Tag Archive: Justice Department


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Justice officials fear nation’s biggest wiretap operation may not be legal

Brad Heath and Brett Kelman 

Miniature DEA badges are displayed for sale in the gift shop at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, Virginia.

© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Miniature DEA badges are displayed for sale in the gift shop at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, Virginia. RIVERSIDE, Calif.

 

Federal drug agents have built a massive wiretapping operation in the Los Angeles suburbs, secretly intercepting tens of thousands of Americans’ phone calls and text messages to monitor drug traffickers across the United States despite objections from Justice Department lawyers who fear the practice may not be legal.

 

Nearly all of that surveillance was authorized by a single state court judge in Riverside County, who last year signed off on almost five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge’s orders allowed investigators — usually from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — to intercept more than 2 million conversations involving 44,000 people, federal court records show.

 

The eavesdropping is aimed at dismantling the drug rings that have turned Los Angeles’ eastern suburbs into what the DEA says is the nation’s busiest shipping corridor for heroin and methamphetamine. Riverside wiretaps are supposed to be tied to crime within the county, but investigators have relied on them to make arrests and seize shipments of cash and drugs as far away as New York and Virginia, sometimes concealing the surveillance in the process.

 

The surveillance has raised concerns among Justice Department lawyers in Los Angeles, who have mostly refused to use the results in federal court because they have concluded the state court’s eavesdropping orders are unlikely to withstand a legal challenge, current and former Justice officials said .

 

“It was made very clear to the agents that if you’re going to go the state route, then best wishes, good luck and all that, but that case isn’t coming to federal court,” a former Justice Department lawyer said. The lawyer and other officials described the situation on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the department’s internal deliberations.

 

Read More Here

AP, DOJ clash over seriousness of leak that prompted phone records seizure

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calls on a reporter during a news conference at the Justice Department on Tuesday.

By Michael Isikoff
National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

Justice Department and Associated Press officials clashed Tuesday over leaked classified information that led the government to seize AP phone records, with Attorney General Eric Holder saying it “put the American people at risk” and the news organization’s chief executive insisting it delayed publishing its story until it was assured “national security concerns had passed.”

The day of back-and-forth public sallies came as new details emerged about negotiations between the AP and U.S. officials over the unauthorized release of classified information on a foiled bomb plot in Yemen, information that apparently triggered the investigation.

“This was a very, very serious leak,” Holder said at a news conference. “I’ve been a prosecutor since 1976 – and I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, in the top two or three most serious leaks that I’ve ever seen. It put the American people at risk – and that is not hyperbole.”

Holder defended the secret subpoena for about two months of AP phone records on 20 separate telephone lines without prior notice as a necessary step, saying that trying to find the source of the leak “required very aggressive action.”

Holder’s comments and a letter from Deputy Attorney General James Cole defending the seizure of the AP records – without notifying the news organization until last week —  drew a stern response from AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. He  blasted the action as “overbroad under the law,” saying  that “more than 100 journalists work in the locations served by those telephones.”

“Rather than talk to us in advance, they seized these phone records in secret, saying that notifying us would compromise their investigation,” Pruitt said in a statement late Tuesday. “They offer no explanation of this, however.

 

Read Full Article Here

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DOJ’s secret subpoena of AP phone records broader than initially revealed

Information has emerged  in the Justice Department seizure of Associated Press phone records as well as the news that reporter for Fox News is now a target of a leak investigation concerning North Korea.  NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports.

The Justice Department’s secret subpoena for AP phone records included the seizure of records for five reporters’ cellphones and three home phones as well as two fax lines, a lawyer for the news organization tells NBC News.

David Schulz, the chief lawyer for the AP, said the subpoenas also covered the records for 21 phone lines in five AP office lines — including one for a dead phone line at  office in Washington that had been shut down six years ago. The phone lines at four other offices – where  100 reporters worked — were also covered by the subpoenas, Schulz said.

Although AP had given general information about the subpoenas last week, it provided new details Monday about the number of cell and home phone records as it considers possible legal action against the Justice Department.

 

Read Full Article Here

DoHowToEvo

Published on May 14, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says he’s ordered a Justice Department investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny.

He said the FBI was coordinating with the Department of Justice to see if any laws were broken.

At a news conference Tuesday at the Justice Department, Holder called the practice, in his words, “Outrageous and unacceptable.”

Holder’s comments come a day after President Barack Obama said that, if the agency intentionally targeted such groups, “that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it.”

Steven Miller, the IRS acting chief, has acknowledged “a lack of sensitivity” in the agency’s screenings of political groups seeking tax-exempt status and insisted those mistakes won’t be repeated.

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IRS Under Fire for Scrutinizing Conservative Groups

PBSNewsHour PBSNewsHour·

Published on May 13, 2013

Reports charge the IRS targeted conservative political groups in 2012 by applying extra scrutiny to organizations that focused on government spending or the U.S. Constitution or had the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names. Judy Woodruff reports on responses from the president and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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The Time Obama Made An Auditing Joke FLASHBACK 2009

StandUpFor FreedomLiberty StandUpFor FreedomLiberty

Published on May 10, 2013

President Obama was giving the commencement address at Arizona State University in 2009 where he joked about auditing the president of ASU and their board of regents . Today, the IRS apologized for unfairly targeting Tea Party groups with extra scrutiny about their tax status.

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Judge may come to hospital to inform Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of charges

Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:16PM

Press TV

 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, may be charged by federal prosecutors as early as Sunday, a Department of Justice official told CNN.

 

Because Tsarnaev is still in serious condition, a judge or magistrate would likely come to the hospital to inform him of the charges, a law enforcement source said. An arraignment would take place at a later date.

 

Tsarnaev, 19, is currently unable to speak and is under heavy guard.

 

Tsarnaev was arrested Friday morning when, after 25 minutes of negotiations with the FBI, he crawled out of the boat he was hiding in and surrendered, a law enforcement official with knowledge of how the arrest occurred told CNN.

 

Authorities have not said publicly what charges will be filed against him, but a Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN he will face federal terrorism charges and possibly state murder charges.

 

Although Massachusetts does not have the death penalty, prosecutors could seek capital punishment at the federal level, the Justice Department official said.

 

“Given the facts that I’ve seen, it would be appropriate to use the death penalty in this case and I hope they would apply it in federal court,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” CNN

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon killed at least three people and injured 176 others when two bombs exploded near the race’s finish line. The Hill

 

The FBI led the investigation of the blasts near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. UPI

 

Police killed one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombing suspects in a shootout early Friday and pursued a chaotic deadly street-to-street manhunt for his accomplice, officials said. AFP

 

A doctor involved in treating the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died in a gunbattle with police said he had injuries head to toe and all limbs intact when he arrived at the hospital. AP

 

Surviving Boston bomb suspect was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. AP

 

Police said they took the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings into custody Friday night, after a day of intense searching that shut down daily life across a large swath of greater Boston. The Washington Post

 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is hospitalized and under heavy guard. Though, according to The Associated Press, he is in too poor a condition to undergo interrogation yet.

 

Alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is likely to be sentenced to death for his part in the plot if he is tried in a federal civilian court, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday. The Hill

 

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva maintains her younger son is innocent and like so many of the brothers’ acquaintances, claims they were good, courteous kids and model students – especially the younger 19-year-old Dzhokhar. RT

 

But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act. RT

 

ISH/KK

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(CNN) — FBI agents interviewed one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings two years ago, but found no connection with terror groups.

An FBI official said agents interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of the Russian government.

“The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups,” the FBI said in a statement.

The FBI said it took a number of investigative steps to check on the request, including looking at his travel history, checking databases for derogatory information and searching for Web postings.

Agents also interviewed Tsarnaev’s family members, the FBI said, but did not detect terrorist activity.

Boston suspects: Immigrant dream to American nightmare

“The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011,” the FBI’s statement said. “The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government.”

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Friday that information that Tsarnaev had been interviewed by the FBI in the past was disturbing.

“It’s new information to me and it’s very disturbing that he’s on the FBI’s radar screen,” McCaul told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

No immediate suggestion of accomplices in bombings

McCaul praised the FBI’s efforts investigating the case since Monday’s bombings.

“But if he was on the radar and they let him out of their sights, then that’s an issue, certainly, for me,” McCaul said.

The suspects’ parents told Russian state media that the FBI had been speaking with their sons.

 Analysis: Older suspect in bombings grew increasingly religious, analysis shows

Read Full Article Here
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Judge rebuffs feds’ secret arguments on no-fly list

By JOSH GERSTEIN |

 

A federal judge in California has rejected the Obama administration’s effort to use secret arguments and evidence to defeat a lawsuit relating to the so-called no-fly list designed to keep suspected terrorists off of airline flights.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup turned down a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss former Stanford student Rahinah Ibrahim’s lawsuit against various federal government agencies over her reported inclusion on the no-fly list as well as an incident in September 2005 where she was barred from taking a flight from San Francisco and detained for a couple of hours.

Alsup, who sits in San Francisco, also refused the Justice Department’s offer to show him affidavits from law enforcement officials which the government would not share with Ibrahim or her attorneys.

“Here the government seeks to affirmatively use allegedly privileged information to dispose of the case entirely without ever revealing to the other side what its secret evidence might be,” Alsup wrote in an order filed last week (and posted here). “Only in the rarest of circumstances should a district judge, in his or her discretion, receive ex parte argument and evidence in secret from only one side aimed at winning or ending a case over the objection of the other side. Here, the government has not justified its sweeping proposal.

“It has gone so far as even to redact from its table of authorities some of the reported caselaw on which it relies! This is too hard to swallow,” Alsup wrote.

 

Read Full Article Here

Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Government Overreach  :  Corruption

‘Fast and Furious’ ATF Official Granted Paid Leave to Take 6-Figure Job at JP Morgan

IssaRep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversigh and Government Reform Committee (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The long-awaited inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s botched gun-running scheme is finished, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

But along with that news comes more questions: Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are demanding to know why a top ATF official involved in Operation Fast and Furious remains on paid leave from ATF — while simultaneously drawing a six-figure salary from J.P. Morgan, a major investment bank.

In a letter to the acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Issa and Grassley asked why the Justice Department would approve such a special arrangement for Bill McMahon.

“Under any reading of the relevant personnel regulations, it appears that ATF management was under no obligation to approve this sort of arrangement,” wrote Issa and Grassley. “Given McMahon’s outsized role in the Fast and Furious scandal, the decision to approve an extended annual leave arrangement in order to attain pension eligibility and facilitate full-time, outside employment while still collecting a full-time salary at ATF raises a host of questions about both the propriety of the arrangement and the judgment of ATF management.”

Issa and Grassley say the ATF has made it possible for McMahon to “double dip for nearly half a year by receiving two full-time paychecks — one from the taxpayer and one from the private sector.”

They  noted that the treatment of McMahon is “in sharp contrast” to how the ATF has treated whistleblowers such as Special Agent John Dodson, “who is told he must wait until the Inspector General’s report is complete before the agency will even consider his simple request for a statement retracting the false statements made about him by agency leadership.”

Issa and Grassley noted that ATF approved the arrangement for McMahom before the Justice Department inspector general finished his report on the failed gun tracking scheme.

As for the IG report examining Fast and Furious, as well as the Justice Department’s knowledge of and response to it, Issa said the report is done:

“We know that the IG report is finished, we know that it’s at Justice, and we know that we can’t see it. We’re hoping, though, that they will release it,” Issa told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday.

Issa said he’s “positive” that the IG’s report “is going to say the same thing our report has said, which is — this is somebody (Bill McMahon) who is responsible for and signed documents that he told our committee he didn’t see, didn’t know about. Now, the only question is — did he not read them and sign them?”

“We’re dealing with somebody who should have been fired from ATF,” Issa added.

According to the final congressional report on Fast and Furious, William McMahon was a supervisor at ATF headquarters who served as a “crucial link” between ATF headquarters and the Phoenix Field Division.

“He received a wealth of information about Fast and Furious” — including the fact that straw purchasers had bought over 900 firearms, many of which ended up in Mexico — “but did not view it as his role as supervisor to ask questions about events in the field. He has publicly admitted to having failed in his duty to read information presented to him about the case.”

The report says McMahon rubber stamped critical documents that came across his desk without reading them.

McMahon also “gave false testimony to Congress about signing applications for wiretap intercepts in Fast and Furious,” the report says.

Operation Fast and Furious began in the fall of 2009 as part of a plan to track guns illegally purchased in the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels. The ATF lost track of most of the 2,000 weapons that were allowed to “walk” into Mexico, and two of the straw-purchased guns ended up at the scene of a U.S. border agent’s murder.

(Issa told Fox News that news of McMahon’s double-dipping will produce “more outrage for the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.)

According to the final congressional report, “From the outset, the case was marred by missteps, poor judgments, and an inherently reckless strategy.”

Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has accused Attorney General Eric Holder and other Justice Department officials of undermining his investigation into Fast and Furious.

GOP applauds new DOJ whistleblower protection position

By Jordy Yager
The Hill

Republican lawmakers are lauding the appointment of an ombudsman for the Justice Department’s inspector general to tamp down on retaliation against whistleblowers and ensure allegations of waste or abuse are dealt with speedily.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said their joint investigation of the DOJ’s failed gun-tracking operation “Fast and Furious” directly led to the need for the whistleblower ombudsman position, which IG Michael Horowitz created on Wednesday.

Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was first told by a whistleblower about the controversial “gun walking” tactics in Fast and Furious, which oversaw the sale of about 2,000 weapons to straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels in a botched attempt to dismantle their gun-trafficking routes. Hundreds of the weapons were lost.

“In light of Operation Fast and Furious, this position is especially necessary at the Justice Department,” Grassley said in a statement.

“Without whistleblowers, mismanagement, abuse and wrongdoing would go undetected. This effort is an important first step and, to be effective, the ombudsman needs to appreciate these realities and stand up to intense pressure from agencies to discredit whistleblowers.”

Grassley and Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have backed legislation that would expand the protections given to whistleblowers and create an ombudsman role to educate agency employees about their rights.

The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), passed the upper chamber in May. And while the House has yet to take action on the measure, Issa said the move by Horowitz to appoint Robert Storch as ombudsman will create a new level of trust in the department.

“The creation of this new position by the inspector general is a clear and positive response to the difficulties ATF Fast and Furious whistleblowers encountered,” Issa said in a statement. “The ombudsperson should give DOJ employees greater confidence to come forward when they see wrongdoing or abuse.”

Storch’s new responsibilities will include making sure whistleblower complaints are addressed promptly by the IG, keeping whistleblowers up to speed about the IG’s progress in investigating any allegations they raise, monitoring retaliation claims and educating agency employees about their whistleblower protection rights.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in uncovering waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” Horowitz said in a statement. “This new position will enable the to continue its leadership as a strong and independent voice within the Department of Justice on whistleblower issues.”

Grassley said he plans to ask for regular updates about how the new position is affecting whistleblowers in the DOJ.

One of the most anticipated reports from the inspector general’s office is its investigation of Fast and Furious, which could provide a new depth of understanding about who is responsible for allowing agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to let guns “walk” into the hands of known criminals with no plan to get them back.

The IG is expected to complete its report soon.

Wells Fargo pays $175M to settle race discrimination probe

By msnbc.com staff and news services

The Justice Department says Wells Fargo & Co. will pay at least $175 million to settle accusations that it allegedly discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending from 2004 through 2009.

The settlement, which needs approval from a judge, would end the investigation into whether the fourth largest U.S. bank between 2004 and 2009 knowingly targeted minorities for risky mortgages that came with higher costs, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The Department of Justice today filed the second largest fair lending settlement in the department’s history to resolve allegations that Wells Fargo Bank, the largest residential home mortgage originator in the United States, engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending from 2004 through 2009,” said a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement will provide $125 million in compensation for minority borrowers the DOJ said were steered into subprime mortgages, which usually carry higher fees. Wells Fargo will pay $50 million more in direct down payment assistance to borrowers in parts of the country where the DOJ identified large numbers of discrimination victims.

At a news conference, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the government will ensure that borrowers hit hard by the housing crisis will have an opportunity to access homeownership.

Cole said the bank’s discriminatory lending practices resulted in more than 34,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers in 36 states and the District of Columbia paying higher rates for loans solely because of the color of their skin.

Wells Fargo in May said it could face civil charges under laws that prohibit discrimination against minority homebuyers. At the time, the lender said in a securities filing it believed the charges should not be brought and said it was seeking to show the department that it is in compliance with fair lending laws.

The government investigation found that loans submitted to Wells Fargo by mortgage brokers had varied interest rates, fees, and costs based only on race and not correlated to the borrowers’ creditworthiness, according to the court document.

Wells Fargo noted in a statement that it has denied the claims.

“Wells Fargo is settling this matter solely for the purpose of avoiding contested litigation with the DOJ,” it said, “and to instead devote its resources to continuing to provide fair credit services and choices to eligible customers and important and meaningful assistance to borrowers in distressed U.S. real estate markets.”

The disclosure came after Bank of America Corp’s Countrywide Financial unit agreed in December to pay a record $335 million to settle similar charges.

Last year, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo received an $85 million penalty from the Federal Reserve Board over charges it steered borrowers into high-cost loans. The Fed ordered Wells to compensate certain borrowers between $1,000 and $20,000.

The cities of Baltimore and Memphis filed suits alleging Wells Fargo engaged in “reverse redlining,” or intentionally targeting minority communities for predatory mortgage loans, leading to high foreclosures in minority neighborhoods.

In May, Memphis agreed to drop its suit after Wells Fargo agreed to contribute $7.5 million toward local homeowner and economic development initiatives. The bank also set a $425 million mortgage lending goal in the Memphis area, including $125 million in loans for low- and moderate-income borrowers.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Defiant Eric Holder tells Congress to stuff its contempt citation

By Capitol Hill Blue


Attorney General Eric Holder (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

A defiant Attorney General Eric Holder lashed out at House Republicans over a contempt of Congress citation from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, calling the 23-17 party-line vote “an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch.”

Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, angry over Holder’s refusal to turn over requested documents on the Justice Department‘s failed “Fast and Furious” gun-running scheme and President Barack Obama’s use of executive privilege to seal the documents, forced the vote.

Said Holder in a statement released by his office:

This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer.  It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people.

“Fast and Furious” was supposed to help Holder’s department track the flow of guns from the United States to drug cartels in Mexico but most of the arms went missing and two ended up at the crime scene where Customs and Border Control agent Brian Terry was murdered.

Said Holder:

From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later.

That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth or address the problems associated with this operation and prior ones dating back to the previous Administration.

Repbublicans contend Holder lied to the committee and has withheld evidence.  House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday the full house will vote on the contempt citation next week “unless the Attorney General re-evaluates his choices.:

Holder’s response:  Not in their lifetime.

Vote on Holder contempt citation only the beginning

Conservative Examiner

 

The U.S. House of Representatives announced today that a date has been set for a vote on a contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General Eric Holder for his failure to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal.

The vote has been set for June 20.

House Speaker John Boehner stated,

The Justice Department is out of excuses. Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested, or Congress will have no choice but to move forward with holding the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing investigation.

Now that Speaker Boehner is behind the effort to cite Holder for contempt, the measure is expected to have smooth sailing in the initial vote in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The citation should also easily pass a vote in the full House, where 31 Democrats have already pledged to join the Republican majority in voting for holding the Attorney General in contempt.

Politics and Legislation

Deputy PM denies Kremlin cover-up of multi-millions in offshore deals

The Russian Prosecutor’s Office has denied that the earnings of deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov are related to his job in government. ­The accusations came from several international business dailies that disclosed details of multi-million-dollar transactions involving Shuvalov. They said Shuvalov’s offshore company, registered in his wife’s name, has earned millions investing in the projects of Russia’s most powerful enterprises, among them Gazprom, during the last twelve years – while he has been a deputy prime minister. Journalists believe that it was Shuvalov’s post that allowed him access to the best possible deals…..

http://rt.com/news/prime-time/shuvalov-assets-offshore-corruption-692/

Open mic catches Obama asking Russian president for space on missile defense head

Posted by: CNN White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar In a private conversation about the planned U.S.-led NATO missile defense system in Europe, President Obama asked outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev for space on the issue. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama told Medvedev. “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space,” Medvedev replied. “This is my last election,” Obama said. “After my election I have more flexibility.” “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev said, referring to incoming President Vladimir Putin……

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=world/2012/03/26/dnt-keilar-obama-asks-for-space-on-missile-defense.cnn   http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/26/open-mic-catches-obama-asking-russian-president-for-space-on-missile-defense/

Children ‘forced to shout Long Live Sarkozy!’ when French president visited their school

By Peter Allen The French president has caused an outcry after dozens of infant school children were forced to chant ‘Long Live Sarkozy!’ when he visited their school. Parents complained about the youngsters being used as ‘propaganda tools’ after they were made to treat Nicolas Sarkozy as a hero, waving Tricolour flags and constantly shouting his name. Some were even kissed by Mr Sarkozy, who is hugely unpopular and widely expected to lose the presidential election being held in France in the Spring…..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2101337/Children-forced-shout-Long-Live-Sarkozy-French-president-visited-school.html#ixzz1qRhEm135

38 House Members Filtered Government Money to Relatives and Their Employers

Nearly 40 members of the House of Representatives earmarked $150 million to organizations affiliated with themselves and their family members from 2008 to 2010, according to a government watchdog organization. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported that although 24 of the earmarkers were Democrats and only 14 Republicans, the top five representatives who earmarked to organizations affiliated with them or their family members were all Republicans: Kay Granger (R-Texas) earmarked $28.3 million to her son’s project. J.D. Granger is the executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority. Jerry Lewis (R-California) who earmarked a combined $25.5 million to three relatives’ organizations. Bill Young (R-Florida) earmarked a combined $16.6 million to two sons’ employers. In 2008 he herded $4.4 million to defense contractor SAIC’s facility in St. Petersburg, Florida, where son Patrick is a security administrator. Another $8.5 million went to the National Forensic Science Technology Center, where son Billy is a senior consultant. John Mica (R-Florida) earmarked $13 million to his daughter’s client. Mica has five relatives who work as lobbyists, two brothers, a son and a nephew. His daughter, D’Anne, ran a public relations firm whose client, the Central Commuter Rail, received the $13 million. Michael Simpson (R-Idaho) earmarked $12.5 million to his wife’s employer, the Idaho National Laboratory…….

http://www.allgov.com/Where_is_the_Money_Going/ViewNews/38_House_Members_Filtered_Government_Money_to_Relatives_and_Their_Employers_120326

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Economy

British firm discovers oil in Kenya

A British company has announced it has struck oil in Kenya for the first time, beating rivals including China in the race to strike crude. President Mwai Kibaki said it was “the first time Kenya has made such a discovery” and called it a “major breakthrough”. Tullow Oil dug more than 3,000ft into the sand and rock of the country’s northern Turkana region, hitting viable “light crude” samples that suggest Kenya’s oil is of a similar geological provenance as Uganda’s. That country found large deposits, also identified first by Tullow, in 2006 and is expected to begin refining and exports soon. The discovery in Kenya follows more than a decade of exploration across the inhospitable north stretching from the Somali border in the east to the lands around Lake Turkana in the west, where some of the oldest bones of early hominids were found. British, Chinese, Italian and French companies are understood to have been in the race to strike crude first. Tullow Oil was the most recent operator to join the search…..

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/kenya/9167381/British-firm-discovers-oil-in-Kenya.html

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Wars and Rumors of War

US approves $1.3 billion in military aid to Egyptian military dictatorship By Madison Ruppert So much for revolution, and so much for the United States being absolutely and completely broke. Since I wrote the article “Egypt: what revolution?” in July of last year, very little progress has been made. United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States will be giving military aid to Egypt even though there are “concerns that Cairo was not meeting goals in its democratic transition,” according to Azerbaijan’s Trend News Agency. I believe that this is a bit of an understatement, seeing as the democratic transition has yet to occur and, like Libya, the people of Egypt are in many ways worse off than they were before. Instead of addressing the fact that Egypt is being ruled by a military dictatorship, Clinton waived all of the conditions placed by Congress on the $1.3 billion in aid…..

http://EndtheLie.com/2012/03/24/us-approves-1-3-billion-in-military-aid-to-egyptian-military-dictatorship/#ixzz1qRYKkwHI

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Environmental

BP oil spill continues to kill

A can is seen coated with oil that washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in Waveland, Mississippi (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP) The infamous oil spoil which gushed for 86 days in the Gulf of Mexico continues to have a rippling effect on the ecosystem. The spill caused by the London based oil giant British Petroleum, is responsible for the deaths of 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which was approximately 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, and is now being blamed by scientist for the slow death of a brightly colored deep-sea coral community. The laboratory reports which have taken several months have resulted in scientist pointing the finger at one of the most catastrophic oil spills in history. The brown and dull coral which has been left in a state of ruin continues to sway in the gulf which had more than 70,000 barrels of oil pouring into it per day……

http://rt.com/usa/news/bp-oil-spill-contines-612/

Green Climate Fund Wants Immunity from Any Kind of Prosecution

Activist Post

Fox News is reporting that the Green Climate Fund, created by the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is seeking full diplomatic immunity from “any kind of legal process, including civil and criminal prosecution, in the countries where it operates.” The U.N. enacted the legal framework for the private-public fund at the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, but it was ratified last year during COP-17 in Durban, South Africa. The fund, controlled by a 24-nation board of trustees, received $30 billion in start-up money from U.N. member nations. The function of the Green Climate Fund is to be the facilitator of money between countries. According to Wikipedia they will act “as a mechanism to transfer money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change.” In other words, they are the group that decides where the money gets distributed. Clearly an outfit like this handling such large sums of money would be ripe for corruption. And perhaps that’s why they seek this broad immunity before the wealth transfers begin in earnest. Why else would any organization request immunity if they weren’t anticipating injustices in the actions they take? Their stated objective is to mobilize $100 billion in annual funds. They admit, however, that there’s “a lot of uncertainty where this money would have to come from.” Yet, they have outlined several potential sources of funding that further blends an already dubious relationship between governance and big business….

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/green-climate-fund-wants-immunity-from.html

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Whistle Blowers

US needs Assange under arrest ‘while seeking Manning link’ Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, faces an uncertain future. Pr. Marcello Ferrada-Noli told RT why he thinks it’s convenient for the US to have Assange under arrest in Sweden. ­Even considering the particularities of the Swedish legal system, there is the possibility of questioning Assange by various means, by phone, for instance, noted Ferrada-Noli, a Senior Advisor at Stockholm University. But, he added, there is a political reason why Assange is kept under arrest – and why several players are falling into place to let America get its hands on WikiLeaks’ founder. “In the US, the preparations for the trial [over Assange] are seeking a connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, trying to make Assange accountable. For that they need time, they need to prepare this material. For that, of course, it’s highly convenient to keep him under arrest.” The professor also mentions the biased image of Assange the media has been carefully drawing.

http://rt.com/news/us-assange-sweden-wikileaks-617/

New Whistleblower Emerges at JPMorgan Chase.

The Rumor Mill News Reading Room

New Whistleblower Emerges at JPMorgan Chase.
Posted By: Lion [Send E-Mail]
Date: Monday, 26-Mar-2012 07:54:05

——————
Source: Alcin Bramerton
http://alcuinbramerton.blogspot.com/
New whistleblower emerges at JPMorgan Chase.
JPMC actively involved in manipulation of LIBOR and precious metals futures.
JPMC hid client assets from MF Global. Greece holds hidden derivatives in excess of $1 trillion to which JPMC is a substantial counterparty.
Cascading global credit event imminent.
The following letter was originally posted on the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission website in the public comments section.

Read Letter Here 

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Activism

Bakers Green Acres vs. Michigan DNR – Family Farm Under Attack

Uploaded by Kyle Miron on Mar 21, 2012 A family farm in rural Michigan may be shut down by a Government Entity who has passed a law stating that the breed of hogs they are raising are a threat to neighboring croplands. In truth, the Big Pork Industry has been planning this campaign to take down all family farms with hopes to eventually siege complete control of the American Food Supply. This short-film was created with hopes to inspire the public to take action. The Baker Family website is http://www.bakersgreenacres.com and their battle has just begun. Please join in their fight.

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Radiation

Tokyo Soil – Blanketed With Fukushima Radiation – Would Be Considered “Radioactive Waste” In the United States

Tokyo Slammed with Radiation We noted in August that some parts of Tokyo have more radiation than existed in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zones. And see this and this. There are indications that radiation levels are increasing in Tokyo. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen took 5 random soil samples in Tokyo recently, and found that all 5 were so radioactive that they would be considered radioactive waste in the United States, which would have to be specially disposed of at a facility in Texas: ……

Tokyo Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste In The US from Fairewinds Energy Education on Vimeo.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/03/tokyo-soil-hit-with-fukushima-radiation-would-be-considered-radioactive-waste-in-the-united-states.html

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Psy – Ops

WESTERN PSY-OPS AGAINST SYRIA: When Mrs Assad’s “Shopping” Becomes a “Crime Against Humanity”

by Finian Cunningham

Michelle Obama, the fashion style icon wife of US President Obama, is to have travel sanctions imposed on her by member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including Russia, China and SCO associate state Iran. Mrs Obama’s annual six-figure budget for designer clothes and accessories is seen as an affront to moral decency at a time when her husband is overseeing foreign wars of aggression, mass murder in several territories using aerial drones, and ordering the assassination of individuals such as nuclear scientists in Iran. The equally fashionista-conscious wives of British and French premiers, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, are also reportedly lined up for sanctions in several Middle East and Central Asian countries owing to these leaders supporting the illegal and murderous US-led NATO bombing campaign on Libya. By now, the reader will have spotted the above “report” to be a spoof. However, when it comes to the real world, the European Union is applying such unprecedented measures against the wife of Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad. “EU slaps Sanctions on Assad’s Wife,” read several newspaper headlines after Europe’s foreign ministers banned British born Asma Assad from traveling to EU states, and ordered the freezing of her personal assets. Describing the 36-year-old Syrian First Lady as stylish, glamorous, even sexy, the combined lurid portrayal was aimed at presenting Mrs Assad as an insensitive bimbo in the face of her country’s ongoing violence and misery….. http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29993 The CIA’s War On Human Consciousness The T.V. Kills Your Brain With The CIA’s Mass Mind Control Gun. “From 1950 to 1962, the C.I.A. ran a massive research project, a veritable Manhattan Project of the mind, spending over $1 billion a year to crack the code of human consciousness, from both mass persuasion and the use of coercion in individual interrogation.” – Professor Alfred McCoy, author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.” This quote is from Prof. McCoy’s interview with Democracy Now on February 17, 2006. “Our brain is domineering when it comes to coping with reality. We sometimes see things not as they really are, sometimes invent categories that do not exist and sometimes fail to see things that are really there. There are people who have never seen or heard of an aircraft and will not be able to imagine it and a real airplane overhead will be distorted in their minds, creating alternative realities. To recognize that what we call reality is only a consensus reality (only what we have agreed to call reality) is to recognize that we can perceive only what we can conceive. Captain Cook’s ship was invisible to the Tahitians because they could not conceive of such a vessel. Joseph Pearce explains this best: “Man’s mind mirrors a universe that mirrors man’s mind.”” – Bharati Sarkar, “Consciousness – Our third eye.” “Remember: those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo. It is obvious that they cannot completely control the propagation of the information……

http://disquietreservations.blogspot.com/2012/03/cias-war-on-human-consciousness.html

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Articles of Interest

Black Panther who posted bounty for Martin’s killer arrested

The New Black Panther Party member behind the call for vigilante justice against Trayvon Martin’s killer has been arrested. ­On Monday Hashim Nzinga was imprisoned for an unrelated weapons charge. According to a Dekalb County Sheriff’s arrest warrant, Nzinga had a FN Herstal 5.7 x 28 handgun which was pawned. Over the weekend Nzinga announced to the media that anyone who was able to capture Zimmerman, “dead or alive” would be handed a reward of $10,000. The New Black Panther Party’s campaign to track and hunt down Martin’s killer was widely promoted with flyers and press conferences all across Sanford, Florida, the location of the black teen’s death. The radical group’s national chief of staff was arrested during a visit to a probation office by his probation officer….. http://rt.com/usa/news/arrest-panther-zimmerman-new-688/ Citing Potential “Hate,” Feds and Race Profiteers Descend on Florida As race-hatred profiteers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson whip up a frenzy of hysteria over a hypothetical racial element to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida last month, the Obama administration’s Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether or not shooter George Zimmerman can be federally prosecuted for a “hate crime.” And experts fear the situation is spiraling quickly out of control. Some observers are even worried a “race war” may erupt as a group of racist blacks — the New Black Panther Party — offered a “bounty” for the “capture” of Zimmerman, who has not been charged with a crime. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” said New Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad during a rally in Florida, leading a group of followers chanting “black power.” “It’s time for us, as black men, to take justice in our own hands. If you won’t give us justice, we will have to take justice,” Muhammad told the crowd. “An eye for an eye. A life for a life.” Local officials and law enforcement condemned the incitement to violence and warned that “vigilante justice” could result in criminal charges. But the anti-Semitic black supremacist group has repeatedly called for violence against whites, Jews, and law enforcement. And during the 2008 election, members of the party were caught on film carrying weapons and intimidating voters at polling places….. Post Pic here http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/11310-citing-potential-hate-feds-and-race-profiteers-descend-on-florida 14 defining characteristics of fascism: The U.S. in 2012 Gregory Patin BlacklistedNews.com When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. — Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here. (1935) In the spring of 2003, ex-corporate executive and political scientist Lawrence W. Britt published an essay in Free Inquiry magazine entitled “Fascism Anyone?” In his work, Britt examined the traits of the two governments that formed the original historical model for fascism, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and five other protofascist regimes that imitated that model, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. He identified 14 characteristics that were common to all of them. These traits have since been widely accepted as the 14 defining characteristics of fascism. Nearly three generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, all of these regimes have been overthrown, but fascism’s principles can still be found in many nations. History tends to repeat itself because many leaders and nations fail to learn from history, or they draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm in the world today….. http://www.blacklistednews.com/14_defining_characteristics_of_fascism%3A_The_U.S._in_2012/18642/0/0/0/Y/M.html TSA bars security guru from perv scanner testimony Last minute excuse blocks Bruce Schneier By Iain Thomson in San Francisco • Get more from this author Posted in Security, 26th March 2012 21:03 GMT Security expert Bruce Schneier was been banned at the last minute from testifying in front of congress on the efficacy – or otherwise – of the US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) much-maligned perv scanners. Schneier is a long-time critic of the TSA’s policies for screening travelers, and was formally invited to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearings. However, the TSA objected to his presence because he is currently involved in a legal case over the use of said scanners in US airports. “I was looking forward to sitting next to a TSA person and challenging some of their statements. That would have been interesting,” Schneier told The Register. “The request to appear came from the committee itself, because they’d been reading my stuff on this and thought it would be interesting.”….. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/26/tsa_schneier_congress_block/ THE PENTAGON’S SECRET NUCLEAR AGENDA: “Privatizing Nuclear War” By Sherwood Ross BlacklistedNews.com U.S. corporations that reap billions from making nuclear weapons have “a direct voice” as to “their use and deployment,” according to professor Michel Chossudovsky in a recently released book. What’s more, he says, if nuclear weapons are integrated with conventional armaments, a decision to use nuclear weapons could be made by battlefield generals. On August 6, 2003, on Hiroshima Day, (August 6 1945), a secret meeting was held at U.S. Strategic Command headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Neb., that brought together more than 150 “senior executives from the nuclear industry and military-industrial complex,” writes Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montreal. “This mingling of defense contractors, scientists and policy-makers was not intended to commemorate Hiroshima”. According to a leaked draft of the agenda, the secret session included discussions on “mini-nukes” and “bunker-buster” bombs with nuclear warheads “for possible use against rogue states,” Chossudovsky writes in his new book, ” The meeting was intended to set the stage for the creation of a new generation of “smaller,” “safer,” and “more usable” nukes for use, in America’s 21st Century “in-theater nuclear wars”, Chossudovsky writes. No members of Congress representing the public were in attendance. Barely a week prior to this meeting, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disbanded the advisory committee that had “independent oversight” over the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including the testing and/or use of new nuclear devices…..

http://www.blacklistednews.com/THE_PENTAGON%27S_SECRET_NUCLEAR_AGENDA%3A_%22Privatizing_Nuclear_War%22/18665/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Dominique Strauss-Kahn charged in French prostitution case

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn faced preliminary charges Monday of aggravated pimping, or illegal procurement of prostitutes, in France.

Strauss-Kahn was summoned for eight hours of questioning Monday by French judges investigating an illegal prostitution ring operating out of the northern French city of Lille. The former IMF chief was notified that he was being placed under formal investigation, but allowed to leave after paying 100,000 Euros in bail, and agreeing not to talk to others being investigated in the case, or travel without consulting a judge, the Associated Press reported.

French prosecutors in Lille have been investigating an illegal prostitution ring that is alleged to have brought prostitutes from Belgium to luxury hotels in France and to parties in Washington, D.C., and New York attended by VIP clients, France’s Radio France International reported in October. Eight people have been charged in the case so far, including a police officer in Lille and three directors with the city’s Carlton Hotel, the New York Times reported………

Read More  Here

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MF Global: A New Hope In The Effort To Send A Wall Street Big Shot To Jail

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MF Global exec tied to money transfers clams up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An MF Global executive, who has emerged as a central figure in the desperate shifting of funds before the brokerage’s collapse, refused to answer questions on Wednesday, frustrating lawmakers probing why more than $1 billion in customer money is missing.

Assistant Treasurer Edith O’Brien and other mid-level MF Global (MFGLQ.PK) executives, people who had operational control over money transfers at the brokerage, were called to testify before the investigations panel of the House Financial Services Committee.

O’Brien, a demure-appearing brunette dressed in a somber black dress suit, was excused after refusing to answer questions. The others remained to take scathing questions from the lawmakers who likened the missing customer funds to a grand heist.

The executives were unable to say why the money is missing, and who was responsible for it, keeping open the mystery nearly five months after MF Global filed for bankruptcy and former Chief Executive Jon Corzine resigned from the firm…..

Read  Full Article Here

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Faulty generator blamed for fatal poisoning of wealthy banker and his wife in remote Estonian forest

  • 55-year-old worked as analyst at shady Moscow investment firm

By Matt Blake

A wealthy British banker and his wife died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a ‘tragic accident’ at their holiday home in Estonia, an inquest has heard.

Philip Townsend, 55, worked for a mysterious Moscow investment company, where he was an analyst in the lucrative but murky Russian telecoms industry.

But he and his wife MaryAnne, 52, were found dead at the converted barn near the town of Valga on February 24.

They are believed to have been killed by fumes from a faulty generator.

Police at the time said they couldn’t work out if the deaths were suspicious or not.

Four years ago another wealthy British-based tycoon involved in the Russian telecoms industry vanished from his opulent holiday villa in Latvia.
Read Full Article Here

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Soros Loses Case Against French Insider-Trading Conviction

Billionaire investor George Soros lost a challenge to his 2002 insider trading conviction, with the European Court of Human Rights saying French market regulations were clear enough to hold him responsible.

France didn’t violate Soros’s rights in punishing him criminally for trading on inside information about Societe Generale SA in spite of the market regulator’s conclusion that its rules were unclear, the Strasbourg, France-based court said.

“Soros was a famous institutional investor, well-known to the business community and a participant in major financial projects,” the court said in a statement about its ruling. “As a result of his status and experience, he could not have been unaware that his decision to invest” risked violating insider- trading laws, and given “there had been no comparable precedent, he should have been particularly prudent.”

Soros, 81, was convicted in 2002 of insider trading and ordered to repay 2.2 million euros ($2.9 million) he’d made from the share purchase and subsequent sale after a Paris court found he’d acted with the knowledge that the bank might be a takeover target. While prosecutors filed criminal charges, French stock market regulators didn’t pursue Soros, saying insider-trading laws were too vague to determine whether he’d broken them…..

Read Full Article Here

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Soros Criminal Conviction Exposes “Human Rights” Scam

Soros leverages “human rights” for personal gain – as does his global NGO empire.

Tony Cartalucci, Contributor
Activist Post 

Bloomberg’s report, “Soros Loses Case Against French Insider-Trading Conviction,” indicates that an appeal based on a “human rights” violation against Wall Street speculator George Soros has been rejected by the “European Court of Human Rights.” Soros, who was convicted and fined for insider trading in 2002 regarding French bank Société Générale shares he bought in 1988, has built an empire out of obfuscating global criminal activity with the cause of “human rights.”
The court’s decision in rejecting the appeal was based on Soros being “a famous institutional investor, well-known to the business community and a participant in major financial projects,” and thus should have been “particularly prudent” regarding insider-trading laws. The contents of Soros’ appeal, based on “human rights” was not heard, and the details of the appeal not yet made public, however, it is an illustrative example of how Soros and global elitists like him leverage the legitimate cause of human rights and freedom as a means to execute and defend both individual and institutional criminal behavior……

Read Full Article Here