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The really wealthy, vexed by tax collectors, pesky relatives, ex-wives and just plain thieves, long ago learned the wisdom of hiding their money and property. This is twice true for politicians.

An investigation by an international consortium of journalists just examined a massive leak of 11.9 million records of offshore financial firms that have been evading taxes and financial disclosure for their many clients. The result of what is known as The Pandora Papers has been a cascade of scandals.

This column has long maintained that the US has been deeply involved in massive international corruption. Chief tawdry examples are the largest recipients of US ‘aid,’ Israel, Afghanistan and Jordan. Washington spent over two trillion dollars on the now lost, 20-year Afghan conflict.

All that money has vanished. Among the largest recipients was the Afghan Communist Party and the drug mafias that made US-run Afghanistan the world’s largest producer of illegal heroin and morphine.

The third recipient of US largess, Jordan, has gotten \$22 billion from the US since the 1950’s. Last year it received \$1 billion alone from Washington, mostly to support the Trump administration’s crude attempts to buy, threaten and cajole Arab dictatorships into a security pact with Israel that seriously screws the Palestinians. In addition, the US has also given \$ 1.7 billion to Jordan to care for the large numbers of Syrian refugees it shelters. But they were the result of a war stared by the US to overthrow Syria’s Assad regime, one of the last independent Arab nations.

In addition, Jordan’s royal family received tens of millions in secret funding from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and, reportedly, from Israel. Jordan and Oman have long been known as favorite dependencies of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service and the CIA.

All this money for a small, barren nation of only 10 million is remarkable. Yet one must understand that it is a key piece of the US Mideast Empire’s architecture. Interestingly, 60% of Jordan’s population is believed to be made up of Palestinian refugees from the creation of Israel in May, 1948. Today, 20% of Israel’s population is Palestinian.

Britain and then the US kept Jordan’s ruling Hashemite dynasty in power. It turned out to be one of the region’s more civilized and efficient rulers though it too often relied on the US-trained secret police to crush unrest. My mother interviewed the late King Hussein in the 1950’s and at that time discovered that one million Palestinian refugees were subsisting in tents. Many still do today.

Jordan is a very poor nation that lives on the edge. So why was King Abdullah II secretly buying more than \$100 billion of prime property in Malibu, London and the French Riviera? All through a web of complex companies designed to disguise the ownership?

Palace spokesmen claim it was only to assure security. Saudi and other Gulf royalty make the same claim for their important holdings in Spain and France. So does Spain’s recently deposed monarch, King Juan Carlos.

ORDER IT NOW

Many of the Mideast’s monarchs and dictators received secret US cash and property. This has been a fact since the days of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, who was on the CIA’s payroll since 1952. France is in charge of payoffs to North African and black African leaders. It’s hard to find an African leader who does not own luxury buildings on the French Riviera or chic Alpine ski resorts. Why not? These strongmen risk being overthrown daily. Make hay while the sun shines.

Interestingly, some of the Third World leaders most vilified by the west have been relatively honest rulers. Good examples are Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Khomeini and Ahmadinejad in Iran, and Arafat of Palestine. But it was the crooks and cleptos like Iran’s late Shah, or Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani who got all the good press in the West.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Corruption, Middle East 
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  1. The scandal is US foreign aid, not that venal, corrupt Middle Eastern dictators act like venal, corrupt dictators. Have they ever acted otherwise?

    • Agree: InnerCynic
  2. Don’t forget Quadafiyeh. The killed him because he was good.

  3. Dan Hayes says:

    Eric,

    Glad to see that Editor-In-Chief Ron has released you from his Archived Columns bolt-hole!

  4. Is it just me or is there something fishy about this mainstream “International Consortium of Independent Journalists”? They’re funded by Soros, for one thing, but more seriously, these releases along with the Panama Papers are not really leaks, like Wikileaks, which made its material available to the general public. Rather, these would be more accurately described as controlled curations.

    How do we know this is not just a Deep State front like Bellingcat designed to expose only its enemies or those henchmen it finds conveniently expendable? Does anybody know any truly independent journalists who are part of it and can vouch for it? (I’d be interested in Glen Greenwald’s opinion, if anyone has a link.)

  5. Jim H says:

    ‘The US has been deeply involved in massive international corruption. Chief tawdry examples are the largest recipients of US ‘aid,’ Israel, Afghanistan and Jordan.’ — Eric Margolis

    Jimmy Carter’s peace deal decades ago essentially enshrined permanent aid to Israel, Egypt (the most populous of the trio) and Jordan.

    Could there be a better recipe for corruption?

    Egypt crushed its Arab Spring rebellion ten years ago. The sinister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ruled since 2014, on the U.S. dole.

    The Egyptian leader – who US President Donald Trump once called “my favorite dictator” – has portrayed himself as the only person capable of keeping order in Egypt.

    “Be warned, what happened seven or eight years ago will not be repeated in Egypt,” he said in 2018. “You don’t seem to know me well enough. No, by God, the price of Egypt’s stability and security is my life and the life of the army.”

    Your tax dollars at work, comrades — supporting American values of authoritarianism, tainted elections, and systematic impoverishment of the masses.

  6. Alistair says:

    I just want to clarify one point; some Monarchies aren’t democratic political systems by the western definition of democracy, as such, countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Morocco are ruled by Absolute Monarchs, who have the absolute power over every aspects of life in their kingdom; in other words, the King rules and owns everything in his kingdom, including the people, since they are his loyal subjects.

    From a monarch perspective, he is not stealing from his country since he already owns everything in it. For instance, Britain, although a Constitutional, and a Democratic Monarchy, yet the British Monarch technically owns every piece of land in the British Empire; as such, the Queen Elizabeth II continues to legally own all the lands of Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and 32 other members of the Commonwealth, and Antarctica. in fact, even today in 2021, all the lands in the British Empire are technically leased, “not sold” to the subjects, so, the British Monarch can repossess these lands legally without any notice.

    Although such a doom scenario may never happens, but from a Monarch point of view he/she cannot steal what he/she already owns. you might be surprised to know that the piece of land on which you build your house in downtown Toronto, can be repossessed by the British Crown without any notice, because, all the lands technically belongs to the British Crown.

    These laws are yet more dramatic in the Absolute Monarchies like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Morocco, etc. where the Monarch owns absolutely everything in the kingdom, therefore, he cannot steal what he legally owns.

  7. Well, looky here. Made all the worse by Covid, the Jewish Medical Nakba, or Dokba.

    Wokenomics will make things much worse.

    In the past, anyone could make money. You could be ‘anti-racist’ or ‘racist’. You could be pro-homo or anti-homo. All sides could make dough.

    Now, banks and media will make sure you won’t rise high unless you support Israel, bend over to globo-homo, worship blacks, and etc.

    If you want to make big money, you gotta go with ‘Democratic Party’ politics. Of course, many of the elites are trained in proggy schools, but EVEN IF you remain conservative despite the PC indoctrination, you don’t have much of a prospect unless you suck up to ‘woke’ agenda.

    You must be Democratic or make noises about how the GOP must get with the program and totally.

    In the South, you could be proud of Southern heritage and rise up the ladder. But even in the south today, no one with ambitions dare appear with the confed flag or defend Robert E. Lee monument.

    This means only certain kinds of people can make money or succeed. It’s the end of free enterprise and free markets. It’s ideologically rigged enterprise and markets. The social credit score began in the US before in China, but people didn’t notice because it was applied to the government and big business. To rise up the ranks, you had to have the right credentials.

    And it eventually spread everywhere, even to destroying small businesses that refuse to bend over to globo-homo.

    Jews did this, and GOP did nothing.

    • Agree: Miro23
    • Replies: @Alistair
  8. Alistair says:
    @Priss Factor

    — The important issue of “Lack of Social Mobility” that you have raised goes beyond the political parties, the matter is no longer about the ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans, but the “Special Interests Clans” operating within them; these “Clans” have deeply infiltrated all the power institutions in the USA and the Western world — they have been monopolizing control of our powers centers since 1940’s; that’s why today, someone like the Casino Mogul, Sheldon Adelson could virtually claim to own the entire US Congress — regardless of the political parties; because our system of “Check and Balances” is no longer effective, and we must admit that GOP, specially under Mitch McConnell — have greatly contributed in dismantling it — to the detriment of the American people but surely for the benefits of the “Special Interest Clans” who are sponsoring them.

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