I almost missed this story. As it turns out, I wouldn't have missed much if I had.
The reason I almost missed the story is because throughout the entire article, an acronym is used repeatedly, but its meaning is never explained. This has become such a common example of bad writing that whenever an acronym is used without explanation in anything I'm reading, I skip the rest the minute I encounter it. Any writer who does not know enough about writing to provide the meaning of an acronym the first time it is used is not worth reading. An editor who allows this violation of good writing ought to be shot.
I only read the story because I happened to be familiar with the particular offensive acronym, which happens to be HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation). See, that's the way it is supposed to be done.
As I mentioned, the story was not much, and may actually not be totally true. What is true is that it is full of the worst of political lies. You may read it if you like, but it's typical WorldNet Daily sensationalism. The story is, "Banking giant accused of laundering billions."
The first lie is in the title. Like most political lies, which are seldom explicit and usually put over by means of suggestion and innuendo, the, "money laundering," lie has been one of big government's most successful.
Laundering makes "dirty money" clean. The government does not tell you what dirty money is, but suggests it is money associated with crime. It often is, but a crime is only what someone does that some government has written a law against, and most of those laws are immoral and oppressive. When the laws are immoral, it is immoral to obey them.
The real meaning of dirty money is money that government knows the source and location of so it can easily confiscate it. Most of our money is dirty, and the government regularly confiscates it by means of taxes, fees, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, and a million other ways of stealing it.
The reason governments despise money laundering is because making money clean, that is, making its source and location difficult or impossible for governments to know, prevents governments from confiscating it. Governments call money laundering "theft." This is a typical government perversion of meaning. Money laundering prevents government from stealing people's money—it prevents government theft. It's like the burglar who cannot get to the money you have in your safe accusing you of stealing it from him. Your money is not the thief's, nor is it the government's.
A Fistful of Fictions
The sensational money-laundering story was provided by a whistle-blowing ex-employee of HSBC. The whistleblower said he has, "firsthand knowledge and proof of how HSBC transferred billions of dollars through accounts linked to companies that did not exist."
What is a company exactly? If I choose to, I can set up a company tomorrow and call it anything I like, and then open up a bank account for that company. The company is me, and I will be responsible for everything the company does. But there is a way to avoid that responsibility. I can use the government, usually a state government, to incorporate the company. Incorporation is the creation of a government sanctioned fictional entity. The fictional entity, called a corporation, is now responsible for anything the company does. I'm just an employee of the company.
If there really were bank accounts in the name of, "companies that did not exist," they would simply be fictional companies. But all corporations are fictional companies. HSBC itself is a fiction. HSBC does not do anything, only its employees and officers do things. If there were truly "billions of dollars" being transferred through fictional companies, there were real individuals making those transfers through very real accounts. It would have been real money coming from someone quite real and going to someone quite real, even if the companies were total fictions—as all corporations really are.
Whenever the government holds up the money-laundering hobgoblin it always invokes, "drug money," as the evil we all need to fear. The whistle blower said, "From what I saw, I came to suspect HSBC had become the Mexican drug cartels' bank of choice."
There can be no reason for mentioning this except for its sensationalism. There is no proof, no evidence, and no possible link between the drug cartels and the money supposedly being "laundered" by HSBC. There is only the whistleblower's suspicion based on what he supposedly saw, though what he saw that made him suspicious is never identified.
It is ironic that even if it is drug money that is being laundered, it is the government that motivates and makes possible that money laundering. If governments weren't in the business of stealing people's money, no one would bother with money laundering. And if the government did not make drugs a lucrative business through its laws of prohibition, and make it risky by the vicious and bloody enforcement of DEA thugs, there would be no cartels and no drug money to launder.
Banks are not inherently evil, but banks in collusion with government are as evil as evil gets. Historically, HSBC has been one of the least evil of banks, one reason for its fabulous success. I have even recommended HSBC as one of the safest places to protect an individual's hard-earned wealth from government theft.
Unfortunately, all banks exist with the sanction of some government or governments. None are completely safe; none are guaranteed to keep your money clean. Perhaps you've heard of
Jon Corzine and MF Global Holdings Ltd.
The article is full of despicable lies, but, "HSBC spokesman Rob Sherman issued a statement ...:
"We support efforts to protect the integrity of the financial system, and our commitment to AML (anti-money laundering) includes rigorous internal processes and a close working partnership with regulators and law enforcement."
I hope that is a lie! It would be a clean and moral one, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
—Reginald Firehammer (05/14/10)
All comments and criticisms will be read, and, if decent, published. Please include the title of the article. Questions are also welcome.