It is now a certainty that Goldman Sachs banker Rajiv Gupta with be the first banker to serve prison time. Gupta helped the Wall Street behemoth handpick the most toxic US mortgages, before they sold them to third parties knowing that the housing market was about to crash. The charges state that both Gupta and Goldman misled not only the mostly European banks who bought these morgage-backed securities derivatives, but their own investor clients as well. But anyone who knows a thing or two about the history of Goldman Sachs should not be surprised.
For over a century Goldman Sachs has joined the Houses of Morgan, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Warburg and Lazard in lording over the US industrial base, profiting from boom and depression alike. In July 1929 Goldman launched the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge investment trusts, at a time when the burgeoning middle classes were eager to hop on the Wall Street easy money bandwagon. The Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares to public. They peaked at $104. All the while Goldman insiders were selling. By the fall of 1934 the shares were worth $1.75/each. One of the directors at both Shenandoah and Blue Ridge was Rockefeller cousin and later Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.
Insiders at Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Lehman and Merrill Lynch had also bailed out ahead of the Crash of 1929. Americans were outraged. A resurgent populism led to jail time for bankers such as Citibank President Charles Mitchell. It led to the passage of the Glass-Steagal Act, repealed by President Clinton in 1995, which stated that banks could be either commercial, investment or private banks- one of the three. And it led to Congressional inquiries into the Federal Reserve private banking monopoly.
Many of these investigations were conducted by the House Banking Committee, chaired by Rep. Louis McFadden (D-NY). Speaking of the Great Depression, McFadden concluded, “It was no accident. It was a carefully contrived occurence…The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so they might emerge as rulers of all of us.”
His successor, Rep. Wright Patman (D-TX), concurred, stating, “The United States today has in effect two governments. We are a duly constituted government. Then we have an independent, uncontrolled and uncoordinated government in the Federal Reserve System, operating the money powers which are reserved to Congress by the Constitution.”
But Goldman Sachs knows full well that there is but one government and that they own it. Carter Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal, Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (now CEO at Citigroup), and Bush the Lesser Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are all Goldman Sachs alumni. It was Paulson who held the gun to the collective heads of the American people and demanded $1 trillion to be handed over to the bankers to ”avoid another Great Depression”.
Goldman is heavily involved in crafting the pending bank reform legislation. And it shows. Part of the legislation deals with setting up a “resolution authority”. This sounds an awful lot like the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), which Daddy Bush set up in 1991 to auction off 680 bankrupt Savings & Loans. The S&L fiasco cost US taxpayers a cool $500 billion, with most of the loot going down the CIA guns for drugs Iran Contra rabbit hole.
According to the Charlotte, NC-based Southern Finance Project, more than half of these 680 S&Ls ended up in the hands of 10 giant US investment banks for pennies on the dollar. The largest purchaser was BRW- a partnership between Goldman Sachs and the Blackstone Group. BRW spent $80 million to pick up assets worth billions.
Similar “resolution authority” was excercised by the Fed with no Congressional approval during the 2008-2009 financial meltdown. It wasn’t enough that the megabanks got $1 trillion in TARP money. They also vastly increased their assets, further concentrating their economic power and solidifying their “too big to fail” status. Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns were handed over to JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia was gifted to Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch was absorbed by Bank of America. Goldman Sachs curiously became a bank holding company.
Goldman Sachs led the Wall Street delegation which handed the Russian oil industry over to the Four Horsemen (ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, BPAmoco and Royal Dutch/Shell) for a song, leading to the 1998 Russian economic collapse. The firm lobbied for Enron just before it went belly up, robbing state pension funds before being “sold” to UBS Warburg for the lofty sum of $0. At around that same time the infamous Richard Perle was hired as an advisor by Goldman Sachs International. His job was to help Goldman find ways to profit from the coming Gulf War, though the 911 terror attacks had yet to even occur. In 2007 Goldman Sachs formed a partnership with BCCI insider/crook Sulaiman Olayan, whose Saudi National Commercial Bank is the largest in the Kingdom. For Goldman Sachs, war is business and business is good.
Read Matt Taibi’s excellent series on Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone magazine. This firm has profited from everything from the Internet IPO bubble and bust, to the NASDAQ bubble and bust, to the oil price spikes, the food price spikes (see Hill ‘n Holler Columns 1-5), the 1990′s Mexican debt crisis and the current Greek debt crisis.
And now we find that Goldman has profited from both the housing bubble it helped create and from its imminent demise. In Goldman’s case, we are not talking about a “job creator” or an “engine of economic growth” or any other Milton Friedman slogan that the loony right uses to justify merger mania and corporate hegemony. What we are talking about is a financial parasite of the lowest level which has historically and consistently profited from the suffering of people, the decimation of the environment and the economic destruction of wealth.
What we are talking about is the Darth Vader of the global economy. And, according to the SEC (finally), what we are talking about is a criminal enterprise. Let’s hope Rajiv Gupta is only the first of many banksters to go directly to jail.
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @ www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com