Tag Archive | CORRUPTION

HEROIN, CASH & PLASTIC BAGS: AMERICA’S MESS IN AFGHANISTAN.

If the lawlessness, poverty, and endemic corruption of Afghanistan are indicative of anything, it is that the multi-billion dollar efforts to restore stability in the region have been an abject failure.

As the scheduled 2014 reduction of American-led NATO troops moves closer, the occupying forces leave behind a state where none of their initial goals have been realized.    MONEY - ON FIRE

The Afghan central government is weak and hopelessly corrupt, the national armed forces are disorganized and resentful of foreign presence, the Taliban still wield notable influence, women remain extremely marginalized, Afghans are trapped in abject poverty, and the occupiers themselves continue to shoulder the responsibility for heavy civilian causalities.

Tens of billions have been poured into Afghanistan over the past decade, but the fact is that official figures of aid and financial resources spent in the country on paper do not come close to what was actually doled out to US proxies.

Reports confirm that tens of millions of US dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai since his installation in 2004.

The report states that the ‘ghost money’ paid to Karzai’s office was not subject to oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid or the CIA’s formal assistance programs, and much of it went to “warlords and politicians, many with ties to the drug trade and in some cases the Taliban.”

The report also cites an anonymous US official who claimed, “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States.” These revelations should not only raise the eyebrows of US taxpayers – the disingenuous reality of American funds finding their way into the pockets of the Taliban should raise blood pressures.

Karzai issued statements confirming the allegations, but insisted that the funds given were “small” and “used for good causes,” such as helping wounded civilians and paying house rents. If these assertions were true, there is no reason why such money would need to travel through covert channels, thus preventing any form of accountability toward appropriation of those funds.

Karzai’s retort seems more like nervous obfuscation rather than a genuine explanation; he also fails to address allegations that the money was used to fuel rampant corruption.

Even with all the financial resources at Karzai’s disposal, the situation on the ground suggests that the enormous application of funds to social development projects have been poorly implemented.Americans were told that the occupation of Afghanistan was supposed to bring stability and democracy to the country, and despite the presence of international aid groups, the dolling out tens of millions of covert CIA funds (for ‘good purposes’ of course), over $3.5 billion in humanitarian funds and over $58 billion in development assistance, Afghanistan has the world’s third highest infant mortality rate and the country faces vast humanitarian challenges.

The misuse and embezzlement of development funds have left the rural majority with little option but to cultivate poppy, creating the world’s first economy dependent on the production of a single illicit drug.

WHAT GOOD CAUSES DON’T SEE

Afghanistan’s status as a narco-state isn’t simply attributable to the poor application of development aid – US-NATO forces have themselves created conditions by propping up local proxies and warlords with drug money.

From the opium-fueled CIA covert warfare of the 1980s and ’90s and since the US intervention in 2001, Washington has tolerated, enabled, and profited from drug trafficking by its Afghan allies, empowering an increasing resurgence of the Taliban in large swathes of the Afghan countryside.

Washington spent some $22 billion on Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007, mostly on military operations and preparing for their withdrawal, with only a paltry $237 million designated for agriculture. Afghanistan provides the prime ingredient for over 90 per cent of the world’s heroin supply and in recent years has emerged as one of the biggest producers of refined products as hundreds of heroin labs sprout up under the watch of NATO and the US.

The continued neglect of rural and agricultural development has made the task of dismantling the narco-state nothing sort of insurmountable.

Although the Taliban is often credited as the main benefactor of the opium trade, there is reason to believe that the Karzai government and its affiliates have been the more substantially advantaged by illicit funds. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2009 report, titled “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium,”estimates that only 10-15 per cent of Taliban funding is drawn from drugs and 85 per cent comes from non-opium sources.

The report claims that of the $3.4 billion annually garnered from the drug trade, the Taliban only gets its hands on a mere 4 per cent of that total, while farmers reap 21 per cent. The majority of the drug profits end up in the hands of militias, warlords, and political kingpins supported by the US and NATO to offset the influence of the Taliban – not to mention the fact that most of the funds end up in the formal international banking system.on April 29, 2013.

The empowerment of local proxies has enabled them to tax and protect opium traffickers and expand refineries, which led to the speedy resumption of opium production after the ban imposed by the Taliban in 2000 – and today, heroin production in Afghanistan increased 40 times since the US invasion in 2001.

Although totally outrageous, the institutional corruption and explosion in the drug trade that has occurred under the watch of US-NATO forces is hardly surprising from an occupation force that is criminal from the top down.

Where the CIA is appeasing the Afghan leadership with sacks of US dollars, testosterone-filled American soldiers make a of mockery their country by urinating on Afghan corpses, burning Korans, and massacring unarmed civilians, as seen in the famous case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Don’t expect any high-ranking US or NATO official to be made answerable for these continued acts of wrongdoing. Washington is preparing to walk away, and Afghanistan looks much the same as it did after the Soviet-Mujahideen episode in the early ’90s – a ravaged country with mass instability, no infrastructure to speak of, an economy in disarray, and colorful cast of armed-characters who may seek to control Kabul after the withdrawal.

CLEANING UP

Even after the formal conclusion of international stabilization efforts, a sizable amount of US troops will remain in the country after 2014, something Russia has opposed out of concern that Afghanistan could be used as a military springboard targeting other countries in the region.

The emphasis has now shifted to equipping and training the Afghan National Army and the notoriously corrupt Afghan National Police forces, so as to enable them independently to counter terrorism and drug-related crime.

Considering the track record of the occupying forces and the distrust of Americans held by Afghan forces, there is a low probability that these efforts will succeed. The assaults on US troops by US-trained Afghan security forces reflect the discord on the ground, and the difficulty of the task at hand. Karzai has vowed to step down as Afghanistan’s sole post-Taliban head of state, with no clear successor in place, who will occupy the Presidential Palace after the April 2014presidential ballot?

Whoever takes the helm has a tremendous task ahead of them; failure to exert control over lawless provinces could see the country fall into civil war and balkanize into warlord-led territories. Afghanistan’s rural economy once flourished with orchards and food crops, and had the occupation not been an exercise in plunder and embezzlement, international aid could have developed rural infrastructure and given rise to alternative non-illicit crops. Even the cost of Obama’s 30,000-soldier surge at $30 billion per year could have developed rural areas and stifled the influence of the Taliban if meaningfully implemented, but of course, that was never the plan.

The post-2014 administration faces grave instability if it fails to boldly clean up the system, and continued US drone warfare will ensure sustained militancy as family members of victims killed in drone attacks join the Taliban and extremist groups seeking retribution.

Mirroring the situation in Iraq, US-led forces will leave behind a regime that will likely be privy to Iranian influence. China will also play a more significant role in Afghan stabilization efforts after 2014. Beijing and Kabul cut a deal in September 2012 that would see China replace NATO in the training, funding and arming the 149,000-strong Afghan police as part of increased Sino-Afghan cooperation in combating regional terrorism.

China would be greatly disadvantaged if Afghanistan fragmented into a hub for international terrorism, which would increase security concerns in its western Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, an area already vulnerable to destabilization. The dragon is set to replace the eagle as Beijing is increasing its involvement in the Afghan economy through multi-billion dollar Chinese projects.

Stabilization efforts are a lot to shoulder – the Chinese approach would be incremental and bare little similarity to the model employed by the Americans.

There may be grounds for restrained optimism in thinking about Afghanistan’s future if Beijing succeeds where Washington has failed by proving to be a less-parasitic partner in development and stabilization.

http://rt.com/op-edge/afghanistan-corruption-failure-stability-835/

 

 

 

 

 

Fab/MONEY – ON FIRE

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HEROIN, CASH & PLASTIC BAGS: AMERICA’S MESS IN AFGHANISTAN.

HEROIN, CASH & PLASTIC BAGS: AMERICA’S MESS IN AFGHANISTAN. 

Imagew

If the lawlessness, poverty, and endemic corruption of Afghanistan are indicative of anything, it is that the multi-billion dollar efforts to restore stability in the region have been an abject failure.

As the scheduled 2014 reduction of American-led NATO troops moves closer, the occupying forces leave behind a state where none of their initial goals have been realized.

The Afghan central government is weak and hopelessly corrupt, the national armed forces are disorganized and resentful of foreign presence, the Taliban still wield notable influence, women remain extremely marginalized, Afghans are trapped in abject poverty, and the occupiers themselves continue to shoulder the responsibility for heavy civilian causalities.

Tens of billions have been poured into Afghanistan over the past decade, but the fact is that official figures of aid and financial resources spent in the country on paper do not come close to what was actually doled out to US proxies.

Reports confirm that tens of millions of US dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai since his installation in 2004.

The report states that the ‘ghost money’ paid to Karzai’s office was not subject to oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid or the CIA’s formal assistance programs, and much of it went to “warlords and politicians, many with ties to the drug trade and in some cases the Taliban.”

The report also cites an anonymous US official who claimed, “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States.” These revelations should not only raise the eyebrows of US taxpayers – the disingenuous reality of American funds finding their way into the pockets of the Taliban should raise blood pressures.

Karzai issued statements confirming the allegations, but insisted that the funds given were “small” and “used for good causes,” such as helping wounded civilians and paying house rents. If these assertions were true, there is no reason why such money would need to travel through covert channels, thus preventing any form of accountability toward appropriation of those funds. 

Karzai’s retort seems more like nervous obfuscation rather than a genuine explanation; he also fails to address allegations that the money was used to fuel rampant corruption.

Even with all the financial resources at Karzai’s disposal, the situation on the ground suggests that the enormous application of funds to social development projects have been poorly implemented.Americans were told that the occupation of Afghanistan was supposed to bring stability and democracy to the country, and despite the presence of international aid groups, the dolling out tens of millions of covert CIA funds (for ‘good purposes’ of course), over $3.5 billion in humanitarian funds and over $58 billion in development assistance, Afghanistan has the world’s third highest infant mortality rate and the country faces vast humanitarian challenges.

The misuse and embezzlement of development funds have left the rural majority with little option but to cultivate poppy, creating the world’s first economy dependent on the production of a single illicit drug.

WHAT GOOD CAUSES DON’T SEE

Afghanistan’s status as a narco-state isn’t simply attributable to the poor application of development aid – US-NATO forces have themselves created conditions by propping up local proxies and warlords with drug money.

From the opium-fueled CIA covert warfare of the 1980s and ’90s and since the US intervention in 2001, Washington has tolerated, enabled, and profited from drug trafficking by its Afghan allies, empowering an increasing resurgence of the Taliban in large swathes of the Afghan countryside.

Washington spent some $22 billion on Afghanistan from 2003 to 2007, mostly on military operations and preparing for their withdrawal, with only a paltry $237 million designated for agriculture. Afghanistan provides the prime ingredient for over 90 per cent of the world’s heroin supply and in recent years has emerged as one of the biggest producers of refined products as hundreds of heroin labs sprout up under the watch of NATO and the US.

The continued neglect of rural and agricultural development has made the task of dismantling the narco-state nothing sort of insurmountable.

Although the Taliban is often credited as the main benefactor of the opium trade, there is reason to believe that the Karzai government and its affiliates have been the more substantially advantaged by illicit funds. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2009 report, titled “Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium,”estimates that only 10-15 per cent of Taliban funding is drawn from drugs and 85 per cent comes from non-opium sources.

The report claims that of the $3.4 billion annually garnered from the drug trade, the Taliban only gets its hands on a mere 4 per cent of that total, while farmers reap 21 per cent. The majority of the drug profits end up in the hands of militias, warlords, and political kingpins supported by the US and NATO to offset the influence of the Taliban – not to mention the fact that most of the funds end up in the formal international banking system.on April 29, 2013. 

The empowerment of local proxies has enabled them to tax and protect opium traffickers and expand refineries, which led to the speedy resumption of opium production after the ban imposed by the Taliban in 2000 – and today, heroin production in Afghanistan increased 40 times since the US invasion in 2001.

Although totally outrageous, the institutional corruption and explosion in the drug trade that has occurred under the watch of US-NATO forces is hardly surprising from an occupation force that is criminal from the top down.

Where the CIA is appeasing the Afghan leadership with sacks of US dollars, testosterone-filled American soldiers make a of mockery their country by urinating on Afghan corpses, burning Korans, and massacring unarmed civilians, as seen in the famous case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Don’t expect any high-ranking US or NATO official to be made answerable for these continued acts of wrongdoing. Washington is preparing to walk away, and Afghanistan looks much the same as it did after the Soviet-Mujahideen episode in the early ’90s – a ravaged country with mass instability, no infrastructure to speak of, an economy in disarray, and colorful cast of armed-characters who may seek to control Kabul after the withdrawal.

CLEANING UP

Even after the formal conclusion of international stabilization efforts, a sizable amount of US troops will remain in the country after 2014, something Russia has opposed out of concern that Afghanistan could be used as a military springboard targeting other countries in the region.

The emphasis has now shifted to equipping and training the Afghan National Army and the notoriously corrupt Afghan National Police forces, so as to enable them independently to counter terrorism and drug-related crime.

Considering the track record of the occupying forces and the distrust of Americans held by Afghan forces, there is a low probability that these efforts will succeed. The assaults on US troops by US-trained Afghan security forces reflect the discord on the ground, and the difficulty of the task at hand. Karzai has vowed to step down as Afghanistan’s sole post-Taliban head of state, with no clear successor in place, who will occupy the Presidential Palace after the April 2014presidential ballot?

Whoever takes the helm has a tremendous task ahead of them; failure to exert control over lawless provinces could see the country fall into civil war and balkanize into warlord-led territories. Afghanistan’s rural economy once flourished with orchards and food crops, and had the occupation not been an exercise in plunder and embezzlement, international aid could have developed rural infrastructure and given rise to alternative non-illicit crops. Even the cost of Obama’s 30,000-soldier surge at $30 billion per year could have developed rural areas and stifled the influence of the Taliban if meaningfully implemented, but of course, that was never the plan.

The post-2014 administration faces grave instability if it fails to boldly clean up the system, and continued US drone warfare will ensure sustained militancy as family members of victims killed in drone attacks join the Taliban and extremist groups seeking retribution.

Mirroring the situation in Iraq, US-led forces will leave behind a regime that will likely be privy to Iranian influence. China will also play a more significant role in Afghan stabilization efforts after 2014. Beijing and Kabul cut a deal in September 2012 that would see China replace NATO in the training, funding and arming the 149,000-strong Afghan police as part of increased Sino-Afghan cooperation in combating regional terrorism.

China would be greatly disadvantaged if Afghanistan fragmented into a hub for international terrorism, which would increase security concerns in its western Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, an area already vulnerable to destabilization. The dragon is set to replace the eagle as Beijing is increasing its involvement in the Afghan economy through multi-billion dollar Chinese projects. 

Stabilization efforts are a lot to shoulder – the Chinese approach would be incremental and bare little similarity to the model employed by the Americans.

There may be grounds for restrained optimism in thinking about Afghanistan’s future if Beijing succeeds where Washington has failed by proving to be a less-parasitic partner in development and stabilization.

http://rt.com/op-edge/afghanistan-corruption-failure-stability-835/

JAW-DROPPING CRIMES OF THE BIG BANKS.

JAW-DROPPING CRIMES OF THE BIG BANKS. 

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Here are just some of the improprieties by big banks:

– Funding the Nazis
– Laundering money for terrorists
– Financing illegal arms deals, and funding the manufacture of cluster bombs (and see this andthis) and other arms which are banned in most of the world
– Launching a coup against the President of the United States
– Handling money for rogue military operations
– Laundering money for drug cartels. See this, this, this, this and this (indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis)
– Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this
– Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here,here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
– Manipulating gold prices … on a daily basis
– Charging “storage fees” to store gold bullion … without even buying or storing any gold . Andraiding allocated gold accounts
– Committing massive and pervasive fraud both when they initiated mortgage loans and when they foreclosed on them (and see this)
– Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this andthis. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
– Cheating homeowners by gaming laws meant to protect people from unfair foreclosure
– Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing
– Manipulating the hundred trillion dollar derivatives market
– Engaging in insider trading of the most important financial information
– Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this
– Engaging in unlawful “frontrunning” to manipulate markets. See this, this, this, this, this andthis
– Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this
– Otherwise manipulating markets. And see this
– Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this
– Charging veterans unlawful mortgage fees
– Helping the richest to illegally hide assets
– Cooking their books (and see this)
– Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments
– Violently cracking down on peaceful protesters

The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.

Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.

Even the bank with the reputation as being the “best managed bank” in the U.S., JP Morgan, has engaged in massive fraud. For example, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today quoting an examiner at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – JPMorgan’s regulator – saying he felt the bank had “lied to” and “deceived” the agency over the question of whether the bank had mismarked its books to hide the extent of losses. And Joshua Rosner – noted bond analyst, and Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co – notes that JP Morgan had many similar anti money laundering laws violations as HSBC, failed to segregate accounts a la MF Global, and paid almost 12% of its 2009-12 net income on regulatory and legal settlements.

But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?

Actually:

The big banks no longer do very much traditional banking. Most of their business is from financial speculation. For example, less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits. Instead, they are mainly engaged in financial speculation and derivatives. 

The big banks have slashed lending since they were bailed out by taxpayers … while smaller banks have increased lending. 

A huge portion of the banks’ profits comes from taxpayer bailouts.

For example, 77% of JP Morgan’s net income comes from taxpayer subsidies.

The big banks are looting, killing the economy … and waging war on the people of the world.

And our democracy and republican form of government as well
We can almost understand why Thomas Jefferson warned:

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ….

John Adams said:

Banks have done more injury to religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they have done or ever will do good.

And Lord Acton argued:

The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.

No wonder a stunning list of prominent economists, financial experts and bankers say we need to break up the big banks.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/jaw-dropping-crimes-of-the-big-banks/5326849