||Manufactured Terror/Fear = Market Manipulation
Once again America is told to be afraid. This time it's our financial institutions that are "under threat." We'll have to watch the markets carefully. As they fall, we wonder who will be placing put options against what.
Don't forget about the huge surge of insider trading just prior to September 11th. Click here to check out our insider trading archive
And remember, how the Pentagon abandoned its twisted plan for a
terrorism futures market after huge public uproar
Here's the latest fear mongering brought to us (for what purpose?) from the powers that be:
U.S. Says Al Qaeda Targets World Bank, NYSE, Citigroup
Reuters/ Aug 1, 2004 09:07
By Alister Bull
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Suspected al Qaeda threats to attack the New York Stock Exchange, World Bank and International Monetary Fund prompted the United States on Sunday to issue a "high" level threat alert for the financial sector in New York and Washington.
Buildings in New York of Citigroup Inc, the world's largest financial company, and the Prudential Financial building in Newark, New Jersey, were included in the warning, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge at a news conference.
"In light of new intelligence information, we have made the decision to raise the threat level for this sector, in these communities," he said.
It was the first U.S. terror alert to focus on a specific sector of the economy.
The "high," or code-orange, threat level is the second highest in the government's five-stage terrorism alert system. It represents a "high risk of terrorist attacks."
Sunday's warning was based on the discovery of materials analyzing how to attack some of the most powerful symbols of western capitalism.
"The quality of the intelligence ... is rarely seen and it is alarming in both the amount and specificity of the information," Ridge said.
President Bush agreed on Sunday to accept Ridge's recommendation to raise the threat level, White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said. The United States declared a national orange alert in December but cut it back to yellow, or "elevated," in January.
Both the IMF and World Bank are located within a few minutes' walk of the White House. Washington Police Chief Charles Ramsey said his department had beefed up coverage of the institutions as well as the Federal Reserve and Bureau of Engraving.
ATTACKS USING TRUCKS
New York authorities said they were studying indications of possible bombing attacks using trucks, in an echo of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed six people.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police were increasing protection at key locations. "We will spare no expense and take no chances," he told a news conference.
The new warning could unsettle Wall Street investors, said John Davidson, president of PartnerRe Asset Management. "It's identifying specific targets, which is something that will weigh on the markets," he said.
New York is already on a heightened state of alert, because the Republican convention to launch Bush's re-election bid will take place in the city at the end of August.
U.S. officials have previously warned of possible attacks before the U.S. presidential election in November. Security policy has been a major issue in the campaign.
Bush has been expected as early as Monday to issue orders implementing some of the intelligence reforms recommended by a commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Kerry has criticized Bush for waiting too long to improve U.S. intelligence, and his campaign said Sunday's threat announcement was a reminder of the need to move aggressively to implement the commission's findings.
Ridge said there was no specific information pointing to an imminent attack, but a number of sources had indicated that al Qaeda, which was behind the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, was aiming again for the world's financial heart.
A U.S. official told Reuters the information had been collected in the past 24 to 36 hours.
The official said the material added up to a vulnerability assessment of the targets. It got down to details such as the glass thickness of the buildings, when and how many security staff were on duty and the location of elevators and parking.
Ridge declined to say where the information came from.
On Friday, Pakistan announced the capture of a top al Qaeda operative, Tanzanian-born Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, which killed 224 people.
A computer and several disks were seized when Ghailani and 13 others were seized last weekend southeast of Islamabad.
IMF and World Bank representatives said they had been advised by U.S. authorities of the possible threat and were taking all necessary precautions. Citigroup contacted staff via e-mail to tell them of increased security steps.
Washington Mayor Anthony Williams told a news conference that people should be watchful and go about their business.
Ridge said it was up to the firms and institutions involved to decide whether to tell their people to stay away from work.
He said he hoped people at affected sites "would have the resolve and maybe a little bit of defiance to say...we're going to go about leading our lives."
(Additional reporting by David Morgan, Caroline Drees, Joanne Allen and Debbie Charles in Washington)