Wednesday READ – 17 July 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* WORLD BANK WHISTLEBLOWER EXPOSES ENDEMIC CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING
Abby Martin talks to Karen Hudes, former senior executive at the World Bank, about her experience blowing the whistle on the high level corruption within the international financial system and how her story was censored: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7E9SU…
* THE WORLD BANK: REJECTING ”THE RULE OF LAW”
By Karen Hudes, VeteransToday
“The proverb, ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you”, originated in 1576 as, ‘So long as I know it not, it hurteth mee not.’ But the opposite is true. Unpleasant hidden truths do the most harm. The best way to fight corruption is to expose it. Think of the World Bank as ENRON.” … Karen Hudes
When, thanks to Mark Novitsky, a federal whistleblower, I learned that Karen Hudes, who earned her J.D. at Yale, our most distinguished School of Law, and an M.Phil. in economics at the University of Amsterdam, which is also a formidable institution, had been removed from her position as Senior Counsel for the World Bank because of her efforts to expose corruption and reaffirm the rule of law in the form of appropriate standards of accounting, I was dumbfounded.
What initially appear to be obscure issues of international finance, moreover, have the potential to sever ties between us and our NATO allies and weaken the national security of the United States. The stakes involved are therefore extremely high for every American citizen.
During the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings last October, with her encouragement, the Development Committee informed President Jim Yong Kim of the need for “a more open, transparent and accountable World Bank Group.” The reasons that motivated that request included the following series of disturbing developments:
- The World Bank has disregarded the Joint Economic Committee’s 2005 inquiry into the World Bank’s “corporate governance irregularities” and “accounting problems”;
- The World Bank has failed to follow the Joint Economic Committee’s advice that professional financial and accounting employees be given independent access to the World Bank’s Board and its Audit Committee;
- The World Bank has failed to protect Hudes against retaliation for challenges of illegality or other misconduct through external arbitration pursuant to the 2005 Lugar-Leahy amendment, which could threaten its mission;
- The World Bank has stonewalled Senator Lugar’s and Congressman Van Hollen’s four requests for the advice of the executive search firm following Hudes’ disclosure of internal control lapses;
- The World Bank has refused to comply with the Government Accountability Office inquiry into corruption requested by Senators Lugar, Leahy and Bayh for more than three years;
- Congress has reiterated its request for the GAO inquiry during hearings on the World Bank capital increase, with which it has yet to comply; and,
- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner misrepresented progress on World Bank reform in his 11/21/12 report to the Appropriations Committees pursuant to § 7082 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012.
The Crisis in Cyprus as a Mini-Model
The threat by EU bankers to loot savings accounts held in Cyprus has raised red flags all over the world. As The New York Times (25 March 2013) has reported,
LIMASSOL, CYPRUS — It is not just about rich Russians and Cypriot retirees. Also vitally at stake in this island country’s banking crisis is Cyprus’s credibility as a place for international companies to continue doing business.
Take Avid Life Media, the Canadian-owned operator of some of the world’s biggest online dating sites. Only a few weeks ago it set up an office here as a base for its international operations, attracted to Cyprus — as hundreds of other foreign businesses have been — because of its reputation for financial stability, a low corporate tax rate, a friendly banking environment and most of all, a strong rule of law.
Now imagine that was the case for the most important bank of all, which affects the world’s economy. Imagine that bank accounts were being looted world-wide and you will begin to appreciate the dimensions of the problem. […]
* GDS BOOK TALK AND PANEL CAL POLY POMONA APRIL 9, 2012
On April 9, 2012 Dennis Loo was joined by two of his colleagues at Cal Poly Pomona, Professor D. D. Wills, Chair of the Geography and Anthropology Department and Professor John Lloyd of the History Department, to discuss and respond to Loo’s book, Globalization and the Demolition of Society. Alpha Kappa Delta – the International Sociology Honor Society – sponsored the event. The video is in two parts. For reader’s convenience, a text of Loo’s talk appears after the links to the two videos.
Part 1 Runs slightly over 55 minutes @ http://video.csupomona.edu/streaming/video.php?id=7707
Part 2 Runs 58 minutes @ http://video.csupomona.edu/streaming/video.php?id=7708
Text of Dennis Loo’s prepared remarks follows. His actual remarks on the video differ very slightly from his prepared remarks, as is not uncommon in live talks.
Thank you Tanya and AKD for sponsoring this. Thanks to my colleagues DD Wills and John Lloyd for being a part of this. I’m so glad to have you as partners here. And thanks to all of you who are here for coming.
I am going to start my remarks by offering you a set of four propositions to frame what my book is about. The book covers a lot of turf, including in broad strokes the solution to the problems that I speak of, but these propositions encapsulate the essence of my diagnosis of the problem:
- Neoliberalism (aka free market fundamentalism, the idea that market forces should direct all of our affairs, public and private) is now the dominant doctrine worldwide with the ruling parties in virtually every country, including in the US with the Democrats and the Republicans, followers of NL.
- NL is the politics of globalization. It is the political expression of globalization. The term liberalism in NL comes from the meaning of liberal in Adam Smith’s works, laissez-faire, let the market decide, leave business alone and keep the government out of it. NL aims to eliminate job and income security, the social safety net (including welfare and other social guarantees), unions, pensions, public services, and the governmental regulation of corporations. It seeks to put power in the hands of big capital.
- NL’s fundamental logic is based on the dispossession of those who are not part of the 1% since the exploitation of the vast majority of humanity and the planet’s resources are the source of the profits for the 1%. NL is causing the shredding of the social fabric and producing epidemic and endemic disasters on the personal, national, and international scale. It is, in short, a virulent form of organized crime. I argue in my book that it is – because of a particular combination of its attributes at this juncture in history – the most dangerous movement in human history.
- NL’s virulence grows out of the fact that it is based upon a profoundly anti-rationalist, anti-humanitarian philosophy.
What is this anti-rationalist and anti-humanitarian philosophy? It’s based on the view that one can have freedom without needing to take into account necessity and that individuals can and should act as if they are not tied to any other people or any other things, including empirical realities. As Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP put it in a plaque that sat on his desk before the BP Gulf Oil catastrophe: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” And as a senior official in the Bush White House put it, declaring that they were not members of the “reality-based community,” “We’re an empire now and we make our own reality.” Neoliberals believe that simply through their power they can make real what they want and make people believe what they want them to believe.
I’m going to focus on two major areas in my book that are in Chapter Four and Five to illustrate this point. Chapter Four is called “The ‘War on Terror’: Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy” and Chapter Five is called “Why Voting Isn’t the Solution: The Problem with Democratic Theory.” If there’s time I will end by reading a segment from my final chapter, Chapter Seven, that illustrates the dramatic contrast between the anti-rationalist and anti-humanitarianism of NL and what I argue actually does reflect the truth and what is in humanity’s interest.
The WOT (War on Terror), as the official story goes, began with the 9/11 attacks and is a war, as Dick Cheney has said, that will last for generations. The foremost danger that terror poses for Americans since 9/11, the official tale maintains, has required a series of invasions and ongoing occupations, drone attacks (or death by remote control), and a raft of laws that expand the government’s and authorities’ powers to snoop into every aspect of all of our lives, the treatment of everyone as a suspect, strip search us even for the most minor of infractions, detain people indefinitely without a right to challenge your detention, even those who have been exonerated in a trial, the legalization of torture, including of American citizens, and presidentially ordered assassination should Obama decide that you are an enemy of the state.
The WOT, or as I put it in my book, the war of terror, however, did not start the day after 9/11/01. NL is not the enemy of terror but the purveyor of terror, both in the form of fueling and encouraging anti-state terror and in the form of state-sponsored terror that is allegedly designed to eradicate anti-state terror. NL is not the solution to the problem of terror; NL is the biggest source of terror in the world.
I say these things, by the way, not to be inflammatory but in the interests of being completely truthful. Unlike the neoliberals who tell you only what they find convenient to tell you, I believe that the people need to know the truth in order to play the role they can and should in society. […]
* ERIC TOUSSAINT: “THE EU HAS NEVER BEEN A EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION. THE EUROPEAN PEOPLE MUST CREATE THEIR OWN UNITY.”
By Eric Toussaint, CADTM
Interview by Monique Van Dieren and Claudia Benedetto for Contrastes magazine |1|.
The EU and the Eurozone were created solely to favour capital and apply its principles: total liberty of movement for capital, free circulation of goods and services, unrestricted commercial competition and the undermining of the very principle of public services, among others.
Capital is given a free rein to maximise its profits, wrongly supposing that if private initiative is favoured all will be well. In following this principle and in reducing state intervention to a minimum in terms of regulations and budgets, we now have a Europe which costs only 1% of its GDP whereas the budgets of the most industrialised countries are at about 40% to 50% of their GDP! This 1% is scrawny and nearly half of it goes to the Common Agricultural Policy. In consequence Europe has not developed the means to reduce the differences between its strongest economies and the others. When these economies are put onto the same playing field their differences are aggravated.
Are there other points of division?
Not only do we have opposition between, on the one hand, countries like Greece, Ireland , Portugal, Spain and the East European countries, and on the other hand, the strongest EU countries, but also inside each of these countries, where income disparities have increased following reforms of the labour markets.
The policies that have been applied by the EU member states have contributed to these inequalities. A prime example is Germany, where counter-reforms, that aim to create a greater variety of employment models, have been put into place. There are currently 7 million full time employees earning less than 400 euros a month!
Tax policy is known to be at the heart of the European problem and of the indebtedness of member states. How can the fact that most European countries are maintaining internal competition be explained?
Europe has refused fiscal harmonisation. The result is that there is enormous disparity between systems of taxation. In Cyprus, corporation tax is 10%. That should change with the present crisis. In Ireland corporation tax is 12.5% and in Belgium, 33.99%. These differences allow companies to declare their revenues where the tax bite is the least. Current European fiscal policy protects tax evasion. Tax havens exist within the European Union – notably the City of London – and the Eurozone, with the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.
It is quite possible to implement measures of fiscal justice at a national level. The common belief that “being in the Eurozone it is impossible to apply major fiscal measures” is false. We are told there are no alternatives. Those who invoke these arguments are protecting the fraudsters. We can see that solutions previously considered impossible are being imagined in the “case” of Cyprus: bank deposits of over 100,000 euros are to be taxed; controls of capital movements are being put into place. I am against the plan imposed on Cyprus by the Troika because the goals are to impose global antisocial policies; but certain measures show the clear possibility of controlling capital flows and of greatly increasing tax-rates above a given level of wealth.
In spite of EU regulations, it is perfectly possible for countries to refuse the policies of the commission and impose renegotiations at the European level. Europe must be reconstructed democratically. In the meantime the left-wing governments must break ranks. If François Hollande really represented the will of the French people that elected him he would have insisted on renegotiating the European Fiscal Compact with Angela Merkel and if she refused he could have refused to vote it in. This would have prevented its adoption. […]
* GREEK GOVERNMENT GRANTS “TAX IMMUNITY” TO TROIKA MEMBERS: VILLAS, LUXURY BOATS AND CO WITHOUT ‘MONEY SOURCE’ DECLARATION
Greek government has prepared a tax exemption provision, specially dedicated to the personnel of European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Task Force. The personnel of our beloved Troika, especially those permanently living in Greece will no be obliged to make tax declarations like the Greek average mortals.
They can buy villas, luxury cars and boats and throw over board the laws they personally impose into the Greeks.
Greek media describe the special provision as ‘photographic’ and especially tailored to the Troikans.
Paragraph 4 or Article 30 of the new Income Tax Code provides that the provisions of Articles 31-34 of the same Code, which concerns the determination of income based on the living assumptions and acquisitions of assets do not apply to “any natural person working in an institution of the European Union or the international organization which is installed under an international treaty that applies to Greece. ”
Practically, this means, that all these foreigners representatives of the Troika and the EU Task Force (“call me Reichenbach. Horst Reichenbach”) will be able to buy villas, luxury IX, luxury boats, and even shares in the Greek Stock Exchange or buy Greek government bonds without having the obligation to report to the tax office where did they find for their ‘playground investments’.
Foreign personnel of international organizations is anyway exempted from paying taxes (call me Lagarde. Christine Lagarde!”)
But that they won’t to have to declare where did they find the money from, made my Greek grandpa say a simple but meaningful Greek word: “Oust*!“. […]
* COUP D´ETAT IN TURKEY. ERDOGAN AND AKP DISMANTLE TURKISH REPUBLIC
By Christof Lehmann, NSNBC
On Saturday Turkey´s Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdogan and the Freedom and Justice Party passed legislation in Turkey´s parliament that significantly changed the status of Turkey´s armed forces. Law changes, endowing police and intelligence services with sweeping powers over protesters are expected. The law changes constitute part of a soft-power, but de facto coup d´etat and prepare the dismantling of the Turkish Republic.
On Saturday, the Turkish parliament amended a regulation for Turkey´s armed forces, which ended the military´s role as guardian of Turkey´s constitution and the status of Turkey as a secular republic.
Likewise, legislation is being prepared to endow Turkey´s police and national intelligence service with sweeping powers. The legislative changes constitute additional steps in years of use of Turkey´s democratic institutions by the Muslim Brotherhood or Freedom and Justice Party government, to rein in the power of the army, that was once prone to staging coups when the national integrity or the secular status of Turkey´s constitution was threatened, and an additional step to endow Turkey´s police with sweeping powers as instrument of political control.
Amendment of Armed Forces Regulation Part of de facto Coup d´Etat. Prior to the amendment of the armed forces regulation, article 35 specified, that it was among the duties of Turkey´s Armed Forces to protect and preserve the Turkish Republic.
After Saturday´s amendment of article 35, the article states, that it is the duty of the Armed Forces of Turkey to defend the nation against external threats and dangers. The amendment thus reduces the military´s function to that of an instrument, solely for the protection of the boundaries of the nation, but not the protection of the republic.
Large parts of Turkey´s secular opposition perceive the amendment as an additional step in a sweeping power grab by the Muslim Brotherhood, which much like the administration of Egypt´s President Mohammed Morsi was, is misusing democratic institutions to institute Islamic rule and to dismantle the the secular constitution. […]