Am I going back on my pledge not to discuss the Boston bombing case? Not really. I still don't want to talk a whole lot about those tzany Tzarnaevs, because previous posts on this topic attracted comments which veered into deep-dish conspiracy theory -- and even though some folks count me
among the paranoia addicts, there are times when too much CT gives me acid reflux. By all means, please pursue your favorite scenarios. Have fun. But not here. It's a big damn internet, and Cannonfire is just one small blog -- a blog which need not cover every
aspect of every
story that catches the public's fancy.
That said, we must bend policy to make brief mention the latest revelation: Doltish, potheaded Dzhokhar seems to have had three equally fuzzy-brained pals
who may have helped him clean up his tracks, perhaps without realizing the full implications. Naturally, right-wing anti-Islam crusaders
are treating this news as further proof that all Muslims have formed an international conspiracy against Our Way of Life and therefore every hideous thing we did at Gitmo was perfectly justified, hallelujah and amen.
The best response comes to us by way of the marvelous Marcy Wheeler
I’m not defending what the young men did. Nor am I vouching for their intelligence. Nor am I saying they shouldn’t be prosecuted — they should!
But I’m having a hard time distinguishing what they did from what, say, HSBC did, for years. Aside from the fact that HSBC affirmatively helped terrorists, rather than just covered up that help. And aside from the fact HSBC made a billion dollars doing so.
Let's pause here. My one problem with Marcy's writing is that she sometimes presumes that her readers are as up-to-speed as she is, when in fact very few mere mortals are as up-to-speed as Marcy Wheeler. Bloggers should never forget that helpful scene in Road to Morrocco
in which Bob Hope explains the plot for those who showed up late.
Allow me to perform a similar task here. HSBC
is, as you may already know, a bank. A big bank. A big corrupt
Yes, Teresa? You want to know if there's any other kind? Of course, my dear. Offhand, I can name...uh... Well. The Nile has big banks, and I don't think they're very corrupt. May I now continue with my story?
In short and in sum, HSBC did something very naughty: They laundered a lot of money
for crooks and terrorists. All of this naughtiness upset Senator Elizabeth Warren
. Here's what she had to say:
It's possible to shut down a bank... Individuals can be banned from ever participating in financial services again. And people can be sent to prison. in December, HSBC admitted to... laundering $881 million that we know of... They didn't do it just one time... They did it over and over and over again… They were caught doing it, warned not to do it, and kept right on doing it. And evidently made profits doing it. Now, HSBC paid a fine, but no individual went to trial. No individual was banned from banking and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC's actives in the US.... You're the experts on money laundering. I'd like your opinion. What does it take? How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?
Marcy's point is simple. The pothead's dimwitted pals may well go to jail for a nice, long stretch because they stashed Dzhokhar's stuff and then fibbed about their actions when The Man came round for a chat. This behavior, however deplorable, was hardly as harmful as the actions taken by the guys running HSBC.
gives you a pretty good overview of the many ways in which HSBC has aided and abetted terrorism:
Laid out in detail in a Senate report released in July of this year, HSBC was engaged in banking with the Al Rajhi Bank, which is run by members of the Al Rajhi family alleged to have been “major donors to al Qaeda or Islamic charities suspected of funding terrorism.” They established “their own nonprofit organizations in the United States that sent funds to terrorist organizations, or used Al Rajhi Bank itself to facilitate financial transactions for individuals or nonprofit organizations associated with terrorism” in the years after the September 11th attacks, according to the report.
Additionally, a key founder of the Al Rajhi Bank was one of twenty key terror financiers Osama bin Laden dubbed the “Golden Chain.”
What's that, Teresa? You want to know how the folks running HSBC managed to avoid the pokey? Simple, my dear. These people are bankers
. Bankers -- unlike potheaded college kids -- are a holy people, sacrosanct and unassailable.
As Marcy summarizes:
The dumb-as-shit buddies have done nothing amounting to what HSBC did before and after, making $1 billion off a trade that probably helped terrorists finance their plots.
And yet the dumb-as-shit buddies are probably going to do prison time (and be deported in the case of the two Kazakh buddies).
The folks involved in HSBC’s support for terrorism?
They got promoted.
You may also want to check out what Glenn Greenwald
has to say:
It is commonplace to hear US elites unblinkingly insisting that those who become sufficiently important and influential are – and should be – immunized from the system of criminal punishment to which everyone else is subjected.
Worse, we are constantly told that immunizing those with the greatest power is not for their good, but for our good, for our collective good: because it’s better for all of us if society is free of the disruptions that come from trying to punish the most powerful, if we’re free of the deprivations that we would collectively experience if we lose their extraordinary value and contributions by prosecuting them.
On Tuesday, not only did the US Justice Department announce that HSBC would not be criminally prosecuted, but outright claimed that the reason is that they are too important, too instrumental to subject them to such disruptions. In other words, shielding them from the system of criminal sanction to which the rest of us are subject is not for their good, but for our common good. We should not be angry, but grateful, for the extraordinary gift bestowed on the global banking giant...
And now, dear readers, you will no doubt want to thrill me with your latest Boston bombing conspiracy theories. If you must, you must; this may be your last chance. But be gentle, and please don't forget about my acid reflux problem. Although these Ranitidine tablets work pretty well, one must worry about the possible side effects.