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"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves,
in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.”

– Political economist Frederic Bastiat, The Law [1850]

“I used to think of Wall Street as a financial center. I now think of it as a crime scene.”
– Filmmaker Danny Schecter, Plunder (2009)




Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Officials described the Swift program as the biggest and most far-reaching of several secret efforts to trace terrorist financing. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department. 
It does NOT look for tax fraud, or drug trafficking because then you'd find the real criminals.
Officials described the Swift program as the biggest and most far-reaching of several secret efforts to trace terrorist financing. Much more limited agreements with other companies have provided access to A.T.M. transactions, credit card purchases and Western Union wire payments, the officials said.

SWIFT Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication is a Brussels based banking consortium, which is the nerve center of the global banking industry.
The majority of international interbank messages use the SWIFT network. As of September 2010, SWIFT linked more than 9,000 financial institutions in 209 countries and territories, who were exchanging an average of over 15 million messages per day (compared to an average of 2.4 million daily messages in 1995).[4] SWIFT transports financial messages in a highly secure way but does not hold accounts for its members and does not perform any form of clearing or settlement. SWIFT does not facilitate funds transfer; rather, it sends payment orders, which must be settled by correspondent accounts that the institutions have with each other.

It is a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database. How the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift. That access to large amounts of confidential data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.The data does not allow the government to track routine financial activity, like A.T.M. withdrawals, confined to this country, or to see bank balances, Treasury officials said. And the information is not provided in real time — Swift generally turns it over several weeks later.

Swift's database provides a rich hunting ground for government investigators. Swift is a crucial gatekeeper, providing electronic instructions on how to transfer money among 7,800 financial institutions worldwide. The cooperative is owned by more than 2,200 organizations, and virtually every major commercial bank, as well as brokerage houses, fund managers and stock exchanges, uses its services.

Swift routes more than 11 million transactions each day, most of them across borders.

U.S. Treasury officials said Swift was EXEMPT FROM AMERICAN LAWS restricting government access to private financial records because the cooperative was considered a messaging service, not a bank or financial institution. Several outside banking experts, however, say that financial privacy laws are murky and sometimes contradictory and that the program raises difficult legal and public policy questions.

Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. Some of those officials expressed reservations about the program, saying that what they viewed as an urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later without specific Congressional approval or formal authorization.

2016 Bangladesh Bank hackers compromised SWIFT software, warning issued hackers manipulated the Alliance Access server software, which banks use to interface with SWIFT's messaging platform, in a bid to cover up fraudulent transfers that had been previously ordered.  The findings from BAE and SWIFT do not explain how the fraudulent orders were created and pushed through the system. That remains a key mystery in ongoing probes into the heist. The cyber criminals tried to make fraudulent transfers totaling $951 million from the Bangladesh central bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February.  Most of the payments were blocked, but $81 million was routed to accounts in the Philippines and diverted to casinos there. Most of those funds remain missing. The SWIFT messaging platform is used by 11,000 banks and other institutions around the world, though only some use the Alliance Access software, Deteran said.





Q: How do terrorists get financed? A: HSBC ALSO  BSI + BCCI 

oThe BCCI-CIA Connection: Just How Far Did It Go?
NEWSWEEK magazine issue dated Dec 7, 1992
BCCI was involved in some of the most sensitive intelligence operations of the Reagan-Bush years, including the secret sales of arms to Iran. When questions were raised about the CIA's ties to BCCI after the shutdown of the bank, however, spokesmen for the agency insisted that its hands were clean. "Any allegations of unlawful use of BCCI by the agency are without foundation," the CIA said in a statement.
Congressional investigators and others familiar with BCCI have their own theories about the CIA's conduct. There are strong suspicions that the agency wanted to protect an important intelligence asset.

As Norman Bailey, a former National Security Council official, said the CIA was not interested in "blowing the BCCI cover." There is another alarming possibility: some investigators believe a portion of money stolen from BCCI's depositors financed covert operations sponsored by the U.S. government. If BCCI's frauds were exposed, this source of funds would dry up. There are even indications that CIA officials were involved in the founding of BCCI.

One former officer of the bank recalls a conversation he had in the early 1980s with a close associate of Abedi's, a Pakistani who had worked for United Bank and then joined BCCI when it was established. The Pakistani said that Abedi had worked with the CIA during his United Bank days and that the CIA had encouraged him in his project to launch BCCI, since the agency realized that an international bank could provide valuable cover for intelligence operations. The Pakistani mentioned one U.S. intelligence official by name: Richard Helms, the director of the CIA until early 1973. Helms later became a legal client of Clark Clifford's and a business partner of two BCCI insiders. "What I have been told," says this source, "is that it wasn't a Pakistani bank at all. The guys behind the bank weren't Pakistani at all. The whole thing was a front."
Helms has described reports of his involvement in the BCCI takeover of First American as absolute nonsense. Yet regardless of what Helms says, no one can deny that virtually every major character in the takeover was connected in one way or another to U.S. intelligence:
George Olmsted, head of the OSS's China section during the war, controlled Financial General Bankshares (later First American Bankshares) until 1977.

BCCI: The Bank of the CIA
Jack Colhoun
Covert Action Quaterly Spring 1993
Jack Colhoun was Washington correspondent for the (New York) Guardian news weekly from 1980 to 1992. He has a Ph.D. in history and specializes in post-World War II U.S. foreign policy. His soon-to-be-published book The George Bush File (Los Angeles: ACCESS, 1993) includes reprints of several of his articles cited below.
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) scandal opens a window with a spectacular view of a subject usually shrouded in secrecy: How the CIA uses banks to finance clandestine operations.
The view is spectacular because BCCI, which earned the moniker the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International,” worked closely with former Director of Central Intelligence William Casey and the Reagan administration's off-the-shelf arms Enterprise. BCCI financed some of the Enterprise's arms-for- hostages deals with Iran. Arms merchants linked to the October Surprise banked with BCCI. The CIA funneled funds through the bank to underwrite the Agency's secret wars in Afghanistan and Nicaragua.
But BCCI's ties to the shadowy world of intelligence go deeper. Clark Clifford and Richard Helms--retired, but still connected senior members of the U.S. intelligence community--helped pave the way for BCCI's secret acquisition of the Washington, D.C.- based banking network, Financial General Bankshares. Sheikh Kamal Adham, the founder of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service, also played a key role on behalf of BCCI in the takeover of Financial General, which was renamed First American Bankshares.
Casey met “every few months” with Agha Hassan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of BCCI, in Washington, D.C. and Islamabad, Pakistan, over a three-year period in the 1980s. Casey and Abedi talked about Iran-Contra arms deals, the Agency-funded war in Afghanistan, and the ever volatile situation in the Persian Gulf. Abedi even made arrangements for Casey's travels in Pakistan.1
1. For the Casey-Abedi meetings, see Peter Truell and Larry Gutwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, The World's Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), p. 133; and NBC News, Sunday Today, February 23, 1992.

2016 The opium farmers with the police on their side Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan (1994-2015)

11/18/14  Iran uses China bank to transfer funds to Quds-linked companies

There is no trace of Shenzhen Lanhao Days Electronic Technology Co Ltd at its listed address in the beige and pink-tiled "Fragrant Villa" apartment complex in this southern Chinese city. The building's managers say they’ve never heard of it. But a Western intelligence report reviewed by Reuters says Shenzhen Lanhao is one of several companies in China that receives money from Iran through a Chinese bank. Such transfers help to finance international operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' elite Quds Force, the report said.  The Quds provides arms, aid and training for pro-Iranian militant groups in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Shi'ite Muslim militias in Iraq. They have also armed and trained government forces in Syria's civil war in violation of a U.N. arms embargo, U.S. and European officials say.

9/22/14 RBS does business with Hamas

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said a lower court judge erred in dismissing the two lawsuits against the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L) unit over its dealings with Interpal, a London-based charity linked to Hamas.  Writing for a three-judge appeals court panel, Circuit Judge Pierre Leval said the U.S. Antiterrorism Act required a showing only that NatWest knew or was deliberately indifferent to whether Interpal provided material support to Hamas, "irrespective of whether Interpal's support aided terrorist activities of the terrorist organisation."  The decision covers victims of attacks from 2002 to 2005, and could make it easier to pursue U.S. civil claims that banks turned a blind eye to client activity linked to terrorism.

9/22/14 Brooklyn Jury Concludes Arab Bank Liable for Terror Attack Deaths
The case is Linde v. Arab Bank Plc, 04-cv-02799, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

Arab Bank Plc established in Jerusalem in 1930 — which has 600 branches worldwide and in Palestine — served as paymaster to the terrorists and should be held accountable for Hamas-backed suicide bombings that killed several Americans in the early 2000's. They provided services to terror operatives and charities controlled by Hamas and to have helped the Saudi Committee for the Support of Intifada Al Quds distribute benefits of more than $5,000 to families of suicide bombers and other so-called martyrs. Arab Bank Plc, is owned partly by the Jordan’s government, had made public statements that it “considered Israel to be the enemy” and distributed a calendar featuring “destroyed villages of Palestine.” This is the first time a bank has been tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which lets victims of foreign terror attacks sue for compensation.  Victims of the bombings and their families say the bank funded the attacks. prosecutors claimed payments were funneled through the bank to the families of Hamas suicide bombers.

The Arab Bank

It appeared Arab Bank was facilitating massive amounts of terror financing from Madison Avenue, right under the noses of federal regulators and the US government Suicide bombers with the wherewithal to plan ahead could even opt for their own “Martyr Kit,” a package containing all the necessary forms and instructions, an account card from the Arab Bank, and an official death certificate issued by the Palestinian Authority.

The money paid to each family was like a death and dismemberment insurance policy for suicide bombers. The dollars — and dollars were the currency of choice —  came from a variety of sources: rogue nations like Iraq and Iran, terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, and Muslim charities such as The Holy Land Foundation.
How organized the whole process was: the banal evil of the international cash-for-martyrdom industry. After a suicide attack, a caseworker from one of Hamas’s social welfare institutions would sit down with family members and take down information on a standard set of forms. The documents resembled the kind of forms a mortgage applicant might fill out, except with a cover page that translates into something like “The Martyrs Receive Reward from their Lord, They and Their Light.” The caseworker recorded the applicant’s closest relatives, family income, number of dependents, whether they were particularly in need of money, as well as banking and contact information, including cell phone numbers and home address. 
The US Anti-terrorism Act, which Congress passed into law shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. It made it possible for the families or heirs of an American injured by an act of terrorism to sue in any appropriate district court of the United States and recover “threefold the damages he or she sustains and the cost of the suit, including attorney’s fees.” One key aspect of the Act deals with terror financing. Osen believed that the bank violated the law by soliciting, collecting, transmitting, disbursing, and providing the financial resources that allowed Hamas and its affiliated organizations to flourish and engage in a campaign of terror.

The Saudi charities – called relief committees – that provide the funding for the terrorists make no secret of their activities, even taking out full-page ads in newspapers. One such ad listed more than 1,000 individuals who had been wounded or captured by the Israelis during the intifada and whose families were eligible for benefits. Every ad explicitly di- rects the family members to go to Arab Bank.

China Bank In Keren Elmaliach v. Bank of China Ltd.

New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara R. Kapnick ruled that while banks generally have no duty to protect non-customers from intentional wrongs committed by its customers, the plaintiffs had alleged facts suggesting that the state-owned Chinese bank was specifically told that it was funding terrorism and took no action. Kapnick also refused to dismiss the case on forum non conveniens grounds. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of about 50 people either injured or related to those who were killed in rocket attacks carried out in Israel from 2005 through 2007 by Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad. Both groups have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.
Bank of China began providing services to the groups in 2003, administering accounts registered to Said al-Shurafa, a senior operative in both groups. Between 2003 and 2007, the bank executed "dozens" of wire transfers amounting to millions of dollars for the groups, according to Kapnick's opinion. The transfers were executed through Bank of China's branch offices in the United States.
The plaintiffs allege the bank knew the money it was transferring was being used to fund terrorism since at least April 2005, when Israeli counterterrorism officers met with China's security and central bank authorities and demanded the transfers be stopped. Although China's central bank told Bank of China of the demand, the bank continued allowing the transfers, according to the suit.
Plaintiffs also allege Bank of China should have known the transferred funds were being used for illegal activity because of various "red flags," such as money being withdrawn as soon as it was deposited and wire transfers made in amounts slightly less than round figures. Plaintiffs are seeking damages under Israel's Civil Wrongs Ordinance. Bank of China moved to dismiss the case, both on the grounds that it never had knowledge the wire transfers were funding terrorism and that continuing with the action in New York was inconvenient to the parties. Kapnick distinguished this case from Licci v. American Express Bank Ltd., 704 F.Supp.2d 403, which was dismissed in 2010. The plaintiffs in that case, she said, never alleged the bank had explicit notice of the terrorism. "In contrast, the plaintiffs herein allege that BOC was specifically advised by Chinese officials that Shurafa's accounts were being used to fund terrorism, but nevertheless continued to facilitate the wire transfers." She also noted that in a separate case in the Southern District of New York, Wultz v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 755 F.Supp.2d 1 (2010), which also names Bank of China as a defendant, the federal judge had found that the alleged contacts between Israeli and Chinese officials were enough to support an inference that the bank had notice that the wire transfers were funding terrorism. The judge handed a small victory to Bank of China, writing "that the alleged red flags which arose in connection with Shurafa's account activity prior to April 2005 would, at best, impute constructive knowledge to BOC, and thus could not alone suffice as a basis for liability." However, Kapnick said she would not dismiss claims arising before April 2005 yet, saying that "a final determination shall await discovery on the general question of BOC's relationship with Shurafa and knowledge of his activities with Hamas from the time the accounts were opened in 2003." She also rejected the bank's forum non conveniens argument, noting it was conducting discovery in New York in Wultz. "The bank's failure to seek a forum non conveniens dismissal in that forum significantly undercuts any claim of hardship," she said. "To the contrary, dismissing this action in favor of a Chinese forum would only increase the hardship on both parties by requiring that discovery on the same issues proceed in two different countries."

Robert J. Tolchin, of counsel to Jaroslawicz & Jaros, who represents the plaintiffs, said Kapnick's decision was "right on the mark."

Walter P. Loughlin of K&L Gates represents Bank of China. "My client and I are reviewing the court's opinion. No decision to appeal or not to appeal has yet been made," he said Thursday.


Shanghai and the West: First Contact James Spigelman  Scholarly Papers Abstract:     

kkThis paper explores the first contact between China and the West in Shanghai in the 1830’s. Contact began with a covert mission for the East India Company on The Lord Amherst in 1832. The mission delivered a petition requesting the right to trade in Shanghai, contrary to the rule that all such trade had to occur through Guangzhou (Canton). Shanghai was already a great trading port and mercantile city. The geography and social structure of the city at the time is set out in detail. This first contact was followed up immediately by the British opium smugglers, based in Guangzhou, led by William Jardine. Those activities were supported by a Protestant missionary, Karl Gutzlaff, on the Jardine Matheson & Co opium clipper The Sylph.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

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Drugs and Money: Why Harvard Protects the Drug Trade

Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs in 2001 And The Results Are Staggering

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Your Bank's Crimes Crashed the Economy
The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity. ~ Taibbi

Goldman reportedly made a record $11 billion in profits betting that securities tied to residential mortgages would plummet in value. Then, on the other side of the trade, the investment bank run by Lloyd Blankfein made boatloads of cash packaging and selling those same mortgages through complicated bonds during the subprime crisis. Such an ability to be on both sides of the equation with equal success and the view that it often operates under glaring conflicts of interest has garnered animosity by the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Free Money
For The 1%


FREE MONEY. Ordinary people have to borrow their money at market rates. Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon get billions of dollars for free, from the Federal Reserve. They borrow at zero and lend the same money back to the government at two or three percent, a valuable public service otherwise known as "standing in the middle and taking a gigantic cut when the government decides to lend money to itself."

Or the banks borrow billions at zero and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent. This is essentially an official government license to be rich, handed out at the expense of prudent ordinary citizens, who now no longer receive much interest on their CDs or other saved income. It is virtually impossible to not make money in banking when you have unlimited access to free money, especially when the government keeps buying its own cash back from you at market rates.

Your average chimpanzee couldn't fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water. Where do the protesters go to sign up for their interest-free billion-dollar loans?


If you or I miss a $7 payment on a Gap card or, heaven forbid, a mortgage payment, you can forget about the great computer in the sky ever overlooking your mistake. But serial financial fuckups like Citigroup and Bank of America overextended themselves by the hundreds of billions and pumped trillions of dollars of deadly leverage into the system -- and got rewarded with things like the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, an FDIC plan that allowed irresponsible banks to borrow against the government's credit rating.

This is equivalent to a trust fund teenager who trashes six consecutive off-campus apartments and gets rewarded by having Daddy co-sign his next lease. The banks needed programs like TLGP because without them, the market rightly would have started charging more to lend to these idiots. Apparently, though, we can't trust the free market when it comes to Bank of America, Goldman, Sachs, Citigroup, etc.

In a larger sense, the TBTF banks all have the implicit guarantee of the federal government, so investors know it's relatively safe to lend to them -- which means it's now cheaper for them to borrow money than it is for, say, a responsible regional bank that didn't jack its debt-to-equity levels above 35-1 before the crash and didn't dabble in toxic mortgages. In other words, the TBTF banks got better credit for being less responsible. Click on to see if you got the same deal.


Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn't feel sorry for people who've been foreclosed upon, because it's their own fault for borrowing more than they can pay back, buying more house than they can afford, etc. And critics of OWS have assailed protesters for complaining about things like foreclosure by claiming these folks want "something for nothing."

This is ironic because, as one of the Rolling Stone editors put it last week, "something for nothing is Wall Street's official policy." In fact, getting bailed out for bad investment decisions has been de rigeur on Wall Street not just since 2008, but for decades.

Time after time, when big banks screw up and make irresponsible bets that blow up in their faces, they've scored bailouts. It doesn't matter whether it was the Mexican currency bailout of 1994 (when the state bailed out speculators who gambled on the peso) or the IMF/World Bank bailout of Russia in 1998 (a bailout of speculators in the "emerging markets") or the Long-Term Capital Management Bailout of the same year (in which the rescue of investors in a harebrained hedge-fund trading scheme was deemed a matter of international urgency by the Federal Reserve), Wall Street has long grown accustomed to getting bailed out for its mistakes.

The 2008 crash, of course, birthed a whole generation of new bailout schemes. Banks placed billions in bets with AIG and should have lost their shirts when the firm went under -- AIG went under, after all, in large part because of all the huge mortgage bets the banks laid with the firm -- but instead got the state to pony up $180 billion or so to rescue the banks from their own bad decisions.

This sort of thing seems to happen every time the banks do something dumb with their money. Just recently, the French and Belgian authorities cooked up a massive bailout of the French bank Dexia, whose biggest trading partners included, surprise, surprise, Goldman, Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Here's how the New York Times explained the bailout:

To limit damage from Dexia's collapse, the bailout fashioned by the French and Belgian governments may make these banks and other creditors whole- that is, paid in full for potentially tens of billions of euros they are owed. This would enable Dexia's creditors and trading partners to avoid losses they might otherwise suffer...

When was the last time the government stepped into help you "avoid losses you might otherwise suffer?" But that's the reality we live in. When Joe Homeowner bought too much house, essentially betting that home prices would go up, and losing his bet when they dropped, he was an irresponsible putz who shouldn't whine about being put on the street.

But when banks bet billions on a firm like AIG that was heavily invested in mortgages, they were making the same bet that Joe Homeowner made, leaving themselves hugely exposed to a sudden drop in home prices. But instead of being asked to "suck it in and cope" when that bet failed, the banks instead went straight to Washington for a bailout -- and got it.




Bankers on Wall Street pay lower tax rates than most car mechanics.
When Warren Buffet released his tax information, we learned that with taxable income of $39 million, he paid $6.9 million in taxes last year, a tax rate of about 17.4%. Most of Buffet's income, it seems, was taxed as either "carried interest" (i.e. hedge-fund income) or long-term capital gains, both of which carry 15% tax rates, half of what many of the Zucotti park protesters will pay. As for the banks, as companies, we've all heard the stories. Goldman, Sachs in 2008 this was the same year the bank reported $2.9 billion in profits, and paid out over $10 billion in compensation -- paid -- just $14 million in taxes, a 1% tax rate.

2011 Bank of America last year paid not a single dollar in taxes -- in fact, it received a "tax credit" of $1 billion. There are a slew of troubled companies that will not be paying taxes for years, including Citigroup and CIT.

When GM bought the finance company AmeriCredit, it was able to marry its long-term losses to AmeriCredit's revenue stream, creating a tax windfall worth as much as $5 billion. So even though AmeriCredit is expected to post earnings of $8-$12 billion in the next decade or so, it likely won't pay any taxes during that time, because its revenue will be offset by GM's losses.

Thank God our government decided to pledge $50 billion of your tax dollars to a rescue of General Motors! You just paid for one of the world's biggest tax breaks.

And last but not least, there is:




9/23/14 Barclays hit by record £38m fine The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) City regulator said Barclays investment bank failed to keep its clients' assets separate from its own <again>. The fine comes three years after Barclays paid out £1.1m for a similar issue. Clients risked incurring extra costs, lengthy delays or losing their assets if Barclays had become insolvent. Banks can always bargain the fine away! Barclays received a 30% discount on the fine because it agreed to settle it an an early stage. JP Morgan £33.3m over the issue in 2010, the then biggest penalty. 2011, Barclays was fined £1.12m by the FSA for failing to ring-fence client money in one of its accounts for more than eight years. But wait there's more!

Virtually all 2.3 million of jailed people come from "the 99%."
Here is the number of bankers who have gone to jail for crimes related to the financial crisis: 0.




Millions of people have been foreclosed upon in the last three years. In most all of those foreclosures, a regional law enforcement office -- typically a sheriff's office -- was awarded fees by the court as part of the foreclosure settlement, settlements which of course were often rubber-stamped by a judge despite mountains of perjurious robosigned evidence.

That means that every single time a bank kicked someone out of his home, a local police department got a cut.
Local sheriff's offices also get cuts of almost all credit card judgments, and other bank settlements. If you're wondering how it is that so many regional police departments have the money for fancy new vehicles and SWAT teams and other accoutrements, this is one of your answers.



99 HOMES  America doesn't bail out the losers  - "America was built by bailing out winners -  by rigging a nation of the winners for the winners by the winners" 

Militerization of Police Explained 

What this amounts to is the banks having, as allies, a massive armed police force who are always on call, ready to help banks evict homeowners and safeguard the repossession of property. But just see what happens when you try to call the police to prevent an improper foreclosure. Then, suddenly, the police will not get involved. It will be a "civil matter" and they won't intervene.

The point being: if you miss a few home payments, you have a very high likelihood of colliding with a police officer in the near future. But if you defraud a pair of European banks out of a billion dollars  -- that's a billion, with a b -- you will never be arrested, never see a policeman, never see the inside of a jail cell.

Your settlement will be worked out not with armed police, but with regulators in suits who used to work for your company or one like it. And you'll have, defending you, a former head of that regulator's agency. In the end, a fine will be paid to the government, but it won't come out of your pocket personally; it will be paid by your company's shareholders. And there will be no admission of criminal wrongdoing.

Hedge Funds


What are hedge funds, and what social functions do they serve? 
Hedge funds are legally prohibited from advertising themselves to the public, and are allowed only to raise funds from government-approved “accredited investors.” These investors must prove a certain net worth and go through a restrictive application process to become accredited.  In exchange for this limitation on raising capital, hedge funds face relatively little regulatory scrutiny, with few restrictions on the assets they can trade and the leverage they can employ.
Claiming inspiration from the Phoenician merchants who took for themselves a fifth of the profits of a successful sea voyage, the very first hedge fund kept 20% of the profits of a trade, as well as 2% of the total assets under management. That’s terrifically expensive given that passive index funds may charge you something like 0.2% of your assets, with zero extra charge for profits.  This “2-and-20” model is remarkably persistent across hedge funds, so much so that a law professor has argued that instead of as specialized investment vehicles, hedge funds should be understood as “a compensation scheme masquerading as an asset class.” <more>

2014 How Hedge Funds Work together to Bankrupt then Own Greece
Keiser Report', banks that are 'too big to prosecute', Wall Street's influence over Washington and the state of the global economy.


Class Warfare


The Abacus case, in which Goldman helped a hedge fund guy named John Paulson beat a pair of European banks for a billion dollars, tells you everything you need to know about the difference between our two criminal justice systems. The settlement was $550 million -- just over half of the damage.

Can anyone imagine a common thief being caught by police and sentenced to pay back half of what he took? Just one low-ranking individual in that case was charged (case pending), and no individual had to reach into his pocket to help cover the fine. The settlement Goldman paid to to the government was about 1/24th of what Goldman received from the government just in the AIG bailout. And that was the toughest "punishment" the government dished out to a bank in the wake of 2008.

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country.

There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.


2005 Merger and Acquisition History at JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and HSBC
The dramatic effect of industry consolidation among the largest banks in the world Table 1 lists the top 20 U.S. banks in 1995 and 2005. Although only 10 years have transpired in this analysis, the fact that 55%, or 11, of the former top 20 U.S. banks have been acquired is quite remarkable.

ABN AMRO, headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is one of the world's top 15 banks, ranked by assets.

ALFA Bank is a rapidly expanding, innovative bank that was launched in 1990. In 15 short years the bank has grown organically to US$6 billion in assets

Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is the largest bank in Indonesia, serving a diverse retail and microfinance marketplace.


Financial-Literacy/Banks Role in Terrorism.html