Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Masters of War: A Scots firm named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe

A Scots firm was named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe in The Glasgow Herald on 27 January 2017. This is no surprise of course to hard headed socialists who know the nature of the capitalist beast.

 The overall death and destruction that took place during World War II may well be beyond human comprehension. Historians estimate that military casualties on all sides, in both the European and Pacific theaters, reached up to 25 million, and that civilian casualties ranged from 38 million to as high a figure as 55 million – meaning that somewhere between 3 and 4 percent of the world’s total population died in the conflict.

  Don't let us ever forget either, the war science practiced upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the 'Good Guys', despite how it is spun as, 'the end of war', as well as the potential for more of the same destruction being wreaked upon humanity as trade wars and sanctions, fuel blundering and conscious recourse to battles over raw materials, trade routes and spheres of geopolitical advantage between competing capitalist nations and blocs.

"Business by other means" has not gone away as a latent as well as a potent reserved option at all times.
If money, according to Augier, “comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek,” capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt. Marx.

 The latest episode however features a Scottish firm at the centre of major corruption probe in the former Soviet arms industry.

Ukraine’s elite National Anti-Corruption Bureau or Nabu has accused one of Scotland’s increasingly controversial “tax haven” firms of skimming £1.5 million from the multi- million-dollar export of war planes to Kazakhstan.

Detectives say an Edinburgh- registered Scottish limited partnership (SLP) called Portvilla Trading was paid for acting as a fictitious intermediary on the deal.

They have discovered some of the cash was funnelled through a Latvian bank, Rietumu, which is part-owned by Celtic football club’s biggest shareholder, Dermot Desmond. There is no suggestion the bank, or Mr Desmond, had any knowledge of the alleged wrong-doing. When you are awash with cash capitalist anarchy will see it seem to take on a life of its own as your minions invest it on your behalf.

The Nabu allegations, part of a major crackdown on corruption in Ukraine, immediately sparked calls from SNP MP Roger Mullin for UK Security Minister Ben Wallace – the politician in charge of MI5 – to order a British investigation into the case.

  Mr Mullin, who has campaigned for SLP reform, said the latest revelations were “deeply worrying” and highlighted the transnational nature of the allegations involving a Scottish firm, a Ukrainian exporter, Kazakh importer and the Latvian bank, Rietumu.

  He said: “This clearly calls for full investigation. I will be contacting the Securities Minister and asking him to consider a particular review of this case.”
Well he may too but however sincere politicians may or may not be, their outrage is misplaced as they continue otn support an economic and political system where such actions are inevitable war and poverty, twin hand maidens of capitalist development, will see short-cuts and subversions of legal and juridical frameworks any time there is a quick buck to be made.

 The Ukrainian corruption probe into Portvilla Trading is just the latest to feature a Scottish limited partnership or SLP, a kind of firm whose owners can remain secret, pay no taxes and file no accounts.

Last year a separate probe into allegations another SLP, Lanarkshire-registered Fuerteventura Inter, was used to skim $2m from the export of aircraft cannon shells from Ukraine to the Middle East.

  Ukrainian sources have warned that Scotland has become a popular place for their country’s so-called “arms-mafia”, crime groups with strong links in the nationalised weapons manufacturing industry, to set up front companies.

  The latest Ukrainian probe by the elite Nabu investigators centres on an order for two Antonov An-74 military transport aircraft worth a total of $59m placed by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee or KNB, the republic’s successor organisation to the KGB, with a factory in Kharkiv.

  According to papers filed by an investigating magistrate at Solomianka district court in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, Kazazh officials were unaware of any services provided by the SLP.

  Court documents said payments to Portvilla Trading were made to accounts at two banks in Riga, Latvia, including Rietumu.

  SLPs are marketed in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere as “zero-tax offshore companies” and sometimes offered as a package with Rietumu accounts.

 Mr Desmond owns around a third of the bank, which in 2015 was fined for violations of money-laundering rules and is currently contesting French allegations of facilitating tax evasion.

  Portvilla Trading is registered at a flat in Leith, whose occupants are not accused of knowing anything about the firm’s activities. The SLP’s owners are called Western Admin Ltd and Global Admin Ltd. There was no way to contact these firms.

  Green MSP Andy Wightman, who has campaigned against SLPs, said: “These latest revelations show the urgent need to stop the abuses of Scottish Limited Partnerships that appear to be taking place.

"Scotland’s reputation as a place to do legitimate business is being tarnished. I’m pleased that there is to be a UK-wide review but believe Scottish Ministers can take a pro-active approach and I will continue to press them on this.”

 But the legitimate business of capitalism is profit and we can not have profit without war and poverty. It is a reformist delusion that capitalism can be made squeaky clean or, 'jist a wee bit manky', in Scots parlance.

 In contrast to the Greens and SNP or any other of the outraged supporters of capitalism, the socialist argument is as follows,

 It is time we took ownership and control into our collective hands to end the capitalist system, the immense majority being self led and using democratic means, the end of governments over people and utilisation of this political awareness to have the people themselves administer over things , utilising recallable delegates when necessary.

We urgently need to consider changing from how things are done today, with standing armies and competing local, regional and global interests allied with anarchic production for sale market allocation, for the benefit of 1-5% minority privileged owning groups, with the majority in waged enslaved conditions of rationed access to the wealth they collectively produce.

 We need to be moving into a commonly owned production for use cooperative, global, regional and local, endeavours with free access and the situation is resolved into cooperative allocations and sharing of raw materials as opposed to warring competition.

 The material productive forces of society have come into conflict with the existing relations of production. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations have turned into their fetters or, in other words, the productive forces have outgrown the production relation.

All wealth comes from the world's working class.

The capitalist class, liberals or neocons, are an economic parasite class.

 Time to get rid of them.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A socialist lesson from Kiev

The events of Ukraine may be far away from Glasgow and Edinburgh but the driving force of the conflict is very familiar.

 What is making people take one side or another and feel so passionately about it that they take to the streets in violent confrontations, is nationalism, that sense of identity based on “ethnicity” (and in Ukraine, language). Nationalism has made allies of people who we might have called "liberals" and people who we definitely call "fascists."

Nationalism is the idea that the most important thing about a person is his or her nationality When nationalism is strong, then people judge their politicians  by asking "Are they of the right nationality?" What this means is that leaders are not judged by asking, "What are their values?" or "Are they for equality or inequality" or even "Are they honest or corrupt?"

Evaluating politicians this way is a recipe for enabling leaders who are personally corrupt or who want society to be very unequal and undemocratic to gain power on the grounds that they are of the right nationality. Such leaders know that in order to make the correctness of their nationality trump all other concerns they need to keep "their" people in fear of another "enemy" nationality.  This is why some politicians relish and foment national or  ethnic or religious strife.  One way of doing this is to use the rhetoric of "freedom"

For those of us who want a socialist  society, the important question is not what nationality you are but whether you support or oppose the values of socialism - equality and mutual aid among people regardless of nationality. Ukrainians will continue to be oppressed by inequality, by the rule of the few haves over the many have-nots. No matter what nationality the haves are, their goal is to make sure that the have-nots remain dominated, exploited and oppressed by the haves.

And can the Scottish nationalists say an independent Scotland will be any different? The Socialist Party is confident that  ordinary Scots want a socialist society, meaning that if they were presented with that goal clearly spelled out they would say it would be wonderful to live in such a world. The Socialist Party is also sure that most Scots follow their political leaders because they hope it will result in an improvement in their lives by reducing the domination and oppression by the haves. This domination is all they know and experienced, and any big change such as the prospect of independence and the promise of having their nationality in power instead of the “enemy” nationality offers the hope that maybe it will make things better. But most Scots have never heard the case for genuine socialism and  think anybody who uses the word "socialism" wants another Soviet Union and Stalin.  All that is left is for them to choose which nationality to identify with and vote for.  People are in an ideological trap, in which only the haves win and the have-nots are doomed to lose. the Scottish working-class need to break out of this trap.

Instead of trying to figure out if it is separatism or the union to support it makes far more sense to build a socialist movement where we live. When it comes to keeping the have-nots out of power, the haves of all nationalities cooperate with each other far more than they fight each other to strengthen the power of the haves generally, everywhere in the world. . The best thing we can do to help the have-nots (in Ukraine) is to fight against the haves where we live and try to remove them from power.

Freely adapted from a Countercurrents post by John Spritzler

Friday, May 04, 2012

Evicted to host football games

Ukrainian students are being forced out of their dormitories ahead of the the upcoming European Football Championship but will have to continue paying rent nonetheless. Student dormitory rooms at Taras Shevchenko University are to be rented out to football fans. A few may be allowed to stay, but only if they work for nothing.

With hundreds of thousands of football supporters expected, UEFA estimates 800,000 people, students must vacate their dormitories as a result. They are receiving no compensation nor have they been offered alternative housing. On the contrary they will have to continue paying our dorm fees. Even worse, students at Kiev's National Medical University: They have been asked to refurbish their rooms for the incoming guests -- and they have to shoulder the costs themselves.

Students have to continue paying their dormitory fees of around $16 a month, a significant burden for Ukrainian students who generally have to get by on less than €100 per month. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible for the students to find alternate lodgings. During the tournament, prices for private rooms in the city will soar to some €100 per night with apartments going for at least €250. The university dorms are also hoping for a voluntary workforce during the tournament. Those who work for free as a caretaker in the residence halls are allowed to keep their room.

The deal does have its beneficiaries, however. The Hamburg-based travel company TUI AG. TUI booked the dormatories together with the Ukrainian provider Hamalia Tours has set up a booking agency called the Fan Accommodation Agency. The student rooms cost between €50 and €150 ($66-$197) per night. University authorities also profit. TUI pays a 20 to 25 percent commission to the universities.,1518,829175,00.html