It’s More Than Just FIFA

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Transcribed from the 6 June 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“What do you do with corruption? Do you just ‘shine a bright light?’ Or do we try to delegitimize these elites? The only real solution is to get rid of these guys.”

Chuck Mertz: The FIFA scandal story is about a lot more than soccer. It’s about global corruption; it’s about the power of the elites; it’s about the sleaziest way in which poverty and conflict are exported around the globe: in other words, it is about soccer. With a perspective live from Durban, South Africa, political economist Patrick Bond wrote the TeleSur article FIFA Fraud: Africa’s corruption and Elite Silence about the scandal rocking global soccer.

For those who don’t know, seven top officials of soccer’s international governing group, FIFA, including two vice presidents, were arrested last week. They were among fourteen charged in a 47-count US indictment which alleges five corporate executives and nine FIFA officials in total accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150 million over a 24 year period.

Patrick, you write, “The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent, in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean, and especially the United States. We now know more about off-shore centers of both reactionary finance and corrupt corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight—even though those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.”Continue Reading

Resistance in Azerbaijan

AntiNote: The following article appeared on the outstanding People and Nature blog earlier this week, with link citations which we have not reproduced. Reprinted with permission.

Activists imprisoned in Azerbaijan, the house that BP built

by Gabriel Levy
7 June 2015

Demonstrators in Baku, 16 March

Demonstrators in Baku, 16 March

A protest against Azerbaijan’s crackdown on political dissent will be staged in London this Friday, 12 June, as the first European Games open in Baku.

At least 33 human rights defenders, youth movement activists, bloggers, journalists and others have been jailed in the last year in Azerbaijan, where the UK-based oil group BP is the largest foreign investor.

Campaign groups and media have been shut down, and dissidents forced to leave the country, just as economic problems have brought large numbers of Azeris out to protest.

There has been a “major escalation of government repression, pressure, and intimidation directed at NGOs, civil society activists, journalists and human rights defenders,” a resolution of the European Parliament said in September last year. Some lowlights:Continue Reading

If There Isn’t Justice, Mexico Will Explode

Transcribed from the 29 November episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“It’s worth repeating: police. We’re not talking about a crime that was carried out by organized crime. These were uniformed officers.”

Chuck Mertz: Dozens of people victimized by police, leading to nationwide protests…no, we’re not talking about Ferguson, Missouri. Here to tell us about the disappearances that have set Mexico on fire is irregular correspondent Laura Carlsen. She is a Foreign Policy in Focus columnist, a policy analyst and director of the Americas Program at the Center for International Policy, and a writer and editor of The Americas Updater. She is based in Mexico City. Good morning, Laura.

Laura Carlsen: Good morning, Chuck.

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Fraudulent Banks and Fatigued Movements

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 22 February 2014 episode and printed with permission. Listen to the full interview here.

“I thought maybe the banks are just as confused as we are. This is so sudden, so many houses underwater at once. But then Bloomberg did an article revealing that Bank of America was deliberately doing this stuff.”

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Brazil: Continuing Protests Highlight FIFA Abuses

AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. 

On 21 December 2013, Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) interviewed Brian Mier, an expatriate in Brazil who writes and podcasts about Brazilian society and politics from a critical, radical perspective.  He is a regular guest on This is Hell!, an Irregular Correspondent as they say, and spoke about FIFA’s neoliberal stranglehold on Brazil (as well as on other past and future host countries) and the multivalent protests that have rolled through that country since last summer.  We consider his analysis helpful in apprehending the more recent flare-ups that led yet again to spectacular headlines in alternative media last week.

Photo: Francisco Chaves, Image source: Mídia Informal

Photo: Francisco Chaves, Image source: Mídia Informal

Thank you to This is Hell! for supporting what we hope will be an ongoing collaboration.

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