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Archive for June 2010

Wells Fargo Admits Laundered Mexican Drug Money

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Bloomberg June 29, 2010

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else…..

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

This was no isolated incident. Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers — including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine.

The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years.

‘Blatant Disregard’

Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S.

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Written by laudyms

June 30, 2010 at 10:53 am

BP: Wanton toxicity and destruction, big PR

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BP is blocking access to rescuing turtles and is incinerating turtles in the oil.
Video COPYRIGHT by Catherine Craig. You have full permission to reproduce this video in its entirety with full credits and no changes.

PRWatch.org

* Toxic Dispersant Maker Hires Top Lobbyists: Nalco, the maker of the toxic dispersant Corexit that BP is using, has a plan to deal with the toxicity of its product and all of the marine life poisoned in the Gulf … lobbying! Surely, that will fix the problem. Or, at least, cover it up and get Nalco off the hook.

* EPA Covers Up Toxicity of the Oil Spill: Oh yeah, it’s totally safe for all of the cleanup workers says BP… and the EPA. Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency covering up for BP, the biggest environmental criminal of the entire millennium? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is saying it’s safe, too.

G-20 Nations: Race to the Bottom will Continue

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A critical analysis of the G-20’s Toronto Declaration

by DAWN PALEY

June 27, 2010   Vancouver Media Co-op

As the G-20 summit winds down behind the fences surrounding fortress Toronto, there are at least 560 folks in jail, and anyone left out on the streets is facing detentions, beatings, searches and arrests.

This is the context in which the Group of 20 gathered to write the Toronto Summit Declaration, a 27 page document released earlier this evening. An early critical reading of this text makes it evident that those who have taken great risk to mobilize against the G20 have done so on behalf of the health of communities, and the planet.

Because though the Toronto Declaration begins with a populist appeal to sustainability, job creation and financial regulation, it enshrines a commitment to force the poor and working class around the world to tighten their belts yet again as states implement strict new austerity programmes.

The Declaration proposes an ambitious new structural adjustment agenda, designed by the IMF and the World Bank, that aims to halve first world deficits by 2013.

Shoring up financial sector abuse of public funds is likely one of the most pressing concerns of publics, who have been denouncing the bank bail out all around the world. But the language in the Toronto Declaration does little to guarantee meaningful public oversight of the financial sector.

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End Corporate Price Fixing in Dairy, Help Farmers Survive

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FightBigFood.org

Today in Madison, Wisconsin dairy farmers from across America are coming together2 to tell stories of price manipulation, antitrust violations and more, that have ultimately led to the loss of their herds, their farms, their livelihoods and in some cases even their own lives.

It’s time to take on corporate power in our food supply. Stand with farmers today to tell the Department of Justice that enough is enough.

Take action

For the past 18 months America’s dairy farmers have faced their worst crisis since the Great Depression3 while at the same time, giant dairy processors and co-ops have raked in record profits.

While dairy farmers have suffered historic low prices in 2009, their dairy processors and the “farmer-owned” co-ops that are supposed to offer them a fair price, have been skimming off all the profits. In 2009, Dean Foods profits soared to $76.2 million, more than 254% higher than 2008.4 During this same time, farmers have been taking on record debt, with a 100 head dairy farm losing more than $10,000 per month on average.5

Countless pleas for justice and numerous attempts to remedy the situation have failed.

Why?

Much of this inequity in the dairy industry can be traced directly to the excessive consolidation in the sector, which has bred the same type of corruption that we have recently witnessed in many other sectors of our economy and society.6

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Endless Wars: Not the way to fix the deficit

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June 23, 2010LA County Nonpartisan ExaminerCarl Herman

The following 8-minute video by Dylan Ratigan of Congressman Alan Grayson is a brilliant discussion contrasting US “investment” of taxpayer money on endless and unlawful wars versus the dire condition requiring policy in the US economy. [where $$ can be more usefully spent]

The good news is the structural solutions are known for full employment, ending the national debt, and monetary reform to conservatively deliver over a trillion dollars of benefits to the public that are currently parasitized by the banking/finance cartel.

That’s right. The economy can be fixed so quickly you will think it a miracle, but it’s nothing more than unleashing American productivity with economic structure that removes banking/finance parasitism. You don’t know about this because the money cartels of oligarchs purchased corporate media to hide these solutions from you. My best comprehensive explanations, documentation and solutions are here:
See also:

War Makes Us Poor

Far from rescuing the economy from recession or depression, needless conflicts drain capital from productive uses.

By David R. Henderson

June 24, 2010 “The American Conservative” — Many people who aren’t comfortable with the U.S. invading other countries reassure themselves with the belief that at least war creates jobs for Americans. But is military conflict really good for the economy of the country that engages in it? Basic economics answers a resounding “no.”

Rules of Engagement and Empire Don’t Mix- and ignoring it won’t help

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Sheila Samples, a former Army Public Info Officer, wrote an article in Feb of this year that presaged  the current flap created by the Rolling Stone article, The Runaway General, by Michael Hastings.   Sounds like insubordination has been an open secret for a long time.

I have two questions:

  • Why did it take an expose to get the Obama Admin to address the problem?
  • And why do we have to get this kind of news from Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, or not at all?

Some may characterize this as just the latest public relations blunder.

It’s much more than that. But I fear the major problem is hypocrisy: We have Imperialist motives and goals, but insist on dressing them up as benign.  It’s not surprising those on the front lines feel scorn for their leaders. They risk their lives for Imperialism without being given free rein to pursue it.

We need to get out of Afghanistan now. We no longer have the resources to sustain Empire-building. Not to mention that it is antithetical to what we’re supposed to believe in.

Why can’t we see what dangerous territory our decline is getting us into at home? We might as well be advertising in red-white-blue neon- “Tyrant wanted”.

–Claudia

Update: see also this premonitory article from June 15th about that other mighty warrior “King” David Petraeus and the joys of insubordination:

King David and His Howling Commandos by Jeff Huber

…… A May 24 New York Times story by Mark Mazzetti informed us that last September “King David” Petraeus empowered himself, through a secret directive, to expand “clandestine military activity” throughout his Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility without seeking permission of Congress or the commander in chief. “Clandestine military activity” involves SOCOM assets…..

Stop Global Food Security Act Promoting GMOs

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Biotech corporations and mega-charities are promoting the GMO agenda as US foreign policy, and it must be stopped.

June 21, 2010   Dr. Mae-Wan Ho The Institute of Science in Society

The GM clause to food security

The US Global Food Security Act of 2009 (S. 384) sponsored by Richard Lugar (Indiana, Republican), Robert Casey (Pennsylvania, Democrat) and seven other US Senators in February 2009 is [1, 2] “A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 to provide assistance to foreign countries to promote food security, to stimulate rural economies, and to improve emergency response to food crises, to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and for other purposes.”

However, the proposed amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961 has proven controversial. It would “include research on biotechnological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including genetically modified technology.”

The bill is supported by the US land grant colleges as well as InterAction (American Council for Voluntary International Action) and its 26 member organizations including WWF, Oxfam, Bread for the World CARE, Save the Children, and ONE [3]. The bill was passed through the Senate foreign Relations Committee on 31 March 2009, and the Senate is expected to vote on it soon in 2010.

Widespread opposition to GM mandate

In April 2010, 140 civil society groups, scientists, and development experts signed an open letter to US Senators, urging them to “strip the GM mandate” from the Global Food Security Act [4]. While the petitioners applaud the bill’s intention to reform aid programmes to focus on longer-term agricultural development and restructure aid agencies to better respond to crises, they object to the clause effectively earmarking one agricultural technology – genetic modification – for billions of dollars in federal funding. US$7.7 billion goes with the bill, and no other farming methods or technologies are mentioned.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto has lobbied the hardest to support the bill. The US company is the world’s leader in the increasingly concentrated agricultural biotech industry, which is already subject to an anti-trust inquiry (see [5] US Farmers Oppose ‘Big Ag’ in Anti-Trust Hearing, SiS 46). Monsanto is likely to benefit most from the new research funding stream, and to profit from its patented products (both GM seeds and pesticides).

The petitioning groups represent the anti-hunger, family farms, farm-workers, consumers and those practicing and supporting sustainable agriculture. The letter delivered urges the Senate to reject the bill until it is made technology-neutral, and calls for agricultural research funding to concentrate on addressing local challenges faced by small-scale farmers, instead of mandating a specific and narrow technological fix, particularly one with little prospect of success and increasingly rejected by countries around the world.

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