Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fascinating March 30 legal decision out of Alabama - Bad Securitization = No Standing to Foreclose = house for free -

Fascinating March 30 legal decision out of Alabama - Bad Securitization = No Standing to Foreclose = house for free -

Fascinating March 30 legal decision out of Alabama, in the case of Phyllis Horace vs. LaSalle Bank National Association et. el.

The judge issued a summary judgment ruling (original motion is here), tossing out the foreclosure action due to lack of trustee standing:

“The ruling prevents defendant LaSalle Bank – as the trustee holding the plaintiff’s securitized mortgage – from proceeding with a foreclosure because the trust failed to follow its own pooling and servicing agreement, and did not follow applicable New York law when trying to “obtain assignment of Horace’s note and mortgage,” according to the court order.

Without proof the mortgage had been assigned to the trust, in this case a Bear Stearns-related mortgage trust, the trustee lacked standing to foreclose, the court found.”

In other words, if you screw up the process of securitizing mortgages by failing to assign the loan note (and/or physically keep track of it), you lose the right to subsequently foreclose in the event of a default.


Note who the participants to this debacle are:

Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities I LLC, asset-backed certificates series 2006-EC2.
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS),
Encore Credit Corp.,
EMC Mortgage Co.
Bank of America

Read more - http://www.housingwire.com/2011/04/01/alabama-judge-denies-securitization-trustee-standing-to-foreclose

Foreign men older than 50 or any foreign man who earns less than 30K / year - no longer allowed to marry Cambodian women -

Foreign men older than 50 or any foreign man who earns less than 30K / year - no longer allowed to marry Cambodian women -

Foreign men who are older than 50 and any foreign man who earns less than US$2,500 per month will no longer be allowed to marry Cambodian women, according to new marriage regulations introduced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The strict new rules, issued on March 7, aim to curb surging human trafficking often facilitated under the guise of marriage. According to ministry spokesman Koy Kuong, the regulations will discourage local marriages in which a foreign husband and local wife look like "a grandfather and a granddaughter".

"We want Cambodian women who get married to foreigners living abroad to have a decent life," Kuong said. "We want to have [a]
real couple. If [the foreign husband and Cambodian wife are] very much different in age, it's showing [that it's] not a real marriage."

The new regulations were issued in response to a recent rapid increase in the number of foreign nationals, particularly South Koreans, who have married and subsequently abused Cambodian women, Kuong said.

Across the region, including in the Philippines and Thailand, there has been a proliferation of elderly foreign men marrying much younger local women. While human trafficking is a problem in both those countries, where thousands of foreign men have settled into genuine relationships, neither has implemented outright bans on cross-cultural marriages.

South Koreans are particularly active in the mail-order bride business, which is often a thinly veiled guise for human trafficking. In 2009, the majority of foreign brides came from China, Vietnam and Cambodia. Because of Cambodia's comparatively smaller population, the trade is more noticeable. In certain villages of Kampong Cham province, for instance, nearly all young women have been married to foreigners.

Last year, Cambodia temporarily banned Cambodian women from marrying South Koreans in particular after police caught brokers trafficking 20 or so rural Cambodian women. In 2008, the government outlawed all foreign marriages but lifted the ban six months later. There have been several scandals recently involving marriages between young Cambodian women and older South Korean men.

Last month, Korean authorities filed charges against a man who murdered his Cambodian wife to collect $1 million from a life insurance policy. According to the Korean newspaper Joong Ang Daily, the 45-year-old Korean husband fed his 20-year-old Cambodian wife sleeping pills before setting their house on fire. Prior to the event, he took out six life insurance policies on her.

Currently, around 20,000 Cambodian women are married to Korean men living in South Korea, according to Pung Chhiv Kek, president of the Cambodia-based League for the Protection of Human Rights (LICADHO). Many of these marriages, she says, are arranged through so-called recruiters.

"The recruiter goes to the countryside and chooses the women like cattle," she said. "Then men from Korea come and you have a line of girls - well dressed because a recruiter sends them to the hairdresser and gets them nice clothes. A man comes, chooses a girl and pays a recruiter."

To be sure, some of these arranged marriages work out; many others, however, lead to abuse and servitude. "If she's not lucky, he uses her as a slave or sometimes pushes her into prostitution," Kek said. She recalls a phone call she received from one Cambodian woman who married a South Korean man and was required to "serve" his whole family.

An employee at the South Korean Embassy in Phnom Penh said the embassy had received frequent calls "from old men in Korea who want to get married" since the new marriage regulations were issued. Many Korean men arrange marriages with Cambodian women "through their relatives or friends" without visiting the country themselves, said the embassy employee, who did not give her name.

The new regulations will not apply to foreign women who wish to marry Cambodian men, and do not make provisions for special cases - such as a marriage between an elderly Cambodian woman and a foreign man close to her age. When asked about a hypothetical scenario in which a 51-year-old foreign man wishes to marry a 50-year-old Cambodian woman, Kuong said he "has no comment right now". The 50 year old cut-off was chosen because it's close to the retirement age, Kuong said.

"A very old man who retired from work and is jobless and marries a very young wife from Cambodia is similar to human trafficking," he said. "We don't want our Cambodian women working as a slave for the family."

Too young for love
While the restrictions may help to curb trafficking, they'll also break up genuine love connections.

A 67-year-old retired Frenchman who lives in Cambodia's capital tells the story about how he first saw his 32-year-old girlfriend's eyes in the rear view mirror of a car. The woman could not speak a word of French, but they understood each other without words, he says. Now they have a baby together and he would have liked to officially marry the mother of his child to give her the security of French citizenship, but now he won't be able to.

"Women are the ones who will suffer" from these new marriage rules, he said.

Malen Kim, a Cambodian airport employee who two years ago married an American man, suggested that the $2,500 monthly income requirement will in many cases be too high for a husband of Vietnamese or Chinese origin - and for most foreigners who work in Cambodia.

While most countries set a minimum age for marriage, Cambodia may be the first in the world to outlaw older foreigners from marrying younger locals. Local activists say the only similar example appears to be Jordan, which requires court permission if a girl under 18 wishes to marry a man who is older than her by 20 years or more.

Representatives of Cambodian non-governmental organizations complain that the marriage regulations discriminate not only against older foreign men, but also against all Cambodian women. Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, recently wrote a letter to a local English-language daily to express his disagreement from a rights perspective with the new marriage rules.

In the letter, he noted that the Cambodian government already prevented foreigners who are impotent or suffer from a number of diseases, including tuberculosis and cancer, from marrying Cambodian women. The choice about whom to marry should be up to the woman, not the government, he said.

"If a poor woman has no way out - who am I to judge that she should not marry an older man and go into prostitution?" he said. "This law is only limiting the women. It's also coming from the basic mentality that women need to be protected and women are victims ... Their male ego instinct got the better of them."

Kek, the president of LICADHO, said that the rules are unfair to women and violate the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, to which Cambodia is a signatory.

"This is discrimination against women," she said. "Cambodian men can marry any person; they can marry a woman over 50 if they want. Why ban only Cambodian women?"

Addressing those criticisms, spokesman Kuong summed up the government's line: "Women are weaker than men, so we try to protect the weakest first. It is our right to protect our people."

Read more - http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/MD02Ae01.html

You invade Bahrain, We take out Gaddafi - Washington gave go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain - We get to do Libya

You invade Bahrain, We take out Gaddafi - Washington gave go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain - We get to do Libya

You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.

The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, "This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner."

As Asia Times Online has reported, a full Arab League endorsement of a no-fly zone is a myth. Of the 22 full members, only 11 were present at the voting. Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the US-supported club of Gulf kingdoms/sheikhdoms, of which Saudi Arabia is the top dog. Syria and Algeria were against it. Saudi Arabia only had to "seduce" three other members to get the vote.

Translation: only nine out of 22 members of the Arab League voted for the no-fly zone. The vote was essentially a House of Saud-led operation, with Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa keen to polish his CV with Washington with an eye to become the next Egyptian President.

Thus, in the beginning, there was the great 2011 Arab revolt. Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.

Profiteers rejoice
Humanitarian imperialists will spin en masse this is a "conspiracy", as they have been spinning the bombing of Libya prevented a hypothetical massacre in Benghazi. They will be defending the House of Saud - saying it acted to squash Iranian subversion in the Gulf; obviously R2P - "responsibility to protect" does not apply to people in Bahrain. They will be heavily promoting post-Gaddafi Libya as a new - oily - human rights Mecca, complete with US intelligence assets, black ops, special forces and dodgy contractors.

Whatever they say won't alter the facts on the ground - the graphic results of the US-Saudi dirty dancing. Asia Times Online has already reported on who profits from the foreign intervention in Libya (see There's no business like war business, March 30). Players include the Pentagon (via Africom), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Saudi Arabia, the Arab League's Moussa, and Qatar. Add to the list the al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain, assorted weapons contractors, and the usual neo-liberal suspects eager to privatize everything in sight in the new Libya - even the water. And we're not even talking about the Western vultures hovering over the Libyan oil and gas industry.

Exposed, above all, is the astonishing hypocrisy of the Obama administration, selling a crass geopolitical coup involving northern Africa and the Persian Gulf as a humanitarian operation. As for the fact of another US war on a Muslim nation, that's just a "kinetic military action".

There's been wide speculation in both the US and across the Middle East that considering the military stalemate - and short of the "coalition of the willing" bombing the Gaddafi family to oblivion - Washington, London and Paris might settle for the control of eastern Libya; a northern African version of an oil-rich Gulf Emirate. Gaddafi would be left with a starving North Korea-style Tripolitania.

But considering the latest high-value defections from the regime, plus the desired endgame ("Gaddafi must go", in President Obama's own words), Washington, London, Paris and Riyadh won't settle for nothing but the whole kebab. Including a strategic base for both Africom and NATO.

Round up the unusual suspects
One of the side effects of the dirty US-Saudi deal is that the White House is doing all it can to make sure the Bahrain drama is buried by US media. BBC America news anchor Katty Kay at least had the decency to stress, "they would like that one [Bahrain] to go away because there's no real upside for them in supporting the rebellion by the Shi'ites."

For his part the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, showed up on al-Jazeera and said that action was needed because the Libyan people were attacked by Gaddafi. The otherwise excellent al-Jazeera journalists could have politely asked the emir whether he would send his Mirages to protect the people of Palestine from Israel, or his neighbors in Bahrain from Saudi Arabia.

The al-Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain is essentially a bunch of Sunni settlers who took over 230 years ago. For a great deal of the 20th century they were obliging slaves of the British empire. Modern Bahrain does not live under the specter of a push from Iran; that's an al-Khalifa (and House of Saud) myth.

Bahrainis, historically, have always rejected being part of a sort of Shi'ite nation led by Iran. The protests come a long way, and are part of a true national movement - way beyond sectarianism. No wonder the slogan in the iconic Pearl roundabout - smashed by the fearful al-Khalifa police state - was "neither Sunni nor Shi'ite; Bahraini".

What the protesters wanted was essentially a constitutional monarchy; a legitimate parliament; free and fair elections; and no more corruption. What they got instead was "bullet-friendly Bahrain" replacing "business-friendly Bahrain", and an invasion sponsored by the House of Saud.

And the repression goes on - invisible to US corporate media. Tweeters scream that everybody and his neighbor are being arrested. According to Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, over 400 people are either missing or in custody, some of them "arrested at checkpoints controlled by thugs brought in from other Arab and Asian countries - they wear black masks in the streets." Even blogger Mahmood Al Yousif was arrested at 3 am, leading to fears that the same will happen to any Bahraini who has blogged, tweeted, or posted Facebook messages in favor of reform.

Globocop is on a roll
Odyssey Dawn is now over. Enter Unified Protector - led by Canadian Charles Bouchard. Translation: the Pentagon (as in Africom) transfers the "kinetic military action " to itself (as in NATO, which is nothing but the Pentagon ruling over Europe). Africom and NATO are now one.

The NATO show will include air and cruise missile strikes; a naval blockade of Libyia; and shady, unspecified ground operations to help the "rebels". Hardcore helicopter gunship raids a la AfPak - with attached "collateral damage" - should be expected.

A curious development is already visible. NATO is deliberately allowing Gaddafi forces to advance along the Mediterranean coast and repel the "rebels". There have been no surgical air strikes for quite a while.

The objective is possibly to extract political and economic concessions from the defector and Libyan exile-infested Interim National Council (INC) - a dodgy cast of characters including former Justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, US-educated former secretary of planning Mahmoud Jibril, and former Virginia resident, new "military commander" and CIA asset Khalifa Hifter. The laudable, indigenous February 17 Youth movement - which was in the forefront of the Benghazi uprising - has been completely sidelined.

This is NATO's first African war, as Afghanistan is NATO's first Central/South Asian war. Now firmly configured as the UN's weaponized arm, Globocop NATO is on a roll implementing its "strategic concept" approved at the Lisbon summit last November (see Welcome to NATOstan, Asia Times Online, November 20, 2010).

Gaddafi's Libya must be taken out so the Mediterranean - the mare nostrum of ancient Rome - becomes a NATO lake. Libya is the only nation in northern Africa not subordinated to Africom or Centcom or any one of the myriad NATO "partnerships". The other non-NATO-related African nations are Eritrea, Sawahiri Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Moreover, two members of NATO's "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative" - Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - are now fighting alongside Africom/NATO for the fist time. Translation: NATO and Persian Gulf partners are fighting a war in Africa. Europe? That's too provincial. Globocop is the way to go.

According to the Obama administration's own official doublespeak, dictators who are eligible for "US outreach" - such as in Bahrain and Yemen - may relax, and get away with virtually anything. As for those eligible for "regime alteration", from Africa to the Middle East and Asia, watch out. Globocop NATO is coming to get you. With or without dirty deals.

Read more - http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MD02Ak01.html