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“When Lady Liberty Wept”


Statue of Liberty Face full-size replica by docoverachiever

When Lady Liberty Wept

By Gary Corseri

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,” she recalled,

“With conquering limbs astride from land to land””

And yet, even so, it had come to pass,

With every military base, with drones

Hovering everywhere, in the drowned dreams

Of exiles, “refuse,” “yearning to breathe free.”

And what freedom now in the Surveillance State

Where every thought was subject to review

And “newsmen” scurried to assess the threat

From hydra-headed, huddled masses–lost,

Renditioned, imprisoned, killed at the behest

Of elected, cowardly Pinocchios,–

Smiling before drug-induced amnesiacs?

They could not remember who they claimed to be;

Nor why; nor how it mattered to posterity.

Only a looming sense of dread embalmed

Them in a kind of amber ghosts might study

In the years ahead–if there were years” ahead.

And so, she wept” as some say Mother Mary weeps;

As some say Rachel wept for her lost children.

Copper-colored tears from cupreous eyes;

Copious tears from her iron skeleton.

And the wind blew the tears upon her torch.

And the light went out.

By Gary Corseri – Copyright, 2013. Permission is granted for reprint in blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title and contents remain unchanged. Gary Corseri has published novels and collections of poetry, and his dramas have appeared on AtlantaPBS and elsewhere.   He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at US and Japanese universities.   His work has appeared at periodicals and websites worldwide, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library.

via OpEdNews – Article: “When Lady Liberty Wept”.

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Executive Branch leaders have killed, wounded and made homeless over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years


Introduction: America’s Secret Shame 

America has a secret. It is not discussed in polite company or at the dinner tables of the powerful, rich and famous.

Parents do not teach it to their children. Best-selling authors do not write about it. Politicians and government officials ignore it. Intellectuals avoid it. High school and college textbooks do not refer to it. TV pundits do not comment on it. Teachers do not teach it. Journalists from the nation’s most highly regarded TV news shows, newspapers and magazines, do not report it. Columnists do not opine about it. Editorial writers do not editorialize about it. Religious leaders do not sermonize about it. Think tanks and professors do not study it. Lawyers do not litigate it and judges do not rule on it.

The  few who do not keep this secret, who try to break through to their fellow citizens about it, are marginalized and ignored by society at large.

To begin to understand the magnitude of this secret, imagine that you get into your car in New York City, and set out for a drive south, staying overnight in Washington DC, a four-hour drive. As you leave, you look out your window to the left and see a row of bodies, laid end to end, running alongside you all the way to DC.

You spend the night there, and set out early the next morning for Charleston, South Carolina, an 11-hour drive. Again, looking out your window, you see the line of bodies continues, hour after hour. You are struck that most are middle-aged or older men and women, younger women, or children. You arrive in Charleston, check into your hotel, have a good meal, and get up early the next morning to drive to Miami, another 12-hour drive. And once again, hour after hour, the line of bodies continues, all the way to your destination.

If you can imagine such a drive, or these bodies piled one on top of each other reaching 120 miles into the sky,  you can begin to get a feeling for former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara‘s mid-range estimate of 1.2 million civilians killed by U.S. firepower in Vietnam. (1) (The U.S. Senate Refugee Committee estimated 430,000 civilian dead at the end of the war. (2) Later estimates as more information has become available, e.g. by Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything That Moves, put the number as high as 2 million.)

And the secret that is never discussed is far larger. To the 430,000 to 2 million civilians killed in Vietnam must be added those killed in Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other nations (see below), all those wounded and maimed for life, and the many millions more forced to leave villages in which their families had lived for centuries to become penniless refugees. All told, U.S. Executive Branch leaders — Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals – have killed wounded and made homeless well over 20 million human beings in the last 50 years, mostly civilians.

by Robert Benner Sr.

U.S. leaders have never acknowledged their responsibility for ruining so many lives, let alone apologized or made proper amends to the survivors. Those responsible have not been punished, but rewarded. The memory of it has been erased from national consciousness, as U.S. leaders endlessly declare their nation’s, and their own, goodness. Millions of civilian lives swept under the rug, forgotten, as if this mass murder and maiming, the destruction of countless homes and villages, this epic violation of basic human decency–and laws protecting civilians in time of war which U.S. leaders have promised to observe–never happened.

Over a million innocent human lives in Vietnam alone. Grandparents, parents and children. Decent, hard-working people, each with a name, a face, and loved ones; people with dreams and hopes, and as much of a right to life as you or I. Forgotten. Over one million civilians dead, over 10 million wounded and made homeless in Vietnam alone, forgotten. And particularly remarkable is how this has happened. Totalitarian regimes go to great lengths–strict censorship, prison for those violating it–to cover up their leaders’ crimes. But in America, the information is available. All that is needed to keep America’s secret is to simply ignore it.

Americans keep this secret because facing it openly would upend our most basic understandings about our nation and its leaders. A serious public discussion of it would reveal, for example, that we cannot trust Executive Branch leaders’ human decency, words, or judgment no matter who is President. And more troubling, acknowledging it would mean admitting to ourselves that we have been misleading our own children, that our silence has robbed them of the truth of their history and made it more likely that future leaders will continue to commit acts that stain the very soul of America.

It is a matter of indisputable fact that the U.S. Executive Branch has over the past 50 years been responsible for bombing, shooting, burning alive with napalm, blowing up with cluster bombs, burying alive with 500 pound bombs, torturing, assassinating,  and incarcerating without evidence, and destroying the homes and villages of,  more innocent civilians in more nations over a longer period of time than any other government on earth today.

It is also undeniable that it has committed countless acts, as no less an authority than U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted in regard to Vietnam, which have been:

“contrary to the laws of the Geneva Convention, and… ordered as established policies from the top down,” and that “the men who ordered this are war criminals.”

And its crimes against humanity have continued since Vietnam. Thirty years later, a Nuremberg prosecutor speaking of the U.S. invasion of Iraq stated that a

“prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.”

And as you read these words the U.S. Executive Branch is adding to its crimes, as it conducts secret drone and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) ground assassinations of individuals without due process.

The rationalizations by which even decent human beings allow themselves to ignore their leaders’ mass murder, e.g. that “these things always happen in war,” or “it’s the other side’s fault,” are just that: rationalizations that allow us to avoid our secret shame. Human civilization, through its body of international law, has defined which acts are both immoral and illegal even in times of war. And a citizen’s first responsibility is to oppose his or her own government’s crimes, not those of others.

Although America’s media, intellectual, political and economic elites “turn their heads pretending they just don’t see’ U.S. leaders’ responsibility for mass murder, dozens of dedicated and honorable scholars and activists led by Noam Chomsky have spent years of their lives meticulously documenting it.

Readers wishing to flesh out the overview below are directed to five important recent books: Kill Anything That Moves, by Nick Turse, about Vietnam; Dirty Wars (and a film), by Jeremy Scahill, about Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia; The Deaths of Others, by John Tirman, covering Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan The Untold History of the U.S. by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick (and a 10-part Showtime documentary) discussing U.S. policy from World War II to the present; and Drone Warfare by Medea Benjamin.  FLYBOYS, by James Bradley, also offers invaluable information on U.S. aerial mass murder of civilians in World War II, as does The Korean War: A History by Bruce Cumings on U.S. Executive massacres of civilians in Korea. Such careful work has been supplemented by numerous reports from such organizations as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Until now, the issue of U.S. Executive Branch leaders’ disregard for innocent human life has mainly concerned their treatment of “non-people” abroad. But as the sinews of a surveillance state and police-state infrastructure have been steadily strengthened at home since 9/11, an Executive Branch mentality that has been so indifferent to innocent human life abroad will threaten increasing numbers of Americans in coming years.

No honest human being can deny what the facts below reveal about the U.S. Executive’s institutional evil and lawlessness. The only serious question is what we are willing to do about it.

Can Americans Trust the U.S. Executive Branch?

Columnist George Will recently summarized the fundamental issue underlying not only Edward Snowden’s recent whistleblowing, but all controversies about U.S. Executive Branch behavior:

“The problem is we’re using technologies of information-gathering that didn’t exist 20 years ago… and they require reposing extraordinary trust in the Executive Branch of government.”

Former Bush aide Matthew Dowd chimed in on the same talk show, saying “what they’re saying is trust us, trust us.” Trust is indeed the only basis for supporting a U.S. Executive which hides its activities from its own citizens.

But can we trust the Executive’s Branch’s commitment to truth, law and democracy, or even basic human decency? Judging its actions, not words, over the past 50 years is the key to deciding this issue. And we might begin with some basic questions:

How would you regard the leaders of a foreign power who sent machines of war that suddenly appeared over your home, dropped bombs which killed dozens of your neighbors and your infant daughter, wounded your teenage son, destroyed your home, and then forced you into a refugee camp where your older daughter had to prostitute herself to those foreigners in order to support you, your wife and legless son? (U.S. Executive Branch officials created over 10 million refugees in South Vietnam.)

What would you think of foreign leaders who occupied your country, disbanded the military and police, and you found yourself at the mercy of marauding gangs who one day kidnapped your uncle and cousin, tortured them with drills, and then left their mangled bodies in a garbage dump? (U.S. Executive Branch officials occupied Iraq, disbanded the police, and failed to provide law and order as legally required of Occupying Powers.)

How would you view a foreign power which bombed you for five and a half years, forced you and your family to live in caves and holes like animals, burned and buried alive countless of your neighbors, and then one day blinded you in a bombing raid that leveled your ancestral village, where you had honored your ancestors and had hoped after your death to be remembered by your offspring? (U.S. Executive Branch leaders massively bombed civilian targets in Laos for nine years, Cambodia for four years.)

 

What would you think of foreign assassins who, as Jeremy Scahill reports in Dirty Wars, broke into your house at 3:30am as a dance was coming to an end, shot your brother and his 15-year old son, then shot another of your brothers and three women relatives (the mothers of 16 children) denied medical help to your brother and 18-year-old daughter so that they slowly bled to death before your eyes, then dug the bullets out of the women’s bodies to cover up their crimes, hauled you off to prison, and for months thereafter claimed they were acting in self-defense? And how would you feel toward the leaders of the nation that had fielded not only these JSOC assassins but thousands more, who were conducting similar secret and lawless assassinations of unarmed suspects while covering up their crimes in many other countries around the world? (3)

How would you view the foreign leaders responsible right now for drone attacks against you if you lived in northwest Pakistan where, a Stanford/NYU study reported after a visit there:

“hovering drones have traumatized millions living in these areas. Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.”

These are not rhetorical questions. Every one of these acts, and countless more, have been committed by the U.S. Executive Branch over the past 50 years, and will continue indefinitely until it is transformed. If we judge them by their actions, not words, we must face the following facts:

— The U.S. Executive Branch killed in Vietnam from a U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee-estimated 430,000 civilians to the 1.2 million civilians later estimated by Robert McNamara, to the two million civilians estimated by Nick Turse. And it wounded at least 1,050,000 civilians and refugeed at least 11,368,000, according to the Refugee subcommittee (3); assassinated through its Phoenix Program an officially estimated 26,000 civilians, and imprisoned and tortured 34,000 more, on unproven grounds that they were “Vietcong cadre”; created an estimated 800,000-1.3 million war orphans and 1 million war widows; and after the war ended left behind Agent Orange poisons, unexploded cluster bombs, and landmines, creating an estimated 150,000 deformed Vietnamese children; and killing and maiming 42,000 peacetime victims.

— The U.S. Executive has, in Laos, conducted nine years of bombing which has been estimated by Laos’ National Regulatory Authority to have killed and wounded a minimum of 30,000 civilians by bombing from 1964-’73, and another 20,000 since then from the unexploded cluster bombs it left behind. It also created over 50,000 refugees after it had leveled the 700-year-old civilization on the Plain of Jars.

— The U.S. Executive has, in Cambodia, killed and wounded tens of thousands of civilians by carpet-bombing villages from 1969-’75. All told, after Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger secretly bombed and invaded Cambodia, waging a war that made the U.S. Executive responsible for casualties on all sides, the U.S. Senate Refugee Subcommittee estimated that 450,000 persons had been killed and wounded, and 3,990,000 made refugees. (4) Historian Michael Clodfelter has estimated that, all told, 600,000 Cambodian civilians died. (5)

— The U.S. Executive under Bill Clinton in Iraq, John Tirman reports in The Deaths of Others, imposed an embargo so severe that “UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children under five years of age had died as a result of the war and sanctions from malnutrition, diseases for which cures were available but medicine in Iraq was not, and poor health at birth due to prenatal effects on mothers.” (6)

Dennis Halliday, Assistant UN Secretary General, declared that

“I had been instructed to implement a (sanctions) policy that has effectively killed over a million individuals.”

— And after invading Iraq in 2003, the Executive under George W. Bush, as the Occupying Power, was legally responsible for maintaining law and order. Its war was also an aggressive war as outlawed at Nuremberg. It thus bears both the moral and legal responsibility for the deaths of more than 130,000 Iraqis (Iraq Body Count) to 654,965 (Lancet Scientific Journal) to 1,220,580 (Opinion Research Business), hundreds of thousands more wounded, and more than officially estimated 5 million refugees. (Please also see footnote 15)

— The Executive has, in Afghanistan, conducted thousands of night raids familiar to viewers of World War II Gestapo movies — killing over 1500 civilians in 6282 raids in 10 months from 2010 to early 2011 alone, as  revealed  by investigative reporter Gareth Porter. They have also conducted numerous bombing strikes and supported a corrupt regime which has stolen billions of dollars while their fellow citizens died for lack of healthcare and food.

–The Executive has, in Pakistan and Yemen, killed an estimated 2,800-4,000 persons from drone strikes, only 73 of whom it has named. Most were killed in “signature strikes” in which the victims’ names were unknown, and who in no way threatened the United States.

— Also, over the past 50 years, the U.S. Executive Branch bears a major responsibility for massive death and torture throughout Central and Latin America, Africa and Asia. Church, human rights and others estimate that U.S.-installed, trained, equipped and advised death squads in El Salvador and Contras in Nicaragua killed well over  35,000  and 30,000 persons respectively. The U.S.-supported Rios Montt regime in Guatemala killed an estimated 200,000. The U.S.-supported coup in Chile brought to power a regime that killed an estimated 3,200-15,000 political opponents and tortured another 30,000. U.S. support for Indonesian government genocide in East Timor helped kill over 200,000 persons. U.S. support for terrorists led by Jonas Savimbi in Angola helped kill an estimated 1.2 million persons and displaced another 1.5 million. (7)

And how much can you trust the decency of a US. Executive that treats these millions of human beings as mere nameless, faceless “collateral damage” at best, direct targets at worst, as human garbage barely worthy of mention, as “non-people” as Noam Chomsky has observed?

 

The WikiLeaks Truck Is Still Rustling Jimmies at Bradley Manning’s Trial


Artist Clark Stoeckley, the owner of the mobile performance art piece known as the WikiLeaks truck, is one of a handful of activists and reporters that consistently attend Bradley Manning’s trial, which resumed today. Even so, guards at Fort Meade weren’t sure what to think when earlier today Stoeckley cruised up to the base in his truck.

“Dressed as a redneck, I went up to all of the NSA and Army guys photographing “What the Hell is up with this truck?” tweeted Stoeckley, along with a photo of one agent. “They were dumbfounded.”

Given that the US military has banned army personnel from looking at anything related to WikiLeaks, it’s no surprise that military personnel may have been unsure how to deal with a guy driving up in a WikiLeaks box truck. One blogger has called Stoeckley’s constant presence at Fort Meade a “symbolic slap in the face,” and it’s clear he’s at least made his presence known. Earlier this month, canine units searched his truck before Stoeckley was given permission to park on the base, and whenever he enters or leaves the base he is accompanied by a police escort.

In a brief phone interview, Stoeckley explained that the army personnel “descended on the truck” following a “change of command ceremony.” He then proceeded to “play with them” by asking them seemingly naive questions like “What is this about?”

“They were like, ‘It’s the Manning trial, and I was like, ‘Who is Manning?’” laughed Stoeckley. “Some were laughing, some were pissed, and it was really confusing to them why my truck was on the base and how it got there,” he added. “It was the topic of conversation while they were going back to their cars.”

Besides giving rides to activists from New York City to Fort Meade, Stoeckley also draws the courtroom proceedings and uploads them to Flickr, making him a well-known fixture at Manning’s trial. In fact, he announced his illustrations and first-hand accounts would be published in a book to be released this upcoming October.

Dealing with authorities while driving around in his truck is nothing new for Stoeckley. Back during the height of Occupy Wall Street, Stoeckley’s truck was seized, searched and temporary lost by police, for example.

As of this writing, Stoeckley’s truck is still rustling the jimmies of guards and NSA guys at Fort Meade. And so far, Stoeckley’s seemingly gentle trolling of Fort Meade appears to be a healthy give-and-take between the artist and law enforcement: While speaking to me over the phone, an officer was writing Stoeckley a ticket.

By Fruzsina Eördögh 10 hours ago

Tags: bradley manning, WikiLeaks

Read more: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-wikileaks-truck-is-still-rustling-jimmies-at-bradley-mannings-trial-1#ixzz2XIv8PTzO

Follow us: @motherboard on Twitter | motherboardtv on Facebook

via The WikiLeaks Truck Is Still Rustling Jimmies at Bradley Manning’s Trial | Motherboard.

Judge rejects journalists’ demand for more openness in Manning trial


As City Paper reported this week, the case in which the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), joined by media organizations, including Wikileaks, The Nation, and Democracy Now!, asked for a court order to end pervasive secrecy surrounding the court-martial proceedings against U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, landed in Maryland federal court on Monday.

Late yesterday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander ruled that the group’s claims of unconstitutional secrecy do not merit her intervening in the trial of Manning (who in 2010 released a trove of classified material to the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks) with an order governing public disclosure of court documents.

“In light of the actions taken by defendants after this case was filed—to release documents, to commit to expedited release of documents going forward, and to permit unofficial transcription of proceedings by privately retained stenographers—I do not see a substantial likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction,” Hollander wrote in a 42-page opinion, docketed two days after the June 17 oral arguments in the lawsuit.

“I am mindful of the keen public interest in the court-martial, the right of public access to such proceedings, as well as the extraordinary nature of the relief plaintiffs seek,” Hollander continued. But the plaintiffs – New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), along with several journalists and media organizations, including Wikileaks, The Nation, and Democracy Now! – “ask this Court to intervene collaterally in an ongoing court-martial and issue dictates to the military judge conducting the proceedings, in regard to the management of public disclosures. In light of the measures that defendants have taken to provide the press and the public with access to the ongoing court-martial proceedings, such preliminary, equitable relief is not warranted here.”

The defendants – military leaders in charge of the proceedings against Manning – had cautioned Hollander against intervening in the Manning court martial, questioning whether a U.S. District Court judge had jurisdiction over a military tribunal. Hollander disagreed with that notion.

While the federal court “is obliged to tread gingerly” when reviewing a military tribunal’s rulings, Hollander wrote, “it cannot ignore its responsibilities to uphold federal rights,” which in this case involve “fundamental constitutional values of openness of court proceedings.” She added that “such access is vital in our democracy, and helps to inspire public confidence in the integrity of such proceedings,” but in rejecting the plaintiff’s case, decided that sufficient public access to the Manning court martial is currently in place, even if it may not have been when the lawsuit was filed on May 22.

via UPDATE: Judge rejects journalists’ demand for more openness in Manning trial | Citypaper Blogs.

Fracking Free Ireland – Keep the frogs in and the frackers out!


You Drank Your Water – Postcard Campaign by North West Network Against Fracking

The government has said that there will be no fracking until the next EPA study is completed, not until at least 2014. However, the last EPA report was produced by Aberdeen University, which has strong ties to the fossil fuel industry. How do we know that the new study will not be compromised?

The people are not reassured by the government’s promises. The Irish anti-fracking campaign will go on and is getting stronger every day.

Campaigners have produced a postcard that highlights the greatest problem with shale gas extraction – the irreversible pollution to our water. Can Ireland afford to contaminate its most precious resource, the source of our agriculture industry, and the source of all life?

Add your voice to your neighbours’! Call on our elected representatives and civil servants to respect the wishes of the Irish people and ban fracking.

You can download the photo here: http://frackingfreeireland.org/info-to-download/postcards/

ACTION

Send the waterpost e-card to TD’s, Government bodies, Petroleum Affairs Division and demand a ban on fracking!
(email addresses at the end of the Fracking Matters Newsletter 17-13 (107))

and all info at:https://www.facebook.com/events/450443201716200/permalink/451143964979457/

TheScream

via Fracking Free Ireland | Keep the frogs in and the frackers out!.

Atlantic Ocean must reduce Sodium content by 2018


It is common knowledge that the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest in the world. This Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, to make the ocean “safer for both wildlife and humans,” the Atlantic must reduce its sodium content from 3.3% to 2.4% over the next five years.

“As the Atlantic is the biggest offender in the war against salt, it was only natural that it would be the first target on our list,” claims a senior EPA ecologist. “We realize that the Atlantic faces many issues: oil pollution, trash build-up, pelicans…however it is our sincere belief that salinity is the first problem the Atlantic must address. We’ve come to this conclusion mainly because it was our committee’s decision.”

Salt Water Fish to wear Saltine patches!

Though the reduction was applauded by public safety advocates, residents of the Atlantic ocean are not pleased. This includes coral reefs, fish, and a dude on a houseboat. The Middle Oceanic Fraternal Order of Seahorses and Related Species (or MOFOS, as it is more commonly known) is an opposition group which has been vocal about what they see as an encroachment of their basic rights as oceanic inhabitants. “This aggression will not stand!” shouts their spokesperson, the dude on the houseboat.

In a letter published by The Atlantic (no relation), the Atlantic Ocean defended itself in its own words:

“I feel that I’m being very unfairly targeted by the EPA’s mandate. The Pacific Ocean is nearly double my size, and the Dead Sea is nearly twice as salty, and yet I’m taking all the guff. Is it merely a convenient coincidence that both The Dead Sea and the Pacific Ocean are major contributors to the campaigns of several top-level appointees in the EPA? You be the judge!”

When asked for comment, New York City major Michael Bloomberg said “now why didn’t I think of that!”

via Atlantic Ocean must reduce Sodium content by 2018 | The Haddock Funny news, Parody spoof news satire & satirical newspaper.

via Atlantic Ocean must reduce Sodium content by 2018 | The Haddock Funny news, Parody spoof news satire & satirical newspaper.

Thousands of Great Hunger victims who died in Staten Island quarantine remembered


Caskets at St. Peters Catholic Church – The Ancient Order of the Hibernians, provided a 19th century funeral service at St Peter’s Church on Staten Island


Thousands of victims of Ireland’s Great Hunger remain buried under Staten Island’s modern structures in unmarked mass graves. Now, over 160 years later, the remains of some of those victims will be re-interred in a Memorial Green, part of the multi-million Supreme Court complex, in St. George.

Ships came in their thousands to New York City between 1799 and 1858 and every one of them stopped at Staten Island to be checked for infectious disease. Those passengers deemed infectious would be sent to quarantine at the Staten Island Marine Hospital, close to today’s ferry terminal, where they were held until they were healthy enough to continue their journey.

Sadly thousands, having left Ireland on coffin ships fleeing the Great Hunger, others fleeing political strife in Germany or elsewhere, died of cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, dysentery, and other infectious maladies.

According to Public Health Chronicles the hospital often treated up to 8,000 patients per year and in an effort to curtail the dangerous spread of disease they simply carried the dead from their beds to the grave. No death certificates were issued and no burial records were kept.

heir bodies were placed in trenches throughout the cemetery, near the hospital and also all the way up the hill on the 30 acre property, now stretching towards the Silver Lake Golf Course.

Lynn Rogers, executive director of the Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island (FACSI) said, “This facility simply couldn’t handle the volume of people dying. They also had 1850s mass emigration from Germany so the facility got slammed.”

Jennifer Hyatt-Morgan, a FACSI volunteer, transcribed the facility’s mortality schedule during an eight month period, selecting only the Irish. During that short period 650 died, according to the records.

Rogers said, “There’s two cemeteries. There’s the one that became the parking lot and there’s another one that today is a huge golf course and that’s where they buried the majority of them. There absolutely is thousands of bodies there.

“The reason they made the cemetery into a golf course in the 1920s /1930s is because there are just too many remains in there. There must be tens of thousands.”

View of the Quarantine Grounds and Buildings at Staten IslandBy September 1, 1858, the residents of Staten Island had had enough of the disease and refugees landing on their doorsteps. Cara Dellate, Archivist at the Staten Island Museum, told IrishCentral, “Yellow fever was running rampant through the quarantine. People who were working there were getting sick and then bringing it home to their neighborhoods and infecting their own families and other people.”

An organized mob of Staten Island residents evacuated the facility and set fire to several of the buildings to fix their problem once and for all.

Over time the site of the hospital and the cemetery were developed, first with houses and then in the 1950s construction began on the site of the hospital’s cemetery for a municipal park lot.

Rogers told IrishCentral that at the time local historian Marjorie Johnson knew what lay beneath the soil, however, there were no laws to stop construction.

Johnson, now 95, who went on to be one of the founders of the FACSI, followed a dumpster truck from the site. She witnessed the truck dumping human remains into New York Harbor.

Dellate had also heard this story. She said, “It is a pretty awful story actually when you really think about it. It really is a shame what went on back then, how people were treated and even in modern day. It was just in the 1950s. They must have seen them in the dirt and to just blatantly ignore it! It’s really sad.”

In the early 2000s New York State began their plans to build the new Supreme Court complex on the site. Having been made aware of the archaeological sensitivity of the site they began research. Over two years archaeological fieldwork was undertaken to define the boundaries of the cemetery and human remains were uncovered and taken to a laboratory for analysis by a forensic anthropologist. This research allowed them to plan the new multi-million dollar complex around the cemetery.

The human remains removed from the ground were separated into adults and children. Earlier this year Herb Smith, the owner of Meislohn-Silvie Funeral Home, in Port Richmond, retrieved the remains from the Park Slope, Brooklyn, lab.

Placed in two caskets, one for the adults, and the other a traditional white for the children, the FACSI, with the help of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, provided a 19th century funeral service at St Peter’s Church on Staten Island.

The Church was specially chosen as it has a strong link with the quarantine facility having lost a number of priests the infectious diseases which plagued the area at the time.

Rogers told IrishCentral, “About 15 years ago they were re-decorating the Church and they found that a priest is buried under that altar with a plaque explaining that he had died administering to the Irish during the years of the Great Hunger at the quarantine.”

The caskets are now being kept at a receiving tomb in Moravian Cemetery, in New Dorp, and soon, once construction is completed on the Supreme Court building, they will be re-interred in a Memorial Green, in a quiet corner of the property, a place of quiet reflection, where the thousands buried from that period can be remembered.

The Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island (FACSI) plan to release a DVD telling the story of the area and these immigrants remains, by fall 2013. For more information on their group visit their Facebook page, call 917-545-3309 or email siccemetry@gmail.com.


via Thousands of Great Hunger victims who died in Staten Island quarantine remembered | Irish News | IrishCentral.

Closing Guantanamo—Why it’s Symbolically, Spiritually and Materially Important.


President Barack Obama has made a clear and convincing case for closing Guantanamo! Mostly the same reasons finally articulate were just as true when he initially took office. Closing the stigma of war, crime and national shame has always been a high agenda item for many Americans. It is now the watermark battle ground that could begin to show who or what really runs this country. But think of the mindless excuses from war hawks (including complicity by the mainstream media) to try to stop any transparency about Guantanamo prisoners. But there is simply no way President Obama can close this base on his own without major and active U.S. citizen and world support. How can Congress possibly stand in the way of the reasons President Obama announced for closing the Bush Legacy? Where is the Free Speech movement, where are the campus protests at Madison and Kent State Ohio?

Closing Guantanamo—Why it’s Symbolically, Spiritually and Materially Important.

By Scott Skein

Finally. President Barack Obama has made a clear and convincing case for closing Guantanamo! Yet many Americans expected, or assumed, it would have closed early in his first term—that is to say the case was already self-evident. After all it was one reason this president was elected our new leader—to reverse the criminality and immorality of the Bush Administration. Mostly the same reasons finally articulate were just as true when he initially took office. (See Obama Remembers Gitmo Exists Says ‘Not Necessary’ for American Safety by Lucy Steigewald at AntiWar.com April 30, 2013.)

Closing the stigma of war, crime and national shame has always been a high agenda item for many Americans. It is now the watermark battle ground that could begin to show who or what really runs this country—certain special interests (that elected legislators really represent) and the Pentagon/ CIA or The People of this country. In essence it is our own form of Berlin Wall (and to think Dick Cheney’s company played a part in building it).

As of yet Washington D.C.’s beltway pattern of high corruption level and willful distortion to truth continues to reign supreme. Think about it: Why has there been so much resistance to closing Gulag Gitmo; or getting those prisoners a fair and/or public trial (rather than so much hoopla about defining them as enemy combatants); or treating them halfway decently before declared guilty by a fair trial, etc., (in our covert world of black ops prisons with the help of “extraordinary” renditions. It seems the whole war on terror has become terrorism?

And likely it’s not because most of those people were, or are, all that dangerous—but rather it is that truth itself that is dangerous—that is a greater truth to which 9/11 was forged to serve—once it happened and could be quickly capitalized. It was always about avoiding the laws of our country and international treaties.

Several contingency groups benefited from 9/11 (see essay “9/11: Who Really Benefited?” by Captain America found on the Internet). Three powerful contingencies that benefited are: 1) investors of the military industrial complex and related private contractors and mercenary groups who literally have made a killing since, 2) investors (that is owners of securities) of major oil companies, and 3) Zionists who wanted to further make U.S. foreign policy equivalent to what was, and still is, really the policy goals of right-wing Zionists—such as to get Americans to believe all of Israel’s enemies are equally enemies of the people of the United States (even if most Americans are not Jewish or Israeli), and to get the U.S Government to label Israel’s enemies as all terrorists as policy and propaganda (which resulted from a long term, major propaganda campaign—see Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2001 reprint of 1995 book Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network as one of many, many examples).

Since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has in effect opened up the opium trade in Afghanistan; illegally attacked Israel’s enemy Saddam Hussein and that nation (see “I don’t mean to say I told you so, but….” by Stephen Walt at http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/08/i_dont_m…o_but ).

And now we are destroying Syria (for Israel or please explain how Syria is so important to the American people that we should be so meddlesome in their affairs) as we are still on track to attack Iran with uncompromising demands, similar to our demands for unconditional surrender from Japan in WW2 that more or less guaranteeing Japan would not so we used two nuclear bombs with mass civilian casualties (as this standoff is equally for Israel); and the fact that such endeavors cost unimaginable amounts of American tax dollars and potentially could cost many American lives doesn’t seem to mean a thing to the Neo-Con-Artists—who basically came up with this hegemony. Nor did they care whether such events destroyed our overall economic viability.

But think of the mindless excuses from war hawks (including complicity by the mainstream media) to try to stop any transparency about Guantanamo prisoners—including how many were randomly rounded up in Afghanistan via blood money paid to War Lords—yes bribery money ultimately from tax payers via our government employees). If war is about winning hearts and minds then who wants to learn truth about how things really go down—better to keep things under the rug and away from the home front?

There are several documentaries on Guantanamo that you can find on the Internet. It is not some small, sideline issue—it is central to who and what we are—as opposed to who we claim we are.

Back in November of 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced a trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would be held at a Federal Courthouse in New York City. The very next month an quixotic and bizarre underwear bomber story emerged and it more or less buried any discussion about the trial (that some in NYC did not want). That underwear bomber story scenario was not only a idiotic plot—it always seemed suspicious—as some conspiracy theorists have found plenty enough to question. Nevertheless the mainstream media played it like a real threat ad nauseum (never suggesting intelligence groups or types do engage “active measures” from time to time to affect outcomes—if for no other reason than to protect their own backsides).

Then shortly thereafter came the racism of Pamela Geller and Robert Spenser and their Stop the Islamization of America group complaining about the Ground Zero Mosque. After this carried on a few months there was little, if any, discussion for public or fair trials for prisoners of America’s gulag system—such ideas were effectively shunted—and equally there grew more imbecile excuses as to why the “mighty” U.S. could not close it down, culminating to hair-brained notions as such men were “too” dangerous to imprison on American soil (even as this high ratio prisoner society has routinely locked up more dangerous men).

Whereas, in previous years the mainstream had inundated the public consciousness with endless discussions about whether water boarding was really torture—while completely and deliberately ignoring an International Red Cross report (sent to all major U.S news outlets) that stated at least 44 people were known to have died from U.S. sponsored torture.

But there is simply no way President Obama can close this base on his own, or at least the prison part of it, without major and active U.S. citizen and world support. President Obama is surrounded by an entrenched cabinets of the Executive branch—they act power-hungry and have establishment the fact they have little respect for law. Equally a top-down and corrupted democratic party suffocates any possibility for clean and refreshing air. It was his choice of Ramn Israel Emanuel for Chief of Staff, in his first term, who apparently helped sideline the Guantanamo issue.

It is not enough for Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks to admonish the President, or correctly criticize him, for not having the stomach for a tough fight. There has to be a major coalition of the American people with him, willing to let Congress, and their staffs, know we Americans are tired of this status quo, and we are going to do something about it. (Currently you can’t even email some U.S. Senators a statement of any length—it prints as all run together—no spacing—take John McCain’s official email sight as example? Obviously he, nor his staff, doesn’t even read from the constituency—and it’s not just such level of arrogance—but also how mediocre are many of their minds.

Why has not the U.S. Senate called for an investigation of the likely assassination of Paul Wellstone, who was positioned to be re-elected for another term? You see it’s not really about being Jewish—but rather if you are crazy, right-wing NeoCon or not).

Americans must make a firm and powerful stand now—bigger than the Occupy Movement. Where is the Free Speech movement, where are the campus protests at Madison and Kent State Ohio? Think tanks were betting as long as there was no draft there wouldn’t be much protests. The D.C. Mall should be flooded this summer with people demanding justice for all people. This is not a party issue—it is All American issue.

It seems too many of our elected leaders are corrupted. How can they possibly stand in the way of the reasons President Obama announced for closing the Bush Legacy? Congress is acting as traitors to our very values and Constitutional liberties. They must be ousted from any decision-making capacity—if not put on trial for high crimes of treason.

We must force the military and intelligence quagmire to subordinate to the President. To think that mere men and women at the top of echelons were placing themselves into position to play some egotistical God—that is one who could arbitrarily make up the rules, could judge according to one’s own sanctimonious dictates, could willfully sanction war and murder, and could punish with some nebulous form of eternal torture as hell (with no possible right to justifiable Justice), is beyond comprehension and the pale—unless one realizes how the very meaning of corruption comports itself even within the ambiance of Washington D.C. We don’t need another Arab Spring but we do need our own form of American Summer.

We must reclaim our participatory role. The question is not whether the president has given up on common sense and idealism—but rather whether the American people have.

THIS IS THE TIME AND THIS IS THE ISSUE OF CONTENTION

OCCUPY! OCCUPY! OCCUPY!

via Closing Guantanamo—Why it’s Symbolically, Spiritually and Materially Important. – Indymedia Ireland.

via Closing Guantanamo—Why it’s Symbolically, Spiritually and Materially Important. – Indymedia Ireland.

Can Immune Therapy Fight Cancer?


Can the body’s immune response help treat cancer?

In recent years, researchers have looked at how to stimulate T-cells to combat tumors.

In the summer of 1890, an adventurous seventeen-year-old from New Jersey named Elizabeth Dashiell travelled across the United States by train. During the journey, she caught her hand between the seats of a Pullman car. The hand became swollen and painful, and, when it didn’t heal after she returned home, Dashiell consulted William Coley, a young surgeon in New York City. Unable to determine a diagnosis, he made a small incision below the bottom joint of her pinkie finger, where it connected to the back of her hand, to relieve the pressure, but only a few drops of pus drained out. During the following weeks, Coley saw Dashiell regularly. In the operating room, he scraped hard, gristly material off the bones of her hand. But the procedure gave only fleeting relief. Finally, Coley performed a biopsy that showed that Dashiell had sarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissue, which was unrelated to her initial injury. In a desperate attempt to stop the cancer’s spread, Coley followed the practice of the time and amputated Dashiell’s arm just below the elbow. But the sarcoma soon reappeared, as large masses in her neck and abdomen. In January, 1891, she died at home, with Coley at her bedside.

After Dashiell’s death, Coley was distraught, and searched through the records of New York Hospital for similar cases. He found one patient who stood out from the grim stories. Eleven years earlier, Fred Stein, a German immigrant who worked as a housepainter, had a rapidly growing sarcoma in his neck. After four operations and four recurrences of the cancer, a senior surgeon declared Stein’s case “absolutely hopeless.” Then an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria broke out in red patches across Stein’s neck and face. There were no antibiotics at the time, so his immune system was left to fight off the infection unaided. Remarkably, as his white blood cells combatted the bacteria, the sarcoma shrank into a bland scar. Stein left the hospital with no infection and no discernible cancer. Coley concluded that something in Stein’s own body had shrunk the cancer.

Coley spent the next decade hoping to replicate Stein’s extraordinary recovery. In “A Commotion in the Blood,” published in 1997, Stephen S. Hall describes how Coley inoculated cancer patients, first with extracts of streptococcal abscesses, termed “laudable pus,” and later with purer cultures of the microbes. He claimed several successes, but the medical establishment did not embrace his approach, because his results could not be reliably reproduced. His primary critic, the pathologist James Ewing, believed that the new technique of radiation was the only scientifically sound way to treat cancer.

Coley’s work was financially supported by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., a classmate of Dashiell’s brother who had considered Elizabeth his “adopted sister.” But Rockefeller also donated to Ewing’s research. While Coley told stories of miraculous recoveries, Ewing presented numbers that consistently demonstrated the power of radiation. Ultimately, Rockefeller chose Ewing as his scientific adviser. Rockefeller’s support led to the creation of what is now the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the foremost institutions studying and treating malignancies. The idea that the body’s immune system could play a crucial role in eradicating cancer was largely discarded. One doctor at the time called Coley’s hypothesis “whispers of nature.”

In the last hundred years, progress in the treatment of cancer has come mostly from radiation and chemotherapy. Previously fatal blood-cell cancers, such as childhood leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease, are now curable. But solid tumors, which grow in the lungs, the colon, and the breast, have stubbornly resisted treatment once they spread beyond their initial site.

In 1971, the Nixon Administration declared a “war on cancer,” promising Americans that within ten years the disease would be beaten. At the time, many researchers believed that cancer was caused by a virus that speeded up a cell’s metabolism, resulting in uncontrollable growth. After all, they had discovered some hundred viruses that caused cancer in amphibians, birds, and mammals. In the early seventies, interferon, a drug that had been developed from a protein released by white blood cells during a viral infection, was widely thought to be a possible cure for cancer; in 1980, it appeared on the cover of Time. The tumors of mice shrank dramatically when treated with the drug. But in patients interferon failed to cure solid tumors, and melanoma responded only occasionally.

Over the next decade, other proteins produced by the body as part of its immune response were made into drugs, most notably one called interleukin-2. In 1988, Armand Hammer, the ninety-year-old oil-company magnate who chaired Ronald Reagan’s cancer panel, sought to raise a billion dollars, with the aim of curing cancer by his hundredth birthday. He touted interleukin-2 as an immune booster that could achieve the goal. But most solid tumors were impervious to it, too.

In the past fifteen years, as tumors have been found to contain genetic mutations that cause them to grow unrestrained, the focus of research has shifted to cancer’s genome. Targeted therapies, which are designed to disarm these mutations, are now at the forefront of care. The first successful targeted therapy was Gleevec, which caused rapid remissions in chronic myelogenous leukemia, with few and mild side effects. Herceptin, a targeted therapy that attacks HER-2, a protein that is found in some twenty to thirty per cent of breast-cancer cases, has also been effective.

Advances such as these caused Coley’s approach to fade into obscurity. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate and the director of the National Cancer Institute, told me that until very recently, “except for monoclonal antibodies, every therapy that exploited the immune system was pretty abysmal. There weren’t any good ideas about why immune therapy failed.” But now patients who did not respond to available therapies have shown dramatic and unexpected responses to a new series of treatments that unleash the immune system. Coley’s theories are suddenly the basis for the most promising directions in cancer research. In March, 2011, the National Cancer Institute announced that it would fund a network of twenty-seven universities and cancer centers across North America to conduct trials of immune therapies. Mac Cheever, the director of the program, who is at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, described it as a way to speed the practical work of developing treatments. “All of the components needed for effective immunotherapy have been invented,” he said.

via Can Immune Therapy Fight Cancer? : The New Yorker.

via Can Immune Therapy Fight Cancer? : The New Yorker.

Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition


City branding is a tricky thing.  Cities are complex constellations of people, places, and events that although perhaps characterised by particular overarching ‘auras’ are nevertheless experienced in subjective ways.  Moreover, city branding is also generally concerned with presenting a marketable version of the city that can be used to attract inward investment.  So there is a constant tension then between giving voice to a version of the city that is reflective of the reality of urban life and presenting one that is going to be appealing to an external audience.  Even outside of such economic concerns, there are many different ways to represent the city in both positive and negative terms.  The city is a many-splendored thing that also encompasses the less desirable aspects of urban life that banding campaigns tend to obfuscate.

This may have been a lesson learnt by many in Ireland’s capital last week when the Uniquely Dublin competition announced its perhaps unlikely winning entry.  Uniquely Dublin was organised by Dublin City Council and the Little Museum, along with Tourism Ireland and Dublin Bus.  The competition website gave the following instructions:

“We’re looking for entries that celebrate Dublin today. If you have something original to say, we want to hear it. Show us something that surprises or delights us. It could be a cartoon of your favourite character or a poem on Sandymount Strand. It could be a poster for the new Dublin or a piece of local slang as we’ve never seen or heard it before. It could be a painting, a slogan, a piece of propaganda or even a song. Make us look at Dublin with fresh eyes. Your eyes.  All you have to do is make a piece of work in one of the competition categories [film, animation, photography, graphic design, written word, visual arts, music] and send it to us. Works will be shortlisted by our distinguished panel of judges and then the public will decide the overall winner”.

Some of the shortlisted entries (which can be viewed here and here) are earnest in tone, but the eventual winner took a more irreverent approach to representing the city.  The winning video entry entitled “Dublin City: a Radical Science Guide”, produced by Oisin Byrne and Gary Farrelly, has been described as “Flann O’Brien-esque satire” by the competition organisers.  In the video we are guided through a Dublin where Liffey water cures syphilis, the national parliament shares its premises with Europe’s largest brothel, and the Spire is a commemoration of Ireland’s space programme.  But as with any satire worth its salt, underneath the absurdity the video also presents an exaggerated depiction of current social realities in Ireland: gorgeous Georgian frontages masking cheap social housing and ‘Grafton Street’ a consumer wasteland of boarded-up shops.

Though tongue-in-cheek the video stands in clear contrast to the version of Ireland Inc that has been presented to the world, a depiction that frequently underplays the impacts of austerity in favour of putting a positive spin on the country.  That the overall winner of Uniquely Dublin was decided by public vote is perhaps significant.  Who knows, maybe the fantastical depiction of Dublin presented in Byrne and Farrelly’s video seemed more real to the voting public than the rosy outlook of the official discourse.

Cian O’Callaghan

via Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition | Ireland after NAMA.

via Satiric Video Wins Uniquely Dublin Competition | Ireland after NAMA.

The Goldman Diary


We are led to believe that the world is in recession but these bailed out bankers are still able to make huge profits and pay themselves vast sums of money.

You know a long time ago well maybe not so long the old Imperial powers looted their colonies without showing a drop of remorse.

Today the Imperial powers are dormant and have been overhauled by the financial institutions. These dragons of fiscal matters are today’s new colonists. These people care not a whit for countries or international borders they will rob and plunder wherever the treasure lies.

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Goldman Sachs’s Jon Corzine –8th April

The FBI report on the MF Global collapse that was sent to the bankruptcy trustee paints a damning picture of former Goldman Sachs chief executive, Jon Corzine.  Investors in MF Global lost $2.1 billion–a sure indication that these high-priced executives do not live up to their hype.  Why Corzine is not in jail is not a mystery but certainly alludes to fraud that goes unpunished in a corrupt justice system.

Corzine’s spokesman prefers to blame everyone else except the guy in charge.  Meanwhile, the wreckage of the economy and the bad faith in justice continues apace.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013

How Many Ways Does Goldman Sachs Get Preferential Treatment?

Let me count one of those ways:  Goldman Sachs (accidentally) obtained preferential treatment when it received the Federal Reserve FOMC minutes, which give important information regarding intended monetary policy, before the public did.The comments at the end of the following article show how little credence the “accidental” leak has with the public some of whom consider information leaks a feature of the system rather than a bug in the system.  There is a lot of cynicism from the public regarding all banks and their relationship with the Federal Reserve.
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The Guardian, Friday 12 April 2013 19.49 BST

Goldman Sachs paid its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, $21m last year – and granted him a further $5m in bonus shares in January.

The Wall Street bank handed Blankfein $13.3m (£8.7m) in restricted shares and a $5.7m cash bonus on top of his $2m annual salary last year.

His total 2012 pay was $9m more than in 2011, and the highest since the $68m he received in 2007, before the financial crisis struck.

The payout, disclosed in a filing with the US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), makes Blankfein, 58, the world’s best paid banker.

On top of his annual pay Goldman granted him long-term incentive plan (LTIP) shares worth an additional $5m at today’s share price. But he will have to meet performance targets in order to collect the full amount, and the value of the shares could go up or down.

Blankfein’s top four lieutenants collected a total of $72m in annual pay, bonuses and share options last year.

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More Preferential Treatment for Goldman Sachs
Posted: 12 Apr 2013 09:20 AM PDT
When Goldman Sachs became a commercial bank in 2008 (in order to save itself from insolvency), it apparently came under commercial bank regulations. However, in 2010 Goldman bought warehouses of aluminum products as an investment even though “[u]nder US banking regulations, banks are barred from owning the physical commodity assets that they operate.”

But, of course, the Federal Reserve gave Goldman 5 years of grace (until autumn 2013) while it decides if Goldman is exempt from the rules. This is another instance of the two-tier system of justice in the US–one for banks and the other for the rest of us.

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Payments

Goldman Sachs bankers to reward themselves a staggering £8.3billion in bonuses- jan 2013
The bank will be first to unveil its rewards – an average of £250,000 a person
Increase, up from £230,000 last year, comes as families are struggling to make ends meet
Calls for restraint by politicians, who used taxpayers’ money to bail banks out, have fallen on deaf ears

Goldman Sachs paid its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, $21m last year – and granted him a further $5m in bonus shares in January. -April 2013

The Wall Street bank handed Blankfein $13.3m (£8.7m) in restricted shares and a $5.7m cash bonus on top of his $2m annual salary last year.

His total 2012 pay was $9m more than in 2011, and the highest since the $68m he received in 2007, before the financial crisis struck.

Cash bonanza anticipated for Goldmans workers as firm sets aside £2.75bn pay and bonus pot- April 3013

Bankers at Goldman Sachs – including its 6,000 London staff – are in line for another bumper year as results this week are forecast to show average pay packets of £85,000 for the first quarter alone.

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Goldman Sachs is Caught In Its Own Web of Deceit 18 Apr 2013 
A federal judge, District Judge Susan Wigenton, has upheld Prudential’s $270 million lawsuit against Goldman for fraudulent RMBS it sold to them.

A little bit of justice goes a long way when complete justice is denied.

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What Is Goldman Sachs Really Like?
19 Apr 2013
First, Goldman Sachs has paid its latest fine for RMBS fraud to Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP and according to the Bloomberg’s article:

“ABP sued New York-based Goldman Sachs in New York State Supreme Court in January 2012. The company alleged that it purchased certain mortgage-backed securities in reliance on false and misleading statements and that the securities were riskier than had been represented, backed by mortgage loansworth significantly less than had been represented.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Second, Professor Jeffrey Sachs calls the banks what they really are in an audio/video recoding posted at Market-Ticker. He is talking by telephone to a conference of academics discussing ending the fractional reserve lending system in order to repair the financial system by taking liquidity away from bankers who treat their banks as casinos for gambling. He calls the bankers cynical and full of conflicts of interest. Here is a partial transcript of what he thinks the banking system is:

“Prima facie, [it is] criminal behavior. It’s financial fraud on a very large [scale]; there’s a tremendous amount of insider trading…. [John] “Paulson worked together with Goldman Sachs to defraud massively many European banks which bought the toxic mortgages that Paulson had put together…. Goldman ended up paying a small fine and the chair of Goldman, of course, continued in his position and continued [to attend] White house State dinners.”

Other descriptors that Sachs uses for bankers and banking include:
“lawlessness,” “collapse of decency,” “a lot of them are crooks,” “nefarious behavior,”

Goldman Sachs should not be a commercial banking unit. That [it is] is sad.

The banking system is dysfunctional; there is a crisis of values that is extremely deep. Legal structures and regulators need reform. “I regard the moral environment of Wall Street people as pathological.” They bear no responsibility to others; they are tough, greedy, aggressive and out of control and have “gamed the system.” Regulators and the White House remain docile. Politics is corrupt to the core.

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Fraud*
According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: “deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage”.[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent “discoveries”, e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Pentagon Accessing Gitmo Defense Lawyers Emails


The long-troubled military trials at Guantanamo Bay were hit by revelations earlier this year that a secret censor had the ability to cut off courtroom proceedings, and that there were listening devices disguised as smoke detectors in attorney-client meeting rooms.

Now, another potential instance of compromised confidentiality at the military commissions has emerged: Defense attorneys say somebody has accessed their email and servers.

“Defense emails have ended up being provided to the prosecution, material has disappeared off the defense server, and sometimes reappeared, in different formats, or with different names,” said Rick Kammen, a lawyer for Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri, who is accused of plotting the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

The lawyers say they don’t know exactly who is accessing their communications. And it’s not yet clear whether the emails were intentionally grabbed or were scooped up mistakenly due to technical or procedural errors.

Either way, the lawyers are concerned.

In response to the apparent breaches, the military’s chief defense counsel ordered defense lawyers to stop using email for privileged or confidential communications.

“This follows on the heels of the seizure of over 500,000 e-mail containing attorney-client privileged communications as well as the loss of significant amount of defense work-product contained in shared folders,” Commander Walter Ruiz, one of the military defense counsels, said in an email.

The search of thousands of emails was revealed by the prosecution, attorneys say.

“The searches on their face looked to be fairly benign,” Kammen said. The defense emails turned up when prosecutors requested a search of prosecutors’ own emails. “The people who were doing the searches ended up providing all manner of defense material as well.” It’s not clear what department, agency, or office did the search.

It is not possible to corroborate the attorneys’ accounts because the full documents are undergoing security review, and are not yet public.

The Pentagon declined to comment, citing the ongoing trial.

In recent months, defense lawyers also realized that files were missing from their shared and personal servers. There is no evidence that the missing files are connected to the email searches.

“The main thing is that the integrity of the system as the whole is in very serious question,” said Commander Ruiz. The order to stop using servers and emails, “essentially cripples our ability to operate,” he said.

Hearings in Nashiri’s case were scheduled for next week, but in response to a motion from his lawyers, military judge James Pohlhas delayed the hearings for two months. Yesterday, lawyers for the 9/11 plotters also filed a motion regarding “Information Technology Corruption and Loss of Relevant Defense Files.”

These new concerns are the latest example of irregularities of military commissions overshadowing the actual facts of the cases brought before them. Pretrial hearings have been consumed by issues such as whether defendants can wear camouflage to court (they can), when mail can be read, and what exactly lawyers can discuss with or send their clients. The prosecution has also tried to prohibit “informational contraband,” including any material on “current political or military events in any country; historical perspectives or discussions on jihadist activities.” Copies of the 9/11 Commission Report and the memoirs of an FBI agent have been taken from defendants’ cells.

In cases before the commissions, defendants’ interactions with their attorneys are subject to strict controls. Orders aimed at protecting classified information govern most proceedings and lawyers have limited access to their clients. Defense lawyerspreviously had to get a security officer’s approval to use even mundane information from defendants. That requirement was loosened a bit, but details of the defendants’ time in CIA custody – including their own accounts of being tortured – are automatically classified.

There have been seven convictions under the military commissions. Another seven detainees are currently facing charges, and 24 others may yet be prosecuted. The government has deemed 46 detainees simply too dangerous to release but doesn’t plan to try them.

The Obama administration initially sought to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four other alleged 9/11 plotters in federal court in Manhattan, but reversed its position after heated opposition from Congress and New York City officials.

Though President Obama has thus far failed to fulfill his pledge to close Guantanamo, no one has been brought to the prison under the Obama administration. In recent months, a string of terror suspects have been extradited from foreign countries to face charges in U.S. courts.

UPDATE:

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale disputed defense attorneys’ characterizations of the email and data breach described below, saying that none of the government prosecutors “saw the content of any privileged communications.”

The search was conducted by the Pentagon’s IT department. Breasseale said the reason prosecution ended up with defense emails at all was likely because a security officer “miscommunicated the search parameters.” As soon as one prosecutor “realized the search results included privileged material, the searches completely ceased, and, upon agreement of defense counsel … the IT department deleted all the search results from the two searches,” Breasseale said.

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Statement emailed to reporters by Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale:
Perhaps the biggest myth in the current reporting is that US government prosecutors saw defense e-mails.
I can tell you unequivocally that NO prosecutor and no member of the privilege review team saw the content of any privileged communications. Only one prosecutor and only one member of the privilege review team each actually saw a single defense communication. To be clear: there were a series of searches for a particular piece of information in which both prosecution and defense took part. One prosecutor saw the email when reviewing results generated from the first search. The privilege-review attorney saw the email when reviewing the results generated from the second search. However, in both cases, they only saw the “To,” “From,” and “CC” lines, and the one prosecutor saw the opening salutation of the email (it was “team,” or some similar word) and saw NOTHING ELSE. As soon as that prosecutor realized the search results included privileged material, the searches completely ceased, and, upon agreement of defense counsel in Qosi, the IT department deleted all the search results from the two searches.
But more generally – though terrifically more importantly – the attorney-client privilege ranks among the oldest and most established evidentiary privileges known to our law, and we take this seriously. The fact that this arose from a defense-initiated petition, was promptly dealt with due to a PROSECUTION report, and that it is receiving appropriate focus to identify corrective measures, confirms that. All attorneys, including both our professional corps of defense and prosecuting attorneys, are duty-bound to safeguard privileged material. Attorneys are obligated to scrupulously avoid reviewing the other side’s privileged material. Specifically, the attorneys in the office of the chief prosecutor have demonstrated their respect for the attorney-client privilege and they diligently work to protect it.
In any complex litigation, privileged material sometimes accidentally ends up in the wrong place – from both ‘sides.’ For example, just last week, a member of the defense counsel mistakenly sent to a number of prosecutors an ex parte filing that was meant to be sent only to the court. Defense counsel notified the prosecution, and actions were immediately taken to protect the confidentiality of the filing. This sort of human error is unfortunate but not out of the ordinary in complex litigation in both civilian and military systems, and both sides work together to resolve any issues that arise.
Meanwhile, encryption–which is the recommended means of communication–would have precluded even this inadvertent and fully contained disclosure that involved no content.
So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to offer some point-for-point responses to some of the growing myths that are out there.
“[I]t was revealed that hundreds of thousands of defense e-mails were turned over to the prosecution.”
“In the latest controversy, the prosecution gained access to about 540,000 emails from defense teams.”
— This is patently FALSE. **The Enterprise Information Technology Services Directorate (EITSD) did not turn over any of the those emails to any attorneys—prosecution or otherwise. IT has maintained possession of these emails and the prosecution attorneys do not have access to them. Because no one has reviewed these emails, we simply do not know whether any of the emails included any defense emails.
“Defense attorneys said military IT personnel unsuccessfully tried to refine their search parameters two more times—and in each case discovered more confidential material.”
— The court wanted communications between the prosecution and the defense regarding waiver of appellate review. The office of the Chief Prosecutor (OMC-P) asked their IT professional, he relayed to them that they had to go through OMC Security Department (now part of Washington Headquarters Services), and OMC Security relayed that they would have to contact the search technicians with OMC-P’s search request. OMC-P gave the search parameters to OMC Security (including the names of the relevant prosecutors and defense attorneys, identifying who was a prosecutor and who was a defense attorney), and OMC Security was supposed to properly communicate them to the search technicians. The representative from OMC-Security miscommunicated the search parameters, which we asses is the likely reason it caused OMC-P to receive the privileged communications which, again, were never read by the prosecutors.
— The IT search that generated 540,000 emails was the third search. Again: no one has reviewed these emails, so we do not know if they include confidential material. After the first search, prosecutors directed IT to deliver any search results to a privilege review team composed of attorneys from the DOD OGC who had no involvement in the Qosi case before the United States Court of Military Commission Review or the Cole and 9/11 trials. IT has deleted the search results from the first two searches.
— Finally, the Office of Military Commissions (OMC), in toto – including both defense and prosecution – suffered from a nearly catastrophic server ‘crash,’ that affected not only the main server, but both of its back-up servers. The server ‘crash,’ coupled with the satellite latency issues that exist between computers here in the US and those at Guantanamo Bay, have caused losses of indiscriminate data across the OMC spectrum. Of the nearly 400 gb of data originally ‘lost,’ there remain some 7 gb yet to be accounted for. To be sure, this data loss – which affects the whole of OMC – is indeed indiscriminate and appears to be mostly affecting updates to pre-existing documents and new documents that were saved to the server and not e-mailed.
**Breasseale’s statement originally said that, “no one knows from where this “540k” number comes and I would direct you to the defense counsel who allege this number.” In a follow-up, Breasseale corrected that to say that “the 540k number comes from one of the prosecution’s pleadings.

via Pentagon Accessing Gitmo Defense Lawyers Emails | LeakSource.

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