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The Evictors

Around Moscow, there’s a whole industry of so-called “black creditors” — microfinance institutions (or MFOs) that swindle and seize debtors’ homes. Ivan Golunov’s investigation for Meduza has discovered that almost 500 apartments have been seized from their owners over the past five years without so much as a court order. In fact, this scheme involves more than simply “squeezing” people from their homes. It is possibly part of a wider, international money-laundering system. Here’s Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov on the ins and outs of this industry.

Blackwater in the Caspian

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Jeremy Scahill’s new book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army will prove to be a much needed expose of the Bush Administration’s privatization of the military. Not only are there an estimated 100,000 mercenaries in Iraq, pushing the American military presence far beyond what most are aware, but Blackwater is the vanguard spear for the Bush Administration’s policy in the Caspian Sea region. The “Great Game” is back on. Why? It’s oil of course. For more on Blackwater and its role in the Caspian listen to him on today’s Democracy Now! You can also get a taste of the book in his recent article in the Nation.