Source: WSWS – Part 1 / Part 2
The history of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—its coups, assassinations, detention, extraordinary rendition, torture, “black sites,” drone executions, dirty wars and the sponsorship of dictatorial regimes [1]—not only underscores the ruthless, bloody and reactionary role of American imperialism, but most especially the ruling elites’ mortal fear of the working class internationally.

From its founding in 1947, the Agency recognized that global hegemony could not be achieved and sustained by brute repression alone. Accelerating anticolonial struggles, revolutionary struggles in Greece and across Europe, mass struggles and strikes across the world (not the least of which was the Great Strike Wave of 1945-46 in the US [2]) were all deeply influenced by socialist views. Despite the collaboration of the Stalinist regime in the USSR in disarming these movements and assisting in reestablishing the authority of the capitalist governments, the American bourgeoisie was well aware that the fate of their system hung in the balance. Read the rest of this entry »

NED-LogoSource: New Eastern Outlook / Voltairenet
This is the clear reaction of Washington to the decision by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on July 28 to declare the activities of the US National Endowment for Democracy as “undesirable in the territory of Russia.” The official statement stated that, “the National Endowment for Democracy used Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations under its control to take part in campaigns aimed at denying the legitimacy of results of Russian elections; organize political actions designed to influence the authorities’ decisions and discredit the service in the Russian Armed Forces.” It further elaborated, “In pursuit of these goals, the fund allocated about 2.5 million US dollars to Russian commercial and non-commercial organizations in 2013-2015.”

Under Russia’s law on Undesirable NGOs, adopted by the Duma or parliament and signed into law by President Putin this May, any foreign or international non-governmental organization could become “undesirable” if it threatened the foundations of Russia’s constitutional order, the country’s defense capability and the security of the Russian state.

Significantly, in a statement regarding the decision, Russia’s Foreign Ministry named Carl Gershman, the neo-conservative who has been president since NED was founded in 1983. They noted that Gershman said – absolutely openly – that the NED organization was intended to be a beautiful facade for distributing funds among opposition circles in foreign countries. That suggests they have done their homework very well before banning the NED. Read the rest of this entry »


Source: Hamilton Spectator
In October 2013, US authorities shut down Silk Road, the world’s largest cryptomarket. At the time, prosecutors claimed that the closure of the so-called “eBay of illicit drugs” represented the beginning of the end for online drug distribution.

This assertion has since proved incorrect. Over the next 10 months, drug trading on the “dark net” recovered rapidly. It is now estimated to be at least twice the level it was at the height of Silk Road’s popularity.

A new generation of cryptomarkets is supplying the expanding online drug trade. They are populated by thousands of dealers who use digital encryption to communicate with clients, spruik their wares and conduct illicit transactions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reinforcing a common Monolithik theme, a DEA Agent giving a presentation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana indicates that “black market” opiate pills are leading to Heroin use and death. As previously indicated, the increase in worldwide opium production has fueled the illegal manufacture of counterfeit opioid pills and the large-scale theft and distribution of legally made prescription opiates. As if by design, the utter failure that is the war on drugs has perpetuated a drug that was almost dead. But now, in the immortal words of 1993’s Pulp Fiction anti-hero, Lance “Heroin is coming back in a big fuckin’ way.
Read the rest of this entry »

UK banks and financial services have ignored so-called “know your customer” rules designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”

His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of it amounts to a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”. It added that the same money-laundering networks used by organised crime were being used by terrorists as well.

Roberto Saviano's 'Gomorrah' has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)Roberto Saviano’s ‘Gomorrah’ has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)

Interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Mr Saviano said of the international drugs trade that “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade. “Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that drug trafficking organisations were blatantly recycling dirty money through European and American banks, but no one takes any notice,” he said. “He found that banks were welcoming dirty money because they need cash, liquidity during the financial crisis. The figures are too big to be rejected …. Yet there was no reaction.”

Referring to HSBC’s record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) US fine for money laundering for the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in 2012, Mr Saviano said: “The biggest UK bank! Yet it has scarcely been written about. The British treat it as not their problem, because there aren’t corpses on the streets.

“They think it’s all happening ‘over there somewhere’, so they needn’t worry about it. Sure, HSBC has been reported but there has been no debate. You need to fill the papers. The intellectuals have said nothing. [David] Cameron has said nothing. It’s his country. How can he say nothing on such a piece of news?”

US justice officials concluded HSBC was guilty of “stunning failures of oversight – and worse, that led the bank to permit narcotics traffickers and others to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through HSBC subsidiaries and facilitate hundreds of millions more in transactions with sanctioned countries”, including money banked for Middle East terror groups.

He accused the British Government, together with Austria, of consistently blocking anti-money-laundering moves by the European Union. “They will carry on like that until someone gets killed here by the Russians or the Italians. ” he said. Mr Saviano said he feared one reason was because banks are a key source of political funding.

“Every time there’s an election campaign, I wonder if someone will come forward and start a campaign on money laundering … but it never happens. The reason, I am convinced but I don’t have the proof, is that a good part of the money that comes from money laundering goes into the election campaign. Not illegally, legally, because it can come in because of a lack of regulation.”

Labour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty moneyLabour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty money (Getty)

Twenty years ago, drug money was laundered offshore because the top international banks “were afraid of opening their doors to dirty money, they were afraid of losing control”, he said. “The more criminal capital comes in, the more criminals there are on the boards. The Mafia set up its own bank, Michele Sindona’s Banca Privata Finanziaria, and the other banks would have nothing to do with them,” he said. “Not any more. Now, because of the problem of cash, they can’t wait to get the Mafia organisations in.”

Labour MP David Lammy, who met Mr Saviano last week, said the UK needed to take “very seriously” his claims about its financial services’ role in the international drugs trade. Mr Lammy, who is seeking to become Mayor of London in 2016, said: “We are rightly proud of our financial services industry in this country, but we cannot afford to be complacent.

“I am particularly concerned that London’s inflated property prices are fuelled by dirty money and I will do everything in my power as mayor to ensure that money laundering and tax evasion are rooted out by the authorities.”

Read the rest of this entry »

We needn’t endorse the means of desperate people to acknowledge their ends are worth fighting for.

Source: Reason
Elizabeth Nolan Brown



I agree with Robby Soave that non-defensive violence is not a good solution, both for moral and tactical reasons. But I nonetheless find myself filled with empathy for the people—rioters? protesters?— who have been engaging in acts of violence against police property, corporate property, and police themselves this afternoon and evening in Baltimore. That’s not to say I condone their acts, but I find them understandable. Resistance isn’t always rational, nor necessarily kind. Or, to say it another way, desperate people do desperate things. And it is very clear that there are a lot of people in this country in a state of desperation over our unaccountable, ever-encroaching, fee-mongering, violence-first police force and its myriad biases.

I was never a police hater or even much of a police skeptic, you guys. Sure, I believed in bad apples and bad laws—especially concentrated on/around bad policy, like the drug war—but I still believed the vast majority of individual cops and law enforcement agents were basically good. And they still may be, but it doesn’t really matter in the face of a system that’s so thoroughly stacked, at all levels, against the vulnerable and disenfranchised, as well as toward the perpetuation of its own power and unaccountability. Covering “criminal justice” in various ways for the past year and a half at Reason—from the crafting of legislation aimed at cracking down on criminals of various sorts and the swelling/moral squalor of America’s jails and prisons to individual instances of police abuse and the “general warrants” that are vice laws … I don’t necessarily think most cops or prosecutors are bad people, but they’re fucked (as are we all) by a sweeping, self-perpetuating schemata that knows but one problem and one solution: bad guys and more (thorough) more (prisons) more (funds) more (fear) more (MORE) law enforcement. Read the rest of this entry »


Source: Firstlook

One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: Read the rest of this entry »


Source: SleuthJournal via Naked Security

A new class action lawsuit claims Facebook violated its users’ privacy rights in acquiring what it describes as the largest privately held database of facial recognition data in the world.

According to a report from Courthouse News Service, lead plaintiff Carlo Licata, of Cook County, claims the social network violated Illinois privacy laws by not providing him with written notification that his biometric data was being collected or stored.

Furthermore, Licata claims that it’s also unlawful to collect biometric data in the state without clearly stating the purpose for which that data is being collected, along with notification of how long it would be stored for.

Licata, represented by attorney Jay Edelson, claims that Facebook began violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act of 2008 when it introduced its facial recognition tech in 2010 in a “purported attempt to make the process of tagging friends easier”. Read the rest of this entry »

By: Cygnus

Each year, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime releases a report covering opium production around the world and in Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of illicit Opiates. Opium production within the Afghan borders has been on the rise since 2001, when the United States invaded the country and usurped Taliban control of the state (the Taliban had completely eradicated poppy production in a single year). In 2014, while yield was slightly off-peak, the land area used to grow Afghanistan’s most popular and lucrative crop has never been higher.

Poppy fields presently cover 224,000 hectares of land in the embattled country; equating to over 20% of the total cultivated land area of the country. That’s right – over 1/5 of Afghan farm land is dedicated to providing the rest of the world with opium-derived substances. To put that into perspective, consider that 224,000 hectares is enough poppy fields to fill either Israel or Haiti completely. Or almost the entirety of the smaller Caribbean Islands. New York City (78,550 hectares), one of the most populous cities in the world could be covered almost 3x over with Afghan poppy fields. In fact, New York AND Los Angeles could easily be covered in 2014’s growing area. Poppy fields are so commonplace in Afghanistan, it’s almost impossible to not have seen the pictures (more) (even more) of US Soldiers passing through waist-high Poppy during patrols over the past several years.

Despite the clarity of the UN report, when it comes to US politicians addressing the endless, costly, unjust war on drugs, everyone is seen scratching their heads like the drugs are coming from an enigmatic source in a distant galaxy. It’s clear to just about every informed person on the planet that something fishy is going on in Afghanistan.  The UN report outlines where the opium is grown, who grows it, how much grows, which dates it is harvested and how it leaves the country. Despite this wealth of information, the United States, one of the predominant leaders in the international war(s)-on-ideologies (drugs & terror) has been out-smarted and out-farmed by the simple, tribal peoples of Afghanistan. Poppy fields flourish year after year, with eradication efforts declining significantly (-63% from previous year in 2014). It would seem that Afghan opium (processed into morphine, then heroin or counterfeit prescription pills for foreign markets) is a yet another problem that is not meant to be solved. Annihilating global narcotics trafficking organizations, the markets they serve and the terrorists they fund apparently isn’t a high priority.  The United States would rather wait until billions in drug-profits are transformed into machine guns, bombs, RPGs and convoys of Toyotas (filled with angry, sociopathic maniacs) before they take action. Instead of tearing down fields of Poppies (something the pre-9/11 Taliban was able to accomplish in a single growing season), they send soldiers overseas to fight battles in Iraq and Afghanistan that now need to be re-fought. Narcotics profits have been the single biggest boon to terror organizations and policymakers have yet to figure out that narco-terror is a hydra who’s heads will keep regrowing unless the source of power is destroyed once and for all. Within our government, allegedly exists the top minds in law, policy, and essentially, problem-solving. Yet, when faced with the challenge of international networks of money, drugs and weapons over the past 50 years, they are made to look inept. Meanwhile, the American people look on in horror, mouths agape, wondering…”are they doing this on purpose?”

One only has to look into the history of state-complicity in drug trafficking to answer that question…but for now, look into the UNODC Afghan Opium Survey graphics. The full report is worth a read and available online, here.   Read the rest of this entry »