Showing posts with label UNODC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UNODC. Show all posts

Friday, April 7

CHEMICAL WEAPONS AFTER 14 YRS CIA & MI6 STILL LIES

On the eve of the 14th anniversary of one of the most contentious and divisive wars in living memory, Peter Taylor forensically investigates how key aspects of the secret intelligence used by Downing Street and the White House to justify the invasion of Iraq, were based on fabrication, wishful thinking and lies.
Using remarkable first hand testimony, this one-hour Panorama special reveals the full story of how two very highly placed sources, both close to Saddam Hussein, talked secretly to the CIA via an intermediary and directly to MI6 in the build-up to the war and said Iraq did not have an active Weapons of Mass Destruction programme. But both were ignored.

In a compelling story of spies and intrigue, deception and lies, key players reveal how sparse British and American intelligence was and how none of the handful of human sources had direct knowledge of WMD production. 

The former CIA Paris Station Chief, Bill Murray, explains how he used an intermediary to recruit Iraq’s Foreign Minister and his frustration when he found crucial intelligence from this source was rejected because it didn’t fit in with the White House’s agenda. 

The intelligence from Iraq’s Foreign Minister was confirmed four months later, when an MI6 officer met Iraq’s Head of Intelligence, who passed on the same message, saying Iraq had no WMD.

Lord Butler, author of the 2004 report into the WMD intelligence, says the British public was misled.

With a series of revelatory interviews, including a shocking exchange with the Iraqi spy and self-confessed fabricator ‘Curveball’, Panorama sheds new light on the spies who fooled the world.

Wednesday, July 25

Super-rich stash $21 tn in offshore havens

Wealthy tax evaders, aided by private banks have exploited loopholes in tax legislation and stashed over $21 tn in offshore funds, says a report. The capital drained from some developing countries since 1970 would be enough to pay off national debts.

­The findings show the gap between the haves and the have-nots is much larger than previously thought.

The document, entitled The Price of Offshore Revisited, was commissioned by The Tax Justice Network campaign group and leaked to the Guardian. The report provides the most detailed valuation of the offshore economy to date.

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," wrote James Henry, expert on tax havens and former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey in his report.

The document cites the world’s leading private banks as cherry-picking from the ranks of the uber-rich and siphoning their fortunes into tax-free havens such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

The wealth of the super-rich is "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy."

Henry writes that a large part of the trillion dollar hoard belongs to around 92,000 individuals, an elite class of super-rich who make up 0.001 percent of the global population.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network.

The report records the flow of capital from countries into offshores over the past few decades. Saudi Arabia saw almost $300 billion drained from their economy since the 1970s, while Russia saw almost $800 billion leave its economy in hidden assets since the fall of the Soviet Union. Nigeria issued a loss of $300 billion since the mid-1970s.

Henry points the finger at the world’s top ten private banks, among them UBS and Credit Suisse, for aiding wealthy clients to dodge taxes.

According to Henry’s figures, the top financial leaders processed more than $6 trillion in funds in 2010, more than double the previous year.

Banking system – rotten to the core

Last week the US Senate released a report damning the actions of the UK bank HSBC. The report highlighted evidence of the bank’s laх security policies leading to money laundering cases.

It referenced $7 billion in cash that had crossed the Mexican border into the US and been deposited in HSBC from 2007 to 2008. The report suggests that the billions of dollars could have come from drug sales in Mexico.

The probe also shed light on a number of other instances when the bank bypassed US safeguards, potentially bankrolling terrorists and drug lords in the process.

The bank had previously had to pay out $1bn to US authorities for money laundering offenses committed between 2004 and 2010.

The G20 has repeatedly made calls to end tax-free havens since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, but these plans have not yet come to fruition.

Sunday, July 1

World Drug Report 2012

UNODC: Drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. UNODC is continuously monitoring and researching global illicit drug markets in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their dynamics. Drug trafficking is a key part of this research. Further information can be found in the yearly World Drug Report.

At current levels, world heroin consumption (340 tons) and seizures represent an annual flow of 430-450 tons of heroin into the global heroin market. Of that total, opium from Myanmar and the Lao People's Democratic Republic yields some 50 tons, while the rest, some 380 tons of heroin and morphine, is produced exclusively from Afghan opium. While approximately 5 tons are consumed and seized in Afghanistan, the remaining bulk of 375 tons is trafficked worldwide via routes flowing into and through the countries neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Balkan and northern routes are the main heroin trafficking corridors linking Afghanistan to the huge markets of the Russian Federation and Western Europe. The Balkan route traverses the Islamic Republic of Iran (often via Pakistan), Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria across South-East Europe to the Western European market, with an annual market value of some $20 billion. The northern route runs mainly through Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan (or Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan) to Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. The size of that market is estimated to total $13 billion per year.

Global heroin flows from Asian points of origin

Global heroin flows
Source: UNODC World Drug Report 2010
 
In 2008, global heroin seizures reached a record level of 73.7 metric tons. Most of the heroin was seized in the Near and Middle East and South-West Asia (39 per cent of the global total), South-East Europe (24 per cent) and Western and Central Europe (10 per cent). The global increase in heroin seizures over the period 2006-2008 was driven mainly by continued burgeoning seizures in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey. In 2008, those two countries accounted for more than half of global heroin seizures and registered, for the third consecutive year, the highest and second highest seizures worldwide, respectively.

In 2007 and 2008, cocaine was used by some 16 to 17 million people worldwide, similar to the number of global opiate users. North America accounted for more than 40 per cent of global cocaine consumption (the total was estimated at around 470 tons), while the 27 European Union and four European Free Trade Association countries accounted for more than a quarter of total consumption. These two regions account for more than 80 per cent of the total value of the global cocaine market, which was estimated at $88 billion in 2008.

For the North American market, cocaine is typically transported from Colombia to Mexico or Central America by sea and then onwards by land to the United States and Canada. Cocaine is trafficked to Europe mostly by sea, often in container shipments. Colombia remains the main source of the cocaine found in Europe, but direct shipments from Peru and the Plurinational State of Bolivia are far more common than in the United States market.

Main global cocaine flows, 2008

Global cocaine flows
Source: UNODC World Drug Report 2010
 
Following a significant increase over the period 2002-2005, global cocaine seizure totals have recently followed a stable trend, amounting to 712 tons in 2007 and 711 tons in 2008. Seizures continued to be concentrated in the Americas and Europe. However, the transition from 2007 to 2008 brought about a geographical shift in seizures towards the source countries for cocaine. Seizures in South America accounted for 59 per cent of the global total for 2008, compared with 45 per cent in 2007.

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Data and Analysis