Aug 102012


Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


The U.S. Justice Department said it will not pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc or its employees related to accusations that the firm bet against the same subprime mortgage securities it was selling to clients!!!

By David Ingram and Aruna Viswantatha, Rueters

The decision not to prosecute Goldman, a firm held up by critics as a symbol of Wall Street greed during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, highlights the difficulty in prosecuting crisis-related cases.

Few expected the bank to face criminal charges, but in April 2011, U.S. Senator Carl Levin asked for a criminal investigation after the subcommittee he leads spent more than a year looking into Goldman.

The accusations were aired in a heated 2010 Congressional hearing in which Levin grilled Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein for hours about whether it was morally correct for the firm to sell its clients products described internally as “crap”.

“The department and investigative agencies ultimately concluded that the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time,” the Justice Department said in a statement late on Thursday.

The DOJ does not typically make public statements when it concludes an investigation. […]




By Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel

[…] Mind you, it’s not a surprise that Lloyd Blankfein wasn’t prosecuted. That’s because DOJ basically rewrote law in the last couple of years to make sure Scott Bloch, the former Special Counsel, would do no jail time for lying to Congress. As a result they’ve basically taken that inconvenient law off the books. As Congress continues to pursue DOJ for Fast and Furious, I’m sure that’s a comforting thought for some in the Department.

Still, let’s pretend for a moment that DOJ really didn’t believe they could prosecute this case.

That leaves us at a place where actual people are subject to the rule of law but corporations–because DOJ is simply helpless, helpless!! against those big bad corporations–are not. If DOJ really refuses to prosecute any corporations for the very same crimes they’re imprisoning actual people for, it needs to start considering how it is rushing our country headlong toward Banana Republic status. That is, if it can’t or won’t prosecute corporations but–perhaps to justify taking a salary until such time the prosecutors check out and join the corporations they’ve set free–still jails the little people, then DOJ has become just another cog in the machine slowly turning our great democracy into a NeoFeudal land. […]




By Sam Pizzagati, People’s World

If anyone doubts there is extensive rot in the so-called U.S. capitalist system, we have an invitation for them: Read the FBI’s latest report on corporate criminality – and that’s before recent big settlements with Wells Fargo and other malefactors.

The Financial Crimes Report, which covers Oct. 2009-Sept. 2011, details corporate felonies that will curl your hair. And it makes us consider that skullduggery in executive suites is the rule, not the exception.  First, some of the basics:

“As the lead agency investigating corporate fraud, the FBI focused on cases which involve accounting schemes, self-dealing by corporate executives, and obstruction of justice…At the end of FY 2011, 726 corporate fraud cases were being pursued…several of which involved losses to public investors that individually exceed $1 billion.” In the last two years, there were 242 indictments, 241 convictions, $2.4 billion paid in restitution, and $16 million in fines.

There are some 1,800 pending cases of securities fraud at the end of 2011, and that doesn’t count the biggest settlement of all, in Dec. 2010. Then, the FBI rounded up “343 criminal defendants nationwide.” And more than 120,000 victims had “losses attributable to alleged criminal activity of more than $8 billion.” […]




By Prof. James Petras

Never in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both private and state elites.

An economist of impeccable credentials, James Henry, former chief economist at the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company, has researched and documented tax evasion.  He found that the super-wealthy and their families have as much as $32 trillion (USD) of hidden assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenue!  This study excluded such non-financial assets as real estate, precious metals, jewels, yachts, race horses, luxury vehicles and so on.  Of the $32 trillion in hidden assets, $23 trillion is held by the super-rich of North America and Europe.

A recent report by a United Nations Special Committee on Money Laundering found that US and European banks laundered over $300 billion a year, including $30 billion just from the Mexican drug cartels.

New reports on the multi-billion dollar financial swindles involving the major banks in the US and Europe are published each week.  England’s leading banks, including Barclay’s and a host of others, have been identified as having rigged the LIBOR, or inter-bank lending rate, for years in order to maximize profits.  The Bank of New York, JP Morgan, HSBC, Wachovia and Citibank are among scores of banks, which have been charged with laundering drug money and other illicit funds according to investigations from the US Senate Banking Committees.  Multi-national corporations receive federal bailout funds and tax exemptions and then, in violation of publicized agreements with the government, relocate plants and jobs in Asia and Mexico.

Major investment houses, like Goldman Sachs, have conned investors for years to invest in ‘garbage’ equities while the brokers pumped and dumped the worthless stocks. Jon Corzine, CEO of MF Global (as well as a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, former US Senator and Governor of New Jersey) claimed that he “cannot account” for $1.6 billion in lost client investors funds from the collapse of MF Global in 2011. […]




By Brandon Smith, Altl-Market

There was a time, not too long ago (relatively speaking), that governments and the groups of elites that controlled them did not find it necessary to conscript themselves into wars of disinformation.

Propaganda was relatively straightforward. The lies were much simpler. The control of information flow was easily directed. Rules were enforced with the threat of property confiscation and execution for anyone who strayed from the rigid socio-political structure. Those who had theological, metaphysical or scientific information outside of the conventional and scripted collective world view were tortured and slaughtered. The elites kept the information to themselves, and removed its remnants from mainstream recognition, sometimes for centuries before it was rediscovered.

With the advent of anti-feudalism, and most importantly the success of the American Revolution, elitists were no longer able to dominate information with the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. The establishment of Republics, with their philosophy of open government and rule by the people, compelled Aristocratic minorities to plot more subtle ways of obstructing the truth and thus maintaining their hold over the world without exposing themselves to retribution from the masses. Thus, the complex art of disinformation was born.


In this article, we will examine the methods used to fertilize and promote the growth of disinformation, as well as how to identify the roots of disinformation and effectively cut them, starving out the entire system of fallacies once and for all. […]




Source: By VetLawyers, Bergmann & Moore, Aggressively Representing America’s Veterans

Medical Treatments for Gulf War Illness Remain Elusive

August 2 marks the 22nd anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.  What began as a dispute over the Rumaila oil fields sparked the Persian Gulf War.  The conflict that began as the Gulf War continues through the present as the Iraq War and is the longest war in U.S. history.  While there are some major improvements in medical care and benefits, much unfinished business remains for Veterans who deployed to war since 1990.

From Desert Shield to New Dawn

What started as Operation Desert Shield to protect Saudi Arabia in 1990 became Desert Storm in 1991 when U.S. troops invaded Kuwait and Iraq, removing Iraqi troops from Kuwait.  Then there was Provide Comfort and dozens of other military operations while sanctions remained in place from 1991 through 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq a second time under Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The military recently gave the conflict a new name in August 2010: Operation New Dawn.

Under the law, the period of war in Southwest Asia remains open (38 USC 101(33), 38 CFR 3.317).  President Barack Obama withdrew nearly all our troops from Iraq in December 2011, yet a few remain guarding our embassy, and many more remain on ships and stationed on land protecting nearby countries such as Kuwait.  The conflict has not officially ended.




Source: Machholz’s Blog

With his appeal in a SPIEGEL interview for national leaders to be given greater independence from parliaments in euro bailout decisions, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has sparked intense anger in Germany. Members of both Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and the opposition have labelled Monti’s demands “undemocratic.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is concerned that the euro zone is inflicting serious damage on Europe. In an interview with SPIEGEL published on Monday, he said: “The tensions that have accompanied the euro zone in recent years are already leading to a psychological dissolution of Europe.” The 68-year-old warned that if the euro were allowed to become a factor in Europe drifting apart, “then all the foundations of the European Project will be destroyed.”

But one statement in his interview in particular has sparked a contentious debate. Monti said that European leaders needed to defend their freedom to act against parliaments. “If governments allow themselves to be entirely bound to the decisions of their parliament, without protecting their own freedom to act, a break up of Europe would be a more probable outcome than deeper integration.”

Since taking office in Italy in November, Monti has led a cabinet of technocrats that has the support of a broad majority in parliament. Nevertheless, when it comes to economic reforms, austerity measures and the euro bailout, Monti often struggles to patch together a majority ahead of key votes. But his comments also appear to be directed at Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel requires parliamentary approval for most of her major bailout policies. […]



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