U.S.-led probe of FIFA a coordinated political campaign to undermine Russia
Strategic Culture Foundation
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:24 UTC
FIFA boss Sepp Blatter's sudden resignation this week only days after being re-elected shows that the US campaign to bust the football federation over alleged financial corruption is probably going to intensify during the weeks and months ahead.
Blatter had been re-elected for the fifth time last Friday as the federation's president. He had earlier brushed off calls for his resignation from the American and British governments, amid a storm of media allegations over corruption at the World Cup organising body.
The dramatic bust in a Zurich hotel last week of FIFA executives is "just the beginning", top US law enforcement officials have warned. British authorities have also jumped on the bandwagon with their own announced probe into financial irregularities at the World Cup organiser.
With seven FIFA officials arrested so far and seven more indicted, and the US authorities vowing to pursue others in the footballing federation over alleged financial corruption, it can be anticipated that this scandal will run and run into interminable extra-time.
An ulterior political agenda behind the apparent American-led crackdown on the international footballing federation could very well be the desire by US and British governments to scupper the 2018 World Cup venue in Russia. Both the Americans and the British lost out when Russia won the bid back in 2010 to host the forthcoming quadrennial tournament, following last year's event in Brazil.
The sporting event is highly coveted, being the most popularly watched on the planet - even exceeding the Olympics. Billions of dollars are at stake for corporations, from construction, hospitality, sportswear and media. There is also the immense national prestige that comes with hosting the global spectacle.
A second, more important, political objective for Washington and its British ally is to augment their ongoing campaign to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. The West accuses Vladimir Putin's government of annexing Crimea last year and they have mounted a barrage of economic sanctions on Russia seemingly in retribution. Washington and London have been most gung-ho among Western countries in pushing the anti-Russian agenda over Ukraine.
President Putin has shown no sign of weakening under this relentless Western pressure. Moscow denies any impropriety over Ukraine. Indeed, it accuses the West of fomenting an illegal coup in that country and of trying to use the resulting conflict as a way to destabilise Russia. Moscow has retaliated to Western sanctions by imposing its own bans on European trade exports and, in recent days, imposing travel restrictions on 89 European Union parliamentarians.
So, very plausibly, the Americans and their trusty British ally are using the issue of alleged corruption in World Cup organising body, FIFA, as a stalking horse to further get at Russia over the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine.
US law enforcement officials at the highest level - including attorney-general Loretta Lynch and FBI chief James Comey - say their investigation into FIFA will continue until all suspicions of corruption in the organisation are uncovered. This high-level US involvement in targeting FIFA strongly suggests a political direction being given by the Obama administration.
The concerted nature of the American corruption onslaught against FIFA also points to a top-level decision to go after the Swiss-based federation. The British government, from prime minister David Cameron to his foreign secretary Philip Hammond, quickly stepped into the FIFA scandal following the American lead, making highly unusual public calls for the federation's president Sepp Blatter to resign.
Both the timing of the US-launched corruption probe - in the week of FIFA's annual conference and leadership election - plus the way that senior American and British officials, not to mention the publicity of Western news media, have weighed-in to rebuke FIFA suggests that it is all part of a coordinated political campaign authored at the highest level of government.
Another measure for assessing the credibility of the US-led corruption campaign against FIFA is to put the alleged wrongdoing in perspective with other known spheres of financial corruption. Few people believe that FIFA is free from sleaze and dodgy kickbacks. With so much corporate advertising at stake and broadcasting rights for global media audiences, it would be naive to assume that large wads of money have not crossed palms with a wink and a nod.
The US authorities are throwing a book of charges at the organisation, ranging from bribery to commercial fixing, racketeering to tax evasion. It is claimed by the Americans that the corruption at FIFA amounts to $150 million.
That sounds like a lot of sleazy money, but this figure pales in significance to the amount of corruption and criminality attributable to Wall Street banks and other Western financial institutions.
Wall Street banks, including JP Morgan, are accused of massive, systematic rigging of gold price markets all in a shady bid to shield the US dollar value. That criminality, affecting the price of basic commodities and livelihoods for billions of people worldwide, is estimated to be in the order of trillions of dollars - or a thousand, thousand-fold the FIFA debacle.
Moreover, these same banks, along with a slew of other global names - Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Credit Agricole among many others - were all directly responsible for the explosion in toxic financial derivatives that made their executives multimillionaires but which led to the global financial and economic meltdown in 2008.
That meltdown - which persists seven years on from its inception - has resulted in millions of lives ruined from unemployment and the collapse of pensions and savings funds. Added to that are the myriad social hardships and crippled lives from the ensuing austerity imposed on the general Western public to pay for the financial catastrophe - a catastrophe that was deliberately and recklessly engineered by the major banks, hedge funds and other capitalist investment agencies.
As Michel Chossudovsky writes in his co-authored book, The Global Economic Crisis:
"The meltdown of financial markets in 2008-2009 was the result of institutionalised fraud and financial manipulation. The 'bank bailouts' were implemented on the instruction of Wall Street, leading to the largest transfer of money wealth in recorded history, while simultaneously creating an unsurmountable public debt".
Yet in the face of this gargantuan, genocidal criminality not one board member or executive from the major banks involved in precipitating the global crash has been charged, let alone prosecuted or imprisoned.
Obviously, then, the self-righteous campaign to "root out fraud" at FIFA is just so much pious nonsense.
Until Washington and London governments go after priority financial crime in their midst, then anything they say about FIFA can be taken as very wide off the mark.