World View: Pakistan's Taliban Threatens Terrorist Attacks on NATO Trucks

World View: Pakistan's Taliban Threatens Terrorist Attacks on NATO Trucks

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Fury at Barclays and Bob Diamond seems to grow
  • Excuses abound for Barclays and Bob Diamond
  • The world welcomes the reopening of Pakistan supply routes to Afghanistan
  • Pakistan’s Taliban threatens terrorist attacks on Nato trucks
  • Israel calls claims that it poisoned Yasser Arafat ‘baseless’
  • Commercial unmanned drones easily submit to terrorist hijacking

Fury at Barclays and Bob Diamond seems to grow

Bob Diamond, the former CEO of Barclays who received a £20 million salary last year and is still in line for multi-million pound bonuses, appeared before the British Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee and recived a stream of furious questions from MPs who obviously did not believe him. He dodged and weaved on questions, particularly on the question of whether the Bank of England had encouraged Barclays to manipulate interest rates in 2008, and then again on whether the Bank of England forced him to step down two days ago. He called all the MPs by their first names, which apparently really pissed them off. One Scottish MP, John Mann, said that he was receiving many angry e-mail messages from his constituents, and asked harshly:

“Can you remind me the three founding principles of the Quakers who founded Barclays?

[Pause] Honesty. Integrity. Plain dealing. That’s the ethos of the bank you’ve just spent two hours telling us is doing so well – in fact so well that I wonder why you’ve not received an extra bonus rather than the sack.

You’re the man in charge. But you’re accepting all the good things and the bonuses [and] the people working for you are fiddling the system, potentially going to prison… give me a suggestion of how you’re going to show contrition to those staff and customers who are wondering whether to take their money out of this rotten, thieving bank?”

Diamond remained stone-faced. He denied that he’d done anything wrong, and blamed other banks besides Barclays.

Another MP asked angrily whether Bob Diamond was complicit or incompetent. That question was left unanswered. Telegraph and Daily Mail and CNN

Excuses abound for Barclays and Bob Diamond

On Wednesday I watched an interview session on CNBC Europe, and listened to other analysts on BBC and elsewhere. It is astonishing how the mainframe media, with Gen-X anchors, were almost desperate to find a way to excuse this massive fraud.

The most vomit-worthy was the female who said that the people at Barclays knew that there was a financial crisis going on, and those good folks were just trying to save the world. There are two things wrong with this excuse. First, according to investigation, the interest fixing collusion began around 2005, during the middle of the huge credit and real estate bubbles, when there was no financial crisis. And second, even in 2008 the evidence shows that these good folks were simply lining their pockets, and couldn’t have cared less about saving the world.

I’ve previously expressed amazement that Barclays was being prosecuted at all, since Generation-X prosecutors in the Obama administration have adamantly refused to investigate and prosecute any of the banksters who caused the financial crisis, especially because these financial institutions provide astronomical campaign contributions to both parties. Some of the discussions I’ve heard have shed some light on this issue.

Barclays is, of course, a British bank, but the Brits were doing nothing to investigate the interest-fixing crimes, probably because Barclays contributed money to those politicians. In fact, this investigate was driven by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in Chicago, and later joined by the Department of Justice, and finally by the British Financial Services Authority.

I don’t know whether the obvious conclusion is true or not, but if it is true, then the irony is enormous: The Americans led the investigation and prosecution of Barclays because Washington had no financial gain from protecting them. Britain was pulled, kicking and screaming, into the investigation, and now the British politicians are doing everything possible to cover their own asses.

We can be fairly certain that the Brits will return the favor. The Brits will extend the investigation to Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. So this is far from over.

The world welcomes the reopening of Pakistan supply routes to Afghanistan

The Pakistan government’s decision to reopen Nato supply routes was welcomed on Wednesday by countries around the world, especially the West. China in particular in gushing with praise for the decision:

“We highly appreciate Pakistan’s position on NATO supply to Afghanistan. Pakistan has rendered great contribution and sacrifices in its efforts to combat terrorism. This courageous role is also acknowledged by the international community.”

He added that the Pakistan-China strategic partnership was based on the principle of mutual respect, and that any efforts to harm the relationship or create mistrust would be useless. Daily Times (Islamabad)

Pakistan’s Taliban threatens terrorist attacks on Nato trucks

The outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP – Pakistan Taliban) is threatening to launch terrorist attacks against Nato supply trucks that pass through Pakistan’s territory to Afghanistan. A TTP spokesman said he was “shocked to hear that Pakistan has opened the Nato supply lines,” and said that “We will not allow Pakistan’s routes to be used for the supply of lethal arms that could later be used against the people of Afghanistan.” I guess the Taliban wants to reserve the killing of innocent people to themselves. Times of India

Israel calls claims that it poisoned Yasser Arafat ‘baseless’

A nine-month investigation by scientists at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, found that Yasser Arafat’s personal belongs, his clothes, his toothbrush, his hat, contain elevated levels of polonium-210, leading to the suspicion that Arafat was poisoned when he died in 2004. Polonium-210 poisoning became famous in 2006, when it turned out that Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy, was poisoned. Since polonium is extremely rare and expensive, it was thought that only a government could have poisoned Litvinenko, and suspicion fell upon Russia, though that’s never been confirmed. Now Arafat’s body is going to be exhumed for a more extensive examination, and if polonium poisoning is confirmed, then suspicion will once again fall on a government, this time Israel. An Israeli official has called the suspicions “baseless.” Haaretz

Commercial unmanned drones easily submit to terrorist hijacking

A team of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys at the University of Texas at Austin’s Radionavigation Laboratory were able to hijack and take control of a standard commercially available unmanned drone, of a kind which are expected to be used commonly throughout the United States by 2015. The plans are for police, power companies, and even FedEx to be using thousands of these drones. The researchers showed that “GPS spoofing” equipment, costing about $1,000, could be used by a terrorist or a foreign enemy to take control of these drones and turn them into missiles. Military drones are not similarly vulnerable, because they use encrypted GPS signals. Fox News and PC Magazine