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Justice Article Archive for 2011

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Politics
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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Ron Paul warns usLittle by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed.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
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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

WikiLeaksA 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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