We are approaching the 13th anniversary of a far less publicized event, yet arguably more significant in causing loss of life, suffering and misery to millions of innocent victims over the past decade.
On November 12, 1999 a $300 million lobbying effort by the banking and financial services industries lead to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. The repeal separated commercial banks and investment banks thus freeing banks to expand into unsustainable speculative positions - prime examples being the devastating experiment with derivatives and subprime asset-backed securities. These high-risk, fraudulent ventures have resulted in the current financial crisis, global economic instability and what amounts to a 'Global Financial War' on innocent citizens taxed directly and by stealth-inflation to pay for the mistakes of the criminal banking mafia.
On the surface these events are not connected, but what similarities do they share?
1. Mass Murder
The 9/11 attacks resulted in 2,996 casualties on the day and provided Bush, Cheney and their neocon crew the excuse they'd been
The worldwide recession brought about by the corrupt, fraudulent banking cartel in cahoots with self-serving psychopathic political elite has directly inflicted an explosive rising poverty level across the globe. In 2008 the World Bank estimated that on top of the estimated 1.29 Billion people living in absolute poverty, 53 Million more people were pushed into poverty as a direct result of the financial crisis, adding the prediction that this induced poverty will lead to an additional 200,000 to 300,000 babies dying each year.
2. Corrupt Crony Politicians
11 years on from 9/11, speaking on an 80-minute lecture posted on C-Span, Bush's former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, points out that nothing has changed. The new boss President Barack Obama has closely followed the policy of the old boss, President George W. Bush, when it comes to tactics used in the 'War on Terror'TM - from rendition, targeted killings, state secrets, Guantanamo Bay to domestic spying.
The rhetoric changed but Bush's positions were seamlessly embraced by Obama. Both Bush and Obama said the country was at war. The enemy was al-Qaida. The war was global in nature. And the United States would have to take the fight to the enemy, wherever it may be, they said.
With a non-choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for the next U.S. Presidential election, it is quite revealing to look at a selection of the top all-time corporate donors to the Republican and Democrat political campaigns, 1989-2012. It will come as no surprise that the largest banking institutions and largest weapons manufacturers (in red) are well represented.
|26||JPMorgan Chase & Co||$25,723,476|
|35||Bank of America||$22,149,137|
Interesting to note (at source) is that the majority of these corporations 'sit on the fence' when it comes to electioneering. They recognise that red or blue, the foreign and financial policies remain the same. So they line the pockets of both parties to ensure policies remain favourable to selling weapons and for financing the buying of weapons. The 'War on Terror'TM has been highly lucrative for the $Trillion Arms trade, while intense lobbying and congressional financing has 'saved' the 'too corrupt to fail' banks.
3. Rewards for the Criminals
Few political leaders dare speak out against the actions of the bankers. They're either hypnotised by their complex Keynesian terminology or they're on their payroll. In Europe the key politicians of the axis of the 'bought and paid for' are ridden with crony capitalist allegiances. As a recent example, Nicolas Sarkozy was offered a £200,000-an-hour job with banking giant Morgan Stanley, which if he accepts would be following a similarly lucrative path to the one trodden by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who earns millions in his role as an advisor to investment bank JP Morgan. The Mail Online reports:
Mr Blair has regularly been accused of abusing his former position to make massive profits. He also runs a financial advisory service, Tony Blair Associates, which has deals with the oil and gas-rich governments of Kazakhstan and Kuwait and sovereign wealth funds in China and Abu Dhabi.Just as Iraq was illegally destroyed, Libya was invaded because of it's rich oil resources and its reluctance to join in the western capitalist game. In theory political leaders are elected to serve the people who appoint them. Tony Blair is a prime example of a corrupt, psychopathic, self-serving individual, happy to send soldiers to their death, and murder untold civilians for his own personal gain. Instead of accountability and criminal proceedings for his crimes against humanity, he receives $millions in rewards.
Before the murder of Colonel Gaddafi during the Arab Spring, Mr Blair regularly met the dictator in Libya, and advised companies on how to make money in the oil-rich country.
Correspondingly, in the banking world those at the top who commit crimes receive rewards for their fraud not jail-time. The recent Libor scandal in which we learned that big banks have criminally conspired since 2005 to rig the $800 trillion dollar market, was orchestrated by the UK bank Barclays. Barclays were subsequently fined £290m for attempting to manipulate the world's benchmarking borrowing rate. One would think that the then CEO Bob Diamond would face jail time for artificially setting rates that affect millions of consumer borrowers. Instead he received a resignation package of a year's salary, pension and other benefits worth £2 million.
In the U.S., tax-cheat Bradley Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in prison but then rewarded $104 million for snitching on other tax evaders. There is simply no accountability or justice when it comes to our genocidal leaders and fraudulent banking elite.
4. Expanding and Perpetual Theatres of War
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their neocon crew launched the perpetual 'War on Terror'TM with the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Little did we know that more than ten years later, the theatre of war would have expanded to drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, covert CIA operations in Libya and Syria and leave Iran lurking in the cross-hairs. Although speaking in 2007, General Wesley Clark presented how they did know and that this has been the plan for years:
"So I came back to see him [Paul Wolfowitz] a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"It was also under the leadership of George Bush, Jr, that on October 3, 2008 the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (aka bailout) was proposed. Treasury Secretary (and former CEO of Goldman Sachs) Henry Paulson, hijacked Congress to obtain $700 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to purchase failing bank assets (and ensure that Paulson would be exempted from judicial oversight).
It was the events on September 15th, 2008 that provided Bush and Paulson's ammunition for the proposed solution to threats of catastrophe. On that day 4 years ago came the announcement of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch due to their heavy sub-prime mortgage exposure. Whilst Lehman's collapse is the most memorable casualty of the debt crisis we are enduring today, the crisis actually began a year earlier on August 7th 2007 when 'a temporary technical issue' resulted in billions of pounds being pumped into the financial system after banks stopped lending to each other.
The 'bailout' was hailed as the solution to the financial collapse. For the rich it was, but for the rest of us, it marked the beginning of a massive transfer of wealth from the tax payer to the corrupt banking elite. By March 2009, the privately owned Federal Reserve had committed $7.77 trillion to rescuing the
4 years on and it is the Eurozone crisis that is re-enacting the same play. Apocalyptic threats of a collapsing euro forces the ECB to calm the markets with promises of infinite money printing. The German Bundesbank, albeit with strings attached, has now acquiesced to legitimising the opening up of the ECB digital printing press.
The 'War on Terror'TM was an open-ended perpetual excuse for the U.S. to carry out it's destruction and resource-grabbing occupation of the Middle East and Africa. The 'Global Financial War' also has no end in sight as it spread from Iceland, Dubai, Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland with France and even Germany in the firing line for austerity measures. Country by country assets are transferred from once-sovereign nations to the banking cartel.
9/11 enabled imperial expansion disguised as 'revenge' and spreading 'freedom and democracy'. TARP enabled massive transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich under the illusion of 'salvation' of the financial system.
The location and players may change, but the same devastating consequences remain.
5. Changing Rhetoric
We have witnessed a change in the language used to justify 'War on Terror'TM invasions. With Iraq it was 'shock and awe' pre-emptive strikes to prevent mythical WMD's being used. In Libya, killing Gaddafi was 'providing humanitarian aid'. Now in Syria, covert supply of resources to hired mercenaries becomes 'supporting freedom fighters'. The end result is the same in each case. Destruction of a nation, the death and suffering of civilians who because of their objection to foreign occupation, become relabeled as militants and insurgents. Counter-intelligence operations, assassination kill lists, targeted drone strikes, indefinite detention and rendition to torture programs, all attempt to legitimise the murder of the innocent.
New banking jargon hides the complex financial instruments that seek to hide the theft of capital from the people. High-risk debt in the form of sub-prime mortgages are repackaged into collateralised debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities. Then this worthless paper is insured against loss with credit default swaps, fooling investors into believing they have value. The disintegration of the exponentially exploding derivative market brings emergency measures of recapitalisation, quantitative easing and asset relief programs. All play their part in obfuscating what is basically theft on a grand white-collar scale. Max Keiser is correct in his use of the term 'financial terrorists' to describe the destruction caused by psychopathic banking elite in their quest to increase their wealth, power and control at the expense of everyone else.
When soldiers return from the 'War on Terror'TM, on average 6,500 U.S. veterans a year - or 18 a day - commit suicide. This shocking figure is higher than those that have died as a result of combat operations.
The financial war brings desperation and suicide to its victims. Sometimes it is the result of shocking mistreatment by banks foreclosing on property, like that committed by Wells Fargo. Or as we have been hearing from Greece, suicide rates jumped by as much as 40 percent in the first few months of this year. This is a country already beset by massive job cuts, austerity spending, slashed pensions, and soaring taxes. In a letter in the Lancet, the medical journal, David Stuckler from the University of Cambridge and three fellow authors highlighted a particular jump in suicides in Greece and Ireland. "The countries facing the most severe financial reversals of fortune ... had greater rises in suicides than did the other countries," they wrote. Mr Stuckler told the Financial Times, that "there is almost certainly a causal link" of suicides to the financial crisis.
7. The suicided
Whistleblowers have been suicided for reporting the truth behind political lies that fabricate excuses to launch wars of aggression. The same fate await those for knowing too much about the illegal mechanations of the shadow banking system.
The UK government weapons inspector David Kelly was found in 2003 in mysterious circumstances shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes.
On August 1st, this year, just days after HSBC issued a public apology for being yet another Western Big-Bank involved in serial money-laundering, a senior banker for HSBC jumped to his death in an apparent suicide. The police "are not treating the incident as suspicious" yet a look at the facts surrounding the event leave one in no doubt that it was no accident.
8. Technological Profiteering and Freedom of Movement
The 'War on Terror'TM has created a boom-time for the security firms and supporting advanced surveillance and technology corporations. Fabricated terror threats and complicit media propaganda have successfully created an increasing culture of fear. This fear-culture serves to raise sales of security equipment to unprecedented levels as well as enabling governments to use the terror threat to erode rights and civil liberties.
Recent reports of FBI's $1B USD facial recognition project enjoying strong bipartisan support is a pertinent example. In a timely broadcast, Russia Today breaks down the systematic erosion of our civil liberties through legislation passed in a post 9/11 America.
Technology advances are also being fully exploited by the financial services industry.The stock market used to be a place where individuals could invest money on productive companies and expect an honest return. Over the past decade however, insider trading along with computer algorithms performing unregulated high frequency trading, have turned the stock markets into casinos where the house always wins. While not as clear-cut in its social impact, the increased poverty the financial crisis has wrought diminishes peoples freedom of movement and ability for people to travel as they struggle to meet their basic needs.
The financial crisis has given governments the excuse they need to introduce greater controls on the movement of capital. In Italy since July, cash transactions over 1,000 euros have been banned. In a disturbing development, from 2013, amounts over 50 euros can only be paid by credit or debit card. Money laundering and black money payments are cited as reasons for the measures, hiding the real reason of control. A recent article on how the financial crisis excuse is being used to usher in a global digital currency tells us that electronic control of all transactions moves economic control away from the sovereign nation to the global banking cartels of the IMF and World Bank. In an in-depth analysis of the consequences of a 100% digital economy JS Kim writes:
Today, the media is making a deliberate push to condition the masses to an extremely dangerous idea of a cashless society - the end goal that the banking cartel wishes to impose upon the world in an effort to control and subjugate anyone that may dare have the guts to oppose any of their multitude of anti-humanitarian banking activities.We have the orchestrated financial collapse to thank for accelerating these technological shackles along.
Final Thoughts From Financial Ground Zero
Will we see one day Presidential or Prime ministerial hopefuls head to the financial ground zeros of Wall Street and the City of London to give speeches feigning regret for the loss of the Glass Steagall? Or for the fiat-ponzi-scheme-inducing end of the Gold standard at the hands of Richard Nixon 40 years earlier?
Of course not!
Whilst seemingly unrelated on the surface, with a little digging there is a surprising similarity in impacts between 'The War on TerrorTM' and 'The Global Financial War'. Not just in terms of the overwhelming number of casualties but the corruption of politics, complicity of media-spun lies, power-seeking officials and corporations fighting for total control, shattering social effects, suicides, migrations, diminishing freedoms and civil liberties, destruction of nations and suffering on a mass scale.
NB: For a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, I thoroughly recommend the film that couldn't be more appropriately entitled for this article: "Inside Job".