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Greenwald writes: "A new PBS Frontline report examines a profound failure of justice that should be causing serious social unrest."

Obama speaks in Pennsylvania. (photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool/Getty Images)
Obama speaks in Pennsylvania. (photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool/Getty Images)

The Untouchables: How Obama's Administration Shielded Wall Street From Prosecutions

By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian UK

23 January 13



Watch The Untouchables on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.



BS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

Worst of all, Obama justice officials both shielded and feted these Wall Street oligarchs (who, just by the way, overwhelmingly supported Obama's 2008 presidential campaign) as they simultaneously prosecuted and imprisoned powerless Americans for far more trivial transgressions. As Harvard law professor Larry Lessig put it two weeks ago when expressing anger over the DOJ's persecution of Aaron Swartz: "we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House." (Indeed, as "The Untouchables" put it: while no senior Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, "many small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers and even home buyers" have been).

As I documented at length in my 2011 book on America's two-tiered justice system, With Liberty and Justice for Some, the evidence that felonies were committed by Wall Street is overwhelming. That evidence directly negates the primary excuse by Breuer (previously offered by Obama himself) that the bad acts of Wall Street were not criminal.

Numerous documents prove that executives at leading banks, credit agencies, and mortgage brokers were falsely touting assets as sound that knew were junk: the very definition of fraud. As former Wall Street analyst Yves Smith wrote in her book ECONned: "What went on at Lehman and AIG, as well as the chicanery in the CDO [collateralized debt obligation] business, by any sensible standard is criminal." Even lifelong Wall Street defender Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Chair, said in Congressional testimony that "a lot of that stuff was just plain fraud."

A New York Times editorial in August explained that the DOJ's excuse for failing to prosecute Wall Street executives - that it was too hard to obtain convictions - "has always defied common sense - and all the more so now that a fuller picture is emerging of the range of banks' reckless and lawless activities, including interest-rate rigging, money laundering, securities fraud and excessive speculation." The Frontline program interviewed former prosecutors, Senate staffers and regulators who unequivocally said the same: it is inconceivable that the DOJ could not have successfully prosecuted at least some high-level Wall Street executives - had they tried.

What's most remarkable about all of this is not even Wall Street had the audacity to expect the generosity of largesse they ended up receiving. "The Untouchables" begins by recounting the massive financial devastation the 2008 crisis wrought - "the economy was in ruins and bankers were being blamed" - and recounts:

"In 2009, Wall Street bankers were on the defensive, worried they could be held criminally liable for fraud. With a new administration, bankers and their attorneys expected investigations and at least some prosecutions."

Indeed, the show recalls that both in Washington and the country generally, "there was broad support for prosecuting Wall Street." Nonetheless: "four years later, there have been no arrests of any senior Wall Street executives."

In response to the DOJ's excuse-making that these criminal cases are too hard to win, numerous experts - Senators, top Hill staffers, former DOJ prosecutors - emphasized the key point: Obama officials never even tried. One of the heroes of "The Untouchables", former Democratic Sen. Ted Kaufman, worked tirelessly to provide the DOJ with all the funds it needed to ensure probing criminal investigations and even to pressure and compel them to do so. Yet when he and his staff would meet with Breuer and other top DOJ officials, they would proudly tout the small mortgage brokers they were pursuing, in response to which Kafuman and his staff said: "No. Don't show me small-time mortgage guys in California. This is totally about what went on in Wall Street. . . . We are talking about investigating senior level Wall Street executives, even at the Board level". (The same Lanny Breuer was recently seen announcing that the banking giant HSBC would face no criminal prosecution for its money laundering of funds for designated terrorist groups and drug networks on the ground that the bank was too big to risk prosecuting).

As Kaufman and his staffers make clear, Obama officials were plainly uninterested in pursuing criminal accountability for Wall Street. One former staffer to both Biden and Kaufman, Jeff Connaughton, wrote a book in 2011 - "The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins" - devoted to alerting the nation that the Obama DOJ refused even to try to find criminal culprits on Wall Street. In the book, this career-Democratic-aide-turned-whistleblower details how the levers of Washington power are used to shield and protect high-level Wall Street executives, many of whom have close ties to the leaders of both parties and themselves are former high-level government officials. This is a system, he makes clear, that is constituted to ensure that those executives never face real accountability even for their most egregious and destructive crimes.

The reason there have been no efforts made to criminally investigate is obvious. Former banking regulator and current securities Professor Bill Black told Bill Moyers in 2009 that "Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong." In the documentary "Inside Job", the economist Nouriel Roubini, when asked why there have been no such investigations, replied: "Because then you'd find the culprits." Underlying all of that is what the Senate's second-highest ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin, admitted in 2009: the banks "frankly own the place".

The harms from this refusal to hold Wall Street accountable are the same generated by the general legal immunity the US political culture has vested in its elites. Just as was true for the protection of torturers and illegal eavesdroppers, it ensures that there are no incentives to avoid similar crimes in the future. It is an injustice in its own right to allow those with power and wealth to commit destructive crimes with impunity. It subverts democracy and warps the justice system when a person's treatment under the law is determined not by their acts but by their power, position, and prestige. And it exposes just how shameful is the American penal state by contrasting the immunity given to the nation's most powerful with the merciless and brutal punishment meted out to its most marginalized.

The real mystery from all of this is that it has not led to greater social unrest. To some extent, both the early version of the Tea Party and the Occupy movements were spurred by the government's protection of Wall Street at the expense of everyone else. Still, Americans continue to be plagued by massive unemployment, foreclosures, the threat of austerity and economic insecurity while those who caused those problems have more power and profit than ever. And they watch millions of their fellow citizens be put in cages for relatively minor offenses while the most powerful are free to commit far more serious crimes with complete impunity. Far less injustice than this has spurred serious unrest in other societies.

[The one-hour Frontline program can be viewed in its entirety here.] your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+74 # frankdavid 2013-01-23 17:31
The answer why is because there is so much misinformation spoon fed to the masses by corporate owned media that they spend all their time fighting social battles settled years ago while the bankers whistle and walk away.
+19 # Virginia 2013-01-23 23:21
Lanny is leaving - announced today. But even though he is gone we need to remember everybody has a boss that calls the shots.

The fact he claimed he didn't think he could make intent stick has several factors. (1) Lanny didn't look in all the right places; (2) politicians and the judiciary have massive Wall Street stock portfolios that would be ruined if the banks were held accountable, and (3) the banks have bought and paid for those who call the shots.

See "Dear Lanny - The Intent is at the Top...and in the Patents"
+16 # Kratoklastes 2013-01-24 17:30
Anyone who thinks Breuer was being honest when he claimed that DoJ could not 'prove intent' has rocks in their heads: there is case law where they have parsed IN intent to COMMIT MURDER from text that is, on initial reading, utterly innocent.

There are any number of RICO cases where the DoJ asserts 'encoded language': the old "Hey Joey - I need you go see our friend" is proof of conspiracy to commit murder.

Breuer was just being dishonest: the DoJ didn't press the cases because most DoJ lawyers are angling for slots in the big end of town, ans the big end of town don't like mooks who get all up in their bidness.
+5 # jmac9 2013-01-28 14:57
Yes Virginia he is leaving

"too big to fail" was the fraud. It really was "too afraid of you."

Think if the banks were allowed to collapse as is supposed to happen in the capitalist system - and instead of banks - all that bailout money - which was your tax money - went to you.

The banks collapse the shareholders and others rush in and nail the bank CEOs to the jail cells, confiscate even the criminal bankers earnings...

new banks would be resurrected with strong oversight and regulations - NOT something banks wanted...

and all that bailout would have gone where it should have - to you.

after all, you, - consumer spending - is 2/3 of the economy - so put the money back in your hands and the economy can rebuild and criminal bankers go to jail as ‘justice’ mandates.

That sets a legal precedent that would aid in blocking any repeat in the future.

Now, the precedent is: the rich bankers get away with anything and you, taxpayer, pay for their crimes.
+29 # maddave 2013-01-23 23:56
You are absolutely correct frankdavid, and this Wall Street fraud cover-up fiasco isn't unique. It is SOP for the propagandizing Corporate American and their lap-dogs in Congress to toss out some "hot" issues that will reliably get us tearing at one another's throats. . , , an while our attention is diverted by irresolvable emotional issues like abortion, tax, gun control, communists, prayer in school, etc . . . The fat one-percent cats - aided and abetted by a cooperative Congress - loots the treasury . . . again.
+9 # Virginia 2013-01-24 12:03
When the administration believes the borrowers are deadbeats because that was the initial Wall Street propaganda, and they look only to investors to substantiate the claims of criminal fraud - then, yes it will be hard to prove intent because investors had hundreds of pages of disclaimers... Homeowners had none!

If the administration had testicular fortitude and common sense, it would look at the homeowners' plight and find the criminal fraud issues which abound and prosecute the banksters to the fullest extent of the law.

IMHO The criminal fraud was against the homeowner, the patsy, the collateral of credit, promise to pay and property that they duped and dangled in front of investors with a promise of liquidity... Actually, if the government did its job a lot of investor finance managers would likely be indicted as well.
+2 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-26 10:12
Yes, frankdavid, " much misinformation spoon fed to the masses by corporate owned media...". And, then there's all the info. the masses do not know, insofar as it never gets covered by today's corp. owned and controlled U.S. 'mess media'.

For example, there are all the extremely 'chilled' truthtelling journalists, whistleblowers, justice and peace activists, the plaintiffs in the 'case of the century', (Google: Hedges, et. al. v. Obama, et. al. on Justia).

Last May, 2012, the federal district court judge Forrest ruled in the plaintiff's favor and granted a restraining order against the allowing of the NDAA and its article which permits arrest of citizens by the military, incarceration with no charges brought, no due process, i.e. trial, etc., to be enforced. The govt. appealed the judge's decision.

NDAA, now with its dreadful voiding of so needed constitutional rights by Pres. Obama's signing in '12 and signing again this month (even strenthening it in '13) is certainly newsworthy.

And, guess what? The case and its rulings makes it onto the front page of the UK's Guardian newspaper in London. But, far and wide, hardly anyone here in the U.S. even knows or understands what's going on. Egregious, this 'No Free Press' coverage of a so vital case.

Oral arguments are set for March 6. Let's hope we get at least some decent press coverage re. key rights going bye bye.
0 # EPGAH3 2013-01-30 21:13
You mean a law Obama supported made it through, and he didn't brag about his success?
+39 # MsAnnaNOLA 2013-01-23 18:48
So true frankdavid. Yes it is plain to see we are not free and there is no fairness in the justice system.

We are going to have to change "all men are created equal" to "Rich and powerful people can do whatever they please here and the rest of you peons had better keep in line, because if you are a peon and you so much as steal a piece of penny candy we will lock you up for a decade. "

There are so many illegal things that can be selectively prosecuted. If you are an outspoken person, beware because they can find something to charge you with to put you away.
+10 # BradFromSalem 2013-01-24 08:15
But, MsAnnaNOLA isn't what you describe as "Rich and powerful people can.." the very definition of the roots of royalty. Soon, due to economic inequality and its causes, the offspring will generally be as immune as their Rich and Pwerful parents. In fact, in general the offspring will also be the Rich and Powerful.

The US Constitution bans royalty in much more definitive terms than guns. Where is the outrage?
+49 # Allen 23 2013-01-23 22:01
The conventional framework in which politics is viewed (Dem vs Repub, lib vs conserv, etc) does not let people understand what's really happening. And this is no accident, because the "conventional framework" is itself an example of Marx's dictum that "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas." It serves ruling class interests to indoctrinate the public with false & silly beliefs about our society, while in actual fact, the whole political mechanism has long since been rigged to function as a plutocracy.

It's astute to note that from a historical perspective, something important has changed from Marx's time, after the wealthy elites "got a taste of empowered representative government that truly worked for the people in the Mid-Twentieth Century." And indeed, after they got a taste of that, they decided (in the early 1970's) that more authoritarian forms of government would better suit their needs.

It's also very accurate, I think, to view this latest thumb in the eye to the people by the ruling class- using it's "B" Team The Democrats- as a direct provocation. I'm fairly convinced the ruling elites believe that "we the people" no longer have it in us to rise up against their monstrous abuses.

The reason being that for the most part people have internalized the bourgeois framework for viewing sociopolitical matters -- and this cripples them. Which is the whole point of training them to view politics this way.
+12 # beachboy 2013-01-24 00:58
Yes, Allen 23 - right on the money! Now we need to see how we can change that mess. Obviously 'we the people' need to exercise much more 'free speech' start we might insist on immediate changes of the criminal internet/'hacki ng' laws, which are used to terrorize 'the people'. Let's start with charging Heymann and Ortiz ( Aaron Swartz's torturers ) with criminal abuse of power! And then stand up more forcefully for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange...we have those wonderfully courageous people on our side, so lets stand with them better. The F R E E internet is still our best chance to get some results in this faschist dominated corporate world, and to create the kind of world with justice so badly needed by starving millions of people, and many more millions close to that situation.
No more tolerance for public enemies. As the Native Indians in Canada are doing right now with 'Idle No More', stop playing along with the abuse, strike and demand change for a better world. No Pasaran!
+10 # Scotty44 2013-01-24 02:54
It started a little earlier than that. The CIA and military/indust rial complex's oligarchs assassinated Kennedy in `63, and the fact that none of them were brought to justice shows that they are still in control.
+8 # grouchy 2013-01-23 23:26
The own the system? Well, not really, THEY OWN US!
+1 # DaveM 2013-01-24 00:07
Are there specific individuals who ranting against might bring on that most sublime of American creations, "the lone gunman"? If so, we might be able to resolve the problem of criminals being at large and find a constructive use for would-be mass shooters at the same time.
+17 # cmp 2013-01-24 00:11
Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Speech before the 1936 Democratic National Convention Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 27, 1936

"A Rendezvous With Destiny"

"For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital - all undreamed of by the Fathers - the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessm en and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-min ded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man."

The whole speech is well worth the time:
+8 # treadlightly 2013-01-24 09:58
Politicians spend more time writing speeches than they really need to. Most of it is simply double talk to distract the people from the real issue. That issue is how can we get the Greed and Corruption out of the system because Greed literally Kills. It kills soldiers, children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers.
It robs people of their freedom and hope for the future and will to live.
+3 # Luis Emilio 2013-01-24 13:24
treadlightly: The system's name IS greed!
+5 # cmp 2013-01-24 14:06
Hi treadlightly,
I agree you fully. Most speeches are not worth much. I & FDR also agree with your points with the "issue." He even takes it a step further and talks of the survival of democracy..

My KEY point with this speech was, "A Rendezvous With Destiny." In his own words, "time to fight, war."

Here is what that phrase meant to FDR going into his second run at the Presidency:

"There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

In this world of our in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight. They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living. They have yielded their democracy.

I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope. They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war. It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy. We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.

I accept the commission you have tendered me. I join with you. I am enlisted for the duration of the war."
+5 # dick 2013-01-24 00:16
I heard more about Michelle's designer outfits than I did about Nancy Reagan's. With the T-Party causing occasional chaos, Obama is making the former Democratic Party Wall Street's
A-Team. Same for Big Pharma, Healthcare MegaCorps, military contractors. Senate Dems, especially females, are going to have to work VERY HARD to keep Obama from giving away the rest of the store. Having Hillary on the outside, running for 4 years, may not be so bad. Will put pressure on Biden. Liz is gonna win in'16.
+13 # maddave 2013-01-24 00:18
I watched NPR's FRONTLINE show in utter horror. The brazen, naked incompetence - intended or not - made me sick. The apparent lynch-pin in the crooked bankers' phalanx appeared to be the smarmy Deputy AG-in-charge, Lenny Breuer, who (in m y opinion) was lying thru his teeth in order to shield larcenous executives who richly deserve their day in court for having stolen BILLIONS of dollars from trusting people all over the world.

Unfortunately, that day will never come, because Breuer & Company are going to stonewall the investigations until the statute of limitations kick in. THEN - like nothing ever happened - nobody will be guilty of anything and it's "ally-ally, all in free" for the shameless Wall Street BILKionaires . . . and they can start all over again. ,
+5 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-01-24 13:03
I too watched the Frontline program, and I urge everyone who is reading this RSN article and commenting on it to make sure they watch this Frontline piece. I missed the original broadcast in prime time, but caught it Thursday morning about 3 AM! I felt I was going through a waking nightmare. It's all very 1984-like, where yes=no and up=down.

It gets me so angry; I want to go out and flaunt my newly sanctioned ability to commit crimes with impunity. I might just go out and litter right in front of a cop! After that it's on to Fort Knox for some petty cash.
+1 # maddave 2013-01-26 11:32
UPDATE: I was pleased to learn that Lenny Breuer "resigned " almost immediately after FRONTLINE aired the new of his reluctance to prosecute!
+1 # mdhome 2013-01-28 09:59
If the 2nd amendment folks start taking out those responsible for this catastrophic mess the economy suffers under at the present time, I will see a point to their claim. OWS did not, maybe the pistol packing crowd can bring those crook to justice.
+12 # ligonlaw 2013-01-24 00:56
Failure to establish the rule of law as it applies to the financial community will pass into history as one of the major failures of the Obama Administration. The unpunished criminality of the financial leaders who betrayed the country and violated a sacred trust establishes for all time a two-tiered system of justice - one set of rules for the criminals who steal billions and a set of rules by which everyone else must live.
0 # BeaDeeBunker 2013-01-24 13:10
Where does the Obama Administration failure rank in comparison to the failure of Congress not impeaching Cheney/Bush, or the GOP and the Bush dynasty stealing a national election?
+13 # Pancho 2013-01-24 01:55
Lanny Brewer didn't do this all by himself. Tim Geither and Larry Summers no doubt had a big part in the failure to prosecute. Eric Holder is either the stupidest man in Washington, or he is a crook himself. How else can one explain the appointment of Stacia Hylton as the head of the US Marshals Service, or the retention for three years of Harley Lappin as the Director of the Bureau of Prisons? These two were signing hundreds of millions in unnecessary contracts for the for-profit prison industry.
+6 # Luis Emilio 2013-01-24 13:32
Good point Pancho: lets not forget the boss of Lanny ... and the boss of the boss.
+1 # EPGAH3 2013-01-30 21:20
Eric Holder is very corrupt, starting with calling off the prosecution of the Black Panthers for Voter Intimidation--o ne of our nation's highest felonies--when they were in the SENTENCING PHASE! Criminals can do no wrong, as long as they are doing Obama's Will!
+23 # Vern Radul 2013-01-24 04:12
Tens of millions - no, hundreds of millions - of people are still falling for the two party shell game and believing that fake corporate controlled and run WWF match-like con jobs called "elections" are real.

The guy who came up with the quote attributed to P.T. Barnum must be rolling in his grave laughing.

There is a myth. A faerie tale. A fictional story of a functional two party system in which the the two brands legitimately oppose each other and present legitimate choice to voters.

In that framing Obama is "caving" to republicans.

In reality however, Obama does not cave.

When someone consistently and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom he claims to be opposing it's not "caving".

It's the plan. The intentional plan.
+9 # Vern Radul 2013-01-24 04:28
UOTE: [The reason there have been no efforts made to criminally investigate is obvious. Former banking regulator and current securities Professor Bill Black told Bill Moyers in 2009 that "Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong."]

That interview of Black by Moyers is here...

"Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?" asked Moyers.

"Absolutely, because they are scared to death," he said. "All right? They're scared to death of a collapse. They're afraid that if they admit the truth, that many of the large banks are insolvent. They think Americans are a bunch of cowards, and that we'll run screaming to the exits.
Ultimately, said Black, the financial downfall of the United States in the wake of the Bush years is due to "the most elite institutions in America engaging in or facilitating fraud."

U.S. Banking Collapse Driven By "fraud", Tim Geithner Covering Up Bank Insolvency
-1 # MainStreetMentor 2013-01-24 06:43
Democrats have allowed RepubTeacans to be masters of diversionary tactics. Democrats continue to "look over there" when RepubTeacans point at a superficial, meaningless issue, and create a phony non-event - and the Dems run "whole hog" to put out the non-fire. The answer that the RepubTeacans provide on a large percentage of Democrat initiated issues/legislat ion, needs to be adopted by the Democrats, and that answer is: NO, to misdirection; NO! To diversion. Define and "stick to" relevancy of issues that matter.
+19 # MidwestTom 2013-01-24 08:51
Anyone who thinks that this is the fault of one party is not an informed voter. The Democrats received more donations from Wall Street last year than the Republicans, and seven of the ten wealthiest members of Congress are democrats. Stop buying the idea that Democrats are for the lower middle class. This is not a party battle, the OBama administration is loaded with former Wall Streeters, as was the Bush administration. This is us versus them, and we are losing.
+12 # joedeane 2013-01-24 06:49
It seems to me that Greenwald is implying that, like Bush, Obama is another crooked Washington politician and should be in jail with the high stakes criminals he shills for. This is pretty hard to deny.The big bucks "coronastion" was a celebration of all their successful theft, a sharp stick in the public's face.
+18 # hammermann 2013-01-24 07:15
This is why the destruction of Aaron Swartz was so outrageous and egregious. He saved us all, because the SOPA and it's clone laws would have criminalized everyone using the Web, running a site or blog; he also directly went up against the FBI when they started to go after him and backed them down.

Aaron Schwartz, the hero-crusader who helped stop SOPA and other Internet criminalization s hung himself in NYC aptmt just before going to trial after 2 years of pressure; the Boston Assis. fed. prosecutor (Stephen Heymann) had charged him with 13 felonies + possible 35 years prison for mass downloading the academic monopolist JSTOR's documents at MIT, docs he actually had a right to access. Watch the video and sign the WH petition- he is/was an inspiring and excellent speaker.

WHITE HOUSE petition to fire Assis. US Atorney Heymann, who has made a name going after minor Internet transgressions:

1. As a fellow at Harvard, Swartz had a right to access the free docs, just not in that quantity.
2. He had returned all the docs + apologized. JSTOR itself had settled w Swartz 1 1/2 years ago and pleaded w the gov to drop its case!
+17 # mrbadexample 2013-01-24 08:53
Sadly, this isn't just about the 2008 meltdown. Lanny Breuer should have been fired three years ago, but he is doing exactly what his boss, Eric Holder, wants him to do. Evidence for that: Holder declined to investigate whether Justice should indict the insiders (including Goldman Sachs) in the LIBOR fixing scandal (which cost states a minimum of $48 B when bonds they had that moved with LIBOR had shifts in interest rates). He also isn't prosecuting HSBC for laundering money for drug dealers and hostile government such as Iran.

The problem with the Frontline piece is that there was no investigation into why Holder and HIS boss, one Barack Obama, were satisfied with Lanny Breuer's work.
+6 # 2013-01-24 09:16
Thanks to Mr. Greenwald, the Guardian, d Reader Supported News for such an article. While RSN is accused of being too much to the Left (by extreme Rightists - of course) :( ,,,,,,,
the charge is unfounded and this article plus some of Matt Taibbi's articles.

YES, YES, we must find a balance from all the extremist accusations.
+9 # orwell, by george 2013-01-24 09:59
look at the throngs of adoring masses at the inauguration of the current mass murederer, assassinator, war criminal.
+13 # Vern Radul 2013-01-24 10:00
People seem to have the idea that the Obama administration does not prosecute wall street and other large scale financial criminals because Obama is either incapable or weak.

That is a delusion.

Obama himself, and his appointees like Geithner, Holder, etc are not incompetent.

They are part of the gang pillaging the country.

This is disaster capitalism taken to the limit. Pillaging smaller weaker countries for their resources over that past six or seven decades has transferred trillions upon trillions of dollars to the United States.

Now, they are going after the biggest prize of all, and pillaging the United States.

They want it all. Perhaps for what they think is good reason?

British scientist James Lovelock and his warning that catastrophic global climate change is both imminent and unstoppable:
Within the next decade or two, Lovelock forecasts, Gaia will hike her thermostat by at least 10 degrees. Earth, he predicts, will be hotter than at any time since the Eocene Age 55 million years ago, when crocodiles swam in the Arctic Ocean.

"There's no realization of how quickly and irreversibly the planet is changing," Lovelock says. "Maybe 200 million people will migrate close to the Arctic and survive this. Even if we took extraordinary steps, it would take the world 1,000 years to recover."
-1 # EPGAH3 2013-01-30 21:24
Oh, they're robbing us for the old Global Warming scam? That makes it all better then!
Record INCREASED snowfall in the northern hemisphere means that the planet is not warming. Brushfires are started by careless litter or even arson!
Why, then, are the Messianic Marxists and Pharaonic Fascists and teetotal totalitarians like Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard so mesmerized by the now-collapsed “global warming” scare? Because it allows them to bring back absolute, centralized control of everyone’s lives, down to the last poison-filled light "Green" bulb.
Even if Australia’s hated “carbon tax” were to succeed as fully as its half-baked inventors had intended it would reduce global warming by less than a thousandth of a Celsius degree (actually, more like a twenty-thousand th). And all this at a cost of $150 billion and counting, over just 10 years – plus $1.8 million for Flazza, of course. Ka-CHING!
+8 # Martintfre 2013-01-24 11:47
Why is more important then how.

Why Obama shielded his corporate masters is because he is a fascist.

Obama is a corporate asset that is paying off beautifully - unless your a lowly tax payer who is getting stuck with the bill and we the people are being forced to pay at the end of a tax collectors gun.
+5 # Michael_K 2013-01-25 10:40
This place is becoming famous for the partisan defense of the indefensible
+3 # Michael_K 2013-01-25 10:39
Anyone who heard Lanny Breuer's completely and pathetically lame excuses for shielding these criminals cannot for a moment doubt that he deserves to hang for his complicity. And that means that his bosses, Holder and Obama are just as guilty.
+7 # giraffee2012 2013-01-25 10:59
OMG - now it seems "clearer" why the GOPbaggers ran the hopeless Mitt against President Obama.
+2 # Sherilyn 2013-01-26 11:33
Thank you for a great story, Glen. Maybe Breuer wasn't the only one to blame for going easy on Wall Sreet, but I think that Frontline story has and will continue to make a difference. I doubt Wall Street law firms were even impressed by Breuer's weak excuse. Besides, don't we all have an obligation to stand up to our bosses or clients when they ask us to do something unethical?

I worked for an attorney who used to tell associates "Don't tell me no, tell me how." To this day, he remains an attorney without ever having been indicted. However, the same can't be said four of his young associates.

Kudos to Ted Kaufman! He has played a huge role in trying to see justice carried out, even though Justice is fighting it every step. He appears to have the Main Street take on Wall Street crime.

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