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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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‘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 »

Monthly Archives: June 2010

List of French who collaborated with Nazis to be published online

Telegraph
June 30, 2010
By Peter Allen

Since the liberation of Paris, the details of the collaborators have been kept hidden in cardboard boxes in the basement of the police museum in the French capital.
But now all of the files – which include information passed on to the Nazis by those who lived during the occupation of 1940 to 1944 – will be scanned and published online.

The released archive will include every police log from stations across France, as well as details of every arrest, fine and interview.

As well as shedding new light on the work of the Gestapo across France, the files will illuminate the role of the Brigade Speciale, which tracked down resistance fighters and other enemies of the Nazi regime.

At least 77,000 Jews were deported to their deaths from French transit camps between 1942 and the end of German occupation, in December 1944. Of these, around a third were French citizens and more than 8,000 were children under 13.

The plan to reveal the names of collaborators – many of whom have successfully covered up their wartime work – follows a dramatic ruling last year in France’s highest court, which found that Nazi officials did not force the French to betray their fellow citizens, and that anti-Semitic persecution was carried out willingly.

read more at – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/7861604/List-of-French-who-collaborated-with-Nazis-to-be-published-online.html

Rage frontman’s Arizona boycott swells to nearly 300 artists

Raw Story
June 29, 2010
By Stephen C. Webster

Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Roca is no stranger to shredding public policy in his line of work: indeed, rebel music has been the man’s lifeblood for decades. Though already a legend in the music world, this is one socially motivated rocker who is not about to stop screaming for change.

De la Roca’s latest endeavor, The Sound Strike, pitches him as not just the frontman to the most politically relevant mainstream rock group in the world, but also as the loudest voice encapsulating a charge of hundreds of artists and music groups that have agreed to boycott the state of Arizona over its crackdown on Mexican immigrants.

Since RAW STORY’s last report on the group, Sound Strike’s list of artists who’ve joined the boycott has swelled to nearly 300, with new names being added seemingly every day.

So far, artists to sign on for the boycott include major acts like Cypress Hill, Kanye West, Chris Rock, Connor Oberst, Rage Against the Machine, Serj Tankian, Nine Inch Nails, Rise Against, Maroon 5, Massive Attack, Sonic Youth, Anti-Flag, Ozomatli, Tenacious D and many others.

The complete list was published online and featured 296 groups at time of this writing.

“[The new law] forces the cops to hunt down and target anyone they ‘reasonably suspect’ that may be undocumented,” the protest group noted in a press release. “And if the people they harass don’t have proof that they were born in the U.S., they can be detained and arrested. This must be stopped.”

“Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to,” de la Roca wrote.

“People who are poor like some of us used to be could be forced to live in a constant state of fear while just doing what they can to find work and survive. This law opens the door for them to be shaked down, or even worse, detained and deported while just trying to travel home from school, from home to work, or when they just roll out with their friends.

read more and watch video at - http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0629/led-rage-frontman-artists-join-arizona-boycott-droves/ 

First sentences for Colombia paramilitary leaders

Associated Press
June 29, 2010
By LIBARDO CARDONA

BOGOTA, Colombia – A Colombian court on Tuesday handed down the first prison sentences to leaders of the illegal far-right militias that demobilized under a peace pact with President Alvaro Uribe’s government.

Edward Cobos, better known as “Diego Vecino,” and Uber Banquez, alias “Juancho Dique,” each received the maximum of eight years in prison dictated by the Justice and Peace law under which they surrendered.

They were also ordered to pay $385,000 each in restitution to relatives of their victims.

By submitting to the Justice and Peace process and confessing to their crimes, the two were able to avoid far harsher sentences of 40 years each for crimes that included ordering massacres, kidnapping and driving people off their land.

Reading the sentence, Judge Uldi Teresa Jimenez said Cobos and Banquez had committed “serious violations of international humanitarian law, attacking civilians, displacing them from their land, taking the lives of non-combatants and looting their property.”

Cobos and Banquez are among some 50 warlords and 31,000 “paramilitary” foot soldiers who demobilized between 2003 and 2006. Among those, 4,100 have cooperated with the Justice and Peace process.

read more at – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100630/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_colombia_paramilitaries

Banks Financing Mexico Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal

Bloomberg
June 29, 2010
By Michael Smith

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 miles east of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

read more at – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-29/banks-financing-mexico-s-drug-cartels-admitted-in-wells-fargo-s-u-s-deal.html

At trial, Noriega claims Panama drug money a US-run ‘imaginary banking scheme’

AFP
June 29, 2010

Panama’s ex-dictator Manuel Noriega on Tuesday dismissed charges of laundering drug money as an “imaginary banking scheme” concocted by the United States as he took the stand in a French court.

The 76-year-old general denied taking payments from Colombian drug lords in the 1980s and told a Paris courtroom that cash deposits transferred to French banks came from his legitimate businesses and the CIA.

“I say with much humility and respect that this is an imaginary banking scheme,” Noriega told the court in Spanish through his interpreter on the second day of his trial.

“I will have the opportunity to produce documents that show that I was a victim of a conspiracy mounted by the United States against me,” he said.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spent 20 years in a Miami cell for drug trafficking and money laundering and now faces the prospect of another decade in a French prison if convicted.

His lawyers argue that the charges against Noriega, who was extradited to France two months ago, hinge on dodgy testimony from ex-drug traffickers who were paid and given protection by US authorities.

Once a close US ally, Noriega testified that Washington turned against him in the 1980s when he refused to allow Panama to become a staging ground for operations against leftists across Central America.

“That’s when the propaganda started against me after so many years of cooperation with the United States,” he told the court as his three daughters sat nearby, listening attentively.

Presenting himself as a “professional soldier,” the ex-leader strongly denied dealings with Colombian drug cartels and said that on the contrary, he had fought narco-traffickers while in power in Panama in the 1980s.

“I energetically fought against the drug trade and for this I received praise from the United States, Interpol and many other countries,” he said, wearing a dark suit and white shirt.

Waving his hands at times to underscore his arguments, Noriega recounted that he had ordered a raid against a cocaine laboratory and waged other drug-fighting campaigns.

read more at - http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0629/trial-noriega-claims-panama-drug-money-americanrun-imaginary-banking-scheme/

Goldman Admits it Had Bigger Role in AIG Deals

McClatchy
June 29, 2010
By: Greg Gordon

Reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf of its clients in its exotic dealings with the American International Group, Goldman Sachs now says that it also used its own money to make secret wagers against the U.S. housing market.
A senior Goldman executive disclosed the “bilateral” wagers on subprime mortgages in an interview with McClatchy, marking the first time that the Wall Street titan has conceded that its dealings with troubled insurer AIG went far beyond acting as an “intermediary” responding to its clients’ demands.
The official, who Goldman made available to McClatchy on the condition he remain anonymous, declined to reveal how much money Goldman reaped from its trades with AIG.
However, the wagers were part of a package of deals that had a face value of $3 billion, and in a recent settlement, AIG agreed to pay Goldman between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. AIG’s losses on those deals, for which Goldman is thought to have paid less than $10 million, were ultimately borne by taxpayers as part of the government’s bailout of the insurer.
Goldman’s proprietary trades with AIG in 2005 and 2006 are among those that many members of Congress sought unsuccessfully to ban during recent negotiations for tougher federal regulation of the financial industry.
A McClatchy examination, including a review of public records and interviews with present and former Wall Street executives, casts doubt on several of Goldman’s claims about its dealings with AIG, which at the time was the world’s largest insurer.
For example:
_ The latest disclosure undercuts Goldman’s repeated insistence during the past year that it acted merely on behalf of clients when it bought $20 billion in exotic insurance from AIG.
_ Although Goldman has steadfastly maintained that it had “no material exposure” to AIG if the insurer had gone bankrupt, in fact the firm could have lost money if the government hadn’t allowed the insurer to pay $92 billion of American taxpayers’ money to U.S. and European financial institutions whose risky business practices helped cause the global financial collapse.
_ Goldman took several aggressive steps — including demanding billions in cash collateral — against AIG that suggest to some experts that it had inside information about AIG’s shaky financial condition and therefore an edge over its competitors. While former Bush administration officials said AIG was financially sound and merely faced a cash squeeze at the time of the bailout, McClatchy has reported that the insurer was swamped with massive liabilities and was a candidate for bankruptcy.
A spokesman for Goldman, Michael DuVally, said that the firm followed its “standard approach to risk management” in its dealings with AIG.
“We had no special insight into AIG’s financial condition but, as we do with all exposure, we acted prudently to protect our firm and its shareholders from the risk of a loss. Most right-thinking people would surely believe that this was an appropriate way for a bank to manage its affairs.”

read more at – http://www.truth-out.org/goldman-admits-it-had-bigger-role-aig-deals60913

Pentagon’s New Contractor Policy Doesn’t Scare Defense Industry At All

Huffington Post
June 29, 2010
By Dan Froomkin

The Pentagon’s new contract acquisition policy — heralded for getting tough on military contractors — is actually a feeble, token attempt to change a system that has spiraled out of control to the enormous benefit of the defense industry.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his acquisition chief, Ashton Carter, announced a series of steps on Monday they said were intended to cut overhead costs and improve the Pentagon’s “buying power.”

The savings, they explained, could then go toward continued growth in “warfighting capabilities” — as a way of mitigating what is expected to be an end to a decade of double-digit growth in the overall Pentagon budget.

Their goals, however, are small change compared to the enormous sums the Pentagon lavishes on its contractors.

The acquisition changes are, in fact, only one part of a $102 billion five-year reduction Gates put forward three weeks ago. As Winslow Wheeler, an expert on military reform at the Center for Defense Information, blogged for the Huffington Post at the time:

Gates’ $102 billion reduction in overhead is a cumulative goal for five years, not one, and the bigger savings don’t arrive until the elusive (may-never-happen) out-years. This will be after Gates, maybe even Obama, is long gone. The first year savings ($7 billion) is a puny 1.2 percent of the 2012 Pentagon spending plan. The public schedule includes no savings in the next fiscal year, the one for 2011 that doesn’t even start until next October.

It’s a testament to how corrupt the now $400 billion a year contracting process has become that the changes outlined Monday seem in any way dramatic; they are, mostly, simple assertions of common sense. Among the new policies, as summarized by me:

read more at – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/29/pentagons-new-contractor_n_629993.html

Scrap dollar as sole reserve currency: U.N. report

Reuters
June 29, 2010
By Louis Charbonneau

A new United Nations report released on Tuesday calls for abandoning the U.S. dollar as the main global reserve currency, saying it has been unable to safeguard value.

But several European officials attending a high-level meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Council countered by saying that the market, not politicians, would determine what currencies countries would keep on hand for reserves.

“The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is a requisite for a stable reserve currency,” the U.N. World Economic and Social Survey 2010 said.

The report says that developing countries have been hit by the U.S. dollar’s loss of value in recent years.

“Motivated in part by needs for self-insurance against volatility in commodity markets and capital flows, many developing countries accumulated vast amounts of such (U.S. dollar) reserves during the 2000s,” it said.

The report supports replacing the dollar with the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights (SDRs), an international reserve asset that is used as a unit of payment on IMF loans and is made up of a basket of currencies.

“A new global reserve system could be created, one that no longer relies on the United States dollar as the single major reserve currency,” the U.N. report said.

The report said a new reserve system “must not be based on a single currency or even multiple national currencies but instead, should permit the emission of international liquidity — such as SDRs — to create a more stable global financial system.”

“Such emissions of international liquidity could also underpin the financing of investment in long-term sustainable development,” it said.

MARKETS DECIDE

Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a Malaysian economist and the U.N. assistant secretary general for economic development, told a news conference that “there’s going to be resistance” to the idea.

“In the whole post-war period, we’ve essentially had a dollar-based system,” he said, adding that the gradual emission of SDRs could help countries phase out the dollar.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who previously chaired a U.N. expert commission that considered ways of overhauling the global financial system, has advocated the creation of a new reserve currency system, possibly based on SDRs.

Russia and China have also supported the idea.

read more at – http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65S40620100629?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+reuters/topNews+%28News+/+US+/+Top+News%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Turks shot multiple times on Gaza aid ship: forensics

AFP
June 29, 2010

ANKARA — All but two of the nine Turks killed in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship were shot more than once, and five died from bullet wounds to the head, according to forensic reports.

The documents, penned this month, were made available to AFP Tuesday by lawyers for the victims’ families, who have petitioned Turkish prosecutors to investigate the May 31 bloodshed on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ferry.

“The findings make it clear the Israeli forces shot to kill the activists and not to overpower them,” one of the lawyers, Yasin Divrak, told AFP.

The youngest victim, 19-year-old Furkan Dogan, a dual Turkish-US national, was shot five times, including twice in the head, the report said.

A bullet that pierced his face was fired from close range, it said, adding he was hit also in the back of the head.

The forensic experts failed to detect other close-distance shots on the remaining victims.

All nine bodies had been washed before being brought to Turkey and their clothes were either blood-soaked or otherwise unfit for analysis, making it impossible to reach a conclusion on the ranges of most shots, according to the documents.

Journalist Cevdet Kiliclar, 38, the web editor of the Islamist charity IHH that led the ill-fated campaign, was killed by a single bullet that hit him between the eyebrows, the report said.

Divrak drew attention to the autopsy of 61-year-old Ibrahim Bilgen, which included the discovery of a tiny bag containing pellets, still intact in his brain, which the report said was was fired from a hunting rifle.

“It is not a type of weapon that we have ever heard of,” he said.

read more at – http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0629/turks-shot-multiple-times-gaza-aid-ship-forensics/

G20 reporters complain to police watchdog

CBC
June 29, 2010

Four journalists have filed complaints with Ontario’s police watchdog, alleging physical assaults and threats of sexual violence by police during the Toronto G20 summit, their lawyer says.

Amy Miller, Daniel McIsaac, Jesse Rosenfeld and Lisa Walter each filed complaints about their arrests with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director on Tuesday, their lawyer Julian Falconer of Falconer Charney LLP said in a release.

According to Rosenfeld’s complaint, the Toronto-based freelance journalist for the Guardian was covering a group of demonstrators in front of the Novotel hotel in downtown Toronto on Saturday evening when he said he was attacked by police.

Riot police arrived shortly after protesters gathered at the hotel at 10:30 p.m. and boxed in the crowd, saying everyone would be arrested, Rosenfeld said. When he went to ask whether journalists would also be arrested, the 26-year-old said two officers recognized him from a day earlier as “the loud mouth kid that was mouthing off to me yesterday.”

That was when he said he was grabbed by two officers, punched in the stomach and back and repeatedly kneed in the ribs.

Rosenfeld said he yelled to them that he was not resisting arrest and that he was a journalist. He was arrested for breach of the peace and taken to the detention centre in the city’s east end at midnight where he stayed until his release 18 hours later with no charges.

 

Threats of sexual violence

According to Miller’s complaint, the Montreal-based freelance journalist for the Dominion was covering a group of demonstrators who were detained by police in downtown Toronto on Sunday afternoon when she said she was verbally abused, arrested and taken to the detention centre.

“So you think you’re a journalist. You won’t be a journalist after we bring you to jail,” the 29-year-old recounted an officer saying to her in her complaint. “You’re going to be raped. We always like the pretty ones. We’re going to wipe the grin off your face when we gang bang you. We know how the Montreal girls roll.”

Miller alleged one of the arresting officers repeated the threat when she was at the detention centre. She was released about 12 hours later without any charges.

Lisa Walter, 41, an indie magazine writer for Our Times, said she was thrown to the ground and cuffed as she and another independent journalist covered the same group that was being arrested in downtown Toronto on Sunday afternoon, according to her complaint.

She said officers mocked her, saying her credentials were “fake,” questioned whether she was a man and the sergeant who ordered her arrest called her a “f—ing dyke” and “a douche bag,” her complaint states.

Walter said she was transported to the detention centre at 1:45 p.m. and tossed into a holding cell with about 24 other women who had to share an open portable toilet. She said her medication was withheld from her for several hours and she was given only two three-ounce glasses of water and a sandwich. Seven hours into her detention, Walter said she was moved to a segregation cell where she learned four of her six neighbours there said they were gay. She believes she was segregated because police thought she was a lesbian.

According to McIsaac’s complaint, he was covering the same protest as Miller for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. He said he was with Miller when he was assaulted and arrested by police. He was taken to a hospital after telling police that he had a pacemaker and then later transferred to the detention centre. The 27-year-old was also released later without being charged.

 

Police review urged

“If peaceful protesters and journalists engaged in peaceful coverage are treated this way, this is a sad day for democracy,” Falconer said in the release. “My clients are seeking accountability for what appears to be a serious overreaction by some police officers.”