Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Our kind of traitor: our kind of book

We haven't read John Le Carré's latest novel, but it sure looks like our kind of thing. This comment on the book, in The Guardian, picks up on a story we blogged a while ago

"In December 2009, when the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime admitted that colossal piles of drugs money had kept the world financial system afloat when it looked dangerously close to collapse. . . . Leading banks around the world, desperate for cash in the financial crisis, turn to the proceeds of organised crime as "the only liquid investment capital" available, eventually absorbing the greater part of a staggering $352bn of drugs profits into the global economic system, laundering that vast sum in the process."

And Le Carré's take on this?

"The problem is so vast, people somehow fail to see it. "Nobody picked it up!" a still incredulous Le Carré said of that UN statement when we met in his Hampstead home today. "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I really did have the feeling that it had been suppressed." He sees too many unanswered questions, starting with how exactly that $352bn came to pass into the legitimate economy. "What buttons do you press, who do you call? Whose consent do you seek?" Did someone in government wink to the super-crooks, telling them they no longer had to keep their money in cash in, say, the Cayman Islands, but could now buy government bonds? If so, who and on whose authority?"

And there, in a nutshell, you have it. This is not a centralised conspiracy. But it might as well be. And read on in the Guardian article, and you have the role of London in all this. As we've been saying all along.


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