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The United States Financial Extortion

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Individuals (famous economists), and organizations that are profiting from the present oligarchic system cannot be too critical against what feeds them. One has to read beyond the mellifluous lines.

Here is The Economist, June 28, 2014:

“Share and share alike. America should also embrace the OECD’s efforts, already backed by more than 50 countries, to create a truly multilateral system in which tax information on residents’ accounts and certain investments is shared annually. For that to work, America would need to hand over data similar to those which it demands from others-something it has hitherto appeared reluctant to do. The financial superpower looks ever more a regulatory bully, setting rules it ignores itself.

Setting rules for others one ignores for oneself is the essence of viciousness.

The financial superpower looks ever more a regulatory bully?

The USA is a financial bully, and it started in 1944, when the USA tried to bully Lord Keynes himself (head of the currency commission at Bretton-Woods), into accepting the Dollar of the USA as the world’s reserve currency.

The fact that it started so long ago means that the bully’s institutions have evolved accordingly. A particular case if American justice, which finds American violence to be just: the case of the vulture funds is exemplary. Whoever stands in the way of American vultures is unjust.

Keynes wanted to use the International Monetary Fund to create “Drawing Rights” as needed, a solution Dominique Strauss-Kahn implemented to the tune of 450 billion dollars until his fateful encounter with the maid from hell, taken super seriously by New York “Justice” (until she proposed so many tricks to the officers in charge of “protecting” her, that, well, it was embarrassing, even for New York “Justice”).

Keynes resisted totally, so the government of the USA forged the documents that made the USA into the one and only financial superpower. When Saddam Hussein begged to differ, and started to use Euros, he was hanged. So the BNP executives, who have not been executed yet, ought not to complain too much, as The Economist astutely points out, somewhere else.

What is The Economist alluding to above? “. hand over data similar to those which it demands from others.” To the fact that the USA is the world’s largest tax haven for global plutocrats, while busy destroying all other tax havens. The destruction of Swiss banks and bankers is exemplary that way.

In other words, the USA sucks up capital from all over the world, by stealing other countries’ taxes (as it provides plutocrats, worldwide, to escape taxation, thanks to. Delaware).

Says The Economist in: “Tax havens, The missing $20 trillion How to stop companies and people dodging tax, in Delaware as well as Grand Cayman”: a lower rate on a broader base, combined with vigilance by the tax authorities, would be more efficient and would probably raise more revenue: America, whose companies face one of the rich world’s highest corporate-tax rates on their worldwide income, also has some of the most energetic tax-avoiders.

These reforms would not be easy. Governments that try to lower corporate tax rates will be accused of caving in to blackmailing capitalists. Financial centres and incorporation hubs, from the City of London to Delaware, will fight any attempt to tighten their rules. BUT IF POLITICIANS REALLY WANT TO TAX THE MISSING $20 TRILLION, THAT’S WHERE THEY SHOULD START.”

From the horse’s mouth: to tax the missing $20 trillion, start from London to Delaware. Exactly what I have been saying for years. The global financial exploitative mess is part of an Anglo-American imperial situation.

I have condemned the way “judicial” authorities in New York siding with the financial vultures therein. The Economist now agrees with me, and goes somewhat further, as it alleges state corruption. Here is an extensive extract from:

BNP Paribas in the dock: No way to treat a criminal. The French bank deserved a clobbering, but America’s legal system looks like an extortion racket.

BNP argues that it broke no European laws. That is true enough, to Europe’s shame. It is also true that the underlying transactions had nothing to do with America, but because they were denominated in dollars they had to be cleared in New York, which provided America’s lawmen with a toehold.

But the guilt of a suspect and the justice of a cause do not make a tribunal fair. And America’s system for pursuing errant banks, especially foreign ones, is anything but fair. BNP had little choice but to settle. Defeat in court might have led to the loss of its American banking licence-a death sentence for a big international bank. America’s prosecutors can also wield the threat of criminal charges against individual bankers.

Bank against the wall

Not only were BNP’s tormentors, such as Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s politically ambitious banking regulator, able more or less to dictate their terms, they also had an incentive to make the fine as big as possible because the agencies involved divvied up much of it among themselves. Mr Lawsky’s outfit gets $2 billion, four times its annual budget, which it will triumphantly deposit in New York state’s depleted coffers.

There are no meaningful checks on this process, let alone a plausible procedure for BNP to appeal. Bank bosses cannot even publicly criticise deals they agree to under extreme duress. No precedent is set and no guidance provided as to the limits of the law and the proportionality of the punishment.

So even if BNP fully deserves its punishment, the legal system that meted it out is closer to an extortion racket than justice. France’s economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, has compared America’s pursuit of BNP to “economic warfare”. In other words, a bank that catered to mass murderers has had some success in portraying itself as a victim. Any process that can make BNP’s dealings with Sudan look anything less than shameful must be very flawed indeed.”

“Catered to mass murderers”? Is that not the story of the invasion of Iraq by the USA? Did BNP invade Sudan? Is the USA pursuing the invaders of Iraq?

No, the USA is using imperial might in ways very similar to Putin. (Putin also has laws and judges and Congress on his side, nota bene.)

Two months ago Argentina reached a settlement with the Paris Club, a group of government creditors.

On June 16th the Supreme Court of the United States decided twice in favor of NML Capital, a “vulture” fund (and subsidiary of hedge fund Elliott Management) that snatched dirt cheap bonds after Argentina’s 2001 default. The fund and its plutocratic owners have since pursued the country for the payment of all principal plus outstanding interest in US courts. For at least 1.6 billion dollars.

The ability of struggling countries to restructure their debts has been dented. Hold-outs everywhere have greater incentive to litigate; creditors who might accept exchange offers could see them gulped down by vultures, catered to by USA judges.

Those who play with fire to burn others may find where the concept of “backfiring” comes from.

Patrice Ayme

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