Government Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of government corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The FBI is facing questions over its role in a 2011 hacking attack on Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper in the UK after the publication of chat logs showed that a man acting as an agency informant played a substantial role in the operation. The attack was so successful that the publisher took down the websites of the Sun and the Times while technicians worked out the scale of the hack. Unsealed documents ... seen by the Guardian, show Hector Xavier Monsegur – known widely online as “Sabu” and frequently referred to as the leader of Lulzsec – played an active role in the operation. The chat records show Monsegur encouraging others to break further into News International systems, claiming to have sources at the Sun, and even apparently helping to break staff’s passwords and to source files for stealing. Monsegur was, however, at that time operating under the direction of the FBI. The close involvement of an FBI asset working under extraordinarily close supervision in a hacking attack on a media outlet ultimately owned by a US-listed company is set to raise further questions about the agency’s approach to tackling online crime. The logs also show Sabu on multiple occasions offering detailed technical help to find additional records on different servers, breaking in to new servers, or obtaining more files – which could easily have included those belonging to journalists at either the Sun or Times. The Sun, which is challenging the UK government over police accessing the phone records of one of its reporters, declined to comment on the apparent FBI involvement in attacks on its servers.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources. For an in-depth look at how these practices have been shown to interfere with a free press, see these excellent, reliable Mass Media Resources.
Did anyone ever doubt that the New York Fed was in hock to Wall Street? Or that Fed bank examiners ... might fear alienating the powerful financiers on whom they depend for information or future jobs? It’s one thing to know and another to hear in painful, crackling detail how the Fed’s financial cops slip on their velvet gloves to deal with Goldman Sachs. Or how Segarra, one of a group of examiners brought in after the financial crisis to keep a closer watch on the till, was fired, perhaps for doing her job. Consider one of the shady deals highlighted on the secret tapes of New York Fed meetings, which Segarra made with a spy recorder before she was let go and which were made public on Sept. 26. The Fed employees, who work inside the banks they examine (yes, it’s literally an inside job), knew the deal was dodgy. Numerous experts believe that the size of the financial sector is slowing growth in the real economy by sucking the monetary oxygen out of the room. Banks don’t want to lend; they want to trade, often via esoteric deals that do almost nothing for anyone outside Wall Street. This disconnect between the real economy and finance is now being closely studied by policymakers and academics. Adair Turner, a former British banking regulator, thinks that only about 15% of U.K. financial flows go to the real economy; the rest stay within the financial system, propping up existing corporate assets, supporting trading and enabling $40 million briefcase-watching fees. If the New York Fed really wants to redeem itself, it might consider commissioning a similar study to look at Wall Street’s contribution to the U.S. economy.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
America spends a fortune on drugs, more per person than any other nation on earth, even though Americans are no healthier than the citizens of other advanced nations. Of the estimated $2.7 trillion America spends annually on health care, drugs account for 10 percent of the total. Government pays some of this tab through Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But we pick up the tab indirectly through our taxes. We pay the rest of it directly, through higher co-payments, deductibles and premiums. Drug company payments to doctors are a small part of a much larger strategy by Big Pharma to clean our pockets ... The drug companies say they need the additional profits to pay for researching and developing new drugs. But the government supplies much of the research Big Pharma relies on, through the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Big Pharma is spending more on advertising and marketing than on research and development -- often tens of millions to promote a single drug. And it's spending hundreds of millions more every year on lobbying. Last year alone, the lobbying tab came to $225 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's more than the formidable lobbying expenditures of America's military contractors. In addition, Big Pharma is spending heavily on political campaigns. In 2012, it shelled out over $36 million, making it the biggest political contributor of all American industries.
Note: Read how cancer research is crippled by the greed of drug companies in the New York Times article Profits Over Patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Last week, a federal judge told us what we already knew. Namely, that police in Ferguson, Mo. violated the rights of protesters demonstrating against the shooting death of Michael Brown. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry struck down an ad hoc rule under which cops had said people could not stand still while peacefully protesting. Still, one’s sense of righteous vindication is tempered by the fact that police felt free to try this absurd stratagem in the first place — and by the fact that this was hardly the only recent example of police using the Constitution for Kleenex. Ferguson, let us not forget, is also the town where reporters were tear gassed and jailed and photographers ordered to stop taking pictures. In our unthinking mania for laws to “get tough on crime,” we actually made it tougher on ourselves, altering the balance of power between people and police to the point where a cop can now take your legally-earned money off your sovereign person and there’s little you can do about it. Indeed, at the height of the Ferguson protests, an L.A. cop named Sunil Dutta published in the Washington Post an Op-Ed advising that, “if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.” Don’t argue, he said, even if you “believe (or know)” your rights are being violated. Deal with it later. It’s all well and good that now, several weeks after the fact, a court affirms the rights Ferguson police denied. But that’s a poor consolation prize. An argument can be made that rights which aren’t respected in the moment they are asserted are not really rights at all.
Note: For more on the history of civil rights violations in Ferguson, MO, see this deeply revealing news article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of recent news articles about the erosion of our civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
TERRY GROSS: James Risen [is] an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He, along with Eric Lichtbau, broke the story about warrantless wiretapping. Now Risen is facing a prison sentence for refusing to reveal his source or sources for that story. [Risen] has a new book called "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power And Endless War," which is a series of investigations into who's making money on the War on Terror and what are some of the secret operations within it. You recently wrote an article in The New York Times with Laura Poitras who broke the Edward Snowden story along with Glenn Greenwald. And you reported on how American intelligence is trying to harvest facial imagery with the intention of - what's it for? RISEN: Facial recognition ... in a way that no [one] really understood before has become a central focus of the NSA today. They can link that up with a signals intelligence, which is the communications that they intercept [and] basically find where you are, what you're doing, who you're seeing and virtually anything about you in real time. GROSS: So ... your big story turned out kind of differently than the celebrations facing Woodward and Bernstein. RISEN: I think the times have changed. We had this period in journalism for about 30 years where there was the government and the press. The government ... wouldn't go after whistleblowers or reporters very aggressively. It's only after the - after 9/11 and after the plane case, which you may remember where Judy Miller was sent to jail. I think the post-9/11 age, the government has decided to become much more aggressive against reporters and whistleblowers.
Note: The above quotes are from the transcript of a radio interview that you can listen to by clicking on the news story link provided. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about high level manipulation of mass media from reliable sources.
The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program ... to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers. The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel. Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture. If the foreign-made weapons were equipped with unmarked silencers, the source said, the weapons could have been used by U.S. or foreign forces for special operations in other countries without any risk that they would be traced back to the United States. No documentation has surfaced in court to indicate that Navy officials formally signed off on the silencer project, although many pretrial motions have been filed under seal. Hall, the directorate official charged with illegally purchasing the silencers, has asserted that he received verbal approval for the secret program from Robert C. Martinage, a former acting undersecretary of the Navy, according to statements made during pretrial hearings. Martinage was forced to resign in January after investigators looking into the silencer deal found evidence that he had engaged in personal misconduct ... unrelated to the silencer contract.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
[National security letters], the reach of which was expanded under the Patriot Act in 2001, let the FBI get business records from telephone, banking, and Internet companies with just a declaration that the information is relevant to a counterterrorism investigation. The FBI can get such information with a subpoena or another method with some judicial oversight. Can the government make demands for data entirely in secret? That was the question yesterday before a federal appeals court in San Francisco, where government lawyers argued that National Security Letters — FBI requests for information that are so secret they can’t be publicly acknowledged by the recipients — were essential to counterterrorism investigations. One of the judges seemed to question why there was no end-date on the gag orders, and why the burden was on the recipients of NSLs to challenge them. “It leaves it to the poor person who is subject to those requirements to just constantly petition the government to get rid of it,” said the judge, N. Randy Smith. The FBI sends out thousands of NSLs each year – 21,000 in fiscal year 2012. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft filed a brief in support of the NSL challenge, arguing that they want to “publish more detailed aggregate statistics about the volume, scope and type of NSLs that the government uses to demand information about their users.” Twitter also announced this week that it was suing the U.S. government over restrictions on how it can talk about surveillance orders. Tech companies can currently make public information about the number of NSLs or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders they receive in broad ranges, but Twitter wants to be more specific.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
The director of the FBI savaged tech companies for their recent embrace of end-to-end encryption and suggested rewriting laws to ensure law enforcement access to customer data in a speech on Thursday. James Comey said data encryption such as that employed on Apple’s latest mobile operating system would deprive police and intelligence companies. Privacy advocates contend Comey is demagoguing the issue. It took a June supreme court ruling, they point out, for law enforcement to abandon its contention that it did not require warrants at all to search through smartphones or tablets, and add that technological vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers and foreign intelligence agencies as well as the US government. Tech companies contend that their newfound adoption of encryption is a response to overarching government surveillance, much of which occurs ... without a warrant, subject to a warrant broad enough to cover indiscriminate data collection, or under a gag order following a non-judicial subpoena. Comey did not mention such subpoenas, often in the form of National Security Letters, in his remarks. Comey acknowledged that the Snowden disclosures caused “justifiable surprise” among the public about the breadth of government surveillance, but hoped to mitigate it through greater transparency and advocacy. Yet the FBI keeps significant aspects of its surveillance reach hidden even from government oversight bodies. Intelligence officials said in a June letter to a US senator that the FBI does not tally how often it searches through NSA’s vast hoards of international communications, without warrants, for Americans’ identifying information. Comey frequently described himself as being technologically unprepared to offer specific solutions, and said he meant to begin a conversation, even at the risk of putting American tech companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oakridge, Tennessee, is supposed to be impregnable. But on July 28th 2012, an 84 year-old nun called Sister Megan Rice broke through a series of high-security fences surrounding the plant and reached a uranium storage bunker at the center of the complex. She was accompanied by Greg Boertje-Obed (57) and Michael Walli (63). The trio ... sat down for a picnic. When the security guards arrived they offered them some bread. Two years later, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were sentenced to federal prison terms of between three and five years, plus restitution in the amount of $53,000 for damage done to the plant - far in excess of the estimates produced at their trial. When questioned about her actions at her trial by Judge Amul Thapar, Rice told him that her actions were intended to draw attention to the US stockpile of nuclear weapons that she and her co-defendants felt was illegal and immoral. They also wanted to expose the ineffectiveness of the security systems that were supposed to protect these weapons from theft or damage. “We were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear weapons have already caused,” wrote Rice afterwards in a letter to her supporters, “and we realize that all life on earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental or technical error. Our action exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public.” All three defendants were found guilty of “sabotage of the national defense.” Just before they were sentenced, Rice made a statement to the court which ended like this: “We have to speak, and we’re happy to die for that. To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor that you could give me. Please don’t be lenient with me. It would be an honor for that to happen.”
Note: If you would like to receive copies of Sister Rice’s letters to her supporters, please email [email protected] Mailing addresses for Sister Rice and her co-defendants can be found here and here. You can also sign a petition requesting their pardon.
My biggest battle with the NSA came before my book [The Puzzle Palace] was even published. I had obtained the criminal file that the Justice Department had opened on the NSA. Marked as Top Secret, the file was so sensitive that only two original copies existed. Never before or since has an entire agency been the subject of a criminal investigation. Senior officials at the NSA were even read their Miranda rights. Issued on June 6, 1975, the report noted that both the NSA and CIA had engaged in questionable and possibly illegal electronic surveillance. As a result, Attorney General Edward Levi established a secret internal task force to look into the potential for criminal prosecution. Focusing particularly on NSA, the task force probed more deeply into domestic eavesdropping than any part of the executive branch had ever done before. The report’s prosecutive summary also pointed to the NSA’s top-secret “charter” issued by the Executive Branch, which exempts the agency from legal restraints placed on the rest of the government. This ... meant the NSA did not have to follow any restrictions placed on electronic surveillance “unless it was expressly directed to do so.” In short, the report asked, how can you prosecute an agency that is above the law? More than three decades later, the NSA, like a mom-and-pop operation that has exploded into a global industry, now employs sweeping powers of surveillance that Frank Church could scarcely have imagined in the days of wired phones and clunky typewriters. At the same time, the Senate intelligence committee he once chaired has done an about face, protecting the agencies from the public rather than the public from the agencies. Without adequate oversight, or penalties for abuse, the only protection that citizens have comes not from Congress or the courts, but from whistleblowers.
Note: James Bamford is the courageous ABC producer and investigative reporter who first exposed the declassified Operation Northwoods files in the May of 2001. These files showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the top Pentagon generals were willing to carry out false flag terrorism activities which would kill innocent civilians in order to foment war fever against Cuba. Yet only ABC News out of all the major media outlets was willing to report this most shocking news. Don't miss the entire, highly revealing article by Bamford at the link above.
Addicted to each other’s power and money, the political parties and their corporate donors are constantly trying to enlarge their relationship out of sight of the American public. An accidental Internet disclosure last month showed that the stealthy form of political corruption known as “dark money” now fully permeates governor’s offices around the country, allowing corporations to push past legal barriers and gather enormous influence. This has been going on nationally for several years ... after wealthy interests claimed that a series of legal decisions allowed them to give unlimited and undisclosed amounts to “social welfare” groups that pretended not to engage in politics. (The tax code prohibits these groups from having politics as a primary purpose.) Now it turns out that both the Republican and Democratic governors’ associations have also set up social welfare groups ... with the purpose of raising secret political money. Thanks to the computer slip ... we now know some of the people and corporations that secretly contributed. Companies that gave at the highest level (more than $250,000) included Exxon Mobil, the Corrections Corporation of America, Pfizer and the Koch companies. In exchange for their private donations, “members” of [one key] group were invited to a symposium last year [where] they were allowed to meet with (and lobby) some of the highest-ranking officials and regulators in states with Republican governors. Big donors are given “the greatest opportunity possible to meet and talk informally with the Republican governors and their key staff members.” The Democratic Governors Association does exactly the same thing, regularly providing access to top state executives in exchange for large contributions. Both parties are routinely selling access to the nation’s governors and their staffs to those with the most resources.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Any doubts about whether Endless War ... is official American doctrine should be permanently erased by this week’s comments from two leading Democrats, both former top national security officials in the Obama administration. Leon Panetta, the long-time Democratic Party operative who served as Obama’s Defense Secretary and CIA Director, said this week of Obama’s new bombing campaign: “I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war.” He criticized Obama ... for being insufficiently militaristic. Then we have Hillary Clinton [who] at an event in Ottawa yesterday ... proclaimed that the fight against these “militants” will “be a long-term struggle” that should entail an “information war” as “well as an air war.” The new war, she said, is “essential” and the U.S. shies away from fighting it “at our peril.” Like Panetta (and most establishment Republicans), Clinton made clear ... that virtually all of her disagreements with Obama’s foreign policy were the by-product of her view of Obama as insufficiently hawkish, militaristic and confrontational. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy. It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”). The War on Terror ... was designed from the start to be endless. This war ... thus enables an endless supply of power and profit to flow to those political and economic factions that control the government regardless of election outcomes.
Note: Read the prophetic writings of one of the most highly decorated US generals ever describing how he discovered after retirement that war is created by bankers and mega-corporations to funnel ever more tax-payer money into their coffers. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world. Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. “As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity.” Bombardments of Islamic State strongholds added to tensions this year that include U.S.-led sanctions on Russia for backing Ukrainian rebels. The U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip. A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of the four largest Pentagon contractors ... rose 19 percent this year through yesterday, outstripping the 2.2 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Industrials Index. Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, reached an all-time high of $180.74 on Sept. 19, when Northrop, Raytheon Co. (RTN) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD) also set records. That quartet and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about $105 billion in federal contract orders last year. U.S. lawmakers including Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, have suggested that the new global threats could prompt Congress to reconsider planned reductions in defense spending.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
As the United States charges once more into war, little debate has centered on the actual utility of war. Instead, policymakers and pundits have focused their comments on combating the latest danger to our nation and its interests. In late August, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed Islamic State was an “imminent threat to every interest we have” and that the sophisticated group was “beyond anything we've seen.” With few dissenting voices, either in Congress or in the American media, U.S. air forces plunged again into the unstable region of the Middle East. For well over a decade — one might suggest over multiple decades — the United States has been engaged in war, yet so few in the public sphere seem willing to ask, as a Vietnam-era hit song did: “War, what is it good for?” It seems plausible to argue that war is a phenomenon increasingly serving itself rather than any durable political goals. War as a political tool has more and more demonstrated its inability to deliver. As historian Mary Dudziak has artfully suggested, “Military conflict has been ongoing for decades, yet public policy rests on the false assumption that it is an aberration.” If war provides meaning, why, as Dudziak asks, does military engagement no longer require “the support of the American people but instead their inattention”? If a theory of forward defense, of fighting on someone else's shores rather than our own, is the rationale for constant war, when will we achieve a sense of national security that no longer requires constant battle? What if peace never comes? What if war only engenders new enemies and new threats? War ... has not assuaged our fears of vulnerability. It has not left us with a more stable international environment. So we come back to that song's question: “War, what is it good for?” And we have to at least consider the song's answer: “Absolutely nothing.”
Note: Kudos to the LA Times for publishing this article, though it fails to mention that war is very good for lining the pockets of all involved with the huge warm industry. Read the prophetic writings of one of the most highly decorated US generals ever describing how he discovered after retirement that war is created by mega-corporations to funnel ever more tax-payer money into their coffers. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
As part of their insurgency against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, some of the C.I.A.-backed contras made money through drug smuggling, transgressions noted in a little-noticed 1988 Senate subcommittee report. Gary Webb, a journalist at The San Jose Mercury News, thought it was a far-fetched story to begin with, but in 1995 and 1996, he dug in and produced a deeply reported and deeply flawed three-part series called “Dark Alliance.” That groundbreaking series was among the first to blow up on the nascent web, and he was initially celebrated, then investigated and finally discredited. Pushed out of journalism in disgrace, he committed suicide in 2004. [The movie] “Kill the Messenger” ... suggests that he told a truth others were unwilling to. Mr. Webb was not the first journalist to come across [such matters]. In December 1985, The Associated Press reported that three contra groups had “engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua.” Major news outlets mostly gave the issue a pass. Peter Landesman, an investigative journalist who wrote the screenplay, was struck by the reflex to go after Mr. Webb. “Planeloads of weapons were sent south from the U.S., and everyone knows that those planes didn’t come back empty, but the C.I.A. made sure that they never knew for sure what was in those planes,” he said. “But instead of going after that, they went after Webb." In 1998, Frederick P. Hitz, the C.I.A. inspector general, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that after looking into the matter at length, he believed the C.I.A. was a bystander — or worse — in the war on drugs. However dark or extensive, the alliance Mr. Webb wrote about was a real one.
Note: Webb's story was not deeply flawed, as reported in this article. His editor even commented that four Washington Post writers could not find one significant factual error, but then changed his mind after CIA leaders threatened the paper. Read a Sacrament Bee newspaper article for more on Webb and his story. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Mass Media Information Center.
For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art - including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko - as a weapon in the Cold War. The CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art. Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete. The existence of this policy, rumoured and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the "long leash." [This] centrepiece of the CIA campaign ... a vast jamboree of intellectuals, writers, historians, poets, and artists ... was set up with CIA funds in 1950 and run by a CIA agent. At its height, it had offices in 35 countries and published more than two dozen magazines.
Note: Read the entire article at the link above to learn how the CIA secretly funnels money through cooperative millionaires. To this day, the CIA has agents in key press positions to stop stories they don't want or to promote their own pieces widely in the media. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles and intelligence agency news articles, all from reliable major media sources.
The spread of an aggressive brand of policing ... has spurred the seizure of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from motorists and others not charged with crimes. Thousands of people have been forced to fight legal battles that can last more than a year to get their money back. Behind the rise in seizures is a little-known cottage industry of private police-training firms that teach the techniques of “highway interdiction” to departments across the country. [It has] enabled police nationwide to share detailed reports about American motorists — criminals and the innocent alike — including their Social Security numbers, addresses and identifying tattoos, as well as hunches about which drivers to stop. A thriving subculture of road officers on the network now competes to see who can seize the most cash and contraband, describing their exploits in the network’s chat rooms and sharing “trophy shots” of money and drugs. Some police advocate highway interdiction as a way of raising revenue for cash-strapped municipalities. Unexplored until now is the role of the federal government and the private police trainers in encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways. There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants ... totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008. In 400 federal court cases examined by The Post where people who challenged seizures and received some money back, the majority were black, Hispanic or another minority.
Australia has changed radically since last week though it might not look like it on the surface. Late Thursday night the Senate passed the National Security Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014 giving unlimited power to spies and secret police. Now officials can break the law with immunity from prosecution - and without having to answer to a court. They can act in total secrecy. They will decide what they do and to whom and when. They do not have to ask permission. They will choose when to interfere in your life and when they won't. They can dip into your most private communications and they don't need a warrant to do so. Sometimes they will do it because it is necessary to fight crime. Sometimes because they enjoy it. If they mess up your life and you tell anybody, you will get 10 years' jail – even if it doesn't harm security. When a Special Intelligence Operation (SIO) is declared then any participant can break the law on you with no consequences, according to Schedule 3 section 35k. There are broad limits. They cannot kill or torture you, or cause significant physical injury. Minor injury or mental torment is fine. Anyone involved in an SIO will have these powers – but who are they? ASIO, with 1778 staff. The Australian Federal Police, with more than 6900 staff. NSW Police with about 16,370 officers and a spy database called COPS which has more than 30 million entries on the people of NSW. But not just them. Anyone involved in an SIO enjoys legal immunity, including affiliates and subcontractors – whoever they are. Many Senators clearly hadn't read the 128 pages of major legal changes in the NSA Bill. The citizen needs protection from the state built into the laws and that is what they smashed on Thursday.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for congressional hearings into allegations that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been too deferential to the firms it regulates. A radio program about the regional Fed bank raised “disturbing issues.” “It’s our job to make sure our financial regulators are doing their jobs,” Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a statement yesterday. The program “This American Life” released the transcript of a broadcast that includes excerpts of conversations it said were secretly recorded by Carmen Segarra, a former New York Fed bank examiner who was fired in 2012, with some of her colleagues and her supervisor. In the transcript, Segarra described how she felt that her Fed colleagues were afraid of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and handled it with kid gloves. Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who’s also on the banking committee, backed Warren’s call for a probe. Segarra sued the New York Fed last October, alleging she was fired in May 2012 after refusing to change her findings on the conflict-of-interest policy. In 2009, New York Fed President William C. Dudley commissioned a probe into his own institution’s practices by David Beim, a finance professor at Columbia Business School. In a report submitted that year and released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011, Beim wrote that a number of people he interviewed at the reserve bank “believe that supervisors paid excessive deference to banks and as a result they were less aggressive in finding issues or in following up on them in a forceful way.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, says newly released recordings of conversations between Federal Reserve officials show that the same kind of cozy relationships that led to the 2008 financial crisis still dominate Wall Street. "You really do, for a moment, get to be the fly on the wall that watches all of it, and there it is to be exposed to everyone: the cozy relationship, the fact that the Fed is more concerned about its relationship with a too-big-to-fail bank than it is with protecting the American public," Warren says. The recordings don't reveal anything outright illegal. Instead, they reveal Fed officials discussing "legal but shady" transactions and then wringing their hands over how to delicately bring them up with the bank. Warren, who before coming into office led an effort to create the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, says that trepidation is another thing wrong with regulators today. "The fact that Goldman could mount a legal defense here is not really the point of these tapes. The point of these tapes is that the regulators are backing off long before anyone's in court making a legal argument about whether or not they came right up to the line or they crossed over the line." The bottom line, Warren says, is that the United States needs regulators "who understand that they work for the American people, not for the big banks."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.