BANKERS GO BANANAS
If the Super-detective hero (Batman) was here, would he call this the Expressway for Globalization of Organized Crime with crime-lords: Larry Summers, Pascal Lamy, Timothy Geithner, John Corzine, David Kamanski, David Coulter, John Reed, Walter Shipley, and others? Quickly, Batman must reveal the criminal connections of Larry Summers before he assumes helm of the Federal Reserve System! ~ Ron
Thursday, August 22, 2013
By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
When a little birdie dropped the End Game memo through my window, its content was so explosive, so sick and plain evil, I just couldn’t believe it.
The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak’s fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3% unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears.
The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world.
The memo is authentic.
To get that confirmation, I would have to fly to Geneva and wangle a meeting with the Secretary General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy. I did. Lamy, the Generalissimo of Globalization, told me,
“The WTO was not created as some dark cabal of multinationals secretly cooking plots against the people…. We don’t have cigar-smoking, rich, crazy bankers negotiating.”
Then I showed him the memo.
It begins with Summers’ flunky, Timothy Geithner, reminding his boss to call the then most powerful CEOs on the planet and get them to order their lobbyist armies to march:
“As we enter the end-game of the WTO financial services negotiations, I believe it would be a good idea for you to touch base with the CEOs….”
To avoid Summers having to call his office to get the phone numbers (which, under US law, would have to appear on public logs), Geithner listed their private lines. And here they are:
Goldman Sachs: John Corzine (212)902-8281
Merrill Lynch: David Kamanski (212)449-6868
Bank of America, David Coulter (415)622-2255
Citibank: John Reed (212)559-2732
Chase Manhattan: Walter Shipley (212)270-1380
Lamy was right: They don’t smoke cigars. Go ahead and dial them. I did, and sure enough, got a cheery personal hello from Reed–cheery until I revealed I wasn’t Larry Summers. (Note: The other numbers were swiftly disconnected. And Corzine can’t be reached while he faces criminal charges.)
It’s not the little cabal of confabs held by Summers and the banksters that’s so troubling. The horror is in the purpose of the “end game” itself.
Let me explain:
The year was 1997. US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was pushing hard to de-regulate banks. That required, first, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act to dismantle the barrier between commercial banks and investment banks. It was like replacing bank vaults with roulette wheels.
Second, the banks wanted the right to play a new high-risk game: “derivatives trading.” JP Morgan alone would soon carry $88 trillion of these pseudo-securities on its books as “assets.”
Deputy Treasury Secretary Summers (soon to replace Rubin as Secretary) body-blocked any attempt to control derivatives.
But what was the use of turning US banks into derivatives casinos if money would flee to nations with safer banking laws?
The answer conceived by the Big Bank Five: eliminate controls on banks in every nation on the planet – in one single move. It was as brilliant as it was insanely dangerous.
How could they pull off this mad caper? The bankers’ and Summers’ game was to use the Financial Services Agreement, an abstruse and benign addendum to the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization.
Until the bankers began their play, the WTO agreements dealt simply with trade in goods–that is, my cars for your bananas. The new rules ginned-up by Summers and the banks would force all nations to accept trade in “bads” – toxic assets like financial derivatives.
Until the bankers’ re-draft of the FSA, each nation controlled and chartered the banks within their own borders. The new rules of the game would force every nation to open their markets to Citibank, JP Morgan and their derivatives “products.”
And all 156 nations in the WTO would have to smash down their own Glass-Steagall divisions between commercial savings banks and the investment banks that gamble with derivatives.
The job of turning the FSA into the bankers’ battering ram was given to Geithner, who was named Ambassador to the World Trade Organization.
Bankers Go Bananas
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