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In a nutshell, the best ‘defence’ Corporate controlled Washington and the Pentagon are able to offer, after WikiLeaks’ latest diplomatic file release, is ‘everybody knew or it's old news’ – well, of course it is, but the point is WikiLeaks has furnished the world with much needed INCONTESTABLE PROOF or EVIDENCE that prosecutors and Courts demand, and that my quivering elites is the crux of the matter. If this latest feeble attempt at distraction is the best you can do, your demise is CERTAIN!
Furthermore, (you demented dummies) it is the people not governments Assange primarily addresses, and what effect do you suppose all these revelations is having on the credibility of world leaders and seats of government? Why should anyone slave for a pittance when the corrupt, criminal executive class rewards itself with millions of dollars in remuneration and bonuses?
Thanks to WikiLeaks/Assange it is now CLEAR that our ‘leaders’ are CRIMINALS of the worst kind and our thoroughly corrupt governments are in the pocket of Corporatists!
Try and do better next time, doodles; the only people you are fooling are yourselves – and remember, there’s a light pole with YOUR name on it.
Mind the gap: bumper bonuses are back, yet millions struggle on welfare in US.
Growing inequality at the heart of the US economy is being laid bare this holiday season.
Conspicuous consumption is back on Wall Street, in anticipation of bonuses close to pre-recession levels. Some American companies have just posted the largest quarterly profits ever. Meanwhile, one in five families is relying on food stamps to get by and unemployment remains stuck at around 10%.
For three years, since massive government bailouts of the financial system, New York’s bankers, traders and hedge fund managers have been wary of flaunting their wealth – many remember the outrage that greeted revelations that Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain had bought a $35,000 toilet, as his firm imploded. Last Christmas, Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit told employees: “We will be judged in the court of public opinion.”
But this year, shameless extravagance is making a comeback. One investment analyst booked hip-hop star Lil’ Kim for his Halloween party. Another paid Playboy bunnies to dance for guests behind a satin screen. A Morgan Stanley trader was sacked for hiring a dwarf for his friend’s stag night in Miami and trying to handcuff him to the groom. And business is booming at the most expensive shops – luxury jeweller Tiffany reported a 7% increase in sales worldwide.
The Japanese bank Nomura has estimated that America’s top five financial firms – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase – have set aside almost $90 billion for bonuses. “I did not expect compensation would come back the way it has,” bonus analyst Alan Johnson told the New York Times. “I underestimated the industry’s resiliency.”
In his new account of the financial crisis, Crash Of The Titans, Greg Farrell blames Wall Street’s obsession with bonuses: “Why did Lehman Brothers go out of business? Because their people kept doing real estate deals long after the market had turned. It produced bigger bonuses for them. Why did AIG keep selling those foolhardy insurance police on CDOs? Because it was easy money and led to bigger bonuses.”
The final amounts won’t be known until January, when fourth quarter results come in. Analysts will be watching Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein’s bonus with particular interest. Two years ago he took nothing, after his company benefited from a huge injection of taxpayer money. Last year, he was awarded $9 million, paid in stock – not much for the most profitable firm on Wall Street. This year, he is expected to come close to matching the record he set in 2007: $68.5m.
On Monday, the US Commerce Department reported that American businesses earned record profits in the third quarter, at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion. But few economists expect companies to start hiring soon. Most of the gains made in the last year were in productivity – doing more with fewer workers – and from multi-national corporations who benefited from an economic boom in India, China and Brazil. Taking away financial sector and “rest of world” profits paints a truer picture of the economy. The richest 1% of Americans now take in almost a quarter of all national income. In the late 1970s their share was less than 10%.
When last year’s Wall Street bonuses were announced, President Barack Obama called them “shameful” and “the height of irresponsibility”. But the tough regulation he vowed to introduce is full of loopholes and it now looks like he will also back down on his campaign promise to raise taxes for people earning more than $200,000 a year.
Republicans have signalled that they may be open to compromise, saying they’ll prolong unemployment benefits in exchange for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. But shortly before Congress broke up for the Thanksgiving holiday, they blocked an effort to extend benefits, meaning that two million people will not pick up a welfare cheque in December.
A failure to rein in financial industry excesses could prove costly to Democrats – even though Republicans, more closely tied to Wall Street, will be the beneficiaries.
Democratic Senator Jim Webb said: “People say, ‘What’s the difference between these two parties? Neither of them is really going to take on Wall Street. If they don’t have the guts to take them on, I’m going to vote for the other people who can at least satisfy me on other issues, like abortion. Screw you guys.’ I understand that mindset.”
[How does it feel, doodles? 'There is no slave like an American S-L-A-V-E.']
[They can't get Assange on trumped-up rape charges now the latest act of American desperation is Espionage -- in collaboration with the knee-walking, custard-faced, Oz servile government, I would add -- I mean really!]
The US Justice and Defense departments are investigating whether they can press charges against Australian citizen and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, possibly under the Espionage Act.
Australian and US law enforcement agencies are reportedly studying the possibility of criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including charges under the Espionage Act, for publishing classified US diplomatic cables.
"We have an active, ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter," US Attorney-General Eric Holder told a press conference on Monday.
Such charges, if pursued, could sharply up the legal pressure on WikiLeaks and 39-year-old Mr. Assange, who already faces allegations of rape in Sweden. (Assange's lawyer says the case involved consensual sex, and Assange has claimed it's part of a "smear campaign" against him and the site, according to British newspaper the Telegraph.)
Charges would also add a legal dimension to the mounting outrage and debate over WikiLeaks' decision to go public with more than a quarter of a million US diplomatic cables dating from the 1960s through February this year. The entire cache of 251,287 cables was provided early to Der Spiegel, El País, Le Monde, and the Guardian (who in turn passed them along to The New York Times), but only 281 cables are public so far on WikiLeaks.org.
'People like this are criminals'
The Washington Post cited several unnamed sources in reporting that the US Justice Department, Defense Department, FBI, and US district attorney's office in Alexandria, Va., were all probing WikiLeaks' cable-dump.
One expert told the Post that US authorities have already laid the groundwork for legal action against him, and that he could be liable under the Espionage Act. "I'm confident that the Justice Department is figuring out how to prosecute him," Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel, told the Post.
Smith noted that State Department general counsel Harold H. Koh had sent a letter to Assange on Saturday urging him not to release the cables, to return all classified material, and to destroy all classified records from WikiLeaks databases.
"That language is not only the right thing to do policy-wise but puts the government in a position to prosecute him," Smith said. Under the Espionage Act, anyone who has "unauthorized possession to information relating to the national defense" and has reason to believe it could harm the United States may be prosecuted if he publishes it or "willfully" retains it when the government has demanded its return, Smith said.
On Monday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said flatly, "WikiLeaks and people that disseminate information to people like this are criminals," according to CBS News.
But other experts say the US could face an uphill battle in pursuing legal charges. Kenneth Wainstein, former assistant attorney general for national security, told CBS News that US espionage laws, including the 1917 Espionage Act, were outdated.
"Those were designed for a different era, a different kind of espionage threat," Wainstein said. "They talk about sketches and code books and signal books. They weren't designed to deal with a mass leak on the internet."
Australia has also ordered federal police to probe the possibility of charges against Assange, and has formed a task force to pore over the leaked cables, according to Australia's The Age newspaper. The paper paraphrased Attorney General Robert McClelland saying Assange "might face an unpleasant welcome if he returned to Australia."
"The leaking of this substantial amount of information is of real concern to Australia," McClelland said. "Every indication is that some of the documentation could relate to national security classified documentation [and] could prejudice the safety of people referred to in the documentation, and indeed could be damaging to the national security interests of the United State and its allies, including Australia."
Where is Assange?
Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that Assange was lying low at an undisclosed location in London, out of fear that a public appearance could lead to his arrest and extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault. Early this month a Stockholm court released an international warrant for his arrest, the Telegraph reported.
... Sources close to Mr Assange admitted yesterday that he had been deliberately kept out of the limelight because of fears that the rape allegations would become a diversion from the story of the leaks.
The Metropolitan Police prioritises international arrest warrants involving allegations of murder or rape, and if the force became aware of an address where Mr Assange was staying, or a location where he was going to be attending a meeting, officers would seek to arrest him, sources said yesterday.
Assange's only appearance since the diplomatic cables began being posted has been "a short piece of grainy mobile phone footage which he had filmed himself in what appeared to be a hotel room," the Telegraph said.
Ecuador offers asylum
But Assange got a rare show of support from Ecuador, which has offered to take him in without condition, according to a report in RTT News attributed to Ecuadorinmediato. (See Spanish-language report here.)
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," the country's Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told the Internet site Ecuadorinmediato on Monday.
"We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the internet but in a variety of public forums," Lucas added.
Ecuador's offer reflects its current government's "not so warm relations with Washington," according to RTT News.
US officials believe WikiLeaks obtained more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables and other sensitive information from US Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is thought to have downloaded them from secure US communications systems while serving in Iraq. WikiLeaks has refused to reveal who provided the files.
Manning was arrested in May for unauthorized downloading and distributing of those files, and is now in solitary confinement in a military prison in Quantico, Va., awaiting a likely court-martial. He was charged in July with crimes that carry a maximum 52-year jail sentence, according to the Telegraph.