Unlike in the 99%’s world where youth languish for months and years in jail for allegedly stealing a backpack or $5 worth of candy or a bottle of water, in the world occupied by the 1% getting caught stealing millions from the public through tax evasion might be embarrassing but is rarely prosecuted. That must change.
The ultra-rich live in a different world but they are still stuck on our planet and activists must ensure that there is nowhere to hide. From this point forward, protesters must frighten the uber-rich with a sophisticated movement to establish a new binding global legal regime dedicated to prosecuting financial crimes against humanity.
The impetus to reorient our protests away from the old model of getting angry in the streets in the hopes of toppling corrupt individuals and toward the new affirmative approach of founding a planetary legal regime, an international criminal court that ruthlessly prosecutes tax evasion as a crime against humanity, could be the greatest gift of the Paradise Papers. And only activists can make it happen.
And so the effort to decriminalize poverty continues. As hundreds of thousands of people molder in jails for the simple “crime” of being poor, we must all call out the legislative irresponsibility that finances the courts on the backs of the poor, and we must stand up to the bail bondsmen and their underwriters, as well as the private prison industry and the correction officers’ union, which all profit off the misery of low-income people in a system where injustice reigns. Justice demands it.
Nigel Scullion writes to Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in support of Marshall Wallace’s parole application
A group of volunteers sharing food with the homeless in Tampa, Florida were recently arrested for the crime of generosity.
As we enter the festive season proper, the general view of the community is that rather than Santa coming down the chimney with a sackful of toys your next drop-in guests will be baseball bat wielding Apex gangsters about to knock off the family saloon.
Source: The Christmas crime wrap
Two teenagers have been arrested after going on an alleged spree, damaging more than 40 cars
A Tasmanian law that fines people for begging should be abolished, human rights advocates say.
About 11 juvenile offenders, some believed to be members of the Apex gang, threatened three staff and took over the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre for two hours on Saturday night, the prison guard union says.
After decades of murky state-mafia relations, many Italians are now used to living with mafias.
The American criminal justice has failed to reduce crime and has failed to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens. Analysis of Jeffrey Reiman’s “The Rich get Richer and the Poor Get Prison.”
By Tracie Aylmer Over the past year, people have come to me asking about the International Criminal Court (ICC). While I have recently tried to take a break, events at the ICC haven’t allowed for me to truly get away from it all, so I figured I should explain aspects of the ICC so that…
“We’re not actually dealing with more youth offenders but the youth offenders we’ve got are committing more and more offences,” Chief Commissioner Ashton told 3AW.
The next time you hear someone say “black-on-black crime”, show them this.
Members of the Bush Administration can finally be held accountable for their crimes committed in the name of the war on terror.
A drive-by shooting involving a high powered weapon that claimed the life of a 54-year-old father and injured his young child is believed to be connected mounting tensions in Melbourne’s criminal underworld.
Half of Victoria’s 6506 prison population comes from just six suburbs or towns: Broadmeadows, Corio, Doveton, Frankston North, Maryborough and Morwell.
Labor seats dominate in the list of electorates with high unemployment rates at the time of the 2011 Census. The odd seats out in the top 20 are two unusual Coalition electorates in Morwell and Frankston.
There are 32 electorates where more than 2% of the population are Muslim, and Labor holds 29 of these seats. There is a strong concentration of Muslims in areas of north-west Melbourne where there is a large concentration of Turkish born residents, while many Muslims in south-east Melbourne come from different ethnic backgrounds. The state median value for Muslims per electorate is 1.1%. The National held seat of Shepparton has the highest concentration of Muslims in a Coalition held seat with 4.4%. and is regarded as the model of Multicultural integration.
An email sent by HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani to British tax authorities, which they denied ever receiving, has been discovered by a French newspaper.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) denied contact with Falciani, 43, who is at the center of one of the biggest financial leaks in history.
But French newspaper Le Monde has since uncovered the email, which Falciani sent to HMRC in 2008 informing the authority about HSBC’s alleged tax avoidance scheme.
It supports his previous allegations that HMRC did not act on information he provided the agency.
“It proved I’m right,” Falciani told the BBC. “It required seven years of battles to get the point we are just now.”
Liz Nelson of the Tax Justice Network told RT HMRC’s missing email sounded “disingenuous.”
The former IT systems engineer for HSBC’s private banking operation in Switzerland stole the details of 30,000 bank accounts, totaling £78 billion, in 2007.
Swiss authorities issued an arrest warrant for Falciani for breaching their banking secrecy laws. He fled to France in 2008. The Swiss government continues to seek his prosecution.
Falciani then leaked the details to French authorities, who refused to extradite him to Switzerland when they realized the data could help identify thousands of French tax evaders.
The files have since been handed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Falciani, who claims his family has received death threats since he made the leak, now lives in France under police protection.
The files reveal how HSBC Private Bank not only helped clients dodge taxes in their home countries, but also aggressively marketed the schemes.
HSBC in Switzerland actively contacted wealthy clients in 2005 to suggest ways of avoiding a new tax levied on the Swiss accounts of EU citizens, The Guardian reports.
The documents also reveal how HSBC Private Bank provided accounts for relatives of heads of state, people implicated in African corruption scandals, arms industry figures and others.
An HSBC bank branch in France laundered drug money collected from the sale of cannabis to immigrants in the Parisian suburbs, depositing the cash in the accounts of respectable clients in the French capital and reimbursing the drug dealers via their Swiss branch.
The leaks have caused a row in the UK over accountability, with Britain’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) challenging HMRC over its inaction.
In a hearing Wednesday, it emerged that of the 150 files seen by the tax authority only three were sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Of those, only one case was taken by the CPS.
Jennie Grainger, HMRC’s director general for enforcement and compliance, said it was extremely difficult to prosecute individuals for offshore tax evasion.
In the case of stolen or leaked data, guilt could only be proven using supplementary evidence, she said.
When probed on whether ministers were informed about HSBC’s practices, she initially said she was unsure, but later conceded concerns were passed on to ministers at the time.
Speaking to RT, Liz Nelson of the Tax Justice Network said: “These so called missing email – sounds disingenuous to those people [and] businesses that work hard and pay their fair share of tax.”
“There seems to be a culture at HMRC of tolerance towards tax avoidance because to be other would be anti-business, and that taxing the very wealthy is somehow anti-business.”
Lord Green, who was CEO and then chairman of HSBC during the period which the leaks cover, was later made a member of the House of Lords and then trade minister by the Conservative-led coalition government.
Green was appointed to a Cabinet committee on post-banking crisis reform by Prime Minister David Cameron, all of which happened after HMRC received data detailing the extent of HSBC’s tax avoidance schemes.
The Conservative party has come under fire after it emerged several of its key donors avoided tax in Swiss bank accounts.
Lord Fink, who donated £3 million to the Tories and was appointed a party treasurer, said he took “vanilla” tax avoidance measures.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Fink said, “Everyone does tax avoidance on some level.”
A grim picture of the US and Britain’s legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee’s apparent death.
As recently as December the Americans were passed a video apparently showing Iraqi army officers executing a prisoner in Tal Afar, northern Iraq. The log states: “The footage shows approximately 12 Iraqi army soldiers. Ten IA soldiers were talking to one another while two soldiers held the detainee. The detainee had his hands bound … The footage shows the IA soldiers moving the detainee into the street, pushing him to the ground, punching him and shooting him.”
The report named at least one perpetrator and was passed to coalition forces. But the logs reveal that the coalition has a formal policy of ignoring such allegations. They record “no investigation is necessary” and simply pass reports to the same Iraqi units implicated in the violence. By contrast all allegations involving coalition forces are subject to formal inquiries. Some cases of alleged abuse by UK and US troops are also detailed in the logs.
WikiLeaks says it is posting online the entire set of 400,000 Iraq field reports – in defiance of the Pentagon.The whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals. They were accused by the US military of possibly having “blood on their hands” over the previous Afghan release by redacting too few names. But the military recently conceded that no harm had been identified.
Condemning this fresh leak, however, the Pentagon said: “This security breach could very well get our troops and those they are fighting with killed. Our enemies will mine this information looking for insights into how we operate, cultivate sources and react in combat situations, even the capability of our equipment.”
Why do we ignore behaviour that not only sends plants and animals to extinction but, ultimately, condemns humanity to life in a wasted world, asks Robert Hollingworth.
“There are only 250 lions left in West Africa, but this doesn’t change your day-to-day life. So what do you lose when animals become extinct?”
For anyone, this is a difficult question and Kolbert seemed to have some trouble with it.
Her lengthy reply concluded:
“It is devastating if we lose these creatures. Personally, I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t have tigers…”
We know what she means, but do her words adequately explain why we want to save individual species?
It should follow that Kolbert would not want to live in a world without mammoths, or a world without the Lake Pedder earthworm, which went missing in the 1970s. But she does, as we all do.
So, what’s so special about preserving creatures of uncertain relevance in our rapidly changing world?
I believe it has everything to do with criminality.
The Oxford Dictionaries list two main definitions of ‘crime’:
- An action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law.
- An action or activity considered to be evil, shameful or wrong.
It’s likely that both apply in this case.
The crime we are committing is the offence against our planet and the laws that we break are the laws of nature. We plunder, pillage and murder and we steal aspects of our children’s future. And perhaps the most concrete evidence of this, the most emphatic affirmation of these broken laws, is the eradication of an entire species.
Who is guilty? All of us.
Each time we waste food or condone unsustainable food practices, each time we use plastic or paper irresponsibly, each time we drive our cars unnecessarily, buy bottled water, plant exotic species, ignore issues of coal power, native forest harvesting – or just turn a blind eye – we are committing subtle but incrementally lethal crimes. And it is only when something approaches extinction – like the Amazon Rainforest or lions in West Africa – that we are suddenly caught out.
But isn’t the natural world always changing?
More than 90 per cent of the organisms that ever lived on earth are now extinct and most of these disappeared suddenly due to catastrophic events. The first of these occurred some 450 million years ago, a length of time hardly imaginable, and a “sudden event” on this time scale can mean millions of years.
Today, many scientists feel a sixth mass extinction is imminent.
It will not be caused by volcanic eruptions or asteroids, but by human activity and, rather than occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, this new event may take less than a century and erase half the world’s species.
It is happening so fast we can even observe it in our daily lives.
I spend weekends on a secluded property in Central Victoria. It is a residual remnant of native bushland on a granite mountain and, here, I monitor and record just about everything that lives. In the mere space of fifteen years, I have noted the subtle changes that humans alone have wrought. Due to shrinking habitat, introduced species and a drier environment, plant and animal life in this location, is gradually changing. The number and variety of wildflowers has dramatically declined ‒ particularly corm or bulb species such as ground orchids and various native lilies ‒ and at least four species of frog have disappeared completely.
Of course, these creatures still cling on elsewhere, but my little mountain can be seen as a microcosm of a larger, burgeoning scenario.
In Australia, pollution, land clearing and the introduction of foreign species since colonial settlement has resulted in the loss of more than 220 plants and animals. We have the worst mammal extinction rate in the world and all this represents an explicit transgression against our living-breathing planet; a criminal act.
Who pays for these terrestrial crimes? Not us.
With duplicity and crafty evasion we continue to lead our double lives, rarely facing the consequences. Instead, it is our descendants who will suffer for these contraventions, even as they may be set to perpetuate them.
We are supposed to be intelligent. We are supposed to have foresight, wisdom and great technological know how. If this is so, why do we still ignore the repercussions of behaviour that not only sabotages the planet’s biodiversity but, ultimately, condemns humanity to life in a wasted world?
Terror case thrown out
Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Justice Michael Adams said one ASIO officer had committed the crime of false imprisonment and kidnap at common law
November 12, 2007 – 2:19PM
A high profile terror case was abandoned before it got to trial today after a judge found that two ASIO officers had kidnapped and falsely imprisoned a young medical student, Izhar ul-Haque.
Mr ul-Haque’s lawyer, Adam Houda, later accused authorities of launching a politically motivated and “moronic prosecution” against his client.
In a scathing judgment, NSW Supreme Court Justice Michael Adams found that two ASIO officers had broken the law in a deliberate attempt to coerce answers from Mr ul-Haque.
“I am satisfied that B15 and B16 [the ASIO officers] committed the criminal offences of false imprisonment and kidnapping at common law and also an offence under section 86 of the Crimes Act,” the judge said.
He said this misconduct meant subsequent police records of interview with Mr ul-Haque were inadmissible as evidence.
The judge’s findings forced the Crown to withdraw its case against Mr ul-Haque, just before a trial jury was to be empanelled.
Mr ul-Haque had faced charges of training with the Pakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba since April 2004.
He was accused of receiving weapons and combat training from the organisation during a visit to Pakistan in January and February 2003.
“This is reminiscent of Kafka,” Justice Adams said in a lengthy judgment in which he derided the misconduct of both ASIO and Australian Federal Police officers.
He detailed how ASIO officers had confronted Mr ul-Haque, forced him into a car and then taken him to a park where he was threatened with serious consequences if he did not co-operate fully.
Justice Adams said Mr ul-Haque rightly believed had no choice but to comply with all their demands.
The student was taken to his home where as many as 30 plain-clothes intelligence officers and police conducted a search while his family watched.
Mr ul-Haque was then interviewed again amid continuing threats against him, even though ASIO only had a search warrant.
It was a “gross breach of the powers given to the officers given under the warrant” Justice Adams said, adding later that at least one ASIO officer had broken the common law and legislative protections against false imprisonment.
He also heavily criticised two AFP officers who had demanded Mr ul-Haque become their informant against Faheem Lodhi, a Sydney architect who was found guilty last year of terrorism offences. That verdict is now subject to appeal.
The police officers also threatened Mr ul-Haque with adverse consequences if he didn’t comply.
However, Mr ul-Haque refused to wear a wire and to spy for the authorities, and was charged three months later with a single terrorism offence.
Justice Adams detailed evidence of how law enforcement authorities had told Mr ul-Haque all along they accepted that his brief training with Lashkar-e-Toiba was linked to the Indian presence in the disputed state of Kashmir and had nothing to do with Australia.
Mr ul-Haque declined to to comment to the waiting media after today’s case ended.
However, Mr Houda said his client had been unfairly persecuted.
“This has been a moronic prosecution,” Mr Houda said. “From the beginning, this was no more than a political show trial designed to justify the billions of dollars spent on counter-terrorism.”
ANDREW BOLT AUSTRALIA’S COMMUNITY COACH
Andrew Bolt ever the optimist:
” I don’t believe Australia has been greatly enriched on the whole by immigration from Lebanon, despite many obvious success stories:”
‘Hanging with an Islamic Dipper’ is a must read by Andrew Bolt not that anything could change his bigotry. Read Martin Flanagan Saturday Reflection in The Age 26/7/14 if you feel the need to shake off the continuous misery that is known as Boltism which is akin to botulism in the press.
Ali Faraj and his mates are true blue Lebanese Australians as is his whole community of friends.
After Cronulla Ali and his mate Wozza not only played for but turned Damo’s North Shore AFL Club Thursday pie night into a Lebanese feast of hummous,tabouli and kebabs.
Currently Ali and Emad work for the GWS Giants and belong to the half-Israeli, half- Palestinian AFL Peace Team. Ali coaches the NSW intellectually disabled team in the AFL Participation Cup.
What does Andrew Bolt 2nd generation Dutch migrant do? He highlights alleged often uninvestigated factless stories to bolster hate.
Ali and Emad picked Flanagan up on a Friday and took the Irish Australian for arvo prayers at their local mosque. What a surprise a non political English sermon in Bolt’s den of terrorism. It was Ramadan like Catholic Lent a time of fasting. However they took Flanagan to a cafe and got him a burger to tide him over till sunset after all the infidel was entitled to a last meal.
Then at sunset a long table, a hilarious group, story telling and all round laughter accompanied an evening meal in an area and suburb which had burst into life Lakemba was rocking.
Much to Bolt’s disappointment Flanagan didn’t encounter any hostility. Everybody agreed Mr Andrew Bolt, ” Muslim Christian or Jew it’s whether or not your a person of goodwill. Furthermore you don’t know a person until you’ve travelled with them.”
Andrew Bolt crowed to a journalist how the Dutch have a responsibility to hospitality as they sat alone to the lunch he’d prepared. One things for certain you will never find Andrew Bolt on the streets of Lakemba, Coburg or even setting astride a long table seat sharing joy and laughter with any large group he doesn’t know. He sits at home dictating how life should be writing at the expense of the Australian Lebanese and Afghan communities
For Bolt’s edification.
Data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that Lebanese make up the fifth largest ethnic group in Australian prisons after Australians, New Zealanders, Vietnamese and British and Irish, with 226 Lebanese prisoners last year accounting for 0.75 per cent of all detainees held for serious crimes. That Andrew Bolt is less than 1
Per head of population, Lebanese-born people had the seventh highest rate of imprisonment (after Samoans, Tongans, Sudanese, Vietnamese, Romanians and Indonesians).
Sinclair Davidson is a professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing and a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. “Right now, however, I haven’t seen any evidence to support the argument that migration, or the refugee intake, be reduced due to an enhanced criminality of new-comers.”
There is nothing in the statistics to support Bolt’s fanatical and continuous condemnation other than his illogical anecdotes which tend to be if true exceptions that prove the rule in favour of multiculturalism and not disprove it.