Category: Crime

Convicted Wall Street trader sues customer who turned his sorry ass in!


Creep of the week

A former Jefferies & Co. managing director convicted of fraud for lying to customers about the price of mortgage-backed securities sued the AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB) executive who reported him.

Jesse C. Litvak sued Michael Canter, head of the securitized assets group at New York-based AllianceBernstein, in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan yesterday, accusing him of using “wrongful, unfair or improper means” to interfere with his employment, directly resulting in his termination.

Litvak was accused of defrauding investors of $2 million by misrepresenting how much sellers were asking for the securities, or what customers would pay, and keeping the difference for Jefferies…

Canter testified for the prosecution during the case, saying the spreadsheet showed that Litvak had misled him about how much Jefferies had paid for bonds, including one instance when Canter agreed to raise a bid, yet the firm still paid the original price.

Litvak was found guilty in March of securities fraud and making false statements, as well as fraud connected to the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Along with his prison sentence, he was ordered to pay a $1.75 million fine.

Throw away the key!

This sleazy bastard and the lawyers representing him are perfect examples of how low legal processes have sunk in the United States. From kissing butt for every fundamentalist nutball who doesn’t want to pay taxes – to the open buying and selling of Congress and lesser members of the mutant species we have for elected officials – corruption is justified by every crook in the country.

They act as if the only birthright in the country that doesn’t need validation is that the powerful have every right to steal.

The judge should call him back for re-sentencing – and double the time, triple the fine!

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In Honduras, gangs control the schools


Click to enlarge
Graffiti representing MS-13 and 18 neighborhood gangs are shown painted on the wall of the
Jose Ramon Montoya school in the Travesia neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — In primary and secondary schools of this Central American capital, “hallway” is not just another word for corridor but slang for a gantlet of gangsters who hit up instructors for money on the way to the classroom.

Teachers who don’t pay, don’t teach.

Gang prevention police distribute US-funded pamphlets on manners and anger management in about two thirds of the 130 public schools of Tegucigalpa. Gang members, meanwhile, circulate catalogues of their girls offering sexual services for sale.

It can’t exactly be said that street gangs are recruiting in Honduran schools because gangs in Honduras don’t need to recruit. In a country of limited opportunities, more schoolchildren want to join the violent Mara Salvatrucha, 18th Street and other newly formed gangs than the illegal bands can absorb.

What can be said is that, just as they control most of the neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa, street gangs rule over most public schools in the capital. Gangsters are students and students are gangsters, as are some of their parents. The gangs lay claim to buildings with graffiti, and monitor the movements of police who are trying to monitor them. When the government sends in the military to retake a neighborhood and its schools, the ruling gang may lay low for a time, but they can’t stay quiet for long or competitors will move in, setting off a wave of violence…

While most gang violence takes place outside of school, there have been rapes and kidnappings inside, and extortion is rampant. In addition to setting up the occasional gantlet, where a teacher has to cough up pocket money on the spot, gangs demand that educators pay 1,000 lempiras or about $50 a month, more than 10 percent of their salary.

“The extortion takes place through the school director, ” said Liliana Ruiz, the Ministry of Education’s director for Tegucigalpa. “They make an appointment with the director at the mall and he has to arrive with the money. In Honduras, the extortion has to be paid.”

In many schools, the power of the gangs is omnipresent and once a gang takes control of a school, Ruiz said, the teacher has no choice but to get along with the gangsters, or ask to be moved. If a gang grabs a child from a classroom, most teachers know to keep quiet, even if the student is never heard from again.

RTFA for all the depressing details about most aspects of life in Honduras. Girls brought into prostitution in grade school earn up to $500 a month. What’s also important is that is more than the police earn.

Oh yeah, Republicans and other idjits don’t believe this kind of life has anything to do with why moms are trying to get their kids into the United States.

Cartoon of the Day


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One of the few times John McCain displays integrity is about torture. With good reason, of course. Wish he could find the same experience somewhere in his gold-plated heart to find solidarity with people who work for a living.

As for his criminal peers in the CIA, retired pricks like Bush and Cheney – these are the kind of evil thugs who would have willinglky sold out the American Revolution for a guaranteed spot in the Colonial government.

Especially if the Brits had discovered oil that early.

China holds a Memorial Day for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre


Click for the story

If there is anything I truly hate it is war.

I’ve experienced some small participation in wars. I have had dear friends more directly affected over longer periods. Now gone. One who survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising – made it through the sewers of Warsaw, through the countryside eventually to the Soviet Union. After healing physically, she went back to Poland to fight in the underground against the Germans.

I asked her once why she kept her Polish name from the Underground instead of returning to her Jewish family name. She told me that all of that life died with her husband and her daughters in a German death camp. Who she became after that was a different person.

My closest friend most of my life was the most decorated soldier in WW2 from our home state in New England. He was awarded every medal except the Congressional Medal of Honor and he was nominated for that. Surviving injuries at the Battle of the Bulge he was severely wounded at the liberation of the Buchenwald Death Camp – and had sixteen months in a veterans’ hospital to reflect upon how he got there.

They’re both gone, now. Someone like me has to remember.

It doesn’t matter where or when my thoughts are stirred to recall. I’ve written about Nanjing before; but, tonight I happened to switch over to CCTV America just as the ceremonies at the Memorial Site in Nanjing were wrapping up.

I sat and watched the last half-hour of the live telecast. I cried some for 300,000 civilians slaughtered by Japanese soldiers over a few weeks starting on December 13, 1937. I won’t forget Nanjing. China won’t forget Nanjing.

While Brennan lied on camera, Feinstein live-tweeted corrections to his lies

CIA director John Brennan gave a press conference on Wednesday afternoon defending the agency from the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration. During the speech, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — the leading force behind the report — fact-checked Brennan’s assertions. And it was devastating.

For example, when Brennan said it was “unknowable” whether torture was necessary to produce useful intelligence, Feinstein pointed out that the CIA’s own records show that the best intel was obtained without torture:

When Brennan said the CIA didn’t mislead Congress, Feinstein cited CIA sources saying otherwise:

When Brennan said torture provided “useful intelligence,” Feinstein pointed out that — even if that was true — this wasn’t nearly enough to justify its use in legal terms:

Brennan said that tortured detainees provided “useful intelligence” in the hunt for bin Laden. Feinstein points out, correctly, that torture played no role in finding the al-Qaeda chief:

Feinstein also went off on the CIA’s use of torture more generally, dismantling the agency’s legal and practical case for the program as well as its attacks on the report’s credibility:

The whole feed is pretty devastating.

Considering that Feinstein in general terms is an apologist for our network of spies, foreign and domestic – her action in bringing the report forward before Republicans could stonewall it next month is admirable.

Brutal torture by CIA as stupid as ever


Another almost-invisible supporter of human rights in the CIA

The CIA’s post-9/11 embrace of torture was brutal and ineffective – and the agency repeatedly lied about its usefulness, a milestone report by the Senate intelligence committee…concludes.

After examining 20 case studies, the report found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information,” said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings. She called the torture program “a stain on our values and on our history”…

The torture that the CIA carried out was even more extreme than what it portrayed to congressional overseers and the George W Bush administration, the committee found. It went beyond techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits…

Contractor psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen played a critical role in establishing the torture program in 2002. A company they formed to contract their services to the CIA was worth more than $180m, and by the time of the contract’s 2009 cancellation, they had received $81m in payouts.

So much for “do no harm!”

The committee’s findings, which the CIA largely rejects, are the result of a four-year, $40m investigation that plunged relations between the spy agency and the Senate committee charged with overseeing it to a historic low.

The investigation that led to the report, and the question of how much of the document would be released and when, has pitted chairwoman Feinstein and her committee allies against the CIA and its White House backers. For 10 months, with the blessing of President Barack Obama, the agency has fought to conceal vast amounts of the report from the public, with an entreaty to Feinstein from secretary of state John Kerry occurring as recently as Friday.

CIA director John Brennan, an Obama confidante, conceded in a Tuesday statement that the program “had shortcomings and that the agency made mistakes” owing from what he described as unpreparedness for a massive interrogation and detentions program…

Obama banned CIA torture upon taking office, but the continuing lack of legal consequences for agency torturers has led human rights campaigners to view the Senate report as their last hope for official recognition and accountability for torture.

Though the committee released hundreds of pages of declassified excerpts from the report on Tuesday, the majority of the 6,000-plus page classified version remains secret, disappointing human rights groups that have long pushed for broader transparency…

Republican members of the intelligence committee questioned the report in their own 100-page document. They wrote blah, blah, blah and blah.

Read the whole report summary over here.

James Clapper, director of (sic) national intelligence, is leading the ranks of apologists with what is becoming the party line of liberals who are patting themselves on the back because the report finally came out. “Only the heroic United States with our great history, blah, blah, blah, would do this, blah, blah, blah.”

It took over a decade of effort by hundreds of individuals dedicated to preserving our Constitution and what few standards remain in American politics to force our government to come out with this report. Our politicians spend more time hiding the corruption of standards of decency than, say, any criminal prosecutor in St, Louis county or New York City.

Trying to elicit praise for admitting we broke everything from international treaties to our own federal laws by torturing detainees is something thugs like Dick Cheney may demand from his creepy followers. Criminal practices are not praiseworthy even when finally admitting you committed the crimes.

40% of “resisting arrest” cases in NYC come from just 5% of the force


Photo courtesy of the Garner family

In the wake of Eric Garner’s death, the head of the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, a police interest group, blamed Garner: “You cannot resist arrest, that’s a crime.” But it’s not a crime that most police officers often file reports about.

The New York Police Department is made up of 35,000 officers, and just a minority of them have sent people into court for “resisting arrest.”

But the ones who do, according to a new report from WNYC, charge a lot of people — and that can be a “red flag” for other issues.

WNYC looked at over 51,000 cases where someone was charged with “resisting arrest” since 2009. They found that 40 percent of those cases — over 20,000 — were committed by just 5 percent of all the police officers on the force. And 15 percent of officers accounted for a majority of all “resisting arrest” charges

And that stinks on ice!

“There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover – and that phrase is used – the officer’s use of force,” said Sam Walker, the accountability expert from the University of Nebraska. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

That pattern held up in the case of Donald Sadowy, a Brooklyn police officer who’s the subject of the WNYC article. Sadowy has more than 20 resisting arrest cases since 2009 — putting him in the 98th percentile, or higher, among all police. Meanwhile, over the last two years, Sadowy’s been sued 10 times for excessive force.

I know some honest cops. I have had friends over the years who were honest cops. I’ve had family members who were honest cops – in New York City as a matter of fact.

When the topic of professional policing comes up I also always recall a young guy I worked with in a metropolitan hospital who left to join the local police department. Since he had a skilled and licensed trade, I asked him why he was making the switch. After all, it would take him several years to get back up to what he was earning at the hospital.

His answer was simple. “I get drugs for free for the rest of my life.” You can substitute whatever you wish to change out from “drugs”. Hookers, a regular tax-free income on the side for being on the take. Or maybe you just enjoy being a sociopath with power.

Tribes honor 2 Anglos who wouldn’t take part in Sand Creek massacre

Tribal members marked the 150th anniversary of one of the worst massacres in American history Wednesday by paying tribute at an old Denver cemetery to two U.S. Army officers who refused to participate in it.

On Nov. 29, 1864, Capt. Silas Soule and Lt. Joseph Cramer declined orders to open fire on an encampment of Cheyenne and Arapahoe men, women and children in southeast Colorado.

About 200 people were killed in a dry riverbed that cold morning in what became known as the Sand Creek massacre.

On Wednesday, about 70 tribal members took part in a sunrise blessing at Riverside Cemetery before completing an annual healing run to the state Capitol, where Gov. John Hickenlooper apologized on behalf of the state for the massacre.

Some descendants of Sand Creek survivors credit Soule and Cramer with preventing even more bloodshed…

Cramer and Soule’s courage in speaking out against their commander helped the nation finally come to terms with what happened at Sand Creek.

Both came to Colorado seeking gold and enlisted in the army to fight in the Civil War. They likely fought under Col. John Chivington, who would lead the Sand Creek raid, in a battle that helped turn back an attempted Confederate incursion into Colorado’s gold country.

Both also attended peace conferences with the Arapaho and Cheyenne earlier in 1864, and they witnessed U.S. military commanders assuring chiefs they would be kept safe…

With tension on all sides, Chivington, a Civil War hero and Methodist minister, led troops from Denver to the outskirts of the camp of about 700 Arapaho and Cheyenne. The Indians believed they were safe after making peace with the commander of nearby Fort Lyon. They even flew a U.S. flag at the camp.

The soldiers opened fire, and some later brought victims’ body parts back to Denver. Chivington originally was hailed as a hero.

Cramer and Soule were part of Chivington’s forces but refused to order their own units to open fire. They later reported what happened, prompting a federal investigation that ultimately contributed to the resignation of territorial Gov. John Evans for failing to work for peace with tribes.

Soule was later murdered in Denver. The soldiers who killed him were never arrested or indicted. But, then, you wouldn’t expect that, would you?