Bruce Wiseman Online Written by Bruce Wiseman
Friday, 21 August 2009 06:17
There will be a war. I’m certain of it.
No, not with Iran, though I’d like to introduce Mahmoud – I refuse to wear a neck tie under any circumstances – Ahmadinejad to a woman I met several years ago. She and her twin sister had been experimental subjects of Nazi madman, Dr. Joseph Mengle. Mengle had tried to change the color of their eyes with dye. The woman was blind. Her sister died at Auschwitz.
Mahmoud, who thinks the Holocaust was a hoax, forgot to pay his brain bill.
And they are a few clowns short of a circus in Pyongyang. Still, I don’t think the Chinese will let Kim Jon Il and his newly appointed secret police chief son, Kim Jon Un, drag the West into a military confrontation on the Korean peninsula. It’s a little too close to home and a Korean War II is not part of Beijing’s master plan. At least not yet.
No, this is a war brewing between two iconic American institutions that couldn’t be more different: the voice of America’s rock culture, Rolling Stone Magazine, and the country’s premier, Armani clad investment bank,Goldman Sachs.
Rolling Stone recently published an article called The Great American Bubble Machine, a masterful expose by Matt Taibbi revealing Goldman’s greed and corruption in the creation of several investment “bubbles” that have made the firm and its partners – the term “filthy rich” comes to mind – but that have been devastating to Americans and to the US economy.
I rarely use those two words together. I have no problem with people making money – barrels of the stuff. Boat loads. But this needs to be done with some sense of ethics. Some sense of morals. Some sense of responsibility toward one’s fellow man.
I was informed that Goldman is preparing a response. One wonders if the Wall Street veneer will crack: if they’ll come out with their pinstripes pressed or PR guns blazing trying to marginalize Taibbi.
As those of you who have followed my recent articles on the financial crisis know, I have pointed out the all too coincidental participation of Goldman executives in the creation of the financial crisis. Machiavelli himself would be proud of what has been nothing less than a coup d’etat of the planet’s financial systems. The Guys from Goldman have played their part.
While I have previously drawn attention to a few of the key figures, Taibbi has peeled the onion on several of the investment bank’s schemes and has also laid bare the army of Goldman alumni that have turned up at critical decision points in the universe of credit, investment and finance.
His orientation was such that he omitted a few that I will cover below. But the article is exhaustively researched and ties Goldman to everything from the Great Depression to speculation in oil futures before last year’s election that sent gas prices to $5.00 a gallon here in the land of many freeways. My focus, on the other hand, has been exposing the actual cause of the worldwide financial crisis. And our paths have crossed at a few key junctures.
Junctures that bring to mind the great Gordon Gekko – Michael Douglas’ character in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Preening in front of the Board of Directors and up and down the aisle among the shareholders of Teldar Paper, Douglas shares the philosophy of the successful investment banker as if handing down commandments from Mount Wall Street: “Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies and cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”
But is it more than greed? Are Goldman Sachs alumni part of a broader agenda that has not only lined their pockets with the spoils of corruption that Taibbi has exposed, but has also helped facilitate an international financial coup – a coup that has put the control of the planet’s financial affairs into the hands of small group of central bankers that hold secret meetings at what is nothing less than the Vatican of international finance – The Bank for International Settlements located in Basel, Switzerland?
If you’ve had a suspicion that bankers are running Washington, then hang on to your Calvins because while it starts in DC, this story is global in reach and is rolling out before your eyes – if you are willing to look.
I could start this part of the story with Henry Fowler, who, after serving as the 35th Secretary of the Treasury, in 1969 became a partner at Goldman after leaving office. But that’s not how things worked in the nineties and beyond. Oh no. The current sequence is very different.
Pictures of Robert Rubin always remind me of the cartoon character, Droopy. He seems to be in a perpetual state of sad worry. Hard to know what he’s worried about, having received $50 million in compensation from his last employer (CitiBank). Perhaps it’s because the financial website Marketwatch recently named him as one of the “10 most unethical people in business.”
More to the point of our story, having served 26 years with Goldman Sachs, ascending to the position of Co-Chairman, Rubin came to Washington with the Clinton Administration, as the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Bill must have dug the Wall Street touch, because in January of 1995, he appointed Rubin the 70th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.
This could be called the start of the modern era of what the New York Times has referred to as the modern era of Government Sachs.
The hallmark of Rubin’s years in Washington was deregulation – specifically, deregulation of the financial industry. Turn the financial industry loose. Let the big dogs eat. Let them earn. They have Porsche payments to make.
Working with Greenspan, he kept interest rates implausibly low and ensured that regulatory safeguards were gunned down like victims in an LA drive-by shooting. The Glass-Steagall Act is a prime example. A piece of depression era legislation that kept investment banks and commercial banks from committing fiscal incest, it was repealed – charged with being out of touch with the global financial structure.
What it was out of touch with was an agenda to open the floodgates to unbridled speculation by banks that set the industry up for a financial Hiroshima.
It takes a great deal of power and influence to get a federal law repealed in this country – especially one that has served the country well for 70 years. But Rubin, with a little help from his friends – Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan – got it done.
These and other similar actions helped pave the way for an economic crisis that would soon engulf the entire planet.
“The housing bubble has burst. The financial services industry is a ward of the state. Insurance companies and automakers are tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. Consumer credit is drying up along with consumer confidence. Banks have stopped lending money, and big corporations have started laying workers off. The stock market is at a five-year low. But amid the greatest financial panic since the Great Depression, the market for one asset stubbornly resists correction: the immaculate reputation of Robert Rubin, former treasury secretary and pre-eminent economic wise man of the Democratic Party.….
But the financial deregulation that allowed markets to boil over began well before President George W. Bush took office. Three decisions relevant to the market meltdown…can be attributed to Rubin.” By Timothy Noah, Robert Rubin’s Free Ride. www.Slate.com
Let’s set aside for the moment that when Rubin was Co-Chairman of Goldman, the firm underwrote billions of dollars in bonds for the Mexican government. When the Mexican Peso tanked a few years later, Rubin, as Secretary of the Treasury arranged a multi-billion dollar taxpayer bailout which, according to reports, saved Goldman a cool $4 billion. Kind of a dress rehearsal for Hank Paulson’s trillion dollar raid on the US Treasury which channeled tens of billions into the womb from which he came – Mother Goldman. But we’ll get to that.
Rubin did more than pave the road to a financial Armageddon with Maestro Greenspan. His spawn have helped ensure that the crisis came off as planned and that it was solved with the creation of a global financial dictator, who – prepare to be shocked – is also a Goldman alum. But, again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
At Treasury, Rubin groomed two protégés that helped craft the multi-trillion dollar financial bailout and that are today in charge of US financial policy: Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner.
Summers, though not a formal Goldman alum, is a fully certified Rubin-deregulation clone. He was the Chief Economist for the World Bank in the early 90s and later served as Rubin’s Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. When the Rubin left, Summers took full control of Treasury for the last year and a half of the Clinton administration. Today, Summers is the Director of the National Economic Council, which means he is in the commanding position of being the senior advisor to President Obama on domestic and international economic policy.
Geithner, like Summers, worked for Rubin at Treasury during the Clinton administration and was a Rubin favorite. He stayed on during Summers’ tenure and then snagged the powerful presidency of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. It was Rubin who got Geithner the gig at the New York Fed and it was Rubin who hooked him up with Obama, who appointed him as his Secretary of the Treasury.
In case there is any doubt about Geithner’s loyalties, it is widely known on Wall Street and inside the Beltway, that Goldman filed adoption papers on him years ago.
In an interview on July 3rd, 2009 the Former US Assistant Secretary Of The Treasury, Dr. Paul Craig, was asked “Does the US Secretary of the Treasury work for the people or does he work for the banking system on Wall Street?” to which he replied “Geithner works for Goldman Sachs.”
So, for those who thought that Rubin had left the stage of US economic policy, think again. Because not only has Rubin himself been named as an advisor to President Obama, but another of his groupies, Christina Romer has been named as the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.
Even today then, Goldman’s former Co-Chairman is advising Obama behind the scenes and his acolytes are in charge of the US Treasury (Geithner), the White House Council of Economic Advisors and the National Economic Council. (The White House Council of Economic Advisors is made up of academicians who provide the President with economic statistics and other information on domestic and international financial matters [Romer]. The National Economic Council brings together key administration players and agency heads to coordinate and see to the implementation of the administration’s economic policy. The Chairman [Summers] is the President’s senior economic advisor. )
You’d think with this crew in place, Goldman would have had the White House covered. But Obama apparently went for their two-for-one sale. In addition to Rubin, another former Goldman Chairman, the controversial Jon Corzine, has been a top Obama economic advisor. In fact he was on the short list to become Secretary of the Treasury. But Rubin ruled and Geithner got the gig.
Given that Goldman employees gave more money to Obama ($994,000) than any other commercial enterprise in the United States, and that the White House is awash in Goldmanites, it is no surprise that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is viewed as one of the bank’s more important operating divisions.
Even with the White House under control, Geithner beefed up his G-man staff at Treasury. He named yet another Goldmanite as his Chief of Staff. Mark Patterson was selected to help him run the government’s financial circus. Patterson gave up his plum position as the Vice President for Government Relations at Goldman -meaning he was the investment bank’s chief Lobbyist – to become the number two man at Treasury.
I know, I know. Obama said no lobbyists in his administration, but well, Mark is family. Sort of a fiscal fraternity brother – Alpha Delta Goldman.
But before Obama was Bush. And with oh-so-propitious timing, before the news of the financial crisis began to go mainline in 2007, a new Goldman CEO descended from his throne on Wall Street to come to Washington and help his government manage the nation’s financial affairs.
We love you, Hank.
Viewed from the boardrooms of Wall Street, Henry Paulson’s blitzkrieg of the nation’s capital was nothing short of stunning: A George Patton in pinstripes – except Patton was fighting a real enemy, not one that he, himself, had created.
LIAR, LIAR PANTS ON FIRE
At first, he used PR spin to calm the multitudes. As the crisis began to unravel, in August, 2007 Paulson assured the American people that the subprime mortgage problems were nothing to be concerned about, that they would remain contained due to the strong global economy.
Reuters – U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Wednesday that the market impact of the U.S. subprime mortgage fallout is largely contained and that the global economy is as strong as it has been in decades.
The stock market peaked two months later followed by a crash that wiped out trillions.
In July of 2008, after the fall of Indymac bank, Paulson told the public that the banking system was safe and sound and that the situation was very “manageable.” Twenty-five banks failed in 2008. Sixty-four have gone under in the first six and a half months of 2009. Another 309 are now listed as “problem banks.”
In fact, according to FDIC Chairman, Shelia Bair, in March, 2009, unless the FDIC gets more revenue, they themselves are going to be broke.
“Without additional revenue beyond the regular assessments, current projections indicate that the fund balance will approach zero.”
In a television interview on Meet The Press on August 10, 2008, Paulson stated that he would not be putting any capital into Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Three weeks later, he took them over and committed $200 billion in bailout funds. $60 billion has already been spent.
When I was growing up, we’d call this kind of guy a “bullshit artist.” But that didn’t stop him from staging a raid on the US Treasury in broad daylight that would have made Dillinger weep with envy. This, while Congress – a Democratic Congress at that – stood around with their thumbs up their butts.
Perhaps nothing so demonstrated this scam as the government bailout of American International Group (AIG), the country’s largest insurance company. On September 16th, Paulson coughed up $85 billion of your tax dollars to take control of AIG. The $85 billion loan got the government 80% ownership of the insurance giant. Just what I always wanted from my government, a bankrupt insurance company.
It turns out the $85 billion wasn’t enough. AIG has continued to hemorrhage losses and Uncle has now poured a total of $182 billion into the insurance company.
Jefferson and Adams weep.
Sticky constitutional issues aside, many have found it more than curious that when the government granted the loan, AIG turned right around and paid it out to the investment banks to which it owed money. The bank that got the largest payout was… of course, Goldman Sachs – a cool $13 billion. The money simply passed from your paycheck to the US Treasury, from the Treasury to AIG and from AIG to Goldman (and other banks).
Of course, Paulson didn’t provide the loan without ensuring that Goldman and fellow banksters would be repaid in full. No, no. He made sure the transfers would occur without any objection from AIG or unseemly negotiations with the banks. To do this, he tapped Goldman Sachs board member, Ed Liddy to be the new CEO of AIG.
The goodhearted Mr. Liddy took the gig for a dollar a year in salary from AIG. But he held on to his $3 million in Goldman stock.
Goldman made billions from AIG earlier as well. AIG didn’t know this. Neither did Goldman’s clients. You see, despite the fact that they had collected enormous fees selling financial products which were “insured” by AIG, Goldman simultaneously sold AIG short. You get this? On the one hand, they sold financial instruments to their clients, which carried high investment ratings because AIG insured the buyer against loss. At the same time, they made investment “bets” for their own account against AIG. Estimates are that they made $4.7 billion betting against AIG while selling the AIG guaranteed products to their clients.
“Greed clarifies and cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” – Gordon Gekko.
AIG behind him, Hammering Hank marched on.
He had worked out strategies to have Bear Stearns purchased by JP Morgan in March of ’08 and had committed $200 billion to rescue Freddie and Fannie in early September, but when Goldman’s chief rival, Lehman Brothers, began to waver in mid Summer, he turned a blind eye. Lehman went bankrupt and sent the already declining stock market into a colossal rout. The next day, he helped arrange an $85 billion bailout for AIG.
Following Lehman’s collapse, Goldman and Morgan Stanley were the only remaining pure investment banks left on Wall Street.
Congress was next.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have nothing on Paulson and his lap dog Bernanke’s assault on Congress. With threats of riots and martial law as they fear-mongered the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through the House and Senate – winding up with a cool trillion dollars to “save” the banks.
Congresses’ actions remind me of a bad Godzilla movie with masses of panicked Japanese citizens fleeing the fire-breathing monster who is lumbering through the city toppling buildings and devouring cars.
The legislation drafted by our elected officials sounds like something issued to Stalin by the Politburo. They granted Paulson complete dictatorial powers over the bailout money. The TARP read in part:
“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”
Calling the multi-billion dollar bailout a “stimulus” program is but a cruel joke. This was nothing more complicated than a coup – a transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars from American taxpayers into the Armani clad arms of major Wall Street banks.
You won’t be surprised to learn, I’m sure, that Goldman Sachs got a cool $10 billion of TARP funds. And if you followed the billions pouring from your paychecks to Wall Street, you might remember that Bank of America at first received $25 billion. Then, in the midst of the chaos, they agreed to purchase Merrill Lynch. As it turned out, however, Merrill’s losses were $15 billion more than B of A had expected. This was due in part to $4 billion in bonuses paid out by Merrill’s CEO, John Thain, who pushed the bonuses through his books just before the Bank of America deal closed.
Bank of America was taken by surprise by the losses and the purchase of Merrill Lynch started to go shaky to which Comrade Paulson coughed up another $20 billion of your tax dollars.
You guys are so cool bailing out these banks. I mean it. It brings tears to my eyes.
Oh, I should mention that John Thain, the guy who pushed through the last minute billions in bonuses, had been the President and Co-chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs before becoming the President of Merrill Lynch.
ROBERT K STEEL
TREASURY TO WACHOVIA
Another Goldman alum to drive his bank headlong into the merger- mania chaos of the financial crisis was Robert Steel. Steel had worked with Paulson at Goldman for 30 years and eventually rose to the position of Vice Chairman of the firm.
He followed Paulson to the US Treasury in 2006 and became his top financial policy adviser. In July of 2008, he left the government and became the CEO of Wachovia bank, the sixth largest bank in the country.
How did he wind up at Wachovia? Three weeks earlier, Wachovia – who had paid Goldman Sachs $77 million in fees for financial advice – also sought their assistance in finding a new CEO.
Steel was the man. Three short months later, Steel struck a deal with Citibank to buy Wachovia – a deal that required hundreds of billions in loan guarantees from the government. Then he changed his mind and sold Wachovia to Wells Fargo without the government involved and became a member of the Wells Fargo Board of Directors.
According to Taibbi’s article:
“…Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing.”
Other articles claim that Steel himself did not take a bonus.
Regardless, you have Goldman getting millions in fees to advise Wachovia on, among other things, the selection of a new CEO, who, it turns out is a former Goldman Vice Chairman. Nothing illegal about it, but the financial incest begins to smell pornographic.
TARP FRONT MAN
Paulson is nothing if not thorough. While he ultimately called the shots, he brought in someone else to oversee the allocation of the TARP funds and take the Congressional heat. This was thirty-five year old Goldman Vice President, Neel Kashkari who, as the head of the Office of Financial Stability at Treasury, was in control of the $700 billion in bailout funds. It was Kashkari who had to testify about the TARP to Congress – a hot seat whose temperature started to soar shortly after Paulson’s scam began to dawn on the legislators.
There were others. In fact, Paulson brought so many former Goldman executives to Treasury the New York Times noted the
“…appearance that the Treasury Department has become a de facto Goldman division.”
- Reuben Jeffrey, a former Managing Partner of Goldman’s European Financial Institutions Group in London;
- Dan Jester, a former Goldman Vice President;
- Steve Shafran, a long time Paulson associate at Goldman;
- Kendrick Wilson III, a Managing Partner at Goldman in the Financial Institutions Group; and
- Edward Forst, a former Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Goldman
Current or veteran Goldman executives all, they worked on everything from the bailout of Fannie and Freddie to the capital restructuring of the nation’s banks.
All of which makes Andy Borowitz’s article in the Huffington Post this month all the more understandable. The lead reads:
In what some on Wall Street are calling the biggest blockbuster deal in the history of the financial sector, Goldman Sachs confirmed today that it was in talks to acquire the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
No surprise that the first two people I showed the article to thought it was real.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Paulson and his Goldman gladiators also had air cover from the White House. George Bush’s Chief of Staff during the bailout blizzard was none other than Josh Bolton. Bolton had become Chief of Staff in April of 2006 and is credited with persuading the President to recruit Paulson as the Treasury Secretary.
No surprise since Bolton had been the Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs for Goldman Sachs International before joining the Bush 2000 presidential campaign.
Powerful friends. Powerful places.
But the Goldman virus has not been confined to the White House and the Treasury, not by a long shot.
THE DERIVATIVES BOOM
The acknowledged boogie-man of the world’s financial crisis were mortgages, many of which were sub-prime, packaged up into investment products called mortgage backed securities – also called derivatives because the package, the security, derived its value from the underlying mortgages. There is much more to this story (See: The Financial Crisis: A Look Behind the Wizard’s Curtain) but the point here is that these mortgages were a critical component to the crisis.
For reasons we detail in a follow up article, The Financial Crisis: The Hidden Beginning, the explosive growth of these products was due in large part to the fact that the securities carried a AAA investment grade rating. That rating was granted because Goldman Sachs and other banks were able to purchase what was essentially credit insurance for the investment. In other words, if the investment went bad, it was “insured” against loss.
This kind of protection was called a credit default swap. Though “swaps” looked like insurance and acted like insurance, they were remarkably adjudicated not to be so, thus eliminating the need for the “insurer” to hold reserves against possible losses. This opened the door to a torrent of speculation in the derivatives.
Let Matt Taibbi tell it.
“AIG, a major purveyor of default swaps, approached the New York State Insurance Department in 2000 and asked whether default swaps would be regulated as insurance. At the time, the office was run by one Neil Levin, a former Goldman vice president, who decided against regulating the swaps. Now freed to underwrite as many housing-based securities and buy as much credit-default protection as it wanted, Goldman went berserk with lending lust. By the peak of the housing boom in 2006, Goldman was underwriting $76.5 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities – a third of which were subprime – much of it to institutional investors like pensions and insurance companies.”
THE COMMODITIES EXCHANGE
But not to worry. We’re protected now. The regulation of many derivatives and other exotic financial instruments – the $5 trillion dollar commodity futures industry (gold, silver, oil, treasury bills, corn, cotton, sugar, etc.) – has recently been delegated by President Obama to Gary Gensler.
Gensler was confirmed as the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in May, but it took a little arm twisting. Some members of Congress had misgivings.
You see, back in 2000, when he was at Treasury, Gensler advocated legislation, which eventually passed exempting – credit default swaps and some other derivatives from regulation.
Still, it’s hard to argue with his understanding of derivatives. He spent 18 years at Goldman Sachs, the most aggressive derivative trader on Wall Street, where he became a Partner. He subsequently went to the Treasury Department where he pushed for the deregulation of the industry. Now President Obama has put him in charge of it.
Change we can believe in…
THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE
Goldman alumni not only control the commodities markets, but the major stock markets of the world, as well. In May of 2007, the grand daddy of stock markets, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), bought Euronext (a pan-European stock exchange with subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom) which, now branded as NYSE Euronext, operates the largest securities exchange on the planet.
To run the show, the newly combined entity brought in Duncan Niederauer and appointed him Chief Executive Officer. Niederauer had been a Partner and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs before joining NYSE Euronext.
THE NEW YORK FED
The Federal Reserve System controls the country’s money supply. Nice gig if you can get it. It is made up of a Board of Governors (7) appointed by the President for 14 year terms, and 12 Federal Reserve Banks around the country. The New York Fed is a first among equals. An institution of awesome power, it supervises and controls the major money center banks in New York, the capital of the US financial industry.
The New York Fed worked closely with Treasury Secretary Paulson on numerous aspects of the bailout during the chaos of the financial meltdown in the Fall and Winter of ’08.
Much of this work was carried out by Timothy Geithner, then President of the New York Fed until Rubin helped get him the job as the Secretary of the Treasury. The Chairman of the New York Fed at this time was Stephen Friedman. He picked up the reins when Geithner left while looking for a replacement.
Friedman was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and later Chairman at Goldman. He’d left Goldman in 2002 to oversee economic policy in the Bush White House as the Chairman of the National Economic Council. Later, Bush appointed him to the Chairmanship of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
In 2004, he returned to New York and the Chairmanship of the Fed. He also returned to Goldman to become its Chairman while he was also the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
To replace Geithner as President of the NY Fed, Friedman selected William Dudley. Dudley had been a Partner and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs for ten years prior to the Fed appointment.
Incest doesn’t begin to say it.
From the White House to Treasury; from the New York Fed to AIG; from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to the New York Stock Exchange, Goldman is there.
THE WORLD BANK AND INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
But it doesn’t stop at our shores. It’s a global economy today, which requires global control.
The World Bank was founded in 1945 to help with the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War. Over the years, their mission changed.
Today they claim that their purpose is to eliminate world poverty. Kind of a pin-striped Mother Theresa for the planet. Unfortunately, this is at odds with what they actually do. If they were achieving their aims, the countries that they worked with would be prospering. But the reverse is true. In fact, an objective view of the results of the bank’s activities leads one to the inescapable conclusion that what the World Bank produces is indebted nations.
In their beneficence, the World Bank makes loans to third world countries, countries that can’t borrow elsewhere. The loans carry conditions that dictate domestic policy “adjustments” in health, education, tax policy, judicial matters, agriculture, manufacturing….
You get the picture. The Bank and its sister organization, The International Monetary Fund, have about ¾ of the planet in debt like this.
Medieval doctors always prescribed the same “cure”; no matter what the ailment, they applied leeches to patients and bled them. For the past decade and a half, critics have likened the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to these doctors.
The two institutions have thrown millions of people deeper into poverty by promoting the same harsh economic reforms… regardless of local culture, resources or economic context. Strapped with heavy debts, most developing countries have reluctantly accepted these reforms, know as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPS), as a condition for receiving IMF or World Bank loans.
In recent years, the doctors’ harsh medicine has been exposed in dozens of studies and in increasingly vocal street protests. In response, the World Bank and the IMF have been attempting to revamp their public image into that of anti-poverty crusaders.
The President of the World Bank is Robert Zoellick. In this position, Zoellick walks in the shoes of great Humanitarians like uber-Neocon Paul Wolfowitz, “Architect of the Iraq War”, and Robert McNamara, the Johnny Appleseed of Agent Orange.
Zoellick is in charge of spreading loans around the world to eliminate poverty, not unlike McNamara’s blanketing of South East Asia with Agent Orange to stop Communism. Both agendas produce the same results – toxicity, and in some cases, death – of the corporal body or the body politic.
Prior to joining the World Bank, Zoellick served as Vice Chairman, International, of the Goldman Sachs Group.
You gotta love these guys.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (whose most powerful Board member is our very own Timothy Geithner) are the key tacticians in ensuring that the planet’s smaller economies remain deeply in debt. But they are no longer at the apex of international finance today.
As I have made clear in our earlier articles, the purpose of this financial crisis was to take down the United States and the U.S. dollar as the stable datum of planetary finance and, in the midst of the resulting confusion, put in its place a Global Monetary Authority—a planetary financial control organization to “ensure this never happens again.”
This purpose has now been accomplished.
To explain how, I quote from an article I wrote on this subject a few weeks ago.
THE FINANCIAL STABILITY BOARD
On April 2, 2009, the members of the G-20 (a loose-knit organization of the central bankers and finance ministers of the 20 major industrialized nations) issued a communiqué that gave birth to what is no less than Big Brother in a three-piece suit.
The communiqué announced the creation of the all too Soviet sounding Financial Stability Board (FSB).The Financial Stability Board. Remember that name well, because they now have control of the planet’s finances… and, when one peels the onion of the communiqué, control of much, much more.
THE 12 INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND CODES
While several press releases from the G-20’s London conclave reference these codes as though they were handed down from a fiscal Mount Sinai, finding the specifics takes some digging.
But then the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), out of which the FSB operates, has never seen transparency as one of its core values. In fact, given its fascist pedigree, transparency hasn’t been a value at all. Known as Hitler’s bank, the Bank for International Settlements worked arm in arm with the Nazis, facilitating the transfer of gold from Nazi-occupied countries to the Reichsbank, and kept their lines open to the international financial community during the Second World War.
The BIS is completely above the law.
It is like a sovereign state. Its personnel have diplomatic immunity for their persons and papers. No taxes are levied on the bank or the personnel’s salaries. The grounds are sovereign, as are the buildings and offices. The Swiss government has no legal jurisdiction over the bank and no government agency or authority has oversight over its operations.
In a 2003 article titled “Controlling the World’s Monetary System the Bank for International Settlements,” Joan Veon wrote:
“The BIS is where all of the world’s central banks meet to analyze the global economy and determine what course of action they will take next to put more money in their pockets, since they control the amount of money in circulation and how much interest they are going to charge governments and banks for borrowing from them. . . .
“When you understand that the BIS pulls the strings of the world’s monetary system, you then understand that they have the ability to create a financial boom or bust in a country. If that country is not doing what the money lenders want, then all they have to do is sell its currency.”
And if you don’t find that troubling, the “Key International Standards and Codes” just adopted by the Financial Stability Board cover such things as:
• specification of the structure and functions of government;(!)
• data gathering from ministries of education, health, finance and other agencies;
• matters dealing with personal savings accounts, retirement incomes.
Here’s an example of the FSB in action from an article written by former Clinton advisor and political strategist Dick Morris for The Bulletin on April 6, 2009.
“The FSB is also charged with ‘implementing . . . tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms.’
“That means that the FSB will regulate how much executives are to be paid and will enforce its idea of corporate social responsibility at ‘all firms.’”
Almost no one on the planet has grasped what has occurred here.
Most central banks are answerable to no one. The U.S. Federal Reserve, for instance, is a private bank. It is owned by shareholders. Yes, the President appoints the Chairman, and the Chairman must testify before Congress, but no one gives them orders or tells them what to do. Again, they are a private, not government, institution (a very good reason to support Ron Paul’s bill [H.R. 1207] calling for Congressional authority to audit the Fed – something they currently have no right to do.)
And it is the newly created Financial Stability Board, operating as an arm of the Bank for International Settlements, that now structures and dictates the rules and regulations to be carried out by the central banks of the world.
And given the fact that central banks essentially operate independently of their national congresses or parliaments, the FSB now controls the monetary policy of the planet.
It is now, for all practical purposes, the Politburo of international finance. And who is the Chairman of this little known entity based in Basel, Switzerland? Mario Draghi. Draghi was a Partner at Goldman Sachs, until, like Henry Paulson, he left Goldman in 2006. Paulson took over the U.S. Treasury and Draghi become the Governor of the Bank of Italy (Italy’s central bank) and in April of this year, Chairman of the Financial Stability Board.
Draghi is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. In fact, the BIS board reads like a Goldman reunion committee. Mark Carney, had a thirteen year career with Goldman Sachs where he became the Managing Director of Investment Banking before becoming the Governor of the Bank of Canada and a member of the BIS Board.
William Dudley, President of the New York Fed and former Partner at Goldman Sachs is also a member of the Board, along with Draghi.
And there, you have it. Complete financial control of U.S. financial policy and markets, from the White House, Treasury, the New York Fed and the New York Stock Exchange and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Control of the World Bank, most powerful member of the International Monetary Fund and, at the top of the fiscal food chain, the Bank for International Settlements and its Financial Stability Board.
This is my fourth article in a series about the financial crisis. Despite our exposure of what some commentators have called Goldman’s economic terrorism, it is important to understand that they are but a part – soldiers in pin-stripes – of a more basic agenda, which is nearly complete at this point.
This agenda is set forth in my previous articles – A Peek Behind The Wizard’s Curtain, Hitler’s Bank Goes Global and The Hidden Beginning – which can be found at www.brucewiseman.com.
But “nearly complete” is not a fait accompli. And so I am providing you here with the link to “Hitler’s Bank goes Global,” the closing paragraphs of which set out specific actions to take to help bring this situation under control.
Goldman is like a Rottweiler on a leash. The key is bringing the handler, the Bank for International Settlements, under control.
- Can a New Mouthpiece Make Goldman Sachs Less Evil? (fool.com)
- Matt Taibbi: The ‘Squidding’ of Goldman Sachs (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Two Year Reminder For The Fed: How Is That Investigation Into Goldman’s Greek Currency Swaps Going? (zerohedge.com)
- Goldman’s M&A Head for Northern Europe to Exit (blogs.wsj.com)
- Rolling Stone expose: Goldman Sachs behind every market crash since 1920s (colonel6.com)
- As reforms bite, Goldman Sachs feels the pinch (theglobeandmail.com)
- The Long Life of the Vampire Squid Metaphor (dealbook.nytimes.com)