If you are looking for a hilarious, short video to end the workweek with…look no further! Nothing sums up the state of disorder in the the union like watching Attorney General Eric Holder stumble when confronted on his incompetence and cronyism by the almost equally corrupt Congress. Let’s cut the guy some slack though, he was probably too busy prosecuting banker crimes to be bothered with such trivial matters…
The U.S. government has a particular disdain for activists with computer chops, folks often times referred to as “hacktivists.” This was put on full display for the entire world earlier this year when an overzealous and vindictive federal prosecutor’s witch hunt against prodigy Aaron Swartz drove him to suicide. This same contemptuousness has also resulted in the recent trumped up charges against and, imprisonment of, Barrett Brown and Jeremy Hammond.
Well every action has a reaction and now California criminal defense attorney, Jay Leiderman, has started the Whistleblower Defense League. We find out that:
Washington DC— We have entered a dangerous time in America. The FBI and Department of Justice are using harassment and prosecution as a tool to chill and silence journalism, on-line activism and dissent.
“We stand with the courage our clients,” says co-founder Dennis Roberts. “We are the legal arm, the firewall, for those who place facts over propaganda.”
To Jay and all of the other attorneys involved in this important project: Thank You. This is the definition of public service, and we need a lot more of it.
Learn more and find contact information here.
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So there are two bills under consideration in the Texas state legislature that could represent a huge victory for champions of privacy against the national surveillance state. As such, we need to spread the word to as many people as possible and provide support to the activists in Texas that are leading the charge. Obama’s ridiculously authoritarian Department of Justice believes that regular citizens have no expectation of privacy if we carry a GPS device on our cellphones. Free human beings beg to differ. From Slate:
According to the Department of Justice, cellphone users can be tracked without a warrant because “no reasonable expectation of privacy” applies to location data. But lawmakers in Texas disagree—and are proposing strict new tracking regulations that could place the state at the forefront of nationwide efforts to rein in government surveillance.
Two identical bills filed at the end of last month in the state House and Senate propose a series of amendments to the Texas code of criminal procedure. The bills, submitted by Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, and Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, would in all but exceptional cases require law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant to obtain cellphone location information—whether the phone is being tracked in real-time or retrospectively.
Obama’s nominee to head the SEC, Mary Jo White, is just another gatekeeper appointed to make sure no one ever goes after the Wall Street crime syndicate. As I have written about many times in the past, Obama does not nominate anyone to a high position of power in government who will not behave like a good little lapdog for Wall Street.
Despite Obama’s propagandist statement about how “you don’t want to mess with Mary Jo,” her background implies she will function as a useful servant to the financial oligarchs. Forget for a second about that fact at her recent firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP her clients included the usual suspects such as such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), and UBS AG, but she is actually known as the prosecutor who popularized the “slap Wall Street on the wrist” approach. From Bloomberg:
As Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor during the 1990s, Mary Jo White could have sought the corporate equivalent of the death penalty: indicting Prudential Securities Inc. for fraudulently marketing $8 billion in ruinous energy partnerships to small investors.
Instead, Prudential’s attorneys pressed White, who had earned notice as an aggressive litigator in terrorism and organized crime cases, to consider something less punitive. She ultimately accepted, agreeing to a $330 million fine and placing Prudential on probation, allowing it to avoid criminal charges.
White’s record on white-collar cases reveals a more practical streak. Her invention of corporate probation, or deferred prosecution, in the Prudential matter was later copied by scores of U.S. attorneys seeking punishment for a company without going to trial.
“Practical” means having no balls and laying down to Wall Street crimes.
This is a great talk with the civil libertarian and defense attorney Harvey Silverglate. He is the same person that was mentioned in my recent post: A Broken Justice System: “Most Americans Commit About Three Felonies a Day.” This video is not just for those that fear they may one day be paid a visit by the Feds, but it is important for all of us to be aware of how the system works and just how shady these characters can be. Land of the free!
Ever heard of a Form 302? If not, definitely take the time to watch.
Good thing everyone is now distracted and divided on the whole gun debate so the banksters can once again get off with a slap on the wrist for financial crimes against humanity. For those that have forgotten what LIBOR is, I wrote about it in my piece My Two Cents on LIBOR-GATE. This is how the CFTC itself described LIBOR this summer:
The American public and our markets rely upon the integrity of benchmark interest rates like LIBOR and Euribor because they form the basis for hundreds of trillions of dollars of transactions and affect nearly every corner of the global economy,” said David Meister, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement.
Now here is the punishment for rigging the most important interest rate in the world. From the NY Times:
It has also charged two former UBS traders with crimes that include conspiracy, wire fraud and violation of antitrust laws. The subsidiary will pay a $100 million fine, and the traders, if extradited and convicted, could go to jail. But the deal leaves UBS itself relatively unscathed. In all, it will pay $1.5 billion to settle allegations of rate-rigging that span nearly a decade and implicate the bank and its bankers far beyond the wrongdoing of two rogue traders.
According to the investigation by the Financial Services Authority, the British regulator, 40 individuals at UBS, including 11 managers, were directly involved in rate-rigging that was carried out to boost trading profits, while at least two more managers and five senior managers were aware of the practice.
As of late, I have noticed increased usage of the very dangerous and duplicitous meme “time to look forward.” This is typically used as a rebuttal to someone questioning past crimes committed by the criminal elite and their henchmen. The statement seems to work well on the sheeple, as in their minds this sounds reasonable. That is always how the elite target the sheeple mind. Say something that sounds good and assume they won’t think too much. Unfortunately, it usually works. I mean, why dwell on past mistakes when we have so much work to do to make for a better future! Of course, this is completely ridiculous. For one thing, the biggest threat to our future is a lack of confidence and the reason for the lack of confidence is the increasing realization that a criminal oligarchy runs America and is never held accountable for their crimes. They have total immunity. So who wants to invest in and participate in such a society? No one, of course.
However, the meme is even more dangerous on a philosophical level. By definition the moment after a crime is committed it is immediately “in the past.” So not dwelling on the past and “looking toward the future” means that you can essentially excuse any crime you want forever. Not only past crimes but also future crimes since as soon as a crime is committed it will be moved into the category of “the past.” See how these guys operate. They love semantics to make people think their own servitude “seems reasonable.” So my advice to everyone is that the minute you hear anyone in a position of power or influence utter this meme you know they are not to be trusted.
In any event, the reason I started thinking about this today is an article I read from Glenn Greenwald on the fact that Holder’s Department of Injustice has decided to give final immunity to all Bush era CIA torturers. Although even back to June 30, 2011 Holder’s department had decided that in “more than 100 cases the justice department had reviewed, there would be no charges brought in any of them – except two.”
Well they have just decided not to bring charges on those two either, despite the fact that both detainees died in custody. Here are some key points from the article:
This is so despite the findings of General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the torture regime and said that “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes” and “the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” And it is done even in the face of General Barry McCaffrey’s extraordinary observation that:
“We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA.”
The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer yesterday said:
“That the justice department will hold no one accountable for the killing of prisoners in CIA custody is nothing short of a scandal … the decision not to file charges against individuals who tortured prisoners to death is yet another entry in what is already a shameful record.”
Beyond the disgust that these events, on their own, should invoke in any decent person, there are two points worth making about all of this which really highlight just how odious all of it is.
First, Obama has shielded Bush torture crimes not only from criminal prosecution, but any and all forms of accountability. Obama himself vigorously opposed and succeeded in killing even a congressional investigation into the torture regime at a time when his party controlled both houses of Congress.
Moreover, notice how Obama’s stance changed as soon as he was elected:
During his 2008 campaign for president, Obama repeatedly vowed that, while he opposed “partisan witch-hunts”, he would instruct his attorney general to “immediately review” the evidence of criminality in these torture programs because “nobody is above the law.” Yet, almost immediately after winning the 2008 election, Obama, before he was even inaugurated, made clear that he was opposed to any such investigations, citing what he called “a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards”.
This is the same line many apologists use to excuse the bankster bailouts. I bet this defense wouldn’t work for you or me in a court would it?
So what is the main reason Obama isn’t going after anyone for this? Well it’s simple really. He doesn’t want to ever be called out for his own criminality. As Charlie Savage noted in the NY Times:
Because every president eventually leaves office, incoming chief executives have an incentive to quash investigations into their predecessor’s tenure.
This is America folks. Time to wake up.
Read the full Greenwald article here.
A brief and important article here by Eileen Foster in Rolling Stone. Eileen was a Home Loans executive at Countrywide in 2007. When she started to blow the whistle on gigantic fraud at the company she became a target. She states that:
Countrywide managers went after my job and reputation, intimidating witnesses and altering statements.
We opened many of these investigations on whistleblowers’ tips. Later I learned that many of those reporting or challenging fraudulent practices were transferred, demoted, harassed or fired in reprisal. To suppress whistleblowers and their concerns, Countrywide directed them to report their allegations to the suspect officials’ managers. It was a trap, and the system was rigged. Instead of taking action, the managers would then share the information with the suspects themselves, who would then hit back at the whistleblowers.
Since then, I’ve found there were scores of whistleblowers inside Countrywide and then BofA. Trumped-up investigations were widely used to discredit us. The inner circle at both corporations operated like the mob: company staff, including attorneys, often worked to silence employees, using weapons like blacklisting, hush money and confidentiality agreements. The upper echelons at BofA attempted to buy my silence with more than $200,000; I refused. Instead I chose what could become a decade-long battle to see the guilty held accountable.
Over the last 10 years, the Department of Labor has found merit in less than 2% of over 1200 whistleblowers cases brought under the Sarbanes Oxley Act. The vast majority having been dismissed on legal technicalities without any investigation into the potential crimes being reported.
The Obama administration plans to add thousands of investigators to enforce the health care reform law, but has added just 25 positions to investigate whistleblower claims.
The Department of Injustice hard at work once again! I suppose Eric Holder was simply too busy smuggling semi-automatic weapons into Mexico to be bothered with investigating the greatest theft in American history.
Full article here.
You know it’s bad when even Washington D.C. insiders (and Democrats to boot) cringe at the cruel joke that the Department of Injustice has become under Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder. Look, we all know that in any government there is going to be some level of corruption, but when the country’s chief law enforcement officer is so obviously a lying crook and he stays in his position you know the ship is about to sink. Truly a great job by Richard Eskow for the Huffington Post on this one.
More and more Washington insiders are asking a question that was considered off-limits in the nation’s capital just a few months ago: Who, exactly, is Attorney General Eric Holder representing? As scandal after scandal erupts on Wall Street, involving everything from global lending manipulation to cocaine and prostitution, more and more people are worrying about Holder’s seeming inaction — or worse — in the face of mounting evidence.
The problem isn’t a shortage of scandalous stories. We’ve seen a lot of those. What we haven’t seen, at least here in the United States, is a single indictment of a senior Wall Street banker from the United States Department of Justice. And that’s what has these political insiders concerned.
A growing number of people are privately expressing concern at the Justice Department’s long-standing pattern of inactivity, obfuscation and obstruction. Mr. Holder’s past as a highly-paid lawyer for a top Wall Street firm, Covington and Burling, is being discussed more openly among insiders. Covington & Burling was the law firm which devised the MERS shell corporation that has since been implicated in many cases of mortgage and foreclosure fraud.
“The other agencies have been working pretty hard on this effort,” said a source. “But it’s Justice’s show, and they’re not moving.”
Several of the people we spoke with expressed concern that senior Administration officials like Holder may be protecting their relationships on Wall Street because they hope to resume their careers there after leaving public service.
The Justice Department has continued to say that it’s difficult to win convictions in bank fraud cases, but an old-fashioned, Mob-style prosecution recently proved them wrong. Worse, there’s no evidence that this Justice Department has even tried.
Meanwhile in the absence of punishment the bankers’s behavior is getting more and more extreme, like pyromaniac children begging to be caught.
For this must read article go here.