Thursday, March 31, 2016

(Hillary Dead Wrong)  You Better Sit Down, Liberals  (Obama's 10,000% TPP Tariffs) Liberalism of the Rich? Hillary Textposed  (Who's in the Bag for Whom?)  Is It the Neolib $$$ or the Required Malleability?  (Don't Panic - It's Your Government)  Caspersen Makes Off - Dodd-Frank Cuckolded  (Who Thought Madoff Not So Influential?)

Hillary Dead Wrong ?

As the Democratic primary race tightens, Hillary Clinton has been trying to cast opponent Bernie Sanders as unrealistic and "pie in the sky," but a leading University of Massachusetts economist says such criticisms are "dead wrong" and, in fact, the Vermont senator's proposals are precisely what will "make the economy great again."
In a column published at "The Nation" on Tuesday, Robert Pollin, distinguished professor in economics at UMass Amherst and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), examines the major policy items under Sanders' economic agenda. These include a single-payer healthcare system; increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; free tuition at public colleges and universities, to be financed by a "Robin Hood" tax on Wall Street transactions; and large-scale public investments in renewable energy and infrastructure.
Pollin's conclusion:  this program works, handily.
"All of his major proposals are grounded in solid economic reasoning and evidence," Pollin states.
"Overall, the Sanders program is capable of raising living standards and reducing insecurity for working people and the poor, expanding higher educational opportunities, and reversing the decades-long trend toward rising inequality," Pollin writes. "It could bring Wall Street’s dominance under control and help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. It will also strongly support investments in education, clean energy, and public infrastructure, generating millions of good jobs in the process."
Pollin's analysis builds on previous research, including his own. It takes a big-picture look at the potential impact of Sanders' policies, refuting claims made by Clinton and her supporters that they would stymie job and economic growth.

Think Trump's 45 Percent Tariffs Are Bad? Try Obama's 10,000 Percent Tariffs

While Trump wants to put large tariffs on imports from some of our major trading partners, President Obama is actively pushing to have far larger tariffs imposed on a wide range of goods in his trade deals, most importantly the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Measures in the TPP pushed by US negotiators will raise the price of many items by several thousand percent above the free market price.

If you missed this discussion, it's because these trade barriers are referred to as "intellectual property," which takes the form of patent and copyright protection. But markets don't care what term politicians use to describe a government imposed barrier. If a patent monopoly raises the price of a protected drug by 10,000 percent, it leads to the same sort of waste and corruption as if the government imposed a tariff of 10,000 percent, except that in the case of prescription drugs, high prices can also threaten lives.

If a price increase of 10,000 percent sounds high, you haven't been paying attention to what the drug industry charges for its new drugs. For example, the list price for the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is $84,000 for a three-month course of treatment. A recent analysis found that Indian manufacturers can profitably produce the drug for just $200 per three-month course of treatment, suggesting a tariff equivalent of more than 40,000 percent.

And we have ample evidence that patent monopolies produce the same sort of distortions that trade theory predicts from extraordinarily high tariffs. First, we have a whole army of lobbyists who descend on government officials constantly pushing for stronger and longer patent protections. The industry employs a fleet of highly paid lawyers who attempt to intimidate generic competitors from entering a market, even if legitimate claims to protection have already expired.
The industry employs a massive number of sales representatives to push their drugs to doctors. And, we are treated to silly television ads that try to get patients to pressure doctors into prescribing drugs even when there is no reason to think they would help them.

Remember why we can't guarantee our financial well-being?

Keep paying attention.

It's not going away on its own.

Another Sudden Death of a JPMorgan Worker:  34-Year Old Jason Alan Salais*
JPMorgan Vice President’s Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA **
As Bank Deaths Continue to Shock, Documents Reveal JPMorgan Has Been Patenting Death Derivatives
JPMorgan and Madoff Were Facilitating Nesting Dolls-Style Frauds

Remember how easy it was for the news media to overlook and/or dismiss as not suspicious what even Nancy Drew would have considered pretty simple cases to pursue?

It ain't over.

'Til it's over.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

One of my favorite economists/writers has a new book that encapsulates almost everything about today's politics that has been driving our country crazy.

Not the rich, of course.

They're fine.

And here's why.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Reading Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, I was reminded of the snapshot that Oxfam offered us early this year:  62 billionaires now have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population, while the richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined. And in case you’re wondering in which direction inequality is trending on Planet Earth, note that in 2010, it took 388 of the super-rich to equal the holdings of that bottom 50%. At this rate in the inequality sweepstakes, by 2030, just the top 10 billionaires might do the trick.

Let me just add that, as Frank makes clear in his brilliant new work, Donald Trump doesn’t have to win the presidency for billionaires to stand triumphant on the American part of our planet.

Hillary Clinton will do just fine, thank you.

Listen, Liberal is, in a sense, a history of how, from the Clintonesque 1990s on, the Democratic Party managed to ditch the working class (hello, Donald Trump!) and its New Deal tradition, throw its support behind a rising “professional” and technocratic class, and go gaga over Wall Street and those billionaires to come.

In the process, its leaders fell in love with Goldman Sachs and every miserable trade pact that hit town, led the way in deregulating the financial system, and helped launch what Frank terms “the greatest wave of insider looting ever seen;” the party, that is, went Silicon Valley and left Flint, Michigan, to the Republicans. Only a few years after Bill Clinton vacated the Oval Office, the financial system he and his team had played such a role in deregulating had to be rescued, lock, stock, and barrel from ultimate collapse. Quite a record all in all.

Put another way, as Frank makes clear, in these years the Democrats (with obvious exceptions) became a more or less traditional Republican party. And if the Democrats are now the party of inequality, then what in the world are the Republicans? Don’t even get me started on the cliff that crew walked off of.

As I was perusing the latest news about the economic/political entanglements at the better-known liberal online truth sites, it occurred to me that, of course, so many of these outsiders have benefitted so handsomely from the Democratic Party Neoliberalism of the last two decades that you'd have had to have a true outsider break the silence with the real, actual truth from time to time.

Who's in the bag for whom?

The courageous John Pilger strikes again.

At the heart of fake democracy.

And he's a bad bad bad bad boy for it.

Ask any of the "liberal" media.

A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.

The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama should have alerted even the most dewy-eyed. Obama based his “hope” campaign almost entirely on the fact of an African-American aspiring to lead the land of slavery. He was also “antiwar”.

Obama was never antiwar. On the contrary, like all American presidents, he was pro-war. He had voted for George W. Bush’s funding of the slaughter in Iraq and he was planning to escalate the invasion of Afghanistan.

In the weeks before he took the presidential oath, he secretly approved an Israeli assault on Gaza, the massacre known as Operation Cast Lead.

He promised to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo and did not. He pledged to help make the world “free from nuclear weapons” and did the opposite.

As a new kind of marketing manager for the status quo, the unctuous Obama was an inspired choice. Even at the end of his blood-spattered presidency, with his signature drones spreading infinitely more terror and death around the world than that ignited by jihadists in Paris and Brussels, Obama is fawned on as “cool” (the "Guardian").
On March 23, "CounterPunch" published my article, “A World War has Begun:  Break the Silence”. As has been my practice for years, I then syndicated the piece across an international network, including, the liberal American website.  "Truthout" publishes some important journalism, not least Dahr Jamail’s outstanding corporate exposes.
"Truthout" rejected the piece because, said an editor, it had appeared on "CounterPunch" and had broken “guidelines.”  I replied that this had never been a problem over many years and I knew of no guidelines.
My recalcitrance was then given another meaning. The article was reprieved provided I submitted to a “review” and agreed to changes and deletions made by Truthout’s “editorial committee.” The result was the softening and censoring of my criticism of Hillary Clinton, and the distancing of her from Trump. The following was cut:

Trump is a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism. Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama …

The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system … As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope”.
The “editorial committee” clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world.  Like all censorship, this was unacceptable. Maya Schenwar, who runs "Truthout," wrote to me that my unwillingness to submit my work to a “process of revision” meant she had to take it off her “publication docket”.  Such is the gatekeeper’s way with words.
At the root of this episode is an enduring unsayable. This is the need, the compulsion, of many liberals in the United States to embrace a leader from within a system that is demonstrably imperial and violent. Like Obama’s “hope”, Clinton’s gender is no more than a suitable facade.

It's Madoff time déjà-vu all over again.

More bailouts? Or will this perp get real jail time for abusing the tenuously legislated new rules that Dodd-Frank put in place to guard against further encroachments by the banksters on the savings of the middle and lower class?

The Justice Department is calling this a $95 million fraud because on top of the $24.6 million that was defrauded from the charity, Caspersen attempted to obtain “an additional $20 million investment from the same charitable foundation and a $50 million investment from another multinational private equity firm headquartered in New York,” ostensibly to cover up the first fraud in a Ponzi-like operation when the charity demanded its first $25 million back. Caspersen failed to obtain the additional sums.

The sweaty palms on Wall Street stem from the fact that some very big names are involved here. While the fraud was taking place, Caspersen was a managing director at PJT Partners Inc., whose largest shareholder is Blackstone Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman. PJT trades on the New York Stock Exchange and the shares tanked yesterday on the news of Caspersen’s arrest, initially dropping as much as 24 percent before closing down a little over 10 percent.

A major law firm, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison – the firm that has serially represented Citigroup over fraud charges – was brought in by PJT to investigate the matter according to Bloomberg News.

But the biggest bombshell comes from the related complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Caspersen. One of the four largest banks in the U.S., Bank of America, was where Caspersen set up the fake investment account, wired $25 million into it and then transferred $17.6 million out of it into his own personal brokerage account according to the Justice Department complaint.

That should simply not have happened at a major U.S. bank.

It raises serious questions as to (1) why Bank of America’s compliance staff were asleep at the switch; (2) what was the name of the brokerage firm that received the funds and why did they violate longstanding procedures and accept funds from a corporate-named account into a personal-named account; (3) was the matter referred to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) office that investigates money laundering; (4) why is the Justice Department withholding from the public the names of all the firms and people involved, other than Caspersen; and (5) why did the U.S. Attorney’s Office put Kurt Hafer in charge of the case, when he’s only been with the Justice Department for less than two months?

. . . The Justice Department complaint also suggests that someone at the unnamed brokerage firm got suspicious of dubious dealings around December 2, 2015.

It informed Caspersen that it was going to close the account and gave him just two days to remove the remaining assets.

The question is, did that brokerage firm file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with FinCen.

What Caspersen was engaging in has a familiar ring to what Bernie Madoff was doing with Norman F. Levy during the heyday of his Ponzi scheme:  transferring large sums of money from the Madoff corporate account at JPMorgan into Levy’s personal account with JPMorgan failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports with FinCen. (See our in-depth report on that matter below.)

So the final question is, how long will Americans continue to tolerate the SEC and Justice Department denying the public a full accounting of what’s going on in those well-heeled and well-protected mahogany corridors of Wall Street?

(Related Article on Money Laundering)
Bombshell Documents Vanish in the JPMorgan-Madoff Investigation

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos, and the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, took turns at the podium excoriating JPMorgan for observing brazen, long-term money laundering activity occurring under its nose in the business bank account it held for Bernard Madoff while ignoring its legally mandated duty to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the federal government.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known throughout Wall Street and the banking world as FinCEN, is a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department that receives the SARs and is tasked with making sure the reports are seriously investigated.

JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor banks, Chase Manhattan and Chemical, oversaw Madoff’s primary business account for more than 20 years. During that time, flagrant money laundering signs should have set off automated bells, whistles and sirens inside the banks and triggered repeated SARs to FinCEN. None were filed by JPMorgan or its predecessor banks according to U.S. law enforcement until after Madoff turned himself in.

The brazenness of the activity was captured in a 2011 court complaint filed against JPMorgan by Irving Picard, the trustee of the Madoff victims’ fund. Picard told the court that “during 2002, Madoff initiated outgoing transactions to [Norman F.] Levy in the precise amount of $986,301 hundreds of times — 318 separate times, to be exact.

These highly unusual transactions often occurred multiple times on a single day. As another example, from December 2001 to March 2003, the total monthly dollar amounts coming into the 703 Account from Levy were almost always equal to the total monthly dollar amounts going out of the 703 Account to Levy.

There was no clear economic purpose for such repetitive transactions that had no net impact on Levy’s account at BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities]. There was a huge spike in activity between Levy and the 703 Account in December 2001. In that month alone, Madoff engaged in approximately $6.8 billion worth of transactions with Levy…” (The term “703 Account” refers to Madoff’s primary business account at JPMorgan Chase which ended in the numbers “703.”)

Making JPMorgan’s failure to report even worse in U.S. law enforcement eyes was the fact that it did file a report of suspicious activity by Madoff with the United Kingdom’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) on October 28, 2008 but failed to file the same report with U.S. authorities.

FinCEN’s Jennifer Shasky Calvery was particularly harsh in her assessment of JPMorgan’s failure to file a SAR at the press conference on January 7, where JPMorgan was charged with two felony counts, given a deferred prosecution agreement that puts the bank on probation for two years, and a $1.7 billion fine payable to the U.S. Department of Justice that will be distributed to Madoff’s victims. (Including the payment to the Justice Department and other Federal regulators and civil litigants, JPMorgan paid a total of $2.6 billion in the Madoff matter.)

Calvery said: “…it’s about lost opportunities and the catastrophic consequences that can flow. When JPMorgan failed to file a SAR with FinCEN, an opportunity to stop this fraud was missed. JPMorgan’s concerns about potential fraud went unheard, leaving law enforcement and regulators in the dark.”

Calvery is no Johnny-come-lately. She has served as Director of FinCEN since September 23, 2012. Prior to that she had a 15-year career at the U.S. Department of Justice where her focus was on money laundering and organized crime.

The takeaway from this press conference was clearly that the biggest crime committed by JPMorgan was its failure to file the SAR, thus aiding the “catastrophic consequences” that continued against Madoff’s victims. But what if another bank had filed a SAR in the matter with FinCEN and Federal law enforcement did nothing. What if Federal law enforcement or FinCEN is equally responsible for the “catastrophic consequences” that have destroyed the lives of Madoff victims throughout the U.S. and around the globe?

Within the documents filed against JPMorgan on January 7 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, we learn that in the 1990s another bank where Madoff held an account observed these round-trip transactions between Madoff and Levy and filed a SAR with FinCEN. According to the U.S. Attorney’s documents, Madoff was writing checks from an account at “Madoff Bank 2” – a bank other than JPMorgan – to Levy, a mutual customer of both Madoff’s firm and JPMorgan.

Later the same day, Madoff would transfer money from his primary business account at JPMorgan to his account at Madoff Bank 2 to cover the earlier check. In the final leg of the transaction, Levy would transfer funds from his own JPMorgan Chase account to Madoff’s primary business account at JPMorgan in an amount sufficient to cover Madoff’s original check to him.

Levy is not mentioned by name in these documents but it’s clear from Picard’s earlier filing that the client involved is Levy. The documents also mention in a footnote that this client died in September 2005, the date of Levy’s death at age 93. Levy was a Manhattan real estate broker and one of Madoff’s largest and oldest clients.

According to the documents, Bank 2 investigated these round-trip transactions, met with Madoff employees, and concluded there was “no legitimate business purpose for these transactions, which appeared to be a ‘check kiting’ scheme.” Bank 2 terminated its relationship with Madoff Securities and filed its SAR with FinCEN, along with details about the facilitating actions of Levy and JPMorgan Chase’s predecessor bank, Chase Manhattan.

If the SAR was filed in the 90s, "Wall Street On Parade" wondered why a Federal investigation had not exposed Madoff at that time when the funds he ultimately stole from investors would have been significantly less. We filed a Freedom of Information Act request with FinCEN.

A stunning response came back on January 20 of this year:  there are no documents suggesting an investigation ever resulted from the 1990s SAR. (See FinCEN Response to FOIA from "Wall Street On Parade" in JPMorgan-Madoff Matter.)

Amanda Michanczyk, a Disclosure Officer at FinCEN wrote:  “…we conducted a thorough search of our investigative and enforcement records for the time period estimated in your request using search terms you provided and can find no documents responsive to your request.”

This is what is called the “Wow Factor.” The Feds slap a $1.7 billion penalty on a bank, file a two-felony count indictment against it, put it on probation for two years – all for not filing a Suspicious Activity Report and yet when a bank did file a Suspicious Activity Report no documents exist to show there was ever an investigation. Welcome to the Orwellian juncture of high finance and Federal regulators.

We are left to ponder if the investigative documents have been shredded, stolen, or no investigation ever occurred.

Last week, David Rosenfeld of the law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund and Steamfitters Local 449 Pension Fund against 13 current and former executives of JPMorgan and its Board of Directors, including Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. The lawsuit charges these individuals with “recklessly permitting the Company to facilitate and perpetuate Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme in the face of repeated and glaring warnings signs, and willfully failing to establish an adequate AML [anti-money-laundering] program.”

The lawsuit calls attention to what the Justice Department did not tell the public when it settled the case against JPMorgan:  “The Statement of Facts depict a bank with unparalleled insight into Madoff’s fraud.  However, the extent to which JPMorgan’s actual knowledge of or willful blindness to Madoff’s fraud reached the highest echelon of the Bank is not disclosed in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, nor anywhere else in the public record.”

Anyone who has ever worked as a relationship manager or a stock broker at a major Wall Street bank knows that there is only one way that flagrant signs of money laundering are ignored over decades.

Someone in a position of power had to shut down the automated warning system on this account and/or quash any internal investigations.

The fact that when FinCEN received a SAR from another major bank, it still did not investigate (someone has erased the details of that investigation) raises the additional alarm that someone in a position of power may have influenced that investigation inappropriately.

The Justice Department’s role in potentially preventing a full public accounting of the Madoff fraud was further called into question in December when news broke that the Justice Department had killed a subpoena request for internal JPMorgan documents related to the Madoff fraud that had been made by its primary bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and supported by a second demand from the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury.

Why the Justice Department would block regulators from obtaining critical documents, why FinCEN has no documents pertaining to the 1990s SAR filing, why brazen round-trip money laundering was allowed to continue at a major Wall Street bank are all issues waiting for transparent answers.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

*  Two young employees engaged in computer technology dying in such a short span of time might seem bizarre at a bank. But JPMorgan is not just any bank when it comes to computer technology. According to Anish Bhimani, the Chief Information Risk Officer at JPMorgan Chase, in an interview published at the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon, JPMorgan has “more software developers than Google, and more technologists than Microsoft…we get to build things at scale that have never been done before.”
Let that sink in for a moment: a bank that has “more software developers than Google.” The growing concern in Congress is that America’s biggest bank by assets is now so complex in terms of derivative risks on and off its books and software programs that are incomprehensible to its regulators, that it could pose systemic risk to the U.S. economy in a replay of the Citigroup debacle of 2008.

Six days after the death of Magee, Ryan Crane, an Executive Director involved in trading at JPMorgan’s New York office, was found dead in his home in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3.  No cause of death or circumstances surrounding the death has been released to the public.

The Chief Medical Examiner’s office will only say that the cause of death is “pending” and final results will not be announced for several more weeks. "Wall Street On Parade" called the Stamford Police last week to ask for the police incident report. Under Connecticut sunshine laws that report should be available to the press. We were informed that if we were able to obtain the incident report, most information would likely be redacted.

Crane’s death on February 3 was not reported by any major media until February 13, ten days later, when Bloomberg News ran a brief story.

On February 18 of last week, again reports emerged of many witnesses having seen a 33-year old JPMorgan employee jump from the rooftop of a 30-story office building, Chater House, in Hong Kong where JPMorgan leases space. No eyewitnesses have been identified by name.

The decedent’s age and the fact he was employed by JPMorgan is all that the media can agree on. The "South China Morning Post," an English language newspaper in Hong Kong, has published four articles calling the deceased an “investment banker” and warning that stress in this job may lead to suicide. The "South China Morning Post"’s competitor in Hong Kong, "The Standard," also an English language newspaper, reports that the employee is an accountant working in the finance department at JPMorgan – about as far removed from an investment banker as one could get.

The man’s name has been reported by various media in all of the following incarnations:  Dennis Li, Li Junjie, Dennis Li Jun Jie, and Dennis Lee.

Despite four emails to Joe Evangelisti, a Managing Director and spokesperson for JPMorgan, Evangelisti would not provide the name and job title for the deceased employee, saying only that “Our HK team communicated with reporters late last week on this. Here’s the Bloomberg story.” The Bloomberg story provided by Evangelisti was seven sentences long and does not appear on the U.S. web site of Bloomberg News. The earlier story by Bloomberg News, circulated further at the San Francisco Chronicle, depicted the employee as a “foreign exchange trader” citing the (wait for it) "South China Morning Post."

When "Wall Street On Parade" pointed out via email to Evangelisti that under Fair Disclosure rules (Reg FD) a publicly traded company in the U.S. has an obligation to issue its press releases to everyone at the same time and that we would like a direct statement from him on the employee’s name and job title (not another media outlet’s interpretation of JPMorgan’s statement), "Wall Street On Parade" heard no further from Evangelisti, despite openly copying the media relations folks at the Securities and Exchange Commission on the entire email thread.

The "New York Post" pointed out in its reporting that there is “no other known link between any of the deaths” outside of the individuals working for the same company. In fact, there are numerous links:  all of the men are in their 30s, while according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the expected longevity in 2011 for a U.S. male is 76.3 years.

All of the men are believed to have been covered by a life insurance policy which pays JPMorgan upon the death of its employees. (Insurance experts say that larger death benefits can be obtained on younger, highly skilled workers because the death benefit is a function of the number of years of lost earnings.)

But perhaps the most important link is this:  three weeks before the death of Salais and within a little more than a month of the other deaths, JPMorgan had been put under a form of probation by the U.S. Justice Department.

In exchange for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement that ran for two years and $1.7 billion in fines to avoid the criminal indictment of individuals and the firm for facilitating the largest financial fraud in U.S. history, Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, JPMorgan was forced to agree to “secure the attendance and truthful statements or testimony of any past or current officers, agents, or employees at any meeting or interview or before the grand jury … provide in a responsive and prompt fashion, and upon request, on an expedited schedule, all documents, records, information and other evidence in JPMorgan’s possession, custody or control as may be requested by the Office, the FBI, or designated governmental agency … bring to the Office’s attention all criminal conduct by JPMorgan or any of its employees … commit no crimes under the federal laws of the United States subsequent to the execution of this Agreement.”

When a rash of sudden deaths occur among a most unlikely cohort of 30-year olds at a bank that has just settled felony charges and been put on notice that it will be indicted if it commits any further felonies; when it is currently under investigation on multiple continents for potentially committing criminal acts in the realm of interest rate and/or foreign exchange rigging — for the press to cavalierly call these deaths “non suspicious” before inquests have been conducted and findings released by medical examiners shows an unseemly indifference to a worker’s life and an alarming insensitivity to the grief-stricken families still searching for answers.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

**  We now know that it was not only the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Treasury Department’s FinCEN, and bank examiners from the Comptroller of the Currency who missed the Madoff fraud, it was top snoops at the CIA in the very city where Madoff was headquartered.

Stein gives us even less reason to feel confident about this situation, writing that the NR “knows some titans of finance are not above being romanced. Most love hanging out with the agency’s top spies — James Bond and all that — and being solicited for their views on everything from the street’s latest tricks to their meetings with, say, China’s finance minister.

JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein, one former CIA executive recalls, loved to get visitors from Langley.

And the CIA loves them back, not just for their patriotic cooperation with the spy agency, sources say, but for the influence they have on Capitol Hill, where the intelligence budgets are hashed out.”

Higgins is not the only former CIA operative to work at JPMorgan. According to a LinkedIn profile, Bud Cato, a Regional Security Manager for JPMorgan Chase, worked for the CIA in foreign clandestine operations from 1982 to 1995; then went to work for The Coca-Cola Company until 2001; then back to the CIA as an Operations Officer in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East countries until he joined JPMorgan in 2011.

In addition to Higgins and Cato, JPMorgan has a large roster of former Secret Service, former FBI and former law enforcement personnel employed in security jobs. And, as we have reported repeatedly, it still shares a space with the NYPD in a massive surveillance operation in lower Manhattan which has been dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center.

JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon have received a great deal of press attention for the whopping $4.6 million that JPMorgan donated to the New York City Police Foundation. Leonard Levitt, of NYPD Confidential, wrote in 2011 that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly “has amended his financial disclosure forms after this column revealed last October that the Police Foundation had paid his dues and meals at the Harvard Club for the past eight years.

Kelly now acknowledges he spent $30,000 at the Harvard Club between 2006 and 2009, according to the Daily News.”

JPMorgan is also listed as one of the largest donors to a nonprofit Foundation that provides college tuition assistance to the children of fallen CIA operatives, the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation. The Foundation also notes in a November 2013 publication, the "Compass," that it has enjoyed the fundraising support of Maurice (Hank) Greenberg.

According to the publication, Greenberg “sponsored a fundraiser on our behalf. His guest list included the "Who’s Who" of the financial services industry in New York, and they gave generously.”

Hank Greenberg is the former Chairman and CEO of AIG which collapsed into the arms of the U.S. taxpayer, requiring a $182 billion bailout.

In 2006, AIG paid $1.64 billion to settle federal and state probes into fraudulent activities. In 2010, the company settled a shareholders’ lawsuit for $725 million that accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation.

In 2009, Greenberg settled SEC fraud charges against him related to AIG for $15 million.

Before the death of Gabriel Magee, the public had lost trust in the Justice Department and Wall Street regulators to bring these financial firms to justice for an unending spree of fleecing the public.


TONY @oakroyd said...

There's only one party in America - corporate owned GOPers and corporate owned Dems. Maybe Bernie has lifted the stone, but I don't see the creepy crawlies leaving any time soon.

Cirze said...


The soil is still pretty rich.