After reading this, I'm sure Chis Cox (CC), the "investors' friend" will hire some Latvians to work for the SEC's "Enforcement Division". Next CC will rent some space in Mosow's Lubyanka Prison. The next time say, William Ackman says something critical about an SEC-favored financial institution, within an hour, five uniformed men will arrive at Pershing Square demanding, "your papers please", a scene from many World War II movies sited in Hitler's Germany. I wonder when Citigroup's Robert Rubin will fly Apse-Krumina to New York to lecture Citigroup staffers on how to respond to press inquiries?
Monday, December 15, 2008
Chris Cox Is Jealous
"Finance Ministry officials acknowledge that secret police won't save the country from economic crises. But they do believe Security Police vigilance makes the public think twice before spreading uninformed gossip about banks. ... 'We are a small country, and panic would have very grave consequences,' says Teodors Tverijons, head of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks. Preventing uninformed gossip, he says, is a 'matter of state economic security.' ... Early last year, [Alf] Vanags held a news conference and sounded the alarm over Latvia's ballooning current-account deficit. Soon after, he says, he got a call from the Security Police. 'Within an hour they were on the phone asking to see my materials,' he recalls. Mr. Vanags says he handed over his data and never heard anything more. ... Security Police ... spokeswoman Kristine Apse-Krumina, [says] the agency has a duty to 'gather information' and take 'preventive measure ... to avoid destabilization of the financial situation.' ... In Latvia's Soviet past, officials routinely blamed their problems on saboteurs or other scapegoats. 'This is part of our political culture,' says Sergei Krucks, a media-studies lecturer. 'If the state doesn't have a solution, it has to find someone to blame'," Andrew Higgins at the WSJ, 1 December 2008.
"All governments thrive on lies. We might even say that apart from weapons and men cruel enough to wield them on behalf of the rulers, lies are a government's most essential resource. ... Recently the government of Latvia has been illustrating these truths in an especially blatant manner. Latvia's Security Police has devoted itself to snooping into all sorts of communications about impending economic difficulties, under the authority of a law that prohibits the dissemination of 'false information about the financial system orally, in writing or in any other manner.' ... If the U.S. government were to attempt such suppression of criticism, it would have a big job on its hands. In this country, criticism of the government, the economy's major financial institutions, and the present state of affairs is nearly universal, so a mass arrest might create a situation in which each guard had to oversee a million prisoners. ... So, do not think it can't happen here.' It might happen, even here", Robert Higgs, 3 December 2008 at http://www.independent.org/blog/?p=620.
Isn't the SEC's job to squelch free spech to protect Wall Street from criticism? What was the SEC's recent crusade against short sellers supposed to accomplish?