Monday, May 31, 2010

The Global Reaction To Banking Fraud And Government Collusion

The Global Reaction To Banking Fraud And Government Collusion

Junious Ricardo Stanton

From The Ramparts
“Massive general strikes by the Greek public sector will all but paralyse much of the country as Greek trade unions launch another 24-hour general protest against planned additional austerity measures. Transport services, including international trains linking Greece with Bulgaria and Romania, as well as shipping and domestic flights, are expected to be severely disrupted or cancelled. According to Bulgarian media, some, if not all Bulgarian and Greek border crossing points, might be temporarily closed for traffic, causing additional concern for those who need to travel.” Greece prepares for massive new strike

                Since the beginning of the economic crisis in the Fall of 2008, people around the world have been rising up in reaction to the global economic implosion and meltdown caused by greedy speculators, unscrupulous politicians and the international banking thugs. It first started in 2009 in Eastern Europe. From there massive demonstrations and riots against the fraud, corruption and economic implosion spread. “Riga, Latvia - On a frigid evening this month, more than 10,000 people gathered outside a 13th-century cathedral in this Baltic capital to protest the government's handling of Latvia's economic crisis and demand early elections. The demonstration was one of the largest here since the mass rallies against Soviet rule in the late 1980s, and a sign of both the public's frustration and its faith in the political system. But at the end of the night, as the crowd dispersed, the protest turned into a riot. Hundreds of angry young people, many drunk and recently unemployed, rampaged through the historic Old Town, smashing shop windows, throwing rocks and eggs at police, even prying cobblestones from the streets to lob at the Parliament building. Similar outbursts of civil unrest have occurred in recent weeks across the periphery of Europe, where the global financial crisis has buffeted smaller countries with fewer resources to defend their economies. Especially in Eastern Europe, the turmoil reflects surging political discontent and threatens to topple shaky governments that have been the focus of popular resentment over corruption for years.”
            This month Greece has experienced massive nation wide work stoppages, strikes and protests against the so called austerity measures proposed by the Greek government imposed upon them by the foreign banks and the IMF who are demanding Greek citizens suffer so they (the banks) can be repaid and rewarded for massive speculation, fraud, insider collusion and corruption. “Greeks are angered by spending cuts and tax and pension-age rises planned in return for a 110 billion euro emergency bail-out - a measure designed to curtail debt and spending - and fresh budget cuts of 30 billion euro over three years. Greece's current public deficit, which is worse than the 12.7 per cent initially thought, and stands at 13.6 per cent, is supposed to be cut down to three per cent in three years.”

            The people of Greece like many other countries feel they should not have to suffer and face ever increasing taxes, draconian cuts in their social services and pensions, work longer just to pay for the sins of the bankers and the government. Recently to their credit (pardon the pun) the people of Iceland voted not to bail out the banks and government and have begun criminal prosecutions against the bankers, their accountants and representatives. “REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Icelanders blew whistles and set off fireworks in the capital as referendum results Sunday showed they had resoundingly rejected a $5.3 billion plan to repay Britain and the Netherlands for debts spawned by the collapse of an Icelandic bank. Voters in the tiny Atlantic island nation defied both their parliament and international pressure to display their anger at how their nation was being treated... The overwhelming margin reflected Icelanders' simmering anger at bankers and politicians as the country struggles to recover from a financial meltdown. President Olafur R. Grimson- who sparked the referendum by refusing to sign the repayment deal agreed by Iceland’s parliament- said Icelanders resented having to pay for actions of a few ‘greedy bankers’”- Crooks and Liars, John Amatos Virtual Online Magazine. 

            In Thailand the rural peasants called Red shirts are battling against the more affluent urban residents called Yellow Shirts and the government because they have been locked out of the political process. “All this has its roots in a military coup in 2006, when the then prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecoms tycoon, was removed from power. He fled into exile, but the red shirts continue to support him, and have been demanding new elections. They present themselves as rural and poor, as opposed to the urban elites who are closer to the revered King Bhumibol and his family. The protests have been their way of venting their political frustration. They have also revealed the deep social and economic divisions in Thai society.”  May 20th 2010 | BANGKOK | From The Economist print edition.

            Economic and political disparity and policy induced privation are causing havoc around the world. The so called PIIG nations (Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain) are caught in a debt spiral that threatens to unravel the entire European Union. At the root of the crisis is humongus public and private debt, the same type of debt and collusion between governments and bankers that is threatening the UK and US. Only the bailout of the very banks, hedge funds and insurance companies that caused the problem in the first place, have prevented the UK and US from experiencing the wholesale economic implosion and disaster the PIIGS are going through. In fact when you scratch beneath the surface you find the same cast of characters and usual suspects, Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions working on behalf of the international shysters that are the root of the European crisis just as they are here.  “There is widespread disdain in Greece, as in many other countries, for the global financial elites responsible for the international credit crisis. Not helping the bankers were revelations this week that previous Greek governments have entered into secret deals with Goldman Sachs and other investment banks that allowed the government to borrow quietly and evade EU regulations in doing so. The deals involved currency swap derivatives that under normal circumstances would consist of a swap of assets, not a loan. But Goldman Sachs structured these deals so that Greece was given an upfront foreign exchange deal priced way off market and favorably to Greece. The contract generated at least a billion dollars of instantaneous foreign exchange profit for Greece. A reverse foreign exchange contract was also done for a far maturity date, and this off-market contract created a huge loss down the road. The net effect of these two contracts was that Greece received a billion dollars, and paid this amount back with interest far into the future. As collateral for the deal, Greece pledged certain assets, such as all of its proceeds for the next 20 years from the government-run lottery.” The Agonist Feb 18, 2010

            In each country and in each scenario it is the banks and their casino capitalist speculator cohorts who caused the economic collapse. Yet it is the people, the masses, who are being forced to suffer hardship and privation by repaying loans or restructuring the economy so the bankers can get off Scott free. There is hope; there are examples of people fighting back. Iceland is now pursuing civil remedies and criminal prosecutions of many of the bank CEOs. “Since Iceland's three largest banks -- Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir -- collapsed in late 2008, their former executives and owners have largely been living untroubled lives abroad. But the publication last month of a parliamentary inquiry into the island nation's profound financial and economic crisis signaled a turning of the tide, laying much of the blame for the downfall on the former bank heads who had taken ‘inappropriate loans from the banks’ they worked for. On Wednesday, the administrators of Glitnir's liquidation announced they had filed a two-billion-dollar (1.6-billion-euro) lawsuit in a New York...  Four former Kaupthing executives, who all live in Luxembourg, have meanwhile been arrested in Iceland in the past week and Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for that bank's ex-chairman, Sigurdur Einarsson. Former head of the bank's domestic operations, Ingolfur Helgason, and former chief risk officer Steingrimur Karason were arrested late Monday on arrival from Luxembourg, just days after former Kaupthing boss Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, along with Magnus Gudmunsson, who headed the bank's unit in Luxembourg, were taken into custody. The 49-year-old Einarsson, who lives in London, said late Tuesday he had no plans to travel to Iceland to be arrested.” Bankers jailed, sued and Iceland seeks culprits for crisis Agence France-Presse May 13, 2010

            What if the US government were as vigilant, honest and incorruptible as the Iceland’s? What if Bu$h, Obama and our congress critters really worked in the best interests of US citizens instead of Wall Street, the multi-national corporations and the special interests who bribe, wine and dine and corrupt them daily? What if the mass media were really on our side. What if the media exposed their shenanigans and called for their arrest and conviction? What if the crooks and sleaze bags causing this crisis had to earn an honest living under the same conditions as the rest of us; instead off the perks, privileges and benefits they get gorging themselves the public trough? Maybe then there would be no need for the Tea Party, Ant-Tax and Anti-Government movements in the US. 

Things are getting scary, look for the same type of demonstrations, resistance and violence we are seeing in Europe and Thailand to spread here. Why, is the situation in the US that bad? Yes and the culprits and causes are the same.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

If recent polls suggest 83% of Americans are in agreement that things in this country are moving in the wrong direction, what are we going to do about? Moan, groan and complain about partisan politicians but at the end of the day nothing?

“Citizens of good conscience should actively oppose unjust government policies through nonviolent resistance, such as refusal to pay taxes. They should even be willing to go to jail rather than yield to immoral or unethical government laws and activities.” Sound pretty radical? This was a popular theme in the 1840’s and contributed to the American Civil War (1861-1865).

”If... the machine of ...government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849”

"And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" Thomas Jefferson

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs” - Thomas Jefferson