Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* THE LIBOR SWINDLE: SYSTEMATIC FINANCIAL RIGGING OF THE BENCHMARK GLOBAL INTEREST RATE
By Andre Damon, World Socialist Website
The latest sweetheart settlement with a major international bank, in this case involving criminal activities that financial regulators describe as “epic,” has once again lifted the lid on the cesspool of corruption otherwise known as the world financial system.
UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, admitted this week to systematically rigging the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), the benchmark global interest rate to which hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial contracts are tied. It did so to increase its profits and conceal its financial problems.
UBS’s actions defrauded hundreds of millions of people who pay interest on mortgages, credit cards, student loans and car loans, as well as institutional investors such as pension funds and state and local governments, and countless millions of retirees who rely for income on fixed investments. The term grand larceny does not begin to describe the scale of this plunder.
UBS has become, following the settlement with Barclays last June, the second bank to admit to being part of an international Libor-rigging operation and pay a modest fine in exchange for being let off without any serious repercussions. In both cases, no senior officials were charged and the banks themselves did not have to plead guilty to any crime. […]
[…] The bank regulatory agencies, loaded with former bank executives, facilitate the criminal activities of the banks rather than stopping or preventing them.
The global financial aristocracy can defraud, steal and plunder with impunity, knowing it will be protected by a thoroughly bribed political system that it dominates. The day-to-day functioning of the capitalist financial system has assumed the form of a criminal conspiracy against the people.
This is not a system that can be reformed. Its rampant criminality is not the result of “bad apples.” Illegality and corruption are intrinsic to the system itself. […]
* THE LIE THAT PROSECUTING BANK FRAUD WILL DESTABILIZE THE ECONOMY IS WHAT IS REALLY DESTROYING THE ECONOMY
Source: Washington’s Blog
The Departments of Justice and Treasury are pretending that criminally prosecuting criminal banksters will destabilize the economy.
The exact opposite is true.
Failing to prosecute criminal fraud has been destabilizing the economy since at least 2007 … and will cause huge crashes in the future.
After all, the main driver of economic growth is a strong rule of law.
Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t recover:
The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.
I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.
Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties. […]
* TORTURE, TORTURE EVERYWHERE
By Andy Worthington, Global Research
For those of us who have been arguing for years that senior officials and lawyers in the Bush administration must be held accountable for the torture program they introduced and used in their “war on terror,” last week was a very interesting week indeed. There were developments in Strasbourg, in London, and in Washington, D.C., that all pointed towards the impossibility of the torturers’ being able to escape accountability forever.
That may be wishful thinking, given the concerted efforts by officials in the United States and elsewhere to avoid having to answer for their crimes, and the ways in which, through legal arguments and backroom deals, they have suppressed all attempts to hold them accountable. However, despite that, it seems that maintaining absolute silence is impossible: last week one breakthrough took place when, unanimously, a 17-judge panel of the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Khaled El-Masri, a German used-car salesman of Lebanese origin. His is one of the most notorious cases of mistaken identity in the whole of the “war on terror.” See the summary here.
According to the Guardian‘s account, the court stated that “CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on” and “found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning [him].” It also noted, “It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.” […]
* KAYAPO DAMNED: BRAZIL GOVERNMENT OKs HYDRO PLANT, CONDEMNS 40,000 LIVES
By Andrew Beato, Inentious
The region is currently home to huge local communities, totalling 40,000 people, the majority of whom will be flooded out when water levels eventually eradicate 400,000 hectares of ancient forest and towns.
Despite this, and despite significant protest from the tribal communities in Western courts – no mean feat, mind you – approval was passed without the slightest resounding outcry from the world.
The Amazon region should belong to the world, as the Internet does, and the world should get pissed off at things threatening it just as if your local government signed papers that meant they could build a highway through your house whenever they felt like.
* GREECE: POLICE RAID VILLA AMALIAS: UPDATES
Source: From the Greek Street
At approximately 07:00 GMT+2 on December 20th, riot police raided the anarchist squat Villa Amalias in Athens. Eight people were detained inside the building — later on, they were all arrested and charged with felonies on ludicrous evidence. The building has been sealed off and is guarded 24/7 by riot police since. Sunday Dec 23 has been named a day of solidarity with those arrested in Villa and with the squat; follow all updates via our Villa Amalias raid tag; organise actions of solidarity where you live.
Ī Vílla Amalías katálīpsī tha meínei! Villa Amalias will remain a squat! […]
* MASS REVOLT IN SLOVENIA
The spark ignited revolt against the political-economic elite and the whole capitalist system
Slovenia is being shaken by the first massive revolt in two decades and the first that is predominantly oriented against political establishment, austerity measures and is in some cities already gaining anti-capitalist character.
In less than three weeks there have been 35 protests in 18 cities, where more then 70.000 people participated altogether. Protests often turn into clashes with police that is violently breaking up the demonstrations. 284 people were arrested, some released, some not. Many people have been injured.
It all started in the middle of November with people protesting against the corrupt mayor of second largest city in Slovenia, Maribor (he already resigned). They came up with the sort of slogan “He is finished” (Gotof je) that has later been alternated to address more or less every politician in the country. Protests spread throughout the country in only few days. They are becoming more and more the channel for the people to express the anger over the general conditions of the society: of having no jobs, security, rights, future.
Protests are decentralized, anti-authoritarian and non-hierarchical. People who never hit the streets before are participating in it. They are happening in villages and towns that never saw a single protest before. People are creating new alliances, becoming comrades in struggle and are determined to continue for as long as it takes. We do not know how long we will manage to stay on the streets. But one thing is for sure. People experienced the process of emancipation and gained voice that has been violently taken from them in the past. And this is something no one can take from them.
Below you can find the statement by the groups of Federation for anarchist organizing (FAO). […]