Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

The Fall of Sir Allen Stanford

Cricket and Cartels

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Sir Allen Stanford was, at his height, valued in the billions.  His money financed an empire of sporting pursuits and tournaments, ranging from golf, tennis, football and, most notably of all, that archaic wonder called cricket.  And, like those before him, he made a killing on the vast network of offshore banking assets, run in such sunny spots of global finance as Antigua.  There was much money to be made, and it was made on the cheap.

Stanford’s financial behaviour was, however, of such a nature as even to worry regulators at a time when laissez faire fundamentalism prevailed.  The American SEC has stepped up to the podium, accusing Stanford of a fraud worth £5.6 billion, while the US Justice Department is launching its own investigation into the Texan’s money affairs.  After some searching, an initially elusive Stanford has been served with papers in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

In a nutshell, the SEC alleges that a fraudulent scheme was enacted, in which the Stanford Group sold some ‘$8 billion of self-styled “certificates of deposits” promising high return rates that exceed those available through true certificates of deposits offered by traditional banks.’  Returns were falsely advertised – identical percentages of 15.71 per cent, for instance, are recorded for both 1995 and 1996 from what is termed a ‘global diversified’ portfolio of assets.  Such figures, even by the standards of that group, were inventive.

It would seem that Stanford had paid homage to the Madoff techniques of employing the services of small auditing firms to monitor what was, effectively, a Ponzi scheme.  Regulation was skimpy at best; returns were advertised as regular and stable.   Of greater concern was to what end these frauds were perpetrated: a money laundering link to the Mexico Gulf group, a drug cartel, has been alleged by the FBI.

Despite regulatory slackness, anyone with an iota of investment sense would have steered clear of the unreliable Stanford, who had been given the odd slap on the wrist for financial regularities over the last fifteen years.  Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich, claimed that the billionaire had been under much scrutiny for at least the last two years, a process which was accelerated after the Madoff revelations.  There were ‘smoke signals’, but few were taking any notice from the distant hill they were being fanned from.  A Miami broker, Charles Hazlett, got the jitters with Stanford’s superlative offshore empire as early as 2003.  Hazlett’s warnings were, as so much else in an age of profligacy, ignored by regulators governed by the spirit of a nihilistic Gecko rather than measured prudence.
 
Antiguan financial regulators were happy to let any inconsistencies that might have emerged from an audit of Stanford’s activities go unnoticed.  The investigation itself was suspiciously inadequate.  His knighthood was bestowed upon him by the good offices of Antigua, not the royal grace of Queen Elizabeth. 

Stanford is perhaps most known for his involvement in  cricket.  He promised a cricket arcadia, equipped with delights to rival that of the Indian Premier League.  Cricket, in the vision of both Stanford and visionaries on the Subcontinent, would pinch a few tips from Super Bowl and baseball, paying elite players inordinate amounts for shorter times of play.  Girls with pompoms, cheering on the sideline, would come with the package.  Towards that end, the Stanford Superstars were created, a side which beat the English team in Antigua last November.  Winnings for the players, at least by conventional cricket standards, were enormous – some £700,000 each. 

Unfortunately for English cricket, ignorance was blissful and, it would seem, golden.  Money poured into the game, and few questions were asked.  The West Indians, through a Stanford-funded cricket league on home soil, also stood to profit – money would be pouring into a sport that was losing ground to rival sporting codes. 

Antigua, effectively Stanford’s economic fiefdom, and cricket may be the biggest casualties of this debacle, but other sporting representatives will also have reason to grieve.  Newcastle United striker Michael Owen may well be out of pocket to the tune of £500,000, the touted value of sponsorships that were set to go his way.

The Economist speculates that Stanford is the classic product of the bursting economic bubble – fraud happily keeps company with diminished financial returns and sinking markets.  But what is worse is that such individuals retain their sense of credibility, even after investigations are made and fines imposed.  Stanford always marketed himself as an indulgent saviour, a Gecko with a conscience despite being under heavy clouds of suspicion.  But at the end of the day, the temptation to doctor books and deceive customers proved irresistible. 

BINOY KAMPMARK was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

The Fall of Sir Allen Stanford

Cricket and Cartels

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Sir Allen Stanford was, at his height, valued in the billions.  His money financed an empire of sporting pursuits and tournaments, ranging from golf, tennis, football and, most notably of all, that archaic wonder called cricket.  And, like those before him, he made a killing on the vast network of offshore banking assets, run in such sunny spots of global finance as Antigua.  There was much money to be made, and it was made on the cheap.

Stanford’s financial behaviour was, however, of such a nature as even to worry regulators at a time when laissez faire fundamentalism prevailed.  The American SEC has stepped up to the podium, accusing Stanford of a fraud worth £5.6 billion, while the US Justice Department is launching its own investigation into the Texan’s money affairs.  After some searching, an initially elusive Stanford has been served with papers in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

In a nutshell, the SEC alleges that a fraudulent scheme was enacted, in which the Stanford Group sold some ‘$8 billion of self-styled “certificates of deposits” promising high return rates that exceed those available through true certificates of deposits offered by traditional banks.’  Returns were falsely advertised – identical percentages of 15.71 per cent, for instance, are recorded for both 1995 and 1996 from what is termed a ‘global diversified’ portfolio of assets.  Such figures, even by the standards of that group, were inventive.

It would seem that Stanford had paid homage to the Madoff techniques of employing the services of small auditing firms to monitor what was, effectively, a Ponzi scheme.  Regulation was skimpy at best; returns were advertised as regular and stable.   Of greater concern was to what end these frauds were perpetrated: a money laundering link to the Mexico Gulf group, a drug cartel, has been alleged by the FBI.

Despite regulatory slackness, anyone with an iota of investment sense would have steered clear of the unreliable Stanford, who had been given the odd slap on the wrist for financial regularities over the last fifteen years.  Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich, claimed that the billionaire had been under much scrutiny for at least the last two years, a process which was accelerated after the Madoff revelations.  There were ‘smoke signals’, but few were taking any notice from the distant hill they were being fanned from.  A Miami broker, Charles Hazlett, got the jitters with Stanford’s superlative offshore empire as early as 2003.  Hazlett’s warnings were, as so much else in an age of profligacy, ignored by regulators governed by the spirit of a nihilistic Gecko rather than measured prudence.
 
Antiguan financial regulators were happy to let any inconsistencies that might have emerged from an audit of Stanford’s activities go unnoticed.  The investigation itself was suspiciously inadequate.  His knighthood was bestowed upon him by the good offices of Antigua, not the royal grace of Queen Elizabeth. 

Stanford is perhaps most known for his involvement in  cricket.  He promised a cricket arcadia, equipped with delights to rival that of the Indian Premier League.  Cricket, in the vision of both Stanford and visionaries on the Subcontinent, would pinch a few tips from Super Bowl and baseball, paying elite players inordinate amounts for shorter times of play.  Girls with pompoms, cheering on the sideline, would come with the package.  Towards that end, the Stanford Superstars were created, a side which beat the English team in Antigua last November.  Winnings for the players, at least by conventional cricket standards, were enormous – some £700,000 each. 

Unfortunately for English cricket, ignorance was blissful and, it would seem, golden.  Money poured into the game, and few questions were asked.  The West Indians, through a Stanford-funded cricket league on home soil, also stood to profit – money would be pouring into a sport that was losing ground to rival sporting codes. 

Antigua, effectively Stanford’s economic fiefdom, and cricket may be the biggest casualties of this debacle, but other sporting representatives will also have reason to grieve.  Newcastle United striker Michael Owen may well be out of pocket to the tune of £500,000, the touted value of sponsorships that were set to go his way.

The Economist speculates that Stanford is the classic product of the bursting economic bubble – fraud happily keeps company with diminished financial returns and sinking markets.  But what is worse is that such individuals retain their sense of credibility, even after investigations are made and fines imposed.  Stanford always marketed himself as an indulgent saviour, a Gecko with a conscience despite being under heavy clouds of suspicion.  But at the end of the day, the temptation to doctor books and deceive customers proved irresistible. 

BINOY KAMPMARK was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com