April 12, 2012
By Mac Slavo
“You must click the link and watch the videos. Shocking! Voter fraud is everywhere.” –KTRN
James O’Keefe, who was single handedly responsible for freezing millions of dollars of wasted government funds to the ACORN association of community organizations due to fraudulent and criminal practices, now demonstrates why it’s patently impossible for the United States to have a legitimate election.
This time O’keefe’s shocking hidden video records poll workers on Primary Day in Washington, DC offering US Attorney General Eric H. Holder’s voting ballot to a complete stranger, while other voting locations in the district offer to sign for ballots. Eric Holder has said multiple times there exists no evidence of Voter Fraud…until now.
While the police state control grid tightens all around us, tracking every email, phone call, retail purchase, and our day-to-day movements, the one thing no one in government wants to track is who is actually casting the votes for elected representatives, even though these very people hold the future of 310 million Americans in their hands.
March 29, 2012
By Brandon Turbeville
Only a day before Barack Obama signed the recent National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order giving himself and his Secretaries complete control over every material needed for human survival, Attorney General Eric Holder also signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center which will officially allow the NCTC to increase the amount of information gleaned from American citizens and the amount of time this information can be legally held.
The new guidelines lengthen the amount of time the NCTC can retain the private information of Americans who are not suspected of having any ties to terrorism from 180 days to five years.
Not only that, but the new guidelines have developed new “tracks” by which the NCTC can acquire information which is gathered by another agency. The tracks are thus: by conducting the search itself, by asking the other agency to conduct the search, or by “replicating the database and analyzing the information itself.”
In terms of commercial data such as credit cards and other forms of purchases, the guidelines are silent, leaving a gaping hole of broad interpretation that will no doubt be used in order to encompass every other possible piece of data available. That is, information that is not already being provided to the NCTC by private corporations who have obtained it via consumer records.
For those who are easily confused by legalese, these new “tracks” essentially open up the ability of the NCTC to acquire and centralize all information gathered by itself and other agencies in its entirety. Basically, the new guidelines allow for creation of a massive centralized database of information compiled on average, law-abiding Americans.
In essence, we are seeing the legal reaffirmation of the Total Information Awareness program in legal terms.
March 13, 2012
By Matthew Harwood
Thomas Drake, the whistle-blower whom the Obama administration tried and failed to prosecute for leaking information about waste, fraud and abuse at the National Security Agency, now works at an Apple store in Maryland. In an interview with Salon, Drake laughed about the time he confronted Attorney General Eric Holder at his store while Holder perused the gadgetry on display with his security detail around him. When Drake started asking Holder questions about his case, America’s chief law enforcement officer turned and fled the store.
But the humor drained away quickly from Drake’s thin and tired face as he recounted his ordeal since 2010 when federal prosecutors charged him with violating the Espionage Act for retaining classified information they believed he would pass on to then Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman. While Drake never disclosed classified information, he did pass on unclassified information to Gorman revealing that the NSA had wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars on Trailblazer, a contractor-heavy intelligence software program that failed to find terrorist threats in the tsunami of digital data the agency was sucking up globally — and sometimes unconstitutionally. While Trailblazer burned through cash, in the process enriching many NSA employees turned contractors, Drake found that another software program named ThinThread had already met the core requirements of a federal acquisition regulation that governed the proposed system at a sliver of the cost, all while protecting American civil liberties at the code level. The NSA leadership, however, had already bet their careers on Trailblazer. So Drake blew the whistle, first to Congress, then to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, and finally, and fatefully, to Gorman.
Last June, the government’s case collapsed. On the eve of trial, all 10 counts were dropped. In a Kafkaesque turn of events, Drake actually helped the government find a misdemeanor to charge him with — exceeding authorized use of an NSA computer — so federal prosecutors could save face. Once facing 35 years behind bars, Drake pled guilty to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to one year of probation and 240 hours of community service, what he sardonically calls “his penance.”
March 9, 2012
Electronic Frontier Foundation
By Trevor Timm
“It’s pretty sad that the government is this afraid of its own people. Only a corrupt and paranoid organization would act like this.” –KTRN
Attorney General Eric Holder gave a much publicized speech at Northwestern law school on Monday, in which he attempted to explain the Obama administration’s constitutional authority for killing U.S. citizens abroad without judicial oversight. Holder in part claimed that there is a difference between “due process” and “judicial process”, the latter of which—according to him—is not guaranteed under the Constitution. The speech was predictably and widely criticized in legal circles on Fifth Amendment grounds (see here, here, here, here, and here),but an overlooked section of his speech should also give constitutional experts pause: Holder’s stance on the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and warrantless wiretapping.
Holder spent a portion of his speech arguing that legal tools used to fight terrorism (excluding the killing of al-Awlaki and other American citizens overseas) are rightly subject to “check and balances” and “a comprehensive regime of oversight by all three branches of government.” He curiously used section 2702 of the FAA as his prime example, a law he says “protect[s] the privacy and civil rights of innocent individuals.”
As EFF readers will remember, the FAA is the statute Congress passed giving immunity to telecom companies despite their participation in the NSA’s massive warrantless wiretapping program, which the New York Times first exposed in 2005. EFF and a host of other civil liberties groups have been involved in litigation challenging the constitutionality of warrantless wiretapping for years.
Former member of the Obama administration’s Office of Legal Counsel Marty Lederman explains section 702 of the FAA “permits the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails between the U.S. and a foreign location, without making any showing to a court and without judicial oversight, whether or not the communication has anything to do with al Qaeda—indeed, even if there is no evidence that the communication has anything to do with terrorism, or any threat to national security.” All told, the “collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications” every day, according to the Washington Post.
March 8, 2012
By Carl Herman
Attorney General Eric Holder, the top “legal” voice of the US regime, argued to Northwestern University law students that the US Constitution is no limit to the regime dictatorially assassinating Americans. This follows regime arguments to seize and “disappear” any person in opposition to regime dictates as “terrorist supporters,” and extracting their confessions with controlled drowning (euphemistically “waterboarding”), found by all US and international courts as torture. The regime’s followers in Congress voted for legislation (2006 Military Commissions Act, 2012 NDAA) that these dictates are consistent with the US Constitution.
Because these claims are in Orwellian contradiction to the US form of government as limited under a constitution, the regime is attempting to substitute a different form of government without being arrested for violating existing law. As a teacher of government, the closest definition for the regime’s substitute of dictatorial assassinations, seizure and “disappearing” people, and torture is fascism.
Occupy invites the 99% to join them in response to such ongoing 1% crimes with three specific actions:
Recognize the 1%’s massive crimes centering in war and money.
Request those with arrest authority to exercise it.
Participate in policies to benefit 100% of Earth’s inhabitants.
March 6, 2012
By David Swanson
“Oh this is nice. Thanks for being such an outstanding American, Holder. You’re doing great work.” –KTRN
Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday explained why it’s legal to murder people — not to execute prisoners convicted of capital crimes, not to shoot someone in self-defense, not to fight on a battlefield in a war that is somehow legalized, but to target and kill an individual sitting on his sofa, with no charges, no arrest, no trial, no approval from a court, no approval from a legislature, no approval from we the people, and in fact no sharing of information with any institutions that are not the president. Holder’s speech approached his topic in a round about manner:
Since this country’s earliest days, the American people have risen to this challenge – and all that it demands. But, as we have seen – and as President John F. Kennedy may have described best – ‘In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.’
Holder quotes that and then immediately rejects it, claiming that our generation too should act as if it is in such a moment, even if it isn’t, a moment that Holder’s position suggests may last forever:
Half a century has passed since those words were spoken, but our nation today confronts grave national security threats that demand our constant attention and steadfast commitment. It is clear that, once again, we have reached an ‘hour of danger.’
We are a nation at war. And, in this war, we face a nimble and determined enemy that cannot be underestimated.
So, if I were to estimate that Al Qaeda barely exists and is no serious threat to the Homeland formerly known as the United States, I would not be underestimating it? If I were to point out that no member of that horrifying outfit has been killed in Afghanistan this year, that fact would not contribute to an unacceptable underestimation? What fun it is to fight the most glorious of wars in the hour of maximum danger against an enemy so pitiful that it literally cannot be underestimated.
December 6th, 2010
By: Deborah Hastings
Seemingly everyone wants a piece of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this week, with Interpol, Sweden, the United States, Australia, Sarah Palin, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill O’Reilly joining the posse.
Palin says he should be hunted down “like al-Qaida.” O’Reilly calls him a “sleazebag.” Government officials want him tried for espionage, and Interpol is after him for alleged sex crimes. Others want him banned from the Internet.
Good luck with all of that. The 39-year-old recluse and self-described misfit — whose latest secret-documents dump comprises more than 250,000 diplomatic memos — has been on the lam for months.
So where is he? This month he’s apparently been in London, where he gave an interview to Forbes magazine, posted online this week after the chat was recorded at an undisclosed London apartment. The Australian native has cut and dyed his hair again to avoid detection, and promised that his site’s rage-inspiring and ongoing upload of U.S. State Department documents was only the beginning — of his latest controversy.
Up next is the disclosure of thousands of damning internal documents showing corruption by a major American bank, he told Forbes. But Assange won’t say which bank or give specifics of what it did wrong. That’s not unusual for a man who is both revered and reviled.
Assange has been laying low for several weeks now, staying with friends, using credit cards owned by others or paying in cash, canceling public appearances at the last minute or sending others in his stead. He is dogged by rape allegations in Sweden and is now under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and his native Australia.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Assange was under criminal investigation by federal agents. “This is not saber-rattling,” he told reporters at a news conference, The Associated Press reported. Saying the Obama administration condemns the publication of classified State Department documents, Holder said the posts endangered national security and the safety of diplomats abroad.
Secretary of State Clinton said much the same. “Some mistakenly applaud those responsible,” Clinton said in Washington this week. “There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people.”
Not true, Assange shot back in a series of e-mails to ABC News from a clandestine hideout. “U.S. officials have for 50 years trotted out this line when they are afraid the public is going to see how they really behave,” he wrote.
Apparently, only one country welcomes him — Ecuador, which offered him residency, Reuters reported today. The South American country is highly critical of U.S. doctrines and policies.
Earlier this month, Sweden issued an international sex crimes warrant against Assange in connection with two incidents in which women claimed rape and molestation. Assange said both interludes were consensual sex. This week, he was placed on Interpol’s wanted list, according the agency’s website.
Assange fled to Sweden in August, seeking protection for WikiLeaks under the country’s whistle-blowing laws after he posted nearly 400,000 classified documents pertaining to the Iraq war. Weeks before, he had posted some 77,000 classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.
Then the rape allegations surfaced, and Assange was on the run again.
In October, he sat for an interview in London with The New York Times, sporting a beanie cap and a wispy beard and speaking just above a whisper lest he be overheard. The former computer hacker said, essentially, that he was doing the Lord’s work in publishing leaked secret and classified documents.
“By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I’ve wound up in an extraordinary situation,” he said.
May 5, 2010
by Bruce Kennedy
A recent news item is causing a flurry of agitation across the U.S. beef industry.
According to an Associated Press report, the Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Agriculture have launched an investigation into whether the nation’s largest meat-packing companies have been manipulating and driving down cattle prices.
So far, there has been no comment from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), the federal agency responsible for regulating trading practices within America’s livestock industry. The GIPSA has come under criticism in the past for not putting enough bite into its role as a watchdog. A 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office said GIPSA hadn’t taken sufficient steps to correct “identified weaknesses in GIPSA’s investigation and enforcement activities.”
David Ray, vice president of public affairs for the American Meat Institute, a meat packers trade group, says the reports of a government investigation are both unsubstantiated and ironic — considering, he says, that “cattle prices are 10% to 12% higher than a year ago, and are predicted to remain strong through 2010.”
Others in the industry point out an unprecedented joint effort by the Justice and Agriculture departments, launched earlier this year — not an investigation, but a series of nationwide public workshops on competition and regulatory issues within the U.S. agriculture industry. In a press statement issued in March, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the workshops underscore the Obama administration’s commitment to “enforcing the antitrust laws effectively to ensure fair and open competition that protects both consumers and farmers.”
Jeremy Russell, spokesperson for the National Meat Association, another meat packers organization, notes those joint workshops are looking at competitiveness across nation’s entire agriculture industry, and not just at beef. “They’re casting a big tent,” he says. “They’re really looking to bring everybody in to talk about this issue, and get all of the opinions.”
Russell believes the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting Act, which requires meat packers to report daily price, volume, import and export information to the USDA, has helped maintain a level of transparency in the industry.
Government’s Push On Ethanol Has Fueled a Feed Corn Quandary
But some cattle producers remain concerned about the decades-long shift by meat companies away from buying cattle on the cash market — a shift which reportedly hurts smaller feedlot and ranching operations. “These producer groups continue to create a scuffle that has serious serious political and economic impacts,” Russell says. “And [the producers] have a lot of political capital, so they can push on Washington and move them in different ways.”
Other analysts believe that consumers benefit from the current pricing situation. “The goal of meat packers is to make profits by satisfying consumers,” says Dr. Alexandre Padilla, economics professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver. “They provide quality meat at a lower price than other companies. There is no doubt that some small farms and ranches will lose out … but it’s not up to the government to decide who should make profits and should not make profits or what should be the price of meat. It’s up to the consumers via the market.”
The current rise in beef prices, says Russell, “has to do with input costs, the price of corn, the expense of transport, the rising cost of fuel.” And those corn prices, notes Ray of the AMI, are also contributing to a significant reduction in the number of cattle in the U.S.
“In 2007, when the government passed the Renewable Fuel Standard mandating that nearly 30% of the corn raised in the U.S. would be burned as fuel, animal agriculture quickly pointed out that this would drive some producers out of business,” says Ray. “[W]hen corn prices skyrocketed to nearly three times their historic average in 2008, many producers either went out of business or started liquidating their breeding animals. That has been one of the primary [reasons], but not only reason, why the U.S. finds itself with a smaller herd in 2010.”
While those variables affect current market prices, Russell says, the anti-competitive issues are part of the meat industry trying to become more efficient. “In the face of these really big changes that are happening, whether it’s ethanol or just rising fuel costs in general,” he says, “those are the kind of things that are … having an impact on the bottom line.”
May 4, 2010
by Blake Ellis
Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has agreed to pay a $520 million fine to settle claims that it illegally marketed its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
AstraZeneca is charged with fraudulently marketing Seroquel and promoting the drug to patients and physicians for uses that the Food and Drug Administration never approved, Attorney General Eric Holder said at Tuesday’s settlement announcement.
The pharmaceutical giant has also been accused of violating anti-kickback laws by paying doctors to refer the drug to patients, while at the same time bringing in money from government health care programs.
“According to the settlement, AstraZeneca’s illegal marketing of the drug led to millions of dollars in false claims against federal and state programs like Medicare and Medicaid,” Holder said.
The settlement fine of $520 million, which will be paid to federal and state taxpayers, is the most money ever paid by a business in a civil-only settlement for charges of off-label marketing, the Department of Justice said.
“These were not victimless crimes,” said Holder. “Illegal acts by pharmaceutical companies and false claims against Medicare and Medicaid can put the public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, and take billions of dollars directly out of taxpayers’ pockets.”
AstraZeneca said Tuesday that it denies the government’s accusations.
“While we deny the allegations, AstraZeneca takes its obligations very seriously under its agreements with the government,” Glenn Engelmann, U.S. general counsel for AstraZeneca, said in an e-mailed statement.
On top of the $520 million fine, AstraZeneca will enter into a five-year compliance agreement with the Department of Justice, the pharmaceutical company said.