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posted on 05 September 2017

Are You Being Taken In By The Lying Press?

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Citgroup whistleblower Richard Bowen has posted a piece on LinkedIn which raises troubling, even frightening, questions. Bowen summarizes the ubiquitous revision of history that is found in today's media. The history of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 is being rewritten; financial institutions are being portrayed as inadvertent participants in the crash. They "made mistakes" - as if they were actually well meaning in their actions - rather than perpetrators of fraud.

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Bowen starts his essay thusly:

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been featured/quoted in several publications, Wall Street on Parade, the NY Times Dealbook and the New York Post, as have several other whistleblowers, Eric Ben-Artzi, Alayne Fleishmann and Gary Aguirre, among others.

In sifting through these articles and others, I am seeing a pattern develop which deeply troubles me and I hope once I make a case it will you, as well.

There’s a common ground these articles are pointing out. I believe that there is a big push in the media and elsewhere to change the commentary of the financial crisis….by calling what was fraud and a crime mistakes so bankers shouldn’t/won’t be prosecuted. There seems to be a concerted effort of finger pointing away from the U.S.’ accountability and an attempt to instead lay blame for the 2008 financial debacle on other countries. A rewriting of the history books, so to speak. And, I think that very dangerous.

One of the things Bowen points out is that journalists are now reporting consequences of the events that were actually consequences. Examples:

“The global financial crisis began 10 years ago this week when a French bank suspended three money-market funds. What savers thought was money turned out to be merely credit, and the realization rapidly trashed U.S. money-market funds and the global banking system." (The Wall Street Journal)

“The 2008 financial crisis was triggered by the failure of Lehman Bros" (Los Angeles Times)

“Bankers haven’t gone to jail because they haven’t committed crimes." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Wall Street appears to have a plan to get the deregulation it wants by pinning the start of the epic financial crash of 2007-2010 on (wait for it) the French, rather than its own unbridled greed, corruption and toxic manufacture of junk bonds known as subprime debt that it paid to have rated AAA by ethically-challenged and deeply conflicted rating agencies. (The same rating agencies that are getting paid by Wall Street to rate its debt issues today.)" (Wall Street on Parade)

Bowen has another quote from Wall Street in Parade:

“What is happening ever so subtly over time is that the unprecedented greed, corruption and unrestrained manufacture of fraudulent securities by iconic brands on Wall Street that actually caused the crash are getting a gentle rewrite. The insidious danger of this is that Wall Street is never reformed or adequately regulated - that it remains a skulking financial monster with its unseen tentacles wrapped tightly around every economic artery of American life, retaining its ever present strangulation potential."

This entire debacle will be one for historians to sort out since the fraud committed prior to the fall of 2008 will never appear before a court of justice. As William D. Cohen wrote last month in The New York Times:

The statute of limitations on the crimes committed by Wall Street bankers and traders has run out by now. There will be no further prosecutions. That failure remains a major scar on Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Justice Department and one that has never been fully explained.

It is our opinion that the single largest failing of the Obama administration was the failure to restore a sustainable financial system by leaving fraudsters in charge and not prosecuting the financial crimes of the early years of the 21st century. This will lead to further financial system failures. Eventually historians will sort out the responsibility for all this chaos, but with little help from many of today's journalists.

We leave you with a "line-up" in the fall of 2008 when many top financial execs actually feared going to prison.

More reading on this topic:

The Whale That Should Not Have Gotten Away (The New York Times)

Why Only One Top Banker Went to Jail for the Financial Crisis (The New York Times)

Why Corupt Bankers Avoid Jail (The New Yorker)

Why Aren’t Any Bankers in Prison for Causing the Financial Crisis? (The Atlantic)

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