Well, no, actually, just no

The answer, of course, is that which applies today to the oligarchs who make the City of London notorious as money-laundering capital of the world. A few years ago the US authorities almost removed HSBC’s American banking licence because of its dealings with Mexican drug cartels.

Not really, HSBC hadn’t filled out the paperwork to show that it wasn’t dealing with Mexican drug cartels.

That it was most definitely wasn’t shown.

15 thoughts on “Well, no, actually, just no”

  1. Remember Obama’s Scandal-Free™ administration literally funneled guns to Mexican drug cartels, and then Obama invoked executive privilege to cover up the evidence?

    Maybe HSBC are in the wrong business.

  2. It’s that pompous old fool, Hastings, so no need to take it seriously.

    Dearieme – His history books are him just ‘cutting and pasting’ information and narrative from other sources – which he does quite well – and then adding his own, often spurious, if not downright wrong, analysis to it. His opinions, on their own, are always worthless.

  3. . . . US authorities almost removed HSBC’s American banking licence because of its dealings with Mexican drug cartels.

    Will HSBC’s lawyers be writing to The Times?

  4. Dearime,

    In an example of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, I was reading Hastings’ “Overlord” and noted his lengthy critique of the British forces in Normandy, who were apparently outgunned, outfought and comprehensively defeated by the unstoppable might of the Wehrmacht. Now, I hadn’t been hugely informed about Korea (the previous book of his I’d read), but I did know a bit about Normandy in 1944.

    Remembering some rumours that we’d actually sort of won the campaign in Normandy, I dug a little, and discovered that… bluntly… he was operating at near-Guardian levels of “wrong about everything, all the time”.

    It’s sort of understandable to make the wargamer’s mistake of confusing rivet-counting details of tank gunpower and armour, with actual battlefield performance (where logistics, tactics, visibility, and even niche details like “the turret only traverses quickly if the driver slips the clutch and revs the engine to redline… oh, and the engine catches fire if you do that” which beset some German equipment).

    Similarly, breathlessly praising the MG42 because it fires over twice as fast as a Bren Gun isn’t unexpected from someone who has only seen short demonstrations of them firing from static displays; once you’ve done a few hundred yards of dash-down-crawl-observe-sights-fire you’ll be praising the Bren and cursing belt-fed weapons, and that high rate of fire devoured ammunition and spare barrels at a tremendous rate (a 225-round belt of 7.92mm Mauser ammunition weighed about fifteen pounds, and was good for all of ten seconds of firing time…)

    But when he proclaimed the superiority of German mortars over British, I scratched my head, then went to look up the details, and noted that the German 8cm Granatwerfer 34 was heavier, shorter-ranged, and fired a lighter and less destructive bomb, than the “inferior” three-inch mortar deployed by the British – the precise opposite of his historian’s claim.

    Or as the sages of the Army Rumour Service put it:-

    Hastings – in “Overlord”, for example – goes a bit Teutonic fanboi, hailing how amazingly skilled the Wehrmacht were with their super-duper panzers, fast-firing MG42s and so on. (I wryly imagine his editor trimming out the overexcited slavering over the glossy jackboots, shining golden hair, rippling Aryan muscles in their exquisitely-tailored Hugo Boss uniforms…)

    He, perhaps, overlooks the minor issue that despite several years of preparation time, against an opponent having to start from an amphibious assault, and defending the sort of bocage terrain that the Women’s Institute could have made a good job of holding, the Wehrmacht were kicked from Normandy to the Rhine with massive losses in men and machinery in three months: but somehow there’s always an excuse for the Germans, whose innate and absolute superiority isn’t to be disputed by mere defeat.

    But then, Sir Max is possessed of a certain mental flexibility. He spent quite some time vilifying the Navy for (allegedly) dragging their feet over ordering and building HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

    In the air, Britain needs a modest force of ground-attackers, a lot of helicopters, and the Royal Navy’s two planned aircraft carriers. These ships are indeed indispensable to the navy’s future role. – Max Hastings, 2004​

    The Royal Navy must have its carrier programme – Max Hastings, 2006​

    The government has done the right thing by ordering the carriers, which are almost indispensable to support land operations overseas. – Max Hastings, 2007​

    So, you’d think he’d be delighted when Queen Liz put to sea?

    Pride of Britain? No, HMS Queen Elizabeth is a £6bn blunder that should be SCUTTLED – Max Hastings, 2017

    It seems that whatever the Navy does, they’ve got it wrong in the Wisdom According To Max.

    As a result, I’ve decided to skip Hastings as a historian…

  5. Hastings is a pompous tool. Brexit was worth it just to piss off pricks like him.

    The irony of HSBC failing to sort its paperwork out when it bombards small business account holders with forms in the name of money-laundering prevention and closes accounts if there’s the slightest mistake or delay, and sometimes when there’s neither.

  6. I’m not going to pay to read it, but I assume he gives lots of other examples to support the “money-laundering capital of the world” charge? Should be easy enough.

  7. @JL, my father commanded Churchill tanks in Normandy. It turned out they were well suited to the bocage country. Excellent over rough ground, carried a six-pounder gun which, with sabot ammunition, was capable of destroying German tanks at short range – the only range you get in the bocage. The gun was short barrelled compared to the 75mm and 88mm guns on the German tanks, meaning that you could traverse round to targets quicker and with less risk of getting entangled with hedges and trees. It was also quick-firing.

    Not the ideal tank for open country, but in the open country you did get a lot of help from Typhoon fighter-bombers firing rockets. You also had the advantage that once you’d broken into the open country the Germans went hell for leather backwards, retreating smartly towards the Rhine.

    He thanked Almighty God that he didn’t have to go to war in Shermans. He also remarked that the Germans were better soldiers than our chaps and the Yanks.

    Given how reluctant the old boy was to discuss the fighting I’m glad to have got that much out of him.

  8. Dearieme

    “He also remarked that the Germans were better soldiers than our chaps and the Yanks.”

    Probably helped their motivation that if they didn’t perform “better”, the Feldspolizei would have them facing the pointy end of a Luger or giving them a fancy hemp necktie. Executions for cowardice and desertion by the Wehrmacht numbered in the tens of thousands. The UK? Zero.

    Same thing my father faced in Burma. The Japs were “better” soldiers because their leaders didn’t value their lives. Ours did. Thank God. ‘Steel not flesh’.

  9. “It should be obvious to someone with the least intelligence” (a phrase that my mother was encouraged to use as a junior with an Oxford degree in Modern Languages when working in a scientific business in the 1930s) that HSBC’s obsessive demand for paperwork is the *consequence* of the fine paid because its Californian subsidiary had failed to provide adequate paperwork.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    Max Hastings was a twat in the Falklands, despised by the other journalists and those military that met him, or so I have been told.

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