Obama Administration Brandishes Financial Warfare Capability; Outraged French Charge It’s ‘Racketeering’ For Wall Street

The Obama Administration used an entire day’s conference in Washington today, under CSIS auspices, to promote its financial warfare capabilities — particularly through the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) — and the way it is currently using them to harm Russia’s economy. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s keynote claimed the Obama Administration has imposed at least $100 billion in losses on Russia, and was just getting started.

But Lew’s speech was virtually a compendium of ways in which the Obama White House has never bothered a British or U.S.-based big bank:

“We develop and implement policies to combat money laundering and other financial crimes, we work with foreign governments, global financial institutions and businesses around the world to strengthen the integrity of international — the international financial system and increase transparency and we design, implement and force sanctions programs to thwart terrorist networks, drug traffickers, organized criminal groups and WMD proliferators.”

Unless these crimes are being committed by a giant London Bank, HSBC, which repeatedly broke all the above laws on a massive scale, was caught and proven at it in Congressional hearings, and got just a $2 billion civil fine from the Obama Justice Department. Or by the U.S.-based Wachovia Bank, whose drug- and weapons-money laundering crimes provided aid to Obama’s 2008 election to the Presidency. Or London-based Standard and Charters, which was fined about $1 billion.

Lew’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, also spoke at the CSIS and was interviewed in today’s Wall Street Journal, where he made this extraordinary statement: “What we focus on is dictated by the foreign policy and national security objectives that the administration … is pursuing. What we’ve done of the past 10 years (of the TIF) is to create a new method of projecting U.S. power.”

Ten days ago Obama Attorney General Eric “Pot” Holder tried to claim that “too big to jail” banks were finally a thing of the past, because the Administration was conducting a criminal prosecution of the French “champion” bank BNP Paribas. The charge: violating U.S. financial sanctions against Iran and Sudan. The penalty: a record $10 billion criminal fine, and the still-active threat to nullify BNP Paribas’ U.S. banking license, which could bankrupt it.

Outrage against Obama has poured again on the head of France’s Socialist Party President, Francois Hollande, demanding he protest this prosecution when he meets Obama June 6 at a World War II “D-Day” commemoration. The Front National Party, which just won the EuroParliament elections in France, accused the Obama White House of “racketeering” and trying to weaken BNP in order to strengthen Obama’s Wall Street backers. “We demand that the French government not stand idle,” said the FN statement.

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