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London-based Global Witness has just put out a good report on how some major international banks, including Citibank, “have been dealing with some of the world’s most corrupt regimes.” Gavin Hayman, the group’s Campaigns Director, said, “The same lax regulation that created the credit crunch has let some of the world’s biggest banks facilitate the looting of natural resource wealth from poor countries.”
Among the findings:
Barclays kept open an account for the son of the dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea
long after clear evidence emerged that his family were heavily involved in substantial
looting of state oil revenues.
A British tax haven and a Hong Kong bank helped the son of the president of
Republic of Congo, another oil-rich African country, spend hundreds of thousands of
dollars of his country’s oil revenues on designer shopping sprees.
Citigroup facilitated the funding of two vicious civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia
by enabling the warlord Charles Taylor, now on trial for war crimes in the Hague, to
loot timber revenues.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”