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By now everybody with a pulse knows who Edward Snowden is. If it weren’t for him, you and I would never have heard about what the NSA. There are many other whistleblowers who never make the headlines. These brave individuals put their jobs on the line to speak up about things happening in their workplace that could cause harm to others.
Everett Stern is one of those individuals. He is a former employee of HSBC, a multi national bank with around 7,200 offices in 85 countries including the United States. He was fired after exposing them for laundering money for drug cartels and terrorist organizations. Stern was hired by HSBC in 2010 as anti-money-laundering compliance officer and put in charge as a specialist on Middle Eastern transactions. It wasn’t long before Stern figured out that the bank was actually taking money from drug cartels and terrorist organizations while defrauding the US government.
Stern was hired by HSBC even though he had no prior experience on how to look for illegal transactions, or how money laundering operations were done. He wasn’t the only one. He reported in an interview with RT News that none of the employees in that department knew what they were supposed to be looking for. Stern decided to educate himself so he could do his job better. He went to the library and found information on money laundering. That’s when he figured out that the bank who the U.S. government hired to look for criminal activity was itself doing illegal transactions.
So how did HSBC get away with money laundering? They hired one of the former heads of the counter-intelligence of the FBI to run a department because he knew exactly how to manipulate the system.
Stern went to his supervisors about his findings and they told him that the organizations he mentioned were not considered to be terrorist groups. Stern had already looked them up before going to administration and found that they were in fact on the government terrorist watch list. He decided to send the CIA an email with this information when HSBC refused to allow him to “red flag” those groups so there could be a further investigation in to their transactions.
Its been four years since that information was given to the CIA and the only punishment HSBC got was a 1.9 million dollar fine. No one went to prison. They are still in business. According to an article in the Huffington Post in August 2013 they were still doing business with the same groups. Sounds like business as usual but I’m guessing they are more careful these days or are they just paying the right people off?
You can watch his interview here:
If I understand this correctly, HSBC is a multi national bank worth hundreds of billions which puts itself under “the too big to fail” clause. It doesn’t matter that what they did (do?) seems to be treason. But someone like Snowden turns over information to the public exposing our so-called “transparent” government for spying on our daily activities and our current administration sees him as a bigger threat to our National Security, instead of a bank doing business with groups whose sole purpose is to kill others.
Is our government looking the other way because terrorism and its war on terrorism are good for business? How much of our tax dollars have been given to Homeland Security since 9/11? An estimated 700 billion was spent, as reported by The Nation, in their article, ” ‘ Homeland security’: The trillion-dollar concept that no one can define.” Keeping the public in a constant state of fear seems to be good for business and that includes justifying the need to collect information on its own citizens via the NSA. “We are the government and we are here to protect you.”
Banks like HSBC will always be around because they keep capitalism doing what its intended to do… make money. Not money for you and me, I mean money for the uber rich. They are a lot like the drug smugglers who make their way across the Mexican/American border. If that stopped tomorrow, what would the drug enforcement agencies do for work? When you were a kid, did you watch the cartoon where Sam the sheepdog and Wiley “Ralph” coyote chased each other around and at the end they punched a time clock? It’s a lot like that but in real life people get killed.
Why isn’t mainstream media reporting about HSBC? Is it because our media is owned by major corporations? I’ll go with that excuse. Do you realize that when our media is corrupted you can kiss our democracy good bye?
We need people like Snowden and Stern to step up to the plate and expose companies and members of our government when they become corrupt. We need to hold our representatives accountable and I don’t mean wait until we go to the polls to vote. We need to pay attention to what’s going on in Washington. If we see foul play happening in our workplace, we need to do the right thing and hold those people accountable as well. Washington is a reflection of what is going on at the local level. The type of people getting away with murder on a federal level are the same personality types doing the same thing right here in Orange County. They do what they do because they think they can. They believe that the average citizen is too afraid to stand up to them. We have to stop doing business with corporations who cheat, lie and steal and then have the nerve to tell us they are too big to fail and “by the way bail us out.” We have to show them they are wrong. We have to pay attention!
If we don’t change our behavior …. it won’t be a terrorist attack that takes down the United States, it will be apathy.