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Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:36 pm
by Hot_Pink_Urinal_Mint
Carlos Slim, the NY Times, & the trial of El Chapo Guzman

Some highlights from the article written by investigative Journalist, Daniel Hopsicker.

The trial in Brooklyn of El Chapo Guzman, a short pudgy peasant from a mountainous Mexican state far off the beaten path, felt like sitting through a play by Samuel Beckett coupling black comedy with the ‘Theater of the Absurd.’

Partly that was because of the trial’s one big takeaway: “Not all drug money is bad.”

That’s because the real “jefe’s”of the drug trade— powerful Mexican industrialists, ensconced in privilege—remain anonymous and untouchable.

The biggest Mexican industrialist whose name has yet to surface—el jefe de jefes—is the man who saved the New York Times from bankruptcy a decade ago.

In speculation about the true identity of the ‘Padrino’ behind Mexico’s biggest industry — drug trafficking — Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim has always been the odds-on favorite, as the Sulzberger family must have known when they accepted him into the family.

While Mr. Slim was expressing his touching commitment to a free press with a $250,000,000 investment in the New York Times during the global financial crisis in 2008, one person did speak up.

Antonio Maria Costa, head of the United Nations’ watchdog Office on Drugs and Crime was impolitic enough to blurt out the truth about a sea change in global climate far more inconvenient than rising sea levels

"In the midst of the current world financial crisis, drug money is, in many instances, currently the only liquid investment capital,” Maria Costa told Reuters.

Money made in the illicit drug trade is being used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis.”

“The drug trade at this time could be the world’s only growth industry.”


These are points seldom made in polite society in the West.

https://www.madcowprod.com/2019/02/11/c ... po-guzman/

Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:32 am
by springrain
The man whose state surveillance revelations rocked the world speaks exclusively to the Guardian about his new life and concerns for the future:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng- ... ent-record

He is concerned the US and other governments, aided by the big internet companies, are moving towards creating a permanent record of everyone on earth, recording the whole of their daily lives.

We have moved to a society in which we are forced to live our lives naked before power.

Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:46 pm
by Lucky Lucan
I can't say I enjoyed reading this article too much, the subject matter seemed like it had potential but it was actually all a bit dull. Anyway, it's the original article about strippers and hookers scamming clients in NYC that was recently adapted into a movie called Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez. The main subject of the story is a second-generation Cambodian who worked as a stripper and eventually for the gang of thieves.



According to Rosie, her parents were Cambodian refugees who came to America hoping for a better life and “got caught up with the, you know, material crap, and the nice cars, and the nightlife,” she said. “And just somewhere, they went wrong.”

(I say “according to Rosie” because her family did not respond to interview requests, and because Rosie is an admitted liar with multiple pending felony charges. Still, she is occasionally prone to offering up indisputable truths. “American culture is a little fucked up,” she mused. “You know?”)

Anyway, according to Rosie, this was what eventually led to her going wrong — to her dropping out of school and, at 17, taking a job at the New City Diner, a greasy spoon off the main drag in Nanuet, in order to supplement her grandparents’ meager income. Late at night and early in the morning, she poured coffee and took orders from customers, many of whom were employees from Lace, the nearby gentlemen’s club. One night, one of Lace’s managers dropped a $20 tip on a $20 check, gave her uniform a long up-and-down look, and suggested she come by if she was interested in making more money.
https://www.thecut.com/2015/12/robin-ho ... c-v-r.html

Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:24 am
by Lucky Lucan
e is Asia’s most-wanted man. He is protected by a guard of Thai kickboxers. He flies by private jet. And, police say, he once lost $66 million in a single night at a Macau casino.

Tse Chi Lop, a Canadian national born in China, is suspected of leading a vast multinational drug trafficking syndicate formed out of an alliance of five of Asia’s triad groups, according to law enforcement officials. Its members call it simply “The Company.” Police, in a nod to one of Tse’s nicknames, have dubbed it Sam Gor, Cantonese for “Brother Number Three.”

The syndicate, law enforcers believe, is funneling tonnes of methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine to at least a dozen countries from Japan in North Asia to New Zealand in the South Pacific. But meth – a highly addictive drug with devastating physical and mental effects on long-term users – is its main business, they say.

In what it calls a conservative estimate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) puts the Sam Gor syndicate’s meth revenue in 2018 at $8 billion a year, but says it could be as high as $17.7 billion. The UN agency estimates that the cartel, which often conceals its drugs in packets of tea, has a 40% to 70% share of the wholesale regional meth market that has expanded at least fourfold in the past five years.

This unprecedented boom in meth production has triggered an unprecedented response, Reuters has learned. Tse, 55, is the prime target of Operation Kungur, a sprawling, previously unreported counter-narcotics investigation. Led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Operation Kungur involves about 20 agencies from Asia, North America and Europe. It is by far the biggest ever international effort to combat Asian drug trafficking syndicates, say law enforcement agents involved in the investigation. It encompasses authorities from Myanmar, China, Thailand, Japan, the United States and Canada. Taiwan, while not formally part of the operation, is assisting in the investigation.

A document containing AFP profiles of the operation’s top 19 syndicate targets, reviewed by Reuters, identifies Tse as the leader of the syndicate. According to the document, the organization has “been connected with or directly involved in at least 13 cases” of drug trafficking since January 2015. The document does not provide specific details of the cases.

A Taiwanese law enforcement flow chart identifies Tse as the “Multinational CEO” of the syndicate. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intelligence document shared with regional government agencies says Tse is “believed to be” the leader of the Sam Gor syndicate.

Police have not publicly identified Tse as the suspected boss of the trafficking group.

Some investigators say that the scope of the syndicate’s operation puts Tse, as the suspected leader, on par with Latin America’s most legendary narco-traffickers. “Tse Chi Lop is in the league of El Chapo or maybe Pablo Escobar,” said Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and Pacific representative for UNODC. “The word kingpin often gets thrown around, but there is no doubt it applies here.”
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/sp ... _mm_edA-Yw

Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:23 pm
by kungfufighter
In every major economic downturn in US history, the ‘villains’ have been the ‘heroes’ during the preceding boom,” said the late, great management guru Peter Drucker



This is an interesting read about how the large tech firms have taken the place of the banks and could be the cause of the next big crash.

It talks about rising debt, the deflationary power of technology, and the corporate bond tear which it ties in with other areas of economic performance.

Of the one trillion dollars researched as being corporate savings in offshore accounts, the majority of 800 billion dollars of it, is in bonds held by the four top tech firms.

How big tech is dragging us towards the next financial crash


Like the big banks, big tech uses its lobbying muscle to avoid regulation, and thinks it should play by different rules. And like the banks, it could be about to wreak financial havoc on us all.


No matter what the Silicon Valley giants might argue, ultimately, size is a problem, just as it was for the banks. This is not because bigger is inherently bad, but because the complexity of these organisations makes them so difficult to police. Like the big banks, big tech uses its lobbying muscle to try to avoid regulation. And like the banks, it tries to sell us on the idea that it deserves to play by different rules.

In a low interest rate environment, with billions of dollars in yearly earnings, these high-grade firms were issuing their own cheap debt and using it to buy up the higher-yielding corporate debt of other firms. In the search for both higher returns and for something to do with all their money, they were, in a way, acting like banks, taking large anchor positions in new corporate debt offerings and essentially underwriting them the way that JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs might. But, it is worth noting, since such companies are not regulated like banks, it is difficult to track exactly what they are buying, how much they are buying and what the market implications might be. There simply is not a paper trail the way there is in finance. Still, the idea that cash-rich tech companies might be the new systemically important institutions was compelling.

A Credit Suisse report both confirmed and quantified the idea. The economist who wrote it, Zoltan Pozsar, forensically analysed the $1tn in corporate savings parked in offshore accounts, mostly by big tech firms. The largest and most intellectual-property-rich 10% of companies – Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) among them – controlled 80% of this hoard

According to Pozsar’s calculations, most of that money was held not in cash but in bonds – half of it in corporate bonds. The much-lauded overseas “cash” pile held by the richest American companies, a treasure that Republicans under Trump had cited as the key reason they passed their ill-advised tax “reform” plan, was actually a giant bond portfolio


According to Pozsar’s calculations, most of that money was held not in cash but in bonds – half of it in corporate bonds. The much-lauded overseas “cash” pile held by the richest American companies, a treasure that Republicans under Trump had cited as the key reason they passed their ill-advised tax “reform” plan, was actually a giant bond portfolio. And it was owned not by banks or mutual funds, which typically have such large financial holdings, but by the world’s biggest technology firms. In addition to being the most profitable and least regulated industry on the planet, the Silicon Valley giants had also become systemically crucial within the marketplace, holding assets that – if sold or downgraded – could topple the markets themselves. Hiding in plain sight was an amazing new discovery: big tech, not big banks, was the new too-big-to-fail industry.


Https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... cial-crash

Re: Long Reads Thread

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:14 am
by kungfufighter
Google have just said they will be starting to offer current accounts. The lines of division between tech companies and banks are blurring more and more.

Google will offer personal current accounts from some time next year in partnership with banks and credit unions, as the tech titan tries to take a bite out of the personal banking market.

Citigroup and the Stanford Federal Credit Union will run the accounts for the project, which has been named Cache, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The tech giant’s move into personal banking follows recent moves into the market by rivals Apple and Facebook

https://www.cityam.com/google-to-offer- ... next-year/