Grand Theft Europe: de gestolen btw-miljarden

07-05-19 08:21:00,

Er zit een gigantische weeffout in de Europese btw-systemen, waar professionele fraudeurs gretig misbruik van maken. Daardoor kunnen ze jaarlijks tientallen miljarden uit de schatkisten van EU-landen roven. De afgelopen maanden deed Follow the Money, in een samenwerkingsverband van 35 Europese mediapartners, onderzoek naar de grootste tak van fraude in de EU. Vandaag deel 1: hoe is het mogelijk dat deze fraude al ruim een kwart eeuw voortwoekert?

Dit stuk in 1 minuut

  • In aanloop naar de Europese verkiezingen op 23 mei verenigden 63 journalisten van 35 media uit alle 28 EU-landen (plus Zwitserland en Noorwegen) zich onder de noemer #GrandTheftEurope om een grote doorlopende roof in kaart te brengen en aan de kaak te stellen: de btw-fraude. Op jaarbasis is daarmee nu zo’n 50 miljard gemoeid; geld dat de EU-burgers vervolgens moeten bijleggen.

  • Om de handel tussen EU-landen onderling te bevorderen, besloot men bij de invoering van de Europese vrije markt in 1993 op handel tussen bedrijven uit verschillende EU landen geen btw te heffen. Dit heet het nultarief.

  • Daardoor kunnen fraudeurs bijvoorbeeld computers of mobieltjes elders in de EU zonder btw inkopen en in eigen land met btw verkopen. De btw houden ze in eigen zak. De koper vraagt zijn betaalde btw vervolgens wel bij de Belastingdienst terug. Daardoor loopt de schatkist – en dus de belastingbetaler – 21 procent btw mis.

  • Fraudeurs zijn heel inventief: ze bedenken telkens nieuwe producten en vinden nieuwe landen om de btw-truc mee uit te halen. Door digitalisering is deze fraude nog makkelijker geworden. Digitale CO2-certificaten kunnen binnen enkele uren tientallen keren over de grens verhandeld worden zonder ze fysiek te hoeven verplaatsen.

  • Al 25 jaar kost dit de Europese belastingbetalers tientallen miljarden. De politiek doet er nauwelijks iets aan. Belastingdiensten blijken in de praktijk weinig gegevens te delen.

  • In de nieuwe aanpak van de EU van btw-fraude vervalt het nultarief en zullen landen voor elkaar btw gaan heffen en afdragen. Onder experts heerst grote twijfel of dit gaat werken.

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Voorjaar 2005. In één maand tijd gaan dertig dozen vol mobiele telefoons vijf keer langs de douane op Schiphol,

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Grand Theft Venezuela, Stealing a Nation: Financial Warfare Precipitates Economic Collapse – Global Research


11-02-19 08:09:00,

Michael Hudson explained that Washington “treat(s) Venezuela as an extension of the US economy, running a trade surplus in oil to spend in the United States or transfer its savings to US banks.”

Sanctions prevent Maduro’s government “from gaining access to its US bank deposits,” including state-owned CITGO refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products.

The US plot involves “making it impossible for Venezuela to pay its foreign debt,” forcing the nation to default on its obligations, a pretext for the Trump regime to try seizing its foreign assets.

Making Venezuela’s economy scream aims to crush it into submission, leaving it vulnerable to stealing the nation by the US.

It’s held captive by US demands. Economic, financial and sanctions war transformed normality into crisis conditions.

Financial war can be more dangerous than standing armies, war waged by other means, raping nations and their people for profit.

Examples abound, including earlier in Chile under a US-installed military dictatorship, Greece transformed into a zombie country by the European Commission, ECB and IMF.

The latter financial institution is considered the loan shark of last resort for good reason, serving US-led Western monied interests at the expense of nations and their people.

Venezuela is being slowly suffocated by asymmetrical warfare, sucking out its financial oxygen to survive, wanting its wealth transferred to US interests.

According to a Latin American Geopolitical Strategic Center (CELAG) study, US financial war on Venezuela since Maduro’s April 2013 election through 2017 cost the country $350 billion in lost production of goods and services.

The US has been systematically strangling its economy under Obama and Trump. What’s going on may be prelude to military intervention – unjustifiably justified by made-in-the-USA humanitarian crisis conditions and low oil prices.

Washington blocked Venezuela “from international financial markets, preventing it from using the credit market both to renew maturities and to make new loans,” the CELAG report explained.

Its dependency on revenues from oil sales made it highly vulnerable to US war by other means. The “economic consequences of the (US) boycott” of the country have been devastating, notably to its people.

Trump warned that he might intervene in Venezuela militarily,

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FBI Probing Theft Of 18,000 Documents Linked To Sept 11 Attacks


03-01-19 11:22:00,

The FBI is investigating the theft of 18,000 documents related to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center by a hacking collective known as The Dark Overlord, according to FT, citing two people familiar with the matter. 

Posting under the name “The Dark Overlord”, the hacker or hackers claimed on New Year’s Eve that they had taken emails and non-disclosure agreements relating to the 9/11 attacks that were sent and received by groups including insurers Hiscox and Lloyd’s of London and the law firm Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin, now called Husch Blackwell.

The Dark Overlord said it would sell the documents for bitcoin, inviting Isis, al-Qaeda and nation states to bid for them online. –FT

“Pay the fuck up, or we’re going to bury you with this. If you continue to fail us, we’ll escalate these releases by releasing the keys, each time a Layer is opened, a new wave of liability will fall upon you,” reads the hacking group’s demand letter. 

“If you’re one of the dozens of solicitor firms who was involved in the litigation, a politician who was involved in the case, a law enforcement agency who was involved in the investigations, a property management firm, an investment bank, a client of a client, a reference of a reference, a global insurer, or whoever else, you’re welcome to contact our e-mail below and make a request to formally have your documents and materials withdrawn from any eventual public release of the materials. However, you’ll be paying us,” the note continues. 

Images of some of the documents began circulating on Wednesday after the group released decryption keys, which appear to show communications related to the World Trade Center. 

The FBI is one of multiple law-enforcement agencies who are now investigating the breach, according to FT. The Dark Overlord, meanwhile, says that it has been under investigation for years, and that it had also gathered other information from Lloyd’s and Silverstein Properties – founded by former WTC owner Larry Silverstein. 

Hiscox insurance said it became aware of the hack last April. 

“The law firm’s systems are not connected to Hiscox’s IT infrastructure and Hiscox’s own systems were unaffected by this incident,”

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Fear, Intimidation And Wage Theft: Amazon Delivery Drivers Suffer ‘Inhumane’ Working Conditions

Fear, Intimidation And Wage Theft: Amazon Delivery Drivers Suffer ‘Inhumane’ Working Conditions

13-09-18 08:01:00,

As Whole Foods workers push back against the crushing demands of their Amazonian overlords, stories of more labor abuses perpetuated by the e-commerce giant – which has developed a reputation for ruthless efficiency – are coming to light.


The latest horror story was published on Tuesday by Business Insider, and purports to tell the stories of drivers for Amazon delivery subcontractors who complain about unsafe working conditions and pressure to deliver packages on time at all costs – even if it means speeding, peeing in bottles or delaying critical medical care.

In interviews over the course of eight months, drivers described a variety of alleged abuses, including lack of overtime pay, missing wages, intimidation, and favoritism. Drivers also described a physically demanding work environment in which, under strict time constraints, they felt pressured to drive at dangerously high speeds, blow stop signs, and skip meal and bathroom breaks.

Many of their accounts were supported by text messages, photographs, internal emails, legal filings, and peers.

BI reportedly spoke with 31 current or former drivers for its subcontracted “Amazon Flex” delivery service. These drivers have become a crucial part of its push to circumvent FedEx and UPS, and some of the stories that the organization managed to corroborate wold be unacceptable anywhere else.

The BI story began with one worker’s story about being told by their supervisor to drop off their packages before heading to the hospital after slicing his hand to the bone.

Zachariah Vargas was six hours into his shift delivering packages for Amazon.

He was about to drop off a package when he accidentally slammed the door of his truck on his hand. The door clicked shut, trapping his middle and ring fingers.

Once he freed his fingers, the blood began to pour. Both of Vargas’ arms started to shake involuntarily. The lacerations were deep. Vargas thought he glimpsed bone when he wiped away the blood.

Panicked, Vargas called his dispatch supervisor, who was working at a nearby Amazon facility.

He said he received no sympathy.

“The first thing they asked was, ‘How many packages do you have left?’” he told Business Insider.

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“Terrorist Theft” – Pakistan’s Nukes Outpacing Projections In Uncertain Security Landscape

“Terrorist Theft” – Pakistan’s Nukes Outpacing Projections In Uncertain Security Landscape

10-09-18 07:01:00,

Pakistan is set to become the world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state according to an alarming new report which shows the country is set for rapid expansion of its arsenal over the next decade. 

The report was issued by an independent nuclear arms monitoring group under the Federation of American Scientists called the Nuclear Information Project and demonstrates that US intelligence has consistently understated and failed to accurately assess Pakistan’s future capabilities. 

While the Defense Intelligence Agency (the DIA) projected in 1999 that Pakistan would possess 60 to 80 nuclear warheads by 2020, the report shows the actual current figure at 140 to 150 warheads.

Should the current trend continue unabated, the Federation of American Scientists report indicates, the stockpile could increase to between 220 and 250 by the year 2025.

“We estimate that the country’s stockpile could more realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues. If that happens, it would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest nuclear weapon state,” wrote the authors of the report entitled ‘Pakistani nuclear forces 2018’

Crucially, the report also focuses on the threat that the country’s vast arsenal, which includes tactical nuke development, could fall into the hands of terrorists, given Pakistan’s shifting and hotbed political landscape. It cites past administrations as feeling confident at the domestic security situation, but emphasizes this was misguided.

The report also references the significant shift in priorities by the Trump administration. The report reads

In stark contrast, the Trump administration assessment in 2018 was: “We are particularly concerned by the development of tactical nuclear weapons that are designed for use in battlefield. We believe that these systems are more susceptible to terrorist theft and increase the likelihood of nuclear exchange in the region.”

Upon unveiling his South Asia strategy on 21 August 2017, Trump urged Pakistan to stop sheltering terrorist organizations, and noted the need to “prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists.” US concern over the security of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons precedes the Trump administration.

Despite security concerns and the presence of Islamist and Taliban factions along Pakistan’s porous tribal Afghan border region,

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