Posts tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street’

April 26, 2013

Welcome to NWO: Everything Is Rigged

by mkleit

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.

 Illustration by Victor Juhasz


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.

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January 10, 2012

“إحتلوا بيروت”… لم يحتلوها

by mkleit

Occupy Together Map from

محمد قليط

“نحن 99%”، شعار بدأ من حديقة زوكوتي في مدينة نيويورك في 17 أيلول 2011 على خلفية تردي الوضع الاقتصادي والاجتماعي في أميركا. و لم تقتصر التحركات الرافضة على أميركا فقط، بل انتشرت في التاسع من تشرين الأول إلى ما يتعدى ال95 مدينة في 82 دولة، حسب الموقع الرسمي للتحركات تحركات “احتلوا العالم” التي آتت للمطالبة بالعدالة الاجتماعية تخطت الحدود المتوقعة، حيث صمّم موقع خريطة تحدد المواقع التي تحصل فيها الاعتصامات والعصيان المدني، والتي برزت فيها مدن عدة مثل بوسطن ومدريد ولندن وادنبره وبلغراد. ولكن السؤال على الصعيد اللبناني يبقى: أين حركة “احتلوا بيروت” من هذا التحرك العالمي؟ ألم يطالب المواطنون اللبنانيون بالمساواة والعدالة الطبقية الاجتماعية؟

بعد محاولات عدة فشلت في كندا، تسلمت نيويورك الأضواء من جارتها، حيث نشأ أول تحرك رسمي للمطالب المتعلقة بالإصلاحات الإجتماعية، و كان أول تحرك منقولاً عبر وسائل الاعلام. و كما جاء على الموقع الرسمي للتحرك، فإن الربيع العربي كان الملهم الأساس لهذه التحركات، وبالتحديد الثورة المصرية في ميدان التحرير. يذكر أنّ جريدة الواشنطن بوست أسمتها بالنهضة الديمقراطية، بعد أن استحصلت الحركة العالمية على الاعتراف الرسمي من المجلس المدني في ادنبره، اسكتلندا في 24 تشرين الثاني 2011. وقد صمم الموقع خريطة تحدد أماكن المظاهرات والاعتصامات، مع غياب كامل للدول العربية وتحديداً لبنان، علماً أنّ لبنان شهد تحركات عدة طالبت بتحسين الوضع الراهن، معظمها ترك بصمات في أذهان اللبنانيين، نذكر منها حملات اسقاط النظام الطائفي في عام 2011 التي طالبت بتحسين الوضع المعيشي وتغيير النظام السياسي الحاكم.

و لكن جلّ ما نشأ من الحركة هو بعض المقلات المنفردة والأعمال الشخصية، بالاضافة الى صفحتين على موقع التواصل الاجتماعي Facebook باسم “Occupy Beirut” و شقيقتها “Occupy Solidere”. فكما كُتب على صفحة الأخيرة: “مشاريع إعادة البناء تواصل القضاء على جزء كبير من تاريخ بيروت، والتباين الحاد بينها وبين محيطها هو رمز للصراع الطبقي ولتكديس الثروات لدى أقلية نخبوية. ولذا فإن الحملة تهدف إلى إسقاط هذا الوحش، في خطوة تمهد لسقوط النظام الفاسد.” أما في صفحة “Occupy Beirut” فوردت الجملة الآتية “نحن نقف تضامناً مع اخواننا وأخواتنا حول العالم الذين قرروا أنه حان الوقت ل1%، الذين يضعون قوانينا وينهبون أموالنا ويضطهدون شعوبنا، ليسمعوا صوت ال99%.” وفي السياق نفسه، كتب المدون وائل ضو في جريدة الديار اللبنانية مقالاً بعنوان “من الذي سيبكيكم كما أبكيتونا”، داعياً من خلاله اللبنانيين الى عدم السكوت عن الحق أو الخضوع، مشيراً في محادثة على الانترنت أنه سئم من الوضع الراهن قائلاً “لسنا مقيدين بتقبل الوضع المعيشي المتأزم على حسابنا دوماً.”
و في مقابلة مع بشار ترحيني، أحد الناشطين في التحركات المناهضة للفساد والطائفية وخبير في مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي، قال “أفتخر بكوني جزء من هذا التحرك العالمي، الذي يتكلم بلسان الفقراء.” و ندد بالطريقة التي تعتمدها السلطات اللبنانية في تعاطيها مع المظاهرات السابقة لاسقاط النظام الطائفي حيث أشار أنه “انتهى وقت المشاورات والمفاوضات، وحان وقت فضح من هم في الزعامة الذين حكموا لبنان على مدى ال40 سنة الماضية، و يظنون أن الحصانة الدبلوماسية سوف تحميهم.”

حتى اليوم، لم يسجل في لبنان سوى تحركين يتعلقان “بإحتلوا بيروت”. الأول أمام بنك لبنان المركزي في 10 كانون الأول ٢.١١، و الذي انتهى بقمع المظاهرة من قبل قوات الأمن، أما الثاني فإتخذ مكاناً له شارع الحمرا في 28 من الشهر نفسه، الذي وحسب مؤيدي التحرك، لم يكونوا على علم مسبق به. هذا الأمر أنتج بلبلة وسط المؤيدين، إذ شكك محمد الحاج ومحمد مرتضى، وهما من الناشطين في التحركات المناهضة للفساد والطائفية، بمصداقية التحرك البيروتي. فقد قال الحاج “إنّ تحرك احتلوا بيروت لم يعد موجوداً، فقد “كان بمثابة الاحتفال لبعض الشبان والشابات ليضيعوا وقتهم، حجّة ليقولوا نحن هنا، علينا المشاركة في نهضة العالم للحصول على المساواة المدنية ونظام سياسي عادل.” من جهته إنتقد مرتضى هذه التحركات التي قالت عنها “لا طعم لها” مشيراً الى عدم وجود آلية منظمة للقيام بهكذا تحركات. ويقول مرتضى ساخراً “المهم أن ينزلوا الى الشارع. وصلنا للزمن الذي أصبح الغرب أفضل منا في المظاهرات.” أما مسؤول لجنة نبذ الطائفية وموقع “خبر أونلاين” سركيس أبو زيد في محاضرة في مسرح بيروت بعنوان “الاعلام والطائفية” قال: “مشكلة لبنان هي الطائفية، فهي وحش أكبر من أي تحرك و أقوى من أي مطلب.”

من 17 أيلول حتى يومنا هذا، موجة تحركات “إحتلوا العالم” ما زالت تتوسع كفيروس عنيد يأخذ في جعبته العديد من الضحايا في الطريق لتحقيق المطالب، إذ قامت صحيفة الواشنطن بوست خلال تغطيتها للأحداث بنشر أعداد ضحايا هذه التحركات التي بلغت ثمانية قتلى و100 جريح وما يفوق 4200 معتقل. أما في لبنا فالفكرة لم تتبلور بالشكل المطلوب، اذ لم تصل إلى مرحلة المطالبة الجادة، بالرغم من وجود عدد من المؤيدين الناشطين. وربما، وعلى رأي أحد الناشطين في آخر تحرك في الحمرا، “لم تصل الفكرة بعد للناس” الذي أضاف “نأمل أن تكون تحركات بيروت هي الخبر العالمي الأول وتحديداً أن يكون تحرك “احتلوا بيروت أو سوليدير” التحرك العالمي الأول الذي يحقق مراده.”

"Occupy Beirut" in Hamra at the 28th of December

November 13, 2011

World intrigued by “Occupy Wall Street” movement – By Reuters

by mkleit

(Reuters)Tahrir Square in Cairo, Green Square in Tripoli, Syntagma Square in Athens and now Zuccotti Park in New York — popular anger against entrenching power elites is spreading around the world.

Many have been intrigued by the Occupy Wall Street movement against financial inequality that started in a New York park and expanded across America from Tampa, Florida, to Portland, Oregon, and from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Hundreds of activists gathered a month ago in the Manhattan park two blocks from Wall Street to vent their anger at what they see as the excesses of New York financiers, whom they blame for the economic crisis that has struck countless ordinary Americans and reverberated across the global economy.

I Can't Affor a Lobbyist

In the U.S. movement, Arab nations see echoes of this year’s Arab Spring uprisings. Spaniards and Italians see parallels with Indignados (indignant) activists, while voices in Tehran and Beijing with their own anti-American agendas have even said this could portend the meltdown of the United States.

Inspired by the momentum of the U.S. movement, which started small but is now part of U.S. political debate, activists in London will gather to protest outside the London Stock Exchange on October 15 on the same day that Spanish groups will mass on Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square in solidarity.

“American people are more and more following the path chosen by people in the Arab world,” Iran’s student news agency ISNA quoted senior Revolutionary Guards officer Masoud Jazayeri as saying. “America’s domineering government will face uprisings similar to those in Tunisia and Egypt.”

Chinese newspapers splashed news about Occupy Wall Street with editorials blaming the U.S. political system and denouncing the Western media for playing down the protests.

“The future of America stands at a crossroads. Presuming that effective measures to relieve the social mood and reconstruct justice cannot be found, it is not impossible that the Occupy Wall Street movement might be the final straw under which America collapses,” said a commentary in the Global Times.

“This movement has uncovered a scar on American society, an iceberg of accumulated social conflicts has risen to the surface,” said the commentary in the tabloid, which is owned by the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily.


In Cairo, Ahmed Maher, a founder and leading member of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement which helped to topple autocrat Hosni Mubarak, said it was in contact with several groups organizing the anti-Wall Street demonstrations.

“A few days ago we saw a banner in New York that said ‘This is Tahrir Square’,” Maher said, referring to the Cairo square that became the epicenter of Egypt’s revolution.

“The Arab Spring has definitely inspired the burst of protests in the United States and Europe.”

Others noted differences between Arab protesters and U.S. protesters, branded by one Republican presidential candidate as “anti-American” and so jealousy-ridden that they wanted to “take somebody else’s … Cadillac.”

“The Arab protests started with requests for reform but quickly transformed into demands for governments to leave, or at least their leaders,” said Abdulaziz al-Uwaisheg, columnist in Saudi daily al-Watan. “The American protest is against specific policies … It did not ask to change the government.”

Spanish media have devoted daily coverage to Occupy Wall Street, dubbing participants “Indignados in Manhattan,” with left-leaning newspapers saying the U.S. protesters were inspired by Spain’s own disenchanted youth-led grouping.

“Occupy Wall Street is one more branch of a global movement,” said Veronica Garcia, a 40-year-old lawyer involved in the Spanish demonstrations.


Blessed are the Poor

While Spain’s “Indignados” have poured much of their anger so far on politicians, Garcia said Saturday’s Madrid march was likely to focus more on bankers.

In London, which was hit by rioting and looting by disaffected people in early August, protesters were using social media like Facebook and Twitter to plan their Stock Exchange protest on Saturday.

The Occupy London protest aims to draw attention to “the economic systems that have caused terrible injustices around the world,” according to their website.

“Bankers have got off scot-free whilst the people of this country are being punished for a crisis they did not create,” a statement on the website said, echoing the chant taken up by U.S. marchers: “We are the 99 percent.”

Unions, which organized protests against austerity moves in debt-stricken Greece, welcomed the New York protests.

“It’s optimistic because we haven’t seen such protests before,” Greek public sector unionist Despina Spanou told Reuters. “There is no coordination so far because most of this is spontaneous, but we cannot rule anything out.”

Newspapers around the world have sought to identify the true motor of discontent driving the Occupy Wall Street movement, with the Korea Herald seeing an historic dimension reflecting the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam War rallies.

“But perhaps the closest historical parallel is with the Populist movement of the 1890s, which, like Occupy Wall Street, was a broad, economics-driven revolt that targeted a predatory class of corporate capitalists – the robber barons of the Gilded Age,” the newspaper said.


Japan’s Kyodo news agency ran an interview from New York with organizer Kalle Lasn who said he hoped that “Occupy Wall Street” would inspire Japan’s jobless youth.

“Is there some beginning of some kind of ‘Occupy Tokyo’ or ‘Occupy Marunouchi’, something like that happening in Japan right now or not?” Kyodo quoted Lasn as saying, referring to the Marunouchi business district in


The Occupy Wall Street protests across the United States with their focus on banking bailouts and unfairness appeared to present a dilemma for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The protests support one Kremlin agenda by underscoring the economic troubles of Moscow’s Cold War foe, but could also send a signal encouraging street protests — not what Putin wants as he heads toward a second stint as president in a March vote.

This July, Putin said the United States was “acting like hooligans” in the global economy. In Aug

ust, he said the United States was living beyond its means “like a parasite.”

Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have not spoken publicly about the protests, but state-run TV stations they use to shape opinion seem to have found a way around the contradiction.

Footage of crowds protesting against perceived corporate greed and government connivance echo

Occupy The World

ed the emphasis on U.S. economic inequality that was a Soviet-era propaganda staple.

Such footage may also back up Putin’s argument for a tight state rein on

Russia’s corporate world –

– and his colorful depictions of the United States as a flagging, sometimes dangerously irresponsible financial power.

At the same time, news footage often focusing on outspoken, outlandishly dressed participants in the U.S. protests appeared aimed at lending the crowds a circus-like look that could be to discourage Russians from trying this at home.

The Chinese, however, have not been so subtle, using the movement to fire repeated broadsides at the capitalist system.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement was sparked by the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor,” the Hong Kong Economic Journal said in its editorial.

“Now it looks like the spark is being turned into a great fire that is spreading to other countries.”

British commentators were not so convinced by such an apocalyptic vision. Giles Whittell in the London Times, highlighting the movement’s lack of a coherent agenda, came to the conclusion in a headline that it was: “Passionate but Pointless.”

(Reporting by Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong, Andrew Hammond in Dubai, Parisa Hafezi in Tehran, Marwa Awad in Cairo, Catherine Hornby in Rome, Michael Martina in Beijing, Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo, Peter Griffiths in London, Tracy Rucinski in Madrid, Renee Maltezou in Athens, Steve Gutterman in Moscow, David Cutler in London; Writing by Peter Millership; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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