Once Again, Is JPMorgan Chase Too Big to Jail?

PHOTO: Financier Bernard Madoff leaves Manhattan Federal court March 10, 2009 in New York City.

In another major victory for JPMorgan Chase and its CEO Jamie Dimon, prosecutors said today the bank will be able to avoid criminal charges under a deferred prosecution agreement despite having “turned a blind eye” to evidence of the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff, whose principal accounts were held by the bank for 22 years and were central to his multi-billion dollar fraud.

Instead, prosecutors are expected to announce that the bank will pay in excess of $2 billion to defer for two years criminal charges that the bank failed to report suspicious activity that might have tipped off investigators to Madoff’s scheme years earlier and to cover civil money penalties for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.

Read More

Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East

Tarek Osman (@TarekmOsman) By Tarek Osman (@TarekmOsman) Presenter: The Making of the Modern Arab World
map showing Sykes-Picot lines
The original secret Sykes-Picot map of 1916: “A” would go to France, “B” to Britain.

A map marked with crude chinagraph-pencil in the second decade of the 20th Century shows the ambition - and folly - of the 100-year old British-French plan that helped create the modern-day Middle East.

Straight lines make uncomplicated borders. Most probably that was the reason why most of the lines that Mark Sykes, representing the British government, and Francois Georges-Picot, from the French government, agreed upon in 1916 were straight ones.

Read More

Unease among Brazil’s farmers as Congress votes on GM terminator seeds

Environmentalists warn approval could shatter global agreement not to use technology, with devastating repercussions
Brazil national congress
Brazil’s national Congress is under pressure from landowning groups to green light GM ‘terminator’ seeds. Photograph: Ruy Barbosa Pinto/Getty Images/Flickr RF

Brazil is set to break a global moratorium on genetically-modified “terminator” seeds, which are said to threaten the livelihoods of millions of small farmers around the world.

The sterile or “suicide” seeds are produced by means of genetic use restriction technology, which makes crops die off after one harvest without producing offspring. As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds for each planting, which reduces their self-sufficiency and makes them dependent on major seed and chemical companies.

Environmentalists fear that any such move by Brazil – one of the biggest agricultural producers on the planet – could produce a domino effect that would result in the worldwide adoption of the controversial technology.

Major seed and chemical companies, which together own more than 60% of the global seed market, all have patents on terminator seed technologies. However, in the 1990s they agreed not to employ the technique after a global outcry by small farmers, indigenous groups and civil society groups.

Read More

JP Morgan Chase and the Corruption of America

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog

10 December 13

he Justice Department has just obtained documents showing that JPMorgan Chase , Wall Street’s biggest bank, has been hiring the children of China’s ruling elite in order to secure “existing and potential business opportunities” from Chinese government-run companies. ”You all know I have always been a big believer of the Sons and Daughters program,” says one JP Morgan executive in an email, because “it almost has a linear relationship” to winning assignments to advise Chinese companies. The documents even include spreadsheets that list the bank’s “track record” for converting hires into business deals.

It’s a serious offense. But let’s get real. How different is bribing China’s “princelings,” as they’re called there, from Wall Street’s ongoing program of hiring departing U.S. Treasury officials, presumably in order to grease the wheels of official Washington? Timothy Geithner, Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, is now president of the private-equity firm Warburg Pincus; Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag is now a top executive at Citigroup.

Read More

State Surveillance Is Theft

Taylor and Hopkins report: “More than 500 of the world’s leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter.

Clockwise from top left, eight of the people who have signed the petition: Hanif Kureishi, Björk, Arundhati Roy, Don DeLillo, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis. (photo: Guardian UK)
Clockwise from top left, eight of the people who have signed the petition: Hanif Kureishi, Björk, Arundhati Roy, Don DeLillo, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis. (photo: Guardian UK)

World’s Leading Authors: “State Surveillance Is Theft 

By Matthew Taylor and Nick Hopkins, Guardian UK

10 December 13

  • 500 signatories include five Nobel prize winners
  • Writers demand ‘digital bill of rights’ to curb abuses

ore than 500 of the world’s leading authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have condemned the scale of state surveillance revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and warned that spy agencies are undermining democracy and must be curbed by a new international charter.

The signatories, who come from 81 different countries and include Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Orhan Pamuk, Günter Grass and Arundhati Roy, say the capacity of intelligence agencies to spy on millions of people’s digital communications is turning everyone into potential suspects, with worrying implications for the way societies work.

They have urged the United Nations to create an international bill of digital rights that would enshrine the protection of civil rights in the internet age.

Read More

US spy agency gathers data on phone locations

It is being reported NSA is gathering nearly five billion records a day on global mobile phone locations.

Last updated: 05 Dec 2013 00:56
The report in the Washington Post says the NSA inadvertently gathers US location records [Reuters]

It is being reported that the National Security Agency is gathering nearly five billion records a day on the whereabouts of mobile telephones around the world.

Read More

EU Is Shocked That Banks Colluded On Libor

By Matt Levine Dec 4, 2013 12:25 PM PT

A long time ago some big banks decided that it would be good to sell interest-rate derivatives.To do that they needed an interest rate on which to sell derivatives. Various possibilities presented themselves — Treasury rates or whatever — but the interest rates that the banks themselves paid on short-term borrowing had an especially obvious appeal as an index. If you’re a bank, that data is readily available to you, you don’t have to worry about government-market idiosyncrasies, and it’s easier to be hedged if your derivatives (and the floating-rate loans you write to clients) are indexed to your own borrowing costs.

But being like, “we’ll exchange you a fixed rate of 7 percent for a floating rate of 3 percent over our cost of three-month borrowing” is kind of weird. For one thing, it makes the client nervous: What if the bank has an accident and its cost of borrowing goes way up? (What if the bank lies about its cost of borrowing?) For another thing, it makes interest-rate swaps less fungible and liquid: A swap of JPMorgan-plus-300-basis-points is not easily comparable to a swap of Citi-plus-325, so you can’t really close out a position in one by selling the other.

Read More

A Canadian mining company agreed to pay a contractor in Bitcoins for exploration work to be carried out at a property that contains tungsten.

Alix Resources Corp. said today in a statement it will pay Ridge Resources Ltd. for the work at its Windy property about 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of Cassiar, British Columbia.

- Canadian miner to pay contractor in Bitcoins

WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership
Treaty negotiated in secret between 12 nations ‘would trample over individual rights and free expression’, says Julian Assange

- WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership | Media | theguardian.com

Saudi nuclear weapons ‘on order’ from Pakistan


Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.

Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, “we will get nuclear weapons”, the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.

Gary Samore, until March 2013 President Barack Obama’s counter-proliferation adviser, has told Newsnight:

Gary Samore
Gary Samore served as President Barack Obama’s WMD tsar

Read More

The madness of capital

World leaders remain wedded to economic metrics that say little about the well-being of humans and the environment.

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2013 14:39
Governments subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of about $2tn a year, writes Hickel [EPA]

Last month the Associated Press reported that the income gap in the United States broke a new record in 2012, with the 1 percent grabbing a greater share of total household wealth than ever before in history.

This news follows on the heels of the fact that the 1 percent not only capturedall of the income gains during the first two years of the economic recovery, but also stole a portion of the already-existing incomes of the bottom 99 percent, causing median household income to decline despite overall economic growth.

Read More

Julian Assange reveals GCHQ messages discussing Swedish extradition

See on Scoop.it - Geo Concern

WikiLeaks founder uses subject access request to access British agency chatter, which allegedly calls extradition ‘a fit-up’

Cameron Taylor's insight:

Hmmm…sounds about right!

See on guardian.co.uk