OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 34
We live in ..that time when everything had already changed, only people were too scared, too ignorant or too arrogant to understand and they pretended and acted as if everything was still normal and it wasn’t.
Maggie was immensely frustrated. Satan and the old man sat in comfortable silence, sealed away from all Akashic scrutiny. The Place had no way to track and record images and conversations from this location, where oil paintings of racehorses, courtesans and chateaux adorned the dark red walls. At the end of the room an arched door frame possessed unusual proportions.
Satan went first. “I should kill you.”
Across the table, Eric blinked. Satan re-appraised him. White shirt, top button undone, above dark, belted trousers. Symmetrical facial features, white hair, thinning but worn with extra length. Suggesting he remained in the mating game. Brown eyes. Healthy skin, glowing under the middle chandelier. Roughly six feet tall. Satan began to think of him as the Old Controller.
A young man and woman stood at each end of the long table, completing a human cross. White shirted. Black trousered. Presumably they would serve. “Let me introduce Jamil and Naomi,” Eric said, finally. The male was Arabic, maybe Lebanese. The young woman looked West African. Satan guessed Nigeria.
“Both outstanding martial artists.” Eric smiled faintly at a memory. “And even old Hoskyns can produce a mean kick.”
Satan considered for three seconds. “I would be the last one standing. But let’s wait. My terms next time.”
Hoskyns brought the white burgundy, offering Satan the testing sip. “Just fill the thing,” he snapped. Sal let the wine work, with no idea of how this would play out. “Can we start by confirming that my friend Dave Dawson was murdered, brutally, on your orders?”
Almost a minute passed before Eric responded. “Before that, I must welcome you. If you are who I imagine you to be, can I suggest we both speak with absolute honesty, all cards visible?”
He spoke quietly, accustomed to attentiveness. Satan knew bottles bearing the Montrachet label fetched astronomical prices. The concentrated flavours were producing a lengthy finish.
The chance to learn about the clan operations was too good to spurn. But Sal adored foreplay. “Why would you be truthful? By its very nature your operation – in fact the modus operandi of all trillionaire families – is secretive.”
Eric looked at Satan’s gloved hands. “Incorrect. Our code of conduct mandates that facts are laid out starkly for those able to peer past the many smokescreens. I think you know this: that the real information is always there, often hidden in plain sight.”
Satan knew, but wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. He asked for examples. “When has the empire given public notice of its skulduggery?” The burgundy was exquisite.
The Old Controller speared a queen olive. “That’s extremely easy, and rather local. Think about how my proxy mouthpiece, Prime Minister Cameron, recently said Britain needs to operate with a smaller state “permanently”. Let me translate. Austerity, like diamonds, is forever. Rather apposite, coming from the Guildhall.”
“The Lord Mayor’s bloody banquet,” said Satan. “Sycophants and numbskulls in tiaras and bow ties listening to talk of rolling back the advances made by working people.”
“A little unfair, given the charitable work involved, and rather unrealistic,” smiled Eric, wanly. “Asia’s poor do the world’s dirty work. Advanced robotics govern Britain’s remaining factories. So why grub up money for irrelevant working classes?” He pulled out a mobile, examining a message.
Leaning back, arms behind his head, Satan responded: “For the record, God loathes charity. In a world of abundance, she thinks it stinks.” The wine was releasing his tensions.
Eric looked puzzled, for just a moment, before continuing. “As I was saying, the information sits availably. In this case, that there will be no surrender by the super-rich in a financial war to thin out the world’s lower echelons.”
Satan asked if he could begin to imagine how this would affect the globe’s poorest. The old man’s eyes glazed. “That disinterests me.” His fingers rose to his lower lip in an odd way. “Now let us consider how else we tip our hand. Let’s look at real information, let’s examine JP Morgan.” Satan groaned at the name, feeling slightly ill.
“Yes, one of our mightiest banking players,” said the old man. “Which sold over $30 billion worth of worthless mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the 2007-08 crash. Media, our loyal media, sternly tell the world that the naughty boys at JPM will have to pay $9 billion in fines and provide relief to consumers worth $4 billion. Serves them right, they say.”
Eric tutted quietly. Satan didn’t have his measure yet.
The old man waited again before speaking: “Our media back it up by claiming an “overhaul” of the broader banking culture. Much safer now, more onus on risk and compliance monitoring, they trumpet. Distracting from the reality that JP Morgan obtained a blanket amnesty for illegal actions that involved countless thousands of Americans losing their homes.”
Satan detected no emotion except confidence as Eric spoke. “Do not underestimate our grip on senior politicians. In setting the fine, the Obama administration calculated the bank could absorb the loss with minimal damage. $13 billion is nothing in the scheme of things. The Justice Department’s abundant evidence of illegal activity resulted in, what shall we say, the equivalent of a very hefty parking fine. There it is, for those with eyes. Most will not make the effort to see.”
While Eric sipped his burgundy, Satan ruminated. The sub-prime mortgage probe had been just one investigation into JP Morgan. Others delved into allegations of credit card fraud, illegal debt collection practices, rigging of energy markets, complicity in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, illegal home foreclosures, bribing Chinese officials, and involvement in Libor-rigging. Yet, incredibly, the Obama administration had refrained from indicting any high-ranking JPMorgan executive, or the bank itself.
“Quite an enjoyable Saturday evening,” said Eric, neutrally. “Again, ask what information all of that conveys. Quite unambiguously, that the financial elite sits comfortably above laws applying to lower orders, who receive long prison sentences for petty crimes involving hundreds of dollars.” His right hand went to his lip again.
Eric added that Obama had a “useful track record”, quickly touching his mouth once more. He praised the US President’s 2010 decision to kill the findings of a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into financial collusion linked to 9/11 events. He spoke of the days preceding the WTC attacks, when an extraordinary number of trades had bet the stock price of American Airlines and United Airlines would fall. “Unfortunately, for enquiring minds, relevant records were destroyed,” he said.
“Observe, clearly, the real information. That politicians are puppets. The Americas are ultimately controlled by two men. One, in New York, calls the shots over the Pentagon, NASA and, of course, Congress. Frank works closely with his peer, Ignacio, who controls much of the global drugs trade, and with it the CIA, from New Mexico.”
“Why no mention of Wall Street?”
“Well that is merely a front for the Federal Reserve. Which is itself an extension of the City of London.”
Sal nodded. He was thinking about political puppetry. How, in 2008, when many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, President Obama said it was time to “move forward”, instead. Obama was fundamentally a decent man, yet the number of murderous overseas US drone assaults had subsequently increased, exponentially, and US weaponry has been used to pulverise Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Sal asked a simple question. “And so here, in London, you steer Cameron, Clegg and whatever other jokers kid the public that they are in charge?”
“The City is King. Orders are quietly passed down. My colleague George and I pull the strings. But never directly. The other families work similarly.”
The old man was smiling. “By the way, those jokers, as you term them, have been told that Britain must leave the European Union by the end of the decade. Watch that space carefully.”
“The Euro is doomed. We want the City at a distance from that.”
Nothing he said surprised Satan.
“And here is more real information,” added Eric. “We started our ascent to untold wealth long ago when creating the scam that governments need to borrow, mainly to fight wars. Utter genius.”
Satan lost himself in misery. At how war, the worst thing in the world, was so tightly tied to finance. War was worse than economic injustice; worse than racism; than sexism and homophobia. In terms of death, destruction and suffering caused to human beings, nothing came within a country mile. Mountains of human corpses, bodies ripped apart, homes torn asunder, minds permanently destroyed by psychological trauma, extremist factions rising to power and inflicting unspeakable new violence on people. While bankers salivated over the huge profits.
When Sal emerged from his reverie, Eric was still talking, unabated. “This is the only real game in town.” His pupils were dilating. “Credit produced out of thin air; generations of tax cattle paying back the principal; while governments borrow even more to pay the interest, and the crippling compound interest.”
Satan recalled the Scotsman William Paterson, who in 1694 created the Bank of England, spelling the scam out clearly. “The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.”
Eric elaborated. “Ad infinitum, we receive an endless cash supply, based on a financing model which is little more than a valueless fiction. All property is theft. All money is debt. From cradle to grave the mass global populace are debtors who the usurer class extract surplus labour from – even in their bloody sleep. It’s a delightful system made in heaven, my heaven. There is your information, stark as daylight. Interest, and taxes, enable us to keep whole populations in servitude. Even more importantly, indebted governments obey our directives. Our clans run the Western world.”
“The world extends beyond the West,” said Satan.
Rising, Eric flexed his shoulders and neck. “There are indeed frictions with those who run Asia and other regions. Nonetheless, you will have noticed how anyone opposing the governments we control around the entire world is increasingly labelled as a terrorist. Here in Britain, to help flush away the few remnants of free speech, a so-called ‘Gagging Bill’ will be passed in January, to silence political drivel from charities. By the way, how is your wine?”
Satan nodded. He thought of the campaign gradually building to make it illegal for London Underground workers to strike, quietly edging Britain closer to 1930s Germany. “And yes,” said Eric, re-seating himself. “Dawson’s death was a shot across the bows. If these communities continue to be a nuisance, expect worse.”
Satan responded in a flash. “You don’t seem to get it. Alternative communities, full of kind-hearted people like Dave Dawson, will continue to quit your ghastly social paradigm, which is slowly killing the planet. By resisting, and creating their own narrative, they open their eyes and build their souls. And, if people like you chose to make peaceful revolution impossible, then, as JFK said, violent revolution becomes inevitable.”
Eric sniffed. “And look what happened to Kennedy. We kept control.”
The starters arrived. Marinated var salmon with lemon and vodka jelly, according to Eric, who filled Sal’s glass. With a minor frown, he asked: “You mentioned God. When we discovered you operating in Essex, I have to admit I was intrigued. Dawson’s death was partially intended to bring you here. Good tactic, eh?”
Satan pictured the Old Controller’s head smashed to fuck by a nearby candelabra. “You could have just invited me, instead of killing a man arbitrarily.”
“He was expendable.” Then a pause as astonishment slowly blanketed Eric’s face. “Are you allied with God?” Satan winked.
Again, the Old Controller was speechless for over a minute. “Have you forgotten who you are?” He shook his head. “Let me guess what that insane lunatic does all day? Based on many of his….her creations, she rages at a TV screen, buoyed by alcohol, from a big chair.”
“I’m told it’s distilled water these days,” said Satan. “Here’s a piece of real information. We’ve had ups, and many downs, but I’ve been with God’s Firm for hundreds of years now.”
For the first time that evening, Eric laughed. “So you pitch in with a God who sits for thousands of years, passively, hoping people will do the ‘right thing’ and bring about her loving paradise. If he….she has the power to create, and intervene, then why not solve the world’s so-called ‘spiritual problem’, whatever that is?”
He shook his head, truly flabbergasted. “Any chance she once held has been annexed by our Biblically censorious friends in the Vatican. They don’t dwell in hope there. They, we, any sensible being, uses free will to sew things up and nail them down: financially, politically, militarily and legally.”
The salmon was seasoned to Satan’s taste. The jelly’s vodka redolent of his Russian escapades.
“Do you really think we gained power by hoping?” asked the old man. “In our case, it required deep planning, in order to bribe, manipulate and control people, opinion and press across Europe, and then centuries following the plan. And removing thousands of individuals who stood up to us.”
Satan’s recording device, confiscated by Hoskyns, could have captured everything. Sal had to control himself, by drinking slowly, and listening keenly. “By sticking to the plan, we have brought into mass acceptability war, terror, genocide, drug- and slave-running, all of which stack up more profit. An Italian mafia capo di tutti capi occasionally advises me. That’s between you and I.”
“Congratulations for being a murderer and a twisted fuck,” said Sal. “You’ll find out how God will prevail, but only after I enjoy more of your hospitality.” His green eyes flashed. “And let’s nail down more real information. You killed somebody worth you and your degenerate associates put together. If you caught fire, I wouldn’t piss on you.”
Eric shrugged. “Let your anger out, it’s good. Then come join us. While we crank out war, terror and debt, our clans get free and unlimited access to all our civilisation has to offer; free to exercise their power without responsibility or restraint.” His hand flicked Naomi’s rump as she collected plates. Satan wondered how far up his anus a candelabrum could be hammered.
“Autonomy is us,” said Eric. “Free to create phantom enemies out of minor players – Bin Laden, Saddam, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-un, Assange, Assad – to scare people into doing what we tell them. Free to lecture the slave classes about the virtues of personal responsibility and austerity, while we rub the moral incontinence of the rich and celebrated in their faces. And free to practice our ceremonies.” The old man nodded towards the arched doorway.
Eric described a classic economic cycle.
“We are told the world economic system is inherently and increasingly crisis prone. The real information, the obvious, unhidden truth, is that financial implosions are caused by central banks, our central banks. Who else has that power?”
A nano-smile, but no light in the eyes. Satan saw how medieval kings must have felt.
“Whenever our clans decide to shrink credit to industry and to government, under some official-sounding theory, millions of people are laid off globally. Individuals and businesses borrow harder against their best equity and property collateral. Stock prices drop. People starve, lose houses, die in droves.”
He was expressionless again. “Then the chattering classes complain. Wring their lilywhite hands and tear their remaining hair over whether business red tape should be trimmed. The super-rich top up their tans, take new lovers, buy up the cheap assets. Time to extend central bank credit again. To sighs of relief, unemployment drops. Stock prices rise. Yet again we enrich ourselves, far past the point where money could ever matter.”
His insouciance had Satan riled. “Tell that to a mother watching her child die for lack of food. To the people living in their cars or on the streets.”
Sal reflected on how these bastards were prone to boasting about their descent from Pharoahs. Their older line was Sumerian DNA. An obsession with genealogy permeated Europe’s royal and aristocratic families, which interbred compulsively, as did the Eastern Establishment families of the United States which produced America’s leaders. The candidate with the most European royal genes had won every presidential election since and including George Washington in 1789. A telling and very real piece of information.
Naomi and Jamil brought plates laden with veal, mashed potatoes and a creamy mushroom sauce. Eric poured claret from a bottle whose label read: Ch Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion 2003.
Then he touched upon a recent Credit Suisse study, indicating that the world’s richest 85 people owned as much as its poorest 3.5 billion. Sal returned it nimbly. “As Mahatma Gandhi said, this world has enough to meet the needs of everyone, but not enough to satisfy the greed of even one man.”
Eric’s eyes narrowed when Satan confirmed that Gandhi was indeed back in the game, in Southend. To keep the advantage, Sal complimented the old man’s cellar. The fruity Bordeaux rolled with almost zero friction from the tongue, leaving hits of cherries, herbs, smoke and oak.
“My point remains,” said Eric. “Oxfam has estimated the net income of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to end global poverty 4 times over.” His eyes challenged Satan again. “Collectively, the super-rich may harm the world more than Hitler could ever have.”
It got worse. Eric lauded his clan associates for running rings around black South Africans. “So much loud and unsavoury cheering when Mandela was released and the ANC won the 1994 elections,” he sneered. “Well we both know that those who suck in newspaper and televised news may as well stare at a hologram.”
“It’s an effective hologram, developed over centuries,” Sal agreed.
“So effective that it shrouded the key piece of information,” smiled Eric. “Under the power-sharing, the control of the central bank was placed into the hands of “technicians”. And who did those technicians work for?”
Satan recalled. “The white-owned banking system and the IMF.” Gandhi had followed every nuance of the ANC story, relating details on cold park nights.
Eric stared fixedly at Sal. “Those fledgling ANC politicians walked around, punching the air naively, while we kept control of the nation’s money. When Mandela walked out of prison, rich countries and banks handed the people of South Africa a bill for tens of billions of dollars of debt run up by the previous apartheid system. Instead of defaulting, and giving our financial structures a robust middle finger, they were conquered by debt before they even began.” His eyes were moistening. With amusement.
Gandhi boiled over when discussing this. In 1996 alone, South Africa had paid a whopping $2,300 million in interest and debt repayments. Taken from reconstruction funds, that sum would have provided free health care and countless new homes and schools. Instead it repaid the costs of bullets and tanks used to oppress and murder black South Africans. This, above all, was why their society had not improved as their leaders had promised.
After a protracted silence, Satan stepped in. “You’ve talked sufficiently. Now listen.” He asked Eric what came to mind when he said the word ‘Guernsey’.
“A nuisance of a rock in the English Channel.”
“A rock indeed, an island which dug itself out of financial shit by rejecting your draconian system.”
Sal described how, in 1816, after the Napoleonic Wars, Guernsey’s roads were muddy and narrow; and its coastal crumbling, leading to land loss. Guernsey’s debt to banks was about £19,000. Its annual income was around £3,000, of which some £2,400 was required to pay interest on its debt, leaving just £600 a year to run the entire island.
As part of his “penance”, following his November night of theft and debauchery, Sal had researched these numbers. “In short, interest paid to banks was reducing the populace to near-serfdom,” he said. “Employment opportunities were declining. Sound like anywhere we know?”
Eric gazed across, implacably.
Now Sal moved to the front foot. “Fortunately, it had people who realised, logically, that continuing to borrow debt-bearing bank notes from the Bank of England or any commercial bank was akin to cutting their own throats. Taking America’s example, which so riled King George, they began to print their own treasury notes, debt and interest free. A new public market and sea wall repairs were paid for this way. People agreed to accept and trade the notes. By 1821, some £10,000 of Guernsey notes were circulating. The improvements brought visitors, and new prosperity.”
Satan knew there was no denying his arguments. And that Eric lacked the spontaneity to respond. A trait of inbreeding.
“The eventual result, now evident to anyone, was a high living standard. Guernsey has one of the world’s top 10 per capita incomes. No unemployment, modern infrastructure, no government debt. And low taxes, because no debt interest to repay. Also negligible inflation, a critical test of how well an interest-free money system can work.”
“What I say,” said Satan, lifting his glass, “is that Guernsey is a model for governments everywhere on how to escape your clans’ debt strictures. Yes, commercial banks are still there, lending privately, but the Guernsey government never borrows. Never.”
Flickers of vulnerability were detectable in the Old Controller. Around his mouth.
“Here’s a statistic for you to chew on,” said Sal. “In 1937 Guernsey’s debt-free money in circulation, worth about £175,000, cost just £450 for printing and handling. A similarly-sized loan would have cost almost £11,500 annually.”
One mouthful of mash and Morel mushroom later, Satan resumed. “Implement this system in Britain, and the monetary and tax systems would be more efficient. Booms and busts would pale into insignificance. Best of all, banks’ control of industry and political life would end. A British debt default would kick start this very nicely.” Eric was pursing his lips.
“We’re touching a nerve,” grinned Satan, half his attention riveted by the incredible wine. “No surprise that the banking community didn’t appreciate Guernsey’s experiment. In 1826, a complaint was lodged with the British Privy Council – unsuccessfully – that Guernsey had no right to issue debt-free notes. In 1827, a new commercial bank, Guernsey Old Bank, began printing private notes in large quantities, so that inflation became a genuine concern.”
“We made every effort,” said Eric. “But small size and geographical isolation played in Guernsey’s favour.”
Satan recapped how a compromise persisted until World War One, when – in the typical financial sector model – all mainland bank money was directed towards the war effort. Guernsey lacked such restriction. “Today, fiscal calculations are transparent, run by a citizens’ committee, and viewable online. As also happens in Iceland.”
Eric poked at his plate. Satan rammed it in hard, to the hilt, no grease. “There is no rocket science here. When the Guernsey government wants to create some private work or service, it simply issues the money required. Over the course of almost two centuries, Guernsey has remained prosperous and stable, fostering such a favourable tax climate that hordes of offshore fund managers and insurance companies have set up, many doubtless owned by your clans.”
Across the table, Eric bit forcefully into tender young meat. Satan smacked his lips as he finished his glass. “Another good example, in the US, is North Dakota, where a public-owned state bank recycles its profits back into the state and the community.”
Sal was fully aware of the problems in establishing more of these models: the near-absence of education and clear information; the disinterest of a general public dumbed down by all manner of junk screen entertainment; and the sheer power of the trillionaire families. But he kept punching, to irritate the old man. “The world has to follow these financial prototypes, instead of private banks deploying money and influence to create financial, political and military emergencies that maintain their monopoly on money issuance. Your murdering proclivities will not stop our Southend experiment in nudging that trend forward ”
Eric took a large slug of wine. After Jamil collected their plates, feet noiseless on the thick carpet, the old man sighed. “Come, let’s walk through my archway.”