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2010 October 30 | Activist News
Disobey

The Road to World War 3

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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 »

Daily Archives: October 30, 2010

Big Banks Told Not To ‘Fix’ A Fraud

Wall Street Journal
October 30, 2010
By ROBBIE WHELAN

Ohio’s attorney general threw a wrench into the banking industry’s push to quickly restart foreclosures by fixing faulty paperwork, and pressed them to modify mortgage loans.

In two letters released Friday, Attorney General Richard Cordray criticized a number of banks and loan-servicing companies, including Wells Fargo & Co.; Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage; Bank of America Corp.; and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Mr. Cordray said the banks are trying to paper over fraud committed in foreclosures with temporary fixes that don’t address underlying problems in the banks’ practices.

“It is not acceptable for a party who believes they submitted false court documents to merely replace those documents. Wells Fargo and any other banks are not simply allowed a ‘do-over,’ ” he wrote in the letter to Wells. The other letter was sent to Ohio judges, who were asked to notify Mr. Cordray when banks file substitute affidavits.

He demanded that the banks vacate any court order or motion that was based on improper paperwork. In an interview Friday, Mr. Cordray said the banks would “be well-served to work out a settlement with the borrowers to modify the loans and work out payments.”

Mr. Cordray’s letters come as several banks say they have reviewed their foreclosure procedures and are resuming evictions. But his insistence that they go beyond replacing affidavits by employees who have been labeled “robo-signers”—who didn’t adequately review underlying foreclosure documentation—threatens to upend banks’ efforts to resolve their foreclosure problems.

Mr. Cordray’s strategy gives clues to the goals of a 50-state probe, which was announced two weeks ago. Led by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, the effort was joined by top law-enforcement officers from all 50 states in response to reports of widespread errors in foreclosure filings and allegations of robo-signing.

“The banks are committing fraud on the court, essentially perjury, and then saying ‘Whoops! You caught me! Here’s some different evidence and use that instead,’ ” Mr. Cordray said in an interview Friday. “I know a lot of judges are not going to take kindly to that.”

Bank of America declined to comment. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said Friday the company intends to cooperate with Mr. Cordray’s inquiries and doesn’t “believe that any of these instances led to foreclosures which should not have otherwise occurred.” She added that Wells Fargo has “chosen to submit supplemental affidavits out of an abundance of caution.”

Tom Kelly, a J.P. Morgan spokesman, said the company is still reviewing foreclosure documents for mistakes and hasn’t refiled any new or replacement affidavits. Gina Proia, a spokeswoman for GMAC, said her company is “not proceeding with foreclosure sales in Ohio or any state using a defective affidavit.”

The aims of the 50-state probe were initially unclear. Some attorneys general, however, made reference to a 2008 settlement in which Bank of America agreed to an $8.4 billion loan-modification program after its Countrywide Financial unit was probed for predatory lending practices.

Mr. Cordray declined to discuss the 50-state investigation or the conversations he has had with other attorneys general about the matter. Mr. Cordray, a Democrat, faces a Republican challenger for his office in Tuesday’s general election.

Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins said in an Oct. 20 television interview that he was “confident with our policies and controls” related to foreclosures and that “the person at Wells who signs a foreclosure file is the same person as the person who reviews the file, and it is not always done that way in the industry.”

Full Article Here – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052702304879604575582743893387762.html

Amazon Defense Coalition: Three Chevron Lawyers Sanctioned For Obstructing Ecuador Environmental Trial

Business Wire
October 29, 2010

Facing $113 Billion in Potential Damages, Chevron Lawyers Seek Any Opportunity to Delay

LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A trial court has sanctioned and fined three Chevron lawyers for obstructing the trial where Chevron faces a multi-billion dollar judgment for the deliberate dumping of 18 billion gallons of toxic waste, according to court papers made available today.

“The evidence clearly shows Chevron used illegal practices that resulted in the massive destruction of the rainforest in Ecuador and the decimation of indigenous groups and other local residents”

Alberto Racines and Diego Larrea, both of whom have worked on Chevron’s legal team in Ecuador since the trial against Chevron began in 2003, were fined by Judge Nicolas Zambrano this week for repeatedly filing the same motions in an effort to delay the seven-year Ecuador trial.

The judge ruled that the lawyers had used Chevron’s motions “to obstruct the trial.” In 2009, a third Chevron lawyer – Patricio Campuzano – was sanctioned for the same reason.

On August 5 – one day after the court ordered both parties to submit their own damages assessments – Chevron filed 19 motions to nullify the order or the trial itself in a 30-minute period. Racines and Larrea then cited the failure of the trial judge to quickly rule on each of the motions as a basis to recuse him.

“The evidence clearly shows Chevron used illegal practices that resulted in the massive destruction of the rainforest in Ecuador and the decimation of indigenous groups and other local residents,” said Pablo Fajardo, who represents dozens of indigenous and farmer communities suing the oil giant for dumping more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest.

“To help Chevron evade its obligations, Chevron’s lawyers are trying to sabotage the Ecuadorian legal system in addition to violating their professional obligations,” he added.

Chevron, which operated several oil fields in Ecuador from 1964 to 1990, faces damages and clean-up costs estimated at up to $113 billion. The amount includes compensation for an estimated 10,000 potential deaths from cancer in the coming decades, according to reports submitted by a team of prominent American technical experts.

Full Article Here – http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101029005858/en/Amazon-Defense-Coalition-Chevron-Lawyers-Sanctioned-Obstructing

Supreme Court refuses to stop Minnesota disclosure law

Associated Press
October 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to block a Minnesota law requiring disclosure of corporate political spending.

The high court without comment turned away a request for an injunction from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

The Supreme Court earlier this year freed businesses to spend company money on elections, overturning state restrictions on corporate political spending. Minnesota lawmakers responded by enacting disclosure requirements so that corporate campaign spending would be public.

Full Article Here – http://www.sctimes.com/article/20101029/NEWS01/110290049/Supreme-Court-refuses-to-stop-Minnesota-disclosure-law

Federal Government Asks for Closed Courtroom to Protect Goldman Sachs Secrets

AllGov 
October 29, 2010
By Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky

The U.S. Department of Justice has requested that a federal judge seal the courtroom of a trial involving computer code theft in order to protect trade secrets of Goldman Sachs.
 
Sergey Aleynikov was arrested by the FBI on charges of stealing computer code that supports Goldman’s high frequency trading system, which allows the bank to buy and sell stocks in a fraction of a second.
 
Goldman Sachs and others use “flash trading” to send out automated sell offers at higher and higher prices until one comes back with no buyer. The program then drops back to the highest acceptable price and sells at what the buyer set as his maximum limit. This allows Goldman to always obtain the best possible selling price, while the buyer loses the normal give and take of bargaining. In the case of large orders, such as those from pension funds or mutual funds, this can cost the buyers a small fortune.
Federal prosecutors have argued that the general public should not be allowed to observe the trial when details of Goldman’s trade secrets are discussed. They also asked that any documents related to Goldman’s trading strategies be sealed.
 

Pentagon official ran private spy network, lied to investigators: report

AFP
October 29, 2010

A senior Pentagon official broke Department of Defense rules and lied to military officials when he set up a network of private contractors to spy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, The New York Times reported Friday.
The Times cited an internal investigation stating that the official, Michael Furlong, set up an unauthorized spy network starting in late 2009 and “deliberately misled” top generals about it.

Pentagon rules forbid using contractors as spies.

But some of the information provided by the network was used for strikes against militants, the Times reported.

The results of the Pentagon investigation, ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, are classified, the Times said.

It added that the Air Force inspector general is conducting a separate probe to see if Furlong broke any laws or committed contract fraud.

Furlong’s network was made up of small companies — including one run by an ex-CIA agent — that used agents in Afghanistan and Pakistan to gather intelligence on militant groups.

It operated under a 22 million dollar contract run by Lockheed Martin, according to the Times.

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/pentagon-official-ran-private-spy-network-lied-investigators-report/