giovedì 22 ottobre 2009

Britain: One Million Homes Deserted

One million homes in Britain are empty

By Kevin Rawlinson

Independent, 21 October 2009

The number of UK homes standing empty has hit one million, the highest ever level, a charity has revealed. The Empty Homes Agency reported that more than one in 20 properties have been unoccupied for six months or more, a figure described as "shocking" by homelessness charities.

"More money needs to be made available to give local authorities the manpower to make contact with the owners of empty properties to start getting these homes back into use," said Kay Boycott, Shelter's director of policy and campaigns.

"Bringing empty homes back into use is only part of the solution to Britain's housing problems. There is no substitute for the Government building the urgently needed new affordable housing that the country needs," she added.

Ms Boycott highlighted the difference between long- and short-term empty homes, adding that there are around 300,000 long-term empty homes. "Local authorities have the legal powers to bring long-term empty homes back into use, but don't have the resources to enforce these powers," she said.

The North-west and South-east of England as well as Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland are the worst-affected areas, and some local authorities have started schemes to rent out properties to people on their social housing waiting lists.

Exeter council is trying to attract landlords to let their homes out for at least five years to some of the 6,000 people currently on its list. It is offering to provide maintenance, among other services, in return for a small management fee. The landlord is also guaranteed a rent income.

The Empty Homes Agency collected data from councils and land registries and other charities to produce the figure, which excludes holiday homes.

Michael Moore's Action Plan: 15 Things

"Michael Moore's Action Plan: 15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now"

You've Seen the Movie -- Now It's Time to ACT!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friends,

It's the #1 question I'm constantly asked after people see my movie: "OK -- so NOW what can I DO?!"

You want something to do? Well, you've come to the right place! 'Cause I got 15 things you and I can do right now to fight back and try to fix this very broken system.

Here they are:

FIVE THINGS WE DEMAND THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS DO IMMEDIATELY:

1. Declare a moratorium on all home evictions. Not one more family should be thrown out of their home. The banks must adjust their monthly mortgage payments to be in line with what people's homes are now truly worth -- and what they can afford. Also, it must be stated by law: If you lose your job, you cannot be tossed out of your home.

2. Congress must join the civilized world and expand Medicare For All Americans. A single, nonprofit source must run a universal health care system that covers everyone. Medical bills are now the #1 cause of bankruptcies and evictions in this country. Medicare For All will end this misery. The bill to make this happen is called H.R. 3200. You must call AND write your members of Congress and demand its passage, no compromises allowed.

3. Demand publicly-funded elections and a prohibition on elected officials leaving office and becoming lobbyists. Yes, those very members of Congress who solicit and receive millions of dollars from wealthy interests must vote to remove ALL money from our electoral and legislative process. Tell your members of Congress they must support campaign finance bill H.R.1826.

4. Each of the 50 states must create a state-owned public bank like they have in North Dakota. Then congress MUST reinstate all the strict pre-Reagan regulations on all commercial banks, investment firms, insurance companies -- and all the other industries that have been savaged by deregulation: Airlines, the food industry, pharmaceutical companies -- you name it. If a company's primary motive to exist is to make a profit, then it needs a set of stringent rules to live by -- and the first rule is "Do no harm." The second rule: The question must always be asked -- "Is this for the common good?" (Click here for some info about the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.)

5. Save this fragile planet and declare that all the energy resources above and beneath the ground are owned collectively by all of us. Just like they do it in Sarah Palin's socialist Alaska. We only have a few decades of oil left. The public must be the owners and landlords of the natural resources and energy that exists within our borders or we will descend further into corporate anarchy. And when it comes to burning fossil fuels to transport ourselves, we must cease using the internal combustion engine and instruct our auto/transportation companies to rehire our skilled workforce and build mass transit (clean buses, light rail, subways, bullet trains, etc.) and new cars that don't contribute to climate change. (For more on this, here's a proposal I wrote in December.) Demand that General Motors' de facto chairman, Barack Obama, issue a JFK man-on-the-moon-style challenge to turn our country into a nation of trains and buses and subways. For Pete's sake, people, we were the ones who invented (or perfected) these damn things in the first place!!

FIVE THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT LISTEN TO US:

1. Each of us must get into the daily habit of taking 5 minutes to make four brief calls: One to the President (202-456-1414), one to your Congressperson (202-224-3121) and one to each of your two Senators (202-224-3121). To find out who represents you, click here. Take just one minute on each of these calls to let them know how you expect them to vote on a particular issue. Let them know you will have no hesitation voting for a primary opponent -- or even a candidate from another party -- if they don't do our bidding. Trust me, they will listen. If you have another five minutes, click here to send them each an email. And if you really want to drop an anvil on them, send them a snail mail letter!

2. Take over your local Democratic Party. Remember how much fun you had with all those friends and neighbors working together to get Barack Obama elected? YOU DID THE IMPOSSIBLE. It's time to re-up! Get everyone back together and go to the monthly meeting of your town or county Democratic Party -- and become the majority that runs it! There will not be many in attendance and they will either be happy or in shock that you and the Obama Revolution have entered the room looking like you mean business. President Obama's agenda will never happen without mass grass roots action -- and he won't feel encouraged to do the right thing if no one has his back, whether it's to stand with him, or push him in the right direction. When you all become the local Democratic Party, send me a photo of the group and I'll post it on my website.

3. Recruit someone to run for office who can win in your local elections next year -- or, better yet, consider running for office yourself! You don't have to settle for the incumbent who always expects to win. You can be our next representative! Don't believe it can happen? Check out these examples of regular citizens who got elected: State Senator Deb Simpson, California State Assemblyman Isadore Hall, Tempe, Arizona City Councilman Corey Woods, Wisconsin State Assemblyman Chris Danou, and Washington State Representative Larry Seaquist. The list goes on and on -- and you should be on it!

4. Show up. Picket the local branch of a big bank that took the bailout money. Hold vigils and marches. Consider civil disobedience. Those town hall meetings are open to you, too (and there's more of us than there are of them!). Make some noise, have some fun, get on the local news. Place "Capitalism Did This" signs on empty foreclosed homes, closed down businesses, crumbling schools and infrastructure. (You can download them from my website.)

5. Start your own media. You. Just you (or you and a couple friends). The mainstream media is owned by corporate America and, with few exceptions, it will never tell the whole truth -- so you have to do it! Start a blog! Start a website of real local news (here's an example: The Michigan Messenger). Tweet your friends and use Facebook to let them know what they need to do politically. The daily papers are dying. If you don't fill that void, who will?

FIVE THINGS WE SHOULD DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES UNTIL WE GET THROUGH THIS MESS:

1. Take your money out of your bank if it took bailout money and place it in a locally-owned bank or, preferably, a credit union.

2. Get rid of all your credit cards but one -- the kind where you have to pay up at the end of the month or you lose your card.

3. Do not invest in the stock market. If you have any extra cash, put it away in a savings account or, if you can, pay down on your mortgage so you can own your home as soon as possible. You can also buy very safe government savings bonds or T-bills. Or just buy your mother some flowers.

4. Unionize your workplace so that you and your coworkers have a say in how your business is run. Here's how to do it (more info here). Nothing is more American than democracy, and democracy shouldn't be checked at the door when you enter your workplace. Another way to Americanize your workplace is to turn your business into a worker-owned cooperative. You are not a wage slave. You are a free person, and you giving up eight hours of your life every day to someone else is to be properly compensated and respected.

5. Take care of yourself and your family. Sorry to go all Oprah on you, but she's right: Find a place of peace in your life and make the choice to be around people who are not full of negativity and cynicism. Look for those who nurture and love. Turn off the TV and the Blackberry and go for a 30-minute walk every day. Eat fruits and vegetables and cut down on anything that has sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour or too much sodium (salt) in it (and, as Michael Pollan says, "Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants"). Get seven hours of sleep each night and take the time to read a book a month. I know this sounds like I've turned into your grandma, but, dammit, take a good hard look at Granny -- she's fit, she's rested and she knows the names of both of her U.S. Senators without having to Google them. We might do well to listen to her. If we don't put our own "oxygen mask" on first (as they say on the airplane), we will be of no use to the rest of the nation in enacting any of this action plan!

I'm sure there are many other ideas you can come up with on how we can build this movement. Get creative. Think outside the politics-as-usual box. BE SUBVERSIVE! Think of that local action no one else has tried. Behave as if your life depended on it. Be bold! Try doing something with reckless abandon. It may just liberate you and your community and your nation.

And when you act, send me your stories, your photos and your video -- and be sure to post your ideas in the comments beneath this letter on my site so they can be shared with millions.

C'mon people -- we can do this! I expect nothing less of all of you, my true and trusted fellow travelers!

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

US Americans to starve away?

Biden: "It's a Depression
For Millions of Americans"



Global Research, October 21, 2009
Washington's Blog - 2009-10-20

Joe Biden said yesterday:

My grandpop used to say ... "When the guy in Minooka's out of work, it's an economic slowdown. When your brother- in-law's out of work, it's a recession. When you're out of work, it's a depression.”

[Asked how he views it, Biden responded:] Well, it's a depression. It's a depression for millions of Americans, through no fault of their own.


Before you decide whether Joe is just shooting his mouth off or he's onto something, read this, this and this.

This Year's Biggest Hoax Is Tim Geithner

This Year's Biggest Hoax Is Tim Geithner's 'Solution' for the Economy, Not the Balloon Boy

By Robert Scheer, Truthdig. Posted October 22, 2009.


If we could get one of the banking lobbyists to float a duct-taped flying saucer balloon, Wolf Blitzer might cover the real hoax.

Who are these people? I am not referring to the pathetic parents of “Balloon Boy,” whose fake drama I have been unable to escape while on the treadmill this week, thanks to my gym’s insistence on tuning its flat-screen TVs to Wolf Blitzer’s nonstop self-parody.

The Colorado incident was significant only in the tawdriness of those who perpetrated the made-for-TV scam and their allies in the mindless media who covered this sham “reality” so relentlessly. But even so, it was enough to push aside most consideration of the true hoax reported last week with far less fervor: the obscene rewards that Wall Street bankers bestowed upon themselves for ripping off our economy.

The people I want to know more about are the superrich who expect to be rewarded for their failures, like the folks at Goldman Sachs who will receive $16.71 billion in bonuses—an average of $530,000 per employee—this year after their company did as much as any to bring the world economy to the brink of disaster.

“The Guys from Government Sachs” is what The New York Times once called them in recognition of their chokehold on the federal government. Their power is marked by the two treasury secretaries who led the fight to legally enable and then reward Wall Street for its obscene excesses. Why wasn’t there a CNN stakeout at the homes of former Goldman-execs-turned-treasury-chiefs Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson aimed at finding out how they feel about the almost $7 billion profit that Goldman Sachs made in the last two quarters in the wake of the government’s bailout of the firm?

They were both deeply involved last fall, along with Rubin protégé and current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then head of the New York Fed, in saving Goldman as archrival Lehman Brothers was forced to go belly up. As opposed to Lehman, Goldman was allowed to change its status and become a commercial bank qualifying for Federal Reserve and TARP funding. Goldman received $10 billion in immediate bailout funds, and we are supposed to be grateful that the company has paid it back in return for an end to any pretense of government control over its executive compensation. The additional cool $12.9 billion that Goldman received from the government as a pass-through from the bailout of AIG to cover Goldman’s toxic paper is money the investment bank has no intention of ever paying back.

The rationale for saving Goldman and the other too-big-to-fail usurers was that the rescue would increase lending to businesses and consumers and thus revive the economy. But Goldman made money last quarter by shunning such loans and instead putting the government-guaranteed low-interest money it now can borrow toward acquisitions and bond and stock trading. As The New York Times reported: “Titans like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are making fortunes in hot areas like trading stocks and bonds, rather than the ho-hum business of lending people money.”

Under the headline “Bailout Helps Fuel a New Era of Wall Street Wealth,” Times reporter Graham Bowley detailed many of the enabling favors that the government, under two presidents, extended to Goldman, like clearing the way for the company to issue bonds guaranteed by the FDIC. “It may come as a surprise that one of the most powerful forces driving the resurgence on Wall Street,” the Times reported, “is not the banks but Washington. Many of the steps that policy makers took last year to stabilize the financial system—reducing interest rates to near zero, bolstering big banks with taxpayer money, guaranteeing billions of dollars of financial institution debts—helped set the stage for this new era of Wall Street wealth.”

It should not come as a surprise to Timothy Geithner, who, as The Wall Street Journal reported last week, talks to the honchos of Goldman more often than to members of Congress ostensibly in charge of banking legislation. Nor will it shock the lobbyists for Wall Street—augmented, as The Nation reported last week, by the pro-Goldman efforts of former Democratic congressman and faux populist Dick Gephardt—that the rich will emerge richer from this deep recession in which so many Americans have lost everything. The die is cast: People working in finance grabbed two-thirds of the growth in GDP over the last decade, with the rest of us scrambling for the other third.

Nor will the situation change anytime soon. The House Financial Services Committee is in charge of writing new rules to protect consumers, but as the respected Sunlight Foundation reports, 27 of the 71 members of that committee receive at least one-fourth of their campaign funds from the financial industry, with the rest of the committee members not far behind.

Now if we could get one of the banking lobbyists to float a duct-taped flying saucer balloon, Wolf Blitzer might cover the real hoax.

This article first appeared on TruthDig -- read the original here.


Goldman Sachs, the Vampire

CGI's Lion: Goldman Sachs, the Vampire that Really Needs a Wooden Stake!

Posted By: CGI_admin
Date: Wednesday, 21-Oct-2009 19:46:13

======================================

Goldman Sachs (and the rest of the banking elites) - the Vampire(s) that has it's teeth sunk into all of humanity.

Through massive deceit, counterfeiting, thievery, bribes, scheming, death and destruction that our treasonous politicians conveniently ignore,

Goldman is one of the forces that has wrecked the American economy and left people homeless, without two nickels to rub together.

Why does this happen and our politicians and regulators not only do nothing to stop it, but protect and encourage the banker's antics?

There is indeed an agenda behind this corruption, and that is to weaken America to such a point, Americans turn to government as their savior,

a plan of the elitists criminal international bankers (the ones who created and funded communism and fascism) to bring us into socialism, a rouge, covering for modern day feudalism.

_______

Our founding fathers and other great presidents knew and warned us, but we did not listen.

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks...will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs". -Thomas Jefferson in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill (1809)

"... The modern theory of the perpetuation of debt has drenched the earth with blood, and crushed its inhabitants under burdens ever accumulating". -Thomas Jefferson

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance". -James Madison

"The Government should create, issue, and circulate all the currency and credits needed to satisfy the spending power of the Government and the buying power of consumers. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest. Money will cease to be master and become the servant of humanity". -Abraham Lincoln

After signing into law the unconstitutional privately owned federal reserve, Woodrow Wilson realized his error and had these words to say:

"I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men". -Woodrow Wilson

Other men throughout history knew these truths and warned the world.

"The death of Lincoln was a disaster for Christendom. There was no man in the United States great enough to wear his boots and the bankers went anew to grab the riches.

I fear that foreign bankers with their craftiness and tortuous tricks will entirely control the exuberant riches of America and use it to systematically corrupt civilization."

-Otto von Bismark (1815-1898), German Chancellor, after the Lincoln assassination

"When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes... Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, 1815

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.

"Money is the new form of slavery, and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal - that there is no human relation between master and slave." - Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18rich.html?_r=2

THE RICH HAVE STOLEN THE ECONOMY

By Paul Craig Roberts

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's closest aides earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and other Wall Street firms.

Bloomberg reports that none of these aides faced Senate confirmation.

Yet, they are overseeing the handout of hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer funds to their former employers.

The gifts of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money provided the banks with an abundance of low cost capital that has boosted the banks' profits,

while the taxpayers who provided the capital are increasingly unemployed and homeless.

JPMorgan Chase announced that it has earned $3.6 billion in the third quarter of this year.

Goldman Sachs has made so much money during this year of economic crisis that enormous bonuses are in the works.

London Evening Standard reports that Goldman Sachs' “5,500 London staff can look forward to record average payouts of around 500,000 pounds ($800,000) each.

Senior executives will get bonuses of several million pounds each with the highest paid as much as 10 million pounds ($16 million).“

In the event the banksters can't figure out how to enjoy the riches, the Financial Times is offering a new magazine--”How To Spend It.”

New York City's retailers are praying for some of it, suffering a 15.3% vacancy rate on Fifth Avenue.

Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that retail sales adjusted for inflation have declined to the level of 10 years ago: “

Virtually 10 years worth of real retail sales growth has been destroyed in the still unfolding depression.”

Meanwhile, New York City's homeless shelters have reached the all time high of 39,000, 16,000 of whom are children.

New York City government is so overwhelmed that it is paying $90 per night per apartment to rent unsold new apartments for the homeless.

Desperate, the city government is offering one-way free airline tickets to the homeless if they will leave the city and charging rent to shelter residents who have jobs.

A single mother earning $800 per month is paying $336 in shelter rent.

Long-term unemployment has become a serious problem across the country, doubling the unemployment rate from the reported 10% to 20%.

Now hundreds of thousands more Americans are beginning to run out of extended unemployment benefits.

High unemployment has made 2009 a banner year for military recruitment.

A record number of Americans, more than one in nine, are on food stamps. Mortgage delinquencies are rising as home prices fall.

According to Jay Brinkmann of the Mortgage Bankers Association, job losses have spread the problem from subprime loans to prime fixed-rate loans.

On a Wise, Virginia, fairgrounds, 2,000 people waited in lines for free dental and health care.

While the US speeds plans for the ultimate bunker buster bomb and President Obama prepares to send another 45,000 troops into Afghanistan,

44,789 Americans die every year from lack of medical treatment.

National Guardsmen say they would rather face the Taliban than the US economy.

Little wonder. In the midst of the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, US corporations continue to offshore jobs and to replace

their remaining US employees with lower paid foreigners on work visas.

The offshoring of jobs, the bailout of rich banksters, and war deficits are destroying the value of the US dollar. Since last spring the US dollar has been rapidly losing value.

The currency of the hegemonic superpower has declined 14% against the Botswana pula, 22% against Brazil's real, and 11% against the Russian ruble.

Once the dollar loses its reserve currency status, the US will be unable to pay for its imports or to finance its government budget deficits.

Offshoring has made Americans heavily dependent on imports, and the dollar's loss of purchasing power will further erode American incomes.

As the Federal Reserve is forced to monetize Treasury debt issues, domestic inflation will break out.

Except for the banksters and the offshoring CEOs, there is no source of consumer demand to drive the US economy.

The political system is unresponsive to the American people. It is monopolized by a few powerful interest groups that control campaign contributions.

Interest groups have exercised their power to monopolize the economy for the benefit of themselves, the American people be damned.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15735

US Banks to Lose FDIC Debt Guarantees

http://www.americanbankingnews.com/images/logo.png
Citigroup (C), JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Others to Lose FDIC Debt Guarantees
October 20th, 2009
Filed Under: Industry News

Some of the nation’s largest financial companies, including Citigroup (NYSE: C), GE Capital (NYSE: GE), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and others will no longer have certain debt guaranteed by the federal government through the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program as of October 31st.

The FDIC voted on Tuesday to end the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program that is being used to guarantee certain debt issued by some of the nation’s largest banks, but also setup a 6-month safety net facility as part of the process. All five members of the FDIC’s panel of regulators voted to end the program as scheduled on October 31st.

New debt can be issued and guaranteed under the program up until the deadline. The deadline on the newly placed debt would expire no later than December 31st, 2012.

FDIC Chairman, Sheila Bair, stated, “It should be clear that this is not a continuation of the program but an ending of the program.”

The program does leave open a 6-month safety-net feature for banks suffering from “market disruptions” beyond their control. Under the transitional facility, banks can have new debt guaranteed through April 30th, 2010 if the FDIC approves the guarantee.

During the month of September, the FDIC requested public comment about two different approaches to ending the program. One of the programs would let the program finish by the end of the month and the other would include a 6-month guarantee facility for some banks on a case-by-case basis.

The FDIC established the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program last October in order to boost confidence in the banking industry, add more liquidity, and reduce the possibility of bank runs. The TLGP program places a government guarantee on some senior unsecured debt and mandatory convertible debt, as well as on banks’ transaction deposit accounts.

Regulators are hoping to phase out the program now that stress on the credit market has eased. FDIC officials are also want to avoid promoting reliance on government aid by the financial industry.

As of October 14th, 2009, the FDIC had $309.4 billion in outstanding debt-guarantees.

Bank is secure in case people get desperate ?

Reader Chris reports:

***************************************************************************

Hey Hobie,

This could be nothing however all the talk about the 25th thru Nov 7 going to be a massive transition point I thought this might be worth noting.

All of the Bank of America branches in Southern California have armed guards at the door. This has been a recent change from several weeks ago where at the very same branches (and ones that I have frequented for years) had no guards. They all seem to be from the same security service dressed in cop gear with black boots, armed with hand guns and mace. I have been to 3 different B of A's in the last 4 days, all three had the armed guards hanging outside. When I went to the ATM today I asked the guard if the bank had been robbed recently and he tells me;

"No but we are getting close to the holiday season and they want to make sure the bank is secure in case people get desperate."

Did BofA set these guards at the door in anticipation of something that is coming? Possibly a bank holiday early next week that closes the banks for a few days?

Speculation aside the banks are getting very serious about protecting their cash and by there actions it seems that they are expecting violence in the not to distant future.

Kind Regards,
Chris

Take the money and run

Bonus Bandits: Why Are Bank Execs Making a Killing in the Midst of Catastrophe?

By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality, AlterNet, October 20, 2009.

Welcome to post-meltdown America. One year and counting after last fall’s high-finance collapse, average Americans are reeling and Wall Street is rejoicing.

America’s biggest banks, amid the shakiest economic times since the 1930s, last week announced record profits — and deposited record billions into bonus pools for their top executives and traders. How did U.S. lawmakers and officialdom respond?

In Congress, a pivotal House committee gave the green light to a Wall Street regulatory reform bill that "does not do enough," disappointed consumer advocates quickly charged, "to protect taxpayers and our economy."

The nation's top executive pay regulator did some disappointing, too. "Pay czar" Ken Feinberg, the White House pick to oversee pay at the nation’s biggest bailed-outs, last week convinced soon-to-retire Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis to give up his $1.5 million 2009 salary. Why did Lewis agree? He gets to walk away, at year end, with a retirement package worth $69.3 million.

Welcome to post-meltdown America. One year and counting after last fall’s high-finance collapse, average Americans are reeling and Wall Street is rejoicing. The boom's back!

In fact, for Wall Street’s premiere financial giant, business is booming better than ever. Goldman Sachs last week announced $3.19 billion in third-quarter earnings, about quadruple the firm's quarterly profit a year ago. Goldman now has $16.7 billion sitting in its bonus pool.

That pool, by the end of December, will likely top off close to $23 billion, enough to pay each and every Goldman Sachs employee over $700,000 if the bonus dollars were divided equally.

The bonus dollars, past practice makes clear, won’t be equally divided. In 2007, Wall Street's previous record year, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein took home $68 million. In 2008, 212 Goldman Sachs power suits stuffed their pockets with over $3 million each.

This year figures to be even more lucrative. Goldman, as one financial analyst points out, has so far in 2009 "earned three times as much as it did in all of 2008."

That's not, to be sure, all good news for Goldman. In a record recession, record earnings create a bit of a public relations problem. To forestall any serious political blowback, Goldman's movers and shakers have opened a "charm offensive." Message: We feel your pain. Reality: Goldman feels no pain — and doesn't intend to start any time soon.

The $200 million Goldman is now donating to charity, as the first thrust in its charm offensive, equals a mighty 6 percent of the firm’s third-quarter profit.

No other U.S. financial firm is matching Goldman’s stunning success. But you won't find other firms complaining. One new survey, released last week, estimates that 23 top U.S. banks and hedge funds will shell out $140 billion in 2009 compensation, $23 billion more than their previous all-time record high set in 2007.

"We can't go back," a resolute White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told the nation earlier this year, "to the type of pay structure that incentivized wild speculation, like we had before this economic collapse."

We now have gone back. But could the situation have turned out any differently? Could U.S. officials be doing more, given the complexities of our globalized economy, to prevent a return to standard executive pay operating procedure? They surely could.

At a minimum, U.S. authorities could be insisting, as British officials did last Wednesday, that every big bank in the nation either agree to the modest executive pay reforms that surfaced at last month’s global economic summit in Pittsburgh or lose the right to do business with the government.

The reforms the UK is imposing will keep bankers from immediately collecting all the bonus dollars they "earn" this year. They'll have to wait several years, a delay intended to prevent bankers and traders from cashing in on risky short-term deals that later go sour.

But these UK reforms don't speak at all to the overall size of the rewards that can go to the world’s banking and corporate elite. They should. Governments, as Institute for Policy Studies analyst Sarah Anderson noted last week on the PBS News Hour, should be leveraging "the power of the public purse to encourage more rational pay practices throughout the economy."

Congress and the White House could do that, Anderson explained, by "limiting how much companies can deduct from their taxes" for executive pay and "using procurement policies to give preferences to companies that have more reasonable gaps between what their executives and their workers are making."

One day after Anderson’s comments, progressive lawmakers took a daring move in just the direction she was suggesting. Progressive lawmakers in France, that is. The legislators brought before the French National Assembly the world’s boldest executive pay reform package yet.

The new French legislation, if enacted, would cap executive pay, in companies subsidized by tax dollars, at 25 times the pay of a company’s lowest-paid worker.

In all other companies, boards of directors would set the executive-worker multiple that determines the executive pay ceiling, after a process that includes worker input. Shareholders would have the final say on what that multiple would be.

Support in France for an outright income cap — a "maximum wage" — has been building since last spring when the popular French weekly, Marianne, launched a petition campaign for a “salaire maximum.” How far politically can this campaign now go?

One appraisal came last week from Jean-Philippe Huelin, the editor of the French maximum wage campaign’s online presence.

"With a little perseverance — and luck," says Huelin, the French maximum wage drive just might become a "flagship" issue in the next French presidential election.

Real Estate Collapse Entering New Phase

Real Estate Collapse Entering New Phase: Banks Refusing to Repossess Abandoned Homes, or Even File Foreclosures

October 19th, 2009

Not only are there no bids in some markets, the accumulation of property taxes means that some properties have negative valuations, like a derivative trade that’s gone bad.

Via: Dayton Daily News:

Nobody is sure exactly how many bank walkaways are occurring. For various reasons, they can’t be identified in searches of public real estate and court data without individually pulling case files, experts say.

But nobody questions that they are on the increase.

David Rothstein, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, summarized the way they occur like this:

* The lender files a foreclosure, gets the foreclosure judgment in court, takes the property to sheriff’s auction but doesn’t bid on it if no one else does.

* The lender files as above, gets the judgment, sets the sheriff’s auction, then cancels the sale at the last minute.

* The lender files as above but then never requests a sheriff’s auction.

* The lender doesn’t even bother to file foreclosure.

All of these actions leave the foreclosed property in the hands of the original owner who, in many cases, has moved out and is unaware the lender hasn’t taken it.

One indicator of the trend in walkaways is the gap between the number of foreclosure filings by lenders and the number of properties actually sold at sheriff’s auction.

A Dayton Daily News analysis of Montgomery County records found that, through September, foreclosure filings are on a pace this year to decrease by 8 percent. Meanwhile, foreclosed properties sold at sheriff’s sale will be down more than 21 percent. Over the three years an average of 2,500 foreclosure filings have not made it to sale at auction.

A foreclosure filing may not make it to auction for a number of reasons, including owners coming up with the money or lenders working out deals with them. But, Rothstein said, the growing difference between filings and sales suggests walkaways are playing an increasing role.

“When we look at the numbers, it’s not like thousands of people are getting loan modifications that would lift them out of the foreclosure process,” he said. “So what’s happening to those other properties?”

Another indicator is the falling number of properties that banks are repossessing, said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac, Inc. Data from RealtyTrac shows that bank repossessions, called REOs, have been steadily declining in Montgomery County over the last three years. The 2009 monthly average for repossessions is only 43 percent of what it was in 2007, a newspaper analysis of the data show.

“There’s something happening once the properties enter foreclosure that is at the very least slowing down the process,” Blomquist said. “Maybe not to that (Montgomery County’s) extreme, but we’re seeing a similar pattern nationwide.”

Another indicator is the number of canceled sheriff’s sales, said Chuck Rodersheimer, a Dayton attorney who specializes in bankruptcy and foreclosure cases. ZIP codes like 45405 and 45406 northwest of downtown Dayton illustrate the problem, he said.

A newspaper analysis of sheriff’s sale data found that 45406 had 721 cancellations since 2006, by far the most of any county ZIP code. The 45405 ZIP was second with 594 cancellations.

Some of those neighborhoods have a lot of old, deteriorating housing stock, many of which are for sale or vacant, and accumulating unpaid taxes. The cost to the bank for taking responsibility for those properties, he said, is going to far outstrip anything they could hope to get out of selling the homes.

The sheriff’s sale cancellations in those neighborhoods, Rodersheimer said, are unlikely to be a result of negotiations between the owner and lender. “It’s going to be the fact that the bank didn’t want the property any more.”

In some instances, lenders don’t even bother to file a foreclosure. Figures by RealtyTrac released this week show foreclosure filings in the greater Dayton area are down almost 21 percent.

John Carter, housing inspector with the city of Dayton, finds the decline in foreclosures “very scary,” because houses are continuing to go vacant.

For every 100 houses that he orders boarded up, he said, 40 to 50 properties have a mortgage but no foreclosure filed. When he contacts the banks, they sometimes tell him they have no plans to foreclose.

“That makes it look like the foreclosure numbers are going down, but in actuality the banks are not even starting foreclosure,” Carter said. “So there’s no number to track now.”

Bank of America CEO Misled Federal Officials

Documents in Bank of America Probe Apparently Show CEO Misled Federal Officials
Sue Reisinger, Corporate, Law.com, October 22, 2009

New documents in the Bank of America Corp. investigation show that chief executive Ken Lewis apparently misled federal officials when he asked them to cough up $20 billion and other financial incentives to keep him from canceling the bank's merger with Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

Lewis told the feds that he had just learned of Merrill's spiraling fourth quarter losses that eventually reached $15 billion, when in fact his bank had been following the growing losses throughout October and November. Corporate Counsel has previously reported about the timing of disclosure of the losses, and the new documents confirmed earlier stories.

Lewis, the documents show, told the officials that the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank believed it had a "MAC" -- a material adverse change that would trigger an escape clause that would allow Bank of America to get out of the merger. In fact, according to a story in story in Wednesday's Charlotte Observer, former general counsel Tim Mayopoulos told bank executives that they did not have grounds for a MAC.

Mayopoulos was fired was fired days before Lewis told the Feds he intended to "call the MAC."

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been probing the circumstances of the deal for months, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York attorney general and others. House investigators interviewed Mayopoulos on Monday, the Observer said, after the bank's board of directors decided to waive attorney-client privilege. The newspaper cited sources saying they knew what Mayopoulos told House investigators about his advice.

The House committee also canceled a hearing, scheduled for today, so that it could pursue other leads that arose in some 1,000 documents recently turned over to investigators. The hearing may be held as early as next week, a spokesman said.

One of those documents from Brian Moynihan, an interim general counsel in December after the bank ousted Mayopoulos, advised Lewis on "talking points" to discuss with the board of directors. It specifically discusses a phone call with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and others in which Lewis "described the intention to call a MAC on Merrill."

Lewis also did not tell the feds that his own lawyer had advised that there were no grounds to invoke the MAC. The lack of grounds, according to one source close to the deal, was because the merger agreement specifically stated that losses on transactions made prior to the agreement could not be counted as a reason to call a material adverse change. And the bulk of Merrill's losses were from prior transactions.

The Moynihan "talking points" also discuss a later phone call between Lewis and Paulson, in which Lewis "relayed that while we still believe a MAC has occurred, that we would be willing to not declare the MAC and to complete the transaction if the Federal Treasury and related entities put together a package" for the bank worth $23 billion.

In a later phone call with Bernanke, according to the document, Lewis again "stated that we believe we had a MAC, but that the Bank of America would be willing to go forward in the transaction on the condition that we get an infusion of capital and loss sharing on Merrill assets."

The federal officials, fearing a collapse of Merrill Lynch as well as the vulnerable U.S. financial system if the deal fell through, agreed to Lewis' terms. The merger closed Jan. 1. Later that month the bank received an additional $20 billion in U.S. bailout funds plus U.S. protection against losses on some $118 billion in toxic assets.

ALT-G20: Exciting conferences in London

Registration is open for two separate and exciting conferences in London in response to the final G20 summit in the UK from 6-7 November:

Recovery towards what? Finance, justice, sustainability - 6 November - on global finance and its role in both developed and developing countries
Speakers include: YV Reddy (former governor Reserve Bank of India), Jomo KS (United Nations), Robert Wade (LSE), Alison Evans (ODI) and more
More info below and registration at: http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/registerconfnov6

Put People First G20 Counter Conference - 7 November - making the links between the economy, decent work, the environment and the global fight against poverty.
Speakers include: Tony Juniper (Princes Rainforest Trust), Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Party of European Socialists), Caroline Lucas MEP (Green Party), Billy Hayes (CWU) and more
More info below and registration at: http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/autumn/counterconference/register-for-counter-conference/

Additional events that week include: "Whither financialised capitalism?" at SOAS in London and "Put People First Road to the G20" in St Andrews Scotland. Further information on these below.

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Recovery towards what? Finance, justice, sustainability
6 November 2009
Congress Centre, Central London
www.brettonwoodsproject.org/confnov6

It brings together experts, researchers, practitioners and civil society to discuss how to reshape finance so that it contributes to a just and sustainable economy. To stimulate a genuine debate, it has not only plenary sessions but also breakout sessions to facilitate small group discussions.

Keynote speakers:
YV Reddy, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN-Department for Economic and Social Affairs

Other Speakers include:
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the Party of Europaen Socialists and former Prime Minister of Denmark
Robert Wade, Professor at the Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics
Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress
Alison Evans, Director of the Overseas Development Institute
Barbara Ridpath, Chief utive of the International Centre for Financial Regulation
Sandeep Chachra, Head of Governance at ActionAid International
James Vaccaro, Managing Director of Investment Banking (UK) at Triodos Bank
Costas Lapavitsas, Professor in the Department of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies

An up-to-date agenda can be found at www.brettonwoodsproject.org/agendaconfnov6

When and where?
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November 6, 9:00 – 19:30
Congress Centre, London (near Tottenham Court Road)

The conference is open to everybody interested in hearing about and discussing how to make finance work. However, space is limited. Please register online to attend the conference at http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org/registerconfnov6.

Sponsors: Bretton Woods Project, Trades Union Congress, ActionAid, Friends of the Earth, new economics foundation, Research on Money and Finance. This event is being organised with the financial assistance of the Ford Foundation and the European Union. The event is the sole responsibility of the organisers and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the funders.

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Put People First G20 Counter Conference
7 November 2009
Central Hall Westminster, SW1H 9NH
http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/autumn/counterconference

In March, we marched in our tens of thousands to demand the G20 Put People First. Far from putting people first we’ve seen nothing but a tinkering around the margins followed by the return to business as usual.

On Nov 7, as the G20 returns to the UK, the agenda on the table nurses an already failed economic model back to life, whilst looking to stitch up an unjust international climate deal outside the UN process.

They bailed out the banks to the tune of billions, and now the only choice offered is between what cuts are made to pay for it.

Government intervention to create a Green New Deal is slipping off the agenda, and yet strong alliances are forming - environmentalists and trade unionists have been standing side by side at Vestas to save the UK’s largest wind turbine factory.

- In the run up to Copenhagen, how do we get a global agreement on climate that truly puts climate justice at its heart?
- How do we respond to the jobs crisis and growing poverty around the world
- How do we ensure the global green new deal the world needs?
- How we do we show that cuts are not the only option, and demonstrate what Putting People First really look like?

This counter-conference will bring together academics, activists, campaigners, unions, policy makers and YOU to share ideas on what the alternatives are to cuts, cuts and more cuts, and how we must organise across our issues, of jobs, justice and climate, to make the alternative the reality.

Speakers include:
- Tony Juniper, Princes Rainforests Projects
- Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, former Danish prime minister and president of the Party of European Socialists
- Jon Cruddas MP
- Deborah Doane, director of World Development Movement
- Billy Hayes, general secretary of CWU
- Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party
- Diane Elson, University of Essex
- Jesse Griffiths, Bretton Woods Project
- Noel Hatch, Compass Youth
- John Hilary, War on Want
- Catherine Howarth, FairPensions
- Neal Lawson, Compass
- Larry Lohman, The Corner House
- Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Friends of the Earth
- Andrew Simms, new economics foundation
- Glen Tarman, BOND
- Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper

Register now
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Place are limited so registration is advised. To register to attend please visit http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/autumn/counterconference/register-for-counter-conference/

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On Saturday, 7 November, Scottish civil society is also organising a parallel conference, "Put People First Road to the G20" in St. Andrews, Scotland, the venue for the G20 finance ministers’ summit. More information about that event can be found at http://www.g20standrews.org.

Additionally on 7 November, the Research on Money and Finance (RMF) group at the University of London is hosting an academic conference titled “Whither financialised capitalism?” This is a heterodox and multidisciplinary conference, and interested people are invited to attend and share their thoughts. More information about that event can be found at http://www.soas.ac.uk/events/event54441.html.

_________________________________________________________
The Bretton Woods Project:
Critical voices on the World Bank and IMF
Tel: +44 (0)20 7561 7610
E-mail: subs@brettonwoodsproject.org

Alternative voices for a new financial architecture
http://www.rethinkingfinance.org

mercoledì 21 ottobre 2009

Class Action Lawsuits Over Overdraft Fees

American Banking News

Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wachovia (NYSE:WFC), U.S. Bank (NYSE:USB), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Citibank (NYSE:C) Over Overdraft Fee Policies

by Gary , October 21st, 2009

It was inevitable in the current economic climate and banking bailouts that consumers would vent their anger toward the banks on anything that frustrates over doing business with them, and that’s the case with a series of class action lawsuits filed against Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wachovia (NYSE:WFC), U.S. Bank (NYSE:USB), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Citibank (NYSE:C) over overdraft fee policies.

These lawsuits have been consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, and will be heard by Judge James Lawrence King.

Although I don’t have any sympathy for those who want free loans from their banks, which an overdraft fee addresses, I do think it’s a bad practice and unwise for the banks to continue to assess these fees in the midst of the extraordinarily difficult economic time we live. That’s just begging for a bunch of lawsuits, which they now have on their hands.

In some press releases, the most recent announcing the consolidation of the class action lawsuits, they use inflammatory rhetoric to make the banks out to be these evil, bad guys. But the problem with that is the majority of consumers don’t overdraft their checking accounts, and so why should others be treated differently when they do, when they’re being irresponsible.

For example, in this press release from lawyers, they’re attempting to demonize the overdraft practice by using examples of consumers who do it several times and then being hit with $35 overdraft fees for each transaction over a very short period of time. Why should that be something to sympathize with when it’s not only poor management, but irresponsible behavior, as they know they’re doing it, and the idea that they’re clueless as to being assessed fees is dubious at best, and in many cases outright dishonest. It’s like getting ticketed in a no parking zone or allowing the meter to run out. They know it, they’re just hoping they can get away with it.

On the banks’ side of it, they should be sure to communicate to their customers about overdraft fees and the inclusion of an overdraft part of their checking account, which keeps them from embarrassing situatons where their bank cards are declined in public places after making some type of buying decision.

In the end though, the only ones that may win in this will be the lawyers (assuming there is a victory), as those with overdraft fees won’t be compensated for much in a class action award or settlement. And if they do have high fees, what does that say about the continual use of their account without having any money in it, while the rest of us manage our finances successfully?

I’m leery of this because many people know they can make accusations against the banks which will be sympathized with during the existing economic difficulties. In normal economic times consumers would wonder about these people who think they can borrow money for free without compensating the banks, which is what an overdraft essentially is: a loan.

Of course the problem with the banks is they’re struggling to generate profits, and these fees have been a large part of generating income over the years.

But with the acceptance of government bailout money, they should have known that this would happen, and made at minimum temporary efforts to cut back on overdraft fees until the economy turned around and people began to forget how they were soaked to save the banks.

My conclusion in this is both sides are at fault, and while I can’t see the merit of these class action lawsuits, I understand the frustration behind them, whether it’s a faux frustration or not.

Either way, the lawyers know they have a great chance at a big pay day, and their aggressive press releases show they are pushing hard to sway public opinion to the negative side in order to get a strong settlement with the banks to keep more negative public sentiment from growing toward them.

Delinquenza predatoria indotta

La delinquenza “indotta” dilaga
di Carmelo R. Viola - 21/10/2009

Fonte: Rinascita



I delitti comuni più frequenti sono quelli consumati contro il cosiddetto patrimonio ovvero contro la proprietà privata, considerata sacra indipendentemente dalla sua eventuale sproporzionalità rispetto al fabbisogno del proprietario. Sulla sacra proprietà privata si fondano il capitalismo e la dottrina sociale della Chiesa! Tali delitti sono la trasposizione antropologica – o antropozoica – della predazione animale, che è il furto nelle sue molteplici possibilità di esecuzione.
Si ruba per almeno tre moventi: la fame, il bisogno e l’emulazione. La concezione classica (del Beccaria in specie) del crimine come esternazione di criminali nati con tanto di zigomi sporgenti e di orecchie a sventola, è quasi del tutto destituita di fondamento scientifico ed è comunque estranea al nostro tema. Senza alcun dubbio esistono psiconeuropatologie vere e proprie innate o acquisite durante l’adolescenza, come la schizofrenia e la paranoia, che si esternano con comportamenti irrazionali, violenti e suicidi ed esiste comunque una realtà genetica di tendenze innate, che può essere un elemento aggravante o concomitante o scatenante nella reattività “legittima” del soggetto, che reclama in maniera sui generis la soddisfazione delle spettanze naturali della propria esistenza di fronte alle vicende della vita quotidiana.
Io mi riferisco a quei moventi a rubare (depredare) - a delinquere nel senso di trasgredire le leggi che tutelano la proprietà privata quale che sia - che hanno origine nell’ordinamento giuridico della società e che danno luogo a quella delinquenza “indotta” cioè consequenziale al sistema e che, pertanto, può essere considerata fisiologica per non dire normale.
Per comprendere il comportamento dell’individuo bisogna partire dalla cognizione delle pulsioni vitali universali (fame, bisogno di rassicuranza affettiva, di autotrascendenza e di autoidentificazione), cui corrispondono altrettanti diritti naturali configurabili in versioni molto variegate anche in rapporto alle praticamente infinite varietà di “comportamento esistenziale”. Il soggetto tende a rispondere ai diritti naturali attraverso due livelli di normalità:quello di chi rispetta le modalità imposte dal sistema (dette leggi) e quello di chi le elude per raggiungere sempre lo stesso fine, tenendo conto che i due livelli si possono alternare o integrare a vicenda (modalità legale più modalità paralegale).
Prima tipologia. Uno Stato socialista che, in quanto tale, risponde ai diritti naturali. Al cittadino basta rispettare le leggi. Seconda tipologia. Uno Stato capitalista che, in quanto tale, non rispetta i diritti naturali. Al cittadino non basta rispettare le leggi ma può rispettarle ed accontentarsi di quello che ottiene. Terza tipologia. Stato capitalista: il cittadino provvede con mezzi trasgressivi (illegali) propri alla soddisfazione dei diritti naturali. Quarta tipologia. Il cittadino alterna o integra legalità e trasgressione (delinquenza).
Il capitalismo non può rispondere ai diritti naturali e pertanto è un sistema criminale e criminogeno. Nel contesto di uno Stato capitalista la massa dei cittadini è depredata della soddisfazione dei diritti naturali a favore di pochi predatori che hanno tutto e più di tutto. Per questo, la società capitalista si completa con il consumo della cosiddetta delinquenza indotta. La scelta fra legalità e delinquenza dipende dall’educazione intesa in senso lato come influenza dell’ambiente sull’età evolutiva fino all’adolescenza. Ma anche oltre.
Si risponde alle pulsioni vitali secondo l’ordine crescente della fame, del bisogno in senso lato e dell’emulazione. La fame. E’ il movente elementare della delinquenza indotta di tipo predatorio. E’ il bambino povero che ruba una mela, il ragazzo o la zingaretta che sfila un portamoneta, l’adulto che ruba galline o frutti della terra. Il fabbisogno. Se il furto per fame risulta comprensibile e perfino perdonabile, quello per fabbisogno acquista il sapore della delinquenza essenziale e l’autore appare non essere nemmeno scusabile. Si insegna che la persona onesta rispetta la legalità anche quando le costa sacrifici ovvero la rinuncia, parziale o totale, alla soddisfazione dei diritti naturali. Ne consegue che chi non rispetta la legalità è da condannare. Chi scrive ha sempre rispettato la legalità ma non per questo mi ritengo una persona onesta ma piuttosto per la sincerità dell’uomo di scienza, che dice tutta la verità e solo la verità.
Naturalmente, ci sono modi e modi di rubare, dopo quello primordiale-fisico della sottrazione violenta di un pezzo di pane in senso simbolico (preda). C’è tanta gente che ruba (depreda) nel rispetto della legge non per il piacere di depredare ma sognando di fare la cameretta al figlioletto o di comprare un elettrodomestico alla moglie o di costruirsi una casetta pagandosi per intero il mutuo già contratto, insomma per fare qualcosa di legittimo che lo Stato non gli consente di fare contro le sconfinate possibilità di pochi “cittadini di primo grado”. Le ragioni della delinquenza predatoria sono più o meno quelle stesse di coloro che accedono ai giochi a premi televisivi (predaludismo) o che giocano schedine su schedine, sognando una possibilità a loro negata dalla loro condizione economica. Prestarsi a fare da inservienti militari agli USA, come in Afghanistan, con il rischio di rimetterci la vita, non ha niente a che vedere con l’amore di patria ma piuttosto con l’amore del proprio nucleo affettivo.
L’emulazione. Per comprendere la legittimità psicologica (non giuridica) della delinquenza predatoria per bisogno e, ancor più, per emulazione, occorre sapere che l’inconscio ragiona a nostra insaputa e decide del nostro comportamento, immaginario o reale. La delinquenza indotta reale è solo la punta emergente di un iceberg, che è la delinquenza indotta immaginaria! Primo momento. “Se tizio vive in un villino circondato da tanto verde e possiede ogni altro bendiddio, non è perché abbia potuto produrre tanto con il proprio lavoro né quindi per merito ma solo perché ha saputo rubare attraverso i giochi legali: perché, pertanto, io devo vivere in una casupola o non avere nessun tetto?” Questo lo pensa il nostro inconscio prima che la nostra mente. La maggior parte immagina di rifarsi della ingiustizia subita, pochi tentano la via con la trasgressione aperta e finiscono in carcere.
Secondo momento.”Se la proprietà come ricchezza senza misura è un crimine per sé stessa ed è tuttavia considerata lecita dalla legge, lecito è riconosciuto dal soggetto ogni mezzo per aggiungere lo stesso fine”. Da ciò nasce la grande delinquenza predatoria non necessariamente fisica, fino alle varie mafie.
Le carceri del mondo capitalista scoppiano di delinquenti indotti, rei di avere agito contro le ingiustizie del sistema e non necessariamente per attitudini patologiche, nel qual caso non di carceri ci sarebbe bisogno ma di case di cura. Il motivo per cui la maggior parte dei cittadini si adegua alla legalità di un sistema ingiusto e sperequatorio naturalmente illegittimo, va cercato nei costumi e nella situazione in cui viene a trovarsi un “nuovo arrivato”, fisiologicamente timorato dalle possibili sanzioni e disposto a godersi il poco nella pace del suddito ubbidiente.
Sta di fatto che la delinquenza predatoria indotta è espressione di uno Stato, che non fa il proprio dovere, che non si prende cura – come dovrebbe - dei propri cittadini come di figli ma, al contrario, li abbandona a sé stessi. Il decorso liberista – che affida il diritto alla vita al “mercato del lavoro” - è causa crescente di delinquenza predatoria indotta, di mafie, di collusione fra legalità e illegalità (paralegalità), di sovraffollamento carcerario, di autogenerazione criminale, di degenerazione in violenza ed in autolesionismo della stessa delinquenza da compensazione ai fini della naturalmente legittima fruizione dei diritti naturali.
L’Antimafia, se coerente con sé stessa, dovrebbe mettere sotto accusa e processare lo Stato capitalista inadempiente e induttore di delinquenza, lesiva di quella stessa sacra proprietà privata che dice di volere proteggere.

Executing people is expensive

A Cruel and Unusual Waste of Money

Truthdig, Oct 21, 2009



Executing people is expensive. A new report by the Death Penalty Information Center says California is spending more than 10 times as much on capital punishment—$137 million a year—as it would on an alternative life-without-parole system. New York and New Jersey repealed the death penalty after spending hundreds of millions without an execution to show for it.

Why is it when states look to cut costs, as California has, they go after positive social programs that benefit the poor, kids and seniors? If we’re going to slash education budgets every time we hit a downturn, then we ought to start thinking about execution as a luxury. It may be wildly popular in this country, but we just can’t afford it. —PZS

Christian Science Monitor:

A 2008 study in California found that the state was spending $137 million a year on capital cases. A comparable system that instead sentenced the same offenders to life without parole would cost $11.5 million, says the DPIC report, citing the study’s estimates.

New York spent $170 million over nine years on capital cases before repealing the death penalty. No executions were carried out there.

SFO launches criminal investigation into Levene

Serious Fraud Office launches criminal investigation into Nicholas Levene amid fears of client death

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it has started a formal criminal investigation into Nicholas Levene, the City financier whose clients fear multi-million-pound financial losses.

Banking Lawyer Found Guilty of $12 Million Fraud

Former In-House Banking Lawyer Found Guilty of $12 Million Fraud

Sofia Lind, Legal Week, October 21, 2009


The former deputy head of legal at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi has been found guilty of a multimillion-dollar fraud, a U.K. court ruled Tuesday.

Former in-house lawyer Kate Johns faces jail for her crimes, with a sentence to be handed out in December.

London's Southwark Crown Court ruled that Johns was guilty of having repeatedly conned colleagues into signing off large sums of money for investment. In total, the bank lost 7.4 million pounds ($12.3 million) as a result of the scam.

The money was diverted to struggling Indonesian airline Air Efata, which was owned by her friend Frank Taira-Supit. Johns received personal payoffs from Taira-Supit totaling 1.95 million pounds ($3.2 million), which the court was told she used to fund a luxury lifestyle, including shopping trips, breast surgery and paying off the mortgage on a 1.1 million pound ($1.8 million) north London townhouse.

Air Efata went bankrupt last year, after which Taira-Supit committed suicide.

Johns, who was paid a salary of 150,000 pounds ($250,000) in her role at the bank, was convicted of 12 offenses committed during six months in 2006.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Marsh QC of 9 Bedford Row was instructed by the fraud prosecution division of the Crown Prosecution Service, while Dyers Chambers' Andrew Campbell-Tiech QC advised Johns.

For more news, commentary and analysis on the international legal market, visit LegalWeek.com.

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF HORIZONTALISATION CASES

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF HORIZONTALISATION CASES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS CRISIS

By Christopher Story

'Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb'.
Psalm 37, verses 1 and 2.

'I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found'.
Psalm 37, verses 35-36.


The following is an incomplete list of 'horizontalisations' associated with the Fraudulent Finance crisis monitored by this service since the Editor's investigations began seven years ago:

Bailey, Catherine, 41, a litigation partner with the law firm S. J. Berwin, disappeared from her firm’s offices in Chancery Lane, Central London, on Friday, 9th January 2009. Her body was found in the Thames, near Richmond Bridge, southwest London, on Saturday 11th January 2009.

The lawyer’s practice handled banking and regulatory disputes, involving Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigations, investment mismanagement cases and financial markets litigation. She was said to have been involved in a number of high-value cases and her clients included banks, funds, public and private companies and investment vehicles: in other words, she was up to her eyes in disentangling fraudulent derivatives operations. No information appeared in the public domain to confirm that this was a suicide. On the contrary, murder was suspected, to destabilise ongoing investigations and cases, which of course will continue long after the present settlement arrangements have been completed and the world has 'moved on', which is about to occur.

Barreto, Martin: On 23rd August 2006, it was reported that the nude body of a one-time Deputy Press Secretary for the former New York Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, was discovered strangled in his apartment on New York’s East 10th Street. The 49-year old’s body was discovered on a bed at his apartment by police, after a friend had reported that he was failing to respond to telephone calls or knocks on his door. A doorman at the building told investigators that Barreto had informed him that he had been expecting a visitor and had instructed him to let him in.

The violent death was ruled as a homicide after an autopsy found that Martin Barreto had died from ‘asphyxia due to compression of the neck’. There were no signs of a struggle or robbery inside the apartment, where Barreto had lived alone. The possible significance of this tragedy is that Barreto, who was a partner in a New York public relations firm, and a radio journalist who had served on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (1993-96), had worked in City Hall in the late 1990s. It will be recalled that Rudolph Giuliani spearheaded the indictment of Marc Rich (the DVD operative, Hans Brand).

With the closing-in of events described in successive issues of International Currency Review and on this website, it is likely that Barreto’s knowledge of Marc Rich’s past financial operations might have been considered hazardous, both from the perspective of Hans Brand (Rich) himself, and in the perception of the Dachau-based Nazi intelligence continuum, Deutsche Verteidigungs Dienst. On 12th November 2005, the late lamented veteran reporter Sherman Skolnik stated that ‘Marc Rich, aided by Judith Miller’, whom he thought was ‘a Russian playing spy games originally for the… KGB… and now for the FSB’, conducts secret and illicit currency swaps, metals and commodities trades, all tax-cheating money laundered, for Moscow, Beijing, Tel Aviv, London, New York, Chicago and elsewhere. Marc Rich is [the] East-West blackmail whore for the plutocrats’.

Sherman Skolnik died alone naturally in May 2006. His papers were removed by persons ‘unknown’.

Baxter, Clive: An Enron corporate executive who ‘committed suicide’ in 2000 as US Federal investigators stepped up their investigations into the huge energy trading corporation scammed to death by cynical US intelligence criminalists. [This horizintalisation is included to illustrate the point that an unknown number of cases are not captured by this analysis, which essentially covers the period of the Editor’s investigations].

Casperson, Finn: This operative reportedly 'committed suicide' on Wednesday 9th September 2009. He was the ex-CEO of Beneficial Corp., a large financial firm, and faced US tax evasion charges relating to offshore accounts. It was thought that he had Taiwanese Triad links. His body was found dumped behind an office building in Westerly, Rhode Island.

Connell, Michael: This IT expert, said to have been directly involved in the rigging of drug-running George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed on 19th December 2008 when his single-engine private aircraft crashed three miles short of the airport at Akron, Ohio. Mr Connell was reported to have told a close associate that he was afraid that the well-known thuggists George W. Bush Jr. and Vice President Cheney would ‘throw [him] under a bus’.

It had earlier been verified that Carl Rove [German name: Roverer] had threatened Connell and his wife, Heather. Connell had appeared before a Federal Judge In Ohio after being subpoenaed in a Federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under Mr Roverer’s direction. The Judge ordered Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on 3rd November 2008, the day before the election. The Bush White House was reported to have become extremely concerned that Mr Connell planned to divulge details of his secret illegal work for the White House. Mrs Heather Connell ‘owns’ GovTech Solutions. Both GovTech Solutions and an IT firm called SmartTech of Chattanooga, TN, have reportedly been implicated in the rigging of the 2000 and 2004 US elections and a White House email scandal. On 18th December 2008, Connell unwisely flew to a small airport outside Washington DC where, of course, his plane was tampered with: a standard DVD technique.

Coulbeck, Neil: Aged 53, the former head of Group Treasury at The Royal Bank of Scotland, who had been reported missing by his wife, was found dead near Woodford golf course on the edge of Epping Forest, about a mile or so from his home, on 11th July 2006. In the past, as a Managing Director in charge of balance sheet management, he had had responsibility for making sure the bank he was serving had sufficient resources for its operations.

Credit Suisse dealer: Late in the week ending on 18th August 2006, a foreign exchange dealer with Crédit Suisse in Zürich was reported to have ‘committed suicide’ on the bank’s premises. The Times, London, reported on 23rd August that ‘The unnamed dealer shot himself late last week after leaving the trading floor. The bank did not release his name, out of respect for his family, but a bank spokesman said: ‘I can confirm a suicide took place. We are really shocked’. Interestingly, the only original report on this tragedy appeared in the Business Section of The Times, London.

All other reports (of which there were hardly any) repeated the same language used by The Times verbatim. Although an official Swiss website purported to carry the story, there was no reference to it in subsequent days; and the report appeared to have disappeared, apart from the original story, by 28th August. The London Times elaborated that ‘Zürich police were informed but they are also not releasing the man’s name. The suicide was the subject of low-key reports in several local newspapers…. Rumours about the Zürich death swept financial circles'.

The bank refused to divulge in which business area he traded or why he had ‘shot himself’. 'The rumours suggested that he may have been working in foreign exchange and, having been made redundant [fired], walked to another part of the building before committing suicide’. It is curious, to say the least, that The Times’ report, and its derivatives, did not query why a dealer would carry a gun with him on the bank’s premises. Of course, the likelihood is that he did not, but rather that this was no suicide, but in fact an ‘urgent’ on-site execution. The suppression of all subsequent reports on this matter suggests such an interpretation.

The death was compared by The Times to the sudden death in July of Dmitry Smoliyaninov [see below] aged 31, whom the British newspaper described as ‘a principal trader with Citigroup’ – not any old trader, but rather a ‘principal trader’.

The report added that Smoliyaninov had fallen from the 16th floor of Citigroup’s Canary Wharf offices after climbing over a barrier. Police said that they had no motive for his apparent suicide and there was no evidence of trading irregularities or substantial losses. Citigroup and Crédit Suisse are institutions known to have handled transactions associated with George Bush Sr., and associates, according to reliable financial sector sources exclusive to this service.

The revelation that the Russian dealer was a ‘principal trader’ appeared in this report for the first time. Therefore if he was murdered, like the Crédit Suisse operative, as we believe to be the case, he would have been a key target.

Duisenberg, Wim: The former President of the European Central Bank, Dr Willem (‘Wim’) Frederik Duisenberg, was found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 70, on 31st July 2005.

Two days previously, Milan prosecutors had announced indictments against subsidiaries of Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley in connection with the investigation into the collapse of Parmalat, a corporation that had become synonymous with the phrase ‘EU butter mountain’. Parmalat seems to have been the Italian intelligence ‘sib’ operation equivalent of Enron. In his day as President of the European Central Bank, Duisenberg was the tousled figure whom brainwashed journalists considered to be little short of a deity, as he uttered his opaque pronouncements on European Central Bank monetary policy.

The Editor recalls asking Dr Duisenberg a somewhat pointed question at an IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting press conference – and that the great man chose the easy option of saying he couldn’t hear the question and turning to the next question instead.

Finan, Modi: This former executive of Maccabi Tel Aviv, a basketball club, was found by his wife Sharon hanged in a shower at his home in central Israel on Monday 19th October 2009. Finan had boasted about doing business with Nicholas Levene [see separate entry], investing both his own funds and those of players and basketball executives whom he knew well. As a consequence, his debts to former players, coaches and management officials were estimated at around $20 million. According to an investor cited by Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper [21st October], Modi Finan 'would promise to deliver the monthly yield in cash, and it would arrive in envelopes; and over the years, the money would come back like clockwork'. In other words, this Modi Finan was running a classic Ponzi operation, delivering yield but stealing the principal. It is evident that he was also providing a 'feeder fund' service for Nicholas Levene, the City of London financier who owned 6% of the UK Leyton Orient Football Club. So what both of these scamsters were actually doing was tapping into the surplus wealth of sportsmen, so as to sustain the flow of 'new money' necessary to cover up the diversion of principal, in strict accordance with the classic Ponzi model. They were both also busily scamming fellow Jews, just like Bernard L. Madoff. See also the entry for Nicholas Levene.

Foxton, William, OBE: A distinguished British Army officer, who rose from the ranks in the Green Jackets regiment, lost his arm in combat, and worked for United Nations missions, for the French Foreign Legion and the Sultan of Oman, shot himself in the head on 10th February 2009, after losing his life’s savings in the Bush-Madoff Ponzi operation.

Major Foxton killed himself in a park near his home in Southampton. His son, Willard, 28, said of Madoff and associates: ‘Essentially I want Madoff and others to know that they have my father’s blood on their hands. I’m very angry. My first thought was to show up at Madoff’s trial in New York and throw my father’s medals in his face’. ‘They have got my father’s blood on their hands’. The retired soldier had invested some of the money that he had earned while serving the Sultan of Oman, in two hedge funds that were rolled into Madoff’s scheme, and had lost ‘a six- or seven-figure sum’, according to Mr Foxton Jr.

Galeda, John: It was reported to us at 6:12pm UK time on 17th October 2009 (as this report was being finalised) that John Galeda, well known in certain exotic US financial circles, had suffered a sudden heart attack and was in immediate need of a triple bypass heart operation.

Gianmario, Roveraro: Sig. Roveraro, aged 70, attended an Opus Dei (or ‘Opus Luciferis’) meeting on 5th July 2006, and was then kidnapped by a ‘financial consultant’, Filipp Botteri.

The Italian investigators’ ‘line’ was that both men had invested in a supposedly low-risk financial transaction involving an Austrian firm in 2003. Roveraro pulled out in time but Filipp Botteri lost an amount equivalent to £1.7 million, having anticipated a gain of £7.0 million. Botteri allegedly forced Roveraro to provide instructions to his (Sig. Botteri’s) office to hand over £7.0 million.

On 17th July Botteri’s office received a fax bearing Roveraro’s signature and requesting a share transfer. Roveraro’s body was found among bushes beneath a viaduct 20 miles outside Parma, chopped into pieces and stowed in a black garbage bag. He is thought to have been murdered after prosecutors froze his assets to prevent any payment to the kidnappers. Botteri finally confessed to the murder, which once again threw the spotlight onto the sinister Opus Dei.

Roveraro’s name was being linked to Parmalat, the Italian dairy foods corporation and ‘sib’ operation involved in very extensive alleged corruption scandals [see: Duisenberg].

Good, Steve: Chairman and Chief Executive of Sheldon Good & Co., a leading US real estate auction firm, was found with a gunshot to his head in his red Jaguar on Monday 5th January 2009 (the self-same day as Herr Merckle threw himself in front of a train near his Blaubeuren home in southern Germany: see: Merckle). No suicide note was found with the body, suggesting that this was another execution. Mr Good, who was Chairman of the US Realtors’ Commercial Alliance Committee, had a long-standing business relationship with Donald Trump, according to several reports dated 7th January 2009.

Guillermo, Martinez: Aged 40, Martinez, from Puerto Rico, was reported by The Miami Herald on 26th June 2006 to have leapt to his death from the 29th floor of a building in Miami Center, 201 S. Biscayne Blvd. Martinez, said to have been a temporary employee, was reported to have been working at Citigroup Private Bank, which had offices there. He was said to have used a small sledgehammer to break through a window, after which he threw a large computer monitor and a chair out through the window in order to make the hole bigger, before jumping to his death.

Kelly, Christopher: This former fundraiser for ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, was reported to have experienced ‘sudden death syndrome’ on Saturday, 12th September 2009. An Illinois mayor stated that police were investigating the death, which was initially referenced as a 'suicide'.

Kozlov, Andrei, the First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Bank, died in a Moscow hospital of gunshot wounds a few hours after being attacked late on Wednesday, 13th September 2006. The 41-year-old Kozlov, responsible for banking supervision since 2002, had withdrawn the licenses of dozens of banks and had reportedly overseen a programme to curb criminal operations and money-laundering in the banking system. Since money-laundering is central to the untaxed off-balance sheet operations which the US Treasury was so eagerly promoting and facilitating, it would appear, on the face of it, that the late Mr Kozlov may have faced an uphill task. After all, the Americans, who supposedly taught the former Communists how to organise and manage capitalist-style banks, have demonstrated that they prefer to operate like Chicago gangsters.

That being the case, Mr Kozlov‘s efforts on behalf of the Russian Central Bank to curb exotic financing behaviour among the Russian institutions, will have been frustrated by the continuing reprobate example set by the ruthless Bush Sr. and Irgun-linked American criminal intelligence operatives. Commenting on Kozlov‘s murder, Mr Garegin Tosunian, the head of the Association of Russian Banks, told Ekho Moskvy Radio that Kozlov‘s ‘steps to cleanse the system and to build a normal, civilised system, apparently strongly encroached upon somebody‘s interests’.

The Russian Finance Minister du jour, Alexei Kudrin, was separately reported by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying that the late Mr Kozlov had ‘repeatedly infringed upon the interests of dishonest financiers’. Mr Kudrin called Kozlov ‘a very courageous and honest person who was at the forefront of the struggle with financial crime’.

Whether this assessment was correct or ‘sanitised‘, the Russian authorities were handicapped by the fact that American financial operatives were and are behaving with gangland-style arrogance, and are setting the worst possible example to their former Soviet ‘students’.

Lay, Kenneth: Aged 64, the brains behind Enron, whom George W. Bush Jr. once referred to as ‘Kenny Boy’, died in the early morning of 5th July 2006 of an apparent heart attack at his family’s holiday home in Colorado. There had been no prior indication of illness, and the body was rapidly cremated. Lay, who built Enron up from its status as a sleepy natural gas pipeline corporation into a vibrant symbol of the corrupt ‘new economy’ of the 1990s, exploiting energy sector deregulation so as to trade everything from oil and gas futures to weather derivatives, had been convicted on 25th May 2006, together with fellow executive Jeffrey Skilling, of fraud and conspiracy for his rôle in the energy trading firm’s collapse, through the use of off-balance sheet partnerships and trades to hide illicit debt. The former Chairman of Enron was found guilty on all six counts of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy. In addition, the Judge, Sim Lake, said that he had found Mr Lay guilty on four counts of bank fraud in a separate case argued the preceding week without a jury. Mr Lay’s face turned grey when the verdict was read out.

The destruction of Enron was a classic case of an intelligence ‘sib’ operation, according to ‘White Hat’ intelligence experts – designed to blacken the name and reputation of the corporation so that funds placed offshore and off-balance sheet, could be extracted from the offshore partnership accounts for high-yield investment programme trading purposes. A motivation would also have been to develop these funds extracted from Enron (and placed off-balance sheet in offshore accounts to finance high-yield investment programmes) to generate vast offshore profits which – in a short space of time – would come to dwarf Enron’s bona fide activities, rendering (in the corrupt minds of the perpetrators) the carcass of the Enron firm expendable.

Since such operations would have been intelligence secrets, neither the judiciary nor a jury could have any knowledge of the underlying modus operandi and motivation of such scams (which would be dismissed in a US court of law as ‘hearsay’).

By extension, therefore, this is a classic example of criminalised intelligence cadres breaking the law and yet relying on its procedures to procure the intended outcome. In the mafia tradition, the Godfather – George Bush Sr. – attended Kenneth Lay’s Memorial Service on 12th July 2006. It attracted the criminal Texan Establishment – led by the Nazi penetration operative exposed as head of Deutsche Verteidigungs Dienst, the Nazi strategic Continuum, Dachau.

Levene, Nicholas, a City of London trader, aged 45, was reported by the British press on 15th October 2009 to have disappeared owing clients, including wealthy tycoons, large sums of money. Among these clients are Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, the owners of the Stagecoach bus empire, and Richard Caring, owner of The Ivy and Le Caprice high-society restaurants in London. The Daily Mail reported that the Metropolitan Police are investigating allegations of fraud.

An unnamed senior City of London figure told the newspaper that he believed that the missing financier (Ponzi operative), nicknamed ‘Beano’, may owe investors £200 million or more. On 14th October, Levene’s wife Tracey, 42, and their three children were nowhere to be seen at their mock-Tudor home in High Barnet, North London. Also missing from the scene were the financier’s blue Mercedes, Land Rover Discovery and silver Porsche 911 [sic].

The newspaper added that there was no sign, either, of the said Jewish couple’s butler, maid, or chauffeur. A casually dressed man loading oil paintings from the house into a silver truck refused to comment when approached. Neighbours said that the family, once known for throwing huge garden parties, had started moving out of the house a month earlier.

Levene was also reported to have recently opened bank accounts in Northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaty with Britain.

Levene owns a villa in Tel Aviv, although the High Court has frozen his assets and ordered him to surrender his passport. It has further transpired that Levene was still named, in mid-October 2009, as a member of the advisory board of the investment firm MG Equity Partners. He had 25 years’ experience in London’s equities and derivatives markets. On 14th October, press attempts to obtain information on Levene were rebuffed by MG Equity Partners.

The cited newspaper concluded its report with the following cryptic observation: ‘The Daily Mail understands, however, that Levene, who is well known in the Jewish community, may be in The Priory private hospital in Southgate, North London'. A former friend said: ‘Nick became a financial adviser to some of the world’s richest people, who trusted him with their money due to all the charity work he did in the Jewish community in London and Israel. People were also impressed by his standing as a family man. The trouble is that he came to think of himself as one of them and lived like them as well – except that this was all beyond his means. He travelled everywhere by private jet and shared the best corporate box with a very rich friend near the Royal Enclosure at Ascot which set them back £150,000 a year. When the markets went downhill and his cash ran out, he found himself in very great difficulty’.

Translation: Levene was running a Ponzi operation and suddenly found that the familiar sources of ‘replacement funds’ had dried up – like Madoff. Levene was also facing a barrage of lawsuits filed against him in the High Court. Parties reported by The Financial Times on 16th October 2009 to be suing him include IG Index (the financial spread-betting firm), as well as Richard Caring (the Jewish restaurateur), Brian Souter (Stagecoach) and Ice Mountain Investments.

In 2007, Levene bought an interest in Northern Rock, through a derivative trade, just months before the bank – a haven of illicit financial operations connected, via Jersey, to the Clintons – went belly-up and had to be nationalised. Regulatory filings in October 2007 showed that Levene held an interest of more than 4.5 million shares (1.1%) in the dud bank, worth an estimated £5.8 million at the time. Following the British Government’s panic decision to nationalise Northern Rock, investors who bought into the bank in its last few months as a listed entity are likely to receive little or nothing for their investments (make that: nothing).

Updated information, 21st October 2009: Nicholas Levene was reported by The Daily Telegraph on the 19th October to have surfaced and to have telephoned Barry Hearn, Chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club, in which Levene held a 6% stake. This financial stake was frozen following an order in October from the High Court preventing the sale of any of Nicholas Levene's assets pending completion of an investigation into Levene's questionable (i.e. Ponzi) affairs. Mr Hearn told the newspaper that Mr Levene had called him on Sunday evening, 18th October: 'He said he's clearly got a situation here that he had to deal with, and for the good of the club he'd like to tender his resignation' as Vice-Chairman of the Club. 'I said that's fine and accepted. The conversation was very short'. In early October 2009, Levene had been declared bankrupt in the High Court. Under British law, bankrupts are prohibited from serving as company directors unless an application is submitted to the Court citing special circumstances.

The founders of Stagecoach, Brian Souter and Ann Gloag (brother and sister) won a £17.8 million court case against Levene after he contracted to buy shares on their behalf but failed to return the money. Thirty clients were reported by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 21st October 2009 to have contacted Deloitte, the insolvency experts appointed by the UK Court to investigate Mr Levene's operations, with one UK High Street Bank understood to be owed several million pounds, and the smallest claim believed to be £500,000. Nicholas Levene was reported to owe scores of his clients hundreds of millions of pounds. See also the separate entry for Modi Finan, in which it is shown that this 'Israeli basketball executive' tapped Israeli sports figures and executives, to entice them to disgorge funds which Modi Finan then forwarded to Nicholas Levene. In other words, Mr Finan was operating a 'feeder fund' for Levene, on the Bernard L. Madoff model.

Macdonald, Gavin, aged 47, a top mergers and acquisitions banker, was reported on Monday 8th December 2008, to have died of a ‘heart attack’ at the London offices of Morgan Stanley in Canary Wharf. However he died on the preceding Friday night, so that his death was not in fact announced for at least 56 hours. Macdonald was Global Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for the institution. In view of the fact that he died ‘on Friday night’, there was plenty of time for a ‘massaged line’ to have been developed to ‘explain’ his sudden death, which was attributed to ‘overwork’. Promptly on the following Monday, Morgan Stanley’s CEO, John Mack, led tributes to the dead banker.

Mahfouz, Sheikh Kalid Bin, the former Saudi Director and billionaire banker, died from 'a sudden heart attack' on Saturday 15th August, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Alawsat reporting from Jeddah. On 18th August, the Saudi newspaper elaborated: 'Recently Bin Mahfouz cleared his name from accusations [that] he was funding terrorism through the Blessed Relief charity [called the] Mufawaq Foundation, an organsiation devoted to famine relief'. Khalid Bin Mahfouz had been a major shareholder in the CIA's folded 'sib' operation, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which operated inter alia as a key money-laundering operation for George W. Bush's Iran-Contra nexus. He was also the owner of the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia.

McDonald, James: This financier was 'suicided' on Sunday 13th September 2009, from a gunshot wound. He was the Chief Executive of Rockefeller & Co., the New York investment firm, and was found in a car behind an auto dealership located in Dartmouth, MA. Translation: Mr McDonald was murdered and dumped at the back of the dealership. Although he lived in New York City, he had a country place at New Bedford. Furthermore, McDonald was an operative – having also studied in Virginia. It appears that he may have been murdered in New Bedford and then driven to Dartmouth. McDonald was the Director of the Japan Society of New York, a detail which almost certainly has much to do with this probable assassination of a key US financial operative.

Merckle, Adolf, a German industrialist and billionaire, aged 74, was found dead on 5th January 2009 near railway tracks in southern Germany, having thrown himself under a train near his home in Blaubeuren. The BBC reported on 6th January 2009 that Merckle had lost about 400 million Euros after wrong-way bets on Volkswagen shares.

Herr Merckle’s business interests included Phoenix Pharmahandel, a drugs wholesaler with annual sales of about 21 billion Euros; Ratiopharm, a generic drugs company with annual sales estimated at 1.8 billion Euros; Heidelberg Cement, a cement operation with annual sales of 11+ billion Euros (Heidelberg was associated with the British construction firm Tarmac); the Kaessbohrer ski-slope equipment firm with annual sales of 183 million Euros; and VEM, a conglomerate of three engine manufacturers, with annual sales of about 280 million Euros. The total turnover of the deceased’s conglomerate operations in 2008 was thus around 30 billion Euros.

The businesses employed some 71,000 people. Herr Merckle’s holding company had been in talks with banks to secure credit after it ran up high levels of debt. In a statement, the family commented that ‘the distress to his firms caused by the financial crisis and the related uncertainties of recent weeks, along with the helplessness of being unable to act, broke [him] and ended his life’.

The Prime Minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Herr Guenther Oettinger, commented: ‘News of Adolf Merckle’s death left me deeply shaken’. The State had ‘lost a great entrepreneur’. But the reason for this official expression of grief was that in November 2008, the State Government had signalled that it would not assist Merckle after he had sought a bailout.

Herr Merckle had hired the insolvency lawyer Eberhard Braun, and had threatened to initiate bankruptcy proceedings for VEM unless lenders provided him with restructuring capital.

Merrill, Philip: After vanishing on 10th June 2006, this wealthy publisher and former banker, aged 72, who had held senior ‘Bush Family’ appointments at NATO and in the Pentagon, was dragged from Chesapeake Bay on 19th June 2006, just over a week after his 41-foot long sailboat was found by jet-skiers on the day he vanished.

The family claimed in a statement that Merrill had been distraught over a heart condition, so he bought a shotgun, took his boat out on a sunny Saturday, tied the anchor round his feet, took his wallet out and left it inside the boat, shot himself in the face with the gun, and managed to fall neatly out of the boat and to float for 11 miles and 11 days upstream, with the anchor of his vessel tied to his ankles and dozens of search-and-rescue teams scouring the Bay for his body. In the early 1990s, Merrill was the Assistant Secretary General of NATO; and he served as President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from 2002 to 2006. It is through this bank that a sizeable proportion of highly questionable off-balance sheet fiat money transactions for the funding of covert US intelligence operations, is known to have been conducted.

Mody, Ashoka: The 54-year-old Assistant Director in the European Department of the International Monetary Fund was shot with a handgun at point blank range at around 7:30pm on 8th October 2009 in his Bethesda garage in the 6800 block off Millwood Road. Police asked anyone with information to call 301-279 8000 or the Major Crimes Division at 240-773 5070.

Monckton, John: This 49-year-old investment expert with Legal and General was brutally murdered by a Black masked assassin and an accomplice on 29th November 2004 – when he returned home to his house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Central London. He was a Knight of Malta and was actively involved in its operations. Although the case was concluded with the conviction of a ‘solo’ Black assassin, the issue of whether the murderer performed a contract killing remains unresolved. In view of Monckton’s importance, this seems likely.

Nadel, Arthur, 76, a Hedge Fund manager in Sarasota, Florida, was reported by Bloomberg to have disappeared on 4th January 2009. The report stated that his clients were concerned that hundreds of millions of dollars may have been lost – i.e., that with a Ponzi scheme exposed, the manager had absconded with the money. However Nadel had telephoned his stepson and had told him to go to his house, where he had left a note.

Nadel ran Scoop Management Inc., which oversaw funds including those of Valhalla Investment Partners [sic]. On 16th January, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that Scoop Management Inc. may have ‘managed’ some $350 million of funds. Sarasota police initiated an investigation on 15th January 2009 after receiving phone calls from 1:30 pm in the afternoon concerning allegations about ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ missing, according to police.

The newspaper described the note found by police at Nadel’s residence as a ‘suicide note’.

With the drying-up of fresh sources of funds to pay off earlier investors, the Ponzi scam had been exposed. That is standard with these frauds: everything appears fine, perhaps for many years – the assumption being that fresh sources of stealable finance will always be forthcoming, as investors are enticed by greed and their failure to adhere to the Prudent Man Rule. The possibility that fresh sources of ‘replacement funds’ might cease to be available one day, is never considered, such is the participators’ and Ponzi artists’ capacity for self-deception.

Nakagawa, Shoichi: On the 4th October 2009, Shoichi Nakagawa, the former Japanese Finance Minister, aged 56 (who caused an uproar when he appeared to be under the influence of drink at a news conference during a meeting of Group of Seven (G-7) Finance Ministers in February 2009, after which he was removed (‘resigned’) from office), was reported by Japanese police on 4th October 2009 to have been found dead at his Tokyo home.

His wife was reported to have found him lying face down in bed. Investigators immediately ‘ruled out’ foul play because the room was undisturbed [sic]. The police played down the likelihood of suicide, but at the same time a spokesman said that an autopsy would be conducted and that determination of the cause of death would ‘take some time’.

While they work out how to obfuscate the likelihood that the former Japanese Finance Minister had been entrapped in financial corruption, it has been reported that the former Japanese Finance Minister had been drugged at the G-7 Finance Ministers’ meeting, as the Japanese were refusing to agree to corrupt, gangster-style demands by US criminal parties.

Pang, Danny: On 12th September 2009, Danny Pang, aged 42, a Newport Beach financier, died suddenly in a local hospital. The cause of this death was not reported at the time, and details subsequently sank without trace.

Powell, Jodie: On 16th September 2009. Jodie Powell, 65, former spokesman for President Jimmy Carter, was reported to us to have died suddenly. According to certain sources, the individual who was with him at the time 'absented himself' for a while, and when he returned to the scene, Powell was dead. Naturally, this scenario raises plenty of questions.

Powell was extremely well connected, and would have known where all pertinent skeletons are buried, including sensitive information about Carter himself, who will be shown later to have been implicated in the Fraudulent Finance scams.

Roach, Jack: This CIA operative was murdered in the basement of Union Bank of Switzerland, Zürich, in January 2005. He was reportedly carrying sensitive banking codes related to implicated offshore bank accounts. Jack Roach was tortured with cigarette butts, a known ‘trademark’ of East European criminal thugs-for-hire, who were assumed to have been operating through cut-outs on behalf of Deutsche Verteidigungs Dienst, Dachau.

Rocca, Patrick, 41, was reported by the Times, London, on 21st January 2009, to have been seen on 19th January wandering around outside his luxury Dublin in his pyjamas. A little while later he shot himself in the head while his wife Anette was out on the school run. He died from a single gunshot at the family home in Holmeleigh, an exclusive residential enclave on the edge of Dublin’s Castleknock Gold and Country Club. The late Mr Rocca was believed to have more than 20 million Euros of loans tied up with the Anglo Irish Bank, which the Irish Government had just announced that it was nationalising. The death occurred on the day that a High Court Judge was picking through the débris of a vast pyramid Ponzi scheme run by a Mr Briefne O’Brien.

Russert, Tim: On 14th June 2008, Tim Russert, the NBC News Washington Bureau chief and the anchor man or moderator of 'Meet the Press', was reported to have died suddenly after a heart attack at the Bureau, aged 58. Russert was in the middle of recording voiceovers for the following Sunday's programme when he collapsed. He was rushed to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, where resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. Russert was consumed by politics, and behind the scenes was also a senior Vice President and head of NBC's Washington operations, orchestrating all of the network's coverage of Government and political news. At the same time, Tim Russert had earned a reputation, unique among the 'mainstream' media, of not shrinking from asking politicians such as the criminal President George W. Bush, questions which might well rankle after interviews. His sudden and entirely unexpected death triggered immediate speculation that this was not in fact a natural demise. Earlier, he had been diagnosed with asymptomatic coronary artery disease, but it was well-controlled with medication and exercise, and Russert had performed well on a stress test in late April, Russert's physician, Michael Newman, told NBC.

Suspicions were raised when it emerged that Russert had just interviewed Vice President Cheney, a man considered by observers to be 'perfectly possessed', and the former controller of the 'Black' MK-ULTRA program of unspeakable Himmlerian abominations.

An autopsy revealed that Russert had an enlarged heart. President Bush Jr. interrupted a press conference in Paris to pay tribute to the broadcaster. The Bushes turned up at his wake a week later, as godfathers typically do after any sudden death with which they may have been associated, amid genuine national mourning for a man who was greatly admired, even loved, because he would not put up with political deceit and lies. It was reported that Russert had just completed a sensitive assignment and was on the verge of publicising information about criminal operations which would have caused the White House a degree of angst. It is uncertain whether this was a murder, but many people think so. Indeed, we were requested to insert this entry after closure of this report.

Schnor, Christen, aged 49, a Danish-born senior executive with HSBC bank, was discovered on Wednesday afternoon 17th December 2008 hanging by a belt, naked, in the wardrobe of his £500-a-night suite at the Jumeriah Carlton Tower Hotel, Cadogan Place, in Knightsbridge, London, having also rented a £390-a-day apartment for his wife and two children in Lower Sloane Street, in the same plush area. Schnor worked at HSBC’s Canary Wharf office. This death resembled that of Amschel Rothschild who was discovered hanging in a high-class hotel in Paris on 11th July 1996.

Senitt, Alan: Aged 27, Senitt, called a ‘rising star’ in the British Jewish community and openly a Zionist, was stabbed to death on 9th July 2006 by three men brandishing a gun and a knife, as Senitt was taking a young woman back to her apartment in a Georgetown neighbourhood in Washington, DC. His throat was slit, considered by some analysts to be a ‘CIA trademark’.

Sharon, Ariel: The former Prime Minister of Israel suddenly succumbed to what was reported to have been 'a stroke' in 2006, and remained reportedly in a coma at Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv thereafter. The Times, London, reported that Sharon turned 81 in late February 2009, and was still lying in a comatose state at the time of that report. Information about this state of affairs has been patchy and inconclusive throughout, raising probably well-founded suspicions worldwide.

Silva, Paulo Sergio, aged 36, a trader for the brokerage component of the Brazilian banking conglomerate Itaú, was reported to have ‘shot himself in the chest’ during an afternoon trading session of the Sao Paulo commodities and futures exchange in November 2008.

Smoliyaninov, Dmitry: Aged 31, Smoliyaninov, a Russian bond trader working in an emerging markets unit at Citigroup in London, jumped to his death from the Citigroup building at Canary Wharf, in the ineptly-named Docklands district, on 21st July 2006. He climbed up over a high barrier at the top of the 350 ft tower from a balcony within the glass Citigroup structure.

The barriers at the top are seven feet high, so he had to climb up before jumping. The suggestion, for public consumption, was that he was thought to have become depressed following alleged matrimonial problems and a difficult divorce. But sources dismissed this as a cover story. Further information on this death is given under 'Credit Suisse dealer'.

Stanford, ‘Sir’ Allen, in US Federal custody since June 2009, when he was arrested on charges of having operated, as we reported, a complex Ponzi scheme through his Antigua-based bank, and who had experienced secondary shocks following the Madoff implosion, appeared in a Houston courtroom on 14th October 2009 for one of his reiterated requests for bail, which was yet again refused. This was his first appearance in court since a reported brawl in the jail in September, which left him with two black eyes and a broken nose, according to his lawyers.

The Financial Times reported on 15th October 2009 that ‘the Texan appeared to be a shadow of his former, gregarious self. Visibly thinner, he stared blankly at his mother, girlfriend and children and occasionally wiped blood from his nose. His appearance and behaviour prompted David Hittner, the US District Judge overseeing the case, to ask whether he needed medical attention’.

Stanford’s court-appointed attorney, Ken Schaffer, told the court effectively that his client was being beaten up (although the words he used were ‘poorly treated’): ‘They’re doing their best to break him. That’s the thing you thought they did in other countries. Now, we find out they do it here’. Mr Schaffer said that while Stanford had been spitting blood periodically, the Government doctor merely ‘looks at him through a window and says he’s fine’.

Translation: If Stanford were to die in jail, covering up any such murder might present problems, given the Bush-connected circumstances. So he is being beaten senseless so that he won’t have the memory or physical and mental ability to testify coherently against the Bush-Clinton Syndicate for whom he ‘worked’. Recall that when his empire was collapsing, his first visit was to a location not a thousand miles removed from the George Bush Center for Intelligence, Langley.

Although not dead (yet), like all the others listed here (with the possible exception of Levene, whose condition, whether dead or alive, was unknown to this service when this report was being prepared), we have included Allen Stanford in the list – given that, from the perspective of the exposures and the cover-up operation, he might as well be dead.

Stephenson, Andy: In 2005, Andy Stephenson, a US operative, was poisoned with a substance capable of mimicking pancreatic cancer, after travelling the length and breadth of the United States tirelessly exposing the wholesale falsification of election results by using doctored software and rigged electronic voting machines, thus making a total mockery of George W. Bush’s puffed-up, hypocritical boasting about ‘spreading democracy’ in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Stephenson, Kirk, who helped start Luqman Arnold’s investment company Olivant Ltd., committed suicide, a British coroner’s court decided in December 2008. Stephenson, 47, jumped in front of a train on 25th September 2008, at the railway station in Taplow, near Maidenhead, located 28 miles west of London. The train was travelling at 100 miles an hour.

Unnamed US Commerce Department official: A former US Assistant Secretary of Commerce was reported to have shot himself and his 12-year-old son when police appeared at his door in late July 2006. No further details were published.

Vellanti, James: James Vellanti, the Chief Operating Officer for the New York Hedge Fund JNF Asset Management LLC, was reported on 28th September to have died early on Sunday morning 27th September 2009 after he fell from an escalator at the Pier Shops at ‘Ceasar’s’ Casino, Atlantic City, NJ. Vellanti lived in Clinton. Police were called to the huge mall, which has more than 75 shops and seven restaurants, and is connected to the casino by a sky bridge, at 12:01am. [Unconnected: This was the second death resulting from a fall from the escalator complex. On 9th August 2008, Frank Gilbert Jr., aged 25, of Galloway Township, fell about 40 feet, after he sat on the handrail. He died of head injuries later that day].

Villehuchet, René-Thierry Magon de la, 65, founding partner and CEO of Access International Advisors, was found dead with his wrists slashed on the morning of Thursday 23rd December 2008, in his office at 509 Madison Avenue in Midtown New York City. The French financier, an aristocratic society fund manager with a chateau in Brittany, was found at 7:50 am with no pulse, in his office a couple of blocks from the Rockefeller Center. A spokesman for the New York medical examiner was careful to insist many hours later that he had not yet established the cause of death.

The financier employed a sizeable army of royally-connected ‘Alpine advisers’ to trawl the casinos, ski slopes and yacht clubs of Europe in frantic search of gullible wealthy prospective investors for participation in his fund, which in turn fed the demand for ‘replacement money’ for the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi investment operations. M. de la Villehuchet’s connections and his own aristocratic pedigree enabled him to tap into a rich seam of intermediaries who helped to secure ‘replacement funds’ for the colossal Bush-connected Ponzi operation on behalf of Access, for onward placement with Madoff. His ‘advisers’ included Philippe Junot, first husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Crown Prince Michael of Yugoslavia, described as an ‘investor relations executive’.

Families said to have invested with the French financier included the Rothschilds, other European grandees, and heirs to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune, especially 86-year-old Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of the L’Oréal SA founder, Eugene Schueller, who is reported to have invested part of her fortune estimated at $22.9 billion with Bernard L. Madoff through the dead French financier. The old lady holds a 30% shareholding in L’Oréal SA, which is the world’s largest manufacturer and purveyor of cosmetics. In a letter dated 12th December 2008 to its clients, Access International Advisors stated that funds, including its LUXALPHA SICAV-American Selection, were invested solely with Bernard L. Madoff’s investment firm. Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that it had $1.4 billion in assets as at 17th November 2008.

Reporting M. de la Villehuchet’s death, The Daily Telegraph (on 24th December 2008) cited an anonymous source as stating that it was ‘highly likely’ that the French financier committed suicide, while a French newspaper reported that he killed himself. However it is just as probable that he was killed in order to prevent him from turning state’s evidence, given that following the Madoff implosion, he will have recognised that he had been deceived.

Wasserstein, Bruce: The notorious Brooklyn-born son of Polish Jewish immigrants and head of Lazards, the investment bank, dubbed ‘the father of modern M&A (mergers and acquisitions)’, and a king of Fraudulent Finance, was reported on 15th October 2009 to have died suddenly, aged 61.

On Sunday 11th October, it was disclosed that he had been taken to hospital with an irregular heartbeat. The bank had stated that his condition was serious, but also that he was ‘stable and recovering’. Doctors unrelated to the case told the press, however, that arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can be fatal. On the evening of 14th October, the investment bank told the media that the cause of his death had not been determined [source: The Times, London, 15th October, 2009, page 57]. The Financial Times stated in its font page report on the banker's sudden death that ‘Mr Wasserstein’s death took many friends and colleagues by surprise’. It was being speculated in US circles during the week ending on 16th October 2009 that Wasserstein had turned state’s evidence and was killed so that he could not testify – given that a National Security Grand Jury is reported to us to be engaged in detailed investigations of these Fraudulent Finance exposures.

Widmer, Alex, Chief Executive of Bank Julius Baer, Zürich, aged 52, was reported by Reuters on 5th December 2008 to have ‘committed suicide’. Two unnamed ‘independent’ sources were cited by the Swiss News website 20Minuten to have stated that the death was a suicide.

Swiss police refused to comment on the death. A bank spokesman, however, was careful to point out for public consumption that there was no link between Widmer’s death and the group’s current [sic: as opposed to its past] activities, but declined to give further details on the cause of Widmer’s death, saying that it was a ‘private matter’. The key word here was, as noted, ‘current’, implying that Widmer had been involved in questionable activities in the past: and indeed, further enquiries by this service confirmed that this interpretation is reportedly correct. Market sources also advised the Editor of this service that ‘the top Julius Baer banker was killed and we know why’. Other sources have stated unequivocally to us that this was a murder, associated with the elaborate cover-up, retribution and ‘neutralisation’ operations that have been ongoing for months.

Wisniewski, Bianca: This Polish immigrant, aged 44, died when asleep in a fire in Queens, NY, which broke out on Sunday 18th October 2009. One of her two daughters and two male relatives were injured in the blaze. Unusually, this lady became a construction worker, enjoying herself immensely working in this male environment. She became a safety coordinator at a JPMorgan Chase construction site early in 2007, suffering, she said, constant harassment. After she had complained, she lost her job, the Daily News reported on 19th October. She filed a $20 million sexual harassment lawsuit against Chase and Total Safety Consulting in Queens.

Her boyfriend, Bogdan Balamut, told the Daily News that she had been receiving strange phone calls and he hoped that officials would 'investigate carefully'. Information about this case has been sent to us by an observer with 'connections' who has reason to believe that this death is 'related'.

Zankel, Arthur: On 30th July 2005, Arthur Zankel, 73, a former Citigroup financier, threw himself out of his Fifth Avenue apartment window in New York City. He fell from the ninth floor.