Corporate Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Corporate Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important corporate corruption news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
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This comprehensive list of corporate corruption news stories is usually updated once a week
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The lies behind this transatlantic trade deal
2013-12-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:18:32
[The European Commission's] plans to create a single market incorporating Europe and the United States, progressing so nicely when hardly anyone knew, have been blown wide open. All over Europe people are asking why this is happening; why we were not consulted; for whom it is being done. The Commission insists that its Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership should include a toxic mechanism called investor-state dispute settlement. Where this has been forced into other trade agreements, it has allowed big corporations to sue governments before secretive arbitration panels composed of corporate lawyers, which bypass domestic courts and override the will of parliaments. This mechanism could threaten almost any means by which governments might seek to defend their citizens or protect the natural world. Already it is being used by mining companies to sue governments trying to keep them out of protected areas; by banks fighting financial regulation; by a nuclear company contesting Germany's decision to switch off atomic power. No longer able to keep this process quiet, the European commission has instead devised a strategy for lying to us. The message is that the trade deal is about "delivering growth and jobs" and will not "undermine regulation and existing levels of protection in areas like health, safety and the environment". Just one problem: it's not true. From the outset, the transatlantic partnership has been driven by corporations and their lobby groups, who boast of being able to "co-write" it.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Four Kaupthing bankers sentenced to prison for market abuses in 2008
2013-12-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-12-23 16:20:44
An Icelandic court has sentenced four former Kaupthing bankers to jail for market abuses related to a large stake taken in the bank by a Qatari sheikh just before it went under in late 2008. Weeks before the country's top three banks collapsed under huge debts as the global credit crunch struck, Kaupthing announced that Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani had bought 5 of its shares in a confidence-boosting move. A parliamentary commission later said the shares had been bought with a loan from Kaupthing itself. A Reykjavik district court sentenced Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, Kaupthing's former chief executive, to five and a half years in prison while former chairman Sigurdur Einarsson received a five-year sentence. Magnus Gudmundsson, former chief executive of Kaupthing Luxembourg, was given a three-year sentence and Olafur Olafsson – the bank's second largest shareholder at the time – received three and a half years.
None of the bankers, now based in London and Luxembourg, were present [at the sentencing].
Note: Yet not a single executive of US or multinational banks has been jailed for funneling billions of dollars into their own pockets and crashing the entire global economy. For more on this, click here. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Biggest, Baddest Prison Profiteer of Them All
2013-11-05, Huffington Post
Posted: 2013-12-17 10:44:04
"CCA" has become a dirty word. Kanye West cited it when rapping about America's class of "New Slaves." Anonymous invoked it to describe a bad financial investment that undermines justice. And for state after state, the word represents a failed approach to public safety. Profiting off mass incarceration is a dirty business. Private prison company Corrections Corporation of America [CCA] squanders taxpayer money and runs facilities rife with human rights abuses. All private prison companies have corrupting incentives. One is to save money by cutting corners. Another is to promote their bottom line. Although CCA isn't the only company with these incentives, it has done more than any other corporation to [make] the private prison industry into a behemoth plagued by abuse and neglect and profiting off our nation's over-reliance on incarceration. CCA routinely shirks its responsibility to comply with basic standards. In Idaho, CCA employees falsified nearly 4,800 hours of staffing records. In Ohio, auditors found outrageous violations like prison without running water for toilets, in which prisoners had no choice but to use plastic bags for defecation and cups for urination. And yet, CCA made $1.7 billion in just the last year -- more than any other private prison company. The company pours money into both lobbying and campaign contributions. From 2002 to 2012, CCA devoted more than $19 million to lobbying Congress, and its PAC shelled out over $1.4 million to candidates for federal office during the same time period.
Note: CCA is just one of the many powerful entities getting rich off mass incarceration. Meet the other Prison Profiteers and take action to fight their abuses at PrisonProfiteers.org. For a video exposing this craziness, click here. For more on corruption in the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Meet the Medical Company Making $1.4 Billion a Year Off Sick Prisoners
2013-10-08, The Nation
Posted: 2013-12-17 10:42:51
The healthcare provider Corizon makes an estimated $1.4 billion off sick prisoners every year. With profits like those, you would think it was actually treating prisoners. But in states that are using Corizon to provide healthcare in their prisons—and right now twenty-nine are—medical neglect and abuse run rampant. Corizon’s attitude toward the debilitating virus Hepatitis C is especially alarming: They just don’t treat it. Last year alone, no fewer than seven sick prisoners died at Metro Corrections, a jail in Louisville, Kentucky, while on Corizon’s watch. The company made headlines when six employees quit their jobs, according to local press, “amid an investigation by the jail that found that the workers ‘may’ have contributed” to two of the deaths. This summer, it was announced that the contract between Corizon and the city would not be renewed. The Nation’s Liliana Segura gives an overview of the massive scope of the crisis of companies profiting off mass incarceration: “With 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States,” she writes, “prisons are big business.”
Note: For a video exposing this craziness, click here. Corizon is just one of the many powerful entities getting rich off mass incarceration. Meet the other Prison Profiteers and take action to fight their abuses at PrisonProfiteers.org. For more on corruption in the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Grocers' group spends record lobbying amid food-labeling fights
2013-12-03, Chicago Tribune/Bloomberg News
Posted: 2013-12-10 11:32:43
A proposal to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and seeds in Washington state enjoyed broad public support in polls this summer. That was before some of the largest food companies swooped in to spend more so consumers would know less about what they are eating. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents companies such as ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods, was responsible for $11 million of the $22 million campaign against the initiative, compared with about $9 million by pro-labeling advocates. The GMA's campaign made the difference. The initiative, which had 66 percent support in a September survey, was defeated by 51 percent to 49 percent. The grocers, who opposed the proposal as arbitrary and costly for businesses, raised more than $2.3 million from PepsiCo Inc. and about $1.5 million each from Coca-Cola Co., [and] Nestle USA. Those groups also were part of a $45 million campaign that defeated a labeling initiative in California last year. "Spending is not a problem" for organizations opposed to labeling requirements, said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, which backed the Washington state initiative. "These companies will spend whatever it takes to defeat labeling at the state level." If that's the case, the trade associations and their members will be issuing a lot more checks as fights over labeling food are breaking out in other states and advocates are pressing the matter in Congress with proposed legislation from both sides awaiting action.
Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
EU fines banks record $2.3B over Libor
Posted: 2013-12-10 11:29:35
The European Union has levied a record antitrust fine of €1.71 billion ($2.3 billion) on six European and U.S. banks and brokers for rigging benchmark interest rates. Deutsche Bank was hit with the single biggest penalty of €725.4 million for participating in illegal cartels to manipulate the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor, and London interbank offered rate, or Libor. "What is shocking about the Libor and Euribor scandals is ... the collusion between banks who are supposed to be competing with each other," said Joaquin Almunia, Europe's top antitrust official. Other banks fined [were] Societe Generale (€446 million), Royal Bank of Scotland (€391 million), JP Morgan (€79.9 million) and Citigroup (€70 million). U.K.-based broker RP Martin was fined €247,000 for facilitating one infringement. EU investigators said the Euribor cartel operated for nearly three years between 2005 and 2008, as traders discussed submissions used to calculate the benchmark rate, and compared trading and pricing strategies. They also discovered illegal collusion in the setting of Libor in Japanese yen between 2007 and 2010. UBS and Barclays, [which] have already been fined by regulators in the U.K. and U.S. for Libor rigging, were spared further punishment because they cooperated with the European Commission investigation. They dodged new fines of €2.5 billion and €690 million respectively. The scandal broke in the middle of 2012 when Barclays admitted trying to manipulate Libor, which together with related rates is used to price trillions of dollars of financial products around the world.
Note: Notice that no one is going to jail and no one is being personally fined for these incredibly outrageous manipulations. For an analysis that argues the "record fines" are really just a "slap on the wrist" for the big banks, click here. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Here's why Wall Street has a hard time being ethical
2013-11-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-12-10 11:28:21
My first year on Wall Street, 1993, I was paid 14 times more than I earned the prior year and three times more than my father's best year. For that money, I helped my company create financial products that were disguised to look simple, but which required complex math to properly understand. That first year I was roundly applauded by my bosses, who told me I was clever, and to my surprise they gave me $20,000 bonus beyond my salary. When I did ask, rather naively, if this was all kosher, I would be assured multiple times that multiple lawyers and multiple managers had approved the sales. One senior trader, consoling me late at night, reminded me, “You are playing in the big leagues now. If a customer wants a red suit, you sell them a red suit. If that customer is Japanese, you charge him twice what it costs. ”Being paid very well also helped ease any of my concerns. Feeling guilty, kid? Here take a big check. I was, for the first time in my life, feeling valued for my math skills. Ego and money are nice salves for any potential feeling of guilt. After a few years on Wall Street it was clear to me: you could make money by gaming anyone and everything. The more clever you were, the more ingenious your ability to exploit a flaw in a law or regulation, the more lauded and celebrated you became. Nobody seemed to be getting called out. No move was too audacious. Traders got more and more audacious, and corruption became more and more diffused through the system. By 2006 you could open up almost any major business, look at its inside workings, and find some wrongdoing.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Are Prisons Bleeding Us Dry?
2013-12-01, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
Posted: 2013-12-10 10:45:44
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to introduce a mandatory prison sentence for anyone caught with an illegal firearm. But reams of data shows that incarceration creates more crime. One in 100 adults in the U.S. lives behind bars. One in nine African-American men are imprisoned. This country’s addiction to incarceration has not made us safer, but has instead imposed upon us an untenable, senseless tax while unfairly targeting poor communities of color and perpetuating crime and violence in our neighborhoods. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and activists on the left and the right are taking action to roll back imprisonment rates. Chicago’s communities have been ravaged by mass imprisonment. The U.S. currently has the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. And communities on Chicago’s West and South sides have incarceration rates that are double—and sometimes triple—the national average. This is not because more crime occurs in these neighborhoods. A National Institute of Health study that focused on the effects of mass incarceration on Chicago’s neighborhoods found that communities marked by poverty and racial segregation experience incarceration rates that are more than three times higher communities with similar crime rates.
Note: For more on the devastating impacts on society of the government-prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500
2013-12-03, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-10 10:44:16
In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found. A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them ... emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more. At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Daniel Diaz, 29, a public relations executive, was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches on his finger after cutting himself while peeling an avocado. At a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., Arch Roberts Jr., 56, a former government employee, was charged more than $2,000 for three stitches after being bitten by a dog. Insurers and patients negotiated lower prices, but those charges were a starting point. The main reason for high hospital costs in the United States, economists say, is fiscal, not medical: Hospitals are the most powerful players in a health care system that has little or no price regulation in the private market.
Note: For more on corruption in the health industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Corporate Espionage Undermines Democracy
Posted: 2013-12-02 10:02:12
It’s not just the NSA that has been caught spying on Americans. Some of our nation’s largest corporations have been conducting espionage as well, against civic groups. That’s the lesson of a new report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations by ... Essential Information. The title of the report is Spooky Business, and it is apt. Spooky Business is like a Canterbury Tales of corporate snoopery: Hiring investigators to pose as volunteers and journalists. Hacking. Wiretapping. Information warfare. Physical intrusion. Investigating the private lives of nonprofit leaders. Dumpster diving using an active duty police officer to gain access to trash receptacles. Electronic surveillance. Many different types of nonprofit civic organizations have been targeted by corporate spies: environmental, public interest, consumer, food safety, animal rights, pesticide reform, nursing home reform, gun control and social justice. A diverse constellation of corporations has planned or executed corporate espionage against these nonprofit civic organizations. Food companies like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Burger King, McDonald’s and Monsanto. Oil companies like Shell, BP and Chevron. Chemical companies like Dow and Sasol. Also involved are the retailers (Wal-Mart), banks (Bank of America), and, of course, the nation’s most powerful trade association: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Plenty of mercenary spooks have joined up to abet them, including former officials at the FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service and U.S. military. Sometimes even government contractors are part of the snooping.
Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Charity Swindle
2013-11-26, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:55:36
By all outward indications, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association was a leader in the charitable community. Founded in 2002 to provide support to Navy veterans in need, the charity recorded astonishing financial success. In its first eight years, it raised around $100 million in charitable contributions, almost all of it through a direct marketing campaign. The organization, headed by Jack L. Nimitz, boasted of 41 state chapters and some 66,000 members. [But] virtually everything about the association turned out to be false: no state chapters, no members, no leader with the name redolent of naval history. Instead, there was one guy: a man calling himself Bobby Thompson. But the money raised was real enough, generated by a series of for-profit telemarketers. The victims, by and large, were unsuspecting small-money donors who received urgent solicitations asking for support for needy naval veterans. Most of the money raised stayed with the fund-raisers, though plenty apparently dripped through to Mr. Thompson and a succession of Republican lawmakers who received generous contributions from the association’s political arm. But little ever made it to the intended beneficiaries. From June 2010, Mr. Thompson was on the run, the search for him hamstrung by the fact that no one had any real idea of who he was. Finally, on April 30, 2012, federal marshals tracked him down in Portland, Ore., finding him with a card to a storage unit containing $981,650 in cash and almost two dozen fake identity cards. Authorities have identified him as John Donald Cody, a former Army intelligence officer and Harvard Law graduate.
Note: As we enter the annual giving season, donors should look to sources like the GiveWell website to find organizations with a track record of effectiveness. Seeking them out — instead of donating to charities that are first to call or that sound familiar or that we’ve heard are good — is the only way to ensure that money reaches those in need. For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Elizabeth Warren: The contender
2013-11-21, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:26:37
Senator Elizabeth Warren, the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street, just got another boost to the presidential campaign she said she isn’t running. It lies in the $13 billion deal that JP Morgan Chase reached with the US Justice Department. The settlement, which ends the government’s probe into the bank’s risky mortgage business, reportedly represents the largest amount a single company has ever committed to pay Uncle Sam. That’s significant — but so is the bank’s unusual admission that it failed to disclose the risks of buying its mortgage securities.
Warren was a force in both aspects of JP Morgan’s day of reckoning. After the economic collapse of 2008 — and before her election as senator — Warren led the charge for Wall Street accountability while overseeing the government response to the banking crisis. As senator from Massachusetts, she ... isn’t shy about acknowledging her role in achieving them. In September, Warren [said] that her lobbying of Mary Jo White, the newly installed chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, played a key role in getting government regulators to require more companies to admit wrongdoing, not just pay fines — which is what happened in JP Morgan’s case. The JP Morgan headlines play out as the stock market surges and unemployment ticks up. The gap between America’s rich and poor is growing bigger. The divide creates an opening for a Democrat who speaks to the shrinking middle class, as well as to those already squeezed out of it. Warren could be that candidate, if she chooses.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
JPMorgan settlement is a payout to victims
2013-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-26 08:13:47
When the fires from the 2007-08 financial crisis were still being fought, JPMorgan Chase looked like a winner. Not only was JPMorgan Chase able to scoop up former rivals Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns for bargain basement prices, but its stock value shot up by nearly 31 percent over the past 4 1/2 years. But this year has been a little less kind to JPMorgan Chase. On [November 20) JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the federal government over selling toxic mortgage investments. It also admitted to wrongdoing in knowingly peddling the instruments. Both settlements are for the "incomplete information" JPMorgan Chase gave to the pension funds for their purchases of toxic securities during the years 2004 to 2008. Even for a colossus such as JPMorgan Chase, $13 billion is a lot of money - about half of its annual profit. Forcing JPMorgan to admit wrongdoing - a rare concession - may open the door to more headaches for the company, especially because the government is continuing a criminal probe into its mortgage prices. The scale of the devastation is still so enormous that the only question left for the Justice Department to answer is why no one from any of the big banks has yet to go to jail. Wall Street's wrongdoing was about more than a dollar cost - it was about the widespread human suffering that remains with us today. Jail time would be more than appropriate, but so far the banks have been able to pay their way out of it.
Note: Because JP Morgan Chase can write off $11 billion of the fine as tax deductible, the real fine is actually reduced by $4 billion to about $7 billion, just one-third of Chase's $21 billion profit in the year 2012. For more on financial fraud, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
How economic growth has become anti-life
2013-11-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-26 08:05:10
Limitless growth is the fantasy of economists, businesses and politicians. It is seen as a measure of progress. As a result, gross domestic product (GDP), which is supposed to measure the wealth of nations, has emerged as both the most powerful number and dominant concept in our times. However, economic growth hides the poverty it creates through the destruction of nature, which in turn leads to communities lacking the capacity to provide for themselves. In effect, “growth” measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities. Today, economics is separated from and opposed to both ecological processes and basic needs. While the destruction of nature has been justified on grounds of creating growth, poverty and dispossession [have] increased. While being non-sustainable, it is also economically unjust. The dominant model of economic development has in fact become anti-life. Nobel-prize winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen have admitted that GDP does not capture the human condition and urged the creation of different tools to gauge the wellbeing of nations. This is why countries like Bhutan have adopted the gross national happiness in place of gross domestic product to calculate progress. We need to create measures beyond GDP, and economies beyond the global supermarket, to rejuvenate real wealth. We need to remember that the real currency of life is life itself.
Removing Fuel Rods Poses New Risks at Crippled Nuclear Plant in Japan
2013-11-11, New York Times
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:32:29
It was the part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that spooked American officials the most, as the complex spiraled out of control two and a half years ago: the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4, with more than 1,500 radioactive fuel assemblies left exposed when a hydrogen explosion blew the roof off the building. In the next 10 days, the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, is set to start the delicate and risky task of using a crane to remove the fuel assemblies from the pool, a critical step in a long decommissioning process that has already had serious setbacks. The operation addresses a threat that has hung over the plant since the crisis started. It is still dangerous to have the fuel high up in a damaged structure that could collapse in another quake, experts warn. But removing it poses dangers, too. The fuel rods must remain immersed in water to block the gamma radiation they emit and allow workers to be in the area, and to prevent the rods from overheating. An accident could expose the rods and — in a worst-case scenario, some experts say — allow them to release radioactive materials beyond the plant. “There are potentially very big risks involved,” Shunichi Tanaka, the head of Japan’s nuclear regulator, said last week. “Each assembly must be handled very carefully.” “All I can do is pray that nothing goes wrong,” said Yasuro Kawai, a former plant engineer who now heads a group that is independently monitoring the decommissioning process.
Note: For further assessment of the risks associated with any attempt to remove the rods from the damaged Fukushima Reactor #4 fuel pool, click here. For more on the risks of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Japan Ex-Leaders Join Calls Against Nuclear Power
2013-11-12, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:31:11
Japan's flagging anti-nuclear movement is getting a boost from two former prime ministers who are calling for atomic power to be phased out following the Fukushima disaster. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said [on November 12] that the current prime minister, Shinzo Abe, ... "should use the power given to him to do what the majority of the people want," Koizumi said in a speech at the Japan Press Club. "It can be achieved. Why miss this chance?" Koizumi, who supported nuclear power during his 2001-2006 term in office, said that with Japan's nuclear plants all offline for safety checks it would be easiest to begin the phase-out soon. Polls have shown the majority of the public ... prefers to shift away from the nuclear plants that provided nearly a third of Japan's power generation capacity before the accident at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant. Three [former prime ministers], including Koizumi, have said they support ending use of nuclear power.
Their support could help reinvigorate the anti-nuclear movement, which has lost some of its vitality nearly three years after the Fukushima accident. Another former prime minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, said in an interview ... that he also favors an end to reliance on nuclear power. "I can't understand why they want restarts of the nuclear plants when there is no place to discard the nuclear waste," said Hosokawa, who served as prime minister for eight months in 1993-94. "It would be a crime against future generations for our generation to restart nuclear plants without resolving this issue," he said. Experts have questioned whether earthquake-prone Japan can safely store nuclear waste under any scenario.
Note: For more on the risks of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership
2013-11-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:28:17
WikiLeaks has released the draft text of a chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a multilateral free-trade treaty currently being negotiated in secret by 12 Pacific Rim nations. Negotiations for the TPP have ... been conducted behind closed doors. Even members of the US Congress were only allowed to view selected portions of the documents under supervision. The 30,000 word intellectual property chapter contains proposals to increase the term of patents, including medical patents, beyond 20 years, and lower global standards for patentability. It also pushes for aggressive measures to prevent hackers breaking copyright protection, although that comes with some exceptions: protection can be broken in the course of "lawfully authorised activities carried out by government employees, agents, or contractors for the purpose of law enforcement, intelligence, essential security, or similar governmental purposes". WikiLeaks claims that the text shows America attempting to enforce its highly restrictive vision of intellectual property on the world – and on itself. "The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly," says Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. "If instituted," Assange continues, "the TPP’s intellectual property regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs."
Note: To read the Wikileaks release of the secret agreements from the TPP, click here. For further critical analysis of the TPP text, click here.
Lawyers in Stratfor leak case present letters of support ahead of sentencing
2013-11-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:23:29
Lawyers acting for Jeremy Hammond, the Chicago-based hacktivist facing up to 10 years in prison for releasing internal emails from the private intelligence agency Stratfor, have lodged 265 letters of support with the federal judge who will determine his sentence on 15 November. The letters call on judge Loretta Preska ... to show leniency towards Hammond, a former member of the hacking network Anonymous who has become a cause célèbre for hacktivists, civil libertarians and those concerned about the rights of whistleblowers. Among the correspondents are Daniel Ellsberg, source of the 1970s Pentagon Papers leak on the Vietnam war, and Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department whistleblower who now works at the Government Accountability Project. Hammond, 28, has pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) relating to a 2011 cyber attack on Strategic Forecasting, Inc, known as Stratfor – an information analysis company based in Austin, Texas. Working alongside a fellow hacker operating under the internet handle Sabu – who was later revealed to be an FBI informant – Hammond downloaded an email spool from Stratfor containing millions of files and sent the data to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks which released them as the “Global Intelligence Files”. The Stratfor emails revealed that [Stratfor] had been contracted by Dow Chemical, parent company of Union Carbide which owned the Bhopal pesticide plant where the world’s worst industrial catastrophe took place in 1984, to follow the activities of campaigners seeking redress for the victims.
Note: For an excellent follow-up article titled "The Revolutionaries in Our Midst," click here. For more on privatization of "intelligence", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer
2013-11-11, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:20:16
I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time. Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history. And the impact? Even by the Fed's sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth. By contrast, experts outside the Fed, such as Mohammed El Erian at the Pimco investment firm, suggest that the Fed may have created and spent over $4 trillion for a total return of as little as 0.25% of GDP (i.e., a mere $40 billion bump in U.S. economic output). Both of those estimates indicate that QE isn't really working. Unless you're Wall Street. Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets. As for the rest of America, good luck.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Warren Says U.S. Political System ‘Rigged’ by Special Interests
2013-11-11, Bloomberg News
Posted: 2013-11-18 08:18:43
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren said the political system is still “rigged” by lobbyists and special interests who work to keep the public “in the dark.” “I’ve been in the Senate for nearly a year and believe as strongly as ever that the system is rigged for powerful interests and against working families,” Warren said. Warren, a critic of Wall Street, rose to prominence by highlighting “tricks and traps” of credit-card disclosures and creating [the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)] as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Warren said despite progress by the consumer bureau and confirmation of its director after a two-year delay, lobbyists for the financial industry continue to fight it and consumer groups shouldn’t let down their guard. “We all know that the fight isn’t over and that the lobbyists are still working to undercut the agency’s work,” Warren said. She compared the CFPB to government agencies that test the safety of physical products like cribs and paint, and said the bureau’s work on the safety of financial products will become just as valued by the public. “You tell me: When was the last time you heard someone call for regulators to go easier on companies that want to use lead paint on our children’s toys or leave the safety switches off toasters?” Warren asked. “The CFPB was designed from the very beginning to cut out tricks and traps in consumer finance and add transparency to the marketplace.”
Note: For an excellent video showing the courage and forthrightness of Elizabeth Warren, click here. For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.