How Offshore Tax Havens Enslave the World

The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire

Directed by Michael Oswald (2017)

Film Review

The Spider’s Web is about the network of secret offshore tax havens that has allowed Britain to financially enslave much of the Third World. The film begins by describing the special status of the City of London corporation, a special enclave within greater London that services as Britain’s financial district.

The City of London has a private police force and private courts, Unable to conquer this area of London during the 1066 invasion, William the Conqueror negotiated a treaty making it virtually self-governing.

After an attack on the British pound during and after the 1956 Suez Crisis (see Suez: Britain’s Illegal War Against Egypt), the British government implemented two important measures to stem the hemorrhage of pounds overseas: 1) it temporarily restricted foreign investment and 2) it created a City of London eurodollar market to accept foreign investments in US dollars.

Keen to escape US regulation, US banks flocked to set up international operations in London. At the same time, City of London bankers augmented their eurodollar market by drafting secret and illegal regulations to make the Cayman Islands (still a British colony) a secret haven for tax evasion and money launderers.

Eagerly creating similar offshore havens in Bermuda, Virgin Islands, Jersey and other colonies, by 1997 City of London banks controlled 90% of all international loans via their eurodollar market. The filmmakers blame the creation of this vast offshore banking network for the “financialization” of both the US and UK economies (ie the decision by US/UK banks in the mid-seventies by major US/UK banks  to invest in financial instruments rather than manufacturing).

Africa is the region most heavily exploited by this illegal financial network. Between 1970 and 2008, African elites in cahoots with multinational corporations moved $944 billion in oil, gold, diamond and rare earth revenues into offshore tax havens. This was five times the amount of global debt ($177 billion) Africa owed in 2008.

The most interesting part of the film is an interview with former Chase Manhattan economist Michael Hudson about the State Department approaching him in 1967 for his help setting up a US offshore tax haven to stem the flow of US dollars overseas for Vietnam-related military expenditures.

1968 Global Revolts: Derailed by US Intelligence?

1968 Global Revolt – Part 4 World Wars

DW (2018)

Film Review

The final episode of this series has a dual focus: the 1968-71 uprisings that occurred in Japan, Chile, Brazil and France and the birth of the women’s, gay liberation and environmental movements in the US.

Like the earlier three episodes, there’s no real unifying thread in Part 4. It begins by focusing on the birth of the Japanese Red Army, from the perspective of ex-Japanese Red Army member filmmaker Tamotu Adachi. The first global “terrorist” network, the ideologically confused Japanese Red Army eerily foreshadows the birth of Al Qaeda and ISIS thirty years later.

Although the Red Army’s links to US intelligence are less well-established than those of Al Qaeda, ISIS (and Italy’s Red Brigades and Germany’s Baader-Meinhoff Gang – see 1968 Global Revolt and the Brutal 1969 Crackdown), one time US intelligence asset Lyndon Larouche called attention to their CIA links as early as September 1974 (see Japan’s Red Army Reactivated).

After becoming a filmmaker, Adachi traveled with the Japanese Red Army to Palestine where they engaged in military exercises with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. There, along with German radicals and volunteers from the Irish Republican Army, they smeared themselves with blood-red berry juice and acted out a number of fake battles for the benefit of journalists and filmmakers.

Part 4 also examines the popular overthrow of Chile’s dictator, Brazil’s failed uprising, and successful uprisings by French and Japanese farmers to prevent US military base expansion.

The film concludes with a brief history of US activists who parted company with the antiwar movement to form the women’s liberation, gay liberation and environmental movement. As historian Tariq Ali points out near the end, the 1968 uprisings in the US and the UK were primarily libertarian and focused on individual freedoms. This possibly explains why they took a much different direction in other countries.*


*The influence of US intelligence in guiding this direction can’t be ruled out, see How the CIA Used LSD to Destroy the New Left , Did the CIA Use Gloria Steinem to Subvert the Feminist MovementA C-SPAN Talk About Gloria Steinem and Other CIA Anomalies

Hidden History: The UN Mediator Assassinated by Jewish Terrorists in 1948

Killing the Count – Part 2 Mediation and Assassination

Al Jazeera (2014)

Film Review

Part 2 begins by tracing the development of Palestine’s Jewish terrorist organizations opposed to British occupation. The first, the Haganah, was created in the late 1930s when Britain severely restricted immigration of European Jews to Palestine. The Irgun and Stern Gang (aka Lehi) were more militant splinter groups of Haganah. Although all three committed bombings, assassinations and other terrorist atrocities against British troops and Arab civilians, the Stern Gang was by far the most violent. Itzak Shamir, a prominent member, would become prime minister of Israel in 1977.

In November 1947, ongoing Jewish terrorism led the newly formed UN General Assembly to recommend the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish regions. Jewish extremists rejected this proposal – their goal was to capture all of Palestine (aka “Greater Israel” as defined in Biblical terms). Haganah responded to partition by commencing military operations against the UN-assigned Arab areas.

Continued Jewish terrorism ultimate forced British troops to withdraw from Palestine on May 14, 1948. Although technically Palestine was now ruled by UN mandate, Jewish militants proclaimed territories under their control as the State of Israel. Within hours, the Egyptian air force bombed the Jewish-controlled regions, and troops from Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iraq crossed into Palestine.

Based on his skillful negotiation with the Nazis to free concentration camp prisoners (see Jewish Terrorism and the Creation of the State of Israel/), the UN Security Council appointed Swedish diplomat Folke Bernodote to negotiate a truce and eventual peace in Palestine. It was Bernodotte who invented the “shuttle diplomacy” that would make Nixon security advisor Henry Kissinger so famous.

Bernodotte visited Israel and all the Arab capitols multiple time to draw up peace terms. The initial conditions he set called for Palestine’s Jewish and Arab territories to be contiguous (unlike the General Assembly partition, which created isolated Jewish and Arab regions across Palestine), the right of Arab refugees to return to land Jews had confiscated and for Jerusalem to be in the Arab-controlled state.

The latter was a fatal error* that Bernadotte subsequently rectified by calling for Jerusalem to be a UN-administered zone.

It was too late. The Stern Gang brutally assassinated him within hours after his final arrival in Israel.

Although members of Ben-Gurion’s government could personally identify the killers, they were never brought to justice.


*Obviously Bernodotte never attended a Seder (Passover celebration), in which the pronouncement “next year in Jerusalem” concludes the ritual.

 

Hidden History: Jewish Terrorism and the Creation of the State of Israel

Killing the Count – Part 1 The White Buses

Al Jazeera (2014)

Film Review

Killing the Count is a two-part documentary about the 1949 assassination of UN mediator Foulke Bernodotte. Part 1 covers Swedish baron Bernodotte’s daring rescue of 30,000 concentration camp victims during the final year of World War II. Of the 30,000, 10,000 were Jews and 20,000 were Scandinavian resistance fighters arrested following the Nazi occupation of Norway and Denmark.

On learning of Hitler’s order to exterminate all concentration camp prisoners when it became clear Germany would lose the war, Bernadotte used his friendship with Himler’s personal physician to arrange a meeting with the SS leader responsible for running the camps.

Bernadotte, an exceedingly shrewd negotiator, persuaded Himler to allow the Swedish Red Cross to move Scandinavian prisoners from Germany’s interior to Neuengame, a concentration camp close to the Danish Border.

The Swedish Red Cross had a detailed list of all the Scandinavian prisoners detained in German camps. In part owing to Sweden’s strong Nazi leanings,* their Red Cross had been  to deliver food parcels provided they were personally addressed to individual prisoners.

By the time Bernadotte successfully organized a convoy of buses to transport 10,000 Scandinavian prisoners to Neungame, Allied troops had crossed the German border and most SS members had deserted. Because there were no Nazis to stop him, Bernadotte now used his buses to evacuate the Scandinavian prisoners and as many Jewish prisoners as he could rescue from Neungame and the women’s and children’s concentration camp Ravensbrook. He was subsequently honored by a number of Jewish organizations for his effort.

In 1948 the UN Security Council would him to negotiate a settlement in the Jewish-Palestinian war in Palestine.


*Although technically a “neutral” country, the Swedish monarch provided the Third Reich with iron exports critical for their armaments industry, as well as allowing Hitler’s Navy to cross their territorial waters and his bombers to cross their air space.

 

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2014/06/killing-count-20146282143931887.html

 

 

 

Hidden History: Israel’s Persecution of Jordan Valley Bedouins

The Last Shepherds of the Jordan Valley

Al Jazeera (2012)

Film Review

This documentary depicts the systematic persecution of Bedouin shepherds in the Jordan Valley by the Israeli government. Although their ancestors have farmed the occupied West Bank for thousands of years, Israel is determined to drive these Palestinians from their homeland because the Jordan River is the main source of much of Israel’s water. Since 1997, the Israel Defense Force has routinely demolished their homes, shot their sheep and/or arrested them without charge.

The majority of Palestinians fled the Jordan Valley during the 1967 war. Israel prohibits those who left from returning. Ten thousand remained. Although many of their descendants have been driven out, at present the Jordan Valley is home to 60,000 Palestinians.

The Israeli government has illegally confiscated most of the shepherds’ lands for a military firing range. They have also allowed Israeli settlers to build illegal settlements.

Local families are forbidden to draw water from their own well, which is now deemed the property of the Israeli military.

Instead they must travel 27 km and pay $7 per cubic meter to buy water from Israel.

Since the documentary was first released in 2012, Israel has arrested one of the women for participating in its filming.

Hidden History: Life Inside a Palestinian Refugee Camp

Seven Days in Beirut

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

Al Jazeera has been running an excellent series of documentaries about the daily lives of ordinary Palestinians. Seven Days in Beirut is about a British-Italian journalist who spends a week in the Burj Barajneh refugee camp in southern Lebanon. Many Palestinians who were evicted from their homes by Zionist paramilitary forces in 1948 are in permanent limbo in crowded Lebanese refugee camps.

The family the journalist stays with have lived in the camp, which has the appearance of a overcrowded favela or slum, ever since they were forced to flee Palestine in 1948.

Because Lebanon refuses to grant citizenship to the 18,000 Palestinian refugees who live in the camp, they can’t own land outside the refugee camp, work in the professions they have trained for (medicine, nursing, education, etc) or receive free health care and education guaranteed Lebanese citizens.

Electricity is delivered to their tenements via low hanging tangles of power cables that pose a constant danger of electrocution. Finding work is extremely difficult, and residents support themselves by working in shops and cafes, working as cleaners and singing at weddings.

There is one medical clinic (funded by the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees)*  serving 25,000 Palestinian and Syrian refugees. However residents must make advance cash payment ($US 7,000) if they require hospitalization.

The UNRWA also funds a school inside the camp for children.

All the refugees interviewed for the film believe they will eventually return to their homes in Palestine. They place great store in education to prepare their children for this day.


*The future of UNRWA, which relied heavily on US funding, is very uncertain since Trump discontinued it a few weeks ago.

Hidden History: The Abolitionists who Led the European Colonization of Africa

Slavery Trade Routes – Part 3 Slavery’s New Frontiers

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

The final episode in the series begins with the revolution in Saint-Domingue (modern day Haiti) that would signal the beginning of the end for the slave trade. Led by Tousaint L’Ouverture, in 1791 the entire slave population of Saint Domingue (90% of residents) revolted again their plantation owners. It would be Napoleon’s first military defeat.

Although the British Navy succeeded in shutting down much of the slave trade in 1815, they couldn’t stem the flow of slaves to feed the prison-style industrial coffee plantations in Brazil. An additional 2 million Africans were deported to Brazil between 1815 and 1850. At present, Brazil has the second largest population of Africans in the world (with Nigeria at number one).

Although the trafficking of slaves to the US stopped in 1815, the American slave population continued to grow – in part due to the routine rape of female slaves by their white masters.

US Last Country to Abolish Slavery

In 1825, after achieving independence, all former Spanish colonies abolished slavery. French, English and Dutch colonies would gradually follow suit. The US formally abolished slavery in 1865 during the Civil War. In reality slavery continued in southern states with Jim Crow laws that denied Blacks the right to vote, freedom of movement and the right to self-defense. In addition, laws providing for the arrest of unemployed blacks for vagrancy resulted in a de facto involuntary servitude.

European Colonization of Africa

For me, the most interesting part of the film concerns the direct link between the abolition of slavery and the intensive European colonization of Africa. The military adventurers who conquered Africa were all “abolitionists.” Officially the purpose of their missions to Africa were to end the slave trade. In reality, they were deeply committed white supremacists who cut deals with Arab slave traders and local chieftains to put poor African peasants to work (involuntarily) on their African coffee, palm oil, rubber and cotton plantations.

The video can’t be embedded but can be seen free at the following link:

Slavery’s New Frontiers