No Banksters Were Harmed in the Production of This Anti-Crime Video


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has rolled out a campaign to raise awareness of Transnational Crime.

$870 billion dollars a year. Including $250 billion on counterfeit goods. $320 billion on drugs. $32 billion on human trafficking. $250B on illegal arms.

But nowhere did the UNODC include the crimes of multinational banks.

Not the gaming of a key market measure, LIBOR. Not the theft of customer money. Not the theft of millions of homes through foreclosure fraud, or the massive fraud involved in the inflating of the housing bubble. It’s not even clear the UNODC includes the banks’ stake in all this illicit trade.

In short, while the UNODC laudably wants to draw attention to how much of our transnational trade benefits gangsters and thugs, it left an entire category–perhaps the most insidious–of thugs out of its reporting (the same blind spot the US government had when it rolled out sanctions against TCOs).

At this point, there’s no getting around it, no matter how much polite society would like to deny this fact. If we want to go after TCOs–and we should–we need to go after the cornerstone of transnational crime, which is increasingly the banks the government and international community has been propping up for the last 5 years.

Rupert Murdoch and the Invisible Hand Job of Capitalism

Someone let Rupert Murdoch free on Twitter again.

Libor ” scandal” very suspicious. 2008/9 huge crisis and Brown should defend pressure to keep rates down and prevent meltdown.

Don’t know, but suspect Diamond scapegoat used by old establishment who did not like energetic competitor.

So one of the richest and most powerful businessmen in the world–and the owner of America’s premiere business newspaper–considers the way the banks gamed a key market measure a scare-quote “scandal.” This newsman appears to suggest Gordon Brown (a man who has been trashing Murdoch relentlessly of late) should get out there and defend having his government tell Barclays to lie about how healthy it was, all to prevent a meltdown.

Nevermind the municipalities who got robbed in the process. Nevermind that the practice of gaming LIBOR started before the crash and reportedly continued after the danger had passed.

Rupert Murdoch appears to want to defend what Simon Johnson, cataloging the business press acknowledging what a big deal lying about LIBOR is, calls “Lie-More as a Business Model.”

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. After all, some of Murdoch’s most important properties, starting with Fox, thrive on lying as a business model. But at a time when even the (British, at least) business community is finally awakening to what happens when the banksters reveal the “market” is just a bunch of really rich white guys operating behind a curtain, Rupert Murdoch is doubling down on lies.

The Invisible Hand-Job of Capitalism


First we confirm what we long suspected–bankers were manipulating the LIBOR rate to benefit themselves, corrupting one of the “market” measures at the core of the financial system.

And now, in an Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank suit against Morgan Stanley over residential backed mortgages, we get proof that banks pressured ratings agencies to rate shitpile as gold and even wrote their own ratings reports.

For example, when the primary analyst at S.& P. notified Morgan Stanley that some of the Cheyne securities would most likely receive a BBB rating, not the A grade that the firm had wanted, the agency received a blistering e-mail from a Morgan Stanley executive. S.& P. subsequently raised the grade to A.

And when a Morgan Stanley colleague asked for information about the Cheyne deal, Rany Moubarak, an analyst at Morgan Stanley on the deal, wrote in an e-mail: “I attach the Moody’s NIR (that we ended up writing)” referring to the new issue report published by Moody’s in August 2005.

The court filings also demonstrate a lack of methodology for analyzing the Cheyne debt. For example, in an e-mail before the deal was sold, S.& P.’s lead analyst wrote to a colleague: “I had difficulties explaining ‘HOW’ we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it. The documents show that the lead analyst at Moody’s noted there was “no actual data backing the current model assumptions” for segments of the Cheyne deal.

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