July 20, 2004

'Full' Investigation Into Bank

Bush calls for a serious look at the Riggs' Bank scandal*, where allegations are flying that the bank had illegal dealings with former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, among others:

President Bush said yesterday that there would be a full investigation of suspect accounts formerly held by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile's former dictator, at the Riggs National Corporation's subsidiary, Riggs Bank.

"It's important for the facts to be en la mesa, as we say - on the table - and so that we know what course of action may or may not be needed," Mr. Bush said to reporters in the Oval Office after a morning meeting with Chile's president, Ricardo Lagos. "The Riggs Bank is being fully investigated, and they'll be investigated in a very open way." ...

Sure you will, el presidente, as we call you around here. Right before you get around to investigating Riggs' ties with family and friends of yours, for which occasion the phrase '12th of never' was doubtless made specifically. The day after which, you, Mr. President, will surely look closely into the shady dealings of Halliburton, and... oh, just go Cheney yourself.

* BTW - Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the word 'scandal,' with it's soft little aura of tittilation, and its slinky and inappropriate suggestion that the subject under discussion is no more serious than secondhand water cooler gossip. Scandal reeks too much of hotel rooms checked out for the hour. Not nearly enough of boardrooms soaked in blood money and filled with thieves, as would be more appropriate to the times.

The word crime seems appropriate, though prudence dictates that the word 'alleged' be attached until a court has figured out that it was indeed improper to launder all that money. I don't rail against due process, but the fact that it so seldom seems to apply to these wealthy lawbreakers. And when crime isn't attached to some kind of grievous personal injury, it invites a modifier like white-collar, property, or perhaps even petty. None of these really do justice to cases similar to this, or the pernicious corporate fraud that isn't even news anymore.

There must be a phrase out there that can convey the full sense of an economic crime on a large scale. Something that gets across both the size of the thing, and the personal impact of it. The theft of livelihood from so many, the complicity in making human suffering profitable for sociopaths, the strangulation of the public good for the private enrichment of a few. There's got to be something, but I sure can't think of anything right now.

Posted by natasha at July 20, 2004 12:20 PM | Economy | Technorati links |

I tend to use "rape", myself. Corporate rape of investors. Corporate rape of resources. And it goes along with the fact that the victims had little recourse, and that the rapist tends to get a little slap for a grevious crime.


Posted by: Scorpio at July 20, 2004 02:40 PM