Monthly Archives: October 2018

Australia Turning Really Authoritative?

Is this How a Dark Age Begins?

by Martin Armstrong

The greed of governments in their pursuit of money is the single greatest threat to creating a Dark Age. With New Zealand imposing a $5,000 fine for just landing there and you refuse to hand over your pen and passwords to your phone for them to search, now we have Australia going really nuts to the point that they risk tech companies simply banning the sale of their products in the country. The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 in Australia will force Google, Apple, Facebook, and other technology groups to help Australian authorities decode certain forms of encrypted communications on their systems, or face fines of up to AU$10 million. The government says the legislation will help protect against terrorism, fraud and child abuse crimes, claiming it aims to ensure criminals “have no place to hide.”

The problem that arises that failure to pay taxes they also call criminal. Hence, the hunt for money is greatly aided by this type of legislation far more than any other pretend criminal activity. While the government has stopped short of demanding backdoor access to tech companies’ systems that would allow the government to tap into end-to-end encryption services such as WhatsApp, it doesdemand access to data at “points where it is not encrypted.”

Apple, FOR INSTANCE,  would not be made to create a backdoor for their iMessage where every user’s encryption key is different. But the government could request access to the single encryption key for its iCloud services. When you send a message to a friend, it’s encrypted as it travels between the two devices, and when it arrives, it’s decrypted for your friend to read, which is when the government should get to read it. The Australian government is cleverly demanding not a backdoor, but a “side door” to gain access to whatever people are sending.

Naturally, the cybersecurity minister claims this will only be allowed under strict guidelines, with companies subject to three levels of escalation: an interception agency requesting the company voluntarily assist; a “Technical Assistance Notice” whereby the companies are instructed to help; and a “Technical Capability Notice”, which can only be issued by the attorney-general and basically means “comply or face a fine.” However, such promises from governments are really worthless. They always go beyond their claims of restraint.

Apple has filed a complaint stating that the Australian government previously stated that they would not to weaken encryption or compel providers to build systemic weaknesses into their products for that would undermine the entire internet and bring commerce to a halt. Apple has made it clear that this legislation poses serious risks:

  • Overly broad powers that could weaken cybersecurity and encryption
  • A lack of appropriate independent judicial oversight
  • Technical requirements based only on the government’s subjective view of reasonableness and practicability
  • Unprecedented interception requirements
  • Unnecessarily stifling secrecy mandates
  • Extraterritoriality and global impact

Governments are in serious trouble and they will be raising taxes dramatically before they ever dare try to reform. In 2016, Apple fought back when the FBI attempted to compel Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Creating backdoors means that sophisticated hackers will discover them and exploit them faster than you can blink an eye. There is a profound risk of bringing down the entire digital e-commerce world and you are looking at the destruction of the entire world economy. Apple has come out and stated that this bill is still unfit for today’s world. Governments around the world have to realize that their greed can topple our very way of life.

http://www.investmentwatchblog.com/australia-turning-really-authoritative-is-this-how-a-dark-age-begins/

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City of London–The epicentre of the global crime scene

City of London - The Centre of the global crime scene

Originally published in May 2016: When it comes to The City of London, the term ‘tax haven’ is not describing all that it should. It is a It doesn’t just shield the mega-wealthy from paying their fair dues it goes further and offers a departure from the rule of law as you would know it. Secrecy is its raison d’être. These secrecy laws do not benefit the local people living in its jurisdiction but only those individuals and corporations with enough money and with something to hide.

 

The reality is that the City of London caters for those above the law, it operates on the basis of bypassing democratic society as a whole. This has come about over time where an extraordinary ‘ gentlemen’s agreement’ has stood the test of time. Over the centuries, the head of state and his/her governments have had the need for large loans for wars and the like. The City, in exchange for such commodity, has extracted certain privileges the rest of the population do not enjoy. The end result over the time is that it now has its own jurisdiction to do pretty much as it pleases.

A ‘watchman’ sits at the high table of parliament and is its official lobbyist sitting in the seat of power right next to the Speaker of the House who is “charged with maintaining and enhancing the City’s status and ensuring that its established rights are safeguarded.” The job is to maintain order and seek out political dissent that might arise against the CityThe City of London has its own private funding and will ‘buy-off’ any attempt to erode its powers; any scrutiny of its financial affairs are put beyond external inspection or audit.

For over a hundred years the Labour party tried in vain to abolish the City of London and its accompanying financial corruption. In 1917, Labour’s new rising star Herbert Morrison, the grandfather of Peter Mandelson made a stand and failed, calling it the “devilry of modern finance.” And although attempt after attempt was made throughout the following decades, it was Margaret Thatcher who succeeded by abolishing its opponent, the Greater London Council in 1986.

Tony Blair went about it another way and offered to reform the City of London in what turned out to be a gift from god. He effectively gave the vote to corporations which swayed the balance of democratic power away from residents and workers. It was received by its opponents as the greatest retrograde step since the peace treaty of 1215, Magna Carta. The City won its rights through debt financing in 1067, when William the Conqueror acceded to it and ever since governments have allowed the continuation of its ancient rights above all others.

The City effectively now stands as money launderer of the world, described now as the capital of the global crime scene. It is the heart and engine of the offshore haven, with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man its european collection centres, the caribbean and others hoovering up billions of American dollars from all over the globe. Whilst there are good and legal reasons for offshore accounts, it has a dark and shadowy client list; terrorists, drug barons, arms dealers, despots, dictators, shady politicians, corporations and companies, millionaires and billionaires  – most with something to hide.

The Independent newspaper reported in July 2015 that The City of London is the money-laundering centre of the world’s drug trade, according to an internationally acclaimed crime expert. Another expert in Mafia criminology has come forward and stated the UK is now the most corrupt country in the world and firmly pins the blame on The City of London. In addition, every notable financial expert now agrees that due to incredibly lax financial laws facilitated by the British government, the London property market is heavily influenced by laundered money from all over the world involving hidden tax havens, most of which are British.

 

In 2016, the Home Affairs Select Committee concluded that the London property market was the primary avenue for the laundering of £100bn of illicit money a year. Yes, £100 billion laundered each year – in property alone.

 

The London money launderers don’t just wash money from crime into property. Worse, they are financing terrorist activities and operations all over the world.

Her Majesty’s British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies make up around 25 per cent of the world’s tax havens, which are now blacklisted by the European Commission and now ranked as the most important player in the financial secrecy world.

Tax havens featured on the EC’s blacklist of June last year include Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands to name just a few and each is inextricably linked to the City of London’s crime offices.

David Cameron won praise in 2013 after announcing at the Open Government Partnership summit in London that the UK intended to require companies registered in the UK to reveal the identity of their real owners in public filings at Companies House. This was then heavily watered down after the Queen was warned that her British territories were now ranked as some of the world biggest tax havens, harbouring tens of trillions of illegally stashed cash and assets that was described as a “web of secrecy jurisdictions”. The Tax Justice Network (TJN) said Britain now rules the world of tax havens.

The consequence of its operations is that money laundering is now at such levels and so widespread that the authorities have recently admitted defeat in its battle of attrition by stating openly it has been completely overwhelmed and lost control.

 

Keith Bristow Director-General of the UK’s National Crime Agency said just six months ago that the sheer scale of crime and its subsequent money laundering operations was “a strategic threat” to the country’s economy and reputation and that “high-end money laundering is a major risk”.

 

Banks located in The City of London are connected to terrorists committing some of the worst atrocities of our time, the same with the international drug trafficking trade. Many people around the world are suffering and dying as a direct result of the activities going on in this one tiny regime. One bank alone laundered $7billion in cash. When caught its cocky arrogance was no better defined than its response “in the past, we have sometimes failed to meet the standards that regulators and customers expect” when they were fined $2billion in the USA for breaking international sanctions. Toothless financial regulators in Britain look aside and do nothing other than pay lip service to this crime wave set in the heart of one of the most important capital cities in the world.

This from Michael Meacher MP “After a blizzard of revelations of financial wrongdoing over this last year, without parallel in recent history, what do the following have in common: Barclays forced to pay $360m over its manipulation of Libor, HSBC fined $1.7bn for money-laundering and flouting sanctions, Standard Chartered made to pay $667m over breached in sanction laws, RBS over Libor fixing to name but some? They are all British companies that have committed very serious offences, but they were not prosecuted by British regulators at all, only by US ones.” The scandals escalated and the authorities had to act but did little in real terms.

As a consequence, the City of London remains politically immune and acts with criminal impunity as it sucks up what is now understood to be trillions in ill-gotten gains. Bankers and hedge-fund operators dodge the authorities with skill sets honed over hundreds of years who stride with disdain over anything remotely resembling decency. HMRC investigates nothing, it takes what it is given, the austerity ridden taxpayer continually short-changed.

It is of no coincidence that this small area of Britain, just 1.2 square miles has the highest pay in the land and the third lowest council tax for property anywhere in the United Kingdom. A £10 million mansion costs less than £1,000 a year in council tax, the same residence for New York bankers attracts $225,000 a year in property taxes.

At the last census, its population stood at just 7,325, its employees stand at 414,600, nearly 40 per cent of them in financial services. Nearly 17,000 businesses are registered there, 2,700 are finance and insurance based and just over 45 per cent are foreign owned entities. HSBC’s organisation is the ninth largest bank in the world following four Chinese and four American banks located down the road in Canary Wharf.

This tiny island haven, with its own borders and police force, sits inside London as an international hub, the tax haven of all tax havens. Glass towers full of international crime lords. The banks use offshore business organisations to escape regulation and the grip these organisations have over an ever corrupt political class is incomprehensibly astounding. The Conservative party is literally bankrolled by bankers and hedge funds. Half of the wealthiest hedge fund managers in the land pay millions each year to the Tories – what do they expect back from their investment? Not just hundreds of millions of stamp duty exemptions and taxes the hedge funds no longer have to pay.

The City of London would have you believe they contribute massively to the state for their efforts. One year after David Cameron’s arrival at No 10, corporation tax represented 40.8pc of tax collected from the London financial industry, while last year it was just 19.8pc. This is an environment where banks are earning even more by taking even bigger risks with our economy having fleeced the taxpayer for half a trillion pounds a few years earlier – enough additional money to fill the funding gaps for the NHS, education, police and social services for decades.

Unrecoverable VAT and employers’ National Insurance together make up over half of taxes borne, with corporation tax less than a fifth of this so called massive contribution. The City of London does very well like no other.

Thatcher’s neoliberal dream is now totally out of control. The legislators have capitulated to its power. Democracy is systematically deconstructed in favour of the corporations. In the legislators’ place, people-powered organisations emerge such as Tax Justice Network, Democratic Audit, New Economics Foundation to name a few who operate in the arena of social justice in an attempt not to stifle capitalism, but to level the playing field a bit.

https://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/city-of-london-the-epicentre-of-the-global-crime-scene/

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China’s Uyghur Problem — The Unmentioned Part

05.10.2018 Author: F. William Engdahl

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In recent months Western media and the Washington Administration have begun to raise a hue and cry over alleged mass internment camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang where supposedly up to one million ethnic Uyghur Chinese are being detained and submitted to various forms of “re-education.” Several things about the charges are notable, not the least that all originate from Western media or “democracy” NGOs such as Human Rights Watch whose record for veracity leaves something to be desired.

In August Reuters published an article under the headline, “UN says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps.” A closer look at the article reveals no official UN policy statement, but rather a quote from one American member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN, a member with no background in China. The source of the claim it turns out is a UN independent advisory NGO called Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The sole person making the charge, American committee member Gay McDougall, stated she was “deeply concerned” about “credible reports.” McDougall cited no source for the dramatic charge.

Reuters in their article boosts its claim by citing a murky Washington DC based NGO, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). In an excellent background investigation, researchers at the Grayzone Project found that the CHRD gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from unnamed governments. The notorious US government NGO, National Endowment for Democracy, is high on the list of usual suspects. Notably, the CHRD official address is that of the Human Rights Watch which gets funds also from the Soros foundation.

The ‘Uyghur Problem’

The true state of affairs in China’s Xinjiang Province regarding Uyghurs is not possible to independently verify, whether such camps exist and if so who is there and under what conditions. What is known, however, is the fact that NATO intelligence agencies, including that of Turkey and of the US, along with Saudi Arabia, have been involved in recruiting and deploying thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims to join Al Qaeda and other terror groups in Syria in recent years. This side of the equation warrants a closer look, the side omitted by Reuters or UN Ambassador Haley.

According to Syrian media cited in Voltaire.net, there are presently an estimated 18,000 ethnic Uyghurs in Syria most concentrated in a village on the Turkish border to Syria. Since 2013 such Uyghur soldiers have gone from combat alongside Al Qaeda in Syria and returned to China’s Xinjiang where they have carried out various terrorist acts. This is the tip of a nasty NATO-linked project to plant the seeds of terror and unrest in China. Xinjiang is a lynchpin of China’s Belt Road Initiative, the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan, Russia and a prime target of CIA intrigue since decades.

Since at least 2011 at the start of the NATO war against Bashar al Assad’s Syria, Turkey had played a key role in facilitating the flow of Chinese Uyghur people to become Jihadists in Syria. I deliberately use “had” tense to give benefit of the doubt if it still is the case today or if it has become an embarrassment for Erdogan and Turkish intelligence. In any case it seems that thousands of Uyghurs are holed up in Syria, most around Idlib, the reported last outpost of anti-regime terrorists.

Washington and ETIM

In an excellent analysis of China’s Uyghur terror history, Steven Sahiounie, a Syrian journalist with 21st Century Wire, notes that a key organization behind the radicalization of Chinese Uyghur youth is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and its political front, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which is also known as “Katibat Turkistani.” He cites a speech in Istanbul in 1995 by Turkey’s Erdogan, then Mayor, who declared, “Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples but also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization and culture…” Eastern Turkestan is Xinjiang.

ETIM today is headed by Anwar Yusuf Turani, self-proclaimed Prime Minister of a government in exile which notably is based in Washington DC. ETIM moved to Washington at a time the US State Department listed it as a terrorist organization, curiously enough. According to a report in a Turkish investigative magazine, Turk Pulse, Turani’s organization’s “activities for the government in exile are based on a report entitled ‘The Xinjiang Project.’ That was written by former senior CIA officer Graham E. Fuller in 1998 for the Rand Corporation and revised in 2003 under the title ‘The Xinjiang Problem.’

I have written extensively in my book, The Lost Hegemon, about career senior CIA operative Graham Fuller. Former Istanbul CIA station chief, Fuller was one of the architects of the Reagan-Bush Iran-Contra affair, and a prime CIA sponsor or handler of Gülen who facilitated Gülen’s USA exile. He was also by his own admission, in Istanbul the night of the failed 2016 coup. In 1999 during the end of the Russian Yelstin era, Fuller declared, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.” This is what the covert US weaponization of ETIM is aimed at. Like most radical Sunni Jihadist groups, Turani’s ETIM got funding as most radical Sunni Jihadist groups from Saudi Arabia.

In the late 1990s, Hasan Mahsum, also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Turkestani, founder of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, moved ETIM’s headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the CIA-trained Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions across Central Asia. When the Pakistani military assassinated al-Turkestani in 2003 Turani became head of ETIM, and took his roadshow to Washington.

In his own study of Xinjiang, the CIA’s Graham E. Fuller noted that Saudi Arabian groups had disseminated extremist Wahhabi religious literature and possibly small arms through sympathizers in Xinjiang, and that young Turkic Muslims had been recruited to study at madrasas in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. He adds that Uyghurs from Xinjiang also fought alongside Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Fuller noted, “Uyghurs are indeed in touch with Muslim groups outside Xinjiang, some of them have been radicalized into broader jihadist politics in the process, a handful were earlier involved in guerrilla or terrorist training in Afghanistan, and some are in touch with international Muslim mujahideen struggling for Muslim causes of independence worldwide.”

The January 2018 Pentagon National Defense Strategy policy document explicitly named China along with Russia as main strategic “threats” to continued US supremacy. It states, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Explicitly, and this is new, the Pentagon paper does not cite a military threat but an economic one. It states, “China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and ‘rules of the road.’ The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, all is aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China’s authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/05/china-s-uyghur-problem-the-unmentioned-part/

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