Forex fraud, feckin’ the Irish taxpayer, and fomenting Jihadist passions. It’s all in a day’s work
Things do seem to be coming to a head rather at the minute…but more on that later here: in the meantime, some things are unchanged – notably the widespread evidence of endemic amoral manipulative corruption in all things fiscal, financial and geopolitical. It could be that The Big One is almost upon us, but the élites’ hands are never less than busy, bloody, or bunging banknotes.
First, the never-changing nature of the money cheats. Hot on the heels of Libor rate-fixing comes the full story on Forex fiddles. Six major banks were fined £4bn recently for their misconduct in relation to this gigantic fraud. Unable this time to simply “set aside” fines money and then discreetly walk back into the shadows, some young barrow-boys are being thrown to the regulatory wolves. Trials aplenty to come of these minnows, but there has obviously been a Trust-style conspiracy to defraud customers.
About £3.5trillion a day zaps through these markets; so put that into context, and you will see that the fines are slightly more than a thousandth of the criminality involved. Imagine if Hitler had been caught alive, and the Nuremburg sentence had been that he had to shave off his moustache: well, that’s roughly the imbalance we’re looking at.
The really old kids on the Legislature block are property developers and large-scale project builders. Nowhere has this been more obvious over the years than in Ireland, but the latest episode does suggest a truly pernicious level of government illegality in covering up the scandal.
Billionaire scamster Denis O’Brien seems to have organised a sweet deal at the taxpayers’ expense by getting a State Owned Bank (UK folks, think RBS and you’ll be on the right track) to lend him half a billion euros at 1.25%, having borrowed it at 5.5% to lend him the sum in the first place. That’s a business model up there with Applegarth’s ‘interest rates can only go up’ fantasy while boss of Northern rock; but the added spice this time is why a billionaire needs to borrow more billions from a bailed-out bank, and why he got an 83% discount on the rate.
If only it ended there, but it doesn’t: for Dennis the Menace uses the cash to buy water utility Siteserv….and bless me would yer feckin’ believe it, so sure now doesn’t Siteserv instantly win the massive Irish Water Project? So it does. But foolish independent deputy Catherine Murphy stands up in the Dáil and asks WTF is going on here. She proposes a bill to investigate the matter.
An an injunction is then issued preventing media from reporting on what has been said in the Dáil.
In her little nest atop the Home Office, Theresa May-or-may-Not slavers down her chin as the events unfold. “Soon,” she whispers darkly, “All this will be mine”.
Irish thinkers and decent coves now hope the Cúirt Uachtarach na hÉireann (Supreme Court) will dust down that old volume The Irish Constitution, and rule that Mr O’Bribin’ is getting just a tad too big for his boots.
Warning: holding our collective breath is potentially dangerous.
Meanwhile, back in the oil business, things are going from nasty via silly to surreal. Previously on Oilsoap, we toppled Gadaffi because we were fairly sure he was arming Syria’s multifaceted (and murderous) opposition forces. This was an odd reason to get tetchy with Gadaffi, because in public, we claimed to detest Syrian leader Bashar Assad, and tried to pin every atrocity in Syria on his back. We even stumbled upon a chemical weapons stash owned and used by Assad on his own people, the bastard. Then we made noises about regime change. But then, having used the excuse of army fascism to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, we put all that feedback together and were about to form an anti-Assad alliance. But then we discovered the inestimable evil of Islamic State Jihadism, which became ISIS then ISIL and, as their identity was fudged, morphed into much bigger bastards than Assad could ever hope to be by beheading lots of guys who turned out to be security agents, and so then we got Assad onside and bombed the shit out of some people that travelling arms salesman John McCain had been calling freedom fighters only the previous year.
Confused? Of course you are – but there’s no reason to be, because the two consistent threads running through this ball of knitting are US munitions sales, and access for the US to oil.
Now some newly-leaked Pentagon documents seem to prove that Washington knew all along that two of the major forces driving against Assad in Syria were the Muslim Brotherhood (used to be bad guys, then good guys and “our best hope”, now in the undecided column) and the old enemy that justified all US presence in the Middle East after 9/11, Al Qaeda. So having declared these two spawn of the Devil’s sputum, we knew all along that our enemy was trying to get rid of our other enemy, and so the first enemy had to become a friend and so they became our friends but then they started losing and so we had to help our friends see off the enemy who – since then – has become our friend.
Cast your minds back to the Benghazi compound attack, and the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. Feedback from both the middle east and the US has long maintained that Stevens’ real role was to oversee the shipping of arms from Benghazi to the anti-Bashar former international criminals now reformed (in all senses of the word) as freedom fighting Arab Springers. When this policy began to look misplaced, Stevens had to go because he knew where all the bodies in all the sizes were buried. And no, I’ve no sure idea who did it because my head hurts. But it does look as if security that night in the Benghazi compound was conveniently lax.
The bottom line is that Washington didn’t give a hoot who got it in the neck in Syria: they just wanted someone to cause regime change – aka, give them unlimited access to the country’s resources.
This is a new Waddington board game for all the family called Oilopoly. Running out of enemies? Take a card from the Chance stack. It says “Embrace Assad and advance to the Iraqi oilfields”.
But whatever you do, don’t land on Libya. Instead, take a card from the Community Chest, and read “You have won a competition to supply arms to MB and Al Quaeda in Libya. Kill Gadaffi and take three oilfields from each player”.
Hat-tips are due to Archie X, Phil and Michael for the above.
Next up at The Slog: things coming to a head.