome to see a supposed Communist buying into the [US-dominated] ‘post-war order’, when in fact World War II never really ended and the decades since have seen unremitting, multi-dimensional war on the part of the US in its unswerving goal to dominate the globe. We are not in an age of a ‘world peace and prosperity’ by any stretch. – Zuo Shou

POTSDAM, Germany, May 26 (Xinhua) — World peace and the international order established after World War II brook no damage nor denial, visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.

“All peace-loving people should uphold the post-war peace order which brooks no damage nor denial,” Li said at a visit to the Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam, capital of Germany’s Brandenburg state, where the Potsdam Proclamation was issued in 1945.

“China would like to work with all peace-loving people to uphold the post-war order and safeguard world peace and prosperity,” he said.

Speaking as a Chinese person and a representative of the Chinese people, Li said, “I would like to stress that paragraph 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation makes it clear that the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out.”

The Cairo Declaration, in turn, states that all the territories that Japan had stolen from China, such as Northeast China, Taiwan and related islands, shall be restored to China, said the Chinese premier.

“This was a victory secured at the price of tens of thousands of lives and an important underpinning of the world order established after WWII,” he said.

The Potsdam Proclamation represented a banner of justice — more importantly, an ultimatum — issued to the fascist forces of the world, said Li.

Twenty days later, Japan announced acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation and its unconditional surrender, he said.

“This was a victory both for the Chinese people and people elsewhere. This history will never be forgotten,” he said.

Li said history is an objective existence and a mirror, and that “only by facing history squarely can one have a future.”

“The Chinese people will not accept any comments or actions that seek to deny or glorify the history of fascist aggression; nor are these acceptable to the forces of justice elsewhere that value peace,” he said.

Only in a peaceful international environment can people everywhere enjoy a good life, Li said.

The Chinese and the Germans are all peace-loving people committed to friendly relations between China and Germany and between China and Europe, said Li, adding that China stands ready to work with Germany and Europe to further maintain world peace and promote common development.

Brandenburg Governor Matthias Platzeck said in a meeting with Li after the tour that the Potsdam Proclamation has shaped the post-war world order for decades.

It is an important historical document that continues to have an important impact and role to this day, he said.

The Chinese premier arrived in Berlin on Saturday for an official visit to Germany, the only country in the European Union in his first overseas tour since taking office in March.

Li is scheduled to meet with German President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel later in the day.

He will also deliver a speech at a business luncheon and hold talks with German political and business figures.

Germany is the last leg of Li’s four-nation trip, which has taken him to India, Pakistan and Switzerland.

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‘Secret treaty’ a threat: Australian IP expert [Xinhua]

Posted in Australia, China, EU, European Union, India, Japan, Switzerland on April 4, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Christian Edwards

SYDNEY, March 24 (Xinhua) — What has been described as the ‘ secretly negotiated treaty’ – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), should be rejected outright, a leading intellectual property expert has told the Australian Parliament.

The Australian National University’s (ANU) Dr Matthew Rimmer, an Associate Professor from the College of Law, told a special joint Committee that the treaty was ‘secretly negotiated by a limited number of nations.

“Scholars have called this a ‘Country-Club’ approach to setting intellectual property standards. There has been little in the way of democratic deliberations with civil society groups or affected industries and communities,” Rimmer said.

In 2007, the United States, the European Union, Switzerland, and Japan announced that they would negotiate an intellectual property enforcement treaty. Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada have joined the negotiations from which India and China are notable in their absence.

“Developing countries and mid-tier nations such as China and India have complained about being excluded from the negotiations. The critical role of parliaments in treaty-making has been trammeled.”

The treaty is designed to maximise the rights of intellectual property owners in a wide range of areas – copyright law, trademark law, the digital environment, and border measures.

However, Rimmer is worried about the broad definitions of ” piracy” and “counterfeiting” under the treaty.

“The treaty lacks balance. It does not adequately deal with limitations and exceptions under intellectual property – such as fair dealing and fair use under copyright law; defenses for consumers and intermediaries under trademark law; and access mechanisms under patent law. This treaty fails to provide for equivalent remedies for the abuse of intellectual property rights.” Rimmer said.

ACTA continues to rouse concern as both an exclusive and concurrently divisive process. The treaty has been referred to the European Court of Justice to determine whether the text violates fundamental rights and freedoms.

What little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty suggest ACTA will have a broad mandate and could wield new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology”.

Rimmer has suggested that the Australia’s new Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights investigate the treaty.

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Post-Kim Jong Il DPRK [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in China, Corporate Media Critique, Disarmament, DPR Korea, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Hu Jintao, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, Libya, Nukes, Russia, south Korea, Switzerland, US imperialism, USA on January 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Alexander Vorontsov

Dec. 25, 2011

The death of Kim Jong Il two months before his 70th birthday grabbed the headlines worldwide. False reports of his death had been a recurrent phenomenon, but his passing, when it did happen, came unexpectedly. The communist leader’s death possibly marks a watershed moment between distinct epochs in the history of the DPRK, prompting intense debates over the scenarios of the anticipated transition.

Three overarching themes are present in the flow of essentially unfriendly projections for North Korea:

• Kim Jong Un, late Kim Jong Il’s 28-year old third son and successor, is too young, clearly lacks experience, and possibly has mental health problems, which altogether means that he is unable to be a leader of his country, has no chance to be accepted as such by the population, and is going to be controlled by the elder members of his family clan.

• As a result, various groups within the North Korean political elite will be confronted with the irresistible temptation to not only run the county from behind the scenes, but in the full sense to seize power in the country, the likely outcome being a period of internal strife and a series of military coups, plus total destabilization if not a civil war in the DPRK.

• Given the above, an intervention – launched by the US in tandem with South Korea, by China, or even by both forces – will quickly become imminent, and the North Korean population which is lethally tired of the dictatorial rule will welcome the invaders as liberators. At the bottom line, North Korea will see the long-awaited regime change.

The following circumstances should be taken into account to assess the forecasts realistically. The permanently reiterated doubts over the abilities and mental health of Kim Jong Un, whose status of the “great successor “ has already been confirmed in Pyongyang, notably resemble those expressed regarding Kim Jong Il at the time of his ascension to power in 1994. The myth of Kim Jong Il’s complete inferiority to his father was inflated by the Western media but failed the test of the empirical reality during the June, 2000 inter-Korean summit, as foreign journalists flocked to Pyongyang to accompany the ROK president Kim Dae-jung to discover that the DPRK leader was a healthy, energetic, and highly competent individual. These days, the Western media are putting together the image of a sickly Kim Jong Un but also mention that he went to college in Switzerland, received decent European education, and used to play basketball – and pretend to be overlooking the contradiction.

The current mass expressions of grief in North Korea may seem shocking to foreigners but certainly cannot be written off as insincere. It is true that collectivism is pervasive in the heavily organized North Korea, and that the arrangement affects the way emotions are displayed, but denying that – in line with the Confucian tradition – the perception of the country leader as the father of the nation is widespread among the population and that people are indeed mourning Kim Jong Il would be unfair. The phenomenon – the tendency within the original North Korean political culture to ascribe a special role to the country leader – has a legitimizing impact on Kim Jong Un’s claim to power. It is true that Kim Jong Un is very young, has a minimal record of involvement in state affairs, and, in fact, has held the official successor status for just slightly over a year. Still, he learned a lot over the period of time acting as his father’s apprentice and made no blunders in the process. Importantly, the nation actually sees him as the successor. For example, I gathered from conversations with ordinary North Koreans that they feel deeply impressed by the fact that outwardly Kim Jong Un looks very much like his grandfather, founder of N. Korea Kim Il Sung.

Obviously, both Kim Jong Un and the whole the DPRK are at the moment picking up a tough challenge. From now on a lot will depend on Kim Jong Un’s aptitude, willpower, etc. His elder peers – the stalwarts from his father’s inner entourage – will certainly do their best to help him at the initial phase, but the type of interaction should not be interpreted as evidence that Kim Jong Un will have a purely nominal status. For North Korea, combining the leader’s singular status with collectivism in top-level decision-making is a long-standing tradition, though the balance between the two elements fluctuates. It is worth mentioning in the context that even Kim Il Sung was not invariably the number one figure in North Korea’s party and administration (in the initial stages) and that, even at the peaks of their careers, neither he nor Kim Jong Il sidelined such collective governance bodies as the central committee of the Labor party, the state defense committee, etc.

Predictions that the DPRK will shortly plunge into chaos and that a tide of infighting will sweep over its leadership are completely groundless. Any serious watcher is fully aware of the country’s robust political stability, with nothing like an organized opposition or public protests of considerable proportions in sight.

It is natural that divisions over individual issues do exist in the administration of the DPRK as in that of any other country. Limited controversy erupted over the forms and pace of the economic reform which was launched in North Korea in 2002. An attempt was made in November, 2009 to implement a national currency devaluation which could de facto translate into savings confiscation and was read by experts as an effort meant to make the country revert to the pre-reform condition. In a matter of months, the North Korean government realized that the step was counterproductive and abandoned the whole plan, removing the restrictions fleetingly imposed on market activity. The reversal showed that the reformist faction in the North Korean administration generally prevails over conservatives.

At the same time, the divisions in the DPRK do not seem to escalate into irreconcilable discord. The constant external threat facing the country further cements its administration. Pyongyang is mindful of its opponents’ strategy focused on inducing regime change in the DPRK and monitors the emergency military planning of the US-S. Korea alliance which certainly had special designs to set in motion in the event of a sudden death of the North Korean leader. The developments in Libya and the killing of M. Gadhafi made North Koreans realize what kind of punishment the West administers for defiance. The conclusions drawn in Pyongyang took the shape of a special official statement to the effect that Gadhafi’s key mistake had been to rely on the West’s promises and to scrap Libya’s nuclear program in return for international security guarantees. The statement said that Gadhafi’s regime came under strike as soon as it showed it would not acquire a nuclear deterrent and that N. Korea would never make the same mistake but would upgrade its defense potential including the nuclear capabilities.

The N. Korean political elite and the politically active part of the country’s society have no illusions as to their survival chances in the case of a regime change. More than any ideological directives, such concerns make it maintain full cohesion, stay loyal to the country leader, and ruthlessly suppress any tendencies towards internal discord.

At least in the mid-term, we will see complete continuity in the DPRK’s foreign and domestic policies, with its young leader likely emphasizing allegiance to his father’s legacy. The North Korean approach to the key foreign-policy issues including its relations with Russia and involvement in the six-party talks over the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula will therefore remain unchanged. Symbolically, the last foreign visit paid by late Kim Jong Il was a tour of Russia during which he met with Russian president D. Medvedev in August, 2011 in Ulan-Ude. It is a safe bet that the cooperation between Russia and the DPRK will continue and that the key bilateral economic projects will be implemented in its framework as planned.

It should be noted that the recent developments in North Korea opened up new opportunities to its opponents, and time will show in what form they are going to seize them. At the moment US conservatives such as the Republican party’s candidate for presidential nomination M. Romney are urging greater pressure on North Korea in connection with the inexperienced Kim Jong Un’s taking late Kim Jong Il’s place with regime change as the end goal. On the other hand, now comes up an opportune situation to turn the page on the past conflicts and to start cultivating contacts with the young North Korean leader. An expression of condolences is a typical first step under the circumstances. It instills hope that, in contrast to how the situation was handled when Kim Il Sung died in 1994, Seoul sent those this time. No doubt, the biggest role in rebuilding bridges to North Korea could be taken by the USA. Washington’s usual foreign-policy planning strategy is to compile parallel scenarios and to permanently stay prepared to make a political U-turn. The switching from a condition bordering on a real war to fruitful cooperation in the wake of Kim IL Sung’s death and the signing of the 1994 framework agreement provided a vivid example of such flexibility. The Administration of G. Bush made a similar maneuver in 2007.

It became known that over the past several days US Secretary of State H. Clinton engaged in intense consultations with representatives of the countries neighboring North Korea. In particular, she had several phone conversations with the foreign ministers of Russia and China. The contents of the talks remained undisclosed, but hypothetically Washington could be trying to bounce at least some kind of unarticulated consent to regime change in the DPRK out its partners. If this is the case, the probability that the endeavors produced any results is minimal. To stress the importance of its ties with the DPRK, Beijing took an unprecedented diplomatic step when China’s leader Hu Jintao and eight other top Chinese officials visited the N. Korean embassy to deliver condolences.

Alternative schemes may nevertheless materialize in the game played out between Washington and Pyongyang. H. Clinton’s visit to Burma, the country that used to draw Washington’s condemnations in unsurpassed quantities as a “rogue state”, was a bold initiative, and an analogous breakthrough in dealing with N. Korea may yet be brewing (the precedent being M. Albright’s 2000 visit to Pyongyang). In any case, today’s situation offers unique opportunities to break the stalemate in the US-DPRK and inter-Korean relations.

Overall, the situation in the DPRK remains stable, with Moscow and Beijing firmly espousing the peace, stability and status quo on the Korean Peninsula. Washington and Seoul are facing a dilemma of either boosting pressure on Pyongyang with the aim of irreversibly breaking its resistance (a strategy loaded with unlike results and extreme risks, it should be noted) or giving their policies vis-a-vis North Korea a serious facelift.

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CIA prison exposed in Romania [World Socialist Website]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, CIA, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Kosovo, NATO, Obama, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Torture, Ukraine, US imperialism, USA on January 6, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Sybille Fuchs
12 December 2011

Journalists from the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the German television magazine “Panorama” have uncovered the location of one of the chain of notorious secret torture prisons run by US Central Intelligence Agency in Europe. The prison is situated in a residential area of the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

The prison in Bucharest began operations following the closure in 2003 of a similar torture centre in Poland. The prison was located in a building housing the Romanian National Registry Office for Classified Information (Official Registrului National al Informatiilor Secrete de Stat) authority. The transport of prisoners to the prison from Bucharest’s airport was carried out in inconspicuous minibuses.

The cells were located in the basement of the ORNISS building. The cells were mounted on springs in order to disorientate the prisoners, who were also subjected to sleep deprivation, water boarding, beatings or being forced to adopt excruciating positions for long periods of time. Former employees of the CIA told journalists that after the initial round of “interviews” the prisoners were given medical and dental examinations.

Some of the prisoners were held there temporarily prior to being switched and tortured in other locations or transferred to Guantanamo. The CIA’s code-name for the secret prison in Bucharest was “Bright light”. The centre was located at Mures Street 4. The prisoners held at the facility included Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of carrying out the attack on the US warship Cole in Yemen and now sits in Guantanamo where he faces trial by a military commission…

…The Romanian authorities established the ORNISS in 2002 by emergency decree in order to co-ordinate the state’s secret operations—in particular with NATO. Its head has the status of a cabinet secretary and reports directly to the Prime Minister. Officials must ensure that confidential information is treated according to NATO standards and only those responsible in each case have access to such information.

The authority was established at a time when Romania was seeking entry into NATO. An American in a high NATO position at that time declared, “The Romanians would have done anything for us.” The then Romanian President Ion Iliescu said that his country would behave as a de facto NATO member, and then in 2004 the country joined the alliance. In 2001 Iliescu had already signed a bilateral agreement with the US government which allowed the US military and civilians to carry out covert operations on Romanian territory.

The secret prison in the basement of the ORNISS building proved particularly useful because its employees are pledged to strict secrecy. Romanian parliamentarians responded to revelations concerning the torture cells by pleading ignorance and declaring that Romania had nothing to do with the matter.

Accordingly, journalists confronted a wall of silence when the deputy head of ORNISS, Adrian Camarasan, addressed them in a room adorned with the Romanian, NATO and European flags. When asked by a reporter if he had ever seen Americans in his premises, Camarasan answered, “No, no, I can no longer remember.” According to the Panorama report a spokesperson for ORNISS told the dpa news agency the reports were “pure speculation” .

The research by the journalists was conducted with great care. They reported that a source in the US intelligence community had described the location and the appearance of the former prison in Bucharest. The reporters made their own enquiries in Bucharest, located and photographed the complex and then showed their evidence to three of their informants in Washington. All three recognised the complex located near a railway line.

The prisoners who were taken to the torture chamber were completely disoriented. Their eyes were blindfolded and their ears plugged, leaving them with no idea of their location. The cells were partly constructed from prefabricated parts, and an arrow had been painted on the floor pointing in the direction of Mecca—a mocking concession by the torturers to the religious persuasion of their victims.

The existence of such torture prisons in Europe (“black sites”) was long denied by both the US and the countries involved, including Lithuania, Poland and Romania. After the attack on the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001 the prisons were established as part of the “war on terror” in order to incarcerate so-called “valuable prisoners” who were subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”—i.e., forced to make confessions on the basis of brutal torture techniques.

In 2009, the New York Times had suggested that one of the CIA prisons in Bucharest was located near the Interior Ministry building.

The Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick in 2006 reported that secret prisons had also been established in the the former military base Mihail Kogalniceanu in the southeast of the country. The Swiss intelligence forces had intercepted a fax, which was the first proof of the existence of secret US prisons in Europe. According to the classified document, 23 Iraqi and Afghan citizens were interrogated at the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in Romania. Similar interrogation centres run by the CIA were established in the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Macedonia and Kosovo.

The Mihail Kogalniceanu military base had been used by the US since the Iraq war. When the newspaper asked the commander of the military base about the existence of such a prison he categorically denied any knowledge. The existence of CIA prison sites in Lithuania and Poland has been known for some years, but there had been no confirmation of such a facility in Romania. What was known was that so-called “rendition” flights by the CIA had transported “valuable prisoners” to Romania.

With regard to Europe, the “rendition” program is alleged to have been stopped by the Obama administration after he came into office in 2009. At least no new information about such flights have been released. Instead the Obama government has apparently shifted its emphasis to the targeted killing of their enemies by means of special forces and drones, rendering imprisonment and interrogation unnecessary.

Human rights organisations and journalists found ample evidence of the torture of prisoners following the conquest of Tripoli by the rebel forces backed by NATO. The complicity of European governments, including Romania, with these international human rights violations had already been uncovered by a special committee of the European Parliament in 2006 and its special investigator Dick Marty. Marty declared that at least 100 people had been transported by the CIA to various secret European locations, including Romania. Leading Romania representatives vigorously denied the claim.

The report of the Special Committee concluded “that the CIA was in several cases clearly responsible for the illegal abduction and detention of suspected terrorists in the territory of the Member States as well as special renditions, involving, in some cases, European citizens”.

The report of the Special Committee asserted that the purpose of the special renditions was to ensure “that the suspects should not be subjected to a court of law.” The CIA “terror suspects were kidnapped by undercover methods, arrested and turned over…”

In 2006, US President George Bush admitted that the captured senior Al-Qaeda suspects were taken to other states. He avoided, however, identifying these countries, arguing this could cause enemies of America to take action against its allies…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

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New data on global corporate control confirms Lenin’s ‘Imperialism’ [Workers World]

Posted in Lenin, Switzerland on November 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Oct 27, 2011

Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, have used a powerful computer database to analyze which transnational companies dominate the world economy. Their findings, called “The network of global corporate control,” appeared this summer at, an online publisher of scientific material.

Using information from the financial database ORBIS, which provided them with data on “37 million economic actors, both physical persons and firms located in 194 countries, and roughly 13 million directed and weighted ownership links (equity relations),” the team of scientists from ETH Zurich, headed by Stefania Vitali, used a new mathematical analysis to tease out the structures linking transnational corporations to their subsidiaries and to each other.

The result? Out of this vast number of corporate actors, in 2007 “a mere 147 companies controlled nearly 40 percent of the monetary value of all transnational corporations,” wrote Rachel Ehrenberg in an article summarizing the group’s findings. (“Financial world dominated by a few,” Science News, Sept. 24)

The authors say their work is the first attempt ever made to plot the myriad connections among the transnationals, defined as companies that have at least 10 percent of their wealth in more than one country. They describe the structure that emerged as resembling a “bowtie,” with lots of corporate entities in the periphery but a small group at the center controlling the flow of wealth.

While the global capitalist economy today is vastly larger and more complex than a century ago when V.I. Lenin wrote his groundbreaking book “Imperialism,” this attempt by mathematicians to penetrate the murky world of corporate and finance capital confirms what the leader of the Russian Revolution wrote in 1916.

Lenin showed how even then the big banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions of Europe and the United States had grown to dominate over all other forms of capital. He used the data then available to show that they had formed giant cartels that divided up the world markets into “spheres of influence.”

Written during World War I, the book explained what drove capitalist nations to half-exterminate each other in the struggle for superprofits around the world. The message was clear: War and exploitation will continue as long as there is capitalism.

There is no such message in these recent findings. Rather, the research is directed at capitalist governments and multinational institutions that the authors hope will shape better policies.

However, coming at a time when the capitalist system is in a deepening crisis of overproduction that is being felt all over the world, this study dispels the theory that capitalism has somehow become more democratic because, for example, millions of people have to rely on pensions that invest in mutual funds.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement says, only a tiny number of the world’s people really control the wealth. They are really much less than 1 percent and are concentrated in the major imperialist countries.

The top 50 control-holders in the world are listed in a table at the end of the study. Twenty-four of them are from the U.S. Most of their names are obscure: FMR Corp., The Capital Group and State Street are among the largest. But behind these names are many of the same old ruling-class families that have picked presidents and secretaries of state for generations to ensure that the U.S. government puts their class interests before anything else.

In the recent period, this has meant getting their hands on trillions of dollars in government bailout money when the markets turned sour, even as millions of workers lose their jobs and homes.

Lenin called imperialism “the highest and last stage of capitalism.” How much longer will such a horrible system be allowed to endure?

Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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“Happy Birthday Fidel Castro”, 2011 August 13 []

Posted in 9/11, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Cuba, Disarmament, Fidel Castro, Media smear campaign, Nukes, Switzerland, U.K., US imperialism, USA on August 15, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sweet & Sour Socialism also warmly wishes Comrade Fidel a “Healthy and Happy Birthday”. One of my most treasured memories is seeing him speak in Cuba, at that time I wasn’t far from where he was standing. – Zuo Shou

August 13, 2011

by Michel Chossudovsky

…August 13, 2011 it is the birthday of Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution.

The Global Research team extends its warm greetings and best wishes to Comandante Fidel.

At the height of a US sponsored war and Worldwide economic crisis, Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban revolution, who to this day defies America’s imperial design, remains a source of hope and inspiration to those committed to social justice and international solidarity.

Last October, I had the opportunity of spending several days at Fidel Castro`s home in the suburbs of Havana. Our conversation and exchange focussed on the dangers of nuclear war.

I had read Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during my high school days in Geneva, Switzerland and later at university in Britain and the US. When meeting him in person, I discovered a man of tremendous integrity, with an acute mind and sense of humor, committed in the minute detail of his speech to social progress and the advancement of humankind, conscious of the dangers of the US led war and the Worldwide crisis, with exceptional skills of analysis and understanding of his fellow human beings, with a true sprit of internationalism and a tremendous knowledge of history, economics and geopolitics.

On a daily basis, Fidel spends several hours reading a large number of detailed international press reports (As he mentioned to me with a smile, “I frequently consult articles from the Global Research website”…)

…In this broad exchange of ideas, Fidel was invariably assertive in his views but at the same time respectful of those whom he condemned or criticized, particularly when discussing US presidential politics.

Fidel is acutely aware of the mechanisms of media disinformation and war propaganda and how they are used to undermine civil rights and social progress, not to mention the smear campaign directed against the Cuban revolution.

A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in our discussions was the ‘Battle of Ideas”. The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” can change the course of World history.

In addressing and understanding this Worldwide crisis, commitment to the Truth and analysis of the lies and fabrications which sustain the corporate and financial elites is of utmost importance.

The overriding powers of the Truth can, under appropriate conditions, be used as a revolutionary instrument, as a catalyst to unseat the war criminals in high office, whose role and position is sustained by propaganda and media disinformation.

In relation to 9/11, Fidel had expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Cuban people, with the victims of the tragic events of September 11 2001, while underscoring the lies and fabrications behind the official 9/11 narrative and how 9/11 has been used as a pretext to wage war.

Our focus was on nuclear war, which since our meeting last October has motivated me to write a book on the Dangers of Nuclear War. (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario. Global Research, Montreal, 2011)

The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.

The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, a “responsibility to protect” condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.

Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.

This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

In his October 15, 2010 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:

“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.

“The Battle of Ideas” must be developed as a mass movement, nationally and internationally, waged by people across the land.

Fidel Castro Ruz has indelibly marked the history of both the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century…

…The American and European media in October 2010 decided in chorus not to acknowledge or even comment on Fidel Castro’s October 15, 2010 speech on the Dangers of Nuclear War. The evolving media consensus is that neither nuclear war nor nuclear energy constitute a threat to “the surrounding civilian population”.

Our “wish-list” to Comandante Fidel Castro on his 85th Birthday is:

For a World of Peace,

For a World of Truth, where people Worldwide join hands,

For a World of understanding, a World of tolerance and respect,

For the concurrent demise of neoliberalism and militarization which destroy people’s lives,

For the outright criminalization of America’s imperial wars,

For a World of Social Justice with a true “responsibility to protect” our fellow human beings,

To Truth in Media. For a World in which journalists are committed to reporting the truth,

Happy Birthday Comandante Fidel,

You are the source of tremendous inspiration. Our thoughts are with you.

Long Live Fidel Castro Ruz

Michel Chossudovsky, on behalf of the Global Research Team, Montreal, August 13, 2011

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