sabato 8 gennaio 2011

Giulio, c'è un problema

Lettera43

Giulio, c'è un problema

Il ministro Tremonti interrogato dalla Procura di Napoli.

di Adelaide Pierucci

Il ministro dell'Economia Giulio Tremonti è stato interrogato dalla magistratura a Napoli. A convocarlo, come persona informata dei fatti, è stato il sostituto procuratore del pool per la criminalità economica Vincenzo Piscitelli, che indagando su una frode assicurativa da 30 milioni di euro ha messo sotto inchiesta per corruzione il braccio destro del ministro, il potente deputato del Pdl Marco Milanese, il suo collaboratore più stretto passato, nel giro di pochi anni, dalla sua segreteria alla commissione Finanze della Camera.
L’INCHIESTA MALTA. L'interrogatorio è il frutto di un'inchiesta, battezzata “Malta”, che a metà dicembre, su disposizione del gip Amelia Primavera, ha portato all'arresto di 12 insospettabili tra manager, consulenti e avvocati, ritenuti implicati in un grosso giro di attività finanziarie e assicurative abusive.
Nei giorni scorsi Tremonti è stato ascoltato per più di un'ora da Piscitelli. Un interrogatorio delicato, che riguardava soprattutto il suo rapporto con Milanese, a sua volta indagato per presunti legami con il gruppo di professionisti specializzati nel confezionamento di “società cartiere” con sede a Malta.
TREMONTI ESTRANEO. La convocazione al palazzo di giustizia di Napoli, per ora, non ha portato strascichi per il ministro. Secondo indiscrezioni non sono infatti emerse responsabilità a suo carico. Sul suo braccio destro, però, si continua a scavare.
Secondo l’accusa, gli avvocati e i commercialisti finiti nel mirino dei magistrati napoletani erano abilissimi a costruire mega frodi fiscali grazie a società radicate a Malta e in altri Paesi oltre confine, attive soprattutto nel campo della assicurazioni auto.
Ma sopra le loro teste ci sarebbe stato qualcuno, secondo la Procura, che fungeva da copertura. Un intoccabile, è l'ipotesi.
PROFESSIONISTI E FACCENDIERI. Tra i 12 destinatari delle ordinanze di custodia cautelare, in carcere o ai domiciliari, ci sono alcuni personaggi noti nel mondo dei faccendieri campani come Paolo e Vincenzo Viscione, padre e figlio. Secondo indiscrezioni, proprio da loro sarebbe stato fatto il nome di Milanese.
L´anziano Paolo Viscione, di professione avvocato, è un uomo d’affari molto noto a Cervinara, lo stesso paesino irpino diventato 'crocevia' della cosiddetta loggia P3 nell´inchiesta condotta dalla Procura di Roma, visto che aveva dato i natali a Pasquale Lombardi, addetto ai rapporti con la giustizia per conto della nuova massoneria.
La stessa Cervinara cui sono legate le origini famigliari (da parte di padre) di Marco Milanese, che però riesiede a Roma, a un passo dal Corso.
Arcinoto a Cervinara anche il figlio di Viscione, Vincenzo, casa e ufficio alla Riviera di Chiaia, un uomo d'affari con il pallino delle frequentazioni vip e, come Milanese, amante delle barche di lusso.
INTERCETTAZIONI COMPROMETTENTI. A mettere nei guai il braccio destro di Tremonti - ex ufficiale della Guardia di Finanza prestato alla politica e passato dal 2002 nello staff del ministro, tre lauree, anche piuttosto recenti come l'iscrizione all'ordine degli avvocati di Milano - è stata una intercettazione.
Ascoltando Viscione senior, i finanzieri del Nucleo speciale di polizia valutaria hanno registrato telefonate contenenti frasi tipo: «Dovete finirla di chiamarmi. Io non sono l'azionista. Io mi sono rotto i coglioni», pronunciate dall'avvocato Viscione. E ancora: «Io voglio uscire da questa storia perché quando vengo ricattato dalla politica, da questo Milanese per questa storia qua, che si fotte i soldi, io non voglio averci più a che fare. E se stanno i telefoni sotto controllo è buono che il magistrato che ascolta mi chiama e io gli racconto per filo e per segno. Che pezzi di m...».
PARLAMENTARE DEL PDL. Per la Procura di Napoli si parlava proprio di quel Marco Milanese, il deputato che fu inserito dal coordinatore campano del Pdl Nicola Cosentino (altro indagato nella P3) nella lista della sua regione per fare un favore a Tremonti, visto che a Milano, regno del Pdl e del suo patron, era interminabile l’elenco dei pretendenti per una poltrona in Parlamento.
Tra l’altro Milanese è stato collocato dal ministro dell'Economia nell'ambìto Comitato per la politica economica del Popolo della libertà, tra i membri permanenti insieme con il presidente (lo stesso Tremonti), con i tre coordinatori del partito Ignazio La Russa, Denis Verdini e Maurizio Gasparri e con i capi dei gruppi parlamentari. Un posto che ha fatto rimanere con l'amaro in bocca molti altri colleghi di partito, ministri compresi.
MILANESE E IL MINISTRO. Insomma, il 51enne Milanese è considerato l'ombra di Tremonti. Da qui la convocazione del ministro. E i magistrati della terza sezione della criminalità economica della Procura di Napoli, coordinati dall'aggiunto Fausto Zaccarelli, hanno voluto approfondire alcuni aspetti del rapporto.
Nell'organigramma graficizzato sul sito del ministero Economia e Finanza, la posizione di Milanese è la più alta, e riporta la definizione di «consigliere politico» del ministro. A Tremonti, quindi, alcune sue iniziative potevano non essere sfuggite, secondo il pm Pisitelli, che lo ha convocato come persona informata sui fatti.
All'indomani degli arresti per l'operazione Malta, Marco Milanese è però caduto dalle nuvole: «Di questa presunta cricca non so nulla, vedrò di informarmi», ha detto.

Mercoledì, 05 Gennaio 2011

venerdì 7 gennaio 2011

Revamped WPA To Create 50,000 New Jobs

Revamped WPA To Create 50,000 New Jobs By Disassembling, Reassembling Hoover Dam

The Onion, January 7, 2011 | ISSUE 47•01



WASHINGTON—In an effort to boost the economy and promote job growth, representatives from the newly revived Works Progress Administration announced Thursday their plan to dismantle, piece by piece, the 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete forming the Hoover Dam, and then immediately rebuild it. "This is a vital initiative," said WPA director Ted Doogan, who was appointed last week. "Systematically tearing down such a massive edifice will create at least 25,000 jobs over the next five years. And then reassembling it, using all the same pieces in the exact same configuration, will employ another 25,000 workers. America is back." Other public works projects currently underway include the bulldozing of libraries, the burning of national forests, and the defacing of public murals, which will be followed by a massive plan to rebuild libraries, revive national forests, and repaint public murals

Il tabù infranto da Geithner

L'ANALISI

Il tabù infranto da Geithner

di FEDERICO RAMPINI, la Repubblica

"Default", bancarotta. Mai in passato un segretario al Tesoro degli Stati Uniti aveva osato evocare questo rischio per l'economia più ricca del pianeta: la sua. Lo ha fatto Tim Geithner ieri, usando la parola tabù in una lettera ufficiale inviata al Congresso. Nelle stesse ore in cui il massimo responsabile del bilancio americano osava pronunciare l'impensabile, l'euro si è indebolito anziché rafforzarsi sul dollaro: a conferma che nel confronto tra malati, l'Eurozona è perfino più fragile degli Stati Uniti. Nuove rivelazioni intanto confermano il ruolo cruciale della Cina per tamponare gli Stati europei più fragili. Pechino si appresta a comprare 6 miliardi di euro di titoli del debito pubblico spagnolo per impedire che Madrid sia "la prossima della lista" dopo Grecia e Irlanda. Se il 2011 dovesse essere l'anno segnato da qualche bancarotta sovrana, nonostante le sue floride finanze anche la Repubblica Popolare cinese è esposta a perdite consistenti, sulle riserve investite nelle valute altrui.

La lettera di Geithner ha dei passaggi che fanno tremare. Nel caso che il Congresso non approvi rapidamente una legge per alzare il tetto legale del debito federale, autorizzando così il Tesoro a emettere più titoli per finanziarsi, "il danno sarebbe catastrofico, la solidità dei buoni del Tesoro sarebbe a rischio, così come il ruolo del dollaro come moneta di pagamenti internazionale". Vista la "gravità delle sfide per gli Stati Uniti e le altre economie mondiali", avverte ancora il ministro, "la fiducia dei mercati mondiali nella nostra solvibilità finanziaria è cruciale".

Nella drammatizzazione del rischio-bancarotta gioca anche un elemento tattico. Si è appena insediata a Washington la nuova Camera dei deputati, dove i repubblicani hanno la maggioranza. La destra vuole tenere in ostaggio l'Amministrazione Obama, negando i voti necessari per emettere nuovi buoni del Tesoro. "Il popolo americano - dichiara il nuovo presidente della Camera John Boehner - non accetterà un aumento del debito, se non è accompagnato da drastiche azioni per tagliare le spese pubbliche che uccidono posti di lavoro". Per certi versi è un "déjà-vu". La destra persegue la strategia reaganiana "affamare la bestia": negare risorse allo Stato, per smantellare tutto l'edificio del Welfare State considerato come il nemico numero uno. E' la stessa destra che si è data i "20 giorni" per abrogare tutte le riforme di Barack Obama, inclusa la sanità. Il presidente democratico messo in minoranza alla Camera - come Bill Clinton nel 1994 - reagisce al ricatto denunciando il gioco al massacro. Nello stallo può succedere che tutti gli uffici dell'Amministrazione federale vengano chiusi per mancanza di risorse, proprio come accadde per alcune settimane nel 1995.

Oggi però la schermaglia tattica avviene su uno sfondo immensamente più fragile, rispetto agli anni Novanta. La soglia di debito pubblico che Washington sta per sfondare - pari a 14,3 miliardi di dollari - vale il 99,3% del Prodotto interno lordo degli Stati Uniti. Il deficit corrente è il 10% del Pil. Un livello allarmante, mai raggiunto dalla seconda guerra mondiale. Ai livelli dei Pigs.
Fanta-politica, una bancarotta americana? Ma è proprio nella politica che ci sono i germi di un'instabilità che può improvvisamente creare il panico tra gli investitori. La destra Usa ha al suo interno delle correnti fondamentaliste che arrivano a invocare l'Apocalisse del crac finanziario nazionale, come una sorta di catarsi per espiare i peccati dello statalismo. Ecco cosa scrive John Tamny, autorevole economista del Cato Institute, un think tank che fa da trait-d'union fra il neoliberismo reaganiano e il Tea Party di oggi: "E' ora che impariamo ad amare l'idea di una bancarotta sovrana degli Stati Uniti. Quegli americani che temono un'insolvenza del Tesoro, sono come i genitori di un eroinomane, che paventano il momento in cui lo spacciatore smetterà di vendere la droga al loro figlio". Bruce Bartlett, un economista moderato che denuncia queste farneticazioni, è costretto ad ammettere: "Molti integralisti della destra s'illudono che basti non alzare il tetto legale del debito, e d'incanto lo Stato sarà costretto a ridmensionarsi. Da quando questi fanatici sono entrati al Congresso la prospettiva di un default degli Stati Uniti, per quanto resti improbabile, non è più impossibile". Ci sono varianti "minori" di questo scenario. La crisi della finanza locale è ancora più grave rispetto ai problemi di Washington, per le rigidità fiscali delle costituzioni nei singoli Stati. Una bancarotta della California farebbe saltare i rimborsi sul debito pubblico di un'economia più ricca dell'Italia. In quanto al Tesoro federale, la sua salvezza finora poggia sul dollaro. Washington ha ancora il privilegio imperiale di stampare una moneta che il resto del mondo accetta, sia pure a malincuore. E' il signoraggio che manca all'Eurozona. Perciò, se il 2011 dovesse essere l'anno di una bancarotta sovrana, i mercati scommettono che questo accadrà prima in Europa. E perfino l'interessata generosità della Cina non sarebbe un salvagente miracoloso.

(07 gennaio 2011)

Robertson Newsletter No. 32 - January 2011

Newsletter No. 32 - January 2011

Links to previous Newsletters can be found here.

To be notified of new Newsletters, click here.

CONTENTS

1. A Happy New Year!

2. Monetary Reform and Banking Reform

3. Books

(1) Alanna Hartzok, THE EARTH BELONGS TO EVERYONE

(2) Ellen LaConte, LIFE RULES: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how Life teaches us to fix it

(3) Frances Hutchinson, UNDERSTANDING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM: Social Credit Rediscovered

(4) Bruce Nixon, A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE: What needs to be done and and how we can make it happen

(5) Anne B. Ryan, ENOUGH IS PLENTY: Public and Private Policies for the 21st Century

1. A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Best wishes to all for 2011, and a few thoughts about happiness.

At the request of Prime Minister David Cameron, government statisticians in the UK will be developing a Happiness Index this year - www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11833241.

I hope they will remember the wisdom concealed in the old couplet:

"Regard the happy moron. He doesn't give a damn.
I wish I were a moron. My god! Perhaps I am."

They will find more serious wisdom at www.neweconomics.org/programmes/well-being.

It's difficult to construct happiness or wellbeing indexes based on different people's very different subjective experiences and opinions. It may be more practical for government policy-makers to approach the problem from the other end - minimising misery as an alternative to (or a contribution to) maximising wellbeing. (A genuinely useful Misery Index would have to cover much wider ground than the combination of unemployment and inflation used by economists to grade the performance of American presidents.)

2. MONETARY REFORM AND BANKING REFORM

Many people will not be expecting a happy year. The international financial breakdown that began in 2007 is now entering a new stage. Tough remedial measures are beginning to take effect to reduce "sovereign debt" - the excessive debts incurred by governments to relieve the excessive debts of commercial banks. 2011 could see widespread economic hardship, threats to public order, and a possible break-up of the Eurozone, as well as sensible changes in the balance of power in the international currency system in favour of China, India, Brazil, etc.

The good news is that in 2010 understanding spread that the root cause of this financial breakdown and others like it has been governments' unnecessary dependence on commercial banks to provide our national money supplies as profit-making debt. The challenge in 2011 is to persuade governments to look favourably at the necessary monetary reform - transferring the function of creating and managing national money supplies to public agencies that serve the public interest.

As an immediate emergency measure, that reform could help to minimise economic damage and social disruption resulting from unnecessarily harsh responses to the present crisis. As a longer-term remedy, it would help to prevent the continuing recurrence of similar crises. In the even larger scheme of things, it would help to change the money system from one that motivates us to destroy human civilisation and life on earth, into one that motivates us to save them. But I won't pursue these points here.

Recent signs of progress in the UK include:

(1) An Independent Commission on Banking set up by the UK Coalition Government in June 2010 - http://bankingcommission.independent.gov.uk/bankingcommission.

Unfortunately its terms of reference don't specifically include the root question: who should create the national money supply?

However, that point has been taken up in the important paper, "Towards a Twenty First Century Banking and Monetary System", submitted jointly to the Commission in November by Positive Money, the New Economics Foundation and Prof Richard Werner, Director of Banking, Finance and Sustainable Development at Southampton University.

It was very good to see the New Economics Foundation supporting the monetary reform proposal they published ten years ago in "Creating New Money" by Joseph Huber and myself with an enthusiastic foreword by their then director, Ed Mayo. For another recent nef contribution (14 November ) see Josh Ryan-Collins' blog post on the "beginning of a monetary revolution".

(2) In a speech on “Banking: From Bagehot to Basel, and Back Again” on 25 October 2010 in New York, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, drew attention to the possibility of "eliminating fractional reserve banking" in recognition that "the pretence that risk-free deposits can be supported by risky assets is alchemy", and said that "of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today".

Recent signs of progress in the US include:

(1) A Bill introduced in Congress on 17 December "to end the current practice of fractional reserve lending" has been enthusiastically welcomed by the American Monetary Institute as "a crucial and heroic step to resolve our growing financial crisis and achieve a just and sustainable money system for our nation".

The proposed Act will be called the "National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2010". In many ways it and its purposes resemble those of the Proposed Bank of England Act, 2010.

(2) At the American Monetary Institute's recent Annual Conference, Prof Kaoru Yamaguchi of the Doshisha Business School in Kyoto, Japan, gave a paper titled "On the Liquidation of Government Debt under A Debt-Free Money System – Modeling the American Monetary Act".

It "demonstrates how the government debt could be liquidated without cost under an alternative macroeconomic system of debt-free money that is proposed by the American Monetary Act. Finally, it is posed that a debt-free macroeconomic system is far superior to the debt-burdened current macroeconomic system in a sense that it can not only liquidate government debt but also attain higher economic growth".

(To UK readers: Please communicate this to Members of Parliament. Their constituents are going to be unnecessarily hurt by the Government's present policies for dealing with the public debt crisis.)

3. BOOKS

I hope these short reviews will give readers enough information to decide to find out more about the books reviewed. It would require more space to do full justice to them.

(1) Alanna Hartzok, THE EARTH BELONGS TO EVERYONE, Institute for Democracy Press, in cooperation with Earthrights Institute, 2008, 359pp, $25 from Earthrights Institute. Also see www.amazon.com/Earth-Belongs-Everyone-Alanna-Hartzok/dp/193356704X.

The information on those three websites is enough to establish the importance of this book. My endorsement on the book's back cover is that:

"more and more people are convinced that the only way to a just, prosperous and ecologically sustainable future is to share the value of earth's resources more fairly. One of the many merits of Alanna Hartzok's collection of writings is to ground that conviction in practical proposals. She inspires us to do something about it".

Among her continuing commitments now is to get the United Nations to establish a Global Resources Agency - see www.interunion.org.uk/ahffdpaper 10124.htm - a paper which I recommend as highly as I recommend her book.

(2) Ellen LaConte, LIFE RULES: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how Life teaches us to fix it, iUniverse, 2010, 283 pages. For details and ordering, click here.

"If you read just one book about the sickness that threatens the Earth, you cannot choose better than this one. In eminently readable style and with images, LaConte diagnoses the disease and proposes promising responses. She finds seeds of hope without obscuring the imminence of catastrophe. Her message needs to reach a mass audience".

This endorsement by John B. Cobb, co-author of For the Common Good with Herman Daly, is typical of a score of similar endorsements.

Ellen likens the sickness that threatens the Earth with the HIV that destroys human immune systems. She explains why the gathering "Critical Mass" of crises - such as Food and Water Shortages, Pollution of Water, Earth and Air, and Species Extinction and Ecosystem Collapse - now calls for a coherent Critical Mass of understanding and action to deal not just with all these separate systems separately but with the causes of the disease underlying them.

The last of the three parts of the book is on "Deep Green Methods for Surviving the Global Economy". It includes chapters on "Mimicking Life's Economics", "Mimicking Life's Politics", and "Overcoming Obstacles to Deep Green".

There are no easy answers to the present challenge of overcoming the obstacles to the survival of our species, but this book offers the wisdom we need to face up to it.

(3) Frances Hutchinson, UNDERSTANDING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM: Social Credit Rediscovered, Jon Carpenter Publishing, Alder House, Market Street, Charlbury OX7 3PH (Tel 01608 819117), 2010, 277pp, £15.

There is a useful review of this book on Amazon UK (click here). It begins "Excellent book. Top marks", and ends "We are still being blood-sucked by the monster vampire that is Big Finance. This is a MUST-READ book which tells you how we might have escaped from this -- and why if we fight for it we still might".

This much-needed new academic work by a leading contemporary expert on Social Credit has obvious relevance to our economic and political problems today. But unfortunately the "monster vampire that is Big Finance" now dictates what is proper for people pursuing careers in the academic world to study, just as it dictates what is proper for people making careers in the media to report and discuss.

The book is a worthy successor to Jon Carpenter's publication in 1998 of Michael Rowbotham's The Grip of Death. I hope it is widely read. It will be important to introduce it to students whose minds are not yet hidebound by the limits of conventional economic and financial studies.

(4) Bruce Nixon, A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE: What needs to be done and and how we can make it happen. For full details, click here.

It will be enough for me to copy here the first two on the list of 14 endorsements of Bruce Nixon's book.

“We are in a place we have never been before. We are facing a series of interconnected systemic crises that put both humanity and the planet in serious peril. This book not only clearly describes the problem but, most importantly, points to the solution. The ‘rules of the game’ need to be radically changed and this will only happen if enough people, speaking with a clear enough voice, demand such a change. This book is not, therefore, a ‘worthy’ text on economics, but a vital handbook for our survival!”
Stewart Wallis, Executive Director, New Economics Foundation

“Bruce Nixon's book is a powerful call for a peaceful and constructive mass revolt by the people of the world. He shows that the present way our lives are organised threatens the suicide of our own species and the further destruction of many others. His analysis points clearly to what we need to do to change it. I hope the book will be widely read and acted on.”
James Robertson

(5) Anne B. Ryan, ENOUGH IS PLENTY: Public and Private Policies for the 21st Century. For very full details, click here. This book has a special interest, given Ireland's present economic and financial problems - and the author's connection with Feasta.

Here are three of its endorsements.

A most thorough and readable analysis of why enough is plenty. John Madeley, author of 100 ways to Make Poverty History.

In Enough is Plenty Anne Ryan sets out pathways to replace the West's idolatrous canonisation of greed with the dignified sufficiency of enough. It's a message the world needs urgently, as the non-indigenous Celtic Tiger leaps up and bites the hand that reared it on the never-never.
Alastair McIntosh, author of Rekindling Community, Soil and Soul and Hell and High Water
.

In future, the global economy will shrink rather than grow. There will be less of everything to go around. For anyone who wants to think through some of the changes in systems and values that will be required to maintain our humanity during this contraction, 'Enough is Plenty' is an excellent start.
Richard Douthwaite. Founder member, Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability; author of 'The Growth Illusion', 'Short Circuit' and 'The Ecology of Money'.

Best wishes,

James Robertson

7th January 2011

Why the World Is Financially Doomed in Four Charts

Why the World Is Financially Doomed in Four Charts (January 6, 2011)
Charles Hugh Smith

The global economy is doomed to implosion, and here are four charts which explain why.

Though the complexities may appear endless, the global economy's coming implosion is really fairly easy to understand: here are four charts which do the heavy lifting. It boils down to these basics:

1. When money is dear and difficult to borrow, then productivity and capital accumulation are encouraged, speculation, malinvestment and debt-based consumption are discouraged.

2. When money is "free" (zero-interest rate policy) and liquidity is unlimited, then the opposite conditions hold: speculation in risk assets, malinvestment and debt-based consumption are all encouraged, and productivity and capital accumulation are heavily discouraged.

3. When debts exceed the value of the underlying assets, the only way out of the Tyranny of Debt is to write off the debt on both the borrower and lender's balance sheets, wiping out their capital via liquidation and bankruptcy.

4. The "extend and pretend" policy pursued by all major nations is simply transferring the impaired debt from private hands to the taxpayers (public debt), crippling the economy with higher taxes and higher debt service.

5. The Central State's "extend and pretend" policy requires heavy borrowing every year to prop up the status quo, pushing the Central State (or equivalent, i.e. the Eurozone) into an inescapable double-bind: either continue increasing public debt and cripple the economy with high taxes and high public-debt servicing costs, or let the financial status quo of "profits are private, losses are public" implode.

The first path leads to default, as the Tyranny of Debt cannot be masked for long, while the second path wipes out the Financial Power Elite which feeds the politicians.

Here are the charts. Note how the speculative economy created the illusion of rising wealth for the bottom 90%, an illusion stripped away by the Default Economy.

In essence, the Financial Power Elites profited immensely from creating this illusory wealth which gave the bottom 90% the false sensation that their declining earnings and purchasing power were being offset by the "magic" of asset bubbles.

Then, when the bubble popped, the Financial Power Elites transferred the impaired assets to the taxpayers, a process which is still underway. The politicos of both parties are complicit; behind the simulacra of toothless "reforms," this process proceeds in myriad ways (Bank of America transferring toxic debt to Fannie/Freddie, etc.) Behind the smokescreen of conjuring a "wealth effect" to foster more consumption, the Fed's purchase of Treasuries (QE2) serves this transfer-of-debt-to-the-public process.

This same process is playing out throughout the global economy: Greece, Ireland, the U.S., and eventually, in China when its monumental property bubble pops.

giovedì 6 gennaio 2011

How US and UK sought to plunder Zimbabwe

Cables reveal how US and UK sought to plunder Zimbabwe’s resources

By Ann Talbot
World Socialist Web Site, 6 January 2011

The US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks contain revealing details of how the United States and Britain sought to further their commercial interests in Zimbabwe.

WikiLeaks has released 12 cables, which originate from the American embassy in Harare in addition to others from the South African capital Pretoria, London and the State Department commenting on the situation in Zimbabwe. They range in date from September 2000 to February 2010.

This was a decade in which President Robert Mugabe’s regime came into increasing conflict with the Western-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by white agribusinesses and headed by former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The present power-sharing government was ultimately established in 2008, with Robert Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Inflation in Zimbabwe had by then reached the figure of 40 million percent. The infrastructure was breaking down, and the country had been devastated by a cholera epidemic. Thousands were fleeing across the border into South Africa every day to escape unemployment, poverty and hunger. Approximately 1.5 million Zimbabweans are now thought to live in South Africa.

A country that had once been among the richest in Africa, with an effective health service and educational system, had slipped to the lowest point in the UN Human Development Report for 2010. In 2006, life expectancy was the lowest in the world at only 34 years for women and 37 for men, according to the World Health Organisation. Since then, there has been some improvement, and life expectancy now averages 47 years. But in 2010, UNICEF estimated that one third of Zimbabwe children were at risk of dying as a result of malnutrition.

The cables track this human tragedy through the indifferent eyes of American diplomats, whose main concern was always for the potential profits to be made from Zimbabwe’s natural resources. They chart the efforts of US, British and European diplomats, often working through the UN, to establish a regime that will open up the country to international investment.

In reality, this was a tragedy largely manufactured by the international financial institutions that Washington sponsors. When the International Monetary Fund attempted to impose a structural adjustment programme in Zimbabwe at the end of the 1990s, Mugabe broke from it because he realised that it would mean dismantling the system of patronage on which he depended to remain in power. “Let that monstrous creature get out of our way,” he declared, and attempted to find other sources of international finance.

He has succeeded in remaining in power by enriching the clique around him at the expense of the majority of the population.

Finally, after 10 years the IMF is back in town—insisting on a programme of structural reforms that will address what they refer to as “labour market rigidities” and establish secure property rights for foreign investors. Mugabe’s bid to go it alone has failed, under circumstances that can only be described as disastrous for working people.

The cables that WikiLeaks has published reveal that throughout this decade the US was quite prepared to come to an accommodation with Mugabe and ensure him a lucrative retirement. They note the human rights abuses that his regime has committed, but show no desire to pursue justice in Mugabe’s case. They treat, matter of factly, the process of engineering regime change without reference to the popular will. Creating a new strong man in Africa is all in a day’s work for the US diplomatic corps.

Britain appears to play a minor role in the story told by the US cables, because they represent the American point of view. Yet, the relationship between the two powers is ever present. All of the cables are copied to Joint Analytical Command at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire, England, where AFRICOM is based—demonstrating the close military and intelligence links between the US and UK. British companies, too, clearly look to the US as a friendly power that will protect their interests.

In 2000, the US embassy in Harare reported that elements in the ruling ZANU-PF were interested in a deal with the MDC that would involve Mugabe’s departure. The board of Lever Brothers (Unilever) had informed the MDC that Kofi Annan, then head of the UN, had offered Mugabe a deal if he would step down. It included a financial package and safe passage to Libya. It seemed that “a shady white businessman,” thought to be John Bredenkamp, had also offered Mugabe a retirement deal. It was not known whether Bredenkamp had sufficient resources to finance the package himself, but it was believed that he worked for MI6 and might become a conduit through which the British could channel money to Mugabe.

The cable noted that shortly afterwards, they were informed, probably by Bredenkamp, that “key members of the private sector here could prevent a political and economic train wreck.”

The businessman claimed that Britain had £36 million available for land reform, but would probably not be able to act as an honest broker in securing a settlement. He appealed to the US to find someone to play this role, so that businessmen could set up negotiations between the MDC and Mugabe. The US embassy interpreted the businessman’s discussion with them as a ruling party back-channel approach and believed it was probably genuine because elements of ZANU-PF had become convinced that Mugabe had become a liability.

In November 2000, the embassy reported a discussion with Tsvangirai, in which he stressed the need for a unity government with ZANU-PF remaining in power but with some MDC ministers brought into office. Mugabe would be removed by a convergence of ZANU-PF, the military and regional leaders such as President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Tsvangirai agreed that mass action would be dangerous and said that if it became necessary the MDC would organise a general strike for the Christmas holiday when schools and most businesses were closed anyway. In the event, the MDC cancelled such plans.

In July 2007, US Ambassador Christopher Dell made his final report before leaving the country. According to the cable, the task for American foreign policy was to “stay the course and prepare for change. Our policy is working and it’s helping to drive change here. What is required is simply the grit, determination and focus to see this through. Then, when the changes finally come we must be ready to move quickly to help consolidate the new dispensation.”

Dell paid tribute to Mugabe’s tactical ability. “To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactician and has long thrived on his ability to abruptly change the rules of the game, radicalise the political dynamic and force everyone else to react to his agenda.”

He traced Mugabe’s increasingly desperate measures to stay in power and the damage they had done to the economy, predicting that the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar as a unit of trade would ultimately bring about his downfall. The cable is headed “The end is nigh”.

Events were to prove that Mugabe had not, as Dell supposed, entirely run out of options. A cable from 2008 describes how the ZANU-PF regime elite were looting the Marange diamond fields. Andrew Cranswick, the CEO of the British-based African Consolidated Resources, told the US embassy that leading figures in the regime were engaged in illegal diamond trading. First Lady Grace Mugabe is currently suing a number of media outlets for suggesting that she was involved in this activity. According to geological study carried out for de Beers, the field has a carats per hundred tons ratio (CPHT) of 1,000 compared to Rio Tinto’s Zimbabwean diamond mine at Murowa, which has a CPHT ratio of only 120. Cranswick’s motive for informing the American embassy was that the government had taken away his company’s concession in Marange, but a specialist sent to this restricted area found his report generally credible.

Another cable the following year reported that the army had moved into the Marange diamond field, taking control of the trade, and that Mugabe was planning to visit Russia in an attempt to get hold of foreign exchange in a diamond deal. By then, a power-sharing agreement had been signed along the lines envisaged earlier by the US ambassador. The military remained powerful, and by October 2009 Tsvangirai was asking the Americans to contribute to a trust fund that would “buy off securocrats and move them into retirement”. Tsvangirai said that he would approach the Germans and the British with the same request.

In another cable, Tsvangirai appealed for the easing of Western sanctions against Zimbabwe. That view was echoed by a member of ZANU-PF, who told the embassy that sanctions only provided a convenient “whipping boy” for Mugabe. ZANU-PF, he said, was like “a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among themselves, but coming together to face an external threat.”

The cables demonstrate how a form of neo-colonial domination continued to exist in this nominally independent country. Events did not always go according to Washington’s plans, but the power-sharing agreement that is now in place is essentially in line with the ideas mapped out by successive US ambassadors over the last decade. Tsvangirai emerges from the cables as a creature of Washington, who is useful to US interests because his background as a trade union leader provided the means of averting an independent political movement among urban workers that might provide leadership to the rural poor.

Washington was prepared to offer Mugabe a peaceful retirement, since it was better to let the old liberation fighter leave the scene with honour than to antagonise the mass of population by making too public a demonstration of US power. Tsvangirai was entirely in agreement and was prepared to extend the same consideration to other members of the elite.

Mugabe has used every possibility open to him to remain in power, but he is still ultimately subordinate to the dictates of the world market and international financial institutions that were designed with American interests in mind. Competition for Zimbabwe’s natural resources has given him very limited room for manoeuvre—by turning to Libya, Russia and China. But hyperinflation brought his regime to the point where he has had to make a deal with Washington.

The analysis that the World Socialist Web Site has made of Zimbabwe over the past decade has been entirely vindicated. We refused to back the MDC opposition and have consistently pointed to its reliance on Washington. Nor did we endorse the nationalist agenda of ZANU-PF or identify it with socialism, insisting that only an independent working class movement based on an international socialist programme can defend the interests of the mass of the population throughout Southern Africa.

Europa succursale di Wall Street

Europa succursale di Wall Street
di Giulietto Chiesa - 05/01/2011

Fonte: megachip

bankerpuppets

Perché spariscono le “Y”. Una storia che nessuno racconta.


Adesso, vi prego, di fare un piccolo esperimento. Avrete tutti in tasca qualche banconota in euro. Non importa di quale taglio, anche quelli piccoli. Date un’occhiata, sul retro di ogni banconota c’è un numero di serie. Visto? Ebbene, non è solo un numero di serie. E’ una summa enciclopedica della cultura dell’inganno. E della ferocia di quello che lorsignori chiamano il “mercato”, ma che non ha molto a che vedere con il mercato, in cui compratori e venditori sono, in un certo senso, alla pari. Dicevo: numero di serie. Ma non comincia con un numero, bensì con una lettera dell’alfabeto inglese. E qui c’è un primo lucchetto da aprire.

Quella lettera sta per un paese, tra quelli che fanno parte, per ora, della “zona euro”. Adesso vi sfido a trovare una sola banconota da 50 euro che cominci con la Y il suo numero di serie. Se la trovate sappiate che è un residuo sfuggito misteriosamente a una spietata caccia all’uomo, pardon alla banconota.

Le altre, quelle già catturate, cioè quasi tutte, stanno racchiuse in un qualche caveau della banca Centrale Europea. E, se un giorno usciranno, sarà soltanto perché i greci le hanno riscattate con il loro sangue. Letteralmente.

Infatti quella Y sta per Grecia. Voi direte: e perché mai la Grecia l’hanno chiamata Y? Risposta. La ragione è la stessa per cui la Germania l’hanno chiamata X, la Francia sta per U, l’Italia sta per S, l’Austria sta per N, la Spagna sta per V, il Belgio è Z, la P è Olanda, l’H è la Slovenia e così via criptando.

L'obiettivo è di impedire al pubblico, cioè a noi, che queste monete usiamo tutti i giorni, di capire a chi “appartengono” questi soldi. Appartengono è parola impropria. In ogni caso non appartengono a noi, ma alle banche centrali dei singoli paesi, le quali a loro volta non appartengono ai singoli paesi ma alle banche private che ne riempiono i consigli di amministrazione.

In sostanza queste banconote, con la loro bella lettera criptata, sono il contributo che ciascun paese ha dato alla moneta comune europea. Ora si dà il caso che la Grecia è andata in bancarotta. Non ha più un soldo, è in mutande e deve restituire il prestito del Fondo Monetario Internazionale e della X, ovvero Germania, a tassi d’interesse vertiginosi.

Dunque, alla chetichella, cosa fa la Banca Centrale Europea?

Ritira dalla circolazione tutti gli euro di provenienza greca. L’imperativo è evitare sorprese. Vuoi vedere che il popolo greco, preso da improvviso raptus, decide di dichiararla lui la bancarotta, unilateralmente, manda a quel paese il suo governo, capitanato da quell’agente del “consenso washingtoniano” che si chiama Papandreu, e fa come l’Argentina, cioè non paga più nessun debito?

Per questo li hanno espropriati in anticipo. Se, per caso, i greci decidono di andarsene dall’euro, devono trovarsi all’asciutto. Completamente. Che ripartano da zero, che si arrangino stampando di nuovo le loro vecchie dracme.

Scopriranno, che vada bene, che la dracma resuscitata varrà meno della metà della dracma pre-euro. E dovranno fare i salti mortali per ricominciare daccapo, mentre tutto il mondo li tratterà come dei reietti.

Ci hanno raccontato un sacco di balle, i media, dicendoci che hanno speso troppo, che hanno troppi dipendenti pubblici.

Doppia bugia, perché la Grecia è ultima in Europa come spesa per stipendi del pubblico impiego. E, in secondo luogo, è davvero perfidia assoluta accusare le famiglie greche di essere andate in rosso. Il fatto è che tutti stiamo consumando troppo! Perché siamo stati trasformati in consumatori compulsivi, siamo stati ipnotizzati in massa. E noi europei ancora consumiamo poco.

I veri lobotomizzati sono gli americani e gl’inglesi, entrambi in rosso assai più dei greci. Solo che loro non intendono pagare il conto, mentre ai greci il conto lo stanno facendo pagare bastonandoli.

Avrete notato, tra l’altro, che la stessa operazione la stanno facendo con l’Irlanda. Che il prestito del FMI non lo voleva. Infatti ha resistito per tre mesi alle ingiunzioni perentorie. Poi ha ceduto. Si è mai visto una banca che ti vuole prestare dei soldi a tutti i costi, che ti corre dietro in strada per darti il suo obolo? Ecco, adesso assistiamo alla caccia al debitore che non vuole prestiti da parte di potenziali creditori, apparentemente molto generosi, in realtà usurai della peggiore specie.

Così, adesso spariranno, anzi stanno già sparendo, le banconote di grosso taglio con la J, che stanno appunto per Irlanda.

Poi spariranno le M, che stanno per Portogallo.

Prima o poi toccherà anche all’Italia. Chi comanda questa sarabanda?

Wall Street comanda.

Il dollaro sta andando a picco. Ha bisogno di un euro subalterno e di una Europa senza sovranità, che paghi il debito americano, visto che i cinesi non lo fanno più. Dopo l’Irlanda toccherà al Portogallo. E’ un trucco, come s’è detto, con il quale si porta via la sovranità dell’Europa, la si divide tra quelli che comandano e le vittime. Così non avremo più neanche questa misera Europa, ma una succursale di Wall Street.

mercoledì 5 gennaio 2011

News stories related to the World Bank and IMF

A selection of news stories related to the World Bank and IMF, brought to you by the Bretton Woods Project:

Think-tank opposes Bangladesh's recent credit deals with IMF, India
http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=121976&date=2011-01-05
Financial Express (Bangladesh), 5 January 2011

Tunisia: IMF "economic medicine" has resulted in mass poverty and unemployment by Prof. Basel Saleh
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22587
Global Research, 31 December 2010

Development agency urges Irish default
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/1231/breaking20.html
Irish Times, 31 December 2010

A successful 2011 starts with oversight of Fed

Rep. Ron Paul: A successful 2011 starts with oversight of Fed

Section:

By U.S. Rep. Ron Paul
Tuesday, January 4, 2010

http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1813:...

The year 2011 brings in a host of opportunities and challenges to America. Will we accelerate toward economic insolvency by continuing the policies that have created this crisis, or will a new Congress elected on the energy of the Tea Party movement find the courage to change course?

With the new Republican majority in the House I will have the opportunity as a subcommittee chairman to take a careful look at our domestic monetary policy. I am excited by the prospect of real oversight of the Federal Reserve, but I also hope to focus on the important ways our foreign policy and monetary policy are related.

Just last week the Financial Times reported that the limited oversight of the Federal Reserve allowed by the passage of a watered-down version of my Audit the Fed bill revealed that approximately 55 percent of the loans made available under the largest Federal Reserve bailout program, the Term Auction Facility, went to foreign banks. This is but one example of the real cost to Americans of maintaining its empire overseas, and it cries out for more transparency and oversight.

This is why it is key for us to understand that our foreign policy and current economic crisis go hand in hand. Some have promised to lead us back to fiscal responsibility while asserting that any reduction in our foreign and military spending is off the table. They would like us to believe that we should not only continue spending as much on the military as the rest of the world spends on their military combined, but they actually call for an even more aggressive U.S. policy abroad. They believe we should continue to bomb Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and elsewhere; that we must impose even more crippling sanctions on countries like Iran while moving steadily on to yet another Middle East war that is not in our interest. They represent the failed policies of the past and they would like to lead us down a dead-end street.

We must resist the temptation of their neo-con inspired scare-mongering.

There will be much work for us to do in the next year and in the next Congress. We need look no further than the grossly unconstitutional and immoral policies of the Transportation Security Administration -- demanding that we either be irradiated or fondled to travel in our own country -- to see that those who would deprive us of our civil liberties on the empty promise of full security will not be giving up easily. We must continue standing up to them and we must not compromise.

We must not allow the out-of-control Department of Homeland Security to impose an East German-like police state in the United States, where neighbors are encouraged by Big Brother or Big Sister to inform on their neighbors. We must not accept that government authorities should hector us via television screens as we go about our private lives like we are living in Orwell's 1984.

I am optimistic that the incoming members of Congress understand the importance of what they have been entrusted with by the American people. But I do hope that those who elected them will watch their actions -- and their votes in Congress -- carefully. An early indication will be the upcoming vote on re-authorization of the anti-American PATRIOT Act. Defeat once and for all of this police-state legislation will be a great way to start 2011 and the 112th Congress. We must move ahead with confidence. Our numbers are growing. Happy New Year!

Soros: US Must Stop Resisting Decline Of Dollar

George Soros: The United States Must Stop Resisting The Orderly Decline Of The Dollar, The Coming Global Currency And The New World Order

Vatic Note: (see video) We are all united anyway by the same enemy, the international bankers and every country has to do it in concert with every other country, THE PEOPLE HAVE TO DO IT WHILE WE STILL CAN. I wasn't going to say anything becuase Jim said it very well, but given these people now control everything in the weapons category, its now time to dig up our courage and do non cooperation in every aspect of life. REREAD OUR PEOPLE TO PEOPLE INITIATIVE. No more fighting for the international elite empire building, no more taxes, no more anything and that will destroy them, but it will take courage as they will try to intimidate us into compliance as they did in nazi germany and russia. So courage is what everyone has to find or suicide by gun. Go ahead and fight them and know that you will die, its another form of courage. However, success would have to be a miracle since they control the bioweapons which we saw what happened in Arkansas with that, 5,000 dead birds and hundreds of thousands of dead fish. Its what they plan on using in Afghanistan. This is criminal. Pretend they do not exist and do what you would do if they didn't and we were in the same situation. Continue on and ignore them, EVERYONE HAS TO DO IT, UNITED or that won't work either. So start talking to your neighbors, relatives, etc. Pass this around. Give a copy to your local police, tell them their families are at risk just like ours. Tell the police NOT TO FORCE US INTO MAKING CHOICES THAT INVOLVE THEM. This, below, is from another reader and its right on. Anonymous from CA.

GANDHI'S SATYAGRAHA....NON VIOLENT NON COOPERATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT ALL THE VIOLENCE. GREED, AND IGNORANCE OF...MAN, THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE AND CREATIVE OF ALL CREATION.

NON PAYMENT OF FEDERAL TAXES!
GO SOLAR... YOU CAN MAKE A WINDMILL....GET OFF THE GRID.

NO MORE BIG BANKS....LOCAL SMALL BANKS ONLY....CREDIT UNIONS .....
FOLLOW NORTH DAKOTA....ONLY STATE OWNED BANK IN US...DOING GREAT...NEVER BEEN BANKRUPT....UNLIKE B OF A...

IF POSSIBLE...BARTER...STOP USING PAPER MONEY. ALL TAINTED WITH COCAINE DUST ANYWAY.

NO MORE BIG PHARMA.....GO NATURAL....GROW A GARDEN...EVEN INSIDE YOUR KITCHEN....PERMACULTURE...BUILD A GREENHOUSE OF PLASTIC TARP.

Kirwan Note: George Soros - one of the faces of the RED SHEILD
that should be shown NO MERCY: It's either him and his entire cabal, or us - and we are OUT OF TIME!

George Soros: The United States Must Stop Resisting The Orderly Decline Of The Dollar, The Coming Global Currency And The New World Order
http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/george-soros-the-united-states-must-stop-resisting-the-orderly-decline-of-the-dollar-the-coming-global-currency-and-the-new-world-order/comment-page-1
provided to Vatic Project by Jim Kirwan, SF, Ca. USA
by The Economic Collapse Blog, January 3, 2010


Soros talks about "the creation of a New World Order", he discusses the need for a "managed decline" of the U.S. dollar and he talks at length of the global need for a true world currency.

So just who is George Soros? Well, he is a billionaire "philanthropist" who came to be known as "the Man Who Broke the Bank of England" when he raked in a staggering one billion dollars during the 1992 "Black Wednesday" currency crisis.






http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki4cqqMZ7JE&feature=player_embedded

These days Soros is most famous for being perhaps the most "politically active" (at least openly) billionaire in the world. His Open Society Institute is in more than 60 countries and it spends approximately $600 million a year promoting the ideals that Soros wants promoted. Soros and his pet organizations have played a key role in quite a few "revolutions" around the globe over the last several decades, but these days the main goal of George Soros is to bring political change to the United States.

So exactly what is it that George Soros is trying to accomplish? Well, in a nutshell, what he wants is a Big Brother-style one world government based on extreme European-style socialism, strict population control and the radical green agenda. It would be a world where the state tightly regulates everything that we do for the greater benefit of the environment and of society as a whole.

However, Soros is not the "mastermind of the New World Order" that some have tried to make him out to be. The truth is that to those in the international banking elite, Soros is considered to be something of a "black sheep" and an "outsider".

Much of what Soros is trying to accomplish lines up with the goals of the international banking elite, but what they don't like is that Soros won't stop publicly talking about a global currency and a "New World Order". Of course the international banking elite very much want a global currency and a "New World Order", but what they don't need is a "squeaky wheel" like Soros running around drawing unneeded attention to those goals.

Also, Soros does not seem to understand that both sides of the political spectrum in the United States are deeply influenced by the international banking elite. Sadly, the truth is that the same handful of elitist organizations has dominated the cabinets of every single president that we have had since World War II.

If you doubt this, just check out how many members of each presidential administration over the last 40 years have belonged to either the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission or the Bilderberg Group. If you have never looked into this before, you will be absolutely shocked. No matter what president we elect, it is always the exact same organizations that always dominate their cabinets.

But Soros still seems very much trapped within the left/right paradigm and he seems absolutely obsessed with destroying the Republican Party. For example, Soros spent an insane amount of money attempting to defeat George W. Bush back in 2004.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, George Soros donated $23,581,000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros during that election cycle to political organizations that were trying to keep Bush from being reelected.

Soros has also been a tremendous backer of Barack Obama, although lately Soros seems a bit disenchanted with him. Through organizations such as the Center for American Progress and MoveOn.org, Soros is constantly trying to influence the state of American politics.

So what is George Soros thinking about these days? Well, in the video posted below you will see Soros discussing "an orderly decline" of the U.S. dollar, the coming global currency and the importance of the New World Order....

Did you noticed how uncomfortable Soros was when he was saying the term "New World Order"?

The truth is that he knows exactly what that phrase means. He knows that it is a phrase that he probably shouldn't say and that will get a lot of attention.

But he said it anyway.

Soros also seemed a bit uncomfortable as he discussed "an orderly decline" of the U.S. dollar.
Soros has been saying the the U.S. dollar needs to go down for quite a while now, and he speaks of the coming fall of the dollar as if it is inevitable.

The only thing that Soros seems to fear is that the "managed decline" of the dollar could "get out of hand" and could lead to global financial chaos. (VN: maybe that is where our salvation lays??)

Soros even had the gall to say that having the dollar be the reserve currency of the world is not in our national interest and that a move to a global currency is "a healthy, if painful, adjustment" that we are just going to have to endure for the greater good of the world economy.

But shouldn't the American people have something to say about all of this?
Perhaps the American people do not want a "managed decline" of the U.S. dollar.
Perhaps the American people do not want any part of a new "global currency".
Perhaps the American people do not want any part of a "New World Order".

But to men like George Soros, it doesn't really matter what "the little people" think. In the world that Soros lives in, those with overwhelming amounts of money and power know what is best for the rest of us, and if "the little people" don't seem to want to go along initially then public opinion can be bought if you just spend enough money.

The sad truth is that we already live in a global economy. Just go into just about any store across the United States and start picking up products to see where they were made. Very few of the things we buy are still made in the United States.

Today, labor is a global commodity. American workers must now directly compete for jobs with those making slave labor wages in China and India. The fact that millions of U.S. jobs are being offshored and outsourced does not bother advocates of globalism at all because it is supposedly a beneficial thing for the overall global economy.

And most Americans have little to no idea just how much influence international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO have over our daily lives.

The truth is that we already live in a world that has been deeply, deeply integrated. As this continues, at some point it will only seem "natural" for America to agree to a true global currency and full global political integration.

Let us hope that day never arrives. Or at least let us hope that the American people wake up enough to not just go passively into a "New World Order".

A global economy is bad for America and a global government would be really bad for America.

But perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you believe that integrating our economy, our currency and our government with the rest of the world would be a wonderful thing. If that is the case, please feel free to leave a comment explaining exactly why globalism is such a wonderful thing for all of us....

Citibank Fraud: Police Files FIR Aginst Vikram Pandit

video direct link here

Citibank scam: CEO Pandit, top brass named in FIR [Wikipedia defines 'FIR'...]
Sanjay Yadav & Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN, Jan 5, 2011, 01.09am IST
From: http://www.degaray.com/misc/134_Citibank.html
Comments (64)

GURGAON: The Citibank scam now threatens to hound top Citi honchos. In the first FIR lodged in the Rs 300-crore fraud, the Gurgaon police on Tuesday filed a case of criminal breach of trust, falsification of accounts, cheating and criminal conspiracy against all top bosses of the bank, including group CEO Vikram Pandit, chairman William Rhodes, chief operating officer Douglas Peterson and chief financial officer John Gerspach — all based in New York.

The FIR lodged by Sanjeev Aggarwal, the founder of Daksh and co-founder of private equity firm Helion Venture Partners, lays bare the "systemic failure" within the bank which allowed Citi relationship manager Shiv Raj Puri, the scam mastermind, to dupe high networth investors. Aggarwal was the first investor to complain to Citi officials about the scam and had last week told TOI how he became a victim.

Gurgaon police commissioner S S Deswal said, "We have filed an FIR against Citibank officials based on a complaint of an investor. We are investigating the case."

Aggarwal has alleged that those named in his complaint "in collusion and conspiracy" with each other, misappropriated Rs 32.43 crore that he had invested in the bank "in good faith". The victim had opened a savings account in the bank in 2002, and subsequently he and his wife opened a wealth/investment management account in June 2004. The complaint says investors like him trusted the advice of the relationship manager (RM) and held the bank responsible for failing to protect the interests and investment of the investors. Aggarwal alleged that the bank failed to "ensure through in-built safeguards" that the RM acted solely to advance the customer's interest.

He alleged that the bank failed to detect reduction in the portfolio size of investors and did not enquire why this was happening.

He said most of the financial transactions take place in the Citibank's account either through real time gross statement (RTGS) or demand drafts or common transfer forms and senior bank officials are in the know of these transactions.

Aggarwal said he could never doubt that Puri was diverting their funds to his own accounts and not investing in preferred schemes as they were receiving portfolio statements through the Citibank e-mail account of Puri.

A scrutiny of the records revealed that the bank statements that they were receiving from Puri were different from their actual investment. Nearly Rs 32.43 crore were missing from Aggarwal's accounts when he received the actual statement. While the statements generated by Puri showed that Aggarwal and his wife had Rs 46 crore in their accounts, the final statement revealed that they had only Rs 15 crore in balance.

Accusing the bank of negligence, Aggarwal said he had sent three emails to the bank but got no response.

The FIR also mentions names of local bank officials like Amit Zarpuri, Aswin Chaddha, Amrita Farmahan and four others including the main accused Puri.

Citibank, in a statement said Aggarwal's claims against senior bank executives are without basis and the bank intends to contest them vigorously.
source
related:



New Delhi - India
Link to video here


Plot thickens as police arrest Hero group man
0 Comments
Sanjeev K Ahuja , Hindustan Times
Email Author
Gurgaon, January 04, 2011
First Published: 00:55 IST(4/1/2011)
Last Updated: 01:00 IST(4/1/2011)

On the basis of information provided by prime accused Shivraj Puri, the Gurgaon police on Sunday night arrested Sanjay Gupta, associate vice-president of Hero Corporate Services Limited (HCSL), in connection with the multi-crore Citibank fraud. Gupta was arrested when he visited DLF City (Phase 2) police station to participate in routine investigation. Puri has been maintaining ever since he was detained that Sanjay Gupta was the mastermind behind the multi-crore fraud. The police who roped in experts gathered evidence before arresting him on the charges of conspiracy.

Senior police officials had called Sanjay Gupta as well as representatives of brokerage companies — Religare and Bonanza, two of the five brokerage firms, where Puri had invested the money — on Friday.

During interrogation, Puri revealed that till May last year he had been dealing in individual investment portfolios with Citibank in the capacity of relationship manager.

“I happened to meet Gupta in April. He told me to start dealing in corporate investment business also for bigger profit margins. Before that I was dealing in individual high networth investors. It was on his advice that I started using various accounts of my relatives for my business for corporate investments. In May, Gupta made the first corporate investment of R5 crore through me,” Puri added.

The investigators said initially they did not believe the claims of Puri that Gupta was the brain behind the fraud. But when they searched Gupta’s account details, it was found that about R20 crore was transferred to his accounts in the last six months. “This raised the suspicion and Gupta we arrested,” said a police official.
related:

source
related below:

Puri’s clients say citibank closed their accounts

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Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times
Email Author
Gurgaon, January 05, 2011
First Published: 01:58 IST(5/1/2011)
Last Updated: 02:01 IST(5/1/2011)

City police officials probing into the R300-crore Citibank scam have claimed that several high networth investors (HNIs) had approached them with complaints that their holding assets such as securities, mutual fund units etc were liquidated without their knowledge by Citibank officials. The
police, sources said, were in touch with all investors which include about 20 corporate entities. These investors have complained to the police about liquidation of their shareholding from their demat accounts without their knowledge. The complainants, most whom favoured anonymity, had claimed that they had suffered huge losses, officials said.

The complainants had alleged that Puri was not only managing their wealth investment accounts but operating these accounts. He would also liquidate holding assets and invest the same in various brokerage firms without their knowledge or permission, the police officials added. The police said in addition to some of the HNIs approaching the police department, they too were trying to contact those who were either not aware of the fraud or not willing to come forward.

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City Bank Fraud . Police Files FIR Aginst Vikram Pandit , CEO and 10 Others [Wikipedia defines 'FIR'...]

Gurgaon : India | Jan 04, 2011
Posted by: Singh122

The 300 crore City Bank fraud has taken a serious turn . The Gurgaon Police today filed an FIR against Shivraj Puri , the Relationship Manager and 10 other top managers of the City Bank including its CEO , VikramVikram Pandit and Chairman , William R. Rhodes . The FIR has been filed under Sec. 420 and 120-b which pertain to cheating and criminal conspiracy .

This FIR was filed a day after the main accused , Shivraj Puri , was taken on a 7 days police custody by the Gurgaon Police. Yesterday , the police had also arrested Sanjay Gupta , Chief Finnancial

Officer of the Hero group on charges of helping Shivraj Puri in the fraud . Sanjay Gupta was remanded to five days police custody by a Gurgaon court . The Hero group accepted that the investment made by the group was in the knowledge of the management .

The City Bank fraud has raised many questions regarding internet banking and the huge risks involved .

Singh122 is based in New Delhi, Delhi, India, and is Anchor for Allvoices
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Related news stories:

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New Delhi - India

Plot thickens as police arrest Hero group man
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Sanjeev K Ahuja , Hindustan Times
Email Author
Gurgaon, January 04, 2011
First Published: 00:55 IST(4/1/2011)
Last Updated: 01:00 IST(4/1/2011)

On the basis of information provided by prime accused Shivraj Puri, the Gurgaon police on Sunday night arrested Sanjay Gupta, associate vice-president of Hero Corporate Services Limited (HCSL), in connection with the multi-crore Citibank fraud. Gupta was arrested when he visited DLF City (Phase 2) police station to participate in routine investigation. Puri has been maintaining ever since he was detained that Sanjay Gupta was the mastermind behind the multi-crore fraud. The police who roped in experts gathered evidence before arresting him on the charges of conspiracy.

Senior police officials had called Sanjay Gupta as well as representatives of brokerage companies — Religare and Bonanza, two of the five brokerage firms, where Puri had invested the money — on Friday.

During interrogation, Puri revealed that till May last year he had been dealing in individual investment portfolios with Citibank in the capacity of relationship manager.

“I happened to meet Gupta in April. He told me to start dealing in corporate investment business also for bigger profit margins. Before that I was dealing in individual high networth investors. It was on his advice that I started using various accounts of my relatives for my business for corporate investments. In May, Gupta made the first corporate investment of R5 crore through me,” Puri added.

The investigators said initially they did not believe the claims of Puri that Gupta was the brain behind the fraud. But when they searched Gupta’s account details, it was found that about R20 crore was transferred to his accounts in the last six months. “This raised the suspicion and Gupta we arrested,” said a police official.
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04Jan2011
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3 Jan, 2011, 02.37 - PM IST,AGENCIES
Citibank fraud: Sanjay Gupta, AVP of Hero Corporate Services arrested
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GURGAON: Sanjay Gupta, the AVP of Hero Corporate Ltd, was arrested on Monday for his alleged connivance in the Rs 300 crore Citibank fraud, police said.

According to police, Gupta was in the know of the massive fraud perpetrated by Sanjay Puri , Citibank's relationship manager.

Police said that the fraud was "done in his (Gupta's) knowledge" and Puri used to give him commission.

Gupta is being produced in a court here.

It is believed that the prime accused Shiv Raj Puri had parked his funds in an illegal brokerage firm floated by Sanjay Gupta. Hero Corp had clarified earlier that it lost money to the tune of Rs 29 crore in the Citibank fraud case. It is also believed that Sanjay Gupta has been running many small financial firms which have nothing to do with the Hero Group. Gupta is believed to have also cashed in commissions worth Rs 15 crore

Puri had surrendered last Thursday and was handed a seven-day police remand.

According to police, firms belonging to the Delhi-based Hero Group invested Rs 200 crore in Puri's account and Rs.100 crore was invested by individuals. Puri, in turn, invested the money in five major brokerages, including Religare, Okaya and Bonanza.

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The Economic Times - India

Citibank fraud: Gurgaon police arrest banker Shiv Raj Puri


30 Dec, 2010, 01.00PM IST,AGENCIES


Video here

GURGAON: Shivraj Puri, the alleged mastermind behind a major fraud in the Citibank branch here, was today arrested.

Talking to Times of India after his arrest , Puri said: "I have already given full details to the police. I have full faith in the judiciary. Truth will come out." Check out: The great heist of Citibank

Top police officials, however, declined to give details including from where he was arrested. He is likely to be produced before a court tomorrow.

Meanwhile Police Commissioner S S Deswal told reporters that the size of the fraud could be about Rs 300 crore.

He said 40 teams have been constituted to crack the case that involved alleged siphoning off funds taken as investments from high networth individuals into a personal account of the main suspect Puri and three of his accomplices.

Deswal said Puri's father Raghuraj Puri is said to be owning a brokerage firm Norway Martin through which funds were diverted and invested in the stock market.

Sources said the accused owned several properties in the NCR. An investor who Shiv Raj allegedly cheated recalls: “This smart banker met me one- and-a-half-years ago. He came with a lucrative scheme and seemed to know his trade well. I was instantly taken in by his soft talk. He was not pushy like other banking professionals.”

Puri opened 78 accounts in his name and in the names of his grand parents, Premnath Puri and Sheela Premnath Puri and in the name of his mother, Deeksha Puri. They all are co-accused along with Puri.

The accounts are with different financial institutions including banks and brokerage houses spread across Gurgaon, Delhi and Kolkata. Religare, Bonanza and India Infoline figure in the list. The banks include SBI , HDFC , Standard Chartered, PNB, Axis and ABN-Amro. According to the police commissioner SS Deswal, notices have been issued to the banks to seize all the accounts. "We have formed five special teams to investigate the case. And we are hot on Puri's trail."

Religare, Bonanza and India Infoline figure in the list. The banks are SBI, HDFC, Standard Chartered, PNB, Axis and ABN-Amro.

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Citibank caught in 400cr staff fraud at retail unit in Gurgaon


Embed: ET-video: Citibank staff alleged to have siphoned off Rs 400 cr Views: 3587
Posted: 20 hours ago


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29 Dec, 2010, 07.03AM IST, Shailendra Bhatnagar & Mohit Bhalla,ET Now

Citibank is caught in an estimated 400-crore fraud and forgery by staff at its retail banking unit in Gurgaon, involving funds from wealthy individuals and corporate clients . The fraud was discovered early this month when a customer told a relationship manager that he had invested in a Citibank scheme that promised high returns in a short period, when no such scheme existed, said three people familiar with the matter.

Nearly 40 clients, including some corporate treasuries, could be affected because of the fraud, but their identities are not known. It is unclear whether Citibank will compensate its clients for the losses. The story was broken by ET NOW, this paper’s television channel.

“We recently initiated an investigation into a certain set of suspicious transactions based on documents forged by an employee involving a few accounts in our Gurgaon branch,” Citi said in an email reply to ET NOW. “We immediately reported the matter to all the relevant and law enforcement authorities.” It declined comment on the quantum of fraud.

Citigroup’s is the latest in a season of bribery, corruption, stock manipulation and fraud cases dominating the financial sector usually associated with most bull markets. Although a series of such cases, including arrests of eight finance sector executives last month in a bribes-for-loans scandal, have taken the sheen off investor enthusiasm, they are far away from the market scandals of 2001 and 1992 that crushed investor confidence.

One or more employees at Citibank’s Gurgaon office are alleged to have forged the letterhead of the bank to peddle a schemeclaimed to have been approved by Citibank’s investment product committee regulator—to clients that could yield high returns in a short span, said one of the persons familiar with the modus operandi. The funds generated by selling the product to some investment companies and individuals were transferred to accounts of some brokers, who utilised the money for their transactions . The people at Citibank involved in the process were supposedly paid bribes by those brokers , they said.

“Suspicious transactions have been isolated and we are providing full assistance to the authorities in their investigations ,” said Citibank. “This issue does not impact other accounts, transactions or customers of the bank.

Subsequent to our complaint naming the involved employee and other external individuals who appear to be perpetrators in these suspicious transactions, the Gurgaon Police has registered an FIR.” The staff named in the police report is a relationship manager at the Gurgaon branch, said an insider who did not want to be identified.

HIGH-NETWORTH FRAUD

HOW FRAUD WAS COMMITTED?

Citibank’s relationship managers are said to have committed the fraud with the help of an external party, most likely a brokerage house that distributes investment products Funds generated by selling the product to some investment companies and individuals were transferred to accounts of some brokers, who utilised the money for their transactions

The employees claimed the products were authorised by Citibank’s investment product committee and used forged bank documents and letterheads to prove the same

WHO ARE INVOLVED?

Employee named in FIR learnt to be working as a senior relationship manager in Citibank’s Gurgaon branch. The staffer may have been supported by other relationship managers responsible for sales of investment products to high net worth clients of the bank

WHO ARE AFFECTED?

Close to 40 clients, including some corporate treasuries, could be affected because of the fraud. It is unclear whether Citibank will compensate its clients for the losses.
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Citibank caught in Rs 400 crore fraud orcshestrated by manager
Wed, Dec 29, 2010 10:04:48 IST
http://www.merinews.com/cj/NikhilMenon

A police official, who was also involved in the look out told media persons that the details, along with the photograph of Puri, have been sent to all airports across the country with help of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security.

A RELATIONSHIP manager from Citibank's Gurgaon branch was accused of engineering a fraud worth Rs 400 crore. The accused Shiv Raj Puri from the DLF-II branch has now aroused fear amongst officials about his possible escape from the country for which the police have already issued Look Out Circular (LOC) notice against him and has also alerted the ministry of home affairs and ministry of civil aviation.

A police official, who was also involved in the look out notice told media persons that the details, along with the photograph of Puri, have been sent to all airports across the country with help of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. In case he tries to flee the country, he will be apprehended at the airports.

As per the police reports, Puri had been employed with Citibank for over 10 years and was a permanent employee, who used to deal with account holders. In order to swindle money from the bank, Puri had opened three accounts by the names of his relatives and made other customers deposit money into those accounts by using fake Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) documents which promised higher rate of returns. The police, however, is also looking into the role played by his relatives and other employees of the bank.

The investigating officer further added that the details are lying with the bank and police has initiated the process to look for them. Also, the statement of those, who have invested the money is important and a team has been set up to get information.
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