HSBC exposed: Drug money banking, terror dealings

AFP Photo/Lionel Bonaventure

The international banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and allowed Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals.

The findings are the results of a year-long Senate probe into HSBC’s activities, highlighting negligence throughout the bank’s international structure. The probe will be published in a 340-page report in Washington on Tuesday, and senior members of the bank will be called to account for the allegations.

“HSBC used its US bank as a gateway into the US financial system for some HSBC affiliates around the world to provide US dollar services to clients while playing fast and loose with US banking rules,” said Senator Carl Levin in a press release. He added that the US branch of the corporation “exposed the United States to Mexican drug money, suspicious travelers’ checks, bearer share corporations, and rogue jurisdictions.”

“The culture at HSBC was pervasively polluted for a long time,” Senator Levin said.

Financing terror and flouting the rules Continue reading

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Nasrallah to Assange: Hezbollah talked to Syria opposition; we want dialogue, US & Israel want civil war

Nasrallah to Assange: Hezbollah talked to Syria opposition; we want dialogue, US & Israel want civil war

Hezbollah urged the Syrian opposition to engage in dialogue with Assad’s regime, but they refused. Hezbollah leader Sayyid Nasrallah confirmed this in his first interview in 6 years, the world premiere of Julian Assange’s ‘The World Tomorrow’ on RT.

Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah told Assange that Hezbollah supports Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as Syria supported resistance in Lebanon and “hasn’t backed down in the face of Israeli and American pressure.” 

Nasrallah, a freedom fighter to millions though a terrorist to the US, Israel, Canada and the Netherlands, says Assad’s regime “served the Palestinian cause very well.”

This is why Hezbollah supported the so-called “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere, but when it came to Syria, Hezbollah urged the opposition to engage in dialog with President Bashar al-Assad.

“This is the first time I say this – We contacted […] the opposition to encourage them and to facilitate the process of dialogue with the regime. But they rejected dialogue,” he revealed. “Right from the beginning we have had a regime that is willing to undergo reforms and prepared for dialogue. On the other side you have an opposition which is not prepared for dialogue and it is not prepared to accept reforms. All it wants is to bring down the regime. This is a problem.” Continue reading

Geopolitical stakes in Nigeria: Curious role of the IMF

Kaduna refinery (photo from nigerianbestforum.com)

As Nigeria spirals into instability, historian and economic researcher Frederick William Engdahl argues a recent government decision to lift subsidies on imported fuel in the oil-rich nation bears the mark of Washington Consensus shock therapy.

In the article below, Engdahl explains his view.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest oil producer, is from all evidence being systematically thrown into chaos and a state of civil war. The recent surprise decision by the government of Goodluck Jonathan to abruptly lift subsidies on imported gasoline and other fuel has a far more sinister background than mere corruption, and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is playing a key role. China appears to be the likely loser along with Nigeria’s population.

The recent strikes protesting the government’s abrupt elimination of gasoline and other fuel subsidies, that brought Nigeria briefly to a standstill, came as a surprise to most in the country. Months earlier, President Jonathan had promised the major trade union organizations that he would conduct a gradual four-stage lifting of the subsidy to ease the economic burden. Instead, without warning he announced an immediate full removal of subsidies effective January 1, 2012. It was “shock therapy” to put it mildly.

Nigeria today is one of the world’s most important producers of light, sweet crude oil—the same high-quality crude oil that Libya and the British North Sea produce. The country is showing every indication of spiraling downward into deep disorder. Nigeria is the fifth largest supplier of oil to the United States and twelfth largest oil producer in the world on a par with Kuwait and just behind Venezuela with production exceeding two million barrels a day.

The curious timing of IMF subsidy demand

Despite its oil riches, Nigeria remains one of Africa’s poorest countries. The known oilfields are concentrated around the vast Niger Delta roughly between Port Harcourt and extending in the direction of Lagos, with large new finds being developed all along the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.Nigeria’s oil is exploited and largely exported by the Anglo-American giants—Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Texaco. Italy’s Agip also has a presence and most recently, to no one’s surprise, the Chinese state oil companies began seeking major exploration and oil infrastructure agreements with the Abuja government.

Ironically, despite the fact that Nigeria has abundant oil to earn dollar export revenue to build its domestic infrastructure, government policy has deliberately let its domestic oil refining capacity fall into ruin. The consequence has been that most of the gasoline and other refined petroleum products used to drive transportation and industry, has to be imported, despite the country’s abundant oil. In order to shield the population from the high import costs of gasoline and other refined fuels, the central government has subsidized prices. Continue reading

Senate approves indefinite detention and torture of Americans

The terrifying legislation that allows for Americans to be arrested, detained indefinitely, tortured and interrogated — without charge or trial — passed through the Senate on Thursday with an overwhelming support from 93 percent of lawmakers.

Only seven members of the US Senate voted against the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, despite urging from the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country that the affects of the legislation would be detrimental to the civil rights and liberties of everyone in America. Under the bill, Americans can be held by the US military for terrorism-related charges and detained without trial indefinitely.

Additionally, another amendment within the text of the legislation reapproved waterboarding and other “advanced interrogation techniques” that are currently outlawed.

“The bill is an historic threat to American citizens,” Christopher Anders of the ACLU tells the Associated Press.

For the biggest supporters of the bill, however, history necessitates that Americans must sacrifice their security for freedom. Continue reading