Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Monday, March 24, 2014
An interesting twist on the Banker deaths ......... Document: JPMorgan Chase Bets $10.4 Billion on the Early Death of Workers ..... And not just JP Morgan bets on their own Employees dying young -- Just four of the largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup hold over $53 billion in investments in BOLI according to 2013 year-end Call Reports. Death benefits from life insurance is purchased at a multiple to the amount of the investments, meaning that $53 billion is easily enough to buy $1 million life insurance policies on 159,000 employees, and potentially a great deal more. Industry experts estimate that the total face amount of life insurance held by all banks in the U.S. on their employees now exceeds half a trillion dollars. ....... And is it a coincidence these same four banks are the largest US banks regarding derivative holdings ? And does all of this connect into another ongoing mystery and ominous developments in the news ? For example , why did the " prankster " today reference as his number one concern being a nike going off in Manhattan ? ? Just a coincidence under the present circumstances -- or a signal ?
(Left) JPMorgan's European Headquarters at 25 Bank Street, London Where Gabriel Magee Died on January 27 or January 28, 2014 Under Suspicious Circumstances
Families of young JPMorgan Chase workers who have experienced tragic deaths over the past four months, have been kept in the dark on many details, including the fact that the bank most likely held a life insurance policy on their loved one – payable to itself. Banks in the U.S., as well as other corporations, are allowed to make multi-billion dollar wagers that their profits from life insurance policies on employees will outstrip the cost of paying premiums and other fees. Early deaths help those wagers pay off.
According to the December 31, 2013 financial filing known as the Call Report that JPMorgan made with Federal regulators, it has tied up $10.4 billion in illiquid, long term bets on the death of a large segment of its employees.
The program is known among regulators as Bank Owned Life Insurance or BOLI. Federal regulators specifically exempted BOLI in passing the final version of the Volcker Rule in December of last year which disallowed most proprietary trading or betting for the house. Regulators stated in the rule that “Rather, these accounts permit the banking entity to effectively hedge and cover costs of providing benefits to employees through insurance policies related to key employees.” We have italicized the word “key” because regulators know very well from financial filings that the country’s mega banks are not just insuring key employees but a broad-base of their employees.
Just four of the largest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup hold over $53 billion in investments in BOLI according to 2013 year-end Call Reports. Death benefits from life insurance is purchased at a multiple to the amount of the investments, meaning that $53 billion is easily enough to buy $1 million life insurance policies on 159,000 employees, and potentially a great deal more. Industry experts estimate that the total face amount of life insurance held by all banks in the U.S. on their employees now exceeds half a trillion dollars.
When the General Accountability Office (GAO) looked into the matter for Congress in 2003 and 2004, it found the insidious practice of continuing the life insurance even after the employee had left the company – nullifying any ability to consider him or her a “key” to the business. The GAO wrote: “Unless prohibited by state law, businesses can retain ownership of these policies regardless of whether the employment relationship has ended.” The GAO found that multiple companies held life insurance policies on the same individual.
In 2006, Congress passed the Pension Protection Act which included a section on these policies. Instead of outlawing BOLI and its corporate sibling, Corporate Owned Life Insurance (COLI), Congress grandfathered all of the millions of previously issued policies while tweaking a few tax and reporting rules.
One bedrock of insurance law dating back to the 19th Century is that a party must have an insurable interest in the life of another person in order to take out an insurance policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Warnock v. Davis in 1881 that “in all cases there must be a reasonable ground, founded upon the relations of the parties to each other, either pecuniary or of blood or affinity, to expect some benefit or advantage from the continuance of the life of the assured. Otherwise the contract is a mere wager, by which the party taking the policy is directly interested in the early death of the assured. Such policies have a tendency to create a desire for the event. They are, therefore, independently of any statute on the subject, condemned, as being against public policy.”
While it is highly questionable that rank and file employees are “key” to the success of a business, there is certainly no question that their contribution to the business ends when they terminate their employment. And yet, somehow, banks are allowed to collect death benefits on terminated workers right under the nose of State insurance regulators. The explanation is likely the secrecy which surrounds these policies, limiting knowledge of death payments to just the bank and the insurance company.
One reason banks are enamored with taking out policies on other people’s lives and keeping the practice as hush-hush as possible with the willing consent of regulators is that the gullible U.S. taxpayer who bailed out the banks to the tune of trillions of dollars from 2008 to 2010 and is now subsidizing too-big-to-fail through an implied permanent Federal backstop, is also subsidizing these death wagers. Both the buildup in the cash value of the policy over time and the payment of the death benefit are tax-free income to the bank; the more workers they insure, the more tax-free income they receive to help their bottom line; and the less corporations pay in their share of Federal income taxes, shifting more and more of the burden to the struggling middle class.
Banks have also exploited other tricks with the billions invested in these policies.JPMorgan is the assignee for Patent number 5,806,042 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, titled “System for Designing and Implementing Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) With a Reinsurance Option.” Noteworthy features of this scheme include the following:
“The purposes of the consent requirements and statutory requirements for insurable interest are to insure that a bank does not take out a death benefit policy on the life of an employee which exceeds the bank’s loss. In general, a bank may take out a death benefit policy in the amount which is a multiple of 8-10 times the annual compensation of that employee…”
“Reinsuring the BOLI plan by a captive insurance subsidiary of the parent bank or holding company allows the bank to augment the cash value gains of the BOLI plan by providing cash revenue sources from fee income associated with investment and trust management. Reinsurance also minimizes the impact to the bank’s profit and loss statement by keeping the assets within the corporate structure of the bank holding company…”
“The administrative support subsystem performs periodic sweeps of social security records to identify death claims for covered employees who have terminated or retired…”
Whether JPMorgan is providing its own reinsurance through an affiliate or just suggesting this patented idea to others is unknown. What is known is that JPMorgan has multiple insurance subsidiaries in both the U.S. and the U.K. When the final Volcker Rule was published, it carried this notation in footnote 1813: “This requirement is not intended to preclude a banking entity from purchasing a life insurance policy from an affiliated insurance company.”
It is doubtful that regulators are fully aware that BOLI assets may actually remain under the control and management of the banks, rather than the insurance companies providing the death benefits.
On March 15 of last year when Senator Carl Levin opened the hearing on the $6.2 billion in losses of depositors’ money in the exotic derivative bets by JPMorgan’s London Whale trading fiasco, he chastised the bank for failing to make loans to worthy businesses. Levin said JPMorgan had “the lowest loan-to-deposit ratio of the big banks, lending just 61 percent of its deposits out in loans.” Apparently, said Levin, “it was too busy betting on derivatives to issue the loans needed to speed economic recovery.”
Ina Drew, the head of the Chief Investment Office (CIO) at JPMorgan responsible in 2012 for overseeing the London Whale trades (who has since left the firm) revealed in her testimony to Levin’s committee that she was also overseeing the “company-owned-life-insurance portfolio…”
“The CIO engaged in a wide range of asset-liability management activities. As of the first quarter of 2012, the CIO managed the Company’s $350 billion investment securities portfolio (this portfolio exceeded $500 billion during 2008 and 2009), the $17 billion foreign exchange hedging book, the $13 billion employee retirement plan, the $9 billion company-owned-life insurance portfolio, the strategically-important MSR hedging book, and a series of other books including the cash and synthetic credit portfolios.”
Banking used to be a simple business to understand. The bank took in insured deposits and then loaned out the money at a higher rate than it paid on the deposits to people needing loans to buy homes, to start new businesses or expand existing ones. But then came the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had kept commercial banks separate from Wall Street trading houses since the Great Depression, and the partial repeal of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 which had barred commercial banks from merging with insurance companies.
As a result of those repeals through legislation known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Wall Street’s behemoth banks are more dangerous than at any time since the 1929 crash. The banks are essentially everywhere you don’t want your insured deposits to be. Each mega bank now owns thousands of other businesses in fields like insurance, mergers and acquisitions, stock and bond underwriting, securitizations, commodities trading, structuring of exotic derivative bets, and the latest – making tens of billions of dollars in wagers on the deaths of their own employees.
Because nothing in the banks’ financial filings break out the number of lives the company has insured; how far down in rank the company insures its workers; or the total amount of life insurance it has in force, Wall Street On Parade sent two emails to two of JPMorgan’s top media relations personnel asking those questions. We gave them four days to respond. Despite pointing out that the questions go to the heart of the quality of earnings of JPMorgan Chase, an issue to which shareholders are entitled to transparency under U.S. securities laws, neither individual responded.
Because regulators have become willful enablers to some of the worst practices on Wall Street, the Wall Street worker must now look out for himself. Various state laws prohibit BOLI without the consent of the insured. New York State’s Department of Financial Service says this about BOLI policies on employees residing within New York: “Under some insurance programs, New York State insurance regulations require that employees approve the purchase of life insurance at initiation of coverage and have a notification and terminate right when they leave employment. Procedures that standardize notification and documentation should exist to ensure compliance with these insurance requirements and other applicable laws and regulations. Failure to comply could jeopardize the tax benefits associated with the insurance.”
Notice the big penalty for banks that don’t comply; they could simply lose the tax benefits.
Kenneth Bellando, age 28, was found outside his East Side apartment building on March 12 in what the New York Post is calling “an apparent suicide” despite an ongoing police investigation into the matter. The building from which Bellando allegedly jumped was only six stories – by no means ensuring that death would result – providing the police with an additional reason to investigate for foul play.
The young Bellando, who had previously worked for JPMorgan Chase himself, was the brother of John Bellando, who was named in the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ report on how JPMorgan had hid losses and lied to regulators in the London Whale derivatives trading debacle that resulted in losses of at least $6.2 billion. Congressional outrage was heightened by the fact that JPMorgan was gambling in London in high risk and illiquid derivatives using deposits from its FDIC insured bank, not with its own capital.
At the time of the London Whale investigation in the U.S. Senate, John Bellando’s job title was “Associate” at JPMorgan. In September of last year, the same month that JPMorgan settled the London Whale matter with four sets of regulators for $920 million, John Bellando was promoted to Vice President, according to his LinkedIn profile. He is still doing much of the same work he did during the buildup of the London Whale derivative positions, which includes: developing and presenting “key risk analytic reports for senior treasury management, business partners, various risk committees and regulators…”
John Bellando has worked for JPMorgan since 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers where he had worked as an analyst in fixed income operations.
According to the Senate investigation, John Bellando had been providing monthly valuation reports on the derivative trades to James Hohl, an examiner in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator of national banks. But during a critical period in the London Whale episode, February and March of 2012, John Bellando did not send the reports to Hohl. The missing reports were noticed by Hohl on April 13, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. when he emailed Bellando asking for them.
Bellando responded in an email to Hohl at 5:58 p.m. that day, writing:
Hi James –
Apologies for not distributing the February valuation work. I just sent the February and March reports.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
The Senate report summed up the two months of missing reports as follows in its more than 300-page investigative report:
“A second type of report that the bank routinely provided to the OCC was the CIO’s [Chief Investment Office] Valuation Control Group (VCG) reports, which were monthly reports containing verified valuations of its portfolio assets. The OCC used these reports to track the performance of the CIO investment portfolios. But in 2012, the OCC told the Subcommittee that the CIO VCG reports for February and March failed to arrive. These are the same months during which it was later discovered that the CIO had mismarked the SCP [Synthetic Credit Portfolio] book to hide the extent of its losses. On April 13, 2012, after the London whale trades appeared in the press, the OCC requested copies of the February and March VCG reports, which were provided on the same day. Again, it is difficult to understand how the bank could have failed to provide those basic reports on a timely basis, and how the OCC could have failed to notice, for two months, that the reports had not arrived. Moreover, when the March VCG report was later revised to increase the SCP liquidity reserve by roughly fivefold, that revised report was not provided to the OCC until May 17.”
Kenneth Bellando is now the third young man who has died suddenly this year with ties to JPMorgan whom the New York Post is reporting as taking their life by jumping from a building: Gabriel Magee, 39, a JPMorgan Vice President, from the 33-story London offices of the bank on January 28; and Dennis Li Junjie, a 33-year old accountant in JPMorgan’s Hong Kong office, said to have jumped from that 30-story building on February 18.
The New York Post writes the following about Magee: “Gabriel Magee, 39, a vice president with JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank technology arm in the UK, jumped to his death from the roof of the bank’s 33-story Canary Wharf tower in London.”
In fact, the cause of Magee’s death has yet to be determined. A formal Coroner’s inquest into the matter will be held in May in London.
Suicides by leaping from tall buildings are extremely rare. Using data from the New York City Department of Health, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that during 2008, the most stressful year of the financial crisis on Wall Street, when tens of thousands of workers were fired and century old iconic investment banks collapsed, there were “473 people who committed suicide in the city in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available; 93, just under 20%, did so by leaping to their deaths.”
New York City (Manhattan and boroughs) has a population of approximately 8 million. The 93 deaths resulting from leaping from skyscrapers represents .000011625 of the population. That makes the three alleged leaps by individuals tied to JPMorgan in less than two months a statistical improbability given that JPMorgan’s global workforce population is just 260,000.
Other young men employed by JPMorgan are dying sudden, unusual deaths as well. On December 7 of last year, Joseph M. Ambrosio, 34, who worked in the finance department of JPMorgan in Menlo Park, New Jersey, was rushed to the Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy where he died of Acute Respiratory Syndrome according to an immediate family member. He had no related illness to account for the sudden death.
Eight days later, on December 15, 2013, Jason Alan Salais, also 34, a technology specialist for JPMorgan, died from a sudden heart attack outside a Walgreens in Pearland, Texas.
And the toxicology report for Ryan Crane, 37, an equity trader at JPMorgan in Manhattan who died suddenly at his home in Stamford, Connecticut on February 3 of this year has still not come back according to a call placed yesterday by Wall Street On Parade to the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Connecticut.
Coroners in London are preparing to investigate two apparent suicides as unexpected deaths by finance workers around the world have raised concerns about mental health and stress levels in the industry.
The inquest into the death of William Broeksmit, 58, a retired Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) risk executive found dead in his London home in January, will start tomorrow. The inquest for Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) & Co., who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters, is scheduled for late May.
The suicides were followed by others around the world, including at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, as well as Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Seattle-based Russell Investment Management Co. The financial world’s aggressive, hard-working culture may be hurting itself, professionals advising on mental health in the industry say.
Coincidence the 4 largest US banks ( as far as derivative hldings ) have these massive death insurance books too ?
Overnight, the WSJ reported a financial factoid well-known to regular readers: namely that as a result of a broken system that ever since the LTCM bailout has encouraged banks to become take on so much risk they become systematically important (as in their failure would "end capitalism as we know it"), and thus Too Big To Fail, there has been an unprecedented roll-up of existing financial institutions especially among the top, while the smaller, less "relevant", if far more prudent banks have been forced out of business. "The decline in bank numbers, from a peak of more than 18,000, has come almost entirely in the form of exits by banks with less than $100 million in assets, with the bulk occurring between 1984 and 2011. More than 10,000 banks left the industry during that period as a result of mergers, consolidations or failures, FDIC data show. About 17% of the banks collapsed."
The resulting elimination of over 10,000 banks in the past thee decades is shown in the WSJ chart below, which also shows total amounts of bank deposits.
The WSJ comments as follows:
The consolidation could help alleviate concerns that the abundance of U.S. banks leads to difficulties in oversight or a less-efficient financial system. Meanwhile, overall bank deposits and assets have grown, despite the drop in institutions.
Well, first of all, as David Kemper, chief executive of Commerce Bancshares Inc., a regional bank based in Missouri, said "Seven thousand is still an awful lot of banks," particularly in an era where brick-and-mortar branches are becoming less profitable, said "There's no reason why we need that many banks, especially if those smaller banks have a much lower return on capital. The small banks' bread and butter is just not there anymore."
But more important is the erroneous observation about deposits, which indicates a persistent lack of understanding about how QE works. As we won't tire of explaining, the ~$2.2 trillion surge in deposits since Lehman is matched only by the ~$2.2 trillion surge in Fed created reserves. In other words, excess reserves appear on bank balance sheet as excess deposits, which are then used by banks to gamble away a la the London Whale, which used nearly half a trillion in fungible reserves (as manifested the liability side of its ledger) to fail in cornering the IG9 market. This transformation is shown on the chart below (discussed in depth here).
The point here is that the number of banks is largely irrelevant: it is obvious that the big will keep on getting bigger, and the Big 5 banks will do all in their power to either acquire their profitable competition or put everyone else out of business. However, the far bigger question is what happens to bank deposits once the Fed start to taper, ends QE or outright unwinds its balance sheet, which ultimately would soak up trillions from bank deposits. Because if there is one thing that is clear is that without the Fed, and without commercial bank loan creation (which has been non-existent in the past 5 years), bank balance sheet would be exactly where they were the day Lehman died.
Finally, one does not need to go any further than the following chart from the OCC showing total bank derivative holdings for all US banks and just the Top 4. The punchline: just the 4 biggest US banks hold $217.5 trillion, or 93% of the total $233.9 trillion in derivatives.
In light of the above, who cares how many other banks in the US exist?
And examine the top ten banks and brokers and where JP Morgan CitiGroup , Bank of America and Wells Fargo fit in ....
Of course a banker here and there dying is peanuts - and considering the derivative books above , something bigger would be needed to get " bang for the buck " , so to speak ! Consider this scenario .... Israel plans drill involving residential disaster caused by a plane crash - in January of 2014 ... then we see Israel recently announce Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014″, Haaretz confirms that a war on Iran is still contemplated and that Israel is actively preparing to launch a first strike, despite talks between the West and Iran concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons program..... And of course we know there's a missing Malaysian Airlines Jet ( 3/8/14 ) .........And all Israel Embassies just closed worldwide ( 3/4/14 ) - for the first time ever ! Is something big in the works that could spill over into the US , Europe and other places worldwide ?
Under the title “Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014″, Haaretz confirms that a war on Iran is still contemplated and that Israel is actively preparing to launch a first strike, despite talks between the West and Iran concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
The IDF has received orders “to continue readying for a possible independent strike” on Iran. Moreover, a sizable amount of Israeli tax payers money has been earmarked for to this renewed military endeavor:
Despite talks between Iran and West, senior officers tell MKs 10b shekels ($2.9b) allocated to IDF to prepare for possible attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have ordered the army to continue preparing for a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities at a cost of at least 10 billion shekels ($2.89 billion) this year, despite the talks between Iran and the West, according to recent statements by senior military officers.
The IDF representatives said the army had received a clear directive from government officials from the political echelon– meaning Netanyahu and Ya’alon – to continue readying for a possible independent strike by Israel on the Iranian nuclear sites, regardless of the talks now happening between Iran and the West, the three MKs said.
….Ever since the interim accord between Iran and the six powers was reached, Netanyahu has stressed that Israel will not consider itself bound by it. …
Netanyahu has upped his rhetoric on the Iranian issue, and is again making implied threats about a possible unilateral Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear sites.
Israel’s Role as a US Military Proxy: “Doing the Bombing for Us”
It is important to analyze these latest threats in a broader context. While Israel is part of a military alliance, it cannot wage a war on Iran on its own. This is something which is known and recognized by military analysts.
An attack on Iran is part of a coordinated operation led by the Pentagon, which has been envisaged since the mid-1990s as part of a strategic “sequencing” of theater operations. During the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran.
Israel is integrated into the “war plan for major combat operations” against Iran first formulated in 2006 by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). In the context of large scale military operations, an uncoordinated unilateral military action by one coalition partner, namely Israel, is from a military and strategic standpoint almost an impossibility. Israel is a de facto member of NATO. Any action by Israel would require a “green light” from Washington.
An attack by Israel (approved by US-NATO) could, however, be used as “the trigger mechanism” which would unleash an all out war against Iran, as well as retaliation by Iran directed against Israel.
While Israel does not decide, Israel may be used by Washington as a proxy, namely to fire the first shot, without the US being officially involved.
In this regard, there are indications that Washington is still envisaging the option first formulated during the Bush Jr Administration of an initial (US backed) attack by Israel rather than an outright US-led military operation directed against Iran.
While the Israel first strike option does not officially have the blessing of the Obama administration, let us be under no illusions, it has, for several years been part of the Pentagon’s war plans.
Its called “indirect warfare” whereby US proxies (including Israel) wage war on behalf of Uncle Sam and in liaison with the Pentagon.
This strategy of involving allies to “do the dirty work” has characterized several US sponsored military undertakings including Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and to lesser extent Iraq. In Syria, the covert terrorist war was largely waged with the support of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, in close coordination with the US.
Were it to be launched by Netanyahu, an Israeli attack on Iran –although led in close liaison with the Pentagon and NATO– would be presented to public opinion as a unilateral decision by Tel Aviv. It could then be used by Washington to justify, in the eyes of World opinion, a broader military intervention of the US and NATO (on humanitarian grounds) with a view to “defending Israel”, rather than attacking Iran. Under existing military cooperation agreements, both the US and NATO would be “obligated” to “defend Israel” against Iran.
It is worth noting, in this regard, that at the outset of Bush’s second term, (former) Vice President Dick Cheney defined in no uncertain terms, the proxy role of Israel.
[Dick Cheney with Israel's Defense Minister Eyud Barak and IDF officers, October 2007]
Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005): According to Cheney:
“One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first,and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,” (Dick Cheney, quoted from an MSNBC Interview,January 2005, emphasis added)
The political intent of this diabolical statement by the former Vice president is crystal clear: the destruction of Israel is tantamount to “collateral damage”.
Netanyahu is a US puppet. A “first strike attack” by Israel has, for the last ten years, been contemplated by US military planners. In the case of an attack, Israel rather than the US would bear the brunt of Iran’s retaliation.
Our message to the people of Israel: remove Netanyahu, call for peace in the Middle East, implement “regime change” in Tel Aviv.
Few countries stage more frequent, more realistic and more wide-ranging emergency-preparedness drills than Israel, a place where yet another war or more terrorist attacks are all but certain.
In previous years, I have seen heart-pounding simulations of a nationwide emergency response to a smallpox attack and a radiological bomb. Last month, authorities staged a dramatic preparedness exercise where the scenario flowed from a fictional airplane crashing into a residential area, causing hundreds of casualties — all simulated. This so-called Mega Mass Casualty Incident, the type of disaster that occurs without warning, exceeding the capabilities of a single municipality or region, tests the limits of medical, security and other emergency systems.
Some would call the drills alarmist, but disasters of this scale have occurred many times, in the United States on 9/11, in the London bombings of 2005 and the Madrid attacks of 2004 among them.
As Dr. Amir Blumenfeld, who spent past eight months preparing this exercise said, “You need to be prepared in advance. You cannot just wait to react when the event happens.”
Emergency officials from dozens of countries, who were in Israel to attend the emergency preparedness conference, IPRED, observed the exercise with rapt attention. The simulation was strikingly realistic. It started in a repurposed former military base in central Israel, not far from Ben Gurion, the country’s main airport.
Initially, the lot where the plane “crashed” in the simulation stood behind a screen showing a picture of modern apartment buildings. Suddenly, a loud explosion shook the ground, the screen fell away revealing collapsed buildings, real airplane engines still smoldering atop the rubble and actors displaying all manner of wounds, crying out for help. Some were walking in a daze, others helping nearby casualties move away from the smoldering ruins.
Secondary explosions struck repeatedly, adding to the cacophony of the disaster, with the constant wailing of ambulances and other emergency vehicles arriving in an endless stream.
Before long, workers from the Magen David Adom, Israel’s version of the Red Cross, started rushing in, removing the wounded and the dead. Police, firefighters, even journalists started appearing. It was a scene of seeming chaos, but behind it personnel from a host of agencies followed protocols developed over years of planning, drills and real-life disasters. Hundreds of casualties received attention, with medics performing triage and providing basic medical care before evacuations.
Israel’s Home Front Command, the civil defense authority from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), took charge. The IDF’s Medical Corps took its positions, and command posts were set up to coordinate the operations, keeping track of emergency vehicles, available hospital beds, road closures and other logistical elements.
Officials updated the media and hospitals in the area received word they should prepare for large numbers of casualties.
At the disaster scene, helicopters arrived to help evacuations and nearby key roads were closed, open only to emergency vehicles. Not far from the simulated crash, Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital, the largest in the country, activated its emergency protocols, as well. Elective surgeries would have to be canceled and some existing patients evacuated to other hospitals.
Stretchers lined up at the emergency entrance to the hospital, and each ambulance was met by a team trained to make a quick assessment of the patients’ condition, raising a flag of a different color indicating the urgency of the case and tagging patients with the triage color indicating the urgency — red, yellow, green — or black when patients died en route or were beyond help.
Information services for relatives looking for missing loved ones also went into action, staffed by social workers trained to provide psychosocial support for people experiencing enormous stress, even if they were not at the site of the disaster.
The exercise itself is just one part of the drill. Afterward, a painstaking evaluation of the performance of each element will be assessed and graded and the plans adjusted to reflect the lessons learned.
Major drills occur regularly in Israel, often involving large sections of the civilian population. A few months ago, the Home Front Command staged a nationwide five-day drill to prepare the population for a massive missile attack, including non-conventional rockets such as chemical, biological and nuclear-tipped missiles.
Observers frequently remark on the seriousness with which everyone participates. That is hardly surprising. In 2006, thousands of rockets were fired at Israel by Hezbollah from Lebanon. Arsenals are now restocked. In Syria, radicals both sides of the civil war vow to attack Israel after they finish fighting one another. And rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza were launched at Israel as recently as this week.
Organizers hope the lessons will never have to be put into practice, but everyone knows why drills are necessary.
And just odd timing or a signal ......
Israel closes embassies all over the world as diplomats go on indefinite strike
Employees of Israel's Foreign Ministry went on an all-out strike Sunday for the first time in the country’s history over a dispute surrounding workers' salaries and conditions.
The dispute has been going on for nearly two years. Seven months of negotiations ended on March 4, when workers rejected a proposal by the Finance Ministry.
Israeli ambassadors abroad will not go to work, no consular services will be available, and Israel will not be represented at any international gatherings during the strike. Even the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership and management will be locked out.
Israeli ambassadors abroad will not go to work, no consular services will be available, and Israel will not be represented at any international gatherings during the strike. Even the Foreign Ministry’s political leadership and management will be locked out.
The strike is indefinite and will affect everyone, including employers bringing foreign workers to Israel for work, immigrants, and anyone who wants to travel to Israel – including foreign dignitaries.
“Today, for the first time in Israel’s history, the foreign ministry will be closed and no work will be done in any sphere under the ministry’s authority,” a statement by the ministry's workers' committee reads.
It added that the strike would be “open ended” because of the “employment conditions for Israeli diplomats and because of the draconian decision by the Treasury to cut workers’ salaries.”
A number of visits have already been canceled or put on hold, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned trip to Mexico, Panama, and Colombia next month, as well as Pope Francis’ planned visit to Israel in May.
Avigdor Lieberman said the worker’s committee has “lost its head” in what was a “miserable decision.”
“This move has no benefit, and will only cause more damage to the ministry’s workers. I’m sorry that these irresponsible steps will come at the expense of the country’s citizens,” he said.
The diplomats are demanding an increase in their monthly salaries and want compensation for their spouses who have to quit jobs because of foreign postings. They say that one-third of Israeli diplomats have already quit over the past 10 years because of low salaries.
“The Treasury is determined to destroy the foreign ministry and Israeli diplomacy,” said Yacov Livne, a spokesman for the Israeli diplomats' union.
Yair Frommer, the head of the worker's committee, implied that the Treasury does not value the crucial work that diplomats do.
He said the Treasury will not be able to “prevent boycotts of Israel, will not foster business transactions that yield huge economic benefits and will not raise our voices at the UN Security Council.”
And if one thinks Nuclear War or unilateral use of nuclear weapons is off the wall , consider this recent conversation.....And do you think it's the only nuclear war game scenario being discussed ?
Speaking in Holland, after asking for the world's trust back after being caught red-handed lying about the NSA's spying, President Obama calmly explained to the open-mouthed press conference that he continues to be "more concerned about a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan that Russia." Sleep well New York...
What a lead - in from the prankster , as Russia apparently considers Potus ........
FWIW - another point of view , conspiracy theory....... we live in strange times and " tinfoil " isn't really that tinny anymore......
Who would allow a bogus search to go on like this? Only the perpetrators
On March 13, 2011 Veterans Today said they could prove Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was “on the ground.” The mainstream media had sighted wreckage but families were calling passengers on the “downed jet” and those phones were ringing, an impossibility.
We are now certain that we are dealing with a “black op” at the highest level. This fact alone surprises no one. The more important issue is the ramifications of accepting this inexorable fact.
Today, nobody doubts flight 370’s globetrotting ordeal. However, the real story is so big it can and will never be told though, as with similar mysteries such as 9/11, we can expect and implausible fairy tale to emerge and receive official recognition. Only the dead will know the truth.
The following excerpt is from a retired US Air Force Colonel who currently flies the Boeing 777/200 for a major airline:
“Just a quick update with what I know about the Malaysia 777 disappearance. The Boeing 777 is the airplane that I fly. It is a great, safe airplane to fly. It has, for the most part, triple redundancy in most of its systems, so if one complete system breaks (not just parts of a system), there are usually 2 more to carry the load. It’s also designed to be easy to employ so 3rd world pilots can successfully fly it. Sometimes, even that doesn’t work…
There’s many ways to fly the 777 and there are safety layers and redundancies built into the airplane now to Malaysia. There are so many communication systems on the airplane: 3 VHF radios, 2 SatCom systems, 2 HF radio systems, plus Transponders and active, ‘real time’ monitoring through CPDLC (Controller to Pilot Data Link Clearance) and ADS B (Air Data Service) through the SatCom systems and ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) thru the VHF, HF and SatCom systems.
The air traffic controllers can tell where we are, speed, altitude, etc. as well as what our computers and flight guidance system has set into our control panels. Big Brother for sure! However, most of these things can be turned off.”
But, there are a few systems that can’t be turned off and one is the engine monitoring systems. The Malaysia airplane, like our 777-200’s, uses Rolls Royce Trent Engines(as a piece of trivia….Rolls Royce names their motors after rivers….because they always keep on running!) Rolls Royce leases these motors to us and they monitor them all the time they are running.
In fact, a few years back, one of our 777’s developed a slow oil leak due and partial equipment failure. It wasn’t bad enough to set off the airplane’s alerting system, but RR was looking at it on their computers. They are in England, they contact our dispatch in (REDACTED), Dispatch sends a message to the crew via SatCom in the North Pacific, telling them that RR wants them to closely monitor oil pressure and temp on the left engine.
The crew did all of that and landed uneventfully, but after landing and during the taxi in, the left engine shut itself down using it’s redundant, computerized operating system that has a logic tree that will not allow it to be shut down if the airplane is in the air…only on the ground. Pretty good tech. Anyway, the point was that RR monitors those engines 100% of the time they are operating. And don’t EVER get in an Airbus!!”
This system was monitored for at least 5 hours after the plane was initially reported as crashed, a reporting error that was not accidental. In order to look at this story, you have to answer the right questions. Sometimes the right questions aren’t the best questions; they are just the only ones you can answer.
The “mystery” of flight 370 subjected to the analytical tools of intelligence professionals proves the existence of a multi-national, super-governmental conspiracy. This is a broad statement, seemingly even a wild assumption. It is not.
The “370 incident” provides foundation for understanding not just 9/11 but the interlocking mosaic of staged revolutions, economic collapses, theatrical mass killings and the systematic brain-washing of generations.
You see, “disappearing” an airliner today is beyond impossible, beyond any magic trick. When the impossible is accomplished once, accepting it has been done before; that it is done continually is no longer conjecture.
Normally, crimes include three components, “means, motive and opportunity.” We will never know why 370 was taken, why the passengers and crew were killed. Anyone who knows and who would speak of it would be as dead as those on the plane. What we have to accept is that there are questions that the answers to are simply unimaginable.
We have to deal with what we know and what that means. We know that an airliner was taken, flown thousands of miles. We have surmised that the plane was landed on Diego Garcia, the bodies removed and disposed. As for what cargo was removed, asking is futile.
It certainly wasn’t “lithium ion” batteries as being reported today, not hardly.
We know these things for certain:
Those responsible are terrorists fully sanctioned by multiple governments with broad control over the international press
The willingness to do something this brazen is very real proof this isn’t the first time. It brings everything claimed to have occurred on 9/11/2001 not only in question but clearly establishes both capability and intent. If “they” did it now, they did it then and will do it again if “they” wish.
Recent plans for terrorist attacks against Ukrainian Air Force facilities, as outlined in emails intercepted and published by “Anonymous Ukraine” show identical intent and nearly identical capability.
Modern airliners cannot disappear. They can’t be hijacked or stolen, not without the full involvement of a SOCOM or Special Operations Command with the ability to control news reporting, suppress not just radar but sensor data, so much data that only a very few have a remote idea of how outlandish this story is.
We have already heard, first hand, how the plane tracks itself in ways that can’t be turned off. Thus, we know the team at Rolls Royce can tell us within 30 yards of where the engines were first turned off yet they have never said a word.
I accept this as proof that a British intelligence agency is very much a part of the fate of flight 370. This is now “a given.” Four nations have the capability of tracking Malayan Airlines Flight 370. In fact, disabling the planes communications is an impossibility.
TRACKING THE UNTRACKABLE
Everything on this planet is subject to what is called “Layered ISR.” ISR stands for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. By “layered” we refer to satellites, starting with geosynchronous orbit down to LEO, or “Low Earth Orbit.”
These satellites monitor the entire electromagnetic spectrum and include SAR (Synthetic Aperture Capability). Everything that moves, on land or sea, under the sea, even underground, is watched and listened to.
Below this are nano-sensors that are sustained in the upper atmosphere. I won’t even begin to explain what these do but their function is “hyperspatial” rather than “hyperspectral.”When we talk “hyperspatial” we make physicists cringe.
Everything below this is watched, monitored or sensed. You have to realize that we don’t really need radar. Our entire atmosphere is an electromagnetic soup, a “sea” as it were of Wi-Fi signals, AM radio, particle emissions, a million sources, all reflected, slowed, absorbed or amplified, painting a very complete picture of anything that moves. All is sensed, recorded, examined by complex algorithms for anomalous behaviors that represent “threats.”
Planes don’t disappear; a gnat has trouble “disappearing.”
Immediately after the plane “disappeared,” a working team was put together headed by Lt. Colonel Stephen Avery, former USAF SOCOM pilot and retired security chief for a major airline. Aiding Steve heading up the inquiry is former Supervising Special Agent Frederick Coward (ret) who headed FBI operations for Asia.
Coordinating the team with active intelligence agencies, “official” and, by far the more effective private resources of Adamus Defense Group, wasOperation Chief Colonel James Hanke, former G2 of Third Army, a retired Special Forces intelligence officer.
What we found was astounding. To put this in context, we looked back at 9/11 when CNN, at the scene of the Pentagon “whatever” was unable to find any proof an airplane had been there at all.See.
Our preliminary findings:
An official cover-up began as soon as the plane went off course. All subsequent reporting was part of a conspiracy. The location of the plane for the 5 or more hours after it “crashed” was known, its speed, its altitude, and more.
If any of the multiple systems on the plane that could be turned off were turned off that, in itself, would have yielded data. Which system was turned off first? How long between turning off systems? Where was the plane when the systems were turned off?
Why didn’t ground controllers attempt to contact the plane when systems were turned off, particularly when we now know for certain that other systems were on and it was now known that the plane was in flight?
A real investigation would outline what was known, who knew it, when they knew it and why they failed to behave in a manner consistent with procedure, consistent with common sense and inconsistent with criminal complicity in a major act of terrorism.
This last list includes hundreds of people in dozens of nations. The crime they can now be investigated for involves the disappearance and assumed murder of hundreds of people.
Najib Razak “Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived… we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.” (NY Times)
Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister has announced that missing flight MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Razak based his announcement on new analysis by British satellite firm Inmarsat, which provided satellite data, and the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) which used that data to access the probability of the aircraft’s ability to reach dry land.
The firms “have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth,” Mr Razak said.
“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
The Aircraft is now lying on the bottom of the ocean. All souls onboard have been lost. The finality of the announcement brings closure to the family members of the passengers and crew of MH370. Oh, really?
The Malaysian government and several members of the search and rescue teams involved have publicly thanked INMARSAT for their diligent review of the data. So who exactly is INMARSAT, and what could a private company hope to gain by providing information which may be a “sleight of hand” rather than a valid end to the Saga?
We may be quite surprised to find out who is behind the global company and how their political alignments may have affected the finding.
INMARSAT is a British satellite telecommunications company offering global mobile services. It provides telephone and data services to users worldwide, via portable or mobile terminals, which communicate to ground stations through eleven geostationary telecommunications satellites. Inmarsat’s network provides communications services to a range of governments, aid agencies, media outlets and businesses with a need to communicate in remote regions, or where there is no reliable terrestrial network.
The company was originally founded in 1979 as the International Maritime Satellite Organization (Inmarsat), a not-for-profit international organization, set up at the behest of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN body, for the purpose of establishing a satellite communications network for the maritime community.
Originally, the model was that of Intelsat, an international consortium which provided satellite communications among the member countries. The founding member of Intelsat, and the USA member, was Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT). Comsat also took the lead in the founding of Inmarsat. Inmarsat began trading in 1982. From the beginning, the acronym “Inmarsat” was used. The intent was to create a self-financing body which would improve safety of life at sea. The name was changed to “International Mobile Satellite Organization” when it began to provide services to aircraft and portable users, but the acronym “Inmarsat” were kept. When the organization was converted into a private company in 1999, the business was split into two parts: The bulk of the organization was converted into the commercial company, Inmarsat PLC, and a small group became the regulatory body, IMSO. Inmarsat was the first international satellite organization that was privatized.
In 2005 Apax Partners and Permira bought shares in the company. The company was also first listed on the London Stock Exchange in that year. In March 2008 it was disclosed that U.S. Hedge Fund Harbinger Capital owned 28% of the company. In July 2009, Inmarsat completed the acquisition of a 19-per-cent stake in SkyWave Mobile Communications Inc., a provider of Inmarsat D+/IsatM2M network services, which in turn purchased the GlobalWave business from TransCore.[ On 15 April 2009, Inmarsat completed the acquisition of satellite communications provider Stratos Global Corporation (Stratos)
It would be prudent to pay particular attention to the largest single owner of INMARSAT:
Harbinger was founded by its Senior Managing Director Philip Falcone and Harbert Management Corporation, a Birmingham, Alabama-based investment company that provided much of the original funding. Harbinger had funds under management of $26.5 billion (£13.4 billion) as of the end of June 2008. In 2009, Harbinger acquired the ownership of its funds from Harbert, although Harbert handled administrative functions for Harbinger for a short transitional period. Also in 2009, Harbinger acquired controlling stock of the Zapata Corporation and changed its name to The Harbinger Group Inc.
Harbinger has owned large stakes in The New York Times Company, Cleveland-Cliffs, and 28% stock ownership of satellite communications company Inmarsat. The company has also owned stakes in rival satellite operators SkyTerra and Terrestar.
Harbinger Capital, which owned Russell Hobbs, merged it with Spectrum Brands on June 16, 2010 for $661 million and now controls approximately 64% of the appliance maker, Spectrum.
Now as we perform our due diligence and follow the money, we find that there is one company that stands out here. Who is that you ask? Well, let’s take a look at The Zapata Corporation:
Harbinger Group Inc. (NYSE:HRG), formerly Zapata Corporation, is a holding company based in Rochester, New York, and originating from an oil company started by a group including the former United States president George H. W. Bush. Links between the company and the United States Central Intelligence Agency exist . In 2009, it was renamed the Harbinger Group Inc. in an attempt to thwart such affiliations.
Now we have come to the point in which we have asked what this “private” company could hope to gain from providing misleading data and sending the world to the southern Indian Ocean, which is the most desolate and dangerous ocean in the world.
It has been stated that FLT 370 carried 12 crew members and 227 passengers from 15 nations. Who were these passengers? Out of the 227, 20 were employees of Freescale Semiconductor, a company based in Austin, Texas – 12 were from Malaysia, and 8 from China.
Freescale was involved in a classified government project with the U.S. Department of Defense.
What is unusual is that the Malaysian government has continually refused to release the cargo list. Was there something onboard that aircraft? Perhaps something developed by the Freescale engineers and on its way to Beijing to be sold or turned over to the Chinese?
Could it be that Inmarsat is complicit in diverting the delivery of this cargo and group of engineers to Beijing?
Could it be that there are other reasons that those controlling Inmarsat do not want the truth to be told about the whereabouts of the Malaysian Boeing 777?
A little “Sleight of Hand” and the world is convinced that Flt 370 lies beneath the oceans.
Note China has not accepted the oficial version......
25 March 2014| last updated at 03:12AM
MH370 Lost in Indian Ocean: China demands Malaysian satellite data
BEIJING: Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's ambassador in Beijing on Monday that China was demanding Malaysia hand over all relevant satellite data analysis on the missing Malaysian airliner, the Foreign Ministry said.
Xie met the ambassador after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, citing new satellite data, said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared over two weeks ago en route to Beijing, crashed thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean.--Reuters