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Well, this is unusually candid.  Not to mention stupid as fuck.

Backgrounder: Sikorski is the Polish Foreign Minister, known for being rabidly pro-American in a kind of "Central European Neocon" kinda way.  He's married to the noted conservative commentator and dingbat Anne Applebaum.  He's a noted proponent of NATO and his name has been mentioned as a potential future Secretary-General.

So this conversation is really quite striking.

Sikorski: You know that the Polish-American alliance is worth nothing. It is therefore harmful, because it gives Poland a false sense of security.

Rostowski: Why?

Sikorski: Complete bullshit. We will get into conflicts with the Germans, with Russia, and we will think that everything is great because we have given the Americans a blowjob. Losers, complete losers.

According to the transcript, Sikorski described Warsaw's attitude towards the United States using the Polish word "murzynskosc."

That derives from the word "murzyn," which denotes a dark-skinned person and someone who does the work for somebody else, according to the PWN Polish language dictionary.

Principia Discussion / Fnording political debates
« on: June 07, 2014, 04:34:45 pm »

Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream Of A Silicon Reich
strange and ultimately doomed stunt flamboyant act of corporate kiss-assery latest political fashion California Confederacy total corporate despotism potent bitter Steve Jobs Ayn Rand Ray Kurzweil prominent divisive fixture hard-right seditionist aggressively dogmatic blogger reverent following in certain tech circles prolific incomprehensible vanguard youngish white males embittered by “political correctness” Blade Runner, but without all those Asian people cluttering up the streets like to see themselves as the heroes of another sci-fi movie “redpilled” The Matrix “genius” a troll who belches from the depths of an Internet rabbit hole frustrated poet cranky letters to alternative weekly newspapers preoccupations with domineering strongmen angry pseudonym J.R.R. Tolkien George Lucas typical keyboard kook archaic, grandiose snippets cherry-picked from obscure old lack of higher ed creds overconfident autodidact’s imitation fascist teenage Dungeon Master most toxic arguments snugly wrapped in purple prose and coded language oppressive nexus teeth-gnashing white supremacists who haunt the web “men’s rights” advocates nuts disillusioned typical smarmy, meandering


This may explain:

Last week, some Internet magazine published the latest attempt at the genre of Did You Know Neoreaction Exists You Should Be Outraged. A couple of reactionaries wrote the usual boring “actually, nothing you said was true, why would you say false things?” responses. Nydwracu, a frequent commenter on this blog, did something I thought was much more interesting. He wrote a post called Fnords where he removed all of the filler words and transitions between ideas and thin veneer of argument until he stripped the essay down to the bare essentials.

Which is probably the single best conceptual deployment of fnords I've actually seen.

(I realise Junkenstein made reference to this elsewhere.  However, I felt putting it in its own thread and this forum would get it more attention)

Aneristic Illusions / UK's first secret trial gets underway
« on: June 05, 2014, 08:49:23 am »
It's bad enough we're flushing 800 years of legal tradition - which has survived the Spanish Habsburgs, the Valois, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler and Stalin - away because OMG TEH TERRERISM.

But no, we had to go one step further.  Had it not been for an extraordinary effort by the press, even reporting on this trial would've been considered a breach of "national security" - the reason given for the secret trial in the first place.

All we know is that two male defendants, AB and CD, are on trial for terrorism offences, and these offences relate to national security.  I have no doubt whatever they are charged with and the particulars of the offences is of great importance - why else go to such extraordinary effort?  But the groupthink of the intelligence services and political class is disturbing, and prone to error.  And even if it were, closed court sessions are not unheard of in the UK.

I would really like to know what is going on.


After probably a month of not uploading videos to Youtube and getting desperately behind on my playthroughs, I finally submitted and went to my local nerd store* and talked to the nerdling-in-chief about my problems.

While a laptop upgrade is out of the question, for laptop design reasons, they are, however, selling their in-store computers which they use for their "LAN parties" and "48 hour Battlefield 4 marathon sessions" at a suitable discount price.  Top-end market graphics card included.

Obviously, this doesn't solve my internet issue, and will require some setting up and getting used to (not least re-downloading all my games from Steam and Origin).  However, it should be able to run any currently released game at 60 FPS on high graphics settings, and will probably turn things like Dragon Age: Origins and Skyrim into virtual works of art.

So, some good news, at last.

*it really is a nerd store.  Combined computer gaming and tabletop RPG and tabletop gaming needs, all under one roof.  They have a homebrew Warhammer/Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting, for Christ's sake.  Also, neckbeards everywhere.

It's just like the Arab Spring, only for the bit where Obama's not a dictator and none of this is new.

Aneristic Illusions / The Rule of Law - Florida edition
« on: May 09, 2014, 12:59:37 pm »
Just another day in America's Banana Republic:

On December 10, more than two dozen police officers from across Miami Dade County converged on a blue Volvo that had crashed in the backyard of a townhouse on 65th Street just off 27th Avenue.

As the car was wedged helplessly between a light pole and a tree, nearly a minute passed before officers opened up – firing approximately 50 bullets at the car and the two unarmed men inside the vehicle.

The two men inside the car survived that initial volley of gunfire, according to witnesses, who said they could see the men moving inside the Volvo. Everything went quiet for nearly two minutes before the officers opened up a second time – unleashing an unrelenting torrent of bullets that lasted almost 25 seconds. By the time it was over, the two men inside the car were dead.

CBS4 News has learned a total of 23 officers fired a total of at least 377 rounds.

Bullets were sprayed everywhere. They hit the Volvo, other cars in the lot, fence posts and neighboring businesses. They blasted holes in a townhouse where a 12-year-old dove to the ground for cover and a four month old slept in his crib.

“It was like the Wild Wild West, man, crazy,” said Anthony Vandiver, who barely made it through the back door of his home before the gunfire erupted. “Shooting just wild; shooting all over the place. Bullets could have come through the window. Anything could have happened man. They weren’t thinking, they weren’t thinking at all.”

Earlier that night, the driver of the Volvo, Adrian Montesano, robbed a Walgreens at gunpoint, and then later shot Miami Dade Police Officer Saul Rodriguez in a nearby trailer park.

Montesano escaped in the officer’s patrol car eventually dumping it at his grandmother’s house in Hialeah – before fleeing in her blue Volvo
By 5 am every cop in South Florida was looking for that blue Volvo – intent on catching the man who had shot one of their own.

But what police didn’t realize before they started shooting at the Volvo is there was a second man in the car – Corsini Valdes – who had committed no crime.

And in fact, as CBS4 News was the first to report, both men inside the Volvo were unarmed at the time police caught up with them. All of the gunfire came from police.

Montesano and Valdes were killed by the dozens of rounds that tore through their bodies.

But Montesano and Valdes weren’t the only ones struck – two Miami Dade police officers were hit as well – caught in the crossfire. One officer was shot in the arm and the second was hit in the arm and grazed in the head. If the bullet had struck just a half an inch to the side the officer would have been killed.

The sound of the gunfire was deafening – literally deafening. Two Miami police officers sustained ruptured ear drums from the cacophony of shots.

I don't often credit major American media outlets, but CBS did good here.

Aneristic Illusions / Boko Haram - a wider context
« on: May 09, 2014, 12:31:44 pm »
Here'a a collection of posts and information I put up on Facebook, in a more reader friendly format.

So, has anyone got more info on Boko Haram's financial backers? I heard a VERY interesting rumour concerning Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, the former President of Mauritania and current resident (military instructor, in fact) of soft-power and Islamist arming enthusiast, Qatar.

Interesting not least because Taya was considered a stalwart American ally (as is Qatar) and Boko Haram have allegedly forged links with AQIM - a group which probably at least partially infiltrated and run by Algerian military intelligence to bilk counter-terrorism funds from the US.

And in commenting on this article:

Adamawa as a territory does historically extend into Cameroon and Chad, with modern Nigeria being a colonial construct (much to the chagrin of Nigerian nationalists). And of course, Nigeria has an infamously corrupt and wealthy political elite (I taught more than a few of their children), which provides even more reasons for armed rebellion.

However, President Goodluck has been pretty against using military solutions to deal with Boko Haram, which is probably just as well given the state and discipline of the Nigerian military. So I think even if we give Nyako the benefit of the doubt for his thesis, then we shouldn't be looking at the federal government...or at least the parts of it Goodluck controls.


So, what does it all mean?  Who knows, really.  I mean, it's just speculation at this point, I've seen nothing which points at hard evidence.

That said...

The alliance between AQIM and Boko Haram is potentially disturbing.  As I'm sure we all recall, AQIM joined with the Tuareg rebels in pillaging their way across Mali before international forces, led by the French military, coordinated a counter-attack.  AQIM allegedly also got support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in addition to their links to Algerian military intelligence.  Whether that relationship extended to US intelligence is...a question no-one has any clear answers on.

But consider.  Qatar.  Saudi Arabia.  Algeria.  An oil-rich Nigeria.  An Islamist inspired rebellion in a region where one would expect a more...ethnic uprising to occur.  The kidnappers of the girls also wore military uniforms, that much is certainly uncontested, only whether they were terrorists posing as military personnel or actually military.  A President reluctant to use military power (and rightly so, given the ill-discipline of the Nigerian military - they'd probably be at greater risk of rape in military custody), having his hand forced by an international crisis. 

And there is the issue of slavery.  Although I mocked Nick Cohen, and rightly so, for his terrible article on this topic, he may have had a kernel of a point when it came to the distinction between kidnapping and slavery.

Slavery is a widespread practice in....Mauritania.  It's also the basis of the political economy of the Tuareg regions of Africa.

All I'm saying is that there is a ugly picture emerging here.

Edit: And it is worth noting that Boko Haram was not considered a designated terrorist group by the US government until very recently.  Could be mere oversight.  Could be.  But it also means materially supporting Boko Haram would not have been a crime under US law.

Richard Nixon's glittering half-life sarcophagus / HE IS RISEN!
« on: April 21, 2014, 07:53:41 am »
Cthulhu, I mean

Blatant "Nessie" disinfo ahead, but we all know the real deal.

Hey guys, guess what?

Al Sharpton was an FBI informant

Looks like Sharpton is trying to alter the record of what he actually did and paint himself in a more flattering light, which may explain why this story has come out yet again.  "Al Sharpton battles the mob" is far nicer than "Al Sharpton got caught laundering coke money, flipped for the FBI and snitched on Muhammed Ali, among others.


Experts are trying to establish why a large expanse of foam has appeared on the River Clyde in Glasgow.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had received a number of calls.

No wonder they called in experts.  Not only soap, but a "large expanse" of it.  The mind truly boggles.

When are people just going to accept that rich people are ALWAYS the real victim?

A Superior Court judge who sentenced a wealthy du Pont heir to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter noted in her order that he "will not fare well" in prison and needed treatment instead of time behind bars, court records show.

Judge Jan Jurden's sentencing order for Robert H. Richards IV suggested that she considered unique circumstances when deciding his punishment for fourth-degree rape. Her observation that prison life would adversely affect Richards was a rare and puzzling rationale, several criminal justice authorities in Delaware said. Some also said her view that treatment was a better idea than prison is a justification typically used when sentencing drug addicts, not child rapists.

Yes.  "Unique circumstances."

Aneristic Illusions / The zenith of doublespeak?
« on: March 23, 2014, 03:37:14 pm »
I was watching the BBC Panorama investigation into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the man killed on the London Underground because he was, apparently, mistaken for a terrorist*, and there was this hilarious exchange with an Assistant Commissioner from Scotland Yard:

Taylor: When you strip everything else away, Operation Kratos, in the end, is about a shoot to kill policy, isn’t it, because the point is, you’ve got to kill the suicide bomber.

Steve House: No, I can’t agree with that. What we train our officers to do is what we call immediate incapacitation.

Taylor: Which is aiming for the head?

Steve House: Which is aiming for the head. I understand why it is that people say that’s a shoot to kill policy but it is not a shoot to kill policy. We do not recruit and train our officers to shoot to kill, and that’s not what police firearms officers do. They shoot to incapacitate.

Operation Kratos here is the codename under which armed units are deployed to counter immiment terrorist threats.  So they shoot to the head.  But that's not a shoot-to-kill order, because policemen don't shoot to kill.  Makes perfect sense when you think about it, really.

*HOW Menzes was mistaken for a terrorist is still a good question which has not been sufficiently answered.  While the building he was in put him in contact with Hamdi Adus Isaac, the two men don't even look similar:

And Isaac was being tracked by British intelligence, namely GCHQ, who were tracking his calls while fleeing to Italy.

Nor was how the surveillance on Menzes suddenly became a kil-, uh, incapacitation order really ever explained.  Or indeed the composition of the Kratos Unit, though it's strongly suspected, based on weapons and conduct that they are likely special forces seconded to Scotland Yard command, either SAS or Special Recon Regiment.

Thought Catalog:

You’re young, you’re free and you’re empowered. Nothing is stopping you from espousing a carefree attitude and and embarking on fun adventures!

 As young women in 21st century, the world is truly our fragrant oyster.

Don’t get me wrong, women are still oppressed to a monumental degree. The patriarchy is still an omnipresent overlord, endorsing cultural structures that keep women from realizing their full potential and contribute to a harrowing loss of self-esteem, especially to women who don’t fit into society’s straightjacket-like norms of what a woman should be like. However, we must remember and celebrate the fact that, thanks to the brave endeavors of so many strong and independent women, from the fierce suffragettes in early 20th century to the fearless women of the fat acceptance movement today, young women have it better than our mothers and grandmothers did in their youth. 

Here are 5 things every 20’s woman should do to truly bask in the glory of empowerment


Faithful readers (like us) of 20-something compost heap Thought Catalog may know the feeling of wondering, upon a reading a Thought Catalog essay, "Is this shit real?" Funny you should ask.

Here you will find a March 15 thread on a forum in which (shirtless gym bro) user AryanofValhalla writes:
I can't believe my eyes misc, I was bored one evening a week ago and so I wrote a satire article from the perspective of a twenty something feminist woman and sent it in to Thought Catalog,
    A few minutes ago I got an email saying they published the article
    My penname is Anne Gus , as an homage to the misc
    It's happening

And here it is: "5 Things Women Need to Do in Their 20's (Or Else the Suffragists Died For Nothing)." Shirtless gym bro AryanofValhalla, a.k.a. Thought Catalog author Anne Gus ("I'm a feminist. I'm a woman. I'm strong. I'm in my twenties. I'm beautiful. I deserve love. Give me it.") adds, "HAHA look at the phucking comments I can't breathe right now, I didn't ever think they'd publish it !"

TIME Magazine

On Saturday, Thought Catalog published a “feminist” essay called 5 Things Women Need to Do in Their 20′s (Or Else the Suffragists Died For Nothing) that wasn’t written by a feminist at all. In fact, it was reportedly written by a poster on the forum as a total joke. Using the pen name Anne Gus, the user described himself (herself?) thusly: “I’m a feminist. I’m a woman. I’m strong. I’m in my twenties. I’m beautiful. I deserve love. Give me it.”

Thought Catalog:

What both Gawker and Time don’t know however, is that the fake article, is a fake.

There is no AryanofValhalla.

The account on was set up by our dear administrative assistant Wendy Les a while ago as a work of satire. A quick look at “his” other posts indicate that it is clearly a parody of the typical Gym Bro.

I geniunely LOL'd.

Believe you are incapable of cooking that, if given the chance, you could in fact end up burning a glass of water if let loose in the kitchen?  Want to make nutritious and fairly tasty food, either for yourself or to impress others?

Then this is the meal for you.

Serves 4.  It freezes just fine, so if you want to stock up on extra food for lazy days, where anything more than pasta and microwaving seems like too much effort, this is also a good meal.


500g of beef mince.  Preferably the good stuff, but budget accordingly.
1 onion.
2 celery stalks
Garlic.  Cloves, fresh from a jar or even powdered will work.
Chilli flakes
Oxo or similar beef stock cube
Tomato sauce
Tinned chopped tomatos
Worcestershire Sauce
Olive oil
A large cooking pan (I use a wok)

Blend the onion and celery first. Throw them in with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of garlic (obviously, alter for personal taste, but 1 tsp should suit most people) and leave until you can smell them cooking.

Next in goes the mince.  Keep the temperature low/medium, keep stirring until its nice and brown.

Add the tin of chopped tomatos.  Add two tablespoons of tomato sauce.  This will thicken the sauce and, in addition to the next ingredient, add all the salt you will ever need for flavour.

Add the oxo cube/beef stock cube.

Add the oregano and thyme.  I find just under a level tablespoon for both works well.

Add chilli flakes.  I find a heaped teaspoon works well, but it depends how much kick you like your meal to have.  You could also, of course, use actual chillis here, but with the UK being what it is, chili flakes more readily available (also cheaper and keep better).

Add the Worcestershire Sauce.  About a tablespoon should work, but of course, adjust for personal preferences.

Leave to cook on a low temperature for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Serve with delicious pasta and decent cheese on the top.  Parmesan, Mozzarella and Gruyere are my personal preferences.

This is what I cook when I really just cannot be bothered to do anything complicated.  It's easy, I usually have all of the above ingredients in abundance, requires little in the way of thought or effort and usually tastes decent.  Not amazing, but certainly nothing to complain about. 

I think I remembered everything on the ingredient front, but I may not have.  I'm so used to doing it on autopilot I don't even think about it consciously any more.

Aneristic Illusions / Here's your "Illuminati"
« on: March 02, 2014, 03:19:19 pm »

There may be 147 companies in the world that own everything, as colleague Bruce Upbin points out and they are dominated by investment companies as Eric Savitz rightly points out. But it’s not you and I who really control those companies, even though much of our money is in them. Given the nature of how money is invested, there are four companies in the shadows that really control those companies that own everything.

You can see where I’m headed here. That means the real power to control the world lies with four companies: McGraw-Hill, which owns Standard & Poor’s, Northwestern Mutual, which owns Russell Investments, the index arm of which runs the benchmark Russell 1,000 and Russell 3,000, CME Group which owns 90% of Dow Jones Indexes, and Barclay’s, which took over Lehman Brothers and its Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, the dominant world bond fund index. Together, these four firms dominate the world of indexing. And in turn, that means they hold real sway over the world’s money.

The Bilderberg Group is 120-140 powerful people who meet each year to discuss policy. The meetings are closed to the public.
This graph we found on Facebook shows the members' connections to a ton of corporations, charities, policy groups and media. Everyone from Eric Schmidt to George Soros is a member. There are tons of conspiracy theories about the group, including that they control the world economy.

We took the findings with a grain of salt--after all, it's easy to trace an individual to a corporation and the graph doesn't specify what influence the member wielded.

But perhaps it's a compelling argument for why the meetings should be public.

Agribusiness is concentrated to a point that would make a Wall Street master of the universe blush. Vast globe-spanning corporations, many of them US-based, dominate the industry.
Let's start with "inputs," the stuff farmers buy before they plant their crops. As of 2007, six companies owned 75 percent of the global pesticide market, and four companies sold half of the globe's seeds, ETC Group reckons. Here's the kicker: Three of them—Monsanto, Syngenta, and Dupont—are on both lists. The agrichemical makers have transitioned into seed barons, genetically engineering their major seed lines to resist their own herbicides.

Okay, so farmers rely on a small handful of firms for their inputs. But it turns out the same thing holds true when they harvest and sell their crops. Just four companies—Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Louis Dreyfus—control up to 90 percent of the global trade in grain. In the United States, three of those firms process 70 percent of the soybeans and 40 percent of the wheat milled into flour. The bulk of corn and soy grown by US farmers ends up feeding animals in vast factories, and here, too, the consolidation is dramatic: Three companies now process more than 70 percent of all beef, and just four firms slaughter and pack upwards of 58 percent of all pork and chicken.

Goldman Sachs made more than a quarter of a billion pounds last year by speculating on food staples, reigniting the controversy over banks profiting from the global food crisis.

Less than a week after the Bank of England Governor, Sir Mervyn King, slapped Goldman Sachs on the wrist for attempting to save its UK employees millions of pounds in tax by delaying bonus payments, the investment bank faces fresh accusations that it is contributing to rising food prices.

Goldman made about $400m (£251m) in 2012 from investing its clients' money in a range of "soft commodities", from wheat and maize to coffee and sugar, according to an analysis for The Independent by the World Development Movement (WDM).

In 2007, then-U.S. ambassador to France Craig Stapleton conspired to retaliate against European countries for their anti-biotech policies. U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration formulated battle plans to extract revenge against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds.

In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes: “Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission…Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”

Ambassador Stapleton goes on to write: “Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory,” he wrote.

According to the High Court, Nathaniel Rothschild, scion of the banking dynasty and friend of seemingly everyone in the spheres of finance, business and politics, is indeed "puppet master" to the Baron of Hartlepool and Foy.

The banker and Bullingdon boy has lost his libel case against the Daily Mail, which he sued for "substantial damages" over its account of his and Mr Mandelson's extraordinary trip to Russia in January 2005.

Mr Rothschild claimed he was subjected to "sustained and unjustified" attacks in the May 2010 article, which portrayed him as a "puppet master", dangling his friend Lord Mandelson in front of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to ease the passage of colossal business deals.

Less salacious, but seemingly more sordid, was an earlier dinner at Cantinetta Antinori, a fashionable Tuscan restaurant in Moscow. Mr Deripaska, the Mail had claimed, was dining with executives from the US aluminium giant Alcoa, negotiating a £250m deal to buy two of Mr Deripaska's aluminium plants, at which a stumbling block was an EU import tariff on Russian aluminium. Enter Lord Mandelson, then a lowly Mister, but at the time the EU Trade Commissioner. The deal is done, costing several hundred British jobs, and the tariffs come down.
Mr Rothschild claimed the trip was "purely recreational", and Associated Newspapers had to admit during litigation that it couldn't be sure that Mr Mandelson had joined Mr Deripaska at dinner or whether aluminium tariffs were discussed, and in fact the deal had been struck before Mr Mandelson and Mr Rothschild arrived in Moscow. But for Mr Justice Tugenhadt, recreation it was not.

"So far as Lord Mandelson was concerned the benefit was the trip and the hospitality itself. So far as Mr Deripaska was concerned it was a relationship with the EU Trade Commissioner," he said in his ruling. The judge rejected the notion that Mr Rothschild and Mr Mandelson had flown out as friends, not business associates, and said Mr Rothschild's behaviour had in part been "inappropriate". "That conduct foreseeably brought Lord Mandelson's public office and personal integrity into disrepute," the judge said.

Mr Rothschild's "different and developing" accounts of the Siberia trip were confusing, he continued, adding that on this subject the banker had not been entirely candid.

Note: Peter Mandelson's name can also be found on the Bilderberg invite list, and he has a long and sordid history of corruption in UK political circles.

The 200-year-old banks will be reunited under a single shareholding that will bring together the fortunes of the French and English sides of the renowned family as they attempt to safeguard the business against the effects of new regulation and the fallout from the global financial crisis.

Paris Orleans, the Rothschild Group's Paris-based holding company, will convert into a French limited partnership, securing the families' control of the bank against potential takeovers. The new partnership will then buy out minority investors in NM Rothschild & Sons, the UK business, as well as outstanding minority interests in the French operations.

David de Rothschild will become chairman of the partnership and said the new structure would help the bank "better meet the requirements of globalisation in general and in our competitive environment in particular, while ensuring my family's control over the long term".

Two of the most glamorous names in global finance are linking up, with the Rothschild banking dynasty agreeing to buy a stake in the Rockefeller group's wealth and asset management business to get a long-sought foothold in the United States.

The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians' every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

The company's top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations decided to support Haiti’s recent presidential and parliamentary elections despite believing that the country’s electoral body, “almost certainly in conjunction with President Preval,” had “emasculated the opposition” by unwisely and unjustly excluding the country’s largest party, according to a secret US Embassy cable.

A new exposé on Haiti shows how business owners and members of the country’s elite used Haiti’s police force as their own private army, giving them guns and ammunition, after the 2004 U.S.-backed coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It’s part of a series of reports that draw from almost 2,000 U.S. diplomatic cables on Haiti released by WikiLeaks.

Yeah, well, the U.S. government cables are part of the 250,000 confidential and secret cables that WikiLeaks got from the diplomatic service, from the State Department. Essentially, since we were on last talking about PetroCaribe, we’ve had four major stories, which are that they were blocking the hiking of the minimum wage from a buck-seventy-five a day to $5. They wanted to $3, and that’s what they won, working with Haitian assembly industry owners.

But what happened is, Chevron and Exxon Mobil, amongst other oil companies, in conjunction with the U.S. embassy, tried to block this deal by putting enormous pressure on President Préval to stop the oil from coming in and the deal with Chávez to happen. And in fact, when Préval visited President Bush in the White House, this was the main issue of conversation, was Haiti’s relationship with Venezuela, Haiti’s attempt to get energy independence. And so, you see how they maneuver, what strings they pull, how they’re constantly applying pressure on Haiti, whether it’s to keep the minimum wage low, to stop energy independence, to have their people win the election.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests, the report reveals, yet the agency did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade.

It is understood that one of the key hackers mentioned in the confidential Soca report admitted that 80 per cent of his client list was taken up by law firms, wealthy individuals and insurance companies. Only 20 per cent was attributed to the media, which was investigated by the Leveson Inquiry after widespread public revulsion following the phone-hacking scandal.

Soca, dubbed “Britain’s FBI”, knew six years ago that blue-chip institutions were hiring private investigators to obtain sensitive data – yet did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade. The report was privately supplied to the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics in 2012 yet the corruption in other identified industries, including the law, insurance and debt collectors, and among high-net worth individuals, was not mentioned during the public sessions or included in the final report.

Tom Watson, the campaigning Labour MP, said: “What is astonishing about this whole murky affair is that Soca had knowledge of massive illegal invasions of privacy in the newspaper industry – but also in the supply chains of so-called blue-chip companies.

It's not just the consumer goods industry that's become so consolidated. Ninety percent of the media is now controlled by just six companies, down from 50 in 1983, according to a Frugal Dad infographic from last year. Likewise, 37 banks merged to become JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and CitiGroup in a little over two decades, as seen in this 2010 graphic from Mother Jones.

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

The U.S. government paid an expert $18,000 to assess whether news stories about the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, it was revealed today.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, were partners for years at a Washington law firm that represented a Who's Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud, a Reuters inquiry shows.

The firm, Covington & Burling, is one of Washington's biggest white shoe law firms. Law professors and other federal ethics experts said that federal conflict of interest rules required Holder and Breuer to recuse themselves from any Justice Department decisions relating to law firm clients they personally had done work for.

Both the Justice Department and Covington declined to say if either official had personally worked on matters for the big mortgage industry clients. Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Holder and Breuer had complied fully with conflict of interest regulations, but she declined to say if they had recused themselves from any matters related to the former clients.

Last week, the Justice Department announced that it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial probe.
Could that be because the attorney for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was none other than Attorney General Eric Holder’s “best friend” and former personal attorney, Reid Weingarten?

Or because in 2008, Goldman Sachs employees donated  $1,013,091 to Barack Obama?

Or because Goldman Sachs is the former client of Eric Holder’s and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s law firm, Covington & Burling?

The conflicts of interest and cronyism at Holder’s Department of Justice are so many that it took a 27-page report by the Government Accountability Institute to catalog them all.

And lest one forget: Holder's best friend Reid Weingarten--who previously represented child rapist Roman Polanski--is also the lawyer for former MF Global treasurer Edith O’Brien.  On Thursday, the New York Times reported that Holder's Justice Department will not be criminally charging Jon Corzine or any MF Global executives in that case either.

Weingarten, who calls himself a “hard-core child of the ‘60s,” apparently has a soft spot for Wall Street fat cats.  "I feel like I'm in the French Revolution, defending the nobility against the howling mob," Weingarten told Bloomberg in 2002.

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