Oct 20

- UK Orders WSJ To Withold Names Of Implicated LIBOR Manipulators After Story Already Hits Wires (ZeroHedge, Oct 18, 2013):

In what is a staggering example of not only state meddling in the affairs of the “free press”, but worse, sheer state idiocy, yesterday the WSJ posted an article on its website revealing that as many as 24 co-conspirators would be exposed shortly in the ongoing Libor manipulation scandal and divulging the names of various individuals on this list. What promptly followed was truly bizarre. As the WSJ reports shortly after posting the article, “a British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper’s European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government’s ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.” This happened at 7:18 pm London time, after the original WSJ article had already hit the Internet.

The WSJ added that “The order, which applies to publication in England and Wales, also demanded that the Journal remove “any existing Internet publication” divulging the details. It threatened Mr. Enrich and “any third party” with penalties including a fine, imprisonment and asset seizure.”

As a result, the media organization decided to comply with this gross example state censorship, and now in the place of the article, one could find the following note:

… but not before protesting vocally: Continue reading »

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Jul 17

- How to Lose Friends, Citizens and Influence (Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2013):

The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the IRS.

Beware the sledgehammer used to crack the nut. In this case, the nut is the U.S. government’s laudable goal of catching tax evaders. The sledgehammer is the overreaching effect of legislation that is alienating other countries and resulting in millions of U.S. citizens abroad being forced to either painfully reconsider their nationality, or face a lifetime of onerous bureaucracy, expense and privacy invasion.

The legislation is Fatca, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. To appreciate its breathtaking scope along with America’s unique “citizen-based” tax practices, imagine this: You were born in California, moved to New York for education or work, fell in love, married and had children. Even though you have faithfully paid taxes in New York and haven’t lived in California for 25 years, suppose California law required that you also file your taxes there because you were born there. Though you may never have held a bank account in California, you must report all of your financial holdings to the State of California. Are you a signatory on your spouse’s account? Then you must declare his bank accounts too. Your children, now adults, have never been west of the Mississippi but they too must file their taxes in both California and New York and report any bank accounts they or their spouses may have because they are considered Californians by virtue of one parent’s birthplace.

Extrapolate that example to the six million U.S. citizens living around the globe. Many, if not most, don’t know about these requirements. Yet they face fines, penalties and interest for not complying—even if they owe no U.S. taxes, own no U.S. property, have no U.S. bank account and haven’t lived there in years—if ever.

A particularly alarming aspect of Fatca is that it seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the Internal Revenue Service—even when it might contravene that country’s own privacy or data-protection laws. If financial institutions don’t report U.S. citizens holding accounts with them, these institutions face a 30% withholding tax on securities transactions that originate in the U.S.

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May 24

- Veteran reporter: Nobody’s data safe from feds (WND, May 21, 2013)

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Mar 20

- Euro: Currency Or Prison? (ZeroHedge, March 20, 2013):

The following Wall Street Journal article deserves to be read in its entirety…

Authored by Vincent Cignarella, originally posted at WSJ Market Beat,

Is The Euro a Currency or a Prison?

Wearing the disguise of austerity, the euro has emerged as the gatekeeper of what is fast becoming a debtors’ prison.

The Troika of the ECB, IMF and European Commission acting in concert have become more like another Troika–of judge, jury and executioner–for any nation within the euro zone that dares not follow the letter of budgetary imposition.

The latest country bound by these handcuffs: Cyprus.

Continue reading »

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Sep 13

- Because The First Amendment Does Not Reach Across The Atlantic… (ZeroHedge, Sep. 13, 2011):

The idiocy just hit record highs:

  • BNP PARIBAS SAYS IT ASKED AMF TO INVESTIGATE WSJ OPINION PIECE – BLOOMBERG

What next: the AMF dispatches black choppers to round up all those trop-beaucoup criminal bloggers?

In other news:

- BNP Paribas seeks AMF enquiry on WSJ column (Reuters, Sep. 13, 2011):

(Reuters) – BNP Paribas said on Tuesday that it had asked French market regulator AMF to open an enquiry about a Wall Street Journal opinion piece claiming that France’s largest bank could face a dollar funding crunch.

BNP Paribas, whose shares slumped more than 10 percent in early trading but later rebounded to gain 7.2 percent, said it had requested the enquiry earlier in the day after what it called the “false” report.

- BNP Paribas Asks French Market Watchdog To Probe “Erroneous” News In WSJ (Wall Street Journal, Sep. 13, 2011):

PARIS (Dow Jones)–BNP Paribas SA (BNP.FR, BNPQY) on Tuesday said it had asked the French stock-market watchdog to open a probe following the publication of an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal that contained “erroneous information.”

The Autorite des Marches Financiers, or AMF, the stock-market watchdog, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

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Jul 29


Rupert Murdoch (left) with Abraham Foxman of the Anti- Defamation League at a 2010 dinner in honor of the News Corp. chairman. JTA photo by David Karp Photography.

- Amid Murdoch scandal, Israel backers worry about muting of pro-Israel media voice (JTA, July 19, 2011)

- Israel backers worried about Murdoch’s pro-Israel media empire (Jewish Community Voice, July 27, 2011):

Pro-Israel leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia are warily watching the unfolding of the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to engulf the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp.

Murdoch’s sudden massive reversal of fortune—with 10 top former staffers and executives under arrest in Britain for hacking into the phones of public figures and a murdered schoolgirl, and paying off the police and journalists—has supporters of Israel worried that a diminished Murdoch presence may mute the strongly pro-Israel voice of many of the publications he owns.

“His publications and media have proven to be fairer on the issue of Israel than the rest of the media,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “I hope that won’t be impacted.”

Murdoch’s huge stable encompasses broadsheets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and The Australian, as well as tabloids, most notably The Sun in Britain and the New York Post. It also includes the influential Fox News Channel in the United States and a 39 percent stake in British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster. Murdoch founded the neoconservative flagship The Weekly Standard in 1995, and sold it last year.

Jewish leaders said that Murdoch’s view of Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians and with its Arab neighbors seemed both knowledgeable and sensitive to the Jewish state’s self-perception as beleaguered and isolated.

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Aug 26

Related information:
- Judge: Federal Reserve Must Release Reports on Emergency Bank Loans
- Federal Reserve Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion


timothy-geithner

In an interview released today by Digg and the Wall Street Journal, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pressured about the growing popular movement to Audit the Fed spearheaded by Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

A visibly uncomfortable Geithner attempts to dismiss the question by stating “I’m sure people understand that you want to keep politics out of monetary policy.”

When Geithner is again pressed on the issue, he makes the stunning assertion that conducting an audit of the Federal Reserve-something never before done in its 96 year history-is a “line that we don’t want to cross,” proclaiming that such a move would be “problematic for the country.” Watch the interview in the player below:

Geithner’s response that auditing the Fed would give politicians dangerous control over American monetary policy is mistaken at best and a deliberate lie at worst.

Allowing the public to know what happened to their $24 trillion in bailout money does not give undue control of monetary policy to the people’s elected representatives.

Instead, such an audit would finally allow the public to see how their money has been spent in the midst of the largest spending binge in the history of the world’s economy, hardly an unreasonable demand given the well-documented revolving door between the Treasury and Goldman Sachs, the main recipient of bailout funds.

Ultimately, the Treasury Secretary is left spewing the absurdity that “I think even the sponsor of that bill recognizes how important it is to us to have the Fed independent of politics,” which can only be said to be true insofar as Ron Paul-the sponsor of House Resolution (HR) 1207- wants to abolish the Federal Reserve system altogether.

That the Wall Street Journal would even pressure the Treasury Secretary on serious issues like the Audit the Fed movement may be surprising, given that the Wall Street Journal is a mouthpiece of the financial oligarchy and that editor Paul Gigot, like Geithner himself, is a Bilderberg attendee.

Needless to say, this was not a typical inside-the-beltway interview. Instead, questions were submitted and voted on by the Digg community, with the top 10 questions being posed to Mr. Geithner.

Continue reading »

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Sep 02

British banks soon could be scrambling for short-term funding once more amid reports that supplies from Threadneedle Street and from Frankfurt may be drying up.

The Bank of England explicitly ruled out extending its Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS), while the European Central Bank is reportedly considering tightening its lending criteria.

The two central banks have been huge suppliers of liquidity to British banks. The SLS is thought to have provided £50 billion or more, while the ECB has lent banks €467 billion (£378 billion) – much of it thought to have gone to UK institutions.

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Aug 29

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) list of troubled banks has increased by 30 percent this quarter, and this jump is causing the FDIC and the banking community to prepare for tomorrow’s problems today.

The FDIC may have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to handle an expected wave of bank failures coming down the road, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It would not be surprising if this were to occur, according to Chris Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics. In an interview with CNBC, Whalen said the FDIC needs a backstop.

“They need about a half a trillion dollars in borrowing authority, and they need a vehicle to own these banks while we triage them and sell them.”

Continue reading »

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Aug 29

U.S. and European banks, already burdened by losses and concerns about their financial health, face a new challenge: paying off hundreds of billions of dollars of debt coming due.

At issue are so-called floating-rate notes – securities used heavily by banks in 2006 to borrow money. A big chunk of those notes, which typically mature in two years, will come due over the next year or so, at a time when banks are struggling to raise fresh funds. That’s forcing banks to sell assets, compete heavily for deposits and issue expensive new debt.

The crunch will begin next month, when some $95 billion in floating-rate notes mature. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. analyst Alex Roever estimates that financial institutions will have to pay off at least $787 billion in floating-rate notes and other medium-term obligations before the end of 2009. That’s about 43 percent more than they had to redeem in the previous 16 months.

The problem highlights how the pain of the credit crunch, now entering its second year, won’t end soon for banks or the broader economy. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said on Tuesday that its list of “problem” banks at risk of failure had grown to 117 at the end of June, up from 90 at the end of March. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said her agency might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures. She said the borrowing could be needed to handle short-term cash-flow pressure brought on by reimbursements to depositors after bank failures.

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Aug 28

(Reuters) – Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Jul 29

Its name somewhat anachronistically means “assembly of old men.” George Washington famously – and, it must now be admitted, with excessive optimism – characterized it as an institutional saucer intended to cool legislation passed in the intemperate heat of the moment. Its members demand, with entirely unwarranted self-approval, to be called, collectively, the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

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Jul 16

A subscription to the Wall Street Journal costs several hundred dollars a year, so most people out there don’t get it and DollarCollapse.com rarely posts links to its articles. But everybody should see today’s edition, which probably sets the modern-day record for disturbing headlines. Here’s a sampling of what subscribers read this morning:

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Jul 15

Related article:Big Traders Dive Into Dark Pools

We can almost hear that ominous “Jaws” theme music in the background and can see that huge dorsal fin as it slices threateningly through the water – knowing full well that the real terror is hidden beneath the water’s surface.

But this time around, it’s not a “Great White” that’s sparking our fears; it’s a well-capitalized and broadly based series of secret stock exchanges known as “Dark Pools of Liquidity,” “Dark Liquidity,” or just “Dark Pools.”

Most investors have never even heard the term – and are truly shocked to discover these “off-the-books” trading networks actually exist.

But to Wall Street insiders looking to anonymously move billions of dollars in stocks, bonds, and other investment instruments, dark pools are de rigueur – especially when you’re an institutional trader who doesn’t want to reveal your intentions or your actions to the “rest” of the market, until after the fact when the orders are “printed.”

And that makes these dark pools of capital highly problematic when it comes transparency: There is literally none in most pools and only limited visibility in others.

Dark Pools: From Trading Haven to Heavyweight

Dark Pools are electronic “crossing networks” that offer institutional investors many of the same benefits associated with making trades on the stock exchanges’ public limit order books – without tipping their hands to others, meaning publicly quoted prices aren’t affected. This is the capital markets’ version of a godsend – especially for traders who desire to move large blocks of shares without the public investors ever knowing.

Some examples of so-called crossing networks include Liquidnet Inc., Pipeline, the Posit unit of Investment Technology Group (ITG), or the SIGMA X unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS).

In an era in which “secret” transactions contributed to what’s shaping up to be the largest credit crisis in history, you’d think that any mechanism that allows insiders to trade in complete secrecy and with total anonymity would be scrutinized more closely than a Roger Clemens vitamin shot. But that’s not the case with Dark Pools.

Continue reading »

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Jul 07

Wall Street is bracing for regional and small banks to fess up to large losses from their mounting volume of soured construction loans made primarily to home builders.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., $45.4 billion of the $631.8 billion in construction loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter were delinquent. When banks announce second-quarter results in coming weeks, they are expected to report sharp increases in loans that builders can’t repay. Banks are also facing intensifying pressure from federal and state regulators to deal with the problem loans on their books.

WHICH BANKS WILL FEEL THE PAIN?
See a sortable list of small and regional banks with sizable exposure to construction and land loans and with notable delinquency rates.

That will put additional pressure on an already stressed financial system. Banks have begun to dump bad construction and land loans at discounts, curtail new lending and halt construction projects that are under way to preserve capital. Some analysts even see a wave of bank failures as a possibility.

Continue reading »

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May 12

There is a time for food, and a time for ethical appraisals. This was the case even before Bertolt Brecht gave life to that expression in Die Driegroschen Oper. The time for a reasoned, coherent understanding for the growing food crisis is not just overdue, but seemingly past. Robert Zoellick of the World Bank, an organization often dedicated to flouting, rather than achieving its claimed goal of poverty reduction, stated the problem in Davos in January this year. ‘Hunger and malnutrition are the forgotten Millennium Development Goal.’

Global food prices have gone through the roof, terrifying the 3 billion or so people who live off less than $2 a day. This should terrify everybody else. In November, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization reported that food prices had suffered a 18 percent inflation in China, 13 percent in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10 percent or more in Latin America, Russia and India. The devil in the detail is even more distressing: a doubling in the price of wheat, a twenty percent increase in the price of rice, an increase by half in maize prices. Continue reading »

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May 09

The global free market for food and energy is facing its biggest threat in decades as a host of countries push through draconian measures to hold down prices, raising fears of a new “resource nationalism” that could endanger world food security.


Somali’s demonstrate against high food prices in the capital Mogadishu. At least two people were killed in clashes

India shocked the markets yesterday by suspending trading in futures contracts for a range of farm products in a bid to clamp down on alleged speculators and curb inflation, now running at 7.6pc.

The country’s Forward Markets Commission said contracts for soybean oil, chana (chickpeas), potatoes, and rubber had been banned for four months, even though a report by the Indian parliament last month concluded that soaring food costs had almost nothing to do with the futures contracts. Traders in Mumbai slammed the ban as an act of brazen political populism.

The move has been seen as a concession to India’s Communist MPs – key allies of premier Manmohan Singh – who want a full-fledged ban on futures trading in sugar, cooking oil, and grains.

As food and fuel riots spread across the world, a string of governments have resorted to steps that menace the free flow of food and key commodities. Argentina has banned beef exports, while Egypt and India have stopped shipments of rice.

Kazakhstan has prohibited wheat exports. Russia has slapped a 40pc export duty on shipments, and Pakistan a 35pc duty.

China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philipines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam have all imposed export controls or forms of rationing to ease the crisis.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that this lurch towards national controls is becoming a threat to the open global system we all take for granted. “If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others and affect political security around the world,” he said.

A new report by UBS says the scramble for scarce raw materials is turning ever more political, with ominous implications for ill-endowed societies that rely on imports.

“The bottom line is that countries with resources, particularly in food and energy are becoming more protective of these resources,” it said.

(I know I am repeating myself and I know that many are already well prepared. This is for the ones that are not:
Store food and water “NOW”. Do this in a relaxed manner because your brain shuts down when you are under stress and in survival mode. – The Infinite Unknown)

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Mar 19

As feared, foreign bond holders have begun to exercise a collective vote of no confidence in the devaluation policies of the US government. The Federal Reserve faces a potential veto of its rescue measures.

Asian, Mid East and European investors stood aside at last week’s auction of 10-year US Treasury notes. “It was a disaster,” said Ray Attrill from 4castweb. “We may be close to the point where the uglier consequences of benign neglect towards the currency are revealed.”

dollar.jpg

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Mar 15

March 13, 2008
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

March 12. Crude oil for April delivery hit $110 per barrel. The US dollar fell to a new low against the Euro. It now takes $1.55 to purchase one Euro.

These new highs against the dollar are the ongoing story of the collapse of the US dollar as world reserve currency and corresponding collapse of American power.

Each new decision from the insane Bush regime pushes the dollar a little further along to oblivion. The same Fed announcement that boosted the stock market on March 11 sent the dollar reeling and the price of oil up. The Fed’s announcement that it and other central banks are going to deal with the derivative crisis by monetizing $200 billion of the troubled instruments signaled more dollar inflation. Continue reading »

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Mar 14

The National Security Agency was once known for its skill in eavesdropping on the world’s telephone calls through radio dishes in out-of-the-way places like England’s Menwith Hill, Australia’s Pine Gap, and Washington state’s Yakima Training Center.

Today those massive installations, which listened in on phone conversations beamed over microwave links, are becoming something akin to relics of the Cold War. As more communications traffic travels through fiber links, and as e-mail and text messaging supplant phone calls, the spy agency that once intercepted telegrams is adapting yet again. Continue reading »

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