...[National Security Agency chief] Gen. Keith Alexander... told the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on Monday that the costs associated with responding to computer hacking represents “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.” -- The Raw Story -- 07/10/12The piece in Raw Story begins:
Computer hackers are on the bleeding edge of the class war, and they’re finally cutting deep enough that the leader of the National Security Agency (NSA) is making an active push for some major congressional action.The article connects the general's appearance with a bill pending in the Senate that would put the NSA in charge of a national cyber-security apparatus authorized to "share information" with providers in the name of keeping our cyber-infrastructure secure and our bank accounts safe (never mind the government-private sector nexus combing through the nation's internet traffic; it would never misuse the information).
General Alexander quoted figures provided by anti-virus heavyweights Symantec and McAfee in his AEI presentation. Symantec placed costs of intellectual property theft at $250 billion per year and global cybercrime at $114 billion per year--$388 billion if you factor in the resulting downtime, as they do. McAfee estimates that $1 trillion is spent yearly on remediation of these scourges.
But consider this: On that very day, the world media was still trying to wrap its head around The LIBOR Scandal -- a scam so massive that financial and trading institutions stole the amount of money Alexander referenced in the time it took the general to make his presentation!
"The greatest transfer of wealth in history"? Not even close.
The good general--and the administration, by extension--propose that we sell the nation's privacy rights down the river for a fraction of the loot that banksters haul in per week from rigging the world's interest rates from the inside.
Make no mistake: computers, the internet, and the technologies related to them have transformed the concepts of money, wealth, and capital; they--along with the systemic and long-standing corruption of the financial sector--are what have made the LIBOR rip-off possible, pervasive, and--until now--private.
Just look at the evolution of America's relationship with cash as an example. Credit and debit cards used to be exceptions rather than the rule. Legal tender--an instant, liquid, universally-accepted medium of exchange provided by government--disappeared into the bowels of computers owned by privately-held banks. Banks began making profits on the mere movement of that money... a penny here... a buck there... fees... charges... it adds up.
Because those banks and those computers are interconnected, banks can control the flow of funds--determine who can have an account, how much that account can hold, how much can be transferred, they can record where funds come from and where they go. And every cent in every one of those banks is affected in some way by LIBOR.
Those "computer hackers" to which General Alexander refers are fleas on the back of a huge dog. What we need to worry about are the banksters who pay the technicians to plug their phony-baloney numbers into the world's banking computers. The entire financial system on which we rely has been exposed as a top-to-bottom fraud. The Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has taken the lead in reporting this story so far. Taibbi says:
This story is so outrageous that it shocks even the most cynical Wall Street observers. I have a friend who works on Wall Street who for years has been trolling through the stream of financial corruption stories with bemusement, darkly enjoying the spectacle as though the whole post-crisis news arc has been like one long, beautifully-acted, intensely believable sequel to Goodfellas. But even he is just stunned to the point of near-speechlessness by the LIBOR thing. “It’s like finding out that the whole world is on quicksand,” he says.General Alexander's presentation to the AEI is an embarrassment to his agency and to the Obama Administration at the very least. At worst, it betrays an appalling willingness to turn a blind eye to bankster threats to this nation's personal and financial freedoms in favor of a much less clear and present danger.
"That's our future disappearing in front of us," Alexander said of the relatively paltry sum cited by the antivirus industry. Given the devastation wrought by twelve years of thievery and lawlessness in the banking industry? Again, not even close.
The Taibbi article quoted above is titled "Why Is Nobody Freaking Out About The LIBOR Banking Scandal?" That is an excellent question; one that should be followed up with "why are the NSA and the Obama Administration allied with the anti-virus industry in an attempt to freak us out enough that we cede our most basic privacy rights when Wall Street is in need of a complete overhaul now?"
Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM PT: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner knew about the LIBOR Scandal when he was chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank back in 2008. He sent a series of "recommendations" on addressing it to the head of the Bank Of England on June 1st, 2008. Those recommendations did not originate with Geithner or his staff; they were stove-piped almost verbatim from the banking industry through Geithner's office to the Bank Of England. The Huffington Post story is here. No wonder the NSA hasn't got a clue about "the largest transfer of wealth in history."