Obstructing and Manipulating

Obstructing and Manipulating

by Bill Sardi

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According to a 250-page report submitted to Congress by Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General in charge of oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Ben Bernanke-led Federal Reserve and the Timothy Geithner-led US Treasury Department are obstructing justice by not cooperating with efforts to maintain transparency in the federal government’s economic bailout program.

Whether this obstruction could lead to prosecution is unknown, but Bernanke and Geithner are playing with fire because Barofsky is the only one of three monitors over the TARP program that has the authority to file criminal charges and has already successfully filed against a Tennessee banker who received TARP funds. That banker pled guilty in April.

Barofsky does not have to go to the Justice Department as his office has authority to file criminal charges without first obtaining approval from the US Attorney General Eric Holder.

When the US Treasury Department was not transparent about who received funds under the TARP program, Barofsky threatened to obtain information directly from banking institutions. Geithner argued that such an accounting was impossible and impractical, if not even impossible, and would be a waste of time.

Barofsky went around the US Treasury Department and The Federal Reserve and surveyed 364 financial institutions directly. The results of Barofsky’s survey and other tips received over a fraud hotline have resulted in 35 criminal investigations which are now underway.

The big question is whether names like Hank Paulson, former head of the Treasury, or Geithner, the current US Treasury chief, or the Federal Reserve’s Bernanke, are on Barofsky’s list.

Bernanke Caught Swapping Currencies

On the same day Barofsky was briefing Congress on his 250-page report, a film clip on YouTube showed Congressman Alan Grayson grilling the Federal Reserve’s Ben Bernanke, who admitted to swapping $500 billion of US funds to central bankers in Europe in one day (this represents 25% of what the US collects in taxes in an entire year), in what appears to have been an attempt to alter the value of the US dollar and to influence the price of oil and the value of stocks. (Bernanke’s testimony can be viewed here.)

Federal Reserve Operates Out a Hidden Entity

Financial commentator Karl Denninger writes that Federal representatives may have opened multiple undisclosed-type accounts through an entity known as State Street Global Advisors, located in Boston, over the past few months.

All of these accounts are allegedly handled by one single trader, writes Denninger, a trader "who is cocooned and isolated from interaction with other partners."

Denninger writes: "If, indeed, the Federal Reserve or other derivatives of the administration, are now directly involved in trading, managing repo terms, stock lending, collateral distribution and other liquidity-crucial aspects of what was once an efficient market, then indeed this recent stock market rally could be written off not merely as the biggest short covering rally of all time, but one that has been explicitly orchestrated by those who should be most impartial to an efficiently working market."

Denninger goes on to say that the Federal Reserve is explicitly barred from buying into anything that doesn’t have the full faith and credit of the US government behind it (Federal Reserve Act Sections 13 & 14). This means the Fed’s purchase of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac paper are also outside the law.

Furthermore, the Fed’s charter and operations manual state that liquidity operations are to be performed solely through the New York Fed’s dealing desk so as to maintain transparency. The use of State Street Global Advisors in Boston would be outside that mandate.

The Fed Crushes American’s Personal Investments

By examining activity at the New York Fed’s dealing desk, Denninger detected a huge decline in liquidity of the stock market on September 24 of 2008, three days before the equity markets collapsed. Bernanke orchestrated this collapse via huge withdrawals of liquidity at the New York Fed dealing desk. This appears to have been an attempt to pressure Congress which was deliberating the TARP economic bailout package at that very moment in time.

By withdrawal of massive amounts of liquidity from the banking system, The Federal Reserve caused a 30% decline in the value of IRA and 401k accounts owned by millions of Americans. The S&P 500 dropped from 1185 to 747.

Limitless Liquidity, Limitless Power

Denninger asks: "Do we want the Federal Reserve operating with essentially limitless liquidity to game the markets any time they’d like in violation of the law?"

If there is no transparency, and the Federal Reserve is working discretely through a sole agent (State Street Global Advisors), Denninger maintains that the Fed should be dissolved and criminal prosecution should follow.

Total TARP Obligations Beyond Belief

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