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House Passes Bill Allowing Government To Microchip Citizens With "Mental Disabilities"
by Whitney Webb
Posted December 15, 2016

human microchipping bill passedLast Thursday, the House passed HR 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte's Law, which would allow the US attorney general to award grants to law enforcement for the creation and operation of "locative tracking technology programs." Though the program's mission is to find "individuals with forms of dementia or children with developmental disabilities who have wandered from safe environments," it provides no restriction on the tracking program's inclusion of other individuals. The bill would also require the attorney general to work with the secretary of health and human services and unnamed health organizations to establish the "best practices" for the use of tracking devices.

Those in support of the legislation maintain that such programs could prevent tragedies where those with mental or cognitive disabilities wandered into dangerous circumstances. Yet, others have called these good intentions a "Trojan horse" for the expansion of a North American police state as the bill's language could be very broadly interpreted. More...

 

War On The Homeless: Cities All Over America Are Passing Laws Making It Illegal To Feed And Shelter Those In Need
By Michael Snyder
Posted December 10, 2016

cities criminalizing feeding of homelessIf you want to be a "Good Samaritan" to the homeless in your community, you might want to check and see if it is legal first. All over the country, cities are passing laws that make it illegal to feed and shelter the homeless. For example, in this article you will read about a church in Maryland that was just fined $12,000 for simply allowing homeless people to sleep outside the church at night. This backlash against homeless people comes at a time when homelessness in America is absolutely exploding.

For nearly two thousand years, churches have been at the forefront of helping the poor and disadvantaged, but now many communities are trying to stop this from happening. Earlier today, I was absolutely stunned when I came across an article that talked about how a church in Dundalk, Maryland has been fined $12,000 for allowing the homeless to sleep outside the church at night. More...

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Shadowy Global Security Firm G4S Guarding Dakota Pipeline As Protesters Attacked By Dogs
By teleSUR
Posted December 5, 2016

G4S implicated in tortureThe security company has been under fire for providing services to Israeli prisons and settlements, expanding across the Middle East including Afghanistan and Iraq and operating juvenile detention centers and handling deportations from the U.S. G4S is one among several private security companies protecting the pipeline construction, a spokesperson told teleSUR.

G4S, a U.K.-based security multinational, admitted to having personnel deployed at "remote sites" where Native Americans are defending their lands from the planned US$3.8-million Dakota Access pipeline that they say would pollute the drinking water of millions. The actions have brought together over 200 tribes in solidarity and faced a heavy offensive by private security companies and state officers deployed under a state of emergency. More...

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From Zuccotti to Rikers: Political Prisoner Cecily McMillan Pulls No Punches
By Mark Hand
Posted November 12, 2016

the king can be defeatedOn the six-month anniversary of OWS, McMillan wasn't planning to attend the protest gathering in Zuccotti Park. She entered the park simply to retrieve her friend Jake so they could go to nearby Irish bars to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Instead, she was caught in a police vortex after the NYPD unilaterally declared the park closed. "I'm snatched from behind, pulled up by the breast, and flung backward then face forward into the ground," she recalls.

Government prosecutors accused McMillan of intentionally elbowing a police officer. McMillan claimed she was defending herself against someone who had grabbed her breast. A video of the incident shows someone, purportedly McMillan, using her right elbow to strike someone, purportedly New York City police officer named Grantley Bovell. More...

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Not Guilty: The Power of Nullification to Counteract Government Tyranny
By John W. Whitehead
Posted November 8, 2016

jury nullification growingHow do you balance the scales of justice at a time when Americans are being tasered, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, hit with batons, shot with rubber bullets and real bullets, blasted with sound cannons, detained in cages and kennels, sicced by police dogs, arrested and jailed for challenging the government's excesses, abuses and power-grabs?

Politics won't fix a system that is broken beyond repair. No matter who sits in the White House, the shadow government will continue to call the shots behind the scenes. Relying on the courts to restore justice seems futile. More...

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Police Viciously Attacked Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
by Jihan Hafiz
Posted November 2, 2016

protecting the interests of big moneyJust before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing Rock, North Dakota. Native American organizers lit sage and prayed for protection from police brutality before setting off on the 8-mile trek. Many in the crowd were emotional as they stood over what was once their ancestral burial grounds. Just last month, construction workers and contractors destroyed the site in preparation for installing the pipeline.

The march was undertaken in solidarity with several protesters who had chained themselves to bulldozers and pipeline machinery at the construction site. But the marchers never made it to their destination. Instead, they were attacked by police forces who used pepper spray and beat protesters with batons. Dozens of officers, backed by military trucks, police vans, machine guns, and nonlethal weapons, violently approached the group without warning. More...

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Police From 5 States Escalate Violence, Shoot Horses to Clear 1851 Treaty Camp
Sacred Stone Camp
Posted October 31, 2016

Protecting the interests of big moneyOver 300 police officers in riot gear, 8 ATVs, 5 armored vehicles, 2 helicopters, and numerous military-grade humvees showed up north of the newly formed frontline camp just east of Highway 1806. The 1851 Treaty Camp was set up this past Sunday directly in the path of the pipeline, on land recently purchased by DAPL. Today this camp, a reclamation of unceded Dakota territory affirmed as part of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851, was violently cleared. Both blockades established this past weekend to enable that occupation were also cleared.

In addition to pepper spray and concussion grenades, shotguns were fired into the crowd with less lethal ammunition and a sound cannon was used (see images below). At least one person was tased and the barbed hook lodged in his face, just outside his eye. Another was hit in the face by a rubber bullet. More...

I wonder what the children and families of these police officers would think if they saw this brutality while protecting the interests of big money.

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Banker Deaths and WikiLeaks Deaths Have a Common Thread
By Pam Martens
Posted October 28, 2016

John Jones, another "mysterious" death Julian Assange, founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, is the man responsible for the daily release of emails showing the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to be an unprecedented machine whose tentacles and snitches reach into Wall Street, big corporations and big media. Earlier this year, WikiLeaks released emails showing that the Democratic National Committee had maliciously conspired to undermine the presidential campaign of Clinton challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders, in order to elevate Hillary Clinton to the top of the ticket.

Now it has emerged that two of the top lawyers representing Assange, John Jones in London and Michael Ratner in New York, died within less than a month of each other this year. And, Assange's closest confidant in London and a Director of WikiLeaks, Gavin Macfadyen, died just yesterday. More...

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Filmmaker Faces 45 Years in Prison for Reporting on Dakota Access Protests
by Nika Knight
Posted October 19, 2016

Death of freedom of speechIn an ominous sign for press freedom, documentary filmmaker and journalist Deia Schlosberg was arrested and charged with felonies carrying a whopping maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison—simply for reporting on the ongoing Indigenous protests against fossil fuel infrastructure.

Schlosberg was arrested in Walhalla, North Dakota on Tuesday for filming activists shutting down a tar sands pipeline, part of a nationwide solidarity action organized on behalf of those battling the Dakota Access Pipeline. The filmmaker was held without access to a lawyer for 48 hours, her colleague Josh Fox wrote in the Nation, and her footage was confiscated by the police. More...

Kind of makes a mockery of "liberty and justice for all."

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Corrupted Evidence: How the Department of Justice is Blocking Forensic Evidence Reform
by Stephen Cooper
Posted October 7, 2016

Loretta Lynch not interestd in forensic evidence reformCompassionate Americans concerned about the plight of wrongfully convicted citizens – folks who want our criminal justice system to operate fairly and accurately – should be outraged by the Department of Justice's pigheaded rejection of fundamental, far-reaching forensic science evidence reform.

Instead of recommendations designed to make sure only the guilty are convicted of crimes – Attorney General Loretta Lynch demurred. Lynch said, while "we appreciate their contribution to the field of scientific inquiry, the department will not be adopting the recommendations related to the admissibility of forensic science evidence." More...

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U.S. Big Banks: A Culture of Crime
by Jeff Nielson
Posted September 26, 2016

big banks are criminal syndicatesOrganized crime. This phrase is now a precise synonym for big-banking in the United States. These Big Banks commit big crimes; they commit small crimes. They cheat their own clients; they swindle outsiders. They break virtually every financial law on the books. What do all these crimes have in common? The Big Banks commit all these crimes again and again and again – with utter impunity.

These fraud factories commit their serial mega-crimes, year after year, because the Big Banks know that they will never, ever be punished. On rare occasions, their crimes have been so egregious that U.S. 'justice' officials could no longer pretend to be oblivious to them. In such cases, there was a token prosecution, there was a settlement where the law-breaking banks didn't even have to acknowledge their own criminality, and there was a microscopic fine – which didn't even force the felonious financial institutions to disgorge all of their profits from these crimes. More...

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Busting the Myth of Whistleblower Protections for IC Contractors
By Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz
Posted September 25, 2016

Edward Snowden did not have whistleblower protectionThree years after Edward Snowden's leaks, it appears that everyone has an opinion about him—traitor, hero, or somewhere in between. However, there is one undeniable fact surrounding Snowden's circumstances that has been misreported by Congress and the Executive Branch far too many times: the Intelligence Community (IC) contractor would have had almost no protections had he come forward through proper channels.

Sure, Snowden could have gone to his supervisors and disclosed his concerns. However, had that supervisor retaliated against Snowden by firing him or demoting him, he would have had no protections because he was an IC contractor. In the absence of adequate protections, IC contractors have only two alternatives to almost certain retaliation: 1) remain silent observers of wrongdoing, or 2) make anonymous leaks. More...

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Pardon Edward Snowden, now
by Jill Stein
Posted September 17, 2016

Edward Snowden, patriotOn 6 June 2013, the Guardian broke the news National Security Agency (NSA) had ordered Verizon to provide it with the phone records of its customers. As the story developed it became clear that the two other major telephone networks as well as credit card companies were doing the same thing; and that the NSA and FBI were being provided with access to server systems operated by Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Skype. On 11 June the Guardian reported the source as Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who had been working at the NSA for four years.

Snowden believed it was important for him to publicly acknowledge his role in order to provide a human face to the story. He knew he was putting his life at risk and exposing himself to decades of incarceration. "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them," he explained. Snowden hoped to trigger a debate "about the kind of world we want to live in." The US government began an immediate campaign to track, harass and silence him. More...

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Texas Ranch Owner Battles TransCanada to Restore Her Pipeline-Scarred Land
By Julie Dermansky
Posted September 6, 2016

NYPD protecting thos stealing their pensions from their accusersEleanor Fairchild, an 82-year-old grandmother who owns a 425-acre ranch outside of Winnsboro, Texas, has advice for anyone who is asked to sign a contract by a company that wants to build a pipeline to transport tar sands oil on their land: "Don't sign it."

During a recent visit to her ranch, I saw the damage to her land caused by the installation of TransCanada's Gulf Coast Pipeline, which is the original southern route of the Keystone XL pipeline before the project was broken into segments. I first met Fairchild in October 2012, a few days after she was arrested, along with environmentalist actress Daryl Hannah. The two had stood in the way of land-moving vehicles on Fairchild's land where TransCanada had started clearing trees and readying a right-of-way to install its pipeline. At that time, Fairchild was refusing to make a deal with TransCanada, but the company moved forward with clearing her land anyway. More...

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Judge Rules Government Can Ban Vegetable Gardens Because They're 'Ugly'
by Matt Agorist
Posted September 2, 2016

Judge Monica GordoLast week, a Miami-Dade judge became the focus of much-deserved anger when she ruled on an ordinance banning front yard vegetable gardens. The village of Miami Shores, according to the ruling, has every right to take legal action against residents who dare to grow food in their own yards because they are "ugly."

The ruling was a whopping ten pages long as it was filled with legal analysis and definitions of what constitutes a vegetable. Even though she ruled in favor of the ban, Judge Monica Gordo acknowledged that she wasn't quite sure how a vegetable garden can ruin the aesthetics of one's property. However, she stated that the democratically elected government has every right to dictate what constitutes an ugly front yard, and gardens are apparently a contributing factor. More...

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Here's What Happened After Portugal Decriminalized All Drugs, from Pot to Cocaine
by Zach Cartwright
Posted August 25, 2016

war on drugs is an abject failureAs America grapples with a heroin epidemic, Portugal serves as an example of how to curb addiction to illicit drugs without relying on mass incarceration. By systematically moving to decriminalize all drugs, from marijuana to heroin, Portugal has successfully reduced their addiction rate by roughly 50 percent. In Portugal, addiction is seen not as a crime to punish, but as a public health crisis that should be addressed holistically.

In 2001, addiction was so rampant in Portugal that roughly 0.7 percent of 10.36 million Portuguese citizens, or 72,530 people, had used heroin at least once. Other than England and Wales, Portugal was the most addicted nation in Europe. The government commissioned a panel of doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and activists to determine the best solution for tackling the addiction crisis. The panel recommended full decriminalization of every drug. 15 years later, the results are obvious — decriminalization works. More...

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Wall Street's Protection Racket: Mandatory Arbitration
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted August 24, 2016

binding arbitration - bypassing the court systemWhat people across Wall Street cannot figure out is why the Board of JPMorgan Chase, America's biggest bank by assets, didn't sack its CEO, Jamie Dimon, at some point between the bank's first two felony counts in 2014 and its third felony count in 2015. Or, as two trial lawyers, Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gotthoffer point out on their web site, during the past five years as JPMorgan Chase racked up $35.7 billion in fines and settlements for "fraudulent and illegal practices."

JPMorgan Chase's abuses of its own customers are so vast that Chaitman and Gotthoffer had to create a Wheel of Misfortune to catalog the scams for ease of viewing by the public. More...

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Here's how the government is stealing more than ever before–
by Simon Black
Posted August 15, 2016

guilty until proven innocentThe year was 1986. And the US government took in $93.7 million through a little known authority called "Civil Asset Forfeiture".

As you're likely aware, Civil Asset Forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets from private citizens without any due process or judicial oversight. People can be deprived of their private property without ever having been even charged with a crime, let alone never having actually committed one.

The horror stories of its abuse are endless. People who have never done anything wrong have had their life's savings, homes, and business assets confiscated without so much as a warrant. This constitutes theft, plain and simple. And like most government initiatives, it started small. By 2014, that figure had grown 4,667% to a whopping $4.5 billion. And we learned in 2015 that the government stole so much private property from its citizens that the total amount exceeded the value of all property stolen by every thief and felon in America combined. More...

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Thousands of Americans are being hounded mercilessly for debts they don't owe.
By Jim Hightower
Posted August 13, 2016

immoral and illegal debt collectionConsider the gang of debt collection firms that are thugglishly rampaging across the country ruthlessly abusing consumer rights and common decency. Susan Macharia, a California administrative employee, is one of thousands of middle-income and low-wage workers each year who get robbed by these relentless money grabbers. Out of the blue, she got a rude call in January from a collector demanding she pay $10,000 for a credit card debt she ran up in 2003.

Only, Macharia had no such debt. In fact, as she told the New York Times, she didn't even have a credit card until 2013. Yet, the collection agency declared it had a copy of a 2006 court judgement for non-payment filed against her, addressed to her California residence—so pay up or else! More...

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Eric Holder's Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned
by David Dayden
Posted July 15, 2016

Eric Holder protecting the bankersEric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to bring charges.

Many critics have long suspected that was bullshit, and that Holder, for a combination of political, self-serving, and craven reasons, held his department back. A new, thoroughly-documented report from the House Financial Services Committee supports that theory. It recounts how career prosecutors in 2012 wanted to criminally charge the global bank HSBC for facilitating money laundering for Mexican drug lords and terrorist groups. But Holder said no. More...

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Abolish the FBI
by Ryan McMaken
Posted July 13, 2016

FBI broke federal lawLike all employees of the FBI, James Comey lives off the sweat of the American taxpayer. His large salary, upon retirement, will be converted into a very generous pension. Like most federal employees in a high ranking position like his, Comey continues to look forward to decades of living at a standard of living far above what is experienced by ordinary people in the private sector.

To maintain this life of comfort, all he had to do was agree to look the other way as a powerful politician clearly — by Comey's own admission — broke federal law. More...

The Law is the Law, Unless You're An Elite!

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FBI Director James Comey Breaks Federal Prosecutor Rules by Smearing but Not Indicting Clinton Over Emails
By Steven Rosenfeld
Posted July 9, 2016

Comey betrayed his oath of officeFBI director James Comey's decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over the fact that 110 of 30,000 private emails she sent while Secretary of State were classified (an error rate of 0.36 percent) is now a full-on national political frenzy.

What almost nobody is questioning is whether the FBI director crossed the line, abusing his discretion and his power, by smearing Clinton in the press and interfering in a political campaign. The Department of Justice's manual for federal prosecutors bars them from making statements about people who aren't indicted. More...

During testimony before Congress on Thursday, FBI Director James Comey stated that the FBI's interview with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not under oath or recorded. How convenient!

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Banana Republic: One System of Justice for the Powerful (Like Clinton)
… and Another For Everyone Else

by Washington's Blog
Posted July 8, 2016

Clinton will have to face justiceFBI Director Comey's announcement that he doesn't think Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted for sharing government documents on her private, unsecured email server is very troubling … Indeed, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the fatcats … and one for everyone else.

After all, the government protects criminal wrongdoing by prosecuting whistleblowers. The Obama administration has sentenced whistleblowers to dozens of times the jail time of all other presidents COMBINED). And the government has framed whistleblowers with false evidence. And yet the government goes to great lengths to protect the elites against charges of criminal wrongdoing. More...

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Foreclosure Fraud Is Supposed to Be a Thing of the Past, But It Happens Every Day
by David Dayden
Posted July 4, 2016

foreclosure fraud still happeningEVERY DAY IN AMERICA, people continue to be kicked out of their homes based on false documents. The settlements over allegations of robosigning, faulty paperwork, and illegal mortgage servicing didn't end the misconduct. And law enforcement, along with most judges and politicians, have looked away in the mistaken belief that they wrapped up a scandal that just goes on and on.

When the Justice Department and state attorneys general finished their press conferences lauding big headline settlement penalties (numbers that shrink upon inspection), they neglected the ongoing chaos in our courts. People have been tied up in foreclosure nightmares for nearly a decade, with the same kinds of false documents used to grease the evictions. More...

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'We the Prisoners': The Demise of the Fourth Amendment
By John W. Whitehead
Posted July 2, 2016

prisoner and guardsIn a carceral state—a.k.a. a prison state or a police state—there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords.

In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.

In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards. More...

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Cheney, Rothschild, and Fox News' Murdoch Begin Drilling for Oil in Syria - A Violation of Int'l Law
by Claire Bernish
Posted June 17, 2016

so why does our government say we are in Syria?In addition to the eyebrow-raising cabal of Eitam, Murdoch, Cheney, and Rothschild, Genie Oil and Gas appointed new members to its Strategic Advisory Board last September, including:

Dr. Lawrence Summers, 71st Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council under Pres. Obama; former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, who is credited with helping pass the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Bill while she chaired the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, who became an energy insider after serving as the Clinton administration's Energy Secretary; and former Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey, who co-founded the U.S. Energy Security Council. More...

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FCC's Net neutrality rules win big in appeals court
by Marguerite Reardon
Posted June 16, 2016

Net neutrality works for peopleThe Federal Communications Commission has won a major victory in its decade-long battle to keep the internet open. In a ruling issued Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the rules the agency imposed in February 2015.

The decision confirms the FCC's contention that it has the authority to place broadband providers under some of the same strict regulations that have governed telephone networks for more than 80 years. The appeals court ruling could be the last word in a high-stakes argument over the business side of the internet, but the broadband and wireless industries will likely look for cracks in the decision that they may use in an appeal to the US Supreme Court. More...

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How the IRS Used Civil Asset Forfeiture to Ruin the Lives of Two Connecticut Bakers
by Michael Krieger
Posted June 13, 2016

civil asset forfeiture - guilty until proven innocentIt's been a while since I've reported on the lawless and barbaric practice of civil asset forfeiture. However, just because it hasn't been a focus doesn't mean it isn't happening. Indeed, it appears the same federal agencies that couldn't find a bank executive they didn't want to coddle, take particular pleasure in harassing and abusing average Americans generally, and small businesspeople in particular.

Once the government seizes property, it's difficult to get back. Unlike in criminal trials, where suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty, property owners must often prove their innocence in civil forfeiture cases. More...

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Amid a Growing Movement to Close Rikers, One Prisoner Approaches Six Years Without Trial
by Alice Speri
Posted June 7, 2016

in prison 6 years awaiting trialIn October 2010, Anna's son Jairo Pastoressa was arrested for stabbing and killing a young man during a dispute. He was charged with murder and denied bail and has been sitting in jail for 67 months, waiting for a trial that keeps being postponed. Eighty-five percent of Rikers's nearly 10,000 detainees have not yet been tried. Although many are released within a week, some remain in the jail for years as their cases drag through New York's chronically slow court system.

For years he was put on medication that turned him into "a zombie." He was sexually assaulted by female guards and often attacked by other inmates. He's half white and half Afro-Brazilian, and in a violent environment like Rikers, where turf affiliation often falls along racial lines, his ethnic background makes him even more vulnerable. More...

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Dear Mr. Holder: Here's Why Edward Snowden Can't Get a Fair Trial in Your National Security State
by Juan Cole
Posted June 2, 2016

stop spying on usSo Holder is lying. The only question is why. Is this an attempt to go on justifying the Obama administration's despicable war on whistle blowers? Or does Holder think Snowden will be so stupid as to be enticed back with a few false promises?

Holder is either amazingly ignorant or being disingenuous when he suggests that Snowden would be allowed to "make his case" if he returned to the US. No one outside the penal justice system would ever see him again, the moment he set foot here, assuming he was not given a prior deal. He could maybe try to explain himself to the prison guards, assuming they didn't stick him in solitary. Here are some reasons Mr. Snowden would be unwise to trust himself to that system, given the charges against him: More...

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Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga
by Jenna McLaughlin and Dan Froomkin
Posted June 2, 2016

John Crane - whistleblowerTHE GUARDIAN PUBLISHED a stunning new chapter in the saga of NSA whistleblowers on Sunday, revealing a new key player: John Crane, a former assistant inspector general at the Pentagon who was responsible for protecting whistleblowers, then forced to become one himself when the process failed.

An article by Mark Hertsgaard, adapted from his new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden, describes how former NSA official Thomas Drake went through proper channels in his attempt to expose civil-liberties violations at the NSA — and was punished for it. The article vindicates open-government activists who have long argued that whistleblower protections aren't sufficient in the national security realm.

It vindicates NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who, well aware of what happened to Drake, gave up his attempts to go through traditional whistleblower channels – and instead handed over his trove of classified documents directly to journalists. More...

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FBI Told Cops to Recreate Evidence From Secret Cell-Phone Trackers
by Jenna McLaughlin
Posted May 26, 2016

Stingray device for illegal surveillanceA RECENTLY DISCLOSED document shows the FBI telling a local police department that the bureau's covert cell-phone tracking equipment is so secret that any evidence acquired through its use needs to be recreated in some other way before being introduced at trial.

"Information obtained through the use of the equipment is FOR LEAD PURPOSES ONLY," FBI special agent James E. Finch wrote to Chief Bill Citty of the Oklahoma City Police Department. The official notice, dated September 2014, said such information "may not be used as primary evidence in any affidavits, hearings or trials. This equipment provides general location information about a cellular device, and your agency understands it is required to use additional and independent investigative means and methods, such as historical cellular analysis, that would be admissible at trial to corroborate information concerning the location of the target obtained through the use of this equipment." More...

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Hacker Arrested And Jailed After Exposing Flaws In Election Website
by Claire Bernish
Posted May 16, 2016

electronic voting machines contain insecure flawsA hacker in Florida exposed security vulnerabilities in one county's elections web domains so officials could fix the problem — but, instead, he ended up behind bars. Hacker David Michael Levin, owner of Vanguard Cybersecurity, was arrested on Wednesday after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received a referral from the Lee County Sheriff's Office after his apparently misguided attempt to help prevent election fraud by pointing out online vulnerabilities.

After spending six hours in jail, where he was held on $15,000 bond, Levin now faces three counts of gaining unauthorized access to a computer, network, or electronic instrument — despite the fact he had not only been doing his job, but also alerted the county to a potentially serious security concern. More...

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CFPB issues proposed rule on forced arbitration clauses that ban class actions
by Deepak Gupta
Posted May 9, 2016

Forced arbitration clausesThe CFPB has just released its much-awaited proposed rule on forced arbitration clauses -- arguably the single biggest step the Bureau can take to level the playing field for American consumers.

If adopted after notice-and-comment, the CFPB's new rule would prohibit forced arbitration clauses that prevent consumers from banding together to hold companies accountable in court, effectively nullifying the impact of the Supreme Court's AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion decision in the market for consumer financial services. The proposed rule would also require companies with arbitration clauses to send the CFPB the claims, awards, and other information filed in arbitration cases, to allow the Bureau to monitor what until now has largely been a secret system of corporate tribunals. More...

If this proposed rule is adopted, it will be a HUGE step in restoring consumer rights in a legal environment that has been almost completely co-opted by the trans-national corporations.

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'Seriously Sinister': Foremost Bank Whistleblower Says CIA Behind Panama Papers
by Lauren McCauley
Posted May 3, 2016

Panama papers were CIA leakWhile many observers have questioned why the Panama Papers leak has largely focused on the economic corruption of obstensible U.S. adversaries, such as associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a notable tax evasion whistleblower has come forward with what he believes is a plausible answer.

"The CIA I'm sure is behind this, in my opinion," said former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, who in 2005 blew the whistle on the Swiss banking giant, which lead to a U.S. government investigation into massive fraud and bank-enabled tax evasion. More...

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State-Sanctioned Theft - The Failed War On Drugs And Cops' Abuse Of Civil Forfeiture
by Lorelei McFly
Posted May 2016

Hillary and Trump share same Delaware tax haven addressOne of the biggest lies our government tells us is that it wages the War on Drugs to keep us safe. More than 40 years after it was started, we know that it has been a colossally-expensive epic failure on its stated goals, was intentionally designed to further disenfranchise marginalized groups, and has become a full-fledged assault on our civil liberties.

Even with all the billions of tax dollars it spends each year, and all the flashy photo ops of seized drugs stacked on tables, the Drug Enforcement Agency only stops 1% of the illegal drug supply from being distributed in America, according to the video below. Not only is law enforcement pathetically inept at stemming the flow of drugs, they are active participants in the illicit drug trade at both the federal and local level: .... More..

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LuxLeaks Whistleblowers on Trial For Revealing Tax Avoidance Schemes
By Andrew Emett
Posted April 27, 2016

Luxembourg leaksInfamous for exposing the multi-billion dollar tax avoidance scandal known as the Luxembourg Leaks, or LuxLeaks, two whistleblowers and a journalist began trial on Tuesday for allegedly violating trade secrets and other theft charges. Although Transparency International has called for a dismissal of their case, Luxembourg does not consider the defendants to be whistleblowers.

Despite the fact that the LuxLeaks scandal was the largest exposure of corporate tax evasion documents prior to the Panama Papers, the government of Luxembourg does not recognize Deltour and Halet as whistleblowers, nor does it recognize Perrin's journalistic freedom. In a recent statement, Transparency International wrote, "Under the Luxembourg law, Deltour is not considered a whistleblower because the legislation is limited to corruption offenses. In addition, it only protects whistleblowers against dismissal, not against prosecution. More...

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Days After Wells Fargo Admits Defrauding The Government, NY Fed Rewards It With Primary Dealer Status
by Zero Hedge
Posted April 23, 2016

no justice in the U.S.Back on April 9 we described the latest example of how criminal Wall Street behavior leads to zero prison time and just more slaps on the wrist, when Warren Buffett's favorite bank, Wells Fargo, admitted to "deceiving" the U.S. government into insuring thousands of risky mortgages. According to the settlement, Wells Fargo "admits, acknowledges, and accepts responsibility" for having from 2001 to 2008 falsely certified that many of its home loans qualified for Federal Housing Administration insurance.

In short: it admitted that is deceived and defrauded the government. Its "punishment" - a $1.2 billion settlement of a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit, the highest ever levied in a housing-related matter.

And now, having suffered so much trauma which led to precisely nobody going to prison, less than two weeks later it's time for Wells to get its reward: as Bloomberg reported earlier, the "bond market's most exclusive clubs got a new member" when the NY Fed granted the criminal Wells Fargo Primary Dealer status. More...

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Bankers Above The Law; The Veneer Of Justice In A Kingdom Of Crime
by John Titus
Posted March 26, 2016

veneer of justiceThe criminal global banking cartel has effected a coup d'etat in the U.S. This is why the same criminal financial elite that saw 1000 of its members go to prison 20 years ago (after the S&L crisis) is now above the law.''

To date, the question of why the U.S. Department of Justice has failed to prosecute even one too-big-to-fail bank for the pervasive criminal frauds that drove the multi-trillion-dollar economic meltdown of 2008 has been answered pretty much with shrugs. The DOJ never truly investigated Wall Street crime due largely to the so-called collateral consequences doctrine—really explains how rather than why prosecutions have been scuttled. More...

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JPM Announces $1.9 Billion Buyback One Month After CEO Jamie Dimon Buys 500,000 Shares In The Open Market
by Zero Hedge
Posted Match 20, 2016

Jamie Dimon to Congress: "I own you"On February 12, Jamie Dimon made headlines when he bought 500,000 shares, or some $26 million worth of JPM stock which coming one day after the market hit its lowest point in the recent selloff, has become known as the "Dimon Bottom." Was it just good timing or was there something more to the purchase some wondered. As it turns out the purchase may have been nothing more than Jamie frontrunning his own company's multi-billion buyback, because as JPM announced moments ago, the company of which he is a CEO, just authorized the repurchase of an additional $1.9 billion in stock over the next three months, thereby assuring CEO Jamie of an even great profits on his recent acquisition.

And now the legal question: did Dimon have knowledge that JPMorgan would conduct this buyback just one month ago when he purchased JPM stock in the open market to make a "statement." We doubt any regulators will ask this obvious question as even if he did, it will surely be chalked up to merely just another "tempest in a teacup." More...

We are certain that he knew nothing about the buyback until he read it in the news. What a meritocracy we live in.

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Ireland to Prosecute Top Banker Who Destroyed Their Economy — Guess Where He Was Hiding
by Claire Bernish
Posted March 18, 2016

jail the bankersA former head of a major Irish bank has been extradited from the U.S. and brought before Dublin District Court to face several charges stemming from the bank's role in the 2008 financial crisis.

David Drumm, former chief executive of Irish Anglo Bank from 2005 until 2008, had been arrested in Boston in October 2015, and originally attempted to fight extradition — but he recently withdrew the objection and was returned to Ireland early on Monday.

Drumm faces 33 charges in Ireland, which echoes Iceland's unprecedented move to hold its bankers criminally accountable for their role in that country's economic meltdown. More...

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A New Wave of Climate Insurgents Defines Itself as Law-Enforcers
By Jeremy Brecher
Posted Narch 12, 2016

civil disobedience as law enforcesOne in six Americans say they would personally engage in nonviolent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse. That's about 40 million adults. The fate of the earth may depend on them - and others around the world - doing so.

Such actions are about to take a quantum leap both in numbers and in global coordination. From May 4-15, 350.org, Greenpeace and many other organizations - notably grassroots movement organizations from every continent - will hold a global week of action called Break Free From Fossil Fuels. They envision tens of thousands of people mobilizing worldwide to demand a rapid transition to renewable energy. Events will include nonviolent direct actions targeting extraction sites or infrastructure; pressure on political targets to shift policies around fossil fuel development; and support for clean energy alternatives. More...

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Using Courts To Build The Movement
by Kevin Zeeze and Margaret Flowers
Posted February 8, 2016

building the movementThe US Constitution is a property rights constitution, with human rights a secondary thought. Laws have followed the lead of the Constitution and have strengthened property rights. The worst crimes of US history have been protected by law – slavery, taking of Indigenous lands, attacks on unions, denying women the vote and money as speech in elections. As a result, when politicians say we are a nation of laws, it often means the courts will be used to protect corporate interests in making a profit even if doing so destroys communities, people and the environment.

But, courts do not always side with the corporations and government. There are times when an enlightenment comes to the judiciary and some begin to rule for the people or their communities. This happens because even courts reflect the political moment – or zeitgeist – when the culture takes a turn thanks to people organizing to express their interests wherever they can.

We may be at the beginning of such a moment, perhaps too soon to say and perhaps we are being optimistic. It shows the importance of the movement building national consensus because such consensus impacts everything. More...

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TPP Threatens Security and Safety by Locking Down U.S. Policy on Source Code Audit
By Jeremy Malcolm
Posted February 23, 2016

TPP threatens computer securityMultiple recent reports on serious security vulnerabilities in cable modems and routers paint a dire picture of the state of security of the devices that millions of users depend upon to connect to the Internet. Such vulnerabilities can be exploited to disable our access, snoop on our personal information, or launch malicious attacks on third parties. Other devices that are equally important for our security, or even to our physical health and safety—such as home alarm systems and, terrifyingly, a cardio server used in hospitals—have also been the subject of recent vulnerability disclosures.

One tool that security researchers can use to more quickly uncover and eliminate such vulnerabilities is having access to the source code of the software embedded in these devices. Of course, that can usually only be done if the source code is made available to them by the supplier. More...

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An Idiot's Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud
by David Dayden
Posted February 19, 2016

too big to jail, is too bigA new group called Bank Whistleblowers United have just pushed out a comprehensive plan they think would put the executive branch back in the business of enthusiastically identifying, indicting, and convicting financial fraudsters — restoring accountability while protecting the public.

The cumulative credibility of the group's four founders is extremely strong. Richard Bowen is the Citigroup whistleblower who unsuccessfully warned top management about the rotten condition of loans inside mortgage-backed securities. Michael Winston spoke out about similarly corrupt practices at non-bank mortgage originator Countrywide. Gary Aguirre, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, was fired for refusing to let a Wall Street banker out of an insider trading investigation.

And their ringleader is William Black, an outspoken fraud-fighter and longtime white-collar criminologist who was a two-fisted bank regulator during the savings and loan crisis and now teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). More...

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How the TPP Will Affect You and Your Digital Rights
By Maira Sutton
Posted February 18, 2016

TPP=Corporate CoupThe Internet is a diverse ecosystem of private and public stakeholders. By excluding a large sector of communities—like security researchers, artists, libraries, and user rights groups—trade negotiators skewed the priorities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards major tech companies and copyright industries that have a strong interest in maintaining and expanding their monopolies of digital services and content. Negotiated in secret for several years with overwhelming influence from powerful multinational corporate interests, it's no wonder that its provisions do little to nothing to protect our rights online or our autonomy over our own devices.

For example, everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations. Below is a list of communities who were excluded from the TPP deliberation process, and some of the main ways that the TPP's copyright and digital policy provisions will negatively impact them. More...

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Private Corporation Giving Cops "Free" License Plate Scanners In Exchange For All Data They Collect
by Justin Gardner
Posted February 5, 2016

corporations get cops to work for themTexas police departments are conspiring with a private company called Vigilant Solutions in an outrageous scheme to maximize the extortion of citizens, while collecting reams of personal information to use for commercial profit.

In the deal—dubbed "warrant redemption"—Texas law enforcement agencies get free automated license plate readers (ALPRs) as well as access to Vigilant's massive database and analytical tools. In exchange for this, police departments give Vigilant all of the data they collect on drivers, along with access to information about all outstanding court fees. The cops don't pay a dime, and Vigilant uses this information for nearly unlimited commercial purposes. More...

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Bank of Canada Lawsuit
By Joyce Nelson
Posted January 26, 2016

greedy bankersOne of the most important legal cases in Canadian history is slowly inching its way towards trial. Launched in 2011 by the Toronto-based Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER), the lawsuit would require the publicly-owned Bank of Canada to return to its pre-1974 mandate and practice of lending interest-free money to federal, provincial, and municipal governments for infrastructure and healthcare spending.

Created during the Great Depression, the Bank of Canada funded a wide range of public infrastructure projects from 1938 to 1974, without our governments incurring private debt. Projects like the Trans-Canada highway system, the St. Lawrence Seaway, universities, and hospitals were all funded by interest-free loans from the Bank of Canada. More...

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The EPA's Hush-Hush Response to the Flint Water Crisis
by Lauren McCauley
Posted January 16, 2016

NYPD protecting thos stealing their pensions from their accusersOfficials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for months knew about the poisoning of the Flint water supply and, rather than raise alarm and stop residents from drinking the lead-tainted water, took a backseat on the matter.

The Detroit News reported late Tuesday that federal officials began making inquiries in February and the region's top EPA official, Susan Hedman, confirmed to the newspaper this week that as early as April the agency knew about the lack of corrosion controls in the water system. All the while, residents of the poor, largely African American community blindly continued to drink the poisoned water. In September, researchers at nearby Hurley Children's Hospital discovered that children living in two Flint zip codes had elevated levels of lead in their blood. More...

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$5M Jury Award for One Foreclosure Fraud Makes U.S. Punishment Look Trivial
by David Dayen
Posted December 20, 2015

fraudulent foreclosuresA Texas jury's recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than one-tenth of a penny on the dollar.

With the jury award in the Wolf family case, we can now assess the true financial exposure on these banks and mortgage companies. There have been roughly 6 million foreclosures since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, and virtually all of them were completed with robo-signed, fabricated or fraudulent documents in one form or another. If we apply the $5.38 million jury award to all of those loans, you have a potential cost from the foreclosure fraud scandal of $32.28 trillion. More...

We can all thank Eric Holder, who as Attorney General of the United States decided to protect the big banks from lawsuits for mortgage fraud, while millions of families were thrown into the streets

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Court Ruling Against Chicago Sheriff Proves Thuggish Anti-WikiLeaks Blockade Was Unconstitutional
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted December 18, 2015

Lieberman censored WikiLeaksThe most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks, which had just published the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and diplomatic cables.

That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy. In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it. More...

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Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying for Privacy Destroying "Cyber Security" Bill
by Michael Krieger
Posted December 12, 2015

corporate spyingThere's a privacy destroying bill moving through Congress called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, and it's imperative that the American public stop it in its tracks. Here are a few bullet points on the bill from Fight for the Future:

  • All privacy policies effectively null and void. Companies can share any private user data with the government, without a warrant, as long as the government says it is being used for a "cybersecurity" purpose.
  • In exchange, companies are given blanket immunity from civil and criminal laws, like fraud, money laundering, or illegal wiretapping (if a violation was committed or exposed in the process of sharing data).
  • Data is shared with a wide array of government agencies, from the FBI and NSA, to the IRS and local law enforcement. Many of these agencies have been breached within the last year and have outdated security systems, opening up the doors to even more cyber attacks.
  • Companies that play along can get otherwise classified intelligence data from the government, including private information about their competitors. More...
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Whistle-blower intimidation: U.S. freezes bank accounts and credit cards of former Air Force drone operators
by William N. Grigg
Posted December 6, 2015

drone whistle blowersFor having the courage to come forward and expose the drone program for the indiscriminate murder that it is, 4 vets are under attack from the government they once served.

The U.S. Government failed to deter them through threats of criminal prosecution, and clumsy attempts to intimidate their families. Now four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen, according to human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack.

"My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen," Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense - but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State. More...

This entire drone whistle blower story is a poignant example of the total failure of the main stream media to provide the public with news because it is not the narrative the government wants the masses to hear. This should also serve as a warning about the dangers of the cashless society where the government has the ability to make one "disappear" economically.

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Fractional-Reserve Banking is Pure Fraud, Part I
by Jeff Nielson
Posted November 25, 2015

banking is a ponzi scheme fraudThis is a commentary which should never have needed to be written. What is euphemistically called "fractional-reserve banking" is obvious fraud, and obvious crime. By its very definition; it transforms the banking sector of an economy into a leveraged Ponzi-scheme, and as with all Ponzi-schemes, there is no possible "happy ending" here.

In the original form of our "fractional-reserve" monetary system, for every $1 which our central banks officially printed, the banking system created an additional $9 out of thin air, via fractional-reserve fraud. Simply put; 90% of all the actual "money" in our monetary system, and our economies, was conjured out of thin air , by private banks, via fractional-reserve fraud.

This is fractional-reserve banking, presented as the naked fraud that it is: bankers "lending" not only more than what they possess, but lending out "money" which grossly exceeds the amount of capital in existence. Conjuring oceans of paper out of thin air. It is inherently criminal. It is inherently fraudulent. More...

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Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice
By Jessica Silver-Grennberg and Robert Gebeloff
Posted November 19, 2015

private corporate court systemOn Page 5 of a credit card contract used by American Express, beneath an explainer on interest rates and late fees, past the details about annual membership, is a clause that most customers probably miss. If cardholders have a problem with their account, American Express explains, the company "may elect to resolve any claim by individual arbitration."

Those nine words are at the center of a far-reaching power play orchestrated by American corporations, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices. More...

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Police Civil Asset Forfeitures Exceed All Burglaries in 2014
by Martin Armstrong
Posted November 18, 2015

police steal more than the criminalsBetween 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually. In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989. Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year. According to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.

The police have been violating the laws to confiscate assets all over the country. A scathing report on California warns of pervasive abuse by police to rob the people without proving that any crime occurred. Even Eric Holder came out in January suggesting reform because of the widespread abuse of the civil asset forfeiture laws by police. More...

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Supreme Court gives police using deadly force in pursuits more immunity
By David G. Savage
Posted November 14, 2015

US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court made it harder Monday to sue police for using deadly force against fleeing suspects, ruling that officers are immune from lawsuits unless it is "beyond debate" that a shooting was unjustified and clearly unreasonable. By an 8-1 vote, the justices tossed out an excessive force suit against a Texas police officer who ignored his supervisor's warning and took a high-powered rifle to a highway overpass to shoot at an approaching car. The officer said he hoped to stop the car but instead shot and killed the driver.

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faulted the majority for "sanctioning a 'shoot first, think later' approach to policing." The court's decision comes at a time of growing concern over police shootings, including the killing last week of a 6-year-old Louisiana boy who was in the back seat of his father's car. More...

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When will America Jail their Banksters?
by James Hall
Posted November 10, 2015

protecting the those who are stealing their pensionsThe most dramatic contrast in the rule of law against the architects of financial theft can be seen in the way America protects their banksters and the accountability that Iceland imposed on their financial crooks. The fact that the orthodox financial press refuses to cover the incarceration of Iceland's Bankers Face 74 Years in Prison While US Banks Profit After Your Bailout, is clear proof who really controls the political and economic institutions in the United States. As for the courts, America has long ago shredded the rule of law in this country.

Pray tell, when will the public wake up from their systematic induced lobotomy from a culture designed to purge even a fundamental understanding of money, finance and economics? A society based upon psychosurgery has produced the densest population on the planet. Stuck on Stupid does not say enough about the fools that keep obeying the dictates of the financial elites. More...

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'Untouchables': Obama Cronies "Protected Wall Street's Most Criminal From Prosecution"
by Mac Slavo
Posted November 2, 2015

Banks always collectThe slow motion financial holocaust has been underway for some time now. Goldman Sach recently commented that we are in the third wave of the great crisis. What happened in 2008 remains directly relevant to the personal financial risk that most Americans face at the brink of the next phase of the collapse.

It's almost like they're looking for a sacrificial lamb… the banks have gotten away with murder too many times to count. Those who might be tried under a truly fair system instead stand firm with their understanding of impunity, an arrangement befitting their position and stature in society, that they will never be seriously investigated, much less prosecuted, for their role in the manipulation that caused the biggest problems. More...

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7 Simple Steps on How to Fight Speeding Tickets and Win — From an Ex-Cop
By Free Thought Project
Posted October 27, 2015

fighting speeding ticketIt is estimated that in 2014 there were over 41,000,000 speeding tickets issued in the USA and that over 25% of these were issued in error. The most common errors include shadowing, RFI inference, cosine angle error, mechanical interference and devices that are out of calibration.

Before, during and right after the stop are the most critical times to prepare your defense if you plan on fighting your speeding ticket. Because of this, it's CRITICAL that you remember EVERYTHING that is happening around you and document it. So if you're planning on fighting your ticket in court, we put together this guide to help disqualify the officer's testimony and his/her equipment, so you have a better chance of winning your case. More...

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Icelandic Bankers Are Not Too Big To Jail: Face 74 Years In Prison As US Bankers Bask In Bailouts
by Claire Bernish
Posted October 26, 2015

Iceland jailed its criminal bankersIn the aftermath of the bubble, GDP collapsed -7.6%, unemployment exploded above 8%, and inflation surged to above 12%. Banking liabilities, mainly denominated in foreign currencies, ballooned to 20x the budget of the State.

Iceland did not re-leverage their financial system, bail out their banks, print money, or use public assets to support the stock market. Iceland refused to promote private risk with public money. They did the exact opposite and let the private banks crash and prosecuted officials for negligence.

Today the Icelandic economy is rapidly expanding with low unemployment, high growth, and declining debt even when Europe is printing money to avoid falling back into deflation. It is hard to believe that just 7 years ago Iceland faced arguably the direst conditions in the region. The banking system held assets at 10x the size of GDP after a decade of de-regulation in the lead up to the crash. More...

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'Neutralizing' John Lennon: One Man Against the 'Monster'
By John W. Whitehead
Posted October 11, 2015

John Lennon was FBI targetLong before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government's war crimes and the National Security Agency's abuse of its surveillance powers, it was John Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government's warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files collected on his activities and associations.

For a little while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Years after Lennon's assassination it would be revealed that the FBI had collected 281 pages of files on him, including song lyrics, a letter from J. Edgar Hoover directing the agency to spy on the musician, and various written orders calling on government agents to set the stage to set Lennon up for a drug bust. More...

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Edward Snowden: "They've said they won't torture me…"
by Simon Black
Posted October 10, 2105

Government promised Snowden not to torture himJust in case anyone still foolishly believes that there's a shred of decency left in the 'justice' system in the Land of the Free, I would humbly present exhibit A: Edward Snowden. In a recent interview with the BBC, Edward Snowden disclosed that he has offered numerous times to the US government to return to the United States, face trial, and if necessary, spend time in prison.

As he told the BBC, "So far they've said they won't torture me. Which is a start, I think. But we haven't gotten further than that." The fact that torture even has to be mentioned is utterly pathetic. And it pretty much tells you everything you need to know about justice in America… and what happens if you dare cross the government. More...

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Goldman Sachs Beats Another Fraud Rap: Can the Public Ever Get Justice in New York Courts?
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted October 4, 2015

no justice for the peopleJudge Victor MarreroYesterday, in a stunning decision packed with Orwellian reverse speak, Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (where cases against Wall Street firms are thrown out like penny candy by a carnival barker) dismissed claims against Goldman Sachs in a case so fraught with the appearance of corruption that it had commanded an investigation by the U.S. Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In writing his decision to dismiss the claims by plaintiffs, the Judge actually acknowledged that employees of Goldman Sachs had called what they were selling to their customers "crap" and "junk" in internal emails that were introduced into evidence. Judge Marrero further conceded that Goldman Sachs was aware of deteriorating fundamentals in the subprime mortgage market and needed to "flip" its risk onto the shoulders of its customers. But none of this convinced the Federal Judge – a so-called steward of the public trust – that he had an obligation to let the case proceed to trial and allow citizen jurors make their own determinations in the matter. More...

Another fine example of how our system is run by big money for big money and how even our judicary is hopelessly corrupted. So much for "liberty and justice for all".

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Citigroup Was Using Taxpayer Bailout Funds While Committing Its Foreign Currency Felony
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted October 2, 2015

Eric Holder protected big bankersWhile the U.S. taxpayer was involuntarily shoveling over $2 trillion in bailout funds and loans into Citigroup from 2008 to 2010, the bank was committing at least one admitted felony on its foreign currency trading desk. And if ongoing testimony in a London court is to be believed, the U.S. Justice Department could have brought charges against individuals instead of settling its case for one single felony charge against the banking unit only.

Citigroup's banking unit, Citicorp, along with three other global banks (JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and RBS) admitted to a felony charge of rigging the foreign currency market brought by the U.S. Justice Department on May 20. Approximately $5 trillion in foreign currency trades are made globally each day, with billions of dollars to be made through advance knowledge of where prices will be fixed. More...

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Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order; First Time in 14 Years
by Jenna McLaughlin
Posted September 24, 2015

big brother is watchingA federal district court judge in New York has fully lifted an 11-year-old gag order that the FBI imposed on Nicholas Merrill, the founder of a small Internet service provider, to prevent him from speaking about a national security letter served on him in 2004.

It marked the first time such a gag order has been fully lifted since the USA Patriot Act in 2001 expanded the FBI's authority to unilaterally demand that certain businesses turn over records simply by writing a letter saying the information is needed for national security purposes. Like other NSL recipients, Merrill was also instructed that he could not mention the order to anyone.

Merrill said the court ruling allowing him to discuss the details of the sealed request in full will allow him to ignite a debate among Americans about the unchecked surveillance powers of the U.S. government. More...

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How the Department of Justice is Actively Trying to Prevent Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
by Michael Krieger
Posted September 18, 2015

government sanctioned theftCivil asset forfeiture is one of the most unethical and barbaric practices routinely performed by law enforcement in these United States today. Naturally, the Department of Justice is doing everything it can to protect the practice.

When I say that the rule of law is dead in America, I am not exaggerating. In fact, with each passing day it becomes increasingly obvious that the Justice Department not only has no interest in justice, it appears to view its primary role as coddling and protecting lawlessness amongst the so-called "elite" and their minions. More...

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Obama's Heroin Strategy: Treating Addiction or Arming the Drug War?
By Mike Ludwig
Posted August 30, 2015

war on drugsCritics say the Obama administration should put its money where its mouth is. The federal drug control budget has continued to grow since the war on drugs began 40 years ago and totaled roughly $25 billion in 2015, according to the DPA. A majority of the funding - about 55 percent - still goes to law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping the flow of drugs by cracking down on trafficking, while less than 45 percent is devoted to education, prevention and treatment.

The 2016 budget is not much different, and local and state governments spend an additional $25 billion on drug control every year.
Most police departments in the United States have not switched to treating drug users as patients instead of criminals. "We haven't changed the reward mechanisms for any of our bureaucracies," Tree said. "They should be measured on outcomes rather than a body count. How many people have you helped, how many drug overdoses have you stopped, not how many people you can round up and prosecute, which of course is the low-hanging fruit of low-level offenders." More...

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Denver Police Arrest "Jury Nullification" Activist for Passing Out Informational Pamphlets
by Michael Krieger
Posted August 27, 2015

jury nulllification is your rightMost of you will be familiar with the concept of jury nullification. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans are not. This is precisely why Mark Iannicelli set up a "Jury Info" booth outside the Lindsay-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. In a nutshell, jury nullification is the idea that jurors can "can ignore the law and follow their conscience when they believe the law would dictate a miscarriage of justice." In other words, jurors have the right to judge the law as well as the facts. As you will see in the video at the end, this concept has centuries of precedence in these United States behind it.

When you recognize the vast power that such a concept holds, you recognize why it would be so hated by statists and authoritarians across the land. That is precisely why Mr. Iannicelli was arrested and charged with handing out information. More...

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Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution
by Jackie Miller
Posted August 15, 2015

corrupt judiciaryWhy is Rev. Edward Pinkney in prison?

One answer comes to mind from my very first meeting with Pinkney in 2003. I drove from Lansing to Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan to witness a Berrien County Commissioners meeting soon after the Benton Harbor uprising. At that eye-opening introduction, white commissioners literally laughed at Black community members' desperate appeals for justice for their young Black men, incarcerated or killed with impunity at a sickening rate. Standing outside City Hall, Pinkney said to me, "You know, they offered me a Cadillac. I said, no, thank you." The power elite in the county tried to buy him off to shut him up. It didn't work. This is one reason he sits in Lakeland state prison today.

He did not shut up then, and he has not shut up ever since. From prison, he puts pen to paper and writes pages of condemnation of the corrupt, racist corporate-political-media establishment destroying his home community, the same one forcing him to eat prison food unfit for humans. More...

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Implicated in Torture by State Prison Officials
By Eric London
Posted August 14, 2015

Cumo implicated in prisoner tortureAn investigation published Tuesday in the New York Times revealed that prison guards at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York systematically beat and tortured dozens of prisoners in June of this year. The Times report also notes that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo questioned a prisoner only hours before he was tortured. According to letters from prisoners obtained by the Times, guards rammed inmates' heads against walls, hanged one from a pipe with a plastic bag, and threatened to waterboard and kill another.

Cuomo's visit, his threats, and the beatings that followed point to his direct involvement in orchestrating the criminal violence. The fact that he would make such threats on video underscores the degree to which the forces of the American state—from police officers and prison guards up to the governor and the president—carry out the violent repression of the population brazenly and with self-assumed impunity. More...

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11 People Dead in Police Custody This Month
by Andrew Emett
Posted July 30, 2015

deaths while in police custodyAt least eleven people have been killed or found dead while in police custody this month. According to autopsy reports, their deaths have been ruled homicides, suicides, and in some cases remain medically inconclusive. Several investigative agencies have launched probes to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges for these deaths.

Arrested on July 9 for failing to pay a traffic fine, Rexdale Henry, 53, was taken to the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Five days later, on the same day as Chapman's death, guards found Henry dead in his cell around 10 a.m. on July 14. Henry's family has called for an independent autopsy, while the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the cause of his death.

While attending a rock concert in Southaven, Mississippi, Troy Goode, 30, allegedly took LSD before police arrested him for running in circles through a field on July 18. Video captured from a bystander shows Goode being hogtied with his face buried in the mattress of a stretcher and a strap over the back of his head to restrict movement. The officers ordered the witnesses to stop recording the incident and threatened to arrest Goode's family if they attempted to visit him at the Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto where he died two hours later. More...

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Obama Administration Finds New Way to Let Criminal Banks Avoid Consequences
by David Dayden
Posted July 25, 2015

bank lives matterThree top Democrats are accusing the Department of Housing and Urban Development of quietly removing a key clause in its requirements for taxpayer-guaranteed mortgage insurance in order to spare two banks recently convicted of federal crimes from being frozen out of the lucrative market.

HUD's action is the latest in a series of steps by federal agencies to eliminate real-world consequences for serial financial felons, even as the Obama administration has touted its efforts to hold banks accountable.

In this sense, the guilty plea has become as meaningless to banks as their other ways of resolving criminal charges: out-of-court settlements, or deferred prosecution agreements. "Too Big to Fail" has morphed into "Too Big to Jail" — and then again, into "Bank Lives Matter." More...

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The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System
by John W. Whitehead
Posted July 23, 2015

justice system is brokenAs I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we're operating in a new paradigm where the citizenry are presumed guilty and treated as suspects, our movements tracked, our communications monitored, our property seized and searched, our bodily integrity disregarded, and our inalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" rendered insignificant when measured against the government's priorities.

Every American is now in jeopardy of being targeted and punished for a crime he did not commit thanks to an overabundance of arcane laws. Making matters worse, by allowing government agents to operate above the law, immune from wrongdoing, we have created a situation in which the law is one-sided and top-down, used as a hammer to oppress the populace, while useless in protecting us against government abuse. More...

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The End of Freedom of Speech in Spain
by Martin Armstrong
Posted July 14, 2015

Spain following Orwell's 1984Spain has shown that it is fully on board with the Brussels authoritarian direction of ending democracy. Those in power have simply convinced themselves that the people do not understand what is good for them so they must impose their will upon the people but raw force. How does this differ in any what from the justification of imposing communism? This is the death of all freedom and it is upon our doorstep.

Here are the new laws in Spain:

If you photograph security personnel and then share these images on social media: up to €30.000 fine (particularly if photo exposes violence used against a member of the public). This fine could increase depending on the number of Instagram or social media followers you have.

Tweet or retweet information or the "location of an organized protest" can now be interpreted as an act of terrorism as it incites others to "commit a crime" (now that "demonstrating" in many ways has become a crime). Sound "1984"-ish? Read about Orwell and his time in Spain. More...

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Eric Holder, Wall Street Double Agent, Comes in From the Cold
By Matt Taibbi
Posted July 13, 2015

Eric Holder- let criminal bankers offBarack Obama's former top cop cashes in after six years of letting banks run wild. Eric Holder has gone back to work for his old firm, the white-collar defense heavyweight Covington & Burling. The former attorney general decided against going for a judgeship, saying he's not ready for the ivory tower yet. "I want to be a player," he told the National Law Journal, one would have to say ominously.

Holder will reassume his lucrative partnership (he made $2.5 million the last year he worked there) and take his seat in an office that reportedly – this is no joke – was kept empty for him in his absence. Holder denied there was anything weird about returning to one of Wall Street's favorite defense firms after six years of letting one banker after another skate on monstrous cases of fraud, tax evasion, market manipulation, money laundering, bribery and other offenses.

Here's a man who just spent six years handing out soft-touch settlements to practically every Too Big to Fail bank in the world. Now he returns to a firm that represents many of those same companies: Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, to name a few. More...

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Next-generation Crowd Control: "Calmative Agents" Will Put Entire Protests Under Sedation
By Justin Gardner
Posted July 7, 2015

mass crowd controlA few years ago the U.S. Army tested a very different type of ordnance—a "non-lethal personal suppression projectile" called the XM1063—that rains a chemical agent over people in a 2 acre area. The agent can be a sedative drug, a malodorous substance, or even something that makes everyone slip and fall. This may be a benign thing for the Army, but in the hands of the police state it is a potent tool of repression.

The idea of using "calmative agents" for crowd control is undoubtedly attractive to authorities. As people become more informed and connected, they will take to the streets to challenge the corruption of the state. Naturally, the state will develop ways to disrupt this, and they'll do it using your money. More...

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The Gangbanksters of Grab-it-All Street
By Greg Maybury
Posted June 27, 2015

liberty and justice for allThere are any number of reasons why we need to continue holding the blowtorch to the belly of Street mob, not least because of their ongoing fraudulent and reckless practices, their continuing resistance to meaningful reform measures, and with systemic risk being greater than as it ever was. Moreover, with the next presidential race looming and the U.S. economy still teetering, there'll doubtless be many folks -- those who have not quite given up the ghost on the American Dream -- hanging out for some serious, long-term solutions to an economic malaise that at least might help restore a measure of faith in said Dream. But as the saying goes, 'good luck with that'; the quadrennial 'game of thrones' that is the presidential election promises much but delivers little.

Barack Obama is living, breathing proof of that. The best they can hope for is that the U.S. economy doesn't experience another near extinction level event. More...

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Calvert County Sheriffs Act As Dominion's Private Police
By Anne Meador
Posted June 9, 2015

Calvert County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Sloane Early in the morning on Sunday, May 31, there was no traffic to speak of when two cars with Pennsylvania license plates negotiated the gentle turns and hills of Cove Point Road. A police cruiser followed them. Soon after Cove Point Road turned into Lighthouse Blvd., the two cars, still followed by the police cruiser, turned onto Holly Drive. Blue lights flashed. A sheriff's deputy wearing olive green pants and a black shirt got out and approached the first car.

"You don't belong here," he said. "You're not welcome here." As he leaned in, a white badge dangled from a lanyard around his neck. It read, "Dominion Contractor."

What happened over the next hour–an "investigation of suspicious vehicles" by ten officers and a drug-sniffing dog, which culminated in an arrest—might be traced back to the fact that the white badge had a flip side. When Dfc. Christopher Sloane turned it over, it suddenly became a Calvert County Sheriff's Department badge on a black background. More...

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Land of the Unfree – Police and Prosecutors Fight Aggressively to Retain Barbaric Right of "Civil Asset Forfeiture"
by Michael Krieger
Posted June 7, 2015

civil asset forfeiture is state sactioned theftThe fact that civil asset forfeiture continues to exist across the American landscape despite outrage and considerable media attention, is as good an example as any as to how far fallen and uncivilized our so-called "society" has become. It also proves the point demonstrated in a Princeton University study that the U.S. is not a democracy, and the desires of the people have no impact on how the country is governed.

One of the major reasons these programs have become so abused is that the police departments themselves are able to keep much of the confiscated money. So they actually have a perverse incentive to steal. As might be expected, a program that is often touted as being effective against going after major drug kingpins, actually targets the poor and disenfranchised more than anything else.

Civil asset forfeiture is state-sanctioned theft. There is no other way around it. The entire concept violates the spirit of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution. More...

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Boulder Cops Declare 'Rock Stacking' a Jailable Offense to Stop Local Artist Who Spent 7 Years Creating Sculptures
By David Edwards
Posted May 31, 2015

stacking rocks a criminal offenseMichael Grab, a Boulder artist who goes by the name Gravity Glue, said that police threatened to ticket or jail him for creating stacked river rock sculptures that the community has been enjoying for years. n a Monday Facebook post, Grab explained that a Boulder police officer had informed him that there would be stiff penalties for continuing his art.

"For the past 7 years i have been creating this art in and around Boulder, Colorado, USA. nearly every day!" he wrote. "[J]ust this weekend, one police officer has decided that balancing rocks in Boulder, Colorado is now illegal, obscurely referencing two city codes [5-4-8 and 5-4-2] about 'destruction of public property' in relation to rocks."

"So now the police have belligerently taken it upon themselves to write tickets and/or arrest ANYONE balancing rocks in Boulder, CO. and specifically threatened to ticket me and/or arrest me if they catch me in the future," the artist lamented. "[I] encourage as many people as possible (especially locals) to contact the city council here in Boulder and voice your support for this long standing tradition in Boulder. [I]t is something that an overwhelming portion of the community supports." More...

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The shocking truth about the two Chicago Police officers posing in this horrendous photo
by Shaun King
Posted May 29, 2015

who are they protecting?The Chicago Police Department fought to keep private this horrendous photo taken between 1999 and 2003 of Officers Jerome Finnigan and Timothy McDermott posing with a black man as if he were a dead deer.
Maybe it's because the cash-strapped city has already paid over a half a billion dollars in settlements because of police misconduct the past 10 years alone?

Maybe it's because it was recently revealed that the Chicago Police Department has a secret facility it has been using to harass people off the record? Maybe it's because the City of Chicago just passed a reparations bill for the many victims their police have tortured?

Even more likely, though, is that they really didn't want the identity of these two officers in the spotlight. More...

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Judge uses baseball analogy to explain why a cop who shot 15 times at an unarmed couple wasn't found guilty
by Peter Jacobs
Posted May 25, 2015

Judge John P. O'Donnell trvesty of justiceCleveland police officer Michael Brelo was acquitted of manslaughter charges stemming from the 2012 deaths of an unarmed black couple on Saturday, and the judge cited an unusual baseball analogy to explain his ruling.

Brelo fired 49 rounds at Timothy Russell and his passenger, Malissa Williams, who were killed after a car chase through the city, according to The New York Times. Notably, The Times reports, Brelo fired at least 15 shots after reloading and climbing onto the hood of the couple's car — after the other officers had stopped firing. More...

The real story here is not the cop who murdered these people, but the judge who provides impunity from even the most outrageous actions by police officers. Rulings such as these by Judge John P. O'Donnell, will only serve to empower even more police behaviour such as this.

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A Hundred Years' Failure
By Eric Schneider
Posted May 10, 2015

war on drugs failureHow did a law to regulate heroin traffic turn into the costly, futile War on Drugs?

Twenty-five years ago, the stated goal of the United States' anti-narcotic efforts according to the Department of Justice was to "disrupt, destroy and dismantle drug trafficking enterprises." That same year, the U.S. government pumped almost $8 billion into anti-drug efforts, including $600 million in prison construction alone. It was just a typical fiscal year during the height of the drug war. But two and a half decades later, despite this dizzying spending, we don't need a drug czar to tell us—even though one of them has—the war on drugs, by its own measures, has been a century-long failure.

It's worth taking a look at how it all went wrong from the very beginning. More...

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Nonviolence as Compliance
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Posted April 30, 2015

provocation or protection?I turn on the news and I see politicians calling for young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and "nonviolent." These well-intended pleas strike me as the right answer to the wrong question. To understand the question, it's worth remembering what, specifically, happened to Freddie Gray. An officer made eye contact with Gray. Gray, for unknown reasons, ran. The officer and his colleagues then detained Gray. They found him in possession of a switchblade. They arrested him while he yelled in pain. And then, within an hour, his spine was mostly severed. A week later, he was dead. What specifically was the crime here? What particular threat did Freddie Gray pose? Why is mere eye contact and then running worthy of detention at the hands of the state? Why is Freddie Gray dead?

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community. More...

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American Justice? FBI Lab Overstated 95% Of Forensic Hair Matches (Including 32 Death Sentences)
by Mike Krieger
Posted April 21, 2015

Broken justiceIf you are poor, disenfranchised, or a dissident, the full force of the law will rain down on your skull like a thousand tons of bricks. We have seen this repeatedly in cases such as the South Carolina man who was fined $525 and fired from his job when he failed to pay for a $0.89 soda refill. We saw it in the case of Aaron Swartz, the child prodigy was driven to suicide by overly aggressive and ambitious feds. Finally, we saw it in the case of Barrett Brown, who was threatened with over a century in jail for essentially exposing the criminality of certain very rich and/or powerful individuals.

On the other side of the fence, we see that anyone associated with the power structure can do whatever they want with zero repercussions. We saw this in the case of General David Petraeus, who received a slap on the wrist for passing on highly classified information to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell. We saw it in how DEA agents were't even fired from their jobs despite participating in sex parties filled with prostitutes that were paid for by drug cartels, and sometimes taxpayer funds. Most despicably, we have seen it in the explosive use of deferred prosecution agreements when it comes to all the bailed out Wall Street banks, thus ensuring that no senior bankers went to prison and that their bonuses would be forever protected. More...

It is so sad to see that so many people within the justice system will sell their souls in order to advance their "careers". The very fact that these people feel the need to victimize innocent people indicates that this problem is not only a mmater of personal morality, but that it is systemic.

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Follow the Money: Invisible Investors Seek Big Bucks in Mass Incarceration
By James Kilgore and Brian Dolinar
Posted April 14, 2015

prisons for profitCalifornia Forensic Medical Group (CFMG) is the brainchild of Dr. Taylor Fithian, president and medical director, who started the company in 1983 with partners Elaine Hustedt, vice president of operations and personnel, and Dan Hustedt, vice president of finance. For many years, they occupied an office in Monterey nestled among high-end boutiques, fitness centers and spas. They signed their first contract with the Monterey County Jail just months after opening.

Since then, they have come to dominate California's carceral health-care landscape. According to the company's website, it has 87 percent of all the private medical contracts with county jails in the state and 92 percent of juvenile facilities. Indeed, the California Sheriff's Association has named CFMG one of the "Corporate 100" with whom it wishes to form a "very exclusive partnership."

"HIG is in it for the big bucks. They're thinking we're going to make a killing. The way they make money is less drugs, less doctors, less hospital visits." Shortly after getting the financial backing of HIG, CFMG moved its headquarters to a much larger office park on the outskirts of town. The company also closed several new multimillion-dollar deals. In 2014, the company signed with Sonoma County for $32 million over five years. In Monterey, CFMG's three-year agreement is worth around $4.8 million annually. More...

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The Root of Support For the Drug War
by Laurence M. Vance
Posted April 6, 2015

who are they protecting?Although many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, some states have decriminalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana, and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, bipartisan support for the drug war throughout the United States continues unabated and unquestioned.

Why?

Why do so many Americans think that the property of other Americans should be confiscated, and that some of their fellow Americans should be fined, arrested, put on probation, subject to no-knock SWAT team raids, be treated as criminals, or locked in a cage for growing, manufacturing, processing, buying, selling, distributing, "trafficking in," using, or possessing some substance the government doesn't approve of? More...

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A Weird, Crazy Idea: Make Extreme Wealth an International Crime
By Rob Kall
Posted April 4, 2015

who are they protecting?It's time to start aiming to create international laws that make extreme wealth not only as despicable as war crimes and the worst heinous abuses, but to also make it illegal. It might be a far off vision that some call crazy, but the big solutions this planet and the 99% of humanity need are going to be labeled crazy. At one time the wealthy owned slaves. Now it is a crime. We can do the same for extreme possession of wealth. It won't happen overnight, but neither did abolishment of slavery. This is a cause that Jesus would have supported. Didn't he say it is easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven?

Extreme wealth is a bizarre, freak of economics that malignant capitalism has allowed to develop. It is a profoundly pathological top-down phenomenon that should addressed by the UN and all nations so that any person in any nation will be subject to laws that make excessive wealth a crime. More...

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Bankers Avoid Jail Time in Tax-Evasion Case
by Bill Black
Posted March 30, 2015

too big to jailSo two guys that were former bankers for Credit Suisse were told today that they're not going to go to jail. This comes out of the big scandal that Credit Suisse helped American taxpayers avoid billions of dollars in taxes. The two guys were told – one pays $100,000 fine, another $125,000, five years parole, and the headlines suggest this is, bankers get away with something. What do you think of it all?

This is business as usual. These are folks who were indicted as part of a broader group of Credit Suisse executives, none of them terribly high level, back in 2011. These are the only two that agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors, come to the United States, and have been cooperating for some time with the prosecutors. It was expected that the prosecutors would recommend to the judge that they do no jail time, and the judges agreed with the prosecutors. More...

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U.S. Government Secrecy At All-Time High
by Washington's Blog
Posted March 29, 2015

secret laws, courts, evidence, witnessesPublicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. But there's no longer much sunlight to disinfect the corruption of the government or the powers-that-be.

More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon "secret evidence" that they don't show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

As just one example, government is "laundering" information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will "recreate" the evidence in a "parallel construction" … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge. A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a "totalitarian process" which shows that we're in a "police state". More...

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Despite DOJ Reforms and Weak Oversight, Local Policing for Profit Continues with Feds
by Dustin Slaughter
Posted March 25, 2015

civil asset forforfeiture - road piracyThe series also detailed how the program, which was established in 1984 by the Comprehensive Crime Control Act as a tool to cripple large drug trafficking organizations as the Reagan administration's so-called War on Drugs gained traction, has seemingly transformed into "a routine source of funding for law enforcement at every level."

Critics of the program – including some Reagan-era officials – contend that the practice has become too widespread and abusive. Brad Cates, who once headed the DOJ's forfeiture division, calls the program in its current state "a free-floating slush fund." Asset forfeiture has more than doubled during the Obama administration. More...

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Wikipedia Founder Sues NSA, Demands "End To NSA's Dragnet Surveillance Of Internet Traffic"
By Jimmy Wales (Founder of Wikipedia)
Posted March 11, 2015

surveillance is freedomTODAY, we're filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency to protect the rights of the 500 million people who use Wikipedia every month. We're doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.

The notion that the N.S.A. is monitoring Wikipedia's users is not, unfortunately, a stretch of the imagination. One of the documents revealed by the whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden specifically identified Wikipedia as a target for surveillance, alongside several other major websites like CNN.com, Gmail and Facebook. The leaked slide from a classified PowerPoint presentation declared that monitoring these sites could allow N.S.A. analysts to learn "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet."

The harm to Wikimedia and the hundreds of millions of people who visit our websites is clear: Pervasive surveillance has a chilling effect. It stifles freedom of expression and the free exchange of knowledge that Wikimedia was designed to enable. More...

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A Political Economy Premised on Exploitation and Social Repression
by Rob Urie
Posted March 9, 2015

police as oppresorsAs political theory might have it, if all of the citizens of Ferguson were intended to benefit from city resources while poor and middle class Blacks were disproportionately forced to pay for them that represents economic taking by some citizens for the benefit of others. The racial character of this taking places it in history. The history of Western colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism places it in broader internal and external context. And this history is evidence that distinct realms of the economic and the political never described existing circumstance. The practical relevance is that it places the actions of the police in Ferguson, past and pending 'trade' agreements and global economic relations in the space where economic and political power act in an integrated social dimension.

The effect is to reframe 'the law' in terms of who is committing particular acts rather than the acts being committed. The police in Ferguson can murder with impunity and shake down citizens at their discretion to fund the city budget (and their paychecks) while poor and middle class Blacks are disproportionately murdered and sent to prison for similar acts. What is legal and what isn't is determined by who has social power, not by the acts themselves. In a racist and classist society the law is codification of class and race interests. If a black citizen of Ferguson puts a gun to someone's head and demands their valuables they are a criminal but if the same act is committed by a cop it is within the law. Here events in Ferguson are fact and metaphor— overwhelming evidence (links above) suggests that similar social relations exist across much of the country. More...

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FBI Tracking Of Keystone XL Activists Worse Than You Thought
by Adam Federman
Posted May 7, 2015

fbi infiltration of XL protestsIn August 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit distributed an intelligence bulletin to all field offices warning that environmental extremism would likely become an increasing threat to the energy industry. The eight-page document argued that, even though the industry had encountered only low-level vandalism and trespassing, recent "criminal incidents" suggested that environmental extremism was on the rise. The FBI concluded: "Environmental extremism will become a greater threat to the energy industry owing to our historical understanding that some environmental extremists have progressed from committing low-level crimes against targets to more significant crimes over time in an effort to further the environmental extremism cause."

Not long after the bulletin was distributed, a private security firm providing intelligence reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security cited the FBI document in order to justify the surveillance of anti-fracking groups. The same security firm concluded that the "escalating conflict over natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania" could lead to an increase in "environmentalist activity or eco-terrorism." More...

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Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?
by Washington's Blog
Posted March 1, 2015

Loss of Constitutional rightsWhile a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest. This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protecting – freedom … and that it is no longer acting with the "consent of the governed". And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people. Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother. More...

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Exporting Torture: Meet the Chicago Cop Who Brought American Brutality to Gitmo
By Spencer Ackerman
Posted February 28, 2015

corrupt cop and torturerRichard Zuley oversaw a shocking military interrogation that has become a permanent stain on America. When the Chicago detective Richard Zuley arrived at Guantánamo Bay late in 2002, US military commanders touted him as the hero they had been looking for.

Here was a Navy reserve lieutenant who had spent the last 25 years as a distinguished detective on the mean streets of Chicago, closing case after case – often due to his knack for getting confessions.

But while Zuley's brutal interrogation techniques – prolonged shackling, family threats, demands on suspects to implicate themselves and others – would get supercharged at Guantánamo for the war on terrorism, a Guardian investigation has uncovered that Zuley used similar tactics for years, behind closed police-station doors, on Chicago's poor and non-white citizens. Multiple people in prison in Illinois insist they have been wrongly convicted on the basis of coerced confessions extracted by Zuley and his colleagues. More...

Evidence shows that the Chicago Police Department is totally out of control. Maybe Mayor Rahm Emannuel should take some time off from cozying up with the bankers and clean up the city. Zuley will have much to answer for in the afterlife.

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The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'
by Spencer Ackerman
Posted February 26, 2015

who are they protecting?The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago's west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown. More...

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Fast-Track Treason and the Coming Corporate Coup
By Rivera Sun
Posted February 24, 2015

TPP is a corporate coupCorporations aren't people - otherwise, we'd be trying them for treason. If it were known that a handful of powerful men and women were meeting in secret to overthrow the authority of the US government and make this nation submissive to external domination, the NSA, CIA, FBI, US president, Congress and the military-industrial complex would declare them "terrorists of the year" and bomb them back into the Stone Age.

But corporations aren't people. They enjoy superhuman status, and are awarded privileges and protections well beyond what ordinary citizens of the United States can expect. (The last time a corporation was shot dead in the streets by a police officer was - well, never.) Corporations are given preferential treatment by judges, laws, politicians, investigators, tax agencies, financial institutions and much of our consumer-capitalist society. More...

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How Did America's Police Forces Get So Scary and Omnipresent?
By Gaius Publius
Posted February 21, 2015

who are they protecting and serving?You can't have a society owned and harvested by men like David Koch and Jamie Dimon without an enforcement mechanism. The underlying assumption is that the police exists to protect "us," an idea frequently promoted by the police themselves, whose slogan is usually some variant of this one: "To protect and serve".

"To protect and serve" — but whom? There was a never a time when the big city police neutrally enforced "the law" — nor, for that matter, a time when the law itself was neutral. Throughout the 19th century in the North, the police mostly arrested people for the vaguely defined "crimes" of disorderly conduct and vagrancy, which meant that they could target anyone they saw as a threat to "order." In the post-bellum South, they enforced white supremacy and largely arrested black people on trumped-up charges in order to feed them into convict labor systems.

The violence the police carried out and their moral separation from those they patrolled were not the consequences of the brutality of individual officers, but of policies carefully designed to mold the police into a force that could use violence to deal with the social problems that accompanied the development of a wage-labor economy. Though some patrolmen tried to be kind and others were openly brutal, police violence in the 1880s was not a case of a few bad apples — and neither is it today. More...

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HSBC Bank: Secret Origins To Laundering The World's Drug Money
by the Drug Trafficking & Narco-Terrorism Department of GreatGameIndia
Posted February 17, 2015

US soldiers guarding Afghan poppy fieldsContrary to popular opinion, it is not "demand" from the world's population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC.

For years, when banks have been caught laundering drug money, they have claimed that they did not know, that they were but victims of sneaky drug dealers and a few corrupt employees. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that a considerable portion of the global banking system is explicitly dedicated to handling the enormous volume of cash produced daily by dope traffickers. More...

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U.S. Government Buys "Truly Orwellian" Surveillance Technology To Track Drivers in Real Time
By Pratap Chatterjee
Posted February 13, 2015

you are being watched and recordedLocal government officials have the ability to track individual drivers in the U.S. in real time and take pictures of the occupants of their vehicles, with new "truly Orwellian" technology purchased from companies like Vigilant Solutions, according to new documents uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

One of the documents is a ten page U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) memo stating that the technology behind the National License Plate Reading Initiative that was launched in December 2008 allows it to capture "vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle." Another May 2011 memo notes that this system has the ability to store "up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos."

These details complement findings by the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Department of Justice has built a secret national database to track vehicle license plates around the country that now holds "hundreds of millions of records about motorists." More...

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NY Judge Slams Wells Fargo For Forging Documents... And Why Nothing Will Change
by Tyler Durden
Posted February 4, 2015

why are the bankers not in jail?By way of background, the case involves a debtor, New York speech pathologist for autistic children, Cynthia Carrsow Franklin, whose Westchester Country house Wells Fargo is trying to prove it has a right to foreclose on. The proceedings had been going on since 2010, and it took five years of endless Wells Fargo lies for the presiding judge to finally snap and, as the Post reported, "shred Wells Fargo's arguments regarding two crucial documents needed to prove ownership of a loan: an indorsement (another term for endorsement) on a note and an assignment of mortgage."

It goes without saying that a whole lot of robosigning and rubberstamping are involved. What followed was an epic litany of incendiary allegations that Wells Fargo, which for its sake is not being prosecuted, is nothing but a petty criminal engaging in forgery and fabrication. More...

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Unless You Want to Go to Prison, Read This Before Taking Money Out of Your Bank
by Dave Hodges
Posted January 11, 2015

land of the free?George Soros won't go to prison for taking his money out of the bank, but you could, if you are not very careful.

The courts have ruled that once you deposit your money in the bank, the bank owns your money. You virtually are paid no interest for the hard earned money that you place in the bank. And if inflation is only at a modest 5% rate, your hundred thousand dollars is worth only $95,000 after one year. In a decade, your real buying power is reduced by about 50%. And where did the other 50% go? Because of fractional reserve banking, the biggest money scam in history, the banks can take $10,000 and turn it into at least $90,000 by doing absolutely nothing but adding some zeroes after your name, on a computer scree, and then loaning out the money, at interest, while you are paid a minuscule interest rate. This practice adds to the inflation rate and further erodes your savings.

All of the above, dictates that we should all take our money out of the bank. Why do I risk starting a run on my former and biggest holder of my money, Bank of America, by withdrawing my money and presuming that many fellow depositors will read this and rush to withdraw their money too? The very biggest reason to is because they pay me near zero interest. Also, even if there is an infinitesimal chance Bank of America will not repay me in full, whenever I ask, switches the cost-benefit conclusion from stay to flee. More...

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What's Luck Got to Do With It? Everything, if You Are a Banking Whistleblower
By Kate Kenny
Posted January 2, 2015

jp morgan whistleblowerThink whistleblowing is a matter of telling the truth? Think again. "Successful" whistleblowing, where the protagonist actually manages to make themselves heard in the media and get the support of the public, is a matter of luck.

Last week a new whistleblower emerged to tell us about the goings-on in a well-known bank, JP Morgan. Alayne Fleischmann gave her description of how the firm handled the approaching car crash in the market for packaging and reselling mortgage debt. She joins the small but important number of fellow banking whistleblowers. From Ireland's Jonathan Sugarman and Olivia Greene to the UK's Paul Moore, some people did try to speak up about the misdeeds that lead to the global financial crash. More...

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Civil Asset Forfeiture: The Final Stage Of Collapse Of Empire
by Martin Armstrong
Posted December 29, 2014

who are they protecting?Philadelphia prosecutors agreed Thursday to halt efforts to seize the homes of two of the lead plaintiffs in a widely publicized federal suit challenging the city's use of civil forfeiture laws in drug cases.

Philadelphia drops a Civil Asset Forfeiture case to prevent any court from ruling just seizing people's property is unconstitutional. Phily.COM has reported the case of Christos Sourovelis and Doila Welch,who were both caught up in having their homes seized to pay police pensions when the police arrested a relative they claimed was dealing drugs on their properties. Today, you basically have to shun relatives and never pick up a hick-hiker in trouble for if they have any drugs, even marijuana, there goes your assets.

The prosecutors, only after these people had money for lawyers and the press got involved, moved for dismissal in Common Pleas Court. The prosecutor agreed to drop the cases against properties as long as both owners took "reasonable measures" to ensure no further drug crimes occurred there. Here is the entire problem. Only the rich can win for it is your burden to fork-over huge legal fees. If you do not have the money for lawyers, there goes your property. This is what is desperately wrong in America. Any law passed becomes your burden to prove it is unconstitutional. More...

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Auditioning for Wall Street
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted December 8, 2014

rigging electric marketsYesterday, Wall Street on Parade reported on how the corrupt tentacles of Wall Street have engulfed the mindset of our newly minted law school graduates.

Getting one's resume noticed from those of a stack of competitors previously meant using a good grade ivory linen stock instead of cheap white copy paper. Today, the word is apparently out that getting one's resume noticed at a major Wall Street bank requires advertising one's special knack, inside track, or secret sauce for ripping off society for the profit advantage of the big dogs on Wall Street.

On November 20, Senator Carl Levin and the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a 396-page report and 8-inch stack of exhibits exposing more shocking Wall Street secrets that have been heretofore protected from daylight by timid or captured regulators. Among the exhibits was a resume submitted to JPMorgan Chase by a young, recent graduate of George Washington University Law School – a man that society might rightfully expect to conduct himself in an honorable and professional manner in the business world. More...

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Killer Cops in America
By Stephen Lendman
Posted December 5, 2014

No justice for GarnerCops in America kill with impunity. On average over once a day. FBI data showed 461 so-called "justifiable homicides" last year. A euphemism most often for cold-blooded murder. A likely way undercount. Based on voluntary police reports.

No separate federal database exists. No interest in compiling one. No way to check local reports for accuracy. Including how often white cops kill people of color. Usually unarmed/nonthreatening Black or Latino youths.

Protests against Ferguson, MO injustice still echo. Justifiable anger resonates. In late November, Cleveland police killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.In a park. With his sister and friend. Playing with a harmless toy pistol. What kids often do. Including this writer as a young boy. Expect no indictment to follow. Let alone conviction of murder. Big Lies justify police killings. Claims about being threatened ring hollow. More...

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The Siege of Julian Assange is a Farce - A Special Investigation
by John Pilger
Posted November 19, 2014

Assange, guilty of telling the truthThe siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has refused to come to London to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct in Stockholm in 2010 - even though Swedish law allows for it and the procedure is routine for Sweden and the UK. The documentary evidence of a threat to Assange's life and freedom from the United States - should he leave the embassy - is overwhelming. On May 14 this year, US court files revealed that a "multi subject investigation" against Assange was "active and ongoing". More...

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JPMorgan's $9 Billion Witness Puts Government Testimony by Her Boss into Question
By Pam Martens
Posted November 15, 2014

Alayne Fleischmann whistleblowerTwo years after attorney Alayne Fleischmann was downsized out of her job as a Transaction Manager at JPMorgan Chase, her boss, William Buell, was hauled before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) for interrogation on just how culpable the bank was in packaging and selling toxic mortgage backed securities.

Buell is the same man that Fleischmann exposed in a Rolling Stone feature article by Matt Taibbi last week as the recipient of her detailed, internal letter in early 2007, warning him that the mortgage pools her group was reviewing contained poor quality mortgage loans unfit for purchase or securitization. Despite the written warning, Fleischmann would later learn that JPMorgan, in a drive to boost market share and profits, went forward and purchased the pool, securitized many of the loans, then sold them to unsuspecting investors.

But when Buell was asked directly during his questioning on September 15, 2010 by a Federal investigator for the FCIC if anybody had asked him to apply the brakes and stop pushing out questionable mortgage loans, Buell did not mention the formal warning letter he received from Fleischmann. More...

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The Devil's Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State
By John Whitehead
Posted November 13, 2014

Who are they protecting?It's no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years' jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

That both of these incidents occurred in Florida is no coincidence. Remember, this is the state that arrested Nicole Gainey for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park alone. This is also the state that authorized police SWAT raids on barber shops, purportedly to make sure that the barbers were licensed. More...

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The Mystery of Ray McGovern's Arrest
by Ray McGovern
Posted November 10, 2014

Why was Ray McGovern arrested?Exclusive: On Oct. 30, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern was arrested for trying to attend a public speech by retired Gen. David Petraeus. McGovern had hoped to ask Petraeus a critical question during Q-and-A but was instead trundled off to jail, another sign of a growing hostility toward dissent, McGovern says.

Why, I asked myself, would the New York City police arrest me and put me in The Tombs overnight, simply because a security officer at the 92nd Street Y told them I was "not welcome" and should be denied entry to a talk by retired General David Petraeus? In my hand was a ticket for which I had reluctantly shelled out $50. I had hoped to hear the photogenic but inept Petraeus explain why the Iraqi troops, which he claimed to have trained so well, had fled northern Iraq leaving their weapons behind at the first whiff of Islamic State militants earlier this year. I even harbored some slight hope that the advertised Q & A might afford hoi polloi like me the chance to ask him a real question. More...

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The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare
by Matt Taibbi
Posted November 8, 2014

Chase whistle-blower Alayne Fleischmann risked it all.Meet the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking

She tried to stay quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret, the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore. "It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'"

Fleischmann is a tall, thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower. More...

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Warning: Avoid This Corrupt, Third-World Country At All Costs
by Simon Black
Posted November 2, 2014

third world corrupt courtsJohn Anderson, an American tourist from San Clemente, California, was driving down a poorly-maintained highway when he saw flashing lights in his rearview mirror.After a brief exchange with the local police officer, Anderson was shocked when the cop started searching his vehicle.
Anderson had $25,180 in US dollar cash in the car, which by the way was not a crime according to the local laws.When the cop saw it, he told Anderson that we would take it and threatened him with arrest if he protested.

Anderson couldn't believe it. This is the sort of stuff you always hear about in these third world countries—corrupt cops and state robbery.Ultimately Anderson gave in; the cop let him go and did not charge him with a crime, but took every last penny in the vehicle.

And for the last two years, Anderson has been trying to unsuccessfully fight it in the country's Kangaroo court system. Clearly we should all avoid going to such dangerously corrupt third world countries. More...

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Reading the Road Map to a Police State
by Aaron Tao
Posted October 19, 2014

rise of the police stateIf there was any silver lining to the horrifying events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri which riled the month of August, it has finally brought the issue of police militarization to the forefront. As outrageous as the police shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was, the brutal law enforcement response in the form of running roughshod over the First Amendment and resorting to quasi-martial law to mostly peaceful protests by local residents and activists was worse. To many observers, what took place in a Midwest suburb was indistinguishable from scenes out of occupied Iraq.

How did this happen? For an answer, the writings of investigative journalist Radley Balko are an invaluable resource. Perhaps more than any other person, Balko has reported substantially on police militarization and injustice across the country for years. More...

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Four Other Lawyer Whistleblowers are Essential at the Carmen Segarra Senate Witness Table
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted October 10, 2014

Carmen Segarra whistletblowerWall Street's crime spree has been coming at the public for the past six years like a geyser spewing from a broken water main. It's been tough for the public to keep tract of the twists and turns, and equally so for Congress.

What has been lost in all the media frenzy over the tapes released by Carmen Segarra, an attorney and bank examiner at the New York Fed who was fired for wanting to hold Goldman Sachs accountable, according to her lawsuit, is that four other regulatory lawyers have stepped forward from 2006 to earlier this year to report that their Wall Street regulator has been captured. In the case of those four, the captured regulator is the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When you have five Wall Street insiders with law degrees telling you that Wall Street regulators are not upholding the laws they are mandated to enforce while the nation is still struggling to recover from an epic financial crash this corrupt cronyism produced just six years ago, it's time to allow the public to hear directly from all of these voices at one Senate witness table. More...

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GMOs are Everywhere and Should be Labeled, Study Finds
by Deirdre Fulton
Posted October 9, 2014

GMOs are everywhereGenetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are present in many common products including breakfast cereals, chips, and infant formula—including some that carry misleading labels like "natural," according to a study released Tuesday by the nonprofit Consumer Reports.

Based on its findings, combined with the results of a survey (pdf) by the Consumer Reports National Research Center showing nearly three-quarters of all Americans seek to avoid GMOs when they shop, Consumer Reports is calling for mandatory labeling of GMOs in food and a ban on the meaningless "natural" label. "Natural" label is virtually meaningless and should be banned, Consumer Reports declares. More...

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During An Ebola Pandemic in America All Of Your Rights Would Essentially Be Meaningless
By Michael Snyder
Posted October 5, 2014

"camps" for suspected infections?If there is a major Ebola pandemic in America, all of the liberties and the freedoms that you currently enjoy would be gone. If government officials believe that you have the virus, federal law allows them to round you up and detain you "for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary." In addition, the CDC already has the authority to quarantine healthy Americans if they reasonably believe that they may become sick.

During an outbreak, the government can force you to remain isolated in your own home, or the government may forcibly take you to a treatment facility, a tent city, a sports stadium, an old military base or a camp. You would not have any choice in the matter. And you would be forced to endure any medical procedure mandated by the government. That includes shots, vaccines and the drawing of blood. During such a scenario, you can scream about your "rights" all that you want, but it won't do any good. More...

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How Much Control Does Goldman Sachs Have Over the Federal Reserve?
By Jake Bernstein
Posted September 30, 2014

Carmen Segarra, honest regulatorBarely a year removed from the devastation of the 2008 financial crisis, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York faced a crossroads. Congress had set its sights on reform. The biggest banks in the nation had shown that their failure could threaten the entire financial system. Lawmakers wanted new safeguards.

The Federal Reserve, and, by dint of its location off Wall Street, the New York Fed, was the logical choice to head the effort. Except it had failed miserably in catching the meltdown.

New York Fed President William Dudley had to answer two questions quickly: Why had his institution blown it, and how could it do better? So he called in an outsider, a Columbia University finance professor named David Beim, and granted him unlimited access to investigate. In exchange, the results would remain secret. More...

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The Failure to Prosecute Leading US Banks. The Abuse of Power by Government and Big Business
By Kevin Zeese
Posted September 29, 2014

Holder's failed legacyEric Holder's tenure as attorney general will be remembered for the failure to prosecute any leading bankers who were responsible for the collapse of the economy. While the SEC negotiated large fines, the DOJ prosecuted none of those who were guilty of crimes that robbed the wealth of tens of millions of Americans. The failure to prosecute bankers was one example of many where corporate power dominated the DOJ on finance, environmental, labor and other issues. This should have been an era of aggressive enforcement of corporate crime, instead corporate criminals were rarely investigated.

It will also be remembered for the mistaken lack of enforcement against war crimes; in particular torture committed by US officials during the Bush administration as well as failing to take any action against lawyers in the Department of Justice and CIA who provided legal cover to torture. Instead of putting up a red light to unauthorized wars and military action, the Holder DOJ provided legal cover the massive drone killings by President Obama (that primarily killed civilians and non-combatants) and the military attack against Libya as well as the current war on ISIS resulting in massive bombings in Syria and Iraq. More...

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Eric Holder Says Justice Department Has Moles on Wall Street
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted September 25, 2014

Wall St moles in Justice Dept.In addition to hundreds of Federal bank examiners permanently stationed at Wall Street's biggest banks by the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in an effort to eradicate a serial crime spree, an unknown number of Justice Department moles are now roaming about the mahogany corridors of power, chatting up potential criminals around the water cooler and hoping to make it out alive before being detected.

Avoiding detection as a mole becomes so much more challenging when the highest law enforcement officer in the land, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, comes to New York to address Wall Street's lawyers and tells them, flat out, that he's got moles stationed inside his Wall Street targets. (There were likely 100,000 text messages flying about Wall Street before Holder got to the next paragraph of his speech.) More...

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Federal Prosecutors Continue to Defy Holder
By Barry Sussman
Posted September 13, 2014

prosecutors want more prisonersProsecuting individuals in federal court has long been seen as a game by government prosecutors. The current 99% rate of conviction in federal courts makes it something akin to shooting fish in a barrel, but with significantly greater rewards. Those who can successfully, and without compunction, convict at any cost are fast tracked up the judicial corporate ladder. Success is measured in years and regardless of guilt, innocence or the level of relative culpability, a longer sentence always looks better on one's resume than a shorter one.

The game of federal justice has nothing to do with public protection; it is merely a pretense bandied about to allow the self-serving abuse to continue unabated. More...

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Philadelphia Earns Millions By Seizing Cash And Homes From People Never Charged With A Crime
by Nick Sibilla
Posted September 2, 2014

no conviction requiredChris Sourovelis has never had any trouble with the law or been accused of any crime. But that hasn't stopped the City of Philadelphia from trying to take his home.

The Sourouvelis family, along with thousands of others in Philadelphia, is living a Kafkaesque nightmare: Their property is considered guilty; they must prove their innocence and the very prosecutors they're fighting can profit from their misery. Now the Institute for Justice has filed a major class-action lawsuit to end these abuses of power.

Back in March, Chris's son was caught selling $40 worth of drugs outside of the home. With no previous arrests or a prior record, a court ordered him to attend rehab. But the very day Sourovelis was driving his son to begin treatment, he got a frantic call from his wife. Without any prior notice, police evicted the Sourovelises and seized the house, using a little-known law known as "civil forfeiture." More...

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U.S. and Israeli Military Tactics Used Against American Citizens … Gazans Tweet Tips to Help AMERICANS On How to Handle Tear Gas
by Washington's Blog
Posted August 16, 2014

class action suit against bankersAs you may have heard, police and Swat teams in Ferguson, Missouri have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters, and outlawed peaceful assembly. Police are also using stun grenades and ear-damaging military sound cannons against peaceful protesters. Reporters are among those shot at with rubber bullets and tear gas, assaulted and arrested. Glenn Greenwald notes:

Reilly, [reporter for the Huffington Post], on Facebook, recounted how he was arrested by "a Saint Louis County police officer in full riot gear, who refused to identify himself despite my repeated requests, purposefully banged my head against the window on the way out and sarcastically apologized." He wrote: "I'm fine. But if this is the way these officers treat a white reporter working on a laptop who moved a little too slowly for their liking, I can't imagine how horribly they treat others."

Reporters have been [teargassed and fired uopn with rubber bullets], told to turn off their cameras. And a no-fly zone was established above Ferguson in order to keep news helicopters away. A state senator was teargassed along with protesters. More...

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The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist
By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux
Posted August 10, 2014

are YOU being watched?The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither "concrete facts" nor "irrefutable evidence" to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The "March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance," a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government's secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place entire "categories" of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to "nominate" people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as "fragmentary information." It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted. More...

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Whoa! Big Banks Hit with Monster $250 Billion Lawsuit for Fraud in Housing Crisis
by Ellen Brown
Posted July 22, 2014

mortgage fraudDid the banksters just meet their match? For years, homeowners have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking titans.

In June, however, the banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode onto the stage. Investors led by BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and PIMCO, the world's largest bond-fund manager, have sued some of the world's largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time. More...

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Elizabeth WarrenSenator Elizabeth Warren: High Frequency Trading Is Like the Skimming Scam in the Movie, 'Office Space'
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Posted July 12, 2014

Outside of the Washington Times, there was a virtual corporate media blackout on the high frequency trading hearing held yesterday by the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment – which came one day after Senator Carl Levin's hearing on the same topic.

The media blackout did a deep disservice to the brilliant perspectives brought to the table by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mark Warner and two witnesses who deal every day of their lives with the corrupted and disfigured trading venues the SEC has allowed to evolve in what used to be the most trusted stock market in the world. More...

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Snowden Should Refuse to Play "Alice in Wonderland"
By Kevin Zeese
Posted July 9, 2014

Alice In Wonderland justice systemEdward Snowden submitting to prosecution in the United States, would be like Alice going into the courtroom in Wonderland.

Alice stood before the King and Queen of Hearts who served as the judges. Knaves were chained on the ground before them. The jurors, Alice realizes are 'stupid things' The first witness against her was the Mad Hatter who is as mad as the culture he represents. The guinea pigs who protest are immediately "suppressed" by having the mouths tied up and being put into a bag and sat on by the King so their protests cannot be heard. The most important evidence in the trial was secret.

Alice realized the court room; with the icons of a justice system -- a judge, jury, witnesses -- was really a sham that mocks a legitimate legal process. To confirm her realization the King said after the meaningless secret poetry evidence, that it was "the most important piece of evidence" and "Let the jury consider their verdict." The Queen retorts "No, no! Sentence first; verdict afterwards."

Last week former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with the current Secretary of State John Kerry in urging Edward Snowden to come home and face prosecution. More...

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Bank Bailout: Bankster Says Only Gun to Head Will Oblige TARP Repayment
By Kurt Nimmo
Posted June 22, 2014

lopsided chessBanks that received billions during the Federal Reserve created implosion of the subprime real estate market say they are not obliged to make good on repaying the money.The Journal reports when the TARP program "was hastily assembled in the frantic days of 2008, the government was interested in making sure the capital was widely available to banks of all sizes" and banks that issued noncumulative shares as repayment figured out how to delay and ultimately stiff tax payers.

Maryland Financial's CEO, Robert Chafey, said only physical violence will force him to make good. "We don't have a gun to our head to pay this dividend, so why would we pay?" Mr. Chafey said in a February interview, according to the Journal. More...

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The Bitter End Of The Savings Account
by Jeff Berwick
Posted June 17, 2014

you are nextGovernments, by definition, are violent institutions. And taxation, by definition, is theft. These are blatant facts to all but the most indoctrinated and brainwashed. However, governments worldwide are ramping up all manner of other thefts by almost any means necessary. Cyprus made headlines with what was called a "bank bail-in" in 2013 and Ireland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Italy have all stolen funds from retirement accounts. The European Union has even said that it reserves the right to steal directly from European savers in the form of negative interest rates. All of this has been perfectly predictable in the march to The End Of The Monetary System As We Know It (TEOTMSAWKI).

It's time now to add two more countries to that list: Australia and Belgium. Instead of wondering if you'll be the next victim, take the measures you must in order to survive and prosper after the savings account is no more. More...

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NSA Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access to the JUICIEST Documents
by Washington's Blog
Posted June 10, 2014

Snowden truth tellerNSA whistleblower Russel Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration's use of warrantless wiretapping. Tice told PBS and other media that the NSA is spying on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers, including Supreme Court Justices, highly-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State Department personnel, and many other top officials.

Many of Tice's allegations have been confirmed by other government whistleblowers. And see this. Washington's Blog called Tice to find out more about what he saw when he was at NSA. More...

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Eric Holder Announces Task Force To Focus On "Domestic Terrorists"
by Mike Krieger
Posted June 5, 2014

Eric Holder US citizens are the enemyIt's been obvious for quite some time that the so-called "war on terror" is nothing more than a fear-mongering induced power grab; a convenient excuse to strip the citizenry of its civil liberties and humanity. Many commentators, including myself, have predicted for years that the entire counter-terror juggernaut that has been constructed post-9/11 would be ultimately redirected upon the domestic population.

Snowden's heroic whistleblowing has already proven without a doubt that the government spy apparatus (along with tech company complicity) has been zeroed in on the domestic population for quite some time, but is the situation about to escalate? Are the feds so fearful of their own people, they are about to focus all their counter-terror energy on U.S. citizens? It appears so. More...

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Mr Kerry: Here's Why Snowden Cannot 'Make His Case' in 'Our System of Justice'
by Juan Cole
Posted June 4, 2014

KerrySecretary of State John Kerry said that Edward Snowden should "return home and come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case." Kerry seems to have a high opinion of the Department of Justice and the U.S. courts when it comes to national security issues. I can't imagine for the life of me why. Kerry is either amazingly ignorant or being disingenuous when he suggests that Snowden would be allowed to "make his case" if he returned to the U.S.

No one outside the penal justice system would ever see him again, the moment he set foot here, assuming he was not given a prior deal. He could maybe try to explain himself to the prison guards, assuming they didn't stick him in solitary. Here are some reasons Mr. Snowden would be unwise to trust himself to that system, given the charges against him: More...

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What the 1% Don't Want You to Know
By Richard Clark
Posted May 20, 2014

Erid Holder refuses to prosecute Wall StreetAs ever more of the nation's wealth and income is being vacuumed up and/or systematically siphoned into the accounts of dynasties and oligarchs, this transition is actually being facilitated by our government. The result: an ever smaller middle class in the US, as former members are forced into poverty or near-poverty, by ever lower wages and an ever increasing scarcity of decently paid jobs.

For starters, consider the banksters as well as the government stooges who help them. A recent news report tries to make a good case that the prosecution of banksters was only about budgets, ambitious prosecutors etc. It mentions Eric Holder only once, in the very last paragraph, and then as someone who merely "laments" the situation. Not a word about how he came from a gold-plated Wall Street law firm, to which he expects to return when he tires of public service -- nor any word about his specialty in that firm: Defending the very banks of which he is now tasked with overseeing the prosecution! More...

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US Politicians Line Pockets With Funds From Ecuador's Billionaire Bankers on the Lam in US
By Josephine Simmons
Posted May 18, 2014

Menendez can be bought for only $10,000"Money can't buy happiness" goes the saying. While this can be true to one extent or another, money can certainly buy protection from your enemies, as Ecuadorian billionaire brothers, Robert and William Isaias, have conveniently discovered. The Ecuadorian billionaire brothers were sentenced in 2003 in absentia to 8 years in prison on charges of embezzlement. They have since avoided punishment by lining the pockets of high-level American politicians to ensure their "safety" from Ecuadorian law.

NBC recently revealed that Sen. Menendez, under the pretext that the brothers' sentence was politically motivated, made several calls to the Department of Homeland Security and to the State Department to "protect" the poor and wrongfully targeted Isaias' from extradition back to Ecuador. However, these efforts were certainly not in the name of heartfelt concerns for the brothers, but rather in return for some political favors. As with many US politicians these days, it appears campaign donations were the main driving force at play for Sen. Menendez, despite his claim of genuine concern for the politically targeted Isaias family. More...

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Los Angeles Municipal Fraud, The Next Battle Against Wall Street?
by Tom Hayden
Posted May 13, 2014

Wall Street robbing Main StreetThe next battle against Wall Street may be brewing and this one is in Los Angeles City Hall. If it erupts, the soldiers will be a scrappy, wonky, and sophisticated phalanx of labor, neighborhood, and religious activists. Their research has exposed the fact that Wall Street banks were paid $200 million in fees alone last year by the City of Los Angeles; many millions more than the city spent on fixing its streets.

The comparison between City Hall and our streets makes City Hall officials wince; claiming it mixes apples with oranges. But there's more than catchiness in the comparison. The new report, Fix LA, shows that at least $106 billion in public money overall, from airports, seaports, utilities and pension funds, goes to private financial institutions that profit from fees, lending and leveraging those funds. More...

The State of California would do well to elect Ellen Brown as their State Treasurer, as her proposals provide real solutions to the economic problems Main Street is facing.

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We're Losing the Last Shreds of Legal Rights to Protect Ourselves from Oligarchy
by Chris Hedges
Posted May 7, 2014

flag of the Corporate States of AmericaThe goals of corporate capitalism are increasingly indistinguishable from the goals of the state. The political and economic systems are subservient to corporate profit. Debate between conventional liberals and conservatives has been replaced by empty political theater and spectacle. Corporations, no matter which politicians are in office, loot the Treasury, escape taxation, push down wages, break unions, dismantle civil society, gut regulation and legal oversight, control information, prosecute endless war and dismantle public institutions and programs that include schools, welfare and Social Security. And elected officials, enriched through our form of legalized corporate bribery, have no intention of halting the process.

Our corporate masters will not of their own volition curb their appetite for profits. Human misery and the deadly assault on the ecosystem are good for business. These masters have set in place laws that, when we rise up — and they expect us to rise up — will permit the state to herd us like sheep into military detention camps. Section 1021(b)(2) is but one piece of the legal tyranny now in place to ensure total corporate control. The corporate state also oversees the most pervasive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. It can order the assassination of U.S. citizens. It has abolished habeas corpus. It uses secret evidence to imprison dissidents. It employs the Espionage Act to criminalize those who expose abuses of power. A ruling elite that accrues for itself this kind of total power, history has shown, eventually uses it. More...

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Financial Criminality: Wall Street Manipulates Energy Prices, Gold … and Every Other Market
By Washington's Blog
Posted May 6, 2014

Banks stealingThe U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that JP Morgan has massively manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, obtaining tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from grid operators between September 2010 and June 2011.

Pulitzer prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston notes today that Wall Street is trying to launch Enron 2.0:

The price of electricity would soar under the latest scheme by Wall Street financial engineers to game the electricity markets. If regulators side with Wall Street — and indications are that they will — expect the cost of electricity to rise from Maine to California as others duplicate this scheme to manipulate the markets, as Enron did on the West Coast 14 years ago, before the electricity-trading company collapsed under allegations of accounting fraud and corruption. More...

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Corporate CEOs Demand that they be Tipped Off When a Whistleblower Reports their Crimes
By William K. Black, J.D., Ph.D
Posted April 27, 2014

whistleblowersThe argument that whistleblowers betray their "loyalty" to the corporation when they alert authorities to the actions of officers and employees who are likely to be violating the law and harming the corporation in order to make the CEO wealthy never made sense. CEOs leading control frauds use executive compensation and the power to hire, fire, promote, and bully to create perverse incentives to induce employees to act on their own behalf by harming the corporation. It is true that Dodd-Frank's whistleblower provisions will increase enforcement actions and civil suits, but that would be a very good thing for corporations (and shareholders) if it clawed back fraud proceeds from the controlling officers. In the longer run, more effective deterrence could reduce civil suits and enforcement actions.

It is bizarre that an attorney, who must deal constantly with officers and directors' fiduciary duties and the absolute necessity of complying with the law, would assert that employees who blow the whistle on fraud are "disloyal" to the corporation and morally degenerate "informers" while employees who say nothing and aid frauds by controlling officers are "loyal" to the corporation and morally superior. More...

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Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury
By Ellen Brown
Posted April 26, 2014

Wall street greedUnited States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute. But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful - they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages. For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract? That's what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world's largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. More...

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The Global Banking Game Is Rigged, and the FDIC Is Suing
By Ellen Brown
Posted April 17, 2014

bank crime shouldn't payTaxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world's biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.

It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out. More...

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With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy
by John Nichols
Posted April 4, 2014

coporate courtAny doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.

The court that in 2010, with its Citizens United v. FEC decision, cleared the way for corporations to spend as freely as they choose to buy elections has now effectively eliminated the ability of the American people and their elected representatives to establish meaningful limits on direct donations by millionaires and billionaires to campaigns. The Citizens United ruling, coming after many previous judicial assaults on campaign finance rules and regulations, was a disaster for democracy. But it left in place at least some constraints on the campaign donors. Key among these was a limitation on the ability of a wealthy individual to donate more than a total dollar amount of $123,000 total in each two-year election cycle to political candidates and parties. More...

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Diego Garcia Military Base: Islanders Forcibly Deported
By Sherwood Ross
Posted March 29, 2014

forced deportationsIn order to convert the sleepy, Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia into a dominating military base, the U.S. forcibly transported its 2,000 Chagossian inhabitants into exile and gassed their dogs.

By banning journalists from the area, the U.S. Navy was able to perpetrate this with virtually no press coverage, says David Vine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of "Island of Shame: the Secret History of the U.S. Military on Diego Garcia(Princeton University Press)."

"The Chagossians were put on a boat and taken to Mauritius and the Seychelles, 1,200 miles away, where they were left on the docks, with no money and no housing, to fend for themselves," Vine said on the interview show "Books Of Our Time," sponsored by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. More...

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How (& Why) JPMorgan & COMEX Should Be Sued For Precious Metals Manipulation
by Ted Butler
Posted March 23, 2014

market manipulationThe stakes in a COMEX silver/gold/copper manipulation lawsuit are staggering. Not only is market manipulation the most serious market crime possible, the markets that have been manipulated and the number of those injured are enormous. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that any finding that JPMorgan and the COMEX did manipulate prices as I contend could very well result in the highest damage awards in history. That's no small thing considering the tens of billions of dollars that JPMorgan has coughed up recently for infractions in just about every line of their business.

JPMorgan has a history of proclaiming it is hedging when confronted with an unnecessarily large speculative position. The first thing the bank declared when the London Whale debacle surfaced was that it was part of a hedge against the bank's portfolio. But that was openly scoffed at and quickly discarded as an excuse. JPM is likely to trot out the hedging or market making justification, but any competent attorney will blow that away. No one (openly or legitimately) granted JPMorgan the right to maintain market corners in COMEX gold and silver. More...

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Lights, Camera, Arrested: Americans Are Being Thrown in Jail for Filming Police
By John Whitehead
Posted March 12, 2014

police accountability"I thought I had freedom of speech here," the man said to the police officer.

"You don't. You just lost it," the officer replied.

Once again, the U.S. government is attempting to police the world when it should be policing its own law enforcement agencies. We've got a warship cruising the Black Sea, fighter jets patrolling the Baltic skies, and a guided-missile destroyer searching the South China Sea for the downed Malaysia Airlines flight. All the while, back home in the U.S., our constitutional rights are going to hell in a hand basket, with homeowners being threatened with eviction for attempting to live off the grid, old women jailed for feeding crows, and citizens armed with little more than a cell phone arrested for daring to record police activities. More...

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The Stone That Brings Down Goliath? Richmond and Eminent Domain
By Ellen Brown
Posted March 5, 2014

bringing down the big banksIn a nearly $13 billion settlement with the US Justice Department in November 2013, JPMorganChase admitted that it, along with every other large US bank, had engaged in mortgage fraud as a routine business practice, sowing the seeds of the mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging; yet no prominent banker has gone to jail. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all mortgages nationally remain underwater (meaning the balance owed exceeds the current value of the home), sapping homeowners' budgets, the housing market and the economy. Since the banks, the courts and the federal government have failed to give adequate relief to homeowners, some cities are taking matters into their own hands.

Gayle McLaughlin, the bold mayor of Richmond, California, has gone where no woman dared go before, threatening to take underwater mortgages by eminent domain from Wall Street banks and renegotiate them on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. A member of the Green Party, which takes no corporate campaign money, she proved her mettle standing up to Chevron, which dominates the Richmond landscape. But the banks have signaled that if Richmond or another city tries the eminent domain gambit, they will rush to court seeking an injunction. Their grounds: an unconstitutional taking of private property and breach of contract. More...

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The Criminalization of Journalism: Who is Barrett Brown?
By Birgitta Jonsdottir
Posted March 2, 2014

Barrett Brown The curious case of Barrett Brown —a freelance journalist and satirist, turned political prisoner— has captivated thousands in the lead-up to what many are calling a "show trial" slated to take place in Dallas, TX, later this year. In an open letter published this morning (and attached below), Icelandic MP, Birgitta Jonsdottir claims the charges against Brown are part of a larger "unjust war on whistleblowers, journalists, and information activists." Brown, who has been incarcerated since September 12, 2012, is facing three separate indictments carrying a sum of 17 federal charges, each related to his work withProject PM (a crowdsourced journalism initiative aimed at shedding light on private contractors in the intelligence industry.) Brown's charges, should he be sentenced to them consecutively, have him facing 105 years in Federal prison.

At the core of these charges is an argument that Brown's alleged conduct of linking to, and editorialized upon, documents leaked by others to an unrelated 3rd party is tantamount to the leaking itself and henceforth constitutes a criminal violation of fraud and abuse. This controversial contention has triggered a groundswell of support from press freedom foundations and activists that see Brown's case as a canary in the coal mine of permissible internet speech. More...

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Exxon CEO Profits Huge As America's Largest Natural Gas Producer - But Frack In His Own Backyard And He Sues!
by Rich Ungar
Posted February 24, 2014

Rex Tillerson no fracking in my backyardSometimes, the hypocrisy expressed in real life is so sublimely rich that one could never hope to construct a similar scenario out of pure imagination. Meet Rex Tillerson, the CEO of oil and gas superstar ExxonMobile Corporation—the largest natural gas producer in these United States of America—and a newly emerging giant in the world of exquisite hypocrisy.

A key and critical function of Mr. Tillerson's day job is to do all he can to protect and nurture the process of hydraulic fracturing—aka 'fracking'—so that his company can continue to rack in billions via the production and sale of natural gas. Indeed, so committed is Rex to the process of fracking that he has loudly lashed out at those who criticize and seek to regulate hydraulic fracturing, suggesting that such efforts are a very bad idea, indeed. More...

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G-20 Protester's Amazing Statement To Court Before Sentencing
By Joel Bitar
Posted February 19, 2014

G20 protests TorontoThe statement below, which provides an excellent analysis of the economic, environmental and military issues facing the world, was made by G-20 protester, Joel Bitar. It was made to Justice Ronald Boivin as part of the process of sentencing for his role in the G-20 protests in 2010. Family and friends applauded after Bitar finished reading his letter to the justice. Before sentencing him, even Justice Boivin said he was impressed with the statement.

Joel was arrested in New York City on an arrest warrant on February 14, 2013 by US federal marshals acting on a foreign extradition request from Canadian authorities. Joel was charged with 26 counts, almost all relating to property damage that occurred during the G20 summit protests in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in June 2010. On Friday, April 12th, Joel waived extradition, which allowed him to voluntarily return to Canada for arraignment. On April 16th, Joel traveled to Canada with his father and was immediately arrested by Canadian authorities upon his arrival at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. He was arraigned the next day and released on $100,000 bond. He was allowed to return to New York City and required to return to Canada for court hearings. More...

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Company Responsible for West Virginia Chemical Spill Skips Congressional Hearing
by Emily Atkin
Posted February 14, 2014

Freedom Industries CEO Gary Southern drinking CLEAN waterExactly one month and a day after 10,000 gallons of chemicals spilled into West Virginia's water, members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Monday traveled to the state's capital city, ostensibly to ask state leaders the still-unanswered questions surrounding the leak. There are many.

Perhaps the most important party that could provide answers would have been Freedom Industries, the company whose chemical storage tanks leaked a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM into the water. Company president Gary Southern had been invited to testify, but in the end, did not show up.

"I find that extremely telling," said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). "Freedom Industries' decision not to testify today compounds its gross misconduct, and is an absolute affront to every person impacted by its spill." More...

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On Death and Derivatives
by Golem XIV
Posted Feb 5, 2014

banker jumpsOn Sunday a former Senior Deutsche Bank manager, William Broeksmit, was found hanged at his house. He was the retired Head of Risk Optimization for the bank and a close personal friend of Deutsche's Co-Chief Executive, Anshu Jain. Mr Broeksmit became head of Risk Optimization in 2008. He retired in February 2013.

Early this morning, Gabriel Magee, a Vice President of CIB (Corporate and Investment Banking) Technology at JP Morgan jumped to his death from the top of the bank's 33 story European Headquarters in Canary Wharf. As a VP of CIB Technology Mr Magee's job would have been to work closely with the Bank's senior Risk Managers providing the technology which monitored every aspect of the bank's exposure to financial risk.

These deaths could well be completely unrelated and just terribly sad for their respective families. On the other hand neither of these men had any obvious problems and both were immensely wealthy. So why would two senior bankers commit suicide within a couple of days of each other? More...

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Supreme Court denies Family Farmers the Right to Self Defense From Monsanto Lawsuits
by Food Democracy Now
Posted Jan 15, 2014

court of the corporationsThe U.S. Supreme Court today issued a decision in the landmark federal lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto. Farmers were denied the right to argue their case in court and gain protection from potential abuse by the agrochemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto's genetically engineered seed patents are invalid.

"This high court which gave corporations the ability to patent life forms in 1980, and under Citizens United in 2010 gave corporations the power to buy their way to election victories, has now in 2014 denied farmers the basic right of protecting themselves from the notorious patent bully Monsanto," said Gerritsen. More...

So there we have it..... the Supreme Court has proven that it as well as the other branches of government have been totally corrupted. All avenues for change have now been effectively closed.

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Eric Holder Criticized On Anniversary Of Aaron Swartz Death
by Martin Sledge
Posted Jan 11, 2013

prosecutorial overreachMembers of the House and Senate are pressing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about the "aggressive" prosecution and "tragic" death of internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide a year ago Saturday while facing federal hacking charges.

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and U.S. Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) sent Holder a letter Friday, following up on an initial request for answers about the prosecution that Cornyn sent a year ago.

"We regret that the information your Department has provided to date has not been satisfactory -- among other things, it painted a picture of prosecutors unwilling or unable to weigh what charges to pursue against a defendant, something which you have instructed federal prosecutors is 'among [their] most fundamental duties,'" they wrote. More...

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In Jail For Being In Debt
by Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt
Posted Dec 23, 2013

return of debtor prisonsIt's not a crime to owe money, and debtors' prisons were abolished in the United States in the 19th century. But people are routinely being thrown in jail for failing to pay debts. In Minnesota, which has some of the most creditor-friendly laws in the country, the use of arrest warrants against debtors has jumped 60 percent over the past four years, with 845 cases in 2009, a Star Tribune analysis of state court data has found.

In Minnesota, judges have issued arrest warrants for people who owe as little as $85 -- less than half the cost of housing an inmate overnight. Debtors targeted for arrest owed a median of $3,512 in 2009, up from $2,201 five years ago. Those jailed for debts may be the least able to pay. More...

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The Detroit "Bankruptcy" Distracts from Attack on Constitution: The Unelected "Czar of Detroit"
By William Boardman
Posted Dec 16, 2013

Michigan rule by decreeIn a federal lawsuit filed March 27 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit), the original 22 plaintiffs argue that Michigan's czar law is unconstitutional in a variety of ways, including violation of their constitutional rights to equal protection, republican form of government, free speech, and ability to petition their government. Plaintiffs' attorneys include lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights. Before this lawsuit could resolve any constitutional issues, it was stayed by the Detroit czar's bankruptcy filing in July. In November, bankruptcy judge Rhodes ruled that the constitutional challenge lawsuit can go forward, after the parties agreed that the case would not seek to remove the Detroit czar.

In other words, it is one of the oddities of the priorities of federal law, as currently enforced in Michigan, that issues of municipal debt are given more importance than issues of the constitutionality of laws by which those debts will be adjudicated. More...

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Banker Jail Sentences: Another Lesson For The World From Iceland
by Tyler Durden
Posted Dec 13, 2013

banhers should go to jailInstead of kicking the can and maintaining the zombie nation, Iceland ripped its over-levered bank-based-debacle band-aid off and has slowly but surely emerged from its own crisis (notwithstanding capital controls and pain for many) unlike the rest of the Western world which has reverted to the mean of ignorance and status quo. Now, however, The Guardian reports Iceland has one more lesson to teach the world - an Icelandic court has sentenced four former Kaupthing bankers to jail for market abuses.

Instead of fining the banks (in nothing more than a cost-of-doing-business line item), there are real consequences for the actors involved. More...

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Legal Framework for Big Banks Puts Depositors at Risk
By Steve Seuser
Posted Nov 30, 2013

legal theft of depositsThis article documents the legal framework for too-big-to-fail banks and other banks with derivative investments that put their depositors at high risk in the event of bankruptcy. It is intended to assist District of Columbia elected officials, city administrators, other concerned stakeholders, and citizens to understand and respond to the legal framework that binds federal regulatory agencies and courts in the event of bank failures.

In the U.S. and Great Britain, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bank of England in 2011 jointly published Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions. This document provides the legal framework for seizing deposit accounts in failed banks and converting them to stock in the reconstituted bank in order to preserve the soundness of the bank. This background piece describes the legal position of depositors as unsecured creditors in bankruptcy. The FDIC's document also uses the terms "unsecured creditors" and "unsecured debt holders" to include depositors in the following statement (p. 8). More...

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A Brave Hacker Willing to Spend a Decade in Prison for Exposing the Workings of the Corporate State
by Chris Hedges
Posted Nov 23, 2013

government fears truthThe sentence was one of the longest in U.S. history for hacking and the maximum the judge could impose under a plea agreement in the case. It was wildly disproportionate to the crime—an act of nonviolent civil disobedience that championed the public good by exposing abuses of power by the government and a security firm. But the excessive sentence was the point. The corporate state, rapidly losing credibility and legitimacy, is lashing out like a wounded animal. It is frightened. It feels the heat from a rising flame of revolt. It is especially afraid of those such as Hammond who have the technical skills to break down electronic walls and expose the corrupt workings of power.

The sentencing converges with the state’s persecution of Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Barrett Brown, along with Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and Sarah Harrison, four investigative journalists who are now in self-imposed exile from the United States. And as the numbers of our political prisoners and exiled dissidents mount, there is the unmistakable stench of tyranny. More...

The sad irony is that Judge Preska called for "respect for the law", but she really needs to rethink whether the founding the founding fathers would have approved of the current corporate run state and a judiciary that obediently does the corporate bidding. This will only breed more disrespect, not respect for the law.

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Why Has Nobody Gone To Jail For The Financial Crisis? Judge Rakoff Says: "Blame The Government"
By Jed S. Rakoff - US District Judge
Posted Nov 14, 2013

bankers too big to jailThe Great Recession was in material part the product of intentional fraud, the failure to prosecute those responsible must be judged one of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system in many years. Indeed, it would stand in striking contrast to the increased success that federal prosecutors have had over the past 50 years or so in bringing to justice even the highest level figures who orchestrated mammoth frauds. Thus, in the 1970's, in the aftermath of the "junk bond" bubble that, in many ways, was a precursor of the more recent bubble in mortgage-backed securities, the progenitors of the fraud were all successfully prosecuted, right up to Michael Milken. Again, in the 1980's, the so-called savings-and-loan crisis, which again had some eerie parallels to more recent events, resulted in the successful criminal prosecution of more than 800 individuals, right up to Charles Keating. And, again, the widespread accounting frauds of the 1990's, most vividly represented by Enron and WorldCom, led directly to the successful prosecution of such previously respected C.E.O.'s as Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Ebbers.

In striking contrast with these past prosecutions, not a single high level executive has been successfully prosecuted in connection with the recent financial crisis, and given the fact that most of the relevant criminal provisions are governed by a five-year statute of limitations, it appears very likely that none will be. It may not be too soon, therefore, to ask why. More...

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Jury Nullification Last Refuge for Justice
by BATR
Posted Nov 9, 2013

prosecutorial abuseA society that ignores or downplays Liberty is a culture that has lost its purpose. In such a regime, the people are relegated to the whims of the State and every citizen is at risk of criminal prosecution. Imagine the most evil attorney, like John Milton from The Devil's Advocate movie, as a DA. The irony that the initials for a District Attorney are the same as the title of the script should not be lost. Al Pacino's Speech could be given in any courtroom by a zealot persecutor as a closing statement.

Charging God for the injustices of the world, by a government lawyer and equating the accused with such crimes, gives new meaning to John Milton's classic Paradise Lost. The justice system has little to do with dispensing righteous responsibility. What is the alternative to a kangaroo court of facilitator judges for lying state prosecutors? Historically, a verdict decided by jury is the greatest protection that any defendant can rely upon. More...

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Despite Eight Ongoing Criminal/Civil Investigations of JPMorgan,
the Bank's a Law Enforcement Partner With the NYPD

by Pam Martens
Posted Nov 6, 2013

Ray Kelly partenering with criminalsWhile most law enforcement bodies around the U.S. would instantly weed out serial wrongdoers as job hires, Bloomberg and Kelly have created an art form out of joint policing ventures with Wall Street, operating both a rent-a-cop program with Wall Street as well as pumping at least $150 million of taxpayer money into the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center where Wall Street employees sit elbow to elbow with NYPD officers.

Under some Orwellian concept of citizen surveillance, the very Wall Street banks that proved they were a far greater threat to the United States than any foreign terrorist when they collapsed the Nation's financial system in 2008, are part of a joint venture with the NYPD to use high-tech spy equipment to monitor the comings and goings of citizens in the streets of Manhattan – the majority of which, unlike Wall Street, are law abiding citizens. More...

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Supreme Court's Choice: Plutocracy or Democracy
By Robert Weissman
Posted October 13, 2013

Supreme court rto decide fate of nationPlutocracy or democracy; the rich or the rest of us; legalized bribery or law and order; corruption or common sense.The choice facing the U.S. Supreme Court today in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission could not be clearer.

If the court decides to strike down limits on what an individual can give directly to candidates, parties and PACs, the real-world impact is plain enough. A few hundred people will be empowered to spend millions to buy elections. We will see a rise in corruption both as the public understands the term – meaning the entire political system will shift still more to favor the super-rich – and as the Supreme Court defines it – meaning quid pro quo corruption. More...

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As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm
By Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane
Posted October 5, 2013

FBI overreachProsecutors were pursuing a notable user of Lavabit, Mr. Levison's secure e-mail service: Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents that have put the intelligence agency under sharp scrutiny. Mr. Levison was willing to allow investigators with a court order to tap Mr. Snowden's e-mail account; he had complied with similar narrowly targeted requests involving other customers about two dozen times.

But they wanted more, he said: the passwords, encryption keys and computer code that would essentially allow the government untrammeled access to the protected messages of all his customers. That, he said, was too much.

"You don't need to bug an entire city to bug one guy's phone calls," Mr. Levison, 32, said in a recent interview. "In my case, they wanted to break open the entire box just to get to one connection." More...

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New Study Finds That State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction
By Radley Balko
Posted September 28, 2013

financial incentives to convict?In a new paper for the journal Criminal Justice Ethics, Roger Koppl and Meghan Sacks look at how the criminal justice system actually incentivizes wrongful convictions. In their section on state crime labs, they discover some astonishing new information about how many of these labs are funded.

Funding crime labs through court-assessed fees creates another channel for bias to enter crime lab analyses. In jurisdictions with this practice the crime lab receives a sum of money for each conviction of a given type. Ray Wickenheiser says, ''Collection of court costs is the only stable source of funding for the Acadiana Crime Lab. $10 is received for each guilty plea or verdict from each speeding ticket, and $50 from each DWI (Driving While Impaired) and drug offense.''

Think about how these fee structures play out in the day-to-day work in these labs. Every analyst knows that a test result implicating a suspect will result in a fee paid to the lab. Every result that clears a suspect means no fee. They're literally being paid to provide the analysis to win convictions. Their findings are then presented to juries as the careful, meticulous work of an objective scientist. More...

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When Posting a Website Link is a Crime
By Alfredo Lopez
Posted September 20, 2013

What has he done wrong?In 2011, Barrett Brown began examining a selection of about five million documents Wikileaks published involving a security company called Stratfor Global Intelligence. The emails had all kinds of information, including the names, addresses and credit card numbers of people with whom Stratfor was involved. But that was a small percentage of the material and Brown appears to have ignored it. What caught his interest, and what comprised most of the files, were documents and emails that reveal a very close and inappropriate relationship between Stratfor, several other security contractors and several agencies of the government (including the NSA).

In total, Brown is facing 105 years if convicted of the 17 charges against him. There are many questions raised by this case, all summarized with one question: "what exactly did this guy do wrong?". More...

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The Sentinel Case – Another Nail in the Coffin of 'Market Confidence'
by Pater Tenebrarum
Posted September 9, 2013

financial fraudThe failed futures brokerage Sentinel Management Group lost the money of its clients in when it went into bankruptcy in 2007. According to the SEC, the firm misappropriated the funds belonging to its clients.

Since then, creditors of the company have been fighting over who has title to certain assets. On the one side are the customers of Sentinel, whose funds and accounts were supposed to have been segregated from the company's assets. On the other side there is New York Mellon Bank, which lent Sentinel $312 million that were secured with collateral mainly consisting of said – allegedly 'segregated' – customer funds.

Legal questions aside, one thing is already certain: customers of futures brokerages can no longer have faith that their assets are in any way segregated or protected. Whatever residual hope there was left that things may still come right after the MF Global case is surely completely destroyed by the outcome of the Sentinel case. More...

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The Last Chance to Stop the NDAA
by Chris Hedges
Posted September 5, 2013

Obama's kangaroo courtI and my fellow plaintiffs have begun the third and final round of our battle to get the courts to strike down a section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that permits the military to seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities. Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran, the lawyers who with me in January 2012 brought a lawsuit against President Barack Obama (Hedges v. Obama), are about to file papers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear our appeal of a 2013 ruling on the act's Section 1021.

"First the terrorism-industrial complex assured Americans that they were only spying on foreigners, not U.S. citizens," Mayer said to me recently. "Then they assured us that they were only spying on phone calls, not electronic communications. Then they assured us that they were not spying on American journalists. And now both [major political] parties and the Obama administration have assured us that they will not detain journalists, citizens and activists. Well, they detained journalist Chris Hedges without a lawyer, they detained journalist Laura Poitras without due process and if allowed to stand this law will permit the military to target activists, journalists and citizens in an unprecedented assault on freedom in America." More...

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The Sentinel Case – Another Nail in the Coffin of 'Market Confidence'
by Pater Tenebrarum
Posted September 3, 2013

Sentinel Management GroupThe failed futures brokerage Sentinel Management Group lost the money of its clients in when it went into bankruptcy in 2007. According to the SEC, the firm misappropriated the funds belonging to its clients.

Since then, creditors of the company have been fighting over who has title to certain assets. On the one side are the customers of Sentinel, whose funds and accounts were supposed to have been segregated from the company's assets. On the other side there is New York Mellon Bank, which lent Sentinel $312 million that were secured with collateral mainly consisting of said – allegedly 'segregated' – customer funds.

Legal questions aside, one thing is already certain: customers of futures brokerages can no longer have faith that their assets are in any way segregated or protected. Whatever residual hope there was left that things may still come right after the MF Global case is surely completely destroyed by the outcome of the Sentinel case. More...

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The 11 Most Bizarre SWAT Team Raids
By Jodie Gummow
Posted August 25, 2013

militarized policeThe proliferation of SWAT team raids has resulted in a string of outlandish incidents. Last week, AlterNet reported on the wrongful police raid of an organic farm suspected of growing marijuana in Arlington, Texas. The massive SWAT team raid lasted for more than 10 hours and resulted in the seizure of vegetables and flowers—but no marijuana was found on the premises.

This is not the first time police have used paramilitary tactics to raid people's properties to enforce regulatory laws in the absence of any justifiable threat of harm. Here's a list of the most outlandish SWAT team raids across the county. More...

Police are trained and are supposed to protect and serve, while the military is trained to kill. The militarization of our police forces is incompatible with the mission of protect and serve.

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Why the JPMorgan Criminal Case Matters to You
by Shah Gilani
Posted August 20, 2013

JP Morgan ChaseSomething very important is going to come out of these new criminal charges just filed against two ex-JPMorgan traders… at least, I hope it does.

It's not about who did what to contribute to the London Whale's billions in losses. Frankly, who did what in this case is worthless news, unimportant, and a sideshow. Of course, the public will be riveted all the same, and prosecutors can't wait to ascend their microphoned podium and tell the world, "We got the banksters."

But I don't think they will be found guilty. If they are found guilty, it will be because prosecutors prove "intent" and blur the technicalities, which will be mindboggling. More...

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NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year: Report
by Eric Beech (Reuters)
Posted August 16, 2013

NSA broke rules and liedThe National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involved unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive order, the paper said. The Post said the documents it obtained were part of a trove of materials provided to the paper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has been charged by the United States with espionage. He was granted asylum in Russia earlier this month. More...

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Seven Things You Wanted to Know About Prosecuting Wall Street
by Richard Eskow
Posted August 11, 2013

Obama/Holder will not prosecute Wall StPresident Obama's Justice Department, under the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, hasn't indicted a single bank executive for the massive Wall Street crime wave that devastated the economy. The regulatory reform that followed the 2008 crisis wasn't nearly enough, and yet Republicans are trying to weaken even that. And just this week there were several news stories about bank crime. What do they mean? Why haven't any bankers gone to jail? What's going on in this country?

Here are seven things about Wall Street crime and Washington "justice" you might have wanted to know, but were probably too depressed to ask. It's true that there's a shortage of justice where bankers are concerned. But don't get depressed. Get serious – about demanding change. More...

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Shot to Death by Police for Betting on a Football Game? The Rise of Paramilitary Force in America
by Radley Balko
Posted August 12, 2013

police stateSal Culosi is dead because he bet on a football game — but it wasn't a bookie or a loan shark who killed him. His local government killed him, ostensibly to protect him from his gambling habit.

Several months earlier at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. "To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends," a friend of Culosi's told me shortly after his death. "None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation." Baucum apparently did.

After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that's when they brought in the SWAT team. More...

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Philadelphia Sues Big Banks Over Swaps Losses
by Harold Brubaker
Posted July 31, 2013

Philadelphia sues big banksPhiladelphia has joined the ranks of municipalities suing some of the world's biggest banks for losses caused by the alleged manipulation of a benchmark interest rate during and after the financial crisis.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Philadelphia, does not specify damages, but it disclosed that the city paid $109.6 million in recent years to end financial contracts with the banks that were designed to cut borrowing costs but backfired when interest rates fell instead of rising as expected.

The interest rate at the core of the complaint is the London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, which is used throughout the world to set interest rates for many forms of debt, including consumer credit cards. More...

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The Business of Mass Incarceration
by Chris Hedges
Posted July 30, 2013

Prison Industrial-ComplexThe intrusion of corporations and private contractors into the prison system is a legacy of the Clinton administration. President Bill Clinton's omnibus crime bill provided $30 billion to expand the prison system, including $10 billion to build prisons. The bill expanded from two to 58 the number of federal crimes for which the death penalty can be administered. It eliminated a ban on the execution of the mentally impaired. The bill gave us the "three-strikes" laws that mandate life sentences for anyone convicted of three "violent" felonies. It set up the tracking of sex offenders. It allowed the courts to try children as young as 13 as adults. It created special courts to deport noncitizens alleged to be "engaged in terrorist activity" and authorized the use of secret evidence. The prison population under Clinton swelled from 1.4 million to 2 million.

Incarceration has become a very lucrative business for an array of private contractors, most of whom send lobbyists to Washington to make sure the laws and legislation continue to funnel a steady supply of poor people into the prison complex. These private contractors, taking public money, build the prisons, provide food service, hire guards and run and administer detention facilities. It is imperative to their profits that there be a steady supply of new bodies. More...

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NSA Says It Can't Read Its Own Emails
by Justin Elliot
Posted July 26, 2013

NSA can't read its own emails?The NSA is a "supercomputing powerhouse" with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture.

But ask the NSA, as part of a freedom of information request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees' email? The agency says it doesn't have the technology.

"There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately," NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week. More...

Does Cindy Blacker have any idea of just how absurd her statement sounds?

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Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys
by Declan McCullagh
Posted July 25, 2013

master keys to InternetWhether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that companies use for Web encryption remains an open question, but it hasn't stopped the U.S. government from trying.

The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users' private Web communications from eavesdropping. These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users.

If the government obtains a company's master encryption key, agents could decrypt the contents of communications intercepted through a wiretap or by invoking the potent surveillance authorities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Web encryption -- which often appears in a browser with a HTTPS lock icon when enabled -- uses a technique called SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. More...

With the master encreyption keys in their possession, how long do you think it will take before someone working for a contractor or the NSA itself "harvests" confidential data and then sells it for a profit? This data could be your medical records, your bank login, your company's data, or your emails.

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Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Renews Authority to Collect Telephony Metadata
Government Document
Posted July 22, 2013

Nothing to hideAs indicated by a previously classified court order disclosed by the media on June 5, 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorization requiring the production of certain telephony metadata under the "business records" provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. Section 1861, expires on July 19, 2013.

On June 6, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence declassified certain information about this telephony metadata collection program in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program. More...

Looks like the "secret" court has issued another order renewing a warrant for the government to spy on all citizens irregardless of whether they have committed a crime, are suspects in a crime, or any other "reasonable" criteria. So much for privacy and freedom in the "land of the free".

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NSA Phone Snooping Cannot Be Challenged in Court, Feds Say
by David Kravets
Posted July 21, 2013

No challenges allowedThe Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the "public interest," does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.

Thursday's response marks the first time the administration has officially answered one of at least four lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of a secret U.S. snooping program the Guardian newspaper disclosed last month. The administration's filing sets the stage for what is to be a lengthy legal odyssey — one likely to outlive the Obama presidency — that will define the privacy rights of Americans for years to come.

The New York federal district court lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, demands a federal judge immediately halt the spy program the civil rights group labeled as "one of the largest surveillance efforts ever launched by a democratic government." More...

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NSA warned to rein in surveillance as agency reveals even greater scope
by Spencer Ackerman
Posted July 18, 2013

NSA hearingThe National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed. John C Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform "a second or third hop query" through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.

"Hops" refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with. Inglis did not elaborate, nor did the members of the House panel – many of whom expressed concern and even anger at the NSA – explore the legal and privacy implications of the breadth of "three-hop" analysis. More...

A three-hop query from a single terrorist can cover the entire population of the US assuming an average person knows about 700 people (works out to 343 million). If we assume there are 25 terrorists in this world, the NSA can then cover the entire population of the world. It also explains why the NSA stopped at a three-hop query instead of proceeding to four-hop queries.

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Surveillance Blowback
by Alfred W. McCoy and Tom Dispatch
Posted July 16, 2013

surveillanceThe American surveillance state is now an omnipresent reality, but its deep history is little known and its future little grasped. Edward Snowden's leaked documents reveal that, in a post-9/11 state of war, the National Security Agency (NSA) was able to create a surveillance system that could secretly monitor the private communications of almost every American in the name of fighting foreign terrorists. The technology used is state of the art; the impulse, it turns out, is nothing new. For well over a century, what might be called "surveillance blowback" from America's wars has ensured the creation of an ever more massive and omnipresent internal security and surveillance apparatus. Its future (though not ours) looks bright indeed.

Instead of curtailing his predecessor's wartime surveillance, as Republicans did in the 1920s and Democrats in the 1970s, President Obama has overseen the expansion of the NSA's wartime digital operations into a permanent weapon for the exercise of U.S. global power. More...

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In 'Chilling' Ruling, Chevron Granted Access to Activists' Private Internet Data
by Lauren McCauley
Posted July 15, 2013

Chevron crimes"Sweeping" subpoena violates rights of those who spoke out against oil giant's devastating actions in Ecuador. The US government is not the only entity who, with judicial approval, is amassing massive amounts of personal information against their so-called enemies. A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest. The "sweeping" subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. More...

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How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted July 14, 2013

Microsoft spyingMicrosoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month. More...

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Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms, Militarized Police State in America
By Frank Morales
Posted July 8, 2013


militarized policeThe American people have been subject to a series of deeper and deeper encroachments upon our basic freedoms, increasingly extensive deployment of military operations on the home front, perpetrated by a corporate driven military mission creep that now claims the right and duty to arrest and detain us on the word of a Pentagon or White House operative. President Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge, essentially aims to put the last nail in the coffin of our Constitution, our teetering Republic and our most basic democratic traditions.

The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration (“you can trust me”) would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course (of course) shortly before Congress voted on the final bill, which the President signed on the 31st of December 2011, a day that will go down in infamy. More...

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Snowden asylum in Ecuador dead - the intrigue
by Michael Collins
Posted July 4, 2013

Snowden heroEcuador is not considering Edward Snowden's asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, president Rafael Correa said as the whistleblower made a personal plea to Quito for his case to be heard.

Snowden was Russia's responsibility and would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request, the president said in an interview with the Guardian on Monday.

"Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It's not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia." More...

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Is NSA Blackmail Inc. for the U.S. Military Industrial Complex?
by Toby Connor
Posted July 3, 2013

blackmail From Russ Tice, former intelligence analyst with 20 years of experience at NSA, the US Air Force, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, in a June 2013 interview with Boiling Frogs:

"They [NSA] went after [spied on] – and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things – they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the – and judicial…

"They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of – heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House – their own people.

"Here's the big one… this was in summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois. You wouldn't happen to know where that guy lives right now would you? It's a big white house in Washington, D.C. That's who they went after, and that's the president of the United States now." More...

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This Really is Big Brother: The Leak Nobody's Noticed
by Heather Parton
Posted July 2, 2013

police state is watchingWhen the free free press, explicitly protected in the bill of rights becomes equivalent to an "enemy of the United States" something very, very bad is happening.The administration says it's doing this to protect national security and that it is willing to protect those who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. But that is not how the effect of this sort of program is going to be felt. After all, it's being implemented across the federal government, not just in national security.

This government paranoia and informant culture is about as corrosive to the idea of freedom as it gets. The workplace is already rife with petty jealousies, and singular ambition--- it's a human organization after all. Adding in this sort of incentive structure is pretty much setting up a system for intimidation and abuse. More...

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Take A Break From The Snowden Drama For A Reminder Of What He's Revealed So Far
by Andy Greenberg
Posted June 28, 2013

Orwellian NSA spyingA leaker as fascinating as Edward Snowden is his own worst enemy. The world has become so caught up in the suspense and intrigue of the Snowden Affair–practically a ready-made Robert Ludlum title–that it seems to have almost forgotten the massive National Security Agency surveillance controversy that he's risked his future to bring to light.

So now is as good a time as any to take an intermission from the drama and recall the real story: the biggest global privacy scandal of the decade. Here's a recap of Snowden's leaked documents published so far, in my own highly subjective order of importance. More...

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The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier for Big Business to Screw the Little Guy
by Stephanie Mencimer
Posted June 25, 2013

Corporate bulliesIn a little-known case called American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the Supreme Court today issued yet another decision making it easier for big corporations to use their market power to screw over consumers and small businesses. Thursday's 5-3 decision affirmed the right of big corporations to use mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts to force small businesses to challenge monopolistic practices in private arbitration rather than through class actions in court. The case shows once again that the conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has no problem with judicial activism when it comes to bolstering corporate power.

Kagan was blunt: "If the arbitration clause is enforceable, Amex has insulated itself from antitrust liability—even if it has in fact violated the law. The monopolist gets to use its monopoly power to insist on a contract effectively depriving its victims of all legal recourse. And here is the nutshell version of today's opinion, admirably flaunted rather than camouflaged: Too darn bad." More...

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Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant
by Glenn Greenwald and James Ball
Posted June 21, 2013

spying on AmericansTop secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently" collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target "non-US persons" under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.

The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used. More...

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The Whistleblower's Guide to the Orwellian Galaxy: How to Leak to the Press
by Nicholas Weaver
Posted June 19, 2013

orwellian nationWhile the list of government (and corporate) whistleblowers continues to grow, their options for leaking continue to shrink. It is, as one commenter noted, "a dangerous time to be right when the government is wrong." We now live in a world where public servants informing the public about government behavior or wrongdoing must practice the tradecraft of spies and drug dealers à la The Wire. Even the head of the CIA can't email his mistress without being identified by the FBI. And privately collected data isn't immune, either; highly sensitive metadata is particularly vulnerable thanks to the Third Party Doctrine.

So how can one safely leak information to the press, let alone coordinate a Deep Throat-style meetup? The obvious choices: email, phone, and mail … but you've got to be really careful. Here's a guide. More...

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What is the Real Reason the Government is Spying on Americans?
by Washington's Blog
Posted June 17, 2013

spying on usIf previous FEMA and FBI lists are any indication, the Main Core database includes dissidents and activists of various stripes, political and tax protesters, lawyers and professors, publishers and journalists, gun owners, illegal aliens, foreign nationals, and a great many other harmless, average people.

A veteran CIA intelligence analyst who maintains active high-level clearances and serves as an advisor to the Department of Defense in the field of emerging technology tells Radar that during the 2004 hospital room drama, [current nominee to head the FBI, and former Deputy Attorney General] James Comey expressed concern over how this secret database was being used "to accumulate otherwise private data on non-targeted U.S. citizens for use at a future time." [Snowden and high-level NSA whistleblower William Binney have since confirmed this] …. A source regularly briefed by people inside the intelligence community adds: "Comey had discovered that President Bush had authorized NSA to use a highly classified and compartmentalized Continuity of Government database on Americans in computerized searches of its domestic intercepts. [Comey] had concluded that the use of that 'Main Core' database compromised the legality of the overall NSA domestic surveillance project." More...

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The Shocking Story Behind "News Feed Trading"
by Shah Gilani
Posted June 16, 2013

insider tradingFor a "Fistful of Dollars," what you get is a few seconds head start on knowing some very important economic data points. It's amazing what money can buy.

Forget integrity, it's not for sale because it's out of stock. But if you want to buy the University of Michigan's highly regarded and market-moving report on consumer confidence, you can get it, right alongside the "investors" like the HFT boys and girls who pay the University to get the numbers two seconds before the rest of the world sees them. Or you can pony up next to the same crowd that buys the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index numbers before the world sees them.

It's not insider trading. It's totally legal. More...

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Government Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret
By Mark Rumold and David Sobel
Posted June 15, 2013

can you believe this crap?In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion that found the National Security Agency's surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the surveillance at issue was carried out under the same controversial legal authority that underlies the NSA's recently-revealed PRISM program.

EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702 "circumvented the spirit of the law" and violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post. More...

I just want to get this straight........ a secret court rules that the secret surveillance was illegal, but the government wants the secret ruling of the secret court to stay secret. We just sink deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.

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The Essence of DNA Identity
by BATR
Posted June 14, 2013

DNA testing for everyoneDo you intrinsically possess individual privacy rights, based upon natural law authority, or are your civil liberties arbitrarily defined by the current whims of government? How you answer, this question speaks loudly about your understanding of the nature of your very being. Those who deem that natural law is a myth or a superstition are poised for voluntary surrender of their vital identity. The cataloging of individual essence is aberrant. Your deoxyribonucleic acid is the core element of personal uniqueness and human dignity. If your DNA is subject to government collection and storage, the right of personal privacy is destroyed.

The dramatic proliferation of coercive police powers has little correlation to an improvement in public safety. The precedent that convicted criminals lose constitutional rights has gone virtually unchallenged in a society enamored with obedience to state authority. The practice of the law and the judicial review that provides the arbitrary and capricious rulings that incessantly favors the expansion of a greater level of state control, consistently violates common law and inherent principles. More...

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The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning
By Chris Hedges
Posted June 13, 2013

Judicial lynching victimThe military trial of Bradley Manning is a judicial lynching. The government has effectively muzzled the defense team. The Army private first class is not permitted to argue that he had a moral and legal obligation under international law to make public the war crimes he uncovered.

The documents that detail the crimes, torture and killing Manning revealed, because they are classified, have been barred from discussion in court, effectively removing the fundamental issue of war crimes from the trial. Manning is forbidden by the court to challenge the government's unverified assertion that he harmed national security.

Manning is unable to appeal to the Nuremberg principles, a set of guidelines created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations after World War II to determine what constitutes a war crime. The principles make political leaders, commanders and combatants responsible for war crimes, even if domestic or internal laws allow such actions. The Nuremberg principles are designed to protect those, like Manning, who expose these crimes. More...

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'Beyond Orwellian': Outrage Follows Revelations of Vast Domestic Spying Program
by Jon Queally
Posted June 10, 2013

spying on all AmericansThis FISA court order is the 'broadest surveillance order ever issued' against private citizens. As government officials and Verizon itself responded to the Guardian's NSA domestic spying story throughout the day, concern over the program's scope and implications only deepened among its army of critics.

Responding to the news report, Sen. Diane Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged that she has been well aware of the NSA's collecting of vast amounts of personal phone record data, but said the practice was totally "legal."

Verizon acknowledged the program as well, but said the order gave it no choice but to comply.

The only thing of concern to Sen. Feinstein, who demanded an investigation into the source of the leak, seemed to be finding the individual who passed the FISA Court order to the Guardian in the first place. More...

The entire system is upside down. Our government totally ignores the constitution and essentially does the electronic equivalent of placing an FBI agent at the door of each home of every person in the nation. Instead of investigating the criminals who were party to this, the government is going after the whistle blower, AGAIN.

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We're Being Watched: How Corporations and Law Enforcement Are Spying on Environmentalists
by Adam Federman
Posted June 1, 2013

corporate infiltrationAccording to a report in The Nation, the agricultural giant Monsanto contracted with a subsidiary of Blackwater, the private security firm, to gather intelligence on and possibly infiltrate environmental groups in order to protect the company's brand name. "This is the new normal," says Scott Crow, an author and longtime environmental activist who was the subject of FBI and corporate surveillance for close to eight years beginning in 1999.

While the above cases involved corporations hiring private security firms to carry out black-ops against environmental groups, the Pennsylvania scandal may be the first time that a state agency has contracted with a private security firm to gather intelligence on lawful groups for the benefit of a specific industry. Although the ITRR bulletins were produced for the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security, they were shared with PR firms, the major Marcellus Shale companies, and industry associations.

Not only were they being lumped together with groups like Al-Qaeda, but the government agencies tasked with protecting the people of Pennsylvania were, in their view, essentially working for the gas companies. If a moderate group like GDAC wasn't safe from the surveillance-industrial complex, it seemed nobody was. "These systems and this type of collection is so rife with inappropriate speculation and error – both intentional and unintentional – that your good behavior doesn't protect you," German says. More...

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Here's Why The World's First Central Banker Got The Death Penalty
by Rob Wile
Posted May 31, 2013

First central bankerIn 1656, Sweden's King Karl X Gustav deputized a Latvian-born entrepreneur named Johan Palmstruch to found a bank to help modernize Sweden's finances.At the time, the country's principal currency was enormous copper plates, called dalers.

Palmstruch began holding them at this new institution, called the Stockholms Banco, and providing customers receipts — basically, proofs of credit. The system proved extremely popular, and a lot of dalers began piling up at the bank.So naturally, Palmstruch began making loans.

For six years, things went great, Irwin writes.
But then King Gustav died, and Sweden's ruling council decided to strike new copper plates that were worth less than the old ones. So naturally, Swedes immediately began lining up at the Banco to claim their old dalers, whose value had suddenly gone up. More...

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Argentina's General Videla and the "War on Terror"
by Bill Van Auken
Posted May 25, 2013

Videla repressionGen. Jorge Rafael Videla died May 17 at the age of 87 as the result of injuries suffered from a fall in a prison shower. He was remembered as the head of a savage military dictatorship that between 1976 and 1983 murdered and "disappeared" some 30,000 Argentine workers, socialist militants, teachers, students and others perceived as "subversives," while torturing at least 100,000 others. In his own country, newspapers that once backed his rule condemned him as a dictator and practitioner of state terror.

A network of clandestine prisons was set up, including the notorious dungeons of ESMA (the Navy School of Mechanics), the army's Campo de Mayo, and scores of others scattered across the country. There, detainees were subjected to vicious forms of torture, including beatings, electric shocks, prolonged submersion in foul water, forced denial of sleep, extreme temperature and noise, attacks by trained dogs, simulated executions and sexual torture and humiliation.

Virtually all of these methods came into common usage at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and CIA "black sites" across the globe a quarter of a century later. More...

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Why Are Homeowners Being Jailed for Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions?
by John Knefel
Posted May 24, 2013

DOJ jails victimsA two-day long housing protest outside the Department of Justice this week has resulted in nearly 30 arrests and several instances of law enforcement unnecessarily using tasers on activists, according to eye-witnesses. The action – which was organized by a coalition of housing advocacy groups, including the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes – called for Attorney General Eric Holder to begin prosecutions against the bankers who created the foreclosure crisis.

"Everyone here is fed up with Holder acknowledging big banks did really bad stuff but [saying] they're too big to jail," says Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, who helped organize the event. Holder has previously suggested that prosecuting large banks would be difficult because it could destabilize the economy. The attorney general recently tried to walk those comments back – but the conspicuous lack of criminal prosecutions of bankers tells another story. More...

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It's Enough to Make Your Blood Boil
by Shah Gilani
Posted May 20, 2013

Eric Holder grants immunity to banksFirst, back in February, Attorney General Eric Holder christened the unofficial official doctrine of "Too Big to Jail." He told Congress, "The size of some of these institutions [TBTF banks] becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute - if we do bring a criminal charge - it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."

Of course, it was only the christening of another neat little name. The actual doctrine has been official policy of America's Congress, successive presidents and their administrations, and the alphabet soup of regulatory bodies for as long as anyone can remember.

But a funny thing happened on Tuesday. Someone pushed back...

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Justice Department, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission. More...

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The Vicious New Bank Shakedown That Could Seriously Ruin Your Life
by Lynn Stuart Parramore
Posted May 20, 2013

Bank fraudLast summer, a civil court judge in Brooklyn who presides over as many as 100 credit card cases a day told the New York Times that a whopping 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits that came across his desk were flawed and could not prove that a person owed the debt. Here's the kicker: The errors in credit card suits often go undetected because the borrowers usually don't show up in court to defend themselves (how can they, if they don't know the suit has been filed?). As a result, an estimated 95 percent of lawsuits result in default judgments in favor of lenders.

The really chilling message sent in this new plot to squeeze cash out of hard-pressed Americans is that the big banks are completely undaunted by their exposure in the foreclosure robo-signing scam. Whatever penalties or bad publicity they have received have not restrained them one iota from pulling the exact same fraud again on hapless consumers. Neither has the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which now hangs in limbo with the endlessly delayed confirmation of Richard Cordray as head. More...

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How the US Turned Three Pacifists into Violent Terrorists
by Fran Quigley
Posted May 19, 2013

peaceful activitsIn just ten months, the United States managed to transform an 82 year-old Catholic nun and two pacifists from non-violent anti-nuclear peace protestors accused of misdemeanor trespassing into federal felons convicted of violent crimes of terrorism. Now in jail awaiting sentencing for their acts at an Oak Ridge, TN nuclear weapons production facility, their story should chill every person concerned about dissent in the US.

In a mere five months, government charges transformed them from misdemeanor trespassers to multiple felony saboteurs. The government also successfully moved to strip the three from presenting any defenses or testimony about the harmful effects of nuclear weapons. More...

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Justice Department's Pursuit Of AP's Phone Records Is Both Extreme And Dangerous
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted May 16, 2013

Eric HolderThe claimed legal basis for these actions is unknown, but the threats they pose to a free press and the newsgathering process are clear. Attorney General Eric Holder was required by DOJ regulations to personally approve efforts to obtain phone records for AP journalists.

The DOJ has been obtaining phone records for quite some time in this manner, and that the angry reactions to this story are accounted for by the fact that, in this case, the targets are establishment journalists rather than marginalized Muslims or dissident groups. But there are unique dangers from having the government intrude into journalists' communications with their sources, which is what happens when they obtain their phone records in such a sweeping manner. At this point, leaks from government sources are the primary way we learn about what the government does, and the more that process is targeted and the more those involved are intimidated, the less it will happen. That, of course, is the point.

Despite how stunning the breadth of this invasion is, none of it is really surprising. But it does underscore just how extreme of a climate of fear has been deliberately imposed by the Obama administration on the news gathering process. More...

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An Easy, 4-Step Method to End Corporate Personhood
by Carl Gibson
Posted May 10, 2013

Corporations are peopleIf you knew you could end the concept of corporate personhood at the local level, and that everyone all over the country was doing it too, wouldn't you try it? All you need is $50 to $100 depending on what state you're in, a vehicle, and a carpool lane. A briefcase is helpful, but optional.

We all know corporations aren't people. The mere suggestion that an entity with an unlimited lifespan - that doesn't eat, sleep, make love, or even have a measurable pulse - is a legitimate "person" is laughable. So here's an easy way to prove that laughable concept to local law enforcement, and more importantly, your local judge. More...

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Why Such Secrecy About private Military Contractor at the Boston Marathon?
by Dave Lindorff
Posted April 27, 2013

What's in your backpack?Speaking as an investigative reporter with almost 40 years's experience, I can say that when government officials won't talk, they're generally hiding something embarrassing or worse.

I tried, and nobody will talk about those Craft International Services private security personnel who were widely observed and photographed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, wearing security ear-pieces, hats and T-shirts bearing the company's skull logo, and all wearing the same dark coats, khaki pants and combat boots, some carrying what appear to have been radiation detectors.

The image of the exploded backpack released by the FBI and identified as the remains of the pack that was carrying one of the two pressure-cooker bombs, prominently displays a white square on a black background. This is not a doctored photograph; it's the photograph that was released by the FBI. There are also at least two photos depicting one of the Craft International men who is wearing a black backpack identical to several of the other Craft International personnel. The same white square is also visible on the top of his pack. More...

I look at the size of these contractors' backpacks and then at the size of the ones worn by the brothers Tsarnaev and it seems to me that the brothers' packpacks were not big enough for a pressure cooker. Also, the younger brother's packback was white not black. Something seems strange here.

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Boston Bombing: MSM Creates New Official Story – Video of Dzhokhar Planting Bomb is Forgotten
by Scott Creighton
Posted April 24, 2013

These two videos are crucial because they are supposedly what put the Tsarnaev brothers on the FBI's radar in the first place. Many people, myself included, immediately wondered about why the FBI would claim to have these videos and then not release them to aid the public in identifying the suspects. It made no sense and the claim above from CNN is insultingly stupid.

Turns out there was a reason they didn't release the videos, they didn't exist.
As the Washington Post drops the story of the incriminating videos down the memory hole, their new effort published yesterday tries to fill the void as best it can. It is four pages of covering tracks and literally nothing else. More...

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Italian Supreme Court President Blames Bilderberg For Terrorist Attacks
by Paul Joseph Watson
Posted April 17, 2013

Italian Supreme Court PresidentHonorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy and former Senior Investigative Judge Ferdinando Imposimato, the man who prosecuted the case involving the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II, has sensationally accused the Bilderberg Group of being behind terrorist attacks in Europe.

"You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game," Vinciguerra explained in sworn testimony. "The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings which remain unpunished, because the state cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible for what happened," he added. More...

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As economy flails, debtors' prisons thrive
by Alain Sherter
Posted April 13, 2013

revival of debtors prisonsThousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can't afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees. If that sounds like a debtors' prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that's because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.

Jail time can also accelerate a downward spiral for the debtor, because additional court costs are piled on top of their previous debts. That makes repayment even harder, and the cycle continues. More...

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Secret FDIC Plan to Loot Bank Accounts
By Stephen Lendman
Posted April 11, 2013

FDIC plans for your moneyYour bank accounts are unsafe. FDIC insurance won't help. It shouldn't surprise. It's already policy. Market analyst Graham Summers explained. Depositor theft is coming. Europe is banker occupied territory. So is America.

Finance is a new form of warfare. It's more powerful than standing armies. Banking giants run things. Money power has final say. Economies are strip-mined for profit. Communities are laid waste. Ordinary people are impoverished. Even their bank accounts aren't safe.

Cypriot officials agreed to tax them. Canada, New Zealand, and Euroland member states plan doing the same thing. So does America. More...

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Bradley Manning & The Deepwater Horizon
by Greg Palast
Posted April 6, 2013

U.S. coverupThree years ago this month, on the 20th of April, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew itself to kingdom come. Soon thereafter, a message came in to our office's chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, from a person I dare not name, who was floating somewhere in the Caspian Sea along the coast of Baku, Central Asia.

The source was in mortal fear he'd be identified -- and with good reason. Once we agreed on a safe method of communication, he revealed this: 17 months before BP's Deepwater Horizon blew out and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig suffered an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea. Crucially, both the Gulf and Caspian Sea blow-outs had the same identical cause: the failure of the cement "plug".

Only after I dove into deep water in Baku did I discover, trolling through the so-called "WikiLeaks" documents, secret State Department cables released by Manning. The information was stunning: the US State Department knew about the BP blow-out in the Caspian and joined in the cover-up. More...

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Private Prisons and the Enslavement Society
by Batr Sartre
Posted April 3, 2013

For profit prisonsWhat more time-honored practice in the long history of state sponsored servitude than the institutionalization of prisoners? Incarceration for offenses against government laws is a cornerstone for power and survivability of any regime. Prisons may have been hellholes over the centuries, but seldom has the internment of convicted lawbreakers been a growth industry for private profit. It almost makes one wonder exactly who are the crooks. While most hard-pressed citizens want a safe and secure society, few ever give even a passing thought to the insatiable corporatist criminalization of the criminal justice system. Just how many Americans agree with the proposition, if you did the crime, you need to serve the time.

No other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports. More...

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Obama's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Protects Bank Fraud and Insider Trading
by Tom Burghardt
Posted March 29, 2013

protecting corruptionAs one of the filthiest dens of corruption in Washington, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in a league of its own. In late January, when the president announced he was nominating former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The New York Times, as they are wont to do, proclaimed that the "White House delivered a strong message to Wall Street."

A rather ironic assertion considering the tens of millions of dollars "earned" defending Wall Street criminals by Debevoise & Plimpton partner Mary Jo and her millionaire lawyer husband John, a partner at the white shoe corporate litigation shop Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as Above the Law disclosed.

Keep in mind that White will soon lead an agency that for years covered-up financial crimes by routinely shredding tens of thousands of case files on everything from insider trading, securities fraud, market manipulation and the Madoff and Stanford Ponzi schemes, as a 2011 Rolling Stone investigation disclosed. More...

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That's why they call it a Police State
by David Glenn Cox
Posted March 21, 2013

police stateOn July 10, 2011 Kelly Thomas was beaten and suffocated by five Fullerton Police Officers. Kelly Thomas was a homeless man and a diagnosed schizophrenic. Police had stopped Thomas for a suspected auto burglary, but Thomas had nothing on him indicating he was involved. Over the next 15 minutes the officers taunt Thomas, threatening to arrest him for imaginary crimes, until finally, Officer Ramos says, "Now, you see my fists, they're about to f*ck you up." Thomas was tasered six times, until the taser guns ran dry and then, he was beaten and finally, suffocated by five officers piling on top of his lifeless body. Thomas's body then lay on the sidewalk, in a puddle of his own leaking body fluids, while paramedics attended to the cop's bloody knuckles.

Kelly Thomas was beaten to death by police on the streets of Fullerton California, but what was Kelly Thomas charged with? The officers knew Kelly Thomas, he was a fixture, and they'd talked to him before. They knew he was homeless, but rather than say homeless, let's say instead, that they knew he was powerless to stop the officer's. More...

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Eric Holder Enables Dishonesty, Fraud and Likely Criminal Activity on Wall Street
by Mark Karlin
Posted March 18, 2013

enabler of crimeHolder admits that Department of Justice believes big bankers are above the law, Holder is enabling fraudulent and criminal activity on Wall Street by hardly investigating it, let alone potentially prosecuting the executives likely engaged in violations of the law.

If a state attorney general declares that he or she will not prosecute a Mafia don for shaking down merchants because the Mafia owns too many legitimate businesses and employs too many people – and putting the don behind empires might cause economic harm, do you think that the don is going to stop beating people over the head with baseball bats to get a cut of the profits? That is exactly analogous to the position Holder has taken in not prosecuting too big to fail bank executives. As such, Holder is enabling Wall Street fraud and crime.

This is corruption of the most entrenched and insidious kind, and the US attorney general's response is that some crime pays and is too big and powerful to be subject to the laws of the United States of America. More...

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Eric Holder Exposes A Nation of Law, Going Lawless
By Jim Freeman
Posted March 17, 2013

Dept of InjusticeEarly In March, Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee he and his Department of Justice were, essentially, unable to prosecute crime. He told the Senators, without any irony at all, that certain private institutions were simply too big to prosecute. He is, of course, talking about banks--a specific bank in this case, but we'll come to that.

Holder's statement begs the question, if banks have been acknowledged as too big to fail and, if he has extended the "too big' franchise to prosecution for crimes, can too big to audit be far behind? Perhaps they are like mastodons and too damned big to do anything with, short of waiting out their inevitable extinction. More...

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Bradley Manning: The Conscience of America
by Michael Ratner
Posted March 15, 2013

reported war crimesThe last 10 years have brought to light egregious acts committed by U.S. soldiers who, when exposed, cower under the defense of "just following orders," or claim to have been influenced by institutional culture. Yet, remarkably, at just 22 years of age, a heroic young man began exposing the worst of this culture not to harm the country, but to better it. He saw wrongdoing and he acted.

Unfortunately for Private Manning, he faces an administration that seems intent on criminalizing every conceivable act of whistleblowing, in effect deleting its vital function from our democratic system. Not only has the Obama Administration pursued a greater number of whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined, but it has recently announced that Private Manning's plea will have no bearing on its pursuit of the remaining charges.

Bradley Manning is being punished for failing to follow authority. Yet, from a very young age, he realized an unshakable moral and ethical imperative to answer to a higher authority than his superiors: the Constitution, and the rule of law. More...

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US 'Corporate Tax Dodgers' Keeping More Money Overseas
by Andrea Germanos
Posted March 14, 2013

Tax dodgers call for austerityAt a time of record corporate profits, U.S. "corporate tax dodgers" are parking more of their profits offshore, taking advantage of tax loopholes to shield billions from U.S. taxes, according to new analyses in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

"What makes this story especially obscene is that many of these companies, such as Honeywell and Microsoft, are leaders of the 'Fix the Debt' campaign, which is pushing for cuts to Social Security and Medicare as the solution to our fiscal challenges," says IPS's Sarah Anderson. The Wall Street Journal looked at 60 U.S. companies that parked a combined $166 billion offshore last year, allowing 40% of their annual profits to escape U.S. taxes. In Bloomberg's analysis of 83 companies, there was a $183 billion expansion over the past year in non-U.S. holdings, for a combined total across the 83 companies of $1.46 trillion in offshore profits.

This tax avoidance is allowed, both papers explain, because of tax rules that 'incentivize' such practices; companies don't have to pay taxes on profits from these overseas subsidiaries if the money isn't brought back to the U.S. More...

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Big Bank Immunity: When Do We Crack Down on Wall Street?
by Dean Baker
Posted March 13, 2013

What is the real reason for no prosecutions?The Wall Street gang must really be partying these days. Profits and bonuses are as high as ever as these super-rich takers were able to use trillions of dollars of below-market government loans to get themselves through the crisis they created. The rest of the country is still struggling with high unemployment, stagnant wages, underwater mortgages and hollowed-out retirement accounts, but life is good again on Wall Street.

Their world must have gotten even brighter last week when Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Justice Department may have to restrain its prosecutors in dealing with the big banks because it has to consider the possibility that a prosecution could lead to financial instability. Not only can the big banks count on taxpayer bailouts when they need them; it turns out that they can share profits with drug dealers with impunity. (The case immediately at hand involved money laundered for a Mexican drug cartel.) And who says that times are bad? More...

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Wall Street Banks, Money Laundering and the Drug Trade
by Tom Burghardt
Posted March 12, 2013

immune from prosecutionIn late January, Bloomberg News reported that US prosecutors have "asked a federal judge to sign off on HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA)'s $1.9 billion settlement of charges it enabled drug cartels to launder millions of dollars in trafficking proceeds."

In cobbling together the HSBC deal, the Justice Department ignored Senate testimony by whistleblowers, some of whom were fired or eventually resigned in disgust when higher-ups thwarted their efforts to get a handle on AML "lapses" by the North American branch during a critical period when it was becoming clear that losses in the subprime market would be huge.

Let's get this sick joke straight: here's a bank that laundered billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug lords, admittedly amongst the most violent gangsters on earth (120,000 dead Mexicans and counting since 2006) and we're supposed to take this deal seriously. Seriously? Remember, this an institution whose pretax 2012 profits will exceed $23.5 billion when earnings are reported next week and the best the US government can do is extract a promise to "do better"–next time. More...

Aaron Swartz faced 35 years in prison for what was essentially the equivalent of checking out too many books at once from the library, while these criminals get off for free. Don' t let the fines fool you, they are not paid by the executives, they are paid by the shareholders. This makes a mockery of "liberty and justice for all".

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The Premise of Digital Surveillance Precludes Scholarship
by R. Lila Steinberg
Posted March 11, 2013

big brother is watchingSince 9/11, sweeping and indiscriminate digital surveillance of all computer and telecommunications users has been conducted, and more recently, systems have been developed to store every byte of that information forever. This means that if actors within some government agency decide to target you, they can immediately access every telecommunication: email, phone call, etcetera, that you have made or sent for years, as well as every web site you have visited.

While this practice clearly violates the Fourth Amendment (and similar laws in other countries), it has also been revealed by high-level National Security Agency insiders to be completely unnecessary to any real criminal investigative procedure.

However, there is an even deeper and more fundamental error in the premise behind cataloguing and storing which webpages you have visited for use against you in the future. It is the misconception that you are in agreement with all materials you watch and read. More...

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We Are Bradley Manning
by Chris Hedges
Posted March 6, 2013

Anopther whistle blower prosecutedThis trial is not simply the prosecution of a 25-year-old soldier who had the temerity to report to the outside world the indiscriminate slaughter, war crimes, torture and abuse that are carried out by our government and our occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a concerted effort by the security and surveillance state to extinguish what is left of a free press, one that has the constitutional right to expose crimes by those in power. The lonely individuals who take personal risks so that the public can know the truth—the Daniel Ellsbergs, the Ron Ridenhours, the Deep Throats and the Bradley Mannings—are from now on to be charged with "aiding the enemy." All those within the system who publicly reveal facts that challenge the official narrative will be imprisoned, as was John Kiriakou, the former CIA analyst who for exposing the U.S. government's use of torture began serving a 30-month prison term the day Manning read his statement. There is a word for states that create these kinds of information vacuums: totalitarian.

The cowardice of The New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde, all of which used masses of the material Manning passed on to WikiLeaks and then callously turned their backs on him, is one of journalism's greatest shames. These publications made little effort to cover Manning's pretrial hearings, a failure that shows how bankrupt and anemic the commercial press has become. More...

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Monsanto's Patents on Life
by Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins
Posted March 4, 2013

Monsanto GMO tumorsLast week, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a seed patent infringement case that pits a small farmer from Indiana, 75-year old Vernon Hugh Bowman, against biotech goliath Monsanto. Reporters from the New York Times to the Sacramento Bee dissected the legal arguments. They speculated on the odds. They opined on the impact a Monsanto loss might have, not only on genetically modified crops, but on medical research and software.

What most of them didn't report on is the absurdity – and the danger – of allowing companies to patent living organisms in the first place, and then use those patents to attempt to monopolize world seed and food production. More...

This case has far reaching implications in whether Monsanto and a handful of companies will gain total control over our food supply.

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Bank of America Bombshell: Whistleblowers Reveal Coverup and Massive Borrower Harm
by Yves Smith
Posted February 16, 2013

Bank Of America PlazaBorrowers could suffer wrongful foreclosures due to predatory or negligent foreclosure practices for reasons well beyond the servicer not having the "legal right to foreclose". Moreover, the servicers were ordered to look well beyond that issue. The whistleblowers saw ample evidence of abuses of that could and typically did result in the loss of home within the scope of the reviews they performed. Moreover, they also presented evidence of persistent, sometimes pervasive, impermissible conduct at Bank of America which was simply not addressed in the tests or captured in related information gathering, yet clearly fell within the scope of the consent orders.

The foreclosure reviews showed persistent, widespread efforts by Bank of America to avoid any finding of borrower harm. These efforts were supported and enabled by Promontory. The whistleblowers, all told their role would be to act as investigators and help borrower get compensation they deserved, described the review process as seriously flawed. Yet even with those obstacles, they saw abundant evidence of serious damage to borrowers. More...

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The Execution of Christopher Dorner
by George Caiccariello and Mike King
Posted February 15, 2013

Dorner's murder by policeIf the murder of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform marked the dawn of the Obama era, the cold-blooded murder of former Naval reservist and Los Angeles Police officer Christopher Dorner might just mark the end of whatever optimistic hope people can muster in his administration. Whether an innocent young man just trying to get home, shot in the back after being racially profiled and slurred, or a man driven to his breaking point after being fired from a similar police force that operates according to its own warped morality and overarching objectives, the state of the union is a powder keg whose wick has gotten shorter due to decades of looking the other way.

Even more astonishing than the request was the immediate compliance: press outlets abruptly ceased to tweet about the developing story, and duly retreating to the roadblocks, abandoned their task of reporting the news and waited for it to be fed to them. To paraphrase but one of many incredulous observers, we speak of press blackouts in China, but all the police had to do here was ask nicely and the press complied without batting an eyelash.

A female voice on the scanner repeatedly asks if the fire crews should be allowed to approach, and is told that it's not time yet, that we need to wait until all four corners are engulfed, then that we need to wait until the roof collapses. At one particularly repulsive point, those on the scene realize that the house has a basement, and an authoritative male voice indicates that the fire crew would not be called until the fire had "burned through the basement." They were going to let him die. More...

Think about this, Dorner was totally trapped. Regardless of what he alledged to have done, all the police had to do was to wait him out. However the police wanted him dead so he could not testify against LAPD corruption, brutality, illegal acts, and racism. So the police murdered him.

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The LAPD Got their Man How They Wanted Him: Dead
by Dave Lindorff
Posted February 14, 2013

they wanted him dead"Burn that fuckin' house down...Burn motherfucker down!"

--Voice overheard on police radio at the scene of the cabin where Chris Dorner was trapped and burned to death

It was clear from the outset when fired LAPD cop Chris Dorner began wreaking his campaign of vengeance and terror against his former employer that the California law enforcement establishment, led by the LAPD itself, had no interest in Dorner surviving to face trial, where he could continue to rat out the racist and corrupt underbelly of the one of the country's biggest police departments.

Dorner, as I wrote earlier, claimed he had been fired for speaking up during his three years on the force, through channels and to superior officers, about incidents he had witnessed of police brutality and of the rampant racism that permeates the department -- not just white on black, but black on Asian, Asian on Latino and Latino on white. His response to being sacked -- threatening to kill senior officers he blamed for this law enforcement distopia as well as some of their family members -- was criminally insane, but his complaints, made in a 6000-word post on Facebook, had and continue to have the ring of truth. More...

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The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State
by Chris Hedges
Posted February 12, 2013

Obama as neroThe fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea-party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast. More...

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The Real History of US CIA 60 Year Aggression Against Iran
by Lew Rockwell
Posted February 7, 2013

US puppetAccording to one theory, U.S.-Iranian relations began around November 1979 when a crowd of irrational religious nutcases violently seized the U.S. embassy in Iran, took the employees hostage, tortured them, and held them until scared into freeing them by the arrival of a new sheriff in Washington, a man named Ronald Reagan.

From that day to this, according to this popular theory, Iran has been run by a bunch of subhuman lunatics with whom rational people couldn't really talk if they wanted to. These monsters only understand force. And they have been moments away from developing and using nuclear weapons against us for decades now. Moments away, I tell you!

According to another theory – a quaint little notion that I like to refer to as "verifiable history" – the CIA, operating out of that U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1953, maliciously and illegally overthrew a relatively democratic and liberal parliamentary government, and with it the 1951 Time magazine man of the year Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, because Mossadegh insisted that Iran's oil wealth enrich Iranians rather than foreign corporations. More...

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Big Banks Get Tax Break On Foreclosure Abuse Deal
by Marcy Gordon
Posted January 20, 2013

no banker left behindConsumer advocates have complained that U.S. mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners. Now it turns out the deal is even sweeter for the lenders than it appears: Taxpayers will subsidize them for the money they're ponying up.

The Internal Revenue Service regards the lenders' compensation to homeowners as a cost incurred in the course of doing business. Result: It's fully tax-deductible.Critics argue that big banks that were bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis are again being favored over the victims of their mortgage abuses.

Regulators reached agreement this week with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Last week, the regulators settled with 10 other lenders: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, MetLife Bank, PNC Financial Services, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Aurora. The settlements will help eliminate huge potential liabilities for the banks. Many consumer advocates argued that regulators settled for too low a price by letting banks avoid full responsibility for wrongful foreclosures that victimized families. More...

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Carmen Ortiz And Stephen Heymann: Accountability For Prosecutorial Abuse
By Glenn Greenwald
Posted January 18, 2013

prosecutorial abuseImposing real consequences on these federal prosecutors in the Aaron Swartz case is vital for both justice and reform. Whenever an avoidable tragedy occurs, it's common for there to be an intense spate of anger in its immediate aftermath, which quickly dissipates as people move on to the next outrage. That's a key dynamic that enables people in positions of authority to evade consequences for their bad acts. But as more facts emerge regarding the conduct of the federal prosecutors in the case of Aaron Swartz -- Massachusetts' US attorney Carmen Ortiz and assistant US attorney Stephen Heymann -- the opposite seems to be taking place: there is greater and greater momentum for real investigations, accountability and reform. It is urgent that this opportunity not be squandered, that this interest be sustained.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that -- two days before the 26-year-old activist killed himself on Friday -- federal prosecutors again rejected a plea bargain offer from Swartz's lawyers that would have kept him out of prison. They instead demanded that he "would need to plead guilty to every count" and made clear that "the government would insist on prison time." That made a trial on all 15 felony counts -- with the threat of a lengthy prison sentence if convicted -- a virtual inevitability. More...

This is the sort of abuse is exactly what one can expect when people in the government place personal ambition above justice. The sad irony is that Aaron devoted his energy into helping people get access to information. If he had taken his very considerable talents with computer code and focused on accumulating personal wealth, as so many people with less talent than him have done, he could have hired an army of slick lawyers with inside connections to defend him and the prosecutors would have backed off. (Just look at how aggressively they have prosecuted the bankers, NOT).

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Aaron Swartz's Thought Crime Was Tragically Treated Like Real Crime
by Bill McKibben
Posted January 15, 2013

Aaaron Swartz victim of prosecutorial overreachSadness is sadness. Anger is something else—it was clear he died under tremendous, needless, pressure, of a kind all too familiar to people who peacefully challenge the system.

Hounded by Boston prosecutor Carmen Ortiz, Swartz was facing 32 years in federal prison—a term six years longer than his life. His dubious "crime" was liberating the contents of the academic database JSTOR so that everyone could read it. I don't really understand his reasoning, since anyone with a library card already could already get at the stacks of scholarly papers. But I get his basic motive—he seems to have spent most of his life trying to speed the flow of information around the world, in the idealistic and maybe even correct assumption that it would do some good.

JSTOR didn't press charges, but that didn't stop Ortiz. Her reasoning for bringing down the hammer of federal prosecution: "Stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars." That's ridiculous. If you take something with no eye to financial gain, it's clearly not the same—this wasn't a jewel heist. Given the stories circulating about Swartz's computer prowess, he could easily have been a real criminal if he wanted to—it sounds as if it would have taken him 10 minutes on an iPhone to collect half the credit cards in the nation. He never did anything even remotely like that. More...

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Two New Fraud Deals Show Wall Street's Washington Insiders At Work
by Richard Eskow
Posted January 14, 2013

no banker prosecutionsIt must've been like old home week when the old gang of Wall Street and Washington insiders finalized a couple more cushy settlements last week. Everybody knew the drill: Ignore the potential criminal charges and agree on settlement figures they think the public will swallow – figures that are big enough to sound impressive but far smaller than the banks' ill-gotten gains. They've done this dozens of times before.

Fannie Mae's CEO hasn't been there long. His last job was as General Counsel for … Bank of America. In fact, he was BofA's top attorney in 2008, at the height of its foreclosure misdeeds. Now he's settling those misdeeds as part of a wave of deals that will allow the bank's executives to escape criminal prosecution. So he had a seat at both sides of the table. That happens a lot in these deals. Get used to it. More...

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Washington's jaw drops at possibility of AIG lawsuit
by Ben White and Anna Palmer
Posted January 9, 2013

AIG bailoutRemember when AIG took a $182 billion bailout only to turn around and hand out seven-figure bonuses to the same guys who tanked their company?

Grab the pitchforks — it gets better.

Now the insurance organization might join a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the terms of the bailout — saying the deal that saved the company cheated shareholders.Neil Barofsky, former inspector general for the Wall Street bailout said AIG's possible lawsuit would be a "giant middle finger to the taxpayer." More...

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The Secret Bailout of J. P. Morgan: How Insider Trading Looted Bear Stearns and the American Taxpayer
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 3, 2012

looting the taxpayerOne of many questions raised by John Olagues, an authority on stock options, in a March 23 article boldly titled "Bear Stearns Buy-out . . . 100% Fraud." Olagues maintains that the Bear Stearns collapse was artificially created to allow JPMorgan to be paid $55 billion of taxpayer money to cover its own insolvency and acquire its rival Bear Stearns, while at the same time allowing insiders to take large "short" positions in Bear Stearns stock and collect massive profits. For evidence, Olagues points to a very suspicious series of events, which will be detailed here.

Eliot Spitzer was eliminated from the scene, and it may be for similar reasons. Greg Palast suggested in a March 14 article that the "sin" of the former New York governor may have been something more serious than prostitution. Spitzer made the mistake of getting in the way of a $200 billion windfall from the Federal Reserve to the banks, guaranteeing the mortgage-backed junk bonds of the same banking predators responsible for the subprime debacle. While the Federal Reserve was trying to bail the banks out, Spitzer was trying to regulate them, bringing suit on behalf of consumers.10 But he was swiftly exposed and deposed; and the Treasury has now broached a new plan that would prevent such disruptions in the future. More...

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The Lie that Prosecuting Bank Fraud Will Destabilize the Economy Is What Is REALLY Destroying the Economy
by Washington's Blog
Posted December 31, 2012

the fraud will continueFailing to prosecute white collar crime guarantees a weak and unstable economy and future financial crashes. The Departments of Justice and Treasury are pretending that criminally prosecuting criminal banksters will destabilize the economy.

The exact opposite is true. Unfortunately, the government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though criminal fraud is the main business model adopted by the giant banks. Indeed, the government has done everything it can to cover up fraud, and has been actively encouraging criminal fraud and attacking those trying to blow the whistle. More...

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Occupy Heavily Monitored for Potential Criminal Activity, HSBC Slapped on the Wrist for Actual Criminal Activity
by Jason Lewis
Posted December 28, 2012

HSBC narco money launderingApparently non-violent demonstration against corrupt banking is subject to more criminal scrutiny than actual corrupt banking.

Documents released by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund Saturday show that the FBI identified Occupy Wall Street as a "potential criminal and terrorist" threat as early as a month before the OWS movement burst on the international scene with its initial occupation of Zuccotti Park in September 2011.

"These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of PCJF, said in a release . "These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America." More...

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The Final Battle
by Chris Hedges
Posted December 27, 2012

security stateThe corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control.

It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order. And this is why, contravening two centuries of domestic law, it has seized for itself the authority to place the military on city streets and citizens in military detention centers, where they cannot find redress in the courts. The shredding of our liberties is being done in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. But the NDAA is not about protecting us. It is about protecting the state from us. That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights. The new version of the NDAA, like the old ones, provides our masters with the legal shackles to make our resistance impossible. And that is their intention. More...

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Long History of HSBC Money Laundering
by James Hall
Posted December 20, 2012

too big to jailIf there was any lingering doubt about the supremacy of the internationalist banker over the canons of law, the latest HSBC exemption from criminal charges proves that the real masters of the planet are the criminal banksters. If this settlement was an abnormality and not the rule, one might argue the expediency for pragmatism, while deployable, is necessary. Unfortunately, for the financial elites, the facts tell a very different story.

Instead of prosecuting criminal charges, the U.S. Department of Justice slaps a fine and demands stricter but inadequate regulations.The agreements put an end to uncertainty over the banks' ability to operate within America, a key link in their global networks; their share prices both rose on the day the fines were announced. And the penalties are, in effect, levied on shareholders; not one corporate employee faces charges. Has a handful of banks become not too big to fail, but too big to jail?" More...

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SWAT Teams Arrest Peaceful People Resisting Eviction in Idaho Springs, CO
by Margaret Flowers
Posted November 1, 2012

is this the Middle East?Police militarization in Colorado: Cops in fatigues toting automatic weapons disperse anti-eviction activists. "Be advised that everybody on the property is trespassing." So said a Creek County Sheriff Department officer as he ordered activists off of private property yesterday.

He and his fellow officers looked like they were dressed for combat in a war zone, but in fact they had come to evict a woman from her home in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The following photos depict those officers, dressed in combat fatigues and carrying assault weapons, before and during arrests of activists affiliated with Occupy Denver at yesterday's foreclosure defense. More...

The U.S. Bank would like to thank all the officers for a job well done. They really appreciate the publicly paid police protecting their private interests against those who would resist their greed.

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In Washington, Fear the Silence, Not the Noise
by Peter Van Buren
Posted October 23, 2012

whistleblowers under attackOne thing is obvious. No one ever joins the government in order to be a whistleblower or leaker. Whistleblowers are created, not born. It is perhaps typical of whistleblowers and leakers that something they are privy to simply pushes them over the edge.

The Obama administration has already charged more people -- six -- under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in American history.)

That Act has a sordid history, having once been used against the government's political opponents. Targets included labor leaders and radicals like Eugene V. Debs, Bill Haywood, Philip Randolph, Victor Berger, John Reed, Max Eastman, and Emma Goldman. Debs, a union leader and socialist candidate for the presidency, was, in fact, sentenced to 10 years in jail for a speech attacking the Espionage Act itself. The Nixon administration infamously (and unsuccessfully) invoked the Act to bar the New York Times from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers. More...

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Spain Police Beating Everyone: A Warning To America
by Alexander Higgins
Posted October 12, 2012

Since September 25th the masses of Spain, no longer being able to feed themselves or their families, have risen up against the oligarchy to protest further budget cuts and massive tax increases, a situation so dire it threatens their very survival.

While the masses suffer these unspeakable atrocities the poor are being robbed yet again to bail out the rich. The overlords have no sympathy for the less fortunate and instead of forcing the bankers to take losses on their investments the ruling class remains disconnected from the reality of millions.

But as we have seen in every previous past crash situations such as these are used as nothing more than excuse to help the rich reduce their own tax burden and the operating costs of the corporations they run. Soon America will face the same fate as its own financial house is much worse than that of Spain. More...

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Woman Arrested for Trespassing on Her Own Land
by Kevin Zeeze
Posted October 6, 2012

Trespassing on her own land?The arrest took place on Fairchild's own property, where Canadian pipeline company TransCanada is clearcutting forests to make a path for the southern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, designed to bring tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas refineries.

"How can you be arrested for "trespassing" on your own land?" asked members from Tar Sands Blockade in a statement. "Well, anything can happen when a multi-national corporation comes in and expropriates your farm for their profit."

It is those who oppose the abusive power of eminent domain taking Americans lands for a Canadian corporation. It is those who see the need for us to transform to a carbon-free nuclear-free energy environment to a clean, grean, sustainable energy environment. It is economists who see the U.S. getting very little out of the TransCanada deal but taking a lot of risk with our enviroment and economy. It is all Americans who oppose corporate power controlling major decisons in our lives. More...

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The NDAA Decision and the Unknown Power of Obama
By Charles P. Pierce
Posted October 6, 2012

indefinite detentionThe Obama administration got a big win on Tuesday night in its ongoing brawl with civil liberties.

Let's be clear: Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act is in the NDAA because the current president wants it in there, and because the current president wants the power to detain indefinitely anyone he and the intelligence community see as a threat, whether that person is an American or not. If that weren't the case, he never would have signed it. If that weren't the case, he wouldn't have sent the Department of Justice into court to fight the lower court's stay of that specific provision of the bill.

The fact is that we don't know how this power is being used right now. The fact is that, if someone were to come forward and anonymously provide proof that this power is being abused, history says that this White House would move heaven and earth to run that whistleblower to ground and toss him in the clink if it so desired. More...

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The Real Drug Kingpins are on Wall Street
by Global Research
Posted October 3, 2012

drug money launderingIn March 2010, Wachovia was found guilty of having laundered at least $378 billion (yes, billion with a "b") in drug money from 2004-07 for Mexican drug cartels, the same gangs that have wreaked murder and misery on much of Mexico, leaving more than 40,000 dead. Without money launderers, the big-time drug cartels cannot function.

The majority of people in U.S. jails are there for small-time drug offenses, while the big criminals making millions in drug money get immunity.In U.S. federal court, conviction of possession of crack cocaine with a street value of only $378 results in a minimum sentence of 5-10 years in prison. The majority of the 2.3 million jailed people in the United States are there for small-time drug offenses.

So, the Wachovia executives, who admitted their guilt, must have gotten really long sentences for their $378 billion drug business, right? Not exactly. Not one Wachovia executive spent a night or even an hour in jail, although the value of their crime was 1 billion times greater than the average street dealer. More...

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9 Frightening Things About America's Biggest Police Force
by Tana Ganeva & Laura Gottesdiener
Posted September 2, 2012

NYPD out of controlIn the decade after 9/11, Americans' privacy rights have been violated in a variety of technologically intrusive ways, with the help of everything from spy drones to wiretaps. But few programs package together so many potential privacy infringements as ambitiously as the Domain Awareness System, (DAS) created by the NYPD in partnership with Microsoft. Pam Martens reported last year that the surveillance control center has spots for representatives of those famous crime-fighters, Wall Street's big banks. Reporter Neal Ungerleider from Fast Company also says he saw seats reserved for the Federal Reserve, Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, and Citigroup.

When police officers' misconduct does actually land them in a jury trial, they are rarely convicted. Police officers who break the code of silence often encounter fierce repercussions. When police officer Adrian Schoolcraft captured internal corruption on a hidden video camera and leaked the tapes to the press, the NYPD locked him up in a psychiatric ward. More...

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The Federal Reserve, a Privately Owned Banking Cartel, Has Been Given Police Powers, with Glock 22s and Patrol Cars: Shocking signs of business control of government
by Pam Martens
Posted September 25, 2012

private bank police forceBy mid morning on Monday, September 17, as Occupy Wall Street protesters marched around the perimeter of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, all signs that an FRPD (Federal Reserve Police Department) existed had disappeared. The FRPD patrol cars and law enforcement officers had been replaced by NYPD patrol cars and officers. That decision may have been made to keep from drawing attention to a mushrooming new domestic police force that most Americans do not know exists.

Quietly, without fanfare or Congressional hearings, the USA Patriot Act in 2001 bestowed on the 12 privately owned Federal Reserve Banks, domestic policing powers.According to a former St. Louis Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Training Instructor, the officers are trained on pistol, rifle, auto-rifle, sub-gun and shotgun with manufacturers encompassing Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington and Armalite. More...

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Unlike Afghan Leaders, Obama Fights for Power of Indefinite Military Detention
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted September 19, 2012

indefinite detention for Americans[According to the Federal District Court] while the president is entitled to deference in his conduct of war, he's not entitled to wield the power to order people, including American citizens, indefinitely imprisoned in military detention. Regardless of how he claims he intends to exercise this power, the mere act of vesting it in him so chills the exercise of first amendment and other protected rights that the constitution can have no meaning if courts permit it to stand.

In response to this ruling, the Obama administration not only filed an immediate appeal, but they filed an emergency motion asking the appeals court to lift the injunction pending the appeal. Obama lawyers wrote a breathless attack on the court's ruling, denouncing it as "vastly troubling" and claiming that it "threatens tangible and dangerous consequences in the conduct of an active military conflict" and "threatens irreparable harm to national security." More...

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Why There's No Jail Time for Wall Streeters
by Shah Gilani
Posted September 16, 2012

get out of jail freeWall Street is a "protected" operation. Protected means cops are aware of illegal activity, but are paid off to look the other way and even protect businesses from potential harm. So, if you're waiting to get back into the markets once the trash has been taken out, you're about to find out your wait may be a lot longer than you expected.

Don't even get yourself started on the whole Jon Corzine of collapsed MF Global fame. If you look up the word "protected" in the dictionary, you will see a picture of J.C. with his resume as former governor, former senator and former head of Goldman Sachs -- now that's protected.

So, while Rome burnt to a crisp, the protectors did their thing and are continuing to do it. And, they'll do it as long as it takes for the statutes of limitation on these crimes to run out. Which is happening, starting already. More...

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House Approves Sweeping, Warrantless Electronic Spy Powers
by David Kravets
Posted September 15, 2012

you are being watchedThe House on Wednesday reauthorized for five years broad electronic eavesdropping powers that legalized and expanded the George W. Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

The measure is sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and the Obama administration has called its passage a top intelligence priority. (.pdf) The bill generally requires the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to rubber-stamp terror-related electronic surveillance requests that ensnare Americans' communications.

The government does not have to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court's rulings are not public. More...

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Bankruptcy for Billionaires
by Daniel Gross
Posted Sept 7, 2012

take the money and runWhen a debt-laden company (like Contec) owned by a private-equity firm (like Bain) runs into trouble, the bespoke-suited bankers have a few options. They can roll up their Thomas Pink shirtsleeves and attempt a turnaround, deploy idle money in their funds to shore up the company, or sell profitable investments in the fund to raise new cash. Or the guys who own the private-equity firm—hell-bent on salvaging the investment and preserving jobs—could use part of their vast fortunes to pay the debt.

They rarely do. In fact, companies owned and effectively managed by billionaires routinely fall behind or default on their obligations, all for want of a few million dollars. LifeCare Holdings, a hospital chain owned by the Carlyle Group, missed a $5.5 million interest payment due Aug. 15 on $119.3 million in notes. It's worth mentioning that Carlyle's top three executives earned a combined $400 million in 2011. Walking away from bad debts is a feature—not a bug—of the industry. This year Standard & Poor's has tallied 29 major debt defaults by large U.S. companies. By my count, at least 14 were backed by private-equity firms. More...

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The Sentinel Case – Another Nail in the Coffin of 'Market Confidence'
By Pater Tenebrarum
Posted Sept 3, 2012

your money is not safeObviously we are not acquainted with all the details of the case, but there are a few obvious inferences we can draw from the above:

1. What has already come to light in the context of the MF Global case has been confirmed by this case: the so-called 'segregation' of customer funds always was and remains a legal fiction. Segregation of customer funds simply does not exist. Brokers can do with their clients funds whatever they like, just as long as it is not 'intentional fraud'.

2. If customer funds are misappropriated and used as collateral for loans intended for the brokerage's own business dealings, then the 'nemo dat' principle can be safely ignored by the court. Banks that received what were essentially misappropriated goods as collateral do not have to return them to their original owners as long as they are deemed to have acted in good faith. A bank is not forced to exercise care to the extent of ensuring that funds offered as collateral belong to the broker and are not part of the 'segregated' accounts of customers. More...

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Corporate Crime Does Pay
by David Morris
Posted August 29, 2012

crime paysLast year big business paid the Securities and Exchange Commission $2.8 billion to settle disputes.Sounds like an awful lot of money. And it is, for you and me. But is it a lot of money for corporate lawbreakers? The best way to determine that is to see whether the penalties have deterred them from further wrongdoing.

The empirical evidence argues they don't. A 2011 New York Times analysis of enforcement actions during the last 15 years found at least 51 cases in which 19 Wall Street firms had broken anti fraud laws they had agreed never to breach. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others, have settled fraud cases by stipulating they would never again violate an anti fraud law, only to do so again and again and again. More...

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The Pursuit of Julian Assange is an Assault on Freedom and a Mockery of Journalism
by John Pilger
Posted August 24, 2012

freedom of the press?The British government's threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonour international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorismin London on 7 July 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.

Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an "alleged criminal", Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain's part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the "human rights record" of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington. More...

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Classified Life: Sibel Edmonds' Story
by Sibel Edmonds
Posted August 20, 2012

Sibel EdmondsSibel Edmonds is a former language specialist for the FBI, where she reported serious acts of security breaches and cover-ups - for which she was retaliated against and ultimately fired. Her memoir, "Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story," takes readers on a journey inside the FBI after 9/11, and through the halls of Congress and a stonewalling judiciary.

In late September 2001, Edmonds took a job as a translator at the FBI. The bureau was desperate for Middle Eastern language speakers and Edmonds, who spent her childhood in Iran and Turkey and is fluent in Farsi, Turkish and Azerbaijani, was eager to help. She had no idea that she would find herself targeted for uncovering espionage within the FBI and witness a stunning cover-up. More...

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Economic Collapse, We Still Don't Get It
by Andy Sutton
Posted August 18, 2012

collapse now inevitableAsk 10 people you know about MFGlobal and see if anyone can give you the bottom line. It was labeled by the media as an accident and an aberration, but it is much more than that. It is a blueprint. It was a trial balloon designed to see how much outrage would flow over the fact that over a billion dollars in client funds was stolen and not one single arrest has been made.

An appeals court in the US has already ruled that clients in these types of situations have no recourse; that the actions of Jon Corzine and his good buddies on Wall Street are not only acceptable, they're legal as well. And the outrage? Nonexistent. Given the fact that the average 55 year old has roughly $26,000 saved for retirement, a billion dollars makes up the retirement accounts of over 38,400 such individuals. And there is no outrage. Then there was another failure, this time 'only' $220 million disappears. That failure barely generated any attention whatsoever from the media and negligible outrage outside the circle of folks who really pay attention to such matters. More...

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It's Game Over, Goldman Sachs Has Won
by Shah Gilani
Posted August 16, 2012

justice dept incompetenceOn Thursday, the Justice Department ended its fraud probe of Goldman Sachs.

It turns out that, after looking up Goldman's skirt, they found that all that screwing going on up there was just part of the orgy that most Americans were reveling in.In other words, that whole mortgage screw-all, it was all between consenting adults.

But no one wants to admit that absolute power corrupts absolutely, or that there's any such thing as "regulatory capture."If you don't know that term, it's what we call it when a regulatory body, charged with acting in the public interest, is instead swept away and dominated by the interests of the sector it's supposed to be regulating.

They said, Sure, our job is prosecuting financial fraud, but "protecting the integrity of our banking system" is and will continue to be the department's "top priority." More...

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The Ascendancy of a Criminal Financial Elite
by Professor James Petras
Posted August 15, 2012

financial criminal impunityOverwhelming documentation supports the notion that the US police and judicial system has totally broken down when it comes to enforcing the law of the land regarding crimes among the financial, banking, corporate elite.

Trillion-dollar tax-evaders, billionaire financial swindlers and multi-billionaire money launderers are almost never sent to jail. While some may pay a fine, none have their illicit earnings seized even though many are repeat criminals. Recidivism among financial criminals is rife because the penalties are so light, the profit are so high and the investigations are infrequent, superficial and inconsequential.

While the Security and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department and the Senate Banking Committee all make a public pretense of investigating high financial crimes, their real function is to protect these institutions from any efforts to transform their structure, operations and role in the US economy. The fines, which were recently levied, are high by previous standards but still only amount to, at most, a couple of weeks' profits. More...

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Eric Holder to US: Nothing To See On Wall St, Just Move Along
Richard Eskow
Posted August 12, 2012

won't bite the hand that feeds himYesterday the Justice Department announced that once again it's not going to pursue evidence of Wall Street crimes which has been sent its way. It has already failed to act on information sent to it by sources whose investigators are apparently more dogged than its own, including several other government agencies and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Now the bipartisan committee which was led by Senators Carl Levin and Tom Coburn can be added to the list of sources whose leads weren't pursued by Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff.

Holder was on the defensive yesterday, a sign that the mounting criticism of his inaction is getting his attention. He was also scornful of that criticism, saying that it's belied by "a troublesome little thing called facts." There's something troublesome here, all right, but it isn't the facts. More...

Another article on how Eric Holder refuses to prosecute Wall Street fraud. Don't forget that during the Savings and Loan Crisis, despite the fact that it was 1/70 the size of the 2008 crisis, there were thousands of sucessful felony prosecutions. It can be done, but only if there is a will.

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The LIBOR Scandal Explained
Posted August 10, 2012

LIBOR fraudHow Does This Impact YOU?

In addition to having municipalities receive lower returns on their loans around the time of the financial crisis, it appears that US home buyers may have been scammed out of nearly a half-trillion Dollars on overpriced mortgage payments:

Early analysis suggests that for a period of several years before and after the 2008 financial crisis, the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) was manipulated to such an extent that a family with a $100,000 mortgage would have been $50 to $100 worse off a month because of the fixing.

$100/month per family x ~100 million families = $10 billion stolen per month in the United States alone.

Or $120 billion per year. For several years.

In the United States alone this is quite-plausibly a half-trillion dollar heist.

By fixing LIBOR rates (high or low) & using leverage on derivative investments, there are a near infinite number of ways for banksters to skim trillions of Dollars from the productive economy. More...


"This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or church fund to pay for lap dances."
Matt Taibbi

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Freedom of Assembly in Charlotte NC?
by Brett Redmayne-Titley
Posted August 7, 2012

won't fall for that againIn less than thirty days one of the two broken halves of American democracy will attempt to hide its shattered remnants from public view in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Democratic National Convention, or DNC, will be here from September 2 -6, 2012. Now, America's disenfranchised, under represented, and oppressed, opposition groups are mobilizing. What once was "Hope" at the "08 DNC is now collective disgust. Objectively, there is much to be said to the current US administration. Thousands are coming to Charlotte to shout it.

The Dept of Homeland Security also gave local North Carolina US military posts $25 million to also get a stock of reptilian armor, so they can be ready just in case. The cops had their hands full before Occupy became a new concern just last October. Now, they are really worried.

Free-speech rights were, of course, the first thing to go in preparation for the DNC/ Charlotte. Empowered with their new authority the Charlotte City Council began redefining the First Amendment as quickly as December 2011. First, were the arbitrary prohibitions on backpacks, marking pens, helmets, tents, and other personal property including the right to a warrantless search for said items, at any time, by Charlotte police. More...

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Occupy Wall Street Protests Need Outside Review On NYPD Abuses: Lawyers' Group
by John Rudolf
Posted August 5, 2012

NYPD excessesNew York City police used unnecessarily aggressive tactics and excessive force against peaceful protesters and illegally suppressed press freedoms during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, an eight-month investigation by a group of attorneys found. Those conclusions were based on hundreds of hours of video footage, detailed witness interviews, and extensive firsthand observations of the protests, according to the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which detailed the findings in a nearly 200-page report released Wednesday.

The group, which includes attorneys from Harvard, Stanford and Rutgers law schools, called on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to launch an independent inquiry into the police response to the protests. Bloomberg maintained during and after the demonstrations that the police response was lawful and appropriate, with the exception of a handful of incidents. More...

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Iceland Has Jailed Bankers. Why Can't We?
by Chaz Bolte
Posted July 27, 2012

Jail the bankersThe people of Iceland are currently doing what Americans can only dream of, dismantling a corrupt political system and arresting the bankers who caused the country's financial collapse in 2008.

They have rewritten their constitution so such abuses of power and trust will (hopefully) never be allowed again. The process of changing their government took several years and was based around rejecting violence and using peaceful progressive consumer resistance.

Dismayed by their bankrupt status, Icelanders began to research where their money went and refused to spend money on products that profited the corporations who caused the collapse. Iceland is home to the world's oldest democracy — standing since 930 — so its people took peacefully to the streets demanding change and educating neighbors on how to maximize their efforts. More...

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This Global Financial Fraud and its Gatekeepers
by Naomi Wolf
Posted July 17, 2012

systemic corruptionThe New York Times business section on 12 July shows multiple exposes of systemic fraud throughout banks: banks colluding with other banks in manipulation of interest rates, regulators aware of systemic fraud, and key government officials (at least one banker who became the most key government official) aware of it and colluding as well. Fraud in banks has been understood conventionally and, I would say, messaged as a glitch. As in London Mayor Boris Johnson's full-throated defense of Barclay's leadership last week, bank fraud is portrayed as a case, when it surfaces, of a few "bad apples" gone astray.

In the New York Times business section, we read that the HSBC banking group is being fined up to $1bn, for not preventing money-laundering (a highly profitable activity not to prevent) between 2004 and 2010 -- a six years' long "oops." In another article that day, Republican Senator Charles Grassley says of the financial group Peregrine capital: "This is a company that is on top of things." The article goes onto explain that at Peregrine Financial, "regulators discovered about $215m in customer money was missing." Its founder now faces criminal charges. Later, the article mentions that this revelation comes a few months after MF Global "lost" more than $1bn in clients' money. More...

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The Wall Street Scandal of All Scandals
by Robert Reich
Posted Julay 15, 2012

Scandal of all scandalsJust when you thought Wall Street couldn't sink any lower – when its myriad abuses of public trust have already spread a miasma of cynicism over the entire economic system, giving birth to Tea Partiers and Occupiers and all manner of conspiracy theories; when its excesses have already wrought havoc with the lives of millions of Americans, causing taxpayers to shell out billions (of which only a portion has been repaid) even as its top executives are back to making more money than ever; when its vast political power (via campaign contributions) has already eviscerated much of the Dodd-Frank law that was supposed to rein it in, including the so-called "Volker" Rule that was sold as a milder version of the old Glass-Steagall Act that used to separate investment from commercial banking – yes, just when you thought the Street had hit bottom, an even deeper level of public-be-damned greed and corruption is revealed.

Suppose the bankers are manipulating the interest rate so they can place bets with the money you lend or repay them – bets that will pay off big for them because they have inside information on what the market is really predicting, which they're not sharing with you. That would be a mammoth violation of public trust. And it would amount to a rip-off of almost cosmic proportion – trillions of dollars that you and I and other average people would otherwise have received or saved on our lending and borrowing that have been going instead to the bankers. It would make the other abuses of trust we've witnessed look like child's play by comparison. More...

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The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption
by Eduardo Porter
Posted July 12, 2012

corporate corruptionPerhaps the most surprising aspect of the Libor scandal is how familiar it seems. Sure, for some of the world's leading banks to try to manipulate one of the most important interest rates in contemporary finance is clearly egregious. But is that worse than packaging billions of dollars worth of dubious mortgages into a bond and having it stamped with a Triple-A rating to sell to some dupe down the road while betting against it? Or how about forging documents on an industrial scale to foreclose fraudulently on countless homeowners?

The misconduct of the financial industry no longer surprises most Americans. Only about one in five has much trust in banks, according to Gallup polls, about half the level in 2007. And it's not just banks that are frowned upon. Trust in big business overall is declining. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe corruption is widespread across corporate America. According to Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, nearly three in four Americans believe that corruption has increased over the last three years. More...

Massive financial fraud going unprosecuted guarantees that the fraud will continue. The economy will not recover until fraud is prosecuted.

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Assange's Last Stand
by Justin Raimondo
Posted July 8, 2012

Julian Assange truth tellerIf there was ever a clear-cut case of good versus evil, then surely it is the contest between Julian Assange and most of the world's governments. They hate him because he exposed their lies, their manipulations, and their routine violations of the most elementary rules of human decency. By publishing virtually the entire corpus of messages sent to and fro between Mordor Washington and their Nazgul diplomats in the field, WikiLeaks has given us the true history of the world in modern times, or, at least, a good glimpse into its secret underside historians rarely uncover.

The release of the "Collateral Murder" video showing the shooting of journalists and innocents in Iraq by our cackling wise-cracking US military pilots was arguably the tipping point in the public relations battle, after which support for continued prosecution of the war even among the political elites dropped precipitously and never recovered. It was the 21st century equivalent of the infamous photo of a napalmed Vietnamese children running down a road, an icon of another unpopular and utterly immoral war. That's why Bradley Manning, who probably supplied the video to WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado for over a year, subjected to treatment the UN defines as torture. He will never get a fair trial in the US. More...

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LIBOR Exposure Of Banker Corruption, Bank Of England And U.S. Fed Both Implicated
by Jim Willie CB
Posted July 5, 2012

LIBOR scandalFew observers make the connection, but the current LIBOR scandal is a middle inning of two important events. The first is the demise of the Western banker leadership crew. The executives from the most powerful banks will be last to be deposed, all sharing an ethnic strain. The second is the open fracture of the Western financial system. Over the past few years, to be sure a great many people have grown tired of Jackass descriptions of corruption within the banking sector and financial system in general. Well, hear this: TOLD YA SO! The London Interbank Offered Rate scandal will erupt into an uncontrollable firestorm, hitting one chamber and then the next, with rapid contagion.

The evidence for price rig has been glaring for years. The big banks have skimmed the difference for profit for years. Imagine selling milk or concrete with a variation in price at the wholesale level, enabling vast profits from skimming. It has been permitted for the big banks, a grand blemish on an already scarred sector. More...

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The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia
by Matt Taibbi
Posted June 24, 2012

bank fraudHow America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape

Instead of anything resembling real censure, a few young executives got spanked, while the offending banks got off with slap-on-the-wrist fines and were allowed to retain their pre-eminent positions in the municipal bond market. Last year, the two leading recipients of public bond business, clocking in with more than $35 billion in bond issues apiece, were Chase and Bank of America – who combined had just paid more than $365 million in fines for their role in the mass bid rigging. Get busted for welfare fraud even once in America, and good luck getting so much as a food stamp ever again. Get caught rigging interest rates in 50 states, and the government goes right on handing you billions of dollars in public contracts.

Over the years, many in the public have become numb to news of financial corruption, partly because too many of these stories involve banker-on-banker crime. The notorious Abacus deal involving Goldman Sachs, for instance, involved a hedge-fund billionaire ripping off a couple of European banks – who cares? But the bid-rigging scandal laid bare in USA v. Carollo is a totally different animal. This is the world's biggest banks stealing money that would otherwise have gone toward textbooks and medicine and housing for ordinary Americans, and turning the cash into sports cars and bonuses for the already rich. It's the equivalent of robbing a charity or a church fund to pay for lap dances. More...

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Members of Senate Banking Committee Will Question Their Top Donor: JP Morgan Chase
by Anthony Badami
Posted June 12, 2012

SEnate Banking CommitteeOf the 22 members on the Congressional hearing charged this week with questioning JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon over his bank's $2 billion trading loss, 7 members, including the Chairman and a ranking member, have JPMorgan as one of their top five political contributors. What's more alarming, the entire Congressional panel is fraught with political donations from the "Securities and Investment" industry. The grand total? $13,423,762.

How can we expect a fair outcome when the Congressional committee charged with holding Dimon accountable is bought and paid for by his bank and industry? More...

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35,948 Arrested Yesterday
by Maya Schenwar
Posted May 23, 2012

IN the land of the freeLast Friday, the day the NATO 3 were arrested, approximately 35,948 people were arrested across the United States. On Sunday, when at least 45 protesters were arrested at Chicago's NATO summit protests, approximately 35,948 Americans - the number arrested on a daily basis in the US, according to FBI statistics - were handcuffed, read their Miranda rights (maybe), carted off to jail and booked. The plurality of those people were arrested for nonviolent drug crimes. Some of these people will be charged, convicted, prosecuted and jailed.

In many ways, the US 2.3 Million are an invisible 1 percent of the 99 percent: they go to jail poor, they work for slave wages, they're deprived of basic rights and dignity, they can't vote (thus forfeiting even the most modest semblance of democratic participation) - and then they're released, even poorer, with little support, sporting a blotch on their record that will no doubt discourage prospective employers. More...

How can the US continue to proclaim itself "the land of the free" when it has the largest prison population in the world? This is true per capita or in absolute numbers.

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Know Your Rights When Recording Police
by Steve Silverman
Posted May 17, 2012

Know your rightsLast week the City of Boston agreed to pay Simon Glik $170,000 in damages and legal fees to settle a civil rights lawsuit stemming from his 2007 felony arrest for videotaping police roughing up a suspect. Prior to the settlement, the First Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Glik had a "constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public." The Boston Police Department now explicitly instructs its officers not to arrest citizens openly recording them in public.

Slowly but surely the courts are recognizing that recording on-duty police is a protected First Amendment activity. But in the meantime, police around the country continue to intimidate and arrest citizens for doing just that. So if you're an aspiring cop watcher you must be uniquely prepared to deal with hostile cops. More...

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American Arrested Using Predator Drone, Had Rights Violated, Lawyer Says
Posted May 6, 2012

drones over the U.S.Bruce Quick, attorney for the first American arrested using an unmanned drone says his client was subject to "guerrilla-like police tactics." "The whole thing is full of constitutional violations," Quick told U.S. News. "The drone use is a secondary concern."

Brossart was in a dispute with authorities over the ownership of six cows that had meandered onto his land. The Grand Forks SWAT team borrowed a Predator drone from the Department of Homeland security to make sure it was safe to arrest Brossart, authorities told the paper.

The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that's true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we've seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters. More...

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Washington Leads The World Into Lawlessness
by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan's first term
Posted April 15, 2012

lawlessnessThe US government pretends to live under the rule of law, to respect human rights, and to provide freedom and democracy to citizens. Washington's pretense and the stark reality are diametrically opposed. US government officials routinely criticize other governments for being undemocratic and for violating human rights. Yet, no other country except Israel sends bombs, missiles, and drones into sovereign countries to murder civilian populations. The torture prisons of Abu Gahraib, Guantanamo, and CIA secret rendition sites are the contributions of the Bush/Obama regimes to human rights.

Washington violates the human rights of its own citizens. Washington has suspended the civil liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution and declared its intention to detain US citizens indefinitely without due process of law. President Obama has announced that he, at his discretion, can murder US citizens whom he regards as a threat to the US. Congress did not respond to these extraordinary announcements with impeachment proceedings. There was no uproar from the federal courts, law schools, or bar associations. Glenn Greenwald reports that the Department of Homeland Security harasses journalists who refuse to be "presstitutes", and we have seen videos of the brutal police oppression of peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors. More...

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Citizens United 2.0, Expected to Hit the Supreme Court in Early 2013
by Mark Kogan
Posted April 11, 2012

Corporations are not peopleWhile the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act is sure to grab headlines as the 2012 presidential campaign begins its home stretch, the Court is gearing up to hear another contentious issue early next year.

The Supreme Court is expected to grant review in the case of American Traditions Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, a case legal experts have dubbed Citizens United 2.0. Citizens United v. FEC was a 2009 case which held that provisions of federal election law prohibiting independent organizations from running political advertisements within 60 days of a general election (or 30 days of a primary) violated the the First Amendment.

American Traditions comes to the Supreme Court by way of the Montana Supreme Court, where a law prohibiting independent corporate political expenditures was upheld as constitutional, in seeming defiance of the Supreme Court's holding in Citizens United. More...

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As Occupy Arrestees Arraigned, Iris Scans Affect Bail
By Nick Pinto
Posted April 5, 2012

Police state growsThe first of the more than 70 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested Saturday afternoon and evening were arraigned yesterday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Exhausted by a night and day in jail and shaken by the violence of the police response to Occupy Wall Street's six-month anniversary celebration, many burst into tears of relief when they were finally released to the friendly welcome of the movement's Jail Support team.

But protesters and their legal advisers were surprised yesterday to learn that the size of their bail was being affected by whether defendants were willing to have the distinctive patterns of their irises photographed and logged into a database. More...

And the police state slowly and insidiously keeps growing while the nation numbs its mind with gladiator games (football etc), celebrity worship, gossip and reality TV.

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How Does a 'Common Citizen' Know If They Can Be Target of NDAA?
by Kevin Gosztola
Posted April 2, 2012

human rights US styleAt the start of the first hearing on a lawsuit challenging the Homeland Battlefield Act, a federal judge appeared to be "extremely skeptical" that those pursuing the challenge had grounds to sue the US government. However, by the end of the hearing, the judge acknowledged plaintiffs had made some strong arguments on why there was reason to be concerned about the Act, which passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on New Year's Eve last year.

Back in December, Congress passed the law but there wasn't unanimous support. There was a level of consternation over what the Obama Administration was asking members of Congress to do. Much of that dismay came from a broad political spectrum of Americans that found the law to be an assault on civil liberties. Amendments were proposed but failed to pass. More...

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The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost
by Chris Hedges
Posted March 28, 2012

Hedges sues gopvernment over NDAAIt is in conference rooms like this one, where attorneys speak in the arcane and formal language of legal statutes, that we lose or save our civil liberties. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act, the employment of the Espionage Act by the Obama White House against six suspected whistle-blowers and leakers, and the Homeland Battlefield Bill have crippled the work of investigative reporters in every major newsroom in the country. Government sources that once provided information to counter official narratives and lies have largely severed contact with the press. They are acutely aware that there is no longer any legal protection for those who dissent or who expose the crimes of state. The NDAA threw in a new and dangerous component that permits the government not only to silence journalists but imprison them and deny them due process because they "substantially supported" terrorist groups or "associated forces."

The law can be used to detain individuals who are not members of terrorist organizations but have provided, in the words of the bill, substantial support even to "associated forces." But what constitutes substantial? What constitutes support? What are these "associated forces"? What is defined under this law as an act of terror? What are the specific activities of those purportedly "engaged in hostilities against the United States"? None of this is answered. And this is why, especially as acts of civil disobedience proliferate, the NDAA law is so terrifying. It can be used by the military to seize and detain citizens and deny legal recourse to anyone who defies the corporate state. More...

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Four Whistleblowers Who Sounded the Alarm on Banks' Mortgage Shenanigans
by Cora Currier
Posted March 25, 2012

bank fraudBuried in the sweeping mortgage settlement with banks, for which final documents were filed this week, are five whistleblower cases that shed light on the litany of foreclosure abuses by the banks.

According to one suit, Bank of America allegedly passed bad loans on to the Federal Housing Administration. According to another, the bank allegedly denied qualified homeowners access to HAMP, the government's loan modification program. More...

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Former NSA Official's Advice to Fellow Whistleblowers: "You Better Lawyer Up"
by Sam Knight
Posted March 20, 2010

Thomas DrakePerhaps no such case is more controversial and worrying than the failed prosecution of former National Security Agency (NSA) senior official turned whistleblower, Thomas Drake. Drake helped shed light on the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping through two Congressional investigations of 9/11; a Defense Department Inspector General audit of the NSA regarding waste, fraud and constitutional abuse; and, finally, through the disclosure of non-classified information to Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman in 2006 and 2007,which triggered the government's criminal investigation (Drake said that internal whistleblowing had already made officials eager to retaliate up until that point).

That is, he agreed to a substantially diluted plea deal four years after his house was first raided in the dead of night; after he was branded as a traitor, lost his job and his pension and ended up working at an Apple Store (which is no walk in the park, according to a report by Josh Eidelson of In These Times). And, to add insult to injury, the indictment was not filed by the DOJ of the Imperial President, George W. Bush, but by a president who campaigned on the idea that his would be the "Most Transparent Administration in History." More...

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Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!
By Chris Kitze
Posted March 19, 2012

peacetime martial lawThis Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness. In a nutshell, it's the blueprint for Peacetime Martial Law and it gives the president the power to take just about anything deemed necessary for "National Defense", whatever they decide that is. It's peacetime, because as the title of the order says, it's for "Preparedness". A copy of the entire order follows the end of this story.

Under this new Executive Order, cabinet heads are authorized to loan money, offer loan guarantees and even subsidize payments at above market rates (no bid contracts?) for whatever they need. This could make Solyndra or Halliburton look like Junior Achievement. Nothing like a war will generate these kinds of huge profits for the corporate "partners" and you can bet the bankers and contractors are already lining up for this one -- because under this order no war is even required! More...

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Evolving Global Financial Crisis: Selling "Foreclosed Homes"
by Bob Chapman
Posted March 12, 2012

Criminal behaviorThe government is preparing to package and sell foreclosed homes. We do not know what discount to the current market there will be but you can guess it will be 20% or more. These homes will only be available to big buyers such as hedge funds and others with enormous amounts of capital. It is expected that the homes will be sold in lots of 5,000 to 10,000 and the minimum bid would be $1 billion. This is corporatist fascists busy at work.

Ten years ago we can only remember one other European journalist exposing the scam that Goldman Sachs had pulled for Greece and Italy to falsely qualify them for euro zone membership. Everyone else looked the other way and now we found out that this is why both countries are in serious debt problems. Mind you, this was all done in secret but European insiders knew what was going on and looked the other way. They wanted the exports and for the euro zone to be the foundation for world government. Goldman disguised a $793 million loan as a derivative transaction. Now the bill for the Greek government from Goldman is $6.8 billion. Goldman and the Greek politicians sold out the Greek people. That year Goldman made 12% of their revenues from Greece. More...

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Politicians Won't Return Ponzi Payoffs
by Michael Winship
Posted March 10, 2012

Money in politicsOn Tuesday, Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford was convicted in a Houston federal court on 13 out of 14 criminal counts of fraud. Media accounts of Stanford's conviction were filled with stories of his excesses — mansions, private yachts and jets, and so much money invested in Antigua — including bribes — the small island awarded him a knighthood. Among his other indulgences, noted the Reuters news service: "He bought a castle in Florida for one of his girlfriends and his oldest daughter lived in a million-dollar condominium in Houston. He wore custom-made suits and bankrolled a $20 million prize for an international cricket tournament."

But what most of this week's stories failed to mention was the large amount of his clients' cash that was spent on campaign contributions, greasing the corrupt nexus of money and politics for personal gain. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to candidates, including Barack Obama, John McCain, John Boehner and Harry Reid; as well as national fundraising committees for the Republican and Democratic parties. The court-appointed receiver charged with returning money to Stanford's investors is trying to get the contributions back. And the committees are resisting. More...

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Will Wall Street Ever Face Justice?
by Phil Angelides
Posted March 7, 2012

no bankers arrestedFour years after the disintegration of the financial system, Americans have, rightfully, a gnawing feeling that justice has not been served. Claims of financial fraud against companies like Citigroup and Bank of America have been settled for pennies on the dollar, with no admission of wrongdoing. Executives who ran companies that made, packaged and sold trillions of dollars in toxic mortgages and mortgage-backed securities remain largely unscathed.

Last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. proclaimed in a speech that when it comes to fighting financial fraud, the Obama administration's "record of success has been nothing less than historic." Such self-congratulation is not only premature, but it also reveals a troubling lack of understanding about what is required to win the war against financial wrongdoing. More...

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The NDAA: A Clear and Present Danger to American Liberty
by Naomi Wolf
Posted March 5, 2012

military lockupThe US is sleepwalking into becoming a police state, where, like a pre-Magna Carta monarch, the president can lock up anyone. Yes, the worst things you may have heard about the National Defense Authorization Act, which has formally ended 254 years of democracy in the United States of America, and driven a stake through the heart of the bill of rights, are all really true. The act passed with large margins in both the House and the Senate on the last day of last year – even as tens of thousands of Americans were frantically begging their representatives to secure Americans' habeas corpus rights in the final version.NDAA critics say that it enables ordinary US citizens to be treated like 'enemy combatants' in Guantánamo.

It does indeed – contrary to the many flatout-false form letters I have seen that both senators and representatives sent to their constituents, misleading them about the fact that the NDAA destroys their due process rights. Under the act, anyone can be described as a 'belligerent". More...

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Goodbye, First Amendment: 'Trespass Bill' will make protest illegal
By RT
Posted March 2, 2012

protests illegalJust when you thought the government couldn't ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country. Covered under the bill is any person protected by the Secret Service. Although such protection isn't extended to just everybody, making it a federal offense to even accidently disrupt an event attended by a person with such status essentially crushes whatever currently remains of the right to assemble and peacefully protest. More...

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The 50-State Foreclosure Settlement, Why Hasn't Anyone Gone to Jail?
by Mike Whitney
Posted February 23, 2012

Banker face no jailUnder the terms of the 50-state mortgage foreclosure settlement, US taxpayers could end up paying billions in penalties that were supposed to be paid by the banks. That's the gist of a front-page story which appeared in the Financial Times on Thursday, February 17. The widely-cited article by Shahien Nasiripour notes that the 5 banks that will be effected by the settlement — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – will be able to use Obama's mortgage modification program (HAMP) to reduce loan balances and "receive cash payments of up to 63 cents on the dollar for every dollar of loan principal forgiven."

Keep in mind, that the banks are really only on the hook for $5 billion in cash. The rest of the $25 billion settlement will be shrugged off onto investors in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) many of who are retirees and pensioners. They're going to get clobbered while the perpetrators of this nationwide crime walk away Scott-free. More...

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After MF Global, Are your funds safe?
by Jesse
Posted February 18, 2012

Blantant theft by MF GlobalThe MF Global money was not vaporized, it is not missing, and it was not "highly compromised."

It was stolen, and not once but twice. In today's environment the protections that investors and depositors think that they have is thin stuff indeed. People think that they are safeguarded by regulation and legal statements, and they think they have equal protection under the law, as compared to the corporate leviathans and political insiders like Jon Corzine.

To use customer funds in this manner is a violation of fiduciary trust, known in lesser circles as STEALING. MF Global thought they could take the money and put it back with no one being the wiser, but they were caught up in the discovery of events. This is not much different than taking company money to pay your private debts, and then failing to return them before the loss is discovered.

Who is to say that Wall Street will not steal customer money and embezzle depositors funds even if Glass-Steagall is reinstated? If there are no investigations and prosecutions for such a blatant theft as this, how can anything or anyone ever be safe? More...

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Mortgage settlement is great — for politicians and banks
By Michael Hiltzik
Posted February 17, 2012

Deal good for banksThe settlement mostly requires mortgage lenders and servicers to comply with what I would have thought was already the law, which prohibits, you know, criminal fraud.

The signatories to the deal are Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), which handle payments on more than half the nation's outstanding 27 million home loans and therefore have been at the center of the servicing and foreclosure abuses the settlement is supposed to end.

If you don't listen too closely, it sounds as if they're putting up the $25 billion. Not so. The only cold cash the banks are paying is a combined $5 billion, including $1.5 billion to compensate borrowers whose homes were foreclosed on from 2008 through the end of last year, with the rest going to the federal and state governments to pay for regulatory programs. More...

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Why the Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All
by Matt Taibbi
Posted February 10, 2012

Eric Holder has donr NOTHING to prosecute financial fraudSo they settled the case in a way that reads in headlines like it's a bite out of the banks, but in fact is barely even that. There will be little in the way of real compensation for stuggling homeowners, and there are serious issues in the area of the deal's enforceability. In fact, about the only part of the deal we can be absolutely sure will be honored in full is the liability waiver for the robosigning offenses.

Really this looks like America's public prosecutors just wilted before the prospect of a long, drawn-out conflict with an army of highly-paid, determined white-shoe banker lawyers. The message this sends is that if you commit crimes on a large enough scale, and have enough high-priced legal talent sitting at the negotiating table after you get caught, the government will ultimately back down, conceding the inferiority of its resources. More...

Why is Eric Holder the spokesperson for this deal? He has done NOTHING to prosecute financial crimes. With this abrogation of the Dept of Justice responsibilities, the states finally had to step in. Now that these states were starting to get somewhere, the administration steps in a pressures them for a setllement? TIME TO FIRE ERIC HOLDER!

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The Money Masters Live in Fear
by Rudy Avizius
Posted February 9, 2012

fraud on a massive scaleMost people in the United States have long suspected that a "shadow government" exists and that the real power in the country resides in that dark location, not in our elected government. The citizens instinctly know that our elected officials are really nothing more than the hired servants of the money masters and are beholden to them if they wish to retain their positions of power.

A quick look at the curtain which they hide behind reveals one shadowy organization that represents the interests of these money masters, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association also known as ISDA. The officers and directors of this organization include most of the major banks in the world including the largest banks in the United States. One of the purposes of the ISDA is determine if a "credit event" is actually a default. If a "credit event" is declared to be a default, then Credit Default Swap (CDS) contracts come into play.

So what do derivatives and Credit Default Swaps have to do with all this, how do they affect people on the street, and why are the money masters so concerned about them? More...

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U.S. Home Foreclosures and Shadow Banking: Why All the "Robo-signing"?
by Ellen Brown
Posted February 6, 2012


robo signing notariesA foreclosure settlement between five major banks guilty of “robo-signing” and the attorneys general of the 50 states is pending for Monday, February 6th; but it is still not clear if all the AGs will sign. California was to get over half of the $25 billion in settlement money, and California AG Kamala Harris has withstood pressure to settle.

That is good. She and the other AGs should not sign until a thorough investigation has been conducted. The evidence to date suggests that “robo-signing” was not a mere technical default or sloppy business practice but was part and parcel of a much larger fraud, the fraud that brought down the whole economy in 2008. It is not just distressed homeowners but the entire economy that has paid the price, resulting in massive unemployment and a shrunken tax base, throwing state and local governments into insolvency and forcing austerity measures and cutbacks in government services across the nation. More...

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Obama Orders Military-Police Department Joint Exercises in Los Angeles, Other Cities
by Ralph Lopez
Posted February 1, 2012

Military in our citiesAn LAPD press release states:
The Los Angeles Police Department will be providing support for a joint military training exercise in and around the great Los Angeles area. This will be routine training conducted by military personnel, designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirements.

Chris Hedges in an interview with Democracy Now speculated that, since the national security establishment, NSA, FBI and other agencies charged with protecting the country against terrorists actually lobbied against the NDAA, the true impetus for it was the fear among corporate elites of an expanding Occupy Wall Street movement this summer.

Hedges said:
"And I think, without question, the corporate elites understand that things, certainly economically, are about to get much worse. I think they're worried about the Occupy movement expanding. And I think that, in the end—and this is a supposition—they don't trust the police to protect them, and they want to be able to call in the Army." More...

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A Web of Financial Fraud and Criminality: America's Shadow Banking System
by Ellen Brown
Posted January 27, 2012

bankstersThe Wall Street Journal reported on January 19th that the Obama Administration was pushing heavily to get the 50 state attorneys general to agree to a settlement with five major banks in the "robo-signing" scandal. The scandal involves employees signing names not their own, under titles they did not really have, attesting to the veracity of documents they had not really reviewed. Investigation reveals that it did not just happen occasionally but was an industry-wide practice, dating back to the late 1990s; and that it may have clouded the titles of millions of homes. If the settlement is agreed to, it will let Wall Street bankers off the hook for crimes that would land the rest of us in jail – fraud, forgery, securities violations and tax evasion.

Whether massive robo-signing occurred is no longer in issue. The question that needs to be investigated is why it was being done. The alleged justification—that the bankers were so busy that they cut corners—hardly seems credible given the extent of the practice. More..

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Occupy The Justice System: Jury Nullification
by Dustin Slaughter
Posted January 20, 2012

Jury nullificationConsider the fact that the United States jails more people per capita than any other country in the world: 2.3 million Americans are currently behind bars, and a staggering 25% of those cases are for nonviolent drug offenses. Not only that, but the majority of those incarcerated for these offenses are predominantly African American. This is taking an unimaginable toll on their community. Empowering jurors with the knowledge of jury nullification might be a tremendous first step in correcting an out-of-control criminal "justice" system, and would have the added effect of boldly challenging a monstrous prison-industrial-complex.

There is a storied precedent for this right of juries, dating back to the year 1215 with the inception of the Magna Carta. Another "high profile" example of this can be found in the story of Pennsylvania's own William Penn. A more notable instance of the use of jury nullification can be found in the history of the Fugitive Slave Act during the 1850s. Indeed, the right of juries to nullify is embedded in our very own Bill of Rights. More...

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A Rare Look Inside Our "Humane" Immigration Jails
by Seth Freed Wessler
Posted January 9, 2012

ironicI gained access to the Baker County Jail and five other immigration detention centers as a researcher, working for Colorlines.com's publisher, the Applied Research Center. ICE intermittently allows researchers from human rights groups to enter the facilities to interview detainees and check on conditions. Until recently, the facilities have been almost entirely closed and when I mention to immigration advocates that I've spent time in the jails, they look at me with bewilderment. The interiors of detention centers might as well be black sites, cast off the political map except for the rare instances of abuse so egregious that they blip onto our ethical radar.

America's immigration detention centers are in the business of warehousing men and women who have suffered trauma—the sorts of people whom reasonable governments should aim to protect, and indeed whom the U.S. has laws to protect. Instead, they are locked up, thrown into these legal purgatories and traded as pawns in a political and financial game. More...

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MF Global & Government-Sponsored Theft
by Sara Noble
Posted January 3, 2012

outright theftThe United States financial situation, which appears to be insoluble at the moment, could end up dwarfing the euro debt crisis. It is hard to trust our financial system when we see the theft of millions of customer dollars as in the current MF Global scandal. The disappearing $1.2 billion is only part of the story.

Regulators in charge of investigating MF Global were supposed to safeguard clients money. Instead the regulators shut customers out of their segregated accounts, basically stole the money, and used it to pay off creditors like JP Morgan. Segregated accounts are like safety deposit boxes that should not be touched under any circumstances.

The money never belonged to MF Global and it was not theirs to give but the regulators allowed this to happen. More...

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Three myths about the detention bill
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted January 3, 2011

protecting civil liberties?The language of the bill President Obama will sign is crystal clear on most key issues -- and it is repugnant. Condemnation of President Obama is intense, and growing, as a result of his announced intent to sign into law the indefinite detention bill embedded in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). These denunciations come not only from the nation's leading civil liberties and human rights groups, but also from the pro-Obama New York Times Editorial Page, which today has a scathing Editorial describing Obama's stance as "a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency" and lamenting that "the bill has so many other objectionable aspects that we can't go into them all," as well as from vocal Obama supporters such as Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday that this episode is "another sign that his campaign pledge to be vigilant about civil liberties in the war on terror was a lie." In damage control mode, White-House-allied groups are now trying to ride to the rescue with attacks on the ACLU and dismissive belittling of the bill's dangers.

For that reason, it is very worthwhile to briefly examine — and debunk — the three principal myths being spread by supporters of this bill, and to do so very simply: by citing the relevant provisions of the bill, as well as the relevant passages of the original 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), so that everyone can judge for themselves what this bill actually includes. More...

Another article on the consequences of this unAmerican bill.

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Cities that broke up Occupy camps now face lawsuits over free speech, use of force
by Associated Press
Posted December 30, 2011

who are they protecting?Most major Occupy encampments have been dispersed, but they live on in a flurry of lawsuits in which protesters are asserting their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly and challenging authorities' mass arrests and use of force to break up tent cities.

Lawyers representing protesters have filed lawsuits — or are planning them — in state and federal courts from coast to coast, challenging eviction orders and what they call heavy-handed police tactics and the banning of demonstrators from public properties. Protester lawsuits are now beginning to wend their way through the legal system, and attorneys say more are likely on the way. More...

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The NDAA Repeals More Rights
by Ron Paul
Posted December 28, 2011

Ron Paul warns usLittle by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed. The 4th amendment has been rendered toothless by the PATRIOT Act. No more can we truly feel secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects when now there is an exception that fits nearly any excuse for our government to search and seize our property. Of course, the vast majority of Americans may say "I'm not a terrorist, so I have no reason to worry." However, innocent people are wrongly accused all the time. The Bill of Rights is there precisely because the founders wanted to set a very high bar for the government to overcome in order to deprive an individual of life or liberty. To lower that bar is to endanger everyone. When the bar is low enough to include political enemies, our descent into totalitarianism is virtually assured.

The dangers in the NDAA are its alarmingly vague, undefined criteria for who can be indefinitely detained by the US government without trial. It is now no longer limited to members of al Qaeda or the Taliban, but anyone accused of "substantially supporting" such groups or "associated forces." How closely associated? And what constitutes "substantial" support? What if it was discovered that someone who committed a terrorist act was once involved with a charity? Or supported a political candidate? Are all donors of that charity or supporters of that candidate now suspect, and subject to indefinite detainment? Is that charity now an associated force? More...

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CIA won't disclose possible involvement in Occupy crackdowns
RT Television Interview
Posted December 23, 2011

Interview on RT television with Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, on the CIA's refusal to process a FOIA records request about the spy agency's role in the coordinated crackdown against Occupy encampments.

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America Just Says No to the Rule of Law
by David Kerans
Posted December 20, 2011

No -- to the rule of lawAs grievous as the lack of accountability in the executive branch may be, Americans have still held out some hope for accountability in the economic realm, chiefly as regards the major Wall Street banks and the specialized mortgage lenders (Countrywide being the most famous) that did so much to foment the financial crisis. The contours of the criminality are sufficiently clear. To consider just one of many vectors, mortgage lenders systematically and surreptitiously falsified documentation from mortgage loan applicants, so as to ensure the approval of these loans, and payment for themselves when they sold ownership of the loans on to banks, for repackaging into MBS (mortgage-backed securities) the banks hawked worldwide.

It is worth a moment to contemplate the scale of just this one dimension of Wall Street crime in the lead-up to the crisis of 2008. According to former Citigroup VP Richard Bowen, who led the group evaluating mortgages bought from lenders like Countrywide, about 60% of 2006 vintage mortgages were defective. He reported this up channels to the top of consumer lending group, but the business was highly profitable, so the bank took no corrective action. It continued to declare that the mortgages underlying its MBS met internal Citigroup lending standards. The defective rate hit 80% in 2007. Bowen notified everyone at the very top of Citi, including the Board of Directors and CEO Charles Prince. But Prince took no action, and signed off on SEC filings that all within his company and its MBS offerings was in order, thus leading investors worldwide over a cliff. More...

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Senators Who Love the Government But Hate America
by Scott Lazarowitz
Posted December 16, 2011

unlimited military detentionWithin days after my article on due process and presumption of innocence, the U.S. Senate voted to empower the U.S. military to apprehend and detain indefinitely anyone in America, based on the whim of the soldier or military commander, and it will probably eventually include any armed agent of government including local police. As Jacob Hornberger noted, this new provision will codify the U.S. as just another one of many dictatorships throughout world history.

Sen. Lindsey Graham commented that, "If you're an American citizen and you betray your country, you're not going to be given a lawyer," in his un-American opposition to due process and his approval of apprehending and detaining innocent civilians indefinitely. But, as I asked in my earlier article: Who will determine whether or not one has "betrayed one's country"? Graham and the other pro-dictatorship government bureaucrats do not seem able to distinguish between someone who actually has acted (or been found guilty of acting) against one's fellow Americans and someone who is accused of doing so. Graham wants to empower all military personnel (and probably any armed government official) to detain indefinitely those who are merely accused of doing something, without evidence brought forward, without having a lawyer, without access to their families, no due process whatsoever. This is a banana republic dictatorship, and it is thoroughly un-American, thoroughly anti-liberty. More...

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Busted for tweeting
By Molly Knefel
Posted December 14, 2011

Protecting the bankersThe protesters — maybe 100 or so — had gathered in the center of the floor and were dancing and chanting, "Occupy Brookfield!" A long line of police began to form in the periphery, and John and the other media people dispersed to take pictures. As the police formed an outer circle to surround the large group, the crowd began to disperse. Many of the protesters headed up the marble staircase away from the cops, and a small group bolted up a nearby escalator.

That was when everything escalated completely out of control. The escalator was stopped. Suddenly, the outer circle of cops was swarming in and violently pushing people away. John had been standing near the crowd, taking video. I was about 20 feet from him, and when I looked back in his direction, I saw his blue hood on the ground. I ran toward him and slid to the ground, leaning in between people's knees to take pictures. John was face down on the ground being handcuffed, his glasses flung across the floor and people screaming, "Stop, stop, he didn't do anything!" More...

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The Money Masters: Behind the Global Debt Crisis
by Adrian Salbuchi
Posted December 13, 2011

In greed we trustA fundamental concept that lies at the very heart of the present Financial Model can be found in the way huge parasitic profits on the one hand, and catastrophic systemic losses on the other, are effectively transferred to specific sectors of the economy, throughout the entire system, beyond borders and public control.

As with all models, the one we suffer today has its own internal logic which, once properly understood, makes that model predictable. The people who designed it know full well that it is governed by grand cycles having specific expansion and contraction stages, and specific timelines. Thus, they can ensure that in bull market times of growth and gigantic profits (i.e., whilst the system, grows and grows, is relatively stable and generates tons of money out of nothing), all profits are privatised making them flow towards specific institutions, economic sectors, shareholders, speculators, CEO and top management & trader bonuses, "investors", etc who operate the gears and maintain the whole system properly tuned and working.

However, they also know that – like all roller coaster rides – when you reach the very top, the system turns into a bear market that destabilises, spins out of control, contracts and irremediably collapses, as happened to Argentina in 2001 and to the better part of the world since 2008, then all losses are socialised by making Governments absorb them through the most varied transference mechanisms that dump these huge losses onto the population at large (whether in the form of generalised inflation, catastrophic hyperinflation, banking collapses, bail-outs, tax hikes, debt defaults, forced nationalisations, extreme austerity measures, etc). More...

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The US National Security Smokescreen
by Nancy Goldstein
Posted December 12, 2011

Only free media left?Nearly eight months after the original FOIA request, the State Department has finally released … 11 cables. Federal censors have helpfully redacted them, making it easy to see, by a simple act of comparison (which the ACLU performs for us, here), precisely which sections the State Department wants hidden. Missing are a dirty dozen cables the government refused to release – despite those cables having already been leaked, published and analysed in virtually every major national and international media venue – again, because they were classified as secret or deemed to contain sensitive information.

Administration officials unleashed plenty of hyperbole and hysteria when the cables were first published. But it turned out that none of the information in them actually endangered American citizens, allies or informants. They did, however, prove embarrassing for the US and many foreign leaders. Because it turned out that claims about national security were often an excuse to prevent us from seeing our government engaged in unethical, unconstitutional and, sometimes, illegal practices. These ran the gamut from extraordinary renditions, detentions and torture to shaking down other governments in an attempt to influence their political processes and tamper with their criminal justice systems. More...

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Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a "Battlefield" They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window
by Chris Anders
Posted November 27, 2011

Us declares war on its citizensWhile nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night's Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself. More...

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Investors lost $700M in Citigroup deal, SEC says
by David S. Hilzenrath
Posted November 8, 2011

getting off easyInvestors lost more than $700 million in a deal in which they were allegedly defrauded by Citigroup, much more than the $285 million the SEC is willing to accept to settle its case against the firm, according to a court document filed Monday.

An advocacy group called Better Markets called on the judge to reject the settlement. "Unfortunately, the SEC seems more interested in issuing press releases and wrapping up its investigations than punishing Wall Street for its massive frauds that not only caused enormous investor losses, but also caused the financial system and the economy to collapse," Dennis Kelleher, the group's president, said in a statement.

"Such settlements don't deter crime. They reward it," Kelleher said. More...

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Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?
by Thomas L. Friedman
Posted October 30, 2011

Citi pays fineCITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader's death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.

It doesn't get any more immoral than this. As the Securities and Exchange Commission civil complaint noted, in 2007, Citigroup exercised "significant influence" over choosing $500 million of the $1 billion worth of assets in the deal, and the global bank deliberately chose collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.'s, built from mortgage loans almost sure to fail. According to The Wall Street Journal, the S.E.C. complaint quoted one unnamed C.D.O. trader outside Citigroup as describing the portfolio as resembling something your dog leaves on your neighbor's lawn. "The deal became largely worthless within months of its creation," The Journal added. "As a result, about 15 hedge funds, investment managers and other firms that invested in the deal lost hundreds of millions of dollars, while Citigroup made $160 million in fees and trading profits." More...

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Occupy Oakland Police Brutality YouTube videos stay after police demands to delete
by Chris Burns
Posted October 28, 2011

POlice overreactionGoogle has today updated a transparency report which in part very suggestively points toward the videos you may have encountered over the past 24 hours that document an apparent set of police brutality cases taking place during the Occupy Oakland events of October 2011. Apparently they've had requests and/or demands from law enforcement agencies to take down videos of the same nature as the videos in question for fear that they would "defame" law enforcement officials. Google has decidedly refused in the past, and due to their promotion of such a stance this week, seems quite likely to be refusing again for the events at Occupy Oakland.

Google: "We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests." More...

Seems like the police are trying to CENSOR these videos to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions.

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NYPD fabricated drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas
by John Marzulli
Posted October 14, 2011

Cops frame innocent peopleA former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas. The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.

Anderson worked in the Queens and Brooklyn South narcotics squads and was called to the stand at Arbeeny's bench trial to show the illegal conduct wasn't limited to a single squad. "Did you observe with some frequency this ... practice which is taking someone who was seemingly not guilty of a crime and laying the drugs on them?" Justice Gustin Reichbach asked Anderson.

"Yes, multiple times," he replied. More...

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NYPD Reportedly Targeting Photographers At Occupation Of Wall Street
by Christopher Robbins
Posted September 26, 2011

Protest ArrestPhotographs and especially videos of the NYPD's actions during the occupation of Wall Street have sparked outrage and media attention regarding the protests, which have now spanned ten days. Accordingly, witnesses, including our own photographer, tell us that the NYPD has been specifically targeting photographers and videographers for arrest. Two protestors who were maintaining the live video feed of the protests were arrested on Saturday, the first claiming that she was detained solely because she was holding a camera. "Those are the first people the police go after," protest organizer Patrick Bruner tells us. "They're always the first to get held up."

While it is well within a protestor's right to film a demonstration or an arrest, NYCLU spokesperson Jennifer Carnig tells us, "You cannot interfere with police action, i.e. get in the middle of an arrest to take a photo or make a video." It may be a stretch to say that those operating the protest's live stream would be able to physically "interfere" with an arrest while holding a laptop. More...

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Welcome to Boston, Mr. Rumsfeld. You Are Under Arrest
by Ralph Lopez
Posted September 21, 2011

Torture room, Abu GharibFormer Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been stripped of legal immunity for acts of torture against US citizens authorized while he was in office.

The 7th Circuit made the ruling in the case of two American contractors who were tortured by the US military in Iraq after uncovering a smuggling ring within an Iraqi security company. The company was under contract to the Department of Defense. The company was assisting Iraqi insurgent groups in the "mass acquisition" of American weapons. The ruling comes as Rumsfeld begins his book tour with a visit to Boston on Monday, September 26, and as new, uncensored photos of Abu Ghraib spark fresh outrage across Internet. Awareness is growing that Bush-era crimes went far beyond mere waterboarding. More...

And even more here....

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NYC arrests people for wearing masks
By Sean Gardiner & Jessica Firger
Posted September 20, 2011

Land of the freeNew York City police monitoring a social media-fueled protest in Manhattan's Financial District have charged demonstrators with violating an obscure, 150-year-old state statute that bans masked gatherings. Since Saturday, five people connected with the protest to "occupy" Wall Street have been issued a violation for running afoul of the antimask law, according to police.

The protest against U.S. banking institutions began Saturday, drawing hundreds from across the country. More...

Think about this: the criminals on Wall Street steal $trillions from the economy through bond fraud and get to pay themselves bonuses, while the people protesting this get arrested for wearing a mask. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind who the police are really working for?

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Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal
by Matt Taibbi
Posted September 12, 2011

Obama protects banksA power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008. On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general.

This second camp has cooked up a deal that would allow the banks to walk away with just a seriously discounted fine from a generation of fraud that led to millions of people losing their homes.

The idea behind this federally-guided "settlement" is to concentrate and centralize all the legal exposure accrued by this generation of grotesque banker corruption in one place, put one single price tag on it that everyone can live with, and then stuff the details into a titanium canister before shooting it into deep space. This is all about protecting the banks from future enforcement actions on both the civil and criminal sides. More...

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Secret Libyan files claim MI6 and the CIA aided human rights violations
by Cherry Wilson
Posted September 3, 2011

CIA aided Ghadaffi tortureBritish and US intelligence agencies built up close links with Muammar Gaddafi and handed over detailed information to assist his regime, according to secret files found in Libyan government offices.

The documents claim that MI6 supplied its counterparts in Libya with details on exiled opponents living in the UK, and chart how the CIA abducted several suspected militants before handing them over to Tripoli.

The papers, which have not been independently verified, also suggest the CIA abducted several suspected militants from 2002 to 2004 who were subsequently handed over to Tripoli. Human Rights Watch has accused the CIA of condoning torture. More...

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Letter from Prison: Tim DeChristopher Speaks
by Tim DeChristopher
Posted September 2, 2011

Tim DeChristopherWith all criminal cases, of which 85 percent end in a plea bargain, the government has a strong incentive to avoid a trial: In addition to cutting the expense of a trial, a plea bargain helps concentrate power in the hands of government officials.

With civil disobedience cases, however, the government puts an extra value on an apology. By its very nature, civil disobedience is an act whose message is that the government and its laws are not the sole voice of moral authority. It is a statement that we the citizens recognize a higher moral code to which the law is no longer aligned, and we invite our fellow citizens to recognize the difference. A government truly of the people, for the people, and by the people is not threatened by citizens issuing such a challenge. But government whose authority depends on an ignorant or apathetic citizenry is threatened by every act of open civil disobedience, no matter how small. To regain that tiny piece of authority, the government either has to respond to the activist's demands, or get the activist to back down with a public statement of regret. Otherwise, those little challenges to the moral authority of government start to add up. More...

Click here for more information on how Tim DeChristopher fought the machine for the benefit of all of us..

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Obama administration pressures NY Attorney General to let banks off easy
By Glenn Greenwald
Posted August 24, 2011

Two tier justice systemIn mid-May, I wrote about the commendable -- one might say heroic -- efforts of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to single-handedly impose meaningful accountability on Wall Street banks for their role in the 2008 financial crisis and the mortgage fraud/foreclosure schemes. Not only was Schneiderman launching probing investigations at a time when the Obama DOJ was steadfastly failing to do so, but -- more importantly -- he was refusing to sign onto a global settlement agreement being pushed by the DOJ that would have insulated the mortgage banks (including Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo) from all criminal investigations in exchange for some relatively modest civil fines.

In response, many commenters wondered whether Schneiderman, if he persisted, would be targeted by the banks with some type of campaign of destruction of the kind that brought down Eliot Spitzer, but fortunately for the banks, they can dispatch their owned servants in Washington to apply the pressure for them. More...

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Evidence Banks Bought Off Washington
by Mike Stathis
Posted August 21, 2011

Congree for saleOne of the themes I have been emphasizing over the past few years focuses on the destruction of the U.S. economy and control over the political system by lobbyist groups. As long as lobbyists exist, America will continue to be run by corporations.

It's quite simple. Control over government by corporate interests is defined as fascism. This is precisely the type of government that has presided over United States for well over three decades. As long as corporate interests control Washington, the United States will never have a government that resembles a democracy, much less a republic.

When so-called experts in the media discuss America's problems and offer solutions, you are not likely to hear mention of the power held by lobbyist groups. On rare occasion when the influence of lobbyists is mentioned, it is only in passing. Never will you hear anyone in the media recommend an end to all lobbyist activities as one component of restoring America's past greatness. More...

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Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?
by Matt Taibbi
Posted August 20, 2011

evidence destroyedImagine a world in which a man who is repeatedly investigated for a string of serious crimes, but never prosecuted, has his slate wiped clean every time the cops fail to make a case. No more Lifetime channel specials where the murderer is unveiled after police stumble upon past intrigues in some old file – "Hey, chief, didja know this guy had two wives die falling down the stairs?" No more burglary sprees cracked when some sharp cop sees the same name pop up in one too many witness statements. This is a different world, one far friendlier to lawbreakers, where even the suspicion of wrongdoing gets wiped from the record.

That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – "18,000 ... including Madoff," as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – has apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history. More...

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Banks still robo-signing, filing doubtful foreclosure documents
by Scot J. Paltrow
Posted August 14, 2011

Even more bank fraud(Reuters) - America's leading mortgage lenders vowed in March to end the dubious foreclosure practices that caused a bruising scandal last year.

But a Reuters investigation finds that many are still taking the same shortcuts they promised to shun, from sketchy paperwork to the use of "robo-signers."

In its effort to seize the two-bedroom ranch house of 87-year-old Margery Gunter in this down-on-its-luck Florida town, OneWest Bank recently filed a court document that appears riddled with discrepancies. Mrs. Gunter, who has lived in the house for 40 years and gets around with the aid of a walker, stopped paying her loan back in 2009, her lawyer concedes. To foreclose, the bank submitted to the Collier County clerk's office on March 3 a "mortgage assignment," a document essential to proving who owns a mortgage once the original lender sells it off.

But OneWest's paperwork is problematic. Among the snags: state law permits lenders to file to foreclose only if they already legally own a mortgage. Yet the key document establishing ownership wasn't signed and officially recorded until months after OneWest filed to foreclose on Mrs. Gunter. OneWest declined to comment on the case. More...

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15 Years in Prison For Taping the Cops?
by Rania Khalek
Posted August 4, 2011

recording police crimesHow Eavesdropping Laws Are Taking Away Our Best Defense Against Police Brutality
More and more people use their smartphones to record police misconduct. But laws against wiretapping are being used to intimidate and stop them.

Over Memorial Day weekend this past May, residents of Miami Beach witnessed a horrific display of police brutality as 12 cops sprayed Raymond Herisse's car with 100 bullets, killing him. The shooting provoked outrage in the surrounding community, not only because of the murder, but because of what the police did afterward.

Officers on the scene confiscated and smashed witnesses' cell phones; later, when they were confronted by the media, the police denied trying to destroy videos of the incident. More...

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The Sentencing of Tim DeChristopher Highlights the Conflict Between the People and Corporate-Government
by Kevin Zeeze
Posted July 27, 2011

Corporate controlThe trial and sentencing of Tim DeChristopher highlights the conflict between the people of the United States and the corporate-government that protects the privileged. In his pre-sentencing statement (republished below) Tim told Judge Dee Benson that the judge was making a choice: " The choice you are making today is what side are you on."

The connection between corporations and government was highlighted to Tim early in this prosecution. One day before he was indicted the Associated Press called him to tell Tim he would be indicted. The AP reporter had known about it for weeks because an oil and gas industry lobbyist had told him. Evidently the prosecutor's office was keeping his colleagues in the corporate world well informed about their plans to punish DeChristopher for spoiling the illegal lease auction. More...

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Tim DeChristopher's courageous bid to save our world
by Peter Yarrow (from Peter, Paul & Mary fame)
Posted July 26, 2011

10 years?In March, Tim DeChristopher was convicted of two felony counts for a nonviolent act of civil disobedience. Acting out of his deepest convictions and his abiding concern for the survival of humankind, Tim bid on oil and gas leases on federal land that he didn't have the means to pay for. On Tuesday, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison for his actions.

The auction Tim disrupted was being conducted during the final weeks of the George W. Bush administration, in what many believed was a push to sell one last batch of public leases before President Obama took office. Tim's intention at the December 2008 auction was to prevent the parcels, some of them on scenic land near Arches and Canyonlands national parks, from going to oil and gas companies. More...

So BP can kill its own employees and foul the Gulf with millions of barrels of oil and no one goes to jail. Tim DeChristopher gets 10 years for trying to stop an illegal oil auction. Thank goodness we have the rule of law in this country!~

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Letting Bankers Walk
by Paul Krugman
Posted July 19, 2011

Bankers not going to jailLast fall, we learned that many mortgage lenders were engaging in illegal foreclosures. Most conspicuously, "robo-signers" were attesting that banks had the required documentation to seize homes without checking to see whether they actually had the right to do so — and in many cases they didn't.

How widespread and serious were the abuses? The answer is that we don't know. Nine months have passed since the robo-signing scandal broke, yet there still hasn't been a serious investigation of its reach. That's because states, suffering from severe budget troubles, lack the resources for a full investigation — and federal officials, who do have the resources, have chosen not to use them. More...

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Mounting Evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahn was Framed
by Michel Chossudovsky
Posted July 11, 2011

Kahn was framedWhile the media has gone to arms length to obfuscate the matter, there is mounting evidence that Dominique Strauss Kahn was framed. The bank records of the housemaid, not to mention the record of her telephone calls, are known to police investigators, yet both the media and the prosecutors have failed to reveal the identity of the persons who instigated these money transfers.

The reports suggest that they may be "drug related", thereby casually dismissing the likelihood that the money could have been part of the framing of DSK. The reports also mention that the money deposits were made "over the last two years", thereby conveying the impression that they bear no relationship to the DSK affair.

Why did the media wait to reveal information which confirms DSK's innocence. This information was known to the prosecutors at an early stage of the investigation, yet it was only released after the appointment of France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as Managing Director of the IMF. More...

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The Corrupt Corporate Incarceration Complex
by William Fisher
Posted July 3, 2011

private prisonsSeventeen-year-old Hillary Transue did what lots of 17-year-olds do: Got into mischief. Hillary's mischief was composing a MySpace page poking fun at the assistant principal of the high school she attended in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hillary was an honor student who'd never had any trouble with the law before. And her MySpace page stated clearly that the page was a joke. But despite all that, Hilary found herself charged with harassment. She stood before a judge and heard him sentence her to three months in a juvenile detention facility.

What she expected was perhaps a stern lecture. What she got was a perp walk - being led away in handcuffs as her stunned parents stood by helplessly. Hillary told The New York Times, "I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare. All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing." More...

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The People vs. Goldman Sachs
by Matt Taibbi
Posted June 1, 2011

Blankfein taking oathThey weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial. More...

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IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn Caught in "Honey Trap"
by Mike Whitney
Posted May 16, 2011

Framed?I have no way of knowing whether the 32-year-old maid who claims she was attacked and forced to perform oral sex on IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is telling the truth or not. I'll leave that to the braying hounds in the media who have already assumed the role of judge, jury and Lord High Executioner. But I will say, the whole matter smells rather fishy, just like the Eliot Spitzer story smelled fishy. Spitzer, you may recall, was Wall Street's biggest adversary and a likely candidate to head the SEC, a position at which he would have excelled. In fact, there's no doubt in my mind that if Spitzer had been appointed to lead the SEC, most of the top investment bankers on Wall Street would presently be making license plates and rope-soled shoes at the federal penitentiary.

So, there was plenty of reason to shadow Spitzer's every move and see what bit of dirt could be dug up on him. As it turns out, the ex-Governor of New York made it easy for his enemies by engaging a high-priced hooker named Ashley Dupre for sex at the Mayflower Hotel. When the news broke, the media descended on Spitzer like a swarm of locusts poring over every salacious detail with the ebullient fervor of a randy 6th-grader. Meanwhile, the crooks on Wall Street were able to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to doing what they do best; fleecing investors and cheating people out of the life savings. More...

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Beyond ForeclosureGate – It Gets Uglier
by Michael Collins
Posted May 6, 2011

Obama-GeithnerThe ForeclosureGate scandal poses a threat to Wall Street, the big banks, and the political establishment. If the public ever gets a complete picture of the personal, financial, and legal assault on citizens at their most vulnerable, the outrage will be endless.

Foreclosure practices lift the veil on a broader set of interlocking efforts to exploit those hardest hit by the endless economic hard times, citizens who become financially desperate due medical conditions. A 2007 study found that medical expenses or income losses related to medical crises among bankruptcy filers or family members triggered 62% of bankruptcies. There is no underground conspiracy. The facts are in plain sight.

The big banks and their partners on Wall Street need a preemptive strike to derail the legal process that threatens their existence. They may get a temporary reprieve through pending consent decrees from the United States Department of Justice and consortia of state attorney's general. If that protection fails, big money will make every effort to buy a bill from Congress that absolves them retroactively, en masse. The consent decree might cost them a few billion dollars. That's much better than owing the trillions in lost home values due to their contrived real estate bubble and stork market crash. More...

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Private Corporate Court System
by Rudy Avizius
Posted May 4, 2011


Corporate supreme courtThere is a country where Big Business can completely bypass the civil court system and have cases brought by employees, customers, and individuals heard by a private court system that is overwhelmingly funded by the corporations themselves. In this country they can even totally prevent the bringing of any class action suits for any damage, fraud, or other illegal practice they may engaged in. These suits can only be brought individually and must be heard by this private court system.

So what country is this in? Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar? No, this country is the United States!

Consider this: If your phone company illegally charges you $10 on your bill and also does this to another million customers, the Supreme Court's ruling allows companies to force consumers or employees into arbitration agreements that prevent them (you) from joining with the others to hold the company accountable. Big Business with its myopic focus on profits often cross the line into fraud, discrimination, and other illegal practices. How many people have the money and time to take on the task if suing a corporation for $10 or even $1000? The only way this was possible was through the use of class action suits where the customers would join together and take on the wrongs of the corporations. More...

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Throw Out the Money Changers
by Chris Hedges
Posted April 21, 2011

Money changersThe bankers and hedge fund managers, the corporate and governmental elites, are the modern version of the misguided Israelites who prostrated themselves before the golden calf. The sparkle of wealth glitters before them, spurring them faster and faster on the treadmill towards destruction. And they seek to make us worship at their altar. As long as greed inspires us, greed keeps us complicit and silent. But once we defy the religion of unfettered capitalism, once we demand that a society serve the needs of citizens and the ecosystem that sustains life, rather than the needs of the marketplace, once we learn to speak with a new humility and live with a new simplicity, once we love our neighbor as ourself, we break our chains and make hope visible.

When Dante enters the "city of woes" in the Inferno he hears the cries of "those whose lives earned neither honor nor bad fame," those rejected by Heaven and Hell, those who dedicated their lives solely to the pursuit of happiness. These are all the "good" people, the ones who never made a fuss, who filled their lives with vain and empty pursuits, harmless perhaps, to amuse themselves, who never took a stand for anything, never risked anything, who went along. They never looked hard at their lives, never felt the need, never wanted to look. More...

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Silver Shocker
by Theodore Butler
Posted March 9, 2011

SilverLet me walk you through the mechanics of what just took place and then I'll speculate on the motivation of JPMorgan increasing its silver short position so dramatically. Over the past two COT reporting weeks, it has been primarily a commercial versus commercial type affair. The big technical funds have largely refrained from adding to their net long silver position, even though prices have climbed very sharply. Two weeks ago the raptors (the smaller commercials away from the big 8) increased their net short position to 4000 contracts, the highest level in four years. The raptors were selling to the smaller unreported category traders who were buying. This week, the raptors bolted from their entire short position, buying it back completely and leaving them flat (not net long or short). JPMorgan was the sole seller to the raptors' buying, resulting in the big increase in JPM's short position. More...

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The Ten Reasons The Banksters Get Away With It
by Danny Schechter
Posted February 28, 201
1

Corrupt politiciansThe Wall Street Crime Syndrome Goes Deeper Than We Think:

Q. Why No Jailings?
A: It's The System, Not Just The Prosecutors

Hats off to writer Matt Taibbi for staying on the Wall Street crime beat, asking in his most recent report in Rolling Stone: "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?"

"Financial crooks," he argues, "brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them."

True enough, but that's only part of the story. The Daily Kos called his investigation a "depressing read" perhaps because it suggests that the Obama Administration is not doing what it should to rein in financial crime. Many of the lawyers he calls on to act come from big corporate law firms and buy into their worldview. They have no appetite to go after executives they know and naively hope will help speed our economic "recovery." More...

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Wells Fargo Meeting Today With Philly Homeowner Who "Foreclosed" On Them (Here's How He Did It)
By Ben Popken
Posted February 21, 2011

He foreclosed on Wells Fargo!All Patrick wanted was for someone from Wells Fargo to talk to him, he wanted someone to explain why they were doubling his premiums and requiring him to insure his century-old house for its full replacement value instead of the market value. Though he's diligently paid his mortgage on time for the past seven years, he couldn't afford the jack-up in premiums, nor did he see a reason why he should have to accept them.

Besides the increase in premiums, Wells Fargo was also tossing extra and inexplicable fees on his account. For instance, they charged him for two home inspections in one month, even though no inspectors had come out to house.

At trial, Wells Fargo didn't send anyone to represent themselves, so Patrick got a default judgment against them for $1,173. They eventually sent him the amount, but they had still had not responded to his letters or agreed to fix his premiums, as required by law. So he filed for a sheriff's levy. This directs the sheriff to seize and sell the debtor's property to pay up. In this case, it was the local branch office of Wells Fargo mortgage, the ones who had been ignoring him all these years. More...

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Probe of Mortgage Official Is Said to Be Dropped
by Gretchen Morgenson
Posted February 19, 2011

Another criminal gets to keep his millions!~Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have dropped their criminal investigation into Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide Financial, once the nation's largest mortgage lender, according to a person with direct knowledge of the investigation.

In his years at Countrywide, Mr. Mozilo became one of the highest-paid executives in America. From 2000 until 2008, when he left, Mr. Mozilo received total compensation of $521.5 million, according to Equilar, a compensation research firm.

"All of these senior people got huge payouts and left behind the carnage, which has hurt many hundreds of thousands," said Ted Mathews, the lawyer who represented Mr. Winston in the case. More...

So there you have it, another key player in the fraud associated with the economic meltdown has to give back a small portion of his ill-gotten gains, gets to keep the rest of the money, and can buy himself a luxury tropical island and yacht to get away from it all.

I wonder what would happen if I stole $50 from a 7-11? How many years in prison would I get?

.......with liberty and justice for all ............who can afford it!

Aren't you glad this man received a well deserved tax cut so he can employ people to build his yacht?

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Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?
by Matt Taibbi
Posted February 17, 2011

Start the prosecutions!Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth — and nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

So there you have it. Illegal immigrants: 393,000. Lying moms: one. Bankers: zero. The math makes sense only because the politics are so obvious. You want to win elections, you bang on the jailable class. You build prisons and fill them with people for selling dime bags and stealing CD players. But for stealing a billion dollars? For fraud that puts a million people into foreclosure? Pass. It's not a crime. More...

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Failing to Prosecute Wall Street Fraud is Extending Our Economic Problems
by Washington's Blog
Posted January 29, 2011

Start the prosecutionsBill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky and the Wall Street Journal all say that the U.S. economy is a giant Ponzi scheme.

Virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that rampant fraud was largely responsible for the financial crisis. See this and this. But many on Wall Street and in D.C. - and many investors - believe that we should just "go with the flow". They hope that we can restart our economy and make some more money if we just let things continue the way they are.

But the assumption that a system built on fraud can continue without crashing is false. In fact, top economists and financial experts agree that - unless fraud is prosecuted - the economy cannot recover. More...

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Ex-Swiss Banker Gives Data to WikiLeaks
by Ravi Somaiya and Julia Werdigier
Posted January 17, 2011

Julius Baer BankA former Swiss bank executive said on Monday that he had given the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other possible criminal activity.

Rudolf M. Elmer, the former head of the Cayman Islands office of the prominent Swiss bank Julius Baer, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but told reporters at a press conference that about 40 politicians and "pillars of society" worldwide are among them.

Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks would verify and release the information, including the names, in as little as two weeks. He suggested possible partnerships with financial news organizations and said he would consider turning the information over to Britain's Serious Fraud Office, a government agency that investigates financial corruption. More...

If our governments stay true to form, they will protect the elites and will soon find a way to distract attention from this and somehow blame the whistle blower for something. Watch for this.

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Wikileaks: Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law
by Kevin Zeese
Posted January 11, 2010

Bradley ManningPut aside Bradley Manning's guilt or innocence and ask -- what should Bradley Manning have done when he saw evidence of war crimes, other crimes and constant deception of the American people and others? Should he have hidden the evidence? Taken it up a chain of command that was complicit? Or, expose it? Manning exposed it not because he is a traitor but because he is a patriot that wants to make the United States a more perfect union.

The case of Private Bradley Manning raises legal issues about his pre-trial detention, freedom of speech and the press, as well as proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Putting aside Manning's guilt or innocence, if Bradley Manning saw the Afghan and Iraq war diaries as well as the diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks what should he have done? And, what should be the proper response of government to their publication?

A high point in the application of the rule of law to war came in the Nuremberg trials where leaders in Germany were held accountable for World War II atrocities. Justice Robert Jackson, who served as the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials while on leave from the U.S. Supreme Court, said "If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us." More...

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Rough Justice in America
The Economist
Posted December 25, 2010

Click image to see full scaleNever in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little. Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under "correctional" supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them. More...

Strange irony that the US considers itself "the land of the free". Rob $50 from a 7-11 and get 25 years, rob the American people of $billions of their life savings and get to keep the money.

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A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives
by Louise Story
Posted December 12, 2010

GreedOn the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan. The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk.

Under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, many derivatives will be traded via such clearinghouses. Mr. Gensler wants to lessen banks' control over these new institutions. But Republican lawmakers, many of whom received large campaign contributions from bankers who want to influence how the derivatives rules are written, say they plan to push back against much of the coming reform. On Thursday, the commission canceled a vote over a proposal to make prices more transparent, raising speculation that Mr. Gensler did not have enough support from his fellow commissioners. More...

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The Gulf of Mexico is Dying
A Special Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spill
By Dr. Tom Termotto
Posted December 5, 2010

Totally compromised wellIt is with deep regret that we publish this report. We do not take this responsibility lightly, as the consequences of the following observations are of such great import and have such far-reaching ramifications for the entire planet. Truly, the fate of the oceans of the world hangs in the balance, as does the future of humankind.

The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) does not exist in isolation and is, in fact, connected to the Seven Seas. Hence, we publish these findings in order that the world community will come together to further contemplate this dire and demanding predicament. We also do so with the hope that an appropriate global response will be formulated, and acted upon, for the sake of future generations. It is the most basic responsibility for every civilization to leave their world in a better condition than that which they inherited from their forbears.

After conducting the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference for over seven months, we can now disseminate the following information with the authority and confidence of those who have thoroughly investigated a crime scene. More...

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Towards Martial Law in America: Authority to Deploy Troops Domestically during 'National Emergencies'
by James Corbett
Posted November 12, 2010

Martial LawEarlier this month, the United States Coast Guard upheld its self-declared status as a 'special' branch of the military with the ability to prosecute civilians in military tribunals. This startling declaration, unreported in the media, came in a Decision on Appeal related to the case of Lieutenant Eric Shine, a commissioned Naval officer in the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Kings Point Military Service Academy, and was penned by the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. The decision can be downloaded and read here.

In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar led the Roman Legion across the Rubicon and into Rome itself, defying the Roman Senate and soon thereafter declaring himself Emperor for life. This was the beginning of the changeover from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire and the phrase "Crossing the Rubicon" is now used to refer to a move by government toward military dictatorship and the suspension of civil liberties. More...

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Financial Fraud in Germany, Deutsche Bank and the US Mortgage Scam
by F. William Engdahl
Posted November 5, 2010

Deutsche BankThe earlier filing of fraud charges against Wall Street banking titan Goldman Sachs by the US Government Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was only the tip of a huge fraud iceberg. Now a US mortgage insurer has charged one of the most aggressive banks involved in the US subprime mortgage scam of fraud. The bank is none other than Deutsche Bank. This case is also likely to be just the "tip of a very big iceberg."

According to Bloomberg financial writer and author, Michael Lewis, under Ackermann's leadership at Deutsche Bank, the bank, through its New York offices, set out to outdo Goldman Sachs in the home mortgage securitization bonanza of the past decade. Lewis documents the fact that Deutsche Bank in New York was selling what it knew were toxic waste or junk mortgage bonds on US subprime mortgages to "stupid German investors in Duesseldorf" as one Deutsche Bank New York bond trader told Lewis.[2] More...

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Sooner or later, marijuana will be legal
by Bill Piper
Posted September 28, 2010

legal marijuanaIt's as predictable as the sun rising and setting. Even though police made more than 850,000 marijuana arrests last year, a recent government report shows youth marijuana use increased by about 9 percent.

Supporters of the failed war on drugs will no doubt argue this increase means policymakers should spend more taxpayer money next year arresting and incarcerating a greater number of Americans. In other words, their solution to failure is to do more of the same. Fortunately, the "reform nothing" club is getting mighty lonely these days -- 76 percent of Americans recognize the drug war has failed; millions are demanding change. More...

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Is Justice for Sale?
James Sample
Posted August 21, 2010

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'ConnorNew York–Spending on state Supreme Court elections has more than doubled in the past decade, from $83.3 million in 1990-1999 to $206.9 million in 2000-2009, and deep-pocketed special interests play a dominant role in choosing state jurists, according to a report released today.

For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have grown more organized in their efforts to tilt the scales of justice their way. This surge in spending—much of it funneled through secret channels—has fundamentally transformed state Supreme Court elections.

In a foreword, Sandra Day O'Connor, retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice, warned that elected judges are widely seen by the public as beholden to campaign benefactors who sometimes spend millions to sway court races. More...

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Indymac Boys Get Sweetheart Deal
Posted June 27, 2010

This video shows how financial class insiders in One West Bank use the assets of IndyBank (which the FDIC sold to One West) and loss guarantees by the FDIC to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on every home they foreclose on. No one wonder these banks are not interested in modifying loan terms. These greedy people are making millions throwing people out into the streets.

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CFTC Gets Facts of Bullion Manipulation
By Patrick A. Heller
Posted May 13, 2010

JusticeIn November 2009, Andrew Maguire, a former Goldman Sachs silver trader in that firm’s London office, had contacted the CFTC Enforcement Division to report the illegal manipulation of the silver market by traders at JPMorgan Chase. He described how the JPMorgan Chase silver traders bragged openly about their actions, including how they gave a signal to the market in advance so that other traders could make a profit during the price suppressions.

After the hearing, GATA publicly released copies of Maguire’s e-mails with the CFTC. Murphy also revealed that Maguire had recorded all of his telephone conversations with the CFTC without asking for their permission to do so. This is legal to do in Britain, but such recordings cannot legally be provided to other parties. GATA is currently working to ensure that these recorded conversations can be legally released to the public. More...

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High Frequency Financial Terrorism, Wall Street Bankster's Maintain Death Grip on United States
By David DeGraw
Posted May 12, 2010

JusticeIn the aftermath of Goldman Sachs’ public flogging before the world in Congress, and while under investigation, on the very day that Congress was voting on the "break up the too big to fail banks" amendment and cutting behind the scenes deals to gut the audit of the Federal Reserve, the stock market had its greatest sudden drop in history, plummeting 700 points in ten minutes - shades of September 29, 2008 all over again.

If you recall, back in September ‘08, as Congress was voting down the first bailout, the big banks made the market plunge a record 778 points in one day, fear and panic then led Congress to pass the bailout. Trillions of our tax dollars, the money that we desperately need to keep our society functioning over the long run, then went out the window and into the pockets of the very people who caused the crash.

On Friday [May 7, 2010] after the "break up the too big to fail banks" amendment was soundly defeated by a 61 to 33 margin in Senate and a deal was struck to eliminate key provisions from the audit of the Federal Reserve bill, Goldman was meeting with the SEC to work out a settlement in their case against them. Once again, Goldman proves that crime pays. More...

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Gold and Silver Pricew Manipulation
By Jeff Nielson
Posted May 6, 2010

JusticeThe gold market is multiple times bigger than Wall Street wants us to believe.

In Part 1, we were introduced to Andrew Maguire – a veteran metals-trader, and genuine whistle blower. We had our suspicions about the precious metals market confirmed: that the anti-gold cabal engages in regular, ruthless take-downs of the precious metals market, and prefers to whip saw investors in the process, whenever possible, as part of a ground-breaking interview on the King World News program, which also featured GATA director, Adrian Douglas.

We learned that he (Maguire) had handed the CFTC an open and shut case of market manipulation, through two detailed anecdotes, including a play-by-play of a current manipulation operation – and that the CFTC refused to give Mr. Maguire the opportunity to expose the evil deeds of the bullion banks, most notably the manipulation of the silver market by JP Morgan traders. More...

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Why Is the Whistleblower Who Exposed the Massive UBS Tax Evasion Scheme the Only One Heading to Prison?
By Democracy Now
Posted May 2, 2010

Justice[Video Interview] A former banker for the Swiss giant UBS who blew the whistle on the biggest tax-evasion scheme in US history is preparing to head to prison tomorrow to begin serving a forty-month federal sentence. Bradley Birkenfeld first came forward to US authorities in 2007 and began providing inside information on how UBS was helping thousands of Americans hide assets in secret Swiss accounts. We speak with his attorney, Stephen Kohn, the executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center. More...

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It Is Now Official: The U.S. Is A Police State
by Paul Craig Roberts
Posted February 12, 2010

JusticeAmericans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s "war on terror," which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties.

On Feb. 4, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted by a New York jury for attempted murder. The only evidence presented against her was the charge itself and an unsubstantiated claim that she had once taken a pistol-firing course at an American firing range. No evidence was presented of her fingerprints on the rifle that this frail and broken 100-pound woman had allegedly seized from an American soldier. No evidence was presented that a weapon was fired, no bullets, no shell casings, no bullet holes. Just an accusation.

The people who should have been on trial are the people who abducted her, disappeared her young children, shipped her across international borders, violated her civil liberties, tortured her apparently for the fun of it, raped her, and attempted to murder her with two gunshots to her stomach. Instead, the victim was put on trial and convicted. This is the unmistakable hallmark of a police state. And this victim is an American citizen. More...

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AIG Secret Deals Conspiracy Starting to Unravel
by Mike Shedlock
Posted January 30, 2010

Most know I am not a big believer in conspiracies. I regularly dismiss them. However, this one was clear from the beginning and like all massive conspiracies, it is now in the light of day.

A Strange Conspiracy Involving No One:

  • Geithner recused himself although there is no record of it.
  • Paulson knows nothing about it and was not in the loop
  • Bernanke either does not remember and/or was not involved.

Amazingly this conspiracy involves no one. It is a historic event. Hundred billion dollar bailout decisions just happened. No one made them, no one was responsible for them, and no one was in the loop, yet all those not involved agree the process must be kept secret. More...

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Pirates of the COMEX
By Adrian Douglas
Posted November 25, 2009

In September of 2008 the CFTC launched an investigation of the COMEX silver market on concerns that it is manipulated. This is being spearheaded by the Enforcement Division. They also undertook to investigate the gold market too. This is the third publicly announced investigation into manipulation of the silver market. The two prior investigations failed to uncover any evidence of manipulation of the silver market. The current investigation has been running for 6 months and according to Commissioner Bart Chilton it is making progress, whatever that might mean. The apparent lack of urgency and an investigation moving at the speed of molasses means that every day mining companies struggle for survival and investors struggle to remain invested, and traders and investors in precious metals are robbed by the Pirates of the COMEX. It is an outrage.

For those of us who observe these markets in real time the signs of manipulation are obvious. If you drive a car everyday you will notice even the slightest vibration or change in engine noise that will alert you that something is not right. To apply the same analogy at the COMEX, somebody has stolen the wheels but after 6 months of looking it doesn’t appear that the expert mechanics have spotted the cause of the excessive vibration! More...

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Wall Street's Naked Swindle
by Matt Taibbi
Posted October 22, 2009

On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — "like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets," according to one financial analyst.

The very next day, March 12th, Bear went into free fall. By the end of the week, the firm had lost virtually all of its cash and was clinging to promises of state aid; by the weekend, it was being knocked to its knees by the Fed and the Treasury, and forced at the barrel of a shotgun to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase (which had been given $29 billion in public money to marry its hunchbacked new bride) at the humiliating price of … $2 a share. Whoever bought those options on March 11th woke up on the morning of March 17th having made 159 times his money, or roughly $270 million. This trader was either the luckiest guy in the world, the smartest son of a bitch ever or…

Or what? Although Cox from the SEC issued more than 50 subpoenas to Wall Street firms, it has yet to identify the mysterious trader who somehow seemed to know in advance that one of the five largest investment banks in America was going to completely tank in a matter of days. More...

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WaMu: One Year Later and Still No Indictments
by Mike Stathis
Posted October 4, 2009

JusticeThis September 25th 2009 marked the one-year anniversary of Washington Mutual’s seizure, by the Office of Thrift Supervision (supposedly) as a result of insolvency (supposedly). Last year, on October 7th, I sent the SEC a (rushed) formal complaint highlighting my concerns regarding insider trading and other illegal activities associated with WaMu.

After patiently waiting for one year but with no news from the SEC regarding indictments for what I consider to be have been blatant insider trading; an illegal and inappropriate seizure by the OTS (really the FDIC); and a unified illegal takeout of the stock via naked short selling, all combined with this insider information, I am now releasing this report to the public.

I want you to see what happened. More...

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Massive Relief for U.S. Homeowners and Trouble for the Banks
by Ellen Brown
Posted September 22, 2009

A landmark ruling in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case may have given millions of distressed homeowners the legal wedge they need to avoid foreclosure. In Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 2009 Kan. LEXIS 834, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a nominee company called MERS has no right or standing to bring an action for foreclosure. MERS is an acronym for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, a private company that registers mortgages electronically and tracks changes in ownership. The significance of the holding is that if MERS has no standing to foreclose, then nobody has standing to foreclose – on 60 million mortgages.

The banks arranging these mortgage-backed securities have typically served as trustees for the investors. When the trustees could not present timely written proof of ownership entitling them to foreclose, they would in the past file “lost-note affidavits” with the court; and judges usually let these foreclosures proceed without objection. But in October 2007, an intrepid federal judge in Cleveland put a halt to the practice. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Boyko ruled that Deutsche Bank had not filed the proper paperwork to establish its right to foreclose on fourteen homes it was suing to repossess as trustee. Judges in many other states then came out with similar rulings. More....

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Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM
by Greg Palast
Posted June 1, 2009

When a company goes bankrupt, everyone takes a hit: fair or not, workers lose some contract wages, stockholders get wiped out and creditors get fragments of what's left. That's the law. What workers don't lose are their pensions (including old-age health funds) already taken from their wages and held in their name.

But not this time. Steve Rattner (the new "car czar") has a different plan for GM: grab the pension funds to pay off Morgan and Citi. Here's the scheme: Rattner is demanding the bankruptcy court simply wipe away the money GM owes workers for their retirement health insurance. Cash in the insurance fund would be replace by GM stock. The percentage may be 17% of GM's stock - or 25%. Whatever, 17% or 25% is worth, well ... just try paying for your dialysis with 50 shares of bankrupt auto stock.

Yet Citibank and Morgan, says Rattner, should get their whole enchilada - $6 billion right now and in cash - from a company that can't pay for auto parts or worker eye exams. This is dangerous business: The Rattner plan opens the floodgate to every politically-connected or down-on-their-luck company seeking to drain health care retirement funds. Pensions are wiped away and two connected banks don't even get a haircut? How come Citi and Morgan aren't asked, like workers and other creditors, to take stock in GM? With GM's last dying dimes about to fall into one pocket, and the Obama Treasury in his other pocket, Morgan's Jamie Dimon is correct in saying that the last twelve months will prove to be the bank's "finest year ever." More....

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Government and Financial Institutions Controlled by Evil Men,
Trillions Stolen from the American People

by James Quinn
Posted May 28, 2009

When the banking cartel succeeded in creating the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, control of money in the United States was put into the hands of bankers whose sole purpose is to enrich themselves at the expense of the citizens of the country. Their relentless printing of money has resulted in the dollar losing 96% of its value since 1913. The printing of dollars has allowed politicians to spend money today and make unfunded commitments decades into the future. The systematic inflation created by the Federal Reserve is immoral as it impoverishes the middle class and senior citizens for the benefit of bankers, the elite rich and entrenched politicians. Much of the moral decay in our nation can be traced to the manipulation of money in the last 8 decades.

The elite will make the case that we live in a modern world with modern standards, based on modern thought. They use the media to manipulate the masses into believing that evil is actually good. As the citizens of the country allow this to happen, the hangman’s scaffold grows ever larger. Our parents taught us right from wrong. It is black and white. Only those in power want the world to be bathed in shades of grey. This allows them to commit fraud, manipulate public opinion, utilize leverage to make risky bets with taxpayer funds, and use wealth and power to secure more wealth and power. The unelected bureaucrats in the back pocket of the banking cartel designed a bailout plan that attempts to keep the evil bankers in control of our economy. More....

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The Financial War Against Iceland
Being defeated by debt is as deadly as outright military warfare.
by Prof Michael Hudson

Iceland is under attack – not militarily­ but financially. It owes more than it can pay. This threatens debtors with forfeiture of what remains of their homes and other assets. The government is being told to sell off the nation’s public domain, its natural resources and public enterprises to pay the financial gambling debts run up irresponsibly by a new banking class. This class is seeking to increase its wealth and power despite the fact that its debt-leveraging strategy already has plunged the economy into bankruptcy. On top of this, creditors are seeking to enact permanent taxes and sell off public assets to pay for bailouts to themselves.

To put Iceland’s financial dilemma in perspective, examine how other countries have dealt with huge debt obligations. Historically, the path of least resistance has been to “inflate their way out of debt.” The idea is to pay debts with “cheap money” in terms of its reduced purchasing power. Governments do this by printing money and running budget deficits (spending more than they take in through taxes) large enough to raise prices as this new money chases the same volume of goods. That is how Rome depreciated its currency in antiquity, and how America managed to erode much of its own debt in the 1970s – and how the dollar’s falling international value has wiped out much of the U.S. international debt in recent years. This price inflation reduces the debt burden – as long as wages and other income rise in tandem.

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The Big Takeover
By Matt Taibbi

Posted March 24, 2009

People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve - "our partners in the government," as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout

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Criminal Banks and Brokers Continue To Ply Their Trade
By: Richard J. Greene
Posted February 27, 2009

Stealing From You and Me As the Public Carries On Its Belief in Fantasies - What ever would possess intelligent professionals such as those running the finances of major financial institutions to leverage their equity 88 to one in the case of Citigroup and 134 to one in the case of Bank of America? JP Morgan's credit exposure to financial derivatives, (financial weapons of mass destruction) at last glance exceeded 400 to 1!

Their use of off market derivatives have reached as high as over $1 quadrillion in financial bets that have made a mockery of price discovery in the traditional markets. Here is a question I haven't seen asked: Where are all the tax revenues from all of this unfathomable black market trading? Just 1% of $1 quadrillion is $10 trillion. Shouldn't at least that much have resulted in someone's tax liability? More corruption. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker who is credited with bringing inflation to its knees in the early 1980's still claims his biggest error was not capping the gold price. So here again is more of the same; instead of letting gold, one of the natural alarms of inflation or an unsound financial system, do its job; the plan should have been to send false signals to the marketplace that everything was okay. This is what the Government is doing today except on an even grander scale. They lie to their citizens and misrepresent facts to achieve their own end purposes. Nowhere is this more clear than regarding the current state of Government economic statistics. It is absolutely imperative that Americans educate themselves on what has caused our current economic problems.

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February 23, 2009
FEMA CONCENTRATION CAMPS: Locations and Executive Orders
By Friends of Liberty

There over 800 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should Martial Law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached.

The camps all have railroad facilities as well as roads leading to and from the detention facilities. Many also have an airport nearby. The majority of the camps can house a population of 20,000 prisoners. Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive mental health facility and can hold approximately 2 million people.

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January 9, 2009
Why we are here?
End the illusion, we cannot continue with “business as usual”

by Rudy Avizius

As one takes stock of what is happening to our nation, using simple common sense it becomes evident that things are not working. It does not take an “expert” with a PhD in economics or political science to figure out that things have gone horribly wrong on many fronts: economic, social, justice, community, environment, to name just a few.
It seems that our political leaders and government regulators have had their heads buried in the sand, ignoring the warning signs of the impending huge economic and financial storm that was brewing, all while taking contributions and being influenced by the very people who were driving our economy and nation over a cliff. Simultaneously while this was happening, the best our corporate controlled media could do was to lamely ask “are we in a recession yet”?

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