World View: Reports of an Israeli Drone Strike in Sinai Disputed by Egyptians

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Reports of an Israeli drone strike in Sinai disputed by Egyptians
  • Russia's Georgia invasion roils Azerbaijan-Armenia tensions
  • Dept. of Justice accuses Bank of America of securities fraud

Reports of an Israeli drone strike in Sinai disputed by Egyptians

Egyptian military tanks deployed in Sinai last month (AFP)
Egyptian military tanks deployed in Sinai last month (AFP)

One or two large explosions on Friday afternoon in the Sinai region of Egypt, near the borders of Gaza and Israel, killed four or five jihadist militants, and wiped out a jihadist radar installation, according to first reports. Egyptian sources were quoted as saying that the explosion was caused by a missile attack from an Israeli drone, launched with permission of the Egyptian army, as part of the increasingly close cooperation between the two armies against a common enemy. However, later in the day, an Egyptian army spokesperson stressed that there's no truth to media claims of an Israeli attack on Egyptian soil, nor to claims of Egyptian-Israeli coordination. Al Ahram (Cairo) and Jerusalem Post

Dept. of Justice accuses Bank of America of securities fraud

President Obama's Dept. of Justice has adamantly refused to investigate and prosecute the criminals who caused the financial crisis, which is far from over, with the result that no one has gone to jail for one of the greatest crimes in history. This week's decision by the Justice Dept. to charge Bank of America with securities fraud for knowingly selling billions of dollars in faulty mortgage-backed securities does not change that.

According to William K. Black, who was the senior regulator investigating the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s:

"Yes. So this, first, is a civil suit, not a criminal prosecution. And even in a civil suit, the Department of Justice has refused to sue any of the senior officers who, according to this complaint, became wealthy through leading this massive fraud by Bank of America. ...

The allegation of the nature of the fraud is that Bank of America knew that it was selling product that was often fraudulent and was--mortgage product that was often fraudulent and was in any event of very poor quality, and that it lied in its representations to Wachovia and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco in order to induce them and others to purchase the alleged best portion of this mortgage-backed security.

And there are some more interesting allegations along the way, interesting because I think the Department of Justice doesn't explain how--understand how embarrassing they are to the Department of Justice. So one of the allegations, for example, says that Bank of America, after it realized that one of its loan officers was working with a borrower to commit a fraud, fired the loan officer, made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. That loan officer, former loan officer, is under indictment; in other words, he's going to be criminally prosecuted; and that they still--they being Bank of America--still sold that loan under representations and warranties that it was a great long, even though they knew it was in fact a product of multiple frauds. And, of course, the loan blew up and caused substantial losses.

Now, of course, the question that everyone in the world except the Justice Department would ask is the complaint goes on to say that Bank of America employees came under intense pressure from senior officials at the Bank of America to deliberately make bad loans and to approve bad loans made by loan brokers, that they were specifically instructed that their job was not to find fraud, that their bonus packages depended on approving really crappy loans. And they got extra big bonuses if they exceeded their quotas. And the only way to do that was to approve all kinds of terrible loans."

In other words, the Justice Dept. is not prosecuting the real criminals in order to hide their own complicity in the criminal activities. And as I've pointed out in the past, these senior bank officials contributed enormous sums of money to Obama's reelection campaign, and are immune from prosecution.

There is massive corruption in Washington and on Wall Street and in the mainstream media. As Hannah Arendt documented in the early days of Nazi Germany, respectable people are actually gangsters, and gangsters are treated as respectable people. Reuters and Willam K. Black

Russia's Georgia invasion roils Azerbaijan-Armenia tensions

Nagorno-Karabakh (BBC)
Nagorno-Karabakh (BBC)

Azerbaijan is arming to the teeth. Armenia is growing increasingly disillusioned with Russia, its main protector. And the potential for armed conflict in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region appears higher than it has been in years. Many of the increased tensions throughout the Caucasus can be attributed to Russia's decisive victory in its 2008 5-day invasion of Georgia, in support of the separatist region of South Ossetia, for years a province a Georgia. As a result of that war, Russia's role as powerbroker in the region was undermined, according to an analyst:

"[The war] sent also a signal to other post-Soviet countries that Russia is willing to use force to implement its interests. It also undermined Russia's role, to some extent, as a player which has allies, maybe, in the region."

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a very bloody war that ended in 1994 with Armenia gaining control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in the middle of Azerbaijan. According to an Azerbaijani politician:

"The war between Russia and Georgia was, in reality, an aggression of Russia against independent Georgia -- there is no doubt. And it is a very dangerous action after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the Caucasus because it demonstrates that Russia is the same empire -- very aggressive to all peoples and to all small nations in the region."

Russia tried and failed to mediate between the two countries, but that attempt failed after the 2008 war. Today, Russia has largely reduced its role to that of the main arms supplier to both sides. RFERL


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