London is now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

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.”

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Stratfor: Ukraine Coup Plotted by US Over Russian Stance on Syria

Ukraine-unrest

According to several sources, namely Stratfor, Ukraine has undergone a “Western-backed coup” in the course of the recent political upheaval that forced now-ousted President Viktor Yanukovych to leave the country.

Ukraine has been gripped by unrest since November 2013, when Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.

On February 23 2014, amid rising violence in the country, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and named Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s speaker, as interim president.

As the crisis was brewing in Ukraine, US and European officials repeatedly expressed support for the anti-government Ukrainian protesters. The protests took violent forms as an increasing number of the protesters resorted to violence in confronting Ukrainian security forces.

Stratfor, an ad-hoc public intelligence provider, confirms what the more conspiratorial-minded among us have long suspected:

MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) – The United States is behind the February coup in Kiev, which came in response to Russia’s stance on Syria, said George Friedman, the founder and CEO of Stratfor, a global intelligence company.

Russia has repeatedly said that the coup in Kiev was organized by the US, Friedman told Kommersant newspaper. Indeed, it was the most overt coup in history, the political analyst stressed.

The United States decided to act following Russia’s successes in the Middle East, a key region for the US. Americans saw that Russians could influence what was happening in the Middle East, Friedman said. Russians are one of the many challenges in the region that the US faces, he stated. The US thought Russia’s activities were an attempt to harm Washington, the political analyst told the newspaper, adding that events in Ukraine should be viewed in this context.

Russians seem to have underestimated how seriously the US would react to Moscow’s activities in the region and that they would easily respond, Friedman said. The US understood that the thing Russia wants the least is instability in Ukraine, he added.

The head of Stratfor, also known as “The Shadow CIA,” insisted that Russia’s involvement in Syria was not the only reason for the Ukrainian crisis. However, many in Washington started to perceive Russia as a problem, the expert told the newspaper, adding that at that time the US decided to divert Russia’s attention away from the Middle East.

Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011. Over 100,000 people have died as a result of the armed conflict. Russia repeatedly stated that the election of Syria’s president Bashar Assad was legitimate, and that the people of Syria should control their future. From the beginning of the war the US supported the opposition and stated that the conflict would not be over with Assad in power.

For more details, check out this article from March, 2014 on RSN:

If the US State Department’s Victoria Nuland had not said “Fuck the EU,” few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington’s man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style “destabilization campaign” that brought down Ukraine’s monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Geoffrey Pyatt is one of these State Department high officials who does what he’s told and fancies himself as a kind of a CIA operator,” laughs Ray McGovern, who worked for 27 years as an intelligence analyst for the agency. “It used to be the CIA doing these things,” he tells Democracy Now. “I know that for a fact.” Now it’s the State Department, with its coat-and-tie diplomats, twitter and facebook accounts, and a trick bag of goodies to build support for American policy.  Read More>>

25 Facts About the Federal Reserve

fedspider

Source: The Economic Collapse Blog

As we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, it is absolutely imperative that we get the American people to understand that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.  It is a system of money that was created by the bankers and that operates for the benefit of the bankers.  The American people like to think that we have a “democratic system”, but there is nothing “democratic” about the Federal Reserve.  Unelected, unaccountable central planners from a private central bank run our financial system and manage our economy.  There is a reason why financial markets respond with a yawn when Barack Obama says something about the economy, but they swing wildly whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opens his mouth.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does by a huge margin.  The Fed is the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world, and if the American people truly understood how it really works, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  The following are 25 fast facts about the Federal Reserve that everyone should know… Continue reading

YOU may be a terrorist!

Source: Minutemen News / Shades of Thomas Paine

The FBI published 25 pamphlets and distributed them to people who work in the general public to give them information on how to spot a terrorist based on a number of “suspicious behavior” indicators. People at construction sites, electronic stores, beauty salons, airports and other places were advised on what kind of behavior is consistent with domestic terrorism. Here are some of their recommendations: Continue reading

The Eye of Sauron Has Spotted Bitcoin

Source: Activist Post

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Web Money Gets Laundering Rule,” an article framed in typical central bank newspeak warning of money laundering and growing “concerns” that new forms of cash bought on the Internet might be used to fund illicit activities. [1]

This concern for possible laundering and illicit activities is banker newspeak indicating that banksters are really concerned about the possibility people might be able to escape the global web of banking activity spying and find a way out of debt slavery caused by central bank controlled currencies.  Continue reading

Neo-Imperialism and the Arrogance of Ignorance

Source: Counterpunch

Most Americans do not realize the extent to which the U.S. is becoming involved militarily in the welter of conflicts throughout Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa (check out the chaos as mapped [ABOVE] and; larger version here).

Although recent reports have tended to focus on the French effort to kick Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) out of Mali — an effort that may now be devolving into a far more complex guerrilla war, that French operation is just one operation in what may be shaping up to be a 21st Century version of the 19th Century Scramble for the resources of Africa. It’s a policy that, from the U.S. point of view, may not be unrelated to the pivot to China,  given China‘s growing market and aid presence in Africa.  Together, the scramble and the pivot will be sufficient to offset the near term effect of an sequester in the Pentagon with a torrent of money flows in the future. Continue reading

Russia Moves To Label US As Plutocracy, Warns Of War

Source: WhatDoesItMean

A stunning report prepared for President Putin by Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadiy Gatilov circulating in the Kremlin today states that “for all practical purposes” the United States has become a “plutocracy” and should no longer be registered, or referred to, by the Russian government as an“open and free democracy.”

Even worse, Minister Gatilov further recommends in his report that the plans put forth by General Colonel Leonid Ivashov, who warned this past week that “America must be kept at gunpoint,” should be “immediately implemented” as war with the United States should be expected to occur no later than 2014. Continue reading