Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for July 11th, 2011

News of the World disclosures widen to include even ickier practices

Posted by Charles II on July 11, 2011

Via Atrios, The Guardian’s Nick Davies and David Leigh:

Journalists from across News International repeatedly targeted the former prime minister Gordon Brown, attempting to access his voicemail and obtaining information from his bank account, his legal file as well as his family’s medical records.

There is also evidence that a private investigator used a serving police officer to trawl the police national computer for information about him.

Separately, Brown’s tax paperwork was taken from his accountant’s office apparently by hacking into the firm’s computer. This was passed to another newspaper.

Details from his infant son’s medical records were obtained by the Sun, who published a story about the child’s serious illness.

when their first child, Jennifer, was born on 28 December 2001, a small group of specialist doctors and nurses was aware that she had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was dying. By some means which has not been discovered, this highly sensitive information was obtained by news organisations, who published it over the weekend before Jennifer died, on Monday 6 January 2002.

The first sign that the records had been taken came when a journalist from the now defunct Sunday Business called the accountants to say that they had been passed a copy of the records, including a schedule of Brown’s income for the most recent year.

As Atrios says, this is a criminal enterprise, run by Rupert Murdoch.

Posted in crimes, impunity, Media machine, Rupert Murdoch | 4 Comments »

Mao’s glorious march… to Boise/now with bonus link

Posted by Charles II on July 11, 2011

A century ago, following a long agony beginning in the 19th century China was dismembered by the imperial nations of the West. It has spent the interim first being further humiliated by the West and later invaded by Japan, then another half century reconstructing from war and the tyranny established under Mao. In the process, the march toward national sovereignty changed tactics and methods, but not direction. Now they want to own us. Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman:

A Chinese national company is interested in developing a 10,000- to 30,000-acre technology zone for industry, retail centers and homes south of the Boise Airport.

Officials of the China National Machinery Industry Corp. have broached the idea — based on a concept popular in China today — to city and state leaders.

Sinomach is not looking only at Idaho.

The company sent delegations to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania this year to talk about setting up research and development bases and industrial parks. It has an interest in electric transmission projects and alternative energy as well.

Now, seen through the eyes of American nationalism, this looks a lot like what the Japanese did in China (i.e., economic expansion and imperial control followed by invasion). Here’s a fairly tempered and plausible example of the American nationalist viewpoint (via Ritholtz):

Thanks to the trillions of dollars that the Chinese have made flooding our shores with cheap products, China is now in a position of tremendous economic power. So what is China going to do with all of that money? One thing that they have decided to do is to buy up pieces of the United States and set up “special economic zones” inside our country from which they can continue to extend their economic domination. One of these “special economic zones” would be just south of Boise, Idaho and the Idaho government is eager to give it to them. China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach for short) plans to construct a “technology zone” south of Boise Airport which would ultimately be up to 50 square miles in size. The Chinese Communist Party is the majority owner of Sinomach, so the 10,000 to 30,000 acre “self-sustaining city” that is being planned would essentially belong to the Chinese government.

I think the writer is accurate in calling these, in quotes, “special economic zones.” While The Statesman article does not talk about extraterritorial law that would prevail within this zone, it’s pretty clear that a 10,000 acre (15 square mile) facility is the size of a small town. Presumably Sinomach would use its rights and incorporate as a town, with a separate government, and since Sinomach is a government-owned entity, it would be susceptible not just to influence by the Chinese government, but to outright manipulation. [Added 7/15: I should note that it’s not clear from the Statesman article that it’s not clear that Sinomach would be the only company in the zone. The article, and probably the plans, are ambiguous.] In Idaho, with its weak state government, there wouldn’t be much interference with whatever happened in Sinomachville: the area would, in effect, be under foreign rule. If they wanted to establish a listening post to intercept satellite communications or a radar to track flights, there’s not much that could be done… unless the federal government does it.

This is the imperialism of Teddy Roosevelt come home.

And it exposes the utter folly of wrecking our national government. It was in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, after the destruction of the Qing dynasty, that the Western powers were able to dictate terms to China. Granted, the weak, corrupt central government of the Qing–dependent on local warlord/governors and businessmen–was no bargain.

There are some real parallels to America 2011. The only real difference is that the Boxers were honorable people, while the Tea Party is not.

Posted in China, colonial wars, Flying Monkey Right | 7 Comments »

The organ grinder and his monkey

Posted by Charles II on July 11, 2011


Image from Huffpo

John Hooper, The Guardian:

Silvio Berlusconi learned on Saturday that judges in Milan had ordered his company Fininvest to hand over more than half a billion euros to his deadliest rival.

The money is compensation for bribery of a judge to rule in Berlusconi’s favour in his struggle with the industrialist Carlo De Benedetti for control of Mondadori, Italy’s biggest publishing house.

Berlusconi himself was put on trial for bribery in connection with the Mondadori judgment, but the charges against him were dropped in 2001 after being timed out by a statute of limitations. In their written ruling, however, the Milan appeals court judges said he was “jointly responsible” for the corruption.

They said it was “beyond any plausible reasoning” that Fininvest’s lawyers would have been given the money to bribe the judge while “the owner of the company that paid and benefited was kept in the dark”.

Meanwhile the Italian economy is going wobbly (via the invaluable Bill McBride). Luke Baker, Reuters”

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis for Monday morning, reflecting concern that the crisis could spread to Italy, the region’s third largest economy.

The market pressure is due partly to Italy’s high sovereign debt and sluggish economy, but also to concern that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may be trying to undermine and even push out Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, who has promoted deep spending cuts to control the budget deficit.

Basically, the money boys have Italy in their sights and think they can roll Berlusconi, who actually sounds as if he’s trying to protect the Italian economy from the Austerians.

Posted in economy, international | 2 Comments »

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