World View: Tensions Escalate as Turkey's Army Masses on the Border with Syria

World View: Tensions Escalate as Turkey's Army Masses on the Border with Syria

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Tensions escalate as Turkey’s army masses on the border with Syria
  • Barclays Bank and the cockroach problem
  • UK Finance Minister speaks to House of Commons about Barclays
  • Euro crisis summit splits along north/south lines

Tensions escalate as Turkey’s army masses on the border with Syria

Turkey is sending troops, missile batteries and tanks to the border with Syria as a “security corridor,” after Syria shot down a Turkish warplane last Friday. Military vehicles loaded with army personnel also carry low-altitude air defense systems and anti-aircraft guns. In the past, Syrian helicopters and tanks have approached the border with Turkey and even briefly crossed over with no response except perhaps a protest. Now the rules of engagement have changed, and any Syrian military vehicle even pproaching Turkey’s border may meet with military force. Turkey denies that it’s planning an invasion of Syria, but this situation shows how quickly things can change and even spiral out of control. Telegraph and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Barclays Bank and the cockroach problem

The e-mail messages published in conjunction with the charges against Barclays Bank for market manipulation we reported yesterday show an incredible amount of arrogance and complete lack of ethics and immorality by banksters. This is what we’ve been saying for years, as we’ve repeatedly castigated the Generation-X culture of fraud and extortion. Those people who have been reading the web site for years, and have been following its advice, have saved themselves, their families, and their assets. You can look at all the financial bloggers, analysts, journalists and politicians, and none of them has told the truth as forcefully as my web site. The best you could get from anyone else was, “Unless President Bush/Obama does X, the country will be in trouble.” These were all ideological, political statements, with little relationship to reality. This is the only web site that has reported developments in a non-political non-ideological way and has turned out to be completely correct.

Unfortunately, nothing’s changed. We see the politicians in Europe lie every day. The reports on CNBC are so divorced from reality, they’re hardly on this planet any more. It used to be that when they lied about stock valuations, there was a least a slight pause or a question. But no more. They say any crap they want, with no relation to the truth.

The “cockroach problem” says it all. There was such massive fraud at Barclays, that there must have been a lot more. If you see one cockroach, then you know that you have a house full of cockroaches, and you know that there are a lot more cockroaches where you can’t see them.

We’ve written dozens of times about the continuing fraud by regulators and banksters, and about how the Obama administration adamantly refuses to investigate and charge banksters, even when the signs of fraud are perfectly obvious. Some people think that the Barclays fraud is something from the past, but as I’ve written many times, the fraud continues, and the financial crisis has barely begun.

Other banks are under suspicion for the same Libor fraud, and they’re going to be investigated by the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA). These include RBC, Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds, Rabobank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Norinchukin Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and West LB. Globe and Mail (Canada)

UK Finance Minister speaks to House of Commons about Barclays

I want to quote from the speech that Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne gave to the House of Commons on Thursday, because it contains a lot of useful information. Before I begin, let me point out sleazy even this speech is: Osborne tries to blame the Barclays fraud on the previous administration, when his administration is just as guilty. The occasional “[boos]” that appear in the transcript are times when the opposition boos him for being so sleazy. My transcription:

“Libor and eurobor are by far the most prevalent benchmark reference rates used in the euro US dollar and sterling interest rate derivative contracts. And the outstanding interest rate contracts alone are estimated to be worth 554 trillion US dollars. Yesterday the FSA published notice that Barclays had on numerous occasions acted inappropriately and breached principles 2, 3 and 5 of the FSA’s principles for businesses. As a result, the fsa have imposed a financial penalty of 59.5 million pounds on Barclays. …

Barclays are not alone in this. The FSA is continuing to investigate the conduct of a number of other banks in relation to Libor. The FSA is continuing to commit significant resources to its investigations into potential attempts to manipulate libor, and the FSA is continuing to work with its counterparts overseas, and with the other authorities in the UK.

Investigations concern a number of institutions, based both in the UK and overseas. But it’s already clear that the FSA’s investigation demonstrates systemic failures of the heart of the financial system at the time. I want to thank Adair Turner and the team at the FSA for a very thorough piece of work, but it begs three vital questions.

First, how were such failures allowed to continue undetected and unchecked, particularly in the two years before the financial crisis, when the FSA is clear that the most serious breaches occurred, and the only motive was greed? [boos]”

Osborned was booed because the failures continued at least until 2010, according to the FSA, and are certainly continuing to this day.

So how could these failures go “undetected and unchecked”? I was writing about them, and others with a lot more financial services experience than I have were writing about them. But in the Gen-X culture of fraud and extortion, the politicians and regulators were committing fraud and extortion themselves, so they had no motivation to go after others.

“Second, what changes are needed to our regulatory system in the future to prevent such abuse from occurring again, and to make sure the authorities have every power they need to hold those responsible fully to account.

And third, what further investigations are required into the activities at Barclays? What sanctions are available? And what questions must their chief executive answer.

First, the FSA report is a shocking indictment of the culture at banks like Barclays in the run-up to the financial crisis. The e-mail exchanges between derivative traders and the libor submitters read like an epitaph to an age of irresponsibility. [boos]

Through 2005, 2006, and early 2007, we see evidence of systematic greed at the expense of financial integrity and stability.

And they KNEW what they were doing. “Keep it a secret,” one trader tells another in February 2007. “If you breathe a word of this, I’m not telling you anything else.”

Once again, the FSA said that the crimes continued at least into 2010.

It’s really sleazy of Osborne to blame this on other people. I understand that Osborne was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer while all this criminal activity was going on. Did Osborne do anything to stop it, or to call it to anyone’s attention?

“Yet no one at Barclays prevents, and no in the tripartite regulatory knows anything about it, and the government of the day is literally clueless about what is going on. [boos]”

The government of today is also literally clueless.

But I wanted to quote this because of Osborne’s description of the culture at Barclays. This was not one or two bad apples, but an entire culture of fraud and extortion in the entire bankster community. And the worst is far from over. And if you listen to any politician, blogger, journalist or analyst who tells you otherwise, then you’re going to be in trouble.

Euro crisis summit splits along north/south lines

A serious split is developing among European leaders over whom to blame for the deteriorating eurozone financial situation. France’s President François Hollande is leading a rebellion and Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, threatening to turn the Thursday/Friday “save the euro” summit into a rout. Hollande, backed by Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti and Spain’s premier Mariano Rajoy, is demanding that the ECB “print money” and use it to purchase French, Spanish and Italian bonds. These moves are extremely unpopular with the German people, who believe that the French, Spanish and Italian people are profligate. Germany is not alone. Their position is supported by Finland and the Netherlands. Some+how, the eurozone leaders will have to come up with a formula that each leader can take home and use to claim victory. That way, they can kick the can down the road a while longer. Bloomberg