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How Russian Style Kleptocracy Conquered America

I remember this period. The Americans and European wealthy so envied the New Russians. (the gangsters) "Crime That Pays Is Crime That Stays" (modern proverb) ... ... "But Palmer had seen up close how the world’s growing interconnectedness—and global finance in particular—could be deployed for ill. During the Cold War, the KGB had developed an expert understanding of the banking byways of the West, and spymasters had become adept at dispensing cash to agents abroad. That proficiency facilitated the amassing of new fortunes. In the dying days of the U.S.S.R., Palmer had watched as his old adversaries in Soviet intelligence shoveled billions from the state treasury into private accounts across Europe and the U.S. It was one of history’s greatest heists. Washington told itself a comforting story that minimized the importance of this outbreak of kleptomania: These were criminal outliers and rogue profiteers rushing to exploit the weakness of the new state. This narrative infuriated Palmer. He wanted to shake Congress into recognizing that the thieves were the very elites who presided over every corner of the system. “For the U.S. to be like Russia is today,” he explained to the House committee, “it would be necessary to have massive corruption by the majority of the members at Congress as well as by the Departments of Justice and Treasury, and agents of the FBI, CIA, DIA, IRS, Marshal Service, Border Patrol; state and local police officers; the Federal Reserve Bank; Supreme Court justices …” In his testimony, Palmer even mentioned Russia’s newly installed and little-known prime minister (whom he mistakenly referred to as Boris Putin), accusing him of “helping to loot Russia." "The United States, Palmer made clear, had allowed itself to become an accomplice in this plunder. His assessment was unsparing. The West could have turned away this stolen cash; it could have stanched the outflow to shell companies and tax havens. Instead, Western banks waved Russian loot into their vaults. Palmer’s anger was intended to provoke a bout of introspection—and to fuel anxiety about the risk that rising kleptocracy posed to the West itself. After all, the Russians would have a strong interest in protecting their relocated assets. They would want to shield this wealth from moralizing American politicians who might clamor to seize it. Eighteen years before Special Counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into foreign interference in a U.S. election, Palmer warned Congress about Russian “political donations to U.S. politicians and political parties to obtain influence.” What was at stake could well be systemic contagion: Russian values might infect and then weaken the moral defense systems of American politics and business. This unillusioned spook was a prophet, and he spoke out at a hinge moment in the history of global corruption. America could not afford to delude itself into assuming that it would serve as the virtuous model, much less emerge as an untainted bystander. Yet when Yegor Gaidar, a reformist Russian prime minister in the earliest postcommunist days, asked the United States for help hunting down the billions that the KGB had carted away, the White House refused. “Capital flight is capital flight” was how one former CIA official summed up the American rationale for idly standing by. But this was capital flight on an unprecedented scale, and mere prologue to an era of rampant theft. When the Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman studied the problem in 2015, he found that 52 percent of Russia’s wealth resided outside the country. The collapse of communism in the other post-Soviet states, along with China’s turn toward capitalism, only added to the kleptocratic fortunes that were hustled abroad for secret safekeeping. Officials around the world have always looted their countries’ coffers and accumulated bribes. But the globalization of banking made the export of their ill-gotten money far more convenient than it had been—which, of course, inspired more theft. By one estimate, more than $1 trillion now exits the world’s developing countries each year in the forms of laundered money and evaded taxes. As in the Russian case, much of this plundered wealth finds its way to the United States. New York, Los Angeles, and Miami have joined London as the world’s most desired destinations for laundered money. This boom has enriched the American elites who have enabled it—and it has degraded the nation’s political and social mores in the process. While everyone else was heralding an emergent globalist world that would take on the best values of America, Palmer had glimpsed the dire risk of the opposite: that the values of the kleptocrats would become America’s own. This grim vision is now nearing fruition."

The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (Documentary)

This is a documentary about the "City of London" and its powerful lobby. (which was pivotal and complicit in the creation of the undemocratic GATS+ is pushing a new trade in services agreement. TISA to help cover up the illegitimacy of the original GATS, which is controversial and lacks the consensus one would expect and hope for in something that claims to be international law. It most certainly does not have that. Quite the opposite. See also Nicholas Shaxson's book, "Treasure Islands" and the video interview linked here with him, You will see the connections. ) Our former colonial masters, the UK and its elite class is very deeply enmeshed in this huge theft of policy space. Shaxson has also recently published "Poisoned wells : the dirty politics of African oil" a new book, which I have yet to read. However, its a subject I am interested in particularly because the "legitimacy" of much of the land grabbing in Africa is called into question by the illegitimacy of the initial process of creating fake NGOs and fake "civil society organizations" (which was done by Europeans, eagar to loot the developing world, not them) including perhaps the big ones like the WTO, world banks, and other essential pieces of a fake legitimacy machine. to create a pretext for a global looting. Of course the people of these countries, like here in the US are not in the loop, nor are their oligarchs really empowered by any kind of consent to trade their natural wealth away by the people's wishes, just as the funds looted should be but are not theirs. Their people live in grinding poverty. And are pawns in these crook's game.