Connect with us

Conspiracy Theories

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever 86

By Matt Taibbi

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

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.

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.

The banks found a loophole, a basic flaw in the machine. Across the financial system, there are places where prices or official indices are set based upon unverified data sent in by private banks and financial companies. In other words, we gave the players with incentives to game the system institutional roles in the economic infrastructure.

Libor, which measures the prices banks charge one another to borrow money, is a perfect example, not only of this basic flaw in the price-setting system but of the weakness in the regulatory framework supposedly policing it. Couple a voluntary reporting scheme with too-big-to-fail status and a revolving-door legal system, and what you get is unstoppable corruption.

Every morning, 18 of the world’s biggest banks submit data to an office in London about how much they believe they would have to pay to borrow from other banks. The 18 banks together are called the “Libor panel,” and when all of these data from all 18 panelist banks are collected, the numbers are averaged out. What emerges, every morning at 11:30 London time, are the daily Libor figures.

Banks submit numbers about borrowing in 10 different currencies across 15 different time periods, e.g., loans as short as one day and as long as one year. This mountain of bank-submitted data is used every day to create benchmark rates that affect the prices of everything from credit cards to mortgages to currencies to commercial loans (both short- and long-term) to swaps. Dating back perhaps as far as the early Nineties, traders and others inside these banks were sometimes calling up the company geeks responsible for submitting the daily Libor numbers (the “Libor submitters”) and asking them to fudge the numbers. Usually, the gimmick was the trader had made a bet on something – a swap, currencies, something – and he wanted the Libor submitter to make the numbers look lower (or, occasionally, higher) to help his bet pay off.

Famously, one Barclays trader monkeyed with Libor submissions in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger champagne, but in some cases, it was even lamer than that. This is from an exchange between a trader and a Libor submitter at the Royal Bank of Scotland:

SWISS FRANC TRADER: can u put 6m swiss libor in low pls?… PRIMARY SUBMITTER: Whats it worth SWSISS FRANC TRADER: ive got some sushi rolls from yesterday?… PRIMARY SUBMITTER: ok low 6m, just for u SWISS FRANC TRADER: wooooooohooooooo. . . thatd be awesome

Screwing around with world interest rates that affect billions of people in exchange for day-old sushi – it’s hard to imagine an image that better captures the moral insanity of the modern financial-services sector.

Hundreds of similar exchanges were uncovered when regulators like Britain’s Financial Services Authority and the U.S. Justice Department started burrowing into the befouled entrails of Libor. The documentary evidence of anti-competitive manipulation they found was so overwhelming that, to read it, one almost becomes embarrassed for the banks. “It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money,” chirped one yen trader. “Pure manipulation going on,” wrote another.

Yet despite so many instances of at least attempted manipulation, the banks mostly skated. Barclays got off with a relatively minor fine in the $450 million range, UBS was stuck with $1.5 billion in penalties, and RBS was forced to give up $615 million. Apart from a few low-level flunkies overseas, no individual involved in this scam that impacted nearly everyone in the industrialized world was even threatened with criminal prosecution.

Two of America’s top law-enforcement officials, Attorney General Eric Holder and former Justice Department Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer, confessed that it’s dangerous to prosecute offending banks because they are simply too big. Making arrests, they say, might lead to “collateral consequences” in the economy.

The relatively small sums of money extracted in these settlements did not go toward reparations for the cities, towns and other victims who lost money due to Libor manipulation. Instead, it flowed mindlessly into government coffers. So it was left to towns and cities like Baltimore (which lost money due to fluctuations in their municipal investments caused by Libor movements), pensions like the New Britain, Connecticut, Firefighters’ and Police Benefit Fund, and other foundations – and even individuals (billionaire real-estate developer Sheldon Solow, who filed his own suit in February, claims that his company lost $450 million because of Libor manipulation) – to sue the banks for damages.

One of the biggest Libor suits was proceeding on schedule when, early in March, an army of superstar lawyers working on behalf of the banks descended upon federal judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to argue an extraordinary motion to dismiss. The banks’ legal dream team drew from heavyweight Beltway-connected firms like Boies Schiller (you remember David Boies represented Al Gore), Davis Polk (home of top ex-regulators like former SEC enforcement chief Linda Thomsen) and Covington & Burling, the onetime private-practice home of both Holder and Breuer.

The presence of Covington & Burling in the suit – representing, of all companies, Citigroup, the former employer of current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew – was particularly galling. Right as the Libor case was being dismissed, the firm had hired none other than Lanny Breuer, the same Lanny Breuer who, just a few months before, was the assistant attorney general who had balked at criminally prosecuting UBS over Libor because, he said, “Our goal here is not to destroy a major financial institution.”

In any case, this all-star squad of white-shoe lawyers came before Buchwald and made the mother of all audacious arguments. Robert Wise of Davis Polk, representing Bank of America, told Buchwald that the banks could not possibly be guilty of anti- competitive collusion because nobody ever said that the creation of Libor was competitive. “It is essential to our argument that this is not a competitive process,” he said. “The banks do not compete with one another in the submission of Libor.”

Comments

Conspiracy Theories

Juno probe recorded a radio signal source in orbit of Jupiter which may be an ancient interplanetary station

Juno probe recorded a radio signal source in orbit of Jupiter which may be an ancient interplanetary station 99
© Louis, CK, Louarn, P., Allegrini, F., Kurth, WS, & Szalay, JR (2020)

Juno, is NASA’s unmanned interplanetary station launched on August 5, 2011 to explore Jupiter, the second project under the New Frontiers program. The spacecraft entered the polar orbit of the gas giant on July 5, 2016. The purpose of the mission was to study the gravitational and magnetic fields of Jupiter, as well as to test the hypothesis that Jupiter has a solid core.

Instruments of the Juno interplanetary probe, which is exploring Jupiter, detected a nearby signal at a frequency of about 6.5 megahertz, which is in the range of high-frequency radio waves. On Earth, they are used for ionospheric communications and over-the-horizon radar, but in Jupiter’s orbit, their source is supposedly natural.

Such signals have been known for a long time: they are called decametric radio emission. However, for the first time, a spacecraft recorded them in the immediate vicinity of the place of origin. In fact, the probe flew through the source of the radio burst, near Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon.

Juno’s sensors observed the phenomenon for about five seconds, and then it merged with the background radiation. Given the speed of the probe – about 50 kilometers per second – we can conclude that the area of ​​space where the signal is generated is about 250 kilometers across.

As NASA explains, the found radio emission with a frequency of 10-40 MHz creates a stream of electrons rotating in Jupiter’s magnetic field. They generate a radio signal as a result of a process of a certain cyclotron maser instability. 

NASA was so terribly interested in this cyclotron instability that the Juno mission was decided to be extended indefinitely, and now the bright adepts are busy building a new ship, the money for which they managed to get in a record short time.

The intrigue is that the conspiracy theorists knew about this radiation back in October 2020, although NASA only spoke about it now. The story began there with the appearance of the following message on one of the network boards:

Juno probe recorded a radio signal source in orbit of Jupiter which may be an ancient interplanetary station 100

According to this modest text, it was written as if by a CIA officer who went on the run in the fall of 2020. The reason for this was the cleansing of a team of agents who cleared and hid information about the discovery in orbit of Ganymede of an object similar to an interplanetary space station, created using some advanced technology. 

It was opened by the same “Juno”, which on June 6, 2020 discovered a strange radio signal, which NASA reports only now. The signal was very powerful and went in a narrow beam, which does not happen in nature, so the satellite was slowed down and at the next revolution turned to look – where is the beam coming from? 

The signal came from an object in the form of a torus, inside which a sphere about 1000 feet in diameter was suspended. The sphere was of a substance resembling metal, glowing with a purple light with a green tint, and rotating clockwise. In this case, the torus rotated in the opposite direction. It also looked like the sphere had been damaged by some kind of internal explosion. Nobody had any idea what it was, and it was thought that this was the work of the proto-civilization of the Earth, which was trying to colonize Jupiter. The version of the object’s alien origin was also considered. 

When people read it in October, everyone laughed merrily. However, when NASA revealed the discovery of something on Ganymede, everyone suddenly realized that the message seemed to be pure truth and therefore now, in order to hush up the information, NASA urgently released its legend of what was happening. 

Continue Reading

Conspiracy Theories

Peruvian court names Gates, Soros and Rockefeller as “creators” of the COVID-19 pandemic

Peruvian court names Gates, Soros and Rockefeller as "creators" of the COVID-19 pandemic 101
Photo: pixabay.com

Peruvian judges said the coronavirus pandemic was organized by “authors of a new world order”, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investment banker George Soros, and members of the Rockefeller family of billionaires. Such a verdict was issued when considering an appeal to extend the detention of a local resident accused of rape.

Judges Tito Gallegos, Luis Legia and Tony Changaray were the authors of the controversial ruling. They explained that the coronavirus pandemic turned out to be force majeure, since no one, except for the “organizers” of the pandemic named by them, could predict its consequences.

“The criminal process was paralyzed due to the COVID-19 pandemic created by the criminal elites, which paralyzed activities in almost all countries … No world government, individuals and legal entities, nor the defense of the accused can claim that this pandemic can be called ‘predictable’, except for the creators of the new world order, such as Bill Gate, Soros, Rockefeller, etc., who ruled it. They continue to manage it in conditions of extreme secrecy and in global corporations with an eye on the 2030 project,” the Pasión por el Derecho edition quotes the text of the resolution.

Representatives of the department, which is responsible for overseeing the work of judges in Peru, have already announced that a review has begun against the authors of the ruling. The RPP publication indicates that it will be clear from its results whether a colleague committed a violation.

In early 2020, against the backdrop of a pandemic, conspiracy theories related to the spread of COVID-19 spread online. According to one version, some world forces (among which Bill Gates, the CIA and the Chinese authorities were mentioned ) specially brought the coronavirus into the laboratory and spread it to put the inhabitants of the planet at home, irradiate them with 5G, and then microchip them. 

Gates himself later stated that such theories were “difficult to deny” because they are “too ridiculous.” 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that the virus was not created artificially – the organization is of the opinion that the infection was transmitted to humans from bats.

Continue Reading

Conspiracy Theories

US “on the edge”: Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US?

US "on the edge": Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US? 102
Photo: Fallout 4, Bethesda Game Studios

The United States is in danger of going to extremes, which after the January 6 events, no one knows what is happening in the country and the uncertainty seems to peak in the next few hours.

There are facts which could show that we are heading for the most dramatic hours the world has experienced since the August 1991 coup in Russia when the communists attempted to return to power and take control of the nuclear arsenal.

First, after an incomprehensible and unexpected blackout in Pakistan, a blackout happened in the Vatican.

A few hours before the blackout in Pakistan, the frequency of power grids in Europe dropped sharply,   and only renowned German engineers and no less famous German quality of equipment saved Europe from plunging into darkness, as it happened a little later in Pakistan:

Are there plans for some kind of Pentagon intervention, as Washington now resembles Moscow in August 1991?:

Second, US President N. Trump is ready to activate the Emergency Alarm system that bypasses all conventional media (television, internet, radio, etc.) to send a message to US citizens!

In response, of course, to the decision of the dominant online media, from Google to Fb, Amazon, Tweet, Twitch to ban Trump from communicating with US citizens, even through Parler, the medium used by tens of millions of right-wing Americans to communicate.

The Emergency Alarm System (EAS) is a national alert system in the United States that came into force on January 1, 1997 and is coordinated jointly by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

US "on the edge": Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US? 103

The system is designed primarily to allow the president to address the country by intervening in the programming of all radio and television stations in the event of a national emergency.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is used as a backend for the dissemination of warning information via EAS and related technologies, such as Wireless Alerts Alerts (WEA), using Common Alerting Protocol (CAP). EAS messages are mainly transmitted via terrestrial and satellite radio and television (including broadcast and multichannel television), which must be part of the system. 

Millions of SMS have been sent in the last hours with the following update:

US "on the edge": Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US? 104

Third, the US military has been embroiled in an unprecedented political conflict. According to the New York Times, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Chief of Staff General Marley Miley to restrict the president’s access to the nuclear arsenal, but he refused, as it would be a purely military coup.

The representative of the American Military leadership, David Butler confirmed that “the phone call was made and there was information about the nuclear control procedures”.

To add that 70% of the military support Trump, but one can not imagine the involvement of the US armed forces in the internal political conflict, even if it has gone beyond what could be assumed as “within reason.”

Fourth, the airspace above Washington was recently closed. Theoretically, it closed because an air traffic controller fell ill with coronavirus. Information was then leaked about “a possible terrorist attack by Iran in retaliation for Suleimani’s assassination.”

How likely is that? Then there were rumors that it was closed because N. Trump moved out of the White House accompanied by USAF fighters.

That is, for the movement of the aircraft of the presidency “Air Force 1” but it does not cease as a fact to be unprecedented.

The official excuse is that they disinfect the Air Traffic Control Room for flights over 18,000 feet because of a controller who tested positive for the virus.

See the picture of air traffic on the east coast of the USA, now:

US "on the edge": Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US? 105

Fifth, the arrival of the National Guard in Washington in large numbers:

https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1348423276255653889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Military helicopters observed over many US cities. There are many helicopters, they fly at unusually low altitudes and, if the helicopters are attack helicopters, people can consider full suspension systems with weapons:

https://twitter.com/webjournalist/status/1348422079104749570?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
https://twitter.com/serious_war_eng/status/1348292865315786754?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Sixth, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released an UPDATE of the nuclear attack guidelines it gives to all Americans through the Ready.gov website. Among the items added by FEMA are the following:

On your way to work, find suitable hiding places to look for in the event of an explosion. Due to COVID-19, many of the places you may walk to and from work may be closed or may not work during normal hours. 

Such things were brought to the attention of the Americans for the last time fifty years ago, at the very peak of the Cold War, and the fact that this is now remembered again is very surprising to everyone. 

Seventh,since Sunday, January 10, the Boeing E-4B is constantly in the air – one of the so-called “doomsday aircraft”, that is, an air command post:

US "on the edge": Seven facts showing what is brewing to happen in the US? 106

In normal times, any of these messages taken separately would have caused a serious panic among American conspiracy theorists, since, apart from periodic flights of “doomsday planes,” nothing of the above has ever happened. And now it turns out, as it were, seven inexplicable sensational news in 24 hours.

This allows one to think that in the United States either some not very good things are being prepared, or these things are in full swing. That is, we can talk either about some grandiose false flag or even a possible world war.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending