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Bill Black: “Control Fraud” Crushes Kabul, And the New York Times Needs to Correct its Correction

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By William C. Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law, University of Missouri-Kansas City, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, who also posts at New Economic Perspectives.

The New York Times, in a story entitled “Afghanistan Tries to Help Nation’s Biggest Bank” issued the following correction:

Correction: September 4, 2010

An earlier version of this article, citing American and Afghan officials, erroneously stated that the United States would contribute money to help the Kabul Bank. American officials say the United States is providing technical assistance but no funds for the bank.

The problem is that the “earlier version” was correct – the correction is incorrect. Kabul Bank has been revealed to be a “control fraud.” Control frauds occur when those that control a seemingly legitimate entity use it as a “weapon” to defraud. Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime – combined. Control frauds can also cause immense damage to a nation because they are run by financial elites that curry favor from political elites. The result is that they are often able to loot “their” banks for years with impunity. They also degrade the integrity of the entire system.

Kabul Bank is a typical example of a crude variant of control fraud at a major bank. Systems of crony capitalism, such as Afghanistan, inherently create an intensely “criminogenic” environment that produces epidemics of control fraud in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Kabul Bank, like the (originally Pakistani) Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) – better known to regulators as the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International” is reported to have helped everyone – corrupt Afghani government officials, corrupt business leaders, and the Taliban laundering its drug profits to, in part, buy weapons. Like BCCI, Kabul Bank’s managers’ reported frauds and self-dealing blew up the bank by causing massive losses. (If you believe that Kabul Bank is the only bank like this in Afghanistan you are consuming too much of Afghanistan’s leading export.)

The CIA tells us that Afghanistan raised roughly $1 billion in revenues last year and expended $3.3 billion. The shortfall, of course, was funded by us (the West, principally the U.S.). Indeed, that understates the case because Afghanistan raised the $1 billion in revenues primarily through customs duties and the U.S. and other Western nations indirectly or directly funded most of those customs duties.

We know certain facts. Afghanistan has no deposit insurance system. Its government has no financial responsibility for bailing out Kabul Bank’s depositors. Nevertheless, Afghanistan’s government has announced it will bail out the depositors. The funds to bail out the depositors will come – indirectly, but surely – largely from the United States Treasury. The New York Times’ initial article correctly stated that the U.S. will bail out Kabul Bank’s depositors. Someone obviously demanded a “correction.” Whoever that person was lied to the New York Times with the goal of getting the newspaper to lie to its readers. That lie succeeded. It is time for the New York Times to correct its correction and defeat this effort to mislead the public. The U.S. taxpayers are about to bail out the depositors of a fraudulent Afghan bank

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21 comments

  1. attempter

    This is even more evidence for those of us who have long argued that the Permanent War, as primarily a project in corporate welfare and corporate looting, is therefore just an extension of the general Bailout.

    Here we see how it’s even a literal bailout of the Afghan banks being used primarily to launder US taxpayer money to every kind of corrupt contractor and client. (As has been documented by true reporters like Ann Jones, most of the money that actually gets to Afghanistan is intended to simply be stolen by private contractors.)

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Indeed, corporate welfare and corporate looting—via corporate mass-murder. One thinks it can’t get any worse, and then it does.

      According to the Voice of America (no less) “Russia Says Afghan Drug Trade Threatens World Peace”. That Afghanistan supplies 90% of the world’s opium right under our powdered noses exposes the really, really BIG lie about the war and the banking scandals. This turns the billions officially reported by the CIA, whose primary business it is to lie and kill, a sick joke*.

      The president, his brother, and cousins can likely cover the bailout with narco-pocket change. Some bigger questions include who really controls all those opiates, what kind of psyops can they support, and where are they going? Surely not the CIA, the president’s own private, unaccountable army of assassins.

      http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Russia-Says-Afghan-Drug-Trade-Threatens-World-Peace-95719289.html

      *From Wikipedia: “In 2007, 93% of the opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan.[20] This amounts to an export value of about $64 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords and drug traffickers.[21]”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_drug_trade

      1. Externality

        The US should legalize opiates (and pot), thereby reducing the role of organized crime and allowing patients who need them for legitimate medical conditions to get their pain medications without being treated like a criminal. Whatever happened to “My body, My choice?”

        A century ago, opiates, cocaine, and marijuana were available without a prescription in the US. (Amphetamines had not been discovered yet.) The predecessor to the FDA was created not to ban these drugs, but to make sure that people got exactly what they thought they were buying.

        “The Pure Food and Drug Act required that certain specified drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents and dosage. Previously many drugs had been sold as patent medicines with secret ingredients or misleading labels. ____Cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and other such drugs continued to be legally available without prescription as long as they were labeled.” _____ (underlining added)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Food_and_Drug_Act#Labeling_of_Habit-Forming_Drugs

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Good points. Let’s bring back genuine classic COCA cola!And maybe we could lose our dubious distinction of having the world’s highest per capita prison population, too. What a sick imperial perversion: prisons for profit!

        2. CingRed

          I have one problem with “My body. My Choice.” and that is that I, Joe Taxpayer ends up paying for all the health care, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc., etc. for those who choose to destroy their minds and bodies with those substances. I propose that a person can be licensed to use what ever drug they want legally when they sign the document that says they don’t get a dime of government funded welfare or health care ever again.

          1. Tschäff

            I agree that the libertarian philosophy is flawed, nearly everything anyone does has effects on other people. But regarding the war on drugs, it’s failed. Horribly. If you want to make the lower my taxes argument, you have to add up all the costs of it. $30-$40 thousand per inmate per year. 60% of the prison population. The DEA’s budget. All the injured and killed law enforcement officers (what is the price of a life?). The soldiers killed and wounded in Afghanastan paid for with drug money from Los Angeles. It adds up to a substantial sum. It makes a lot more sense to legalize it all and spend that money (or less) on treatment and prevention. What is it they say about an ounce of prevention?

            I have one problem with “My body. My Choice.” and that is that I, Joe Taxpayer ends up paying for all the health care, food stamps, subsidized housing, etc., etc. for those who choose to destroy their minds and bodies with those substances. I propose that a person can be licensed to use what ever drug they want legally when they sign the document that says they don’t get a dime of government funded welfare or health care ever again.

  2. Jim Haygood

    ‘The New York Times’ initial article correctly stated that the U.S. will bail out Kabul Bank’s depositors. Someone obviously demanded a “correction.” Whoever that person was lied to the New York Times with the goal of getting the newspaper to lie to its readers. That lie succeeded.’

    That’s just a tiny lie; a mere social fib in the overall scheme of MSM stenography.

    The BIG LIE is the absurd delusion promoted by peace laureate O’Bomba and his sidekick General Betrayus that NATO is going to ‘win’ in Afghanistan.

    HA ha ha ha … HAHHHH ha ha ha … damn, this Afghan brown is good!

    In XanaDubai did Kubla Karzai
    A stately pleasure dome decree …

  3. nowhereman

    Bill Black and Yves are very brave. If they keep tugging away at the curtain, exposing the machinations of the “shadow” systems, they could be targeted by the very sources they are exposing.
    Can’t happen here, you say? According to the kind of information being exposed, it seems more and more likely.
    Heads up you guys, and thank you for your courage.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, those invites are routine propagandizing, um, PR. They invite a very long list of econobloggers, and get a low level of acceptances, due to costs and logistics (virtually none are in the DC area, so going to the meeting involves travel). They’ve now expanded their reach to have separate sessions for MSM/political bloggers.

  4. John Harris

    The “correction” posted by the Times states as follows: “An earlier version of this article, citing American and Afghan officials, erroneously stated that the United States would contribute money to help the Kabul Bank. American officials say the United States is providing technical assistance but no funds for the bank.”

    Exactly what is the Times correcting?

    Was its original citation of multiple officials wrong?

    Was the citation correct but the original officials later recanted?

    Did other officials contradict the first set of officials, leaving the truth of the matter in doubt?

    Did the Times otherwise obtain evidence that the first officials were wrong, other than contradiction by a second set of officials?

  5. LeeAnne

    Yves, thank you for the heads-up.

    About US taxpayer-financed bank socialism:

    There must be a way under the US constitution to nullify exemptions from US law awarded by Congress to criminal Paulson and Associates on the occasion of The Great American Bailout and US Treasury Coup D’etat of 2008. Its just not believable that Congress was innocent in this transfer of power and wealth from the people to banks and given unlimited powers to distribute –forever? unlimited?

    This can only be criminal gangster governance. Nothing in the history of the world can describe it otherwise. It puts other examples of tyranny to shame for the audacity demonstrated to do it without a shot fired -and the worst is yet to come. The structure of this thing will dismantled -for certain. It is bound to come from outside the US if the US continues along this path.

    Transfer of US treasure destined for illegal diversion to Wall Street counterparties of choice by the triumvirate of Paulson, Bernanke, Blankfein and cronies beyond great squid boundaries into BIS central bank territory and beyond where $600 Trillion and change of unregulated derivatives float out there somewhere in the ether world has got to end.

    How to organize to do that when the laws against ‘terrorism’ are ambiguous enough for use as desired by TPTB, their wholly owned media, police, government, (don’t forget mercenary military and private militia as well as civilians deputized free to shoot in ‘emergencies’ under Marshall Law -800,000 and counting?) when the the word ‘revolution’ is censured by the supposedly liberal, perhaps only masquerading as liberal, like ‘Firedoglake’ together with the corporate/Obama threat against an open and free Internet.

    On the threat to the Internet as we know it, net neutrality or the Internet as public utility owned and operated by the public who created it, Attempter analyzes and writes brilliantly here: The NYT’s Nocera Lies About Net Neutrality

    The new thing under the sun of corporate government dominance, fascism perfected, is the advanced level of Orwellian speech adapted for sinister government purposes by Luntz/Goebbels propaganda operations for entrapment and silencing anyone that propaganda has failed to lobotomize.

    Who exactly is a terrorist? Well, anyone WE point to. Each and every person is unwittingly subject to ambiguous laws: seizure of assets; named on a restricted travel list; secret imprisonment; rendition to other countries; silenced forever under the law; tortured and assassinated; held indefinitely; or threatened with fear of any or all of the above.

    Change cannot happen without election finance reform; money taken out of election campaigns. Unlimited MONEY IS THE ROOT OF unlimited EVIL.

  6. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Okay, from here on out, I’m not reading William Black’s posts until it is late enough in my time zone to pour a stiff drink.

    1. craazyman

      Man I feel that way just reading the damn news. The psychopaths are stoning women in Tehran for what people pay for in New York, they’re beheading each other in Mexico like the Azetcs, they’re cutting off each others’ arms and legs in Africa, they’re selling their own kids into prostituion in southeast Asia for money, they’re working little girls 100 hours a week making parts for our computers in China or they’re deep-sixing anyone who protests against local crime bosses . . . what else . . . there’s so much. Russia, god only knows what goes on over there. North Korea, shit. Brazil, they’re gunning each other down in the slums, I don’t know man . . . here in New York it’s looters capital of the world, men and women, looting for fun and profit and getting massages from Chinese slaves in Qi Gong brothels . . . I find I need a 1 mg alprazolam and an absinthe just thinking about it. Glad the US Open is going on so I can stop my mind . Went out yesterday and had a great time, went to Arthur Ashe stadium, Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand court. Really fun. Then football starts up soon. I always try to distract myself to stay one step ahead of the demons. ha ha ha hahah.

  7. Foppe

    And again a prominent enabling role played by PwC. What is the difference between PwC/E&Y and a CRA at this point?

  8. Bernard

    sounds like the Crash is beginning. the little lies used to cover the bigger lies. right about the “whistleblowers” needing to cover their behinds. the “truth” is way past dangerous. i really like what Yves and Mr. Black said, but i would hope they have wills and all that or can emigrate if need be.

    the Power behind these “retractions” are a sure sign of the dangers we are in the midst of. wonder how long before Bradley Manning gets put into a “mental” ward, or how long before something “fatal” happens to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.

    the money and power are so astronomically huge and monstrously corrupt, as when little pieces like this actually make it into the “Corporate Controlled Media.” this is just a glimpse of what is really going on.

    this just shows how deeply corrupt the Empire is. anything that corrupt will only fall of its’ own weight.eventually. Who knows when that will be. Years?

    i certainly expect it to come crashing down after all attempts to maintain the facade fail, but until then, this is one dangerous MOTHER!!

    1. Externality

      “wonder how long before Bradley Manning gets put into a ‘mental’ ward”

      That has already been arranged:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/01/AR2010090106707.html

      He was moved from detention in Kuwait to Quantico in late July because of concerns that he was suicidal and required greater attention, Coombs said. In Quantico, he was initially held in solitary confinement because of those concerns, Coombs said.

      The private is receiving medical treatment for depression and insomnia, including a regimen of drugs, and is being evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist, Coombs said.
      That is being arranged, as he is now being isolated for psychiatric care.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/01/AR2010090106707.html

  9. Externality

    Oops- “That is being arranged, as he is now being isolated for psychiatric care” is my text, not the links.

  10. Skin Encyclopedia

    I know it sounds crazy but this reminded me of Abraham Lincoln’s: “Everybody likes a compliment,” and Bill Black deservers many.

    This way or another, I do not see how are we still letting this go only with a whimper. Indeed, America has became a Bolied Frogs Nation, unable to wake from its slumber.

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