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Plunder: The Crime of Our Time (2009)

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Documentarian Danny Schechter explores the financial crisis and argues that it was built on a foundation of criminal activity. To get to the bottom of it all Schechter interviews bankers, economists, and journalists.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Gary Ackerman ...
Himself - US Congressman, New York (archive footage)
...
Himself - New York Psychotherapist
Bill Bamber ...
Himself - Former Managing Director, Bear Stearns
Benjamin Barber ...
Himself - Author, Political Scientist
Moe Bedard ...
Himself - Fraud Investigator, LoanSafe.org
William Black ...
Himself - Former Bank Regulator (archive footage)
Michael E. Capuano ...
Himself - Congressman, Massachusetts (archive footage)
Jim Chanos ...
Himself - Hedge Fund Founder
Joe Coffee ...
Himself - Corporate Crime Expert, Columbia U. Law School
Jim Cramer ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Richard Friedman ...
Himself - Madoff Victim
Richard S. Fuld ...
Himself - CEO, Lehman Bros. (archive footage)
Alexis Glick ...
Herself - Anchorwoman (archive footage)
Grayland Hagler ...
Himself - Development Director, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (as Rev. Grayland Hagler)
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Documentarian Danny Schechter explores the financial crisis and argues that it was built on a foundation of criminal activity. To get to the bottom of it all Schechter interviews bankers, economists, and journalists.

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User Reviews

 
An Incredibly Informative, Revealing & Damning Documentary
9 February 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

In this documentary we follow investigative journalist/filmmaker Danny Schechter (maker of In Debt We Trust), as he dissects and analyzes the 2008 financial collapse.

While this subject has been addressed by nearly every single major media outlet from NBC to FOX to CBC to Al Jazeera and even PBS...this is by far, the best filmic expose on the topic.

Unlike most of the aforementioned examples, which largely rely on testimony from the highest ranking criminals responsible for creating the fiscal "products" which led to this situation, Schechter interviews the little guys. And in doing so, he manages to uncover a bunch of new info. People like traders from Bayer Sterns who lost their jobs during the collapse; former financial analysts and hedge fund managers, and even some of the young traders whose unfettered greed fueled the collapse.

He focuses on analyzing the scheme that was put in play to purposefully crash Bayers Stern and Lehman Brothers- carried out by the hands of Hedge Fund Managers the world over- through their use of derivatives and derivative related products like Credit Default Obligations and Credit Default Swaps.

He elaborates on this by explaining how all these financial instruments where unethical and borderline illegal; seeing as the were predatory loans (mostly sub-prime mortgages) that targeted the poor and working class who were not knowledgeable enough about fiscal matters to realize they were being conned.

He particularly focuses on "PUTS" which are bets by Hedge Fund Managers on a company failing. These "puts" are insanely risky bets, which- as Schechter points out- started coming into play right before the 2008 collapse (as well as right before the occurrence of 911)...in the 1000's.

He notes how these puts are not available to regular traders, and how no one in their right mind would ever invest in them....unless they knew for certain that something bad was going to happen to that company.

The next level of the scheme was put (pun intended) into action when someone (no one knows who) released a rumour into the media that Bayer-Stearn was running the risk of becoming insolvent. This spread through the media like wildfire, and it created a run on the bank (where everyone goes and takes their money out, for fear the bank will go bankrupt and they'll lose everything a la It's A Wonderful Life).

This, however, was absolutely untrue....and Bayer-Stearns execs were all over the media trying to save face. It was too late, though. The company imploded and a government bailout (and takeover of control) was required to save it. The same scheme was enacted again to bring down Lehman Brothers (who would also front the bulk of the blame for the collapse, because of their focus on predatory sub prime mortgages and the re-packaging of these bad mortgages which were sold off to investors- mainly pension funds).

When all was said and done 200,000,000 people had been driven into poverty; 1000's lost their homes; even more lost their jobs; and entire economies began to collapse, forcing them to initiate austerity measures which further impoverished the lower and middle classes. Meanwhile, the unknown cabal who was responsible for all of this had invested $1.7 million and walked away with $250 million: hence why Schechter refers to it as the "Crime of the Century".

This is an incredibly revealing and informative documentary, damning those dastardly bankers. A must see. 8 out of 10.


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