Category Archives: corruption

Financial genocide in Greece

I never realized that the situation on the ground was quite so dire.  The international media covers only the money.  The social cost remains buried.

  • One third of the country’s 165,000 commercial firms shut down; a third can no longer pay wages
  • The billions of euros in tranches from the EU actually flow back immediately into the EU – reportedly, 97 percent of it – as annual loan repayment instalments to the banks and as new interest charges
  • There have been no textbooks in the public education system for months, since the state owes huge sums of money to the publishers and the publishers have stopped the deliveries

More here.

The question that arises is:  where did all that money go?  Did the powerful and politically well-connected manage to siphon off everything?  Or were all Greeks living beyond their means, as goes the primary narrative?

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Saleem Shahzad’s Murder, Pakistan, and the ISI

I used to look forward to reading Syed Saleem Shahzad’s articles at Asia Times Online.  He had impeccable connections with the jihadis and the Pakistani establishment and used them to deliver nuggets of information weeks and months before other journalists and organizations.

He was always in trouble for his integrity and his refusal to shy away from reporting the truth.  Eventually, it all caught up with him and he was tortured and killed and left by the roadside a few months ago.  It was a tragedy and a setback for journalism, as once again one telling truth to power is destroyed by that power.  The New Yorker has a great piece about him and the circumstances surrounding his death.  Essential reading.


Oil Spill

A minor oil spill in the Bohai Gulf off the north Chinese coast.

[ConocoPhillips and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC)] said about 3,200 barrels of oil had been spilled (compared with the millions in the Gulf of Mexico last year).

But the incident has raised a disproportionate stink as

THE attitude of ConocoPhillips, railed a Beijing newspaper, shows that the American oil company regards China as an ordinary developing country, “and not, as Westerners often call us, a ‘rising great power’.”

All Sino-American collaborations are vulnerable to bad press as often sentiments of jingoism and nationalism rear their heads apropos of nothing.  Here, at least, there is a putative hook on which to hang the the nationalist sentiment.

Perhaps unusually, some Chinese news outlets have even gone on to criticize the government for its handling of the issue, insinuating nepotism, corruption and “special care.”

More at The Economist.


The women’s track and field record book needs to be expunged

Edward McClelland argues in Slate that many women’s world records from the 1980s (and still standing) were set by women who doped.

They weren’t caught because anti-drug testing was not as prevalent.  Yet, because steroids enhance female performances more than male performances, records set then still stand.  This adversely affects the women’s sport today through less visibility, money and support.

Expunging those records would level the playing field, and would allow today’s runners to legitimately dream of reaching the pinnacle of the sport.


Arundhati Roy makes sense (for once)

For all her bleeding heart liberalism and idealism, one cannot doubt her intelligence.  She’s written a cogent and damning critique of Anna Hazare and his Lokpal movement.

First, the Lokpal sturm und drang is analogous to the Maoist insurgency, in that both seek the overthrow or severe curtailment of the Indian state. But,

One [is] working from the bottom up, by means of an armed struggle, waged by a largely adivasi army, made up of the poorest of the poor. The other [is working] from the top down, by means of a bloodless Gandhian coup, led by a freshly minted saint, and an army of largely urban, and certainly better off people.

Second, althought he professes himself to be Gandhian, there is nothing Gandhian about his demands.

Contrary to Gandhiji’s ideas about the decentralisation of power, the Jan Lokpal Bill is a draconian, anti-corruption law, in which a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy … with the power to police everybody from the Prime Minister … down to the lowest government official.

Third, he does not really seem to be concerned about the travails and tribulations of the dispossessed masses he claims to champion.

Oddly enough we’ve heard him say nothing about … the farmer’s suicides in his neighbourhood, or about Operation Green Hunt further away. Nothing about Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, nothing about Posco, about farmer’s agitations or the blight of SEZs.

Fourth, we seem to have forgotten about his connection with and admiration for the Hindu right wing.

He does however support Raj Thackeray’s Marathi Manoos xenophobia and has praised the ‘development model’ of Gujarat’s Chief Minister who oversaw the 2002 pogrom against Muslims.

And finally, and perhaps most damning of all, where is all the money for his movement coming from?  It seems that Indian and foreign corporates have been very generous.

The campaign is being handled by people who run a clutch of generously funded NGOs whose donors include Coca-Cola and the Lehman Brothers. … Among contributors … there are Indian companies and foundations that own aluminum plants, build ports and SEZs, and run Real Estate businesses and are closely connected to politicians who run financial empires that run into thousands of crores of rupees.

But why?  To find out, you can read the original piece in The Hindu.  To give you an inkling, it has to do with the corporate takeover of the Indian state.