Instant Opinion: dirty money ‘destroys dreams and lives’

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Will Fitzgibbon in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

on a global finance bombshell

Unchecked by global banks, dirty cash destroys dreams and lives

“The leaked documents, known as the FinCEN Files, include more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports written by banks and other financial players and submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. According to BuzzFeed News, some of the records were gathered as part of U.S. congressional committee investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, while others were gathered following requests to FinCEN from law enforcement agencies. The reports — dense, technical information bulletins — are the most detailed U.S. Treasury records ever leaked. They disclose payments processed by major banks, including HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Barclays. They describe journeys of dirty money that zigzag inexplicably around the world; from a kleptocrat’s spoils or a front company on the Atlantic coast, for example, via Wall Street bank to a sun-kissed tax haven in the Caribbean, a Singapore tower block or a financier in Damascus.”

2. Jen Offord in The Independent

on perplexing Covid rules

Women still can’t have birth partners for the duration of childbirth – but we can all go to Nandos

“I know I can’t meet in groups of more than six people, but I can go to the pub (so long as my group is smaller than this). I know I can go to Nandos, because young, hip chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak likes Nandos, and he wants us to go to Nandos so much that he actually helped foot the bill for our Peri-Peri chicken. Pretty generous when you consider the amount a lone parent in the UK receives in income support, but I digress. What I know many women across the country still can’t do is have a birth partner present for the duration of their labour in a hospital, or at routine or otherwise scans and other antenatal appointments. OK, OK, I get it, you’re right, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, yes, yes I know – but I can go to Nandos? (Let me just take this opportunity to apologise to Nandos. I don’t mean to pick on you, I know times are tough for you too and it’s not your fault your spirit was invoked by a Tory minister.)”

3. Wolfgang Munchau in the Financial Times

on evenly distributing EU debt

Beware of smoke and mirrors in the EU’s recovery fund

“As regular readers know, I have been advocating a eurobond for a long time. The €310bn grants component of the recovery fund is not really big enough to count as a discretionary fiscal stimulus. It will account for 0.7 per cent of the EU’s gross domestic product over a period of three years. Instead it is best to look at this as a pilot test. My worry is the test will come to be regarded in sceptical countries such as the Netherlands and Finland as having flopped. If a television pilot flops, the show never gets made. A flop would be money wasted, or spent on pork-barrel projects, or a failure to generate growth. There are not many ways in which this programme can succeed or be seen as having succeeded. But there are many ways in which it can fail.”

4. Dominic Green in The Daily Telegraph

on the US election

Donald Trump is catching Sleepy Joe napping in his election surge

“Donald Trump makes so much noise that we miss the stealthy, subtle moves that count. The two-ring circus is now in town: first Trump and then Biden submitted to the faux-democratic theater of the televised ‘town hall’, a nightmare out of Norman Rockwell in which pre-selected questions are fended off by pre-prepared answers. The real action is elsewhere. ‘Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness,’ Sun Tzu counsels. As in The Art of War, so in The Art of the Deal. While the Democrats are fighting a chimera, a formless fantasy of their own creation, Trump, the Sun Tzu from Queens, is quietly winning his war.”

5. Gian Volpicelli in Wired

on conspiracies on British shores

How QAnon took hold in the UK

“It is hard to attach a solid number to the British QAnon fandom – first of all because Facebook started cracking down on Q content in August, causing some groups to disappear, or to reinvent themselves as private invitation-only groups, or to decamp to other channels like Telegram or Bitchute. But it is also because – maybe exactly to dodge moderation – QAnon itself has shape-shifted, spreading under the guise of watchwords, mottos and themes rather than by mentioning Q itself. Now, for instance, QAnon has morphed into an anti-child-trafficking online campaign, alternatively called ‘Save our children’ or ‘Save the children’; the elite cabal drinking kids’ blood is not written on the tin, and an unsuspecting parent wishing to save their children from something might legitimately join a relevant social media group, before being hurled down a rabbit-hole connecting everyone from Bill Clinton to Jeffrey Epstein to Prince Andrew to Lady Gaga to – surprise surprise – the Rothschilds.”



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