Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

greed3

U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

anon

‘Anonymous’ Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US

Business Insider Mar. 2, 2012 By Michael Kelley Anonymous is front and center these days: the amorphous hacktivist group has been publishing internal data of U.S. banks while prominent members are prosecuted More »

Category Archives: corruption

One Year’s Salary : Europe Caps Banker Bonuses

protest_wallst

Spiegel Online
Mar. 2, 2012

In a bid to address widespread public outrage over greed in the financial sector, European officials have agreed to legislation capping bankers’ bonuses at a maximum of a year’s salary. Great Britain fought to prevent the measure, but failed to rally enough support.

Starting in 2014, banks in the European Union must limit bonus payments for their employees. After some 10 months of tough negotiations, top European officials agreed late on Wednesday in Brussels to cap bonuses at a maximum of one year’s base salary.

“For the first time in the history of EU financial market regulation, we will cap bankers’ bonuses,” said the European Parliament’s head negotiator, Austria’s Othmar Karas, in a statement. “The essence is that from 2014, European banks will have to set aside more money to be more stable and concentrate on their core business, namely financing the real economy, that of small and medium-sized enterprises and jobs.”

Masks banned in Canadian riots, just in time for Anonymous day of action

Remember-remember-the-5th-of-november

naked Security
Nov. 5, 2012
By Lisa Vaas

Monday November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day.

Expect masks.

The Anonymous-affiliated are planning worldwide protests against government surveillance, as the following video declares:

As always, Anonymous supporters are likely to don masks with the image of their patron saint.

But for the first time, the smiling black and white masks that shield the identity of those protesters will be illegal in Canada (if the protest stops being peaceful).

It’s not only the Anonymous-affiliated whose masks will be banned. Canada’s House of Commons on Wednesday approved a bill that bans people from hiding their faces at all during riots.

‘Occupy’ activists use iPhone line as podium for protest

occupy-apple

CNET
Sept. 19, 2012
By

NEW YORK — A group of about 12 people who say they’re part of the Occupy Wall Street movement have joined the iPhone 5 line in front of Apple’s flagship Manhattan store on 5th Avenue, CNET has learned.

According to two members who spoke to CNET, the group is there to protest Apple’s labor practices, as well as what they see as the commercialization and waste that the company and its gadgets represent.

The two OWS members couldn’t say exactly what form the protest would take or when, but the group had a few small signs in their possession. It wasn’t long after the OWS group arrived that police set up crowd-control barriers.

Occupy Wall Street protesters: Protect them, recognize human rights begin at home

occupyagain

Washington Post
Sept. 17, 2012
By

The police crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street movement, since its beginning one- year ago today on Sept. 17, 2011, undermines core American values of freedom in the eyes of the world.

Particularly now, when extremist religious rhetoric is being used (and abused) to spark anti-American demonstrations around the world, this is an especially important time for the practice of respect for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, freedoms that are indispensable to the freedom of religion and the practice of democracy, to be on display in the United States.

Instead, what the world is seeing is photos of arrests of Occupy protesters as they attempt to take their message of Wall Street’s responsibility for the nation’s economic meltdown to the streets once again and call for policies that support economic equality and fairness.

Suppressing the message of Occupy Wall Street is wrong on many levels, both political and religious. It is anti-democratic, and also, in my view as a Christian pastor and teacher, in contradiction to the message at the center of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth of caring for the poor, and rejecting violence.

Arrests Near Stock Exchange Top 100 on Occupy Wall St. Anniversary

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New York Times
Sept. 17, 2012
By COLIN MOYNIHAN

More than 100 arrests were reported on Monday, the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as protesters converged near the New York Stock Exchange and tried to block access to the exchange.

Demonstrators had planned to converge from several directions to form a “human wall” around the stock exchange to protest what they said was an unfair economic system that benefited the rich and corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens.

Police officers and protesters squared off at various points, with protesters briefly blocking intersections and sidewalks before being dispersed and sometimes arrested.

The police appeared prepared to counter the protesters’ blockade with one of their own, ringing the streets and sidewalks leading to the exchange with metal barricades and asking for identification from workers seeking to gain access.

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Casual e-mails tell chilling story of market fixes

Associated Press
June 28, 2012
By ROBERT BARR

LONDON (AP) — The e-mails sound casual: Dude reaching out to dude, begging for favors and offering rewards ranging from coffee to fine champagne.
But what the bankers were allegedly doing was as serious as it gets: fixing an interest rate that affects the cost of half a quadrillion dollars — that’s $554 trillion — in financial contracts around the world, from mortgages to loans.
U.S. and British investigators say the employees of Barclays Bank — and possibly those of other major international banks — clearly knew it was wrong to manipulate the London interbank office rate, known as the LIBOR, which determines the rate at which banks lend to each other and, by extension, the rate at which they lend to consumers and businesses.

The rate is calculated daily by the British Bankers’ Association, based on lending rate figures submitted by global banks. Some of Barclays’ staff, however, allegedly succumbed to the temptation to adjust the figures in a bid to boost profits or disguise financial weaknesses.
One trader messaged a colleague about helping to influence the three-month LIBOR.
“As always, any help wd be greatly appreciated,” the trader wrote.
“I am going 90 altho 91 is what I should be posting,” came the reply.
The trader responded: “When I retire and write a book about this business your name will be written in golden letters.”
“I would prefer this not be in any book!” came the answer.
And yet it did appear — not in a book, but in court papers that led to fines totaling $453 million against the bank. U.S. and British officials are considering criminal charges against individuals and British investigators are probing other major banks including Citigroup in the United States, Switzerland’s UBS, Britain’s HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/casual-e-mails-tell-chilling-story-market-fixes-165537584–finance.html

By the numbers: The U.S.’s growing for-profit detention industry

ProPublica
June 20, 2012
By Suevon Lee

The growth of the private detention industry has long been a subject of scrutiny. A recent eight-part series in the New Orleans Times-Picayune chronicled how more than half of Louisiana’s 40,000 inmates are housed in prisons run by sheriffs or private companies as part of a broader financial incentive scheme. The detention business goes beyond just criminal prisoners.

As a Huffington Post investigation pointed out last month, nearly half of all immigrant detainees are now held in privately run detention facilities. Just this week, the New York Times delved into lax oversight at industrial-sized but privately run halfway houses in New Jersey.


We’ve taken a look at some of the numbers associated with the billion-dollar and wide-ranging for-profit detention industry—and the two companies that dominate the market:

General Statistics:

1.6 million: Total number of state and federal prisoners in the United States as of December 2010, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics

128,195: Number of state and federal prisoners housed in private facilities as of December 2010

37: percent by which number of prisoners in private facilities increased between 2002 and 2009

217,690: Total federal inmate population as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Prisons

27,970: Number of federal inmates in privately managed facilities within the Bureau of Prisons

33,330: Estimated size of detained immigrant population as of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Corrections Corporation of America

66: number of facilities owned and operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company based on number of facilities

91,000: number of beds available in CCA facilities across 20 states and the District of Columbia

$1.7 billion: total revenue recorded by CCA in 2011

$17.4 million: lobbying expenditures in the last 10 years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

$1.9 million: total political contributions from years 2003 to 2012, according to the National Institute on Money in State Politics

$3.7 million: executive compensation for CEO Damon T. Hininger in 2011

132: recorded number of inmate-on-inmate assaults at CCA-run Idaho Correctional Center between Sept. 2007 and Sept. 2008

Full Article Here – http://www.propublica.org/article/by-the-numbers-the-u.s.s-growing-for-profit-detention-industry 

Slovaks rally against corruption in Bratislava

BBC News
Mar. 9, 2012

About 1,000 people in the Slovak capital Bratislava have taken part in an anti-corruption protest, the day before a general election.

About 300 protesters threw stones and eggs at riot police who used tear gas to keep them from storming parliament.

The organisers called on Slovaks not to vote for the established political parties, which they say are corrupt.

The protests follow the publication of a file allegedly compiled by the country’s spy agency.


The so-called “gorilla file” appeared on the internet in December.

It alleges that most parties in the 1998-2006 centre-right government of then-Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda were mired in corruption due to close ties with a local financial group, Penta.

Penta is alleged to have bribed government and opposition politicians in 2005-06 to win lucrative privatisation deals. Both Penta and the politicians named deny the allegations against them.

Rallies were also held in other major cities on Friday. At least a dozen protesters were detained by police in Bratislava.

The protesters called for Saturday’s vote to be postponed to September so that political parties can clear tainted politicians from their list of candidates.

Full Article Here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17322096 

Occupy Movement Targets Corporate Interest Group with Ties to Legislators

Common Dreams
Feb. 21, 2012

A coalition of Occupy groups, led by Occupy Portland in Oregon, is calling on people “to target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)” with direct actions and public events later this month. The Occupy groups, organizing under the banner Shut Down the Corporations, sees ALEC as the “prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people.” ALEC was instrumental in creating the anti-labor legislation in Wisconsin last year and the racist bill SB 1070 in Arizona, among many other measures pushed or passed in state houses across the country. ALEC uses its large coffers and wealthy membership to spread free-market, corporate-friendly laws around the country.

The day of action is slated for Leap Day, February 29th.


According to their call to action:

Occupy Portland calls for a national day of non-violent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations. We are rejecting a society that does not allow us control of our future. We will reclaim our ability to shape our world in a democratic, cooperative, just and sustainable direction.

We call on the Occupy Movement and everyone seeking freedom and justice to join us in this day of action.

There has been a theft by the 1% of our democratic ability to shape and form the society in which we live and our society is steered toward the destructive pursuit of consumption, profit and greed at the expense of all else.

What is ALEC?

ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), which studies and tracks the group at its ALEC Exposed website, agrees.  They say that ALEC should not be considered a lobbyist group or a corporate front group, but something altogether worse. “It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted,” ALEC Exposed explains on their website, “yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.”

Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.) Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations. Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.

Full Article Here – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/21

India Anti-Corruption Activist Hazare Calls Off Hunger Strike

Voice of America
Dec. 28, 2011
By Anjana Pasricha

In India, anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare has ended his hunger strike to press for a tougher anti-graft law earlier than planned. The landmark anti-corruption bill, which he wants redrafted, has been passed by the lower house of parliament and now heads to the upper house, where the government is trying to ensure its passage.

The hunger strike by the anti-corruption campaigner in Mumbai was to last for three days. But on Wednesday evening, the 74-year-old activist announced that he is calling off his protest a day early.

Hazare did not cite a reason. But doctors have warned of a danger to the health of the activist, who has been running a fever. His protest also has seen far thinner crowds compared to his earlier campaigns, prompting commentators to say that the poor public response could be a factor behind his decision.

Hazare also called off a civil disobedience campaign, in which he had asked supporters to fill jails voluntarily starting Friday.

The activist, however, whose fiery campaign in August put the anti-graft bill on the top of the government’s agenda, has vowed to continue his struggle for a tougher law.

The legislation, passed by the lower house on Wednesday, seeks to create a new agency to investigate charges of corruption against politicians and bureaucrats. But civil society activists argue that the proposed ombudsman will not have independent powers of investigation, and will be a tool in the hands of the government.

Hazare said that in upcoming regional elections, he will campaign against all politicians who did not support a tough anti-graft law.

The bill was expected to be debated on Wednesday in the upper house, where it must be passed before it becomes legislation. The government deferred its introduction by a day, though, apparently seeking to gather enough support to push the anti-corruption legislation through.

Full Article Here – http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/India-Anti-Corruption-Activist-Hazare-Calls-Off-Hunger-Strike-136327438.html