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Justice Article Archive for 2014

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Politics

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, 2014

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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