[Debate] Debate-list Digest, Vol 36, Issue 317

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 15:37:37 BST 2012

It's a petition addressed to no one in particular.  In what way can
the petition help Salameh Kaileh?

On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 5:46 AM, rosemary galli <gallirose at hotmail.com> wrote:
> There's a petition for the release of Salameh Kaileh on www.change.org
> website. Almost 200 signatures so far.
>> From: debate-list-request at fahamu.org
>> Subject: Debate-list Digest, Vol 36, Issue 317
>> To: debate-list at fahamu.org
>> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 07:56:32 +0100
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>> Today's Topics:
>> 1. Tough times for Turks on border with Syria (Yoshie Furuhashi)
>> 2. Re: (Fwd) A good comrade languishes in a Syrian jail::
>> Salameh Kaileh (Yoshie Furuhashi)
>> 3. Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman (Riaz K Tayob)
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 01:03:26 -0400
>> From: Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [Debate] Tough times for Turks on border with Syria
>> To: Debate <debate-list at fahamu.org>
>> Message-ID:
>> <CAKJmU8RfN7m0oxVSPMT0YspdC4rX+RZ+JEHqeW3pjLphQ3Gz8w at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>> <http://bit.ly/INav02>
>> Tough times for Turks on border with Syria
>> Traders and members of religious minorities bank on Bashar al-Assad
>> restoring stability in neighbouring country
>> Constanze Letsch in Antakya
>> guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 April 2012 09.02 EDT
>> The car park of the central bus station in the Turkish border city
>> Antakya, a once-bustling junction of cars and coaches to and from
>> Syria, was almost empty. Four men sat around a low table, playing
>> cards. "That's what we do all day now," one of them said.
>> A previously flourishing border trade, which topped $2.5bn (?1.6bn)
>> two years ago, has been decimated by the violence in Syria and
>> Turkey's hardening stance against the Assad regime. Local businesses
>> in Antakya are starting to feel the pinch.
>> Mustafa G?nsas, who works in the small ticket office of a local bus
>> company, described the slump. "We have 10 service buses and each used
>> to be full," he said. "Now there are maybe two or three passengers in
>> every service bus [to the main station from where coaches leave]. I
>> lost all my tips. We used to eat chicken every day at home, but now we
>> can barely make ends meet."
>> Mehmet, the owner of a textile shop across the street, said he had had
>> to fire all of his four employees. "Business dropped by 95%. There
>> used to be many Syrians who came for a day or two to shop here, but
>> that has stopped." He paused. "Many of us want Bashar [al-Assad] to
>> stay, and stability to return to Syria. We were better off before."
>> They are not the only Turks who quietly express support for the regime
>> in Damascus. Religious minorities including Christians, Alevis (a
>> Turkish Muslim sect) and Alawites (their Arabic-speaking counterparts)
>> are increasingly anxious that the government's active support for
>> Syria's armed opposition could have a distinctly negative upshot.
>> Cemil Mityasoglu, a Christian wholesale market trader from Antakya,
>> summed it up: "For many Alevis and Christians, Syria seemed like a
>> safe haven. For them it was reassuring to live so close to the Syrian
>> border, knowing that they could always go there if things became ugly
>> in Turkey."
>> Turkey's 20 million Alevis share some belief systems with Syria's
>> Alawites, who count the ruling Assad family among their number.
>> Sympathy for Assad is not hard to find in the border Alevi and Alawite
>> communities near Antakya.
>> Ipek Arat, 36, in the town of Samandagi, works in a silk retailing
>> business that her father founded in 1952. She said she actively
>> followed the events in Syria on Facebook. "Here, people support Bashar
>> al-Assad. [The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is making
>> a big mistake."
>> She criticised Turkey's double standards: "Just as Turkey does not
>> want Syria or Iraq to support the PKK, the Syrian government does not
>> want Turkey to support the armed opposition. I think there is no
>> difference between the two positions."
>> Ayhan Aslan, a district elder, also criticised Turkey's AKP government
>> for its Syria policy. "We are the minority here. Who will protect us
>> if sectarian violence comes across the border? Certainly none of the
>> western governments who wish for Assad to be overthrown."
>> Some minorities even report being on the receiving end of violence at
>> the hands of Syria's opposition. Ferit, a Christian Arab born in
>> Turkey, was returning from his wife's home town of Aleppo in December
>> when the family's car was attacked just before the border crossing.
>> "They hit our car with iron bars, smashed the wing mirror on the
>> driver's side, and damaged the wing." The dents and large scratches
>> are still clearly visible.
>> Pointing at a house hidden in another orange grove just across the
>> road, he says: "They are Armenians. Further down, there are Alevi
>> families, some of our neighbours are Sunni." Ferit frowns. "We all
>> live side to side here, why are they trying to pit us against each
>> other?"
>> A few streets down, Ferit's schoolfriend Ahmet was sitting in his
>> garden, chatting with his parents-in-law, Ibrahim and Meryem, who are
>> from Homs. At the end of February they fled their house in Hamidiyeh,
>> a predominantly Christian neighbourhood, to live with relatives in
>> Tartous, and two weeks ago, they joined their daughter Rana, their
>> three granddaughters and their son-in-law Ahmet in Samandagi.
>> "Armed men of the opposition have destroyed all 12 churches in the
>> neighbourhood of Hamidiyeh," said Ahmet, a master tailor. He added
>> that many houses had been severely damaged, while others had been
>> vacated by people fleeing from the violent conflict in the city.
>> "In some cases, opposition members allowed people to take their
>> possessions," Rana said. "But the insurgents live in the houses now,
>> fighting against the army."
>> Asked if he had recognised any of the armed men, Ibrahim shook his
>> head. "Their faces were covered. Some of them wore bandanas that said:
>> 'There is no God except Allah.'"
>> Meryem said she has been threatened for not wearing a headscarf. "They
>> told us: 'We will cover you up, too' and 'It will be your turn [after
>> the Alevis].' We are very scared."
>> Elsewhere it is pure economics that is worrying frontier Turks. Salih
>> Ceylan, an employee in a car rental company, said that the
>> deteriorating security situation in the border region now prevented
>> many people in Antakya and the surrounding villages going to Syria to
>> buy staples such as sugar, meat and tea, all of which are much cheaper
>> in the neighbouring country.
>> "A very large percentage of the people here live off smuggling, and
>> the Turkish government turned a blind eye. There is no industry in
>> Antakya, what else should people do?"
>> Yussuf Demiroglu, who has been running a fresh fruit and vegetable
>> export business with his brother for 10 years, said business had
>> dropped by 60% over the past year. "We used to sell about 200 tonnes
>> of fruit to Middle Eastern markets each day. Now we hardly sell this
>> much in four days." To prevent further loss through rot, they have to
>> sell at cheaper prices.
>> Asked if any Syrian refugees have come to work for him, he said: "Yes,
>> but I turned them away. Most of the shop owners here are Alevi. They
>> do not want Sunni Syrians to work here."
>> Taxi companies who used to circulate daily between Antakya and Aleppo
>> have been hard hit by the conflict. Ali Y?r?r, the owner of Y?r?r
>> Turizm, a cross-border taxi company, had already been forced to sell
>> one car out of his 20-strong fleet, and was about to sell another.
>> "Work dropped by 80%," he explained. "I had to fire four employees,
>> five drivers are left. Turkish cars are now forbidden to cross into
>> Syria after four in the afternoon for security reasons." A recently
>> installed border tax on every vehicle that crosses the Turkish border
>> more than four times a month adds to the financial pressure.
>> Y?r?r said many drivers were scared to work. "One of our drivers was
>> stopped by armed men in Idlib province. When he drove away they broke
>> the window of his car, but he got away unharmed." Other drivers told
>> similar stories. A 45-year-old Turkish lorry driver, Suphi Ezer, was
>> recently shot at in Syria. "But while we are afraid to go, we need to
>> work," one driver added. "How else would we put bread on the table?"
>> Another lorry driver, Ahmet Yilmaz, on his way to transport tomatoes
>> and peppers from Jordan to Romania, was less optimistic about the
>> success of the Syrian revolution and feared that Turkish involvement
>> had started to fuel strong anti-Turkish sentiment inside Syria.
>> Standing next to his truck at the Cilveg?z? border crossing, he
>> pointed out 10 bullet holes on the body of his vehicle. "I have driven
>> through Syria for the past eight years, and had never had any
>> problems. Yesterday, on the road just after Hama, Syrian soldiers
>> opened fire on my truck." He added that all armed opposition fighters
>> had vanished from the areas he had driven through. "Soldiers seem to
>> be in control of the roads and towns again. There are numerous
>> checkpoints everywhere." He paused. "But this was my last trip into
>> Syria. I will definitely not go through there again."
>> ? Some names have been changed
>> --
>> Yoshie Furuhashi
>> <http://mrzine.org/>
>> ------------------------------
>> Message: 2
>> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 01:20:31 -0400
>> From: Yoshie Furuhashi <critical.montages at gmail.com>
>> Subject: Re: [Debate] (Fwd) A good comrade languishes in a Syrian
>> jail:: Salameh Kaileh
>> To: Debate is a listserve that attempts to promote information and
>> analyses of interest to the independent left in South and Southern
>> Africa <debate-list at fahamu.org>
>> Message-ID:
>> <CAKJmU8QVXqqcBa2s6EahtsR678Q1ptdQ35UXOcP--N5nsEx_NA at mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
>> Why can't we say we should do all we can to release this old Marxist
>> intellectual because Syria is not at "the revolutionary moment," so he
>> needs all the help he can get from the outside that he won't get
>> inside?
>> On Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM, Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za> wrote:
>> >
>> > (Please learn more about Kaileh -
>> > http://freesalamahkaileh.wordpress.com/who-is-salameh-kaileh/ - and sign
>> > here to raise the stakes:
>> >
>> > http://www.change.org/petitions/everyone-who-supports-freedom-and-justice-for-the-syrian-people-to-immediately-and-unconditionally-release-salameh-kaileh
>> > )
>> >
>> > Jadaliyya Revamps Arabic Section . . . click here
>> >
>> > Interested in writing a Review for Jadaliyya? Visit our Call for Reviews
>> > here.
>> >
>> > Who is Salameh?Kaileh?
>> >
>> > Born in the town of Birzeit in Palestine in 1955, Salameh Kaileh studied
>> > in Baghdad and became an activist within the Palestinian resistance.
>> >
>> > He wrote a number of books, among them: ?Critique of Mainstream Marxism?
>> > (1980), ?The Arab and The National Question? (1989), ?Imperialism and
>> > the
>> > Plunder of the World? (1992), ?The Problems of Marxism in the Arab
>> > World?
>> > (2003) and recently ?The Problem of the Arab Nationalist Movement?
>> > (2005).
>> >
>> > Salameh was arrested?after midnight in Damascus on 24th April, 2012. The
>> > Syrian?security forces?(we don?t know?whether it was?the army or the
>> > police)?attacked his home,?ranscaked?it,?confiscated his computer and
>> > arrested him.
>> >
>> > Salameh has already?spent 8 years in Syrian prisons. Syrian activists
>> > believe that Salameh has been picked up by the?authorities for his
>> > writings
>> > which are extremely critical of the anti-people Syrian dictatorship.
>> >
>> > Some recent writings of Salameh:
>> > Correspondence with a Syrian socialist?(Feb 3, 2012)
>> >
>> > ***
>> >
>> > http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5232/free-salameh-kaileh
>> >
>> > Free Salameh Kaileh!
>> >
>> > Apr 25 2012 by Omar S. Dahi and Vijay Prashad
>> >
>> > [Image of Salameh Kaileh. Source unknown]
>> >
>> > At 2am on Tuesday April 24, the Palestinian-Syrian intellectual and
>> > activist Salameh Kaileh was arrested from his home ?without
>> > explanation,? as
>> > his lawyer Anwar Bunni of the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and
>> > Research
>> > put it. This is not Salameh Kaileh?s first time in a Syrian prison. He
>> > was a
>> > guest of the Assad family in its several jails for eight years and
>> > eleven
>> > days in the 1990s.
>> >
>> > Born in 1955 in Birzeit in the West Bank (Palestine), Salameh studied in
>> > Baghdad (Iraq) and Damascus (Syria). Salameh emerged out of the
>> > University
>> > of Baghdad in 1979 with a BA in Political Science, already as one of the
>> > brightest Marxist thinkers and as a brave fighter for universal freedom.
>> > His
>> > reputation would soon span across Syria, in Palestine, around the Arab
>> > world
>> > and elsewhere. He wrote many books on a variety of themes, on
>> > imperialism,
>> > on Marxism, on the limitations of the Arab nationalism movement, on
>> > globalization, on Zionism, and on the legacy of the scientific method.
>> > Some
>> > of his books (in Arabic) include?Arabs and the National Question (1989),
>> > Critique of Mainstream Marxism (1990), Imperialism and the Plunder of
>> > the
>> > World (1992), Socialism or Barbarism (2001), The problems of Marxism in
>> > the
>> > Arab World (2003), and The Problem of the Arab Nationalist Movement
>> > (2005).
>> >
>> > Although Arab Nationalism and the Arab resistance movements have
>> > received
>> > their fair share of criticism, Salameh?s criticism was always from the
>> > left-wing and always constructive ? it was toward building a new Left
>> > force
>> > for a freedom movement that would drink deeply from the powerful
>> > heritage of
>> > Marxism and Communism. Trenchant critiques of the Arab and Palestinian
>> > Left,
>> > as well as the Marxist Left itself, kept his allies on their toes; as
>> > the
>> > revolutionary from Guinea-Bissau Amilcar Cabral said, ?tell no lies,
>> > claim
>> > no easy victories.? This was the touchstone of such an intellectual and
>> > political project. Salameh?s main critique of the Arab Left was that it
>> > consistently played the role of ?following the other,? or hitching its
>> > wagon
>> > to larger social forces such as Arab Nationalist movements and
>> > Ba?athism,
>> > which ended up discrediting the Marxist Left when these movements came
>> > to
>> > power. Their failures, in authoritarianism and repressive regimes and in
>> > accommodations with the domestic and international bourgeoisie,
>> > tarnished
>> > the heritage of the Left.
>> >
>> > Salameh sharpened his intimate critique of Arab Nationalism and of
>> > Marxism
>> > by his simultaneous and unrelenting criticism of Western imperialism,
>> > the
>> > conservative Arab regimes, and centrally, Zionism.
>> >
>> > Salameh went to jail in the 1990s when he renewed his criticism of the
>> > suffocation of the Ba?ath regime and its collusion with imperialism.
>> > Many
>> > have forgotten that in the Gulf War of 1991, the Syrian government
>> > participated alongside the Grand Coalition of the West against the Iraqi
>> > regime. As a gift for this participation, the West turned a blind eye to
>> > another round of reprisals by the Assad regime against its domestic
>> > opposition (as well as consolidating Syrian power in Lebanon). Salameh
>> > went
>> > to prison then.
>> >
>> > Since his release in the late 1990s, Salameh has continued to fight for
>> > a
>> > democratic political opening in Syria and in the Arab world in general.
>> > When
>> > the first demonstration of the current phase took place on March 15,
>> > 2010,
>> > Marxists such as Salameh were right there in the thick of the struggles.
>> > The
>> > Syrian Communist Party has lain at the feet of the Assad regime since
>> > the
>> > 1960s, and has not represented the currents of genuine Marxist dissent
>> > and
>> > revolution for several generations. Many Syrian Marxists have sought,
>> > therefore, alternative platforms to struggle against the
>> > mafia-capitalism
>> > promoted by the Assad regime. In February of this year, Salameh laid out
>> > the
>> > potentiality of this uprising for the Left,
>> >
>> > ?These communists who have been taking part in the uprising believe that
>> > bringing the regime down is the main objective, and have no belief in
>> > the
>> > possibility of reform. They know that the struggle of the poor classes
>> > will
>> > continue until the replacement of the regime is made by the workers,
>> > farmers, and all the public classes, which suffer from a lack of a
>> > political
>> > representation. This is because there is no answer to their problems
>> > except
>> > through getting rid of all the liberal parties, and the collapse of the
>> > mafia-capitalist governing class, and the traditional bourgeoisie that
>> > work
>> > within the regime now and aim to control it. This capitalist mafia
>> > brought
>> > in the Baath Party and made some achievements when they first got to
>> > power,
>> > but these achievements were captured and this regime is synonymous with
>> > the
>> > capitalist mafia now. In order to achieve the goals of the uprising
>> > today,
>> > there must be a new vision based on a Marxist analysis, and that
>> > represents
>> > the interests of workers and farmers, which, in turn, can allow a new
>> > party
>> > to be set-up that would undertake a genuinely transformative programme.
>> > It
>> > is this possibility which has been opened through the uprising. Marxists
>> > therefore, must start forming the workers and farmers party, in order to
>> > establish a democratic republic, which reflects the public interest.?
>> >
>> > Interestingly Salameh, though unequivocal of his support for the Syrian
>> > revolution, has criticized for different reasons both the Syrian
>> > National
>> > Council (mainly external opposition) as well as the National
>> > Coordination
>> > Council for Democratic Change (mainly internal opposition) as not truly
>> > representing the revolutionary masses. For Salameh, these sections of
>> > the
>> > Opposition are unified by two things: neither of them trusts the
>> > capacity of
>> > the people to achieve change, and neither of them believe that the
>> > Syrian
>> > regime can be toppled by the Syrian people. The National Coordination
>> > council?s call for reform and dialogue with the regime to achieve change
>> > misses the revolutionary moment and aspirations of the people. By
>> > lowering
>> > the bar, they lost the support of the masses. On the other hand, the
>> > SNC?s
>> > call for military intervention also belies a lack of belief in the
>> > Syrian
>> > people to achieve change. Both of those bodies, Salameh added were
>> > composed
>> > of members who had lost faith in the capacity for revolutionary change
>> > and
>> > before the March 15th uprising, had done their best to accommodate to
>> > the
>> > ?reality? of the Syrian regime.
>> >
>> > It is because Salameh is an independent voice and is an active presence
>> > for the future of Syria that the Assad regime decided to muzzle him in
>> > custody. That is the only explanation.
>> >
>> > This is our statement on the career of Salameh. There is much to be
>> > said,
>> > and much more to be written. This is also an invitation for others to
>> > join
>> > us, to sign this statement of appreciation for his work, and to demand
>> > that
>> > the mafia capitalist regime of Assad immediately release Salameh.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Debate-list mailing list
>> > Debate-list at fahamu.org
>> > http://lists.fahamu.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/debate-list
>> >
>> --
>> Yoshie Furuhashi
>> <http://mrzine.org/>
>> ------------------------------
>> Message: 3
>> Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 09:51:47 +0300
>> From: Riaz K Tayob <riaz.tayob at gmail.com>
>> Subject: [Debate] Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman
>> To: Debate List <debate-list at fahamu.org>
>> Message-ID: <4F98F083.2010303 at gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> Jon Corzine Is the Original George Zimmerman
>> By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
>> 25 April 12
>> o the Senate Banking Committee <http://banking.senate.gov/public/> is
>> beginning hearings today
>> <http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cme-groups-duffy-to-appear-before-senate-banking-committee-2012-04-24>
>> on the MF Global scandal, hearings entitled, "The Collapse of MF Global:
>> Lessons Learned and Policy Implications." Apparently the government has
>> already moved to the reflective, introspective, South Park-ian, "You
>> know, I learned something today!" stage in its examination of the
>> scandal, despite the fact that the government's official "response"
>> hasn't even started yet, i.e. authorities have yet to arrest a single
>> person in this brazen billion-dollar theft story.
>> To make an obvious comparison: Much like the Trayvon Martin/George
>> Zimmerman case, the outrage here goes beyond the fact of the horrific
>> crime. An equally profound insult in both cases lay in the fact that
>> that serious crime obviously had been committed, and yet authorities
>> refused to act for months. This situation with former Goldman chief and
>> U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and the officials of MF Global involves a less
>> physically savage offense, but the authorities' refusal to act is every
>> bit as incredible.
>> Nobody disputes the fact that MF Global officials dipped into customer
>> accounts and took over $1.6 billion of customer money. We not only know
>> that company officials reached into customer accounts, we know they
>> brazenlylied to bondholders
>> <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-22/mf-global-bondholders-feel-duped-with-good-reason.html>,
>> ratings agencies and investors about the firm's financial condition ("MF
>> Global's capital and liquidity has never been stronger," wrote the CFO
>> <http://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCATRE80T1W420120130> of MF
>> Global's holding company, on the same day Moody's downgraded it to junk
>> status).
>> We even know that eighteen days before the firm went bust, company
>> officers discussed how quickly to return money to customers, and even
>> contemplated, in writing, the possibility of not returning the money
>> right away. This is from a risk-assessment document prepared by company
>> officers entitled "Break the Glass":
>> <http://www.scribd.com/doc/80278193/MF-Global-s-break-the-glass-document>
>> ...Who do we want to be after the storm? *How quickly**do we want to
>> send cash back to clients, what is the message if we do not send
>> **immediate**ly*, what is the strategy if we want to keep the
>> customer and wait until the storm passes?
>> In the wake of the 2008 crash it's often been said that one of the major
>> problems in getting the public to grasp the crimes committed by banks
>> and financial companies is the extreme complexity of the transactions
>> used. The mortgage-backed-securities scam by itself was really just a
>> common fraud scheme, but it was cloaked in the extremely complex
>> verbiage and advanced math of derivatives transactions, which made it
>> possible for bankers to bluff their way through an argument that no
>> crimes had been committed.
>> But MF Global is different. This is not complicated at all. This is just
>> stealing. You owe money, you don't have the cash to cover it, and so you
>> take money belonging to someone else to cover your debts. There's no
>> room at all here for an argument that this money was just lost due to a
>> bad investment, an erroneous calculation based on someone's poor
>> understanding of a complex transaction, etc. It's straight-up
>> embezzlement.
>> Nonetheless, there's been an intense effort at trying to convince the
>> public that no crime has been committed. Whoever is handling MF Global's
>> P.R. (according to Pam Martens in this excellent piece
>> <http://www.alternet.org/economy/155078/mf_global%3A_the_untold_story_of_the_biggest_wall_street_collapse_since_lehman?page=entire>,
>> it's APCO worldwide, a former Big Tobacco spin factory) appears to have
>> convinced the company's officers to emphasize the word "chaos" in
>> describing the last days of the firm - as though $1.2 billion wasn't
>> intentionally stolen, per se, but simply lost in a kind of uncontrolled
>> whirlwind of transactions that magically carried the money out of
>> accounts off to worlds unknown.
>> I call this the "Wizard of Oz" defense: a Big Twister hit the firm's
>> customer accounts, chaos ensued, and when the dust settled, no one knew
>> where the heck little Dorothy and her money had gone.
>> You started to hear this more and more as the winter progressed.
>> /Reuters /shamefully ran a piece
>> <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/09/us-mfglobal-idUSTRE8181UB20120209>
>> earlier this year quoting an unnamed source who insisted, hands over his
>> anonymous heart, that there just wasn't any crime//in the MF Global story:
>> A source familiar with the work of Louis Freeh, trustee for the MF
>> Global holding company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
>> protection, says investigators have yet to find evidence of fraud in
>> the multi-faceted and complex investigation.
>> The source, who declined to be identified because Freeh's office is
>> still conducting its inquiry, says there was plenty of "chaos" at MF
>> Global in its waning days, but "no evidence of fraud."
>> Corzine himself reached for the Wizard of Oz defense in his infamous
>> "How the hell should I know?" testimony before the Senate Ag committee
>> <http://www.ag.senate.gov/download/?id=e24d828f-9958-429b-8de4-6ebae95afb00>
>> last year, throwing up his hands and pleading helplessness before the
>> "extraordinary number of transactions" in the last days of MF Global -
>> although he was perfectly willing to consider the possibility that the
>> losses were someone else's fault:
>> I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have
>> not been reconciled to date. I do not know which accounts are
>> unreconciled or whether the unreconciled accounts were or were not
>> subject to the segregation rules. Moreover, there were an
>> extraordinary number of transactions during MF Global's last few
>> days, and I do not know, for example, whether there were operational
>> errors at MF Global or elsewhere, or whether banks and
>> counterparties have held onto funds that should rightfully have been
>> returned to MF Global.
>> Almost every story written about MF Global by any financial news outlet
>> will contain the word "chaos," and describe the bookkeeping challenges
>> of the firm's last days as just too overwhelming for mere human beings
>> to handle. The sources are almost always unnamed, but they all say the
>> same thing - it was just too much math, too much! The /Times's /Dealbook
>> page offered one of the most humorous examples
>> <http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506E7D9103CF93BA15750C0A9649D8B63&ref=mfgloballtd&pagewanted=all>:
>> A flurry of transactions engulfed the firm in the week before it
>> filed for bankruptcy, as $105 billion of cash shuttled in and out.
>> Amid the chaos, the employees became overwhelmed.
>> "It's like being at the bottom of Niagara Falls," recalled one
>> employee in a meeting with federal authorities, according to one of
>> the people involved in the case.
>> It's incredible that people are offering as a defense the idea that a
>> financial company could be so overwhelmed by transactions that it could
>> just lose track of $1.6 billion. If you're so terrible at managing money
>> that you can /honestly/ lose a billion dollars - especially after
>> swearing up and down to the whole world that you were the right choice
>> to manage the cherished millions and billions of scads of farmers,
>> ranchers, and other investors - you should go to jail just for that,
>> just on general principle.
>> But most pundits aren't saying that. Instead, it seems like like every
>> financial reporter both in this city and in Washington is talking to the
>> same five or six defense lawyers, buying their weak arguments, and
>> offering the same lame excuses for the missing money, which should tell
>> you a lot about how the Wall Street press corps managed to miss the
>> warning signs for 2008 and other disasters.
>> Somebody from MF Global has to be arrested soon. The message otherwise
>> to middle America is so galling that it boggles the mind.
>> It would be one thing if this was a country with a general,
>> across-the-board tendency toward leniency for property crime. But we
>> send tens of thousands of people to do real jail time in this country
>> for non-violent offenses like theft. We routinely separate mothers from
>> their children for relatively petty crimes like welfare fraud. For
>> almost anyone who isn't Jon Corzine, it's no joke to get caught stealing
>> in America.
>> But these people stole over a billion dollars, right out in the open,
>> and nobody is doing anything about it. Instead, we get a lot of
>> chin-scratching legislative hearings, and an almost academic-style
>> public discussion about whether or not a crime even took place. If there
>> aren't arrests in this case soon, ordinary people will correctly deduce
>> that it simply isn't a crime to steal in America, if the thefts are
>> executed with a computer by white people in suits.
>> Just as it was incredible when Florida authorities dragged their feet in
>> the Zimmerman case, it's incredible that people in Washington don't see
>> the implications of this continual non-decision on MF Global. Apparently
>> they hope no one notices. The sad thing is, they might be right.
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Yoshie Furuhashi

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