Yesterday, for three tedious hours, the former boss of Barclays Bank, Bob Diamond, gave a predictably-obstructive performance in front of the UK Treasury Select Committee. Perhaps the most revealing aspect of Mr. Diamond's appearance was how dry his mouth was (as demonstrated by the enormous quantify of water he kept drinking).
With the exception of the Treasury Select Committee's chairman, Andrew Tyrie, Mr. Diamond even addressed its members using their first names, as though they were a group of old friends who were all on the same side. Yet, pretending affinity with potential victims, is a classic thought-stopping tactic used by charlatans and demagogues. It's also commonly-known as 'affinity fraud.'
In reality, Mr. Diamond attempted to influence his interrogators by employing various devious techniques of social and psychological persuasion; particularly NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). In plain English, Mr. Diamond showed his utter contempt for democracy and the rule of law, by constantly repeating certain reality-inverting words and phrases - maliciously chosen to try to convince the world that he has immense respect for democracy and the rule of law. In this way, Mr. Diamond successfully dodged giving direct answers to direct questions. Ironically, politicians often use these transparent techniques themselves.
Unfortunately, in framing their questions, the members of the UK Finance Select Committee did not remember these two maxims:
'Follow the money;'
'He who first cries out "Stop Thief!,' is often he who has stolen the treasure.'
Perhaps the ultimate question to have asked Mr. Diamond would have been:
In purely financial terms, who actually stood to gain the most from the 'reprehensible rate-fixing' fraud committed at Barclays Bank: yourself and other senior colleagues, or the approximately twenty subordinates whom you insist were solely responsible and who, consequently, you and your senior colleagues have held to account?
Although the narcissistic Mr. Diamond apparently still imagines that everyone (except him) is a child-like inferior whose critical, and evaluative, faculties can be shut-down by a labyrinth of corporate hocus-pocus combined with a tightly-scripted fairytale, any free-thinking person looking at the 'rate-fixing' scandal with common-sense, can immediately see that the bosses of Barclays have steadfastly pretended moral and intellectual authority whilst, at the same time, they have organized, and personally-profited-massively from, a systematic fraud designed to prevent, and/or divert, investigation and isolate them from liability. Self-evidently, it was the bosses of Barclays who selected a group of greedy subordinates and who placed them in a position where they were at liberty to manipulate the Libor and Euribor borrowing rates. Furthermore, Mr. Diamond and his associates offered these subordinates inducements to do exactly that, whilst turning a blind-eye.
In the most simple terms, for several years, the likes of Mr. Diamond continued to pocket millions of dollars of 'bonuses' on profits which they knew to be partly-generated by a form of highly-organized crime, because they were the organizers. Indeed, the absolute proof that Mr. Diamond is a liar and racketeer, is his foolish claim that he knew absolutely nothing about the titanic, ongoing theft being shouted across the trading-floor of his bank day after day, but when he was finally informed very recently, he was amongst the first to cry: Stop Thief! That's, despite Mr. Diamond's additional claim to having been so initially 'shocked and angry' that he became 'physically-ill.' Personally, I have little doubt that Mr. Diamond went straight to the nearest toilet when he read the damning-report from the Financial Services Authority, but it must have been fear, rather than revulsion, which provoked his physical reaction.
Curiously (the soon-to-be) ex-chairman of Barclays Bank, Marcus Agius, has already given a television interview during the course of which (in direct contradiction of Mr. Diamond's implausible, albeit tightly-scripted, fairytale) he let it slip that he knew all about the extensive rate-fixing at Barclays at least two years ago. Mr. Agius is due to appear before the UK Treasury Select Committee next week.
David Brear (copyright 2012)