Corporate Thieves Run, but Cannot Hide

[An interesting exposure of the secret exemptions which large-scale capitalists and government officials have used to hide their monstrous accumulations of wealth in the midst of global hunger and poverty.  The embarassing (for capitalists and their state machineries) article and the responses to it, try to make it appear that these grotesque accumulations are exceptions, and not the rule, for the capitalist system.  And there are efforts to make it appear that capitalist governments can clean up these “blemishes” on their system.  The people will take note of these as the barely exposed “tips of the iceberg” of the crimes against humanity, requiring  the justice of people’s socialist revolution–not the fantasy of justice from the perpetrators, co-conspirators, and mouthpieces, of the criminal capitalist system. — Frontlines ed.]

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Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore

Exclusive: Offshore financial industry leak exposes identities of 1,000s of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world

, The Guardian, Wednesday 3 April 2013
British Virgin Islands

[The British Virgin Islands, the world’s leading offshore haven used by an array of government officials and rich families to hide their wealth. Photograph: Duncan Mcnicol/Getty Images]

Millions of internal records have leaked from Britain’s offshore financial industry, exposing for the first time the identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world, from presidents to plutocrats, the daughter of a notorious dictator and a British millionaire accused of concealing assets from his ex-wife.

The leak of 2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade, with a former chief economist at McKinsey estimating that wealthy individuals may have as much as $32tn (£21tn) stashed in overseas havens.

In France, Jean-Jacques Augier, President François Hollande’s campaign co-treasurer and close friend, has been forced to publicly identify his Chinese business partner. It emerges as Hollande is mired in financial scandal because his former budget minister concealed a Swiss bank account for 20 years and repeatedly lied about it.

In Mongolia, the country’s former finance minister and deputy speaker of its parliament says he may have to resign from politics as a result of this investigation.

But the two can now be named for the first time because of their use of companies in offshore havens, particularly in the British Virgin Islands, where owners’ identities normally remain secret. Continue reading

Poor in India Starve as Politicians Steal $14.5 Billion of Food

[It is only right that we introduce the article below by remembering the poem “THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE” by Bertolt Brecht. — Frontlines ed.]

 

THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men

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By Mehul Srivastava and Andrew MacAskill, Bloomberg – August 29, 2012

52-year-old Ram Kishen with his government provided ration card in Satnapur Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ram Kishen, 52, half-blind and half- starved, holds in his gnarled hands the reason for his hunger: a tattered card entitling him to subsidized rations that now serves as a symbol of India’s biggest food heist.

Kishen has had nothing from the village shop for 15 months. Yet 20 minutes’ drive from Satnapur, past bone-dry fields and tiny hamlets where children with distended bellies play, a government storage facility five football fields long bulges with wheat and rice. By law, those 57,000 tons of food are meant for Kishen and the 105 other households in Satnapur with ration books. They’re meant for some of the 350 million families living below India’s poverty line of 50 cents a day.

Instead, as much as $14.5 billion in food was looted by corrupt politicians and their criminal syndicates over the past decade in Kishen’s home state of Uttar Pradesh alone, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The theft blunted the country’s only weapon against widespread starvation — a five-decade-old public distribution system that has failed to deliver record harvests to the plates of India’s hungriest.

“This is the most mean-spirited, ruthlessly executed corruption because it hits the poorest and most vulnerable in society,” said Naresh Saxena, who, as a commissioner to the nation’s Supreme Court, monitors hunger-based programs across the country. “What I find even more shocking is the lack of willingness in trying to stop it.” Continue reading

The Marikana Mine Worker’s Massacre – a Massive Escalation in the War on the Poor

by Ayanda Kota, in the Thinking Africa: Frantz Fanon blog

8 August 2012

It’s now two days after the brutal, heartless and merciless cold blood bath of 45 Marikana mine workers by the South African Police Services. This was a massacre!  South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. The amount of poverty is excessive. In every township there are shacks with no sanitation and electricity. Unemployment is hovering around 40%. Economic inequality is matched with political inequality. Everywhere activists are facing serious repression from the police and from local party structures.

Mining has been central to the history of repression in South Africa. Mining made Sandton to be Sandton and the Bantustans of the Eastern Cape to be the desolate places that they still are. Mining in South Africa also made the elites in England rich by exploiting workers in South Africa. You cannot understand why the rural Eastern Cape is poor without understanding why Sandton and the City of London are rich.

Mining has been in the news in South Africa recently. Malema, a corrupt and authoritarian demagogue who represents a faction of the BEE elite, has been demanding nationalisation. Progressive forces inside and outside of the alliance oppose Malema because he represents the most predatory faction of the elite and is looking for a massive bail out for his friends who own unprofitable mines. What we stand for is the socialisation, under workers’ control, of the mines. We also stand for reparations for the hundred years of exploitation.
Things are starting to change but not for the better. Khulubuse Zuma, the president’s nephew and Zondwa Mandela, the former president’s grandchild, and many others with close family ties to politicians have become mining tycoons overnight. China has joined the bandwagon as well, plundering our resources.
Frans Baleni, the General of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earns R105 000 a month. NUM has become a route into high office in government and even to places on the boards of the mining companies. The union is rapidly losing all credibility on the mines. It is clear that it is now co-opted into the system and is part of the structures of control. It is the police that take NUM to address the workers. Baleni’s betrayal of the workers has made him a very rich man – a rich man who condemns and tries to suppress the struggles of the poor. It is no surprise that workers are rejecting NUM, trying to build an alternative union or acting on their own without any union representing them. The workers are right to chase the NUM leaders away from their strikes.
The Marikana Mine is the richest platinum mine in the world and yet its workers live in shacks. Most of the slain workers are rock drillers, the most difficult and dangerous work in the mine. They do the most dangerous work in the mine and yet they earn only R4 000 a month. Through the blood and sweat in the mines they do not only produce wealth that is alienated from them, they also produce the fat cats, which wine and dine on naked bodies and call that sushi.
South Africa’s Lonmin Marikana mine clashes killed 34 and at least 78 people were injured!

Published on Aug 17, 2012 by antonis20032002
Uploaded by Antonis Ashiotis: http://www.facebook.com/antonisashiotis Continue reading

Philippines: “Shatter the illusion of the ‘righteous road'”

[This article from Ang Bayan by the Communist Party of the Philippines, takes a look at the current Aquino regime’s cultivation of petty-bourgeois illusions (of progress and reform) and support for the Philippines’ comprador relations with the US.  It argues that only through breaking with the US can corruption be ended, and can progress and reform take place.  The article does not speak to the Philippines’ relations (today and in the future) with other imperialists who wait in the wings, nor to whether the democratic struggle it promotes is linked to socialist revolution–and if so, if this is a distant prospect or one that is more contemporary.  In a period when some parties internationally have de-linked the democratic struggle from socialist revolution, this question deserves the attention of revolutionaries everywhere. — Frontlines ed.]

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Editorial, Ang Bayan, August 07, 2012

Under the guidance of its imperialist master, the Aquino regime is relentlessly conjuring the illusion of the “righteous road” and has been pouring in funds, lavishing attention and providing personnel to deceptive showcase projects.

This is an indication of the depths of the crisis of the ruling system. The regime wants to deceive the people, create false hopes of a better life and nip in the bud their determination to put an end to the rotten exploitative system.

These programs are particularly aimed at winning over the middle sectors of society, including the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie, using the framework of “good governance.”

It is crucial for the ruling classes to “gain the trust” of the petty bourgeoisie to maintain the stability of the ruling system. The petty bourgeoisie are forcibly isolated from the movements of the toiling masses and distanced from the path of revolutionary change. They are inundated by glittering propaganda and enticed through idealist slogans that are attuned to their dreams of making it big even as they partake of “concrete changes” as individuals, without disturbing the current order of things and abandoning their personal dreams.

Schools, the mass media and the internet are awash with the Aquino regime’s propaganda and programs to hoodwink and seduce the petty bourgeoisie. Their closest partners in this sinister endeavor to mobilize the petty bourgeoisie for attention-grabbing but limited housing, education and health programs are agencies appendaged to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) or the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Continue reading

Police in Puerto Rico Accused of Abuses

[Excerpt from Repeating Islands blog at http://repeatingislands.com/2011/09/08/police-in-puerto-rico-accused-of-abuses/]

Puerto Rico police have a history of abuse, politically repressive violence, and impunity

Charlie Savage and Lizette Alvarez (The New York Times) reported today (September 8, 2011) on the United States Justice Department’s denunciation of the Puerto Rico Police Department, underlining “a ‘profound’ and ‘longstanding’ pattern of civil rights violations and other illegal practices.” Here are excerpts here with a link to the full article below:

In a 116-page report that officials intend to make public Thursday, the civil rights division of the Justice Department accused the Puerto Rico Police Department of systematically “using force, including deadly force, when no force or lesser force was called for,” unnecessarily injuring hundreds of people and killing “numerous others.” The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, says the 17,000-officer force routinely conducts illegal searches and seizures without warrants. It accuses the force of a pattern of attacking nonviolent protesters and journalists in a manner “designed to suppress the exercise of protected First Amendment rights.” Continue reading

India: The state is an organized crime–the people wage massive struggles against corruption

COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MAOIST), CENTRAL COMMITTEE–Press Release (13 April, 2011)

 

Intensify Mass Struggles To Put An End To Institutionalized Corruption!

In recent times, corruption has once again come to the forefront as a main issue with the exposure of massive scams like 2G spectrum, Commonwealth games, Adarsh housing society, Karnataka land scams, S-Band spectrum scam. Workers, peasants, adivasis, dalits, women, and urban middle class – all classes and sections of the society are expressing their deep discontent and anguish. Recently we saw great support to the hunger strike of Anna Hazare, which is the direct consequence of the widespread discontent in the people against corruption, corrupt political parties and their leaders. Though the demand for hunger strike is Jan Lokpal Bill, the aspiration of the people is to completely wipe out corruption.

It would be innocence, if anyone feels that by setting up a committee to frame Lokpal bill and by selecting half of the committee members from civil society would itself finds a solution. In fact, lack of rules and laws is not the cause for endless and deep-ridden corruption. Way back from jeep scam, Lockheed’s airplane deal to late Rajiv Gandhi’s Bofors deals, our country has seen many a scams starting from a few million rupees to trillions of rupees. Not only main parliamentary parties like Congress and BJP, leaders and ministers of all other national and regional parliamentary parties like RJD, BSP, SP, DMK, AIADMK, TDP and hand in glove bureaucrats have a long history of corrupt practices. By proper implementation of the existing laws in the country and by the proper functioning of anti-corruption wings, scams like these can be prevented to a grate extent and those responsible for these can be severely punished. In the last 64 years history of ‘independent’ India, we don’t find a single incidence, where corrupt politicians, ministers, heads of corporate houses and bureaucrats have been punished. Due to pressure from people or opposition parties, even if arrested in some rare cases, by prolonging investigation and diluting of the charges, they get scot-free without any stringent punishment or with nominal punishment. This is because; the judiciary of this country is also an inseparable part of this exploitative state machinery. None can be under the illusion to end corruption through these laws and court rooms. Continue reading

INDIA: Yet another human rights defender attacked in Odisha

4 April 2011
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Badrama Abhyaranya Vikas Parisad and SPREAD, two human rights organisations working in Odisha state, India, concerning the attack upon the life of a human rights defender in Sambalpur district of the state. It is reported that the attack was premeditated and suspected to be carried out with the assistance of some officers working in the State Forest Department. The persons who attacked the victim in the case, Mr. Dusmant Pradhan a human rights defender working with the indigenous communities of the district, returned to the place of incident in a vehicle belonging to the forest department on the same day, looking for Dusmant since they could not murder him at the first instance. Despite having made complaints, the suspects have not been arrested or any form of protection provided to the injured human rights defender. Continue reading