Archive for the ‘Samoa’ Category

downloadThe leak of the so-called Panama Papers has certainly set the cat of popular disgust among the pigeons of the super-wealthy global elite.  But, of course, pigeons can fly away.

The Panama papers contain 11.5 million confidential documents that provide detailed information about more than 214,000 offshore companies listed by the Panamanian corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, including the identities of shareholders and directors of the companies.

An anonymous source using the pseudonym “John Doe” made the documents available in batches to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung beginning in early 2015. The information documents transactions as far back as the 1970s and eventually totalled 2.6 terabytes of data.  Given the scale of the leak, the newspaper enlisted the help of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which distributed the documents for investigation and analysis to some 400 journalists at 107 media organizations in 76 countries.

downloadLaw firms generally play a central role in offshore financial operations. Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm whose work product was leaked in the Panama papers affair, is one of the biggest in the business. Its services to its clients include incorporating and operating shell companies in friendly jurisdictions on their behalf.] They can include creating complex ‘shell company’ structures that, while legal, also allow the firm’s clients to operate behind an often impenetrable wall of secrecy. The leaked papers detail some of their intricate, multi-level and multi-national corporate structures.  Mossack Fonseca has acted on behalf of more than 300,000 companies, most of them registered in financial centers which are British Overseas Territories.  The firm works with the world’s biggest financial institutions, including Deutsche BankHSBCSociété GénéraleCredit SuisseUBSCommerzbank and Nordea.

The documents show how (more…)

In leading US ally Saudi Arabia public beheadings are state policy

Another ISIS beheading?  No, this is in leading US regional ally Saudi Arabia, where public beheadings are state policy and very common

The following is the text of a leaflet being produced by Redline blog.  As well as appearing in text form below, it will appear as a downloadable leaflet in the next day or two.  We hope that blog readers/supporters will download and distribute copies.

It’s often pointed out that Islamic State is a barbaric organisation trying to establish medieval-type social control.  It is also, however, a repository of the dispossessed, the marginalised, the fanatical, the extreme, and, yes, the evil.  ISIS is not the main source of barbarism, brutality and evil in the region, however.

George Bush, SalmanBeside the barbarism, brutality and evil of US imperialism ISIS are rank amateurs.  And while we recoil in horror at their public beheadings this is a common form of execution by the state in Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s chief allies in the world.  John Key may mouth outrage at ISIS beheadings, but a mere few weeks ago he asked for NZ flags to be lowered as a mark of respect following the death of the Saudi dictator, “King” Abdullah, the man who presided over public beheadings and floggings by the state throughout his reign (as does his successor now).

The Washington-led intervention is about US imperialism establishing economic organisation and control of the region.  They have been at this for many decades and there is no part of the globe not in some way economically plundered by American companies and militarily and politically pushed around by the US government.  Today, in particular, they are plundering the Middle East. They are not there to establish democracy, they are there to steal other people’s oil and other resources.

The simple fact is that since the US and its allies, including the NZ Labour government of the time, invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the problems in the region have been made worse.  ISIS did not even exist until the US and its allies wrecked Iraq.

And it isn’t just US imperialism that we should oppose.  In this country and abroad, workers face the problem of NZ (more…)

by Philip Ferguson untitled

Originally I was going to write a review of Stevan Eldred-Grigg’s The Great Wrong War: New Zealand society in World War I.  However, early this year, I attended a seminar he presented on the subject, in which he used a lot of material from the book.  I took copious notes, so what follows is more an outline of his presentation, with some additional comments on other material in his book.  It’s a book which every worker and progressive person in this country should read; I recommend it highly.

Stevan began the seminar by noting how much his mother and aunts – women from a poor, working class Sydenham (Christchurch) background – hated Anzac Day, being dragged along “to watch the gassed and the wounded being paraded down main streets, with people in tears.”  In recent years, teaching students from the Middle East about the First World War, he found them telling him that it was a war for Britain and France to carve up the Ottoman Empire.

He noted that the alignments of the Great Powers before the war were in some flux.  At one point, there even seemed some possibility of Britain and Germany going to war with the United States.  Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the two big issues in the public spotlight were the (more…)

direct_action_imageby Phil Duncan

We’re fast approaching the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, when New Zealand joined with Australia, France and Britain in 1915 in trying to invade and destroy the Ottoman Empire, which was ruled from what is now Istanbul.

This gruesome and bloody episode of imperialism has always been celebrated by reactionaries in New Zealand, but now the new dominant liberal establishment have made it their own too.  Liberals and reactionaries alike have been rewriting history to present Gallipoli as a defining moment in the emergence of modern New Zealand and this country’s national identity.

What was it about?

They talk about an “Anzac spirit” which is defined as “sticking it out no matter the odds” (or whether the cause is right or wrong, for that matter).  This doggedness is supposed to be a defining characteristic of New Zealand and Australian national identity and people, with Anzac Day being a time to reflect on this.

The new liberal nationalism continues to be accompanied by a load of (more…)

by Phil Duncan

The spectacle of four US marines urinating on the corpses of Afghanis while being videotaped has caused global outrage.  Among those condemning the marines have been top US military people, US defence secretary Leon Panetta and secretary of state Hillary Clinton who described the marines’ actions as “absolutely inconsistent with American values”.  Well, they may be inconsistent with the values of most ordinary American citizens, but they are hardly inconsistent with the “values” of US imperialism as it has blasted its way into other people’s countries since the late 1800s.

Indeed, it’s less than a year since the exposure by Rolling Stone magazine of a ‘kill team’ of US soldiers in Afghanistan who targeted civilians for murder, mutilated their corpses and kept body parts as trophies (see the article here and also a Daily Mail article here).  They also made videos and took pictures of their gruesome activities.

In 2010, 440 Afghan civilians died as a result of actions carried out by the US-led forces and their underlings in the Afghan ‘security’ forces.  Even the country’s Western stooge president, Hamid Karzai, said last September that the killing of civilians by US forces was the prime source (more…)

New Year’s Day marked the 50th anniversary of Samoan independence from New Zealand.  While New Zealand, including much of liberal New Zealand, likes to pride itself on being somehow ‘different’ from other Western countries in terms of involvement in other people’s countries – ‘we’ go there to ‘do good’ – the role of the New Zealand state in relation to Samoa and Samoans indicates how little different NZ imperialism is from other Western imperialisms.

See the following Redline articles:                                                                                                            Samoa: what New Zealand did                                                                                                                  Depriving Samoans of Immigration and Citizenship Rights

by Philip Ferguson

Among those hardest hit by NZ’s immigration restrictions and discrimination at the point of entry have been Samoans.  Indeed, Samoans faced a double-whammy, as 100,000 of them were stripped of NZ citizenship rights by the NZ Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act of 1982.  This legislation, introduced by Muldoon’s National Party government, was part of a miserable 70-year record of NZ dealings with the Samoan people. Although it was vigorously protested against at the time, and later – for instance, in late March 2003, thousands of Samoans protested in Wellington, Christchurch and in Samoa itself, calling for its repeal – this legislation remains in force.  The Samoans (and their descendants) who lost citizenship rights have faced hostile Labour and National governments alike.