The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns
Now, the “Overbanked” article was posted back in 2010. That’s right, I warned about the two Irish banks listed in the chart above THREE YEARS ago, You’ve had plenty of time to mover your money out! Speaking of those Irish banks, I warned the Irish again a few weeks ago as well – with specificity - in Global Banking Crisis – How & Why YOU Will Get “Cyprus’d” As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!! Here, I focused on Anglo Irish, already nationalized and being wound down. I warned that there will be unhappy returns, if there would be any, just like Cyprus – as excerpted:
First Off Let’s Make Bank Collapse Real…
To begin with, let’s make this Cyprus thing real, by showing a live example of what happens when to a real small business that had the gall to bank with Laikie Bank, from the Bitcoin forum I excerpt a post that puts things into perspective, re: bank account confiscation:
Later that weekend in the Irish media… As If On Cue, BoomBustBlog Shenanigan Research Gets Real In Ireland
Anglo Irish Bank/IBRC bondholders will actually get some of their money back!
As if on cue, a day after my expose on Anglo Irish Bank and its shenanigans (see Global Banking Crisis – How & Why YOU Will Get “Cyprus’d” As This Bank Scrambled For Capital!!!), The Irish Business Post announces senior bondholders will get wiped out. That’s right, a 100% loss! Zilch! Zero! Nada! Now, that’s investing. That’s getting “Cyprus’d”, plus some!!! From Businesspost.ie: IBRC senior bondholders to be burned
Of course, the story doesn’t end with the bondholders. Exactly as anticipated in the articles mentioned above, and as published in the Irish mainstream media over the weekend…
As you can see, this is actually MUCH WORSE than the deal the Cypriots got. These Irish pensioners are facing a total wipeout – 100% LOSS!!!
If you’re not disenfranchised, yet, hold on… It get’s worse, much worse. The Irish Examiner published this today…
ECB gags State on IBRC liquidation
The ECB has gagged the Government from releasing any information in relation to the liquidation of the former Anglo Irish bank, IBRC. A senior official in the Department of Finance told the Irish Examiner they were under strict instructions from the ECB not to release any details to the public. “What they [ECB] have said from an early stage is that if there is any release, at all, then all negotiations are off. They do not want to discuss this in any forum, other than that of a member state and the ECB council,” he said. The department has received about 16 freedom of information requests in relation to the IBRC liquidation and is now considering adopting a policy position that would allow it to refuse all applications for the release of information.
Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the decision to liquidate IBRC was one of the biggest ever made by the State and he was concerned certain firms may have used insider information to secure payments. “The minister has refused several requests from me for information pertaining to the weeks and months before the event, specifically concerning whether certain sources in the know used confidential information to fast-track invoices in anticipation of liquidation.
So there you have it. Unless you’ve been hearing a lot about Irish bank collapse lately, it seems if you don’t hear it from Reggie Middleton and BoomBustBlog, you’re probably not going to hear it at all – so says the powers that be.
It’s not just Anglo Irish Bank, either. I’ve warned about several other Irish banks. Here’s another one I feel likely to give Irish savers a nasty surprise…
You see, the banks can get away with this fleecing because the common person doesn’t get a hold of my information and analysis very often, at least not until it’s too late. But…… Guess what happened in the Irish mainstream media over the weekend, in the Irish Sun, the most popular rag on the most popular day….
Subscribers, can download ALL documents supporting shenanigans by these banks (click here to subscribe):
WHAT SHOULD THE UNITED STATES DO IF ONE OF THE BIGGEST BANKS IN IRELAND BLATANTLY DEFRAUDED U.S. INVESTORS?
By Reggie Middleton
Since I’m not a securities attorney, let’s get a basic understanding of where I’m basing my allegation – after all, I could definitely be wrong as a layman. From Wikipedia:
Securities fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud, is a deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets that induces investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of false information, frequently resulting in losses, in violation of securities laws. Offers of risky investment opportunities to unsophisticated investors who are unable to evaluate risk adequately and cannot afford loss of capital is a central problem.
Securities fraud can also include outright theft from investors (embezzlement by stockbrokers), stock manipulation, misstatements on a public company’s financial reports, and lying to corporate auditors.
Characteristics of victims and perpetrators
Any investor can become a victim, but persons aged fifty years or older are most often victimized, whether as direct purchasers in securities or indirect purchasers through pension funds. Not only do investors lose but so can creditors, taxing authorities, and employees.
Potential perpetrators of securities fraud within a publicly traded firm include any dishonest official within the company who has access to the payroll or financial reports that can be manipulated to:
- overstate assets
- overstate revenues
- understate costs
- understate liabilities
Enron Corporation exemplifies all four tendencies, and its failure demonstrates the extreme dangers of a culture of corruption within a publicly traded corporation. The rarity of such spectacular failures of a corporation from securities fraud attests to the general reliability of most executives and boards of large corporations.
So, with that layman’s understanding of what securities fraud is (along with my emphasis added), let’s move on.
The Bank of Ireland
In the 2008 Annual Accounts (Irish version of Annual Report) of Bank of Ireland (see attached, page 178) it states the bank gave a first floating charge in favor of the Central Bank of Ireland (an arm of the European Central Bank) and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland over the Banks ‘right, title, interest, benefit, present and future, in and to certain segregated securities listed in an Eligible Securities schedule.’
Fact: The BoI 2008 Irish accounts (~annual report) refer to the charges in their Disclosure Section (see attached page from 2008 accounts) where they describe the charge as being over ‘certain segregated securities.’
I ILLUSTRATE HOW THE IRISH BANKING CANCER SPREADS TO THE UK TAXPAYER AND METASTASIZES THROUGH U.S. MARKETS
By Reggie Middleton
US retail investors and financial media tend to be a little… well… US-centric. They tend to ignore a lot of international happenings even though these events can, and often do, have a direct impact on the immediate US financial situation. I have ranted, raved, preached and prognosticated on the interconnectedness, and the inherent risks therein, of the global banking system. From my highly analytical ravings on Bear Stearns (pre-bust Is this the Breaking of the Bear?) to my more free form rants on Lehman (pre-bust Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?), I think I have proven that being the lone voice in the investment wilderness is not necessarily an indicator of that voice being wrong. See for more on that topic. For now, let’s continue where we left off in “Ireland, You May Very Well Be Bust & I Make No Apologies For What I’m About To Show You” wherein I’m about to clearly demonstrate how contagion easily traipsed through geographic borders from Ireland to the UK to the US, and how this big bank seemingly omitted the evidence of such.
Note to professional and institutional subscribers: Please download the supporting documents for this report from BoomBustBlog’s subscription archive and depository – Ulster Bank/RBS Supporting Charge Documents. This file contains several hundred pages of documentation to support the assertions and allegations contained in this report (click here to subscribe).
Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd, has charges registered (see Supporting Charge Documents) with the Irish Companies Registration Office (CRO). The bank gave a first floating charge in favour of the Central Bank of Ireland (an arm of the European Central Bank) and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland encompassing “all its right, title, interest and benefit, present and future, in and to each of the securities of such a class or description as may from time to time be designated by the European Central Bank as eligible for sale and/or purchase, as the case may be, by the Bank under its standard form for the time being of Master Repurchase Agreement, which specification may be made by reference to particular classes of repurchase transactions, and which are included in the schedule of Eligible Securities provided to the Bank from time to time.”.
These charges were registered with the CRO on 15th February 2008, yet there is no mention whatsoever of these charges in the Banks 2008 Annual Accounts (see attached).
Ulster Bank is a 100% Owned Subsidiary of the UK (now taxpayer owned) Institution – The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
This affects US investors as well and this piece should be well read by anyone in the US, UK or Ireland who has lost money investing in RBS/Ulster Bank Group.
rbs share price history
In 2008, RBS traded ADR’s in the U.S. under the symbol .NYSE:RBS. These ADR’s were traded OTC. This gives the SEC jurisdiction over the companies US securities.
What happened behind closed doors?
Ulster Bank gave a first floating charge in favor of the Central Bank of Ireland (an arm of the European Central Bank) and the Financial Services Authority of Ireland. U.S. investors would have had to rely on the contents of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s 2008 Annual Accounts which apparently (in my opinion) concealed the existence of the CRO registered charges to the Bank of Ireland.
Ulster Bank RBS charge doc 2 Page 1Ulster Bank RBS charge doc 2 Page 1 copyUlster Bank RBS charge doc Page 1Ulster Bank RBS charge Doc to Pfizer International Bank Page 1
I also attach charge documents that Ulster Bank entered into with Pfizer International Bank. I cannot find these charges in any disclosures.
If you look at the attached charge documents from Ulster Bank to the Central Bank you will see that the wording is different when compared to the charge documents of the other Irish Banks. It specifically states that a first floating charge was created by the Deed of Floating Charge over Eligible Securities for Liabilities Arising in Target2-Ireland. Having said that I can see no mention of these charges in the Annual Accounts for 2008. On page 72 (28) of the Annual Accounts it gives the only details that I can find of charges registered. It states that A registered charge exists over the assets of the Group, securing all borrowings and other obligations in whatever form that relate to the Group’s use of the Euroclear system, that are outstanding to Morgan Guaranty Brussels and to any other office of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York. This looks as if it could be a double encumbrance of certain assets for the charge to the Central Bank of Ireland features very similar, all-encompassing language for Ulster Bank, which is a fully owned subsidiary of RBS. Although I’m not an international banking attorney, my layman’s eye sees double counting of collateral barring a clause that somehow excludes that covered by the charge over Ulster Bank.
There are also two charge documents for Ulster Bank to Pfizer International Bank. One is for 2009 and the other for 2010. I can see no mention of these in the 2009 and 2010 Annual Accounts.
These charge documents are also not apparent in the recent bank ‘stress testing’ conducted by the European Banking Authority, at least not in the summary results that the EBA have made available, reference RBS Stress Test.
I cannot see how the charge documents are disclosed in the RBS annual accounts (annual report). I see it mentions that the Bank provides collateral in the form of securities in repurchase agreements (footnote page 41). On page 60 it states the Group engages in securitization transactions of its residential loans which are generally transferred to a special purpose entity. This likely relates to the cashflows and not the principal. The charge documents relate to the principal (the actual loan). The registered charge (page 72) exists over the assets of the Group, securing all borrowings and other obligations whatsoever that relate to the Group’s use of the Euroclear system (privately owned by J.P.Morgan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euroclear).
The charge documents are not covered in the Ulster Bank Annual Accounts or the SEC Group RBS Annual Report. I think that this is a serious misrepresentation of the Accounts/Annual Report. The charge is a floating charge over Secured Obligations (Repo Agreements) which means all present and future liabilities of Ulster Bank (100% owned by RBS). As stated Target2 is only a payment system. The true reasons for the charge increasingly appear to be that of emergency funding, for it also appears as if Ulster Bank was bust. This information should have been included in the SEC Group RBS Annual Report, especially when ADR’s were being traded.
RBS Stress Tests
The afore-linked copy of the RBS Stress Test results do not make it possible to determine whether the charge documents were included in the Stress Test, however it is worth pointing out that the charges do not appear in the annual accounts, so one could assume that they were not included in the stress test. The information is based on data supplied by each bank, via its respective national supervisor. Accuracy of this data is primarily the responsibility of the participating bank and national supervisor. This information has been provided to the EBA in accordance with Article 35 of EU Regulation 1093/2010. The EBA bears no responsibility for errors/discrepancies that may arise in the tables.
A Short Traipse Through Recent History & The Expense That Ultimately Befalls The UK Taxpayer
In 2007 Ireland had significant cross border exposure to UK and US banks through derivatives and property products. As I warned in 2007, the real estate bubble in the the US/UK popped in 2008, sending pathogenic contagion straight through the Irish banking system. The entire banking system started collapsing. On February 15, 2008, Ireland took extraordinary measures (which we will explore in depth a little later on) to mitigate said collapse, measures that many a layperson would deem misleading, if not fraudulent. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the largest financial institutions in the countries of Ireland and the UK) was effectively nationalized by the UK and a bad bank was formed to purchase bad debt/products from the Zombie Irish banks in exchange for government bonds, backed by a country that just simply couldn’t afford it.
It was the UK taxpayer that footed the bill for this nationalization – as per Wikipedia:
The bonus payments paid to RBS staff subsequent to the 2008 United Kingdom bank rescue package have led to controversy. Staff bonuses were nearly £1 billion in 2010, even though RBS reported losses of £1.1 billion for 2010. More than 100 senior bank executives were paid in excess of £1 million each in bonuses. Consequently, former CEO Fred Goodwin was stripped of his knighthood in mid-January, and newly appointed CEO Stephen Hester renounced his £1 million bonus after complaints over the bank’s performance.
82 percent of RBS’ shares are now owned by the UK government, which bought RBS stock for £42 billion, representing 50 pence per share. In 2011, the shares were worth 19 pence, representing a taxpayer book loss of £26 billion ($40B). Historically, the RBS stock price went from a high of over 700 pence in early 2007 (taking into account a 3 for 1 stock split that took place later that year) to around 20 pence in late 2011.
… the UK Government (HM Treasury), as of 31 March 2012, holds and manages an 82% stake through UK Financial Investments Limited(UKFI), whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the London Stock Exchange. In addition to its primary share listing on the LSE, the company is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The group is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 2009, after the financial collapse, it was briefly the world’s largest company by both assets (£1.9 trillion) and liabilities (£1.8 trillion). In 2012, the UK government announced plans to bid for the rest of the RBS shares that it did not own, as it felt that “while the taxpayer owns over 82pc of the bank following a bailout in 2008, they bear 100pc of the bank’s huge liability risks”.
Part and parcel of the RBS problems was its purchase of Ulster Bank and its exposure to the Irish lending issues!
The app below allows the UK Taxpayer to calculate for themselves exactly what their individual contribution (pro rata) is to the government bailout of RBS.
I’ve taken the liberty of pre-populating the input fields for you, but if you don’t agree with the numbers then by all means insert your own!
Following my warning in February of 2008, Lehman filed bankruptcy in September sending an additional set of contagion shock through Ireland and its banking system, causing Ireland to issues bonds and further indebt itself to save its Zombie banks – again! This time through blanket bank guarantees backed by the full faith of the government.
In September of 2010, a large swath of said government guarantees for the banks were about to expire. Reference this excerpt from the book “Zombie Banks: How Broken Banks and Debtor Nations Are Crippling the Global Economy”:
In September 2010, some of Ireland’s government guarantees for bank debts were about to expire, which put U.S. Treasury officials on edge. If the guarantee wasn’t renewed, the banks would likely default on their bonds, triggering the next event in line: a slew of credit default swap (CDS) contracts on Irish banks’ debt. U.S. Treasury officials had reason to worry – the names backing those contracts were the largest U .S. banks, and they could end up paying billions in case of default. Any more weight on U.S. banks could be a tipping point to collapse. Treasury officials made inquiries to their counterparts at the Irish finance ministry asking about the course of action the country was planning to take and indicated their concern about possible default and its CDS repercussions. A year after having issued blanket guarantees on the banks’ liabilities the Irish government once again didn’t dare let the bank fail. Instead it ended up asking for financial assistance from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IIMF): the country had been pushed to the brink of collapse.
201294 r01o 09CV00300 Page 01rbs litigation
Indications of capital shortfalls in the Ulster Bank arrangement:
RBS had paid a total of €9.13 billion to Ulster Bank in capital contributions, in order to safeguard the bank’s capital reserves after writing off billions in impaired loans to Irish borrowers. http://businessetc.thejournal.ie/british-banks-bailed-ireland-out-e16bn-762258-Jan2013/. 24th Feb. 2012
ULSTER BANK’S parent company, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), injected as much as £4 billion (€4.7 billion) into Ulster Bank last year, bringing its total investment in its Irish subsidiary to £10 billion (€11.8 billion) since 2008.
If you have believe that the information above actually identifies a gross misrepresentation of fact, omission or outright fraud, simply contact the SEC and let them know that Reggie Middleton suggested they look into it. You can actually use this form to convey my message.
Those of you in Ireland who may not want to get “Cyprus’d”, ie. have your bank accounts fund another bailout, should contact the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Click this link, and tell them Reggie from NYC sent ‘ya. Seriously! The reason why Irish banks haven’t been reformed was because not enough light has been shown on the activities. See a valid attempt at such here. This is the time, for the tea leaves foretell the next bank collapse & bailout will be funded directly out of your bank accounts, reference Ireland, You May Very Well Be Bust & I Make No Apologies For What I’m About To Show You for those who don’t believe me. See Global Banking Crisis – How & Why YOU Will Get “Cyprus’d” for an example of a bank statement of a Cypriot who didn’t take the regulation of his bank seriously!!!
We intervene when firms:
- treat consumers unfairly
- behave in ways that risk the integrity of the market
We supervise firms differently depending on their size and the nature of their business. This includes:
- continuous conduct assessment for large firms and regular assessment for smaller firms
- monitoring products and other issues to ensure firms play fair and don’t compromise consumer interests
- responding quickly and decisively to events or problems that threaten the integrity of the industry
- ensuring firms compensate consumers when necessary
Well, straight from the horse’s mouth. Have at ‘em. They should do the right thing, and EU media should pick up on this as well. You don”t want your 2,000+ pound/euro bank bailout investment to be handled solely by a blogger from NYC, do you?
THE EUROPEAN HOMELAND SECURITY STATE. EUROPEAN UNION ANTI-TERROR DRILLS AND FEAR CAMPAIGNS
European Union Coordinated Counter Terrorism Exercise in Dublin
The events of 9/11 in the US not only led to the attack on several sovereign nations but the government under George W. Bush established the so called “Homeland Security” and proceeded to implement plans to curtail civil rights. First the “Patriot Act” was passed, then the “Natinal Defence Authrorisation Act”.
The combination of these acts and presidential “Executive Orders” transformed the American society. Where previously at least some basic rights existed a basicly lawless society was created. The territory of the USA has been declared a battleground. Americans can now be killed on US soil without trial or due process. They can be held indefinitely without charge or without ever knowing why. The inalienable rights believed to be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have proved to be illusions.
All of this was made possible by creating fear among the population through permanent media propaganda about a terrorist threat. Americans and people in the “western world” were and are made to believe that in order to have security and live in peace they have to give up their liberty. They were made to believe that it is not the foreign policy of their own governments that creates terrorism but enemies envying their freedom and prosperity.
Is Europe and Ireland now heading down the same road? In an article published last week the journal.ie reported (emphasis added):
A NUMBER OF gardaí took part in a European Union Coordinated Counter Terrorism Exercise in Dublin this afternoon.
The operation included a simulated hostage rescue scenario that required sea-based, land-based and airborne elements.
Three other police forces from European jurisdictions attended the exercise at the ESB Generating Station at Pigeon House Road in Dublin 4.
Photo credit: Leon Farrell/ Photocall Ireland; source
The fear-based propaganda did not catch on so much in Europe where large portions of the populace do not believe in the goods of fighting wars for corporate interests in various regions of the world. The desire for peace after the experiences of 2 devastating world wars has been used cleverly to bring about the Europe we see today. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU was an attempt to keep the myth that Europe was build to maintain the peace alive a little longer.
In reality western Europe, later the EU, was always dominated by the interests of the USA. During the cold war it was the beachhead against the USSR and after its breakdown it became the tool to expand the sphere of US/NATO domination to the nations of eastern Europe which just won their freedom. Since World War 2 western Europe followed in the foootsteps of the US in all major questions of war and peace. In one way or another European nations were involved actively in all recent US/NATO led wars.
While recently Europe is engaging more actively in warfare (Libya, Mali) the economic situation inside the EU is anything but stable and the political situation is becoming more and more unstable as people across the EU begin to question the direction in which the EU is going. The currency system is on life support, unemployment is generally rising, people across the EU become slowly but surely disillusioned about the “European Project”. It is in those times when external threats come in handy to deflect attention away from the problems and to create fear. This is the context in which the recent EU-wide anti terrorist drill on the 17th and 18th of April took place. It was led by the Atlas Network.
Planned in 1996 the “Atlas Network” was officially created in 2001 using the pretext of the 9/11 events. It is a network of specialist units of national police forces of all 27 European member states. It works under the supervision and is financed by the “Directorate General of Home Affairs” of the EU Commission. Neither the EU Commision nor the “Directorate” are democratically elected entities. As these units are answerable not to national goverments but to the “Directorate” they are removed from democratic control and thus morph into kind of “Federal Special Police”. The participation of foreign police units in the excercise in Dublin demonstrates that under this network these units can dispatched everywhere in the EU.
Interestingly it is the Boston Marathon Bombing which provides the pretext for holding the EU wide drills. Here is the Press Release of the EU Commission:
Brussels, 17 April 2013
The ATLAS Network prepares for the biggest anti-terrorism exercise at EU level
On April 17 and 18, 2013, the EU Member States anti-terrorist police forces are uniting as part of the European sponsored ATLAS Network, which carries out the most complex preparation and crises response simulation so far at European level. The simulation involves simultaneous terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania).
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström said: “The fight against terrorism is one of the key challenges to our internal security. Terrorism does not recognise borders and maintaining public security is a complex challenge which requires the coordination of our efforts. I believe that the cooperation between police authorities in Europe is more necessary now than ever and I welcome the exercise of the ATLAS network.”
The ATLAS Network contributes to increasing the proficiency and expertise of special intervention units, by establishing common platforms for training and tactics, sharing equipment, and by establishing close cooperation in trans-border areas of Member States, in turn benefitting the public security.
Past terrorist attacks, carried out both by individuals and groups, both abroad and in Europe have shown great sophistication and coordination by the terrorist groups. The 2008 Mumbai coordinated attacks, the Al Qaeda 2012 attacks on the Algerian gas production plant, as well as the recent Boston marathon bombings highlight the need to increase protection against attacks on both critical infrastructures and other public areas in a national and cross-border context. In order to ensure equal protection for all citizens in the EU, the ATLAS Network exchanges best practices and procedures and undertakes joint training exercises. In order to prepare against terrorist attacks, real life simulations of terrorist acts are carried out by Atlas members of the anti-terrorist units from different Member States.
The 2013 practical exercise, named “Common Challenge” simulates terrorist attacks in 9 different EU Member States in different areas of public life. Simulated terrorist targets include attacks on power plants, schools, and several transport modes (shops, busses and trains). Therefore, the Atlas “Common Challenge 2013”, the largest of exercise of this kind, will help practice and draw lessons on how to further strengthen preparation and crises response. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Home Affairs is responsible for the coordination of the simulation exercise, which is carried out jointly with the ATLAS Presidency held by the German Police Special units (GSG9).
The ATLAS Network is an example of the pro-active stance against terrorism and underlines the solidarity and cooperation between European Union Member States as set in Article 222 of the Lisbon Treaty, contributing to ensuring the protection of citizens and public security in EU.
The Atlas Network, created in 2001, is an association consisting of special police units of the 27 EU Member States working on countering terrorism and criminal acts. The Network is financed and supported by the European Commission, Directorate General for Home Affairs. The goal of Atlas Network is to improve cooperation among the police units and to enhance skills by training and exchange of best practices.
TAKE YOUR MONEY OUT OF THE EUROZONE
by Egon von Greyerz
Matterhorn Asset Management AG / Gold Switzerland
Today the UKIP leader and MEP Nigel Farage told the European Parliament that the Troika (European Commission, ECB and IMF) are common criminals stealing money from people’s bank accounts. He warns depositors to get their money out of the Eurozone. He calls the EU the New Communism having Power without Limits.
This is a powerful speech by Farage. Getting the money out of the Eurozone is of course not enough. Investors must get their money out of the banking system worldwide. See my recent piece “Get Your Assets out of the Banks – NOW”.
The situation in the banking system is critical not only in the EU but also in the USA, Japan and China. The headline in the Financial Times today is “Warning on “out of control” China debt”.
In a bankrupt financial system it is critical to preserve wealth by holding gold outside the system.
CFR APPLAUDS EUROPEAN UNION’S “REAL SUBVERSION OF SOVEREIGNTY”
William F. Jasper
April 24, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry was in Brussels, Belgium, on April 22 to meet with European Union officials, including European Commission President Manuel Barroso, and to promote the administration’s new push for congressional approval of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). President Obama is calling upon Congress to provide him with Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast-track” to push the TTIP and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact through Congress with little debate and no amendments.
The New American has been following and reporting on the efforts to conclude a TTIP and TPP for many years, throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations. One of the most important objections — though not the only one — regarding both of these efforts is that throughout the various iterations and proposal it is very apparent that the architects and proponents of the agreements are being thoroughly dishonest. They are publicly packaging and promoting the agreements as “trade agreements” when, in fact, they have been designed as evolving projects that will progressively “integrate” the economies and political systems of the signatory nations into a supranational regime modeled along the lines of the European Union.
Dennis Behreandt’s article “Transatlantic Two-Step” of May 10, 2008, during President George W. Bush’s administration, is one of the many articles we have published that details the efforts of globalist elites in organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Transatlantic Policy Network, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and others, to use the battering ram of trade agreements to smuggle political and economic integration schemes that are aimed at destroying national sovereignty.
Recently, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) held a panel discussion at Princeton University entitled “The G20: Prospects and Challenges for Global Governance.” (See video below.) There are many interesting and revealing comments made by the panel participants, but an admission by Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer is especially noteworthy, in that it publicly confirms what critics of the European Union have been saying for decades, but which CFR globalists like Bremmer have usually denied. Bremmer admits that “there’s real subversion of sovereignty by the EU.”
The CFR panel included:
• Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman of the Berggruen Institute on Governance and coauthor of Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century: A Middle Way between West and East;
• Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group;
• Stewart M. Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations; and
• Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University
Professor Slaughter served as the presider of the CFR panel discussion. The context of the Bremmer quote was a venting of frustration by the panelists over the “ineffectiveness” of the G20 process. Professor Slaughter and Mr. Berggruen particularly argued that the G20 needed to be given actual powers that would enable it to do more to effect global governance. Unfortunately, from the panelists’ viewpoints, national sovereignty and national interests get in the way of this objective. This is where Mr. Bremmer commented (see the video at 18:30 minutes): “The EU is much more significant. There’s real subversion of sovereignty by the EU that works.”
It would appear that the panelists all favored this type of EU-style of sovereignty-subverting “governance.”
Secretary Kerry, of course, is also a member of the CFR, as is our top trade negotiator Michael Froman, a former Citigroup exec (and bailout beneficiary) who is now Assistant to the President of the United States and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership would effect the same kind of “real subversion of sovereignty.”
EUROPEAN UNION CITES BOSTON ATTACK TO JUSTIFY MAJOR ANTI-TERRORIST OPERATION
By Chris Marsden
24 April 2013
The growing threat to democratic rights internationally was underscored by the fact that, just two days after the Boston bombing, the latter was being cited in a press release of the European Union (EU) Commission to justify a massive continent-wide anti-terrorism operation.
On April 17 and 18, anti-terrorist units of numerous EU member states organised in the ATLAS [Army Tactical Level Advanced Simulation] Network carried out what was described as “the most complex preparation and crises response simulation so far at European level.”
The operation involves simulated and simultaneous terrorist attacks in nine different EU member states—Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Romania.
Justifying the operation, an EU Commission press release said, “The 2008 Mumbai coordinated attacks, the Al Qaeda 2012 attacks on the Algerian gas production plant, as well as the recent Boston marathon bombings highlight the need to increase protection against attacks on both critical infrastructures and other public areas in a national and cross-border context.”
The exercise, code-named “Common Challenge,” simulated attacks on targets including power plants, schools, shops, busses and trains.
EU Counter Terrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, said of the April 17-18 operation, “This initiative is the largest anti-terrorism simulation exercise to take place in Europe, and is being carried out by the special intervention units of several Member States.
The scale of the operation was indicated by the best reported exercise, which took place in Kolarovo, Slovakia, involving police counter-terrorism units from Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, the Slovak Lynx commando and 5th Special Force Regiment.
The scenario for this particular exercise was inspired by the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004. According to Military Photos, “The siege was going on for around 3 hours and there were 335 students and teachers taken as hostages. Several of students were psychically traumatised and had to be medically dismissed from [the] exercise.”
The small report, together with an extensive and important collection of photos, can be seen here.
In Norway, more than 100 officers from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark trained to enter one of the Color Line ferries from police boats and helicopters, according to Aftenposten. Two Swedish police helicopters with snipers escorted during the operation, based on the potential hijacking of the ferry with 210 passengers and a crew of 40.
In Ireland, the Gardaí staged a simulated hostage rescue scenario on the River Liffey and at a decommissioned power station in Dublin, comprised of sea-based, land-based and airborne elements.
According to the Irish Independent, “Heavily armed members of the gardai’s special intervention squad, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), are gearing up for a key role in preventing a cross-Border terrorist attack during the G8 world leaders’ summit in June.
“The ERU will be deployed in patrolling Border routes into Northern Ireland, including the network of waterways that could be used to launch attacks on politicians and top economists.”
The article explained, “The overall scenario, central to all exercises, deals with the threats posed by a fictional terrorist organisation, the Global Liberation and Revenge Army.”
ERU officers “are equipped with Heckler and Koch MP7 machine guns and Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistols and they also have access to Benelli 12-gauge shotguns and Heckler and Koch 33 rifles.”
The ATLAS Network was created in 2001, consisting of special police units of the 27 EU member states. The ATLAS presidency is held by the German Police Special units (GSG9). Germany played the leading role in the formation of ATLAS after September 11, 2001, but the organisation includes two French units, GIGN for airplane raids and RAID for raids on trains and busses, and Britain’s CO19 for raids in subways.
The implications of the type of operations undertaken under the ATLAS framework are indicated by the presence of Britain’s CO19 unit. Also in 2001, Britain launched Operation Kratos, setting a shoot-to-kill policy for the Metropolitan Police when dealing with suspected suicide bombers.
On July 22, 2005, in the aftermath of the July 7 London bombing, innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by plainclothes officers without warning while he was seated on a train at Stockwell tube station. Officers wrestled him to the ground and fired seven bullets into his head at point blank range.
There is a profound connection between the response of the US police and security services to the Boston bombing and an operation on the scale of that which took place throughout Europe two days later.
For over a decade now, every country has witnessed an assault on democratic rights and the passage of legislation in many cases providing the framework for a police-state regime. What that looks like was shown in Boston as an entire city was placed under lockdown. It was on display in Europe April 17-18 in the form of muscle-flexing by state forces in nine countries.
The choice of Ireland, Italy and Spain, three of the EU countries targeted for savage austerity measures, and impoverished eastern European countries such as Latvia, Slovakia and Romania, indicates the broader considerations animating the ruling class. All legal measures passed in the name of combating terrorism that strengthen the repressive powers of the state are available for use against the rising wave of social and political discontent among millions of workers as a result of the wholesale destruction of jobs and vital welfare provisions now underway.
PARIS HIT BY PROPERTY FREEZE AS TAXES DETER BUYERS
April 23, 2013
At least one in four Paris apartments listed by realtor Agence Etoile can’t be sold, even with mortgage rates at record lows, as buyers and sellers fail to agree on price, the company’s director said.
“I have some inventory that’s too expensive and sellers don’t want to lower prices,” Christine Perrissel said in an interview. “Buyers are just much more selective.”
Across France, an economy that’s stalled for two years, joblessness at a 15-year high, property prices near record highs and new taxes have made households reluctant to borrow to buy homes. While Europe’s debt crisis prompted banks to tighten credit, since the start of this year they’ve offered more attractive terms to lure customers and meet lending targets, after borrowing plunged in 2012.
The average home-loan rate fell 0.8 percentage point from a year ago to a record low 3.34 percent in the first two months of the year. Still, new mortgages granted in the 12 months through February slid 27 percent from a year earlier to 98.4 billion euros ($129 billion), according to the Bank of France.
New home sales fell 18 percent in 2012 to 77,900. Existing home sales declined 12 percent to 709,000, with the drop worsening to 22 percent in the year to February. The average housing investment funded with loans represented 3.73 years of the buyer’s income in March, the lowest since January 2010, a study by lender Credit Logement SA and polling firm CSA shows.
The data show that as rates fall, the market still hasn’t fully shaken off the gloom of 2012, when real estate purchases plunged as banks tightened mortgage lending and after former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his successor Francois Hollande, elected in May, added property taxes to cut the country’s deficit.
Hollande, the first Socialist president in France since 1995, has called on those “with the most to show patriotism” in tough times. He’s raised income taxes, those on capital gains from property, as well as wealth and inheritance levies. That prompted Gerard Depardieu, who played Obelix in films about one of France’s most beloved fictional characters, to move to Belgium.
“We’ve had a catastrophic start of the year in January and February with the tax squeeze,” said Marc Julien, founder and chief executive officer of Pierre Invest, a broker specializing in new properties for the Paris region, referring to the property taxes.
March and April saw some improvement as banks and real estate companies offered sweetened terms, he said. Julien, who was at a property trade fair this month, said he’s giving up half his commission to pay for kitchens and waiving transaction fees for each contract signed at the event.
Still, 52 percent of banks said demand for housing loans dropped in March, when some lenders tightened requirements slightly, according to a Bank of France survey published on April 11. Some banks increased margins on the riskiest loans.
“Banks remain cautious in granting loans because of unemployment and the start of a price decline,” said Sandrine Allonier, head of economic studies at online credit broker Meilleurtaux.
French home prices, which surged 163 percent in the past 15 years, have slipped 2.9 percent from a peak in 2011, according to the national statistics office Insee.
Banks are still “competing strongly to lure the best borrowers,” Allonier said, adding that lenders may make it more attractive for such property buyers. “Banks still have room for maneuver and mortgage rates can fall lower,” she said.
Liquidity at banks was bolstered after the European Central Bank plowed 1 trillion euros into the financial system through cheap three-year loans in December 2011 and February 2012.
The French 10-year government bond yield, a benchmark for home loans, fell to 1.704 percent at 12:57 p.m. in Paris, the lowest since Bloomberg began compiling data on the securities in 1990. The previous record of 1.709 percent was set on April 8, four days after ECB President Mario Draghi said policy makers “stand ready to act” to bolster the region’s flagging economy.
Banks “are making hefty margins at the moment, so they’re asking for more production as funding conditions are even more favorable,” Philippe Taboret, deputy CEO of Cafpi SA, France’s largest mortgage broker, said in an interview. “Each week, we’re hearing ‘we must lend, last year was a bad year.’”
The average term of home loans in March averaged 205 months, about 17 years, up from a seven-year low of 199 months in January, when rules were tightened on tax write-offs for investment properties and interest-free loans for first-time buyers, according to the CSA-Credit Logement study.
“Lowering rates and extending durations are ways to provide extra purchasing power,” Cafpi’s Taboret said. Lenders including Caisse d’Epargne and BNP Paribas SA (BNP) “are very willing to lend,” while Societe Generale SA (GLE) is more reticent, he said. Banks are coming up with one-off discount offers, while stopping short of a rate war, he said.
Joelle Rosello, a spokeswoman at Societe Generale, declined to comment. The bank’s lending unit didn’t have a stand at this year’s property fair. Caisse d’Epargne, which is offering 20- year fixed-rate mortgages at 2.95 percent, advertises its policy with a poster asking: “Who says the credit tap is closed?”
Banks are seeking long-term customers through their home loans, Meilleurtaux’s Allonier said. First-time home buyers may make renovations, buy insurance, cars and open up savings accounts, she said.
“The best clients, such as households with annual income over 60,000 euros and 15 percent down payments, can get an extra discount of up to 0.4 points and borrow at 2.7 percent over 20 years, ” Allonier said.
For first-time buyers earning less than 1,800 euros a months, banks “are a bit tougher,” Pierre Invest’s Julien said.
“Banks are now asking for at least a 10 percent down payment, and are unwilling to lend over more than 20 or 25 years, while they used to go over 30 years,” he said.
They’re more willing to lend to safer borrowers, Cafpi’s Taboret said.
“Markets are excluding the most fragile first-time home buyers as subsidies have been trimmed and amid unemployment concerns,” he said. “For good clients, banks won’t hesitate a second to fund even 100 percent of the property value, even over 30 years.”
PARIS RIOTS AFTER GAY MARRIAGE VOTE
Police fought running battles with protesters in central Paris last night after the French parliament approved legislation authorising same-sex couples to marry and to adopt children.
The vote, which made France the fourteenth country in the world to legalise gay marriage, was hailed by supporters as an epoch-defining commitment to equality. But it sparked fury among opponents.
As protest marches turned violent, stones, bottles and iron bars rained down on riot police units brought in to parliament. They replied by firing teargas at the demonstrators.