National Politics

News you may have missed drone war crimes, big banks etc

posts: 384

Today’s OWH has another article on the big banks and their involvement with the financial crisis. To refresh your memory some claimed the housing crisis was brought on by the poor and the government who supposedly forced bad loans on many. This marks another of the continuing cases pled out by the "innocent" banks who have managed to avoid criminal prosecution only because the Democrats and Re[ublicans are in bed with the financial "industry". The current case is with Bank of America who was found guilty of mortgage fraud. On face value this is only for around a billion dollars. Just a few weeks ago there was another 13 billion involved with JP Morgan.

From Mother Jones: "The historic deal is a sign that the Obama administration's crackdown on Wall Street is finally gaining steam. But experts note that the $13 billion fine—which seems a gargantuan amount—is not nearly enough. First, the fine is really only $9 billion, says William Black, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a former bank regulator who led investigations of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. The $4 billion in relief to homeowners, he explains, represents loan modifications that the bank would have made in any event to minimize losses and avoid foreclosures. (And that $9 million, he adds, is tax-deductible.) Second, Black says, the total damages JPMorgan, Washington Mutual, and Bear Stearns inflicted directly on purchasers of the shoddy mortgage-backed securities is estimated to be $100 billion. "The normal rule in terms of remedies for frauds of this scope," he says, "is that you pay for your damages that you caused." And if those damages were caused by fraud as opposed to mere negligence, Black adds, the US legal system often makes the fraudster pay punitive damages of at least twice that amount. "A normal recovery would be in the range of $200 billion," he says.

Once again, it is obvious that fraud was involved and that these large institutions are getting off with minimal fines considering they were the primary reason for the failures of not only our economy but also much of the "free" world’s.

Next: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both conspired these last few days to brand our use of drone strikes as possible War Crimes. They investigated carefully many of these attacks finding not only widespread civilian casualties but also evidence of so-called rescue strikes wherein the initial area is again targeted as the potential rescuers arrive. This a clear violation of international law. In one case a 68 year old grandmother, Mamana Bibi, was targeted with a direct hit from a hellfire missile. She was surrounded by her grandchildren as she and they picked Okra. She was killed and several others were wounded. Shortly later, another missile hit 9 feet away in an apparent attempt to kill rescuers.

For people who really follow the news this should be no surprise. The infamous helicopter attack in Iraq that killed so many contained video of the attackers hitting people who were trying to pick up the wounded. This is apparently pretty common practice. (The Israelis have also used that tactic in Gaza.)

Also note that National Guard units have recently been accused of gross fraud in the use of governmental funds. Amazingly, thses units were flying drones. Nothing like the "best of the best" making decisions that will come back to haunt us…

Next: Australia is burning up and their wonderful PM says it is not related to Global Warming. Check out the 10 minute film at Lasthours.org. I sent out this last week but think I had the wrong address….

Maylala Yousaf, the young woman who was shot in the head, met with the Obama family. Besides what you saw reported by MSM she also told the Obamas that Drone Strikes were hurting the USA. Amazingly, this was not part of the WH narration of what Malala said. A little lapse there.

Next: A report out in the last week stated that there has been an appalling lack of cut backs in the use of antibiotics since the practice of their use on animals and in animal feed was to be restricted over 5 years ago.

Lastly, Democracynow.org for 10/23 has an incredible number of stories worth seeing. "Prisoners of Profit" deals mostly with the incredibly screwed up Florida juvie system which has been totally privatized. Conditions are appalling there but from my reading and experience this is a wide spread mess that is throughout our "Justice" system. Father Peter used to complain about how Florida was so bad for children in their system. Possibly one of the only things I agreed with from that source.

Sorry about the length of all of this but I thought they all needed comment…