|Seal of the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the Department of the Treasury. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with a Comptroller of the Currency inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
$110 million in Mexican drug money
June 30, 9:18 PM Manhattan Headlines
Bloomberg Markets Magazine senior writer Michael Smith came through for Americans – and the world – this week in exposing the rampant criminality of mega-banks headquartered in the United States. Yesterday, Smith revealed that Wachovia, acquired by Wells Fargo at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, has served as a laundry mat for “Mexican drug smugglers”, including those selling cocaine.
At this juncture, it is not surprising that most mainstream media outlets in the US do not consider these charges to be front page news; to them, Larry King’s departure from CNN is more important.
In spite of said failures, embedded within the Bloomberg report is a link to a Factual Statement from the US Attorney’s Office, South District of Florida, which presents the findings of a joint inquiry it conducted with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service:
The investigation has identified at least $110 million in drug proceeds that were funneled through [Mexican currency exchange house] accounts held at Wachovia.
Even though high finance apologists will quickly move to dismiss the severity of this situation, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Jeffrey H. Sloman told Smith, “Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations."
Bank of America and London-based HSBC are also implicated in handling funds tied to Mexican drug dealers. Smith reports:
Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine, according to Mexican court filings.
Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009. Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank by assets, an investigation by the Mexican Finance Ministry found.
Furious Americans – and their representatives in Congress – should demand accountability from the institutions tasked with supervising these banks; Wachovia’s primary regulator is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bureau of the US Treasury. In addition, The Federal Reserve Board of Governors must ultimately bear responsibility here as well: as the exclusive supervisor of bank holding companies, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, the Fed has clearly failed to satisfy its categorical imperatives.
Based on all that has transpired since 2008, I sincerely believe the US banking system remains fundamentally flawed; criminals arrogantly suppose they can operate above-and-beyond laws, obligations, or any morals whatsoever. While this status quo has deep-seated roots, the fact of the matter is that it cannot continue ad infinitum. Based on Wachovia’s actions, the OCC should make a stern example of this criminal bank, and place it into receivership for immediate liquidation.
Otherwise, our society can try to continue looking the other way – as most news outlets have – and hope that public rage will simply disappear, even as blatant criminals continue their follies. While that approach is a surefire recipe for disaster, it is foolishly considered the appropriate modus operandi by some American leaders.
That being the case, Congress should consider a recent report from London’s Daily Mail, which divulges that Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, is worried that “military coups or popular uprisings” may result in Greece, Spain and Portugal. Although the article largely avoids the real issue at hand – public rage at taxpayer-funded bank bailouts – it nevertheless serves as a warning to America.
Sure, plenty of critics will counter that these apocalyptic scenarios could never happen in the US: I beg to differ.
As public faith in American leadership and mainstream media continually erode, more people are incentivized to venture online for news reports. While the Internet offers myriad analyses of contemporary events, an emerging consensus is that the international financial sector is entirely out-of-control – and US politicians are doing little to protect Americans.
One can easily ascertain this conclusion from a wide variety of sources, such as the recently published 13 Bankers, which is written by two highly respected authors, and demonstrates:
The largest banks have become more powerful and more emphatically “too big to fail,” with no incentive to change their behavior in the future. This only sets the stage for another financial crisis, another government bailout, and another increase in our national debt.
Should the US continue on a Titanic-like approach, it is very likely that, among other consequences, violence towards bankers and politicians will emerge; these suggestions are well established, and backed up by the recent assertion of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has said on multiple occasions that public debt is the largest threat to our national security.
Americans are witnessing what appears to be a de facto financial coup on our Republic, and eventually, a boiling point will emerge. When people believe their rights are being threatened by tyrannical maniacs, they are apt to defend themselves from those perceived as enemy forces – whether domestic, foreign, or both. As George Santayana so brilliantly wrote more than 100 years ago, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
With that in mind, this author will soon provide an astonishing history lesson for bankers, in tandem with the following warning: do not foolishly attempt to seize or dominate any sovereign nation's economic and/or political powers. The forthcoming, meticulously researched report shall document the ironic connections between current events, and a 15th century bankers’ plot to overthrow the Medici Family of Firenze.
Evidently, a certified independent report maintains that one co-conspirator of the Pazzi plot, Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli, may have descended from the same bloodline as yours truly. While I sincerely hope this is not the case, I do take pleasure in noting that Baroncelli was hung at The Bargello for his crimes; the palace, also known as Palazzo del Popolo, or Palace of the People, is the oldest public building in Firenze, and more likely demonstrates the origin of my surname.
I encourage readers not to fall prey to the misassumption that I merely seek to emerge as an enemy of the financial world; as previously stated, many close friends and family members of mine work in finance, which is why I have zero tolerance for financial terrorists, and the criminals they aid-and-abet.
Optimistic observers should also take solace in the fact that many scholars trace the roots of the European Renaissance to Firenze – a beautiful city I had the pleasure of calling home several years ago. More importantly, I have since written about humanity’s need for The Great American Renaissance.
Though it is admittedly eccentric to present Italian history in tandem with my editorial views, as any enlightened person can tell you, we do not always choose our circumstances in life. Sometimes we must acknowledge reality and simply say, "It is what it is."