Government Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption News Articles in Media
Wall Street's total price tag on settlements with U.S. securities regulators for allegedly misleading investors about mortgage bonds churned out ahead of the financial crisis surged past $1 billion with a deal by Citigroup Inc. to pay $285 million ... to end civil-fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claimed Citigroup sold slices of the $1 billion mortgage-bond deal without disclosing to investors that the bank was shorting $500 million of the deal, or betting its assets would lose value. Several Wall Street firms have settled similar claims by the SEC, which has generally stuck to the strategy used by the agency to get a $550 million settlement last year with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.. And the SEC's investigation of the Wall Street mortgage machine isn't over yet. Lorin Reisner, deputy enforcement director at the SEC, said civil mortgage-related cases against Goldman, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp., New Century Financial Corp. and other companies "read like an index to unlawful conduct in connection with the financial crisis." The SEC has collected a total of $1.03 billion through mortgage-bond-deal settlements. In addition to Citigroup, the total includes Goldman, J.P. Morgan, Royal Bank of Canada, Wells Fargo & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the illegal profiteering of major financial corporations, click here.
Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits. By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s [actions] included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley, got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress. It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. Data gleaned [under the Freedom of Information Act] make clear for the first time how deeply the world’s largest banks depended on the U.S. central bank to stave off cash shortfalls. Even as the firms asserted in news releases or earnings calls that they had ample cash, they drew Fed funding in secret.
Note: For a treasure trove of information from reliable sources on the government transfer of public assets to private banks and financial corporations, click here.
The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Among the [Government Accountability Office] investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. The [report] also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans. For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.
Note: We don't normally use the website of a member of the U.S. Senate as a source, but as amazingly none of the media covered this vitally important story other than one blog on Forbes, we are publishing this here. The GAO report to back up these claims is available for all to see at this link. For how the media is so controlled, don't miss the powerful two-page summary with reports by many award-winning journalists at this link. For another good article on the Fed's manipulations, click here.
The more aggressively a bank lobbied before the financial crisis, the worse its loans performed during the economic downturn -- and the more bailout dollars it received, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week. The report, titled "A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis," said that banks' lobbying efforts may be motivated by short-term profit gains, which can have devastating effects on the economy. "Overall, our findings suggest that the political influence of the financial industry played a role in the accumulation of risks, and hence, contributed to the financial crisis," said the report, written by three economists from the International Monetary Fund. Data collected by the three authors -- Deniz Igan, Prachi Mishra and Thierry Tressel -- show that the most aggressive lobbiers in the financial industry from 2000 to 2007 also made the most toxic mortgage loans. They securitized a greater portion of debt to pass the home loans onto investors and their stock prices correlated more closely to the downturn and ensuing bailout. The banks' loans also suffered from higher delinquencies during the downturn.
The Red Cross and the Vatican both helped thousands of Nazi war criminals and collaborators to escape after the Second World War, according to a book that pulls together evidence from unpublished documents. Gerald Steinacher, a research fellow at Harvard University, was given access to thousands of internal documents in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They throw light on how and why mass murderers such as Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Klaus Barbie and thousands of others evaded capture by the allies. By comparing lists of wanted war criminals to travel documents, Steinacher says Britain and Canada alone inadvertently took in around 8,000 former Waffen-SS members in 1947, many on the basis of valid documents issued mistakenly. The documents – which are discussed in Steinacher's book Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's henchmen fled justice – offer a significant insight into Vatican thinking, particularly, because its own archives beyond 1939 are still closed. The Vatican has consistently refused to comment. Through the Vatican Refugee Commission, war criminals were knowingly provided with false identities.
Note: Many Nazis were allowed entry, often under false identities, into the US in the late 40's and early '50s. Some were doctors who had experimented on concentration camp inmates without their consent, often torturing them and killing them. They continued to experiment on unwilling subjects in CIA mind-control experiments. For confirmation and more information, click here.
President Obama, speaking of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, said: "Justice has been done." It has been widely assumed that, if bin Laden is now dead, the person most responsible for the 9/11 attacks has been brought to justice. But the US government has never provided evidence that the attacks were carried out by bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization. In September 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell promised to provide this evidence, but the next day recanted, saying "most of [the evidence] is classified." In October, Prime Minister Tony Blair provided evidence that bin Laden and al-Qaeda planned and executed the 9/11 attacks. But he added: "This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law." The FBI's acts that made bin Laden a "Most Wanted Terrorist" do not include the 9/11 attacks. The FBI's chief of investigative publicity explained: "The FBI has seen no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11." Could al-Qaeda have carried out the attacks? Scientists for 9/11 Truth views the rapid, symmetrical, straight-down collapses of the Towers and nearby WTC 7 as consistent only with controlled demolition. And 1500 members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth agree: The 9/11 attacks were not the work of al-Qaeda.
Note: CNBC removed this article not long after posting it. To read this critically important press release by WantToKnow.info team member and Nobel Peace Prize nominee David Ray Griffin in its entirety, click here. Dr. Griffin's 2009 book, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? presented compelling evidence that bin Laden died in December 2001 -- prompting a BBC documentary of the same name. Griffin was named among the New Statesman's "50 People Who Matter Today". For an abundance of reliable news articles, videos, and more showing major deception on 9/11, click here.
Some 36 hours after the world first learnt of the US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the White House changed parts of its story. A woman was killed, its spokesman said, but she was not Bin Laden's wife – who survived after being shot in the leg. Bin Laden did not, as had earlier been claimed, use his wife as a human shield; she was injured when she tried to challenge one of the US commandos. And Bin Laden was not, after all, armed, although he did, the spokesman said, put up some resistance. The new version – no wife as human shield, no weapon – makes [bin Laden] more ordinary and more vulnerable. It also raises further questions. If the first version was incorrect, perhaps even to an extent "spun" for a certain effect, might there not be room for doubt about other aspects of the official narrative? About, say, whether the crucial intelligence about Bin Laden was extracted from al-Qa'ida operatives under torture, which might appear to justify such methods and lift some of the opprobrium from the previous US administration and the CIA. A no less pertinent question that the new version raises is whether Bin Laden was ever actually given a chance to surrender and whether he might have been taken alive rather than dead. When President Obama said that justice had been done, was this – strictly speaking – justice, or was it cold-blooded retribution?
Note: WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's book establishing the likelihood that Osama bin Laden died in December 2001, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, is available here. For many other major media news articles showing clear deception and more by government officials, click here.
The Supreme Court on [February 22] shielded the nation's vaccine makers from being sued by parents who say their children suffered severe side effects from the drugs. By a 6-2 vote, the court upheld a federal law that offers compensation to these victims but closes the courthouse door to lawsuits. Justice Antonin Scalia said the high court majority agreed with Congress that these side effects were "unavoidable" when a vaccine is given to millions of children. If the drug makers could be sued and forced to pay huge claims for devastating injuries, the vaccine industry could be wiped out, he said. The American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the decision. The ruling was a defeat for the parents of Hannah Bruesewitz, who as a child was given a standard vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. She later suffered a series of seizures and delayed development. Her parents sought compensation for her injuries, but their claim was turned down. They then sued the drug maker in a Pennsylvania court, contending that the vaccine was defectively designed. A judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled they were barred from suing, and the Supreme Court affirmed that judgment.
Note: For powerful evidence that childhood vaccines are much less effective than is generally believed, click here.
Just under three years ago, people in the village of Gumbi in western Malawi went unexpectedly hungry. Not like Europeans do if they miss a meal or two, but that deep, gnawing hunger that prevents sleep and dulls the senses when there has been no food for weeks. Oddly, there had been no drought, the usual cause of malnutrition and hunger in southern Africa, and there was plenty of food in the markets. For no obvious reason the price of staple foods such as maize and rice nearly doubled in a few months. Unusually, too, there was no evidence that the local merchants were hoarding food. It was the same story in 100 other developing countries. There were food riots in more than 20 countries and governments had to ban food exports and subsidise staples heavily. A new theory is emerging among traders and economists. The same banks, hedge funds and financiers whose speculation on the global money markets caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis are ... taking advantage of the deregulation of global commodity markets [to make] billions from speculating on food and causing misery around the world. As food prices soar again to beyond 2008 levels, it becomes clear that everyone is now being affected. Food prices are now rising by up to 10% a year in Britain and Europe. What is more, says the UN, prices can be expected to rise at least 40% in the next decade.
Note: Remember that speculation is behind almost all of the economic bubbles and busts. The price of oil spiked a couple years ago almost purely because of speculators, while the oil companies raked in record profits. It looks like the speculators are now driving food prices as high as they can. For a treasure trove of reports from reliable sources investigating the many different strategies used by financial corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of common people, click here.
Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years. The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups. Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job". His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists. The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.
Note: For a comprehensive overview of the still-ongoing revelations about police provocateur Mark Kennedy and his cohorts in the UK police infiltration of environmental and related activist groups, click here.
The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show. In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops. "Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the St Louis-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s [and is married to Dorothy Walker, a first cousin of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush]. In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together to persuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: "If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow." The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.
Note: For a powerful 13-minute video revealing the disturbing results of the first long-term scientific study on GMOs and showing how they greatly increased cancer incidence in rats, click here. For more revealing information on this from Dr. Mercola, click here. For an excellent overview of scientific studies on the risks from genetically-modified foods, click here.
A secret history of the United States government's Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a "safe haven" in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II. The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades. It describes the government's ... pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz. The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis. The report's most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency's involvement with Nazi emigres. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.'s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations. The Justice Department has resisted making the report public since 2006. Under the threat of a lawsuit, it turned over a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group, the National Security Archive, but even then many ... portions were omitted. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times.
Note: To read the complete Justice Department report obtained by The New York Times, click here. For a brief comparison with the heavily redacted version previously available, click here. For a more detailed analysis by the the National Security Archive, click here.
Armed with declassified documents and vivid details, a group of former Air Force officers gathered Monday to go public with an assertion they have kept mostly under wraps for decades: that UFOs visited the bases they were stationed at and caused nuclear weapon system to temporarily malfunction. The group, convened by UFO researcher Robert Hastings, came to the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their individual experiences and to urge a government that tried to ignore and silence them when they came forward years ago to finally come clean. Hastings said he believes that visitors from outer space are fixating on nuclear weapons because they want to send a message: Disarm before the world destroys itself. Hastings said he has heard of a UFO incident occurring at Malmstrom as recently as 2007. The declassified documents Hastings presented at Monday's news conference include decades-old government memos detailing reports of sightings of objects in the skies above Alabama, Montana, New Mexico and North Dakota. He has talked to 120 former or retired U.S. military about the presence of UFOs at nuclear weapons sites across the United States and around the globe as early as 1945, when the world entered the nuclear age with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For some of the officers who came forward Monday, going public wasn't easy. Bruce Fenstermacher, a missile combat crew commander at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., was "laughed at" by superiors when he reported a UFO sighting at a launch site that one of his sergeants had passed on to him, he said. He decided to keep his head low after that. "I was very careful about who I told what," he said. "I was concerned. I don't want to be considered a kook. But I think it's more important to come out and tell our story."
Note: To watch 18-minutes of this most fascinating testimony on the CNN website, click here. For a treasure trove of reliable, verifiable information on the UFO cover-up, see our resource-filled UFO Information Center at http://www.WantToKnow.info/ufoinformation.
"The Conehead economy" [is] the idea that if the economy were a person, its growth over the past few decades would've turned it from a normal-looking individual into a conehead. Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson get at this idea slightly differently [in their book Winner-Take-All Politics]. They've got a table showing how incomes would look if growth had been equally shared from 1979 to 2006 -- much as it was in the decades before 1979. If growth had been equally shared, the middle quintile would be making $64,395 today. Instead, they're making $52,100. That's a 23 percent raise those folks didn't get -- and that I'm sure they would've noticed. The top 1 percent ... made, on average, $1,200,300 in 2006. If growth had been equally shared in the three decades before that, however, their incomes would've been cut by more than half, down to $506,002. That's real, serious money we're talking about. The top 1 percent now accounts for 23.5 percent of the national income if you include capital gains. In 1979, they only had 9.8 percent of the nation's earnings. During that same period, tax rates on the richest Americans have actually dropped. So as the economy went one way -- toward more money going to the rich -- the tax system went the other.
Note: For lots more on income inequality from reliable sources, click here.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has attempted to block a book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called "Able Danger." In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if Operation Dark Heart is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim "Able Danger" successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. In a highly unusual move, the Department of Defense is now negotiating with the publisher, St. Martin's Press, to buy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of the book to keep it off shelves -- even after the U.S. Army had cleared the book for release. Specifically, the DIA wanted references to a meeting between Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, the book's author, and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. In that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, Shaffer alleges the commission was told about "Able Danger" and the identification of Atta before the attacks. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 report. Once back in the U.S., Shaffer says he contacted the commission. Without explanation, the commission was no longer interested.
A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money. Out of just over $9bn, $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says. Much of the money came from the sale of Iraqi oil and gas, and some frozen Saddam Hussein-era assets were also sold off. The money was in a special fund administered by the US Department of Defense, the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and was earmarked for reconstruction projects. But the report says that a lack of proper accounting and poor oversight makes it impossible to say exactly what happened to most of it. "The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss," the report said. This is not the first time that allegations of missing billions have surfaced in relation to the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. In 2005, the inspector general criticised the Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-led occupation administration, for its management of an $8.8bn fund that belonged to the Iraqi government. A criminal investigation conducted led to the conviction of eight US officials on bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges.
Note: For a collection of major media articles showing how the US military has repeatedly failed to account for hundreds of billions of dollars, click here.
In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities. Most [sources for this story] requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns. Beyond redundancy, secrecy within the intelligence world hampers effectiveness in other ways. For the Defense Department, [the] problem goes back to an ultra-secret group of programs for which access is extremely limited and monitored by specially trained security officers. These are called Special Access Programs - or SAPs - and the Pentagon's list of code names for them runs 300 pages. The intelligence community has hundreds more of its own, and those hundreds have thousands of sub-programs with their own limits on the number of people authorized to know anything about them. All this means that very few people have a complete sense of what's going on. Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to keep secrets from their commanders. One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it
Note: To read the full text of this important article, please make sure to press the "Continue Reading" button at the end of the first webpage to access all of the fascinating information provided. For lots more on government secrecy, click here.
European criticism of the World Health Organization's handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified ... with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond. The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications. The first report ... came from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which launched an investigation in response to allegations that the WHO's response to the pandemic was influenced by drug companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines. The second report, a joint investigation by the [British Medical Journal] and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism ... criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.
Note: For wide coverage from reliable sourcesof the swine and avian flu "fake pandemics" designed for corporate profit, click here.
Inside the humdrum offices of a tiny trading firm called Tradeworx, workers ... tend high-speed computers that typically buy and sell 80 million shares a day. But on the afternoon of May 6, as the stock market began to plunge in the “flash crash,” someone here walked up to one of those computers and typed the command HF STOP: sell everything and shutdown. Across the country, several of Tradeworx’s counterparts did the same. In a blink, some of the most powerful players in the stock market — high-frequency traders — went dark. The result sent chills through the financial world. After the brief 1,000-point plunge in the stock market that day, the growing role of high-frequency traders in the nation’s financial markets is drawing new scrutiny. Over the last decade, these high-tech operators have become sort of a shadow Wall Street — from New Jersey to Kansas City, from Texas to Chicago. Depending on whose estimates you believe, high-frequency traders account for 40 to 70 percent of all trading on every stock market in the country. Some of the biggest players trade more than a billion shares a day. These are short-term bets. Very short. The founder of Tradebot, in Kansas City, Mo., told students in 2008 that his firm typically held stocks for 11 seconds. Tradebot, one of the biggest high-frequency traders around, had not had a losing day in four years, he said.
Note: For key reports on the dubious practices which underlay the financial crisis and the impoverishment of the public treasury, click here.
Russia has never been immune to spies and informers, but the latest claim must have struck President Medvedev as a little bizarre: he has been urged to investigate whether a regional politician passed official secrets to a group of aliens. The request came after Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the millionaire President of Kalmykia, claimed on state television that he had been visited by aliens at his Moscow apartment several years ago and had spent hours in discussions with them on board their spaceship. The head of the republic said that the humanoid figures wore yellow spacesuits and gave him a tour of their craft, which he described as a “semi-transparent half-tube”. They had brought him home in the morning, just as his worried driver and two advisers were about to call a citywide search after finding his apartment empty. “I am often asked which language I used to talk to them. Perhaps it was on a level of the exchange of ideas,” Mr Ilyumzhinov, who is also president of the international chess federation FIDE, told the Vladimir Pozner programme on Russia’s main First Channel. Mr Ilyumzhinov told his interviewer that his encounter had taken place in 1997. “I would not have believed it, if I had not had three witnesses.”
Note: For lots more on UFOs, check out our information-packed UFO Information Center.
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