FOIA

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Guest Post: Drones In America? They are Already Here...





The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is one of the most important organizations we have in America today.  While most of the country lays fast asleep to the dangers of the encroaching surveillance state, the EFF is always vigilantly at work on the front lines.  In their latest article, they show that military drones are already flying all over these United States and, using information received from a FOIA lawsuit they provide important details on what is flying and where.  You may be shocked at some of their conclusions.

 
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Goldman Wins Again As European Union Court Rules To Keep ECB Involvement In Greek Debt Fudging A Secret





Three years ago, a hard fought landmark FOIA lawsuit was won by the great Bloomberg reports, the late Mark Pittman, in which the Fed was forced to disclose a plethora of previously secret bailout information, which in turn spurred the movement to "audit the Fed" and include a variety of largely watered down provisions in the Frank-Dodd bill. This victory came despite extensive objections by the Fed and the threat that the case may even escalate to the highly politicized Supreme Court, which lately has demonstrated conclusively that not only is justice not blind, but goes to the highest ideological bidder. Moments ago, Europe just learned that when it comes to secrecy of its supreme monetary leaders, in this case all originating from Goldman Sachs and defending data highly sensitive to the same Goldman Sachs, the European central bank's secrecy is not only matched by that of the Fed, but even more engrained in the "judicial" system of the Eurozone, after the European Union General Court in Luxembourg just announced that the European Central Bank will be allowed to refuse access to secret files showing how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt. Why? Simple: recall that it was Goldman Sachs who was the primary "advisor" on a decade worth of FX swaps-related deals which allowed Greece to outright lie about both its fiscal deficit and its total debt levels, and that it was a Goldman alum who became head of the same Greek debt office just before the country imploded. And certainly the ECB was involved and knew very all about the Greek behind the scenes shennanigans. And who happens to be head of the ECB? Why yet another former Goldman worker, of course. Mario Draghi.

 
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Bloomberg FOIA Documents How Wall Street Made A Muppet Of The SEC, Mary Schapiro And Dodd Frank





That the SEC is the most incompetent, corrupt, irrelevant and captured organization "serving" the US public is known by everyone. And while the details of the SEC's glaring lack of capacity to do anything to restore investor confidence in the capital markets, which has become a casino used exclusively by Wall Street to defraud any retail investor still stupid enough to play (which lately a moot point as there have been no material retail inflows into mutual funds in over three years), are scattered, courtesy of Bloomberg we now have the best summary of just how the utterly clueless SEC is a muppet plaything of Wall Street, and together with it, the "grand regulation" that was supposed to keep Wall Street in check, is nothing but what Wall Street demand it to be, and forced the SEC, way over its head on regulation, to accept every change, that the very banks that are supposed to be regulated, demands as part of Dodd-Frank reforms. In short: everything we know about Wall Street 'regulation' has been a farce, and a lie, exclusively thanks to corruption rampant at the now documentedly incompetent Securities And Exchange Commission.

 
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The ECB Has Stopped Preparations For A Collateral Management Program





This just crossing the streams:

  • ECB TO STOP PREPARATIONS FOR COLLATERAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

We have no idea what this means, but rumor is that the ECB finally looked at its "collateral" and found a picture of the Athens Ministry of Finance...

 
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Just What Is Mario Draghi Hiding? ECB Declines To Respond To Bloomberg FOIA Request On Greek-Goldman Swaps





Back in February 2010, in the aftermath of the discovery that none other than Goldman Sachs had facilitated for nearly a decade the masking of the true magnitude of non-Maastricht conforming Greek debt, Zero Hedge first identified the prospectus for a Goldman underwritten swap agreement securitization titled Titlos PLC. We titled the analysis "Is Titlos PLC The Downgrade Catalyst Trigger Which Will Destroy Greece?" because for all intents and purposes it was: at that time a rating agency downgrade of the country would lead to a chain of events which would make billions in assets ineligible for ECB collateral, forcing a massive margin call on the National Bank of Greece, which likely would have precipitated a Greek default there and then.  But that is irrelevant for the time being: what is relevant is Titlos itself, and what Bloomberg did after we posted the analysis. It appears that in following in the footsteps of Mark Pittman, Bloomberg sued the ECB under Freedom of Information rules requesting "access to two internal papers drafted for the central bank’s six-member Executive Board. They show how Greece used swaps to hide its borrowings, according to a March 3, 2010, note attached to the papers and obtained by Bloomberg News. The first document is entitled “The impact on government deficit and debt from off-market swaps: the Greek case.” The second reviews Titlos Plc, a securitization that allowed National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, to exchange swaps on Greek government debt for funding from the ECB, the Executive Board said in the cover note. The ECB's response: "The European Central Bank said it can’t release files showing how Greece may have used derivatives to hide its borrowings because disclosure could still inflame the crisis threatening the future of the single currency." Maybe. But what is far more likely is that the reason why the ECB, headed by none other than former Goldmanite Mario Draghi, is desperate to keep these documents secret is for another reason. A very simple reason:

Mario Draghi - 2002-2005:  Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs International

 
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MF Global Circus: A New Senate Hearing & CFTC Divulges Exclusive Emails Re Corzine/Gensler Meetings





Three rings...count 'em. Or, are those jail cells? New emails show MF's General Counsel Ferber desperate to get Corzine in front of Gensler and keep the zombie Corzine Trade alive.

 
EB's picture

Tough Questions for CFTC's Gary Gensler as He Heads to Congress to Beg for Money





Fourteen months, one MF Global carcass and $1.6 billion in "vaporized" funds later, does the CFTC still regulate the futures markets by fax?

 
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Presenting 2011's Top 10 Most Corrupt American Politicians





When it comes to corruption, cronyism and general muppetry in Washington D.C., the only real question is 'where does one start?' Yet one has to start somewhere to conclude with a list of the ten most corrupt and despicable marionettes in D.C. Which is precisely what JudicialWatch has done in its annual compilation of the "Top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington D.C." for 2011. And confirming what everyone knows, that both the left and right are merely irrelevant names for the same general social affliction, or should we call it by its true name - wealth pillage - the split is even between democrats and republicans. In no particular order, the winners of 2011 are...

 
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Is The Fate Of Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign In The Hands Of A Reuters FOIA Request?





It appears the GOP candidates are dropping like flies: first that one crazy guy, then Cain, and now... Mitt Romney? According to a Boston Globe article, paraphrased by Reuters, the GOP frontrunner (or is that second after Gingrich now: nobody really knows any more), spent $100,000, not of his own money but state funds, to "replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret. When Romney left the governorship of Massachusetts, 11 of his aides bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves. Also before he left office, the governor's staff had emails and other electronic communications by Romney's administration wiped from state servers, state officials say. Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney's four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely what information was erased is unclear." Odd: almost as if he had something to hide... Yet something tells us the other side of those emailed correspondences will still be there: alive and kicking, somewhere on the archived servers of Bain Capital, and a few prominent health insurance companies (and of course Goldman Sachs, because Goldman Sachs is everywhere). Naturally, one would need a subpoena to get those. And for that one would need a reason to assume something is illegal. Luckily, wiping your hard disks while a servant of the people is perfectly normal in a banana republic. Now just who does Ron Paul have to murder in broad daylight while having sex with Snooki before the general media finally decides he is worthy of a shot at this whole farce?

 
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Eliminate SEC FOIA Exemption





What can we say: it would be flagrantly criminal if the most incompetent and corrupt organization in the world was allowed to be unaccountable to anyone, least of all the US citizen. Our respect to Senators Leahy, Cornyn and Kaufman and Grassley for doing what is so obviously right, we are stunned only four senators ended up sponsoring legislation proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee to strike the FOIA exemption for the SEC. Full press release below.

 
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Ron Paul Goes After The SEC's FOIA Exclusivity, Introduces SEC Transparency Act





Just because being the most corrupt organization in the world was not enough, the SEC decided, courtesy of Donk (aka Frankendodd), that it is beyond accountability to anyone, even the constitution, after it was recently made public that the world's most incompetent and bribed regulators will continue watching kiddie porn, instead of regulatoring, only do so in complete opacity from now on, as in the future the SEC would be exempt from FOIA responses. And with retail investors saying "no more" to trading stocks in a rigged casino that shares the same level of integrity as its regulator, and is programmed to generate profits for the house and the computers on 99.9% of trades (except of course for those newsletter and subscription peddlers who catch every single inflection point ever, and can predict what the market will do not only tomorrow but a week, a month and a year from now) the market will soon be a ghost town. Recent attempts by Senator Kaufman to bring some honesty to stocks have so far been met with failure as theSisyphean task is far too great for any one individual. Which is why we are glad to learn that Ron Paul has joined those few who still hold the long-forgotten dream that the market should be fair and impartial for all (and yes, that means eliminating discount window access for the chosen few Bank Holding Company hedge funds out there) and has introduced the SEC Transparency Act of 2010 (HR 5970), a bill designed to force greater transparency in the Securities and Exchange Commission. Little by little, every single "intervention" by the world's two most corruptpoliticians is being overturned: first the rating agency accountability provision which nearly destroyed the shadow market with a complete lockup of all new ABS issuance, and now the SEC's exclusion from that simple concept known as "checks and balances." Soon FinReg will finally be exposed for the fraud it has been since its inception - the much touted Obama financial regulatory reform is nothing but a scam designed to allow Wall Street to steel what middle class wealth remains faster, bolder and in ever greater amounts, as the point where the system breaks is now months away, and the Wall Street-DC joint venture is all too aware. As a result all must be done to allow theft to be bigger than ever, all the while the "regulator" is no longer held responsible for looking the other way.

 
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UK Treasury Relases FOIA On Gordon Brown's 1998 Gold Sale, Catches Tony Blair Lying, Questions US Treasury's Good Delivery Standards





One of the bigger stories in the UK over the past several days, has been the increasing pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to justify his sale of 395 tons of gold in 17 auctions in the period from 1998 through 2002, when Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer, a role identical to the one Tim Geithner now performs in the US as Treasury Secretary. The issue is that in the abovementioned period, gold was trading at the rock bottom prices of the past two decades, and as such his rush to sell is estimated to have cost UK taxpayers £6 billion. One reason previously given to Parliament, to explain the transactions from Treasury ministers and Tony Blair was that the sale was made 'on the technical advice of the Bank of England.' Today the UK Treasury has released long-withheld FOIA documents which disprove this claim, and indicate that in fact the BOE was if not completely against selling the bullion then certainly waiting until the price improved. Furthermore, as the Daily Mail reports, "A source close to the Bank of England said last night: 'It was not our
decision. It was their decision and we simply provided technical
advice. Then it was up to them.'
" Yet, in light of recent LBMA manipulation revelations by GATA, it was most likely the association itself and its member banks which pressed the then relatively new Chancellor to do something against the interest of his people, potentially with promises of further rank extension in the "public services" arena. So far, they have not disappointed. 

And while the question of domestic UK politics is quite relevant, we uncover something very important as pertains to our very own US Treasury, its auctions of gold in 1979, the four-fold surge in gold prices in the 1979-1980 period, and the trampling of the London Good Delivery standard by the US Treasury.

 
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