HSBC Action today at noon
Here’s what I’m doing today at lunch time.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, March 4, 2013
Occupy Wall Street Pickets At HSBC in New York
HSBC To Issue Annual Earnings Report on Monday, March 4, 2013. These are the same unindicted criminals that admitted to money-laundering for drug cartels.
We Demand Justice for Executive Criminals & An End to “Too Big to Jail”!
Picket at HSBC New York Headquarters – Noon to 1:30pm
NEW YORK CITY – The “Occupy Wall Street – Alternative Banking” working group today continues its campaign to call on local, state and federal criminal and financial authorities to pursue prosecutions of executives at HSBC responsible for the bank’s admitted record of laundering money for drug cartels and alleged terrorists.
On Monday, March 4, as HSBC announces its annual earnings for 2012, OWS Alt Banking will rally at noon on the steps of the New York Public Library, Main Branch, across the street from HSBC’s New York headquarters.
The Story In Brief
In a recent settlement with the US Department of Justice, HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels over many years. HSBC also admitted violating US sanctions regimes on Iran and on entities that the US government designates as “terrorist.”
Under the deal with DOJ, HSBC was forced to pay a $1.9 billion institutional penalty, which represents only six weeks worth of HSBC’s 2011 profits. The Justice Department agreed not to prosecute bank officials and other persons responsible for the admitted severe criminal conduct. All executive salaries and bonuses will be paid in full – some on deferred schedules. US financial authorities also declined to pull the criminal bank’s license to operate in the US.
Reportedly, authorities feared that jailing any of the megabank’s executives or shutting down its operations would cause its collapse and set off other bank collapses. This highlights the continuing systemic danger of “Too Big To Fail,” which also means “Too Big To Jail.” Thus OWS Alternative Banking is also calling on regulatory and legislative authorities finally to break up the big banks that dominate financial markets and can act with such impunity thanks to their sheer size.
OWS Alternative Banking Group points out that not to prosecute the HSBC executives responsible for money laundering to the full extent of the law diminishes the law and sends the wrong message. It creates an incentive for other banks to engage in the same criminal conduct.
Banks are being told that if they are big enough, they can commit any institutional crime without fear that personal punishments will follow, and in the confidence that institutional penalties will be minor in comparison to the profits made by breaking the law.
What message does this send to the American people, and to the world? “The war on drugs” and “the war on terror” rage on as centerpieces of US global policy.
In the United States, hundreds of thousands of people, predominantly people of color, have been imprisoned for often minor drug offenses. This has destroyed the futures of many young people and contributed to the biggest prison-industrial complex in the world.
In Mexico and Colombia, the US government supports a “drug war” in which literally thousands of people are murdered, often by the military personnel of those nations acting as death squads. In Pakistan, Yemen and other nations, US military drones bomb targeted persons – often killing their families or neighbors – on suspicion of “terrorism,” without trial or appeal.
In the US, executives at Islamic charities accused of funneling money to organizations designated as terrorist have received multiple life sentences. How is this different from HSBC’s conduct in helping to maintain the finances of drug cartels and alleged terrorists? Money laundering is absolutely essential to the business of the illegal drug trade. Furthermore, money launderers make the fattest profits out of all participants in the illegal drug trade.
Why are the banker-criminals getting a free pass? Why do we allow a two-tier justice system, with harsh punishments for minor drug offenders and rewards and impunity for the biggest offenders of all?
Therefore OWS Alternative Banking is asking for fair prosecution of the HSBC criminals and for ethical practices and staffing to replace the blatant abuse of customer money and good will. HSBC’s license to operate in the United States must be pulled.
The further message is to break up the big banks. They can no longer be considered too big too fail and allowed to commit blatant crimes of fraud and money laundering at US taxpayers’ expense.
Given the United Nations estimate of $400 billion in drug money laundered annually, it is nearly impossible that this enormous volume of dirty cash does not in large part go through the other big Wall Street and City of London banks.
“IT IS A DARK DAY FOR THE RULE OF LAW.” – New York Times, 12/11/2012
“Apparently non-violent demonstration against corrupt banking is subject to more criminal scrutiny than actual corrupt banking.” – Village Voice, 12/26/2012