by Paul Williams
Oh, you Muslims everywhere, sever the ties of their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, [and] instigate against their corporations.
~Blind Sheikh Abdel Rahman, principal architect of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center
Shares in Citigroup plummeted today to $5.07 – – their lowest level since the banking giant began receiving massive transfusions of cash from U.S. taxpayers. The company, according to the Wall Street Journal, is expected to post fourth-quarter losses in excess of $10 billion.
The deteriorating condition is expected to cause Citigroup to sell its stake in Smith-Barney retail brokerage to Morgan Stanley.
To most readers, such news is economic gibberish that is more apt to evoke a yawn rather a cry of alarm.
Yet the situation within Citigroup is a tell-tale sign that Americans no longer are in control of their destiny and that the future of the country will not be controlled by President-Elect Barack Obama but rather by oil-rich Arabs.
Citigroup which presents itself – – along with Well Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, and the Bank of America – – as one of the four leading financial institutions within the land of the free and the home of the brave.
It has convinced U.S. government officials – – including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, President George W. Bush, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – – that its demise would wreck havoc for middle class Americans and financial devastation for lending agencies throughout the country.
On the basis of this argument, Citigroup has become the principal beneficiary of the $350 million that has been spent under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The megabank, thus far, has received $45 billion from Uncle Sam – – $20 billion in November and $25 billion in October. And now the firm is crying out for an additional transfusion of billions more in order to become financially solvent.
Sure, it’s nice for Americans to help Americans and to take preventive measures against a full-scale depression.
But the $45 billion shelled out to Citigroup may do little to aid the plight of Main Street Americans.
The firm is not owned by U.S. bankers and businessmen but rather by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth consortium of oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, who gained control of the megabank in November 2007. Presently, the largest single shareholder is Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.
Prior to this buy-out by Abu Shabi, Citigroup was the First National Bank of New York, an American firm that pioneered the use 24-hour ATMs and the country’s largest issuer of credit and charge cards.
Within a year of the take-over, the firm ran into a swamp of quicksand as a result of poor management and troubled mortgages in the form of collateralized debt obligation.
Why do the economic eggheads in Washington care if a consortium of rich sheikhs go belly-up?
The answer lies in the fact that the only standard for U.S. currency remains oil. In 1971, President Richard Nixon eliminated the gold standard (the Bretton Woods System) in order to offset rampant inflation and a growing trade deficit. Nixon believed that such a measure was prudent since the gold coverage of the paper dollar deteriorated from 55% to 22% in 1970. He did not believe this drastic measure would cause the dollar to free-fall since its value remained linked to a tangible commodity: oil. The dollar remained the fiat currency for petro trading and, therefore, retained intrinsic value.
This would be all well and good as long as the Arab nations required U.S. military support for protection.
But the need for protection, thanks in part to the removal of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is no longer a pivotal factor in Arab economics. And U.S. officials, including Bush and Obama, realize that a decision by OPEC to deal in euros would result in a valueless currency and an economic plight from which there would be scant chance of recovery.
“The Arabs have us over a barrel,” financial analyst Patrick Walsh maintains. “Should they decide like the Iranians and the Venezuelans to trade in euros, the trillions shelled out for the bail-out will have little or no impact on the recession and will only serve to further devalue the dollar.”
How has the $45 billion already allocated to Citigroup been spent? Perhaps it has served to prevent members of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority from losing their harems or to enable them to sustain multi-million dollar losses in Monte Carlo. Or, better yet, maybe it has enabled the United States to retail its vassal status before the leaders of OPEC.
Small wonder the $700 billion is provided to banking firms, such as Citigroup, without accountability.