Nine Circles of Hell!: Monday, April 23, 2012 Nine Circles of Hell!


It’s 4:20 PM (US central time) – time for the Nine Circles of Hell! It’s all the news that gives you fits in print. Today’s nine most hellish news stories include a bonus story on the Wal-Mart bribery scandal, an extra article on spies, and an additional Sudan video.

Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold, or the bonus stories in italics, to go directly to the original article.

The Nine Circles of Hell! today read like a crime blotter. The New York Times has discovered evidence that Wal-Mart engaged in widespread bribery to dominate the Mexican market. Wal-Mart apparently did an internal investigation, found that the scheme included some higher-ups, and dropped the whole thing without contacting any law enforcement officials. (That New York Times story supposedly caused Wal-Mart Stores Inc shares to drop 3.1 percent in early pre-market trading today.) Worldwide, attacks by pirates are on the decline. Off Somalia, the number has dropped but it is still dangerous. However, the number of attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea has exploded with Nigeria already suffering as many incidents this year as they did in all of 2011. The Somali pirates have also moved on to less challenged waters off Mozambique, the Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Oman, India’s west coast, western Maldives, and in the Arabian Sea. In a completely different kind of crime, the Los Angeles Times reports, Pakistan “Hindus are fixated on a surge of kidnappings of teenage girls by young Muslim men who force them to convert and wed. Pakistani human rights activists report as many as 25 cases a month.” In neighboring Bangladesh, at least 100 political activists have ‘disappeared,’ according to human rights activists. Many in the US will no longer be safe from a crime that was committed last year. The FBI is unplugging an online safety net, throwing US users offline July 9, in the aftermath of a massive hack that occurred last November. Your machine may be infected but there are online solutions. This Associated Press story reports, “The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner,, that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem.” Sure they will. There’s more hacking news. Iran’s oil ministry has been hit by a cyber-attack, the kind that in the past they’ve blamed on the West. The virus is reported to have struck the computer and communication systems of Iran’s main oil export facilities as well as the oil ministry and its subsidiaries. By the way, the Pentagon is creating a new Defense Clandestine Service spying agency to work closely with the CIA, expanding operations overseas. Many at the CIA see this as nothing more than a power grab by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. (In other spy news, there’s the story of MI6 agent Gareth Williams, who was found dead ‘in a padlocked holdall,’ whatever that is.) It seems appropriate to use a spy story to wrap up a day of crime news. Of course, the worst crime of all is war – and Sudan’s president no longer wishes to talk peace with South Sudan as their war intensifies. Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir is quoted in The Los Angeles Times saying, “We will not negotiate with the South’s government because they don’t understand anything but the language of the gun and ammunition.” (The war is getting very bad, very fast. The US national TV news may be ignoring this war, but you can ‘watch incredible footage of South Sudan refugees after their villages were bombed by the Sudan government’ supplied by Human Rights Watch.). While one war begins, another continues. The US military will be in Afghanistan for more than another ten years. Agreements signed this weekend will keep US forces in Afghanistan for another decade after the locals take back control of their own security. According to the agreement, the US would not be involved in any offensive actions or drone attacks from their remaining bases in Afghanistan.

That’s the Nine Circles of Hell! for Monday, April 23, 2012.

Come back tomorrow at 4:20 PM (Chicago time) for tomorrow’s Nine Circles of Hell!