Guest Post: The Unpaid Spies In The Financial System

Tyler Durden's picture

From Simon Black of Sovereign Man

The Unpaid Spies In The Financial System

Here’s a quick crash course in how the intelligence business works these days.  Despite the Hollywood mystique of suave, womanizing, pun-dropping men of mystery flitting around the world, it’s much more mundane.

In reality, government operatives from a host of three-letter agencies are working to develop large networks of informants. These are mostly folks who deal with other people and are in the know– the bartender in Beirut, the luxury car dealer in Bogota, the money changer in Riyadh, the hotel manager in Shanghai, etc.

These assets are constantly being pumped for information– who did you see, what were they buying, where did they go next, who were they with, what were they discussing, etc. And in exchange, informants typically get paid.

In the United States, there are a number of laws on the books which are theoretically supposed to prevent the three letter agencies from spying on US citizens. Naturally, the government dispenses with such inconvenient formalities in its sole discretion, and Congress frequently passes legislative exceptions (USA PATRIOT Act, NDAA, etc.)

There’s a little known division of the Treasury Department called the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) whose mission is to “to enhance U.S. national security, deter and detect criminal activity, and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the U.S. and international financial systems.”

Here’s a government agency rule of thumb: The more noble-sounding the mission statement, the more villainous the agency.

FinCEN is basically the CIA of the financial system. But unlike the CIA which is technically not allowed to spy on US citizens and typically has to pay informants, FinCEN has complete legal authority over US persons. And they’ve managed to turn the entire financial system into the world’s largest network of informants.

Simply put, your banker is an unpaid, often unwilling spy of the US government.

Case in point– last week, FinCEN announced that a California banker had been slapped with a $25,000 penalty for notifying a customer who had become the subject of a federal “Suspicious Activity Report” or SAR.

SARs are required to be filed by bankers, brokers, money changers, check cashers, and even casinos. You may have been the subject of dozens of SARs and never know, because it’s against the law for your banker to notify you.

As for what is considered “suspicious”, there is no clear guidance on this. It could be anything– depositing or withdrawing too much cash, ATM withdrawals in foreign countries, unusual fund transfers into your account. Basically, anything that’s a departure from a completely sterile existence.

What’s more, financial institutions frequently have a minimum quota of SARs to fill out, and those who do not comply face severe penalties. Financial institution employees can even face CRIMINAL charges for failing to file a SAR.

Now, your banker may be a good guy, but do you think s/he’s willing to do jail time? No chance.

This is how normal, everyday people end up on government watch lists or have their assets frozen ‘pending investigation’. And with the recent passing of the National Defense Authorization Act and its catch-all terrorism clauses, we can only expect this to get worse.

It’s truly despicable when you think about it– the federal government creates a currency monopoly at the point of a gun (try buying your groceries with Swiss francs). Then they make it nearly impossible to function in this world without using the banking system, and then turn the entire banking system into a network of spies.

If you want to reduce these risks and dull the impact of the coming wave of SAR-driven civil asset forfeiture, it would be a really smart move to open a foreign bank account.

Nearly every country in the world has anti-money laundering rules now. Some (such as Mongolia, where I recently opened an account yielding nearly 14%), are easier than others. But the bottom line is that you’d be moving your money out of the jurisdiction where you live, and into a place where those agencies have zero (or limited) authority.

And if you want even more financial privacy, I’d strongly recommend holding precious metals in an anonymous overseas vault.

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heremynkitty's picture

I'm SARry.

 

2 pgs of crap for a 67K wire transfer outta Wells Cargo.

smiler03's picture

So you can pay for your groceries in Chile with Swiss Francs? Malaka.

Doña K's picture

No. But the foreign exchange guys are everywhere near banks. They are lisensed and they will take all currencies, except Thai batt. At the Narita airport in Tokyo same sign no Thai batt. I don't know why. 

So then, you can actually buy groceries with any currency. Many countries in SA are running like that. I once bought some CD's with combination of USD, Chilean pesos and Peruvian soles. Also in the downtown districs of big cities, you can find coin dealers that you can deal on anything and everything. They also have scales for buying gold etc and equipment to test for karats. Same as on 47th street in NY.

In Istrael with tourists from everywhere they will also take whatever you have. The local paper publishes the value versus the shekel daily.

These are facts.

But don't show up in north Dakota with Chilean money.   

snowlywhite's picture

from what I remember, it's illegal to take out baht from Thailand.

 

so I guess they can't change it back in something else(and smuggling back in sounds way too much for an exchange shop... - it's a bloody paper, not Koh-i-nor...)

Harlequin001's picture

Non resident trustees are not the subject of SAR's, and if they ever were they would simply show the good old US the good old middle finger. You don't need to go to Mongolia to achieve that.

Of course, domestic trustees have no choice but to comply...

Ag1761's picture

These are mostly folks who deal with other people and are in the know– the bartender in Beirut, the luxury car dealer in Bogota, the money changer in Riyadh, the hotel manager in Shanghai, 

Dont forget to mention the trolls on ZH

CORNGUY's picture

Yup.   I bet they have a spy on ZH right now.  

Non Passaran's picture

More than one - you've earned 6 votes UP so far

Lost Wages's picture

Mongolian bank accounts and anonymous overseas vaults? Sounds safe.

gorillaonyourback's picture

safe is a matter of perspective,,,,,, i would most likely figure digging a hole is just as good like my grandpa once did

Hmm...'s picture

Mongolian bank account yielding 14%?
Money for nothing... And chicks for free I guess.
Let me know how that "de-risking" strategy works for you.

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Mongolia has been the recent in-place of financial innovation and capital mobility. The equity markets rallied, because capital inflows were promoted big time and then occurred big time, just the typical asset inflation effect. I recently noticed, two of the most successful hedge funds of 2011 so far, are heavily invested in Mongolia. But watch out, it reminds me of the 90s, when banks and hedge funds moved into south east asia, when a crisis loomed, they pulled the money thanks to an IMF credit to the countries. Foreigner bank accounts and private investments were left being worth pennies on the dollar. Usually, such soon-to-be-hoped-emerging economies are the first to falter, when world GDP growth stalls. Capital outflows (by the big guys) immediately kill the real economy and only leave chaos and not so friendly official handling of foreign capital remaining in the country.

There is no free lunch. You get 14% on the account, but once it explodes, 90% of your deposits (I perfer to call it capital flow investments) vanish. I like the idea, though, and would much prefer, creating a deposit account in a demand-driven, balanced economy such as Sweden or Norway. Due to a capital flight in full motion, exchange rates have escalated vastly already, though. Alternatively, look at some South American countries, low debt to GDP, resource-rich and demand-driven, those should be key criteria.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

The world financial system is one giant fucking ponzi jail. No place to hide. Only solution is to buy gold and silver and exit the system.

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

I believe the only assets for the true crisis will be stress-resistand and long-built social realtionships and a real-economy, not too specialied capability. No PM in the world will buy you varying scarce resources, if those PM are ever delivered.

Anyways, agreed, regarding the existing financial assets, PMs will probably be the last asset standing, increasingly accumulating value from asset holders fleeing from the dropping dominos.

Antifaschistische's picture

Remember, this is not the only solution Buckaroo Banzai.

Use cash only.  Shop at owner operated businesses only.

 

Odin's picture

Imagine people en masse started to withdrawal their money from banks in order to buy and hold precious metals, how quickly that would tear them down... It's no wonder they are terrified of Gold... I say, make them try to outlaw Gold again, it will expose them... This isn't 1933, we are more educated and informed, and they know it... Take your information war and shove it up your fat ass Hilary; if this is a war, you’re outnumbered…

XitSam's picture

"Mongolia has been the recent in-place of financial innovation ..."

Financial innovation. Where have I heard those words before? 

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/bernanke20090417a.htm

High Plains Drifter's picture

that is like some old lady telling me a few years ago that her broker got her into bonds paying 8 percent.  i said oh really says  i.........

well , if it sounds too good..............  14 percent?  ..........ha ha 

Urban Roman's picture

What are Greek bonds up to again? 80% or something?

Ignorance is bliss's picture

Welcome to 1984 Bitchez !!! Don't let the door hit your ass on the way in...

Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

Exactly, and noone realizes. That's the last piece of the the puzzle:

1) JPM and vassals creating intoxicating financial innovation of behalf of elitist ideology, not even for pure profits sake

2) Officials of any public entity across the globe get bribed if not stupid enough to use these tools to increase debt beyond sustainability of the entity and know it to be hidden thanks to the complexity and asynchronity of the financial innovation design.

3) Use the (however created) fear to silently impose intelligence on society and on the way take away any civil right

4) Prick one or two major bubbles to increase awareness in society

5) Create dumb and unconstructive (no goal) uprisings to signal the remainder of society that there is no way out

6) Control the public (slaves) using the imposed tools to behave, finance the secret order by paying their dues to their respective public entity

7) Equilibrium reached! 

 

You doubt it? I got convinced when I realized that JPM was a tool, as it would for no other reason create something, sell something and control something, that destabilizes it own environment towards self-exstinction.

Gromit's picture

Nothing wrong with saving abroad in a foreign currency. Believe it or not, there are countries with current account surpluse, low debt, inflation and positive interest rates.

Maybe Mongolia is one of them.

 

itchy166's picture

Mongolian people are probably freer than Americans too.  Just be careful, the US might not let you out to go get your cash...

GoodMorningMr.VanRumpoy...'s picture

They are. But as things unravel in  America, the U.S. is going to blow those countries to shit, or send the CIA in to start Arab Springs to destabilizes them and rapes their women and takes their resources. The U.S. has become a country run by predators.They don't know how to produce real wealth anymore.

 

So that's how it works to keep the music going a day longer. And then you hear the talking heads say investors have no place to go so they will go to U.S. treasuries.  They should be going to gold. But they are well trained not to think.

A Lunatic's picture

Only a Terrorist would find this news to be disturbing.

sitenine's picture

That's a moronic cop out, and you KNOW it!  Fear is the mind killer, and you are quite obviously brain dead.  No, it is not OK with me that we shred the constitutional rights of anyone we might decide is a "threat."  That goes against everything you were taught about right and wrong in a Country that used to provide you with the right of defending yourself against allegations of wrong doing.

gmrpeabody's picture

Hmmm..., issues with anger management and resentment of law enforcement. What to do... what to do...

;-)

A Lunatic's picture

FRN's do not belong to you, they are United States Government property; and as such the Govt has every right to track them and decide where, how and when you will spend them. You don't have anything to hide do you?

sitenine's picture

Having anything to hide is not the point...  I'm done here, as I refuse to argue with you.  Believe what you will, as that too is your constitutional right.

A Lunatic's picture

I'm only sarc-ing. You are correct of course, kudos for not taking the bait.

itchy166's picture

The US was taken over decades ago, the constitution has been ignored since before you were born.  The effects are just starting to be felt now that is all.  You have the right to consume - that is all.  

seek's picture

And if you want even more financial privacy, I’d strongly recommend holding precious metals in an anonymous overseas vault.

Erm, no thank you. As soon as Comrade Thieves decides there's no "named owner," it's open season on that vault. Physical possession means physical possession, got it?

While Simon might recommend this, my recommendation is that if you want real financial privacy, put your physical PM into a ABS plastic drain pipe with a couple end caps on it, bury it deep, and shut the fuck up.

pods's picture

But that isn't sexy.  You have to be able to tell people you are going to Zurich because of some pressing business.

Too easy to put $500k in krugs by your dead cat next to the garage.

pods

smiler03's picture

@ seek

+ 1 for you but I have to use Internet Explorer to do it.

Google Chrome won't let you vote for a post if it starts with italics.

XitSam's picture

I thought it was starting with a block quote, but you're right.  Tyler, this needs fixed.

This post is in italics as a test.

Don Smith's picture

Either Tyler fixed it this fast, or you're incorrect. I upvoted for this in Chrome.

seek's picture

Looks like it's block quote, I have the same issue with firefox. Makes mental note to not do block quotes.

XitSam's picture

My testing shows that it is not fixed as of now.  Problem exists in my current version of Safari and and old Firefox. Old version of Opera does not have the problem. 

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Somehow I think of the scene with Johnny Depp in 'Blow' where he goes to his 'safe' bank in Panama and finds all his deposits have been confiscated by the gubmint there.

swani's picture

I am seriously wanting to move off the planet.

youLilQuantFuker's picture

Face it you're a slave.

.gov has you under their thumb and .il has .gov under their thumb.

Fall in line slave! Lose this illusion of ownership of assets already. You will never.

CH1's picture

Yeah, right.

Just drop out of their game and start living like an immigrant. Millions do it.

I did it by Occident's picture

where can we get title to a few acres on Mars? That woudl be awesome!

Urban Roman's picture

What's your address, I'll send you one. It'll be almost as good as a title to anything here in Earth.

Raging Debate's picture

Hey Urban - We laugh because it is funny and we laugh because it is true. And it is either maniacle laughter at the Circus or endless tears :)

The spooks current main focus online is political smearing so all citizens are criminals to be robbed, er I mean fined. Anybody that could change things or had a come to Jesus moment and now tries reform is now a terrorist. It is as simple as that so one must determine what level of risk one will take on in to restructure our country. These are the days that if your decision is to live by the sword, then fully expect that your fate will be dying by the sword.

Think of reform effort risks on a scale of 1-10 with a 1 being verbal dissent. Your risks are more short jail sentences even though you could be detained indefinately. Perhaps in a couple years ZH would be a 5 on the risk scale. That might mean political exile for the management of ZH, perhaps being thrown in a dark hole and forced labor for three or four years or basically until all hostilities die down. I put my activities in that camp and my activities are for loss management for ALL. I will still pay the price for the robbers. Forgive them Father for they know what they do.

Actually, having sociopathic behavior with no empathy as our global leader are showing is a genetic curse, as bad as perhaps a physical malady such as Diabetes. There seems to be two kinds of personalities in these 40 year cycles which I dub the 'The cycle of the robber' and 'the cycle of the producer. Each cycle is 40 years. Add the two together and you get one lifetime. So in a society, if you lived 80 years half your life will be producing in a conduscive environment for such, surrounded by leadership that HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY and act accountable. It is the robbers that spur evolution. Pain is the catalyst of evolution and boy do the robbers cause plenty in spurring it forward.

Central Banking fashions its model around the shelf life of a human. It is 40 years up (1931 to 1971) and 40 years run down. Turly mentions 40 years cycles of privacy, surveillance, oppression or 40 years lack improvement. 

The job of the spook at this time is to discourage forgiveness of any political opponent attempting to clean up their act (as near all politicians have skeletons) and smear them. Trying to clean up your act and actually represent the American people?!? Nope! I saw this here yesterday with the Porter Stansberry article. I talked to the guy in 2008. He was a total, blustering prick. He has renounced his prior behavior, taken accountability and will now fight for justice. I believe him. A guy named Mark Perry was like him too and did the same thing. The spooks pointed out his conviction. Yeah he was a pirate, no different than Bush, Clinton or Obama though. Let me ask you something. If Jamie Dimon came out and renounced his own behavior, the behavior of the banking industry, said he was stepping down and was reinvesting half of his fortune back into a reformed market would you forgive him? It is a hypothetical question to get you to think about what you really want as a result of your reform efforts. Did you know the word repent was a basic call and meant back then as 'change course'?

What do you a call a man holding you up at gunpoint? The citizenship are connecting  the dots now on the governance model of the globe and realize they are not invited to the party. They never really were it just it is that they are now becoming aware of it for the first time in history. This time was different in connecting dots so rapidly for those early seekers where some conclude losses of another world war can be minimized to some degree.

If I can keep ONE CIVILIAN alive anywhere on earth it is enough for me and whatever effort put into it. Now when 20% of the global population in any respective nation feels the same we will break free of the prison-planet system. But 1/3 of us probably do not survive. Such is the way of evolution. If a river damn breaks and out of 1,000 townspeople 300 die, the town will carry on. Such will be the bitter-sweet journey we all are on. Because we are entering the Promised Land, immortality, the Singularity. It is science and no longer religious myth (the myth coming from our DNA what our evolutionary destiny is). I was blubbering about those Kazahks that were murdered yesterday. Ten years ago I would likely felt they had what was coming to them because they could have just shedup and walked off the job. The reality is globally, people cannot afford to live and now have little to no shot at the opportunity to benefit so extended time of this being so causes a rarely understood pyschology of citizenships self-destructing their own supply chains. So those that actually carry this out will get the death sentence under NDAA, that 10 out of a scale of 1 to 10 I mentioned earlier.

May God bless you all, even those with the sociopath gene of all nations. Perhaps I understand because I was once like this but I would die for any one of you of any color, any race and not hesitate. After this nasty hedging period till 2021, it might behoove an individual to learn to practice forgiveness.

Raging Debate's picture

Hey Urban - We laugh because it is funny and we laugh because it is true. And it is either maniacle laughter at the Circus or endless tears :)

The spooks current main focus online is political smearing so all citizens are criminals to be robbed, er I mean fined. Anybody that could change things or had a come to Jesus moment and now tries reform is now a terrorist. It is as simple as that so one must determine what level of risk one will take on in to restructure our country. These are the days that if your decision is to live by the sword, then fully expect that your fate will be dying by the sword.

Think of reform effort risks on a scale of 1-10 with a 1 being verbal dissent. Your risks are more short jail sentences even though you could be detained indefinately. Perhaps in a couple years ZH would be a 5 on the risk scale. That might mean political exile for the management of ZH, perhaps being thrown in a dark hole and forced labor for three or four years or basically until all hostilities die down. I put my activities in that camp and my activities are for loss management for ALL. I will still pay the price for the robbers. Forgive them Father for they know what they do.

Actually, having sociopathic behavior with no empathy as our global leader are showing is a genetic curse, as bad as perhaps a physical malady such as Diabetes. There seems to be two kinds of personalities in these 40 year cycles which I dub the 'The cycle of the robber' and 'the cycle of the producer. Each cycle is 40 years. Add the two together and you get one lifetime. So in a society, if you lived 80 years half your life will be producing in a conduscive environment for such, surrounded by leadership that HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY and act accountable. It is the robbers that spur evolution. Pain is the catalyst of evolution and boy do the robbers cause plenty in spurring it forward.

Central Banking fashions its model around the shelf life of a human. It is 40 years up (1931 to 1971) and 40 years run down. Turly mentions 40 years cycles of privacy, surveillance, oppression or 40 years lack improvement. 

The job of the spook at this time is to discourage forgiveness of any political opponent attempting to clean up their act (as near all politicians have skeletons) and smear them. Trying to clean up your act and actually represent the American people?!? Nope! I saw this here yesterday with the Porter Stansberry article. I talked to the guy in 2008. He was a total, blustering prick. He has renounced his prior behavior, taken accountability and will now fight for justice. I believe him. A guy named Mark Perry was like him too and did the same thing. The spooks pointed out his conviction. Yeah he was a pirate, no different than Bush, Clinton or Obama though. Let me ask you something. If Jamie Dimon came out and renounced his own behavior, the behavior of the banking industry, said he was stepping down and was reinvesting half of his fortune back into a reformed market would you forgive him? It is a hypothetical question to get you to think about what you really want as a result of your reform efforts. Did you know the word repent was a basic call and meant back then as 'change course'?

What do you a call a man holding you up at gunpoint? The citizenship are connecting  the dots now on the governance model of the globe and realize they are not invited to the party. They never really were it just it is that they are now becoming aware of it for the first time in history. This time was different in connecting dots so rapidly for those early seekers where some conclude losses of another world war can be minimized to some degree.

If I can keep ONE CIVILIAN alive anywhere on earth it is enough for me and whatever effort put into it. Now when 20% of the global population in any respective nation feels the same we will break free of the prison-planet system. But 1/3 of us probably do not survive. Such is the way of evolution. If a river damn breaks and out of 1,000 townspeople 300 die, the town will carry on. Such will be the bitter-sweet journey we all are on. Because we are entering the Promised Land, immortality, the Singularity. It is science and no longer religious myth (the myth coming from our DNA what our evolutionary destiny is). I was blubbering about those Kazahks that were murdered yesterday. Ten years ago I would likely felt they had what was coming to them because they could have just shedup and walked off the job. The reality is globally, people cannot afford to live and now have little to no shot at the opportunity to benefit so extended time of this being so causes a rarely understood pyschology of citizenships self-destructing their own supply chains. So those that actually carry this out will get the death sentence under NDAA, that 10 out of a scale of 1 to 10 I mentioned earlier.

May God bless you all, even those with the sociopath gene of all nations. Perhaps I understand because I was once like this but I would die for any one of you of any color, any race and not hesitate. After this nasty hedging period till 2021, it might behoove an individual to learn to practice forgiveness.

merizobeach's picture

I think there a desk at Goldman that will sell it to you.  If you're quick, they'll let you frontrun their Martian Real Estate IPO.  Or the Moon, or even Venus; they've got lots of new 'investment opportunities' coming pwn the (crack) pipe.

fuu's picture

Did anyone manage to find a good synthetic long on Yaks?

UP Forester's picture

Just wait til they start drawing eyes Great Wall blocks and selling them as pets....