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Found 12 results

  1. Integrity: Fact teams follow the movement of money senior government officials Political Since 03.04.2017 at 13:00 (Baghdad time) Baghdad balances News Integrity Commission revealed on Saturday that the prevention of the Department of Investigation of the teams followed the movement of senior government officials and monitor the funds expected to bribery in some cases governmental institutions. She Prevention Department of the Authority in a statement received / balances News / copy of it, it was "carried out in one month (135) a visit to a group government and private banks and the board of the Securities and the General Directorate of Traffic and the Registrar of Companies and public body was for taxes and Baghdad Chamber of Commerce and the Iraqi market for securities to match the installed information the disclosure of financial accounts provided to them by government officials charged with the duty of disclosure forms for their financial interests, "indicating that" the number of taxpayers who have been research and investigation and matching their assets amounted to (500) is expensive. " The circle to "do its teams to (30) visit to government agencies included the office of the Inspector General in the Ministries of Education, Interior and directorates general of passports public statements in sub-Kadhimiya and Adhamiya national card and conditions of New Baghdad, Sadr City, in addition to the directorates of education Karkh first, second and third, and equipment Karkh and breeding Rusafa first, second and civil education and vocational education. " Circle Amnesty said it was "carried out the anti-bribery teams of the Department of Prevention during the same period (24) field visit included some of the ministries of health and finance departments, labor and social affairs." The Integrity Commission has launched a page on its official spokesman (I'm an inspector) and called on all citizens, who have evidence and proof and documents available have about the existence of inflation is normal in other resources than doubted he enters the door of graft or exploit the career office, to report it across the page ( I inspector) the requirement to be unsubstantiated and the evidence (as possible) and to be a far cry from attempts miscarriage personal and targeting hopes of whistleblower Ajtnabhma. It is noteworthy that the Commission had referred the seven files from senior officials last year to eliminate the pretext of inflated money and graft was the most prominent deputies of the three Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and water resources, as well as the Mayor of Baghdad and former director of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Office Alsabak.anthy 29 / D 24
  2. God bless the patriot who let this cat out of the bag ... https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-26/dutch-regulator-accidentally-posted-soros-s-short-positions Dutch Regulator Accidentally Posts Soros’s Short Positions by Ellen Proper and Colin McClelland January 26, 2017, 2:18 AM EST January 26, 2017, 8:12 AM EST Bets against stocks were revealed briefly on AFM’s website ‘Human error’ blamed for publication of positions back to 2012 George Soros Some of hedge fund billionaire George Soros’s short positions dating back to 2012 were published on the Dutch financial market regulator’s website this week due to “human error,” according to the regulator AFM. The short positions, bets on a stock declining, were “between 0.2 percent and 0.5 percent,” of shares outstanding in the companies shorted, AFM spokesman Ward Snijders said by phone on Thursday. The Dutch regulator publishes shorts of 0.5 percent or higher on its website on a daily basis. The smaller amounts were posted by mistake, he said. The Financial Times earlier reported that some of the positions, including bets against Dutch banks, including ING Groep NV, appeared briefly on the website on Tuesday evening. ING declined to comment on Thursday. Soros, whose fortune is estimated at $25.2 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is in the same league as Warren Buffett when it comes to investors copying their trades as they try to ride the coattails of the super successful. Short positions, which are typically closely guarded, in Deutsche Bank AG jumped when it was revealed in June that Soros had bet that the stock would fall after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union. The German bank fell 14 percent on the first day after the ballot. Trump Loss The Dutch regulator’s spokesman couldn’t disclose whether there has been contact with Soros following Tuesday’s error. A spokesman for Soros didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. The 86-year-old investor lost about $1 billion by betting against the market after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal this month. The hiring of a chief investment officer may reduce Soros’s role, the paper reported. Soros has managed as much as $30 billion as founder and chairman at New York-based Soros Fund Management LLC. Currency bets on the pound in 1992, the Thai baht five years later and the yen in 2012-13 helped Soros attain a fortune ranked 26th globally by Bloomberg. He’s donated $8 billion to charities since founding the pro-democracy Open Society Foundations in 1979. Regulators have pushed for more transparency around short positions. The European Union imposed rules in 2012 on short bets against some securities in the political bloc to reduce the risk of destabilizing sovereign-debt markets. The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority introduced a regulation in June 2008 requiring disclosure of short positions of more than 0.25 percent for companies that are selling new shares in rights offerings.
  3. Luigi asks...could Iraq greed & corruption weaken the IQD RV when it's our time to exchange? The In Country RV has been halted. Treat this article as a rumor. Not verified. Your opine. 8-31-2017 Intel Guru RayRen98 An article surfaced indicating that PM Abadi was called on to "curb the depletion of hard currency" due to passport carriers of VISA's exchanging 1,200 dinar for $3,000 USD noting these are currency dealers, not basic travelers indicating in the loss of state funds. (Unless I'm misreading this article) Let's see what tomorrow brings!
  4. Former French ambassador in Baghdad arrested Political Since 05/24/2017 11:11 am (Baghdad time) Baghdad balances News Web site French RFI, Wednesday that former French ambassador in Iraq Boris Bouillon faces trial before the French judiciary after his arrest at the train station in France. The Web site said in a report, said that "Bouillon nicknamed" Sarko Boy "who played an active role in improving relations between Sarkozy, former Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, facing charges of fraud and money laundering after his arrest in the Gardonor train station carrying a bag stuffed with 350 thousand euros and 40 thousand dollars, "noting that" French law prohibits the transfer of the amount of more than 10 thousand euros in secret to any country of the European Union countries. " He added that "Bouillon insists that the funds were payments to him as an intermediary for an Iraqi company in a major construction project was the French judge of the Court Ghali satrap had commented earlier in the presence of the smell of corruption in it disturbing." The site said that "the accused after brought money to France from Iraq without being advertised in any of the two countries, he hid in four, two of which packages in his apartment in Paris and one in the basement of the building and another in a hole in the same basement" .anthy 29 / d 24
  5. Iraqi Kurdistan oil minister connected to missing $31.4 mil. from South Korea’s HSBC Posted on March 11, 2015 SEOUL,— The National Assembly is moving to have HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver answer key questions regarding the disappearance of $31.4 million of taxpayers’ money in a project undertaken as part of the failed “energy diplomacy” under the previous Lee Myung-bak government. Rep. Chun Soon-ok of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) told The Korea Times that she is sending Gulliver questions about the case, which she believes could escalate into an international bribery scandal involving former presidential aides. “First and foremost, we want to know who took the money,” Rep. Chun said, referring to the “signature bonus” given by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Jan. 16 and Dec. 19, 2008, in return for the right to explore and develop the Bazian Block oilfield on its territory. She said that the money disappeared after it was sent to the KRG through HSBC in London. “We assume that the money was shared by the former aides of President Lee, Kurdistan officials and Choi Kyu-sun, the middleman,” she said. Chun belongs to the party’s committee to uncover the outflow of national wealth under the previous government. But Choi denied this occurred, former President Lee couldn’t be reached and Kurdistan officials were not available for comment. HSBC also declined to comment. Chun said that the global bank is under an obligation to promote transparency regarding its operations in general and, in particular, in this kind of case in which there are strong suspicions of bribery. She said that she is willing to enlist the help of an ongoing bipartisan probe into the failed policies of the former President in order to uncover the truth about the missing millions in taxpayers’ money. “We are not ruling out another avenue of using a government-to-government contact to get an answer from HSBC,” she said. At the center of the case is Ashti Hawrami, the KRG’s natural resources minister, who designated HSBC headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf business district as the bank through which to send the KNOC money. The money could have been a bribe given to Hawrami, Chun said. Making the HSBC deal more dubious is that it was different from those involving other parts of the deal conducted by Commerzbank in Frankfurt. When the KNOC sent $100 million in August 2012 and $10 million in January 2014 as SOC construction costs to build a hospital and other facilities in Kurdistan, the oil company used Commerzbank as the intermediary. Certificates exist, clearly showing that the money arrived at the Kurdistan International Bank via Commerzbank. The copy of the request for remittances acquired by The Korea Times listed 31 banks as intermediaries. But the request involving the $31.4 million, a copy of which The Korea Times also obtained, only cited HSBC’s headquarters in London. Gulliver recently appeared before the Treasury Select Committee at the House of Commons, London, to be questioned over allegations that the bank’s Swiss branch helped wealthy customers dodge paying tax. The bank has endured a string of scandals and paid millions in penalties to regulators around the world http://ekurd.net/iraqi-kurdistans-oil-minister-connected-with-missing-31-4-mil-from-south-koreas-hsbc-2015-03-11
  6. Okay, so why am I posting this? I watched an interview with Doug Casey & Peter Schiff concerning Peter's father Irwin that is serving a very stiff 13 yr prison sentence - That interview led me by interest to watch a video of Doug Casey concerning "HIS" views on voting - I was absolutely in agreement with so much that he said but pushed it aside until I read Ezrapounds thread earlier this morning - We are cursed if we do and cursed if we don't -- It reminds me of an old wise tale "If you get up I'm going to beat you with this stick. If you keep sitting there I"m going to beat you with this stick" ----- so what do you do? I have my answer do you have yours? Doug Casey's Top Five Reasons Not To Vote Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/22/2012 23:42 -0400 Submitted by Doug Casey of Casey Research, L: Doug, we've spoken about presidents. We have a presidential election coming up in the US – an election that could have significant consequences on our investments. But given the views you've already expressed on the Tea Party movement and anarchy, I'm sure you have different ideas. What do you make of the impending circus, and what should a rational man do? Doug: Well, a rational man, which is to say, an ethical man, would almost certainly not vote in this election, or in any other – at least above a local level, where you personally know most of both your neighbors and the candidates. L: Why? Might not an ethical person want to vote the bums out? Doug: He might feel that way, but he'd better get his emotions under control. I've thought about this. So let me give you at least five reasons why no one should vote. The first reason is that voting is an unethical act, in and of itself. That's because the state is pure, institutionalized coercion. If you believe that coercion is an improper way for people to relate to one another, then you shouldn't engage in a process that formalizes and guarantees the use of coercion. L: It's probably worth defining coercion in this context. I know you agree with me that force is ethical in self-defense. A murderer I shoot might feel coerced into accepting a certain amount of hot lead that he did not consent to, but he intended the same, or worse, for me, so the scales are balanced. What you are talking about is forcing innocent, non-consenting others to do things against their wills, like paying taxes that go to pay for military adventures they believe are wrong, etc. Doug: Right. The modern state not only routinely coerces people into doing all sorts of things they don't want to do – often very clearly against their own interests – but it necessarily does so, by its nature. People who want to know more about that should read our conversation on anarchy. This distinction is very important in a society with a government that is no longer limited by a constitution that restrains it from violating individual rights. And when you vote, you participate in, and endorse, this unethical system. L: It's probably also worth clarifying that you're not talking about all voting here. When you are a member of a golfing club and vote on how to use the fees, you and everyone else have consented to the process, so it's not unethical. It's participating in the management of the coercive machinery of the state you object to, not voting in and of itself. Doug: Exactly. As Mao correctly said, "The power of the State comes out of the barrel of a gun." It's not like voting for the leadership of a social club. Unlike a golfing club or something of that nature, the state won't let you opt out. L: Even if you're not harming anyone and just want to be left alone. Doug: Which relates to the second reason: privacy. It compromises your privacy to vote. It gets your name added to a list government busybodies can make use of, like court clerks putting together lists of conscripts for jury duty. Unfortunately, this is not as important a reason as it used to be, because of the great proliferation of lists people are on anyway. Still, while it's true there's less privacy in our world today, in general, the less any government knows about you, the better off you are. This is, of course, why I've successfully refused to complete a census form for the last 40 years. L: [Chuckles] We've talked about the census. Good for you . Doug: It's wise to be a nonperson, as far as the state is concerned, as far as possible. L: Not to digress too much, but some people might react by saying that juries are important. Doug: They are, but it would be a waste of my time to sign up for jury duty, because I would certainly be kicked off any jury. No attorney would ever let me stay on the jury once we got to voir dire, because I would not agree to being a robot that simply voted on the facts and the law as instructed by the judge – I'd want to vote on the morality of the law in question too. I'd be interested in justice, and very few laws today, except for the basic ones on things like murder and theft, have anything to do with justice. If the case related to drug laws, or tax laws, I would almost certainly automatically vote to acquit, regardless of the facts of the case. L: I've thought about it too, because it is important, and I might be willing to serve on a jury. And of course I'd vote my conscience too. But I'd want to be asked, not ordered to do it. I'm not a slave. Doug: My feelings exactly. L: But we should probably get to your third reason for not voting. Doug: That would be because it's a degrading experience. The reason I say that is because registering to vote, and voting itself, usually involves taking productive time out of your day to go stand around in lines in government offices. You have to fill out forms and deal with petty bureaucrats. I know I can find much more enjoyable and productive things to do with my time, and I'm sure anyone reading this can as well. L: And the pettier the bureaucrat, the more unpleasant the interaction tends to be. Doug: I have increasing evidence of that every time I fly. The TSA goons are really coming into their own now, as our own home-grown Gestapo wannabes. L: It's a sad thing… Reason number four? Doug: As P.J. O'Rourke says in a recent book, and as I've always said, voting just encourages them. I'm convinced that most people don't vote for candidates they believe in, but against candidates they fear. But that's not how the guy who wins sees it; the more votes he gets, the more he thinks he's got a mandate to rule – even if all his votes are really just votes against his opponent. Some people justify this, saying it minimizes harm to vote for the lesser of two evils. That's nonsense, because it still leaves you voting for evil. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Incidentally, I got as far as this point in 1980, when I was on the Phil Donahue show. I had the whole hour on national TV all to myself, and I felt in top form. It was actually the day before the national election, when Jimmy Carter was the incumbent, running against Ronald Reagan. After I made some economic observations, Donahue accused me of intending to vote for Reagan. I said that I was not, and as sharp as Donahue was, he said, "Well, you're not voting for Carter, so you must be voting Libertarian…" I said no, and had to explain why not. I believed then just as I do now. And it was at about this point when the audience, which had been getting restive, started getting really upset with me. I never made it to point five. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. That same audience, when I pointed out that their taxes were high and were being wasted, contained an individual who asked, "Why do we have to pay for things with our taxes? Why doesn't the government pay for it?" I swear that's what he said; it's on tape. If you could go back and watch the show, you'd see that the audience clapped after that brilliant question. Which was when I first realized that while the situation is actually hopeless, it's also quite comic… L: [Laughs] Doug: And things have only gotten worse since then, with decades more public education behind us. L: I bet that guy works in the Obama administration now, where they seem to think exactly as he did; the government will just pay for everything everyone wants with money it doesn't have. Doug: [Chuckles] Maybe so. He'd now be of an age where he's collecting Social Security and Medicare, plus food stamps, and likely gaming the system for a bunch of other freebies. Maybe he's so discontent with his miserable life that he goes to both Tea Party and Green Party rallies to kill time. I do believe we're getting close to the endgame. The system is on the verge of falling apart. And the closer we get to the edge, the more catastrophic the collapse it appears we're going to have. Which leads me to point number five: Your vote doesn't count. If I'd gotten to say that to the Donahue audience, they probably would have stoned me. People really like to believe that their individual votes count. Politicians like to say that every vote counts, because it gets everyone into busybody mode, makes voters complicit in their crimes. But statistically, any person's vote makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. Thinking their vote counts seems to give people who need it an inflated sense of self-worth. That's completely apart from the fact – as voters in Chicago in 1960 and Florida in 2000 can tell you – when it actually does get close, things can be, and often are, rigged. As Stalin famously said, it's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes. Anyway, officials manifestly do what they want, not what you want them to do, once they are in office. They neither know, nor care, what you want. You're just another mark, a mooch, a source of funds. L: The idea of political representation is a myth, and a logical absurdity. One person can only represent his own opinions – if he's even thought them out. If someone dedicated his life to studying another person, he might be able to represent that individual reasonably accurately. But given that no two people are completely – or even mostly – alike, it's completely impossible to represent the interests of any group of people. Doug: The whole constellation of concepts is ridiculous. This leads us to the subject of democracy. People say that if you live in a democracy, you should vote. But that begs the question of whether democracy itself is any good. And I would say that, no, it's not. Especially a democracy unconstrained by a constitution. That, sadly, is the case in the US, where the Constitution is 100% a dead letter. Democracy is nothing more than mob rule dressed up in a suit and tie. It's no way for a civilized society to be run. At this point, it's a democracy consisting of two wolves and a sheep, voting about what to eat for dinner. L: Okay, but in our firmly United State of America today, we don't live in your ideal society. It is what it is, and if you don't vote the bums out, they remain in office. What do you say to the people who say that if you don't vote, if you don't raise a hand, then you have no right to complain about the results of the political process? Doug: But I do raise a hand, constantly. I try to change things by influencing the way people think. I'd just rather not waste my time or degrade myself on unethical and futile efforts like voting. Anyway, that argument is more than fallacious, it's ridiculous and spurious. Actually, only the non-voter does have a right to complain – it's the opposite of what they say. Voters are assenting to whatever the government does; a nonvoter can best be compared to someone who refuses to join a mob. Only he really has the right to complain about what they do. L: Okay then, if the ethical man shouldn't vote in the national elections coming up, what should he do? Doug: I think it's like they said during the war with Viet Nam: Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came? I also like to say: Suppose they levied a tax, and nobody paid? And at this time of year: Suppose they gave an election, and nobody voted? The only way to truly delegitimize a corrupt system is by not voting. When tin-plated dictators around the world have their rigged elections, and people stay home in droves, even today's "we love governments of all sorts" international community won't recognize the results of the election. L: Delegitimizing evil… and without coercion, or even force. That's a beautiful thing, Doug. I'd love to see the whole crooked, festering, parasitical mass in Washington – and similar places – get a total vote of no-confidence. Doug: Indeed. Now, I realize that my not voting won't make that happen. My not voting doesn't matter any more than some naïve person's voting does. But at least I'll know that what I did was ethical. You have to live with yourself. That's only possible if you try to do the right thing. L: At least you won't have blood on your hands. Doug: That's exactly the point. L: A friendly amendment: you do staunchly support voting with your feet. Doug: Ah, that's true. Unfortunately, the idea of the state has spread over the face of the earth like an ugly skin disease. All of the governments of the world are, at this point, growing in extent and power – and rights violations – like cancers. But still, that is one way I am dealing with the problem; I'm voting with my feet. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It's idiotic to sit around like a peasant and wait to see what they do to you. To me, it makes much more sense to live as a perpetual tourist, staying no more than six months of the year in any one place. Tourists are courted and valued, whereas residents and citizens are viewed as milk cows. And before this crisis is over, they may wind up looking more like beef cows. Entirely apart from that, it keeps you from getting into the habit of thinking like a medieval serf. And I like being warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. L: And, as people say: "What if everyone did that?" Well, you'd see people migrating towards the least predatory states where they could enjoy the most freedom, and create the most wealth for themselves and their posterity. That sort of voting with your feet could force governments to compete for citizens, which would lead to more places where people can live as they want. It could become a worldwide revolution fought and won without guns. Doug: That sounds pretty idealistic, but I do believe this whole sick notion of the nation-state will come to an end within the next couple generations. It makes me empathize with Lenin when he said, "The worse it gets, the better it gets." Between jet travel, the Internet, and the bankruptcy of governments around the world, the nation-state is a dead duck. As we've discussed before, people will organize into voluntary communities we call phyles. L: That's the name given to such communities by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his book The Diamond Age, which we discussed in our conversation on Speculator's Fiction. Well, we've talked quite a bit – what about investment implications? Doug: First, don't expect anything that results from this US election to do any real, lasting good. And if, by some miracle, it did, the short-term implications would be very hard economic times. What to do in either case is what we write about in our big-picture newsletter, The Casey Report. More important, however, is to have a healthy and useful psychological attitude. For that, you need to stop thinking politically, stop wasting time on elections, entitlements, and such nonsense. You've got to use all of your time and brain power to think economically. That's to say, thinking about how to allocate your various intellectual, personal, and capital assets, to survive the storm – and even thrive, if you play your cards right. L: Very good. I like that: think economically, not politically. Thanks, Doug! Doug: My pleasure. Irrespective of whether one agrees with Doug's politics, his investing record speaks for itself. And just like him, the analysts and editors at Casey Research dig deep in their respective fields and are blunt in their assessments. One thing many agree that the US will have to face, no matter the outcome of the presidential election, is its growing debt crisis. http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/doug-casey-voting-redux
  7. I was reading through the Dept. of the Army publication that was brought to my attention dated for Aril 2014. After having read through the information, and watching the tactics being deployed on television with the media storm in Missouri, I noticed something unsettling. On pg. 123 in the glossary, the abbreviation of MO = Missouri if referenced. The only state mentioned. DC=mentioned by not a defined "State". I found it to be very ironic and non coincidental that all of these recent events happened in Ferguson Missouri. How is that a civil defense document targets the SHOW ME STATE of Missouri, several months before the alleged killing of Mr. Brown. Is there an ulterior motive to deploy police forces and divide the nation for the government to conceal the real stories or perhaps I am just a loony tune. I highly doubt the latter. Seems as this could be a possible false flag. Thanks- B could not post the link. Its a PDF. Can be found online though. The glossary lists acronyms with Army or joint definitions. SECTION I – ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS AA ADP ADRP AR ATP ATTN CFR COA CONUS DA DC DCSA DD DM DOD DODD DODI FCMT Fed FM G-2 GRM HIV HN IPB JP LEA METT-TC MI MISO MO MSCoE MWD MTTP NGR No. NLW OCONUS OIC PIO PSG assembly area Army doctrine publication Army doctrine reference publication Army regulation Army techniques publication attention Code of Federal Regulation course of action continental United States Department of the Army District of Columbia Defense Support of Civil Authorities Departement of Defense designated marksman Department of Defense Department of Defense directive Department of Defense instruction forced cell move team federal field manual Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence graduated-response matrix human immunodeficiency virus host nation intelligence preparation of the battlefield joint publication law enforcement agency mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations military intelligence military information support operations Missouri Maneuver Support Center of Excellence military working dog multi-Service tactics, techniques, and procedures National Guard regulation number nonlethal weapons outside the continental United States officer in charge police intelligence operations platoon sergeant
  8. Upper respond to party Maliki: Nntkdkm of the assumption of power and kills around you sons of the country and the rampant corruption Tuesday, 01 October 1 / Okrudolf 2013 12:13 [baghdad - where] Said independent MP in the House of Representatives Hassan Alawi that "criticism of the Islamic Dawa Party returns to his rule and its response to the institutions of the state administration" denying "مساسه the criticism Chkhosa the, or parties, in particular." The Islamic Dawa Party, which holds its General Secretariat Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has launched an attack on the top after accusing the latter of the party "sectarianism" returned his ahaadeeth misleading statements which represent the remains of the wreckage of the defunct Baath Party ideas and express their hatred ugly., According to a party. The upper in a statement Tuesday the agency received all of Iraq [where] a copy of "over more than three decades, I did not think time to engage in مساجلة with a person or party or sect, because المساجلات turn into a scene the benefit of lookers and losers when they Almtlakmon in the fray who he strikes one another, and Asmah myself to be in this scene, and this rule was my relationship with the parties and personalities who lived with her at one stage, including the Islamic Dawa Party, which did not mention once only Antceft of martyrs and sacrifices. " However, "but the call is now the ruling party and is subject to criticism and criticism of various forms of attack peaceful, if he wanted the party to be Mtptla reluctant متصوفا he that excludes the public right and manages institutions and ministerial and security and financial, and years ago, said the jeweler [The struggle task يعيا by Almatrab, then it can be for our voices to shut up. " He said the top "As for the party addresses the responsibility of the first in the country and kill him every day for at least thirty Iraqis and enter into the world of disabled more than 100 human right, and destroyed dozens of shops and businesses Statistics, while blessed with those in power Almtsdon to rule on behalf of the Shiites, including reward the boy, are a different story, Here are the screens various Iraqi agree that corruption under this government has risen to levels of flood plunging the state institutions and Mrajauha bribery and the fall of the receivables, and this is who we turn him cash, but leave the martyrs of the call who have been subjected to genocide organization Hanin in the drawer of immortality, and the people of corruption, they certainly are not the people of the martyrs and their heirs. " He pointed out, "On a personal note, keep in my speech on the language dealing with shrines Bhjovernma, did yesterday people in person and Ahzba his party, but talked about the performance of the unfortunate and the programs have not seen any of them for the highest level of theoretical nor practical level, if such talk is a departure Arts and political traditions and customs, we certainly Outlaws on these traditions. " The upper "and is as much a personal I would like to mention these preachers be at the forefront of the first chapters of my memoirs personal message mission from exile on 14.02.1984 to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait at the time I take the fault of Kuwaitis in their opposition to the Dawa Party, and that the result will not be in favor of Kuwait , and the letter written my hands, and remind them that I won the Dawa party in the circumstances it was approaching them as if approaching from the gallows, and this is confirmed by the newspaper Jihad spokesperson Dawa Party between 1982 - 1984 has overseen the development of Damascus when he was Urubi Dr. Ali Tamimi responsible for Party branch in Damascus. " "And so I said in my books, I've won the call when he was opposed and attacked him when he became governor, also won for Saddam Hussein when taken captive after Garath over a quarter of a century, this is like the souls large clean and fair and that were not days echo to the sound of the high-neighborliness" . He went on saying, "I will not be a thief Food Iraqis and former trade minister leading member of the Dawa Party, the heir to Abdul-Sahib intruder who was tearing his body alive in the palace of the end, not those illiterates who surround the Prime Minister and the heirs of the Sheikh of the world Mahdi الآصفي, and will not be spokesmen call now Class historian Hassan inch, nor the mantle for the purest of the mantle of a martyr of Islamic thought I Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr. " And sealing the upper statement "You are definitely the people power, the martyrs and the scientists They face God in sheep's clothing Sondos Khadr says the poet Abu Tamam al-Tai [deteriorated clothing death Hamra what came her night except one of the Sondos Khadr, the threat and use of state power prime minister I know of other how much he writer he'd lines in the face of death even as he filed eighty by the will of the fighters in the first national, citing the words of the poet jeweler what Ykhovna the [Alokrmon] ومم afraid Salal Fala? أيسلب them Naim Alhger the and sand نفح, and Aera opulence]. " The Islamic Dawa Party has criticized the top in his remarks about the party said in a statement, "not the Islamic Dawa Party sectarian one day; but that his positions against sectarianism since its inception and to this day remarkable and clear conversations misleading to the loft in his press represent the remains of the wreckage ideas Baath Party buried expresses hatred and ugly against the party and against the Mujahid Islamic personalities that Garat Baathist dictatorship as sectarian and تهجمه scientists and religious authority and describing them Ehnoteh represents a significant encroachment can not be tolerated. " The statement continued, "There is no doubt that they paid as usual conversations from unknown destinations aimed at breaking the relationship between the reference and the Islamic Dawa Party on the one hand and the Iraqi people Quran on the other hand, however, the honorable people of Iraq know very well the opportunistic nature of the personal spoken." The Islamic Dawa Party "top that does not forget the day he came to the Council of the Islamic Dawa Party in Damascus, apologizing regret seek forgiveness and pardon and forgiveness for his services to the naughty criminal Saddam and his gang. According to the statement. Ended.
  9. Views : 1 Integrity begins audited accounts of officials outside of Iraq and calls for Parliament to lift the immunity of the accused of corruption Thursday, August 22 / August 2013 14:40 | | | {Baghdad: Euphrates News} Integrity Commission announced the commencement audited financial accounts of senior officials outside Iraq, and conducted refund procedures and wanted fugitives outside the country, demanding the House of Representatives to lift the immunity of MPs accused of corruption to facilitate consideration of their cases . The authority said in a statement received by the agency {Euphrates News} copy of it on Thursday, "they began to audit the accounts of Finance of senior officials located outside Iraq and direct actions refund and wanted fugitives to other countries, and called for the House of Representatives to respond to lift the immunity of MPs accused of corruption to facilitate consideration of their cases. " She said, "It referred to the judiciary during the first six months of this year {2541} accused of corruption," indicating that "the courts looked at files {1303}, accusing Fberot yard {549} and ruled on the {754} convicted provisions ranging from life imprisonment and imprisonment for various terms and payment fine in addition to paying the embezzled money before releasing. " She added, "It's made in a report on the performance of its departments during the first half of this year, tables of names of senior officials who revealed ذممهم Finance with the Director-General of the Department of Prevention journalists finalization of the names of the first meal of the officials who did not disclose their financial interests to the legal department to organize and prosecution of criminal proceedings before the competent courts. " It is said that the text of the Constitution that the members of the presidencies of the three bodies to provide financial ذممهم disclosures to the Integrity Commission, which is a three reports of the detection offers the first of them in the first month of taking charge of the position and the second at the end of the service in addition to the final report . The statistics of the Integrity Commission has reported that senior officials in response to the detection of financial ذممهم recorded during the month of July, up slightly from the rates of the first half of this year, despite warnings from the Commission that it would soon begin moving the lawsuits in court against the abstainers . ended
  10. Integrity: al-Jaafari and Allawi did not يكشفا the financial ذممهم Orr News Agency - 06/11/2013 - 3:51 pm | Hits: 5 Baghdad / Orr News Integrity Commission revealed in the latest report of financial disclosure for members of the House of Representatives that only 100 Vice made a financial Khovathm of 325 five months after the deadline for them this year. The report said that the body "100 deputy out of 325 deputies presented financial Khovathm to the Integrity Commission which is a response rate of 30.7% up to the end of May last year." The report indicates that only a third of the deputies responded to the financial disclosure five months after the deadline for submission of financial statements, including only 19 women. Among the most prominent absentee from the list to provide financial disclosure Chairman of the National Alliance, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, head of the Iraqi List, Iyad Allawi, Fuad Masum, head of the Kurdistan Alliance, in addition to a number of other MPs, including Maha league and Jawad Alshahyla and Prince Kanani and Hanan al, Yassin Majeed and high Nassif The list included Parliament Speaker Osama Najafi and his deputy Qusay al-Suhail. The Parliamentary Integrity Committee has announced an amendment to the Integrity Commission Act includes a stop the salaries of officials who abstain from detect financial ذممهم. The promise of a member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee Haval Said disclosure of financial receivables form of the deputies and officials are useless and will not eliminate corruption, revealing that 25% of the House of Representatives only provided financial ذممهم, questioning their credibility. He Said that "the form of annual detection receivables officials of Finance is able to detect the properties that a lot of politicians who exploit their positions to achieve the benefits and personal gains are familiar with high-law and know blobs blacks and gaps in it that will enable them to circumvent it." He added that "most politicians do not register their names Asset where are recorded the names of their relatives or their agents and the disclosure of financial accounts can not disclose financial receivables." http://www.alrafedain.net/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=103331
  11. http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-03/holder-laid-groundwork-%E2%80%9Ctoo-big-jail%E2%80%9D-1999 CLICK ON LINK TO SEE RELATED LINKS EMBEDDED IN ORIGINAL ARTICLE Holder Laid the Groundwork for “Too Big to Jail” In 1999 Submitted by George Washington on 06/03/2013 17:34 -0400 Everyone knows that Eric Holder – the head of the Department of Not-Much Justice – has said that the big banks are too big to jail. And many people know that – prior to becoming the Attorney General – Holder was a partner at a big firm which did some despicable things to represent the big banks and MERS. But Holder’s see-no-evil act actually started more than a decade ago. Specifically, in 1999, as Deputy Attorney General, Holder wrote a memo arguing against prosecuting large financial service companies: Prosecutors may consider the collateral consequences of a corporate criminal conviction in determining whether to charge the corporation with a criminal offense. *** One of the factors in determining whether to charge a natural person or a corporation is whether the likely punishment is appropriate given the nature and seriousness of the crime. In the corporate context, prosecutors may take into account the possibly substantial consequences to a corporation’s officers, directors, employees, and shareholders, many of whom may, depending on the size and nature (e.g., publicly vs. closely held) of the corporation and their role in its operations, have played no role in the criminal conduct, have been completely unaware of it, or have been wholly unable to prevent it. Further, prosecutors should also be aware of non-penal sanctions that may accompany a criminal charges, such as potential suspension or debarment from eligibility for government contracts or federal funded programs such as health care. Whether or not such non-penal sanctions are appropriate or required in a particular case is the responsibility of the relevant agency, a decision that will be made based on the applicable statutes, regulations, and policies. Virtually every conviction of a corporation, like virtually every conviction of an individual, will have an impact on innocent third parties …. Matt Taibbi points out that – when the Department of Justice subsequently prosecuted accounting giant Arthur Andersen for covering up Enron’s fraudulent schemes – Anderson ran with Holder’s argument, and threatened the DOJ “using their employees as human shields”. Specifically, Andersen said that – unless the DOJ dropped the prosecution – innocent Andersen employees would lose their jobs. Andersen was prosecuted and convicted, and some innocent employees – as well as the big time fraudsters – lost their jobs. Since then, the Justice Department has gotten so gun-shy that we basically haven’t had any criminal indictments against a large financial services company since then. In the wake of the recent revelations that the big banks manipulate virtually every market in the world, and that HSBC blatantly laundered drug cartel money, Holder has said that we can’t indict big companies because that might harm the U.S. or world economy. And Matt Taibbi notes that – for the first time - Holder is now saying that not only can’t we indict the companies, but we can’t even indict any of the individual criminals at the companies. In other words, Holder is implementing a permanent shield for employees and executives at large institutions. The Big Banks and Commodities Future Trading Commission Conspired to Hide Speculation from Congress One of our favorite topics is the many ways that big banks manipulate prices. Last night, Rolling Stone financial writer Matt Taibbi gave some very interesting details about how the big banks have gamed commodities prices. For 60 to 70 years, the regulations preventing speculators from betting on commodities worked pretty well. Only commodity producers or buyers – you know, the people who are supposed set prices – could hedge their bets. But in the early 1990s, the big financial companies starting applying to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for “exemptions” … so that they could speculate on commodities. Specifically, they asked to be artificially treated as real commodity producers or consumers – even though they weren’t producing or buying commodities – so that they could “hedge” bets (in name only) on products they didn’t even possess. (Sound familiar?) In 1991, the CFTC issuing exemption letters. The first letter was written to J. Aron, a subsidiary of … Goldman Sachs. Pretty soon, every major bank in the U.S. was given an exemption. Congress didn’t know about the exemptions. Indeed, the House Agricultural Commission – which oversees the CFTC – didn’t even find out about the exemptions until 6 years later … in 1997. When a congressman on the Agricultural Commission asked the CFTC for a sample of one of the exemption letters, the CFTC official said he had to ask Goldman Sachs whether or not the CFTC could show a copy to Congress. In other words, the banks were already running D.C. by the 90s. Commodities speculation has exploded since the exemption letters were issues. For example, in 2003, there was only $29 billion in speculative activity in the commodities markets. By 2007-2008, there was over $300 billion in commodities speculation. Icelandic Parliament: Big Icelandic Banks Were Public Banks … Which Were Privatized FOR FREE Shortly Before They Tanked Birgitta Jonsdottir is a member of the Icelandic parliament. She knows a good deal about the financial crisis. Indeed, before being elected to parliament, she made a documentary about the collapse of Iceland’s economy as an investigative journalist. Last night, Jonsdottir (pronounced “yont-Daughter”) disclosed a stunning fact in a speech I attended: All our banks were actually public. They were privatized a few years prior to the financial crisis. Jonsdottir explained that Iceland’s banks grew to 5-7 times the size of the country’s GDP during the county’s brief bubble after privatization. And the Icelandic parliament – in a fact-finding report – later found that the bankers never paid anything to “buy” the banks from the government or the people. In other words, sweetheart deals and corruption meant that a handful of people looted the banks without paying a penny. America is analogous. The prosperity which our ancestors worked so hard to build – and the very vision of prosperity of the Founding Fathers – has been looted. Jonsdottir says that it wasn’t just the bankers who were corrupt … it was also the Icelandic politicians, media, academia … all of the people in a position of power. She points out that - as bad as things are in America - they were as bad in Iceland. And yet they took the bulls by the horn and turned things around
  12. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425 Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever The Illuminati were amateurs. The second huge financial scandal of the year reveals the real international conspiracy: There's no price the big banks can't fix Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything. You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it "dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets." That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world's largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world's largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps. Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It's about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget. It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates. In fact, in recent years many of these banks have already paid multimillion-dollar settlements for anti-competitive manipulation of one form or another (in addition to Libor, some were caught up in an anti-competitive scheme, detailed in Rolling Stone last year, to rig municipal-debt service auctions). Though the jumble of financial acronyms sounds like gibberish to the layperson, the fact that there may now be price-fixing scandals involving both Libor and ISDAfix suggests a single, giant mushrooming conspiracy of collusion and price-fixing hovering under the ostensibly competitive veneer of Wall Street culture. The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia Why? Because Libor already affects the prices of interest-rate swaps, making this a manipulation-on-manipulation situation. If the allegations prove to be right, that will mean that swap customers have been paying for two different layers of price-fixing corruption. If you can imagine paying 20 bucks for a crappy PB&J because some evil cabal of agribusiness companies colluded to fix the prices of both peanuts and peanut butter, you come close to grasping the lunacy of financial markets where both interest rates and interest-rate swaps are being manipulated at the same time, often by the same banks. "It's a double conspiracy," says an amazed Michael Greenberger, a former director of the trading and markets division at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and now a professor at the University of Maryland. "It's the height of criminality." The bad news didn't stop with swaps and interest rates. In March, it also came out that two regulators – the CFTC here in the U.S. and the Madrid-based International Organization of Securities Commissions – were spurred by the Libor revelations to investigate the possibility of collusive manipulation of gold and silver prices. "Given the clubby manipulation efforts we saw in Libor benchmarks, I assume other benchmarks – many other benchmarks – are legit areas of inquiry," CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton said. But the biggest shock came out of a federal courtroom at the end of March – though if you follow these matters closely, it may not have been so shocking at all – when a landmark class-action civil lawsuit against the banks for Libor-related offenses was dismissed. In that case, a federal judge accepted the banker-defendants' incredible argument: If cities and towns and other investors lost money because of Libor manipulation, that was their own fault for ever thinking the banks were competing in the first place. "A farce," was one antitrust lawyer's response to the eyebrow-raising dismissal. "Incredible," says Sylvia Sokol, an attorney for Constantine Cannon, a firm that specializes in antitrust cases. All of these stories collectively pointed to the same thing: These banks, which already possess enormous power just by virtue of their financial holdings – in the United States, the top six banks, many of them the same names you see on the Libor and ISDAfix panels, own assets equivalent to 60 percent of the nation's GDP – are beginning to realize the awesome possibilities for increased profit and political might that would come with colluding instead of competing. Moreover, it's increasingly clear that both the criminal justice system and the civil courts may be impotent to stop them, even when they do get caught working together to game the system. If true, that would leave us living in an era of undisguised, real-world conspiracy, in which the prices of currencies, commodities like gold and silver, even interest rates and the value of money itself, can be and may already have been dictated from above. And those who are doing it can get away with it. Forget the Illuminati – this is the real thing, and it's no secret. You can stare right at it, anytime you want. The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure. Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption. Every morning, 18 of the world's biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the "Libor panel," and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures. Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps. Gangster Bankers Broke Every Law in the Book Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the "Libor submitters") and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off. Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland: SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?... PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?... PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it's hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector. Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain's Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. "It's just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money," chirped one yen trader. "Pure manipulation going on," wrote another. Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution. Two of America's top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it's dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to "collateral consequences" in the economy. The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters' and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages. One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks' legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer. The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, "Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution." In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. "It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process," he said. "The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor." If you squint incredibly hard and look at the issue through a mirror, maybe while standing on your head, you can sort of see what Wise is saying. In a very theoretical, technical sense, the actual process by which banks submit Libor data – 18 geeks sending numbers to the British Bankers' Association offices in London once every morning – is not competitive per se. But these numbers are supposed to reflect interbank-loan prices derived in a real, competitive market. Saying the Libor submission process is not competitive is sort of like pointing out that bank robbers obeyed the speed limit on the way to the heist. It's the silliest kind of legal sophistry. But Wise eventually outdid even that argument, essentially saying that while the banks may have lied to or cheated their customers, they weren't guilty of the particular crime of antitrust collusion. This is like the old joke about the lawyer who gets up in court and claims his client had to be innocent, because his client was committing a crime in a different state at the time of the offense. "The plaintiffs, I believe, are confusing a claim of being perhaps deceived," he said, "with a claim for harm to competition." Judge Buchwald swallowed this lunatic argument whole and dismissed most of the case. Libor, she said, was a "cooperative endeavor" that was "never intended to be competitive." Her decision "does not reflect the reality of this business, where all of these banks were acting as competitors throughout the process," said the antitrust lawyer Sokol. Buchwald made this ruling despite the fact that both the U.S. and British governments had already settled with three banks for billions of dollars for improper manipulation, manipulation that these companies admitted to in their settlements. Michael Hausfeld of Hausfeld LLP, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs in this Libor suit, declined to comment specifically on the dismissal. But he did talk about the significance of the Libor case and other manipulation cases now in the pipeline. "It's now evident that there is a ubiquitous culture among the banks to collude and cheat their customers as many times as they can in as many forms as they can conceive," he said. "And that's not just surmising. This is just based upon what they've been caught at." Greenberger says the lack of serious consequences for the Libor scandal has only made other kinds of manipulation more inevitable. "There's no therapy like sending those who are used to wearing Gucci shoes to jail," he says. "But when the attorney general says, 'I don't want to indict people,' it's the Wild West. There's no law." The problem is, a number of markets feature the same infrastructural weakness that failed in the Libor mess. In the case of interest-rate swaps and the ISDAfix benchmark, the system is very similar to Libor, although the investigation into these markets reportedly focuses on some different types of improprieties. Though interest-rate swaps are not widely understood outside the finance world, the root concept actually isn't that hard. If you can imagine taking out a variable-rate mortgage and then paying a bank to make your loan payments fixed, you've got the basic idea of an interest-rate swap. In practice, it might be a country like Greece or a regional government like Jefferson County, Alabama, that borrows money at a variable rate of interest, then later goes to a bank to "swap" that loan to a more predictable fixed rate. In its simplest form, the customer in a swap deal is usually paying a premium for the safety and security of fixed interest rates, while the firm selling the swap is usually betting that it knows more about future movements in interest rates than its customers. Prices for interest-rate swaps are often based on ISDAfix, which, like Libor, is yet another of these privately calculated benchmarks. ISDAfix's U.S. dollar rates are published every day, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., after a gang of the same usual-suspect megabanks (Bank of America, RBS, Deutsche, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, etc.) submits information about bids and offers for swaps. And here's what we know so far: The CFTC has sent subpoenas to ICAP and to as many as 15 of those member banks, and plans to interview about a dozen ICAP employees from the company's office in Jersey City, New Jersey. Moreover, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, or ISDA, which works together with ICAP (for U.S. dollar transactions) and Thomson Reuters to compute the ISDAfix benchmark, has hired the consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review the process by which ISDAfix is calculated. Oliver Wyman is the same company that the British Bankers' Association hired to review the Libor submission process after that scandal broke last year. The upshot of all of this is that it looks very much like ISDAfix could be Libor all over again. "It's obviously reminiscent of the Libor manipulation issue," Darrell Duffie, a finance professor at Stanford University, told reporters. "People may have been naive that simply reporting these rates was enough to avoid manipulation." And just like in Libor, the potential losers in an interest-rate-swap manipulation scandal would be the same sad-sack collection of cities, towns, companies and other nonbank entities that have no way of knowing if they're paying the real price for swaps or a price being manipulated by bank insiders for profit. Moreover, ISDAfix is not only used to calculate prices for interest-rate swaps, it's also used to set values for about $550 billion worth of bonds tied to commercial real estate, and also affects the payouts on some state-pension annuities. So although it's not quite as widespread as Libor, ISDAfix is sufficiently power-jammed into the world financial infrastructure that any manipulation of the rate would be catastrophic – and a huge class of victims that could include everyone from state pensioners to big cities to wealthy investors in structured notes would have no idea they were being robbed. "How is some municipality in Cleveland or wherever going to know if it's getting ripped off?" asks Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, a fund manager who has long been an advocate of greater transparency in the derivatives world. "The answer is, they won't know." Worse still, the CFTC investigation apparently isn't limited to possible manipulation of swap prices by monkeying around with ISDAfix. According to reports, the commission is also looking at whether or not employees at ICAP may have intentionally delayed publication of swap prices, which in theory could give someone (bankers, cough, cough) a chance to trade ahead of the information. Swap prices are published when ICAP employees manually enter the data on a computer screen called "19901." Some 6,000 customers subscribe to a service that allows them to access the data appearing on the 19901 screen. The key here is that unlike a more transparent, regulated market like the New York Stock Exchange, where the results of stock trades are computed more or less instantly and everyone in theory can immediately see the impact of trading on the prices of stocks, in the swap market the whole world is dependent upon a handful of brokers quickly and honestly entering data about trades by hand into a computer terminal. Any delay in entering price data would provide the banks involved in the transactions with a rare opportunity to trade ahead of the information. One way to imagine it would be to picture a racetrack where a giant curtain is pulled over the track as the horses come down the stretch – and the gallery is only told two minutes later which horse actually won. Anyone on the right side of the curtain could make a lot of smart bets before the audience saw the results of the race. At ICAP, the interest-rate swap desk, and the 19901 screen, were reportedly controlled by a small group of 20 or so brokers, some of whom were making millions of dollars. These brokers made so much money for themselves the unit was nicknamed "Treasure Island." Already, there are some reports that brokers of Treasure Island did create such intentional delays. Bloomberg interviewed a former broker who claims that he watched ICAP brokers delay the reporting of swap prices. "That allows dealers to tell the brokers to delay putting trades into the system instead of in real time," Bloomberg wrote, noting the former broker had "witnessed such activity firsthand." An ICAP spokesman has no comment on the story, though the company has released a statement saying that it is "cooperating" with the CFTC's inquiry and that it "maintains policies that prohibit" the improper behavior alleged in news reports. The idea that prices in a $379 trillion market could be dependent on a desk of about 20 guys in New Jersey should tell you a lot about the absurdity of our financial infrastructure. The whole thing, in fact, has a darkly comic element to it. "It's almost hilarious in the irony," says David Frenk, director of research for Better Markets, a financial-reform advocacy group, "that they called it ISDAfix." After scandals involving libor and, perhaps, ISDAfix, the question that should have everyone freaked out is this: What other markets out there carry the same potential for manipulation? The answer to that question is far from reassuring, because the potential is almost everywhere. From gold to gas to swaps to interest rates, prices all over the world are dependent upon little private cabals of cigar-chomping insiders we're forced to trust. "In all the over-the-counter markets, you don't really have pricing except by a bunch of guys getting together," Masters notes glumly. That includes the markets for gold (where prices are set by five banks in a Libor-ish teleconferencing process that, ironically, was created in part by N M Rothschild & Sons) and silver (whose price is set by just three banks), as well as benchmark rates in numerous other commodities – jet fuel, diesel, electric power, coal, you name it. The problem in each of these markets is the same: We all have to rely upon the honesty of companies like Barclays (already caught and fined $453 million for rigging Libor) or JPMorgan Chase (paid a $228 million settlement for rigging municipal-bond auctions) or UBS (fined a collective $1.66 billion for both muni-bond rigging and Libor manipulation) to faithfully report the real prices of things like interest rates, swaps, currencies and commodities. All of these benchmarks based on voluntary reporting are now being looked at by regulators around the world, and God knows what they'll find. The European Federation of Financial Services Users wrote in an official EU survey last summer that all of these systems are ripe targets for manipulation. "In general," it wrote, "those markets which are based on non-attested, voluntary submission of data from agents whose benefits depend on such benchmarks are especially vulnerable of market abuse and distortion." Translation: When prices are set by companies that can profit by manipulating them, we're fucked. "You name it," says Frenk. "Any of these benchmarks is a possibility for corruption." The only reason this problem has not received the attention it deserves is because the scale of it is so enormous that ordinary people simply cannot see it. It's not just stealing by reaching a hand into your pocket and taking out money, but stealing in which banks can hit a few keystrokes and magically make whatever's in your pocket worth less. This is corruption at the molecular level of the economy, Space Age stealing – and it's only just coming into view.
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