World View: Syria's Assad Gives Lengthy TV Interview to Prove He's Okay

World View: Syria's Assad Gives Lengthy TV Interview to Prove He's Okay

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad gives lengthy TV interview to prove he’s OK
  • Citibank settles investor lawsuit without admitting guilt
  • Germany stages major neo-Nazi crackdown North Rhine-Westphalia

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad gives lengthy TV interview to prove he’s OK

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has been rarely seen in public since the July 18 Damascus bombing that killed much of his innercircle. Rumors have been spreading that he was hurt in the bombing, or that hehas to hide out because he can no longer trust anyone not to beplanning to kill him. The interview was conducted on Syria’sprivately-owned Addounia television channel, and all the questionswere softball questions. But al-Assad looked relaxed andpresidential, without a care in the world as his army massacred Sunniwomen and children in their homes. Al-Jazeera and VOA

Citibank settles investor lawsuit without admitting guilt

Citigroup agreed to pay $590 million in cash to numerous investors wholost billions of dollars in Citi’s “CDO-related quasi-Ponzi scheme.”The investors in the class action suit acquired shares in Citibetween February 2007 and April 2008, and ended up losing almostall of their investment. Citi lost money because of fraudulentresidential mortgage backed collateralized debt obligations (RMB CDOs),synthetic securities based on subprime mortgages. Citithen lied to investors about them, saying that Citi wasn’tresponsible for them. Citi denies any wrongdoing, and no onewill go to jail, but will pay the settlement amount anyway, andexecutives will presumably continue to draw their multi-milliondollar salaries and bonuses, using the money they get bycharging customers 30% interest. 

It would be nice if a couple of Citi’s banksters went to jail. I knowthat I would feel better about the situation. As I wrote over two years ago, it is provable from circumstantial evidence thatbanksters purposely created trillions of dollars in fraudulentsynthetic securities, knowing that they were fraudulent, and then soldthem to investors and lied about it. This is criminal activity, butthe Obama justice department refuses to prosecute any bankstersbecause of the huge campaign contributions they deliver. It’sabsolutely incredible to me that the biggest bankster fraud in historyhas impoverished millions of people, and NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON isgoing to jail. Incredible! 

As far as I know, those RMB CDOs are still on the Citi’s books atnominal values, and when they finally explode, Citi’s shareholderswill lose a lot more money. But Citi wouldn’t be guilty of anythingafter 2008, because they were only doing as they were told. As I’vewritten many times, New York Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo spent several months in2008 helping the banks and “monoline” bond insurance companies tocollude to commit fraud, essentially by telling them to continue tolie to investors. Bloomberg and 2008 court document (PDF)

Germany stages major neo-Nazi crackdown North Rhine-Westphalia

More than 900 police officers raided homes and clubhouses of suspectedneo-Nazis in a crackdown on Thursday, seizing far-right propagandamaterial, computer hard drives and a wide variety of weapons. Thecrackdown in North Rhine-Westphalia comes amid a greater focusnationally on the far right in Germany. That was sparked by therevelation last year that a small group of neo-Nazis apparentlymanaged to kill nine minorities and a police officer over a seven-yearperiod while remaining off the radar of the country’s intelligenceservices. The German public is particularly concerned about neo-Naziviolence, as last weekend was the 20th anniversary of the violence atRostock, when hundreds of right-wing extremists and local thugs spentfour days in late August of 1992 throwing rocks and firebombs at abuilding used to house asylum-seekers. Thousands of others stood byand cheered on the attackers, shouting “foreigners out!” and otherhateful slogans. The orgy of xenophobia ended when rioters set aneighboring building on fire housing dozens of workers from Vietnamand their families. AP and Spiegel

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