* WASHINGTON’S ROAD TO IRAN GOES THROUGH SYRIA
By Veronika Krasheninnikova, StopNATO
[…] The results of the Geneva talks on Syria depend on whom you ask.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insists that the principle of “mutual consent” on which a “transitional government” in Syria would be based means President Assad has to go. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the contrary, insists the formation of a “transitional government” will be made on an inclusive basis.
Before discussing what it means, let’s stop for a second to grasp the sheer fact: five foreign powers gathered to decide the fate of a country, in the absence of its leader and its people, who never asked them to do anything of the kind, let alone gave any mandate. This is an outrageous breach of international law. And what is even more outrageous is that nobody is concerned or even talking about it. […]
* ROZOFF: US TARGETING INDEPENDENT GOVERNMENTS
* WHY IS NOBODY FREAKING OUT ABOUT THE LIBOR BANKING SCANDAL
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
The LIBOR manipulation story has exploded into a major scandal overseas. The CEO of Barclays, Bob Diamond, has resigned in disgrace; his was the first of what will undoubtedly be many major banks to walk the regulatory plank for fixing the interbank exchange rate. The Labor party is demanding a sweeping criminal investigation. Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, responded the way a real public official should (i.e. not like Ben Bernanke), blasting the banks:
It is time to do something about the banking system…Many people in the banking industry are hardworking and feel badly let down by some of their colleagues and leaders. It goes to the culture and the structure of banks: the excessive compensation, the shoddy treatment of customers, the deceitful manipulation of a key interest rate, and today, news of yet another mis-selling scandal.
The furor is over revelations that Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and other banks were monkeying with at least $10 trillion in loans (The Wall Street Journal is calculating that that LIBOR affects $800 trillion worth of contracts). […]
* AND NOW THE FED GETS DRAGGED INTO LiEborgate
By Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge
As was first reported two days ago, and confirmed today, Barclays’ natural response to allegations it single-handedly manipulated the interest rate complex for up to $500 trillion notional in IR-sensitive swaps and other products (it didn’t – everyone else did it too), was to drag everyone into the scandal, starting off with the Bank of England (and about to drag Whitehall into it too), and specifically the man who was next in line for governorship of the English Central Bank: Paul Tucker. What does this mean? Well, as we suggested also two days ago, now that the natural succession path at the BOE has been terminally derailed, it brings up those two other gentlemen already brought up previously as potential future heads of the BOE, both of whom just happened to work, or still do, at… Goldman Sachs: Canada’s Mark Carney or Goldman’s Jim O’Neil. Granted both have denied press speculation they will replace Mervyn King, but it’s not like it would be the first time a banker lied to anyone now, would it (and makes one wonder if this whole affair was not merely orchestrated by the Squid from the get go… but no, that would be a ‘conspiracy theory’.) Yet the fact that Goldman is hell bent on global domination by stretching its tentacles into every monetary policy administration is no secret: it is only a matter of time before GS also runs the English CTRL-P macros. More interesting is that in addition to the BOE, Barclays today also dragged America’s very own Federal Reserve into the fray.
Barclays also said in the document that the lender believed other banks were making Libor submissions that were too low during the credit crunch. “The evidence shows that the intent was to protect Barclays from the unfounded negative perceptions by bringing Barclays Libor quotes closer to the pack but not to affect the ultimate rate,” the bank said.
Barclays also cited subsequent research by the New York Federal Reserve staff members that, according to the lender, concluded that banks’ Libor quotes were systematically below their borrowing rates by 39 basis points after the Lehman bankruptcy. “Barclays own submissions for tenors of 1 month to 1 year Libor were higher than actual Barclays trades on 97% of the occasions when Barclays had actual trades during the financial crisis,” the lender said.
Translating the bolded: the Fed knew all along that Barclays self-reported levels were impossible. And did nothing. Which of course was not an issue until 2 days ago. Now that heads are rolling, it is. […]
* JP MORGAN, BARCLAYS, OTHER BANKSTERS INVESTIGATED FOR MANIPULATED ELECTRICITY MARKETS
By Scarecrow, Firedoglake
The Financial Times reported yesterday that the Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FECR) was investigating a number of electric power marketing affiliates owned by major banks — including JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, Deutsche Bank AG, and others, on charges of manipulating electricity prices. Immediately, reporters starting wondering whether this is like Enron’s antics back in the early 2000s, which ripped off California consumers and decimated California’s flawed electricity markets. I don’t think it’s the same kind of schemes, but we need more information.
FERC is the federal regulator for electricity markets in the US, with jurisdiction over interstate transmission and the grid operations that include the regional power markets. The information is sketchy now, but the Staff alleges that the banks’ power traders were manipulating bids and possible generator operations to increase prices in at least two regional US electricity markets, California and the Midwest ISO region. Reuters, Bloomberg, HuffPo and others then picked up on the story without adding anything on how the alleged manipulation worked, so it’s still unclear exactly what they’re alleged to have done.
The question is, what were these bank-affiliated power traders doing? I’ll get to that in a minute, and it looks like the San Francisco Chronicle picked up a clue, perhaps without knowing it. […]
* IT’S NOT ME ANYMORE, IT’S US NOW
The Solidarity, Disobedience and Resistance movement take a practical approach to the problems people are facing. They close down motorway tolls, block ticket machines for public transport and reconnect electricity where it has been cut as punishment for not paying taxes.