This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

Mainstream Media Finally Awakens to the Fact that Big Banks Are Criminal Enterprises

George Washington's picture




 

7534252614 dc24534f4a b Even the Mainstream Media Finally Awakens to the Fact that Big Banks Are Criminal Enterprises

Image by William Banzai

Alternative financial media have noted for years that:

  • As Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted years ago:

“The system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with.

 

The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.”

Now – with the slap on the wrist of giant HSBC for laundering huge sums of drug money (the Guardian points out that “the sum represents about four weeks’ earnings given the bank’s pre-tax profits of $21.9bn last year”) – even the mainstream press is starting to catch on.

The New York Times notes:

Congressional hearings exposed weaknesses at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the national bank regulator. In 2010, the regulator found that HSBC had severe deficiencies in its anti-money laundering controls, including $60 trillion in transactions and 17,000 accounts flagged as potentially suspicious, activities that were not reviewed. Despite the findings, the regulator did not fine the bank.

 

During the hearings this summer, lawmakers assailed the regulator. At one point, Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, called the comptroller “a lap dog, not a watchdog.”

A New York Times editorial argues:

It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.

 

Clearly, the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too big to jail. When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished. The deterrence that comes from the threat of criminal prosecution is weakened, if not lost.

 

***

 

Even large financial settlements are small compared with the size of international major banks. More important, once criminal sanctions are considered off limits, penalties and forfeitures become just another cost of doing business, a risk factor to consider on the road to profits.

 

***

 

According to several law enforcement officials with knowledge of the inquiry, prosecutors found that, for years, HSBC had also moved tainted money from Mexican drug cartels and Saudi banks with ties to terrorist groups. Those findings echo those of a Congressional report, issued in July, which said that between 2001 and 2010, HSBC exposed the American “financial system to money laundering and terrorist financing risks.”

As the New York Times correctly points out:

If banks operating at the center of the global economy cannot be held fully accountable, the solution is to reduce their size by breaking them up and restricting their activities — not shield them and their leaders from prosecution for illegal activities.

The Washington Post writes that its not just HSBC:

A string of august names in global banking — Credit Suisse, Lloyds Bank, ABN Amro, ING Bank and now HSBC — have reached settlements in the past couple of years with the U.S. government for billions of dollars in tainted transactions. These investigations have revealed that weaknesses in the financial system lay not with the so-called hawala brokers of Karachi, Pakistan, but the bespoke bankers of London, Amsterdam and Geneva, and their American affiliates.

 

***

 

The settlement drew criticism that HSBC had escaped lightly, given the gravity and scale of the crimes.

 

If these people aren’t prosecuted, who will be?” asked Jack Blum, a Washington attorney and a former special counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who specializes in money laundering and financial crimes. “What do you have to do to be prosecuted? They have crossed every bright line in bank compliance. When is there an offense that’s bad enough for a big bank to be prosecuted?”

The Guardian notes:

“Steal a little,” wrote Bob Dylan, “they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you a king.” These days, he might recraft the line to read: deal a little dope, they throw you in jail; launder the narco billions, they’ll make you apologise ….

 

***

 

The dealings had been flagged up to HSBC bosses by an anti-money laundering officer, but to no avail – the dirty business continued.

 

***

 

[A couple of years ago, when Wachovia was busted for laundering drug money,] no one from Wachovia went to jail – and, said Woods at the time of the settlement: “These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world. But no one goes to jail. What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing. It encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars.”

 

***

 

Wachovia was not the first, neither will HSBC be the last. Six years ago, a subsidiary of Barclays – Barclays Private Bank – was exposed as having been used to launder drug money from Colombia through five accounts linked to the infamous Medellín cartel.

 

***

 

And the issue is wider than drug-money. It is about where banks, law enforcement officers and the regulators – and politics and society generally – want to draw the line between the criminal and supposed “legal” economies, if there is one.

 

***

 

No one was sanctioned under criminal law last month when the ING bank was fined $619m for illegally moving billions of dollars into the US banking system….

 

***

 

A foremost trainer of anti-money laundering officers in the US is Robert Mazur, who infiltrated the Medellín cartel during the prosecution and collapse of the BCCI bank in 1991, and who tells the Observer that “the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom“.

 

***

 

People don’t like to ask how close the banker’s finger is to the trigger of the killer’s gun,” says Woods.

 

But in this newspaper – when we revealed the original “cease and desist” order against HSBCthe former head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, posited that four pillars of the international banking system are: drug-money laundering, sanctions busting, tax evasion and arms trafficking. [indeed, drug dealers kept the banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis.]

The response of politicians is to cower from any serious legal assault on this reality, for the simple reasons that the money is too big (plus consultancies to be had after leaving office). The British government recruits a former chairman of HSBC as trade secretary just as the drug-laundering scandal breaks.

 

***

 

The notion of any dichotomy between the global criminal economy and the “legal” one is fantasy. Worse, it is a lie. They are seamless, mutually interdependent – one and the same.

The Guardian reported last year:

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

 

The conclusion to the case was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

Huffington Post writes:

The message this is sending is if you want to engage in money laundering, make sure you’re doing it within the context of your employment at a bank,” [University of Notre Dame law professor Jimmy Gurulé, a former assistant U.S. Attorney General and former Undersecretary for Enforcement for the U.S. Treasury Department] said in a phone interview. “And don’t go small. Do it on a very large scale, and you won’t get prosecuted.”

 

It’s essentially telling the executives in these institutions crime pays,” Neil Barofsky, former Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the government’s bailout program, told CNN. “Go ahead, do whatever you want to do, enjoy your profits, and the worst thing that happens, well, you have some fines that really make up a couple of weeks of profits that you lose.”

Barofsky explains:

DOJ’s actions with regards to HSBC are … downright terrifying for weakening the general deterrence for megabanks, both foreign and domestic, which could rationally interpret yesterday’s actions as a license to steal.

 

***

 

Yesterday’s action now spikes the punch with a new toxin, confirmation that criminal penalties are off the table, leaving a worst-case scenario of a fine totaling far less than even a single quarter’s earnings. Given the potential profits of criminal behavior and the unlikelihood of personal consequences for the executives directing it, the message is clear: Crime pays. This will inevitably lead to more reckless risk-taking that will further undermine systemic stability and lead to an even greater financial meltdown down the road.

Matt Taibbi notes:

When you decide not to prosecute bankers for billion-dollar crimes connected to drug-dealing and terrorism (some of HSBC’s Saudi and Bangladeshi clients had terrorist ties, according to a Senate investigation), it doesn’t protect the banking system, it does exactly the opposite. It terrifies investors and depositors everywhere, leaving them with the clear impression that even the most “reputable” banks may in fact be captured institutions whose senior executives are in the employ of (this can’t be repeated often enough) murderers and terrorists. Even more shocking, the Justice Department’s response to learning about all of this was to do exactly the same thing that the HSBC executives did in the first place to get themselves in trouble – they took money to look the other way.

(Taibbi also notes that the failure to prosecute HSBC shows that the war on drugs is a joke. He’s right; and see this).

The top Wall Street fraud expert – William Black – confirms:

Public reports of the results of the government investigations of HSBC describe a bank that has been a criminal enterprise for at least 15 years. The current settlement addresses only three of the many scandals HSBC has committed over that time period. HSBC is a recidivist of epic proportions, but the Obama and Cameron governments have failed to prosecute HSBC or any of its officers. When powerful corporations and their controlling officers grow wealthy through massive frauds and do so with impunity from criminal sanction integrity and justice are eaten away. Effective financial regulation, supervision, and prosecutions are essential to “free” financial markets. When cheaters prosper honest firms are driven from the markets, a point that the Nobel Laureate George Akerlof explained in his famous 1970 article on markets for “lemons.” He described a “Gresham’s” dynamic in which bad ethics drove good ethics from the marketplace.

BBC points out that we will end up paying for the banks’ sins:

The point, as the Governor of the Bank of England said recently, is that banks may not have adequate capital to absorb the full financial cost of all the punishment being meted out for banks’ past sins.

 

And as you will be tired of hearing, capital is expensive. And when banks are obliged to raise more of it, the burden falls initially on investors and subsequently on customers – who are forced to pay more for banking services to reward the providers of the capital.

 

Or to put it another way, we are all punished when banks are found guilty.

Senators Slam Department of Justice

Congress is almost entirely bought and paid for.

But even so, Democratic Senator Merkley just wrote a letter slamming the Department of Justice:

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer highlighted just how brazen the violations were, with traffickers depositing “hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller window.” Sanctions violations were equally deliberate, with the bank intentionally stripping information from transactions to avoid detection. Yet despite these clear and blatant violations, the Department of Justice refused to bring criminal charges against the bank, relevant employees, or senior management.

 

Indeed, Mr. Breuer stated yesterday that in deciding not to prosecute, the Department considered the “collateral consequences” of its decision on the financial system. Mr. Breuer stated “If you prosecute one of the largest banks in the world, do you risk that people will lose jobs, other financial institutions and other parties will leave the bank, and there will be some kind of event in the world economy?” The HSBC decision comes on the back of deferred prosecution agreements with Standard Charter Bank and ING Group related to similar charges.

 

***

 

I am deeply concerned that four years after the financial crisis, the Department appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution. This “too big to jail” approach to law enforcement, which deeply offends the public’s sense of justice, effectively vitiates the law as written by Congress. Had Congress wished to declare that violations of money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and a number of other illicit financial actions would only constitute civil violations, it could have done so. It did not.

 

***

 

Drug cartels are also increasingly connected to terrorism. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 39 percent of State Department-designated foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) have “confirmed links” to the drug trade, as of November 2011.  The consequences to U.S. national security for violations involving terrorism financing … are obvious and severe. Congress deemed criminal law the appropriate tool for punishing and deterring actions that have such serious and damaging public consequences.

 

***

 

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, jail time is served by over 96 percent of persons that plead or are found guilty of drug trafficking, 80 percent of those that plead or are found guilty of money laundering, and 63 percent of those caught in possession of drugs. As the deferred prosecution agreement appears now to be the corporate equivalent of acknowledging guilt, the best way for a guilty party to avoid jail time may be to ensure that the party is or is employed by a globally significant bank. The Department’s deferred prosecution agreements may offer something in the way of promises of future compliance, but they look sorely lacking in justice and accountability.

Merkley also notes that failing to criminally prosecute bank crimes makes the “too big to fail” problem even worse:

Refusing to prosecute on the grounds of financial stability is also troubling from the perspective of ending “too big to fail.” The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which declared some institutions to be systemically important financial institutions subject to tougher regulation, did not declare that those institutions would be exempt from criminal prosecution. Indeed, the Dodd-Frank Act explicitly created new authority to permit a failed institution to be wound down safely, without impacting financial stability. If a financial institution, because of its criminal actions, ultimately fails, that may indeed be precisely the consequence that justice and accountability demand, and which is so necessary to deterring future illegal behavior. I am deeply concerned that the Department’s continuing application of deferred prosecution agreements on the grounds of financial stability runs contrary to the intent of Congress and undermines the accountability to the rule of law that is so fundamental to a healthy, functioning free market economy.

In a separate letter, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley also slammed the justice department:

The Department has refused to prosecute any individual employees or the bank responsible for these crimes. This troubling lack of real enforcement will have consequences for the health of our economy and the safety and prosperity of the American people.

 

***

 

Despite the fact that this is a “record” settlement, for a bank as gigantic as HSBC this is hardly even a slap on the wrist. It only amounts to between 9 and 11% of HBSC’s profits last year alone, and is a bare fraction of the sums left unmonitored. Additionally, the DPA states that “at least $881 million in drug proceeds” entered the U.S. financial system, but how much more remains undiscovered? Did HSBC profit from the DPA because it actually made more than $1.92 billion by providing services to drug kingpins and terrorists? The American people may never know, because you have declined to prosecute.

 

Even more concerning is the fact that the individuals responsible for these failures are not being held accountable. The Department has not prosecuted a single employee of HSBC—no executives, no directors, no AML compliance staff members, no one. By allowing these individuals to walk away without any real punishment, the Department is declaring that crime actually does pay. Functionally, HSBC has quite literally purchased a get-out-of-jail-free card for its employees for the price of $1.92 billion dollars.

 

There is no doubt that the Department has “missed a rare chance to send an unmistakable signal about the threat posed by financial institutions willing to assist drug lords and terror groups in moving their money.” One international banking expert went as far as to argue that, despite the “astonishing amount of criminal behavior” from HSBC employees, the DPA is no more than a “parking ticket.” A former banking regulator added that it is “mind-boggling” how the Department believes that “you can have a financial system and allow this kind of impunity.” Future bank employees with a choice between following the law or profiting from illegal activities will have been taught the lesson that they will never face prison time for their actions. Consequently, this DPA does little to discourage future lawbreakers, and leaves the U.S. financial system highly vulnerable to exploitation by drug cartels and terrorists.

 

The Department’s inexcusable reluctance to prosecute is the continuation of a failed policy allowing lawbreakers to escape justice. In a letter to the Department on March 9, 2012, I noted that the Department had “brought no criminal cases against any of the major Wall Street banks or executives who are responsible for the financial crisis” …. As others have repeatedly warned, failing to prosecute individuals or banks when they have committed crimes will result in perverse incentives and ultimately undermine the integrity of the U.S. financial system and economy.

 

The United States is already seeing the results of these failed policies. Past settlements with large banks prove that they do nothing to change what appears to be a culture of noncompliance for some businesses. In March 2010, the Department arranged a then-record $160 million deferred prosecution agreement with Wachovia based on its laundering of more than $110 million from Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. Officials at the time stated that “blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations.” In this case, a bank escaped with a record monetary settlement and a conspicuous absence of individuals behind bars. If the story sounds eerily similar, that’s because it is. It happened again with HSBC.

 

Make no mistake, the Department’s refusal to prosecute individuals or the bank directly threatens the safety of Americans. After evidence revealed Wachovia’s involvement with money-laundering, one whistleblower stated, “[i]t’s simple: if you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point.” HSBC’s criminal actions have no doubt enabled similar violence in Mexico by supporting the very cartels now terrorizing Mexican civilians. This violence often spills over the border into American cities ….

 

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have an obligation to ensure that the executive branch is fully, fairly, and effectively enforcing the law. But what I have seen from the Department is an inexplicable unwillingness to prosecute and convict those responsible for aiding and abetting drug lords and terrorists. I cannot help but agree with an editorial in the New York Times that “the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too big to jail.”

 

 

- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mon, 12/17/2012 - 12:56 | 3071328 jjsilver
jjsilver's picture

On May 23, 1933, Congressman, Louis T. McFadden, brought formal charges against the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank system, The Comptroller of the Currency and the Secretary of United States Treasury for numerous criminal acts, including but not limited to, CONSPIRACY, FRAUD, UNLAWFUL CONVERSION, AND TREASON. The petition for Articles of Impeachment was thereafter referred to the Judiciary Committee and has YET TO BE ACTED ON.

http://www.freedomsite.net/files/mcfadden.htm

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 11:54 | 3071158 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Thanks George, another great article.

Kids are put in jail for a small bag of pot but the bankers who launder the money for the drug dealers go free.

Banks manipulate interest rates and gamble with other people's money but get bailed out and big bonuses (and no jail).

The revolution will come when the bullshit calliope stops spinning and debt and bailouts and the lies can't provide food or shelter.

Can't wait for the Ponzi to end, can't wait.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 12:15 | 3071198 Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

The commentary is misleading.  It is too big to fail, and too RICH to jail.  Criminal prosecution is personal.  These fucks are not too big to anything, the only thing that sets them apart from the regular guy is their wealth.

The problem is money = power to these fucks of financial racketeering.

The only reason there is no prosecution anywhere is because of corruption, quantified in -- MONEY (GASP!!)

There is no plan to do anything whatsoever until the regular guy starts asking neighbors and friends about their fortunes in crime Inc.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 11:50 | 3071153 Ian56
Ian56's picture

Too big to jail banks, the US government and the drugs trade

 

http://ian56.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/too-big-to-jail-banks-us-government-...

 

Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon D) blasts Eric Holder over too big to jail Banks

 

December 13, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley today blasted the U.S. Department of Justice for its policy of offering “deferred prosecution” for large financial institutions that break federal criminal laws, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and sanctions violations, calling the policy “too big to jail” and demanding explanations.

 

In a sharply-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Merkley criticized the government’s recent agreement with British bank HSBC, which brazenly facilitated the laundering of $800 million in illicit narcotics proceeds that drug traffickers ran through the bank’s Mexican and American affiliates, and engaged in over $600 million in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma.

 

“I am deeply concerned that four years after the financial crisis, the Department appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution,” wrote Merkley.  “This ‘too big to jail’ approach to law enforcement, which deeply offends the public’s sense of justice, effectively vitiates the law as written by Congress.  Had Congress wished to declare that violations of money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and a number of other illicit financial actions would only constitute civil violations, it could have done so.  It did not.”

 

Merkley emphasized the real life consequences of drug trafficking, money laundering, and sanctions violations and drew the stark contrast with rates at which individuals convicted of similar crimes on a smaller scale serve jail time.

 

http://www.merkley.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/?id=42A606E4-7C45-42ED-8348-C77C508F9281

 

The banks are responsible for far more deaths in the US and elsewhere than legally held guns, through their support of money laundering and the drugs trade.

 

We need some BANK control. Prosecute the execs don't just fine the shareholders.

Barack Obama and Eric Holder have demonstrated that the big banks are above the law.

 

Money laundering (mostly drugs but terrorist financing too) in big banks is endemic

 

http://ian56.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/money-laundering-by-large-banks-is.html

 

The so called "war on drugs" is a hypocritical sham as demonstrated by the HSBC settlement.

How many fewer guns would there be on the streets, if there were no more drugs gangs?

How many fewer homicides from firearms?

How many young lives would be saved from being wrecked if drugs were decriminalized or legalized?

 

The real reasons why the US government does not want to legalize drugs.

 

http://ian56.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/why-federal-government-does-not-want-to.html

 

There are several reasons why the Federal government does not want to legalize drugs.

 

Drugs money funds the Taleban - violence in Afghanistan is increased. It provides an excuse for the US to remain in Afghanistan. Have you seen the pictures of US troops protecting poppy fields? There are lots on the web.

 

It causes chaos and anarchy in Mexico. This was used for Fast & Furious to condition people into accepting the UN small arms treaty that Obama is curently negotiating. The Federal government wants to reduce the number of Americans with guns.

 

Mexican anarchy also provides an excuse to deploy drones for border patrol. Drones are now authorized to fly in every inch of American airspace. It is much easier to weaponize a drone than it is to weaponize a light aircraft or helicopter (the current methods of aerial surveillance). The pilot of a police helicopter or border patrol light aircraft would object more to his craft being turned into a gunship than a drone operator would.

 

It provides an excuse for the Federal government to intervene in countries like Colombia. Colombia would provide a useful base, should the US choose to intervene in Venezuela or Ecuador.

 

It keeps poor people poor and increases crime and violence. It makes the rest of America scared of the violence and the drugs gangs. A good excuse for heavy handed government intervention.

 

It increases corruption - more payoffs for politicians and law enforcement.

 

The CIA uses their drugs running activities to fund black ops.

 

The DEA provides another para military wing of the Federal government and an easy way in for US intervention in foreign countries who traffic or supply. E.g. Central America or the Caribbean. (Or countries that launder drugs money.)

 

The financial industry makes a lot of money, laundering drugs money. They do not want to see drugs legalized.

 

Update 12/14 The recent case of HSBC large scale drug money laundering

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-20121213

 

It keeps the prison business in business.

 

It helps the profits of the pharmaceutical and alcohol industry. Both sponsor the Federal government.

 

The Federal government does not care that it costs the taxpayer $200bn a year with the current system. This is not a priority.

 

N.B. A number of senior policemen have spoken out against drug prohibition, due to the violence, crime and corruption it engenders.

 

A retired Police Captain demolishes the "war on drugs" and prohibition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8yYJ_oV6xk&feature=youtu.be

 

http://www.leap.cc/

 

A short history of the post WW2 drugs trade

 

http://ian56.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-brief-history-of-post-ww2-drugs-trade.html

 

The Clinton's connections to the drugs trade and their legacy in Obama's administration

(Plus Bush/Cheney connections & Iran contra)

http://ian56.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/clinton-connections-to-drug-trade-and.html 

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:38 | 3070963 Madcow
Madcow's picture

for so long - people have just not wanted to believe that the banking system was run by thieves, drug runners, and sex offenders. 

but with daily scandals it is now impossible to ignore the twenty+ (and growing) elephants in the room.

sadly, our financial system is now dependenty upon ever-escalating crime - as that is the only way net new cash can be generated 

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:37 | 3070959 rustymason
rustymason's picture

The banksters and our reps in the District of Criminals are simply mobsters who "went legit."

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 09:57 | 3070874 Bob
Bob's picture

We peel back the layers, but how many are necessary to recognize the whole as an onion?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/17-0

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 06:56 | 3070605 Steve in Greensboro
Steve in Greensboro's picture

Ah yes, the legacy-dinosaur media. Their analytic powers rival those of Inspector Clouseau.

Anything to misdirect blame away from the world's largest criminal enterprise, the U.S. Executive branch and its capo, the Kenyan Kleptocrat.

Here are a couple of questions for all you retards who use the word "bankster". 1) Who is it that reappointed Bernanke and at whose pleasure he continues to serve? 2) If banks control everything, why was Lehman allowed to go bankrupt?

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 08:47 | 3070762 falak pema
falak pema's picture

US executive branch, RR/MT  (accross the pond) were in cahoots with the oligarchical banks, their annointed princes of supply side bonanza in deregulated big bang.

As for the Kenyan, he wasn't there in 1985-2008, period which saw this model grow into what it has become on a steady escalator fed on steroid fiat pump.

History is upside down in your perspective. As for Lehman, its rivals thought its fall out could be contained and having one rival out of the way for the others seemed a good thing.

Yes, they were playing with fire on WS, and its does lead to unimaginable consequences.

Thats what the bonfire of vanities feeds on. 

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 07:21 | 3070626 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Probably because they had a buyer in Barclay's, and someone had to take the fall while the others got 100% backing. Or, it was a political decision.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 06:37 | 3070590 falak pema
falak pema's picture

ha, ha, ha, Sleeping beauty and wake up call. 

Brilliant heading GW.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 03:51 | 3070486 etresoi
etresoi's picture

Banzai's cartoon says it all.   Ha HA, the joke is that the usgov, which is the most ethically and morally corrupt government in history, has found an additional way to get a slice of the bankster's pie and the bankster's are always willing to skim their share from honest or criminal clients.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 01:00 | 3070287 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Don't HSBC's roots go back to Britain's opium importing days?

Why are we surprised?   

Is it just that the CIA doesn't like competition and those that help their competitors?     Not just banks that get away with illegal behavior.  Iran-CONTRA - Presidential pardosn for drug running......   you can bet it's still going on and has been since Chinese Nationalist Generals ended up in the trade in the Golden Triangle ater Mao took over.   Keep in mind that the Communists ended China's drug problem. They killed all the addicts.  The Taliban wer epretty good at eradicating Afghanistan's prodiction of opium too - until the US came back in....

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 00:49 | 3070262 honestann
honestann's picture

How many times do I need to type this?

Huh?

predators DBA government
predators DBA corporations
predators DBA central banks

They are all predators, pure, simple and precise.

No further analysis is required.  Get a clue, humans.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 01:05 | 3070293 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Of course, Honestann, you are right that the top carnivores, or predator/parasites, are Doing Business As governments, corportions, and central banks. The need for further analysis is in order to do what they do better.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 00:09 | 3070192 Fred Hayek
Fred Hayek's picture

Great work, as usual George. Kudos to you.

When a situation is so corrupt that even the New York Times will criticize centralized power . . ! Wow.

Reminds me of the famous Piranha Brothers sketch by the Monty Python group. It recounts the fictional Piranha Brothers' career in crime in London. At one point, the announcer intones something like, "Then, in February 1967 . . " and the screen shows an atomic bomb going off and a mushroom cloud rising as though this is another of the Piranha Brothers' deeds. And the announcer says, "At this point, even the police began to sit up and take notice."

Now, even the New York Times has begun to sit up and take notice.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 22:49 | 3070012 brown_hornet
brown_hornet's picture

<<<Write my new (d) Cogresswoman Tammy Duckworth and the Daily Herald

 

<<<Have another beer and go watch San Fran-New England.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 21:17 | 3069773 nowhereman
nowhereman's picture

12/21/12

need I say more?

In the northern hemisphere the drain flows the opposite of the southern, yet it all goes down the drain nevertheless.

Prepare the best you can.

And for everybodies sake, stop believing it can't happen to you.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 21:37 | 3069706 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

ARCHIVE PHOTOGRAPH NY FED PRIMARY DEALERS

The US government is never going to dismantle the edifice that enables the Federal deficit. This obvious fact is what the MSM is cloaking with its sudden shock and dismay that Banksters are jail proof.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:20 | 3069606 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

It must be a mistake to imply that Taibbi was not ahead of the MSM curve on this. He was way ahead.

And as for the MSM, we should be asking why aren't they wondering why all the huge record fines and publicity for English banks and not for JPM et al?

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 13:12 | 3071381 OccupyTVstations
OccupyTVstations's picture

Did you notice how Taibbi took a dive last Feb when the 'mortgage settlement' went through? The point man exposing all the foreclosure scams by the banks went silent as the biggest scam of them all was pushed through congress. Read through his history of articles an note the astonishing silence Jan-Feb 2012 as this 'get out of jail free card' was given to the bankster crooks.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 00:31 | 3070228 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

I thought it was one of the bizarre signs of the times that some of the best financial reporting was being published in the Rolling Stone, of all places! Welcome to the Bizarro Mirror World Folks!  The erudite truth about our economic system was in the sex, drugs, & rock'n'roll magazine! WTF???

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:26 | 3069628 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Tip of the hat to Matt Taibbi and Jann Wenner for publishing him.  Millions of Rolling Stone readers began to get a clue about white collar crime.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 09:01 | 3070778 Bob
Bob's picture

Hell yeah.  And Bill Black for continuing his fight year after year with so little yet to show for it. 

A few good soldiers, GW included!

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:22 | 3069625 George Washington
George Washington's picture

Banzai, I didn't mean to imply Taibbi (or Black or others) were behind the curve.  I meant to add their comments to flesh out and amplify what the MSM is now saying.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 21:33 | 3069667 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Thinking about this, they really are just part of the manipulation game, purposefully or as useful idiots.

Hammering UBS, HSBC, Standard Charter and Barclays is such an obvious ploy.

The big US dealer banks are treated with kid gloves.

Apparently Michael Milken and Drexel committed a greater sin in the eyes of American justice than the current primary dealer mafia. Drexel was not deemed TBTF and it wasn't.

It is also apparently a lesser offense to bank for drug lords than to grow your own pot.

Meanwhile, the absence of indictments for individual bankers means the real cockroaches get to sanitize their resumes and show up somewhere else in finance. Nice work Holder.

And Blankfein was a featured speaker at NYT Dealbooks future of bullshit conference last week. Apparently he is now a model citizen.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:49 | 3070985 The Ponz
The Ponz's picture

As usual, you're hitting the nail on the head, Banzai.

Past prophets got this too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qDO6HV6xTmI#t=8s

Drug money has been the only real capital in the system for a long time.

Very much dig your work GW and Banzai. Keep pushing truth.

 

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 22:18 | 3069919 The Heart
The Heart's picture

Slowly, the worm turns and the giant awakens. We are seeing the crewing of great notables here and everywhere as everyone is getting on the same page. Big giant kudos and gratitude for the good works of Forest brothers George and William as well as other fine nobles here that regularly add their light to the crew’s briefing. Thank you all.

We see the wagons circling to slowly come around for the broadsides of barrages the babaylonian banksters are about to take from the pissed off people of the world. The stream points to the head of the beast, finally, and not the branches so many waste time whacking at.

When the fall comes, video taping the hangings will go mainstream, all competing for the most and greatest visual effects of screaming and wriggling around after the snap. Try adding a light show. Thank God for U-tube.

Imagine if we focused all world resources and monies on preparing for what comes from a more macro level, rather than a micro one.

Space…the final frontier…bearer of things that change worlds.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 22:23 | 3069937 The Heart
Mon, 12/17/2012 - 00:11 | 3070198 fourchan
fourchan's picture

 

 

they are the modernday mobsters, spreading their grift and molevilent corruption

to every single body enabled to bring them down to the servant status where they belong.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:07 | 3069551 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

"Mainstream Media Finally Awakens..." ?  Really GW?

Maybe MSM rolled over between deep dreams of beating par, but they really only cracked an single crusted eyelid.  Economically, emotionally, and spiritually we as a culture are in freefall and it is just too fuckin' scary to look down as the ground rushes to meet us.  The destruction of the middle class and export of manufacturing doomed the America I loved.  Back to sleep and sweet dreams of eagles presstitutes, your CIA check is in the mail...

The Second American Revolution, gaining momentum while the MSM sleeps and drools on it's designer 600 count pillow case.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:58 | 3071024 marathonman
marathonman's picture

Well when the dollar is finally out as world reserve currency, just think how competitive our labor rates are going to be!

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 03:43 | 3070481 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

They are puppets and their puppet masters know when to pull back and when to "go forward."  Never sleep.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v46xu-j3XMA

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:28 | 3069626 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

As a thought experiment for all, who or what would you personally be willing and able to take action against in the Second American Revolution.

Don't answer here, for god's sake. Just think about it as if you really had to do it.

(Answering "Those fucking bastards who are screwing us over" isn't going to win the chicken dinner.)

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:57 | 3069718 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Don't answer here WTF?  This is FC, put on your big boy boxers or go home.

All successful revolutions begin inside and are reflected on the outside. 

When we are tired of lying to ourselves, we wlll encounter honesty.

When we value ourselves, we enjoy abundance.

When we are clear inside, information flows to and fro freely.

When we are not afraid of pain or death, we live and die freely and easily.

These are not the "revolutionary actions" we are taught in school.  These are ridiculed and ignored because they would instantly crash the system.  My version of the "Second American Revolution" is a spiritual rebirth that redefines what it means to be human.  Most people laugh behind my back, but I believe Astrology may play an important part in it.  We live in a hyperdimensional universe and Classical Western Astrology is a very rough guide to our personal hyperdimensional natures.  Each of us is just as divine as any other human that ever existed, no exceptions.

My personal "Second American Revolution" is well underway and though I have pissed and puzzled many fellow humans, I occasionally inspire.

Did I win the chicken dinner? : -)

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 08:50 | 3070767 Dugald
Dugald's picture

Your dinner was on its way to you.....then you got into Astrology...no tucker for you sport...

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 09:51 | 3070849 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Wake up and smell the hyperdimensional, electrical universe Dug!

http://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/

Open mind and critical thinking suggested.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 01:07 | 3070286 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Wakan Tanka, Wakanda!

The intellectual "Second American Revolution" must be based on profound paradigm shifts! The obvious problem is that just as there are no sane theories about how to fight a war with weapons of mass destruction, there are no sane theories of how to "fight" a violent revolution in a country with an abundance of weapons of mass destruction!

THE PROBLEM is that we are already inside a runaway system of global electronic fiat money frauds, backed up with the threat of weapons of mass destruction. That PROBLEM has been amplified to such an astronomical size that we can barely comprehend it. There are quadrillions of units of funny money flying around at near the speed of light, which are enough to buy more than 10 times everything that is currently able to be sold on the whole planet, while the weapons used to back up that gambling with fiat money made out of nothing are enough to destory the planet more than 10 times. All of that is taking place with the contexts of electronics and atomic energy, along with cracking the DNA code, etc., ... THAT REAL world is based on the physics that matter is concentrated energy, and the rest of the astonishingly paradoxical mathematical physics, etc., ... Ancient mysticism and postmodernizing science ARE converging, and so, creative synthesis of those is the way forward. The paradoxical expectation is that the future will be BOTH more destructive, and more creative, than ever before!

Therefore, Wakanda, I too believe that astrology provides an interesting alternative way of "knowing." For several decades I have been hoping that some kind of psychic politics would become more possible. If there is nothing but materialism pumped up with atomic energy, then the absymal failure of that to understand itself is madness! Atom bombs go BOOM because matter is extremely concentrated energy! Therefore, the paradoxical PROBLEMS of old-fashioned materialism, manifesting via electronic fiat money frauds, backed by atomic bombs, become the runaway insanity of abject failures to understand ourselves and to understand our enemies.

The Second American Revolution should be based on changing the ways that we think. How much old-fashioned selection pressures are going to force that to happen, in one way or another, sooner of later, remains to be seen ...

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 03:31 | 3070474 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Tip of the hat to Jane Roberts (personal hero of mine) and "Psychic Politics". 

We are in the middle of an archetypal clash of energies - Uranus square (90 degrees) Pluto.  The dates are:

uranus sqr pluto 8 degrees 24 minutes Aries/Capricorn
scheduled for June 23, 2012
1st square

ur sqr pl 6AR/CP57
scheduled for September 19, 2012

pl conjunct 8AR/CP24 - 1st ur sqr pl
scheduled for December 5, 2012

ur cnj 8AR/CP24 - 1st ur sqr pl
scheduled for March 27, 2013

ur sqr pl 9AR/CP26
scheduled for November 2, 2013

Heliocentric
ur sqr pl 11AR/CP04
scheduled for November 22, 2013

ur sqr pl 11AR/CP14
scheduled for May 21, 2013

ur sqr pl 13AR/CP34
scheduled for April 21, 2014

ur sqr pl 12AR/CP35
scheduled for December 14, 2014

ur sqr pl 15AR/CP18
scheduled for March 16, 2015
last sqr

The most important of these is the heliocentric November 2013 date.  This underground (pluto) revolution (uranus) will bring forth seeds planted back in 1968-1970, the uranus, pluto conjunction.  Time to bang a gong FiSHeS!

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 00:08 | 3070187 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

You get your choice of wing or drumstick.

But I don't think it's prudent to mention real targets out loud here in the town square where the cops take license plate and IP numbers. Those will be the first houses searched when 'they' start looking for illegal drugs or unlicensed guns or 32 ounce Slurpees.

We surely have to have an internal revolution before real change can come.

Revolution is what happens when most people realize that they're hungry, their kids are hungry and the big boys have stopped playing by the rules we all somehow thought applied to all of us.

When it's time to take that first shot, it's smart to be doing it offensively, at their backs and not defensively at your front door.

 

 

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 03:12 | 3070460 Wakanda
Wakanda's picture

Wing!  : - g

"Revolution is what happens when most people realize that they're hungry, their kids are hungry and the big boys have stopped playing by the rules we all somehow thought applied to all of us."

To me, that is not a revolution.  That is the continual cycle of victor and victim, oppressor and oppressed, drama this and righteous that... boring

If my only targets are my own illusions and limitations, then I have only my ego to destroy.  If I am successful, not a single shot will ever be fired.  Most importantly, I will be free from the folks who pander to the dark spirits, the demons that haunt this plane.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 06:19 | 3070573 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I wish you well. Enjoy the wing.

I don't think many monkeys want to follow that path, but there's truth in it, nonetheless.

Revolution begins within. Chaos begins without.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 19:56 | 3069547 Hannibal
Hannibal's picture

Legalized fraud, might as well legalize drugs!

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:14 | 3069601 PeaceLover
PeaceLover's picture

Not exactly Legalized Drugs would stop killing and the banks if you track down who is getting hurt are 100's worse!

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 19:55 | 3069545 Duke Dog
Duke Dog's picture

These institutions (3 branches of govt, DOJ, SEC, Courts, etc...) are not naive/ignorant/incompetent, they are serving their purpose. The cargo containers of blank indictments for criminal activities are the "incentives" to keep all of the major players in on the greatest scam and transfer of wealth in the history of the world. JD.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 19:39 | 3069496 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

Drug money?  Why is there so much drug money?  Because of the war on drugs, which is all about  jobs. Poetic, in a way.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:25 | 3069621 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

There's always lots of money in war.

Maybe we can declare war on stupidity and all become steenkin' rich.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 19:10 | 3069458 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

George the MSM is bought and paid for, they do not need to wake up they are wide awake and know exactly what they are doing.  To that end if they are doing stories about the thieving banksters it is for a reason, perhaps to seduce you and your readers into to thinking that deep down they are actually good and decent human beings. 

They are not, they have sold their souls.  Do not be deceived.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 19:55 | 3069552 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Zer0head, I would think that many who work for the mass media suffer some cognitive dissonance. They may also be individuals with families, and bills to pay. The first rule of ideology is that people rationalize the way that they make a living. Consider having gone into a career in the mass media. How much is "truth" worth, if that means one will be fired?  That is easy to say, except if one has obligations to one's family, to pay one's bills, etc..

I tend to give everyone excuses, because I give myself the same excuses. Can you, Zer0head, actually live without using any money?  Doing that is practically impossible. It surely cannot be done with a family, whose bills must be paid! Almost everyone finds ways to believe that they "are actually good and decent human beings." ... Even "evil" people tend to like to think of themselves as consistently "evil" and have their own kind of moral codes, just broken and apparently backwards with respect to "good and decent human beings."

Of course, those who specialize in doing that the most are those who are employed by the military! Their job is to be the best at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, in order to kill other people, and destroy things. They too are able to rationalize and justify that. Those people in the military may tell to overlap the military ethics found in the mass media. After all, information is power, and power is information, and therefore, making money, backed by murder, is found throughout the media and military systems.

In my opinion, Zer0head, you are indulging in an over-simplistic morality. The banksters are the top carnivores in the human ecology. They are the top predator/parasites. My view is that their prey need some limits. My recommendations are that we need to do that better, rather than try to stop it from happening.  My suggestions are that we should all become better wolves, rather than that we should all become better sheep. I attempt to develop an understanding based on the overall human ecology, rather than making black v. white judgments within that, according to the roles that different people play inside that overall system. The apparent paradox that the biggest gangsters are the banksters that control the governments should be perceived inside that context. My macabre sense of humour is tickled by the ways that the mass media are having an extremely difficult time coming to terms with that. It is now becoming so plainly obvious that the mass media are forced to face those facts, in their own superficial ways.

Sun, 12/16/2012 - 20:20 | 3069613 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

As a former young and idealistic 'journalist,' I had to make that decision myself. Should I stay or should I go? (great song title, tough life choice)

I was tired of being told by my 'peers' to stop asking pointed questions of our political leaders at press conferences. (They'll stop giving all of us inverviews if you keep embarrassing them like that)

I was tired of the lawsuits. (The truth will set you back)

I was tired of the lousy pay that comes from not playing ball. (The big jobs go to kids who know which boats to rock and which boats not to touch)

So I gave up 'trying to tell the truth' and found other things to do with my life.

I miss the days of exposing the bullshit. But now my life is more rewarding, if less dramatic.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!