Welcome to Sott.net
Tue, 07 Feb 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Attention

The Biggest Financial Scandal In History?

LIBOR Scandal
© The Economic Collapse Blog
We always knew that the financial markets were rigged, but this is getting ridiculous. It is now being alleged that 20 major banks have been systematically fixing global interest rates for years. Barclays has already been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for manipulating Libor (the London Inter Bank Offered Rate). But Barclays says that a whole bunch of other banks were doing this too. This is shaping up to be the biggest financial scandal in history, and criminal investigations have been launched on both sides of the Atlantic. What those investigations are likely to uncover could shake the financial markets to their very core. In the end, this scandal could absolutely devastate confidence in the global financial system and it could potentially bring down a number of major global banks. We have never seen anything quite like this before.

What Is Libor?

As mentioned before, Libor is the London Inter Bank Offered Rate. A recent Washington Post article contained a pretty good explanation of what that means....
In the simplest terms, LIBOR is the average interest rate which banks in London are charging each other for borrowing. It's calculated by Thomson Reuters - the parent company of the Reuters news agency - for the British Banking Association (BBA), a trade association of banks and financial services companies.
Why Does Libor Matter?

If you have a mortgage, a car loan or a credit card, then there is a very good chance that Libor has affected your personal finances. Libor has been a factor in the pricing of hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans, securities and assets. The following is from a recent article by Maureen Farrell....
These traders influenced the pricing of the London Interbank Offered Rate or Libor, a benchmark that dictates the pricing of up to $800 trillion of securities (yes trillion).
$800 trillion?

That is a number that is hard to even imagine.

Most American consumers do not even know what Libor is, but it actually plays a key role in the U.S. economy as the Washington Post recently explained....
In the United States, the two biggest indices for adjustable rate mortgages and other consumer debt are the prime rate (that is, the rate banks charge favored or "prime" consumers) and LIBOR, with the latter particularly popular for subprime loans. A study from Mark Schweitzer and Guhan Venkatu at the Cleveland Fed looked at survey data in Ohio and found that by 2008, almost 60 percent of prime adjustable rate mortgages, and nearly 100 percent of subprime ones, were indexed to LIBOR.

Footprints

Obama's transportation secretary hails Chinese infrastructure

Image
© The Cable
Ray LaHood
Echoing the laments of pundits like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood argued Saturday that China outpaces the United States in building major transportation infrastructure like high-speed rail because of its authoritarian system and because the Chinese don't have the Republican Party holding up progress.

"The Chinese are more successful [in building infrastructure] because in their country, only three people make the decision. In our country, 3,000 people do," LaHood said in a short interview with The Cable on the sidelines of the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival on June 30. "In a country where only three people make the decision, they can decide where to put their rail line, get the money, and do it. We don't do it that way in America."

During his conference session at the festival, LaHood blamed Republicans in Congress, especially the Tea Party freshman class elected in 2010, for the relative lack of progress in moving forward with high-speed rail even though the administration has obligated more than $11 billion to the effort.

Dollar

Government by the Banks, for the Banks: The ESM Coup D'Etat in Europe

Angela Merkel
© Severin Nowacki / World Economic Forum
Angela Merkel
On Friday, June 29th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel acquiesced to changes to a permanent Eurozone bailout fund - "before the ink was dry," as critics complained. Besides easing the conditions under which bailouts would be given, the concessions included an agreement that funds intended for indebted governments could be funneled directly to stressed banks.

According to Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor for BBC News, the concessions mean that:
[T]he eurozone's bailout fund (backed by taxpayers' money) will be taking a stake in failed banks.

Risk has been increased. German taxpayers have increased their liabilities. In future a bank crash will no longer fall on the shoulders of national treasuries but on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a fund to which Germany contributes the most.

In the short term, these measures will ease pressure in the markets. However there is currently only 500bn euros assigned to the ESM. That may get swallowed up quickly and the markets may demand more. It is still unclear just how deep the holes in the eurozone's banks are.
The ESM is now a permanent bailout fund for private banks, a sort of permanent "welfare for the rich." There is no ceiling set on the obligations to be underwritten by the taxpayers, no room to negotiate, and no recourse in court. Its daunting provisions were summarized in a December 2011 youtube video originally posted in German, titled "The shocking truth of the pending EU collapse!":

Bad Guys

Israeli troops filmed kicking Palestinian child

An Israeli Border Police officer has been caught on video kicking a Palestinian child in the southern West Bank. The police have launched a probe into the incident, documented by an Israeli human rights organization.

The footage shows a 9-year-old boy walking down the road when a uniformed police officer runs up to him and grabs him by the arm, causing the boy to fall on the ground. Another policeman then walks up to them and kicks the screaming child.

After that, the soldiers let the child run away, and leave the site. In response to the incident, the Israeli Border Police issued a statement denouncing the policemen's behavior, which it claims "contrasts the values of the force."

Footprints

Iran boasts it could wipe out US presence in Middle East in minutes

Image
© AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi
In a picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran's Kavir Desert.
Iran claims it has the capability to destroy US bases "within minutes" after concluding a massive military exercise in which it launched hundreds of missiles.

"[US] bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands [Israel] are also good targets for us," Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard told the FARS news agency.

The three-day Great Prophet 7 training exercise wrapped up on Wednesday. It simulated rapidly releasing batteries of guided missiles and Iran-made drones at mock-ups of US bases.

Haji Zadesh claimed that 35 US bases are within the 2,000 km range of Iran's rockets, although the actual number of bases within this area is closer to 10.

The aggressive rhetoric comes on the back of a spike in tension between Iran and the US, already locked in a long-running stand-off over Iran's nuclear program. Washington and the EU believe it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, while Tehran denies the accusations.

Question

Did the Mossad Murder Arafat?

Yasser Arafat
© unknown
Yasser Arafat
Al Jazeera published a report Wednesday based on an extensive scientific investigation of the 2004 death of Yasser Arafat. Though he was 75 years old when he died, many noted the marked deterioration in his appearance in his final weeks and speculated that he was poisoned or that he had AIDS. An Israeli journalist who interviewed Ariel Sharon noted that the Israeli leader refused to deny Israeli involvement in Arafat's demise:
[Maariv journalist Uri] Dan reveals a little and conceals much when he hints that Arafat's death was not caused by any illness. He himself suggested to Sharon that Arafat be captured and brought to trial in Jerusalem, like Eichmann, but Sharon reassured him that he was dealing with the problem in his own way. Then Arafat fell ill, was flown to Paris for treatment and died. Was Sharon involved? This is what Dan wrote then in Maariv - that in the history books, prime minister Ariel Sharon will be remembered as the man who eliminated Yasser Arafat without killing him. Let every reader figure it out for himself.
Now, a team of researchers has tested personal artifacts provided by Arafat's widow, Suha, and found highly elevated doses of polonium (in some cases 10 times the expected dose) in many of these objects. They found a type of polonium not occurring naturally that could only be produced in a nuclear reactor. Suha Arafat is asking that the PA exhume her husband's body and test it for polonium. What they find will determine whether the element killed him or not.

This news returns us to 2006, when elements of the Russian intelligence services arranged to poison a former agent, Alexander Litvinenko, with polonium. It was the first known instance in which someone was killed by polonium poisoning. If the Al Jazeera report is correct, then the Russian may have to cede pride of place to Arafat, who would now become the unfortunate record-holder.

Document

The single Jew that Hitler wanted to save: Astonishing letter reveals how Führer ordered Gestapo to leave his WW1 commander alone

Image
© Unknown
Ernst Hess, Adolf Hitler's company commander in WWI, who was, despite his Jewish roots, spared from the genocide unleashed by the Nazis
An amazing letter sent on the orders of Adolf Hitler informing his Gestapo thugs to leave a single Jew alone during his reign of terror has been found in Germany. The Jew in question was Ernst Hess, a judge, whom the Führer ordered not to be 'persecuted or deported' because he had been his commanding officer in the trenches during the First World War.

Some six million Jews - including Hess's sister - would be murdered in the Holocaust set in motion by Hitler. But because the German leader looked back on his experiences as a corporal in the war with pride and deep fondness, Hess was allowed to live.

Hitler would later renege on his protection agreement, but it saved Hess at a time when the round ups of German Jews were at their most fierce. The document was turned up by the recently opened Jewish Voice from Germany newspaper.

Hess came close to being deported after the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 - the meeting which set the mass murders in extermination camps in occupied Poland in motion - but was finally saved due to his marriage to a gentile.

Dollar

Mitt Romney Keeps $30+ Million, Tax-Free, in Cayman Islands

romney
© Reuters
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney keeps at least $30 million, probably more, in the tax-free Cayman Islands, Vanity Fair reported on Tuesday.

The Romney campaign claims that the candidate has not exploited offshore havens to avoid paying necessary U.S. taxes, but the Vanity Fair report detailed how Romney continues to have interests in at least 12 of the 138 funds, organized by his company Bain Capital, in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands investments are hidden behind confidentiality disclaimers, making the total amount of Romney's true wealth virtually impossible.

Romney also holds a Swiss bank account, with $3 million in it, according to 2010 tax returns, and other money in tax havens such as Bermuda, according to the report in the August issue of Vanity Fair.

Info

Former Scientologist Jenna Miscavige Hill Says Katie Holmes is Right to be Afraid

Katie Holmes
© unknown
Former Scientologist Jenna Miscavige Hill wrote on the web site ExScientologyKids.com that Katie Holmes has reason to be afraid of what could happen to her daughter Suri.

Miscavige Hill, who is the estranged niece of Scientologist church leader David Miscavige, wrote: "My experience in growing up in Scientology is that it is both mentally and at times physically abusive. As a mother myself, I offer my support to Katie and wish for her all of the strength she will need to do what is best for her and her daughter."

According to the New York Daily News, Miscavige Hill recalled how she endured forced labor at a Scientology boarding school, confessions, detention and isolation from her excommunicated parents.

However, Miscavige Hill did not mention that Holmes was fully aware of Cruise's ties to Scientology, but chose to date, marry and have a child with him regardless.

Holmes, who filed for divorce in New York, is seeking sole legal custody of Suri.

Comment:




Blackbox

Is Monsanto Behind Stealing Local Hero's Bee Hives? 15 Years of Research Destroyed

Image
© iStockphoto.com
An Illinois beekeeper whose bee hives were stolen and allegedly destroyed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture has stirred up a hornet's nest with his questions on why the state did this, and most importantly, what they did with his bees.

The state claims the bees were destroyed because they were infected with a disease called foulbrood.

But when the 58-year apiary keeper had his hearing - three weeks after the removal of his bees without his knowledge - the state's "evidence" had disappeared, leaving more questions than answers about the raid on the beekeeper's hives.

Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram's 15 years of research on Monsanto's Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.

Interestingly, the state's theft targeted the queen bee and hive he'd been using to conduct the research.