“All right Mr Bond where’s that money?” – Le Chiffre, Casino Royale
I was never much of a James Bond fan. I liked the idea of the spy game on the big screen, but the Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan films were too campy for me, Sean Connery was before my time, and like most I’ve blocked out the Timothy Dalton escapade. I have to say though that I have enjoyed the Daniel Craig films. They are by far my favorites of the Bond genre (though I was not impressed with Skyfall).
In Casino Royale, Bond tracks down an international criminal mastermind known as “Le Chiffre” who is up to something big (naturally). It turns out that Le Chiffre has taken out a massive, leveraged short position against an airline stock and is planning on having a hit-man blow up their new plane (hoping to tank the stock and make a killing). It didn’t work, of course … “Bond, James Bond.”
We saw the same sort of thing happen back in 2001 (I believe they actually refer to it in the Bond film). Before the September 11 attacks somebody make some significant “bets” against the American stock market in general, and airline companies in particular. Whether they were in on the attacks or just somehow got tipped off is unclear, but it is believed that somebody profited handsomely.
A smaller (much smaller) version of the gambit may have presented itself today. At 12:07 somebody was able to takeover the official AP twitter account and tweet the following: “Two Explosions in the White House and Barrack Obama is injured.” It was a shock to the financial markets. The DOW was down over 1% in an instant. Now, 1% may not sound like a lot, but one can certainly leverage up many times over and make a nice chunk of change on such a dip.
The markets bounced back almost as soon as they had fallen – realizing that the news was fake. Naturally I have no proof that somebody pocketed stacks of cash with this move, but in America we prefer to believe our villains are criminal masterminds, not pranksters.
I suppose I can’t let such an incident pass without again mentioning the frustration that the working man feels with the current financial system. It seems easy enough that a man could work hard, pay his bills, pay off his debts, and tuck some money away for retirement. But, thanks to Helicopter Ben and the central banking cabal, tucked-away-money loses its value over time and the average man is forced to “chase yield” in riskier assets. When you’re invested in such assets you may find yourself subject to such market shenanigans by high-tech criminals and the “flash-crash” nature of algorithm trading.
A nation of Christians (80% or so) ought to be able to put together a better system …