Sunday, June 28, 2009

While AIG Scammed, Goldman Sachs Scammed Worse

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Magazine, July 9-23, 2009:
The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

The bank's unprecedented reach and power have enabled it to turn all of America into a giant pump-and-dump scam, manipulating whole economic sectors for years at a time, moving the dice game as this or that market collapses, and all the time gorging itself on the unseen costs that are breaking families everywhere - high gas prices, rising consumer-credit rates, halfeaten pension funds, mass layoffs, future taxes to payoff hailouts. All that money that you're losing, it's going somewhere, and in both a literal and a figurative sense. Goldman Sachs is where it's going: The bank is a huge, highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth - pure profit for rich individuals.

They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch ofreally smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s - and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


A.I.G. is now named A.I.U., and has employed no fewer than four public relations firms, including one whose bipartisan roster of shills ranges from the former Hillary Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn to the former Bush White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Taxpayers are paying for that P.R., having poured $170 billion-plus into A.I.G. But we still don’t have a transparent, detailed accounting of what was going down last fall when A.I.G. and its trading partners, including Goldman, snared that gargantuan cashtransfusion.

Update on AIU:
NEW YORK, June 24 (Reuters) - AIU Holdings, the property-casualty division of insurer AIG and one of the world's largest commercial insurers, has tapped Robert Schimek to be its first global chief financial officer, a role that includes preparing the company for a stake sale.

AIU Holdings, seeking to distance itself from troubled parent American International Group Inc, is taking steps toward greater independence, including rebranding itself and a sale of up to a 20 percent stake to outside investors through an initial public offering or private deal.

Schimek, in an interview with Reuters this week, said he plans to keep the company unified: "We will not break up AIU Holdings ... We are bringing it together under one roof as part of a worldwide U.S.-based property-casualty insurance company."

Schimek, 44, joined AIG's North American commercial insurance business in 2005 from accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he helped prepare several large insurers for IPOs, including No. 1 U.S. life insurer MetLife Inc.

"Rob Schimek's extensive experience ... uniquely qualify him to successfully lead the financial operations of AIU Holdings and advance the organization's separation strategies," Kristian Moor, who was named president of AIU Holdings in March, said in a statement.

AIU Holdings comprises AIG's commercial property-casualty business in North America and its foreign general insurance, as well as a private client group.
AIU Holdings expects to retain its waterfront headquarters in lower Manhattan, and will most likely list its shares in New York.

While AIG posted losses of nearly $100 billion in 2008, AIU Holdings' businesses in North America turned an after-tax net profit of more than $2 billion. The unit received no capital injection from its parent company in 2008 or this year.
"The AIG situation, the U.S. economy, the U.S. credit markets, a real tough U.S. natural catastrophe season -- in the face of all those events, the North American operations still had statutory net income," said Schimek.

As parent company, AIG will receive the proceeds of any stake sale by AIU Holdings -- potentially in the neighborhood of $8 billion if a 20 percent stake is sold. The figure is based on AIU Holdings' $38 billion valuation under U.S. accounting rules at the end of 2008.

AIG could use the proceeds to help repay bailout funds to the U.S. government. The company nearly collapsed last year under rising collateral demands from customers that bought debt protection from AIG's financial products unit. Through a series of bailouts, the government committed up to $180 billion to AIG's rescue, including about $85 billion in loans.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

1980's S&L Scandal a CIA Operation-- Is the AIG Scam Also a CIA Job?

In the book "Defrauding America", Rodney Stich tells how the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s-- which was a huge deal at the time-- was essentially a CIA scam. Basically, after Congress cut back on CIA funding in the late '70s, due to Congressional investigations and scandals, the CIA sought out new sources of funds for covert operations. Thus, the CIA took advantage of the recent laws that deregulated thrifts/savings and loans, and essentially set up scams to steal billions of dollars from the government, via S&L CIA fronts and bogus real estate deals. Charles Keating, the biggest name of the scandal, had extensive CIA ties.

While this may seem like ancient history now, doesn't it seem likely that the current financial crisis was a CIA scam-- particularly given ties between AIG and the CIA?

More details on the CIA and the S&L crisis here and here.

Gunther Russbacher, the "former" CIA agent who is the basis for much of this information, has a very bizarre, interesting history (with various contradictory information). See here, here, here. Strikingly, there is nothing on Russbacher or Stich in Wikipedia, despite their importance in the conspiracy world.