Obama’s Justice Department Rushes to the Rescue of LIBOR Criminals
This article by Glen Ford is re-posted from Black Agenda Report.
The Obama Justice Department is in theater mode, again, pretending to threaten the bankster class with criminal penalties – prison time! – for their manipulation of the global economy’s benchmark interest rates.
The Justice Department claims to be building criminal and civil cases in the LIBOR scandal, which in sheer scope is the biggest fraud by international capital in history. But that’s all a front, a farce. Barack Obama has spent his entire presidency protecting Wall Street, starting with his rescue of George Bush’s bank bailout bill after it’s initial defeat in Congress, in the last days of Obama’s candidacy. He packed his administration with banksters, passed his own bailout and, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve, channeled at least $16 trillion dollars into the accounts of U.S. and even European banks – by far the greatest transfer of capital in the history of the world. Obama has reminded the banksters that it was he who saved them from the “pitchforks” of an outraged public. He pushed through Congress so-called financial reform legislation that left derivatives – the deadly instruments of mass financial destruction that were at the heart of the meltdown – untouched.
Wall Street may or may not remain loyal to Obama, but Obama has been loyal to Wall Street, the guys who gave him the campaign cash to become a viable candidate. His Attorney General, Eric Holder, a corporate lawyer to the core, is busily staging a pre-emptive LIBOR prosecution of bankers in order to shield them from legal action by a host of other government agencies and, ultimately, from the global universe of parties that have been harmed by the bankster’s schemes– a list that stretches to infinity. Holder’s job is to monopolize the LIBOR case, to the extent legally and humanly possible, grabbing jurisdiction and consolidating the cases against the banks with the aim of reaching a settlement that does not further destabilize the financial system.
Holder and his boss already pulled that trick earlier this year with settlement of the bank “robo-signing” scandal – a scheme that would have ranked as the “crime of the century” until LIBOR came along. A small group of state attorney generals were holding up an administration-brokered settlement that effectively gave the banksters immunity from prosecution, in return for a measly $25 billion payout. Obama used every power of his office to pressure the state law officers into line. The last one capitulated with a promise from Obama that a “special unit of prosecutors” would expand the investigation into abusive mortgages practices. You haven’t heard a peep about it, since.
Now Obama and Holder are playing the same diversionary game, making tough noises about criminal investigations of the LIBOR conspirators. But the Justice Department has already given immunity to Barclay’s Bank, of Britain, and to the Swiss banking giant UBS. More immunities will follow. The reason Eric Holder is staging criminal investigations is because that’s the only way he can protect the bankers, through immunities and by gradually narrowing the scope of the case. In the end, there will be settlements all around, and the banksters will move on to even more fantastic heights of criminality – thanks to the loyal, protective hands of President Obama.