Cyprus, Terrorism & Drugs

By EWI BLOG | by Rachel Ehrenfeld
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 @ 2:12AM

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CYPRUS 

For the first time during the Euro crisis, depositors will contribute to the cost of recapitalizing banks. But Cyprus’s bailout precedent may end up affecting bank depositors elsewhere in Europe and even in the U.S.

This bailout scheme was initiated by Germany, and agreed upon by the Cypriot government, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union. Here’s how it works: Nicosia will find 5.8 billion euro from a 9.9 percent “stability levy” on deposits larger than 100,000 euro and a 6.75 percent levy on smaller deposits.  The IMF will throw in a billion euro and the rest will come from the European Stability Mechanism. While the benefit would be limited the potential risks of destabilizing the whole banking system of Southern European eurozone countries, and beyond, are high.

Cyprus has become a major money-laundering destination for Russians even before the fall of the Soviet Union. They were joined oligarchs who found safe haven in the Cypriot banks. Not surprisingly, the Cypriot government doesn’t wish to push them away. Instead, it works to minimize the burdens on the large depositors (Russians) so as not to “derail progress on renegotiating a 2.5 billion euro loan from Moscow.”

Nobody is happy about this: not even Russia is pleased.  But that’s understandable as it’s in Putin’s interest to protect the billions of dollars of Russian deposits, laundered or not, and the depositors from paying out up to 2 billion euro:

“While assessing the proposed additional levy on bank accounts in Cyprus, Mr Putin said that such a decision, should it be made, would be unfair, unprofessional and dangerous,” the president’s spokesman said following the meeting. Anton Siluanov, Russia’s finance minister, also criticized the move, stressing the EU’s failure to discuss the proposal with Russia in advance. “The decision on the tax on deposits, in our opinion, is not fair because the problems of the banking supervision and regulation are passed on to investors,” he told journalists after the meeting, adding: “I pity our businessmen.”

All of this is truly wonderful.  Cyprus wants to maintain its ability to attract offshore money, Russia wants to continue to have a place to do its dirty laundry, and the EU wants to bail out Cyprus by accommodating both. The small depositor who will pay for this is not happy, but he has little to say about it.  Besides, he can’t move his money: banks on Cyprus are closed for the time being. And one day, nit in the distant future we may end up facing the same ‘bailout” solution for our banks.

Further Reading:

WSJ: A Basel Banking Do-Over. Maybe the Haldane critique is getting through to regulators.

Geoffrey Norman: Cyprus, Cyprus?   

Severin Weiland and Philipp Wittrock: Cyprus Bailout: Widespread Anger Erupts Over Bank Account Levy

TELEGRAPH UK: Cyprus banks euro tax bail-out is a small-scale smash-and-grab compared to Britain’s slow-motion bank robbery

TERRORISM

While Cyprus legitimizes and rewards money launderers, Palestinian Islamist murderous terrorists are rewarded with honorary citizenships in France:

The Paris suburb of Bezons conferred honorary citizenship on Majdi al-Rimawi, a PFLP terrorist operative imprisoned in Israel for terrorist activities including his part in the assassination of Israeli Government Minister Rehavam Ze’evi. He was sentenced to life imprisonment plus eighty years.

But the Bezons council regards the murder of innocent Israelis in such high regard that it rewarded this murderer with honorary citizenship by unanimous vote to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Founder of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, has joined the ranks of HAMAS supporters. His “contribution” to enforcing economic warfare against Israel, will be by “urging musicians not to perform in Israel.”

We’ve learned that in a series of secret decisions from 2011 to late 2012, the White House directed the CIA to support Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service (CTS), which reports directly to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.  Now, the U.S. is apparently stepping up that CIA support.

Word is also out that the CIA has developed a contingency plan for fly-over fighting in Syria, to “size up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes.” The potential victims appear to mainly members of Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front.

Nigeria recently exposed an Iranian terrorist cell, that shows all the hallmarks of an Iranian-style recruiting.  The cell leader, Mallam Abdullahi Mustaphah Berende, a local Shiite cleric, visited Iran in 2006 and 2011 and was recruited to form the Lagos cell.

“These events follow the same pattern and mode of action, with handlers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards using local Shiite agents (dormant or active) or those with dual nationalities who carry foreign, especially European or American, passports. In the first phases they concentrate primarily on the collection of intelligence, and train in the use of weapons and explosives in Iran or other “friendly” territory. In a later phase (as in Burgas) they will seek to carry out their terrorist attacks through proxies.”

The cell developed information on USAID and the Peace Corps, Israel’s Zim shipping company and the Jewish cultural center in Lagos. They were caught before they were able to hit their targets.

Perhaps Roger Waters, his Pink Floyd and others he’ll convince to boycott Israel, would serenade the Iranian terrorists outside the Nigerian prison walls.

Further Reading:

DRUGS   

Africa has played an important role in smuggling cocaine from South America into Europe.  While the focus lately has been on the role of northern Mali and al Qaeda in facilitating this, little attention has been given to the starting point for trafficking through Africa, Guinea-Bissau.  Guinea-Bissau had become Africa’s cocaine hub (though, a few others could have qualified, too): then it was promptly forgotten as a lost cause.

Guinea-Bissau, sandwiched between Senegal and Guinea, gained its independence from Portugal in 1974 and then slid rapidly downhill:

“Since the liberation, the country’s elite has mainly been occupied with achieving some sort of balance between clans, political parties and military divisions — a process that involves coups, arrests, torture, death threats and assassinations. No democratically elected president in the history of independent Guinea-Bissau has ever completed his term in office.”

According to the U.N., Guinea-Bissau offers a good example of what it takes to establish a narco-state, and how it works. Guinea-Bissau is not “paid off” by drug traffickers. Instead, they have succeeded through ruthless violence to create enough instability to deprive the ruling elites of the wealth they could have gained playing middleman to the traffickers operating between South American and African traffickers. The cocaine arrives from Latin America in shipments of between 600 and 1,200 kilograms (1,300 to 2,600 pounds) and from there, wholesalers “ship 300 kilos to Europe within just a few day.” With the UK, and London as major consumers, it is not surprising that the River Thames was dubbed River of Cocaine.

Further Reading:

AP: Kofi Annan tackles drug trafficking in West Africa

Divine Ntaryike: Central Africa Drug Trafficking On The Rise, Interpol Says

NEW EUROPE: EU launched a new project against money laundering and drug trafficking


Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, Terrorist Financing

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