As if to put an exclamation point on Mac Johnson's AT article "Killing the GOP Brand," comes this article "Nation of Flimflam: These are Boom Times for Offshore Corporate Shells," by Chris Byron in the New York Post. Business and state governments appear to be working to enhance financial secrecy for those operating across international boundaries, no matter the consequences for the War on Terror.
In the middle of this story is a description of American states offering the type of secrecy associated with places like Switzerland and The Channel Islands, flouting of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Patriot Act. Byron states:
“Bottom line: In a number of states, it's now possible to establish completely anonymous control of a fully legal corporation, usually for a fee of about $100, with less hassle - and less background information - than it takes to get a driver's license or open a bank account.
“Among other things, this makes a complete joke of the Bush administration's efforts to force other nations to adopt the Patriot Act's so-called Know Your Customer rule. Washington is attempting to do this via the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, a 33-nation organization set up in 1989 as part of the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development to push for effective laws to counter money laundering worldwide.
“One of the group's keystone requirements: Countries should not allow companies to be incorporated within their borders without knowing who the individuals behind them actually are.
“Thanks to the behavior of our states, and the seeming disinterest of the Bush administration to do anything about it, FATF formally sanctioned the U.S. on June 23 for being in breach of this most basic of all anti-money laundering requirements. This pushes the mightiest economic power on earth into the category of a micro-nation scofflaw, with just two years to correct the problem before facing outright expulsion from FATF itself.”
It appears that neither political party - or at least their voters - is willing to take any terrorist threat seriously unless a bomb goes off in their local Sizzler Steak House or City Hall. I pray that I am being overly pessimistic in my conclusions, but the facts certainly point in that direction today.