FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Traitors to America are in Washington and New York

by DAVE LINDORFF

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry as the US goes all out to get its hands on National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

We’ve got the US leaning on Russia to push him out of his sanctuary in their Moscow airport. We’ve got Obama and the State Department warning countries around the globe not to accept him or allow him to transit their airspace. And now there’s smilin’ Joe Biden, lecturing Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa (threatening would be a better word) about not granting asylum to Snowden, whom the Obama administration and the Republican and Democratic stooges in Congress are branding a “traitor.”

Meanwhile, the real traitors who have done so much to destroy America are buying politicians of both parties, using their undue influence to gut any effort at real regulation, all the while earning fat bonuses in their corner offices at megabanks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi Group, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. No need to extradite those guys in order to prosecute ’em. They’re right here in the USA. All that’s lacking is a will to bring charges for things like mortgage fraud, derivative fraud, collusion, lying under oath, etc. But Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, a former corporate lawyer himself, has already declared that he will not prosecute Wall Street’s banks for their frauds in bringing down the US economy.

Even Cyrus Vance Jr., the supposedly tough-as-nails, no-nonsense district attorney of Manhattan, whose jurisdiction encompasses the home offices of most of the biggest “too-big-to-fail” banks, won’t indict any of them or any of their top executives. It’s not that he won’t indict a bank, but instead of going after Goldman or Citi or Chase, he has indicted — ready for this? — a little independently owned community-based Chinatown bank called Abacus Bank, which has total assets of less than $250 million. That’s million. For comparison, the largest US bank, JP Morgan Chase, has total assets of $2.39 trillion dollars, which is almost 10,000 times as big. Worse yet, although Vance, in indicting the bank, claimed its fraud (a bank employee, fired and voluntarily reported to regulators by the bank, had been been falsely inflating loan applicants’ incomes to help them take bigger loans), was “an example of what brought down the US economy,” actually Abacus has a loan default rate of 0.5%, which is just one-tenth of the national average bank loan default rate of 5-6%.

Why hasn’t Vance, at least, indicted some of the big banks, which many knowledgeable analysts and critics have said are little more than giant organized crime syndicates, in some cases such as B of A, Citibank and HSBC actually knowingly laundering vast amounts of drug cartel cash? His deputy says it’s because there is no evidence of prosecutable crimes committed by them! Probably it’s the same reason Washington politicians won’t go after them: it would jeopardize all that banker campaign lucre — and Vance surely has his eye on the New York governor’s mansion in Albany.

And so, back to Snowden, whose only “crime” has been to expose the galloping fascism of the US government, which has, behind our backs, established a national domestic surveillance system so vast and Orwellian that the old East German Stasi or Soviet KGB couldn’t even dream about having such a thing.

So now we have Vice President Joe Biden, who came to his post from a position as Senator of Delaware, the state that is the legal home for some of the most criminal corporations in the country because of its lax oversight laws and its protections against shareholder activism, lecturing Ecuador about the importance of the “rule of law,” and threatening the country with loss of its “most-favored-nation” exemption from import duties on exports to the US if it grants Snowden asylum from US prosecution.

But wait! As President Correa has pointed out, his country has been trying for years to get the US to extradite two bankers, Roberto and William Isaias, to face charges in a bank fraud and collapse of Filanbanko that was at the center of a US-style systemic bank collapse. That collapse ultimately cost the little country’s 15 million people a staggering $8 billion in losses. The two men, who fled to the US in 2000 and have been protected from prosecution by the US since then, were sentenced in absentia to eight years in jail earlier this year.

Double standard you say?

Well, let’s face it, the US has become a kind of haven for international financial criminals, much as Brazil used to be a haven for bank robbers, and Argentina and Chile for Nazi mass murderers. If colossal bank fraud, in practice, is not a crime here in the US, then it’s not extraditable. And as our “Justice” Department head Holder would put it, “We don’t do bank or banker prosecutions, unless perhaps they are tiny banks. We just prosecute whistleblowing traitors.”

DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail