This edition of the Blind Spot Wrap was compiled by Dario Garcia Giner (DGG) and Izabella Kaminska (IK).
Economics, Finance, Markets etc.
- Alena Douhan, a UN Special Rapporteur on the impact of coercive measures on human rights, has urged banks and financial institutions not to over-comply sanctions regimes due to their impact on human rights.
This over-compliance, Douhan says, has done things such as preventing “international organisations and humanitarian actors from transferring funds to pay their workers in sanctioned countries, and blocks people in targeted societies from accessing their property, meeting their financial obligations, engaging in business activities, participating in international cooperation and day-to-day interactions.”
The issue extends beyond sanctions to general anti money laundering (AML) compliance too. It’s a big issue. The Blind Spot looked at some of the human rights incompatibility factors with AML back when Canadian anti-vaccine mandate protestors had access to their funds blocked on government instruction. It isn’t something that’s easily fixable. Like beauty or any other subjective value, it is very hard to codify — especially without some sort of court process — what is a justifiable inhibition of someone else’s freedom, life or health. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist etc.
As noted in our piece about Blackwater’s Erik Prince this week, the difference between an active opposition and an outright resistance is merely the ideological framing. When two ideologically opposed sides can no longer agree to disagree on basic principles underpinning the rule of law or the concept of legality in a system, schisms inevitably manifest. When they do, respect for what is perceived to be the challenger system’s laws is extinguished. What was once perceived to be criminal behaviour is seen as virtuous and justified. It equates to an endeavour to defend one’s cultural and ideological heritage (perceived to be under threat) or to revolt against a greater oppressive force. – IK
- The number of workers in the United States has fallen by 400,000 since March according to US Labor Department data. The total labour force in the United States is 600,000 smaller than it was in early 2020.
- Chinese youth unemployment among 16 to 24 stands at 19.9 per cent, the highest figure for Chinese youth unemployment on record.
- The FCC has rejected a request from SpaceX for $900mn worth of subsidies to provide its Starlink satellite services to rural consumers. The FCC says Starlink “failed to demonstrate” it could deliver on the claimed service of consistently delivering broadband to rural communities in the US.
- Frances Coppola explains why Coinbase’s balance sheet is now five times bigger in terms of liabilities now than it was in December 2021.
It’s all down to the fact that — contrary to popular crypto claims — customer crypto funds held at the exchange are not controlled by customers. From June 2022 the SEC has decided these sorts of crypto liabilities must be fully reserved, says Frances.
- Wikileaks attorneys are suing the US government for illegally surveilling Assange’s legal team inside the Ecuadorian embassy.
You can read the full legal filing here. The key claim: “Each of the named plaintiffs, and hundreds of others, visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was living under political asylum at the Embassy of the government of Ecuador in London, United Kingdom. Prior to their visits each visitor was required to surrender his or her electronic devices, e.g. smartphones, laptops etc. to employees of Defendant Undercover Global (hereinafter “UC Global”). Unbeknownst to each of those visitors, including Plaintiffs and without their consent, employees of UC Global, acting without the knowledge of the Ecuadorian government, copied the information stored on the devices. UC Global then provided that information to the then headed by Defendant United States Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) defendant Michael Pompeo.”The attorneys are arguing that this is a violation of US citizens’ fourth amendment – because the US government is not allowed to spy on its own citizens without due legal process. How this might impact Julian Assange’s key extradition case is unclear.
We’ll have a few more thoughts on the Assange case once we finish UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer’s book on the persecution of Assange – IK
OnlyFans did what?
- Onlyfans has been accused of bribing Facebook employees to wrongfully place adult content creators who don’t use its site on a dangerous individuals watchlist that would shadowban them across other social media networks.
- US imposes sanctions on crypto mixer Tornado Cash, accused of helping hackers (including some from North Korea) to launder the dividends of cyber heists. A Treasury Department official claimed Tornado Cash reportedly laundered over $7bn worth of crypto since it was founded in 2019.
- Shiba Inu crypto coin is up over 37 per cent but nobody knows why. Redditors are speculating it may be connected to a Shiba Inu dog that has been placed on billboards at Japanese train stations, or to the upcoming release of the Shiba-coin-related Shibarium — a new cryptocurrency ecosystem.
- Open interest in the ETH market is back at four month highs.
- The Daily Mail does a deep dive into crypto booster, Tether founder and former child star Brock Pierce.
- The Nocoiner Resistance is organising itself.
- Putin tells Kim Jong Un that Russia and North Korea will “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”, showing the increased closeness of ties being explored by both countries.
- Israeli strikes Iran-linked targets in Syria.
- Northern Syria erupts in protest at Turkish Foreign Minister’s comments.
Individuals across Turkish-occupied Northern Syria have protested the words from the Turkish FM that encouraged a reconciliation between Syrian leaders aligned with Turkey, formerly known as the ‘rebels’, and the Syrian regime. This talk of reconciliation is Turkey’s latest manoeuvre to isolate the YPG-dominated SDF, which has recently been moving towards reconciliation with the Syrian regime. – DGG
- Morocco is set to receive over €500 mn to help protect its borders in the latest move by European Union to secure its African frontier against illegal immigration.
- YouTuber Nicholas Rehm develops an ultra-efficient spinning drone.
I don’t tend to get excited by the development of new model-sized drone platforms. However, the incredible efficiency gains Rehm draws from attaching fat wings and wingtips and pivoting to a spinning drone model is mesmerising. The addition of a nose tip seems to make the contraption even more aerodynamic (though I’m no engineer). I assume the commercial viability of such a hyper-efficient aerial platform will depend on the cost and complexity of developing a suitable gyroscopic system to keep whatever sensor or camera in the nose from functioning properly despite the spin. – DGG
- A man who tried to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati, OH, on Saturday, apparently in reprisal for their raid on Mar-A-Lago, has been killed in the standoff that followed with police.
- Another individual rammed a barricade in the Capitol on Sunday, firing gunshots in the air before turning the gun on himself.
- French wine producers have their own militant insurgency movement known as the Comité Regional D’Action Viticole. The group has been around since 1970 and seeks greater rights for French winemakers in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Instagram account Modern Insurgent explains it has been responsible for numerous violent attacks in the region.
- An article by Daniel Panneton of The Atlantic goes into the profusion of Catholic symbolism, particularly the rosary, among the supposedly radicalised Catholic crowd online.
In the boomer space:
- Consumer Affairs says Gen Z today have around 86 per cent less purchasing power than when baby boomers were in their 20s.
- A Boomer pulls apart a fridge, and reveals the poor quality of materials and engineering being used in modern appliances for the sake of achieving small energy savings while compromising on product lifespan and quality.